The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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07.03.2012 , 06:37 AM |
Health, which follows on from Rites of Passage, and is set about a day or so later:
Minder 41:12 sat in the middle of a darkened room, the Kaas Cityscape visible behind her. She was shrouded in shadow, the same as he had always seen her.
"So it happened again." Her voice was sweet but hollow.
"That's like asking if it rained today; what's your point?"Rochester clasped his hands, resting them on his knees.
"What was so different about this incident?"
"I'm sick of being followed around by a bloody corpse!" His words rang in the empty room. He suddenly became vividly aware how long it had been since they had last spoken.
"Is it Lord Naught?"
Rochester stood. "I shouldn't be talking to you."
"I'm here when you need me, Sleeper."
He closed the door, leaving Minder 41:12 in darkness.
Rochester stood, arms folded across his chest, staring at the floor. He appeared intent on a spot six foot away, near the wall. Broan looked at the spot but saw nothing but carpet. It had been silent when he entered five minutes ago.
"Why did you call me here?"
Rochester stayed staring at the spot as he spoke. "You're going to leave me."
"What? Don't be absurd," Broan pulled Rochester hands from his chest, trying to draw his gaze away from the spot. "I love you, Rochester. I'm not going to leave you."
"How can you love me if you don't even know me?" His head snapped up and Broan could see he was crying. "I don't even know if I can... I loved someone before. Thought I loved someone," He corrected himself, tension evident in his voice. "But I think that was stupidity and youth. I'm afraid. One day you're going to wake up and realise you don't want someone as damaged as me."
"You're hardly damaged." Broan brushed away a few of Rochester tears.
"I took... no, you don't want to know," Rochester moved away, seemingly not having heard Broan, and sat on the edge of the bed. He was almost as pale as the sheets. "Why do you want to look at my scars?" He clutched at the covers, knuckles turning white.
"I just... I want to be with you, it's not..." Broan fumbled over his words, unsure of how he was supposed to express himself.
"I woke up that morning and there was blood everywhere. You couldn't see it but it was there. What was I supposed to do?" He leant forward, almost resting his heads on his knees. Broan stood, not knowing how to react, a knot of pain and apprehension in his gut. "I didn't... you were so clean, I didn't want to dirty you," Rochester's words came out in a tumble and he began to sway slightly. "I took things... just one thing... it was experimental, it wasn't real! So long ago. He follows me and I can't..." His gaze drifted back to that one spot. He seemed so far away to Broan, but his gaze was intense. He stepped forward, catching the other's man head in his hands, feeling the tears and metal poles that covered Rochester's cheeks.
"Look at me, Rochester. Please, just look at me." He ran his fingers through Rochester' hair, marvelling at the contrast between the green and red. He kissed him. Rochester started to sob.
"Don't go, please, please don't go."
"Look at me. Keep looking at me and I will get you through this. I promise." At last, their eyes met. Broan cradled Rochester's head as they kissed. He gently guided him back to lie on the bed. Broan stayed close, soothing Rochester.
"I'm sorry I dumped this on you," Rochester said at length, his voice muffled. He buried his face closer into Broan's shoulder and was relieved to feel the Mirialin respond in kind. "I'm not well."
"I love you, Rochester. You'll be fine, I swear it. Just keep looking at me."
More Rochester and Broan
... it would seem that the more I like a character, the crueler I am to them. I'm not sure what that says about me as a person or a writer, but I do some very mean things to my favourites >.>
In case you're wondering, between Rochester leaving the military academy and joining up with Imperial Intelligence/Imperial Navy he did do the stupid young people thing of going out clubbing with less than savoury people and taking recreational drugs. Or in this case, experimental combat stims which have been badly reproduced in measly little Nar Shadda methlabs. There's an old road safety awareness advert, which I might look for a little later, which shows a man trying to do his daily life whilst being followed around by the corpse of a little girl he'd run over. I imagine Rochester's drug-induced hallucinations would be similar.