The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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09.23.2012 , 02:13 PM |
Kabe has been beta reading for me. She's been a tremendous asset to this story and I can't thank her enough. Thanks so much for be a great beta reader.!
There were no more tests to be run. There was a blip on her brain and no one had any idea how it got there. She'd had her military physical six months ago and there had been no problems. And that wasn't even the biggest thing to think about.
She sat on her bed, her back to the door, and put her hands over her stomach. She was pregnant and if she was an honorable, loving wife, it was Jorgan's. She loved him that much, but did this other self of hers? What a horrible thought. Why was she doing this to herself?
She hadn't even realized she'd whimpered and curled forward into a ball until she felt his hand on her shoulder. She took a deep breath, pushed back the tears and looked over her shoulder at him.
“I... I tried to leave you alone. To give you some space. I ended up standing at the door staring at you like some kind of creeper,” he said apologetically.
“Tell me what we're like,” she whispered, surprising herself. Wasn't that only going to make it more painful? But... why couldn't she have him? He was hers in this... this whatever. Couldn't she just give herself to him like she wanted?
Jorgan rounded the bed and sat gingerly beside her. He looked thoughtfully embarrassed by the question. “We don't get a lot of time to ourselves,” he said. “You're extremely professional in public and in front of the crew. I respect you for that and I'm grateful for it. They had no idea we were... for the longest time. So when we get our alone time, we're pretty... affectionate. You made me your XO before a hint of this ever went down. You gave me back something that was unfairly taken from me. I think that's when it started for me. When you gave me something you really didn't need to.
“But in being your XO, we don't go on the field much together. Which, you've pointed out before, is probably for the best. Losing you is something that twists my gut almost every hour of the day. But I can't be without you, so I deal with it. And... am affectionate with you so you know how I feel.”
Ipha closed her eyes and listened to the rumble of his voice, letting it fill her and trying to warm the cold spots inside. She'd never seen him so vulnerable and it broke her heart. She had unbalanced him and being balanced was particularly important to a soldier.
“So this is our room?”
“Yeah. I slept with the crew for a long time in the bunks. But once we knew it was marriage for us and that there wouldn't be a quick end to the war, I came in here. I've never slept so little or so well.” He grimaced. “Sorry. That's probably inappropriate to say.”
She looked at him, smiling. “It was a nice thing to say,” she whispered. She cleared her throat and looked into the air. No tears here. Only truths. “I don't know what's going on. I don't have the slightest clue. Things for me were different. A different structure in the same time frame.”
“You talk like you experienced them.”
“I did. I don't care what anyone tells me. I had a life away from here. I don't know how I got here or why or anything. But it was from somewhere else. A somewhere else where we were professional colleagues and I think, somewhat friends. No matter how badly I wanted differently.”
Jorgan went very still. He didn't look at her or interrupt her as she spoke. She told him about Hoth, being terminally injured and receiving her implants. She could tell by his face that she wasn't telling him anything new. Until she explained that instead of moving up to Ord Mantell, she had been temporarily retired and put into the Corellia R & D department. She told him a little about her four years work on ways to keep soldiers alive and healthy and he shook his head slightly through the telling.
“So you got Rendrik Poole instead. He's a good man. Big, tall Zabrak from Iridonia. War and conflict seem to be part of his DNA and he's very good at leading the squad. He won over Elara pretty quickly. He shares his bed with her.”
Jorgan had tensed when she talked about Poole, as though afraid she was going to admit to remembering being his. But when she mentioned Elara, he looked at her with his eyes shining with something she couldn't quite read.
“You're his XO, I guess Poole saw in you what I did. And there's a technical specialist named Yuun. I don't know why he's not here. When Garza put me back on active duty and assigned me to Havoc, I think I kind of took his job, or at least one part of it. I do most of the slicing and decrypting now. And because I spent so much time at CoR-D, I'm still a Lieutenant.” She gave him a sad smile. “So you're actually my superior. I'm having brain hemorrhages trying to remember not to 'sir' you.”
“And we aren't...”
“I've always read you as a by the book man, Jor- uh,” she paused, really not sure how to address him. She skipped over it. “You're my direct superior in a high combat environment. There was a time or two maybe I thought you were giving me an opening. Scared of rejection I guess.”
“Do you remember me as an idiot?” he asked
“Not at all!” she protested then looked away. “I get what you're saying. There, I haven't told you and here I did. So we made something, and a baby...” She stopped as his face got conflicted. She looked pained. “This should be a happy time,” she murmured.
“I want to be happy. I shouldn't even ask this but, what do you feel?”
She looked at him while her mind turned that over. “I'm confused, a little panicky in the chest all of a sudden. More confusion in there, some anger. I... you probably mean what do I feel about you, huh?” He stayed silent and she closed her eyes, reminded herself to breathe deeply. “Can we come back to that?”
“I'll get my things together, give you some room.” He sounded so sad. She couldn't stop herself from grabbing his arm.
“I love you,” she said it fast but loud. She couldn't let him walk out unhappy. The more she looked into his eyes the more she wanted to believe that this was what was real. What if she just pretended that this was what was real? “I can't.. can't do this alone. And I'm literally all alone here. I have no idea what's going on and I just want it to be all okay again.”
He sat back down next to her. “I'm right here, Ipha. I'm not going anywhere.”
“Damn right you're not going anywhere. This is your room too, your space. I... have everything I've ever wanted here. It's like I woke up to exactly what I wished I had. That's... that's really weird. What does it mean?”
“This is your life, Ipha. You didn't wake up to anything but a new day. Well, a new baby too.” He reached for her stomach and his hand hovered over it a second before touching her. “The memory, the confusion, we're going to figure that out.”
“But you're staying here?” She let herself hope.
“Okay.” She was flooded with desire. She wanted to hug him, hold him, take him down to the bed. She was scared to even touch him. “I don't even know where to start looking.”
She turned to face him and found him just a breath away from her. Her libido jerked, her eyes widened but she forced herself to stay very still.
“I thought I'd lost my wife.”
“Say that again.”
“I need to get used to that.”
Brei'yu stood before the images of her brain, staring at the tiny black dot that wasn't supposed to be there. She didn't feel so much fear as anger. Whatever that dot was, it was the reason she didn't have Vector, it was the reason she couldn't find Adris. If she found the source of the dot, she would find all her answers.
“Maybe you should call Ipha,” Vikis said behind her.
Brei'yu whirled in shock. “What.. what did you say?”
Vikis gave her a bland look. “I said maybe Ellivian has found Adris. She's on her way here now.”
Brei'yu shook her head. “I'm sorry. I heard something else entirely.”
Ellivian stepped into the med bay and looked apologetic. Brei'yu's stomach fell. “Adris must be deep under. He's not answering his personal or his ship's holo. I tried contacting Intelligence but they can't tell me anything.”
“Intelligence?” Brei'yu asked. Adris no longer worked for Intelligence, but she kept that to herself.
“I managed to threaten my way all the way up to a Watcher Three. He was suitably shaken by my Sithyness, but even that couldn't secure me an answer. He's on the Outer Rim, but his assignment requires 'discretion.' I managed to get out of him that Adris has been there for the last three weeks. Is that any help?”
Brei'yu closed her eyes. In reality, it just made things more confusing. “And Captain Quinn found no other reason for my memory loss?”
“Possible trauma,” Quinn answered. “Perhaps you don't wish to remember.”
Brei'yu rubbed her forehead. This was all just adding to the confusion. There were no answers to be had here, just more questions. “Whatever happened to me, what? Changed my memory? Wiped some of it out? Something isn't right here.”
“Take a walk with me,” Vikis said.
“Oh, um. Yes, my lord,” Brei'yu answered. She really didn't want to walk with the Sith lord.
He guided her without touching her, silent until they left the ship and stood in the hangar. He looked her in the eye and she stared, mesmerized by the swirling red. “Something is wrong,” he said. “You are very correct about that. Do you understand me? Something is wrong.”
“You need to find out what is wrong.” He leaned into her, his face intense.
He was warning her. She just couldn't make sense of the warning. “Lord Vikis-”
“No questions. I have no answers for you. Trust yourself, or you'll be swept away.” He straightened, his face regaining the haughty calm. “I will give Lieutenant Pierce your regards,” he finished as though nothing had happened. He turned from her, and left her alone, closing the gangplank to the ship behind him.
She stood, staring around her, wondering if anyone else had just experienced that too. But she was alone in this. She had to trust herself. It was time to go home.
<to be continued>
Be to her Virtues
Be to her Faults
a little Blind.