The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
View Single Post
09.29.2012 , 01:09 PM |
Prompt: Bad Timing
Characters: Malavai Quinn and Athra, Essa and Vai
Universe: Quick Quinn Quotes
I always loved you... I just never showed it...
Counseling was going well for Quinn and Athra. Well, as well as well could go when your wife alternated between wanting to inhale your face in wonderful ways to wanting to impale your face in horrible ways. On top of that, there never seemed to be a good time to talk one-on-one without the counselor nearby. It wasn’t that she was violent or had hurt him in anyway, it was that she was as intimately frustrated as he was. Any time they occupied the same room together the air became charged with hormones. It disrupted nearby activities and was the likely cause of the odd couple Jaesa and Pierce.
Quinn sighed quietly. He was trying incredibly hard to resist Athra’s charms, but it was difficult with her currently kissing a pattern on his neck and jaw. He was making a concentrated effort not to throw her down on the couch and have his way with her. He sucked in an unsteady breath as she began working the buttons on his shirt.
“Are you alright?” Athra asked between kisses.
“Ah, yes,” he replied breathlessly. “Qu-quite alright, my Lord.”
Athra chuckled quietly and pulled back to face him. She loved making her officer blush as she tore down his natural defenses. She fiddled with the necklace around his neck and smiled. It was just one of many gifts she had showered on him in an attempt to gain his affection, but it was the only one she had seen him use on a near constant basis once she realized he still had it.
“What have I told you about calling me ‘my Lord’ in private?” Athra purred. She could feel his resolve slowly slipping. Just a little more pushing and she would get exactly what she wanted. What they both wanted.
Quinn swallowed hard. “To call you by your given name.”
“And what is my given name, Malavai?”
Quinn released a shaky breath. “Athra,” he said quietly.
“Very good,” she murmured.
With a feral grin she went back to work on tearing down his defenses. She felt his hands twitch and grip her armor a bit tighter. One more push.
“Malavai,” she said quietly, caressing his name gently. She could hear him grinding his teeth with effort. “Won’t you take me to the bedroom?” she purred.
As he tried to respond, the holoterminal in the living room beeped to life with a call. Quinn recognized the emergency frequency and was suddenly all business. Athra pouted at him as he moved her from his lap to the couch and went to the terminal to answer the call. His father’s blue image came into focus.
“Hello, father,” Quinn greet cordially.
“Malavai, there’s been an incident involving you mother,” Vai said sadly.
Quinn quirked a brow and waited for his father to continue. The man knew his relationship with his mother was murderous intent at best and full on matricide at worst.
“She has fallen ill and I fear she won’t recover,” Vai continued.
“I see,” Quinn said stiffly. “That’s too bad.” Honestly, he didn’t really care that she wouldn’t recover. Some part of him felt something akin to sadness with her imminent death, but a larger, angrier part wanted her to die as slowly and painfully as possible.
“Malavai,” his father said thickly, “come home for a while. If only to say goodbye.”
“I don’t need to say goodbye, father.”
“Your mother loves you.”
“She has a funny way of showing it,” Quinn spat harshly.
Vai sighed somberly. “Malavai, please, this isn’t the time for this.”
“I have no desire to come home,” Quinn said tonelessly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was in the middle of something.”
“Malavai, please,” his father begged quietly. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Quinn stared up at his father’s image. His father was never an emotional man, something Malavai had strived to become, but here he was begging and pleading with his son to come home. He sighed quietly then nodded.
“Alright, I will come home,” he said stiffly. “I am doing this because you asked, not because that woman is dying.”
“She’s your mother, Malavai.”
“I know damn well who she is!” he said, angrily slashing the air. He took a calming breath. “I will be at the estate shortly. Have a room prepared in case I bring a guest.”
His father’s image nodded quietly then blipped away. He wasn’t sure if he should be grateful for the interruption or curse his mother’s name until she was burned away to ash. He went back to the couch and sat down heavily. He had no desire to go to the estate, but his father, his poor father was obviously heartbroken.
“I’m afraid I will have to take a rain check, Athra,” he said quietly. “You are more than welcome to join me, but I will not ask it of you.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” Athra asked gently.
Quinn stood without answering and headed to his bedroom to change. He couldn’t tell her he was afraid his mother’s dying words would still label him a failure. He couldn’t tell her he was afraid of the sadness that had engulfed his father. He quickly put on his uniform. Freshly starched, delightfully stiff, and lightly armored, it was protection in more ways than one.
Quinn suggested they walk to the estate. It wasn’t too far, within comfortable walking distance. He would use the time to think. He hoped for some great epiphany that he knew would never come. He hated his mother with a fiery passion and he was sure she felt the same way about him. They never got along and they never would as long as he was Force-blind. As there was no way to imbue a person with the ability to manipulate the Force, his mother would always hold distaste for him in the darkest pits of her very soul. And, of course, he would return that distaste in kind whenever possible.
The trip to the estate was unfortunately short. He hadn’t even begun to think of his reaction to her actual death. Knowing her, she was more than likely faking for attention.
When they arrived, Talos greeted them at the door. He pointed Quinn to the room his family had gathered in and invited Athra to follow him. Nox could use a friend and Talos was no good at comforting her at this moment in time. The strange unknown of life and death and the delicate balancing act between the two was driving Nox insane. That damn unanswered question of whether or not Essa could rally plagued Nox until she was nothing, but a blubbering pile of crying Sith. Athra gave Talos a sad smile and followed him to Nox.
Quinn quietly headed to the room he knew his mother was currently haunting. It was the same room his grandfather had died in, his grandmother, his aunt, and an uncle or three. He dubbed it The Quinn Room of Death when he was younger. It also served as a room for welcoming new life into the Quinn household, but new life hadn’t been welcomed since the day he and his sister were born some thirty years ago.
He stepped into the room quietly and took stock of the equipment on hand. Nothing unusual, a few monitors beeping and chirping and two IVs connected to the woman in the bed. She was frightfully pale and oddly quiet. Possibly sleeping. His father stirred in the chair next to the bed, but Quinn raised a hand to halt him from rising to greet him.
“You came,” Vai said quietly.
“You asked me to,” Quinn said stiffly. He walked to the bed and started fiddling with the equipment. He examined the readouts with a critical eye, but could find nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed as if she had a rather bad cold and would be fine, but a visual inspection proved otherwise. Thick black veins stretched down her arms and up her neck. He knew those black veins and pale skin well. She had been exposed to the same poison he had on Corellia. She was too far gone to be helped now. She really was going to die. He blinked at the realization, his eyes suddenly filled with tears at the very thought of her dying. Strange.
“We tried everything,” his father said hoarsely from his chair.
“I can see that,” Quinn said tonelessly.
“Come sit with your mother. I need to lie down for just a moment.”
“Have you eaten?” Quinn asked stiffly.
“I’m fine,” his father murmured quietly.
Quinn shook his head and pulled out his medical scanner. A quick scan of his father revealed exhaustion and the beginnings of malnutrition.
“How long has she been like this?” Quinn asked quietly.
“A week now,” Vai replied. “She fell ill soon after you left.”
“You haven’t slept since then, have you?”
“No.” His father turned his blue eyes to Quinn. “I want to be here when,” he paused and swallowed, “when she goes.”
“I can’t say I understand, but I do know it is unhealthy and mother would be upset that you let yourself become this way. Lie down on the couch there and I will bring you something to eat.”
His father nodded silently. He should have called Malavai sooner, but his relationship with his mother was tense at best. As soon as his head hit the couch, he was asleep.
Quinn returned a short time later. His father was sleeping quietly, but his mother was now awake or, at least, her eyes were open. She turned to him and frowned. Wonderful, she was as sunny as always. He walked to the chair next to her bed and sat down stiffly. She watched his progress the entire time, her brown eyes as calculating as always.
“Why are you here?” Essa asked quietly.
“Father summoned me,” he replied tonelessly.
Silence stretched the room in a thin layer of tension before snapping at the sound of Essa’s voice.
“Malavai,” she said softly. She stretched a thin hand out to him and smiled when he cupped her smaller hand between his. She was cold. So very cold. “I’m glad you came.”
“That is doubtful, mother,” he said stiffly.
“I know I wasn’t the kindest mother. I was always hard on you. I tried, in my own way, to temper you toward the masters you would soon serve. I’m sorry I wasn’t as kind to you as a mother should be to her child, no matter his perceived defects.”
Quinn blinked as hot tears filled the corners of his eyes.
“It’s fine,” he muttered quietly.
“No,” she said with surprising firmness, “it was never fine. I’m so sorry, Malavai.”
“I should wake father.”
Quinn gently placed her hand back at her side and crossed the room to his sleeping father. He knew his mother’s time was short if she was suddenly revealing emotions, positive emotions to him. His father took a while to rouse, but, eventually, he rose from the couch to stand next to Essa, leaving the chair empty in case Malavai returned. He turned to leave his father when a voice stopped him.
“Malavai, don’t leave yet,” his mother said softly. “I have much to say.”
He halted his steps and turned to her. She looked so small in that bed surrounded by machines and pillows. She looked… human. He nodded and retook his seat next to her. She reached out for him again, her arm shaking with effort. He met her halfway and cupped her hand in his once more. He could feel something was different this time. She seemed calm. It unnerved him.
“I love you, Malavai,” Essa said quietly. “I always did.” The monitor tracking her heart rate suddenly slowed its beeping. She smiled at him warmly for the first time in years. Her mother’s love shown in her eyes one last time before she closed them and slipped away. He held her limp hand in his and stared at her.
“Mother?” he asked quietly. She didn’t respond. She couldn’t respond. He blinked and hot trails of freshly loosened tears traveled down his cheeks. He was never sure what his reaction would be at the death of his mother. Now that he was here, he knew. He would mourn her and mourn the love she never showed him until her final moments. The heart monitor let loose a steady beep before his father moved and turned it off. Malavai squeezed his eyes shut and brought his mother’s hand to his mouth. He laid a gentle kiss upon her knuckles and cried. If only he had made an effort to improve their relationship, maybe. Maybe… Maybe… His father placed a fortifying hand on his son’s shoulder. There was no point in dwelling on the maybes and what-could-have-beens. There was nothing to rebuild. His mother loved him and that knowledge would have to be enough.
Later that night, Quinn squeezed Athra to him as they spooned in bed. His mother’s passing reinforced that life was short and unpredictable. His father’s hidden misery highlighted the need to take advantage of every living moment.
“Athra,” he said quietly. She made an acknowledging noise and waited for him to continue. “Marry me.”
Athra wiggled until he released her and turned to face him with a strange smile on her lips.
“We’re already married,” she smiled.
“A recommitment then,” he murmured. “We’ll have the ceremony we should have had. Invite friends and family. Make a day of it. Do things properly this time around.”
“I’d like that.”
He smiled. “I love you, Athra.”
“I love you, too, Malavai,” she said sweetly.
“That’s the first time you’ve said that in… a while,” he said quietly.
“I was waiting for the right moment.”
His smiled broadened. “Every moment is the right moment.”
She smiled at him then placed a gentle kiss on his lips.
“I love you, Malavai.”
“And I, you,” he said quietly.
He pulled her to him, then, and lavished her with soft kisses and gentle reiterations of love. They would not reignite the passion in their relationship that night, but they did reignite their love. And that was a critical step that may have never been taken had his mother not passed away. It was the second most wonderful thing she had ever done for him. The first being her declaration of her undying mother’s love.
Sad and happy. Sappy? Sadappy? Evil? Something...
Anyway. I always planned for his mother to die and for her to make a deathbed confession of motherly love. I didn't plan on it being the switch that flipped Quinn and Athra's relationship back on the path of reconciliation.
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!
Quick Quinn Quotes
Ninety Seven Percent
Ald, the Silly Sith Warrior