The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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12.20.2012 , 08:34 PM |
Screw it, double post.
Screw it again, was going to wait, but what the hell.
NotLP: Dreams and Nightmares
bh - Skari and Crae
Skari groaned and opened her eyes. Her head was fuzzy, like she'd gotten into Gault's stash. She peered around and saw force field and beyond that, the familiar walls of the ship. The cage. She was in the f**king cage.
She sat up slowly, pushing her hair out of her face. Where was her crew? She stilled her movements, listening for any sounds of them in the ship, but could hear nothing beyond the whir of the engine and the normal creak of metal struts.
She'd been changing, in her room, and then...she rubbed her face, trying to focus. The hiss of the airlock opening pulled her attention. The lean, blood-spattered, brown figure that walked through the door was all too familiar after all this time, but the look in his eyes was feral. A look she hadn't seen in a long time. He dropped a bag he'd been carrying on the floor.
"What is this, Crae?" she demanded. She struggled to get to her feet but fell, banging her head against the floor.
Crae rushed to the cage and lowered the force field, pulling her into his arms, checking her head. She struggled to push him away, her limbs reluctantly following her commands, her head aching. "Shhh," he said, "It's okay. You're safe."
"Get the f**k away from me," she snapped, pushing him away clumsily.
His jaw clenched. "I didn't want to restrain you, but it was the only way to keep you safe."
"Where the f**k is my crew?" she snarled at him, holding still, feeling weak and hating it.
"Where. The F**k. Are They."
He frowned. "Safe."
Skari looked at Crae's stern face, all humor gone from it, nothing but grim determination, and swallowed. The dream was clearly over. "You planning to kill me?"
"No!" The denial burst out of him as though it were unthinkable. He reached out to touch her hair, his gaze softening. "I could never hurt you. I love you. I want you with me always. My mate."
"You're crazy," she whispered in horror, her volume growing louder as she spoke, "you thought I'd stay with you after this? You locked me up! Put me in a F**KING CAGE!"
"Get out," she said, getting to her feet.
"Out." Her glare blazed.
He took a breath, his gaze hardening. "I didn't want to do this, but you've left me no choice." He shook his head, a sad look on his face. "I can't let you go."
"Like hell." She exploded. Her body wasn't one hundred percent, but it was fast recovering, and she'd always been good at fighting when her freedom depended on it.
Skari slammed a fist into his liver. It was an incapacitating shot normally, the type that left a man gasping for air. Her body wasn't cooperating however, and the power needed to take him down just wasn't there. He tried to grab her arms, lock her in tight. Didn't want to hurt her apparently. She bared her teeth. Too bad for him, she wasn't in the same merciful state.
"Skari, w-" His words were cut short by a brutal kick to his leg and then a better punch, a more powerful one, to his ribs.
He spun, moving out of her range, but she moved with him, her reflexes kicking in. She leapt onto his back, locking her limbs around him. Arched back and unbalanced him enough to bring him to the floor, his weight crushing her lungs for a moment. She locked a forearm across his neck, squeezing the very air out of him.
"Stop. Crew," he choked out. Skari paused her choke hold, letting off the pressure slightly. "Would kill the crew."
She rolled them, coming up on top of Crae, straddling his body, ready to elbow him across the face if he tried anything. "What the f**k are you talking about?"
He was breathing heavily, but his eyes were steady, as determined as she'd ever seen them. "I won't let you go," he said.
"You can't keep me," she snarled, "what did you mean when you said 'kill the crew'? What did you do to my people?"
"Monitor, on the datapad," he nodded towards the bag he'd dropped when he walked through the door.
She watched him sharply as she reached out and snagged the bag, pulling it over to her. The datapad was on top. She flipped it on and lost her ability to breathe.
He'd caged them all.
Four screens. Four cages in what looked like an old Imperial installation to judge by the Imperial crests on everything. Mako was crying on a makeshift bunk, her head in her hands. Torian was pacing, running a hand through his hair, punching the wall every so often in frustration. Gault was standing still, his arms crossed, head down. And Blizz, Blizz was lying on the ground, examining the forcefield generators in the floor.
"What is this?" she asked in disbelief.
"They'll be safe," he said, "they'll be safe as long as you stay with me."
A huge weight crushed her chest. A nightmare come to life, that's what he was. "What?"
He reached towards her face. She snapped her head back. "I can't lose you," he whispered. "I have to put in a code," he said, "every day. To keep food coming and their air vented. Otherwise..."
"They'll die," she said, the full extent of his plan sinking in. She looked at the monitors. He held their lives in his hands. She looked back at him, at the feral determination in his eyes. He'd do it. He'd kill them.
Despair crushed her chest, making it hard to breathe. She'd let this monster into their lives. Let him into her heart. Every part of this was her fault. It had been nothing but a dream. Fooling herself the whole time, thinking she could keep them safe. She couldn't keep anyone safe. Anyone close to her got hurt, and she should have known that by now.
Had let him in. Should have known. Attraction should have been enough of a warning, but no, she had to hope. Stupid hope.
Always the stupid with that man.
And the people who depended on her would pay. She'd let them down. So badly. Her shoulders slumped, and she let herself fall back, away from him, her eyes fixed dazedly on the ground.
"You win," she said woodenly.
Triumph flooded my system at her words. I would keep her safe with me. Always. I loved her so much. I stood, slowly, my ribs ached where she had tried to put her fist through my chest cavity, my eyes never leaving her. Beautiful dark hair, glowing blue skin. That fire that burned so bright. She might hate me, but she'd be safe, she'd be whole.
I stopped. She was still. Not the relaxed stillness of sleep or the alert stillness of a hunter - she was still the way corpses are still. With no life left in them. My heart began to pound.
"Skari?" I said, willing her to look at me, for those flames to be back in her eyes. She didn't move, her shoulders slumped, her back bowed.
"What do you want, Crae?" she asked, her voice colorless.
"Look at me," I said, crouching down in front of her. She paused for a moment and then lifted her head. The air in my lungs left me. She was...broken. Her eyes were dull, her face expressionless, as though inside she had shut down, nothing but a shell left. I stood, picked up the datapad, looked at the monitors. My triumph. All the planning, preparing, the perfect execution. I looked back at my beautiful, firey cat, as limp as a ragdoll, her spark gone out. I had done this. Hurt her worse than a blaster bolt or vibroknife blade. My chest clenched. What was this? Pain? Sorrow? ........ Regret?
Skari stared off into space, her thoughts repetitive and fuzzy.
Crae punched in a series of numbers into the datapad and spoke: "Code 452. Loose snare." He set the datapad down next to her and walked away, staring at the stairs to the upper floor.
Movement on the monitors broke her out of her stupor. Doors were opening. Cautious, the crew stepped out.
"What are you doing?" she asked the man who stood in silence.
"Releasing you," he said quietly.
"I don't understand," Skari said cautiously, standing up.
Crae turned around and walked to her, lifting her chin with his hand, a sad smile on his face. "I should have known better," he whispered, his eyes molten gold, "than to try to chain a wild animal." He kissed her hard and fast, and then dropped his hand and walked to the door.
He was gone.
I've had the last half of this written for at least a month if not longer, so I'm a bit nervous on this one. Really hope it worked. The working title, for those of you interested, has been Crae Pulls a Crazy.
Extra details: The place where Crae has the crew stashed is a moon base above the planet where there was an old Imperial installation. He prepped it when he was so freaked out after Skari got hurt and he went after the kolto tank. In his mind it was a last resort.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
My Name is Solomon Crae
The Man in the Box