Ouch. That one hurt. I'll cry one less tear for her when she dies because of that one. Balkar
Yeah... poor, poor Balkar.
Still... it could be worse... it was only a few minutes and he's still alive. There might be hope for what could be entitled 'Jonas Balkar's Revenge'. (It would only have to be a tiny hope though.
Part One: Three hours later....
'For someone in such a hurry for this meeting you're very late.'
I stand up from my hidden, dark perch when I see his form approach from the shadows across the alley. I know it's him from his walk and figure but there's something wrong with my readings of him. I switch my vision to normal again.
He's in something close to street clothes but they are too expensive and clean for him to fit in here. Again his shirt has a high collar and his fringe in the same way to hide his black eye. I'm glad. This is hard enough without staring straight at my reminders. I've always been a coward.
'I was making sure your friends weren't around,' he evenly replies as he approaches me.
I nod and we walk together with space between us, not talking. We turn down side streets and back alleys, going in loops and back tracking but still heading deeper into the sector. I break us into an apartment. Lucky for the owners, they aren't home.
'Damin,' I start as I step back. 'I think you need to tell me what happened to you before we go any further.' I pull out my gun and aim for his head. 'Because right now, all I'm reading off you is a droid.'
Damin rolls up a sleeve and deftly pulls a knife from his belt. He cuts across the back of his forearm and holds it up to me. Blood slithers down his arm with eagerness and sighs a small 'blop' wen it hits the ground.
I curse and smile, moving to him with a kolto patch and bandage. 'You know I didn't mean it like that.'
'You would never believe me for anything less.'
I smirk and glance up to his watchful eyes. His arm is tense under my touch. 'I didn't know I was so predictable.'
'You only haven't changed.' His hands move to hold my red hair back from my face, revealing my cybernetic eye. I look up to him. He smiles a little at whatever he sees.
'You missed a spot of blood,' he says with a larger smile. I doubt the sincerity of it. I can't forget what he is now. I can't trust him. Do you ever trust anyone?
I scowl at him and step away, my hair falling again to hide it. 'So are you going to explain it or do I have to shoot you?' I press the blaster up under his chin.
Damin frowns a little but then it twists into a neutral line. He doesn't speak. I know he's calculating how much he should tell me.
'I needed a disguise.' A simple answer.
'So instead of putting on a wookie costume you decided to give yourself implants so you look like a droid?'
'Something like that,' he evades with an easy smile. He leans against the closest wall and looks me over with a casualness that hides his evaluation. I haven't put my gun away.
'A job must completed no matter what, huh, Damin?'
He frowns at the jibe. 'Yes.'
'Fool. Show me them,' I demand.
He unbuttons his vest with a clam slowness, drops it on the ground and then pulls off his shirt. He turns his back to me and I wince. I reach out and touch the three red scars that are barely healing. I switch through my visions. His life signs are all a droids.
'Do I appear as a droid to you?' he asks in the same quiet and steady voice.
'Yes,' I softly confirm. He can appear on the outside what I am on the inside. If there is such thing as fate, it is a twisted disgusting thing that has thrown it's best at me. And the memory of feeling like something good was to come is a mocking stone in my stomach. A fool and a coward.
He pulls his shirt back on. I'm glad. I couldn't look at my own contributions to his body anymore. Are you really going to tell yourself that's the only reason?
A fool, coward and liar. At least Gault's honest with himself about what his is.
'What now, Cipher Nine?' I look him over as he leans against the wall again, his arms crossed across his chest. I don't know what to do with my hands or arms. We're on equal footing like we have never been before. 'Are you going to attempt to kill me?'
'Do you want to?'
'I... didn't ever want to hurt you.' I stumble over the weak and inadequate apology.
'I know. They punished you for it.' Damin has always been so assured of himself that he rarely asks questions.
He remains blank as he stares at me and I wonder if he is only like this for me and his superiors. No. He would charming and obedient to them.
'How long did they?' he asks with averted eyes and face. I wonder what the Cipher feels underneath. It's not only what I did to him that he might hold against me. Sometimes what we don't do can hurt a lot more.
'Seven months.' But it was worth it to see you alive now. It seems the only way to ever save someone else is to sacrifice yourself. I wish it wasn't true.
'I'm sorry.' He hesitates as he speaks. His arms move from his side a little but fall again. I tell myself I don't want the comfort for what happened so long ago. Before two weeks ago, we had never touched unless it was for me to inflict more pain. But the barriers I had were worn away by Torian's constant, respectful love. I want them back.
'Don't be. It made me stronger,' I stoically assure.
I shrug. 'Is there a difference?'
'I don't know.' He always gave me short answers, even then. Different to Torian's and a lot more untrustworthy. Why are you here? Why is he here?
Neither of us need the other. I guess that means we must both want to be here.
Damin's hesitation and Agent imitation disappears. He takes a step closer and moves some red hair back from my eyes with a small sad smile on his pale blue lips.
'You've been crying.'
I smile at the words he would always greet me with. I never smiled at them then. And even now, it creates an almost overpowering pang and I want to lie down and cry like I haven't since Gault came aboard. But I can hold it in. I can for as long as I need to.
'How do you know I've been crying?' I reply in kind.
'Because you're here and you look so sad.' He doesn't smile now. I look away from his gentle concern. He drops his hand but doesn't move away. We stand in uncertainty.
'Tell me what happened,' I finally ask. There are years he needs to fill me in on in only a few hours. It will be another long night.