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EverSteam
04.05.2013 , 10:12 PM | #89
Well, I wrote this for the prompt 'Hide and Seek' but got nervous so I'm only going to post it here instead. I also thought at least here everyone knows the situation and Gault/Leer complicated, bizarre relationship where boundries are very flexible. But I do not know, I may post it there later...

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He doesn't hear her approach. His thoughts are absorbed in cracking the code before she notices. She can walk silently when she chooses even though the underside of her feet are plated in metal. It isn't until she speaks that he realises her.

'It's a little late to be making repairs in the engine room, isn't it?'

Her voice is loud when she asks though there is now only a hands width between them, her chest almost brushing against his back when she silently inhales. He curses in his mind and wonders how she knew when he had been so careful and so silent. He takes a step back and then to the side, as far away from her as he can be in the narrow corridor. He feels the metal walls on the side of his shoulders. They reassure him he's in a corner with nowhere to run.

'This is the engine room? I thought it was my room. All doors look the same, babe, when you've had too much Tarisian ale,' he pointlessly justifies.

She looks him over solemnly and nods her head. She can't smell ale on his steady breath. He only looks into her eye nonchalantly. It's colour reminds him of ice in vodka and he refuses to get intoxicated by her from staring into its crystal depths.

She holds her arm crookedly out to him. 'I'll escort you to your room then,' she offers with a smile that shows her perfect white front teeth a little.

It's stiff gentleness makes the Devaronian uneasy though he refuses to shift his feet or flex his fingers. Only his eyes can't help but shift around looking for an escape that only his tongue can make and he notices the upward flicker of her lips, the open and alert watch of her eye as she catches ad waits for a movement. He can't remove the feeling that she can smell fear on her targets like a clawbird smells death and putrid meat.

She wants to get him away from the door as quickly as she can and she wants to get away from the door. Carbonite, metal and a high tech alarm system can't make security encase her mind or lock out the fear and hatred of what's on the other side from entering her heart. It's presence is an odour that stops her ship having the comfort and safety of a home.

'No, my dear, I think I can manage the three steps without your help,' he replies with pseudo calm and an easy smile.

Gault begins to take the steady steps easily to his door to prove his point. He enters his room and begins to get undressed as if she wasn't standing there and as if this conversation is over. Inside, he is entirely aware of the gaze of her cold, crystal eye. He doesn't let his hands shake as they begin to untie his black boots. He's never been scared to take his clothes off in front of a woman before. He's never felt so vulnerable or desirous of their approval. All the women in the galaxy... why does it have to be that one? he thinks exasperatedly.

'Taking off your clothes pretty easily for someone that should be seeing pink banthas or passed out on the floor.'

Gault puts his now removed boots at the end of his bed and begins to take off his jacket. He has to move slowly to keep his body steady.

'And you're very patient considering you have blue-boy on hold up there,' he retorts with a smirk.

She doesn't make a biting reply or even return his smirk. He frowns a little at the edges of his lips but though she notices this, she doesn't think of it. She notices everything that passes across his face and every change in his body's rhythms. But seeing isn't always understanding and when it matters most, she is blind.

He frowned because he hates it when he fails to make her smile with dark, amused cynicism or chuckle with pessimistic scorn in the way that always unsettled her husband. He hates the laugh she always had for him: the breezy laugh of indulgent, happy delight that was like the tinkling of metal in the wind or of a gentle stream falling into a pool. Gault likes her harsh view of the world, her ready, sharp and pessimistic wit and their banter that makes her just as happy. He isn't mistaken, is he, in thinking that she is happy with him?

He walks to his wardrobe and hangs his jacket up. She feels the heavy tension between them (though it is as far as her understanding can extend when others emotions concern her) as each wait for the other's accusations to begin. Only Gault has the power here. And she hates that. Three options are before him:

1. Stay silent about his suspicions and a) forget them, b) ignore them or c) wait until she tells him
2. Stay silent and continue to attempt to break into the engine room
3. Come out and blatantly ask what is in there.

She can't do anything about the first. Second, she can only continue to stop him. Third, she can kill him or leave him. If he doesn't leave first. It's a fear she has in the unexplored region of her hearts: the fear of abandonment and the fear of being alone with herself. When it comes down to it, she's scared of herself and her grief and waiting alone for her death.

'You know how this works: you mind your business and I mind mine.' How is my voice so level? she wonders to herself. Her stubbornness to deny her feelings comes in waves and right now, it's current has a strong grip on her. She won't acknowledge that she is just as terrified of what's in the engine room as she is of Gault finding it. She's desperate but resolute to ensure he never enters that room.

Gault hardly even glances at her as he walks to sit on his bed again. He feels curiosity chew on his mind and stomach and make his fingers twitch. His imagination gets the better of him when he imagines what's behind that door but he can't shift the feeling that it is something dangerous and best left on the floor of the Shadowlands or in the depths of Manaan's oceans. But despite this, all he wants to do is know.

'Don't see me dabbling in your accounts or territory,' she ends her friendly warning with. There is no need for a charade. She is a horrible liar.

'I wasn't aware that you had secretive business in the engine room, babe.' Gault begins to unbutton his grey shirt as he speaks. It seems to attract his entire concentration but she knows his mind is as much in the conversation as hers is. However, if she could hear his thoughts, she would know that it was only entirely in the conversation half of the time.

She could never have stood so firm if it was... not Gault who she was hiding It from. How can you still recoil from his name? You're weak, she accuses herself. How can you deny the accusation of your heart?

'I don't. We're talking about Damin.' She leans against the door way as she speaks and her eye takes in his slim, crimson body with critical evaluation. She doesn't miss the slight tremble in his hands that is now shown. She can think of no explanation for it. Nervousness couldn't account for it, nor fear or anger. In less than a month, she will be forced into the realisation of how little she knew of Gault and what he feels.

'So you won't mind if tomorrow morning I make some repairs in there?' Gault asks her as he throws his shirt into a pile in the corner of his otherwise neat room. She wonders if he ever plans to wash them or only continually buy replacements.

'I would. It's my ship. I make the repairs.'

He knows her well enough to know when to back off. This is one of those times for tonight. He reminds himself tomorrow is a new day and he will be at the lock again. Or if not tomorrow, then maybe another tomorrow or on a new week.

He stands up but doesn't entirely face her. He faces the corner with the clothes next to the door way, ready to throw his pants on top of the pile as he takes off his belt.

'Sure, babe. Never been good at fixing things anyway.' Gault stops his hands at his hips to take off his pants. He turns his head to face her and gives her an evocative and amused smirk that shows his sharp, white teeth. 'What were you saying about minding each other's business?'

She returns the smirk and raises a perfect eyebrow, her implants rising with it. 'I wasn't aware watching you strip was a business. You never told me about that.'

He chuckles and in the pause that follows he begins to feel uncomfortable. It isn't his place to stand like this before her.

'Well, maybe I will some other time, babe,' he avoids. 'You better get back to blue-boy.' She misses the bitterness in his voice and hears only the scorn. She's come to understand that he only likes people as sleazy, self-serving and underhanded as himself.

'Well, since you've drunk so much ale tonight already I'm sure you won't want to join me for some Corellian whiskey in half an hour.'

'Well, if you're begging I guess I can't refuse.'

She only laughs in the way he likes and leaves him alone to finish getting changed. He releases a breath he always seems to be holding when she's around and then his mind turns to the engine room again. Maybe it was a fancy, but he feels like he can feel malice coming from the engine room and through his open door. He takes the two steps to the doorway warily and shuts and locks the door before taking his pants off.

She walks upstairs and sees the hold button is still glowing in the murky light. She wonders what will happen if she never presses it. If he waits for her answer that never comes. Will he keep calling her in the way her husband would have? All she can do is mistrust and question the Cipher. All she can do is press the button and find out.

If only things out of sight were out of mind.