The Alternate Universe Weekly Challenge Thread
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08.07.2013 , 12:50 PM |
One is the loneliest reply that you'll ever seeeee.
Quote: Originally Posted by
You win an Internet.
Please make room in your garage.
I'm supposed to keep them? I've been eating them this entire time. I thought they were cookies!
Thanks for reading everyone!
And now for the story!
Prompt: NotLP: Celebrations
Characters: Quinn, Vette, Pierce, and a brief appearance by Broonmark
2600 words long!
There were many things Quinn did not understand about Vette. She was aloof, but serious. She valued Twi’lek artifacts and would pursue them to the ends of the Galaxy. She spoke up for a man she did nothing but irritate to see his reaction. Now she was trying to be his friend or some approximation of a friend. He doubted they would ever be true friends. He didn’t have friends. He had colleagues, superiors, idiots under his command, but never friends. He didn’t have time for them. He hadn’t since he was a child. He realized too late that a friend, a true friend, would help him in his time of need. What he needed now was his blaster back. Or his knife. Either one would get the job done, but he didn’t have access to them. Vette was insistent that he not have either item unless they were off the ship. He knew why and he hated it. He hated knowing his weakness was on display for all to see.
He pushed such maudlin thoughts to the back of his mind as he took inventory in the Cargo Bay. This area of Broonmark’s area and the Talz made it known that he was not welcome here. He knew. He knew he wasn’t welcome on this ship. He knew his presence was tolerated because of the lengths Syla would go through to replace him. He wasn’t a rare officer, but measuring his intelligence and ability against his rank gave him more flexibility than others of similar skill. Those others had moved on, been promoted, had a wonderful career. Careers that he envied. Careers that he desired. He would still be subject to the whims of the Sith in such a career path, there were no careers where one wasn’t, but he wouldn’t be as confined as he is now. He wouldn’t be as watched as he is now. He hated the feeling of their eyes boring into his body, pulling at him, exposing the weak meat beneath the durasteel shell. They felt worse than lightsabers at times. He hated it.
Even with his hate and his thoughts of completing what Syla started, he did his job. He took inventory of everything in the cargo hold, including the carefully unmarked and unaddressed package in the far corner conveniently hidden behind tall stacks of boxes. No one would see him there if they looked in and it was unlikely they would look for him until after. He set his inventory report to send in one hour. That would give him enough time to assemble what was in the package and prepare himself for what was to be done.
His report sent exactly one hour later.
Vette found it strange it took Quinn such a long time to run an inventory of the cargo in the hold. Not much had changed. There was something delivered about a week ago, but otherwise – her thoughts stopped. He wouldn’t have. She made an excuse to Pierce for an early end of the Sabaac game and ran off to the hold to find him. When she entered the hold it was quiet and he was nowhere in sight. She looked around, checking behind every crate to find him. As she made her way to the back of the hold, she grew frantic.
“It shouldn’t be this hard,” she heard Quinn say. She stopped and pressed her back into the tall stack of crates he was hidden behind. “It’s just a blaster.”
She wanted to run around the corner and yell at him or tackle him to stop him from what he was doing, but scaring him could end badly. Very badly. Slowly, she poked her head around the corner. He was kneeling on the floor with a blaster in his hand. She couldn’t stay quiet.
“Hey,” she said quietly. She expected him to jump or shout or at least look at her. He did nothing. “Quinn?” she asked, her voice a little louder this time.
He kept his face carefully controlled as he looked up. “You are the last person I want to see right now.”
“That hurts, Quinn,” she quipped. She wished she was lying. “What are you doing?”
“I was in the process of assembling a blaster.”
“Yeah, I can see the blaster, Quinn.” She sighed softly. “Did you order it?"
“What a foolish question.”
“What a foolish order.”
“You have no boundaries, do you?” he asked. He quickly finished with the blaster and placed it back into its case. “I can order what I like, when I like. I can carry my weapons at all times as I am always on duty. Whatever your end goal is, Vette, I will find my own way to accomplish my tasks. I will not be stifled by the likes of you with your misguided attempts at saving my life and becoming my friend.” He grabbed the case by its handle and stood. “Return my blaster and my knife to me.”
She opened her mouth to respond, but he quickly shoved the case into her chest and left the hold. She caught the case before it fell and sighed. That man was a mystery. He wanted to live. He wanted to die. He wanted to be friendly. He wanted to be left alone. He had more mood swings than a pregnant woman. She wanted to help him, but it was clear he didn’t want her help. Maybe he’d listen to Jaesa.
Vette made her way to her bunk, case still clutched to her chest, and sat down. She didn’t know why he gave the case over without so much as a fight. She didn’t think he had given up. No, he still wanted his own blaster and knife back. Was he making a trade? That seemed a bit silly, really, they were his things. She set the case down on the bed and stared at it. If it wasn’t a trade, what was it? Her curiosity was getting the better of her and he had given her the case he had to have known she would open it. Yes. Yes, he knew. He wanted her to open it. Yep. That was it exactly. So she did. She was stunned for a few moments as she stared at the contents. Inside the plain, silver case nestled in the softest silk she had ever seen sat two blasters. Identical in every way and assembled with great care, these twin blasters begged her to hold them, to care for them, to use them. She carefully removed one and gave it a closer look. It was beautiful. Every inch of the blaster was custom made to specific orders. But the grip stood out the most to her. It was orange and textured for a sure hold, but it also had an image etched into the surface. The image was of the little glowing guardian she had given to him when she first took his blaster and vibroknife. It was a small thing, so small he may not have realized the significance of the gesture, but it made her feel inexplicably warm inside. She smiled to herself as she studied the other blaster. They were exact copies in every way. She moved to place the blasters back into their case when she noticed a small flimsy in one of the fittings. She set the blasters next to the case and picked up the flimsy.
“Happy birthday,” it read. It was a simple message, written with great attention to the form of each letter, but its impact was far more than simple.
She knew he would be in the medical bay taking his daily inventory at this time while munching away on a ration bar. She tried to convince him to eat a normal meal during his shift, but he made excuses about time and brushed off her concerns. At least he was eating.
She moved further into her bunk, pulled a wrapped object from her false panel on the side of the bed then made her way to the medical bay. She passed Pierce who was now locked in battle with Broonmark at the HoloChess table. Those two were the strangest pair of friends she had ever seen. She didn’t include herself and Quinn in the “Strangest Friends in the Galaxy” contest due to the fact that the man did not consider her a friend. The wonderful birthday gift notwithstanding, he didn’t like her.
She entered the ‘bay and went straight to Quinn’s side.
“It’s not humanly possible for you to be hungover at this hour,” he said stiffly. He continued his inventory without glancing at her. She wondered how he developed those eyes in the back of his head.
She set the wrapped item on the counter. “Here. And it’s not because you gave me such a thoughtful birthday present or that you knew it was my birthday. It’s more…” she paused then continued her thought quietly. “It’s more that you had the chance in the hold to – to, ya know, end it. And, well, you didn’t, so here’s an extension of my trust.”
“They were mine to begin with.”
“Not my trust.”
He sighed through his nose.
“Don’t get huffy, it’s true. I never trusted you. You just had that look to you and you were too perfect. I mean, come on, Baras is vocal about you being indebted to him then you show up in the hangar of your supposedly own freewill? Too convenient. I tried to tell Syla, but she already had her crush on you.”
“Thank. You. Vette,” he said stiffly, biting at each word as it passed his teeth.
“It’s true. And you already know that I spoke up when Syla was slowly killing you because of the effect it would have had on her. I didn’t really care if you lived or died.”
“Vette,” he ground out between clenched teeth, “I am taking inventory.”
“Yeah, I know. Look. I know we didn’t get along in the past and, until recently, I didn’t really care about you outside of trying to piss you of all the time, but, ya know, after everything happened and it turned out you are, in fact, human and have fears and dreams and such, I, uh – what I’m trying to say is – this is hard.” She turned toward him, but kept her gaze pointed toward the floor. “Thank you for – for the blasters. They’re a really thoughtful gift and it surprised me that you could be so… thoughtful.”
He set his datapad on the counter and turned to face her. “Vette, you have interrupted my inventory of the medical bay supplies. You have insulted me repeatedly in a short period of time. You have questioned my humanity and now I am questioning my sanity. You have said your thank yous. You can leave now.”
She wasn’t sure what possessed her to do it, but it was too late. She lunged at him, hugged him for a few stunned moments then ran from the medical bay. She kept running until she found the safety of her bunk. She dove into her bunk as if it were the greatest cover in the world then pulled the shutter closed. What was she doing? Hugging Quinn? Had she gone mad? Yes. She had to have gone mad. Or, or better yet, she had been rendered temporarily insane by receiving a gift from someone she was sure didn’t give a damn whether she lived or died. But, then, that wasn’t exactly true. He did give a damn. He gave a damn so much he lent her his body to keep her warm. She shuddered. That sounded strange. That sounded wrong. That sounded like – she sighed in frustration and tugged at the tips of her lekku. It was a bad habit she turned to when she was upset or nervous, but it was calming.
Damn. What was she going to do? How was she going to explain to Quinn that she didn’t meant to hug him? Why would she hear shouting in the Galley? Shouting. Damn! She drew back the shutter, grabbed her new blasters, and ran into the Galley. Pierce was hovering over Quinn, who was on the floor holding his jaw.
“What’d you say to her, Quinn? Eh!?” Pierce asked, half shouting.
She stopped in her tracks. Nothing. He had said nothing. It was her. She had ran away because she had hugged him. And now Quinn was being punished for it.
“Hey!” she shouted. Pierce turned his head toward her. “I’m not some damsel in distress in need of rescuing, Pierce! Next time, try asking me what happened instead of flying off the handle and cold cocking innocent people.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Pierce rumbled.
“Then how did you mean it?” she asked as she moved to Quinn’s side. Pierce took a step back and allowed her to fuss over Quinn. He let her. “It doesn’t look too bad.”
Quinn stayed quiet, choosing to keep his eyes focused on the floor. She had come to his side again to protect him. Was this what it was like having a friend? He saw Vette stand out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to look at her. He was still reeling from being hugged. The punch didn’t bother him, people punched him in the face with far more regularity than he would prefer to admit to, but the hug was so far removed from what he was used to he was sure his head would be spinning for days.
“We’re not going out for drinks tonight, Pierce,” she said, crossing her arms.
“Eh? It’s your birthday, we always go out for drinks on your birthday,” Pierce protested.
“Not this year, Pierce.” She turned her attention to the still sitting Quinn. “What’d’ya Quinny Quinn Quinn? I need a drinking buddy and you look like you need a drink.”
Pierce scoffed. There was no way he would agree to it. What sort of game was she playing? He wouldn’t be jealous of her offer to Quinn, their relationship wasn’t like that. It didn’t matter, Quinn would say no and Pierce would end up going with her anyway.
“Yes,” Quinn said with surprising firmness. He pulled himself up and looked Pierce in the eye. “I will accompany you on one condition.”
Vette blinked. “What?”
“No Hutt Tequila.”
Vette laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “It’s a deal. I’ll let Syla know plans have changed.” She steered him back to the medical bay by his shoulder. “You finish up that inventory.”
Once Quinn was back in the medical bay, Vette pressed an adhesive cold pack to his cheek then left him to his work. He didn’t mind her leaving him to his work, but her actions confused him. Coming to his defense without being asked, tending to his injured jaw, letting him work in silence. He was almost positive that this was friendship. He wasn’t sure if he considered her a friend, but she obviously considered him one. It was strange. What she said earlier was true. They never got along before and her motive for talking Syla into sparing him was purely selfish: she didn’t want her friend to suffer. And he wasn’t the friend. He didn’t mind then. He was far too out of it to know what was happening to him, but his return to the ship signaled significant changes in his life including his budding friendship with Vette. There was something else he couldn’t quite put his finger on. It didn’t matter now. He had a friend. That thought amused and terrified him.
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