Six or so hours later...
'You are in your ship.'
'Yes, but I can't talk long.' I glance to the two entrances to the holo room.
The doors are closed but I feel tense. I feel like something is out of place but I'm not sure what yet. The feeling and the dread of Gault waking are something I can't quite connect. It has wiped the memory of a four hour trek through rain and mud and a two hour walk through a sea of conspicuously staring and immaculately dressed people. I lost count of how many times HK offered to liquidate the citizens that called me a 'dirty whore' among other sentiments.
'You are not alone.'
'Interesting statement. Normally pose it to myself as a question though. This case, Gault is on board but sleeping.' I can't hide the frustration from my voice. Don't want Gault here to overhear this discussion. Also annoyed he managed to slice my security.
'You want to keep our communications a secret despite your strong friendship.' His eyebrow slightly raises in amusement at my contradictions.
'Interesting theory. Have any others?'
'Many.' He pauses and his expression softens a little. 'How are you, Leeriah?'
'You mean apart from having a drexl larvae bite on my right forearm?' I frown up at him seriously, my eyebrows almost meeting in a look of serious puzzlement.
'Naturally,' Damin comments with a faint smile but a neutral voice.
'Completely insane.' I grin at him despite the sting of my honest words. 'How about you?'
'Similar.' Damin hesitates, his lips flattening out as he looks around him. 'This call is being monitored,' he informs me in that well practiced, flat voice.
'No, it isn't.' My counter comes with a smirk and I look at my nails with smugness. Only, they aren't long, clean and perfect. They're covered in mud, blood and all but two are broken bellow the skin. I cross my arms and hide them. You can hide anything if you try hide enough. You can hide grief if you try hard enough.
'You put this forward as a fact.'
'As most do when they say a fact.' The calculations being made are clear in his eyes and I smirk as I begin my explanation. 'See, when I left there, Damin, I left it in a better state then you and-'
'You rendered me unconscious and left me on the ship after setting it on course for Dromund Kaas.' The interruption is delivered in that infuriatingly level voice that gives nothing away.
But I can hazard a guess at his feelings. 'Is that anger and bitterness I hear?'
Damin frowns at my holo image and I can tell his teeth are clenched as his forces the next four words out. 'Continue with your explanation.' I know he is thinking a different four: I haven't forgiven you.
I ignore the harsh sting that comes when I think of that parting and continue as he asked. 'I was able to endorse the assistance of Helpers to take some supplies that were not conspicuous and-'
'Do you interrupt your superiors this much?' I growl in irritation. Guess it's what remains of my time with my parents, but a desire for people to follow the codes of civility is ingrained in me. Interruptions and skipping pleasantries are amongst the things that irk me most. But killing people isn't any civility code?
I smile and shake my head. Never thought a man's arrogance in obedience could be endearing. 'A cross bow, some armour, five crates of blasters and a flame thrower among other things.'
I remember the weeks I spent stealing ship after ship, spending hours transporting my crates from one ship to another. Most were weapons. Three contained different armour sets. I dread the day I have no choice but to wear one of them. I unconsciously scratch my forearm, my fingers getting caught in the puncture wounds and taking of the skin around them. I don't notice Damin's concerned look as he watches my hand move up and down, up and down.
'I'm sure you found the ten crates of blasters that were always kept on the shuttles?'
'Continue,' is the only cold answer I receive.
'Guess you didn't.' I leer at him before continuing but I want to know what he's thinking. Why put up with my insolent teasing?
I begin to scratch harder. 'A device is also kept on all the shuttles that stops third party intrusions on calls. Don't know how it works. Only know how to install and uninstall it.'
'Interesting.' Damin suddenly becomes engrossed in his thoughts and I wait with a raised eyebrow. 'I would like to examine the device one day.'
I raise my eyebrow higher at the deferential order. I cross my arms across my chest again and feel a slight smooth wetness where they touch. But all I can notice is Damin: this room has no dirty, dented walls; no discarded and stained blankets or bottles; no new seats that boast a wealth that doesn't show in anything else; no doors that keep out the world and one of the closest people to me: it has nothing but us.
'I'm sure you would. Maybe on that day you will also realise that almost three weeks is not two weeks.' Where did the anger in my voice come from?
'I apologise, Leeriah. I was detained with work.' He looks around again and takes a step closer to his holo terminal. When he speaks, it is in a low, earnest voice. 'I pray you do not hold the boldness of telling you I have missed you against me.'
'Depends on the honesty of the sentiment.'
'It is honest,' Damin assures me with an Imperial accent around his plea. Never thought that sound and action could go together.
'Because Cipher's are known for their truthfulness.' He winces at my cynical scoff.
'Leeriah...' Damin's eyes beg an understanding I refuse to submit to and his gentle call make my arms tighten around my stomach. He composes himself and looks over his shoulder. 'I am sorry to hear you feel so. Would I be intruding on you to call you once a week?'
'Miss me that much?' I sneer in return. I don't see him in grainy, blue grey holo: I see him as he is. And what is he?
'Yes. I have been missing you for ten years.' The earnest confession falls flat on me.
'Smooth lie, Damin, but I don't think our situation warranted any feelings of reminiscence.'
'It does for me.' Do I imagine the crackle in his voice as it rises in anger? I know I don't but I can't believe it. His words and the emotion don't fit: two pieces of a puzzle that will never be compatible no matter how much you force them together or cut them to fit.
'Your hidden eye calls your lie.'
Damin's shoulders stiffen and a hand breaks free of the others grasp behind his back. It never reaches right his eye. He regains control of himself and joins it again with the other. Was that such a low shot?
'You still do not allow anyone to get close to you. I must confess to wonder at how someone worked their way close enough to you for you to agree to marriage.'
'Seems everyone thinks that,' I reply with a careless shrug I don't feel. Damin isn't the only one that can hide what they feel when it suits them. But it is harder, so very much harder, to hide emotions than to hide the physical scars. What clothes can you put over your heart to hide it's scars? 'Don't think I know a single being that hasn't.'
I look away from Damin's eyes but don't let mine wander so far as to the door that hides the view of my quarters. I am not quite all on the ship again. My memory has drifted to Corellia.
'Makes me wonder how you got her to marry you,' Corridan comments casually.
'Ask myself that every day. Surprised I'm alive.'
Never wanted to recall those words again. Think in everything he ever said, those and those that follow, hurt the most. Scrunch my eye tightly shut in a useless attempt to stop the next words from coming.
'But worth it. Do anything for her or to protect her. Not that she would ever need it.'
How could I not see the resolve in him? How could I not see anything after all that he said on Voss? After the vision I received on Voss? How could I be so incredibly blind and foolish? I should have known. I should of watched my own back.
'Yes,' I whisper. The weakness of my voice recollects me to where I am and who I'm talking to. I clear my throat and look back up at Damin with defiant eyes: they challenge him to call me out on my unshed tears and to do his worst.
Damin only gives a sharp nod and a glance over his shoulder. 'None the less, I would like to call you every week.'
'Do what you like,' I apathetically reply.
Damin takes in a breath as if to let it out in a sigh but with strains himself. 'If only.'
Damin straightens and takes a step back. He runs a hand through his hair. His fringe stays back even when his hands become clasped behind his back and I can see his black eye clearly. I unconsciously rub the implant above my left eye in remembrance of that day. I didn't mean for it to happen like that.
'This isn't just a... social
call. I know something you might be interested in.' Ah, the real point of his call. How could I have been swept away by him and forgotten where I really stand? Where I need to stand.
'Thrill me,' I reply with a challenging smirk.
'Maybe if I live through the next few weeks, I will.' He smiles in that sad way and shakes his head. His fringe falls back into place; his black eye hidden once more. I dig my teeth into my tongue to stop any reply or change of expression. He's still taking me apart with every word.
It's all I hear. The rest is static, white noise that's deafening yet everything is silent all at once. I see his lips move more and his business air crumble into concern as I begin to shake. I take steps back but soon run into the couch. I sit down on it, out of the holo range.
I watch but don't register Damin pressing controls, trying to see if there was a cut in the line. Either he gives up and hangs up or we really do cut out because the light in the room leaves with his holo image.
So soon... why?