Andromeda AU

BY : b5delenn
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 5660
Disclaimer: I do not own Andromeda, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 9: White Hell

Dylan ran desperately through the corridors of the ship as the warning bombarded his ears.

"Warning, AP valve malfunction in reactor chamber. Repeat, AP malfunction in reactor chamber"

"Blend off excess anti-protons! Initiate emergency venting!" Why did he have a crew if they weren't there when he needed? "Andromeda where is Rhade?"

"He is in command Captain," the AI replied. "He won't get there in time."

He finally reached the reactor chamber and he stopped in shock with his lungs crying out for oxygen.

"Surprise!" There they were. Harper, Rev, Trance, Gaheris, Rommie and Beka. The initial anger within him dissolved as he looked in amazement at the huge cake with unnumbered candles. His crew was singing, not quite in tune but enthusiastically 'Happy birthday'. 'Is really Rhade singing or am I crazy?' He thought.

"Ah, we got you," Harper laughed as he spoke to Trance. "Look at that face. That's why you don't tell him a week ahead of time!"

"Who put you out to this, Rommie?"

"Gaheris overrode my emergency protocols. They said it was necessary for the gag," she offered at the evident surprise on the face of her Captain.

Dylan stared at his first officer astonished "You sabotaged my ship?"

Rhade looked as innocent as he could, which was not too much "I know it's not the half naked dancers but we did the best we could." He gave him a half smile as he arched an eyebrow.

"Half naked dancers?" Beka looked pensive as her clear eyes gleamed humorously. "Maybe that can be arranged." She looked at Trance and Rommie "What do you think about it, girls?"

Dylan's face turned a deep crimson as Trance and Beka giggled at him. Rommie tried to hide her amusement the best she could.

"Great idea, I support it! I'll put the music and..." Harper voice trailed off as Gaheris gave him a warning glare.

"Blow out the candles now!"

Dylan watched the cake "There are so many of them."

"We included the three hundred and three years you spent frozen in time," Rev explained.

"But don't worry, you don't look a day over two hundred, old man."

"Thank you Harper, as smart as always. Sometimes I feel like it." Dylan gazed at them "I'm going to need some help here."

When all the candles where blown out they clapped soundly. Over the giggles of Trance, the jokes of Harper and the verbal sparring between Beka and Gaheris, Dylan heard the calm voice of Rev. "May your next year bring you wisdom and kindness."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

The idea of returning to Tarn Vedra was more than tempting. For Dylan it was to recover a piece of the life he had lost. On the other hand, he understood the risk of a quest that could become a fake treasure hunt.

"Did you call me?" Rhade stood in front of him with his hands clasped behind his back. Dylan hid his smile; the soldier inside his friend always came out, he thought as he watched his pose.

"I'd like to know your opinion as first officer and friend about this 'present' of Beka."

"I think it's too dangerous and the possibilities of success are minimal." He had supported Beka in this matter but he was going to take every opportunity to let it be known that he didn't like it.

Dylan looked surprised. "Have you been so blunt about this with Beka?"

"I'm nietzschean, I value my life."

Dylan frowned as he laughed. "Who are you and where is Gaheris Rhade? You are becoming soft!"

He smirked nonchalantly "I'm just using my survival skills and they tell me that now the best strategy is adaptation. There will be another time to make the things at my will." He strode out.

"Yeah, adapting my ass," Dylan mumbled. "Andromeda where is Beka?"

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

'Command codes for the Maru.' Mr. Self-preservation Anasazi had lost his mind if he thought he could take her baby from her. At least the possibility of the arms depots on Tarn Vedra had tempted him. Beka draped a towel around her body and got out the bathroom.

"Whoa! Sorry, I didn't realize you were, uh..." Dylan was averting his eyes from her with such embarrassment that she resist the temptation to laugh.

"No. No, it's fine, I was done.  Have you made a decision, Dylan?"

"Uh... oh yes! Right. Right! Ummmm... look, look, uhhh..." Why did that towel had to be so tiny? "Do you really think that you can do this?"

Beka frowned "I wouldn't have volunteered if I didn't think I could pull it off."

"Yeah, well, see you know, I was, uh, I was..." Great Dylan, now you are babbling. "I was checking your figure..." oh shit "... I mean th-the... your FIGURES, and uhh... seventy percent of our transit time would be in the slipstream itself. And that's psychologically exhausting under ideal conditions, and these routes that you're talking about - it's gonna be hard on the pilot. I mean, on ANY pilot. I mean, look what it did to Hasturi."

Beka waved her hand. "Yeah, but Hasturi was a Perseid. They're all twitchy obsessive compulsives to begin with.  He was probably crazy before he started." Her face grew serious as she spoke. "Look, Dylan, I can do this. I know I can."

"Nothing worth doing... OK. Let's give it a shot. Report to command." He watched her giggling. "Oh, uh, take your time. I mean... I... as you were." He retreated before he could lose the last remnants of his dignity.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Gaheris crossed Dylan in his way to the Maru. He watched the good Captain almost running as he heard a string of curses coming from him. Rhade made his way to Beka's room and found her with her back to him and her body covered with the barest bra and thong he had ever seen. He stood in the doorframe a moment, enjoying the view until he made his presence known with a cough.

Beka yelped as she turned on her heels. "Is there anyone here who knocks before coming?" She smiled. "You came to check my figure too?"

"To what? Never mind. By the way, please tell me that you were more dressed while Dylan was here." 

"Of course I was a little more covered."

He frowned "A little more. What is a little more? Stockings maybe?"

"I was in a towel." She watched his slight scowl and she explained. "I was getting out of the shower and he happened to come here."

"Well, I'll have to kill him," he said in a mocking tone.

"For crying it out loud, Gaheris, Harper has seen me in tank top and panties more times that I could count."

"Then I'll kill Harper too. Anyone else on this ship? Rev maybe?" His face turned deadly serious. "Please tell me that Tyr..."

She cut his tirade. "Jealous?"

"Me? Jealous? For Drago's sake I'm not..."

"You are jealous!" she said in a sing-song voice. Her grin spread from ear to ear. She adopted a pensive pose. "Now that I remember, Rev only saw me naked when I did him on the pilot chair. Trance, well there was this time in the shower when she..."

Then she was pinned to the bulkhead by a wall of muscle. "Maybe I must begin to mark my territory," nuzzling her neck.

"Maybe you must let me dress and escort me to command," scrapping his earlobe with her teeth.

Gaheris growled playfully. "Yes Ma'am."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

"And here comes God's little brain surgeon." Beka said as she entered in command.

"Beka! Some humility, please!" Rev exclaimed in the tone that made his mock sound like a plea.

"Yeah, I tried that once. I didn't like it," she replied nonchalantly. She felt more than saw the smile of Gaheris.

"Like they say: In the slipstream, confidence is everything," Dylan proclaimed. Then he addressed to Gaheris. "I thought I gave you orders, Rhade."

Gaheris tensed visibly. "I know Captain but it is not necessary..."

Dylan cut him off. "I think it is, and I'm the Captain. You are dismissed."

Gaheris acknowledge the order reluctantly. "As you wish."

Dylan felt a pair of blue eyes piercing him as Beka asked, "What was that about?"

"I want either him or me on the bridge while we are on this. I'll take the first shift. He is not very pleased with my decision. He wanted to stay here all the time while you will be piloting." He explained at her questioning gaze. "It's just for security, we trust in you."

"Rhade can be very stubborn, but my ship, my rules," he concluded.

"I'll keep that in mind when you are on the Maru." Beka smiled. "I'm ready."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Gaheris had been turning and tossing in his bed for a while. This was dangerous, especially for Rebecca. She was a great pilot. 'Damn finest pilot in the known worlds,' he smiled knowing how she defined herself. But yet piloting in slipstream for so long...  

"Andromeda, give me the vitals of Beka."

The voice of the AI had a hint of annoyance as she replied. "The vitals of Beka had not changed since the last time you asked, five minutes ago, Commander."

He sighed as he stood up. Staying in bed was pointless. He proceeded to clean his actually impeccable swords while he meditated. It was funny that the one person who probably shared his uneasiness about the hunt of the legend was that one whom he trusted the least; however, both he and Tyr had the same well-developed survival instinct.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

After the first ten jumps, Dylan began to think that they actually could do it; however, he was concerned about Beka. He ordered her to take a rest.

As she left command Beka leaned heavily on a ladder. She tried to soothe her nerves breathing deeply. She walked to the Maru and when she got inside she heard noises coming from the kitchen. A table fully prepared for one was waiting her as she heard Rhade say, "I'm almost done."

A moment later he came with a dish. He motioned her to sit in the table as he served her. Beka smiled weakly. She felt odd with this tender and protector side of him. "Are you going to feed me all the time?"

He thought about it as he sat across her. "It's a possibility." He watched, fascinated by how she devoured the meal ravenously.

"I thought nietzschean boys were self absorbed..." she mumbled.

"We are but we have a great deal of respect for our females." He gave her a small, uncertain smile.

Beka resisted the temptation to lick the remains of sauce from the dish. "After this wonderful meal I think I can use a little workout." She smiled provocatively.

"Now," he replied as he pulled her to her bunk, "you are going to rest." He laid her on the bed, fighting against roaming hands.

"Come on Gaheris, I'm not tired."

"That's an order." His smile dissolved as he watched her expression darken.

"You are in my ship now, so technically you can't give me orders."

"You are right. Then as someone who cares about y... our survival, please rest."

"That's the nietzschean I know," she mumbled sleepy. Gaheris dropped a blanket over her and kissed her forehead. When he was sure that she was asleep he quietly left.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Trance was in Hydroponics and she was quite worried. She felt dizzy but there was something more. It was as if she could no longer feel the life of the plants throughout her touch. She felt as if something was draining her energy. The futures were becoming a blur.

She lay on the grass and relaxed, trying to recover some energy from the life surrounding her.

Meanwhile Beka awoke several hours later. She was still tired but in better shape. When she got in command Harper was in the pilot's chair, talking about some crazy quest on Earth involving Dragans and whistles. Rhade was in his console, hiding his amusement under a façade of professionalism.

Gaheris watched Rebecca closely as she sat on the pilot's chair. She had rested but he was still concerned with her level of stress.

"Ready for round two!" she exclaimed smiling widely.

"Are you all right? If you need more rest we..."

Beka cut him sharply. "I'm fine dad. Now can we proceed?"  She was clearly sensitive.

"Where are you going to take us, oh queen of slipstream?"

"I like that Seamus. Keep it," she replied.

Rommie answered to Harper. "That's Epsilon Bell. It's an X-Ray pulsar."

"See how she blinks on and off?" Beka pointed at the star in the image, "Hasturi called that the eye of the blinded Cyclops."

"Hasturi makes a lot of references to the ancient Earth epic, the Odyssey," Rommie stated.

"Except when he confuses his vedrans with his centaurs, and then he just veers right off of Homer and starts quoting Einstrom Becksman," Beka explained impatiently.

Rhade's voice intruded in the conversation. "The Hawks of Scaroth. Majestic."

"And the prize is for our nietzschean XO, who always knows about all stuff," she mocked. She was in a strange mood. Nervous, acid and almost aggressive. Gaheris promised himself to keep a close eye on her.

"Take us to slipstream Beka," he replied staring at the screen.

"Aye sir." She mocked a martial salute. The kaleidoscope of twirls and colors enveloped them. Gaheris watched Rebecca closely. Despite her enhanced reflexes he was concerned with her aggressive piloting. He gripped his console as the ship bounced violently.

"Yeah, whooo!" came the excited response from Beka.

Finally they went into normal space and immediately the alarms came to life. They watched on the screen two black holes swirling with their deadly, beautiful pace.

"I don't like this. Beka?"

"It's okay, it's all under control." Her response had a hint of well-hidden concern. She tried to maneuver the ship but it shuddered sharply.

Dylan got in command. "Okay, now what is it? Rommie, our exact location."

"We are in between Scylla and Charybdis, halfway between Andromeda's two cores."

"And the twin black holes at their centers," Rev concluded.

"Okay I'll fix this mess," Beka said patronizingly. She braced for slipstream but it was in vain. "Damn it, I can't find the way into slipstream. It's like the entire area is a gravitational riptide." She pulled off the slipstream controls in frustration. "We're stuck."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Trance woke up in her bunk of the Maru, not really remembering how she had got there. It was so difficult to stand up, as much as walk. She went to the kitchen, feeling every movement of her body as if she had a stone over her back.

"Beka?" her voice sounded quite odd, like she was very far from her own body.

"Trance, I didn't know you were here." She was busy preparing coffee. She watched the purple girl intently. "You seem some... well not green but pale."

"All the time in slipstream gives me headache." Trance smiled weakly. "You look kind of tired too. Maybe you should take a nap."

Beka held the cup. "Instant nap. Just add water."

The voice of her friend was suddenly as a whisper, barely audible. Trance felt consciousness slipping away from her as she fell to the floor.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

"We are losing her," the voice of Rev was full of sadness.

Beka stood motionless. "Let me sit with her for a minute. You go pray for a speedy recovery or whatever it is you do."

"Divine compassion is stronger medicine than you know. I will go pray for her." Rev left.

As soon as he had gone Beka engaged privacy mode and look through the medicines. She knew exactly what she needed. She went to the Maru, sealing the door of her ship as she entered.

She was going to do this for her friends, to save Trance. She repeated this over and over as she prepared it. She would be faster, her reflexes sharper. She HAD to save them; it was the only reason. She was not her father; she was in control. She was stronger than him.

Beka shut up the voice in the back of her conscience that called her liar, the voice that told her that she had craved it since 'dear Uncle Sid' forced her to take it.

'This time I'm in control,' Beka concluded as her eyes were covered by a white sick veil. Her last lucid feeling as the drug took her reason was that she was losing a bit of her soul.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

She was already in the pilot's chair when Gaheris went to command. He heard her heart pounding too clearly. Her leg moved nervously.

"Are we ready to get out this hole?"

"We were waiting for you." Her back was still to him as she replied sarcastically. "We should feel honored to have the pleasure of your presence."

What happened to her? Gaheris heard the low growl of exasperation coming from Tyr as Dylan and Harper looked at her frowning. "Are you all right?" He was concerned; her mood had degenerated to the point of hysteria.

She turned to face him. Gaheris felt fear in his gut. She was sweating, pale face and her eyes... something was wrong in them. The venom in her reply really shocked him.

"Can't you hear or you are simply stupid, Rhade? In how many languages do you need to hear it to keep your pathetic concerns to yourself?" She was frantically gesticulating, her hands messing her hair and her eyes... he suddenly realized what happened to her.

He gripped her arm and pulled her roughly from her seat ignoring her yelps of pain. The fear and anger he felt was too much to bear. "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?"

Beka struggled against his grip to no avail "Paranoid sonofabitch! Get off me or I swear I..."

"ENOUGH!" Dylan cut them off. He was getting really pissed off at the show. "Someone care to explain me what the hell is going on? Beka, what happen to you?"

"Reasoning with her will do little good. She's under the influence of mind-altering drugs," Tyr's voice intruded.

"What? Heh. Says who, uber?" She looked at the large nietzschean hatefully.

"CAPTAIN Valentine, I can hear your heartbeat racing. I can see the sheen of perspiration and smell the adrenaline fuelling it. Tell me, did you think that nietzschean vision would be unable to distinguish between a human cornea and a contact lens?"

"Beka, flash?  What are you... are you insane?" Dylan watched her horrified as she messed her hair.

"What... it's not what you... everybody needs it. Besides," She pointed at Tyr accusingly, "I thought you made your own rules, Mr. Beyond Good and Evil!"

"This hasn't a thing to do with good or evil. Drugs create dependency. Dependency is weakness, and weakness is death," Tyr concluded.

"Tyr, you could've told me earlier." Dylan faced him.

"There was a possibility that it worked." He shrugged.

"Beka you are relieved of duty." The tone of Dylan's voice clearly expressed his disappointment at Beka's deception.

She shoved her arm but it only served to increase Gaheris grip with bruising force. "Get your hands off me!" Then she pleaded to Dylan. "Please, listen, I can do it."

"NO. Now give it to me."

"Who is going to fly you out of this mess if not me? I'm your best pilot," she tried desperately.

The Captain replied harshly. "You should be thankful that I can't court martial you. Now give me the bottle."

Rhade finally released her. She took the bottle of flash from her pocket and threw it to Dylan. As he tried to pick it up Beka lunged for the pilot's chair. She moved with such speed that no one could stop her as she got them into slipstream.

The ship shook hardly as it travelled. The alarms screamed over a myriad of hellish sounds.

On med deck Rev watched impotently the weakened body of Trance convulsing badly, arching like a cobra as the life quickly was drained from her. The ship was thrown out of slipstream as Trance finally fell lifeless.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Anger, fury, disappointment. They had been friends for so long. She had become his sister, the one who always would be there. But not anymore. He should feel pity for her but the lost was unbearable.

Harper went inside the room where Beka was locked. She didn't notice him at first. She was too busy speaking to herself.

"You must be very proud."

She turned and smiled nervously. "Hey Harper... Listen, you have to speak to them, you know me. I'm fine..."

He cut her, tears burning in his eyes "You are fine." Dylan had ordered them not tell her the consequences, but at the moment he didn't care. His voice rose abruptly "You don't mind what you have done since you get what you want!"

She scratched her disheveled hair as her unfocussed eyes fixed in him "What... what... what are you talking about? I was doing everything fine. Better than fine, perfect, but that jackass of Dylan..."

"Trance is dead." His voice was sharp and as cold as ice. "You have killed her."

The silence weighted over them as she watched him, a scowl deforming her features as she scratched her head convulsively. She began to laugh hysterically. "You...  you are joking?!?"

He stormed out.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

When had he lost his ability to judge people? The woman he envisioned as his future was weak and untrustworthy. Had she always been like this? He had been so blind, why didn't he notice such imperfection? The answer came to him from somewhere deep inside him: because you let yourself fall in human weakness. Feelings, romanticism, even love, which you had begun to think about as something more than chemistry and instinct.

Leaning against the wall Gaheris rubbed his tired, tightly closed eyes, as if he could erase the deep pain. He was sad for the dead of Trance but he felt a more consuming loss that made it seem to him less important. He steeled himself as he unlocked the door. He had to see her.

As soon as he watched her pacing form the sorrow constricted his heart, drowning the pain of his previous reflections. Her beauty was deformed by the messy, shaking frame she presented. Her usually silky hair was sticky. Sweat and paleness gave her face a sick appearance and the white of her eyes was now almost red in repulsive contrast. She was messing her hair as she mumbled to herself, laughing weakly from time to time.

"And they... they... are lying. Of course! They just want... screw me. She's not dead, that's it... lying because... because..." She dragged her lower lip with her teeth compulsively. Gaheris came from the shadows and she stopped her pacing to face him.

"And you, what you want?" She moved her hands wildly. "Don't stare at me! This is your fault, all of you. You are envious because...  because..." She babbled, trying to find the words. "... Because I'm better than you!" she concluded laughing.

Gaheris heard her altered heart pace and her shaking breath. Fear settled heavily in his stomach. She was scratching her forearms furiously, unaware of it. Her voice became more obsessive as she continued her tirade "Better than you, than Dylan, that liar of Harper, all of you. I'm better, YOU ARE NOTHING!!! Better than that bunch of shit that you call so lovingly your 'wives'." It felt like a slap but she didn't notice his menacing growl, his hurtful eyes "... you know what? They... they only lived to open her legs so you could fuck them to foal like bunnies... I'M BETTER... better than all... better..."

She repeated this over and over, lower and lower as her scratching drew blood from her arms. She continued compulsively until strong arms immobilized her from behind, preventing her for hurting herself more. At this point she was between conscious and unconsciousness and she began to shake uncontrollably. Gaheris slid them to the floor cradling her broken body against him. He cleaned the sweat from her face as he enfolded her in a desperate embrace.

All his early thoughts faded away as he cradled her weakened frame. He had failed protecting her from herself and he had failed her thinking about leaving her. He felt that it would be a shame he would carry inside him all his life.

As he held Rebecca tightly Gaheris whispered her soothing words, not really caring that she couldn't hear them. "We will get over this Rebecca, I promise. We will, together."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

First it was barely a whisper, a weak pulse of energy from deep inside. Then the warmth began to fill her body like a soft breeze. The warmth became heat and with the heat came the glow, more intense every second until it disappeared in a blinding flash.

Meanwhile Dylan tried to bring some order to the chaos of his mind. For some oddly reason he had belief that Trance always would be at his side. And now she was dead. Death and Trance, as much as he tried he couldn't link the 'life itself' that was Trance with death. Trance...  

"Captain, something is happening in medical bay."

"What is it, Andromeda?" he asked tiredly.

"My sensors in there are blind. I detected a high energy peak just before it happened."

"I'm on my way. Rommie, I'll see you there." 'A malfunction probably,' he thought, 'but there have been enough misfortunes.'

They came cautiously in infirmary. Was there someone humming? His eyes grew wide and his force lance slid from his hand. He opened his mouth but none words came out.

"Hello Dylan."

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Snippets of conversations stolen by her semiconscious mind, glimpses of faces hovering over her... Dylan, tired and concerned. Harper, tired and angry. Tyr, unreadable as always. Rommie, between professionalism and feelings. Gaheris, pained, concerned and tired too. Trance, who was dead by her fault. Her smile was more and more clear. Beka opened her lids slowly, fighting the dull throb behind her eyes. She tried to focus on the face and the smile.

"Beka, wake up." She had to be really screwed if her hallucinations were so real "Beka, it's me, Trance. You're going to be fine." The little hand on her forehead brought her to reality.

"Trance?" her voice was a cracked whisper. "You're alive?"

"Yes, I'm alive." She whispered conspiratorially, "between you and me, Andromeda is a great warship but as a doctor..."

"Captain Valentine, it's good to have you back." Dylan stood up from his seat and he came at her side as Trance got out, giving them privacy.

"I've screwed it." Her eyes closed tightly.

"Yes, Beka. You almost killed yourself. Even when the flash was killing you, you wanted more."

"I killed Trance." Voice shaking and tears spilling from her eyes.

"Trance... I cannot explain, no one can, except her. We'll never know how she came back to life or if she ever died. But," he watched her intently, "if it had been Harper, he would be dead now."

Beka closed her eyes again. Too much pain. Too much guilt.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

She had hoped to find some peace of spirit in the Maru. Her ship had been like that secret garden where you could hide from reality. But this time there was too much reality to hide from.

Sitting under the shower, her knees under her chin, Beka hoped she could cry all the shame out of her body but oddly enough the anguish made it impossible. Her body refused to allow her that exhaust valve for her broken soul.

She had killed her friend, no matter how she was alive now. Harper hated her, Harper who had become more family than Rafe himself. She had lost Rhade. She had watched the security vid and the things she had told him during her drugged state were beyond forgiveness. The damage was done.

Dry and clothed Beka curled in a fetal ball over her bunk. She remembered now quite well how she had suffered watching the self-destruction of her father with flash. She always had promised herself that she would never make the same mistakes but in the end she had been as pathetic as him.

'They don't deserve this. I have to go. Go away from them because I destroy everyone and everything.' A fit of self-punishment swallowed her as her throat tightened more with the effort to fight the sobs. She curled more as she gripped her head.

Sound of footsteps echoed through the ship as someone made his way to her room. A chair was pulled besides her bunk and he sat there. It was probably Dylan, wanting to give her counseling. She didn't want it now, she didn't want his pity, his help or his reassurance that he trusted in her. She stayed against the wall, hoping that he would tire and leave.

"Rebecca." His voice startled her. She really couldn't face him.

"Rebecca," Gaheris shook her shoulder gently "Don't pretend to be sleeping. I know well you're not."

Beka only could whisper a reply. "I was not pretending."

An uncomfortable silence came between them, him waiting her words, hers regarding energy to speak. She finally did. "I know there is no way to apologize for what I've done. I know there is not forgiveness. As soon as the Maru is ready I'll leave."

His hand pulled from her shoulder, trying to roll her but she shook her arm "Go. Find a good woman who deserves you, who makes you happy." Tears spilled from her eyes freely as her throat constricted. "Go, I'm not that woman." 

She felt again his hand on her shoulder and he finally rolled her curled form. She covered more tightly her head with her arms. It would be unbearable to see the disappointment on his face. "GO, GET OUT!" She yelled between sobs.

Gaheris' voice was calm and soothing as he spoke. "Do you want any other thing from me? Because I'm not going anywhere."

"JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" she screamed.

He lay on the bunk beside her. Beka held her fetal position as he tried to dislodge her. She resisted briefly but she finally gave up, clutching him as she cried uncontrollably.

"I told you we would go throughout this together Rebecca." Gaheris held her against him as if he feared to lose her. Beka cried until exhaustion overcame her and she fell asleep in his arms.



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