Double Empire - AUwA/CC/Adult - COMPLETE - 12/7/14

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 41

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:04 pm

Part 41

It wasn’t something he wanted to talk about or even think about right now, but he wanted to be honest with her. “I haven’t made up my mind about that yet,” he admitted and rested his head back against the pillows while his gaze turned to the huge windows facing the balcony and the landscape beyond. “Those weapons doomed Earth in the end and I don’t want that to happen to Antar, but what other choice do we have if Khivar continues to build and use them? If we stick to our swords and traditional way of fighting we won’t last long.”

“I know,” she turned in her seat to look at him, legs thrown over one of his to get more comfortable while she rested her back against his other leg that was bent behind her. “It’s scary that he crossed that line. Now you’ve gotta wonder what else he’ll do… how bad it’s going to be…”

“Nothing will happen to you,” he promised with a sincere look directly into her eyes.

“I’m not worried about myself right now,” she told him with a sad smile. “You’re the one out there fighting.”

“I won’t lie to you, Maria. It is my job to protect this planet and the people living within our kingdom and I will do it until the end.”

She nodded and swallowed down the lump in her throat. He wasn’t telling her anything new, but the thought that he really might not return one day after a trip scared her like nothing else. “Do you think Khivar started with these new weapons because you got me?” She bit her lip. “Ya know, like he knows more about the connection thing and is aware of the possibilities that might come from it?”

He shook his head. “No, as crude as the weapons were he didn’t have his scientists put them together overnight. He’s been working on this for a while. What bothers me is that we had no warning that he was working to create Earth weapons. He has no way of knowing about the connection between us, but I have no doubt he wants you back.” He rubbed her arm and shook his head when he felt the shudder race through her. “He won’t get you.”

“You can’t know that.” She wanted to believe he could know, but it just wasn’t possible.

“He attempted a direct assault on the castle today and his troops were forced to retreat.”

“And what if you’re not here next time?”

“Maria, your safety is my priority and I swear to you I will not let anything happen to you.”

“What if the next time he’s successful and they capture me again?” She looked away and wiped her eyes. “I’d rather die than go through that again.”

Michael clenched his fists unconsciously when he thought about Rath laying a hand on her ever again. Could he really promise her nothing would ever happen to her again? How could he? If there had been one or two more transports today, Khivar would have been able to get into the castle and what then? How far would they have gotten? The bunkers were well hidden, but given enough time, someone would have detected the secret entrance to them.

“I can feel your uncertainty, y’know?” she whispered when he didn’t say anything.

He sighed and leaned forward to press his chest against her back. “I will always come for you, Maria,” he promised and tightened his arms around her. “Always.”

It was crazy just how comforting that thought was. She was relieved that he was no longer trying to convince her that the enemy would never get their hands on her again. It just wasn’t possible to make a promise like that. No one knew what could happen from one moment to the next.

“Were you able to teach at all while I was away?” he asked, hoping to distract her from her thoughts.

Maria relaxed into him, smiling slightly as she remembered the class with the little ones. “They’re so easy to work with when they’re that young, so eager to learn and please everyone. It’s something I really enjoy.” She sighed. “I probably scared the poor little things when I collapsed.”

“Children are stronger than we give them credit for.”

She snorted and patted his arm. “Yes, they are. But they’re also children and things like that do scare them.” She was quiet a moment and she suddenly sat up straighter as she looked at him. “Where’s Amela?”

“Asleep in her room,” he said and smirked when he remembered the little one in her bed, softly snoring and her hair standing up in every direction. “I checked on her when I went to retrieve the device. I talked to her caretaker to let her know to bring her here if she wakes up upset during the night.”

Maria nodded and relaxed again. “She missed you a lot while you were gone. Every time the door opened she would look up in anticipation of finding you.”

“You spent time with her?”

“Yes, I did until I felt too exhausted to deal with anything. Sometimes even talking to Liz seemed to be too much work.”

“The two of you seem to have formed a bond.”

“It’s nice to have someone to talk to who understands things from the female perspective.”

“And the human perspective?” he asked.

“Yeah, that helps too. Being able to talk about things or just being emotional and knowing the other person understands makes it a little easier.”

He nodded. There was no point insisting he understood because when it came to emotions – and specifically female emotions, he was out of his depth. “She was quite adamant that I not leave you alone. I can appreciate her concern for you.”

“I hope she was able to see the King.” She yawned. “He’s a very kind man but he seems so lonely.”

“Yes. I heard that he visited you several times while I was away.”

“When I wasn’t feeling so well,” she agreed. “He checked back a couple of times a day and talked to the doctor. I don’t really remember too much of his last visits though,” Maria told him with a shrug.

Michael stayed silent. He hadn’t asked the King to do so, but he was thankful the man had done it anyway. If he got to know her and could accept her, it could only work in his own favor because the King would see she was a good person.

He glanced down in front of him and realized that her eyes were closed and he was sure she was well on her way to drifting into a deep sleep considering all she had been through. He carefully placed the device aside and shifted around slowly to get a little more comfortable. He was used to sleeping upright, in uncomfortable positions, so if she wanted to sleep this way he would let her.

*****

Isabel moved through the darkened corridors, mindful of the sentries following at what they felt was an acceptable distance. Their presence should have made her feel safe, but they only made her jumpier after the days’ events. She didn’t like being afraid; it made her feel edgy, which always resulted in her being angry and confrontational. And she could only pick on the servants for so long before she became bored with their refusal to engage her.

Max would indulge her on occasion but he’d had a hellish day and she wasn’t completely heartless so she had no intention of picking a fight with him. The servant he was so enthralled with had a sharp tongue and she could probably be pushed into an argument but it wasn’t worth the hassle of dealing with her brother later when he discovered what she’d been up to. And the Commander, well, fighting with him was just exhausting.

She smiled to herself as she neared the large hall that had been converted after Max had made friends with the Advisor. It hadn’t been in use at the time, had in fact gone unused for many seasons, but as her brother and Alex had become closer they had conspired to create a… she wrinkled her nose as she tried to remember the word he had used. Ah, yes, it was called a gym, she recalled.

She snapped her fingers, a silent order for the sentries to stand their post at the doors after she had entered. They obediently closed the doors after her, breathing a silent sigh of relief as she went in search of something or someone to occupy her for a while. Inside the large hall she looked around, her gaze quickly zeroing in on the dark haired man running across the floor with a ball. As she watched he jumped, slamming the ball through the circle attached to the wall.

She rolled her eyes when he retrieved the ball and started to repeat the process. “What is the reasoning behind this absurdity?” she demanded as she moved closer. It annoyed her when he didn’t so much as miss a step in his journey to reach the circle at the opposite end. One thing she really didn’t enjoy was being ignored.

Alex finally stopped, setting up the shot and taking it. Irritation spiked when it landed right on target but instead of dropping through the hoop it bounced off as if it had hit something. He went to collect the ball and used the tail of his tee shirt to wipe his face as he turned to look at the culprit. “You’ve finally run out of people to bother?” he asked.

“Thought you had better things to do than doing… whatever this mindless ball throwing is called. You were working on a translation if I need to remind you.” Her arms were crossed in front of her stubbornly while she tried to look less emotional than she felt inside. The last days had been confusing, but she would rather drop dead than admit that to anyone.

“Basketball,” he said simply and threw the ball again. This time it hit its goal again without any sort of… disturbance.

She frowned at him.

“The mindless ball throwing,” he said and caught it again to throw it to her.

Isabel reacted quickly and got a hold of the heavy ball before it could smash into her chest. She looked at him, surprised for a second, and then leveled her glare on him. “Translation,” she told him with one simple word and threw it back hard.

He chuckled and bounced the ball with exaggerated patience. “Basketball.”

“We do not have time for you to spend indulging your childish behavior.”

“No?” He took another shot and retrieved the ball. “Because we seem to have all the time in the world to indulge yours.” He bounced the ball a couple of times before passing it to her. “Just take a shot.”

“This is ridiculous,” she insisted. “You should be working on the translation.”

“It’s been a hell of a day, Isabel,” he said tiredly. “I’m not working on the translation tonight so just get over it. Either take the shot or…” he motioned for her to return possession of the ball to him.

Isabel hefted the ball in her hands, gauging its weight and studying the circle on the wall. “You find this to be challenging?”

“I don’t see you taking a shot.”

“Anyone can do this,” she scoffed.

He crossed his arms over his chest and gestured to the hoop. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Isabel rolled her eyes and lifted the ball to take aim at the goal. She threw it after a second and smirked at him in her I-know-it-all way, satisfied when it landed where she wanted it to.

Alex grunted and shook his head before he went to get the ball back. He hadn’t missed the weird flight curve it had taken when it was obvious it was going to be a miss. “Cheater.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me quite well.”

“Whatever,” she swiped her hand in front of her and the ball was ripped out of his arms, flying right back through the circle a second time. Innocently, she shrugged and grinned at him. “Human sports are really not a challenge.”

“At least we have sports,” he countered and went to get the ball again, holding it tighter this time. “And by the way, there are lots of things that could be challenging if you let them.”

“I have no need for challenges.”

“No, what you have are people who handle challenges for you. You’ve gotten so caught up in being the Princess of Antar that you’ve forgotten how to just be you.”

“That is who I am,” she snapped.

He shook his head. “No, it may be your station in life, it may be the position or role that you fill, but it’s not who you are.” He bounced the ball from one hand to the other and back again. “You’re so much more than a haughty title.”

She watched him, trying to figure out what he was up to. “What do you think I am?”

“A hybrid,” he said dryly and smirked when she glared at him for pointing out the obvious. “But that includes your human side, Princess Isabel.” He threw the ball towards the basket and smiled when it dropped through its goal nicely and easily. “No matter how much you try to push that thought away – or no matter how much your parents wanted you to forget about that side, it’s a part of you.”

“I might have human genes, but – “

“But what?” he snapped before she could finish her sentence. “You don’t behave like one?” He lifted an eyebrow when he looked at her. “You couldn’t be more wrong. You get agitated, angry, irritated, frustrated… those are emotions. Just because you deny yourself any of the good feelings like love or trust, doesn’t mean you forget about your human side. In fact, I believe you’re just angry with the world and your situation and the fact that some people expect you to follow a destiny that you don’t even want.”

“And as I’ve been reminded so often, it isn’t about what I want.”

“And that pisses you off, doesn’t it?”

“Why is it so important to you that I admit that I have human emotions?”

He shrugged and bounced the ball to her. “Why’s it so important that you deny that part of yourself?” he countered. “I’ll bet on Earth you were the life of every party you went to.” He smiled and shook his head. “You probably didn’t miss an opportunity to enjoy life or to smile.”

She caught the ball and held it tightly between her hands. “Do you have any idea what they did to us when we were returned to Antar? They don’t want us to show any attachment to our human side.”

“And yet you do.” He moved closer to her. “They may have tried to suppress your human side and they may have succeeded for a while, but it hasn’t been subdued. You’re fighting so hard to hide the fact that they failed that you’re making yourself crazy.”

“That is none of your business. You are the King’s advisor and you should start to behave like one.” She stared him down, angry with this situation and especially about the truth in his words.

Alex tried to stay calm when a few loose things around them started to tremble because of her lack of control of her powers when she was riled up the way she was at the moment.

“My life… the King’s life… it is none of your business. All you should care about are strategies to beat our enemy, solutions to get us out of these marriages, and translation of the book.” The ball bounced across the floor when she clenched her hands at her sides.

“And I’m doing those things every day,” he told her calmly. “Once in a while the brain needs rest though and I think I’ve got a right to have an opinion about things, whether you like it or not.”

“Then shut the fuck up and keep them to yourself,” she cursed and yelled in such a human way that it made him almost smirk.

“Y’know, it wouldn’t hurt you to take a break from bein’ the Princess and just be Isabel for a while.”

“You say that like I’m two different people.”

He chuckled and went to retrieve the basketball, bouncing it as he crossed the floor. “In a way you are.” He put the ball away and grabbed a towel to wipe his face. “Oh, this bitchy persona, that’s a part of you.” He just chuckled when he saw the way she was watching him, ready to throw lightning bolts at him. “But,” he sobered, “I have a feeling it’s come out full force as a way to protect you from getting too close to anyone.”

“You spend too much time thinking about things you have no business thinking about.”

“Oh, I do spend a lot of time thinking about you.” He smirked as he lifted his head to look at her. “But then, you know that, don’t you?” He straightened and his gaze never wavered as his hands gripped the ends of the towel he had looped around his neck. “You should wear red more often.”

His words went straight to her stomach and between her legs and she wanted to curse in frustration but instead she just pressed her thighs together for a moment, glad that she wore a dress that wouldn’t show any of her actions. “If red’s the color for you, then I’ll make it a point to never wear it,” she grumbled back. “I have no interest in affecting you or the thing between your legs.”

“The thing?” he asked, amused.

“Your penis,” she said and a horrified feeling crept over her. Was she blushing?

“My penis doesn’t care if you like his affection or not,” Alex shrugged one shoulder and in response to where the argument was going, he felt himself harden.

Isabel smirked when she saw the bulge in his pants and a human saying came to mind. “Don’t they say you men don’t think with your brains, but with your dicks?” Her gaze wandered down. “Then maybe this can help you with the translation.”

He glanced down at himself. “Well,” he mused with a smirk, “there is a certain Human-Antarian translation barrier I’m certain he could help with.”

She drew herself up to her full height and attempted to look down at him, which was difficult to do considering he was actually taller than her. “I could have you publicly flogged for insinuating such a thing.”

“You could.” He moved so quickly she wasn’t prepared for it when his arms snaked around her waist and he pulled her up against him. “But you won’t,” he growled as he took her mouth in a fierce kiss.

Isabel’s hands moved to his shoulders and she let herself get swept up in the passion that sparked from the kiss for a moment before she broke it and pushed him away.

Alex stood his ground when the expected slap came, her palm cracking sharply across his cheek. “Feel better now?”

She glared at him. “How dare you? I am…”

“I know who you are,” he interrupted and ran his hand over his stinging cheek for a moment. With satisfaction he watched the way her chest rose and fell fast and heavy and he was sure it had nothing to do with anger.

“Be lucky you still have to translate that book. Otherwise you would be grilled by now,” she growled and lifted her hand to show him her powers by making a glowing ball in her palm.

“Be lucky I’m a gentleman,” he leaned in and glanced at the ground. “Otherwise we’d be down there right now.”

“Because I would be strangling you?” she asked in a careless tone, but her body language showed she was anything but that.

He just chuckled and backed away, putting a safe distance between them. “You can pretend to misunderstand all you want, Princess, but we both know you’re not naïve.”

“You are not allowed to speak to me in such a manner!”

“But you’re allowed to verbally flay me at every opportunity?” He shook his head. “Nope, that’s not the way we’re gonna play this. You like to act like you’re unaffected but that’s gotta be a lotta work.”

“You do not affect me beyond annoying me.”

He grinned and nodded. “If that’s the lie you wanna tell yourself.” He grabbed his jacket off of a nearby bench and headed for the doors.

“I’m not finished telling you what – “

“Talk to me when you grow up, Isabel,” he called over his shoulder as he reached the doors and rapped his knuckles against the wood to alert the sentries to his presence.

*****

“We need to evacuate the southern area first. The sanitary building collapsed ten minutes ago,” Michael shouted over the sounds of the heavy storm, but half of his words were carried away before his counterpart could hear them. He covered his mouth with a piece of fabric and coughed when the raw sand cut into his throat.

“Understood, Commander,” the Corporal shouted back and saluted before he pushed himself along the walls of the castle to inform his unit.

The storm had started thirty minutes ago without warning. It was still dark outside and most of the people living in the barracks and buildings around the castle had been surprised out of their sleep when it had started.

When were they finally going to catch a break? Michael wondered and glanced into the darkness. It was hardly possible to see anything during a storm when the suns were up, but right now everything around them was a black wall, filled with dust and pieces of debris that had been picked up by the wind. He could only imagine how terrified the women and children had to be in their homes.

He pushed himself from the wall and ripped the door next to him open with all of his strength to move inside the castle again. As soon as the heavy door fell closed behind him again the sounds of the storm were muffled by the thick walls, but there were whistling sounds everywhere as the wind found little cracks to get in.

His heavy footfalls echoed in the corridors as he made his way to the other side of the castle. He could still feel his stiff muscles because the two hours of sleep he had gotten hadn’t been nearly enough to recharge his batteries. Maria had still been asleep when he had been woken by the storm and he hoped she would be able to sleep straight through it. She didn’t have to be scared within the castle walls; the fortified building was built strong enough to withstand weather like this, but he knew that just the sounds would scare her, so Satara had been ordered to her side again until he was able to return.

Turning a corner he had to stop abruptly when the King almost walked into him, his face hard and determined. “I was on my way to find you, Your Highness.”

“Another building in the East has collapsed. One of the sleeping accommodations.”

“The Captain is in the East. He will do what’s necessary.”

Max shook his head and looked at the Commander. “I want you to make sure Liz Parker is brought here safely.” As soon as the storm had started he had blamed himself for not going with his instincts earlier. He had already considered providing her a place to sleep within the walls of the castle, but he hadn’t done it just yet and he hoped it wasn’t too late now.

“I can’t send a group of my men out there to search for one woman when there are hundreds of others to save at the same time.” Michael’s expression was hard but in a hidden part of himself he could feel sympathy towards the King and his determination to save the Earth girl he cared about.

Max knew he couldn’t square it with his conscience to order the Commander to do it – not while he was the King and responsible for everyone living there. He knew the logical thing was to save as many people as possible, but he couldn’t just leave Liz to her own devices.

He reached out and placed a hand on the other man’s shoulder. “We have units deployed in every direction. She was housed in the barracks to the East, along with other staff from your side, correct?”

“She has never been through one of these storms.”

Michael squeezed his shoulder hard to draw his attention back to the immediate issue at hand.

“Yes,” he said, shaking his head to focus his thoughts. “Yes, she was housed with the other staff.”

“The Captain is in that area.” His eyes narrowed when he saw the determined look on the King’s face. “He will handle the situation and he will act with haste.” He shook his head. “You are not to leave the castle walls. The last thing we need is to have you getting lost or injured in the storm.”

“You do not outrank me, Commander.”

“When your safety is in question, I will always outrank you. I can have you placed under house arrest if you test me, Your Highness.”

Max placed his hand over the Commander’s on his shoulder firmly. “Let me ask you question. If Ms. Deluca was out there, what would YOU do?” His eyes were challenging.

Michael held his gaze directly while he searched for an answer. He wanted to tell the King that the two could not be compared because he wasn’t connected to the human and she wasn’t a possible solution to their misery, but he kept that thought to himself. Upsetting the King any further would only send him off and out on his own to look for Liz Parker. “I’d be worried just as you are,” he told him calmly. “And now you should let me do my job unless you plan to give the orders to our soldiers yourself. We will save our people, including Ms. Parker.”

“We should go,” Max agreed and let go of the other man to walk back with him in the direction he had come from.

“That woman is too smart to let a storm kill her,” the Commander said as they hurried along the dark corridors of the castle to reach the other side.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 42

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:04 pm

Part 42

Kyle ducked his head against the heavy winds, trying to avoid the sand that was blowing hard enough to flay the skin. He had been so tired he felt like staggering to his quarters, or preferably his lovers’ quarters, and passing out cold. But no, the weather had decided to kick up a mother of a storm and it wasn’t showing any signs of letting up.

He coughed when he caught a mouthful of the sand flying around and he pulled his scarf tighter in an effort to protect himself. He was grateful for the glasses that conformed to his face and saved his eyes from being damaged. He had still been out on the field when the storm kicked up and he had received his orders to get to the housing in the East.

Several of the outlying buildings had already been subjected to destructive damage; the roofs had been torn off of at least three of them, two had sustained direct hits by heavy debris carried by the storm’s high winds, one of the barracks had been reduced to a pile of rubble and he hadn’t been able to spare much time there to search for survivors. He’d had to order his men to move on to the next line of buildings, knowing with the heavy winds it was too dangerous to send them into the unstable structure.

He tapped his earpiece when the static crackled and he frowned when he couldn’t understand the transmission coming through. He shouted for the person on the other end to repeat the message but the order went unheeded. His gaze swept over the next row of buildings when one of his men joined him and motioned to them and he nodded.

The King’s personal staff was housed there and he could only hope they would find them alive. He had spoken with Michael briefly and he had been made aware of the importance of retrieving them safely. Their lives had not been given a higher priority than any others but he had stressed that bringing all personnel back to the castle was a high priority. They broke through the door that was barely hanging on by the hinges, pushing it aside and scanning the debris field before them.

“Good God,” someone muttered beside him and he turned to look at a younger man’s face. “Captain Valenti,” the human soldier nodded with a short salute and straightened.

“Take three men and search the quarters in that direction,” he pointed to a hall to his left. “Move quickly and leave the dead. We’ll come back for them when the storm passes.”

“At your command, Captain,” the young man shouted over the wind and hurried away.

Kyle motioned for a couple of his men to move ahead of him and then cut down another corridor while he kept going straight. He knew the woman now managing the kitchen staff would be housed at the southern end of the building and unfortunately it had been hit hard. He had seen the damage created by the fallen tree and he could only hope that when he found Liz Parker she wasn’t buried beneath the rubble.

He coughed when the wind picked up, bringing sand and small bits of debris with it as it came through damaged areas left open to the outside and whipped through the corridors. He reached an area that was barricaded by part of a collapsed wall and he tightened the scarf protecting his nose and mouth as he began to pull stones and timbers down.

Another Antarian soldier hurried in and helped him with the stones. Some of them were so heavy that they couldn’t be lifted, so he used his powers to break them apart, knowing that it was a risk, but there was no time to carry around heavy equipment either.

Kyle held a hand up when he heard what sounded like a voice being carried on the howling wind. He turned his head to the side, trying uselessly to determine where it was coming from. He couldn’t tell who it was or which direction it came from so he went back to hauling the debris out of the way.

“Captain!” the Antarian soldier yelled, using his powers to shove the senior officer out of the way when part of the roof began to fall in. He took the brunt of the hit from a heavy beam and he grunted as he stumbled back to brace himself against the wall.

The Captain pushed himself to his feet and hurried over to the fallen soldier, quickly assessing the man’s vital signs. The injury he had sustained was serious but not life-threatening so he moved him to an area out of the immediate path of the storm’s damaging winds and went back to clearing the debris. He finally punched through enough of it to crawl over it but as he was about to pull himself up he felt someone grab onto his arm from the darkness of the other side.

For a moment he was too surprised to do anything, but he caught himself again quickly and squeezed the arm. “We’ll get you outta there; just hold on for a little while longer.”

Liz released a relieved breath, pulling her hand back so she could press her forearm to her nose and mouth. The dust was thick from the storm and the fallen debris and every time she breathed in she felt like she was choking. Her right arm hurt like hell where she had been hit when the window next to her bed had imploded and struck her with flying glass. She couldn’t see how badly she was hurt but she knew it probably wasn’t good.

Noise could be heard from the other side as Kyle tried to remove his sword, which was only hindering his movements. “You okay?” he shouted and reached through the hole again to make sure whoever had been alive a few seconds ago was still there. With the noise of the storm it was hard to tell how much damage had been done.

She latched onto the hand she could barely see moving around, squeezing it to let him know she was still there. The storm was fierce and it seemed to have come up out of nowhere. She wondered if that was why there had been no warning.

“Alright, I’m gonna try to come through to you,” he yelled and waved one of the soldiers over to let him know he was going to crawl to the other side. “Extend the gap and try to shore it up with our swords until I’ve found out how many survivors we have on the other side.”

Liz took a step back when the Captain suddenly appeared in the gap, crawling through and dropping down on her side of the debris wall. She turned slightly to motion to the corridor behind her. “There are three rooms back this way,” she yelled to be heard over the wind. “One is unoccupied, the second is barricaded by debris, and the third...” she swallowed hard and shook her head. The woman in the third room had been crushed beneath the fallen interior wall and it was a sight she wasn’t likely to forget any time soon.

He nodded, taking in the information quickly while he studied her bloody arm. With his free hand he opened his uniform coat and dragged the shirt he wore underneath out of the pants to rip a small line of fabric from it to wrap it around the deep, bleeding cut. With a hard tug he tightened it and heard her sharp intake of breath. “Crawl to the gap, but be careful, the debris has sharp edges.” His gaze swept over her outfit and he’d bet she wished now that it hadn’t been that short.

She glanced back at the room that was still blocked, wanting to help but knowing she would only hinder the rescue process. She moved back to the debris wall and began the tedious work of climbing over it without hurting herself more than she had already been hurt.

Kyle held her legs when she shoved herself through the hole and pushed his arm between her skin and the harsh stones to prevent her from getting deep cuts all over her legs.

As she was grabbed by the soldiers and pulled to safety on the other side she turned to thank him but he was already gone again. She jumped when one of the men covered her with one of the long heavy coats they wore and she smiled gratefully.

*****

Michael groaned when he pushed the door open with his shoulder and was reminded painfully that flying debris had hit him hard there half an hour ago. His eyes hurt from the sand in them, but he had handed his glasses to one of his soldiers when his had been crushed by flying wood.

“Commander,” he heard someone yell, but it took him a few moments to see the person in the dusty air outside. The first sun was slowly coming up, which helped to at least see a few outlines now and then.

Two soldiers came towards him seeking shelter as they pressed their bodies against the wall of the castle. “Buildings in the South are clear so we’re moving to help the Captain at the East. There are still victims trapped in the debris.”

“Where’s the highest officer of your unit?”

One of the men straightened. “That’s me, Commander.”

Michael scanned his uniform with a frown.

“I apologize for my appearance. We were on the front lines during Khivar’s attack, Commander,” the man reported when he saw the confusion. “Not many survived.”

“You’ll take your orders from Captain Valenti,” Michael nodded and rushed them off to move off on his own, but his path was once again blocked by a man carrying a limp female figure against his side. It was only on his second look that he recognized the woman and he went to lift her up in his arms with a dismissive nod at the soldier.

Liz was having a hard time keeping her eyes open. She suddenly felt so tired, as if staying awake was just too much to think about, much less actually do. She tried to force her eyes open but even giving it her best effort she was barely able to open them. “Commander,” she whispered in surprise.

He glanced down at her briefly when his men held the doors to the castle open with both hands. “You’re safe now,” he told her as he strode along the corridor. There was a bleeding wound on her arm and from the pale look on her face he could only guess how much blood she had already lost.

Max was pacing the confines of the war room when a heavy knock sounded at the door. He called for the person to enter and the sentries opened the doors, admitting one of the messengers used around the castle. “What is it?” he snapped, too stressed and worried to consider his manners. As if the bloody battle in response to Khivar’s attack hadn’t been enough now they were facing a killer storm.

“Highness, I was summoned to bring you word. The Commander has requested your aid with an injured woman found in the East. He said you would know where to meet him.” He bowed and waited for his orders.

It had to be Liz, he thought and barely nodded as he pushed himself past the sentries to hurry along the corridors towards his personal quarters. It was the only place that came to his mind that the Commander would have requested.

Michael looked around the King’s quarters as he strode through the doors he had used his powers to fling open. He had a feeling the other man wouldn’t care about the intrusion into his private space considering the reason. He didn’t often find himself in the man’s personal quarters and on those rare occasions he had never once been in the bedroom. He carefully placed the woman on the bed and turned sharply, his hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw it when someone rushed in behind him.

Max’ lungs hurt as he entered his quarters and he had to stop and cough for a moment before he forced himself up again to take the last few steps to his bedroom. His heart sank when the Commander moved, revealing a small figure lying motionless on the bed.

“She’s alive,” Michael said when he saw the man’s fallen expression. “She was injured and it looks like she’s been bleeding badly but she hasn’t passed the point of no return.”

It was hard for Max to focus on what the man was saying because his attention was drawn back to the woman on his bed and he moved forward slowly to sit down next to her. Besides the bloody fabric on her arm he couldn’t find any serious damage to her body at first glance.

“I’ll leave her in your care. We have more injured coming in from the outlying areas. The latest reports indicate we’ve suffered significant losses in the South and the East. Losses in the North and West have been minimal.” He paused a moment. “We were able to reach those areas before the worst of the storm moved in that far.”

“Good,” the King nodded. “I will take care of her and then return to the war room.”

“Very well.” The Commander saluted and turned to take his leave. He would stop in to check on Maria, Amela, and Tess on his way back out to the field. He just needed to make sure they were safe and then he would be able to refocus his attention on the battle against nature.

“Liz,” Max called her name gently and took her hand when the other man had taken his leave.

She shifted, her head turning from side to side for a moment as she tried to hide from the voice calling her from the darkness where there was no pain.

“Liz, you have to look at me,” he tried again to get her attention. He only needed the slightest bit of connection for the healing and it would be much easier if she responded to his request.

The voice was insistent, but remained gentle, and against her will it drew her mind forward and her eyelids slowly fluttered open. She frowned as she tried to focus and she tried to lift her arm, her fingers itching to touch the man before her to prove to herself he was real. “Max...?”

“It is me,” he confirmed and squeezed her hand. “Your pain will be gone momentarily. Just try to look at me, okay?”

“The pain...” she tried to keep her eyes open and ignore the pain that continued to make her arm throb.

It only took a few seconds before he could establish the connection and he concentrated on her injuries, quickly locating the deep cut in her arm. Bit by bit the veins, muscles, and skin came together again. When he was sure that all harm was gone, he blinked to end the connection, trying not to intrude on anything personal that she wouldn’t like to share. He moved his hands to loosen the bloody fabric on her arm completely. “As good as new,” he mumbled.

Liz blinked as the images that had flashed in her mind as he healed her faded away. “What was that?” she croaked. Maria had told her about getting flashes from the Commander, but was it the same thing?

“I healed you,” he told her and glanced at her arm. “There must be a connection during the process, so you may have seen things...”

“You were reluctant to come back to Antar,” she said slowly. “You knew you had to and even though life on Earth was becoming dangerous, part of you hesitated.” She reached out to touch him. “You didn’t want to lose your family there.” She paused when he looked away. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.”

He turned away and got up. “I can’t remember them.”

“Not at all?”

“No,” he said dismissively since he didn’t want to think about that now. “I need to leave, but you may remain here and rest.”

She looked down at her arm, letting her fingers move over the skin that was once again flawless. “There must be something I can do to help.”

“You lost much blood,” he denied and rushed to her to force her back into a prone position when she tried to get up. “I don’t want to worry about you passing out somewhere while this storm continues. Stay and sleep.”

She sighed and nodded, her equilibrium beginning to balance out as soon as she was horizontal. As much as she wanted to be able to help she knew she needed to allow her body time to recuperate.

He sighed when she didn’t try to convince him differently. “I am glad you made it out alive.”

She nodded and looked away as the scene in Nadar’s room flashed before her eyes again. The woman had been quiet and unassuming, hard working and pleasant, and now she was gone.

“I will be back later,” he said and got up again. He really wished that he could just lay down next to her and stay, but he had duties to take care of whether he liked it or not.

“I’ll go...” She started to say she would go back to her quarters so that he could have his privacy but then she realized she had nowhere to go.

“We will find a new place for you to stay,” he promised when he stopped at the door. “Someplace that will be safer.”

“Take care, Max.”

“You too,” he replied and left with an uneasy feeling in his stomach. What else had she seen in the flashes?

Liz shifted around to get comfortable, wondering if he had seen the same things she had seen or if he saw something different through the connection. Or maybe he was able to block it. That made sense, she decided. He healed people when they were hurt badly so he had to be able to block the images to some degree.

*****

The sentries lining the path to the castle doors saluted sharply when the soldiers returned, filthy, some injured, all exhausted, and yet carrying with them pride that they had accomplished the job they had been tasked with. Most of the soldiers veered off, heading for the barracks, prepared to fall into their racks and sleep until they were either due for, or summoned to, duty again.

The Commander watched the men disburse and his gaze fell on the Captain, seeing the weariness in the proud set of his shoulders and finally understanding that he had a need to see the woman he cared about above all else before he could truly rest. “Captain, accompany me to my quarters,” he said before the man could get very far. “We have a few things to go over before we can rest.”

Kyle turned and saluted before following the man into the cool depths of the corridors that were dimly lit. After crossing the walkway that bridged the two sides of the castle and entering the one belonging to the Commander’s family the number of sentries decreased but he waited until the heavy doors had closed behind them before he opened his mouth to speak.

“Captain, I believe the business you need to attend to has little to do with me.” Michael turned and clapped him on the shoulder. “I also believe you know the way to my sister’s quarters from here.”

“You almost had me believing you really hadn’t had enough for one day,” Kyle said, relieved that he didn’t need to focus on anything military right now.

Michael chuckled tiredly and shook his head. “The past 48 hours have been more than enough. Get some rest, Captain.”

“No complaints from me,” he said and walked off towards Tess’ quarters, hoping she would still be asleep so he could just climb into bed behind her, take her in his arms, and sleep.

The Commander continued on his way, entering his own quarters a few minutes later and sighing as he leaned back against the closed door. Once he had collected himself he ordered his legs to move and his feet carried him into the bedroom to check on Maria. He felt momentarily unsettled when a glance at the bed didn’t reveal her presence and he frowned until he saw the balcony doors standing open.

He moved over to them and paused at the doors, looking at the woman standing there looking healthy and alert as she visually scanned the landscape. He walked out behind her, his heavy footfalls alerting her to his presence so he wouldn’t scare her and when he saw her cheek curve with the hint of a smile he wrapped his arms around her from behind.

“Long night?” she asked gently and suppressed the shudder in response to his touch. It felt good to be able to walk around again without the weak feeling in her chest all the time.

“Too long,” he admitted gruffly.

“You must be tired,” Maria said and turned in his arms to face him.

“It has been an exhausting few days.” Something was tugging at his memory but he pushed it away in favor of focusing on her. “There is still much to be done to recover from the battle and the storm.”

“The landscape looks awful.” She looked over her shoulder. “Were you able to save everyone?”

He lifted his head to follow her gaze, shifting slightly and feeling her head rest against his chest. The land was scarred; areas left charred by the weapon blasts, others stripped bare where the storm had swept through and taken several inches of topsoil away, and still others littered with debris that had been tossed about during the high winds. “No,” he murmured, “no, we weren’t.”

She was silent for a moment when his answer was the one she had expected. “Do you have any clue if Liz is okay?”

“She was injured but my men successfully extricated her and returned her to the castle. I left her in the King’s hands.”

“Good,” she relaxed against him.

“Did you sleep through the worst of it?”

“Not really,” she admitted. The sounds of the wind had been so loud that it had been hardly possible to sleep. “Amela was with me for a while so I had someone to snuggle.”

“Her caretaker brought her to you?”

“Yeah, she was pretty upset with all the noise.”

“She’s never cared for storms, always been afraid of them.”

“I think every baby would be,” Maria chuckled and ran a hand over his chest unconsciously. “She felt better after a while and we both fell asleep again.”

“It hit without warning. Two attacks in less than 24 hours,” he shook his head. “And we were unprepared for either of them.”

“You weren’t totally unprepared for the first one.”

“No, but it still concerns me that if not for Ava we would’ve been attacked and we could’ve lost the castle to Khivar’s forces.”

She swallowed. “I guess we aren’t really safe anywhere. Not on Earth, not here, and if there was a third planet... I guess there would be someone to destroy the peace there as well.”

“We will defeat Khivar. He’s turned the tables on us but he will not win.” He just wished he knew if Ava had given him all of the information she’d had or not. Had she known about the transport being sent to attack the castle? Or had that information been kept from her as a trap?

“You ever wonder what will come after?”

“After the war ends?”

“Yeah. When Khivar had been defeated,” she lifted her head to look at him.

“Sometimes, but it’s rare. I leave that to the King.”

She smiled a little. “You’re gonna be jobless, better think of something to do then.”

He snorted. “Antar’s army will still be needed. Perhaps not as many soldiers, but certainly military leaders will still be necessary. What else would I do?” He lifted an eyebrow. “Do you see me as a farmer?”

Maria snorted and laughed. “Not really.”

“Perhaps you see me standing around the castle all day?”

“Well, Amela would be happy to spend more time with you.”

He chuckled. “The novelty would likely wear off after a while.”

“Don’t be too sure,” she smiled but it faded quickly when she looked at him and the expression on his face was so familiar.

Her silence drew his gaze back to her and that feeling washed over him again. “You feel it too, don’t you?” he asked after a moment.

Maria nodded and looked at their intertwined bodies. “It’s the vision.”

“The vision?” He frowned in confusion but when he lifted his head and glanced around before looking at her again it suddenly made sense. More than once they had been witness to the vision of them standing as they were now, gazing over the land. “Yes, it is.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 43

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:04 pm

Part 43

“Amazing,” she whispered as she tried to make sense of it. She had thought a moment like this would scare her, but it was just the opposite. Now that she found herself standing here the way she had seen in the vision, it settled her feelings in a strange way.

“It doesn’t... scare you?” He wasn’t sure how to react to the fact that a vision they’d both had, that had at the time seemed to indicate some future moment, was actually happening right now.

“Weird, huh?”

“It is strange.”

“Does it scare you?”

“No, but it is confusing.”

“It could be worse.” She shrugged with a half grin. “Guess I’m at the point where nothing can shock me.”

“That could prove to be a good thing.”

“Who knows?” She looked at him. “You should probably lie down for a while and rest.”

He nodded. “I suppose you’ve had enough rest.”

“Depends.”

“On?”

“You.”

“Me?”

She rolled her eyes and took his hand in hers to guide him inside, but he stood immovable as a rock, so she turned around with a frown. “What?”

He lifted an eyebrow and shrugged without releasing her or moving an inch.

Maria tugged at his hand again and for a moment she was unsure if he maybe didn’t want her to be around any longer since she was better, but the playful smirk around his lips made her forget about it again.

He returned the tug, pulling her closer and smiling when she rolled her eyes at how easily he managed to make her move. “You seem more at ease with the connection,” he observed.

“We can’t change it anyway, right? And the things we’ve seen in flashes so far...” She shrugged. “They weren’t bad things.”

“No, they weren’t.” He wondered how that would change if the visions turned dark at some point. Was the connection capable of creating premonitions? It seemed possible that it did have that capability.

“Think they could be?”

“I don’t know. It would make sense that if it’s capable of providing premonitions of positive moments, it would also be capable of providing premonitions of negative moments too.” He thought about that for a moment. “That may not be such a bad thing though. It could provide forewarning of situations and give us time to prepare for them, even prevent them.”

“I’d prefer them to be good,” she told him and looked up to meet his eyes. “It seems like they don’t happen that often now anymore anyway, huh? I mean, earlier it happened whenever we touched and looked at each other and now...”

“True,” he mused thoughtfully. “Maybe that was to get us to this point, to give us proof that the connection isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

“A little nudge in the direction it wants us to go, huh?”

“I think it’s possible.”

“And what do you want?”

“I want to understand how it works and why it’s chosen us.”

That wasn’t what she had meant. She wanted to know what he wanted out of the connection but since he had difficulty articulating such things as he had proven the night before she let it go. “Come on, Commander, you need to get some sleep.”

He nodded. “Indeed, I do.” But he paused on the threshold of his room. “What do you want out of it?”

She looked at him and words like safety, family, and home came to mind, but she wasn’t ready to tell him that. Plus she wasn’t sure if the connection was responsible for that or if it was just the longing for a peaceful place to live. “Pretty much the same things you mentioned.”

Her pause spoke volumes. He had a feeling there was something else but she would tell him when she was ready. “Sleep does sound good.”

“I bet. Get rid of your uniform and lay down, Michael.”

He smirked at her tone and raised his right hand to salute.

Maria laughed at his gesture and waited until he had stripped down to his boxer shorts and a tee shirt. “Get in,” she pointed at the bed and swung the blanket aside for him.

“I’m not opposed to sharing my space if you want to stay,” he offered as he slipped between the sheets.

“I’m going to have breakfast with Amela,” she told him and pulled the blanket over him before she sat down on the bed to look at him.

He yawned widely. “Breakfast sounds good, but too much work right now.”

“You’ll get something when you get up. I’m sure Amela and I will be able to cook something for you.”

Something about that set just right with him but he was too tired to think about it or dissect it further. “Satara will be close by should you need her.”

“Alright.” Maria ran her hand through his hair for a moment. “Sleep tight.”

He wanted to question her comment, not fully understanding it, but he was quickly lulled by the siren call of sleep and he gave in to it.

*****

Maria chuckled when the sound of Amela’s happy babbling echoed in the stony corridors of the castle. “You’ll bring everyone’s attention to us.”

The little girl looked at her as if trying to figure out what she had said and after a moment she laughed and stuck her fisted hand in her mouth to gnaw on it.

“Hey, what’d we say about that?” Maria pulled her little arm away gently and made a face at the shiny lines of spit that came away with it. “We just had something to eat.”

“Ma...” was all Amela said.

They stopped at a huge door a few moments later and Maria turned to look at one of the sentries standing there. “I was wondering if I could speak to the King for a moment?”

The sentry asked her name before slipping into the war room and standing at attention, waiting for the King to acknowledge his presence.

Max looked up from studying the map and the information that was still coming in, pointing out the worst of the damage from the storms and the attack the day before. “What is it?”

“There is a human woman to see you, Sire. She says her name is Ms. Deluca.”

He nodded. “Send her in.” His fingers moved over the scanner, collapsing the map and bringing up imagery that was more suitable for civilian eyes.

“Hello, King Max,” Maria greeted quietly. She wasn’t sure if an interruption like this was rude or anything, but how else would she find out where Liz was?

“You appear well,” he said as he rounded the table to face her directly.

“I’m much better,” she agreed with a nod. “Thanks for taking care of me.”

He bowed his head slightly in acknowledgment. “I trust the Commander is resting?”

“Yeah... long night for all of you, huh?”

“Much longer for some than others,” he said, his eyes going to the window that overlooked the fields left marked by the violence and destruction. He forced a smile and turned back to her. “What can I help you with?”

“I was wondering if I could visit Liz? Michael told me she was injured and since she was by my side the whole time when I was feeling bad, I wanted to check on her as well.”

“Of course. She’s resting now but I’m sure she would enjoy your company and that of the little one. She had a difficult night and many in her barracks did not survive. I checked earlier and she had not eaten so perhaps you will be able to encourage her to do so.”

“I’ll do my best.”

He nodded. “I would expect nothing less.” He motioned to the door. “I will have a sentry escort you to my quarters. Liz is resting there.” He paused. “If you would, please inform her that I will join her when time permits.”

“Sure, I’ll do that,” Maria agreed and stopped Amela before she could touch his robe with her sticky fingers.

“Very well.” He reached out to brush his fingers over the mop of curly blonde hair on the little girl’s head. Her innocence was such a contrast to what lay beyond the window.

She went outside again and followed the sentry towards Max’ quarters. The floor plan of the corridors and rooms seemed to be equal to the ones on Michael’s side.

“Let her in, the King has granted her permission,” the sentry said to the one waiting at the door.

The sentry saluted and knocked on the door to let the woman inside know she had a visitor. He stood at the open door and waited until the visitors had stepped inside before he moved back out into the corridor and closed the door behind him.

Amela glanced around the room, wondering where they were. “Da?”

Liz wrapped one of Max’s robes around her and moved to the doorway, peering out into the main room to find the source of the quiet voices. “Maria,” she said in surprise. “You’re better.”

“Obviously better than you,” the other girl said and walked over. She shifted Amela in her arms before she gave the brunette a tight hug. “You okay?”

“I’m okay,” Liz assured her. “The storm was just... it was a nightmare.”

“You still look a little pale. Wanna sit down?”

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

Maria waited until Liz had sat down in one of the comfortable looking armchairs in the King’s living room. “You’re gonna be a good girl, right?” She sat Amela down on the couch and then settled in next to her. “We had breakfast and brought you a sandwich in case you’re hungry.” Her hand hovered over the little girl’s back as she rolled over and slid down the cushions on her tummy until her feet landed on the floor.

“Thanks.” Liz watched the little girl roaming around the room, her gait not completely solid, and she smiled sadly. “I haven’t been able to eat. It’s like I’m not even hungry and even though I know I need to eat I just haven’t been able to make myself do it.”

“That’s why you have me,” Maria smiled at her.

“You’re gonna make me eat?” she asked, and even though she couldn’t seem to laugh the thought amused her.

“Yup. Like you did when I was sick.”

“I’m not really sick though, Maria,” she protested. “Max healed me. See?” she held her arm up without looking at it, “good as new.”

Maria’s gaze dropped to her lower arm and the fading silver handprint there. “Michael had this too when the King healed him,” she said quietly and touched it carefully. “Does it... I don’t know... feel weird?”

“What?” Liz turned her arm to look at it. She hadn’t been able to stop touching the healed skin but she hadn’t really looked at it, almost afraid she would wake up and realize she was still trapped in the barracks. Her gaze traced over the silver handprint and her eyebrows lifted. “Why would this be left behind?”

“Not sure. Maybe as a sign that you’ve been healed? I have no clue what it’s good for, but it fades.”

“What if... what if it means something else?” Liz asked, feeling slightly panicked. “When he healed me I saw things, Maria. I don’t understand what it all means.”

“They can force a connection from what I’ve learned. I guess it’s necessary for the healing process. What else do you think it could mean?”

“I don’t know. Why would they need access to your feelings and memories to heal though?”

Maria didn’t have an answer to that. The whole connection thing was still a riddle to her too, but she had gotten used to the thoughts by now and was more comfortable with it than Liz.

She traced her fingers over the handprint and felt an odd tingling sensation move through the tips. “It’s strange,” she mumbled.

“Tell me about it,” the other girl said with a smile.

Liz shook the thoughts off. “So, I guess the Commander’s returned from the field?”

“Yeah, I put him to bed after we talked a moment.”

“I guess he didn’t get much rest between that battle and then the storm.”

“Not much, no. They’re lucky that they don’t need as much sleep as we humans do.”

“Yeah, I can’t imagine having to keep going the way they do.” She shook her head. “Have you talked to Max?” She must’ve since she had been given access to his personal quarters, right?

“Briefly. He wanted me to tell you that he’ll come back to you as soon as time allows.”

“It must be hard to share a man with not just his job, but an entire country. The Commander, the King, you get involved with someone like them and that’s a reality. Their time isn’t really their own and their people’s needs have to come first.” She looked at Maria. “Do you think they ever have the opportunity to put what they want or need first?”

“Maybe if there wasn’t a war... but God knows how long that’ll take. They might even not know anything else but thinking about their people and stuff when it comes to that point.”

“Do you think it’s worth it? I mean, just generally speaking. I know the King’s spoken for and regardless of the games we’re playing he’ll eventually have to carry out his duty and marry the Princess. But, the sacrifice of loving a man like that and having to share him with practically everyone, do you think it’s worth it?”

“You’re really asking the wrong woman here,” Maria lifted her hands.

Liz found her smile and it surfaced with ease. “Really?”

“Uh-huh. My feelings aren’t really mine right now. Or they are, I don’t know.” She made a waving motion with her hand. “Weird connection stuff going on.”

“You don’t sound so sure.” She watched Amela as she pulled a book down and sat on the floor to rifle through the pages.

“I really don’t know what to think at all, but I’m better with my situation right now. We had this weird moment earlier, but it calmed my nerves somehow.”

“I’m all for calm.” Her stomach rumbled and she reached for the sandwich before leaning back and curling up in the chair. “So what was your moment?” she asked before taking a bite.

Maria leaned down and gently tapped a pillow against Amela’s back before she got comfortable again as well. “I was standing on the balcony off his quarters when he came back this morning. We talked, and we... hugged, and a moment later I realized that it was the exact scene from our our flashes when we started getting to know each other.”

“That sounds like a premonition.” She chewed thoughtfully. “Do you think this connection allows you to like, I don’t know, see into the future?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it is or maybe it just wants to show us were Michael and I are heading. I don’t wanna see the future, not at all.”

“Yeah, I guess that does take the fun out of the journey.”

“You think you can let the King go when it’s time?”

“I don’t really have much choice in the matter, do I? I’m not even close to being any kind of royalty so even if he could choose who he wanted to be with I still wouldn’t be in a position to be considered.”

“No? What about true feelings? They deserve some consideration, don’t they? And I can totally see how into you he is.”

“Well, yeah, I do think they deserve consideration, but he can’t consider them. He has to marry the Princess so there really isn’t much left to choose in the end.”

“Maybe he has to right now, but he doesn’t want to.” Maria leaned forward and placed a hand over her friend’s. “He so doesn’t want that.”

“I agree. And of course there’s still a chance that they’ll find a way to avoid it, but if I’ve learned anything from the past, it’s that it’s better to keep your expectations low. You don’t get disappointed that way.”

“I told myself that a thousand times, ya know,” the blonde girl shook her head. “But it doesn’t work for me. I need hope to survive in this world or the other.”

“Well, you’re connected to the Commander. That makes you really special to him, huh? Maybe he can’t even marry the Ice-Princess this way.”

“Yeah, or who knows what else it could mean,” Maria rolled her eyes, but smirked at Liz. “Let’s stop this depressing talk. I told the King I’d make you eat, so eat!”

“Oh, well, if you told the King…” Liz rolled her eyes but took another bite of the sandwich. “So, how’s the Commander?”

“Besides wiped out? He’s got a lot on his mind.”

“Yeah, so does Max.”

“Yesterday’s attack?”

She nodded. “I know they have to consider using Earth-based weapons to combat the ones Khivar is building, but…”

“But, what if they make that choice and Antar turns into just another version of Earth as it is now?” She sighed at the other girl’s sound of agreement. “Yeah, I thought the same thing.” She chuckled and shook her head. “And we just went from one depressing topic to another one.”

Amela made a happy sound when she saw a picture of a funny looking animal in the book and both girls smirked at her.

“So little and innocent, huh? Don’t ya wish it could be like that again?” Liz asked around a mouthful of food. Even through the topics had been depressing she felt her mood rising with the visit from her friend.

“Too bad you don’t value that time as much because you’re too young to understand,” Maria smirked.

“Yeah,” the brunette agreed while she looked at the little girl. “Do you ever wonder if it’s even reasonable to bring kids into this world?” She turned her eyes to the other woman. “I mean, what’ll be left when they’re old enough to realize what real life’s really like?”

“I think if we start to wonder that then we’ve already lost hope,” she shrugged at her with a small smile. “Told you, I need hope to go on and if there aren’t any children, then there won’t be a future, so…”

“And if there’s no future…” she nodded in understanding. “Got it.” She pulled her feet up and hooked them on the edge of the chair, resting her forearms on her knees. “You know, maybe the connection between you and the Commander really could be useful.”

Maria leaned back in her own chair and looked at her. “What’re you thinking?”

“They have a difficult time remembering a lot of what was going on back on Earth, but you and I don’t have that problem. We clearly recall the damage done by weapons of mass destruction, and maybe that could be helpful.”

“I’m no scientist, Liz.”

“Well, neither am I, but there’s still a lot we know about the weapons that destroyed so much of the planet and our way of life. The Commander listens to you; he takes your opinions into consideration, so that could end up being a very good thing.”

“Just because he listens doesn’t mean he’ll do what I think’s right.” She shrugged. “And how can I know what’s right for Antar? I think Earth weapons being used here is a big mistake, but what if it is the only way to defeat Khivar? What if they decide against using Earth-based weapons and it gives Khivar’s forces the opportunity to take over the entire planet?”

“What if they do implement Earth weapons and destroy Khivar and his armies, and when it’s all said and done, they’ve also destroyed Antar?”

Maria made a frustrated sound. “I don’t think there’s really a right way to go here.”

“No, I guess not, but we at least have our memories of how destructive those weapons were.”

“True. We could help show them the results of using those weapons, but in the end they have to make the decision. And what’s the point of saving this planet if it’ll be ruled by Khivar after he wins the war?”

“But if they start using Earth weaponry, will they be able to return to the way of life they prefer? You know how easily power can corrupt and having the ability to wipe your enemies out like this...”

“Oh,” Amela made an amazed sound when she saw an interesting picture in the book.

It made both of the women chuckle. “Ya know what? No more war talk now,” Maria decided and got up. “The King has a nice balcony.”

“The King has a nice everything,” Liz said with a slight smirk.

“Been out there?”

“No.” She turned to look out at the balcony. “Would you like to?”

“Think we just can?”

“Yeah. It was built to give him a view of his territory but still provide him with privacy, so no one can see up here.”

“Very nice,” the blonde went to open the door and then picked Amela up in her arms.

Liz nodded and got up to follow her. “I suppose this’s the only place he’s ever truly alone.”

“And I think he’s got a lack of time to enjoy it.”

“That’s for sure.” She looked out at the mountains in the distance and the lake below, light from the suns sparkling on the gentle waves. “I suppose the Commander must have the same problem.”

“Count on it.”

“That has to suck.”

“At least they don’t get the chance to think that much about their destiny this way.”

“I wouldn’t wanna think about that either.” She shook her head. “Maybe they’ll figure some way out of it. I don’t see how being forced to marry someone who’s just gonna make you miserable is a good thing.”

“Yeah. But there were times and places where that happened on Earth too,” Maria chuckled. “We’re so much alike in so many ways.”

“Yeah, but how does a miserable leader work in anyone’s favor?”

“That’s some twisted shit no one but the people who came up with will ever understand.”

“True.” She leaned on the wide sun-warmed concrete railing and looked down. “I’d hate that.”

“No doubt.”

“Have you noticed there aren’t very many flowers here? They have all of these fields and they’re pretty and all, but there’s not a lot of color to really just bring them alive.”

“Well, they have a different ecosystem here, so maybe it’s just not possible for more variety.

“Yeah, maybe. It’d be fun to try though, don’t you think?” She pointed to an area below. “Maybe plant a garden down there where it could be seen from the balcony.”

“Wanna be the King’s personal gardener too?” Maria teased,

Liz snorted and it turned into a laugh. “No, I just think they’d be nice to look at.”

“Maybe one day we could try,” the other girl shrugged. “Not sure how you’d get them without any seeds though.”

“Well, they bring other things from Earth, right? They’ve crossbred animals and fruits and vegetables, why not flowers too? I guess they’ve never really thought about it because they don’t understand having something around that’s just pretty to look at without really being necessary or useful.”

“Bet we could get them to bring a few.”

“I’ll bet we could. Are really, you don’t need that many to start a garden.” She sighed. “I didn’t really see them much back on Earth. It seemed like everything that symbolized life was dying off and disappearing.”

“True. Maybe there aren’t even any left now.”

“That’s possible,” she admitted. “Well, maybe some could be collected from around the villages and we could try planting them here, see if they’ll take root.”

“Would give us something to do,” Maria mused.

“Exactly! And I have a feeling Max wouldn’t say no. What about the Commander?”

“I think he’d agree,” she agreed. Michael wouldn’t say no to a wish like that because it wouldn’t harm anyone and it was a safe thing to do that she would enjoy.

“Cool, I’d enjoy that.”

“We have a plan,” Maria said with a smile.

“We could make an afternoon of it, maybe take a picnic lunch.”

“Sounds cool.” They were interrupted when someone stepped out on the balcony. “King Max,” she greeted him with a nod and knew that was probably her cue to leave.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 44

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:05 pm

Part 44

“Ms. Deluca,” he said, acknowledging her presence even though his eyes were on Liz, taking in her appearance and making sure she was well. “You appear to be feeling much better.”

“I do,” Liz agreed. “And she made me eat.”

“I think I’m gonna leave,” Maria said and glanced at Amela. “I think she needs some toys anyway, huh?”

Max glanced at her. “I did not mean to suggest you should leave.”

“I know. The little one’s getting a bit restless though and I think I’ll head back to get some of her toys.”

“Very well, then. Young ones do tend to find trouble if they’re not otherwise engaged.”

“They do,” she agreed and looked at Liz before she headed back. “I’ll see you later, girlfriend.”

Liz smiled and nodded. “I look forward to it.”

Max waited until they were alone before he spoke. “I’m glad to see you’re better.”

“Thanks to you.”

He smiled faintly. “I was happy to be of service.”

She lifted her arm to him to show him the silver handprint there. “Maria said it’ll fade.”

“It does fade.” He reached out to touch the mark. “No one seems to know why it appears after healing.”

“It’s weird.”

“Yes,” he mused quietly.

Liz watched him for a moment. Although he stood, she could detect the restless feeling in him. His hands moved unconsciously all the time and now and then a frown appeared on his face. “I have a feeling you have something else to say, so...”

He nodded uncomfortably. He and the Commander had spoken at length after the man’s return earlier and it had been suggested that for Liz’s safety she should be moved from his personal quarters. He understood why the man had said it, knew the rationality behind it, but he still didn’t like it. “I like having you here...” He fumbled with the words. “I fear it may not be safe for you to remain here so I have made arrangements for you to have quarters closer to your duty station.”

“That’s okay,” she told him when she could see it made him uncomfortable. “I know I can’t stay here and I don’t expect you to take any risk.”

“I would if it was simply myself I put at risk.” He moved closer to her, his hand flexing as he reached up to touch her cheek.

Liz smiled but it faded before long. “I know. You’re a good man and you shouldn’t put yourself in danger for anyone.”

“We will still see each other if that is what you wish.” His gaze moved over her features and he could see that in spite of being physically well she was still tired and weak from her ordeal the night before.

“I hope we will,” she told him with a slight wink. The responsible decision would be to end this before things could go any further, but she didn’t want to and he obviously didn’t either.

“Perhaps if you’re free after the evening meal? I do hope you won’t over extend yourself today considering the events of last night.”

“Well, the soldiers will be even hungrier after a day like this.”

“If you need more help in the kitchens I will be happy to increase the number of staff.”

“I think we’re good. We prepared a lot last night after the attack to be able to feed them extra good today.” She straightened and glanced at the balcony doors. “So, where would my new quarters be? I’m afraid I’ll need a new uniform as well.”

“You’ll have quarters near the kitchens and I’ll have someone retrieve your belongings from the barracks.” He smiled. “Perhaps I’ll show you one of the hidden corridors near your new quarters.”

Liz chuckled. “Nice treat.”

He smiled slowly. “Do you know where that entrance leads?”

“No, but you’re gonna tell me.”

He turned and held his hand out, fingers splayed as he concentrated on the wall across the room. After a moment a section of the stone blocks shifted back and slid to the side, leaving an opening that was maybe 18 inches wide.

“Impressive.”

He lifted an eyebrow as he faced her again. “I discovered it,” he said, his tone smug.

“But I don’t have powers, so how would I be able to open it?”

“There is a handprint hidden in the stone by the entrance and exit of the corridor.” He crossed the room and picked up a thin stone, holding it tightly in his hand for a moment before uncurling his fingers and presenting her with it. It was imprinted with his family crest, the Antarian symbol in the center glowing with a strange light. “I will show you where the handprint is and when you hold this to it, the print will appear. As it recognizes my signature it will open for you.”

“I like the thought of sneaking in.”

He chuckled. “I believe it will have its advantages.”

“Me too,” she looked up at him with a smile and enjoyed the view of his well formed lips for a while. Why couldn’t things be easy, like the stories she had heard from her mother’s youth? They went to high school, they flirted with boys... it’d be so much fun to do stuff the way it had been before.

He tipped his head to the side when he saw the wistful expression on her face. “What are you thinking?”

She shook her head. “Just wishing things could be easy for once.”

“Yes, I would like that as well.”

“Well,” she cleared her head. “We can’t change it anyway.”

“No, but...” he shrugged one shoulder, “the secret corridor will make things easier. It’s not the same, I know.”

“It’s a start,” she told him and stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “We should probably go, huh?”

“I suppose it is time.” He hadn’t had much rest but he still had a full day ahead of him and there were meetings and people waiting.

*****

It was the sound of childish laughter that first drew her to the tower window. It was a beautiful noise and something she had been denied with her own children. Sometimes she wondered if that hadn’t been taken from her, would she have been able to connect with her children when they were returned to Antar. She didn’t know. She looked down from her vantage point, seeing the young one as she toddled across the lush ground, falling from time to time, but laughing and getting to her feet over and over.

Her gaze shifted to the human woman who followed the child into the patches of sunlight visible through the trees that bordered the private courtyard her son had commissioned after his father had died. Marek had not been pleased when he had learned that Michael intended to bring the child belonging to his Earth parents back to Antar. They had fought over the decision but the younger man had refused to back down. It was only when he threatened to leave Antar and return to Earth permanently that his father had acquiesced.

Many times she had stood at this very place and watched Michael or Tess with Amela, and their openness with the little one made something within her ache. She had heard that the human woman was staying in the castle on her son’s orders but it was the first time she has seen her with the little one. It surprised her because he was very cautious about who he allowed to stay with the child supervised, much less unsupervised.

She had been observing the two for a while when she heard the little one’s excited voice announcing Michael’s arrival. She eased back out of view, knowing the first thing her son would do was search his surroundings for anything that didn’t belong. He may not see her but he would be aware of her presence. She couldn’t leave yet though. She was curious to see him interact with the human woman he had permitted to stay in the castle.

As she watched he crossed the courtyard and scooped the little one up in his arms, holding her high while she giggled loudly. He eased her down to rest against his chest and her little arms wrapped around his neck tightly before she rested her head on his broad shoulder. Once Amela had settled quietly he turned his attention to the human woman, holding his hand out to her and pulling her towards him when she accepted it.

The woman… She pursed her lips as she tried to recall her name. Maria, she thought, the woman’s name was Maria. She shifted to watch the woman as she went to Michael willingly, their eyes locked on each other as they talked. There was something almost familiar about the intensity between them. She tapped her lips with her forefinger, her eyes narrowing as she studied every nuance of their behavior. It wasn’t until she saw the smile on her son’s face and heard his laughter in response to something the woman said that it became clear to her.

They shared the true connection. Her eyes widened as fear spiked through her veins. The true connection was forbidden and punishable by death. Her fingers stroked her throat as she watched her son with the human woman and she swallowed hard when he sent the woman and child back inside with a promise to join them soon. He waited several minutes before he squinted against the sun, hands resting on his hips as he turned to look up at her window.

“Would you care to join me, Mother?”

Zadira contemplated simply walking away but she knew how stubborn he was. He would track her down and insist on wanting to know what her interest in the human was. She also knew she had to warn him about what he was getting involved in. “You may join me in my quarters,” she said instead of giving in to his demands.

He muttered something under his breath and started to walk to her personal quarters. Although he wasn’t really looking forward to what she had to say, he knew the conversation had to come eventually since he wasn’t hiding Maria like a secret around the castle.

Zadira forced herself to be still as she sat on one of the uncomfortable chairs that she despised. The furniture in this room was not designed for comfort, but rather to discourage long visits. Marek had not cared for company and when they had been visited he had preferred to keep the time short. She looked up when the sentry announced her son and she motioned for him to be admitted.

Michael stepped into the cold, uncomfortable room and glanced around for a moment before he took a few steps towards his mother. He stopped at a small table next to the window and leaned his sword against it before he took the seat across from her. “Say what you have to say.”

“Why have you brought the human into the castle?” she asked without preamble.

“Because she spent several weeks with the enemy,” he told her calmly. “We found her in one of Rath’s camps.”

“She is not the first victim you have rescued from Rath’s camps.” She studied his composed demeanor. “She is the first you have ever brought into our home.”

“She’s the first we know of who has spent several weeks with him and only him.”

She sighed quietly. He was giving absolutely nothing away, which was to be expected. He was her son after all. “What reason would he have for holding her captive?”

“Maybe you want to tell me,” he narrowed his eyes at her.

“The connection chooses for you, Michael, and I am aware of that. But it is not something you can afford to allow to become public knowledge. Rath must know she possesses the gene, and if he knows, Khivar will know.”

She knew about the connection? He was sure his expression had been one of shook for a second but he covered it up quickly. “How do you know about the connection?”

“It is not just rumor, my son. There are forced connections and then there are true connections, so rare they are said to be nonexistent today.” She met his gaze evenly. “But you would seem to defy that belief.”

He ground his teeth together so he wouldn’t snap at her. “As you said, mother, I didn’t choose.”

“It is a dangerous thing, Michael. No one understands how it works, but it does create a bond that cannot be broken, even by death.”

“How do you know about it?”

She inhaled slowly, holding the breath for several long seconds before releasing it. “Because I have experienced it and I have had it severed.”

His mother had experienced a true connection? “Severed? You just said it cannot be broken.”

“The emotional connection remains even after you physically lose the one you are connected to. It is a painful experience.”

“Were you and father…?”

She shook her head slowly. “No, your father and I did not share a true connection. We only shared a forced connection and it is severely lacking compared to the true thing.”

“So it’s possible to be connected to more than one person at a time?”

“Yes, if one connection is true and one half of that connection has been severed a second, forced connection can be formed.”

“And if both are still alive?”

“I do not know if a true connection can be sustained at the same time as a forced connection. The intensity of a true connection does not leave much room for such a thing, but I do not know for certain.”

Michael sighed. He had hoped to find an answer, to know if it was possible for him to marry the Princess, to force a connection to her while being connected to Maria. Mainly he hoped it wasn’t possible, but he knew it could be dangerous because once they got to the ceremony the truth would come out.

“There was a book long ago, written in the old language.” She paused, thinking. “It was supposed to be destroyed when the ruling came that everyone carrying the gene would be put to death. Kanan, the man I was connected to, he was part of a group of men who attempted to save the book. His intention was to hide it in a safe place, so one day the truth would be known, but before he could carry the mission out his possession of the gene was uncovered and he,” she swallowed with difficulty as she looked away. “He was put to death. There were rumors that the book had been taken before it could be destroyed, but leaders at the time denied it. I believe the book is still in existence, but I do not know who possesses it.”

“Would you be able to translate the book if you had it?”

“It is written in the ancient language and no one has spoken or read it in many seasons. Those who were able to were put to death.” She turned back to him. “There were rumors at the time that Khivar either possessed some knowledge of the ancient language or that he had captured someone who had the ability to read and understand it. There is a book of translation but it has never been revealed. It is believed that it was destroyed so that the other book could never be translated.”

“Of course,” he muttered and ran a hand through his hair.

“Are you considering looking for the books?”

He looked at her for a moment to consider his answer. “We have one.”

Her eyes widened. “You have the book of true knowledge?”

“But what does it matter if no one can translate it?” He shrugged.

“Does Khivar know you have the woman?”

“He has to, doesn’t he? Where else would she be if she wasn’t with Rath anymore?”

“The attack yesterday? It was because you have her here.”

“It wasn’t just because of her,” he growled.

“The attack was well planned, but poorly executed. If he had been better prepared his troops would have breached our defenses.” She tipped her head to one side to study her son’s expression and body language. “I did not mean to place blame; it was merely an observation considering his disregard of the rules of war and his timing.”

“Tell me more about what you know of the true connection,” he said instead of going into more detail about the attack. He knew how to do his job and how to read a situation. She didn’t need to point the obvious out to him.

“It can be very consuming. You do not lose your identity to it, which you may feel from time to time because of the intense connection to another person. It…” she searched for the words to make him understand. “It is not a bad thing, Michael. And considering how difficult it is for Antarians to express themselves or to show emotion, it can be a very good thing. It can be chaotic and at times it is not easy because it does give your other half insights into your inner being that you may not be comfortable with.” She smiled slightly. “I know of nothing it can be compared to.”

“Can it be dangerous when the parties are separated for too long?”

She wondered at the odd question, but after a moment realization dawned. “Of course,” she murmured. “Your other half is a human. There were a few occurrences where the true connection formed between an Antarian and a human and my understanding is that it can be difficult for the human body to adjust to the intensity of the connection. It is not just emotional and mental, it is also very physical. She is linked to you in every way and until she can fully adjust to it there will be instances where distance intensifies her weakness.”

“There were connections between Antarians and humans?”

“The defective gene originated on Earth.” She smiled at him and shook her head. “Antarians have been visiting Earth for generations.”

He looked at her and rubbed the spot over his heart unconsciously. “What about offspring?”

The motion did not go unnoticed by her but she didn’t comment on it. “The offspring of a couple bonded by the true connection is very powerful. The child will have powers unlike any other.”

“How will it affect a human?”

“The connection?”

“A pregnancy.”

She nodded. “The mother carrying such an offspring would exhibit the child’s powers to a degree throughout the pregnancy.”

He swallowed. What would that mean in case he and Maria ever got to that point?

“Michael, is she…?”

“No,” he interrupted before she could finish the question.

Zadira nodded. “Good.” The hint of annoyance at her relieved sound didn’t pass unnoticed and she leaned forward slightly to place a hand on his arm. “Such a child… it could mean everything, Michael. Maybe it would help win this war, but it would bring many risks as well.”

“You don’t have to tell me that,” he grumbled and leaned back out of her reach.

“I know,” she retrieved her hand and smiled slightly. “You have always been smart.”

“How would you know?” he snapped. “You didn’t even know me until a few years ago.”

“But we were able to watch you,” she told him and shook her head. “Michael, if Zander finds out about this…”

“He won’t.” His eyes hardened as he looked at her. “I realize at some point we will lose the ability to conceal the truth, but until I can assure her safety that knowledge must be safeguarded at all costs.”

“I assume you have limited the number of people who are aware of this knowledge?”

“Yes.” He rubbed the back of his neck as he got up to pace. “There isn’t much known about the extent of powers a child of this nature would have. An infant surely wouldn’t be capable of understanding, much less using powers of such magnitude.”

“You are correct.” She closed her eyes for a moment and drew in a deep breath. “You know the connection is intense and it is powerful.” She waited for him to acknowledge her statement before continuing. “The powers the child will have vary depending on the existing abilities of the parents.”

“So it amplifies the parents’ abilities?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. Your other half is a human and as such she has no special abilities at this time. If she were to become pregnant with your child she would begin to exhibit certain abilities through her connection with the child and due to the nature of the connection she shares with you, those abilities would be amplified.”

“What happens to those abilities after the pregnancy reaches its natural conclusion? Does the mother retain any powers? Does the child actual maintain those powers? Or, as it has been suggested to me, are the child’s powers passed on to the more powerful parent until he or she is old enough to understand them and have the ability to be trained to use them?”

“Through the connection you would have with each other and with the child you would be capable of many things, Michael. Nobody can really say what remains or what the outcome would be because it is different each time, depending on the gene pool. Humans need time to deal with new powers because they are not used to them, but you will be more comfortable with it, I think. Your child would not be able to use them until he or she is old enough to handle them.”

Michael felt confused by all of the new information. “So, what you’re saying is Maria will develop powers through the baby and the connection to me, and mine will increase?”

“That’s how it normally works,” Zadira agreed.

“It would explain why Zander wants the King and Tess to connect soon.”

His mother chuckled coldly. “Yes, but none of them know the outcome will be nothing like a true connection. You must ensure Zander does not learn of this information. Maria would be in immediate danger,” she told him emphatically. “He will not accept a more powerful family than his own in the same empire.” The thought of her son experiencing a true connection excited and scared her at the same time. She knew what it felt like and it couldn’t be compared to anything else, but in a situation like this, it could mean a lot of pain and even death in the end. “Does King Max know?”

“He knows.”

Zadira gasped in surprise.

“The King is to be trusted, mother.”

“He is Zander’s son.”

“But he isn’t Zander,” Michael stated. “His father wanted a carbon copy of himself but I believe he got much more than that.”

“You take a great risk trusting him.”

“I’m risking everything,” he said as he paused briefly near a window to look outside. “Father was adamant that we utilize our natural resources in combat rather than look to outside sources.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “These weapons Khivar’s building are incorporating materials from Earth.”

“You are concerned that the only course of action you have is to begin using similar methods to defeat him.”

It was strange to be talking to his mother like this, he thought. Even though the women in his family had been participating in warfare for generations it still felt odd. “We can’t allow Khivar to get the upper hand in the war. If he begins mass producing these weapons and we continue using our weaponry he’ll wipe our forces out.”

“There is great danger in following that path. I do understand that his escalation may necessitate it, but the danger is not only immediate. Using such weapons can allow a sort of complacency and they are also incredibly destructive not only to the people and the land, but to the environment as well. This damage is difficult if not impossible to reverse, even with the advances our scientists have made. Have you spoken with the King about authorizing the use of assassins?”

“Briefly, yes. We were supposed to have a meeting this morning, but it was cancelled due to circumstances.” He stood next to his sword, taking it in his hand and balancing it on his palm for a moment. “He’s finally willing to consider assassins though. We’ve talked about that much.”

His mother nodded. “It is important. I know he is still young and overwhelmed with the many responsibilities he was suddenly burdened with, but he must see reason.” She sighed and looked at him. “You were all too young to be thrown into the war, but unfortunately we were unable to wait any longer to bring you home. The situation here was getting worse with each day and Earth was slowly coming to its end as well.”

“You don’t have to go over all of that,” Michael interrupted her. No one could change the destiny they were born to – or that they were created for, he thought. “We do what we have to do.”

“You have already persevered longer and better than most of your people expected you would.”

The Commander snorted. “Consolatory.”

“Doubtful,” she said with a slight smile. “You say the King is aware of the woman’s connection to you.”

“He is.”

She watched him as he sheathed his sword, a sure sign that their meeting was reaching its end and he was preparing to leave. “Is he the only one?”

Michael shook his head. “No, but those who know can be trusted. It’s possible this connection could be another piece of the puzzle. A way out of the arranged marriages,” he clarified when she looked as if she were trying to make sense of his words.

“It is not a secret that the four of you reacted negatively to the knowledge that you would be required to be wed.” She sighed when his shoulders tensed. She had understood the agreement her husband and Zander had made, but she hadn’t agreed with it. “It was the foundation of the pact made to unite our kingdoms.”

“And if we can find a way to maintain that unity without enduring a lifetime of misery, wouldn’t you want that for us?”

“I would want it for my children if it was possible,” she told him.

He turned slowly to look at her. She sounded sincere and he found himself believing her. “Then keep this information guarded because it may be the only opportunity we have to escape our destiny as it was written for us.”

Zadira nodded. “Just be careful, my son.”

“I will use caution.” He smiled tightly. “Should you encounter Maria I would ask that you treat her well,” he said, though it was clear by his tone that it wasn’t a request. He had no doubt his mother would seek her out at the earliest opportunity.

“As you share the true connection with her I have no reason to do otherwise.”

He nodded and rolled his shoulders. “Then we understand each other.”

“We do,” she said, but he was already out the door and she stared at the empty spot for a moment. Things were developing differently than everyone, especially Zander, had expected and she didn’t know if it was good or bad. She had always been sure that the Royal Four would never follow the exact path as it had been planned for them, and she was proud of her children for that. But it had put them in much danger as well.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 45

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:06 pm

Part 45

Michael turned the corner and nearly ran into his sister when she came through another corridor. He paused, motioning for the sentries standing outside the war room to wait when they reached for the doors.

“Running late?” he asked, his right eyebrow lifted when the Captain came up behind him.

“No,” she denied, annoyed by his know-it-all look of amusement. “I was simply taking my time arriving since everyone keeps telling me to take it easy.”

“Uh-huh.” It was clear he wasn’t buying her explanation.

Kyle held up a stack of reports. “I’m ready.”

“Hmm, and also running late.” The Commander smirked at the both of them and motioned for the sentries to open the doors. He strode into the room, enjoying having the upper hand with his sister and his second in command. He glanced around the table and frowned when he saw the Princess and the Advisor, but not the King. “Where’s the King?”

Alex glanced up from the latest reports he had been presented with just prior to his arrival in the war room. “He was summoned by his father. He should be here shortly.”

Michael growled and took his place at one end of the table. He hated meetings and he also hated to be kept waiting.

“What does the old man want this time?” Tess muttered, as she said down next to him. “If he’s gonna press about the marriage again, we’re in serious trouble.”

Isabel shifted restlessly and reached for one of the papers that had come loose from the stack of reports Alex was sifting through. She was oblivious to his expression when he glanced up at the disturbance; too busy folding the paper without consciously realizing it. “He can’t press that issue,” she insisted. “Not now, not after yesterday and last night.”

“He has done things like that before,” Michael said, his gaze was focused on the surface of the table.

“Yeah, no question he has no understanding of handling things based on necessity,” Tess grumbled. “He’s always focused on things that aren’t important.”

Isabel snorted. “You’re wrong. He just has a twisted way of seeing things. There isn’t any higher importance to him than the marriages.”

“He’s gonna have to get over that because we’re gonna find a way out of it.” Tess looked over at the Advisor. “Right?”

Alex looked up at her. “We’re trying.”

“You need to try harder,” the woman next to him bit out. She had no interest in talking about their impending marriages, especially when he hadn’t found a suitable solution yet.

He opened his mouth to respond but the doors were suddenly opened again and the King stepped inside. From the look on his face the meeting with his father had been anything but pleasant. He motioned for the servant waiting at one end of the room to bring a drink and dismissed her as soon as he had taken his seat and she had placed the refreshment in front of him. The doors closed behind her, leaving them in silence.

“Enlighten us with it already, Max,” Isabel bit out when her brother stayed silent.

“Father has decreed that the holiday celebration should not be postponed any longer,” he said after shooting a look at her.

The Commander glanced up in surprise and narrowed his eyes.” THAT was his request?”

“Yes, that is why he wasted my time. He insisted that the damage caused by the battle and the storms be cleaned up immediately as it is displeasing to look at, and he would like the celebration to take place as soon as possible.”

“We have more important things to worry about,” Michael said in frustration and wiped his face. “Several of my best men died out on the field these last few days and he wants us to organize a parade?”

“I did not say I agree with him.” Max got to his feet and moved to the windows. “He believes we must keep up appearances that everything is normal.”

“He lost sense of reality a long time ago.”

He sighed as his gaze moved over the damaged fields below. “Perhaps it is a sign.”

“What are you talking about?” Tess frowned.

“If he’s losing control of his faculties he will eventually be required to step down and no longer be allowed to make any decision regarding the throne.”

“We can’t wait for that,” the Commander denied and got up as well to move into the sight of the King. “Only the people in this room know which actions are our decision, and which are Zander’s.”

Max frowned and turned to look at him fully. “And that is a good thing?”

“We should just ignore his wishes. He won’t make it public knowledge.”

He mulled over that for a moment. “You are suggesting we continue to postpone the celebration?”

Michael glanced out the window, observing the rebuilding of the protective walls for a moment before he nodded. “Nobody out there is in the mood to celebrate.”

“That suggestion has my vote,” Tess spoke up. The last thing she wanted to do right now was participate in a stupid parade. “We have much more important things to concentrate on.”

“We have to react to Khivar’s attack,” the Commander agreed with his sister. “We can’t ignore it.”

Max squared his shoulders as the weight of his position pressed down on him. “Yes, we must take a stand.” He looked at Michael. “Have you had time to come up with a plan?”

“First we need to determine where he’s getting his deliveries from. Some of the materials don’t exist on Antar, so he has to import them and we need to prevent these transports from reaching their destination.” He looked at the King intensely. “And second, we need to send out trained assassins to take out the higher ranks of his military, also his scientists if necessary.”

“Sanctioned murder,” he said quietly and rubbed his eyes as he turned to look outside again. He held a hand up when he felt the Commander shift, certain he could feel the disapproval radiating off of the man. “I understand the necessity, Commander.” He shifted to look at his Advisor. “Have our scientists been able to determine the point of origin for the materials?” He was certain they had come from Earth, but there was always the possibility that they were from another planet.

Alex grimaced. “The point of origin is Earth, Max.”

“Of course.” He considered their options. “If he’s sending transports to Earth to collect the raw materials he’s sure to be communicating with them. The fact that our communications units have not picked up anything would indicate he’s found a way around our listening devices. Due to the destruction on Earth there are limited landing options. Contact our people there and request they search for new communication techniques. If necessary, deploy a communications team to travel to Earth to intercept these new signals and decipher them.”

“I’ll get on it right after this meeting,” Alex agreed and scribbled down a few notes.

“As for the assassins,” he took a deep breath and released it slowly. “We will need a list of the officers and scientists you feel pose the greatest threat. Is it safe to assume we’ll need to deploy units to determine the movements of these select individuals prior to releasing the assassins?”

Michael nodded wordlessly and kept some of his thoughts to himself. Would Ava be able to give him names? How far could she be trusted? He still had no answer to that. Her warning about the attack had been right, but they hadn’t been able to prevent everything and she hadn’t said anything about the second transport.

“Then we’ll need to meet with those units and deploy them immediately.” Max looked at the damage caused from Khivar’s weapons and anger welled up in him. “How do you suggest we handle Ava?”

“We should let her come to us. She hasn’t proven anything yet.” The Commander looked around the room before his eyes focused on the King again. “I’m not certain which side she’s taking in the war right now.”

“Very well then.” He rubbed his jaw. “We should send an armed transport to accompany the communications team. If they intercept Khivar’s recovery team bringing more raw materials to complete another weapon would it not be best to destroy the transport before it can reach Antar?”

“I agree with that.”

“Perhaps we should mark this day,” Max said with a smile that held a hint of amusement.

Michael snorted, but there was also a slight hint of amusement in his face as well. The King was finally agreeing to something he had suggested for a long time.

“It would also be helpful if we could determine if Khivar currently has more of these raw materials,” Tess said, drawing their attention. “We need to know if he’s in the process of building more of these weapons and if he has the materials to complete them.”

“We can send out scout teams, but the planet’s just too big to observe everything,” Max said, glancing at the Commander to see if he had any suggestions as to how to do that.

“We can’t observe the entire planet,” Michael agreed. “And with the continued interference from the atmospheric storms we’re having difficulty maintaining solid communications. We can send teams out, but considering the territory they would need to cover we may never find where he’s assembling these weapons.”

“We could use ultrasound,” Alex suggested and straightened when everyone’s attention was suddenly on him. “Like bats.”

“Bats?”

Kyle laughed quietly when all four hybrids spoke at the same time.

“They’re small nocturnal animals on Earth that for a long time were believed to be blind. They used a form of ultrasound when flying to orient themselves and to help locate their prey.”

“Small... blind... animals,” Isabel said slowly. “This is your strategy?”

He ignored her and went on. “They can see their environment even when they can’t actually see anything. They can detect small objects with it. If we can find a way to use ultrasound on the surface of Antar we may be able find some of Khivar’s weapons caches.”

Max looked at the Commander, nodding when the man gave a sharp nod in response to the suggestion. “Schedule a meeting with the heads of the science departments later today. You can explain how this ultrasound works.”

“We won’t get out any underground activity with it,” Isabel spit out.

“No, you’re right, we won’t,” Alex agreed, “but at least it could be something.”

“Why don’t you stop being so bitchy and negative?” Tess snapped. “We’re here to try and figure out ways to stop Khivar and his armies from overrunning our territories. You’re not helping.”

“I’m pointing out the obvious,” the tall blonde Princess snapped. “How can you all be so positive when it’s obvious we’re losing?”

Max looked at his sister, hearing the fear beneath the angry words. “We’re not losing the war, Isabel. Perhaps we haven’t won every battle, but we’re far from losing this war.”

“Face it Max. We have no chance.”

Isabel gasped sharply when her chair was suddenly jerked back and spun around and her eyes widened when she found herself faced with the Commander. His dark eyes glittered dangerously as he spoke, his voice low and controlled.

“While we still draw breath we have a chance. My men do not sacrifice their lives in vain! They die day after day in this war to ensure your safety and that of every single one of Antar’s citizens. Do not disgrace their sacrifice by giving up so easily, Princess.”

Isabel looked into his eyes and really wanted to believe him, but she just saw no way out of this. “What you men do and how we appreciate it has nothing to do with the truth in the end.” She stepped around him and went to the doors, waving her hand furiously to open them.

“Someone needs to take her in hand,” he growled as she made her escape.

Max glanced at the door and sighed. “It’s just her fear talking.”

“Regardless.” He turned his attention back to the Advisor. “We’ll also need a meeting scheduled to determine our timeline for sending the communications team to Earth if we are unable to establish contact with our existing teams.”

“Consider it done,” Alex nodded.

“We have another matter to attend to,” Max said as he dropped back down into his seat. “Captain, as I understand it you were the senior officer at the site of the staff housing in the East?”

“That is correct.”

“What is the extent of the damage?”

“The buildings housing the kitchen staff as well as the one housing the quarters of your personal staff were both destroyed and I’d recommend we tear down what remains and begin construction on new barracks immediately. There were several workers found dead, a few injured. We have a unit combing through the wreckage to account for those still missing.”

He sighed. “The storms are becoming more destructive.” He rested his elbow on the table and stared down at the reports in front of the Advisor. “Are there enough stable barracks to house the staff adequately until new quarters can be built?”

“Not in that area, but there are some quarters built of solid stone on the Commander’s side which are unoccupied right now.”

Max looked at the Commander. “With your permission I will have the staff temporarily reassigned to those quarters.”

“Whatever’s necessary,” Michael said and gave him a nod of approval.

“Alex, we’ll need to transition them as soon as possible. We’ll also need to make notifications to any family remaining for the deceased.”

“Of course.”

Michael studied the King for several long moments before he took his seat again and cleared his throat. “I can handle the notifications,” he offered. While he hated making notifications he was better prepared to maintain the emotional distance necessary to speak with the families.

Max quickly hid his surprise at the offer and glanced at his advisor briefly. “Uh... very well, Commander.”

He nodded. “I will see to it today.” It was best for everyone concerned to deal with immediately.

“The rebuilding of our protection wall will be done this evening,” Tess said when she had a feeling the meeting was almost over. “We should give our soldiers a rest before we send them out again. Most of them have been on their feet for days now.”

“It would be wise to permit the men to rest,” the Commander agreed. “We can summon reserve troops from the North to maintain the guard for a few days.”

“A good meal would help as well,” Kyle added.

“The kitchen staff has been working diligently to provide a suitable meal for the soldiers,” Max said as he glanced over the file Alex slid in front of him.

Everyone was getting ready to leave, and Michael stared out the window, trying to decide if he should mention what his mother had said. If he kept it to his self it would mean the King would feel mistrusted when he found out. But telling them would mean everyone would also look closer at his private life as well and he hated that. “I have something else to say,” he said when the King signed the paper.

Max set the pen aside and looked up, his right hand lifting slightly to warn everyone to remain seated. “What is it, Commander?”

“I found someone who can give us more information about the connection.”

Alex’ head snapped up so quickly he heard several vertebrae pop and he winced. Who could know about the connection? “Someone... local?”

“My mother,” Michael said and looked at his sister who glared at him. “I JUST found out.”

She shook her head. “What could she possibly know about the connection? It’s been forbidden for so long.” And what could’ve possibly caused him to discuss it with their mother?

“She said she experienced it herself.”

“With father?” She snorted and shook her head. “Impossible.”

“No, it happened before, but the man was murdered because of the gene.”

“Well, wouldn’t she have had the gene too? She’s quite obviously alive.”

He shrugged. “She was born into a wealthy family; she could’ve gotten around the test.”

Alex cleared his throat. “I have to speak with her.”

“She won’t talk to you,” Tess snorted. “My mother isn’t an easy person.” Her gaze shifted to her brother again. “So you just went to her and told her about your connection. How could – “

“I did not go to her to discuss it,” he snapped. “And she will speak with the Advisor.”

“So she just told you about her connection?” She didn’t believe him.

He leveled an irritated look at her. “She recognized it.”

Max glanced between the man and his sister. He was surprised that he had decided to tell them all at once instead of talking to Tess first. “How did she react?”

“She is understandably concerned, extremely cautious, but many of the Advisor’s theories to this point have been verified by what she shared with me.”

“Did she have any new information?”

“The book we have... there is a second book.”

“A second book?” the advisor asked. “It could be the key to the translation. Did she say where it can be found?”

“She said it was believed to have been destroyed, but there is no proof of that. She also said that they believed Khivar either held some knowledge of the connection or that he had captured someone who could read and understand it.”

“He obviously knows about this connection,” the King mused. “Do you think he could have the other book?”

“I think it’s worth considering.”

“Great,” Kyle muttered.

“And if he possesses the book of translation it is even more important that we protect the book we have. And Maria must be protected at all costs,” Max said as he leaned back in his chair. “If a child were to be conceived as a result of this connection...” He held a hand up when the Commander started to interrupt. “If it were to happen, did your mother have any knowledge of the potential scope of powers the child would possess or how they could be utilized?”

Michael wiped his face with one hand and then scratched his eyebrow. “She said an offspring would have the same powers as the parents, just a lot stronger. The parents will experience those powers... the human parent would develop powers as well.”

“That’s interesting,” Alex mused. He had speculated that the mother could possibly exhibit the child’s abilities but to know that he had been correct was satisfying. “Did she know if the powers would revert back to the child at some point? Or if the human parent would continue to exhibit those powers permanently?”

“The child won’t be able to use them until he or she is old enough. I know nothing of the rest.”

“How do you know she can be trusted?” Tess asked, still stuck on the fact that he had obviously spoken fairly openly to their mother about his connection to Maria.

“She knew about the connection just from observing us,” he told his sister and then glanced at Max, “and she also warned me about Zander.”

The King nodded. “Yes, because a child born of this connection would signify a potential threat to the throne.”

Tess snorted. “Zander would explode if he knew.”

“Zander could authorize her death if he knew,” Alex said quietly, his eyes studying the pen he held. “Ironically enough, this could unite your families as nothing has done before.”

Michael’s hand clenched into a fist at the advisor’s words, but the King spoke before he could say anything. “My father won’t find out about it.”

“You said this could unite our families,” Tess said as she looked at the Advisor. “How?”

“How?” he echoed. He smiled and shook his head. “It already has, or at least it’s started to. “Before Maria became known to you the four of you could not have been more divided. The only thing that’s unified you until she entered the picture was your dislike of each other and your hatred of the marriage pact your parents made. But now, look at you. You’re facing issues from a united front.” He nodded with a small smile. “Granted, Isabel still has to come around but I believe she will in time. My point is, you’re seated at the same table and you’re discussing battle strategies, personal situations, handling your people... and you’re discussing it in a civil manner.”

The King, the Commander and the Corporal stared at each other in silence for a time which felt like a small eternity. Was he right? Certainly they had started to talk with each other, but was Maria the reason or was it all of the circumstances together?

Kyle chuckled when the Advisor managed to shut them all up. They hadn’t even realized it. Absentmindedly he wondered just what it would take for Isabel to thaw out and start putting her two cents in.

“Well, who would’ve thought a human woman could get my brother to talk,” Tess said after another moment and smirked at him.

“More than one apparently,” the Captain muttered under his breath.

“What did you say?” she asked.

He shook his head and gave her an innocent look. “Huh?”

She rolled her eyes and then ignored him again. “I will talk to our mother as well.”

Michael just smirked at that. She and their mother had never exactly had a civil relationship. Tess was a rebel at heart; she hated following anyone else’s directives, choosing to follow her own path. “I’ll wish you luck with that.”

Max smirked at the teasing. “I suppose if that is all then everyone may leave for now.”

The Commander nodded and stood. “Captain, call in the reserve troops from the North. Corporal,” he glanced at his sister, “see to it the men are relieved as soon as the reserves arrive.” He looked at the Advisor. “I’ll speak with my mother to determine a time for you to speak with her.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 46

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:06 pm

Part 46

Vilondra yawned, the motion expressing her boredom and leaving little room for interpretation. Her dark eyes followed Khivar as he paced the throne room, his anger palpable. He was angry that his plans to tear down the protective walls and infiltrate the castle had been thwarted. Rath stood at attention, his back ramrod straight, his eyes forward and boring a hole in the wall as he waited for their leader to speak.

She glanced at Ava, taking in her rigid posture as she stood slightly behind Rath’s right shoulder. Her hands were clasped behind her back, eyes locked straight ahead, and she didn’t so much as flinch when Khivar suddenly turned to face them, his features harsh as he spoke. She smiled when the blue tint in his skin deepened in response to his anger.

“You have failed yet again! I provided you with new weapons and you still failed to infiltrate the castle walls. Why?”

“The weapons were not ready to be used in a direct assault,” Rath stated clearly, his voice vibrating with barely concealed rage. “Someone obviously warned them we were planning an assault because they were prepared.”

“That is impossible!” Khivar roared.

“The festivities had been cancelled! They had amassed additional troops in preparation for our attack! The Commander was reported to be at a camp more than a day’s ride away, yet he is the one who intercepted the transports at the refueling location. I told you we needed more soldiers to accompany the – “ His dark eyes blackened with fury when the back of Khivar’s hand cracked across the side of his face. One day, he thought as his eyes tracked the man’s agitated movements. One day he would watch him writhe at the end of his sword and when that day came he would relish the moment.

“How could he have known?”

“Someone has betrayed you, my love,” Vilondra murmured silkily.

Khivar’s anger began to settle as he turned to look at his lover. He loved the way she looked, wearing just enough to cover what belonged to him as she watched him from his throne. He snapped his fingers and glanced back at Rath. “You will find the person responsible for this transgression and you will dispose of them immediately. Do you understand?”

He saluted and turned to leave, rage boiling beneath the surface at the easy dismissal. Ava followed suit, her footsteps echoing off of the corridor walls and matching his as they made their escape.

Vilondra curled her finger, summoning her powerful lover, and smiling inwardly when he came to heel like a well-trained pet. She could control him so easily and sometimes that nearly bored her half to death. She stood as he neared her and the clothing fell away to reveal her sleek body to his greedy gaze. He grabbed her, his right hand curling in her hair and his mouth crashing into hers as he sought to mark her.

She was expecting it when he suddenly broke the kiss, turning her to face the throne and urging her to bend over it. He was becoming predictable and that also bored her. Her hands gripped the arms of the throne as he quickly freed himself and entered her, his hands rough as he fondled her breasts and pounded into her.

When he was sated she left him in his quarters and took her time bathing before taking her leave and going out to the Commander’s offices. He was clearly annoyed with her, a point driven home by the look he shot at the second sun lowering in the west. “I could’ve left sooner but you wanted to meet without his knowledge.” She smiled. “The best way to do that is to exhaust him.”

He snorted derisively. “He’s weak. You never left my bed afterwards.”

She met his gaze evenly. “As I recall, neither did you.”

Ava felt like she was going to be ill. Vilondra and Rath were like two animals, taking from each other without an ounce of emotion between them. “Before the two of you tear each other’s clothes off and go at it on the desk perhaps we could take care of business.”

They both turned to glare at her. “Who asked you for your thoughts?” Rath spit out.

“Leave her alone,” Violandra told him, but her eyes told a different story. “She’s still bawling over the loss of her lover, isn’t she?” She shot a look at the other woman, her features expressing her opinion of such weakness.

Ava’s face remained stony, but inside she was burning with the desire to rip the two hybrids into pieces.

“You should be glad,” Rath snorted. “Zan was weak and led by emotions like a human. He was worthless to our mission. He would’ve betrayed us and delivered news to our enemies about our tactics and weapons.” His eyes moved over Ava intensely. “You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

“If you want to blame me, go ahead and kill me, Commander Rath,” the smaller blonde replied, her voice calm as if she hadn’t anything to worry about. “I’d like to see you fight alone.” She narrowed her eyes on him.

Rath muttered something under his breath that no one but him would understand. Ava and her powers were important to his army, but he wouldn’t admit it to anyone, nor would he ever ask her for help. And maybe he wouldn’t need her in the future, he thought and satisfaction ran through him when he remembered the Commander’s face the moment he had shot him. They might have lost this battle, but the fact that he had worried his match to such a degree gave him enough pleasure to go on.

“I need to get back to my unit,” she said before he lost himself in what he seemed to believe was a moment of glory.

“What is your hurry?” Vilondra asked as she took her time crossing the room.

“I don’t know. Maybe the fact that today was a useless battle and half of my men are either wounded or dead?” She shook her head. “And don’t give me Khivar’s rhetoric about how this was an intelligent move on our part because the three of us know it was too soon to show our hand.”

“Let’s move on to the most important matter at hand,” Rath insisted, uninterested in seeing the two of them end up in a fight. Every time that happened they destroyed everything around them.

“We need to identify those responsible for leaking the information to the Commander,” Vilondra said and nodded. “We should begin with the science teams and the soldiers responsible for helping assemble the weapons. It had to be someone working directly with the weapons.”

“Or it was someone involved in planning the strategy for the assault.”

They turned to look at Ava and then back at each other. Only their most trusted soldiers had been involved in those sessions.

“Not too long ago they took several of our men captive. What if one of them betrayed us? Or Tess could have mind warped them. None of those who were taken prisoner had direct information about this, but they worked with others who did.”

“I don’t believe that,” Rath spat out.

“And just because you don’t like it, it can’t be true?” Ava glared at him. “There doesn’t even have to be a traitor. The Commander or whoever could have detected the transport by accident or without our knowledge. We were careful planning the attack and hiding the weapons, but we are not invisible on this planet and they do send out a lot of spy teams and they also have a lot of humans living on their side as well. We can’t simply overlook the fact that they may have found out themselves – it would be dumb to exclude that just to look for a traitor who may not exist.”

“This is pointless,” Vilondra interrupted before they could go any further. “The important thing is that we missed our opportunity to retake the woman.”

“You’re certain the Commander is keeping her at the castle?”

She drew in a slow breath. “Where else would he keep her? He can’t exactly take her out into the field with him. He’s too soft for that. He thinks she was nothing more than a prisoner of war.”

“No, no,” Rath said as he moved around the room. “He knows there’s something different about her otherwise he wouldn’t have her under his personal protection.”

“He would have no reason to suspect she carries the gene,” Vilondra insisted.

“No, but we don’t make it a habit of keeping prisoners alive beyond their usefulness. And a human? We rarely bother keeping those insects alive for any reason. No, he knows, he just hasn’t figured it out yet.” He looked at Ava. “We need confirmation that she is in the castle and where she’s being held. You’ve been in the castle before.” His eyes flashed as he studied her, looking for any sign that she was going to suggest something different.

“They will keep extra guards around the castle after our last attack. It’ll be hard to get inside again,” Ava shook her head.

“Are you saying you can’t do it?” He narrowed his eyes at her.

“I’m saying it will be difficult. My powers are limited too and there is a difference in mind warping 10 people at a time or 20. After yesterday they won’t trust anyone near the castle and even if I get inside there is no a guarantee that I will find her.”

Vilondra leaned against the desk while her mind went over their options. “Tess is out on the field a lot and so it the Commander. If we can find the right time, you could walk in, pretending to be her…”

Rath grinned as he thought about the look his counterpart would carry when he found out about it. “With none of them around it will be easy to get information. No one else will ever notice a difference if you change your appearance.”

This was getting difficult, Ava thought, but didn’t let her nervousness show. “What if the Princess gets back before I am able to leave or what if she contacts one of them? She can’t be in two places at once”

The tall blonde leaning against the table that dominated the center of the room watched her carefully, eyes narrowed as she weighed every word she was saying. “You’ve managed to get inside the castle before. Those threats have always been there so why are you hesitating now?”

She shook her head. “I’m not hesitating. It would just be a problem to get caught right now.”

“You’ve lost your nerve,” Vilondra said, sounding amused. She turned to look at Rath. “I told you when the Commander executed Zan that she would falter.”

He straightened, his sharp gaze drilling into the shorter blonde. “She won’t falter,” he mused. “She will do her duty and she will return with the information before we make our next strike.” He moved closer, baring his teeth in a feral grin. “Or she will join Zan.”

I’d rather join him than help you, she thought angrily but nodded in response to her orders. The only way to destroy this unruly alliance was to work with them – or to pretend to work with them until the time was right. And it wasn’t, not yet. “I will find a way into the castle.”

Rath’s grin was superior when he turned to Vilondra again. “The Commander can’t protect that little human forever and it’s doubtful he would protect her over his own people if it comes to that.”

The woman wasn’t convinced that he was right but she left him to his beliefs. Rath may be a genius when it came to field tactics and he may not have a conscience, but it wouldn’t be the first time he made an error in judgment by underestimating the opposing Commander.

****

The corridor was dark, only illuminated in spots by very small, strategically placed gaps that allowed light from outside to filter in. She bit back a scream and batted wildly at something stringy when she walked into it and it didn’t retract when she backed away. “That’s just great,” she muttered. “Knock yourself out over an extraterrestrial insect.”

She rolled her eyes at the one-sided conversation and swallowed hard before reaching out in front of her. She made a face as she waited to see if she would come into contact with more cobwebs and cautiously took another step forward. “Okay, maybe that’s the only one.” She froze when she saw light flickering up ahead and she pressed herself back against the wall, trying to figure out if she had enough time to escape back the way she’d come before she was seen.

A deep chuckle answered that question before she could make up her mind. “When navigating the secret tunnels it is customary to use a torch to illuminate your path.” Max came into view, a teasing grin on his handsome face.

Liz stuck her tongue out at him and reached out to take his hand when he extended it. “You could’ve told me there were torches.”

“I thought you would come to that conclusion when you entered the dark corridor.”

“You said it’s a secret corridor. I thought it was all no light, no noise.”

He laughed, showing off a line of perfect teeth, and the sound made her knees go weak. “I promise you, no one can see or hear anything as long as you walk between these massive walls. You could scream like a furious, scared child in here and no one would hear the slightest sound.”

“Really?” She lifted her eyebrows and tugged on the hand holding hers.

He turned his head to look at her and knew what was on her mind before she could say anything else. Just that was enough to make him harden. “Uh…you…”

Liz giggled and leaned forward to kiss the tip of his nose. “Too bad that spiders and everything else that crawls on more than four legs really creeps me out.”

“I suppose that would be cause for alarm.” He took her hand and led the way back along the corridor. “Especially if you should encounter the Maketa insect.”

“The Maketa,” she said slowly.

“Yes, it is a formidable creature. It has 18 legs, four sets of wings, and can carry nearly 10 times its weight.”

Liz frowned as she tried to picture the insect he was describing. “Are you making that up?”

“You think I would make up such a thing? I’ve seen the Maketa swoop down from the sky and pluck a small animal from the fields.”

She narrowed her eyes, running over the logistics in her head as he stopped and waved a hand over an area of the wall, making the secret door open. “You’re making that up.” He had to be.

Max chuckled slightly. “Just wait until you see it with your own eyes.” He was making it up – or at least he was making it sound worse than it was since the Maketa did exist, but it wasn’t that strong – and the way her features moved while she tried to decide if she believed him or not made him smile.

“I don’t think I wanna see it,” she made a disgusted face and still wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not. But she had seen some other disgusting creatures here, so why not?

“You’re safe in here,” he pulled her towards the lightened interior of his quarters and the secret door closed behind them with a deep growling.

When her eyes had adjusted to the light she recognized his quarters and a smile appeared on her lips when she saw he had a nicely decorated table with different kinds of food and wine on it. “Did you plan this?”

“Maybe,” he turned to look at her and wrapped his hands around her hips. “I thought perhaps you might enjoy being the one eating rather than cooking since it’s your night off.”

“And you know my schedule,” she grinned and leaned around him to take another look at the table. “It looks really delicious. Who cooked?”

“Some of the other kitchen staff,” he said and winked at her. “Maybe a certain friend of yours helped out to bring more of an Earth flavor to it.”

“That’s why Maria didn’t have time to meet me in the courtyard,” she narrowed her eyes at him, pretending to be mad, but really wasn’t. “I thought her excuse was pretty lame, so I was wondering what was really going on.”

“I hope you are not disappointed.”

“How could I be?” She moved away from him, walking around the table and taking in the setting he had obviously handled himself.

He stood behind one of the chairs and gestured to it. “Would you like to have a seat?”

She smiled and nodded, slipping into the seat and moving with him when he adjusted it so that she was closer to the table. “You’ve outdone yourself, Max,” she said as she reached for one of the cloth napkins.

“I am pleased you approve.”

“I approve very much. So, Maria had some input, huh?”

“Yes, she said it wasn’t perfect but it was close, and more than acceptable for a first attempt to create the main course.” He leaned forward and reached for the cover hiding the first dish from sight. “She said you had mentioned you enjoyed this on Earth.”

Liz chuckled when the plate revealed a single pancake covered with fruit, whipped cream, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. “She’s right.” Normally she would’ve had this for breakfast, but she was sure that would only confuse him so she kept it to herself for now.

“Good,” he took the seat across from her and smiled.

“I think you’ll wanna use this,” she leaned forward to hand him a small bottle of hot sauce, which had also been set on the table.

“You think so?” He looked down at his own food and cut into it to try it the human way first. He chewed on it for several moments and swallowed, the sweet taste making him cringe for a second, but she saw it anyway.

“Uh-huh,” she chuckled.

“Maybe a bit of sauce for me, you’re right,” he agreed and took the bottle to sprinkle – what Liz would call a full load – on his food.

“It’s fabulous,” she moaned slightly after taking the first bite. Although it was a simple thing to make, she hadn’t had pancakes in quite a while now and it brought a lot of good memories of past days back.

Max shifted in his chair, unable to stop his reaction to every sound she made as she expressed her appreciation of the food vocally. “I don’t believe I’ve had this meal on Antar but it is… familiar.”

Her eyebrows lifted. “Yeah?”

He nodded. “It’s frustrating to catch a glimpse of a memory and be unable to draw it to the surface of the mind.”

“If your people used their technology to suppress your memories, is there a possibility that the same methods can be used to bring them back?”

He speared a piece of the fruit and stared at it thoughtfully. “I have wondered if it is possible, but I would not know how to reverse the process.” He shrugged. “I’ve noticed that the more I am around humans the more things from the past present themselves.”

Liz stared at her fork and the way the candlelight flickered on its shiny surface. “Then maybe you don’t even need technology to get the memories back.”

“What do you mean?” He looked at her curiously.

“If you start to remember things around humans… I’m human, your advisor’s human, and Maria is as well. We can help you remember things. When you healed me the other day I saw things as well, Max. They didn’t make a lot of sense, but the more I think about it, the more I believe it was things from your past.”

The King nearly dropped his knife when she revealed that little bit of information. “You saw things from Earth? Like what?”

“I’m not sure,” she leaned back in her seat and looked at him. “It was all pretty blurry but I think there were some memories of when you were little.” She frowned. “At least I think it was you. It looked like you.”

“What did you see? What was I like?”

“I didn’t really get a lock on any of the images surrounding you. The main thing I was able to really see was you. You looked happy.”

“Happy,” he said slowly. “I wish I could remember.”

“Max.” She leaned forward, drawing his distant gaze to her.

“Yes?”

“The images I saw, what do you call them?”

He shrugged one shoulder. “Flashes. We have no other name for them.”

“Okay, it happened when you healed me. Are there other circumstances that might cause the flashes to occur?”

“The healing process isn’t really responsible for the flashes. It’s more like the connection you have to make before the healing.”

“Something like the Commander and Maria share?” She frowned.

“No,” he shook his head. “The true connection as well as the artificial connection we make before a wedding is a deeper one. Once it’s formed you feel your partner whether you are together or not. It can’t be broken easily and it allows your partner to see things inside of you, no matter if you want them to or not.” He reached over the table to pull her arm towards him, his fingers tracing over the fading silver handprint. “The connection needed for a healing is superficial. It allows the other person to see or feel things to a certain level, but if you concentrate you can control what you want to show and what you choose not to. Eye contact is necessary and it ends whenever one half of the couple lets go of the other one.”

“But basically you’re able to bring that light connection up whenever you want to?”

He looked up to meet her eyes over the flame dancing on top of the candle and nodded.

“Then maybe you can use me to find out more about your past,” she suggested carefully. “I saw things,” she went on when she knew he was about to tell her no, “maybe if we try again and again things will become more clear.”

“They will weaken you,” he told her. No matter how tempting it was to find out more about his past, he didn’t want to hurt her because of it. It would be a selfish thing to do. “The connections require an extensive amount of mental strength and endurance and even we feel the weakness after a while, so it would likely be worse because you are only human.”

“And what if I’m willing to do it?”

He shook his head. “Connecting in order to heal you is one thing, connecting for such a selfish endeavor is something else entirely.”

“But – “

“No,” he said, his tone sharp.

“It may be partly selfish, but if the flashes would allow you access to your memories of the past there’s always the possibility that they could open up options for the future.”

It was so tempting. She made it sound so easy. But he knew it wouldn’t be that easy and he had no idea how adversely it could affect her. “I’m not comfortable putting you in potential danger.”

“We could try it out now and then. Just for a few moments and see how it progresses,” she pressed, wanting to help because she knew how much not remembering his past bothered him. “If it gets too intense or if we find out that my body isn’t strong enough for it we can always stop.”

He stared down at his food and then back at her. “Liz…”

“I trust you, Max. And I want to help. Just give it a try.”

“I’ll think about it,” he said after a moment. He wasn’t willing to let this conversation ruin the evening and he really needed to think about it. “You have to recover from the storm yet.”

“I’m fine. You healed me.”

“I can’t heal mental disease.”

“Mental disease?” She looked at him with narrowed eyes.

What had he said wrong? he wondered. “I only meant – ” He sighed. “I’m sorry. I don’t know which part of what I said hurt you. I just wanted to tell you that I can only heal bodily harm, but your psyche has to close its wounds by itself. A lot of things are going on, cruel things, and you saw a lot of people die that day. It needs time to deal with it.”

“It’s not the first time I’ve been witness to something like that,” she said and pushed her food around on the plate. “Perhaps not in that exact manner, but I’m familiar with death.”

“That should not be.”

“Maybe not, but that’s the way it is.” She forced a smile. “It’s alright, Max. The situation on Earth is only deteriorating with every passing day and you either do what you have to do to survive or you just give up.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I’m many things, but a quitter isn’t one of them.”

“No,” he murmured, “I believe that.” He reached for her hand again. He needed to shift the conversation away from such negative aspects. His intention for tonight was to provide her an evening of relaxation and perhaps something a little more if she wanted. He didn’t want her to get lost in sad memories of the past so he cast about for a new topic, something that would bring the smile back to her face and lighten her mood.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 47

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:07 pm

Part 47

“Did you find your new quarters satisfactory?”

Liz stared at him for a moment until she realized what he was doing. “Yes, they’re so much more than satisfactory.” She gave him a smile and squeezed his hand. “Private quarters with my own bathroom? There’s definitely nothing to complain about.”

“Tell me about your day.”

She shrugged. “Normal day. Got up early, prepared breakfast for the soldiers, prepared breakfast for the royals, went over the food storage and made a list of things we’ll need soon, started the preparations for lunch,” she looked up at him and smirked. “Are you bored yet?”

He chuckled. “If you only knew how much I’d like to do every day things such as that. I hate most of my duties as a King because it involves so many things I’d rather not do.”

“For example?”

“I hate being in a position to make so many decisions that not only reflect on me or my family, but also on the whole planet. I hate that most of my days are spent in the war room or at official meetings instead of outside in nature, where I would love to be. I hate that every step I take is followed, I hate…” he hesitated and smirked. “Okay, I think that’s enough.”

She smirked back. “And what do you love, King Max?”

“Love,” he mused softly, “is a luxury the King of Antar can ill afford.”

“But there must be things,” she coaxed.

“Certainly there are things that I enjoy, but it is best to maintain a distance to avoid disruptions.”

“You’re avoiding the question.”

He smirked slightly. “We weren’t engineered to allow our emotions…” he was silenced when she leaned forward to place her hand over his mouth.

“Tell me what you enjoy. You hate spending your days in the war room, in meetings, and having every step shadowed by the sentries. Therefore, I would make an educated guess and say that what you love would be just the opposite. Would that assumption be correct?”

“You know, the truth is, I don’t really know what I would like to do. I can’t remember what I liked to do in my past and I’ve never had the time to find out what I would enjoy here on Antar.” He shrugged. “Maybe that is an advantage though. I don’t get distracted this way.”

She smiled. “There’s nothing wrong with a little distraction.”

“Like you?”

“You have to admit, I am distracting.”

“You are,” he agreed.

“And you do enjoy that don’t you?”

Her cheeky tone made him smile. “I do.”

“I heard that you enjoy playing basketball.”

“You heard?” He lifted one eyebrow.

“Um-hmm.”

“From who?”

“I’m not sure if I can reveal my source.”

“If there is a spy in my ranks I need to know.”

She chuckled and shook her head. “No, it’s nothing like that. Your sister was very irritated and had a lot of bitching to do after a recent encounter with your Advisor. She was ranting about stupid games and his influence on you.”

“Oh,” he frowned and then relaxed again. “She’s not taking things well.”

“She doesn’t appear to be. She’s very high-strung, isn’t she?”

“It’s her way of dealing.”

“Yeah, it seems to be her way of dealing with most things,” she said with a laugh.

“I don’t believe she was always that way. Although I can’t remember a lot from Earth, I have a feeling we got along better back then.”

“The two of you aren’t close?”

He shoved his food back and forth on his plate. “I don’t really know how to reach her. She’s so closed off all the time.”

“Have you ever tried just... talking to her? Or spending time with her doing something she enjoys?”

“Well... no.”

“No? Try it, Max. You’ll have a lot more success reaching her if you make that effort.”

“I will,” he agreed.

“Does she have any friends? Get along with anyone?”

“Not that I know of. My sister keeps her distance with everyone.”

“That’s a shame.” She shook her head. “That’s such a lonely way to live.”

“That’s how our parents planned for us to live,” he shrugged and put the fork aside to take a sip from the glass of water.

“That may be fine for them considering they’re full-blooded Antarian, but the two of you are also half-human.”

“I know that.”

“Of course you do. I think it’s just selfish that they would expect you to be exactly like them and to live the same way.”

“I doubt they even considered the possibility that we wouldn’t be happy with our destiny. They can suppress emotions like all Antarians and I think they honestly can’t imagine how hard it is for a human – or a half-human – to do the same.”

“So they’ve never questioned their actions or expectations in regard to you or your sister?” She placed her elbow on the edge of the table and rested her chin in her hand. “Surely they’ve noticed that neither of you are happy?”

“They don’t care if we’re happy or not because it is an emotion they don’t really understand.” He sighed when the dinner took a direction he hadn’t really planned.

She studied him for a moment before her gaze shifted to the window where the moons were throwing a soft light over the hills and valley beyond. “Max?”

He looked at her, waiting for what she had to say.

“Do you ever take walks in the evening? Just enjoy the gentle breeze or the way the moons create light and shadows all around you?”

“No, but mainly because I wouldn’t really be alone.”

“So...” she reached out to let her fingertips trail over the back of his hand where it lay on the table, “you don’t know of any little passageways or secret corridors that would allow us to sneak outside without your bodyguards?”

His eyes followed her movement. He didn’t want to ruin a fantastic idea, but maybe it wasn’t a good idea right now. “Liz... I would really like to, but... with everything going on right now... the attack, the storms... I think I should give my bodyguards a rest instead of a heart attack right now.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Sorry.”

“No, it’s a valid reason and we can always go for a walk on another night.”

“Okay.” He got up and walked around the table to crouch in front of her. “I really like the idea.”

Her hand settled against the side of his face and she smiled. “A moonlit walk can be very enjoyable and we’ll have to do that sometime. Maybe after things have settled down and your guards have had a rest.”

“We will do it some night.”

“I’ll look forward to it then.”

“Me too,” he told her honestly and steadied himself on her thighs to lean in for a brief kiss, which was interrupted too soon by a knock on the door.

Liz groaned. “Your people have to have the worst timing of anyone I’ve ever known.”

“It’s not the people, just me being the King,” he grumbled and got up to walk out and see who was disturbing his evening this time.

Liz glanced after him and waited until he came back, almost expecting it when he told her he had to leave.

“My mother wishes to see me and although I know it is probably unimportant she will come here if I don’t go to her.”

She made a face and nodded. “No point having your mother come here.”

“No,” he smiled and glanced at the table, “unless you want to hide again.”

“Nah, it wasn’t much fun the first time,” she said with a smile.

“Alright,” he nodded and took her hand to pull her up and towards the secret hallway again. “I will see you soon, Liz Parker.”

“I don’t know what your mother wants but I certainly hope it’s worth the interruption.”

“Doubtful,” he mumbled and leaned in for another kiss, but he kept it brief as he reached out to open the secret door for her.

She pulled him in for one last kiss before accepting the torch he retrieved for her. “I’ll see you at breakfast, Your Highness,” she said with a wink.

*****

The corridors were silent as she moved along the stone floor, her footsteps making the barest whisper of sound. She was conscious of Satara’s presence behind her, but the soldier maintained her silence, following at a distance that wouldn’t crowd her charge. She had been in her own quarters, reading for a while then getting up to pace before going back to her book. She couldn’t shake the restless feeling and she had finally given in and decided to pay the Commander a visit.

The sentries at the entrance to his personal quarters snapped to attention when she approached, though she was certain it had more to do with Satara’s presence than hers. She looked from one to the other before her eyes settled on the one who looked the least threatening.

“I’d like to see the Commander please.”

The man nodded sharply and rapped his knuckles on the door, waiting for an invitation before he slipped inside to announce the woman’s presence. He returned a moment later, holding the door open and gesturing inside. “The Commander has approved your visit.”

“Thank you.” She glanced at Satara and went inside when the soldier nodded and slipped back into the shadows.

Michael was sitting at a large desk, going over a mountain of reports. He looked up when he heard the soft footfalls announcing his visitor. He stood and held a hand out to Maria when she came into the room. It was the first time she had sought him out and he had a feeling it was an important moment.

“Hey,” she said quietly and took his hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb… whatever it is you’re doing at the moment.”

“You’re a welcome distraction, I assure you,” he said with a tired smile. “Is everything alright?”

“Huh? Yeah, it is. I was just reading and pacing and not really knowing what to do. It’s late and I’d like to sleep but I can’t.”

He smirked softly. “Perhaps you missed me.”

“Perhaps,” she said with a small smile. “I haven’t seen you much these last few days.”

He nodded. “It’s been incredibly busy.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s the administrative part of my work that is, at times, the most difficult.”

“It looks like it,” she glanced at the stack of folders on his desk.

“Yeah.” He grimaced and reached over to steady one of the stacks when it started to shift.

“You think I could just stay here with you for a bit? You can do your work and I won’t disturb you.”

“Certainly.” He gestured to the room around them. “Make yourself comfortable. You’re more than welcome to move around at your leisure.”

“Thanks.” She was glad that he had agreed because even with the small distance between them the restless feeling was completely gone and she could finally relax.

“Have you eaten?”

“Yeah, I had dinner at your kitchen a few hours ago.”

“Good. I was thinking about taking a break for a sandwich because all of this paperwork may take a while yet.”

“You’ll be up late if you intend to finish that tonight.” Doubtful it was even possible, she though.

He scratched his eyebrow as he followed her gaze to the desk. He really wasn’t in the mood for any of it, even less now that she was here, but it still needed to be done. “I guess there’s one good thing about Antarians not needing as much sleep as humans.”

“True.” Her gaze went to the broad window ledge – similar to the one in her own quarters – and she felt happiness of the thought of her being snuggled up there and wrapped in a blanket while he was working on his reports. “You want me to get you a sandwich?”

“You don’t have to do that,” he said, although he liked the thought.

“I know,” she smiled. “But I want to. You just continue with your work and I’ll fix you something and bring it here, okay?”

He had kitchen staff that was paid for things like that, but he rarely used their services, so he was sure his cook would be more than surprised to hear so late from him. “Alright, thanks.”

Maria squeezed his hands and left again, aware that he followed her to the door to tell the sentries she was allowed to come in later without any questions. She smiled to herself at the privileges he gave her so freely and made her way towards the kitchen, already going over the items she needed for a good sandwich with lots of meat and a splash of spicy. Her movements stopped in shock when she walked right into an encounter between the Captain and the Princess in the kitchen, where she hadn’t expected anyone at this time. He was standing just a few inches from her, their gazes turned towards her in surprise.

Her shock turned into slight humor when she noticed what she had interrupted and that neither of them seemed to know what to say.

“Corporal,” she said with a nod in the woman’s direction. She smiled slightly at the expression on the man’s face. “Captain.”

Kyle cleared his throat and glanced at Tess, watching her for her reaction to the Commander’s guest as he shot a smile in the woman’s direction. “Looks like you had the same idea we did.”

Tess rolled her eyes at him. “Really?”

“What?” He just shrugged at the droll tone and the look she gave him. “We did come here for a snack.” He grinned. “That was the original plan anyway. It’s not my fault you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself.”

“We can come back later.”

Maria motioned to the fully stocked cupboards. “I was just about to make something to eat. I don’t mind making something for you as well,” she offered. She was never exactly sure where she stood with the other woman and for all she knew the Princess might just decide she was making the offer to poison her.

“Sounds good,” Kyle agreed and earned a glare from Tess when she obviously had other plans. WHAT? he mouthed innocently.

The Princess rolled her eyes but went to get plates out of the cupboard next to her. “Sure, why not?”

“I was planning to make sandwich. You okay with that?” Maria asked as she moved further into the room. She opened the refrigerator to get out a few items before she went into a little storage room for more.

“Nothing goes over better than a sandwich. Antarian food really is nasty.” He grinned at Tess. “Nothing against you, babe, but this spicy-sweet thing you guys prefer is really kinda disgusting sometimes.”

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” she told him and got the bottle of extra hot pepper sauce to place it on the counter purposefully.

He snorted. “I beg to differ. I’ve had some of the concoctions you’ve made and there were a few times I was sure you’d obliterated my sense of taste.”

She rolled her eyes at him and shifted her gaze when the human joined them again, her arms filled with a variety of food items for sandwiches. “Did you not have dinner earlier?”

“I did, but your brother didn’t. He’s buried under a mountain of reports so I offered to make him something to eat.”

Kyle took a few things to help Maria and set them on the counter, grabbing a container of Antar’s version of pickles. He removed the cover and held it out to Tess, knowing she could go through more than her fair share if she was in the right mood. He waved it back and forth in front of her several times before she grabbed it from him.

Maria watched the exchange without being obvious about it. There was something amusing and almost relaxing about watching the couple’s interactions, something so… normal. She set about putting the sandwiches together, layering meats, cheeses, vegetables, and yes, that something sweet to offset the spicier ingredients. Conscious of the Captain’s comments earlier she was a little more cautious about putting his sandwich together; lighter on the sweet and spicy, heavier on the meats and cheeses.

“Looks good,” Kyle said and leaned over the counter. “I like the amount of meat.”

Tess rolled her eyes. “If it was up to you, there would be only meat day and night.” She watched as he grabbed his sandwich when it was done and took a huge bite while the woman watched. “I’m surprised he didn’t pick the vegetables off first.”

Maria chuckled. “The trick is to hide them between the other stuff.”

“I’ll have to remember that.”

Kyle grinned with a full mouth. “Do that, babe,” he mumbled.

“Disgusting,” she muttered and grabbed her own food.

Maria went to get some napkins from the other side of the counter and placed them over the sandwich for Michael to get a better grip on it while she transported it back to him. “Have a nice evening,” she told the couple.

“You too,” Kyle said and swallowed as he held the sandwich up. “And thanks.”

“No problem,” she pushed the door open and walked out, smiling when the Princess started to tease the Captain about his eating manners as soon as she had left again.

It only took a minute to get back to the Commander’s quarters and she hid the smirk when the sentry straightened at her presence and just caught himself before he asked why she was there as he normally would. He leaned to the side and pushed one of the double doors open to let her inside. As soon as she had walked in, he reversed the process and closed it again.

“I was about to check on you.” Michael stood in the doorway to his bedroom, his posture relaxed as he leaned against the frame.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to take so long.”

He shook his head. “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.” He straightened slightly. “That you were alright.”

The corners of her lips turned up in a small smile in response to his concern. “I’m fine,” she assured him. “I interrupted your sister and the Captain in the kitchen.” She walked deeper into the room. “They were…” Did he know about them?

Michael waved a hand dismissively. “I am aware of their relationship. And I’m sure I can imagine what they were up to.” He made a face at the thought. In his kitchen! “Did Tess give you any problems?”

“No, not at all. It just took a little longer because I offered to make them something to eat as well.” She shook her head at him when he started to protest. “It wasn’t any trouble. I already had everything out and it doesn’t take any longer to make three sandwiches than it does to make one.” She held his out to him, her expression expectant.

He looked at the sandwich and then took it from her. “Thank you.” His mouth watered as soon as he caught the scent of the food. “Seems like you Earth women know a lot more about cooking than Antarians,” he mumbled when he had swallowed the first bite.

“Making a sandwich is not cooking, Michael,” she said, amused.

“It’s as good as,” he shrugged and walked over to sit at his desk while eating.

“I’m gonna cook for you one night to show you the difference,” she told him and went to get her book from the table.

He chuckled and took another bite. “If you cook,” he emphasized the word, “as well as you make a sandwich you can cook for me anytime you want.”

“You probably developed a taste for Earth-based foods while you were living there.” She retrieved a blanket and settled on the wide window ledge, looking outside for several minutes before she cracked the book open. She pulled her knees up close to her body and braced the book against them, flipping through the pages until she found her place.

Michael reached for the next report in the stack, opening it up and scanning over the account of one of his officers’ last battle. He sighed quietly and bit into the sandwich, chewing slowly and savoring the taste as he ran over the information in the folder. He memorized the pertinent facts, made some notations on the tablet next to him, and signed off on the report. He pulled the next one in front of him to begin the process all over again, glancing up to watch Maria for a moment before forcing his attention back to the work waiting for him.

The glass of the window was still warm from the suns that had recently set and Maria rested the side of her head against it as she began to read. She had become accustomed to the difference in temperature between day and night on Antar and she was prepared. Her fingers traced over the edge of the soft blanket as she shifted around and she realized that while her eyes were now near the bottom of the page she had no idea what she had just read.

Her head lifted just enough to bring the Commander into view over the top of her book and she studied him as he worked his way through the stack of reports. His face was so mobile; his expression intent, his lips moving occasionally as he read silently, and his brow furrowing when he became absorbed in something that troubled him. She could sit there and watch him all night, but she made herself read because she knew excessive staring would draw his attention and he had work to do.

He had been reviewing the reports for so long his eyes felt like they were crossing. He rested his chin in his hand and let his gaze move over Maria, taking in every small move she made; the way her features shifted as she read, the way the fingertips of her right hand brushed gently over the edges of the pages before turning them, and the way her face relaxed when she read something that amused her and she smiled. He rubbed his eyes and reached for the next report, pulling it from the stack and dropping it on the desk before him. He glanced over the reports still waiting and was pleased to see that the number of files left to go through had considerably lessened. In spite of his preference for observing the woman he was connected to he really did need to complete the tedious task so that it wouldn’t be waiting for him in the morning.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 48

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:07 pm

Part 48

“Fed up with it?” she asked when she noticed his gaze on the work still remaining in spite of the time he had put into it already.

“While I understand the necessity for documentation it is tedious and time consuming.” He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. “There are many other things I could do with my time.”

“For example?” She shut the book, but kept one finger between the pages and looked at him.

He shrugged one shoulder and his fingers played over the pen lying on the report waiting to be read. “I have a beautiful, gentle, funny, caring woman in my quarters and I find myself wanting to be with her rather than reading and approving reports.”

It was weird to hear those words from a warrior, a man of such strength like him, but she liked it. “Well, you’re lucky because I have nowhere else to go.”

“Would you if you did?” he asked.

“Here on Antar?” She shook her head. “No.”

He nodded and his eyes dropped back to the report. “But you would if you could go somewhere else that wasn’t Antar.”

“I miss life on Earth,” she shrugged and her gaze wandered outside over the dark landscape, which was only illuminated by some outside lamps placed around the castle. “I miss rain and snow and... my Mom.”

“We have yet to locate your mother, but our people have been notified that if she’s found they’re to report in immediately.”

Why hadn’t they been able to find her mother? She knew the woman never would’ve left without trying to leave her a message to let her know where she was. The thought that she might never be able to talk to her again hurt badly. “I know.”

“We won’t stop looking, Maria.” He pushed back and stood, stretching before moving around the desk and walking over to her. He crouched down next to the window, facing her as he reached up to bring her gaze to his. “I promise we will not stop until we know one way or the other.” He sighed when he felt the tremor run through her. “I can’t promise the news will be good, but I can promise we will get an answer for you.”

“I know you’re doing your best,” she forced a small smile, but it faded quickly.

He studied her downcast expression. “You don’t believe my people will uncover the truth?”

“I do believe in your people, waiting just isn’t one of my strengths, Michael. Not in this case anyway.”

He nodded at her explanation. “I do understand impatience,” he said with a chuckle.

“Yes, you do,” she agreed and slipped her finger from between the pages of the book to set it aside.

“I discovered many seasons back that very few things deserved my patience.” He studied her features when she looked at him again.

“And which things are those?”

“The things that matter most,” he said simply.

“Like?” she pushed gently.

He cleared his throat. “Amela.” He ran a hand through his hair. “My sister.” He rolled his eyes and snorted. “Well... sometimes. At other times she pushes my patience to the extreme limits.” He reached for her hand, his thumb stroking over her soft skin. “You.”

“You are patient with me,” she agreed. “I know I’m irritating at times and I say things I don’t mean the way they come out.”

He shook his head and gave her a smile. “I think that can be said for both of us.”

“Has the advisor discovered anything about the connection yet? Any new information at all?”

He shifted and stood, nudging her and sitting on the wide ledge facing her when she moved her legs closer to the window. “We have learned some new information.”

Her muscles automatically tensed at his confession. “What is it?”

“After we met in the courtyard I had a conversation with my mother.” He didn’t know how she would take this news. “She recognized the connection when she saw us together.”

“She recognized it?” She looked at him, stunned. “I didn’t know we were that obvious.”

“I don’t believe we were.” He inhaled deeply. “She apparently experienced it when she was younger.”

Her eyes widened. “Really? So that means it went away again?” He had spoken in the past tense, so it meant she didn’t have it now, right?

He shook his head. “No, from my understanding it’s never gone away. The man she was connected to, he was killed when the decree was passed down that anyone possessing the gene was to be put to death.”

“Oh,” she breathed out. “What’d she tell you about it?” How bad was it that his mother knew about them? she wondered. Their parents had come up with a plan for their children’s lives and she sure as hell didn’t fit in with that plan.

“First, you should know she won’t share this information. She knows how dangerous it would be if news of this became public knowledge. You may not like what she had to say, Maria,” he warned her gently.

“Yeah,” she swallowed, “I’m prepared for that.”

“The connection can’t be severed, not even in death. There is a possibility that there’s a second book that can help us translate the one we have and if we can find it we would learn more about it, but it looks like you’re stuck with me.”

For one part, it was a scary thought. How could you be connected to a man for a lifetime when you didn’t even know him? And what if you didn’t even like him? Not that it was a problem here, but in general. On the other side, the fact that the connection wouldn’t just disappear again calmed her because she wouldn’t be left behind at any time. He would always be kind of responsible for her and he would never be able to go after a different woman.

He watched her carefully, searching her face for anything that would indicate the news was distressing her. “What’re you thinking?”

“I’ve had some time to get used to the thought that this might be the truth...” she started with a quiet voice. “And I’d like to believe it’s a good thing, I’m just not really sure about it.”

He scratched his eyebrow with his thumb. “I know you didn’t ask for this... a lifetime being connected to a man you know very little about.”

“We’ve only known each other a small amount of time, but it feels like a lot longer, that helps. And I guess you didn’t ask to be connected to me either. Someone Antarian or at least hybrid would probably be much better suited to a man like you.”

“Perhaps if the thought of being bored for the rest of my life suited me,” he said with a snort.

She chuckled for a moment and looked down at his hands in his lap. “It means Rath will never be able to connect with me, right? Since I’m already connected to you?”

“I asked my mother about a forced connection with someone who shares a true connection with another and unfortunately she didn’t know for certain if it was possible. She was able to force a connection with my father, but the man she shared the true connection with was dead, so we don’t know.”

“If it was possible, you could still marry the Princess.”

He made a face. “Then I prefer it not be possible.”

“Yeah, me too.” She took his hands in hers and thought how ridiculously small they were compared to his. With a deep sigh she forced her gaze to meet his. “So you an’ me, huh?”

His lips turned up into a smile as he squeezed her hands gently. “Looks like it.”

Although she should’ve expected it, she was surprised by the sudden flash that flickered to life in her mind. It felt like it only lasted a second and she wasn’t sure if it had been just a feeling... or an image... or a thought, but she knew what the connection was expecting – or maybe offering?

He watched as her expression changed, shifting from surprise to momentary hesitation to what looked like... acceptance? “You saw something.”

“I’m not sure what that actually was,” she frowned.

“But...?”

Instead of answering, her focus – as if it was led by something – shifted to his lips. She knew it was preposterous, but she was so ready to kiss him. The question was, could she just go for it and do it? He was the Commander and she was… no one. What right did she have to just kiss him?

Michael saw the questions in her gaze, the hesitant and barely noticeable shift as she leaned in his direction. His hand came up to cradle her cheek and his thumb stroked over her bottom lip. He had thought of kissing her more than once but always held himself in check out of concern for her. After what she had been through, even with the connection’s help, he wasn’t sure what she would be comfortable with. “You never need wonder if your advances would be welcome,” he muttered gruffly.

She blinked and looked back into his eyes when she realized he had spoken. It took a moment, but when his words registered, she didn’t hesitate again and brought her legs under her to kneel in front of him. With both hands, she grabbed the collar of the uniform he was almost always wearing and brought his lips to hers, groaning slightly as soon as they met.

He took his time, careful not to push for too much. He didn’t know just how much the connection was insinuating itself into the moment. He nudged the thoughts aside and focused on the moment, knowing he had to trust Maria to let him know if he needed to back off. He shifted his head, changing the angle of the kiss.

So many emotions were running through her that she had no clue what she was feeling. But there wasn’t anything negative, so she continued. Her hands relaxed on the sides of his neck when it was clear he wasn’t denying the kiss. His lips felt softer than she had expected them to be and although he didn’t seem to remember a lot from Earth and the habits of humans, he definitely knew how to kiss a woman.

Michael followed her lead and his arm came around her waist, slowly pulling her closer and giving her the opportunity to pull back if she wanted. He could feel the emotions rioting through her, their ever-changing pattern enough to make him dizzy. He felt her settle against him and he tightened his hold on her fractionally.

This was overwhelming, Maria thought in the back of her mind. His grip around her felt better than the previous hugs she had gotten from him, this time it wasn’t all about protectiveness. Air became an issue after a few more seconds, so she broke the kiss, but just backed off just enough for the necessary breath she so desperately needed.

For a moment he thought he had moved too fast, but then he realized she hadn’t moved far and as he recognized the signs of lack of oxygen and it made him grin. “Took your breath away, huh?” he teased.

“In more than one way,” she whispered.

His eyebrows lifted at that. “Interesting.”

“You liked it?” she asked and used one hand to run it through his hair.

He unconsciously leaned into her touch. “Very much, yes.”

“Me too,” she admitted, her lips brushing his while she spoke.

“Good.” He wondered how much his mother knew about the connection’s ability to suppress memories. He let his fingers trail down over her neck before slipping under her hair. He applied light pressure to bring her even closer to kiss her again.

Maria let him take control, knowing he would be careful with her. Again, she wasn’t expecting it when flashes hit her fast. They weren’t about them this time though.

Michael felt her hands on his chest, roaming rather than pushing him away, and it encouraged him. He cautioned himself not to rush and was almost surprised at how easy it was to follow the directive. He let his tongue slip out to tease her lips but didn’t push to take the kiss deeper just yet, using her reactions to guide him.

The movement tickled her sensitive lips and she willingly parted them to let him in.

He accepted her invitation to deepen the kiss, allowing himself more latitude as he decided she knew what she could handle. His hand moved down over her back, reining in the desire to feel her skin for the moment. In spite of his desire for more, he knew the kiss was more than enough for now.

“My knees,” she mumbled when that part of her body started to hurt. With her hands resting on his shoulders, using him for leverage, she moved her legs from under her to lessen the pressure on them.

“We could move someplace more comfortable,” he suggested.

“No,” she shook her head and sat in his lap, “I’m good again.”

He grinned as he looped his arms around her, holding her close as he shifted to lean back against the wall. He looked down over the grounds, watching the shadows play over them as the moons rose higher in the sky.

Maria studied his relaxed face. “Can I ask you something?”

He glanced at her. “Ask.”

She ran two fingers over her swollen lips. “Do you... ‘see’ things when you kiss me?”

“There are... momentary flashes, things I don’t understand.”

“From my past?”

“Possibly.” He mused over that for a moment. “Probably.”

She nodded wordlessly.

“They’re just quick flashes, nothing to really hold onto and determine what’s being seen.” He reached up to rub his right eyebrow as he averted his gaze again. “Most of it is more feelings than images,” he admitted uncomfortably.

“I see things as well,” she admitted and leaned her forehead against his.

He frowned at that. If they were able to see things from each other’s pasts she could’ve seen any number of violent images. “Something you wish to discuss?”

“As you said, they’re brief, hard to grasp. But I believe they were things were from your time on Earth.”

He shook his head. “I don’t understand what the connection hopes to achieve by permitting access to past memories.” He had very few memories of his time on Earth, but most of them surrounded the family he’d had there.

“Maybe it wants us to share good memories with all of the darkness around us.” She shrugged because she had no clue if it was true, but she hoped the connection would spare her any detailed flashes of the war.

“Do you ever see anything that scares you?” he asked.

“Scares me about you?” she asked and shook her head. “No.”

He nodded. “I’ve seen and done things that would likely terrify you if you were to hear about them, so I can only imagine what it would do to you if you saw them.”

“You did those things because you had to do them to protect your people.”

“Yes, but I can’t imagine that would make it any less terrifying for someone who hasn’t been in my position.”

“Yeah, probably,” she mumbled and picked at the collar of his uniform. “But maybe the connection won’t even let me see that. I believe it won’t.”

“Intuition?”

“It wants us to be together. So why would it let me see things that would scare me?”

“That’s a good point.” He paused, debating whether he wanted to pose his next question, and finally deciding she could handle it. “Maria, the more time that passes, as the connection strengthens...” he swallowed, “do the memories of your time with Rath seem to be fading or even disappearing?”

“Not disappearing,” she told him and frowned. “It’s hard to describe. I can still remember, but... it’s like looking at it from the outside, you know?”

“So, the pain associated with that time is diminishing?”

“Yes, it’s like looking at it with emotional distance.”

He nodded. “I’m glad it’s allowing that to happen.”

“Me too,” she whispered.

He watched her, his mind shifting back to something she had said earlier. “Why do you doubt that you’re suited to me?”

“I don’t know. It just seems like you should be with someone who’s more like you. Someone who’s fighter; someone powerful, and someone who’s brave. Not just a normal human woman like me.”

“You survived captivity at Rath’s hands,” he said with a shake of his head. “You came to a planet so foreign to you, not knowing what you were walking into, and you took a position in a field hospital. How could you possibly see yourself as anything less than a fighter or think yourself not brave?”

“I survived because he let me survive,” she denied. “And my other option other than Antar would’ve been a life on Earth, which as you know, is anything but glorious these days.” She smirked as she thought about their conversation. “You know, it doesn’t matter if I think I’m the right woman for you or not because you’re obviously stuck with me anyway.”

It bothered him that she didn’t see that she had survived because of her inner strength and the will to live. “How would you describe the Princess I’m supposed to marry? Would you categorize her as a fighter? As a brave woman? I won’t ask about power because obviously she has abilities and a powerful temper,” he joked lightly.

“I’ve heard she’s a bitch,” she said dryly.

He made a face. “You make her sound like a perfectly suitable mate for the Commander of Antar.”

She chuckled and moved closer. “No, you deserve someone who cares about you; someone who gives you time to relax and enjoy when you’re not out on the field.”

“So not necessarily someone who wields a sword and shoots laser beams from her eyes.”

“No,” she laughed and realized that maybe she wasn’t so wrong for him in the end. At least she could give him things outside the war.

“That’s good news because I don’t think I’d be able to let down my guard with her and fights could be dangerous,” he said dryly.

“And you’re letting your guard down with me?” she asked carefully.

“I find it much easier with you.”

“Okay,” she said softly and hugged him. “You can always be yourself with me, Michael.”

He chuckled and hugged her back. “Who else would I be?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. The Commander maybe?”

“I suppose so.” He leaned his head back against the wall. “It’s difficult to put my rank away when I’m home.”

“No wonder with everything going on. It’s not like anyone besides a few people expect anything else from you other than being the Commander.”

“That much is certainly true.”

It was a shame because he could be so much more than that, she thought as she looked at him.

“What about you?” he asked.

“Me?”

“You must have expectations.”

“About you?”

He nodded.

“I don’t know,” she admitted honestly. What should she expect from him?

“Expectations can be difficult to live up to,” he said after a moment.

“That’s true. So, since you asked me. What about you? What do you expect from me?”

He shook his head. “I wouldn’t say expectations so much as... hope, maybe? Hope that you’ll be happy here, that this connection doesn’t become a burden, and that you always feel safe and secure with me.” He grinned. “I suppose if there are expectations I would have to go with the expectation of more good food prepared by your hands in the future.”

“I do feel safe with you,” she hugged him tighter. “I know you can’t protect me from everything and I don’t expect you to run into every danger blindly to keep me safe.” She sighed and leaned back to look at him. “Promise me you won’t.”

The look in her eyes made him want to give her anything she wanted, but he knew he couldn’t. “You’re asking for the one thing I can’t promise.”

“Khivar will expect it. You have to be smart.” She tapped his head lightly.

“I’m a seasoned warrior, Maria, not a soldier seeing battle for the first time. I’m not reckless but there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep you safe.”

She nodded wordlessly. There were no words that could get him to look at this from a different perspective because it was just the way he was – it was WHO he was – and she just hoped it never got to that point where he had to save her again. The problem was that Khivar wasn’t their only problem. Inside the castle there were also people who wouldn’t want her to be with him.

He watched her for a moment as a feeling of unease moved through him. The feeling didn’t belong to him so he could only assume it was coming from her. “Something is troubling you,” he said as he cupped her chin and lifted her gaze to his.

She laughed quietly. “Sometimes this connection is really no fun.”

He would agree with that assessment. “You can tell me.”

“Okay, well,” she sighed and frowned as she tried to find words. “Aren’t you worried how people in the castle will react? We can’t keep this a secret forever, Michael.”

“About the connection?”

“Yeah.”

“No, we won’t be able to hide it forever, you’re right about that. But we only need to hide it until we can swing things to our advantage.”

“What if someone finds out while you aren’t here?”

“Your safety is of the utmost importance, Maria. Satara will remain with you and there are other guards watching over you.”

“Is your mother against us?”

“Surprisingly enough, no.”

“Can I meet her?”

He reached up to tug at his collar. “You want to meet my mother?” He only stared when she nodded. “Why?”

“I don’t know. For advice maybe? If she knows stuff about the connection, she might be helpful in figuring some things out. Maybe she knows what I can do about this restless feeling when you’re away.”

“I can speak with her and make arrangements for you to meet if that is what you wish.”

“Thanks,” she nodded. Maybe the woman didn’t have answers to everything, but it couldn’t hurt to get to know people around the castle.

“If anyone gives you any trouble I want you to let me know. You shouldn’t run into any opposition here, not on my side. My staff was carefully selected because of their views concerning human-Antarian relations, but if you do run into any problems, even if they occur on the King’s side, I want you to report it immediately. I will not tolerate that kind of behavior.”

“I will.”

He nodded, satisfied that she would. He didn’t know how his mother would react to being asked to meet with Maria. She hadn’t been opposed to his connection to a human; she had seemed more concerned for his safety than anything else. Had he ever seen her interact with a human? He searched his memory and realized that he honestly couldn’t recall a single incident where she had spent any time with a human. Maybe it would be good for her. If things continued on their current path who know what could happen? He and Maria were connected, Max seemed intent on pursuing Liz, Tess was happy with Kyle, and who knew what was going on with Isabel and the Advisor? He could feel the winds of change but they had to find a way to control their path.

“Another kiss, Commander?” she asked quietly when his mind seemed to be anywhere but here.

He turned his head and his eyes moved over her features for a moment before settling on her lips with a smile. “Always,” he swore as he cupped her jaw and tilted her head back. His lips pressed against hers in a kiss that was gently demanding.

Maria enjoyed the way his lips moved over hers, changing the tone from gentle, to teasing, to heated every now and then. He knew so well what he was doing that she was sure he hadn’t been living celibate since his return from Earth, but it didn’t matter as long as she was the only one right now.

Michael’s hand slid down to settle around the back of her neck, massaging the muscles there. He smiled when her hands curled around his collar again and he could easily imagine her touch becoming braver and more exploratory in time. His body of course had its own ideas and he froze for a moment when she noticed his reaction where she was pressed against him and he felt her tense for the space of a heartbeat. He eased back, breaking the kiss and waiting to see if she was going to bolt.

“Excited much?” she asked a little breathlessly and shifted a few inches away from that part of his body that was demanding attention.

He cleared his throat lightly. “It is a bit difficult to hide but I would never...” he trailed off when she pressed a finger to his lips.

“I know the biology of the male body,” she told him quietly and glanced down at him briefly. “I would be really offended if your reaction had been different. I just don’t have any intention of going any further tonight and I know with me in your lap it’s not really helping you.”

“No, of course not.” He looked at her, gauging her reaction. “Do you intend to remain here tonight?”

“If you’re okay with it,” she nodded, “I’d like to stay.”

“I would like that.”

“Okay,” she leaned forward for another brief kiss on the lips. “Why don’t you finish up your work then and I’ll be waiting for you here while you do that.”

He sighed heavily and nodded. “As much as I enjoy your company I think that’s probably wise.”

“It is,” she moved from his lap and sat back against the wall facing him.

After a few moments he forced himself to his feet. “Very well, I’ll attend to my reports.” He bit back a yawn and hoped it wouldn’t be much longer.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 49

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:08 pm

Part 49

“She’s been located by the Monario Hills. A few of the locals are preventing her immediate return because they’ve had trouble with their cattle.” The radio in her hand crackled as the rough male voice spoke.

She pressed the button to give a short response while she leaned forward to rub the thick neck of her horse in a soothing manner. “Good. That’s my sign.”

“We’re not sure how long she’ll be held up before she returns to the castle.”

“It’s the best opportunity we’re likely to get. I’m on my way. No more radio contact.”

“Good luck,” the soldier at the other end replied shortly. “Unit four, over and out.”

Ava snorted at her man’s wish and put the radio away before she kicked the huge animal in its side lightly to give it the signal to start moving.

The horse nickered and started to gallop in a steady fast rhythm. The landscape around her flew by and her posture straightened slightly when the castle came into view in the distance. She knew the plan was risky, but it was the only way to find a way into the castle. Rath and Vilondra had pushed for actions and she hadn’t been able to convince them that another incursion was too dangerous at this time. They wanted proof later that she had been in the castle and there had just been no way to contact the Commander of Antar for another meeting to come up with a different solution – the man had been unapproachable and it annoyed her. Wasn’t he aware that maybe she would want to talk to him again? She had warned him about the attack after all!

She went over her mental checklist, making sure everything was as it needed to be to pass for the future Queen of Antar. She passed through the gates unchallenged and she watched the people moving around, going about their daily business with interest. As her horse responded to the slightest touch on the reins and the quiet clip-clop of his hooves echoed on the cobbled street she noted the difference in the people.

The people loyal to Khivar believed the Royal Four were to blame for their poor situations but the truth was it was their own leaders who had led them to ruin. Khivar wasn’t suffering from the same plight as his people; he had shelter from the elements, food whenever he wanted to eat, clean water to sate his thirst, and he never worried that anything he needed or wanted might be out of his reach. It didn’t bother him that his people suffered. He felt no guilt over his people’s situation and he had no problem using them to his advantage when it suited him.

She looked up when silence fell over those milling about and she lifted her head to follow their gazes. The King had just stepped out onto one of the balconies and she felt her heart stutter in her chest as she caught a fleeting glimpse of Zan in his features. The man standing above her hadn’t suffered, he had never withstood torture, fought just to survive, and therefore he lacked much of what had made Zan the man he was.

The King had presence; he wielded authority the way Zan had wielded a sword, though he wasn’t nearly as comfortable with the responsibilities that weighed on his young shoulders. Zan had been scarred in many ways, borne the burden of his resemblance to the King with as much dignity as possible, and taken the abuse Khivar enjoyed doling out on a whim. He had spent a lifetime fighting and clawing his way from the bottom and just when he had been ready to begin implementing his plan to free them from Khivar’s control he had been taken from her.

Her spine straightened by sheer force of will when the pain from his last moments ripped through her and her resolve to see his vision carried out strengthened. She wasn’t really listening as the King addressed his people – it wasn’t anything of importance. Her gaze moved over the people once more and she watched the way they responded. It was plain to see that most of them adored him, but she also identified a handful scattered about who watched him with thinly disguised hatred.

She was familiar with the belief held by many full-blooded Antarians; the certainty that hybrids were a threat to their pure bloodlines. It had made it easy to hate them, all of them, and for the longest time she hadn’t understood Zan’s growing interest in shifting his loyalties. She pulled her mind away from those thoughts, knowing she was getting dangerously close to slipping into other, better, memories. She kicked the horse into a walk, leaving the public area and heading to the stables to turn the animal over to a caretaker. Once the animal had been left with the man she studied her surroundings for a few minutes, then took a deep breath and boldly walked through the doors held open by saluting sentries.

It was difficult to maneuver in the castle even though she had been there a few times. Khivar had wanted her to provide a blueprint of the hallways and rooms and until now she had always been able to convince him that she hadn’t seen enough to even start trying. Some places seemed a bit familiar, but others were new and she had no clue where she was going. Would the Commander hide the human on his side of the castle or would she be under the protection of the King and his guards? Not that she really had any intention of finding her and delivering her to Khivar, but if she found out where she was hidden, she could lead their people in the wrong direction more easily.

“I didn’t expect you to be here so early.”

Ava stopped in her tracks when someone spoke to her from her left just like that. At first she considered ignoring the person and walking on, but after a quick check she recognized the man. “Captain,” she greeted him with a nod. “Things went better than expected and I was able to depart earlier than expected.”

Although the man had been with them when she had met the Commander the last time, she didn’t trust him. His eyes had been skeptical and his body language had expressed alarm during the time she had been talking to Rath’s opponent.

Kyle glanced over the woman in front of him and somehow he had the feeling that she was hiding something. Not that it was anything new, he thought with a sigh. “So buttoned up today?” He reached out to tug on her collar. She hated the uniform jacket because it strangled her, so normally she left the first button open to be able to breathe better.

Ava resisted the urge to smack his hand. Was the Captain always so… loose around the royals? “I had meetings with the units,” she told him in a voice that held no emotion.

He tipped his head to one side, studying her and trying to figure out what she was up to. “You have any problems out there?”

“No.” She took a step forward, her intention to brush him aside. “I have business to attend to.”

“Business to attend to,” he echoed in disbelief. It wasn’t unusual for Tess to put business first when something important was going on, and he understood that necessity, but there were no indicators that anything had happened to warrant this level of indifference.

Her eyes narrowed when she tried to move around him and he shifted to block her path. “I will assume you are aware of the penalties associated with defying a direct order from a superior officer, Captain.”

He grinned suddenly, certain now that she was just screwing with him. Tess could be bossy when she wanted to be, she could play the rank card when she wanted to, and there were times when the games started before he knew about them. It was a challenge and one she loved for him to take her up on. He shifted into her space, his breath ghosting over her lips as he leaned in closer.

Ava was too perplexed to think anything and she reacted quickly and used her powers to shove him several feet away. “What do you think you are doing, Captain?” she snapped and only then did it occur to her that maybe she had made a mistake. What if the Princess and the human in front of her were that way? Was it possible? Her eyes roamed over him and she didn’t miss the suspicious look on his face when his gaze narrowed on her.

Kyle almost gasped in surprise when he realized who was in front of him. The closed up uniform, the normal sword instead of the unique one Tess always carried, her obvious disbelief at how he was talking to her. “Ava,” he growled dangerously and pulled out his sword without taking his eyes of off her.

Her hand dropped to her own weapon, but after a moment of considering, she relaxed and lifted both of her arms instead, hands wide open and facing him. “I’m not here as a threat, Captain.”

“So you slipped into the castle to what?” he snapped. “Hide from your own men because they’ve detected you as a traitor?”

How much should she tell him, she wondered. “Speaking of traitors, does Zander know you’re fucking his soon-to-be daughter-in-law?”

Kyle’s hand clenched around the sword and he grabbed her shoulder with his free hand to turn her around and shove her forward. “Move, bitch.”

She chuckled, but did as she was told. “You know I could kill you with one swipe of my hand if I wanted to, right?” To be honest, she was nervous about how things were developing, but if the Captain had her, then maybe she would get the chance to talk to the Commander soon.

“And I could kill you with a single slice of my blade,” he countered. “I believe the Commander will want to speak with you.”

“Good. He’s been impossible to find lately.”

“You’ve managed in the past.”

She smirked. “That bothers you, doesn’t it, Captain? Not only that I’ve tracked his location but that he’s listened to me.”

“Any animal can track its prey,” he growled, his stance shifting to the defensive when she suddenly whirled around, her eyes flashing dangerously. “I will drop you where you stand,” he warned.

“You think because we were deemed defective by the royals that we’re no better than animals,” she snarled ferociously. “Think what you will. It’s not my duty to change your opinion of us. But even the royals know better than to mess with a wounded animal, Captain.”

Kyle let the tip of his sword rest against her jugular, noting the rapid beat of her heart at the pulse point in her neck. “Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a wounded animal is to put it down.”

“I won’t expect or wait for your kindness.”

He took a few deep breaths and pushed his sword slightly forward, not to harm her in a life-threatening way, but to nudge her in the direction he wanted her to go. “I said move.” With his head he nodded to the left.

Ava stared at him for a few more seconds before she gave in and did what he wanted her to do. If she killed him now the Commander would never trust her again. “As you wish, Captain,” she muttered sarcastically and turned to follow the semi-dark hallway.

“To the left,” he ordered when they reached a fork in the path and he was glad when no one seemed to be moving about the corridors. The last thing he needed was a fight in the hallways with servants or sentries in the way. Michael was still out instructing the newly created unit of assassins, which meant he had to keep the dupe under control as long as it took for him to return. Not an easy task for a 100% human, he thought, frustrated. He knew about her mind warping powers and that if she chose to use them he was basically powerless against them.

*****

Maria wandered through the courtyard, imagining how it would look if it was livened up with flowers and plants. It was well maintained and cared for but it needed some color to really bring it to life. She could just picture Amela running around, stopping to check out the flowers because she was just awed by the bright colors. She wondered if Antar had an equivalent to the butterflies that had once been so visible on Earth. The little girl would have so much fun chasing after them and trying to catch them.

It was so easy to imagine Michael out there with her, a beautiful, fragile butterfly held in his large hands while Amela leaned in to look at it. For a man capable of such violence he could be so incredibly gentle and she would never tire of seeing him in that capacity. She was startled out of her thoughts when she realized she was no longer alone. Well, Satara was always nearby but she no longer felt the soldier’s presence as an intrusion.

Zadira stood at the entry to the courtyard, her sharp gaze scanning the grounds and making a threat assessment before she took a single step outside. She motioned for her guards to remain at the entry and her eyes never moved from the human woman as she took her time crossing the cobbled pathway to join her. She was conscious of Satara’s presence, well aware that her son had permanently assigned the soldier to accompany the woman he was connected to.

She had immersed herself in research regarding the habits of humans, knowing that her son would not appreciate it if she insulted the woman. She had read that it was customary to greet a human with a smile and a… what was it called again? Ah, yes, a shaking hand. Her brow furrowed. No, that wasn’t correct. It was called a handshake. Yes, that was it. She had spent a considerable amount of time before her mirror, practicing what was necessary to make the human more at ease with her approach. She forced the corners of her mouth to lift and extended her hand towards the woman.

“Hello, Maria,” Zadira greeted politely.

The blonde woman stared at the outstretched hand for several seconds before she was able to react. She shook it with a grip that was neither too firm nor too loose and lifted her head to meet her eyes. “Queen Zadira,” she greeted uncertainly and bowed her head slightly. She had told Michael that she wanted to meet his mother, but she hadn’t expected it would be so unplanned.

“Are you enjoying the courtyard? It used to be one of my favorite places in past days.”

“Why not anymore?”

The woman released her hand and Maria wasn’t sure what to do with her arms now, so she just let them hang at her sides.

The Queen’s gaze moved over the landscape for a moment. “It is not like it once was. The war has left its mark.” She smiled sadly and looked at the younger woman, who seemed to be uncomfortable in her presence. “There used to be flowers.” Zadira pointed with her index finger at the line running along the front of the protection walls, “and everything was quiet.”

For a moment both of them fell silent as they listened to the noises around. The Queen chuckled and even Maria smiled briefly when the wind carried some Corporal’s yelling voice towards them. He was obviously on the training field with his soldiers but the sound came to them as easily as if he were standing next to them. “Now everything reminds us of the war. No one even has the time to plant flowers or care about the way the castle grounds look.”

“Do you still have flowers?”

“But of course. We do have a small group of botanists who are dedicated to ensuring their survival.”

“Is it forbidden to plant them with the war going on?”

“No, it is mostly a matter of too few people to tend to such things.”

“Would you be opposed to someone taking an interest in tending to them?”

Zadira motioned for the human woman to join her as she began to walk along the path that led through the courtyard. “Tending flowers and teaching children is quite different from your former position nursing the soldiers in a field hospital.”

“Yes.” Maria swallowed with difficulty. “Yes, it is.”

The woman nodded and after a moment of silence decided not to pursue that line of conversation just now. Michael would not be pleased to learn that she had upset the woman. “Did you have an interest in botany on Earth?”

“Not as a science,” she answered, relieved the Queen hadn’t continued with her line of questioning. “Just as a hobby. Something that interested me and occupied my time,” she clarified when the woman looked at her with a slightly confused expression. “Liz and I were just discussing the lack of flowers and wondering if we might be permitted to… Liz, she’s another human woman here in the castle, just on the King’s side. She works in the kitchens.” Was she babbling? What if she was? She forced her nerves to calm down as she met the woman’s gaze. “I don’t suppose you came to talk to me about flowers though.”

Zadira chuckled. “I suppose I did not.” She stopped and turned to look at the human woman. “I came to get to know the person who is so very important to my son.”

Maria blushed visibly and had to force herself to hold her gaze at the same level. “I hope you’re not too disappointed.”

“Disappointed?” The Queen laughed. “No, Maria. How could I be disappointed?”

The blonde girl shrugged. “I’m only human.”

“There is something you need to know about the true connection,” Zadira said gently and took one of her hands between hers. “It chooses its couples wisely.”

Maria frowned. What the hell was that supposed to mean?

“It would not bring a man and a woman together who would not match,” the Queen went on when she noticed the confusion in the human’s face. “The gene is one part necessary for the bonding, but the mind is also very important.”

“So you mean if there had been a different woman with the same gene defect as me, it wouldn’t have necessarily meant she would’ve been able to connect with Michael?”

Zadira nodded. “Only people who have the same foundation are going to connect the way you have with my son. Spontaneously.” She bit her lip while she searched for a human expression she had read before. “Out of the blue – I believe that is how you say it.”

“But how does it know?” Maria frowned.

“I cannot tell you how, Maria, but I can see why it has chosen you for my son.” The Queen smiled and dropped the human’s hand again.

“Really? Why?”

Zadira studied the younger woman for several minutes, easily identifying the insecurities about her connection to Michael. “You question its choice.”

“Well…” Maria considered denying it, but what was the point? It was obvious she would see right through it. “He is the Commander of Antar.”

“While you are only a human, hmm?” She shook her head. “You believe that to be a weakness, but that is not necessarily true. The connection saw fit to match you with my son because you are human. Michael is not a man who is easily handled…” One perfect white eyebrow lifted at the snort the human emitted. “You have known him long enough to know that this is the truth.”

“Yeah,” she laughed, “I’m aware of that.”

“My son is a hybrid and he requires someone who can understand who he is. Being human is not a weakness, Maria; it is one of your greatest strengths. The Antarian military trains its soldiers to become the best and that often comes at great expense. For Michael, a man who is not only a hybrid, but also Antar’s leading Commander, special training was implemented to strip away anything that may make him fall back on his human side and question orders or make his own decisions in the field.” She smiled proudly. “My children have not conformed to the wishes of their father or King Zander. But without someone to balance out their alien side it is only a matter of time before it begins to take over.”

“You think he’ll lose his soul to the darker side of his personality?” Maria questioned.

Zadira moved to stand near the wall and after a moment she lifted a hand to reach out and touch the sun-warmed stone. “I have seen it happen.”

“Rath,” she guessed quietly.

“Yes, he is an example.” The older woman nodded and recognized the tension in the human girl. “I know that man did cruel things to you, Maria, and I am very sorry you had to go through all of that, but the truth is Michael and Rath share the same gene pool.”

“I know.” She didn’t want to believe Michael could be capable of the same things though. He was just too… different.

“He is a good man,” Zadira said to lighten the mood again. “And you do not ever have to be afraid of him or around him.”

“He said you had a true connection once before as well. Do others know about it?”

“No one who still lives. And I like to keep this knowledge to a minimum.”

“Understood,” Maria nodded.

“Yes,” the Queen mused, “I believe you do.” She was silent for a moment, listening to the sounds of the soldiers training for battle. “The connection is a powerful thing and while you are adjusting to it, there is a distinct possibility that you will feel as if you have no control over your feelings or actions, but you do.”

“It does feel like that sometimes,” Maria admitted. “Well, a lot of the time really.”

“It will take time to adjust.”

She bit her lip as she debated about the question on her mind but after a moment she realized that she knew of no one else who could even come close to answering it. “Michael seems to have accepted the connection with an ease that surprises me.”

Zadira smiled. “My son’s acceptance of the connection is largely due to you.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The connection draws on the strengths of each person to create a balance between the couple. It is apparent to me that deep inside you are a very trusting individual.” She smiled slightly. “Rath, of course, took some of that from you, but he was unable to destroy it completely because it is part of your foundation. Michael does not have that innate sense of trust; his genetic material is half-Antarian, he is a soldier, and those two things together do not serve to create an individual who is trusting. He is suspicious by nature; reserved, meticulous, and often so focused on his military training he loses sight of what it is he fights for.” She nodded when she saw the light of understanding flash in Maria’s eyes.

“I think maybe I’ve been looking at it from the wrong angle.”

Zadira smiled. “You are good for him. I have no doubt about that and neither should you.”

Maria smiled and her mind automatically wandered to last night and the kiss she and Michael had shared. She had been disappointed to see him already gone this morning and her nerves were on high alert right now, anticipating his return to the castle. “I still need time to adjust, I think, but it helps to hear from someone who has experienced the same.”

A hint of sadness washed over the Antarian woman’s features, but she covered it up quickly. “This connection is a gift, but it can be dangerous in times like these, so choose your friends carefully.”

“I will,” the human promised.

“You can come and talk to me whenever you have questions. I won’t have all the answers, but I believe, especially for you humans, it is easier to live with something when you can talk to someone.”

“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.”

Zadira gave her a slight nod and a warm smile before she prepared to leave again. “I believe you have a visitor.”

Maria turned around and was surprised to see Amela walking towards her giggling happily. “Ma’.”

“Hey, sweetie, are you having fun this morning?” Today was a day off at the kindergarten, so the children had stayed at home with their parents. She crouched down and used her hand to brush some hair out of the girl’s face.

Zadira observed the two of them for a moment before slipping away. Somehow she had the feeling that Maria was aware of her leaving but had respected her wishes by remaining silent and not calling attention to her withdrawal. She was more convinced now than before that this Earth woman was a good match for her son. Maria brought out a side of him that she had always sensed lay beneath the surface. She had seen glimpses of it when he was with Amela, but with the human woman it was more apparent than ever.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 50

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:08 pm

Part 50

Max approached his sister with caution. He had overheard the servants talking, conversing in low tones as they commiserated over yet another tongue lashing by the Princess. He had no idea what had set her off this time but it was past the point where her behavior could be permitted to continue. If nothing else, he was tired of the hushed tones and whispered words as the servants tiptoed around, hoping to avoid drawing her anger for any and every little thing.

He had finally located her in the tower that overlooked the busy street below and he paused to watch her. He could tell that something had upset her but without knowing what it was he could easily be taking his life in his own hands by approaching her unannounced. It was not uncommon for her to use her powers to project items across an open space and there was more than enough space between them for any projectile to be dangerous.

“Isabel.”

She was already tense and she whirled around to glare at him, angry for the intrusion into her place of refuge. “I wish to be left alone.”

“What has upset you?” It probably would’ve been simpler to ask what didn’t upset her. If nothing else, the answer would be shorter.

“Why do you care? Don’t you have a human to amuse yourself with?”

He bit back the sharp response that wanted to burst free, recalling the advice Liz had given him. “I do not use humans to amuse myself, but I do enjoy their company.” He leaned against the doorframe, careful not to intrude into her personal space. “Am I incorrect in my belief that you find my Advisor an intriguing individual?”

She drew herself up to her full height and narrowed her eyes. “I find him insolent and intolerable.”

“On the contrary, I think you find him fascinating.”

“Fascinatingly stupid,” she growled and turned to stare out the window, turning her back to her brother.

Max bit back any further comments about his Advisor, knowing that she wouldn’t admit to anything. “You think that about every human living with us or just him?” He walked further into the room but didn’t push her to look at him. “What about Captain Valenti?”

She snorted. “Or your little kitchen toy?”

“She’s not my toy,” he said, his tone one of warning.

“No? What is she? For a cook she’s often surprisingly close to your heels and I doubt you’re discussing the newest recipes.”

“I enjoy talking to her.”

“And other things…”

Max was fed up with her behavior and he slammed a hand against the stone wall next to her. “I will not allow such disrespectful behavior towards our staff any longer. Not to the Antarians or to the humans.”

“You may be the King, but you do not get to dictate my behavior, Max. I am your sister, not one of your subjects,” she snapped.

He recalled his recent conversation with Liz and he reined his temper in before speaking again. “I do not understand your disdain for humans.”

“I have disdain for everyone or haven’t you noticed?”

“Very little about your behavior escapes my notice, Sister.”

“Then you obviously have too much time with nothing to do.”

He was silent for several tense minutes. “Were we like this on Earth?” He shrugged when she granted him a sideways look. “Did you hold such contempt for me?”

His question shocked her. “What?” She turned to face him and she reached out to touch his arm. “I hold no such feelings toward you.”

“Then why do you push me away every time I attempt to – “

“How do you tolerate it here?” Isabel shook her head. “We’re not wanted here; our own parents treat us like we’re invisible unless they’re pushing us about connecting with the Commander or his sister, the people hate us, and being here with nothing to do constantly is slowly driving me mad!”

“Not everyone hates us,” he said after a moment of considering her rant. “And those who don’t aren’t only human.” He smiled slightly. “I know our lives here are less than ideal and certainly not what we would’ve chosen had we been given the choice, but the alternative would’ve been no better for us.”

“Because our parents say so? What do we really know of what happened on Earth? All we have is their word that it’s becoming uninhabitable, that the danger there has increased to intolerable levels. The danger here is just as much a threat, Max!”

His expression was thoughtful as he moved to the window to look down at the people moving about, some with purpose and some without. “Isabel, the conditions on Earth have considerably worsened since our departure, and I don’t rely solely on what I’m told of the situation. I have meetings to attend to, but perhaps if you have time later, before the evening meal, you’ll join me in the war room.”

“For what reason?”

“You want to know the true state Earth is in. Join me later and I’ll show you.”

*****

Michael nodded at the men who opened the heavy gates of the protection wall to let him in, and then glanced around to take in everything going on around the castle. Many people were still busy with the final work, reconstructing the walls and another unit lead by his sister had obviously just arrived back as well. They were still spread around the place behind the gates, talking and taking care of their horses.

Everyone was aware of his presence and a few of them nodded when they passed, but generally they went about their tasks, knowing that he didn’t want them to waste their time bowing and greeting him when there was work to be done.

He swung his leg over the saddle and slipped from it with ease, the ground under him cracking loudly when his heavy boots landed on the stone. “You’re done for today,” he patted the animal’s neck gently and nodded when one of the servants offered her hand to take care of it.

“Give her a good rubdown,” he told her and slapped the horse’s rump with his palm when the animal moved off with the servant. They had covered a great distance, meeting with several field units, so he could only imagine what it had done to his horse. Must be worse than my ass, he thought, but hid his discomfort easily. As long as he could remember, he had sworn to himself he would never show weakness in front of his men.

“Commander,” a young soldier approached him, but stopped at a comfortable distance.

He looked in the man’s direction and nodded for him to continue.

“The Captain wishes to speak with you in the interrogation cell. He said I should tell you: The eagle flies deep.” The man frowned when he had no clue what the words were supposed to mean.

Michael’s inner muscles became taut at the words, but he was careful not to reveal his surprise. “You may go now,” he told the soldier with a nod and turned in the direction of the castle.

His stride was determined and no one made the mistake of trying to stop him as he made his way through the corridors. The coded message could only mean one thing: an intruder had managed to get past the protection wall and into the castle. He slowed as he reached the area of the castle created to hold prisoners and he pulled all of his focus together before entering the corridor that would lead directly to the cell.

When he turned the corner and saw the number of guards standing at the ready he felt the tension in his body increase. It wasn’t the same interrogation cell they used for regular prisoners; Kyle had chosen the cell with the highest security measures in place. He motioned to the door and the one closest reached out and released the locking mechanism.

“Seal it as soon as I’ve entered,” he ordered, nodding when the man’s fist made contact with the body armor covering his chest.

He entered the interrogation cell and his eyes immediately locked on Ava. He didn’t so much as flinch when the heavy door slammed shut behind him and he listened as the locks slid into place. “Where did you find her?” he asked, his gaze never leaving the prisoner.

“Making her way through the castle,” Kyle answered. “She was studying the layout of the corridors.”

Michael’s eyes narrowed on her while he considered an explanation for this. How had she gotten into the castle this time? And why was she here? Enemy or ally, he still hadn’t decided about her, and this newest event did nothing to increase his trust. “How did you get in?” he demanded.

“You should really increase some of your security measures, Commander,” she said and leaned back in the chair, hoping her body wasn’t revealing any of the nervousness she felt. “I didn’t even have to use any powers; they let me in without question.” It didn’t take long before she saw the realization in his eyes.

“You pretended to be Tess.”

Ava shrugged one shoulder, but nodded her head slightly in agreement. “You’re not the only one who can fool people with that, Commander. Although, I doubt you could ever really be anything like Rath.”

Kyle snorted. “And you think you could ever be l – “

Michael lifted his hand to silence him, his eyes leaving the dupe just for a second to look at him before returning to the intruder.

Ava smirked. “Well, if I had known you and the Princess have a thing for each other, I would’ve reacted differently earlier, Captain.”

So Kyle had unmasked her by approaching her the way he would approach Tess, Michael thought and didn’t like it. What could Ava do with information like that? How much damage could she create? He looked back at the Captain and saw that the man was ready to burst.

“I’m not here to cause trouble,” the woman started again before they could begin questioning her.

“So you slip into the enemy’s castle for what?” the Commander growled. “Entertainment? Don’t you dare tell me you’re NOT here on Rath’s orders.” He grabbed the second chair and slammed it onto the stone floor in front of her to sit down and be on eye level with her.

She swallowed and gave in with a slight nod. “He wanted me to slip in for information about the human woman.” Her gaze shifted to the Captain where he stood at her side because she trusted the man even less than the Commander. “He’s not a fool, he knows you have her.”

Kyle straightened when her eyes narrowed on him and she spoke, accurately reading his thoughts. He exchanged a look with Michael and nodded in response to the unspoken question.

“He may not be a fool but what makes him think I would keep her here?”

Her gaze shot to the Commander and she stared at him, trying desperately to get into his thoughts but she only came up against a blank wall. “He knows you’re the one who took the woman from his camp and he believes you’ve kept her close.”

“I’d be a fool not to… IF I knew the reason she had been taken and held by Rath in the first place. And how could I possibly know that, Ava?” he murmured silkily. “How could I know that she carries the gene unless someone told me?”

“Yes, I revealed that information to you but I have not spoken of you or the woman to Rath or Khivar.”

“Then why do they assume I have kept a former prisoner of war within my own walls? It is not a habit I’ve made in the past.”

Ava’s eyes moved back and forth as she tried to figure out what was going on. The Commander was right. Why would they assume he had kept the woman under his protection? Antar’s armies had liberated prisoners of war before and while the people were cared for it wasn’t standard operating procedure for the Royal families to host them while they recovered. And there was nothing to indicate that the Commander himself would personally harbor one of them. “You have a traitor in your ranks.” She shook her head when he drew himself up to his full height and glared at her. “I’ve never revealed your knowledge of the gene to them. To do so would sign my death warrant and I’m no fool, Commander.”

Kyle considered what she was saying and knew there was no other way for that information to have leaked out. As much as he didn’t trust Ava he believed she was being truthful as far as not putting her own life in jeopardy to reveal their knowledge of the gene.

“I warned you of the attack,” she snapped when the Commander continued to stare at her, that unblinking gaze unnerving. “And they know someone warned you.”

Michael leaned back after a moment, crossing his arms over his chest. “And what better way to gain my trust than to warn me of an impending attack on my home?”

“I have no wish to play these games with you. I have my own agenda to see to and delivering the woman or any of your people into their hands has no place in my plan.”

“Your plan is to see Rath and Vilondra dead for what you claim is revenge for your lover’s death,” the Captain muttered. “Something else we only have your word to go on. For all we know his so-called death is just another of your lies.”

It happened so fast they never saw it coming. One second the Captain was standing next to Ava’s chair and the next he had been flung across the room with enough force that the impact of his body on the wall left a cracked and bloody impression. For the space of several heartbeats he remained standing, his face a mask of shock and agony, before he slowly pitched forward. He was saved from crashing into the floor as the Commander raced across the room to catch him, feeling his body sag in a way that suggested multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries.

He carefully placed him on the floor, ignoring what he knew to be true as he checked the man’s vital signs and detected no heartbeat. He moved to the door, pounding on it and ordering the sentry to send for the King. Once the door was sealed again he turned to Ava, his dark eyes fierce as he pointed to her chair. “Sit!” he roared.

The shock in her expression and the sound she had made as she turned on Kyle, the sound of a wounded animal crying out in agony, went ignored as he forced her back into the chair.

Ava stared at him, her eyes following his every movement as he went back to his second. She hadn’t meant to do that; she had responded to his taunting words as he insinuated that Zan’s death was a lie, that it was nothing more than a ruse to draw them into a trap. She watched as he placed his hands on the Captain’s chest and pushed repetitively and she wondered what he was doing, but after several interminable minutes she understood as the man lying broken on the floor drew a shaky, pained breath.

Michael was crouching over Kyle when the door opened and the King entered. “Max, he’s breathing, but barely.”

He nodded, not asking questions as his curious gaze moved over the woman sitting at the table. She looked much like Tess, but he knew he was seeing her dupe. Considering what he’d discovered about the Captain and the Corporal recently he couldn’t imagine Tess sitting idly by while the man she cared for lay injured on the floor. He knelt next to the prone man and he placed his hands on either side of his neck, feeling the weak pulse there. He tried in vain to rouse the Captain, needing the connection of eye-to-eye contact to allow the healing to begin.

He wasn’t expecting it when the Commander suddenly struck the Captain across the face, calling him sharply by his rank and ordering him to open his eyes. He responded to the order, a true soldier until the end, and his eyelids raised enough to allow him to meet the King’s determined gaze.

Bones, blood vessels, sinew and muscle; there was so much damage from the blow his body had taken, the King realized as he focused on the healing. Perspiration broke out on his skin as he struggled to realign and heal the spinal column. He forced his mind to remain on his task, to not be distracted by the flashes that accompanied it. Later he would have to sort through them and file them away, but for now he had to keep every thought on the wounded man in his care.

Michael held his breath as the King finally straightened, reaching out to rest one palm against the wall for support. He knew the healing took a lot out of the man but he appeared weaker than normal. He helped his shaky Captain to sit up, patting his shoulder as he looked at the King once more. “Max?”

“He is whole again.” He started to lower himself to the floor but before he could he was pulled to his feet and directed to sit in the chair that appeared next to him.

“Can’t have that royal ass on the floor,” the Commander said with a small smirk.

“What happened?” Kyle muttered as he held his throbbing head in his hands.

“He’s likely to have full recall once he’s recovered from the healing.” Max slowly lifted his head to look at the woman seated at the interrogation table. He’d never had occasion to actually view her or any of the other dupes so closely. She looked so much like Tess, but he could feel the emotions rolling off of her; anger, fear, and mistrust. Tess carefully guarded her emotions and he rarely ever sensed them unless she allowed it, which wasn’t often. “How did you capture her?”

“She was in the castle,” Kyle answered absentmindedly, still trying to make sense of what was going on.

“For what purpose?”

“She’s here to gather information for Rath.” Michael helped Kyle to his feet but kept a hand against his chest to keep him from falling as he turned to look at the woman again.

“I’m here under orders to gather information, but I had no intention of providing him with the whereabouts of the woman.”

“Why wouldn’t you make contact with the Commander?” Max forced himself to his feet and moved the chair closer to the Captain so that he could sit down. The soldier’s body would be weak for a while as it recovered from the healing. He rolled his eyes when the man looked at the chair with disdain and shook his head. Soldiers were so stubborn, he thought with some annoyance, but there was also respect there. “You’ve made it a point to provide him with information before now and if you had no intention of providing Rath with this information, why would you infiltrate our walls?”

“The Commander has not been accessible and I have precious little time.”

“And nearly killing the Captain?”

She shook her head regretfully. “That was not part of the plan. When he made a mockery of Zan’s death I just… reacted.” She looked at the man she had hurled across the room. “I did not come here with the intention of hurting you or anyone else.”

Kyle ignored her apology. “We have to decide what we’re gonna do with her.”

“Commander, you don’t trust me fully, but you can’t believe that I came here with malicious intentions towards the woman or any of your people.”

“I only have your explanation for your presence,” the Commander said as he stared at her.

“I could’ve easily killed the Captain when he discovered my identity but I – “

“You did kill the Captain!” Michael snarled. “If not for the King’s intervention he’d still be dead!”

She killed me? Kyle looked down at himself, experimentally and as inconspicuously as possible moving his arms and legs and taking a mental inventory of everything he could feel. He knew he felt weak and the King had obviously healed him but he hadn’t realized he had been dead.

“It was never my intention to hurt him!” she yelled back. “I told you why I came here. I’ve done nothing outside of that earlier loss of control to make you believe that I would bring harm to anyone here!”

The King held a hand up when he saw the look on the Commander’s face. “If I may,” he said, although it was by no means a question of permission. “You led the massacre on our troops camped near Sarida Place not two seasons ago. It was you who carried out the assassination of two of our highest ranking officials.” He forced his legs to carry him across the small room in spite of the fact that they felt like rubber. “You have given us plenty of reasons to suspect you of intending to bring harm to our people.”

“I’ve done nothing that your own men haven’t done in the name of war. I’ve put my own self at risk warning you of the ambush that was set for you during the attack on Sun Valley, and again when I warned you of the attack on the castle. Rath and Vilondra believe that I will return with information about the human woman.”

“Then I wager they will be sorely disappointed as you will have nothing to report.” He turned to look at the men. “I’ll take my leave now.”

The Commander watched the King as he delivered his parting words and made his way to the door. He could see the weariness in the slight slump to the man’s shoulders and he nodded at the Captain, letting him know they were leaving as well. He turned to look at Ava. “Do not attempt to escape. I will return to speak with you.”

She studied him for a moment, knowing he was fully aware that if she put her mind to escaping there would be no attempting it, she would simply do it. He waited at the open door until she had nodded in response and then he took his leave. The door closed behind him and the ominous sound of the locks sliding into place filled the silence. What would they do with her? If only the Captain hadn’t made those comments, she thought angrily. She had reacted without stopping to think and in doing so she may have just ruined any chance she had of gaining the Commander’s trust.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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