The Andromeda Six crew notices their traveler is hot, and Aya takes the initiative to start a group chat to "help." AKA: Gossip, share photos and videos, and brag. (Features: Competitive flirting, clothes sharing, drunken pole dancing, disastrous cooking attempts, and meeting Lizzie.)
I don’t usually write fanfiction but after reading this post, I just had to write a little scene for Calderon. Bordering on NSFW? Probably. 18+
The captain has called you all for a meeting. You find you are one of the first to arrive, apart from Calderon, the only other person on the bridge right now is Aya. She's positioned in the pilot seat, as expected, her back to you as her hands shift over the various keys and buttons. Your eyes glide towards the captain. He's looking at you with a gentle smile upon his lips, the kind only you have the privilege of seeing. You return the gesture. Your attention is captured by the sounds of boots on metal coming from behind you. The others are finally gathering. You move from the threshold, your feet guiding you to Calderon. You tease your fingers over his firm chest and you hear him inhale sharply. Catching his eye for only a split second, before you push further past him a few more steps, you find a comfortable place to perch yourself at the back of the room. Knowing his attention still lingers on you, you relax your body into a casual but sexy pose, pretending all the while that you aren't trying to tantalise him.
Once all the other members have finally arrived, Calderon clears his throat and begins to explain the reason for this meeting. It's important stuff, as it always is, but you just can't focus on a single word of it. You watch his lips move and your thoughts drift. You were already feeling a bit playful when you first entered the room but seeing this stoic man, posture perfect, voice clear, you can't help the grin at the idea that flashes through your mind.
Could you possibly make him come undone, right here, in front of the rest of the crew? They are all listening to him, stood at various places around the room, but you, at the back, are out of their view.
You know the idea is a bad one. You know you should be paying attention, but dammit, you aren't in the right mind to care right now.
You shift your stance into a slightly more lustful position. Your movement immediately catches the captain's attention. His words falter for a fraction of a second before he catches himself, looking away quickly. You don't miss the slight colour change to his cheeks. His gaze darts back to you. He's fully composed once again, minus the tiny spark in his eyes. You can't help it. You are going to push this further.
Calderon is still looking at you. Still giving his speech. You have an inkling that he knows your mind is elsewhere. You raise a sultry eyebrow then slowly draw your lower lip into your mouth, gently biting down. His speech falters for the second time and he tries to cover it up with a cough.
Both Damon and June turn to look in your direction curiously, but you've already reverted to the picture of innocence. June, seeing nothing amiss, turns back around, but Damon... Damon with his ability to see everything locks his attention on you. A silent chuckle escapes his lips as he regards you. He offers you a knowing smirk and a wink before he too turns back to face the captain. You stare at his back for a moment longer, wondering what his reaction was about. He doesn't leave you guessing for long. Damon starts peppering Calderon with questions. By the way the captain rolls his eyes and sighs, you know the sly assassin is forcing him to repeat himself. He's stalling the meeting. Giving you longer to break the captain. Really, you should have known.
You silently thank Damon before returning your efforts back to your target. Try as you might, you just can't catch his eye. Calderon is pointedly avoiding looking towards you. You readjust your position and slide your body to the left, where you realise his sight currently is. Success. You've caught him.
You don't allow him even a second to escape. You plaster on your most intense "come fuck me" face and his world stops.
There is complete silence in the room. Everyone is confused by his abrupt quiet. You can't quite tell from the look on his face what he's thinking, but you most certainly see the red that now covers his face and neck. Damon's loud boisterous laugh is the first thing that breaks the calm. Calderon covers his face with his hand, turns his back on everyone, and calls the meeting to an immediate end. You imagine he was mostly done either way. Most of the crew still don't understand what happened. Damon doesn't answer their curious looks as he continues to cackle; you can only guess he plans to keep this to himself with the sole purpose of teasing the good captain with it relentlessly in the future. You try to escape the room with everyone else, but you just aren't fast enough.
"Stowaway!" Calderon's voice booms throughout the room. You flinch, plaster on your most innocent look, and turn to him. His eyes are most definitely on you now. He waits for you to approach.
"Yes, captain?" You do a really good job at pretending you weren't just teasing him moments ago, but that won't save you now. His eyes darken and narrow. His tall figure bends down towards you, his lips at your ear.
"You are in so much trouble." He whispers, his voice husky and heavy. "You are so lucky I have things that require my immediate attention, or I'd punish you right now." Your entire body shivers at the prospect. "Something for you to think about until later, perhaps." He pulls back, gives you the smuggest, most lust-filled expression you have ever seen, then he marches off. You stand there alone, heat creeping up your body. You will definitely be thinking about this until later. You can guarantee it.
A smirk graces your lips. You aren't sure who won this little impromptu game but you feel quite satisfied with yourself nonetheless.
The small, frail voice resonates through the endless dark.
“Go to sleep, Julian. They don’t like it when we don’t sleep.”
“Why?” Jules asks, and June can imagine his face, wide-eyed curiosity on features exactly like his own.
So juvenile. So sickly pale. A puzzle, one that would be achingly beautiful if it weren’t missing too many pieces.
June doubts that his twin is truly unaware of the answer to his own question, but he’s learned that this is a way of dealing with the things he cannot comprehend. To ask questions as a way to evade answers. Keep turning and turning to avoid running headfirst into the truth.
“I don’t know,” comes June’s response, dismissive. He rolls onto his side, pulling his blanket over his head. “Stop talking. They’ll hear.”
Silence. June shivers under the single, wool blanket. The labs are always freezing. The cold air bites at his bandages, amplifying the ache that has settled in his bones.
“Do you think we’re going to die?”
The question makes ice of June’s abused veins, freezing solid the little blood that hasn’t been extracted, mixed, tested, or analyzed.
“I don’t know.”
Words that taste familiar on his tongue. This time it’s not a lie; he has no clue whether their parents plan to kill them here. But he suspects. He suspects, based on the whispers he overhears when they think he’s unconscious. He suspects, based on how Jules’ skin looks paler every day, peeling from his thin form like pastry crumbs. He suspects, and he hopes he’s wrong, that Jules is going to die.
He’s only nine years old, and he’s struck by the realization that he’s going to be all alone. June always thought he had nothing to lose. As it turns out, he was wrong.
Jules speaks again. “But mom and dad wouldn’t do that to us... right? They wouldn’t...”
Would they? If they did, would he feel hurt? Could he mourn a life he never had? Miss a family he’s never known? June often wonders if this is simply how life works. This is, and always has been, his one and only reality.
“June. June, I’m scared,” Jules whispers, voice quivering like it does when his lower lip trembles.
Me too, he wants to say, I’ve always been scared.
There are no white coats to silence him this time, no gloved hands to shove another pill down his throat and tell him to shut up.
Before June can open his mouth to reply, or tell him to be quiet again, the white coats are there, pumping tranquillizers into their veins.
I told you they would hear, he thinks feebly.
Why do you never listen?
The white coats used to scare him. They look like people, but their faces are empty. He used to call them puppets, and wondered who pulled their strings. But June rarely feels scared anymore. He just feels hollow.
He understands the white coats now.
June tries to ignore the way Jules screams and thrashes and takes it, silently, jaw clenched and eyelids growing heavy with the weight of the drug.
When he wakes, the white coats are there to take him again. He bites back a retort when they bind his wrists and call him Subject A-645 instead of Juniper.
He doesn’t want to outweigh his usefulness with disobedience, after all. It didn’t take him long to learn you only live as long as they need you. Bleeding and beaten is better than ending up a nameless corpse, mourned by no one and forgotten by everyone.
Besides, he doesn’t have a name, not really. Juniper is just the product of a sad little boy trying to find happiness where there was none.
When it’s all over, when they’ve drained him dry of blood, sweat, and tears, he’s tossed back into the room like an empty can. Used and fragile and crushed.
His skin itches, scratched raw, and his stomach twists with the knowledge that each time, it leaves him feeling a little less weak. Each time, afterwards, for just a moment, his body thrums with something. He knows that he doesn’t like it, whatever it is. He hates what they’ve done to him. But it’s not like he’s ever had a choice.
And he knows that it’s not killing him like it’s killing Jules.
It’s making him stronger.
It’s terrifying, to consider the way it’s changing him, so June pushes the thoughts from his mind. The first thing he notices is that Jules is gone. The sheets on his bed have been hastily removed.
June’s mind swims with thoughts, explanations, questions, but mostly just frantic repetitions of no, no, no, no. Because he can’t think straight. Because he’s scared, because, because-
Because he’s still a child. Or he should be. Should have been. But he’s only ever been an experiment, as disposable as a plastic cup and as faceless as a mannequin.
“Where’s my brother?” he screams at the wall, the one he knows hides the white coats behind their one-way glass. Sitting with their coffee cups and their notes, perched on thrones sewn of bones and skin, he imagines. Unaffected by the misery and fear, pouring out from between cracks long sealed shut, that roll off of him in waves.
“Where’s my brother?” He repeats, softer, kneeling next to the bed, tears staining Jules’ mattress and mixing with the blood that soaked the fabric long ago.
That’s when he sees it. The bracelet, lying in the partial shadow of the bed frame on the cold, white stone floor.
“Now we are connected,” Jules had whispered, eyes wide and his expression prideful as he gazed upon the matching bands of leather.
“Whatever happens, we’ll never, ever be apart.”
With trembling fingers, from rage or fear or sadness, he doesn’t know, June picks up the bracelet and ties it around his own wrist, pairing it with his own.
It is then that he decides it was rage, after all.
One day. One day I’ll use what they’ve made me to make them pay for what they’ve done.
And through his tears, his eyes glow a brilliant green.
Description: His mind soothed by your everlasting touch.
The softness of your hands could smooth diamonds to dust.
The heat in your gaze could boil precious metals; your adoration could bring Eros to his knees. With every soft caress of your palms, like warm wind over the valleys and gentle slopes of his body, touched golden by light, your light, June can only think that he has never been touched like this.
Touched, and been touched, he has, with hands that cut like steel and bit like the maw of a starved beast. Those touches have been seared into his skin; reflected between mirror and iris, he has read the words written on has body as pain and hurt. Each time he turned from his reflection with a ripple of disgust, thus he has grown to believe he always deserved those touches and stifled the ache in his stomach, snuffed out the flame of his desire for anything minutely more.
Then you arose from the ashes like a phoenix and brought with you everything he has ever, no, never, wanted. Who was he to fall to your feet, when all he had to offer you was the broken pieces of something that had never been?
All too happy to take those pieces and stitch them back together, you were, your careful hand sewing thread between the aching cracks of his skin. Such surgical precision, to him, was no stranger, yet the way in which you worked rivalled every memory of white coats and anesthetic in his mind.
“June,” you breath his name into the flesh of his hip, lips grazing over sun-kissed skin.
How you can take one syllable and overflow it with an ocean of hidden meaning, he knows not. He knows only the sweet press of your mouth in this moment, your molten breath seeping into the crevices and setting fire to his veins.
You’ll take his poison and set in aflame, he hopes. Let your heat drive out the toxins which lie dormant in his blood, flip him inside out and give to him with your touch the sweet sanctity of rebirth.
He wants to be made new by you.
You drift with the softness of a gentle wave over the expanse of his skin, find a new target in his scars. Through clenched fist he cannot hide the way he jolts under your tracing tongue, memories threatening crushed ribs with their heavy weight upon his chest.
Your fingertips say, “I’m here” and your lips speak of comfort. The heady tranquility of everything that is you makes calm his rapidly beating heart. When next met with his own reflection, he’ll look upon his scars and think nothing but this, of you, all-encompassing and whole.
His hate for himself will be forgotten. His love will seep into you and then bleed back into him, until your equilibrium is infinite, and his mind soothed by your everlasting touch.
Notes: This was just a short lil’ thing I wrote to try and get my motivation to write back so I hope y’all enjoy :) I’ll have more A6 soon.
Fandom: Andromeda Six (I know the fan base isn’t huge so I encourage those who haven’t played to read these and see if you’d like to try it out!)
Warnings: Angst, minor mentions of gore and death.
Words: ~ 1800
Description: When Traveller tries to save June instead.
Notes: I chose my traveller for this little fic but will totally take requests if you’d like me to use yours. Just pop into me DMs and make a request! Also, this is one of several fics for A6 that I have so let me know if you’d like to be tagged.
This is self indulgent nonsense and I am sorry. I will do better next time. Actually I probably won’t.
An instant where you rest suspended in the between. Passed from warm hands into a cold, steel grip, there’s a split second where everything stops. Life no longer holds meeting and death has yet to make known its cruel face, so you are left...
It takes a moment for Celeste to realize that this isn’t the weightlessness she’s feeling. The sensation of suspense is not one due to hovering between life and death. The strength which holds her is not of some otherworldly being.
She looks up and sees kindly grey eyes. June cradles her head with gentle, reserved strength. Tawny strands of his hair fall against his forehead as he looks down at her with an expression of fear and unbridled concern, one that is utterly unfamiliar on the usually calm gunman’s features.
His fingers press against her side and withdraw, sticky and crimson with blood.
“Celeste,” June whispers, though it’s faint with the ringing in her ears.
Her name on his lips sounds sad, agonized even. The feeling that knowledge invokes within her is foreign. Once, existing only as the youngest child in a line of royals, fated for a life in the shadows, she held the belief that no one would mourn her death. Now, the look of anguish on his face makes guilt flare in her gut; she doesn’t want to hurt him like this.
He pulls her close against his chest, draws her into his arms as easily as if she were, truly, weightless. She knows of the strength that lies hidden under the layers of his sweet, gentle exterior, buried under his warm smiles and soft, thoughtful gestures.
Her fingers’ weak grasp finds his wrist, delving into the crisscrossed scars written in his skin. In them, she finds the affirmation she seeks.
Even if it drains her of blood, life, and spirit, it was worth it. For in this, just once, he will remain untouched.
She wakes to metal tables and blinding white light.
“Hey, easy now,” comes Ryona’s soothing tone. Her pale blue skin and soft, pretty features follow as she stands from her desk before rushing to Celeste’s side.
Ryona immediately starts fluttering around, reading numbers on screens and pressing buttons as Celeste puts her hand over the bandage on her newly-sewn side with a wince.
“You’re in the med bay. Came in pretty banged up, if I do say so myself. June had to carry you back.”
The incessant ringing has cleared to the steady beeping of the surrounding machines. For the second time, it occurs to Celeste in her clarity, that man has pulled her back from the brink of death and carried her toward safety in his arms.
“I’ve never seen our cowboy quite so upset,” Ryona adds, her tone full of meaning. “He really cares about you. Remember that if he-“
Celeste shifts on the table. “If he what?”
“I had to give you eight stitches, and you lost a lot of blood. You should-”
Golden eyes, filled with conflict, meet green.
“June doesn’t handle strong emotion well. He’s afraid it makes him volatile, destructive. Dangerous.”
“Oh.” The plastic sheet crinkles as Celeste settles back against it. The non-answer makes her nervous. “Okay.”
“He’ll be fine,” Ryona comforts, squeezing her ankle softly as she sits down by her feet. “Luckily, so will you. I was worried.”
Celeste stumbles in her attempt to formulate a reply. “I- thank you.”
The words stir some strange sentiment within her, an immense wave of affection threatening to drown her in their wake. Never in her life did she imagine she would be lucky enough to be cared for so deeply by people so utterly kind.
Suddenly, a knock sounds at the door, startling both women where they sit.
“That’s probably June. He sat by your side for hours until he went to get a blanket. Said you looked cold,” then, louder, “come in!”
June almost has to duck under the door, given his immense height, and he enters carrying a stack of blankets high enough to clothe a small army.
“I didn’t know which ones-“ he begins, setting the stack of fabric on the countertop, then trails off as he registers the sight before him.
Silence ensues. Ryona’s eye flit between the two of them before she stands, says, “I’ll be outside if you need me,” and excuses herself with a warm, supportive smile over her shoulder.
“I am so, so sorry,” he breathes, air rushing forward from his lungs, coming to kneel by her side. His eyes search her face, looking for what, she doesn’t know.
“What do you have to be sorry for?”
“I should’ve protected you. I shouldn’t have let you get hurt.” He looks disgusted with himself. This, this self-loathing, is something she recognizes. “There are a lot of things I should have done,” he adds softly.
Celeste moves to sit up and hisses as the skin around her bandages stretches.
Realization dawns in June’s eyes before they shift to her side. “Can I?”
She nods, lifting the edge of her shirt to reveal the expanse of fabric that hides her wound. Looking briefly into her eyes for confirmation, June lets his fingers brush against her skin, tracing the edges of the bandage and sending a tingling feeling up Celeste’s spine. At every point where their skin meets, warmth trickles outwards from his fingertips, seeping through her skin and settling in her veins. She can feel his breath, the unmistakable warmth of it, against her bare skin.
“You’ll have a scar,” June murmurs.
“So? You already have so many.”
He frowns. “I don’t want you to be like me, Celeste. I don’t want to make you like me. How could you- that’s the last thing I want.”
“You told me to run and I chose not to. You didn’t make me do anything. I’m responsible for my own actions. Did you really think I would leave and risk you getting hurt?”
That seems to throw him for a loop. His jaw drops slightly, eyes wide. “You- you wanted to protect me?”
She traces a featherlight touch along his cheek with a shaking hand. June’s eyelashes flutter, briefly, at her touch. “Of course.”
“You’re delusional,” June says, though it lacks any bite. He simply sounds lost, a little confused. “I’ve survived much worse than a back-alley gunfight. I can handle a few more scars.”
“But you shouldn’t- you shouldn’t have to.”
She swallows, jaw working as she looks toward the ceiling, yet she can see how he shakes his head, features pulled between frustration and overwhelming torment. “You shouldn’t have to put yourself in danger for me. I’m not worth that.”
“But you are-“
“I am not.” And the finality of his words draws her gaze towards his once more. She sees something there that she’s only seen once before, the day she stood outside his cabin and he shut the door in her face .
Anger. Fire, bright flames quickly smothered with a brush of his large palm over his face.
He breathes deep, chest rising with the motion under his vest. His grey eyes look more like steel than rainclouds as he speaks. “If you can’t follow orders, I won’t be able to take you on supply runs any longer.”
“June, please. You don’t mean that.”
She doesn’t know what she’s asking for. Acceptance? His friendship? His love? Would she dare?
Could he even give her such a thing?
“I’ll see you in the morning, Celeste.” June stands again, sleeves shifting further up his forearms to show his scars. “Get some sleep.”
He doesn’t once look back once as the door closes behind him.
The metal table beneath her feels so much colder without him there. How cruel he is, to let her taste what it’s like to have him by her side, then rip it away. Left with nothing but the hum of machinery and her thoughts, she begins to wonder if she’s broken, or he is.
Or maybe they’re both broken, she thinks. Maybe they both have jagged edges, and no matter how hard she tries to fit them together, there will always be a little space in between.
It’s an uncomfortable thought, one that lulls her to sleep under fluorescent lights and the weight of her own fractured heart.
Outside, June slumps against the wall, running his hand through his hair with a sigh.
How his heart ached when he turned her affection aside, how he wanted nothing more than to relish in the feeling of her caring for him, for him, to bask in it and soak in it and let it fill all of his cracks and crevices and make him whole.
And how he knew, just as deeply and with equal certitude, that that was the last thing he could ever let himself do.
He is no stranger to pain. But the hurt he feels now is different, gnawing at a part of himself he didn’t know existed. Not since he closed it off, so long ago. Not since-
No. Not going there. No amount of time will strength long enough for him to open those doors again.
Just look at what you’ve done to her already. All you’ll ever do is hurt her.
June presses his fists into the wall by his sides, hands trembling with the effort not to leave dents in the metal. It’s so easy for him to break and ruin, so difficult to build. And that is why he cannot have her. He won’t let her become another beautiful thing shattered by the strength in his hands.
How difficult she makes it, when she looks at him as if he’s fragile, when her lips form words like care and protect and things he never thought a monster like him could ever hope to receive. He wants to lay himself down at her feet and thank the gods for giving him something so sweet.
But he is dangerous and he is deadly and he has no idea how to love someone the way she deserves.
“You could stand to let someone in, every once in a while.”
Ryona crosses her arms as she leans against the wall beside him, one eyebrow raised.
“I won’t kill you to let yourself feel, June.”
“It’s not myself I’m worried about killing.”
June tries not to flinch as she lays a hand on his shoulder. “You’re not the monster you think you are,” she says.
A part of him wants to scream, to say that she doesn’t understand, that’s she’s wrong, but that part is smothered by the warmth that bubbles in his chest at her words.
He lets his head hit the wall and closes his eyes. “I don’t know if you’re right.”
“Am I ever wrong?” Ryona grins, eyes twinkling.
He has to admit, she does have a point.
“I hope you’re able to work this out,” she says, pushing herself off the wall. She walks back into the med bay and June keeps his eyes scrunched closed until he hears the door slam shut.
I am currently trying to practice writing fanfiction so if anyone has any suggestions for fics or pairings they would like me to write (platonic/romantic) feel free to send them my way! I’ll write almost anything, and if you’d like your character’s name to be in it I can do that as well. Practice, practice, practice!
What if you had not tried to run, but Vexx came back for you at the day of the wedding?
The light in the hidden hallway was dim, but the music still reached your ears, reminding you of the last time you had been dancing all dressed up in fancy clothes. Back then you had also ended up hiding in this hallway, but you had not been alone. Vexx had been there with you, pressed close, his breath on your face.
Don’t think about it, you told yourself firmly. Instead you wondered how long you could stay here until someone – probably your new guard – would start to miss you. No one really needed you there, though. Nerissa was always engaged in some serious talk with important people and the rest of your siblings did their best to ignore you. Oh, damn it, damn not thinking about him, you really missed Vexx terribly and everything would be so much better if…
You snapped to attention and stared disbelievingly at the tall figure who was rushing toward you. It couldn’t be. This was just your imagination, fuelled by longing and running wild. He could not really be here.
“What the bloody hell are you doing back here? I thought I’d never find you!”
But he was. You were still just staring at him, mouth agape, as he grabbed your shoulders, looking you up and down.
“Are you alright, highness?”
“I… yes?” you, too, looked him over. He wasn’t in his plain guard’s uniform, but in street clothes and he was carrying a rifle slung over his shoulder. His gaze held none of the warmness or mischief you were used to seeing in it, instead it was wild and worried.
“What are you doing here?” your voice sounded strange in your ears, hollow, as you lay a hand on his arm, as if to convince yourself that he was real. “Where have you been?”
“There’s no time to explain. Just trust me, alright? We have to leave. Now!” He grabbed your arm and started pulling you down the hall, his fingers digging almost painfully into your skin.
Before he had left you behind, you would have followed him anywhere without question. Even now you were halfway down the hall before you started to try and pull free of his grip. “What the hell is going on, Vexx?”
“Shush,” he did not even look back at you.
He stopped at the door at the end of the hallway, tense, straining to hear what was going on behind it. His grip was still vicelike around your arm. “Come on,” he pushed open the door and then you were running. There were shouts somewhere behind you, the pounding of feet. The music was distant by now, overshadowed by the other noises. Overshadowed even by the wild beating of your own heart. Vexx pulled you into another hidden passage, this one leading outside of the palace. You had used it oh so often to sneak out into the city together. But today there was someone waiting in it. A man, not quite as tall as Vexx, but broader, his stance threatening.
“Serif?” he said, his eyes flitting from Vexx to you. “What are you doin back here? Who’s that?”
“Oh, just an old acquaintance. I thought it would be a shame if something happened to a pretty face like that, no?” Vexx’s tone, his whole stance, had changed. He seemed like a predator, his grin more like a snarl, and in that moment you just wanted to get away. From him, that strange man, the dark passage… Back to your miserable loneliness that felt, if nothing else, safe. But Vexx was pulling you forward with him, as if to let the other man have a better look at you and your ‘pretty face’.
“I dunno, man,” the guy said, frowning. “This is no shopping trip where you get to take someone home.”
Vexx did not answer, instead he unslung his rifle and hit the man square in the face with the butt of it in such a quick motion that your startled yelp only escaped when the stranger hit the floor.
You startled back when Vexx reached for you again, and a hurt look crossed his face.
“What the hell, Vexx? Who is that? What is he doing here?” your voice was shaking as you took a step back.
“Highness, please,” Vexx held out his hands in a soothing motion, as if he was approaching a spooked animal.
“No!” your gaze flickered over your shoulder when you thought you heard screams. “Tell me what’s going on.”
Vexx had come closer in your moment of distraction. “I will, I’ll explain everything once we’re safe. There is no time now.”
Desperation was laced thick in his voice and his breath left him when you cautiously laid your hand in his outstretched one. And then he was pulling you along again, his words still spiralling in your head.
“What do you mean, safe? Nerissa is back there! If it’s not safe we have to get her!”
“There is no time!”
No! There was no way in hell you’d abandon your sister if she was in danger.
“Please, Vexx, I can’t leave her,” you pleaded. “I don’t care if I’m safe, I need her to be!”
He whirled around, pushing you up against the wall. “Well, I care, and so would Nerissa. She’d kill me if I prioritized her over you. She has her own guard looking out for her, and you have me, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get you to safety, even if it’s against your will!”
You could read in his eyes that there was no point in fighting him. Vexx had always been stronger than you and he looked so determined that he’d probably just knock you out and carry you if you did not come along willingly.
“Now move it,” he said in an almost soft voice, his hand squeezing yours. And then you were running again, your vision blurred by tears. Not long and you were out in the open, running down an all too familiar street.
And then there was an ear breaking crashing sound and the ground shook beneath your feet, making you trip. Everything got darker and for a moment you were sure that the sky was falling. You were hurled forward, your muscles screaming in protest. And then the sky hit, pressing the breath out of your lungs. For a moment everything went black.
Vexx’s voice pulled you back. He was staring at you through the setting dust, his face oh so close. A weird vertigo took hold of you. Everything seemed to spin around you as you moved your head, and it took you a moment to realise that you were lying on the street.
Everything hurt. Something warm was trickling down your face. The street around you was strewn with debris. There was a groan beside you, pulling your gaze back to Vexx. He strained, trying to get up, his teeth gritted.
“It’s alright, highness,” he muttered, giving up his effort for a second, “I’ve got this.” He even managed the softest smile at you. “Just keep your eyes open, alright? Stay with me.”
You weren’t sure why he was saying this. Everything was so heavy. You wouldn’t go anywhere. Your eyes trailed down his body and lingered on the piece of concrete his legs were stuck under. That’s bad, you thought, in a somewhat detached way. Trying to breathe and struggling to, you realized that you were stuck as well. You watched Vexx struggle, pain clear on his face.
“Just keep breathing, highness,” he reached out to you, trailing his hand down your cheek. “We’ll get out of here. Just hang on,” a single tear trailed through the dust on his face.
“It’s…” your voice cracked, “…fi… fine.” Your vision was blurring again.
“Don’t. Safe your energy. I just have to,” he tried getting up on his elbows and did not bother to finish his sentence.
“I…” it sounded weird when you tried to breath in. You coughed. “I…” you started again. I love you. You came back for me and I missed you and I love you. You wanted to tell him, wanted him to know. It’s alright. You’re here and I’m alright.
Darkness crept into your vision. Your breath stalled.
“Highness? Look at me, please! Come on, stay with me!”
His panicked voice was the last thing you heard as you drifted away.
June was uncharacteristically quiet. The rest of the crew was celebrating a successful mission, but June was quiet. You sat at the bar nursing your drink studying the gunman.
“If you think any louder, the whole bar will hear your thoughts.” Damon says as he saddles up next to you. “What has your brow furrowed?”
Snapping out of your daze you look at the assassin. Ever since two of you reconciled after Cursa, you counted him as one of your closest friends. “When you’re with Alisa, you seem so comfortable, you two have your own language and clues….” You sigh and take a sip of your drink. “I wish I had that with…” instead of finishing your sentence you finish your drink.
“You know, I’m pretty sure he feels the same way.” Damon pats you on the shoulder and walks off to go gamble with Bash. Damon wouldn’t lie to you, not after everything it took to get the two of you to this place in your relationship.
You gnaw on your bottom lip and try to get up the courage to go talk to June. He hasn’t been the June you know since Orion, and that scares you. What if the June you knew is gone forever? The idea of losing your first friend on the crew and the man you’ve come to care for deeply, terrifies you.
You decide you need some more liquid courage before talking to June, but you decided you would talk to June tonight.
Several drinks later you make your way over to a still sullen June.
“Hey handsome.” You smile at him.
June looks up and blinks a few times at you. “Your majesty! I didn’t see you there!”
“I just walked over so no harm done.” You smile.
June forces a smile then looks back at his drink.
You take a seat next to him. “So, uhm, is something wrong June?”
“No. Yes.” June groans. June takes a deep breath and continues to stare at his drink. After a while he speaks “Do you want to take a walk? I need some fresh air.” June gets up and leads you out of the crowded bar.
The two of you walk in silence until June stops in front of a small garden. He looks up at the stars and takes a deep breath. “I really don’t know how to say this.” He stays quiet for a few moments before meeting your eyes. “I think I’m in love with you, and I’m terrified.”
He chokes back a sob. “I’m in love with you and I’m terrified of the danger that would put you in.”
“I’m in danger regardless, June. I am a princess on a mercenary ship. Being hunted by a usurper and his gang of professional killers.” You grin, trying to lighten the mood.
“No. That’s not…” June runs his fingers through his hair. “You’re in danger from me. You saw what I am, you saw what I did on Orion.” He gulps down air to try to maintain his composure.
“Juniper Nyux.” You walk over so you’re directly in front of him. You make him look you in the eye, “Juniper Nyux, I love you too. I love everything about you. Nothing will change that.”
June looks at you and tilts your chin up and kisses you gently.
“Okay, I have to ask: What is the story behind the pig?” You nod toward the stuffed pig in the corner of the mess hall.
“Who? What? Lola?” Aya asks.
“The pig is named Lola?” You raise an eyebrow.
Bash and Aya nod.
“Oh that’s one of my favorite memories.” Bash grins, “let’s start from the beginning. It all began about two and half years ago, we were at this farm on the outskirts of Teranium.”
~ October 2, 3023~
“What the actual fuck is that thing?!” Damon’s face is contorted into a look of disgust.
“It’s a pig.” Calderon answers. “It’s a common farm animal in the Milky Way Galaxy. Humans there use it for various cuts of meat.”
“It’s teeth are fucking gross. They look human.” Damon stares at it incredulously.
“They’re omnivores like us.” June pipes up. “They’re actually very similar to humans. Humans can have specially engineered pig skin grafted onto them and it will grow with the human skin. It was a real breakthrough for burn victims.”
“That is disgusting.” Damon’s face is one that could only be described as appalled. “Keep that creature away from me.” he says as he backs away and slinks off.
June looks at Calderon. “He really doesn’t like pigs, does he?”
Ryona smirks, “it actually kind of looked like he was afraid of it. Did you see how he wouldn’t turn his back to it?”
Bash, June and Aya shoot each other a look. “You know what we have to do right?”
The three of them huddle together and whisper to each other.
“Whatever you do, please don’t bring a live pig on board. We have nothing to feed it.” Calderon leaves to barter with the farmer for supplies.
Ryona smiles at the mechanic, gunman and pilot. “I can’t wait to see what you three come up with.” she says as she leaves to go to the ship to tend to her plants.
“The captain said no live pigs, he didn’t say anything about a stuffed one.” June smirks.
“It can’t be cute, it has to have the teeth. The teeth are what freak him out the most.” Bash thinks out loud, “You know, I bet Oppo could get us a taxidermied one.”
“EW! We have to ask them.”
~ Present Day~
“So I’m assuming Oppo….” you look at the pilot and mechanic.
“Oh yeah, they knew who to contact about a taxidermied pig.” Bash says as he stretches.
“I really don’t know if I believe this story. I mean Damon afraid of pigs? That’s a really bizzare thing to be afraid of.” However the more you think about it the more you believe it. The story is too insane to be made up.
“Pigs are disgusting, vicious, heartless creatures.” Damon frowns at the taxidermied pig. “Back in the early 2000s a farmer was attacked and killed by his pigs .His dentures and pieces of his body were found by a family member in the pig enclosure, but the rest of his remains had been consumed.”
You stare at him, completely shocked by this piece of information.
“Fuck Pigs!” Damon says as he glares at Lola. “Since we’re going down memory lane, did Bash tell you about the time he and Oppo almost….” Damon is cut off by bash slamming his flesh hand over Damon’s mouth.
Alondra bit her lip while waiting for the other line to pick up, her anxiety spiking as she ran a hand through her long, straight, jet black hair. This might have been the most nerve-wracking call she'd ever made, especially considering who she was calling. She could feel her pulse racing and her palms sweating as the line rang once, twice, three times until a click came through on the other side, the sound of people chattering in the background becoming more faint until the noise disappeared following the familiar closing of a door.
"Hey, Damon! Please don’t tell me you’re calling because you did something to fuck up what you have with the Princess.” It was definitely Alisa who picked up the communicator and just the person she needed to talk to.
"Oh, ummm... Hey Alisa, it's Alondra, not Damon," she tumbled out, trying to shake the nerves from her voice.
"Oh. OH. Hi Princess, what can I do for you? Wait, don’t tell me. Did he do anything I need to kick his ass for? Or for that matter, that I need to kick your ass for? But if you’re calling for advice about that jerk, don't forget that I told you so."
With a frown, Perseus looks in the mirror and adjusts his ceremony attire, smoothing down any visible wrinkles in the dark blue fabric. His scarred face stares back at him in silent reproach, and he does his best to ignore it as he steps away.
Sorenn is getting married today. It is supposed to be a day full of happiness and cheer, bright smiles and nice food. Perseus is expected to be there for a change, but he’s decided he has other plans.
Vexx has been gone for a while, and nobody’s bothered to give Perseus a plausible reason for his disappearance. Perhaps he’s been transferred, they said. Maybe he got fired, others commented. But none of that feels right; he’s the closest thing Perseus has to a friend, and he refuses to believe Vexx would just leave without a word. He’s determined to find him, and this is probably the only chance he’s going to get in god knows how long.
As he determinedly makes his way towards one of the many passages that lead out of the palace, he checks that the hallways are empty before venturing further. So far he’s been lucky, but as far as luck is concerned, he knows it isn’t bound to last long.
“Perseus?” Nerissa’s voice snaps him out of his calculations as he’s getting ready to cross the corridor towards the big portrait of one of their ancestors.
He calmly stops in his tracks, his jaw tightening.
“Sister,” he turns to her, offering a small nod.
“What are you doing over here? The ceremony is about to start,” she asks, then glances over at the portrait painting. “Oh.”
He follows her glance, then looks back at her to hold her gaze.
“I have to find him.” He straightens up, squaring his shoulders. “He can’t have just vanished. He has to be somewhere.”
Nerissa’s frown softens into a sad smile that almost makes Perseus recoil in anger.
It’s full of pity.
“Does it have to be today?” she simply asks, making no attempt at stopping him. “Sorenn is excited to have you there. You’re his little brother.”
“Funny how I’m his little brother today, and not for the past twenty-three years of my life.” He gives a bitter laugh, the repressed anger slowly bubbling up inside him. “Where was he the day our dearest father almost cut my bloody face in half? Where were Auberon and Ecko, Noa, or Elettra? Apart from you, where was everybody?” his voice keeps rising with each question, echoing off the walls.
Nerissa doesn’t flinch, though. She’s practically raised Perseus, since their parents seemed to often forget he even existed, as did most of their siblings. She knows him too well to be scared in the face of one of his outbursts, and it’s also because of it that she knows it’s pointless to try to convince him to stay.
“Save it. Don’t try to excuse them. Don’t excuse him,” he snarls through clenched teeth. It’s pretty obvious who he’s referring to.
With a tentative hand, Nerissa reaches into her pocket and produces a small, shiny silver ball that she places on Perseus’ hand before he has a chance to withdraw it. He eyes it with a frown.
“Why are you giving me the music box?”
“I know it was my gift for your eighteenth birthday, but if you’re doing to leave, I want you to have it. I want you to remember this, remember me, in case something happens.”
Perseus’ frown deepens.
“Why would anything happen? I’m just going to find Vexx, and then I’ll return.”
Nerissa smiles and shakes her head, closing his hand around the kitalphanite music box.
“Just keep it, will you?” she insists. “Please.”
There’s something in her eyes he cannot quite place, something that hadn’t been there before. A shadow, a sort of dread and sadness that make his skin crawl. Unwilling to give it any more thought, he slips the music box into his pocket and gives his sister a firm nod.
“I’ll… see you soon.” His voice almost breaks. Almost. “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
She just nods in reply and places her hand on his cheek, gently swiping her thumb across it. The touch is gone in an instant, though, as Perseus quickly steps away and covers his head with a hood. He disappears into the shadows of the passage behind the portrait without a last glance or word, his scar throbbing with pain.
He’s about to reach the bridge that separates the Gold and Silver Districts when it happens.
The ground shakes and rumbles beneath his feet, the sudden echo of an explosion resounding through the city. When Perseus whips around to locate the source of the noise, his breath dies in his throat.
Half of the palace has been blown up and the other half is almost completely engulfed in flames; the windows shattered, the walls collapsed, the trees in the gardens uprooted.
A string of ear-splitting screams reaches Perseus’ ears as the people around him realise what just happened. Some run past screaming, dragging little children behind them, while others stand and stare in horror at the enormous chaos unfurling before their very eyes.
The sound of gunshots is what snaps Perseus out of his shocked trance. Masked strangers in all-black uniforms are opening fire against all the Orsanna Guard officers they come across, as well as any civilians nearby. Bodies fall limp to the ground and Perseus doesn’t think twice before making a run for it—he can’t go back to the palace, so he rushes to the bridge, dodging a few bullets as he goes.
Grenades fly into the buildings and houses, many of them blowing up at the same time. Perseus’ ears are ringing heavily as he tries to find some cover to avoid getting crushed by the debris. He jumps over a fallen tree trunk and sprints towards the bridge, breath coming out in short gasps, until something makes him stop.
In the midst of all the chaos, a child is crying helplessly, clutching her mother’s dead body. She can’t be older than four or five.
“Mum! Mummy, wake up!” she calls, gently shaking her mother.
Those who are still alive or not badly injured are heading for the bridge, paying no mind to the poor child. Perseus’ heart seizes in his chest as he spots one of the masked attackers pointing their gun at the little girl from the other side of the street, and before he knows it he’s grabbing a brick and tossing it at their head. It smacks them right in the face and they fall backwards, their gun slipping from their hands.
Perseus wastes no time. He crosses the street, scoops the little girl up into his arms and takes the attacker’s gun.
“No! No! Mummy!” she screams, tears sliding down her face as they leave the body behind. “Let me go!”
“We have to go!” Perseus replies, running as fast as his legs can manage.
He doesn’t recognise his own voice. He hasn’t sounded so terrified before.
The bridge eventually comes into view. By the time they reach it, the little girl is clinging to his neck like a lifeline, but Perseus manages to set her down on the ground.
“You have to run now, as fast as you can, and don’t look back,” he tells her, breathless. “No matter what, don’t look back, understood? Go somewhere safe, and—agh!”
A searing pain cuts through his left calf, the sound of a gunshot echoing around them. Some stray bullet must have finally hit him. Groaning, he’s forced onto his hands and knees as little spots of light dance in the corners of his eyes.
“Go now!” he screams, reaching out and pushing the little girl into the crowd. “GO!”
Sobbing, the little girl hesitates for a moment, but later does as told and takes off, disappearing into the mass of people crossing the bridge. Perseus focuses on breathing deeply through clenched teeth, gripping the gun tightly in his left hand. If only he could lean on something to get back on his feet…
His vision is starting to become blurry as he drags himself towards the bridge, the concrete burning hot under his fingertips and the smell of dust and gunpowder flooding his senses.
His whole family is dead. Nerissa, his brothers and sisters, the King and Queens. All the officers in Orsanna’s Guard. Vexx, too, probably, if he was still in Silta Vie.
He has nothing left. Literally everything and everyone he thought he had is gone, and he’s lying face down in the concrete with a (probably nasty) bullet wound in his leg.
He’d laugh at the irony of it if he had the strength to do so.
He cries instead. The pain, the loss, the loneliness suddenly weighing down on him are unbearable.
He can’t move; the pain running up his leg is too much. It’s starting to become limp, so he refuses to take a look at it because he knows it’s not looking good.
He remembers the sorrow in Nerissa’s eyes just a few moments prior, the warmth of her hand against his cheek when she stroked it. The fact that that’s the last memory he’ll ever have of his sister is enough to make him scream in agony.
There’s another explosion, a much bigger one, and a lot closer to him. Perseus’ ears start ringing again as pieces of concrete and rubble fly in every direction, barely missing him. The shock wave that comes after is huge, so much that he has to cover his head with his arms to prevent any further damage as his body is rolled backwards against the ruins of a nearby building.
Still unable to hear a thing, Perseus forces his eyes open to see what’s going on.
The bridge has collapsed. The explosion must have been what destroyed it.
Smoke and dust fill his lungs as Perseus tries to draw a breath, causing him to cough and retch. Black spots start to dance in his vision as he leans back against the concrete, his body going limp.
Who would do this?
It’s suddenly really hard to keep his eyes open.
Who would think they have the right to decide who lives and dies?
Darkness envelops him. He feels like he’s a sinking ship in the middle of the sea. He wants to speak, scream, yell. But nothing comes out.
Is this how I’m going to die?
I don’t want to die.
“Here! There’s someone here!” a voice calls, far away. “He’s alive!”
Vexx surveyed the small club as they entered. It was pretty empty, as to be expected so early in the evening. His gaze travelled to the princess beside him, who was taking the scene in, wonder in her eyes.
“Happy?” he asked.
The smile she cast his way was a little bit smug. “Very.”
Taking her arm, he led her over to one of the booths along the back wall and asked himself when the slight shift in their power dynamic had occurred. Because when she had first asked him to take her out for a drink he had declined. While she was getting bolder, wanting to explore more, live more, she was still super sheltered. Pleading with him to take her, she had even admitted that she had never had alcohol before. And while he was already risking his neck sneaking around with her at all, getting her intoxicated felt like a one-way ticket to getting caught. Yet here they were, and he was still trying to figure out why he had let her sway him.
Aurora slid into the booth and started scrolling through the menu. “What do you suggest?” she asked. “I want something fancy.”
“Of course you do,” he reached across the table and flicked his finger against her nose, gaining a glare for the trouble. She did look fancy herself, her curls gathered back in a high ponytail that she had adorned with an actual bowtie. Like a girl from one of the old movies she enjoyed, cute but clearly not on par with the current fashion of the gold district.
“Come on, who knows when I’ll get the chance for something like this again? I need to make it count,” she flicked to the next section of drinks, reading with a slightly furrowed brow. Her words gave him a twinge of regret. Don’t think of it, he told himself, when maybe he should have told himself to think of the reasons that had gotten him into this whole mess in the first place. Justice. Freedom. Hope for a better world.
He reached across the table, scrolling through the menu until he got to the coladas. “One of those would probably be the right thing for you.”
When their order arrived Aurora delightedly picked the little umbrella out of her strawberry colada, twirling it between her fingers. “Look at this, this is so cute!”
“Yes, super cute garbage.”
“At least my drink doesn’t look bland like yours,” she took a little sip of the colada.
“My drink is for grown-ups, little lady.”
“My drink is good,” she announced, then reached for his. “Let me try yours?”
He pushed over his Jack and Coke, watching her closely as she took the straw in her mouth, and then as her nose crinkled in disgust.
“Ew. Are you sure you can still function after finishing that? Huh,” she fanned her face with her hands, her eyes watering, and he couldn’t help but laugh. Good thing he had told the waiter to make sure there was a bit less rum in her drink than they normally put in.
“You are such a lightweight, princess. I should have been a responsible adult and gotten you a juice. Yes, I am sure that I’ll function just fine,” he accompanied that with a wink, making her blush furiously.
She went back to sipping her cocktail, and then she got a far-off look, and when he started to ask her what was wrong, she raised a finger to silence him. His gaze shifted to the booth behind her and the group that had sat down there. It was a bit hard to make out what they were talking about with the music, so he leaned across the table, keeping an eye on Aurora’s expression as he listened.
“I mean, how many bad calls can a person possibly make? It’s time he fucking dies!”
Her eyebrows shot up.
“Who knows? As lucky as we are, he’ll reign for another couple decades before he finally bites it.”
“Probably. But do you guys really think his daughter will be better? She’s probably just as shitty as he is.”
Vexx reached out, his hand sneaking around the back of Aurora’s neck, pulling her forward until his lips almost grazed her ear and some lose curls tickled his nose. “You don’t have to listen to this, we can go sit somewhere else.”
“No, I… I want to hear it,” she murmured, and for a moment he was awfully tempted to press his lips to hers, distract her, shield her from the world and the ugly truths she hadn’t ever been confronted with. Kiss her until she forgot everything but his name.
Instead he slowly leaned back again, taking a gulp of his drink. Aurora listened to the group drone on about the economy, rising taxes, the dumpster fires that the other planets had become, until they finally switched topics and started speculating if their friend Sharice had STDs or not.
His princess pushed around the remaining ice cubes in her empty glass, a troubled look on her face. “I sometimes forget how much there is to fix,” she admitted.
He shrugged, torn between the need to comfort her and launching into a tirade about how monarchy would fix jack shit.
“And I mean they,” she vaguely gestured towards them, leaning towards him and lowering her voice, “are rich, right? If even they are this discontent…”
“Whiny rich kids,” he agreed. “They think the world ought to be handed to them, but it’s only handed to one certain family and that pisses them off.”
She sighed, bit her lip and tilted her empty glass. “Can I have another?”
“Sure,” he heard himself say, already sensing that it was a mistake.
He was proven right when she tried to drag him onto the dance floor half an hour later. “Come on, it’ll be fun!”
“You’re drunk,” he remarked, taking in her rosy cheeks, “everything will be fun for you right now.” He wished he had drunken more himself. The whole excurse to politics had reminded him that he was losing focus around her way too often and that in turn had soured his mood. It made him wonder if he really was the right person for this job, because someone like Damon wouldn’t have been side-tracked like this.
Another girl bumped into Aurora, steadied herself holding on to her arm, and then took her in with a slow drag of her eyes. “Your dress is so pretty,” she exclaimed, and Vexx rolled his eyes.
“Aw, thank you,” the princess smoothed the short circle skirt down, “you look super pretty, too.”
The girl laughed and cast a quick glance at him, measuring him up. He narrowed his eyes at her. Back off, he thought.
“My song,” the girl shrieked, grabbed Aurora’s hand, and pulled her into the dancing crowd before he could protest.
Vexx sighed. He lingered at the edge of the dancefloor and kept his eyes on his princess as she laughed and danced with the girl and her friends, looking so happy and free that he did not want to stop her.
When the first girl got a bit too close to Aurora he tensed up, but then his princess shook her head and said something, nodding her head in his direction. The girl replied something that made her blush and cast a glance his way. A grin spread across his face as the girl backed up a little. That’s right, princess. Tell them you are my girl.
He probably should have intervened when one of the girls shared her drink with Aurora. At the point they started dancing on one of the tables he definitely should have intervened, but instead he just got closer, just in case.
Aurora looked like a disco queen up on the table, dancing and singing to the song along with her newfound friends, radiating so much energy. And she was clearly drunk at this point, after just two cocktails and a few sips of beer. She spun, little of the gracefulness from her dance classes showing through. And then she stumbled, tilted. He jumped forward, reaching out. Her body crashed against his, her forehead hitting his chin hard, and he stumbled a few steps backwards before steadying them. For a moment he was worried that she was hurt, but then she laughed, her hands roaming over his shoulders as she righted herself. He still held her close, brushing her hair back from her face.
“Sorry,” she slurred, trailing her fingers over his chin.
“It’s fine,” he found himself grinning back at her. Her friends were still sing-shouting along to the music.
“We’ve gotta hold on, to what we’ve got,” she sang along, a bit off key, framing his face with her hands. Her gaze flickered from his eyes to his lips, and then she got up on her tiptoes and kissed him, while his chin was still throbbing from her former impact. It was a short kiss, her lips pressed to his and then already gone again, but it was enough to make his breath hitch. There was a holler from one of the girls on the table, and Aurora’s face was flushed as she stepped back from him, her fingers tangled with his.
“Woaaah, halfway there!” she launched back into the song, jumping up and down, and he couldn’t help but go along with their energy. Allowed himself to forget about his mission and what was to come and just live in the moment, dancing and singing with the girl he liked, allowing his heart to beat faster with the thought of stealing another kiss from her, as the song blasted on.
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not…
(The lines from the song at the end here are from “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Since we don’t know what kind of music they will have in the future I think it’s fair to play pretend with what we have, even though it would be beyond ancient by then^^)
I wrote a scene from Vexx’s point of view for the first time :)
The princess’s eyes travelled over their surroundings slowly, wide with wonder, her mouth slightly agape. Up until this moment the truth of her having been confined to the palace for all her life had not truly set in, but now it did. This girl had seen nothing of the world. And thus the tall, decorative buildings and the bustling street of the gold district were enough to completely dazzle her.
“Aurora,” Vexx nudged her lightly in the side, then pulled on her arm a bit so she wouldn’t walk into someone. “Get a grip.”
Her eyes snatched back to him, and he allowed himself a small, genuine smile. “Right, sorry. It’s just all so beautiful,” she whispered.
Looking around he had to admit that she was right. The gold district was extremely posh, but it had a certain flair. If it were not for the contrast to so many other places in the system and for the people, he might have liked it. When he turned back to Aurora her attention had already shifted away from him again, this time to a street musician who was playing a lively tune on an accordion. Most people did pay him no mind, striding past as if he wasn’t there at all, some tossed coins into his cap, but those were few and far between.
“Wow,” his princess whispered. “How isn’t anybody stopping to listen?”
“Most people are too busy. It’s just how it is,” he shrugged. It wasn’t like he would’ve stopped, had it not been for her. Also, for Goldis standards, this was basically begging, even when it came with nice music.
For a moment she seemed too transfixed to answer. “A shame,” she finally declared, and twirled, her skirt billowing, “when it would be perfect to dance to.”
“Well,” he took her hand, lifting it up over her head, making her spin once more, “go ahead, pretty. No one’s stopping you.”
She laughed, her cheeks colouring lightly. “No, I can’t. There are too many people here.”
“What, you scared?” he teased.
“Never,” she lied, jutting her chin towards him, making him chuckle.
“I dare you, then.”
For a moment she just stared at him, clearly debating with herself. But then she kicked off her sandals, sunk into an elegant curtsy, her eyes never leaving his, before raising her arms. He had seen her dance often, having had to stand silently by the door for a great many of her dance classes, but it had always seemed just a little bit stiff, the tiniest bit uncomfortable. No wonder when her teacher kept snapping at her to point her toes and do better. But right now she moved effortlessly, lively and free and beautiful. In a way that made you think that she loved what she was doing. When she finally stopped moving her face was flushed and her breath accelerated.
Reaching out she locked eyes with him. “Now you.”
He laughed. “You must be out of your mind if you’re thinking I’m going to dance.”
“Oh, come on, I dare you,” she crossed over to him, pulling on his hand.
“That doesn’t work on me, petal. Some of us aren’t as easily manipulated.” But as Aurora gave him puppy dog eyes and the musician shifted his song into a waltz, he knew he had lost. He rolled his eyes and pulled her close. He was a bit worried that he might step on her bare feet as he tried to remember the correct steps. It went rather smoothly, with a lot of out of tact spinning and improvisation, until he messed up at one point and Aurora stumbled over his feet, just catching herself on him and almost bringing him – or at least his pants – down with her.
“Let’s stop this, I was clearly not made to dance,” he pulled her back to her feet, trying to gloss over the fact that he was blushing with a laugh. “And I’d have a hard time explaining later on if I brought you home damaged.”
“Damaged? I’m not a car you wreck,” she nudged his shoulder.
“No, you’re far more expensive, I’d reckon.”
“And you’re an idiot.” She turned away from him then, tugging a silver hairpin out of her hair. She dropped it into the cap of the musician, who let the song trail out, looking at her with a raised eyebrow. Aurora smiled shyly. “I do not have any coins on me right now, but this is worth a few, I’m sure,” she said apologetically and Vexx almost marched over there to snatch the hairpin back out of the cap. But it wasn’t remarkable enough to pe traced back to the palace, so he just stood by as she exchanged a few more words with the musician before they moved on down the road.
“He wasn’t from the gold district, right?” Aurora asked after a while of thoughtful silence.
The hesitant question made him think of how the silver she was wearing in her hair alone could tide over a whole family for a month or more. “No. What, did your fine nose catch the foul odour of poverty?”
The glare she cast his way was impressive. “What the fuck, Vexx?”
“What? Rich people do mind that. If the poor are not dancing for their entertainment they are supposed to go and suffer somewhere no one important has to witness it.”
Sometimes things like that just slipped out, even when it would probably be better to not hint at his true, rather critical worldview in front of a member of the fucking royal family. Then again he sometimes thought that he’d have to try pretty damn hard at this point to make Aurora stop liking him. She was like a puppy, so naïve and trusting it should be illegal.
Aurora got quiet for a few steps and he was sure that she was cross with him until she spoke up again. “Do you think you could take me to the other sectors sometimes?”
He snorted. “Aw hell no.”
“The commute is fucking long,” he started counting off on his fingers, “and we can only be gone for so long before someone would notice. They are not exactly worthwhile sights. Especially compared to this sector. Crime rates over there are higher, too, so definitely not a place for you, petal. All in all it would just be way too much trouble. So no.”
“I don’t want to be just another rich person who decides to ignore what’s going on in the rest of the system…”
Vexx sighed. It worked just fine for you before, though, didn’t it? he thought. “And what good would it do? Even Nerissa can’t sway your father…” he should leave it at that, but for some reason he added another lie to his long list: “Maybe you’ll get the chance to change things and do good once she’s in charge.”
His princess looked crestfallen. “Who knows when that’ll be…” she muttered.
“Hey,” he nudged her side. “It’s not your responsibility to change the world, you know?”
Aurora gave him a doubtful look. “What is my responsibility then? To stay quietly in my room and do nothing with my life at all?”
She sounded unusually bitter and resigned and he felt a little bit bad. “You know what?” he heard himself ask. “One day, we’ll run away, and I’ll show you the world. Everything you want to see.”
Her face lit up and his heart skipped a beat. “Really?”
Vexx laughed and allowed himself to fall into this daydream for a moment. “Sure. I mean, there are a ton of planets I always wanted to see. And what would be the point in going there alone? The best memories need someone to share them with, after all.”
For a moment Aurora seemed just locked in her own thoughts, then she held out her hands in front of herself, framing an invisible picture. “It would be awesome,” she said. “We would go and see the ocean.”
“More than one ocean, darling, all of them. And you’d get to see a ton of sunsets on a ton of different beaches.” He imagined the evening sun playing over her face and her golden curls. Aurora was made for sunshine and laughter and happiness. Unlike him…
“And wild forests and, oh, ruins of civilisations long gone,” she got more giddy by the second.
“Oh, definitely! Old castles and churches, overgrown by wildlife and haunted by ghosts,” he gripped her on the last bit without warning and she shrieked before laughing.
“You ass,” she gave him a light punch against the shoulder that did not hurt at all.
“Well, I’d be damned if I did not tell you all the ghost stories about whatever ruins we would explore. They are the best part. And imagining what those places might have looked like back in the day, of course.” Vexx loved abandoned places. There was just something about the eerie way nature reclaimed them. Something about the thought that those who had built them had probably thought they’d last forever.
“Alright, I’m sure I could handle a few scary stories as long as you’ll be with me,” she granted, her fingertips brushing against the back of his hand.
“A very courageous decision.”
“Stop teasing,” she tried to pinch him, but he sidestepped out of her reach. “I know I scare easily, but I can get better at that. I will.”
“No, really, I will. And then we’ll explore the system together,” she smiled at him, and in that moment, he wished she would get the chance to, even when he knew better.
Fandom: Andromeda Six (Visual Novel)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Vexx Serif/Traveler
Characters: Vexx Serif, Traveler (Andromeda Six), Original Non-Binary Character
Additional Tags: Mischief, Bar Fight, Jealousy, Possessive Behavior, Fluff, Science Fiction, Bar Room Brawl, Parkour, Sexual Harassment
Series: Part 2 of Andromeda 6
Thinking back, Ryvera liked to sneak out and cause chaos. This time, they have a certain .ieutenant join them on their escapades. But things take a little turn during their little adventure in a Gold district cocktail bar.
A bit more of angst and comfort with the least likely person to comfort anyone, Damon.
It was weird how well Aurora kept it together. After finding out that her best friend had betrayed her and that her whole family had been murdered. Maybe it was because she was in a state of shock. Was that a stage of grief? Shock? Denial was one. Anger, too. She couldn’t remember the rest. Not that it mattered. For now she was functioning. And trying not to think about it all too much.
She put down her dirty laundry, throwing it into the basket with that of the rest of the crew. Well, ‘her’ clothes were mostly Aya’s, a few pieces of Ryona’s and a few shorts and shirts that she wore at night that, she was fairly sure, belonged originally to the guys. Aya had told her she could just take whatever, so she had not bothered asking any further. She turned to walk back to her room and fall into bed, even though she wasn’t particularly keen to get back to the nightmares that had plagued her since her memory had returned. And then her gaze caught on something. A sweatshirt folded neatly in the clean laundry basket. Her sweatshirt. The one she had worn for her escape. Back when she had ditched her intricate dress for simple clothing and had made a run for it, thinking she was escaping a life of royalty and rules, not a bloody coup that would leave her alone in this world and the galaxy under the rule of a different tyrant. Without thinking she crossed the room and pressed the shirt to her face, inhaling. What had she really hoped for? That it would smell like home? Like Nerissa? Like Vexx? It couldn’t have. She had gotten it for her escape, never worn it before that day. Still, the scent of laundry detergent and the absence of anything else brought tears to her eyes. She wanted something that was hers, something that smelled like hers, like home. And even more than that she wanted to be home, to curl up in her bed and to have Vexx knock on the door and ask her if she was alright.
No! Not Vexx! She couldn’t, shouldn’t wish for him anymore. That she still did only made her cry harder. How could she not have noticed? How had he been able to look at her as if he cared? To dream up the ocean for her and all the other fantastic places he said he’d take her to, when he had known that she would never live to see them? And, knowing all she knew, how was she still missing him? How could she think of him first when longing for home and not of Nerissa?
There was a soft woosh as the door slid open and she froze like a deer in headlights, the sweater clutched to her chest.
“Oh really? Bawling in the laundry room? How very damsel in distress of you.” Damon sauntered past her, giving her a dismissive glance.
Aurora stared at his back as he tossed his clothes into the dirty laundry bin and started collecting what was his from the clean pile.
“Why are you such an asshole?” her voice was weak and squeaky, and she hated it.
“What?” he raised one eyebrow, turning towards her.
“I mean, what have I ever done to you? Why are you so mean all the time?”
He sighed, as if she was just a dumb kid. “I thought we’ve been over this. It’s just the way I am. And you’ve never done anything to me, but you haven’t done anything for me either, so why would I care, princess? Get off your high horse, you’re not that special,” at the last words he flicked a finger against her nose in a gesture that could have been playful had it come from anybody else. Princess. Had his attitude alone not been enough, it was that word that set her off. Because whenever someone called her that it reminded her of the way Vexx had said it, blurring the lines of title and pet name, even though from Damon’s lips it was clearly an insult.
“Stop it!” she snapped, swatting Damon’s hand away. “It’s not just who you are, it’s who you choose to be! It’s not like you just can’t help it!” she was getting in his face as her voice got more heated, and the only reaction she got from him was that his cold eyes widened slightly. “But for what it’s worth, I’m sorry!” Aurora underlined the word by hitting his chest. “I’m sorry that June brought me abord! I’m sorry that I did not just die along with the rest of my family like I was supposed to! I’m sorry they did not allow you to sell me out! I’m sorry that I’m useless! I’m sorry I’m such a fucking inconvenience to you!” With every sentence she hit his chest again and again, tears still running down her face. “And I fucking hate you!” the last words came out with a pathetic sob and an even weaker punch.
“Alright, that’s quite enough, isn’t it?” Damon said with raised eyebrows, and then, before she could hit him again, he pulled her into his arms, trapping her against his body.
For a moment she went rigid, straining against his hold, and then she just gave in, leaning her head against his shoulder and sobbing into his shirt. Damon didn’t say anything, he didn’t even move, he just stood there, stoically, holding her a little too tight, until her sobs turned to sniffles.
“Better?” he asked.
Aurora gave the slightest nod.
“You’re not going to hit me again?”
When she shook her head he let her go, ruffling her hair before turning back to collecting his laundry as if nothing had happened at all.
For a few heartbeats she kept watching him. She was very aware that she wouldn’t have landed a single hit if he had not decided to let her, and she wondered if he really cared as little as he tried to make others believe. Whatever the answer to that puzzle was, he was an ass. But for some reason, she did not hate him, not entirely.
As she turned to leave, his voice did sound once again. “Just one thing, stowaway. Is that my underwear you’re wearing?”
Aurora glanced back at him, then down at her stolen shirt and boxershorts. “That’s my underwear now,” she proclaimed, and added, just for good measure, “asshole.”
“Watch your tone, you little thief. I’m still second in command, you know?”
“Must’ve slipped my mind. Anyway, fuck you, sir.”
He actually grinned at that. “Fuck you, too. Now run along.”
She turned away with a weak smile, her sweatshirt still tightly clasped.