Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Eighty Three: We all fall down
The Fall of Arzad, 112
Eran opened his arms, "Shalee....please....can we talk?"
She ignored him as she moved to her door, placing her hand against the palm scanner. "There's nothing left to say."
"...But....you saw this coming didn't you? You knew what I was doing." He lightly grabbed her arm, "Please, can't we sit for a minute? If you never want to see me again....I can understand....just...."
She continued to ignore him as the door slid open. Realizing he wasn't going to let her go, she suddenly jerked her head towards him, chin jutted up stubbornly, eyes lit with anger, "Just WHAT?"
"Give me a chance to ask for your forgiveness." He sighed, dropping his head.
"Forgive you?" she asked incrediously.
"Arzad means a lot to me but you mean much more."
"Forgiveness after the fact? Forgiveness after you took Arzad? You don't even give a goddamn about it really, you're leaving anyhow."
He looked at her hoplessly, "I"m sorry Shalee....I..." He frowned.
"Stop. Stop saying that. You're not sorry at all."
"I do care about it. Just like I care about you. Arzad means a lot to me; it is the home of my people. I am sorry, Shalee....I'm sorry I have to fight you like this, I'm sorry Arzad had to fall, I'm sorry you moved there, I'm sorry you met me."
"You just fought for a system that you're going to abandon."
"I don't want to hurt you, Shalee, I don't."
"You can say anything you want but that doesn't change anything at all. You're still the enemy."
"I'm leaving the militia; doesn't mea-..."
"You still fight my people. You took our system. You lead them to a goddamned victory! And you want me to forgive you!"
His jaw clenched as a look of guilt flashed across his face.
She dropped her voice to a mere whisper, "You love me. But you don't love me enough."
"What? I don't love you enough....? How do you figure? Yes, I could try to justify it, but I won't. There's no need to point fingers Shalee, it's not like your hands are exactly clean in this either."
She scoffed. "Forget it. It doesn't matter. None of it matters, does it? Just leave."
He dropped his hand from her arm. "It matters to me. I know nothing I say will make it better, nothing I can do will change."
A group of drunken Minmatar station workers rounded the corner, singing a bawdy song. Obviously celebrating the liberation of Arzad. Shalee fell silent until they passed, staring at the ground. "You're the hero of the hour. General Mintor. Savior of Arzad. Why are you even here? Why aren't you out there celebrating? With your people."
"Because I'm not in a celebratory mood, especially knowing you are likely to never speak to me again, knowing that this is my only chance to make amends...I am...unprepared."
She sighed softly as she stepped into the apartment, "You should know how this feels. You've lost territory before. You should understand the god-awful feeling of utter hopelessness. But you never had to feel that knowing, knowing that it came at the hands of someone who said they loved you."
He winced as if her words struck him hard. "I know. I'm a coward, a hypocrite."
She looked away as hot angry tears splashed down her face suddenly. "I'm such a fool. If any of my commrades knew I was here.... knew I was with you instead of out there on the battlefield all of those nights. In love with the one who would take Arzad." She choked on a sob, "Oh god. What have I done?"
".....I didn't mean to betray you like this Shalee." His voice was desperate, "Don't blame yourself, please. I am the one who approached you, who used all the tricks to get close to you."
She paled as a dreadful sick feeling took hold in the pit of her stomach. She felt nausated. "Oh god...you used me...?"
He grabbed her arm more aggressively, "No! I didn't mean it like that."
She tried to jerk away as her heart raced, her head dizzy with the thoughts of him using her. "Of course you did!" Silent tears streaked her cheeks. "Was it all a ruse then? To get close to the enemy, for intel? What did you want from me?" Have you used me like I've used you? Was I your assignment too?
"I didn't use you Shalee! I truly love you! Don't you understand?"
She shook her head furiously, "No I dont understand anything at all."
He released her arm, "I never meant to hurt you. I only meant to love you. I know I can't shed blame for my actions, I know I have hurt you. I truly am sorry." He stared intently at her, "I don't know what else to say....I...."
She placed her trembling hands over her tear stained face, swiping away the tears. "This is all wrong, everything is wrong. I can't do this anymore."
"Believe me or not, you are more important than any material thing. Everyday I dream of you, day and night. I can't ignore my feelings for you. You have every right to turn me out for what I've done. I feel disgusting, like a bird with clipped wings." He kissed the back of her hands as he pulled them from her face. "Shalee look at me please," he said desperately.
"I am sorry for what I've done, for who I am. I should never have asked you to get involved with me, you deserve so much better."
"Please Eran don't lie."
"Did you approach me because I was a target? Were you sent to distract me?"
"No! I went after you out of my own desire, my own loneliness. If you want to think I used you to fill that gap, then yes, I did." He looked her in the eyes, "...and you fit perfectly."
She said nothing.
"I guess....I'll leave you in peace" He hung his head. "Thank you for hearing me out."
She rubbed her hands slowly across her face, "What do you want me to say?"
"Nothing...I just wanted to talk to you. What I wanted to hear is....just a part of my dreams."
He shook his head and sighed, "I wanted to hear you say you loved me and you understood I was doing what I thought was right....but how could you after what I've done. I'm terrible."
She bit on her bottom lip as fresh new tears trickled down her cheeks. "I do love you." Her face flushed with anger, "And I hate that I do."
His eyes locked onto hers, jaw tensed. A single tear slid down his face.
"I hate it so much, so goddamned much. I hate that you consume me. That I think about you all the time, that I want to be with you."
"You...you do? What can I do to make you not hate it?"
"You already know and I wont ever say those words again. You are not going to be the man I wanted you to be. Your destiny is not with me."
"You don't know what our destiny is." He took hold of one of her hands, putting his other hand ontop of it, "You know as well as I that the future is uncertain. I wasn't lying that I said I will try everything in my power to make it so we can be together, without me having to kill or betray anyone."
She jerked her hand away. "No. Don't."
He looked at his boots.
"I don't want that. I am going to be in this war til it is over. Til every last system is reclaimed."
"Because it matters to me."
"What matters to me is you. If I didn't fear God and the consequences of my actions, I would leave the Minmatar in a heartbeat to spend the rest of my years with you. The only reason I even started this damn campaign was out of a desire to end it! Why do you think I'm leaving? It's not because I don't care about Arzad, or the Minmatar. I can't stand this fucking conflict anymore! And now...." He shook his head and waved his hand dismissively, "Forget it, I'm making everything worse. That's all I'm good at...."
"I'm sorry. You want me to ease your conscience and I cannot. You hurt me today."
"It wasn't even personal for you. You're leaving anyhow."
"...I should leave."
"You should have left before it fell."
"What? And insult all the crew who fought so hard and died for it? It was personal. There was no way I would devote thousands of lives, millions of ISK, and hundreds of hours to a conflict that doesn't mean something to me." He sighed, "I'll leave you now."
She stormed to the door and pulled it open, "Fine! Just leave!" She balled her hands up into fists and angrily shoved them at him. "Get out!"
He looked at her for one last gaze, his face red and swollen, his eyes somber. "God....what have I done?"
She stared desperately at him, face flushed, streaked with tears.
He slowly extended a hand to her cheek, wiping away curls that had stuck to her face from the salty substance. "You're so beautiful."
She closed her eyes as his hand brushed across her cheek, savoring the touch. So much of her still hated him but that tiny part that had obsessed over him the last week or so won over in that moment. And instead of slapping his hand away, she leaned into it with a soft little sound of resignation, knowing that she couldn't really and truely hate him.
As if sensing the opportunity, he reached up with his other hand and pulled her into an embrace. "I love you." He dropped to his knees, head against her stomach, arms wrapped around her, "Shalee, I was so afraid. You truly do not understand what you mean to me, you are my hopes manifested."
She wrapped her hands around his head, fingers combing through his hair, saying the words that he longed to hear. Words to ease his guilt. "You did what you thought you had to do."
He frowned as he stood up, facing her, rubbing his hands up and down her arms, "Whatever ill I've done to you. Whatever harm I've caused, I truly regret it."
"It's just....in the end. It is as the begining. We are enemies." She said in a heartbroken voice.
"Not for long...."
"You don't get it do you? The damage is done. Even if you walk away from the militia, so what? I'll still be here, trying to undo what you've done."
He nodded, "I understand. I wish I could give these sytems back without having to turn a blind eye to murder of my kin..."
She fell silent.
"But it doesn't matter what I wish for, if I cant." He sighed heavily, "The damage is done. I have wronged you. I have caused your people anguish and grief. I am powerless now." He grimmaced.
She shook her head, silent.
He stared at her, his mouth open like he wanted to say everything he knew to soothe her. "What next?" He looked nervous, as if his legs were going to give out, "C-can we sit down?"
She threaded her fingers through her long hair as she took a step away from him. "Yes." She moved past him and closed the door, locking it, then motioned him over to a sofa, one that had an panoramic view of space.
He stiffly maked his way to the sofa, creaking as his knees bent to sit.
She forced her voice to be even, emotionless. "Can I get you something?" She lowered herself onto one end of the sofa. "A drink...are you hungry?"
"This is a very nice place...amazing view." He looked over to her, "No thank you." He folded his hands in his lap, his back slouched and bent.
She quickly brushed her fingers across her face, swiping away a random tear. "Are you sure? I can get you anything you want, really." Her voice was eerily calm despite her raging emotions. "The station has all kinds of places that deliver." So many things ran through her mind at once. Are we really doing this? Are we talking about the view and food? You broke my heart Eran, I didn't even know I loved you, really and truely loved you, til now. Tonight. When it's all too late. It started as an assignment, a game, but now it is real. I love you.
Eran spoke with a distant stare at the floor between them "No, thank you Shalee. You are very kind but I should not burden you any more with my requests." He blinked and looked up, back out at the stars, "....I often wish I was still just six years old back on Eram. No worry, no guilt. What am I turning my life into?" He whispered absently.
She stood suddenly, "Well. I need a drink." She moved over to the minibar and mixed herself a drink in a very large glass, more alcohol than anything.
"Is it okay if I smoke in here?"
"Thanks." He pulled out a slender hand-rolled cigarette. He lit it and inhaled slowly, pressing his back into the sofa. Eran's eyes closed and he seemed to relax, the most tranquil he'd been all night, though only for a moment. He couldn't brush off that look on her face, a mixture of despise, betrayal, and misery.
She winced as she suddenly heard his voice coming from the other room. The gal-net played softly in the background, his speech over conquering Arzad was being played on the local news.
"Today marks a milestone; As Minmatar and as humans, we have struggled to follow the path before us. Many Minmatar curse God for not stopping the Amarrian's evil practices, or not birthing us into the freedoms some think we all deserve; Many go as far to say He is not reality...but the reality is we are not the All-Knowing, and we know not why things happen...Well, today is a blessing; something to be grateful for as we all are. We have been tested and tried but prevailed. This is not only a victory for the Starkmanir and the Minmatar militia, but for all Minmatar. Finally, the future is looking brighter; it seems our dreams may be realized and our prayers answered..."
He cringed, "Can you turn that off? I don't want to hear my deluded self spout off."
She gave a curt little nod, "Yeah." She turned it off via remote, then settled onto the sofa, sipping on her drink. It was going to be a long night and she hoped to get completely drunk.
He rolled his head on the back of the sofa, sighing with misery. His face adopted a stern scowl, mentally cursing himself as he took another drag from his herbal stick.
Shalee took a long sip from her glass then laid the side of her head against the sofa, looking at him absently. The air unit kicked on and blew a gust of cool air against her flushed face. Suddenly she was chilled. Miserable. She stretched a hand out as if to ask for his cigarette.
He looked in her eyes, his face soft as he handed it over.
She took it from him and brought it to her lips, inhaling the fragrant smoke, holding it in her mouth a few seconds before exhaling. She handed it back to him.
He absent mindedly took hold of the cigarette by the cherry, his gaze still locked on her. The cigarette died in his fingers.
He dumped what was left of it into the ashtray nearby, then rubbed his fingers together. "Shalee. I never expected you to let me see you. Thank you."
She glanced to his hand, "It's okay." Resignation slid across her face. She couldn't fight it anymore, couldn't fight him anymore, couldn't hate him. She wanted to be with him, at least in this moment. She moved over to him, closing the distance between them. "I really am New Eden's biggest fool."
Suprise flashed across his face as she neared him. He took advantage of the moment by wrapping his arms around her. "No, you are New Eden's most merciful and lovely human being."
She sat her glass on the floor, then climbed into his lap. She placed her fingers against his mouth, "Shhh."
He smirked and closed his eyes. His heart skipped a beat and goosebumps formed on his arms. A light, long sigh escaped him. "I'm okay with me shutting up....," he said quietly, smiling.
"I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired of thinking about Arzad. The war. You being an enemy. I'm tired of so many other things that you don't even know about. I just....want you to make me forget. Make me forget everything, Eran."
She couldn't help but to crave his touch, much like a child will crave comfort from a parent who just spanked them. He had hurt her, and gods she was hurting, but she wanted him to ease that pain somehow. To make her feel better.
She started to kiss his neck, his ear, his chin. At once her demeanor changed and suddenly she was aggressive, mouth everywhere, tasting, kissing, inticing.
Eran was frozen at first, taken by complete surprise at the sudden change. Before long, he slipped his arms around her lower back and waist, pulling her a bit closer into him. He tried to kiss her inbetween her motions, but had trouble keeping up. He moved a hand up to her chin, stoping her face long enough for him to land a solid kiss on her lips.
She melted into the kiss, her mouth claiming his as her hands worked at a furious pace to pull away his shirt. He lifted his arms, releasing the kiss long enough for the shirt to slip over his head. He tossed the shirt to the side and put his hands back on her hips, throwing her back down to the sofa.
He rose over her, diving in to kiss her again with a fierce passion. His kiss lifted before diving again to suck the skin on her neck. His hands began to wander, massaging her hips.
She kicked of her shoes and started to unbutton her shirt as he hovered above her. She pushed it off her shoulders and tugged it off never breaking the kiss.
He lifted his hands to her hair, caressing his fingers thru the red strands and around her ears. He pulled back for a moment, looking at her in amazement. Eyes glazed with passion, he closed them again before slowly lowering himself inches from her lips. His arms positioned on the sofa to keep most his weight off her as he hovered above her, feeling the heat of her body.
She stared up at him, flushed with arousal. "Stopping so soon General Mintor?" She licked his chin, "Don't you want to conquer me like you conquered Arzad?"