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JL | Lt Anaxar Shran & Lt Si'a Dai'xun | "This Sleep Of Death..." Part 1

Posted on 241709.09 @ 12:21 by Lieutenant Anaxar Shran & Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun

Mission: Ballynamony
Timeline: SD 241709.09

Anaxar drifted in and out of sleep, or unconsciousness, or both, so often that the line between began to blur. Only Si'a was real (and the pain, couldn’t forget about the pain of course, never forgetting that), his anchor. Every time he woke up, or came to, whichever it was, he felt her in his arms, heard her breathe, felt her heart beat under his fingers.

They didn't talk. Maybe because there was nothing much to say, more likely because neither had the energy or the strength for it. It didn't matter. Words were unnecessary.

He felt her heart beat…

But there was something. Something felt wrong.

She was tiny, just a spark of light in the haze. It was something. It was real. It burned, trying to reach for something greater. It didn’t matter how hard circumstance tried to snuff it out, the spark persisted. He would move, she would stir. Most of the time she had her back to him, basking in the warmth his body afforded her. Others she’d lay with her head cradled in the space where his chest gave way to his shoulder. Either way, she was warm, safe, content as she could possibly be given the circumstances. By day he grew stronger, regaining integrity and strength. What was slowly sucking life from her was feeding and fueling his vigor. Cold.

Anaxar’s biology screamed for the snow, begged for ice where she yearned for sunlight and warm briny waters. She was a child of the stars, sun, and surf. He the hue of winter, she the brightest of summer shades. So different, so beautiful. So tragic. The first of the coughs had been benign enough, dry and weak. Steadily they’d deepened, become wetter, and she’d stifled them as best she could. Each cough came with pain, wild and wanton as it covered her from chest to groin. It ignited her bruises and tore through her ribs like a sledge hammer. He couldn’t know. So long as everything was ok, as long as the perception was there, it was real. Everything would be ok.

Si’a had realized he was blind, that the implants weren’t functioning. It was something about the twitch of his antenna and the cant of his head as he listened to his surroundings. It was the way his fingers were used to gauge things. The way he checked her with them, and the way he checked in with them. While it tore at her heart, bringing the fresh bite of tears to her bloodshot eyes, she knew it was for the best. He couldn’t see the way her glow had begun to diminish in the dark or the dark circles that had spread throughout the hollows of her orbital sockets. She didn’t need a mirror to know they were there, she could feel it. Worse, she could feel the pressure against her chest building as fluid continued to build in places fluid shouldn’t have been. She shivered, long and bone deep, but stirred ever so slightly in order to disguise it. She had to, at least long enough to see him, the rest of them, saved from this place. Then she could rest.

Gods she was tired. It was a different kind of tired. One that radiated from her soul, from a body that no longer wanted to continue to function. One that was tired of the pain. One that no longer wanted to fight, that felt like flying. She sighed, or at least it felt like a sigh. It was a heavy, sharp exhale that was followed quickly by a shorter inhale. Was it a sigh? Or was it her body saying that enough was enough? Not now. Not yet. Not just yet. Reaching up, her fingers followed his jawline before finding a tuft of snowy silver to concentrate on, toying with it in the low light provided by a full winter moon and an ever glowing torch. Her eyes followed his features, blessing their extra cones and receptors for such lovely vision in the dark. He was magnificent. The delicate taper of his nose, the ripe fullness of his lips, strength of his chin. So many times she wondered what his eyes had looked like, imaging them soulful and vibrant, rimmed with thick, beautiful silver lashes that kissed high cheek bones when they closed. Yes. That was an image she could be sent away with. She could live with leaving with that in mind, with that memory pressed forever in her mind. Her own lashes began to drift south. Her heart hurt. Emotional and physical pain left it feeling sluggish. It skipped, fighting to continue. She wouldn’t let it quit. Not yet. Not yet.

No. Si’a. Can’t go get. He’s not safe. He’s still stuck in bedlam. They’re all still stuck in bedlam.

Wrong. Something felt wrong. Little things that were off, that didn't add up. The way the shivers sometimes seemed to stop. Her skin becoming softer under his fingers, losing some of its suppleness. And instead of just being cold, her temperature was fluctuating: sometimes almost normal, then plunging down again.

He was growing stronger, slowly regaining some of his strength, not nearly enough to do what he wanted: getting up and carrying her out of there, finding Claire and telling her to help her, and breaking anyone who would stand in his way. But strong enough to focus his attention, and now that he couldn't see – he had been in the dark for over six months, before they could outfit him with the implants, and he still had them offline more often than not. He had worked hard to learn to compensate, and all those senses which didn't rely on sight told him: something was wrong.

One hand strayed up, touched her neck and felt the jugular under his fingertips: pulsing softly, slowly, too slow. They didn't linger long, his fingers, he moved them up again, stroked her cheek. "Talk to me, Si'a…" he whispered. "You promised you'd keep breathing…"

The ear not pressed to his chest twitched in response to the sound of his voice. She loved it. The sound of him. The way of him. What she didn't like was what he had to say. He wasn't supposed to know. This time she when she shivered, it was in response to the drifting of his fingers against her skin. "I'm still breathing." She replied. It took so much energy to talk, but she'd do it for him. Anything for him. Her voice sounded hollow in her head. Breathy and light. "I'm still breathing." Her fingers left his hair, choosing to trace his wrist as he touched her little face. He was strong. So strong. He'd survive, live, go on. He'd make it back to the Vindicator and from there his future lay in the stars. She just had to get him there. Save him. He'd saved her. Another cough wrecked her stillness, and she held it the best she could no matter how badly it tore through her chest. Oh God. The pain. She'd do anything to make it stop. Anything but leave him before she knew he was free.

"You keep breathing too, ok?" She managed, struggling to keep her voice steady and easy. Si'a worked to keep her eyes on him, watching him. Doing everything she could not to let them close. If she closed them she'd be met with the memory of him bleeding beneath her hands, bleeding pinned by the shuttle wreckage. Dying. No. NO! No death. He wasn't allowed to die. She coughed again, her head shaking slightly as she fought to banish the thought. She'd let them close. Now it was a fight to reopen them, forcing them to peer back out at the world through slits. He was there, though, alive. She could hear him, the way his heart was steadily beating in his chest. It was starting to quicken in it's pace, going from the quiet of sleep to the realm of worry. "Shhh. I'm here." She tried to soothe him, dropping her fingers from his wrist to press a finger to his lips. So soft. So very soft.

"You're fading…"

As a young boy, he had spend half a night once to look at a candle. It had been burning slowly, growing steadily shorter, and he had been watching the flame, seeing the blue aura around the wick, the brighter yellow flame around it. The candle burned down, all the way, and the wick grew shorter and shorter, the flame sputtered and dimmed, grew brighter, dimmed again, one more flicker, and it was gone, gone, a dim glow and then even that winked out, and he hadn't understood then why that happened and he had pleaded with it to bring the pretty light back again…

He wanted to cradle this flame in his hands, protect it against the wind and the cold, but there was nothing he could do to extend this wick.

Drifting in and out of sleep, or unconsciousness, or both, and each time he returned she seemed further away from him. No. No. This had to be the dream. This had to be the nightmare.

He just wanted to wake up.

"Don't you dare die on me…"

"I'm here."

He knew. He knew and she could do nothing about it but tell him pretty things to try and help him rest. It couldn't keep up forever, and it wouldn't. She was going to go sooner than she'd planned. Wasn't that just like life? You'd plan for one thing, something else entirely would happen. Or was that Murphy's law? She wasn't sure. It was something. She pressed to lift herself, just a bit, just enough. A finger traced the satin of his lower lip. He deserved to know, to feel. She deserved to know if she was off base and kilter. Nothing like this, like him, had ever happened to her before. "Anaxar?" She whispered his name, fighting the black. Fighting the pain. The cold. It was coming and the fear was starting to rise with her. "Do... Do you remember the spiders?" She asked. Of course he did. It wasn't that long ago. Keep going Si'a. Don't stop. Don't surrender. From her new perspective, she could see worry creasing his scarred brow and the way he held that perfect mouth. Her arm wouldn't hold her like that forever, her torso draped a bit over his chest as she leaned forward to truly see him. Maybe it would help give the illusion of strength, the trick them both into thinking there was safety ahead, a homecoming for both of them. "You saved me..."

I saved you then. Why can't I save you now? Anaxar's heart wailed in despair.

No, he couldn't save her. Every sense he posessed told him that. Maybe not even the doctor could save her now. But the least he could do, the last he could do, was to make her comfortable, to ease her last moments.

"I remember," he whispered. "You were so afraid, and I held you… Don't be afraid…" he held her in his arms, giving as much warmth and comfort as he could. "I'm here to hold you…"

For the first and only time he thanked the fact that he could no longer cry, there would be no tears to betray him. "Rest now, my love," he still whispered, but his voice was calm and steady. "Sleep… It's safe now, the spiders are gone…"

She couldn't say it. She couldn't say what she so desperately wanted to say, what she needed to say. Si'a was starting to shake again, quivering as she felt the light begin to slip. Beneath his touch her glow intensified, fueled by everything she yearned to speak. No. Pressing her fingers to the side of his jaw, she tipped his handsome face in her direction. So serene. So beautiful. Even with his so called imperfections he was beautiful and made all the more precious to him. Her lips first touched his forehead, a lock of silken turquoise falling from over her shoulder to his chest as she moved to bring her lips to his implants, then his cheeks. The tip of his nose came next. All the while her heart fluttered in her chest, flip flopping as it fought the urge to stop. It was now or never. A second of hesitation could leave her wishes unheeded. She kissed him, bringing her lips to his. Feather soft and sugar sweet and she knew their first hello would be their last goodbye.

His sigh was cut off by the touch of her lips, cold and hot at the same time, soft and dry, and for one heartbeat long this was the world, the universe, this one, this single kiss. For one heartbeat long time ceased to exist. Their breath mingled, Anaxar breathing Si'a and Si'a breathing him.

And then the moment passed, treacherous time caught up with them again. Anaxar heard a sigh, so slight, so small it was nearly undetected, and then silence. All sounds ceased.

Si'a's mighty heart had finally given out, laying her down across his chest in the same fashion a flower would wilt. It was a slow descent as the power and light left her body. The shine of her held for a moment, shimmering as the first hint of light entered the sky before it began to fade, her last strong hold departing, her fingers trying to flex one last time before they slowly curled back to a neutral, lifeless position and her ribs and chest no longer expanded with breath. Like a whisper. Like that candle that had flickered and finally extinguished, releasing her soul in a curl of starlight instead of smoke. She had died in a world so foreign and cruel, failing to achieve anything she'd set out to do originally. Instead she'd accomplished something far greater. She'd fallen in love. She'd saved him. Or had he saved her? Had it been that their paths had started so differently just to cross for the briefest of instances to set hearts on fire and save a broken soul? It seemed cruel to give such a gift only to take it back so horribly. Life and death were cruel mistresses.

A heartbeat. A slight flutter, a butterfly yearning to be released. And then, nothing. Nothing. She was lying on his chest, a dead weight, a truly dead weight. He didn't want to let her go. But she was already gone, her spirit, her soul, her essence had shed her body and was gone, beyond pain or touch or thought.

His greatest nightmare, come to life. He had dared to lower his guard after one simple touch, he had let her beach his walls, she had brought light into his darkness and now she was gone, she was gone and the light was gone with it.

He wanted to stand and lift her to the heavens, he wanted to roar so loud that it would shake the pillars of the skies, like the mythical beings of old. But he was no ancient hero, he was a simple Andorian, wounded and broken in more ways than one. So instead, he just lifted his head and howled, a wordless cry not much different from Si'a's earlier vocalizations. A cry which broke through time and space, through dreaming and waking, until there was no difference between those states.

---

Lieutenant Anaxar Shran
Chief Science Officer
USS VINDICATOR NX-78213-F

Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun
Stellar Cartographer
USS VINDICATOR NX-78213-F

 

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