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28 September 2010 @ 02:23 pm
Fic: this is what didn't happen - odette_river  
Title: this is what didn't happen
Author: odette_river
Artist: embergryphon
Type: Some het, some slash, some gen
Word Count: 5,346
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Edriss/Essam/Allison/Hildy
Warnings: Implied sexuality and violence
Summary: There is always someone who wants to fill your place. There is always someone who is watching and waiting for you to falter, and they’ll be ready when they see their opening. And after that it all happens very fast.



one.

When Edriss—in Lore David Altman’s body—finally gets past the hospital’s security, it’s not Essam she finds, but Allison.

“He’s dying, Edriss,” she says. She’s standing outside the room where they have the children, her arms crossed. Her hair is mussed and she looks like she hasn’t slept in a few days. In that moment, Edriss suddenly realizes just how beautiful Allison is. Not that it matters.

“I want the children,” Edriss says. “I don’t care about him or you anymore. Go watch him die.”

Allison just smiles ruefully and shakes her head. “I know you better than that, Edriss,” she says. “Come with me. Bring the Kandrona. We can still make this work.”

“No,” Edriss says. “We can’t. You and Essam are working against me now. You’re all just a threat. To me and the children.”

Allison kisses Lore David Altman then. She kisses his lips, but the person she’s really kissing, the person she’s really trying to reach, is Edriss, and only Edriss.

Edriss stiffens, surprised and confused. She’s kissed Essam more times than she can count, but this is the first time that she’s felt Allison’s lips. It’s strange.

The kiss isn’t a gentle one, by any means, and Edriss actually pushes Allison away, overcome and unsure of what else to do. But it works. Edriss goes with Allison to see Essam, and she brings the Kandrona.





They’re too late. Allison unlocks the door to the motel room and Edriss already knows. Hildy is crouched against the far wall, head resting against his knees. He looks up and meets Edriss’s eyes.

“He’s gone,” he says. He holds out a hand and there, in his palm, is Essam’s body. Half of Essam’s body. The other half, apparently, remains in his head.

Edriss reaches out and takes Essam’s body, and Lore David Altman’s fingers brush against Hildy’s. She doesn’t notice. She’s looking down at Essam’s body, so small that she could crush it just by closing her hand, just by making a fist. She realizes that she’s shaking, and she hurriedly drops Essam into her pocket. She doesn’t know what else to do.

He’s so small that he fits in her pocket.

When her eyes refocus (she’s not crying, absolutely not), she sees that Allison is beside Hildy on the floor now, an arm around his shoulders. They’re rocking together, slowly, their bodies moving in a perfect rhythm. Allison is murmuring something, too quietly for Edriss to hear. She’s holding his hand, her thumb stroking over his fingers.

Edriss looks away. This is a human thing, something she’s not part of, something she can never be part of.

Hildy looks up then, meeting her eyes again. “I remember,” he says.

Edriss leaves the room and goes to the lobby where the girl at the desk looks at her like she’s crazy. Maybe she is, but she doubts it. It’s all these humans that are crazy. Each and every single one. Crazy with love, with the sunlight, with the four walls around each of them.

She’s the only Yeerk on Earth now. So alone. Not that it changes anything. She’s always been alone, even before this. Essam was always different than her.





The children get better, the Yeerks come to Earth, Edriss becomes a Visser, and (almost) everything is good. They don’t get caught. The Yeerks don’t know about the children. They’re getting away with it all and Allison is cooperating and the children are happy and it’s working. Except.

Except that Essam is dead and Edriss is rarely inside Allison and there’s something wrong with Hildy. There’s something very wrong with Hildy.





There is one day when Edriss comes home, elated from a meeting of the Sharing. Everything is coming together. All the plans she’s made, they’re happening. The people are coming, the stupid humans, and it’s fantastic.

Hildy is home, Allison is not. She’s out buying groceries, something Edriss didn’t want her to do. They’d had a fight about that, and Edriss had brought out her Dracon beam, and Allison had stuck out her chin and hardened her eyes, and in the end Edriss had relented and Allison had been allowed to buy groceries.

Hildy kisses Edriss, backing her up against the door that she’s just closed. It’s an awkward arrangement of bodies. Hildy is shorter than Lore David Altman, and that alone makes it awkward.

“He wanted me to do that,” Hildy says, once they’re both gasping for air. “He wants you to know that he loves you. He also wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with what you’re doing.”

Edriss knows this is just Hildy’s neurons misfiring through Essam’s dead nerves. She knows that Essam isn’t thinking any of those things, that this is just a ghost of him, left over in Hildy’s head, that this isn’t real. But she pushes him away anyway and goes to the bedroom, locking the door behind herself.





Edriss spends less and less time in Allison’s head. That was why she wanted to get rid of Allison in the first place. David Lore Altman needs to be seen, and he needs to be seen frequently. Allison doesn’t fit into that.

And Allison won’t let Edriss come back. Edriss could force her, lock her up and make her submit, but that’s not the point. She wants to feel with Allison’s skin again, to feel Essam’s skin against hers, to feel Hildy, and not in this way where he forces himself against Lore David Altman, hard body against hard body, eyes wild.





Allison calls her at a meeting of the Sharing, which is strictly forbidden. They can’t risk that kind of exposure, and that’s how Edriss knows that something is wrong. She calls the meeting off early, making up some excuse, throwing around a few threats, and rushes home. She’s only thinking of the children, but that’s not what’s wrong.

“He’s gone,” Allison says, and she means Hildy.

Edriss knows that Allison wouldn’t have called her if she hadn’t already tried and failed to find Hildy on her own. Her hand is already at her Dracon beam.

“Stay here,” she tells Allison. “He might come back.” Which is true, but she really just wants to keep Allison out of the way. And someone has to watch the children.





It’s not hard to find him. He’s crazy, so he’s careless, but he’s also a threat. And that’s why she has to kill him. This has gone too far.

So she backs him up against the wall of a building down some alley, it doesn’t matter where. She uses Lore David Altman’s height to her advantage, bearing down on Hildy and easily overpowering him. She presses her Dracon beam up against his body.

He laughs in her face. “Look at you,” he says. “I can’t say that you’ve changed, because you’ve always been this way.” He shakes his head, amused expression still on his face. “Essam thought love had changed you. He was crazy.”

She pulls the trigger.





“Where is he?” Allison says as soon as Edriss shuts the door to their house. She’s frantic. Edriss can tell by the way her voice rises at the end.

Edriss hasn’t bothered to conceal her Dracon beam. Allison will figure it out eventually, which she very quickly does.

Her eyes widen and her lips part slightly in surprise. “You killed him,” she says. “Didn’t you? You killed him!”

She flies at Edriss, then. She has no weapon except her hands, but it doesn’t matter. She has surprise on her side. She gets a hand around Lore David Altman’s neck before Edriss can react, but she’s small, and it’s over soon.

It’s not hard to kill Allison. Edriss had been prepared to do it before, at the hospital, and now she’s provoked, and it’s easy.

But her neck will bruise.





two.

“I still love you, Edriss,” Allison says. “And, cliché as it sounds, I know that there’s still good inside of you. Morality. Please. Don’t do this.” The wig has slipped sideways on her head and would look comical, if it weren’t for the fact that Edriss—in Lore David Altman’s body—has a Dracon beam pressed against Allison’s ribs.

Edriss shakes her head. “It’s far too late for that, Allison. You’re working against me now. You, Hildy, Essam. All I want is to protect the children and you are hindering me!”

That’s not strictly true, and they both know it.

“Essam is already dead,” Allison says. “The deaths can stop now.”

She’s stupid if she thinks talking of death and killing will stop Edriss, and Edriss knows that Allison isn’t stupid. But at the same time, she remembers the weight of Essam in her pocket, so small, and yet so important.

She feels no guilt for his death. He knew the consequences. She won’t feel any guilt for Allison’s death, either.





Edriss takes the children home. It’s disturbingly easy to get past the human’s primitive defenses against a person walking out with someone else’s children. On a more advanced world, there would at least have been DNA scans, maybe at the doors, and calibrated so that the hospital workers could enter and exit with ease. But this isn’t a more advanced society, and Edriss basically just walks right out.

The children aren’t completey better. Darwin is fussy and Madra still has a cough, but, again, that’s easily dealt with. Edriss has more worthwhile medical supplies on her small ship than the humans have in their whole hospital. The children will get better soon and her people will be here soon and things will be right again. Soon.





The first thing Edriss does is find someone to take care of the children. She doesn’t have the time to be at the house for long, because Lore David Altman is needed in public, and, frequently, at parties, at premiers, giving speeches.

The woman she hires calls herself Senorita Caterina and speaks poor English. In an uncharacteristic show of interest in his surroundings, Lore David Altman finds her strongly repulsive. That convinces Edriss that Senorita Caterina is a good pick, even if she is a bit strange.

Senorita Caterina comes in the morning after the children have eaten breakfast. Edriss leaves and doesn’t get home until they’ve eaten for the last time in the evening. Then Senorita Caterina leaves. Edriss doesn’t sleep much, but Lore David Altman’s body is strong and can take it. And Senoirita Caterina is a big help. The children like her.





One difficulty is what the children should call Edriss. One of the things she wants, right after things like more power and more control (for the good of the children, of course), is for them to call her mother. She is their mother, and she wants them to know that.

But given Lore David Altman’s body, that would only confuse Senorita Caterina, even with her limited English. And maybe it would confuse the children, too, as they get older. So Edriss says she’s their father, and they smile when they see her, and it doesn’t really matter.





And time goes by. The children grow older and more beautiful, and Edriss is sure that they’re smarter than your average human. The Yeerk presence on Earth is steadily growing, and Edriss continues to be promoted. She’s at the head of the invasion of Earth, and they’re winning, silently and slowly. The humans, in general, are stupid and easily coerced and conquered.

She’s gotten what she always wanted, and if occasionally she misses Essam or Hildy or Allison, it’s just because she’s tired.

And she has the children.





As the children get older, Senorita Caterina’s duties lessen. She still comes in the morning and leaves in the evening, but it’s easier now that they can walk and talk and dress themselves. Edriss tries to come home earlier, too, at least some days, so that she can eat dinner with the children. She loves seeing them. She loves seeing how they’ve changed each day.

And sometimes Darwin will sit on Lore David Altman’s lap, and Madra will rest her head on Lore David Altman’s shoulder, and Edriss could almost be content right then.

Which, later, she realizes is horrifying.




But she hasn’t thought everything through. Lore David Altman starts to get too popular, and that’s when things fall apart.

Senorita Caterina, even without the English friends or language, learns how important Lore David Altman is becoming. She isn’t out of sorts about it. He pays her well, and she likes his children. But that’s the thing. No one knows that he has children.

She mentions them a few times to people—I take care of Lore David Altman’s children—and everyone just seems confused. She shrugs it off, though. Clearly Lore David Altman is a very private person, and she thinks no more of it. But at that point it’s already too late. Things have already been set in motion.





There is always someone who wants to fill your place. There is always someone who is watching and waiting for you to falter, and they’ll be ready when they see their opening. And after that it all happens very fast. Senorita Caterina is taken and infested on her way home from work, a risky move if this Yeerk turns out to be wrong. (But he’s not.) From there, it’s easy to infest the children, and they’re more than enough evidence for the Council of Thirteen to charge the Visser with treason.

She’s found guilty. She’s stripped of her title. Her command is given to that fool Visser Three, who’s just been promoted, and the last thing she’ll see, ever, is Madra, Dracon beam in hand, finger curling on the trigger.





three.

Allison’s the one at the hospital with the children, not Essam. He’s off somewhere, slowly dying, and Edriss tells herself that she doesn’t care. She thinks this more than once. She continues to think it as Allison stands there, pleads with her, asks to live.

The most important thing is the children and so, in the end, Edriss says yes. She looks down at their sleeping faces and thinks that there is no trace of her in either of them. Certainly Lore David Altman’s body—her body, now—has no bearing on their existence. But she, herself, her thoughts and her ambitions, they’re not really a part of the children either, much as she’d like them to be. The children are just the product of a biological function, and Allison is their mother, and that’s why she needs Allison.

“Let’s go,” she says. Lore David Altman’s voice sounds deeper than usual.





Allison won’t tell her where Hildy is, and this makes Edriss angry. It’s another irrational move on the human’s part that can’t be explained and that doesn’t make sense. She tries to reason with Allison. She says that she has the Kandrona, that they can still save Essam.

Allison just shakes her head and says that no, they cannot. “One of us should be free,” she says. “Let’s go home.”

At the time, Edriss has no idea what Allison means.




They go home. The children get better. Edriss doesn’t search for Hildy, much has she’d like to. She could put out a search on him and find him easily, if she wanted. She has that power now. Soon, Yeerks and humans alike will be at her feet.

She doesn’t know what to do with Allison, though. She can’t watch Allison all the time, since she has to go to meetings of the Sharing. She has other things to worry about besides how big of a security concern Allison is. She should just have killed her in the first place.

So she puts Allison in the room that was once Lore David Altman’s. It’s a small room, in the center of the house, with no windows and soundproofed walls. Allison hates it, and she protests at first, but with the help of a Dracon beam, Edriss convinces her. And after all, it’s not like she’s locked up in there the whole time, just when Edriss is out.

But that’s why she doesn’t answer the door when Hildy knocks, and that’s why everything else happens.





Edriss comes home from a meeting of the Sharing elated. Everything has fallen into place, and now everything is moving forward, and she is in control of it all. It’s amazing. Yeerks who were once her superiors are now working for her, and she’s more competent than them (like she always knew she was). The invasion is progressing far quicker than even she thought possible.

She stops short at the door. There, huddled on the font step, is Hildy.

He looks up as she approaches, seemingly unsurprised. “You killed her, didn’t you?” he says. “You killed Allison. God, I loved her. I loved her so much, just like Essam thought he loved you, that crazy fool. Oh my god, you killed her.”

“No,” Edriss says. “I didn’t kill her. She’s inside.”

“Yeah?” he says. “Then why isn’t she coming to the door? And what about the kids? Did you kill them, too? My god, are you that much of a monster?”

“I didn’t kill anyone,” Edriss says. She’s annoyed. It’s not that she wouldn’t have killed Allison or Hildy, because she would have, and she still could. It’s the fact that he thinks that she did, and that it disturbs him so much. This human emotion of love has made him weak, and she wonders in horror if it’s done the same thing to her.

“You know what I’m going to do?” Hildy says. “I’m going to tell. I held off, for the kid’s sake, but you aren’t fit to be their mother. God, you’re not even a woman.” His eyes are crazed. “I’m going to tell. First the humans, then the Yeerks.”

“You wouldn’t even know how to contact the Yeerks,” Edriss says. It’s a stupid mistake, goading him on like that, but she says it before she can stop herself.

“Oh yeah?” Hildy says. “Guess what? Essam may have died, but he’s still here.” He tapped his head. “With me. Essam and me, we’re one person now. I know everything he knows and everything I know, and we’re going to bring you down, Edriss. That’s what we’re going to do!”

“Look at you,” she says, scorn apparent in her voice. “You’re groveling at my doorstep. You’re not going to bring anyone down.”

But she does kill him. She can’t take the risk. She kills him, and she doesn’t say a word to Allison.





As the invasion progresses, Edriss starts spending less and less time at home. She needs to be out a lot, because David Lore Altman needs to make appearances at events, and she needs to travel. She’s setting up chapters of the Sharing in other cities, even on the East Coast, and she’s started to spend a lot of time in the human’s primitive air transport machines. All that means she can’t be home. And if she can’t be home, Allison can’t leave her room.

Edriss expands the room for Allison. She adds a bathroom, a kitchen, even a refrigerator. She gives it some level of comfort, but she keeps a lock on the door. Sometimes, as Lore David Altman’s body drifts off to sleep, Edriss worries that Allison will find a way past the door, back out into the world. Edriss doesn’t want that for her. She doesn’t want the Yeerks to know about Allison. She doesn’t want Allison to be anyone else’s but hers. Not Allison, and not Madra or Darwin, either.

The children are growing rapidly, as the young of almost any species are prone to do. They’ve even started to talk, a little. Edriss feels a strange sort of fierce attachment for them that frightens her. If she was forced to choose between her own career and her children’s lives, she would probably pick the children. That’s not the way things should be at all, but she can’t seem to combat her own nature.

When she’s away, the children live in the room with their mother. As they get older, Edriss gives them rooms of their own, adding to the space inside her house by digging into the ground, so that there’s a small warren of rooms in the center of her home.

She doesn’t know what Allison tells the children about their existence. She doesn’t know because Allison doesn’t talk to her anymore, except to say things like, “I need more toilet paper.” Allison seeming indifference to Edriss’s very existence is what convinces her that she can’t let Allison out, ever. Allison has changed.

For her part, Edriss tells the children that she’s their father. She assumes that would be easier for them to understand than saying that she’s their mother. They don’t call her father, though. They call her Edriss, and that’s what tells her that at least Allison still thinks about her, sometimes.





When Allison finally tries to escape, it’s completely unexpected. As the years went by, Edriss had relaxed her guard. She had always listened when Allison made requests as to what she wanted in her rooms, and she’d usually acquiesced to them. After all, she couldn’t be expected to know absolutely everything that a human would need to make itself comfortable.

And more than that, the invasion is going splendidly. They’re actually having trouble shipping enough Yeerks out to infest all the humans that they’re taking, either through the Sharing or through force. And the stupid humans still haven’t noticed. Oh, there have been mishaps here and there, and the Andalites have started taking an interest, but the Yeerks are still winning.

Everything is going well, and then Edriss comes home after a late flight out of New York City and finds a rip through the metal of the door to Allison’s rooms.

She throws the door open, enraged. “What is going on here?” she says, her voice booming in the small quarters.

Allison looks up from where she’s having dinner with the children. They’re eating peas. Edriss remembers buying the can a week ago. Darwin and Madra shrink back in their seats.

To her credit, Allison doesn’t pretend to not know what Edriss was talking about. “I tried to get out,” she says. “What did you think was happening?”

“We need,” Edriss says, “To talk.” It’s a terrible cliché, something she picked up from one of her advisors whose host spent far too much time watching human television.

Allison sits straight in her chair and doesn’t move. “Whatever you want to say, you can say it in front of the children.”

“No,” Edriss says.

“Mama—” Darwin starts.

“Shh, darling” Allison says. She’s staring unflinchingly at Edriss.

“Allison,” Edriss says. It’s a warning.

“Just do what you have to do,” Allison says. “I’ve had enough of this. Maybe if it was just me, I could go on, but this sort of life isn’t what my children deserve.”

It’s her use of the word ‘my’ that Edriss notices, not any other part of the statement. My children. But that’s not true. They’re Edriss’s children, too, and Allison has never been able to acknowledge that.

Edriss knows that Allison is banking on the fact that she won’t do anything in front of the children, but Allison is wrong. The children need to be strong, and they need to know who’s in charge, and if that means doing this here, then Edriss will. She’s not going to back down from this confrontation with Allison, not now.

She crosses to the table, grips Allison’s am, and drags her up out of her seat. Their eyes are locked on each other, and it’s as if nothing else exists, so much so that when Madra suddenly yells, “Stop it!” they both flinch.

Edriss looks back at Allison first and says, “We are going outside. You can make this easy, or you can make this difficult.”

“Stop it!” Madra yells again. “Stop it! You’re hurting her!”

“Shh, love,” Allison says. “You’re going to have to be strong.”

“Let’s go,” Edriss says, fed up with the touching scene. She starts pulling Allison along with her, and Allison comes, not really resisting any longer.

But then Darwin is at their side, pounding on Lore David Altman’s leg with his little fists. “Don’t you take my mama!” he says.

Edriss looks down at him but doesn’t let go of Allison. “I am your mother,” she says. “I am your mother. Allison was just a body. Allison is just a body. You’re all just bodies.” Lore David Altman’s voice is rising with agitation.

It’s then that Allison slaps Lore David Altman’s cheek, and Madra is crying in the background, and Darwin still hasn’t sat down, but Edriss has stopped noticing these things. She pulls Allison into the other room. She shoots her. It’s only later that she’ll remember.





four.

Edriss—in Lore David Altman’s body—easily gets past the hospital’s security and finds Essam. He’s in the room where they have the children, half-sitting, half-standing against a chair. She can tell that he’s dying, and she thinks that she feels nothing.

He looks up from his hands that are fisted against his knees. His mouth is twisted into a grimace, but his eyes are alert and they lock onto her face. “You,” he says.

“Essam,” she says. “Come back with me. You don’t have to die.”

He shakes his head, and it’s almost a spasm. His knuckles are white.

“I don’t want you to die,” she says. “We’re amazing together. We could take the children. This could still work.”

In another universe, where a different butterfly flapped its bright wings, Essam would have said no. But not here. Here, he wants to live. Here, the pain is driving him mad, and he wants to live.

“Please,” he says, and it’s enough.





Edriss has left the Kandrona at a seedy motel near the hospital, and that’s where they go. If the woman at the desk, currently smoking a cigarette, thinks it’s odd as two men—one leaning heavily on the other—stumble upstairs, she says nothing.

Hildy leaves his head supported on Lore David Altman’s hands for a few moments, even after Essam has left his head. Then he shifts and rests his head on Lore David Altman’s shoulder.

Edriss stiffens. She doesn’t know what’s going on here. She’s still trying to figure out what to do about Allison. Her mind is faraway, but now all she can think of is Hildy’s steady breathing in her ear.





“Allison is going to try to take the children,” Edriss says.

Essam is safely back in Hildy’s head and drinking a glass of water. His hands still shake occasionally, but he’s safe, and he’s alive. And Edriss is right. The children are the most important thing. “Let me go back and wait for her,” he says. “She’ll listen to me.”

Edriss shakes her head. “No she won’t. She’ll know you’re with me, and in her mind we’re separate now.” She doesn’t mention that it’s true in her own mind as well. She’s gotten Essam and Hildy back, but Allison is still working against them.

“So you’ll go?” Essam says. She can hear the disbelief in his voice. If he won’t be able to negotiate with Allison, what makes her think she will be? She doesn’t tell him the bit where she isn’t planning on negotiating.

“Yes,” she says. She puts a hand on his knee, not because he wants her to, but because she does.

He covers Lore David Altman’s hand with his own.

She says, “Stay here. Wait for me.”





Allison does come for the children. Wearing a wig and contacts and scrubs, she comes. It almost would have worked, but Edriss knows her face too well. She’s looked at that face in the mirror, traced the line of the cheekbones with her eyes. She’s felt those cheekbones traced with Essam’s trembling fingers. She’d recognize the curve of that jaw, the warmth of those lips anywhere.

Allison also knew Edriss would be there. She knew since Hildy hadn’t come back. She’d hoped the wig would work, but she hadn’t really expected it. She tries to reason with Edriss, but only briefly, and then she just kisses Lore David Altman.

Edriss kisses her back, of course, but when the kiss breaks, she has her Dracon beam against Allison’s ribs. “Stupid,” she says.

Allison just meets Lore David Altman’s eyes and nods. There’s no hint of sadness in her face. “Just do it,” she says.

Edriss does.





The children are in their carrier. “Let’s go home,” she says to Essam.





It does surprise her, at first, that Essam doesn’t say more about Allison. She explained that she had tried everything, that it had been a last resort, and Essam looks shocked but says almost nothing.

And so they go back to their lives.

Things are different without Allison, surely. Allison always kept the peace between Edriss and Hildy, and now Hildy is moody and this annoys Edriss and Allison isn’t there to smooth things over. And it’s different being in a man’s body after so long with Allison, but Edriss finds that some things are still the same, that she can still run a hand over the plane of Essam’s chest and make him shudder, that she can still kiss him and feel the same pleasure that she once did, like absolutely nothing could go wrong.

And that’s because everything is going right.

Essam stays home and watches the children; the humans are weak and Edriss easily gets hosts for the Yeerks. It’s slow going, but she’s sure that soon the problem won’t be getting enough host bodies, but rather getting enough Yeerks to fill them all. The humans are stupid, and easy to control, and Edriss just keeps gaining power. She feels amazing.





But then one day she tries to kiss Edriss, and he turns his face away.

“What’s wrong?” she says.

“No,” he responds. “Not anymore.” He looks at her, but not before he’s taken a step back, away from her.

“What?” she says again.

“Look at you,” he says. “Look at what you are. I can’t live with you. Not like this. Not anymore. Maybe you can live with yourself, Edriss, but I can’t.”

“What are you talking about?” she says. Her voice is calm, but devoid of emotion, almost lacking inflection.

“You killed Allison,” he says. “You killed her, just because you couldn’t agree with her anymore. And you know what, Edriss? One day you’ll do that to me, too.” He has a hand in his hair, gripping at it. His eyes are half-crazy. “So let’s just do it,” he says. “Get it over with. I’m not afraid of dying anymore.”

She shakes her head, and Lore David Altman’s face twists into a mixture of shock and confusion. “I don’t want to kill you,” she says.

“But I want you to!” His voice rises. “Kill me. Kill me!”

“No,” she says.

He reaches for her Dracon beam, which she carries almost everywhere now, properly concealed, of course.

She jerks back, but not fast enough, and his hand is already at Lore David Altman’s hip. Her hand is there, too, now, and the physical intimacy is a mockery of all the times they’ve been close before.

First he ahs a grip on the weapon, then she does, and now their bodies are flush with each other as they struggle. And then he pulls away, and he’s the one with the Dracon beam in his hand.

He points it at his chest. “Do it,” he says. “Do it, or I will.”

“No,” she says again. “I don’t want to kill you, Essam.”

He shakes the Dracon beam. “Do it!”

She lunges at him, hoping to wrestle the Dracon beam away, and she does manage to get a grip on it, her hands slipping easily onto the handle, her fingers over his. So, really, it’s impossible to tell who it is who pulls the trigger, and that’s something that she’ll tell herself for the rest of her life.

 
 
 
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nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on September 29th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! And, yes, you're totally right. Fixing that now...
♪ medica ♫: visser 3 | would it help him anyway?senri on February 7th, 2017 08:12 am (UTC)
This is probably one of the most gut-wrenching Animorphs fics I've ever read (I mean that in a good way). Every section of it hurts, but I could easily see each scenario taking place.

I really love Edriss but she is terrifying. Have you posted this to AO3? I'd love to bookmark it there!