(Note: This story takes place during the truce, after
the truce is broken, and after the war is over. For some reason it
just seemed right that General Whitehawk hire Trista Derringer as an assistant.)
'What have I done?' Trista groaned inwardly, even as she sighed almost contentedly, 'I can't believe I did this...I hate him. Good grief, is he purring?'
She listened to the chest that her head rested on.
'He is purring,' Trista bit back a rising hysterical laugh and turned her face to hide it from her bed mate.
"Hmm? Whas' funny?" a sleepy voice inquired.
"Nothing, Jesse, nothing," she replied softly, "I've got to go now," Trista tried to unwrap the arms around her; they only tightened slightly.
A pair of dark teal eyes, fuzzy with sleep, searched out the clock: 16:57.
"Humph, we got 'nother hour, 'fore anyone notices anything. Stay," the smooth voice soothed, "u're warm."
'As if I could resist. Oh gods, what have I done?' Trista let her mind drift back to two hours earlier.
I seen love, I can see passion
I feel danger, I feel obsession
She had to escape from the dull, pounding murmur of the peace talks. As much as she wanted the truce to change into a permanent lasting peace, she felt like thousands of tiny scorpions were dancing over her skin just about to sting. And every time she caught sight of Jesse, Trista was certain her heart was going to stop just as surely if venom had entered her veins. She was thinking of asking General Whitehawk if she could return to Cavalry Command Central, but her rebuilt, albeit shaky, pride was not about to let just the sight of him drive her away. She was over him. Completely over him. And she kept telling herself that.
So far it was working.
Besides, wasn't she in a good relationship now? Bob really loved her. There was not a trace of deceit in that man.
'Which is why he's a Star Sheriff, and Jesse is most definitely not,' Trista thought immensely pleased, and slightly wistfully. She would give anything to have the hulking Sheriff here with her now.
She walked through the maze like corridors of the secured conference center to the spot that had been dubbed smog haven by the various staff members that sought a quiet, secluded place to snatch a smoke. It was isolated, difficult to find, and above all had plenty of ventilation.
She should have paid more attention to her surroundings. Instead she fumbled through her bag for her pack, and tapped one out, then fumbled through her bag again for her lighter.
"Dammit!" she mumbled.
"Here," a tiny blaze of flame appeared before her startled eyes. She leaned forward to touch her cigarette to the light, and inhaled deeply, her eyes closing slowly.
"You're welcome...I wouldn't have thought you'd smoke though."
That voice! Her eyes flew open to see the face she had worked so hard to rid from her dreams.
"Yeah, me, Trista," Jesse was smiled before her, "When did you start?"
"This?" he gestured to the cigarette in his own hand.
"Oh, after you," She spat.
"Ah," Jesse twisted to stand beside, or rather lean against the wall beside her, "you've been avoiding me. I'd be insulted, if it weren't so flattering," he smirked.
"Can you blame me? And I can still count on my hands how many I've smoked. And what do you mean 'flattering'?"
"Well, you've worked out your schedule to make sure you don't cross my path. You find the spot farthest away from me during the big showy let's play nice to the public meetings; I know you've wheedled your way with Whitehawk to excuse you from some of the more, ah, intimate meetings," Jesse listed, ticking off each point with his fingers, "It is flattering to know I still mean that much to you," he added with a nasty/sweet smile.
Trista snorted and turned away from him.
"I heard you're seeing Bob now; he was with me at the academy," Jesse continued, "He's a nice guy."
"Yes, he is. Better than you too."
"What? No snide remarks that you're the best? The viewer of the 'Big Picture'?" Trista turned back, and found herself slightly amazed. Jesse was nodding in agreement, a completely honest look on his face.
"What? Bob's a nice guy. He'll appreciate you," Jesse shrugged, "Granted the wheel still spins sometimes even though the hamster's long dead..."
"Ah, now that sounds like you," Trista said as she leaned to ground the butt of her cigarette out in the sand filled pail someone had place in smog haven to act as a communal ashtray, "And now, if you'll excuse me, Ambassador Blue, I have to get back to the peace talks." She tried to walk past him.
Jesse reached out to catch her arm, "Trista..."
She turned on him furiously, "Let me go..." Her voice rose then fell abruptly. She felt pinned by the weight of his gaze. His eyes were filled with...something she couldn't quite define. Loneliness? Longing? Exhaustion? Fear? Love?
Had his eyes always been so beautiful? She wondered to herself as he drew her close.
'And now what?' Trista panicked, 'If Bob ever...No, don't go down that road now.'
She waited a moment listening again to Jesse's breathing. It had deepened and lengthened. She knew from past experience that meant he was asleep. She carefully unwrapped his arms from around her, and crawled from the bed. She quietly collected her clothing from the floor where they had been dropped in frantic moments earlier. She struggled into them, softly cursing when she just could not find the arm-hole for her sleeve. She cursed again when she heard fabric tearing, but she finally managed to get her arm through the sleeve.
'I need to take a shower.'
Trista looked cautiously down each side of the hallway before she left Jesse's quarters.
'Now if I can get to mine without running into anyone.'
Don't play games with the ones who love you
Cause I hear a voice who says:
I love you... I'll kill you...
Trista looked up as it was announced that the Ramrod Team Unit had arrived.
All the room's attention was focused on the door. The four who walked through were known to all, needing no introduction, no fanfare to state how important they were to these proceedings.
Smiling, Trista picked out April from the quartet. Maybe they could find some time to talk later. She would love to tell April how her life had changed since they last met. April had really given her more than she had deserved. Offered friendship when April could rightly have called her a traitor.
On impulse she looked across at Jesse, who she had been avoiding even more strenuously for the last two days. His eyes were fixed on April. Even when April between them, when he should have noticed she was staring at him. And his eyes were wistful.
The pen she was holding snapped in half, the jagged edges of the break digging into her hand. Unnoticed a thin tear of blood rolled down her wrist.
"You bastard." she whispered coldly.
Loneliness, I feel loneliness in my room
He had woken up alone, roused by the absence by his side. The clock read 17:34. He tugged the sheets and blankets around him in a vain attempt to recapture the fading warmth. After they were virtually cocooning him, he let his disappointment seep through his mind.
He hated sleeping alone.
Look into the mirror of your soul
Love and hate are one in all
Jesse barely paid attention to the babble of the diplomatic small talk that surrounded him. He was beginning to understand what Nemesis meant when the Supreme Trail Boss complained about most of his underlings' nigh endless "progress" reports -- booooooooorrrriiinnnnng.
'And it's even more boring, 'cause we have no intention of keeping our end of the treaty,' Jesse mocked himself and the scurrying members of the New Frontier delegation, 'I have no intention...' he grinned slyly to himself cutting off his own thoughts.
The grin was wiped from his face as he spied three of his most hated people came into the room. Actually that wasn't true. Colt had managed to garner a micro-milligram of respect, and Saber Rider, well, by this point Saber Rider was a non-entity, the butt of some lewd jokes that he had a h**l of time trying to explain to Nemesis. He only really despised Fireball, and the way April's eyes glowed when she looked at him.
Come to think of it, he really didn't like April that much either. He loved her, would always love her, but in his gut there was a stubborn, dull, burning ember of hatred. Didn't she understand that everything he had done was for her? Motivated by her? He would die just have her smile at him once with only a fraction of the warmth she was giving that brainless racer. That galled him as well. He was better than all three of those yahoos put together. Stronger, faster, smarter, better. He was about to bamboozle an entire dimension, two entire dimensions actually. That took some doing. Jesse seriously doubted anyone else could pull it off.
"Soon enough," he muttered, turning his attention back to the gallery. It dawned on him that he hadn't seen Trista recently, and that bothered him.
But for the life of him he didn't understand why.
When the Cobalt Blue Blaster fired it destroyed not only the Alamo Moon, but several of the ambassadorial ships surrounding it. Including one piloted by a Star Sheriff named Robert Tanner.
Sacrifice turns to revenge and believe me
You'll see the face who'll say:
Trista wiped her mouth. She still felt wobbly, but infinitely better, physically anyway. Emotionally...
"I'm fine, Mrs. Tanner, really. It was just a bad spell," She managed to smiled as the older woman offered to help her up, "No really I'm fine. You know how it is."
Bob's mother murmured something soothing and guided her to an armchair, then went off to get her some warm blankets even though the apartment was stifling all ready.
'What am I going do?' Trista pondered, as she absent-mindedly rubbed her abdomen, 'what should I do, little one? If I hadn't been so stunned, I would never have said anything. Just gotten everything take care of. Shouldn't have said a word...certainly not in front of Maggie. Now she thinks she'll have a grandchild to console her. And I can't do a thing about it.'
She sat for hours, letting Maggie Tanner fuss over her, sipping the peppermint tea that was the only thing that didn't turn her stomach recently.
'Are you going to be like your father, little one? I hope you're like me. Like me in every way. So Maggie can have her grandchild. Everyone's made the assumption that you're Bob's little girl...are you going to be a little girl? I think so. And you're going to be everything your father was not. You'll be good, and honest, and caring. I'll make sure nothing of him grows in you. You'll be someone the human race can be proud of.'
It dawned on Trista, that she loved this child that she didn't want, not out of maternal instinct, but out the realization that it would be her vindication.
'Oh yes, little one, you'll be nothing like your father, but you'll be everything he might have been. I promise.'
I love you... I'll kill you...
But I'll love you forever
The darkness hurt, the light burned. Everywhere was pain. From the inside, from the outside. Being ripped apart, being pieced together. There was nothing to feel the pain, but there was pain nonetheless. Pain and a deep maddening voice.
A maddening voice screaming for revenge.
Loneliness, I feel loneliness in my room
First: DON'T SMOKE!
I've always thought Jesse's a very self-destructive person, and smoking is a method of slowly killing yourself (And incidentally a method of torturing your relatives as they watch you die by inches). Trista is also being self-destructive, but after what's happened to her that's not terribly surprising. Okay, I'll get off my soap-box now.
Incidentally Bob was one of the cadets that accidentally knocked the switch that revealed Jesse's failed attempt to force himself on April. He's also the one who thought he'd hurt April if he sparred with her in self-defense class. I thought it fitting that Trista hook up with him.
"I Love You...I'll Kill You" is by Enigma; "Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs" belongs to WEP. I'm not using them for profit, just out of affection.