Saturday, 20 December 2008

A friend in need...

It is often said that a true friend is by your side when you need them. A true friend I would add is one who can see beyond mistakes, but does one truly deserve such friends, how does one justify such kindness.

I had not slept well that night, the night that followed my debasement. My mind echoed visions from Nareth's past, though visions does no justice to the sensation, for it is not seeing but absorbing, the suggestion of smell, sight, heat, taste, sound and feel of the memory wraps around me as in the most vivid night terrors. Yet these terrors did not cease when I opened my eyes, I had become now somewhat accustomed to their presence but I could not escape them. When she is awake I feel her, she feels me, sifting through my mind with the fingers of her mind. "Mistress", she calls me. "Mistress...." and in that first day, it was too much for me to bear; the memory of what I had done, the destruction of my friendships, the exposure of those fears, and desires that I had kept perhaps even from myself, alongside the constant presence in my head.

I did not leave my bed that day until early afternoon, crawling into my clothes and slipping downstairs, peering guiltily out of the windows in case anyone was watching me.I forced myself to eat something, some day old bread and a small hunk of cheese, washed down with a glass or two of wine.I sat down many times to write a letter, a letter to Orchid, something to explain what had happened.How much of what had happened had been stirred within me? I knew now that I had suppressed my feelings, buried them deep for many years. Since Tali's death I had not dared let anyone near me, I could not bear that hurt again, but that didn't mean that my heart had not yearned for companionship but that I had simply become deaf and blind to its calls. By late afternoon I'd managed only to fill my wastepaper bin with paper and shed enough tears to fill a bath. It would be dark within the next few hours, she would awake, the noise in my head, the pressure of the darkness of her coffin,was as nothing to the invasive sensations when she awoke. I finished the wine I had and grabbed my coat. A short walk to the square taught me about paranoia, every person I saw seemed to be looking at me, I imagined the words that dripped from their lips, words that I could not commit to paper here. I hid deeper in my coat and wandered faster across the town then down into the canals where I found refuge in Loki's bar. The bar was empty, I grabbed a bottle of imported beer from the bar, leaving a selection of coins in the brass ashtray by the till.

I took up a seat in one of the darker alcoves by the window, shaded by the imposing Imperial. I drank to be numb, to escape. Surely if I could not feel my own thoughts, my own hurt, I would not be able to feel her either. Through numerous beers, whiskey and vodka I sought the solace of the pitiful drunkard, full of self-loathing and self-pity I set myself firmly upon a path of self destruction. The first beer prompted another which was joined by a bottle of vodka, and so the night arrived and I barely noticed Nareth any more.

It was in this state that Orchid found me, though in all honesty I wish that she had not. She entered the bar and did not see me hidden in the corner, for my part I was to wrapped up in my own misery to notice who had arrived. I reached out to a bottle to refill my glass, misjudged and sent the bottle clattering across the table, scattering the other bottles arrayed there. Orchid had collected her own drink and hearing the noise walked toward the booth.

"Oh, Excuse me, are you alr-", Orchid stopped mid sentence seeing who it was in the booth. "Beq? Don't... don't tell me you drank all of that yourself??". I looked up, unfocused though the haze of alcohol and self loathing. Orchid shook her head, lips curved in a frown, and whispered, "Beq, I'm so sorry..". I sat up as best as I could, hearing Orchid's voice. Blinking I wiped my hand across one eye and then the other.

"Orchid?", I backed into the shadows, "leave me. I .. I am not worth it". Orchid moved slowly toward the table, placing her hands on the edge, leaning downward.

"No! I won't. I've told you I'm your friend, no matter what. You are worth my time or I would have stormed out on you much sooner and never bothered trying to talk sense into you. I... I can't lose you Beq.". Orchid slipped into the booth and sat opposite me. Glancing at the bottles, mentally counting the amount of liquid Beq must have consumed.

"I lost me, Orchid, not you. So stupid. She tricked me."

"Beq, there's no shame in being tricked by such a mastermind. She's within you now, as you're within her! How could you not succumb?", I dropped my head, staring at the table.

"In me.. yes. No way out, but still me.". Orchid took a long sip from her absinthe.

At that moment, Rip walked in.

"You here Orch...", Orchid looked up, unsure what to say. Rip looked at me and was silent. Orchid forced a smile.

"Look who beat me to a drink before I got here Rip..", she laughed nervously. Rip Wirefly 's mouth tightened a bit and Orchid, broke away form his gaze, staring at the table, dropping her head into her hands.

I saw my empty glass and started to reach out. Orchid stretched across the table, pulling the glass from me. I grabbed for it, knocking the bottles again. Orchid frowned, glaring at me.

Rip Wirefly 's eyes narrowed
"Rip? He knows? Knows what I have done?", I stared straight ahead not meeting Rip's gaze, Orchid McMillan whispered softly, almost silently.

"yes, yes he does". I looked down in desolation

"I have hurt the ones I love. You and Rip are dear to me, both of you".
Rip strode over to the table, knocking over a nearby chair in the process, I shifted back in my chair, creeping in to the corner and Orchid cowered as the chair crashed to the floor.

"He is right to be angry. I have messed it all up". I looked at the empty bottles.

"No, Beq, no more alcohol. You can't just drown this away.". Rip growled a reprimand as Orchid buried her face in her hand before falling back against the bench with a huff, balling her hands into fists, her eyes shut tight.

"It keeps her quiet"

"Nareth?", Orchid asked, peering through her hands.

"She is there, in me, through me"

"I just never thought someone I cared for, someone I respected, would betray me in such a way". Rip's voice was low and gruff, his fists clenched.

"Betray...", I sighed.

"Is that not a proper word to use?", I buried my head into my knees, drawing them up like a shield before me. "A betrayal of trust?". Orchid sniffed her eyes shining with tears, staring up at the ceiling, avoiding all eye contact. "I always thought, Beq is strong, she can take anything on, do anything, she is true to all she cares about". Rip shook his head. A single tear let go running down Orchid's cheek.

"I failed you Rip, I failed you all, she tricked me, she has me now. I have nothing left, I am spent. She wins.". Rip slammed his hand on the table, the bottles jumping. I yelped, pressing back in fear, trying to hide in the soft leather of the couch. Then Orchid McMillan screamed out,

"Just stop it Beq! She wins when you give up!"

"That is not Beq speaking.", it was Rip, his voice stern but calmer, "The Beq I see in front of me is not one that I know. One that fights against anything and does NOT give in".

"I took the fight, the choice, to forfeit my life, maybe, but to the right end."

"Beq do you not see? You have hurt us horribly and we are still here with you, despite how angered we are you give up hope too easily."

"but it was false, she tricked me. She controls me as much as I her."

"then get over it and realize that you still have control over her. She may have some control but you have that much over her too".

"You said it Beq,", Orchid sat forward, supporting Rip's words with her own. "As soon as the charm was finished... you said you had control!"

Then suddenly, Nareth was there, in my mind, confused by the haze.

"Are you "over it" Rip?", Orchid McMillan glances at Rip.
"How can I be? But at the present you need to look past it."

"So I must look beyond the ruin of all I hold as right, beyond the damage but you can simmer and boil?"

"I know I ask of a diffucult thing beq, but do you not see how much it tears me up inside to just speak to you right now?", Rip turned away, a glint of a tear welling in his eye. Orchid reached out towards Rip, then retracted her arm, unsure of herself.

"She is near. She comes". Orchid sat upright quickly, glancing towards the door.
"H-how near?"

"Do you feel me Mistress?"

"I feel you.".

Nareth entered, closing the door. Orchid seeing Nareth slid towards the wall, curling her legs up close.

"That is good, I am with you."

"Mr. Wirefly...."

"Nareth". Nareth watched me cowering in the corner.

"Am I interrupting?", Orchid wiped at her eyes with her sleeve, trying to conceal her tears.

"About in the day again I see."

"Yes...why shouldn't I be?"

"You are not well."

"Not well, hurting Nareth, I see too much"

"I have seen you but once in the day", continued Rip ignoring Beq's random interjection. Nareth smiled very slightly.

"Well, twice now. Your point?"

"There is none."


"but a statement"

Nareth looks back to Beq.
"Do you require assistance?"
Orchid McMillan tips back the rest of her absinthe quickly, slamming the empty glass to the table.
Beq Janus looks from Orchid to Nareth and back
Nareth stands very still, very quiet.
"I've done as we agreed. They are unharmed."

"Unharmed? that is not so".

"They are both...alive and well, are they not?", Nareth reverted to speach.

"They hurt, they hurt because of me."

"But..not because of me."

Orchid McMillan glares sharply at Nareth


"because of us"

"Let's not argue semantics."

Nareth turns and watches Rip a moment.

"It would be beneficial, Beq, if we spoke. We should have spoken spooner..."

"More half truths?"

"I have not lied to you."

"lied? no. I failed to ask"

"I was not required to be forthcoming. And I have kept my word. And you now hold my reins."

Nareth moved nearer the booth looking very closely at Beq. Orchid slid far into the corner as Nareth came near.

"No! stand back Nareth"

"Beq, tell her not to fear me."

"I could not harm her...not now."

"But later?", Orchid muttered, shyly, barely audible.

"No", I replied as Nareth turned towards Orchid.

"No.", she echoed.

"The bargain was made, I will never harm you, Orchid."

"And Rip? The one I love?", I looked away at Orchids words, a sting I had not expected.

"Nor him.", Orchid stared at the flickering candle. "I did not relish this arrangement...but., is unbreakable.". Rip looked from the professor to Beq. "Beq, you've had much too much to drink.", she barked, almost matronly. Orchid McMillan laughed nervously.

"Enough to rest"

You are only causing them more pain, I think.

Nareth stands firm, still watching Orchid.
"you are right Nareth, no more pain"

Orchid McMillan reaches the Professor's glare for a moment, before quickly looking away, staring off to the far wall

"Come with me, Beq.", I tried to stand, my legs buckling under me at first, but with the assistance of the table I stood and took Nareth's outstretched hand, looking at Rip, then Orchid, as I did. Orchid turned her gaze to Rip, her grip tight on the table

"They are safe. From me."

"Semantics..", muttered Orchid

"That is a start, I suppose. Shall I walk you home, Beq? You need to sleep. To rest...". For a moment I wavered, looking back at Orchid and then nodded.

"Miss McMillan, Mr. Wirefly. I trust I will see both both again soon."

"I know we will", uttered Rip, his face hard. Orchid forced a smile, looking up only briefly and we left.

The cold air rushed in to my head causing me to stumble but started to clear my head a little
I glanced back into the bar as we left, worried as to what the anger in Rip might bring him to do.

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