A little over an hour now. I know I wanted to forget this day, but I can’t believe it’s gone so fast. Neither one of us wants to look at the time. We both know. He’s holding me in the shower. He had asked if I would be all right, worried about my nosebleed before. I hate headaches, they’re the worst. I can shut out pain in my body, but in my head? I’ve never been able to shut that out, when it intensifies. It feeds on itself until I black out. Try to shut everything out of my mind, try not to think.
Exhaustion sets in, the hot water, we used it all, pulling out what’s left in me. Rest my head against the side of the shower. Tell him it’s all right. Worried, after the last time. Needless to say, his hand never leaves me even once, in case I fall. Our shapes dim in the swirling steam.
I had thought she was falling, at first. Went to stop her. She just smiled and laughed at me. She started at my feet, and washed the rest of me. I had washed her. I just never expected that she would do the same. No woman’s ever done that for me. Then again, I’ve never asked. It’s not usually one of the things I’m concerned about. Stay still, being ready to catch her if her nose starts to bleed again. Hold her when she’s finished, waiting for the water to run out.
We get cleaned up, and feed Dog. I don’t eat. Nervous about the surgery, and my gut in knots. He makes me coffee. We sit close to each other, our knees touching, in the small galley. Not talking. I’m too scared now. Dog sits on the floor between us, looking at one, then the other. Riddick smiles at me, before reaching down and petting him, making me drop my head and grin. The proximity alert goes off up front. My coffee cup forgotten.
A flicker of fear scent on her, at the alarm, then it’s gone. I’d be looking to fight, in her position. Then again, what the hell would I have to fight? I can feel her pull into herself, her face growing calm, the fear in her gone the moment it’s arrived. Some things you can’t fight. You’ve just got to last through them. She won’t let it break her.
Hold her hand, not wanting to let her go just yet, as we move up front, to take the ship off auto pilot, and prepare for docking with the Midorian. It’s brighter up front. I can’t do much about it. This ship wasn’t built with a need for darkness in mind. She’s wincing, that soft low growl, her teeth bared for a second, before she gets herself under control again. In the dim light of the ship, I had forgotten that she’s nearly blind the rest of the time. Worse than blind. Light actually hurts. Her eyes are open now. You’d never know how much it was hurting her, unless you knew what to look for.
Everything in her is tight again. I had once thought that it was just her cruel nature. Only now I realize it’s because she’s in agony most of the time, and won’t show it. Fights every second of every day not to show it, not to let it get the best of her. Going to trade this in for something with a shield, so she won’t have to worry about the light hurting her eyes anymore.
Sit with that thought for a while. Taking her with me wasn’t even something I thought about. Never even thought to ask. Just assumed. I do want her to stay with me though. Interesting that I just automatically saw her staying.
Talk to the docking steward for the Midorian. We’ll be taking a bay at the far end. The trade’s already worked out ahead of time. It’s the least of my worries. Thinking of her surgery, and whether she’ll live through it, makes it hard to concentrate on docking. Fortunately the Midorian was built before small ships were even heard of. So I have lots of room to make up for the lack of focus. Larger ships anchor in, rather than land on the bay. Even then, I watch her wince, as we dock, the slight bump of docking has gone right through her. I can’t even imagine living like that since eleven.
Tell her to wait, that I’ll be back. A low growl back. “Close your eyes, it’ll be over soon.” Her eyes are filled with pain. The docking bay is as bright as day right now. Her face is pale, her skin cold. “It’ll be over soon. Be strong for me.” With that she puts her head back and closes her eyes. I don’t think it helps much, but I think she’s used to pretending it does.
The deal done, I let him take my hand, and walk me out of the ship. He warned me about stuff I would fall over. I guess he remembers that I can’t see a damned thing in this light. Burning fire, and it’s hellish echo, making everything else a white noise. The light doesn’t dim, not completely, but it does lose it’s glare, as we move into the warren of hallways on the Midorian.
The white noise keeps me from being able to track where I am, and I feel completely helpless. I’ve known him less than a week. A flutter of fear, which I try and still. It won’t help me. He nuzzles my neck, a reassuring presence in the blinding, nauseating glare. He smells my fear, I’m sure of it.
We stand still, finally. The sound of a keypad. Another man reaches for my arm, to pull me away from Riddick. My fear’s back, with a helping of betrayal. But he’s not letting me go, murmering comforting words in my ear, helping me to a table.
“We’ll need to get her out of those clothes. Here, help her with this robe……”
Talking like I’m not here. Maybe just talking like I clearly can’t help myself. Helpless. Fill my nose with the scent of Riddick, so I’ll know if he’s gone, even if I can’t see him. I know I shouldn’t be afraid, he’s not been out of contact with me the whole time, as though knowing I needed him, instinctively.
“Is it possible to cut the lights. They hurt her.”
A question, for the surgeon. It’s not really a question though. His hand stroking my arm the entire time, letting me know he’s there, that he hasn’t left me.
“I can use the light here.”
I don’t know what light he’s talking about, but the terrible weight of the white light is gone, leaving me sick in it’s wake, washing over me. Turn to the side, where his scent is strongest, my eyes still jammed shut, in case the light goes back on.
“…….just running the scan now……..”
The surgeon’s voice. Gone quiet, telling me what he’s doing, or talking to himself, I can’t be sure.
I can feel Riddick’s breath, so close to mine. Reach out a hand for him.
Put my hand back, feeling, if anything, more helpless than before. I can feel my chin start to shake. Bite my lip, and it goes. Breath deep. The scent of you in my nose, shut out everything else.
“I never did get to find out what colour your eyes are, Anise.”
His voice, a whisper, his lips almost touching my ear. I open my eyes, to look at him. I don’t care if it’s going to hurt me or not. Turn to face him. His hand strokes my jaw, the side of my neck. His mercurial eyes locked on mine.
A clatter of instruments, as the surgeon looks up from his monitor, after the scan is complete. His voice a shocked whisper in the room.
“………..mother of god…………..”
© 27 Jan 2006, 16:43