Blood from a pyramid

When: During the first night back aboard ship.
Who: Jade an’ Alex.

<snip>She looked up at Alex. "Do you understand?"
"I..." He began.
"Don't answer that actually. I want to hear you first. Tit for tat and all that." </snip>

Alex began to panic. He shifted slightly but made sure to keep his arm around her.
“N-no” he said, voice quavering, unlike the brusque Alex that Jade was used to “I’m not sure that’s such a goo-“
“Ah c’mon” said the doc, still shaken, but a little calmer now “you owe me after that!”
And despite the horrific story she’d just told, she bravely managed to add a bit of sparkle to her voice. Impressive.

Mind slipping back to the terrible tale, Solvay had the urge to plant a sympathetic kiss on the top of her head but didn’t, in case it was inappropriate. Poor woman had gone through such a lot. He hated the thought of her suffering at the hands of some nuts-need-removing psycho shithead.
He didn’t have much idea what he should say, and didn’t actually want to respond in words at all, but he realised that to not say anything would be thoughtless after she’d just opened up so deeply. So he forced himself.

“Does it get easier?” A croaked vain hope that perhaps the pain was muted, that she was fine now.
Jade thought about it for a moment before sighing. “Not ‘easier’ exactly, no. You just learn to cope with it better.”
His expression didn't change, but he felt a keen empathy inside his already bewilderingly emotion-sodden chest.
“Mehr” he grunted. “Sorry to hear that.”
“Sorry that I can cope with it?” She tilted a tear-streaked face. “You’re a funny one all right” she murmured, teasing even through her shakiness. Alex used the thumb of his free hand to wipe the tear-tracks from her cheeks.
She put a hand to her face, as if only now realising she’d been crying.
He gave her the tiniest of smiles, from the very edge of his mouth.

“That’s more like it” she said, voice still gentle. “A bit of a smile. Better than sitting round feeling sorry for yourself, eh?”
The micro-smile dropped.
“Y’know what I mean. That thing when you’re miserable, and just want to feel all sorry for yourse-“
“I don’t want to feel sorry for myself” he said, a tad defensively, causing Jade a little amused smile of her own.
“I don’t feel sorry for myself, anyway.” He grumbled, sounding more like his normal self.
“I feel sorry for what I’ve done…”
Bingo She thought, having just masterfully managed to start him talking. His face was a picture though.
“So what is it you’ve done that you feel sorry for?”
His eyes drifted from hers. “Just stuff.”
“What stuff?”
She braced herself. “Brother stuff?”

In a self-protective movement he carefully extracted his arm from her shoulders and slunk away, back to his own corner.
“Don’t wanna talk about that.”
“You wanted to talk about it at the outpost. It was the only thing y-”
“I was out of my mind.”
“When? At the outpost or back with Jacob?” She asked, cleverly keeping the conversational ember alive and glowing in the right direction.
“Both.” Though drunk, he realised what she’d done. “Stop that.”
Then he noticed how pale she still looked and regretted the firmness in his voice. “Please.” He added.

“You need to talk about it some time…”
His scowl suggested he thought otherwise. She raised her eyebrows.
“Maybe I’ll see the medi bot” he placated, making sure to say “maybe” so it wouldn’t be a lie when he never did.
She narrowed her eyes, more than female intuition telling her that a visit to the bot from this particular Dwarfer was highly unlikely.

“Fine” she sighed, “something else for now then. I told you about Tony. Why don’t you tell me who Jess is.”
He gave another of those distantly amused, yet sad snorts and his eyes slid to lock onto hers. She gave him a meaningful expression and he sighed in semi resignation. “All right. Let me just make another drink first.”

While he somewhat unsteadily made the cup of tea, and the cup of ‘enhanced’ coffee, he looked around his humble, narrow little quarters, wondering what he could give her to say thank you. A retro-style music tape? A T shirt? A pair of boots – he glanced over at her bunny-bedecked feet - which would definitely be too big? A Haynes manual on Blue Midgets? An illustrated book of dinosaurs which he normally kept hidden? A half-finished sweeper droid he’d been assembling? Twalex’s loin cloth? No, maybe not. He’d get her something soon, from the promenade.


He passed her the tea and sat back in his corner.

“Why are you just staring at me?” Jade chuckled. “Come on, spill.”
He groaned.
“Jess is… was, my wife.” He told her with a shrug - simple as that .
He wasn’t sure what Jade’s resultant expression meant. After a moment’s thought she spoke up. “When you say ‘was’?”
“She divorced me.”
“She wasn’t very nice.”
“She must have been once, for you to marry her in the first place?”
“Yeah. She was once...” he trailed off, not saying any more.

It was like getting blood from a... no not a single stone... it was like getting blood from a pyramid.
Jade blinked at the accidentally apt analogy – their most recent adventure had indeed involved blood and pyramids.


Desert Realm
Plisken-2 reached into his coat pocket and produced a silvery hip flask. He tossed it over to his former friend, who caught it before it fell to the ground.
Twalex opened the flask and proceeded to down the contents, “What’s the occasion?” he asked but Plisken-2 was already gone.</snip>

“Thank you Mr Plisken!” He said, to the space where Plisken had stood before disappearing. He wondered if he’d been too hard on his one-time-friend – he had just returned his flask. Mind you, he hadn’t brought any other gifts. Why hadn’t he brought any other gifts? Huh. Twalex liked receiving presents.
Jaahday looked at her distracted husband in utter disbelief. “Lexi! What are you doing? You don’t drink!”
“No, of course not! But this is just-“
He took time to taste what he’d just consumed.
Jaahday gave a dramatic sigh. Sometimes she wondered if her spoilt husband had the same IQ as a yogurt. “Whisky?”
The tanned man nodded, a guilty expression pushing his bottom lip into a plump, pampered pout. It had been years since he'd consumed alcohol.
The woman shook her fists in rage and, somewhat resembling James T Kirk, vented her spleen at the universe.


Jade waved a hand to bring him back to the present.
“Sorry, went off in a bit of a daydream there.”
He wrapped his blanket around himself, tired, aching of calf, and wanting to get cosy. “Hey” Jade was suddenly distracted from the ex-talk. “Is that the same blanket you had on Fernandos?”
“Yup. Can we go to sleep now?”
“But you didn’t tell me about Jess. You hardly told me anything.”
“She’s not important right now” he mumbled, lying down as sleep tried to claim him.
Jade realised how wiped out she was herself, and had to concede that sleep did sound like a good idea.
“We’ll talk more soon?”

“Can I stay the night? Your lights work.”
He didn’t really know what she was on about, of course his lights worked.


<tbc later>

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