... and the Perfect Pixie. (P 2 of 2)

As the petite lady and the long haired man wandered through the corridors of the ancient spaceship, the taller one would twitch occasionally and look over his shoulder, almost as if worried an oversized, overfriendly spider was about to come barreling after him at any moment.

“Oh Alex, did you have to use such foul language? Poor Dr Pritchard!”
“Don’t like spiders” he huffed.
“I’ve never seen a man tear a vending machine out of the wall with his bare hands before either…” She mused. “How did that help again?”
“I thought it would be a barrier if I pushed it across the corridor.”
“Didn’t quite work out like that, though, did it?”
“Quite a good jumper, that Patches...”
“Yehr.” Alex twitched and squicked again, looking around. “Probably won’t be able to sleep for a week now.”
“Oh right, you can sleep with Cass’s killer robots aboard, but not one friendly spider?”
He nodded. “Exactly. You know where you are with machines.”

The mischievous woman probably had no idea how much he was opening up tonight. He’d admitted to his fear of spiders (true, he didn’t have much choice, but still - it was odd that he was discussing it). And he’d told her about Jess, and the kids… Those were big things for him to talk about. In fact, he’d been admitting to a lot of stuff he’d normally keep private.
He wondered why, and wondered what she actually thought about the things he’d been revealing. He shot her a sly glance.

“What? What are you thinking?”
“Oh for-” She rolled her eyes. “All right, I’ll tell ya what I’m thinking.”
“What’s that then?” He asked, politely, ignoring the demands of his calf which, after his arachnophobic athletics, was now whinging like a back-seat child. Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
“Do you think I was too hard on Jay?”
He pursed his lips and thought about it. He’d felt extremely awkward during the ‘exchange’ but had found himself nodding at several points.
“Well, poor guy has just been ill…”
She winced and coloured slightly.
“But you had a point. He’s a good guy, a really good guy, but I don’t like how he’s been with Cass at times.” He didn’t mention the fact Jay’d tried to strangle her once. Jade would only freak out. He wasn’t himself at the time anyway.
“He is our leader though, and I respect that. I respect him. We never took the official vote when we first got out of stasis, but it was a choice of Seymour or Jay. Obviously my vote was gonna be for Jay. He might've been a bit… dumb with women lately,” not that I can talk “but he was our captain, and he’s still a natural leader. Best man for the job.”
Her face became thoughtful.

Bloody hell, he’d just openly discussed a bunch of other stuff he normally thought, but didn't say. His cards had been yanked from his chest and dropped higgledy piggledy all over the damn floor. Was it because he was a little drunk? Or was it down to the perplexing powers of the Perfect Pixie?

“Hello son.” Plisken’s pleasing accent cut through their reverie.
Alex limped over to him. “Hey Plisk.”
With a quiet “hmm” Jade noticed affection in his voice. Didn’t like people eh? She sighed, and silently reflected on the weirdness that was Man.

“I’ve been shooting with Jamie and that fellow, Artemis” the bearded one was saying.
“Oh, right?” Solvay jutted his lip and nodded.
“You should come some time.”
“Ah, I dunno” Alex began, trying to repress the facial twitch which’d been birthed by the mere mention of shooting.
“I was talking to the young lady, actually.”
Jade chuckled. “We’ll see” she winked.
Alex searched their faces, wondering if they were serious. His thoughts took a detour as he noticed that Plisken was looking older than he remembered. He didn’t want to say anything which might upset him, but he was definitely going to mention it later to the doc.
She pulled him onwards, yanking at his sleeve. More touching...
“See you later Plisken” he called over his shoulder as he was pulled onwards. “We’ll have another smoke?”
“Right you are, lad!”

Jade yawned and hooked her arm through his. “You made more of an effort with him than you do with others.”
“Stop analysing me" he grumbled, enjoying the contact. “You’re not a doctor.”
“Yes I am.”
“Ah… Shit.”
She laughed. “Anyway, talking of your friends…”
“Ain’t my friends…”
She ignored the sulky man-child and continued “… I notice you haven’t said much about Cass?”
He shrugged.
She frowned. “Well? Don’t you care that she’s gone?”
“Of course I smeggin’ care.” It was a growl, but a gentle growl. “Just ‘cause I don’t say something, doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.”

She squinted up at him, wondering what else he felt but didn’t say.

Eventually they got to Jade's snack machine. Wow, it actually existed, it'd taken so long to get there that Alex had started to think it was a myth. He extracted himself from her arm, stretched hugely and clicked out his back.
“I tell you what, darlin’. These sweets’d better be worth the trek. I’ve lost half a stone just getting here.”
She smiled, not at his stupid ‘joke’ (she’d started to realise that he had a weird, hard-to-follow, some might say ‘unfunny’ sense of humour), but because he’d (almost merrily) called her ‘darlin’’, and hadn’t even noticed.


Heading back to Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey-ze, with plenty of things to, uh, graze-y, they passed Molly, who seemed to be… What was she doing? Playing with a skutter, or something. Alex rudely didn’t bother to greet her - he still hadn’t finished apologising properly to her and Jacky for his embarrassing come-on and felt awkward around her.
“Hi” said the doc, sweetly. Molly just gave her a funny look.

“Wow. What’s her problem?” Jade asked, glancing back at the other, lighter-haired, red head.
Alex shrugged. I dunno. Probably hates me after I suggested she slept with m-
“You what?”
Holy crap, another slip of the tongue, what was wrong with him? “Jade, have you drugged me?”
“No.” She said, firmly. “And come again?”
“On Fernandos…” His face contorted in embarrassed shame. “I wasn’t completely myself. I kinda said she could sleep with me. If she wanted.”
“When!!?? I don’t remember that.”
“Think it was before I, uh we, met you.”
Jade, took a deep breath held it for a moment and let it out. Alex wondered what she was thinking.
“You are one muddled bunny” she said, finally.
“You’re the bunny” he told her, thinking about her flopping slippers.
He groaned internally. What must she think of him? He wasn’t making a very good impression tonight. At all.

Before Alex could embarrass himself further, Jacky skidded around the corner. “Have you seen Molly?” He snapped.
“Er, yeah, she’s just down there…”
The boy rushed off at high speed.
Alex blinked in mild startlement. “That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen him move.”


Eventually they were back in Jade’s quarters watching Dirty Dancing, this time with several bags of snacks. Alex resumed his pleasant Jade-watching and sipped his drink. He was surprised that she hadn’t seemed to mind him having a drink - a drink-drink.
Gods she was lovely.
Without really thinking what he was doing, he pulled her close so that she was cuddled into him. They sat this way and watched cheesy films into the night.


He snorted awake around 3am. Whatever had been on had finished and Jade was snoozing like a goodun. He pulled the blanket off her bunk and put it over her.
He gazed shiftily around. She was asleep, and no-one else was here to see, so he planted a gentle kiss on her forehead.

As he stumbled out of her quarters he noticed she’d placed the paw-crafted ‘jewel’ well, ‘shiny thing’, encrusted box over near her big crystal thingamyjig. He hoped that meant she liked it.


The next day.

<snip> The small rodent figure had placed the card, knocked and run away before anyone had got to the door of their quarters. Everyone had recieved one and it read in elegant gold script, decorated with images of masks and people dancing:

Wonderful humans. You are invited to join in with the annual Whiskermas Ball. Taking place on what you call the Promenade. Please formal wear masquerade only.

The invite was dated for that evening.

Alex was woken by a rap at the door.

He stuck his sleep-matted head out into the corridor. Nobody was there, but there was some fancy looking card thing on the floor. He picked it up and stared at it.

“Hah, I see you got your invitation to the ball then?” It was Phi.
“Yeah, that thing in your hand… It's an invitation to the masquerade Whiskermas ball.”
Alex realised he was still a bit drunk. Words like ‘Whiskermas’ didn’t exist.
“Are you going?” She enquired.
He wiped the sleep from his right eye with the heel of his hand. “To a ball? Like a dance?”
“Yes Alex, like a dance.”
“Pffft. No.”

Jade came bounding along the corridor, apparently very excited.
“A masquerade ball!” She yelped.
He exchanged a glance with Phi.
“Are you going Alex?” Enquired the merry Irish one.
“Uh, yeah. Obviously.”

Phi rolled her eyes.


<Tag everyone. Preparations and the erm, Whiskermas Ball.>

< Prev : Big Bad Al... (P 1 of 2) Next > : Premonitions, Parties, and Patches