Affirmation

Seimei and Khaiya

by Jaelynna and Keeley

 

 

      He had to pause a moment to catch is breath, to let

the darkness pass from his vision. The need to do so

made him angry, impatient and a little afraid as he

waited for his heart to cease dancing and

somersaulting in his chest and resume its usual steady

walk. But discipline and training soon asserted

themselves, forcing anger and fear to recede, bringing

mind and body to heel. Fear and anger, Lt. Commander

Chang had often admonished, were a deadly duo. Master

them and the spirit would be invincible.

      Khaiya narrowed his eyes against the bright morning

sun, his feet once again finding their own path

through the heavy greenery. He had been struggling

against those opponents since Michael's nascent

psychic gifts had erupted so spectacularly, shattering

his mind's peace; searing through his mental shields

and disturbing his own psychic equilibrium. Struggling

and losing-- as his recalcitrant body attested to. His

study of yoga and martial arts, his training as a

Black Lion, had given him a satisfying, empowering

control over his mind, body, and psionic abilities.

But in the space of four days, that had unraveled.

      Pain had awakened him in Med bay two days ago--a

vague general ache in his body, a pounding in his

head, a throbbing in his hip.  He was up and stumbling

toward another room in the infirmary before he knew

it, fear and anger at war in his psyche.

Jordana--someone had hurt her!  Nausea and dizziness

had overcome him and he had reached out for the

nearest wall for support. Pain, like the grinding of

bone against bone had lanced up his arm, leaving him

gasping.  He rested a moment, cradling the aching limb

to his chest, willing the hurt away. The pain hadn't

been his. Deliberately he engaged the mental exercises

to focus and ground, to separate self from other.

Jordana--he'd known the Feel of her since before he

was born. But this other...?

      Moving cautiously he had found her room and stopped

stunned in the doorway. His sister was bruised and

battered but essentially unharmed. Michael was with

her. From the feel of the ether, they had quarreled.

That didn't happen often but when it did, the

atmosphere always had a hot, charged, tense feel.

Khaiya didn't attempt to pry but his sister emanated

anger, indignation, frustration and worry. Michael on

the other hand Felt... satisfaction but also a

vague...horror? ...That was when he noticed: the

ensign's left arm was encased and in a sling.

That was two days ago. In the days since, the

inadvertent bond formed during the unintentional

sharing that had occurred when both Talent and dark

memory had laid Michael's mind open, had strengthened

and deepened, leaving Khaiya, with his faulty shields

and sensitized psi, vulnerable. 

      Khaiya wasn't prone to migraines but pain in his head

had left him blind and retching twice in as many days;

his emotions had swung furiously from anger to

anxiety, to self-hatred, to a depression that made him

want to dig deep into his wrists until the blood

flowed. None of this was his pain. This was Michael's

pain. The seemingly unshakable first ensign stood on

the edge of an abyss, dangerously out of balance. And

he felt alone...alone.  For the first time since he

had met Michael two years ago, Khaiya understood him

perfectly.  His Talent, fueled by his natural

compassion, flared nova bright in sympathy, seeking to

stabilize and soothe, to bring balance to a mind alien

yet now frighteningly familiar.  Unconsciously, his

psi would seek across the rapport to calm when the

anger flared, to correct the neural-chemical

imbalances that fueled the depression...it left Khaiya

drained on all levels, his spirit buffeted by winds

that blew his own past back at him in tearing gales

and left him struggling for safe harbor. He had

absolutely no control over what was happening, which

terrified him. He had experienced such deep linking

before: shortly before his parents died and during the

shadowed time with Primacy. Only death had severed

those connections.  He suppressed a shiver, briefly

overwhelmed by memory.

Khaiya sighed, frowning, stepping over a felled tree

branch. The worst of it was, it wasn't only himself

caught up in this storm. His sister, Winter, Seimei,

Michael...they all swirled round in the maelstrom. The

strain was getting to all of them. He knew it affected

his behavior--making him more withdrawn then usual.

His colleagues watched him with wary, concerned eyes,

were cautiously solicitous, which only serve to make

him more hostile and ill tempered. Winter had come to

him briefly, concerned over his initial loss of

control in the hanger as well as his present state.

She sensed his distress.  He almost told her; almost

let his shields become transparent enough for her to

read through them. But her mind was full of Michael

and he could detect his faint scent on her body.  His

shields had remained opaque.  Something inside of him

did not want to confess his weakness to her...his

fear...to admit that knowing what Michael was and had

lived through, and what he felt now broke open wounds

of his own that burned deep. He would not burden her

so. Not when she had gone to Michael and kept him from

the abyss at least one more day. It made him feel less

guilty about not acting on his instinct and going to

the First Ensign himself. He had been avoiding Michael

like the plague.

His sister worried about him as well, pressuring him

constantly to confide in her. That Michael had closed

a part of himself off from her left her puzzled and

hurt.   He wanted to-- he trusted her more then anyone

in the world-- but how could he reveal to her the

secrets of Michael's soul if Michael hadn't told her

himself?  Close as Khaiya was to her, her distress was

like hot water on sun burnt skin to his overwrought

psi, adding to his control's erosion.  And those

secrets weren't just Michael's. They were Seimei's as

well.

      He ducked under a low hanging tree branch to avoid

glistening spider web, making toward a little rise in

the terrain. Intertwined, they were all intertwined,

like that spider's web. They made a tapestry--weft and

warp, skein interlocking with skein. Who'd have

guessed such a blessing was also a curse? But that

interdependency had brought him out today.  Michael

was only a part of the equation. And Jordana and

Winter were but another smaller part. Himself, he was

the least important part of all. No, he was out here

now because of Seimei, truly the other half of the

complicated picture.  Even unconscious from sedation

and backlash, her anguish had crackled through his

mind. The confrontation with Michael had rocked her

enough to break through the artificial emotional

barrier created by the drugs she relied on for

survival. He had felt her barricades whither as the

medication wore off.  Even on a subconscious level,

the ferocity of her unrestrained emotions frightened

him and made him cringe.  But when he had awoken, he

had felt a strong need to see her, to go to her, to

offer her what reassurances he could.  After all, she

was his responsibility. Then it had hit him that she

was like Michael. Alien. Apart. Alone.

      Of course, he had always Sensed her otherness. She

had never alarmed him, however, in the way Michael

had, even from the first when Lt. Commander Yuy had

introduced them and given Khaiya the difficult task of

managing her medication. As he had taken in the tiny

doll-like girl who stood impassively before him, he

had been struck by a strong sense of familiarity. That

feeling of having known her before had overcome his

usual reserve.  From such tentative beginnings, they

had developed a strong working partnership. Khaiya

trusted her as he did few people in his life. He

admired the clarity of her thoughts, her analytical

ability. Her honesty. She had never before, however,

revealed her PanDoRa history. The information was

important. How was he to do his best for her with

insufficient data?

      A frantic mewing drew Khaiya's attention a little to

his left --- A little cabbit-like creature that could

have come straight out of an old Tenchi Muyo episode,

was struggling in the vines of one of Yggdrasil's

lovely, but deadly carnivorous plants. Khaiya knelt,

gently prying the vines from around the frantic little

creature, projecting calm so that it would not bite

him in fear. It chittered at him when freed and

scampered off into the foliage.

      *And what if she had?* He asked himself, sprinting

the last few meters up the incline, * Would you have

become afraid of her? Refused to work with her out of

fear and distrust? *  He'd never know the answer to

those questions but none of those things would happen

now.  He knew Seimei as well as anyone. She was as

wary of people as he was yet somehow the most delicate

of connections had grown between them.  He would never

betray her like that; no matter what demons she

conjured from his subconscious. Through the bond with

Michael, he understood a new part of her, and that at

least, was a good thing. He could face her with this

new understanding, even if he couldn't yet even look

at Michael. But a baby step was still a step.

      He looked out over the small basin below him, really

the crater of a long extinct volcano.  Seimei was

below.  It did not surprise him that she came here; it

was a favorite spot of his own for yoga and

meditation. Sending her the telepathic equivalent of a

knock to let her know he was near, he preceded down

the hill.

           

      The air around her was cool, a faint breeze stirred

the trees around her and animals could be heard as

they moved through the bushes.  None of this however,

bothered the young woman as she sat in relaxed

meditation deep within herself, yet aware of

everything around her at once as she attempted to deal

with the unfamiliar turmoil inside her.  This chaos

was wrong; she was supposed to be calm, logical, just

like they'd created her to be...  so why were her

thoughts so disordered? Bouncing from Michael, to

Winter, to her past and then back again, twisting and

churning, and all the while she could feel nothing.

Like a child beating it's fists against a wall, she

found herself desperately seeking some trace of

emotion that would prove that she wasn't the cold

emotionless machine the doctors had tried to make her.

So she finally sought the one place she knew peace in.

A special place she could relax and let go of her

barriers. 

The sound of familiar footsteps approaching, then

stopping a short distance away drew her out of her

contemplation and without opening her eyes, she spoke

a soft welcome.

      "Khaiya."

"Seimei."  The unfamiliar tone in his voice brought

her around to look at him.  His posture was stiff, an

statement that had equal measures of fear,

uncertainty and concern passed briefly across his

features before they resolved themselves into the

usual neutral lines.

She blinked and moved to her feet in a smooth,

effortless movement, keeping her face empty of

statement.

      "You felt it then."  Her voice was quiet, yet carried

easily in the sudden silence that now filled the

clearing.

      "Yes..." His voice held the faintest bit of

apprehension.  She felt herself stiffen slightly.  Not

since he had first met her had he seemed so

uncomfortable in her presence.  Barriers she had not

been aware of relaxing snapped into place once more as

she stood, facing him calmly.

      "I had wondered." A part of her went cold and dark as

she waited to see what he would do next.

      His response surprised her.

"Are you alright? "

She stared at him as if he'd spoken a foreign

language.

"Of course. Why would you ask?"

Khaiya took another step toward her, "I... I have

never Felt anything like that from you before. I was

afraid for you. It reminded me of Mi-" He stopped

before completing the name but Seimei knew he meant

Michael.  Something twisted inside her at the near

mention of her partner's name but she suppressed it

automatically.  She was not going to think about

Michael now.  She answered succinctly, features

impassive. 

"It was simply a momentary break down of my normal

emotional barriers."

"It was more then that," he countered, his voice soft

but intense.

She shifted her weight slightly, turning from his

assessing gaze.  He was right, and she didn't like it.

"Yes.  It was." 

Gracefully, he sank down into the grass of the

clearing, looking up at her, waiting for her to

continue. Closing her eyes, she tried to explain

something that for her had no more substance than a

dream.

"When the drugs wore off, everything that's been kept

repressed up until now broke free."  She paused,

striving for memories, feelings just out of reach.  "I

lost control."  It was amazing just how hard it was

for her to say those simple words.

"That's an understatement I would think," He responded

with a slight smile. His voice was soft and warm.

Something inside her wanted to reach up and wrap her

arms around his neck, cuddling against him like a

child.  Her rational mind immediately rejected the

image.  She wasn't allowed to do that, it wasn't

right.  She was an adult and should act like one.

Instead she settled near him on the ground, trying to

find more to give him.

"Vague images, feelings I may have but can't

experience were all magnified and twisted. I

experienced violent mood swings, hallucinations,

nightmares... I do not believe it was very pleasant."

        She closed her eyes, shuddering from the effort of

trying to remember things that her mind had locked

away.  Why was this so hard for her?  Why couldn't she

remember?  "It's hard for me to recall what actually

happened when the drugs were gone, like everything's

blocked from my mind, hiding somehow..."

      "It doesn't surprise me that you don't remember," He

began, idly running his fingers through the grass,

brow furrowed in thought, "It could be a side effect

of the medication. Or it may be your mind's way of

protecting it's self."

      She opened her eyes again and nodded, another shudder

working it's way down her spine before she regained

control.

      "Perhaps... I don't like not remembering."

      He looked at her.  He had noted her shudder she knew,

her break in control.

      "I don't think," He said after a long moment, "That

your emotions are as suppressed as we thought,

Seimei."

      She shook her head.  "Khaiya... there are times I can

almost feel, times I know I should be feeling and what

I should be feeling, but it isn't there... there's

only this deadness inside me. Sometimes I wonder if I

feel anything at all or if I'm just a machine created

by the professors to kill."

      The boy's eyes widened slightly and he shook his

head, his silver-ivory hair fluttering in a stray

breeze.

"Seimei, that isn't true.  You aren't a machine... or

an automaton.  You aren't dead to my Empathy.  I can

feel you, just like I can Sense your thoughts.  If you

were dead inside, I wouldn't be able to See you that

way."

      She looked at him, her eyes dark, reflecting his

image like mirrors.  "You feel inside me." She touched

her chest and then her head.  "Here?"

The look she turned on him was compelling.

He nodded, grey-violet eyes meeting her own directly.

"You feel different to me than most people... muted

usually... quiet... but yes, I feel here and here," He

imitated her gesture, pointing to his head and his

heart.  "I wouldn't feel anything from an organic

machine."

This is what she needed to hear from him, this

reassurance that she wasn't simply a killing machine.

"Then what DO you feel Khaiya? Because I don't feel

anything." He was quiet for a long moment, considering

the question. 

"I feel...a desire to know more of this life... and

this world...to understand people and why they do the

things they do..." He turned back to her. "You feel

like a curious kitten to me...one who will bat at the

fire because it's pretty and you don't know it will

burn... That is what I get from you...Only the

emotions that go with those discoveries-- joy, pain,

fear...are blunted...not quite accessible." He smiled

at her a little wryly "If that makes any sense... Some

things are hard to put into words."

She stared at him, fascinated by what he said, trying

to match what he was saying to what was inside of her

but not quite being able to.

"You say all this is inside of me?  How can you

tell?"

Khaiya shrugged, raking a lock of hair from his eyes "

I just do. My Gift lets me pick up these things...plus

I get to watch you almost everyday... your body

language, your actions, your words tell me even more

then my empathy or telepathy."

Seimei moved closer to him, staring steadily at his

face as if she were trying to probe into his mind and

see what he saw.

"You watch me, make sure I'm feeling?" 

Did someone really care that much?

Khaiya flushed, glancing at his hands a moment that

were still playing with the grass, "Of course I think

about you... and pay attention to what you are doing

and how you are feeling...I know we work

together...but I care about you as well. As a person."

Tilting her head, she thought about this.  A person,

not a tool, not something to be used... he saw her as

a person... and most of all, he cared.  Something

inside her warmed and she curled up beside him,

resting her head on his arm.  "Will you always watch

me?  I need to know that I'm still feeling."

He didn't answer her but she felt him shift slightly,

a hand barely touched her, tucking a stray strand of

hair behind her ear.

::: Of course I will. I promise.  And if you need a

little reassurance, you only have to Reach for

me...I'll hear you...:::

She nodded, not doubting him at all. He had never lied

to her thus far. But still a question tormented her.

When finally she asked, her voice was soft, almost a

whisper.

"Will I ever feel?"

A long pause, then she felt him shift against her.

:::You'll feel Seimei. I promise.:::

Her head moved in a slight nod. That would do.

She lay for a moment, enjoying the quiet.  Just

sitting with Khaiya made her feel calmer than the

meditation she'd been doing before he'd arrived.

Briefly she wondered if that was his doing, but

shrugged the question off as unimportant.

"Some day, I'm not going to need those drugs."

Khaiya answered her, though she hadn't phrased the

statement as a question. His voice was distant and

contemplative as replied, his gaze distant.

"I'll talk to Professor Tengoku if you will allow me,

now that I know the truth...I'm learning more every

day..." He laughed little, "Even working on System One

is teaching me new things...we will find some answer."

He gave her a little nudge. "You know I can't resist a

challenge. The tougher, the better."

She nodded, wishing for a moment that she could feel,

then she would be able to express the affection she

knew was inside her more clearly.

"I will write Professor Tengoku and ask him to

contact you."

::Thank you,:: Khaiya sent to her, his mind voice

tickling the insides of her head. She felt something

flow from him that felt like warmth and peace, and

comfort.

:: It will all work out...you will see.::: 

He chewed on his lip a little as he said aloud.  "I

have been thinking... we need to come up with a

stable, portable formulation of the drug, one that can

be stored in an injector that you keep with you..."

Seimei tilted her head, considering this.  "I believe

what I have is sufficient. If I had been back in my

room as scheduled, the lapse would not have occurred."

      He looked ready to protest but she shook her head,

forestalling him.

"If it will make you feel better, I shall make up a

case that will allow me to carry the syringe at all

times." 

This seemed to mollify him because he gave a reluctant

nod.

"Some new ideas have recently come to me that I think

may help us..."

"Such as?"  She didn't tell him the things that had

already been attempted and the horrible failures that

had been the results; she didn't want to discourage

him.  And perhaps he would have other ideas.  She

would be sure to make sure all her medical history was

made available, including the testing she and the

professor had done privately. 

"Nothing concrete yet, I'll let you know when I get

things figured out."  His smile told her that no

amount of coaxing would make him say more so she

allowed the subject to drop.  Instead, she closed her

eyes and relaxed against him, allowing the

conversation to laps into a rare moment of peace for

both of them.

Seimei sat, enjoying the quiet and listened as his

heartbeat slowed and the tense muscles in his body

slowly relaxed.  With a rare flash of insight she

realized she was not the only person caught up in the

recent turmoil. Khaiya had felt her lapse in control

and from his previous comment; he must have also

caught Michael's emotions too.  How much was this

affecting him?  With a glance at his now sleeping

face, she noted the signs of strain and it bothered

her to realize that she'd managed to add to it with

her own problems.  However she didn't think that she

alone was causing the tension that remained even as he

slept.  What else was he up to?  Perhaps she should

just ask?  No, Khaiya never shared, even when it was

obvious that something was wrong.  The only thing she

could do was offer her silent support and keep a

closer eye on him.  When he needed her, she would be

there.  As for her recent loss of control- it would

never happen again, Khaiya wouldn't be subjected to

the chaos she knew waited on the other side of the

wall in her mind. Firmly resolved to increase her

control over her unruly mind, she allowed herself to

finally drift off to sleep beside him.

 

 

 

 

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