Homecoming

            By Jaelyn 5/1/00

            BL fic: Jordana/Khaiya/Michael/Winter/ briefly Vasya, Sorata

~ indicates subvocalization, you know, thoughts ^^

:: Telepathic speech

Micha is pronounced like My cah

Jordana is pronounce jor DAHN na so Dana is Dahna not dayna

Sevayin is pronounced se VAH yeen ( or yihn)

Khaiya is pronounced more Kha ee ya all sort of slurred together rather than Kahya, or K(eye) ya (though this is close enough ^^) Ok..I always liked pronunciation guides ^^ Now on to the fic!  Let me know what you think guys! Usual disclaimers apply.  Oh and I’d like to give credit to Anne McCaffree, Mercedes Lackey, Julian May, Frank Herbert, and Joan DeVinge. My concept of the how and why of psionics is an amalgam of all their wonderful theories with a bit of my own thrown in to make it interesting. ^^ Thanks to the other authors for their help with the dialogue and characterization of their folk!

 

 

 

Yelling and screaming, Jordana knew, didn’t often solve many problems. But she felt like doing it anyway, anything to relieve the horrendous stress that was coiled within her like a serpent.  She was almost home, less than a day’s travel away from Yggdrasil when out of nowhere came this horrible sense of...pain/terror/fear.  She had awoken from asleep to screaming just like that.  The transport crew had come rushing in, wondering who was trying to murder her. 

                No, she wasn’t in danger, but her brother had been ...or at least, something had frightened or hurt him enough that she had felt it like a bolt of lightening through her psyche.  For an instant, she had thought he had died because all she felt was blankness where normally his presence resided. But that was only for an instant A horribly frightening instant. Then it passed, and she knew that something disastrous had happened. When she could not get in touch with him, Winter, or Michael by subspace transmission, she knew that things must be bad indeed.  It had taken every once of self-restraint not to abandon the large transport ship and take off on her own in Hades. But then a 1day trip would become several days, though doing nothing but waiting and fretting was driving her out of her mind. If only they could adapt the Yamamoto drive system to smaller vehicles....

                But it didn’t matter now, she thought to herself, looking over Hades’ reading as she prepared to enter Yggdrasil’s atmosphere.  She was home. Finally.  And though still a million miles from base, she was now close enough to make contact with Winter; Khai still wasn’t responding to her.  She bit her lip, keeping a tight rein on her fear and Reached for her friend, extending her presence just slightly in the telepathic equivalent of a knock.

                :: Winter?::

                For a long moment, Jordana was afraid that the other Lion wouldn’t...or couldn’t... respond...then she felt the younger girl’s warm, answering presence. Jordana didn’t hide her relief and sent it back down the link between them. She felt Winter’s mental smile.

                ::Jordana...welcome home...we missed you...::

                Jordana frowned. Winter sounded genuinely happy to hear from her but her mindvoice sounded a little strained, bleary, as if she was hearing her through water...she picked up echoes of pain and fatigue....

                :: Winter, what’s wrong? Are you all right? What the heck happened!  I picked up something from Khaiya yesterday and I haven’t been able to get anything from anyone since...::

                ::Jordana...please...be at peace! My Gift is a little...delicate right now...Your anxiety is reverberating through my head rather painfully at the moment.::

                The other pilot flushed. Something psychic must have happened to make the other girl so sensitive.

                ::I apologize, Winter...But please tell me...What happened?:::

                A mental sigh from the other girl then, :: It seems Michael is now an empath...maybe a telepath too, like us...:perhaps more...::

                :: What?! Michael?!::

                :Yes. Something triggered a ...memory...a terrible one...and caused his Gift to break through...rather spectacularly.  Anyone with any amount of empathy Felt it. We are all suffering through varying degrees of backlash shock.::

                Backlash was bad. Essentially, an overload of Psi energy produced depletion of psychic, physical, and mental energy stores, leaving the Gifted person feeling like a barely warmed over corpse. The condition could even be deadly ...

                ::Ohmygod!  Is Khaiya alright?!::  She felt her friend’s mental wince.

                ::He’s better now. He was strongly effected.  His Talent escaped his control...::

                ::Khaiya?:: Jordana, blinked astonished, ::No way!  That sort of thing hasn’t happened in years!::

                ::I don’t have an explanation for it but it happened. I haven’t had a chance...or the energy...to talk to him, yet. But he is stabilized and recovering.  He’s been sleeping a lot...that is likely why you haven’t been able to contact him.:: 

                Jordana sighed as she felt the muscles in her back, neck, and shoulders begin to unknot.

                ::Heaven above be thanked.::

                ::Yes...::

                :Winter? Are you and Michael in one piece?::

                ::I have some minor thermal injuries...::

                ::So Khai wasn’t the only one who lost his grip on his Gift...:: Jordana sent gently,

She could Feel the girl’s consternation

                ::It was bad...but could have been much worse.::

                Jordana nodded to herself. The younger operative was given to understatement. Which meant it must have been a near disaster.

                ::Michael is well, physically,:: Winter continued, ::Though he is some worse for the wear. He suffered some lacerations...::

                Jordana sent Winter a flash of amusement, ::His vanity will never recover.::

                She smiled at Winter’s bright mental laughter, ::No doubt.:: She sobered, ::As I was saying...physically he is fine but emotionally, I’m not sure. He is rather quiet, which isn’t like him.::

                Winter’s concern echoed loudly through the link. Jordana chewed her lip thoughtfully.

::Winter, Michael is resilient if nothing else. We’ll watch his back for a bit and he’ll be ok. I’m sure he is just a bit… overwhelmed. Becoming empathic and telepathic in less than a day can’t be all that heartening an experience. ::

                ::True...::

                ::Of course it’s true...::

                ::Very well,:: The other girl responded. Jordana could almost see her squaring her small shoulders, ::I’ll try not to worry. If your anxiety is effecting me, I can just imagine how mine is effecting him.  ‘Dana? What is your ETA?::

                Jordana checked her position, ::Should be coming into BL space in about 4 hours.  I hope you are up for a visitor.::

                She sensed Winter’s smile. :: We are all here in Medical. You will have a captive audience. But trully, welcome home, ‘Dana.::

                ::Thank you, Winter. It’s good to BE home.::

 

 

********************************************

 

                “Jordana Sevayin requesting permission to dock.  Sending confirmation codes.”

                “Roger that, Hades.  Codes received and identification confirmed. Welcome back, ensign.”

                The young mobile suit pilot activated Hades boosters and docking sequence and brought him in for a smooth landing.  As the roar died down and personnel swarmed to attend her mobile suit, Jordana popped her cockpit hatch and somersaulted to the ground, ignoring the scaffold as usual.  She flashed a bright smile and a wink at George, one of the older techs, who was shaking his grizzled head at her antics.

                “One day, lass, you’re gonna break a leg or worse with yer shenanigans.”

                “Have some faith in me, George,” She replied lightly, looking around the busy bay. “I haven’t yet.”  The hanger was full of people, many in the black one piece working uniform of the Black Lions. Usually the hanger was a place of ordered activity, ran to perfection by the chief mechanic, Lance Gregory.  The man had done wonders in the year and more that he had been a Lion. But today....the bay was in utter disarray:  Machinery was every where; equipment was scattered haphazardly about; overhead lights and computer terminals were shattered and in various stages of repair. And Iruel--poor baby-- didn’t look well at all. Her outer armoring was all but sheared off.  She found Lance, surrounded by some of  the techs and new recruits looking haggard. The expression he wore would melt gundanium. The ensign turned a questioning glance back to George, hands on her slim hips.

                “Don’t ask, lassie.” The oldster replied, “It’s been a mess since the new recruits arrived. Full of mischief and mayhem. All of ‘em, including that new secretary of Commander Maxwell’s. Then yesterday, what happened in the medical bay with Ensign Winter and here with yer own brother...Ya would have thought there was an electro-magnetic storm in here with all  the sparkin’ and fire’n going on.  Most of our computers are off line and a lot of delicate equipment is now so much junk.  Lance is ‘n a right tizzy.  I wouldn’t be botherin’ him right now if I were you.”

                Jordana glanced again at the self-named god of the hanger. Lance was talking to another new person, a short young woman with hair a darker red then her own.  Her uniform marked her as one of his new mechanics.  Lance looked like he was doing his best to hang on to his last bit of patience.

                “Well, George, I think you’re right.” She said, turning back to her old friend. “I’ll touch bases with Lance a little later.” She tossed her gear bag over her shoulder. “I’d better go by Med Bay and check on the ill and infirmed. Then I have to report in.”  She started walking , looking back and waving at him over her shoulder. “See you later, George!  Make sure those new techies take good care of my Ha---ooofff!”

                She heard the clang of metal hitting the floor. She turned around, eyes wide. She had bumped into a boy, perhaps her age or a little younger, carrying an armload of various tools and equipment. Which her inattentiveness had cause him to drop. He was already bending to retrieve the mess, his long, thick, waist-length  auburn hair falling forward to hide his face.  Hastily, Jordan dropped her bag and knelt down to help.

                “Oh I’m sorry!  I was in a hurry and not paying any attention to where I was going...”

                ~Never mind. It’s ok....~ the boy thought. He shrugged eloquently and waved a dismissive hand, ~I’ll clean this up myself...~

                “No really, “ Jordana responded, looking around for a power driver that had skittered off somewhere, “It was clumsy of me. It’s just that  I just got back and...” She found the driver and turned to hand it to the boy then stopped. The boy was staring at her with the oddest expression, his large, clear pale-blue eyes wide with shock. Yes, shock. She Felt it distinctly. She slowly held out a gloved hand “Um hi, I’m Jordana Sevayin.”

                The boy looked down at her hand and slowly took it. ~Vasily Voronkov...~

Jordana gave his hand a light shake and rose to her feet, drawing him up with her. “Nice to meet you, Vasily.” She handed the boy the driver, not noting his sudden pallor. She bent to pick up her gear bag. “I’m sure we will bump into one another again. Later!”  She gave a half salute and took off at a slow jog toward the medical bay.  Only belatedly did it register in her mind that the boy had been trembling.

 

**************************************************

 

                The medical bay whirled with activity when Jordana arrived and  dropped her gear bag off at the nursing station. A few of the nurses gave her a brief, professional smiles and told her that someone would be right with her. She extended her telepathy, easily picking up the signatures of her brother, Winter and Michael.  She picked up her things, about to go and search for them on her own when Sally Po strode up, clipboard in hand.

                “Jordana. Winter told me you would be coming by. I’m glad you are here.”

                Dr. Po was as cordial and professional as always but there was an underlying tension in the woman that was setting off Jordana’s mental alarms. She shifted a bit.

                “Dr. Po. I came to see my brother.  Just tell me where his room is, please. And where Michael and Winter are.”

                “Jordana, would you come with me for just a moment first?”  Her anxiety rising by the moment, Jordana followed the woman into a small conference room.

                “What’s wrong?” She asked, finally, unable to hold in her nervousness much longer, “Khai’s alright isn’t he? Winter said...”

Sally held out a hand in a restraining gesture. “He’s doing well enough, Jordana. They probably all  will go back to their quarters tomorrow or the next day.  I just wanted to talk to you about what is going on with Khaiya before you went in. I don’t want you to become alarmed. “

                Jordana raised an eyebrow. Sally hurried on before she could jump to the conclusions. “He’s in ICU step down...you know he has supraventricular arrhythmias secondary to cardiomyopathy. “

                Jordana nodded solemnly, repressing  a flare of anger at the thought of Primacy’s cruelty. Luckily she and her brother had the genes they did. Those chromosomes allowed them to heal rapidly from most illnesses and injuries. Even tissue that didn’t normally rejuvenate like cardiac and neuro tissue.  Heaven be thanked.  Khaiya might have been dead otherwise.

                “He’s been stable, though” Jordana commented, “He’s taking his meds (most of the time, she added mentally) and his exercise tolerance is excellent. He hasn’t had any problems in months.  You said that his last biopsy showed that the myocardium was healing well.”

                Sally nodded, “All that is true. His medications did  show appropriate blood levels. But I think the adrenaline surge caused by...whatever happened...tipped him out of balance.  He had a heart rate of  350 and almost no blood pressure when Commander Maxwell arrived on the scene.  Fortunately, Duo knew the maneuvers to bring his heart rate down.  His  blood glucose levels were about 20, which is also from the excess energy expenditure.  I put him on IV medication to control his heart rate and rhythm, and glucose water to raise his blood sugar.  I also gave him something for nausea since he couldn’t stop retching. He is better now. I’m weaning the IVs  slowly.  I think his metabolism is still a little over stimulated because his glucose is still falling and his heart is still throwing some abnormal beats.  I’m trying to keep him calm and quiet so I’ve given him some sedatives to help him rest. “

                Feeling a little weak, Jordana collapsed into one of the soft, plush chairs, suddenly exhausted.

                “No wonder Khai didn’t answer me when I tried to contact him...”

                Sally nodded. “Winter told me you were concerned. That is why I talked to you first.”

                “Thank you...”  She took a deep breath and stood again. “I’m going to go see him now...”

                “Jordana, one last thing...Why didn’t you ever tell me that you and your brother were...like Winter...”

                Jordana frowned, “Why would we?  You have our medical records. You know all the important things about us. Besides, we aren’t like Winter. She’s herself and we’re ourselves. We simply share some Talents.”

                “Jordana, do you know how rare a Gift like what you two, Winter and Michael,  share is..?”

                The young operative grabbed her bag and headed for the door. “Yes, yes, yes....I’ve heard that all my life and my life has been the worse for it.  I’ll talk to you again soon, Dr. Po. Thank you for taking good care of my sib.” And with that she left the room, leaving an exasperated Sally behind her.

 

*******************************************************

 

                Jordana padded quietly into the room, ignoring the beep and chirp of monitors and IV pumps. She always marveled how such a prickly, touchy person could look so  sweet and innocent when asleep.  His satiny, platinum-pale hair was spread out on the pillow, for once free of the colors  and braids he so loved to adorn it with. And his ear and brow rings had been removed too.  He looked like an angel, literally.  Jordana stifled a soft laugh, knowing he’d scowl if she ever said that to his face. She looked him over critically. Except for being a bit hollow-eyed, he looked just fine. His breathed slow and easily, his breath barely making a sound.  She looked up at the monitor. His blood pressure was good but like Sally said, the rhythm displayed on the monitored was still a little worrisome and his pulse rate, at 100-120, still too high. Removing her gloves, she laid a hand lightly on his chest.  Physical contact augmented the affect of her Talent nearly a thousand fold, and contact with another Empath or Telepath was even more intense. She took a deep breath and slipped into a light trance, sending her talent winging into the part of her brother’s brain that controlled autonomic function.  Like Sally said,  there was still an over production of  epinephrine and dopamine. Also cortisol levels were high.  The medication Sally gave him was helping but not enough to block the effects of the surge in catecholamines.  Delicately, she used the energy that powered her Gift to influence the cells and neurons of his brain, upregulating the countermechanisms that would blunt and reverse  the effect  of the hormones running rampant in his system.  She opened her eyes and watched as his heat rate slowly decreased...90-84-81-76-70-63--  He stirred beneath her hand. Slowly, his pale silver-violet eyes fluttered open.

                ::Dana...you’re home..::

                She smiled and sat down in the chair next to him. “Good thing, too.” She answered vocally, recalling how sensitive Winter had been to her sending. “You can’t seem to stay out of trouble without me here.”

                He smiled weakly,  ::I get into more trouble WITH you here then without you...still...I’m glad you’re back....missed you...just a little.::

                She brushed a stray lock of hair from his face, “What happened?  You are a mess inside...your Psi channels are all lit up...overactive...Winter said you lost control...”

                He sighed, irritation crossing his features and rolled onto his side, away from his sister.

                “I don’t want to discuss it.”  He answered out loud.  Jordana frowned.  That was a bad sign. No telepath could lie mind to mind, not that her brother would lie to her, but he obviously was being evasive.

                “I’m not going to accept that.  From the look of things in the hanger, all hell broke loose.” He rolled half way onto his back, frowning at her.

                ::I didn’t do all of that.!:: he answered defensively, then he wilted slightly, ::I really don’t know what happened in the hanger; I don’t remember much...  No one was hurt...::

                “Not seriously.” Jordana countered.  “Look, I thought all those mental disciplines Master Krishna taught were supposed to prevent something like this from happening.”

                He was quiet for a long moment, then finally he said: “When Michael...when he lost it...it was like my Empathy just took hold and wouldn’t let go...it was like I was him...I couldn’t break free...and I saw things...felt things...”  he paused, taking a shaky breath.  Jordana glanced up at the monitor, noting that the heart rate was creeping up again and becoming irregular.  She touched his arm.

                “Hey, it’s ok....calm down.”

                He nodded, “Just feeling a little queasy....needless to say, what I saw triggered a lot of bad memories...then there was this huge discharge of power and mine just responded, too...”

                ::Khai, what the hell did you see!:: She inadvertently sent. Her brother cringed at the contact and rolled back onto his side, curling into a ball.

                “I said I don’t want to discuss it!”

                Jordana bit her lip in frustration, biting back an angry retort.  Obviously, this wasn’t the best time to get into this. 

                “Alright. We will talk about this later.”

                ::I won’t!::

                “Brat!” She reached over and stroked his hair, feeling him tense under her touch, still angry, “I have a peace offering.”

                He half turned to look at her, eyes suspicious. She reached into her duffel and pulled out the small box of  gourmet chocolates and candies produced only on Atropos.  He rolled all the way over, his eyes gleaming.

                :: Ohhh!  Dana!:::

                “I don’t know if a brat like you actually deserves them. I brought you three boxes.” She said wickedly, pretending to examine her fingernails.  She frowned at the broken one.  She’d have  to remember to make an appointment for a manicure. She looked at her younger brother. He was actually pouting, though his eyes were looking tired and sleepy again. Obviously Sally’s sedative was still working on him.

                “Oh alright!” She laughed softly, placing a light kiss on his forehead, “You can have two boxes, if you’ll share the third. I want to take some to Michael and Winter.”

                He smiled at her, eyes getting heavy...”Sure thing...”

                She stood up, preparing to leave. ::You want me to block you some? Just for tonight?::

He nodded drowsily, making himself more comfortable.

                :::That would be nice...still picking up stuff...:: Suddenly he sat up, eyes wide, “Seimei!”

                Jordana frowned. Seimei was a senior operative who hadn’t become active until Jordana had left on assignment. She didn’t know the other woman all that well but Khaiya had been working closely with her for sometime. On what she didn’t know. The kid could be so closed mouthed at times.

                “What about her, Khai?” She asked gently, seeing the alarm on his face. He threw his covers off trying to get out of bed. His sister caught him before he could fall. “Khai, don’t be an idiot!  Get back in bed now!”  He didn’t look as if he had heard her.

                “I Felt...I think she was in danger...I have to find her  I...” Then his face drained of color and he collapsed back against the bed, “Oh my god...she’s like...him...I didn’t even know...”

Jordana frowned, becoming worried again. “Sib, you aren’t making since. She’s like whom? And why are you worried? “

Khaiya looked at her, blinking dazedly for a moment, then let out a long slow breath. “I can’t tell you, Jordana.  It’s not my secret. I’m sorry.”

Jordana took a deep breath, keeping a tight reign on her temper.  If she didn’t get some answers soon...

::Khai, you still want me to block you.?::  The boy nodded wearily, settling back into bed. Exhaustion seemed to have settled upon him like a pall. Jordana didn’t blame him. She was feeling pretty out of it her self.

Calming herself, she slipped again into her brother’s mind this time going down deep into the part of his brain that housed his Gifts. To Her Sight, his Talent pulsated and throbbed, red-hot, almost painfully. Carefully she numbed the channels, temporarily preventing that part of  his brain from reacting to and receiving any additional stimuli. She heard him sigh and saw his body relax.

“Thank you, ‘Dana.” He whispered, already drifting back into drug induced, but much needed sleep.

 

**************************************************

 

“Knock! Knock!” Jordana said lightly, peaking into Michael’s room.  The young man looked up at the sound of her voice, placing a magazine down on the bedstand next to him.  He grinned seeing her and waved her in.

“If it isn’t double-oh-Sevayin herself.  Heya, Luv!” Jordana released a breath she hadn’t known she had been holding and embraced her teammate. Though she hadn’t admitted it, Winter’s concern had bothered her. Michael was never quiet, not unless he was angry.  And when he was angry, blood flowed. But he wasn’t angry. Her brief touch gave her an impression of restlessness and irritation, and genuine joy in her presence. And yes, Winter was right, there was also the definite feel about him of a Gifted.  Beyond that, she didn’t probe, instinctually knowing that he would resent even the cursory contact that was common between ‘paths. Like she had told Winter, they would have to go slow. “I hear you’ve been making trouble Earthside, hon. I hope you gave the bastards plenty of hell.”

Jordana sat on the edge of the bed, eyes twinkling with mirth “You know I did. Learned from a master.”  His smile brightened and some of the shadows lifted from his tawny eyes. “What about you?  George says the place has been all ‘madness and mayhem’. I figured you must be a part of it in that case.”

Michael stretched, lacing his hands behind his head, grinning wolfishly, “Ahh, good ‘ol George...what can I say, luv. You know me; always out for a bit of fun; the original PuckRobin.”

“Hmmm...more like Loki---God of Chaos--- I’d say...”

“Him too!  And don’t leave out Hermes...”

Jordana laughed, collapsing next to him on the bed.

“So what’s up? What happened to poor Iruel?”

Michael groaned at the mention of his battered mobile suit.

“Don’t ask.”

 “Oh come now! You promised to bring me up to speed over a game of poker.”

His eyes narrowed. “I said MAYBE.”

Her eyes went wide with mock-innocence. “What, Micha?  Afraid I’ll beat you out of your shorts again, as well as this months’ stipend?”

Michael grinned. “I do owe you a rematch...will see next time who’s left in her birthday suit.”

She fluttered her lashes at him prettily. He rolled his eyes.

“Dishonorable wench!”

She punched him in the arm. “I’m not a wench!  And I’m not dishonorable, either.  Well...maybe...if the situation calls for it...”

“Hellion! Imp! Scamp!” he teased.

“Cad! Knave! Scoundrel! Reprobate!” she returned.

Michael chuckled at her comeback but looked even more self-satisfied then before, if that was possible.

“All of the above, baby and proud of it!”

Suddenly serious, Jordana sat up on her elbows, looking at him

“Nothing’s wrong with you.  You’re Ok, right?”

He looked surprised. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

She flushed. “Winter is worried about you...because of what happened...”

“Ah.”  The humor went out of his face, to be replaced by a closed, brooding look.  Jordana pulled herself back up into a seated position.

“What happened, Michael?  What made you...?”

“What loose control? Become an animal? Nearly kill my partner?” There was a harshness to his words, a self-loathing that almost frightened her. She flinched as she Felt a sudden tide of anguish and terror that was clamped off so rapidly she thought she had imagined it.  Her eyes widened. He looked at her: “You didn’t know, did you.? “ A sigh escaped him and he closed his eyes. “I would have killed Seimei. She brought up some shit that I thought I had put behind me...stuff that would make your hair go white...Shit I went through because of  HER, even if she didn’t know it. I wanted to kill her for it...or kill myself...It’s like being in a fucking nightmare that you can’t wake up from.” He shifted slightly in the bed, snorting softly, “ And from what I hear, I’ve somehow managed to drag half the people on base into the depths with me, which makes me the asshole twice over.” He shrugged.  Jordana could feel the despair and anger emanating from him in waves. She reached out a hand and touched his arm, strengthening the contact between them, feeling his pain ten fold but also letting him feel her support and acceptance of him just as strongly. He made to pull away from her but she firmed her grip.

“Micha,” She began quietly, “Don’t hate yourself. We all live with demons.  We all have our dark sides. “ She released him and shrugged, “Some of us are just better at hiding them, controlling them, than others. No one here can throw stones at you. “

Michael looked away from her, not responding.  She stood up, shrugging.

“Fine, be like my brat of a brother and clam up tighter than Fort Knox.”

Michael raised an eloquent eyebrow in imitation of her own gesture, “You saw your brother? Wait, what am I thinking... of course you did.  I’m surprised he didn’t spill his guts to you.”

Jordana crossed her arms shaking her head. “He didn’t give me any details...He just said that his Gift responded more strongly too yours then he expected...in a nutshell.”

Michael nodded, his expression thoughtful, “Eh. Well, don’t look at me for answers. I don’t even want to think about what happened right now.  As for Khaiya...I think we have some stuff to work out, but that’s between us. Man to man. No hens.” He grinned.

 “He’s my brother dammit!” Jordana fumed, pacing, “I have the right to know...” Then she stopped midstride, gaping at him, “Hen?  Who are you calling a hen?”

“Okayyy... would you prefer chick, then?”

“Mi~icha~” She warned,

“How about babe? Honey? “ His eyes laughed at her;  Jordana did the only logical thing and tackled him where he lay, going for his tickling places.

“Dammit woman! Watch out for my stitches!”

“Miscreant!”

“Harridan!”

“Blackguard!”.

“Blackguard? Oh I like that one...”

At just that moment, a nurse wheeled Winter in to the room, back from whirlpool therapy for her burns. She looked from one friend to another and burst into laughter.

“Jordana, I guessed that you must be here! I don’t know many others with an aura like yours.” Jordana sniffed and slid off of Michael’s bed to embrace her friend, letting her Gift tell her that Winter was well, except for some rather painful burns and a moderate case of backlash, just as she had described.  She helped the girl stand and get back into the bed next to Michael’s. The girl was the same age as her brother and though Jordana saw her as an equal, she had developed a strong sisterly affection for her in the two years they had worked together.

“I was just punishing Micha for his chauvinist ways, Winter. You mustn’t let him get away with things.”

Michael looked distinctly unrepentant if a little pained from the impromptu wrestling match.  Jordana winked at her sister-empath. Michael still had a lot on his mind but the sense of brooding had dissipated somewhat. Winter returned her wink with a smile. Jordana  then went and grabbed her bag, rummaging through it.

“I brought presents!” She held up the box of candies triumphantly.  Michael’s eyes lit up. Winter look puzzled.

“Well what are you waiting for? Open the box ‘Dana and feed this hungry boy!”

“Winter first!  She hasn’t had them before.” She held the box out to her friend, grinning with delight as she looked over the assorted chocolates and candies in wonder.  They smelled delicious. Tentatively the girl reached out and chose a chocolate/ almond/ cherry filled confection. Michael and Jordana watched her intently  as she carefully flicked her tongue out to taste the sweet icing coating then put the entire thing in her mouth. Winter’s violet eyes went wide as the  taste of the rich, sweet chocolate , the earthy almonds, and the fresh, sweet cherries erupted in her mouth.

“That was wonderful!”

Michael and Jordana laughed. The young man looked at his fellow pilot.  “You know, Jordana, Winter just popped her first cherry!”

Jordana lost it.

Winter looked confused but blushed, picking up on some of the innuendo in the phrase. Best not to ask, she thought. She took another chocolate.

The friends spent the rest of the afternoon talking and eating chocolates, falling back into the worn, comfortable patterns of their friendship. 

 

**************************************

 

It was after dinnertime when Jordana, not at all hungry (wonder why?) bade goodnight to her fellow pilots to head back to her brother’s room.  She would sleep there tonight, keep an eye on him.  Make sure everything was ok.  He’d sleep better, anyway, with he close by. She had just pulled out the sleeper chair in his room when her communicator went off.  She sighed. Commander Maxwell wanted to see her now.

She made her way to the officer’s section, surprised to see an unfamiliar face in the place of  Duo’s secretary.  Jordana blinked, momentarily confused.  The person had shoulder length silky ebony hair and gold eyes that could only come from lenses.  The make-up was perfectly applied, the liner making those gold eyes look huge...even slightly predatory. The stranger, was looking her over as carefully as she looked at her? Him?  The illusion was almost perfect, except for the telltale hands and the slightly prominent Adam’s apple. Jordana swallowed a little nervously, Something about the person absolutely gave her the chills.

“Commander Maxwell, sent for me. I’m Ensign Sevayin.”

The man, for Jordana was sure of that now, gave her another cool once over then rose from his chair to knock on Duo’s door. Jordana tried not to gape at the impossibly long legs dressed in sheer silk hose that emerged from under a short, black dress skirt.  She heard Duo say something from within.

The man turned and sat back down at his desk.

“He will see you.” He purred at her, his voice a light tenor but with a subtle, underlying roughness. Jordana nodded her thanks and practically ran into the office.  Duo looked up at her entrance as the girl came to attention.

“Sir.”

“At ease, Ensign.” Duo replied. Jordana stood down, hands behind her back, legs slightly apart. Her commander seemed tired to her, and more then a little weary. Sometimes she forgot that he was only about 23 years old, the same age as Trowa and Quatre. He smiled at her and she felt her heart flutter. She had more than a bit of a crush on the young commander though she did her best to keep it under control.

“Well, my lady. You’ve made it home. You, Lt. Commander Chang, and I have a lot to talk about.”

“Yes, sir. “ She replied a little nervously, “Did you receive my written report, Sir.?”

Duo nodded. “ I did. You have the PDA and the disk you recorded their meeting on?”

“Yes sir, but I left it in the Medical bay, in my brother’s room.” She gave herself a mental kick, she should have thought to bring it with her. But it just slipped her mind completely.  Too much chocolate, she thought. Luckily for her, Duo seemed more amused than put out. 

“Of course that is where you have been all day.  Well ensign, your formal debriefing can wait until the morning. Lt. Commander Change will be here then. Bring the PDA and disk here at 0900 hours.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I actually brought you here for another reason. I need you to go see one of the new recruits. His name is  Tatakai.  He’s behaving oddly; I think he is having a major emotional crisis of some sort. I think he needs an empath to help sort out what is going on with him. He is refusing to talk to anyone, even his suitemate and they seemed to be getting on well.”

Jordana bit her lip, “Sir, may I speak freely?”

Duo nodded, “Go ahead.”

“It may not be best for me to approach him. He doesn’t know me, even by sight. If he is having a personal crisis, someone familiar is a better choice to contact him and perhaps he would be better served by more conventional means of therapy and assessment.”

Duo shook his head. “I have a feeling about this, Ensign. I’ve known people like him, worked with them. Something’s going on deep inside of him and I need to root it out.  I understand that you are fatigued, that you just arrived back at base. But your brother, who actually may have been a better choice in some ways, is out of the picture at the moment and Winter isn’t in much better shape.  All I need is a superficial scan; something to give us some clue as to what is going on with him and how to help him.  You can do that.”

Jordana sighed. It wasn’t a question. “Yes, sir.” Duo smiled.

“Good, come back by here tonight and tell me what you found. And Ensign?”

“Sir?” His grin widened, lighting his blue-violet eyes. ~Heaven above,  he’s beautiful.~ Jordana thought to her self, feeling herself blush.

“Don’t worry about Sorata, my secretary. He doesn’t bite. Much.”

 

---OWARI!---