Spacer Hades & Cerberus 45
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    And no, it's not easy. Just bad luck, I guess, that we're both doing it at the some time. I think I managed to stay pretty calm, though. Among today's other lessons: yelling at Lucky is just lung exercise. She doesn't care, won't let herself care.
    Then she asked how I manage to follow the rules all the time, be "good." I told her I don't have a choice, they built me this way. Reflex, I guess. Maybe some day I won't mind, it'll just be a part of me that goes with the brown eyes, this business of having nothing underneath everything I thought I was. Right now— well, I mind, I'll leave it at that.
    So then she says that they gave me back the choice, and I didn't think for a second before I said No. I took it back.
    Sometime yesterday, I think. I'll have to do some more thinking about that one, though.
    So how is it, she asked then, that I don't just reach out and rip her heart out? When she said that—for a second I couldn't say anything, I couldn't believe she would even think of something like that, much less ask me about it. Her voice had gone all weird, I've never heard her speak so quietly unless we were walking into danger, and never in that tone, ever. I can't even really describe it. But even the idea—I feel like I did when I first found about what I am—more like a thing than a person, and I've spent most of the past two months convincing myself that it isn't true. Or trying to.
    Anyway. It was a couple of seconds before I could make my voice work, and I think it was shaking a little, I told her not to even mention the possibility, did she have any idea how fucking scary it is to be able to do that?
    She said she had done it.
    What the hell do you say to that? All I could think was to ask her if she would do it again, and she said no. So I told her that she'd answered her own question, then. I'm not sure she understood what I meant, but I couldn't continue a discussion on the subject.
    God, just thinking about it makes me shaky. I can't really fathom the way she thinks, or the way she thinks about power especially. I didn't quite realize it until tonight, but I'm a little scared of mine. The fact that that one day while I was fighting Flicker, I actually wanted to cause him pain—that bothers me. I don't want to be the kind of person who would do something like that.
    So I guess I have a few more choices than maybe I thought I did a while ago. Dammit, I don't have time for this, one of us needs to have some sort of a grip on herself right now.
    Anyway. I was pretty sure before, and almost certain now, that the concept of "abuse of power" doesn't exist for her. She can grasp that what she did to Vincent was wrong, but I think she's still working on why. That scares me, mostly for her sake.
    Her other question was, did I think she should leave the team? I guess she means that, assuming she doesn't get taken off our hands by a jury. I took a chance and told her honestly that that's an impossible question; she didn't seem to like that answer much. It's one I've been turning over since last night, and for the past couple hours now since she's gone, amid everything else I've had to think about. I just don't know. Frankly, we need her; she was damn useful today, and she's been practically essential for the past couple of months.
    That was one of the reasons I kept my mouth shut about the man she killed a couple months ago, that and the fact that ever since then it really did look like she was doing better, and to be excruciatingly honest because I just didn't know what to do and was perfectly happy to think about my own problems instead, pretend it hadn't happened.
    But she really did seem better. I mean, she was driving me crazy half the time, but even I could see that she didn't have as many edges as she used to, that something was going on. She was making overtures—clumsy ones, but there you go. I just didn't have any emotional resources of my own to respond with. I don't know if I do now, but it's looking like I might not have any choice but to try.
    And now that this has happened, and I did keep my mouth shut, I feel like it's at least partially my fault. I'm sure a judge would agree with me. Wonder what the sentence is for accessory after the fact to second degree murder. For some reason, it doesn't seem important right now.
    I don't want to see her go to jail, don't want to watch the potential I can just barely glimpse now wasted, but how am I supposed to trust her? Especially when she tells me that she knew what she was doing when she went after Vincent, that she can't guarantee it won't happen again?
    All of it happened because she thought Vincent had sent someone to try to kill her, that the assassin at the Rat had been his; the last thing she heard was "Don Vincent isn't happy." We don't know if that's true, but it doesn't seem likely; they let her into the building without so much as a sideways glance, and Vincent hadn't even been armed, only one guard in the room, when she got there. It practically screams "set-up." She had actually been in the process of turning him in, had called up Reilly and recited a litany of the man's crimes—every drug deal, every prostitution ring, every hit that had gone down at his command. Then she heard about the attacks on Aliese, and, well, reacted. Apparently, when there's a Mafia war going on, the way to deal with it is to take out one of the dons involved; all she could think was to make it stop, right now.
    Her ties there are cut, now, however belatedly—she'll never have any friends from that walk of life again. But she's cut off from a lot of us on this side, too, now, because of what she did. And she's in a bad place to be all alone.
    I didn't tell her if I thought she should stay or go, because I don't know myself, but I did ask her did she want to stay on the team. She asked would she be here, if she didn't? I would never guessed it meant anything at all to her before now. Maybe it didn't. Maybe she didn't realize she had anything to lose.
    I don't know what to tell her. I don't even know what I think, what's the right thing to do. I wish I could feel happier about the fact that it's out of my hands.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson