Author Topic: Defending Hope  (Read 479 times)

Champion of Few

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Defending Hope
« on: January 22, 2014, 10:34:42 PM »
?You did what?!?

The spacious O?Connor kitchen had once again become The War Room, housing only one of the family blood and a surly cowboy who looked like he was about to burst a blood vessel.

?I went out to Kingsley?s new place and had a talk with Natasha.? The fae-like cousin had taken up her usual defense position, standing next to the sink with her back pressed to the counter, arms crisscrossed low across her belly with fingers in a firm grip on each bicep. ?I think she needed to hear some of the things I said.?

?And what did you have to say?? Sai was incredulous. He had gone there to enjoy a simple dinner - none of which he ate, of course - and to spend some time with the family. Nothing dramatic, nothing out of the ordinary. Blame him for being na?ve but he had come to appreciate the quiet times that had recently settled around the O?Connors and his ward. ?Christ...? He walked away from her, running a hand over his rough jaw.

?I was doing what I thought was right,? Fallon answered back, watching the gunslinger with cautious eyes. ?I was trying to help her. Give her an upper hand that I hadn?t been lucky enough to get.?

He gave a low grunt.

?What?? She gave him a dead-pan stare. ?Do you think I went up there just because we used to--?

?Don?t.? He shot her a dangerous look. ?Just don?t.?

The cousin rolled her eyes. ?God, Sai, are you really that selfish??

?Selfish?? he turned to her, gawking, dark eyebrows arched. ?How can you be the one callin? me selfish??

?Because you didn?t tell her everything!? she shot back, meeting fire with fire. ?You didn?t tell her about the last time, about how you can?t--?

Sai cut her off with another slicing stare. She pursed her lips, allowed them both a moment to breathe.

?You should have gotten into things more.?

?Christ, Fal, it ain?t even been a month.? It hadn?t yet, had it? Keeping track of time had never been his strong point and, for some strange reason, with Natasha around it seemed liked the task was even harder. ?What else was I s?posed to tell her? I told her everythin? I could, everythin? that matters.?

?You know that isn?t the truth.? She waited for the inevitable grunt of an answer, continued anyway. ?Women think differently, Sai. Or at least we should. Especially women that aren?t...? She hated saying it. The taste of it was stale on her tongue. She sighed. ?I wanted to warn her.?

??Bout what?? He still didn?t fully face her, pacing the tiled floor. ??Bout how she?s goin? to distract me? ?Cause if you think she?s goin? to, you?re wrong. She?s so much more than anyone?s seen and she ain?t goin? to do nothin? but put steel in my spine. So what was it, Fal? What was so damned important that you had to tell her ?bout??

She had been watching him, watching the strength of determination stretch the empty veins in his throat. There was no easy way around this. She licked her lips, her eyes too scared. They ran away from him. ?I told her about what you can?t give her.?

Sai stopped, looked over at the woman.

?I told her what it?s like, to be with you.? Her voice had gone quiet, her face softer. ?It was hard to tell her without getting into...? She gently shook her head. ?I was trying to give her a choice.?

?And what makes you think you?ve got that right?? For some reason her words had sparked something inside of him, making his voice go low, gravelly. He turned to face her, standing like a mountain that dwarfed everything else in the kitchen, including her. ?What makes you think that I was goin? to keep those things from her? Am I so much of a monster that you think I?d hurt her like that on purpose?? He huffed out a hollow laugh. ?Christ, Fal,? they were becoming fast friends, him and Christ, ?what did I do to you??

She still couldn?t look at him. He didn?t know it but those eyes of his were burning, but that wasn?t the reason why she didn?t meet his gaze.

?She?s the first person outside of this family that I?ve told.?

?I know,? she replied quietly. In that moment she allowed herself to be wounded, tired and hurt and still wearing the intangible bruises she had earned while trying so hard to love the gunslinger. With the next, she steeled herself. Setting her jaw and righting her chin, she looked directly at him. ?But I still think that you were wrong.?

In an instant they were oil and water, fire and ice. Fallon had found her position and dug in her heels. Sai had discovered that he didn?t care, that the air around him had gone cold, and that his hands had curled into fists.

?I swear to God, Fal,? now he was breaking out the big guns, ?if somethin? happens and she runs...? Taking a step toward her, he jutted a thick finger her way, watched her stiffen. ?I?m blamin? you.?

She watched as the gunslinger turned on a heel and shoved his way out the side door, letting out a breath she hadn?t realized that she had been holding. The last thing she wanted was to bear the weight set upon her by a judgment dealt by him, he who was both judge and executioner. But what she wasn?t so sure of was whether she would have preferred that or the guilt she would have felt had she not gone to Natasha, hadn?t at least tried to warn her.

?I don?t think so, Sai,? she whispered to no one. Pushing herself away from the counter and starting for the hall, she hung her head and shook it. ?I think you?ll blame yourself.?

And she would be right.
[size=10:9e91c8f5c5][color=#000033:9e91c8f5c5]"Evil only prevails when good men do nothing."[/color:9e91c8f5c5][/size:9e91c8f5c5]