Of Mars and Moon: One Wintry Evening
by Cecily Hawkins
Disclaimer: This is a not-for-profit fanfic containing characters inspired by copyrighted characters. No damage is intended. This story may contain same-sex romantic and sexual relationships. This is part 1 of an ongoing series.
_Site contacted. Waiting for reply..._
Terry sighed, rocking restlessly back and forth in the standardised chair. Knowing that, wishful thinking aside, staring at it would not make it download faster, she took a moment to survey her domain. Hers, for the moment, as it was for a few hours every Monday and Tuesday night. This particular lab housed sixteen computers in four neat rows of four, with one cranky laser printer in the front. There were only three other people there at the moment, not unusual for an evening this early in the semester, and none of them seemed to require her assistance.
As she looked back at her monitor, a zephrygram window popped itself open.
Hey Ter check this out! www.daboyx.net/pics/studded.jpg
She grinned and messaged back, "Karl, I told you, I don't care how big it is or how many pieces of metal he ran through it, I don't want to look at penis pictures." A quick click took the note off her display, and she returned to watching her download percentage creep across the bar. Terry yawned and ran a hand through her short dark hair. Lab duty could get amazingly hectic when there were major programming projects due, but right now, a nap sounded more productive.
It was the sound of a frustrated whimper that roused her from her distraction. Sitting two machines down from her at the end of the front row was a little blonde that Terry could have sworn hadn't been there before. Or perhaps she'd overlooked the obvious by only checking behind her - geeks tended to instinctively sit in the back of the room, especially if there was already someone in the front, so it was only natural to look there first. She stood and walked over. "May I help you?"
The girl - couldn't be more than a freshman - looked up. Her hair was long and straight down her back, with bangs in front. Her eyes were wide and soft blue, and there was no sign of makeup on her face. The dark blue sweater she wore was neat and clean and buttoned all the way up over a white shirt, and her flower-patterned skirt was ankle-length. A tiny gold cross glittered on a chain around her neck. She blushed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother you."
"No bother." Terry pointed to the blackboard at the front of the room where her name was written. "I'm Teresa Haddon, I'm on duty here tonight. It's my job."
The girl smiled. "I'm Shaye."
"So, Shaye, what seems to be the problem?"
The blonde held up a sheet of paper. "My professor said we had to print out our assignment off the internet, and we don't have a computer at home, so I came here and I did everything the instructions said but when I click on print nothing happens..."
Terry looked. "Oh, from Acrobat? Yeah, someone screwed up the defaults. You have to change the command. Here, like this." She leaned over, deleted the faulty text, and in its place, simply typed 'print'. "That's all you have to do. Just click on okay."
Shaye complied, then looked up fearfully when a printout didn't immediately appear.
Terry smiled. "Don't worry, it takes a minute for it to get there." She knew she could just turn around and go back to her seat. But... there was something familiar in the other girl's eyes, something like a dream that had slipped loose from her mind, and she needed to know more. "So. What class is this for?"
"Sociology. I don't know why they didn't just give us the assignment. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have disturbed you."
"Trust me, it's not a problem." She winked confidentially. "There's this one girl who comes in here all the time, and she's terrible with computers, just terrible. She'll drive me crazy all night long, and if I even try to help someone else, she'll whine at the top of her lungs about how much she's paying for her education and how she *deserves* constant attention." Then she gestured towards the back. "On the other hand, you've got Alex back there who will never ask for help under any circumstances, just lurk around hoping someone else will ask the questions, or peek off Shannon."
Shaye looked in the indicated direction. She blinked. "Is that a boy or a girl?"
Terry grinned. Alex's white-blond hair was even shorter than her own, and her height and thin frame added to the illusion. She had never been seen on campus in feminine attire, and many people never even suspected she wasn't male until they were told. She and Shannon, the demure asian girl beside her, were a study in contrasts. "Girl. But you're not the first to wonder."
Apparently unaware of the eyes on them, Shannon took this moment to steal a kiss from her more-reserved partner. Shaye's expression was shocked and horrified. She turned away from the couple, fingering the cross at her neck, and Terry felt her heart sink as a wish she hadn't even realised she felt was closed off. "I think your printout is ready," she said, and kicked herself mentally as Shaye scurried to grab her papers and leave.
No, she can't be the girl from my dreams, Terry thought to herself. Her hair is blond, not red. Her eyes are blue, not green. And she would never... she's *not* the one. And I'll probably never see her again.
She resettled herself at her machine, to find a reply message from kdh.
Your loss toots!
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