Of Mars and Moon: Pieces of You
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 number 8 in the series Of Mars And Moon. Each entry takes place in one day. Oh, and love and kisses to Shandryl for beta-reading these things, as well as providing astronomical information. :)
The woman on the throne was not Chantrea. The eyes were the same, but the skin was older. "It will be a good match."
"He is not my equal in rank!" the princess protested.
"No one is your equal in rank. Your joining will bring peace and prosperity to a great number of people, which is the function of your rank. Remember that. A true ruler only leads where her people will follow."
"The people would not wish me to be unhappy."
"No. They would not. That is why you must not appear to be unhappy. Accept him, and the people will accept him. Love him, and the people will love him. Then there will be peace."
"Mother," Chantrea said, looking down. "I have never asked you for much."
The queen's smile was weary. "Because you have been given much without needing to ask."
"Mother," she tried again. "I love someone else..."
The queen reached up, removed the decorative headdress that proclaimed her position, and set it beside her. "My sweet child, I know your heart. But this is a question of duty. We have no choice, you and I. Some things must be done, regardless of our own desires."
Chantrea clenched her hands. "I'm tired of not having choices."
When Terry woke again, the sun was shining. Good enough, she decided, and fumbled for clothing. Once presentable, she wondered what to do about Shaye. They hadn't talked about the next morning... hadn't even talked about the night, it had simply happened. What would they do now? Did Shaye have classes to get to today? When did she need to wake up? Terry considered just wandering into the kitchen and rattling things around until the noise would rouse anyone who wanted to be roused, but it seemed silly and false when she wasn't enough a cook to be doing such
things without ulterior motive. Besides, she *had* to talk to her, she couldn't just drive off and leave her here sleeping.
Terry turned the knob cautiously, giving ample warning if there was anyone awake and indecent on the other side of the door. No sound. She opened it and stuck her head through. Shaye's purse and shoes, but not her clothing, lay discarded on the floor. The blonde, her blue dress now wrinkled, was curled up asleep, her fists clenched, murmuring to herself. Not quite a nightmare, apparently, but not entirely pleasant.
"Wake up, sweetheart," Terry said, and cringed. Sweetheart?
Shaye stirred but did not wake.
"Come on, wakey-wakey."
"Time to rise and shine."
An eye cracked open. "I'll rise, but I refuse to shine," she grumbled. Then her eyes flew wide and she half-sat up, clutching the sheet about her. "I..."
"Relax, you're dressed," Terry reassured her.
"I know that. I didn't have anything else."
"I'm sorry, I should have offered you something of mine."
"No, it's all right. I just... I've never slept at someone else's house before."
"Oh." Terry paused, then, gentler, "Do you want me to take you home?"
Shaye fell back onto the pillow, her eyes blankly upwards. "No."
"Oh." What am I supposed to do with you, then? "Um." Terry grabbed the chair from the computer desk, reversed it, and sat straddled. "I don't want to pry, but I need to ask you some things. Did your uncle ever... touch you? In a bad way?"
"Did he ever... watch you?"
"I barely knew him. He lives in another state, he's only visited a few times. He never molested me and neither did anyone else, okay?"
"Okay." Pause. "So... why don't you want to go home?"
Shaye blinked furiously as tears stung her eyes. "I guess I don't have any choice, do I? I have nowhere to go but back to them."
"You could stay here," Terry said reflexively. "For a while," she qualified. "Until you figure out what to do."
"I don't have any clothes."
"Borrow mine. I'm sure something would fit.... I mean, if you want to."
"Really?" The blue eyes sparkled at her, then dulled again. "I have to go to class."
"Not if you don't want to."
"But... I have to. Don't I?"
"School's a choice, just like everything. It's *your* choice. If you don't feel like it, don't go! You've had a rough night."
"Then... I want to sleep in."
Terry grinned. "Don't we all." She stood. "I do have to go to classes, but I'll come back here to check on you before I go to work, all right? Help yourself to whatever you need, and you can always email me."
She waited there a moment for a response, but Shaye merely lay quietly. With a maternal twinge, she shut the door and left the blonde to her thoughts.
Alone, Terry wondered at her own rashness. She didn't really want someone staying here... did she? But the girl seemed so helpless. She'd never been away from home. She could barely imagine a life outside of the choices that had been made for her. If she wanted to escape all that,
Terry couldn't turn her back. She had to help.
Of course, if she was giving Shaye free rein... Terry scurried around collecting various items - alcohol, lesbian artwork, the friendly purple vibrator - and stuffed them into a box in her closet, piling underwear on top of them. If Shaye was willing to dig through underwear, then she wasn't innocent enough to be shocked by what she'd find. She gave the bathroom a quick straighten and scooped all of her laundry into her closet, then, satisfied that it was the best she could do, went on
her way to class.
Maintaining focus on her schoolwork became more and more of a struggle as the day wore on. What if Shaye needed her? What if, frightened and alone, she called her family, and those people came and stole her away, or worse, lay in wait for Terry? You're being paranoid, she told herself. But when she at last was home for dinner, she was still hesitant to open the door.
She could hear the television. That was a good sign. Conscientious little thing that she was, Shaye would have turned off the set if she'd chosen to leave. Terry wandered into the living area,
expecting to find the blonde curled up on the couch. The TV was on, playing some cartoon with a little blond boy in it, but Shaye wasn't there. Terry backtracked to the guest bedroom, knocking quickly before poking her head inside. The bed was empty and neatly made.
A toilet flush and the gurgle of sink pipes alerted Terry to the location of her visitor. She rushed back to the main area and leapt over the couch to lounge nonchalantly on it. Terry spared a glance at the screen. The boy's name was apparently Johnny, and he was talking to an older man about the environment. Boring. She flipped channels until she hit the Simpsons. Much better.
As she heard the footsteps behind her, Terry turned her head. "How was your..." She blinked.
Shaye had obviously been in her closet, but what she had chosen to wear was not quite what Terry had expected. The red tank top she had on was a bit large and loose over her breasts, waiting only for her to lean over to fall away. In contrast, the black biking shorts were too small for Terry to wear and clung tightly to Shaye. Her feet were bare, and her toenails were painted black. An assortment of cheap jewelry dangled here and there. Her eyeliner was too thick, and her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, which actually made her look even younger. "What?" she asked innocently.
Terry suppressed a snicker. "I don't think that look really works for you."
Shaye turned pink. "I just wanted to try something different."
"It's certainly different."
She looked down at the jelly bracelets. "I guess it is a bit much."
"You could say that," Terry grinned. "Everything go all right today?"
Her smile sparkled. "We never had cable. I didn't know they played cartoons all day!"
"They have channels for everything. I'm glad you had fun."
From the television came the sound of Lisa's saxophone. Flanders' voice: "Hey, what... that sounds like Gabriel's trumpet. You know what that means, kids!"
"Yay! Judgment Day!" cried Rod and Todd.
Shaye, interest drawn, leaned over the couch to watch. Terry noted that she had been quite right about the top. "Um, I'm just going to grab some food and run, I have to get back for work, unless you need something," she said, standing.
"I could cook for you?"
"No, that's fine, I'm really just in a rush."
"Oh." She sounded disappointed, but quickly took Terry's place on the couch.
Terry slapped some sandwiches together, trying to be calm about it. She had to get over this silly nervousness if Shaye was going to be staying here. Running out on the situation every time it felt awkward wouldn't accomplish anything. But she did have to go to work.... in an hour. Oh well. They would get used to this eventually.
It turned out to be a good thing that Terry had arrived at the lab early, for by the time her usual work period began, the room was packed. Programming partners doubled up at machines and argued over project specifics, while latecomers wandered in, waited for a few minutes, realised that no one was likely to leave them a free computer any time soon, and gave up. Terry was kept busy with a host of small questions, but no one was lost enough to require a long involvement. For
the first time since agreeing to accompany Shaye to church, she felt truly comfortable, in her element.
She looked up. It was Karl, or kdh as she thought of him most of the time, managing to look stylish as always in a dark green long-sleeved shirt and slacks. But then, gay men always looked fabulous. He posed like a magazine model, one hand in a pocket, eyes twinkling brown as his hair.
"Hey yourself. What are you doing here? Computer on the fritz?"
"Nah. Meeting someone."
"Yeah? Well, don't count on getting a machine. Busy night."
He just smiled. Moments later, the girl next to Terry began muttering curses and pounding uselessly at the keyboard. Her screen had gone into black and white and was dumping systems garbage. She stood in disgust, grabbing her books, and stomped out of the lab. Karl slid into the seat and unfroze the setup with a few simple commands.
Terry rolled her eyes at him. "Cheater. So who you hooking up with?"
"Not like that. Not yet, anyway. Some guy named Justin that mutual friends said I should meet. Cool customer, but smart, and an artist, they said. In need of a little personal programming assistance."
"And the perfect opportunity for you to try to work your charms on him, yeah, yeah. Hate to tell you, but I've never managed to pick up a partner for the night in a lab..."
"'Cause you never even try, girlfriend, that's why. Besides, he sounds really interesting. I'd like to find someone for more than casual, you know?"
Terry patted his hand with a grin. "I'm sure you'll find a nice husband eventually."
"Yeah, yeah." He sighed. "So, how'd it go with you and your little ChristianGirl?"
"Don't call her that."
"Of what, bible-beaters?"
"Of *her*. Labels aren't nice."
"Uh-huh." He turned to look at her straight-on. "Getting serious, huh?"
Terry found herself blushing. "We're just friends." Good thing she hadn't had a chance to tell Karl where that friend was staying.
"You be careful, you hear? Don't fall for what you can't have."
"I'm a big girl, I know what I'm doing."
"Sure you do."
"So," she fought to change the subject. "How will you know this Justin when he arrives, if you've never met him?"
He shrugged. "I guess he'll ask for me."
"Mmh." Her eyes returned to her screen. There was a message window waiting for her.
Are you there?
She smiled. "Hi! I see you figured out how to log in from my computer," she sent.
You don't mind, do you?
"No, it's fine. Enjoy yourself." Privately Terry hoped that Shaye wouldn't uncover certain download archives, but the girl probably didn't know where to look. She looked up as someone entered the lab. Someone in black jeans and a shapeless white button-down shirt with coffee-stained cuffs, long dark curly hair restrained in a low ponytail, sunglasses (even in winter, and at night?) obscuring a face which might have been either male or female.
And then she removed them.
She was a pale-skinned woman of perfect china-doll beauty, dark eyes framed by rich lashes, little bow of a mouth without a trace of lipstick. For a moment, she was sheer loveliness and exquisite fragility, sending a shock right through Terry.
Then the moment passed, and she was hard-eyed and expressionless, washed-out and unremarkable. "Excuse me," she said, and the voice was as flat and androgynous as the body, "is Karl here?"
"Yes?" he answered warily.
She hooked the sunglasses into her shirt pocket and adjusted the notebooks she carried to offer him a hand. "I'm Justine."
Terry sighed inwardly at the disappointment that Karl only just managed to hide, and looked back at her screen.
Is it okay if I make cookies?
She wanted to bake? Women. Terry grinned. "Go ahead," she sent, as Karl and Justine moved past the introductions and began discussing the code problem.
Thanks! I've never gotten to make chocolate chip cookies before.
Terry smiled indulgently, then began to worry. She'd never done it before? Did she have any idea what she was doing? Terry briefly envisioned flat, overdone cookies full of eggshell fragments and metal slivers, sliced free of the cookie sheet with a gouging knife... Well, it wasn't like Terry had much use for the things herself. No great loss. Another message window followed...
She blinked. That strange Allan person again? What was he up to? She fingered his login and froze, then, slowly, turned around. There he sat, three rows behind her, staring her direction with a wicked little smile. She whipped her head back around. "What do you want?" she sent.
Justine had a notebook off the top of her stack and was showing it to Karl. "The Uncanny Canadyke and her sidekick Hamsterboi. It's a comic I draw. Parodying Batman-style superheroes." Her speech was clipped and unemotional. Perhaps that was why Karl's friends had mistakenly referred to her as a male. Terry couldn't get a good look at the art from her seat, but Karl was nodding in acceptance.
I'm just being friendly with my favorite teaching assistant. The one I
know wouldn't do anything if she caught me playing games with the
"You came up with this?"
"No. Some friends. I just draw it."
"I hope that's not a threat, because if it is I'd have to report it," Terry sent.
Just a joke. But I'm surprised. You would report a
possible danger to the system? Then shouldn't other
people be obligated to report such dangers? Say,
if someone was a known hacker?
"You're pretty good," said Karl
Justine only grunted.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Terry replied.
I think you do. Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything about
it. We have our own code of honor, don't we?
"And I also have a job and a responsibility here. Don't let me catch you doing anything I would have to report," she sent, aware that it was uncomfortably close to admitting that he was right.
I knew you were sensible. Don't worry, I'm not into crashing for
fun. Just looking for people I have interests in common with. Who's the girl?
Terry blinked. Had he noticed that Shaye was logged in from Terry's home machine? "What girl?"
The girl next to you.
"Justine? Some artist. I don't know her," she sent, relieved.
At that point she was called away from her computer to assist someone, and that round of questioning kept her busy for a good long while. When at last she came to her seat again, she found no messages waiting for her, and Alan was gone.
The smell of chocolate and cinnamon greeted her as she opened the door to her apartment.
"Hi!" said Shaye, bouncing up with a plate of cookies as if she'd been sitting by the entrance waiting. Perhaps she had. The jewelry and makeup were gone, but the outfit was the same.
"Hi yourself." Terry picked up a cookie and examined it closely. It was lumpy. There appeared to be oatmeal in it. But it smelled all right... she took a bite and her eyebrows rose. It was very good. She sidled forwards enough that she could peek into the kitchen. No disastrous messes. Bowl and such sparkled cleanly in the drying rack.
"I can cook, you know," Shaye said, sounding mildly aggrieved.
"I'm sorry," she blushed. "It's just you said you hadn't done it before."
"I said I hadn't made *these* before. Everything I made at home had to be healthy and boring."
"Well, I'm sorry I doubted you."
She brightened. "So what would you like me to cook for you tomorrow?"
Terry blinked. "For me? I thought you wanted to make those."
"I did. But I'll make whatever you want me to. And I washed your dishes and cleaned your bathroom."
"Oh, dear." She perched on the back of the sofa. "I don't eat complicated foods. I don't really need someone to cook them. And you don't need to "pay" me for anything."
"Yes I do!" Shaye insisted. "You have a job, you're working your way through college, how can you possibly afford to feed me too?" She looked tearful. "How can I force you to do that for me? I have to give you what I can."
"Oh, hon," Terry sighed. "Yes, I have a job. But I don't really need that money. I'm working because I want to."
"Just trust me, okay? I have the money. It's not a big deal. You don't have to worry about it."
"In fact, we should probably go shopping tomorrow and pick up things for you... food, toothbrush, under... clothes, stuff like that. Unless you think you could sneak into your house for them when your father won't be around?"
She stared at her feet and shrugged. "Maybe Wednesday night during services." Then back up. "What am I going to do? I can't just hide from him. He'll be worried. He might call the police or something to find me."
Terry shrugged. "I can't tell you what to do. We can stop at a pay phone tomorrow and you can call him, if you want."
"Come on, cheer up. What else did you do today besides cook and clean?"
They spent a happy while talking about the various shows Shaye had watched, then hunting through Terry's closet for a more suitable nightgown. Terry thought it was all going rather well.
But she couldn't help but hear the quiet crying as she drifted off to sleep.
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