Title: Vox Iuvenium

Author: nostalgia

Rated: PG-13

Summary: Archer/Sato backstory.

Disclaim: Braga, Berman & the Dark Lord Satan all have more right to these characters than I do.

A date: December 2002

Author's Random Shit: For Pheny, because education is hell. Miriam did the Latin.


"So, you're a prodigy?"

"So, you're cruising on nepotism?"

But he deserves that, so he smiles. Eventually, after trying for fifteen minutes to ditch him in another conversation, she smiles too.

He's funny. When he wants to be.

He lets her talk, because she's better with words. He just nods and flatters her and tries to remember what nineteen year-olds care about. They have to care about something, everyone cares about something.

She cares about sense and syntax. Her name means 'star', and she gets claustrophobic. She is remarkably unversed in the technicalities of space travel.

She has heard of his father, and she has a friend on the Robeson. No one he knows particularly well, no one he socialises with. Her friends are younger than his friends; the music they listen to is louder.

She speaks more languages than he considers decent, and suppresses a giggle at his halting French. She's too young for him to be offended, but he contrives to look stern.

She offers to cook him dinner.

"You know, you're old enough to be my father," she says, post coital.

"Are you trying to get rid of me?"

She considers for a moment and says, "No. I was just stating the obvious. Did I mention I'm a prodigy?"

"Do you translate in your sleep?"

"Are you trying to ask if you can stay?"

He laughs. "One of us has to say something that isn't a question. And yes."

She closes her eyes and pulls the sheets to her skin. "'Night."

He smiles and stares and wonders if he was ever that young. He knows, objectively, that he must have been, but too many years have passed in the meantime, and he underestimates his younger self. He wasn't like her when he was young; he must have been less vital, less vibrant. He must have been less.

In the morning she wakes up and demands more sex. It's a joke, of course, because she doesn't really expect him to say no. In her mind she is nineteen, intelligent and beautiful and he is lucky that she deigns to touch him. This is true in his mind also, so he doesn't protest when she straddles him and makes her demand.

She is nineteen, intelligent and beautiful and he is lucky that she deigns to touch him.

"You'll probably get your own ship some day."

"You want to be on it?"

She frowns, adorable, "That would be weird."

"You're the best translator I've ever met."

"I'm the best translator you've ever slept with. It's not the same thing."

"You know, when I was your age..."

"Is this before or after they invented the wheel?"

He gives her 'The Look'; head tilted, eyebrows raised. "I was going to say I was never that cynical."

"And I'm supposed to believe that?"

He shrugs. He realises that he doesn't want to tell her. He doesn't want her to know him. She is too young; he has too much pain. He wants to keep her pure and safe and hidden from the world.

She asks him again and he kisses her because it's one of the few ways to shut her up. She breaks away and laughs because she doesn't know how he thinks.

She makes him feel so old sometimes.

She leaves him in the end, like they all do. Amicable and with a minimum of shouting, but still, she leaves him. Away to someone younger and more talkative. Away.

He mourns for exactly nineteen days.