Title: For Love
Author: Mercury's Winter
Archive: Ask please
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and make no profit from this story.
Setting/Season: Season 5
Spoilers: The Weight pt 2, Phear Phactor Phenom, possibly TDI pt 1 and 2
Warnings: mild language and some not so good thoughts
Comments/Feedback: Oh yeah baby!
Summary: Beka seeks out Harper after the events of Ph3.
A/N: Harper and Beka didn't really have time to talk in Ph3. I wasn't satisfied with how the show handled their reunion. This is just what I thought might have happened after the ep. concluded.
"Remember, People will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold – but so does a hard-boiled egg."
Beka cautiously picked her way around Harper's cluttered lab. She wrinkled her nose in disgust at the various potions and bubbling, oozing...things percolating on every work surface. She trailed her hand through the wispy tendrils of smoke rising from one particularly nasty looking vial.
"I wouldn't touch that if I were you."
Beka started at the muffled voice. "Harper?" She said as she tried to pinpoint his location.
Beka was sure she knew where his voice was coming from and slowly, almost hesitantly rounded the next workbench. Squinting through the gloom she could just make out Harper sitting on the floor near the vault that housed what was left of Rommie. Beka grimaced remembering the horror and revulsion she felt when she had first seen what had become of her android friend.
She paused, not sure what to say. Their reunion hadn't been exactly what she'd dreamed about all those months floating through space on her own. Sure, she assumed all her friends were dead but six months in a ship by yourself and you start imagining all sorts of things just to pass the time.
She took a few steps toward Harper, pretending not to notice where she was heading. She feigned interest in the contents of a cupboard, not wanting to frighten him off but also not wanting to confront him at all. How could she have become unsure of Harper?
Because he scared the crap out of me, that's why. When I saw what he'd done to Rommie...I was scared. I was scared for him and a little of him. I've seen his genius in action; it's not a good thing to be on the wrong side of. Beka blew her bangs out of her eyes and risked a glance at Harper. He was fiddling with something, turning it over and over in his hands, his gaze a million miles away.
Beka remembered that hot on the tails of the fear she had felt at seeing Rommie's...parts...had come a rush of anger. How could he do this to Rommie, his friend? How could he keep her in that hellish limbo for three years? Well, in true Harper/Beka fashion they'd managed to say all the wrong things to each other. She was still pissed at how he'd run out after mouthing off to her and Rhade...well, she was pissed that he'd mouthed off to her at any rate.
She picked up a scanner off the bench and pretended to examine it in order to avoid having to look at Harper as she spoke. "Dylan told me what happened."
Harper's head snapped up, his eyes gleaming in the dim light like those of a feral cat when its back is to the wall. Beka tensed, waiting for the tightly wound engineer to spring. She had no idea what to expect, from this "new" Harper. Neither did she know what she was doing there, but she'd come prepared. No one was going to get the better of her again. She eased her hand toward her holster as she kept a solid eye on the man on the floor whose anger suddenly boiled over.
"What does Dylan know? What does he know about anything?" Harper raved. "It's his fault this happened in the first place, if he would have left Arcology when the shit hit the fan, we'd all be safe and snug back in our own galaxy...we'd all be alive...she'd be alive." Harper's lip trembled, tears welling in his blue eyes.
His hands returned to worrying the object they held, his homemade blaster. He dropped his head and murmured. "Beka, just leave, ok? I..." his voice trailed off with a sigh. It was just too hard, he couldn't do it anymore. Rommie was gone, his friends didn't trust him, what was left? Doyle? She'd be fine without him to worry about anymore, she'd be better off actually. Gogul? Doyle would look after him, nope there was nothing keeping him here anymore. "Just leave."
Oh no, he wasn't going to get off that easy. Beka put down the scanner and turned to face Harper head on. She decided it was up to her to snap him out of this spiral of self-pity. "She was my friend too, ya know."
Harper winced as if he'd been struck. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and bit hard on his lower lip. "I know Beka," He whispered, "and I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. She died saving my sorry worthless ass. If she hadn't stopped that Magog, if I'd been faster getting that stupid ship to slipstream, if..."
"If only I'd been there." Beka sighed, all the sorrow she'd felt at learning of Rommie's death was compounded exponentially by the guilt she felt for leaving her friends when the heat got too hot.
Harper gave a cynical chuckle, his voice rough from unshed tears, "Then you'd be dead too."
Beka shook her head, but conceded the point. "Maybe, maybe not, but at least when we got zapped here, where ever here is, maybe we would have been together."
"But you weren't here." He rasped between clenched teeth. "No one was. I tried, I tried to..." He shook his head, his hands tightened around the blaster until Beka was sure that either it or his hands would break. He twirled it around once more until it was facing his chest. "I loved her so much and I tortured her for years Beka." Harper's voice rose again, "Years! Who does that? What kind of person does that to someone they say they love?"
"Rommie still trusts you." Beka blurted out. She was desperate to get that gun out of Harper's hands. She wanted to comfort him but knew he wouldn't allow it, not yet anyway.
Harper's eyes narrowed, tears now flowing freely down his pale cheeks. "How the freakin' hell do you know that?"
"D-Dylan told me." Beka hated the stutter in her voice but she hated the sight of Harper's finger tensing on the trigger even more. "He said that when he talked to Rommie she mentioned you. She told him to trust you, because she trusts you."
Harper grunted, "Well, that just goes to show she's more messed up that even I thought."
Beka closed the distance between them and crouched down to his level. "She knows why you kept her alive all this time Harper." Harper turned his head so Beka couldn't see the utter desolation in his eyes. Beka gently grabbed his chin and turned him back to face her. "It's because you had hope. You've given that hope to her, and she's counting on you now."
"I can't, Beka. Don't you see? I failed." Harper whispered.
"You didn't fail. You kept hope alive until help arrived. We're here now Harper, we're here to help you." Harper's disbelieving eyes caught Beka's, "We'll help you but we're also counting on you now. We're counting on you to bring our friend back to us." Beka put her hand over the gun and gently removed it from Harper's lax fingers.
Harper shook his head, "B-but it's not possible."
Beka set the gun well out of reach. "It is possible. Dylan said that Rommie was starting to make decisions on her own..."
Harper's head snapped up, "She was? I-I mean, if she really was, that could mean..." Harper trailed off, his mind working overtime on this new information.
Beka smiled slightly and ran the back of her fingers down Harper's cheek. "It means that you could fix her."
He looked at her, his bright eyes dimmed by pain and loss. "So much has happened." He shuddered involuntarily as memories of his time in the Seefra system assailed him. The things he'd done, the terrible things he'd done so he could survive, the least of which was aligning himself with Marika just so he could have access to her illegal tech. So he could begin the doomed process of bringing Rommie back. His face suddenly hardened and he jerked it from Beka's comforting touch, his gaze sliding back to his gun. "It's too late. Just...Beka, just go."
Beka shot to her feet and began to pace frantically. She glanced at Harper as he edged toward the gun. Anger coursed through her and before she knew it she was in Harper's face, holding his gun out to him. "You wanna do it Harper? Then here, do it. Right now."
Harper's eyes widened with surprise. His right hand twitched toward the gun but Beka snatched it away again and replaced it with her finger in his face, "But let me tell you something, if you do, all of this will have been for nothing. Nothing! Rommie's death, her life, everything we've been through together will mean squat. So go ahead, end it now but I'm not leaving. Not this time." Beka held out the gun again as she finished speaking.
Harper looked at it longingly, he reached out his hand and Beka held her breath but instead of grabbing the gun, Harper pushed it away. Beka muttered a soft 'thank you' to the Divine and slapped the blaster down on a nearby counter.
Harper gazed up at her, his face unreadable. "Y-you, um," he swiped at his eyes, trying to remove all traces of moisture, "You really woulda stayed?"
Beka looked hard at Harper trying to telegraph to him her sincerity, "Yes, Harper, I would have. You and I have a history together and as much as you might want to forget that and think only of yourself," She motioned to the vault, "You can't, you have to finish what you started." Harper nodded solemnly to let her know he got the message loud and clear.
Beka regarded him for a moment not entirely satisfied that he could go on but also knowing that he'd taken a big step toward healing. She glanced toward the door and gave a rueful chuckle, "Actually it's kinda funny in a 'har har' sorta way. I don't know if the Maru will even take off again, I barely made it out of here the first time."
Harper perked up, "The Maru's here?" His voice had taken on an almost childlike quality. He sounded like a kid asking if Santa was really real.
Beka nodded solemnly. "Yeah, in pretty bad shape too." She risked taking a few steps closer to the engineer. "Ya know, the ol' Maru sure could use a familiar face to help with repairs, I've got some money now..." Beka let the unasked question hang in the air as she scuffed the floor with her boot.
He looked up at her almost shyly and scooted an inch or so out from under the bench. "You mean it? You want me to help you with the Maru?" Harper said, wondrously. He immediately realized how he sounded and cleared his throat, trying to salvage his dignity, "Well, I mean, I, uh, might be able to help you out, you know, if the price is right. I don't come cheap nowadays you know." He shifted uncomfortably on the cold stone floor and cleared his throat again. "Plus, you know, I'd have to check my um, schedule. I'm very busy."
Beka smiled, her Harper was still in the shell of a man before her. He could barely contain himself as he fidgeted in place, eager to get his hands in the guts of her ship and work the magic only he could.
He regarded her for a moment, "So, what'd ya do to the old boy this time? Can't be the slip-drive, I'm sure that hasn't been used for awhile." He scoffed.
She crouched down in front of Harper, his eyes were still a little wary but softer than when she'd first seen him. "Nah, actually I totaled the slip-drive the first month I was here trying to get away from this gawd-awful system. This time it's the AG cylinders, I did a quick patch job on them when we arrived here the first time but now that I've got the dough, I thought I'd fix 'em up right."
Harper nodded understandingly, "Yeah, those cylinders were ancient when I was on the Maru." They smiled knowingly at each other, remembering all the times they'd repaired the ship side-by-side, usually while attempting a grand get-away from charges of grand larceny.
Beka slapped her knees and stood up, "Well then, that's settled...provided your...schedule, is that what you called it?...is free." Going out on a limb, she held out her hand to help Harper up.
Harper stared at her hand for what seemed like an eternity. He kept expecting her to snatch it back or for all this to be some really weird dream. Beka tapped into a well of patience she'd forgotten existed and waited for Harper to decide if their friendship was worth salvaging.
Finally Harper grasped her hand firmly in his and allowed himself to be hauled up. "Yeah, I'm finally free." He glanced longingly at the closed vault. A thought occurred to him, "What about Rommie? I mean, I can't just leave her here, I need to get started..."
Beka held up her hand to dam the steadily building flood of words, "You're friend...ah..."
"Doyle." Harper supplied.
"Doyle, right. Well, after seeing her in action, I gotta say that she's more than capable of protecting your...um, lab for a few days..." Beka trailed off, her expression leaving no doubt that she and Harper where going to have a LONG talk about said pink princess.
Harper's cocky grin made a brief appearance, "She is somethin' isn't she?" His face fell a fraction, "She didn't know Rommie, you know...before...but she'd still give her life to protect her...and me."
Beka put her arm around the smaller man and gave his shoulder a tight squeeze. "I don't know what it is shorty but you bring out the protective streak in everyone."
Harper ducked his head shyly. Beka squeezed him again, "Rommie will be all right for a few days, she's...er...sleeping or something, right?" Harper nodded. "You deserve a break, we all do."
"Oh yeah, there's just one more thing," Beka said, releasing her hold on Harper.
Harper froze, waiting for the inevitable other shoe
"We'll have to take the Maru back to the Andromeda for repairs, I don't want to leave it on this hellhole any longer than I have to."
Harper instinctively started to back away, "T-the Andromeda?"
Beka nodded, she placed a steadying hand on his shoulder, "Do you think you're ready for that?"
Harper gulped nervously, his brow furrowed in thought.
"Harper?" Beka prompted.
Harper took a shaky breath, "I've waited three years boss and now, when it comes down to it, I don't know if I even have the right to look at her after what I've done."
Beka did a little mental victory dance when Harper called her 'boss'. She sobered quickly when the rest of what he said sunk in. "We've been through that," she admonished "you did what you did for love. Andromeda will understand. She misses you. She needs you."
Harper smiled weakly.
"But," Beka exclaimed, "I need you first, fix the Maru, then you can drool all over her Glorious Heritage Highness."
Harper grinned, a twinkle in his eye as he remembered the first time he laid eyes on Andromeda.
Beka threw his jacket at him, startling him out of his reverie. "And while we're there, maybe you can help jog Trance's memory."
"Sure boss, whatever you...." Harper's jaw dropped, "TRANCE?"
Beka grinned cheekily. "Yup, in the...er...flesh."
"W-what? How? When?" Harper spluttered.
Beka merely winked at him and headed toward the door, "You forgot why and where." She said over her shoulder as she disappeared out of sight.
Harper shook his head disbelievingly and whispered, "Trance..." an ear-splitting grin lit his face as he gave chase to Beka, firing questions at her the whole way.