Analogous State Of Affairs
Movie(s): Fanaa/Dil Se crossover
Pairing(s): mild Rehan/Zooni & Meghna/Amar
Spoilers: For Fanaa and Dil Se, obviously
Author's Note: Thanks to fivil on LJ for the inspiration :)
Summary: Two paths cross and it's inevitable that their parallel secrets be revealed.
Rehan didn't like staying at a camp that wasn't run, directly or indirectly, by his grandfather. The knowledge of being in the same place as his people, people who had the same ideals and beliefs as him, gave him comfort and a sense of familiarity. But this place was not his own, not his grandfather's. It was a camp run by another group of freedom fighters, whose allegiance and support was allegedly to Rehan's grandfather for the time being.
A meeting of like minds, his grandfather had said. They will be useful to us and we will be useful to them.
As useful as they were supposed to be Rehan didn't like it. It was one thing to play the clueless, everyday folk who worked nine to five jobs in the big cities. These people had the knowledge and the skill to take a stand against the government, but really, could he trust them? Did they know much about each other at all? And they were supposed to work in tangent?
The entire project rankled him to the core, but he didn't let it show. It wasn't like he had a choice in the matter, anyway. This was an order that had come straight from his grandfather. Rehan knew it was his duty to do what grandfather said, no matter how painful it felt to him. He could push the pain away, push away his guilt and regret over leaving the most wonderful woman he had ever met. He was his grandfather's greatest soldier. He wouldn't disobey, and he wouldn't disappoint.
The only thing that bothered Meghna about the interlopers was that she now had to cook more than three times as much food for each meal. Even living in their deficient conditions, (shoddy wood cabins that let in the cold air, batteries that lasted half as long as they should, and a deficit of proper clothing) men never had the sense to eat less and ration what they had instead. They filled their bellies with one hand and continued to map out routes and locations with the other, single-minded in their task. Meghna could appreciate their dedication to the cause, but really, it didn't make much sense to let everything else fall by the wayside. So every month when the order went out for more grains, she deducted fifty grams from desired weightage given in her instructions. No one had noticed thus far, and the extra money saved had inadvertently allowed them to put their task ahead of schedule. Money equaled resources such as lodging in Delhi or Bihar, which brought them closer to making a mark for their beliefs.
She watched as the men sat in silence, eating their rice and lentil with dead eyes. She knew her eyes looked just the same. Or had, once upon a time. Stop it. Now was not the time to think of soft-spoken words and trysts in the desert. Without a word, she retreated back to one of the spare rooms where she was going through some government documents.
"I don't think that would be the best location for a meeting point." Rehan spoke low and with an edge, the way he spoke when he was asserting his superiority. He hoped that the gravity of his voice revealed how much he disliked her choice. "It's too close to this neighbourhood, here." He pointed to the map laid out on the table. "One nosy civilian walks by and the entire mission will be ruined."
Meghna's reply was cold, almost patronizing. "I scouted the location myself a fortnight ago. The neighbourhood is full of poor class folk, as well as bandits and petty thieves. No one will bat an eye as long as we keep a low profile."
Rehan sighed and got up from his seat, pacing back and forth. Arguing with Meghna was useless, yet he persisted in fighting a wasted fight. Why couldn't he have been working with one of the men? Contending dominance would have been easier that way. Instead he was stuck with this woman and her quiet resolve.
"It's decided; we'll use this location for the jump point for all team members to meet." Meghna said plainly. "I'm going to work on something else now. Do whatever you wish."
Rehan crossed his arms obstinately. "What if I want to watch you work on your next mission?" He said, hoping to raise her hackles.
Meghna shrugged ever so slightly. "Fine. Just don't get in the way." She walked around the table to an old desk leaning against the wall. She pulled open a drawer and fished out a pile of envelopes and newspaper clippings, spreading them across the desk's surface.
"What's all this?" Rehan asked, peering over her shoulder. Maybe their information would be of some use to grandfather.
"Information I have to go over in case this mission runs into... issues." She glanced at him from the corner of her eyes and Rehan slowly realized that Meghna and her compatriots probably distrusted grandfather and his followers as well. Mutual untrustworthiness made for alert and decisive individuals, backup plans and all.
He looked down at the documents. "These are all high security files for Delhi civil servants. Very impressive. How did you get access to these?"
"Connections, bhai. Connections." There was pride in her words as she flipped through the newspaper clippings in her hands, when she suddenly stopped, a grave expression on her face.
"What is it?" Rehan glanced down at the clipping but it was nothing more than an inane newspaper clipping about a new radio show in Delhi, which included an interview with a radio announcer named Amar.
"It's nothing." Meghna said suddenly, pulling the article out of the stack and stuffing it back into the drawer. Her face was all worry lines and dread, a shock to Rehan, who had never seen her anything but detached and calm. "How much did you see?"
He looked at her with a severe expression. "Depends on how much you tell me."
"Tell you about what?"
"About why you're hiding that article."
"I'm not hiding it forever. I just want to make a copy." She kept her voice very low. "I know the man in that article, met him when I was traveling back from the eastern mountains. I could use his position as a radio personality in my next mission."
"So why the secrecy? What are you scared of?" Rehan's tone was harsh.
Meghna paused before speaking. "What I'm scared of? I'm scared of turning into you and your Zooni."
Two days ago...
Rehan awoke with a start, got out of bed, and sat on the floor. He could still feel his heart racing. He had dreamed about Zooni for the first time in a long time, dreamed of sitting next to her at a fountain with her sightless eyes and joyful smile. She had held him close and whispered about how happy she was, how she never wanted to let him go. The words he needed to reciprocate had sat on his tongue but before he could spit them out he felt a tremendous trembling in the earth. Turning around he had seen rockets falling from the sky, turning Delhi to ruins. He had felt a surge of awe that grandfather had succeeded, and a surge of terror that Zooni could possibly be hurt. Rehan had turned around to save her but she was already gone, disappeared into the smoke and fire but somehow still calling out his name in alarm. He had screamed her name in irrational panic, called out that he loved her, and had immediately woken up.
Now he sat on the floor and did what he always did to calm down: recited all the makes and models of handguns he knew how to use, going from smallest caliber to largest caliber. (Mentally recited, of course. The last thing he wanted to do was wake up the rest of the men sharing the room with him.) He liked to think that his was the calming technique of a true soldier. Several minutes later he felt calmer, in control. Zooni was probably back living with her parents, maybe even married. Not that he cared. Rehan was dead to Zooni, and that was all that mattered. For deceiving her, he deserved to be dead in her eyes.
"You mean I screamed out loud?" Rehan was appalled and terrified at once. Had anyone else heard? If grandfather ever found out...
She shook her head. "Everyone here sleeps like the dead. I assume that since no one has mentioned it, I'm the only one who heard you."
"Assumption makes an ass of you and I..." Rehan recited, a phrase he had picked up when working undercover in Hyderabad. How appropriate it seemed now. How horribly unfortunate for him that his dedication and reputation was in the hands on a young woman's assumption.
"Who is she? Zooni, I mean."
Rehan bristled. "It doesn't matter. She was just another girl I bedded while scouting in Delhi. She doesn't even know who I am." He almost winced when he realized how defensive he sounded. Forgive me, Zooni, for speaking ill of you.
Meghna didn't respond, looked out the window instead. She was speaking quietly, so quietly, Rehan could barely hear her. "Things like this happen, even to people like us. It's the last thing we want, but maybe it's the one thing we need."
Finally, he understood. "That man in the article... did you..."
"No. Nothing became of it. But sometimes I wonder." She turns back from the window and looks Rehan in the eye. There's a certain kind of happiness on her face, a complex emotion that only comes from letting loose a secret you've been dying to tell. "There was fire in his eyes when he looked at me. But he was clearly mad. And now I see that I can use that fire for my own purposes. What am I to do?"
Rehan knew, had known since he was a child. He put a reassuring hand on Meghna's shoulder. "'We live for the mission, we die for the mission'."
After a moment's thought she nodded in agreement. "'We live for the mission, we die for the mission'. You're right. " Her voice was strong and confident, back to the Meghna he was familiar with.
It was an aberration. It will never happen again. I cut things short before it was out of my control. Meghna wondered if Rehan was thinking the same thing as she was. Together they had strengthened their resolve. There was no bright future ahead for them; it would be all sacrifice and struggle. Theirs was not an easy life, the life of a soldier, sworn to fight for freedom and ignore all else. Perhaps fate had brought them together, in order to show them that letting go was another step in seeking the justice they deserved.