Title: as the hours run away
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Rated: T
Warnings: Character death, AU
Category: Drama, Angst
Codes: Reed/Sato, Archer
Summary: As the hours run away.
Disclaimer: Star Trek, as always, belongs to Paramount, but the story is mine.
Archival: Permission to Linguistics Database and Warp 5 Complex (EntSTCommunity). Anyone else, please link to my website or my Livejournal post. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Title and summary from "Now or Never" by Josh Groban. Written for Stexgirl2000, for her birthday.

o-o

When he wakes, it's to mid-morning gold. The pallet beside him is empty and cold and he sits up, looking for her. She's there, sitting near the opening to the tent. The flap is pulled back and the light comes through in a warm triangle.

She has her back to him, her hair down. It lies sleek and heavy on her back and sweeps the ground and he can't remember the last time he saw it this way.

She places the comb she was using down beside her and pulls her hair to one side and over one shoulder, exposing the other and the bandage resting there, shocking white and red against her olive skin.

She starts to braid her hair, but her fingers still and then drop. He goes to her, placing his arms around her, when the shudders threaten to overwhelm her.

o-o

He puts the lamp down next to his pallet and the glow throws her face into sharp relief, turning it from beautiful to eerie. He wakes her from the anesthetic induced sleep, though he doesn't want to.

He doesn't say a word, lets his face speak, and her hands go up to hide her mouth. Her sobs are sharp and raw and she flinches away when he tries to touch her. It's over in an instant, control back in place, and her voice is almost steady when she asks, "When?"

He says, "They surrendered him at 2400 hours. He'd already been dead for four."

Her jaw tightens as she fights again for control and this time her voice is flat when she says, "Of course." She turns over, away from him. She doesn't react when he puts her under again. He blows out the lamp and lies down beside her, carefully placing one arm over her waist, pulling her closer.

o-o

Malcolm stands behind Hoshi and Archer, silent, waiting for a response from the group that made contact. Hoshi's given them Archer's plea, the dense and guttural syllables falling into the space between.

They respond, pointing to Archer, demanding, and Malcolm's fingers twitch on his pistol. Not drawn, because it's too much of a threat and this is supposed to be a peaceful meeting. Except, they have their own weapons and nothing about their demeanor is peaceful.

Hoshi relays the message.

Archer shakes his head, but before Hoshi can interpret, there's a shout, and Hoshi shoves Archer away and a bright spray of red blooms from her shoulder and she falls. Malcolm draws his pistol, sees that Archer is looking from Malcolm to the man that just shot Hoshi and he's shouting, "No!"

And, then he's no longer there and the group is gone with him and Malcolm falls to his knees beside Hoshi.

Through the rush of blood in his ears, he hears her say, "They'll kill him."

End.