Title: Baiting for Aiùas
Rating: M / R
Genre: General. I dread to call it Romance...
Spoilers & Desirable Foreknowledge: Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and up until chapter four of Children of the Mind.
Warnings: Eh... I guess I should warn you for the implication of rough sex... or 'consensual rape'? O.o Not to mention the fact that Peter is still, well, Peter.
Pairings: Si Wang-mu x 'Neo' Peter Wiggin
Disclaimer: Nope, they're not mine, and I do not make any money by writing this fic. Card would probably have a heart attack if he knew what kind of plans I come up with for his characters...
Summary: (Enderverse, set after chapter four of 'Children of the Mind'.) Si Wang–mu x NeoPeter. Wang–mu thinks she has found a way to give Peter a soul. But he has trouble accepting it. Can be read as either a missing scene or an AU.
Author's Note: I wrote this when I had just finished reading chapter four of Children of the Mind, so anything that contradicts the plot from then on is entirely justified for the sake of the fic. Ain't that convenient? This just begged to be written... I hope I haven't waisted my time by giving in to the plot bunny's pleas. Enjoy!
Baiting for Aiùas
Si Wang-mu was thinking while her companion took a shower. She was thinking about said companion, yes, but not in the way that would be expected from a teenage girl with a crush on one of the most brilliant young men to currently be in existence. Of course, she realised that he had taken off his clothes to shower and was thus naked while he performed who knew what kind of sanitary rituals just a wall away from her. But it did not distract her. Honestly.
Peter's body wouldn't be of any use if Ender lost interest in him, or if Ender died. Not even if Peter continued to hate his own existence. Wang-mu heard the boy that occupied so much of her mind come in and she shut off the holo-terminal she'd been ignoring while she thought. His chest was bare, which annoyed her and excited her at the same time.
"Enjoying the view?" he asked as he walked over to a mirror on the opposite wall. Like there wasn't one in the bathroom too! Instantly, a blush formed on Wang-mu's face and she dropped her gaze to her lap. "Hey, no need to be so modest. I know I'm irresistible."
"Irritating, you mean."
"At least I have an excuse."
She decided to take a risk. A crazy plan had been brewing in her mind, and his words had been the trigger to unleash them. "You are an excuse. Nothing but a sorry excuse for a human being." As soon as the words had left her mouth, she regretted them.
"Ouch. Path raises ruthless devils in the disguise of demure nymphs." His tone was light, as if he truly meant it as nothing but a jest, but she knew that the words contained a great deal of pain.
Shedding her hesitation like an old skin, she stepped up to him and wrapped her arms around him from behind. He let out a surprised noise and tried to shake her off, but she held on tight.
"What the fuck are you doing?"
"I've been thinking. I may know a way to free you from the clutches of Ender's mind."
"What? How would an uneducated servant girl like you know about the mechanics of philotes and aiùas and soulless clones?"
"I don't. But like I said, I've been thinking. You don't have an aiùa of your own, because you're based on an image in Ender Wiggin's mind. That image he had was so strong that when he entered the Outside, his aiùa attracted philotes which recreated a physical manifestation of the image: you."
"Tell me something I didn't already know. And let go of me." He tugged at the arms that held his waist in a vice-like grip.
"No, that might spoil everything. Letting go of you, I mean. As for telling you something new, please let me finish. Do you remember how Jane came into being? She was created when both the Hive Queen and Ender reached for what they thought was each other, and the Hive Queen used the Fantasy Game to form a bridge pattern between them. The tension, the friction this caused, created sparks of 'life' in the ansible network which attracted an aiùa of its own. Don't you think this could happen with you too?"
"Oh, please. You don't really think I didn't think of that myself? I'm not a computer, my little servant genius, and mankind has never exactly been able to bridge the gap between chips and grey matter."
"I know. That wouldn't be necessary."
He wished he could look at her face. With more force than before, he tore her hands from his body and spun around to face her. Damn those Orientals for their stoic demeanours! "Explain." he demanded, his eyes fierce.
She could see the gears turning in his mind (round-eyes really didn't know how to keep their faces in check), going over every fact and speculation he had stored there, trying out all the old combinations and looking for new ones that might be created by looking at them from his idea of her point of view. His grip on her arms was so strong it would surely leave bruises, telling her of how desperate he was about this. If she were to try to help him, he would without a doubt hurt her a lot more still. He couldn't help it; it was how Ender had created him to be. He hated Ender for that, like she thought Ender's unconscious intention had been, but Peter hated himself for it too. He had a will of his own that did not come from Ender, but it was imprisoned. And that show of will meant that he deserved to be freed, at least to Si Wang-mu. Even if nobody else shared her opinion, the fact that she felt like that might be enough to make it work. But at what cost? His nails dug into her skin, and she told herself that it was too late to back off now. He already knew she had an idea, and if she refused to tell him, he might just resort to the kind of behaviour he detested in himself in order to get a chance to free himself from that same behaviour. Besides, what did she really have to lose?
"You wouldn't need a computer to use as a bridge. You have me."
He shook her roughly. "That is not an explanation!"
"You're not letting me explain! Stop it, you're hurting me."
That brought him to his senses. He let go of her and turned his face away. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I got carried away. Please take your time." he said. She could see the tension in his bare shoulders.
She rubbed the sore spots on her arms. "Apology accepted. What I meant by using me as a bridge was... no, let me put it differently. Ender created you by accident, because you were a strong image in his mind. However, he didn't need you in your current form. He would be just as happy - 'happy' in a figurative sense - if you were still an image in his mind. Your continued physical existence is by now mere coincidence; he still has your image in his mind, so the image is strong enough to sustain your physical form. If he were to die, you - and the younger version of Valentine Wiggin - might die too. But like I was trying to say with the bee a while back, your existence is not solely dependent on Ender. You have a will of your own, limited though it may be. Now imagine what would happen if someone other than Ender would have an image of you inside their minds."
"They'd be quite miserable remembering me, because that's what Ender is forcing me to do; spread the nightmare of my presence. That is my reason of existence, to be like a disease, recreating myself over and over again in this twisted, caricaturised form of human life."
"Now imagine what would happen if someone could contain your image enough... enough enough to attract an aiùa of its own for it."
He made a face as he turned to her. "I'd be a twisted caricaturistic human. But what are you saying, you found a way to attract an aiùa for me?"
She nodded eagerly. "And not just for any version of you. The you you want to be. I know you don't want to be the way Ender made you. I can see that. You want to be the way the real Peter Wiggin was, don't you? Well, I do too!"
Comprehension dawned on his face, followed almost immediately after by a mocking sneer. "You fell in love with me, didn't you? You little horny bint, you. Having fantasies about me and thinking I'll make them come true for you if you 'help' me." She blushed, making him snort and turn away again. "Disgusting." he muttered bitterly, clenching his jaw. "Selfish bitch. Getting my hopes up while all the while you only want something for yourself."
Pushing down the urge to cry, she continued on. "I believe in the you you want to be. And I believe we could make it become real. Do you know how I thought to do that? By letting your image, your pattern, into my own and adopting it. And once your image is as much a part of me as it is of Ender, I can start - we can start - working on the change. Our mutual desire for it to be so will be reaching, as the mutual desire to decipher and control each other was the reaching that initiated Jane's creation."
"Oh, that's nice. You don't just want to be my lover, you want to be my mother too. That's been illegal for several millennia now, you know." His face turned serious as he looked at her, dark and poisonous. "You really are empty, aren't you? You have the soul of a slave, one that needs strings to be pulled because it doesn't know how to move on its own accord. I'm using you already, but I'm also trying to treat you as an equal. What happened, did you get tired of having to establish your independent worth over and over again? Because you're looking for a master again. This time, it has to be one that can crush you, consume you, swallow you whole so you won't have to be your sorry little self anymore. Trust me, you need a new hobby."
Tears trickled down her cheeks now. His words hurt. They were true, she was really like that. She was that weak. And it hurt to get that fact shoved in her face. Beneath all her bravado she was just a scared, spineless little slave girl who was only glad to have herself be ruled over by people who were stronger, smarter, better than her. She needed someone to fill in the gaping hole in her being with a will that would overpower her own, finally silencing it and putting an end to the pain it caused her to have to shout to be heard.. But she hadn't proposed this to him to help herself. He was right, she was in love with him. Better yet, she believed their meeting had been pre-destined. They were made for each other. She wanted him. Not the him that sneered and made sharp, venomous remarks wherever he saw an opportunity to do so, but the Peter Wiggin she had read about in The Hive Queen and the Hegemon, the one that had appeared in her dreams.
She angrily wiped the tears from her eyes. "That may be true, but you're forgetting something. I'm not stupid, I'm capable of being ruthless, I reek of ambition, just like you do. We'd make an astounding psychological match. And so what if I'm even more of a puppet than you? Why would you care? If it works, what reason would you have not to chance it?" To her surprise, he looked caught. Impossible! Or was it? Need and supplyance was a powerful emotional tool. "You care about me! You don't want me to try it with you because you don't want me to get hurt."
His mouth opened and closed a couple of times, but no sound came out. He couldn't deny it, but he would be damned before he would admit it. "Oh, fuck you."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Don't start with that. I'm not in the mood for your smart-ass remarks."
A long, unusually active silence fell. Wang-mu wiped the tears from her eyes and calmed her breathing, while Peter struggled to disentangle his emotions and regain his composure. A part of her was anxious about what his next move would be, though she knew this chance was too good to let pass - even if he did care for her.
Eventually, he broke the silence. "Fair enough. Say you and me could build a bridge that would allow me to pass from Ender's aiùa to yours. Then what? It wouldn't change anything but the fact that I'd then be a hollow shell sharing your aiùa, instead of Ender's."
A silent thank you was sent to any god that might be listening before she answered. "For starters, I'd be able to make your personality much more three-dimensional than Ender. You've given me nightmares, yes, but... pleasant dreams as well. The traits you got from Ender will probably not leave, but if all goes well you'll gain traits to balance them out, traits the original Peter Wiggin had according to The Hive Queen and the Hegemon. And because I haven't known you for all that long, my image of you - the real you - isn't that detailed, so you'd probably be able to develop parts of your own personality as well."
"Okay, so I'd be a more realistic shell. But I still don't see how you could help attract an aiùa for me."
"Really? That surprises me. I thought you were so smart. I'll give you a hint: no matter what happens, it is something Ender, your 'father', would never be able to do for you." She folded her hands over her stomach.
"Don't start baiting me, Royal Mother of the West."
She smiled calmly. "Sex."
He stared at her. "Would you please repeat that so I can make sure I'm not hallucinating."
"We attract an aiùa for your newly formed personality by having sex. There's bound to be one in the endless supply Outside that would fit the new you."
"So I did hear you say it. If I'd known you were so kinky, I'd have seduced you long ago."
"Think about it. Something about a man and a woman having sex attracts aiùas. How else could an egg cell combined with a sperm cell create life?"
"Ah, there's the flaw in your logic; sex invites aiùas to create new life. It doesn't make them want to give life to something that's already there."
"The first thing my master Han Fei-tsu thought me about reproduction was that it is still, several millennia after the discovery of the sperm and the eggs, a mystery. Who knows what the aiùas we'd attract will do? For all we know, they might try to create new life, but notice that there's only one and a half pieces of the two-piece puzzle present, and decide they will fill in the gap first before starting on a new life."
At that moment, Jane put in her two cents. "She has a point there, you know. Human reproduction is a very picky process. There's a good chance she's got the right idea."
"I do not want to hear that from you." Peter mouthed.
"Why am I not surprised. Well, don't worry. I have to leave. Busy schedule. Don't dismiss her, Peter. I think you'd come to regret it." And she was gone again.
He had to admit there was a crazy kind of logic in what Wang-mu was saying. The same kind of logic that had led to his creation. His mind was running so fast it seemed to be spinning. Hope, it seemed, was the emotional equivalent of an old-fashioned nitro glycerine-powered rocket engine. And fear the equivalent of that teeny tiny malfunction that caused the shuttle to go 'boom!'. He dismissed the reluctance from the equation, not wishing to have to admit to the source.
"Okay." he said, surprising himself. "So we form a bridge, I migrate from Ender's twisted brain to your twisted brain, and we go at it like rabbits. In that order? How will we know when to commence with what stage of the plan? Your plan seems a bit more chaotic than a plan should be."
"I... I don't know." she admitted. "It's complicated... You would have to be the you Ender makes you be in order for me to get an image of you, but at the same time I'd have to keep the image of the other you in mind, so you'll be able to change once I take you over from Ender... But how and when this happens is a mystery to me. You should know, I guess. Maybe some of it has already happened." She looked at him questioningly.
"Something has indeed happened to me since I first met you." he said seriously.
The steady look he gave her as he said that made her blush, and she stuttered: "Well, uhm... That's good. Then I'm sure we can accomplish something, whatever it turns out to be." She looked away, and Peter was pretty sure why.
"And the sex? Hanging out together and fantasizing away is all fine and good, but there's a couple of thousand years of history pumping blood to your face right now."
A shiver ran down Wang-mu's spine. She was glad she could not read minds. Knowing what he was thinking at that moment would be torture, even more so than not knowing what he was thinking. Though the fact that she could guess might have been the worst part. She steeled herself and took a deep breath, though without looking at him. "It's not like it would ruin my first time, if that's what you mean. I'm not totally inexperienced in pleasing men with my body. And to be honest, I don't think I would mind. Your body looks good. For a Westerner's. So the sex part should be no problem. We should probably start as soon as possible."
"I should make a very vulgar comment about that last bit."
"What's keeping you?"
"Let me make one thing clear: I do not want to hurt you. But I don't think I'll be able to refrain from doing it anyway."
"I understand. Ender's aiùa still has a strong grip on your will." She looked at him with a serene smile. The kind of smile that could heal a broken heart.
If he hadn't been dependent on Ender for his survival, Peter would have asked Jane to bring him to Lusitania so he could kill him. It frightened him that he could feel so strongly about this girl that all his reasons for hating Ender suddenly seemed to gain a life of their own, but he supposed it was a good sign. The queasy feeling of butterflies in his stomach as he looked at her was wonderful. Knowing what he would probably do to her, he told himself to keep a distance, though. Loving her was not a good idea - and then there was the little voice in the back of his mind, rationalizing and hoping against all hope, that added: not yet.
He looked at her with uncertainty in his eyes, as if searching for something to grab hold of. "I'll break your heart."
"I give it to you with the weak side up, all the minute fractures exposed, ready to be cracked open by a relentless chisel. I do not fear the cravings of the beast."
Her face said she meant it. He felt himself give in. "Foolish woman."
With that, he took her face in his hands and roughly kissed her. He pushed her to the ground, pulled her clothes off and took her there, not on a high Western bed or an Eastern sleeping mat, but on the bare floor. The unrelenting and cold texture against her back matched his ministrations; he did not give, nor did he do anything to make her less uncomfortable, he only took, not for his own pleasure but to satisfy the need to damage and defy that drove his very existence. But all his attempted blows to her psyche, from the curses that stumbled from his lips to the silent message that he did not care about her, did not care about himself and did not care about his reasons for doing this to her nor about what it did to her, she absorbed it all greedily. Every rough movement of his body she took and cherished until she reached the point where everything she had taken of him inside herself made her insides burst and her head spin, and she clamped around him inside and out, sucking him in, swallowing him whole. A cry escaped his lips, sounding surprised as his body shook with release and his being surrendered to her. He collapsed on top of her, his own mind a swirling void and his body spent.
"What was that?" he whispered, his panting breath tickling her ear.
"I believe the Stark word is 'orgasm'."
"I should kick you for being so annoyingly witty in a moment like this."
"Stand up then."
"I don't want to."
They lay there for a long while. The heat and rush of their mating gradually subsided and left them sticky with sweat and other bodily fluids. Not to mention cold. Feeling their mutual goose bumps, he wrapped his arms around her and held on to her tightly.
"How do you feel?" she asked eventually.
"That's not something you should ask a guy who just lost his virginity, even a guy like me. I'm only a couple of weeks old... that must be some kind of human record."
"So you don't want to talk about it. I guess it worked, then."
His voice hardened as he let go of her and stood up. His knees felt wobbly. "You're too quick with your conclusions, as usual." He turned away so she wouldn't see his face and went to look for his clothes, only to realise that he should actually take another shower before dressing, and stopping to stand idly in the middle of the room. He spat his next words over his shoulder, though he didn't know whether he really wanted them to hold so much venom. "Are you satisfied?"
She gingerly sat up while he walked around, and reached for her blouse, to pull it around her against the cold. She was grateful he couldn't see her hot blush. "Yes. Thank you for thinking of me."
He snorted, recognizing the bait for what it was. Deciding his mind was too much of a mess for him to decide on even the simplest course of action yet, he walked over to the window and leaned his elbows on the sill, bending over and creating quite a view for the Chinese girl on the floor. He felt something, that much was for sure. But whether it was post-coital afterglow or the force of a new aiùa pulling the strings of his philotes... Her uneducated theories were ridiculous to begin with.
"Supposing this stupid idea of yours actually works," he said, refusing to recognize how see-through the condescending mockery in his tone was. "How long do you plan to keep doing this?"
She smiled down at her lap, putting a hand on her stomach. "For as long as necessary."
"And what if it never works?"
"I won't mind spending the rest of either of our lives together."
For some strange reason, he felt like crying. "You'll get sick of me long before that."
"You're just saying that because you know you're going to be sick of me sooner."
"Arrogant, aren't we, Miss Oh-I'm-Such-A-Humble-And-Obedient-Servant-Of-My-Own-Ambitions?"
"Cruel, heartless jerk."
PSAN: This has got to be the weirdest piece of romance I've ever written. But then again, the Ender books contain a strange universe. The Si Wang-mu/Peter storyline was the only one that ever compelled me to write fanfiction about, and after the end of the book, not even that anymore. Scarse as it it in places, the Ender-verse doesn't need supplication, in my mind. Read and Review please! I'm very curious about what you think of it. Anything that is not some ridiculous flame is welcome.