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Trance helps Harper deal with his fears after his infestation by the magog.Sometimes Talking Helps
"Rommie, I seem to have… mislaid my key to Harper's room. Will you let me in, please?" Trance asked sweetly.
"I believe that Harper wishes to be alone."
Trance's tail flicked with annoyance. "Then I'll just have to pick the lock."
"The Andromeda Ascendant is a High-Guard Ship of the Line. You can not just--"
"There!" Trance announced with a grin. "All done!"
Rommie sighed and her holo-image vanished. Trance smiled faintly and covered her mouth to prevent herself from giggling. Poor Rommie, she reflected, replacing the pick in her hair. Rommie would be good and not tell anyone what she had done, which was really just as well. She might need a lot of time tonight. She quietly entered the dark room and looked around. She could hear Harper's breathing from his bed in the far corner.
Silently, she crossed the room. He was lying on his stomach, breathing raggedly. One of his hands rested on the floor and the other was pressed against his mouth. He was crying, Trance realized. She had never seen him like this before, and she hesitated before acting.
Finally, as tenderly as she possibly could, she reached out and rested her hand on his shoulder. "Harper…"
"Go away…" Harper muttered without looking at her.
"Harper…" Trance repeated, moving her hand to the back of his neck in a gesture that was almost a caress.
"Trance, please!" Harper snapped. "I don't want to talk."
"Sometimes talking helps." Trance observed softly, dropping to her knees next to him and not removing her hand from his neck.
"Not this time." Harper shook his head.
"Harper…" Trance breathed in his ear, brushing his hair away. She felt him shiver at the touch and smiled faintly to herself. "Harper…" she breathed again, gently nudging the side of his face with her nose, almost cat-like. She curled her lips and exhaled against his skin.
Harper shivered again and turned to stare at her. "Trance, what are you--"
She silenced him by brushing her index finger across his lips. "Shh…" she whispered. "Let me help you Harper, please."
He sighed and wiped away a stray tear. "I really don't think you can this time, Trance." He looked momentarily hopeful. "Unless you've found a cure?"
"Not yet Harper," Trance admitted, "but you have to give me a chance." Her voice held an anxious edge as she spoke.
Harper sat up. "What do you mean, Trance? What are you talking about?"
Trance looked up at him but did not move to join him. "Rommie says that she saw you pointing a gun at yourself, Harper. That's dangerous. You could hurt yourself."
Harper rolled his eyes, but could not help but feel sorry for Trance, who genuinely seemed not to understand. "That was kind of the point, Trance."
"But… Harper." Trance looked up at him sadly. "If you… if you… die, that would be really bad."
Harper sighed and stared down at Trance, crouching on the floor next to his bed in the middle of the night, looking so innocent and confused and afraid, and begging him to live, to perform a miracle. Harper was not a man who believed in miracles. If he had, he would not have been alone in his room, drunk, miserable, and crying. Of course, he was no longer alone and no longer crying, only drunk and miserable.
He sighed deeply and rested his hands on the purple girl's shoulders. "Trance…" he began to explain.
"No, Harper!" Trance interrupted, shaking her head. "You're my best friend. If you… if something happens to you, I won't have my best friend any more. I'd… I'd be so sad!"
Harper winced. That entreaty had gotten his attention in a way that no appeal to his personal well-being could have. He sighed and bowed his head.
"Get off the floor, Trance."
Trance shifted herself gracefully from the floor to the bed in a single, fluid motion. She sat next to Harper and stared at him with a mixture of uncertainty and hopefulness. Harper felt her hip and her arm against his own and experienced an irrational urge of excitement. He contemplated brushing it aside. 'Best friends' Trance had said, and best friends did not get that kind of sensation from casual contact. Still, this was the most alive he had felt since waking up in the infirmary and seeing that sick-sad look on Trance's face. On every face there.
He shifted subtly, leaning into the contact. Trance sensed the movement and felt the way his muscles seemed to relax against hers. Making a decision, she wrapped her tail around his waist and used it to pull him closer. She could sense his surprise, felt him tense, but refused to loosen her hold on him or to move away. Instead, she simply draped her arm around his shoulders.
Harper closed his eyes and rested his head against her shoulder. If he had been with Tyr, or Dylan, or Rommie, or even with Rev or Beka, he would have been 'Seamus Harper, tough guy'. Here, as Trance wrapped her arms tenderly around him and whispered that she was going to make everything right, he threw his arms around her waist and sobbed, no longer bothering to hide anything. Trance held him close and rocked him until he was asleep, then she gently stretched him out on his bed.
She folded his hands on his chest and pulled his blanket into place. "You kind of needed that," she whispered, "you'll feel better now." She lingered there, watching him for a moment, before turning to leave. "Night, Harper..." she whispered as she went.
"Don't go." Harper whispered after her in the darkness.
"Harper, you know I can't stay…" Trance whispered, but she returned to his bed-side and dropped to her knees.
"Please, Trance?" Harper asked insistently, his voice breaking.
"But why?" Trance asked.
"Because, Trance… sometimes a guy needs to know where his friends are."
Trance reached out and rested her hand on his chest. "This is where I am, Harper…" she said simply.
He covered her hand with his own and held it there. "Trance, please. I… I don't want to be alone with them."
"You won't be, Harper," she promised, "not ever."
"I know." Trance sighed softly. "Come with me, Harper."
"To my room."
Harper sat up quickly, staring at her in shocked confusion.
"There's something I want to show you."
Harper recovered somewhat and gave her a weak smile. "You know, when I say something like that to a woman, she usually slaps me."
Trance rose and rested her hands on her hips, trying to look irritated. "Seamus Harper!" She failed to sound even a little annoyed and soon found herself grinning at him. "Come on." She shook her head and left the room, confident that he would, eventually, follow.
As if in a dream, Harper rose from his bed and followed after her, shoeless and half-dressed. Trance's door was open when he arrived, and he entered cautiously. He could not recall ever having been in her room aboard the Andromeda before, yet here he was. By invitation, no less. He looked around, curious. It was dark except for the light from the hallway and a smaller light in the center of the room, but he could see several plants near the door. Yup, most definitely her room. Trance knelt in the center of the room, between a pair of candles, waiting patiently. She smiled at Harper and beckoned to him.
He advanced slowly, feeling more in a dream than before, knowing what to do, and not even noticing when the door slid shut behind him. He approached Trance and stood before her for a moment before dropping to his own knees. Trance smiled at him and wordlessly extended her hands. For once in his life, Harper felt no real need to talk. Indeed, he felt an almost urgent need not to talk. He reached out and took her hands. In any other state of mind, he would have said that they felt odd, too cold and too smooth, but, to his troubled mind, they were just cool enough and not at all rough. Quite pleasant, actually.
She nodded to the candle on his left, pursed her lips, made a blowing sound, and then nodded to him. Understanding perfectly, he nodded and blew out the candle. At that same instant, Trance blew out the other candle with a soft sigh that reminded Harper of a musical note. The room should have been cast into darkness. It took Harper a moment to realize that the room was bathed in a pale, purple light.
A few moments longer were necessary for him to locate the source of the light. Trance! The light was coming from Trance, from beneath her skin. She was glowing…
Trance's hands tightened reassuringly around Harper's, preventing him from pulling away. Her face was more serene than Harper had ever seen it. She looked older: somehow ancient. Or ageless. She played her fingers along Harper's palms without breaking her hold on him. She smiled tenderly at him, but did not move. Entranced, Harper did not move either. He was too busy staring at Trance, at her eyes.
Like the rest of her, her eyes were different. Deeper, clearer. Staring into her eyes was like diving into a mountain lake on an oppressively hot afternoon. Harper found himself not wanting to break that gaze. Ever. Trance let him stare into her eyes for what could have been seconds or centuries.
Abruptly, she blinked and the sensation vanished, as quickly and completely as if a switch had been thrown. Harper nearly pulled away again, but was once more prevented by a gentle pressure from Trance. She smiled at him, understanding and reassuring. Harper smiled back, and his eyes hungrily sought hers once more, but whatever they had held was gone. The magic was gone. She was barely even glowing anymore.
Harper's hands tightened around hers, not wanting to let go of all that he had glimpsed. He had looked into his friend's soul, and there found relief. But that was gone now. She was just Trance again, eager to help her friend, but otherwise unremarkable. Except perhaps remarkably beautiful. She examined him curiously, eagerly. He smiled hopefully, eager for what might be next. Trance's radiant smiled faded momentarily, only to return, more compelling than ever.
Still holding Harper's hands firmly in her own, Trance leaned forward and tenderly kissed him. Harper tightened his grip on her hands and leaned closer, kissing her with passion rather than tenderness. Her eyes widened, and, for a moment, she froze, staring at Harper in awe. Just as he was beginning to worry that he might have offended or frightened her, she began kissing him again. Her eyes had taken on the same amazing depth as before, and her kiss was both more passionate and more confident.
Harper's eyes grew wide as he became aware of an odd sensation to his lips. Something was passing from Trance into him. He had once accidentally stuck his hand into a power conduit. This sensation was similar, except for the complete absence of pain or anxiety. Apparently, the amount of power being transferred was similar as well. He lost his grip on Trance's hands and found himself flying across the floor. He landed several feet away, legs splayed, looking dazed. The room had gone completely dark.
"Oh! Are you okay?" Trance asked, crawling to him in the darkness and gently touching his face. She turned on the lights. "Are you okay?" she repeated anxiously.
Harper stared at her with wide eyes, unable to respond. He felt… amazing. Finally, he managed, "Wh- what did you do?"
"I…" Trance hesitated and bowed her head, looking like a school-girl caught misbehaving. "I made it so you won't be alone anymore."
Harper frowned, more than a little confused. "How?"
Trance shrugged and helped him to his feet. "Let's get you to bed."
For once speechless, Harper allowed himself to be led back to his room. As Trance tucked him in, he said, "Thanks."
She smiled and touched his forehead. "I just thought it might help."
She gave a helpless shrug. "Sometimes talking helps. Sometimes you need more." With these words of wisdom, Trance left Harper to sleep.
He touched his mouth, amazed. It was still tingling. His whole body was, in fact, and his mind. He closed his eyes slowly, not wanting to give the feeling up to the dark fear that usually accompanied the act. For once, he had no doubt but that he would wake up. Free of pain and free of anxiety.What did you do?
Sometimes talking helps. Sometimes you need more. Sometimes you need to know that you're not alone.
"You said it, Trance."