TITLE: Chapter One
CHARACTERS: August, Christine Hollis
GENRE: Romance, Dark
SUMMARY: A love that was never meant to be…
WORD COUNT: 1549
WARNINGS: Character death
SPOILERS: Episode 2.08 "August"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: this story has really been a labour of love for me to write during a difficult time
She's looking at the food he's brought for them with utter contempt. He's already sat her on back up on the hotel chair, taking great care to make sure she's comfortable. Her wrists are bruised and starting to swell from where she'd tugged them against the rope and as much as he wants to remove her bonds, he can't—he can see she still wants to get away, that she doesn't understand the gravity of the situation.
So far August has attempted to ease Christine with the offers of food, explaining he knows she often eats when she's upset and he knows that she loves Chinese takeout, just like him. However, he's only made her more upset.
"If you really know me, then you'd know that this makes my stomach hurt."
Her head angrily jerks towards the open take out container he's set on the bed next to her. It contains the spiciest dish on the menu, infused with three different types of chili oil and two different types of peppers, and his absolute favourite.
"Chilies make me sick."
He can feel the contempt has more to do with him than the food, but he quickly bows his head, searching through the white paper bag and finds something that he himself has never actually cared for; he opens the small takeout box and tilts it to show her the steamed white rice inside.
"Will you eat this?" he asks hopefully.
"Yes," she mumbles.
He pulls a small plastic fork of out the bag and kneeling on one knee in front of her, offers her a bite of the soft, flavourless food.
She turns her head away from, defiant. "I don't want you to feed me!"
"I cannot untie you," he says helplessly.
"Fine," she hisses, still not looking at him. "Then I'll starve."
December, September, and July sit at the table in the Indian restaurant, staring at him in the way all members of the Council do. He has never defied anything the Council of Months has decided on and while under any other circumstance he might believe he was obligated to do their bidding, but he feels the small aura off the stuffed animal stored safely in his briefcase and it gives him the strength he needs.
She is a universe, everything he's ever wanted to know, an enigma. She is made of wonder and possibility, potential that could change how everyone views everything. He remembers her first horseback riding lesson, when she jumped into a lake warmed by the summer sun, how she sat in her car in the post office parking lot to read her university acceptance letter, the way she picks dandelions and holds them to her nose…
Unfortunately, December, July, and September are close enough to him to see these things, absorbing the information with osmosis, and he can tell that they don't find them as significant.
He doesn't understand. Why would he know she's important and yet none of them would understand? After all, the Council of Months voted that Peter Bishop may remain so long as he acts as a positive reflection to life in this universe—September has assured them that the second Bishop is being coaxed by his father to apply himself more.
"Your actions took us all by surprise. I take it you've come here to explain yourself," December says finally.
"Then you are aware of the plane crash," August says, the grip on his briefcase's handle tightening.
"Of course. Christine Hollis. Who is she?" December asks even though he and the other members of the Council by now can see what he knows.
But August has to explain himself. "I have observed this woman for much of her life. She is unique."
"They are all unique," September protests. "That is not reason to interfere with the course her life was meant to take."
August's eyes lock on September's. "We have interfered before."
September is quick to point out what is obvious. "Only to correct a mistake of our own making. She has no future."
He knows they're wrong and wishes they understood. "Then why do I see it? Why do I see that she is important?"
December hasn't blinked. "Your perception must be in error."
August doesn't agree. "Perhaps."
"Your oversight will be forgiven, But Miss Hollis must be corrected. We've already seen to it."
August doesn't even hear December finish the sentence—he's already on his way out the door.
"If you're going to kill me, just do it! No one's looking for me," she says, a tear sliding down her cheek when he returns to the motel room.
"Yes, they are. That's why I've had to hide you," he assures.
"Who?" she asks as he maneuvers her chair to face away from the beds and towards the television.
"The others." His mind feels heavy. "This wasn't supposed to happen and they want to change it back to the way it should be."
She shakes her head. "What?"
"It should be on by now."
Within seconds, the television is explaining everything. The fiery plane crash in Italy has left her entirely silent and while she stares at the wreckage slack jawed and wide eyed, he keeps his gaze on her. The dimness of the room and the moving light of the newscast play shadows across her face, highlighting and exaggerating her bone structure, her lashes, the muscles beneath the skin—
"You were going to die," he states.
"I…I was supposed to be on that flight," she finally breathes, her voice throaty and shocked.
"I saved you."
"Did you know…" She turns back to him. "Did you know that it was going to crash?"
"Yes," he says with a single nod.
"Was it—are you a terrorist?!" she asks, her eyes wider and glistening.
"No." He turns his attention back to the television screen. "We see things."
"We?" she whispers and he feels that her fear is dissipating into curiosity.
"I don't have the time to explain it to you," he says, standing up once more.
His head snaps around to face towards the door. The danger is getting closer and if he doesn't protect her—
"What—what is it?" she whispers and he turns back to her.
He can feel the wave of fear rushing through her but now he sees that it isn't directed at him. She understands he's not the threat.
"Do you…trust me?"
Small neurons and atoms shift within her, processing and weighing the question. "Yes."
"Then you must do exactly…as I say," he orders, starting to untie her.
She nods and he can feel the surrender in her.
Returning to the motel room, he pulls the pillows off the bed frantically, tossing them to the floor. Christine, who is wedged tightly between the headboard and the mattress, looks up at him with her large eyes, fear running through her as if it is what makes up her blood.
"Hurry, we only have a few minutes," he says, pulling her out of her hiding space.
She blurts out, "What happened—"
"You're not safe yet—"
A member of the Council of Months has never taken a life before and as much as the action disturbed August, it was the only way for Christine to stay safe for now. He knows that all across the span of time, members of the Council are turning their heads in his direction, sensing the great disruption. Christine was worth the death of Donald Long.
Her hand is small in his and the adrenaline her body has created is incredibly painful to him, but he is willing to endure it to get her away from this location. There is a car down in the parking lot that he's already decided they will use to escape. Down the stairs, he can feel her heart pounding and her hand squeezes his tighter as she sees the body lying on the ground, so he pulls her in front of him and slips his free hand over her eyes, the hand that was holding hers going to her wrist to gently guide her along.
She's in front of him and as he directs her to the car, she whispers, "Did you do that?"
He can feel her sorrow for Long and for a moment he believes that the feelings are his own. "Yes."
"Is that who was coming after me?"
He unlocks the car door with his fingertip. "He was just one."
Her body tenses and his hand still cover her eyes. "There are more?"
Her voice is high pitched. "I'm still in danger?"
He opens the door behind the driver's seat and ushers her inside.
"Lay down. Once we're a safe distance away, you can sit up."
He shuts the door behind her and assumes the position as driver. He spares one last glance at the still body of Donald Long and quickly speeds away from the motel, glancing over at the briefcase he'd already stashed safely on the floor of he passenger side.
In the backseat of the car, August hears Christine weakly ask, "Why me?"
"Because you are important," he says firmly, trying to convince her as much as he's trying to convince himself.
August doesn't answer, just continues driving into the night.