Disclaimer: Much as I wish I had my very own hot alien to play with, nothing is mine.
Gaze Down at Me
1"Mom, I'm going to bed!"
"Good night Jacob," Helen called, washing up the last of the dishes waiting in the small basin of water. Above her, she heard the bedroom door close as she shook the soap off her hands.
Another day was finished. She sighed in exhaustion as she leaned against the makeshift sink. Around her the kitchen was lit with the soft glow of candles. She'd grown used to the gentle light. Outside the night sky was crystal clear, free from the light pollution that had once erased the stars.
It had been five years since the world had almost ended. Five years since every human on the planet had nearly been wiped out, herself included. It was only thanks to one man that she was even still breathing.
"A man," she whispered, smiling slightly. That wasn't the right word. But whatever he was, she still owed him her life.
Five years felt like a lifetime now. So much had changed about their world. The post apocalyptic reality had been left without any kind of technology. Klaatu had warned them there would be a price and he'd been right. This new world was a harsh place but the human race had adapted, as it always did.
She lived in the country now. It was easier that way to grow food. Several families worked together to ensure the prosperity of the farm she lived on. After all, if their crops failed it wasn't as if they could run to the supermarket and pick something up. Every day was hard work but at least they were alive. They had been given a chance and Helen was determined not to waste it. Klaatu had said they'd be watching. She wanted him to see he hadn't made a mistake in sparing her people.
It was hot in the house, especially with no air condition to give any respite. Filling a glass with water, she headed out onto the porch. The evening breeze ruffled her hair as she stepped into the night. During the day she lived a life she had never prepared for. But at night it was easier to forget the toil and suffering the human race had gone through. At night she could come out here and look up at the stars. She'd looked up at the sky thousands of time during her life but now it was different. Now when she looked up, she wondered if someone else was looking down. Somewhere up there, was a man with beautiful dark eyes gazing back down at her?
She smiled at her own foolishness. It had been so long. What was the point in thinking about him? Klaatu was an alien. He felt none of the same emotions that humans did. And yet it didn't stop her from thinking of him during the day, or dreaming of him during the night. They had only spent a matter of hours together but it had been enough to make him unforgettable to her. Not because he was an alien but because he had taken care of Jacob. He had listened to her, protected her. And he saved them.
When exactly was it that she had fallen for him?
Easy question, she thought, leaning against the porch post. When he had stood in the living room, listening to Bach with a look of surprised wonder. It had been the first time he'd encountered proof that the human race could be different from the violent beings he knew.
"Stupid girl," Helen whispered to herself. He was an alien after all. He probably never even spared her a second thought.
"Klaatu," she breathed for the first time in years.
It was getting late. They'd have an early start in the morning. Dawn was now their alarm clock. She turned to go inside when a spark of light caught her eye. Looking up she saw a streak of white flash through the sky. It hit the ground with an audible bang. She felt the earth beneath her feet shudder and was running before she could think twice.
The light had landed in her field, out past her crops. She drove into the tall corn stalks, forcing them aside as she ran.
It couldn't be. It must have been a meteorite. Nothing more. But still she ran. She had to know. Could it possibly be the man she'd been longing for? Or was it yet another threat to be faced?
Onwards she pushed. The light was growing fainter now. Just a little further, just a little more.
She broke through the tallest crops and stopped dead at the edge of the grass field. There in the center stood a small glowing sphere. She had seen the type before.
Her heart raced with fear as she waited. Should she run or stay? It was a question Jacob had asked so many years ago.
"Hello?" she called. She had meant her voice to be strong but it came out as a breathy whisper.
The sphere pulsed brightly in response.
Hesitantly she stepped forward. The adrenaline coursing through her veins demanded she run. It was all she could do to hold her ground.
As she had seen it do before, the light in the sphere slowly sunk to the bottom. Whatever was inside was about to come out.
She held her breath as a dark shape appeared in the center of the white light. It came forward, becoming clearer with each step.
He faced her with the same stoic expression he'd always worn. The clothes on his body were identical to the ones he'd left with. But the black suit was once again impeccable, not shredded as it had been from his last desperate attempt to stop the destruction he'd unleashed.
She ran towards him only to stop short. Helen didn't know how to approach him. He was a man who terrified and enthralled her. How did she touch him? Did he even remember who she was?
He took a step towards her, reeling slightly.
"Are you alright?" she asked, hurrying forwards in case she needed to catch him.
"This world... takes some getting used to," he replied. His voice sounded rusty, as if he hadn't used it in a long time. "Things were different where I was."
She stood so close to him yet they didn't touch.
He watched her with eyes that missed nothing. Helen did her best to meet his eyes and ignore the way he made her feel so vulnerable and exposed.
"You've changed," he said.
Quickly she hid her dirt crusted nails behind her back and raised her chin. "The world changed."
"I warned you."
"I'm not complaining," she denied. "You saved my life, all of our lives. I will forever be in your debt."
He looked away.
"We are not satisfied that the humans have changed enough," he said shortly.
The words froze her heart. It was going to happen again? Had they wasted their second chance?
"But... but we're trying! We've worked so hard. You can't tell me that you are here to...to..."
He glanced back at her. "I have not come to pass judgment."
She wrapped her arms around herself for comfort. "Then why are you here?" she whispered.
"We wanted to send someone to watch you. Someone to be here if the planet needed guidance or, if need be, extermination."
"I don't understand," she said.
"I volunteered," he replied. "I am to stay here, living among humans, for the rest of my life span."
It took her a moment to realize what he was saying.
"You are stuck here?" she asked in shock.
He nodded sharply.
For a moment they were both silent.
"Do you want to come home with me?" she asked.
In response he turned back to the sphere. He stared at it for a long moment before stretching out a hand to touch it. The sphere pulsed brightly and disintegrated into tiny black specks.
Without the light, Helen could barely make him out as he turned back to her.
"Please," he said, as if nothing had happened. As if his only way home hadn't just been destroyed.
Silently she led him back to the old farm house. It seemed eerily quiet as they entered. Minutes ago she made been comfortable in her home but now with him in it everything was suddenly different.
"Can I get you anything?" she asked as she closed the door.
"Water," he replied, studying the hall.
He followed her into the kitchen and watched as she filled a tall glass and held it out to him.
"Thank you." He lifted it to his lips and drank it in one long swallow.
"Why did you volunteer?" she asked quietly.
Klaatu set the glass on the counter. "I already had the body. I knew this planet. It was the logical choice."
So he had come back out of duty, not desire.
"Oh," she murmured.
The silence stretched until he turned his head slightly towards her.
"You were here."
She looked at him sharply. "What?"
He watched her silently.
"What did you say, Klaatu?"
"That is the first time you have said my name."
"I—" Helen felt confused. She had no idea how to act around this man. What did he mean she was here? Had he come back for her? "I don't understand what is happening," she said finally.
"Others would have come had I not." He looked at her directly. "I did not want that."
"Why?" she asked.
"At the precipice we change," he told her. "I don't want this race destroyed. Others may have seen a different side of you and challenged my decision. I wanted... to protect you."
She drew an unsteady breath. "Why?" she whispered again.
He watched her for a long moment before striding to her. Slowly he reached out and touched her face with the gentlest of touches.
"I don't know," he replied just as softly. "We watched the humans try to rebuild. All of us looked, but I only ever saw you. I never regretted my decision to save them because it saved you. When we were told there was a chance to go back I didn't hesitate. I gave away my life, Helen, to come here and I don't know why."
"Do you not?" she asked, reaching up to catch the hand that touched her.
"Human emotions are complicated. I do not comprehend them."
"You're part human."
"I will never be human," he corrected her.
Helen shook her head. "I don't care."
He stepped closer, bring their bodies together. She inhaled sharply.
"Why did I come back for you?" he asked her, demanding she give him answers to questions he didn't even understand.
"I can't answer that," she replied. She swallowed hard before adding, "But I'm glad you did."
Their eyes locked in the still kitchen. Slowly, ever so slowly, Helen rose up on her tiptoes. She brushed her mouth lightly across his. Klaatu stood immobile under her touch. When her fingers trailed up his arm, he raised his hand to mimic her movements. Helen kissed him slowly, allowing him to study her actions and learn from them. She caught her breath when his arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her more firmly against his body.
She had loved Jacob's father passionately but she couldn't compare it to what she felt in Klaatu's arms. They were two different men, two different species. She had never been afraid with Andrew but she had also never felt as if her body was on fire just by touching him.
Klaatu drew back slightly before she was ready for him to go but she didn't stop him.
"I don't understand your human concept of love," he told her.
"I'll teach you," she said without hesitation. "I looked up at the stars," she told him. "And wished that you were looking down at me."
"I was," he said helplessly.
"You saved me."
"I had to."
Her heart raced at the simple admission. Even then she had been something important to this man who had seen galaxies. It was a heady thought. After all, she was just one woman. Only a human. But somehow, against all the odds, against their vastly different backgrounds, a human and an alien had managed to touch. To connect.
"You healed Jacob," she whispered, looking up at him.
"You needed him," he answered, as if his actions should be obvious to her.
"I've dreamed of you since you left."
He had no reply. Instead he stared at her helplessly.
"You are trapped on this world," she said. "Won't you spend your time with me?"
He tilted his head to the side, considering her words. "You would ask me that?" he said, trying to understand. "My stay here is not numbered by hours as it was the last time but by years."
"I know," she replied. "And my offer remains the same. You don't know this world, not really. Let me show it to you. Let me show you what it's like to be human."
Indecision reflected in his eyes but he still nodded his head, agreeing to her request.
Helen smiled, feeling relief wash through her. He wouldn't disappear without a word. This time, he was hers to keep. Carefully she stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his waist.
He watched her closely but didn't protest.
"Hold me," she instructed, laying her head on his chest.
Slowly his arms came up around her.
"Perfect," she whispered.
His arms tightened slightly around her as he rested his cheek against her hair.
"Thank you for coming back," she whispered with her eyes closed.
"You're welcome," he replied. He voice was gentler then she'd ever heard it before.
"I didn't think we'd get a second chance, you and I," she confessed. "I'm glad we have."
"Second chances seem to be what I'm best at."
"I'm not complaining," she replied, raising her head to meet his eyes. As she rose up on her tiptoes to kiss him she knew that for once in this crazy new world of hers, everything was perfect.
A/N: I've written this fic to celebrate my first venture into the strange new world of publishing. If you like my writing, please check out my debut paranormal romance novella "Deals with Demons" by Victoria Davies, out today via Samhain Publishing. To learn more about why one should never make deals with the damned, please visit my website listed on my profile or check Amazon. Thank you for your support!