They just don't talk to each other, y'know. They talk at each other.
All the time.
You'd think once in a while they'd listen... but no, not our Alphas. Blake, when he gets going, he talks at us like we're a public meeting in the Domes. Even when it's just one of us, one of me, say... well, maybe not me, but I've heard him talk at Jenna like she's a rebel horde waiting for inspiration. Proclaiming at Cally, who actually is a rebel horde all on her own. Declaiming for all he's worth - and that's a hell of a lot - at Gan, or even Orac... and especially at Avon.
Who doesn't talk to people either, just at us for the pleasure of the sound of his own superior and sarcastic voice and what he thinks is humour (and they say Deltas aren't funny...) Whatever Avon says is for Avon's own benefit, and me, I think he couldn't care less if we hear a word of it. I sometimes wonder if he practices. I wouldn't be surprised.
Neither of them even seems to listen to what the other one says... not even when they're saying it from six inches away. So why do they always seem to hear something the rest of us miss?
A light, warm, worried touch on a hunched shoulder, a stance just is that little too close. "You did not have to do this, I did not ask you to do this..."
A flinch, the injured, hurting, angry flesh shrinking from the light, careful hand, "You left me no choice," but refusing to step back, away. "Leave me the right to be angry about having no choice."
A retreat, the hand loose, helpless, resigned but not reconciled. "If you must..."
I can only be glad I cannot hear their thoughts, the words they sometimes speak are hurtful enough... though I sometimes wonder. The clashing of emotional fire and rational ice, it leaves psychic traces in the air, sometimes so strong, so hot and so cold that I am sure even Vila could not miss it, and I, I am dizzy with it, but they seem not to know... though I sometimes wonder. They do not connect, not even for poor, alone, mind-blind humans... though I sometimes wonder, when I see them stand so close, if some humans have a language that telepaths do not know.
Leaning over, looming almost, feeling the warmth of a body so close but not quite touching. "It will not work, it will never work."
Leaning back, the outflung, half-pleading, half-defiant hand just missing a stiff, braced arm. "But I need to try."
Sighing, bending, with a sad, pensive breath against dark curls. "Then I must as well, damn you."
They are both so sure that they are right. At least, I think they are sure, Blake and Avon both. I don't pretend to understand them: when they fight, it's like with weapons, out to hurt, really hurt each other and anyone else stupid enough to be in reach. The rest of us aren't stupid, and we clear out.
But then the fighting stops, the cuts and bruises fade, and it's like they were never there. They're civilised, they're polite, they're... something not quite friendly, something more than friends. When they're not fighting, the two of them, they understand each other in a way the rest of us don't, not even Jenna. Maybe because they're Alphas... or maybe just because they're Blake and Avon.
No, I don't understand, but I sometimes think they're both too tough and too proud to hear each other - or to hear the rest of us. And until someone gets hurt, they never will.
Maybe not even then...
Hard, harsh arms around the shoulders, holding upright, forcing truth with cold comfort. "Nothing is worth this."
A desperate grip, with fingers that feel bloodied and guilty... "It has to be, it has to be."
And later, calm, clean hands held out later, in truce, in one brief moment of peace. "No, it is not. But it may be enough... for now."
Asked point-blank if he hated Blake, Avon didn't reply. I guessed then that we could all read what he didn't say clearly enough.
I guessed that we should all have read it years ago. It was in every look, every gesture, every rejection, every touch.
I guessed that the only one who read him right was Blake.
Reaching out with a shaking, icy hand: "I'm sorry."
Catching, laying it down next to the injured, failing body: "I know."
Weakening, desperately grasping, failing to hold: "I didn't mean..."
Touching, cool and broodingly concerned, the fever-warmed face: "Relax. I'll find you. Then we'll talk."
- the end -