A/N: Sorry I haven't been answering your reviews lately! This has been a very difficult month to even maintain regular updates. Let's hope next month proves to be a bit smoother on that front.
Iron maiden Meredith Vickers, 33, becomes the youngest President in the Corporate ladder of Weyland Industries
By the time her promotion becomes public news headlines like this are flooding her news feed. Meredith isn't fond of the title (it is one of the least grating in the pool of opyions though), but when does the public of image of a person reflect the truth of their soul? In her experience: never.
She poses with her father for the press and a picture of them together quickly becomes one of the most viewed pictures in the world for the 24 hours following its release. Now their picture sells more than a paparazzi shot of the current celebrities or their selected government officials, which is not so surprising considering the power Weyland Industries holds on Earth these days; they might as well be government officials.
That kind of power is often intoxicating; one simply needs to look at her father to see the truth in this statement. And yet Meredith accepts her new position humbly. If there is any trace of arrogance or malice in her afterwards, she can only surmise that they were there long before she was given this power.
Meredith refuses to comment on her promotion to the press. They follow her around like a flock of predators regardless, snapping pictures where one can find no trace of a smile. By all accounts Meredith should be happier than that.
But instead she is just like him now; sleep eludes her, his confession binds her. Meredith cannot just lie down and forget, and she realizes to her horror that she does not even want to forget. Her apartment feels empty and hollow, even her drink tastes bitter in her mouth. The trepidation vanishes little by little, but it is a stain in her memory; her skin still burns where he touched her.
She cannot recall ever having lost control so utterly and Meredith requires control! She needs it like air, for otherwise she would falter and diminish and be nothing.
How strange is it that the one person to rob her of control is not her father after all, but a being – an android – that claims to love her as fervently as Dante loved his Beatrice? For years she had stared into his glazed eyes, seeing nothing there, deducing it was pointless to hate him, but still choosing to do so anyway. After his confession she cannot say the same, for his blue eyes hide an ocean of emotion, secrets hidden as deep as she has hidden hers.
He haunts her thoughts, seeping into her dreams, whispering words of ardor even when she finally collapses, surrendering to dead calm. Meredith wakes with a feeling of being incomplete, as if she's left something important behind in her dreams. Nothing makes sense anymore – Not the job, not her father, not her. And David, the most woeful man alive, makes the least sense to her.
She knows she ought to report the incident, to make sure he gets retired. It feels more like murder after this display of emotion, and she cannot bring herself to do it despite the conflicting feelings in her heart. Meredith tries to pull her broken armor back in place, to shield herself from this, before it'll be too late and she fails each time, is defeated by the image of David next to her offering her clemency.
Was her overt hatred of him merely a smokescreen for the affection she did not wish to acknowledge? She recalls the times she would meet him anew and find him a tabula rasa, their joint history erased as if it had never been; she recalls the emotions that stirred in her when he saved her and nursed her and she could not place the strange sensation inside her; she recalls how it felt to come home each day and find him there, waiting for her arrival like it was the highlight of his day.
Something resonates within her, a stirring she cannot quell. This lack of self-control is increasing: impulses running wild, leaving her starry-eyed and gasping in her bed after a dream, a simple fucking dream, of him feeding her that burning heart. And she struggles to overcome this with flushed cheeks and flushed everything, fighting until the end. But this discord is lodged deep in her precious flesh: an urge and an ache combined into a yearning that is almost painful now that it has been revealed.
Torture is not a lie when used to describe this turmoil that is in her. And so sweltering, Meredith awakens in her bed to a sanguine dawn to drink it in, blinded by its intensity. She stands by the tall windows of her apartment, gazing down into the city from the heights of her tower. Everything bathes in gold and red, but the only wounded creature here is her. This city is her desert.
It is the ninth day since his announcement, the unexpected visit to her home. She has not consciously counted the days, but rather knows them in her gut, as if the days were counted by carving her flesh.
In the shower her mind flashes to his lips, his soothing voice breaking down the reasons he is enamored to her. The cold water cannot wash away the shame, the excitement or the disgust. She surrenders to it on the shower floor as her weary feet are unable to carry her weight anymore. The water pounds her back like a storm while she leans against the wall. What is this enemy that has usurped her mind?
Meredith no longer knows what is true and what is false. She has based her life, her treatment of David, around the presumption that he can never feel human emotions. He shattered that belief when the revelations began to flow from his lips one by one, their flow so abrupt. In that moment, as adamant as she was to deny it, she thought she could feel him speak the truth in her gut. Meredith really didn't see it coming.
Many things about his words bother her, but one in particular. If what he's saying is true, why confess it? It doesn't make sense for him to expose himself this way. It's not logical.
But her distraught is evidence enough on why he would do it. She's confused and unable to act, to think about anything but this. And even if he is working on an ulterior motive, Meredith has come to recognize that she has feelings for him, desire for him. And looking back she has felt desire for him for far longer than she would care to accept.
She can feel a measure of control returning into her body. She's not the first person in the world to develop feelings for his kind. Admitting it has been difficult, a road paved with pain and doubt. In the time she has shared with the different Davids she has felt attracted to him more than once.
This can be her destruction. Oh, Meredith knows how mind games are played, knows that even though he spoke the words aloud, they can still be entirely meaningless! Her heart can only take so many bitter lessons…
And yet she's also open to the possibility that this can also be something else: atonement.
If he has all the sordid details of their past relationships and he still believes he loves her, isn't that what she's always wanted?
David has detailed files over the public response of Meredith's promotion and for the time being the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It would seem that their PR team has successfully averted the attention away from her predecessor and his quite unexpected career move. David knows it is one of many mysteries in Meredith's rise to power, but when one takes the time to look at the details it is revealed to be another part of a bigger picture, a pattern of how she works.
There is also loud speculation of what her promotion means for Weyland Cybernetics in the future: layoffs, a new strategy, a bigger budget, or perhaps the revival of past projects like the Eve model? David finds it somewhat amusing. Although she is generally considered capable and her employees place their hope onto her, no one seems to have a clear idea what lies in the future. David is certain she already has a plan, one that will not be visible to others until it is well underway. Meredith may be aggressive in some areas of her life, but she has always played long games with her business affairs.
Of course Peter is someone who is harder to impress. So far David has made no reports on how the arrangement with Meredith has been progressing. The time will come when Peter's patience will be over though. David simply trusts that this respite will give her enough time to realize that her only option is to play along and at least pretend to be a functional marionette.
He goes over the finances again and then her schedules. So far he's kept his distance from her, observed from the sidelines. But when she leaves for Mars next week, he will have to go with her. Peter will want a report from him by then as well. David is running out of time, and sooner or later he must stop avoiding her.
He turns his head to the door a moment before she appears into the doorway. He hadn't expected a visit since no one else is yet aware of their professional relationship, but he is nevertheless surprised to see her so soon. David had anticipated her recuperation would take more time.
Meredith lingers at the doorframe, held back by something that manifests itself as a dark gleam in her eyes. She doesn't greet him, just stands thinks about greeting her. He doesn't speak the intended words aloud though, for he can tell from the look on her face that she is not here for a formal visit. He then notices the way she glances at the security camera in the ceiling before she turns her attention into him again. After that Meredith simply walks away.
Her sudden appearance after nine days of disquiet prompts him into action almost immediately and David closes the connection he had to the computer before he follows her into the corridor.
Meredith walks away calmly, appearing to be in no hurry at first. But then, for whatever reason, her paste seems to quicken just as he is about to catch up with her.
There are things he can tell just by looking at her backside though. This is not the same strict woman that rejected him eight days, sixteen hours, twenty three minutes and nineteen seconds ago. This Meredith looks different, walks different. David observes the change in her presence with curiosity, knowing he will learn the explanation soon enough.
As for him, her rejection was almost caustic; it was the most intense pain he has ever felt, and so far time has not been the great healer it is always advertised as. He has replayed that scene between them many times, searched for the moment when he went astray. So far he has only been able to conclude that he failed to act according to his prediction on her ability to accept his recent insight into their relationship. In that moment David acted on emotion alone, desiring an end to falsehood more than anything.
Of course, as Peter has told him one life after another, doing the right thing isn't always doing the smart thing.
They enter the main hall when Meredith finally stops pacing and slows down considerably. He takes the chance to walk up to her. In his estimate she doesn't look nearly as vibrant as she did when they last saw one another.
"Is everything alright, Meredith?" David expresses his concern, studying her frame. "You appear unwell."
"You're coming with me," she tells him instead of answering. Her pose is somewhat rigid, her expression stoic. There is nothing soft in her.
Meredith sets into motion again, but this time he does not follow her blindly. David knows now why she seemed a bit off. He could smell the alcohol on her breath.
He doesn't question her condition or her intentions as Meredith leads them out of the office. History has taught him her drinking is a topic she will not allow him to speak his mind about. He is extremely curious about the consequences of this moment though. Surely she knows that all he needs to do is whisper this into Peter's ear and Peter consider their fragile truce done with?
A ride is waiting for them outside and he follows her into the car. She doesn't state their destination to the driver, but he seems to know where they are going regardless.
But it isn't recognizing her intention that keeps David busy during their silent drive. No, David struggles with something else entirely.
He once believed it was nothing but junk data: impulses that served to help him in the task to appear more humane. It wasn't until he saw her for the first time since his change that he recognized those impulses as something else. Now the earlier unfamiliar sensations are only intensified in him; something that resembles an electric surge licks at skin and everything about her is larger than life somehow: her presence, her scent, each silent stare. It is a tension between them and it is unlike anything he has felt before.
Most of the ride Meredith looks away, pretending to examine the scenery outside. On the surface she appears calm, passive even, but he can tell her heartbeat is elevated and she's breathing a bit irregularly, so the truth must be something else. David follows her example in these times and also looks away, allowing the silence to endure. But what he finds truly odd that whenever she turns to look at him, those external signs of duress seem to vanish altogether.
When Meredith looks at him she rouses those earlier unfamiliar sensations and become intensified. Her face is clean from irritation, hatred and suspicion, but immaculate instead. With only one glance she buys his silence, locks him in quiet admiration, his stare fixated on her, that spot by his neck that he feels the urge to kiss.
After each look, just as David is about to say something to her, to speak his mind's desire, she ends up turning away. And so their odd act continues.
Finally the ride comes to an end and Meredith climbs out of the car. Once outside David recognizes the district and the building – she's brought him to her home.
After a short ride in the elevator they reach her floor, and she finds the right door even quicker and leaves it ajar for him to follow her inside. He closes it after him when she is already peeling the coat from her back. A pressing silence marks their reunion.
"By all accounts I should relate the story of what happened nine days ago to someone," she then says and looks right at him, her gaze almost immaculate. He senses little bitterness in it.
"But you never said anything about me to anyone, did you?"
He can tell it is not a real question aimed at him and thus David does not provide her with an answer. He is glad that she hasn't chosen to abuse the power she has over him. In this life they are still cast in roles that make them unequal. Meredith has rarely treated him badly, but he cannot profess that he trusts her explicitly just yet. She is complex that way; he isn't able to predict her accurately like he is able to do with so many others.
Meredith seems mull over that thought a bit before she motions him to follow her into the living room, just like last time. He follows her again, trying to make more predictions about her behavior and failing at this task. All he can say is that he upset her – so much that she has chosen to dull her senses with a drink, even when she had abstained for years.
"Why did you bring me here?" he asks, trying to tread carefully as he doesn't yet know where they stand.
His confession changed everything and Meredith has yet to reveal how she has chosen to react to that change; the knee-jerk reaction from before was, after all, just another one of her defense mechanisms.
"I'd rather not have any witnesses to what we're about to do."
What were they about to do? He looks at her expectantly, not daring to push her in any way. He recalls how she turned from his kiss, how many times she has willingly cast him out when he tried to console her. She doesn't look at him with the same impassive face any longer though, something has changed.
Meredith studies him openly and he is patient beneath her stare. "You asked me what would be appealing to me," she says and begins to circle him. Although David remains still, he can hear that she's fiddling with the metallic clasps of her shirt.
"The truth is that youalready are appealing to me. I find you attractive." Her voice is thick. The sound of a single clasp unhooking follows it. David shivers a bit when she runs her fingers over his shoulder; her touch feels different from before: the data he receives resembles pain, but it isn't quite that.
"I was built that way," he tells her humbly, feeling unsure of what her goal here is.
He hears her short smile in her breath. "Don't spoil the moment."
She moves back in front of him and unclasps her hair. It falls on her shoulders now, free and uninhibited. He notices how her shirt is also halfway open from the front. He can catch a glimpse of her light underwear beneath her shirt, but what fascinates David more is the delicate look on her face. Despite the hints of desire between them in the past, he has never seen her like this before: so open.
"How would you make me happy?" she whispers barely audibly and her husky tone is tainted by allusion.
In the face of her acceptance, he leans in and his lips press against her neck, finding that spot he had marked in his thoughts earlier. First he presses a kiss against it, but then, finding her succumbing to his touch, he also sucks on her fair skin softly and bites down a bit. Her response is instantaneous; she grabs hold of his hips to steady herself.
David pulls away slowly, eyes sinking into hers when he is free. He can feel her hands holding onto his hips, see how flushed her cheeks look. And when he leans in to kiss her on the mouth, she responds to the kiss with fierceness, grinding her own hips against his, losing sight of everything but him.
David runs his hands up and down her shoulders, rubbing her bare skin, afraid to move further for now. And when he feels her pull away, presumably to catch a breath, he is almost floored by the intense disappointment of this moment ending. He keeps his eyes on her while she gasps exhausted by his affection, and he observes her almost jealously, irritated that she needs air; that such a thing robs him of her touch even for a second.
David pushes her against the display with a thump, mimicking her own roughness and smiles wildly against her when she groans in pleasure. His neat hairdo is ruffled, the parting long gone. The blonde locks fall to his face, obscuring his eye sight until she brushes them away, framing the side of his face with her hot hand. He kisses the palm of her hand before moving his lips to her neck again, kissing, biting.
Meredith closes her eyes. He can't sense any tenseness in her body in that moment. She looks quite beautiful this way.
But when she feels something hard pressing against her, she gasps audibly, eyes flying open, neck pulling away from him to question this. David faces her bewilderment calmly, caressing the side of her face before he explains.
"I was built to serve," he simply says, alluding to the fact that by this generation he is already compatible with humans.
"Have you served before?" she asks, sounding oddly jealous for a minute.
He simply shakes his head. "No," he tells her. "Not since testing."
Her ardor feels like it is cooling down a bit, and he reads this from her with a little shame. "It was not exactly my choice," he then tells her. "I was ordered to."
She doesn't like the implications of his words – he can tell she's struggling with it. But his expression is honest and resolute as he speaks to her, "This is my choice."
Meredith swallows. "Did you feel anything?"
"How could I?" he asks her, "I had not yet known love."
She leads him to the sofa with determination and pushes him down. Meredith tears through the rest of her clothes, but strips him calmly (probably thinking she needs to return him in perfect condition). He is amused with the way her fingers work on the buttons and zippers of his attire so fervently; how her clenched teeth betray her frustration.
The world spins round and round quietly as she guides him into it, this maddening motion. He responds to her every request, reads into the signs of her pleasure and proceeds to hasten her release. She doesn't need to show him twice, doesn't need to give intricate instructions.
But there is no mistaking the fact that it is Meredith who is in complete control as they enjoy another. She's ferocious, wild, and more unpredictable now than ever before. Her hands find places in his synthetic body that he can't recall anyone else touching, places that he hasn't even taken notice of himself. And despite his past experience and vast knowledge, David realizes nothing has prepared him for her passion.
David doesn't understand these violent nerve impulses that ravage his body. He tries to decipher the data, to understand it in all of its complexity, but the string is never-ending; it blurs into a single on-going flow of data that overwhelms him. And it feels exquisite, incredible.
There is doubt as well; for a moment he wants to stop, to end the lack of control, but she responds to his mild reluctance with tenderness and carries on moving. He cannot find a voice to instruct her, and yet she knows what to do, how to touch, to titillate. And suddenly he feels it all slipping beyond his reach. He finds himself surrendering, letting the wave crash against him and nearly erases everything about him.
Her face looks blissful afterwards as she lies there, pressed to his side. Meredith sleeps, exhausted by their union. Davis lies on his back, still trying to grasp the enormity of the event that has passed and finding his sensors incapable of separating the individual impulses anymore. He simply smiles at this.