"I better put these two in the brig" Razer mumbled, picking up the unconscious bodies of Drusa and Atrocitus with red energy.
Left alone on the bridge, Ilana went to sit in the captain's chair. She leaned in to look closer at the globe of light that represented Aya.
"Ilana, I want to thank you for helping me reform myself" Aya spoke up eventually.
"I need to thank you for helping me break from Drusa's control" she replied leaning back.
"I... I want to tell you that I am sorry I... You can keep that body for yourself if you prefer. I can build another one. One that... does not bear your physical attributes"
"That's alright, I don't mind. You will be back in your own body soon enough"
"Whatever Razer has told you... you do not have to die"
"How can I die when I'm already dead? I'm just... ending. And every end is a new beginning"
"I'm not sure how to process that..."
"The Razer that Ilana loved is gone. He died that day with her. This Razer is going to keep fighting. He will not stop, ever. If that is the case he needs somebody to love him and fight beside him... and he's lucky that somebody is you"
Both AI's remained silent for a long while.
"Sometimes... sometimes I estimate he does not care for me. At all."
"Yes" Ilana said smiling. "He can be like that. But at the end of the day, if you want to learn about love, there's no better tutor"
Ilana got up from the captain's chair and headed for the brig.
"Where are you going?" Aya asked.
"There's something I have to do before I'm gone" Ilana replied looking over her shoulder. "One good thing..." she whispered.
Razer was keeping an eye on the prisoners. Atrocitus had come out of his shock, but Drusa still lay there, in a pile of limbs. Ilana felt rather smug about that. Atrocitus was immobilised by red energy, the red bands of light circling his arms and mouth.
Ilana stared at him in silence. Razer stood guard, occasionally sneaking a glance at her to make sure she was right. She was essentially staring down her executioner. Suddenly she passed through the force field and leaned down next to the fallen Atrocitus. He continued to stare upward, defiantly, despite being tied and gagged. She leaned down and put her right arm to his chest.
Razer tensed up, nervous about what she was planning. She wouldn't kill him, not when she herself stopped him from doing the same to Drusa. Right?
"You have taken everything from me" Ilana spoke softly. "You have taken my life. You have destroyed my love. If I killed you now, nobody would dare tell me that it isn't justice"
Razer clenched his fist, ready to drag her away if he needed to, but he desperately wish it wouldn't come to that. Because he didn't want to stop her at all. For a second he thought he spotted a look of fear in Atrocitus' eyes, beneath all the bile and contempt.
Surprisingly, Ilana's hand went from his chest to his face, cupping his cheek. Now Atrocitus looked really scared.
"The problem with that is... you can't defeat hate with more hate"
She leaned in, staring deep into his bloodshot eyes, her face mere inches away from his.
"I forgive you Atrocitus. I forgive you for all that you have done to me. I pray you find your way. I pray you find a reason to stop hating"
Atrocitus stared at her flabbergasted, forgiveness a completely foreign concept to him until then.
"For what it's worth" Ilana said getting up.
For the second time in less than an hour, Razer felt incredibly relieved. Ilana walked out of the cell, smiling at Razer. Her compassion and capacity for forgiveness left him speechless. She had never reminded him more of his Ilana. Somehow reading that revelation in his expression, her smile grew even brighter. Not a word spoken between them, she started to walk back to the bridge.
She stopped mid way. Razer turned around, realising he no longer heard her footsteps.
"Ilana, no!" Aya's voice vibrated through the walls of the ship.
"Initiate CPU memory wipe!" Ilana said quickly.
"No!" Razer shouted and flew straight at her.
She collapsed on the floor, motor control being the first one to be wiped from the robot's form central unit. Razer picked her up and cradled her upper body in his arms.
"Aya?" he called out.
"There is nothing I can do. She severed all ties to the ship's servers" Aya tried to explain.
"Razer..." Ilana whispered. "You finally get to say it..."
Razer squeezed his eyes shut, feeling moisture gathering once again.
"You saved my life. Don't go... You don't have to go"
"Yes I do. I'm not her. I'm some idealized version of her you keep in your memories. You need to let go... " she said and whimpered. "Our first kiss... it's gone now"
Razer couldn't help but remember that moment, trying to recall every single detail, making sure that day was never wiped from his personal history like it was happening now with Ilana. Her body shuddered and twitched in his arms.
"The first first time you said you loved me" she murmured, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Again, Razer remembered, basking in the warmth of that memory. Her body twitched again, the blue light of her eyes flickered, preciou memories lining up for an electronic execution.
"The day I met you..." she whispered finally.
Razer cried openly now, caught in his own emotional vortex. The light in her eyes grew dimmer, and a serene expression replaced the anguish from before. Her eyes darted in all directions until finally focusing on his face.
"Who are you?" she asked unsure. "Why are you so sad?"
"I... I lost somebody. Somebody that I loved" Razer tried to say between sobs.
"That's no reason. If they loved you back, they wouldn't want you to be sad"
Razer shook his head, clearing the tears from his face. The last thing she saw shouldn't be the pathetic image of him crying.
"You're right" he acknowledged smiling weakly.
She smiled back at him, gasped and said in a neutral robotic voice:
"Memory wipe complete. Goodbye"
The Interceptor's robotic form shutdown. The hard light disappeared, leaving only the synthetic components behind.
"Razer? We have returned to Oa" Aya announced stepping inside Razer's dark lit room. She found him at his desk, hand intertwined in front of him, head bowed down.
"Thank you Aya" he said and swallowed a lump in his throat.
Aya looked at his turned back and hesitated. He shut down after the passing of the Ilana AI. Retreated to his room and didn't come out even to greet Hal and Kilowog. Aya was left to assure them he was fine, but still hurting. She reclaimed her physical form shortly after that, but now it felt uncomfortable. She couldn't quite place the source of discomfort. It must be what it feels like for humans to move in a house that has been inhabited by somebody else.
"Aya" Razer spoke up, breaking her train of thought.
"I didn't want to tell you like this but... I do love you"
Aya wanted nothing more than to cross that small expanse of space and hold Razer's hand. But somehow she understood that Razer was not making a declaration. He was stating a fact.
"I'm just going to need some time" he continued.
She nodded, even though he couldn't see her. He was alive and he loved her. That was all that mattered.
"Take as long as you need. I will be here... and I will not let go"
Scrambled to get this done and to wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day. :) Though the fic itself is kinda of sad. And as one of the reviewers already mentioned, it is inspired by the song "Tonight" by Lykke Li which I listened to non-stop while writing this.