With These Hands

by Alienist [Reviews - 1]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Alternate Universe, Character Study, Series, Vignette

"When...when was the first time..."

"The first time I killed someone?"

They were sitting on a bench made of diamond under a violet sky, waiting for a notoriously tardy ambassador. Peri had spent some time examining the grass, the flowers, the trees, all unfamiliar and exciting. He'd promised they would return and take samples.

Eventually her enthusiasm had waned, and she'd strolled over to sit beside him, chatting amiably until that, too, faded.

Now her arms were held tightly around her, and she refused to meet his gaze as she muttered an affirmative. He knew the girl found it hard to cope with what he had to do; he kept his voice carefully gentle.

"With these hands?"

Her head turns slowly as she gazed down at the slender fingers curled in his lap, bare for once.

"Yes," was the soft answer.

He paused, allowing her to believe it was a hesitation born of remorse. He'd stopped feeling that a long time ago, but it will make the answer easier for her.

When she met his eyes, he made sure they reflected the sadness in her own.

"A planet called Deva Loka was being colonised. By the time I arrived, two of the Kinda — the native inhabitants — was being held in a cage. Only one member, a scientist, respected their culture, but even she condoned this act." Peri was frowning, hands twisting in her lap. He didn't shield the disgust in his voice, knowing she would understand it.

"The leader, Sanders, refused to listen to my advice; quite a stubborn, ignorant man all told. When he left to search for the missing members of his team, he left his deputy in charge." He could see a faint light of curiosity in her eyes, but knew she wouldn't voice it. He wouldn't go through all the details, focusing only on the most relevant. There was no need to tell her of the Box, the Mara, the Great Wheel.

"This man, Hindle, was quite unbalanced. We were immediately placed under arrest. He came to believe that everything outside the Dome was a threat, from the trees to the soil, and was intent on destroying it." A faint gasp as her eyes widened.

"I...couldn't allow that to happen." She was nodding, now, though he knew the question burning her tongue, pricking at her eyes.

"I tried talking with him, negotiating, humouring, but...he was too far gone, Peri. There was nothing else I could do." His gaze dropped.

"It was quick," he said softly.

He hid the smile as Peri reached out a hand to cover his own.