|new eden - 65
||[Jan. 18th, 2012|10:20 am]
Janelle Walden Fans
yes, it's been a year, not that anyone reads my stuff anyway, but i figure i better put it here just in case my computer has a meltdown & eats the whole book, again
A week had now passed since Kyle’s determined promise to find some way or another to not only locate, but also to get all of them safely back to their missing ship. During that week, Kyle had camped out at the pod day and night working toward a solution of some kind. Considering the time that had passed, as well their last slightly intense conversation, Ian decided that he had better check on Kyle, just in case there was a bigger reason for his absence besides just the fact that the young man had always been a workaholic even back on the ship, when his tasks were only slightly less urgent.
When Ian did arrive at their abandoned pod that afternoon, he found Kyle sitting on the ground facing away from him, scratching something or other into the dirt in front of him. “Thought you usually kept your plans and blueprints on that precious little computer of yours,” Ian greeted the younger man, causing him to startle as he turned back to face the sound of his voice.
“What are you doing out here?” Kyle greeted him hoarsely, having not used his voice much in the past week.
“I think the more important question is, why are you sitting here with your back to the tree line, and no gun in sight?” Ian pointed out with a slight scowl.
“Every direction is a tree line,” Kyle responded smartly as he turned back to absently scribble out whatever he had been doodling in the dirt earlier.
“Doesn’t change the other part of my statement: Have you actually been out here alone all week with no gun?” Ian asked with obvious disapproval.
Kyle just shook his head with a slight scoff as Ian moved to take a seat on a fallen tree near the younger man, “As if it really matters, the gun is in the pod, since that’s where I’ve been sleeping all week.”
“And which part of that statement should I dare to dissect first?” Ian replied with a healthy mix of skepticism and concern.
“You still haven’t told me why you’re even out here,” Kyle reminded with a sigh as he discarded the stick and wiped some dirt from his hands against his equally dusty jeans.
“And you haven’t explained why you don’t seem very concerned with keeping yourself as safe as possible out here all by yourself, let alone why you haven’t been back to camp even once this week,” Ian retorted, keeping his narrowed eyes on the seventeen year old.
“I really doubt that you’ve missed me all that much, Ian,” Kyle mumbled his response before continuing at a normal volume once more. “And, until I figure out how to get us all to that ship, there was really no reason for me to report back, now was there?”
Ian narrowed his eyes once more at that particular explanation before speaking up again. “Now care to tell me why you’re really you staying away?”
Kyle just sighed at the response as he grudgingly took a seat further down the tree trunk from Ian. “Why must there always be some hidden reason. I thought I just gave you a valid reason, didn’t I?”
Ian scoffed a bit before moving on. “I may not be the mind reader, but when there’s only four other people, and some kind of teleporting ghost or whatever, making up the entire population of some unknown planet, and then after a year, one of these people decides he suddenly needs some ‘alone time,’ it does pose a few questions,” he stated smartly.
“I already told you all: I’m out here working,” Kyle mumbled, though his words still seemed to lack credibility in Ian’s eyes.
“Working on doodling crap in the dirt?” Ian retorted smartly. “Yeah, that seems pretty damn important.”
“I’m on lunch,” Kyle scoffed.
“With no food to be seen? You watching your girlish figure or something?” Ian continued with the same wryness.
“No. I’m apparently being interrogated,” Kyle returned just as smartly.
“I’m just asking you why you haven’t been back to camp in a week, but if you feel like you’re being interrogated…well I wonder what a shrink would say to that,” Ian feigned an innocence to his tone, despite the pointed statement.
“Why the hell do you want me back at camp so bad?” Kyle finally asked huffily. “I already told you, I’m done messing with Lili’s head. I’m not gonna ‘cure’ her for you, ok?” he bit back with an unusual amount of bitterness, and perhaps even a bit of self-loathing mixed into his tone as well.
Ian’s expression immediately darkened at that comment, but then he couldn’t help honing in on another part of the statement. “Done messing with her head?” he repeated pointedly, those words easily becoming his focal point in relation to the rest of Kyle’s previous statements.
Kyle sighed and moved his hand through his long brown curls exhaustedly before managing another response. “I thought things would be different here, but they’re not. It just took me a while to come to that conclusion, or at least to accept it,” was the cryptic statement he offered as his only explanation.
“Um, if you’re referring to things being ‘different’ than they were on the ship, I’m pretty sure they’re a few hundred kinds of ‘different,” Ian pointed out before continuing. “So exactly what are you possibly referring to that’s not different?”
“Think about it Ian. Back on the ship, I never spent any time around any other people except what was absolutely necessary for me to do my job. Believe me, there was a reason for that. Everyone is better off that way,” he finished quietly, refusing to look back up to see Ian’s reaction.
Instead of the expected reaction, Ian actually let out a laugh before replying. “So you spend almost eighteen years telling everyone how great you are, then wanna play like you think no one likes poor little you?” Ian allowed another chuckle. “I think Jared pulled that narcissism thing out his ass: Split personalities may be your real problem,” he returned wryly.
Kyle just shook his head sadly before responding. “I didn’t say that people didn’t wanna be around me. I said they’re better off not being around me,” was his simple explanation.
“Why? Because you can be an annoying little prick from time to time?” Ian scoffed. “I think that’s the least of our problems these days,” he added more sincerely.
“It’s more than that Ian,” Kyle stated in a near whisper.
“Well, I believe that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get you to explain. Now isn’t it?” Ian pointed out. “So by all means, explain away.”
“It’s nothing you’ll want to hear,” was Kyle’s only quiet response.
“Hence the reason I’ve asked you about five times now,” Ian retorted impatiently.
“Don’t you have more pressing concerns than me being at the camp or not?” Kyle stated after taking a moment to fail to talk himself into giving Ian that explanation after all. “You know, with being a single dad now and all,” he couldn’t help adding.
Ian scowled a bit at that comment, but would not let himself be dissuaded that easily. “Jared’s on baby duty at the moment, since you’re nowhere around,” he couldn’t help adding. “So I guess we can get back to your explanation now, huh?”
Kyle took a long moment to try and compose himself and choose the best possible words he could come up with. Or at least ones that would keep Ian from becoming infuriated once he heard them. Kyle allowed a long sigh once more before finally speaking up. “Contrary to what I’m sure some people believe, I do care about Lili. And I have been keeping tabs on her all week, just to know if there’s been any kind of improvement to her mental state at all yet,” he began before taking another deep breath.
Ian narrowed his eyes at that comment and had to respond. “What do you mean you’ve been keeping tabs on her all week? I’m still the one who keeps watch over the camp, and you haven’t been back there in days,” he pointed out.
“And I think we all know that I don’t have to be in the same room to keep tabs on someone, don’t we?” Kyle pointed out more quietly, which did cause another scowl from Ian. Though considering the last request Ian had made of Kyle before his departure from camp, Ian bit back his first reaction to the reminder.
Instead, Ian decided on a less confrontational response. “And has she made any improvements?” he had to ask.
“You’re asking me? You’re the one who’s been with her all week, aren’t you?”
Another scowl from Ian before he spoke again. “And I think we all know, that being in the same room as someone still won’t tell you exactly how they’re doing, mentally. You know, unless you’re you,” he just had to add. He then continued, “and I haven’t really spent a lot of time in the same room as her anyway. I’ve been mostly trying to take care of our daughter,” he offered more quietly as he cast his own eyes downwards.
Kyle sighed again before trying to find a response to Ian’s previous question. “Her anxiety’s not just about the baby anymore, or being here, or finding the ship. There’s more getting added to it as the days pass.”
“More anxiety?” Ian responded loudly as he looked back at Kyle. “So, she’s getting worse?” he asked with equal parts worry and disbelief.
“I shouldn’t say more, exactly,” Kyle attempted to explain further, despite his earlier misgivings about poking around inside Lili’s head. “It’s just, now her anxiety is over other things as well.”
“So…more,” Ian repeated pointedly.
“What I mean is, her worry about all the other things has leveled off for the most part. It’s sort of static now. Lately, it’s other things that have been foremost in her mind,” he attempted to explain.
Ian just shook his head as he tried to muddle through Kyle’s roundabout answers, obviously needing more clarity. “And these ‘other’ things you’re talking about: They’re part of why you think it’s better for you to stay away?”
Kyle sighed once more before making a further attempt at explanation. “The things that people worry about the most are the things that are the most important to them. That’s just common sense. It’s the things that they hold the dearest, the things they...love…that’s what causes almost all of their apprehension and anxiety.”
“Ok, with you so far, I think,” Ian stated slowly.
“I don’t even know how to say this without sounding like a selfish jerk, but…” Kyle began as he stopped to take another deep breath, “what Lili’s the most upset about right now is her fear of what will happen with the two of you now. Things are obviously going to be different than they were before, and she’s terrified of what that will mean for her relationship with either you, or Jared,” he added quietly, his eyes glued to the ground as he spoke every word. “I’m not the one she’s afraid of losing that closeness with…probably because she never really truly felt that closeness with me that she felt with either of you,” he finished nearly inaudibly.
Ian took a long moment to take in the confession that had to have been a difficult one for Kyle to make, before finally looking over at Kyle’s sullen demeanor and feeling the urge to say something to fill that silence. “I’m sure she feels differently about each of us. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about you as well. I mean, up until a week ago, we still didn’t even know if it was your baby, or mine, or Jared’s. Lili obviously felt close enough to you to have you on that list. Just because she is wor---“
“Stop, Ian,” Kyle interrupted with shaking voice. “I’ve seen inside her head. I know that she doesn’t feel the things for me that she feels for either of you. That much I already know is true,” he whispered.
Ian was silent for another moment before managing another response. “She not only took your virginity for you but and she kept sleeping with you for three months, even while she knew that she might end up having your baby. But she was willing to take that risk to be with you, and take it often. That has to mean something. It’s not like she was starved for affection. She could have just been only with Jared, or only with me, but she chose to be with you too. That’s gotta mean something,” he repeated once more.
“If she chose it,” Kyle stated, his voice breaking as he did.
“What does that mean?” Ian asked, his back immediately straightening with worry.
Kyle took another shaky breath before managing any more words. “Jared asked me about it months ago, and I was appalled that he would even make the suggestion, but now that I’ve looked into her head and now that I know that she doesn’t really feel that way about---“
“Wait, made what suggestion?” Ian asked more loudly.
Kyle took another shaky breath, forcing down the urge to move out of Ian’s reach before responding. “When Jared first found out what I can do; that I can make people think or feel what I want them to…When he first found out, he asked me straight out if I had done that to Lili. And I couldn’t believe he would ever accuse me of such a thing, cause I honestly didn’t think I ever would do something like that. Not to her, not when it came to that, but now….now I don’t even know if that is what I did without even being aware that I was doing it at all,” Kyle breathed the confession before just having to make one more attempt at dissuading Ian’s more than rightful anger. “And, believe me, it makes me sick to think that I could have done that without even knowing it, but I spent three years up there doing that, and it just became like second nature. I guess I just got desensitized to it, and got to the point where I could do it without even trying to, cause why else would Lili have been with me when it was the two of you that she honestly wanted to be with this whole time?” he finished softly, just waiting for Ian to explode in the face of his admittance.
Ian took a deep breath, his fists clenched as he slowly stood, though he seemed as though he could not find any words right then. Instead of speaking, he took another moment and another long breath before turning in one fluid motion and letting his fist painfully connect with Kyle’s jaw, the force behind the blow knocking the younger man backwards off the fallen tree that had been their shared seat only moments earlier.
Fighting the urge to lose consciousness from the force of that blow to his head, Kyle lie there in pain for seemingly endless seconds as he waited for Ian to move to finish knocking him into unconsciousness, or worse. Though, Ian only stepped closer and looked down at where Kyle still lay in pain upon the ground, and finally, he spoke again. “Guess you’re not controlling my mind ‘without even knowing it’ right now, are you?”
Or maybe I just thought I deserved it, was Kyle’s first reaction, though he could merely think his response rather than speak it, considering the state of his jaw at that very moment.
“See, now that I heard,” Ian stated in response to Kyle’s previous thought. “So, either you aren’t really putting thoughts in people’s heads without knowing it, and Lili really did sleep with you while in complete control of her faculties, or else you did that to her then, but not me now, because you do think you deserve to be laying there on the ground like you are,” he then leaned down to speak closer to Kyle’s ear. “And if that’s the case, then you are better off staying far, far away from camp, for a long, long time. And I’m pretty sure you won’t hack it out here on your own for very long, so you had better fucking figure out what you did or did not do, and fast.” With that final statement, Ian started away from the pod once more, not offering a single look back as he did.