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Episode 10 Part 10

By:  Lenady (Second section by North)

The rest of the day had been relatively uneventful for Tilly, mostly because she only left the safety of her room once. The only reason she had left it then was the painful gnawing in her stomach, reminding her that she hadn’t ate anything since around noon of the previous day. The trip required the assistance of Toren, but it worth knowing that she wasn’t going to run into Sanrook. The ship had even directed her to the location of some food that wouldn’t need utensils. She had grabbed a bag of something like chips, as well as some water, and immediately headed back to her room, only stopping for a moment to stare longingly at the television as she walked by the couch. It would be nice to distract herself for a while and stepping outside of the room had been like taking that first deep breath after swimming underwater. It was freeing, but at the same time she felt more exposed. She wasn’t sure if Sanrook would come back to the common room anytime soon, and she still didn’t completely trust the ship as a lookout, so she reluctantly stepped back through the door.

She laid on the bed, in a fort made of her quilt and stuffed animals. It was a rather pathetic fort all in all. Typically pillows worked better for that sort of thing, but she only had one, so the stuffies had performed double duties as both walls and gargoyles. It had made her feel better for a while, at least until her protectors had turned into accusers. She glared back at their beady eyes and furry faces, Benedict Arnolds, the lot of them. She should have known better than to have them facing her to begin with. Gargoyles were meant to ward against bad stuff. She had unfortunately aimed their protective charm in the wrong direction.

She really did deserve it though.

Even if things between her and Sanrook were tense, that was no reason to explode like she had. Tilly reached over and pulled the polar bear to her, away from the row of condemnation. She needed a counselor of sorts. The bear would do. She stretched her arms out, holding the stuffed animal above her.

 “Do you think I’m an ass, Maddie?” It looked back at her, a face that seemed to say ‘How should I know?’

She let her arms drop back down and rolled onto her side, curling into the white fur. ‘Sanrook should have known to stop,’ she thought. ‘It’s not like I didn’t give her warnings. I set a clear boundary and Sanrook crossed it.’ Well, at least she thought it was clear. Sanrook could be so oblivious sometimes. Besides, Tilly knew there wasn’t anything malicious behind the questions. She could trust Sanrook.

            Trust me.

Tilly’s grip tightened on the Maddie’s fur momentarily before easing off again. She could trust Sanrook… just not with everything.

She still shouldn’t have yelled like she had though, no matter how much Sanrook was stepping into forbidden territory. Maybe if she had managed to distract her. ‘But with what?’ she thought, brow furrowing. ‘At this point we’re having trouble making small talk. We nearly had it out over Sanrook’s lack of silverware.’

She rolled onto her back once more, bringing the bear with her and resting it on her stomach. ‘But wanting to know more about you, isn’t that a good thing?’ a voice whispered in her mind.

Was it? With unwanted questions came unwanted discussions. That’s when things always got messy and turned bad. But wasn’t it better than not caring at all? At least that proved Sanrook was willing to listen. And maybe things wouldn’t go downhill this time. If so, then…

 “I should be grateful, shouldn’t I?” she whispered back. She rolled over onto her side again and rubbed her wrist subconsciously. She breathed in deeply and let it out with a sigh. Maybe tomorrow they could talk. They should have done that to begin with, really. She knew there was going to be problems until they did. Tilly would explain… she’d apologize and things would be better. Things were always better in the morning.

***

“Psssst. Hey. Sanrook, you awake? You awake? You awake? You awake?”

“YES Toren! Yes, I’m awake,” said Sanrook pulling her voice down and her covers up, “I am most defiantly awake now.  What do you want?”

It was somewhere in the murky hours of the morning and Sanrook had lain with her eyes closed for a long time without managing to sleep a wink.  She was in her bed too tired with frustration to fill what Tilly called her ‘tub.’ In the meager glow from her clock she could see the rounded metal outline staring at her.

“Had some trouble with Tilly today, huh?”

Sanrook sighed.  She had been awake, but that did not mean she wanted to have this conversation with Toren.  “Mer.”

“Thought so!” Toren squeaked.

Sanrook rolled on her back to get a better view of the disembodied voice that came from her ceiling. “I’m not good at this.”

“You got that right.”

“It might be from not spending enough time with people” said Sanrook turning her pillow over to cooler side.

“Tilly isn’t making this any easier.”

“She has a lot on her mind” said Sanrook wishing terribly that she had chosen to sleep underwater.  Toren would still be able to talk to her, but at least she would have been able to breathe normally.  Too many nights in air had left her lungs feeling like silly putty.

“Does she have to take it out on you?”

“Mer” said Sanrook.  This statement was grunted in the tone that suggested that Toren drop the subject.

“Well I’ll find her home soon enough.  She’s lucky she found us, otherwise she would have ended up on ice in some creepy research lab.”

Sanrook was silent.

“It’s not like you’ve been cruel to her.  I mean c’mon, you were being chased by some Nathian and you stopped to help her get her stuff.  I wonder if she even realizes you’re breaking the law just by having her on the ship.”

Sanrook grabbed on to this thought recognizing that her computer would never stop on her own, “I can talk my way out of that one.”  Sanrook crawled out from the covers and turned on the valve that filled her tub with water.

“I could have gotten that” said Toren.

“I know.”

“It’s too bad, you having to spend so much time in air.”

The water poured.  Within minutes Sanrook was able to slide into the water forcing the air out of her lungs with a gush and feeling the eerie strangle of switching to her gills.

“Can we talk about this later?” said Sanrook once submerged.

Toren was silent.  Just a few moments later, as Sanrook was about to fall asleep, a voice piped up from the side wall “Is now later?”

Sanrook’s eyebrows narrowed. “No.”

There was a moment’s pause then “How about now?”

“If I kill you it isn’t murder.  You know that right?

“Oh you big silly!” squealed Toren’s cute grating voice.

Sanrook wondered, not for the first time, how anything she had created could choose to speak so kitschy. “Time to drop it computer.”

“Now don’t be hurtful” said Toren, who had no intention of dropping the subject, instead she questioned and questioned until Sanrook fell asleep fuming.

 

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