Author: RevalisPyross PM
Trista is trying to come to terms with her sister's death with a bottle in her hand. Reaver is trying to show that people are there for her. Will he just make things worse? Deals with death and grieving in an AU world.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Words: 3,066 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3018203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was a cold night. Reaver could see his breath curl in front of him every time he exhaled and he pulled his tan jacket closer around him before dismounting the bike. It hadn't taken him long to find the beaten up car among the dusty hills of the Rind, although he suspected had it been anyone else searching it would have taken them a lot longer; he was the only one who knew Trista's hiding places.
His boots crunched the wasteland below as he walked up to the paint-chipped black vehicle and without waiting for invitation got into the passenger side. Trista didn't even turn her head as her privacy was invaded. Instead, she simply raised the half-empty bottle of whiskey to her lips and gulped it down, just as she has done for the past hour or so.
She was in a poor state. It was evident that she had been crying from her tear-stained face and her remaining eye was puffy and red. She hadn't picked up a coat in her rush to get away from the trailer, leaving her to shiver in the dark grey roll-neck jumper and black jeans due to the icy interior of the car. Her brown shoulder-length hair was tangled in a way that told him that she had continually dragged her hands through it. Photographs littered over the dashboard, some old and others more recent, all of them containing a smiling brunette that shared many features to the woman sat in the driver's seat. Trista's dog tags lay among them, their chain broken from where she had snapped them off her neck in anger.
Reaver sighed as he turned his gaze to look out through the windshield. The stars were out and shone so brightly, illuminating the landscape with their overlord the moon. He could remember the times where Trista and he had snuck away from the Dicing Dholes during the quiet moments. They would watch the night sky and relish the peace together without having to worry about the more zany members of the mercenary band interrupting them, sometimes sitting for hours with their thoughts and a little conversation. At some point the simple camaraderie between them evolved and took a romantic turn, taking them both by surprise but they had welcomed the companionship. But that had been a long time ago and things had changed.
"I think you've had enough," he said quietly as she was about to take another swig from the bottle, seeing the motion from the corner of his eye. She snorted and gave him a sideward glance, her brown left eye flashing with disdain while her eye-patch made her expression seem even more menacing.
"I'm serious. We're worried about you."
"Worried?" Trista repeated incredulously before letting out a humourless laugh. "No one is worried about anyone. Haven't you learned yet newbie? This is the Rind. You look after your own ass and that's it, unless you're getting paid to do otherwise."
"The Dholes are different. You know that."
"Yeah. They're a bunch of fakers."
"That's not true and you know it. Do you really think Xanthe would have let me borrow her motorbike were that otherwise? Thane and Hunter were going to take out the SUV to look for you until I told them it was best I go alone. Even then we argued about it until Vance stepped in."
"Is that supposed to make me happy? Well, excuse me if I'm not jumping for joy and shitting rainbows," Trista derisively snapped before finally taking another drink.
Reaver snatched it off her, the tilted bottle pouring all over her front and she spluttered in surprise. A scuffle pursued as she yelled at him in rage and attempted to grab the whiskey, while he fended her off as he tried to wind down the window. The blonde man won in the end as the bottle sailed out of the window and the glass smashed upon the hard floor, the alcohol dampening the ground as it formed a puddle.
Fists pounded against his shoulders and back as Trista screamed, pouring her anger and hurt into every blow. He grimaced in pain, as she was a strong woman and a trained soldier although there was currently no finesse in her hits, but he did nothing to stop her as he turned to allow the hits to rain down against his chest. Tears leaked from her eyes once more and soon she crumpled, her energy suddenly drained as her sorrow sapped it away.
Reaver took her in his arms as she cried and she clung to the material of his jacket. She loathed the calming effect of his masculine scent mixed with his aftershave and the way he soothingly ran his fingers through her hair. She despised those oddly vivid violet eyes that were surely gazing at her with saddened pity and was set in a ruggedly handsome face that was made to deceive. Trista hated Reaver so much, but in this moment of breaking down she knew that there was no other that could have taken his place as she grieved. So she used him until she was spent, resting in his arms even as her sobs no longer wracked her body and her tears no longer fell.
"It's not fair," she whispered at last, voice empty and making no move to get away from Reaver's embrace. "I searched for her for so long. Two years… That's all we had before she… before she went away."
"I know it probably doesn't help now, but," Reaver hesitated, not wanting her to hurt her more but feeling the need to say it, "at least you found her. Rowan died knowing you tried so hard to protect her and never gave up on looking for her. She was happy at the end."
"But she shouldn't be dead! If anyone should have died, it's me!" Trista yelled as she shoved herself away, landing heavily against the driver's door as she applied too much force in her push. She allowed herself to remain slumped as she buried her hands in her hair, nails digging into her skull. Her voice shook as she continued in a softer voice.
"She was my little sister. I thought I was protecting her when I sent her away to our uncle and joined the army of my own will. If I knew that the bus would be intercepted by slave traders, I would have escaped with her, conscription be damned. Eleven years… I lost her for eleven years because I had to fight a war we couldn't possibly win. She was only fourteen, but when I found her again she was a woman with her own child. How could I have missed those years? She relied on me. Our parents were dead and I was the only one she could rely on, the only one who could protect her. I failed her."
"She told you she didn't think that."
"But it's true! I couldn't protect her when she was a teenager and I couldn't protect her now!"
"Trista, it was cancer. There wasn't anyone could do."
"There… There must have been. I know that I could have done something," Trista whispered hoarsely. Reaver shuddered at her stare; it pierced right through him as if he weren't there and she was looking at something that he could never see. He steeled himself.
"So what do you plan to do? Stay here and drink yourself to death?"
"It's not a bad idea. I get to be with my family again."
"And what about Tristan?" he asked, causing the brunette to stiffen. "Are you going to leave your nephew alone in the world?"
"If I couldn't look after his mother, how do you expect me to look after him?" Trista replied venomously, fixing Reaver with an icy glare but he could see the fear in her eye. The thought of failing her sister again terrified her. He placed his hand over her knee and gave her a comforting squeeze.
"You're not alone. Tristan needs you, but there are others you can count on. The Dicing Dholes can be his family. Or if you think it will be safer to leave and find somewhere away from the violence to settle down then we can. You, Tristan and… me."
"You?" Trista frowned as she regarded him with suspicion, "Why would you come with us?"
"It was wrong for me to leave," Reaver replied with a soft smile, his expression uncomfortable with what he was about to admit. He wasn't one for showing his emotions, let alone talking about them. "When you told me that you loved me, I was… scared. The thought of caring for someone else as much as I do for you terrified me and I couldn't deal with it, any of it. Running seemed like a good idea at the time, but the feelings never went away and all I really did was hurt you. I came back when I realised that. I'm in love with you, Trista."
Silence. Trista stared at him with an inscrutable expression, her eyebrows twitching as the information rushed around her brain and a myriad of emotions warred with each other.
"Who do you think you are?" she uttered angrily at last, "I'm mourning for my sister and you spring that on me? You bastard! Don't you think I'm hurting enough? Do you really think I want to remember all the shit you put me through on top of that?"
"I'm sorry," Reaver countered with wince. He realised that his words weren't the best thing to say at this moment. "I just wanted you to know that you weren't alone. I'm not asking or expecting anything from you, but I've decided I'm going to stick by you, no matter what."
"Big words from the man who skulked away in the night. I don't know why I ever trusted you," Trista sneered and got out of the car. She was done talking to Reaver. She slammed the door shut before taking long strides down the hill, heading towards a small lake that she had discovered nearby.
The world tilted as she walked, a reminder that she wasn't sober, but she didn't let that stop her. Trista could stand on her own two feet, regardless of her state. She didn't need to depend on anyone; she was a pillar of strength that everyone clung to, weighing her down but never toppling her. No, even as everyone drowned she would remain, scarred and weeping but standing all the same.
The one-eyed woman wished that she had some form of alcohol to drown herself in as she sat on a log overlooking the water. She cursed Reaver for throwing away the whiskey and damned him for all the trouble he had caused her. The things he had said angered her, but she was madder at herself for listening to him.
Trista knew she had to look after Tristan, the only living piece of her sister she had left and had no intention flinging herself to her death, no matter how much she wished it. He was only three years old and probably wouldn't remember Rowan, his mother who passed on her olive green eyes to him, so it would be Trista's job to let him know what a wonderful woman she was.
She just wanted to let go for one night, but the sight of her in this state had alarmed her comrades who knew that her love for her sister was deep enough to follow her into the afterlife. Perhaps it was comforting to know that they cared for her, but they had little awareness for personal space and evidently had little idea of what she needed in such a situation. She was unsure whether to raise Tristan in their company or not.
On the good side, he would know what it was like to have a family and would learn a great deal from them. There would be more of them to protect him from danger and if anything were to happen to Trista she knew that he would be looked after. On the other hand, the group often worked in violent situations and she may be putting him at risk. Not to mention he would be susceptible to the mercenaries' bad habits, of which there were plenty of.
The brunette sighed and put her head in her hands. If Trista left, would Reaver really follow her? His confession had jarred her and she wanted so much to believe in him, but he had already hurt her badly. He had been the first in a long time she had opened her heart to and she knew she was still in love with him, but everything between them was so uncertain. She wasn't ready to risk herself again.
The sound of footsteps roused her from her thoughts and Trista became blaringly aware that she was freezing cold as a familiar-scented jacket was draped over her shoulders. The log creaked and shifted as it adjusted to the new weight that settled next to her.
"You're never there when I want you, then you are always following me when I want to be alone," she stated wearily, not raising her head.
Reaver gave her a sheepish smile before looking out at the lake, noting how clearly the stars were reflected in its waters. The hairs on his arms were standing upright as his goose-bumped flesh complained of the cold, his regular t-shirt insufficient in keeping him warm but he ignored it. He thought it best to give her some time before following her and had been mentally kicking himself all the while he had sat in the car.
"I guess I'm not very good when it comes to empathy."
"No, you're not. Even Hunter is better than you and she was raised with the sole intention of creating the perfect assassin."
"Heh, if you say so," Reaver returned with a chuckle. They turned to meet each other's gazes at the same moment, brown boring into violet as they both tried to find answers to questions that had both been voiced and unvoiced. Trista was the first to break away as she lowered her face.
"I miss her. It's only been a day and I miss her so much."
"I know." He wrapped an arm around the brunette and said nothing for a few minutes, allowing her to engage in her own thoughts. "She was your sister and you're feeling this the most, but Rowan was a great woman and I think we're all missing her. Xanthe looked particularly upset."
"She and Rowan got close. I had to threaten Xanthe to keep her hands off. I think I did the same with Thane when I saw him trying to get friendly with Rowan. Those pair of skirt-chasers will never change," Trista reminisced, laughing dryly and when it died she allowed a hint of a smile remain on her lips, "They cared for her though and she liked them a lot."
Reaver nodded as he held her close, thinking of his own interactions with Trista's sister. Rowan was a true Reef and had shown him the family temper when they had met. While no one was watching, she had pulled him aside at the first chance and had given him a piece of her mind. The wasting illness was already visible in her gaunt face but that did nothing to stop her from ripping into him, thoroughly verbally assaulting him for leaving without a word and giving her older sibling heartache. It was only after laying out his heart did she relent and after that Rowan had acted amiably with him, trusting him with the safety of her sister when she inevitably passed away. He felt tears prick at his eyes and he blinked them away, finding their presence unsettling.
"Promise me something."
"What is it?"
"If you truly mean what you said earlier, always watch over Tristan for me, no matter what happens. I want him to have a good, peaceful life and I don't know if that's possible with the Dicing Dholes, if at all. I'm not sure if I can give him that by myself."
"Of course. I promise," the blonde man said sincerely, looking her in the eye with the most serious expression he could muster, "I swear on my life I will always be there for him. And for you."
"I… Thank you," Trista replied softly, her cheeks tinting pink with a rare blush. The last bit he tacked on touched her heart and gave it hope, but it was his promise regarding Tristan that was most important to her.
She looked up, the light of the stars reflecting in her brown eye. Perhaps her sister was looking down at them, wishing them all the luck in the world that moved on without her.
A/N: These characters have been OCs of mine for a while and the only reason why they haven't been given a story is because I have yet to come up a sufficient plot to give them. (So I'll be pissed if I suddenly see them elsewhere without permission, be warned.) Trista and Rowan Reef have been in my mind the longest, actually jumping a few settings before settling with the Dicing Dholes, but it's only been a few months since I envisaged Rowan's death and her son Tristan, who is of course named after his aunt. Reaver on the other hand is the newest and was the last to join the Dholes, hence Trista calls him "newbie". The others came into existence all around the same time, but I might write something about them another time. This story has been written in one sitting and has been un-beta'd, so if you catch any mistakes that is why and feel free to offer corrections.