Here With Me

From the Story Arc: One of Two

Previous Story in the Arc: Promise by Belladonna Aura (Monday, January 22, 2007)

Next Story in the Arc: Memories of Future Past by Belladonna Aura (Friday, July 06, 2007)

(posted Friday, March 16, 2007)

Belladonna Aura sat on the roof of Coldwater Apartments in Atlas Park. Ivan, the cat that Petro had gotten for her, was great company, but sometimes the loneliness got to be too much, and this, as in times past, was where she came. She came to sing, which helped. Sometimes, like tonight, Ivan came too.

Part of her mood was due to her bracketing neighbors. Vickie and Red on the one side, Sera and JM on the other.

Vickie and Red had had a fight. Not an end-of-the-world fight, but he’d gone off, probably to his Aerie, to cool down. And Sera was anxious. John hadn’t taken Zach’s death at all well and to add to that burden and the worries over his family, the burden of being a Commissar…John was off talking to someone, and Sera was home waiting.

Bella closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and started to sing the first thing that came into her head.

I didn't hear you leave
I wonder how am I still here
And I don't want to move a thing
It might change my memory

Oh I am what I am
I do what I want
But I can't hide

And I won't go
I won't sleep
I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me

And I won't leave
I can't hide
I cannot be
Until you're resting here with me…




Vickie stood at the window, watching, waiting. It wasn’t their first fight; it wouldn’t be their last. She knew what was wrong, her folks were in town as lead agents on Waterlily’s case; Red was already wound tight as a banjo string over losing one of his people, and then, when they’d all met over lunch, he’d felt…

OK, she wasn’t quite sure what he felt. Maybe pressure from them. It had been a while since they’d gotten engaged, and while she didn’t care if they ever made it “legal,” maybe he felt that they were giving him the hairy eyeball. She wasn’t sure if they had been or not. Parents. Hard to deal with, sometimes; they knew all the buttons to push because they’d installed them. Even when you were a so-called adult.

Anyway, they’d fought over nothing, and he’d gone out, not stormed out, more just…”need to take a walk” out, so they both could cool down.

Maybe when he got back, she could prove to him all over again how she needed him the way she needed to breathe. Not because she had to. Because she wanted to.




I don't want to call my friends
For they might wake me from this dream
And I can't leave this bed
Risk forgetting all that's been


Oh I am what I am
I do what I want
But I can't hide


And I won't go
I won't sleep
I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me


I won't leave
I can't hide
I cannot be
Until you're resting here

Sera jumped up as she felt John approaching the apartment. She’d sent the children out; this was one of those times when she needed to be with him alone. As soon as he crossed the threshold, she let down all her shields, and folded him into her heart as she folded him into her arms.

< Love…. >

< I know, beloved. It’s hard, it’s so hard. >

< ‘s like, everybody wants a piece of me. An’ the Rabinowiches…on me fer actin’ like a Commissar, thinkin’ I’m betrayin’ what I believe about authority, an’ when I give ‘em free rein they get lippy in public an’ plague Sun Kai half t’death… >

< …..shhhhh….. >

< ….sometimes…. >

< You do the best that you can. Look at what you are doing for Paulie, what you have done for Doctor Carter. What you are doing for your comrades. No one can ask more of you than your best, and you never give less than that. >

He sighed. < If I didn’t have you, the kids… >

< You will never lose us. No matter where you go, I will find you. >

She drew him down to the couch, where he laid his head on her shoulder, and closed his eyes, indulging himself in one moment of rest, of peace, however brief it might be.




I won't go
And I won't sleep
And I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me

And I won't leave
I can't hide
I cannot be
Until you're resting here with me

Vickie heard his footstep, light as it was, outside the door. She turned as he came in, and gave him a little rueful half smile. “I’ll say it first, I’m an idiot, stubborn as a hog on ice, and it was no big deal to fight over. We’ll do it your way, it’s the smarter move anyway.”

Red sighed, and rubbed his hand over his head. “That wasn’t what I was fighting over, anyway.” He held out his arms, and she came into them.

“Figured. The folks?”

“Yah.” He sighed again. “I mean, they didn’t say anything but….”

“Sweetie, part of it was Dad hadn’t cooled down from being Bad Cop with those labcoats. Takes him a while to deflate after he wolfs out. Even if he were all human, he’d still have to de-adrenaline after a confrontation.” She closed her eyes and reveled in the warmth of him. “I know I’ve said this before, but maybe you should hear it again. I don’t care about pieces of paper. You and me, we’re solid. That’s all that matters. I am never, ever going to stop needing you in my life, and rings and words are not going to change that. Ever.”

“You mean that?” he asked cautiously.

“Damn skippy. And if the ‘rents give you any reason to think they’re putting pressure on you, let me know and I’ll tell ‘em to butt out.” She opened her eyes and tilted her head back to look up at his face. “If I have to, I’ll buy Dad a muzzle.”

That surprised a laugh out of him, and she felt him relax. “Well…in that case, you won’t mind going over to the courthouse with me? Just a couple papers to sign, your mom and dad and his buddy Hosteen want to watch. You know. Won’t make a difference, just a license to stick in a drawer.”

Once again, he blindsided her. Slowly, a grin spread over her face. “You dog. Of course I will.”

He shrugged. “Not a bad idea to do it now, with all the attention on Garent and Waterlily. And your folks being in town, they won’t have to make a special trip.”

Her eyes sparkled. “Oh, go ahead, bring logic into it.”

He hugged her. “Come on, they’re waiting. I managed to catch them in between something and something else, but I get the feeling they’re on a tight schedule.”




Slowly, Bella felt the tensions below her ease. Red and Vickie, Sera and Johnny…back to being what they were, wholes instead of halves.

Which left her.

Oh I am what I am
I do what I want
But I can't hide

And I won't go
I won't sleep
And I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me

I won't leave
I can't hide
I cannot be
Until you're resting here

One alone. Two subjective years for her…no, she wasn’t over it. She would never be over it. She could live again, and work, and even smile and laugh once in a while, but she was still half of a whole. And that would never, ever change.

And I won't go
And I won't sleep
And I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me


I won't leave
I can't hide
I cannot be
Until you're resting here with me….



*All lyrics: Dido, “Here With Me”, Theme from Roswell