BEING SAVED FROM DROWNING
The Condor saw the Red Raider dangling out the side of the damaged mecha. Whoever it is, he thought, they helped me. Now it's my turn. He dove and caught the Raider as he began to loose his grip.
"Condor! Look out!" The pilot yelled.
The Condor looked up in time to let go before the flailing limb of the dying mecha could slam into him. As it was it clipped him on the helmet.
Clinging to the Condor, the Red Raider yelled. "Stay awake! We've got land!"
Holding to the tight grip of the Raider, the Condor glided towards the snow covered landscape. He vaguely heard the screamed "shit!" before they crashed into the icy river.
Catching the Condor under his chin, Gillian towed him to the shore. Biting down on her chattering teeth she tried to decide if she was grateful the water ran fast enough not to have frozen yet. She checked for a pulse and was pleased with the steady beat beneath her fingers. An icy wind sliced through her reminding her of the weather warnings on the mission.
Slapping the Condor, she said. "Come on, we've got to find shelter!"
With his arm over her shoulders, she appreciated the wing that stopped the wind's bite.
The blizzard had bared it's teeth when they stumbled across the cabin. No light shown in the window or smoke from the chimney, but Gillian was happy enough to slip out of the wind.
Leaving the Condor slumped against the door she used the penlight she carried in her boot to look around. Whoever had left the cabin, left it stocked for the snow lost. She kindled a fire and lit a candle before facing the sticky problem of the injured Condor.
What was it the Lieutenant Commander had said? She thought. They lose their comm bracelet, they go back to civvies? Gently she released the catch on the comm-bracelet. The Condor shimmered and left behind the leather clad Jason.
"Jason," Gillian said softly. She checked his eyes and found them equal with good reaction. "Just addled you a little, didn't they?" She got him into a chair and searched until she found blankets and a thin mattress for the rope bed across from the fireplace. She made up the bed and turned to find Jason studying her.
"Gillian," he breathed.
"Yes, Jason." She shivered.
"You're soaked," he said alarmed. "Your lips are turning blue."
"Not a great surprise, since you landed us in a freezing river in the middle of a blizzard." She began fumbling at her clothes.
Suddenly Jason was pulling at her clothes off. He pulled her against his bare chest when she was nude. "You're freezing!" He tucked her into the bed ignoring her chattered protests.
After throwing more wood on the fire, Jason blew out the candle and crossed to study the huddled form under the covers. So many questions plagued him about her, but for now he shed his clothes and slipped in beside her. He pulled her cold body against his, sharing his heat.
Warm, Gillian thought muzzily. Cuddling closer to the source of that warmth, she sighed contentedly. Callused hands stroking her skin had her nearly purring. Legs entwining, she moved restlessly wanting more. Slowly the warmth gave over to heat. Finally they curled together in the nest of blankets, their breaths slowing.
Blinking in the dim light, Gillian brushed a lock of hair off Jason's forehead.
"Gillian," Jason murmured, "what are you doing in a Red Raider uniform?"
Closing her eyes against the icy lump that settled in her stomach, Gillian answered. "I am a lieutenant in the Raiders."
"You knew the assassin," Jason stilled waiting for her answer.
Gillian stared into the depths of his blue-grey eyes and spoke, "Zindarra and I trained together on Spectra."
"You're a collaborator?"
"No," Gillian said softly, "I'm Spectran." She wanted to cry "no!" as a shutter fell behind his eyes.
Spectran? Jason stopped petting the gentle curves beside him. Again he was a small child watching his mother bleeding to death on the sand, a Spectran agent standing over her. He had had sex with Spectrans trying to kill him, but he had never fallen in love with one before. His vision turned red and he threw himself from the bed.
Sitting up and holding a blanket close, Gillian watched Jason grab his clothes and reach for his comm-bracelet. "What are you going to do Jason? Let the Condor kill me?" She snapped.
"I am the Condor," Jason replied flatly, securing the bracelet on his wrist.
"The Condor is a killer, Jason is not."
"I'm sure that Zoltar will love to hear that!"
"I do not work for Zoltar!" Gillian came off the bed. "I was ordered to kill the son of a Terran scientist. I refused." Her anger took her toe-to-toe with Jason. "For that I was branded, tortured, and sent to die in a slave camp. Do you want me to tell you what slaves do to those of their master's race when they have the chance? I was gang raped -- by slaves and guards alike." Her voice was brittle. "What little food I had was the scraps off the dirt floors." She got no satisfaction from his flinch. "I was dying in a ditch when a Red Raider pilot pulled me from there.
"The Raiders don't give a damn whether someone is Spectran or Terran, just as long as Zoltar is the enemy." Gillian glared at Jason. "There are Spectrans who are trying to destroy Zoltar. They want peace, not war." She sighed and turned away. "Go ahead, call up the Condor. Your training allows you no room to consider the greys."
Her voice was soft as she added, "But the woman who loves you more than life is of your enemy's race."
Jason watched Gillian cross to the fire and huddle closer to its low flame. Abruptly he crossed and added some logs, awaking a merry blaze. Silently he went back to the table and sat down.
Gillian could almost read the conflict on Jason's mind as he sat at the rough table. She knew in her heart if he called on the Condor, she would not survive the encounter. She also knew, she had thrown some major conflicts into his thinking. Dying was not a frightening thing for her, she did not want it to be at the hands of the Condor - for as much as she thought of the Condor and Jason as separate, they were still the same person. Taking the heat from the fire, she let herself slip into a light doze that time passed swiftly in.
The quiet brush of leather awoke her. Gillian watched as Jason dropped his comm-bracelet on the table, her breath slipped out silently as she understood his decision. The firelight played over his sleek muscular body as he draped his pants by his jacket on the chair. When he stood nude in the firelight, she thought he looked like one of the ancient gods her Terran comrades spoke of.
His Spectran was oddly accented when he said, "I love you, my heart." His hand trembled as he held it out for her.
Letting the blanket fall away, Gillian took his hand and kissed its callused palm. She stood at his gentle pull and let him guide her to the bed. His hesitant, gentleness in bed had caught at her heart from the first, but this gentleness washed through her soul and left it clean as they both accepted the path they had chosen.
A stray sound caught Gillian's attention in sleep. She blinked and listened. Kissing Jason, she left him sleeping as she pulled on her uniform. When the door cracked open, she slipped out into the cold white. A blanket was wrapped around her as she moved away from the door of the cabin.
"Commodore," she acknowledged the gold-trimmed cuffs above the gloves pulling the blanket closer to her.
"Gillian," the Commodore's voice was hushed, "you get into more jams..."
"Jason's asleep in the cabin. If you are careful, you can see him." Gillian held her breath as the Commodore disgusted that piece of information.
Giving her helmet and mask to one of the pilots, the Commodore slipped into the dark cabin. She watched the firelight play over auburn hair and sharp cheekbones. She curbed the urge to go closer. Knowing the others would be ready to leave, she stretched out to touch his comm-bracelet. As the Gatchaman logo began to flash, she slipped out the door and waved to the pilots to their planes.
Jason rolled over, reaching for Gillian. Finding her side of the bed cold, he sat up and met Mark's calm gaze. "Where is she?" Jason demanded, reaching for his clothes.
"Who?" Mark handed Jason his boots.
"Gillian." Jason snapped. "She pulled me out of the river."
"Gillian is dead," Mark said.
"No, she was in my arms last night. I held her close and listened to her breath."
Mark caught Jason by the shoulder as he headed for the door. "I believe you. Gillian is obviously gone, for whatever reasons. There's another storm front coming in, we've got to get out of here. I'll help you look for her later."
Jason grinned at Mark, saying. "You're going to help me feel up all the Red Raiders we run into until we find the one who giggles when you tickle her butt?"
Mark blushed and said, "Hell, no!"
The sun was setting as Jason parked by his trailer. By silent agreement, neither he nor Mark had mentioned Gillian in the debriefing. Security Chief Anderson had been very upset by Jason's disappearance and had directed pointed questions at him. Entering his trailer, he threw his jacket over a chair as he made the sharp turn into the bedroom. He bent to rummage for some clean pants when a different glitter on the dreamcatcher in his window caught his eye. Gently he removed the earring from the webbing. A pewter talon clutched a heart carved out of a pale blue stone. Smiling he laid aside the cross he had worn and slipped the other earring in.