Darkened Phoenix

By Leyenn

RATING: G

PAIRING: Lyta/Byron, Susan/Talia

CATEGORY: Drabble challenge answer for LastBestHope. Broken promises.

SPOILERS: 'Divided Loyalties', 'Phoenix Rising'

SUMMARY: A meeting of minds.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing here is mine, as usual. I do this purely out of love and respect for the series and the characters, and I wouldn't even *want* to write it for money. No, seriously.

ARCHIVE: If you think it's worth your time, put my name on it and it's yours. Please tell me, though, so I can point all my friends at your page.

******

That night was a promise of forever, one that only one person alive understands, and she was never there.

They're meeting in a downtown café, light and airy, on the Rue de la Coeur four miles from her hotel. She's walked here, four miles on comfortable shoes made for running fast along cobbled streets. Susan flew in this morning. Dark red curls look odd against her space-pale skin, the bright business suit strange in place of uniform. Ivanovs are so thorough, she tempts herself with brushing minds just to make sure.

"It's all I could do." In place of smooth tones is thick, brusque Russian, trusting on her mind to translate. The crystal moves beneath the table without hands and she can see Ivanova hold herself still against feeling it.

"The fifteenth. Twelve-hundred hours. You have clearance into the system, a ground car waiting. Coordinates." She moves a hand, meaning what's still passing slowly between them, scraping gum under the table. "You'll fly it yourself." No asking needed; the words are done. The car is Susan's, bought because they would never suspect, a gift for Michael: the clearance pulled from a dozen places, a jigsaw of desperation. They don't speak of why.

It's in her fingers, cool on skin that hates the rich air it was born to. She stands to leave her coffee half-finished and burning bitter on her tongue. It's come to this, as she knew it would, but she will speak no deathbed words.

Meeting eyes makes her pause, and almost wish to hurt again, that this should become her last parting. This is the only other who feels the lost promise of everything that drives her; the cacophony of emptiness, living in a world that breaks such hopes as easily as hearts and all at once.

Good luck is in her mind. She can answer it with nothing but a look and a hope she holds, deep into herself.

He'll be there. To die. For all of us.

I'll tell her that you loved her.

Goodbye.

******

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