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The Lines Between Us: The Lines Between Us ( One-Shot ) [ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Anime/Manga: Bubblegum Crisis
Genre(s): Drama / Romance / Angst | Type: Songfic
Author: Alithea
Uploaded On: October 21, 2005 14:57 EDT
Pages: 7 | Words: 7261 | Size: 43 KB | Visits: 730 | Status: Completed
Summary:
   Shoujo-ai Content. Priss calls Sylia late one night and it raises the question, "What is this between us? Is it anything at all?"
 

Title: The Lines Between Us
Rating: PG-13
Poetry/songbelongs to me.
Shoujo-ai Content
The characters and contents of The Original Bubblegum Crisis do not belong to me.
I am just borrowing.
 
Sylia Stingray worked late, not so much out of habit but, necessity. Being the owner of one reputable business, not to mention the owner, operator, and group leader of one that was, not so much, reputable but, infamous, had a way of taking up time. There was paperwork to be done and tactical data to analyze. There were shipments that needed looking after, and upgrades to be built. Sleep was something that she had slowly learned to do without.
 
So, when her phone rang, in the early morning hours before dawn, she was wide awake and in the middle of balancing the budget for her shop, The Silky Doll. Her head did its part to tilt just slightly so that her dark brown eyes could catch the time. An eyebrow attempted to spring up and then settled into a cool and calm expression that, perhaps, only one person had the experience to read.
 
She watched the phone's video monitor and refrained from allowing the barest twitch of emotion as the person on the other end slurred a request. She didn't answer. She just nodded and then the screen went blank.
 
She leaned back into her chair and concentrated on the ceiling. Finally she let out a deep breath and effortlessly pushed herself up and towards her closet. She threw on a t-shirt and a pair of slacks, and it has to be noted that she was in an obvious hurry, because Sylia Stingray was not the kind of woman who just arbitrarily tossed an outfit together. Even when she was casual, everything had a distinct purpose and place.
 
Out the door and into her car, she sped towards a bar she had only ever entered once before. She did not look forward to entering it again under such unwelcome circumstances, either. She shifted gears and rounded a corner, somehow managing not to attract the attention of the patrol car just behind her, when she passed the speed limit as if it where just a kind suggestion.
 
Our love is over
We left it in the dust
Our love went sour
We tossed it in the deep to rust
And all our trying was just a dream
Because loving each other just wasn't enough (no it wasn't enough)
 
The bar was ready to close, she could tell, but one last occupant was keeping the bartender from his bed. He gave Sylia a pleading look when she walked in, that she did not even bother to acknowledge. She merely strode forward to the booth occupying a young woman who looked as though she had had enough to drink to last her for years. She stood over the forlorn and intoxicated brown eyed beauty, a face that could launch ships or have hundreds of screaming fans lost in her thrall. There was something very pathetic seeing someone so full of fire deflated in the grip of a stale beer.
 
With a slight shake of the head Sylia dipped forward and put an arm around the young woman's waist. She received a withering look that bordered on bitter before the woman succumbed and followed the lead to exit the bar.
 
The two stepped out of the bar and to the car slowly. Sylia wondered how much of the world was spinning for her newly acquired companion. She maneuvered the young woman into the passenger side of the car and shut the door with a purposefully harsh slam. Then she got into the driver's seat and headed towards the young woman's home.
 
"S-Sylia," the young woman drawled.
 
"Yes," she shifted violently into gear.
 
"I hate you for coming to get me."
 
Her dark eyes drifted from the road to her passenger and she replied coolly, "Don't worry, Priss. The feeling is exceptionally mutual for using me as a last resort."
 
There was no further conversation. It was not that either did not have anything to say. They had plenty, millions of little things they never had a chance to utter drifted between them creating the barriers that had always held them together. They were both so similarly different it was hard to imagine a reason why they would ever occupy the same space.
 
Priss's trailer came into view after about twenty minutes. Sylia parked the car and did the graceless job of getting Priss inside her house, and into bed. She watched with impatience as the alcohol completed its work and sent the young woman off into a shivering sleep, forcing her to react by pulling the covers up around goose bump laden shoulders. She did not envy the hangover that was surely forthcoming. And she regretted having to see the sleep induced tears that began the trail down her fellow Knight Saber's face. The tears coupled with the soft sound of a name, and Sylia bit at the inside of her lip before leaving. She didn't want to be reminded.
 
The lines are drawn in the sand to see
The weakness that was you and me
Lines turn to walls of ice
Spaces barred just to save our fate
Oh in the lines between us
Our hearts fell from grace
 
Instead of going home Sylia took a long drive. The part of her brain that was a commander and a leader stated in a clear and calm voice that if the Knight Sabers were offered a job that day or if there was a Boomer attack that required their assistance Priss was not going to be of use to them. The rest of her wished she wasn't such an icy bitch for thinking about business, instead of her...friend?
 
No.
 
No, they weren't friends. Priss and Sylia were friendly. They were polite to each other, so far as Priss could be polite to anyone. They tolerated each other as well, or as well as they could, because they were a part of a team after all.
 
She pulled the car over and got out for some fresh air as soon as she was able. She fumbled for a cigarette and tried to let the nicotine do its job to calm her nerves and sate her addiction all in one puff. She leaned against the hood of her car and took a deep breath. She exhaled with a long sigh, lighting the cigarette with a spark of indignation, before inhaling.
 
They weren't friends. They could not be friends, not because Sylia was the boss, and not because Priss had an attitude that was hard to deal with. It was not because they were too different, which they were. Or because they were too alike, they were that as well. It went deeper than that. It bore down into what both women had a called a mistake, even if the course of falling in love was never really a mistake so much as a mislaid plan. People were meant to fall in love, they were just never meant to know who they were going to fall in love with, and that was why when something ended it always felt like a bit of a mistake. Sometimes love alone was not enough to keep two people together. Sometimes things had to drift apart before the fire of passion could consume so much that nothing would be left but ash. Sometimes...sometimes...
 
"Sometimes the work just gets in the way," Sylia said softly.
 
And sometimes it was for fear of being too close.
 
She had her theories about it. She had her reasons. It had hurt like hell and it took a good month of bitter words, scathing glances, and neatly embedded sarcasm before she or Priss could even pretend to be civil to each other. It had been a tiny war, and it made her wonder if she should have re-written some of the codes to being a Knight Saber. "DO NOT get romantically involved with another member of the team", would have saved everyone a huge head ache.
 
Or would it have?
 
In her estimation it might just have made things worse. There was no way, and she knew it, that she and Priss could have managed to survive working closely in the heat of battle and not sleep with each other, even if it was only once. Because really, it was either that or killing each other, and that just wouldn't fly, they respected each other. They were two flames dancing around each other (in different rhythms, in different beats, and temperatures, but flames nonetheless), eventually, they would have had to come together. So they did, and knowing it wouldn't last didn't mean it hurt any less when it was over.
 
It was a trial to hide her jealousy whenever Linna or Nene would gossip to each other about Priss's latest "friend", especially so when she got a good look at Sylvie for the first time. No one knew Sylia well enough to gossip about her, except her brother, and he never saw much. But she was sure that her astute silence and caution had sparked at Priss's imagination once or twice, or so she really wanted to believe.
 
With her cigarette finished she got back into her car and drove back towards her shop. She couldn't spend all day pondering such things. She had work to do, and work while never a solution to concealing pain was at the very least, a mildly welcome sedative for it.
 
Our nights are restless
We haunt each other's thoughts
Our nights are endless
We seek in strangers what we once got(all for free, just you and me)
And all our trying was just a dream
Oh loving each other was just never enough
 
When Fargo called for a meeting a few days later at the night club, Hot Legs, Sylia got an uneasy feeling in her stomach. She agreed of course, after all a job was a job, but she had a bad suspicion about the places he was choosing to meet at lately, and she really didn't want to have to break his arm in order to get the message through to his thick skull. She also did not really want to encroach upon Priss's territory, but there was little choice.
 
The club was very much alive; it pulsed into existence the second Priss had stepped on stage, and the crowd was ravenous for all their chosen goddess had to offer. Sylia was standing at the very back club, close to the door where she could easily escape, and where she could breathe in the slow waft of fresh air that would occasional drift through the door. Even though she was a leader, she had always preferred the back of rooms. From the back she could watch what everyone was doing, and knowing that gave her an edge to understanding her surroundings. It was a tactical device, and she fell to those devices more than she realized, and far more often than she liked.
 
The music began to slow its pulse and a mild ballad seeped out from the stage to calm and cool the revelers, if only for a moment. The song itself found a pleasant way of digging into Sylia's core, and her gaze became markedly fixed on the singer. This was why she didn't like to come here, songs were merely the utterance of memory; artists could not hide away their hearts, every thing spilled into their art. Even if Priss would never admit to it, it was very true. The song that was causing many to reach for their lighters was proof enough of that.
 
The bridge snuck up on her so fast she barely noticed Fargo was standing right next to her.
 
"If I thought we could, you know it'd do us some good. But we can't say the words..."
Sylia shut her eyes and the world came back into focus. She opened them, looked her informant over, and then curtly nodded her head as he followed her outside. The information was valuable and slightly vague, as always, but it was enough, and the money of course would be properly placed in the right account. There was a part of her soul that was smug in the thought of Genom continuously shooting itself in the proverbial foot.
 
"It's all about the balance," she muttered and quickly went to her car, ignoring even the barest hint that perhaps she should stay longer and maybe have a drink.
 
She rushed back to her apartment and put out a call to the rest of the team to meet as soon as possible. Priss would be late, but Priss was always late, and it was okay. Sylia wasn't sure she wanted to be in the same room with her for an extended period of time after having heard that song. It had spoken, and too well, the truth of the matter.
 
If I thought we could, you know it'd do us some good
But we can'tsay the words, yes we've alreadyheard
Our plights are the same while we both play the game
Would you never believe I hated seeing you leave
But we both know....
Oh... oh...
 
The Knight Saber's had their tasks and were all ready to depart. Macky was just about to get comfortable on the sofa as well, but then he heard that tone in sister's voice that meant he should probably go and work very late down at Dr. Raven's garage. So, everyone but Priss was excused to go, and they did not waste any time in their retreat. They weren't sure what Priss had done, but they were sure it was going to result in a row or at the very least a screaming argument. It didn't matter which. It was safer just to leave without asking any questions.
 
The door shut and there was silence. Priss had something of a disdainful look on her face, she was about to defend herself, and all too quickly in Sylia's estimation, which is why she wasn't even given the chance speak.
 
"For as long as this conversation lasts," Sylia began coolly, bracing herself against a high backed chair, "do you think you could forget that I'm your boss and that we're both Knight Sabers who have to stop a psychotic Boomer from the destroying the city for possibly the hundredth time in a week?"
 
The singer blinked back, not in shock, but in something highly akin to it, perhaps it was vague recognition. There was her enigmatic leader, the stoically cold, and often unyieldingly stubborn, actually showing signs of life. This wasn't going be a chiding, or at least not the kind of chiding she expected. She nodded, removed her leather riding jacket, and plopped herself onto the couch. And eyebrow arched and she waited for the next bit.
 
With a light sigh, Sylia ran her fingers through her short dart hair and took a seat on the chair that was slightly adjacent to the sofa. She locked her dark gaze towards Priss's lighter shade of brown and immediately stood up to fetch herself a cigarette.
 
"I thought you were going to quit," Priss asked lightly taking the lead in the conversation, not because she wanted to, but because someone had to, or there wouldn't be one.
 
She stopped mid-stride and took her seat again, stating, "I never said anything about quitting. I said I'd cut down."
 
"So that cigarette would have made how many today?"
 
"My second."
 
"Ah."
 
Her eyes narrowed, "Let's not get into tones that are too familiar."
 
The young woman shrugged. "Alright then, what's on your mind?"
 
There was no way around it, she fought for a mask to slide into, but found it cracked. So she replied, "You."
 
"Oh." The young woman shifted uncomfortably in her seat and cleared her throat, "About the other night-"
 
She sighed back into her chair, "I know, you didn't mean to call me, but you did."
 
"And I shouldn't have. I hate to be an inconvenience, Sylia."
 
An eyebrow quirked, "You'd hate to be, but you always are. We do not do what we do for revenge. We do not act on our own and for a reason. We are a team."
 
"What happened to not acting like my boss?"
 
She shook her head, "Sorry, it slipped... "
 
Priss huffed and then grinned a bit, "I'm surprised you actually came to get me."
 
Sylia began massaging her temples, "That's a very depressing way of thinking."
 
"Is it?"
 
She stopped and looked over at the singer and stated sternly, "Yes. I'm not heartless you know." She stood up and walked over to the window. She wanted some air, but those windows didn't open. The city seemed so unreal from that height. She continued, her tone softening, "You've added some new songs since I last saw you perform."
 
"I haven't added any new songs since we-" Her eyes went wide for a moment and then came the, "Oh...You were at the club tonight."
 
A quixotic smirk picked up at the corner of her mouth, "What's the title of that ballad you sing? The one when everyone pulled out their lighters?"
 
"It... uh... 'The Lines between Us.'" She stood up and stepped towards the window. She kept a good distance away, about an arm's length. "I'm not sure I ever meant for you to hear that one."
 
"Priss I'm perfectly sure I'm not meant to hear half of the songs you've written. I think it may be time for a different type of ballad though...don't you think?"
 
"Maybe I can add one in addition to... I'd hate to get rid of crowd pleaser."
 
Sylia nodded and then said, "I am sorry."
 
She shrugged, "Yeah well, that's the way life goes I guess. I have to go. My boss, you know her... she gets upset if I don't at least pretend to do my job."
 
"Sounds like a real hard ass."
 
"I think I've been a bad influence on you...such language." She grimaced and then quickly made her way out.
After the door had shut Sylia leaned into the glass and whispered, "I think I agree."
 
The lines are drawn in the sand to see
The weakness that was you and me
Lines turn to walls of ice
Spaces barred just to save our fate
Oh in the lines between us
Our hearts fell from grace
 
Sylia sat at the bar and nursed her second cosmopolitan of the evening. She had already robbed Fargo of most of the money in his wallet, sparing him just enough to buy her a drink, before she sent him away. The additional information was going to be helpful for future jobs, but the one she had been hired for was well over with. It was a tired game sometimes, but it was a hard thing to quit.
 
She was trying to unwind. She was failing, and was considering moving to a vodka martini. Of course she had to watch her intake, because she still had to drive herself home. She sighed and took a small sip from her glass. She starred into the pinkish depths, dark eyes not bothering to shift their gaze when someone took a seat next to her. She put the glass down and let out a breath of irritation.
 
"Need a ride?"
 
Sylia shut her eyes and grinned. "No, thank you."
 
"When I have a debt to repay I like to do it as quickly as possible?"
 
"We're even, Priss." She turned in her seat to face the young woman.
 
"I'm intruding then?"
 
"No." She leaned onto the bar and asked, "What do you really want?"
 
Priss whispered into Sylia's ear, "We... shouldn't have this conversation here."
 
Sitting back Sylia responded, "No, I suppose we shouldn't."
 
Becauseloving wasn't enough (not to save us)
It wasn't enough (not to keep us)
Not enough (just to love you)
In the lines between us...(what is this between us)
 
They stood face to face. Already Sylia could see the hesitation and belief that the ensuing conversation was probably a big mistake in Priss's eyes. She didn't want to agree, but deep down she felt the same way. It was a circle they had a trapped themselves in. It was a cycle of repetition of trying to mend what could just not be fixed.
 
Finally with a deep breath Priss stepped forward speaking softly but rapidly, "We're terrible at this, I know we are. We'd like to say so many things and we never do. But somehow the things we never say are spoken in other ways, which is why we can have a full thirty minute conversation in the span of two minutes by just exchanging glances. You asked me what I wanted, I'm not sure. All I know is that your perfume drives me crazy, you look too good for words in that suit, and that anything I would want to do with you in this very second would be absolutely meaningless because...because-"
 
"I'm not her, and you really don't love me like that any more," Sylia quickly interrupted, picking up the slack when she felt it fading. "This could be problematic."
 
"It doesn't have to be."
 
"Easier said than done. We fail. We can't do it, and we've tried. So unless you quit, or I give up the chase, or something far worse happens... We can never even dream to flirt with the idea."
 
"Suggestions?"
 
Sylia stepped forward and kissed the young woman gently on the lips. She stepped back and then asked, "What did you feel?"
 
"Nothing," she seemed sad to even say it.
 
"Then the feeling is mutual and there isn't much left to say, except..."
 
"Yes."
 
"Try not to be late for the debriefing in the morning," Sylia said in the stolid manner of an employer.
 
She stepped out of the trailer. She unlocked her door and got into her car. The engine started and she pulled out as quickly as she could. And when she was sure she was far enough away she pulled over and stopped the car. She stepped out into the open air and watched woefully as her perfectly placed mask slipped to the ground and shattered. She did not cry. She was too strong to cry, but there was an ache in her chest that prodded at her for the lie she had told. She sucked in a deep breath and then let it out.
 
"See," she said to herself, "problem solved."
 
Then she collected herself and drove to her house. She would never say she could not fall in love again, that she would never meet someone knew, because love had no plans. She could only say that for the time being there was no room left for it in her heart.
 
Would you never believe I hated seeing you leave
But we both know....
Oh... oh...
 
 
End...
 
Author's note: I'm sure I'll write a better fic next time. I just need practice with the Bubblegum Crisis setting. At any rate I hope this little tale is, at least, passable. Oh, and below is the complete uninterrupted poem/song... I can't write music but I'm sure someone, somewhere could wrap a tune around this.
 
The Lines between Us
 
Our love is over
We left it in the dust
Our love went sour
We tossed in the deep to rust
And all our trying was just a dream
Because loving each other just wasn't enough (no it wasn't enough)
 
The lines are drawn in the sand to see
The weakness that was you and me
Lines turn to walls of ice
Spaces barred just to save our fate
Oh in the lines between us
Our hearts fell from grace
 
Our nights are restless
We haunt each other's thoughts
Our nights are endless
We seek in strangers what we once got
And all our trying was just a dream
Oh loving each other was just never enough
 
If I thought we could, you know it'd do us some good
But we can't say the words, yes we've already heard
Our plights are the same while we both play the game
Would you never believe I hated seeing you leave
But we both know....
Oh... oh...
 
The lines are drawn in the sand to see
The weakness that was you and me
Lines turn to walls of ice
Spaces barred just to save our fate
Oh in the lines between us
Our hearts fell from grace
 
Because loving wasn't enough (not to save us)
It wasn't enough (not to keep us)
Not enough (just to love you)
In the lines between us...(what is this between us)