was seething with anger. Fortunately, it was normal-person anger, not the
kind that ended up endangering other people's lives. She was seriously
considering changing her clothes for a t-shirt that said "I'm not
going anywhere. Ghet over it."
But. The fact was that if it came down to the choice she thought it was
going to for Ro, then she wouldn't even let him have to make it. And
looking at Silverthorn (for of course Ghet was still right there), that
was how it was going to have to be. He couldn't have both of them.
So she slipped, rather clumsily from lack of practise, through the Web
that bound them, and said, You and I need to talk, sometime. I need...
to say goodbye.
nearly choked, and his steak knife ended up on the floor. Hearing Ghet's
voice in his head was less expected than ... well, Y'Roce. Wide green eyes
flickered up to gaze at the redhead. Goodbye? What do you mean goodbye?
Are you going somewhere?
winced. This hadn't been how she'd wanted to do it. She hadn't wanted to
do it at all. Their friendship had so much life and warmth and fun in it,
she'd never wanted to give it up. But Silverthorn had made it impossible.
She felt terrible talking to him like this, taking his attention away from
his son. And gods knew what Silverthorn would think, though having decided
to make the sacrifice for her, Ghet didn't really give a rat's what she
Ro, you know as well as I do it's not possible to keep on. She doesn't
want you seeing me, or speaking to me... I'm not going to come between a
man and his wife. You've already made your choice, I'm just making it a
little easier for you.
mouth fell open and he blinked rather rapidly. "Pardon?" He
didn't realize he had spoken aloud. Ghetsuhm Riker Alcarin, if you
think I would make it that easy for you ... Obviously you don't know me as
well as I thought. There is no WAY I would give up your friendship. After
how hard we've fought to keep it?
He was about two heartbeats away from a second conversation in the office.
made a choking noise. Oh yeah, I saw how hard you fought, just then.
She doesn't want you to see me, you won't stand up for our friendship...
look at it this way, then. I'm refusing to be treated like that any more.
Oh, and you forgot the "Brigid".
If there'd been any doubt from the outside what was going on, there were a
couple of expansive and eloquent gestures in there that made it perfectly
clear who the silent row was between.
chair made that loud scraping sound again as he stood up. "Ok, enough
is enough. I think it is time all three of us had a talk." Gently,
but firmly, he pulled Silverthorn to her feet, took Ghet by the arm, and
propelled both of them back towards the office. "Uh.. Y'Roce m'boy,
I'll be right back, you may want to have a medic standing by."
The door slammed again. Neither of the woman had a chance at resisting the
half-elf's sheer strength, so there hadn't been much of a battle on the
way. He glowered at both of them. "Ok ... here is the problem."
Crossing his arms Ro stood directly in front of the door. "I love
you," he told his wife, "And SHE is my best friend. Either you
get along, or you don't. But I'm not going to be stuck in the middle. I
won't chose, I refuse to. But I'm obviously not going to give either of
you up either."
pulled away and folded her arms across her chest. "I told you, you
don't get to choose. She wins. This is what she wants, you and me never
seeing each other again. Well, she'd rather that we'd never known each
other at all, but that's not possible. I don't want to be the cause of
pain for you, and this is the fastest way."
She hung her head, her chin nearly touching her chest. Her anger was
fading, replaced by her more normal urge to understand. When she raised
her face again, it was to Silverthorn. "Am I wrong? What do
this dragging me into offices routine is getting old very quickly"
Silverthorn said to Ro, a trace of temper reappearing in her jade green
Her gaze swung to Ghet, "and as for you, how dare you assume you know
what I do and don't want. Neither of us knows each other well enough for
that. No, I don't like you. But that has absolutely nothing to do with him
and everything to do with just how different we are."
The dark-haired elf shook her head, "Do you honestly think I'd make
him choose? You're his friend, you were more than that once. Fine, I have
no problem with that. But if on some occasions I think it would be easier
not to have to listen to the pair of you then I have every right to leave
the room and neither you, nor he.." She glared at Ro, "has any
say in the matter."
was not, now, going to lose her temper. Old roles called her, a path she
had not needed to walk for a long time. Except Ro was more important to
her than any treaty had ever been. And it wasn't going to work, unless
everyone told the absolute truth.
"You are important to Y'Roden, and so for his sake, I have tried to
work out what it is that you want. As a basis for this I have used your
behaviour. I realise this method is flawed, and that's why I'm asking now.
Except, and I don't mean this as an insult, I don't think you're telling
the whole truth. But then, not one of us has the whole truth. I think we
all know the current situation isn't working. So I'm going to tell both of
you how I feel, and then I'd like Y'Roden to do the same, then you can
reply to what we've said, and see if we see things differently by
She took a deep breath. She was walking a minefield here, and she was
hoping she didn't put a foot wrong. Despite her former bravado, she didn't
want to lose Ro, and having that hang on what she said now... it scared
her. She frowned. "Your not liking me is everything to do with Ro. I
don't mean that's the reason for it, I mean the fact that we don't get on
impacts on him. You say you have no problem with us having been lovers,
and I find that very difficult to believe. I believe, and I accept that I
may be wrong about this, that it's the reason you behave the way you do
when Ro and I are together. And yes, it does matter what I believe,
because that affects what I do, the position I find myself in."
She sighed. She couldn't see any way she could explain how she saw the
situation without insulting Silverthorn, even though it wasn't her
intention. "I believe that when you walk out, which isn't on
"some occasions" but on any occasion that he and I interact as
friends rather than casual acquaintances, you do it so that he will follow
you. I believe that you're perfectly aware of how your departure makes him
feel. I believe you know exactly what effect this has on our friendship. I
believe that every time you get up and walk out, you know quite well that
you're forcing him to choose. That's the whole point of the gesture.
"These are my beliefs in this matter. They're based on my experience
of the world, and my knowledge of Y'Roden. I find it impossible to believe
that you know him less well than I do, therefore you must know that what
you do hurts him.
"Whether it's true or not, it makes me feel... like an intruder. I
can not carry on a friendship with someone knowing it makes his
wife so uncomfortable she can't stand to be around it. Much as I love
Y'Roden, I won't be that selfish. But also, it hurts me. It was
enough that he chose you over me when he left me. Do you have to make him
do it over and over again?"
She turned slightly, so she was facing Ro, and her pronoun changed. "You,
you make me feel like, what there is left between us, isn't enough for you
to be bothered talking to her about this. I think you know it hurts me,
but you don't want to disturb your peace. That's okay, I understand how
much you need your peace. But that's not enough for me to put myself
through this for. Yes, we fought really hard to get this far. But I will
not keep fighting the rest of my days."
leaned back against the wall, exhausted. She so didn't want to be here,
doing this. But once it was started, it needed to be finished. She hoped
Ro realised, this was the only chance he got. It had to come out now, or
not at all. "Y'Roden?"
sighed, his shoulders slumping as he leaned back against the door. Emerald
eyes were shadowed, and didn't quite meet the gaze of either woman.
"I just want ... I just want to be able to be myself without pissing
anyone off. I don't seem to be able to manage that anymore. I AM being
forced to choose and I really don't think that is fair. I mean," he
looked at Silverthorn, "I don't leave the room every time you have a
conversation with Aidan. I'm well aware you were his lover in the past and
the two of you banter well enough."
The half-elf shrugged helplesslly, "Ghet ... you and I were friends
long before we were anything else. I don't want to lose that. And Gods ...
I don't want either of you to be unhappy. And now I've stopped making
sense ... if I even was in the first place. I'm sorry .. I'm having a bad
day. I have a son out there I never knew I had ... I've missed his entire
life thus far. I have a best friend I can't talk to without upsetting my
wife. I'm starting to feel a mite bit cranky."
withdrew deeper inside herself with each word the others spoke. Hurt and
trapped, it was starting to feel like no matter what she did it was wrong
even when she meant it for the best. It seemed that ultimately both of the
others blamed her for the fact that they couldn't all get along.
genuinely did not mind that Ro and Ghet had been lovers in the past except
in that sometimes when they were together it felt like they had forgotten
they no longer were. It didn't happen often but when it did it made her
uncomfortable. She knew that it was her problem, that neither of the
others saw that there might even be a problem with the way they
acted. On the one occasion she had said anything it had been Ro that had
ended up storming off, not her. In an attempt to avoid that she had hoped
that quietly removing herself would be better. Instead it had only made
things worse. Again something that was apparently her fault. Ghet claimed
that she felt like an intruder but it was Silverthorn that was now
starting to feel merely like some sort of obstacle, that everyone would be
so much happier if she simply wasn't there. Hadn't the redhead even said
that she wasn't wanted on one occasion recently?
On the other hand, she looked across at Ro and inwardly felt something
shatter. It did not matter how she felt, his feelings were far more
important to her. "You're not being forced to choose" she said
The jade green gaze met Ghetsuhm's briefly but there was nothing to be
seen in their expression. "Please accept my apologies" the
dark-haired elf said softly, "I never had any intention of having
this confrontation, in fact my behaviour was always intended to avoid this
if possible. I won't cause any more problems."
pain had died inside, instead she felt only numbness. She had no idea what
the redhead had meant when she said that Ro had chosen Silverthorn over
her and she really wasn't in the mood to ask. What she really wanted was
simply to escape to somewhere quiet... but of course she couldn't do that
any more it seemed.
pressed her lips together for a moment. She was aware that she was more
used to this whole process than the other two were, that it wasn't as big
a challenge for her. Only now she had to gracefully refuse to accept an
"This isn't about right or wrong," she said quietly. "I'd
much rather we had the confrontation. Because the choice isn't between
confrontation and peace, it's between confrontation and brooding. The
problem doesn't go away just because you don't talk about it. And we can't
even begin to resolve it until you admit, even to yourself, that until Ro
can be in two places at once, you are forcing him to choose. I'm
sorry, believe it or not, I don't want to hurt you. I don't actively
dislike you, I just don't get you. Now, maybe Ro and I can make
more of an effort towards... propriety, I guess, though it's not a
conscious thing, the way we behave, it's just natural. It was the way we
behaved... before, as well. It's not that we're trying to get in your
face, it's just... I wouldn't want to feel like we were going behind your
That, of course, was how it had all begun, not wanting to upset Chase with
the way they behaved as friends. Mostly because of the potential for
injury to Y'Roden. So their friendship had been secret, furtive, and the
rather inevitable consequence of that had been... well, who could resist
secret sex? Not Ghet...
felt like his head was about to implode. "Don't apologize Arianne, it
isn't about that. I just want you both to understand. Oh heck .. maybe it
is to much to ask. Sometimes I don't really understand myself. I don't
want anyone to be sorry, I don't want to avoid confontation. I just want
things to be ... REAL."
He shot Ghet a look. The half-elf had never told Silverthorn that he had
chosen her over Ghet. As far as his wife knew, it had been a natural
progression of events from that day at the pool. She had no idea he'd been
interested before that.
When his emerald greens shifted back to the dark haired elf there was
concern in the depths of them. The entire situation was tearing him apart.
Ghet didn't know Arianne, how fragile she could be. Ro was extremely
protective of that part of his wife ... as well as possessive. He knew
full well it was a side reserved for him, and the thought of anyone else
seeing it ... even Ghet ...
"Gods ... I am asking to much aren't I. From both of you. Either way
I'm going to lose something."
it was possible to feel so cold when the room was a perfectly normal
temperature, Silverthorn thought as the numb feeling seemed to spread. Now
apparently even an apology was the wrong thing to do. The dark-haired elf
wasn't sure what it was they actually wanted from her anymore. It seemed
to get harder and harder to tell.
She tried to make a practice of not lying to herself, even if she did so
on a regular basis to just about everybody else, perhaps even because of
that. Now the dark-haired elf searched her heart to see if Ghet was right,
that maybe she wanted Ro to choose. It seemed unreasonable to make him do
so, not to mention stupid, and she tried not to be either if she could
help it. She was aware she didn't always succeed but did anybody?
Jade green eyes swung to meet to her husband's. "Real in what
way?" she asked softly. It wasn't that she ignoring Ghet but that at
the moment she could only deal with one thing at a time.
took a step back out of the way. She was becoming aware that there were
many things that had never been said between these two, just as there were
many things she and Galain had never quite got around to saying.
was also feeling kind of guilty. She knew exactly what Ro meant by
real. She knew because she'd been in this position, trying to keep both
Rodi and Galain happy without making her behaviour towards either ring
false. Because of course behaving naturally to Y'Roden in front of Galain
hurt her husband, and vice versa. She'd hated every bloody minute of it.
It was an awkward tightrope her husband was still walking. It was easier
for him because she and An'Thaya loved each other. In spite of the
terrible pain of losing Y'Roden, it had also been a relief to be able to
belong entirely to one person.
And now? Her heart wrenched for Ro, that despite his best efforts he found
himself in this bind again. And she was embarrassed, ashamed, that she
knew him this well. But what could she do? His soul had lived in hers for
five hundred years, that didn't fade away overnight. The only part of him
she didn't know, was where Silverthorn was concerned. She tried very, very
hard to be invisible for a while.
look of stunned amazement appeared in Silverthorn's jade green eyes for a
moment before the shields dropped again. She had never even imagined
that... Pushing aside the confused questions raised by his confession she
concentrated again on what was probably the main issue here.
... in that I don't want to always have to watch what I say. To always
second guess myself. I just want to be with you and have you accept me ...
faults and all. It hurts when you walk out like that." He sighed,
"Ok .. I AM asking too much. I refuse to ask you to compromise
yourself to make me happy. But at the same time .. I feel like that is
what I am being asked to do."
"Ok .. fine. Yes, it's true, I gave Ghet up to be with YOU. I wanted
you before that day at the pool. It was the right thing to do, for
everyone ... but gods ... it hurt. I won't lie. I gave up a lot, and no,
you never asked me to. So don't think I'm asking for ... nevermind. I
can't give up her friendship ... it means too much to me."
He looked from Silverthorn to Ghet and back again. "Yes ... Ghet use
to be my lover, I LOVED her. But it is YOU I love now, you that shares my
bed, my soul, my heart. No bad joke or teasing words can or will change
that. I ... I just don't understand why you leave ... when you know I
belong to you."
"You claim to feel that I'm asking you to compromise but isn't that
what you just did to me? even though you said not that is basically what
it boiled down to" she said quietly, her lashes lowering to conceal
her gaze as she thought her way through her words. "In all
likelihood, isn't that what we are all going to have do in the end? It's
probably the only way we would reach a stable solution. It might not be
one we're all ecstatic about but at least it would be one we could live
dark-haired elf was constantly aware of Ghetsuhm's presence in the room.
This was hard for her. She rarely, if at all, talked about her true
thoughts and feelings in public but now that was basically what she was
being forced to do.
"I was under the impression that we'd already had the conversation
about acceptance once today and that you believed me when I said that I
loved you just the way you are. Was that a lie? But if you want to be
accepted, faults and all, then don't I deserve the same respect? Am I
expected to change who I am because you don't like it? There are times
when both of you go further than I am comfortable with."
She held up a hand to still any comment, "I know that in your eyes
you don't but what I'm talking about now is how I see it. On one occasion
when this happened I said something. The end result of that was Ro
throwing a temper tantrum, storming out and then almost getting fried by
the Green Heart's wards. So, if I couldn't say anything, the easiest
solution seemed to be to remove myself. I was the one with the problem
after all, no one else. It was not intended to hurt anyone, to make Ro
follow me or anything else."
dark-haired elf looked up to meet her husband's gaze again. "So that
is why I leave. I have never at any point asked you to stop being friends
with Ghetsuhm, have I? Nor did I expect you to do so." In her eyes
for the briefest second before she regained control of herself again was
the hurt she felt at the accusations that had been thrown around earlier
and a flicker of betrayal that he was putting her through this even though
he knew how she felt about discussing her emotions.
What? They are just words," Ro said in frustration. "I don't
understand how words can make you react that way. I do believe you, and no
.. I don't expect you to change. I'm just seeking understanding, and
asking for understanding."
"Oh hells ..." For a moment he quite forgot what the entire
point to the conversation was. Everything went a little blurry, his eyes
bleeding crimson in reaction to the sheer tidal wave of frustration that
washed over him. "I give up .. never mind, I'll just go find
someplace out of everyone's way."
Opening the door he stepped out and shut it behind him. Unfortunatly, he
missed the click when it locked.
just couldn't believe this. He'd dragged them in here, and now he was
going to storm off himself? Like hell. "Damn you, Ro, you get your
The door wouldn't open.
She blinked in utter disbelief. "He's locked the smegging door! I'm
going to kill him! Unless you want first go? Okay, bugger this."
She took a couple of steps backwards and bale-fired the door, pretty much
in a fit of temper. The eerie dark fire shot from her fingers, and...
died. For a moment she stared, and then she swore some more. "Wards!
They did the wards while we were away. What a piece of timing." By
now temper had faded to her usual humour, and she turned a slight, ironic
smile on Silverthorn. "Okay, do you want to portal out and kick his
ass or shall I?"