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Status Quo - Chapter 87 (Final Chapter)

Written by: Paullell

 Doctor Frederick smiles at Lana and shakes his head, his eyes glassing over a bit as he speaks of his sins. “Lana, I am so sorry, that I wasn’t there for you. I wanted to so desperately. My work made a life with you and your mother impossible. My family wouldn’t have it, and there was no way I could disappear for long.” He sighs heavily as he continues, “What I did to you and your mother was unconscionable, and I can never make up for it, but I promise you that it did not cause her death. Not directly at any rate.”

 

Ge reaches out and gently traces his fingertips along her cheek, a far-away, wistful look on his face, “I had to hide my success from everyone. My family wanted it, the Conglomerate wanted it, the crime lords wanted it. They all still do. She let me change her. I told her I wanted to change a few things and she let me. She said because she loved me. That’s when I broke her trust and hid my success away, deep down inside her DNA, then I deleted any record of it from my systems so none of them could ever get at it.”

 

He leans back in the couch and wipes the back of his hand across his eyes to clear away the un-fallen tears, “Lana, I am so sorry. My family sent word a few weeks ago, that they had learned of your existence, and my betrayal. I don’t know how they did, but I couldn’t take a chance on them finding you, especially with you not knowing what was going on, and why. So I contracted with some rather unscrupulous people to locate you. I don’t know if they killed your mother, or if my family did it, but either way, it looks like the people I hired to find you, took it upon themselves to erase both of you from existence. It wasn’t my tinkering that killed her Lana, it was me. My own naiveté. I thought they’d stop when they found my lab destroyed…”

 

At last, Daray appears, seating herself on the edge of the holographic projector in front of Lana and Doctor Frederick. She casts them both a critical eye, then smiles and says, “I can see the resemblance.” She rests a hand on Lana’s knee and adds, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but Mel’s cleaning up the kitchen, so if you want anything more before it’s all gone, now’s the time.” Turning her attention to the Doctor she screws up her face and cocks her head to the side, giving him a contemplative look. “So doc, I couldn’t help but notice that you hesitated before you called me a young woman before. And Turin called me transgendered before that. And Riana said something about gender identification counseling. So that’s it uh? The big blemish in my past? I used to be a guy?” She looks from him back to Lana and quirks a little smile, nodding her head, “You know Lana… You’re something pretty special. ‘Cause I’m obviously very messed up, and you continue to willingly stay close by. I can only assume it’s real love at this point.” She quietly stands up, leans over Lana and kisses her gently on the lips, then smiles happily and adds, “Thank you. For coming for me again. I want you to know that I’ll always do the same for you. Any time you need me.”

 

She then moves off into the house again, the skinsuit forming a comfortable outfit with pockets for her to bury her hands in as she saunters around, chatting with Riana, Willhelmina, and Melissa as they all work at maintaining their equipment and chatting about the previous evening’s events. She appears totally comfortable in her skin, perhaps for the first time in years, and certainly since Lana met her. 

 

-Also,- APRIL pipes in through the comm in Lana’s skull, -I have had time to decompress and organize the information that I was able to save concerning you and your mother, Lana. I am sorry that I could not do more, but it appears that I have managed to recover fifteen percent of your mother’s public records, including her death certificate. I have recovered nearly eighty percent of your own public records. All information has been downloaded to the house server if you would like to review it. I would begin restoring them to public systems, but if your family is still in pursuit of you, that may not be the best course of action.-

 

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Lana smiles at her father encouragingly as he begins to speak of an obviously difficult subject for him.  She leans into his caress and her eyes are full of understanding and forgiveness as he tries to explain the past and the difficult decision he made.  When he drops his hand from her cheek she reaches out and gathers his hand in her own.  “It’s ok.  I don’t think she would have minded that at all.  And I forgive you too.  Your tinkering has given me a way to keep up with the woman I love and survive what has been happening around me.”

 

Lana looks up, startled when Daray approaches as she had not been paying attention to anyone but her father.  She blinks in astonishment when she calmly announces that she has figured out the secret of her past and then nonchalantly walks away.  Lana feels a huge weight lift from her as she realizes there are no more secrets, although she grumbles mockingly at Daray’s back.  “You know… April and I agonized over the decision to tell you about that or not... You could at least pretend to be a little disturbed for our sakes!”

 

 

She squeezes her father’s hand again as April announces about her records being downloaded into the house’s computer.  “That’s probably for the best April.  I’m rally not that person anymore.  Perhaps doing what my mother did will be the best option.  Or I could always have my name legally changed to Frederick.  Turin’s people will still be after me.  That is one crazy man and I don’t expect him to be completely out of my life ever again.  Perhaps if I have two enemies gunning for me they will be courteous enough to get in each other’s way.”

 

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Daray turns to grin at Lana’s comment, her cobalt eyes sparkling happily. “I can if you want, but somehow, it all seems okay now,” she turns to speak a moment with Riana and Willhelmina before sitting down at the dining table with Alina, who is finishing up a plate of food quietly, watching the proceedings. The pair chats for several long minutes before hugging and smiling happily at one another.

 

Doctor Frederick squeezes Lana’s hand after Daray moves away. He doesn’t seem to have a response to the woman’s comments so he just moves on. “Lana, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done, and I sincerely hope that you will choose to let me try and be a true father to you.” He smiles at her and seems to be holding back tears. “I have to continue my work, so I’ll have to go, and sooner would be better, since I’ll be much easier to track now that I’m in the open. It will take me a few months to get set up again, but I’ll send word as soon as I am. After that, you can use SEAN to come and see me any time.” He hugged her and continued to sit with her and chat for as long as she wanted, telling stories about her mother and the kinds of things they’d done together before circumstances had forced them apart.

 

A few hours later, the doorbell rings, and Daray admits another young woman who explains that she is Doctor Samantha Cobb, a friend of Alina’s that was called in before the assault on Turin’s home. Once inside, she scans the room for injuries and instantly sets her eyes on Alina, who has moved to the couch and ben sitting quietly, only speaking when spoken to. Samantha shakes her head as she sits down and sets herself to work on Alina’s battered body. When she finishes her initial prognosis, she announces that she is going to take Alina back to Ceres where she can spend some time recovering in the comfort of her own home, with Niko doting over her, and keeping her in bed until she’s fully healed.

 

The pair say their goodbyes, Alina giving both Lana and Daray warm hugs and assurances that she will indeed come by for dinner from time to time. “That offer is still open Lana. I’m sure we can find you guys a nice place on Ceres if you need it,” she smiles, causing Daray to raise a curious eyebrow at the pair of them. “You two take care of each other,” Alina adds as she waves goodbye from the closing elevator, and then she is gone.

 

Doctor Frederick takes a few minutes to sit down with Melissa, speaking in quiet tones as Alina and Sam say their goodbyes, and by the time they are gone, he is up again and moving toward Lana and Daray. “I have to go. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stay longer, but if I don’t disappear again, my family…” He pauses, looking at Lana for a moment, then smiles awkwardly and changes his mind, “our family… will find me again. As long as the two of us are together, there will be little chance of them stopping their active pursuit. We need to stay separate as much as possible so they don’t have a single target to go after.”

 

He hugs Lana tightly, letting the tears fall this time as he embraces her. Daray stands near by, fidgeting and kicking the back of her heel nervously. “I’m sorry, for the trouble I’ve caused in your life Lana. I sincerely hope it has not been so great as to make things unbearable. Please know that none of this was ever my intention.” He releases her again, holding her by the shoulders and smiling at her. “You’ve done so well on your own. I wish with all my heart I could have been there for you. But I will be from now on, if you’ll have me. I’ll send word as soon as I’m settled somewhere.” He hugs her once more and then releases her, turning to Daray and raising an eyebrow as he looked her up and down.

 

Without warning, he lunges forward and embraces her as well, almost getting himself kneed in the groin before Daray calms her reflexes. Releasing her he looks down into her eyes and says, “and you turned out better than I ever would have imagined. I think Xavier was wrong about you. Please take care of her…” He backs up and places a hand on each of their shoulders and smiles again, “take care of each other. You seem to be good for one another.”

 

He smiles again, and then excuses himself without another word, disappearing into the elevator.

 

“Your dad seems nice,” Willhelmina smiles as she stands up from the couch, picking up the case her rifle is stored in and smiling. “We’ve got to run as well. Now that this Turin business is all sorted out, for the time being, I’ve got a job to get back to, and Ree’s supposed to be joining me.”

 

“I am?” Riana looks up at her sister, ears cocking back in displeasure.

 

“Yes Ree. You are…” Willhelmina hisses making some kind of motion toward Daray and Lana with her free hand.

 

Riana turns her attention toward the pair and raises an eyebrow, looking them up and down a few times before looking back toward her sister. “What? Is there something wrong with them? Shouldn’t we stay here if they might need our help again?”

 

“No Ree. If they have a problem right now, it’s that they have a house full of people.” Willhelmina’s face sours.

 

“Oh,” Riana nods, then suddenly she looks up at Daray and Lana again, violet eyes open wide and ears perked up fully, “oh! Oh I’m sorry! I didn’t even think… Yeah, we can go. You can call us if you need any more help. I could do with some time with Vincent anyway,” she grins as she jumps up and collects her things.

 

The sisters share hugs and kisses with Lana and Daray as they shuffle out, disappearing into the elevator with huge grins and happy waves. 

 

“So, I thought I could go scout out some locations for an office,” Melissa says, collecting some of her things and heading toward the door herself. “I figure it could take… maybe a couple days, you know… to find a good spot, with decent rent and a nice view.” She grins happily as she stops in front of them. She looks at Lana with a sort of sappy smile that speaks volumes about her state without actually revealing anything significant. Her emotions are nearly impossible to read because she is a cyborg, but Lana gets a faint hint of love and affection from her that seems to have nothing to do with physical attraction. Before anything else can be said or down however, she’s gone from the room, leaving Lana and Daray alone in a sudden silence.

 

“So,” Daray fidgets some more, then spies Lana’s pack on the floor by the couch and moves to pick it up. She shows it to Lana and grins from ear to ear. “Can I help you unpack?”

 

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Lana laughs and cries as she and her father share stories of her mother.  The next several hours are wonderful and by the time he rises to leave Lana leaps up and hugs him goodbye.  “I would like that.  I don’t need much parenting anymore but it is nice to know that there is someone I can call when I’m feeling lost.  Please be careful!”  Lana kisses his cheek softly and then steps back, letting him leave is hard but she knows a necessary step.  

 

When Alina says her goodbye’s Lana hugs her gently, cautious of her injuries.  “We’ll have to talk about it.  I’m sure we will let you know soon.”  Lana watches with a smile as Kat attempts to subtly maneuver Riana out of the apartment.  “Don’t worry.  We will call you if we need any more help.”

 

She gives Melissa a hug as well and kisses her cheek softly, sharing her own affection for the woman who might as well be a sister for her.  “That sounds nice… but don’t sign any papers.  We might be moving shop after we have a chance to sit down and think some things over.  We’ll still have the company… but it might not be based here.”

 

When the silence finally settles around them Lana turns to Daray with a wide grin.  She laughs when Daray picks up her bag and nods her head.  “That sounds fine… better then fine actually.”  She follows Daray to the master suite and when they get there Lana opens the first drawer that she finds and after taking the bag from Daray dumps the contents into the drawer.  “There, all unpacked.” She drops the bag on the floor and wraps her arms around Daray in a gentle hug.  “I was so afraid that I’d loose you.”

 

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Daray laughs aloud at Lana’s unpacking technique, watching the platinum bars and miscellaneous other bits and pieces of Lana’s life rain into the drawer. She bumps it closed with her hip and discards the bag as they twine their arms together in a heart-felt embrace.

 

Tears come to her eyes at Lana’s words, “for a while there, you did loose me. His voice was so strong. so compelling… Lana, he had me convinced that you’ve been holding me back. It felt like my own thoughts. God Lana, I actually hated you. He said you’d be coming for your dad and I, and that was all he had to say. I picked up my baston and told him I’d kill you both for him.”

 

She sobs as she suddenly melts into Lana’s embrace, her whole body loosing strength under the sudden emotional outburst. “I’m so sorry Lana. I love you so much. Those thoughts are still rolling round in my head where that bastard put them. When you two shot me up with that Psy-Null it felt like my brain was on fire for a second, and then my had cleared, but all those thoughts were still there. Lana, I can still feel these thoughts in my head and I don’t know if they’re his or mine…”

 

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Lana pulls back slightly at Daray’s words.  “I hope I’m not holding you back.  Especially now that I’m just starting to feel like I might be able to keep up with you.  I don’t expect a relationship with me to be easy.  In fact, I don’t think such a thing exists for anyone; but I’ll keep trying for as long as you want me.  If you have doubts... I don’t blame you everyone has doubts.  The only thing that I don’t doubt is my feelings for you.”

 

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“I don’t doubt you Lana. I never have. Not once since we met. And you’ve never held me back, not even when you were just sort of following in my wake, trying to stay alive and out of the way,” Daray moves to the foot of the bed and slumps down on its edge, cradling her face in her hands as she tries to filter her thoughts.

 

“He put this thoughts in my head Lana, and while he isn’t in there any more, pushing them into the fore, he did leave them in there for me to try and sort out. I don’t feel that way. I love you, with all my heart, and I’m so very happy that you can keep up and do so much more. But I still have these thoughts rattling around in my head. I know they aren’t mine, but they’re still there. APRIL can’t extract them and while I know they aren’t real, I can’t help but think them.”

 

She looks up at Lana, tears streaming down her face and utter confusion plainly evident, she wipes at the tears with the back of her hand and shakes her head slowly, “I hate that bastard. For what he’s done to me…” Locking eyes with Lana she adds, “to us…”

 

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Lana moves to sit next to Daray on the bed.  She raises her hand and strokes her fingers through Daray’s now short silky hair.  “It sounds like you already know what thoughts are yours and what aren’t. Don’t waist your emotions on him.  He’s a problem to be dealt with another day.  I love you…. Short hair, long hair… troubled or not… As long as you still want me in your life then I’ll be here.”  Lana cups Daray’s cheek gently and leans in, placing a tender kiss to Daray’s shoulder… needing to offer comfort and be comforted in return.”

 

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Daray smiles through her tears, leaning in to Lana’s body as she kisses her shoulder. The skinsuit melts away into a simple, black catsuit and she wipes at her cheeks with the back of her shiny, black hand. “You’re so much stronger than I am Lana. How do you do it?”

 

Twisting a bit to better allow her to wrap an arm around Lana’s shoulders she pulls her friend, her lover, in tight against her body. “I do want you Lana. I love you with all my heart, and I’m not even sure how it happened. Not that I care mind you, I just wouldn’t have ever expected it. What with my laundry list of character defects and anti-social behaviors.”

 

She takes a deep breath and sighs heavily, pressing her forehead against Lana’s and smiling. “I can sort out my thoughts from his when I try, but on the spur of the moment, I’m afraid his thoughts might come out, and that terrifies me. I know you keep telling me that none of it matters, and I believe you, I really do. But you’ve just found your father, who wants you to be a part of his life. This is your big shot. Your opportunity to be with family and disappear with him so Turin and all of these other crazies can’t hurt you.”

 

She starts crying again as she leans in and embraces Lana. “I’m so happy for you, and I’m thrilled to have come into your life. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you went. APRIL and I will get on. I guess I just want you to know what you’re getting into. I’m pretty messed up, and my life is filled with all of this craziness, all of the time. That’s not like to change any time soon. I want you to stay. I want to be with you. To see where this road goes. But you can choose a different path now. A path you may not ever be able to get back on if you don’t go now.”

 

Squeezing Lana against her, she continues to cry, pressing her face into the crook of Lana’s neck and shoulder, her tears wetting Lana’s clothes. “I’m scared to death of what life will be like without you in it. That you are better off without me. That, now that I think I understand who I really am, I won’t be able to truly share that person with anyone else…” She finally lifts her head up and looks into Lana’s eyes, blinking away tears and hoping against hope that fairytale endings can truly happen.

 

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Lana shakes her head in denial of Daray’s words.  “I’m not stronger…” she waives her hand dismissively, searching for the correct word instead.  “I’m stubborn.  I refused to form any emotional attachment with anyone for years.  When you finally broke through that barrier I simply turned the stubbornness around and latched onto your love with the same tenacity that I had pushed everyone else away with.

 

When Daray starts crying and leans into her Lana lays back on the bed and strokes her arms gently.  She listens to the out pouring of Daray’s fears with a tiny grin as she strokes her soothingly. When she is finally done she rolls and flips herself up so that she can straddle Daray’s hips and lean over her to kiss the tears from her cheeks.  “That, mio Tesoro, may be the stupidest thing you have said yet.  If he loves me, there will be other times to meet up with my father.  He is a parent.  You are my heart and soul.  Now… shut up and kiss me.”

 

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Daray’s heart melts, and a tiny, selfish smile spreads across her face at Lana’s words. She was hoping beyond hope that Lana would respond in just that way. She’d tried, again and again, to give the woman ways out, but she seemed bound and determined to stay neck deep in her world of danger and intrigue. Not that she could complain, she wanted, more than anything else in the world, a real, flesh and blood person to share her life with.

 

Well, if she hadn’t taken an out yet, it didn’t seem likely that she ever would. Reaching up, Daray wraps her hands around Lana’s shoulders and pulls her lover down to her, pressing a light kiss against her lips and smiling, the tears drying up as she looks into Lana’s eyes.

 

“How many times have I told you…” She kisses Lana again and adds, “I don’t speak french.” He smile turns to a grin of complete contentment as she pulls Lana in again, and this time parts her lips and kisses her with every ounce of passion she can muster.


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