Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
Before Glenn began audibly laughing, Robe could feel the vibrations rising in his chest. Like Robe had just told the best joke the man had heard in a millennium and that it was worth every ounce of life.
“What did I say that’s making you laugh?”
“Well I am old, but I’m not old like Harry.”
Robe moved around in the embrace to look up at him and ask, “What do you mean?”
“Technically, I was born two thousand years ago but I’ve spent a lot of that time frozen. I’m from one of those super soldier and super being projects, and they would defrost me every fifty years to make sure the ‘sample was stable’. And then I would be packed up again.”
The thought worked its way through Robe’s mind as he tried to process Garner’s existence in the timeline. When Harry talked about the past, she would talk in terms of the battlefields she fought on and the notches in her belts. There were multiple belts.
“When I was defrosted back in the Christmas season of 3590, I was assigned to Harry’s intelligence unit. They were quite grateful to have her, even though she had to sacrifice a lot to take the Federal position, a lot more than the rest of us,” Garner started choking up at the end of his statement, and Robe curled more into the form they had created. He stayed silent while Garner continued the story, recognizing this as a moment where Bart would tell him to shut up.
“I don’t know how much you know Harry’s life before she came into yours but if we’re talking five hundred years ago, she was the recently returned heir to her family’s throne. However, her mother didn’t want her around, her mentor was the strongest general in Tanis and her lover was the glorified gardener. She was already a Federation officer at that point of being in her early twenties and took her lover to her father’s kingdom.”
Garner stopped again, letting the only sound be the rain still pelting down on the concrete porch and running into the street below. Robe wished that he could say something, but nothing would come to mind at this moment. It would be appropriate to comfort someone as they processed an old memory of a friend that they felt they had lost and obviously Glenn had ‘lost’ Harry.
“I know some about the throne that she was supposed to holding.And that for a brief period she was king of uh,” Robe bit down on his lip while trying to think of the kingdom name. The Nerot documents that Harry had shown him had never been quite clear if the name of the kingdom was Sarel or Sarael. One belonged to the kingdom and one belonged to the family, and both were part of Harry’s official sovereign name. He held off for a minute more and guessed, “Sarel?”
Hopefully the closeness in sound of the two words would throw Garner off if he had made a mistake.
“Yes, Sarel. The throne there was meant for an heir of any gender, but they had to take the title of king. And Harry was her father’s only heir.”
“I thought she had brothers and sisters?”
Garner was looking down at the floor again and up to the sky, chewing on his bottom lip as he must have been deciding which details to disclose.
“She has multiple half siblings, but she was born out of special type of wedlock that people like to call ‘Child of War’.”
Robe’s lips formed a neat ‘o’ shape and he kept his silence on the chaise.
“But as I was saying, to take the seat of Sarel, you have to be called a king. If she were to inherit the throne of Tanis, properly, she would be called a king on their throne as well. Her mother realized this, sent Harry away when she was just about fourteen and the camp she grew up in was horrifying.”
“Well I grew up in Texas in a third-generation dust bowl classified area and I saw terrible things. I saw cows split open by the experiment the government tested on our base, but Harry had to spend seven years of her life with people who thought she shouldn’t exist.”
The flask was present again, getting passed up to Robe’s lips and a signal he wasn’t allowed to refuse this time.
“It was a camp run by humans. They were evangelists and mercenaries and god knows what else, and they didn’t believe that the people of Nerot, the native people, deserved life. And the Federation had stationed this group in what they called the Terga sector, with full knowledge of the beliefs of the Bivens and their church.”
“Bivens?” Robe had tried to keep his lips shut but the question of Harry being an entirely different person than he knew rose to the top.He knew that she kept secrets. She kept a lot of secrets. And he had never doubted her opinion or her judgement, even with knowing she kept things from the people she loved. But if her name wasn’t Bivens, if that was the name of captors…
As if Garner was reading his mind, the leather jacket soldier began speaking again. Not before sighing into Robe’s neck, lips coming too close for a comfort that had already left the building.
“Her real first name is not exactly Harry, either. It’s Ehrietta,” he had stopped again and produced a lit cigarette from unknown place, exhaling and passing the cigarette to Robe. “Ehrietta Mava Sarael Bevea. She explained the names to me once and all of their cultural significance, but the Federation has the tendency to wipe operative’s memories. I managed to lock that moment away, but I barely remember the last day I spent with her before they put me under.”
Robe winced at the thought of having your memories wiped with no chance of return for the content. If he had been more conscious in his thoughts, Robe would have explored the possibilities of Garner's missions. When the Federation ordered an absolute destruction of information, it had to call for terrible events happening. Garner used the word 'operative', but Robe let the questions slip away from his mind too easily.
"How do you mean that they put you under?"
Garner pulled away from Robe as he asked the question, the soldier leaning back on the chaise lounge but leaving his hands near Robe's hips. It was an odd disconnect from the comfortable and comforting position they had been in a moment before. And while Robe would have liked to take the last question back, he also desperately wanted to know the answer.
"It's nothing good, Robe. If they don't wipe your memory, they give you drugs that slowly numb your body until you're floating above it, and you have no control over what's happening. If you happen to have a last minute protest before going back in the shell, no one is going to hear it."
"Have you? Had many last minute protests?"
"Enough so that there's a pattern of scars on my back from the metal bars in the 2600 era containment shells."
In a sudden moment of courage and acting upon the signals he had seen all night long, Robe slipped his hand up Garner's jaw, stroking along the bone while he said, "I'm sorry."
He pulled back, turning around more and kissed along the soldier's jaw until Robe got to the meeting of their lips. It felt like a mistake as he was doing it but Garner - Glenn - was engaging. It had been too long since Robe had kissed someone, no less kissing someone with the intent of taking the person to bed.
When they finally came up for air, Glenn leaned against his neck and whispered, "That was nothing to be sorry for, Robe."