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21 August 2012 @ 09:25 pm
Ficlet: Miscommunication [Original]  
Title: Miscommunication
Word Count: 642 / 626
Rating: PG-13
Original/Fandom: Original
Pairings (if any): Charlie/Leah
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc):
Summary: After the events of Afternoon Adventure, Charlie and Leah can't seem to get on the same page.
Notes: Written for a writerverse challenge - write the same scene from two different POVs


Charlie woke with a start, the boy’s enraged face still hurtling toward him from his dream. Feeling sick, he tried to shake the mental fuzziness off and looked around him, trying to get his bearings. A TV was on in the corner, volume low; he was half-sprawled across two-thirds of a couch and he looked to the other end to see her... Leah. The events of the day started piecing themselves together: threat to a general’s daughter, protect her at all costs, Leah running away, and then Charlie went and got himself shot.

He shook his head and groaned as the movement pulled at the muscles in his shoulder.

“Can I get you anything?” she asked quietly. Her eyes were shining with concern and gratitude and something else Charlie really didn’t want to think about at this point. The last thing a girl like Leah needed in her life was someone like him. The boy’s face flashed before him again and he swung his legs off the couch and pulled up into a sitting position in a single movement.

“No,” he managed to choke out as he headed toward the bathroom without looking back. He nodded to the soldier who came to check the noise and then closed and locked the bathroom door behind him. He leaned over the sink, taking measured breaths, fighting the urge to throw up. A couple of handfuls of cold water helped to chase the last of the nausea away.

Two months out from that mission and he still had nightmares every time he slept. Megan had stopped spending the night after she had tried to wake him from one and found herself pinned to the floor, his arm across her throat. He got the feeling that relationship, if it ever really was one, was on its way out the door anyway. Not that they had ever been very close; they had gotten together when they were both alone and in town. They had fun together, she liked the way he looked in his uniform, and the sex was good.

But the way Leah looked at him chilled him to the core. Admiration and awe were there, to be sure, but just now, there was something deeper. He stared into the mirror and wondered what it was that she saw, when all he could see was a killer, one of the few survivors of a doomed mission, a man who would take someone like Leah and taint all that innocence and light.

He pushed off the sink, let himself out of the bathroom, and strode back to where she was listlessly flipping channels. She looked up, her smile faltering when she saw him.

“I was thinking... do you think they’d let us order some Chinese food? There’s a Pink Panther marathon on in an hour and it....”

“I have to leave,” he said, keeping his voice steady and trying to ignore the fact that she’d been attacked, nearly killed, and was trying like hell to pretend that she didn’t care that her father hadn’t even called to make sure she was okay. “Talk to Captain Randolph. I’m sure they can arrange whatever you need.”

“Oh,” she said in a small voice. “I guess... Okay.” She stood up and held out her hand, her expression tight. “Thanks for today. If there’s ever anything I can do...”

He nodded, shook her hand quickly (it didn’t pay to be rude to a general’s daughter), and said, “It’s my job. I’ll just go wait outside for my ride.”

He could feel her eyes on his back as he left the room, wondering how in hell he was going to arrange a ride from a safe house, wondering when the next shift change was, and wondering if the tears he thought he saw in her eyes were tears of pain or anger.


Leah felt Charlie wake, a sudden tension replacing the restless movement of the past few minutes. She looked over at him, excited that he was finally awake. She had been alone with her thoughts for the last three hours and was more than ready for someone to either distract her or help her make sense of this insane day. The two soldiers who kept walking through the safe house hadn’t seemed inclined to respond to her attempts to start a conversation, her dad still hadn’t called, and she had cycled through every channel available on the TV at least three times without having a clue what was on.

Her sense of guilt surged back up when she heard him groan softly. She couldn’t even imagine how much pain he must be in. She could still hear the sharp sound of the gunshot and feel Charlie’s weight on top of her as he took the bullet meant for her. He’d saved her life; but if she hadn’t run off, he wouldn’t have had to.

He looked over at her, more alert than she would be just waking up from a narcotic sleep.

“Can I get you anything?” she asked quietly. Her breath caught in her chest as she saw a flash of rage cross his face. He was on his feet and heading away from her before she could even process it.

“No.” She heard the bathroom door close and tried to take a deep breath. He did blame her. The way he had acted earlier - staying with her instead of taking the offer of a ride home, his warm smiles and easy manner - had made her think that maybe he didn’t, that maybe they could be friends... or something more. She blushed at her own naivete; he was older than she was, much more worldly, and had a job, a life, that made a difference. She was just a stupid, silly girl who couldn’t even figure out who to trust when her own life depended on it.

She could hear the water running in the other room. So maybe she had been fooling herself that he would be interested in her romantically, but that didn’t mean that they couldn’t have a pleasant evening. Surely, he needed to relax just as much as she did. Unless, he just wanted to get away from her.

She grabbed the remote and started to flip through the channels again. She heard the bathroom door open and looked up. She intended to put on the charm and convince him that his earlier friendly attitude was not a mistake, but she hesitated when she saw him standing there, pale but resolute, his expression stony.

“I was thinking...” She swallowed and started again. “Do you think they’d let us order some Chinese food? There’s a Pink Panther marathon on in an hour and it....”

“I have to leave,” he said tonelessly. “Talk to Captain Randolph. I’m sure they can arrange whatever you need.”

“Oh. I guess...” So that was it then. Either he’d rethought his earlier friendliness or it had been due to the medication. “Okay.”

She could be mature about it, so she unfolded herself from her corner of the couch and stood up to hold out her hand. “Thanks for today. If there’s ever anything I can do...”

He nodded and shook her hand so quickly she barely felt the contact. “It’s my job. I’ll just go wait outside for my ride.”

She watched him walk toward the front of the house. There was a building pressure behind her eyes, but she would not give in until he was through the front door. ‘Forget the Chinese food,’ she thought. ‘They better be able to find me some ice cream.’