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Subject: Chatper 304 - Part 2 (end of chapter 304)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 07:29:45am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

Michael's one true ally didn't question such facts, as he fell into step beside his friend, only kept his voice low to assure that no one could overhear his offer. "Want to talk about it?" While he was well-aware that he was not the actor's equal--in age or experience--he did know one thing. He was the closest the man would get. If any of them were going to make it out of this war alive--much less be effective in the meantime--they had to keep a close eye on each other now.

The older man saw this, appreciated his colleague's concern. Still, there was little he could say. Most of his current disconnection from everyday life was only half-conscious, barely understood; his gaze moved sideways, looking at the man, before he continued on his way toward dinner. How he was supposed to frame any of that in words, he had absolutely no idea.

Sikes saw the man's confusion, realized that even that must be unusual for him--Samuelle always so decided and forceful, in his quiet way. He broached a start, instead. "It's strange, isn't it?" There was still no response, moving him on. "It doesn't quite feel like we belong to ourselves anymore."

It was this insight which made Michael pause, if only for a moment--appearances soon remembered, as he continued their walk. The man was absolutely right, had put his finger on part of what was bothering him, what he hadn't been able to identify; he tried to explain, needing the outlet for his thoughts--giving into trust. "When I was at the studio, everyone knew that we belonged to the system, that no individual mattered." His head shook slowly, wondering. "This is still different." And it was a difference which was almost impossible to accept.

Sikes understood perfectly, had been feeling much the same, even if he didn't have his companion's odd background to compare it to; he tried to put it into words. "But the studio bosses probably weren't willing to see you die." Not for real, anyway. He felt a small shudder run up his spine. It was only too clear to both of them that war was another matter entirely.

This opinion brought out the first real smile that the actor had given in weeks, the memories still with him. "Depends on their mood," he murmured, just loudly enough for Sikes to hear. When the man looked at him curiously, he gave another small smile, shaking his head, agreeing. "It's still different."

The younger recruit might have been confused by the actor's words but dismissed them, as well; he wasn't here to write the man's biography, just to assure the crew's unity. Knowing every detail of Samuelle's past in a very strange town would do neither of them any good now.

They walked on in silence for a few moments, this fact understood. Still, Henry did have one more thing to say--one more suspicion to confirm. "You miss her, don't you?" Michael stopped dead, staring at him with the unemotional mask which seemed to be the whole of his public front these days. "Your wife."

The clarification wasn't actually needed, but it did make the actor sigh. Still, the words were inadequate, "missing her" too laughable an understatement--were laughter even a possibility anymore. He gave a small sigh, gaze dropping. "Yes." And then he turned to walk away once more.

This alone was what Sikes needed to know, confirmed everything he had seen; he watched the man go, doing nothing to stop him. While he hoped that this simple reminder of a connection with someone had brought the actor back to earth a bit more, that hadn't been his entire reason for the chat. With all of his comrades, he needed to understand their motives. And, with the worrying exception of Kane, Michael was often the most difficult to figure out.

It wasn't that the younger man hadn't had at least a few insights into his senior before, knew that the actor was here out of some sort of concern for his wife. Even if he didn't know the details, that part of his intentions was clear. What he occasionally feared was that Michael would become too wrapped up in his own thoughts, that he would simply turn inward, until there was nothing left of him but a shell. It wouldn't do. Their work in the air needed far more attention than that.

It wasn't just the crew's safety which was riding on his companions' devotion to duty, however; it was the entire war, the safety of all the countries the Nazis either had, or would soon, attack. The information the four of them could bring back from their missions could be vital, could save lives, win battles--at the least. To have a man who was daydreaming up there, one who took in only 90% of what he saw, could spell peril. It might well be in that other 10% that the deadliest danger lay.

Sikes, at least, was well aware of This fact, was far too determined in his need to fight their enemies to let any of them go astray. It was a fear which had only increased last night. In the pub, each of the men's real selves had shown through--and what he had seen hadn't been particularly encouraging at all.

It wasn't that any of them had done anything particularly outrageous, all of them still in relatively good standing with the town and the RAF. In fact, only Ackerman had gone home with one of the town's women. And, given the fact that not a single man had noticed her absence, it seemed only too likely that they had seen enough of her "charms" themselves not to be likely to become overly protective.

This was mildly encouraging, even if the man himself had--predictably--been less than charming in return. But, with a certain kind of woman, that hardly mattered. She wanted to sleep with one of the new boys, for whatever reasons. Even if her motives were those of a spy, there was little way to imagine that Bill would give her anything like the kind of conversation she wanted.

He did his best not to think into the possible details of the night the two had spent together, moving on toward the commissary, instead--his thoughts still consumed with last night. Elkins, at least, wasn't a particular concern, had barely even engaged the various, willing women around them in conversation--and, when he had, it had usually been about his constant obsession over Michael's wife. It was hardly the sort of chat designed to charm a girl's socks, or garters, off. And the likelihood of him revealing anything except what color pen the actress had signed her autograph with seemed low in the extreme.

All of these truths were somewhat encouraging, Sikes constantly on the lookout for danger. Even if Michael had barely managed to keep up the most basic courtesy in his own, silent obsession over his wife, it wasn't like the pilot had ever worried over his elder's loyalties. That only left one member of the crew; a shudder ran through him. And it was what he had thought he had seen in the corner of the pub which he couldn't quite put out of his mind.

There had only been a few moments that he had been allowed to focus that far, the girls which flocked around them--impressed no end at having "the Great Samuelle" among them in the flesh--making it impossible to break away. Still, through the smoke, he had thought he saw Kane disappearing out the door to talk to another man. Perhaps it had only been a discussion about sports--or even the revelation of a different set of needs from those which drove Michael and Elkins--which had taken him there, but Henry somehow doubted it. There was just something furtive about the man lately--much more so than usual. And it was this fact which tended to make Sikes' blood run cold.

He took a deep breath, entering the Commissary at last, trying to calm himself with the truth. He would just have to stay on the lookout--for all their sakes. Tomorrow, they would be out on their first real mission--and nothing good would come of any unexpected variables then.

[End of Part 304]

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Ok Kane scares me. And "Silent Obsession " defines it perfectly. *sigh* (NT)MarySunday, October 14, 03:12:30pm
  • {{{{Mary}}}} -- KatherineG., Thursday, October 18, 07:19:08am

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