“Tell me,” Kaley said.
She took hold of Jon’s hand and held it close to her chest. He smiled but couldn’t meet her eyes, the uncomfortable moment broken as she struggled to hold back a sob. He wrapped his arms around her. He loved her, had loved ever since he arrived, and the thought of hurting her was killing him inside. But which pain was worse: the truth, or keeping the truth from her.
“I. You.” Jon let her go, putting some distance between them. “I want you to understand I love you. If you say nothing when I’m done, I’ll leave. I’ll leave and you’ll never have to see me again.”
“Jon, what?” Kaley said, reaching for him. He stood, pacing back and forth in their cramped apartment.
“My parents were soldiers. My parents were from another world.”
Ka’lel clutched her child to her chest. The flexible material of her armour was rough, scorched and marked in various places that the boy ran his fingers over.
“Is it clear?” Ka’lel asked.
Jontum peaked around the corner of the metal support. The space port was a huge, cavernous space with bays spread for as far as he could see. Groups of soldiers patrolled the few remaining vessels. They were listless, bored with the detail while the real fight was going on elsewhere. And they were comrades, brothers in arms.
Jontum leaned back, looking at his mate and child.
“No. The gods are not with us. Damn the emperor.”
“Jontum!” Ka’lel said, covering her child’s ears.
“We’ve committed treason my love. Our child needs the kind of protection that takes a battery, not to learn that oafs selfish superstitions.”
Rocking the child gently, Ka’lel looked past her husband, looking for the nearest corvette or similar craft that had a slipdrive.
“Bay eight,” she said.
Jontum matched her gaze and sized up the opposition. Six men lay between them and the vessel. Carbines and light armour. His own armour had seen better times, but he knew it would take a few more plasma burns before he was in serious trouble. He took a deep breath.
“Wait until I have their attention. Then fly.”
“As soon as I open fire, they’re going to call in reinforcements and there’s no way I can hold them off long enough for you to take off. I’m going to lead them away. This is goodbye Ka.”
He placed his forehead against Ka’lels and looked down at his child.
“My son, Jonta, son of Jontum. Grow strong and fight for your heart.”
Ka’lel kissed him before he disappeared around the corner. A heartbeat later, the world erupted in fire and screams.
Kaley had turned white as a sheet.
Jon hung his head, relief at telling his story losing the battle to the shame of his deceit. He headed for the door. He’d made a new life in a new place once before. Next time he’d avoid poisoning anyone else’s life.
“I never saw my father again. My mother died a few years after we arrived.”
“No.” Kaley looked ashamed at prying further but her curiosity was piqued. “Why did they run?”
“They were soldiers. The best. Elites. And they refused an order. They didn’t want their only child to become like them.”
“Jon,” she said, standing but still not looking at him. He wanted to reach out to her desperately. “You can sleep on the couch tonight.”
He almost smiled as she headed into the bedroom.
Prompt originally posted by TheGaffwood on reddit and received 1 upvotes.