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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Pleasure Between Business [Complete]

Aradia McConnell

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((This fic happens after Shock and Awe but before Mr. Specialist Goes to Washington.))

Aradia walked out of the office of the financial adviser Livy had found for her, and leaned against the wall of the old brick building. It was in a fancy part of town, the kind Ari never went to much before - where the money was usually as old as the buildings and the landscaping made it look like some kind of English Garden. She took in a deep breath and held it for a moment before letting it out.

Livy had been right, of course - the inheritance her Grandfather had left her had been more than substantial.. it had been mind-boggling. Aradia had never been treated so much like royalty in her life, and it was a bit disconcerting. After making the necessary arrangements and signing the necessary forms, she had been more than happy to arrange a follow-up visit once the man who would be handling her finances - his name was Brian - got things in order for her. She needed time to process this, and more than that she needed to feel normal for a little while. Or at least as normal as she ever got. She pulled her cell phone out, and after a moment of consideration, dialed Wakiki.

"Hey.. yeah, I'm good. Wanna go somewhere? I dunno, I just.. wanna hang out, I guess. Sure.. I'd love to! I'll be there soon.. maybe twenty? 'Kay, bye."

She hung up the phone, and climbed into her borrowed Air Force vehicle. She should probably buy her own car soon, if for no other reason than she had the money, and that's one of the things people buy when they have money, right? A really cool car? She shook her head, pushing those thoughts to the back of her mind for now, and headed for Waki's place. Twenty-five minutes later she was standing there at his door, giving the bell a quick buzz to let him know she'd made it.

Nothing sounded better than Chinese delivery and checking out Waki's new place right about now.

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After a moment, she saw bare feet and faded jeans on the stairs through the door, and then he was there, opening the door and pulling her into the room. "Hey, hot stuff," he said, then bent her into a sweep, giving her a toe-curling kiss. "How are you?" he asked, a bit breathlessly when he released her.

"Better," she laughed and his face filled with pride.

"That's what I like to hear from my favorite red-head."

"Just favorite red-head?" she asked teasingly as they started up the stairs hand-in-hand.

He shrugged playfully. "I'm starting slow. But keep his up and you'll move up into larger categories until you're my favorite person."

She hit him with false indignation in her expression, laughing. He laughed with her, then kissed her again, looking content and happy. "You make me forget my worries and troubles," he murmured, then kissed her again. "Except my worries of making you happy."

"What troubles?" Ari chuckled. "You don't have any problems that I know of."

His face fell a little as he opened the door to an apartment, then he smiled and said, "Later. First, my pad."

The main room was large, a single open-floor plan that was living room, kitchen and dining room. Only the kitchen's island marked the edge between the 'rooms'. A bedroom was off to the left, next to a small bathroom. "This is it," he said, leaning against the back of his couch. "Whadda think?"

He was playing it cool, but she could tell he hoped she liked it.

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She looked around speculatively, and then walked over and hopped up so that she was sitting on the edge of the island countertop, legs crossed at the knee. She gave the entire room one more solid once-over from her new perspective, and then nodded firmly.

"I like it - very cool. Like a New York loft or something, right? You should get some of those zig-zaggy screen things to block off your bedroom, it would look awesome."

She tilted her head at him curiously, trying not to look too worried. She'd come over hoping to have some fun and take her mind off serious stuff, but it seemed like there was always some new serious stuff popping up to deal with anyway. But concern for Wakiki overrode her desire to forget about her own complications at the moment, and she beckoned him over with a finger, leaning down from her perch a bit to give him a lingering kiss before she pulled back to ask.

"So what's cookin', good lookin'? Sounds like something's up."

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"Not much," Wakiki said, shrugging. "Livy's ok, isn't she?"

Aradia blinked. "She's fine, last I saw. Why don't you know?"

"She hasn't talked to me since you all got back from that long mission," Wakiki said, trying to sound casual about it and just managing stressed. "It's pretty serious, you know, since it's been so long. She's pretty pissed at me. I assume Wright is in her good graces, since he was the rat?"

That sounded less casual and more hurt.

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She sighed in return, and shrugged a little.

"I guess. I don't really see him around much, except for when we're on missions. And the last time Livy and I talked - well, she was kinda pissed at me for somethin' too, so we didn't talk about that a lot, she was too busy chewin' me out. She's upset that you told him, though.. said she wanted to do it on her "own terms" - when she was ready. Or whatever. Like we knew she was ever going to be ready, you know? It's not like we didn't wait years for her to talk to someone about it."

Her thoughts flickered back to Livy's tearful confessions about Hatchins, and she debated how much to tell Wakiki about that conversation. But that was between sisters, not meant for Waki's ears.. and even if it was, Ari didn't want to be the one to share that special little corner of hell with him. Maybe Livy could deal with it okay, now that she was finally dealing, and he'd never have to hear his sister break down and confess to feeling like a piece of used, dirty meat because of what a bunch of sicko bastards did to her. She was quiet for a second, then she tilted her head at Waki thoughtfully.

"Why did you tell Vinny? You don't seem to like the guy.. don't know if I blame you, from what I've seen. I'm sure there's something there Livy's in love with, but I haven't known him long enough to figure out what it is. Other than a sense of loyalty I guess - so far I've mostly just seen him act like a dick. But I've mostly just interacted with him on the job, too. So I guess I'm just wondering.. you know. Why you told him in the first place."

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Wakiki sighed. "It started out as a warning, for him to stay away from my sister," he admitted. "I had to tell him what he'd done, and... to his credit, he was just as enraged. I mean, clearly he cares about her." That was no surprise. Livy could be easy to love, when she wasn't being all crazy and repressed. "I just don't know why she cares about him. She's way above his class. Can you keep an eye on them, make sure she isn't dating him because she doesn't think she can do better?"

Wakiki looked miserable as he asked that. He hated being cut out of Livy's life, especially given how much trouble she could get into without someone watching her. He knew that she hadn't told Mom and Dad yet, which was telling to him; she knew they were going to have a fit, and rightly so. He'd abandoned her once, why on earth did she think he wouldn't do it again?

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"So you were trying to protect her from him."

She sighed, and shook her head.

"Waki, you're gettin' too strung out about this. So Livy's a little pissed - give her time to cool off and she'll start talking to you again soon. Hell, she about killed me when she figured out I told you about all this shit that's going on.. not that I meant to tell her, but I musta' said something and she figured it out and she was pissed, cause she worries about you. I have put you in so much danger knowing what you know, and it was so freakin' stupid of me to do that, she's totally right. But it's not fair to you not to know either, and that sucks. But she was pissed because she's scared something will happen to you, so she's obviously not so pissed that she doesn't care. She just needs some time, okay?

Her lips turned down at the corners in a slight scowl, and she hopped off the counter, landing next to him and putting a hand on her waist. From the annoyed expression on her face he got the sudden feeling that he'd said something that might not have been a good idea.

"And she's not dating him cause she doesn't think she can do better - from what I've seen she knows she has other options. There are other guys at the base who'd be all over Livy if they could, from what I've heard. I mean, not like that, but.. you know. I get the feeling she's not exactly hurting for attention. But she picked Vinny, and she picked him cause she loves him. And if everything really went down the way Livy says it did, then it was all one big screwed up, fucked up misunderstanding between the two of them that never shoulda happened. I'm not saying they're perfect, and I'm not even saying for sure they'll last. But they should have the chance to figure that out. And you gotta trust your sister to do that.. and stop worryin' so much. Besides, you don't have much room to talk about class - people date who they wanna.. look at you. I'm not educated, I'm not a college grad, I'm a freakin' circus performer. I talk like one, I dress like one, I act like one. So you can't tell me I'm classy, but you wanna date me anyway. Vinny's no worse than me. So what's up with that - or did you not think about that part yet?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wakiki looked at her, and for a moment, he was angry. Then it faded away, and he nodded. Reaching out, he put his hands on her waist and drew her forward. When she was leaning against him, he admitted, "You're right. About a lot of it. I can't believe he's good enough for her - and I know, I have no right to say that. But I can't change what's in my heart, not so fast, Ari. I spent years hating and cursing that bastard and meeting him didn't help change my mind. I need time to get used to the idea that he isn't a jerk who I can talk shit about. For years, I could, and I can't change overnight."

He put his forehead against hers and said softly, "But don't say you aren't classy. Or if you're gonna insist on being not 'classy', then I don't want classy. I like you like you are." He choked back the request that she never, ever, ever again compared herself to Vinny. Wakiki's dislike of Wright had nothing to do with his socio-economic background and everything to do with the man he had shown himself to be. Aradia had come from a shitty background, one which most people wouldn't respect. Same with Wright, but she was an amazing person, while he was an ass. Still, you didn't argue with the woman, not if you enjoyed the physical stuff.

"Let's not talk about this," he said suddenly, pushing away from the counter, consequently pushing his body into hers in the process. His grin told her that he really enjoyed it, and that it may have been intentional. "Let's talk about my place, and what you'd like to do tonight." He couldn't help the hopeful gleam of lust that hopped into his expression.

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She arched a brow and smirked at him with that sly, knowing expression that was some kind of universally accepted female trademark. Then she gracefully sidestepped him and crossed the kitchen, pulling open the fridge. He wasn't sure if she was actually interested in the contents, or if she was bending over just slightly like that to torture him - with Aradia it was just as likely to be either, but nonetheless he enjoyed the moment. Sadly it didn't take too long for her to locate two bottles of beer and pull them out, closing the fridge behind her.

"I dunno. Something normal. My life is full of fucked up weird shit. Maybe we can watch a movie or something?"

She tossed one to him, and twisted the cap off of her own. She took a quick drink, and then leaned back against the counter next to the fridge.

I don't want to talk about the money. Or the fact that my teammate is like, my teenage aunt from another universe. Or the fact that we just stole a ship from an alien planet.

"Order delivery, hang out, break in your couch.. that kinda thing. Sound cool?"

Her expression told him that she hadn't meant that last part quite they way it had come out.. but it was so hard not to call her on it anyway...

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Wakiki demonstrated that miracles could happen when he simply replied, "Sounds cool." The beer was set on his end table while he walked over and crouched in front of the cabinet that served as his movie collection. He opened the doors and considered the offerings, then twisted to look at her. "Unless you like Japanese horror movies, or kung fu films, we might need to hit a rental store." He paused and added, "And some of the movies might be a bit dull if you don't speak Japanese." He shrugged and sighed. "I'm not used to my female friends coming over to watch movies, so I didn't have a lot in here."

The mention of Japanese made him consider something that he hadn't before; the very real possibility that his mother would want to meet Aradia. He subsumed the wince that thought brought up. His mother was very old-fashioned, and someone like Aradia would be deemed less than worthy of Nashi's only child, he knew. He hadn't talked to his mother about it yet, but resolved to do so when he called her next. Her disapproval wouldn't matter to him, and he suspected that it wouldn't matter to Ari either. She'd never had a great relationship with her mother and shouldn't miss having one with his. Besides, they both had Delayah, and she was enough to counter any old hag.

"So," he said, giving her a warm smile and a cute head tilt, "keeping in mind that we might have to go out anyway, genre and food preference?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Mmm.. I'm thinking comedy. Comedy and Thai food.. they don't serve much spicy food on the base, it really sucks."

Two hours later found them both curled up on the couch, eating Thai and watching one of Waki's bad Japanese horror movies. The comedy they had rented had been total crap, and Ari had suggested it as an alternative. She was pretty sure he was pulling her leg with some of the translations, and he'd earned a couple smacks already. But somehow, it had turned out to be the relaxing evening Ari had been hoping for. She pushed the thought that she should tell him about her inheritance out of her mind for now.. after all, there was no real rush, it wasn't like it was going to change anything. She hoped.

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