Return to Into the Stars Part One

Into the Stars

Author: bluemote
Rating: PG to R
Disclaimer: I acknowledge that ME and JW own the characters of Willow and Tara. However, this is very AU, so, yeah, well, any silliness is mine...

The child sits still now. She remains small, but not so thin. No bones are jutting and her face is more rounded owing to her stay at the base. There are no bruises, save a few scrapes on her hands, and she has relinquished the continuous urge to run. She sits on a dark red couch, legs swinging out from under her still patched clothes.

She is awake, alert to every sound, every light. First she studies the shadow patterns made from the blinds, then the rough wooden boards on the floor. Her eyes trace the corners of the dark walls, the instruments on the old desk. As though saving the best for last, she eventually lets herself inspect the glowing console half assembled on the desk, the electrical channels built into the nearby wall, the communications ports tracing delicately from the desk around the room. The connections are part of the structure of the room, their metal threads trailing into unexpected nests of geometric maps and shapes. Visual display screens slot into the surface of the desk like oversize dominoes, some lit and some transparent.

The girl follows the connections swiftly, her green eyes mesmerised by the pale mesh of wires and lights. She stands without thinking and walks towards the machine rapt with concentration. Her fingers trace the circuits built into the wall, moving at right angles along the connections. Swiftly, she follows the maze to a junction, lit behind in pale blue, and peers into the crystalline matrix where pathway upon pathway are superimposed onto each other - here the machine layers deep into the wall. She stops, small in comparison to the hugely intricate network in front and all around her.

From the desk the girl takes a small transparent cube packed with wire and lights and returns to the pale blue node of the machine in the wall. Without hesitation she presses the surface of the wall and a clear panel protecting the machinery springs out and to the side. Quickly, her fingers work at the matrix of cubes and conduits inside, moving the components around like a puzzle, changing and turning the arrangement of lights as she works. Pathways fuse and break, accompanied by the soft flash of indicator lights that highlight the concentration on her delicate face as she works. She is fully absorbed, a child conductor of mechanics, a weaver of wires and light.

Finally she pauses, retrieves the original cube from her pocket. The fierce concentration she used to reserve for running is shining from her face while her fingers move the cube steadily towards a gap in the circuit. It slides into place with a faint click, then a steady hum. The circuit lights flicker as the cover moves back into place. She watches rapt with hope.

Suddenly, the lights in the wall swarm into the circuitry. The low hum multiplies to become harmonic. The wires crossing the room are filled with motes of light, making thin and changing rainbows overhead.

In amongst it all, the girl stands mute and tiny, watching what she has created. In the maelstrom of light, the swirl of electronics, the live hum of complex logic, she stands and smiles so pure it makes those who see it remember to be glad.

Continue to Into the Stars Part Three

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