The Song Remembers When

Piano Lessons

Piano Lessons

A Dark Angel Fanfic
by Laurel (Sailorhathor)


Rating: Adult for het sexual situations
Dates: Written December 2006
Word Count: 3,459
Summary: Gem's questions about where Alec learned to play the piano bring up one of his happier (and steamier) memories of Rachel Berrisford.
Timeline: Post-series
Warning: Spoilers for "The Berrisford Agenda" and "Freak Nation."
Betas: Thanks to Meredevachon for the speedy beta.
Author's Notes: This story was written for LithiumDoll in the Yuletide 2006 Challenge. An X5-494 (Alec)/Rachel Berrisford story.


        Six months passed in Terminal City faster than anyone could have anticipated. The fact that there was constant work to be done to survive helped the time pass, but everyone still expected to at least feel that length of time go by, after all that had happened. But days flowed like rain as Gem's baby grew several inches, like a living, squiggling clock dressed in fleece and blankets.

        She had named the girl Reagan, after the man who delivered her. Although Gem had secretly feared for her baby's safety for a while, she soon fell into a pattern of daily routine that was soothing and a little boring. Everyone considered Reagan a symbol of hope in the wasted city, and so they looked after Gem and the baby to the point of annoyance sometimes. But, really, she appreciated not having to worry where their food, shelter, and clothing were going to come from. Gem could count on something useful being delivered to her little shack every morning; all the others wanted in return was their chance to hold the little girl or rub her fine-haired head for luck.

        Because of their ability to blend in, some were able to slip out of Terminal City and bring back supplies. But there weren't enough of them. For one thing, Max could hardly step outside of the fences because of her recognizability as the ringleader of the "Terminal City mutants." Things got a little lean for about a week until Cindy struck up a friendship with some of the members of the National Guard who watched the East fence and found out that the Manticore escapees had sympathizers among the human population. A deal was negotiated and a hole was cut in that fence to allow supplies through. A closely guarded secret, for if the powers that be found out that humans were looking after mutants, using taxpayers' money to feed and clothe them and supply them with generators, heads would roll, human and mutant alike.

        Gem spent most of her time raising Reagan and watching her grow. She did not have to find employment outside Terminal City because her every need was taken care of by the others. All she had to do was look after the hope of the genetically empowered nation and stay away from the areas that had been ravaged by toxic waste, the reason this part of Seattle was known as "terminal" in the first place.

        At first, things changed a lot from day to day; there was always work to do to make the wasted city a home. But there were some constants, things that became comforting in their regularity. The sound of the Terminal City flag flapping in the breeze. Joshua painting their everyday lives. And Alec playing the piano.

        It had been found among the ruins, a beat up black piano, some of the strings out of tune, a few keys missing, and a scorch mark across the top. But it seemed to serve its purpose, for Alec played it almost every night.

        Gem noticed that Alec became very broody when he played. Like he went into a trance that left him sullen and quiet once he was done. The music soothed Reagan to sleep, though. The baby girl cooed and smiled before drifting off every time Alec played. In Gem's book, that couldn't be a bad thing.

        Joshua had told her to stay away from Alec when he played the piano. Said it with great caution. But she felt somehow that Alec needed someone not to stay away, that he would disappear inside himself, inside the music, if someone didn't take a chance.

        Maybe that someone would be her and her baby.

        "What is that?" Gem asked one night, sidling up next to the piano as Alec played a classical tune. Reagan burbled in her arms, waving a pudgy fist in the air like she was giving the genetically empowered salute.

        Alec faltered on the keys for a brief second, giving Gem a glance before taking up the song again. The expression on his face was hard and tense. "Just some song I learned once," he mumbled.

        "What's it called?"

        Alec stopped playing, stared up at Gem with a look fit to kill, and took a deep breath. Reagan made a burping sound and smiled down at the seated X5 with curious blue eyes, unaware of his anger. Alec looked back at the baby and suddenly grinned. It was like a layer of ice melted off his shoulders. "It's, ah... Chopin's Minute Waltz."

        "Oh." Gem readjusted the baby on her hip. "I've never heard it before. It's very pretty." She looked at Reagan with pride. "Reagan seems to like it."

        "Where did you get that name, anyway?"

        "From the man who delivered her."

        Alec snickered. Some of the others who had been hanging around listening to Alec play were surprised to hear the sound; he never laughed when he was playing the piano. "Normal's real name is Reagan?"

        "Yeah. You didn't know that?" Gem asked.

        "No." Alec turned back to the piano. He put his fingers on the keys and paused, swallowing. "Any special requests?"

        "Will you start playing that Chopin song again?"

        Alec tensed. The others lazing around listening to him play also tensed.

        Gem repeated, "Reagan seems to like it."

        After a few seconds of silence, Alec put on a smile and nodded. "Sure." He began to play again.

        Everyone relaxed. A little.

        The baby instantly reacted to the song. She grinned and gurgled, opening and closing one little fist. As small as she was, Reagan did weigh about sixteen pounds now; after some time of holding her in the same position, Gem's arms were weary. "Do you mind if I sit down?" she asked, indicating the extra room on the piano bench.

        The people nearby visibly tensed again. But Alec hardly blinked. "Go ahead."

        With a small smile, Gem took a seat, facing away from the piano, and everyone slowly relaxed. Gem could feel their tension. What was that about? She bounced the baby lightly, shifting her into a more comfortable position, and wondered. "Where did you learn to play, Alec?"

        He did not stop playing or look at her, just replied, "Manticore."

        Now it was Gem's turn to tense up. "This was a skill they taught you?"

        Alec nodded curtly.

        That was odd. Usually, Manticore was all about combat, espionage, and murder. "What for?"

        Although Alec's playing slowed down, he still did not stop. Gem had no idea how strange the "Minute Waltz" sounded at a crawl, for someone who had grown up behind the walls of Manticore wouldn't have ever heard music unless there was a specific purpose for it. It seemed to her that Alec was choosing his words carefully. "Spy job. I needed a cover. So I became a very talented piano teacher, there to teach the mark's daughter how to play." His eyes took on a far away, longing look. "Worked like a charm."

        "Oh." Gem dislodged a chunk of her hair from Reagan's fist. The baby gurgled. "A little girl?"

        "No." Alec swallowed down a lump of emotion. "No."

        "How old was she? The daughter."

        "Just seventeen."

        Gem didn't have to be hit over the head with it any further to know that there was some heavy emotion surrounding this job of Alec's from his past with Manticore; it was written all over his face and in his tone of voice. Just seventeen... Gem detected some regret in Alec's choice of words. Had he done something awful to this girl? Did he care for her? To make the conversation a little more private, she asked in a quiet tone, "What was her name?"

        "Rachel. Rachel Berrisford." Alec again began to play the waltz at the quick pace at which it was meant to be played.

        Gem could see him retreating into himself. She hoped that by talking to him, she could draw him back out. "This was one of the songs you taught her?"

        He nodded.

        "It's pretty. Must bring back all kinds of memories when you play it."

        Alec stopped dead, mid-song. He paused, not moving, as a memory crept back on him. The others looked at each other, hoping that Gem hadn't asked the "wrong" question that would make Alec storm off. Music had been a scarce luxury at Manticore, so no matter what song he played, they always enjoyed it, and didn't want him to stop.

        After a few silent seconds, a wide grin spread across Alec's face and he snickered impishly.

***

        "The fingerings on this one are complicated, Simon. You expect me to learn this in one afternoon?" Rachel gave him one of her devilish little smirks that he knew promised a wicked side behind that angelic demeanor.

        X5-494 looked at her over his glasses. "You've learned pieces much harder than Chopin's 'Minute Waltz,' Rachel."

        "But this one's so fast!" She played a few bars of it, haltingly, like her fingers got tangled in one another. "I'll never keep it straight."

        494 peeked out the open door to see if Mr. Berrisford was anywhere to be found. He didn't seem to be near. Good. 494 walked around the piano and took a seat next to Rachel on the bench. "Here, let me show you. We'll do it slow the first time."

        "Oh? We will?" She nudged him and giggled.

        Ah, innuendo. 494 knew what that was. His superiors at Manticore had taught him all the finer points of flirting so he wouldn't look like a blithering idiot in front of the girl. "It's the best way to learn," he replied, giving her a wink. "Now, imitate what I do."

        494 played one of the faster parts of the song, and had Rachel do it after him. He could see how these finger movements could be complicated when you played them fast, at least for a mere human; slowed down, she could learn it step by step, and add the speed later. Rachel draped her arm over his to reach the keys between his hands. She leaned in, grinning. "Keep playing while we talk so my dad doesn't think anything's up."

        494 glanced at her with a raised eyebrow, and nodded.

        Rachel whispered, "Will you come to my balcony tonight? I want to sneak you into my room. After midnight, okay?"

        The breath from her mouth tickled his ear and cheek. "Whatever will we do? There's no piano in your room," 494 teased.

        "You know," Rachel replied in a scolding tone. "Or have you forgotten? It hasn't been that long since we last fooled around."

        He smiled and almost blushed. "I could never forget."

        "I bet you couldn't." She kissed the side of his mouth. "I really want you to be my first, Simon. I love you."

        494 looked down at her where she leaned on his shoulder. Not for the first time, he wished he had a real name. He was not Simon. Simon Lehane was a man he killed so he could assume his identity. It hurt inside that when she told him she loved him, she could not call him by a name that belonged to him. What sort of name was X5-494? Either way, 494 did not need his own name to know how he felt about her. "I love you too, Rachel." He kissed her soundly on the lips. "We'll... we'll talk about that sometime."

        Simon was such a peculiar man. Most guys would jump on the chance to take a girl's virginity when she offered it to him, Rachel mused. But she had found herself an honest-to-god gentleman. They did still exist. Amazing. It amused her how much she had to seduce him, and he was the older one! But she did so enjoy it. Simon was cute, the way he got embarrassed and his hands shook. It was a stark contrast to how well he kissed and cuddled and... all the other wonderful things he could do. Rachel thought he made out at least as well as he played the piano. That thought got her giggling again.

        "Mr. Lehane, I'm not sure I'm getting this part as well as I could. I think I need a little more hands-on approach." Rachel slid into 494's lap.

        He made a surprised sound before snickering deeply, then checking the door to make sure they still were not being watched. "Rachel... your dad could come in any minute..."

        "That's what makes it so exciting." She squirmed against him with a giggle.

        "Rachel... sometimes, you are so bad."

        "You like it." Rachel stroked his arm, his hands still on the piano keys. "Can we, um... mess around a little? Touch me, Simon."

        The heat in her voice turned him on. How could he ever deny her? Again, 494 wished he had a real name, but he pushed the twinge of hurt away in favor of fun and games. "Only if you keep playing the piano, so your dad doesn't suspect anything's amiss."

        Rachel nodded enthusiastically. She attempted to play the Chopin song they'd been working on. That would sound very real and routine, her practicing a new song and sometimes messing it up.

        494 put his lips to her ear. "When I visit you in your room tonight, I'm going to undress you, and put my mouth here." He cupped one of her breasts in his hand, slowly running his fingers over the nipple through her expensive silk shirt. It instantly responded.

        Rachel gasped.

        There were many skills at which 494 excelled. One of them was lovemaking. "I'll suck on this for a long, long time, because I know how good it feels to you." He rolled his fingertip over the nipple, circling it, making it hard. Encouraging her arousal. She started to breathe faster. "You won't object, will you?"

        "Nuh uh," Rachel responded. "No way, honey." And she giggled again.

        "I'm glad. Because I enjoy doing it." 494 slowly undid the first few buttons of her shirt. She looked anxiously at the door, shifting in his lap. He opened her shirt a little and slipped one side of her bra down, gently pulling out her breast.

        "Simon..." Rachel said in a breathy but anxious tone. If her father walked in right now, they'd be dead meat. But she didn't want him to quit for anything.

        "Don't stop playing," 494 instructed, and dipped her back slightly to give himself easier access. He put his face into her shirt and sucked at the exposed, hard nipple, rolling it between his teeth.

        "Simon!" she whispered harshly. Rachel's fingers faltered on the keys. She was never so glad that she had learned to play without looking at her hands all the time.

        He kept at it for a good minute, inside screaming how much he wanted to have a name of his own for her to moan, just once how he wanted to hear her cry out for him. Rachel squirmed in his lap as she relished the attention. 494 moaned lightly against her chest. She was getting him hard, rubbing against him like that.

        "Oh Simon..."

        Eventually, he moved up to her neck, kissing along the side of it, then sitting her back upright. Flustered, Rachel did not move to fix her shirt just yet. She liked the feeling of his saliva drying on her skin as the wind from the air conditioner blew lightly across her breasts. "I can... feel you... getting excited," Rachel confessed in a giddy tone.

        "What about you?" 494 unbuttoned her slacks. She gasped again. "Don't stop playing," he instructed once more, and unzipped them. "Should I put my mouth here too once we get together tonight?"

        Knowing where he was going, Rachel spread her legs across his lap in anticipation. "Definitely. You're already so good at it, but it couldn't hurt to get in some practice. It's like you always say, practice makes per - uhhah!" The first touch of his fingers to that sensitive spot between her legs had her quivering and breathing hard against his neck. "Simon. Ooooh, Simon!"

        Rachel's breaths came out shivery as 494's first two fingers caressed and squeezed the sensitive little knob, running slowly over and around it, making her wetter than she already was. Her legs and arms shook until she had trouble keeping up the charade that they weren't doing anything, messing the song up constantly.

        "Talk about complicated fingerings," she was able to joke.

        He chuckled. "We're going to get caught, Rachel."

        She could only make a light, "mmm"-like sound.

        "We need to finish this."

        "Uh huh."

        "This is just a prelude to tonight." 494 knew how to make a girl climax, and climax quickly. He wasn't a man to just leave her hanging. Rachel needed as much stimulation as possible, a full assault to her senses. He yanked her shirt open, taking the exposed nipple between two fingers and fondling it without reserve.

        "Mm, Simon!"

        494 then shoved his other hand deeper into her panties and slid a finger up into her channel, while putting his thumb squarely on the little knob he'd been working on before and rotating it like a piston machine. Rachel tried to cry out in surprise and arousal, but he mashed his mouth into hers, and they shared several long, open-mouthed kisses. 494's finger slipped in and out as everything else worked on all her sensitive spots, quickly and efficiently, just as Manticore had taught him. Minimize the risk by getting it done fast. They could take their time when they were alone tonight.

        Rachel shook so hard against him that he knew she was about to arrive. He stopped kissing her and listened to her pant for him, beyond the point of control. 494 loved watching her climax. "Come on, baby," he whispered, hands working.

        "Uh... uhhh... Simon!"

        "Just let go..."

        Rachel's mouth fell open in a long, hard breath. "Oh, SIMO-"

        With a chuckle, his hand came off her breast and clamped over her mouth. Rachel's fingers clawed at the piano keys; it sounded like a cat walking across them. She came, shuddering down on his hand, moaning shrilly into the other one. He loved every sound and movement against him, his forehead against the side of her face.

        Then he gritted his teeth and grunted passionately, trying to stay quiet, as the sights and noises and her bottom squirming against him made him cum too. Their movements on the creaky piano bench eventually slowed down, and they panted against each other, slowly catching their breath.

        When 494's hand came off her mouth, Rachel whispered, "Oh God, Simon, I love you so much," with such intensity in her voice that it cut through him.

        But he wouldn't allow those thoughts of the future to ruin this. Not now. There was time enough to consider what he was going to do to get himself out of this web of betrayal. 494 was helpless to resist how good and right she made him feel. "I love you, too, Rachel. More than you'll ever know."


***

        Gem leaned back, and considered waving a hand in front of Alec's face. "Hello? Alec? Did you hear me? ...What's that smile about?"

        This brought him out of the trance he had been put in by the memory. Alec blinked at her, turned back to the piano, and began to play a different song. "Wouldn't you like to know."

        Her eyes widening, Gem replied, "No, really, what's that smile about?"

        Alec just snickered and went on playing.

        Now dying of curiosity, she said, "Okay, don't tell me. But, would you do something for me?"

        "Possibly..."

        "Would you give me lessons like that?"

        Alec stopped cold again. He paused. And then he burst into nervous, boisterous laughter.

        Not expecting that reaction, the others were startled by the sound. They looked at each other and shrugged.

        "What?" Gem asked, a little surprised herself.

        Reagan started to giggle at the sound of Alec laughing, imitating him.

        He put his elbows on the piano keys and covered his face with his hands, and then laughed until his face turned red and tears rolled out of his eyes. It was the first good laugh he'd had in years.

Piano Lessons (c) 2006 Demented Stuff
Dark Angel (c) 2001-2 Cameron/Eglee Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Television

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