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Story Notes:
Written in answer to Ptender Fanfic100 Challenge #66. Guideline was to use the word storm in a character-centric story.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Pretender series or any of the characters. I do not make money out of fanfiction writing, this is purely for pleasure.

Author's note: This was written in answer to Pretender Fanfic100 challenge #66 and is rated PG.

The Storm

Predicting a storm's trajectory using video data and a map had been one of his favourite exercises at Donoterase. It was fairly easy once you knew the speed of sound and a few geographical facts about the area, but it never failed to impress the centre operatives who had often come to check on young project Gemini.

Yet, like for so many things, his knowledge had been entirely theoretical. Having lived underground all his life, he had never even felt raindrops on his forehead. Which was why he was now standing in darkness with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, window wide open, shivering in frozen awe at the majesty of what had to be the most spectacular storm ever. He needed to test himself against the fury of the night. Gusts of leaves spiralled into the room, short-lived gales slapped his face with icy rain, thunder roared in his very bones! Forks of lightning - bolts of pure energy! - sharpened the features of the night and were gone, leaving in the air a metallic aftertaste. 

The feeling of insignificance nature's debacle inspired in him was new. Although he had lived in a world where every comfort had to be earned never had he been made to feel unimportant. He had always been at the centre of his colourless world, whole days revolving around what his mind could accomplish. Whole nights spent calculating what he could do to achieve more freedom. It's up to you Gemini... What are you willing to do?

And now here he was, toes gripping the carpeted floor, staring at the mind-numbing power of the elements, knowing he should shut the window before Major Charles came in to check on him as he did several times a night, when he thought Gem was asleep. For how could he explain his behaviour to the kind man who tried so hard to be his father? How could he put into words the terrifying but undeniable release he felt upon experiencing something totally beyond his control. No pressure, no choices. No consequences. As long as the tempest raged, Dr Raines' voice would be kept at bay. With this thought in mind he moved away from the window-frame and sat down silently, tightening the blanket around him. 

The storm had lessened considerably, turning into a steady rain with the occasional rumble in the distance. When the door creaked open, Gem jumped and turned his head  towards a stunned Major Charles, waiting guiltily for the worried questions which were sure to follow. Taking in the wet floor, the leaves strewn across the room and the small form sat in front of the open window, Major Charles didn't say a word. Instead he crossed the room and sat down next to Gem.

"I couldn't sleep, so I came to see how you were doing..." the major said simply.

No accusation or condemnation in the man's voice. No questions asked either even if Gem could tell there were question marks in the other man's gaze. But explanations could wait. The exhausted teenager didn't want to stir up the past just yet. Not while his shaky peace of mind lasted.

"Thank you," he answered. After awhile and with great deliberation he added "Dad."

Major Charles' eyes widened at the word. He put an arm around Gem's shoulders and squeezed gently.

"You're welcome, son." 


Chapter End Notes:

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