Archard needs to take Cheya his Raven to the vets but Cheya is not sold on this idea at all! Sara steps in to help out.
It was time to go and she couldn't stop feeling like it was all going to be a mistake. He hadn't spoken to her when they got in the night before. He had shut the door to his bedroom and that was it. She had sat numbly staring at the television thinking that she was probably making a huge mistake. She had fallen asleep on the sofa and woke up to the sounds of his alarm going off in the bedroom.
"Morning." He muttered as he passed her in some pyjamas. Sara giggled to herself because he seemed the kind of guy that would have liked to keep things natural but here he was wandering around in blue satin nightclothes.
"Good morning Archard." She smiled and shouted back before moving to make him a drink and to get herself one to try and wake up.
He came out in a wonderful white shirt and black trousers with red pinstripes. He moved past her to grab some seeds for the bird and then to her shock planted a kiss on her cheek as he moved past. She nearly dropped the mug as she passed it over. She saw a sly smile from him. The collar almost covered the lower jaw but he seemed to tilt his head to make sure she saw it before he slipped out of the kitchen.
"Bastard." She muttered. What had brought that on? Okay, he had to buttering her up for something because he never even spoke to her as a rule.
He seemed to relax once they had everything sorted out into the car to go and Cheya was caught and put into her cage. He didn't look too happy about having to put her in there.
"Archard where is Cheya going?" She asked as the little monster was put in the car with them. She hissed her displeasure to Sara as she was put on her knee. "Ah poor baby you don't look too happy."
"She has to go to the vets." He said harshly and then stopped himself. "I mean she's going to go to the vets. My neighbour offered but she would pine more being next door. The vets know how to look after her too. She'll be all right I guess."
Sara looked at the rather annoyed bird and then at her master. She noted that he really was a poor liar. He was worried about her and she had a better idea. She dived for her phone with a smile.
"Archard I have an idea that might be a little better for her." She said and put her hand on his before he could start the car and drive. "Let me see if my parents would look after her?"
"You think they would?" He asked sounding a little hopeful and relieved but he took his hand from her with a slight shake. He wasn't used to people touching him like that.
"Hang on." She waited for the answer. It was early so they may not answer but she heard the phone click and her father picked up the phone. "Hi Daddy. Yeah I know it's early but you know I wouldn't ring unless I really had too." There was a slight silence. "Daddy I want you to do me a favour. Mom won't like it but my flat mate has this beautiful raven and we are going away and we don't want to leave her at the vets... yes I know it is short notice but Archard will tell you everything you need to know about looking after her..."
Archard stopped listening as he looked out of the window and tried to concentrate on the scenery. Outside wasn't close to another human being. He knew he was pathetic but every time he was touched when he wasn't the one making the decisions it caused him to feel sick. He hadn't realised his hand was covering his mouth when she put the phone down and turned back to him. She repeated him name a few times until he turned back to her.
"Are you alright or do you feel sick?" She asked him putting her phone in her pocket. He started the car after nodding that he was fine. "Dad says if you know where the farm is and you have the time he will look after Cheya for you. If you tell him what she needs and what she eats he'll sort it all out."
"Arigato." He smiled at her before putting on the music and then leaning close to her to talk to Cheya. Sam took in a deep breath to make sure she could smell him and his hair brushed her face. "Hear that Lady? You aren't going to the vets so cheer the hell up."
The drive out was as silent as always as he thought of how he would approach his needs to her. He had to make her understand what he was going to do and that he didn't want her to get any big ideas from it. He knew he was playing a game that could really hurt her but at that precise moment he didn't care.
"Sara, before we meet with your parents I need to ask you to do something. If you cannot or will not then I will leave you with them and arrange whatever you wish and I promise I won't argue with your decision." He told her and parked the car on the side of the road where he could face her.
He was nervous and she could tell as he looked at her with pretty green eyes. She had never seen them look so beautiful and she couldn't help but appreciate him in front of her. He sounded serious, more serious than usual if that could be thought possible. She nodded for him to continue as Cheya weaved around on her perch watching the two humans.
"I want to go to Tokyo and I want you to stay in the room with me as my wife." He put a finger over her mouth as he explained. "I have to rescue a young man out there. I am not proposing but they may want to know why I am in the country and I will tell them I am on a honeymoon. It will be dangerous for me but I intend to keep you innocent in all of this. I have no one else I feel I can trust with this. It will not be pleasant." He told her and looked back at the window screen. "I will understand if you say no as it is a pretty fucked up question."
"Archard..." She couldn't quite understand it but he was asking her something and making it clear he trusted her above anyone else. It meant a lot to her but she had a lot of questions that he might not be prepared to answer. "Tell me why you have to go and get him. Help me to see what you are doing?"
"I promised I would keep him safe. When I lived there I promised him and now I have failed to do that. I have to save his life. It is a matter of honour." He started the car again. "I know it might seem stupid coming from someone like me, or that maybe I just read to many fairytales whilst I was out there but I truly feel that if I am to make anything of this life, or the next then it will be by keeping the few promises I make. One of them is to this boy."
There was a long silence as they pulled off and when they reached the farm she wasn't sure she could say anything much to him at all. She just put her hand on his leg and nodded that she would go. He tensed but didn't move away and smiled meekly. The gates opened slowly and he drove through to the front of an old livery yard.
"Your parents like horses?" He asked with a smile and attempted to be more civil about things for her sake. "Best not tell my mother as she already thinks I lead too dangerous a life. If I put horses into the equation she'd go mad."
Sara let out a laugh, it was the first personal thing he'd ever let on about but it was in such a light context. She went to get out of the car but he stopped her before coming round to open the door. Her father came out to see it and watched the two. This young man was far richer than any of her others and he was a little worried by the spotless car and attire that maybe he'd downgrade his little girl seeing their place.
"Daddy!" Sara smiled and nearly forgot Cheya in her excitement to meet with her father. Archard rescued Cheya and picked up the cage before checking he had everything he needed and heading over to where the two were embracing and Sara was telling him about their planned holiday.
"Agent Vortigern is taking me all the way to Tokyo and then we are going to stay in some huge hotel." She beamed away as he wandered up. The happy tone of voice and the excitement made him think of the boy. He had that innocence to him too. Archard wondered if maybe he had been that young once but he certainly didn't feel it anymore. "Daddy this is Agent Vortigern with the CSI department. He's a medical examiner. Agent Vortigern this is my father Thomas Madison."
"Delighted." Archard said freeing a hand to shake and looking at the farm. It was homely and the horses looked at him from the stables on the other side. Tom wondered if maybe it was a bit too down to earth for such a city based looking man.
"Do you ride?" He asked Archard.
"No." He answered watching one of the horses. "I haven't got a flair for that kind of thing I am afraid." He realised he might have snapped and clutched the cage tighter. "Sorry I err... nerves."
"It's okay we aren't gonna bite." Tom smiled and led him through to the house. "Now don't worry too much about Sara's mom being a little bit of a tyrant at times. She's nice enough if not a bit stern. She's a teacher for the troubled kids and a little matter of fact for some. Our Sara argues with her all the time." He laughed before opening the door and showing them in. Archard noted that the house didn't smell like horse as they wandered in.
Cheya let out her little grumble of protest at being in her cage still but he ignored it and carried her in. Sara's mother sat by the window preening roses and arranging them as he walked in. She was in her late fifties and had long dark hair that was starting to grey at the sides. Archard wondered what they'd make of his parents. His mother loved flowers but would get a gardener in over getting her hands dirty any day. He looked at the roses and stood in the doorway waiting to be accepted admittance.
"Come in then." She said and motioned them in. "Sara get your friend a drink." She ordered and motioned him to sit next to her. Archard politely followed her request and placed the birdcage on the table. Tom went with Sara as the two were given a little space. Tom didn't mind the bird but his wife may well hate her. "My name is Marilyn and you are Archard I presume?"
"Yes I am." He smiled and put his hands to his lap. It was like being back at school and the cheeky grin was already on his face. Marilyn noticed it, he'd have been an eager student but she mused that he was also likely a troublemaker.
"So what do you do? My Sara isn't usually one to run to the arms of a man. She usually picks the wrong kind. What's so different about you?"
"Nothing." He told her the smile fading a little. The slight green rim around his eyes faded and he stiffened a little. "She is just a housemate. She isn't anything else if that's what you think."
"You are a good looking man." She noted and put a hand under his chin. Archard regarded her with a little nonchalance but was finding her curious non-the-less. "I think you will pass. I have no doubt that you have a score of women waiting for you. I hope that you aren't going to play with her like a toy."
"I have no intention of upsetting her but I won't say I will never do it." He told her as the hand was removed from his face. He let out a breath, he wasn't keen on the touch but he wasn't going to make a scene.
"Well is this the bird you want us to look after?" He nodded and opened the door to her cage. The beautiful black bird stretched her wings and dropped onto the table. Archard placed her mat in the cage so that she wouldn't make a mess. "She is house trained? Impressive. Do you like everything trained to your tastes Agent Vortigern?"
"Iie, I mean no I don't." He looked at her a little mystified. "She was trained by someone else for me. I like a little surprise in my life. Not everything has to be linear."
"Mmm..." She nodded and let the bird come closer. Cheya decided to show off her talents with words and shouted Lady Time. Archard blushed and looked down at the floor. Marilyn looked at him and let out a soft smile while he wasn't looking. "She can stay."
"Arigato." He said and relaxed almost instantaneously. Sara came through with the drinks and placed them on the table. "We cannot stay long but when we come back would you like to come to dinner?"
"We will see how your lady behaves first." Marilyn replied before motioned Sara to sit. Sara looked a little uncomfortable and found a chair to one side. "So what do you actually do for a living Agent Vortigern? The FBI is a little on the broad side for a description." Sara looked down she knew this wasn't going to go well.
"I am a medical examiner and CSI." He said. "I deal with forensics."
"Oh." The smile faded. "Well if you don't talk about your work then we will get along fine." She told him and turned to the roses. The conversation was over.
Archard knew when someone had problems with his profession and found it irking. There was nothing he should be ashamed of with his choice of career yet his mother was repulsed and quite clearly Sara's mother was no fan. He stood up having finished his drink and made a polite bow before excusing himself and heading out to his car. From the stables Tom waved his goodbye. Well at least he hadn't been snobbish or off putting, Tom thought he was probably going to be good for his girl. He had no idea that when Archard had said he was no better he hadn't really hit the point home too well.
Sara got into the car and put on her seatbelt. Her mother must have been okay with him as she hadn't made a snide remark. Whilst her family were not extensively rich they had worked hard all their lives to be comfortable and her mother saw people like Archard as spoilt and never having understood the hardships of life. There was something in him that Sara felt he had seen the worst side of it. Perhaps her mother sensed it too but she wasn't going to try and find out when they weren't the closest of family anyway. Marilyn may have given birth to Sara but it was her father that doted on her every move. He wanted the best for his little girl and he would try and help her along whatever she chose. For her mother it had probably been bliss to see her off to university and be free to go back to her own life. Sara couldn't really blame her for that, Marilyn had been young when Sara was born and perhaps she had felt robbed of something.
She was still musing about the whole idea when she felt Archard's car pull out of the drive and back onto the road. He had thought of something else entirely about the meeting. Marilyn seemed to have given off the impression that she wanted her daughter to have nothing to do with his tailored DC life and money. He was the epitome of all the rich kids and yet she knew nothing about him to make any decision about him. Once upon a time he'd have argued it out, like a rebellious teenager who refused to accept that he couldn't change the world just by existing. Now however, he had chilled out a little and put life to the test. He had been defeated. He was, he decided, just put on the Earth to exist in some twisted way, to combat against all the ideals he had and wanted to have. Something so simple as a wife and children were not to be his pleasure anymore.
So little had he observed the fact that just inches away from the hand he held over the gears in his car was a woman who wanted to give him just that. There was a certain irony to his gestures when he forced himself on people with that overt charm and cocksure nature because really he didn't fancy being noticed at all. It was all such a wonderful act that most people didn't want to fight to get underneath so what would make her any different?