“That asshole,” was Corra’s summation once Leta (with a little help from Cyrus) had managed to explain. Already half an hour had passed since the fight that had driven Leta to the Beacon, but she was still reeling. Her hands were shaking in her lap. The calming hum of the empty bridge had done nothing to soothe her, nor did the tea and whiskey Cyrus had made, nor Corra’s assurance that she had expelled Fiearius from the ship and set some of her best guys on the job to make sure he stayed that way. She still felt adrift in some vast ocean barely able to keep treading water.
Corra’s feelings were a little more concise.
“That fucking, lying asshole.” She paced the room in a fervor. “I shoulda shot him. I really shoulda.” She turned on Cyrus who was slumped in the pilot’s seat looking as exhausted as she felt. “Why didn’t you let me shoot him?”
Cyrus lifted his shoulders in a hopeless shrug. “‘Cause then he’d be a fucking, lying, bleeding asshole?”
Corra stopped pacing and crossed her arms over her chest. “The hell’s wrong with that?” she muttered under her breath.
“I don’t think I can talk to him,” said Leta, her voice hollow and empty. “Or see him. Or even look at him.”
“Then we’ll go,” Corra said at once, as though it were the most simple solution ever uttered. When Leta looked up at her in surprise, she went on, “We’ll just go. Cyrus and I will go back to the Dionysian, grab your things, bring them here and we’ll leave. Today. Right now.”
“You mean — “ Leta was almost afraid to say the words aloud. “Move to the Beacon?”
“Why not?” Corra’s eyes shone with eagerness. “You want to get away from Captain Shithead? We’ll take you away from him. He’s toxic. His problems, in their vast quantity, are contagious and you don’t need him. Just come with us. We have plenty of space. Good work coming in, so we can easily afford to feed one more. We don’t get injured that often so you might get bored, but the crew’s great, the facilities are great, I’m here.” She stalked over to Leta and picked up her hands. “Join the Beacon. You’ll be much happier here, I know it.”
Leta couldn’t speak. She felt an odd sensation in her chest — painful, but hopeful.
“I don’t know if that’s really–” Cyrus began, leaning forward in his chair but Leta cut him off.
“I think that’s a good idea,” she said at last, her voice gentle. Corra beamed. “I’d like that.”
Cyrus’ jaw dropped. “Wait, what?”
Corra, however, was ecstatic. She gripped Leta’s forearms and bounced on her toes and let out a squeal.
“You’re right,” said Leta quietly. “It’s time. I said I’d only leave the Dionysian when it was time. And — it’s time.”
“Yes, let’s go!” Corra agreed, releasing her and flitting across to the navigation console. “Where do you wanna go? A vineyard on Rossind? Shopping on Tarin? A casino in Genisi? Without Mr. Wanted-By-Everyone-Everywhere, we could even do a tropical getaway on Paraven?”
Leta smiled weakly. Corra’s glee was almost, but not quite, contagious. “Remember we always said we’d visit the hot springs just outside of Vena?”
“You got it!” Corra yelped. “We’ll go anywhere you want! By tonight you’ll be saying Fieari-who? I guarantee it.”
Cyrus finally got to his feet, looking dumbfounded. “You can’t be serious,” he said, staring between the two of them. “What, just–whisking away. Just like that. Isn’t that kind of unnecessary?”
“Unnecessary?” Corra repeated. “It’s completely necessary.”
Cyrus ignored her and looked desperately to Leta. “Look, I know you’re mad at him, but c’mon. You can’t just leave. I mean, what he did was shitty, but this, fleeing on the Beacon…isn’t this kind of ridiculous?”
Corra’s glare was sudden and intense. “Wait, please tell me you’re not defending him?”
“What? No! No, of course not,” Cyrus said hurriedly, “But you can’t just leave like this.”
“Cyrus,” Leta pressed softly. “I’m sorry. But I think it’s time. I’m no help to Fiearius — in any way — if he can’t even tell me about something like this. He needs a doctor he can talk to. And I’m not clearly that person anymore.”
“But what about the rest of us?” Cyrus despaired. “I know you just want to get away from Fiear and I respect that, but if you leave us here? I don’t know the first thing about withdrawals or getting people through them or anything! And what are we supposed to do in the meantime? We can’t afford to stay docked here much longer than a week. The Society’s still tailing us. We’re severely low on cash. And, incidentally, rations. And even if we figure all that out, there’s still the matter that my brother, hate him all you want, could die without medical care that I can’t give him. I’m not defending Fiearius, I’m asking for help.”
“Cyrus. Of course I don’t want Fiearius to suffer, but I can’t–”
But another voice interrupted her, warm and kind. “You’ll have help.”
It was Daelen in the doorway, his eyes kind and a little sad. When Corra cast him a look of concern, he held up his hand and went on, “Despite what we say captain, the Beacon doesn’t have a need for two physicians. Leta can take my place here and I’ll take hers on the Dionysian. And we’ll get through it.”
Cyrus couldn’t have looked more relieved. “Thank you,” he breathed, closing his eyes.
“So it’s settled then,” said Corra, clapping her hands together. “Daelen will go to the Dionysian, Leta will stay here, Fiearius will realize how big of an idiot he is — and we’ll all get through this.”
Privately, sincerely, Leta was not sure that they would. But she said nothing as everyone murmured agreement.
“I’ll go get your stuff together, alright?” said Cyrus quietly, catching Leta’s eye and giving her a look of encouragement. He squeezed her shoulder, and he and Daelen left the room, leaving heavy, confused silence in their wake.
Corra beamed at her, clearly excited. “So. Ready to go then huh?” she said, but Leta was finding it difficult to speak. Her throat suddenly tightened.
“I don’t know if I am. But I don’t know how I could stay, either.”
“Leta, it’s alright to leave! Daelen’s a great doctor, you know that, I know that, everyone knows it. He’ll handle things on the Dionysian just fine. Don’t worry about it. Fiear’ll get through this like he gets through everything and come out the other side just as much a piece of space trash as he was when he went in.”
As much as Leta wanted to laugh at Corra’s words, to really agree with her, she couldn’t. She felt herself dissolving, and Corra reached out and took her shoulder.
“I really can’t believe Fiearius didn’t tell you,” she said quietly, which made Leta’s eyes swim with tears.
“I knew it was too good to be true,” she admitted, bringing her hands to her face.