Fic 1: Six Sides to Love

 Title:  Six Sides to Love  
Author:  @SpartanGrrl
Characters/Pairings:   SparTek and entourage
Word Count: ~ 1400 words

Rating:  M
Summary:    There are six sides to love, the priestess tells the silent congregation, six separate names, written by the hand of God himself.  Matt shifts uncomfortably, knees aching, and his grandmother reaches out, pinching hard, leaving a bruise the shape of a heart on his inner arm.  Spartan learns a lesson that day, but not the one being taught....  Where there is love, there is pain.

Spoilers:  Generalized spoilers for Starveil – start to finish. 
Disclaimer:  Not mine, please don't sue me. ;P
Author’s Note: Based on the Six types of love, as defined by the Greek philosophers.


 Six Sides to Love

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At ten, Matthew Spartan kneels in the temple at his grandmother’s side. There are six sides to love, the priestess tells the silent congregation, six separate names, written by the hand of God himself.  Matt shifts uncomfortably, knees aching, and his grandmother reaches out, pinching hard, leaving a bruise the shape of a heart on his inner arm.  Spartan learns a lesson that day, but not the one being taught.


Where there is love, there is pain.


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At fifteen, Spartan’s sexuality is a coat of armour, a game he plays... and plays to win.  He loses his virginity in the back of a car, his mouth tasting of cigarettes and bootlegged whiskey. A week later, he pounds into the thighs of Tekhansella, his best friend’s girl.  She cries out in release and power fills his veins. 


Sex, Spartan decides, is easy and fun.  (A lie he believes for years.)


“You looking for something?” Tekla sneers.


“Have we met before? You seem familiar.”


She smirks.


“I wondered when you’d remember…”


: : : : : : : : : :



At twenty-two, he takes the job flying the Star Freighter Euripides to avoid Darthku’s inquest.  It isn’t a choice... not really... but he pretends it is.  The scandal of the failed rebellion follows him like a shadow, but he squares his shoulders and stares them down.


When Tekla follows him out of the bar, his first thought is that he’s her superior officer.  The second is that she has kind eyes.  The last, that Tekla really should know better than to fall for him. 


(What he should know never even crosses Spartan’s mind.)


Spartan stays with her because he wants to love her.  Tekla’s good for him, Spartan decides, and if he can just put aside the other things he knows (like the fact that there’s a war coming, or that the rebellion is looking to him to lead it) then he can believe.  Spartan never realizes he’ll have to pay for these lies.


Or that God take his payments in flesh.


: : : : : : : : : :



At twenty-five Spartan carries his grief on his shoulders like a cloak, anger and fury, wrapped tight around him, thickening his skin and callousing his heart.  Alcohol helps him forget, sex does too, but the memory of what he’s done in the name of the Rebellion never fades. 


He hates himself until that’s all he is; his emotions scoured down into nothing at all.  It isn’t until Spartan’s posted aboard the Hyperion, her ship – where Tekla’s judgement can punish him each day – that he begins to feel again. 


Malloy doesn’t ask Spartan’s story, just laughs and teases, working his way underneath Spartan’s anger.  He’s a pilot and a one-time rebel, a joker and a cad too. And though Spartan’s better at poker, Malloy can grift his way through anything.  Spartan decides that R.C. Malloy might just be the only real friend he’s ever had.


And then Darthku’s truce breaks and the whole universe goes to hell.


Time loses meaning when the bugs attack.  There are no more birthdays or months or days of the week.  Instead, life is measured in flight schedules and battles; charred bodies and gold-red explosions from gunports. 


“Follow my lead, Malloy. We’ll burn the bugs off the surface.”


“Roger that, Spartan. But shouldn’t we wait for the all-clear?”


“There’s no time! The bugs are there now. Lay heavy fire on my mark.”


“But the civilian evacuation is still-“




Spartan tries to find the dance again but the steps have all changed.  Tekla’s turned-coat and she leads the rebels alongside him. Darthku wants them both. Malloy’s easy laughter has faded into anger, his jokes all ending in death. Spartan searches for a tune that keeps changing, but it’s growing harder to find.


“I believe in the Rebellion,” Tekla whispers to him in the dark. “I believe in you.”




“I love you.”


But Spartan no longer knows how to follow this dance, so he walks away instead.


: : : : : : : : : :




After Darthku’s win, he expects to find nothing but death and bugs on Io, but somehow there’s hope too.  Tekla finds him, forgiving him like it is the easiest thing in the world to do. 


“Why’d you come back for me?”


“Because I love you, Spartan.”


“But, I’ve never deserved you,” he says brokenly.


This time Tekla doesn’t argue. 


When Spartan kisses her, he wants to be the person reflected in her eyes.  Wants to be worthy of the love she shows him with her mouth and body.  And for the first time in years, he lets himself believe that he can have it.  It doesn’t stop Spartan from leaving Tekla behind: first on Io, when Darthku’s troops arrive, later when the bugs attack.


But both times, Spartan comes back to her.


: : : : : : : : : :



At twenty-seven Spartan has hidden himself in the protection of normalcy.  The tent, high in the mountains of Terra, with Malloy and the remaining rebels. Sardis is a haven against the world he knows he deserves.  Here, Spartan is safe from temptation... the lure of things he shouldn’t want, but still does: flying and fighting.  Drinking hard and fucking harder. 


And Tekla...  (Not that he’ll let himself think of her... not now, anyways.)  The tent on the surface, far away from the freedom of the sky, is Spartan’s protection.


Darthku finds him anyhow.


: : : : : : : : : :



At twenty-nine, Spartan stands beside Tekla on the bridge of the dying Star Freighter Elysium, close enough that he can see the exact blue of Tekla’s eyes, but far enough he won’t touch her.  The sound of sirens fills the air, chaos erupting.


Tekla has abandoned the ship. (The bugs have scuttled it.) But Spartan refuses to leave. He steps back as she steps forward.  Her hand reaches out as his falls.  A perfect imbalance.  The way it’s always been. They’ve played the five other sides of the die, and today they’ll play the last.


“You get out,” he says grimly, heart in throat, “and I’ll do a final sweep for survivors.”


“Dragnat all, Spartan! The bugs have the ship. Anyone left inside is dead.”


Spartan knows it’s true, but he smiles anyhow. “Trust me, darlin’,” he says with a wink. “I’ve handled worse.” 


Tekla doesn’t believe him of course (he can see that in her eyes), but he needs her to escape, and so he nods to the exit, letting his words spin out like a narrow thread, tethering them together.


“D’you remember that pretty little spot on Io?” Spartan asks, even as he hears the bugs approaching. “The one with the lake and the waterfall.”


“The place where I found you?”


“Exactly.” Spartan lifts his blaster, giving her one backward glance. “I’ll meet you there.”


Her smile fades, but Spartan doesn’t see. He’s already heading back into the dying ship.


“You’d better.”


And as Tekla speaks, the sixth side of the die falls into place, and the proverb is complete.