[identity profile] natoth.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] babylon5_love
Title: "Five things which never happened to Elizabeth Lochley"
Author:[livejournal.com profile] natoth
Pairing Starring: Elizabeth Lochley, Zoe, Garibaldi
Rating: PG
From author: Thing 1. Thing 2. Thing 3.


Lochley looked through the papers on her desk for a hundred's time, but still couldn't concentrate. She kept scrolling in memory the last scene in Sheridan's office.
He appointed a regular meeting devoted to the problem with Centaury Prime. Mr. Garibaldi was invited as well. They waited for him for half an hour, but he never came. He didn't contact anybody either. Zack was embarrassed and volunteered to find him. Sheridan nodded silently, dismissing him. His face darkened.
Lochley watched him closely, because these comings late of Garibaldi had become a norm. She waited for Mr. President to make up his mind and dot the i's in this matter. But Sheridan cleared his throat as usual and said hoarsely:
"Well... let's discuss other questions for the time present... and Mr. Garibaldi will join us later..."
For some reason this made Lochley furious. It took all her will just to keep silent. For she knew, that all her statements would be attributed to her personal disagreements with Garibaldi.
Somewhere about the middle of the meeting Zack came back. Together with Mr. Garibaldi. The Chief of the Interstellar Alliance intelligence looked bad, to put it mildly.
Sheridan asked him what was up. Garibaldi mumbled some indistinct excuse. Sheridan said nothing, and then went on with the discussion as if nothing had happened.
Lochley started trembling with rage at that moment. Doesn't he see it?! How can he be so blind?! She suspected this long ago. And now she received confirmations for her conjecture more often. Mr. Garibaldi drank in the sly, and drank hard. She was never mistaken in such questions. She wasn't a saint herself anyway…
Lochley shook her head. Then tossed the papers away.
She ran into him in a corridor not long ago. He reeked of whiskey. She could recognize this smell instantly. Lochley couldn't contain herself and tried to talk to him. But Garibaldi didn't keep up the conversation, he barked out something caustic and tried to escape pleading busy. And when she followed him trying to make him listen to what she wanted to say, he cursed and advised her to keep away from him.
And she retreated. Because he had such a face... Lochley closed her eyes trying to get rid of the memories that swept over her.
At that moment all her childish fears came back to her, the horror she always felt when her drunken father looked at her...and she just lost her gift of speech.
Now, sitting in her quarters, Lochley reproached herself with this embarrassment. Good Lord! Her father was dead long ago! She'd tried to wipe off her memory everything that poisoned her life for so long. Was it possible that her father could still have such power over her?!
Although almost a month had passed after the Day of the Dead, she was still disturbed by what happened then. As if Zoe's appearance opened a door to her past, sealed long ago, and memories swept over her, like an avalanche...

* * *

...Lizzie is about six, she is painting a picture, concentrated. Today is Father's birthday, and she wants to make him a present. She spent a whole day to paint his portrait. Mum is beside him, of course. She pondered for a while and painted in herself.
It turned out rather nice.
Today Father will celebrate his birthday with them, in the bosom of his family. And that's great, because her father is a military man, and he is constantly on the move. But this time he promised to come home. Mummy rejoiced at it.
She was so carried away with her work, that she didn't hear the door creak. Only when the hall resounded with Father's bass, did she spring up and run to him with the picture still wet with the last strokes.
What she saw made her stop.
Father stood in the doorway visibly rocking. Mother supported him by the arm carefully; he tried to break loose every now and then, and snarled angrily.
Lizzie didn't know what to do. She wanted to come up to her father and congratulate him, but his gloomy face and bloodshot eyes frightened her. So she just froze clutching the picture to her.
"You do understand, don't you, - Father mumbled, trying to get to his room, - I had to celebrate this day with my friends..."
Mum only sighed heavily and turned away from him.
"I understand. It's just that… Lizzie and I hoped so much..." - here her voice quavered and she walked out.
And then Father noticed Lizzie and smiled. The smile however turned out very unkind.
"Well now... Lizzie, baby... You are not taking offence at your dad, are you?"
She shook her head, and then made up her mind. She held out the picture to him.
"What are you having here? - He tried to focus his eyes and stooped over her, reeking of alcohol . - Come on, Lizzie, explain this... I don't understand anything..."
She explained that it was their family painted on the picture. That it's a present.
Father laughed suddenly, and then returned the picture to her.
"Ah, Lizzie... Well, thanks... Though, you shouldn't have wasted your time on this silly daub. Go busy yourself with something more important..."
Lizzie froze not understanding what he was talking about. Then she grasped the meaning of it all: Father didn't like her picture.
The whole world seemed to crush at that moment. And she howled aloud.
Further events she remembered vaguely. She only remembered, that mummy rushed out and started shouting at Father. Of course he shouted in return. A new scandal broke out. And she was the reason, as usual.
She's always been the guilty one...

* * *

Lochley signed, trying to drive away these unpleasant childish memories. But it wasn't that simple...

Her father filled some important post; most of the time he wasn't at home. And when he did come, their life turned into hell. He was mostly drunk, and terrorized the whole family. No, he never scuffled, but his endless cavils and complaints made them hopping mad.
A lot of trouble fell to Lizzie's share too. She was good at painting; all her teachers at school noted this. For some reason Father was enraged by this fact.
"Give up this nonsense, you hear me?! - He grumbled, pouring another glass of whiskey. - Forget your pictures. Our family has always been in the military service, and I don't intend to make exceptions from the rule. You'll graduate from the college and then enter Academy. They'll make a person of you there. And what are those pictures of yours? A whim!"
Sometimes mother tried to interfere and make him change his mind.
"Good heavens! What kind of soldier is she?! Why torment the girl? Let her better paint… who knows, may be something will come of it…"
Father used to get angry with this.
"No matter, they admit girls to Academy as well. Besides, there were many military women in our family. Take your grandmother for example..."
Lizzie listened absently to just another morality mixed with family legends. She knew that father had always wanted to have a son. But it turned out to be her. There was nothing she could do to please him, as usual. Even her birth was a mistake...

* * *

Lochley realized that she'd have to recall everything, because one cannot obliterate the past completely. The past always comes back...

* * *

During her study in the college she understood that she couldn't endure her father's company any longer. To see his face, ugly because of hard drinking, to hear his infinite cavils and reprimands... no, that was too much for her to bear. That's why after the lessons she walked about the streets till late at night, pottering here and there just to avoid coming home.
As her father was transferred from one duty station to another every now and then, their family constantly moved from place to place. Lizzie didn't remember how many schools she had to change in her life. First she missed her classmates, her friends... But then she gradually got used to keeping by herself. It was easier to part this way.
She'd studied in this college for several weeks only. She had no friends, and she didn't attempt to make them. What for? Anyway, she wouldn't be here next year...
Then it turned out there was another newcomer. A girl named Zoe. Oh, she attracted everybody's attention. The children in the class were mostly from happy and prosperous families. And Zoe was a white crow. She was dressed in some impossible ragged clothes; her hair was standing on end and dyed in all the colours of the rainbow. When she came to the college the first time, she drove the teachers mad.
"Go change your clothes and brush your hair immediately!!! - Their most spiteful teacher screamed. - It's a decent institution; you can't attend it, looking like this! What are your parents thinking about?!"
Zoe raised her heavily made-up eyes at the teacher, and then blew a large chewing gum bubble. The bubble burst, making a disgusting sound, which caused a new hysterical fit from the teacher.
Everybody thought that Zoe would be expelled from the college immediately after that, but several days passed by, and she still attended classes.
Zoe didn't try to connect with the class either. But to all appearances, her reasons were other than Lizzie's. She just had nothing to talk about with those replete and obedient kiddies.
The class felt this contempt and combined against the newcomer. She was not one of them and they were not going to accept her. Nor Liz.
One day Lochley came across Zoe during her usual roaming about the town. Zoe was not alone; she was in a company of children, dressed as oddly as herself.
"Hey, Lochley! - Zoe hailed her, waving her hand, - I see you wander about like a lost sole yet again. Come with us. Are you having troubles? Wanna have a drink?"
First Liz wanted to refuse and leave. Zoe's company frightened her. However, she came up to them.
Zoe smiled and held out a bottle of beer to her.
"So, what's the problem?" - She asked again.
Lochley seized the bottle... and took a swig...

* * *

From that day on Zoe became her best friend. And her aimless roaming about the town turned into fascinating journeys. Zoe knew how to enjoy herself. Lochley automatically started imitating her.
Of course, Liz's progress in studies at the college deteriorated notably. And to be frank, she showed up there very rarely, preferring to go looking for adventures with Zoe ever since the morning.
When Father returned from just another departure, his daughter was unrecognizable. His rage had no limits. Having ascertained the reason of such an abrupt change in her behavior, he forbade her meeting with Zoe. He did it in such a tone, that disobedience was equal to a suicide. Liz obeyed, for she still could hardly think of objecting to her father.
As for Zoe - she got no bans, and so she continued communicating with Liz. Even if she knew, hardly would she pay attention to such a trifle. Zoe was very reckless.

...One day, after a party, organized by a classmate, Liz was in deep sorrow. She liked one boy, and she hoped the whole evening that he'd pay attention to her at last. It was because of him that she came to this silly party. But when he came up to her at last, one damsel from their class intercepted him halfway to Liz...
For some reason this event became the last straw for Lochley. Nothing had been going right lately. Father threatened to transfer her to another college, and to take her away from this town entirely.
"You should be preparing to enter Academy! - He yelled. - It's a serious test! And what are you doing? You are gadding about the streets like a damned ragamuffin! I will not tolerate a black sheep in my family!"
And now this... Why is she such a muddler?
In college, when Liz saw the boy walking with that girl arm-in-arm, she couldn't control herself and ran away, fighting back tears. She sat in the toilet unable to go to the lesson, though it had started long ago. She cried, angry with herself. Her eyes got red, her face swelled. How could she show up in the class, looking like this? Let everyone see, that she's an absolute idiot?
She came to herself because Zoe was splashing cold water on her.
"What’s up? Why the hysterics? - she asked, and then shoved Liz's head under the faucet. - Now, stop whimpering! What's the matter?"
Still sobbing, Liz told her what happened.
"Why, and that is the reason for this flood you've made here?! - Zoe exclaimed. – You are something! Now... Here's our plan: you wait for me here - I'll be back soon. And I'm gonna bring this scoundrel."
Lochley wiped her face with a sleeve, and then looked up suddenly at Zoe, surprised.
" Why?"
Zoe jolted her once more, and then said harshly:
" We'll talk to her. Heart-to-heart."
Liz tried to object, but Zoe stopped her abruptly:
" Listen to me. You mustn't let such things run themselves. This time she played a trick on you; no one can guarantee that next time she won't make a worse baseness. Meanness should be punished at once. And I want you to do it. You do like this guy, don't you? You should fight for your love! Otherwise, you'll be missing one train after another. Now, wait for me here, I'll be back soon..."

...The fight they kicked up in the toilet caused a grand scandal. The teachers squealed like piglets, the victim wailed, trying to wipe her bleeding nose. Zoe's and Liz's parents were sent for at once.
Unwittingly, there happened a curious incident about it. Lochley's father came, vested in his uniform. But he was a bit tipsy. It didn't strike the eye, but still was noticeable. Zoe's mother came with a long delay. Absolutely drunk.
The teachers forgot at once what they'd intended to discuss, for they had to witness a scandal that broke out between the infuriated parents.
None of them agreed to confess, that their child in particular was guilty of what happened.
Then the victim's parents came, and the debate flared up...
* * *

After that, Father started shepherding her, as if she were a little girl. He met her near the college, and accompanied her to the college. He had quite a lot of spare time now: he'd resigned recently.
Liz was driven mad by this shadowing.
Once he went too far.
Liz stayed too long at a birthday party of a classmate. The very boy, because of whom she and Zoe had to beat that girl.
Father kept calling her up during the party demanding that she come home at nine sharp. This demand made her desperate: the most interesting things only started at that time. In the end she stayed there.
At nine thirty Father's car stopped by the classmate's house. He burst into the merriment without ceremony, took Liz by the arm and dragged her away.
"I'll show you a thing or two! - He growled. - I'll teach you obedience!"
Liz burned with shame. From now on everybody will laugh at her... And then the shame got replaced with cold rage. How dares he treat her like this?!
" Do as you please, but I'll do everything my way!" - She shouted.
" And you dare to object me?! - he roared, startled by her impertinence, - I'll make you... That's enough! I’ve made up my mind! Tomorrow I'll call up a friend of mine; I'll probably manage to enlist you to Academy prematurely... There are certain ways..."
"I don't want this damned Academy of yours!" - Lochley flew into a rage, and then, seized occasion to leap out of the car.
Father reacted instantaneously, he stopped the car and ran after her down the dark street.
"Liz, come back now!"
She panted because of quick running; cold evening air cut her lungs, but she didn't stop.
"Liz, if you are not returning to the car right now, do not return home at all!" - Father yelled and stopped to take a breath.
" I am not going to return anyway!" - she shouted, and then realized that she really wouldn't come back home.

Lochley passed her hand over her forehead, recalling those long passed days. How many years have passed since then? Twenty? Good Lord! Did all this really happen to her?

Zoe decided to run away with her.
"Anyway, I have no desire to hang about this miserable town, - she said, taking out an old shabby rucksack. - Besides, I wanted to go hitchhiking somewhere in summer. It's not necessary to wait for the summer, you know. And now I have a good company..."
Lochley hugged her.
And they set off looking for adventures...

* * *

At first they had to hide, for Lochley's father realized that his daughter really left home, and rushed looking for her, using all his connections and channels.
That time was a fun. They did everything they pleased and didn't care for those around them.
When they managed to put Lochley's father off the scent, life became even more wonderful.
They got rather far from their provincial town during their wandering. Hardly would Father recognize now his obedient and diligent daughter. Liz broke loose. She drank any stuff she could get, and then she and Zoe tried drugs... and couldn't give them up afterwards.

The conclusion came in about half a year.
Liz returned to the hotel room, where she and Zoe had lived for some time, and found Zoe dead on the bathroom floor. Cockroaches crept around.
She was seized by such an unspeakable horror, that she rushed out from the room and fled.
After roaming around the town the whole day, Liz was chilled to the bone and decided to return to the hotel. But there were police cars there already. She realized she wouldn't be able to walk in, and that they were most likely looking for her already...
Desperate, she came up to a street Intercome and called up her mother...

* * *

Father gained his ends. She enlisted to Academy. And became the person she was now: an EarthForce captain. Commanding officer of a space station.
She got all this at the price of her friend's life. Zoe stopped her.
From then on she tried not to look at drugs at all. It took longer to overcome alcoholism.
Only later, after her father's death, mother showed her wonderful pictures, which had been hidden in the attic. Pictures, painted by her father.
She fulfilled his will; he also yielded to his parents in his own time. But only after that did she understand why she couldn't give up drinking.
Lochley looked at a pile of forms, and made up her mind. She should talk to Mr. Garibaldi. She'd make him hear her out, even if he'd fire his PPG at her.
Lochley tried to imagine, what Zoe would have done in such a case. Liz always consulted Zoe, though she had been dead for over twenty years.
Yes, Zoe would have acted exactly this way.
She would have approved this.

Date: 2007-09-02 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vjs2259.livejournal.com
You really got into her skin, didn't you?

"Lochley started trembling with rage at that moment. Doesn't he see it?! How can he be so blind?! She suspected this long ago. And now she received confirmations for her conjecture more often. Mr. Garibaldi drank in the sly, and drank hard. She was never mistaken in such questions."

The condemnation of the cured...I've had friends who quit smoking become horrible scolds afterwards. 'I made it, why can't you?' Yet she finds her compassion later, using Zoe as her touchstone.

"Lochley passed her hand over her forehead, recalling those long passed days. How many years have passed since then? Twenty? Good Lord! Did all this really happen to her?"

Sometimes your life is cut into slices, with major life events defining the seemingly separate pieces. Integrating those pieces, or at least accepting they made you what you are...growing up? Garibaldi just wasn't there yet, was he?

"Lochley tried to imagine, what Zoe would have done in such a case. Liz always consulted Zoe, though she had been dead for over twenty years.
Yes, Zoe would have acted exactly this way.
She would have approved this."

I simply love this. I like Lochley so much more after reading these pieces. Thank you for writing them.


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