The memory fixated to a more recent one, just several years ago and it all felt like it was happening all over again. Realization had fully set in. His life was on the line, if he were captured, which was inevitable, he would be a slave, forced to fight despite his lack of desire to do so. He didn’t want this life. He was helpless to fight back, so he sought the only way out he could think of.

It was warm. Wet. Almost peaceful as it drained. It had hurt every time, but the thought of what awaited him was far more drastic. Vividly he remembered being on his knees, staring at a growing pool of red for a moment that seemed to last years. Then, he was dizzy and passed out. The nanites took effect and forced him to do so. They were programmed to keep him alive, even against self-inflicted wounds.

Lexx felt the despair again as his eyes opened and he found himself on the cold floor, lying in a pool of his own blood, weary and alive. He’d failed. He’d failed and he had begun to cry at his situation. There had been many days of pitying himself until he finally decided that if he couldn’t die, he should try his hardest to survive and not be captured. The thinnest line of hope laid in the contract. He just had to win. He had to win.

It was hopeless.

Chel and Zeta could hear Lexx from the other side of the door, Zeta first of all. He scratched on the door until Chel opened it. They quietly stepped into the darkened room. Lexx was on his side, fists clenched in front of him as though trying to protect himself and he was grimacing as though in pain. “Help… Help!” He called out faintly.

“Lexx, are you alright?” Chel hesitated, but stepped forward, laying her hands on Lexx’s arm and gently shaking him. She wasn’t sure if she should interfere, but she couldn’t just stand by.

Still caught in his dream, Lexx flinched, “Stop it! Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” He yelled, trying to push her hands away and in the process, opening his eyes. Breathing hard, he stared at the girl, noting that he had just been dreaming. She was just concerned. He could tell. He could also tell that she was still touching him and he was shaking noticeably. “Chel…” He growled in a warning tone. “Remove your hand…”

“I’m sorry.” Chel took a step back, Zeta whining at her heels.

“Lexx ok? Zeta make Chel open door.” Zeta stretched his neck as far as he could, just looking at Lexx.

Being the center of attention was not something that Lexx enjoyed. He sat up and said nothing, simply catching his breath and regaining his bearings on the situation. “It was just a nightmare. I’m fine.” Lexx murmured, staring at the floor.

Chel sat down on the far side of the bed so she wouldn’t be invading Lexx’s space and nodded. Zeta hopped up on the other side and laid down so that his head landed on Lexx’s leg. He looked up and thumped his tail in a doglike fashion until Lexx relaxed and scratched his head.

“Do … you want to talk about it?” Chel inquired after a moment’s silence.

“I already did.” Lexx responded, looking up and at Chel. He wasn’t angry, but didn’t feel like being rude. Things had changed. Oddly, telling her everything earlier made it easier to be around her. His barrier had been broken, not by her, but by himself and now he couldn’t hold it up. She knew things now that others didn’t. Now, he couldn’t help but regret how he’d treated her earlier. She did seem to really be concerned about him and maybe a little bit of concern wasn’t a bad thing. It catered to his selfish side that didn’t get the opportunity to want things for himself and only for himself. She was genuinely concerned.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to talk or have her around, at least as a dumping ground for his feelings. She was a new outlet. A new way to get rid of the pressure he was under. She was still an annoyance, but now she had a use to Lexx. If she was so interested in what was going on, he’d just tell her. Who would she repeat it to? What did it matter? He just had to keep her in the status of an object. Keep her from touching him. She had a thing about touching him that he couldn’t understand.

Even in the few times she had, it had always been because either she was seeking some sort of security or trying to make some sort of connection, to interfere with his thoughts, and it did interfere. She didn’t realize how dangerous it was to do that, the things that Lexx could see and sense as part of his bond with the dice. One might call it a type of extra sensory perception. How can you be angry with someone, when you know without any doubt that they don’t have any motive other than to comfort you, when anyone else would be after something?

When someone is afraid, how do you resist the need to make them feel secure? When they mean well, but just don’t know, how can you hate them? It was worse than playing with fire, because these were things that could get past his own resolve to keep the girl away from him. He wished she’d never caught him. He wished he’d run into her sooner.

How long before she would realize that he knew things she didn’t say? How long before it became a two way road?