Just as Jack had suspected when the three made their way to the shuttle they found the familiar green eyed boy waiting for them. Kaylee and Miranda couldn’t hide their smug smiles although Jack still just looking at the boy with a gentle face of understanding. The thing that interested Jack the most though was the sword the boy had in a leather sheath strapped to his hip.
“Nice to see you again Quatre” greeted Kaylee in her usual warm demeanour
“Are you gonna be a bit more polite this time boy?” asked Miranda, venom dripping from her voice much like Quatre’s was last time the two met
The boys cheeks flushed while his eyes seemed to find interest everywhere other than where the three women stood. He suddenly seemed very young to the teachers. “Yeah… um, listen. I’m not really good at this. But umm… thanks I guess. You know for umm the offer. And. I’m uhh sorry for yesterday”
Even Miranda’s cold glare seemed to soften when looking at the obviously uncomfortable boy. “It’s okay child. Have you already put your things aboard then?”
“Uhh no… I uh I don’t have any belongings other than this” replied the boy as he waved towards the sword still strapped to his hip.
“Well then, let’s get going shall we? It’s a five day flight to the academy. Maybe in that time well get to know each other a bit” said Kaylee. Lets not keep reminding the poor kid of his past
After Jack, Miranda and Kaylee had settled their new student into the transport ship they began to prepare dinner. Kaylee wanted to make something special to celebrate helping Quatre. Miranda and Jack tried to help but none of the three women were anything close to good cooks.
“Miranda, I would have thought with those perfect genes you would have been able to cook” spat Jack as she tried and failed to help in the kitchen once again.
“Well you’re not exactly helping Jack” replied Miranda
“Uhh… need some help there ladies” interrupted Quatre in a nervous voice. In the argument none of the three had noticed him approach
The three women turned to the boy as he gingerly approached the kitchen and the women.
“Well shit kid. You know how to cook?” asked Jack as the kid entered the kitchen section on the main deck of the ship
“I was owned by an asari matriarch for a little over a year. When I’d cook her a good meal I wouldn’t be beat that day” Miranda and Kaylee both gasped at the way the boy so casually talked about his past slavery. “Needless to say I got to be rather good at cooking. Now, what are we eating?”
Jack was the only one to reply as the others were still to stunned by the glimpse into Quatre’s past “I think the idea was to have steak”
“Steak it is then” replied Quatre as he clapped his hands together and smiled “how do you all take it, rare? Medium-rare? What?”
“I’ll take it rare scars. I don’t know about the slack jaws here though” answered Jack, snapping Miranda and Kaylee out of their thoughts
“Oh... Uh ill go medium” answered Kaylee
“I’d like mine medium-rare” answered Miranda, who had quickly regained her composure
“Three stakes coming right up. Hey paints, you gonna help me out?”
Jack and Quatre made their way into the kitchen as Miranda and Kaylee began to set the table. Quatre gathered the four different stakes and placed them upon the grill. “So… scars huh?”
“What you think you can call me names and not get them in return” joked Jack as she casually leaned against a nearby counter.
“Fair enough then, still you’ve got a few scars of your own” replied Quatre as he got four plates and placed them next to Jack. “You wanna prep the plates for me?”
“Scars ain’t none of your business. And how the hell do you prep a plate”
“Just throw some salad on them. How about we both just stay out of each other’s personal lives then huh?”
While Jack wouldn’t have minded this usually, in fact she would normally like that. However she remembered the deal she and Kaylee had made. She had to learn something from this kid. “You know I normally would but you only get to stay at the academy if we can fill out your file some”
“Ah… well then” replied Quatre as he flipped the stakes “What do you wanna know”
“Let’s start with your real name.” replied Jack as she threw some salads onto the four plates “I’m gonna be your teacher, I can’t refer to you as Monsieur or Scars now can I”
“Well I doubt your name is really just ‘Jack’ now is it. Besides, I don’t know my name. I was a slave since I was 6. The Batarians called me ‘prisoner scum’ and since I’ve been owned by different masters all of which referred to me as ‘four’ or ‘subject four’ you know, when there not calling me ‘slave’ or ‘pet’. I can’t remember my actual name.” Once again the boy spoke as if he was talking about someone else or from a book.
“I can help find out your name if you want?”
“How could you help and why would you?”
Jack was thrown by the second part to the question “Well, I know the shadow broker. There must be some record of your actual name. In answer to the second part, shit I don’t know… I see a lot of myself in you, I mean. You’re just like I was after I escaped from the facility I was raised in.”
“How’d you know?”
“You were with Shepard as she took out the collectors. I love stories and the tale of the Normandy crew is one of my favourites. You always interested me, so I looked you up.” Quatre turned to Jack with a smirk “I may not know the shadow broker but I know Aria and she owed me a favour”
“Well then” replied Jack as she gave the child a genuine smile “How about we actually learn some things about each other hmm?”
“Aye. Sound like fun, but for now let’s just eat shall we. I can’t remember my last proper meal”
The five day trip went by without incident. The four swapped stories and began to learn about each other. While Quatre was still very reserved around Miranda and Kaylee he was open with Jack. The two would talk about the horrible things that had happened in the past. Jack would tell him stories about how she was raised in Teltin and Quatre would tell her stories about how his different owners would beat him.
Quatre was sitting on the foot of his bed with his sword on his lap, he was sharpening the blade with a wet stone when Jack entered his quarters.
“Hey” called Jack as she took a seat by his desk.
“Hey” replied Quatre without taking his eyes off of the blade in his lap
“We should be coming up on the academy in an hour or so” Jack found herself legitimately enjoying the company of the young boy. She hadn’t met many that didn’t look at her with pity because of Teltin. Shepard was the first, after what he went through on Mindoir and then Akuze he could understand how Jack saw things. This child though was the second person she had ever met who could fully understand how she was raised. She began to feel protective of the child in a way she didn’t even feel with last year’s class.
“Looking forward to it paints” Quatre still didn’t look up from the blade as he continually drew the wet stone over the sword edge
“So, you wanna tell me about the sword scars?”
Quatre looked into Jacks big brown eyes, he found them oddly warming. “Okay then paints. This sword is the one item I have left in the world. I fashioned the blade from a bar from one of my cells. I killed my first man with this sword.”
Jack sat by Quatre on the foot of his bed as she took a closer look at the blade. To think that a blade as finely crafted as this was made from a prison bar was unbelievable “Can I hold it?”
“Don’t cut yourself” Joked Quatre as he handed the sword over. It had a bulky weight but felt perfectly balanced. The handle was intricately woven complete with swirls and other patterns engraved into the dark grey metal. The blade was thick and heavy yet razor sharp on the edges. The blade had a single line of bright blue metal forged into the centre. On the blue strip there were four names engraved ‘Shinowa T’Sil’, ‘Tevo T’like’, ‘Shina T’Tine’ and ‘Talith T’Vok’.
“Of all the owners I’ve ever had there were five that I will never forget. Some of them experimented on me, some of them tortured me for kicks. Those names are four of the five owners who were worst to me. These four no longer count themselves among the living. Replied Quatre with a far off look in his eyes.
There was a long silence in the room after this. None of them spoke until the coms system broke the uncomfortable silence. “Jack, Quatre were coming up on Grissom now. Shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes” said Miranda’s voice as it came over the coms system.
“Okay, scars. I need to get ready for docking. When we arrive I’ll give you a quick tour of the station and then well need the biotics doctor to give you a scan okay?”
“Alright paints, I’ll see you when we dock”