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The Game

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Snapping the binders around Dameron’s wrists is less satisfying than Terex had anticipated.

He looks down at Dameron, standing there before him, and thinks this should feel… more. Dameron just meets his gaze, looking more inconvenienced than anything else.

It isn’t that Terex wants him to look cowed, defeated. In fact, he would be disappointed if that were the case.

But he wants something else.

“You seem to be lacking in wit without the prospect of your friends as back-up,” Terex says, hoping for something, even if he doesn’t quite know what.

“Actually I was just thinking that if I’d known you went in for bondage, maybe we could’ve worked something out back at the prison.”

There it is.

Terex’s lip curls. “You’re remarkably cheerful for a man who is minutes away from boarding a transport straight to a First Order prison cell.”

“Should I cry? I guess you might enjoy that.”

The image is strangely compelling though Terex isn’t entirely sure why. “Cry, scream… We have specially trained operatives who will most certainly be getting some kind of reaction out of you.”

“Never been tortured before. Who knows what I’ll do? Probably talk too much, though. I’ve been told I do that.”

“I imagine your captors will find that highly motivating. Shutting you up would be a definite victory.”

If Terex expected that to prompt fear or anxiety, it doesn’t. At least not visibly. Dameron only says, “Gotta get their kicks where they can, I guess. The torture business doesn’t sound all that great to me, you know, so much bodily fluid leakage. Messy. Yuck.” He lifts his shoulders in a small shrugging gesture. “Right?”

Terex thinks of giving this man to the goons of the First Order, imagines him on his knees in a dank cell. He imagines Dameron beaten until he bleeds, until he screams, perhaps, until he no longer has the energy nor the will for a feisty comeback. He imagines Dameron broken.

It strikes Terex as a terrible waste, all for a bit of intel on that pathetic movement they call the Resistance.

He knows he should feel as though he’s won. He has won. Dameron is in binders. Dameron is exactly where Terex wanted him.

But all Terex can think is that the game was more fun before it ended.

“So, is it just you, then?” Dameron asks. “Have you got a transport full of stormtroopers behind you? What sort of ship are you flying?”

“What is this, recon?”

Dameron shrugs. “Like to know what I’m in for, that’s all.”

So he can fight back, Terex knows. Dameron doesn’t give up. Cornered, restrained, and alone, and he still won’t give up.

There is something to be admired in that.

“No one escapes from me unless I want them to,” Terex says, which only makes Dameron’s lips twitch into a faint smirk.

Unless I want them to, Terex thinks.

A worthy adversary is difficult to find. A man like that, a man like Dameron, is better left in the game than in a cage, for all the fight to be beaten out of him. The First Order doesn’t deserve a prize like this.

Terex moves forward. He removes the binders.

Dameron’s dark eyes are wide in his face. “What are you doing?”

“Obvious, isn’t it?”

“Is this a joke?”

“Do I look like I’m joking?”

“I don’t know, hard to tell. Does your face even have a joke in it?”

Dameron stands there a moment longer before he seems to arrive at a conclusion. He takes a swing at Terex.

Terex dodges it, catching Dameron’s arm and pinning it behind his back. Dameron thrashes against him, managing to land a sharp elbow into Terex’s middle before Terex twists his other arm back, too.

“Can’t you see I’m releasing you, idiot?” Terex hisses once he’s regained his breath.

“For what? So you can shoot me in the back?”

“If I shoot you, Dameron, it will be in the front, so I can see your face and you can see mine.”

“Romantic. Or else kinky, I’m not too sure.”

Terex releases his grip and Dameron spins away from him, standing lightly on his feet, poised for a fight. “I’d appreciate it if you avoided trying to hit me again. There’s no need to make this look good; I haven’t contacted the First Order yet. No one knows I caught you but me.”

There is open confusion warring with suspicion on Dameron’s expressive face. “So you’re just gonna let me walk?”

“Every second you hesitate makes me regret that decision a little more. I might have to reconsider.”

Dameron brushes his hands over himself as though he is looking for something. “Did you stick a tracker on me or something?”

“Why would I need to? Handing you over to the First Order interrogation unit would have gotten a lot more information out of you than simply tracking you to your base.”

“I guess I just don’t trust gifts from you, Terex.”

Terex brushes a bit of dirt from his sleeve. “Understandable. Think of it as less a gift and more a… temporary truce.”

Dameron still seems unsure but the chance of freedom is a difficult urge to ignore. “A truce, huh? Well, I have to say this truce is distinctly in my favor.” He moves past Terex, eyeing him all the while.

After he’s gotten several feet away, he pauses. “Hey… I’ve seen enough holofilms to know saying this is a huge cliché, but why are you letting me go?”

I enjoy chasing you, Terex thinks. This is the sort of game that doesn’t need a victor, he thinks, and he prefers… He prefers Dameron like this, full of fire, in his element. Breaking him would be like destroying something beautiful out of spite.

Aloud, he says, “You’re indebted to me now, Dameron. Don’t think I won’t ask you to pay.”

Dameron’s forehead creases for an instant and Terex doesn’t know if Dameron believes him. All he says, though, is, “Looking forward to it, Terex. I love our chats, don’t you?”

It’s a front, Terex knows, a bit of sarcasm. Still, maybe there’s some truth in it. Enough for Terex to be appeased. Perhaps Dameron enjoys the chase, too.

“This doesn't mean I won’t come after you as hard as I can when our paths cross next,” Terex warns.

Dameron grins. “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”

He turns and runs. Terex watches him go.

He awaits their next meeting with pleasure.