Looking back it seemed as if a lifetime had passed since he had crashed landed on this hostile world, with its carniverous creatures that moved beneath the ground. Twice he'd almost died when the monsters attacked, almost losing his leg the first time. Jerry had saved him when he could have simply left him to die, but instead he had shown mercy to his enemy. The Drac had tended to Davidge's wounded leg, and then helped him through the fever and the nightmares that followed as he fought off an infection. Over the years stranded on that otherwise uninhabited world they were forced to rely on each other, working together to build a shelter from the sandstorms in one season and from the biting cold of the snowstorms in the next, moving often to avoid the carniverous monster beneath their feet.
With nothing else to do and so much time to kill they had ended up spending hours teaching each other about their worlds: their language, their customs, and even their religions.
Davidge wondered how many of his own people had even tried to understand their enemy, and how many Drac had tried to understand the Humans. Both sides seemed to hold the other accountable for the war, but Davidge should have known it was not one-sided. A clash of cultures and some misunderstandings had led to massacres on both sides. Certainly Davidge had felt only hatred for the Drac, the enemy, before crash landing on this world, and Jerry had felt the same animosity towards him, but he guessed it was inevitable they would somehow forge a friendship as they battled to survive, and he never expected to feel such grief for any Drac on the day he lost Jerry.
In those last few hours of Jerry's life he had promised so many times to protect Jerry's child as if he/it was his own, and he had vowed to stand before the Holy Council on the Drac homeworld, reciting the line of Jeriba so Zammis would be accepted among his people. In truth he never expected to have to fulfill that promise; he never expected to lose Jerry. He recalled practicing every day, even using it as a lullaby to send young Zammis to sleep each night, until he felt he could recite the line of Jeriba in his own sleep, and perhaps that was what he was doing while delirious from his gunshot wound.
He laughed softly as he buried his head against butter-soft, leathery skin. It was ironic that it wasn't the hostile world that almost killed him in the end but human scavengers. Watching their treatment of their Drac slaves had made him feel ashamed to be human.
Zammis was safe now, and his new enemy was defeated, overthrown by the Drac slaves as Davidge battled to rescue Zammis. He held the young Drac tightly in his arms as human and Drac alike gathered around to watch them. In a low whisper he singsonged the line of Jeriba as he rocked Zammis in his arms, determined more than ever to fulfill a promise made not to an enemy, but to a friend.
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