seesonlysmoke: (questioning)
[personal profile] seesonlysmoke
OOC: This is Altaaf's long, overdue response to this post from Ryan. Apologies that it took so long. x-posted to IJ and [livejournal.com profile] writers_muses

Just don’t give up I’m workin it out
Please don’t give in, I won’t let you down
It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around
Hey, whataya want from me
Whataya want from me
Whataya want from me


The first few days after Ryan rescued and brought Altaaf safely to the States, he had slept for a great deal as he was kept sedated while his body continued to fight the infection from his wounds. At the times, when he did wake, he was fairly lucid and noticed that Ryan was by his side nearly every time, and if she wasn’t, within just a few minutes she was back next to him, ready with a cool cloth, some food, water or just some comfort.

As his strength returned, he became more active. With his gunshot wounds healing, there was some physical therapy, and he also would join Bane in the gym to build up his own muscles again. Physically, he was recovering quickly, with his youth and being in good condition already and also thanks to the doctor and care Ryan had provided. But he was quiet and withdrawn. He knew that here on Jacks’ property he was safe, liked, and he trusted Ryan as much as she trusted him. Who would have flown all the way to Kashmir on just a phone call, not to mention risk her life to get him out and provide proper medical care? No one else that he knew.

All that he could really remember of his life had been a series of one trauma after another, beginning with the murder of his family and then discovering the man who adopted him had led that attack. He had been perfect fodder to be radicalized, perfect fodder for someone like Hilal Kohastani who had then used him, his hatred and thirst for revenge and set him up as a scapegoat to incite a war between Muslims and Hindus in Kashmir. There was also Sufi, who he had dreamt – and that was all it had been, a dream – of marrying, who was right now reporting that he a murderer, a terrorist who had planned to destroy both the mosque and temple, and Nilu Khan, the woman who had become his mother, who he had killed with a bomb meant for her husband. And lastly, there was Inayat Khan himself, the man Altaaf had devoted half his life to hating, and only understanding at the end as Khan had opened his eyes to Hilal’s evil intentions, but that was too late, and now this father was also dead, his death falsely attributed to the young Kashmiri.

Those memories still haunted him as he tried to come to terms with everything that had happened. As he attempted to sort through those thoughts and dispel the demons that still invaded his dreams, he prayed. Someone, probably Ryan he thought, had provided him with a prayer mat, and several times a day, he would retreat to the room she had provided for him and prayed. On bended knees, his forehead touching the mat, he would call on Allah for forgiveness, and for peace.

His past wasn’t the only his only concern. Ryan’s generosity and kindness touched him, and how she had helped nursed him back to health. Yes, even though he was sedated and feverish, he could vaguely recollect her holding him and soothing him on the plane. As his health improved, she was always visiting him, spending time with him, and he came to look forward to and treasure those times. Now he was more active, he did see less of her as he divided his time between the gym and prayer, but he did always look forward to mealtimes and seeing her then. There were other times, of course, and while he sensed that there was perhaps a darker side to her and that she had a past that weighed on her also, to him she was the nicest and kindest person he knew.

And that was part of the problem for him. Altaaf was in the country thanks to the Jacks and their influence, but he wasn’t entirely sure if he was in America legally or not. There would come a time when he should no longer impose on Ryan’s kindness and he would have to leave. That made him nervous. Where would – could – he go? Even if he had a passport, he could not return to Kashmir or, probably, even Pakistan. He had no one there anymore, anyway, not even Sufi, whose reports made it quite clear what she now thought of him. Here in America, he didn’t know what would become of him. He had no skills, so he didn’t know what job he could do, or even if he could work, and what if someone looked into his background? While he spoke English well, his most recent schooling had been among the madrassas of Pakistan.

All these things preyed on his mind, and in his prayers, he also asked Allah for guidance.

When Ryan invited him along to the biker bar, he was happy to have the chance to go out with her and see a bit of the real America, and perhaps seeing that would help settle his own doubts and worries, at least for a night. At first he had dressed modestly, in a pair of khaki pants and long sleeved, tan shirt. Clothes very similar to what he used to wear, but what was among the new clothes Ryan had bought him as the only ones he had had been cut off of him. When he came down after dressing and saw Ryan in her low-cut jeans and too tight top that exposed her midriff, he quickly cast his eyes down, an ingrained habit in such a circumstance, but by the end of her explaining exactly what kind of night it would be, he had raised them again. Just in time to see her tuck away the handgun and stiletto. Where was she taking him! Wondering if this was some kind of American tradition, he obediently went back upstairs to change into something she would hopefully find more appropriate. And all the while, he couldn’t get the image of Ryan in such revealing clothes from his mind. Yes, her immodesty surprised him, but he hoped it wasn’t too sinful to have found her very appealing in a quite different way than he already had.

Dressed in a more approving jeans and tight black t-shirt -- still fairly conservative, but it did show off his muscles -- Altaaf loved riding the bike. He’d ridden ones before, but not a Harley, not such a bike of legend, and with Ryan’s arms around him and the wind in his hair, to him that was almost perfection. At the bar, he wasn’t put off at the smell or filth of the place, although the sawdust floor was different, as he had spent much of his most formative years in of the least developed region of Pakistan, but to find a microcosm of it here in America was unexpected.

Oblivious to the way the waitress, and a few of the other women, were eyeing him he sat down with the Coke Ryan had got him, sipping it quietly as his curious gaze took in everything around them from the noisy, less-than-talented band, to the drunks around the pool table letting the conversation about someone he didn’t know float above his head. Then there was the dancing. At first, he was a little stiff, determined not to make a fool of himself for Ryan and following how she danced as it was so different from what he knew, but he soon loosened up and found himself enjoying himself a lot. Dance was always something he could escape into, a world different than the harsh reality he had known in Kashmir. He was lost in this world, having fun, where there was really only Ryan and him (and some quickly deteriorating rock-mix-country music) and unaware that he was attracting attention from other ladies, so Ryan’s kiss came out of nowhere. It took him a few precious moments to overcome his surprise and realize what she was doing, by the time he did he found the kiss very enjoyable, and although he sensed there was something else behind it, he didn’t understand it and didn’t really worry about trying to as he found his mouth responding to hers. Then, too quickly, the kiss was over, leaving him feeling elated and happy to stick with Ryan as she went and played pool.

Mostly, he just watched as Ryan knocked the balls in, aware of the hostile looks some of the men were throwing in his direction. When the confrontation came, Altaaf stiffened and readied himself for inevitable trouble. One thing that he was confident in was his ability to fight. He was concerned about Ryan, unsure whether to protect her or worry about the fact that she had a gun and knife. The change in her eyes went unnoticed, but his eyes widened when she picked up the pool cue, and he finally saw that determined gleam.

You insisted on coming.

He shot her an incredulous glance at that, but his attention quickly returned to the danger. When one of the loud-mouth man’s friends saw Ryan’s attack, he launched himself at what he saw the real cause – after all he must have felt his friend could handle a girl! – and sent a wide, haymaker punch at Altaaf, which he easily blocked and followed up with punch of his own. “I’m not Arab!” It was a little detail considering the general insult meant anyway, and the guy probably had no clue of the double insult. Soon enough, though, he was fighting off three, or more, heavy guys, and for a while, he was able to hold his own against them, thanks to his training and the time he had been spending in the gym, but he was too outnumbered and by the time he realized they’d stopped, he was getting beaten up on pretty badly. At first, he didn’t know why they had stopped, not until he looked around and saw Ryan standing there with her gun pointed at one of the men’s head. Picking himself up, he backed up nearer to her that look in her eyes disturbing him a bit as he recognized it. He wiped blood away from a split lip, and taking the stiletto slowly walked out, keeping an eye out for any other idiot who might fancy having a go.

Then they were back on the bike and speeding away from the bar.

Back at the house, Altaaf spent the night awake. Not that insomnia was any stranger to him, but instead of images of the raid, of Hilal, of Khan, tonight his mind just replayed the events of the night again and again. The Ryan he had gone to the bar with was a totally different Ryan from the one he knew…or thought he knew. He knew she hadn’t lied to him; somehow he could now tell falsehoods, ever since that instant when he realized his adopted father was telling him the truth about Hilal. No, there were no lies, but it was as if Ryan was two different people: the sweet, kind one who had saved his life and nursed him back to health and this wild one who went to a bar with the seeming intent to start a fight and consider that fun, and he had no idea which was the real Ryan. It didn’t change his feelings towards her, but already uncertain of his status and future and still finding his feet so far from everything he had known, this only added to his feeling of instability.

Early the next morning, Altaaf slipped into a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt that Ryan had previously, and rather puzzlingly, told him was a ‘wifebeater’ and performed his morning prayers as usual. This morning, however, his mind wasn’t focused, and he really didn’t know how to ask Allah for guidance about Ryan, and as he folded his prayer mat, the rather bitter thought flitted through his mind. God hadn’t exactly shown him any guidance for anything recently. Shuddering at that brief, blasphemous thought, Altaaf pushed it from his mind as he went down to breakfast.




***

Altaaf Khan
Fandom: Mission Kashmir (AU)
Word Count: 2,024

Date: 2010-07-02 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
Ryan had been up, too, but for a completely different reason. Somehow word had gotten back to her aunt, regarding her misadventures in both India and here, and while Bane had tried to smooth things over, Carolina was no fool. The self appointed matriarch of the Jacks family read her neice the unrestrained riot act, and then interrogated her about her houseguest and what she was planning to do with him.

By the end of the conversation, after Ryan had explained Altaaf's past, Carolina had reluctantly agreed to pull in a few favors from some boys at the State Department, getting Altaaf a new identity, passport and legal status here. Ryan was grateful, though she chafed at being scolded like a child. One bit of good news was that Caro had been in touch with Alex, and gave Ryan a number she could call him at. THAT call? Much more fun. Alexandr Romanov Krycek was amused at the antics of his pseudo-neice slash lover, and he chuckled then lightly scolded. However, when she told him about Altaaf, he turned serious, and Ryan couldn't tell if that was possessiveness or protective instincts, not that it mattered. They hung up after agreeing to each let the other know if they saw or heard from Frankie. Alex was very, very happy with Callie and Mike, and baby Michelle, who had grown on him and become his little Princess. Ryan was ecstatic for Alex.

However, she was also horny as hell. It had dawned on her, the night before, that Altaaf was absolutely gorgeous, and the kiss had been meant as a joke, but it was still on her mind. His religion, and his girlfriend, kept him from being a viable bed partner. But the attraction was still there, for her. Ryan had never been a more dominant person in any relationship, and that was fun, but she was afraid to scare him off, even though last night was almost a dare to make him run.

She had made some pancakes, no bacon, in respect for his religion, though she couldn't remember if they ate pork or not. Oh, well...better not to risk it. She was dressed in skimpy white cargo shorts and a pink tank top that said 'If you don't like my attitude, stop talking to me!' across her breasts. She had her hair up in a ponytail, and she put tea, juice, syrup, sliced bananas and the plates on the table. When he came in, she looked up and smiled, but she felt warm at how utterly HOT he looked. Damn...just damn, damn, damn. Ryan could almost hear Frankie laughing, in the back of her mind.

Always wanting what you can't have, huh, Firecracker?

"Hey...well, you don't look worse for wear. I made pancakes." That felt dumb, but she smeared some butter on two cakes and reached for the syrup. "Altaaf, I think maybe there are a few things you should know about me. But, um, first? My aunt pulled some strings and she's sending you a new passport with legal status here, and a new identity." Her big, green eyes met his, and she did smile. "You're safe, here. They can't drag you back to India."

Date: 2010-07-12 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
That Ryan was there, waiting on breakfast for him, made him happy in a way that he couldn't easily explain, and smiling at her, he sat down, not realizing at all just how good looking he was. He touched the corner of his lip, which was still a little sore from where he got punched. "I'm okay." Almost shyly, he glanced at her trying not to let his eyes get drawn to her clothes, although the way his eyebrows shot up at reading her t-shirt -- and how he seemed to blush after -- was evidence enough that he had failed.

Again he thought how pretty she was, and a strange mix of the wild girl from the previous night and the Ryan he was more familiar with.

He thanked her for breakfast, as he took a pancake, as well as some of the fruit and poured himself some tea. At first, when she said about knowing her, he was sure she was about to tell him that it would be time for him to leave...it sounded that ominous to his ears. As it was, he just stared at her for a long moment at what Carolina had done. "Really?" That was said from plain surprise rather than any doubt, as he knew it was the truth. Then his relief showed on his face, revealing just how worried he had been about being arrested or extradited, but then he smiled wide.

"Please, thank your aunt for me. My deepest thanks to her...and to you." He wasn't stupid and guessed that Ryan had, at least, prompted this. "Your FBI won't think I'm a terrorist now? Because I know what I've done, but I've never thought of America as my enemy." But with that news, and what Ryan had said prior, made him wonder even more that while he could now stay in America, she would say it was time for him to leave and find a home of his own.

Date: 2010-07-13 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Really." Ryan took a bite, and chewed, swallowing before answering. "The State Department is like any other government entity, Altaaf. They can be very nice when someone who has the money and power to influence asks for a favor. My aunt has connections, and they owe her some favors. Not to mention, her husband is a crime scene investigator. America is not your enemy, now, it's your home."

She took a drink of tea, and hesitated with what she wanted to say, because she was really afraid of scaring him off, or rejection, when she honestly didn't want to lose him. He was a friend, and somehow he was growing to mean much more to her. "You see, I'm not a normal girl, Altaaf. I was created in a lab, like a test tube baby, you know? And my family was involved in a lot of government stuff, with the FBI and things...technology and labs and stuff. My parents are dead, and my aunt is all that's left, kind of. Her brother used to be an agent for the government." Ryan didn't mention that Alex was a double agent, or the whole alien thing. Frankly, it was too weird to explain to anyone. "My aunt and her brother, well, they taught me how to fight and stuff."

Ryan tended to just blurt things out, when she was nervous, and this was no exception. "But, see, aside from all that? All the family and money and stuff? I really like you...a lot. Like...like like you. I mean, like..." She shrugged and looked down at her plate. He's in love with Sushi...or whatever her name was...and he's into his religion. You would be way not pure enough for him, Ryan! "I know you have your girl, and all, but I was kind of hoping that you would want to stay here, and hang out with me."

Her green eyes finally looked in his, and she took a breath, waiting to see what he said. "You don't have to, if you don't like living with me. But I wish you would...please?"

Date: 2010-07-28 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
His relief still showed as Altaaf let out a long sigh, and he was quietly amazed that Ryan's family could be that connected and how someone like him, a poor Kashmiri could know them. Although it did help him understand how Ryan could have so quickly come to save him. "My thanks again. My home." That last was said with some wistfulness. A home in America, but would he have a home here. To cover over his uncertainty, he ate some of his pancake.

He continued eating, taking a sip of his tea now and then as he listened attentively to her. Mostly, he looked puzzled when Ryan said about not being normal. She certainly looked normal, if very much on the really very pretty side of it. But he didn't fully understand what she meant beyond his very limited knowledge of what test-tube babies were. However, he did get that her family's connections with the government ran deep, especially with the law. "So, your..." He quickly figured out the relationship as it appeared to him. "Uncle? He is a spy?" To him that sounded exciting, and images of a James Bond-type sprang to his mind. "And if he taught you to fight, that is why you had the gun and knife last night?" That made that a bit more sense, although not why she had been in the mood for a fight.

Altaaf was so very stunned when she said she liked him, really liked him. That was more than he had hoped for. "I really like you as well, Ryan." He quickly looked down at his tea, taking a quick sip when she mentioned Sufi. "I do not have her. I've seen her on the TV, one of the Indian channels. In her reports, I can tell she hates me now for what she thinks I've done...and what I have. She is in my past now."

Her offer made him smile widely, and his his heart leap as he met her gaze with his warm hazel eyes. "Well, I have nowhere else to go, but much, much more than that I like it here, with you, very much, and I'd like to stay very much. Indeed, I have been..." Scared. "...worried that now I am well again, it would be time to leave."

Date: 2010-07-30 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Alex isn't really my uncle." Ryan smiled, and chuckled a bit. "My aunt didn't know he was her half brother, not until just a few years ago. Alex was raised in Russia, by his adopted family. I dated Alex for a while, sort of." She shrugged, and took another bite of pancake. No sense in going into the fine details of that, because Alexandr Krycek was too complicated to explain to anyone who didn't know him. "Lexi...er...Alex? He's kind of complicated. But he's cool. See, there were these government and spy people that would have liked to get their hands on me, and my little cousins, Sara and Elizabeth. Actually, Lizzie is older, so I can't really say little, anymore."

Ryan got up and grabbed a framed photo of Carolina with Nick and the kids. When she came back, she sat in the seat next to Altaaf, instead of opposite him, to show him. "That's my aunt, Carolina. That's her husband, Nick, who is really a sweetheart. Then that one, there? That's Elizabeth. Sara is the one with the curly hair, isn't she cute? She's a handful. The little boy is J.J., and we called him Dwee when he was little. Then the twins are Emmie and Jake. Jake is a real trouble maker." Ryan got so into showing him the people in the photo, she lost sight of how close they were, until she looked over and up into his eyes.

Quietly, Ryan spoke to him about Sufi. "If that girl really loved you, she would have known that you wouldn't do those horrible things. She doesn't deserve you, Altaaf, and I'm so sorry that she let you down." Ryan leaned over to softly kiss his cheek, a far more chaste and sweet kiss than she can remember giving to any guy.

His eyes were so beautiful, and Ryan couldn't remember the last time that a guy's eyes made her feel so fluttery and shy. "I don't want you to leave. I would love to get to know you better, and to share my world with you. I know it must be strange, here, and feeling like everything you ever knew has been blown away. But I promise you, I will always be here, and my home is your home for as long as you would like. Having you here makes me happy, and I love your company and how much fun we have." She took his hand, and squeezed it. For that moment, she looked very young and sweet, even a little shy.

Date: 2010-08-09 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
Ryan's explanation of Alex's relationship didn't really clear things up for him. In truth, he was a little shocked that she would date her own uncle, but as he wasn't really her uncle, somehow, and before she knew about him that was okay. She certainly wasn't wrong by saying it was complicated! "So...Alex...he saved you and your cousins?" By now, he really had a vision of James Bond fighting the bad spies and rescuing Ryan and her cousins.

Altaaf's eyes followed Ryan as she fetched the family photo, and he paid attention as she named each of them. Having lost his own family, twice over, he always found it nice to see a happy one, as her aunt obviously had. "They are lovely. I would think they keep your aunt and uncle very busy, but very happy." He wasn't as aware as she of their closeness and met her eyes innocently and without guile.

Her soft, sweet kiss made him blush, but he didn't move away. "But I did some horrible things. I used her so we could blow up the transmitter." He sighed, knowing he was still defending her to an extent. "So now she believes things I didn't do. Things I would have done if abba.." He stopped. It wasn't fair to Ryan to focus on his adopted father's death, but he wondered briefly why Allah had taken him when Altaaf had just learned the truth.

He shook the thought from his mind, meeting Ryan's soft eyes again, so very much unaware of the effect he was having on her. As she made it clear he was welcome to stay, he smiled quite shyly himself. "It is strange, different, but it is not the first time I've have everything 'blown away'." His short laugh was without humour. "I should be used to that, yes?" But he felt very relieved, and as Ryan squeezed his hand, he grasped hers. "I love it here, with you, having fun...riding that Harley." This time he grinned. "But I don't want to take advantage. I am happy to work, help around the house."

Date: 2010-08-09 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Ummmm, sort of. Alex and my aunt, and Bane, who you met." Ryan shrugged, and smiled a bit sadly. "Alex is...well...he was kind of a double agent. But he's cool. Maybe he'll come by, someday." Dear God, I hope not, not without warning... Ryan was glad that her friend couldn't read her mind, because the visions in her head of Alex or Frankie meeting Altaaf were very complicated and frankly frightening. She was bemused to realize that she felt protective of her Kashmiri housemate, even against her two former lovers. Which, of course, would only egg Frankie on, and he would no doubt fuck with poor Altaaf, just to annoy her.

"Oh, yeah, those kids keep Caro and Nick hopping, all right. I mean, even with all her money and the nanny, it's crazy there at times. The noise levels alone make me nuts. I can only handle them for a day or so, then I'm out of there." Ryan chuckled, and went to put the photo back, next to framed photos of her with her grandmother, now dead, and one of her with Frankie, and one with Alex and Aeon, at Luxuria.

Altaaf's sigh made her sigh, sadly. "You are way too nice about her. I'm sorry, my friend, but I believe in loyalty. She should have known your heart. Yeah, okay, you did some things that were bad. So what? I've done some things just as bad. But I know that you wouldn't believe things about me without giving me the benefit of the doubt. That's what friends do. And you and I haven't known each other that long, and she's known you since you were kids! I think that's pretty shallow of her, personally." When he paused about his father, Ryan shared her own father's death. "My dad was a lowlife. He was going to help those people who wanted to take me and my cousins...just sell us for money. My uncle killed him. At least you got to have a reconciliation with your dad. I mean, it sounds like he died trying to save you, so I think he would be happy to know that you are safe and have a home, with friends who care about you. A whole new life, a fresh start? Your folks...all of them? I think they would be happy for you."

Ryan looked right into his eyes, and squeezed his hand, speaking very softly. "No one ever gets used to things like that. What happened when you were and kid, and what you have been through recently...those are not things that anyone can, or should, get used to. But you can take them and keep them in your heart, and it makes you more mature and aware of the good things, the good times and people that are here, and will come to you. You deserve that." His hand was warm and he was having quite an effect on her, in a way that she really had never experienced. Alex and Frankie were lust. This was different, though she was attracted to him. This was something softer and sweeter, and she was definitely in unfamiliar territory.

"Chores? Well, that's cool. But I don't think you are taking advantage. Not one bit." Ryan moved back to her own seat, and took a bite of the cooling pancake. "I could use a hand with giving Rocker a bath today, if you want. He's getting a little ripe, and he really needs one."

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Altaaf Khan

November 2012

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