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JL | Lt Shran, Lt Dai'xun | "Breathe Me" pt 1

Posted on 241712.22 @ 21:35 by Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun & Lieutenant Anaxar Shran

Mission: Ballynamony

It was the middle of the night, and so few burned the midnight oil. A skeleton crew at best and a few off-duty revelers passed between home and the lounge. None of them paid her any attention aside from a few quick glances at her attire. Many had seen the likes of it during their time spent on Apsha, the soft cream, champagne, and turquoise layers of silk meant little to them. They meant everything to her. They were home. They were her family. They were her status. They were, in many ways, her. The kohl liner, smoky and rich, only served to bring the color of her eyes out, darkening the ring around their oceanic irises and making them appear even larger than they already were. If something like that was possible. Her lips, the perpetual pout of them, were a soft and balmy coral that was maybe two or three shades off from her natural coloration. Her skin, though… She hadn’t touched it. Too proud of her heritage, though so many had assassinated the character of her people, was she to bring a veil to cover the heavy dappling of freckles. She’d only ever played with unnatural pigments a time or two before, always for ceremonial reasons. But now… Now…

Why?

An ode to conversation and the power of words. An homage to hope. A tribute to dreaming. It had to be something akin to one of them, or maybe all of them at once, but something something drove Si’a past the point of no return. Had it been Ra’lin’s gentle insistence? Xue’s way with words she had trouble understanding but knew just the same? Had it been something that simply clicked and finally drove sense into her strange sea brain? She couldn’t have said, even if she wanted to. All she knew was that her little champagne slippered feet had worried the deck plates of the Vindicator’s corridors in steady insistence of a predetermined flight path. Nerves had threatened to make her turn back, but something greater called to her greater sense of want… of need, and she found herself standing at that point of no return in no time flat.


Dreams.

Not nightmares, dreams.

There had been dreams, once, there on the edge of everything, in that no mans land between life and death (not for him, but for her, too close for comfort too close by far). With a touch of ribbons still wrapped around his wrist, with one quiet form slumbering, resting in his arms, he had dared to dream.

Not of the past, but of a future. A possible future. On in which she lived and they would be rescued and all would be fine.

And then they were rescued. And Si'a lived. And-

And that's when the drawing back had begun. Once back on the ship, back in sickbay, Si'a out of reach in a special room, a special environment, where she would have to remain for awhile to recover and heal. Anaxar in another room, locked in his own private hell. To hear that it hadn't been just the implant that had been damaged in the crash. The real damage had occurred (as he'd half known, half feared) on the way down, when parts of the shuttle exploded all around them, breaking up in the atmosphere. One such explosion had knocked Landon out. The second one, much smaller by comparison, had hit Anaxar when he'd taken Landon's place, struck the implants and fried circuitry and the delicate connection between implants and brain.

It would have to heal before a new implant could be inserted. Too delicate for a simple operation with neurostimulators. No, it would take time, and patience, and when all the other problems were solved, after a few days of lying in sickbay recovering, he was sent away, still in the dark.

The dark wasn't the worst.

It had taken more time for Si'a to be discharged. And once she was, she seemed silent and withdrawn. Polite words, strictly duty related. And so were his answers. Or was it he who had withdrawn first? Which was cause, which was effect?

Once he had dared to dream. But now, back here, he was afraid to. What if. What if it had been just the fear of dying which had lead Si'a to that momentous decision? Their comfort, their closeness – if it had been someone else (…Kaleb?...) would she have done the same?

His memory said no. Touches didn't lie. But how reliable was his own memory? He had been pretty much out of it himself. Not critical, no, not nearly as bad as Si'a was, but still in a bad way. How reliable was his memory? Was it only whispering hopeful words at him?

Craig said no. The man had insight, yes, but how much of his words were wishful thinking? Besides- Anaxar heard it in his voice whenever he talked about Si'a. Tender, caring. Maybe he- Maybe she deserved him more than-

Dreams. When all was said and done, who would ever choose him? In the middle of the night, or one night (or a perpetual night as they all were until the damned implant could finally be repaired) Anaxar rose and paced in his room. Why would she choose him? Why would anyone? There may have been infatuation, yes. Fascination, yes. That was not love. That was not the basis for a stable, lasting relationship. What could he offer? Not protection – he had tried twice and twice he failed, and that failure still galled. And- Never demean her by thinking she was weak, that she needed anyone's protection all the time, for weak she was not, or no more than anyone was and stronger than most, so strong to survive when all she needed to do to die was to let go and fade away.

What could he offer? Scars and nightmares and pain. His heart, worthless thing though it was.
No. Best to withdraw into the dark and leave her, that beautiful woman of stars and seas, to the one she would choose. If, by some miracle, that would be him (as that yeoman with the freaky mind claimed) – he had keyed the door of his quarters to her, told the computer that she could override any lock or privacy setting. If she chose someone else – (and let her explore, try to hide that damned jealousy and pride!) then he would rejoice in her happiness. He would always have that memory, of cords twined against their wrists.

Would it be enough?

It had to be.

And with that, when pain and emotions had drained him dry, he crossed the room again – he knew all the dimensions and all the steps, navigated the corners, stepped around obstacles and dropped down on his bed.

But sleep didn't come.

Ra’lin had been right about the lock and code. Her eyes closed as the door quietly hissed open and granted her near silent entry into quarters that weren’t her own. She knew the layout. Knew where everything was. The fact her skin immediately began to glow as she walked with false confidence through the space meant nothing. It wouldn’t be her tell. There would be more to it than that, there would always be more to it. Si’a’s eyes finally opened, but she knew she didn’t need them in order to see that he was awake. Oh Gods her heart was racing as she came to a rest no more or less than four feet from where he rested and the patient heaviness of her robes whispered encouragement as their motion ceased against her. She wouldn’t fidget, wouldn’t allow herself to. Her fingers found the pearl and shell encrusted sash that cinched several layers of embroidered silk tight to the hollow of her waist just above the soft, feminine flourish of her hips.

…The door opened.

The door opened and he knew who entered. A light, flowery perfume he didn't know, but which was mingled with a familiar scent. If it hadn't been for the overtones of the perfume, he'd have thought this was a dream.

This wasn't a dream.

He recognised the footsteps, but not the soft whisper of clothes. He heard her heartbeat, even from here, racing with a speed it never managed when they were alone together in that cell. Too weak, then, to sustain that speed. But the same heart, the same footsteps, the same smell- Si'a. Here.

Here.

He sat up in bed and the sheet slid down from his naked chest to pool around his waist. There he froze, unable to choose between the need to run from her and the need to run to her, so in the end he did neither. Just sat there, trying to penetrate the dark with all the senses available to him, and they all told him that yes, it was her. She was here.

“Anaxar,” his name held power as she spoke it, deftly untying tasseled bow at her back. As it came free she knew it was time to sink or swim and that the truth of the matter would soon be known. It slipped from her fingers in what felt like slow motion, snaking to the floor with a gentle clatter as it’s ornamentation fell against it in layers and the fabric of her robes released their hold on her curves, loose and ethereal. Si’a swallowed her nerves, stilling the tremble of her lips as she drew breath to speak again and her hands pushed open the first layer of the robes, allowing them to fall from her shoulders and down her arms in a gauzy sigh of silk as they piled about her ankles, “I promised you always. So long as I live, and you, we are one flesh. When I cease to exist, my soul will still be yours.” Oh Gods, her mind raked at her, setting her to light in a combination of fearful ice and passionate fire as she reached for that second and final layer of clothing, unbuttoning each embroidered button one by precious one, from the swell of her breasts to where they ceased to exist somewhere south of her navel. What if this wasn’t what he wanted? What if it had all been wrong? What is she really was nothing more than a silly girl and he a man of noble heart that had done a dying woman what he thought was a final gentle blessing? It didn’t matter. Her lips still wrapped themselves around the words she longed to say, “I swear that I will not be parted from you.”

The soft rustling of clothes as layer after layer slipped down and landed in a heap on the floor blended into a melody with her words. Suddenly, he saw her in his memory has he'd seen her before in decon, eyes large and luminous and fascinated, glowing in the dark with the delicate pattern of spots on her skin standing out like an abstract painting, or like a star chart, leading to unknown places.

Those words. They were what a dream would say. But if this were a dream, it was a far cry better than any other dream he'd ever had. Not a dream he could ever have, ever dare hope. No. This was not a dream, this was real. He stood up, another whisper as the sheet landed half on the bed, half on the floor, tangled around one leg and nearly made him trip. He smirked and untangled himself.

Definitely not a dream…

Did she love him? Beyond a doubt? Beyond urges of her youth? Had she lied to herself in that cell? The dark had had the anonymity of a confessional booth, and she knew a soul on the verge of dying had no time for lies. Yes. Said her mind. Yes… She loved him. It was cold in that room, but not so cold that she’d ever be in threat of becoming hypothermic. Just cold enough that her spine straightened when the air rushed in to wrap itself around the skin and flesh, her last offending garment released to it as it joined its sisters on his floor. With the sendal’s absence leaving her bare as the day she was born, she knew she’d truly crossed the threshold of life where one lived for another, “I give myself to you with a promise to be true and faithful, and to love all that you love and shun all that you shun,” Si’a continued, her eyes locked on his lanky frame as she reached with quavering hands to pull pearl and abalone pins from her hair. The silver coins that adorned them jingled as she let them tumble and her sea-foam tresses murmured in quiet whispers as they unraveled and fell, swishing against the backs of her legs and ankles as they came to rest and she stepped out of her flats. Free of their duty, her palms fell limp at her sides. For the first time in her life her nudity left her bashful. Bashful? No. That wasn’t exactly right. Si’a was innocence personified, so very far out of her comfort zone and wheelhouse, so very shy and worried that he’d send her away and that she’d have been right even when she prayed she was wrong, but bashful wasn’t the right term.

Anaxar tried to speak, but no words came out. Not a sound. He tried to move but the strength ran out of him with every word she said, he sank to the ground, face turned up towards her. Even in this position he was almost as tall as she. His hands and knees first touched her garments, then a lock of her long hair slid down and touched his hands, soft as silk. Touched his wrist and wrapped around it like a ribbon. He curled his fingers around it and lifted it, brought it to his lips.

Sensitive was a good word… She’d never been in this state before, not for anyone. He’d been her first fascination. Her first kiss. The first man, whether he was blind or not, that she’d ever bared herself to. Certainly, they’d lay skin to skin before, but that had been out of necessity and there’d been nothing more to it than a chaste quest for survival waged between two broken and dying people. This? This was something else entirely. It was charged. It was real. It left her… Vulnerable, raw, wired as she waited for him to do with her he saw fit. Each second made it harder and harder for her to be still. Her skin ached for the reprieve of either her clothes or his touch, so much so that Si’a was convinced that she would explode if one or the other didn’t come to her rescue soon.

This. These words. Had as much and as little value as those other words, other vows, spoken in the dark by a gruff voice in a cell. Not sanctioned by any institution but as solemn as any promise, or more. Sanctioned by the two of them, here, now, alone, together. The door locked behind them, but this time that lock was there to hold the rest of the universe out, not to lock them in.

And with that, with her hair still coiled around his wrist, he finally found his voice, ancient words which seemed totally new, for the two of them alone. "Nothing but light and love, for you, my dear, for you, as far as it is in my power to give you. Whenever I cannot, I will be there to light your darker days…"

The words came from deep within, and either he came closer or she did, but now she was close, so close that he could feel her warmth against his naked skin.

"For now into eternity, I will be your strength as you will be mine. For now into eternity, in life and beyond death, all of me belongs to all of you. I give you my life, my love, my heart. For now, for every day ahead, forever."

“Always.” Si'a's voice clung to the word with conviction in the dark.


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To Be Continued...
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Lieutenant Anaxar Shran
Chief Science Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun
Stellar Cartographer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

 

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