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JL | Com Ivanova, Cmdr Neyes | "Touch" pt 1

Posted on 241709.10 @ 10:53 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Commander Tristan Neyes PhD.

Mission: Ballynamony

Rochelle was listless... Ruminative as she drifted through the warm old Colonial home. It was large, it's halls often empty and devoid of sound when the team was out and about or sleeping. It was night that proved to be her worst enemy, proving to be filled with doubts and speculation dipped in a degree of anxiety, anticipation, and impatience. It funneled her into a bedroom she'd have to share for the sake of their rouse lest the help become suspicious, forcing her to wait until sunrise for a chance to begin solving the problem they'd come to untangle. She'd never been the type to wait for anything or to simply sit quietly and wait for a way in. It was her job to create the in and it usually involved something explosive. Whether it was her temper - or something fired from one of the ship's weapons arrays - she had no shortage of those so-called 'ins', but now... Here... None of her usual tricks would prove to be worth a greater God damn. The English language hadn't yet come up with a word worthy of describing the level of her frustration over that teensy set of facts.

"Rochelle," Neyes said, rubbing the bridge of his nose, "you're pacing again."

With a sigh, she stopped her pacing and took the chance to lean against the bedroom's elaborate wood mantle, resting her head against her wrist as she studied the flames dancing within the hearth. It was warm, comforting, even when she didn't want comfort. The light of it catching and toying with the bright copper of her hair and the shape of her face, illuminating that which she'd tirelessly fought to conceal. Its flicker was reflected in her eyes and the silk of her gown, refusing to leave her be when darkness both terrified and appealed to her.

Somewhere behind her she could feel Tristan's careful and patient eyes studying her, watching her with practiced ease. It was a soft gaze, tinged by worry and nothing more. Through all of this, he'd been the same degree of stubborn she had - reminding her that Landon had come through worse scrapes in the past. He was right. Landon had survived so much worse. Of all the people she was forced to share space with, he was perhaps the best and worst choice out of the entire grouping. He knew her... Perhaps better than she'd have ever wanted him to. He knew her habits, her tells, her moods. He knew her like Landon had known her all those years ago when everything was so fresh and new. It was frustrating most times, it gave him far too much insight into things she wished he knew nothing about. At others, it alleviated her of the burden of having to explain herself.

Tonight wasn't one of those nights.

Rochelle knew that he, like the crew, didn't think her weak, but their concern was almost palpable with the way they watched her, waiting for her to show some sign of humanity and emotion... Waiting for her to lament the loss of Landon. He was alive. She didn't need to lament or mourn or cry even though she could feel the well of emotion threaten to spill each and every time she thought about it. About him. "It's funny," Her voice broke softly over the crackle of a burning log and the fingers of her free hand tugged at the 'V' of her bodice, an idle yet fidgety motion that would be the only tell of her anxiety, "How things come full circle. Three years ago, almost to the day, he was trying to rescue me from some ice cold hell." It had been in late July, not August, but she remembered the events clear as day. The cold. The snow. The feelings of complete desperation and utter helplessness. A heavy, slow, and resonating sigh cast away the bone deep shudder that ran through her. "This almost seems like a cake walk." Was it for her or for Tristan? A bit of both, she decided.

Tristan stood, hearing his sofa chair creak softly, and made his way to the primitive stove in their room. It connected to the hearth and allowed their fireplace to warm the water kettle. He gently poured water into the kettle from the basin on a nearby table, the soft thud of its porcelain touching down on the wooden table. Soon he would make tea, or whatever concoction he could manage in their present locale. It had become a staple of their talks. Rochelle would pace, he would sit, and the two of them would exchange earnest conversation over tea. "Do you think slowly walking a path into the wood floor will make it any easier?" He teased. Of course, she was simply nervous.

Casting her eyes over her shoulder, she offered him the smallest of smiles and the shake of her head, "No," She replied, "but I feel the need to do something." Rochelle's voice was nearly whisper soft as it did what it could to convey her restlessness and the reasons for it. The why and the how were nearly identical now, matching paces and fates with every twist and turn along her nerve endings - compelling her to move yet again and yet she fought it. Instead she chose to hold her position near the warmth of the fire and use it as her vantage point to study calm, collected Tristan. It was rare that he was rattled or unglued, so rare in fact that she could only remember seeing his anger and frustration exactly once... Right after he'd come aboard. In many ways she envied his composure, even if she questioned its validity. She wasn't exactly the easiest being to get along with or understand, keeping her secrets and thoughts heavily guarded from even her most trusted of friends. Her tongue and teeth worried her upper lip as she bit it, considering options and things, considering what next to say to him. "Aren't you afraid?" She finally asked, her eyes narrowed in thought as she watched the way the light flickered across his face and toyed with the dapples at his temples... And those eyes. The first time she'd ever saw them she'd thought they'd belonged to Landon. The intensity was long gone, replaced with that soft sense of calm that seemed to follow him wherever it was he went, but they were still so very familiar with the bright flash of them as he studied the tea pot.

Laughing despite himself, he almost dropped the kettle after picking it up again. "Afraid?" The question wasn't funny in the sense he was insulted or actually amused by the implication he might be less than fearless, rather he found it interesting. From his perspective, fear was colored by the pollution of his own memories with those of Landon's prior to Notura. Certainly, he'd felt fear brush its cold hands across his cheek. Many times he'd been nearly paralyzed on the bridge, stricken with helpless certainty they were all about to be destroyed. In this case, though, his thoughts were less clear-cut.

"I am," he finally said aloud, looking her in the eyes and speaking in an absolute, "but I am also cognizant of our situation. When I was with Neyes, every situation was a calculation. The future's possibilities were presented to me like a platter of choices. It's a very subconscious thing, though. You forget it's happening, even with the mental acuity and control you gain while being joined. It's difficult to be terrified of all of them at once, so I often chose not to emotionally respond until the choice was made, either by me or someone else.

"This situation is not so different. The crew is not yet lost, and we have not yet failed to save them." He set the steeping teapot on the fine coffee table between the sofa chairs and went to fetch the tea set.

"No... No, I suppose you're right." Rochelle replied with the briefest of little nods to acknowledge that she truly had resigned herself to the fact. Tristan was clinical, dry, and logical to the point where he should have been born a Vulcan where Landon lived life with such an altruistic vibrancy and his heart often hung on his sleeve. That was the biggest difference between the two brothers. Now it resonated more than ever. He was right, though. The crew, while missing, was right under their nose and nothing more than a stone's throw away - they were alive. Now it was a matter of playing their cards just right... Just perfectly... And they'd be home free and back aboard the Vindicator. No more stuffy gowns. No more make believe. No more snow. Her eyes closed as her fingers left her bodice and whisked a stray curl away from her face, her body finally deciding to give up the comfort of the fireplace in favor of a seat and tea. Any other time she'd have smiled at the fact he was picking up her affinity for tea, right down to knowing how to handle such a 'primitive' brewing set up. "It's my job to worry, though," She found her voice again about the same time she settled into her seat, tucking her feet up under her skirts for added warmth, "As the Skipper of the Vindicator, as the wife, as the mother, as the friend... And we both know I deal with anxiety, we won't beat around that bush," Her hands smoothed across the fabric in her lap, pulling it taught as she studied the color and pattern of it in the new light and shadows, "It leads me to jump to the absolute worst case scenario, put it out there and prepare for it and then be happy when reality never meets up with it... With this, though..." Her head shook and she shrugged, "With this, I can't help but worry and be reminded of the past. Different situation, still sucks... Still really really sucks no matter how much logic I throw at it."

To Be Continued...

Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer


Commander Tristan Neyes
Chief Counselor


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