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JL | Com Ivanova, Cmdr Neyes | "Touch" pt 2

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

Mission: Ballynamony

Tristan descended to the table and placed the shining platter of near ornamental porcelain down between them. He listened to her words, careful to keep his face clear of any particular response. She was right to be anxious, and she had every reason to be. This was a dangerous place, and the entire away mission both under guard and underfoot was feeling the strain. Rochelle soaked in their nerves like a sponge. "You're one of the most empathetic people I have ever met, Commodore. You'd give a Betazoid second thought on their abilities if given the chance. I wouldn't be so quick to blame yourself for all the weight of your 'job'. You pick up on apprehensions, tensions, and feelings of doubt. They reflect on you as if you'd been the source all along. The same is true of positive emotion as well, you become a whole new Rochelle at parties and around friends, and that's when you sense the happiness and comfort.

"Being Commanding Officer may be your job, but it's also your duty to see the worst case scenario and see through to the experience behind it. I would ask you to try to see what you can after we've made it through this one. See rescuing Landon and the others, see Vaan's face when his father gets to hold him again. See the relief of your crew in knowing everyone made it home safe. Let that be what you reflect. Work toward it knowing you can and have accomplished it all before." He handed her a cup of tea, leaning over with the sugar and tongs, "One lump or two?"

"Two." She replied in the smallest voice she'd ever heard from her own lips. It had taken a moment to conjure, the meaning and depth behind Tristan's words sinking in and resonating deeper and further than she'd have liked to admit, but it had been carried forth by the warmth of the tea set in her hands. In private, saucers could be abandoned for sake of comfort, "For someone so empathetic I can be so dense and short sighted," Rochelle admitted, drawing the porcelain cup to her lips. The tea was strong, rich, borderline herbal with an abundance of aromatic bergamot, and it reached to gently work its magic on her wild soul. Another sigh, this time of near pleasure, and she was starting to relax - thankful for Tristan's foresight. Maybe she'd been wrong about his dry and clinical nature. Maybe this was his way of trying to herd cats and keep her from becoming too tightly wound. Playing into the upheaval of her emotions was never going to help anything, least of all aid in the retrieval of the crew.

"I am trying to be more open and relaxed about things. I am. I gave Landon this position and assignment because I knew I couldn't wrap him in cotton wool and stick in him a glass box for my own ease of mind. He was happy playing dad and husband, but he was restless... He needed and deserved more." Now was the time for talk, and she knew she'd been played like a fiddle and simply hadn't a single iota of a fuck left to give about it. Tristan could win this one and have an easy night. A gift from her to him out of gratitude, "I knew he was going to ask, prepared myself for it... Gave it to him because it made him happy and because I knew he was capable." Rochelle paused with a sad little smile hidden by elaborately decorated porcelain, "I should regret that decision, but I don't. I know I'd regret it more if I hadn't let him go... And I know he's doing what he can to keep the rest of the crew safe. That's just who he is. So... If I'm honest and choose not to be selfish about things, I could almost say that we're lucky he is where he is because he'll keep them going. He won't give up."

Tristan nodded, "It sounds like you're already handling it." He looked up to her while stirring his cup of tea. The air in the room lent itself to an atmosphere of quiet contemplation. Aside from the muffled sounds of voices penetrating the walls of the home, the lack of ambient noise was relaxing. Every so often a draft of wind would catch him, but then the calm would reclaim its dominance in their space. The old home was antiquated, simple, but he appreciated what it allowed him to concentrate on. No thrumming energy pumped through its walls. No conduits carrying plasma to other heat and noise emitting systems. At night the sounds of insects filled the air, and he could see its effect on the away team. He could see it on Rochelle. For all her worrying, something about this place set her free, and she settled into rational consideration much easier. Her mood was stable, constant, and harmonious with her surroundings. Just like with the crew's emotions, she was a mirror for her surroundings.

"I'm," he stopped for a moment, "I'm grateful he has someone like you in his life, Rochelle."

"In a round about way, I suppose," Rochelle replied with a shrug. Quiet was an easy thing to be absorbed by, however relative it could be. To some the thrum of warp drives became a second heartbeat, soothing them and rocking them to sleep. For others, it was the crackle of a healthy fire as it burned and sacrificed its energy for the sake of selflessly heating a space, or the muffled hoot of an owl from atop a window's dormer. It wasn't a far reach for her to feel at 'peace' in those surroundings, Crown King was not altogether dissimilar with its rustic charm, but it was the situation that had provoked the necessity to visit that left her weary and withdrawn. When he began to speak again, she lifted her gaze in his direction, once more lending him her attention with a tilt of her head as he paused. His follow through wasn't something she'd been prepared for or dared to dream she'd ever hear come from him. The words, rife with sincerity, brought a smile to her lips - though her lower one defied her with a tremble in preamble to tears she refused to shed.

It took her what felt like an eternity to formulate a proper response. In reality, it was maybe a moment or two spent biting back the surge of emotion that came with accepting such a compliment and the implications that rode along with it. "I love him." She said, her voice strained though she managed the smallest of smiles, "I love him so much it scares me." While Tristan may have been grateful that Landon had her in his life, he couldn't have possibly known how important sharing that life was to her. After all, she'd been through, every horror and every pitfall, Rochelle had been presented to Landon with so very little left to give. In many ways she'd always felt that she'd saved the very best of her heart for someone who understood the worst of her. That was part of their beauty, one of the most compelling things ever encountered; they were two people that had become fluent in choosing one another over and above and in spite of their flaws. What scared her most was being aware of the intrinsic knowledge that she likely wouldn't survive if... When... she lost him.

Seeing her response to his words, the tremble of her lip and a sullen expression betraying her thoughts, Tristan stood and moved to the opposite end of the table. Passing her chair, he placed his right hand on the back of her shoulder in comforting acknowledgment of her pain. "We'll get them back, Rochelle."

"We will." She nodded, closing her eyes at the touch of his hand. Sometimes it surprised her when he reminded her of his 'compassion' and she knew deep down that for all of their trouble and for all of his stoicism, he was genuinely pure of heart - or as close to it as one could get. After everything he'd been through in life, after all of the horror and the tragedy of losing his family, Landon, the joining, he was still so perfectly put together and strong. It was that strength that she envied most, especially now when she was so desperately working to maintain her own shields. "Thank you, Tristan..." She offered, looking up to follow him, "For everything."


Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer


Commander Tristan Neyes
Chief Counselor


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