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JL | Lt Anaxar Shran & Lt Si'a Dai'xun | Water World

Posted on 241711.18 @ 13:58 by Lieutenant Anaxar Shran & Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun

Mission: Ballynamony
Location: USS Vindicator, Sickbay
Timeline: SD 241711.18

Oh darkness. Glorious, sweet, wonderful darkness. It was warm, slightly salty, and it encompassed all of her in its liquid depths. No longer did she shiver, and her muscles were beginning to lose the feeling of fatigue and strain that came heavy with dehydration and lack of nutrition… And blood loss. How could she forget the blood loss? Kaleb had set her up with what could only be described as a tank. At first the chamber had felt like a cage, inducing momentary panic that came with life-long claustrophobia. Oddly enough the lack of light and the sudden surge of warmth whisked away the fear and left her to stretch out and sink beneath the surface in an array of shining star-like freckles and kelp-like tendrils of hair. It was always a wonder how she didn’t become entangled in her ankle-length shroud of mane and drown herself, but that wonder was part of what made Si’a unique and precious.

While she could hear the steady beating of her heart, the hum of the engines, the beeping of her monitors (and of course the quick inhales and exhales of breath when she surfaced), silence was the perfect mentor of her rehabilitation. Silence, that was, until footsteps with the same cadence and steadiness as a time piece roused her from her rest at the bottom of the clear tank. Opening her eyes would have been pointless. They wanted to stay closed, especially with the threat of pain so very far away. Instead a series of slow, easy pops echoed. At first all she saw was the interior of the tank, her body, the way her toes flexed as she tried out the ligaments of her tired legs. Another series showed the outside… A man. Tall, slender, beautiful. She could make out the silhouette of him, the way his hair sat wild and unruly atop his head, tamed only by the protrusion of his antennae.

Anaxar. The elegant one with a gait like a metronome. She’d know him anywhere. The gentlest flick of her hands and legs brought Si’a to the surface.

It had been maybe five minutes ago that Anaxar had been cleared to leave sickbay. Most of the damage he'd sustained during either crash or imprisonment had been healed, the one thing which couldn't be attended to would take time, and there was no need to spend the rest of that time in sickbay. With the promise to check in once a day for the time being, he had been cleared to leave.

Anaxar hovered near the door. He had exchanged hospital pajamas for a fresh uniform. Though 'being cleared to leave sickbay' by no means equaled 'being cleared for duty', he still didn't have any off duty clothes. Acquiring them had never been high on his list of priorities, and simply requesting a clean uniform was a lot simpler than trying to blindly add a request for any kind of non-regulation clothes.

"Was there anything else I can do for you?" the nurse on duty asked.

"Am I allowed to visit…" the briefest of hesitations, "Lieutenant Dai'xun?"

"Of course," the nurse said cheerfully. "She's in room C-105." Now it was her turn for a brief hesitation. "Do you need me to show you?"

Anaxar turned his head to face hers, the useless implants cold, forbidding. "No, thank you," he said, and his voice was equally distant. He turned on his heel and left.

The oversized padd with the relief surface showed the way to his sensitive fingers, his other hand beat metronome time to measure his steps. Enter corridor, turn left, second left, third door on the right. It opened at the touch of the sensor plate and Anaxar entered, using both the sound of his footsteps and his antennae to regard the room.

It was a fairly large one, usually suited for four patients or one medical research lab, but now it was filled with one object: a tank. Initially, he wasn't able to perceive anything more than this. But then something happened, though it was hard to describe what: sounds at the edge of hearing range, first a series of dimmer ones, then a second series of a different pitch, more penetrating. They set his antennae on edge, made him shiver.

And then, movement within the tank, the water moved and swirled and something rose from the nothingness and came closer, a shape he could barely make out but which he would, nevertheless, recognise anywhere. "Si'a…" he whispered.

Resting her chin on arms folded across the rim of the tank, she studied him with eyes brighter than they had been in a long time. It could have been daylight, dusk, even through the blackness she could make out the fullness of his lips and shape of his face. Everything was as it should be, not a hint of the purple black bruising or cuts or scrapes remained. The grime and grit gone, he may as well have shone as a beacon of eternal winter. "I'm here." Si'a replied. It was becoming her most customary response, a reassurance of her existence in what she knew to be his seemingly ceaseless world of night.

Anaxar moved closer to the tank, halted right in front of it. Now he could perceive her silhouette, especially the part above the water. Her head was level with his own. He reached out with one hand, but stopped short, suddenly afraid to touch her. Back on the planet, back in the cell, back in the past, this was what he had dreamed about, this was what he had painted with words. And now that they were actually here, why did this still feel like a dream? He was afraid that if he took that final step, moved his fingers across that tiny distance, he would feel nothing, nobody, and he would wake up from the dream he'd created in that day of despair. All his senses told him how irrational that fear was. He could hear the small ripples in the water, caused by her movements, he smelled the slight saline tang, mingled with a smell that was uniquely Si'a, even the almost imperceptible sound of her heartbeat, an almost subliminal counterpoint to the far more familiar sound of medical monitors. But still he was afraid to touch.

Tension, palpable and real with fear rimming the cocktail glass they each seemed so primed to reach for, hung in the air between the pair. It asked for closure; whether it meant ripping wounds wide open or closing them for good. She could see his fingers, his hand, pausing in their quest to touch her, hanging so close in question of everything that had transpired. Was he welcome? Was this allowed? Was it what each of them truly wanted? Had everything in that infernal cell simply been a coping mechanism derived to save them from burning out in what had seemed like a hopeless situation? Closing her eyes, Si'a chose to bridge that gap. Propelling herself further from the safety of the water's hold, she rose smooth and simple as quicksilver to bring her hand to his, to press her warm, wet palm against his much larger one. Her fingers slid across the rougher expanse of his skin, allowing themselves to eventually entwine and lace together with his. There, touching him, she could see the way the pin points of light played against the blue of his flesh where they touched, just barely illuminating the contours of his digits and bringing stray droplets and rivulets of water to life with the glow of her.

In that wordless, breathless moment she confirmed her presence in so many ways, even if the delusions of any regret he may have had (or rejection that may come) still tugged at the back of her mind. Without words she'd confirmed their survival and the knowledge that he'd saved her, and perhaps she'd saved him, from the yawning chasm of a night with no dawn.

Anaxar sighed, releasing a breath he hadn't even realised he'd been holding. She was here. He was here. Warm, soft, smooth, alive. For one moment, the contact was all there was and all there needed to be. For one moment only, and then it slipped away, as time caught up with them again. He sagged against the glass, wishing in vain to hold on to the moment, to stay in it forever.

Time moved on. He heard himself speak, as from a great distance. "How are you?" Simple words. Simple question. So many things he wanted to say, but he didn't know how.

"M'ok." Si'a replied, allowing herself to be still and sink back under the water until she could once again comfortably rest her head on folded arms. He was close enough that his hair nearly tickled her nose and the scent of whatever shampoo he'd used to rid himself of the last physical traces of their incarceration served to comfort and ease her. It did little to distract her attention from him. The whole of him. "What about you?" She asked, reaching a drying finger to touch the end of the antennae closest to her. It was a thoughtless action, born of their closeness and her need for connection when words continued to fail them both. Regardless of her natural affinity for it, the water that held her was a poor substitute for the way he'd cradled and held her. So much so that she ached for the nearness of him and mourned their inability to touch beyond what the glass allowed them.

That mere touch sent a shiver through him which he felt all the way to his toes. He smiled, not the usual twisted, humorless one but the one which showed itself but rarely, and to few people but the one before him. It showed a hint of the Anaxar that had once been, a much younger version, unscarred in many ways. The smile just stayed briefly, as if it couldn't stand to spend much time on the person he had become.

"They just cleared me to leave today," he said softly. "I would've visited you sooner, but…" He gave a small shrug.

The star-child nodded, an imperceptible little motion built on instinct that defied the logic of his blindness, "I asked about you." a lot, she failed to add. Being separated from him had been the cruelest cut even if it meant and ensured their survival as a whole. Kaleb had done what he could to share information, though it proved to be a far cry from what she needed; him. Words were wonderful things, often acting as a salve to ease the hurt, but there was only so much that they could do. Shared from a third party as they were, it wasn't long before they became powerless and their mission futile. She'd reached that point by day two and now, the flash of his smile, the way it lit the lines of his face, acted as a perfect reminder as to why that time apart had hurt so badly. "You look like you're feeling so much better." Si'a offered, feeling halted and out of place. The shyness should have gone away, erased by the intimacy they'd shared. Was it the uniform? The ship? The reminder that he was her superior officer and she his underling and the ambassador to a challenging political situation? Her heart whimpered, and she nearly parroted that feeling.

And there was the other smile, the wry one. "As opposed to being half dead? I'm sure that's an improvement." Anaxar pressed one hand against the glass which kept them apart. He was wearing her out, he could hear it in her voice, and in her breathing and in the beating of her heart. She needed to rest, to return into the water which heeled her, and absurdly he wished that he could join her. Anything to postpone the inevitable moment when he had to leave her behind and return to empty quarters and bad dreams. "You feel better, too. Warmer, stronger." Better, yes, but not well by any means.

Words, words, stupid clumsy words. He wanted, he wished - he couldn't say what. And with everything between them he couldn't show her either. Did she still...? Or were they still reaching for each other in the dark? He moved his hand, dipped it ever so slightly in the water. It was a poor substitute for total immersion, for being with her, but if this was all he could get, he would take it and be glad to have even this much.

It was her turn to smile, and she did. Beaming at the sarcastic jab, Si'a stifled her laughter with a delicate little snort and and the flick of water droplets in his direction, "Yes... I have to say that I prefer you like this." Her eyes followed his hand, watching through the shivering surface of the water as his palm pressed against the glass, and she swore she could feel the warmth of it radiating against her. "Better." She nodded in agreement, but far from complete and renewed. His hand moved and so did her eyes, watching as his fingers slid across the lip of the tank and down into the water near her. So close. It barely sighed as she moved towards him, gathering and guiding his hand to her lycra clad chest where her heart thumped strongest. The thin black swim suit had been more for the comfort of those treating her than her own, and now she found that she resented it where her opinion had once been one of complete indifference. "Much better." Sure, the cuff of his uniform sleeve may be sodden, but to her it was a small inconvenience and price to pay for the closeness she yearned for. It was a risk, but the boldest parts of her prayed the pay off would be worth it in the end.

Anaxar had to stand on the tip of his toes to be able to reach her like this, but he didn't mind. He had already scanned around for a handy chair, but of course there was nothing like that in the room. And he was unable to detect something as small as a folded chair hanging from a wall or a stool standing under a console in a corner. So tiptoe it was, and maybe it was a good thing, too – if there had been a chair or stool available, he really might have been tempted to slide into the basin himself and hold all of her, instead of this simple touch. His arms cried out for her embrace.

Every single time he'd woken up since their return to the Vindicator, his first thought had been for her. The first thing he noticed was her absence. Only when that shock had passed did he realise he was back on the Vindicator, back in a sickbay, and no longer in a cell. Not even such subliminal signals such as sounds and smells could banish that first shock. Every single time.

How long he stood there, simply touching her, feeling her heartbeat, her warmth, the occasional strand of hair as it brushed against his wrist or the back of his hand, he didn't know. His time sense had taken a break. But they were interrupted when the door behind him swooshed open and the nurse stuck her head in and hissed: "Are you still here? She needs to rest. Out, you, out!"

The intrusion startled Si'a from her state of quiet comfort and warm pleasure. She didn't know how long she'd been there, propped against the side of the tank, with her eyes half closed and the barest of touches shared between them. All she knew was that Anaxar was once again being ushered away from her and she'd be kept in relative isolation until the next round of checks were completed. She rumbled in response to the nurse's demands; a low, deep, warning of a noise not unlike distant thunder as she settled her frayed nerves and puffed a sigh of nervous energy. "She won't let you stay." The star-child all but whined, forcing her arms to unfold and pull her torso over the lip of the tank. The edge bit into her ribs and upper abdomen, and it was a feat of strength to keep from toppling over and onto the hard deck some seven feet or so below. It was worth it, she decided, reaching a water slicked hand to cup the Andorian's cheek. "I'm glad you made it." Her mission had been completed. He was safe. Everything else was ultimately secondary.

"I'll be back, though," Anaxar whispered, soft enough so that the nurse wouldn't hear it, loud enough that she would. He did hold her, for one moment only as she half emerged from the tank. One moment, one brief embrace, but it was enough to fill the void in him for now. "You're here, I'm here, and I'll be back." He released her and she slid away from him, back into the warm embrace of the water, and he had to force himself to turn away and leave. His hand and face and chest were wet, but he felt lighter than he'd ever been since their rescue. Even though he had to leave her behind for now, he knew there was more future ahead of them than there had been past behind them. He could wait. He would wait, for as long as it took.

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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