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[BACKLOG] JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Sha'mer | "Well... Shit."

Posted on 242004.10 @ 09:12 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Lacuna
Timeline: Backlog

Hours had passed since the... Incident. That was what Rochelle was going to call it from here on out, the incident. The one where her yeoman, her friend, had walked in on a rather compromising moment in the redhead's life. Not that it had been planned, at least not by her, but what had been seen had been seen and there was no 'unseeing' it. What came next, though, were apologies.

"Before you say anything, I'm going to just lay it out there and say I'm sorry." Rochelle offered by way of preamble, her teeth worrying her lower lip by way of punctuation for the statement, "I'm sorry, but this wasn't planned and it wasn't something that should have been done in my ready room or during that time and... Well... Shit. I don't know what else to say, Ra'lin. Stress does strange things? He kissed, I returned it?" Why the fuck was she apologizing? It wasn't like she'd kissed her best friend's crush - but she had lent herself to her friend's tomato cheeked embarrassment as much as she'd lent herself to her own at having been caught red handed. And there she was again, blushing crimson with ears steaming hot at just the thought and being ever so thankful that the one that had walked in hadn't been anyone but Ra'lin. The rumor mill would have been out of control by that point.

Ra'lin had been holed up in her 'broom closet' – the yeoman's miniature office near the bridge and the ready room – ever since she'd regained enough control of herself to move. She had been going through her work mechanically, reading and summarising reports, transferring data to and from PADDs and sending out various communications to different departments regarding logistics and other kinds of administration. Work was a great distractor, but it didn't really help. Most of what she did didn't require her full attention, which left the parts which weren't necessary to perform her duties free to enumerate all the various ways she had embarressed herself in the Commodore's presence. Starting from the very first time she reported in to today.

As soon as Rochelle had entered her broom closet, the treacherous blush had appeared again. Ra'lin stared at the floor as her CO talked. She wondered the exact same thing: why was Rochelle apologising? If there was one person who needed to do that, it was Ra'lin, and the only reason she hadn't done so yet was that she didn't dare to go to the ready room again. She'd been waiting for Rochelle to appear to the bridge – but she had entered her office instead.

Ra'lin took a deep breath. "Please, sir," she said, still staring down. "The fault was all mine. If I'd just touched the door chime-" Had she done that? she wondered. Maybe, maybe not. She did forget on occasion, and now she couldn't remember. "Or- Anyway, I'm really, ah…" Happy for you? Glad you finally kissed? Starfire, how to finish that sentence without sticking her foot in it even further? "Um. I think it was really…" She made a helpless gesture with her arms. "Just sorry I had such bad timing. Ma'am. Sir."

"No no no!" Rochelle waved both of her hands out in front of her, "Seriously. You have nothing to be upset or apologetic about. My office is your office, I mean let's be real. You spend more time there than you do here and for damn good reason. I wouldn't store a mop in here, much less a friend." She half-laughed, half-scoffed. Ra'lin really did deserve a much larger space to work in - and that would be tended to before they left port, "Certain... ah... Activities... Shouldn't transpire in certain places and it's my... Our... Commander Dahe'el's and mine, our mistake that we did what we did without thinking of the repercussions, especially with the constant foot traffic as we keep trying to find Si'a and Commander Valeese."

"Which is exactly why it's so important that you two have some time for yourself, and, ah…" Ra'lin rubbed her forehead. She had felt some kind of intensity built up between them and had wondered, deep down inside, if they would ever allow themselves to work through it. Well, it seemed a start had been made today – it was just lousy timing. And if Ra'lin hadn't been working so hard on keeping her shields up full strength, she would've been warned and never would have entered. "Anyway," she coughed, and stopped, having no idea what to say or do next. So instead she just shoved the recently finished pile on her desk in Rochelle's direction. "More PADDs."

"Forget the PADDs. If they were urgent, you'd tell me first hand so they can wait." The redhead replied, shaking her head. Pulling up a chair, she deposited herself into it backwards, straddling the seat and folding her arms over the top of the back, "Time for ourselves," she sniffed, setting her chin down on her arms, "What happened was hasty. We need to sit back and think about it," Rochelle sighed. It had done been thought about for the better part of a decade, minus that spent with Landon for reasons obvious. How something so long in contemplation could now leave her so conflicted was a mystery of epic proportions. "There's the question of the crew to consider, of careers, of being more discreet so we don't send people streaking from the ready room lit up like a Roman candle."

"Um, yes," Ra'lin nodded. Then her mouth took over without any interference from her brain – as it occasionally did – and she added: "You fit well together though."

"So do you and Craig." Rochelle fired back without much thought and certainly without rancor. "While we're playing the honesty game and all that." She added almost flippantly, pink coloring her cheeks once more as she realized just how candid they were choosing to be on the topic.

The remark had success: Ra'lin sighed, distracted for the moment. "I guess," she said quietly. "But I haven't seen him since the night of the ball. He's busy, I think. Probably trying to cram years of Starfleet Academy courses in a few months. But I do miss him."

And now the tables turned, allowing Rochelle to regain some semblance of control over the situation and lead her back onto solid group, "Don't waste time waiting for him, if you're interested go and make it known. We spend entirely way too much of our lives just sitting and waiting and watching time pass us by because we're busy wondering when the other person is going to take the first step, meanwhile they're doing the same exact thing." She sighed, lifting her head from where she'd rested her chin, "Trust me. I've been there."

Ra'lin nodded. "I try to, but, you know… busy…" She shrugged, then smiled a bit. "So, does that mean you won't let go of Commander Dahe'el?" And so they were back on topic again. Sort of.

"Make time." Rochelle reached to tap the other woman's desk, her point being made by the tips of her fingers - at least until Ra'lin opened her mouth and once again tugged the rug out from under the Commodore's feet once more. A pin dropping could have been heard during the moment of silence that ensued, "That remains to be seen." It was her turn to shrug, but the words remained poignant and pure... A taste of truth. Had she ever let go of Almar? Would she ever let go of Landon? Were those two halves something that she'd have to do battle with for the rest of her existence? The redhead nearly shivered at the thought. Landon was gone, again, this time banished from her world for the sake of saving the man from his own demons. A final act of the heart that had hurt and cut deeply, but needed to be done no matter how one looked at the situation. What did that leave Almar? A woman who would always love her ex-husband yet admittedly had loved him too for many many years? It was twisted and convoluted, leaving Rochelle dizzy and inwardly sickened by her inability to solve that puzzle.

Ra'lin leaned forward, hands clasped between her knees. Something was troubling the other woman, but it was hard to say what. Hard, unless she'd lower her shield and – not pried, not that, but there was always 'spillage'. No. Not a good idea. There had been that one time when Ra'lin had been so tired that her shields had frayed, and then she'd accidentally touched Rochelle, and- No. Just, definitely, no. So, the normal way would have to do. "What is bothering you?" she asked.

Transparent. Rochelle was transparent, and she knew it. "Landon." She replied with a small smile, setting her chin back down, "I can't help but miss him and wonder how he's fairing. And then I can't help but wonder if it's really fair to Almar, or anyone, that I know part of me will always remain with him." Deep subject, but she threw herself into the fathoms knowing that Ra'lin would accept no substitutes, "I didn't leave him because I didn't love him or because I wasn't in love with him... I left him because it was the only way he had a shot at getting better. He didn't need to be around everything that reminded him of what he's lost and what was taken from him... Same way I needed him to be taken far from it so that I could concentrate on the crew, on our missions. He didn't need me there. That would have only made things so much worse."

"But do you see any chance that the two of you could ever be together again?" Ra'lin asked, leaning forward. That was the important question, or at least one important one. One that needed to be answered, tied in as it was with the crossroads Rochelle was facing. "If you don't want to, if you can't or won't…" She shook her head and sighed. "You must've thought these things a thousand times over, if not more."

And the answer to the million dollar question: "No." The Commodore's head shook, "No I don't believe we could ever be together again and I've lost sleep over it, but I know it's for the best. The Neyes symbiont will live on and I'll be nothing more, or less, than just another experience. I can live with that."

"Weren't there Trill laws to forbid the next host to engage in a relationship with the partner of the last host, or something?" Ra'lin asked, momentarily distracted. She shook her head at herself and wondered why she seemed to have the attention span of a gnat today. "Never mind that," she muttered. "But if you do say that's a closed chapter, you owe it to yourself to move on. And you and… and Almar…" It seemed weird to use the first name of the XO, "you really have something. I can't really express it, but there's something that binds you. Something…" She shook her head again. "I don't know. Deep."

"There is. When Landon passes, that will be it." Rochelle nodded, but just as quickly had her attention and thoughts jerked rapidly along Ra'lin's leaping momentum towards whatever destination her mind had chosen. Of course it settled back on Almar. Always Almar. A wry smile tugged at the Commodore's lips and she sighed heavily, "If you only knew." She replied, "There's history there the same way that there's history with Landon... Same length of time, different level of intimacy... There was a time when I thought it would work, but he fumbled hard and we've been skirting around one another every since." She paused, "Until today, that is." Or was it back in Poquott? That kiss had been something more than a stage routine, and she knew it well.

There wasn't any telepathy needed to explain that both women thought back at the same incident at the same time. It was a natural jump, and for Ra'lin, a lot of puzzle pieces suddenly fell in place. No wonder Rochelle had been upset when Craig proposed that scheme. It had triggered lots of history between them, between the two men and her CO. She blushed again and looked down. Her first instinct was to apologise, as always, but the ruse had been necessary. Something which Rochelle had understood at the time. But still… "I'm sorry you had to go through that."

The Commodore's shoulders rolled in a quiet shrug, "It is what it is, was what it was. Sometimes I wonder if it was the straw that broke the camel's back with Landon or if just being held prisoner again was what did it." Rochelle's smile was soft, sad, and her eyes closed for a brief moment, "But then I have to remember that we're Starfleet Officers. We took an oath and we knew that life was never going to be simple from that point forward. Falling in love just made it more complicated, and we were well aware of that from the start to. So..." She sighed heavily, sitting back and clapping her hands to her thighs, "There's no point in my shouldering any blame when there isn't any for me to take other than my own stupidity for ever suggesting there was."

"True…" Ra'lin wanted to add something about not all thoughts being reasonable ones and guilt having a nasty habit to crop up whether it was wanted, or justified, or not. But she realized she would be only saying the obvious, wasting her breath and Rochelle's time. "Anyway. I just hope you'll find happiness again. You and the Commander both." She gave a faint smile.

Happiness seemed like a fairytale, but closer to reality than most, "Likewise, you and Craig..." Rochelle trailed off and winked, slowly getting back to he feet and turning the chair around, "But... We're square? Everything's ok?"

Ra'lin nodded, relief blooming inside her like a flower in Cold Station Theta's elaborate arboretum, and smiled. "We're good."

"Then that's all that matters." Rochelle's head echoed that nod and she flashed a quick smile before heading towards the door, "I'll see you back at the top... After you go reach out to Lieutenant MacLeod."'


Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer
Captain's Yeoman


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