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JL | Com Ivanova, Capt Neyes, Cmdr Neyes | "Super Glue and Stitches" pt. 1/2

Posted on 241808.24 @ 13:15 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Captain Landon Neyes & Commander Tristan Neyes PhD.

Mission: Lacuna

Let the record stand to show that Rochelle Ivanova would do anything for her son. Absolutely anything. Anything up to and including agreeing to sit through counseling sessions with her estranged ex-husband if it meant that their boy could have a decent relationship with his father. All boys, all children really, deserved that - but Landon was a work in progress and Rochelle was hardly willing to send the child into an environment with someone who was unsound.

Drug addicts, even recovering, were unsound and far from being able to make rational decisions. That was where Rochelle had hung her hat, but agreed to do what it took to help Javaan obtain some sense of normalcy with his father.

Would she have done it even if it wasn't a holofeed session? Most likely, but the level of irritation and anxiety would have been so much higher. As it was, the resplendent redhead sat stiff and rigid in her seat, legs crossed with one sandal clad foot bobbing. Perpetual motion was soothing. Her arms hadn't folded yet, though. Tristan had always said that folded arms defied progress by blocking it out. Instead she let her hands rest in her lap, fingers wanting to knot as she studied Tristan in front of her and did what she could to ignore Landon clouding her peripheral to the right.

In short... It was a rodeo waiting to happen and she wasn't sure who filled which role. Bronc. Buster. Clown. The chute was opened and the players and pieces allowed to fall as they may when her breath was drawn and words spoiled the deafening silence as they spilled from her lips. "Looks like the gang's all here."

Yee fucking haw.

The room was simple, clean. The transmitter in Landon's suite at the facility worked just fine for this type of communication, and it was a privilege he'd shown capable of handling. Each of them sat in a comfortable armchair, Rochelle's mirrored a style befitting hers on the Vindicator, and the Neyes' were sat in simple chairs of Trill design. A small coffee table was rested between all three of them, which held the actual holographic transmitter being used.

Tristan held up a PADD and tapped a few controls. Tristan was in a uniquely terrible position to be their counselor. He had Landon's memories, and many of them were of events only Rochelle would recall. If the choice were the counselor's, then he would have been about as far from their relationship as a brother could be. The older of the men and the most irrational at this moment, was unwilling to have anyone else even review his file. Much of it was private under some discretionary clause dictated under Trill's laws regarding symbionts and the TSC. Tristan had no success convincing Landon to allow a better-suited counselor to take on their relationship woes.

"I want to start his session by making it clear neither of you is under any sort of obligation. You've both agreed to meet here and have a discussion, so we'll keep this as informal as possible. Whatever you'd like to discuss is entirely up to the two of you, but I suggest any topics chosen should be mutually agreed upon. If at any time either of you are no longer comfortable," he looked to Rochelle, then to Landon, "or capable of the exchange I will terminate the feed and follow up individually. Agreed?"

Landon nodded gently.

Rochelle followed suit, nodding once in agreement while her jaw set, flexed, and the rest of her body tried to assume a more comfortable position. It was more awkward than anything, not unlike the silence that budded and began to bloom between the three of them. Even her ship was drowned out by the silence and the transmission, leaving her completely in Indian territory without much of a lifeline. Relaxing while under such circumstances often ended in someone being scalped one way or another and she couldn't help but feel both wary and cornered even though Landon seemed, at least for now, to be rather subdued and almost defeated.

Still.

There were effort and progress to be made and she wasn't the only one lost to uncertainty and discomfort. Never in a billion years had she thought they'd wind up where they were now.

Her throat cleared with a gentle cough, "Who chooses the topics? You? Me? Him?" The sentence still sounded rough and gritty to her, "I'll be frank and admit that I'm not sure I'm the best choice for the picker role." Not at all, actually. She'd have rather stuck her tongue to a frozen pole than pick a topic of conversation simply because she wasn't entirely sure she was ready to make nice. The anger and the hurt had to soften and fade eventually... Didn't it?

Hearing her speak. The steady calm of her voice even now, in this place, in this setting rolled over him like a forgotten dream. She'd been lost him and he'd had to come to terms with that to some degree. Part of that coping mechanism was convincing himself it was possible he'd never see her again. Never hear her voice or feel her touch. Never see her smile at him. It'd been months since he'd started staring away nights into the ceiling of his room, and living the futures no longer accessible to him in his head. Bearing witness to everything he'd change or do if things were different. It was very much like what he went through after being told she'd been killed, and it was almost impossible to stay focused with her in the room. Almost. He would manage to get through it, though. He owed her at least that much. He'd dreamt of taking his place at her side, supporting her once more. That, that was impossible.

Landon went to speak, but his voice cracked, and he shied away from the words.

Tristan looked to Landon, whose frame was smaller than usual. The cut of his jaw was closer to his face, and the width of his shoulders slimmer. He'd stopped caring for himself in meaningful ways and seemed to do enough just to keep him and others on staff satisfied he was healthy. In many ways, he was a shell, bereft of the things that made him Landon. The big brother and commanding Captain had been replaced with something else. Tristan hadn't quite put a finger on what that was exactly. But his light was... gone.

"No hard or fast role, Rochelle, though I think you probably have the most questions. I can suggest a topic if you'd like, but I would prefer to be involved as little as I can," Tristen said addressing Rochelle directly.

The sound she made in response was caught somewhere between a snort and a sigh, exasperated to say the very least of it. Landon and his inability to verbalize his thoughts both concerned and angered her, but she did what she needed to order to keep on keeping on. Killing the feed and stalking off to sulk wasn't going to help or stall anyone. He was there. She could catch him from the corner of her eye whether she wanted to or not and staring at Tristan the entire time wasn't going to prove or mend anything.

Finally, she allowed herself to look at him, doing a bit of a double take when the picture in her mind's eye didn't match up with what she saw. Drugs were a hell of a thing, leaving scars that went unhealed long after the user rode their last high. Yet another reminder why she'd never ever wanted to bird walk down that tedious road.

On the one hand it tugged at her otherwise hardened heart strings, seeing him in the worst physical state she ever had. On the other, she couldn't help but think that it served him right. He'd brought it, this, on himself. "Question one would be 'How are you?', but seeing..." She bit the inside of her cheek before she could finish the sentence. Saying he looked like shit warmed over wouldn't help things, "seeing as we're here doing what we're doing, I'd say That's a pointless question. If you've got a question in mind, Tristan, maybe that would be a better ice breaker." A hand left her lap order to itch at the outer corner of her right brow. Progress. All in the name of progress.

"I don't thin-," Tristan was promptly interrupted.

"You're not here to catch up on what the food is like, R," Landon started, his eyes dull and sleepy, "so let's have it. Lay it down so we can start dealing with this."

Tristan tensed up, "Constructive exchange does not start at a vent-session, brother."

In a sudden come-about of attitude, Landon was impatient. The dark circles under his eyes were less indicative of any medical problem than his inability to sleep in recent weeks. He'd made progress, and even achieved a level of normalcy in the recent months. But somewhere along the line in his recovery things stopped being about getting better. Instead, the world was colored by everything he'd forsaken. Tristan had noted Landon waxing and wavering between lethargic and defensive. His days were inconsistent, marked by periods of seemingly spontaneous optimism and countered by lengthy spans of total preoccupation with his mistakes.

Landon shook his head, "She has every reason to hate me. Let her vent a little." He looked up with his icy blue eyes and waited for her to start.

"Hate you..." Rochelle's head shook with a admittance of a soft scoff. The bouncing foot hit a pause and her hands dropped back against her thighs palm first. It didn't take much, but the redhead scooted her chair around to be able to face the near-broken Trill dead on - meeting his eyes with her own for the first time in a long time. Her jaw flexed, her lips pressed together. "Tell you what... You knock off the maudlin bullshit and I'll ask a meaningful question or two. Show of good faith, here's question one. Were you using the day you crashed the Horizon on that planet? That's been eating at me a bit. I swore blue in the face you weren't when I went and sat with Admiral Archer. Got promoted just to have my ass chewed and that star taken back, so I figure you owe me the truth." The fact they were married at the time, and he a member of the crew, notwithstanding... Apparently. At least not at that exact moment as she leveled with him and leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees, folding her fingers together out in front of them.

Landon leaning forward to match her, dropping the "maudlin bullshit" when she came at him with a barb, "Nah.

He'd imagined she would express her boiling anger toward him by admitting how she felt. Instead, he found himself beneath a new string of accusations. His voice rang with gentle exhaustion, but the anger at her misunderstanding his reasons still poked at the back of his thoughts, "But it sounds like you feel like you lied to him. It's not on me that you felt like you were lying to Archer. Do you want to know when it started to get bad, Rochelle? It wasn't when I was personally responsible for the lives of an away team. Believe it or not, I am not a completely insane, selfish asshole."

Tristan felt the shift in temperament, which he'd honestly felt was probably inevitable. Raising his hand to intercede, he was quickly silenced as their volumes gently rose.

"So, were you? Did you think you were lying to Archer?" The withered man pressed.

The flag of a hand being raised in her peripheral vision brought with it tension flexing through Rochelle's jaw, "If you say one word, Tristan, my next magic trick will be making my right foot disappear." Her eyes, however, never fully left Landon. They may have darted across his facial features, crossed his general physique, and back - But they never left him.

While it wasn't quite predatory, not the way she looked at Tr'Bak or any number of the less desirable life forms that had crossed her path, it wasn't warm or fuzzy either. There was hurt. Anger. That fire that often burned when she was having her authority challenged, was there... But the usual posturing that made up for her astounding lack of vertical presence simply wasn't. "I know you were using before then, Landon. I'm a lot of things, but blind isn't one of them. If I lied to him then I lied to him. I fucked up by thinking giving you additional responsibility..." she cut herself off and sighed with a sardonic little smile, "I fucked up by thinking anything I did would help or fix you."

There was a bit of a pause as her teeth caught the swell of her lower lip and her head shook slowly. It didn't take much in the way of motion to dislodge that impudent cowlick of hair, and less to brush it back behind her ear in a motion that had long since become second nature, "I fucked up years ago. You shouldn't have been left on the Vindicator when Tristan and Grant found you." That one hurt even her, and she instantly regretted it. Whether or not the sting of it made it across her face or into her eyes - or if he were perceptive enough to notice those teensy weensy changes in posture, respiration, and expression - remained to be seen. A low blow. Unfair. Her fingers wrung together to keep her from reaching out to him, pulling him to her. No. She had her reasons for her anger, a course set in. Second star to the right, straight on till morning and all that bullshit.

Clearing her throat, she managed to find her voice again though it was rough at first before it gained some traction, "What I don't know, and can't quite figure out, is when you started using and who your candy man was. Will you share that information?"

Landon could feel the edges of his lips tingle and his face flush with a singular wash of pain. His throat tightened. He knew his face would betray him, and there was nothing he could do to stop the welling of rage-infused tears from threatening his expression. Her words flung like spears into the conversations he'd had with Tristan for months. She didn't care about him anymore, at least that's how it felt. He'd cried and fought for months not to believe it, to convince himself he still meant something to her. To somehow prove Rochelle thought everything of him he thought she did. She was interested in what she could control now, her command, Vindicator, her rank, her... effectiveness. Giving up on him was the natural course of her decision making though, wasn't it. Landon had never been about seeing his righteousness through to the end, it was always about seeing the world and trying to squeeze happiness from a galaxy he'd watched burn itself to the ground for hundreds of years now. Rochelle though, she wanted what she could get, and Landon truly believed her potential was limitless. Getting what she wanted was just a matter of time.

"I'm nearly 900 years old, the ex-CO of your ship, and I speak Ferengi in four dialects! Forget about this being a relapse. You think I can't *make* what I needed to get off? Adjusting logs was effortless. I even used the replicator a few times and nobody batted an eye. I'm not proud of what I did, but I sure as hell am not going to allow some sleazy drug dealer anywhere near my family. I took what I did to feel something different.

He could feel his jaw pulling back on his expression, tightening in response to the anger, "You're right by the way. Keeping me on board was a mistake but it wasn't your first. I started when I came back to the Vindicator. First day." He locked eyes with her.

The pain was tangible. Hot and heavy it hung in the air in a heavy curtain between them and brought Rochelle to a crossroads. To remain the caustic Captain, pious and bitter or allow the rawness of her nature and heart to shine through. It felt as if eternity passed, but hardly a second had before Rochelle leapt to her feet in one fluid motion and began to close the gap between them. Table and Tristan be damned, it wasn't until she was there, toe to toe and staring down at him that the fact he wad nothing more than a figment of technology and pixels began to nudge at her. Just how real could pixels/ in this instance? "You!" She shouted down at him. But what? An insult? An accusation? All of the above? Her chest hurt with unspent feelings, so much so that she was convinced it was going to explode, "You were not a mistake." Was he? It was hardly a whisper, so soft even she had doubts the words existed at all. She'd been young and naive when they'd first met and while taboo through and through, she'd been unable to ignore the desire to call him hers.

And she had.

It came with a bitter price.

"How noble of you. You gave up on me, on Javaan," her head shook and her tone raised again as she continued, "You gave up on us! But hey,you didn't involve a scum bag dealer so I'm supposed to do what? Pat you on the back and give you a fucking gold star?! Fuck me, Landon, I did and gave everything for you and for what?! To find out you'd rather feel a buzz than engage with your family, with.... With reality!" She was shouting again, swept up by the savage winter storm that always seemed to be the under current of their life, "But hey... 900 God damned years of experience told you that a high was better than your wife and children!" Another barb, double edged. Try as she may, she couldn't avoid it. "Sorry, child. I stand corrected." Horribly and sickeningly so.

A hand instinctively cradled her midsection, as if trying to ward off the hollow ache that came with that particular brand of memories. While she should have been filled with the joy of budding life, she instead was painfully devoid of that wonder and left poisoned by sheer contempt and even hatred. But the latter wasn't his fault, No matter how she wished she could blame him and, in many ways, outwardly seemed to.

---
To Be Continued...
---

Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

Commander Tristan Neyes
Counselor
Starfleet

Captain Landon Neyes (ret.)
Retired

 

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