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JL | Com Ivanova, Capt Neyes | "Kairos" pt 2

Posted on 241809.22 @ 15:46 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Captain Landon Neyes

Mission: Lacuna

Landon, on the other hand, refused to waver. He watched her approach him with calm, quiet eyes and kept hold of the was of fabric at his hip. Had it not been for that grip, he'd have been the epitome of collected calm grace under fire. Stupidly, he'd given her a tell that he was anything but, especially with the slow burning quiet anger building within her. He'd have much rather she come out of the chute with an explosion of blind fury. That he could have handled much easier than what she presented. What she presented represented the worst of her temper.

"You were granted the divorce on the grounds that I was incapacitated. I wasn't." His head shook slowly and his tongue wet his lower lip while he shifted his weight to one hip and held a hand out between them, halting her progression and begging from her the chance to finish speaking, "I wasn't. Addiction is an illness. I'm sick, not comatose or whatever. I can make decisions and I could have stood for a divorce hearing. You didn't want that, did you? You just wanted a quick out and to completely cut ties without a word about how I feel on the matter and knew I'd fight it tooth and nail. I can't let you do that, Roc, not after everything we've been through and I wish I could say I'm sorry for this one, but I'm not. Well..." he shrugged, "I'm sorry for taking this choice away from you, but I'm not sorry for fighting for us and I hope you can understand why I feel this way... Why I hope you'll feel the same if you actually stop trying to destroy us long enough to really think about it."

What the brazen little redhead did feel was conflicted.

Somewhere deep inside she felt hope flutter and it tugged at heartstrings that certainly weren't severed. Standing in front of her, anxiously steeping in nervous energy, was a man she loved. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health... the memory of their vows warbled within her head, but she snorted, closed her eyes, and shook her head. "You have no ri--" catching herself, she ran her tongue across her lower lip. Of course he had a right to fight this, whether she liked it or not. Landon had never been afraid of her. Not once. Didn't matter the degree of her temper or just how downright mean she could be, he'd never once feared her - and being fair, she'd never once given him reason. They'd bickered over work related crap, but never had there been that need for either one to downright yell or bellow at the other.

Maybe they should have.

Maybe they should have flat our screamed and shouted and gotten it all out long before it came down to the bullshit they now slogged through in an attempt to find normalcy. Before she'd done everything to cut any and all ties with him outside of Javaan. Before he'd truly slid further off the deep end and she'd decided 'fuck it all'.

None of it cushioned the blow and none of it did anything to temper her anger. If anything it threw gasoline on a slow burning fire and ignited it in one catastrophic explosion - and still she remained poised on the outside while she trembled on the inside. There was a war waging within her, and it was ugly. So very ugly. "There's an old saying, Landon, and I'm sure the Trill have a version of it," Rochelle blew hair from her eyes as she drew a pair of climbing gloves from her back pocket and began to slip them on, "Once an addict, always an addict. This is what... Your second or third rodeo?" The velcro of her left glove hissed as she tugged it back and re-seated it more to her liking and her head shook while her teeth caught the fullness of her lower lip. It was a cruel statement, but fair and she was free to make it, "What makes you think that you can shake it?" Especially when faced, again, with Tr'Bak or someone like him. the thought made her blood run cold.

Vrith Tr'Bak...

There was the real reason for such the cascade failure of everything she knew and loved so very dear and it made her want to vomit.

He groaned at the barbs and venom laced words she directed at him. Part of him had been anticipating them, but the other party had sworn that his Rochelle would never turn them against him. The steely part reveled in sour victory. The soft part hurt and cast his eyes away and towards the rocky canyon walls, his jaw tense as he absorbed the blow and considered her words. "I deserved that." He finally nodded with a sniff, turning his gaze back to her once again.

The setting sun had darkened the canyon in an array of interesting shadows, but what light remained had set her hair and eyes ablaze. Dusty, gritty, angry, without a hint of makeup, she looked so young and downright beautiful. Her freckles stood out in worship of the heat and sun, dappled healthily along the bits of skin exposed to the elements and he could easily remember spending hours of his life counting, and tracing constellations within them.

He loved her. All off her.

Even the angry, hurt, hateful parts of her she usually reserved for the most unworthy ilk of the universe. "You have every right to be angry, every right to call me every name in the book you can think of and a few I'm sure you can create just for the occasion, but I'm begging you to let me try and turn this around and do right by you and Vaan." The knot in his throat was rising, threatening to choke him, "Please." He whispered, almost certain the word never left his mouth.

"Again," she wasted no time in volleying a response, feeling it well painfully within her chest as he spoke, "I ask what makes you think you can kick this. I mean really, Landon..." Rochelle head shook and a sarcastic, irritated smile tugged at the fullness of her naturally pouty mouth, "You blame me for every--"

"Stop. I don't think you understood me. I don't think you understood that you're not alone in your opinion that you made mistakes. You want to know the biggest mistake made, Rochelle? Do you?" Landon continued to keep his voice low and soft, but urgency bled through as he spoke and cut her off before more damage could be done.

Her arms crossed, the carabiners at her hip jingling as her weight shifted once again. "Sure. Fine. Lay it on me. Why not."

Choosing to ignore her brusque sarcasm, the Trill felt a bolder sense of hope than he had in a long time. Honesty was indeed seeing him freed from the bounds life had shackled him with. He'd be damned if he was going to admit that to Tristan, though. "The biggest mistake ever made was by me." He all but whispered. The confession tasted bitter and cold, but left him relieved all the same. "I shouldn't ever have let you go that night on Notura, I should have kept you with me and said to hell with propriety and all of the bullshit reasons I sent you home." He breathed in a heavy, shuddering sigh. "I blamed myself when I realized you'd been taken and I rushed off to fix it and bring you back because I couldn't stand the idea of you being hurt or dead because of bureaucracy... And my stupidity." He sighed, meeting her eyes, "I was furious that... thing had stolen something I wanted so damn badly and that he'd been given something so precious and, yes, I was hurt that you'd just let me go, but what choice did you have? None, all because I didn't do what I wanted to do so damned badly that night in the Horizon and I'm sorry. I know I can do better. I know I've been given so many chances and so many other incredible moments and I know I can do better if you'll just give me one more."

The desert wind kicked up through the canyon, cold and hinting at the impending frigid nightfall waiting in the wings. Rochelle shivered, partly because of the chill and partly because of the unabridged power present in his confession. Her eyes closed and words stalled out, refusing to be strung together in cohesive sentences. Of course she remembered that night in question - a night spent talking, teasing, and trading the secrets of their past. She remembered the nearness of him, the feel of his touch and the burn of their near miss and how it had left her feeling breathless and giddy even though there was an understandable level of associated disappointment that had come along with it. Looking at him, finally really looking at him, she felt her breath hitch in her chest and her feet shift beneath her, closing the impatient gap between them.

When at last she touched him, she could have cried out at the familiarity that came alongside being near him - but she didn't. Instead she rose on the tippy toes of her dusty boots and gently pressed the daintiness of her fingers against the back of his neck, guiding his head down closer to her level, resting her forehead against his and allowing them to share breath and the nearness of one another.

Landon found himself settling gradually into her soft, fragrant space. Even covered in the desert’s grit and grime she was warm and smelled of fresh rain and vanilla, things so familiar and dear to him. Things so very her. The feeling of raw silk and live wire, the soft satin brush of her hair on the breeze were all he breathed in as blood rushed to his head, beating painfully in his ears. His eyes, however, saw nothing. They sat lidded, burning in his skull, dark and shutdown - refusing to to open… Refusing to see his glass as anything more than half-full until she told him otherwise.

There were emotions to shed and mindless phrases to speak, but he knew his ticket-holding ride was used up, the paper torn. Exhausted, he knew he had nothing left to give to make her stay. It was a cruel reminder that he was waiting for her to tell him that he’ll be fine - they’ll be fine, and tomorrow he’d likely be left to try harder to forget what it was life to feel close to her her, to feel accepted and understood. He’d fail. He’d hold onto that brief moment of tenderness given to him through hours upon hours of mindless retrospection and a cold, isolated bed uniquely devoid of the feeling of her pressed against him.

It won’t be enough this time. He doesn’t care what her touch is supposed to mean - he leaned forward, dipping four fingers into the red wave of her hair and it took everything he had as a man to force his eyes open. Landon searched her face, watching, preparing himself for the moment when her expression of light and wonder shut down and refolded itself into an opaque cocoon of steely anger - for the moment the woman would once again rescind beneath the ice and concrete of the Commodore she so often hid behind. Time, however, had forgotten to walk or he would have sworn she’d have seen her pulling that veil across the crystalline windows of her eyes by now.

He had to have worn thin his welcome by now.

Instead… she stayed. Her fingers were now in his hair, touching him as he touched her - palm to cheek to cheek, facing one another in what is certain to be a catastrophic failure of resolve - but neither moved to save themselves. Instead, the drew forward and she pushed herself as high as her toes would allow for, and brought her mouth to his, allowing their lips to touch once and then cling so soft and precious that it may not have been a kiss at all, but rather a simple statement… Of what, she couldn’t be sure.

Surprise and confusion colored Landon's initial response to that brand of stimuli, but when she didn't beat a hasty retreat after a simple pity peck, he found himself enveloping her lithe little form in his arms, pressing her body to his as he both returned and deepened the kiss she'd started. His fingers dug into her shirt and hip, refusing to let go as he savored the feeling and taste of his wife against his lips for the first time in so many months - something he'd hoped to experience, but never dared to expect.

Better than sugar or alcohol, the sensation of her molded against him served to sharpen his desire to see this particular mission through. He'd forgive her for everything, for cutting every tie, for taking another in the process of doing that... A realization that had seen him sending his fist through his own reflection upon seeing their special mark of bonding gone from its place behind his ear, erasing almost all hope until she’d finally appeared to sit and speak with him. All of it could and would be fixed. Of this he was certain.

It would just take time.

Somewhere at the edge of her consciousness Rochelle was vaguely aware of the fact they'd moved, shuffled really - and he'd backed her against a sun warmed rock wall. She was also aware that she hadn't protested and instead had cupped his face in the tiny palms of her hands, stroking his cheeks with her thumbs in tender encouragement as she’d often done in the past. Their past. She could feel the delicious burn of his body and sun warmed belt buckle biting into the tender skin of her belly and his fingers gathering up the fabric of her tank top from their place high on her ribs. She was even more aware that she'd shifted her weight to accompany him better, letting him begin to settle between her knees while her hands began to dip to cave to his belt’s insistence that she relieve him of it. Against her chest, she could feel both of their hearts hammering wildly, begging for touchdown and release - begging that they find one another and stay. Holo-projection or not, he felt so good, so familiar and right...

No.

Wrong, she finally told herself mid-passionate kiss, her fingers paused on the tongue of his belt between their heated bodies.

She'd left.

They were done.

Tr’bak couldn’t hurt him anymore so long as she stayed away, played the role of bait.

Things and plans couldn't just be forgotten at the drop of a hat for sake of a passionate plea and confession.

There was still so much hurt and so much anger and the memory, still so fresh, of losing their baby while he remained blissfully blitzed out if his gourd on drugs, hung within her now confused and still galloping heart. All of it, every bit of it, resulted the sudden, jarring blow of her knee lifted high and hard against his groin. As much as she deserved the reminder to stay the course, and him a reminder of her pain and fury, both received it with swift justice - ending any hope of whatever mistake they were about to make continuing any further than it already had.

Landon groaned against her lips, releasing his grip on her to brace against the rocks in an attempt to hold himself up when her knee stole his breath from his lungs. At first he was certain that his knees we're going to give way and he was going to vomit, likely in that line of succession, but neither came. "You're right… I deserved that" He managed to whimper, gazing down at her as he spoke and remembered how to breathe, "I'm sorry.".

"You don't know the half of it." She replied. No matter how much she wanted to rebuild that wall of ice and fire, bolstering herself back against him and the thought of him, she found herself catching and holding him through the worst of the debilitating pain she was certain spread from his crotch like wildfire.

Landon, leaning his head against her shoulder, managed a small smile, The spark his eyes refusing to dim or lose the knowing twinkle of amusement and hope. She'd injured him, put him down hard, but stood there - still pressed against him - to help him recover while the night continued to draw ever nearer. She could have disappeared, ended the program, and left him as a crumpled heap gasping on his suite room floor, but instead she'd stayed… More importantly, she supported him, held him, soothed the crippling blow she’d delivered as he remembered how to breathe once more. It wasn't unlike the knee to the balls she'd given him by sending him away, divorcing him, sending him through treatment and the parallels were hardly lost upon him. "Keep telling yourself that, sweetheart."

Though the pain was significant, and the lesson downright awful, it promised him that she hadn’t lost herself to the darkness he’d thought had consumed her… Had consumed them. There was hope. No matter how angry she was, there was hope that she'd at least take pause to consider him and his request. More so, the knowledge that, say what she may, her love for him still endured was enough to keep him marching steadily on. Pushing away from the rock wall, he tugged at the bottom of his shirt and coughed lightly, "It's getting dark. We should get a move on it."

She nodded in agreement, silently slinking away from the wall and back down the winding canyon floor. The jam of wood and rock blocking their path seemed smaller than before, less intricate. There were far bigger issues to navigate. Far... Far bigger issues.

---

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

Captain Landon Neyes
Retired

 

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