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JL | Com Ivanova, Capt Neyes - "Fire Meets Gasoline" Pt 1

Posted on 241910.26 @ 14:05 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Captain Landon Neyes

Mission: Lacuna

“Landon, by coming here you have gone against everything I’ve said and everything I’ve asked for,” Rochelle’s irritation was palpable, her arms closed and crossed against his presence and words as she stood in front of her ready room window. From floor to ceiling, the entire outer bulkhead was nothing more than ‘glass’ and it served its purpose well - blending the ship’s mastery in with the allure of space, affording her mistress a faultless view of the stars glowing beyond… Or in this case, the bright swirling mystery of the nebula just beyond Cold Station Theta’s territorial grasp. It served as the perfect backdrop for the savage little woman - inhospitable, tumultuous, fiery… It threatened to consume, to devoir, and destroy as much as it promised treasures untold should one figure out how to correctly curry its favor to their benefit. She watched it with cold eyes, studying the twinkling lights and magnificent plumes of stardust and gasses as if searching for an escape path.

Escape from what? From him?

She’d been gone for almost a year, serving the Federation and smoothing frayed ends left between them and the Ascendancy. Frayed ends caused by a pissing match wrought between Landon and Tr’Bak… Her eyes closed, stealing her mind away from that line of thought. Tr’Bak had weaseled his way in, causing an untold amount of damage, long before Landon did what he did. She wouldn’t, and couldn’t blame him.

“You asked for space.” He replied, watching her carefully from where he’d roosted against the edge of her desk. The cold stone beneath him was a stark reminder of how things had cooled between them. It shouldn’t have happened, the concept was foreign and surreal given the nature of their relationship and the passion that gripped them both for all things in their lives. To lose that zest seemed so unnatural, and Landon found himself erasing it, refusing to give it any power or credit. “Ten months and several star systems, two whole quadrants, is a lot of space.” Not mentioning the sporadic nature of her communication. Javaan had always been made available to him, but his wife… She seemed more and more a spectre, a will-o-the-wisp flickering just on the peripheral of his vision as some great illusion only to vanish when he looked directly for her, “I asked you for a chance to prove I could make this right. You haven’t given me that, now have you?”

She hadn’t. Landon almost smirked as she snorted in a most undignified manner, her shoulders rocking as she did so, “Leaves us at an impasse, doesn’t it, Roc?”

The Commodore’s eyes focused on the faint reflection of him in the window, “I suppose it does.” She responded, pursing her lips. Sometimes she hated his pugnacious brand of intelligence, recognizing it for the wall like nature she herself wore so proudly. Two halves of the same whole, burning bright as binary stars. It was an inescapable truth and they both knew it. “It’s not the same anymore, Landon, I’m seeing someone else.” Her head shook, a couple blinks taking her focus off of him and returning them to the stars.

“You’re still married to me,” The Trill sniffed nonchalantly, banking his head off to one side and allowing his eyes to fall to the wedding band on his hand. The thought of her with another man made his jaw tighten, but he’d known that it was a possibility. He’d been a little late to the party when it came to fighting their divorce and separation, “Almar... will live.” Of course it had to be the Cardassian, if anyone else deserved her it was him. Landon, however, wasn’t particularly in the mood to share. Not this time. Not this woman. Not this life.

He pushed away from the desk, tugging at the sleeve of his shirt that had started threatening to unroll, his feet shuffled against the robust teakwood floor as he lazily began to close to gap between himself and where she’d taken her stand near the stars. Ever the tactician, she’d taken the high ground. Always the high ground. It made him grin with the realization that some things would never change.

She could hear him, maybe even feel him as a vibration reverberating through the air behind her. More to the point, Rochelle could feel his words thrumming in her ears, beating a tattoo in her brain. Her first instinct was to snap at him, chastising him for bringing Almar into their conversation or making assumptions about who and what she’d done with her life in the time since she’d cut him loose. Her teeth caught her lip fast enough, stilling the scathing remarks against her tongue before they could fly free and cause any harm or further discontent between them. He was right, after all. Denying both charges would have been ludicrous and fruitless - a waste of their time and precious energy. Instead she stiffened slightly, her ears flushing hot with resentment. “Is it that simple?”

At first Landon nodded silently, somehow knowing that she’d perceive his inaudible answer even if she wasn’t looking at him, but then that became delinquent and he declared it not to be enough, “Yes.” It almost sounded like false confidence, but it stood the test and was found to be true. At least true enough even if he feared her rejection. For far too long and far too often he’d watched her die in his dreams. He’d held her as she took her last breath, watched Javaan grow up in a series of events that seemed too real for him to ignore, and each time it had been because of him and his inability to reconcile with her. Maybe the last part was a bit of a stretch, but there was no denying the feeling that spanned across his chest, tight, unyielding, pressuring him to do something before he lost her to the stars and Almar, forever.

And he did.

He dared to reach out, finally taking the prize he'd been longing to claim. The back of his hand brushed against her cheek and along her jaw until he was able to cup her delicate chin to tilt her face up and to the side towards him. She was warm, soft as silk beneath his touch, and everything that he’d remembered, “Yes.” He echoed, this time softer. Yes it was that simple.

Once as a child, Rochelle - caught outside in a summer storm - had seen a butterfly knocked from the sky by raindrops. It had fluttered and fallen to the ground, bombarded from every direction by the elements until its only choice had been to fold its wings, take shelter and wait for its chance to take to the skies once more.

This man was both storm and the shelter, pulling her into a deep, encompassing darkness where there was too much to feel, but she knew… Somehow she knew what came next and she inherently both cherished and feared it…

Him…

A man with a will and power that matched her own, a man who would desire and possess every last part of her without mercy, completely engulfing and consuming her while worshipping and welcoming her as she did the same to him.

For a moment, she let him hold her so close that her hot breath brushed his face, then with a start she stumbled away, jerking her face from his grasp as she did so. “Landon...” Rochelle’s lips formed words of protest, but her eyes told a different story. She loved his touch, loved his closeness. Deep inside, in places she'd taught herself to ignore, she downright knew she craved him for all that he was worth. Landon was a flame and she the moth that danced precariously and perilously close… The butterfly caught in the storm - and part of her knew that the metaphor worked both ways.

No tricks. No gimmicks. No falsehoods… Just that raw burn that comes when fire meets gasoline.

It was toxic… Dangerous… But beautiful and poetic.

“Stop... Rochelle... Stop. Please. I'm not going to do anything you don't want me to do, but I'm not just going to walk away from you either and I want you to understand that.” In so many ways he felt he was walking on eggshells around her, tap dancing and tip toeing around her moods and the darker nature of her reactions to him. It wasn’t working and, more importantly, it wouldn’t work if they were going to ford the raging class five rapids that their relationship had disintegrated into, “I've lost too much... I'm not going to lose you also. I can’t.” Landon ran a hand through his hair, ducking his head low in what could only be described as frustration and maybe a tinge of shame, before his hands dropped back to his thighs.

“You deserve better than me--”

“I don’t want your pity party, Landon. I don’t have time for it.” The redhead was quick to groan with a roll of her eyes - a most exasperated sigh hot on the heels of her words. Situations like these wore thin on her patience, grinding on her nerves until she tore them to smithereens and banished them completely. The problem was that she simply couldn’t have torn him to pieces - it wouldn’t help anything to resort to that degree of volatility even if she did want to take him by the shoulders and shake him until he came to his senses.

“Will you shut up and let me speak for a moment?” The words stung to say, but they needed said and for the love of all things holy, Landon was determined to say them whether she wanted to hear it or not. A hand came up as if to hold the fire of her at bay, refusing to let it flare wildly enough to burn him until he’d had his moment to clear up everything on his mind and on his chest. The location may not have been perfect, nor the timing, but it was rare that one had the chance to plan moments like this one.

In response, his estranged wife merely motioned for him to continue, and he nodded his gratitude, lowering his hand back to this side. It didn’t linger long, rising to emphasise his words as his thoughts took the form of words.

"Anyway… I was saying... You deserve more than me and I know I don't want to disappoint you but I also know there are things that are unavoidable. I'll let you down, I'll piss you off, I'll hurt your feelings in some capacity because that's just how life works, Rochelle. No matter who you’re with, you’re going to have instances where you’re downright furious at the other person. Hell, there’s been moments where I’ve been absolutely furious with you, but it doesn’t mean I ever loved you any less. We're two different people and we're going to react to things differently, if we didn’t there would be something terribly wrong and we’d grow bored pretty damn quick. I get it, though, I know what I did was horrible… I know. We’ve been over it time and time again, and I can’t say sorry for what I’ve put you through nearly enough.”

Her head shook slowly, “You told me all about how I was the cause of your issues, Landon, that I abandoned you after what happened on Notura, that I was the cause of absolutely everything.”

“I know what I said.” The Trill nodded, “I was a broken man in many ways and you did abandon me, but not right after Notura.”

“I abandoned you? Jesus fucking Christ, you spent our entire marriage getting high behind the scenes! You spent our entire marriage lying to me by omission!” Anger arced through Rochelle’s veins, hot and cruel as it rose from the pit of her chest and into her voice, “You’re a real piece of work, you know that? Coming here to try and tell me that I’m the one who fucked this up --”

“You ran from Beta to fucking Earth to get a damned single signature divorce rather than try and talk about things and find out why I did what I did. It’s like the entire ‘for better or worse, in sickness and in health’ portion of the vows you took meant exactly shit to you. So yeah, Roc, you abandoned me. You abandoned us.” He strained, gesturing between the two of them as he took to pacing as he spoke. Screaming and yelling wouldn’t have solved a damned thing, but it sure as hell would have felt good at that particular moment and that made the entire situation all the more delicate and precarious. To dissolve into a screaming match would have been the final nail in the coffin, driving them both further away from the point of reconciliation that he so badly wanted.

Landon’s eyes closed and he found himself covering his mouth with his fingers as he dug into his thoughts, trying to organize them on the fly, The act gave him the moment he needed to better compose himself, giving him that far better shot at successfully navigating the uncharted, muddy, violent waters of this part of their saga, “Why?”

Rochelle snorted sharply. It wasn’t the most dignified thing she’d ever done in response to someone pouring out their emotions, but it happened, “I did what I did to save you.” She replied, rubbing her arms out of sheer discomfort with the entire situation.

The roughness of her uniform tunic seemed to ground her, reminding her that this was her world that he’d come to take a stand in. It was, however, also quite humbling as she recognized that no such uniform hung from his frame. All of the luxuries she enjoyed as a ship’s Captain, a flag officer within Starfleet, had been stripped from him by one thing or another - and she’d only benefited from his ruin, “I blamed myself and chose to free you from tr’Bak, from any memory of him… And I was done being hurt and losing things that mattered.” This time, when she spoke, her words were softer, more articulate and easy.

---
To Be Continued...
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Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

Captain Landon Neyes (ret.)
Retired

 

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