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Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #50
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Instead of sitting on the sofa next to Rhys, as likely the counselor expected him to do, Hirek positioned himself cross-legged on the floor in front of the counselor. He knew he could’ve dragged one of the chairs at the table closer, but he presumed the movement would distract Rhys as he tuned the instrument and readied himself to perform. From the manner in which Rhys moved and spoke now, handling the instrument with confidence and speaking with ease, Hirek felt he’d made the right decision and nodded in response to Rhys’ description of the song. The names meant nothing to him, same with the date, as he didn’t know how the Terran’s calculated their years compared to Romulans or the standard stardates that dictated the ship’s comings and goings now.

The tune was catchy, and by the time Rhys finished, Hirek had gotten to the point of predicting which chord would be played next. The rhyme was also easy to determine and follow. The lyrics were curious, a mixture of confidence and vulnerability interwoven with what seemed to be social commentary for the time the song was written. Hirek’s gaze was on Rhys’ fingers, tracking how he changed cords, and he had to quickly move his gaze over the length of the guitar and up to the man’s face when Rhys spoke of liking the song. Gone was the confidence and ease just moments before the song, and in its place was the residual self-consciousness the Welshman had exhibited from the moment they’d met.

“You sing very well, Rhys. And I do not say that because I wish for more physical intimacy with you, though that is quite welcome." Hirek's smile turned playful before he jutted his chin toward the guitar and continued. "I’m not sure I understand all the lyrics, but I believe I gathered the general intention behind them, that of both wanting and fearing intimacy with an awareness of one’s mortality?” He tipped his head to the side, studying first the instrument and then the man, “It is intriguing, matching the playful musical nature with the deeper nuances of the song. Why do you like it?”

Hirek leaned back on his hands, stretching his legs out in front of his body, feet touching the bottom of the couch. He’d made himself quite at home in Rhys’ quarters, having taken the man at his word when he’d told Hirek he’d be welcome here. As he listened to Rhys’ explanation, Hirek glanced over his shoulder toward Rhys’ replicator before sending his host a Cheshire smile. If singing with Hirek as the sole audience made Rhys uncomfortable, then he could potentially chase that discomfort away by sharing in return.

He waited until Rhys drew to a close with his explanation before he spoke, “If you concoct some sort of drink and give me a few moments to recall it, I will share a song with you as well.” He pointed to the guitar and shook his head, “Though it will be without an instrument. The tune can vary in quality and pace in speed but always keeps the ebb and flow of volume like a wave, namely because fishermen from my islands made it. Even the lyrics are changeable, but none of this should be surprising when you realize the song originates with a culture known for secrecy and layers upon layers of reality and falsehood interchangeably mixed.”

Sitting up straight and re-crossing his legs, Hirek used his hands as he spoke, “In brief, the song is an emotional proposition from one to another. It never mentions the word ‘love,’ as it refers to deeper emotions that cannot have strict names. The emotions we feel in our deepest parts but rarely give utterance to.” He nodded to Rhys’ guitar before continuing, “Like your song, it encourages life lived fully within the hour, noting that we are like freed slaves within that hour together.” He shrugged, realizing there were many cultural nuances to the song that may be difficult for someone to understand who came from a culture where emotions could be freely expressed without repercussions. “It outlines the parameters of an affair with the expectation that it will be tempestuous in the now, to the point that either hatred or an intensifying passion could develop in the future. There is also the promise that the affair will leave its mark if accepted, but that is said in a positive light. And there is no demand for longevity nor loyalty, just sincerity. Which, for a Romulan, is quite a difficult thing to share.”

Waiting for Rhys to settle, Hirek cleared his throat and closed his eyes. Recalling the voices of the fishermen from whom he’d first learned the song, Hirek moved into it without flourish. As he’d explained earlier, the tempo quickened and slowed at different times, mimicking the movement of the fishermen’s oars as they powered through the sea, yet the power remained the same. The tenor quality of his voice carried with it the resolute hope yet resignation intended for the song. Hirek used a strong falsetto for both the higher-pitched notes and the lowest-pitched ones, with his four-octave range allowing for the variety necessary to carry the song as it was meant to be sung. The song reflected a sea-faring people, hardy yet vulnerable, carrying a sense of longing but also the resilience to survive if rejected. Though Rhys would not know the lyrics in detail since Hirek sang it in the local Uluman dialect, he hoped the counselor could sense the meaning as he'd outlined earlier.

As the song died out on an almost ethereal falsetto note, Hirek opened his eyes and offered Rhys a half smile. He allowed a heartbeat of silence to pass before he offered further explanation. “One of the fishermen who taught me the song told me it had been handed down for generations from the first to arrive on the islands. Legends say they were led there by benevolent creatures of the sea who could take on the form of land walkers. The song was from one of the fishermen who’d come to…well, I suppose you might say care for one of the creatures.” He gave a half-shrug, “Are there any legends like that from your home?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #51
Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

In a way it had surprised Rhys a little that Hirek had not sat next to him. He had imagined that the Romulan’s flirtatious and teasing presence would have been there as a distraction. However, Hirek took a more appropriate place to enjoy the music. Rhys found himself slightly surprised that he was disappointed about this. Clearly there was something wrong with him because part of him would not have minded if Hirek was hovering around him teasing him and making him uncomfortable. However, another part was also very pleased that he sat and listened attentively.

The fact that Hirek approved made Rhys smile shyly. He was especially delighted that Hirek seemed to get the meaning of the song quickly. It was no small feat considering it came from a cultural context he was unaware of, a place and time and even a language he was unaware of. “Yes exactly.” He said the excitement at sharing something of his with Hirek. “I believe the writer once described it as being about ‘uncertainty and how we find companions on the road to fearlessness’.”

Rhys noted that companion was stretched out sitting on the floor. He felt a little bad and wanted to offer the man a seat, but the Romulan seemed to be making himself comfortable where he was. Hirek then requested a drink and suggested he perform his own song. Rhys was excited and eager and got up to move to the replicator as Hirek explained the variables of the piece. Instinctively Rhys felt he had to replicate Cider, an alcoholic drink made with apples. It was the kind of drink he associated with tales around a fire in a cozy space. Though he doubted the synthahol version would be as good as the real thing, it would probably be adequate.
 
As Rhys returned with the golden beverages, he heard Hirek describe the song in interesting terms. It sounded to him like a folk song or sea shanty. They were often very changeable and people from different regions who knew a song would often play it any number of different ways depending on where they were. He watched with wide eyed amazement as Hirek straightened up and began to sing.

It was hard to imagine what the music would have sounded like with just Hirek’s voice. He had a nice voice, and the song sounded pleasant to Rhys’ ears but it was unsettling at the same time. It was in a dialect that Rhys obviously did not understand, but Hirek’ face and movements contributed to making the meaning clear. Eventually the song died on Hirek’s lips. As the older man opened his eyes, he would have seen Rhys sitting his hands in his lap and his own eyes closed. They slowly opened when he realised Hirek had stopped, and he smiled. “I liked that.” Rhys said in a whisper. He blushed a little realising that he was whispering because he had no idea why. His ears ran and buzzed as if missing the sounds he had been so intently listening to.

Rhys chuckled at the fisherman’s explanation. “Oh definitely, though often in Earth Mythology the creatures are either tragic or evil. It’s rare to get good ones.” It seemed sailors on there two worlds were not so different delighting in tails both real and fantastic. “I know one, about a creature called the Loreley. A Beautiful woman, falsely accused of bewitching men and causing their deaths is sentenced to be exiled. She is sent down the great River Rhine in Germany. She requests to look upon the river again for one last time and climbs up a tall rock. She believes she sees her lover and falls to death into the river. There after tales of a sailors crashing into the rocks being distracted by a beautiful woman’s voice and appearance emerged.”

Rhys grinned and picked up his guitar again, struck a few notes and began to play. The nervousness was still there but there was an over riding excitement. So much the normally polite Rhys did not ask Hirek if he wanted to hear the song. The tune was very different, it felt more raucous the kind of thing sailors might sing while getting drunk on land. Rhys sang it with a surprisingly cherry mischievousness. Despite that the lyrics were dark in comparison to the tune.

“Merrily we sailed along
Though the waves were plenty strong
Down the twisting river Rhine
Following a song...
Legend's faded storyline
Tried to warn us all
Oh, they called her Loreley
Careful or you'll fall...

Oh, the stories we were told
Quite a vision to behold
Mysteries of the seas in her eyes of gold...

Laying on the silver stone, such a lonely sight
Barnacles become a throne, my poor Loreley...

And the winds would cry, and many men would die
And all the waves would bow down to the Loreley...
And the winds would cry, and many men would die
And all the waves would bow down to the Loreley...

You would not believe your eyes, how a voice could hypnotize
Promises are only lies from Loreley

In a shade of mossy green, seashell in her hand
She was born the river queen, ne'er to grace the land...

And the winds would cry, and many men would die
And all the waves would bow down to the Loreley...
And the winds would cry, and many men would die
And all the waves would bow down to the Loreley...

Oh, the song of Loreley
Charms the moon right from the sky...
She will get inside your mind, lovely Loreley...
When she cries "Be with me until the end of time"

You know you will ever be with your Loreley...
And the winds would cry, and many men would die
And all the waves would bow down to the Loreley...”


He finished the tune with a slightly overly exuberant flourish on the guitar and a shy but very broad grin on his face.



Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #52
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13  |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek bowed his head in polite response to Rhys’ compliment. He knew the counselor was being sincere with his praise but also knew that if he called more attention to it or teased Rhys about the praise, it would start another bout of awkwardness from Rhys. As much as he enjoyed flustering the Welshman, he was also enjoying this more casual and confident side, and the music serving as a medium for sharing aspects of personality and preferences was working as Hirek presumed it would. No need to jeopardize that with ill-timed humor.

Sipping at the amber-colored beverage Rhys had handed him, Hirek listened with a pleased smile as Rhys described a Terran creature called the loreley. The drink was alcoholic but not so much that it would impact Hirek’s sensibilities; one didn’t get to his level of expertise in concocting new blends of Romulan ale with a low tolerance for alcohol content. It was a pleasantly tangy drink, lightly fizzy and thoroughly refreshing. The drink was well-suited given the tone of the music Rhys now played and the general nautical theme they’d both kept to with their songs so far. Closing his eyes, it was easy for Hirek to picture Rhys dressed in swimming attire, barefoot and bare-chested, sitting on a boat bench in the back of a sailing vessel, singing this song as the boat rocked up and down in time with the beat and the tides.

Instead of immediately turning his mind to similar songs in tone or temp from the Uluma Islands, Hirek remained attentive to the song and the timbre of Rhys’ voice as he conveyed the dark narrative oddly constructed in an almost playful manner. He saluted the Welshman with his half-empty glass when Rhys came to a flourished end and returned grin for grin with Hirek. Pausing to take another sip of the tangy drink, Hirek gestured toward the guitar.

“I suppose it is the nature of all sentient beings to create myths to explain the mysteries and dangers of nature. While some are less likely to still celebrate or acknowledge those myths with any pride,” Hirek rolled his eyes and let out a feigned sigh of annoyance, “much like my distant cousins, the Vulcans, and the tyrannical Tal’Shiar of my own homeworld may do, it seems you come from a group of humans much like the people of my islands. While we don’t believe in the superstitions that dictated the comings and goings of life in the ancient times, we respect how those superstitions informed our culture and brought us to where we are now.”

Hirek tipped his head back and gulped down the rest of the drink in one large swallow, a smirk tugging at his lips when a few droplets leaked from the corner of his mouth and trailed down the edge of his mouth. Setting aside the glass, Hirek again pointed toward the guitar with one hand while he swiped the back of his other over the wayward droplets.

“If I may, I believe the back of your guitar could work for a song that comes to mind now. It is not so very different in certain aspects from your loreley song. It is sung from the perspective of the surviving lover.” Waiting for the guitar and then repositioning himself to sing, Hirek continued, “We have a type of…fish that is as difficult to catch as it is breathtakingly beautiful to behold. Imagine hundreds of colors shimmering with the crystalline brilliance of stars captured in fish scales. Their fins extend out from their body, which allows them to glide through the air above the water’s surface, and given how large they can grow, when seen from above, they can be mistaken for ornately decorated flitters piloted across the seas. While beautiful, they are also extremely dangerous, and we have lost many sailors to their venomously fanged jaws. One bite will paralyze a grown Romulan for days and kill a Romulan child. What’s worse, even a graze from their venom-filled fangs can cause hallucinations at best and temporary blindness at worse.” Hirek’s lips turned upward in a salacious smile before he added, “But in small quantities, when added to drinks, it can increase pleasure and prolong arousal.”

Hirek realized then that he’d spent more time describing the real creature and not enough time giving the story necessary for the song's context. Unsurprising considering his love for both zoology and botany, but still, he doubted Rhys was interested in a lesson in Romulan flora and fauna at this moment.

“The legend goes that the first of these fish were the cursed children of one of the primordial gods that created Romulus and all life within it. Having offended one of the more powerful gods with vain claims and pride without evidence and competency to support these claims, this god was cursed to have shapeshifting offspring. As he was one of the sea gods, his children naturally could take on the various shapes of the sea creatures. The first fish of this kind was likewise a vainglorious man who spent his time on land seducing men and women alike and making exuberant claims about his prowess and abilities. A beautiful young woman who recently arrived from one of the continents caught his attention namely because she refused to respond to his conquest efforts. Not accustomed to being denied, this shapeshifting god made it his personal mission to overwhelm this woman and claim her heart as he had with hundreds of men and women before her. Unbeknownst to him, the woman did indeed fall in love with him but had a mission of her own: to claim his heart and tame his nature. Through a series of events, the two grew to love one another with as sincere a love as such individuals could but the morning after they consummated their passion for one another, the man returned to the sea, and she was left with only a few shimmering scales and a bitter heart. She did not realize that the moment his soul committed to her with genuine affection, he lost his shapeshifting abilities and retreated to the sea out of necessity for survival. He would return to her every year with the seasonal tides and try to fly out of the sea to meet her and explain what had happened, but he was so transformed, and her heart had grown so bitter nothing could be done for it.”

Finishing with the story behind the song, Hirek closed his eyes and took a few steadying breaths before he began to tap out a steady rhythm, much like a heartbeat, on the back of Rhys’ guitar. As he added a melodic, ethereal hum, he added additional percussive taps in a series of elaborate flourishes, building the tempo through the echoing percussive tempo from the guitar until finally, he shifted out of the hum and began to sing the lyrics. Assuredly the tone was more aggressive and bitter, but with a remorseful sadness mixed in, and the beat was slower than Rhys’ but still held an apparent nautical theme. Once the song ended, Hirek leaned forward to place the guitar on the sofa next to Rhys before the Welshman could prompt him for it.

Still on his knees, chest parallel to Rhys’ knees, Hirek looked up at Rhys with a casual smile as he let go of the guitar and leaned his weight on his hands braced on the sofa cushion next to Rhys, “When I first heard this song as a child, I didn’t understand many aspects of it. But after my marriage, I very much grew to understand how love can later burn into hate and rage.” Hirek didn’t elaborate further, leaving it to Rhys if the counselor wanted to ask further or leave things at that. “What about you?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #53
Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hirek showed a clear interest in myths that Rhys found intriguing. The Welshman had always been far more interested in the historical side of things. However, he saw how myths could be useful in demonstrating how previous generations had seen things. Rhys nodded “Sometimes the people who created them knew they were myths but felt the truth was less interesting.” He said with a smile.

Hirek then asked for the guitar and Rhys happily passed it over. The Romulan then explained the legend he was about to demonstrate in music. Hirek then turned it over and began to tap out a rhythm.

Once he had done the older man explained the meaning he had taken from the song. If anything that was more interesting than the song itself to Rhys. However soon the conversation turned back on him. Rhys didn’t want to pry into Hirek’s marriage he wasn’t sure if that was a comfortable topic or not. Probably for himself as much as for Hirek. “I suppose I can understand it, though from an alternate perspective. My relationship with my father declined sharply once my mother had died.” Rhys was reluctant to say anymore, and so slid on to the floor next to Hirek. He had begun to feel weird sitting on the couch when Hirek was on the floor. Of course, this brought them closer together. Something he was sure Hirek would enjoy. Rhys absentmindedly put his hand on Hirek’s leg. “Its rare that I get angry.” He said by way of filling the silence. “I am not good at it. I can’t hold onto the feeling for any length of time.” He joked.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #54
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13  |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek had not minded Rhys remaining on the couch with him on the floor, but he did welcome the change when Rhys moved to sit beside him. Hirek didn’t mask the appreciative smile when Rhys placed a warm hand on his leg, but he didn’t comment. So far, it seemed that whenever he drew attention to something Rhys did, the man would become awkward about it and retreat. Having been able to make out enough of the man beside him to realize that Rhys was not a threat, and neither was he someone Hirek was interested in playing games with, Hirek did not feel the need to continue pressing the man into a corner, eliciting fight or flight. No, being able to share in simple camaraderie, even physical affection, that was not laced with layered intent was a very welcome change from the complexities Hirek had navigated among the Tal’Shiar on Qo’Nos and even among his own kind on Romulus.

“My relationship with my parents has always been cordial, perhaps even warm by Romulan standards,” Hirek wasn’t about to go into the details of what he next added, “When it was determined that I would be their only offspring, they approached parenting with both patience and open minds. Which is quite a feat considering the stereotypical Romulan parenting standards.”

Reaching down, Hirek mimicked Rhys’ touch; only he let his fingers lightly trace aimless circles over Rhys’ thigh. He could not describe how…freeing it was to do such a simple thing. He was touching Rhys without worrying about an Internal Security operative lurking in the shadows, ready to report them for future twisted use, turning the innocence of the moment into black fodder that could destroy either of them. He likewise didn’t have to waste thought wondering if Rhys was waiting for the right moment to trick Hirek into revealing something vulnerable about himself, looking for gaps in his armor to exploit. If Hirek could share this open affection with everyone on this ship, he almost feared growing too attached to that reality. Once he became accustomed to this sort of openness in body and words, Hirek could accidentally condemn himself and his kin once he returned to Romulus. He would have to be careful not to get too accustomed to this, relish it for what it was when it was, but never hope for its continuance. There was danger in hope.

“I can…empathize.” Hirek chose his words intentionally, shooting Rhys a cheeky half-smile before continuing. “I do not rile easily and do not hold on to any particular emotion for very long. Except, of course, my absolute hatred for the Tal’Shiar and my unwavering dedication to seeing them eradicated from my home.” Leaning his head back against the couch cushions, Hirek angled his head to stare at Rhys, reaching out with his other hand to gently run a finger along Rhys’ jawline. “What does make you angry?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #55
{Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Both Rhys and Hirek now seemed relaxed in each other’s company. Their earlier difficulties and sexual tension had retreated to the background. They were sharing feelings about both their upbringings something he was certain Hirek would not have done before hand. Rhys could only imagine the life the older man had lived, considering the tension that had been apparent in his every move and action. To live like that under the gaze of the Tal Shiar must have been exhausting and would have taught him to wear so many masks. 

Rhys wondered if he would have coped in a similar situation. Maybe not as he was now, but if he had been raised as a Romulan he would probably have developed similar psychological defence mechanisms.

He felt Hirek’s hand go to his own thigh, and rather than feeling embarrassed by it he sighed and closed his eyes happily. Rhys was a tactile person, he loved touch and to be touched. He felt himself harden a little, but was just enjoying the sensation.

He then felt the Romulan touch his jaw to attract his attention again, as he asked him what made him angry. “I am not sure I can give a non-generic answer.” He said chuckling. “Cruelty, and unkindness I suppose. Though a lot of my anger tends to come inward.” He opened his eyes slowly and slid his own hand over Hirek’s arm and to his chest. “What makes you happy?” He said wanting to take the conversation in a cheerful direction.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #56
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13  |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

“Then we are of a like mind then, at least with a disgust towards cruelty. The lack of kindness pales compared to injustice for me, however.”

Hirek shifted his body lower, allowing the back of his head to lay on the couch cushions while Rhys slid his hand down his arm and strayed the touch onto Hirek’s chest. Hirek allowed a pensive furrow between his brows as he thought on Rhys’ question, wanting to give the man a truthful answer, if not a full one. Manipulative though he could be, and had been with Rhys in their brief acquaintance, he’d never lied and didn’t intend to start.

“I’m sure it is much the same as with most,” he lazily held up a hand to count down his fingers as he began his list, “accomplishing a goal or finding an elusive solution to a problem, triumphing over those who would seek to do me or my family harm, creating something new like a new ale blend that becomes a new favorite, participating in the traditional festivals of my home and sharing in the bounty,” Hirek’s hand on Rhys’ thigh momentarily squeezed. His smile turned mischievous when he rolled his head to look at the Welshman more directly, “giving pleasure and receiving it in all its various forms.” Hirek’s gaze grew shadowed before he added, “Though much of those cannot be had in their full or pure form so long as the Tal’Shiar are left unchecked, and my world continues to bear the generational scars of their tyranny.”

Hirek let a moment pass before he sat up, leaned forward, and pressed a soft, unhurried kiss against Rhys’ lips. He made no further move to touch the man, nor did he try to deepen the brief kiss. As he leaned against the couch again, Hirek’s smile held an enigmatic quality.

“Every action is questioned; all words are potential weapons. Truths become daggers and lies armor.” Sighing, Hirek turned his head to look to the ceiling again, his smile remaining loose on his lips. “Vigilance and constant suspicion influencing every interaction.” He mirthlessly chuckled. “My home offered some reprieve of that, but then, that is why the Tal’Shiar would like nothing more than to eradicate the islands from existence.”

As if mentioning the Tal'Shiar was the ice bucket reminder he needed, Hirek inwardly cursed himself for allowing as much affection to pass between them as he had. Though externally, he was slower about withdrawing, letting his hand trace along Rhys' thighs as he shifted his weight to the side, pushed onto his knees, and then hoisted himself up to stand on his feet, internally, he was running like a madman cursing all the while. It'd been so terribly long since he'd had reciprocal physicality that extended beyond mere coitus, and his soul was lapping at it eagerly.  He couldn't afford to let down his guard like this, not even if it was what his body and soul yearned for.

There was no telling what was in store for him on this ship, or among these strangers, and not only did he not want to become a liability for them but, more so even, he didn't want them to become a liability for him and his mission to destroy the Tal'Shiar and free Romulus of their tyranny. It was with these thoughts whirling in his mind that Hirek smiled down at Rhys and gave an exaggerated stretch.

"I believe I have taken up enough of your time, though I appreciate your hospitality and our earlier...explorations of one another." He shifted his body toward the door. He wasn't about to run away without a proper farewell. He didn't want to be too obvious, but he felt it was time to leave. Any longer, and it'd be tempting to sing more songs or exchange more affection, and neither of those was conducive to keeping his guard up. "You may prefer to decompress from your duties in a more solitary fashion."


Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #57
{Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys had sat and listened to the older man speak. There was a lot he revealed in those moments together. It seemed to the young Welshman that at various times Hirek forgot himself and his previous reserve. He gave straight forward answers about his wants and desires from the basics about drinking, sex, problem serving to the broader desires for his people. It occurred to Rhys that Hirek had come to realise it in himself. While the Romulan remained friendly, and jovial the drawbridge had gone up. His demeanour radically changed.

It had begun with his mention of Tal Shiar and Rhys wondered if the upcoming trials and tribulations were the reason for that. As he moved towards the door and Hirek thanked him for their time together, Rhys felt it. Dread. At first a feeling like looking over a cliff edge his stomach seeming to drop, then the sensation of hot pressure behind his eyes and cold air over his skin.

The thought echoing in his head was. “Again, alone again.” Then the inevitable came, the polite almost casual suggestion that he decompress on his own. He knew it was absurd, he knew that he barely knew and probably ought not to trust this guy. He knew that this was the result of something in Hirek rather than something in himself, but that didn’t change the pain of that feeling. It was as if the Romulan had stamped his forehead with the word ‘rejected’.

There was anger to. Many people struggled to imagine Rhys getting angry but that was because it was nearly always directed inwards. It flooded him drenching the Valleys of his mind it fuelled the part of him that hated himself and inspired its exquisite tortures. Some of it was directed at Hirek but that subsided quickly and wormed back into his mind. Rhys simply remained where he had been left looking up at Hirek like the most pathetic kicked puppy in the world.

“I suppose you are right.” He said his voice keeping unnaturally steady. “Well... Welcome aboard.” He said with a formal stiffness and a smile that did not reach his eyes.

He waited for Hirek to leave. He began to count softly to himself. Once he had reached the appropriate number his fist collided with a bulkhead. His hand made a sickening crunch and physical pain blunted the anger a little. “So pathetic.” He growled.


-FIN-

 
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