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Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

The notion of trauma had descended upon Theurgy like the shadow of death, weighing heavy on the emotions and sentiments like thick black fog, seeping into the trenches and cantonments, like clouds of soot from mortars and mines. The spiritual ether wreaking of the scent of cinder and burnt flesh, as a manifestation of people’s loss and disillusion, stinging each nerve like acid, poured on an open wound. It was the realm of darkness and dread Stellan found himself wandering in, as his body roamed the physical representation of the ship almost aimlessly, dissolving into the otherworld at every corner, at every hit of someone’s despair. For in moments such as these, it was hard to resist the call of the other side, when the notion of reality was one of such bleak hope. Diving into the turmoil of desperation, just to feel something, when everything else became so devoid of genuine emotion, in the face of duty and strength.

It made the man feel as if he needed to anchor himself back into this level of being with something solid, something palpable, for the lack of a better word. Not that he wasn’t able to deal with the darkness of his abilities – had done so time of his life – but he also knew that there was a certain possibility to get lost in the abyss, if one balanced across the precipice for too long. It was what he surmised, on a spiritual level, happened to all the people lost to the dark side, succumbing to notions of hate and violence, in a desperate plea for salvation from their undoing. And while he teetered dangerously close to that distinction himself, he felt as if he had not yet crossed over. And he had no intention to either. So, his feet had brought him down this winding hallway, lined with the debris of their past, tainted with the perfume of death.

He came up to a door, the silvery blue glistening like a silent cove, the smooth surface reflecting as if a ghost of his physical being. Muffled, distorted, blurred … just as he felt his grasp on this world was like, in this current moment. As if only part of him was really there. So, it came to almost a surprise, as his fingers connected with the sleek cold surface of the door console, and his fingers did not just phase through. The sensation of touch almost like a thunderbolt, cutting through the dark haze in his mind, striking free embers in his heart that threatened to ignite a wildfire. He heard the gentle ring of windchimes, emulated by circuits and speakers, to mimic something more ethereal than it was. And from the gentle glow in the abyss, came the bright hue of a nearing presence. A bonhomous spirit emerging into his spiritual perception, as the other man’s mind came alight with the sound of windchimes in the air. A feeling of acquaintance springing from beyond the bulkhead … as Rhys Williams manifested in this reality, as the vail of durasteel was pulled away.

“Hey …” he voiced silently, as a single word tumbled from his thin lips, curving into a relaxed smile, at the feeling of gravity taking back a hold of his body and insides. There was just something about the other man that felt grounded in the here and now, where others lost themselves in the currents of their despair. “… I hope this isn’t a bad time.”

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #1
 [Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

It had been a long day. That was for sure, the Rock and Roll event might have led to him being a little hungover, which was not good for a long session of heavy counselling sessions. Rhys was certainly proud of how resilient the crew were proving to be, but he was concerned that the resilience would only go so far. The crew was beginning to feel like a spring that had been pulled too far back till the metal was starting to deform and potentially snap. Hopefully this little bit of down time would help them, but considering everything that had been happening for the crew recently that seemed unlikely.

Rhys on top of everything else was dealing with a little bit of guilt. Since returning to duty he had been happy that he was so busy. Of course, knowledge that this happiness was coming partly from the suffering of others was not great. He had just tried to remember that what he liked doing was helping people.

Still even if he was enjoying his work, it was tough, and so Rhys was happy to have finished his shift. The Rock event had awakened something in him. For the first time in ages, he had picked up his guitar. It was a battered old 6-string acoustic, but it was very precious to him. A steaming mug of tea sat on the small round table beside him, as Rhys sat with the guitar across his legs and began to tune it.

His mind took him back home as it often did, the Isle of Anglesey off the coast of Wales. The Menai Bridge in the distance, and the big ancient house Plas Newydd behind him. The little boats bobbing along the strait. He smiled as he could almost feel the sun on his face and began to play and sing a few lines of a song he heard once. In Welsh of course. In his opinion the finest language in the Universe.

Mi glywais sŵn y môr yn mynd
"Fi ydi'ch ysbryd, i olau ffrind
Dewch ymlaen ma'r a leia'r cwch
Does dim breuddwydion yn y llwch."

His singing was interrupted by a chiming that was no less musical in its own way. “Come in.” He said, with a little apprehension wondering who it could be. In stepped Stellan, almost before Rhys had finished the words ‘Come in’. The other man smiled at him, and Rhys’ would have been lying if he had said his heart had not beat a little bit faster. Still, he smiled back. “Hi, not at all come in come in.” He said placing the guitar to one side and standing. “I am sorry about the mess.” He said looking around at possibly the most spotlessly clean set of Junior Officer’s quarters in all of Starfleet. Nothing was out of place. His little model ships above his bed were neatly arranged and free of dust, as was everything else. “Oh how rude of me I have not offered you a drink yet. Would you like something?” Said Rhys in his typical self-depreciating style.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #2
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

When walking through the valley of shadows, there was an inherent illusion, that prominently played on one’s internal perception. The figment of one’s imagination, manifesting as a mirage of the mind, showing a realm beyond the trite bleakness of existence. A dream upon a dream, different from being to being, from time to time, but united in the simple measure of creating refuge, from the troubles and the trepidations of mortal life. When the doors parted, giving way to the image of Rhys with his guitar, relaxed yet alert in his armchair, it was as if an expression of that illusion was unfolding before him, as both time and space dilated like the banner of streaking stars, when a ship went to warp. A longing for something as simple as companionship, that he didn’t know he had, didn’t know he needed, didn’t know he was looking for, in that moment. Until its observation made it so intrinsically his own, that the man had a hard time imagining a different yearning before walking in on this scenery. It was all he could think about needing in this moment, this chapter in time. And while that sounded as if the epos of his existence was teetering on the fact – and maybe to an extent it was – he wished not to convey they kind of emotional pitfall that befell the poets and the dreamers. For if anything had been proven, as of late, it was that the antagonism of mawkish sentiments towards the cold hard reality of their situation.

But regardless of that deep-rooted apprehension, the male’s features were painted with the tranquil pleasures of inadvertent bliss, in finding this moment of refuge, just by walking through a door. A ginger smile, dancing across scruff line lips, as dark ponds glimmered placidly towards the man. Caught in a moment of tranquility, that stretched on between the two like molasses, Stellan’s feet followed the delicate prompt almost mechanically, as his physique slipped into the man’s quarters. He instantly found himself in a haze of exciting smells and sensations, as if bathing in a measure of Rhys’ being. Engulfed by the privacy and intimacy of his inner most sacred space. Well, outside his body, anyways. But more on that later. His mind only sprung back to attention, thoughts recalled from the ethereal plane of spiritual reflection only to dance almost ritually around the ember-spewing blaze of his diametrical statement. Which prompted dark eyes to immediately wander over the meticulous and downright compulsive order, with which the living space had been sorted to perfection. If it hadn’t been for the olfactory sensation of familiar scents, the small tidbits of personal touch and the sheer visionary presence of the man himself, the Betazoid would’ve deemed these quarters uninhabited.

“Yeah … how do you bear to live in such squalor.” he asked, a mocking tone gracing his voice, like birds disturbing a reflective pond taking sips of water mid-flight. “Remind me to never invite you over.” he added, the comedic levity reverberating on his gentle baritone more vividly. In truth, his own spaces were a battlefield compared to this modicum of physical tranquility. He was sure almost anyone’s was. Well, maybe not Hathev’s, who likely rested upside down, hanging in a pristine maintenance access, somewhere. Yet, the fact that Rhys came to stand only an inch or two shorter to his colleague, their eyes almost pinned in a level plane, added a sense of energy to the calming cocoon, Stellan found himself in. It was a much welcome invigoration, however, that glazed the man’s muscles over with hot molten gold, as the corners of his ears started to glow reluctantly red.

“Sure.” the man thus concluded, using the way of escaping air from his esophagus, vibrating molecules by aid of his vocal chords, to evade any sense of exposure or deeper understanding, of where his inner most contemplations went. “Beer … I think, was the theme.” he added almost as an afterthought, though innately bringing together the realm of dreams and reality, in one brilliant moment. All while his attention diverted already, from the passing figure in trim flesh, clad beneath rippling fabric with the specular sheen of silk, on his way to the replicator. Obsidian eyes fell onto the guitar, leaning against the armchair like a seductive stranger, shooting you loaded glances of prospective desires fulfilled. The smooth lines of polished wood and glimmering brass, held together by high strung metal threads that were able to transform someone’s gentle pluck as a tug on one’s soul. He loved the sound of guitars and how deeply personal and private their soundwaves seemed. Almost like thoughts on a telepathic ether, invading one’s sense unabashed, conveying a measure of feeling and thought without words. All the while letting Rhys’ sense of self-deprecation fall to the wayside as simple propaganda. For that was not how he perceived the man.

“Will you play for me?” Stellan asked coyly. A sensation heightened by the boyish pleading, imposed upon his gentle grin, as he turned back to face the amicable officer. “Please?” A gentle nod of the head, a moment of dewy-eyed charm, conveying a sense of longing that wasn’t really all that magical. But rather intrinsically human, in these trying times. A notion they shared, he assumed, which made this moment as perfect as it presented itself. Taking the beer as a token of affirmation, that he thought was true, really was. And for the first time, in a long time, he marveled in a moment of silence. Seeing Rhys only for who he was on the outside. His handsome features, delicate skin and blue eyes. Not registering anything but what was readily relayed to him. Ever how fleeting that moment was, it almost startled the man. Probably akin to what a sudden influx of telepathic ability would to a human.

When in truth, it was a sign of his own relaxation, finally, reluctantly.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #3
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

The mocking tone with which Stellan addressed the freakish neatness of Rhys’ quarters was not lost on him. Rhys rolled his eyes. “Don’t tease me.” He said though there was a faint smile and a hint of mirth in his voice. When the other man joked about not inviting Rhys over. Rhys shook his head, “That would be very disappointing. I could clean up for you.” He said in a semi-serious tone.

There was a sense of relief in Rhys when he went over to his replicator, however. He worried he had been staring at Stellan a little too long. He had an easy smile and nice eyes, a pleasing build…Rhys remembered suddenly that his guest was a Betazoid and worked hard to stop the thoughts in his head escalating.

Rhys did wonder if there was something a little off with Stellan. Rhys struggled to put his finger on it, maybe it was body language. Of course, it was possible Stellan was just tired. That was hardly surprising the whole ship was filled with tired people, not just physically, but mentally and on some level spiritually.

Rhys replicated them both a beer, he might as well drink with his guest. As he returned and handed it over to Stellan, he was surprised by Steallan’s request that he play for him. That precipitated an immediate warming of his skin as blood rushed to his cheeks. Rhys’ immediate instinct was to reject this request. Rhys was shy after all, but the charming, handsome face of Stellan was something he knew he would struggle to say no to.  He smiled an awkward embarrassed smile. “I suppose. I am not very good.” Rhys added quickly as a qualifier. “So, if what I play is terrible you can’t laugh. Its not allowed!” He said with mock sternness.

Despite his nervousness there was a degree of a thrill and strong desire to please. So Rhys took up his seat again and picked up his guitar. Its polished wood marked with a small Ddraig Goch (Red Dragon) on the body near the neck. Rhys took a deep breath and thought about what he could play for a moment. Something in famous, English, or Welsh again maybe? He mulled it over for a moment, and his dexterous fingers began to strum a tune. It was another oldie, this time from around the 21st Century. Warm gentle sounds spilled from his fingers, and Rhys sang softly some lyrics that were melancholic and on paper ought to have clashed with the tune. However, the warm lazy, happy music meshed well with the lyrics.

“Yes, I have ghosts, not all of them dead
Making dust of my dreams, spinning round and around
Around in my head
Train on the tracks, teeth of the zip
The slider moves down, we were joined at the hip
Stealing the groove, the widening gap
Unfastening rails from a past with no map

Yes, I have ghosts, a fleeting sight
It's always the living that are haunting my nights”

He sang as much of the lyrics as he could remember and filled in the gaps with little playful runs on his instrument. The whole time Rhys had his eyes closed though Stellan was occupying his thoughts.

(OOC: The song he is singing is 'Yes I Have Ghosts' by David Gilmour)

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #4
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Stellan had realized that, the first time he’d met Rhys, his perceptions of the dark-haired men had been like fresh spring rain, he was blissfully galivanting through. Thick warm droplets exploding against his skin, the mere measure of kinetic energy nearly the sole indicator of their presence, as water almost equal the temperature of his skin, casually sought its way down along the meridian of gravity. Until eventually it pooled at his feet, in the most flattering mirror he had ever stood judgment against. It was a phenomenon he could not explain, but rather appreciate – no, seek – its magnificent pleasure. Which wasn’t entirely selfless, but, that was not to say he didn’t wish upon the blonde man the same modicum of kind meditation, that which was bestowed upon him so generously.

Of course, the subtle undertones of molten gold, mixed into the crystal-clear deluge, wasn’t entirely lost on the telepath either. As it stung succinctly to the very core of his skin, making his nerve endings sing of butterflies and bumblebees. There was a definite sense of acquaintance, joy and gratefulness, associated with what he was feeling deep inside. Which stood no contest to the gratitude he was feeling from his counseling colleague, in alleviating some of the other man’s demons. Because unbeknownst to Rhys, he was inadvertently slaying some of Stellan’s too, by simply regarding him as what he wished for, rather than what he maybe knew to be true. For there were no greater inspirations for change than the dreams of a poet.

What followed verbally was in stark antinomy to what was conveyed to the brunette over the ethereal highway between them. That Rhys did not exactly mind being teased by the taller male. Quite the contrary was likely true. A theory which was even strengthened by the other man’s ensuing words, offering not only a sense of grief towards the notion, but also a means of remedying the limitations that lead to its refusal. So, he made a mental note of pursuing this path, if only to see that silver glimmer on the horizon of his perception again. In true fashion of what he’d initially observed about Rhys’ internal trepidations, the man sold himself utterly short in any conceivable way, when being put on the spot. Which, in this case, wasn’t an entirely unnatural sentiment.

Most great performers thought they weren’t very good. And it was in that notion of humility, that true talent was born. Stellan nodded half-heartedly in regards to the request posed. Or better, the guidelines. Not because he didn’t have any intention to adhere to them, but he because he was more than convinced he wouldn’t even have to. “I’ll keep the mockery to a bare minimum.” he nonetheless reassured quietly, though mockery already ringing teasingly on the soundwaves of his baritone. Because as much as he understood the blonde’s insecurities and knew they were there, he drew a personal sense of satisfaction from realizing how far he could push them, prod them, with Rhys feeling nothing but delight in return.

Letting himself fall diagonally into the chair opposite his colleague, one armrest with his bent leg across, while the other supported the pit of his arm, as intertwined fingers stretched indexes towards the precipice of his lips in expectant contemplation. Dark eyes skipping between his skillful fingers, pouty lips and sand-colored tresses, unsure which feature they liked best, the man sunk into the soft cushions more and more, as the gentle tune carried his spirit away. And even though he could not see the man’s gorgeous blue ponds, he felt himself diving into the azure hues of his mind, the music like water, brushing past his trim figure, as he explored the lush reef of the mind’s pastures, the very moment turning into an ode to him, of sorts, which made his heart come alight with a vigor he had not felt in ages.

“This is amazing, Rhys.” He uttered silently, though his lips did not move. His voice but a whisper on the winds of their telepathic connection. Ironically feeling even more real than any auditory sensation could’ve conveyed.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #5
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

As the last note fell out of his guitar like a warm sunbeam lazily shouldering its way through a window, Rhys’ eyes finally opened again. Stellan appeared to be draped across one of his chairs. He put Rhys in mind of one of those portraits that seemed to populate galleries everywhere. Normally involving a man or a woman draped luxuriantly on some item of furniture, silk all around and half naked. He could not quite stop the thought from entering his head. Now that would be a sight.

That’s when he ‘heard’ Stellan’s words. If that was the right word, he was not sure. They seemed to come from deep inside him unbidden. From the place were often less pleasant voices snaked up into his consciousness. This, however, was pleasant praise, heartfelt warm. Rhys obviously blushed and started at the unexpected feeling of Stellan’s voice in his head. His mouth opened and closed a few times, unsure if he could respond in some way without using his mouth. It had shocked Rhys, but when he really thought about it he should not have been so surprised that Stellan could do that.

In the end he just spoke the words. “Well thanks.” His fingers absent mindedly played with the machine heads at the head of the guitar, even though it was perfectly in tune. It was a little ritual of sorts that he had often seen in patients. It was a distracting and soothing to be able to fiddle with something. A desperate desire to be doing something else to be feeling something other than those rising waves of nervousness. Now he was doing it.

He found his vivid blue eyes focused on Stellan’s dark ones. “I can play another one if you like?” He laughed to relieve the tension he was feeling a little. “I don’t normally do requests but for you…” He smiled warmly. He took a sip of his beer and his fingers returned to the frets. This time idly playing a few scales while he waited for Stellan to either make a suggestion, or for inspiration to spring forth. It also helped him resist the temptation to go over to the chair and hug Stellan.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #6
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

The notion of a ‘home’ was something intrinsic to most sentient beings. A place of refuge, spiritual or physical, usually heralding from an early memory of safety and security. Or, in some cases, a newfound measure of comfort, in a scenery of warm delight and sanguine music. In any case, the notion transcended time and space, in that this sanctuary could be anywhere, anything, anytime. Distinctively united in the sense that it made you feel isolated from whatever evils or terror the universe could throw at you, like a bubble of serenity, floating in space. For a Betazoid, or half thereof, these measures of isolation where hard to come by, in a sea of thoughts and emotions, that lapped around them at all times. And while most of them had learned to keep the currents at bay, through mental discipline, it was never an act of abject surrender, that brought in total tranquility, but rather an active stride towards the numbness of silence.

And sometimes, Stellan just didn’t feel like willing himself into the deafening silence that was necessary for a place to constitute home to him. To strain those inner muscles of his mind into pushing back the flood. Even beyond the mere extent of conscious considerations such as personal guilt and regret. Where he just wanted to dissolve into a moment, like a cube of sugar into hot tea. A sensation that was only amplified by the feeling of ginger ease and warm contemplation, if only momentarily replacing Rhys’ judgmental conga-line, in his head. It was as if they had both found a place of refuge in this very moment, the air fizzling with the static discharge of mutual care and consideration. A sort of warmth developing, like an invisible sun between them, rising on a summer morning. Guitar strums like ethereal birds, chirping in lush treetops, enchanting fauna and flora like. And even as the physical manifestation of shockwaves through air molecules subsided, the notion of the tunes hummed on, within the strings of the man’s soul.

Taking a refreshing plunge into the alluring lagoons of Rhys’ eyes, Stellan found himself floating along the reassuring tides of infallible instincts, as he skated through the other man’s revealing mindset. Feeling his trepidations melt away with every gentle flick of a finger, across threads of metal. Music being as much a shelter for the player, as it was for the listener. A warm coat in a dark winter night. Thin lips brushed together, dark scruff flaring on pale skin, the man contemplated for a moment, what it was that he wanted to hear. Seldom presented with such a forthright offer. And to be perfectly honest, there wasn’t all too much he wished for, in addition to what he found himself in, right this moment. As mawkish as it sounded, but the things people needed could be mundanely simple, to the point of being nothing more than a semblance of home.

“How about you make up a song over what’s on your mind?” he asked quietly, letting a gentle smile tug lop-sided at his lips, for added reassurance. Music was, after all an expression of one’s thoughts and feelings, as much as the tunes of telepathic transmission were.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #7
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

Stellan asked him to make up a song. That caused Rhys to raise his eyebrows in surprise at such an unusual request. He felt his heart rate increase and trepidation, and a tiny spark of delight. He both wanted to show off for Stellan and to hide in that moment. He thought for a moment and softly said “OK whatever you want.” He tried to keep his voice calm and even. In truth he had no idea why, Stellan had to know he was nervous about it.

Rhys wondered exactly how far Stellan’s senses went, how much of what he was thinking he could perceive. He some how wanted him to both see it all and see none of it. He looked down for a moment at the strings of his guitar as he thought. Obviously coming up with lyrics on the spot was pretty much impossible. If he ever wrote lyrics to something he would near hours and possibly lots to drink.

Tune was different, however. He could strum some cords and link them together and cobble something together stream of consciousness style. Maybe that was what Stellan wanted.

The first few sounds fell out of his guitar, to take their place in the atmosphere of the room. They were dark, and heavy. Rhys felt they had a haunting, calling quality to them. Emerging from them came a series of bright mournful tones as his fingers slid down past the 12th Fret. He found his eyes drifting up from the neck of the Guitar and back to Stellan. As he played, he was unable to keep thoughts out of his head. The idea of just walking over there and putting his arms around him and holding him tight. Unfortunately for Rhys’ embarrassment, he realised that he his desires were not simply to hug Stellan because he looked like he needed it. Rhys was battling to keep the image of them together with no clothes on out of his head. Again, he wanted Stellan to both know what he was feeling and not know at all.

If Stellan caught his eye, Rhys would just smile nervously and go back to playing. Soon he started to hum and half sing, (mostly in la las) along with his playing. There was an occasional furrow on his brow when his finger landed somewhere it shouldn’t. However, he continued to play. The playing speed picked up a little, as he continued to fight to loosing battle with his mind and its little voices, that all seemed to have become very amorous.

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #8
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

When Stellan had urged Rhys to just play something of his own motivations, he had intended for it to be a little bit of an exercise towards letting go of rational thought and doubt, and letting other inspirations take over for a moment. Art was a proven instrument in facilitating such deeper contemplation. It was, after all, a measure of work that did not conform to standards and requirements, as the quality of the end result was, by all accounts, solely in the eye of the beholder. And it gave the counselor a quick moment of delightful reprieve, as the dyad of opposing voices within the man before him resounded in loud discourse once more. Which at this point did not trouble the dark-haired man any more than the threats of their mutual superior. For Rhys’ trepidations had no merit – much like Hathev’s threats, one could argue. But that was a different topic.

The verbal acknowledgment almost came as a subliminal warning. An unspoken waiver over whatever out of tune, jumbled mess was going to come out of this. But he somehow doubted that would be a valid concern. Still, he could sense the blonde’s mind going back to worrying about the details once more, rather than opening itself up to the unpredictable kiss of a muse. Which he ironically too sensed on the telepathic ether. Though not with a muse, per say. It made the half-Betazoid chuckle silently, pate immediately turning to a countenance of apology, at his unhelpful exaltation. He had no intention to use any of what he gleamed from the man’s mind by mere osmosis to use against him. Quite the contrary. He was hoping to use it to understand him better, and his motivations. Not having any idea yet how personal these were.

The first new chords splashed into the room like large drops of paint, coloring the atmosphere in a new light. Far less restrained and with a warmth to it that made the mood shift palpably. As if someone had adjusted the environmental systems from the Swedish to the Jamaican setting. And while others would’ve more likely drawn the comparison to Mordor, rather than a Caribbean paradise, Stellan found the poignant sonority to be radiating with the comforting warmth of genuine expression, rather than a public image thereof. A man who thought his inner shadows were to deter anyone that encountered them, so he hid them behind a veil of bright light, thus only giving them more power.

It was rather sudden that the man felt a constricting heat, however, but in a comforting way. Like the hug of a cozy blanket in a cold winter storm. And it was only as he allowed himself to sift through the constant echo of emotions that he realized it was a sentiment contemplated by Rhys himself, which he could feel through extension. Feeling his skin become ablaze with the sensation of such considerations the man could feel his forehead transpire a gentle sheen, that subtly sparkled in the dim light. And with no conscious machination of his own, Stellan pulled the zipper of his undertunic down as far as the uniform jacket allowed, revealing a glistening valley of pale skin shaded by a modest canopy of auburn fluff, dipping down from the hollow between his collarbones, which almost acted like a rain catcher to the subtle moisture farmed on his hide. And it was ultimately Rhys abashed reaction that drew the man back to the reality of his motions. Inward and outward.

Leaning forward in his seat, the gentle guitar strings falling to the wayside as comforting background noise, he propped his muscular frame up on his knees. Dark eyes looking up at the other man from beneath heavy brows and pleated forehead, gentle glimmers of diamonds caught in the fleshy crevices.

“Did you ever consider …” he started out calmly, his voice like a blunt sword to the whetstone of the music. “… that the only way to really know what’s going to happen is if you put your thoughts into action?”

Re: Day 04 {1800 hrs] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #9
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy attn: @stardust

While Stellan attempted to understand Rhys by then feeling of his emotions and thoughts, Rhys tried to do much the same. Sadly, he only had the vagueness of body language to go off of. As far as Rhys could tell Stellan seemed to enjoy the music whether it was good or not. The act of Rhys sharing his limited talent with him seemed to be enjoyable enough.

Stellan also seemed to be relaxed by his playing and potentially by whatever thoughts he could detect in Rhys’ cluttered head. Combinations of desires, worries, and the mundane of calling forth the mundane of remembering how to play.

However, Rhys’ thoughts were interrupted by urgent messages from his eyes, that his brain was struggling to believe. Yes, Stellan was lowering the zip on his undershirt. Rhys found himself biting his lip and unconsciously shifting in his seat. It was amazing he could still play on Autopilot, as his thoughts moved to his desire to see more.

Stellan seemed to notice. Rhys was not sure if it was his thoughts, his intense glances, or a combination of the two that caused Stellan to react. Stellan asked him to consider that putting his thoughts into action might be the only way he would know what would happen. Rhys gulped softly, his hands slipping from the strings.

He bit his bottom lip again, before placing the guitar on a near by stand. His heart started to beat erratically, and he started to feel both warm and cold at the same time. Even Rhys could not miss what Stellan was suggesting. He slowly got up and moved to where Stellan had been lying and now was on his knees. Rhys lowered himself so they were both at eye level with each other. “I just… don’t want to bring you discomfort because I read more into a situation than was there.” He said softly and quietly. His face slowly moved closer to Stellan’s. He found his hand reaching out and touching Stellan’s arm, and gently brushing up and down it. “I can’t assume anything.”  He said again his lips inches from Stellan’s before he closed his eyes, leaned forward and kissed him.

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #10
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck ?! | Vector ?! | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Somehow over the years Stellan had gotten the ‘unreasonable’ reputation of being a troublemaker who was only out for himself. Well, if that were true, he didn’t know why his father wasn’t prouder of him. In reality, however, he could only surmise that what people understood as ruthless was his innate ability to simply not give a damn. About social conventions, about ‘rules’, about people’s vanities. Of course that didn’t mean he didn’t have a moral compass … it just didn’t conform to the norm set fourth by the more upstanding members of the crew.

At the end, you couldn’t argue the results. So far, he hadn’t been kicked out of an airlock yet.

And what Rhys was concerned, Stelan could only surmise his counseling worked so effectively because he actually cared about the man getting better. Not because of some departmental bottom line or duty gratification. He had never been about that even. They had to practically force the pips on him. He was all about the adventure and the people he met along the way. Some to befriend, some to help, some to screw with … some to screw in a different way. It was all part of the grander pleasure cruise he had dedicated his life as, after starting out an intended successor of a crime lord and a demonic brother to a girl whose entire repertoire of issues somehow traced back to him.

At any rate, there was a certain reprieve in how Rhys viewed him almost contentiously to the general presumption. An unabashed, almost naïve innocence to his feelings, which made Stellan feel cared for, in a way. Even though by all accounts their general dynamic should’ve been reversed and Rhys probably saw it that way too. The concept of caring about someone’s view so much was foreign to the half Betazoid, yet it almost gratified him to think that the blonde cared about what he would think of him if he acted on his impulses and desires. When there was no wrong in therapy, or relationships that really mattered. A good friendship could sustain a little trial and error.

Yet, even though he had seen the kiss coming from a mile away, it felt oddly surreal as Rhys soft lips finally landed on his. A gentle flower brushing past his with morning dew like sweet sangria covering its surface. And for a moment, the doubts and anxieties were drowned out by the mutual pleasure in sharing this moment. Whether it was a notion telegraphed into Rhys’ mind by Stellan, or whether it was a self-motivated reprieve, was neither discernible nor important. He could feel the other man dissolve into the moment like a sour drop candy shedding its shell of acidic trepidations to reveal a chewy sweet core.

And as their physical connection ultimately parted, Stellan brushed his lips together to squeeze every last drop of flavor from his slices of clementine. Savoring them alongside the memento of his colleagues liberating inner bliss. Which was rivaling the actual kiss in spectacularism.

“Well, that was sweet.” he replied gingerly, a warm hand falling onto Rhys’ support by his side, to indicate he had no intention to let him recoil into his chair of insecurities across the room again, concluding with one of his signature tropes – albeit in a far more teasing manner. “How did that make you feel?”

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #11
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

Stellan, Rhys knew was perceived as a troublemaker. Rhys could see it, in the regimented world of Starfleet he had streak of individuality a light year wide. He could be abrasive and difficult; Rhys was no blind to this. However, Rhys saw some admirable traits and some traits he recognised from himself. Stellan genuinely cared about what he did and about helping people. Though his tendency to be brusque even rude meant it was too easy sometimes to overlook his finer points. However, Rhys like Stellan was also very much not a neat fit for Starfleet’s rigid world.

Rhys was quiet, shy, and as unambitious as it was possible to get. In fact, despite very rarely having anything negative to say about anyone, ambitious thrusting officers made him uncomfortable. Being an officer was terrifying his brief period as the head of the Counselling department on the Cayuga was the most uncomfortable, he had ever been. Despite this feeling he had not done as badly as he had imagined. It was tough to convince him of this of course. He had held together a crew on a ship that had been crippled by the Borg and left to drift in a nebula. Not an easy task for anyone.

Stellan had helped him and that had earned Stellan a permanent pass for Rhys. In return Stellan seemed to have picked up a shy and deeply neurotic puppy. Beyond that on a personal level there was a real crackle and fizz between them.  Stellan was one of the few people who Rhys’ psyche would accept genuinely liked him. It was just a question now of how much and in what way.

The kiss between them only caused his heart to beat faster. It was gentle and sweet and the moment their lips twitched Rhys felt his anxieties melt into the background. There had been no disgust, no anger. No polite indication of discomfort which some how would have been worse to Rhys than anger. It just felt good, and Rhys completely melted into the kiss.

When the kiss ended, Rhys found his blood ran fast and hot to his face, and indeed elsewhere which only caused him to blush more. When Stellan spoke, his voice felt as if it was coming from a great distance. Stellan’s hand was laid gently on him. Rhys momentarily looked at it before looking straight back at Stellan. How did that make him feel? A laugh came now, it was not a nervous thing but genuine mirth. “I would have thought that was obvious.” Rhys grinned shyly before making, at least for him a naughty joke. “And you call yourself a counsellor.” He said shaking his head in mock dissapointment. Rhys bit back his own version of the question because the teasing way Stellan had asked him demonstrated enjoyment on some level. Rhys bit his lip. “It made me feel very good.” He said more seriously now, while moving, not away but into a position where he could share the seat. 

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #12
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

In the considerably short amount of time knowing Rhys, Stellan had been in the comfortable position of not only establishing a budding friendship, but also making headway in his endeavors as a counselor, to the young man. As such, he was able to gain a deeper understanding of him, as he would’ve otherwise, if he was only sharing one of these two relationships, with Rhys. As such, he had come to realize, or better suspect, that the man’s agreeable and restrained nature was rather a defense mechanism, or a matter of convenience, rather than actual character defining traits.

He could see certain aspects of Rhys’ personality break through, when he wasn’t okay with a certain situation or arrangement, or when he got angered over himself. Moments where his overshadowing personality construct either defaulted to repressing the notion, or to spin it in a comfortable way, both to himself and others. Thus, creating a reality for himself whereas he was not causing any trouble, or stir the calm waters, drawing unwanted attention. But that was not an assessment you made lightly, and you certainly didn’t alert to it without proper proof.

In that capacity, however, Stellan hoped Rhys understood where his providence as a counselor ended, and his true care for the man started. Because at this point, it would’ve been utter disservice to these emotions, if one were to judge them as entirely professional. For just the same as Rhys was seeing Stellan as the exclusion to a rule, the ray of sun breaking through a layer of clouds, a similar sentiment was true for what the half Betazoid thought of the handsome blonde. Because he too wasn’t entirely familiar with true love and devotion, extended by someone earnestly.

“I did not want to seem indelicate.” Stellan chuckled at his colleague’s joke, pate inching in just a little closer, so the air from his gentle chuckle could still be felt across the abyss of space. Letting the other man settle comfortably into the armchair with him, Stellan allowed Rhys to splay his leg across his lap, to get comfortable into the crook of his strong arm. “And, by the way, that’s been rather obvious.” Gentle ivories blinking from scruff lined lips, the dark-haired man only nodded briefly at the others midst. More as a joke, rather than an actual observation.

“It’s my turn, then.” He added, voice nothing more than a distant rumbling on the wind, as his other hand came to rest gently on Rhys’ hip. Leaning in for the last vestige of a distance between them, the man placed his lips carefully on the others’. This time with a little more decisive fervent. Indicating that the previous actions had reciprocated a favorable sense within him as well. Yet, this wasn’t so much about sexuality, as it was about proximity and comfort between two people. Two people who weren’t entirely used to either concept.

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #13
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

Rhys blushed vividly as he was pretty much sat on Stellan’s lap. There might have been a hint of internal embarrassment, but it was completely overridden by a combination of enjoyment and a feeling of safety. Stellan was older than Rhys, a little taller (which was amazing to him as he was six feet, 2 inches tall) much more confident at least outwardly. He also Rhys imagined was likely physically stronger, not that Rhys was flimsy himself. This all in his mind made Stellan in quiet moments like this comforting.

As Stellan spoke to Rhys, his face had moved closer again, so that when he laughed Rhys could feel the breath on his skin. Rhys was simply looking back into Stellan’s face, his own eyes wide and unblinking. Rhys smiled softly and chuckled a little when Stellan indicated that Rhys’ response to kissing Stellan had been obvious. He felt faintly annoyed at himself that a kiss was all it had taken to both comfort him and if he was honest turn him on and that it was so clear. However, at this point even the emotional part of his mind had recognised that, stretched out in Stellan’s lap there was no point in worrying about that.

“Well.” Rhys almost whispered back. “I think we seem to have moved past worrying about being indelicate.”

When Stellan had stated it was his turn, in a voice that made Rhys shiver, Rhys felt his heart start to beat hard. It was like it wanted to escape his chest and introduce itself to Stellan. Rhys bit his bottom lip a little as Stellan slowly closed, the gap. The moment seemed to drag out for minutes but really took no time at all. Soon he felt Stellan’s lips against his, the slightly scratchy but not unpleasant feel of his facial hair. The hand on his hip, everything it was like Stellan had been able to pull out of Rhys’ mind the exact way he would have liked to have been approached. Rhys’ own hand was on Stellan’s chest and slowly pushed up to his shoulder, along the soft skin of his neck to cup the other man’s cheek. Rhys made a soft mewling noise; he hadn’t planned on making nor did he seem to notice he had done it.

Rhys was always going to be the kind of person who would worry about how much he mattered to someone else. It was part of his lack of self-esteem, he did not care for himself so the concept of someone else doing so was tough to understand. However, for the moment Rhys was overawed by the feeling of genuine affection and connection. 

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #14
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

The warmth of Rhys inner contemplations and ignited fire warmed Stellan like a golden fleece, cast over the shivering remnants of his soul. The way he grew into something bigger than life, in the sparkling frozen ponds of the blonde’s startling blue eyes. For it was the only reality in which he could amount to something more than he was predestined to be … in the skewed perception of someone else.

It was this covert refuge, in which the man hid himself more often than he liked to admit. That was when he could find that rare individual that regarded him with more than unrelenting contempt. Which made moments such as these all the more precious. Reveling in the other man’s scent and touch, as much as all the extrasensory impression, which completed an entire realm of possibility between them, that had nothing to do with reality.

Breaking through the haze of saccharine clouds, however, was the sunbeam of a chuckle, reverberating from the man’s chest like a distant thunder. Rhys’ words amused him, and that sentiment was not held secret over the telepathic ether. It was a genuine measure of appreciating the other’s newfound confidence for blunt humor. Taking gentle jabs at the shift with which their professional relationship made way for something different.  A progression.

“I think it’s funny you believe I ever worry about being indelicate.” Stellan grinned, thin lips curling into a boyish sneer. Certainly, they hadn’t spent much time together, but that didn’t mean he still hoped Rhys wouldn’t assume he was any less of a rogue daredevil than he was portraying for his corridor credit. After all, if he wasn’t a troublemaker, then he was nothing at all. And you could only tell the lie so many times until people figure out you were putting on an elaborate show.

For a moment it almost felt as if they were pulling each other’s spirits, their essence of being, out of their bodies by their heartstrings alone. Turning their souls into marionettes, dancing beyond the realm of physical presence, tethered together by the vestiges of a kiss that transcended from reality into whatever alternate universe they had created. And as it went on, transcending any concept of time, he could feel their nervous systems heat up like veins of molten gold through muscles of dark soil.

For a fleeting moment – that felt like an eternity – they were not the people destiny had made them to be. But rather a dream of an existence, which they had created for each other.

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #15
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

Rhys was not really thinking on a conscious level now. He was sat on the lap of man he both admired and was extremely attracted to, who was kissing him. Delight was a word that did reverberate in his head. This was delightful.

Below the surface he thought that it was amazing that too such intrinsically different people would be in this situation. It was true that they had known each other for a limited time but it was clear that the two could not be more different.

Rhys was shy, cautious, prone to bouts of uncertainty and self-hatred. He was soft hearted, and the kind of person who avoided upsetting others as much as he could. Stellan had a tendency to be brash, outwardly confident at least, and a times a little to relaxed about what he said and did. However, Rhys was attracted to him. It was not just a psychical thing, though that certainly played a part. Maybe it was the confidence or the lingering feeling that there as more under the surface than was being presented. Maybe Stellan sometimes said the things he wished he could say and, in his presence, Rhys was feeling more like he could say what he was thinking and feeling.

Rhys was sill in some way trying to work out what the appeal was in reverse. He knew sometimes people found shyness endearing. Rhys was no idiot; their first interactions had involved lengthy and academic debates on counselling techniques. Maybe that was what was appealing to Stellan. Or maybe in the end it was enough that Rhys was clearly enamoured with him. Sometimes that was all it took.

Stellan commented again on indelicacy and smiled that smile that sent tingles down Rhys’ spine. Rhys shook his head and rolled his eyes in mock frustration, “All right, I’M beyond worrying about being indelicate.” As if to demonstrate this, Rhys leaned in to kiss Stellan again, this time his lips pressed firmer there was much more passion. His body also pressed into Stellan’s chest. As he kissed Stellan, his hand went to the back of his head momentarily playing with the other man’s hair. Before slowly trailing down over his neck. His fingertips dipped on the collar of his uniform touching the skin of Stellan’s should. To top things off before releasing the kiss again, he teasingly dragged his teeth, over Stellan’s bottom lip. Rhys blushed furiously at his own indelicacy.

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #16
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

The moment that Rhys and Stellan shared, seemed like a bubble, floating steady in the storm of time. A little slice of heaven, carved out from the vestiges of reality, just for the two of them. The assistant chief counselor’s quarters serving as a lifeboat, in these troubled waters Theurgy found itself in as of recently. A rather flamboyant notion, truly, but one that described the man’s feelings in this moment quite aptly.

Subsided had the voices from the rest of the crew, he sometimes couldn’t – or didn’t want to – block out. The overzealous confidence, which usually acted as a dampener to doubts and trepidations, quieting to the peace of focus on something else. In that regard, Rhys was as much extending a measure of reprieve, as the blond figured was given to him as well. Just without knowing it.

Because quite to the contrary, Stellan was astutely aware of his effects on the other man. How could he not. Hell, that warm feeling of honey, dripping over his mind like liquid amber, was too sweet to not indulge in. Why would he have deprived himself of such an absolution, just for the sake of being properly delicate. A kind of recklessness that seemed to transpire and subsequently fester within the blonde as much as his almost naïve admiration did in return.

A gentle huff of air escaped the Half-Betazoid’s parted lips, whistling against the tips of his white teeth, showing in ginger amusement, while the chuckle expired as a gentle brush of air against Rhys’ nearing pate. Another warm kiss united them in a measure of jumbled minds, yet oddly peaceful in their wayward melding. It wasn’t a conscious affair, by a long shot. Actually, none of these happenings were or had been.

Stellan had not come to the man’s quarters for what this had developed into. And even while his passions were temporarily taking over, like waves washing away the sand in a cove, underlying every concession and every ministration was the steadfast promise that this would not be what it currently shaped up to be. At least not only. Still, it was hard to return to that one grain of sensibility, within this literal beach of overwhelming passions. Especially when Rhys’ surge of indelicacy was so corroding to the man’s morals and convictions. Which was funny, because the corrosion of morals usually went the other way.

“You’re a diligent learner.” Stellan praised quietly, a random thumb brushing casually past the precipice of where he held Rhys within his lap. “This is quite … a development.” The brunette couldn’t help but let the last word dissolve in a flurry of lighthearted chortle. Freeing one hand he placed it flat on the blonde’s chest. “Take a breath with me.” He demanded, lifting his hand as if to draw the air inside both their rib-cages, all while taking a deep inhale. They both deserved a moment of calm to think.

Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #17
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Junior officer's quarters | Deck 13/Vector 01 | USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

Rhys’ mind felt like it was running at warp speed. Stars bursting past him as he was driven by the urgency of excitement both mental and physical. It was sad that a person so desirous of physical affection of any kind, had a personality that worked in conflict with that.

Being shy, awkward, and anxious was a recipe for undesired solitude. He had known people who were delighted to be alone. People, who would be happy to find some uninhabited planetoid somewhere to set up home away from prying eyes. Such an idea filled Rhys with a kind of cold dread. Even if he could never truly be in a social group, he would content himself with being quietly on the edge of one.

Soon Stellan brought an end to the kiss. Rhys’ burned at being referred to as a diligent learner. Rhys faintly shivered at the touch of Stellan’s thumb. However, it was the hand on his chest that he paid most attention to. A physical marker to go with Stellan’s words. An obvious request to take a moment and think. Rhys just about resisted the urge to apologise, as he saw himself reading discomfort into Stellan’s face regardless of if it was there or not. However, he managed to stop himself. He had the feeling Stellan would tease him for a non-sensical apology or be annoyed by it.

Rhys followed Stellan’s instruction. At this point he would have done pretty much anything the other man asked him to do. Rhys took in a deep lung full of air and followed this with an equally deep exhale. His heart continued to beat quickly but his thought process started to slow. One he had completed a couple of deep breaths Rhys asked. “Did I go to far? Did I make you uncomfortable?” He managed to say it calmly. It was better than apologising out of panic. A polite calm inquiry.


Re: Day 04 [1800 hrs.] Through the Looking Glass

Reply #18
[ Lt. Foster | Rhys Williams' Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

To Stellan’s understanding, there weren’t only those who managed to ingulf themselves fully in the warm embrace of one, or the other, social environment. Even though judging outwardly, it would seem so for most. But the truth of the mater he had learned over years and years in the counseling service – and as a telepathic being – was that more people than not struggled with finding a place of collective belonging. And ironically enough, these people were so adept in concealing their struggles, that they made everyone – including themselves – believe that they were the only ones affected. As a matter of fact, the amount of individuals able to dip their toes in any social group as if they belonged there, were not insanely adaptable, but rather just good at pretending. No one could be everything, and sometimes choice limited the ability to choose.

In summary, he didn’t see any of that as a flaw on the young blonde, as much as he did so for himself. The harshest court ruling within each and everyone’s self. And as such, it wasn’t something that could be undone by outside forces, but rather a change that had to spark deep within the dry underbrush of doubt. Which was also one of the reasons why he had chosen to take a break from pursuing this avenue of superficial passion. Which his instincts and more carnal desires naturally chastised him for. After all, the half Betazoid was far from devoid of inner struggle himself. And he hoped he was able to convey a little bit of that as much, even though he likely failed like any other sentient individual, hiding their weaknesses behind brave masks.

Stellan could feel the doubt rise in Rhys’ chest like bile, yet he not only calmed him with his warm hand, but his mindful ministrations as well. For as the mind calmed down, so would the body. He could feel the gentle rumble of air gushing into the man’s ribcage beneath the palm of his hand, as well as serenity flooding into Rhys’ mental realm, for the time being. It was often helpful to abstract the mental, with the more palpable feelings of the physical. At least some of it.

As Rhys posed his question, Stellan’s thin lips furled into an imperceptible smile, obsidian hues casting a delighted glimmer over handsome features. “Yeah, can’t you tell?” he replied sarcastically. “If I was a cartoon I would’ve left so fast my skin’d still be here.” Dipping his pate casually to the side, looking up at the man from a slightly lower angle, he ultimately broke the growing tension with a boyish grin. “No, silly!” words broke forth from baritone cords, as his free hand flipped the precipice of Rhys’ forehead deliberately. “Just giving you a moment to come to terms with how smashing you find me!”

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