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EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Corridor | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

It was not yet what his old mentor called “stupid o’clock” but it was damn close by the time Cross finished with his debriefings and considered himself off-duty. Logically, with the overall success of the mission, or missions, one could argue that the number of lost crewmen was acceptable. However, despite his recent “restoration” of genetics rendering him fully Vulcan, Cross would never be ready to embrace the cold comfort of logic alone. Each name on the list he’d compiled earlier, combined with the lists shared by the other department heads in their own reports, had been someone’s son, someone’s son, a friend, a lover.

There came a point when sheer numbers dehumanized a list of names, and after all the sacrifices that had been made in the grand scheme of stopping the Infested, Theurgy was well past that point of dehumanization. Yet, Cross felt the losses in the fatigue of his joints, the ache of his muscles, the fog of his overextended mind. They’d lost many good people, and he knew, logically, that they would lose many more before “this” could be considered over, but that didn’t stop the sting of pain he felt when he pictured a friend, or a crewmate, now dead, and recalled the last words, the last moments, shared between them.

Cross paused in his footsteps when Blue’s face came rapidly to mind. It was almost like a wave of nausea, the way the pain flowed through his body with the echoes of her memory. They’d survived against so many odds before this mission, coming through the other side with bumps and bruises, but quite a tale to tell. Tales shared over sweet, fizzy drinks. Cross smiled, though it was a smile that did not reach his eyes. He could easily recall her often uncouth humor, her forthright insight into the heart of a situation, and…Cross held up his prosthetic, opening and closing the fingers with great care as if he held Blue herself in the palm of it.

In so many ways, he knew he’d been her anchor, and she his, for so many things that he hadn’t acknowledged until now, when there was no way he could convey his gratitude, his affection, even his grief, to her. He remembered waking up on the Savi ship with her asleep at his side and all the times after that when the lines between them, the supposed boundaries that existed between friends, grew grey and muddled until in the days before this last mission he’d been confused as hell over the status of their relationship. No longer mere friends, assuredly not lovers, yet something uniquely beautiful had existed between them. Cross would mourn the loss of it, the loss of HER, even if he had no name for what they had been to one another.

Shaking his head, Cross resumed his course, thankful that no one had seen his momentary lapse of awareness as he stood stupefied in the corridor. It would take time to resolve his thoughts and feelings regarding his lost friend, but now was not that time. He’d been taken aback and filled with dread when the wounded reports had been shared and Hathev’s name was among those listed. From the report, it seemed serious. Hence why, as soon as he was freed from duty, Cross beat a direct path to sickbay instead of his quarters.

Despite the slight inebriation involved with their shared intimacy prior to the mission, Cross recalled in vivid detail the passion they’d shared. He also, now in the post-mission fatigue, recalled just as vividly the unresolved questions and concerns they’d thrown at one another both in the post-meld drama and later in his quarters before they’d exchanged arguments for lovemaking. Even as a grown man, and an accomplished Starfleet officer, Cross felt traitorous heat travel up his neck as the memory again returned to the forefront of his mind. He was not about to complain, as most men had far less pleasure with far less ravishing women their first time, and yet Cross could not help but feel there was still much to be desired about sharing such intimacy with a woman. Not so much in the performance, but in the motive.

It was with this last thought in mind that Cross steeled himself just outside his destination before crossing the threshold into the Main Sickbay. It was filled to capacity, and Cross doubted it would be anything less than busy for many hours yet. He nodded in sympathy to Elro when he passed the doctor on his way to the recovery ward. Here, at the entrance, he paused again, his eyes scanning until his heart lurched and he felt his gut tighten when he finally caught sight of her. If there was anyone in his way as Cross moved through the room to the private room where they'd placed her, he was unaware of them. If anyone tried to speak to him, he didn’t hear them. His senses were entirely attuned on the woman reclining on the biobed.

Yet once he was by her side, Cross found himself at a loss for words. She seemed much diminished from the last he’d seen her and the reminder of her mortality so soon after the report of Blue’s death had Cross moving before rational thought caught up to him. Stepping closer, Cross took hold of one of her hands in his real one and brought it up to his face. He placed a kiss on her wrist first, then her palm, before holding her hand against his face and willing her to feel through the touch all that he could not say in this moment.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

Hathev rested, her body centered on the bio bed, its subtle recline lifting her head a few centimeters above her feet, her eyes closed, her mind trying to find it’s center.  Years ago while she was married Hathev had discovered that for all of her tolerances of Hathev’s Vulcan ways, Triss’s human needs often meant the Vulcan was expected to ‘cuddle’ with her wife while they fell asleep together.  At the time she did not fully understand the nature of ‘cuddling’ but she felt it logical to indulge Triss.  Doing so, however, required Hathev had to sacrifice time for proper meditative practices and so over the years she had learned how to adapt traditional Vulcan mediation techniques so that she could perform them while laying down as opposed to the much preferred meditative postures to which she had grown accustomed in her formative years on Vulcan.

Even so, the counselor found it difficult to find that place of calm in her mind.  From the emotional turbulence of the days following the news of Triss’s death that had made it difficult for her to meditate in the first place, to the volatile conversation she had had with Cross the previous night and it’s surprising and emotional conclusion to the dull throbbing of her internal injuries as they continued to heal, to the casualty list she had seen and the names on it.  It was understandable if not logical to conclude that no attempt at meditation would be successful.

Thus, she dipped into her own therapeutic techniques and, as she had encouraged many a patient in the past, she closed her eyes, and allowed her mind to take her where it wished to go.  Lieutenant Foster had arranged for her to be moved into the recovery room and to receive a copy of the casualty report.  Many of the names belonged to patients she had seen and counseled over the past month.  A few of the names she recognized only as members of the crew she had not yet encountered and now never would.  Other names were far more personal- names of people she saw and worked with nearly every day.  Names of Theurgy senior staff.

Names like Lieutenant Commander Blue Tiran.

Her name, more than any other, stood out.  Not only her patient, but her colleague across from whom she sat at every senior staff briefing.  Not only her shipmate, but a dear friend to her own lover.  Not only a brilliant, if not broken, mind, but a romantic rival.  Less than a day ago, she had been sitting in Cross’s quarters resenting Tiran for the place she held in Cross’s mind, resenting Cross for seeming to pull away from her romantically and implying he might prefer her company, resenting herself for allowing herself to become jealous and see Tiran not for her talents and contribution to the ship and it’s mission, but as someone who might be a threat to her…happiness.

But now Tiran was gone and gone too was the opportunity to rectify that, to strengthen her relationship with the engineer and to find a way to move past her own needs, and put the needs of the two of them ahead of her own.

She was dimly aware of the opening and closing of the door to her room, dimly aware of the quiet steps approaching.  The familiar feel of his fingers on her hand pulled her back and as the familiar feel of his lips caressed her hand once…twice… her conscious mind began to reassert itself, bringing her out of her meditative state.

The warmth of his skin radiated into her hand, heralding the pending arrival of an empathic sense of him through their physical contact. 

She was still much too weak for a proper mind meld.  Even so, she did not need to open her eyes to sense his pain, his grief, his confusion and yes… his relief.  They echoed her own thoughts.  Thoughts of lost colleagues, lost bonds.  Uncertainty and confusion over what came next, and what impact their past actions might have on any potential future.  It was almost too much to bear...

Turning her head she opened her eyes to look at him and felt the wetness of tears sliding down her cheek.

“Cross,” she said, her voice firm but little more than a whisper. “I am so sorry…”

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #2
[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Corridor | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Straightening his spine, Cross watched the tears trace lines down Hathev’s cheeks. Through their touch, he thought he felt something, a shared pain perhaps, but he’d never been interested in training that part of his mind before. He’d had no reason to. But now, with so much changed about himself and those around him, Cross wondered if perhaps it was time he explored the more controlled and precise methods for emotional control and decision-making that could be found in his Vulcan heritage.

“I…” Cross interrupted himself by abruptly taking a seat in the chair stationed next to her biobed. He kept a hold of her hand, and his eyes remained upon her features, and yet he struggled to maintain a mental presence in the room.

His mind and heart were in so many places at once, past, present, future, imagined could-have-beens and should-have-dones. Cross remembered keenly Hathev’s frustration and critique against him just the night before when she’d sought him out in her own pain, how he’d fallen back on sharing stories of his friends, of Blue primarily, instead of listening to her and comforting her. A part of him shied away from opening up to Hathev about his grief now, maliciously believing that she was satisfied and thankful for Blue’s death. For now, her romantic rival was gone from the physical realm. Another part of him condemned the first for cruelly shoveling onto Hathev feelings and thoughts he had no right to attribute to her even if in the conversation last night she had expressed jealousy. Jealousy did not immediately dictate a relishing of another’s death. And another part desired her and wanted to bury his grief under the throes of passion, and when rational thought returned, to have her once more until both his emotional pain and physical lust were gone and he was but a husk of flesh remaining.

Cross came back to his sense then, centering his focus and his gaze back on Hathev. He was not ready to speak of Blue, not with her. Perhaps not with anyone who hadn’t served with Blue and knew her almost to the degree he had. He didn’t have the emotional energy to try to explain her soul to someone and didn’t know how to inaudibly share the essence of her with anyone who hadn’t already known her. Maybe, one day, he could talk of her with Hathev, or others, but not today. Not now.

“When do they say you’ll be able to leave?” Cross not-so-subtly changed the focus from his own grief to her recovery, hoping she took the hint and left things well enough alone.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev| Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

Hathev did not need to have been physical with him to sense his evasion.   He did not wish to talk about Ms. Tiran.  Instead he preferred to make small talk for now.   Despite it’s illogic and predictable nature, she chose to indulge, and not press the issue.  Hathev had been jealous and her jealousy had been misplaced.  For all of her flaws and imperfections, the late Engineer did not deserve to be memorialized through the haze of jealousy.   They would need to discuss her passing and clear some air…eventually.

The Vulcan shifted herself in the bed, attempting to sit up straighter, but her abdominal muscles protested the treatment and all she got for her efforts but the blanket she had been using falling off her shoulders and leaving her upper body.  She wore no top other than the padded tube top Theurgy medical staff had dressed her in to preserve some level of modesty while still leaving her injuries accessible to be checked and treated.  White dermaplastic bandages ran across her chest and over her left breast.  Another encircled her injured arm.  But the worst of it showed on her waist and the very belly on which he had kissed her not even a full day ago.  Her midsection had been ravaged by the Gorn’s claws, a she had been told, the wounds cutting deep, causing internal damage.  Now four strips of bandages ran across her belly where the Gorn had raked her open.  A final patch had been placed on her waist, where the Klingon had stabbed her.

She groaned as she moved and when she came to rest, she remained in pain, but it was a discomfort she was willing to bear so that she could see Cross better.  

“If my recovery remains on track, they will release me to my quarters tomorrow morning.  Under other circumstances I would be here for a few days still, but demand for beds is high and resources are low.  Case in point, the bandages.  There are insufficient resources for a proper dermal regeneration sequence at the moment.”

She started pulling at a pillow, intent on providing herself additional support as she lay on her side.

“What of you,” she asked.  “Were you injured,” she paused knowing his emotional injuries albeit not their extent.  “Physically, I mean.”

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #4
[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Corridor | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross sucked a breath in through his teeth when Hathev’s efforts to sit up straighter in the bed did nothing but exacerbate her pain and expose her injuries to his view. For a moment, the sight filled him with an irrational fury, the desire to rip apart whoever or whatever it had been who’d done this damage to Hathev. But then rational thought returned, and Cross was reminded that Hathev had obviously taken care of herself and survived and would continue to survive into the following days so long as they didn’t hit another shit storm before she was cleared for duty.

Standing just long enough to take hold of the fallen blanket to replace it against her skin and to assist in her efforts regarding her pillow—to prevent further injury—Cross resumed his seat and even scooted it marginally closer so he could lean his forearms on the bed while he kept his flesh hand touching the skin of her arm. He needed physical reassurance right now, for as silly as it seemed to be even to him.

“I would ask about the other guy, but knowing you, it would be illogical of me to assume he fared any better.” He forced an attempt at humor, for both their sake’s, and accompanied his words with a wink.

At mentioning the high demand for beds, Cross glanced over his shoulder back towards the main recovery room area. He hadn’t noticed much of anyone or anything on his way in, but knowing what he did of the various missions survivors had all returned from, Cross wasn’t surprised at the high need. If anything, he was impressed that their casualty list wasn’t higher.

“We lost a few on the mission,” he spoke over his shoulder first, his eyes still studying the comings and goings outside the private room, before returning his gaze to Hathev’s face. “But we gained one as well. Temporal shenanigans again.” Cross gave a half shrug along with a sigh. Sometimes the temporal antics gave him a headache. Okay, more than sometimes. “Praxis doesn’t look any the worse for wear, though our efforts to survive the mission in one piece and prevent the moon’s obliteration left the Allegiant with a few more scratches than she had to begin with.” He again tried for lightheartedness, and while he managed to achieve a portion of the correct tone of voice, the attempt didn’t reach his fatigue-ridden gaze. “But to answer your precise question, no, I was not injured physically.”

Neither needed to speak of the emotional injuries they were dealing with and would continue to be haunted by until they found a more opportune time to process through it, be it individually or together. Cross already dreaded that conversation, and Hathev hadn’t even suggested it.

“If I’m not on duty,” Cross pulled himself out of his own ass-headed thoughts, “would you like me to help you to your quarters when you’re released?”

He hadn’t noticed until just then that his fingers had taken to tracing a repetitive pattern almost reminiscent of the IDIC symbol on her arm. Once he noticed, however, Cross stopped the pattern and forced his fingers to remain still as they maintained a constant presence against her flesh.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

Laughing was such an unnatural thing for her.  As Vulcan one did not just laugh unless they were in the throes of Pon Farr and even then any ‘humor’ was usually dark, sardonic, and laced with the blood fever to mate.  But when Cross made his comment about the ‘other guy’ a small chuckle escaped her before she could suppress it, only to die almost immediately as the contraction of her abdomen provided a physical reminder of the trauma her body had been dealt.  As if she needed a reminder.

“In this case,” she said as she recovered, “I am the ‘other guy’.  When taking on three Klingons in hand to hand combat, physics and logic only go so far.”

She listened as Cross gave her his update on the Allegiant mission and while she mourned for the dead, that sense of loss found itself outweighed by the sense of relief that at least Cross was physically uninjured.  Ironic, she realized, that between the two of them, the counselor would take a heavier beating than the tactical officer.  No one ever said war was logical.
They sat quietly together for a moment before he asked about bringing her back to her quarters.

“I would appreciate that, if you are able.”

His fingers on her arm gave her a small sense of his emotional state, and while she could not read him, she sensed the turmoil, the conflict.  Gently she pulled his hand off her arm and pressed it against her cheek and temple, turning her head into the contact as she allowed her internal barriers to drop.  Technically a violation of his privacy, she knew, yet for some reason it seemed to only appropriate only logical thing to do.  She felt his sorrow, his relief, his confusion.  She felt his uncertainty and his worry.  He was holding back as was she and they both were avoiding speaking of the one thing that mattered.  How many times had she needed to coerce a patient into giving voice to an uncomfortable topic?  How often had she needed to be coerced herself? 

There had been much communicated last night, both verbally and physically.  She could not speak for him, of course, but for her all that had occurred under the haze of her intoxication required sorting and organizing.  She sensed his desire to avoid the topic.  Unfortunately it was a desire she shared, which only reinforced her sense that it needed to be addressed directly.

He was not her patient any longer, but even so she reached into her training as a counselor, hoping that her willingness to share would entice reciprocation from him.

“I wish,” she started but stopped.  Already it sounded wrong.  When had she become so imprecise in her communication?

“No,” she corrected herself.  “I need to address what happened last night.  Not so much in terms of what was done, but rather in terms of what was said.  I offered harsh criticism of not only you, but also your desire to help me, and the relationship you had with Lieutenant Commander Tiran.  Those comments, in particular were fueled by my own anguish as well as my,” her voice trailed off for a moment.  “My…fear over the loss of Triss and the unexpected sense of emptiness that accompanied the news.  They were inappropriate, and I regret having made them.”

She shifted on her bed, wincing as the knitting muscles of her abdomen protested the treatment. 

“You asked last night why Vulcans treat emotions as if they were a ‘plague’.  The answer is simple… for a Vulcan the *are* a plague and despite my chosen career path, despite my academic and practical experiences, I am currently ill equipped to process what it is that I… feel.”

She let out a breath she had not known she was holding and winced once again.

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #6
[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

He’d felt her pain through their skin-to-skin contact. Cross frowned. There was no mistaking it, but the brief fluttering of discomfort had not been his own. Perhaps, now that there seemed to be something serious building between the two of them, but beyond that, he was now stuck in a fully Vulcan body, it would bode well to more finely tune his melding techniques. He was of greater danger to himself and others if he remained untrained. His assault on Hathev, and others, because of his temper unleashed in this body was but the tip of the near-constant battle he had against random surges of rage. Near bestial rage that threatened to spill over into his work. In truth, Cross was more than a little disgusted with himself, and as much as he knew Hathev had many answers in the wisdom of her training, he also felt it would be more appropriate to seek training from someone else. Though who else was still a question that needed answering.

Her use of the term ‘wish’ had a single eyebrow rising on Cross’ face. Strange that she would use such an emotional term, but then again, she’d also laughed despite the pain just moments before, and then there was what had transpired between them the night before. He was concerned the meld they’d shared before his assault had done this to her, damaged her beyond repair. But then again, she’d also experienced personal trauma, and the physical trauma added to that, well, the trifecta of factors might have rendered her barriers broken for the time being.

When she spoke of the barbed words traded the night before, Cross stiffened for a moment, unsure of what direction she was going to go with the conversation. It turned out to be an apology, Hathev style. Cross relaxed then, as much as he could, given the circumstances, and cleared his throat.

“I know my actions and words didn’t help the matter any last night,” heat flooded his cheeks when, for a moment, he saw her naked on his sheets, chanting out her desire with his every thrust into her. He shook his head to clear it of the image. For as much as he treasured the memory of their time together, now was NOT the time to be mulling over the specifics of their actions. “Thank you,” he reached up and rubbed the back of his neck, “for the apology, Hathev. It means a lot. And as for your ill equipment for processing,” he squeezed her hand and offered a soft smile, “no one is perfect. Vulcan or otherwise. I’ll fuck up in the future if I haven’t already, and you’ll need to forgive me for that, and I can only assume, even with fountains of logic at your disposal, I’ll have to respond in kind. Reciprocity is the basis for relationships.” He blushed in full then, his eyes darting to the side briefly, then coming back to settle on her again. “At least, that’s what I’ve been told and observed.”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev| Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

Hathev listened as Cross spoke and even in her current state, she could see, if not sense, his concern.  She had seen it too many times in her patients over the years.  That look they got, that subconscious tell that communicated there was more on the subject’s mind than they were actively sharing.  While it would have been in appropriate for Hathev to treat Cross as her patient given their personal relationship, it was not always so easy for Hathev to put that training, that discipline aside.

“Yes,” she agreed.  “We will need to show each other patience and understanding as we work through our various issues and failings.”

She shifted once again, finding it difficult to put herself into a position that was more or less physically comfortable.  Even with the medications Kate had administered a few hours earlier, she still experienced a certain edge that hat yet to abate.

“I would also encourage continued and open communication, especially in moments where one might not wish to hear the answers.  I sense there is something weighing on you, something you have not yet said.”

She adjusted the pillow under her head and neck and reached for him.  “I respect your privacy, and do not wish to make you uncomfortable.  That said, I am more than willing to hear anything on your mind that you would wish to share.”

To a certain extent, it did not matter to Hathev if he opened up to her or not.  To her, it was far more important to show the willingness to hear, to listen and she needed him to know her door was always open to him regardless of how they chose to proceed with their personal relationship.

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #8
[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross did what he could to assist her when Hathev once again moved on the bed in an effort to find more comfort. He knew without asking that there would be no comfort to be had so long as she was in sickbay and not her own quarters. Hathev liked to control her space and would not likely let down her guard for complete meditative healing until she was back in her quarters. He nodded absently to her instruction to them both to maintain open and honest communication, busying his hands with helping her fluff her pillows and smoothing her hair away from her face before resuming his seat beside the biobed. Cross grew still in mind and body when she made a passive request for him to share, as that was exactly what her comment was: a request, not a statement.

Cross closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose with his flesh hand. Even beyond the intimacy they’d shared in body just the night before, Hathev deserved to know more of what he was thinking and feeling than what he’d revealed. She’d been his counselor for a time, a support in his efforts to gain more understanding on his psychological differences now that he was fully Vulcan, and he’d like to think that she was also his friend in a fashion. Lowering his hand back to his lap, Cross opened his eyes.

“Guilt, Hathev, I feel a fuck ton of guilt right now.” He leaned further back in his chair as if it were possible to distance himself from his feelings. “I’m thinking of my last moments with Blue, of my first moments with her, and all the in-betweens, and my mind, and heart, are in a state of confusion. Part of me wants to dwell on what we could’ve been, getting angry at the fact that that will never happen, and also getting pissed at how irresponsibly selfish I was to share my bed with you while so much was undecided with Blue.” Cross broke eye contact then, recognizing that his words could come across as accusatory, but she had asked, and he felt he owed her the truth regardless of how it sounded. “Part of me is wrestling with...frustration with you for coming to my quarters last night and presenting the opportunity to have a good fuck, even though I logically know that sentiment is misplaced and fucking stupid, and you are not to blame for a fucking thing.”

Cross stood then, the energy from speaking out the myriad of thoughts that had been bouncing in his mind for hours making it impossible to sit still. He paced a methodical line to and from the recovery room door. His arms were pulled back, hands clasped behind his back, frowning gaze on the floor as he continued.

“And bloody twisted part of me is…relieved that Blue is gone, if you must know because now I don’t have to face those questions you were asking me, or the ones she’d been thinking but hadn’t yet asked.” Cross snorted and shook his head, lifting both hands and scratching his fingers over his scalp. “Makes you second guess my sincerity doesn’t it? Makes me second guess my own sense of honor. Fuck. And to add to that, a fatalistic side of me almost hopes something goes terribly wrong on the mission tomorrow and I don't have to wrestle with any more questions or unknowns. How fucking selfish and immature is that?”

He stopped then, his gaze coming back to rest on her features. His shoulders dropped on a soul-heaving sigh as Cross resumed his position in the chair.

“Guilt, anger, disgust, pain, and fear.” He reached out and laid his flesh hand palm up on the bed beside her. He wasn’t going to insist upon touching her, not after he’d just vomited out many of the thoughts that had been haunting him, but he desired her touch if she allowed it. “Fear that I’ve already fucked this up. And fear that you won’t be here when I get back from my next mission.” Sighing once more, Cross dropped his head and with his prosthetic, rubbed the back of his neck. "You asked, Hathev, and I hope you can follow through with patience with my fucked up narcissistic sense of shit going on right now."
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

Hathev took in Cross’s response, a surprsigingly introspective and thorough answer.  Usually she had to spend far more time to suss out that level of depth from her patients, but the fact that Cross…

…was not her patient. 

She found it curious that she needed to remind herself of that fact.  He had been once before, of course, until he had ‘fired’ her after that mind meld.  To approach this conversation with him as if he was still under her professional care would be highly inappropriate.  However, his status as ‘not a patient’ did not inherently discredit any response she might give and to withhold from him would be equally inappropriate and illogical.

She was over thinking, she realized.

“I will not abandon you, Cross, and I hope you will find my ability to be patient sufficient for your needs.  For what it is worth,” she said, taking his outstretched hand and pulling it towards her so that it lay gently on her bandaged chest.  “Your reactions and feelings are quite, consistent with others I have seen in similar circumstances.  It is natural to be conflicted and that does not make you fucked up or narcissistic.”

She hesitated to share what came next, but if she was going to insist on open communication, she needed to exercise that as well.

“I am also experiencing a series of conflicting thoughts.  I did not know Blue as well as I could have, and would have welcomed the opportunity to know her better.”  That was a bit of an exaggeration as she knew Blue better than she could admit.  Doctor patient confidentiality transcended death, so far as Hathev was concerned.

“At the same time, I am forced to confront the possibility that had she not been killed, you might have ultimately chosen to end our relationship and pursue her instead.”

Hathev left out the inevitable conclusion of that thought, that with Tiran’s death Cross may be staying with her due to a lack of choice instead of genuine interest.  That was her insecurity  (she had insecurities?) speaking and if that was, indeed the reality of the matter, it would come to light in it’s own time.  No need to put added pressure on the moment.  Still…

“For as horrible as it may sound…I too share a certain…relief that she is no longer a potential rival to me for your affections.  This does not mean I welcome her death any more than you do.”

She considered her next words very carefully. 

“For what it is worth, know that I did not come to your quarters last night seeking the intimacy we ultimately found.  To borrow a human phrase, it ‘sort of just happened’.  I respect the confusion it has left you with, and should you wish to scale back the physical nature of our relationship, I would understand and respect that.”

She did not tell him that her last thought as she lay dying on the sickbay deck had been of him.

"Besides," she added.  "Due to the nature of my injuries, the physical relationship may have to be paused regardless."

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #10
[Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross couldn’t stop the hiss of laughter from escaping his lips, “I beg to differ, Hathev, but I have a longer history of being fucked up than not being fucked up.” He held up a hand to stave off an argument in case she had one. “But in this particular case, I concede to your experience on the matter.”

Her confession regarding Blue didn’t shock Cross, though it surprised Cross to a degree that she was willing to share this much so readily. But then again, he had just vomited out a shit load of thoughts and emotions; he supposed it was only fair that she shared some in return. The level of vulnerability expressed in her words had Cross frowning in response. She wasn’t wrong about the possibility of Blue and Cross ending up together, but then again, even Cross didn’t know the answer to that possibility now. They were robbed of exploring it by Blue’s death, and it would be an exercise in further heartache and futility for him to guess how things could’ve been now. He nodded in response to her admission of relief. At least they could both be guilty in being shitty people together.

The topic shifted back to their shared intimacy the night before, and despite his age, and now experience, Cross still felt his cheeks warm with a blush. And when she spoke of her injuries, Cross again blushed when his eyes traitorously got “stuck” on her chest instead of moving appropriately to the injured areas Hatheve indicated.

“Sharing a full-blooded nature now, though, without the mental training, I recognize that Vulcans have a tendency to strategize on multiple planes of possibilities. However, that being said, I believe you. Especially after the fuckery my mind meld caused you.” Cross broke eye contact and sighed. Would he ever not feel like an ass when he recalled that memory? “I do appreciate your offer, Hathev, and maybe that is what we should do. But part of what makes me different from your average Vulcan, as you know personally, I prefer to take things as they come with relationships. Let’s just play it by ear, to use another human phrase, and see what happens.”

Cross rolled his shoulders and, with a swift head jerk, cracked his neck. It was a bad habit of his, one that Hathev would join ranks with others if she commented on it, but it relieved tension nonetheless. Intentionally adjusting his tone of voice and body language, Cross sought to ease the tension in the room.

“What say you to sampling some genuine gagh from the street markets on Qo’Nos later this week? Pending your injuries allows you to venture from your quarters.”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: EPI: S [D03 | 2320]: Reconciliation and Recovery

Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr Hathev| Main Sickbay| Recovery Room 08 | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hathev allowed a sigh to escape as Cross offered his perspective on the future of their relationship.  They had much to sort out between them, of course, but she resisted the urge to push and attempt to resolve all things in the here and now.  So many times in the past had she counseled her patients to be patient and allow time to play out as it would.  Far easier to advise it than to live it. 

“Playing things ‘by ear’,” she said, “is both highly illogical, and the most appropriate course of action.  I agree.”

She closed her eyes and rested, until the cracking of his neck broke the silence.  That, she decided, could not be healthy, but there were far more important matters about which to worry at this time.  He then asked about a trip off the ship for gagh.  Hathev had tried that once in the past and, at the time, it did not agree with her.  But that had been a lifetime ago, and she had concluded that the sample she had consumed had been less than fresh.  Therefore a re-sampling of the Klingon dish was well in order

“I would welcome that,” she replied.  “It would be good to get off the ship and spend time with you.”

The statement rang more true than Cross could know.  Between her time on Starbase 84, the Ballerophon, and now the Theurgy, she had not been off ship in almost two months.  Having spent so much time on Earth, she was not as conditioned for long term shipboard life as she once had been.  In time, she would re-develop it she knew.


It always came back to time.

Fatigue began to settle in once again and she knew it would be soon that she would be forced to give in and rest.  Cross’s presence was a welcome one and she did not wish to send him away.  Nor did she wish to be rude and try to sleep with him sitting by her bedside.

Again, she was overthinking and overlooking a simple solution.

“Cross,” she said, her voice a quiet, light tone that was almost a whisper. “Would you be willing to stay with me for a while more, until I fall asleep?  I do not wish to be alone.”

He responded with a curious look about him.

“Bedtime stories. That's what I was told in Academy by my friend Nara, helps with sleep and healing both. May I use your PADD?”

In truth, Hathev was unsure as to whether or not this was a good idea, but she did not stop him as he reached for the PADD she had set down on the side table when he’d come in to visit. 

“I could read to you until you fall asleep.”  He started working the PADD.  “Do you have stories on here,” he said a tease in his voice.  “Oh, what's this,” he asked.  This drew Hathev’s curiosity as she had not loaded any fiction on to that unit.  “'Vulcan Love Slave.' Somehow I find this to be the perfect story to read, though I am curious about your literary tastes now.”

“I do not believe that is in my...,” she started to say.

“Comfortable? Ready,” he inquired, ignoring her protests.

He had a certain look in his eye that told her he would not take ‘no’ for an answer.  Poorly written Ferengi fetish novels were not exactly her preference, but she was too tired to protest and the story was less important than his companionship so she submitted to his will.

Shifting in her place one last time, she pulled the blankets up to her underarms and watched as Cross settled in with her PADD and the story he had ‘found’ in ‘her’ literary database.  Hathev did not know what the future held for the two of them.  In the short term, they were still speaking, despite the awkwardness from their tryst the night before and the added...emotional...complication surrounding Blue and her untimely death.  There was still much to sort between them, of that there could be no doubt.  But as she had concluded earlier, time would bear that out. 

For now, she was content to close her eyes and listen as he read, until sleep took hold of her once again.

“Vulcan Love Slave.  Part One, Chapter One.  T’Lana’s breath caught in her chest…”


OOC - Thanks to @Ellen Fitz for some last minute consulting on Cross for this post.

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