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Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

[Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Marina | Saqwa’ City | Qo’noS ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

April 27, 2381
15:30 hrs
Stardate: 57677.36

As odd as it was the the Vulcan, Hathev experienced a sense of relief as she stepped off the hopper and made her way to the Saqwa’ City Marina.  Coordinating this trip had not been a simple task due in no small part that the Vulcan could not use any of her Starfleet credentials to book the charter.  With proper credentials as a Starfleet officer, she could have arranged the entire excursion with one call.  However, given that Theurgy was the sole starship of Federation origin in orbit of Qo’noS, she could not go through any official channels.

Instead she had to resort to the civilian channels, and a much slower, much less direct methodology.  She had found a human civilian who brokered vacations and travel experiences and, posing as a civilian herself, booked a ‘meditation retreat’ for alias names she had designated for herself and Cross.  Concerned that even the use of the Theurgy transporter system could expose them, Hathev had arranged for her and Cross to take a hopper from the First City to Saqwa’ and then take an ocean skimmer to their private villa.

Hathev had…not…given Cross the details of their trip, other than to tell him he needed to plan to spend 24 hours off the ship, to meet her at Saqwa’, how to get there, that he pack only civilian clothing while bringing nothing that could be traced back to Starfleet other than his commbage which was to remain concealed unless in an emergency.

Truthfully the plan seemed more cloak and dagger than it needed to be…almost Romulan in it’s duplicity.  Yet given circumstances, and the fact that she was supposed to be considered dead by the Federation, it was logical that she take certain precautions to maintain the ruse.

At least she thought it was logical.

As she went over it in her mind, she wondered if she had indulged an emotional need to be mysterious.  Triss had often expressed an appreciation for ‘surprises’ and Hathev surmised Cross might experience a similar reaction.

She chided herself as she was, again, comparing her relationship with her ex-wife, to her burgeoning relationship with Cross.  To a certain extent that seemed appropriate given the genesis of their physical intimacy, even though their relationship had started after her disastrous attempt at theraputic mind melding with Cross.  However, to consistently paint Cross into the shadow of her deceased wife, was both illogical and unfair to Cross, and something she would need to make an effort to curtail in the future.

Even so, Hathev desired to be in the here and now, to…yes… enjoy the coming 24 hours of isolation she and Cross were about to experience and, for once in her life, try not to analyze every moment.

The hopper hatch closed behind her as the vehicle lifted, and headed off to pick up it’s next load.  She ran her hand down the front of her black lace pant suit smoothing the wrinkles., slung her duffel over her shoulder and strode towards the marina, to see if Cross had checked in yet.




Hathev's Wardrobe
[Show/Hide]

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Marina | Saqwa City | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Relief unwrapped the tense coils he’d been holding in his shoulders over the past few days as he inhaled deeply the scent of the sea air. Unlike the scents of the First City, Saqwa City was far more pleasant, and not just for its proximity to the sea. The population density was thinner here and those who populated the city preferred food found in the ocean to that from the ground, and while these smells still had their moments of affront, as a whole they were less pungent.

Dressed casually in a light brown jacket to protect against the ocean-rough winds over a grey t-shirt, Cross balanced on an old surf breaker at the marina's edge. His back was to the marina itself, his eyes scanning over the watery horizon, trying his best to spy out the location and intent of Hathev’s scheming. She’d looked more than a little pleased with herself when she’d given him instructions to plan for an overnight trip and where to meet her. Apparently, her old channels had born fruit, and here he stood, a small duffle slung over his shoulder.

Cross didn’t mind the mystery, though he also didn’t particularly feel a need for it. He knew he certainly got a sense of enjoyment out of surprising her. So if it made her happy, or the Vulcan equivalent to happy, to plan out surprises, then he’d just as happily sit back and let her plan such things. They were still figuring themselves out, and this overnighter off the ship and away from potentially inquisitive eyes would prove beneficial. The corridors still echoed with the ghost of Blue’s voice, and sometimes he caught glimpses of her shadow. He no longer bore the guilt that he’d been buried under in those first days after her death, but that didn’t make it any less odd to deal with. This trip would be their first outing together as a couple, without the shadow of Blue or anyone else hovering over it.

It was almost like a tickle in his mind, but something cued him to Hathev’s presence. Shifting carefully on his feet, Cross looked over the flat area between the marina and the landing pad and quickly caught sight of her. Her outfit was as alluring as it was tasteful. Cross smiled. Even without a long history together, he recognized that Hathev liked her body, liked showing it off, and Cross was more than a little happy about that fact. In fact, Cross swallowed, he got the feeling before their trip was over, he’d see far more of her body and be able to show her just how much he liked it.

Jumping down from the breaker, Cross closed the distance between them. He’d decided before leaving the ship that he would greet her with a kiss on the cheek. Nothing too passionate, but something that clearly signaled a connection between them. But now that she stood here looking downright edible, Cross found himself second-guessing his plan. So much so that by the time he was within arm’s length of her, all Cross could manage by way of greeting was a semi-choked, “You look good.”

Tipping his eyes to the sky, calling upon the Klingon gods to help him not make a fool of himself, Cross cleared his throat and tried again, “I don’t suppose you plan on telling me much more about our little adventure now that we’re here.” Cross took her bag and coupled it with his own without waiting for her signal.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Marina | Saqwa City | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hathev sensed his presence as he approached and offered no surprise as he spoke to her.  Hathev leaned into him, offering him a kiss on the side of his neck.  The greeting was very Un-Vulcan, but Hathev cared very little in this particular moment. 

“It is agree…” she paused mid sentence, understanding just how flat that statement would land.  “I’m pleased to see that you made it, Otersu.”

She offered no objection when he pulled her bag off her shoulder.  Truth be told, she had not packed much and she suspected that her companion might have some suspicions based on just the low mass of her bag.

“This way,” she offered as she motioned to the ocean skimmer she knew to be waiting for them. 

“Officially,” she said as they walked, “we are about to board a skimmer for a one hour ride to a private villa for a ‘mediative retreat’.  Unofficially,” she turned to him with her best effort at a wry smile.  “We are indeed heading to a private island villa where we are to be dropped off and, for all intents and purposes, abandoned for twenty four hours.”

They crossed the Marina, heading towards the slip where the skimmer was tied up. 

“I found it logical to place physical distance from our busy lives for a day, and spend time focused solely on ourselves.”

It was as close as they could come, given the circumstances.  But Hathev found the prospect an important one.  The Vulcan had even considered the ethical dilemma of having both her and Cross taken off duty in order to get this time away.  Fortunately, Commander Stark had understood and with a light and playful ‘have fun’ had readily approved the 24 hour furlough for the both of them.  Hathev still did not understand why the Commander winked at her.  Perhaps her eye had been irritated.

She fell silent, directing her focus forward to present the boarding documents for herself and Cross to the skimmer’s steward.

“I assume you remain interested in joining me?”


OOC - Also a shoutout to @Brutus‍ for the quick permission and consultation on the use of Stark.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Marina | Saqwa City | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross shook Hathev’s bag, a single eyebrow rising as he gaged its weight, or, rather the lack of it. Had she packed anything? Or was she planning on shopping planetside and purchasing attire as they spent their hours together? As he listened to her precise explanation, Cross’s curiosity only increased because it certainly did not sound like they were going to a place where anything could be purchased.

“Definitely interested,” Cross easily smiled in the face of Hathev’s question before jostling the bag to garner her attention, “and definitely curious about what’s in the bag. Did you pack air?” He refrained from opening the bag, as much as his fingers itched to satiate his curiosity, and instead fell into pace with Hathev as they moved to their waiting skimmer.

He quickly offered his hand to steady her as they boarded the vessel and was equally attentive in ensuring she was comfortably settled once they were aboard. There was minimal staff on the skimmer, but at least enough for someone to offer drinks and a tray of snacks for them to pick at during their hour-long voyage. Cross refrained from eating for the time being but did snag a drink and sipped at it as his eyes traveled over the distant horizon. It had been quite some time since he’d been on a boat in the open ocean. He’d never been prone to seasickness, but there was always a first time, and he certainly didn’t want it to be with Hathev.

“What sort of accommodations are awaiting us on the island?” It wouldn’t surprise Cross if they were to stay on pillows in a cave for aesthetic purposes, very fitting for Qo’Nos, but it equally wouldn’t surprise him if the Klingons had made SOME effort to create an abode fitting for non-Klingon comfort as well.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev| Marina | Saqwa City | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hathev allowed the corners of her mouth the rise at the commentary about just how light her bag was and she was content to allow Cross to help her aboard the skimmer and she helped herself to a drink and snack as the the deck crew cast off the lines, actual rope lines, as the boat pulled back from the it's docking slip.

“I booked a private over ocean bungalow for us.  Two bedrooms, two bathrooms with all the associated amenities including a swim up entrance.  It is built to simulate the cabana experience and therefore most of the structure is open to the outside air with curtains for privacy.” 

She closed her eyes as she let her head rest. 

“I have been assured this will be a much less Klingon experience and a far more luxurious experience.  Given that the broker who booked this on our behalf was a Betazoid, I have little reason to doubt her sincerity.”

The Counselor rested her eyes in relative silence, choosing to speak as necessary to answer anything Cross might have to say, but it wasn’t until they were almost through their journey that she spoke up again of her own volition.

“I should tell you,” she started.  “In addition to spending time with you, I am hoping to use this time to explore the new spectrum of emotions I am experiencing a bit deeper than I am presently able to while on duty.

She turned to meet Cross’s eye.

“It is my hope that you would be willing to assist me in this endeavor."

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Saqwa City | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

He was not much different from any boy when it came time for the boat to cast off. Not as familiar with water travel as some due to his background, Cross listened to Hathev as she spoke behind him but kept his eyes, and a good portion of his attention, on the crew hands and dock workers as they freed the vessel for its journey. He moved along the railing of the ship, again humming his attentiveness—though it was partially a lie—fully fascinated with the comings and goings of the crew once the vessel was underway. It was only once they had settled into a steady rhythm and the crew likewise settled into an attentive yet relaxed stance at various locations that Cross returned his full attention to the beautiful Vulcan woman. She’d helped herself to a drink and snack already, either before or after she’d explained their destination, Cross wasn’t sure. But he was happy to have a drink now that they were steadily making their way, skimming gently through the waves.

“Considering what happened to me at the art museum,” Cross remembered Hathev’s eyebrow raise of incredulity when he’d told her of fighting half-naked, drunken Klingon women amidst historical art pieces, Pierce and Vance at his side. “I am happy to hear that it is not likely that we’ll meet up with more crazed geriatrics.”

He considered where to sit down for a moment before settling on sitting across from Hathev on a similar style bench seat. They were far enough apart for a crewmate to pass between them if necessary, but still close enough to hear one another over the sound of lapping waves. Cross had debated sitting next to her but found he really liked the view of her with the ocean vista as a background.

Her confession had Cross pausing mid-sip and raising his eyebrow in surprise. The extent of her injuries had prevented them from repeating the intense intimacy they’d briefly experienced the night before all hell had broken loose with the Klingon boarding party. Although she was still not completely healed, Cross assumed that if she was here with him, it was because she’d been deemed fit for travel. And that led his prepubescent-esque mind to wonder if that also meant…

Clearing his throat, Cross distracted his mind with a question, “How can I assist?”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Open Water | En route to Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

A fair and logical question, indeed.  Yet, for some reason Hathev had not expected that question to come from Cross.  It was not an issue of apathy on his part but rather one of a lack of preparedness on hers and she did not have an answer for him that she found satisfactory.  Even so, she could only be true to herself and her nature, evolving though it was.

“I can not say for certain.  I suspect that we will find ways to explore the depth of emotion, much as we did that night in your quarters, but I also expect I will need to seek your counsel as I continue to process and integrate what I am…feeling… into my thought process.”

She still hesitated around that word.  It had barely been a week since her emotional control had broken and one could not expect to integrate within a week something she had disciplined herself against for over a century.

“I believe in the short term, the most beneficial way you can assist is to continue being patient with me.  I still find it difficult at times to acknowledge that I am experiencing emotions that I am not able to suppress.  It is a most peculiar mindset to be in both as a Vulcan and as a mental health practitioner.”

She sat forward and took Cross’s hand in hers.  Their private island grew larger in the distance and Hathev estimated that at current course and speed they would be disembarking within ten minutes.

“That is part of the reason I arranged for our seclusion.  Getting away from our daily lives does permit us much needed rejuvenation but also allows me seclusion in which I can be…less than Vulcan with someone I trust.”

She realized just how prideful and vain she sounded as she said the words, and in that moment a new understanding of the perception of Vulcan arrogance awoke within her.

“Despite everything, I am still Vulcan,” she conceded.  “I am not…ready to explore this in public yet until I have a better sense of the experience and how to keep them properly balanced.”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Open Water | En route to Private villa | Qo’Nos ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross moved his gaze away from their joined hands to watch the rapid approach of the island. He couldn’t help but feel—irony, of course—that this would be the blind leading the blind. Where, yes, he’d had a lifetime till now dealing with emotions and figuring out a way to balance them, his own sense of balance and certainty had been fucked sideways thanks to the Savi and their “correction.” He had yet to admit to Hathev or anyone else that he’d actually started doing the damned Vulcan meditation techniques, or at least his own bastardized version of them, to help him sort through the gamut of FEELS he went through each day. He couldn’t sleep without both physical exertion and some sort of meditative routine.

To have her ask for his counsel on things emotional was laughable at best, but, at the same time, Cross hadn’t gotten on this boat just for another chance to squeeze her boobs—though that would be nice. Regardless of if things worked out in the long run between them, Cross was committed to the relationship as being one of support and loyalty. It would be grand if for once something didn’t fuck up for him and this actually turned out to be a solid romantic relationship, but he’d been through enough shit before and recently to not hold his breath. And he didn’t want Hathev to hold hers either. Plan for the best but expect the worst; that was the only way to get through the coming days with some semblance of sanity left over.

Squeezing her hand as he returned his attention to her features, Cross offered a half smile, “I can probably help with terms for when you’re feeling something so long as you tell me the ‘symptoms’ of the emotions. But, I gotta say, Hathev, I’m not the greatest at emotional intelligence either. The Savi really fucked me over with their fucking ‘correction,’” he let go of her hand when he felt a surge of anger towards the fuckers sift through him, “so I’ve been dealing with stronger emotions as well. I mean, we don’t have to sit here and dwell long to remember it wasn’t too long ago we had a mind meld that went south.” Cross shook his head. He hated what he’d nearly done. “But if you’re wanting counsel on how to be ‘less Vulcan’ even though you are one, well, I guess you scored with me.”

He slid off the couch as the boat began to slow down, the dock in full view. Holding his hand out for Hathev, Cross smiled warmly, “You’ve got my undivided attention, Hathev, and every drop of patience I can give. Now let’s go explore the island.”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #8
Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Private Villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

Hathev took Cross’s hand and disembarked with him at her side.  They were barely off the boat with their bags before the launch shoved off the dock again and began motoring away.  The Vulcans found themselves deposited, and abandoned, on one in a series of islands that reminded Hathev of the Coral Rock Islands on Earth’s Palau region.  For such a violent planet that was Qo’nos an uncharacteristic calm serenity ruled here.

The ‘dock’ turned out to be little more than a boardwalk that, as they walked it, led them across a beach and towards their bungalow.  While one side of the structure had been set on the beach, the footprint took it out over the water as well and although she could not see it, Hathev suspected the deck would provide direct access to the ocean.

As she had explained to Cross, neither doors nor windows had been installed.  Instead thin white curtains waved freely in the ocean breeze and, for a moment, Hathev’s Vulcan modesty made her hesitate and wonder if she had, in fact, under packed.  But, as they approached, the Counselor surreptitiously surveyed the immediate area and saw no other villas.  They were truly alone.

So much the better, she concluded.

Hathev stopped just before ascending the pair of wooden stairs that led to the main entrance, and took a moment to remove her shoes, deciding to continue in her bare feet.  If this was to be her home for the next day or so, she would respect it as such. 
 
She looked to Cross. 
 
“Ready to see inside?”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Hathev’s hand was warm, fragile almost, held within his own. Cross couldn’t help but stare at their entwined fingers as she led them from the dock toward the villa. It was still shocking to him that this beautiful, competent, and far more experience woman was even remotely interested in anything he had to offer. True, it could be a physical thing, yet Cross didn’t think it was. Even if it had started that way, from Hathev’s confession, it seemed to be more than just two broken people finding physical comfort with one another. He was no expert, far from it in fact, but Cross got the feeling that whatever storyline they were walking together, it was something that had the makings of “forever” if walked well.

Cross drew to a stop alongside Hathev and watched her remove her shoes. Considering the sand around the villa and the lack of windows and doors, he highly doubted such a gesture would do much to keep the villa clean. Perhaps she was acting on a Vulcan tradition, one his mentor had not taken the time to teach him. Cross gave her a half smile as he more clumsily kicked off his shoes.

The villa was on stilts, and as soon as they stepped through the entryway with its billowing white curtain for a door, Cross understood more of why that was. More than half the villa was over the turquoise water of the sea and in between the rough-hewn wooden floor panels were pockets of glass, cut into the shapes of flowers or fish, where one could peer down into the waters that undulated below the villa. There were no walls to be found aside from the exterior ones. While the furniture, mostly wicker and wood with cushions and blankets draped across them for comfort, helped to denote which “room” was separate from the other, there was no part of the villa you could stand in that you wouldn’t see your partner. There was a kitchen, no replicator, and a fully stocked open-air pantry. It was very cleverly hidden if there was a refrigerating unit somewhere near the kitchen. Same, too, with the bathroom. There were large overhead fans that were powered by solar batteries but aside from that and a few other amenities, it seemed as if the villa was devoid of all electricity or power.

“This is truly impressive, Hathev.” Cross dropped their bags on the bench at the foot of the spacious bed that faced toward the largest open wall.

Based on the current sunlight, Cross realized they’d be able to watch the sunset from the bed or the small, demarcated pool of sea water just a few steps away from the bed. A patio wrapped around the pool, and on the patio, he saw an area where they could grill and barbeque if the mood struck them, along with an array of cushions and lounge chairs. Hathev had said she wanted the time and space to figure out her emotions. Cross smirked and shook his head. This was a paradise of a location for figuring all that fuckery out.

Turning back to face his paramour, Cross nodded his head toward the water, “Swimming first? Or would you like to do something else?” He purposefully kept his eyes averted from the bed, not wanting her to feel pressured into jumping that far into the outing so fast.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #10
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Truth be told, Hathev was a little miffed at the lack of privacy between rooms within the villa.  But as she walked with Cross through the smaller space, she realized that was her Vulcan modesty talking.  If she wanted privacy from her travel companions she should have booked a trip to the monastery.  At least there was some privacy in the bathroom.  It made what she was about to do a little easier.

“As the Humans might say, ‘hold that thought’.  I think I should change out of these ‘travel clothes’,” she said indicating the lace pant suit that were clearly not travel clothes, “and slip into something more comfortable.”

She stepped away from Cross, intentionally throwing a little extra swing in her hips.  The sensation was not exactly the most natural for the Vulcan, but that did not stop her from trying. 

Grabbing her bag from where it had been set down, she pulled the privacy curtain closed as she stripped down and changed.  The choice of wardrobe was a bit more provocative than she might have preferred but Hathev felt a certain…obligation to give it a fair shake.

In what turned out to be their final conversation, Hathev had told Kate Foster about her intention to take a day off ship with Cross.  Of course, she had responded to the idea with her usual zeal for innuendo and had immediately suggested the wardrobe she needed to bring wit her.  Each suggestion was, of course more salacious than the last. When the conversation finally came to a close, the young Ms. Foster had gone so far as to send Hathev a series of replicator patterns for her consideration. 

Hathev had not planned to give them serious consideration.

But then the news had come.  There’d been an incident and Kate Foster had been killed along with Andrew Fisher.  Hathev felt those losses on a personal level.  She hadn’t known Fisher all that well, but they’d certainly crossed baths at staff meetings.  Kate Foster on the other hand had hurt. 

In her own way, Hathev was still processing and coming to terms with that loss and when it had come time to pack the bag, she’d decided to honor the colleague…the friend…who had saved her life…who had, in her own way, worked to pull Hathev out of a shell she was destined to shed anyways… by taking at least one of her recommendations for the trip.

The purple swim/body suit fit her well and she found it more than a little ascetically pleasing.  The garment had more sheer panels than she might have preferred.  However, given that there was literally no part of her body that Cross had not already seen and that there was no one else around, she deemed her any emotional discomfort as illogical and carried on with her adjusting and positioning.  Much to her surprise it was comfortable and even if they didn’t swim, she suspected she could wear it for the duration of their stay if she so desired.

Finished changing, Hathev stepped out, and padded over to present herself to Cross, her hands clasped behind her back as she moved.

[Show/Hide]

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

While Hathev changed behind the privacy curtain, Cross unpacked his duffle. It was an old habit and likely one some would find amusing considering the amount of time they were slated to be on the island, but everyone had their own eccentricities. Cross did not like living out of a bag, so to speak, and so regardless of the length of time spent at a destination, he always unpacked, hung up clothing if they needed to be hung up, or tucked items into specific drawers as they required. It took a whole minute to unpack and tuck away the duffle bag out of sight, but Cross already felt more in control of the situation once the task was completed.

He also took advantage of the momentary solitude to do his own “wardrobe” change. This, of course, was likely simpler than what Hathev was undergoing. He slid off his jacket and hung it up, shucked off his pants, folding them before setting them in their proper place, and stood clad in form-fitting swim shorts and his grey t-shirt by the time he heard the curtain pull and turned to watch Hathev’s approach. Her chosen swimwear was tasteful but provocative at the same time. Cross smiled. How like Hathev to act the controlled temptress.

Holding out his hand, Cross willed the warmth of his affection for the woman to reach his eyes as he drank in the sight of her, “You look beautiful, Hathev.” He gestured to the patio, having earlier spied a stone pathway leading further into the small island under the palm trees. “Care to explore a bit before we settle into the waters?”

In truth, Cross was nervous. Not so much that he was tripping over his words and felt like bursting out of his skin, but this was the most alone they’d been since their first intimate encounter. Yes, he’d been to her quarters since then, checking on her in her healing process, but even then, the injury itself had been a “presence” in the room with them, preventing them from acting on any notions of intimacy beyond hand holding and light touches. Now, however, there was nothing in the air between them. No one to disturb them—at least not unless there was a ship emergency. And that heavy reality of no barriers coiled like a snake in Cross’ belly. He wasn’t skilled enough in these circumstances to know how to guide things in a particular direction—not that he thought Hathev particularly wanted things to go in one direction or another. And Cross certainly wasn’t experienced enough in interpreting female desires, especially Vulcan female desires, to note what it was Hathev truly wanted right now. Did she want to explore—he certainly did—did she want to soak in the waters—he equally wanted this—or did she want to fall upon the bed and descend into pleasurable lovemaking once more—Cross found he was just as keen on this as well.

And so, hand extended, Cross awaited any obvious cues from Hathev to know how best to move forward.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #12
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

Hathev was pleased that her choice of her attire met with Cross’s approval. She had deliberated over the choice and it seemed that her decision to trust Kate Foster’s suggestion had, in fact been appropriate.

“Thank you,” she said as she took his hand and took in his choice of beachwear. “I must also say I approve your choice of wardrobe as well. You look quite…” Her voice trailed off as she realized she was unsure as to what word to say. What word was the most appropriate? How could she define the emotional reaction she was experiencing? Over a century of counseling others and as if someone had flipped a switch she could barely counsel herself.

“Fetching…”

For as accurate as the description was, she knew it fell flat the moment she said it.

“Yes,” she said by way of changing the subject. “I think some exploration would be most agreeable.”

She took Cross’s hand and led him out and down the path. Open beach spanned a few dozen meters between their villa and the tree line and, to a certain extent, the warmth of the sands reminded Hathev of Vulcan and while it had been decades since she had stepped foot on her ancestral home world, she found herself longing to return, even though she knew she likely never would.

Too many conflicting thoughts and emotions contributing to too much uncertainty contributing to and a lack of focus and clarity. She needed to start making headway on this.

“I apologize,” she said as they padded across the sand. Hathev had intentionally not put her footwear back on, though she was unsure of what Cross had decided. “I am not convinced that my earlier comment abut your ‘fetching’ look sufficiently or correctly conveyed my meaning. I have found it difficult to find the appropriate descriptors for the more subtle emotional states.”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #13
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross smiled at her compliment and thought nothing of it as he accepted her hand and let her lead them from the villa. The weather was pleasant. Warm, almost too warm, but with the sea breeze that carried the scent of local blossoms, it made the heat bearable. Having less layers also made the heat bearable. He was enjoying the feel of the soft sand between his toes when Hathev spoke next. Her apology was confusing and not just because Cross didn’t know what she was apologizing for. Listening to her almost trip over her own words had Cross’ eyebrows rise. She truly hadn’t been exaggerating when she said she needed guidance on managing emotions.

“You know, Hathev,” Cross moved to stand in front of her, pausing their exploration just as they made it to a copse of palm trees, “even those of us who have had full use of our emotional range all our lives don’t have a description for everything we feel or every reaction we have. Sometimes a look,” he stepped close and cupped her cheek, his other hand settling lightly on her hip, “or a touch can be enough to convey all the emotion you need to convey.”

Cross bent his head and placed a light kiss on her brow. He didn’t trust himself to kiss her much more intimately than that. Not yet at least. She hadn’t brought him here just to fuck his brains out. This was a calculated retreat for them both; he would take his cues from her as to when, or if, they would resume that level of intimacy. Moving back from the semi-embrace, Cross took her hand again and resumed the walk, this time bringing her hand up to the crook his elbow and tucking it into place.

“How about a game? I say a word, and you tell me the first emotion that you associate with that word?” Of course, his infantile mind immediately wanted him to say ‘penis,’ but instead, Cross began with, “Ocean?”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #14
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

The wind blew across their path, blowing Hathev’s hair to the right as they talked. Cross’s words provided some comfort of all things and the Counselor noted the irony that she should be counseled on the emotional experience while having had made a career on helping others navigate their own.  And yet, as with all things, speaking objectively on a subject and experiencing the subject first hand were two distinct things.

She felt Cross’s kiss and sensed the corners of her mouth curl upward ever so slightly. 

“I see your point.”

They took few more steps, Hathev following Cross’s lead this time as he tucked her hand on the crook of his elbow.  For some reason, the urge the lean on his arm took her and she indulged.

Then Cross suggested an emotional association exercise.  Hathev knew of the technique, of course, having used it with patients before and she was unsure of it’s effectiveness on her.  But as she had always asked her patients to keep an open mind, it seemed only logical that she do the same.

“Ocean”

It took her a moment to consider the idea and she remained silent for a bit longer than Cross might have expected.  She detached herself from Cross, and turned for the shoreline, the wind in her face.  She stopped just short of the water line and observed the ocean in front of her,  she closed her eyes to listen and absorb the sound of the tide washing up on the sand beneath her feet, and she took in the scent of the salty sea air.  Then after another moment, she had her answer.

“Calming.” 

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #15
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross felt a protective thrill shiver through his body as Hathev leaned her weight against him. This desire to protect and defend had always been a part of his drive towards excellence in his work, but there was a new element to the drive now. Hathev was bringing out a side to him, or certain nuances of him that had always been there lingering in the shadows. If they were in an emergency on the ship, Cross knew he would instinctively still put his duties first. For as much as he felt an affinity for this woman leaning against him, Cross also knew that the blood that flowed through his veins was Starfleet and duty. He also knew without asking that Hathev would want him to put others first, citing the Vulcan saying of “the good of the many.” But once the dust settled and he was relieved of duties, Cross was also cognizantly aware that his every thought would be on her and he would break through walls to get to her to see that she was safe.

When Hathev let go and moved closer to the water, Cross brought his mind back to the moment and listened intently for her response. Her answer brought a smile to his face, and he nodded. Struck with a sudden idea, Cross broke off a smaller twig from a nearby fallen branch and walked along the beach, writing out words for Hathev to work her way through at her own pace. He figured she was familiar with the exercise of the counselor saying a word and the patient responding. But how often did one read the word written in the sand on the beach of a beautiful island while listening to the calming ocean?

Hathev, as she walked in his footsteps would find the following words drawn in his curt script:
•   Dance
•   Knowledge
•   Fruit
•   Discipline
•   Nature
•   Comfort
•   Family
•   Fear
•   Beauty
•   Future

Cross kept a hold of the stick as he stood next to the last word, “future,” and waited for Hathev to answer, moving closer as she did so. He could develop more words if needed, but ten was a good start. If anything, it was too much.

“In your own time,” Cross offered her an encouraging smile. He dug his toes into the cool sand as he waited, content to let her process and respond at her own pace.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #16
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

She turned at the sound of his drawing in the sand, a silent activity for most humanoids, made audible by the sensitivity in the Vulcan ear.  She, of course, knew where Cross was going with, but she accepted the exercise as she had before and set to work as she considered each word in turn.

‘Dance’

Hathev considered the word.  While she had never partaken, she was familiar with the art in its various styles, the rhythmic precision it demanded and the artistic interpretation often making any given performance of any given dance unique.  Hathev held the practice with appreciation and respect, but the concept of ‘dance’ did not invoke an immediate emotional construct.  So, with that, she reverted to the first word that had come to mind and etched her response in the sand.

‘Art’

A step to the side put her in front of the second word.

‘Knowledge’

The root of modern Vulcan society was knowledge.  Intellect and logic had taken her people from the brink of collapse to a growing thriving star faring culture that evoked both envy and ire from those around them.  Her thought process stopped there and she etched her response into the sand.

‘Envy’

She moved to the third word Cross had provided

‘Fruit’

This was the first in the list that made Hathev wonder why he’d chosen the word in question.  She was, of course, aware of some of the colloquial uses of the word ‘fruit’ and she wondered for a moment if he was trying to make some attempt at a joke.  Chosing, instead, to give him the benefit of the doubt, she focused her thoughts on that which fruit invoked in her.  She recalled a trip she had taken to an area of the North American continent on Earth called Georgia.  While there she had toured a peach farm.  She had been invited to harvest a peach from the trees and consume it for herself which, despite it’s seemingly illogical nature, she indulged.  Never before had she tasted such a sweet and delicious fruit and even though the juice had run down her chin in a most undignified manner, it was an experience she did not regret.

‘Delicious’

‘Dicipline’

Of all the words Cross had offered this was one that spoke to her the quickest and she was able to return the first word that came to her mind

‘Logical’

Ironically Hathev’s choice or responses was probably the most illogical to provide given the attempt of the exercise.  She was supposed to be giving him the first emotion that came to mind or, at the very least, words that could invoke an emotion.  The word ‘logical’ did not suffice for any.  Still.  She moved on.

‘Nature’

Another word that did not immediately invoke an emotional response in her, or so she thought.  Yet there was a certain…beauty…to the natural world.  While modern Science was able to explain most of the universe’s naturally occurring events, to a high degree of accuracy, it struck Hathev that the odds of all things happening naturally in such a sequential process  so as to form the universe as they saw it were so infinitesimal, so minuscule, that some might refer to it as a miracle.  Hathev did not ascribe to a theology or to the concept of miracles and that made the natural world all the more beautiful.

‘Beautiful’

The Counselor paused at the next word.

‘Comfort’

Ever since she had started in her carrer, and especially sicne she had come aboard Theurgy, Hathev had either provided to, or received from those around her comfort in countless forms.  Whether physical or psychological, that comfort and the willingness to give always seemed to come from one central place.

‘Compassion’

‘Family’

Of all the words provided, none struck an immediate emotional response such as the one now before her.  Images of her family forever burned into her memory rushed to the forefront of her consciousness.  Images of Selv, a fellow Vulcan who had served with her aboard the Demascus, one who had volunteered to be her mate when the Pon Farr took her and she could not return home, one who had died during the Dominion War.  Images Kiriel, her son by Selv raised by her and by her chosen mate back on earth.  Hathev had not conjured his name into her mind since he had left home to join the Maquis, a choice that had devastated the Vulcan, though she had never given voice to it.  One who had been killed when the Cardassians and Dominion had hunted the Maquis to extinction.  Images of Saren, a junior counselor aboard Theurgy when she had come aboard, her subordinate and the son of Selv by another mate, the only link she had to the biological father of her late son, now in stasis, near death, with very little hope of survival.  Of Triss, her beloved wife, a word she had never used to describe her until now.  Endlessly patient to a fault, unable to understand Hathev’s inability to express herself, one who mourned for Kiriel with enough emotion to suffice for the both of them.  One whom she had abandoned when she returned to space, serving aboard Starbase 84, which led her to the Ballerophon and then to the Theurgy.  One who had died in Paris.

Death.  That was the word that came to her when she saw ‘Family’ etched in the sand.  Her mate, her son, her mate’s son, her wife…all dead.  The entirety of her family dead.  Never mourned,  never grieved.  Merely acknowledged as deceased, the logical ending of any life, and on to the next topic.  Their lives extinguished by war, and acts of terror, innocents caught up in conflicts far larger than themselves, just as she now found herself.  Gone…forever.  So many things left unsaid, small gestures left not reciprocated, expressions of affection unrequited…conflicts left irrevocably unresolved.  It was all too much to take in.

The stick fell out of Hathev’s hand and plopped unceremoniously in the sand as the Vulcan collapsed to her knees and, for the first time in her life, wept.

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #17
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross watched, intrigued, as Hathev picked up a stick and walked along the words, taking her time to write out her responses. Cross shuffled across the sand to stand behind her, not too close to make her feel crowded or pressured, but close enough to see her drawn responses. Art was a logical response to dance and brought a quick snort from Cross before they moved to the next word. He couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at the use of envy in response to knowledge, but firmly kept his mouth shut, not wanting to interrupt the process. Her responses to fruit and discipline were also of no surprise. The fact that she used beauty for nature further testified to the surfacing emotions broiling under her surface. While it would appear to be a simple word to anyone unofficiated in Vulcan logic, Cross had sat through enough lessons on it to know that it had been quite the feat for her to choose that word in particular.

Everything changed, however, when Hathev came to family. Cross had written it with little thought, trying to provide a variety of prompts, and not all of them directly connected to one another. Her absolute stillness, to the point that Cross had to step closer to ensure that she was still breathing, cued him into her inner turmoil. Cross recalled the details of their conversation in his quarters in swift succession. In the days since, he’d been so preoccupied with the sensual details of what they’d done AFTER that conversation and the missions and her recovery that he’d neatly overlooked the pain that had driven her to his quarters in the first place.

Cross scrubbed a hand over his face, leaving his fingers against his chin as he continued to observe Hathev, curious how she would respond. On the one hand, he felt like a royal ass writing something like that so casually. On the other, he reminded himself, she HAD come here, this isolated island, to begin the process of learning how to FELL without being overwhelmed. And she had asked for his help. But still, he could’ve exhibited greater foresight and chosen something a little less…

Eyes widening, his hand dropped to his side and clenched into a fist as Hathev dropped the stick and crumpled to the sand. It took a full second for Cross to process what was happening, but once it registered the Vulcan woman was weeping, he sprung into action. Though he knew that not everyone likes to be touched while crying, at the same time, considering the intimacy they’d shared in his quarters, he felt he had some clearance to act on his instinct with Hathev. Sitting on the sand next to her, Cross hoisted Hathev’s lithe form into his lap. His arms came around her, using one hand to gently press against the crown of her head, and tucked her against his chest so he could hold her comfortably and completely.

He’d never been around much weeping in his days. Cursing and some tears of anger, yes, but mournful weeping, not so much. Bab hadn’t done much crying in the lab, and neither had he. Even when she’d been killed, her body falling over the Cardassian guard’s, Cross hadn’t cried like this. He’d been shocked and enraged and only later noted the bereft sense of loss. Aside from offering her physical comfort, Cross was at a loss of what to say. Or if he should say anything at all. So he kept quiet and held her, his body instinctually beginning a methodically rocking motion, the movement slight but constant. He hoped she would tell him what she needed now, what she wanted because he certainly didn’t know what the hell to do with a crying woman, be they Vulcan or anything else.

 

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #18
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @Ellen Fitz‍ 

The catharsis shot through Hathev easing off almost as quickly as it had come on.  She had known the purpose of the exercise had been to explore emotional association and had thusly allowed her emotional control to relax which had left her vulnerable and the concept of ‘family’ had hit her far harder than she might have otherwise anticipated.

She found herself again, bringing her breathing under control and she scrubbed her eyes before allowing Cross to pull her into his lap, her legs cast to one side as she re-asserted control over herself.  She didn’t need a mind meld to know he felt a sense of responsibility for her current state, a responsibility she did not wish for him to carry.

“I apologize,” she said.  Her voice weaker than usual, but still somewhat consistent.  “I was not prepared for the intensity of the emotions associated with my family.”    She sidled closer, allowing Cross to pull her in tighter if she so chose.

“The truth of the matter is that everyone I once considered family is dead or in stasis.  As I have attempted to mourn them in the Vulcan way there has been no emotional catharsis over their loss.  I did not anticipate it would all come at once.”

She sat with him, in silence, as she looked back on the fonder memories of her departed family and as she did, a sense of inner calm set in.  Unlike the Vulcan practice of emotional suppression and purge, this was a sense of genuine calm and peace and Hathev found it appealing.

“Thank you, Otersu.”

Re: Day 09 [15:30 hrs,] Once Upon the Island

Reply #19
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Unnamed Island | Private villa | Qo’Nos] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Cross grunted more as a response to her apology than to her tucking herself more firmly against his body. Holding her always felt good, and the increased skin-to-skin contact reminded him of the bed back at the bungalow and the “other activities” his subconscious had been hoping for while they were on the island. But Cross blinked away the mental images of her writhing beneath him as he thrust into her and instead used the rhythmic sound of the waves laving attention to the shore as a way to refocus his thoughts.

He was a bit surprised by her term of endearment—a word he knew but had never used. So much so that it was only after another grunt and a quick body squirm to get more comfortable now that she was fully in his lap that he found his words to reply.

“From where I’m sitting, I don’t see a reason for you to apologize. I may be fully Vulcan by blood now but we both know I fail miserably as a Vulcan when it comes to emotional expression. Save the apologies for emotional outbursts for some of the uptight priestesses back planetside.” Cross hoped she’d interpret his comment as playful, as that was how he intended it, but she was only now staring on her journey for feeling, so he was quick to press a kiss against the top of her head as he added, “I’m in jest, Hathev. Not that you SHOULD apologize, but the snide comment about the priestesses.”

His hands splayed across bare flesh, Cross could feel her heartbeat. The steady rhythm of heartbeat and waves further lulled Cross into a sense of contented peace. Laying his cheek on the top of her head, Cross’ gaze took on a far-off look as he recalled his childhood.

“Another specimen shared the lab with me in my early years. I mean, we had many ‘siblings,’ some who died and some who ‘graduated’ to other labs, but BaB and I stayed together.” He sighed. “At least until her death.” The snort he gave then was without humor. “She died trying to protect me from the Bajorans prisoners who had broken into the lab during the liberation. They’d already killed the Cardassian guard who’d been the closest thing to father to either of us; from our perspective, they were going to kill us too. I was too stunned at the time to feel much of anything and in the days after, while I was going through the re-education, I felt more rage than sadness. Then guilt, of course, came. I don’t recall ever crying.” He sighed, placing another kiss to the skin at her temple. “In many ways, I wish I had. It might’ve helped me work through the worst of those early days.”

He hesitated a moment before launching forward with the prompt he’d been mulling over, “Would talking about the good times help you process the loss? I’m shit at knowing what to do with this type of thing, Hathev. I either talked about stuff with my mentors, or I just thought my way through the crap bothering me. Sometimes I worked out or developed new skills and pursued hobbies.” He jostled her body with his shrug. “I’m not quite sure what to DO right now if there’s something MORE I need to be doing than what I am right now.”

 
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