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The Meadow

Posted on Sunday, 22 January 2023 - 4:40am by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Commander Soral

Mission: Shore Leave

Sleep had become a rather troubled time of late yet no matter how much anyone may wish to, you could not stay awake indefinitely. And there was only so much caffeine one person could consume before the reality sank in. Yet even as the herbal tea the professor’s wife had given her as a parting gift began to work, until at last sleep claimed her.

Time lost meaning, as it often did when one slept. The dreams constantly shifting and never quite in focus enough to concentrate or dwell upon. Until she found herself somewhere that felt oddly familiar and comforting. A meadow full of flowers which created a rainbow of colour beyond the shade of an old oak tree as old as time. Kneeling on the ground, with a blanket laid out beneath her, she peered up and noticed carvings in the wood. Standing, she studied the cuts, tracing each line and curve. A small smile playing on her lips.

Lexi and Soral… this… this was their meadow. The place they went to escape all the darkness and evil which often surrounded them. It was the place Lexi had taken him, in her mind, when she knew her death was inevitable. Because here, this place, was special to them.

The wind shifted an on it carried a familiar scent and a familiar voice. "Quite beautiful is it not?"

It was a voice she would know anywhere, in this life and the next. With her hand still resting on the tree trunk, she looked back over her shoulder, squinting against the sunlight to were an indistinct figure stood. “It is,” she agreed, watching him curiously. “She always felt so peaceful here. Safe.”

"Indeed. It was the one place that I could always think, feel, let logic take me where it will."

“Feelings and logic are often contradictory,” she pointed out, turning to fully face him. “Logic can be cold. Heartless. That was never you. Either of you. Not really.”

"You were always both my logic and heart, perhaps it is so for both of us, he and I."

She considered that for a long moment as she knelt back down on the blanket. “But I am not her,” she reminded him.

"You are. Every bit as confident, and strong. She is your potential and you were hers."

“Oh no,” Alex disagreed with a shake of her head. “She had all her abilities, I don’t have anything like her strength. She could kill with a thought. I, on the other hand…”

She glanced at a small rose nestled in the middle of the blanket. A single petal had broken off and as she studied it, the fragile light petal began to float and move as if dancing to some unheard music before it settled back on solid ground. “I can make petals fly. A breeze could do that.”

He smiled a little. "Indeed, it is how it started for her. I trained her to use her abilities," He walked over and picked up the rose. "You have the same trainer but who holds more goodness in his soul then I ever did in mine."

She peered up at him. “I need to work on my imagination. I’m dreaming about you and you are talking about training me? I don’t even know exactly who you are anymore.”

"I am your Soral yet I am also hers. More so hers. This is....a fiber that connects us, the unique bond formed."

Unique. An interesting description, she thought. Given the bond she had with mirror Soral had hardly been of her choice. It had been all part of a master plan for her husband’s counterpart to have her be his wife, his Lexi. Even if only some small part of her. But now it was all one huge complicated mess.

“I can’t imagine he is comfortable with that, given all you’ve done in your lifetime,” she commented quietly. Her Soral deserved better. So much better. “And which of you decided not to go to Vulcan? To leave his - sorry, your - three children waiting for days without word or explanation? Do you have any idea how much you hurt them?”

He raised an eyebrow. "His choice. Ambassador Spock's words, the Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one or the few. He is on Bajor. Fighting to keep the Cardassians at bay." He paused. "His father...once visited Bajor, had a child there. A half sibling and Soral feels responsible to ensure she is well and to her people as they saved his life many a times."

“I’m shocked. Always worrying about being alone and he has family or children hiding everywhere,” Alex quipped as picked up a grape from the bowl of fruit which had appeared out of nowhere on the blanket, popping it in her mouth.

"Secrets are all he has known. I am more direct that is why he chose this merging. He was... repulsed by his own naive nature."

“I don’t believe he felt like that. He was not naive,” she retorted, feeling a need to defend him. For all the good it did now. Had he felt that way? Truly? And if so, how much of that was her own doing?

He shrugged. "He and I are very different. He is light I am not. He is attempting to embrace both sides of the coin. It is proving...interesting in the battle on Bajor."

“Neither of you are so black and white. Though he is more angel than devil while you… would probably mount the angel’s wings on a wall. But I remember how you protected your family at all costs. They were your grounding. You loved them.”

He paused. "And in the end I failed them all."

“Our… your children are safe. In both universes. Isn’t that the best any parent can do?”

"Indeed, however I could have done more. I was never the best father. My only regret is that your Soral will see that and perhaps take from it. He is going down the same path as I, duty, honour, Vulcan...while family is last."

“He needs a Scrooge moment,” Alex shrugged as she ate another grape. “And you were not a bad father. Not by the standards of those around you. When the boys got that fever? You were the one who literally destroyed the last of the House of Duras to get what we needed.”

He smiled. "I had my moments." He looked at her. "I feel that … I have two things to offer you at this time."

She frowned as she peered up at him, “two?”

He studied her. "One of it the knowledge that this..." He motioned between them. "This bond is a way back to a bond with your Soral and the other is a way to break the bond completely."

"My Soral, if you recall, made a choice already to give up the bond between us. You, and your friends, broke it but he made a choice to let it go," she reminded him as she stood, doing a little to redress the height advantage he held over her, her blue eyes intense, "and who is to say that he would ever want to have that kind of bond with me again? By your own admission, you are both finding balance but there is more of you than him. Whatever bond survives is like a ghost, the bond forged by you, with me, when you still hoped to save something of your wife...

Either way, it isn't just my choice. It is also what he wants. What you want. And I don't know what that is. Do you?"

The question hung in the air in the small distance that now existed between them.

He sighed. "New territory for both but the Soral there now is...not the same man you married. He and I are one so you will be bonded with both."

“That doesn’t answer my question,” she pressed. “What do you, both of you, want?”

"My feelings are pretty clear and I think I can speak for his love for you. It will take time to find...all the pieces. But I do believe you do love puzzles."

“Not especially when those pieces of the puzzle are mine, are my feelings and my future. Our future. Ours and his. And I’m truly starting to understand that I may have known him better than most but I don’t really know him at all, do I? I don’t know where our path goes from here, but I need time and space. I’m not ready for us to just behave as if nothing happened. We are both different. We both need to be sure of what we want and who we are.”

"I think it wise. He must...face some demons himself. Mostly mine but some his. He is a prisoner of his past."

She gave a small nod, “I imagine he does.”

Soral looked up. "Ah...I believe our time grows short. Bajoran...mental practices can be taxing."

There was so much still to say, to decide. And yet all she could manage was a nod. “I understand… be safe.”

He looked as though he wanted to say something but just as he was about to his image faded, as if pulled by some unseen hand.

“Soral, wait -“ she reached out a hand towards him but he was already gone, leaving her alone again. Surrounded by a beautiful peaceful meadow that seemed at complete odds with how she really felt. Sitting with her arms wrapped around her legs and her chin resting on her knees, she glared up at the patch of sky and wished for the perfection to end. It was only when she closed her eyes against the rain that began to fall that she had the very distinct impression that someone else was there.

Soral’s name was on her lips as her eyes flew open but whoever it was, it was not him. Even if all she could see was an indistinct shadow, it had no real resemblance to her husband. Yet when she blinked, the shadow was gone. Alex frowned as she stared at the patch of grass, as if it would somehow explain away any of the madness of what had to be a dream. Standing up she decided to do what any scientist would do. Investigate.

The sun was getting low, casting shadows from the trees but there was enough light to assure her that she was alone. Standing in the same spot as the figure she had seen she turned in a circle, confirming there was no where for anyone to hide in the mere blink of an eye.

“You are going insane, Alex,” she decided. “Or you need to not drink that tea anymore…”

Tea! Yes that was it, clearly…

Walking back towards the picnic she decided that Soral or not - and perhaps because of the not - she could enjoy a picnic by herself. Even in the light rain. With that decision made she put her best foot forward, heading back the way she had come.

It was as she rounded the tree carved with initials that she realised someone was indeed there, right as a hand grabbed hold of her arm. Her scream was instinctive, and it carried her all the way from her slumber to the waking world - far far away from Lexi and Soral’s meadow.



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