Love & War
Operation: Peace or P'Jem
Location: USS Standing Bear | Kingsley and Soral's Quarters
It was almost nine by the time Lieutenant Kingsley arrived home. Tired and sore after an afternoon trying to piece together her lab, she wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep. And then maybe sleep some more.
Unusually there was no hyperactive puppy running riot, although since N’Vek was also out of sight, she assumed he had taken up residence on the bed again. Massaging the side of her neck, she found Soral sitting on the side of their bed in almost total darkness as she entered their bedroom. He gave no immediate sign of acknowledgment as she pulled off her boots and began to change out of her uniform.
“Hi...” she ventured after a moment. The silence was driving her insane.
"You missed dinner." He simply said. "I have left some food in the replicator."
“Thanks,” Alex replied as she hung up her uniform jacket. “Sorry. The call went on longer than I thought.”
He gave a nod. "N'vek asked for you...he wished you to read him a story. He is asleep now."
“Oh...” she glanced back in the direction of the boy’s bedroom. “I’ll apologise to him tomorrow.”
"Very well." He stood saying nothing and headed to bathroom. Several minutes later he returned changed for bed. "Sleep well." He headed to the Livingroom. He would work a while and then sleep. He was agitated, perhaps a side effect of everything but...perhaps he was picking up on the fact that she didn't really want to be a mother, at least that's what he thought.
She waited for him to go before changing into a simple pair of shorts and vest top. Brushing her teeth and tying up her hair, she climbed into bed but quickly realised she couldn’t sleep. Because Soral was being off. Again. Was he angry over a missed dinner and a bedtime story?
“Are you angry with me?” She asked as she emerged from the room, standing in the doorway.
"No. Not angry." He said looking up from the PaDD he'd been reading. He paused. "Alexandra. may I ask you a question. I require you to be honest in your response."
There was a mini red alert klaxon going off in her head. “Okay.”
"Alexandra do you resent me for bringing Soval and Severine and Seleya and now N'vek into our family? Would you prefer to not mother the children?"
“Resent you? Of course, I don’t resent you,” she said quickly. “You want to give them a home and a family, there is nothing wrong with that. At all. It’s what my mum and dad did for me. Is it what I wanted for us right now? No. But that’s life. It’s unpredictable and you have to deal with it.”
"I see." He said. "I...if you do not wish that for us now I can find an alternative. If you do not wish to be a mother at this time I will not force the issue."
“Oooh no, nope...” she said quickly. “I am not coming between you and your family. Biological and adopted. You would hate me, maybe not right away but you would eventually.”
"Severine could go to the temple and Seleya too. N'vek and Soval I can ensure that they are cared for by friends. Perhaps the defense Academy." He paused. "Are they difficult to accept for you because they are not ours together?"
“No! Of course not!” She sighed. “And I have accepted them.”
"There are times when I do not think that you have. I can see the fear in your eyes the wish to run away. If you wish I will ensure that the children do not bother you. N'vek...is already getting attached I can speak with him if you wish so that he will not be in your way."
“Of course, I’m afraid! Soral, I am terrified of making a mistake, of saying or doing the wrong thing. But I swear if you send them away in some twisted attempt to make me feel better, I am gone. I’m not ready but that isn’t their fault. And it would be more than a little hypocritical of me, don’t you think?” Alex told him.
"I do not understand your fear of making a mistake." He sighed. "I will not send them away but like you I do not wish you to resent me for putting you in this position."
“Soral, I don’t know what to feel about all of this. Especially when we are here, and three of them are on Vulcan. When I’ve got this constant fear of saying the wrong thing when you are hurt or missing or both. Of how I could deal with it if the worst happened to you. N’Vek is here but is this the safest place? No. And we have our duties, which mean missed dinners and no bedtime stories. Unless one of us resigns, that won’t ever change.
I don’t resent you, I promise. I’ll figure it out.”
He sighed and put his head in his hands. "Yes. We will figure it out."
“Your unhappy,” she said quietly. When he didn’t immediately answer she frowned, but no words would come. Instead, she walked to the replicator, recycled the left overs since her appetite had disappeared into some black hole and she walked quietly away, locking the door as confined herself to the bathroom. Turning on the tap to let the water flow into the sink she scooped some up into her hands, splashing it on her face. Which was about the time she realised, as she caught her reflection in the mirror, that she was crying.
Anger at herself for being so upset in the first place made it worse and as she sank down to curl up against the wall her mood quickly followed to new depths. Everything was so clear to him. If someone needed a home, yes, well, he would provide it. No point worrying about the actual trials and problems parents face because, honestly? They did not ‘parent’ day in and day out.
She let out an exasperated scream into a towel which muffled the noise considerably. Of her scream. What it didn’t quite muffle was the almost musical sound of countless tiny slivers of glass which fell from the now mirror and into the sink and worktop. She stilled, although her first thought before anything else was to wonder if it was bad luck to break a mirror. Her next thought was why the world was spinning so much but after a few moments it passed.
Hearing the racket Soral managed to override the door. He'd called out but no response. Entering he stopped at the door. "Alexandra!"
“I’m okay,” she said, waving him away.
"You are bleeding!" He lifted her into his arms being mindful of the glass and took her to the bed. Placing her there he retrieved a med kit he examined her wounds. "How did the glass shatter?"
“I don’t know. But I’m fine,” she insisted as she twisted away. “Just scratches. You can go back to being ... mad? Disappointed or whatever... Just let me sleep.”
"Alex! You will sit still so I can dress your wounds. I am not mad, I am not disappointed. Just sit still."
His tone, and his use of her name rather than his preferred ‘Alexandra’ was like a physical slap and she stilled. A silence fell as the dermal regenerator worked its magic, erasing any evidence of injury.
He checked her over once he'd used the regenerator. "Alright. It is all fixed. Change and I shall clean up the glass."
She just nodded, quickly changing before he emerged again from the bathroom. It had to be coincidence. That the attack on the ship had weakened it, causing micro fractures and then when she had moved around, the vibrations made it finally break.
He emerged from the bathroom to find her still awake. "Alex you must get some rest. I still have some work to finish but rest now and tomorrow you shall tell me how that mirror shattered."
Alex. There it was again. “I don’t know,” she said quietly as she climbed into bed, cocooning herself with the sheets.
He stopped and studied her. Sighing he laid down beside her and pulled her into his arms. "What are you not telling me?"
She shook her head as she buried her face in his chest. She was being emotional, she knew it. And so was he. “I’m not ready,” she whispered. “You could have been killed.”
"By the Andorians? Not ready for what?"
“It wasn’t Tribbles who had you tied down,” she rolled her eyes. “Not ready to have this much responsibility. What if something had happened to you? Do you know what that would do? Not just to me, but Severine and Soval? And now N’Vek? Seleya doesn’t know us, but she will. And sooner rather than later you will need to bond but you are torturing yourself, suffering because you won’t risk it.”
There was so much there. So many worries that it took some time for him to realize where he needed to start. "I can understand feeling not ready but Alexandra you have some of the strongest maternal instincts and I get glimpses of them but you are tempering them because of fear. If something happens you will never be alone and that bond you can forge with the kids can be your strength. Yes Severine and Soval are attached to me and to you but they are strong. Seleya will be too I can sense it. N'vek...is different he is the one that worries me most. He's called me father several times and so quickly after loosing his own, I worry for him. As for our relationship I will not do anything that will risk you. I can wait, I promise you this."
“For how long Soral?” She cried. “Do you think I don’t see you are in pain? Or your friends? Your self control can only do so much.”
"Then we will use medical means and exhaust everything we can. You are healing, that is a positive. It will all work out." He held her tighter. "I promise you it will all work out."
“You can’t know that,” she accused. “And I can’t shake this horrible feeling...”
He brought her face up so that she could look into his eyes. "Trust me Alexandra. Please just trust me."
“I do. But I know you will always put you last,” she told him. “I will be okay, I’m ready.”
"A little more time Alexandra. I want you to be as healed as you can be."
She groaned in frustration. “Would you wait for Lexi?”
"Lexi?" There was that name again. The name from his dreams, what he called Alex when he dreamed of that dark world that held...a draw to him.
“Yep. You said that name when you were hurt... you better have been trying out a new nickname for me. Although I think I actually prefer Alexandra...”
"It was you...sort of. I've been having these dreams. A dark world where we're different....darker versions of ourselves and in that dream I call you Lexi. You are master of the whip, deadly, frightening but our love...it's all consuming,...it is a weird dream but...oddly addictive."
“So, if I find a whip somewhere I may get a date once in a while?” She asked curiously as she studied him. Was Pon Farr always so.... weird? She couldn’t resist teasing him. “Or is it the combo of the whip and being deadly and what was it... frightening?”
A rumble started in his chest and then he did something he rarely did. He laughed.
She tried, she really tried but eventually she laughed too. She had broken him. Their stoic, more Vulcan than a Vulcan when they first met... and now he was laughing. She could count on one hand how often she had heard that laugh. “Are you okay?”
He smiled a little. "Yes." He kissed her. "You are right though. We do need to date more often. I believe we should institute a date night."
“I could get on board with that idea,” she mused.
"Good. We shall start this week." He smiled. "As for your earlier inquiry. We can find a whip too." He grinned as he rolled away and got up. "I should get some reporting done and you should get some sleep done."
“Like I can sleep now!” She accused as she threw a pillow at him.
Smiling he headed out.
Alex threw herself back onto the mattress. “Vulcans!”