Taking His Own Advice
Posted on Sunday, 30 May 2021 - 12:49pm by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Commander Soral
Operation: Neu Reich
Location: USS Standing Bear | Holodeck
Timeline: 2394 MD 17
Soral sat on the holodeck watching the stars. He waited for Alex to join him. This was perhaps the best time for them to talk. Hayashi had stayed true to his world and talked with Oriana and now he was holding Soral accountable. So Soral had arrived early to the holodeck and began a program that always calmed him. It was spectacular. He was seated on a rocky field and before his eyes the stars glittered so brightly that one could almost reach out and touch them. In front was a ringed planet brown in colour but with rinks of deep green and purple so close that it looked as if it was just a few steps away. He had set up a blanket with two pillows so that they may lay and watch the stars and had prepared a picnic. While there would be time to enjoy the program he did have much to speak to her about.
Pausing outside the holodeck, Alex had hesitated before entering. She had been curious about the invite, especially after it seemed like they were going through another phase of barely seeing one another what with different shift patterns and what not.
“Sorry I’m late,” she apologised as she entered, the words trailing off as she admired the view. “Wow.”
"It is one of my favourite programs for meditation and just … a way to feel small in this universe." He motioned. "We have not seen much of one another as of late."
Joining him at the blanket she noted he had clearly planned for them to stay a while. “True,” she agreed as she kissed him, “but my graveyard shifts are now over for a while. It’ll be nice to at least see you more. And all of this looks great!”
"Indeed." He unpacked the food and handed Alex a plate. "We are here to enjoy this program but also because we must speak."
Holding the plate in both hands she studied him curiously. Had she just imagined the hint of nervousness in his voice? An uneasiness that did not sit well on him at all. Yet she saw nothing to confirm her suspicion, his Vulcan mask was resolutely in place as he finished arranging the food. Most of them her personal favourites. Not that it was unusual. Soral frequently went out of his way to make sure she wanted for nothing. But his statement made the gesture seem as if he had an ulterior motive beyond his normal considerate nature.
She felt an unease of her own, before reminding herself she was being irrational. Attributing motivations where there were probably none.
"We don't need a holodeck to talk... what is it you want to talk about?" she asked him, making no move to fill her plate just yet.
"The holodeck was to give us some time away from our quarters and some time together. As for the conversation..." He sighed. "Alexandra you know that we will be bonding soon. My condition has progressed and I somehow entered stage two without knowing it." He had set aside his own plate finding that his condition was once again interfering with his ability to consume food.
Worry creased her forehead as she mirrored him, thoughts of food forgotten. "Is that why you are so worried? Soral, you said it yourself, we can try again. Right?"
"Indeed. I just wish you to make sure this what you really want. I have asked so much of you since we were together. When we met I knew that you were...the person that I had wished for and our relationship moved quickly. You are younger then I am, I forget this perhaps I have...taken your life down a path you did not wish. I thought we had time to grow as a couple and then Severine and Soval came into our lives and now N'vek. You became a mother when you perhaps did not want to be one. I feel as I am...ruining your life's flow. I have been so busy with what I have wanted for me, for us that I did not consider that you may want something else."
She listened, letting him speak until he fell silent. "Soral," she began, touching a fingertip to his lips so that he too would listen, "we have been bonded before so you know, hand on heart, that I love you. And how I feel about you? That has never changed. And I pray that it never will."
She shifted position so she could hold his hands. "You have all of these needless worries in that head of yours," she mused, smiling softly. "You have not ruined anything. You made my life better. Saved it more than once into the bargain. Yes, becoming a mother was not something I imagined happening for a while yet but that is not anyone's fault. You didn't choose it."
"I know but I would be...selfish if I did not give you the option to leave. If you wish to leave me then I understand."
She stared at him in disbelief. "You'd understand?!" she repeated, unable to keep the hurt from her voice. Did he think she was lying to him when she said she loved him? She racked her brains, trying to think of what she had done to make him doubt her like this. Because clearly she had done something.
"I did not say I would like it I said I would understand. I cannot help but feel that the children may feel like a burden to you or that you are afraid to... step into the role of a mother. While we do not have a bond I can sense you have some doubts."
"Of course I'm afraid," she retorted. "I have zero experience of being a parent. What if I say or do the wrong thing? The wrong word here could destroy dreams or hurt them... I always thought, when the time came to become a mother that I'd have at least nine months or so to prepare, then a couple of years to adjust while they learned how to walk and talk and use a bathroom..."
"Is that why you seem uncomfortable around them, your worry of doing something wrong?"
"Yes," she admitted. "Being a parent is a huge responsibility. You know that. It doesn't matter if they are my flesh and blood or not. And already I've had to face so many times when I thought something terrible had happened to you and I kept thinking how... how could I tell them something had happened, that you were gone? And how could I even begin to be the person they'd need me to be?"
He gave a nod. "I can understand that." He paused and thought about things. "Every parent, I believe, faces these questions. Yes children need rules and so forth but...they need love and understanding most of all. I believe these are things that you can give." He thought a moment. "If you wish I can make other arrangements for the children if something were to happen to me and you do not have to formally adopt them if you do not wish it."
"No," she shook her head firmly. "They deserve better than that. If it ever happens, I'd find a way to make it work. Lots of people manage."
He gave a nod. "The Vulcan commission has contacted me again in terms of your adoption paperwork. I have told them that when you are ready you will let them know if you wish to adopt the children." He paused. "I will leave it with you."
“Here I thought Vulcan’s were patient. I will deal with it. But I also want to speak to them all first. In person. They need to want this too.”
He gave a nod. "I understand." It wasn't exactly a statement that expressed her wish to adopt them but it was a start, perhaps. "You should eat," he said.
“You’re unhappy.” It was a statement rather than a question. She glanced at the food but made no move to fill her plate. She was reminded of what T’Paris had said. The weight of her words still brought down her mood. “Is it only because of the children…? The adoption? Or is it more?”
He waved a hand. "I am not unhappy. I wish you to be happy but I also wish that you and the children would spend time together. I am...tired. I am feeling more and more unwell logic is getting harder to hold onto."
"So what now?" she asked quietly.
"We enjoy the holodeck you have some food. I have checked the replicator, you have skipped lunch again."
She rolled her eyes. “Why are you checking up on what I'm eating? I am not a child, Soral.”
"Yes but you do tend to forget to eat while you are lost in work. I want to make sure you are healthy." He said. "I have also brought lots of chocolate."
“Because science doesn’t stop for burgers,” she reminded him. “Although science would say chocolate and healthy are not compatible so…”
He sighed. "Alexandra, you must eat." He pulled out a chocolate cake. "No dessert until you finish your meal."
She rolled her eyes. “At the risk of repeating myself… I am not a child,” she said slowly, an undercurrent of anger intermingled with exasperation. She hadn’t been lectured to about dinner before dessert since she was about six. If he was trying to stir her temper, he was on a sure fire route to success.
“Why Soral,” she gasped, “did you just sigh at your wife?”
"I did, indeed." He said looking out at the planet and the stars.
“Automatic chocolate rights,” she decided, reaching for the cake.
Soral raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He laid back looking up at the stars. "How is your mother adjusting to the new pet?"
“She hasn’t said anything, actually,” Alex said as she returned the cake untouched. It wasn’t fun if it didn’t annoy him just a little. “I think she is too busy preparing for Seleya’s departure.”
"Indeed. I know that Soval is having a difficult time with it too. He was fond of having her there and Severine had taken to mothering her as well."
Alex knew as much from her mother’s letters; for someone so small, the infant had completely beguiled them. “Her family will take good care of her,” she reminded him as she lay down beside him.
"They will. They are well respected and will care for the child well. They also live close and the children, when they return to Vulcan, can see her anytime they wish."
“They’ll like that,” Alex commented before falling silent. It was very easy to get lost, staring up at the blanket of stars. Just as she had done as a child she began imagining the outline of shapes the way people had done for centuries back on Earth. It was perhaps childish but it entertained her in a way that would allow Soral to appreciate the view in silence.