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Hello stranger

Posted on Wednesday, 16 June 2021 - 5:03pm by Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt & Crewman Leopold Eberhardt

Mission: Operation: Neu Reich

After a fleeting reunion, Adrianna hadn't seen Leopold since being back on the ship. The pair had been in the med bay for quite some time and somehow Ade had managed to even fall asleep there. When she'd demanded discharge, just for the day, she had headed back to her quarters. Doctor Rose had seemed reluctant to Adrianna, but the woman had other priorities in her head and in Ryan's defense, he'd patched her up enough to at least resemble the outer shell of the Adrianna Baciami before Ekos.

The familiar corridors had her feeling relaxed, but walking them alone, that wasn't something she liked. In fact, her heart rate was up and she could feel anxiety swelling in her. At her own door though, her mind few silent for a moment. What if Leopold wasn't here? He had every right to want to be alone and certainly had a right to blame her for certain series of events on Ekos. The Italian looked to the floor, before taking a breath and entering her quarters. "Leo?" she called out as best she could, though her throat still evidently sore.

"Yes?" came a response from the man, walking across the room in an undershirt, boxerbfiefs, and her fuzzy slippers that didn't really fit him, but he wore them anyways. He was carrying a stein of beer and was en route to the sofa. "Expecting someone else? It is just me, couch potato fiancé."

Adrianna took a moment to take in the scene. The slippers oddly suited him, but she prayed she'd never have to be witness this look again. She gulped and was unsure whether to run to him, hug him, or keep her distance. Was he mad at her? Was that the tone? Or was it exhaustion. She'd not even said hello properly, she barely said his name and held his hand in the transporter room.

After a few moments of silence, internally debating what to say or do, Adrianna looked to the floor in the entrance way and then back up to him, "I uhh, no, just you. I didn't know if you'd be here or with others, or even if you wanted to be alone. I didn't know. Sorry."

"I do not want to be with the others right now, but I would love to be with you more. They have put me on leave for a while. You too? I think they worry we are not ready yet, but I won't complain. I get to have beer and eat chocolate and pretzels. How is this a bad thing?" he chuckled. "They even said to use the holodeck whenever it was available. "

That wasn't sarcasm; that wasn't anger; that wasn't a lot of love loss. She stepped over quickly and silently, wrapping her arms around him, albeit gently so as not to hurt herself, or indeed him. "Thank fuck you're OK," she whispered in her native tongue, as she held him.

"Yeah, you too," he said pressing his head against hers. "I miss my sister, Ade. I don't know how to get myself back to being myself, but I am trying to do what Doctor Rose and Lieutenant Vali have suggested. I still nod off and worry when I open my eyes, we'll still be on Ekos."

"I know," she replied, "I'm the same. This feels too good to be true. Another round of torture. This one will end horrifically if it is that though." She looked to his eyes, "it's my fault she got killed. For that, I'm sorry."

"You aren't the one who left her there in the first place," he replied. "When I left, she wanted to come with me. I told her she was too young. She could not leave our parents. I should have taken her with me. She would have been safe."

Adrianna let him go, but stayed close. She ran her hands through his hair as she replied, "you did what, at the time, was the right thing to do. For that, there should be no guilt. Leo, you now have an opportunity to provide your family with a life free from war, free from suffering. They are here. And I will help, in any way that I can. I just need you to promise me that you will be honest and open with me. Always. Because the more we go to see Vali, the more will come to light about the stages that let up to the events on Ekos and it is not going to end with rainbows and smiles. It's going to end with anger, sadness and maybe even hatred for those that you love."

It wasn't often that Adrianna panicked, if ever on the outside, but she struggled to hide it in her voice. The truth was, she was scared that when everything started to line up, Leopold would realise that the events that occurred both leading up to their trip and whilst on Ekos, all stemmed from her actions and thoughts. She recommended the message home, she came up with the jailbreak, she demanded his sister be with them just in case. If he put it all together, why should he continue loving her? But she was desperate and felt like she couldn't, and didn't, want to lose him.

"I did what was best at the time, and I still think it was," he said with a bit of a sigh. "You could say that I was a bit protective as a brother. I am just glad that we are away from Ekos, and I would be perfectly fine that we never return there." Leopold looked at Adrianna. "This does allow us a bit of time to enjoy and relax. We did not get too much of that on Ekos."

Adrianna continued running her fingers through his hair as she thought about what he'd said. "You're honestly not mad at me?" she asked, her eyes locked on his, "you barely seem phased. I don't understand. I came here petrified that our time apart had killed any love you had for me. Instead, I come home to what may be 'business as usual'."

"Don't let the illusion of normalcy fool you," Leopold replied. "I am hurt. I am worn out, and I have been beaten beyond broken. My sister is dead." The man tried to keep himself composed. "I am doing what I can to grieve and heal. Normalcy is the only thing right now that makes me feel somewhat...normal."

Adrianna looked to the floor and took a step back thinking. "I missed you," she finally said, not looking up. She didn't know what emotion it was she was feeling, but it may have just been numbness, "I don't know how to help. I don't know if I am what you need right now. I don't know if I'm OK. I just know that whilst I was there and when we were pulled out, you were the only person I wanted to see. I feel like I've just come home from work, not been away from you for fuck knows how long."

She looked up to him finally, she was frustrated, but emotionally so. "I don't know whether to hug you, kiss you, give you space or to cook for you," she shook her head, trying to not get too emotional, but was struggling, "give me a hint at what seeing me again is to you. Please. Because, I can leave and give you space if you need me too, I can get guest quarters or go to someone else's place for a little while."

"No," he said shaking his head. "I do not need any space, not with you. I need you near me, Ade. Maybe now more than ever. What we went through? Nobody knows the extent of that. Nobody shares that experience with us. Only we are going to be able to truly help one another."

Adrianna nodded softly, "did doctor Rose, or whoever patch up properly?"

"Yes, but I am still waiting on a butterscotch lolly and to be told I was a good boy," Leopold replied teasingly. "The Doctor did fine and seeing Lieutenant Vali for the mind stuff has been helping, but I fear this is a longer road than usual."

Adrianna was clearly thinking again. "I haven't seen Vali yet and doctor Rose hasn't finished with me yet, I just didn't want to be there any longer, especially after I saw you leave," she finally replied.

He sighed. "The two of them are our new wardens by the looks of it. The amount of appointments scheduled and all the things they have me logging. I need to keep a dream log, but it is turning more into a nightmare log."

Adrianna hadn't even looked at the list given to her. She looked round a moment, their quarters were how they'd left them aside from where Leopold had been home. "I need to shower, I can still smell König's big boy aftershave. I think it may have been called 'musk of compensating for small penis' or 'eau de merde'."

She sighed running her hand through her hair, she wanted to be close to him, to not leave him, but he hadn't even kissed her, and she was the one that hugged him first. She went to turn to go to the shower but stopped, "time a part, but you still love me, right?"

"More and more each day," replied Leopold. "You are growing on me, and I love it." He teased.

She offered a small smile. "I hope we can get back to where we were, Leo. Before all of this. Just continue planning to get married and make even newly weds blush at our intimacy." She looked him over a moment, "I'm going to shower, but if you need me, you know where I am."

"In the shower," he replied. "Where you will be awaiting my arrival. So, expect company."

Ade seemed to perk up a little at Leopold finally offering some sort of affection. The true was that, in actuality, the woman just wanted to be held and kissed - - shown that she had been missed. This, though, this she'd settle for. She nodded, "I'm glad. I didn't think you were going to show me how much you actually missed me. I just thought you were going to continue talking and not welcoming me back."

"When have I ever been known to miss the action and excitement," he teased. "I have the most boring job aboard this ship...I relish the opportunity to get my blood flowing."

Somehow that frustrated Adrianna and the hotblooded Italian glared at him a little, trying not to scream at him, "then why didn't you say 'hello, I missed you, thank fuck you're ok' sooner!? Gawd!" She rolled her eyes, "instead, I hugged you first! You haven't even kissed me! You just--"

She stopped herself and ran both hands through her hair trying to calm herself. She knew she was mentally exhausted and she didn't want to say much in anger, especially since Leo was hurting too. Aside from König and a few guards, the woman had been in solitary confinement for what felt like a long time, with no stimulation, only an outing for torture. Adrianna had perhaps lost the ability to communicate eloquently and she could feel her old self stirring up inside her. "Stop it, Baciami," she harshly whispered to herself, but it came out in German-- not her native tongue. Perhaps Ekos had truly worn her down, "just shut up. You mouth is running faster than your brain. Baciami, you need restraint and to focus. Stop it, stop it, stop it."

Leopold kissed her head. "Ade, I love you. I want to be with you. I am very happy to be here with you."

She looked up to his eyes and seemed to visibly relax a little, albeit apologetically. "I love you too. I'm sorry. I've been without human contact, of the loving kind anyway, for a long time. I guess I just need you more than I thought I would with everything that's happened. I thought I'd want distance - - easing back into life, but the second I saw you in the transport room. I just knew you were what I needed. I need to be held and loved by you again."

"Then you shall it," he replied. "We will shower together and cuddle together. You'll wake up and I'll be there. You'll get so used to me being near you." He smiled at her. "We will get through this together, I promise."

Adrianna smiled, "then maybe I'll talk to the captain about moving our wedding date. We could use a honeymoon." She put her hands softly on his chest and kissed him gently.

"I think that would be a good idea," said Leopold. "My parents are aboard. That's a rare opportunity, and the Captain is here. We can have a wedding with my family in attendance."

"Your parents?" she asked, but let it go with her focus shifting back to the topic at hand, "then I'll talk to some people about us changing our date. Until then," she pulled his hand a little, "you, me, no one else for today. We shower and maybe stay in our bedroom. Just-- be gentle, Doctor Rose wasn't quite done."

"Gentle for you is still rough for most people," he teased. "You are practically made from Italian diamond."

Adrianna couldn't help but blush at his comments. "Thank you, but I'm going to need normal human gentle I think. You'll see why in the shower I should think."

"Gentle it is," he replied agreeing.


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