Caught in the Middle
Caught in the Middle
Summary: A random convergence of pilots in the Head leads to a meandering conversation, which ends with a familiar subject and a revelation.
Date: PHD139
Related Logs: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank)

It's just past the morning rush, so the head isn't packed; in fact, it seems to be mostly vacated. The only noticeable sound is the running of a shower stall, and steam can be seen rising from it. A moment later, a raspy singing can be heard emanating roughly from that direction. "Many times I've lied… many times I've listened…" There's a soft squeaking sound as the occupant of the stall turns the shower off. "Many times I've wondered what there is t' know…" The door swings open, and Thorn steps out, with his towel wrapped firmly around his waist.

And almost on cue, that familiar refrain is whistled. "Doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO DOO DOO!" A pause, "Doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO DOO DOO, DOO DOO DOO DOO." And of course, the preternaturally tuneful whistler would be one recently-showered Willem Price, peering over the sink, shaving with his face covered with enough foam to resemble a cartoon rabid dog.

"Many dreams come true, and some have silver linings… I live for my dream, an' a pocketful of gold…" Thorn doesn't notice Willem's presence or the whistling until he exits the shower bay. He hears the refrain as he moves to the locker area, though, and chuckles quietly. "Rebound. Hey."

"Memories of getting stoned in seventh grade?" Willem inquires, lightly as he begins dragging his razor through the fluffy foam faux-beard decorating his face in gentle strokes. It could be directed towards Thorn. Or himself. He's obviously familiar with the song.

Just when you thought it was safe. Roubani's sandalled feet drag a little bit as he makes his way into the head, in T-shirt, sweatpants, and his brown curls in a raging cowlick up the right side of his head. Fingercombing was not enough to tame that beast. Still, if anyone could make a crease in his cheek and bedhead look dignified, it's him. The yawn, though, doesn't help.

"College, actually," Anton replies dryly. He's no longer singing, now, but he does continue to softly hum the bars of the song as he pulls a locker open. He removes the towel to quickly dry himself off, then a moment later tosses it over the open locker's door as he starts to pull his clothes out.

"Better late than never, as the cliche goes." Willem notes, dryly. Flick, flick. The sink starts running and rinses out a bit of the shaving cream from the razor. "Not the worst one I've dropped, I suppose." He asks, pensively as he continues the process, peering into the mirror. A sidelong glance at the messy-haired invader earns a nod. "Nadiv."

Roubani gives Willem a kind of open-close-open of a hand like a wave in the mirror, squinting one eye at the man's reflection. "The beard works, you know," he murmurs, mouth having to unglue from sleep tackiness to say so. "Morning, Thorn." He can't actually see the man, but he heard the voice.

At the sound of Roubani's greeting, the still-dressing Komnenos ducks his head around the row of lockers. "Oi, Poet." Then he disappears back behind the open door, the rustle of fabric audible as he pulls on his green duty uniform. Finally, the locker slams shut, and Thorn comes into view from around the corner, stopping at the sink to briefly study his reflection in the mirror.

"I'm sure Captain Marek would -love- it." Wil says with a touch of playful sarcasm. His voice is gentle, if a little tentative. He smirks a little bit as he glances up in the mirror, with a slight flash of teeth. Another flick of the razor. And another. He's managed to avoid cutting himself shaving this time which, all things considered, is something of a godsend.

"He would be right jealous," Roubani opines, as he tugs his prayer beads off his wrist and deposits them into the small bag he's got with him. Off towards the showers he goes. Unlike most he doesn't undress along the way, waiting until he's out of sight of the main room to do that. Possibly even in the stall itself.

Thorn pulls a toothbrush and toothpaste from his own shower kit, grabbing the sink next to Willem's and turning the water on. There's a quiet snicker at the mention of Kai. "Jealous? Don't even know if he's capable," he sneers as he begins brushing his teeth. "Though I'm sure he'd love the excuse t' bust someone's arse."

"I'm sure he'd love to be a gingerbeard. Just for five minutes. Skin cancer's a bitch, you know? By the time I pulled space duty I was half-tempted to bring sunscreen just in case the shipboard lights emitted a shred of UV." Wil murmurs with a one-syllable snicker and then stifling said snicker with a cough. "Skin cancer for us. It's not a question of 'if.' It's 'when.'" Waving a hand dismissively as he starts edging at his sideburns, he comments further, "He might be a stickler but I don't think he's the type to string people up for fun. The Captain, that is. I know what a shitty C.O. is and I wouldn't stick Spider with that label." He's not all, 'OH PAPABEAR!!!' but he has certain measure of respect that he's laying out for the man right now.

Couple rustles, click of the stall lock, one thump. The shower comes on. "Hmf." It's a soft snort of amusement that comes from over yonder. "Gingerbeard. There were many who would have a cut lock of reddish hair simply for good luck, you know."

Thorn spits loudly, rinsing out his mouth with a handful of water. He studies his reflection again for a moment, running a hand through his still-damp blond hair. No need for a haircut yet, though he probably should shave. "I wouldn't go far as t' say he's a shitty CO. A martinet, yes. A bastard, sometimes." Out comes the razor; he splashes water on his face and begins to scrape at his face sans shaving cream, as is his usual practice. "But th' man acts like it's the end of the bloody world if you leave off a 'sir' in front of him."

"If you find someone willing to trade, Poet, let me know." Wil calls out with a halfhearted glance towards the shower. "Get it before it's gone!" Mulling over Thorn's words a bit, he adds, succintly, "I guess he expects it, yeah. Eh. So I say it. It's pretty easy in terms of satisfaction. To steal one of Ivory's phrases, it's not like I'm pushing Sisyphus' rock up the hill." Wil says, with the simple philosophy of a five-year-old. The razor is edged down his face and neck and is rinsed under the faucet again. Must suck to have sensitive skin. "I don't think I'd care that much if I was in his shoes. Then again, that's why I'm a JiG like the rest of us. Heh."

The shower shuts off for about a minute as the talking goes on, then comes back on. True military fashion. "I would suppose it's comforting for him, in a way," Roubani's voice is raised only enough to beat the pounding water, and no more. "But, well. Of all things that may be expected of us, at least that one is doable."

"It's the end of th' world as we know it. I can think of a few things a little more important t' concentrate on." Thorn shrugs minutely as he draws the razor carefully across his skin. "I've no doubt th' blighter earned th' rank, and I'll respect him for that. Bastard or no, he is th' CAG. But it's just… the principle of th' thing." Another handful of water is splashed onto his cheek. "I just… don't get the obsession. He doesn't seem that insecure." There's a sigh. "Well, I'm just a JG, myself, still… what do I know."

"I have to agree with Poet here on terms of effort, at least. I don't know. Maybe it's different for Red." Wil observes, wryly. "These distinctions don't make a whole lot of bloody sense though." Rinsing out his razor some more he stoops into the sink and splashes a bit of water upon his face, rinsing out the goop. "If you want to open that whole can of worms, though, the military's full of things that make absolutely no sense."

Willem just tacks on, belatedly, "We just do it because it works, on some level. I don't know if that would be enough for me, but I've got other things to worry about. And how."

The shower finally shuts off and stays that way. "I expect they stay that way due first and foremost to the fact that those who would see them changed don't remain long enough to do it." A towel rustles, the sound muffled by the stall door. "The same principle as any institution, I would guess."

"Feh." Thorn makes a derisive sound as his razor nicks his neck. There's a look over at Rebound. "I can't argue with any of that, I suppose, no matter how much I'd like t'." Komnenos shakes his head. "Well, I know over in Black, we don't see as much of him as you lot do, and I'm used t' Black Cat's style. It works for me." The last bit of excess hair is scraped from his face, and Thorn briskly rinses off the razor. "Though there's something t' be said for th' path of least resistance… especially where Spider is concerned."

"Zing. And that's the Poet with another point." Wil jokes, rinsing off his now-shaven face and his razor, splashing again. "Generally people follow along with institutions for some kind of comfort. Take away the framework they were built in, and maybe even moreso." However Black Cat runs things goes barely commented-on, beyond a basic, "She seems nice enough. Reminds me of my mom in a weird way. Without the edge. Or the big mouth, which I apparently inheirited." And how. "I don't know. Red's a bit — odd to some. I suppose I'm used to it. I sort of tune out the day-to-day squabbling. The other day Persephone was pointing out Bangbang and Shirt fighting in the Head until the Captain broke it up. I didn't even notice." There's a bit of a pause as he adds, "So, Thorn. You seen Case around lately? She's been scarce." Well. That was…tactful.

Roubani refrains from comment on either's leadership style. The stall door opens and out he drifts, in a fresh T-shirt and fatigues pants, towel across his shoulders to catch hair drips. Boots and socks are in his left hand, set down on a bench along with his small duffle. The hunt is then on for his toothbrush or the like, an absent glance flickered to Thorn's mirror when Wil pops that question.

"Cat's pretty laid back about the little things, but she'll still step on you if you get out of line. As it should be, in my opinion, but again, what do I know." A small hand towel comes out of Thorn's bag, which he uses to swab at his face. It comes away with a couple tiny spots of blood from where he nicked himself. He freezes for a second, though, eyes flicking over to Willem's reflection. "Yeah, actually, I have seen her lately," he replies simply.

"We… had a talk in one of th' storage rooms the other night," Thorn volunteers after a moment's pause.

"I've spent a lifetime covering my ass." Wil comments in a sort of dry tone as he takes in a bit of a laugh, producing a toothbrush and toothpaste from his bag below the sink. Before actually doing anything with said dental care kit he shrugs his shoulders lazily and comments further, "Ah. Tell her hi for me. I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since we wandered out of the fights the other night." This is delivered gently without either approval or reproach. His eyes -do- drift towards Komnenos pointedly, however, as he stuffs the toothbrush in his mouth.

Roubani finds his own toothbrush and heads for the sinks, pausing first to towel off the front of his hair that's dripping on his face. "Have you…spoken to Black? Since…that." The question's murmured and not at all pointed.

"Um. Will do." There's a slightly odd look from Anton over at Willem before he turns to look at Roubani. "Not that it's really any of your business, Poet," Thorn remarks mildly, "but no." Poet's inquiry doesn't offend him, per se, but Thorn is usually a private person. He pauses briefly to toss the razor and the toothbrush back in his shower kit. "I'm not sure what I would say," he admits, the rebuke from a moment ago forgotten. "I keep going back and forth between wanting t' apologize for… something, I'm not sure what… and wanting t' beat his face in. The fact that his ex and I are together now… I don't know." Oops, that sort of slipped right out.

OHO. So the question was answered. Wil's lips twitch a little, or maybe, just maybe, he's brushing his teeth in a particularly harsh way. He's not very subtle though, probably the former. It takes a minute or so before he spits the toothpaste out and rinses. "It's none of our business, true." He finally notes. "But you already looked like you beat the shit out of him and from what I've been -told-, I think he's simmered down. Truth be told, the only people with reason to gossip or have much of an opinion about this are you, him, and Case. The fact that everyone else and their third bloody cousin has an opinion is just an unfortunate side effect." He rumbles in his throat.

Roubani turns slightly red when reminded it's none of his business. Because really, it isn't. His toothbrush solves some of the awkwardness of the faux pas; he sticks it in his mouth and starts to brush in earnest. It's only after Willem's been talking a while that he pulls it back out and discreetly like, adds toothpaste to it.

Thorn doesn't speak for a moment, leaning with both palms on the sink and sighing. "True," he notes, finally. He looks back over at Willem's reflection. "I was worried about that for a bit," Thorn admits, "but at this point I could give frak all about anyone else's opinion of us. People will think what they're going t' think. Whatever." He tilts his head slightly, turning to peer over at Willem himself. "What… you think I should talk t' him, then?"

Of course, Wil is just as aware of the 'none of our business' clause as Roubani. He is just, unfortunately, that much less tactful and proceeds into it like a bull in a china shop. Bending downwards, he stows his toothbrush a bit. "People need to get over…Whatever there is to get over. I'll level with you. Not to sound like someone else we all know who throws the word 'friend' around like it's a chewy dog bone, but I like you, Thorn. I've had some good times with Dash. and Samantha helped me get used to this squadron when I washed up in here not knowing a single bloody person and just came off of an assignment that I utterly hated. So I have no personal stake -disfavoring- anyone here." He zips up the gym bag. "But it seems like if you're all right, Sam's all right, and Martin's all right, anyone else gossiping and pointing fingers would be looking mighty stupid. I'm not saying you should do this, I'm not even sure I am right, but I have a suspicion that talking it over with him might just seal the deal. I've been in fights in my life that I knew didn't mean anything. Got my ass kicked. I was able to look past it. He might be too."

Or maybe it's not Roubani's business but it is Willem's. That's the tack the former seems to take anyway, brushing his teeth in silence now while they talk. Spit, rinse.

It's not so much that Thorn thinks it was or wasn't one person's business or another, more that he was simply curious where Wil was going with it. He watches Rebound blankly as the other man talks. "I'd tell you t' mind your own business, too, Rebound, except for the fact that I sort of agree with you. It's just… unfortunate." Thorn sighs. "If anything, it just seems t' me like a loose end. And I hate loose ends."

"If I was a little less of a hypocrite I'd -be- minding my own business." Willem notes, abashedly, with some sort of self-deprecating grumpiness which may have some degree of genuine quality. He stands a little straighter, attempting to sort out his shower-wet hair in the mirror and narrows his eyes, scowling just a tad. "Then again, I'd probably be a number of other things, too. Last advice I'd give you? Ask Sam what she thinks the situation is. She'd ought to know." He pauses momentarily, smiling an abashed, cheeky half-smile. "And I'm shutting up 'bout that now."

Roubani takes a while washing off his toothbrush and hands, and keeping eyes down.

"Hnh." Anton's grunt makes no indication whether or not he actually plans to follow Willem's advice. "Eh, I can be just as much a hypocrite, at times," Thorn replies a moment later with another sigh, rubbing his forehead with a grimace. "I'll try not t' hold it against you." The words are said with a slight edge of sarcasm, but the slight smile that forms on his lips belies any sense of hostility or anger.

And, well, Wil's pretty much leaving it at that. He's had plenty to say, already. Edging away from the sink, he scowls a little in the mirror and adjusts his hair again. Primping, primping. Vanity — thy name is Willem Price. Classy. "So noted."

Roubani in the meantime fills his dead silence by moving away, and sitting down. Socks, on. Right boot pulled out and onto his foot. Commence lacing.

With that, the last of Thorn's stuff is thrown back into his shower bag, and he picks it up off the sink. "Right, then," he says, moving off towards the hatch as he does the cigarette patdown. "See you later," he calls out behind him as he sparks his lighter. There's a puff of smoke from the cigarette, and he's out the door.

"I'm sure you will. Take care of yourself, Thorn." Wil notes, softly.

Roubani lets the goodbyes go between them, still lacing his boots. He glances up once after Kom's mostly out the hatch and then back down. Other boot.

Also silence on the part of the elder Viper pilot. He lets out a deep sigh into the mirror as he stoops to retrieve his gym bag from the cool tile floor. "Huh." He mumbles to himself, mostly under his breath and without expression.

Other boot laced. Roubani fishes in his bag for his prayer beads, sliding them onto his wrist. No sound, no eye contact.

Taking the silence at face-value, and his work completed, Willem drifts away from the sink and slowly pads away from the Head. "Be safe, Poet." Not another word from the man, either, as he himself heads in the direction of the hatch.

"Price…" Roubani doesn't like he didn't quite mean to say the man's name, but out it comes.

"Yes?" The response is smooth enough, if a bit delayed. Wil clearly didn't expect to be called upon. He pauses, wheeling around on his foot to eye the other man momentarily, head tilted.

This is the part when you're supposed to say something. Roubani's feet shift uncomfortably, and he softly clears his throat. "Please tell Thorn I'm sorry. If he's angry. I really shouldn't say things."

"I think he'll get over it. But because I will." Wil says, slightly taken aback, but shrugging all the same. "Anyway, I said more. These are little things. People have done and said far worse." He pauses a little. "Was there anything else, Nadiv?"

Roubani's brows both raise slightly at that first, drawing together. "I insulted you as well?" Man, what a night. He picks up his bag, standing and clearing his throat. His face is a touch red again. "No. I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep you."

"What?" Roubani gets a look from Wil a little bit like he's from a different planet. Which he is, but that's merely a technicality. "No. I would make it abundantly clear if you had. I have a little bit of a hard time imagining that." His forehead wrinkles a little bit and then he unexpectedly laughs. "You have -nothing- to worry about." There's a pause as that little laugh echoes and he strolls towards the hatch. "Not in that department. Take it easy."

Roubani relaxes. A -little-. Some rule #226171828 or so of etiquette was not violated, that's good. He draws a breath and sighs quietly, heading out himself.

Ah. Culture clash. That being done, Wil slips through the hatch.

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