Summary: Kissy sees, well, a ghost in the eyes of one of his Black Squadron comrades.
Date: PHD139
Related Logs: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank)


Matto drifts down from the berthings corridor toward the stairwell, not in the least looking where he's going. Like a man walking through some strange but ineffably pleasant dream, a smile on his face, eyes distant, boots half-unbuckled, two fingers trailing along the wall as he wanders.

Thorn, now freshly showered, strides down the corridor with a cigarette on his lips and an absent expression on his face. A wisp of smoke trails behind him as he walks; if he's on the CAP schedule today, it must not be until later. He comes around the corner, and nearly jabs his cigarette into Matto's eye for his trouble. Thorn manages to put the brakes on in time, though, stopping a couple steps in front of the other man. "Whoa. Hey, Kissy."

Matto likewise jerks to a rather sudden stop at suddenly being confronted with Thorn, of all people, his mind snapping back to the here and now as his heart very nearly decides simply to stop in his chest, missing a full beat as his face drains briefly of all color, pale lips trying to make words go. "Uh, K— tt—" he starts, whatever he was trying to say getting stifled as he gets his bearings again, and he shakes his head, cheeks growing rosy with a blush, "Anton," he finally says, "… hi."

Anton, for his part, studies the man in front of him with a curious frown. The tip of his cigarette flares, and Thorn exhales a plume of smoke off to the side. "Um. Everything… all right, Kiss?" There's a mild flash of concern in his eyes as one of his eyebrows arches gently. "Y' look like you've seen a bloody ghost."

Matto looks aside, and down, lifting a hand to the side of his neck, "Y-yeah, I'm, I'm fine, I'm golden," he tries to assure him, though his eyes jerk upward again to meet Anton's at the observation, brows both quirking upward and knitting together a little, "Uh, I— no. Just startled me, that's all," he takes half a step back to decrease their proximity, in an observance of personal space unusual for the Kissybear. Or, rather, for the Madman. Who seems to be looking into living up to his new callsign? "I'll see you later?"

"Right. And I've got some radiation-free lakeside property on Scorpia t' sell you," Thorn replies flatly, his eyes narrowing as Matto stammers and flicks his eyes all over the place. Not to mention doesn't go for the easy hug. Now he knows something's up. "You're not much of a liar, Kiss." Anton folds his arms, one over the other. "Talk t' me."

Matto presses lips briefly together. His arms draw up to fold over his chest in what might usually be a simple casual gesture, but which comes across just now as somewhat defensive. "I'm just tired, I guess. Just— tired, that's all," he nods in affirmation of the fact. "You scared me," he offers, more firmly.

"Uh huh." Thorn doesn't sound terribly convinced. He continues to scrutinize the other man, taking another thoughtful pull from the cigarette. "Yeah, I'm a scary guy, all right," he utters dryly.

Matto is decidedly not acting like himself. Ususally the first person to open up and spill anything and everything he might be thinking, feeling, or thinking about feeling, he's well and truly clammed up, now. "I was thinking about other stuff; I wasn't paying attention. And you almost got me in the eye with that thing," he gives a nod to the cancerstick. The answer has a certain frankness to it. No, it's not true. Yes, it's all Thorn's getting, at least for now. Kisseus looks away again, then turns away bodily, "Excuse me," he endeavors to keep his metaphorical shit together long enough to get out of there.

Thorn gives the other man a dumbfounded expression; this is a man with whom Thorn's shared some of his most private secrets, and now Kissy's giving him the cold shoulder? Anton's eyes narrow again, and this time there's a certain amount of anger in his flinty gaze. He turns slightly to one side, so he's still facing Matto even as the other man tries to escape. "What th' frak, Matto?" he asks, his tone a mixture of annoyance and confusion. Of all the people he would expect to shut him out, Kissybear isn't one of them by any means. "What in Hades is th' problem?" he asks in that same tone. Thorn's stubbornness is starting to set in; having spotted something obviously amiss, he isn't quick to let it pass.

Matto's demeanor softens in response to Thorn's continued pressing, like a cold piece of wax under an insistant thumb, warming and yielding. He swallows, once, and it seems loud to him. He casts a glance down the corridor, then up the other way, stepping closer, then moving his head in a subtle indication that Thorn should follow him.

The gesture mollifies Thorn for the moment, but that glare doesn't completely subside. Nevertheless, Anton's arm's fall back down to his sides, and he takes a step forward, obviously intending to comply.


Matto is careful, making certain that the storage closet isn't 'in use' before he steps all the way in, holding the hatch open wide enough for Thorn to come in, too, despite how easy it would be to simply barricade himself inside. "I'm not going mad," he says in preface to anything else that might be said. Oh, well, this is going to be great fun.

"Well, you could've frakkin' fooled me," Anton retorts hotly, his boots clomping loudly on the deck plating as he follows Matto into the storage room. "Y' know, it wouldn't bug me t' get th' cold shoulder from most people. But you? I once told y' I was crushing on Thea in this very frakkin' room. You kissed me once in berthings, for frak's sake. And now you try t' duck out on me?" Thorn shakes his head slowly. "If you haven't gone batshit insane, then, at least tell me what th' bloody problem is."

Matto closes the hatch, then turns to rest his back against it, as if to make sure nobody else will inadvertantly try to enter. He looks at Anton with some obvious regret for his earlier misbehavior, until he mentions the kiss, which sends his eyes down to the deck plating with all haste. There's some quiet from him after the storm of Thorn's words is finished, letting them hang there in the air. "I didn't… we never really talked about that, did we," it's not a question, as such. "I mean. I was just glad you weren't freaked out by it. Me kissing you, that is." In case there was any doubt what he was talking about.

"You're changing th' subject," Thorn reminds him sharply, but after a deep breath and a moment of quiet, the volatile ECO calms slightly. "Look, it's not a big deal, all right?" He begins to pace slowly in a small circle. "I may not be able t' return th' sentiment, but…" Thorn shrugs helplessly. "… no, it didn't really freak me out. Just a surprise, is all."

"I'm not changing the subject," Kisseus replies, gentle-voiced but serious. He listens and nods, "I understand that, and that's fine, I just… you should know why," he declares. "There was someone… very special, to me, back in the real world. You… you remind me a lot of him, sometimes," Kissy finally admits, "The way you… phrase things, the way you joke, the way—" he takes a deep breath, "You look. Your hair. Your… eyes," Kissy shakes his head and looks away, finally clearing his throat, "Most of the time, I dunno, I'm okay. Sometimes I still miss him so much I can hardly stand it."

"Oh." Thorn stops in his tracks with a soft mutter. "Oh," he repeats himself, louder this time. "Um… I'm sorry, I… I thought you were thinking about… something else." Now it's Anton's turn to be reticent. He shakes his head. "Gods, Kiss, I'm so sorry," he says again, eyes flicking down to the floor guiltily. "That's… I…" He trails off, a tinge of color becoming visible in his usually pale cheeks. "Now I feel like a damned bloody fool," Thorn mutters to himself.

"And when I turned that corner and I was still kind of… miles away…" Kissy shakes his head, eyes moistening, "There was a moment, just… just a moment, when I would have sworn any oath you'd put to me that he was standing in front of me… saying my name again," that last a little breathlessly as Kissy's chest fights to keep control of the air that threatens to leave his chest all at once in a noiseless, shuddering sigh. He eases himself down onto a crate like an old man might, leaning further to take his inhaler out of a low calf pocket in his off-duty fatigues, in case breathing becomes more problematic. He keeps his eyes on the floor, "You feel like a fool? What for— it's not your fault."

Komnenos, for his part, stays standing, pulling up a patch of shelf to lean against as he puffs on that cigarette. "Just… when I saw your reaction in the hall, and when you tried t' duck away so quickly, I… thought it was a certain something else on your mind. Forget it." His eyes finally look back up at Kissy, his expression equal parts mortification and sympathy. "I… had no idea." A flicker of ash flutters to the ground. There's another long pause before he continues speaking. "I had a dream a couple months ago, something about my parents back home. It all seemed… so real. Ivory said he could hear me talking in my sleep all the way from down below." Thorn smiles humorlessly. "I hadn't really missed them much, either, until that moment." His eyes shift as he takes another pull. Smoke spills from his nostrils. "So… I understand how it must feel, if it makes y' feel any better."

Matto watches the ash collect on the floor, a few wet spats from his leaky face hitting against the flooring as well as he slouches forward, elbows on knees. "I guess we're all going to get hit with that now and again. I'm sorry I made you feel like I was giving you the cold shoulder. You deserve better than that. I just…" he pauses. "I'm trying my best to get over this. I— well, I might be getting into a relationship with someone else. We're taking things pretty slow and— well, he's not out, so please don't ask who" he nips that one in the bud before it can get asked. "But I've been pretty happy with how things have been going. I feel like I might be able to really be happy again. And then just, suddenly, a moment in the corridor and my heart feels like it's in my feet, like how could I be doing this, y'know? Don't I love him anymore?"

"Not your fault. I just got th' wrong idea. As usual." Komnenos shakes his head ruefully. He watches Kissy for a moment, an eyebrow ticking upwards at the mention of the relationship. He's tempted to ask, but respects the other man's request and doesn't. "Of course you still love him," he replies softly, instead. "Th' fact that you've found someone new doesn't change th' past. Whatever you had sounds like it was special. That doesn't just go away." Thorn begins quietly pacing again, steps tracing a small circle in front of where Kissy is seated. "Look, for what it's worth, I'm happy for you. And… I don't pretend t' know shit, mind, but I would think he'd be happy for you too, if he could see past whatever th' frak's beyond the veil." There's a certain gravitas in the man's tone as he starts getting philosophical and such; a rare event for Thorn, but times like these prove it is indeed possible.

"He was the one," Kissy agrees solemnly, "The only one I ever wanted." A pause, a swallow of emotion. "I don't guess he minds either way— he left me nine years ago." Nine years? Kissy sure knows how to carry a torch long after it should be out. No wonder his more than mildly dubious glances cast upon the three love affairs of the Basketcase in as many months. "It's high time I didn't mind either way, either. I've had enough being miserable. I like… I like how I feel, now, when we look at one another, he and I. But Tavi… he was the one, the one I was going to be with forever and always. What happens to forever and always if you try to split it between two people?"

"Wish I knew what t' tell you, Kiss, but I don't know the answer," Komnenos replies regretfully. His cigarette's cherry pulses as he takes another drag. "All I can say is you're not going t' have much of a chance with whoever else if you keep his ghost hovering over your shoulder." There's another slow headshake. "Look, I've already seen one relationship on this ship go down th' tubes because one of the people involved was still carrying a torch for someone else. I'd… hate t' see the same thing happen t' you." By now the cigarette is little more than a stub; it's tossed to the floor, grounded out by Thorn's boot. "Tavi left you long ago, and now he's certainly dead. As for us, we don't have much time left. How do you want t' spend that time? Being as happy as you can make yourself, or dwelling on what was and can never be again?"

"I try," Kissy replies, "I -do- try," he lifts his hands to rest his head in them, "And I've been happier than I've been in years. Even with the rest of the universe destroyed, there is… joy, real joy, you know? But sometimes it still hurts. And I don't know that it ever won't. If" Kissy breaks off, "If he breaks it off, too, then he breaks it off. I -hope- he won't, but if he does… well, it can't hurt as much as the first time. And until then, I'll let myself be happy." He swallows briefly, then takes a deep breath and looks up, "What did you think I was ducking you about, anyhow?" he wonders, belatedly.

"I doubt it will. We've seen too much, survived too much, for it ever t' completely stop hurting," Thorn says softly. He simply nods slowly at the rest of what the other man has to say. Until he asks the question at the end, anyway. That gives Anton pause, and the blond ECO opens and shuts his mouth a few times before speaking. "I thought it was something about Samantha and I," he replies finally. "I don't know, I'd heard a bit about it from a few people already, so I just… assumed." Thorn smiles thinly. "But you know what they say about when one assumes."

"Oh…" Kissy replies, "… yeah, I saw she slept over," he notes. "You should let her know it's really not that hard to listen out from behind the curtain 'til there's no one in berthings to see you sneak out," he chuckles dryly. Words of wisdom from someone who's gotten to be a regular adept at such maneuvers. Then, more seriously, "I can't say it made me feel wonderful. Marty's a close friend, and— hell, still in sickbay. But I'm not the morality police, Anton. It's up to your conscience and hers, what you want to do. Marty'll be okay, one way or the other. I -do- worry. I mean, she obviously has trouble knowing what it is she wants, in the final equation. Do you really think it'll be different with you?"

Anton snorts in amusement. "Thanks… I'll tell her." His head tilts to one side. "Yeah, I… I know you and Black are close. That's rather why I was worried when I saw that expression on your face back in th' corridor," Thorn says quietly, his tone turning somber once again. He considers Kissy's question for a moment. "Truthfully… I don't know, for sure," he replies finally. "But if I didn't think there was a chance of it working out, I wouldn't have gotten myself into it. Trust me. And if it doesn't end well?" Thorn shrugs. "At least I gave it a shot, right?"

Matto watches Anton quietly as he gives his answer. "Well… you've obviously thought about it. Just… if you could try to be discreet, for Marty's sake? That would be really quality of both of you." He pauses, "Do you love her?" Kissy's obviously a big fan of the whole violin orchestral flavor of relationships. A romantic, through and through.

"It's a little too early t' ask that, don't you think?" Thorn's eyebrow crinkles as he replies to Matto's question with one of his own. "I want t'. I hope at some point I'll be able t' answer that question with a resounding 'yes'. But I'm not going t' risk whatever we do have at th' moment by pressing it too quickly, y' know?" Thorn, a romantic… not so much. Well, perhaps a little bit, but with a healthy dose of pragmatism mixed in. "As for the other thing… well, I'll try not t' step on anyone's toes, at least," he responds softly.

Matto doesn't seem to think so, from the look on his face, and he gives a little twitch of a smile, "You don't believe in love at first sight, I guess," he observes. "I still remember the first time my eyes met Tavi's. And I just knew. I just. Knew. And after I got up the nerve to talk to him… well, it turned out he knew the exact same thing."

No… not particularly. I've never understood it, t' be honest." Anton shrugs lightly. "Crush at first sight, perhaps. I just think that sort of thing takes time." He pauses, running a hand through his hair. "Hells, I barely knew Samantha existed until a couple months into my tour here."

Matto draws his elbows back off of his knees, leaning back against the bulkhead, "I guess I just got lucky, then," he murmurs, a touch on the wry side. "But maybe in the end your way's the better way. What Aphrodite gives freely, Aphrodite can take away again. If you have to work for it… well… then you own it."

"I've never been one t' trust divine charity," Thorn answers dryly. "I don't know if it's better, exactly… but it suits me." His boot scuffs against the floor. There's a sour note on his face at the mention of Aphrodite, but it passes quickly. "Lucky, maybe," he sighs. "Like I said, I don't pretend t' know how it all works."

"However it works… I hope it works well with you and Beece," Kissy offers. "I don't want to see you hurting." He pulls up his legs onto the crate one at a time, crossing them to sit there like one might sit on a mat in kindergarten. "Hey, have you heard anything from the Legsykitten about another triad tourney?" Train of thought just jumped the tracks.

"We'll see," Thorn replies quietly. "At this point… I'm not assuming anything. But… yeah, thanks. I do too." There's a crooked smile at that, replaced by a puzzled expression as the conversation shifts. "Um… actually, she told me a while back she was planning t' organize another one. But with everything that's been happening recently… I think it might've gotten lost in the shuffle."

Matto smiles softly, "I tried that for a while. Not assuming anything. But I think I really am done for," he chuckles softly as he admits to it, then wrinkles his nose at Thorn's pun, squinting up at him, "Oh, Toes," he calls, half-chiding, half-delighted.

Thorn chortles slightly. Well, puns used to be the highest form of humor, right? He looks down at Kissy with a trademark crooked half-smile on his face. "Well… I hope you end up happy, too, with whoever this other guy is. Sounds like you both lucked out. You deserve something good, Kiss."

Matto nods quietly, unable to restrain a smile. "Thanks," he replies, "Yeah, it's… been pretty wonderful. Like I said. Taking it slow. We had our first actual sort of date the other night. It was really sweet. He's just… anxious, you know, about other people finding out. So we're keeping it on the down low for right now," he adds, with the less than subtle implication that he'd appreciate it if Thorn shared in their effort not to advertise the fact.

Despite the absent minded computer tech facade Komnenos sometimes likes to cultivate, he's not an idiot. He nods, slowly. "I understand," he responds. "If anyone asks… I don't know a bloody thing. Not like that would be hard for most people t' believe." There's another one of those twisty little smiles. He's undeniably curious, but he doesn't push the other man.

Matto pushes away from the wall, unfolding his legs as he stands up off of the crate and continues forward to envelope Thorn in a tight hug. "Thanks, Toes," he replies, "And thanks for listening to me go on and on. I'm sorry I spazzed out on you. I really must be sort of tired. You won't tell anyone I saw a ghost in the corridor, will you? I don't need to be put off duty status and sent to the psych."

One would think the rest of Black Squadron would take Kissy's hugging binges in stride by now, but Thorn is still surprised. Nevertheless, he instinctively returns the hug, and gives a shake of his head accompanied by a small smile. "It's forgotten," he reassures Kissy. "And… a ghost? I don't know what you're talking about. No such thing." There's a conspiratorial wink.

Matto gives one more tight squeeze before he lets go, chuckling softly, "Mmm, editing reality," he comments along with the chuckle. "I think I'm going to try to get some rack time. I'll see you later?"

Thorn nods. "Sure thing, Kiss." He moves aside slightly, allowing Kissy a straight shot to the hatch. "See you later, then. And… congratulations," he offers finally, a moment later.

Matto looks back with a momentary glance of confusion, just at the hatch, then realizes what he's being congratulated on and his features very nearly glow with the warm, radiant smile that blossoms on his face. Yeah, the boy is smitten. He gives a quiet little nod, almost as though sharing that delicious secret all over again, a hint of rosiness at his cheek before he sneaks out.

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