Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs
Summary: Roubani's attempt to cheer Legacy up leads to quite the show.
Date: PHD033
Related Logs: None. The song mentioned in the log is on Youtube here, for reference.

Kharon - Laundry

The laundry, yes. Exciting place, this, and at an off-hour it's all but deserted. Except for Roubani, who's sitting on a chair as he waits patiently for his dryer. His laptop is on a chair beside him, open to a work document, and some random soft music is playing through the speakers, nearly lost in the churning din.

Thea walks into the laundry in her sweats and tanks, the usual pillowcase of laundry being lugged with her. She's got some files tucked under one arm and her head down as she heads over to a free washer. Her movements are efficient, yet studied, a little slower than usual. "Evening, Ensign," she says quietly after only a brief glance in that direction.

Roubani glances up from the glowing screen, his fingers pausing on the touchpad. "Evening, sir. How are you?"

"Doing well, Ensign," she replies in a polite manner. "And yourself?" The clothes are split between two washers, both get turned on. But rather than hop up on one of them, she turns toward the chairs on the other side of the room from Roubani, well out of his way.

"Fine, thank you." Roubani scratches his eyebrow with his ring finger, adjusting his foot on the rung of his chair. "Will the music bother you, sir? I can turn it off."

"Hmmm," she asks, looking up absently. "No, not at all, Ensign. I could barely hear it with all the other noise in here." She offers him a bit of a smile as she moves to sit, facing his direction, though not necessarily facing him. Her hair's down today - must be off-duty time. Just barely visible beneath the straps of her thanks are the outlines of bruises. Very fair skin has its curse. Rather than pursue conversation, she settles in and opens a file, pen coming out from behind her ear. "Thank you, by the way." For what isn't exactly clear.

Roubani nods once. He doesn't elaborate either. "You're welcome, sir." He looks back at his screen, gently tapping keys to scroll it down. "Do you have any favourite music?" The question's asked after a few beats of silence. "I might be able to oblige."

She considers that for a moment, head tilted, eyes on the floor at Roubani's feet. "I usually prefer more upbeat music, something with a good backbeat. Other times, instrumental blues. And yourself?"

"A touch of most everything, really." Roubani runs his fingers over the touchpad, head tilting slightly as his eyes move up and down over the screen. "What are you in the mood for right now?"

"Something quiet, please," she replies, still polite. "Jazz or blues, something instrumental." Without words. Her attention goes back to her files. "Likely something that will harmonize with the washers."

Roubani nods, going quiet while he searches. Reaching over, he turns up the volume on his speakers, just enough so the tune will carry to her side of the DMZ. Jazz it is, an old, old classic that starts with a long, soulful piano cadence. Drums and a cello come in after.

She closes her eyes as the first notes reach her, seeming to savor them, letting them seep in. The cello has her shoulders unknotting just a little as well. A single nod precedes her return to the files in her lap. "Perfect."

"Classics are such for a reason," Roubani remarks. He settles back as the piece goes on, reading his screen. The cello gradually takes over the melody from the piano, filling the spaces between beats with a sound that's almost like someone humming, low and soft. Every so often the piano comes back in, as though answering the lingering questions the cello asks of it. Though what, exactly, they're discussing, only the language of music can really decipher.

It's clear the music soothes her, or at least gives her a bit of respite from whatever's on her mind. She works, not interrupting the conversation that's going on, but shamelessly eavesdropping on it instead. And work she does, the normally talkative Captain at a loss for words tonight.

The music enters a bridge, a few well-placed seventh chords instilling the quiet tune with tension. A soft horn lays extra notes over the cello's mourning, helped along by the piano, building along until everything fades but a powerful vibrato note from that string instrument. It sings by itself for a little while, gradually becoming subtly more uplifting, and when the rest of the instruments come back in the key has changed.

As the tension builds, Thea's eyes slowly close and she tilts her head back a little, as if lifting her face to the sun. It's not until that last note has sung itself out, faded completely, that she opens her eyes again to look off into the distance. Someone's mind has gone wandering, likely sans bread crumbs.

Roubani's typing paused somewhere in the middle of all that, and doesn't resume right away. The cello sings a repetitive cadence that reminds the listener of ripples of water, the piano resuming control of the melody in the new key. While it never becomes a joyful piece, the mood of it has shifted from quiet to more powerful, full of precious details like extra notes in piano's scale. Then one by one the instruments start to fade, starting with the horn, then the drums, leaving the cello and piano to say their farewell with one final chord.

Thea's been transported to another place and, perhaps, another time. Wherever she is, she's not here, she's where the music has taken her. As the farewells start, the wistful look takes over. Though it's something deeper than wistful, something more primitive, longing. Fingers curl around her pen as if, by squeezing it, she could keep the notes from fading away.

Roubani doesn't say anything either, indulging in whatever thoughts the piece inspired. It's a lovely moment, really, which the 'shuffle' function on his laptop promptly decides to wreck. A few seconds after the wistful fades out, upbeat kicks in. It almost startles the Ensign, who glances at the screen with the impulse to turn it off. But no, no, he lets it go and drums his fingers against his shin. Bars of an intro go by, building in piano, then a second one, then cymbals and drums, which make a playful riff. His dark eyes flicker to Legacy and both brows raise, and…oh hell no, he's not singing. Just lip-synching with the recorded tenor: 'Ooooooooh, Sugar pie, honey bunch…'

It takes a moment or two for Thea's mind to register the change in tempo and beat. Brows furrow a little, but then her head cants to the side a little and she listens. Soon enough, her lips have quirked up a little - though she's not looking at Roubani. Not yet, anyway.

'You know that I love you…' Roubani hams up closing his eyes on that line, still just kind of absently moving his mouth along with the song. And well, it's kind of fun. Beware! 'Can't help myself…I love you and nobody else….'. His arms unfold a bit, tapping his heart in time with the beat at that declaration, then bringing his index fingers together and quickly waving them apart to punctuate the next.

Ok, she can't quite ignore the fact that Roubani is now…chair dancing. And moving his mouth along with the song. Both brows go up as she just stares at him for a long moment. The wheel is turning, but it would appear the hamster's dead. There's a fundamental disconnect there that her poor mind is trying desperately to bridge. Blink. Blink. If her eyes get any wider, they'll likely swallow her head.

'In and out my life…You come and you go….' Roubani's dark eyes have reopened and he looks at the Captain, apparently addressing her now with this musical spectacle. And oh so seriously! 'Leaving just your picture behind…' In the four beats following the word he draws a frame in the air around her face, then moves both his hands to the air in front of his mouth. 'And I've kissed it a thousand times…'

Mouth open. Mouth close. Mouth open. Mouth close. Thea's looking more and more like a landed trout as the music goes on. Her head cants slowly and absently to the side as she just watches him, a hint of bemusement creeping into her eyes. She's not bouncing along to the music, not yet. But she seems to have come back more to the here and now. The spectable of Roubani butt-dancing in his chair, though, just has her absolutely entranced. Someone could likely hit her over the head now and she'd never see them coming.

Roubani laughs at the look on her face. Is it worth it? Apparently it is. He stands up without warning, flipflops scratching against the ground. 'When you snap your fingers…or wink your eye…I come a-runnin' to you…' The described gestures both get performed lavishly, and when the singer yearns about running, well, he does. A few quick steps with his long legs brings him close to her, and he dumps himself onto his knees, skidding an inch or two up to her side. His hands close on his chest, wrists crossed, and he leans back on his heels for drama. 'I'm tied to your apron strings…and there's nothing that I can do…'

That does it. Thea's mouth simply drops open as he comes sliding up to her and she just stares at him, absolutely unable to say a word. There's about ten seconds where she simply blinks at him, then she starts looking around, as if for a camera. Of course, she can't look away for long. It's as if she's absolutely drawn to what he's going to do next. Of course, she also can't help the color her cheeks have gone. The sprinklers will turn on at any moment. There's a briefly choked sound, rusty, and then a few giggles manage to escape, though she covers her mouth quickly.

Who knew all this was in such a reserved young man? Must be the study of math that gives him such a good sense of beat. Motown's got nothing on this moment. Instruments layer over the voice as the singer goes quiet, and one can almost imagine the group onstage doing their rocking side to side. Roubani gets to his feet and, since he's got nothing to 'sing' for a few bars, he holds out his hands towards her, gesturing her up. To dance? SRSLY?

Up. Dance. Wait. Nadiv. Holding his hands out to Thea. For dancing. One can almost hear the "tilt" sound from her mind. She hesitates for a long moment, then puts her files aside and stands, giving him a wry grin. While Thea nods to his hands, she doesn't take them. In deference, perhaps? Then she starts to dance. Dance, white girl, dance! There's a rhythm she's a pilot and not on Caprican Grandstand.

Roubani smirks. Spurned on the dancefloor! But he can take it, because the singer's back. ''Cause, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch…I'm weaker than a man should be…' He throws the back of his hand against his forehead for that one, whipping his head back. Ham. 'I can't help myself…I'm a fool in love 'ya see…' He flashes her a gentle grin, before the singer launches into the famous repetitive cadence. 'When I call your name, Girl, it starts to flame, Burning in my heart, Tearing it all apart…' And oh yes, all this gets a stage act with it as he stands in front of her, even letting his normally tense shoulders go. He's a graceful young man, in those times he doesn't walk around with a stick up his ass. 'No matter how I try…My love I cannot hide….'Cause Sugar Pie Honey Bunch…'

His enthusiasm is infectious. How could it not be? Thea's a little stiff at first, as if it's been quite some time since she last danced, but eventually she starts to let go. She's not as graceful as he is, but when she lets loose, she lets loose, hips and shoulders swinging. And then the unthinkable happens - she starts mouthing the words along with him, leaning in as he leans back, leaning back when he leans forward. Instead of a simple song, she turns it into a give and take.

'You know that I'm waiting for you…I can't help myself…I love you and nobody else…' And this, folks, fits the definition of 'rocking out'. Roubani steps around her as she dances, completing the lean forward and back in time, then even spins around on his flipflopped heels. He almost trips over his own feet but hey, you can't win all the time. 'Sugar Pie Honey Bunch…I'd do anything you ask me to…' He claps his hands over his heart, leaning over as his shoulders keep the rhythm. 'I can't help myself…I want you and nobody else…'

It's an instinctive thing for her to reach out toward his elbow as he starts to trip and her hand hovers just shy of touching him until he regains compromised balance. She can't help but laugh at the song, seeming lighter than she has in weeks. Even as she dances, she hams up the hand movements and the 'ohmygoshness' of being the 'object' of the singer's affections. Oh, swoon! Since she's in sneakers, she's not at risk of falling as much as she'd be in flip flops. And Thea dances, bruises, stitches and all, focusing on Roubani and seeming to forget about everything else.

'Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch…You know that I love you…' Roubani throws his arms open, making a heartfelt, lipsynched supplication. Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 'I can't help myself…No… I can't help myself…' And then way too soon, the song fades on a last endearment. 'Sugar Pie Honey Bunch…' The tall Ensign straightens up and regains some breath, lifting a finger in front of her after a second or two. "Don't you ever tell anyone I did that."

Thea shakes her head as the song comes to an end, a little breathless, eyes twinkling just a little. She hesitates very briefly, then playfully snaps at said finger with her teeth, stopping well short of actually catching it with her teeth. "And now, now I know your secret, Dancing Man. Don't worry, it's safe with me."

"You ain't too bad yerself, purty lady," Roubani replies in a stereotypical Aerelonian twang, making a show of hitching up his belt. Then he promptly drops that bit. "Gosh, there's no way I can keep that up."

Legacy chokes, laughing in surprise at the accent, nose crinkling a bit. "You need to move it up here," she says, pointing to her nose. "Let it come out a bit more nasal rather than trying to force it." Then she does the unthinkable, and demonstrates. Oh, God. That Aerelonian lady twang. It's Scarlet O'Hara, right from the head, breathiness and all. At least she doesn't flutter her ey…well, hell. She does. And somewhere on Caprica, or what's left of it, a butterfly is slammed into a tree and stunned by the breeze. "Why, thank you so kahndly, kahnd sir," she trills prettily. Then the facade drops and she grins, moving to drop back into her chair. "I haven't dance like that in forever."

"How genteel," Roubani remarks, smirking a little. He's a bit worn out, himself, having now exhausted his store of 'free-spirited' for the week. Folding back onto his own seat, the computer doesn't warrant a glance as it launches into some other random old jazz. "I don't think I've /ever/ danced like that. But, you know, mine is not to question why."

Legacy laughs softly at that, moving her files to the side. "You're good at it," she says quietly. "Very good at it. A natural performer. It was nice to see that side of you." One hand slides her strap back into place. Bouncing and clothes don't go well together. "Do you sing, as well?"

"Do pigs fly?" Roubani snorts quietly. "Why, do you?"

"Not well," Thea says quietly. "It's why I finally gave up musical theater. I have a decent mezzo-soprano. Well, had. But it's only background level."

Musical theatre. Roubani bravely doesn't shudder. "Do you like it, though? Singing, I mean."

Her head tilts a little, then she shakes it. "Not really. It wasn't my passion," she says with a small laugh. "Planes have always been my passion. Of the three, acting, dancing and singing, acting is what I loved the most."

"That always looked rather fun. Acting." Roubani muses on that, scratching the bridge of his nose. "Were you ever up on a stage in front of all those people, then?" He sounds genuinely interested in the topic.

Feet tuck to one side of the chair, ankles crossing. She seems almost prim and proper. Almost. "For about seven years," she admits, nodding. "I started when I was a child and…well, spent quite a bit of time on the stage over those years. When I moved to secondary education, I left the stage for the hangar." And never looked back. "I miss it, from time to time. The smell of the grease paint, the roar of the crowd and all of that."

"What was it like?" Roubani then asks. He doesn't clarify exactly what he means.

Thea leans back, eyes going distant. "It was…a heady sensation," she begins quietly. "It was the biggest game of pretend there was. On stage, I became someone else. I wasn't me." Memories, of course, have her lips tilting up slightly. "On stage, you could feel the heat of the lights more keenly. Smell the sawdust from the stage, the smell of everyone's makeup. There was…the scent of excitement in the air, wrapping around us. Not only did we have to transform, we had to take the audience with us. We had to make them -believe-." After a moment, she comes back to Roubani, curls bouncing a little as she shifts in her chair. "It was like the perfect dogfight, where you come home with your squad after kicking the ass of everything that was threatening those you love."

"It sounds lovely." Roubani seems thoughtful on this point for a while. "Plays. They seem sort of like…life with all the dull bits cut out."

"A little," she says, nodding. "Performing gives someone the chance to put on someone else's life for a little while. To…forget. It's the same with watching a well-done play." A soft sigh slips out and she studies him. "Have you ever performed?"

"Me?" Roubani looks surprised she'd even have to ask. "Oh no, not like that." He gives her a wan smile. "I haven't got the courage, not even boxed up somewhere in the attic."

Thea's lips turn upward just a little as she watches him, then nods. "Stage fright used to be a … bit rough," she says quietly, fixing her speech a little. "I'd get it afterward."

"Afterward?" Roubani rubs his cheek. "That sounds awfully strange."

She grins and nods. "A little. I'd be rather psyched up ahead of time, in the zone, just like getting ready in the cockpit to launch. The adrenaline would keep me high until the end, when it was all over and I had to come back down. The first few shows I'd always get sick afterward. But it was a rush while on stage." The files get shifted a bit and she looks down at them, tucking them into a different arrangement. "Do you have something that does that for you, Ensign?"

Roubani chuckles under his breath. "You'll think it very odd, sir…"

Thea's eyes crinkle a little at the corners. "There's very little I think of odd nowdays, Ensign," she says in a quiet voice.

Roubani makes a slight tilt of his head, eyes making a wry 'I'll give you that' flicker. "Well. I've always had a terrible attraction to heights. Going across them, more specifically…on the narrowest thing I could find. I could never quite explain it, how sick the rush at the end would make me, it was awful but yet I craved it at the same time."

"It was a natural high that no drug, no chemical substance, nothing could ever come close to replicating," Thea offers, head tilting in slight question. "Think that feeling might be part of why we're pilots?"

Roubani exhales through his nose. "Perhaps for you sir, yes. And believe me, I'm envious of such fulfillment."

Her lips quirk at one corner and she shakes her head. "There's not the same rush with Raptors as there is with Vipers," she admits. "Not for me, at least. I started my career in Vipers."

"So that feeling isn't part of it for you either?" Roubani asks, backtracking to try and understand her.

Legacy shakes her head. "I've…outgrown all of that, honestly. I don't need the rush like I used to. Oh, it's nice, it's satisfying, but there isn't that -need- for it anymore. I leave that to you young folk. I'm happier with more mundane things."

Roubani seems content to let her believe as she may about his motives. He just nods. "I'm sure everyone draws pleasure from a mix of the magical and the mundane, sir. Humans are, of course, complex."

She'd normally have a smart ass comment for that - but not this time. This time she just nods and smiles. "Do you still head for higher ground?"

"I have," Roubani answers, with a slightly mysterious twitch of his lips. On the Kharon? Quite possible.

Thea is, by this point, quite used to the enigma that is Nadiv Roubani. So she knows not to prod, though she does give him a curious look. "Good. You've still got that option."

"We always," Roubani says softly, "Have options."

"That we do," she says, dipping her head. "When a door closes, a window opens. Somewhere." One hand reaches for her files again.

"Assuming one even bothers to acknowledge there are walls," Roubani replies. His hands fold loosely on his leg as he watches her pick up the files. The silence is willing to let her get back to herself if she wishes.

"There are always walls," Thea says, retreating back behind her own. "They enable us to compartmentalize and organize what needs organized. They give us respite while we formulate plans of action. They are a strategic tool."

"I disagree, but," Roubani glances at his dryer as it buzzes, standing up. "How we limit ourselves is our choice."

Thea glances up at him as he stands, then nods, once. "Everyone works differently and within differing belief systems."

"Yes." Roubani pops the dryer open, removing clothing. Which, of course, he folds into a very neat pile. "It's a good thing we can learn or my goodness we'd be in trouble."

Legacy chuckles softly and nods. "Learning happens every day. It never ends. Sometimes it just takes longer for a lesson to sink in."

"Sometimes," Roubani comments. He plucks a T-shirt out, folding that and setting it on the growing pile. "And sometimes we end up learning the wrong one."

A file is flipped open. "Sometimes," she agrees softly.

Roubani shuts the dryer, pressing it with his knee to be sure it's secure. Basket in arm, he turns back to shut his laptop, and pauses with his hand on it. "I can leave this is you'd like some music with you. I've got to get to bed, I'll hardly be needing it until morning."

Legacy looks up and offers a small, professional smile that's tinged with sincerity. "No, thank you, Ensign. Music is best when shared with someone. Thank you for sharing with me."

"As you like, sir. You're welcome." Roubani shuts the machine with a soft click, and the jazz notes filtering through the air stop. He bundles the laptop on top of the clothes in his basket, shifting the whole thing in his arms and pushing the chair out of the middle of the floor with his foot.

She watches him for a moment, making sure everything's balanced, then dips her head. "Rest well, Ensign. Good hunting if you're out on CAP before I am."

"And the same to you. Goodnight, sir." Roubani nods to her and slips out the hatch, flipflops making that ka-scritch, ka-scritch sound on after him.

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