Summary: Legacy endeavors to coax contrition from Kisseus over the CAG matter, only to get hit with an avalanch of contrition on quite another score.
Date: PHD113
Related Logs: Undressed, A Mess in the Mess, Misotheists in Foxholes

It's been a few days since The Incident and there's been no summons from Thea. She's been out on CAP, working odd shifts, trying to make up for the shortfall. But today, today the summons comes. There's a note waiting for Kissy from her in the form of an IC memo. The Memo usually doesn't get used. It got used. This evening finds her sitting at the table in the bunks, in uniform, with her game face on.

Matto shuffles over the threshold just as the mild beeping from his watch is supposed to be waking him. Many a person might assume to see him skulking in that he'd taken up a better offer for sleeping arrangements, but those who know him are more likely to assume he fell asleep down in the lounge or something. In any case, he looks more or less shaken. The watch stops beeping after its allotted time, and, without going to his bunk, he looks at the Legsykitten, approaching her in less than his usual jovial fashion. "Captain," he manages out, as if his mouth had gone numb.

Her eyes follow him into the berthings, attention drawn by the beeping of the watch. Her expression is unreadable - always a bad sign. She simply watches him, though, displaying neither judgement or condemnation. "Sit down, Lieutenant," she says quietly. There's a HINT of offer in there, but on the whole, it's clearly not a suggestion.

Matto sits down, his watch up in his bunk with the memo as yet unseen. From these closer quarters he looks as though he might not have slept at all, alleviating queries about where on earth he's been slumbering, though perhaps bringing up a lot of other questions. He settles in with that same vaguely harrowed expression.

And so Thea simply waits, studying him. Of course there's a flash of concern in her eyes, this is Thea, after all. However, she doesn't immediately launch into anything, merely watches him and waits. It's rather clear that she's not going to break the silence. He likely knows why he's here. Close up, he might realize that she's wearing makeup - if he's paying attention. She usually doesn't wear anything at all, prefering to use makeup only to hide what needs hidden when it desperately needs it. Her eyes look slightly swollen, a touch red.

Matto has made no particular efforts to hide the swelling of his own eyelids, the rosiness applied to the whites of his eyes. He sits there in silence for a good while longer, his mouth hanging slackly open a few degrees, his lips dry. Finally he breaks it. "I never thought…" he starts, then stops. "I never wanted to hurt anyone, Captain. Least of all you." Eyes begin to water again at that last word, though he doesn't cease his dead-eyed stare atraight across the berthings. "But maybe I did, after all." His breathing slow and steady in an effort not to get upset again. "You're hurting," a hitch in his breath, there, "And I never wanted to see you hurting."

"I want to know what happened, in your own words," she says finally, voice low and quiet. "I want you to start at the beginning, and I want to know -why-." The why, actually, seems to be the most important. "This is not the time for dramatics, Lieutenant. I would like to know what happened with the CAG."

Matto seems about ready to comply, until the last few words sink through his skull. The CAG? He turns his red eyes toward the Captain, finally, in a brief look of confusion, before he realies what she's talking about. "With the— oh—" brain shift. Or, attempted brain shift. He shakes his head, trying to bring his mind back to the matter on his Captain's mind. "Um." Still vaguely numb-lipped, "I made some joke or other. He took offense, gave me this essay to write. I have a copy for you. Why? Uh." A breath or two as he tries to recall the incident in question, "He said something… I dunno, it just sounded like a straight line, right, so I followed up with the punchline. He was laughing about it, he joked back, it went around the room, people chiming in. You know how it goes. Then he turned serious, and gave me the essay," he gives a more complete report.

Her eyes narrow ever so slightly as she considers his words. Oh, she's not happy, that much is clear in her face. She's decidedly unhappy with his report. The type of unhappy that usually ends up with a leather enema. However, she doesn't light into him. That, in and of itself, is probably a surprise. "What else is going on, Lieutenant," she asks simply, tone light and even. Killing him, at the moment, apparently isn't an option. Though she's thinking about it.

Matto takes a deep breath as they get back to the matter at hand, and he looks down to the table. "When I was young…" and his heart was an open book? "I decided to take it into my hands to wage war on the Gods." He swallows, "I took my punishment from Aphrodite without complaint, and I thought that that was… well, that." He looks up at Legacy again, "But I've been told the… stain… of Aphrodite's hatred has spread to those closest to me here. That… I'm putting you all in danger," he furrows both brows at the word. "I didn't want to believe it, but— I started thinking. Kassia," he notes, she of the perpetually needy loins, "Thorn," whose misadventures in love the Captain herself if privy to. His face nearly contorts into a grimace, "Poppy," whose troubles he knows only too well. His eyes raise toward the Captain, wordless, now, but pained, not saying anything, but the question implicit in his eyes. Hasn't she ever felt that Love was simply… making war against her?

Thea simply watches him for a time and then, oddly, her eyes go just a touch wide. Love was simply making war against her? The woman who's been humiliated by love three times in as many weeks? The woman whose heart perpetually has an open sore on it? Her head tilts ever so slightly to one side as she studies him. "How, exactly, does that work," she asks slowly - and rather carefully.

Yeah, that's what Kissy thought. The recognition of the fact in his Captain's eyes makes him look all the more wretched. "I don't know all the… ecclesiastical details. But the new priest we picked up on Scorpia — she noticed the contagion, and she confronted me about it— I didn't tell her about that time in the temple. She had no way of knowing, and still, she knew."

The Captain nods slowly, consideringly. "And do you think this…contagion has any bearing on your open disrespect toward the CAG in front of other people," she asks quietly, a brow arching ever so delicately. One-track mind, apparently.

One-track mind, is right. A pause as Kissy's mind reels faintly from the sudden yank back to what, for him, is decidedly the less important of the two matters. "Um. No?" he doesn't think so, anyhow.

She's quiet for a moment, considering, then nods once. "You'll write a formal letter of apology to the CAG and will deliver it to him, in person, and deliver it." Her eyes narrow very slightly as she adds the word, "Sincerely." It's a warning. She will kick his ass if she hears otherwise. "I'll decide by tomorrow if your new callsign will be 'Virus,' 'Balls,' or 'STD.' I'm leaning toward the later." Well, when she makes up her mind, she makes up her mind. "Now, unless you have anything else, this meeting is adjourned and you'd best be in your rack when I get back from the head." There's…something in her eyes, as if she's trying to communicate something to him without verbalizing it.

"I already wrote him one," Kisseus replies. Not cheeky, just the facts. "Besides the essay he asked for," he adds, in case she thinks he's trying to pass the one off as the other, "I gave it to him yesterday. Do you want me to write another one?" he asks. 'Cause he will, if she asks him to. There's nothing in the way of fight in his voice. Not that there ever is, he's not the type to resist orders or even requests. This just sounds… dead. Soulless. A decided change from his usual cheerful demeanor. One of these things has gotten to him, somehow. Two guesses which one.

The Captain pushes to her feet slowly, as though she's aged twenty years. "Rack," she says, pointing to his bunk. As she passes him, she leans down slightly and murmurs, "I'll be there in five minutes. Go curl up." Ahhhhh. There's the Thea he knows. The business has been put aside. The ceremonial trip to the head indicates that the old shit is about to get flushed and the Captain is stepping out - as the Captain.

Matto stands, nearly tripping over his own feet as he does so, as if he didn't have any sensation in those extremeties. He doesn't reply to either order or murmur, but climbs slowly and carefully, keeping his clothes on and lying down over top of the blankets, flat on his back with his hands on his chest, staring at the ceiling.

Thea's gone less than five minutes. In fact, she's back in three, wearing her shorts and tanks. The uniform is folded and dropped on her bunk as she goes past. No, she doesn't stop. The other Riders all look at her then decide to be somewhere else. There are some things you just don't question. And if the Captain crawling into bed with Matto might seem odd, well. In she slides, curling up against Kissy's side and insinuating an arm beneath his neck to support it. The curtain gets closed with a quiet snick before she very gently wraps around the young man, body warm, offering him strength. No, she doesn't speak.

Matto has had enough women up in his bunk with such decided lack of controversy that there's likely no one in Black Squadron to assume anything awry of the sleeping arrangements. There might still be some red squadroners who might look at it strangely, but. The bare flesh of his neck and arms a little clammy with sweat, and, as he doesn't move in the least, it's rather like hugging a corpse, and the pauses are almost worryingly long between the shallow rising motion of his chest to indicate that breath and life are still in him. His nostrils clogged, he keeps his mouth slightly open to facilitate the whole air thing.

"I'm here, love," Thea whispers quietly. "And no matter what the hell happened in the past, it doesn't impact how I feel about you now. It doesn't impact the fact that I love you. You are my friend. No matter what. What you did wasn't malicious." If, in fact, he did anything at all. She's clearly not convinced. But HE is, which is what matters. One hand slides over his arm slowly, as if she's trying to warm it, to warm him.

Matto keeps his eyes fixed upwards, mouth at that vague angle of open. His lower lip twitches a little bit, as though he were summoning up some ghost of a word. It doesn't come audible, though, whatever it was meant to be.

And so she holds him, gently stroking his arm with soft, soothing touches. Her voice is quiet and gentle, murmuring words of encouragement and love. She's worried as hell, but this is Kissy. "It's going to be alright, Kissy," she whispers quietly. "No matter what happens. I'll be here. Poppy will be here. Karim will be here. The people who love and care for you will be here. It's alright, love. It's ok to just let go sometimes."

Matto stops trying, mouth closing briefly, just long enough for a breath to be laboriously half-drawn through blocked nasal passages before it opens up again to continue making the air-getting process less noisy. His body remains still: a less cuddly collection of listlessly arrayed limbs could scarcely be imagined.

Now she's getting a little worried but, well, there are some times when all you can do is hold and talk. "I don't think you did anything wrong," she tries after a bit, voice continuing to be quiet and gentle. "And I certainly don't think anything you've done has affected my love life." A hint of a smile. "I've frakked that up all on my own."

Matto's eyes, 'til now fixed in place, now move. Not toward Thea, though, but twitching up as if they were rolling up into his head, but with more focus to them than that. He sets his feeble stare on the purple gummy bear that's attached somehow to the wall at the head of his bunk, just below the recessed shelving.

"Talk to me," she asks quietly. No, she's not pleading - not yet. Right now Thea just holds him, tries to warm the clammy skin. She curls just a little closer to his side, offering her heat and strength without words.

Matto keeps his eyes on the strange bit of decoration that stares back at him all upside-down from the head of his bunk. A few more shallow breaths and he finally speaks. "It was malicious. I hated her. I still do," he whispers, in a voice that doesn't seem energetic enough for any emotion as strong as hate.

"Because she took Tavi from you," Thea says quietly, finally starting to understand. Her hand slides to his chest, over his heart. "That's not malice. That's hurt, love. You were hurt and something happened. You didn't premeditate anything." The words are quietly coming, relaxed.

"I'd do it again," Kisseus whispers. "I hate her so much." Nope, the emotion still isn't there. "Why didn't she just kill me when she had the chance? Why… why take it out on you? I never wanted you to get hurt," there, there it goes, some emotion choking at his throat, but grief, not hate.

Thea's quiet for a little bit then shakes her head. "My humiliation is my own, Kiss," she murmurs. "I didn't know he was seeing someone. I didn't realize that when he said he didn't think he'd ever be ready for a relationship, he didn't want one, that what he meant was that he didn't want -me-." Oh, she aches. Even though she's trying to keep her voice even, that humiliation on top of the other two can be heard in her voice. "THAT isn't your fault. And the gods…are…well, they're weird, Kiss. We KNOW this."

"And Kassia," Kisseus continues, "She was such a shining star… she was so content to be on her own. Happy with herself, by herself. And now… she's never satisfied. She had a man who wanted to marry her; when he wanted to marry her, she ran after others. Now he doesn't, and she's miserable. And Poppy…" his voice breaks there, hardly able to stand it, "Oh, Gods, Poppyflower… what did I do to you? You were such a happy girl when we met. You stole all the light from every room you entered," he recalls. And now? No matter how Kissy keeps thinking of her like she was, even he can't ignore the way she drifts dark and silent from room to room, frustrated in love and life.

Thea's arms tighten around him gently. "Honey? Sometimes it's not all about you," she tells him, voice low and quiet. "They make their own choices. We all make our own choices. The gods, well…" She shrugs delicately against him. "It's ok. Is there a way to make things better? Do something different?"

Matto swallows, inhales roughly through his nose in a long sniff, then exhales, red eyes finally turning to the side to look at Thea, with a slight motion of his head to face her. "I have to go to the priest. Get purified," he murmurs. He seems resigned to it, by now, though it elicits a deep note of pain. "I have to let the bitch win, I guess. She would have won anyhow, eventually. She's somewhat longer-lived than I." Was that a joke? If it was, it was one delivered without mirth. "I guess that's why only fools and madmen make war against the gods. It's an empty endeavor, in the end."

Thea's cheek brushes gently against his shoulder, a touch worriedly, but she nods. "Perhaps…it's time to talk with the priest to see if you can figure out why Aphrodite did this, what lessons you need to take away? Do you think that Aphrodite minds what's going on?" She sounds a tiny bit worried, but her arms are still around him, still warm.

"No," Kisseus answers quietly. "She doesn't have a woman's heart. She only wants to collect her quota of tears and call it a day," he elaborates, some bitterness edging into his voice as the first actual indication of the alleged hate he feels.

The woman simply curls around him, cheek resting against his shoulder, hand over his heart. "I'm sorry love," she whispers quietly. "I wish I knew what to say, how to say it. I just…I don't believe that deeply." But she knows he does.

Matto's passing association with religion has been almost wholly concentrated in this one endeavor. Whether the gods exist at all he couldn't say; but Aphrodite has become some sort of personal demon, haunting him with phenomena which have caused her to be very concretely manifested in his mind. Or maybe he's just being figurative, and using her as his way to express discontent with the universe. But now the universe is hitting back harder than he'd ever expected. "I'm glad," Kisseus tells his captain quietly. "I've hurt too many people who do believe with this already."

Thea hugs him tightly. "I'm here for you," she says quietly, softly. "No matter what, I'm here and will help you. We'll get through this together." The Captain is a much more…simple woman, where those things are concerned.

Matto inhales deeply through his nose again, producing a lovely noise that clears out a great deal of snot. "Thanks, Kitten," he whispers, finally lifting a listless hand to rest on top of one of hers with a gentle pat. "I guess I should tell… Captain Marek. He'd want to get… cleansed and all."

Her fingers curl in his for a moment and she gives a quiet bark of laughter. "Oh, he's getting 'cleansed' alright," she murmurs, trying to not let the bitterness creep into her voice. "Of course, I didn't know until I threw myself at him to take him up on his offer of no strings frakking."

Matto holds the Kitten's hand softly, gently moving his thumb along the side of her hand, his eyes meeting hers weakly. "I told him I was happy for him. In the note. He found someone, he'll be settling down again, now," he continues to hold his Captain's hand in a weak but fond gesture. "I hoped it would make things easier for you. You know, him being settled and… well, you know, back to the way things were before. Like he was married. Put him back in that box for you."

Her eyes close as she curls up against his chest, tighter. "He was never in that box, Kissy," she whispers quietly. "Never. I frakked him when he was engaged. I fell in love with him then. He was never in love with his wife." The words fall from her lips slowly, as if she's afraid to let them go. "I wish I could tell you, Kissy. I wish I could describe it. I'm not happy for him. I hate him. There's a very thin line between love and hate and he's pushed me over. I want to hurt him. I want him to know what it feels like to lose a godsdamned -dream-. I want him to know what it feels like to be utterly rejected and humiliated. To know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of mixed signals." The tears clearly weren't far from the surface. He can feel them start to fall. "He did it deliberately, Kissy. He's a selfish bastard. I only asked him for three things. Two of those he rejected me, outright. The other…I had to beg for." Shattered, shredded pride. It's not a good look on her.

"Maybe it's time for him to go in the box, then," Kisseus whispers. "I know that hate, I know that desire… to make hurt like you've been hurt," he continues, "But as much as it'd be nice to get revenge, it'd also be nice not to… get firing squadded or something," which, given the Captain's reaction to a fairly innocuous joke, he assumes would be the reaction to something actually humiliating.

Thea shakes her head slightly. "Between Hale and Marek," she says quietly. "I feel…ugly." Not 'they make me feel,' but 'I feel.' "The night after I found out about Marek," what she calls Kai only when she's angry at him. "An enlisted told me I looked like I needed to get laid. Then he promptly turned his back on me and left." Hit after hit after hit. This is…a little unlike her, to open up so quickly. "It hurts to be left behind and forgotten."

Matto looks into his Captain's eyes, "I know," he tells her, quiet. He's been left behind and forgotten, after all. Perhaps only once, but— that one time hurt enough. The only man he'd ever loved, and has ever loved since. "I'll never forget you. You know that, right? You're never alone. And you're a beautiful woman, Kitten. I know it doesn't mean much from me. But you are."

She snuggles in holding him tightly, clearly not planning on letting go. "You're not going anywhere," she tells him quietly. "Poet wouldn't let me run away and I'm not going to let you go." It's simple, quiet.

Matto looks at his Captain, his countainance still more or less wretched looking, though his emotions are returning by mild degrees. "I'm not leaving. Not 'til it's my turn," Kisseus tells her, indicating that he assumes his only way out of his current post will be in a wrecked raptor or being flushed out the airlock with the garbage. "Do you want a kiss, Kitten?" he asks her. The side of his lip twitches like he's been getting lessons in smiling from Nadiv. "There's a contest on, y'know."

Thea lifts her head slightly to look up at him, brows pulling together a little bit. "There's a huh wha," she asks, clearly a little surprised. "A contest? As for the kiss - I'd love one, sweetheart. But I want it to have the passion of attraction behind it. I want desire."

"A kissing contest. Departmental," Kissy informs her, "Some marine is marking score. Red squadron's ahead 'cause Jupiter gave her tongue. I'm still pretty out of practice, but I'll do my best. Passion, though— no, I'm fresh out of that, I think. Sorry, Kitten. I think 'affection' is about all the bitch left me to work with."

Huh. That gives her pause for a moment, but it's the last that has her pausing even more. This is clearly something she would never do, and Kissy KNOWS this. But she leans in, eyes closing, and brushes her lips against his. It's a very soft kiss, one that's almost tentative, yet there's quite a bit of tenderness and affection there.

Matto's lips are chapped and a little clammy and cold from long showers in tears, but they warm under the Kitten's, faintly, and move with hers. As advertised, no passion there, just a lazy, almost lethargic grazing of lip agaisnt lip in a soft blossom of affection and devotion blooming from the dullness of his grief-wearied features.

Her kiss conveys love and affection, certainly. When she kisses, well, it's easy for him to see how she can be so hurt. Her lips move over his as if he's the only person in her world, as if he's utterly adored and worshipped. It's not a kiss about sensuality and grand desire, but something slowly blossoming. It's the first bud of a daffodil pushing out of the snow. He is offered everything, nothing held back. She is warmth and sunlight, gently coaxing him back from the cold.

Where such sunlight would incite in the field of the average man quite a surplus of grain, a budding of flower and burgeoning and ripening of fruit in the hot sun of love, the sun here seems to be shining on a field salted by the enemy in war to make it fruitless. Warm the soil as it might, the pale sheathes of grass unfold simply to wither where they lie, but the single white-petaled flower which peeks in its purity from a spot unsoiled by the ravages of the campaign is offered up, petals unfolding to the sun as sweetly as anyone would like.

That single flower is nurtured and sheltered, gently encouraged rather than forced. The flower is celebrated. It doesn't need to be the whole field. That one flower is more than enough. The love remains, warming even the salted earth. A hand slides up to cradle his cheek, offering strength and love, passion and tenderness. She hides nothing from him - simply shows him who she is, offers him everything.

Matto might not be able to render the sunlight into fruit, but he bears the heat with an abiding affection and patience— until his nostrils go all clogged again and he has to slip his lips away from hers to do the air thing, panting softly, if for entirely the wrong reason.

Thea brushes her lips over his cheek then curls away a little, offering him a tissue. "Go get into your jammies," she tells him softly. "I'll tuck you in and stay with you for a little bit."

Matto blows his nose with a loud honk. "Thagks," he tells her, quiet, shifting a little bit, at length, and reaching down with a hand to pull the memo he'd managed to lie down on out from underneath him, "Whassis?" he wonders, still sounding kind of dazed.

Her lips quirk slightly at one corner. "That, my dear Madman, was the memo telling you that I expected to see your ass in my office tonight," she says fondly. It looks like his new callsign has been born.

"Oops," Kissy replies, looking a little apologetic. "Sorry, I— Poet and I stayed up talking about all this shit," he notes, blowing his nose again, less noisily. "He's been great, too. We're both lucky he has our backs," he smiles fondly but tiredly at the thought. "You're good at that, by the way," he tells her, "Kissing, I mean. Hopefully one day you'll find a guy to keep up with you," he even smiles. "And 'til then I think we've got a good chance in the contest." A sudden exhalation of breath that might be a laugh.

Thea gently nudges him in the side with her finger, a bit of a tickle. "You'd damned well better make sure we have a good showing in that contest," she says with mock fierceness. "I'll blame you otherwise. We can't have Fingers showing us up." She slides off his bunk, letting him slip out. "Go. Hot shower. Brush your teeth."

Matto sits up straight, wriggling a little aside at the finger to his ribs. Ticklish? "Yessum," he tells her, fondly, letting his Leontinian accent coat the word with that smoothly nasal twinge, putting up the memo among his personal effects on the shelf and shuffling down.

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