Shattered
Shattered
Summary: A quiet conversation between Legacy and Roubani takes a left turn into heartbreak.
Date: PHD115 (11 Aug 2009)
Related Logs: Related Logs: Rules of Engagement
Players:
Legacy..Roubani..

Kharon - Laundry

Roubani is sitting in a chair by a washing machine while it churns away, legs crossed, going through something in his hands. Not a book, or a computer tonight, but what looks like a piece of neon blue clay.

Thea slips into the Laundry with her pillowcase of stuff. Hidden by the pillowcase is a glass of something amber. "Evening Poet," she says quietly, heading to a machine.

The clay, or more like play-dough as it is, is leaving traces of ocean blue on Roubani's palms and fingers. He looks up as Legacy comes in, carefully rolling the clay between his palms. "Evening, sir."

She glances over at the clay and smiles a little, then turns back to her machine. "How're you doing this evening?"

"Fine, sir." Roubani's soft voice sounds pensive. Squish goes the clay as he wraps his fingers around the lump and squeezes, making a little mushroom bloom up. "Were you able to consume your gift without much…gastrointestinal angst?"

Her eyes crinkle at the corners, just a little. "It didn't bother me too much," she says, dumping her clothes in after putting her drink aside. "And it was wonderful to have something sweet. Thank you. How did the lessons go?"

"You tell me," Roubani replies, far too seriously. "You are the one that consumed the dissertation."

The machine is turned on and, for once, she doesn't go sit on it. Instead, she settles tiredly in a nearby chair. "I'd say the lessons went very well," she says quietly. "You'll be a master baker in no time."

"It is a good thing we aren't discussing fishing, sir," Roubani says, prim and soft. Gloop goes the slightly wet-looking clay in his hands. He is wearing the chain she gave him, off-duty as he is, though the pendant part is hidden by his T-shirt. "Whiskey?" The glass is given a slight eye.

The glass gets lifted in affirmation and then she takes a sip. "A very good thing we're not discussing fishing," she comments in reply, trying for solemn. "Because that brings up a whole other slew of mental images."

"Doesn't it, though." Roubani might be able to come up with the same ones as she. Or not. Hard to tell. He lightly scratches his eyebrow with his ring finger before banishing the general thought, and returning the clay to a ball rolled between his palms. "How are you, anyway." It didn't get asked before.

How is she? Normally she answers pretty quickly, or even automatically. Tonight, though, she's got her whiskey and likely has had some already. She's a bit more relaxed than usual. "Alive," she says simply. "How about you?"

"You've already asked me, sir," Roubani points out, as he continues playing with his toy. "Which I assume means you're wrapped up in more distractions than usual."

Shit. Caught. She offers him a crooked smile and chuckles. "A little," she admits after a bit. "Anything new going on in Engineering?"

"Not really." Roubani rolls the clay into a long cylinder, tearing it in half. And said half he offers over towards her, with one lightly blue hand. "Would you like some? It's good to smush. And the blue washes off, I do promise."

Thea hesitates for a moment, then shakes her head, smiling a little. "No, thanks Poet," she says softly. "Where did you find it? I haven't seen that stuff in ages."

"I made it." Roubani shrugs, rolling the two halves together again. They fuse easily, manipulated back into a big ball. "They wanted me to try cookies again but I put in salt instead of sugar. At that point it was inedible, but one can't waste these days."

One hand covers her mouth for a moment before she takes a slow sip of her whiskey. "I see," she says. And when she speaks, the laugh she was trying to keep coralled finally breaks free. "Well, it looks like something fun to keep your hands occupied. Better than bait, I suppose."

Roubani grunts. Pointedly. Hmpf, indeed. A few beats of silence go by. "May I ask a…squadron question, sir?"

A sip of whiskey and she nods. "Of course," she tells him, eyes cutting to his face, a bit curious.

Roubani thins his lips slightly, then lets his hands rest in his lap as he looks up. "I saw Kissybear around when it should have been his shift. Did…something happen?" His tone is tinged with obvious concern, though after a moment he amends, "I realise it's not exactly my business, and if it truly isn't then I retract the question."

She's quiet for a time and the smile fades to something a bit more tired. The sip she takes of her alcohol is a bit deeper this time. "It's no secret," she says quietly. "He mouthed off to the CAG in front of quite a few people. The CAG pulled him from flight status for two days for blatant disrespect."

"Oh." Roubani can't help the faint undertone of surprise in the breathed sound. "How odd. Kissy, not the CAG." The CAG, he would expect that from, apparently. A pause, then he nods to her. "I promise I won't get involved or anything, sir. I was just concerned."

"Kissy…is going through some things right now, I think," Thea says quietly. "Everyone else had their time when things first happened. Kissy…he didn't fall apart. He tried to keep everyone else going."

As she further explains the situation, Roubani falls respectfully silent. The clay's turned back and forth between his hands, an unconscious rolling to keep it supple. "So it strikes me, sir."

She's quiet for a time, attention focused somewhere past Roubani. "Did you know that Marek was in a relationship, Nadiv," she asks suddenly, not looking at the man.

Hard left turn into the awkward. Roubani has to take a second to process that she asked him that. And then another second to decide whether or not to tell the truth. He clears his throat very softly. "Yes, I did."

Thea simply nods and takes another sip from her glass. Nothing is said on the topic because, really, what else is there to say? "I'm considering leaving the Kharon," she says finally.

There was probably plenty to say, but fortunately Roubani is not the type to sprinkle salt in wounds he surely must know exist. He presses his thumbs into the dough, looking over at her. /That/ was surprising. "Goodness, why?"

"I can't do this anymore. I've reached the point where I feel like there's nothing left." The whiskey gets swirled in her glass. "I know it sounds like self-pity. But every time…" Her throat works. "Every damned time I try to keep going, to relax, something happens. I don't know how many more hits I can take, Nadiv. I really don't." She looks through the liquid in her glass, clearly not seeing it. "He told me he didn't want a relationship. He didn't think he ever would again. He said that if I wanted to screw, that was fine. I respected that. I was…fine with it, eventually. Over the weeks we fell back into an old pattern, a comfortable one. And I guess I misread the signs. Misread him massaging my shoulders and whispering in my ear. Misread the reminders of our past. So the other night I decided to take him up on his offer. The best of both worlds - A lover I knew, someone safe, someone I didn't have to worry about. That's when he told me. And he told me he loved me." A bit more of the liquid goes down. "When he said he didn't want a relationship, I guess I never realized that he didn't want one with -me-. There's a thin line between love and hate, and honestly, I've started to hate him. Between that, Hale, Vendas, trying to keep the Riders together and going, between losing the promotion…I'm just…I'm done."

Roubani's eyes flicker somewhere in there, once. It's hard to tell exactly what did it, and there isn't time for the rest of his expression to say anything before his eyes are back on her. "You're going to hate hearing this, Thea. But yes, it is self-pity." His hands still on the clay so he can rest his arms down on his legs. "What exactly would abandoning the Kharon do? Solve all that? Thea, you're not some gullible adolescent who can possibly think that not having to look at something will make it go away."

She shakes her head. "It's not just him, Nadiv," she replies quietly. "I feel disconnected up here. From everyone. For the first time in almost ten years I opened myself up to care for someone else. I tried to move on." She stands up, suddenly restless. "And he didn't…he didn't even have the frakking balls to TELL me he was seeing someone else." There's a change in her tone and the anger that had been pent up starts to seep out. She turns and swings her arm, fastballing the glass against the bulkhead. "I don't ask much, not of anyone. I give. And they're gone. They're all frakking GONE. Do you know how hard it is to trust someone?" Her voice rises and falls through that. It's not in a psychotic break kind of way, more in the way of someone who's reached the end of the rope she thought she already fell off. "I'm tired of it, Nadiv. I'm tired of giving to everyone else. There's nothing left. I'm not running away. I'm applying for the position on Scorpia." The word deluge finally stops and she stands there in profile. "Maybe."

The question in the middle being rhetorical, Roubani doesn't answer it. He stays seated as she gets up, quiet and still as she smashes the glass. There's no flinch, neither to that nor the changes in her voice. "Yes, you are running away. I'm not saying that as someone judging, who's never done it. I'm saying it as someone who knows exactly what it looks like."

Arms wrap around her abdomen protectively as she turns and blindly sinks into a chair. "I can't do this anymore, Nadiv," she says quietly. "I can't. I've tried." There's no hiding the tears, no hiding the fact that she's breaking down. Thea just bends at the waist, as if she'd put her forehead on her knees. "I've tried. I've tried so hard. I can't take anymore. I can't."

Kissybear, Roubani is not. It's quite a few long seconds before she can hear the sound of his chair scraping, as he pulls it up to hers so that they face each other. As he settles back into it, their knees touch. His hands unfold between knees, offering themselves palms up if she wants them. No doubt he probably has something to say but for the immediate moment that's all he does.

It's a very long moment before she sees his hands and gets herself together enough to take one of them, squeezing it gently. She keeps her head down, though, hair covering her face. Her breath comes in low, shuddering sobs. "I've tried, Nadiv. When Torch was here, I could do it. Now…Now I just…I can't."

"Torch hasn't been here for a long time," Roubani says, quietly but not babying the Captain. "Months now, months when you were doing fine. She may have been breathing and a heart beating, but when you spoke to her then you were talking to the same part of her that you are now if you close your eyes, Thea. You had faith she could hear you then…have faith she can hear you now."

Thea shakes her head stubbornly. "I can't feel her anymore, Nadiv," she says quietly, hand curling tighter around his. Blue smutz on his hand? She doesn't seem to care. "She wasn't here, but I could see her and talk to her. I tried to see her every day so that she knew she was loved. I told her about Sabrina. Even after Scorpia. Sabrina would have turned sixteen." Her jaw works and she shakes her head again. "Everything is gone," she says quietly. "The world ended. Torch is gone. Karim moved on while I wasted my godsdamned life wishing. I can't take more of this." Finally she looks up at him with what you might expect from a crying person. Though she looks, above all, lost. Utterly and completely lost.

"And when did they become the only two people in your entire life?" Roubani's hand tightens, a little bit like his voice does. "Do you even know, do you have any idea how people talk about you? Do you know…how much it hurts Thorn that he can't seem to make you feel better? How every time I see Matto - and I'm not kidding, /every time/ - he tells me about how much he cares about you and how he worries for you? Leda's told me how much he looks up to you. Nevice worries about you, Price worries about you." He purses his lips. "Thea, I understand how it feels to be ripped apart. Gods, I do. And you need to trust me when I say you're going to lose a lot more, no matter whether it's up here or down there. That's…the gods, that's circumstance. But it's up to /you/ to see all that you have left, damn it."

"How can I take care of them when I can't even take care of myself," she asks him quietly. "I know I have them left but I can't allow myself to get that close to them. They're my Riders. They're my PEOPLE. I'm the one they need to be able to turn to, to lean on." She shakes her head. "You've felt it, haven't you? The emptiness. The humiliation really doesn't even factor into it that much. I want to hate. I want to get angry. But nothing's left. There's nothing there."

"They don't want to lean on you, Thea," Roubani replies. "They want you to lean on them. They're not children, it's not a matter of being friends. It's a matter of being human. Do you know Eos has cried in front of me? I don't respect her any less, not a hint. I don't respect you any less right now…I would come to you in a heartbeat over someone who didn't trust me to listen to them and not walk away feeling less of them." He pauses a moment. "I know exactly…how empty it feels. So much that it feels like pangs of hunger, but you can't eat. Like a coma, but you can't sleep."

She nods slowly to that, watching his face. "That's exactly it," she says quietly. "The only time I felt safe since the attacks was with Torch. She stayed with me after. No one ever knew. She found out about the nightmares and stayed with me so I could sleep, so I wouldn't be alone when they woke me up." The sobbing's stopped, leaving her with that strange hiccupy breath. "I'm afraid to cry in front of them. Afraid that I'm going to get lost. Just because I've lost my security doesn't mean they should lose theirs." It's clear, though, that his words are starting to get through to her. Of course, she's got a death grip on his hand - something she's usually so careful about.

Roubani lets her grip his hand as she wants. His other hand is wrapped around the other side of her death grip, keeping her tense hand cradled. "Thea, humanity is gone. Our security has been lost for a long time, and you not trusting them doesn't give it back to them. It just makes everyone that much more lonely. I'm not saying go back to berthings and burst into tears in front of everyone…but there are little sparks everywhere around you. If you just take a breath and close your eyes you'll feel them. These little hints of warmth all around you. They'll keep you warm, Thea, but they need to be fed little sticks and breaths of air to be able to grow. And believe me, that's all they want in the world is to keep you warm. Just like Torch did."

Legacy laughs softly, but it's without humor. "Command ethics were bred into me from the time I indicated an interest," she says quietly. "It feels…it feels like I'd be crossing a line with them, one that I shouldn't. Thorn…" Her eyes close for a moment. "The last thing I want to do is hurt him. Knowing what I know, it would be so easy to accept what he's offering and not think twice. I try with Matto, but it goes back to ethics." Her attention pulls back to Roubani. "The nights are the hardest. I second guess myself. I was seeing someone before Hale. No one else knew. It wasn't…love. It was just sex. For both of us. He's a friend, but we didn't fool each other that it went beyond that. I told Hale that I was going to break it off with the other man. I felt he deserved to know that. I wouldn't tell him who. Was I wrong? Was I wrong to throw myself at Marek and take him up on what he offered? Now it feels…it feels desperate. Pathetic. Was there something else I could have done with or for Torch? Was there something I did to lead Thorn on? It's like I can't turn the questions off. I don't have the strength to face the mistakes."

"Thorn's a big boy," Roubani says, tapping the back of her hand with his thumb. His eyes flicker down. "Look, I've…had things get out of hand with people that I shouldn't have." Really? /Roubani/? "Twice, actually." He clears his throat quietly, a little uncomfortable with airing this, even nameless as it is. "But. We had it out and things hurt, but now they're quite precious to me. I trust them, I talk to them, they talk to me. And I would never, ever call them mistakes, because I know we all wouldn't be the same without each other. If you can look at Thorn or Matto or anyone else and say that, then of course, keep the ethics in sight. Don't make it about sex. Don't make it all or nothing, about having you or not having you." He exhales quietly, raising a shoulder to scratch at his cheek. "We can't change the past. We just can't."

As he talks, at the discomfort, Thea's thumb gently strokes along the back of his hand. "It's not about sex," she tells him quietly. "It's about ethics, about perception. It's about where that line is and when it can be crossed, if it can be crossed. I would never sleep with one of my Riders. COULD never do that. It's a betrayal of trust." Some things, well, are immovable objects. "I guess," she says after a moment, glancing away. "I guess that it comes down to not letting them see me hurting. I want to hate Marek." Of course she only calls him that when she's mad at him. "But I can't. There's just nothing there to hate him with. I want to hurt Hale as badly as he hurt me. But that's just the nature of things." After a bit she looks back at him, the tear tracks drying on her cheeks. "A petty officer told me tonight that I looked like I needed a good frak. Then walked out of the room." Ahhh, the irony.

Roubani shrugs one shoulder. "And? I've been told I need to pull the stick out of my arse more times than I can count. I don't care." That's said matter-of factly. "Listen. They know you hurt. You're already far beyond that point. I can tell when you hurt and so can they. You're right, it isn't about sex, it's just about…being trusted. Making them feel like you trust them to be men and not children that can't handle seeing someone cry. They want so badly just to be trusted."

"I have to chew Matto out," she admits quietly. "I hate the thought of doing it, but it has to be done. I need to get Thorn and Ivory back together again. They're like an old married couple who love each other but don't like each other anymore." The beginnings of a little smile tilt her lips upward slightly. "No, your stick needs to stay where it is. It's what makes you you. It's just…I'll probably tweak it once in awhile." She looks tired and drained, literally as if there's nothing left, but a little more…her. "Have you ever wanted to stop being thoughtful, being adult, and wanted to just rip into someone? Or to just be utterly selfish?"

"Matto is also a big boy," Roubani assures her, quietly. "He of all people will understand." Thorn and Ivory, he doesn't touch right away, as now he's considering her last. "Of course I have. Sometimes I'm quite jealous of upper ranks, you know…a little while ago someone above me got mad over nothing and called me a 'self-important little shit', right in public. I knew he was just irritated and taking things out, but goodness." He puffs out air between his lips. "Right then I was so envious that he could do that when he wanted and I couldn't. It sounds just awful, I know."

Thea's nose crinkles just a little at that and, as she's rather predictable, there's a hint of indignation in her eyes. "Whomever that officer is should have had a foot planted up his ass for pulling a stunt like that. Yes, he could. That doesn't mean he -should-. Part of being a senior officer is curbing those impulses." Her thumb continues to stroke over the back of his hand very lightly. "Of course, why do you think Marek and I made so much noise about you needing to be promoted? Because we both know you're the kind of officer who would be responsible enough not to pull stupid shit like that." Yep, indignant on his behalf.

Roubani chews gently on his tongue for a second. "…can I tell you something that you /promise/ you won't repeat, ever?"

Thea dips her head, head tilting to the side slightly. Her thumb goes still for just a second before going back to that simple repetitive motion.

Roubani coughs uncomfortably. There's a pause first. "The officer who called me that was Marek."

Her eyes narrow slightly at that, but sadly, she doesn't look surprised. "I'm sorry he had his head so far up his ass he thought that was appropriate," she says quietly. "Of course, he doesn't have a hell of a lot of experience being in command. If I ever hear him do something like that with anyone, rest assured I'll smack the brass off his pins."

Roubani clears his throat. "Don't…say anything. About that. I'm being honest, it's all bounced off by now." He glances down, chewing on the inside of his lip. "But you know, next day I was angry about that and some other things, and I was sitting with Nevice. She said something to me and all I could think about was how perhaps being that awful made Marek feel better, and I just…" He shakes his head, clearly ashamed now in hindsight. "…I was a complete arse to her and she got up and left. And I did feel better for a little while, that's what frightens me."

"Did you two talk about things," Thea asks after a moment, head tilting a little to the side so she can watch his face as he looks down. "You and Nevice, I mean. As for the feeling awful…I know. It's why I'm afraid to be around Marek. I know what buttons to push. I know where to hit him where it will hurt the most. And I'm afraid that I'll give into the temptation to hurt him as badly as he's hurt me."

"I haven't said a word to Nevice since then," Roubani admits. His foot even makes a little scuffle against the floor, like a kindergardener who's been called over for a time-out. "I don't know what to tell you, about Marek. Other than I know him, and I know the thing that hurts the worst is to know when he isn't forgiven."

Thea nods slowly. "And that's the thing," she says softly. "I'm not ready to forgive him. I'm so angry with him. He knows me. He knows me better than anyone else in this world." Which probably says a hell of a lot right there. "And he offered me pity sex." The last two words are practically spat. "I've only asked him for two things. One he denied me. The other he gave only after I begged." For a woman with Thea's pride, it's probably easy to see where the anger comes from. "He never realized that it wasn't about the sex. As for you and Nevice…" She comes back to the situation at hand. "I'm having problems with her. Every time I walk into a room, she leaves. I haven't been able to nail her down. I sent Ivory after her to see what's going on and make sure she's alright. I dare say she's upset with me for ruining her, ah, affaire d'coer with Birdman." Thea looks slightly abashed - but only slightly.

"Then don't forgive him yet," Roubani murmurs. "Forgiveness is never a thing to be given lightly. He knows that." Something in the JG's voice sounds dead sure about that. Must be a tangled Sagittaron thing, like much that goes between him and Marek. Then his brows draw, as he realises he's totally lost Thea somewhere in there. "Birdman?"

She smiles faintly. "Lieutenant Sparro," she says quietly. "One of my oldest friends. He knew me back before I entered the Academy. Pulled me drunk out of my first bar, even." And here she is, the Captain. "Right after she broke up with Tinman, Nevice was in Birdman's bed. That's where Tin found her."

"Oh," Roubani breathes, with the detachedness of someone who doesn't keep much ear to gossip. There's still that mild look of confusion though. "I don't understand…what did it have to do with you?"

Thea gently extracts one hand so that she can reach up, fingers lightly scratching at her cheek before she pushes her hair back. "I reminded Birdman what my opinion was about screwing in the squadron, and then let him know my -personal- feelings and the fact she was just using and manipulating him for comfort. He doesn't play that game and I knew he was going to get hurt. Less than a month before she fell in love with Tinman, she took the time to reassure me that she had no intention of dating or sleeping with anyone. Next thing I know, she's flirting pretty hard with Gunny Steele, in front of me, and then she and Tinman are in love. Within hours of the breakup with Tinman, she was in Birdman's bed."

"She told me that too, about her intentions," Roubani murmurs. Then there's the prim addition: "Not because I had done anything, you understand, she just said it." He shifts his knees, keeping his arms down on them. "Kissy noticed it too. I don't know, women are so difficult."

Thea can't help but grin at that last. Her hand returns to his, gently squeezing it now rather than trying to wring the blood out of it. "Nadiv," she murmurs softly. "The irony in that statement. Yes, women can be difficult, but so can men. Men are downright baffling at times."

Roubani is looking directly at her by now. "This is not an argument I can win, is it."

A brow arches delicately and she laughs. "It's an argument no one can win, Nadiv," she tells him solemnly. "Neither side will ever understand the other. That's why we have opposite gender friends, to help us translate when needs arise." She hesitates for just a moment, considering her next words. "Is there…someone you're having difficulty translating?"

"No," Roubani replies, mildly. "I confess sometimes I like being in the dark. It absolves me of guilt."

Thea laughs softly and shakes her head. "It does, yes," she says quietly. "But you also miss out on a lot of things that come to light."

"I believe I'm alright with that," Roubani says, in the same borderline monotone voice that makes it nigh on impossible to tell how serious he really is. "I have to do my part in perpetuating stereotypes."

She just watches him for a time, then leans in and brushes her lips near his cheek. No, there's no contact made, just the suggestion of such. "Thank you, Nadiv," she says softly, lips not far from his ear as she starts to sit back again. Blue eyes find his and hold them for a moment. "There are times I've been tempted to shake you out of that stereotype. But I have the sneaking suspicion you'd surprise the hells out of me."

Roubani holds very still when she gets that close, as though uncertain whether she's about to caress him or slap him. When it's neither he seems to relax a little bit, his eyes turning to follow hers. Even this close it's hard to tell that his pupils and irises are different colours. When he talks finally, it's not the sort-of joking that he addresses. "Think more about things before you decide about Scorpia? Please?"

She shakes her head. "I don't have to," she tells him quietly. "I'm not going." It's apparently that simple. "At least, not with this first position. We'll see what the future holds." Thea hesitates for a second, then leans forward until her forehead just barely touches his. It's as if she's afraid he'll pull away. "If I went, you wouldn't be there."

"/I/ get to be selfish and say that I would miss you horribly," Roubani replies, gently squeezing her hand. "You though, you've got be sure things are how you want them. As well as they can be, for you. And if you stay, you've got to promise to think about what I told you."

Thea's eyes close as she just rests there against him. "I promise," she says softly. "Though…I think I just needed some perspective." There's a pause for a moment. "And a good cry. I think I still need to have the temper tantrum, but that can wait until the next problem that comes up." There's a hint of humor in her voice, though sadly she's mostly serious. "I may just kick Marek in the balls for good measure." Her lips turn up a little, pursing slightly. "As I was walking out the door the other night, I told him that the only reason I threw myself at him was because he was an easy lay." Oh, yes. Definitely some humor there.

Roubani softly clears his throat. "I'm afraid I wouldn't know. I'm also afraid I cannot condone any violence against another man's testicles…it violates code. Though off the record, I wouldn't report you."

She snorts softly. "I'd be surprised if you -did- know," she murmurs. "Though he is a fairly easy lay. All it took the first time was me throwing my drink on him in the men's room of a club." As she takes a left turn into TMI before realizing she actually spoke. "As for the testicles…well, he'd have to have some for me to do violence against them, now wouldn't he?" Yes, very pert and tart. "Maybe I'll just frak up the springs in his favorite chair."

At the first thing she says, Roubani seems to realise how that actually sounded. His face flames a heated red of embarassment, and he frees up a hand to press it against his cheek as he turns his face away. A soft cough later, his ears are still hot as he replies. "I daresay it wouldn't be half as satisfying."

Thea settles back as he turns away, then reaches out to touch a fingertip to his cheek. It's brief and light, just a brush. "No," she says softly. "Satisfying would be making him feel every bit of hurt, every tear he made me cry, the selfish bastard," she murmurs, watching his face. "But yet there's something about him that just…draws people, like a moth to a flame. You know you're going to get burned, but damned if it isn't good to enjoy the heat before you die." Her lips quirk at the corner. "Are you alright, Nadiv," she asks quietly.

"Certainly." Roubani's ears say otherwise, but it rolls off the tongue easily. "But I confess I'm exhausted and my dryer went off about fifteen minutes ago." He glances over his shoulder towards said machine, then back. "I'm going to have to leave you in peace for the evening."

With a final squeeze, Thea releases his hand and nods, once. "Thank you," she tells him quietly. The peace part of his statement will likely take some doing. "I think I'm going to listen to my clothes dry then try to get some sleep. Get some rest, Poet. And sweet dreams."

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