Sides of the Fence
Sides of the Fence
Summary: Martin and Roubani had never actually talked much. Until now.
Date: PHD142 (8 September 2009)
Related Logs: Samantha/Martin breakup logs, etc.

Kharon - Storage

Martin's found his way down to the storage room where the bachelor party was the night before. Apparently preferring to be alone at the moment, he's seated up against a crate with his knees propped up and a book in his hand. Eyes lidded as they scan over the pages, his ears are covered with the earbuds from his music player.

The problem with wanting to be alone is that there are fewer places to be alone than there are people that want to be alone. Storage doesn't stay empty for very long; the hatch spins about half an hour after Martin claims his spot. Roubani has a full mug of tea and a cigarette behind his ear, a notebook under one arm. Not expecting anyone else to be in the place, he hits one of the switches on the wall as he comes in, taking out some of the lights. Gods. Dim. Better.

Looking up at the suddenly dimmed lights, Martin's brows knit together in the sudden realization that he's either going to be interrupted or he's going to be locked in. Quickly, he speaks up. "Don't lock it." Rising from his spot, he pulls off his earbuds to see that it's Poet. Exhaling a sigh of relief, he offers the man a wave. "Hey…I'm being quiet, I won't interrupt if you wanna find a spot."

Roubani starts at the sound of someone's voice, brows drawing as he tips his head, trying to see who it is. "Oh, Black." The sigh of relief is mutual, even synchronised. "Thank you. When I make the mistake of catching people in here, they're rarely reading…" Touch dry, that. "Would you like the lights?"

"No, go ahead and keep them dim, I've got good eyes and I actually have a little reading light thing." Martin replies, smirking as he sits back down against the crate. "I know what you mean, though, I've had that problem once or twice since all of this started. I'm not invading your spot, am I?"

"No, no." Roubani sounds mildly amused at the notion that he even has 'a spot'. Though he does head for a particular crate, settling and resting his back against the wall. The notebook isn't tackled right away, his head let settle against the wall. Closed eyes feel so good. "How is your arm?" It's a wonder his voice carries like it does, soft as it always is.

"It's mostly better. I've got to work some of the arm strength back up, but other than that we're talking days, maybe a week?" Martin replies, lifting an eyebrow to Poet. Pushing his back against the crate to stable himself, he looks to the notepad. "So this is why they call you poet? Find a dark place and write?"

"Heh. No." Roubani drifts his eyes back open and fishes the cigarette from behind his ear. "I once explained some facet of quantum indeterminacy to Marek in verse. I wasn't the author, but I suppose the reputation stuck anyway." He taps his fingers against his pocket, checking that he's got his whole pack with him, and makes a motion like he might toss the unlit smoke in his hand. "Care for one?"

"Sure…" Martin replies, moving his hand to catch. His other hand pulls out his cigarette lighter in anticipation. "You know, you and I, we've never really talked too much but it seems we've always been on opposite ends of the same social circle. I've got to ask. Do I come across on some level as a dumbass?"

Roubani makes the toss annnnnd three points. A new smoke's pulled from his pocket, lighter from the side flap of his duty trousers. The question catches him off-guard, perhaps, as one brow gently goes up over the little flame that he sparks to life. He tilts his chin up as smoke rises. "A…?" The term's not repeated. "No, not at all. I should say you come across as someone with…" He pauses to look for the word he wants. "Imagination. More than most. Why, do you think that's how you come across?"

Martin takes the smoke and lights it. Turning his head to gaze behind him, he moves to be wedged between two crates so that he can go slack. "I don't know. I don't spend too much time showing people my insightful side. I mostly just play the clown." He pauses, turning to look at Poet. "You're a quiet guy, a watcher. I guess sometimes I wonder just what you're looking at."

"Disparities," Roubani answers quietly, at once blunt and vague. He taps the end of the cigarette towards the floor. "Really, I mostly know you through other peoples' eyes. Eddie's. Kisseus'."

Martin's lips curl into a feral grin at the mention of Kisseus and Eddie, a few good times rolling through his mind. "I can only imagine." He says, lowering one side of his face so that his lips form into a smirk. "It's pretty much the same from my angle. They both think very highly of you."

"Same of you. I suppose that's a good start." Roubani half-smiles at the Viper pilot. "Before you even get it in your head to ask, no I don't think any less of you over the Thorn issue. It's not mine to judge in the first place. My only concern is over Eddie."

"What I did with Eddie could very well be the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life." Martin replies, a blast of sudden honesty. Shaking his head, he looks to his cigarette and then takes a drag off of it. "I hurt her when she trusted me. I don't think there's a good enough way in existence to ever make that up to her…" He trails off, biting the side of his lip.

Roubani glances down towards his cigarette. It burns away, spinning a thin stream of smoke up into the air. "I suppose it hurts to be the fallback," he offers softly. "I don't know the entire story with you two, though I wish it had a happier outcome for her. What is it you want from her?" The question's phrased bluntly but not accusingly.

"I just…want her to be happy." Martin says, lowering his eyes to one of the crates across from him. "For me it was never about fallback or who could provide me with whatever. She never told me anything but that we didn't have any ties to eachother. It made me feel…unimportant. Getting back with Sam wasn't out of revenge or anything, it was…a series of promises made." Martin pauses. "I see Eddie healing, getting stronger. I don't want to do anything but support that."

"She has been getting stronger," Roubani murmurs towards the cigarette. His eyes come back up and towards Martin. "People say what hurts themselves the least, Dash. It's not always true. I just don't want to see her ending up pushing everyone away."

"That's a huge part of it too, isn't it?" Martin asks, nearly a statement. Nodding his head softly, clearly they're speaking about the same girl. "Yeah…it's funny. She visited me in the recovery ward when I was at my most pitiful. She shaved me." He says, instinctively rubbing his face to emphasize the story. "I think with her I spent way too much time looking at the future and not enough looking at the present."

That gives Roubani momentary pause. He gently rubs his eyebrow with his ring finger. "What do you mean?"

"I wanted reassurances. I wanted her." Martin admits, bringing his cigarette back to his lip. Letting some secrets flow, it seems, he looks back to Roubani's face. "I wanted control. Not too much control, just that control that would let me know that if she was mine, that she'd be mine the next day. I never told her how I felt. Well…" Martin shrugs. "I tried to, but she didn't want ties. I didn't want to make her feel like there was so much weight, if that makes sense…"

Roubani's brows have drawn, pensively. His eyes flicker away, towards a corner of a crate. "Do you always think so much?" The question has some mild empathy wound up in the tone.

"Pretty much…" Martin replies, running a hand through his hair. Lifting a knee to brace his elbow over, he looks back to Roubani. "I didn't used to, but something about all of this makes me feel like everything's made out of glass."

"It's not." Roubani exhales quietly through his nose. "We are…much more resilient than we give each other credit for. Than we give ourselves credit for. Sometimes I wonder if we don't do more damage by not acknowledging that."

"I'm starting to see that." Martin replies. "I chalk it up to ego. I can control myself but I have no control over anything else in the universe. Everything else is just assumed. I can keep my own head in check and I know what I'm thinking. I can instrospect and I can evaluate. I breathe and know that I'm alive. I know that I'm resilient, but I don't believe sometimes that others could ever feel like I do."

"It is hard to tell sometimes where the line is," Roubani murmurs. He ashes the cigarette and lifts it for a short drag. "But I am glad that you want something good for Eddie. I…have never felt you were a bad person, Dash. But sometimes I've worried that you were careless."

"I am careless." Martin replies, turning his head to put Roubani back in his field of vision. "That's what put me in this position to begin with. I've drawn a line but on some things the damage is already done." Martin replies, smirking as if he dropped a birthday cake. "She's got something going on with Alex that seems to be driving her crazy. Sam's got my leave to do her thing with Thorn. I'm not in here to mope, I've just got a lot of thinking to do about what I want. So no…I'll never be careless with Eddie again. I've been a bit selfish, and I just can't do that anymore."

"We are all selfish." Roubani says, his voice sounding forgiving without being patronising. "We have to be. It doesn't matter so much what we are but what we do…even if I detest someone, I don't have to behave like it." He exhales a thin line of smoke. "And I think you know that. You sound like you do."

Martin remains quiet, nodding his head softly as he rolls Poet's words through his brain. Ashing his cigarette, he brings it to his lips. The cherry illuminates in the dim lighting as he pulls from it. "I'm not going to try to get in the way of her and Alex." He says, as he exhales. The smoke rises toward the ceiling. "Her and I have talked. I can see she still cares for me. Gods, she might even be hoping that I'll put my foot down and tell her what I think. I can't tell. She keeps me guessing all the time, which is something that fascinates me about her…" Martin trails off. "But if I'm wrong, it's a careless move."

"And…" Roubani asks simply, as it seems a part of this convoluted equation. "…Ajtai?"

"Her and I have been getting to know eachother. We're not dating. I don't know what the status quo thinks around here. I'm assuming they see two people cozy to eachother and immediately assume bam…couple." Martin snaps his fingers for emphasis. "We talked and decided we should get to know eachother, feel eachother out, see where our heads are. I like that. She's a really great girl." Martin pauses, his brain calculating everything. "Part of me says, you know what Dash? Crybaby's not in your squadron, she's beautiful, she's sweet, and she likes you. I've got this intense frakking urge to see where that leads. I could really see myself with her. But Eddie saw her and I together with her feet in my lap and I saw that look she gave me." He lowers his head into the palm of his hand, rubbing at his forehead. "My LSO operator's on drugs. I feel like there's no true way to go without causing someone else pain."

Roubani chuckles under his breath at the notion of assumptions. The sound's short-lived, and turns to silence as he listens to the rest. "Is that…the only thing stopping you? Being afraid of hurting Eddie?"

Martin chuckles softly as well. Rolling his eyes at himself. "When I started dating Sam again, I thought to Eddie there were no ties. I thought, on some level on her end, that her and I were just a thing that happened." He pauses, turning his eyes from the floor to Poet. "I didn't know that I was betraying her trust then and I told her that I wouldn't do it ever again. Gods she was so mad at me. She yelled at me the other day, you know?" Martin pauses. "If Kitty and I start dating, I'm not looking back. I can't, that wouldn't be right. I don't want to hurt Eddie but I don't want to betray her trust either. I want to do the right thing, here, Poet. Shit, you see what all this has done to Sam."

"Dash," Roubani moves a hand a little. "You either want something with Eddie or you don't. Regardless of anything with Ajtai, or Passi, or anyone else. And…frankly, what she's owed is your courage in getting behind one or the other. Do you know what I mean?" He exhales quietly. "Being left in the middle, that can be the worst pain of all."

Martin stares at Roubani, letting the words settle into his consciousness. Blinking slowly, he nods his head reflectively. "Yeah…I do know what you mean." He says quietly, turning his head to look to the side, swimming with his thoughts. Pressing his hand to the floor, he rises and walks towards Poet, extending his left arm with a pair of knuckles to bump. "I think the best thing for me right now is to go to my bunk, relax, and really think about that, Poet. You're a good man, and thank you." He says, offering a quiet smile.

Roubani looks blankly at Martin's knuckles for a second before his brain flips to the right page in his exceedingly small mental handbook of How To Be Social. Left handed naturally, that's the hand that meets Dash's. Bumpity. "I just asked questions. You provided all the answers." He looks up at Dash. "And thank you. For wanting to take care of Eddie…no matter what. She's important to me too." His notebook pulled up onto his lap, he drops his cigarette and sets his heel down on it. "Rest, Dash. Gods watch you."

Bro-appreciation completed, Martin smirks, feeling just a little bit silly at Poet's reaction to the fist bumping. "Gods watch you too, Poet…" Martin replies quietly. Turning, he stretches his arms over his head and lets out a loud, stress-relieving sigh as he approaches the hatch. Spinning the wheel, he steps out and into the passageways of the Kharon.

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