Summary: After the blood drive, Legacy and Roubani have a quiet talk about what's been troubling the ship.
Date: PHD086 (13 July 2009)
Related Logs: General Scorpia

Kharon - Storage

Storage is mostly quiet tonight, except for the sounds of someone rearranging the toilet paper. Again.

Roubani has his jacket over his shoulder as he comes into storage, wearing his tanks and fatigues trousers. There's a cotton ball taped to his right forearm. He's quiet, carrying a thermos around with him, and heading on quiet feet towards the shelves that stock spare utensils and plates.

Thea's in her tanks and sweats, working. Her movements are smooth and easy, nothing's getting slammed down, at least. As the door opens, though, she peers around the endcap, two spots of color high on her cheeks. "Evening, Poet," she calls, then goes back to what she was doing. "Need me to clear out?"

The voice startles the shit out of Roubani, who nearly fumbles the mug he'd been pulling down. "Oh goodness…no, no, sir. No." Breath, phew. "I had been about to come by your berthings, actually. I can wait if you're awfully busy."

"Ah, yes. I'm horribly busy," she says, tone dry, a touch ascerbic. "The toilet paper will wilt away if I don't get it rearranged just so." A roll is plopped down and she comes back into view. "What's up?"

The barbed tone bounces right off the duck's back. Roubani straightens the mug in his hand and taps the thermos with his index finger, replying simply, "I'd brought you some tea."

Thea holds up a finger and turns her back on him, fumbling in her pocket for a moment. Ahhh, there's the girly sneeze everyone knows and mocks. She takes a moment to blow her nose delicately before tucking the tissue away again. "Thank you, Poet," she says quietly. "Tea, right now, sounds wonderful. Have you picked up this sniffle thing?"

Roubani shakes his head once, setting the mug down on a crate. "I seem to be free of viral burdens thusfar, sir." He wraps his right arm around the thermos to hold it, unscrewing the cap with his left hand. The scent wafts its way delicately into the slightly musty room - chamomile.

She lifts her head a little and smiles. "It smells wonderful," she says quietly, reaching out to hold the cup. "And I'm glad to hear that. You gave blood?"

"Mmm, yes." Roubani pours some of the fragrant hot water into the mug, filling it up most of the way. The thermos is pretty full; he must be on rounds. "That's where I heard someone say you'd caught yourself a cold. I saw Stathis sniffling earlier as well. Awful, that, it's such an annoyance."

She waits until he's finished pouring then offers her mug. "Would you like to share this cup," she asks quietly. "And yes. Ivory has it, too. I'm not sure about Thorn."

"I just had a cup while I was making it," Roubani admits, screwing the thermos cap on. "I would have filched some of the cookies from there too but I think that would have been pushing my luck. I like having all my limbs."

Thea laughs softly, quietly, and cradles the mug in both hands. "They didn't even offer me a cookie after rejecting me," she teases quietly, moving to settle on a crate. "Once this cold is gone, I can donate. I'm a universal donor, so they'll be bleeding me dry."

"Yes, I suppose they'll be glad for more." Roubani's cigarette pack is in his pocket but he doesn't reach for them, settling on the edge of the crate by his thermos. "It's such a curious thing about us, isn't it? How we replenish our own stores of life."

"We do," she says quietly. "Given enough time, we can recover from most anything. Given enough nutrients, our blood supply is back where it needs to be in just days." A bit of a smile tilts her lips upward. "If only our minds worked the same way."

"Don't they?" Roubani's tone is vague as to whether that's rhetorical or not.

"I'm afraid not, Poet," she says with a soft laugh. "Would that they did." She leans back, getting comfortable, and takes a slow sip from her mug after blowing on the surface. "How's the return found you?"

"Rebuilding," Roubani replies, after a pause in which he selects the word from among thousands. "You?"

The word catches her attention, draws a brow upward slightly, but she doesn't pursue it - not yet. "Interestingly," she replies quietly, lifting a shoulder.

"'Interesting times'." Roubani quasi-quotes, with a half-smile. "Isn't that part of a Leonisian curse or something?" He's watching her drink her tea, and oh well. Willpower crumbles. He stands up, fetching another mug from the shelf.

Her eyes follow him, the smile growing a little. "It is, and one that's in full effect here on the ship," she says, sighing softly. "But this, too, shall pass."

"And that's from a soap opera." Roubani glances over his shoulder just long enough to give her a goodnatured smirk. "Aficionado, sir?"

"Romance novels," she tells him, eyes twinkling a bit. "But please, don't tell the wing. They'd torture me about it." Yes, it's clear she doesn't think that.

Roubani ughs softly. "Really?" He settles back down with the mug and unscrews the thermos cap again. "Whyever for?" Why for the torture? Why does she like such drivel? Who knows which he means.

She points at him, briefly, and laughs. "Exactly for that reason," she says. There's a brief sneeze-pause, then she takes another sip of tea. "They're good popcorn reading. I got in the habit when I was in flight school. I kept one with me, in the pocket of my flight suit, for those forty-five minute wait times on the tarmac."

Roubani pats his pockets instinctively for tissues, or a hanky, or whatever the terminally archaic carry around. But he has none. "For what reason?" He smirks a little, crossing his legs and setting the mug down on his knee. "To scare off nosy junior officers?"

She pulls a tissue out of her sweats and dabs at her nose. "No, because it wasn't important enough that I -had- to focus on it," she says, wrinkling her nose playfully at him. The color on her cheeks has faded somewhat. "Besides, back then? *I* was the junior."

"I don't believe it," Roubani replies mildly. "They told me that Captains emerge from the womb with their pins. How could they have lied to me?"

"First of all, that would be painful as hell," she says with a laugh. "They probably thought you couldn't handle the pressure that you, one day, might be a Captain too."

"Probably," Roubani replies, with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour in his tone. "Not that there was anything to worry about, really."

"I plan on talking with your CO and recommending you for a promotion," Thea says softly, quietly. While she seems relaxed, she watches him over the rim of her cup.

Roubani taps his thumb against the rim of his mug. "I haven't earned it."

"Yes, you have," Thea says quietly, leaning back. "More than. One of the things they teach us as we're popping out of the womb with our pins is to look for potential in others. You have it, and you have more leadership qualities than many other officers I've seen."

"I follow orders well," Roubani says, which his tone makes sound like a self-aimed barb rather than praise. "I don't know how well I could give them. I've thought about it. On Scorpia, everything that I watched people do to keep us together and working. I don't know if I could have done that."

"I think you can," Thea says gently. "Before you get to that point, it's always hard trying to figure out if you can do what it takes, if you can make the hard decisions." She takes a sip of her tea, letting it soothe her throat. "It's not easy, Poet. You know that as well as I do. There will be times when you order someone to their death. There will be times when second-guessing yourself keeps you up at night and gives you nightmares. But the knowledge that you are working for the great good, that you're working to keep people alive, to provide the leadership they -need- and want…sometimes that helps balance things. It's not an exact science."

"Thank goodness, or it would be statistics," Roubani murmurs, wryly. And then he's silent for what borders on a long time. "I trust your judgment, sir."

She considers him for a time, taking another slow sip of her drink. "That night in Osprey, what I was telling you is that you need to make a decision. When someone asks you, when I ask you, I -want- your opinion. I'm not asking just to hear myself talk. That's the backbone you're going to need in the field."

"I have backbone, sir." Roubani replies, unapologetically. "But I also know that living this way is not about what I may want or what makes me comfortable. That became irrelevant the moment I put on a uniform."

"In that situation, it was about me offering comfort," she tells him quietly. "I was acknowledging that you -have- a choice. A choice you need to make. It was the one choice I could give you when everything else had been taken away."

"And I," Roubani answers, voice never raising, "Gave you my trust." He lifts his mug, sipping it and swallowing the small mouthful. "Regardless, I acknowledge your point."

"A trust which terrified me," she says quietly. "You are one of the last people left in my life I would deliberately hurt, deliberately make uncomfortable. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable." The apology is simply, quietly spoken.

"You didn't," Roubani says, with a slight shake of his head. "That's how I know I trusted you."

Thea's clearly taken aback for a moment, and then she nods, offering him a small smile. "I'll do what I can to make sure I remain worthy of that trust," she murmurs. "Thank you."

Roubani nods once. There's a beat, then the gravitas crumbles a little. "Just don't abuse it and tell me I'd look good as a blonde."

Thea considers him for a long moment, head canting to one side first, then the other. "No, definitely not as a blonde," she muses, lips twitching slightly. "Though, I could see some dark red highlights in there, I think. A nice rich auburn that would catch the light. And honey, I have a moisturizer that will do wonders for you." Yes, there's laughter in her voice.

Honey? Roubani looks at her like she'd just sprouted a second head. His lips twitch. "Um. Thank you. I think."

Thea's eyes crinkle at the corners and she laughs quietly. "The look on your face is absolutely priceless," she tells him before turning her head to cough.

"Am I on candid camera?" Roubani asks her, suspiciously. Still, he smiles a bit more than he has been doing lately, and sips his tea as she coughs. "You should really have a hot shower. The steam will help the coughing."

She sighs softly and nods, curling around her mug of tea. "I was considering that, actually," she says quietly. "I'd come down here to work off some aggravation in the hopes that I'd do less damage here than I would in the gym. Hopefully the cough will ease up enough that I can sleep. I'm glad you didn't end up with this thing. It's not bad, just…annoying. Especially when I - achSCHEEEEEW!" Girly, girly, girly. Like a beauty pageant contestant.

With as much time as he's spending around the sickies, it's a wonder Roubani hasn't started sneezing. Perhaps it's just still coming. "Gods bless you," he says without thinking, reaching over to pick up the thermos. A refill of her mug is offered silently. "Aggravation?"

Thea holds the mug out to him without hesitation. "Issues within the Riders," she says quietly. "Nothing earth shattering, just things that need to be watched, carefully. It's rather like after Colonial day, when everyone started pairing up. The issues weren't visible before we got back from Scorpia, and now they're taking center stage."

"Oh. Yes." Roubani's tone is a little wry. He unscrews the thermos cap and tips it up, pouring more fragrant chamomile into her cup. "I've heard of a few, first and second hand."

She dips her head toward the cup, letting the steam soothe her as she closes her eyes. "First, second, third. I'm surprised most of them aren't all over the ship by now," comes the quiet murmur.

Thermos is set back down by Roubani's hip, and closed to preserve the heat. "I dislike gossip, so I won't ask for confirmations. I do, though, hope that some time and strength will smooth what it can."

"Time, strength, and my size ten wide boots shoved sideways deep into a few behinds," Thea comments quietly - but the worry lines are back between her brows again. "A few people will need shoulders to lean on."

Roubani gauges his next words. Nosy he isn't, but concerned, he is. "Anyone I might be able to help with?"

"Flash," she says quietly, then pauses. For a time, she watches him, as if gauging what he knows. "And Thorn. Thorn…more so than Flash."

What Roubani knows. Hard to tell, honestly, but neither name appears to shock him. He just considers them and then nods. "Alright."

She takes another slow sip of her tea. "To bring us back around, I wish the mind replenished itself the same way the body does." The earlier light-heartedness seems to have slipped away.

"I think it does," Roubani replies, after a moment or two and a sip of chamomile. "Provided we give it the means to. Provided we don't self-defeat."

Another sip disappears. "It's like watching the movie through the eyes of the actor in it," she comments softly, shaking her head. "I think the gods are probably laughing. Aphrodite's having a field day."

"I don't think so," Roubani says, crossing his legs and resting the mug down on his knee. "That's assuming the gods could give a crank about our trifles, which I'm not convinced they do. At least not as often as we'd love to blame them for."

"Oh, I'm not blaming them for any of this in the least," Thea says with a wry little smile. "Just thinking they probably find this amusing. All of this is purely the fault of the players, not the gods. They gave us free will for a reason."

"Again, I don't know about that," Roubani replies. "Even the gods with more mischevious leanings, I don't think they pay attention as much as we'd like to believe. It's a delusion of self-importance on our parts."

"Mmmm," she murmurs after a minute, tilting her head back, closing her eyes as she relaxes against the crates. "Or maybe it's just the hope that someone, somewhere, is finding it funny. That someone gets a bit of humor out of it makes most of everything worth it."

Roubani's lips twitch and he answers wryly, "Someone does. They're called writers." He takes a sip of tea, swallowing it gently. "But the gods, well. Eternity is a tremendous stretch of time to notice one single speck here and there."

Thea's lips turn upward slightly. "True," she murmurs. "But there's always that hope." Silence for a bit. "I still have the beads Major Harmon gave me. I've been using them."

Roubani nods slightly at that. "That hope," he says, simply, "Is faith."

She sneezes again, which necessitates another blowing of her nose and another sip of tea. "It's coming easier and easier as the days go by."

Roubani again nods, with a faint smile. Maybe at her words, maybe at the girly sneeze. "Who do you find yourself praying to?"

"Aphrodite," she says with a quiet laugh. "She doesn't really fit with me, but she's who I was dedicated to. I feel an affinity because of that - and I can't quite figure it out. In the quiet times, when I let my mind go in prayer, the prayers turn to her."

"She gives kindly gifts to men: smiles are ever on her lovely face, and lovely is the brightness that plays over it. Hail, goddess, queen of well-built Salamis and sea-girt Kypros; grant me a cheerful song." Roubani murmurs the scripture, draping his arm over his crossed leg. "There is something to be said for the one we are first dedicated to. Like the place you were born; even if you move away you'll still be struck by the scent when you return."

"Exactly," Thea murmurs after a bit. "And she has…been good to me, in some ways. She's provided me with guidance, gifted me with understanding."

"Do you know her sacred attributes in the mortal world?" Roubani asks her, swirling his tea in his mug.

Thea shakes her head at that, opening her eyes finally to look over at him. "I haven't quite gotten that far yet. I was doing a little more research but then had…an unexpected vacation."

Roubani nods slightly. "Myrtle, rose, apple, and poppy. Among birds, the sparrow, the dove, the swan, the swallow - and the wryneck, who was a nymph until Hera transformed her." A sip of tea. "Arrows are also associated with her."

She smiles wryly. "And utterly none of that connects with me, except maybe the swallow." No, she doesn't mean it in that way.

Roubani has the grace not to make any insidious connections aloud. "Why the swallow?"

"Small, keeping watch," she replies after a moment, shifting to get comfortable. "Blending into the background until it's time to come to the forefront, yet without the bright plummage to draw attention." Wait, THEA? This is how she sees herself?

Roubani quotes softly, "But if he will force me by violence, I will change my shape, I will mingle with the birds; flitting as Philomela, I will be the swallow dear to Zephyros in spring-time, harbinger of roses and flowery dew, prattling bird that sings a sweet song under the tiles, dashing about her nest with dancing wings."

Her head tilts slightly to the side, listening, then laughs quietly. "You've heard me sing. I sound like Fingers' Viper skidding across the deck."

"It was a bar song," Roubani says, drily, "I thought it was meant to be that way."

Legacy sticks her tongue out at him, laughing softly. "Gee, thanks," she murmurs.

Roubani smiles a little, sipping his tea again. Once his mouth is clear again, he says, "Anyway. I asked because this is something that people often do to feel a deeper connection with their patron. Learn her attributes and discover within those a connection that allows them to worship more deeply."

"I think I'll have to do a bit more research in the library," Thea says with a wry twist of her lips. She finishes off her tea and puts the mug to the side, but doesn't get up, not yet. "What I'm learning is that religion is intensely personal."

"It can be, if you want it to be," Roubani agrees with a slight nod. "For some that's a terrifying concept."

"I'm learning, as the days go on, what this faith is, what it means to pray," Thea comments quietly. "I find myself praying for other people, more and more."

Roubani nods again, more slowly this time. "Don't forget to say thank you," he says softly. "We tend to acknowledge the gods only when we're in pain or in need, or someone else is. We do a lot of asking. We don't give a lot of unconditional gratitude."

Thea nods, smile softening a bit as she looks at the cup. "I wake up in the morning and say thank you," she comments quietly. "Before I go to sleep, the last thing I do is thank the gods for the blessings they've given me. There are troubles, yes. There are things I ask for. But I say thank you to begin and to end."

Roubani half-smiles. "May I make a small suggestion?"

Her head tilts and Thea laughs quietly. "Go ahead," she murmurs.

"If you got letters from someone day after day that began and ended the same way, eventually you'd simply stop reading those parts." Roubani says, looking down at his mug as he taps it with his thumb, " You'd know what they said already, it…it becomes insincere, even if it wasn't the intention. We never, ever want prayer to become insincere. Challenge yourself when you pray. Say a prayer that doesn't ask for a single thing. Tell Aphrodite what you did in Her name today. Tell her you love her. Sing her a song. Faith is the courage to believe that they hear us, but it's also the courage to be unafraid to be heard."

Her eyes go a little distant as she listens, then nods slowly. "That…makes a lot of sense," she says quietly. "Sometimes it's not your lot to pray for someone else."

"I don't believe that." Roubani's dark head makes a slight shake. "I believe that..there is limited amount you can pray for on someone else's behalf, because no matter what you might hope for them it's still your hope. Not theirs. I believe we can ask the gods to guide that person to surrender to their will."

Thea nods to that, fingers toying with the edge of her cup. "I've spent a lot of time praying of late," she admits, finally. "While we were down on the surface. It wasn't that I was praying for us to get back, but I remember thanking the gods for being able to feel the sun on my face."

Roubani smiles a little. "That's surrender, Thea. When we no longer pray only for what we want but for what we have…as we recognise that what we want is not a reward to be prayed for and be handed over on a platter. It's to be bled for with our own hands and forged with the tools we've already been gifted with."

Legacy laughs softly and dips her head. "It was for the gifts, it was for being alive. It was for something as simple as the sun's light on my face, for the water on my hands."

Roubani nods. He's still smiling, a little wistfully. "It can be hard. When we're in pain, when things have happened that we don't understand. When we hurt. I've been guilty so many times of losing sight when I just hurt so badly that it's a wonder that I get out of bed." He rubs his cheek. "But…that's it. We're still alive."

"On the days when I don't want to get out of bed," Thea says with a little smile. "I think of the people in my life who I need to get out of bed -for-. My Riders. Karim. You. Mudguts. Rabbit."

Roubani chuckles softly. "I wish I could say I was so noble. When I'm like that, half the time I get out of bed is just because I really have to use the head. Then I just end up staying up."

Thea can't help but laugh at that, nodding. "There is that. But sometimes the pain trancends it. Karim was the reason I got out of bed after my accident. He pushed me. Since then…it helps to just focus on someone else. Focus on that hope."

Roubani glances down at his feet, scratching the end of his nose. He doesn't look entirely convinced of what's she's saying, but affords her a nod anyway. Which leads his attention to his watch. "Mmm. Well. I should go, I've got to find Stathis before shift starts."

"Check bunks," she says quietly, sighing. "I left him there after I chewed Birdman a new one. I know he'll appreciate the tea." She lifts her mug. "I did. Thank you."

"Thank Dr. Locke as well, it's her tea." Roubani shifts forward and stands up. That motion used to be quite awkward, a weak right side making it an ungainly lurch. Now it's not so much. Only very watchful eyes would notice some lingering stiffness here and there. "Try the shower. And feel better and all that."

"Night Poet," Thea says softly, watching. "Sweet dreams." For her part, she remains on her crate, cup in hand.

"Somnus, quietest of the gods, Somnus, peace of all the world, balm of the soul, who drives care away, who gives ease to weary limbs after the hard day's toil and strength renewed to meet the morrow's tasks, bid now thy Dreams," Roubani offers in parting as he picks up his thermos and heads for the hatch. "Good night." And he's gone.

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