What Might Have Been
What Might Have Been
Summary: Legacy gives Komnenos a talking-to, but the conversation ends up taking an unexpected turn.
Date: PHD076
Related Logs: Jammed Up

The interior of the clinic indicates that it's been stripped of damn near anything of use. The back part of it is collapsed, leaving the front part open and available. There are two exam rooms and an office, besides the reception area, that are habitable. Thea goes back toward an exam room, moving slowly and carefully, picking her way through things.

And Thorn is following a short distance behind her, posture stilted. His arms are folded across his chest, his lips drawn thinly. He says nothing, the only sound being the echo of their footsteps through the abandoned building.

Once back in the exam room, Thea eases her back off and slides up onto a table with a low, pained sigh. Out of her over-shirt she slips, sliding the straps of her tanks down so she can get at her bloodied bandage. "Can you hand me the kit out of my pack Thorn, please," she asks quietly. Huh. She's not jumping on him with both feet.

A blink of surprise, and Thorn moves to comply. "Um, right," he mumbles, quickly rifling through Legacy's pack until he comes out with a red medkit. He hands it to her, an expectant expression on his face; for a moment, he looked like there was something he was about to say, but he bites it off. Whatever it is the Captain brought him in to talk about, she'll bring it up at her own pace.

One arm comes out of her tanks - the better to get at the bandage that's covering a rather nasty looking wound on her chest, off to one side, just above the outside curve. She's popped a couple stitches. Carefully, after wiping her hands down, she reaches up to remove the broken strings, teeth gritted. "So, thoughts about the evening," she asks, seemingly absently.

On rare occasions, Thea's style of discipline, if that is what this is, can be grating. If she's going to jump his shit, Thorn wishes she'd just do it and get it over with. Then again, no one asked his opinion. "Captain… if this is about what I said by the second tower, I'm sorry. I could have voiced any opinions or objections in a more professional manner at a more appropriate time.” Wonder of wonders, it doesn't sound like a sullen stock apology of the kind that junior officers keep hidden up their sleeves by the dozen whenever they fall afoul of a superior. He doesn't sound happy, but he does sound mostly sincere.

Legacy glances up from her work, putting the bloody bandage off to the side. "I had to make a decision on the fly with what new information I had," she tells him conversationally. There's a quiet hiss of pain as she reaches for needle and thread from her kit. "So there really wasn't a lot of time to ask your permission about changing the mission parameters." There's just a touch of sarcasm there, a bit of needling. "Apology accepted. In the future, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could keep those comments to yourself, or share them with me privately, rather than undermine my authority with a group of officers I am not used to working with. You may not realize it, but it's rather difficult balancing leading Marines, who hate taking orders from pilots, and working with people who don't trust us not to kill them in their sleep. I would hope to have at least a bit of support from my own people."

"Yes, sir. I'll do my best t' keep my tongue under better wraps from here on out," he replies with a hint of a smile. After a moment, though, he continues, all business once again. "For the record, Captain, you have always had and will continue t' have my full support." He leans against the wall, arms still folded; now, though, it simply looks casual, not sullen. "I had simply thought that as the second ranking officer of the regular military side of the operation, I would have been more in the loop than I was." He raises a hand, hoping to forestall any reply for the moment; he's not done yet. "I know that's no excuse, and I know now that it was a decision that couldn't wait for consultation. I also abandoned my responsibility as second in command t' stand behind the CO no matter what. I'm sorry for my presumption, and I'm sorry if I let you down." For some reason, the thought of being a disappointment to this woman is simply unbearable to Thorn, which possibly explains the depth of his response.

Thea seems to be busy sewing the hole in her chest shut again, though her attention is split between that and Thorn, with the majority given to Thorn. Which probably explains why she has to poke herself several times. "This was to be McTiernan's op," she tells him quietly. "I had five minutes warning that I'd be taking it over before we left the bunker. These aren't exactly the easiest of times for any of us, and sometimes the usual protocol has to be…bent slightly." Her face isn't readily visible. "Since we got down here, you're the third Colonial officer I've had to call down for…momentary lapse in understanding of rank." She finally looks up at him for a moment, not quite pinning him with a look, but she's also not exactly happy-fun-Thea. "You're doing a phenomenal job and I've been proud to call you a Rider. I hope you'll keep that quality up."

Thorn's eyes widen slightly at that middle part. Being on this planet must be a strain, then, if Komnenos hasn't been the only one to get called onto the carpet for whipping out a bad attitude. He studies her, nodding his head slowly. "It's certainly been interesting down here, t' say the least," he replies deadpan; evidently understatement passes for humor among Aerilonians. Thorn's shoulders square almost instinctively at the last bit; not that he'd had too many real doubts about himself, but it's good to hear such things from the boss once in a while. "Thanks, Captain," he says quietly, locking her eyes with his. "It's appreciated, coming from you. I won't let you down," he promises.

Thea watches him for a long moment, long enough for her to see the sincerity in her eyes, and the hope for him. She believes in him, and it's as plain as the nose on his face. "Why don't you poke your nose outside, Thorn," she says gently. "If there's nothing else. Relieve Roubani. I'd like him working on the wireless a bit more."

For a moment, it looks like there is indeed something else, but it passes, and Thorn nods gravely on his way out of the exam room. The crinkling of cellophane and the flick of a lighter accompanies the sound of footsteps receding down the hallway as Thorn goes to check on Ensign Roubani.

"Thorn," Thea calls quietly. "Wait."

A scarred face pops back around the doorway, cigarette held in his lips at a jaunty angle. Thorn hadn't gotten very far before Thea's call yanked him right back around. "Yeah, Black Cat?"

"What is it," she asks quietly, pausing with the needle IN HER FLESH. "Now's not really the time to be biting things back like this."

Well, that was unexpected. Before, she'd always let his odd little looks pass as though she hadn't even noticed. Hell, maybe she hadn't until now. "Actually, Captain, t' be completely honest, this is exactly the time t' keep certain things close t' one's chest," he replies carefully, his gaze briefly flicking from her face, to the needle, and back to her face again. "If you're really interested, we'll talk when we get back t' Kharon." That last part, oddly, isn't spoken as something from junior to superior, but something else. Still, though, Thorn's keeping his tone as flat and emotionless as possible.

Thea straightens slightly then looks down to the needle and finishes tying it off before snipping the thread. The woman puts her own stitches in. "Thorn," Thea says, looking back up at him. "There's a chance we may not get back to the Kharon. There's a very good chance that one, or both of us, will end up dead even if we do get back. I don't want things left unsaid." It's simply, quietly spoken, her eyes moving over his face.

Thorn's looking at her with a mix of discomfort and disbelief, as though he's asking her wordlessly, You're really going to make me do this now? Ironic, considering their first topic of discussion, that she's pressuring him to talk about something he's kept quiet for weeks for the very same reason she just dressed him down… protocol. Well, fine. He tried to warn her. "When I first came aboard Kharon, one of the first things I noticed was just how uncommon my new commander seemed. She was strong without being intimidating, and anyone with half a brain could see how dedicated she was t' her people and how good she was at her job." His words are spoken strongly, but hesitatingly, as though he's building towards something he really hadn't wanted to bring up.

Thea puts on a new bandage while he's talking, managing not to show a whole lot of skin in the process. Given that she's a woman comfortable with her own body, it's not surprising. As she moves, the bullet on the necklace behind her dogtags jingles quietly. She seems a touch surprised at his words, but doesn't interrupt, merely offers him a softly encouraging smile.

Well, Thorn's committed now. No stopping there. With a sigh, he finally starts laying his cards on the table. "What I didn't notice right away, though, was the beautiful woman underneath the commander's exterior. No, that I never really paid attention t' until recently. See, my commander, she does a pretty good job of hiding that part of her under that professional exterior; almost as though it's something she doesn't like t' show, but of course I wouldn't presume t' know her reasons myself." How he's managed to keep his eyes on Thea's the whole time is beyond him, given that he's clearly uncomfortable. "But I noticed it, and it's been on my mind ever since. You see, she intrigues me, and I wanted t' get closer t' that side of her… if she'd have me." He puffs madly on the cigarette; he's better at this sort of thing than he was years ago, but it's still plenty awkward for him. "I fully realize that something between us probably wouldn't work, given our respective positions," he adds hastily, finally switching back to the second person, "but we can't choose t' whom we're attracted, unfortunately." Thorn shrugs helplessly, giving her a thin smile and waiting for a reply.

Thea pauses about halfway through that. Poor Thorn can likely see the moment when the lightbulb explodes over her head. She blinks at him for a moment, and then her expression softens and she nods slightly. "You're right," she says softly. "On both of those counts." After a moment, she shifts on the exam bed, curling her fingers against the edge, leaning forward slightly, posture relaxed and casual. "I've always worked with a fairly strict code of professional conduct. Just because the world as we knew it has ended, I'm not ready to give that code up." Her feet begin to swing a little and she glances down, studying her toes. It's a few heartbeats later that she looks up at him. "There's also the fact that I'm…broken right now. I've been in love with someone for over a decade and I only very recently realized that he doesn't want me." The professional is now sharing space with the woman. He can see the raw pain in her eyes. "For ten years, I held onto the dream. But I have to give that dream up now."

Komnenos nods. "Times like these, we take what we need t' get ourselves through the day. For some, it's an old habit— " he raises his cigarette " — for others, it's things like a routine or a code." He's pacing again, though there's not many places to go in the small exam room. The cigarette gets tossed into a dirty sink as Thorn notices smoke creeping towards Thea. He recognizes the emotion in her eyes, and he suddenly has to suppress a strong urge to enfold her in a hug. Instead, he only smiles sadly. "We're all broken in some way or another, you know. Not one of us is perfect; we've all got our crosses t' bear." He's not sure exactly how to respond to her revelation, but gods save him, he's trying. "If you're saying that t' discourage me, it won't work." He grins suddenly at that remark, but his levity is shortlived. Back in a somber tone, he finishes, "Personally, I never was much of a believer, but the priests like t' say everything happens for a reason. I know that probably doesn't help, but…" Another helpless shrug.

Legacy offers a small, wry little smile and shakes her head. "Captain Marek and I were involved years ago, Thorn," she says softly. "I walked away from him after two years, telling him it was because of my career. That was only part of it. I knew, as I walked away, that I was making the biggest mistake of my life." She leans forward slightly and looks down at the floor in front of her. "I spent the next six years burying the relationship in meaningless sex with friends and drinking. Until I realized that no man I ever met would be him." Finally she looks up at him and shakes her head. "I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm simply telling you the truth, Thorn. We can't choose who we love. I'll always carry his mark on my heart and my body. I'll always have the reminder." She watches his face, searching. "I'm honored, Thorn. And in another time, another place…there might have been a chance."

"I knew about Spider," Thorn replies quietly. "Not the whole story, of course. But it's a small ship, and one can't help but hear things. I knew there was some kind of history there, but I had no idea— " He trails off, staying silent for a moment as he tries to gather his thoughts. "And for what it's worth, I'm sorry that things didn't work out between you." He leans on the exam bed next to her. "I understand, I suppose. It's hard t' compete with the specter of things that might have been." His tone is slightly crestfallen, but there's no recrimination in his tone, only sympathy. "I won't make things awkward for you, I promise. But if you ever happen t' change your mind…" Thorn allows himself a hopeful smile. "I have a feeling we'll have each other around for a while." He clears his throat. "In the meantime, though, if you ever need just a friend, I'll always be here."

Thea's quiet for some time, simply watching him and listening. He can see the emotions in her eyes - she doesn't hide them. The pain is there, but there's also acceptance. "I didn't know he was on the Kharon," she says quietly, "when we were transferred. When I met him again, he was married with a child, a daughter, and one on the way." Her thumb brushes the bed a bit. "He never wanted children, and I told him that I didn't either." Yeah, right. She's a born mother. "I…pushed. I made a mistake. I shouldn't have. What it came down to, ultimately, is that he doesn't want me. And that…will be alright. It hurts, but time will take care of that. I can't say what the future will hold, Thorn. Not for any of us." She reaches out, finally, to cover his hand with hers. It's a small room. "Thank you, though, for trusting me."

Anton nods. "And thank you for letting me down easy," he replies with a wry little smile of his own. "I know this was probably as hard for you as it was for me." He lingers, staring down at her hand on his; in the end, though, he's the one that reluctantly breaks contact, gently pulling his hand away as he walks for the door. He pauses again, though, as he reaches the door and turns back around to face her one last time. "I meant what I said, all of it." Thorn leans against the doorway, his eyes again locked on hers. "I don't know if it helps, but just know there's someone out there for everyone. You don't have t' be alone forever, if you don't want t' be."

Her smile is a touch sad as she watches him go, wistful, truth be told. "Thank you, Thorn," she says softly. "For all of it. In a perfect world, I'd not have had to let you down at all." But this is certainly not a perfect world. "Go ahead and spell Roubani," she says, sliding off the bed and gathering her discarded bandage. She slips easily back into Captain mode. "I'll be out presently with some food."

"Our world is what we make it." And that's the last he'll say on the matter. If Thea ever changes her mind, she'll tell him. Until then, well, what needed to be said has been said. "I'll go take over for Poet, then." He nods gravely, and meets her eyes in one last poignant look before turning away and disappearing down the hallway.

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