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~Mo~

Ravenscroft & Sovak - The Jab

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((Gymnasium, USS Atlantis))

::Ravenscroft stormed in as soon as the doors slid open, snatching a pair of red boxing gloves from the wall and shoving his hands into them roughly as he made a beeline towards his favorite section of the gym. He stopped abruptly. That sound. No. Someone was abusing his punching bag!::

::As he drew cautiously nearer, his face all red from anger and frustration and embarrassment, he stopped short once again. The Vulcan who had punched his nose was now punching the life out of the cylindrical jet-black bag.::

RAVENSCROFT: ::expression somewhere between shock and amusement:: oO O-kay.. .. Oo

::The flame-haired linguist flashed a smile as he approached and stopped a meter away from the ensign, before shooting out a hand to stop the swinging bag.::

RAVENSCROFT: Keep your elbows bent and close to your sides. Hit the bag at chest level and more to the sides of the bag.

::Continuing his angry pummeling of the bag, the Vulcan didn't look up at Ravenscroft's appearance in front of him. Instead, he adjusted his elbows and focused his hits as directed.::

RAVENSCROFT: The point of contact should be your knuckles, not the mid-shaft of the bones of your fingers. Not unless you want to fracture them.

::Sovak stopped short of throwing another hit. He stepped back, freeing his hands of the gloves with his teeth.::

SOVAK: I did not know that. Vulcan youths are instructed in combat tactics, but are not taught how to throw a punch.

::His gloves were coming off.::

SOVAK: Perhaps that is why my hand throbbed with pain so long after I hit you. Sir, again I apologize.

RAVENSCROFT: ::shrugging:: It'll heal. I'm good.

::The Vulcan had become accustomed to apologizing for his own bizarre behaviors, but never got used to accepting forgiveness. He nodded slightly, obviously embarrassed.::

SOVAK: I note that your face has already returned to its previous form. Dr. DyAmone performed her duties well.

::The Vulcan ensign looked as though he was going to say something more, but didn't. An awkward moment passed before Ravenscroft continued.::

RAVENSCROFT: So.. this is like the second time you surprised me today, ensign Sovak.

SOVAK: Indeed. This day has been full of surprises.

RAVENSCROFT: *Full* of surprises? ::coaxing:: Do explain.

SOVAK: I mean only... I mean that Atlantis has experienced several unexpected turns in its current mission.

::Their eyes met directly, and the Vulcan's looked a little watery, like some emotion was trying to run out of them. It was clear he wasn't telling the truth like a Vulcan should. Then again, many of his actions weren't those of a good Vulcan. His speech patterns and the tone of his voice were measured and controlled like those of his people, but his face expressed something different. Sovak turned away, working at his boxing gloves, tightening them onto his hands again.::

::Emerson noticed the glistening of the Vulcan's eyes just before he turned away. Too late. The pale-skinned giant's curiosity had been sufficiently stoked. There was no turning back now.::

SOVAK: I see you have gloves of your own. If I am in the way of your workout, I will step aside.

RAVENSCROFT: ::smashing his gloved fists together:: No reason why we can't both enjoy a workout. Besides, I need to blow off some steam too. How about a friendly sparring session?

::Sovak considered extracting himself from the situation. As odd as he was for a Vulcan, he was not antisocial. However, the way Ravenscroft continued to beat his fists together, combined with the angry gleam in his eye, was intimidating. The Vulcan weighed that against the fact that Ravenscroft was his superior, and that, in a way, he "owed him one." There was no logic in running away now.::

SOVAK: I will join you.

RAVENSCROFT: Sweet. ::gesturing with a turn of his head, fiery hair flying:: Let's go over there.

::They headed to a corner of the gym where there was a square blue rubberized mat on the floor. Emerson jumped up and down to warm up while patiently waiting for the ensign to open up to him. He received a question instead.::

SOVAK: You said you are here to blow off steam. Is there a reason?

::The Vulcan hoped the Terran's answer would not be "because you hit me in the face today."::

RAVENSCROFT: Something the doctor said. I didn't like it. oO Because she's right. Oo

SOVAK: It can be difficult to listen to what we do not want to hear. ::He stretched, preparing for the bout. He may not have known how to throw a punch, but years of Parrises Squares had made him an athlete, and he did not shy away from competition. It was the only outlet for his anger.:: Are you very upset?

RAVENSCROFT: ::stretching his arms one at a time above his head:: Let's just say that I'm a little frustrated. I miss someone so badly it hurts so this ::pounding his fists together again:: is for the physical pain that I hope will replace the emotional one. So how about you? Why all the sudden unbridled emotions?

SOVAK: ::stopping, and looking embarrassed again.:: How can you tell?

RAVENSCROFT: ::grinning wryly:: I've been living with a counselor for close to two years now, so I can spot repressed emotion just waiting to erupt, anytime. Shall we begin?

SOVAK: Of course.

::Sovak was confused, thrown off. Ravenscroft had a way of making the Vulcan put his guard down and up again with alarming frequency. He faced the flame-haired Terran squarely.::

::The linguist bounced on the balls of his feet but maintained his distance from the ensign. He wanted the Vulcan to make the first few moves, to gauge the speed of his strikes, his weak spots. All the while wondering if he would ever open up to him as to what was roiling and eating him up inside.::

SOVAK: My attempts to disguise my emotions do not always work. Many people see a Vulcan before them, and assume I have no feelings. ::The Vulcan tried a few jabs, but the lieutenant easily avoided them.:: You already know better about me, following our earlier incident. I must admit, it is a relief to talk about it with someone who knows I have little control over my emotions.

::The Vulcan threw a wilder punch, and received a glancing blow to the forearm in exchange.::

SOVAK: I assume your problem involves Commander Blueheart. In your personal relationship, if not in your professional one, you have some amount of equal say, do you not? You say you miss him...

RAVENSCROFT: ::avoiding a punch to the face:: But I can't do much about it. ::remembering the doctor's words:: I don't want to come between him and his ship. I'd never want that, never in a million years. ::sighing:: Maybe with time we'll learn to manage our schedules well and enjoy each other's company again. But in the meantime, while we both rediscover our comfort zones, ::He threw a couple of punches at his opponent.:: this will have to do.

SOVAK: ::almost smiling.:: This is indeed emotionally therapeutic.

RAVENSCROFT: Have you ever been in a relationship, Sovak?

::For a moment, Sovak had forgotten his troubles. The question stunned him out of that, and he couldn’t help stopping where he was, arms dropped to his sides. Ravenscroft's jab landed squarely, horribly, with a sickening crunch, under the Vulcan's defenseless left eye.::

SOVAK: Ow!

RAVENSCROFT: What the hell?! ::He recoiled back in shock.:: Why did you do that for?!

::The Vulcan hadn't gone down, but he was KO'd, done for the day.::

SOVAK: ::blinking rapidly and trying not to touch his face.:: I did owe you one.

RAVENSCROFT: Okay, as suspicious as it looks, that was NOT vengeance! I assure you. ::guiding him to a sitting position along the wall:: Here, sit. How do you feel?

::They sat down together against the wall, Sovak wincing as his own curious hand reached for the bruising area, stopped by the glove that still held it.::

SOVAK: I would characterize it as being "puffy."

RAVENSCROFT: Puffy is okay. Woozy not so okay.

::Sovak collapsed backwards against the wall and sighed, forgetting the pain. Ravenscroft had shocked him with his words and his fist. And he deserved an answer.::

SOVAK: In response to your question, I must admit I have never been in a relationship. Vulcans do not date. Some will experiment once they arrive at the Academy or move to another planet among people of other cultures. It is not unknown for Vulcans to marry or couple with outsiders. I suppose I have experimented in my own way.

RAVENSCROFT: I’m glad you’re open to new experiences. Life is all about experiences. I must admit I don’t know many Vulcans who will even entertain the notion.

SOVAK: Many entertain it, but would never admit as much. I know what it means to want to be with someone, to spend your time with them and to be close, but to have circumstances constantly pulling you apart. Unlike you, I have no say in the matter. I cannot voice my feelings.

RAVENSCROFT: ::perplexed:: Why not?

SOVAK: Because I am Vulcan.

::It seemed obvious to him. He lived and breathed every day of his life in a strange place between following the ways of his people and following the beat of his own heart. The tears rose in Sovak's dark eyes again, threatening to run over his cheeks. He choked them back angrily.::

RAVENSCROFT: oO Whoa. And there’s no couch when you really need one! Oo Um..

::Emerson hesitated a moment before draping an arm over the man’s shoulders, drawing him close, not really caring if he would be disgusted with sweat and blood and grime.::

RAVENSCROFT: ::gently:: He won’t know unless you tell him, dear.. .. But there’s something else. Not telling someone something that you know may not go well with them doesn’t exactly correspond with the level of anxiety and emotional agitation you’re displaying. ::slight pause:: What happened Sovak?

SOVAK: I made a mistake. That is, I lost control of myself. Not in the way that caused me to injure you earlier because I could not control my temper. I mean that during the telepathic episode the cloud creatures caused, I committed certain actions that I did not remember until later. I was not myself, not under my own control, like all the other affected telepaths. But what I did was a result of my own feelings and hidden wishes. Now.. I don't know what to do.

RAVENSCROFT: oO Oh dear! Did you.. take advantage of him while he slept? You could’ve easily overpowered him and.. Oo ::shaking off the idea and putting on a placid face:: It’s okay. Tell me what you did and maybe I can tell you exactly what to do.

SOVAK: I entered his quarters, and effected what might be considered a "romantic gesture."

RAVENSCROFT: oO Oh no! Just as I feared! Sexual harassment is such a serious, unpardonable offense! And his career is just starting! Oh Sovak! What have you done?! Oo Um, ::innocently:: romantic gesture?

::The Vulcan looked nervously at the linguist.::

SOVAK: I covered the room in flowers. I can't remember exactly how many. The memory returned when I returned to my quarters and found several blossoms in the replicator. It's a little fuzzy, as though viewed through the clouds themselves, but as I recall, it was... a considerable amount of flowers. What might logically be called overkill.

RAVENSCROFT: ::He inhaled deeply to camouflage a great sigh of relief.:: oO Glad you didn’t erect an altar of worship in his name. Oo Who is this object of your affection and how did you gain access into his room?

SOVAK: His name is Ensign Rennyn. We were roommates at the Academy, and were posted to Atlantis together. I am certain he does not return my feelings. I do not know how to proceed.

RAVENSCROFT: Ah. Ensign Rennyn. He’s your roommate here on the Atlantis also, isn’t he?

SOVAK: No. As a low-ranking Ops officer, I am tasked to assist in quarters configuration and assignment. I… abused that position, it seems, to enter Ren’s room. ::He hoped Ravenscroft would let that one slide. It did happen under the effects of the cloud creatures, after all.::

RAVENSCROFT: ::pausing several seconds:: Well, if he didn’t know what you felt for him before, he sure knows now. It’s not hard to trace who placed all those flowers in the room. So at least one part of the problem has been resolved - he learned of your feelings for him. Now, you could use the clouds’ influence on you as an excuse for your behavior, but for me that’s just denying the facts and making things even more complicated. I’d just come clean from this point onwards. ::pausing again:: Why do you say you’re certain he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings?

SOVAK: Because I know him well. He knows me as well as anyone, knows about the emotions I experience. He has even helped me deal with my problems. However, he still sees me as a Vulcan. As one who seeks to be ruled by logic. And there is no logic to our romantic pairing. None at all.

RAVENSCROFT: You won’t know for sure unless you talk to him about it. I’m not saying you should walk up to him right now and ask him how he feels for you. Remember, he just learned that his friend is in love with him. He’s going to need some time to process this. But what I am saying is to start a conversation with him. Tell him why you placed all those flowers in his room. He may have come to the conclusion himself, but you need to tell him yourself, in person. He needs to hear it from you. You need to hear it from yourself too, almost as much as he needs to hear it.

SOVAK: I must confess, it is encouraging to have discussed this with someone other than myself. Your advice makes sense. But what if it's the wrong move? What if he can't accept what I say?

RAVENSCROFT: I don’t know. Neither of us can know for sure how he’d react. But you would have taken the first step in resolving this issue once and for all. A crucial first step. We’ll handle the rest that comes along.

::Sovak tapped his gloves together gently and gave his makeshift counselor a look that was part question, part thanks.::

RAVENSCROFT: Yes. I did say WE. Unless of course you prefer to walk this path alone..

SOVAK: Your encouragement has already helped me to feel better. Turning away from you now would be illogical.

RAVENSCROFT: Glad to hear. ::He smiled broadly, reassuringly.:: Okay, I think we’ve had enough injuries for one day. Let’s get you cleaned up.

::He stood up and offered a hand to the seated Vulcan, whose face was swelling rapidly.::

SOVAK: You have helped me immensely.

RAVENSCROFT: ::untying the cords around Sovak’s gloves and yanking them off:: No worries. Actually.. you’ve helped me too. You gave me an idea.. ::His voice trailed off, morphing into a broader smile.::

SOVAK: Before you try it, please wait to hear from me. It may be that a man does not wish to have every centimeter of his room covered in cut flowers. But I will ask Ren directly and let you know.

::The pair put their gloves back on the wall, and went off to take another jab at working on their relationships, as best they could.::

FIN

=================================

Ensign Sovak

Ops

USS Atlantis

NCC-74682

as simmed by

Ensign Rendal Rennyn

&

Lt JG Emerson Ravenscroft

Xenolinguist

USS Atlantis

NCC-74682

as simmed by

Commander Raj Blueheart

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