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LtCmdr Rennyn - What Dreams May Numb


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((DS26, Level 4, Conference Room 1))
 
::Ren snored loudly from his seat at the conference table, supremely unaware of the presence of his hard-working crewmates in the room. He was completely at ease, snuggled onto a captain he barely knew, his mouth hanging open carelessly, all the better to drool from.::
 
((Ren’s Dream))
 
::Arnmere was shining a little brighter than usual in this dream, this vision, this radiant, vivid experience.::
 
::Ren strode across a field, headed home to the house he and Navin had built for themselves, far across the opposite side of Tro’Arn. It was a happy place, because it had cheerful rooms and bright, airy windows, but most of all because they were there together. No matter the day, Navin and Ren always came home to each other.::
 
::As Ren came in the front door and kicked off his boots, a voice he loved called out from upstairs, and made his heart squirm pleasantly.::
 
Navin: Ren! How was work? Did you pick up dinner?
 
::Ren squirmed in a different way. He had not remembered to pick up dinner, and this was the week the replicator was out for repair.::
 
Rennyn: Uhhhh…..
 
::Ren’s conversational contribution faded out as Navin came into view, making his way down the stairs. The breath went out of Ren, and his lips curled up in a smile. It was like a conditioned response with him. The sight of his husband never failed to make Ren smile. Navin was impossibly handsome, and the smile he gave in return lit up the room. Dark-skinned, strong-jawed and kind-eyed, he’d captured Ren’s attention at first sight, and Ren hadn’t wanted to look away since. Even when he was in trouble.::
 
Navin: Dinner, sweetie? Don’t tell me we have to walk all the way back to the village.
 
::Ren’s smile disappeared, replaced with a falsely casual posture and a poorly masked look of stress as he tried to think his way out of this quickly.::
 
Rennyn: Well… We could walk part way there and use my mom’s replicator?
 
::Navin finished his descent and came to plant a kiss on his husband, despite the irritation Ren caused him. Navin stood an inch taller, the only man who could make the very tall Ren feel sort of safe and protected.::
 
Navin: Is that what you want to do? You want to make us have dinner with your mom? I mean, I like your mom a whole lot, but we live on this side of the field for a reason. So that’s what you want? You want to make us have dinner with your mom right now?
 
::Ren gulped. Was it a trick question?::
 
Rennyn: I don’t… ::He reached for the right word.:: ...know?
 
Navin: I need a definite answer, Ren.
 
::It was a little teasing, but a little serious. Ren had this answer in the bag.::
 
Rennyn: I am definitely not sure.
 
::This was the life. This was the dream. Together, for the rest of their lives. Relying on each other, leaning on each other, being there through thick and thin. People weren’t meant to be alone. Ren wasn’t. He was so happy to have found Navin. There was no one better for him. Even their little spat was a comfort. It let Ren know they were in it together.::
 
Navin: You are always just all about any excuse to hang with your mom, aren’t you?
 
::Ren feigned shock.::
 
Rennyn: I never!
 
Navin: Ohhh, yes you do.
 
::The scolding banter came with a hug, so Ren was okay with it. This was just the way things should be. Like they always were. Like they always would be. He leaned his head on Navin’s shoulder.::
 
Rennyn: I’m in trouble, aren’t I?
 
Navin: You’re not in the doghouse yet, but we can say you’re not exactly allowed up on the furniture.
 
::Ren chuckled softly, and leaned in tighter. He would fix it. He would make the walk himself. He would fire up the old hovercraft if he needed to. Dinner was a very minor hurdle. They’d faced bigger, and there was no hurdle big or small they couldn’t handle together.::
 
::Ren didn’t want to let go. He could search the universe over and never find a man like this again. This was how it always was with them. This was just how it always would be.::
 
::At the same time, it wasn’t. It began to dawn on Ren, a creeping feeling at first, then real knowledge of another life he’d lived, one without Navin in it. A life where Ren was almost lost to grief. A life where he joined Starfleet, made wonderful friends, had crazy adventures, and never could explain to anyone just what it was that was missing from his life. The man standing before him right now. The love of his life. Ren pulled away, stepped back in shock, and his face fell in horror.::
 
Rennyn: You’re not real.
 
::That was the tragic answer. This perfect world only existed in a dream. Ren whipped around, searching for that pesky rascal Arnom. Ren’s symbiont guide to the afterlife was nowhere to be found, but the Trill man’s eyes landed on something else. A spot of that brightness, and another gate, different from the first, an ornate solid gold thing that belonged to a faraway fairytale palace. But it was just as final, just as insistent as the first. Ren knew he had to leave.::
 
::Navin grabbed Ren’s arm, pulled him back, and held him, wrapping him in a hold Ren didn’t want to break.::
 
Navin: You don’t have to go. You could stay here. We could have our happy ending.
 
::Something in that closeness almost made Ren stay. It was a scary world out there without Navin. Ren often felt alone. In moments of triumph, he couldn’t share his success with the person he wanted to. In moments of sadness, he couldn’t lay his pain on the one who would understand it best. Most of all, it was hard to make friends and new relationships, and be known as only Ren, and not as half of Ren and Navin. That was the hardest part of loss. Ren was the only one who knew what the relationship had meant, who could see who he was as part of the pair. No one else would ever see him that way, and there was no way to explain it to them. You didn’t just lose the person you loved, you also lost a part of your own identity, and as each new adventure brought you new memories and introduced new people into your life, you only moved farther away from the person you once wanted to be. Ren was a very different man than he would have been with Navin in his life, and he was never sure if he could be his best self on his own.::
 
::Ren wanted Navin back so he could be himself again, but a dream of Navin just wouldn’t cut it. Ren had made a decision in Arnmere, to let Navin go, despite the lingering questions about his supposed death at the hands of the Borg. It was time to move forward with finding out who Ren Rennyn could be on his own. Caught in the dream of an embrace, Ren forced himself to follow through on that decision. Even though it wasn’t easy to let go.::
 
Rennyn: I’m sorry. I wanted to say that for a long time, but I couldn’t, because you were gone. The last thing I said to you was that I was mad at you for leaving on your mission, and that wasn’t fair. And I know we would have made up and it would have been something we didn’t even remember happened. But then the Borg happened. And it became the last thing I ever said to you. And I’m so sorry I sent you off that way.
 
::He clung to Navin one last time, knowing it wasn’t the real Navin, but grateful that he got to look into those eyes and finally say what he’d always wanted to say. It would help him move on. Tenderly, Navin pulled tighter, planted a kiss on Ren’s cheek, then rested his forehead on Ren’s own.::
 
Navin: Whatever comes, I’ll always wish we could have faced it together. But I know you can face it on your own.
 
::The strangely linear dream at last had mercy, and Ren found himself standing at the gold gate, 100 meters from the house and Navin. Through tear-drenched eyes, he looked back on what might have been, as brightly lit clouds rolled in across Arnmere.::
 
::Ren half expected Navin to turn into a Borg, and flip this dream into a nightmare. That didn’t happen. Navin waved from the door until the clouds drifted in across him, obscuring him from view. Their happy ending was lost in the mists of a dream, just exactly how it always felt in Ren’s heart.::
 
::He was wearing boots again, and they felt like led. Ren forced his feet to obey. Through the gold gate he marched, and hoped he would awake from this nonsense soon.::
 
 
TBC
 
LtCmdr Ren Rennyn
First Officer
USS Blackwell, Andaris Task Force

A239102RR0

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