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JP MAJ Pavlov & Lt. Cmdr Oddas: Arrival


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(( Ijo House, Hathon, Bajor ))

 

::The trip had made Aria more nervous than she had anticipated, which said a lot. She thought she had masked it well by answering the questions of the girls as best she could, of course she knew that meant she had told them much more than they wanted to know.  She had seen that glazed over bored look in Katya's eyes telling Aria she had been talking too much. 

 

 

The stop on DS9 was brief, barely enough time to get to the next shuttle, Jazmine seemed disappointed she couldn't go into the bar.  Aria was confused until she saw the girl looking at the Tongo table and whispered she knew a place in the city they could play together.  Aria wasn't sure Irina heard.

 

Finally they stood outside the Ijo house, a decidedly tall gray and blue building on the outskirts of the city.  It was far enough on the outskirts it had a small yard inside a low wall, but close enough space was still at a premium and the building was much narrower and deeper than it was tall, 4 levels tall with a small vehicle landing pad hanging off the roof.  Aria could not walk between it and the neighboring buildings. 

 

She had stood here countless times and she couldn't remember being as nervous as she felt this time.  So much was different, even her clothing felt wrong, for some reason it felt as if she should have worn something that didn't make it obvious that her very body was different.  She should have covered her arm up. ::

 

::Irina’s thoughts were entirely different.  Despite four years having passed since her rescue from Kjenta II, Irina had actually been to very few worlds other than her own and Til’Ahn.  This was also different because she knew how difficult it had to be for Aria.  This was the home of her former fiance’s parents, her former fiancé who died literally in her arms; again a situation Irina knew far better than anyone should ever have to.::

 

::Katya and Jazmine, for their parts, looked about equal parts tired, bored and curious, though neither of them complained at all, which made Irina happy.::

 

Oddas: I guess it's now or never. 

 

Pavlova: We are your guests, so after you.

 

::Irina had a point, so Aria lead the group toward the gate and opened it, and made it one step inside before the door to the house opened.  Aria looked up in surprise to see Ijo Cada, Mother Cada appear.  Cada was older than Aria remembered, but still had echos of Alea.  Shorter than either Aria or Irina, hair that was officially more grey than red,  some lines on her face that she wore with a mixture of pride and innocence.  She smiled in a way that made Aria think of all mothers, except her own.  ::

 

Ijo: Aria!  

 

::Before Aria knew what was happening the woman was across the walkway in a feat defying her age and had wrapped her arms around Aria's neck, standing on her tip toes to do so.  Aria couldn't help to embrace her back, squeezing tightly.  She felt tears on her face, she felt home. She felt someone tapping on her back, it was Cada. ::

 

Ijo: Aria! ::laughing:: Aria, not so hard!

 

::Aria let the older woman go and smiled at her. ::

 

Oddas: It is so good to see you Mother Cada.  ::in that moment Aria felt a huge burden lift from her shoulders.::

 

Ijo: ::squeezing Aria on the shoulders:: It is so good to see you Aria, welcome home.  ::turning her attention to the rest of the group:: And this is the other woman in my daughter's life, Ms. Irina Pavlova.

 

Pavlova: I’ve heard a lot about you.  ::Irina held out her hand as she replied. ::

 

Ijo: ::looking at the woman's hand:: Nonsense! ::pulling Irina in for her own hug, equally as heartfelt, but not quite as rough.::

 

::Irina was rather startled, but adapted quickly and returned the hug.::

 

Pavlova: It’s a pleasure to meet you.

 

Ijo: And ::making her mouth form the word correctly:: Katya and Jazmine? Thank you so very much for coming with my Aria home. 

 

Katya: Hello ma’am.

 

Jazmine: Thank you for having us.

 

::Cada took the girls by the hands, one in each, and led them towards the door. ::

 

Ijo: Call me Ama Cada ::she looked over her shoulder at Aria and Irina:: you two bring the bags, I have treats for the girls. 

 

Oddas: oO Yep, I'm home, not in command of anything anymore. Oo

 

Pavlova: And you were worried about bringing us.  I’m guessing Ama is either Miss or Mother?

 

Oddas: ::smiling and picking up a bag:: I guess the closest thing in standard is 'Grandmother', Grandmother Cada.  ::Aria had a moment of panic, stopping as she was slinging a bag over her shoulder:: If, if it bothers you, or them, I'm sure she won't mind if they don't...

 

Pavlova: Why would it bother me?  I’m sure they love the attention. 

 

::Irina picked up the heaviest of the bags::

 

Pavlova: Come on, lets get moved in.

 

::They made it inside a few minutes later and upstairs, to where Cada had set up a majestic spread of foods. Aria thought she was blushing when she saw the foods were mostly desserts and could smell a pot of coffee coming from somewhere.  Her survey was wrong though, a small, very small portion of the dishes were savory, and a few she didn't recognize, they seemed almost Earth-like. She squinted her eyes and could have sworn she had one of the dishes at Irina's table. ::

 

Oddas: Cada, this was not necessary.

 

Pavlova: Is that?  Piroshki?

 

::Irina looked closedly one of the pastries and couldn’t hide the smile on her face, while Katya’s and Jazmine’s attention went straight for the deserts.::

 

Ijo: ::beaming:: You were not going to come all this way and not let me cook for you.

 

Pavlova: Cook away.

 

Ijo: ::motioning for everyone to sit around the round table:: It is! I hope I got the recipe right! We make nothing like it on Bajor, but I wanted you to feel at home as much as Aria.

 

Pavlova: For real Piroshki we’ll move in tomorrow.  I’ve never had a good one anywhere outside of Russia.  May I?

 

Ijo: I insist, if its not right, you will make it with me before you leave.  If we don't do something right we shouldn't do it. 

 

::Irina bit on and immediately felt like she was Katya’s age, sitting at her Aunt Svetlana’s table in Sochi.::

 

Pavlova: Vkusno (delicious).

 

Ijo: You like it? I made what I could, but had to replicate a few things.

 

Oddas: ::biting a cookie and pouring coffee, trying to take in the scene around her:: Knowing her, she didn't replicate much.

 

Pavlova: Your recipe is just fine.  We can cook though, I’ll teach you my grandmother’s stroganoff, and you can teach me one of the dishes Aria grew up with.

 

Ijo: It's a deal, anything for my Aria, ::she glanced at Aria who was trying to pretend she wasn't embarrassed by the attention:: and anything for a recipe.  Is it something you do often?

 

Pavlova: I’ve always liked to cook.

 

(( Timeskip until  much later in the night. ))

 

::Cada had explained Teevin, the man they had come to celebrate, had to stay at the University to finish paperwork and other things to not leave them in a lurch when his retirement became official.  Cada was entertaining Irina with a story of Aria's teenage years.  It was a very long, very elaborate, very embarrassing story of Aria being brought home by a Constable for trespassing. ::

 

Oddas: ::laughing:: They had the part I needed! 

 

Ijo: ::laughing very hard and hitting the table:: So you snuck in at night to take it? 

 

Oddas: They would have said no if I had just walked in and asked for a power converter! Besides, it was just sitting there with the other junk!

 

::Irina was really enjoying herself.  Excellent food, good drink, and despite any apprehension she had about Cada being uncomfortable with her or the amount that the woman had managed to find out about her, Irina found herself really liking her.::

 

Pavlova: But you got caught.

 

Oddas:  They heard the hounds chasing me!  Another 10 meters and I would have made it to the fence too!

 

::They all began laughing simultaneously and Aria realized she hadn't thought about day in years. ::

 

Pavlova: So how did you end up here?

 

Oddas: Oh, I told the Constable this was my house, Cada was my mother.  

 

Pavlova: Why the need for deception?

 

Oddas:  Otherwise, they would have realized it was not my first ... part collection.

 

::Aria realized the two young girls were looking on, Katya  in particular had wide eyes. Evidently Ijo noticed as well. ::

 

Ijo: ::grinning, conivingly:: You don't know about Aria's criminal records?

 

Oddas: Okay! Okay! I don't think Irina needs her girls to know I'm not the shining influence she thinks I am. 

 

Katya/Jazmine: Please!!!!!

 

Pavlova: Its time for you two to go to bed.

 

Oddas: ::trying to change the subject::  It is late.

 

Pavlova: Come on, Aria and her evil ways will be still be here in the morning.

 

Ijo: ::smiling in a way that said it wasn't over:: the guest room is made up for them, and I have plenty of Coffee and Drinks for us. 

 

Katya/Jazmine: Okay. 

 

((A few minutes later))

 

::Irina knew it was a very sensitive subject, but sitting here and enjoying the company Irina just felt compelled to share her feelings.::

 

Pavlova: I really appreciate your inviting all of us.  I honestly can’t imagine everything that must have gone through your mind when learned about Aria and I.

 

::Irina put her hand gently on Aria’s thigh, who for her part poured herself a small glass of kali-fal and breathed in the aroma deeply before taking a sip.  Aria felt content, if a little embarrassed as she interlocked her fingers in Irina's hand. ::

 

Ijo: ::reaching for her spring wine:: Pavlova, I'm sorry, Irina, forgive an old woman's lapse, ::taking a drink and seeming to get lost in thought:: many years ago Alea started telling me stories of a girl she knew who was brilliant, and shy, and yes, beautiful.  She went on and on about this girl, like I had never heard before, and Alea was not shy, not like Aria.  ::winking at Aria::  I knew Aria was special because Alea, who never lacked for self-confidence, was completely at a loss around her.

 

Oddas: ::looking away:: That doesn't mean anything, lots of people get infatuated, often with the wrong people.

 

Ijo: ::nodding:: That's true, but then I met you, Aria, and I understood it. I mean, beautiful, ::shrugging:: so is Alea, and Irina here, but Alea was right about all of the rest of it too.  I'm proud to call you my daughter. ::looking at Irina:: And I trust her judgement with people, she's not going to associate with people that don't deserve it.

 

Oddas: I've never felt like I was good with people.

 

Ijo:  ::finishing her wine and standing:: Aria, you may not be good at talking to people, but you know faster than anyone if they are good.  ::kissing Aria on the head:: Irina, what went through my head was my daughter, who I want to be happy and who happens to be a good judge of character was happy.  ::she cupped Irina's shoulder and squeezed as she headed for the stairs::  I'm going to follow the kids' example, do not wait up for Teevin.  Pleasant Evening.

 

Oddas: ::wiping her eyes with her palm:: Pleasant Evening.

 

Irina: Pleasant eventing, and again, thank you.  ::Irina caught herself wiping a few tears as well.::

 

Oddas: ::pausing for a moment:: Thank you Irina.

 

Irina: Thank me?  For what?

 

Oddas: Making me come home.

 

Irina: You are so lucky to have a home to come back to, and such a loving one as this.  I could get very comfortable here.

 

Oddas: You've been home? St Petersburg?

 

Irina: Yes, I’ve been back.  There were a few, VERY distant descendants of my brother and cousins, but none of them had even heard my name or knew that I ever existed until I showed up with Katya. 

 

Oddas: Was it happy?

 

Irina: We had tea and talked for an hour or so, but there really wasn’t anything in common.  None of them had stayed in music, none had gone to Starfleet.  They were just strangers who shared a small fraction of my parents’ DNA.  The building I lived in, my old school, everything I knew except some of the ancient statues and the old opera house were gone.  It wasn’t home anymore.

 

Oddas: ::resting her head on Irina's shoulder:: You can always be home with me Irina.

 

::Irina found herself suddenly speechless, and was certain she was blushing as she realized that there was nothing she wanted more than “always”.  She’d wanted it with Dimitri, or at least thought she did, and had wanted it with AJ, but even that somehow wasn’t the same.  Right here, sitting on the couch in the home of Aria’s dead fiance’s mother, Irina knew, with certainty, exactly what she wanted.::

 

Pavlova: Always?

           

Oddas: ::jerking her head up as she realized she had spoken without really thinking:: I mean, of course, if, I mean, ::sighing:: yes, always.

 

::Irina just leaned in close, not caring how brightly she might be blushing.::

 

Pavlova: Then I guess my answer is….., yes?

 

Oddas: ::smiling:: That's a relief ::kissing Irina::

 

 

Lt. Commander Oddas Aria
Executive Officer
Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor,  NCC-82607
ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training Team
E239305OA0

 

and 

 

Major Irina Pavlova

Chief of Security 

Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor

Author ID O238908HA0

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