((Before the Events of ‘Date Night’))
::Taelon sat at his desk for a few minutes after Theo left, stunned. There were a thousand thoughts going through his head - what did this mean, is it casual, are humans ever casual about this? When had this changed, exactly? Had Theo tried to drop hints before and he’d not seen them?
Paramount among them was one fact: He had no idea how dates worked. El-Aurians...well, he assumed they dated, too, but he hadn’t exactly gotten a crash-course in it.
Right - he could address that logically, he decided. There had to be sources in the databanks that’d tell him what to expect and what to...do. Right? Right.
He hurriedly started typing. What the computer flashed up was in no way reassuring. ::
Computer: Dating: Human colloquial term for a form of courtship, which may include any social activity undertaken by, typically, two persons with the aim of assessing each other's suitability as a prospective partner in a more committed romantic and/or sexual relationship.
::Taelon’s eyes got wider. A few second later he stood up so quickly he knocked his chair over and bolted out of the office and into the hallway.
The decks were a blur as he ran to where he thought Ishani’s quarters were. Foregoing the intercon, he pounded on the door.::
Taelon: Ishani! ::There wasn’t any reply.:: Damnit, please be home…
:: Ishani had been lounging around on her couch catching up on some light reading when the pounding began. Concerned Ishani put down her PADD and opened the door. The door slid open to reveal Taelon still standing with his arms raised. His expression was that of a deer in the headlights.::
Kasun: Taelon? :: She looked at him in concern. :: What’s going on?
Taelon: Theo asked me out. On a - can I come in?
Kasun: :: Ishani stared at Taelon for a few long seconds before standing aside so she was no longer in the doorway. :: Uh sure. : Of all the things she could think of that would put Taelon into such a tizzy, being asked out on a date by the first officer of the base was not one of them. She must have misheard him. :: Whittaker asked you what?
::Taelon promptly darted past her into the bright and stylish interior. Quite an upgrade from his own bare quarters, but he wasn’t in the mind to take much notice. He started pacing the living room.::
Taelon: On a date. Like, a human one. And, and I looked it up and it’s some commitment custom? ::He looked at his half-sister imploringly.:: I don’t know how to do that!
Kasun: Ah :: If this had been anyone else Ishani would have laughed at the absurdity of their overreaction, but Taelon’s reaction was sadly in character for him given his background. :: Dating isn’t normally that... formal. Yes it is used by humans to find a compatible life partner, but no one really expects that level of commitment on the first date.
Taelon: ::His pacing didn’t slow.:: Oh. How do you tell what...level…..
Kasun: Ultimately it depends on the the people involved. Some people just date to enjoy the company of the person they’re with and not with any long term plans in mind, others are looking for the person they want to marry.
Taelon: Right.. ::He rubbed his arms, stopping and looking at her.:: L-like you and Kro...you’re, what?
Kasun: Kro and I are just dating for companionship and... other things, but at this point long term hasn’t really entered the discussion. :: Ishani wasn’t even certain if Kro knew how much older she was than him, let alone if he cared about that. ::
Taelon: Other things….?
Kasun: I doubt Whittaker has that in mind right now. He is attracted to you, hence why he asked you out and he most likely wants to see where it goes. ::While they weren’t really close by any means, Ishani did know enough about their first officer that he wouldn’t ask someone out willy nilly.:: It’s not like if you go out on a date with him you have to continue dating and then eventually marry him. You get a choice too.
Taelon: ::Taelon looked at her with an expression that was conflicted; torn in that way he tended to be.:: I...yeah, I know.
::He rubbed his arms again, frowning. He still wasn’t sure how to feel. The emotions were conflicting: flattery, excitement, and sheer terror. What happened if this went badly? What happened if it went well?
And which one of those outcomes scared him more?::
Taelon: So, what...what do I do?
Kasun: Well I’d just be yourself. Whittaker asked you out so he should have a plan for the evening, you just need to go along with it.
Taelon: I don’t think he had a plan. Um. Unless he was hiding it. ::He interlaced his fingers, yanking at them nervously.:: H-he offered to let me pick the place, so...
Kasun: You should really try to not overthink things. oO Though I know that’s hard for you. Oo Ultimately dating is about finding compatibility. If at the end of the date either you or Whittaker do not want to go out again, then that is a successful date in and of itself.
Taelon: ::He side-eyed her:: I, uh, sure...but don’t successful dates usually imply...not that?
Kasun: No, not really. A successful date is finding out whether or not you want to go on another date with that person. :: Smiling gently:: Like I said, the goal is to find someone compatible with you and your personal relationship goals.
Taelon: And how do you know if that’s the case? I mean - it’s probably obvious, isn’t it. ::He sighed.::
Kasun: You won’t know until you’ve gone on the date, you know.
Taelon: I think I’d prefer hard rules. ::He shrugged loosely.:: All I remember was from school, and those seemed...I don’t know. Simple. Innocent.
::He grunted, and sat on the couch, chin resting on one upturned hand.::
Taelon: Or maybe that’s just colony life. Not like there was anything fun to do, I guess.
Kasun: Dating as a child or teen is much simpler. :: She sat back down on her couch. :: They just do it because of lust and there is no goal to it aside from vague aspirations of forever. They feel everything stronger so things become more black and white. ::Shrugging:: It is the nature of children and the just prepubescent.
Taelon: ::He managed a slight smirk. She was right about most of that, he knew. But it didn’t seem so complex back then. Hell, back then he’d been completely baffled by it - looking and effectively being 8 while the rest of the kids went into the upper grades had made certain things fly by him.:: What’s the nature of adults, then?
Kasun: Surely you have some examples from your own life?
Taelon: ::He sighed again.:: My examples are my parents, Ishani. They’re...them.
::They shared a father. As for the mother...well, somehow he doubted her style would work for him.::
Kasun: ::grimacing:: Ah true. I guess the way to put it is that with adults is that things aren’t as naive, there are more shades of gray and romantic relationships aren’t based upon mashing genitals together. Not that there aren’t adult pairings who are all about that... :: She was a walking result of such a pairing after all. :: but adults don’t pretend that it’s true love.
Taelon: ::He rubbed his hands over his face. He wasn’t quite sure how to phrase what he wanted to ask - not exactly, any way. In the end he looked at her again.:: What was it like with you and Kro?
Kasun: :: Ishani flushed red.:: Um well... At first it was purely physical. We first met when I had that concussion on the mission where we lost the Albion. oO And I made a complete fool out of myself. :: Her eyes softened as she smiled. :: But we got to talking and he’s far smarter than most would give him credit for, and he’s kind and cares about my desires.
Taelon: oO And good at smashing heads, apparently… Oo ::Taelon let that thought peter out before he spoke.:: That’s...good. That you’re getting on well, I mean. Are you, you know…. ::He gestured with his hands, but quite what he was trying to imply failed him.:: Serious?
Kasun: Maybe. We’ve only been dating for a few months, but I’d like to see where it ends up.
Taelon: And...if goes badly?
Kasun: I’ve had many relationships over the years, been married twice and dated a multitude of others. Obviously all but one of my romantic relationships has ended. Some were mutual, some I instigated the breakup, others he did, and a few blew up so badly that the relationship completely disintegrated, but I don’t regret taking the chance no matter how badly some of them ended up.
Taelon: I see.
::His father had often given him similar advice, but it didn’t exactly help. Try everything once, make the leap, do something - the words made sense and the sentiment was appreciated, but they seemed to find it so easy to follow their own advice.
Just as he found it easier to step back and run. He’d taken one risk and it’d paid off, hadn’t he? What was another?::
Taelon: I don’t know. ::He’d gone quiet for a long moment, and hugged himself, hands clasping his biceps.:: I just don’t want to disappoint him.
Kasun: I know. I wish I could say you won’t ever disappoint him, but everyone disappoints someone sometimes because we are all flawed mortals.
:: Impulsively she pulled him into a hug before continuing. ::
Kasun: Even if you two eventually got married there will be times where you disappoint him and he in turn disappoints you. :: She pulled away but still held his hands, giving them a reassuring squeeze. :: That’s life, and you can’t live your life trying not to disappoint someone.
::Taelon eventually just nodded. It was clear he was still torn; something in her words had hit home, but as for what would take, that couldn’t be certain.
So long as he didn’t lock himself in the labs for the next few weeks, one could consider the conversation a success.::
Lieutenant JG Ishani Kasun MD, PhD
Crisis Response Unit
Starbase 118 Ops
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 118 OPs