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[Round 3] The Dance


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((Captain Sidney Riley's Quarters, USS Tiger))

::Sidney pulled the thin soft pink fabric of the shawl around her shoulders a little more tightly. For some reason she was feeling a little cold, both physically and mentally. Everything that had happened on the last mission, coupled with the current situation not only on Deep Space 17, but the entire Ithassa Region...it was like the world was coming unglued at the seams.::

::Sidney looked over at the pile of luggage sitting in the corner of her room. She sighed lightly, there was no way Shannon was going to be staying her quarters. She needed time alone and Shannon never quite understood that. She loved her sister dearly, but Shannon could be so annoying...they were just too different.::

::The Terran/Deltan walked over to the door and slipped on her white sandals. The white linen pants skimmed the tops of the shoes as she walked out the door and down the corridor. She tugged at her white sleeveless top and readjusted her pink shawl. She shivered.::

::It was cold and quiet. Most of the crew was on leave at the station and Sidney tried to let her anxiety go. She walked lightly with no particular destination in mind, until she rounded a corner and found herself face to face with an all too familiar door.::

::Sidney paused for a moment and found herself simply staring at the door. The usual, should I or shouldn't I, entered her mind. Lately every time she talked to Bron she felt as is she were bothering him. He was distant...too consumed with duty to think of anything else. Sidney sighed and thought about pressing the door chime.::

oO Is it really worth it?Oo

((Lieutenant Bron Storos' Quarters, USS Tiger))

::Bron was sitting on the floor of his quarters, in flowing blue pants. The heat in his quarters was turned on high, but he was finding it hard to meditate. He could not help but feel that he had not done well this last mission. He needed to clear his head. Especially before disembarking to DS 17.::

::Bron shivered slightly. He did not want to see DS 17 broken again. He had read the preliminary reports. Already he was picturing the devastation wrought by the Gorn war. He was not sure how he was going to react to what the Grendellai had done.::

::He looked up. That scent. There was no mistaking it. Bron stood and pulled a shirt on. He went to the door and activated it.::

Storos: Having trouble sleeping, Captain?

::Sidney's quite startled simply looked at the Deltan man a moment before answering. She hadn't expected him to open the door when she hadn't even activated the chime.::

Riley: Not really... ::She smiled, but it was only half-heartedly. :: I'm simply out for a walk...I rarely sleep as much as I used to before... ::Sidney paused and bit her tongue. Bron really didn't need to know she didn't sleep as well as she did before the Gorn War. That was something she generally kept to herself...and the ship's Counselor when the issue was pushed.::

Storos: I... ::a rueful smile:: I suppose I am putting off the inevitable. DS 17 still feels like home to me. I do not know how I am going to react to seeing her damaged again.

::Sidney turned her head away from Bron and looked down the empty, quiet corridor. She let the shawl slip off her right shoulder revealing her bare arm. Bron swallowed, hoped it wasn't noticed.::

Riley: I can understand that sentiment. I've always considered the station a second home. However, the Tiger is more like home to me now, which is why I'm staying here instead of my quarters on the station.

::Bron ran a hand over his bald head. He was being thoughtless. Something that once would not have been like him. He gestured for the Captain to enter his quarters.::

Storos: I hope... Is everything alright? oO Light! Is there a chance...? Oo Have you received word about your sister?

::Sidney paused in the doorway to the room. It was unbearably hot and she let the shawl slip from her shoulders entirely and tied it around her waist. She leaned against the door frame and sighed lightly.::

Riley: Shannon is fine Bron. In fact she's transferred to the Tiger, although I have no idea where she is at the moment. She was injured, but not severely, I'm sure Doctor Solok has her patched up already.

::Bron blinked.::

Storos: Shannon... Aboard the Tiger... That sounds...interestin g... ::beat:: Will she be staying with you?

::Sidney shifted her weight slightly.::

Riley: I've gotten used to having my own quarters, I hate to say it but she'll have to find her own.

::She chuckled lightly. Bron smiled in response.::

Storos: Well, I am relieved to hear that she is well, at least...

Riley: You know, I didn't think you and Shannon got along very well to be honest.

::Sidney felt the irritation creeping into her voice. Bron seemed more interested in her sister than her. And to be honest to herself, it was all small talk.::

Riley: oO Is it ever really more than that? Oo

Storos: I... ::slight smile:: No. We never have gotten along very well...

::Bron let out a slow breath. Why did he have to make everything so hard? Thick Deltan skull, no doubt.::

Storos: And *you*... How are you doing, Sidney?

::Sidney raised an eyebrow and weighed her response before responding.: :

Riley: I am fine...trying to wind down and enjoy some down time...same as everyone... ::Sidney reached up and ran a hand through her hair and the beads of sweat which were beginning to form on her forehead.::

::Bron was suddenly very self-conscious. Not a very gracious host, was he.::

Storos: Would you like me to change the environmental settings? I was...thinking. ..

Riley: Oh...it's fine actually. ::Sidney stepped back and felt the cool air on her back from the corridor.::

Storos: Meditating actually. Or rather, trying to, without much success. The heat replicates the steam caves of my creche on Delta IV. ::beat:: I would love to show them to you some time...

::Sidney sighed inwardly. It was as always the same conversation. ::

Riley: You've told me about the caves before. I remember...

::Bron nodded. He had said something wrong already. He knew it...::

Storos: Of course...

::There was a slightly pause and Sidney let her gaze fall on the wall at the opposite end of Bron's quarters. When she spoke her voice was quiet and reflective.. .::

Riley: Do you ever think about the future, Bron?

::The future. Too much of the time Bron's head was stuck in the past. A bad habit, but the Deltan hadn't found a way out of it yet.::

Storos: Sometimes... oO Rarely... Oo

Riley: And what do you see?

::Bron closed his eyes. He took a slow breath.::

Storos: I see myself in Starfleet... oO Keeping you safe. Right, Bron. Like you have done a good job at that... Oo

::Sidney nodded. It was the answer she had expected. Bron was predictable if anything.::

Riley: Of course... ::Sidney took a step backward and she found herself more in the corridor than in the Deltan's quarters.::

Storos: I...

::Bron looked away.::

Storos: I have been unkind to you. In many ways. I have never meant to hurt you...

::Sidney stepped forward, her eyes holding a sense of emptiness.::

Riley: I can't imagine you would.... ::Her voice trailed off....::

::Bron looked back, into Sidney's eyes. It was like plunging into the sea.::

Storos: I love you. You are and always will be the Guardian of my Heart. I cannot see the future, but I know that to be true.

::Sidney took in a sharp breath. There was so much she wanted to say. So much...why was it that it never felt like the right time? Why was there never a time or place? She could feel the tears on the inside. Perhaps some things were just never meant to be...She smiled a sad smile at Bron.::

Riley: Kind words... ::Pause.:: I think I'm going to head back to my quarters now, perhaps sleep is what I need more than exercise...

::Sidney turned quickly, undid the knot in her shawl and once again wrapped it tightly about her shoulders. Inside she felt as though a piece of her heart had been removed...melted with tears which refused to well to the surface. She blinked and walked quickly down the corridor not waiting to hear the response from the Deltan Security Lieutenant.: :

::Yes some things simply weren't meant to be....the life of a Captain sometimes demanded more than she felt she had to give...she was just glad it wasn't often she felt like that.::

::Bron felt the weight of the past tugging at him again. The death of his granddam. The Gorn war. So much had happened to drive a wedge between him and Sidney. It would be so easy to let that gulf widen. So easy...::

Storos: Wait. Please.

::Bron jogged after Sidney, catching up with her quickly. It felt odd to be walking the corridors of the Tiger in his bare feet. He reached out to touch the Captain's shoulder, shivering as he did so.::

Storos: Sidney...

::Sidney recoiled slightly at the Deltan man's touch on her shoulder. She shivered and wrapped the thin shawl more tightly around herself.::

Riley: Was there something else? ::She gave him a tired yet quizzical look.::

Storos: This leave... I know that everyone will be busy with everything. But please... I would like to spend some time with you.

::Bron looked into the woman's eyes, letting the words come before his brain could sensor them.::

Storos: I have let myself grow distant from you. I... I hope that you will forgive my stupidity and give me the chance to overcome that distance...

::Sidney felt the weight of the world bearing down on her mind. If she hadn't been so tired, she would have raised an eyebrow.::

Riley: We'll have to see...::She paused not looking at Bron directly. Her gaze shifted down the corridor, focusing on nothing in particular.: : I have a lot of responsibilities. ... ::Her voice trailed off gently.::

::Duties. Bron nodded slowly. He knew a few things about duties. But he was discovering, learning again, that there were duties beyond duty.::

Storos: I understand.. .

Riley: I'll do what I can...I can't make any promises... ::Sidney yawned lightly...and gave the Deltan man a weak tired smile.:: it's time for me to go...you know where to find me...

Storos: ::nodding:: That I do...Guardian of my heart.

::Bron rested a hand on Sidney's shoulder, gave it a squeeze, then raised it to brush the back against Sidney's cheek.::

Storos: Sleep well...

::Sidney nodded and turned heading back towards her quarters.::

Riley: oO Yes, some things just aren't meant to be....Oo

TBC...

Lieutenant Bron Storos

Security

USS Tiger

and

Captain Sidney Riley

Commanding Officer

USS Tiger

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