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JP: LtCmdr Greir Reinard & PNPC Lt Chen: "Worth Fighting For&#


Sedrin Belasi
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((USS Vigilant, Deck 5: Sickbay))

::It was easy to lose track of time when all he could remember were fits and starts of consciousness. Lately when he had woken up, he’d felt the sensation of someone holding his hand, and he’d latched onto that, tightening his grip a little whenever he could gather his wits enough to do so. There were things he remembered, too, although he wasn’t sure how much of it had been real and how much had been a dream.::

::This time, as Chen’s eyes drifted open a fraction, something felt different. He felt like he had a little more strength. The fog that had been clouding his head seemed to have lifted and, rather than his vision swimming with white, he could feel his eyes coming into focus as he blinked the haze out of them. The familiar vista of sickbay’s ceiling was there, clearer than he could remember seeing it, but that wasn’t what drew his immediate attention. Greir had been there the whole time. He was the one who had been holding Chen’s hand. Chen knew that they had things to talk about but it was obvious just how much Greir cared. He squeezed his hand, properly this time, rather than a feeble attempt from someone who was half conscious.::

::Greir had been nodding off when the squeeze of his hand drew his attention; he raised his head, opened his eyes and looked at Chen. He’d gradually started regaining some of his lost colour and when he looked into his gorgeous green eyes, he noticed they seemed a little brighter and more alert. It was a good sign that Chen was regaining some of his strength. Greir immediately smiled.::

Reinard: Hello sleepy head. How are you feeling?

Chen: Like I got fed through one of the bussard collectors but better for seeing you. You’ve been here the whole time, haven’t you?

::He already knew the answer well enough. He imagined that Greir would have had cause to leave a couple of times but he had always seemed to be there whenever Chen had drifted awake. As his vision and hearing began to settle, he felt his antennae, which had been hanging limply backwards, slowly start to move. Naturally, they were trying to point straight at Greir. He hoped that he would be alright with that but, given that he’d been by his side so much, he had a feeling he would.::

Reinard: As much as I could.

::He’d had to leave for duty shifts, rest breaks and the like but he’d made every effort to be with Chen as much as he could. He felt greatly relieved to hear Chen say his presence made him feel better and some of the worries that had been making him feel edgy seemed less prominent.::

Chen: Thankyou. I really appreciate it.

::Chen had aches on aches from being in the same position for so long. He wasn’t sure whether or not he was supposed to sit up but he knew he couldn’t stay lying down for much longer.::

Chen: Could you help me up? My back’s killing me...

Reinard: Yeah of course.

::Greir released Chen’s hand and slipped an arm under him to help him sit up. ::

Reinard: Better? I can help ease some of that backache, if you wanted?

::Now that he was sitting instead of lying down, Chen already felt a little more comfortable. Greir’s offer felt like a lifeline, though; he knew he would probably have to lie down again later on and didn’t expect to be back up to full strength right away. His back would no doubt remind him that he’d been in that position for far too long once again when the time came.::

Chen: That would be amazing, thanks.

::Greir hopped up onto the biobed and sat just behind Chen so he didn’t have to do this at an awkward angle and possibly make the backache worse. He was certainly no professional masseur but he had taken a course on massage a long time ago on the USS Washington. He’d decided it would be a useful skill to have since he was often involved with officers with back problems – whether it had come about from an injury that had caused physical and mental trauma, or pregnant officers. He’d felt it was skill that would relieve the medical department whilst allowing him to build trust with people he was working with by helping them relax and ease their aches. He’d been transferred before finishing the course and never learned as much as he wanted. ::

:: Usually these things were done lying down but Chen had done nothing but lie down the last few days and he couldn’t see the Andorian wanting to do too much more of it. He was aware of the muscles in the back and used his fingers to feel the muscles and ease out tightness and knots using some pressure from his fingers and thumbs. ::

Reinard: Let me know if this is helping at all.

::Chen’s eyes rolled upwards with relief as he felt the tension being worked slowly out of his back. He put his hands onto his knees and leaned forward a little bit more so that Greir could have a bit more room.::

Chen: That’s exactly what I needed.

::He closed his eyes and cradled his head in his hands, enjoying the massage and murmuring with relief every now and again when Greir managed to tease out a particularly difficult knot. Once it was done and Greir stopped, Chen opened his eyes again, feeling much more comfortable and relaxed.::

Chen: That’s so much better. Thanks.

::Greir removed himself from the bed and returned to his stool after finishing the massage. He was terribly glad that it had helped Chen. ::

Reinard: You’re very welcome.

::His eyes smiled at Greir, full of gratitude. He hoped that Greir didn’t have to go anywhere for a while and he shifted his legs to get more comfortable. The sheet that was over him brushed against the stump at the end of his right leg; he felt his heart rate rise for a moment as he realised for the first time that his foot was still missing. Evidently they hadn’t been able to replace it yet. He allowed himself a brief glance at it; part of the biobed had been extended over it and had obscured it from view during the back massage, so he hadn’t seen it.::

::His rational mind quickly kicked in. If he hadn’t lost his foot, he wouldn’t be alive. That was the choice they’d had to make back on Asav. It still freaked him out a little and he was certain he wasn’t ready to see what it looked like underneath the blanket yet but he knew that a biosynthetic replacement was likely to be a possibility that he hoped they could explore soon.::

::With any luck, very soon...::

::For the time being, though he was just glad to be sitting up and awake. He had no idea how long he’d been out of it. He was also glad that he was finally going to get a chance to talk to Greir.::

Chen: I really missed you, y’know.

::Greir had missed Chen a lot too and had been worried sick about him the whole time he’d been unconscious. Now that he was properly awake and alert Greir could finally express his deepest gratitude. He hadn’t been aware of the danger he’d been in at the time but it had soon caught up with him. Just thinking about what would have happened had Chen not acted as he had gave him the chills.::

Reinard: I missed you terribly. I’m so glad to see you awake again at last. I have something important I need to say.

::Chen imagined that they both had plenty that needed to be said but he was happy enough to listen to Greir first. It was the least he could do.::

Chen: OK.

Reinard: ::Leaning forward a bit and being completely sincere:: I am deeply grateful for your actions in the…

::Thinking about the place gave him the shivers to the point he couldn’t even talk of it directly. He blinked slowly, gave a tiny shake of the head and re-phrased it. He had a lot on his mind and so many bad things had happened recently that it was all just reaching boiling point for him. He just wanted to tell Chen how he felt about all this mess.::

Reinard: … on Asav. Immeasurably so. I am so terribly sorry you were hurt as a result. In fact… I’m sorry about everything. No one means more to me than you and none of it should ever have happened.

::At this time he wasn’t sure if he could ever forgive himself for that. His mind had continually played it back, much like the time he’d seen the Battle of Bondi. He kept wondering about ‘what if…’ What if he’d been faster, what if he’d missed a release valve that could have freed them, what if he hadn’t fallen on top of Chen… what if… He just felt like if he had been a better person or a better leader then somehow these problems could have been avoided. He wasn’t even sure he was getting his message over as well as he wanted to, his mind and emotions were in dozens of places at once.::

::Chen felt his guts tie in a knot as Greir said that no one meant more to him, even as his spirits tried to lift. He was drowning in guilt and it seemed a fitting punishment that he still didn’t feel completely himself. Seeing how much Greir still cared about him and hearing him thank him for what had happened in that tunnel were things that he felt he didn’t deserve.::

Chen: You have nothing to apologise for. This is my fault.

::Greir’s face twisted into shock. The fact that he would blame himself for this was completely crazy as far as he was concerned.::

Reinard: No, the blame is mine alone. None of this is your fault. How can you even say that?

::The Andorian shook his head, a forlorn expression on his face. There could be no hiding from the truth. He’d berated himself internally several times during the Asavii mission about the way he had acted beforehand. There was no way that Greir could be indebted to him in any way; Chen might have saved him from being sliced in half by emergency bulkheads but, were it not for what could only be considered as the highest level of bravery, Chen would still be stuck in some random access conduit under more water than he cared to think about. Each one had saved the other’s life.::

Chen: It was my idea for us to go into that conduit. I wish I’d thought of something else.

::Greir was still not buying any of it because one huge, inescapable fact remained.::

Reinard: You had an idea. That is all and you cannot be blamed for that. I was the Commanding Officer and it was my call to make. I could have had us go another way or find another solution but I didn’t. I made the decision, end of debate.

::Chen bit his lip and took a deep breath. Greir was being really good about this; he didn’t really feel that it was right for him to take all of the blame but in the end the important thing was that they’d both managed to get out of there. It wasn’t as simple as wishing everything away and they would both have work to do to get over what had happened on the planet but there was more that needed to be addressed if he was really going to put things right. The first thing to do was to try a better way to alleviate Greir’s guilt.::

::Chen bit his lip and took a deep breath. Greir was being really good about this; he didn’t really feel that it was right for him to take all of the blame but in the end the important thing was that they’d both managed to get out of there. It wasn’t as simple as wishing everything away and they would both have work to do to get over what had happened on the planet but there was more that needed to be addressed if he was really going to put things right. The first thing to do was to try a better way to alleviate Greir’s guilt.::

Chen: If you really feel that way then I want you to know that I forgive you. I would do what I did a hundred times over if it meant that you could be safe. You did the same for me. Getting me free took more guts than I’ve ever seen from anyone and you were able to do it when I needed you to. ::He reached out to take Greir’s hand again.:: So I don’t just forgive you, I want to thank you for it.

::It was true that doing what he’d done really had taken guts and Greir really hadn’t wanted to do it but the alternative had been completely unthinkable. Chen’s words did ease his conscience a little and he knew he had acted to save Chen’s life. He was very relieved Chen had taken that attitude towards things rather than getting really upset or angry with him, although if he had he would have completely understood. He nodded in acknowledgement, squeezed Chen’s hand a little and held it tight, not wanting to let go. ::

::He clammed up a bit, feeling a bit unsure about how to respond to that and where to take things next. It took awhile for him to respond and when he did there was a touch of finality to it, as if he felt nothing more needed to be said about it.::

Reinard: Okay, well as long as you’re okay.

::Physically speaking, he was obviously still missing a foot and emotionally he was a long way off OK. This time, however, Chen was going to make sure things were patched up. Properly. He’d flown off the handle at Greir and said some things that were absolutely unforgiveable, in his estimation. He was lucky that Greir was even prepared to talk to him after the abuse he’d hurled at him.::

Chen: About that I’ll be OK, yeah. But in general I don’t think I can be. I care so much about you and I said some awful things to you before that mission.

::He was becoming more animated, his emotions a little harder to control thanks to the fact that he wasn’t fully recovered yet.::

Chen: I’m surprised you can even look at me after that.

::He didn’t want to let go of Greir’s hand but his eyes dropped and his antennae drooped with shame. How could he begin to excuse the fact that he’d used personal information that Greir had trusted with him as barbs to hurt him with? No matter how angry he’d been, that was deplorable. He still couldn’t believe he’d flown at Greir quite like that and allowed his own emotional vulnerability to rule his heart and mind with such an iron hand.::

Chen: ::Quietly:: I just want you to know how sorry I am. Telling you that I didn’t mean any of it doesn’t lessen the damage of what I did, but I really wasn’t thinking straight. I don’t believe any of the things I said to you to be true.

::He couldn’t remember a time when he’d felt more ashamed of himself. He wished he could wind the clock back more than anything.::

::Greir thought back to that crazy night when everything had gone wrong and their budding relationship had failed so badly. Chen’s behaviour had come as a complete shock, especially as he’d been led to believe Chen didn’t care for him as much as he thought he had. Chen had been incredibly upset with him and he understood only too well thanks to his training and years of experience as a counsellor how people lashed out under those circumstances. For that reason he found it very easy to understand the reason for the behaviour. What he didn’t understand was the underlying trigger.::

Reinard: Chen I understand that you were lashing out. We don’t have to talk about it now – we can wait until after your recovery if you prefer but what I still don’t understand is why you bailed on our date without so much as an explanation. I didn’t think of you as that kind of guy and then later when you came to my door…

::Chen let go of Greir’s hand, feeling his self worth shrink to minuscule proportions. He pulled his left knee up towards himself and was about to follow suite with his right, intending to wrap his arms around them until, with a wave of revulsion and fear, he realised he had nothing to prop his right leg up on. He tried to keep that from showing on his face as he stretched his right leg back out again.::

::Greir felt a massive pang of sympathy and guilt for Chen. He wished he could take it back and hadn’t said anything at all about the matter. As much as he wanted to give Chen room if he needed it, as a result of everything that had just happened, he also just wanted to sort it out and get to the bottom of it.::

::Although what had just happened was making his skin crawl, Chen forced himself to plough forwards. He owed Greir an explanation and he intended to give him one. He just hoped that it would be enough that they would be able to salvage something of what they had at least. He would be devastated if they couldn’t find a way forward. His voice was considerably more scratchy than it had been as he tried to think back to what had happened on what he considered to be one of the worst nights of his life. He stared down at the bedsheet as he spoke, unable to look Greir in the eye.::

Chen: This sounds so stupid to me now but I was really worried that you didn’t care about me as much as I thought you did.

::Greir was surprised, not least of all because he thought Chen would talk to him if he’d had concerns like that rather than get angry and lash out. There was something even more puzzling though.::

Reinard: Why would you feel like that?

::Chen took a deep breath as he continued, feeling worse about himself as he carried on.::

Chen: Right as I was about to start getting ready for our date, I had a little visit from Gwinnett. She was acting strangely, like she knew something that I didn’t. I was coming close to kicking her out of my quarters, I mean, I know that she always likes to bait me but then she claimed that I was only getting to see you whenever she was prepared to let me... or something, like the two of you were in some kind of relationship. I didn’t believe her but then she produced what I thought was one of your uniform shirts, then disappeared out of my quarters, taking it with her. I know I shouldn’t have, but I felt like I needed to get some kind of evidence to prove her wrong. By the time I’d found my tricorder it made me late for our date and when I came into the Watchpost, she was right there, taking my place...

::Greir scratched his head and he could feel his mood sinking quickly. He was starting to feel incredibly angry with himself. He’d felt like this before when he’d thought Chen had tricked him having failed to spot any deception. Once again he felt he was too trusting and too willing to believe people and had let someone he had barely even met destroy the kind of happiness he could only have dreamed of before.::

Reinard: I see. Well here is the part you don’t know. She did come and join me despite that I told her I was waiting for you. She was a bit of a pest and I didn’t much enjoy her company. She told me she’d seen you with another man and that you were clearly going to be spending the night with him instead. I did not believe her but the night wore on and you did not answer the comm so it seemed that she was right... ::He leaned forward on his stool, with elbows on his knees he put his head in his hands, partially obscuring his lower face.::

::Chen’s brow was furrowed and his face set with a frown as he looked up at Greir. He felt stupid for having had the wool pulled over his eyes. If anything, that made him feel worse about the fact he’d ended up popping off at Greir later in the evening. He also remembered enough about the night to know that he’d not had any calls through from Greir at all, which didn’t add up. There was no reason for him to lie about it now and he was showing, through his actions, that it was Chen he really cared about and not Gwinnett.::

Chen: oO My badge... Oo

::The Andorian shook his head as he refocused on his bed sheet. Yet one more thing he’d managed to screw up during that wretched night.::

Chen: I jumped to conclusions when I saw her with you and got angry. I threw my badge. I found it the next morning and I’d dislodged the power supply...

::Greir shook his head slowly in disbelief.::

Reinard: It looks like Gwinnett engineered a situation that would open up doubts and keep us apart from each other long enough for us both to buy into her web of lies. She was pretty crafty and lucky to have pulled it off. Surely she must have known her deception would not last for long? Do you know of any reason why she would do this?

::The reasons for her actions had clearly evaded him on the night but, with perfect hindsight, it was glaringly obvious to Chen why Gwinnett might have done what she’d done.::

Chen: Yeah. She has a big problem with me for some reason. She’s made a couple of racist references before, so I guess she has a problem with Andorians in general. Either way it looks like she was trying to get at me... and she did a [...] good job.

::He knew that he would have a few choice words to say to her the next time they crossed paths, whenever that happened to be but, for now, he just wanted to make sure he’d said everything he wanted to. There were things he needed Greir to hear.::

Chen: Greir, the way I acted, right from when she came to my quarters... I’ve had plenty of time to think about it and I’m totally ashamed of myself. I should have made more of an effort to come and find you and talk to you but...

::He screwed his eyes closed, mortified. There was a pause as he tried to find the right words.::

::Greir waited patiently to let Chen think about it and see if he wanted to carry on. Even now, he was more concerned about seeing to Chen’s needs and ensuring his health and happiness than his own. As much as he wanted to finish this and resolve it, if Chen didn’t want to continue, if for any reason he needed to take a break, stop and come back to it, then he would honour that. ::

Chen: I was terrified when she showed me that shirt that there would be a chance I could lose you and that everything that had happened between us wasn’t real. When I got to the Watchpost, that fear took over and then I ended up making it happen. Idrove us apart. ::He was starting to talk more and more quickly.:: It was because I wasn’t thinking straight because I care about you so much and the idea that you didn’t feel the same way... I don’t think I’ve ever hurt like that...

::He tailed off, again remembering his foot. Pain had been the theme of the last few days, it seemed. He was glad that he could see an end to it now. He finally looked up at Greir again, his eyes conveying his regret.::

Chen: ...and I don’t think I’ve ever been more sorry.

:: Greir’s own feelings echoed that too. When he’d waited, listening to those poisoned comments he’d had a mounting fear of losing Chen. He’d felt inadequate and second best, it had played on a lifelong insecurity. He had resisted it at first and hadn’t wanted to believe it. He’d tried to reason and explain it all away but when Chen hadn’t even answered the comm it had seemed to confirm all of his worst fears. He’d never felt so devastated about anything before. He still couldn’t believe he’d become so emotionally attached to Chen in such a short time.::

::He thought it over carefully having listened closely to Chen. In a backwards kind of way it was flattering that Chen really did care so much that he’d get so upset and worked up over the thought of losing him. Now that everything was out in the open and he understood the trigger it spoke volumes about how much Chen really did care. To Greir that was all that mattered.::

Reinard: I forgive you and I hope you forgive me for my behaviour and anything I did that night to exacerbate the situation because I am so sorry. I meant what I said to you before – we were made for each other. You’re extremely brave and intelligent, in fact, you’re my hero and there’s nothing I want more than to be with you. We were both duped and I think I can say with confidence that we’ll never let that happen again, if you want to try and make a go of things again that is.

::Chen had held it together so far but he could feel his emotions bubbling up to the surface. Hearing Greir say that he forgave him was the best possible thing he could have hoped for, or so he had thought, but he’d gone even further than that. He wanted to smile and cry at the same time.::

Chen: You’re the most compassionate and honourable man I’ve ever met. You’re the source of my strength, Greir. I can’t think of anything that I want more.

::He vowed to himself then and there that he was going to live up to what Greir had said about him every second. He felt honoured beyond measure that Greir saw him as his hero, even if he didn’t feel all that heroic for the moment. That urge to smile and cry at the same time overtook him and he did exactly that as all of the pent up emotion finally found release; he was too exhausted to stop it.::

:: Greir smiled at the compliment and felt his mood lifting significantly. Greir recognised he had those traits and felt they were good traits to have and aspire to, so to hear someone else recognise him in this way was spectacular. He was really hopeful that they could put all of this behind them and move on together. He saw Chen welling up with emotion and got up off the stool and wrapped his arms around him to hold him in a hug.::

Reinard: ::Reassuringly:: Everything’s going to work out Chen, I’m going to sort it.

::It felt good to be close to Greir again and Chen wrapped his arms around him as best he could from his seated position. He took deep breaths to try to get himself under control again, a feat that was considerably easier now that the two of them were back on the same page. There were still a lot of things about the future that were uncertain but, with Greir by his side, he was confident that he would be able to take them all head on.::

TBC

A JP by

PNPC Lieutenant Chen
Intelligence Officer
USS Vigilant
NCC-75515

SIMmed by: Captain Diego Herrera

and

Lt Cmdr Reinard
Acting Commanding Officer
USS Vigilant

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