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Commander Ross & Captain Reynolds - 'Tis Better…


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(( First Officer's Quarters, USS Garuda ))
::Discharged from sickbay, sleep was now taking up a great deal of his leave time. It wasn't an unpleasant circumstance, and he was aware that he needed the time to rest and recuperate. Tomorrow, he would be back in uniform for a ribbon presentation, but for now, he was living in pyjamas, stealing naps whenever it suited him, and pottering about his new quarters on the Garuda.
::That had come as something of a shock. He'd believed Quinn, of course, when she'd told him of the damage to the Mercury. But *seeing* it… that was something else. He'd known right then, that the Mercury wouldn't be exploring the stars again any time soon, but to find out he was being transferred directly over to the Garuda… yes. A shock.
::When the chime on his door rang, he was sleeping again, laid out on a sofa, drooling like a champion on one of the cushions. A PADD lay on his chest, rising and falling with every breath, an aborted attempt to catch up with his reading.
::It took another buzz from the door to wake him, the PADD bouncing off the floor as he sat up in a dazed startle. He grimaced as he swung his long legs to the floor and stood, wiping the back of his hand across his cheek and jaw. Lovely.
::What a sight he must be. The crazed hair and bleary eyes of the recently woken, a few days of too-sore-can't-be-bothered-to-shave stubble, barefoot and dressed only in a creased t-shirt and pyjama pants. A far cry from the usual crisp and perfectly pressed Harrison Ross.
::It was only natural, then, that when the doors parted, it was the object of his affections stood outside.::
REYNOLDS: I promised you a conversation.
::He laboured for an answer, thrown by her presence. After their conversation in sickbay, she had been the last person he had expected to drop by.::
ROSS: You did. ::He stepped back, fully aware that he was doing a poor job of hiding his surprise.:: Come in.
::He set off toward the replicator once she'd stepped inside, flipping the drool-marked cushion over as he passed the sofa.::
ROSS: I need a coffee. Would you like something?
REYNOLDS: No, no. I'm fine.
::He threw her a look on his way to the replicator, raising his eyebrows. From what he could see, he suspected that she'd barely slept since he'd last seen her and was in dire need of caffeine.
::Or a bed, but that took his mind to places it ought best not go.::
REYNOLDS: Look, I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to spit it out.
::He braced himself, taking his black coffee from the replicator and playing it casual by sipping from the mug, watching her over the rim.::
REYNOLDS: It's not that I don't— There was someone. He was— ::She frowned, avoiding his gaze.:: He died. And I don't know that— I don't know if I...
::She fumbled over her words, avoiding his eyes, actually wringing her hands together, anything but the cool and collected Starfleet officer he was used to.::
ROSS: ::Softly,:: You loved him.
ROSS: For a long time?
::She hesitated, and then— ::
REYNOLDS: ...yes.
::He had all the questions in the world. Who was this man? Had he been a father to her son? How had he died? When had he died?
::But he thought better than to voice any of them, walking over to the sofa and perching on the arm rest.::
ROSS: Look, if you're not ready to move on, I'm not going to be that guy who tries to push the issue. ::She nodded quickly, uncertain relief on her face.:: But... there's a difference between not being ready, and holding on to the past.
::She sat down, then immediately sprang up again, too full of nervous energy to stay in the one spot. Instead, she paced behind him, her gaze on the stars outside. He let her walk, taking another sip of his coffee as he formulated his next question.::
ROSS: Let me ask you this. All complications and baggage aside — do you want me?
::He didn't look back, but he heard her footsteps pause. He waited, still supping from his mug, working hard at looking considerably more casual than he felt.::
REYNOLDS: ::Quietly,:: I do.
::Now he turned, and found her looking over her shoulder at him.::
ROSS: Then let's just go for it.
REYNOLDS: But I'm not good at... this. At the best of times, I'm not good at this, and it's a long way from the best of times.
::He couldn't help but smile, though her worried expression didn't shift.::
ROSS: Quinn, I'm twice divorced — I'm proven lousy. We'll figure it out, or we won't. I'd rather try and fail, than never try at all.
REYNOLDS: With apologies to Tennyson?
::Two could play that game. He grinned at her and placed a hand over his heart, speaking in low, sonorous tone.::
ROSS: I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost; Than never to have loved at all.
::Her face was a picture: surprise, annoyance and a hint of amusement, all rolled into one.::
REYNOLDS: You can be really obnoxious, you know that?
ROSS: I most certainly do. Tell me you don't find it charming.
REYNOLDS: I don't find it charming.
ROSS: Liar.
::A smile dawned on her face, even as she shook her head in mild despair. He smiled back, then stood, depositing his coffee mug on the table, and walked around the sofa to stand with her. She was anxious, or nervous, or some other variation on that theme; he saw her swallow as he approached, her breath coming more rapidly than before.
::He reached for her, tentatively brushing a stray wisp of soft, fine hair from her brow. As his fingers trailed down the side of her face, he noticed there was an old, neat scar on her left temple, and he wondered what had left it. This near to her, he could see the detail in her hazel eyes; an inner, golden-brown ring that crowned a dark green iris.
::Just so. Outside as well as in, there was so much more to Quinn Reynolds when she let you in close.
::It was only when her hand alighted on his chest that he realised how hard his heart was pounding.
::He wasn't sure who moved first; whether he had pulled her to him, she had stepped in to him, or some melding of the two. That same sense of delighted confusion didn't pass as their lips met, his fingers tangling in her hair as he held her close. Sensations and needs that didn't belong to him began to bleed into his mind, until he couldn't tell where his thoughts ended and hers began, and they were both lost to the naked desire of the moment.
::His hand was already at the fastening of her uniform tunic when he broke the kiss, murmuring a question he already knew the answer to.::
ROSS: Stay with me tonight?
::The inevitable yes wasn't spoken; it came in the form of a shy, cheeky grin that vanished behind the material of his t-shirt as she pulled it up and over his head. Before it hit the carpet, she was back in his arms, and it was in each other's arms that they passed the rest of the night.::
Commander Harrison Ross
First Officer
USS Garuda
simmed by
Director of Intelligence
USS Garuda
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