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Sparks Make Fire

Posted on Wed Apr 28th, 2021 @ 8:43pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: DS9 - Dignitary Suite A2
Timeline: MD1

The doors opened and closed behind Memory Theta's most pregnant couple as they took in the palatial room. Arching honeycombed bronze steel pillars with mock stained glass windows between them slowly merged from the floor to the ceiling while thick, luxurious wine red carpet stepped down into a sunken living area with lounge seating throughout and a low table where a miniature Bajoran shrine adorned the center of the space. Low lighting and multiple candles created an inviting ambiance that any other time would see the couple engaged in activities other than unpacking but Storr ignored it all to instead turn to his wife.

"Did you have anything to do with that?" he asked icily, withdrawing his hand from hers. "To say that his heart has been rent nearly beyond recognition by Leana and now that Orion" the contempt his words carried nearly manifested into physical drippings in mid-air "shows up to twist a knife in his soul yet again before one of the potentially most important meetings of his career occurs is beyond the pale. What did think would come of this?!"

Jaya walked slowly to the humongous bed to give herself time to frame her response and for Storr to perhaps calm himself. When she spun around, her face was a gradient composition of half-smile and steely stare. "When Akiva first received news of this meeting of his, he was prepared to quit and throw it all away. I inspired him to continue onward, and part of that inspiration was agreeing to respond to the message Laena had sent him. For my part, I told Laena a month ago that Akiva would be here. Had Akiva kept his word, then today's meeting would have went very differently." She crossed her arms and gave a look that playfully dared Storr to argue.

"You're saying that this is his fault?!" he asked incredulously, matching her gaze as he leaned against one of the pillars. She was equal parts alluring and deadly but he was not about to back down. "Yes, he was ready to turn his back on everything he had accomplished and you turned him back around but this...what was this? There's a massive difference between not responding to an email and ambushing someone mere hours before the inquest of his life." He crossed his arms mirroring his wife's as he continued. "And you didn't answer my question. Yes, you told her he would be here but did you have anything to do with how this was done? I can't imagine you would have but...God woman, you know how those two are. How did you think this would play out?"

"This will play out..." Jaya closed the distance between them and traced her finger upward from Storr's chest, ending with sequential taps against chin, lips, and nose. "... it...must." A cheeky smile beamed up at him as she explained her reasoning as if he were not irate with her. "Most of our suffering is self-inflicted, my love. The inability to take responsibility for our choices and their consequences leaves us captive to repeating them in a sick cycle. Without a catalyst, both of them will continue their respective toxic carousels, never synchronized, never stopping at the same time, never finding catharsis. Laena asked me for help, Akiva was dog-whistling for it in his own way that only a mental health expert could hear. He needed to confront this head-on even more than she did." As a litigator resting her case, Jaya held her head high. "Unless you mean to tell me that a man's thoughts are not already with the mother of his children on the eve of battle?"

Storr couldn't tell if he wanted to growl in rage or devour his wife in greedy concupiscence. "Yes, these things are cyclical and yes, they both were asking for it and yes, sometimes we need help getting off the crazy train but Now?" Her last sentence truly drove him over the edge as he wrapped his wife lovingly (yet firmly) into a bearhug around the small of her back, lifting her to be eye-level with him. "I love you more fiercely than..." he was going to say 'than you know' but given the unique bond they shared along with the stripping of all emotional and mental barriers between them on Deltan, he modified his sentence mid-flow, "well, you do know but men's minds are created compartmentalized for a reason. We fight FOR our women and children but can't think ABOUT them while we do. If we did, we couldn't take the risks we do, slaying the dragons we do, in the ways we do, or else we'd be paralyzed with fear we'd never see your beautiful faces to make more beautiful babies again. We conquer for civilization so that you can nurture civilization in our wake. Don't get Laena between him and his draak...there'll be time for that later."

"Speaking of the draak..." Jaya whispered sultrily in his ear as if she were to continue, but instead trailed off. The unfinished sentiment regarding Storr's draak, or dragon, spoke louder than any words could, as did her fingers which walked down his abdomen.

The kiss the two shared was intense, intimate, and sincere, warmth and lightning traveling across their lips as a tingling began sparking into the Afrikaner's arms that intimated a rush of pheromones and feelings he almost wanted to let happen.

"Mrs. Garlake," he said with a lazy smile, "I want this to continue far longer and deeper than it is and if you weren't already pregnant, put three more babies in you, but my best friend needs a best friend right now and I intend to meet that need." Walking with Jaya still in arms, he gently laid his pregnant wife on the bed and pecked her lips before turning back, rummaging through his seabag and rising with a bottle of deep gold and two glasses. Storr waggled his eyebrows at his Deltan bride and turned for the door, disappearing into the common space that separated the suite's separate living quarters.

"As you wish..." A mock pouting look crossed Jaya's face until Storr was out of sight. And then, once he was gone, she let herself collapse into unconsciousness. Rest was the ultimate pleasure at the moment.

*bing boong* Garlake rolled his eyes at the sound. Couldn't it be more...well, not whatever it was. Thankfully he didn't need to contemplate the ridiculousness of the call chime much longer before he was bidden entrance.

A muffled sound came through the door that was unintelligible to human ears, but it still triggered the door's mechanism. The suite door opened to reveal Akiva face down on the bed with a pillow wrapped around his head. He wasn't exactly naked, but neither was he in uniform. And he had not the slightest idea who had come calling.

Storr entered and squinted in the dark interior, bright light from the corridor momentarily filling the room before disappearing as the doors shut. Seeing Akiva's figure on the bed in his disheveled state, the Marine wasn't sure if he should walk backward and cover him with a blanket but now wasn't the time nor place for that. Walking forward he touched a lamp which immediately responded with a globe of light before proceeding to the Captain's bedside.

"Captain, I hate to interrupt but I feel like you could use a friend. That," he continued, taking a small step to take a chair and turn it around, facing the Hebron, "and a drink." Garlake set the bottle and two glasses on the man's nightstand and tore the cork from the neck, spitting it onto the floor with a moist *thunk*. Liquid gold poured into two identical glasses, one pushed towards Akiva and the other into his hand as the Afrikaner took a large gulp, smiling and wiping his mouth and beard with a sleeve.

"Oh, and don't tell me to go away. This bottle won't empty itself."

Rolling over to his side so he could prop up on one elbow, Akiva glared at Storr, then the bottle, and back at Storr. "Is this some kind of pre-battle ritual? Come four hours from now, I should probably be sober..." As he stared at the drink, though, Akiva felt his newfound vice clawing at his throat and brain. "What the hell," he mused aloud. He tossed back the entire glass in a single oversized swallow and let out a deep gasp. "I don't know where you get this stuff, Storr, but it is pure fire."

Garlake chuckled as he sunk down into one of the comfier-than-anticipated parlor chairs. "Yes, you probably should and you will. This is just to wet your whistle and clear your mind." Pouring the lounging man another finger's worth, he leaned back and did the same for himself.

"Oh, a little place I know just outside Cape Town. I bring him Rock Pigeons, Hottentot Teal, and Helmeted Guineafowl and he brings me Scotch. A fair trade, I'd say," the Marine said idly as he slowly tilted his glass back and forth, watching the tacky liquid cling to the glass a little more with each pass. Taking another look at the drink, he took a long sip and set the crystal heartily on the adjoining table. "While I do enjoy chatting about the source of my liquid vices, I'd much rather know how you're doing, Akiva.
Not every day you have your estranged wife confront you in front of your friends with an ultimatum like that..."

"She's not my wife," Akiva grunted. "Never was. I finally figured that out."

Storr frowned before downing the rest of his drink. While he wasn't an expert in Hebron cultural practices, he knew that the betrothal ceremony Akiva and Laena engaged in *meant* something far more than a simple relationship. While it might not have been marriage, it was blerrie close.

"Perhaps. But she was far more than a simple stekkie, too. Whatever she is officially, she's still the love of your life and the mother of your child, yes? That has to mean something."

"I thought so, too..." At first, Akiva said no more, opting just to drink, but the silence pulled the words out of him like pliers. "But when I went to surprise her on Earth, I found her embracing another. Not just any other man. The man she was with before me." The glass in his hand began to shake along with the tremors that he couldn't hold back. Cold rage stormed in Akiva's eyes. "I was such a fool." He wanted to throw the glass against the wall and savor the sound of it shattering into a thousand pieces, but instead he took another sip.

If the Station Commandant had taken his drink a moment sooner it would have been all over the wall. "What?!" While his darling wife had told him the gist of what had happened (doctor/patient privilege wasn't something that existed between husband and wife, especially concerning such good friends), it was another thing to hear it so candidly from Akiva. Composing himself, though his brow still knit in anger, he leaned forward as he rested his hands on his knees. "You were not a fool to love her, Hebron, but you are being a fool now...if she had truly moved on she wouldn't have come here, let alone taken a leave of absence from the Academy to do so. Do what you're so good at...think! While Laena can be a...difficult to understand woman," the words rolled off his tongue with far less virulence than what was swimming through his thoughts, "moving on isn't where she's at."

Leaning back in his seat, Storr sighed. "But leave that thinking for later. You have a different dragon ahead of you which requires your undivided attention to slay and know that I have your back, friend. There will be time to deal with her afterward, but deal with her you must."

"I know." Akiva sighed. "I already promised your wife I would. My mind has been singularly focused. And... if I'm honest, I'd probably find an excuse after the inquest if I could." Smiling wryly, he said, "But you're right, my friend. Laena would not come all this way just to twist the knife deeper. I can tell her how I feel, how angry I am, and then we can finally be honest with one another."

Garlake smiled back, taking up the bottle beside his chair to pour himself another glass. "You know, old friend," he said, the Afrikaans lilt becoming more foundational after he took another sip, "it's about time you both were and I for one can't wait to see where that takes you."

"Right now it's taking me back to bed. Thank you, though. Your words helped." Akiva gave Storr a weary smile and a shrug as he rolled back under his pillow. "I trust you can find your way out and back to your bride."

Storr returned the smile and tipped his glass to the disheveled Captain before rising and finishing the glass. "I'm glad. Just know that I'm here. Always." With that, the Marine turned and exited the room, leaving Akiva again in darkness.



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