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Bring Me to Life

Posted on Sun Jun 13th, 2021 @ 4:56pm by Laena ben-Avram & Captain Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: Holosuite 3 - Quark's Bar
Timeline: Mission Day 2 - 1924 hours

The sound of waves crashing over the shore filled the air as the salt water spray wafted on the wind. The sounds of a party could be heard at a distance, though Laena had walked far from the area. She wanted along time, time to think and gather her thoughts, but beach party was the only available seaside holosuite program and she didn't feel like taking the time of writing a new one for herself. While it wasn't the exact location, this was very reminiscent of the day she fell in love with Akiva. That day in the water, just him and her.

She thought she was ready to see him, to confront him over what had happened. But seeing him in person just brought up a whole slew of feelings she wasn't expecting. She was angry, yes. But the love they had, that special connection between them. It was strong and she felt it pulling at her heartstrings.

Another wave washed up the sand. Laena sat there on the beach, her mint green skin glistening in the light of the sunset as she pulled her knees to her chest. The fabric of the purple wrap she was wearing waved lazily in the breeze. Out at sea, an aquatic creature jumped from the water, doing a flip as it dived back in. A slight smiled cross her face for a moment.

Until the sound of the holosuite doors jarred her from her thoughts. She turned to see who had entered her private oasis.

Even though he was in command, Akiva still knew how to override a holosuite without a command code.

"Laena?" he called out from the doorway as it closed behind him.

It was bad form to intrude on someone's private time. But Laena had wanted to speak with him as soon as he'd arrived. He'd been unable. The tribunal had not gone the best, but tonight, on the eve of their final ruling, there was nothing more for Akiva to do other than wait. Rather than bite his nails over two matters, he decided to tackle this one head on. There was nothing he could do about Admiral Tau or Nyel or that bureaucrat Smith, but at least he could face Laena. Whatever might happen, he was no longer a man who would run and hide from his problems. Facing matters head on felt good.

Except that, when he saw Laena, much of his old fear and self-loathing rose up within him again like the surf that tossed up over the beach.

The Orion woman took a deep breath, calming the nerves that started to bubble up when she saw him. She stood, but didn't take any steps towards the man. "I reserved this time for myself," she simple stated.

"You asked me to meet you first," Akiva said, not coming any closer. If she was going to be bitter, then he would just as soon leave. Bitter was something he could do all alone. "It's been a tight week. Now I have time and I might not later." He shrugged as if that was that. "So let's talk. You got my message. What else is there to say?"

"Is that how you feel?" she asked, "that there's nothing else to say?"

There were a plethora of soliloquys that Akiva had internally given to himself on the matter of his relationship with Laena, but actually speaking them aloud was another story. Instead of answering, he deflected. "I came to hear what you had to say."

"I would like an explanation." Laena took a few steps forward, her arms dropping to her side to exude a less confrontational body language. "If you wanted to discuss our relationship, or the future of it, why send an automated message rather than talk to me? I wasn't far."

Akiva couldn't help but chuckle wryly. He sighed and stammered for a moment. "Just... just think about that for a moment. You 'weren't far', yet I hadn't heard from you in months."

Laena rolled her eyes, "You're the one who revoked my travel and communication privileges to Memory Theta. How was I supposed to talk to you?"

"HaShem help me, Laena, you ripped out my heart! Have you come here to do it again?" Fire from deep in his belly broke through the weary filter around his mouth. Akiva could not hold back the storm any longer. "I didn't revoke your credentials until after I sent the interactive message to you, one that I'd labored over for some time I might add, so that only confirms you never even tried to contact me in the three months prior." He had more to say, but Akiva bit down on his mouth. How much would she deny before it was over?

"No, I didn't come to break your heart, Akiva," she said, lowering her head as she looked down at the sand. "I came here to put it back together."

The sheer disbelief on Akiva's face could not be more plain. "You did? And how do you propose to do that?"

"I don't know yet. I don't know how to do this, how to move forward. I've been away from you for months because I realized I was doing nothing but cause you pain and heartache." She took another step closer, but not too close. The salty breeze blew past as the sunset glistened off the tear on her cheek. "Part of me was waiting for you to come for me. Part of me was expecting you to do exactly what you did. But...when I saw that message, I knew what I really wanted." She looked up at him. "I love you, Akiva. I've loved you from that day on the beach back on the Vindex. I've loved you every moment of every day since then. I can't let you go without fighting for it."

As she spoke, Akiva felt his eyes begin to glisten. The words he had wanted to hear, the gestures promising intimacy he had longed to see. So much pain burned within him, as her loving words were like salt in the wounds of his heart.

"Liar." He spoke it in a hoarse whisper, yet the word held the fury of a storm. "I saw you." Once he started, Akiva couldn't hold back the revelation. "I saw you, Laena! I came to Earth on the day before the cataclysm." His voice cracked as a single tear began to fall down his cheek. "I bought you chocolates. I bought you wine. No flowers because I know you're allergic. And then... I saw you... with him." Akiva's lips actually curled in a snarl as he said the name. "Apaxi." His breathing turned unsteady as he fought for air. This was a long time coming. No amount of anxiety or depression would keep him silent any longer. "I saw you dining with him. Smiling at him! Hugging and kissing him!" From deep within the aching of his broken heart, Akiva roared until his voice cracked in a scratchy note. "THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!"

Laena was taken aback at the accusation. Try as she might, she couldn't hide the surprise and hurt on her face. "You think I want to be with Apaxi?" She had to stop and catch herself for a moment. "Apaxi and I haven't been together in years, Akiva. I don't understand the jealousy you have. He and I have nothing between us. He's married and has a child. We're just friends."

"Why are you lying?" Akiva asked. "I saw you with my own eyes. You were laughing. You were happy. Happier than I'd seen you in a long time." He sniffed back the tears he refused to shed. "The reason why you had not so much as sent me a message since you left for Earth became quite clear. There's no point in denying it now."

"You're right," she said. She stepped up next to him but turned back towards the ocean. By now the sun had dipped below the horizon and the light was starting to fade slowly. "I was happier. But that had nothing to do with Apaxi. If I were being honest, it had nothing to do with you, either." She dug a toe into the sand as she formulated her words. "I was unhappy with myself. At who I had become, or at least how I perceived myself. I felt trapped. Trapped by you, trapped by Memory Theta. Trapped..." her words trailed off for a moment. But she swallowed hard and continued on. "Trapped by our baby. I was selfish and cold. And I blamed you for it. Not that there isn't blame to share, but the root of my unhappiness was with myself."

She stood there for a moment in the silence. In the words that she'd been dying to tell him. Up until now, she'd never been so honest with him before. She had shut him out like everyone else in her life. And to open up and ask him to come back in was no easy feat. "I won't lie to you, Apaxi did help me a lot. But there is nothing romantic between us. He helped show me what life could be. He showed me an example of what letting someone truly into your life meant. And the joys that come from a f-" She fumbled her words again. "From a family." She took a deep breath. "Something I've never had before. But...something I really do desire."

"We had that," Akiva said, tears falling afresh. "You left. You made love to me the night before you left and promised you would remember me...us...what we had. Then you found joy apart from me." He shook his head in emphasis. "I can't fault you for that. It's what you wanted." He stared at her and forced the haunting question out. "Do you really love me, Laena? Or is it you struggle to let go of what you have already lost? Your months of silence spoke quite loudly. So loudly that I strain to hear you now."

"You're mistaken," she said. She turned towards him, looking up into his face. "You think that I found joy apart from you. But I didn't. Joy is not what you saw. What I found was myself. I was able to spend time with myself, with no responsibilities to you or your facility. I was able to see my flaws and my truth. And I did a lot of soul searching, Akiva. To truly find what I wanted." She reached up, gently setting her hand on his cheek. "It was you, ishi. I love you. I always will."

Akiva flinched at her touch, the muscles of his cheek and neck quivering under the weight of her words. He wanted to shout. He wanted to cry. He wanted to push her away. He wanted to take her in his arms. In the end, he did none of these things.

"I... I don't know," he said. "'Always' is a big word that entails a very long time. I just..." He shook his head. "I want to believe you won't change your mind again. I do. But I don't believe it." Shaking his head again. "I'm going to need time, Laena. Right now, I just don't know." After his babbling came to an awkward end, his hands came up to cover his face as it scrunched in grief. "You left me! Our baby died and you left me! I would have died for you and YOU. LEFT. ME!"

Unable to stand, Akiva fell to his knees, letting them sink into the sand as he knelt before the broken fountain of his own misery. Sobs overtook him, wracking his body in motions that were more exaggerated for his effort in suppressing them. But he couldn't hold back, not anymore. He had stuffed his feelings, buried them in work. drowned them in alcohol, even hid from them through some flirting. Here and now, at peak stress and exhaustion, Akiva had completely run out of steam.

Laena sank to her knees, wrapping her arms as far around the man as she could as she pulled him in tight. She remembered this, she had a very similar experience after the miscarriage. But seeing this response in Akiva was absolutely heartbreaking. She did this. She caused this pain. And she had to find a way to help him through this as well.

Eventually his weeping ebbed into dry sobbing. He hugged himself, hoping to somehow regain the self-control and composure that had completely evaporated. His legs still felt numb, like his heart, rendering him a helpless husk of humanity.

"You're right," she said, finally, under soft breath. "I did leave you." Salty tears rolled down her cheek, staining the man's shoulder. "I'm so sorry, Akiva. I'm so so sorry."

Slowly Akiva dropped his arms from his protective grip around his body. His hands draped downward, naturally finding Laena's hips.

"Are you really here?" he whispered into her raven hair. Even with pheromone blockers the mere scent of her had always intoxicated him. "Am I dreaming?"

Hands that had idly rested against her hips slid around and up the small of her back to return her embrace. Arms that had been empty for so long seized the woman...his woman... and held her tightly as if she might slip away.

"I'm here, ishi," Laena said as she sank into his embrace. "And I'll never leave again. I promise." She gingerly kissed him on his forehead as he rested his head on her chest.

The feeling of her lips on his forehead made the sobbing stop, but it also made him remember the desire that was buried beneath his anguish.

"I've felt so alone," he whispered in between kissing her neckline. "For so long. I'm sorry...for shutting... you out."

"And I'm sorry for the same, Akiva," Laena said. "I hope that we could work this out? I know I will need to regain your trust, and that we won't go back to what we had right away. But...I've been given permission to complete my Academy training remotely. If you'll have me, I'd like to come back to Memory Theta and work on us."

Rather than reply with words, for they had failed him, Akiva kissed her. It was a soft, sweet kiss that did nothing except bridge the divide that had separated them as individuals. Though he did not press further, neither did he withdraw. Lips locked, he suppressed a tremble as he didn't know where to go from that point. Pure impulse born from a surge of desire had compelled an action that he now could not take back. Now that he had done it, he froze up in fear of what Laena would do or say.

But similarly, Laena had nothing to say. She leaned into the kiss, wrapping her arms around Akiva's shoulders as she pushed herself into his lap.

Scooping her up in his strong arms, letting her straddle him, Akiva let the sound of the waves and feel of the sand in the holosuite carry him back to the memories of their first night together. It had been chaste, pure, even spiritual, at least for him on the last part. As their passion rose and their kissing's softness was swallowed up in longing, Akiva let his mind go and did something that he seldom if ever did. He led with his heart. It ended with his hands and mouth exploring Laena's evergreen body as he laid her in the sand on her back and fulfilled the original commandment HaShem gave to the first man and woman: be fruitful and multiply.

 

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