He’s breathing hard, feeling the burn in the back of his throat that means he’s pushing it to the limit. There are no options, no actions they can take. Sweat crawls through his hair, trickling down his neck, his back, his face. They’re trapped here and there is nothing he can do. The slap of his running feet in the silent corridors is not as loud as the pounding of his heart. The last time he felt this frustrated, this helpless, he was trapped in a hospital bed, forced to listen as the doctor condemned him to a half life. The echo of the fear he felt then reverberates, crescendos over him, overwhelming him. So he runs, just to remind himself that he can.
He lets the words flow over him, the sound pour into him, the letters stagger across the contours of his body as he stands in their light. Immersing himself in the holographic text as the audio plays, he IS the runes, he IS the words, he IS the language that lights him and fills him. He can feel his essence expanding, billowing out beyond the ship, beyond the bubble, spiraling ever outward into the void. Abruptly, he collapses back into himself when the playback ends. Next time, he will set the passage to repeat.
She chatters incessantly in the background as he hauls the heavy boxes of food to the shelf, rearranging, cataloging. The chatter continues non-stop as it has since they began their task, indeed, since they began their unintended imprisonment on this ship. He flexes weary muscles, reaching for the next box, willing his ears to deafness. The chattering continues as he hears the door to the refrigerated compartment open. Suddenly, there is silence. He looks over. She looks up from the can of whipped cream she is holding and smiles her Cheshire smile.
Science had always been her solace, wrapping her in the comfort of logic, of numbers, of predictable events that followed immutable laws. She had drawn it like a veil over her eyes, obscuring the empty untidiness of her private life. Incomprehensible social niceties followed patterns she could never quite grasp. Here in the bubble, she is spared the cultural expectations that press at her to conform in ways that are as unwanted as they are unfathomable. Here, she can loosen her desperate grip on her disciplined refuge. Here, she can explore in safety, stretch the boundaries of who she is. Cradling the cello like a lover, she picks up the bow.
His days are spent adjusting soil mixtures, watering, trimming leaves, encouraging growth, until the plants take over the room. He never had time for this before. Never had the time or the inclination to cultivate young things. Just ask his daughter, who can reel off a litany of his failings as a father without hesitating. Now, he’s finally ready and there’s plenty of time, but these people don’t need him. They don’t need his guidance, or his wisdom, or fatherly comfort. There’s nothing he can give, nothing they will take. He tends his plants, nurturing in absentia, and very deliberately does not think of the years he wasted.
The words stumble from her mouth like broken things. Too small to hold the anguish and torment inherent in their meaning, they crack apart on the uttering. The story is told in disjointed fragments between ragged sobbing breaths. Huddled on the floor at the end of their bed, he wraps himself around her, drenched in the pain gushing from her in torrents, and his heart breaks twice. Once for the suffering she endured and once for Sha’uri who suffered and died. He comforts them both in his arms.
|Genres:||Angst, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene/Episode-Related|
|Summary:||A few snippets of their time on the ship.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
Written after the UK airing of Unending, but held onto until the US airing. Many thanks to Mare for the lightning fast beta.