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We ALL have masks

Posted on Mon Feb 10th, 2014 @ 8:38am by Commander Mercia Kavi & David Hawkins
Edited on on Thu Oct 22nd, 2015 @ 10:15am

Mission: Photons Everywhere

(Continued from "For the Cookies")

Mercia watched the two kids, like they were rabid animals as she bit in to the cookie the boy offered her. Loran seemed very excited as he watched her eat the first bite. “Its good.” she said with tension.

“As good as your Mamas?” Tiffany asked bouncing a bit.

Mercia gulped down the bite and diverted her eyes, trying to return her mind to safer thoughts. Damn these kids were quick, she didn’t need to be thinking of her mother right now, she needed to keep her bearings and keep her head above water. “I guess so, I don’t remember.” she lied. Mercia hesitated, wanting to put the cookie down, but the eyes of Loran bore into her, and she knew it would hurt the kid if she didn’t finish it. It wasn't that it didn’t taste good, it was just drawing more emotion out of her than she wanted to allow.

“Ok kids, pajamas like your mother said,” David called out as he finished off his cookie. “We want to thank you for these awesome cookies. You are awesome!”

“Yeah, we know,” Tiffany smiled as she started for her room as instructed. “Come on Loran!” The little boy stared at Mercia with a small little grin as he slowly walked backwards for a moment before he turned and ran for her sister. “I’ll race ya!”

“Sorry for their noseiness. They tend to be better when new people are over though which don’t make much sense,” Sara said shaking her head.
“And Mercia’s sorry for her name calling,” Hawkins responded looking at Mercia. He may have been connected in an unusual way, but those kids were like his niece and nephew he would never have.

Mercia looked at Helaku, and his friend, sitting close together, staring at her. She licked her lips, “Uh… Yeah.” she stammered. She glanced towards where the kids had disappeared, then back at their mother. “I am.. sorry.” she said slowly. “I didn’t really mean to hurt their feelings.” she said. “Its just that… well my mind isn’t a safe place for kids to run around.” she added.

“Oh I bet,” Sara smirked and slapped Hawkins’ arm. “Just my security chief my butt!”

“Get cleaning woman!” David ordered Sara as he ignored her comment. He wasn’t about to confirm her response even though at this moment, lying would only be a waste of time, which he seldom did these days. It only hurt more than it helped he had noticed, and he didn’t have time for it.

Mercia looked at him surprised, how easily the two of them bantered with one another. He also didn’t deny or confirm the women's comment. She smiled a little. Not defining any thing was good, she liked that. “Do you need any help?” Mercia said, trying to be polite. She brushed cookies crumbs off her shirt and stood up, reaching for the plate, she knew where it belonged. “And you better help to… Davvy” Mercia smirked at him, which got Sara laughing.

“Great, now I have two nagging women,” David joked as he finished off his second cookie once again as he heard the kids running around. “What do you need help with?”

“Oh probably the kids the most, they have been a handful at night,” Sara answered as she looked at Mercia. “Thank you, I have a container around here somewhere I thought I sat out for the rest of the cookies.”

"I saw it," Mercia said ,grateful Halaku hadn't gotten the bright idea of taking her with him to settle the kids down and tuck them in. She took the plate back to the kitchen and started to put the cookies away.

She looked up when she heard a band, there was a pause and then a cry. She glanced at Sara who suddenly looked far more worn out. Mercia felt bad, Sara had asked Helaku here to help her and all that happened was she hosted a stranger. A creepy stranger at that.

“So how long have you known David?” Sara asked as she relaxed as she placed the cookies into the container that was found.
Mercia blinked and looked for Helaku, and realized he had disappeared up the stairs after the crying kid.

"Uh...." mercia stammered. She looked at her hand "lets see... one... two three..." she paused.

Sara looked at her and smiled a little as she finished filling up the container and latching it shut. “Only a couple days ago huh.”

"Yeah, its been interesting." Mercia said standing back. She smirked, tha man needed to be punished for being mean to her. "Never know what's gonna happen when you go for a drink and show up to report in to your new captain." She grinned.

Sara’s jaw almost slammed into the floor as she looked at Mercia, “Are you serious!” She collected herself and started to laugh. “I bet that was an interesting report in.”

"You could say that. He jumped like I bit him and yelled holy hell at me." She laughed. "could definitely have been worse... he could have kicked me right off the ship. But here I am and apparently he likes me. what's his story anyways? You and him are just friends? Cause I’m wondering if theres a history here." Mercia asked folding her arms.

“David, no… He and I never were in that form, a couple of any kind.” Sara responded as she leand up against a counter and thought back to the good old days. “David was assigned to the Resolute as its captain, and his first command. Former Marine to Starfleet and went threw all the hoops from XO to CO and we were lucky enough to be assigned under his command. My husband and I were in the middle of having our first child, and on a Defiant class starship, it wasn’t the easiest but He gave up his own quarters for us and made space for us to have our twins live with us on board. I resigned my commission and my husband got a reassignment to Jupiter station with David’s assistance. We were heart broken when we heard what happened with the Resolute and David losing his command position.”

Mercia frowned, "To be honest because of our horrible XO I haven't read up on his posting history." So he was a second chance person because he was on his second chance... she glanced towards the stairs, not seeing him. "What happened?" She asked.

“Well the Resolute warped into a distress call, but turned out it was a setup. Resolute was outgunned at the time and backup wasn’t there in time. the ship took heavy damage and the only way to save the crew was to take her into the atmosphere of a nearby planet. But the ship was so damaged that they couldn’t pull up in time and crash landed in an ocean. The ship sunk but he saved most of his crew. He lost a couple due to drowning. He hadn’t shown to much hurt, but then again, he has always been good at hiding his emotions.

Mercia chewed on the side of her thumb. Maybe thats why he was interested in taking on Project Mercia. She felt a stir of compassion for the man, what a heavy weight to carry, and how strong for him not to buckle under it. "Hiding emotions is far safer than exposing them to the world." She commented idly, her eyes on the stairs. Interesting man. There was that word again.

“It’s only safer for those around them… But that’s only for a short time. Those emotions can’t be bottled up for long. They will come out,” Sara explained. “It seems you two are as stubborn in the same way. I’m his counselor and close friend. He still hasn’t opened up to me.”

Mercia frowned, "You're his counselor?" She asked and frowned deeper. "So is he gonna be asking your opinion on me?" She asked with clear disdain. "What the hell is up with his not warning me?" She trusted only one counselor, one Miss Lyla from refit. She eyed the woman with suspicion. "I dont need to be shrinked..."

“Oh you have nothing to worry about with me, He is quite capable of figuring you out. He may not always act smart, but he is well skilled in reading people and keeps his cool quite well,” Sara remarked as she continued. “If he needed a counselor to shrink, I’d be seriously worried about him. The simple fact that he went out on a ledge to bring you here to see those kids, shows great risk or great trust.”

"I promise you it was risk." Mercia grunted. "Stupid risk. Hes got no reason to trust someone like me, and I'm trying real hard to trust him. It's a bit harder to do when he takes you.somewhere with no warning as to what I’m walking in to!" She grumbled. She heard giggles carrying down from upstairs. "So he likes kids huh?" She sighed.

“Oh yeah, he is their God-father if we believed in such things,” Sara grinned. She could tell Mercia was on edge for the most part. But she didn’t hold her against that. Hawkins always was the type to put people in awkward locations to test their characteristic. “They love him as much as he loves them. Why he hasn’t become a father is beyond me.”

The screaming laughter became louder as they came out of the hall and Hawkins came out after them walking unlike their running legs. The ran into the kitchen and lapped their mother and their guest. “We win!”

Hawkins at the two women standing in the kitchen and looked up at him. “They are wanting hugs before they go to bed.”

Mercia took two steps back, she remembered refusing to sleep before Mama gave her hugs. She ways craved physical contact, but hugging kids was hitting too close to home. She pulled defiance over herself like a blanket. "I'll wait outside. I dont want to be in the way of night time ritual." She said.

She was about to flee when a pair of tiny arms locked up her legs. She looked down at a dark haired little girl, feeling a stabbing pain in her chest. She froze, wanting to kick the kid off before this girl could read in to her, and her pains be exposed to Helaku and his friend, an expert who would see it with no effort. She locked her eyes on tiffany’s, not.understanding how this kid was doing this emotional upheaval to her. Mercia didnt dare look elsewhere, lest the adults see her in a frozen panic.

David and Sara laughed as they saw Tiffany squeezing Mercia, then Loran followed percute. “Alright kiddos, they got to get going,” Sara spoke up real quick. “Give Davvy a quick hug and tell him goodbye. He’s got to go to work.”

“Will you be back tomorrow?” Tiffany asked as both of the children quickly switched their targets.

“No hun, we got to go away for a while. But I promise that we will be back sooner or later ok?” David answered as he hugged the two children.
Sara walked over to Mercia and kept a low volume as she spoke with a small grin on her face. “I would say trust…” She pointed to David. “If he brought you down under the thoughts of risk, he would have brought his side arm. He never leaves the ship without it if he even thinks there is a slim chance of it.”

Mercia opened her mouth to protest, she was his chief of security after all, and she was never unarmed. She had many ways to hide weapons and it would surprise most. She met the other womans eyed with uncertainty before she closed her mouth and just nodded.

The woman shook her hand,.respecting her space more than her children had. Mercia watched as she turned and hugged Helaku tightly. Mercia bit her lower lip, mildly jealous, not of them together, but because she didn't have bonds like that, nor ease of platonic contact. All contact to her purposes and it was always naughty. Well mostly. She missed that sort of contact. Boy Lyla would be ecstatic to get her hands on that thought!

"You ready to get out of here," Hawkins called out as he looked over to Mercia as the kids were lead by Sara to their room.

“More than anything.” Mercia let out a breath. She headed for the door, and went outside. Taking a breath of the night sea air she felt herself start to relax. Her feet carried her towards the sand. She glanced back, seeing him follow her. They could have transported from inside, but she wasn’t ready yet. She didn’t stop until she neared the water, and looked out at the blackening sky and dark crashing waters. When she sensed he was close she took a deep breath, “Why?” she asked him. “Why’d you want me to meet your niece and nephew?” she asked him.

Holding his flip flops in his hand, David walked on the smooth still warm sand as he came close to Mercia. The moon wasn't out yet, but it was coming soon. The crashing waves was relaxing and distant beach party seemed to add to the relaxing feeling.

"It was mainly to get you out of your comfort zone and see what you would do. Even though you insulted kids that you don't know, you did alright," he answered as he enjoyed the warm water as it slowly ran over his feet. This was perfect.

Mercia watched him, he was so relaxed, and it baffled her. “They shouldn’t have been in my head.” she grunted. “You should have warned me, I was uncomfortable enough just being near kids.” she looked out over the water again. “I’ve not been around kids since I was one… and I try to avoid those memories for good reason Helaku.” she said. She slipped her shoes off and stepped in to the water next to him, and took a deep breath, trying to relax, but whenever she closed her eyes, she saw Tiffany wrapped around her legs, side by side with an image of herself doing the same to her mother. She grunted and shook her head, opening her eyes again.

"Someday you are going to have to stop running. Whether it's by your choice or it is brought down upon you, it's coming," he stated in a relaxing tone. "if you want control you know it's got to be on your terms, otherwise you will break to the point of no return. You deny it but you know it's true."

Mercia winced, he wasn’t the first to tell her that. She had struggled with that concept most of her life. She was running from something always, if not one thing than another. “So how come you don’t talk about Resolute?” she asked him bluntly. “Are you running too?” she challenged stepping a little further in the water.

The thought of looking back into his loss during his first command was hard. He knew all to well that losing people under your command was only a matter of time. Even as a marine fighter pilot he was in charge of others and even lost fighters... Good people and good marines. As a starfleet officer it was even the same... it didn't matter about the rank or anything else... it was only a matter of time and it would eat at the commander... And a good leader would struggle and fall but get up and continue to care for those that he still had and even gained.

"The Resolute was never my fault and I know that. Every man woman and child knew that," he answered steering from the primary reason he never talked about it.

“And I thought I was good at dodging questions.” she said. She turned to face him, standing just slightly deeper in the water than he was. “My mama’s death wasn’t my fault either.” she told him. “So answer the damn question.” she said looking up at him, “And don’t be stubborn about it, you want me to trust you, then tell me something… something real Helaku.” she said. He’d managed to strip her of her masks too many times, and yet he still wore his.

He took in a deep breath and sighed as he continued to look at the ocean. This was something that he didn’t talk about much but it was bound to happen. He thought long and hard about it before he spoke up. “The few that didn’t make it… one was pregnant.” He looked at her finally and allowed her to put two and two together. “She died…”

Mercia watched his eyes intently. His face was calm, but she saw the storm of pain in his eyes. This she understood. The raw pain that would never go away, a loss that wasnt his fault and yet he carried the weight of, because he couldn't save her, just as Mercia couldn't save her. They were even, he had seen her pain and she saw his. They were both raw and tormented behind their masks. No words were needed, they understood each other.


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