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To Have and To Hold

[The evening/night after the (so far, what seems to be) temporary return of the Nei’rrh – SD 2387.179. Joint log, Nijil and Jylliene]


Jylliene walked down the corridor toward Nijil’s quarters. She was pleased that she’d be able to see him again. Well, and not pleased, at the same time. She thought that the next time she’d see him, the mission would be complete - at least, the part that involved the most direct, immediate danger to them separately - and that she’d be able to relax. Instead, the risk is still before them. They’ll need to grapple with their decision again.


They’ll need to say goodbye again.


She entered the code and walked through the door.


Nijil was lying down, with something over his eyes and ears. Running simulations? Reviewing feeds from the Nei’rrh? Jylliene pondered. She considered interrupting, and walked over to him, slowly, quietly, considering her possible tactics.


Nijil remained motionless with his hands across his stomach. He also changed into something far more casual than his uniform. His chest moved up and down, slowly, so he was alive at least. The room seemed less lit than normal, but the engineer always kept things overly dark, only using spot lighting when needed.


Jylliene crept up beside him, knelt down beside him, and softly kissed his cheek.


A smile emerged over his face, then a laugh. Soon he was back to his dream state. Whatever covered his eyes and ears kept his attention.


“A challenge..?” the woman intoned softly. “I think I’m up for that.” She grinned slowly. She eyed the man’s sides and then tickled him. It occurred to her that she actually had no idea if he WAS ticklish, though.


Nijil of course heard none of this. The light touch of her lips on his cheek piqued his senses, but the bombardment of pink noise and light kept his body very relaxed. The adrenaline of flying would have kept him up all hours. Months had passed since he last flew. This was his first real mission with a vessel more than a light shuttle. The strange headphone/eyewear combination appeared to be working. He took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly.


Seeing that he was apparently fairly deeply into the relaxed state he seemed to be in, Jylliene stopped - and instead, she stretched out beside him on the bed, and snuggled against him. Whether he’d respond or not didn’t matter - she suddenly felt greatly comforted simply being with him.


The machine started to wind down its magic and bring the young engineer out of his deep relaxation. The lights kept blinking, so nothing looked different from the outside. The pink noise drew down in volume. His vision through the glasses returned to black. In moments Nijil rejoined the universe in a silent dark void. Something seemed different this time. A warmth at one side. He started to move his hand from his colder side toward the warmth. His other arm seemed pinned down, but all at once and in one quick motion he brought his hand together and attempted to retaliate with a tickle of his own.


Jylliene squirmed and laughed. “You’re awake?”


“I am now. This thing knew someone was around and roused me, albeit slowly.” He returned the kiss and flopped back down on his side of the one-person bed. “Sorry we did not blow the M-2, but it is good to be back.”


‘Even if just for a while,” she replied. “But ie. It’s very nice to have you back at least for tonight, e’lev.


“So, how was the Aegean? Not waiting for an explosion of the Nei’rrh on the side of a rock I hope.”


“Na. We were simply continuing to gather information from the feeds from the Narada and the probe. I think you gave the SubCommander an idea when you broke our link to get our attention, but I don’t know that it will work out.”


Nijil looked surprised. “Oh, I gave him an idea? That’s a first. My other plan was to tap the Aegean, but I did not want hull repair duty after I got back.”


“That’s assuming you’d survive to take that duty on,” Jylliene replied, and winced. “I think what you did was the better idea.”


“I’ll have to thank myself,” he turned and smiled. “You seem a little tired,” he said raising a brow. “Turn around and face away from me, please.”


Jylliene turned over. “Just what do you have in mind?”


“Nothing sultry (?) or anything.” He began applying pressure to points on her back. One thing he did not know was if Trills were arranged the same as Romulans, but it would not hurt to try. Both on their sides also not the best position for this, but both were tired as well.


“I’m tempted to say that’s a pity, but this is very nice,” she said, exhaling into a relaxed sigh.


“Let me know if any of this hurts too much. Some of it will,” he smiled unseen. “Would have been nice to have you onboard, but probably not a good idea. I don’t mean you are not qualified. You had no ears.” He indicated her lack of ears by drawing two fingers along her ear and extending the touch to where the Romulan point would be.


The Trill chuckled. “I think we’re all better off leaving that to those who come by them naturally, and have the accent and mastery of the language to match - instead of trying to make me into a Romulan.”


“Pity,” Nijil replied in the same tone she said from before. “This is hard, the waiting, isn’t it?”


Jylliene sighed, and replied softly. “It is. I was hoping the next time I’d see you would be on our way back to Aegis, and we’d be looking at only a day or two before...being home. But regardless of any of that, I’m very glad to have you here.”


Nijil stopped the pressing into her back and gave her a caress. “I have an idea, but I’m not very good at it. Get up.” He released her and started to get up on his side of the narrow bed.


Jylliene stood up, wondering what he had in mind, watching him.


He moved into the center of the room and urged her to do the same. “Computer, music, um... human music, ah, something to dance to.” The computer chirped and began a song.


Some lively music started. “We’re no strangers to love, You know the rules and so do I...”


Nijil spoke quickly, “Next!”


Another beat. “Young man, there’s no need to feel down...”


Jylliene, this time. “Next.”


Nijil shrugged. Humans had more eclectic music than he thought. Another song started.


“You can’t see it, it’s electric! You gotta feel it, It’s electric...”


“Um, computer, next.”


A rather different sound this time. “It’s astounding...Time is fleeting...Madness takes its toll...”


“Next, please, computer. Something softer, perhaps?” Jylliene ventured.


The computer let out an extra chirp and a new beep as if tired of looking. A big band sound started.


“Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me...”


As the music started Nijil held out both hands. “I’ve only watched this a couple of times.”


Jylliene took his hands. “That’s more than I probably have. Do lead on.”


He placed one hand on her waist and held her hand with the other. As the unknown song played he tried his best to formulate a slight sense of rhythm or at the very least keep her close. The whole time he kept his eyes on her. Elements he must look a bit foolish. He had no idea what his legs were doing. This is not exactly the kind of song he wanted, but perhaps the next one. The music went on, “If I could fly like birds on high...”


She felt a bit awkward, but focused instead on feeling his presence. As in the arboretum, Jylliene tried simply to remember this, to have this memory to keep.


It was a good song, whatever the title, but another slow song started. Nijil would later learn it was La Vie En Rose, which did not seem to be in Federation standard. Even still, the universal translator seemed to have trouble with this one. He looked directly into Jylliene’s eyes and made a slight nod. He pulled her close and rested his head beside hers. He laid both hands on her waist and hoped she put her hands in the proper spot. He closed his eyes and started what he hoped was a slow dance.


Jylliene had no idea where one’s hands WERE supposed to go, but they seemed to work around his waist. The song was pretty. There was something soothing about the language.


Before the song ended he whispered something in the old tongue she’d not understand. His little friend back on the station, if she was still there, would. Maybe Jylliene would later understand it, but he meant every word. After the song finished he had the computer cease playing. He tilted his head toward the bed. “Another big day tomorrow. Let’s get to bed.”


She wanted to ask him what he had whispered, but instead just kept them in her mind. Nodding, Jylliene changed and prepared for bed, climbing into what had become her side, and sat up to wait for Nijil, lying down when he was ready.


He wasted no time crawling into bed and holding her once more. As they lay in silence he could hear her breathing and heartbeat. “Khnai'ru rhissiuy,” he said to her softly. “Au are more than I deserve.” As he inhaled he held her even closer.


“E’lev,” she whispered back to him. “I hope I can live up to that.”


Jylliene felt his hold on her loosen as his breathing slowed into peaceful sleep. She closed her eyes. They would have to say goodbye again, yes. But this was worth it. He was worth it.

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