Vacuum II: "Matutinal"

Po stirred. The dream was always the same. Tongue lolling, running through the bush, long strides taking her up to the top of the hill. The night was clear and cold. The moon shone distant but bright. She raises her head and sings to the moon. In the distance, a voice answers. She sniffs the air. Male? She plunges back into the dark. And opens her eyes.

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 inhales deeply and slowly in his sleep. As if coming up out of a pool. He only sleeps deeply in places where he feels safe. And he is home ... one of them ... he stretches a bit, as if reaching for wakefulness, his face turned to his windows and the moons sea out his window.

Poison Toocool: The room is strange. The first dim light of dawn touches the sky. The bed is warm, she almost turns over and gives into the desire for more sleep. The scents catch her nose. Food, dust, ocean, trees, man. Souley. She slips her bare feet onto the floor, and walks quietly to the door, gazing into his office, where he is, as far as she can tell, asleep on the couch. He is a complex being. One she can't always fathom. She turns her gaze to the ocean, moving in the dark, timelessly. How beautiful, and how deep. Powerful enough to destroy cities and beaches, gentle enough to lap your feet on a summer's day.

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 swims up a little more ... his senses scouting ahead. He remembers now ... long talk ... longest they'd ever had. Then the loan of his dashiki and ... gods above and below she looked incredible in it .... He swallows and sighs and opens one eye. A blur ... a blink. He inhales deeply and his eye opens a tad more. "Morning ... mostly." he rumbles, his deep voice still rough with the sleep he is still climbing out of. "You sleep well?" he asks, closes the eye and stretches languorously, climbing out of sleep a bit more.

Poison Toocool starts as the low voice reaches her, saying softly, "It's hardly morning, the sun hasn't touched the horizon. But I don't sleep long hours, and I often rise at this time, although on Astra, it would be a little later." She reaches up to capture her long hair, and twists it behind her into the customary bun. She feels, free, her limbs untrammeled by uniform and boots, the morning air chill and invigorating, and she laughs lightly at him, "You look... half conscious."

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 opens both eyes now. "Morning is from midnight to noon in my life." he manages. He inhales deeply and suddenly sits up with a groan. he leans back and looks at her, eyes almost focused. "darn. You put that up by habit or something?" he gives his first gripe of the day. "OK ..." he rolls his shoulders and stands, almost experimentally." I'm about three quarters conscious. Shower. Coffee. Then you can get some life outta me." he looks towards the corner. "You want the shower first?" he asks. "It's water, by the way ... towels are in the small cabinet." he offers. "I can make the coffee. Maybe something for your breakfast?" he offers if he isn't going to shower first, he's going to make coffee.

Poison Toocool turns again to the ocean, stretching her arms deliciously, the hours away from responsibility and duty make her feel young. She bends to touch her toes and as she came back up, the dashiki slipped down on one side, revealing her back. There, if one looked closely, was an odd, long bump just near the shoulder blade. "A water shower," she grins at his blurry eyes, "that sounds great." She moves to the door, saying: "Computer, shower."

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 watches her moves and mumbles to himself in his native tongue. He barely notices the bump, her stretch distracted him. But then she speaks again and he laughs lightly. "There are not many computers here." he tells her. The dial turns the water on .. the further left you go, the hotter the water gets, so stand back till you get it right." he heads for the stairs, tossing over his shoulder. "And stop stretching like that. Bout nuff to drive a man insane." he reaches the top of the stairs. "Computer, make coffee." his voice is teasing and he replies o himself. "DO it yourself, you lazy louse."

Poison Toocool laughs to him. As he goes up the stairs, she steps into the bathroom and drops her clothes to the floor, turning the water dial to the right. Cold and brisk. She moves into the stream, letting it hit her face and body, shivering, every pore screaming, swinging around to let the fluid roll down her back, skin rippled with goosebumps and drops. Stepping out she grabs a towel, rubbing fiercely to warm herself again. She put on the clothes he had given her, hung up her towel, and raced up the stairs, hoping there might be a fire.

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 starts the fire as soon as he gets upstairs. He then goes to the stove and puts on the water for the coffee. He sets up two mugs and sets cones above them and sets filters in the cones. He measures out the coffee and places them in a hand coffee grinder. As he waits on the water, he begins to make a breakfast ... berries and some local melons. By the time she races upstairs, he is setting the salad on the table and pouring the water into the cones. The coffee drains into the cups. He keeps his back to her as he makes the coffee, then finally lifts the cones and places them in the sink. Finally turning he sits at the table and moves for something that looks like it could be sugar and stirs it into his coffee. "He takes a long sip and moans in something akin to sexual bliss. "You'd like Treman more if you drank more of their coffee." he sighs and then sits up with a curse. "Tea....." the water is still boiling on the stove, and taking his coffee with him he stands again. "Tea .. tea ...." he reaches in one of the upper cabinet looking for it. For her.

Poison Toocool is glad to hear the fire crackling as she comes up the stairs, grinning as Souley talks to himself. "Tea would be nice," she says, plopping onto a chair and reaching for a piece of melon, biting into it, juice dripping from it down her chin, she wipes it with a free hand and says, "mmm good," through her full mouth.

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 finds the tea and a small mesh ball he puts the tea into. He puts it in a cup and pours the water over it, bringing it to her. "Your wish is my will." he sits and pulls the coffee had poured for her to himself and drains the cup he'd started. "Oh yea, baby ,... you know how to treat me." he murmurs. He pops a couple of berries in his mouth. "Ground fruits and melons. Here .. I eat mostly native stuff. But this morning I needed Treman coffee." he seems fully awake now as he sweetens his second cup of coffee. "I can hardly believe you spent the night with me." he says, half teasing and half honestly amazed.

Poison Toocool's eyebrows twitch as he mentions Treman again. She'd tried so hard to push that all away. She sighs and puts down the melon rind, taking the cup but not drinking as it will be too hot. "I just wanted to be alone with you for 24 hours," she says to her cup. "Ever since we met, there have been others around. Driss, security, my crew, Shenshi, everyone at home..." we've never truly been alone." She lifts the cup, blows, decides it's too soon, puts it down, "and I don't even know how we're going to do this... if there is a this, an us... are we an us?" She reaches for a handful of berries, "I guess we are, or I wouldn't be here, trying to find out how... to be the me I know, and the dutiful officer I am, with this... new other person that needs to fit in, and shouldn't just fit in around all that, but be first before all that, but how can it..." she shakes her head, "I can't even explain it."

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 chuckles. "True. I'll consider it an early birthday present, in case we can' manage it again for a while." he listens to her and sips this second cup of coffee, savoring it. "We're going to do this as best we can, I guess." he says. "And, if you haven't noticed. I am not the same man around you or Driss or Fukujuso that I am ..." he motions to his windows. "Around the rest of the universe. Well, more of him came out in public last night but ....." he eats a bit of melon. "I am more me around you than I am around them. I shed that skin that aggravates you so much now when we're alone."

Poison Toocool nods, "yes, you're somewhat less irritating now, although you're half nude and haven't had a shower," she wrinkles her nose at him. "I suppose you're saying that humans play roles, I've noticed that. I was never used to that. In my life before I came into contact with other humanoids, I thought everyone just.. was, as they appear to be. But in the past few years I've come to understand that people can say one thing and mean another, or say whatever they think will get them what they want, and then discard it without a thought." She says this a bit grimly, "My best teacher was my last... first... only love. He said so many rosy things to me and made many promises he never kept, lied to me and lied to others. I never saw it until the end. He didn't just leave, he was hardly ever there and always had a million excuses for it until one day he just didn't come back. And that's when," she puts her cup down and moves to the fire, sitting in front of it, shivering a little, "that's when I died a little. And my youngling.. he died too."

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 nods and listens but doesn't say anything until after she moves. Then he abandons his coffee and stands, moving to her. "I'm not going to say I'm not a liar, Poison." he looks into the fire. "I was raised to be one and I am very good at it. That's why I have a very small police record and none in Starfleet until your people brought me in after they boarded my ship." he pokes at the fire, restlessly. "But all I can do is promise you that I won't lie to you ... why should I? I'm giving up all the illegal stuff." he knows he will be doing some thigns just on the line .. shady .. but he can jump off that bridge when he comes to it. "Your Souleymane won't lie to you .... maybe to others ..." he jokes a little. "And ,... gods ... abandonment ... that ... just ..." he shakes his head, poking at the logs almost angrily.

Poison Toocool reaches a hand out to his arm, hovering there, waiting to see if he is ready to be touched, seeing that he is disturbed. "It wasn't an accusation, Souley. But the creature that I am, died a little that day, and I don't know how far I can go now." She looks serious, "You have Shenshi, she deserves a good home. And perhaps you want other children besides, it's so evident from the way that she bonded to you that you're a natural with kids. I just... don't know if I can do that, anymore... the ability to ... reproduce," she struggles to explain.

Souleymane.Senghor @hypergrid.org:8002 moves into her touch and, as he thought ... expected .. feared? it calms him a bit. "I see ...." he makes note of the ability of parts of her to die off. "Poison ... " he moves his hand over hers. "I have my daughter. If we were ... do that .. great. but if not ..." he shrugs and faces her completely, moving closer to her. "If not then we have each other ... if that's enough for you. There'll be plenty of nights like this. Just me and you. Maybe that's how its supposed to work. Fate." he suggests.

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