'Endangered'

Poison.Toocool materializes outside of Souleymane's house. She is wearing a brand new medium combat uniform, obtained via the replicator in her ready room after Adum left her alone to dress. Her mind was a whirl. She has never felt so out of control. Although she has returned to her base form, her skin has a sheen to it and her eyes are golden. She stands for a moment outside the house, almost dreading going in and yet yearning to go in. She takes a deep breath or two, finally she opens the door quietly. Peeking around the corner of the hallway, she sees no one there. Perhaps he is upstairs. She steps back and goes into the little office that is hers, and sits down, leaning her head on her hands, wondering what the hell is going on with her.

Souleymane Senghor finishes cleaning out the bathroom upstairs and returns to his own bedroom. Who would have thought that cleaning could relieve so much frustration? Not that the house was a mess ... it wasn't. But the already neat as a pin house was now immaculate. Fukujuso and Aki were out exploring again. At this rate they would know every blade of grass within a thousand meters of home. He hears the front door open downstairs. That means either Fuku, Driss or Poison, as they are the only three with leave to enter without knocking. He begins to head downstairs and by the time he gets there he notes it isn't the child or his sister. He moves into Poison's office and sees her, head in hands. Stepping to the desk, he looks at her, his plans to have a stern talk with her vanishing in his concern. "Poison...." he rumbles, softly.

Poison.Toocool starts from her deep reverie, as Souleymane's deep but gentle voice sounds in the room. She looks up to him. The change to the wolf has helped to some degree, but since she fought it for so long, she has stressed her body. She feels weak and tired. So much so when she moves her hands down to the desk her fingers tremble. She says, "Hello," with a small smile, "I thought maybe you were sleeping." She could say a million things, tell him about all the different duties and conversations she's had, not to mention that Jude and Buni and Babu are on Astraios, but when she looks at his face it all disappears, she has no words, her mind is seized by an explosion of images and thoughts, finally she just says, "Oh Souley."

Souleymane Senghor didn't learn how to read people from a neatly uniformed Startleet Instructor. He'd learned from his father and his brother and a hundred devils he'd done business with in his young life. He notes the shaking hands. "I was cleaning." he tells her. "It's a great way to ...." and he cuts himself off when she speaks her name. He moves around the desk and kneels in front of her. A submissive posture, but ... he chose that rile in their relationship by choice and he doesn't DISlike it ... not with his Poison. From below her now, he will straighten slightly and embrace her if she allows it. "You lost it, didn't you?" he guesses, noting her golden eyes. He holds her, wondering if he's too late and its all come to a messy head already.

Poison.Toocool sighs with relief as he comes to her. She is not the type to use vacillation as a means to avoid the truth. She considers herself as someone who says what she means, diplomatically, with compassion. "I did," she says. Looking back, she can hardly believe what had occurred. The emotional outburst with Hars had brought her to the brink of a black hole that drew her in, she had fought tooth and nail to have the meeting with the Gaitians and Jude go well. She didn't want Souley to think that she didn't try to help Jude. She was doing so to the best of her ability and here he was, kneeling in front of her, showing her love and compassion, and she was holding back things that he should know. Was it a security risk? Perhaps, but he would never harm her or Jude by revealing it. And the... situation, with Hars, even she was in a tangled mess of confusion about it. She accepts Souley's touch even as she feels like a hypocrite that he trusts her so much while she is holding back.

Souleymane Senghor holds her. He has no idea what she is holding back from him, but he DOES know that he walked into the relationship with his eyes wide open. He knew what she as - Starfleet. And that meant they did not have the luxury of being as open, sweet, sugary and ... honest with each other as his twin and Hars. Even Soueymane holds back. HE has stopped being a smuggler .. but he still knows and utilizes plenty of them. Keeps his costs down as a legitimate businessman. He'd dealt with enough Ferengi to know, appreciate and USE their business philosophies when it suited him. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asks. "CAN you talk about it? I'm here ...." he reminds her. As he always has been thus far.

Poison.Toocool nods slowly, "I have some things to tell you." She decided that she has to tell him everything, no matter what the consequences might be for their relationship. He might be angry, he might understand, he may think she is more trouble than she is worth. She sits back to look at him: "Can we go into the kitchen? I'm hungry and... we can talk there."

Souleymane Senghor nods himself. "Sure. I'll make you something .. " he is a little concerned. 'I have to tell you something' was never good news in his life experience, but ... he will take the chance. He straightens and heads into the kitchen. He ALMOST says that Hars was there only a few hours ago, but opts against it. Theres enough going on. He gets a bowl and begins to whip up a wheat and oat pancake batter ... the oat cakes Driss made aren't suitable as she used eggs and milk and other things against Po's strict diet. He's learning. As he finishes stirring and begins to pour batter, he asks, casually. "What's on your mind, lover?"

Poison.Toocool sits down at the kitchen table, as Souley goes over to the stove to start to make something. She begins to say she'd be happy with a piece of fruit and a glass of water, but stops herself. If his hands are busy, it's a good thing... it's calming to have things to do, for most humanoids. Her mind is focusing on inane things while Souleymane is waiting. She looks at him. but doesn't really see him, as her mind is playing back the images from earlier in the day, and feeling again some of the emotions that she experienced. "I don't really know where to begin," she says in a small voice, "but I suppose I should start with Hars. He... came to see me today," she sighs, "Because I hadn't been talking to him or answering his messages, he was confused. He saw 'me' at the masked ball, and I smiled and clapped and applauded when he announced his engagement. But then I didn't respond to his messages and he wondered what I was doing." Her fingers curl into fists as she begins the story.

Souleymane Senghor is cooking for exactly the reasons she thinks he is cooking for. To have something to do. He'd promised himself .. no more broken dishes. At her confession about Hars, he doesn't glance over his shoulder. He reaches for a small dish of purple berries and drops them in the cakes before he flips them. "I know." he replies to her. "He came here right afterwards." he opts not to get into details. "Driss loved your gift, by the way." he pats at the cakes. "She thinks the world of you, you know. Probably at least as much as Fuku does." he moves to get a plate and goes back to put the now cooked cakes in a pile on it. As he brings the food, utensils and some Gatian sap to the table, he finishes with. "But not as much as I do." he winks and sets the food in front of her. "What else?" he wonders, as he knows the Hars stuff won't vanish overnight.

Poison.Toocool "Thank you," she looks at the food but her mouth is dry and she is almost too tired to eat. "I had... I don't know... I suppose humans would call it a kind of a breakdown. He tried to ask me what I was doing, why I was ignoring him, angry with him over Driss. I am. Angry. Hurt. I shouldn't be. It doesn't make sense. He was... someone I held on to, not physically," she adds quickly, "but he became to me like a talisman, a lucky charm, this place I could go and be myself and explain myself and my concerns, and have a sounding board... in some ways like a brother," she smiles slightly thinking of him and Driss, "and in other ways like an adopted father. I never had a father," her voice is quiet but there is a slight tremor, "I was unaccountably jealous, and you would be right to be angry and confused as to why. I never spoke to you about it, I never talked to anyone about it, there's few people I could talk to about something so personal, without appearing.. weaker in my role. I was furious with him, so much so that I wanted to hurt him, and through that I hurt Driss, and I hurt you. Logically I can't explain it. He isn't 'for me'. He never was." She sighs. "I think I imprinted on him, like a puppy might imprint on its mother. When he was 'leaving me' I... couldn't cope with the abandonment I felt. I had felt that once before and..." she says this very softly, looking at her plate, "I almost died."

Souleymane Senghor listens to her as he pours her some juice from a pitcher on the table. "Love hurts." he intones, as he sets the pitcher down. "All I can do is tell you that you haven't lost Hars, you just have to share him. Maybe like I have to share you with the Federation. And as for abandonment ...." he strokes his chin, freshly shaved after Hars and Driss left, as part of the cleaning ritual. "I know abandonment. I know guilt. And I know you still have issues from that last relationship. Of being abandoned." he tries to catch her eyes and look into them. "Why do you think I am doing all of this?" he doesnt motion but she probably understands he means everything. "New business. New house. New personality ... well.. almost. Why do you think I didn't have a fucking fit when you restricted me to the planet? Because I don't want to leave it while YOU are on it. Nothing but death will keep me from you, Poison Toolcool." he's never put it so bluntly before.

Poison.Toocool shakes her head. "Something in me doesn't like the phrase, "Still have issues from that last relationship. Maybe it seems that way to you, you've had more than one. But... my kind, we only are given one chance. One time, we give ourselves completely, one time, we have one child. We are entirely monogamist. Like some life forms on Earth, who mate for life and if one loses one's mate, remain alone until death. Why it is like that I don't know. Perhaps the... changing limits our capacity to mate or have younglings. I don't know, because we are so rare we are considered an endangered species and our whereabouts are top secret, even I, with all my security clearances, have to access to this information, I don't even know if it exists." She also acknowledges what he has said, "Nothing but death, will keep me from you either, Souleymane. I am for you, as much as I can be for anyone, ever, even more than I was with... Jam," she says the name hesitantly, disliking even to say it because she just wants the name and the man to be forever gone.

Souleymane Senghor listens to her words and his jaw slacks, if only for a moment when it hits him that she can never have another child. Only then does it hit him that he even wanted children with her. He shoves it away to deal with later. "Yea .. well ... if Jam and I ever meet." he shrugs. "But I can tell you this much. You fought me tooth and nail ... you din;t want to be of me or for me or even WITH me, remember? Now look at us." he suddenly laughs. "The only thing we're missing is a minister and a couple wedding rings and I don't need none of that to tell me who I belong to. YOU. And you belong to me .. so ... if I remember my schooling .. that makes us mates, Fleet Captain. Just cause you don't live here all the time .. shit this is only a house. None of that matters. So ... maybe you missed something .. or maybe you're unique. Whatever. I'm YOUR mate, even if you wanna keep on saying I'm not yours."

Poison.Toocool looks at him in surprise. She had been so busy just coping with all the changes in her life and the multiple issues with the Colony that she had forgotten he was human enough to want the traditional things she saw other humanoids doing. Or maybe he was motivated by Hars and Driss. "I told you from the start I didn't want to play happy families. I still don't," she says. "I don't want to be conventional. I am too conventional at work. At home I just want to be us. We don't need these possessions that others have to try to prove they belong to each other. We don't need some... person who claims to know something they read in a book gives them the right to make us a couple. We don't need a Starfleet captain to join us together as husband and wife. We are mated because we choose to be so, and no piece of paper, no oath, no ring, are going to make that a stronger bond, or give us ownership of each other. I come to you freely, knowing who you are and what you have done, and I give myself to you completely. I can't tell you everything that happens at my work for reasons I know you comprehend. But we are partners in every other way," her face is damp with sweat and her eyes glow slightly as she tells him.

Souleymane Senghor nods. "Thats what I MEANT, Poison." he tries to explain. "So stop telling me you can only give yourself ONCE ... because you got a second chance at this." he reaches out to her face as her eyes begin to glow. "Steady love." he'll cup and caress her face if she'll allow. "If nothing else is stable in your life .. I am ... well ... for what THATS worth." he quips. She's so on edge ... out of control.

Poison.Toocool "I had a meeting after Hars... a work meeting... I was so upset I started to change in the briefing. I had to fight it, hard. So hard I hurt myself. I just couldn't let myself change in front of... those people." She can hardly explain how it felt. "That is twice now, Souleyman, twice in less than what, two months? I never change without control, not since I was a youngling. I ALWAYS instigate it myself. But first with you, and then again today, I could not stop it." Her eyes are serious and troubled. "And I don't understand the depth of emotion I have felt about Hars and Driss. I don't want to feel it. That's why I gave her that gift, I wanted her to know... it's not like me to be... hateful like that."

Souleymane Senghor nods. "You've been acting ... more out of control lately. With me, I think it was finally giving in to our emotions .. that was ALSO the first time we made love." he reminds her. "I don't know about your meeting but .. since the first time we made love you've .... come close quite a few times in MY presence. It CAN'T be JUST this stuff with Hars. Driss ... hell Driss understood more than me or Hars did. Maybe because shes female ... I don't know .. but she knows you aren't hateful because you love me." he pauses again. "You can't have any kind of exam, can you. To make sure you're actually alright and don't have .... " he stammers a bit. "Some .. disease of .. a cold .. or whatever."

Poison.Toocool looks to him, "An exam? I don't know. I don't like medical exams. It's... difficult. I had to have one when I entered Academy," she remembers Jam had to come with her and hold her hand, and the Doctor, although quite understanding, had probably thought she was cracked. "There isn't a doctor here I would allow to examine me now that Genny has moved on to command."

Souleymane Senghor nods his understanding. "Well.. what about that Catian nurse... um ... Kitty or something." he remembers her. "She took care of me when I had scratches and all and you now how *I* am with doctors. I mean I have a dermal regenerator now so I don't see her anymore but .... you like her, right?"

Poison.Toocool nods slowly, she remembers Kat Anjar, a gentle soul who had left SS Astraios to work at the Caitian embassy, and was also practicing at the MCH. "Maybe, but I wouldn't want to go to the Hospital for it, they are so busy with the rebuild and there are many people there working, and SS Astraios is still being repaired."

Souleymane Senghor shrugs. "So have it here." he suggests. "Your home away from home. I'll even keep Aki out of the house for her. I kinda like the kid." he admits.

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