[USS Renaissance] Solace and Welcome
- From: TKilyle@xxxxxxx
- To: renaissance@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 15:20:37 EDT
Solace and Welcome Annabelle Chase-Garrity, Li Vilya, and Patrick Kabuki Numbness, that was all Annabelle could feel. Numbness though out her body, soul, and heart. They said he was gone, shot on the station, murdered. She shivered despite the warmth of where she was. She wasn't really sure why she was on the island to start with, she just remembered Anna saying something about him once and here she was, looking for him. She told herself it was to tell them, they were friends, but maybe there was a little more to it. It still felt a bit strange to be staying in somebody else's home but Vilya liked Daniel's place. It was warm and lived in, a place where his children could be happy and where there was also an office for quiet time. That was where her husband was at the moment, working on a sermon for later that week while she fed their son. "Pretty baby," she murmured as she stroked his head. "You're in such demand here." She had no trouble finding the place, what Annabelle was having trouble with was knocking on the door. How was she going to tell them when she barely believed it herself? Finally she forced herself to reach up and knock. Vilya rose gracefully, hoping, at bit selfishly, that it wasn't somebody wanting Ming's time. The poor man needed air sometimes. Draping a soft cloth over her nursing son, she went to the door, gasping when she saw her unexpected visitor. "Annabelle! What a surprise! Come in." Annabelle tried to smile but she just couldn't manage it. âI'm sorry for bothering you at home.â "You're not bothering me and this isn't actually our home," Vilya said as she ushered the other woman inside. "It's my brother-in-law's." She took stock of the other woman and saw that something was just very wrong. "What is it?" Her hands began to trembled as she looked down at her wedding band. She should have went to Mac and Anna first, or to Joshâs uncle, or she should have just went home. What right did she have to ruin these peoples happiness? But they were all his friends, his family. âSomethingâs happened.â "Ming!" she called sharply, not wanting to leave Annabelle alone yet also wanting her husband out there. "Annabelle, sit. Talk to me." "What?" Ming asked as he hurried out of the office. Vilya never spoke that way. It had to be something important so he had no compunction about leaving his roman collar unbuttoned and his shoes off. "Annabelle!" Any other time she'd have tease Ming for coming out half person half Reaper as Anna called him, but her brain didn't work anymore. She looked up at their, her friends with tears in her eyes. âJosh,â She whispered. âhe was, and now heâs. In a corridor, disrupter traces, DNA evidence.â "Oh dear Lord..."Ming breathed, making the sign of the cross over himself even as he met his wife's eyes. "No...what happened, Annabelle?" It took her several moments to piece it all together enough to tell them. â He didn't come home after he found out about that she-beast and her basââ She stopped herself and sighed, âHis children. We couldn't find him anywhere. Even her so called Imzadi bond couldn't find him. Then two investigators came to me and told me there'd been a run in, that they believed he'd been killed. They found his DNA in the corridor and traces of disrupter fire.â Ming took both her hands in his. "Oh, no..." He shook his head. He could save his own grief for later. Now was not the time. "Gone then. Are you alright?" âI.. I don't know.â Annabelle replied. âI'm numb.â "Shhh..." Vilya murmured as he finally moved the baby to her shoulder, patting his tiny back lightly. "Are here alone then?" Annabelle nodded. âI kept thinking I needed to go to Mac and Anna, I wanted to see his uncle, but I couldn't. I'm sorry, I just short of ended up here.â "Don't be sorry, Annabelle," Ming said, still holding both her hands. "Friends are family and family is always welcome for good or for bad. This is no inconvenience. It's a blessing in any form." She nodded and then became quiet for a while. When she looked up at Vilya it finally dawned on her she was holding the baby. She'd never have that, she'd never have a child, a family with Josh. She'd never have a part of him to hold. Slipping her hand into her pocket she pulled out a small toy starship. â He was making it for his godson.â "Oh how sweet," Vilya began, biting back tears that she his in fussing with Zachan's blanket. "Look, Zachan, now you have a ship along with your bear and your elephant. See how pretty?" His eyes would remain as blue as his father's and those eyes stared at the newcomer as a tiny fist waved in the air. "Thank you, Annabelle," Ming said softly. "I don't think Josh knew what to say when I told him we anted him to be our boy's godfather but I'm glad to see he took heart in it." âI don't think he understood the term, but he understood children.â She smiled weakly. âHe liked children.â "He looked out for them even before they were born," Vilya said fondly. "He kept rearranging my schedules while I was pregnant. I can't...it's hard to use the past tense." Annabelle understood so she nodded. Then she looked away. âHe had two, twins, a boy and a girl.â "He did?" Ming asked, his face scrunching in confusion. To cover that confusion, he spoke again but slowly and calmly. "Annabelle, I think in all the confusion of leaving the ship and everyone being tossed to the winds that we missed something and it was obviously important. Josh had children? I had no idea." âNeither did he until she showed up.â There was no keeping the anger and hate out of her voice. âShe had herself impregnated with his sperm, which had been stole from him.â Ming glanced over at his own son, a precious miracle to him. "That," he said carefully, "is rather abhorrent to put it mildly. Excuse the language but it would be the same as rape on a female." âAnd now heâs gone and it's her fault.â Annabelle said quietly, âAnd I'll never have when she stole.â "Her fault? Was there an investigation?" Ming asked. She nodded. âThey don't know who it was, they think maybe it was random, but that doesn't sit right with me. If she'd have stayed dead like she was meant to be then he'd be alive because he would have been home with me where he belonged.â He nodded slowly, understanding the logic of the situation. If it were him in her place, he could understand her position completely. "What are you going to do, Annabelle? I know you're angry but that won't help you right now. Stay here with us if you'd like," he said gently. "You know there's plenty of room and also plenty of places to be alone, too," Vilya added. "You're more than welcome." Annabelle nodded, she needed to clear her head, a place to figure all of this out. âI need to tell Mac and Anna, I need to speak with his uncle.â "I'll tell you what," Ming began, his hands clasped together. "This is my brother's place but there's more than enough room since he won't be home for another few weeks. You're welcome to the guest room and to come and go as you please." "I can make it up for you," Vilya offered. "Whoever decorated it knew about peaceful places. It's very comfortable." New tears began to fill Annabelleâs eyes. âThank you.â "Here," Vilya said as she stood up. "Come with me. We'll get it made up for you and then you need to lie down and rest if you can. When you're refreshed, you can call whoever you want to call and we'll be right here." Annabelle nodded once more. She didn't know of she could sleep, her mind was everywhere all at once. They were going to be so happy and now it was all gone. She was alone again. âI miss him.â She whispered as she followed Vilya. While she still held the baby with one arm, Vilya put her free one around Annabelle's shoulders. "I know," she said softly. "I don't know what I'd do without Ming. The Prophets aren't always fair." âYou're blessed, Vilya.â Annabelle replied softly. "We are," she agreed. "I thank Them every day for my little family. We have him back now but I can't even begin to think how my mother functioned without Daddy at first. I think it had to be the busyness of me and Findel. That's why I want you here. Alone is good but lonely...that hurts." âEverything hurts.â "Let it," Vilya said softly, guiding the other woman to sit on the soft bed while she moved to the closet to get fresh sheets. "Let it because feeling is what lets you know you're alive. He'd want you alive. I'm sure of that." She shivered as she wrapped her arms around herself. âHe was so angry when he walked out.â "Do you want to tell me about it?" Vilya asked quietly. "Or I'll send Ming in instead. Nothing he hears leaves his mouth if you ask him not to." Annabelle twisted her wedding ring around her finger and sighed. âI was so angry over that Coyne woman and those babies, I was pushing him to take them from her, to go after her for what she'd done, to stay away from her. He looked so hurt, so angry, so confused. He walked out and didn't come home. Mac and I looked for him but we couldn't find him.â Setting the linens down on the bed, Vilya placed herself next to Annabelle. "I don't think anybody ever really knows what went on in Josh's head, not even Mac. Some of the most basic things: like why somebody wouldn't have a replicator or why people had religion just escaped him. I honestly think he would have left no matter who was doing the talking." She simply nodded as more tears fell. "You're allowed to be angry at him, too, Belle. For putting you in that situation. For not being here..." She rubbed the other woman's shoulder lightly. "It doesn't make you a bad person or wife. It makes you real." âHe should have come home,â Annabelle replied. âHe should have come back and we could have worked it all out.â "Do you know what the first thing my mother did to my father after he was released from the prison camp?" Vilya asked. Annabelle shook her head. "She hauled off and smacked him across the face for leaving her alone for ten years," the auburn haired woman said wryly. "Daddy just stood there a minute then finally said he supposed he'd deserved it." Annabelle blinked just before the very faintest hint of a smile tugged her lips. âSpirited woman.â "She still is but the point is, as much as she loved him and knew why he was in that labor camp, she was still mad at him," she explained. "She didn't hit him when he wasn't dead any more though. I'll give her that much." âI'd happily smack him,â Annabelle sighed. âit would mean he was here with me.â "So let yourself be mad at him. It would make him more real," Vilya suggested. âI'll try.â She agreed. âOnce I can feel something again.â Vilya shifted her son so that he lay in the crook of her arm rather than over her shoulder. "It's so simple for them when they're this little," she said softly. "Somebody takes care of everything you need or want and they do it pretty damned quick. He's so innocent and pure right now. I'm told babies can be comforting for all those reasons so if you ever want to hold him, I don't think he'd mind. Well, unless he's hungry." She smiled weakly, yet warmly at the other woman. âThank you, Vilya.â "Don't thank me, Belle," Vilya said, looking into her eyes. "You came here because we're all family in a weird sort of way. This is what we do for family, sweetie. You're welcome here." Family, it was odd she had a mother and two brothers but this is where she had turned. Guess that ready did make a family. She smiled at the other woman and nodded. âThis is why he cared about you so much.â "Josh is a good man, Belle. It was kind of hard to know what he was thinking but sometimes...well, it was easy enough to see sometimes. He's the one who gave Ming the Bajoran birthing room holo program. He did the whole thing for him. I'm pretty sure he thought Ming was a bit dim for not even knowing how to use a replicator but he was good about it," Vilya said with a fond smile. "Treated him like a country cousin and tried showing him the ropes in his own way." âHe was a good man,â Annabelle agreed. âI should plan something, a service or something.â Vilya nodded. Ceremonies of that sort gave closure or started people on the way toward it. "Ask Ming about that," she suggested. "He's very good at ceremonials and, if he's not sure, he'll ask his brother." âI will.â she replied. âIn the morning.â She hadn't slept since she'd been told. "Here, hold the baby and I'll make the bed up quick," Vilya said as she stood up. "Then you rest as long as you want." Annabelle took the baby carefully and stood with him. She began to gently swag with him, smiling down into his beautiful face. âHeâs beautiful, he has hope in his eyes.â Vilya was quickly tidying the linens but she glanced over her shoulder with a soft smile. "That he does. It isn't just the sort they think of on Bajor, either. He just...looks that way." âYou're going to be the sensible one, aren't you, little Z?â she asked the baby. âThe calming effect like Annaâs tiniest. Good thing too, the others all got a bit of mischief in their eyes. I still say James had a foot shaped mark on his head when he was born.â "I haven't seen them," Vilya said with a wistful sigh as she folded down the covers and sheets. "I bet one of the others kicked him for some future wrong, though." She laughed lightly and then felt guilty for doing so. âThe middle one looks as if sheâs giving him the evil eye. You should call Anna and get together, though sheâs been real tired lately.â Vilya bit her lip. "I'm terrible. She was such a sweetheart to me after Zachan was born and now I've been too busy to even breathe. She must be exhausted." âShe sleeps a lot.â Annabelle told their friend as she gave the baby her finger to hold. âSheâs spread kind of thin with the three at home and the two in and out of the doctors.â "It was hard with Zachan and having all the help I did but with five and two sick..." She shook her head. "I'll call her first thing after you've done what you need to do and I'll tell Ming. I know Anna calls him Reaper and doesn't believe what he does, but he believes in intention." âI think she'd like that.â Annabelle sighed. âI'm there for her but this is just something I can't understand, not having one of these gifts of my own.â "Zachan's still his godson, no matter what's happened to him. That would have made you special in his life, too. That hasn't changed either. This poor baby's already horribly spoiled by his grandparents but you feel free to join in. He won't mind." Annabelle cuddled the baby. âI'd like that,â she replied softly. "Then you lie down. Sleep if you can but do rest," Vilya said gently. "Then you can spoil my boy all you want." âI know you said not to thank you, but I've no idea what else to say.â Annabelle said as she handed the baby back to his mother. "Say you're comfortable and that you'll tell one of us if you need anything," Vilya said with an easy smile. Annabelle smiled at the other woman. âI will.â "Good night then, even if it is only mid afternoon," Vilya said as she shut the light, turning her head so Annabelle could see the tears in her eyes. In the darkness of the room Annabelle climbed onto the bed and once again wept, only this time she was able to sleep.
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