Life Lessons (RP Log)
- Holosuite 2 [Deep Space 9]
- A simple, mathematical grid of holoemitters lines the walls.
You have accessed 'Greater Sea, Vulcan'. The yellow grid shimmers and disappears as the program is loaded.
- You find yourself atop an umber and ochre-colored sandstone bluff overlooking a small sea. Being the largest body of water on Vulcan, the Greater Sea is about the size of Earth's Mediterranean, its blue waves lapping against the shore below. Overhead, the sun is rising in the east, seeming almost to set fire to the azure blue water and casting it in shades of pink, gold, red, green and flecks of brighter blue. Vulcan's sister planet, T'Koot, is setting, but still visible in the dawn sky. The calm air is cool and clear in the absence of the risen sun, the temperature quite pleasant. Occasionally, the calls of sea fliers can be heard as delicate-looking winged creatures soar over the water. A path winds down from the bluff to a small shingle of beach below, allowing a potential swimmer to make their way down to the water.
The exit doors appear and open, admitting Vrillak.
Vrillak arrives from Holosuite Corridor.
Carey is sitting atop the bluff in a traditional Betazoid meditation posture, gazing out over the water, appearing mesmerized by the waves. She is calm and almost unnaturally still for a human, but tear tracks glisten on her cheeks.
Vrillak enters the program, only the woosh of the opening doors giving away his arrival. "Restful," he comments from beside her.
Carey jumps, her head snapping up. She swipes a hand across her face and blinks a few times, then looks at him with the keen gaze of a medical professional.
Vrillak appears quite well once again. His complexion is normal, there's no sign of perspiration, and he appears to be in full possession of his faculties.
"You look much better," Aliyah comments.
Vrillak nods. "I rested rather well, my dear," he says quietly.
Carey nods. "Good."
Vrillak sits beside her. "You, my dear, appear distressed, if I may say so."
Carey looks back toward the water. "I'll deal with it," she says without emotion.
Vrillak says, "You're upset with me because I didn't want to go to the infirmary, my dear?"
Carey actually smiles slightly. "No. I'm not upset with you.
Well...maybe I am, a little." She looks over at him. "But you can't help it, and I'm mostly upset with me," she says more gently.
Vrillak moves closer and changes position so that he's in front of her. "Why," he asks gently.
Carey raises a hand to rub at her forehead and shields her eyes. "I really can't talk about it."
Vrillak smiles. "Such a deceptive language, Standard. You don't want to talk about it. That would be more accurate, wouldn't it, my dear?" His tone is gentle and confidential and appears genuine.
Carey nods. "Yep." She lowers her hand and tugs at a stray curl. Vrillak nods. "Ah. Tell me, Aliyah, is it Remi that's upsetting you?" He frowns slightly as he thinks.
Carey frowns. "You don't give up, do you? You'd make a good doctor. Probably make some ground-breaking discoveries and come up with the cures for a dozen or so terminal illnesses, just from sheer stubbornness."
Vrillak chuckles and watches her quietly.
Carey sighs. "No. I don't like her style, and a warning that a mostly naked Betazoid could walk in at any moment would have been nice. But no."
"Ah. Well, admittedly I wasn't expecting her, nor that she'd be in that state of undress, and as you can well imagine, my mind was elsewhere, though I do apologize for neglecting my manners, my dear," he says.
Carey shakes her head. "Don't worry about it. It happened, she obviously wasn't phased by it, so it doesn't matter."
Vrillak says, "The one who's concerning me at the moment is you, Aliyah. I've never seen you in such a discomposed state before. It's not like you."
Carey laughs without humor. "Oh, yes, it is. It's completely like me. Apparently I haven't learned as much as I thought."
Vrillak chuckles. "I'll put it another way. I hate seeing you upset."
"I'm sorry, then," Aliyah says softly. "I'll keep that in mind and show less emotion next time." Her words could be sarcastic, but they aren't.
Vrillak sighs. "Aliyah, I don't know what your Vulcan friends have been telling you, but you're not a Vulcan. So don't try and suppress your emotions just because you don't like them or think I won't." His tone is gentle, though his words are firm enough.
Carey takes a deep, shuddering breath as her eyes brighten. She blinks, dislodging the tears and turning her head away to brush impatiently at them. "You really don't want to have this conversation," she says tensely. "You think you do, but you don't. It would be excruciating for me and at least somewhat uncomfortable for you."
"I don't want to do a single thing that would cause you pain." Pulling a soft cloth from his back pocket, he hands it across.
Carey blinks in surprise at the cloth, which causes more tears to fall. She presses it to her eyes. "Why do you care so much?" she blurts out. "I mean, there are easier people to be friends with."
Vrillak shrugs and, finally, gives. "I don't know. Maybe because you're the first person in a very long time to not treat me with suspicion or mistrust of any kind, none that I'm aware of anyway."
Carey dries her face and lifts her head. "Oh, I was suspicious," she says with a small smile. "But not for the reasons people usually are. You're a flirt, Vrillak. Did you know that? You can't even help it, you just are. It's absolutely maddening and confusing. At least to someone who's managed to stay stupid and naive into her twenties." She says all this very calmly. Only her pause to take a deep breath gives away how much of an effort it is, but when she continues, she becomes more and more calm with every word. "Halina is usually a pretty cool and collected person. She told me something about herself while she was here that had to do with love. I watched it tear her apart. I've never seen anything reduce her to that kind of emotional state. When she told me that, and I saw her reaction to it, I decided I don't have the emotional resources to waste on relationships. I guess I knew that all along, but I didn't want to admit it. So I decided that I simply wouldn't ever let those kinds of feelings take root. There isn't anything Halina doesn't know about me, so she figured out pretty quickly that you were testing my resolve in that area. That was why she prodded at you so much, not because she believed I was in danger. She wanted to know if you were doing it on purpose or not and what your true intentions were. Just in case you're wondering, she didn't find out much, but it was enough. So while you were gone, I decided that I would distance myself." She pauses again and finishes softly, "I underestimated how hard and painful that would be, especially because you were vulnerable and more genuine with me than usual."
Vrillak takes this all in. He listens. "My dear." A beat. "Believe it or not, I'm also a bit unused to relationships. Until recently, I haven't had time for them. My life has not allowed them. They would have made me vulnerable, and that, I could not afford." He adds, "And tailoring is a risky business," with a knowing smile that suggests he knows you think he's been other things too. "Remi is the only person I've been with in many years," he goes on. "When we were first together, she wanted romance. Now, I don't know." He shrugs. "I can't say where that will go, but it was a series of mutual errors that let things disintegrate as they did." A pause. He sighs, "My dear, you are an attractive woman. I don't know how things might have developed. I am pleased at the self-possession you seem to be cultivating." A beat. "I would never wisht to mislead or seduce you. I care too much about you to want to do that, for whatever that may be worth."
Carey nods. "I'd say it's pretty clear what Remi wants. Even I could see that, and I'm not all that bright where those things are concerned." She smiles slightly, although her eyes show how much the admission she just made hurt her now. "Thanks to Halina, I know you never had bad intentions. I didn't put her up to it, but I was glad to know that, even though it made me angry that she chose to go about finding it out in that way. That puts this on me, I guess." She shrugs. "So now you know. I'm learning now what most people learn when they're teenagers. The difference is that it's acceptable when you're a child, and most children have at least one family member or friend whom they can talk to, and it's okay. They finish growing up and it passes." Her tone becomes hard with an inwardly directed bitterness. "But when I was a teenager, I didn't have time or energy to be normal because I was too busy learning and relearning things most people never have to think about. Now it's not acceptable. It's damned humiliating, not to mention isolating, and there's nothing I can do about it except wait it out."
Vrillak considers you. "When you were younger, you had to survive. And you did survive. Admirably, one might say. You're almost Cardassian in your tinacity, my dear." he smiles. "If you didn't have time or opportunity for a social life, well that's hardly your fault, now is it."
Carey smiles fleetingly at the remark about her tinacity. "I know it's not my fault. While most kids my age were learning how to deal with romance, I was in therapy. But knowing it wasn't my fault doesn't make it feel any better."
Vrillak takes that in. Reaching out, he hugs her and doesn't offer any commentary.
Carey returns the hug, her arms tightening to an almost crushing grip for a second, then lets go.
Vrillak lets Carey go and gazes at her. "You're going to be fine, my dear," he says quietly.
Finding herself unable to answer, Aliyah just nods and tries to smile. "Thanks," she says finally.