((Earth, LlamaSong Farms))
Moonsong: Most of these horses are ours, but we stable a few for neighbors. ::She glanced at Rune.:: Did you want to ride or just walk around?
:: Rune looked around and drew in a deep breath. While she couldn’t really smell the air, it felt cool and refreshing. After the last couple weeks, it was exactly what she needed. ::
Jolara: They are beautiful creatures. Peaceful… ::smiling:: They don’t mind us riding them?
Moonsong: Not at all. It is what they were trained for. And these are used to telepathic touch. Their minds simple but full of warmth and affection.
Jolara: ::smiling:: In that case, perhaps a ride while we talk.
Moonsong: Of course. You can tell me about the sadness you are feeling but trying to hide.
:: Rune let out a chortle and shook her head. She had tried so hard to keep her real feelings locked away. ::
Jolara: Only if you tell me about yours.
::Raissa led the way to the stables and asked the stablehands to saddle a couple of the horses. She usually road Chet, an old cream colored Arabian. For Rune, the gentle Mist was saddled. Raissa showed her how easy it was to mount them and how they were guided. It was obvious her friend picked up quickly how to ride these animals.::
Moonsong: I will show you the trail I ride the most. It is very peaceful.
:: It took Rune a little while to feel comfortable upon the horse. They rode in silence for as long as Rune could stand it. ::
Jolara: Everyone is worried about you. ::beat:: What is bothering you?
Moonsong: ::blinks at the break in silence.:: Bothering me?
Jolara: ::soft smile:: As I said before, I am here as a friend not a counselor.
::Raissa was silent for a moment. She knew her family was worried about her. She was having a hard to pulling out of that. Though in a way, she didn’t care and that bothered her a little.::
Moonsong: Did you know that I can count the number of my friends on the fingers of one hand and still have fingers left over?
:: Rune knew very well how that felt. It was difficult for her to get close to others and let them get close to her. When she did, well those rarely turned out well. And here she was… trying. ::
Jolara: It is more than that though, is it not?
Moonsong: ::Quietly:: The truth… I am empty. I have given all I could to others. I have nothing left. I have a future of more of the same… Because I cannot imagine there being anything else for something like me? ::she looked at Rune.:: Is that what you wished to hear?
Jolara: I did ask for the truth. ::She paused for a moment. Her brow creased.:: Something like you? What do you mean by that?
Moonsong: I am not naturally a telepath. I was born a touch empath. That has changed. I dare not touch without being prepared with my mental shielding firm. My DNA has been changed. I am… not as I was.
Jolara: ::tilting her head:: Is that what you really think?
::Raissa didn’t answer for a moment. She stared out over the horse’s head, his gait steady beneath him. Was that what she really thought? She recalled Saveron mapping her DNA after the Community had left her. The power she had shared with them was still with her and barely controlled and unfiltered. It had been a struggle to regain control and sanity and still do her job.::
Moonsong: Yes… I think of myself as a freak. Humans are not naturally T6.
:: It broke her heart to know her friend thought of herself that way. In a way she could understand. After all, Al-Leyans were not telepathic by nature either and here she was… whatever she was. But this wasn’t about Rune and she’d be damned if she even tried to make it that way. ::
Jolara: ::softly:: I know.
Moonsong: ::Her hands tightly gripped the reins.:: I had to change nearly everything I was to survive it… to learn to live with it. ::a bitter laugh:: And barely anyone noticed. They just saw the Counselor. My friends tried to understand. Saveron came the closest. He compared it to the breaking of a Vulcan Bond. Nobody realized what the Community meant to me. The love, the closeness… Then it was gone. I touched Carter, a non telepath and it put him in sickbay. He could not understand what I had become. I would always have to hold back. That was why I ended our relationship. I did not have a choice.
Jolara: Why do you feel you have no choice?
::Rune had opened the floodgates and everything was spilling out. Raissa had made a habit of keeping her personal feelings inside. Now she was talking and couldn’t shut up. The horses had stopped walking and Raissa slid out of the saddle. Chet pressed his head against her and she clung to the warmth of the animal.::
Moonsong: I cannot touch anyone without making sure I will not hurt them. I have learned how to harm thanks to the Nygellians. The high priestess that possessed me turned what I was into a weapon and I could not do anything about it. I was once able to touch and be touched. It was recommended that if I should pursue a relationship it should only be with other telepaths. Except for the fact that other telepaths can tell immediately that I am damaged goods.
:: Rune was finally starting to understand what was really behind Raissa’s downward spiral. She drew in a breath and slid off Mist’s back. She said nothing as she moved to stand near her friend. ::
Moonsong: Except of course when it comes to my job. Being the Counselor. Somehow people seemed to think I am highly skilled at it to the point where I am now getting requests for consultations from other ships. ::Tears had filled her eyes and were flowing down her cheeks.:: Being counselor is what I do, not who I am. Yet that is all they see and I cannot seem to change it. I listen. I guide. I help them to navigate their lives and they thank me and move on. I give and there is nothing left of me. ::a deep shaky breath:: Do you wish to know the saddest part of it all? I cannot imagine doing anything else. It is a calling I cannot ignore or deny.
::Finally she stopped. She felt drained of the emotional storm she had let loose. She waited for the inevitable response. Suck it up. Get over it. Stop being selfish.::
:: Rune carefully considered her words. She reached up and wiped the tears with her thumb but didn’t let her touch linger, not out of fear of being hurt but simply because she didn’t want to make Raissa feel uncomfortable. ::
Jolara: You have every right to feel the way you do. Except perhaps the freak part. ::smiling warmly:: Then again, who am I to judge? ::turning serious:: You have bottled all this up for too long and… you have denied yourself some of the most basic needs we all have out of fear of hurting others.
::Raissa didn’t realize how much she had cried until Rune touched her face. In that brief touch she felt how much her friend cared about her.::
Moonsong: ::sniffles:: I am… I am not sure what you mean...
Jolara: For one, letting someone truly care for you. For another, physical contact… a simple touch or hug without fear or reserve.
Moonsong: I have to be careful… always…
Jolara: Perhaps you have been selfless long enough.
Moonsong: ::shakes her head.:: I am not selfless… I am selfish… Wanting what I cannot have…
:: Rune took a breath and shook her head. ::
Jolara: That is not being selfish. Letting people in, letting them care about you is not being selfish.
Moonsong: I do want that. I want to touch. I want to be touched. I want…. ::turns away.:: I want to matter.
:: Rune’s brow furrowed and her head tilted. ::
Jolara: You do matter. Why would you think you do not?
Moonsong: Well the truth is that I have little use on a ship during missions… I believe that is why I have been re-assigned to Starfleet Medical.
Jolara: That is not true. I know for a fact you have been a valuable asset to the crew during every single mission we have shared.
Moonsong: ::shrugged slightly:: I will be useful to SFM I suppose...
Jolara: ::shaking her head emphatically:: There are a number of reasons to re-assign you to Starfleet Medical. It certainly is not a punishment or because they think you have little use. If nothing else it is a reprieve. A break from all the madness out there.
:: Though Raissa hadn’t said it, Rune felt it. Her throat tightened. She realized she had been feeling much the same way or.. Maybe she was projecting. It was hard to tell when her own emotions were starting to sneak up on her and mingle with what she was feeling from Raissa. ::
Jolara: But that is not really it… being assigned to Starfleet Medical. It is being taken from Invicta, from the only friends you feel you have… being truly alone.
::Raissa looked away. There was too much painful truth in what Rune had said. The friends she had before she had joined Starfleet had moved on with their lives. She had little in common with them now. Even her ex-fiance has married someone else and had a child. The people that had become important to her were ‘out there’ scattered like snowflakes in a storm. Her second family scattered to the winds. She looked at Rune.::
Moonsong: You… you feel the same…
Jolara: ::nodding:: Yes. Very much so.
Moonsong: Perhaps… we have both lost… and grieve….
Jolara: ::quietly:: We have and we do. oOMore than you know.Oo ::pause:: But we can not give up on living. I tried that once and I was wrong.
::Raissa scrubbed at her face. The drying tears making her skin itch and feel tight.
Moonsong: I am trying… not to.
Jolara: Besides. If you give up who will be Krystyan’s… I believe humans call it… godmother?
::Raissa stared at her startled. She knew it wasn’t an Al-Leyan custom. But Rune’s using that Human custom reached Raissa’s heart.::
Moonsong: Me? Are you… sure?
Jolara: ::smiling:: Yes. I am.
Moonsong: ::She looks away for a moment and after a pause meets Rune’s eyes.:: I would be… honored…
Jolara: It is I who should be honored. Thank you.
Lt. Commander Raissa Moonsong
Lt. Cmdr. Rune Jolara
Intelligence Officer - On Leave
Writer ID: A238909RJ0