((Captain's Quarters, USS Veritas - Around 0400 hours))
::She didn’t answer immediately. What did she want? Was she just trying to give him permission to break up with her? Or was she just too afraid of enduring a familiar pain again? Of loneliness and insecurity.::
Rahman: I want… I want you to be happy.
::She sat up a bit, propping her elbow on the bed and placing her chin now on her palm. She looked over at him as he continued to lie there, curious all-black eyes staring back.::
Rahman: I love you, Tristam. And I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re trapped or that you’ve been expected to hold up an obligation to us--to me. Especially when we’re not even married.
::She glanced down a bit, her voice quieter.::
Rahman: I don’t want you to ever become resentful because of what we decide tonight.
::He gave her a curious look, opting now to sit up with her, stealing a pillow to lean on.::
Core: I see it in that we have two options.
Rahman: I’m listening.
Core: We can call it quits here, if that's what you want. It's not what I want. Because I don't feel trapped. But I do have an obligation to us. And I might not completely understand your reasoning, but I respect you too much to make *you* feel like you're stuck with *me*.
::At that, her chuckle erupted into a snicker, almost an embarrassing snort.::
Core: Or, ::He said, smiling and tilting his head (perhaps a bit too far to the right by typical standards):: We stick it out. Being on Rodul was the hardest time in my life - and I say that knowing I have another two hundred years to go. I know we distanced ourselves then, and time zones were unbearable, but I regret us, or really, *me*, not telling you about what was going on. I think I can do better than that. I *know* I can do better than that.
::Roshanara sighed. The time Tristam had been away on Rodul had been hard for both of them, but she couldn’t fault him for needing to take the time to figure out what he wanted. And it had ironically been her own prodding that he finally go back and revisit his homeworld.::
::It was more the feeling of being left out of a decision that affected both of them that had hurt her more. It was what had happened before with Javed, and what she feared would happen now, even if she were bracing for it.::
Rahman: Just… promise me one thing.
::She stuck out her right index finger and traced it along his bare chest in a similar pattern as he had been tracing on her arm earlier.::
Rahman: Just keep me in the loop about how you’re feeling as time goes by. About us. I know you don’t want us to part ways today. And maybe not tomorrow or a few months from now--or ever. But...
::She let her finger run in a spiral until she stopped it right over his heart.::
Rahman: ...anyway, let’s both be better than that.
::He smiled again, black eyes sparkling in the low lighting.::
Core: Of course, ervami.
::By now, the late hour had finally started to bear its brunt on the Kriosian, whose eyelids began to fall lower and lower. She drew closer to him and placed her head back against his now slightly upright chest.::
Rahman: Good. Mmmmmm.
::She closed her eyes, drifting towards slumber but not before whispering one final, barely audible remark.::
Rahman: ...if you ever break up with me over subspace, I’ll hunt you down, stuff you in a torpedo and shoot it into a blackhole…
Core: It'd be a waste of a torpedo.
Rahman: Shhh. Pillows don’t talk.
Lt. Cmdr. Tristam Core
Components Expert, Starfleet Corps of Engineers
Capt. Roshanara Rahman
Commanding Officer, USS Veritas