((Temporary Officer's Quarters, USS Gorkon - Grace's quarters - Four days post mission, En route to Earth)) ::The two women sat in silence, on the couch in Grace's quarters, both trying to find something to talk about after the bombshell Grace had dropped. Colleen seemed like she'd gone non-verbal, and so Grace finally spoke up. Freeman: I'm sorry I left you. Bancroft: ::A little bit of the anger returning to her voice:: We were engaged. Freeman: I know, Colleen. And... ::Here, Grace paused, and stood up. She paced to the bedroom, where her bag of personal effects sat, having been transferred over from the *Drake* that morning right before they got underway. She dug into the bag and retrieved what she needed before returning to the couch and flopping down on it once more. This time, she dug both feet under Colleen's legs, almost as if it were a subconscious reaction to being close to Colleen. She moved something around on her left hand, covering it with her right for a few moments, before sighing and holding up her left hand. On it was the engagement ring that Colleen had proposed with, and which had never been returned. Colleen's mouth dropped open slightly once more at the sight.:: Bancroft: You... you didn't get rid of it. Freeman: Nope... keep it with me. Bancroft: But... why? Freeman: ::Exasperated:: Isn't it clear? Bancroft: You either. Freeman: Me either! Of course I never bloody well got over you. ::Her German accent, so well hidden by time, slid in with the last few words, before she reigned it in.:: Wait, you either? Bancroft: Duh. ::They stared at each other for a few moments.:: Freeman: So... what? Bancroft: I don't know. I... we're in Starfleet. We don't know where we're going to be next week, much less in a year. ::When Grace spoke again, it was with just a tinge of hope in her voice.:: Freeman: Yeah, but they work to keep couples together... Bancroft: ::With her voice flat once more.:: And. You're a Ranger. Freeman: Yeah... Except... well. Um. ::She sighed.:: The 451st is being rebuilt. Despite me being the only surviving member, and despite the really bad recent history, *somebody* thought it was a good idea to rebuild the 451st, and then... well. Then *Fleet Captain* Reynolds transferred the 451st here. To the *Gorkon.* ::Colleen was speechless as her brain continued to try to process everything. It seemed like she'd had a hard time processing anything these last four days.:: Freeman: That's a thing. I'm gonna be here for a while. Bancroft: ... Then maybe I should request a transfer off. ::Grace was quiet for a few moments, taking in Colleen's words.:: Freeman: Oh. Bancroft: Yeah. Oh. You screwed me up, Grace, you screwed me up bad. I thought I'd finally started to get over you, but then I saw you in that cave and... everything went sideways. Again. Freeman: I... I know. I'm sorry. Bancroft: Take the damn ring off. Freeman: ::Shocked and hurt:: But... Bancroft: ::Quickly reigning herself back in:: Sorry... sorry. No. You don't have to. Just... it's such a *reminder*, Grace. Of what happened. And of the pain. Freeman: ::Very quietly:: Do you want it back? Bancroft: No. ::Colleen shook her head, almost violently, while Grace covered her left hand with her right, almost as if trying to protect herself. She pulled her legs back, to her chest, no longer touching Colleen.:: Freeman: ... Oh... Bancroft: I never got over you. Okay? And now you're here and I'm just... all turned around. Freeman: That's... understandable. I'm sorry... Bancroft: Quit! Quit apologizing. Freeman: I=E2=80=94 hmph. ::And then the silence descended once more, like a hawk swooping in for the catch. Neither was comfortable with the other, but neither wanted the other to go away now. Emotions that hadn't seen the light of day for almost two years were rearing their ugly heads, and the bonds that each had thought were finally broken were mending, even against their will. When they spoke again, it was quiet but still clear over the rumble of the ship's drives pushing them through the slipstream.:: Freeman: So... what now? Bancroft: I don't know, Grace. I just... don't know. Freeman: Well, I know we're on our way to Earth, and there's a bunch of bars near the Academy... and I haven't gotten good and smashed in a long while... Bancroft: A bar doesn't count as a date. ::Realizing what she said, Colleen clapped a hand over her mouth then swore a few times.:: Freeman: ::Wryly:: Well, now that I know where your mind is at... Bancroft: ::Blushing hard:: I still... I need time! Give me a few days, okay? I'll... I'll contact you. And we'll see about a drink. And... ::Colleen stood up, abruptly, and moved swiftly to the door.:: Bancroft: And we'll talk then. I'll see you later, Grace. ::And with that, she was gone, leaving Grace to watch the doors woosh silently closed behind Colleen's back.:: -- (PNPC) Ensign Grace Freeman Weapons and Intelligence Specialist 451st Rangers Platoon USS Gorkon (Simmed by) And >\/< Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0 --=20 You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "= UFOP: StarBase 118: USS Gorkon" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an e= mail to email@example.com. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/sb118-gorkon. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/= sb118-gorkon/CACeLmUA1YGBnyUu7cNeyafPoc9Lncq1kMqExBj5nafDTUAE%2Bzg%40mail.g= mail.com. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.