Memoir: Dream

Is he dreaming? Tough to tell. The world is hazy. But the air smells sweet. The sun is warm…through the trees? A gentle breeze rolls through the branches, rustling green leaves. Nearby, a slow river bubbles through turns. Moving towards it, there's a rope swing hanging near the edge. And..there she is. Slowly fading in. Coll is standing by the rope, leaning some of her weight onto it while she looks out at the small river only a few feet away. That classic light smile sits on her face. She's in a white sundress and bare feet, looking totally at home. Is it Virgon? Is it even really? It can't be. Coll is dead.

Constin has fingers woven behind his head, and is aware of the rough scrape of bark at the back of his neck, waking as if from an easy nap in the shade of a tree, leaned back against the trunk, with an easy smile curling his lip at the sight revealed to his fuzzy awareness. A good gauge of reality is that Elf isn't dressed in service standards. Jeans and a button-up shirt that actually fits him- rolled up to the elbows. Sitting forward away from the tree and rising with a contented groan to his feet, the big man drawls, "Hey there, girl."

Coll tilts her head to the side, leaning forward a touch to look at the man behind her. "Hey there, El. Was wondering how long you were going to sit there, snorin away." She smiles playfully, swinging around to face him in a short circle, guided by the rope. She grins with the movement. "You look like shit. Get yourself in a little scuffle? Or lemme guess.." Lauren gives him that cross-smile between pseudo-bitch and teasing sarcasm. "Did you try to headbutt a Centurion?" She doesn't try to touch him or move closer, instead just keep her distance of a few feet. Close enough that he can catch the uniquely Lauren smell.

"This?" Constin drawls with a chuckle, framing his face with the motion of one hand. "Nah, I've always been ugly, remember? Had to blindfold you to get the papers signed." Drawing a breath through the nose to take in that smell- even if she's dressed in white cotton and sunlight, he still detects a hint of engine grease. A calloused hand is reached up to lightly grasp the rope from which the swing between them hangs. "Shit, you look good," the big man notes with an easy grin.

"Ugly? All depends on what you're thinkin of ugly. Are we taaalking liiike? Short, fat, bald men ugly? Or just plain Troll-ass ugly? Because I'm pretty sure I disagree." Coll takes the rope in both hands and playfully keeps the rope between the two of them as she looks up. "I seem to remember being the one who was nervous as hell about that whole proposition." They her cheeks redden at his compliment. "Thanks, El. Even with the bruises, still as handsome as the day you detained me." She looks him up and down with a smile. "How's things with you? Doin' alright, hon? I'm worried 'bout ya."

Constin lets out a low chuckle at the 'handsome as the day you first detained me' line. A glance down to the wooden seat of the swing, briefly before tracing back up over the sundress to fix on Lauren's smiling face. "Been better. S'a pretty shit time, no lie." The playful circling is kept up on his end as well, the slow-speed chase round the rope swing.

Lauren keeps up her slow circle as well. No rush. She seems utterly content here..wherever 'here' is. "Yeah," she sighs, watching him. "I imagine its not the greatest week ever. I'm sorry I couldn't stay any longer, though, El. I really wish I could have. It wasn't fair to anyone. Especially me. I wasn't done yet." There's a gentle sigh. "Did anyone find my letter yet? In my locker? Its addressed to you."

"Then I'll find it," Constin returns simply, the words spoken as if there's no other way anything could turn out. "You deserved so much better, girl- Like.. dunno, death by having a coconut falling on your head after ten years on a beach.. Or blowing up a world or something. Pretty much either of those two would've been better." An imaginary breath raises his imaginary shoulders. "Lauren, I miss you something fierce, already."

"Please do, El. I think it will help you." Lauren looks away, tilting her head with it as he talks about her death. "He was convinced that I am a Cylon. He seemed pretty adamant about it, too. Scariest moment of my life. I could have died at Anadyomene - fine. Raiding a Cylon weapons station? Okay. Shot to death by a man screaming that I'm a Cylon?" She shakes her head minutely, violently. It scares her just to think about it. His last, though, get her to look back up. "I can't tell you how much I miss you, too. It already feels like eternity. But its okay, El. It really is. You'll get through this."

"Feels like a helluva long time," Elf mutters back, stopping his circling around the rope, and feeling the coarse cord between his thick fingers. "So much shit we never did and all. Never got that date.. Never got you a round behind the boat's big guns. Never had an anniversary. Hell, I never even told you what I was fighting for. You still wanna hear?" he wonders.

Coll tries to force a smile and looks back up to him while he talks about all of it. But its hard. Even for a dead woman. All the things they wanted to do, even on the short term. "Its not fair." Lauren swallows hard and leans her head against the rope. There's another long, steadying breath from her before she starts talking again. "El, I want you're gonna hear a lot of bad shit about me, okay? People making claims. Just know that no matter what? No matter anything that's said or whatever? I still love you. Nothing will ever or can ever change that. But having said that?" She finally ventures to meet his eyes. "I do want to know."

"Lauren, I swear," Elf returns, "No matter what anybody says, you're my girl. I will jump down to Kobol and punch Zeus in his damn fool head if he says a word against you." A breath drawn through a thick throat, precedes the answer to the open philosophical question she'd posed in a happy moment down under the Sagittarion stars. "Alright, well- up front, it was just to find a good death, simple as that. Then.." A bittersweet grin as he looks back up to Lauren's face- her hair has grown out, like she used to always bitch about being unable to do. "Shit, then I was happy. Your fault entirely, by the way-" he mock grouses. "And what it came down to.. was- I was fighting, because it was still possible for people to be happy. Life could still be worth living, yanno? Was thinking there might even be a future. And then-" He cuts off the words. "Now? Now I'm gonna be fighting because there's nothing left to lose. I lost you, girl-" he holds her eye, with a shake of his head. "And I just.. want to tear a hole in the universe to try and get back to you."

"God, I wish I could kiss you right now," Lauren sighs. The sadness is infinite. It fades, though, as he talks. She listens with a brightening expression that eventually fades bad to something horrible. "Const?" She bites her lower lip. "Don't. Don't do this to yourself." She steps closer to the swing, lifting a hand to touch his. But its like she just can't bring herself to. Or physically can't. Its emotionally painful for her. "You've been happy. You know what it is. If you just give up now, then what do you have? No hope of happiness. I'm not saying you need to move on and find another woman. Far from it. But you can't quit now. Keep your chin up, El. I'm still around in some form or another. Somehow. Somewhere. We'll be together again. But its not time yet." Her chin trembles, cracking her voice. Its hard for her, too. "I don't know when. But we will. Remember that, okay?"

"I can hold out for 'some day'," Elf mutters back, voice briefly a touch higher for the thickness in his throat. His hand on the rope tightens it's grip, digging phantom fibers of hemp into his non-existent palm, in an effort to avoid reaching out to Lauren. "Never give up on you, girl. Like you said, we'll be together again. And no frakking WAY am I standing in front of you as a quitter when we do." A short, tension venting chuckle, the bitterest of bittersweet sounds. "You know- some dumb bitch and her dumb bitch friends were mouthing off about you- and one of the boys tried to talk me out of bashing her teeth in. He said 'would Coll want you to do this?' And I said to him: 'You shitting me? she'd be in the brig ahead of me'." Not the exact exchange of words, but close enough. "I guess you went on ahead of me again, didn't you?"

Lauren watches his hand tighten and she drops her hand to the rope again, holding it lower while she looks up to him. "Live, Constin. Fight. Its why I loved you so much. I fed off your strength. It kept me warm. Its what keeps me warm inside you. It hurts me to see you doubt. I know you better than that, too. Its how I know that no matter what, I'll never have to face you as a quitter. Ever. Pride is a word that gets tossed around a lot." She tries to keep it light, covering her nose and mouth as she looks away wit ha sniffle. "Pretty stupid and empty word most of the time. But Gods, how that applies to how I feel about you, hon. Its just uncanny." Its hard for her to try and look up to him with the last. "Damned right I would have. I'da frakking clocked the bitch a raukus haymaker. But you know me..Always gotta be first. Jumpin out of Raptors, suggesting marriage, falling in love on accident, DYING.. Its just how I am." Its a real struggle for Lauren to keep this together.

Constin's shoulders shake in that same desperate chuckle that allows him to avoid an uneven sob. "Yeah, you're a real trendsetter," he drawls before a big breath, in and out quickly. "Did you hear me, when I said I loved you?" he wonders after another moment. "I know you already told me you knew, and I didn't have to say it, but.. did you hear? Because after getting cheated out of everything else, you damn well deserve to know that."

"Its what I do." Lauren's voice is small and sounds almost far away as she replies to his trendsetting remark. But she's still there in front of him. Its a horribly sad way to say it. She can't look at him anymore, though. She nods her head a few times, the movements jerky while she still holds a hand in front of her face. "Last thing I heard before I.. Well." She heaves a shakey breath. "I heard you say it. I could even feel you lift me up off the ground. Then nothing." She wets her lips. "Thank you, El."

"Good," is Elf's first reply, narrowed eyes fixed on Lauren's downcast face, drinking in every little detail of her, from the light filtering through her ruddy hair, to the awkward flushing of her face under high emotions. "Because I did. And I do. And I will." He swallows once. "For always."

Coll inhales a huge breath and looks up to the treetops, rubbing at her face with the back of her hand while she leans on the swing. "You know?" She gasps once as if fighting a sob. She wipes at her eyes again, a ghost of a smile appearing. "I used to think I was an idiot. That I had made you a promise. Something I swore to. And I was.. I was -committed!- Not gonna frak this up." She tries to laugh. "I didn't even make it twenty-four hours, El. I never got those divorce papers drawn up. I wanted you to love me." She cocks a hip out and looks back to him finally. "I knew you could if I could hold my own broken ass together long enough. Nearly didn't a few times. I just couldn't think about how I felt about you. And just..we were arguing one day in that weapons locker? And I knew. Like some dumbass discovering arithmetic, it suddenly made sense." She throws her hands up, face still stained with the remains of tears. "I'm sorry, El. I'm a conniving bitch. Just.. I couldn't sit here any longer and let you..whatever." Lauren finally sputters.

"Can't remember what we were arguing about, but I remember the locker," Constin drawls with a nod, before half snorting. "Well, careful what you wish for, I guess. You're a conniving bitch, I'm a stubborn asshole, and some day we're gonna be stuck with each other all over again." A slow, big breath drawn. "Shit, there's nothing I wouldn't trade for more time- but I wouldn't trade the time we had for anything- and I don't care if that arithmetic don't line up." A short chuckle, and a near-smile tugs at his lip again.

Lauren shakes her head. "I don't remember, either. But I remember the feeling. You made some comment that shut me up, I turned away and leaned against the wall and realized it. I stammered something stupid out and.. and I suggested we leave because I was dumbfounded and scared." She sighs, looking up at him as her arms cross. "We're a frakking mess, El. Like, there's couples who just sorta work at not being a mess..but we blew things up and thrived under total anarchy. God forbid we ever met in peacetime. We'd end up in jail on felony charges. Probably robbing banks." She cocks a hip out, still trying to hold her smile. "I wouldn't trade anything for it, either. Ever."

The talk of robbing banks earns a more sincere chuckle from the big man. "You're a bad frakking influence is what you are," he accuses with a grin. The sorrow is never far beneath the surface, but his expression at least doesn't need to be forced. "Shit, girl- there's frakked up, then there's FRAKKED up, and then there's us." A breath let out as he shakes his head. "Maybe next time we'll get that island. OR those Virgon trees you kept on about," he 'concedes' with a thinly affected long-suffering sigh. Leaning a measure of his weight on the gripped rope, leaning halfway across the illusory air between the two. "So this one of those things where I wake up if I try to kiss you?"

Coll manages another little smile. "When then I guess we'll have to settle for us." Something he says, though, gets her to smile. It warm and genuine. And its before he leans in to ask. "Halfway there, El." She gestures around with her eyes. "This? This is my parents property. My house is only a few minutes walk away. That tinge of sweet in the air? Its the trees. Their sap." Lauren watches, though, as he leans in. "Something like that. But its time for me, anyway, Elf. I have to leave. You gonna be alright after this? Don't have to worry about you?" She'll do that anyway.

Constin turns an easy look around the Casa de Coll, taking note of the smell of sap as it's described, but finding his eye drawn back to Lauren like iron to the magnet. The easy grin touches his bruised and battered face- a wrinkle developing in his scar-gapped hairline with the expression. "You're gonna worry anyway, Missus Constin," he needles back. "But long as I've got you waiting for me? I'll be just fine."

"You may not see me El, but I'm with you." She nods towards his heart. "Misses Constin," she repeats, the words touching her with a smile and a tear leaves her eye again. "I'm waiting. But I'm patient, El. There will be time for us later. For now, be strong and keep fighting. I'll always love you. When shit is at its worst, just remember that I'm" She reaches out to try and touch his chest, pushing past that barrier from before. Just when it seems like his shirt and skin might feel pressure, though, she fades away. The last image of her is a forced smile, framed by tears. Love in her eyes.

He knows it won't work that way, but at that point where he can almost feel that pressure above his heart, Constin's hand stirs, almost of its own volition to close his fingers around her hand one last time.. But the hand has faded, and Lauren has faded with it, by the time calloused fingers close in on their own palm. The sad smile on his own face lingers after the sight of Lauren is gone. "You and me, girl. Some day."

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