PHD #337: It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is
Summary: Confessions are made, an understanding is reached, and matters are no less uncertain for Sawyer and Trask.
Date: 29 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Inscribed in Flesh (the tatau) & Pinholes and Shadows (the prison); Referenced: Penny's Prerogative (July 17), Rainbow and Tinsel (Aug 1), The Widening Gyre (Penelope is KIA), & Lack of Spin (inside the Raptor)
Sawyer Trask 
News Room - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #337
This compartment isn't huge by any means, an afterthought shoved into an alcove when the engineer was finishing the final plans for the ship. The long awkward rectangle is filled with several desks and those heavy pieces of machinery that are tools of the media trade — copiers, computers, printers, and of course a seemingly never-ending supply of paper of both the A4 and broadsheet variety. In the far port corner hangs a mulberry-colored hammock attached to the bulkhead — where the head-reporter-in-charge is purported to spent her nights. Three heavy desks have been moved to form an inverted 'U' for the new Editor in Chief's work station, and behind them lies the hatch to the modest closet-sized darkroom.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Quitting time in the News Room, and the few people who've remained employed here seem to be closing up shop for the day. It's Colonial Day, after all, and some are off to various celebrations in order to hallmark it. "Goodnight, Sawyer." "Goodnight, Miss Averies." Gets imparted as they shift for the door, but Sawyer herself doesn't seem inclined to leave. She gives a little fingerwave without so much as looking up, instead her eyes are riveted to the clock. She knows when Trask gets off his rotation, she has her spies, and now it's just a matter of waiting to see if he's actually going to respond to her rather oblique summons request.

He's been off the flightline but certainly has been keeping busy. Preparations for Operation Silent Mastiff. Classified meetings and planning pertaining to those two ships recently found by two of his people. All the usual paperwork and then some more. Observing the Raptor and ECO nuggets. Private project discussions with the former ChEng. Neither Trask's hands nor mind have been idle. Whatever downtime he's had has been spent on the necessities like sleeping, eating, and tending to various bodily functions. The rest, unsurprisingly, has been whiled away with Quinn and the baby.

Even so, he eventually makes his way to the news room, as requested. "Wassup?" No witty greeting. Also, no cigarette. By the look of him, he's yet to shower. As he draws closer, the smell of him confirms that. At least he has minty fresh breath. Very minty.

There's a bittersweet smile on Sawyer's face when Trask waltzes into the News Room, the conflict of emotions almost a comical battle on her features. So many paths to go down with so many things to say, and there never seems to be the right one. "If you have a minute, I'd like to show you something." The journalist presses her palms into the arms of her chair, pushing herself to her feet before indicating the door that lies behind her desk. The dark room. As she turns towards that very room, she comments off-handedly, "I thought you only ate mints on CAP." Which she undoubtedly knows he hasn't been on.

The blonde doesn't hold the monopoly on conflicting sentiments. Although, in Kal's case, it's a matter of standard fatigue railing against the antsy hypo-mania that comes from nicotine withdrawal, augmented by the compensatory drinking of even more than his usual copious amount of coffee. "Okay." Just like that. No tongue-in-cheek innuendo. Tired yet caffeinatedly keen eyes flick to the indicated darkroom. "I'll even give you a minute to put aside anything undeveloped that you might've forgotten to put aside." And although he's definitely not been on CAP, he's definitely been sucking on mints. In fact, he currently is. "Not always," is all he says, "and not just then."

"Freshening up just for me?" Sawyer'll supply the cheek if he doesn't, though there's a flicker of worry that crosses her features. "It's safe, c'mon." She opens the door and flips the switch that illuminates the red bulb above the door. To others, that means 'do not enter', but she's ushering Trask inside while holding aside the safety drap that keeps unwanted light from spilling in.

He provided /some/ cheek. It's simply just referencing how she once said she'd never trust him around her undeveloped film, as opposed to the more traditional ribbing of getting him alone, somewhere dark, for some hawt make-outs, a steamy frak, and/or a blowjob. Furthermore, the man quips, "I'm always fresh, even when I don't smell so." For being impertinent and being clean needn't go hand-in-hand, even if they both are definitions of the word in question. That said, and with no further ado, he heads into the darkroom, wryly noting, "I'm still not moving that cot." Just in case that's why she's bringing him in there.

Sawyer lets him step in ahead of her so she can close the door behind them. The worker bees have gone home for today, but with the door closed and the red warning light on, that may be enough to deter other interruption. "I took your advice and had some big burly young buck from supply move it." Back in here, it seems. It's still folded up, and now it's tucked back behind a shelving unit. "You're safe." She flashes a smile and moves around in the dark room that's aptly dark save the red glow of the tinted bulbs that are used while developing. "I wanted to show you some things." Things which she promptly turns to go fetch, which don't include her disrobing.

Spotting the cot, he smirks, "Looks like your big, burly, young buck from Supply also is lazy. I hope you didn't tip 'im." Considering the only other time Trask has been back here was to determine the actual existence of said cot, it might not be surprising that his examination of the surroundings is more a matter of situational awareness and academic curiosity than any semblance of poking around Sawyer's business. Idly, he rolls the mint against the back of his teeth and the roof of his mouth, tapping a one-finger syncopation against his left thigh.

The Dark Room is set up like most: there's a work bench with chemical baths set on top and jugs of the stuff stored beneath, a clothesline and clips to hang and dry photographs, a stainless steel sink in the corner and lots of shelving holding various supplies. The journalist picks up a pressboard portfolio, flipping it open with a hand touching whatever image is on top as if ensuring she has the correct one. Before she can think on it too thoroughly, she turns back to him and thrust it in his general direction with, "Here." That decidedly lacks any fanfare. Within are those images she took back at the prison with her pin-hole beer can camera. The ones that survived Trask and his little flashlight escapades, at least. They could be described as eerie, with multiple flares and grainy ghostly images of rotting mattresses on spring frames bolted to the walls.

With an equal lack of fanfare, the portfolio is accepted, and those brown eyes of his peer and squint, perhaps unused to viewing photographs in red light. Scrutiny evolves into some semblance of confusion. "Ohhhhhh-kay." No, he doesn't get it. "What am I supposed to be seeing here?" Were he not suffering from cigarette withdrawal, he surely would've commented that these photos are not of Sawyer's tits. That aside, he evidently believes that he's supposed to be seeing something that he simply is not seeing. People show Bootstrap images for practical reasons, after all.

"You know what? Never mind, it was stupid." It's like she was anticipating that reaction, but maybe hoping for something different. Sawyer's reaching out to snag the portfolio back from him, needing to take a few steps forward to do so. "You shared something with me, I thought I'd do the same."

Part of being a skilled investigative journalist is doing one's homework on one's subject. That being the case, Trask's response to her reaction about his reaction to what he has seen should likely also come as no surprise. Even after the bemusement starts to subside, his brow remains furrowed. Whatever he's thinking, it's not manifesting on his tongue. There isn't even an attempt at keep-away with the portfolio. Being perplexed trumps being impudent. Well and truly, he is not getting this. At all. "Wh… what does /this/ have to do with that?" In his defense, in his mind, that question is totally eloquent and oh so self-explanatory. In actuality? The subtext is likely entirely lost.

Sawyer takes the folder from him and the back of that same hand gets pressed into her forehead in a clear sign of exasperation. The folder hangs from her fingertips obscuring half her face. "We really suck at this, you know?" For something that was so precious to her seconds ago, it gets thrown aside to the workbench. It slides for a pace, but the folder stops before the photographs do and the latter fans out in a slosh of images. "I couldn't figure out why for the life of me you invited me to Quinn's hospital room to see get your tattoo done. I was this outsider, watching this family together and prying in their most sacred memories. It didn't dawn on me until the next morning. So this was me returning the favor. Trying to let you in."

"That doesn't answer my question." And while Sawyer is exasperated, he's irritable. Withdrawal will do that to someone. Factor in that it's occurring to him that this has something to do with feelings — well, he's ordinarily bad with that kind of thing, so there's really no way any of this is going to rest well with him. "What does… that," and here the antsy vibrations of his body grow more pronounced, "have anything to do with it?" The 'that' in question, by the by, if Trask's agitated gesturing is any indication, being the photographs. "What…" His mouth flattens into a tight line while he tries to string words together. "What do photos you took of some shithole abandoned prison on Sagittaron have to do, at all, with sharing anything significant? How the frak is that letting anyone in?" Truly, he doesn't get it. In fact, it's possible that he might even be offended by the comparison. Of course, there's no real way of knowing if he'd react in a similar manner were he not contending with an unfulfilled nicotine addiction.

"I haven't shown anyone those photos because I know they're shitty photos of some shithole abandoned prison on Sagittaron and they don't mean anything to anyone but me." Instead of dealing with the irritated Kal by getting likewise riled, Sawyer reaches out and puts both her hands on his shoulders and exhales, then one lifts to gently cup his cheek. "Maybe you'll get it tomorrow. Maybe you'll get it never. Maybe it doesn't really matter anymore." Her hands slither away and she turns to collect the pages and tuck them back into their folder, "You're right. It was a stupid." The whole lot gets dumped into a trash bin. "Amien tried to teach me the art of the photograph. Funny how I never really truly got it until he was gone. But what's the point of taking pictures, when you don't have any intention of sharing them." Sawyer starts to unclip other work from the line, likewise dropping those into the bin.

There is no flippant remark. No deflection via being intentionally difficult. Nor does he retreat into his impenetrable fortress of facetiousness. A course of conversation that ordinarily would send him running instead leaves him feeling as though he is bashing his head against the bulkhead… or that perhaps that he simply would rather be bashing his head against the bulkhead than be this frustrated. Not only is Kal Trask not within his element, he also currently lacks the wherewithal to employ his usual tactics. "I never said they were shitty photos. Don't put words in my mouth." Abnormally irate, he is. "And maybe if you just frakkin' told me exactly what it is that I'm not getting, maybe I'd get it."

"It's not about the photograph. It doesn't matter the subject or the lighting, or the film or the camera. The photograph is about the photographer. It's about the moment the photographer was in when that picture was taken." Unclip. Toss. "That was the first night you and I actually spent real time together. You made me shadow puppets, and I drank stale beer." Sawyer stops what she's doing and looks down to the garbage can now full with her hobby. Disgusted, she just shoves it under the bench with the toe of her shoe.

"Fine," he exclaims, still annoyed despite making some semblance of progress. "What about the photographer? What about that moment?" Boots is not getting it, but he's making an effort, even if it is a gruff one.

She turns to face him, but not before crossing her arms over her midsection as her stomach does that annoying flip-flop. "That's the night I fell in love with you." There's a sudden weight in the room, and it feels like it's pressing down on Sawyer's shoulders and she's trying very hard not to become small in its presence. Instead, she just starts to ramble. "I didn't realize until later. Much later. Months, really, but you made me laugh and it seems like I hadn't laughed in a very long time. And the photo, I wanted to give you the photo."

There's silence. Confusion. He heard what she said. Parsed and processed the string of words. It still makes zero sense to him. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Null. None. It's as if he's unprepared and unable to reconcile the meaning with the reality of the context. Cue the spinning disk icon while his mental hard drive churns.

Checking system disk for errors…
3% completed… 5% completed… 9% completed… 12% completed…

Eventually, there is no other option than to forcibly reboot his brain.

Blink-blink. "What?" He does finally succeed in sputtering out, "H— … How— …" Elocution, he has it not. "I— I frakkin' made the lamest shadow puppet ever and you… you drank skunky beer. How the— ? How the frak does that— ?" Equate into love. He knows not. Then again, he's rather emotionally stunted.

Sawyer presses her lips together to force back emotion, a thing she's probably used to in her line of work, but it's not as if she's in /this/ particular situation often. This must be what Daniel felt like, and the thought brings stinging tears to her eyes. First, she drops her gaze to her shoes, then she cranes to look away at some distant point on the wall, all in effort to gain some composure that can only be defined as self-preservation. "Yeah, well. If I understood it then maybe I could have prevented it. Saved us both this awkward little song and dance. That's precisely the second time I've ever used that word in this context, so please… be gentle."

"You know where I was in that moment?" It's a little raw, a little cagey, but thrown out there all the same. "You have any idea?" The woman's answer is moot because Trask just plows through. "I was buried in the 19th of August; desperately… clinging to the tatters of August 1st, and ruing the 17th of July…" The confession comes in slightly broken breath, in starts and stops of emotion that he attempts to contain. The glisten to those sad eyes, though, is no effect of the darkroom lighting. The crumpled curve of his mouth no trick of shadows. And while the latter dates may mean nothing to Sawyer, the first she might recall as the day Penelope Paris was K-I-A on Sagittaron. "That's where I was."

Well, that doesn't really qualify as gentle, does it? "I know," is all she has to offer, just those two words that are like a vice grip on her throat that makes the words barely eke out with her breath. She watches his face for a long moment, the little nuances in the odd colored light. "I knew when you asked those questions in the Raptor. I knew when you sought out a distraction in the prison that night. And I know now. Don't I?" Her fingers smooth down at her hips, but alas her skirt has no pockets. "Do you have a match?" Maybe the reporter needs to light up a cigarette after all that.

It's not as though a bull in a china shop intends to be destructive, but it is what it is. The following brief moment of silence is palpable. "Nah," he finally says, then clears his throat, "I'm not carryin'." Including cigarettes. "Although I really frakkin' wish I was," he admits with a rueful, tense hint of laughter. In lieu of lighting up, he alights his gaze on the garbage bin. After a moment, he makes his way over, which brings him in proximity to the blonde. Letting his gaze drop, he then sinks to his knees to retrieve the receptacle full of discarded photos. Wordlessly, and carefully, he starts pulling out the images and stacks them into a neat pile.

Sawyer sinks back against the bench as if the invisible thread that had been holding her up has just been snipped. "You don't have to do that." More importantly, "Don't do that." She can't watch his fingers touch the pages, the images she stole, the moments she captured both in black and white and in color. "Don't." She drops to her haunches beside him, reaching for the stack he's carefully recreating.

"One of these is mine," is the simple rebuttal as Kal sorts through what he removes.

Sawyer just folds her hands together and puts them in front of her mouth, in effect looking much the same she did that day she watched him receive his tatau. A little pained, a little conflicted, a little nauseous about sums it up. She makes no further move to stop him; she just watches until he's through.

Sorting through them all, the ECO comes across one that prompts a small laugh that is dry and sad and fond. "Frakkin' Lasher." A ghost of a smile forms. "He really was the first one to go…" A brief pause, considering. "Well, Prince was the first one to go, really, but he'd scarcely been around before he was gone." A certain amusement surfaces. "I kinda miss that crazy frakker. Lasher, too." The next photo is of Sitka. "Hells, even this prick." Those are set aside with the same care as were the others. "I know you said it's not about the photo or the subject, or whatever, but these are really nice. You shouldn't trash 'em." Then, finding the one that was meant for him, he sets it aside and then gathers the rest, putting those others on the table top for Sawyer to do with as she wishes.

Sawyer gives a little hint of a smirk, "I wasn't going to trash them." She pushes back to her feet with an extension of her long legs. "I was going to burn the frakkers." Hence, perhaps, her request for a match. At least the moment seems to have passed, as she doesn't protest the portfolio of her work being put back on the top of the bench. "Thank you. For being gentle, I mean." Well, gentle for him anyways. "Look, I have an appointment." This late at night? Not likely, but it's an excuse as any for her to get the frak out. Abort. Jump ship. "You can let yourself out, right?" Purely rhetorical, she's already on her way towards the door.

"Well, you shouldn't burn 'em either," he wryly remarks, "but what the frak do I know, right?" There's no bite to his words, though. Mission accomplished, he collects his photo and rises to his feet, leaning over just enough to brush the palm of his free hand across his knees. As for letting himself out, he faintly nods and smirks, "Yeah. I can even do it without the door hitting me on the ass." Beat. "Sometimes, anyway," is more quietly added.

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