PHD #067: Stairwell Camp Out
Stairwell Camp Out
Summary: A night's spent in the stairwell; the overnight has Allie pouring her heart out, this time joined in doing so by the XO.
Date: 05 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Nightmare
Alessandra Tillman 
Dual Stairwell
A niche somewhere in the stairwell.
Post-Holocaust Day: #67

Sleep. It doesn't come so easy in a stairwell. Especially in a stairwell on Battlestar. Nevermind it being the location of your nightmares. A small cubby off to the side of the stairwell has an access panel and is just out of the way of it all. Just enough room for two crewmembers to get into out of the way of everyone else. Though during Third Shift, its not like there's an abundance of traffic. Tillman has set himself to sit up against the back wall right beside her. Its impossible not to make contact and be shoved against each other in the tight quarters, though its not horribly uncomfortable. The XO never got to sleep, though. He brought a stack of paperwork that's left to a pile in front of him, resting on his lap. He's almost started to doze..

Sleep isn't coming easily for Allie on several fronts, the location the duo has chosen to camp out in the least of the problems for her tonight. She is currently locked in one of those nightmares, the severity of which has increased since she last poured her heart out to the XO, putting them a lot closer to being night terrors. This one is particularly severe with the realism behind the visions and sounds hard to ignore, impossible to control despite several successes at it the other night. "…no…" she murmurs at first only to suddenly start flailing, her arms and legs violently thrashed about, her hands curled tightly into fists. "No!" Bolting from where she has been leaning against the bulkhead, she looks frantically around, eyes wide, face pale and sweat-soaked, not seeing anything despite having returned to consciousness.

The man stirs at the first murmur from her, the man blinking himself back awake. Its just in time for her to start thrashing around. He watches her for a few moments, taking the hits before he see's her start hitting the walls. That's enough for him. Strong wraps wrap around her, taking her by the wrists. Its the grasp of a man who's had to do something like this before. "Allie," he whispers. Twice. Three times. Its not forceful. Nearly whispered despite her yell. "Allie. Relax. Its Clive. Know where you are?"

Alessandra's eyes focus more each time Clive's voice reaches her, her sight finally returning to her. "Hey…Tilly?" Her eyes drop to her wrists and then dart back up, seeking his gaze with hers as she gathers her wits about her. "Yeah, yeah. We're in the stairwell, right?" She can only calm so much, her heart slow to stop racing and her breathing just as unable to return to normal. "Did I hurt you?" She pulls her arms back a bit, trying to puzzle out just what happened and why Clive has a hold of her like he does.

The XO finally lets go of her wrists but doesn't quite move off her yet. "Yeah. We're where it happened. Its just you and I, though. Nothin' here to hurt ya." Tillman meets her eyes with something stronger. But his voice is still calm and quiet. "No. You didn't hurt me. Even if you had?" He shrugs. "I got nervous that you might hurt yourself, though." He finally lifts his arms as she does, settling them back in his lap. "What happened? Did you take it as far as it could go?" He doesn't bother to hide the concern in his voice.

Alessandra peers out from their nook with a slight frown, her expression a bit lost. "I doubt I could have hurt myself," she says then although there's no believability to her words, her statement too lacking in conviction. "I tried to control it like I did last night but I couldn't. It felt different this time." It stands to reason that the dream's different here than it is in the berths, the location undoubtedly causing her difficulties in altering the visions she sees when she sleeps. "Sorry if I woke you up," she whispers, then, meekly.

Tillman smiles a bit, still looking her over as she settles back. "From the way you were thrashing, Allie?" The man shakes his head. "More intense this time? Because you're here? But.. No. Don't worry about me. I get sleep on and off. Just started to doze." He picks up the papers in his lap and slides them under his legs. "Still feels like they're callin to you? Tryin to pull you back?" Its obvious where his focus is. The man wasn't planning to sleep tonight.

"Hmmm? Oh, yeah. Hell of a lot more intense. Has to be because of the stairs." Leaning back again, the back of Alessandra's head makes a dull thud when it connects with the metal wall, it either not hard enough to get her to flinch or is somehow ignored. "Maybe it's time for us to realize this isn't working…" she starts to say before pivoting her head to the side, allowing herself to look at the Major even as she takes to leaning against him. "I wish they'd shut up. They're starting to get very annoying." And harder to ignore although Alessandra won't admit to the latter.

Tillman just puts his arm around her as she leans into him. Not the gesture of a man trying to do anything but comfort. He leans his head to hers briefly and looks out absently into the corridor. "Well I'm not going to give up on you, Allie." He smiles a bit. The man is quiet for a moment before he speaks up again, this time his voice is much lower as he looks to his lap. "Look. After the bombs fell? I used to dream about my wife and daughters." The words come slowly. "I used to dream about this day we had together on the beach on Aquaria a year or so back. I actually put a picture from it up on the Memorial Wall." A ghost of a smile is gone as quick as it appeared. "It was such a great memory, all I could think about was how much I missed them and wanted to have that over again. For the first few days after the bombs, I.. I just wanted to be with them again. I'd stare at the pictures in my bunk all night and I didn't sleep. Thought I would go insane." Heh. He's quiet for a moment. "Thought about how that if I ended things on my end, that maybe -if- the Sister was right about religion? Maybe I could see them again and it would be okay. I wouldn't be tired anymore. I wouldn't have to stare at pictures all night and wonder about what happened to them." He swallows, the memory obviously tough for him. "I hit a serious rock at the bottom before I finally pulled it together. The sound of their voices in my sleep? Rips the heart apart. Eventually I had to make that choice between my sanity and my memory of it."

Alessandra presses her lips together as Tillman talks, having to fight a lot of emotion when he talks about his family. "You know, I never shed so much as a tear over the loss of my parents," she eventually manages to get out, the words choked off, causing her to have to clear her voice in the middle of that. "I never could feel anything but numb, for the most part. Numb to any emotion but anger." Reaching up, she rubs the back of her right hand along her face, perhaps now able to shed the tears she held back for so long. "I love them so much and now they're gone." Her hand is pulled away, left to fall heavily into her lap; there's no sign of tears having slipped out of her control, most likely caught in time before they could. "I haven't gone to the memorial wall, yet." As painful as this subject is to discuss it's a welcome change from the talk of her nightmares, it being one she dives into head-first.

"I have yet to cry over my family. I don't know why. I bet a shrink would call it living in denial. It might be true." Tillman's face turns up in a smile but there's no light or happiness there. "But I took that picture and put it up there. The one at the beach? I couldn't keep it anymore. All those sleepless nights." A stiff shake of his head. "They'll never have a funeral. I doubt any of us will ever get real closure. I, ah.. I was going to be a grandfather in two months." The man's eyes lack any hint that he's actually looking at anything. "Crazy-ass daughter made the same mistake her parents did. But.." He takes a long breath and looks back to her. The tears are in his eyes but they just aren't going to come. "You've gotta bury them. Get some closure, Allie. These people that died here? Its not going to get better. And you can't run from it. Either you can learn to accept it or it will eat you. I still think about my family all the time, but their faces and voices don't make me carry the same..desires anymore. I know where I am and its for the best. You've just gotta learn that its okay. What happened was awful but its not the end."

Alessandra's never been good with this kind of thing, emotions being almost as alien to her as the Cylon are, but she can't help but to be moved some when she notice the tears in Tillman's eyes, that being the thing that breaks the dam, causing her own to finally start to fall. This is where she finds herself truly at a loss, uncertain how to deal with this even more so than she is uncertain how to deal with the visions, her confusion readily seen as it plays over her features. "I…need help," she stammers before looking away. "I don't know how to do this." Taking a deep, shaky breath, she eventually whispers to him, "If you'd be as so kind, sir, could you meet me at the wall later on?" She hates asking that, especially in light of how much Tillman has done for her already, but she considers the XO one of the few friends she has on the Cerberus and one of the few she trusts.

"I know you do. You aren't alone in it, though, Allie. I don't really know how to do it, either." Tillman's arm gives her a gentle squeeze. He watches those tears from her for a moment before he looks off towards the empty corridor. With her request, he just dips his head and nods gently. "Yeah. I can do that. Bring your memories of it all, though, okay? Pictures. Jot some notes down. Nightmares, memories of family, whatever comes to mind. Bring it all. We can sort through it." He finally looks to her again, the smile on his face there more for show than anything else. He's trying to be reassuring. Its one thing to lead a Battlestar. Its another to struggle through something like this with one other person. "Just try and get some sleep one last time? I'll keep ya here like this for another hour or two. I won't abandon you… Think you can do that?"

"I'll go through my box of photos before I go on CAP later and pick some out and will write some things down later. Will get a message to you when I'm ready, Clive. Thank you very much." Taking a slow inhale, she looks around before nodding, that being at his request. "I think I can sleep now." Hopefully Tillman wasn't wanting that arm back as she moves so she's semi-facing him, pinning the limb he has around her between her torso and the wall. "Thank you…" she manages to get out even as she drifts off, finally able to ignore the voices and visions, perhaps too exhausted to be kept awake by the nightmares now.

Tillman just nods to her. "Take your time. You can't rush this." The man doesn't seem to need his arm back, either, just taking a long breath as he lets her drift off to sleep. "Gods keep you, Allie." In a few minutes he'll be right behind her.

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