PHD #408: What Else Do You Need?
PHD #408: What Else Do You Need?
Summary: Vandenberg runs into Khloe at the Memorial Hall. Evan joins in, and create a hug sandwich, both terrorizing and boosting Khloe at the same time.
Date: 10 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Khloe sick logs, past Vandy/Khloe relationship logs
Vandenberg Khloe Evandreus 
Deck 9 - Memorial Wall - Recreation - Battlestar Cerberus
A long stretch of cold, impersonal steel forms a pathway to and from several general meeting places common to crew and civilians alike. Yet, there is change, at last - a bit of warmth and respect that has preliminarily tugged against the walls surrounding the chapel. Border - black coupled with red cloth - drapes over several feet in either direction, long wooden boards painted ebon hitting hip high and secured to the wall tightly. Posting board is above it, and between the soft, flowing borders, jars of tacks available there. Wings have been meticulously built from gathered feathers from the Gods know where, marking each corner - a tribute, then, to Hermes, the only God who can safely draw loved ones into the Underworld, who can bring the messages of remembrance and love from those who still walk with the living. Pictures now hang from the boards, more showing up every day.
Post-Holocaust Day: #408

It's been over a week since Khloe was deathly sick from the plague running around Cerberus, and a few days since she was released on her own recognizance, but on light duty. No one has really seen her since 'the incident', as she's been keeping her head down and avoiding all parties involved. Not one to embarrass easily, Khloe must have taken a blow to her pride that finally cracked through those titanium walls of hers. And of all places, she's found here, slowly strolling the memorial hall, looking at pictures - and of all things, tending to the various candles that are lit in memorandum. She is dressed in her green fatigues, including the long-sleeved shirt, which is worn open and sleeves folded up to her elbows.

Evandreus arrives from Midship Stairs.
Evandreus has arrived.

Vandenberg has been too slammed to notice anything out of the ordinary. The Marine, since the Gemenon recon debrief, has been running all over the ship. Though in the last twenty-four hours its become odd to see unarmed Marines patrolling. None of them look conversational. But finding herself down here, Vandenberg strips off the helmet and tucks it under her arm. The rifle is slung around her shoulder and she takes a long breath to look around at the photos and memorials. She's heading, slowly, towards the Marine dedicate but stops at seeing Khloe. Natalie nods her head once, keeping her expression subdued and hidden behind her own mask. "Cap'n. Glad to see you're up and feeling better. Had me worried." Even her voice is quiet. This area just holds a big power over some people.

Evan has been free for a decent while, but busy, by all accounts, since his peculiar bout of the flu vanished after its last little twinge at his stomach and left him more or less as able-bodied as ever. And since flying a Raptor involves considerably more math than upper body strength, he's jumped back into the line andstarted giving some of the folk who've been pulling double shifts for the sickies ome well-deserved time off. Now that schedules have normalized, again, Evan's just on his way to the chapel, a tiny faux-leather bound prayer book hidden in his palm cupped against his leg, glancing to a conspiciuously empty spot on the wall of memories with a faint darkening of his brow before his expression lightens in spotting Popsicles and Vandypants ahead, slowing his pace so as not to approach them too swiftly and interrupt.

Without looking up, as she's busy re-lighting a few candles at the particular section of wall that she's at, Khloe responds quietly, "I've been… avoiding people," she says simply. Naturally, she's still embarrassed from her experience. "I don't get sick, and I certainly don't like imposing on people. So let's just forget it happened, and not mention it, ever again." Swept under the proverbial rug, so to speak. She's taking great care in lighting these candles - almost reverently. And she's certainly not a reverent person.

Vandenberg nods a few times as she stops by the Viper Captain. "Its fine, sir. I just wanted to say I'm glad you came to me - even if that wasn't your intent and it was all an accident. Having said that, Captain?" The Marine nods a few times. "Understood. I'll try to keep from bringing it up again." Her eyes turn down. Maybe she was hoping to talk about it? "Didn't expect to find you here, sir. Seems like a heavy expression for someone like you." Its not worded as a jab and is plainly not meant that way.

Evandreus slows to a creep, boot-toe trailing over decking as if it were moving through wet sand and coming to a halt with his knee half-crooked, head tipping to the side as he watches the pair there by the wall. "Hey, guys," he finally speaks up, the usual enthusiasm in his voice dampened by the sobriety of the spot. "That's awfully thoughtful of you, Pops," he goes on to add, voice warm in his quiet approval.

Khloe finally spares a glance, this time for Evan - if there's one thing she's learned about Bunny in the past year, is that he's extremely non-judgmental. He'd never judge her, no matter what. "Thanks, Bunny," she murmurs, almost weakly. The usual fire in the Knights SL's voice is gone, at least for now. She doesn't smile. Finishing lighting the last candle, she straightens up, putting her hands at the small of her back and stretching. Pop goes some vertebrae in her back. Then, exhaling and relaxing, she spares a glance at Vandenberg. "I've felt kind of small. And I don't have the energy to pick myself back up. I… don't want to talk about it," she lies about that last part, obviously. Shaking her head and crossing the hallway, she produces another candle from a box of candles, and lights it on the stub of a candle that's been burning for quite some time.

"Ey, Sex." Natalie gives the man a wink and slides her arm around his waist. It might look a little odd for a Marine kitted out for combat to be slinking against Evan. She's comfortable with him, though. Her eyes lift back to Khloe while she speaks then looks back to the candles. "I could always spout off about how hard my life has been. Talk about my rich parents. Complain about the lack of salad forks aboard. That make you feel better, sir?" There's a short smile with the effort.

Evandreus is taken just a mite off-guard at the use of his first name, something that colors his cheeks just faintly, but which bit of discomfort he plows through with his usual bright smile, slinging and arm around Vandy's shoulders and snugging her in close to give a smooch to the top of her head. "Vandypants," he greets the shortstuff snugged up to him, then begins to stroll again, easily herding her along with him as he follows Khloe. "Oh, hon. It's just a sick. It knocked a lot of people onto their asses. You shouldn't take it personally or anything," he tells her, voice encouraging and uplifting in its tone. He can only assume the Sick is what she's talking about.

"You weren't there, Bunny. I only remember bits, but what I've been told… and the looks I'm getting…" Khloe replaces the candle stub with the fresh one, and turns to face the both of them. "Last time I was that sick, that… out of control… was a very long time ago." She shrugs lightly, a sort of powerless gesture from someone who normally carries herself very tall. Eyes flit from Evan to Vandy and back to Evan. "You two? Okay, that's something I didn't know." She shrugs again. "Whatever." And she steps past the two of them, apparently intending to leave.

Vandenberg gives a winning smile to the wall as they pass by and she gets that smooch to the head. Even all blasted up she can still get luvin. Gods bless Evan. But the remarks from Khloe get a blinks and a surprise. "Oh, wait wait. No. No, we're not together." Van is not for frakking, Khloe. She chuckles and lifts a hand towards the Captain to stop her as she slips out from under Evan's arm. She doesn't touch Vakos or try to stop her any other way, though. "Cap? I see someone give you a funny look, I'll ruin their world. Remember that picture I gave ya?" Natalie can't help but smile a bit. "I know I still think of you that way, sir. People like you keep me in check. It ain't about always being perfect. Its about striving to be the best you can - something I think you've told me before?"

Vandy's on top of denying that their relationship is of -that- manner, and so Evan just reinforces the fact by spreading out his other wing, looking to gather Khloe in against his other side with a warmly murmured, "C'mere," and a tipping of his head toward Vandy's in a 'get over here' sort of gesture. But then Vandy's slipping out from under his other arm, and his dreams of making an Evan sammich here in the corridor are crushed forever. Crushed! But he takes it well. "Honey, you were sick, that's all. Nobody can give you shit for that. And yah, anyone does? You tell me," he tips his chin up, indicating a manly assertion of some sort, only to undercut it with a sly smile, "And I'll tell Vandy. And she'll kick ass."

Khloe immediately goes rigid, her heels rooted to the ground. It's not like anyone's offered to hug her in recent time that's not on the Allowed List of Hugees [tm], which is a very short list, indeed. But she doesn't flail or backpedal, either. She's very much as if she was just caught in the crossfire and there's nothing she can do but turn sideways and hope it just flies past her. Eyes grow very dark and her jaw sets, likely all she can do to not allow herself to get emotional. She simply does not know how to process the kindness that Natalie and Evan are showing her, so 'deer in headlights' is all she can manage and muster right now.

Vand smirks to Evan. "Damned right. Its one thing to yell, its another to redefine pain for them." There's a wink to top it off. Her eyes turn back to Khloe but she doesn't reach out to touch the woman. "You're the same hard-workin, ass-kickin, stone cold bitch of a Canceran I wish I could be, Khloe." Its said quietly, barely loud enough for Evandreus to hear. "The only person who can take that away from you? Is you. You drew me a sketch after I'd been all shot up, hon. Yeah, remember? I look at it dang near every night. Think about who I am. Who I want to be. Who I should be. Who I need to be. You may not think much on it, but you're my rock, sir. That's why I come to you when I've got something hard on my mind. Because you ain't afraid to stand up to me." Like most are. "Love ya for it. Even if you don't feel the same, that's okay. You got it from me regardless."

Evandreus does hesitate to wrap Khloe up, seeing how she's poised as if thinking that the hug might trigger a self-destruct event, but, in the end, as she doesn't shy away, he steps to, and as Vandy's giving her the verbal encouragement, he lends his warm, comfortable arms to its physical counterpart, not pulling at her or moving her but just looping his arms loosely about, letting her easily break free if she needs to, but folding her up in his arms the meanwhile, one arm slung lower around her torso toward her waist, the other up around her shoulders. It's his go-to manner of showing support.

Terrified Khloe is terrified. She doesn't even seem to register Evan's embrace - and who would bet that Khloe would let Bunny hug her; there's a first time for everything - because Vandenberg's words pretty much disarm her completely. "I… don't know what to say, Lieut… er… Vand… er…" Swallow. "Natalie. Thank you. I suppose?"

Vandenberg keeps her easy smile, the words still as quiet as ever. "Ya don't have to thank me or say anything, sir. Just wanted you to know that. It ain't about givin things back like words. Its about bein there for your friends when they need ya. If a hugs what ya need, so be it." And Vandenberg shuts her trap, then. Khloe always told her she talked too much. She knows it and gives the Captain a knowing smile. Its not quite hero worship but Van has her own sort of love for Khloe that she doesn't really need to hide. Maybe its just kinship for a home. Natalie steps up to give Khloe a short sandwich hug with Evan but steps back quickly to allow the Captain to flee. "You talk to us if ya need to, darlin."

Evandreus slides his fingertips around behind Vandy's waist as she comes up to hug up on Khloe's other side, completing the circuit with his somewhat longer reach. It's like a little pod of lub here in the memorial corridor. Someone take a picture. When Vandy steps back, though, he lets go, knowing how bad a thing it is to keep a woman trapped who doesn't want to be. And he steps back, himself, though he leaves a ahand on Khloe's shoulder, a tether which she can shrug off, if she will, or otherwise use to pull back into the snugging, if she's not had her fill of it yet. "You know where we live, eh?"

Khloe finally breathes after a very, very long minute. Okay, the sharing's done. She can breathe. She doesn't shy away from Evan's continued touch, but the taller posture returns, which might be construed as a distancing. She's just regaining some of her confidence, in truth. "Thank you both. Now I think I'm going to go walk and clear my head." Evan gets a slow nod of thanks, and Vandenberg… there's something in the Captain's gaze that speaks volumes, even when she doesn't show it in the rest of her demeanor. And then Khloe takes her first few re-energized steps and heads down the hall, wiping the remnants of wax on her fatigues' thighs.

Van is left standing there with her cradled helmet and the rifle over her shoulder. She meets the look from Khloe with the same easy smile. "Captain Vakos," she greets as if once again running into the woman in the hall for the first time. Not a little bit of pride there for her friend. When she moves off the Marine looks back to Evan. "Sorry if you had to hear some of that. Please don't pass it around. Don't want her to be bothered by it." Apparently Van has no problem with people knowing she cares about someone.

Evandreus slides his hand down Khloe's back, parting from her respectfully before it drops lower than it should, a brief encouraging pat there toward the bottom of her ribs and a warm smile ready for her as he ends the last of the contact. "Hey, hon, anytime you need," he tells her, "An' yah, I'll catch you later, eh?" he goes on, Leontinian accent riding more thickly over his words than normal, as tends to happen when he's been affectionate. He watches Khloe go for a long moment before he turns his eyes back toward Vandy, a brief flicker of some manner of hurt lingering behind his eyebeams before he gives her that bright smile again. "Hey, it's cool. It's nice you're caring for her, eh?"

Vandenberg notes the brief flash of hurt but doesn't speak to it right away. "She's one of a few left, Evan. She's also been through a lot. I'm not about to let her down on herself for any reason." It would seem Van isn't going to expand on what she knows. "If she has a single fault its that she joined the Navy and not the Marines. Sister by home, sister by war. I'd sooner disgrace myself than let her fall." Oorah. "You upset because I love her, Ev?" She's not back into full-on Marine mode, but it might appear that way. This is just Van with most of her walls down.

Evandreus slips his arm back around Vandy's waist, falling back into an easy side-by-side stroll, if she'll come along with him. "Nah," he answers, then, pausing. "Well, I mean, it did sting just a little bit," he'll own that much, looking aside to Vandy almost shyly, "After all of that." And by 'all of that' he likely means their conversation about feelings between them or lack thereof. "But none of us can help where the Lady takes us, can we?" he reasons with an easy-eyed peacefulness in his voice. "I'm not upset," he reiterates, the rest of it having been explained. "How can I be upset with something so beautiful between people?"

Van doesn't moves her arms around him but she isn't shying away either. The Marine just turns her eyes up at him. "I'm sorry it stung, but not for what I told her. But I don't think I'd use the word 'beautiful', either. It isn't complicated or complex. Its nothing more than what it is. She fights with me. That's how we get along." We? ..Cancerans? Marines? Women, in general? "Emotions run deep for each other where I'm from. We bury a lot of it, though. If I could find enough of it left in me for you, it wouldn't even be the same kind of love, darlin. I meant what I said. A big part of me died on Aerilon, hon. It ain't comin back. But people like you are helpin me realize I might not have lost as much as I thought."

"It doesn't need to be complicated to be beautiful. It's nice to see," Evan encourages Vandy gently along, bumping her hip with his own in a playful gesture trying to incite her to hug up on him. Hugs are needful. "And it doesn't have to be anything more than what it is. You're there for her, and she's there for you. What else do you need?" he concludes with a smile.

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