Eva and Antonie may be broken, but they can figure out a way forward... even if it isn't together.
Location: Galactica Obs Deck
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 981
Eva has not been herself, since returning from Canceron. Her jokes have not been as bright, her smile a bit flat. It's obvious that something more than what ended up in the reports being circulated around command, and the tidbits she's offered in conversation happened. By all accounts, the woman should be happy to have escaped the planet with no more than the raw flesh on her wrists and the bruises still darkening her skin. But she isn't, she hasn't been. And so, she's returned to the obs deck. Not the one on Scorpia, where most of the crew who could, have fled, but the now empty one on Galactica. She's brought nothing with her, save for herself, and a small coin, the tauron bull marking it one of the coins Niemec often uses to keep her hands busy.
Even with an Argentum Bay pass in her figurative pocket, Niemec hasn't left the ship yet. Soon, soon. There's... things to be done. Really, though, it's become a good spot for thinking and she has a lot to think about. The Tauran is in off-duties, but not civvies. BDUs and dual-tanks. She's got a coin in hand, sliding from knuckle to knuckle. It's not a cubit nor one from any of the colonies. It's a challenge coin and one new to her repertoire. She pauses, however, spotting that red hair. There's an initial urge to leave, but she's a pilot. She's a SAR pilot. She flies into life-threatening situations on a regular basis. She can face Eva... right? Slowly, slowly, Antonie moves towards the other woman. "Hey."
Eva lifts her head from the coin, looking, for a wonder, almost relieved, as she catches sight of Niemec. Perhaps, because she had been sitting here half hoping that Niemec would come in, and Eva wouldn't be forced to go and find her. Her expression, carefully kept in check, softens at the sight of the other woman, relief giving way to love, the love she still does feel for her, has felt for her from nearly the day they met. But there's grief there as well, and pain. That realization that perhaps, no matter how much you love someone, you do always end up hurting them, "Antonie. Come and sit?"
For all that Niemec is trying to carefully school her features, pain does break through to the surface. Because seeing Eva means she sees the bruising and other signs of the physical parts of what the woman suffered on Canceron. And here, now, she... The woman takes a slow breath and closes her hand around the challenge coin, moving to join the red-haired pilot on the loveseat. Her movements are careful, like someone might in a china shop. As if afraid everything around her might break. "I thought you might be out shopping," she says suddenly, in a need to break the quiet. "There's going to be a dearth of good gowns for the ball, I'm sure."
Eva remains where she sits, fingers closing around the coin, her lucky coin, as Niemec comes to sit beside her. She makes no move to touch the other woman, as if she too, were aware of how fragile things are between them. As if a single touch would cause both of them to splinter apart. "I thought...I might later. But I needed to do something first. I needed to see you, and I didn't know how to ask." She makes the attempt, picking up a thread of her usual humour. "But you know me, if I miss out on the shops...I'll just go naked."
"Generally, it's best to just... ask." Niemec is unable to carry on the humor, but she's never had quite the same cadence of it. And even so, she's been something of a ghost herself. She's kept to her duties, but she's practically been an automaton about it. The woman does give a small smile at the joke, looking up to Eva. She winds her fingers tightly in her lap. Because to do otherwise would mean reaching out to the other pilot and she doesn't feel she deserves that just now. "You'd just be the talk of the Fleet for two reasons in that case." There's a long pause, as she looks to the viewport and the shipyards dominating the view. At least it isn't Canceron. "What did you need?"
Eva considers, studying her hands for a endless moment, before she finally looks back to the woman sitting next to her, turning so that her body is facing her. Maybe she won't have the right words, but she'll do the best that she can. And she won't look away, because Niemec deserves better than that. The hand holding the coin tightens, until she can feel the curve of it biting into her palm, "I need to ask your forgiveness, Antonie." A pause, as she tries to find the right way...but there isn't one. "I didn't mean to, I...I don't know how it happened." A long moment, "I fell in love." She knows Niemec isn't stupid. She doesn't need to say the name.
Something Taurans are known for, whether rightly or not, is their tempers. They give in to passion easily, but everyone remembers the anger. Not the joy, the love, but the anger. Maybe it's because that's what first flares through Niemec, as she looks back to Eva. An initial flood of jealousy and anger, tinged with frustration. Of course she did. Even before Canceron, Finn had eyes for Eva. They were there together. They went through something no one, especially Antonie, will ever understand. But it's followed rapidly by guilt. Because how can she be angry? Because she's guilty of much the same. Not even able to claim it as love. So many things cross her features before she looks down to the coin she holds. Her fingers unfurl to reveal it. The one Kazimir gave her, after she followed him from the Mess. "Things happen," she says finally, her voice rough. "We can't explain them, not always. Maybe the gods can." She takes in a long, shaking breath, looking back up to Eva. "Are you happy?"
Eva doesn't look away from the tauron woman's anger. Doesn't she, after all, deserve it? There's a moment, when she can see the indecision on Eva's face, as if she were asking herself if she should have chosen not to follow her heart. But no, that would have been an even greater betrayal. "I never stopped loving you, Antonie. I never will." She doesn't hold out a hand, not yet...but at least she unclenches her hand, the coin still in her palm, "But I can't be what you need. I don't think...I can't give you the things that you need, the things that you miss." A moment, to consider the question, to give the honest answer, "I don't know, Antonie. I...we haven't even spoken about how we feel since we came back. I've barely seen him. But I hope that I will be, one day, if he hasn't changed his mind."
Wouldn't it be easy? To say nothing? To walk away and feel... no, it would come to light someday and she can't walk away, allowing Eva to feel this way. To take on the burden of it all. Niemec draws in a slow breath and looks to the coin in her hand. "I love you," she says finally, in a soft voice. "You... reminded me of so much, Eva. After I lost my family, I lost... how to feel. You brought that back and I will never be able to repay that. No one will ever replace you in that." Her voice shakes and she swallows. There is silence, for a time, as she tries to find the words. Instead, she comes out with them: "I've... been able to see it. Between you and Finn. And... Fairchild, he-" It's so hard, but she closes her eyes and pushes through. "Kaz saw that it was hurting me and he's been there and we... we kissed. I should have stopped it, but I..." needed the warmth and the presence. The 'here in the moment' that she herself hasn't been able to muster in months.
Eva closes her eyes, blinking away the blurring of tears, before she looks back, eyes finding your face, "And you taught me that I could love, that...I could, when I thought that was impossible." A sadness, in the smile, a faint trace of one, that curls her lips, "I loved you, I wanted you to...I wanted you to know that you still could, that you hadn't lost your heart. I thought...that it would always be me, but perhaps we were both helping each other heal. Until we were strong enough to face our truths. Eva shakes her head, "Why should you have, Niemec? If he was what you wanted..." And again, that bit of humour, "I hope he kissed you, really kissed you." Before they were anything else, Niemec and Eva were friends, and perhaps that will be their way through, "I got a kiss on the hand."
Some -- most -- of Niemec's resolve crumbles in seeing those tears. She hurts and she will for a long time. She thought she'd lost Eva and in a sense, she did. Just not in the way she'd expected. But it's still Eva and the redhead will always be a weak spot for her. She drop she coin in her lap, lifting her hands to brush back the other woman's hair, thumbs there to sweep away any tears that do fall. "You can love. You have a lot of it to give. Plenty for Smackdown, too, if I recall." There's a sadness -- for the situation and their former CAG both -- in her smile, but the smile is there. "Because it wasn't right to you. Regardless of what I saw between you and Finn... I do care about you greatly Eva and you've been through so much. I... want to fix it, not make it worse."
Eva turns her face, turning into the brush of the other woman's fingertips, looking back as her own hands rise to cup Niemec's face, and Eva draws the other woman's face to hers, her lips trembling, but the kiss is full of the love she feels. It's slow, and sweet, encompassing everything they've been to each other. But it's an ending as well. "You saved me, Antonie." Eva's lips, still close enough that they brush against Niemec's as she speaks, "I did love Diego, but not the way I love you, and not the way I love Finn." There was never anything romantic, in how she felt about the former CAG, "You can love too, Antonie, and I hope you will."
How can it be an ending when the love is still there? And yet it is. The same as Niemec still loves her husband, despite having laid him to rest in an empty grave. Age and war teach you that love is so much more than what books or vids make it out to be. She answers the kiss in kind. There's no holding back from it and no desire to do so. Her hands shift from Eva's hair to go around the other woman and pull her into an embrace. She tries not to show the pain she feels when the redhead speaks of her love for Finn, but it's there nonetheless. Unable to be helped. It surfaces in a brief flinch, but she lets it out in a slow sigh and offers another, briefer kiss. "I will try." And there is genuine promise in her words.
Yes. There will always be love, and so, perhaps this is not really an ending, perhaps only...an evolution. Even when the kiss breaks, and Niemec draws Eva in, the love remains. Eva, feeling Niemec's hands sliding around her, pulls the other woman into an equally tight embrace. A slice, at her own heart, as she feels Niemec's flinch, unable to lie, but knowing how painful the words must be. The second kiss, perhaps not as brief of a kiss as Niemec had intended, before Eva draws away enough to look at the other woman, "I will always be here for you, Niemec. Because before everything, anything else, you were my friend, and I hope that you, one day, will still want to be."
There's a small laugh from Niemec at the words. It's almost wry, but there's a sadness to it as well. She lifts her head, pressing a kiss to Eva's forehead. "I will always be here for you, too. Nothing will stop that, Eva." She tightens the hug for a moment, as if carefully etching it in her memory. "And if Finn hurts you, not even the gods will be able to save him." There may be a hint of laughter in her voice, but there is also enough threat there as well. She means it. The Aerilon boy had better be careful.
Eva holds the embrace as long as Niemec will allow it, as if she might take a few more memories with her. A smile, at the kiss, "I will be sure to tell him. Although...I have a feeling he already knows." Niemec will cut you, and she makes no attempt to hide that, "I'm glad that you went with him, you know." Niemec didn't have to follow Eva's urgings, "He's not so bad...for a Virgon."
Niemec takes her Mother Bear duties seriously sometimes. Or maybe that's just her cover for the whole 'granddaughter of a mafia lieutenant' side. No one in Wolfpack has pissed her off enough yet to see just how far she'll go. But if her targeting skills with Cylons is any indication... There is, however, a laugh for the words on Kazimir. "He lacks the usual ego," she counters, but at least she's smiling. There's a tilt of her head so that she can nuzzle her cheek against Eva's shoulder. "He's sweet."
Eva has never asked Niemec about most of her history, at least as it relates to her Mafia ties. Plausible deniability. That's her story and she's sticking to it. And just, for a little while longer, the two women will remain, comfortably close, "Yes, he seems so. Tough, when he has to be, but also gentle." They'll remain that way, until Eva breaks the quiet, "Want to go and find something might help to bring him out of his shell?" They do have shopping that needs doing.
"Tough can be fun." She can joke, sometimes. And it helps ease the more difficult parts of this. Niemec remains close for a time, but she does finally sit up when Eva makes that offer. "I suppose I should. He... offered to take me to the Ball." Because even the Virgon man had noticed things between Finn and Eva. "and I guess I shouldn't show up in my dress uniform." Tauron dress. The most drab of the dress uniforms.
"Yes, it can be." Eva's lips curl into a smirk, as she studies the other woman, "At least your brand of it." An adamant shake of her head, "Antonie Grey Niemec, I would make you go naked, before I let you go in that old thing. It's even more horrible than the Caprican one." Yes, the one with the motherfrakkin' cape. "There is no way, I am going to let you go to a ball in that." She waves a hand, "Oh, it's alright for, you know, military duties, but a fancy dress gown?" Eva uh-uhs, as she rises to her feet, holding out her hands to help Niemec to hers, "Let's go find you something suitably fantastic."
"Oh, gods, no." The thought of going naked to a formal event? Niemec would rather fly solo, with a single missile, into a swarm of Raiders than to do that. She shudders at the thought, but ultimately accepts Eva's hand. She almost forgets the challenge coin, but catches it before it can fall to the floor. It's danced through her fingers before it disappears to a pocket. "Fine, fine. I won't wear my dress uniform, but I'm sure most of what the shops have to offer has already been picked over." It may be wishful thinking. Most of the women aboard likely already had a dress on hand, truth be told.
"Only one way to find out."