2237-06-02 - Conversations Skipped

Van finds where Isolde has been hiding out after the quals.

Date: 2237-06-02

Location: Storage, Cutter //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1086

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Even on a ship as small as a cutter, when you want to stay away from someone and you know their schedule, you can do it. Until that person changes their schedule by trading shifts at the last minute. And unless that person knows you really well. There are only so many unused storage spaces, and so Van pushes open the door to this one, scanning the room for Isolde.

Isolde is in this storage room, dressed in her flightsuit and looking like she should, on any second, be going on duty. But she's instead is hiding from it, back to the door, and arms crossed. She is saying something under her breath -- almost a mantra. It is all in Tauran, but it has the kind of tone behind it of someone who is trying to psyche herself up for something. She hasn't noticed the door has opened, to engrossed in her own thoughts.

Van is wearing his greens, so he clearly isn't headed to the flight deck like he should be. He closes the door behind him, then steps forward, although he doesn't approach her directly, instead circling around slightly so that she can see him before he approaches too closely, "Izzy." There's some nerves behind the quiet word, and a great deal of worry.

Isolde jumps when she hears her name, and she turns sharply toward Van. The Tauron woman seems a bit off-centered, but she takes a small step back and breathes out a slow exhale. "Hi." Her fingers work around at her opposite shoulder, looking aside for a heartbeat before she manages to look back at him. "What's up?"

Van reaches out one hand toward her as she jumps, "Sorry." There's something heartbreaking in the way she grasps her arm and looks away, and Van steps forward, trying to put his hand over hers. There's something tentative about the extension of his arm, however, as if she were a wild animal that he was afraid of spooking. "I've missed you."

Isolde doesn't shrink away from his touch, but she definitely looks a little wary herself. She looks up at him, and the confession draws the smallest hint of a smile, but it seems to lack a bit of heart behind it. She's just so tired. "I'm sorry..." She shifts awkwardly, looking down slightly. "I just... didn't want to have the conversation that we're now probably going to have."

Van's lips press together at her response, his other hand coming up to brush her hair back from her face, "The one where you say you're disappointed you didn't qualify and I say that you've been training for less than five months and that there's no way I could have qualified after five months of flight school and you say that you still should have qualified because you hold yourself to the same impossible standard that I hold myself to, and I say that you will qualify... if you want to?" His eyebrows lift slightly after the relative rush of quiet words, "That conversation that we've now had and don't have to have?"

Isolde looks up at the brushing motion of his hand against her cheek a behind her ear. The rush of words causes her brow to deeply furrow, looking more concerned. "Well, I more thought that you were going to tell me how much you believe in me and how good I am, and to ignore everyone." She frowns. "And if you hold yourself to an impossible standard, why can't I?"

That brings a little smile to his lips, "But you already know I believe in you, Izzy. You already know that I think you can do everything. But I don't think you should ignore everyone. Because..." he edits himself lightly, "...because the ones that know you are all in your corner." His hand slides down her arm, looking to clasp both of her hands in his, "You are allowed to hold yourself to an impossible standard. But you aren't allowed to let that stop you from achieving it."

"But that's a load of shit." Isolde looks down slightly, particularly when he clasps both hands. "If I could do everything, I would have gotten my basics. I wouldn't be scrambling to get myself ready for a re-testing, or having Ryan try to casually suggest that I need to change my perspective, and that the numbers don't really matter." The Tauron looks almost angry. "Which is also total shit because all you pilots do is brag about how awesome you are."

That takes Van by surprise, rocking him back on his heels a little, but he doesn't drop his hands away from hers, "You can do it. But like I said, there's no way in hell that I could have beat quals five months into flight school. You're already ahead of where I was then. And that's when I was in flight school, not actually doing the work already." The last point causes him to shuffle his feet a little, "Is that how you see me, Izzy? Just bragging about how awesome I am?" And then he does drop his hands away from hers, sorrow in his voice.

Isolde hates how he immediately makes her feel bad, as if she needs another layer of guilt. She sets her jaw and looks down, arms crossing now that he's released her hands. She casts a glare down toward her feet, stewing in her own frustrations. "Isn't that what happens?" She hesitates a moment. "Isn't that what pilots do? And then when I fail all three quals, I get pity parties and you-can-do-its, which is terribly helpful, because I'm sure that just giving me a few shoulder chucks is how I improve." She stops then, tightening her arms. "I wanted to just get my basics... I would have been okay without the pilot... but gunnery? Electronic Warfare? I got nothing."

"What, you think I'm here to give you a pity party and chuck your shoulder?" Van shakes his head, "No. I'm here to get you to stop stewing in your disappointment and anger. I'm here to offer my help. I didn't make my quals without a lot of help, and I've let you down rather horribly. I should have known these were calling up, and I should have been helping you drill on those skills for the past month. At least. And I don't care what those quals say, Izzy, there isn't a person in this squadron who counts who wouldn't be glad to have you watching over them in a Raptor. You've proven that you can do the job in the real world."

Isolde continues to stare at her feet, her bob of dark hair sweeping across her face. It hides the start of her tears. "I hate how everyone keeps downplaying the quals... but only when it's about my quals. I didn't go to flight school, I didn't go to officer's training... I'm only here be-because Kallas thought he'd give it a try. And then I failed my quals, and everyone is treating it like it's no big deal." She looks up at him now, her anger evident. "Am I a real ECO or am I just some CF pet project that doesn't need to have all the necessary badges as everyone else?"

Van can hear the tears starting in her voice, and as always, it guts him. "Izzy..." He sighs heavily, then starts over, "Yes. Quals are an important test. Alright? You're not supposed to be out of flight school until you've passed them. But they're not as important as real experience." The Picon throws up his hands a little, "For gods' sake, Izzy, Soundbite failed her gunnery quals, and she's an ace. You're a real ECO. You shot a Raider off my tail that could have killed me. You've flown missions and done the job, and no one has ever had a single complaint about how you've done it."

Isolde doesn't say anything else, listening with her anger pointed back at her feet. The silence that follows Van's words of encouragement is long, but if Van waits long enough, he'll hear a small voice behind the fall of hair say, "I just wanted to pass. I wanted to call Dad and tell him I passed."

When she doesn't flare back at him, Van lets a little hope build up in his chest, listening in silence and reaching out for her hands again. When she speaks up so quietly, sympathy -- and perhaps more than a little empathy as well -- paints his features, and he gives her hands a slow little pull, looking to draw her close to him, "Oh sweetheart..." He's quiet for a long moment, and then adds, "You will. I promise. But if he isn't proud of what you're doing, then..." and here Van gets himself into trouble, because he really doesn't know the Master Sergeant, and really doesn't want to insult him either. After trailing off, he manages an awkward, "...then he's not paying attention."

The slow pull isn't resisted, and Isolde ends up buried up against his chest. The awkward attempt to sooth the cracks and sharp edges of her relationship with Masturo Asa doesn't hit its mark, but it does allow Isolde to sink into what must be a pretty good cry -- something she's been holding in since she landed after the quals.

Van leaves it at that. He knows he's not going to fix the father-daughter relationship in one go -- or maybe not ever. Instead, he wraps his arms around Isolde, letting her curl into his chest and just stroking her short hair with one hand. There aren't even any murmurs of encouragement, just the occasional press of his lips to her head as he lets her cry herself out for the time being.

Isolde is an angry crier. She kind of just lets it all out in one big, agonizing whoosh. She doesn't seem ready to lift away from his chest and recheck into reality until she's really covered his shirt in tears and a bit of snot. When she does lift away, she is wiping hastily at her eyes as if he might be surprised to find out she was crying that whole time. Her eyes are puffy and red, and her entire body just screams exhaustion.

Van ducks his head just a little when she draws back from his chest, studying her features with worry clear on his. He does glance down at his tear- and snot-dotted shirt, but he shrugs it off, focusing his attention back on his girlfriend. "Do you want to sit down and talk, Izzy? Or maybe curl up and watch a movie together?"

It is the latter offer that has her almost smiling through her own wariness. She starts to smile -- just a little bit. "A movie?" The question is offered with a shy hopefulness. "Like we used to do?"

That little smile causes Van to smile a little himself, both hands coming up to brush hair back from her face, "Yes." He pauses then a moment, "That is, when we were actually watching movies." Rather than letting them play in the background. "Just something we can relax with. Something funny, sweet, action-y, whatever you want to watch." He might regret the last part of that offer.

Isolde starts to laugh, choked a bit by her own tears. Then she nods, smiling a bit despite the weight on her shoulders. "Maybe, if you're really lucky, you'll get some of the not-watching-the-movie movie watching." Then she drags her the back of her hand across her nose, looking a touch self-conscious. "We have a duty shift, so... after?" She looks a touch wary. "Back in the berthings? Enzo sent me a copy of In the Heartland that I wanted to see."

"I swapped shifts." Van's thumbs brush across her cheeks, "So I'm off for a couple hours." He shrugs a little helplessly, "I figured I might have to do that to track you down." Leaning in, the pilot presses a kiss to Isolde's forehead, "But yes, I'll even watch In the Heartland with you. And if you're really lucky, we'll miss the end of the movie."

Isolde smiles lightly at the small affections he offers, and she closes her eyes as she releases a slow breath, deflating into her own uncertainty. She then nuzzles in closer, just enjoying the moments of physical closeness. "Okay, well... to the berthings, then? Or did you want to try to watch it here?"

Van curls one hand around to the back of her head, the other wrapping around her back to hold her close. He hesitates for a long moment, then notes, "Why don't I run back to the berthings to get your tablet, and I'll meet you back here? That way it's just us, no one sticking their nose in or making a big to-do in the berthings."

Isolde starts to nod a bit too vigorously at his suggestion, still trying to clear her face of snot and tears. She then begins to step back slightly to release him from their embrace. Her eyes flicker up to meet his. "Bring a pillow, too?"

Van doesn't let go quite that easy, giving her another little squeeze, "I'll bring two, because if I don't, you're just going to hog it," he teases, tone light and smile a little fragile himself. Leaning in to land a kiss on the point of her nose, he straightens up again, "I'll be right back. Love you."

"Love you," Isolde returns, and while everything else about her seems hesitant and tired, those words don't. She steps back after the little kiss, and moves to start making the storage room a little more comfortable while Van hurries back for the pillows and tablet. When he returns, he will find she found some old pads for storage purposes, and put them on the ground, and has stripped out of her flightsuit so she's just in her skivvies and tanks. She wasn't going to endure wearing that suit the entire movie.

Van actually takes a few minutes longer than he 'should,' but the reason becomes clear when he returns with the tablet, stand, two pillows, a blanket, and some snacks from the mess. He slips back into the storage room, dogs the hatch down, then stops, blinking at the stripped-down ECO on the pads, chuckling softly, "You've got that high of hopes for the movie, do you?" He starts over toward her, offering out a container of juice first. He's been quick enough, however, that there is still a faint dark splotch on his shirt from her tears.

During his absence, the longer it takes, the more the Tauron feels a bit of nerves settle within her and her mind starts to drift to the weight of her worries. When the hatch opens again, she sits up a little taller. "I'm sorry, but the flight suits are not for lounging." Isolde looks up at the offered juice, and she takes it. She smiles a bit as she shifts over to make room for him. "But you brought a blanket. Good thinking."

"No, your current attire is much better for lounging." Van offers up a grin along with the words, dumping the soft and fluffy portion of his burden down alongside the pads and then crouching to set down food and tablet, "Well yes, but I thought it would be under us, not over you hiding the good stuff." Still, he billows the blanket out, fluffing it over her and then flopping down to a seat alongside her so that he can pull off his boots.

Isolde pinks lightly at his compliment. She helps take the food and tablet, and just as she is starting to turn the tablet on, she is draped in a blanket. She complains slightly under her breath, fighting to get the blanket off her head before she sticks her tongue out at him. She then begins to type in her passcode while he gets comfortable.

Van chuckles and pulls the blanket back as she grumbles. The peek of her tongue causes him to laugh lightly, settling the pillows behind them and then leaning back and gathering up a bag of cut carrots and orange peppers. "I'm really not going to like this movie, am I?" At least he sounds amused, at least as much teasing as serious.

"No, probably not... but I'll watch something you really like and I don't in return." Isolde beams up at him as he settles in against her. The orange foods draw a faint smile on her lips, and she takes an orange pepper first. She munches on it while she fusses to get to her stored data, and finds the movie that Enzo sent her. She taps it to start, leaning into Van as she does.

"Don't worry about it, Izzy. I'll be watching it with you, that'll be good enough." The bag of orange is passed over, and he collects a little bag of trail mix -- pretty much the antithesis of anything Isolde would eat, but still tasty. Van curls one arm around her shoulders, resists saying something more, and then lets out a little breath, "This one's a present from me to you. Well, from your brother to you. Watching it is my present." Turning his head, Van presses a kiss to Isolde's temple and casually adds in, "I thought maybe if we get another day or two in-system, we might make a vid-call home together? I'd like to introduce you to Mother and my Dad."

Isolde settles as he wraps his arm around her, drawing her in close. She closes her eyes at the kiss, smiling as she does. Then she looks up at him at his idea, and she starts to smile a bit more bashfully. "Oh, yeah. Um. Do you think she'll like me?" Mother. She has no idea if dad will, but it appears to be Mother that concerns her the most.

Van squeezes her shoulders lightly, "I'm sure that she will." And then a little reality peeks into his worldview, and he adds, "Sometimes it takes her some time to warm up to people. I think because she's used to looking at things through a politician's eyes. But yes, I think that she will like you quite a lot once she gets to know you."

"Oh." Isolde frowns thoughtfully, but then she nods a bit. "Alright. Well, we will have to give her time to get to know me." Then she settles her head under his chin. "Now, shh. I'm going to start it." And Isolde hits play on the In the Heartland opening menu, it rolling into the opening credits.

"She will have plenty of time to get to know you. And she'll absolutely be polite while she does." Van chuckles softly, and then he adds, "And Dad and everyone else will love you from the start. Just not as much as I do. Because I'm special." And then, finally, he quiets down.

Isolde starts to smile slowly, and she snuggles up against Van, forgetting for now the looming re-test for her quals. She merely enjoys the closeness. "You are special," she says after a quiet moment, and then smiles as she focuses on the movie.


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