Isolde remembers Van's birthday a day late.
Location: Fifi, Hanger Deck, Cutter //Vanguard//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1104
Isolde left a note on Van's pillow to join meet her in The Raptor -- which means Fifi. She is waiting outside the Raptor, leaning against the opened hatch. She is in her flight suit, though it is unzipped to her navel and the top half is tied with its arms at her hips. She has her arms crossed, looking over the hangar deck while she waits. She seems to be filled with nervous energy, bouncing slightly in her heels.
Van is just back from a shift and a shower, his hair spiked a little wildly for all that he usually combs it down. In his duty greens, he crosses the hanger deck quickly, his eyebrows lifting at the nervous energy pouring off the ECO. He leans in to give her a kiss on the cheek, onlookers bedamned. "What's up, Izzy? You look like you're about to take flight without the aid of a Raptor."
When Isolde spots Van, she straightens up even more, and she beams brightly -- particularly after the kiss to her cheek. There is still some hidden nervousness under her demeanor. When he asks what's up, she finally breathes out a slow exhale. "I forgot... I had it written down and everything, but I forgot. I only realized this morning when I woke up, and was poking around my locker." She opens her arms a bit, surrendering to it. "I forgot your birthday."
Van chuckles softly, shaking the apology off, "It's not a big deal, Izzy. We all have significantly more important things to be thinking about." Which, of course, stills his chuckle a little. He shrugs, one hand rising up to brush his thumb across her cheek, "Thank you for remembering today though."
"No!" Isolde then smiles a bit sheepishly. She steps forward, reaching to grasp his elbow lightly as she smiles up at him. "It really isn't okay. These things are important... even now. Particularly now." She gives him a tug. "Cm'on. I did my best." She gestures him into the Raptor. Once inside, he will see that she has laid out a blanket with a few to-go containers from the mess -- the kind they give when someone has almost no time to eat between shifts.
Van is led easily enough into the Raptor, his smile returning, "It looks lovely, Izzy." Running a hand back over his hair, he blinks a little as it comes back wet, then chuckles, "You caught me just before I went up to the mess." He glances to the ECO station, then disdains the seats to sprawl out on the small patch of floor available, "Thank you."
The ECO smiles almost bashfully at his compliments, and she offers a quick nod. "Well, good timing then. I tried to convince them to give me your favorite foods, but they had me settle for what they already cooked up. So, I hope you like meatloaf, potatoes, and what I think might be green beans, but it is slightly hard to tell." She grins at him then as she lowers herself down beside him. She ruffles up his wet hair once she's settled.
"It's no grilled salmon with dill, but I think it will do admirably." Van's nose wrinkles up a little as she ruffles his hair, and he leans over to nudge her shoulder with his own, "But the company more than makes up for mess hall food." He reaches out to snag the nearest of the containers, but once he has it in his hands, he changes his mind, and leans over to give her a proper kiss, even if it's closed-mouthed and doesn't linger too long with the Raptor's hatch open.
"Definitely not," Isolde laughs good-naturedly as she settles her shoulder against his. When he turns to her for the kiss, she sinks happily into it. Then she nudges her nose against his. "Not feeling up to testing the new CAG yet, huh?" She's teasing him now, which is evident to how she smiles and then grabs her own box. She pops it open and starts to look over her contents, judging how she will separate her food.
Van chuckles softly at her teasing question, popping open the box in his hands and starting to dig through it with a fork, "Mostly I just don't feel like rubbing anyone's nose in the fact that we have a good thing going." He stabs a couple of squeaky beans warily, then shrugs a touch, leaning carefully back against the metal paneling behind him, "Plus, yes... I don't really feel like finding out what the CAG thinks of in-squadron romances after I mistook her for Cherry upon first meeting her."
"You think we'd be rubbing it in people's noses?" Isolde looks over at Van, tilting her head slightly as she starts to divide up her food. She looks thoughtful at that. "There's lots of others who are in good relationships, too." She almost says Cate and Tucker, but that one is still in-process, she's decided. So, she just takes a bite of food. Then she starts to snicker a bit around her food. "To be fair, she does kinda look like Cherry from behind."
Van shrugs, "I don't know, if we were snogging on the flight deck, or spent time loudly having sex in the bunks... I think that could be rubbing it in peoples' faces." He starts into his food, stopping and lifting the back of his hand to his lips as he chews, swallows, and notes, "And yes, there are a lot of others in good relationships, or relationships that could be good." He swallows the rest of his food and chuckles, "And the side, and the front. Until you get close enough to realize that she's a good ten centimeters shorter."
"Oh." Isolde frowns slightly, turning over a bit of her meatloaf to look for something yellow. "I didn't think we'd be snogging on the flight deck. Or having sex loudly in our bunks." Then she starts to shake her head slightly. Then she shrugs a shoulder a bit. "Think Webb got politely shown the door, or was actually just reassigned for the greater good?" Gossip.
"I don't know, I think I would rather enjoy having sex loudly in one of our bunks if it wouldn't disturb everyone around us." His grin spreads beyond 'faint,' "And I rather think that a good long kiss is a great way to celebrate touching down again." The gossip-y question causes Van to frown slightly, "I don't know. I hope he found somewhere that he can just focus on flying, because he's an excellent pilot." Which is the polite way to say 'just not a good leader.'
Isolde blushes faintly at his words, and she offers him a light smile before she goes back to poking around her meatloaf. "I'll keep both those things in mind." She then takes another bite of meatloaf, listening to Van's response to her question. Then she nods slightly, chewing through her bite before she adds, "I think the new CAG will be good. Ryan probably put some thought into her assignment. I should probably go say hi." Then she looks up at him once more. "I'm sorry." She hesitates. "About Picon. We haven't had much time to, well, talk about it."
Van considers something for a long while, then adds in, "You know... I don't think that he'll get an opportunity to be anything but a leader. Not as a Major. Remind me in five or six years not to get promoted from Captain." At her suggestion to herself, the pilot nods, "You should." And then they get to weightier matters, and if he had any further response, it trails off. Grey eyes drop down to his food, which he pushes around in its container. "I... I don't know how much there really is to talk about it, Izzy." His voice is quiet, subdued, "I stuck my head in the sand and just ignored what I didn't want to know about, and now the tide has come in."
Isolde arches up her brows at Van's words. "You don't want to be a CAG some day?" She looks honestly surprised. "I figured that was your goal... you know, in the end." She takes another bite of meatloaf, watching him as she chews. When he drops his eyes, a small frown builds on her lips. She carefully wipes a bit of glaze off her lips, and then sets down her fork in the container. "You were just trying to stay in the moment, Van. We all do it." She frowns slightly. "We'll get it back. Picon, I mean. We won't let it just go to the Cylons."
Van shrugs his shoulders at her first question, pushing around his food before he buys himself time to think by taking a bite, "I don't know. I thought so. Maybe. But I want to be able to shoot down Toasters too." But that's secondary, maybe even tertiary, and he knows it. "I didn't even think..." He shakes his head again, setting down his own food container and fork to look at his hands, "I know we will. We have to. But what will be left when we do?"
Isolde frowns slightly, ignoring her meatloaf for now. "You can probably do both." Except not really. Then she nods slightly at his words, and she gives his shoulder a gentle nudge. "Whatever's left, it will be ours again. I guess that's all we can hope for, right?" Then she takes up her fork again, edging around it to find a bit of veggies to eat, dunking them in the mashed potatoes.
Van rocks slightly at the nudge, letting himself be knocked out of a little bit of his wallowing, "Work towards. Hoping for something is nice, but not productive." The way it comes out, he's clearly quoting someone. "Mother says that all the time." There's a little extra weight on the tense, as if he's declaring for himself that his mother is still alive despite everything that has happened on Picon and the fact that he hasn't heard from his family in a couple of weeks.
Isolde knows better not to venture too much further, should she make him more worried. So she settles her shoulder into his and keeps at her meatloaf. She is thoughtful for a few moments before she glances up to him. "You know... I wonder if I'll even be able to take my quals at this point. With the way things are, I might have more time to practice. Probably won't have time until we're back to Scorpia..." She sounds hopeful, as she's been working hard on target practice in the sims.
"I don't know." Van frowns down at the little picnic slightly, leaning his head against her shoulder a moment, "There might be a quiet moment when we're in the outer system. But it seems dangerous to have birds out just for quals if we might need to jump at any moment." He draws in a breath, then lifts his head to offer her a faint smile, "I think you're likely to be getting the best practice there is soon enough: the real thing."
Isolde thinks on that, finishing up her potatoes while her meatloaf goes only half-eaten. She tilts her head slightly. "Well, something to talk to the new CAG about, I guess." Then she closes up the lid on her container. There is still a third container that sits on the blanket, but she is mostly focused on Van now. "See, I keep telling people that, that is the most practice I've always gotten. I keep thinking the quals messed me up because it was so... so... fake."
Van nods slowly, a thoughtful frown touching his lips for a moment, "Or perhaps wait until it comes up on its own, or there's a period of quiet when you're feeling particularly ready. I don't believe that Mace put a deadline on it, did he?" He picks up his food container again, but doesn't gather another bite, "There might be something to it. We all did a year of flight school before we saw action. You had, what, a month of crash-courses before you did it? So all you know is how to act in combat. I could see how a dry run could throw you off."
"I thought he said 'next week,' which is this week." Isolde offers a grimace. "I mean, I'm fine not talking to the CAG about it, but it seems... I dunno... cowardly." She then tilts her head, watching him with those dark, thoughtful eyes. She nods slightly at his assessment. "Yeah. I mean, I dunno. I could really be fooling myself there, and maybe they are just hard and I wasn't ready yet." She shrugs a shoulder. "Could be it, too."
"I think that a new CAG going into the second-hottest combat zone in the Colonies might have a few bigger fish to fry than a few pilots and ECOs retaking their quals." Van works the heavy class ring on his finger for a moment, and then adds, "I think I would consider it 'not distracting the CAG' rather than 'cowardly.' But they are hard. Most of us fail them at least once. It's just that most of us are still in flight school when we do it, not serving with an active duty squadron." He offers up a dry little smile, "You sort of skipped that step."
"So I've been reminded," Isolde says dryly about her skipping a step. She frowns slightly, looking more or less thoughtful. "You know... you're probably right. I'll wait to see if it comes up." Which probably means Isolde will lose her nerve and bring it up, out of sheer guilt of being somewhat dishonest to a superior officer. We'll call that Daddy Guilt. She then gives his shoulder a nudge. "Do you want to skip the rest of your dinner and go straight for dessert?"
"We keep reminding you because you seem to keep forgetting it." Still, Van says it gently, even teasingly. The nudge to his shoulder draws his brows up and over to the last container, "Isn't that our tradition?" That gets a bit warmer smile from him, and he sets his current container down next to hers, "That sounds good, Izzy. What did you find for dessert?"
Isolde blushes at the other reminder, but her smile is warm and constant. She picks up the other container and pops it open to reveal... an extremely large piece of mess-cooked chocolate cake. It looks like there's been some bonus icing added, and Isolde offers the container for him to hold so she can dig out a candle from her pocket. "Where's that silly matchbook of yours?" She holds up the candle meaningfully.
Van sits forward from the bulkhead as she reveals the cake, laughing lightly, "Nice find." Granted, she probably found it at the end of the mess hall line, but still. It's a war-zone, chocolate cake is always appreciated. He takes the box, and then starts to pat down his pockets at the question. He finds the matchbox, pulling it out and offering it to her, and then freezes a little, "Ahh... so Cate mentioned that you don't much like my smoking..."
Isolde's fingers close around the matchbook just as he spills that secret. She blinks, and then sheepishly looks down at the candle and matchbook. She fiddles with the two objects before she puts the candle in the cake. She doesn't light it right away, looking back up at Van. "No... not... not really." Though damn Cate for telling him! Even if we all know Isolde would have never gotten around to it... "I don't really think you like smoking, either."
Van holds the cake-box steady, shrugging a little, "I don't know. Maybe not. Maybe I just needed something to do during Triton and after. But I do like some of it. The..." he frowns, thinking, then shrugs a little, "I don't know. There's something nice about having something to do with your hands and mouth?" Probably a good sign that he doesn't much like it in the end. Still, he lifts one hand to touch hers, "You could have told me, you know. She thought you already had."
Isolde looks down a bit as she starts to work with the matchbook, but the touch to her hand does draw her eyes up to meet his. She breathes out a slow breath, and nods slightly. "It isn't very healthy for you, and... I mean, I've gotten used to it, but I sometimes," all the time, "don't like the smell." She finally starts to work a match free. "I love you, Van. I'll deal with the cigarettes if you want to keep them."
"Being a Viper pilot isn't very healthy for me either." That's all Van has for protest, considering that the other angle seems to carry more weight. He frowns for a moment, then nods, "And I love you, Isolde. I shouldn't force you to deal with something that you don't like, right?" He blows out a breath, "Besides, there's chocolate cake."
"If you want to quit, I can help out. I bet if you talk to Eli or Mikolas, they have some suggestions." The latter might even take the request seriously! Then she strikes a match and lights the candle sitting prettily in the cake. It takes a moment, but then it steadies into a soft flame. She smiles slightly. "Make a wish." And she looks at Van over the small candlelight.
"Yes, Doctor Cadmus, I think." Van shakes his head in apparent amusement, "From what I've heard of Sergeant Kovac... that might be getting myself in for a most unpleasant time." He draws in a breath as she lights the candle, studying it for a moment as he composes the words in his head. Now, the romantic thing to do would be to say 'but I already have everything I could wish for,' but evidently Van has something more serious in mind, as his brow furrows, and then he leans forward to blow the candle out.
The flame immediately goes out, and doesn't relight. No trick candles today. She smiles as she pinches the candle and sets it aside before she holds up a fork. "You get to take the first bite." So many layers of tradition there. She lets him indulge before she requests the fork so she can do the same. Then she sinks back against him, shoulder to shoulder.
Van waits a moment, as if expecting the candle to relight, then relaxes a little when it doesn't, flashing a faint smile over to Isolde. Taking up the fork, he spears himself off a bite, pops it in his mouth, and considers, nodding to himself a little as he hands the fork back, "Solid. Definitely worthy."
"I'm glad you think so," Isolde laughs as she chews through her own bite. Not much of a sweet-tooth person, she mostly leads the cake to Van while nestled against him. She tilts her head up to him. "You'll have to wait for your birthday present." Her mouth twitches again, and there's something secretive in her eyes.
Van is quite happy to deal with the majority of the cake, passing the fork back now and then when Isolde looks like she's eyeing the sweets. The mysterious words cause his brows to rise, and he chews and swallows, gesturing back to the picnic, "I thought that this was my present." He leans over to press a kiss to her cheek, "You mean there's more to it?"
"You thought all I was gonna do was feed you?" Isolde laughs lightly into the kiss, leaning her cheek against his lips. "I don't have an actual present, but I have some ideas." She then smiles up at him before she collects his cheek and draws him close for a deep kiss. Her eyes are closed as she does, and then she sinks back against him. "We'd have to shut the Raptor doors if you wanted it here." Her nose wrinkles playfully.
"Well, ideas can be valuable in and of themselves too." Van's smile spreads further before it is smothered by her kiss. He draws in a slow breath through his nose, letting his eyes close and his right hand coming up to brush against her cheek. He... might have gotten a little chocolate frosting from his finger onto her cheek. When she settles back, he makes a soft sound of contentment, looking out over the remnants of the picnic and out the open doors, "Hmm... I think maybe we wait until we can go somewhere with more room."
Isolde doesn't seem to notice the smear of frosting across her cheek, too busy smiling happily at Van. Then she shakes her head, laughing again. "Does such a place exist on the Vanguard?" She snorts pleasantly before she starts to hone in one the last bite of the cake. She then glances out across the flight deck.
It takes a moment for Van to spot the chocolate, and when he does, he laughs gently and leans forward. One finger is tucked into his mouth, and then he reaches out to brush the chocolate off her cheek, "I suppose I could have gotten that in a little more entertaining way, but nobody needs to see that." And then he answers her question, "Well, that storage space you found has more room than the back of a Raptor. Or at least it did before we took on the last stores. I suppose it might be filled now."
Isolde blinks when he starts to rub at the frosting, and she finds herself blushing again. She smiles all the same until she looks out the open hatch of the Raptor, almost thoughtfully. "I dunno. Suppose we gotta check that out." Then she looks back to Van.
Van shrugs a little, "I thought it was only fair that I cleaned it off. I'm pretty sure I got it on you." And then he realizes that he could easily be talking about something else entirely, and its his turn to blush a little. "And who is going to clean up this picnic if we go rushing off to see if the storage room is full or not?" He pauses a moment, and then glances over to her and leans forward, starting to gather up the various parts of the picnic rather quickly.
At first, she is laughing at the sight of him hastily grabbing the bits of their picnic. But then, a softer smile touches her expression. She only pauses to admire the Picon for a few moments before she then joins in cleaning up. The used containers are stacked together, and she starts to get up so she can pack up the blanket as he helps. Her nose wrinkles as she stands. "Don't know why you're in such a rush," she teases.
"You don't?" Van chuckles, "Then I'm doing something horribly wrong." The containers are set aside, and he hops back a little to let her gather up the blanket. "Besides, you never know when someone else might have found the place."
The ECO is just laughing as she folds up the blanket and lets him deal with the containers. "I mean, we're just going to go read up on electronic countermeasures. I don't know why you're all bouncy." She tries not to giggle as she starts to step out of the Raptor and onto the deck. She takes a peek around before she looks back up at Van.
"Oh?" Now Van is actually laughing, "So the ideas that you had, they're about Ee-Cee-Em tactics? Or were you expecting me to read one of my old books out loud while you were getting my present ready?" He gathers the containers up and follows after her, giving the exact same look around that makes them look guiltier than they are, and then laughs again and nudges her shoulder to get her going.
"Of course. We have to get me ready for my re-quals." Isolde is laughing as she starts to step along, following his nudge. She falls into line, heading across the deck with the blanket hugged to her chest as they go. "Besides, you are quite good at making everything sound ever-so sexy. Even ECM specs."
"We wouldn't want to set you back in your studying." Van finds a trash can by the door, dumping the containers and food in with packaging from starship parts and used cans of hydraulic fluid. The forks and candle he keeps aside, tucking into his right hand so that he can settle his left at the small of her back. The compliments, however, cause him to blush, "Now that's something that I've never heard applied to me before." And then he's off to lead the way to the storage space.