2237-06-27 - Homecoming Gifts

Lyn gets back to the Vanguard and brings Aldrich a gift. They learn a bit more about each other.

Date: 2237-06-27

Location: Chapel and Mess Hall -- Vanguard

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1167

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Aldrich had promised to pray for Lyn, and pray he did. In fact, there is a candle still lit at the statue of Ares. Aldrich himself is almost back to regular duty, but at the moment, he is alone in the chapel. He's actually seated on the floor behind the altar, facing the viewport and apparently meditating.

Lyn got back on the Vanguard just a little bit ago. After handing over Trevor, the sole remaining resistance fighter in the Arborfield area to the care of Sickbay, and getting debriefed, she took the longest, hottest shower of her life to get the mud, mold, and spiders off of her. Being in a set of dry sweats feels like heaven at the moment. Her hair is still damp and slightly curly from the shower as she steps into the chapel on slippered feet. She has a small package in her hand, wrapped in what looks like paper towels from the galley, tied with brown string, typically used to tie up chickens for roasting. Hey, she had to improvise!

Spotting Aldrich meditating, she moves over to sit beside him quietly, not disturbing him, content to wait til he's done. She sits crosslegged, setting the package in front of her, and settles her hands on her knees.

Aldrich might not seem to notice her at first, but a moment or two after she sits down, he opens one eye, glancing over toward her, and then gives a slow smile as his attention turns outward and toward her. "You're back." He pauses a moment to assess her for any signs of damage. "And there are no pieces missing," he teases, gently.

There are a few bandages, but they don't look serious at all. One on her left arm, one peeking out under the strap of her tank top on her chest, and another marring the line of the tank over her stomach. "Not for lack of trying," she quips back. "We all came back healthy and whole, except for the resistance fighter we saved. He had a pretty bad leg wound. Sickbay is helping fix that up before they ship him off to CF brass to give what intel he has."

Her smile broadens as she picks up the package and hands it to him. "I brought you a present from the wild suburbs of what used to be Arborfield." Inside are a pair of slightly water damaged paperback novels of the western style he was reading in the lounge.

Aldrich take the package with a surprised look, glancing up at her curiously. "Oh? You didn't need to do that..." He opens it, and then gives a bit of a chuckle. "Oh, look at that! I don't think I've read either of these." He pulls one out to flip through it, more to see how damaged they are than to look at the contents. "That was very thoughtful of you."

"Well, it was sort of a rescue, really," Lyn explains, with a twinkle in her eyes. "I was in a megamart. Of all things, that had clearly been looted years ago, looking for things to make a stretcher for Trevor, that would be the resistance fighter. And the only sad, lonely things left on the shelves were what no one seemed to value when the initial looting happened. Clearly, your taste in books is terrible, because that was all that was still there. So I had to rescue the poor things and find them a good home. Sadly, we left the box of kittens found in a cabin, back on Picon." She smiles brightly at him, clearly glad to see his face again.

Aldrich gives a startled laugh, and a light tap on her arm with the book. "My taste in books is /not/ terrible," he claims. "Merely old fashioned by the standards of some colonies. That's all." He grins, and starts to climb to his feet so that he can tuck the books away in a cabinet that is probably intended more for religious paraphernalia. "I'm glad the gods looked out for you. I prayed for you every day," he offers, as he goes from the cabinet to the Ares statue to put out Lyn's candle.

"I know you did," Lyn admits. "Because I was running to save those resistance fighters, and I ran through the full autofire of a Centurion with an LMG on a tripod, like Tavo and Praety use, and I only got a scratch. Pretty sure that was due to your prayers, and not my talent for serpentine running." She pushes herself up off the floor and moves to settle on a pew near the viewport, looking out at the stars with a relaxed smile. "Mission was a strong success, and the rescue of that poor guy was a bonus."

Aldrich shoots a look back toward Lyn as she tells that story. Does he look a few shades paler? Maybe it's just a trick of the light. "You /what/? Lyn..." He sighs, slightly exasperated. "I'm glad you are safe, but perhaps next time you should try to be a bit more...cautious? Give the gods some help in their efforts to protect you."

"If I'd gotten to him a few seconds later, he'd likely have bled out," Lyn says quietly. "As it was, we couldn't save the other two. They were the last of their group, and they'd been fighting that guerilla war on the ground for the last year. They were way deeper than we had gone, so hopefully he has good intel for the CF." She looks over at him and leans her arms on the back of the pew, resting her chin on them. "Al, it's my job. I save people. I put myself in danger to try to save lives. I was search and rescue on Aquaria." She smirks a little. "Besides, it's not like you don't rush in to save people too. How's your head feeling? You look a lot better than when I left."

Aldrich looks pretty skeptical about all that. "There's calculated risks, and then there's putting yourself in situations where only the gods can get you out in one piece," he points out, but then he gives a sigh. "But perhaps you are right. Perhaps the gods were whispering in your ear. Perhaps they wanted you to get him out for a purpose." He returns to her side and settles back onto the pew. "I'm feeling a lot better, too. The nausea has gone, and I can read without squinting." He gives a crooked smile. "I was afraid the blurry vision wasn't ever going to pass."

"You'd look charming in glasses if that were the case," Lyn says with a small smile. "And I think they were too. They work in mysterious ways, and sometimes, you just have to trust that your gut is telling you the right thing to do." She gives him a pointed look at that, but then smiles again. "I'm glad you're feeling better though. You scared me half to death seeing you in that bed in sickbay. "

Aldrich shakes his head, "I don't know if I would bother with glasses unless it got very bad. Maybe just for reading." He reaches over to give her arm a bit of a squeeze. "Well, I'm glad, too. And here's hoping next time I'll see it coming and duck in time," he offers. "Why don't we both promise to be careful, in the future?"

"I think I can live with that. I promise to be more careful in the future, because I have someone who worries about me," Lyn says with a grin, covering his hand with hers. "Did you get a chance to talk to Doc Anders?" she asks curiously.

Aldrich smiles, but then glances to the side a bit guiltily when she mentions Anders. "I... No, I'm sorry, I haven't yet. Things have been a bit... Well, morale has been low, and that always means more work for both psych /and/ the chaplains."

"I can see that. You are going to talk to him though, right?" Lyn asks, looking a little worried that maybe he's changed his mind.

Aldrich nods a little. "I will," he promises, quietly. "It's just that I do sometimes have a lot on my plate, that's all." He smiles, and gives her a pat on the arm. "Have I... talked to you about my family?" he wonders. It seems like a non sequitur, but presumably he's going somewhere with that.

"Just that you don't get along because of your differing views on the gods," Lyn says quietly, propping her chin in her hand because this sounds like storytime and she is clearly interested in learning more about him.

Aldrich nods a little, and looks back toward the viewport. "It's not terribly important. I just thought you ought to know that traditionally, I would have had an arranged marriage. If it had worked out." He glances back to Lyn, kind of awkwardly. "It's not exactly relevant or anything, it's just, I thought you should know. If it seems that I'm...strange, or anything."

"You did mention that," Lyn says quietly. "Who do you think your family would have paired you up with, if it came to that?" she asks, tilting her head to watch him with interest.

Aldrich shakes his head a little, and smiles slightly. "I don't know," he replies. "I... think they would have paired me up with anyone who would have taken me," he admits, with a self-deprecating sort of chuckle. "But that wasn't the life the gods had in mind for me, so it hardly matters."

"So basically, you have zero experience with dating and romance and all that jazz?" Lyn asks. She chuckles. "Not to worry. I only have experience that revolves around a military base. People paired up out of boredom a lot of the time. Romance wasn't exactly a thing until Jonas showed up." She shrugs. "So don't think I have any high expectations. I'd rather you just be you, be genuine. I'll try to do the same?"

Aldrich looks a little pained at that. "I have /some/ experience. I'm not a total naif." So he says, but there are people who have dated him who would probably beg to differ. He clears his throat a little, "Anyway. Now you know. How long have you been back for? Have you had a chance to eat anything?"

"I haven't eaten yet, and I'm dying for real food. Five days of cold MREs does not a happy Marilyn make," Lyn notes. "I got back about 90 minutes ago. An hour of that was debriefing, the rest was standing under the shower until I no longer felt like there might be spiders in my hair." She chuckles.

Aldrich grins a little, in a way that has nothing to do with food. "Your real name is Marilyn? I didn't know..." But then he's climbing to his feet, and offers her a hand up. "Come on, let's get you something to eat. I think I can afford to leave the chapel for a bit."

"It is. I was named after my grandmother, so I just went by Lyn as a kid. When she passed, I never really went back to the full name." she explains. She plucks out her dogtags to show him where it says Sergeant Marilyn Arda. "See?" She takes the hand up and walks with him.

Aldrich leans over to look at the dogtags, even though it's not like he doesn't believe her. "It's a beautiful name," he offers, as he ushers her to the back of the chapel and the exit. "Were you close to your grandmother?"

"When I was really little, yes. She came and stayed with us at AST for a couple years after mom had my little brother, Jackson, to help out. Mom was still doing her studies on the volcano and dad was commander of the station, so she needed a hand with two small children. Gran was my mother's mother. She taught Jackson and I to speak Tauron." Lyn steps into the hallway and waits for him to join her before she continues walking. "What about you? Grandparents you knew well?"

Aldrich steps quickly to join Lyn, leaving the chapel open to anyone who might want to pray while it's empty. "Me? Not really. Both of my father's parents died before I was born. My mother's family didn't live nearby, but I might not have known them well even if they had. They would have been busy helping their sons' wives."

"Helping their sons' wives?" Lyn asks curiously. "Is that a Gemenese thing?" she asks with real interest. She'd lived all her life on Aquaria and with the exception of Granny Marilyn telling her some stuff about Tauron, she was too isolated to know much about the other cultures.

Aldrich lifts a shoulder. "Sort of. Some people have grown slightly more progressive, and sometimes families have to decide what to do in the case of a same-sex pairing. But... in my family, that is how it is done. As a grandparent, it is expected that you will be responsible for your sons' children, not your daughters'."

"So if you have kids, your grandparents would help to raise them?" Lyn asks. She seems fascinated by all of this. "It's not something required or expected on Aquaria, or Tauron really. My grams was just an awesome woman who loved us very much and wanted to help." She smiles at the memory. "She passed shortly after I enlisted in the Aquarian militia, at the ripe old age of 72."

Aldrich's smile fades a little, and he looks back to the path at his feet. "They would have," he confirms, simply, and grows quiet to listen to her talk about her own family's culture. "She sounds like a wonderful woman. You are very lucky to have had her."

"I take it they agree with your parents about the religious stuff?" Lyn asks, setting a hand on his arm gently. "I can't pretend to understand what that feels like, Al, but in my eyes, you're a wonderful man, with so much compassion, kindness, and understanding for others, for the perspectives of others. It makes me sad that they can't appreciate that. But I do, I really do."

Aldrich lifts a shoulder and glances back to Lyn. "Well, my father's parents have passed on," he clarifies, gently. "But my parents... If I had children, I wouldn't want them to know. They might try to gain custody." He goes quiet at her words, deeply affected, but then he clears his throat and gives a little smile. "That's very kind. Thank you."

"If you had kids, and your parents tried to take custody, I'd go visit them to have a little chat about why that would be a bad, bad idea," Lyn says with a grimace and the unspoken promise of scaring the Hades right out of the Kavanaghs. The visit would likely be accompanied by her rifle, and her ice axe. "It's kind of funny. A few years ago, I thought I'd have rugrats by now. Life doesn't always give a crap about our plans."

Aldrich doesn't look comforted by that notion, and actually stops in his tracks, right there in the corridor. "Lyn..." he reaches for her hand to get her full attention. "You should know that I still love my parents very much. I worry about them, and I pray for them every day."

"Of course you do, because you're a good man. But taking someone's child because of a difference of opinion on religion is not ok, Al." Lyn stops a moment after he does and turns to look at him. "I have no right to be angry at them for how they've treated you. How they might treat you in the future. But I am. It's just not right."

Aldrich shakes his head slightly, still concerned. "It probably doesn't matter. You are allowed to feel however you feel, but..." He trails off, searching for words, and then he shakes his head and sighs. "Well, I guess it doesn't matter. It's not at though you will ever meet them." He still looks troubled though, as he starts to walk again.

"Talk to me, Al. I want to understand," Lyn says quietly, resuming to walk beside him and looking equally troubled at what feels like an abusive family relationship, because she just doesn't have all the data.

Aldrich shakes his head a little. "It's a Gemenese thing," he echoes her early words, quietly. "I'm not sure it's possible for an outsider to understand."

"Try me? I'd like to learn," Lyn murmurs, "but I can't if you shut me out. You've been everyone else's ear, Al. I'd like to be yours."

Aldrich glances aside toward her then back to the path under his feet. "This is not something that can be fixed by talking," he points out, gently. He walks in silence for several paces, gathering his thoughts, and then he launches into a quiet explanation. "You have to understand, my parents... They believe, to the very bottom of their hearts, that they will have to spend eternity watching me burn in the fires of Hades. That they failed in their job as my parents. They have only tried their best to be good parents to a very difficult son. They deserve pity, not anger."

Lyn listens, and tries to comprehend what life would be like with parents who believed as his do. "What do they believe is wrong with you? How far different are their beliefs from your own?" she asks, trying to measure the gulf between parents and child.

Aldrich thinks about it for a long time, and then finally replies, slowly, "They believe that the Gemenese way of life and worship is ordained by the lords, and anyone who lives in any other way, or even on any other /colony/, will be consigned to Hades. They are skeptical that it's even /possible/ for someone who isn't Gemenese to avoid such a fate, and that even the Gemenese missionaries are walking a very dangerous tightrope by leaving Gemenon, even if their motives are admirable." He walks a few paces, and smiles tightly. "I do not believe any of this. Obviously."

"And this is what their parents taught them, and their parents before them, and so on, back through the ages?" she asks softly. She stops and leans against the wall, not wanting to bring such a deep convo into the mess hall just yet. "What woke you up to the possibility that things might not, in fact, be that way?"

Aldrich nods silently, to her question. He almost doesn't notice when she stops walking, he's so lost in his own thoughts, but then he glances up and stops walking, turning back to face her. "I met people from off-world," he replies, with a one-shouldered shrug. "One of them was my best friend. But I can't honestly say that's what made me think differently. My parents are professors at Kobol College. They've known many people from off world, and they've never been unkind, to my knowledge."

Lyn ponders all of this with a furrow in her brow. "So, maybe the people you met were sent by the gods to let you know there was a different plan for you? Was there no way they might be able to understand that? Or is Gemenese tradition so strict that there is no room for the gods to decide something needs to change?"

Aldrich can't help but give a laugh at that. "One does not get to simply decide that the rules do not apply to them. Otherwise, they would be called suggestions." That smacks of a quote, probably from one of his parents, but then he sighs with a bit of weariness. "Like I said, this is not something that can be fixed."

"I'm so sorry, Al. That really sucks. I mean really. I wish I knew a way to fix it, or to make it better for you. What can I do?" Lyn asks, sincerely, clearly pained that he has to carry this hurt of his.

Aldrich gives a humorless laugh, and touches Lyn's arm. "That's very sweet of you, but there's nothing you can do. It's sad, but... sometimes you just have to live with things the way they are. And it's been a very long time since I left Gemenon, so I've had plenty of time to learn how to live with it."

"But it's obviously still weighing on you," Lyn says softly. She covers his hand on her arm with her own, in simple supportive contact. "And sure, you have to live with things, but how you choose to live with them is up to you. You have a right to be happy. You have a right to feel joy. You're doing the gods' work, and helping so many people, and you shouldn't have that good attached to some feeling of guilt or shame."

Aldrich sighs a little, and rubs at the bridge of his nose. "I /am/ capable of joy, Lyn," he replies, perhaps a little more sharply than intended. "This is why I don't tell people. You people..." And by that he probably means anyone who isn't Gemenese, "If I say a word about it, you always think I must spend my days wallowing in self-pity."

Lyn swallows hard and she lets go of his hand. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way," she says quietly. "I just wanted to get to know you better, is all." She looks apologetic and embarrassed. "I'm not too good at this, am I?"

Aldrich rubs the back of his neck, withdrawing half a step or so. "It's okay," he replies. "It's not you. I guess... that's a normal reaction." He smiles, awkwardly. "I'm sorry if I seem defensive."

"It's all right, Al. It's not like I'm without my own issues," Lyn says quietly. "Why don't you go get something to eat. I should go make sure my report is finished, I'll catch up with you later?" she offers, clearly wanting to give him a little space.

Aldrich takes a further step back and looks a little alarmed at that. "Um. No?" He gestures her toward the mess hall. "/You/ need to eat. If you want, I'll leave you alone so you can eat in peace..."

"No, Al, really, it just seemed like maybe you needed a little time alone, without me prodding you about your life," Lyn says, leaning back against the wall with her hands behind her. "I stepped in it, I realize that."

Aldrich blinks a few times, looking a little lost. "Most people aren't actually interested," he points out, quietly. "Or they assume they already know, and won't listen if I try to correct them. I... appreciate that you want to listen." A pause, and then he adds, "I'm sorry I snapped at you."

"It's all right. If that's you snapping, I'm really not too intimidated by your bite," Lyn quips. Because she knows snapping, and that's about the gentlest snap she's ever had. "Come on, let's get some food. We're both less cranky on a full stomach." She links her arm with his casually, tugging a little towards the mess.

Aldrich smiles a little, and glances to the side. "I have my moments," he claims, but allows himself to be arm-linked and tugged toward the mess, even if he still seems a little self-conscious.

"Don't worry, if anyone asks, you're helping me deal with my trip down to Picon. They don't have to think there's anything remotely romantic happening," Lyn quips. Because face it, the two of them are about as romantic as a colonoscopy so far.

Aldrich raises an eyebrow slightly, and leans slightly toward Lyn, as though to impart a secret. "I don't walk arm-in-arm with just anyone, you know. I think people might catch on." And he keeps walking without pulling away.

Lyn chuckles. "Me either. Usually if someone tries to take my arm, they get punched. Have I mentioned I haven't been in a relationship for over two years?" she quips.

Aldrich smiles a little. "I do think I remember something to that effect..." Something about her words seem to worry him, but he doesn't give voice to the concern, whatever it is. Instead he reaches for a tray and starts them down the food line. "Now, what would you like to eat?"

"Anything that is hot, and not pasta. I had a cold spaghetti MRE and I think that alone might need its own therapy session with Doc Anders. It was horrific." Lyn gives a shudder as she grabs her own tray and looks over the offerings. After the long-range recon, it all looks like 5-star cuisine. "Even the meatloaf looks delicious at this point."

Aldrich pulls a disgusted face at the very thought. "You poor thing... I suggest sticking to something a little more identifiable than the meatloaf, though." For himself, he sticks to mostly vegetables. Apparently, the protein cravings have passed.

Lyn snorts at that and seems to agree. She opts for the pork chop and a pile of potatoes and some more healthy veg. She knows she's low on all the required vitamins after eating those less than delicious meals, and likely tossing more than she consumed because one can only stomach so much. "I'm actually surprised we're not being overrun by kittens. There was a box of them in this old hunting cabin we bunked out in for a night when the rain was bad. I figured Hayes would have smuggled them back to the ship." She says with a chuckle.

Aldrich looks a little surprised. "Kittens?" He looks a little doubtful about that. "That wouldn't be very nice for the kittens. They'd do a better job taking care of themselves down there than we would up here on a spaceship." Once he's done filling his tray, he heads over to the coffee station to pour a cup.

"True, but they're soft and cuddly and warm and cute, and some of us have very, very lonely bunks," Lyn points out with a laugh. She grabs some coffee too because she really, really missed that down on Picon. She finds a spot at an empty table and sinks down into the chair.

Aldrich chuckles faintly. "Don't let any of the brass hear you say that," he advises, as he settles at the table next to Lyn. "They'd probably start piling us two in a bunk or something."

"Hey at this point, I'd be happy to have a cuddle," Lyn says with a tired laugh. "But, I know I snore, so I expect that isn't gonna happen." She sets into her food hungrily.

Aldrich gives Lyn an odd look, as though he's thinking about saying something, and then decides against it. Instead, he looks down at his coffee, blowing on it a bit to help cool it down to a drinkable temperature. "Did you know some of these civilians are training dogs to attack Cylons?" he wonders, randomly.

"Huh," Lyn murmurs, looking over at him with an arched brow. "I'd imagine they'd make a good distraction, or tripping hazard for the toasters. Don't think their teeth would go through the armor though." She looks tired. She's had only a few hours sleep a day for the last five days, constantly on the move, sleeping in the rain or abandoned, burned out buildings. Right now her bunk is probably the equivalent of a 5 star hotel.

Aldrich shakes his head. "They don't. But apparently it distracts them long enough to let the guys with the guns get some shots in. And the dogs can hear them coming before the humans do." He watches Lyn with her food, with a vague sort of concern. "Do you think you'll be able to get some rest, after you eat?" he wonders.

"No idea. I've been in long-range recon mode for the better part of a week. It's sometimes hard to adjust back to having a full 8 hours of rack time right away. Much like I'm probably going to regret eating this much sometime tomorrow," Lyn admits. "Have you ever been too tired to sleep before?" She has, it sucks.

Aldrich nods a little, sympathetically. "Back on Leonis," he replies. He pokes at his food, having barely nibbled at it. "You know..." he offers, glances to the side, then lowers his voice. "I have some blankets and things in the chapel. Sometimes I find it easier to sleep in there. You can use it, if you think it will help, but... you know, don't tell anyone."

Lyn blinks at Al a few times at that admission, and she chuckles. "I think I'll be ok in my rack. Besides, that'd be no fun unless you were there with me," she points out. Then she realizes how that sounds. "To cuddle!" Not that! "I really need sleep. I'm gonna head back to the berthings. See you soon?"

Aldrich raises his eyebrows, and after a moment of surprise, he gives a bit of a chuckle, and starts to stand up. Because that's what you do when a lady leaves the table, right? (Or something.) "All right. Rest well..."

Lyn gives his arm a squeeze, with a smile, and then she heads out to try and get a full night's rest.


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