2238-02-17 - To We Or Not To We

Interpersonal relationships are hard.

Date: 2238-02-17

Location: Picon Ranch

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1651

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As she said on her way out, Ines is in the small room that was once a kids' room, where Nate's been sleeping for the entirety of his time at the ranch. Her now unzipped backpack is hanging from a bedpost on one of the twin beds, the gap in the top open to reveal what look like cans of aerosol paint. Ines herself is sitting on the floor beside the bed, checking over the rifle she suggested Cate should take -- needlessly, probably, given she's rarely without it -- and the tac vest that technically belongs to Tomak is sitting unworn on the floor beside the backpack. She almost never has it off anymore save to sleep, and although she's been able to hand-wash her clothes in water, the removal of the vest really makes plain the impact of the last month: where the outlines of the vest conceal her long-sleeved shirt it's still reasonably clean, but the sleeves and any exposed bits are hopelessly stained with blood and gods only know what else.

A quiet rap of knuckles on the doorframe announces Cate's presence. Her own SMG is slung over the shoulder of her distressed uniform. She doesn't wear her own tactical vest around the ranch, but she's never without her SMG and the pistol on her web belt. Like Ines' clothes, the occasional hand-washing has been no match for weeks of 24/7 wear and tear, nor has it done anything for the numerous dark splotches that are an occupational hazard for the medic. At least it's mostly other peoples' blood. "Hey," she offers softly, not stepping in just yet. "You all right?"

A thousand miles away in her own head, Ines turns to look at the door and the voice full seconds before she processes anything about what she's looking at, and when she finally does the transition in her expression moves from distracted annoyance to tired dismissal. She sweeps one hand through the air, loosely waving off those earlier moments in the other room. "I guess. Sorry about that, Rhodes. It's nothing you did. C'mon in." She slides the magazine back into place and then unshoulders the rifle strap, holding it out, and after a beat her brows knit and the shape of her mouth changes, tilting. "Just Tomak. 'Don't matter,' he said. He wasn't even going to tell me. I thought we-" She hesitates, shifts her gaze away, shaking her head tightly.

Cate takes that as tacit permission to come into the room, closing the door behind her. She sits down by the bed opposite Ines, mirroring her position on the floor. After settling the SMG beside her, she watches Ines for a minute before venturing, "He's just worried about you. He's convinced if you come scouting you're going to overdo it and make yourself sicker."

"I know." Somehow, Ines manages to look and sound simultaneously grateful and annoyed about how worried the Tauran is about her health. "He's probably right. Honestly? I feel like shit." Bad language always sounds a little bit absurd coming from Ines, through that frilly accent she's saddled with. "It's not really about that, it's..." She takes a moment to set the rifle down leaned against the bed, next to the vest, then leans forward and braces her elbows on her knees, hands interlaced. Eyes on the floor for a long moment, she does eventually speak, though it's slightly stilted, difficult for her. "He helped me get out of that city, you know? We made plans, we worked together. When I gave Nate the antibiotics he didn't like it, but we still talked about it, first. Because it was dangerous, to one of us. Maybe both. I- we..." She unlaces her hands and lifts one to rub at the notch between her brows. "I thought we were a 'we.' Maybe not."

Cate listens, nodding quietly to the explanation. "Tomak isn't the easiest guy to get along with. He's gruff, even when he cares. Maybe especially when he cares," Cate opines. "Reminds me of a pilot buddy I had, when I was here before. The 'better not die or I'll kill you' type." A sad smile touches her lips for a second, then she tugs on a loose thread on her trousers to distract herself. "Look, I think it'd be better for you to stay back and rest. But you've got a right to come - it's your ass on the line, after all. And I know it's not easy to hang back when someone you care about goes off into danger."

Ines doesn't outright laugh when Cate describes Tomak as not being the easiest guy to get along with, but she pushes an exhale through her nose hard enough that it stands in for the same kind of sentiment. Sage-green eyes angle upward without her head lifting in time to catch the melancholy smile on the medic's face, but they shift away again deliberately, evasive in the face of someone else's remembered pain. The rest she listens to intently, not quick to respond. The temptation to use that as license to do what Tomak told her she can't is there; in largest part because he told her she can't, out of stubborn spite, but also because the thought of not being there to back them up makes her skin crawl. Ultimately, though, it yields to practicality. She shakes her head. "Non. There are more good reasons for me to stay than to go." To gauge from her tone it doesn't thrill her, but she sounds, and looks, resigned. Tired, now that the flush of her earlier anger has been worn down. When she glances back at Cate, though, her heavy expression is leavened slightly by a slight upward quirk to one corner of her mouth. "Thanks, though. For being willing to back me up on that. Especially versus Tomak, because he's a delight to be around when he's not happy." She even manages a little bit of humor there, short-lived as it may be.

More seriously, then, she pats the rifle beside her, and the vest. "You should take the rifle, though. And make him wear the vest."

"He really is, isn't he?" Cate agrees with deadpan commissuration, offering Ines a brief smirk. "He's a good guy though, behind all that scowling." Cate bobs her head then and rises. "I'll tell him to take the gun and the vest. I've got mine." She stops before going. "If there are meds there, we'll find them," she says reassuringly.

"Yeah. He is." The words are quietly spoken, genuine but conflicted -- lingering feelings from the not-really-spat earlier. Ines watches Cate retreat to the door, then quirks another of those tired smiles, this one paired with a slight knit of the brows. Worried, in a quiet way. "I believe you. But, Rhodes? If it were up to me, I'd rather the two of you came back unhurt than wind up hurt trying to get them. I'm sure most everybody else feels the same. So..." Be careful? It feels condescending to say that to a marine, so eventually all Ines can do is half-shrug. "...you know."

Cate offers a grim-faced nod. "Yeah. This is what we do, though." She offers a brief half-smile and then turns to go.


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