The Little Things (Drem / Lance)

This takes place the morning following Lance and Drem’s meeting again after her return. She has returned to her quarters on the station. This is based on the short vignette, “Is it me…?” by @thatotakugalaxy.
Lance is played by @cyclops and Drem is played by @thatotakugalaxy

Opening

She held her head… she had returned to her old quarters on the station, but something was different… it felt the same, but something was off…

“Is it me?”, she asked herself, “No, I haven’t changed, right? Its only been a day since I appeared here, what happened? The universe feels the same, Lance is back, everyone I know is here, but something is missing from this point.”

As she sat down on the bed, she leaned back, damn her head hurt, her vision starts to fuzz lightly and she backs up onto the bed. She curled up, head burried in her knees, thats what it was.

“I can’t forgive myself.” She knew she could’ve saved the previous lance if she just tried. She couldn’t tell if the lance of this universe could spot any signs of what was going on.

“It was my fault.” She said to herself, “Lance’s death. My crew members going insane.” she felt like she was going insane herself, her legs tightened up to her chest as she whimpered.

Suddenly the door opened, Lance stood at the door.

He had wondered what to do from here for a bit. Having woken up with the note saying where she went, spending a bit trying to decide what to do with the situation. Clearly he wanted her more than he’d thought. He hadn’t planned on being that forward with her, but it felt right to him. If it felt right to him, it had to feel right to her didn’t it? One thing about being Admiral Lance Thomas of Solas Tempus was he often forgot about the other side of the equation, not that he’d be upset if she didn’t feel what he did. He just didn’t question that she would, not really anyway. It did get him into trouble on occasion. Still they had things to talk about, so, he got dressed again himself and cleaned up a bit before he left the Sleipnir and went into the station.

Upon getting to her room, he hesitated on if he should just head on in or request entry. Being the kind of man that he was, he just hit the button and the door slid open he saw her on the bed, knees hugged tightly against her chest, whimpering. His heart went out to her immediately, though his mouth was in the process of saying, “Drem, we have to talk…” the last word never finished, it just stopped mid syllable as he headed over to her, “Drem, what’s wrong?”

Everything had happened so quickly… When she had first seen lance, she had felt scared… what if this lance had been there and seen what happened… She had failed… she hadn’t even been there to see lance’s final moments there… and she had been spliced onto soteria… when she had seen him, she was so mixed of emotion… happiness, confusion… fear… She thought lances death was her fault… she thought if she had been there, they could’ve saved him…

She tried to control her erratic breathing… she was curled up, head on her knees… She heard lances voice and instantly her eyes opened… she had heard him come over… “I-I…” she wiped her cheeks of salty tears quickly… “I-Its nothing…” she tried to smile, but her face couldn’t pull it up…

He sat on the bed next to her, and put his hand gently on her back, he makes a soft shhh noise, “It’s ok, take a breath, just breathe, then tell me what’s wrong?”

She does so… she takes a few deep breaths until her breathing has calmed down… her tears stopped rolling down her cheeks…she was slightly scared to speak… her voice was still quiet… but she began to speak… “I…You…You died…Me and my crew went to soteria…Nobody received a report…That your ship caught fire… and I-I…If I hadn’t taken leave… y-you could’ve lived… you could’ve survived…” her head burrows back into her knees… she bites her lip…

He listens to her, giving her plenty of time to cry and talk and catch her breath when she had to. Watching her face as she spoke, he nodded lightly at her. “You died here. The Nirvash caught fire, you got your crew off but we couldn’t get you.” he stopped and let that sink in, “I’ve been blaming myself, ever since.” he let that sink in a bit too, "You couldn’t have known what was going to happen. It’s just life, things happen when you least expect them to. An old song I heard once in the mid 20th century had a wonderful stanza, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.” He pauses a moment before he continues, “Life is just that way, you’re not supposed to be everywhere at all times, no one could live like that.”

Those words hang in the air a moment before he continues, “You and I both know that death is part of what we do. You must have known that I died doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.”

She listened to him… as he talked, he would notice her lightly move closer to him… she could deal with deaths… but it was different… she had no idea and couldn’t even say a last word to lance…

She nodded lightly to his last sentence… “I-I just… I wish I could’ve been there…” her head leans down…

As she moves closer to him, his arms move around her more fully. When her head leans down he kisses the back of her head lightly, “I know. We are always going to think that we can stop death when it comes for someone we love, so long as we are there. It feels like we can make a difference, but sometimes death comes with a true purpose and no one can stop it, there or not.” he takes a breath, “When death really comes for a person, it comes.” he shrugs a bit. “When it came for you, I had to tow the Nirvash out of orbit, the core was going to go critical, I often wonder if I could have saved you if I’d just punched through the hull myself rather than pull your ship out of orbit.”

She listened… after that she seemed to be a bit quiet… she didn’t look at panicked as before… just looked to be in deep thought…

Drem slowly wrapped her arms around him… just lightly hugging him… “Thank you…Lance…”

He leaned into her a bit as her arms were around him, “It’s ok, death is something that’s very hard to live with and it always will be.” he nods but doesn’t say much other than that, still holding her he falls into an easy silence before he says in a soft whisper, “Guilt is an enemy to us all, the ever present question of what if follows us around.”

She nods… she closes her eyes, her breathing calmed, no more tears ran down her cheeks… she looked much better then when he had entered the room… “Thank you lance… you’ve been so helpful…you may not be the exact same lance… but it seems like it…” she smiled lightly… it wasn’t a fake smile, but a truely thankful smile

She kept her eyes closed, laying her head on his shoulder lightly…

“I wonder how different we really were.” he smiled and held her, letting the silence fall again, letting her decide when she wants to stop being held, he knew that even after the tears stopped and the smile came there was always a lingering pain and whirlwind just under the surface that still had to die down.

She didn’t let go of him for a bit… but by the time her grip disappeared, she had begun to feel fatigued… maybe it was from the crying… or just emotions being thrown all around, but she begun to fade out… head adjusting to be a bit more comfortable…

She still felt a bit saddened… but it had gotten better

He shifted again, so that he could lean up against the back of the bed with her. Lance was silent as he could feel her relaxing off to sleep, and he didn’t want to let her go quiet yet. He did loosen his grip though.

She finds herself not quite able to sleep just yet… thoughts still run through her mind, she opens her eyes and just stares at a wall…she eventually finds herself at peace…

The night went on, it was late when Lance had gotten there, she’d slept with him on his ship for only a few hours before she’d moved to the station. By now it was only 3am or so, his eyes finally closed after hers and he let sleep take him. Lance didn’t enjoy sleep, at least not like he used to. It was too… Well it was too, something, he wasn’t sure what. Nightmares would occasionally flood into his mind and leave their impressions on him for when he woke up. Other times, he would wake wondering where he was and how he got there for a split second, an after-echo of trauma of the past when he woke up in the laboratory following his accident.

As sleep took him, he wasn’t sure what would happen this time. Still, he was comfortable, and as his eyes closed, he felt his mind finally quiet, and by about 4am or so sleep overcame him entirely and his thoughts drifted away into a nightmare. It was an old nightmare…

The shaking of the decks came as a surprise to him, then another, and another. He knew what was coming, he reached forward and pulled the levers down from the manual release panel on the wall and the escape pods jettisoned. The station shook again, and now it diverted from the memory. He was running for the next set, charging at an all out run but the corridor was getting longer. He couldn’t reach it, he knew the stations layout like the back of his hand and this was entirely too long. Still, he kept running, running as the screaming started, shaking became fires erupting from bulkheads, he was burning now and it hurt. Finally, he reached for the levers, but it was wrong, the pods were empty, and officers should be here, but they were children, fire erupted all around as he tried to get them into the escape pods. Then, black.

His eyes shot open and he gasped for air, sharp, hard, fevered gasps. Sweat dripping from his face, he didn’t know if he’d screamed outside the dream or not, but he was still shaking.

Drem had immediately woken up, seeing lance, she quickly pulled herself up and looked to him “Are you alright…?” She said with worry, she had her hands on his shoulders… worry fills her face as she watched him…

The shaking subsided rather quickly, he wondered if she had known what had happened to him to send him down this path, that he was on. She looked him and he caught his breath, reaching up with one hand to wipe the sweat from his brow, “An old nightmare.” he said softly, closing his eyes he calmed himself, his head gently falling against the headboard of the bed, “Some things just never quite go away.” he said, still clearly calming down. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”