Dancing to the Music of Love
Location: Caradan's Quarters
Caradan was in her quarters. Sitting on the floor, she stared out at the stars and pondered the infinite possibilities trying to understand how and why she ended up as Executive officer under a commanding officer that seemed to hate her with every fiber of his being.
And that Trill...
Caradan rocked a bit. She enjoyed the sensation. Using her mimicked lungs, she drew in a deep breath of air and slowly let it out, enjoying the feeling her of chest expanding and contracting.
That was what seemed to get her through the days as of late; the little things that she could enjoy.
Thoughts went through her mind as well; thoughts of the two other Changelings she had encountered and what they were up to not to mention how and why they left the Link in the first place.
All the weight, responsibility, and thoughts were nearly unbearable at times. As it was nearing time for her to regenerate, Caradan looked to her bowl. That was yet another little thing she could enjoy but that would not take away any of the stresses awaiting her.
She sat there on the floor, staring out into space and pondering the infinite possibilities.
Riaan for her part was lonely. Even though she had known that Ziara's departure would mean that she would get the whole room to herself, somehow the quarters seemed even emptier without Ziara's vibrant energy. Ziara had left her model of the Tornado with her, as well as a small doll that looked like Ziara. Riaan knelt and prayed at the small shrine, but it somehow felt different without Ziara beside her.
She was naturally quiet and used to spending long times alone. However, she needed companionship. She changed into civilian attire and crossed the short distance to Caradan's quarters. She rang the chime, telling it to say who she was.
Caradan did more than simply stand up from the floor when the chime came and when the Computer informed her of who was calling at her door. Caradan simply liquefied and formed a standing column from which her usual self emerged from. In addition, she changed her clothing to finally get out of her Starfleet uniform. She absorbed her commbadge into her chest as she got to the door.
As the door slid open, she smiled at," Riaan. Aren't you a..." she paused a brief second. "What's that saying? A sight for sour eyes?" Caradan stood to the side and motioned for Riaan to enter.
Riaan nodded, not familiar with the expression herself. "It sounds right, I think." Her soft voice just loud enough to be heard by the two of them and no more. She stepped into the cabin and reached out a hand to caress Caradan's form with her hand. Caradan was now the only person on the whole ship that she felt comfortable touching and being touched by. Even this light touch was intimate for her. "I don't want to be alone right now." She honestly admitted to Caradan.
Caradan guided Riaan into her quarters. Caradan had nothing in the way of decoration or customization. Her bed was made perfectly and appeared unslept in. Her chairs were barely used. Her lavatory was spotless but never needed cleaning. The only thing that made the room appear lived in was a regeneration bowl sitting along a wall between two windows. Despite the drab and templated appearance of her quarters, they were home to Caradan.
A silent and empty home.
"To be honest," she guided Riaan to the sofa. "I was rather tired of being alone as well." Caradan greatly enjoyed Riaan's company. There were few aboard the ship that could hope to have an idea of what Caradan felt. "Just a moment ago, I was sitting right there," she pointed to the middle of the room, "along with my thoughts to keep me company." She looked away from that spot in the middle of the room and looked off into nothingness. "Not the best company mind you."
Riaan nodded sadly, "My thoughts betray me more often then not." Riaan looked at the room and the wide open space. "You want to dance, or something?" She asked, stepping into the middle of the room.
Caradan followed after Riaan. "I am afraid I am not a very good dancer. I also don't know any good music, though I do have a singing stone that Mindo gave me. Only, the music does not seem much for dancing." Caradan stood before Riaan unsure how to stand or even what to do as the idea of dancing was still somewhat foreign to her.
Riaan nodded, "Don't worry about it, everyone has their first time. I like ballroom dancing personally. So you put your hands like this," Riaan showed her, taking her hands. "Now because your going to be the leader, you are going to step like so, then back and together." Riaan said, showing her the basic pattern. "Everything else is a variation on this pattern."
“So, I can step like this?” Caradan asked whilst looking at her feet. Riaan moved likewise. “And then like this?”
After another two steps, Caradan nearly stumbled as their feet almost got tangled up. “Sorry,” she said as they righted each other.
Riaan smiled, "It's ok, you can't be too worried about stepping on toes when your learning to dance. Falling is a part of learning to walk. Let's try it again, perhaps a bit slower." She said, repositioning her feet with Caradan's.
As they moved again, Riaan gently instructed Caradan,"relax, forward-side-together, backwards-side-together."
Caradan smiled and a small laugh escaped her lips. "This is fun." She found the movement set was easy to perform. She found Riaan following her lead just as easily. She had a hand around Riaan’s waist and held Riaan’s other hand in her own. She enjoyed the feel of Riaan’s soft touch. Looking into her eyes, “What is it like, with Ziara being so far away? If I may ask that is.”
Riaan thought for a long moment as they stepped together, "I guess it would be like if you split off a bit of yourself and sent it somewhere. You feel that a piece of you is missing and you deeply want to reunite. You just won't feel whole until you do."
Caradan felt an immense void within her, one that almost made her freeze solid involuntarily, but she maintained herself after a slip of the foot and nearly stumbling. What she felt was her separation from the Great Link. All those other minds sharing together within an ocean of Changelings. And from that ocean, came a single mind. All the other voices went away.
Caradan was nodding. “Yes, I think I understand.”
Riaan paused when Caradan stopped, supporting her so she didn't fall. "Are you ok?" She asked with concern lacing her gentle voice.
"I think..." Caradan stood there. Both of them held each other. "I think I understand what you feel better than you may know. For Changelings, being in the Great Link means to have the thoughts of all Changelings coursing the ocean through and through. When I left the Link, all that vanished. Millions of voices were suddenly silenced. Sometimes," she held Riaan a little closer, "sometimes I want nothing more than to know that once again. To go back to the Link. This silence I deal with many times has a name among the Changelings. We call it the Great Terror. No one has ever left the Link without planning on returning...soon." She looked Riaan in the eye and saw a deal of understanding. "If I may ask, why are you here? I mean...why did you not go with Ziara?"
Riaan nodded softly at Caradan's response. "I'm here because I don't just want to be with Ziara. I also want to be with you, because if you were gone, I think I'd still feel those same tugs on my heart." Riaan explained.
Caradan smiled. "I can honestly say that, through my years outside of the Link, my years of travel and searching, that I have never found someone so welcoming nor a sense of belonging than I have found here, aboard this ship."
Riaan held Caradan for a long moment, a part of her grew sad. "All things will come to an end. Even if we are together wherever, I will age and die. Then you may be alone again." Riaan said, sharing her thoughts. She shook her head, "Sorry, I'm not always in a good place."
“For the moment though,” Caradan produced a small smile, “perhaps you are in the best place.” She slowly pulled Riaan into a hug, then continued to move about in a slow dance. “You will always live in my memories,” she whispered to Riaan. “And when the day comes that I do return to the Link, an entire species will know the name Riaan Rrareth.”
Riaan blushed and looked down, she didn't have words for how Caradan had made her feel in that moment. She danced in a slow circle, holding the changeling tight against her. So much of the stress she had been under fell off in that moment. A wide smile crept onto her normally emotionless face. "Thank you."
“And thank you,” said Caradan. “Because…too often do I find myself in the grip of silence stuck with only my thoughts and worries. I was in that state a few minutes ago.” The pair slowly turned. “And then you came along.”
Riaan smiled at Caradan, "and then you answered the door."
Resting her forehead against Riaan’s, Caradan looked her in the eyes. “You really are a jewel Riaan. Ziara is truly lucky to have you as her wife.”