473: No More Pretend

By Vol Tryst and Zanh Liis
Immediately Following The First Thread Begins to Unravel and Undressed to Impress

Most of the guests were now finally seated on the large dock. Some stood, as the choice to do so was left to the individual. An aisle, made between the chairs, led to where Mr. Noon currently stood with a scroll of some kind rolled in hand. It was held together with a silver chord, and looked to be almost ancient, but in fairly good condition considering.

The day was still fairly young, and so nobody got too chilly being outside. There was very little wind, even though the current in the water was rushing by, it was doing so without any waves to disturb its surface. The day was beyond beautiful, and all the elements seemed to be merciful, so that there would be absolutely no chance for any to upset the day.

As all of the telepaths present began to settle into their seats, it gave clear indication to the rest of the guests that the ceremony was about to begin.

Zanh Liis watched closely, catching her bottom lip between her teeth. *Here we go...*

Vol and his brother Siter stood expectantly at the front of the gathering. The wedding officiant nodded to Vol, and Zanh observed that Vol appeared to try to draw in a deep breath, only half succeeding. His chest rose and fell in a quick, shallow rhythm.

The bride appeared, looking as lovely as one might expect; her hair was held back with a spray of colorful flowers, and she smiled broadly, waiting a moment for a musician seated at an instrument that resembled a harp to begin to play before she took her first step towards her intended.

Liis observed Dana's eyes, noting that the expression in them did not seem to match the smile on her lips. Like watching one of Reece's motion picture reels where the language was dubbed and with subtitles beneath, the picture did not match the soundtrack that was running in her head.

Once Dana reached Vol's side, their eyes met and the officiant male stepped closer.

In and amongst all the thoughts buzzing in his mind, as those around him reacted to the sight of the ceremony now underway, Vol heard a whisper, a telepathic reassurance emanating from a mind close by him.

*I'm not going anywhere Vol. I'm staying with you, through all of this.* Vol's eyes darted around, but he quickly composed himself as the officiant began to speak.

"Friends, family, and colleagues of Vol and Dana, welcome. We are thankful that you are here with us today, to celebrate the beginning of a new life, and the establishment of a new family.

"Marriage is a sacred and precious bond, to be taken seriously by those entering into it. It is intended to last a lifetime; to secure a nurturing environment within which children can be raised, and most of all, to ensure that both of those who are joined, know that they are no longer alone in this life, but have someone with whom they can share their joys, their sorrows, and the journey that lies ahead."

The officiant continued, "No one can know what can happen tomorrow, but when love is assured, it can build a safety net for us; keep us from faltering even in the darkest of times."

"Dana and Vol, may your love be that safety net. May it always be a soft place for you to fall, and may you always find comfort, today, tomorrow, and always, in the safety of each other's embrace."

*Lovely,* February thought to Dabin.

*Pointy should be taking lessons in case he ever has to hitch anybody else in the future.* Dabin thought back.

*Shhhhh!* A Betazoid woman wearing a tall, beehive style hairdo glared at Dabin and Bru, finding their mental chatter distracting.

*Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning...* Dabin grumbled internally, bringing yet another glaring look from Vol's Great Aunt Matildaly.

The ceremony continued.

“Vol, Dana, do you offer yourselves willingly, and without restraint to one another? Do you always vow to be there? To forever grow together in a beloved union, to be an unmatched force together than you would ever hope to be apart. To you promise to hold, love, and cherish every moment you are as one?”

Vol stared into the eyes of Dana, who was smiling back at him. No matter what however, he could not bring himself to smile back to her. The dam he had built up to hold all his true emotions back was beginning to crack, and his jaw was clenched so that the skin on his face would be pulled as tight as he could manage. If he couldn’t hide his feelings, he would at least do his best not to let them show outwardly.

Dana reached forward and took Vol’s hands in hers. She smoothed them against her palm to offer some reassurance. The surrounding Betazoid guests would have murmured if they didn’t have their telepathy to rely on. Still, even without all the hushed whispers and confused glances, some of the Sera crew could tell that something was amiss.

Zanh Liis fought for all she was worth the urge to jump out of her seat and shout.

The assembly watched closely as the ceremony stalled, and she thought back again to the conversation she'd had with Vol the day before, which had troubled her ever since it had occurred.

She believed she may well end up getting thrown out by the Thought Police if such a thing existed on this world for meddling, but she closed her eyes, lowered her head and couldn't help think what she wished she could say aloud; *Vol, think about this...*

Neither Vol nor Dana had said anything, even though minutes had now past since they were prompted to make the marriage final. Vol could not think of what to do, let alone what to say, and Dana was bound by her social status. If she were to save Vol from this, her people would interpret it in entirely the wrong fashion. She could not ruin the already struggling family she loved.

She wrapped her arms around Vol’s neck, and the man had to bend down slightly to let his head rest in the nook of her neck and shoulder. Siter had gotten up from his seat to rub his younger brothers back.

It was then Tholt Tryst stood up, and the place really started buzzing. Even more so when the man moved up the aisle, people might have thought he was storming out. As it was, he stopped at Zanh’s aisle seat, looking down at her with a face that was worn and tired, but with the air of a weight about to be lifted.

“I’ve been selfish.” He said loud enough for all to hear.

“I let my son uphold a bond he had made when he did not know any better. I let him agree to wed someone he did not love enough to marry, forsaking his own ideals. All because I knew it would secure my comfortable lifestyle.”

“Worst of all, I did nothing to dissuade his decision to part with his love of his career in Starfleet to remain here. You have, in part, given him that, Zanh Liis, and here I was trying to take that from him.”

Back at the would-be altar, Vol seemed to be able to collect himself enough to stop his tears from ever falling. He looked down at Dana who was still smiling encouragingly.

“I cannot wed thee.”

“I know.” Dana said. *I just wish I were able to say something that could’ve prevented all of this beforehand.* Dana added telepathically, confident that their guests were focusing now on Tholt and not her own thoughts.

*Come on, Vol, come on...* Zanh Liis thought, willing him to do what she knew his heart was telling him to.

“The wedding is off, folks.” Siter announced. “We’re all deeply sorry for causing you all this inconvenience.”

The moment the words were spoken, Vol felt relieved. Somehow, he felt that things were going to work out fine for his family. Either way, it was no longer his responsibility, and his parents had forgiven him of that. Vol’s eyes met with Orynn’s as the man approached him.

*It’s over. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.*

Vol smiled genuinely for the first time that day. He slowly circled his arms around the man’s neck and brought his face down to meet his. The feeling of being in the arms of his Imzadi, was the best way to make what had quickly become an uncomfortable social gathering melt away.

“Now this is true love.” Dana said giggling, beaming more than ever. She was sincerely happy that she had finally found a way to step out from between her brother and his lover.

Orynn gave Vol’s lips a soft peck, and Vol’s smile brightened in response.

Somewhere in the assembly a dull thud was heard, as one Dabin Reece fainted.


Vol Tryst
Ship's Counselor
USS Serendipity/Alchemy


-=/\=- Zanh Liis
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012