by Jariel Camen
Two Mornings After Permission
Soundtrack: Counting Blue Cars, by Dishwalla
-=The Sanctuary at Altaan, Bajor=-
Two Mornings After Permission
Soundtrack: Counting Blue Cars, by Dishwalla
-=The Sanctuary at Altaan, Bajor=-
The soft red flash from the comm unit that Micah Samson had set up continued to annoy him, as he tried to deny its existence. Jariel Camen tried to fall back asleep but his subconscious knew it was there, and he knew he could not rest until he dealt with it. He cracked an eye open to see that there was indeed a message waiting for him.
The previous day had been a joyous one, but exhausting none the less. The Child Protection Ministry had made little resistance to the adoption petition submitted by Jariel Camen and Fleur Le Marc. Everyone involved wanted nothing more than the ugliness surrounding Gillan Tress’s abduction by former Vedek Ram to simply go away, and it was decided the quickest way to do that would be to approve the request of Jariel and Le Marc.
There were papers to be signed and standard instructions to be given before the adoption could be finalized, but by evening meal the previous day, Tress’s signs of [[mama and papa]] were more then simple expressions of affection. In the eyes of Bajoran and Federation law, Tress was now legally their child.
Similar papers were also submitted for Gillan Pace, giving Camen and Fleur official guardianship of the boy. They would be able to protect him legally if need be. Pace, however, had decided to stay behind on Bajor to continue his studies with Vedek Timal.
Camen had accepted the decision, knowing it was Pace’s to make, even if he was a bit disappointed.
Camen recalled the conversation he had had with Fleur the previous evening, as they gathered what things they wished to return to the ship with.
-=Flashback, the previous evening=-
“Are you sure you are all right with this?” Camen asked once again. “Just say the word and we will stay on Bajor if you wish. Or return to France.”
Camen’s feelings were clear. He loved Fleur, and he knew the crew of the Serendipity were his family. A family he wanted to welcome Tress into. What he wanted to be sure of was Fleur’s comfort with returning to the ship. If she were unsettled by the idea of Jariel and Zanh Liis sharing the same ship, Fleur had every right to say so, and Camen would stay with her anywhere she wished to be.
“Camen, you have told me your heart is mine, and I trust your word with everything I am. If I cannot place my faith in your word and your love, then I have nothing to believe in, wherever I go.”
She smiled wistfully, thinking of friends back aboard the Sera. There was so much she wanted to tell them.
“I miss them too, Camen. Neither of us had friends and family like them growing up, and I wish to return to the ship as much as you do.”
Camen held a robe in his hand, prepared to fold it and place it into a duffle, when he paused, realizing amongst all that had happened lately, that there was still something Fleur did not know.
“Fleur, when the Alchemy came to Earth, and we were in Sickbay, Doctor Adams inadvertently let something slip, because she didn’t realize who I was.”
“Oh?” Fleur asked, stopping what she was doing and turning her full attention to him.
“Zanh Liis and Keiran O’Sullivan,” Jariel feared to speak the next words he needed to say. Not because it pained him to say them, but because he feared how Fleur might react to them. Would she believe Camen only loved her because he knew Zanh Liis was no longer on the market?
“What about them?” she prodded.
Fleur was silent for a moment. “Why did you not tell me?”
“Because I didn’t want you to think that was the only reason why I chose to be with you. You know I loved you long before the Alchemy arrived here to deal with the fever.”
“How does that make you feel? Knowing that they are married?” Fleur could not stand the idea of Keiran and Liis’ marriage causing Camen pain.
“Honestly? The knowledge that Zanh Liis is happy and loved brings me peace. It actually makes it easier for me to return to the ship, because it would have been difficult for me to be there with you if she were there alone. Because I wouldn’t want to…”
“Rub it in her face,” Fleur completed his thought.
“Basically, yes.” Fleur’s choice of words were crude, but summed up Camen’s feelings succinctly.
“And if she were alone?” Fleur asked.
Camen closed the distance between them and kissed her, choosing to answer her question with his passion rather than his words.
If there was even a scrap of doubt left in her, Jariel would erase it this evening. He fell back into the sheets with her, leaving whatever packing still needed to be done until the morning.
As she drifted to sleep, Camen slipped into the chair in front of the comm. unit. He had suddenly realized the bringing another child aboard a ship under the Security constraints of the Serendipity might not necessarily be something that would win easy approval. The Captain or Starfleet would have every right to use those reasons to deny Jariel’s return.
He typed out a brief message before heading to bed.
With your permission, Fleur and I would like to return to the ship. We miss all of you, and would like to resume our duties aboard.
We’ve adopted a child Liis, an orphan from the Plains disaster. I know the tight reigns that Starfleet keeps on The Alchemy Project, so if this precludes you from allowing us to return, I understand completely.
Also, if you have any reasons, personal or otherwise, why you feel it would be better for us to remain here and not return, know that we will accept them without question.
Jariel was at ease with returning to the ship, but had no idea how Zanh Liis would feel about the matter or her new husband either, and each of them deserved the chance to say if they felt it best that the two couples not serve on the same ship.
He hit the send key, and slipped into the blankets of the old wooden bed beside Fleur, wrapping himself up around her, before drifting to sleep.
He rubbed his eyes to force them to open fully, and quietly slipped back into the seat at the comm. unit. He checked back over his shoulder to see if he had awakened Fleur, and much to his pleasure saw that she was still asleep.
It was not even daylight yet, and the soft glow of the screen was all that illuminated the room as he checked on the message.
Two messages in fact. One he had expected, the other, he had not. Zanh Liis’s reply sat waiting for him, as did a second message encoded with the name “Vedek Selivere.”
The message from the Captain was short and to the point, as he would have expected.
Come home. ~ZL
The second message was not quite as short, but far more cryptic than Jariel cared for.
I’m cashing in my favor. First Meal before you leave. –Selivere
He dashed off a quick note to Fleur so she would not wonder where he was when she awakened, and quickly gathered up some clothes to wear.
Jariel couldn’t imagine how she found out he was leaving so quickly. Camen and Fleur themselves had only just decided in the last two days. Whatever it was that was so important to her that she needed to see him now, in person, had Jariel intrigued, and worried at the same time.
He donned the black clothing that he preferred to wear on the ship while providing counsel to the crew, and crept out of the room he shared with Fleur.
Jariel paused only once on the way out, to listen at the door of Azalea Adams quarters, where Tress was sleeping as well. There was nothing but silence to be heard, which is exactly what Camen hoped for.
By the time he arrived at the Selivere residence, the Vedek was already setting out First Meal for her husband and child. Camen rapped gently on the door of the old wooden house, so as to not alarm anyone inside.
The sound of footsteps approaching the door told him that indeed the Selivere family was already awake. He stepped back, and the ancient hand carved door creaked open slowly.
“Camen,” She said warmly. “Please come in.”
Jariel stepped inside and looked around at the features of the home. It was small and cozy, keeping in place all the simple features of classic Bajoran architecture that it held when it was built. There were a few modern conveniences such as a communications terminal and replicator that were tucked away into the construction so seamlessly that one hardly even noticed they were there.
“Jariel Camen, this is my husband, Draala, and our son Milon.”
“A pleasure,” Jariel said politely. He forewent offering his hand to Draala, since the man already had both his hands quite full wrangling the child.
“Won’t you join us please, everything is ready,” Draala offered.
Camen took a seat at the table, and a plate full of food. The conversation was lighthearted and polite as they ate. Apparently Draala was in construction, and met Vedek Selivere during a project he was assigned to at the Vedek Assembly.
Vedek Selivere was complaining on a daily basis that her office was too cold, and each day Draala was sent to check on the heating. He would pretend to fix the problem, knowing full well that he was in fact doing nothing.
This went on for about a week before the Vedek caught wise, and asked if Draala intended to ask her out for dinner, or continue to use the heating as an excuse to see her every day.
Camen in return shared the story of how he had come to meet Fleur on Deep Space 23, and their happenstance meeting here when he had returned to Bajor. As the plates emptied, Selivere ask for a moment alone with Camen.
“It has been a pleasure,” Draala said, as he lifted their son up from his seat.
“Thank you so much for the meal,” Jariel replied graciously. He waited for Draala to clear the room, before spinning on Vedek Selivere. “You did not ask me all this way to swap love stories, my friend.”
“No, I did not, Camen. Look, I know you are due to depart soon, to go back to the Federation.”
“News travels fast.”
“There is little surrounding the life of Jariel Camen that stays a secret long here.”
Camen crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. “And my leaving concerns someone.”
Selivere blushed. “Little gets past you, does it Vedek Jariel?”
“I assume the Assembly knows that the lovely young Vedek and I been friends for years, and that I have a soft spot for children. So in their wisdom they felt you would be the best choice to submit their request.”
Selivere sighed, and blushed a little deeper. “They want you back. The Assembly needs you, Bajor needs you and the Prophets need you. Think of how much good you could do here.”
“I cannot be a crutch for Bajor to lean on. If I have learned anything from Fleur Le Marc and what she did for the people of the Plains, it is that our people have no greater strength than faith in themselves. They need to trust in that, not wait for the Prophets to cure all their ills.”
“Camen, will you at least consult the orb, before you go?”
Camen sat for a long while, staring out the window as Selivere waited for him to answer.
-=Two Hours later=-
Camen stood before the box that contained The Orb of Prophecy and Change, wondering if he would regret what he was about to do. He was finding solid ground in his life for the first time, and the Prophets had a history of upending his every attempt at finding peace.
There were, however, things that needed to be settled, if not for his own sake, then for Fleur and Tress. He had not just a mate, but a family to protect and care for. If he was ever going to truly find peace, he would need to know the Prophets would, at the very least, leave him and his family alone.
With a heavy sigh, Camen reached out, and opened the orb box.
This vision began, and Jariel Camen found himself in a large office. The architecture was Cardassian, as was the man seated alone behind the large desk in the room. Gul Tryall, the Cardassian responsible for the death of Jariel Camen’s family, stared across the table at him, hands folded together.
He approached the man, and waited for the vision to take form, but neither of them spoke. They merely stared at each other. Jariel felt nothing, not fear, not anger. This was, after all, nothing more than a vision.
An echo reverberated through the room, as the door to the chamber opened. Dressed in black from head to toe, and emitting a roar of rage to wake the dead, Zanh Liis charged into the room, wielding an elongated knife over her head.
She charged at the Gul, and lifted the blade to strike him down. Jariel stopped her arm in mid-stroke.
“It’s all right, Liis.” He whispered gently.
She growled and tried to free herself from his grip.
“I don’t need this.”
“But,” Her face contorted into an expression of complete and utter agony, and her voice was soft and gravely, as if she were speaking the name of the most heinous crime imaginable. .“He hurt you.”
“This is not what I need, Liis. This was never what either of us needed. Please, go home, be at rest.”
She resisted again, with less strength.
Jariel felt his hand close on itself, as she vanished from his view. Once again he was alone with the Gul.
“I have nothing to tell you.” Gul Tryall said.
As quickly as it had begun, the vision was over. Jariel closed the orb box, and stared off in disbelief. There was nothing for him here. Had there ever been?
“You have nothing more to say?” Camen shouted at the ceiling. As he did, the room around him began to blur, as he was swept away to the Celestial Temple.