War and Peacekeeping
Location: VIP Quarters - Deck Whatevra
Aleksi was a half pack down when he received the message. Looking at his watch he realized he was an hour later than he told Ashe he would be. Out of instinct he was planning to apologize, but he decided against it, hoping it was her telling him she'd be late. If it wasn't, then someone was about to tell him something he'd rather not hear at this hour, "Voroshilov here."
At the sound of his voice, Ashe felt her shoulders starting to shake once more and forced another deep, trembling breath. "Aleksi," she said quietly, unable to keep the waver from her voice. "It's Ashe... I... I need help."
It was the tone of the voice that froze him, the sense of fear. Letting his mind process what she had just said he stood up, trying to keep his own panic down. Are you starting to develop feelings? "What is wrong kotyonok?" He paused a briefly, thinking of a million things that it could be. There was likely a reason he was her first call and not security, "Don't tell me. Where are you and what do you need me to bring?"
"I don't know where I am," Ashe replied quietly, the tremble in her voice growing. She stopped speaking and took a shuddery breath. "I'm in someone's quarters... near the bar... I don't know..." She choked back a sob, her arms tightening around her own body as she scooted back, hand still firmly grasping the bottle. "I think I'm in trouble..."
"Where ever you are just stay put, I'm on my way. It'll be alright," Without much thought he was already halfway to the upper decks, cigarette dangling from his lips. At the very least he had thought to change into something nondescript before delving back into this cargo hold. Leaning his head against the lift's bulkhead he wracked his brain on what could possibly happened. Since she was crying in someone's quarters it likely wasn't a simple scrape.
Just before the lift reached its destination he took the precaution of checking his holdout disruptor, making sure it was good to go in case something was to happen. As the door opened he tucked the weapon away, moving past two officers entering the lift. Ignoring their judgmental stares he tossed his cigarette into the nearest bin and began the process of finding his lover.
Desperately, and rather sloppily, he was looking for clues as to where she was. While he could have asked the computer to locate her it wasn't something he wanted tracked, especially if she was in trouble. In his slight panic he nearly stepped on a bracelet, his hand shaking a bit as he picked it up. It was one of hers, he knew it well.
Making his way to the nearest door, hand mere centimeters from his hidden weapon, he opened it only to be greeted by the blood soaked body of Counselor Miranda. Shaking his head a little, his eyes looked around for the woman with the rainbow hair, finding her with an open bottle in hand.
"Ashe," His approach to her was careful, knowing trauma could make one react in unpredictable ways. She was bloody, clothes torn and a dazed look on her face. Quickly he took off his own shirt, ready to wrap it around her shoulders, "I'm here."
The bottle, the very bottle that had been used as a weapon, was indeed open in her hand, the alcohol that had been left in it had been made short work of. Looking up at him, she blinked slowly, handing the empty bottle across to him. "I think I'm in trouble," she murmured softly.
He took the bottle and set it aside carefully before taking a seat next to her, covering her with his shirt. It took him a bit to find the words, rare for him but caring was never his strong suit. Gently taking her hand he replied quietly, "You aren't, we'll get through this."
"Who is he?" her voice was quiet, reserved, as she pulled the shirt around her shoulders before she leaned against his shoulder, closing her eyes, trying to block out the scene in front of her. She'd seen some violent and bloody scenes before, but this was the first time it had truly affected her on a personal level. "He was in the corridor..."
"Ernesto Miranda he's..." Stopping himself from going into the history of the man, once a high ranking member of the internal security force, he decided to respond simply, "A bad man," He wrapped his arm around her as his eyes studied the scene. In the mess he wasn't sure if he was still alive or not, trying to think of how to handle either situation. His biggest concern was how to wash her hands of this, "A bad man with a terrible addiction."
"You should leave," Ashe said quietly. "I need to call security..." her voice broke and she raised a hand slowly to her throat. "You don't need to be here, I shouldn't have called you. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize," Aleksi shook his head, a steely look in his eyes, "I'm the only one you should have called," It would be a clear case of self defense, or it would have been if it wasn't wrapped in inevitable political turmoil. He had suffered a similar fate, it was not something Ashe needed to be drug into. Not on his watch, "I need you to leave here, stop for no one, clean up the best you can and stay put. I'll come and get you when it's safe."
Turning his head he gave her a weak smile, "If I planned on leaving you to your fate I would have ignored your call. I can handle this. Do you trust me?"
Ashe nodded slowly. "Yes," she said quietly, wincing at the strain on her throat as she climbed carefully to her feet, pulling his shirt even tighter around her, trying to cover her own blood soaked clothes. "Thank you," she said quietly, keeping her gaze downcast, unable to meet his eyes let alone look around at the scene she had caused in the room. Taking one last shaky breath, she started toward the door, mindful of her steps, not wanting to tread blood into the corridor outside.
Aleksi took one more look at the body, deciding that it would be more important to get Ashe out. In her state she shouldn't be left alone. Closing the distance quickly, he placed his hand on the small of her back. Ernesto could wait, "My quarters are closer, if your comfortable with that," And if for some reason anyone went looking, possible bugs planted by the Trions, it would make it less likely they'd find her and if they tried it wouldn't be pretty, "But either way I'll take your where you want to go."
"Your quarters," there was no argument in her voice, just acceptance. Pausing inside the door, she forced her shoulders back and a smile onto her face before she stepped through the doors into the corridor, leaning into him, his arm around her as she allowed him to lead her away.
Careful to not rush her, he led her with a slight hint of urgency. It was a just a quick trip in a lift and then on to his quarters, plenty of time for someone to run into him. He debated on calling in Tebiza to sit with Ashe but just as quickly decided against it, the last thing Ashe needed was to deal with more people. Stepping into the lift, giving thanks that it was empty, he held her a little closer quietly humming the tune for 'Evening Bells', one he had always found comforting.
With his arm around her, holding her the way he was, the way she leaned into him, his humming, even if anyone were to see them they would likely just appear like any other couple out on the ship taking a walk. Though, that pretense would only last until someone bothered to look a little closer.
As the lift stopped he smiled at her, leading her into the corridor. The hour assured there would be little traffic, the floor only occupied by the couple. Tapping in his personal code the door opened, revealing the Russian's brooding chamber. It was dark beyond a few accent lights highlighting the various bits of art decorating his place, "Computer, lights fifty percent," As a soft light filled the room he sat her on the couch, "Are you hungry?"
She shook her head slightly, wincing at the pain it brought. "Can I shower?" she asked quietly, her own arms folded over her chest tightly. "Maybe some clean clothes?" She stood inside the door, glancing around, it was easy to see she was tense. "Maybe a strong drink?"
He debated on indulging her last request, but considering all she had gone through it wouldn't be the worst thing, "Of course, I'll get you a towel and robes. If you want you can recplicate an outfit or raid my closet, though I doubt I'll have anything in your size. After that I'll have a drink waiting," He smiled at her before making his way the medicine cabinet, grabbing a few pain killers. Grabbing a glass of water he handed both to her, "Or do you want the drink now?"
Taking the painkillers and the glass of water, she swallowed them quickly, handing the water back as she headed silently toward the bathroom, carefully peeling away the blood soaked clothing, careful not to drop them on the carpet.
Taking her silence as a no, he went to the linen closet and pulled out a robe and towel. His mind was elsewhere at the moment, mentally going through his checklist on how to remove any trace of her from the room. With the TLF on board it would be easy enough to shift the blame away from her.
Setting the linens on the the counter of the bathroom he grabbed a pair of latex gloves and a trash bag. Methodically retrieving her ruined clothes, the best option at this point would be to burn them, he made particular attention to size. Keeping that information in the back of his mind he tossed the clothes and gloves into the incinerator.
After replicating her two fresh sets of clothes, sleeping attire and another set of t-shirt and jeans, he pulled out a bottle of bourbon, sugar and bitters. It was a simple drink, but one he knew well. Doubling up on the bourbon for hers he set her glass on the table, eyes flicking to the bathroom, concern on his face.
She wasn't sure how long she had stayed under the flow of the hot water, but her body had stopped shaking and she had finally stopped the tears from falling. She had washed her hair repeatedly and scrubbed her skin until it was almost raw, trying to remove the blood that felt like it had been burned into her body. Finally, she climbed to her feet, turning off the taps and stepping out of the shower, drying off and pulling the robe around her tightly before tiptoeing back into the living area. "Sorry," she said quietly, still looking down at the carpeted floor. "I didn't realise I'd taken so long." It was a lie, a blatant lie, but it seemed like the polite thing to say.
"No one ever does," He smiled at her, offering her the drink. The lie had more truth in it than she probably realized. He didn't bother to ask if she felt better, she looked it. Taking her hand he led her to the couch, sitting her down, "And to be honest, it never really goes away."
Ashe took the drink before sinking into the couch, pulling her feet up under the robe and leaning back into the comfortable cushioning of the furniture. The Ashe sitting on the couch next to him was a far cry from the strong, independent and self assured woman he had met in the bar. She looked scared. "Was he... I mean... is he... dead?" she asked, casting a glance at Aleksi over the rim of her glass as she sipped her drink.
Aleksi wrestled with the idea of how to phrase his next words, he didn't want her breaking down further, but he also felt she was the last person the the vessel he could lie to, "Probably. I've seen people survive worse, but I've also seen others die of more minor wounds," He sipped his drink, letting it rest on his tongue a moment before swallowing it. He definitely wasn't used to comforting people, "You did nothing wrong, you did what you had to do."
Swallowing the last of her drink quickly, Ashe set the glass down and leaned against him, just enjoying the warmth from the alcohol radiating through her body. "I can't close my eyes," she said quietly. "Every time I do I see him, and the blood, all the blood..." she shuddered slightly at the thought. "I'm going to need to tell security though. They're going to find the body, they're going to find out it was me."
"Let me worry about that kotyonok. Just concern yourself with getting some rest," Wrapping his arm around her he tried to be as reassuring as possible. Letting out a long breath, he drummed his free hand on the couch, "It's going to be like that for a while. Killing a man is not an easy thing to live with, no matter what the movies may tell you," He shot the rest of his glass down, "All you can do is rationalize and hope your support network is available to help."
"I don't have a support network," she replied quietly. "It's just me. Everyone else is long gone."
"You have me. I may not be the best person, but as least I'm someone," Silently he admitted that yes, he had in fact developed feelings. In no way was he going to let her sink, not without at least trying, "And they won't figure out it's you, not after I'm done."
Ashe gave a heavy sigh, her eyes closing briefly before opening quickly again. "How about another drink?" she asked softly. Anything to help distract her, and the alcohol was certainly going to help with that.
"Sure," Standing up he went to his make shift bar, an old converted steamer trunk, and pulled out a few bottles. Quick enough he had made two martinis, his considerably weaker than hers, he had a job to do that evening after all. Walking back to the couch he chuckled, "Made with my own bootleg gin, I apologize in advance."
"Good," Ashe replied with a faint hint of a smile. "Maybe it'll get me messed up enough that I forget."
Handing over the drink he walked to the painting on the wall, staring at it for a brief moment before turning back to Ashe, "I suppose it could," Sitting next to her again he tried to think of a cliche way to tel her she wasn't alone in her feelings, "Do you know why I was sent here?"