Posted Dec. 17, 2021, 9:28 p.m. by Civilian Micah Pikelsimer (Federation Security Agent) (James Sinclair)
Posted by Commander Shara Calloway (Chief Intelligence Officer) in Calloway’s Quarters- Sins of the Mother
Posted by Commander Shara Calloway (Chief Intelligence Officer) in Calloway’s Quarters- Sins of the Mother
More silence. =/\=I am going to ask a question and I need a truly honest answer or else we won’t be able to get past this one bit.” Shara nodded, if slowly. Faye inhaled visibly. =/\= When you went on that last Maquis mission, when you left us to help them, I asked, no, begged you to stay. I couldn’t explain my intuition then, but something told me that if you left, that was it, we’d never see you again. And I begged you to stay. But you left anyway. It was more than just duty, that much I’ve always known, but, why did you leave?=/\=
Such a simple question but it took Shara’s breath away. She should have anticipated those words and yet, she was entirely taken aback. How easily Faye was able to do that. She was one of a few people who could do so with her. Micah was the other. Edward had been one too. See, the question was deeper than it seemed. It wasn’t just ‘Why did you leave?’, it was ‘Why did you abandon us?’. It broke Shara’s heart because she felt certain she couldn’t give Faye the answer she desperately wanted to hear. Something that absolved Shara of some unwritten crime.
Gaze downward, the elder Calloway had to harden her core to keep from crumbling. Micah was out of sight of the screen and she didn’t dare look at him. But even as she acknowledged his presence with her mind, she knew that he deserved this answer too. For the future. As a protection for both of them. There had been many reckonings lately, but this one had been decades in the making too, and just as important as the others. “Because I’m not as courageous as you, Faye. Because I lacked the ability to be in one place for too long. Because things were happening then that made me want to flee and it had nothing to do with you or your father. He understood, your father. He always had. It was his gift and the reason I trusted him those first days when we had met on Arkelis.” Shara looked up. “Having Gavin write us off so callously… it hurt too much. It meant that for better or worse, Midos was lost to me. But so was Tracken. It was never the home for me that it was for you and Edward.” Tears slipped over her cheeks, carving paths of sorrow. “I wanted it to be, but I was restless there, like I knew it wasn’t permanent. I can’t explain it more than that. I just had to be… anywhere else.” Shame twisted her stomach and Shara thought earlier conversations with Faye had been hard. She had been so very wrong. No, this might just be the one that crushed her.
Faye inhaled slowly, silence filling the space between them.
“I’m not sure what else you want me to say,” Shara said, trying very hard not to squirm in her chair.
Faye frowned. =/\=I want you to be real with me for once in your life. I don’t want snippets of Shara. Stop hiding from me!=/\= she said, the sudden explosion of emotion surprising both of them.
Inundated with confusion, Shara felt a cutting pain, from something that hit closer than one wanted. =/\=What do you mean hiding from you? When did I do that?=/\=
As if to keep herself calm, Faye inhaled slowly. =/\=All. The. Time. Growing up I was never quite sure who you were. You were always so guarded and while you would answer some questions, I always knew it wasn’t the whole story. But you never let me in. Maybe you would have eventually, but we’ll never know that, right? Because you chose to leave. You left us,=/\= Faye said, dropping to a whisper.
Oh Good Gods. Long moments passed before Shara nodded slowly. “I did. And I wish I knew what could make it better for you, but I can’t deny it. I did leave. I claimed duty, the Fight, everything else.=/\= Shara visibly swallowed down the bile that was pressing up her throat. “There’s no excuse, certainly no good reason. And yes, that is in hindsight and we can’t change anything that happened, Faye. You know that as well as I do. But I won’t be responsible for all their deaths. It’s not my fault. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but surviving wasn’t one of them,”she said firmly.
It was Faye’s turn to be taken aback and her eyes widened. =/\=No! That’s not what I meant!=/\= Faye closed her eyes for a moment and when she reopened them, tears sat pooled. =/\=I begged him not to go too. But he was so goddamned ready to walk into death that it wasn’t until recently when I could finally talk about the aftermath and Kodell and everything that I realized that I think, and I can’t be sure, that he died of a broken heart first. He couldn’t live without you. He left Cam and I with T’Lora and Jaris and was okay with that. I was fifteen. I could manage on my own with their help. He’s dead, so we can’t ask him, but I suspect something like that went through his head. I think he wanted it to all be over, because it wasn’t worth anything without you. He couldn’t bear to live if you weren’t living life with him.=/\=
Something inside Shara broke as tears slid over her cheeks. Broke open, perhaps? They were both stunned into silence, Shara crying silent tears, Faye’s only a subtle sob, but neither could say anything just now. It was a strange thing when you came face to face with the real, deep truth. It is so powerful that it cannot be denied and those who hear it, see it, face it, have no choice but to concede that it was indeed the truth. Shara was sure that at least some of what Faye just said was the truth. Maybe not all of it, but it made sense. Ed’s sacrifice allowed Faye to live, but she thought of that terrible promise he made her promise: to never tell anyone about the Maquis and who she was. An act of compassion on the surface, meant to protect her, but for Faye and the BPD that all that trauma would trigger, it was terrible sentence that imprisoned her in the past with no escape. Even later when she carved her own path, she remained in secrecy. Just like Shara. They had inadvertently repeated the same mistakes. Well… sh!t.
There was only one way to address this, and it was never going to be easy, but it was a long time coming. “Oh Faye, I’m so sorry. For you, for him, for us. You deserved a better end to your childhood than that. I’m so sorry I abandoned you to that terrible fate and if I could go back and change anything I would change what happened after the Dominion came. But I can’t and you paid a price for our actions. We couldn’t have known, but…” Shara blew out a breath. “But do you believe that your father and I have always loved you deeply, despite our mistakes?”
Faye nodded, seeming earnest. =/\=Of course! I’ve never doubted that. I had an amazing childhood. I had experiences few other Starfleet officers get to have, and for that I’m grateful. Tracken was home, but I think for us, home is people. So long as we had people, we were okay.=/\=
Warmth bloomed within and Shara smiled, even if it was small. “Yes. And… maybe I did hide myself. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the past lately, since Nadine showed up in my life. Analyzed every decision I’ve ever made, but do you know what I’ve concluded?”
Faye shook her head.
“Baby Girl, I wouldn’t actually change any of it, because if I had, I might not have been here to see you transform into this strong and courageous woman, who is full of passion and love and dedication. My girl, you are one of the most loyal people and you care so much about people that sometimes it hurts. And it hurts you. But it is one of your greatest strengths. And couple that with that incredible mind of yours? Pfft! All should beware, because you are unstoppable. I can’t change how I was before so all I can do is promise you that from this day forward you get to see me. I’m just starting to get to know her again too, so if you’re patient, you get join me on that journey. If you’re up for it?”
Faye nodded , eyes still shining with tears. =/\=Of course. I’m glad to be. Though I still get to tease you about your terrible cooking.=/\=
Shara burst out laughing. “It’s a deal. And Faye?”
Her daughter leaned in closer. =/\=Yeah?=/\=
Maybe this was always how it was supposed to go, or maybe they had drawn it out to untentable lengths, but Shara felt like this was some sort of defining moment, as if everything from here on out would pivot and hinge from this moment. It needed to be right. She needed to get this right, of all things. “I know I’m just learning to make promises again, and neither of us is guaranteed much in this life. But if you’re ever feeling doubt about my intentions, just remember that we’re both here right now because I tried my best when it mattered most, when we both had come close to giving up hope. I can’t promise much more than that, but I hope it can be enough.” Behind the present moment hovered images of her malnourished daughter’s body in her arms as she carried her to that shuttle Her gaunt features made her seem like a stranger but the one way Shara had always known that her Faye was still in there was the ever so brief moments when her daughter’s eyes showed ferocity. Her will would not be denied. It was how she was so very certain that despite the brass’s fears, Faye had never, ever broke during those terrible months with the Tal Shiar.
Faye inhaled slowly, seeming to take her own time to process before she nodded. =/\=It’s more than enough,=/\= she said softly, honesty etched into every intonation.
A small thread of relief wove its wave through Shara. “Are we good, Baby Girl?” She wanted it to sound less worried, less fearful, but alas, it was hard. So she could only ask in hope.
Faye nodded. =/\=We are. I’m sorry if I was… too much. I wasn’t out to hurt you. I just…=/\= Faye sighed.
Stomach twisting, alarm bells rang in her head. Oh no, no, she wasn’t going to let this spiral. Not on her watch! Shara leaned in, her face filling more of the screen. =/\=Hey. You listen here and you listen good,=/\= she said, her voice taking on the air of the experienced officer she was. =/\=You are never too much. Yes, pointing out my errors is hard, and it hurts, not gonna lie. But if I didn’t love you so much and think it was worth a little self-reflection, I wouldn’t have had this conversation. I value your input and presence Faye. I love and cherish getting to watch your mind at work and I am so damn proud of you. I always was. I’m sorry it took us both enduring so much pain for me to be able to to tell you now how much I admire you. How grateful I am you inherited something good from me and not just a whole lot of baggage. But let me also tell you this, my dear girl… you did three lifetimes worth of growth in the span of two weeks. It’s a lot, for anyone. But for you, and what you have survived, it is nothing short of breathtaking. Give yourself a break. And be proud of yourself like I am of you. Because it’s a lot, and you deserve it.”
Faye had gotten misty eyed again and wiped her right eye with the side of her hand. =/\=Geez, mom, leave something for your wedding speech why don’t you?=/\= she at at length.
Shara barked a loud laugh again and shook her head. “Ahhh, Faye, never stop surprising me. It keeps me young. I’ve got to go, but we’ll talk more later.”
Faye nodded. =/\=And you’re going to call Gavin right? I mean, please tell me you’ll hash things out before you all arrive. No fisticuffs at my wedding. That’s how good cakes get ruined.=/\=
If she thought she was going to get away with that one, she was clearly and sadly mistaken. With a rueful look followed by a smirk, Shara managed to not laugh again. “No promises, but I’ll try. Well, I can promise it won’t be me be punching anyone. This time. I’d pinky swear but you know, logistics.”
=/\=That’s Dag’s job, remember? I swear if you were serious, he’d find a way.=/\=
Anyone with a modicum of observance could tell just how deeply and unapologetically in love she was with Hammor. It made her mother’s heart so glad to see. “He’s a keeper for sure. Bye Faye. Keep me in the loop, and… I can’t wait to see you get married. To start this new chapter.”
=/\=Me too,=/\= Faye agreed. =/\=Bye Mom.=/\=
Shara held her breath until the call ended and as soon as the blank screen appeared, Shara exhaled. Except it wasn’t a breath. Hands shaking, she pushed back her chair as if she needed space from the desk. Hands shaky, she pushed herself to her feet, momentarily forgetting Micah was even there. What had she expected? That Faye would never ever mention it? They they could just pretend that Shara had gone off for a little solo vacation in the middle of a war? Yes, she had skills that were useful to the other cell and she had done great work for them right up until the spatial anomaly plucked the Val Jean out of the Alpha Quadrant and dropped them into the Delta. It was an excuse. An easy one, with some truth, but an excuse nonetheless.
The words ‘I forgive you’ hadn’t been uttered, but Shara knew Faye. She knew her daughter’s heart well enough to know that that had been implied by them being ‘okay’. Because at the end of the day Shara didn’t need Faye to forgive her. She needed to forgive herself first. And that was going to be a harder journey.
Turning, she cast her gaze upwards, away from the floor and blinked. Micah was still there on her bed and she all but shuffled towards him, feeling dazed. A part of her wanted to hyperventilate, but it was like she suddenly lacked energy. She reached out to her husband, not trusting her body’s movement. Hand outstretched, she was all but pleading for help, for reasons she didn’t understand in this moment, her inability to speak baffling. But it was all there in her eyes.
Her reckoning had come.
~Shara & Faye Calloway
Micah had lived a life of hypvigilance, so even without intending to, he had heard every word. And when the call was over, he laid still… waiting for the inevitable crash of history and present on his wife. And when she reached for him, he took her hand and helped her fall back to sitting on the bed.
“Like felling a tree… took the base out from under ya and down you came.” he said softly, taking her in his arms and letting her lean against him. He held her for a long time in silence before he kissed the top of her head and said “You wanna talk? Drink? Or pass out? Or maybe all of the above?”
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