Sitting at the desk in her quarters, Dira leaned forward on one arm. The call was taking its sweet time going through, but sure enough the screen shifted, giving her a view of a light filled room. Gauzy fabrics hung in swags from the ceiling, their vivid colours adding drama to the otherwise very starkly white room. And yet, even from lightyears away she could see the signs of habitation that made the entire scene cozy. Lived in. The water glass and handmade ceramic mug sitting on a side table. The pastel rag rug that rested before a plush chair. All this spoke of a person who felt at home in their surroundings.
And yet, that person was missing.
“Ada?” Dira said, her mouth slipping into a grin at the not entirely unexpected situation.
“Coming!” a deep enthusiastic voice called out. He was clearly in a different room.
“Take your time,” she said with a laugh.
There was rustling and fumbling and the sound of something dropping to the floor. A vivid curse. Dira would have been worried except that she saw a cat scamper across the room and she couldn’t help but laugh. “You okay?”
The man slipped into the sculpturally shaped chair at the desk with a harrumph and a lopsided grin. “Just fine,” he said flatly making Dira laugh again. But then he just stopped and gazed deeply at her and smiled deeply, the creases at his dark brown eyes deepening. “Ahh, my beautiful daughter. I’ve been looking forward to this call. The time is still okay?”
Dira nodded. “It’s quiet at the moment and I’ve taken a lunch break.”
“How are things going with the latest changes?”
She bobbed her head from side to side in a semi-shrugging manner. “Pretty good, but it’s been tiring. Mom was all on my case about taking care of myself.”
He chuckled. “Yes, she would. Not that she’s wrong. But I can tell you’re happier.”
“It’s been good. I mean, I knew I’d love my job a lot more when I actually had a starship to be the executive officer of, but it’s also been a lot of work getting everyone settled. Still, all our time at base gave me time to get to know some of the crew better,” she said, her unbidden smile telling a story she hadn’t been willing to share just yet.
Kesren tilted his head and smirked. “Uh huh. Tell me more,” he said, bracing an arm on the desktop and leaning forward.
A grin appeared and she shook her head. “I don’t know. I just… I’ve met someone. I just feel very comfortable with her, and we provoke such intense feelings in each other. I’m not sure what I want it to be, but it’s hard to deny the chemistry,” she admitted.
Studying his daughter at length, Kesren seemed quite happy to take his time as he gathered his thoughts. Dira wasn’t sure if that was a trait she had picked up from him genetically or by demonstration, but the two of them had always been quite happy to be in silence with each other. It drove others to distraction (like her mother), but they could gaze at each other or say nothing at all for ages and not feel hurried or even the need to elaborate. “You’re weighing the past, hmmm?”
She quirked an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t say weighing. More like being reflective and trying to truly check in with myself. It’s been a long time, and while there have been flings and encounters, I don’t know that I’ve been ready to think about it, let alone act on anything. This feels different somehow.”
“Because you’re away from the Calypso?” he suggested.
That was a very valid question and not a bad hypothesis. Her mother had alluded to much the same. But she still wasn’t sure she had a good answer. It seemed to easy to blame it on that ship and the circumstances she had been in.
Her silence and the confused expression told him everything. “You’re a wonderful therapist Dira.”
She nodded. “I know.”
“It’s not your fault that that situation got out of hand. You yourself said that it happened rather quickly. Alarmingly so.”
“It’s not that simple,” Dira said with a sigh.
“No one said it was,” Kesren countered. “Look, I can’t claim any knowledge in your field, but you’ve gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of years. I just would hate to see you hold back because some person imposed themselves too harshly on your life and made you scared to try.”
She opened her mouth to counter but quickly realized she really didn’t have a good response. Instead she frowned. “You’ve been talking to mother too much, Ada,” she said wryly.
“Ahh, what’s too much?” he said with a laugh. “I like to check in, especially since, well, it’s Sesara. She does need someone keeping an eye on her. So says the man she’s getting married to.”
“How do you feel about your ex-wife getting remarried?” Dira asked.
“It’s about bloody time!” Kesren exclaimed.
“That’s what I said too!” They both laughed heartily and silence once again fell over them. Dira’s gazed drifted as she took in the background of her childhood home.
“You’re pensive,” he said gently, his eyes probing.
“It’s nothing,” Dira said with a faint smile.
Kesren’s expression changed. “You can lie to yourself all you like, but do me a kindness and not lie to me. Especially over subspace. It’s a cheap trick and you know it,” her empathic father said.
A rather horrified look swept over her face and she went to shake her head no, but instead the shake just seemed to be in dismay. “I didn’t mean to be hurtful, I’m sorry,” she said, clearly contrite.
Kesren just smiled at her kindly. “Forgiven. But what’s on your mind Love?”
Dira went to say something more than once and frustration at the lack of words became apparent. “Do you ever have that feeling that something is amiss but you can’t pinpoint it? There have been some intense situations on the ship I’m dealing with as first officer, so I thought it to just be about that but I can’t shake the feeling.”
“Ahh my dear, you already know the answer, it just isn’t satisfying right now.”
Dira sighed. “Trust my instincts.”
“They’ve always served you well, Love. Don’t turn your back on them now,” Kesren said with deep affection.
Dira smiled warmly at him. “You’re always looking out for me.”
“It’s my job. This art stuff is the frivolous bit, really. You are always the thing that matters most to me.”
She wanted to say something like he was allowed to have more than just that, that parents deserved their own sense of themselves. But she knew he already knew that. “Well, don’t stop,” Dira said fondly.
“Asala adi “ My bright light. It was the source of her middle name. Kesren touched two fingers to the screen. “Go with peace, my child. Seek it out, especially now when everything seems too much.”
She hadn’t said she was overwhelmed, how did he… of course. Of course. Dira placed a hand on her chest and bowed her head to her father. “And peace be yours,” she said softly.
Kesren gave her a wink and then he disappeared from her screen. Sometimes it was easy to forget their connection out here. Haliians were a bit more private about the bonds they forged and they were generally less known than say those of her maternal Betazoid family. But the strength and balance between the two had kept her going for a long time now and Dira knew she would need those bonds in the days to come.
Commander Myqian, XO
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