“Are you okay?” said Addy, laughing as she approached and crouched down to help him.
“Yeah, yeah, totally fine,” he said, despite the fact that his foot was throbbing in his boot. “Are you okay?” he asked without thinking, wincing as he lifted the box with his arms and discarded it back onto the pile.
Addy laughed again. “I’m a little jet-lagged, but I’m okay.”
Luckily, it was then that Fiearius and Corra purposely moved away, leaving them alone, or as alone as they could be at the base of the bustling cargo bay.
“That’s good,” he said blankly, brushing his dirt-streaked palms together. “The okay part I mean. Not the jet-lag, that’s bad. I didn’t mean–” Abruptly, he cut himself off because he was babbling like an idiot. He could talk to her just fine over the COMM, why was he so terribly bad at talking to her face to face?
Just pretend it’s like before, he told himself and finally managed to sound at least a little normal when he asked, “So are you here long?”
“Actually, I’m not sure. Corra just decided at the last minute that we should come here.”
So probably not long then, Cyrus realized, his heart sinking slightly. Then this might be his only chance. He’d been kicking himself for not having the guts to ask her out the last time the Beacon had been around and that was well over a month ago. Wasn’t the last month supposed to teach him something? If he could help bring down Society bases and strongholds and ships? Surely he could ask Adrasteia Atelier for a date.
So before he even had the opportunity to second guess himself, before he could talk himself out of it, he decided to have courage. “Well since you’re here, how about that dinner I promised?” he asked suddenly and then added, “I mean, unless you have plans already.” A little courage anyway.
Addy’s smile softened, but not out of any sort of displeasure. “No. I don’t have plans.”
Relief flooded through him at once. “Yeah?” he asked, failing to mask his excitement. “That’s–well, great. Then–” But then the familiar dread of panic came back. He had no idea where to go. He didn’t know this planet at all. He barely even knew which planet they were on.
“I–I didn’t know you were coming,” he told her hastily, “So I didn’t have time to really plan or do any research on what’s around here or what’s good or–”
“That’s okay!” said Addy, waving him off. She supplied him another smile that made his heart flip over in his chest. “Let’s just go exploring, how about that?”
Corra had never imagined that she might actually be nervous to talk to Leta. Nervous? To talk to her best friend? It was nonsense. But as she approached the infirmary, nervous was exactly what she felt. For the moment, Leta stood at the counter, scrolling through a console screen, her brow furrowed with concentration. Corra hovered in the doorway, and for a few seconds, Leta had no idea she had a visitor.
Corra swallowed her nerves. It was true: things between them hadn’t been the same recently. The Beacon and the Dionysian had very effectively gone their separate ways and Leta had become more than just physically distant because of it. It was easy to guess why. She probably saw the Beacon’s lack of assistance as being unfaithful in spite of their actual logic behind the decision. Corra could only hope that this impromptu visit might serve to mend things a little.
Fighting back her nerves, it was with her usual cheerful enthusiasm that Corra said, “Whatcha workin’ on, Doctor Adler?”
At once, Leta dropped her hand from the screen and turned around, shocked. “Corra? What’re you doing here?” But it wasn’t an unpleasant shock in her face
Without waiting for an invitation, Corra lunged forward and wrapped her arms around Leta. “I missed you,” she declared, squeezing her head against her chest before she was unable to stop herself from looking up at her and begging, “Please stop hating me.”
“You — what?” Leta let out an uncertain laugh, pressing her chin over Corra’s shoulder. “Hate you? I don’t — “
“You do, I can tell you do,” Corra insisted, releasing her and taking a step back. “You never call me anymore and when I call you, you always sound like you’d rather be doing something else and you never tell me what you’re up to and I know it’s because we’re not helping you fight the Society, I know, but please don’t hate me for it, please.”
“Corra, I don’t hate you. Of course I don’t. We’ve just had a really crazy few weeks around here. All these raids.” She smiled sadly. “I swear I’m not ignoring you.”
Corra felt her panic subside a little. But all she managed was, “Really?”
“Of course really!”
“So you’re…not mad that we’re not helping out?”
Leta heaved a sigh. “It sucks, but I understand. And I’m not ignoring you, there’s just — a lot going on. And on top of it all, Fiear’s been really sick lately.”
Leta leaned back against the counter, folding her arms. Across from her, Corra sat on the edge of an exam bench, dangling her feet toward the floor, and they both settled into the normal rhythms of their long talks.
“I thought Fiear looked a little under the weather,” Corra muttered. “What’s the matter with him?”
“He’s had the flu off and on for a month. And he’s exhausted. It could be stress, honestly, with all of these raids … “
“Could be,” Corra agreed. “He’s not really known for taking the best care of himself.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, though. It’ll pass eventually,” Corra assured her. “And if it doesn’t and you get sick of him coughing on you, you’re still welcome on the Beacon y’know,” she added cheerfully. “Daelen’s a good doctor and all, but Finn has this bad habit of getting beat up so we could probably use another.”
Leta smiled thinly. “I’ll keep the offer in mind. Hey — how are things with Finn, anyway? Do you two get along okay?”
“Turns out we make a pretty good team,” Corra told her, grinning. “He does all the charming and I do all the shooting.” She formed her fingers into a gun shape and pretended to fire it, making Leta laugh. “Works out great.”
“So you’re like, friends now?” Leta looked amused. “I thought you used to hate him.”
“I never hated him,” she defended. “Just didn’t like him. I mean, he’s still cocky and arrogant and annoying, but after spending all this time with him, I guess I just ‘get him’ more, y’know? He’s an alright guy deep down.”
“Well, that’s good.” Leta paused, and suddenly her expression shifted with sudden amusement. Or maybe it was disgust.
“Hang on. You’re not like — you two, you and Finn, you’re not — you’re not — “
“What?!” Corra cried laughing incredulously and internally wondering if she had done something to hint at the more intimate side of her relationship with her co-captain or if Leta just knew her too well. “Of course not!” And with a sly smirk, she added, “I know better than to get involved with a captain.”
“Fair enough,” said Leta, but she still look unconvinced. “I just happened to hear that you two happened to get a little close before…”
Corra groaned. “Is Niki still telling people about that? I’m gonna kill that kid.” She shook the thought from her head and met Leta’s stare squarely. “Yes, we made out that one time on Paraven, no, it wasn’t a big deal, okay?”
Leta laughed and shrugged. “Alright, alright. It’s just not fair, you know everything about my love life and lately you’ve told me next to nothing about yours.”
“Because there’s nothing to tell,” Corra lied. “Trust me, you’d be the first to know.”
“So after we got the ship back,” Finn was saying, taking a pull from his beer and then lowering the glass to the bar counter, “Corra just goes up to the guy. And I think he was expecting her to just shout at him or I don’t know what, but she goes up to him, just lifts her fist and decks him across the face.”
Fiearius laughed. “Sounds like our princess alright. She’s something, that girl.” He tilted his beer towards his lips.
“Got that right.” Finn snorted, letting his gaze wander around the crowded pub. It’d been months since he’d sat down for a beer with someone for anything but business reasons. While Corra was running her ‘personal errand,’ Finn had quickly taken the opportunity to spend a few hours with his own friend.
But unless Finn was very much mistaken (he was sure he wasn’t), Fiearius was not completely at ease this evening, even as they ordered another round and relaxed at the bar. Finn glanced sideways at him. “So that about catches you up on our exciting adventures,” he mused. “What’s going on with you? Besides attacking the Society. How’re things with the lady?”
Fiearius’ expression flickered. “Good,” he said at last. “They’re good. Things are good.”
“Oh yeah? Really?” Finn lifted a brow expectantly, but Fiearius averted his eyes.
“No. No, she’s great. Things are great.”
Finn waited a beat, simply letting the happy chatter of the bar fill in for him. Then, Fiearius said abruptly, “Can I tell you something? Something you won’t repeat to anyone else.”