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19 June 2009 @ 09:50 pm
We'll Never Say Goodbye [Part One: The Dangling Conversation]  
Title: We'll Never Say Goodbye [Part One: The Dangling Conversation]
Author: igrab
Pairing: Nero (Oren), Ayel, and Mandana
Rating: R overall
Word Count: 2,193
Summary: Ayel knows that things should be different. He doesn't regret a single day.
Notes: ohgosh why am i doing this.

Like a poem poorly written we are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme, in syncopated time.

Oren was everything Ayel wasn't, and that's what made it exciting.



"I think you mean Geology."

"No, geometry. That's the one with the rocks, right?"

"That's geology."

"Whatever." Oren shoved aside Ayel's notebook, sending paper everywhere. "You know what I'm talking about. Would amorthisite have chain reactions over 1000 degrees?"

Ayel cocked an eyebrow at him. "Probably. Pick up my stuff."

Oren rolled his eyes and obeyed, he was getting them all out of order, but at least Ayel didn't have to move. it was worth it. "You'd think it would stabilize eventually."

"I don't know; it's never been tested. Since when do you care?"

"Since... I have an assignment?" Oren flopped on the bottom bunk; it was technically Ayel's, but it was anyone's guess who'd actually end up there when it was time to sleep.

"Since when do you care about your assignments?"

"I like geometry."


"Geology, right."

Ayel rolled his eyes. He loved his friend, really he did, but sometimes he just couldn't understand what he was doing here. Oren seemed like the kind of guy who should've been... a farmer, or a laborer. He didn't have the brains to be here, and he didn't have the social status, and Ayel hadn't thought it all the way through but really, what was it that kept him here?

Pure willpower, maybe. Maybe one day he'd rolled out of bed and decided, I want to be a miner. And, with his typical Oren bullheadedness, had gone after it with all his strength until he managed.

Oh, and having one of the top astrophysics students as a best friend didn't hurt in the slightest.

Ayel groaned and rubbed a hand at his eyebrows, feeling a headache bloom behind his eyes. He'd been working too hard, probably, trying to cram in as much information as possible because for the past week, when he should have been studying, he'd been out at the shipyard, helping Oren and his brother wrap crates in foam padding before he set out. It had been... nice. He couldn't remember the last time he'd done something so purely physical, and despite what he said, there was really something soothing about the calm hum of muscles working in tandem.

He liked spending time with Oren. He wasn't like everyone else.

"If I fail the test tomorrow, I'm blaming you," Ayel grumbled.

Oren just laughed, his eyes bright. "You won't fail. You'll do just great."

There, maybe, that was probably what Ayel loved about him. That same single-mindedness that had him doggedly pursuing his Geophysics degree, despite working himself raw to pay for it and coming out consistently at the ass end of aptitude tests, the same strength that dragged Ayel out at all hours of the night to follow some promise of a thought, the same shining positivity when he told him, 'you'll make it'. Passion.

Romulans, as a people, had passion. It wasn't something they thought about all the time; you don't think about how the sky is blue or the grass is green, right? Well, that wasn't true. Ayel had always thought about those sorts of things; and maybe that's why he was thinking all of this now. Romulans didn't think, we are a passionate people. But they looked at the Humans (if they had to, because please) and the Klingons (preferably with a barf bucket nearby) and Vulcans, god, the Vulcans were the worst (but at least they had style). The humans were just stupid. Klingons, barbaric. And the Vulcans?

...Vulcans were cold.

Humans were cold, to the Romulans. God they hated the Klingons but they weren't cold, they were dumb and barbaric and fun to crush under a carefully sharpened heel but they weren't cold.

But when you looked at all of it like that, spread out there, all their differences (and they tried to contain their collective mental vomit at the ugly disarray, but failed), Romulans really were a passionate people. Perhaps that wasn't quite the word.


Romulans were unrestrained. In general, Ayel had to append himself, because while he was certainly a Romulan and he was certainly as passionate as the next man (maybe, but he didn't like talking about it, and when anyone asked he lied) he had a well-defined concept of self-restraint.

Oren had passion. Lots of Romulans had passion, so that wasn't it.

"Do you think we could break into the lab tomorrow night to test it?"

He had to backpedal, set his memory to rewind to figure out what the hell they'd been talking about. But he was used to his mental divergences by now, and perfect auditory recall was really kind of useful. "We'd have to crosswire the ovens to get it that hot."

"...Think we'd set anything on fire if we tried?"

"Probably." Why were they still talking about this? They could just, you know, ask the commnet, but that was too easy. Ayel liked a challenge. Oren probably hadn't even thought of the simpler way of doing things.

"Let's do it." Oren smiled at him, and Ayel's lips twitched in a grin in return. The lab got set on fire twice a week, usually. It got full of blood from casual fights far more frequently.

Focus, Ayel realized, the word crystallizing in his brain like rock candy. Oren had passion, yeah, but what he had that most people didn't was focus.

Ayel didn't have focus. Ayel had the kind of very special boredom that comes from being exceptionally intelligent, and utterly unmotivated. He played mind games with himself because he could, invented loopholes in his own pattern of living and did his class assignments in factors. Vulcans would've probably shit themselves to get him in their precious little Science Academy (pathetic, he could outmaneuver them in seconds) but here, on Romulus, he had his curriculum shoved down his throat at the same rate that everyone did. It would've been enough to drive him crazy, if he hadn't found Oren.

Oren gave him purpose. Focus. He had a dream and Ayel thought that was amazing, because he'd never wanted anything that badly in his life. He wouldn't go as far to say that he didn't understand, because he did, or he wanted to, or maybe he hadn't at the time but he did now, but...

Oren was the first person that had been able to make Ayel forget, for a while, that he was smarter than everyone else. Because that wasn't why Oren liked him.

Oren liked him as a person, and when he'd realized that, he'd felt like a Romulan for the first time in his life.

It was mindblowing.

- + -

They got in trouble for setting the lab on fire, as usual. Track records were like war medals to Romulan Science students, and Oren and Ayel had a collective one that stretched and curled and wound like a snake. They got five weeks hard labor repairing blown antimatter chambers and resetting the coils in the lab. Everyone assumed that boring labor was the worst punishment for intelligent students (they got lashes, too, but that was even better than the records), and at one time, Ayel would have agreed. But they got to work together, and Oren made everything better, so Ayel laughed and they play-strangled each other with the iron springs and Oren smeared their faces with ash. Everything was better together.

That night, a week into their punishment, they tumbled into Ayel's bed together, both so tired that they couldn't summon the energy to climb up to the top bunk. It was the hardest he'd ever worked, probably, and they both gleamed with sweat and panted for their breath.

It hadn't helped, of course, that they'd raced each other home; and Ayel had won but he didn't wonder if Oren had let him, if maybe there was some duplicity in his beautiful friend after all.

His hands were in his hair before he knew it, petting and smoothing through the simple black strands. When he turned his fingers inward, touched them in patterns along his scalp, Oren sighed, his breath like a warm caress on Ayel's shoulder.

He should really stop getting carried away with himself, he thought, a little. But it wasn't a very powerful thought, and when Oren shifted in his arms until he could bring their lips together, it simply melted away and flowed off with all the rest of the thoughts in his mind. Because this, yes, this was something he wanted. Something he'd wanted for a very long time, and maybe Oren did too, and now he was nothing but happy.

- + -

"Ugh, humans."

Ayel looked up from his computer screen, blinking to adjust to the dark. "Huh?" He's been painting too long, he looks at Oren and for a minute all he can see is colors, in the vaguely defined shape of his best friend. It's an appealing concept, and he makes a mental note to try it out sometime.

"They're so disorganized." His brow is furrowed as he studies hard, a class on diplomacy of all things. Ayel's in that class, too, but he hasn't started the reading yet; he doesn't know if he's going to. He doesn't care enough, and he doesn't hate humans, not the way so many of his classmates do. They drink down the government-issued propaganda like the ichor of the gods, filling themselves with new reasons to hate. Ayel doesn't waste his emotions hating humans. He's never met one, and the Romulan government is so false and overbearing and spiteful to begin with that he can't see why anyone would believe anything they write.

But he doesn't say any of that, because it's Oren, and Oren doesn't think too deeply about anything. "They're humans; what did you expect?"

"They make legal marriages for love." He said it like an impossibility, which, to Oren's single-track mindview, it probably was. "Why would they do that? What if there's... more than two people, and what if you break it off, and kids, and what if there isn't any successors..."

Ayel rolled his eyes and waved a hand. "I get the general idea that they take everything on a case-by-case basis. It's disorganized, yeah. But they're overpopulated to begin with." Humans bred at warp speed; that much was galactic fact. Romulans were underpopulated and inbred, in comparison. But they had structure - arranged marriages to make family connections, a requirement of two children to pass down the line. Property went to the possession of the most wealthy of the two, and the family line continued to the oldest child. It was organized; and it worked. Love had nothing to do with it.

And then there were bonds. Ayel was considering asking Oren if he wanted to bond; it was maybe a little soon, but he'd been his friend for a long time before they'd become lovers and neither was uncertain of his feelings. Binding their hearts and minds would seal them together, and sometimes, in the hot black heat of the night, he wondered how it would be after, when they were deeper, and he wanted to ask then but he was usually incoherent. Oren was good at that.

He sighed, across the room, and Ayel pulled himself back to the conversation. "It's weird."

"Humans are." He wondered if the information about their nameless, dirty mating - no emotion, no connection - was a Romulan government lie. It might have been. He didn't know. There were few other species so attracted to anonymous hedonism.

Ayel pushed out of his chair; his mind was filled with dark colors and emotion now, and he couldn't focus on his painting. It was a present for his mother; full of pinks and oranges and sparkling sunlight. He could only see greens, now; and dark blue, and red, and black. He could only hear his lover's breathing.

Ayel fisted a hand in Oren's hair and tilted his head forward, so he could press his lips to the bumps of his vertebrae. He could feel the other's smile, feel the way his hands stilled on the touchscreen and shifted to grip the edge of the table.

He moved his lips up and around, sucked on the indentation behind his ear until he was gasping, and once again thought about asking him to bond. He'd say yes, he was sure. But Oren's rough, low groan broke his train of thought, and made him shiver down to the base of his spine, and his lips were too busy for talking.

Later, maybe. Later.

<- "The Sounds of Silence"
"The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" ->
Sister Shining Plasma Rifle of Tranquilityiiiskaaa on June 20th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
Awesome, I've been waiting for someone to start a long fic about these guys. I love the contrast in tone between the prologue and first chapter, and the way you write their younger versions. They both remind me a lot of some of the people who were in my physics program... minus the slash. Which is very hot, incidentally ;)
➵ she walks in starlight: trek 09 / live long and prosperigrab on June 21st, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
thank you very much! more to come on the slash front... ~_^ i love science nerds.
measured_words: Ayelmeasured_words on June 20th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh lovely! I am looking forward to reading more of this and seeing where you go and how you deal with them! :)
➵ she walks in starlight: trek 09 / nero bitchplzigrab on June 21st, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
....*laughs ass off at icon*

is that... is that gankable? because, lol, i love it so.
measured_words: Ayelmeasured_words on June 21st, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
Knock yourself out, just credit the maker, iconsbycurtana :)
jedibuttercup: trek insigniajedibuttercup on June 20th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)

I never even knew I wanted to read a story about the pre-lives for the Romulan crew, but this really, really hits the spot, for some reason.

Looking forward to the next bit.
➵ she walks in starlight: gargoyles / :Digrab on June 21st, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
well now you know. *grins*
Your disease is that incurable one!: plutoraihu on June 22nd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
OH MIN GOTT, this has made me so happy. So sad, ffff. Am now twiddling thumbs, etc.

Oh, and I have to mention that it is awesome to see a story carried on Ayel's perspective. I've been seeing him around, which is fun, but this in particular is giving him - you know - actual weight as a character. And I love the way you're writing him. So!

Your brain seems like a really cool place, I think we should all hang out there!
➵ she walks in starlight: trek 09 / i speak for captain neroigrab on July 11th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
wow I totally didn't see this comment until now, because I am fail, but THANK YOU! ♥

Ayel is pretty much my favorite character in nu!Trek... and... I'm not quite sure what that says about me because he has all of what, two lines? And yet he manages to make a very lasting impression. on me, anyway.


*writing moar of this right now*
Miriaml0stmyrel1g10n on July 11th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
This is excellent! I love Ayel, and I can't wait for the next bit!