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Snug as a Bug

Posted on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 @ 9:31pm by Comm Tech Wulf Edevane & Passenger Kol Wescott-Fitzgerald

Mission: A Shadow On Velvet
Location: Albatross
Timeline: Eros Incident +24hrs 8am Morning Ship Time

Eyes still closed, Wulf nuzzled right up close and personal against a warm body under the covers beside him. His face was pressed up into the nook between cheek and eye socket of said person, but he couldn't remember coming to back to his bunk. He couldn't really remember much after a noisy game of Never Have I Ever in the galley, but the tech smiled and made a contented noise as he sleepily recalled that gathering. Soto was gone. But there had been good company with whom to temporarily drown those sorrows.

One arm was wrapped about this clothed person's chest, the other crushed and still sleeping underneath their shoulders. Broad shoulders, Wulf considered, firm torso. Very firm. Those facts didn't entirely register just yet. His stomach protested, demanded sustenance. Wulf shifted position a little more, waking slowly to the sort of headache only the more lethal alcoholic beverages cultivated in a human brain.

The morning revenge from Ken's choice. Uuuughhhh....

A pang of concern fired up more lazy synapses in that frazzled mind as Wulf moved his face down and encountered a far rougher texture of skin than he'd expected. His eyes opened as he tried to sit up, still pinned by that arm beneath his bedfellow, and realised just exactly where he was.

"Kol?" Wulf said, panic creeping into his voice now. "Wake up, man..."

"wunmorminit" Kol mumbled beside Wulf showing no immediate sign of waking up. Typically got out of bed with minimal fuss. Years of maintaining a micromanaged routine left him with few opportunities to sleep as much as he'd like. Unless alcohol was in the mix, that normally meant he had a few days to himself and he'd always seize the chance to sleep as much as he could normally it was close to his birthday. To his sleep-addled brain the presence of Wulf wasn't initially a cause for concern. He and his twin had shared a bad many-a-time, typically due to one of them being exhausted by the other en route.

Only the more alert he got the more he realised a few inconsistencies with what he was used too. First, whoever had spoken to him sounded nothing like Thomas. Second, they definitely weren't the same size as his brother. Finally, this was not his bed. It took him a while to realise what each of those factors meant but when it did his embarrassment was more effective than anything else he'd ever tried to wake himself up.

Bolting upright the agent looked down where he'd left Wulf, "Sorry," he said sheepishly as he twisted himself so his feet touched the ground. His head throbbed as it tried to keep up with the movement forcing him to sit there waiting for it to pass.

As soon as Kol sat up and released his arm, Wulf shook out his hand and tried to get the blood flowing back through. He scowled darkly at the far wall, but that had nothing to do with his company and everything to do with the tight grip his hangover had on his skull.

"Hey," Wulf told Kol. "S'okay." He beamed a grin that was only marred by the thumping headache and rested a newly warmed hand on the other man's shoulder. "Not like we got naked or anything." A moment's pause and the tech added. "But we don't need to tell the others, right?"

Kol chuckled softly, "We don't have to tell anyone" he agreed. His embarrassment faded as he woke up but he knew the tech was 100% correct about the others not knowing. From what he'd experienced the pair would not live it down. Rubbing his face with his hands he rose from the bunk to stretch, "What exactly were we drinking last night?" he asked turning to face Wulf.

A long relieved exhale preempted a second smile from the comm's tech and Wulf nodded. "Cool," he said, happily. "But y'know, you give a real good cuddle," Wulf added, with an impish look in his eyes. "They teach you that on Earth or Eros?" He asked, half-joking, half-curious. Then he frowned lightly and revisited those broken memories of the previous night. "Something bad," Wulf said and he shrugged. "Something strong. Ken does that. I don't know where he gets that kinda stuff from, but I have a feeling we're better off not knowing."

"Earth I guess," Kol replied with a shrug, "Got a twin brother, we used to drink a fair bit back when I was at the academy," he said as he picked up a flask he'd been keeping water in so he wouldn't need to head to galley during the night if he needed a drink, "I haven't seen him since my transfer," he said as the realisation hit him. It felt strange but the pair had diverged on their paths a long time ago, hopefully being on the 'Tross would provide him with the opportunity to see him. Whilst he'd carried on talking he'd rummaged in one of the lockers near his bunk, retrieving a bulb which he then filled with water and handed it to Wulf.

Wulf listened quietly as Kol spoke, wondered what it would be like to have a twin brother for a moment and soulfully watched the other man drink. He couldn't remember if Kol had mentioned it before, so the tech asked outright. "How long's that? Since you've been on Eros I mean?" A tiny shrug, protecting his head from too much motion, and Wulf added. "Long way from Eros to Earth. I've been there once, but when I was a little kid. Your brother still on Earth? Whereabouts you from? Your folks still there too? Can you still go back?" So many questions, but the handing off of the water-filled bulb brought silence as Wulf took long gulps of welcome hydration. "Thanks man," he said, when he came up for air.

"Originally I'm from Scotland, but was living in Lovell City before being sent to Eros. My brother's out near Ganymede working as an engineer on a private freighter. My parents still live in the home I grew up in. And, I'm not sure I can home without being demoted or ending up on basic" Kol answered without pause as he answered each of Wulf's questions in quick succession. Unless his job called for it he wasn't a particularly private person and Wulf's were harmless enough. Kol took a drink from his bottle before turning to face the other man.

"What about you? Where do you come from? Any siblings? What brings you to the 'Tross?" Kol asked matching Wulf's energy.

"Scotland?" Wulf frowned. "I've never been there. What's it like?" He screwed up his face at the mention of Kol's twin being so far away, and that expression intensified as Kol surmised out loud that he couldn't really return home. "Sorry dude," the tech noted, real empathy colouring his words. "That has to suck." Wulf rested a comforting arm on the agent's shoulder though. "You're stuck with us for a bit now though, at least until you find someplace else you wanna be, huh?" A grin.

"As for me, I was born on Titan," Wulf admitted to the truth outright, though not all the details. "Beach domes and paradise. Kinda," he said, with a mischievous smile. "I've got an older sister, we used to be real close, but not so much now. I'm not sure where she is exactly these days." Which again was the honest answer. "Or what she's doing," Wulf added with a shrug heavily accentuated by his arms out to his sides. "You still talk to your brother?"

"Not as much as I'd like too," Kol admitted perching on a small stool that provided the only seating beyond his bed. Now that he thought about it it'd been close to three weeks since they'd last spoken. Throughout all they'd been through he hadn't until now actually considered that it might be a good idea to reach out and let him know his brother didn't die on Eros. "We used to be inseparable, first in body, then in spirit when he first left Earth. Then Eros hit us with lag and lives started to fill in the spaces between messages, eventually flooding into the space reserved for them. He's probably worried sick" he admitted, he expression wracked with guilt.

Wulf stayed on the bed, wrapped the covers about him and kept quiet as Kol offloaded. He wondered what it would be like to have people who worried if he was dead, but dismissed that thought in favour of suppprting the new guy. "I heard some twins have this kinda telepathic link," the tech mused out loud. "But I guess that's BS huh?" Wulf leaned forward as Kol's face displayed his emotions clearly enough. "Hey man, it's okay, we'll hook you guys up with some comms eventually. Just give me the details of where he is, I'll track him down for ya. It'll be alright. You're not actually dead, right?" He added with a small hopeful smile.

Kol responded with a toothy grin accompanied by a chuckle, "Twins aren't telepathic unfortunately, but when we're together we probably seem that way". It was true, no-one else could read Kol like a book and his brother could do the same to him. Their personalities where distinctly different though. Kol had always preferred more analytical pursuits whilst his brother had always preferred to work with his hands. "I would genuinely appreciate it if you could," Kol said, his expression shifting to gratitude. "Maybe we'll get lucky and bump into him on our travels?" He suggested almost wistfully.

"Running the risk of being too personal, but what keeps you from talking to your sister?" Kol ask cautiously. He hated to pry but maybe he could return the favour Wulf had proposed and help him reconnect with her. Everyone deserved family, but sometimes he guessed it was a question whether their family deserved them. He wouldn't know unless Wulf told him though.

"Sure thing," Wulf promised easily without thought of any potential complications. The look on Kol's face, the emotion in the other man's voice, both were more than enough to reveal the importance in this connection. Twins. "Shame though," he said with a slow grin as he lightly rubbed his temples. "Telepathy could be really cool." He shrugged cautiously, still carrying the headache from hell and canted his head in amusement. "Or y'know, really really bad."

Happiness infused his expression briefly. "I'll find him," Wulf assured his unexpected bedfellow. "People leave traces everywhere. Don't you worry." He was good at what he did, and not ashamed to occasionally brag about that.

The brightness dulled swiftly though, as Kol asked about his sister, an obvious tell that something more than Wulf's actual reply was the real truth.

"Uh," the tech screwed up his face as if he'd tasted something rotten. UNIB agent, Wulf reminded himself and internally cursed. Not exactly the person you told that your sister was evil. "She and I just see things differently I guess. We had a big fight last time I saw her, not something I can easily forgive her for, and she kinda feels the same." Wulf looked guilty as hell for a second or two, then lay back on Kol's bed and covered his face with his hands.

Kol regarded the guilty tech for a moment. He was no stranger to family conflict despite his entirely positive reflections on the relationship he had with his twin. When he'd informed his father of his transfer out to Eros and the situation that had led to it the pair had shared a few unkind words with each other also. In fact, Kol himself had no intention of speaking to his father despite all that had occurred due to feeling as though his Dad valued the Fitzgerald legacy within the UNIB over the fact his son was set for Eros. A punishment he earned because he tried to adhere to the values he thought the UNIB stood for. "That sucks, man" he finally said after a few moments reflection.

"They say you can't choose your family, but it's bullshit," Kol said with a shrug, "don't feel guilty, relationships of any form are a two-way street and I doubt she feels the same given the lack of communication" he reflected, as much for his own benefit as Wulf's. "Besides, seems like you have found yourself a better family on the Tross" he finished. The crew seemed close enough the night before.

Slowly, as Kol spoke, Wulf allowed his hands to slip away and reveal his face once again. It took time, and the expression that looked up at the ceiling now was soulful, a little disappointed and somewhat broken. It hurt, that memory, but that wasn't Kol's doing. "Yeah," Wulf muttered. "It sucks." When your sister expected you to literally kill for her, and you said no, it was kinda hard to re-establish friendly relations. He couldn't say that out loud though.

He didn't apologise directly for that awkward moment, and he didn't sit back up just yet either. "Kinda," Wulf admitted. His cheeks picked up a bit of colour as he responded to Kol's observation. "I guess I pretend they're my family," he admitted. "Not sure they feel the same though. Mickey's always a step away from revealing anything personal, Allegra's mostly a quiet mystery, and Ken doesn't talk about his past much, but we're buddies. I think I need them more than they need me," he confessed.

Wulf's gaze remained upward. "But we watch out for each other, y'know? And that counts for a lot. How about you? Guessing your folks aren't too impressed with the whole Eros thing huh?"

Kol's face scrunched as he recalled the last night he'd spent with his family. The night before he was set to head for Eros his mother decided to host a small gathering consisting of Kol, his parents and his brother. Kol had expected it to be awkward given the sombre occasion but he hadn't anticipated the night to end the way it did. Once the early awkwardness had been pushed through everyone but Kol's father starting the fun. The twins playfully bantered whilst their mother happily chastised them when they got a little too rowdy. His father was a different story, beyond eating his meal and drinking some wine he barely participated.

Eventually, his father decided enough was enough and that he had few words to share with his son. Kol didn't really like going other what his father had said, but it was enough to upset his mother and to push Thomas into dragging Kol out of their parent's apartment with barely a goodbye to their mother. During the time he was Eros he and his father would have minimal contact with most of his updates being sent and responded to by his mother. Kol wasn't prepared to talk it through with him yet in any case. Some things where better-done face to face.

"Dad was pissed. Said a few harsh words on my last night on Earth. Haven't had anything more than small talk with him since," Kol shared. It occurred to him that the last few days had been more intense than he had anticipated and despite the sadness that came with his recollection it was good to talk, but maybe that was enough of the deep stuff for now.

"So, how long have you been on the 'Tross then?" he asked curiously.

He could see that Kol was deep in thought, so Wulf rolled up onto his side and propped his head up on his hand. He wondered what was going on in the other man's head and then Kol gave him an insight. Wulf could fully imagine how that had gone. "Yeah?" He said with a sympathetic look. "That sucks, man. I guess though," he offered by way of some form of compensation. "If he's yelling at ya, that means he gives a shit. Not sure mine even noticed when I left." Wulf shrugged. "But hey, that was a while ago now." Twelve years. Fuck. Nearly half his life out here.

"Two years," Wulf answered truthfully. "She's a good ship." He stared at the wall past Kol's head, momentarily lost in a stray thought. "How long were you on Eros?"

"6 months, the most boring 6 months of my life" Kol shared, "The further backwater you are, the less work there is. It doesn't bode well when Earthers start beating their chest in the outer region. The first, and only case I did was the one that led me to you guys" he added with a shrug. He wondered what would have become of him had he not grown suspicious at the growing population of goons on the asteroid installation. Probably the same place as everyone else who hadn't managed to find a way off of the cursed rock. In that moment he was insanely grateful for the crew of the 'Tross. He owed them his life.

"It got real interesting and scary for those last twenty-four hours though, huh?" Said Wulf, with a face that confirmed it definitely had been the good kinda interesting. He sighed heavily, stared at the ceiling and let the wave of sadness wash back over him, dealing with the impact as it soaked back into his brain. Death. A lot of death. But they'd survived, thanks to Soto's sacrifice. That meant he wasn't about to waste this second chance. Wulf rested a supportive hand on Kol's shoulder. "I just have a feeling we're not gonna be bored for a bit," he said. "Feels like something bad's coming." More than all the dead people back on Eros. "I think maybe you'll be missing those quiet months real soon." Just a bad gut feeling.

Wulf sucked in the bad and tried to focus on something better. "But," he said, finally after a long silence. "We still have family to contact, right? Maybe we focus on that. Your brother at least wants to hear from you." He shrugged. "And your folks back on Earth, they're gonna wanna know what happened when they hear about Eros... I'm betting they'll be happy to hear from you." The tech pointed at himself. "I can help with that."

"Let's get on with that then, I'm sure my mother will be relieved to know I'm alive," Kol said half-jokingly. He regarded the younger techie for a moment. He wouldn't vocalise it but Kol reckoned he'd be grateful for the upbeat outlook Wulf exuded as they continued on their path together. He expected they all had the same feelings of anxieties and doubts about what their shared path had in store for them if they could all only have a fraction of the positivity Wulf had he reckoned they'd be okay.

"She will!" Wulf said enthusiastically. He got a safe vibe from the Earther, just a mix of gut feeling and a good resonance. Kol was okay. He'd stick around, and Wulf would keep a friendly eye on the newer newbie, show him how the Tross ran people-wise, warn him about that phantom jingle behind the bulkhead and generally make him feel at home. "I'll find your mum, don't worry." He promised. Then Wulf sat up on the bed and offered up a big dumb shit-eating grin that just proved he was done with being entirely serious for a while. "So, you wanna snuggle some more, or shall we go get breakfast? I'm starving...."

Kol's stomach rumbled as if on cue, "Definitely breakfast, need to soak up the rest of whatever it is Ken served up last night" he half-joked as he collected his mag boots and pulled them on. Once secured he turned to Wulf, "Thanks, man. I know I didn't offer the warmest of introductions when we first met. Hope the second time around made up for it".

"Hey," Wulf said, his head tilting as his tone did. "You didn't arrest us, or shoot us, that's warm welcome enough." And they had been kinda sneaking about under the floor after all. "We're good." He offered a fist to be bumped as he stood, coming up short and lean by comparison to the big unit that was Kol. "C'mon, dude," the tech gave the door an upward nod, winced, then rubbed his temples gently before he took a step towards the exit. "I'll rustle us up some food, then we can go wake Ken up with a coffee and see if Allie-gator is still alive."

End Scene.

 

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