Posted on November 19th, 2007 by Trysa Struan and Ian Blackthorne
Trysa Struan and Ian Blackthorne
Trysa stood anxiously in the Yeager’s hangar, her pert nose wrinkled as she watched Ian’s yacht approach. Rod watched his petite wife nearly dancing on her toes with impatience and couldn’t help but smile. He shoved a hand through his dark hair, barely restraining a laugh. He’d not seen her so excited since their last trip to Earth.
Cocking his hip and leaning back against a bulkhead, he smirked. “Yer gonna exhaust yourself if ye keep tha’ up, love.”
“But he’s nearly here, Rod! It’s been so long since we’ve seen him.” Rod chuckled, then moved to tuck the Trill woman beneath his arm, gently guiding a lock of hair from her face.
“Yer dancing canna help ‘im dock any faster, dear. Come along, they’ve got to drop tha field.” He moved her behind the engineering panel and nodded to the tech.
The approach along the Galaxy-class’s majestic exterior had brought a smile to Ian’s face; it was good to see his old command again after so long. The yacht slid into the Yeager’s shuttlebay and came to a stop, guided by Ian’s practiced hand. Powering the craft down, he turned to Ross and Elizabeth. “Shall we? The accommodations are a bit less crowded out there.”
Ross moved from his seat at the yacht’s window, his eyes a bit starry from watching the Yeager grow to such large proportions. He moved quickly to his mother’s side, unaware of the interplay between his parents.
Elizabeth nodded, resting her hands on Ross’s shoulders. “It will be good to see Rod and Trysa again.”
Ian was honestly surprised by the remark, but didn’t react. He had imagined that she would associate the Struans with the Starfleet that had driven them apart. Perhaps things were changing for the better. He put on a smile and said, “Well, if we don’t get out there, Trysa will likely explode.” He keyed in the sequence to open the yacht’s hatch and boarding ramp as he stood.
Elizabeth and Ross followed Ian to the boarding ramp. A squeal sounded through the hanger bay and suddenly a body threw itself at Ian. All Elizabeth saw was flying red hair before her ex husband stumbled back with a woman in his arms.
Laughing heartily, Ian hugged Trysa tightly as he struggled for balance. “Trysa, it’s good to see you too!”
Trysa pressed a firm kiss on Ian’s lips, laughing happily before he put her down. She didn’t miss Liz’s raised eyebrow, or the cold pressing together of the woman’s lips. With an inward sigh, Trysa made a mental note not to kiss the woman’s ex-husband in front of her. Turning back to Ian, she grinned. “I’ve missed you, Ian! And Elizabeth! What a pleasure to see you again. Is this Ross?” Trysa smiled up the boarding plank as Rod stepped up behind her, hugging his previous commander and slapping him on the back.
“Hello Ian. Welcome back t’ th’ Yeager. Trysa, love, step back so they can de-board.”
Trysa blushed, jumping down to the deck of the Yeager, her eyes on the young boy.
Ian smiled and nodded at Rod. “Thank you, Rod, it’s good to be here. I trust you’ve taken care of my ship?” Before Rod could answer, Ian walked down the ramp and gestured to his son, beaming with pride. “Ross Blackthorne, meet Rod and Trysa, good friends of mine.”
Rod extended his hand, while Trysa continued beaming. “Hello! Welcome t’ my ship, th’ USS Yeager, Ross. Let’s show you to your quarters. Elizabeth, we put Ross next to you.”
Elizabeth nodded her thanks, watching Rod curiously for his reaction to his wife. He was busily smiling at Ross, the young boy’s hand drowning in Rod’s larger one. “Permission to come aboard, Captain?” Ross asked, remembering what Ian had told him to say.
Momentarily putting on a serious face, Rod answered, “Aye, permission granted ta ye an’ yer party, Mr. Blackthorne.”
The Holodeck glimmered in the gloaming light of a sunset over Scotland. Rod’s ancestral home came to life around them. The singing of the Ni’chi filled the air and Trysa exchanged a loving glance with Rod, as she always did whenever they passed the fountain. Rod returned the smile, squeezing her hand, then turned to face Ian. The ceremony was nearly complete and the couple didn’t want to miss a moment of it.
Ian stood tall and proud, the quiet bundle held carefully in his arms. He stood looking at the crowd around him, the collection of Rod and Trysa’s family, and smiled. His mind, however, was far away. What would it have been like to have held Ross like this?
As he had done three times before, he said the pledge to protect the child as if she was his own. He smiled as little Mariana burbled happily, thinking that perhaps he had at least fulfilled this duty to protect his three, now four, god-children, by shielding them from the possibilities of the war.
Trysa dabbed at her eyes, sniffling softly beside Rod. He looked down at her and chuckled, pressing a kiss to her auburn hair. “Now m’love, this be a happy day! Dinna be cryin’,” he teased gently. He knew she’d cry anyway, and that the tears she shed were those of joy. Her tears had been present at every milestone that marked their relationship and he’d always seen them as a symbol of his wife’s unending heart.
They watched together as Ian nodded, then moved toward them with a final kiss for the child. Trysa’s voice was choked with her happy tears as she took her arms from over Meghan and Connor’s shoulders to take Mariana, thanking Rod profusely.
“Congratulations, and I’m honored that you’ve chosen me again as Godfather,” Ian said as the baby returned to her mother.
“We wouldn’t have anyone else, Ian,” Trysa replied back, before kissing him soundly over Mariana’s head.
“Quit yer kissin’ on me wife, Ian!” Rod said with a laugh, well used to Trysa’s ebullient affections. Even after all these years, his Trill wife still didn’t abide by many human ways of thinking. He knew where her heart belonged and was content. “‘Tis honored we are tha’ ye’d do this for us yet again. It seems tha’ lately, th’ birth o’ a bairn ’tis th’ only thing tha’ brings ye back t’ us.” Rod’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “Now, we’ll be feastin’ wi’ th’ crew. Get Elizabeth and Ross and ye’ll join us a’ th’ Cap’n’s table.”
Rod certainly knew how to throw a feast, Ian mused as he walked with them toward the Yeager’s VIP quarters. The entire event had been grand, and now they were all too stuffed to move. It had been a long time since he’d seen that much Scotch whiskey in one place.
Elizabeth and Ross had already been dropped off at their quarters, and now the group approached Ian’s door. “Trysa, might we have a few words together?” Ian asked, making sure to not slur his speech.
Trysa looked up at Ian and smiled, handing the sleeping Mariana to Rod. “Of course Ian. We can speak now if you wish?”
He nodded as the door swished open. “Yes. Rod, I won’t keep her long, I promise.”
“Ye two ha’e lots t’ catch up on, take yer time. G’night.” Rod smirked and headed down the corridor carrying his daughter, knowing how much Ian relied on his wife’s council.
Ian gestured for Trysa to lead the way into the quarters. His bags were neatly arranged on the floor, as he’d yet to make it to his room since he arrived. “Please, sit. Your home is my home is your home,” he quipped. “Can I get you anything?”
Trysa laughed, the sound dancing gaily through the room. “I think I’ve drunk enough to float a starship, Ian, thank you.” She looked around, noting his neatness, the economical luggage, and smiled. Starfleet had a way of teaching it’s officers the value of tidiness.
She settled onto the comfortable couch and gestured for Ian to join her. Ian sat, glad to be off his feet. “I always thought I’d inherited my father’s Irish tolerance for alcohol until I met Rod.”
She laughed again, slipping her fingers through Ian’s and patting his hand affectionately. “Aye, Rod’s got a wee love affair wi’ th’ whiskey, h’does,” she chortled, mimicking her husband’s accent. “But he’s never sad or angry when he’s drunk, it just seems to make his accent thicker.” She turned to face him, tipping her head, studying his face unfettered for the first time since the yacht had boarded. “You’re looking tired, Ian. We were horrified when we heard what happened. It’s good you’re back safe. How did Elizabeth and Ross handle things? Will you be sending them to a counselor as well?”
He let out a long sigh and put his feet up on the coffee table. He probably did look tired after all he’d been through the past several months, but really hadn’t noticed. When did he have time to really look in a mirror? “They’ll be fine. Liz thinks that Ross will need counseling, but I sense that he’s stronger than she may realize.” His Betazoid empathy came in handy sometimes.
Trysa nodded serenely, placing her hands into her lap after a final pat of Ian’s. “And what of you, my friend?”
“When I was in that Machen Bren jail cell, I made some resolutions.” He thought back to one of the few times that he thought he might actually die. “Changes I had promised to make, should I make it out alive.”
Trysa nodded, remaining silent. She’d learned that people would speak into the quiet in order to fill it, and tell her more than she might get otherwise. Ian was wise enough to know that only by speaking would things get resolved and would continue, but in his own due time.
“I promised to deal with having a son. I suppose I did that by saving his life, but I am going to be a part of his life.”
Trysa smiled. “Ian, I don’t think you’ll regret that. Ross seems a wonderful boy, and your life will be fuller for having him in it.”
“Yes, I think so too, and I’m glad to see Liz willing to work with me so that we can both be there for him. More travel for me, but that’s nothing new.”
“No. And you enjoy the travel, Ian. But there’s something deeper, isn’t there? You could have told me this news in a communique.” Trysa rested her head against his shoulder for a moment, then sat up. The counselor had been in Starfleet long enough to understand human morals, even if she chose to follow the Trill morals she’d grown up with. She was close to Ian and he understood her actions did not mean the same as they would for a human woman, but this new relationship with Liz intrigued the Trill, and she’d not do anything to upset it.
Ian immediately sensed her line of thought and headed it off. “We’re not getting back together, if that’s what you’re thinking. It still won’t work for the reasons it didn’t work ten years ago, even if she is willing to accept what I do as necessary. It’s still not who she is to enjoy it.”
Trysa shrugged. “I wasn’t sure whether to hope or not. I don’t have your empathic abilities to sense what she feels for you, or vice-versa. I do think you’re wise, Ian, to stay your current course. Judging by the interplay between you that I witnessed, there are still issues you both need to work through with each other. Of course, if you feel my abilities will help, I will gladly tell Liz that too.”
“I think Liz realizes it too, though I try not to read her; it always made her furious. Not that I still don’t have feelings for her, despite what she did, but the years have diluted them somewhat. Ross changed things though, for both of us. Her bringing him to me forced us to deal with each other.”
Trysa smiled. He was rambling. That meant he did have something further to discuss and he wasn’t sure he was ready to discuss it yet. She stood and moved to the replicator. She ordered a small plate of cookies and dimmed the overheads. Stopping only to light a few candles, Trysa returned, settling the plate in Ian’s lap. “They’re my mother’s recipe, as you like them, Ian.” She tipped her head, pushing auburn hair behind her ear. “Dealing with each other in an adult and mature manner is what is best for all of you. But this discussion isn’t why you came to me.” She pushed him a little, while bribing him with the sweet smell of cookies. “Talk to me, Ian.”
Why had he come to her? It wasn’t really anything in particular, just the accumulation of drastic changes in his life that warranted getting things off his chest to his good friend. “Well, I didn’t come to you for anything specific, you know.” He took a cookie and bit into it, smirking at her. It was the kind of smirk that normally came over the rim of a drink, but one more of those wouldn’t be a good idea.
Trysa just smiled, waiting.
He had never been able to fool her, even when he wasn’t consciously trying. The trip to the Yeager was ostensibly to visit his new goddaughter, but he had jumped at the chance for other reasons, he realized as he swallowed the cookie. “Remind me to never play poker with you.”
She laughed, obviously delighted by the sly compliment. “You know I’ve never gotten my head around that silly game. I’d much prefer to play Tiles or something from home.” She turned in her chair, propping a booted foot on the edge of it and tucking it to her chest. A slim hand patted his thigh. “Shall I let you choose what to tell me next, Ian, or would you prefer I give you a nudge?”
Curious as to what she thought he needed to talk about, he answered with a mischievous grin, “Nudge me.”
She laughed again, then rested her head on the back of the chair. “Tell me of the Orion. Don’t give me the typical ‘I’m mentally balanced’ bullshit you spouted off to Starfleet. I saw those initial reports.” She studied him, her eyes earnest but glowing fondly at him in the dimmed lighting. She reached over and settled her hand over his. “Tell me how you felt when you discovered they had Liz and Ross. Tell me how you felt when you first saw them in that filthy cell, when you brought them back. I want to know, Ian, of the war that was battled in your heart and mind. You know of all people, I am the one that would never, -could- never judge you.”
His voice leveled as he began to tell the tale. “They were separated, so I didn’t get to see Liz until she was safe aboard the Horizon. But when I saw that green-skinned bastard with a gun to Ross’s head… Trysa, that was the first time I’d ever gotten to see my son, and he had a gun to his head. I killed the bloody son of a bitch where he stood, and I’d do it again.”
Trysa nodded, her fingers lightly stroking the back of his hand. “And when you saw Liz? What did you feel?”
“Relief, that she was out of that damnable slave market. I wish I could have set the whole place free, no one deserves that.”
She studied his face. She was not Betazoid, she could not read his mind, but Ian had been her friend for a long time, and she could certainly read his expression. “That is all, Ian?”
“I felt guilty for getting them involved, so it was really a profound sense of relief that she was alright.” He narrowed his eyes, sampling the surface thoughts in her mind. “I didn’t wish any malice on her, Trysa.”
She wagged her finger at him. “Ah-ah. You cheated.” She spent a moment more studying his face, then nodded. “It would have been understandable if you had, Ian. You and she have made each other miserable for some time. You are a good man. Now…” she settled her hand on the back of his again. “You’ve made it clear you’re not interested in getting back with Liz. Have you made any attempts at other relationships?”
He finished his cookie. “An attempt, yes, that failed. For now, it still might go somewhere.”
She nodded. “Good. I’ll not have you be alone, Ian. If this keeps up, I’ll have to play duenna? Is that the word?” She tipped her head, a gamine smile curling her lips. She loved reading about human history and did so avidly.
Ever since his divorce, she had brought this subject every time they talked. “I know, Trysa, I know. In my job it’s difficult to get time for relationships. Aside from a couple of short flings since Liz, I haven’t had time for much. But there is something between my science officer, T’Kirr, and I.”
“Ian. I love you desperately. If Rod hadn’t stolen my heart so long ago, your T’Kirr would have no chance. But, since I cannot have you, I shall be generous and push you at others until someone sticks.” Her eyes danced teasingly, knowing that her old friend would take her words, not from a human viewpoint and be offended, but from a Trill viewpoint and see the compliment she was giving him. “I’ve tried to convince Rod to try this… polygamy that those Mormons practiced, but he’s refused.” She giggled and dropped a kiss upon his cheek, then sighed.
“Ian. I have told you this before, and doubtless will tell you again. You must -make- time for a relationship. It must be a priority in your life. One that you sacrifice as much for as your duty to Starfleet. The blessings of doing so will always outweigh those to your people.” She shook her head, studying his dear face. “You did not learn this lesson with Liz, dearest Ian, although, she always wanted too much. Even if you had put your relationship with her higher, she would have left. She needs someone who puts her above everything. You cannot do that. It’s not how you are made. Perhaps this T’Kirr will understand that, but… Ian… MAKE the time, love. I’ll not have you living alone and I’d rather not have Rod angry with me for bringing another man into our relationship.”
She give him an earnest look, nearly daring him to dip into her mind to see if she were serious or not.
He chuckled heartily, taking the compliment as it was intended and keeping his mind to itself. Many times before he wished that he had met Trysa before Rod did. “Thank you, Trysa, I but I wouldn’t anger Rod, he’s an absolute steel tower of a man and would kill me. As for T’Kirr, well, Vulcans are fascinating, appearing as a calm sea but with a maelstrom hiding just beneath the surface. I know, for a fact, that her feelings for me run deeper than our long friendship and camaraderie as officers; I felt it when I was in her mind, helping her heal from a psychic attack. She can not admit it to herself yet, though. I think that in time she will.”
Trysa nodded, her mind winging back to the days of her and Rod’s courtship. “Aye. Time has a way of moving us along without the interference of pushy counselors.” She grinned. “You’ll keep me updated on the status of this relationship?”
“Of course, Trysa, if only to spare myself hearing about how I need to settle down again,” came the wry response.
Her smile lit up her entire face. “Good. That is good. I’ll expect to hear from you within a week of your return with the information that you’ve set aside some time for this vulcan. Is there anything else you think I’d want to know?” She worded her request carefully. If she’d asked for information he wanted to tell her, he’d wiggle out of saying anything.
“You should know that you’re insufferable, woman!”
Trysa laughed. A full-throated, deep-bellied sound that threw her head back and sent her into gleeful mirth. “Oh aye, Ian. That I be,” she mimicked Rod’s accent, knowing it would tickle the man sitting beside her. “If I weren’t, ye’d nae be lovin’ me as y’do. An then, m’life’d be empty indeed, ya ken?”
He joined in her laughter as he grabbed for another cookie. “Indeed, we can’t have that, and I’m grateful that you are as you are, and I love you for it. Thank you… for everything.” Ian took his hand from under hers and placed it on top, giving her hand a firm squeeze.
Trysa smiled and turned her hand in his, palm to palm. “You’re welcome, Ian. For everything.”