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At Cross Purposes

Posted on Thu Jun 23rd, 2022 @ 1:01pm by Addy Stone & Shepherd Harley

Mission: The Xiao Jin Chronicles
Location: Xiao Jin, Dining Room
Timeline: Mission Day 22 at 1000

Breaking atmo was always bumpy and even as that thought ran through Addy's head she had to chuckle. She'd been in that position what... a whole handful of times now? Hardly enough to consider definitive. Still, on the Xiao Jin it held true, at least since she came on board.

Equally true had been the Shepherd's queasiness as they ascended and Addy found Sula, now, in the dining room, the green of nausea finally fading. She'd wanted to talk with the other woman since their conversation on the ramp. Something about the way that Sula had spoke and the way she'd inserted herself into the discussion about back up for Quinn ate at her. If she could she'd just as soon put that niggling uncertainty to bed and so she entered the room, nodding her greeting, and made a beeline for the tea, snagging two mugs as she went.

Sula had been drinking tea, blowing on it before taking each sip. There was a rhythm and precision about her movements, as if each had been practiced over the course of her lifespan. She returned the greeting to Addy and then noticed the two mugs that were taken. "Spending the night with the Captain again, I s'pose?"

Addy stiffened slightly, but forced her shoulders back down from her ears where they seemed to want to go. "I live with the Captain," she said matter-of-factly, turning to face the other woman and leaning her butt against the counter. "It's not spending the night. That's literally where all of my stuff is."

"I see," Sula replied sagely. "Things are progressing rather quickly, then." She raised her mug towards Addy. "Was I blind to miss that move or did it happen when everyone was away, I wonder?" she mused aloud and shaking her head.

The redhead fought the urge to gape. "Progressing... quickly..." She shook her head. "Happened more than 2 weeks ago, 'fore we set down on Boros the first time." The tea kettle whistled and she looked between the two mugs. One had, truthfully, been for Sula. She'd just been so much in her own head that she'd missed the mug in front of the Shepherd. With a sigh she put one away and poured her own, turning back as the tea began to steep. "What did you think was going on there?"

"Going on where?" Sula asked genuinely confused. "Boros?" The Shepherd paused again. "Much of what I remember about Boros was tending to Kane, searching for supplies, and the Captain requiring getting fixed up." She blew on her tea and took another sip. "Of course, two weeks is not a great deal of time, though it is said the Lord created the 'verse in 6 days and on the 7th, rested. Have you ever wondered how long a day might be to Him? I wonder if it is the same to us." Once again, Sula blew on the tea and drank some more.

Patience. Patience. Patience. Addy forced the word through her skull like a mantra. Patience was absolutely not just something she needed for Quinn. Clearly, she was going to need it for the Shepherd as well. "What did you think was going on when I went to the Captain's room every night?" She said, asking the question plain and ignoring the religious commentary since clearly it hadn't been obvious before.

Sula blinked twice, wondering at Addy's question. "I said before you were lovers. That did not mean that you moved in. Assumptions, well, they make an ass out of you and me, no? One observation does not necessarily lead to the other, right?" She audibly exhaled, steam from her tea, moving away horizontally. "And, I don't watch you or your behavior every night. That would be inappropriate, don't ya think?"

"You watched enough to assume that I was being called to the Captain's quarters just for sex," Addy responded dryly. "And to assume that perhaps I was foolish in my choosing." It was a leap, but the right one she thought. Her mind ran back over the conversation on the ramp as best as she could remember it. Turning she pulled the tea bag from her mug and lifted the mug to her mouth, blowing softly.

The Shepherd squinched her eyes, truly confused as to Addy's conclusions. Was she jealous? Was she angry? If so, why? She was the one who stated she was living there. "I made no assumption that you were called there for sex. Besides, from where I have sat, you're more over the moon for Poe than he for you. But he does not express much. Even so, as I told you, what was it, a couple of weeks ago? I told you that you were lovers and that you were in the 'everything is wonderful' stage of a relationship. It was written all over your face, Addy."

She leaned back in her chair, sipped a bit of tea and then continued, "And your protectiveness now only confirms what I've said all along. There's nothing wrong with any of that."

The mechanic sighed. Talking with the Shepherd felt like a constant game of whisper down the lane. Nothing was said plain and everything seemed to have more to it than the words themselves, the message getting muddled somewhere in the delivery. "Well," she said then, "If 'twasn't you who thought we were just having sex then you certainly implied that was the thought of others on the crew."

Sula wondered if Addy listened to herself speak. More often than not, she backtracked on her own words and misunderstood nearly everything. Why? Did not being lovers mean that they were having sex? Didn't she tell Addy that she and Poe should be open about it and announce their relationship so that people would be more comfortable? What implication was there that Addy was there? The Shepherd calmly took in a deep breath and let it out over her tea. "I knew it was likely that you were having sex, Addy. Did I not state that?"

The redhead stared, tea halfway to her mouth now that it had cooled enough to sip. "You know what... never mind," she said, annoyance clear in her tone. Clearly the Shepherd was missing her point. "Only thing I've got to say is that we've got a new crew and I'd appreciate it if you'd leave the worrying about our relationship to Quinn and I. Don't owe anyone an explanation and I'd also be happy for folks to just accept as is instead of making sideways implications about the appropriateness of our activities or my ability to perform my responsibilities."

The tea suddenly tasted unpleasant in her mouth as she took another sip, making a face. She set the mug down, arms crossing over her chest as she debated walking out of the room. That felt like defeat, though, so she stayed put.

The Shepherd screwed up her face, again wondering why Addy was getting so upset. "Yes, we have a new crew but I don't worry about your relationship. You, however, seem very worried about it. Why is that?" Sula leaned forward over her tea that she placed down, placed her elbows on the table and clasped her hands together, forming a triangle. Her face leaned in hovering over her clasped hands.

If she had been staring before she was gaping now. "You're kidding, right?" She shook her head as if doing so might somehow right the clearly bizarre direction that the conversation had taken. "You are the one who said something to me about the relationship a few days ago. I didn't bring it up to you. You are the one who questioned my competence in front of the Captain. And you are the one who clearly had some inkling that other crew must have felt uncomfortable or at least that sure seemed to be what you were implying. So for someone who isn't at all worried about our relationship you sure seem to have opinions on the matter." She shook her head again. "I'm not worried about my relationship," she said, tone turning cold. "I'm worried about having people who don't have a right to being privy to the details making assumptions and using those to question or undermine."

She pushed off the counter then, mug in hand. "I'll thank you to keep to the not worrying about it," she said. "I've got work needs doing." And then, without another glance, she strode from the room.

Sula sat backwards in her chair, flattening her back against its back, as if pinned by the sharpness from Addy's words. "Addy, I think you're under a great deal of misconceptions. I've never questioned your competence. And the only thing I mentioned about your relationship was about telling the crew.... Your reactions now, though, are very concerning."

She stopped to take a deep breath and compose herself. She silently reminded herself, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. "Perhaps we should talk about this again another time. It is not good to clear up misunderstandings in this way. Harsh words only stir up anger," Sula concluded, quoting Proverbs.

If Addy heard the Shepherd's protestations as she left the room she didn't acknowledge them and was already out of sight before the other woman's quotation left her lips.


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