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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:25 pm 
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February 13th 2016 Italy, Island of Ischia

It was quiet at night, really quiet, Caleb rolled onto his side facing Claire again, who was at the moment asleep. He knew that if he stayed there staring at her she'd soon wake up, she had the uncanny ability to know when he was looking at her, but he didn't want to disturb her just yet. He had managed to keep the small aspect of insomnia to himself at the moment, between the travelling from Atlantis back to Earth, getting debriefed, visiting both sets of parents (which were in completely different time zones), travelling to this mini vacation, it had taken it's toll.

The last few nights had been the worse, he would fall asleep alright, especially if they had slept together, which most nights they did. It was just, he'd be awake again about an hour later, he passed the days purely by running on caffeine and maybe a slight over exaggeration of charm (which he wasn't sure went entirely unnoticed by Claire), but it was beginning to get to him. The dark smudges under his eyes weren't going to get missed much longer.

As quietly as he could, he pulled himself from the bed, the very ridiculously comfortable bed and padded his way quietly to the small balcony. The room was small, not too small and it was warm enough that they could keep the door open, being on the third floor there was definitely no chance of anyone getting in. He only had his pj bottoms on, as he stepped into the cool air.

The small vacation away had landed them both in Italy on the Island of Ischia, it was such a lovely island, it reminded him a little of Atlantis itself, just a small floating island in the middle of water. He ran a hand through his hair, he bloody well missed Atlantis in that moment, he had never missed anywhere as much as Atlantis. Atlantis had been every Christmas wish rolled into one, and then some, there was always something new to discover, something to fix, new people to speak to and yeah he was thankful he didn't have to worry about his life getting sucked out of him now he was back on Earth. He still wasn't sure which was more terrifying the Wraith or the Goa'uld, the jury was still out on that one.

But he missed the hum of the city, there was constant noise all the time and being back on water had felt like being back on a submarine. Then there was the added bonus of Claire being with him, their relationship had gotten nothing but stronger as the year had gone by, there had been amazing times and some real tough decisions and friends they'd lost. But it had made them closer than ever in the long run.

He just wished he could sleep now, to curl up in the bed next to Claire, but the worry to the back of his mind, and just be with Claire. Maybe he should have said something sooner, but he hadn't wanted to worry Claire when they were with their parents, it could wait this was just something silly of that he was certain. Or rather that is what he told himself as he stood outside, watching the water and listening to the sea.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Claire let out a long, slow, silent breath as she felt Caleb leave the bed beside her. It had been an almost regular occurrence over the last few nights, even before they had left his parents' home in England. She hadn't known him to be so restless in their sixteen months as a couple; in fact, he usually slept far more soundly than she did.

She was more than a little worried about him. Ever since they had left Atlantis on leave, she had felt a little piece of him was missing, and, while Claire had an inkling as to what might be wrong, she couldn't be certain. Usually, Caleb didn't stay up for too long before coming back to bed, but, tonight, she wasn't about to let it pass. It wasn't something that she could allow to carry on, otherwise it would fester between them into something irreparable.

Quietly, she slipped from between the cool cotton sheets, grabbing the t-shirt that Caleb had discarded the night before and slipping it over her head, before padding out to the balcony. She stood behind him for a few seconds, watching the tense set of his shoulders as he looked out to sea, clearly feeling the pull of the ocean.

Without saying a word, Claire slipped up beside him, letting her hand rest on top of his where it lay on the balcomy railing. "Penny for them, e te tau," she said, her voice soft. There was no note of accusation there, just a simple question she let hang in the air between them.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:33 am 
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It was kind of nice stood there on the balcony, listening to the sea that was just mere meters away. It might have been only February in Italy but the nights were still warm, even as a small breeze seemed to blow from the sea.

He had never really felt homesick before, he'd always had itchy feet had always wanted to keep moving, it was part of why he had joined the Navy so many years ago. You weren't in one place for any length of time. Then he had come across the Stargate programme (or rather it had come across him) and then he'd met Claire. Claire had become his home, he had married her – in his own way – and that was meant to be it, it felt like home.

It wasn't like he wanted it a different way, far from it. But standing there in that moment, he actually longed to be on Atlantis, he actually missed the background noise of people still milling around, the hum of the city as though it knew when it's inhabitants were sleeping so it quietened its self down. To be back at sea, was something he hadn't realised he'd missed until he was on Atlantis, it was almost as though he could subconsciously feel the city move with the waves. Which he knew it didn't do, but he liked to think it did. Compile that with the jet lag, the no sleep for the last few days and it was like he couldn't breath, and he felt himself tense in frustration.

Frustration mainly at himself for not being able to sleep (he really wanted a good nights sleep at some point), of keeping it from Claire (mainly so he didn't ruin whatever time they had with their parents before they returned to Cheyenne) and then the frustration of not knowing how to start the conversation now they were on their own.

He let out another breath, preparing to sneak back into bed – maybe he'd get another hour of sleep – when Claire appeared beside him. Her hand resting on top of his, he smiled at, trying to turn the charm on and with the dark smudges under his eyes, the lack of sleep, probably failed pretty damn miserably.

“Don't think there worth a penny, sweetheart,” he said, a little self depreciating.

Looking her over, he realised that she was wearing his discarded t-shirt from earlier in the day, and despite the lack of sleep, he had to admit it still looked good on her. “Although am always happy to see you in my clothing.”

It was a delaying tactic on that had been perfected whenever he didn't want to start a difficult conversation, or when he wasn't sure how to start said conversation. One he knew Claire would see straight past, she had a knack for knowing when to push him to talking and knowing exactly what to say to get him talking.

He turned his hand over so he was holding hers, fingers twined together, “I didn't mean to wake you, go back to bed,” before bringing her hand up and kissing the back of it.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:45 am 
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"Okay, maybe they're worth two pennies," Claire replied, her voice soft and faintly amused. The moon glittered on the Mediterranean as Claire turned her gaze over the bay for a moment, the lights from the marina at Chiaia laid out in front of them. Caleb's eyes were glued to the sea, and it wasn't hard to imagine where his mind was.

While they had been on Atlantis, he had been so happy, close to the ocean that he loved, and, while he had appeared to enjoy their leave back on earth, Claire couldn't help but notice that there was something different, something missing. Even coming to Ischia, where they were surrounded by the tranquil Mediterranean, hadn't seemed to lift his spirits.

Now, stood there on the balcony with Caleb, Claire knew that it was time to talk. She couldn't let him suffer in silence any longer, otherwise whatever he was missing would just eat him up inside, and he would never open up, no matter how hard she pushed. He looked so tired, so bereft, that it was clear to her that he was reaching his breaking point, and it would break her heart if whatever was eating him up changed the man she loved.

She glanced down as he tangled his fingers with hers, before looking back up and catching his gaze as he kissed the back of her hand. "Not going back to bed without you, e ipo," she said, her voice quiet and firm. "Don't think I've not noticed that you're not completely happy, and that breaks my heart. Kei te aroha au i a koe. I'm your wife. Please, don't shut me out. Talk to me, Caleb, tell me what's wrong."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:25 pm 
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He felt kind of guilty in that moment that he had made Claire worry about him, it was definitely not his intention to make her worry, far from it. If he could have kept her smiling and laughing all the time then that was a big bonus in his book and there had been so many times over the past year or so where there had been nothing but laughter from both of them. That felt like a world away....he realised it actually was a world away.

He smiled a little as she quite firmly stated she wasn't going back inside without him, he appreciated the sentiment, and then his heart sank again. He really thought he had done a better job of getting out of bed without her noticing, or maybe he had not done it quietly enough in the hopes she would notice and call him on it. He wasn't too sure any more, a few of the days previous had kind of blurred into one, the consequences of travelling between so many different time zones in such a small space of time.

“I don't mean to shut you out, or didn't mean to,” he said quietly, “You know that right? We were just having such a good time seeing everyone again, I didn't....” he trailed off. He hadn't meant to not tell her, he had just seen the smiling face of Claire, of her parents, of his own parents and of himself as well and didn't want to put a damper on that.

Not that he hadn't enjoyed himself as well, he had been perfectly fine throughout most of the days, spending time catching up with her father had been amazing. Yes there might have been some trouble making going on between the two of them, he was still surprised to this day how well he got along with Rawiri. Then it had been a plan journey to see his parents and that had been just as fulfilling to do.

It wasn't really until they had stopped that everything had sank in and damn hell if that didn't terrify him. The promotion, the parents, the damn Beta site posting, that was a lot of weight in one go, he found himself gripping her hand tighter especially as she called herself his wife. Somehow that got to him every time and still couldn't believe she was actually his.

“I miss it,” he whispered, as though he couldn't quite find a voice to put the words to, as he nodded to the sea. “Just everything you know. I didn't mean to keep anything from you Claire, never.” he smiled a bit ruefully, “I guess jet lag really is a bitch to me this time. Am sorry I woke you, how long have you known?” It didn't need to be said out loud that meant his night time wondering.

“What if we don't get to go back? If I loose that sense of home? I don't get homesick, Claire, never have and now....now it's like I've got the worse case ever and I don't know how to,” frustration seeped into his voice, frustration at his inability to put words to what was bothering him.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:47 pm 
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Claire could hear the note of upset wending its way through Caleb's words, the guilt that she had found him outside plainly obvious. And then she went and added to his guilt by letting him know that he had been shutting her out over... well, whatever this was. "I know you don't mean to," she said gently. "And I know you're trying to protect me, but you don't need to protect me from anything." She paused for a moment as she felt Caleb's hand squeeze more tightly around hers.

His voice was small, almost choked, as he admitted to missing Atlantis. Suddenly, everything made sense. Caleb was homesick. Claire knew that feeling all too well. She had suffered terribly when she had first moved to the USA, and Caleb had, in fact, caught her at her lowest ebb. That was when their friendship had moved up a gear, and they had started geting closer.

Caleb had made her feel better, had distracted her, given her something good to latch onto at the SGC, a friendship that had exploded into something beautiful. Something that she wanted to protect at all costs. Caleb himself had never struggled with that feeling; his time with the Royal Navy seemed to have prepared him well for living in the USA. He had been away from his family for years, and had learned coping mechanisms which, at that point, Claire had yet to develop. Her friendship and subsequent relationship with Caleb had given her the stability she needed to settle down.

"I miss it too," she replied, nodding slightly. "And don't you dare be sorry for waking me. I wish you'd told me before, though. I'd wondered what your little night time wanders were all about. I've known for a few days that something's not right, but figured you'd tell me when you were ready. Then, when you didn't say something... well, I decided that I needed to."

Letting go of Caleb's hand, Claire moved closer, moulding her body to his, her hands sliding up his back to rest near his shoulders. "We'll go back," she said, her voice certain. "And you'll never lose that sense of home. I'll make sure of it. Tell me what will help, and I'll make sure it happens. Just remember that you're not alone, okay? We're a family, and you're never losing me."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:35 pm 
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It felt good to put voice to some of what had been plaguing him, even if he hadn't actually made much sense or said as much as what he thought he had. It was good to say the words out loud, to give them there time out there and he did feel a bit better, sure it still felt like there was a weight in his chest and it felt a little heavier when he realised that he had been keeping this whole thing from Claire to protect her.

There was one thing he had told himself ever since they got together and that was he wouldn't lie to her and wouldn't keep things from her (okay that was two things) to protect her. He knew how much of a strong woman she was, it was one of many things that attracted him to her, or rather it was once he realised how much he liked her. “It wasn't about protecting you,” he said, “or it didn't start out that way, we were just having such a good time with everyone I didn't want to spoil that.”

Caleb generally wasn't one for spoiling most things, he didn't get down or frustrated often, this was probably the worse he had felt in...well it was probably the first time he had felt like this if he was being honest with himself. An his frustration usually dwindled out after either a run (which he had started doing on Atlantis with a couple of the other people there), from taking something apart and putting it back together or from speaking with Claire. He had to admit that the speaking to Claire had become more and more his go to, to talk out his frustration over the past year or so, and he knew the both of them had some excellent distraction techniques.

He was surprised to hear that that Claire missed Atlantis too, of course he knew she'd miss the friends they had made, he did as well, “Really?” he asked, even as he realised he hadn't been as subtle sneaking out of bed as he would have liked. “I didn't go far, always came back to bed, back to you. I just, I didn't know how to say it.”

It was true, he had grown as person (especially when it came to his relationship with Claire) over the last year or two, had actually told people things instead of just speaking. But even after all this time some habits were still there, he had knew he had spent the past few weeks probably speaking but not actually saying much. He had come along way in sharing things about himself, when it came to the relationship, but he guessed there was still some things he had to break.

As Claire moved in closer to him, he wondered what she was going to do when he was basically engulfed in a hug, he wrapped his own arms around her tightly, head resting on her shoulder – him having bend over slightly to do so – and he wasn't about to admit that, that lump his throat got a bit bigger or that his breath caught.

He squeezed his eyes tight for a moment, just holding her close, breathing her in, the smell of the sea mingling in with that distinct smell that was just Claire. Home. He raised his head up a little, as he said, “I don't know what will help, you're my home, am not suppose to feel like this,” he admitted, as though it was some great big revelation. “Just....” his voice got lower, quieter, quiet enough that had they been anywhere with more noise she wouldn't have heard him, “don't let go,”


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Claire gave Caleb a wry smile. No matter that he knew she was strong and capable, he still - occasionally - tried to protect her from things that she didn't need protecting from. Not that she would ever castigate him for it. Usually. This time, though, if she hadn't said something, it would have started eating Caleb up.

"Next time, just talk to me, okay," she said, her voice soft and warm. "It wouldn't have stopped us having a good time, but it might have stopped you from reaching this point." Caleb wasn't used to feeling helpless, and the unaccustomed homesickness was leaving him feeling cast adrift. Instead of anchoring himself, he was letting himself be tossed about by the perfect storm of his own emotions.

Claire twitched an eyebrow up as Caleb expressed surprise at her admission that she missed Atlantis as well. They had built a life together there: it was their home, and it was only natural that she would miss it too. "Really," she said. "How could I not miss it? That's where we started building our future. We'll be back there in a few short weeks, too. But no matter where we are, we can make it a home." She turned her head and dropped a soft kiss onto his arm. "I know you never went far. Why do you think I didn't come after you until tonight?"

She could feel Caleb relax as his arms enfolded her, holding her tightly to him, his head dropping onto her shoulder. His bare skin was cool against hers, and she let her fingers drift up and down his back. She would never tire of feeling the hard planes of muscle shifting against her skin. The emotional bond they shared was almost palpable, and Claire didn't think she had ever been so close to someone. Caleb knew her better than anyone else had ever known her.

She felt tears pricking her eyes as Caleb called her his home, and she let her eyelids flutter shut, her lashes brushing Caleb's chest. "You're allowed to feel however you feel," she murmured against his skin. "This is just something new for you. I'm here for you, no matter what, okay? You got me through my homesickness. Now let me be here for you." Claire almost burst into tears as Caleb asked her not to let go.

"I won't let go. I'll never let you go."


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:57 am 
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Caleb huffed out a small laugh at that, he was going to do his damn hardest to make sure there wasn't going to be a next time of not speaking to her, “I know, I will,” he said, making the promise that he would at least use his words next time.

Hearing Claire speak of Atlantis of missing it, was soothing in a way he hadn't actually anticipated, sure he had a vague notion of the fact she probably did miss it (they hadn't lived together for that long and not picked up a few cues from each other), but for some reason he had thought he was feeling it worse. Especially when he hadn't really realised what he was feeling for a time, he had never experienced homesickness, sure there had been maybe a small amount when he'd first joined the Navy oh so many years ago, but that had been overshadowed by the fact that it was something new and exciting and by the time he had made port once more, it hadn't felt like he was missing home at all.

So he stood there in Claire's arms, her comforting him after his whispered 'don't let go', he very much was not that accustomed to feeling as he currently was. He was a solider and stood there in that moment, no matter how right it was to open up to his partner, it still felt like it should have been trained out of him. Soldiers weren't meant to feel right?

He wasn't sure how long he actually stood there, holding onto Claire, he did become aware of her hands trailing a soothing pattern up and down his back, he wasn't sure when she had started that, but it was definitely there now. He took in another breath, this time laying a soft kiss just at the hem of the t-shirt he lifted his head to look at her, “thank you,” he didn't need to thank her, this was what they did for each other.

This was what they were meant to do for each other, and he realised this was probably the closest he had actually come to being with someone, physically, mentally and emotionally, he had never had this kind of relationship before. But instead of it terrifying him, which a year or so ago it would have had him running to the furthest planet he could get to, it made him feel stronger, like a better person.

Staring at her, he realised he meant what he had said a moment ago, Claire was his home, no matter how much he missed Atlantis and it still hurt like he'd been shot at the moment (he wasn't completely cured after admitting everything), he realised now he had voiced it, it had eased a bit. The feeling was still there, twisting at his stomach when he paid it too much attention, but it had eased, it wasn't so knotted up any more and that was down to Claire.

Smiling softly at her, he said, “Do you remember that botched attempt for our anniversary when we were on Atlantis?” he wanted to speak of something a bit lighter, maybe if he voiced some of the good memories from Atlantis, that knotted feeling was going to ease any more. “Do you realise what day it is tomorrow?”


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:59 am 
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Claire could feel some of the tension ebbing out of Caleb, and, for that, she was grateful. He was far more emotionally sensitive than he would ever admit to anyone, even to her, and it took a little coaxing and encouragement for him to open up sometimes. She didn't like having to be as blunt as she had been that night, but, on occasions like this, it was something that had to be done.

She let her fingers trace featherlight patterns up and down his back for a few moments - or it might have been a few minutes - as they stood there in silence. Sometimes, words weren't needed between them, an this was definitely one of those times. Caleb had opened up, had shared his homesickness and his fears that they might never return to Atlantis, and, at least for now, that seemed to be enough to soothe him.

"You don't need to thank me, e taku tahu," Claire breathed, her words warm against Caleb's skin. "I'm here for you, no matter what. In sickness and in health, and all that." Sure, so they may not be officially married, but the words of the traditional marriage vows still held true for them. Whatever life threw at them, Claire had no intention of ever letting anything or anyone come between them.

Releasing a breath Claire hadn't realised she was holding, she pulled Caleb closer to her, her cheek resting on his chest. Lifting her head, she returned the smile as Caleb reminded her of their botched attempts at a first anniversary celebration on Atlantis. It had been a long and difficult day, with Caleb offworld, and Claire run off her feet in the infirmary. Caleb had planned a surprise for her, but, by the time they had finished and got back to their quarters, all they had been fit to do was collapse into bed - still clothed - and sleep.

"How could I forget that," she laughed, shaking her head. "All those plans you made, and we were both too knackered to do anything about them! I'm sorry about that." She frowned for a moment as he asked her about the date. It took a few seconds for it to sink in, and she raised a suspicious eyebrow. "Valentine's Day... have you been planning again?"


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