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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:49 pm 
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If there was one thing that Caleb knew about Claire was that she could still damn well surprise him, even when he was completely battered, bruised, sore and didn't deserve one ounce of the smile that was playing across her face. As she all but stood naked in front of him, damn if he wasn't as hurt as he had been he would have definitely be pushing her back down on the bed, even as the thought ran through his mind he found himself smiling at her.

“And I thought I was the exhibitionist in this relationship,” he joked with her, as he took hold of her hand that she was offering, standing up was a bit more difficult after having been in one position for so long, damn he really couldn't wait for the soreness to go.

But once he was up right, only barely hissing in pain once or twice, he managed to get his feet to work, it was like he was walking around with a pair of shoes on that were three sizes too big for him. It wasn't that he was falling over, but more his body didn't seem to be cooperating as well as he'd like it and knew that it was the side effect of everything that had happened to him in such a short amount of time.

He looked at his feet making sure he was sure footed before looking back up at her, “You know, if I was any better, I'd definitely make you lead the way,” he said, sounding as close to normal as he could get.

The shuffle to the bathroom seemed just as long as the shuffle he did from the infirmary to their quarters, although there wasn't as much sweat pouring off of him as he reached the door. It was as though the thought of a hot shower would be what cured all his problems, it was the one thing since she'd mentioned it that he was looking forward to in that moment and so what if he had to hold onto her like some damn cripple person. There was a shower waiting at the end of it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:30 pm 
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Claire sat, cross-legged, on the bed, quietly despairing at Caleb. Ever since they had finished their shower, he had seemed to have a second wind, and was showing no interest in getting any more rest. It was just gone five, too early to be up and about, and if Carson was to begin the accelerated healing programme that morning, Caleb really needed to get a little more sleep. He was going to need all his strength.

If she said anything, though, he would simply dig his heels in and refuse to cooperate, and then make things ten times worse. She had to think of a way of getting him to settle down, and clearly hinting that he ought to be coming back to bed, by sitting there naked, wasn't doing the trick.

Sighing, Claire ran a hand back through her damp hair, shooting Caleb a tired smile as he seemed to be gearing up to causing some sort of trouble. She cocked her head for a moment, before nodding at his side. "Before you get ready to run a bloody marathon, e ipo," she said, her voice quiet and gentle. "How about we get a fresh set of dressings on your side, eh?"

She had checked out his wounds as they showered, and he was making good progress, the first signs of real healing beginning to show. The accelerated healing would rid him of the physical wounds within a couple of days, but how long would it be before the mental scars began to heal?

Claire shot Caleb a coquettish look, even as she reached into the bedside cabinet for the first aid kit. "Besides, a wife could start feeling a bit rejected if she has to stay in bed naked and alone for too long!"


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:52 pm 
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It was like the shower had washed everything away from him, he hadn't felt this good for a while now, he didn't feel as tense, he could actually move around a bit easier, although his side still felt sore, it was just nice to move around. The shower at first had actually hurt, the water pouring onto him had felt like little needles and he hadn't been sure if would have been able to carry on, but after a small while it had become less like needles dancing across his body and also with Claire by his side he was able to stay not only standing up but in the shower longer.

Of course there would the inevitable crash, he was almost expecting it happen as soon as he left the warmth of the bathroom, but for the time being he wasn't feeling them effects. He also pretty much was not looking at his side, the wounds were getting air around them and yes he could feel the mildest of itching start on them, and although he had sort of half rubbed a hand near them he hadn't yet actually progressed to itching them.

He hadn't missed the fact that Claire was very clearly sat on their bed naked, had offered up a smile or two on some of his walking backwards and forwards, but he hadn't done anything about it. Hadn't in a word jumped her, and he felt a bit guilty at that, because the sight of Claire naked on their bed, well she definitely wouldn't normally be on her own for long.

But he hadn't stopped yet, he was half dressed, the second softest pair of pyjama bottoms on him, thankfully the room was warm so it wasn't like he was going to be getting cold any time soon.

At Claire's question though he stopped his walking back and forth, “I wasn't planning on running any marathons,” he commented lightly, “Besides I can actually move, nothing really hurts, don't you all want me to move around more?” It wasn't said nastily, it was just a genuine curious question, they wanted him to move around more, to make sure he didn't seize up.

Even his mood seemed to have lifted slightly with the shower, as though it had washed everything away in that moment, even though he knew that wasn't true and all he had to do was wait for the next wave of frustration to hit.

He did laugh at Claire's next comment though, even as he stopped at the bottom of their bed, still not joining her yet, crossing his arms across his chest, he commented, “And what if I just want to look at you eh? Would you let an injured man do that?”

The smile was still in full place for a full minute before he realised what he said, yeah he was an injured bloke, he didn't think joking about it right then was exactly proper form. Letting out a sigh he let himself slowly sink onto the bed next to her, his hand resting on her bare leg, he was tracing small patterns on there, almost hypnotising him as he did so.

“I shouldn't joke,” he whispered quietly, as took a breath in, it aching as he did so, his eyes never leaving his hand tracing her leg, “It not something to joke about, the Genii beating the crap out of me for not answering questions, not exactly a laughing matter.” He didn't even realising he had probably told her a bit more than he had told anyone else.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:33 pm 
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Caleb seemed more at ease now than he had at any point since his return, and seemed to be moving around with relative discomfort. For that, Claire was grateful. However, she knew her husband well enough that she fully expected him to test his limits, and go well beyond them, potentially causing himself further harm. Whether she would be able to prevent him going too far would remain to be seen.

She watched as he walked around the bedroom, seemingly needing to be on the move, to prove something, and Claire couldn't stop the soft smile that settled on her lips. Right here, at this moment, things felt normal, felt good. The shower had definitely perked Caleb up, and he seemed happier, more like himself. It had been bliss to spend a few minutes in the shower with Caleb. Even though he couldn't manage very long, there had been time to get clean, to wash hair, and to just spend a few moments reconnecting on a physical level, as well as an emotional one.

Once more, Claire felt herself daring to believe that there was a little spark of hope, and that things were moving forward in a good way. Even Caleb's question about keeping moving was missing the barb that it would have contained earlier in the day. She smiled. "Yeah, we do," she admitted. "But you also need to be as strong as possible before the healing starts tomorrow, and that means trying to get a few more hours' rest."

Patting the bed beside her, Claire laughed as Caleb asked what she would do if he just wanted to watch. "I suppose you'd be allowed," she conceded. "But what if I wanted to touch, eh?" The first aid kit lay on the bed beside her, ready to re-dress Caleb's wounds, but she would have given anything to just forget all about it at that moment. It was good to tease and to be teased.

Caleb, though, seemed to regret making a joke about his injuries, and Claire gazed at him with compassion as he came to sit beside her, a sigh heavy on his lips. She glanced down as his hand came to rest on her thigh, his fingers making soft patterns against her skin. She let her head rest on his shoulder, turning to brush her lips against his skin, a soft, gentle, undemanding kiss. He tasted fresh and clean, just the way she had come to love.

Claire's blood chilled in her veins as Caleb started to talk, giving her the smallest nugget about what had happened to him. Now she had a dilemma: did she push for more, or did she leave it at that, let him tell her what he needed to at his own pace? Much as she wanted him to talk about what had happened, she knew it wouldn't be fair to push him.

Instead, she dusted another kiss against his shoulder, her hand coming to rest on his chest, as she brought a leg up and curled in against his side. "I think you've earned the right to make a joke about anything you bloody like," she remarked, her voice gentle as she traced her fingers lightly across his chest, her lips coming to rest on his shoulder again. "Kei te aroha au i a koe, e te tau," she murmured, that quiet smile on her lips. "If anyone else dares to make a joke, though, you tell me and I'll kick their arse, eh?"


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:32 pm 
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Caleb couldn't help scrunching up his nose a little at the thought of a little more rest, he knew this almost shower high wasn't going to last much longer, knew that he was going to end up crashing relatively quickly if he didn't at least let himself relax a little. But damn if it didn't feel good to just be able to move about, to not have the damn thoughts, the damn not memories running around his head for more than five minutes.

An he knew, he knew Claire wasn't trying to take that away from him, but a small part of him wanted to shout at her, tell her that he could manage perfectly well without needing to rest, but he bit down on the words. His mood too high at the moment to want to cause tension between them, he figured he'd let himself crash later, once the high of the most brilliant shower had worn off.

“I know, but still am walking, not running,” he answered with a simple shrug, “besides do you really think I would rest? I mean if I didn't rest when we first met and you pulled that piece of metal from my side, than I don't know if I'd rest now,”

He couldn't help the small smile that passed across his face, it was actually known fact that although he hadn't bed rested after that first encounter, he had made sure to stick to light duties, despite whatever the rumour mill had spewed out about him at the time. He wasn't adverse to following doctor's orders, it was just, well he did tend to get bored pretty quickly when it came to not being able to move around.

But he did eventually sit down, let himself get drawn into the patterns he was drawing on her leg, almost like he was lulling himself into some kind of comfort zone, which to be honest Claire was always his comfort zone. She had a tendency to draw him out of his comfort zone, make him face things about himself that he hadn't in years and that had at times scared the damn crap out of him.

He wasn't sure, now, sat as he was, drawing patterns onto her skin, his words sounding almost stuck as he spoke, his voice thick with whatever emotion he wasn't about to actually think about, he wondered what she would make him face in the coming days and even the coming weeks. Because he knew, deep down, in that small back of his mind bit that he wasn't ready to face just yet, that he was probably going to have to have a few demons to exercise before he could move on.

Caleb seemed to almost come back to himself, trying to shaking maudlin thoughts off as Claire wrapped herself around his side, feeling her warmth against his rapidly chilling skin was nice. It was normal. An as her words sunk in, he found himself laughing, one of them really deep sort of from the soul kind of laughs, which also meant it pulled at his side, but the laughter was a bit too much to put a dampener on that.

There were tears tracking down his face, he was unsure as to whether they were from laughing for so long, or from something else, a release of emotion he didn't realise he had been holding onto. He dropped his head onto her shoulder, dropping a kiss on the bare skin there, as he caught his breath finally, the marks of tears on his face still visible if anyone was to look.

“Everyone knows not to mess with Dr Te Atua,” he commented quietly, a lightness to his voice that hadn't been there before, “You've got a reputation on base, doctor, what must your...your partner think?”

He still couldn't quite bring himself to say husband, to think that word, to say the words out loud put everything back on the right track, would make him face up to what had happened and maybe he was being a bit of a coward but he couldn't quite face that just yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:12 am 
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Claire rolled her eyes, albeit with a smile dancing on her lips, as Caleb made his disgust known at the thought of getting more rest. While she would love to see her husband up and around, back to normal, she knew he wasn't ready, and to pretend otherwise would be detrimental to his recovery. Still, seeing him so carefree and relatively pain-free made her happier than she would care to admit at the moment.

She couldn't resist laughing, though, as Caleb reminded her that he wasn't known for following doctor's orders. "I know you don't particularly like doctor's orders, but what about your wife's requests, eh," she teased, keeping her tone as light as Caleb's. "In case you'd forgotten, e ipo, I'm not your doctor." Okay, so she had been while he was in theatre, but she wasn't now.

Claire knew that Caleb was a very physical bloke, someone who got bored easily unless he was able to keep himself occupied with something more than books or watching TV, and it would be driving him nuts to be on bed rest at the moment. It wasn't something that could be helped, though. There were certain illnesses and injuries that there was no way around, and Caleb's current predicament was one of them. No matter what, without rest, he wouldn't get better, even with the accelerated healing programme on his side.

He seemed to relax again as he sat on the bed, his hand on her thigh, her body pressed doftly against his. If it wasn't for his injury, Claire had no doubt that they would be rolling across the mattress in a heartbeat, lips locked together, hands everywhere, laughter echoing through the air inbetween gasps of pleasure. Instead, she was spending her time treading on eggshells, trying not upset him, or trigger a mood swing.

Claire pushed all that to the back of her mind as she let Caleb speak, let him say what he needed to. For a moment, she wondered whether she ought to have pushed him for more, but it didn't take more than a second to decide that letting him say what he wanted to, and no more, was the right thing to have done. She let him have his moment, let him stop, withdraw, and gather his thoughts, never once breaking contact, her fingers tracing gentle patterns on his chest.

She didn't expect Caleb to burst into near-hysterical laughter, though, at her remark about kicking the arse of anyone who dared to joke about his predicament. Claire watched as the tears started to track down his cheeks, and she reached up to brush them away, even as Caleb's laughter continued. Stopped only as he leaned on her shoulder, kissing her bare skin, she caught his gaze as he looked up again, her fingers reaching up to touch his cheek as he teased her again.

She was about to reply, about to make another joke, when Caleb stalled, and he referred to himself as her partner, not her husband. She swallowed deeply, her eyes twitching as she felt her husband withdrawing from her again. A flicker of her eyes downward for a moment, before meeting Caleb's gaze again, the tiniest of smiles on her lips as she tried to formulate a reply.

Again, she had a dilemma on her hands: let Caleb refuse to acknowledge what they had together, or to remind him that, no matter what, she was his wife, he was her husband, and, in their own way, they had promised their lives to one another, for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do them part. In the end, those unspoken vows won out, and Claire looked up at Caleb again, her eyes serious.

"I would hope that my husband would be cheering from the sidelines," remarked Claire, her thumb brushing away the last of Caleb's tears, even as she fought against her own. She managed a shaky smile, dropping another kiss onto Caleb's shoulder as she hooked her legs over his lap, her arms around his shoulders. "I've missed you, e te tau. I've missed this."


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:48 pm 
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Being held as he was, nearly every bit of his body being covered by Claire, it wasn't often they'd just sit together like that, wasn't often they sat together for any length of time if he was being honest, but in that moment, that small fraction of a second, he felt like things were getting back on track. That maybe in a few hours time he would be 'normal' once again, or whatever passed as normal when you were beaten into a pulp in another galaxy.

It was just every time Claire said the word wife, every time there was a reference to him being her husband he felt himself retreat a little further away. It wasn't that he didn't want to be her husband, he loved her as much now as he did when he first spoke them words to her, but something had changed, something in them beatings he had taken had caused himself to stop and think when the H word was uttered.

He remembered that being stuck in the stone shed, with nothing but cold, pain, and numbness to keep him company, that his thoughts of Claire were what made him fight to come home. To have put that much into her, into what was basically figments of imagination whilst he'd been hurt, was too much, he had to try to remember that she hadn't been there with him, hadn't whispered encouragements into his ears, told him to pick his arse up and carry it home.

Caleb found he couldn't tell her that, didn't want to face the fact that he'd actually had to rely on someone that wasn't a team mate, that damn wasn't even there at the time to get him home, and that was kind of hard to swallow.

So he let himself be held, let that release of emotion rush over him in a wave, as Claire held him once more, soothed him in her own way, yet when she put empathise on the word husband again he felt like he couldn't ignore it. Even as he rested his hands on top of her legs across his lap, even as the pattern he drew on her bare skin seemed to falter before stopping altogether.

He smiled tightly at her, “Everyone seems to have missed me,” he commented a touch of frustration starting to colour his words. “Just a shame I don't remember what happened,”

He wanted to say more, to maybe tell her to stop calling him husband, but he bit his tongue, he could feel the ease and relaxation of earlier fading away, not as quick as it had done before, but the first tendrils of frustration were starting to creep back in. An he knew it wasn't Claire's fault, knew this whole damn situation was his own doing, that he'd probably changed so much that he wasn't going to be anything but frustrated any more.

That scared him more than he would admit out loud or in his head, if he had changed so much, one thing that he had promised he would never do to Claire, he wouldn't change who he was, but he did feel like something had changed. He just didn't know what.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:29 pm 
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Claire let herself relax against Caleb for just a few moments. His skin was warm against hers, and it felt good. She felt closer to him in that moment than she had since he had escaped the Genii, and she hoped that things would start to look up for them once he was back at home properly. It wouldn't be easy, with so much work to be done on his recovery, but they would work through it.

She hadn't expected to be thrown into such a tough time with Caleb so soon into their relationship, but with their professions, it shouldn't have come as a surprise. Claire just hadn't expected it from what had appeared to be a routine offworld mission. Caleb had done so many of them before, and could take care of himself, but his time, the unthinkable had happened, and now they had to deal with the consequences.

However, something changed as they sat there, and Claire felt Caleb tense up, his relaxed demeanour disappearing as they talked. His fingers stilled on her skin, and she frowned, lifting her head from his shoulder, brushing fingers across his cheek as she saw his expression harden, heard the frustration weaving its way through his words, giving his voice an edge that hadn't been there since their shower.

"Caleb, e ipo, what's the matter," she asked, her eyes warm and her voice laced with concern. Something had changed for him in the last few minutes, and she had no idea what it was. What had she done, or said, that was causing him to push her away once more? Or maybe he had remembered something else, something that he was struggling to deal with again, something he didn't want to share with her at the moment.

Caleb had never been one for sharing. Even when they had become a couple, it had taken him a while to realise that he could talk to her about anything, could share with her, and she wouldn't judge him, or expect anything, or ask him to change. She loved him, warts and all, and that still held true now.

Claire's head cocked on one side as she watched her husband, not knowing what was wrong, not knowing how to help, and not knowing what was coming next. She had always been able to read Caleb like a book, even when they had been just friends, but now, he was a stranger hiding behind walls that he had put up, seemingly to protect himself from her, or from what they had together. Maybe now was the time to get everything out there.

"E te tau, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:27 pm 
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Caleb hadn't meant to tense up enough that Claire would feel it, and as she asked him what the matter was, he still bit down on his tongue, unable to find the words or the courage really at the moment to tell her what was wrong. Part of him wanted to push her legs off of him, to stomp around their bedroom as though he was some kind of teenager again in a strop, but he knew better, he knew that, that would cause trouble for not only their relationship but for his healing side.

Yet he couldn't help the anger seemingly simmer towards the surface, could feel as his heart rate picked up, as Claire asked him again what the matter was, he wanted to shout at her, tell her the whole damn thing, except he didn't know half of what had happened to him, didn't know how to tell her he had clearly seemingly changed without any knowledge of doing so.

When Claire told him to talk to her, he couldn't exactly hold back any longer, he did push her legs off of him, not harshly but enough so that he could turn his body to sit facing her, wincing slightly as his side pulled.

“You have to stop calling me that,” he said, words finally coming to him, his voice harsher than he wanted but couldn't stop it, a hand on her face as though that was going to be any kind of comfort, “I can't be who you seem to think I am, am trying to give you an out here Claire, the doors been open for a while,”

He felt his stomach tie in knots as he said the words that had clearly been haunting him for the last day or so, he didn't want to have to do this, didn't want to be doing this whilst they were both half naked in his case and pretty much full naked in Claire's case. His eyes got drawn to the tag around her neck and he felt his heart rate rise as he saw it, he had been a different person then, had made a promise that he had completely broken in the last few days and he didn't know how to be that person again.

“I've broken the one promise I made to you,” he said, face heating, “I don't know what happened, but something has changed, I've changed, I can't....damn it Claire!” he ran a hand down his face, the other one slipping from her face, he could feel his own heart breaking at this, it was the one thing he had never thought he'd be doing, ever.

“I'm not the same person who made that promise and I don't know what anyone wants from me, what you want from!”


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:51 pm 
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Caleb's tense body spoke volumes, and Claire could feel the anger, the frustration, building up in him, ready to explode. This was what she had felt coming for days, something that he - so far - had managed to resist fully taking out on her, fully putting voice to, and she was terrified to find out what was finally bothering him, what was eating him up inside.

She didn't have a clue what had triggered this bout of anger, but, as he moved her off him, moved away from her, Claire's heart was in her mouth, afraid to hear what she had asked him - begged him - to tell her.

And she had been right to be afraid.

In fact, she should have been terrified. Her skin paled as Caleb's voice became harsh and guttural, a stranger's voice that she didn't recognise. She felt his hand on her cheek, and her instinct was to place her fingers over her, make a connection, but it was as though there was something physical between them, and his hand felt unfamiliar. Nothing could have prepared her for the words that fell from his mouth, though, and she was stunned into silence.

However, while her voice might have deserted her, Claire's emotions were fully present, and fat, heavy tears rolled from her eyes as Caleb effectively ended things. This was a moment that she had never believed would come. She had truly believed that she and Caleb would be together for the rest of their lives, grow old together.

The tears were coming harder now, even as Caleb's hand dropped from her face, her husband withdrawing from her as physically as he clearly was emotionally. "No," whispered Claire, her voice choked, shaking her head. "No." She hiccuped, overcome with emotion and confusion, her eyes and nose red, lips swollen. Claire had never imagined that anything would ever come between them, and now, the unthinkable had happened. Something had happened to Caleb while he was with the Genii that had caused this, and she wasn't going to give up without a fight.

"I don't want an out," she said, her voice quiet, shaky, and coloured with tears, its tone firm, even while a note of pleading echoed through the room. "You are still my husband, and I am still your wife. We can get through anything." There was a note of certainty there, even through her tears, even while her heart was shattering into a million tiny pieces.

Claire swallowed deeply, reaching up, placing both hands on Caleb's cheeks, forcing him to look at her. "Do you love me, Caleb?"


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