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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - The Why of It All [FIN]

Adrian Moss

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Caine had to come to grips that there were warring instincts going on here. He had to opposed views of what Lt. Vinny Wright were like. Caine had looked through his mission reports when they had first crossed paths. The man got his missions done and his old team had talked wonders about him. He was a team player who was reliable and consistant.

The Vinny that had stolen Olivia away after starting a battle at the Kikki Nass was a total jerk ... who had done nothing to Olivia, and it always came back to Olivia, when he had her in his power.

There had been hate their because of what happened to Declan and what almost happened to him, which was a deep dark hole. Declan and Gwyn had seen him start the fight and Olivia had chosen to trust Vinny over her own team mates. Again Olivia.

Now Vinny was promoted and the chances of having their concerns addressed in any meaningful manner were down to nothing. As a career officer, Caine learned to move on from destructive relationships and focus on what you could do. Now the Vinny was fading in the rear view mirror, along came Olivia hating Vinny.

This was effecting her judgement and through her influence on the rest of the teamm, everyone elses. There had to be answers, or there had to be changes. If Olivia could bury her problems with Captain Wright, and convince Caine she could, they would move on. If she couldn't do it, or lie effectively, then she needed to unload on her CO and tell her everything.

Was Kikki Nass a fluke of behavior the way O'Neil was certainly treating it, or was there some secret side to the man that had slipped under the radar so far? Caine needed to know before his team synergy fell apart.

Damien knocked on the door.

"Specialist Jenings-Izumi, it is Major Caine."

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Olivia glanced up from her reading. She'd been trying to cram a few more mission reports into her brain before they left tomorrow; you never knew when some bit of information would save their butts. And that was Livy's job - know social and cultural stuff. This interruption was unwelcome and tolerated only because of who it was. Sighing, she pulled herself to her feet and opened the door. "Major, come in," she offered, a little nervous about having him in her room. This was her place, and though she shared it with Declan, this last week had made her wary of letting any of the men in her life too close. The further away they were, the safe she felt.

"What can I do for you, sir?" she asked after the door was closed.

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Caine came in but kept himself close to the door, standing to one side so as to not be seen as blocking it. For a few microseconds he played out the various opening questions but settled on the one he had chosen previously. Lay out the situation and then the question. It was a big question though and one that bordered on a territory that was none of his business.

"As I said earlier, you are the cornerstone of this team. This has worked out will with us so far, but I am also now seeing some of its downsides. You are poisoning how the rest of us feel about another member of the SGC. First because of what happened to you, but now it has become because of how you feel about his person. Before this becomes a problem for the team, and you, I want you to talk to me about it."

He crossed his arms, knowing this wasn't going to come off well.

"Tell me about the history between you and Captain Wright. Hold nothing back, because I can't help if I don't know, or only get half truths. I can't trust your judgement if I know you are cherry picking for me what you feel 'safe' telling me. Trust me or tell me to get out."

He hated ultimatiums, but he had to have answers. There was no other answer. If this had remained personal ... but it hadn't. He had Declan and his inner soul to worry about too. Caine doubted he could deal with these kind of stressors.

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I’m poisoning?” Olivia asked, her normally patient demeanor disappearing in a heartbeat. She had been more emotionally volatile for the last week, ever since her meltdown at Vinny’s party. “I’m poisoning? When I was trying to be a friend to another member of SGC, not one of you had an issue with trying to poison me against him. Now, when I have an issue, it’s suddenly me poisoning everyone else.”

She shook her head and took a seat, still very angry but making an attempt not to be for her commanding officer. “Me not wanting to tell you isn’t a matter of trust, Major, and it’s not about being ‘safe’. The damage to my heart and soul are done, old history,” she said. “And it’s private. My personal history with Vinny is not something I want to see become the gossip and fodder for discussion for the rest of the base. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, and moreover, it’s painful. Incredibly so, and I wish that you could respect that. By coming here, by asking me to tell you about this, you’re causing me a lot of pain. I already have to deal with Vinny being here. I’m asking you to let it go, please. I don’t want to be angry at you, too.”

Her dark eyes were pleading with him to not force this issue, to just let it rest. There was a deep pain in there too, a psychological scar that had just been ripped bare once again.

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There were a lot of things he could say. Things like then stop it, or who else can you talk to? Your other girl friends are on his squad , but he didn't. Some part of him realized this would be the answer and it answered a part of him he would have liked to remain buried.

He would have told her anything. He loved her. He trusted her ... but she didn't love him and that was something he could accept. No trust = no love.

She would never trust him. She would never love him enough in his eyes and he couldn't live on her terms.

Man this conversation went off in a totally different direction than what he planned on when he came here. He was done. Just like that, he was done. It was like waking up from an obsessive nightmare and it felt great to be alive. He was breathing free air again as if for the first time.

She's never going to trust me and I'm okay with that now. I can do my job again. I can live my life.

"Okay. I think we are done," Damien said with an air of finality. They were done. In reality they had been a Non-Starter.

"If you need to talk with me, you know were my office is."

He took a deep breath, rubbed his hands against his thighs, and grinned at her - grinned like he had done the first time they had met.

"I don't think I'll be bothering you anymore."

More finality. He was walking away from her heart and was at peace with that decision.

He got up and headed for the door. No more secretive, longing looks. Those were gone now. Now he was leaving her ... alone.

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Olivia sensed, even in her own pain, that the scale had tipped. His mannerisms, his words - all pointed to him letting her go. It was a relief; one less person to worry about soiling or being hurt by, one less relationship that could implode or disintegrate. But it was one more loss too, one more could-have-been that would never-be.

But at this moment, it gave her one thing she needed desperately: a friend. "Major, please... wait just a second." When he stopped, she asked, "Did you mean... you're not going to pursue me?" She hated to put it so bluntly, but it was what she needed to know. "I'm not trying to jerk you around, sir, but... part of what is painful is talking about this with someone who likes me, in the romantic fashion. If you've dropped that... I could use a friend, sir. Damien."

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"Damien, and yes, I think I can be a friend now. I think the impossibility that was 'we' has passed."

He still had that winning yet challenging smile. She could see more of him now that she didn't have her mind clouded with a desire to keep him at bay. He realy was something, or with her perfect memory, she could see how he had become what he was before he now in her room. She could map those changes toward perfection in look and pitch. Maybe it had changed him inside. Maybe it had pushed him away from her.

"Whenever you need me Livy. I said it and I mean it. We can be friends. I'm here for you."

He couldn't tell her how relieved he was, to be past his obsession. You didn't tell a girl harboring that much pain that you were out of love with her, even if she knew it now.

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"Okay," she said softly, her voice already filling with sorrow. With a shaking voice, she told him about a vibrant young woman who met a cynical young man in the desert. She spoke about an angry boyfriend and the loneliness when he left her. She told him about the crazy week that was just supposed to be fun, but had turned so much more serious. She told him about her dreams in Berkeley, carefully constructed and slowly shattered. She told him about being abandoned, and the shame of admitting to everyone that he wasn't coming, that he'd left her. And before she knew it, the word 'baby' slipped.

It was then that Olivia broke down. She couldn't help it. She'd held herself together until now, but shame drove her to tears as she confessed her worst sin: the destruction of an innocent. It was to save the baby from loss, but it was to save her too - save her from the daily reminder of her lost cynic. She didn't say that it was also to preserve the chance of getting Bill back.

She skipped Hatchins. She started to tell him, but it wasn't relevant to this, and she was already crying; she didn't need to have a full-on breakdown. The only relevance that it had to Vinny was that his presence would have saved her from that horror. But he'd chosen to leave her, and Bill had picked her up, and then Bill had fed her to the wolves.

"And then at the party... he said something that reminded me of him, like word for word something he said in Kuwait. And so I came back to my room and found these." She was embarrassed that she pulled them out from her nightstand, as if she wanted to horde them close. She took them out once in a while, just to be sure. And was she ever sure.

The four damning pictures were placed in Caine's hands, letting him see into the past. That done, Olivia sat back down. "I don't want to confront him," she said softly. "I just... I thought we might be building something here. But I can't... I won't let him hurt me like that again."

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He held her tight to him. It felt like Sherman, or Wakiki was holding her there for comfort and support. He listened to her tears and her heart beast and saw the heat patterns cascade off of her. He took in her words and committed them to memory.

Vinny had been, well, a guy, but there was more to the story. There had to be. Guys like that didn't save their whole team on more than one occassion. Still, he had to help Olivia.

Holding the pictures, he scanned them over and over.

Man, she looks happy there. Like she looked when she saw the Star Map.

"You aren't the same person you were then. You are stronger, and different, and more potent a mind."

Damien furrows his brow.

"He can't hurt you that way. You won't let him. I think you can move beyond your past. This place really is about new starts. Think about how you have re-invented so much of yourself."

"Don't confront him if you don't feel like, but keep your options open. I think you need ... it sounds like you want to know what happened. His answer can't hurt you - not anymore."

"And, you have us, your team, if you need us. Remember," he winks, "Friends help you move; Real friends help you move a body."

He is trying to lighten the mood, because she has just shed so much memory and he has to help her move up from this spot and not dwell on it, not with that perfect mind.

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"After the mission," she said softly, admitting defeat. Running and avoiding had worked so well in the past; she really hated that it wasn't going to work here. She might be able to avoid Vinny forever, but in the sealed environment of the SGC, it was unlikely to work for all time.

Caine was wrong about one thing: she didn't want to know why he'd gotten cold feet. He'd made his choice and she really didn't want to know why. She didn't think it would help any to know why he'd left her, not anymore. It wouldn't change or help things.

But Caine still made her smile, and she gave him a hug. While there was some hormonal stuff there, for the most part, it was just the comfort of having a friend. Especially a friend who would help you move a body.

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