Chapter 1
The Beginning. The End.
Haunted Eyes
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:: Private Ward, Sickbay, USS Isannah

They had taken him away. They had to, and she knew it. That was all Jesa could think as she sat there, they had taken him, and now she was alone. She stayed with Buck for hours, feeling her heart dying within her hands, the heart she had given to him. At the moment she was just sitting in the room he had been in, staring at where he was a moment before. If one had asked her, Jesa wouldn't have been able to say what she was thinking at that moment, it seemed to be everything, and nothing, all at the same time...

A moment later the door opened, and a nurse stuck her head inside, looking around. Jesa's eyes met hers, but the changeling didn't say anything. She didn't feel capable. The woman carried a small bag, then walked over to Jesa and held it out to her. "His things." She said softly. The woman had a somberness in her eyes, though she was Vulcan.

'What is her name?' Jesa thought to herself. 'F'Tel... she was close to Buck, covered him many times when he was off with me' There was a coldness to her thoughts, distant, analytical, and impassive.

Jesa breathed softly, and took the bag from F'Tel's hands and held it on her lap, hugging herself again gently with it to her chest. "Thank you, F'Tel..." she said distantly, wanting to say something else, but fearing if she broke now, she'd not recover... The Vulcan woman nodded at Jesa and then quietly withdrew from the room.

Closing her eyes, Jesa opened the bag, and then peered inside. She reached her hand in and drew out his pocketwatch, the one his grandfather had given him. She clicked it open, and the most curious thing fell out, a small photo. Jesa hadn't seen this before, and picked it up gently from where it lay. She cried as soon as she saw what it was... it was a photo of her. She didn't even know when he had taken it. She replaced it and held it tightly in her hand, her tears coming silently.

There was no doubt about it; Jesa was exhausted in all ways that a being could be. Slowly, in the realization she didn't want to simply stay there tonight, she got up. On shaky legs she slowly walked from the room, refusing to look back again.

As soon as she emerged she saw Lysander, Acting CO right now and Doctor Dixon, talking to someone she didn't know. All she could surmise was that he was Betazoid, an ensign, and dressed for either medical or counseling. Approaching, Jesa looked at them with a passive and distant expression. She didn't realize rank at this moment, and they didn't seem to realize her approach. Jesa felt four inches tall, under a large rock that was placed upon her shoulders. Nothing else was very noticeable outside of her own little world.

"Excuse me, gentlemen." She said politely, as they were blocking the hallway. All eyes turned to her in the most eerie way, and if she was feeling more, she would have hated the way they looked at her. They moved aside, however, allowing Jesa to pass. "Ensigns, Lieutenant." She said; nodding at them as she walked past slowly, the suffering she was going through clearly read into her posture.

"Callen?" Lysander called, picking up on her formal distance. Ethan Lysander, acting CO, and one of the people Jesa trusted more for the unceremonious way he had always approached her. They had both served on this ship a long time. "Would you like to be accompanied?" he continued, the formal tone sounding artificial and unnatural even to him. Jesa didn't even turn, but paused. "No, thank you." She said, continuing to walk through the doorway slowly. Somewhere in the back of her mind, it had clicked that they had docked at the Starbase, but that part of her mind was generally ignored by her at this point.

The corridors seemed long, as if they stretched out forever. Every step seemed of supreme effort to simply move. Every cell, every portion of her body seemed to slowly be chanting the urge to just drop, curl up, and die right there. Still she continued on, feeling like she was dragging the weight of the universe on the floor behind her. People looked at her, pity, confusion, hopelessness in their eyes, but she didn't even see them.

Deck seven came eventually, but as Jesa walked down the hall she walked directly past her own quarters and ended up in front of Buck's. Easily typing in the access she entered and caught her breath. It was just the same as it had always been, and so much of her expected to walk around the corner and find him there.... When she spent time searching every corner and didn't find him, she chided herself for her silly hope. Somehow, she expected him to come find her, and tell her it was all a big mistake, or a ploy, or something... but the minutes moved by as she stood there, watching the door. Of course, no such appearance happened.

Jesa almost limped as she moved, utilizing her last bit of energy as she roamed his quarters. The feeling of pain sharply resounded through her with every movement, and every thought. Somehow Jesa thought it right it be that way. She still held his watch tightly in her hand, something that was so dear to him, and had been loaned to her once, she remembered.

In the reality that was only a memory in Jesa's mind, Gear's pocket watch rang its small alarm. Standing from the bar he had been sitting at, he pulled it out and flipped it open, in an effort to check the time, yet it occurred to her that this was only a gesture since it had obviously been set for a specific time. Her face broke into a grin at the sight of an old-fashioned pocket watch.

"I have to go... The away mission leaves soon." He said, his voice as real to her then as if he was standing there uttering it. She heard her own reply. "Wait a minute! Let me see that. Is that a ... pocket watch?" she had inquired back then.

Her eyes drifted over his quarters, remembering his words. "Yes. My grandfather gave it to me for my graduation---it's an antique." He had handed it to her, and Jesa in her meticulousness had examined it carefully, then smiled and began to hand it back to him.

"I'll say; it is very beautiful... The last time I saw a real one of those was in a museum." The echo of her words sounded. But her mind's eye she saw what had happened. She set it back down upon the bar, but he didn't take it back, and instead spoke. "That's what I said when I first saw it. Anyway, I really must go. How about you look after it for me 'til I get back?" he asked.

Jesa's face grew serious, understanding the implications of this statement. "Are you sure? I mean, it must mean a lot to you."

"So do you..." his words were simple and serious, but held profound implications. With that, he left the bar and headed out of the room... The watch glinted in the starlight...

It was then she realized how much she loved him, standing there in the lounge. "Be careful, Buck, and come back safe and sound." Jesa whispered after his departed form. She swallowed slightly, watching the doors for a moment after his departure. She looked at the watch for a moment before picking it up. Slipping it into her pocket, she felt the reassuring weight of its presence... she was touched by his simple gesture.

In the here and now, her eyes teared once more, but all strength she had to cry with had already been drained from her system. Slowly she moved towards the bed, stripping her clothing off haphazardly. She crawled under the covers and lay on her side, still holding the watch. Slowly, she placed her hand on the bed beside her, and ran her fingers down the sheet.

"This is where you should be... this is where you belong." She said softly, her engagement ring glinting softly in the light. Then Jesa curled up tightly into a ball, in her mind trying to pull him back to her, and cried. When she could cry no more, she slept fitfully. She knew she wouldn't leave for days, if ever. Nothing seemed to matter anymore.

Loaded: 03.10.2004

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