AWD #079: All The King's Men
All The King's Men
Summary: Holtz visits Cole in the brig to talk about the incident in the Chapel… among other things.
Date: 26/03/2013
Related Logs: All The King's Horses
Holtz Cole 
The Orion's brig is comprised of a line of four individual cells organized in separate walled-off bays. Each cell is six feet wide by eight feet long and possesses a bed and toilet. Whenever even one cell is occupied, so too is the metal desk and chair at the entrance hatch — and backup for the guard is never far away.
March 26, 2005

Once upon a time, Cole was a golden boy. They said he'd make Captain by the time he was thirty. Then he met a girl. Then he lost a girl. And now? He's here. Does the interim story between matter? Maybe to someone.

Sitting on the bed with his bandaged back angled away from the wall, Cole's been allowed to change out of his bloodied pants and now he sits in just a pair of sweatpants on, sans the drawstring. His attention is focused on nothing in particular, this thumb strung through the wedding band he wears on his dog tag chain as he runs it back and forth on the beaded track.

It's quiet in the brig, at least until the hatch opens to admit Holtz. His first look isn't at the cells, though, but at the Marine guard sitting behind the desk in front of the cells. The burly captain is the first to break the silence. "You're dismissed," he says curtly to the black-clad soldier.

The young man behind the desk hesitates. "Sir, I'm not authorized — "

He's cut off, though, by a baleful glare from the Viper captain. "I said, get out." Finally, he directs a look at Cole's silent form. "I don't think he's goin' anywhere, do you?" The marine simply gapes at him for a moment before finally, reluctantly, shaking his head and moving to the hatch.

Holtz' eyes follow the marine until he's gone and the door clangs shut beside him. Then he grabs the marine's chair and plunks it down in front of Cole's cell, sitting down with a sigh as he studies his former superior with a frank expression.

*ZINK ZINK* The ring skids along the necklace. *ZIIINK* Cole's thumb slips out of the loop, and the ring along with his dual hexagonal tags clatters back to his chest. His head falls forward, and his eyes close as the chair clunks down outside his cell. For the better part of a minute, Janitor sits stock still. Slowly, his gaze slides sidewise to regard Holtz quietly.

Holtz, too, is quiet for a moment, as if not entirely sure what he wants to say. Everything that comes to mind seems either inappropriate or inadequate. He kills a few seconds by unbuttoning his top and draping it over the back of his seat before finally opening with a toneless "How ya doin', Janitor?"

There is a twitch of a smirk at the corner of his mouth, but the expression fades from Cole's face as quickly as it surfaced. A touch of amusement that couldn't fully fight it's way through. "I feel like shit." Considering all the damage that was done to his back is purportedly self-inflicted, it's probably both an answer of physical as well as emotional. Palms clasped together, and his thumbs rub the side of his mouth. "Do you love her? Ygraine. Do you love her?"

At least Cole's honest. Holtz takes the answer in stride; from the distinct lack of surprise on his face, it seems to be more or less what he expected to hear. He leans back in his chair, feet spread, watching Cole with a hawklike gaze as the other man speaks. What Holtz doesn't expect, though, is the sudden question about Ygraine. "I…" He fumbles over the answer for a moment, a cloud coming over his features. "Think that's got frak-all to do with anything in here," he says instead, crossing his arms. He does tend to keep his cards close to his chest. "You got enough baggage of your own without delvin' into mine, Ari," he says mildly, using the other man's name for the first time.

"So you do." Janitor nods, as if confirming something to himself. Slowly, the man gets to his feet with the slowness that belies the tenderness of his back. "And on the contrary. It has everything to do with everything, Kurt." He's going to use Ari's first name, then Ari is put at ease enough to return the favor. "Love. It heals and it breaks. And we're broken enough." Approaching the perimeter of cell, he raises an arm and uses it cushion his forehead as he leans in to look at Holtz. "Love her, because you're stronger than I am. Love her. And tell her you love her."

"All I wanted was a quick frak, godsdamnit," Holtz growls as he slumps back in his chair, his facade broken by Cole's frankness. "Wasn't supposed to happen. By the gods above, I didn't want it to happen." The But it did, is implied, even if it goes unsaid. "After Beth, I…" His voice trails off again, and he refocuses his gaze on the other pilot, Cole's last drawing only a long silence in reply. "Broken," he echoes, with a sidelong glance at the other pilot. There's a quick headshake, as if he's clearing his head of something, and he refocuses his flinty gaze on Cole. "Which brings me back to you."

Cole's lip curls out to pad on his bottom lip, rewetting it. "I'll repair the damage to Chapel, if Sister Arden ever wants to see me again. I'll volunteer my time to the refugee effort. Whatever you want. But you know there is no way I can make this right, don't you? Your Beth. My Magnola. They both left us. But you. You can make it right. With Ygraine."

"The frak're we supposed to do? Get married? Have a passel of brats? Replace what I lost?" Holtz follows up the coarse words with an acidic laugh. He tries to look flippant, but can't quite manage it. "Gods above, any time either of us goes out there could be the time we don't come back. The hell kinda life is that for two people? I made that mistake once already, yeah? I don't want to go through it again."

"What I do want, Ari, is you, whole and in the cockpit. You want to do penance? Fine." Holtz rises to his feet, his expression taut as he begins to pace in front of the cell. "I ain't gonna ask you to make things right, if you even can. Oh, no, I'm gonna ask you for something much harder'n that." Holtz' features harden as he studies the jailbird Janitor. "I'm gonna ask you to stop hiding. Stop looking for a way out. Live with what's happened to you. With what you've done. Because Magnola isn't the only one that ever needed you." As if his tone wasn't cold enough already, it drops even further. "And if you can't manage that, I'll have your wings here'n now."

It's not his wings he reaches for, because the Lords of Kobol know he's not wearing them right now anyways. What he does reach for, however, are his dog tags. They get lifted carefully from around his neck, held weightily in his hand. "No one is capable of replacing what they've lost." His fingers become busy, undoing the little toggle that keeps the chain together. He pours the contents into his palm, working them up to his fingers before extending them through the bars to his now superior. "You're stronger than I am, Kurt. You always were. You just needed someone to believe in you again." It's not his dog tags he's holding out to Holtz through the slim opening, it's his ring. "Get me out of here, and I'll fly for you. I'd be proud to."

Holtz steps slowly towards the bars of the cell. For a few moments, he doesn't react, but finally he reaches up to accept the ring with a grave nod, a measuring look on his face as he meets Cole's eyes. As his fist closes around the ring, he nods, as if he's just made up his mind about something. His only verbal response is a solemn "I'll do what I can." He stands there a second or two longer, but then the spell is broken. "Guard!" he calls out at the unlocked hatch; the black-clad Marine quickly reenters, and Holtz gives the man his chair back. "I'll be back, Ari." For the first time since he's been here, he offers a tiny, crooked smile. "Hopefully with the key, yeah?" And with that, he turns to leave.

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