AWD #098: Deep End
Deep End
Summary: Cole and Afton work out some issues in the Deep End.
Date: 14/April/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Bravery In Private (Ari and Afton's budding friendship)
Afton Cole 
The floors of the whole room — including the bottom of the pool — are made of poured concrete, and the pool itself is designed to accommodate barriers and other obstacles used to simulate operations in high-pressure environments. A large sign on the aft bulkhead warns visitors that no lifeguards are available, and that swimming is done at each person's own risk.
April 14, 2005

The therapeutic rush of water past her gives Afton something to do and less to think about as she rounds about on her seventh lap. Cleaving through the water back towards the fore of the pool, she is nearly to the edge, about to dip beneath the surface to turn about and head back. There is a definitive pixie cut to her hair now, not so much skin but it might as well be with how pale her hair is.

Bare feet pad up to the side of the pool as Cole approaches the edge. Leaning down to prop his weight on a palm, one lanky leg gets thrown into the water before the other. He doesn't jump into the pool, however, he just sits on the edge and lets his limbs dangle. "Look at you. With hair." The viper jock comments before her head can dip beneath the surface again. "Almost didn't recognize you."

Afton is forced to come up short, her head drawing out of the water at the intrusion of his voice. Her eyes lift to him and her hand reaches for the side, bringing her up to it as she lifts a brow and then smirks. "Yeah, I thought I would try something different." She runs her hand through it, allowing the short strands to spike. "Like it?" She murmurs, attempting to keep humor in her voice.

Ari leans over, resting his elbows on his thighs as he studies Afton closer. He looks sorely tempted to reach out and form a tactile opinion, but refrains. "Well. At least you look more like a girl now." He says with a rueful touch to the corner of his lips. "Not sure it's a good thing."

Afton's brows furrow, giving him a rueful look as her smile parts and shows her teeth. A sudden wash of water rushes up to meet him as she splashes him a couple of times. "Well thanks, Janitor. Good to see you seem to be in better humor." She uses the wall to keep her propped up in the water, watching the pilot before she shakes her head at him. "So how you been doing?"

Janitor juts out his bottom lip, giving a huff of air in a helpless gesture to clear some of those sudden droplets off his face. He sits there dripping for a moment before finally lifting his hand and wiping it down his cheek. "Making a living, not a life." Comes the simple answer, which sounds straight off a demotivational poster. "I'm fine. Better than you, I imagine. I mean. At least I still have my good looks."

His last just gets him another incredulous look as she starts to drag herself closer to him and his leg in the pool. "I will have you know there are more than a fair share of men that find me attractive even bald," she says in a false brag. "They appear to have better taste than you, can't help it. You are one of them viper jocks…you tend to lose every other sense when your ego is so big. A pity." She is edging closer and closer.

Ari's feet paddle idly in the pool, but for wearing his swim trunks he doesn't seem to have any inclination to actually get /into/ the water. "I'll admit, it's hard to look at others when I'm so transfixed with my own reflection." As if to prove the point, he leans over and admires his own wavering image in the pool, disturbed by the tiny waves Afton is creating.

"Goodness, I would have to agree," she says with a mock seriousness, her lips pressing together and a nod that is a bit overdone. But that is when her hand at his ankle and if he's prepared or not, she's giving a yank as her other reaches for his arm so that he doesn't go slamming his head into the side, yanking him full force as she braces her feet to the wall.

No, that — that he wasn't expecting. With a flail of reactionary limbs and a mighty splash, Janitor is hauled bodily into the water. Like a rock, the man goes under the surface with an involuntary panic and twist of his body. He literally claws his way up Afton's form for the surface, a hand ending at her throat. "Why'd you do that?!" He roars, all indication of his amiable jesting gone from his wide-eyed face.

Afton knows panic in the water and so when he start to grab at her, she is reaching down to try to help him up, her legs kicking to keep her up out of the water. But the hand suddenly grasping at her throat puts her in reaction mode along with his raised voice. Her eyes briefly widen and then she grasps at his hand, jerks it away just barely and turns him about, attempting to press him back into the wall and then shoulders into his back. "Gods, Janitor…it was for fun. You got a hold of yourself or you going to yell at me some more?"

Damn marines. He should know better than to try any bodily move against one, but then again, it's not as if he was thinking in that split moment. The pilot's chest heaves for breath, but he doesn't fight against the press of Afton's body or the grip she has on his captured arm. Though his shoulder screams (old injuries die hard, after all), he doesn't protest. Instead, his forehead just lowers to rest against the lip of the pool. "Sorry. Sorry." He says quietly, water dripping off his lips as he forces the panic to fade from the pounding in his ears. "I just…"

The apology does not get him a release at first, she waits, letting him cool as she treads water and tries to keep him in place, one hand grasping the wall. She hesitates, lets out a breath and finally eases her hold on him. His arm is let go slowly and then she draws herself to his side and watches him carefully. "Ari.." She starts, as if making sure that is all put together again. Hesitantly her hand hovers and then finally reaches out to touch his shoulder if allowed as she allows herself to draw a bit closer. "I am sorry as well…" She learns fast, keeping her touch light.

His breathing is still rapid, and even though she eases off of him, Ari stays in place only lifting his hands to hook on the edge of the pool so he doesn't go under again as he's not treading. "I haven't been in the water in a very long time." The sentence is finally finished when he can find his voice again. He doesn't so much as flinch at her touch, letting it rest on his shoulder as he stays frozen in place.

Afton's face falls and goes still, realizing her error. "Gods.." Its a soft gasp and she takes his arm lightly, as if to help him. "I am sorry." She glances back at the rest of the pool, the him. "Well, you are in now. Do you want some help?" Her eyes sweep over him, trying to read his reaction still and his comfort level.

"No. No no." He insists emphatically. Cole doesn't want to move, whether he's paralyzed in fear or something else, he doesn't want help. Help means moving. "Just uh, act. Normal." As if that's possible, but he doesn't want to further draw attention to himself. "How's Knox." The question is asked flatly, while he forces his brain to change the subject for the moment.

"Right…okay," Afton looks at him in the water and then treads water next to him. There is hestiation at his question and then she looks away, reaching for the wall. Her voice is heavy, "I do not know…" She lets that hang in the air, brows furrowed as her head dips.

"They won't let you, or you don't want to?" Ari's query is for clarification. At least his forehead rolls against the edge of the pool so he can follow her with his eyes if with nothing else. Slowly, his breathing is starting to regulate.

She squirms some what under the influence of his gaze and she whispers, "I have not gone…yet. I am here to work up the courage to." SHe admits and then wets her lips. Afton holds tight to the edge of the pool. "When are you sure you can love something you don't understand?"

And that makes Cole laugh. The question from her - and his own reaction - seems a surprise to the man himself, but he laughs. It's not a quiet amused chuckle, but a full belly laugh that has his tattooed torso shaking and a wetness springing to his eyes that makes them shine. "Oh sweetheart…" His abdomen tightens with each guffaw. "…I am the last person to ask love advice from."

The laugh startles her, unexpected and Afton lets out a long breath. "Damn it, Janitor. I am serious…" There is obvious discomfort an strain but she rests her head on her arms which are settled on the edge of the pool. "I worry…I worry I am not up for this. That I can not be what I need to be. I am still angry like everyone else. My family were not on that transport from Picon. Where are they?"

With a push of his arms, Ari plunges his head under water to stifle his laughter. He comes up for air, far more at ease in the pool and the smile wiped off his face. He's not swimming, he's just getting wet. "Sorry." They've been saying that to each other a lot lately. "But you're talking to the man who should be sleeping his way through the rest of humanity to get a girl out of his system." Even if he isn't doing anything close. He pulls himself up on his arms to mimic her own positioning. "Wasn't that weird? The whole family thing. Good thing for me, I don't have any left." He gives a long exhale out his nose. "Look. None of us are ready for love. There is no good timing. The fact that you fell in love with a man that - what? - has a different past than yours? Suck it up, buttercup. He didn't kill your family, his kind did. You said you /felt/ him, right? He's probably scared shitless, sitting in there all alone. So get out of the pool, towel your ass off, and get the frak up there before I drag you up there."

Watching him from the corner of her eye, his response makes her catch her breath, mount opening as if to reply but she stays quiet. Afton swallows, stares at him and then furrows her brows. She narrows her eyes and then sighs, leaning into her arms and then slowly starts to heave herself out wordlessly. Finally she manages to mutter as she does, "I thought you weren't someone I should ask about love…you seem to know enough. And who says you have to be sleeping your way around? You will accept what happened when you do…it took me a few weeks to finally ..mourn."

Whatever kept Ari frozen in the water may never be known, as he seems to be moving about rather freely now. Maybe it just took a moment for common sense to catch up to gut reaction. As Afton lifts herself out of the pool, he follows suit with a flex of his arms. A twist and he's setting his rump back on the edge of the pool, letting the water run off of him as it may. Now that he's out of the water, the tattoos on his back seem to be sliced through with a multitude of scars that are easing from the pink to white stage. "I've been mourning for years. Now knock me a kiss and get out of here." The man indicates his cheek with a tilt of his head.

Amusement curls her lips and Afton looks down at him a moment, brushing her hands over that short pixie cut of hair. Her eyes wander over the scars and tattoos, studying each before she moves closer and already in the process of reaching out to ruffle through his wet hair, she sighs and then smirks. "I see how you get kisses." But its in jest, one that brings her down to a knee and she leans in to press a brief brush of her lips to his cheek as requested. "Don't be a stranger. I want to dunk you in the pool one time without getting strangled."

"Sure. Take the fun out of everything." Ari says dryly about the earlier incident, but that's all he comments on it. "And ditto." Comes the quiet response, a slight smile touching his lips when she gives him a kiss as bidden. "Next time, though, maybe we'll just hit the mats. It's getting embarrassing being taken down by a girl."

"Well be ready for continued embarrassment," Afton winks and then does ruffle his hair, smoothing her hand down the back of his scalp if allowed. "You take care of yourself, hit me up for lunch tomorrow, meet me at sickbay and we can walk. I suppose I really need to just come clean and admit to people that I have a jock friend." There is a warm smile though and as she heads for her towel she pauses to add, "Thanks.."

Cole doesn't seem distressed at the physical contact, in fact he closes his eyes at the scrub of her hand like a cat content to be pet. He does, however, seem intent on staying put on the edge of the pool, his feet dangling once more into the water as if the whole tussle never happened save the fact that he's dripping now. "Don't mention it. We all need someone else to drag our ass into the deep end once in a while." Literally, in Ari's case.

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