AWD #079: Faith
Summary: Afton and Knox face what is to come. Decidedly together.
Date: 26/03/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Special Announcement: March 26
Afton Iphigenia Knox 
The chapel is one of the few quiet places to be found on a battlestar. Even rarer still, it's one of the few places that doesn't look like it's part of a battlestar. Heavy blue curtains have been hung from the walls, obscuring the bulkheads. The lights are kept low, adding a certain mystery and gravitas to the space. The central altar is made of a pale grey wood, as are the several rows of pews which extend from it. Laid against the far right wall is a long, low table with several rows of simple white votive candles to be used as vigil lights. Centered among them is a brass plate for burnt offerings from supplicants. Several cushions rest on the floor before the table, where the faithful may kneel to offer their prayers to the Lords and Ladies of Kobol. On the left wall are several compartments which have been sectioned off for private use.
AWD #79

If things could get anymore unraveled, the ship would fall apart. Afton has made it through the day, the announcement, her duties and the head. She's made it here and since the first Picon visit, she's without her prayer beads. This does not stop her however and she is before Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, kneeling before her and in hushed tones prays for guidance. Bouts of silence follow and the bald headed PJ just takes her time to focus on the questions that seem to be rending her apart.

Fingers curl, close and open, as if moving unseen beads that are no longer there. Incense burn, filling the air around her with sickly sweet smoke.

From somewhere within the chapel's guts, there's a small admin office for the head of the department. That's the spot from which Iphigenia emerges. Her hair is out of its bun, her jacket unpinned, and a fresh set of bandages made of lighter cloth are on most of the wounds on the backs of her hands and wrists except for one area that's still got stitches. She knows there may be a few people coming to chapel after that announcement. So she's unsurprised to see Afton kneeling before Athena. She moves around silently, giving the woman a respectful distance for her worship.

Knox is finally less pissed off than he has been. He just looks.. tired. He's heard the announcement. He couldn't miss it. Nor could he miss the looks in the hallways or people getting out of his way. Or the sneers. But Coop is in a clean pair of Marine Corps cammies, completely with sidearm and pistolbelt. Not in any hurry, he steps into the chapel and see's that form of Afton there once more. He slows to a stop and lets off a long sigh. He takes a step back like he might turn to go, but stops himself and just stands there, half-turned. A hand slips into his pocket to finger something and he looks over to Iphigenia. The Marine meets her eyes, then turns those eyes back down and moves like he's going to head back for the door. Ahem.

Afton is so given to her worship, her back to the door and others have come and gone, but most keep their distance from her as well. Those that know. Fingers curl, tighten even and as the incense burns down, she lifts her head and reaches for another of the sticks to light it with hands that strain to stay steady. Her green eyes flicker open and she puts the end aflame. Letting it eat at the coating, she blows across the small flame and sets the embers aglow so that it burns now and sticks it in the holder amongst the other spent sticks. SHe sets the lighter back down and lifts her head to look at the figure of Athena, saying her name out loud before she catches sight of Iphigenia. This leads to her turning and owlish eyes blink so that she can focus on the other figure of Cooper. Slowly, very slowly she gets to her feet, taking her time as her knees ache from her posture in prayer.

"It's very rude, Sergeant," calls out Iphigenia calmly, "To come to pay call to a lady and then make a turnabout just as you reach the door."

Knox stops and looks to Iphigenia, then to Afton. He clears his throat. "I'm not here for her, actually, Sister," he says quietly. "But that kinda needs to happen. Wasn't sure it would be appropriate here." He swallows and turns back to Afton and takes a few steps but he's angling to the alter. "Hey," he offers to her. He finally removes his hand from his pocket and there is a rather thick number of papers there, folded.

Afton looks to the Chaplain and with care she studies her and wets her lips. She lets the motions play out and as Knox draws closer, she offers him a faint smile. Like nervous kids on prom night, she fidgets in place. "Hey," she offers in reply, her voice soft, catching before she loosk to the papers and furrows her brows. Her head tilts and she looks at him. "I was worried about you. Since everything happened I hadn't seen you. Things are a bit rough around the edges near the head and the berths. People have a bit more freedom down there." Freedom to call names and harrass toaster lovers. She smooths a hand over her head, as if going through phantom hair out of habit.

"Quite a few ladies here." Iphigenia remarks. "I'll be seeing to my own rituals unless either of you have need of me." She turns and heads toward Aphrodite's altar.

Knox nods to Iphigenia. "Thanks for not kicking me out, Sister." He dips his head to her and looks to the offering plate. "Yeah. The hallways aren't much friendlier. I'm not sure how this is going to play out for the Colonel and I'm worried about him." His eyes move to Afton from his bent head. "And I'm more worried about you, Af." Out comes a small lighter and he takes one of the pages, folding it over again. The flint is struck and he lights it, turning it over in his hand to get it going. "Anyone tried to come after you yet?"

"Sister, thank you. I am well for now." Afton says, a faint smile on her lips before she listens to Knox and then looks to the paper he burns. "Petra will take great care of himself, I am quite sure." In regards to her though, she lifts a brow. "Briefly…they all want to know if I knew before hand. I have not said a word. I have been called a few names, but names don't break me." Her eyes look to Athena then and lets out a breath. "But my partner. He supports me save that he thinks if I remain with you, people won't trust me enough to save lives. That he can't work as a team with me if those we are going to pick up won't…trust me." She presses her lips to a thin line. "He says I should deny you and end us."

Iphigenia simply nods and gives the couple their space. She goes to her knees in front of Aphrodite and starts to prey, arms lifted as she whisper-chants softly.

Knox drops the smoldering paper into the tray and he takes off another paper, folding it over a second time while he watches the prayers burn. He doesn't say anything after Afton until he lights the next one. "I think that when you are dying, you'll take whatever help you can get. It sounds like the Petty Officer is trying to say that if you don't walk away from me then he will not work with you." Coop watches the paper burn and takes another, folding it once more. "What do you think about it?" he asks, looking over to her with a glance. "Do you think you should deny me and end us?"

Watching the papers smolder and burn away with the prayers she has not read or does not know. "Yes, that is what he is saying," Afton admits and glances over at him, once more searching his face. "No…I thought about it. I did. I won't lie. I considered what James said…I really considered it." She wets her lips and studies him. "But I know, if I were to leave you now? It wouldn't do anything to help and I don't want to leave you now." Afton firms her expression, her resolve. "I want people to accept you, stepping away to gain the approval of some is not the answer. It does nothing for what I really want. Its foolish to bend to those who are stubborn and naive. But it hurt, it hurt that he questioned the depth of my commitment to my job. I wanted to punch him and I realized that….if he could have that opinion. So will others. But I am not stepping away from you."

Knox just listens to her and nods at the end. He burns another piece of paper. "A lot of people are going to have those opinions, Af. You're going to go through hell. People might even try to kill you. They might isolate you and cut you off from other people you care about. Lies, anger, betrayal." He glances to her and back down. "Do you want that for yourself? Am I worth all that to you, Af? I'd be full of it if I said I hadn't thought about ending things, myself. Leave you and you cut it off. Save you from what you might be dealing with." He takes a long breath and settles another paper on the alter. The folds flicker, the penwork visible for a few seconds. Whatever he's burning are pages and pages of something he put down. "I decided that I'd let you make your own decision. That if you decided you wanted out, I'd make it as easy for you as possible. Sever ties. Protect you however I have to. As long as you can keep saving lives, Af. As long as you can keep doing your mom proud."

"Saying we are done, would not make her proud, Cooper." Afton watches him, draws a heavy breath. "It would be the /easy/ thing to do, Cooper. In some ways. But not all. It's going to be hard for me to let you go…" SHe lets out a breath and closes her eyes again. "Faith." Wetting her lips, she is shaky at best, there is a sort of battle within even though she reaches her hand out for his. "I know you said you would protect me, keep me safe. Isn't that my turn now? To protect you and keep you safe? I see a life I need to save…this ship is going to get hostile. It already is. One more warm body in your corner is going to mean a hell of a lot and I want to be there." She hesitates, watching him still. "Do you want me there? As we are now? Do you?"

"Faith." Knox settles another piece of paper on the flames and he stares at them while she takes his hand. He's tense, and she probably knows him well enough to know when he's nervous. Well, the guy probably looks closer to scared at this point. Its a lot for anyone to deal with, but especially at the eye of the storm that she is so close to. He squeezes her hand and looks over to her. He's trying to be flat and stoic but she knows better. Coop needs her. "I don't want to lose you, Af. I can always go back to Virgon in my head, but its just not the same. Its cold." He sighs and look back to the flames and drops another paper into the pyre. "We're both in such deep trouble, though. Gods. I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. I was good. We were set. We were going to work and be covert and kill them. …Then his happens. I'm not sure of anything anymore except my choice to leave them. I can't make these decisions for us, Af. All I can do is just try and support you with what feels right."

Afton knows. She sees it and that weakness that is desperately attempted to be concealed draws her closer. "I am not going anywhere, Coop. I am going to be right here." The woman hesitates, watching him as her arms lift and slide around to draw him closer. Just out of the head not long ago, she smells heavily like the incense and her rose soap that covers her skin. "You do what is right. You stand tall. You have done nothing wrong whatsoever and those people who look at you wrong? They are scared. Thats all they are. Scared. Scared and hurt. Give them time." Afton tries to draw his gaze to her, tries to look him in the eye. Let those in the Chapel see them. "You don't have to hide anymore, and you shouldn't."

"You shouldn't do this," Coop whispers. "You should listen to your partner." But he turns to move his arms around her and lean his head to her own. "I haven't done anything wrong, but people make up insane things. We've both seen how ugly people can be to each other in environments like this. I've been given a sidearm for a reason. Beckett says that if I'm to be brigged, he's giving me weapons to hold out if I need to." His eyes close. "The idea that you'd be put into situations like this… Af. Its not.. its not logical." For all Coop is human, there are just some things he doesn't understand the depths of, like an emotion like that.

"Close your eyes, Coop." Afton tells him softly. "Let me try to explain why they would. You are yet young to emotions, feelings, but from the day we are born, we start to know them. These people have lost their lives, most of their hope…everything they have ever known. We have not had to fight to live like you and your people, not the same way. To have that ..reality stripped away?" She shakes her head, pressing her forehead to his as her voice lowers. "It makes people irrational. They want somewhere to vent their emotions, something to blame…you are going to be the closest thing." She wets her lips and considers him, drawing a breath. "When you first told me…I wanted to hurt you. But you showed me that it wasn't you. I can't group you with those that took my son and sister from me. I can't bring myself to do it, but loved me. I got to see it." She whispers this all very softly and smooths her hands to his cheeks. "I have lost enough already, I am not going to allow myself to stand by and watch you stand against this anger and irrational hatred alone. My mother would not be proud of me. You saved us…you did. You gave the colonies a chance and that was a bigger chance than we could have ever had before. That is something that people need to know."

Coop does as he's told and he listens. The tension is still there, the man having been unable to relax since the Mess Hall. But he's been on edge since Catriona was shot. Do these things like Knox have a breaking point? Does Knox? Is he defective to more than programming? "I didn't do anything anyone else would have. If anything, I didn't do enough. You have no many times a day I kick myself every day. Eighty days later, hindsight has me thinking of one more thing a day I could have done and didn't think of in time." He lets off a long breath. "I guess I don't really understand it, though. I know how I feel. I know I'd do it for you. I guess that's this messed-up Love Thing. But I do understand about not wanting to lose more. I'm somewhat afraid of what I might do to someone who comes after you, but that's utterly ridiculous. Of anyone on this ship, you're probably one of the most capable people." He lets off a longggg exhale. "You go everywhere armed, right?"

"You did more than enough, you did /something/. You gave us a chance." Afton kisses his cheek, then the other, then over his eyes and his nose. Then lightly, feathering against his lips. There are few whispers from the back, those that know who Knox is just watch and rumors are likely to spread fast. "Cooper Knox," she whispers softly. "You are a brave soul…you are one of us. You are not alone…I need you to be careful, but I need you to know as well that you have to learn to relax, the tension is going to be your undoing. You are going to pull a trigger at the wrong time and undo everything you have managed to do." She presses her lips to a firm line, glossing over the talk of being armed. SHe smiles for him though, the curl of her lips reaching her eyes.

Coop nods slowly. Its still going to linger in the back of his mind, though, and its plain. A guilt he has to live with. He returns the kiss gently and the man seems to relax a little more. He seems to understand that, though. "Yeah," he sighs. "That'd probably be the worst thing that could happen. Gods." He finally opens his eyes to look at her. "I miss your hair." Its completely irrelevant, but it just sort of falls out. "Everyone is going to be watching for the first mistake."

"I miss it too," Afton smiles for him, being as brave as she can for him. "They will…but you haven't made one yet. Just because their watching now, doesn't mean you will. Same amount of lives at stake. Keep doing what you know how to do best…show us the way, Cooper. But I will be here, always. Faith." She says again, giving him a weak smile and then pulls him right up against her, dragging him into a tight embrace. "Kiss me…" Because every moment counts now.

"I don't know the way, Af," he whispers. That, singularly, is probably the most frightening thing. People expect him to know. He has no idea. He swallows and just nods. "That, I know how to do." Coop leans in to kiss her again, this time sighing more heavily against her as that handful of pages comes around behind her to hold her close. Okay, this may be survivable.

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