The Here and Now
The Here and Now
Summary: Rhea comes to talk to Zaharis, and ask for a favour.
Date: 34 ACH
Related Logs: None

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
34 ACH 6285 Souls

The office of the Chief Medical Officer is a small room, used mostly for consultations and review of sensitive patient materials than the paperwork of the Medical department, which goes through the Naval Administrative offices. Still somehow it has file cabinets along one wall stuffed full of papers, two chairs in front of a desk behind which a large leather chair is set. On the desk sits a computer terminal.

Zaharis' office has been impeccably straightened and cleaned. Even though there's a lot of sheer stuff in here, with files and papers and everything else, it all seems to have been stacked by a compulsive hand, possibly alphabetically. The patient films up on the wall are in straight rows. Even the three mugs he keeps around for visitors are lined up on the top of the filing cabinet, all the handles facing the same way. The CMO's working on something on the computer, one heavy medical textbook open on his desk.

Rhea has the nurses buzz her presence before she comes knocking on Zaharis' door. Not that she waits for an invitation to enter. The state of the office makes her blink. "Frak, Jesse, you making your medics scrub your floors now?" She looks in a better state than she has for the past several days. Tired, but lighter. Lacking in tension.

"They needed something to do. They were all running around and like…taking care of people and stuff. Gods." Zaharis answers without looking away from the screen for a second, as he's quite busily working on the end of some sentence. His eyes flicker up and down from keys to screen, though he hardly needs to look at his hands very much. Whether it's supposed to be or not, the blue sling is off and hanging on the back of his chair. The typing is finished and he turns his chair. "Come on in."

Rhea comes in and sits down. Legs crossed comfortably, settling in. Zaharis is eyes narrowly. "You sure you should be up and about? You got pretty frakked up. What's you working on, anyway?"

"Evaluating the medical ethics of airlocking," Zaharis replies, picking up the half-drunk water bottle by his computer. "Nothing that you've come by to hear about, I assure you." He downs a few swallows and glances her over. "How are you doing?"

Rhea arches a brow. "Airlocking? I can't say it's a speciality of mine, no. Pretty grim topic to be composing a thesis on. You got any coffee?" As to his question, she shrugs. "I'm good. I think. I'm still kind of figuring that out."

Zaharis points Rhea to the carafe on the corner of the desk and stands up, retrieving one of the lined-up mugs for her. "Bit watery. Rations are turning into a real bitch." He sets the mug down in front of her and gives her a slight smile. "Figured you might be a little…don't know. Left you alone for a bit so you could think without me babbling at you."

Rhea wrinkles her nose. Watery coffee. But she takes what she can get, pouring a cup of the weakened Naval brew. "Don't worry, Doctor. I didn't muss your nice medical room." She smirks wryly. But her expression moderates after a moment. She sips her coffee. "I love him, Jesse." It's said softly, and she doesn't sound particularly giddy about it. More resigned than anything else.

Zaharis sits back down, picking up a pen to flip idly between his fingers as he looks at her face. "Mmmhmm. I could've told you that."

"Frakker," Rhea curses Zaharis fondly, easing back into a chair. She sighs. "I don't even know what that means right now. I still feel like Mrs. Ephraim Zimmermann. I love him, too. I'm worried about Reece. I'm worried about keeping my focus with everything going on. Not to mention how the frak…anything is going to work on this ship. But…I love him. There's so much I regret not saying to people that're gone now. I thought he was…" She can't even say it. "…he said it to me and I said it back and, for about ten seconds, *something* seemed to make sense. That's all I know."

"Ephraim's dead, Rhea." Zaharis says, his tone gentle. "Not like that makes anything any easier, but at some point you're going to have start living again. His life is over. Not yours."

"I know that, Jesse. I know that," Rhea says softly. "Doesn't change what I feel. Ephraim doesn't change what I feel for Reed, either. I'm muddled. But, I'll get along. Reed and I are both highly intelligent people. I'm sure we'll find many creative ways to frak each other up." She smiles as she says it. Sipping her coffee. She changes topics after a moment. "You seen Reece's new home on the Carina?"

Zaharis flips the pen between his fingers again, lifting his chin. The motion is restless but doesn't seem entirely conscious. "Muddled about what?" Her questions go ignored for the time being. "If you weren't sure how you felt about him, I'd understand. But when you open a topic with *bam* 'I love him', it's…you know. What's muddling you still?"

"Muddled about what to do with it, I guess," Rhea says, still sipping at her coffee. She doesn't fidget. She's still, thoughtful. "I'm a thirty-six year-old widow with a near-teenage son. On a military battlestar, in the middle of a war against genocidal robots. It's not exactly summer on Picon."

"'Kay." Zaharis keeps flipping that pen. "So…what exactly do you see as the options, here?"

Rhea shrugs. "I haven't given it that much thought. I just…I want to take care of him, Jesse. Hold onto him when he's hurt or low. I want to laugh with him, and talk technical jargon until it sounds dirty. I want to…" She trails off, smirking. "…you know, I forget sometimes you aren't a proper girlfriend. Anyway. I just want to be with him right now. I'll figure out the rest as it comes."

"Then…dammit, Rhea, be with him." Zaharis clicks the end of the pen with his thumb. "All I'm hearing from you is hem-hawing with no good excuse why you shouldn't let yourself do what you feel you want to do. It doesn't make you a shitty officer. It doesn't make you a shitty mother. Shit, you know what would disappoint -me-? Is if you let a good man like Carter go to waste after all this. Just…you know what? If the cylons decided to come and wipe us out five minutes from now, what do you want to count? Your being afraid of what may come? Or the five precious minutes you could be spending loving someone?"

"Yeah. I know, Jesse," Rhea says. She's almost finished off her coffee but she holds the cup between her hands. Feeling the residual warmth from it. "I'm going to. I can't not. I realized that while he was out of it. I've never been good at subverting my feelings. It's never been me. I love Reed Jameson Frakking Carter. He is a good man. I could do with something good right now, the way things stand."

"Alright then. I swear, the two of you…sheesh." Zaharis just shakes his head and smirks. His thumb's been clicking the crap out of that pen and he finally seems to notice it, making himself put it down. He picks up his water bottle instead. "If we're going to borrow time might as well make some of it happy."

"Sorry not all of us can have your emotional maturity level, Doctor Zaharis," Rhea says wryly as she finishes off her coffee. "Anyway. I didn't come here to giggle over Reed. I was serious with my question about Reece. You seen him in his new habitat yet?" She smiles. "Adele's a life-saver, doing that. I had images in my head of him being carted off to some Navy Secure Children's Facility."

"Saw it." Zaharis takes a swallow from the bottle and picks up the cap, fiddling with it. "Nice place. They'll be good for each other, they seem to get along."

"I just hope Adele's prepared," Rhea says with a smile. "Reece is a good kid. But he's not a cat. The PAS was easier, in a lot of ways. It was structured. Safe. He had my rules, and he had the military's rules, to live by. The Carina's more…unpredictable. And Reece isn't an angel all of the time. He's a boy. I should have a talk with Adele. Let her know it's okay to set him down if he gets out of line. And tell her not to freak out if he doesn't use a coaster or tracks dirt on the carpet or something."

"That…would probably be good." Zaharis smirks at the image. "She hasn't really had any experience with children, so it'll be a learning curve for her. But she seemed relieved to not have to be alone over there."

Rhea smirks as well. "I'll have a talk with Reece, too. See that he doesn't make Adele lose her mind. They'll frazzle each other a little bit, but she seems to care about him. That's what counts." Her expression turns more serious. "I've been thinking a lot about Reece lately. You were right before, Jesse. None of us know what's going to happen. I thought the PAS was safe. Maybe that was foolish of me. I can't pretend anywhere's safe anymore. I need to be prepared." She's building to something, though she seems unsure exactly how to say it.

Zaharis rolls the bottle cap between his fingers, much like he'd been doing with the pen. Every so often the muscles at the corners of his eyes twitch subtly, his attention focused on her. He gives her a slight nod. "As prepared as we can be." His tone seems to invite her to keep talking.

Rhea takes a deep breath. Though she still hesitates a moment. Trying to find the right way to phrase this. The 'right' way she opts for is vague and jarring. "I think we should have a kid together!" She tries to say it lightly, to pass it off as half a joke. But there a serious look behind her eyes.

The answer Zaharis gives her is the most intelligent one a man can come up with when hearing something like that. "Huh?"

"Relax, Zaharis, I'm not propositioning you," Rhea says dryly. "Not like that, anyway. Frak, the image alone makes me want to giggle uncontrollably." She folds her hands on her lap, regarding the CMO. Expression serious, and with a certain vulnerability to it. This is a big thing for her to ask. "I'd like you to be Reece's godfather. You wouldn't have to do anything you don't do now. It's just a piece of paper. I just want to make sure…if something happens to me, I want to know that he'll be taken care of by someone I trust. By someone he loves."

Zaharis rubs his nose, silent for a bit. He puts the cap down on the desk and then immediately picks it back up. "Oh, that's…" He clears his throat. He doesn't sound like he's pushing the idea away, just slightly confused. "Er. I mean. If something happened to you shouldn't it be…Carter?"

"Reed?" It's Rhea's turn to be confused. It clearly hadn't even occurred to her. "Are you serious? Jesse, I just told you I love the man. And I like the way he is with my kid. It's part of what I love. But he's known Reece for less than a year. My boy still thinks of him as a glorified landlord with cool taste in rollerblades. I hope they'll get to know each other better, but that's down the road. Even if it wasn't, I'd want it to be you, anyway. Reed's about me. This is about my son. You've known Reece his whole life. You're great with him. He'll lay stuff on you he won't even talk to me about. I'm not jealous. I'm incredibly thankful he has that. You're a tie to his father. And you love him." The last is added softly, but it's obviously the most important point for her.

Zaharis rolls the cap gently between his hands, glancing at the water bottle for a few seconds and then looking back at her. "Alright." Simplest answer ever, but his voice says plenty more.

Rhea relaxes. Releasing the tension she didn't even seem to know she'd been holding while she waited for that. A slim smile spreads across her face. "Thanks," she replies simply in turn. It means more to her than she could ever put into words.

Zaharis smiles, himself. He picks up his water, taking another sip. "I'd like to tell you not to worry, Rhea, but you know I can't. So I'll just have to promise you I'll do everything I possibly can."

"Hope for the best, plan for the worst," Rhea says. "I have a strong sense of self-preservation, Zaharis. I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. And I fully expect you to fix me if I break. I'll see what papers need to be signed with the JAG. When it's done we can just stow the forms in a drawer somewhere, and it'll be one less thing to worry about."

Zaharis hehs quietly. "One less thing. I'll take that in a heartbeat." Putting the bottle down he shifts restlessly in his chair, running his thumbnail over the arm. "When the papers are done just crack the whip at me and I'll be right down."

"I'll use my special whip for you," Rhea says with a wink. She tilts her head at him. Giving him a long look-over. "You want to go grab something to eat? Your fatigues are looking a little baggy."

Zaharis shakes his head, reaching up to scratch the back of his head. "I just ate. Should go get yourself something though. All this camping out in here lately, you need to keep your strength up." He winks.

Rhea smirks. "I feel just fine, Doctor. You were the one on round-the-clock duty. Back to normal business hours now." Such as they are. "Fine. You owe me breakfast tomorrow, though. Anyway. I should leave you to your paperwork. I feel like a ton of it dropped on my desk while I had my eyes closed." Which seems to remind her of something. Her smirk crooks. "What'd you make of Regas' Frakking Memo, anyway?"

Zaharis' eyes drift crossed for a moment, and he picks his water back up. The bottle's nearly empty. "Barely saw it, to tell you the truth. Not surprised at the outcome at all though. In theory it shouldn't make a difference. In practice though…" He purses his lips and shrugs slightly.

Rhea snorts. "I'm glad the idea died, myself. Not that I can't see an argument for it. We've all got bigger concerns than worrying about whether our lieutenants are frakking our petty officers in some supply closet. It's like any other rule, though. At times it's stupid, but it exists for a reason. Besides, it always makes me very leery when the military tries to impose itself into somebody's pants. One way or another. I spent thirteen years in a Navy marriage. Twelve with a Navy brat. One thing I learned is, the military is *very* bad at dealing with personal lives. No change is less chance for them to frak things up, as far as I'm concerned."

Zaharis smiles a bit. He takes the last drink of water and tosses the bottle into the bin on top of several others. "I agree there's bigger problems to be sending out memos about," he replies, a little drily. "Though I'll have to remember 'The Frakkin Memo', that was good." He stands up, retrieving a new bottle of water from atop the filing cabinet, and doesn't sit back down, starting to just pace restlessly as he talks. Her crack about his clothes looking baggy becomes less of a joke as more of his body is visible. "Was surprised JAG would even push it. Altair seems the conservative sort, from what I've seen."

Rhea shrugs. "Maybe the Major Law's a got a girl. Or a boy. I don't know much about the man's personal life. He'll just need to grit his teeth and deal like the rest of us." Her smirk curves crookedly. "I've done the enlisted side and the brass and I'm proud to say, whenever I've frakked in a supply closet, it's been well within the regs." Despite the joke, there's more than a little concern in her eyes as she looks Zaharis up and down.

Zaharis snorts, leaning back against the wall. "Doubt it. Much as I hate lawyers, I'll give Altair credit for not throwing the law around to suit him. And I really don't want to hear about your frakkin's in supply closets, Rhea. Past or soon-to-be." He smirks at her.

Rhea does her best to look demure. It does not suit her. "I'd like to think I've matured beyond such tawdry things since my twenties. The laundry room, maybe. Or the back of a Raptor." She gives him a wink, standing. "I'll see you later, Jesse. Take care of yourself." It's got a more serious note to it than just an idle good-bye.

"Yeah, yeah. Practice what you preach," Zaharis gives her a stepbrother-lookin arch of brows. "Trust me, I can make you regret it if you don't. Be good out there."

"I do my best," Rhea says to Zaharis with a wink. Breezing out the way she came.

Rhea leaves for Sickbay [o].
Rhea has left.

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