PHD 279: The Truth Hurts
The Truth Hurts
Summary: When Iggy finally comes clean about her relationship with Harrison, Ambrose reaches his breaking point and calls her out on her bs behavior.
Date: PHD 279 (Jan 22, 2010)
Related Logs: Insurgency - Nuke Patrol & several others that were never posted

Ever since Ambrose was shot, the Silver and Black berthing has been much quieter. This has somewhat changed since his recent discharge. Case in point: even though he snoozes in his bunk with the curtain drawn, he can be heard mumbling and occasionally forming complete sentences in his sleep. Even when not awake, his mouth doesn't rest. Something his upstairs neighbor learned long ago.

And his upstairs neighbor is now home again. It's clear she's learned about his discharge, given the expression on her face. She pauses for a moment outside the curtain, then rattles it, quietly. "Anyone home?"

Considering he dozed off some time ago and is no longer zonked on pain killers, Sol is navigating the final stages of REM. The question registers on an unconscious level and prompts him to quietly reply, "What'cha sellin'?" It appears the Viper jock is some sort of door-to-door salesperson.

The curtain gets drawn back so that Iggy can make herself comfortable on the side of his bunk. "Door to door ass whippings," she replies, settling down heavily. "You interested?" The woman looks tired and worn, frayed around the edges. But she's smiling.

The sudden entry of light into the up until then dark cocoon results in face scrunching. Eyelids tighten and that redheaded head rocks a bit from side to side. Laying on his back, the man's still dressed in his off-duty clothes, minus the boots, and his left arm is tucked into a sling. Sleeping with a cast that runs from hand to shoulder does not appear to be very comfortable. As Iggy sits down, Smalls stirs a bit, still not quite awake, even as he mumbles, "Just had one." Even in his dreams, he cannot escape the wrath of Booster.

"No, you stupidly got in the way of Cylon bullets," Iggy points out, reaching up to pull the curtain around her so there's only minimal light. "There's a very big difference." While she can see him, her head tilts a little and she studies him. "How're you feeling," she asks, voice low, quiet.

Eyelashes faintly flutter, as is the case when someone is starting to wake. Soon enough, bleary blue eyes are blinking away the last remnants of dreaming, even as his good hand lifts to fend off the retreating light. "Huh?" There are sounds of rustling and the faint undulating of mattress as Ambrose starts to stir. He doesn't get very far before he murmurs, "Frak." He didn't have to worry about a bunk wall when he was in the recovery ward. With space starting at a minimum, Iggy's presence there leaves less wiggle room. Granted, both of them are fairly small. "I didn't get in the way," he replies, letting out a yawn that he mostly covers with his right palm. "They cut me off." Slowly, he starts to realize, "Iggs?" And then, "You okay?" He can't think of any other reason why she'd be in his bunk. Limited space be damned, he tries to maneuver into a more upright sitting position.

One hand goes to his shoulder, gently pressing him back. "Don't," she tells him quietly. "Lay back and relax. Enjoy it while you can because I'm eventually going to kick your ass for making me cry." Yep, it's quite easily spoken, as if she says it every day. But there's just a hint of strain in her voice. Her hand remains where it is. "Do you need your pills or some water?"

Even were he uninjured, it's not like he'd be able to fend off a Nikos. That said, his head reconnects with the pillow. "Nah, I took 'em before I fell asleep. Should still have some water on the shelf, unless someone took the cup." It's still there, although mostly empty. Then the rest of the words register. "Wait… I made you cry?" A mingling of confusion and feeling like crap comes to the fore. Then comes a heavy sigh and something akin to a grimace of dismay. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to." Even if he isn't entirely sure what he did wrong. He knew she was upset, but he expected a beat down, not tears.

She reaches for the cup and disappears without a word. She's only gone for a few minutes, and when she comes back, it's with a protein bar and a cup that's been thoroughly washed before being filled with fresh, cool water. The best the ship can provide. Settling back down, she offers him the cup. "Drink," she orders softly. "And yes, you did. I saw you lying in the bed in the Sickbay. I saw how injured you were. You're my friend, Sol. You're my best friend."

By the time she returns, Ambrose has managed to get himself upright, now sitting. He takes the offered items with a lopsided smile and drinks, as is instructed. "Thanks." Getting to the rest, he rather jovially comments, "It's not so bad. Will be as good as new after all the physical therapy. I mean, come on. I've withstood your Fists of Fury. What's a toaster and some bullets?" Why, yes, he even pshaws. Afterwards, however, he falls quiet, head dropping a little with pensiveness, one corner of his mouth tugged into a flickering smile. No one's ever said such a thing to him. Not even remotely. "You're my best friend, too. The best I've ever had. I'm sorry that I made you cry." His voice is soft.

Iggy reaches out and awkwardly brushes his hair back from his forehead. Given the expression on her face, she can't quite believe she's doing that. "It's ok," she says softly. "I've been learning a lot lately. I was kinda stupid to try to not be your friend before." She returns the smile, watching his face. "I still plan on kicking your ass, though. So you're not getting out of that, just because I said you're my friend. That just means I'll be harder on you than I'd be on, oh, say, Reverie." Yes, the tone's a little gruff.

Usually kind of all over the place, that red hair is extra messy. Not that he appears to notice. Booster's brushing it back doesn't escape him, however. "It's okay. I can be pretty annoying," he smiles, finally looking at his friend. "And I know. I'd be worried if you didn't." The guy is so nonchalant about physical violence against his person. "How is Rev? Haven't seen her since she was discharged. She's supposed to draw a cake on my cast."

She brushes at his hair a bit more before her hand drops to her lap again. "Rev is…" There's a quiet sigh. "I suspect she's causing trouble, truth be told. I'm wondering if she isn't cracking." There's a bit of real concern there. "She's a good kid, but lately, she's been about as subtle as a freight train in a china shop. She hates Mooner with a passion and… I can understand a LITTLE of it, but not the extent to which Rev takes it. On one hand, I can kind of understand Mooner doing what she did. I think it was a bitch move, don't get me wrong, but I can understand wanting to protect a friend."

Smalls looks confused. Perhaps it's all the tenderness, or maybe he has no idea what Iggy is talking about. "Why's she hate Mooner? Is this about Dak? I heard she was flirting with him, but I thought she was with Harrison. She says she's not, though. Said he wasn't that into her, after all, and that she wasn't gonna be second fiddle. To be honest, Exile never pinged on my gaydar. Maybe bi people don't register. Not that it matters if he doesn't know if he wants chicks or dudes. I'm not one to judge. What is it that Mooner did, though? I asked her about Dak, but she kinda just left. I think I hurt her feelings. I mean, I told her I wasn't saying that she was gonna hurt the guy, but Dak's my buddy and he's been hurt before, and I thought she still had a thing going on with Exile, so I kinda had to ask, y'know?" Clearly, he is out of the loop when it comes to Air Wing's drama, although he does feel bad about upsetting Eddie.

Ahhhh, lots of talking to get to the center of the tootsie pop. Iggy's quiet for a bit then moves to settle at the foot of his bunk, kicking her boots off. Yeah, it takes her moment or two. She's thinking. Finally, though, she twists so that she's facing him, legs crossed Indian-style. "It's a little complicated," she says finally. "Exile and I have been together for about three weeks, maybe a little less. In the beginning, it was pretty rocky. It started as just sex. It wasn't anything planned, just something that… happened. I was lonely, he was there." Not a comfortable topic. Especially not since it means she's vulnerable. "I wanted something just casual. He wanted something exclusive. So we went for exclusively casual. A couple days later I was folding laundry and saw Mooner roll out of his bunk." Given her expression? Looks like it may have hurt a little. "We'd been fighting, he and I, off and on. Things were a little iffy. We went through a rough patch. He and I talked about it, and agreed to just move forward." She smiles a touch, though it's not one that reaches her eyes. "You would have been proud of me. I didn't punch the bitch's face in. Of course, it wasn't her fault. She didn't know." Iggy takes a deep breath, pushing on. Someone's been taking lessons from Smalls. "I found out… that more happened than he told me, initially. I knew, here." Fingers brush over her heart. "We had another fight about it. We've fought more than Reverie with her underwear. When you said what you did in the recovery ward… It did something to me, Sol. At first I felt like I was going to be sick. But it made me think."

In one of those exceptionally rare moments, the compulsive talker is dead silent. Dumbstruck might be a good word, as if he's not comprehending what he's hearing. As Iggy goes on, Ambrose's expression grows increasingly vacant, a total cacophony raging in his head, clashing with the woman's words and his own thoughts and feelings. He says absolutely nothing.

Ohshitohshitohshit. It's written all over Iggy's face. She's totally fucked this up and she knows it. So she goes quiet for a minute, just watching him. The minute seems to stretch out and out and out. "I wanted to talk with you, to tell you about it because I didn't want to hurt you, Sol," she finally says quietly.

She didn't want to hurt him? Alas, this is unquestionably EPIC FAIL. As he starts to process everything, a torrent of emotions washes across his face. Confusion. Pain. Betrayal. Self-derision. Anger. Sorrow. There's more silence, even as Smalls looks as though he's just been disemboweled and not quite realizing his guts are all over the place, or why that is, before he drops dead, metaphorically speaking. After a long moment, all he can manage to say is, "It's okay. I'm glad you're not broken anymore." Sadly, he actually means it. Iggy's not the only one to have known things. Deep down in the furthest recesses of his own heart, he never believed her when she said she'd be with him if she weren't so messed-up. All the same, it was cruel to give him hope, even if he's angrier at himself for having known better and being a fool than he is that she had lied back then to make him feel better.

Iggy's quiet for a time, just watching his face. She accepts the emotions flung her way and shakes her head slightly. "I'm still broken, Sol. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Jeff. That I don't miss him." Fingers twist her wedding ring, round and round and round. "I wish I were good with words. I wish I knew what to say. I don't. You are one of the only people left alive I can honestly say I care for enough to take a bullet for. I know you love me. I've known it for a while now." But damned if she knows what to do about it.

"I'm sorry, then. You deserve to be happy." And he knows it's not with him, but nice guy that he is, Sol is more concerned about her well-being. "Look, I told you before… a girl like you would never go for a guy like me. I may be a bit obtuse at times but I'm not stupid. Guys like Exile get swooned over, not guys like me. It's just how it is. Guys like me? We're lucky if a pretty girl even tells us to go away. Apart from the crazy ones, anyhow. Hells, if it weren't for the fact that I had to get a restraining order after countless visits to the emergency room and nearly being killed this one time, I'd probably have stayed with Mia." Long ago, he accepted his lot in life, which might be why he doesn't say anything cruel, even though Iggy has given him a lot of ammo on that front. After all, even nice guys lash out when hurt.

And that's probably the one thing he could do to make Iggy feel like utter and complete shit. "Sol," she asks quietly. "Do you honestly think that you and I would do well together, romantically?" It seems to be an honest question. "It's not that you're a nice guy and nice guys finish last. It's not that I wouldn't look twice at you. I'd be terrified of walking all over you. And I'd be afraid that you were only with me because you thought I was the best you could do."

Smalls shrugs, which causes a wince because he really shouldn't have done that with the way his left arm is. "Iggy, I already told you that you'd never go for someone like me. Even when I stand up for myself, I get my ass handed to me. Doesn't stop me from standing up for myself, even as I accept the inevitable. The only women who go for me are those who like that I'll pretty much roll with just about anything they throw at me, or those who were looking for a rich husband. I know you think I'm a doormat, but I'm not. Not really. I just know the score, is all. If I were as pathetic as you think I am, I would've never enlisted. I sure as frak wouldn't have gotten shot 'cuz I'd've been hiding, nor would I have stuck it out to lay down cover fire for the others, even though I was dizzy from the pain and loss of blood." There's a pause, his expression twisting into something distressed. "I know you don't want to be with someone you can walk all over, but you shouldn't be with someone who lies to you, and who hurts you, and makes you angry and sad. You deserve better than that. I guess, though, that your husband might've been the last good-looking, good-hearted guy, 'cuz, honestly, Exile is a frakkin' asshole to treat you like that. And if I figure out who drew that giant 'A' on his forehead, I'll thank 'em. Maybe I don't deserve you, but he doesn't, either. But, hey, if frakkin' him makes you happy, that's your business. It's not like I'm in a position to tell you to not be with someone who fraks you over. Not with my track record. You're right, though. Being with someone who cares about me and my well-being is the best I could do."

Iggy's quiet for a little while after all of that, giving his words the consideration they're due. "Sol, he made a mistake. Not in what happened with Mooner, but in lying to me. He lied because he was afraid. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that he was right to do that. I'm angry and I'm hurt. He knows this. I also don't think you're pathetic. I would walk all over you because I'm a bitch. It's who I am." One hand reaches up to push her hair back. "I'm not in love with him, Sol. I don't know if I ever will be. I care about him. I didn't want to. The last man I cared about like that, I watched get vaporized. Why do you think I fought so hard to keep you away? Exile's a good man who screwed up. It was an error in judgement." Frustration appears in her eyes. "I had planned to end it when I came to see you in the recovery ward. But then you told everyone about my husband and it made me realize that … he's dead. I have a cousin, her husband and you left. I don't want to die alone. I wanted…" Not helping, clearly. "Sol, I'm sorry. I don't know why you love me. I don't know why Jeff loved me. I don't know why Exile cares."

"What are you talking about? I never told anyone ANYTHING about that." He honestly doesn't remember, having been drugged off his ass when it happened. He also is starting to get angry. "And you know what, Iggy? You're worse off than I am. Maybe I'm a sad bastard for enduring abuse, but I've never tried to convince myself that it was something it wasn't. Exile is NOT a good man. At best, he's got his head up his ass and is too busy being self-absorbed to realize that he's acting like an asshole. That is NOT a good man. A good man wouldn't dick you around. A good man wouldn't dick Mooner around. And a good man sure as the 9 Hells would NOT dick you both around at the same frakkin' time. Peddle your shit excuses to yourself, if you want, but I'm not buying 'em. And why does it matter you're not in love with him? You think telling me that somehow will make me feel better? It certainly keeps with your screwed-up logic, I suppose. I mean, if you're into frakkin' guys you're not in love with, you could've frakked me. I mean, according to you, Exile cares about you, so what's the frakkin' difference? Oh, except maybe that he treats you like shit. That's okay, though, 'cuz you're a bitch, right? You must deserve it. Whatever, Iggy. What. The frak. Ever. Bandy about your dead husband, if you want, but his getting vaporized has nothing to do with why you 'fought so hard to keep me away'. You wanted to frak Exile, not me. It's as simple as that. Fine. I accept that. I'm not even angry about that. People want what they want. That's just how it is. Just quit making godsdamned excuses. You frakked him. You like frakkin' him. You wanna keep frakkin' him. Do whatever the hells you want. You're not accountable to me. I'm not your husband. I'm not boyfriend. And if you can't bring yourself to show me some respect, at least respect your husband enough to stop using him as some bullshit excuse." Who knew Ambrose could be so damn venomous?

Iggy is dead quiet for a very long time. In fact, it doesn't even seem like she's going to answer him. "No, Sol, you're not my husband and you're not my boyfriend. You're my best friend," she says finally. "Yes, I frakked him and I like frakking him. What I don't understand is why you're passing judgement on a man when you don't even know the situation. I'm not using Jeff as an excuse. I was, for a time. It's why I didn't want anyone close to me. Watching them die is too damned hard." She just doesn't quite know what to say.

"What else is there to know? You fed me some bullshit story about why you couldn't be with me, and then not even a week later you're frakkin' some other guy. Some guy who told you he wanted to be exclusive and then went off and frakked Mooner, then lied to you about it, and probably didn't even tell her you were in the picture." No, there is absolutely nothing she can say to get through to Smalls. He's done with this conversation. So much so that he doesn't even bother to call her on what he believes to be is bs. "Y'know what, though, Iggs? I'll still be around after he breaks your heart. Not because I'm some idiot who's hoping you'll have some great epiphany and fall in love with me if I just keep being nice, or because I think I might score if you're vulnerable enough. I'll still be around because I care about you. It's as simple as that. I'm your friend. That's not gonna change." Spoken as much as an affirmation that he'll always be there for her as it is the resignation that he'll never be more than that to her. "I said I'd ride it out with you until the end. I meant that. Right now, though? Right now, I am so godsdamned hurt and so godsdamned pissed off at you, and I'd like to be left alone."

For once, emotion is visible on her face. It looks as though he stripped everything away, leaving her raw and bleeding. Every insecurity, every vulnerability was slashed. She does what Iggy does best, though, and prepares to leave. "She was in his bunk when he got back, smashed, from the bar," she says in a quiet voice. Iggy opens her mouth to say something else, then just shakes her head, biting her lower lip. "Goodnight, Sol. I'm glad you're out of sickbay."

Ambrose honestly doesn't give a damn why Eddie was in Isaiah's bed. That much is probably evident in his flushed and brooding face. He doesn't even bother looking at his bunkmate as she departs. "See ya, Iggy," he says, voice softer but tone still tight, even if also somewhat deflated. "Thanks for the water and protein bar."

The only further sound to come from the ECO's bed is that of the curtain being drawn shut as tightly as possible.

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