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Part of Eos Station: Mission 1: Rule 34 War is Good for Business

A Friendship for the Ages

Eos Station - Personal Quarters
10.15.2400 @ 1800
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Longfellow sat in his easy chair, a glass tumbler filled with chilled apple cider on the coffee table.  The days were long in sickbay, and he’d found himself retreating further and further into himself as the days had gone by.  The dull ache that had begun in his soul when his wife died had spread to his heart and mind, making it a challenge to get through the day without tears threatening to crest over his eyes and onto his face.  He had been quietly questioning his transfer to this station for weeks, and now the voices of doubt in his head had grown to a chorus.

Why was he here?  Why hadn’t he simply turned in his notice and retired to a small town in Montana to finish his years in local practice?  What had led him to flee the living to work amongst the dead?

The door chimed, and he sat up with a start.  No one had come to visit him in his quarters since stepping aboard the station.  He frowned and shuffled to the door, wondering if he could just ignore it and return to his ruminations on his life choices.  The door chimed once more, and he sighed, “Come.”

The door opened, and Longfellow gasped. “Hiro-san?”

Asato Hiro gave a quiet bow, “Sensai Longfellow.”

He regarded her in shock for a moment longer and found his words, “Come in, come in.”  He welcomed her into his quarters and offered her a drink, which she accepted quietly.  They sat down across from each other, and Henry simply stared at her for what felt like an eternity.  He spoke, his voice just above a whisper, “What are you doing here, Hiro-san?”

Asato looked her former teacher over.  He looked more gaunt since she had last seen him on Bravo and his eyes looked dull as if the lights within had faded.  She played with her hands until she found the words, “I have missed you, Sensai…and I grew worried about you.  You did not respond to my messages.”

Henry felt his throat run dry.  Had he forgotten to return her messages?  He had been so busy with the sickbay…but it had also been the added weight of the loss of Thea.  He looked around the room and began to notice things lying around and a lack of order in his quarters.  A moment later, he sighed, “I…it has been hard, Hiro-san.” She hesitantly stood and shifted over to sit at his side, gingerly placing her hand on his shoulder.  She did not speak but leaned her head against his as he continued, “It’s…been hard to know what to say…and how to say it.”  It was his turn to play with his hands as he attempted to explain his heart, “You’d think after all these years of giving advice and helping others grieve I’d be better at it, you know?”

His oldest friend turned to him, “It is often the hardest for those who have led others…but never experienced it for themselves with such magnitude.”  She reached out her hand, and he put his in hers as she encouraged him, “I applied to the nursing position here, Sensai…and they’ve accepted me.”

Longfellow frowned, “But you will be so far from your family.”  He searched her eyes for an answer.

Hiro smiled quietly, “The older we get, the farther we must fly from the nest.  The love of family is just as strong in the depths of this place as it is on Earth.”  He nudged his shoulder, “But we are back together again, Sensai.  Only good can come of this, I am certain.”

Henry leaned in, and they embraced.  He hoped he was right.  In his heart, he suddenly felt as if a semblance of hope had returned to his life.