Psych (Part 1)
Timeline: MD 2 1600
Liam looked up, confused, as his office chime went off. He wasn't expecting anyone else today. "Come."
Caleb strode into the office, scowling a bit. “Ah’m heah for mah mandatory psychological evaluation.”
Liam nodded. He had forgotten all the senior staff had to retake their psyche exam. He needed to figure out where Noelle had got with that. Something though made him think it was a little bit more. Especially after their awkward encounter involving Teena and the Chief’s daughter.
Caleb took a seat on the chair across from Liam. “How’s yer niece doin’?” he asked, a bit of a tone to his voice, like, Why don’t you keep your niece on a leash.
Liam caught the tone, and, of course, could sense that the other man was holding him partially responsible for having had the shock of finding his daughter in bed with Teena. He groaned inwardly, thinking this somewhat unfair, but took a deep breath. Perhaps it was time Caleb got a better understanding of him.
"I don't have a niece. Well, not yet. We joke, Amia, Cade, and I, that their child will be my niece. I'll be Uncle Liam. And truthfully, with my family situation as it currently is, I look forward to that and cherish that my friends regard me highly enough to bestow that honour on me. You see, Chief, I am currently dead to my mother. It's an old and stupid tradition. I refused to participate in an arranged marriage, and her position in society being what it is, she choose to observe a rite of mourning. The older established houses," he worded it carefully, not wanting to admit he was part of one of the higher and richest families on Betazed for fear Caleb would view him differently, not take him on his own merits, "like to try keep the older, and not to mention stupider, traditions alive.
"As such, my mother then took it upon herself to remarry. Being excommunicated at present, I wasn't even made aware, and from that union I got two step sisters, who decided to visit and ignore the archaic rite of mourning. I've never met them before this trip, and I barely know them. I received them, as it's my duty as half brother, and if the rite of mourning is lifted it would have been a snub to my mother and new father to not have," he said sadly.
Caleb sighed and rubbed his eyes wearily. “Sorry, Liam. Guess that was unfair of me. Ah just...Ah ain’t ready f’r mah little girl ta grow up,” he had to admit. He sank back into the chair. “An’ Ah ain’t used ta walkin’ in on naked teenage girls…” Yes, that image of Teena was something stuck in his head now. She was very attractive, just way too young.
"That's okay, Caleb, and yes, that's perfectly understandable. I have to say, for the record, you handled it very well. Zandra is very lucky to have such a good father. If I'm ever lucky enough to become a father, I'll be coming to you for lessons," Liam admitted.
Caleb gave Liam a wry smile. “Why couldn’t she have been a boy?” he asked with a chuckle. “Ah know what ta do with a boy. Mika handled this kinda stuff.” He sighed. “Ah’m not so sure Ah handled it well. We’re kinda...avoidin’ each other. What am Ah s’posed ta do?” He sighed. “At least she cain’t get pregnant.”
"True, there's always that while she's seeing Teena. If they are even seeing each other. I find the love lives of teenagers can change ridiculously quickly, along with every other situation going," Liam agreed. "But to be honest, I think she's into men too. Empath." He shrugged. He sure as hell wasn't going to tell the man his daughter hit on him the first time he met her. "I think the main thing is her happiness, yes?"
Liam got up and, without asking, replicated two beers, handing one to Caleb. "Therapeutic. I think it will help take the edge off talking about this stuff."
Caleb eyed the beer. “Ah’m still technically on duty,” he pointed out. But he took a sip anyway. “Thank ya.”
"Okay, the avoiding. Let's think back to when we were teenagers. If you had got caught by your parents," Liam paused for moment. How could he put this delicately so not to upset Caleb further? "Having relations," he settled on, "you would probably welcome avoiding them for a little while until, well, the mortification died down, yes?" he asked.
Caleb smiled. “Ah guess so,” he admitted. “That’s jus’ the way it was when Ah got caught with Sally Jenkins in the barn,” he admitted with a wry chuckle at the memory.
"Just carry on as normal. Talk about what you did before. You made it clear to respect you in future with her," he avoided the words sex life and went with the more gentle, "relationships," instead. “If you did want to try open that ground up again, she'll assume a lecture is coming. She's a teenager. She's at the height of finding herself and her place in life, and she'll rebel if she thinks you’re trying to lay down the law further or restrict her. So just be her dad. Bring normalcy back. Tea time, how was school? Start small. Then she'll relax, and you will relax, and the avoidance will disappear. And if she does need to talk things through, let her come to you."
Caleb sighed. “Things ain’t never been normal since Mika died,” he said, rubbing his forehead. “She handled these girl things. Ah was always more the kinda guy Ah’d want her ta avoid when Ah was that age,” he admitted. “Only Mika tamed me. An’ now Ah’m an old horse out ta pasture,” he said with wry amusement, though he did think about Opal for a moment.
"Teena’s only here for a week or so, Chief, so I don't think they can get into too much trouble," Liam commented, taking a sip of his own beer. "For further though, she's gonna do her own thing. You just have to trust she'll pick someone new who will treat her decent. If not, worry about it at the time, eh. Oh, this is actually synth, if you were worried. Same effects though, calm the nerves." He grinned.
"So you wanna examine why you think you’re...I presume that metaphor means you feel you are in retirement? Romantically?" Liam asked.
“Fine. Ah’ll have the beer, then,” Caleb said. “An’ what if yer sister ends up breakin’ mah Zandy’s heart, leavin’ so sudden?” he asked. “An’ yeah, Ah ain’t dated for nearly twenty years,” he told Liam. “Ah don’t know what Ah’m doin’ anymore. Ah have Zandy ta think about. Maybe Ah am too old fer this shit.”
"Well, if that does happen, I guess you just make sure you’re there to support Zandy. What if she ends up breaking Teena's heart?" Liam flipped the question round to the human man. He wondered if it was time to broach on the territory of Zandy being joined. He had sensed her confusion and feelings towards Caleb at the same time as Teena, and what if this was a danger to his sister? The teen had attacked Amia.
"I think in such cases, especially with teenagers, the best course of action is to keep one's nose out, unless they come to you, of course. And that's not likely because, well...I hate to say it. But we are not cool. To them. Obviously we are cool. But to them we are just the father and older brother."
Caleb sighed and sipped the beer Liam handed to him. “It’s even more complicated than ya know,” he murmured.
"It's not changed much, you know," Liam said, taking a sip of his own drink. "You talk to them, take them out for dinner, fun activities. Be polite and courteous. It's scary to begin with, but then you fall into a pattern with the right lady. I know you have no problems on that score. But if you’re worried about Zandy, you should talk to her about it," he suggested. He wasn't sure that Caleb was aware of his daughter struggling. It hadn't taken much for him to figure out the symbiont was the one in her late mother that was inside her. It had to be, to bring about those sort of feelings.
“Ah guess Ah can handle that,” Caleb said, toying with the glass in his hand. His mind was clearly on something else.
Finally Caleb took a long drink and looked hard at Liam. “Can Ah trust ya, Reynolds?” he asked bluntly. “Ah mean really trust ya, with the most important things in mah life?” His dark eyes were deadly serious.
Lieutenant Liam Reynolds
Commander Caleb Ryan