I Can See

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OOC: Thanks Bobby. :) We've been trying to get this done in between him being sick and my kids being sick and everything else. I think we wrapped it reasonably well :)

It could take some time for your brain to respond to the signals from your eyes. Right now we're just verifying that the eyes themselves are responding to the light, and then we'll leave the bandages off to see how it goes.

Her mood yesterday was pensive. Nika waited as patiently as possible for Arden to decide that the bandages could come off. And though she tried not to show any despair, she opened her brand new smoky blue eyes.... and saw nothing. She'd retreated from the medlab -- and from everyone -- to shut herself into her quarters. Her dinner tray remained outside the door untouched, and she didn't take a watch on the bridge either.

This morning, though, the medlab's door opens to a blonde almost literally vibrating with glee. "Arden. Arden!" Nika is practically shouting. "I can see something!" She doesn't give him time to even acknowledge his presence in the room. "Arden, ohmygod, I can see something! C'mere, look and see!"

Arden looked up and smiled. Then he put aside the clipboard. He said, "come on in and sit down. Let's see what we can see, if you excuse the play on words."

Arden tried to remain calm but truthfully he was just excited as Nika was. he stood up, "sit here." he said as he took her arm and led her to the chair.

Letting him help her onto the chair, Nika looks up at him. For the first time in months, her gaze isn't vacant and off-center. She's looking directly at him. Her brow is furrowed and she's straining, clearly, but there's at least light and dark. She practically giggles in glee. "You have a face," she tells him. "It's a big blob of peach topped by black, but it's a face!"

She tries to sit still as he flashy-things her eyes -- something that does make her flinch away. It's a far cry from yesterday's initial exam, when the pupils of her eyes reacted but Nika herself was oblivious.

"Nice that you think i'm a peach... i think," Arden says with a smile. He takes the pen light and flashes it across Nika's eyes. "Pupils reacting," Arden says, "And the light is brighter now?" He moves the light closer to her left eye. "And darker now?" he moves the penlight away from her eye. He repeats the procedure on the right eye.

"It's looking good Nika," Arden says. "A few more days and you should be able to start making out detail. My scans tell me that the new eyes are perfect, no tissue damage or imperfections. You should have the same vision, or better, when all is said and done."

When he comes closer -- or rather when the light does -- she flinches again. "Yeah, definitely brighter," Nika replies. She's nearly giddy with it. The hope wars with the inherent caution of the matter in her face. The skin around her eyes is still puffy with the surgical procedure, but she's actually looking at him. She moves to slide off the chair and stand up. "It's... pretty gorram amazing," she admits.

She starts to turn to go and then throws her arms around him. For all that he's been hovering like a fiend the past day and a half, Nika can't help but react exuberantly now. "It's going to work, Arden!" she whispers, squeezing him tightly. Only then do the tremors in her body become evident. She was scared to death and the adrenaline surge that kicked in when she could see the light is beginning to ebb suddenly, leaving her shaky and exhausted and overwrought. She buries her still-tender eyes against his shoulder, refusing to let him see that she's crying. She might not stop for a week at this rate.

She hadn't been sure it would take.

Arden holds her gently and says, "Of course it was going to work. I would not allow it not to work." He strokes her hair, letting her emotions flow and finally ebb. He remembered the times when he was an intern and then a junior doctor when he had to deliver news to people concerned about their loved ones. He knew the emotion were violent, unexpected, and unstoppable. Best to let her cry.

After a bit he softly said, "You okay? I think things are looking pretty good -- if you pardon the pun."

It'd be amusing if it weren't happening to //her// -- to see Arden work so hard on the bedside manner part. When she finally draws back from him, Nika looks at him with a radiant grin in spite of the swollen features. "I'm okay. I'm gonna be okay, I just...." She bites her lip. "I didn't believe her. I ... couldn't afford to believe her. So much of everything that I know is tied up in my eyes, Arden." It's going to take her some time to assimilate. She's finally starting to believe that it's real -- that she'll honestly see again.

"You have the time," Arden says. "And I was talking with Joshua about some computer applications that can help you regain the fine motor control of your eyes. We should have that ready for you in a couple of days."

"You know I really hated not being able to help you these last few weeks. I just wanted to fix it and I knew I couldn't and that was incredibly frustrating." Arden smiles, "But I think we are doing okay now."

"Oh!" Nika is surprised at the information that they're working on something help her gain the control. She slips her arms around his waist and rests her head on his shoulder. "I know," she murmurs. "It's the only reason I didn't smack you on the back of the head." The hovering thing!

Although she is still trembling, Nika pulls back from him and turns her gaze toward his face. Even at this distance it's nothing more than a blur of light and dark color. But she smiles at him. It's more than she's had since the accident. "I know I'm a difficult patient. I'm sorry if I've... growled at you." Especially at the ranch, where she went out of her way to avoid at all costs for a long time.

"You had reason," Arden said his smile in his voice. "We should irrigate your eyes until the tears start working again. They've been traumatized and probably will take some time to work properly."

"Okay," Nika replies easily, pulling away. "Do as you will, doc," she quips lightly. She feels so darn ... free. So much anxiety off her shoulders, at least for now. Euphoria's a weird sensation. "How long do you think it'll take until I can actually see?" she asks hopefully.

Arden takers her hands and moves to sit in front of her, facing her. "It will be at least several weeks, probably a couple of months. I'm just not sure -- ocular surgery in not my forte. However, my examination do show that the eyes are fresh, as in they were stored, which, I think means they came from your roommate at the hotel."

Arden smiles, "Which means the eyes will adapt to you as fast as you adapt to them. Your vision my be blurry for a while as your muscles learn to contract and dilate correctly. But you will get control."

There's a long pause at that, and Nika has a moment to look alarmed. "That could get problematic, couldn't it? With retina scans that match a woman the bounty hunters were chasing down?"

Good freakin' grief. Even in the midst of good news, she's found a worm in the apple core. The blonde bites back any notion of the trouble it might cause someday and grins unabashedly. "Never mind... it's not important right now. I'm just going to be grateful they actually work!" She hadn't been willing to hope. Not really. Too afraid of falling into the abyss of darkness forever. Yes, she was adapting, but ... perhaps not as well as she led everyone to believe. Her sleep is still disturbed a lot.

Arden continues unaware of the twists and turns Nika's mind was taking. "Once you can see through those eyes, then we will work on strengthening them."

Nika nods slightly and then she smiles up at him. She moves to climb out of the chair, hugging him tightly. "I'm going to go spell Joshua on the bridge. Thank you," she whispers into his ear, leaving a soft kiss on his cheek.

"Anytime," he says, pulling her in a brief hug, "I know this period has been... irritating for you. I'm glad that we can, uh, see the light at the end of the tunnel now." He laughs. "Let me know if there is anything else you need me to do."

To read more on Nika and Arden, go to Nika's Crew Page or Arden's Crew Page
Go back to: Timeline Season Five, Jan 2522 to Aug 2522