“Kathryn…mmmm…Kathryn, we need to pack up and go.” Beverly gently pushed Kathryn up and off of her, reluctantly ending her kiss. Kathryn sat back and pouted until her grin took over.
“I bet we can just transport to my quarters and save the walk…and give us more time here.” She traced her hands up Beverly’s arms and looped them around her neck. Leaning in to kiss her, Kathryn found herself stopped by a gentle finger. Kissing it quickly, she attempted to stand up but found herself a little tipsier than she’d anticipated. Oh, Christ in a warp core…I shouldn’t have had that much champagne. You’re not just a little tipsy, dear Kathryn, are you…
Tucking herself under Beverly’s arm, she waved to the door. “Lead on, Madame Doctor.”
From the moment she clipped the doorframe with her shoulder, things got progressively less becoming of a Starfleet officer, let alone two senior staff members, and far more heated with each stop along the way. Beverly immediately dropped the picnic basket and backed Kathryn into the doorframe and kissed her, hard, pressing their bodies together and drawing a deep moan from the captain. Pushing back, Kathryn muttered something about rules, and stalked off toward the turbolift, only to have Beverly wrap herself around Kathryn from behind and press soft wet kisses up her neck. Her groans of protest and protocol were quickly morphed into appreciation as Beverly kissed behind her ear.
In the turbolift, Kathryn found herself against the wall and thoroughly stroked and kissed, as soon as she’d finished entering the command for her quarters. The only reason they even got off the turbolift was because Chakotay entered it and cleared his throat. Three times.
With a giggle, Kathryn pulled Beverly out and toward her rooms, batting her hands away while she tried to enter her code. Finally getting it on the third try, no thanks to Beverly’s wandering hands and lips, the two of them stumbled in and quickly left a trail of clothes, leading to Kathryn’s bed.
Crawling under the covers, Kathryn tugged her blankets to her chin. She turned to the wall, avoiding the light from the other nightstand.
“Katie? I can stop reading if it’s bothering you…it’s just a journal piece and not terribly important.”
She barely shrugged. She tried to ignore the sounds, but a gentle thunk of a padd on the table, and a click as the light went off made it through the blanket over her ear anyway. As the bed shifted, Kathryn felt Beverly move close, starting to snuggle in, but she shrugged her hand off her shoulder.
“I’m just tired and hot and really need to sleep, okay?”
A drawn out pause preceded a quiet whisper. “Okay.”
Kathryn stared at the wall, counting flecks in the metal.
“Katie? I love you.”
Rolling her eyes, she attempted to cover any exasperation in her voice. “I love you, too.”
Now please just let me sleep. Something…isn’t right. Maybe sleep will help.
Please let it help. I can’t do this now, especially not now.
Kathryn sighed and leaned against her door the moment it closed. She dropped her handful of padds on her desk, not caring that half fell to the floor. Pulling her jacket from her shoulders, Kathryn toed off her boots as she walked across the room. The turtleneck fell across a glass table, the clink of pips echoing around the quiet quarters.
Reaching her bedroom, she reached back and pulled the zipper, shrugging from the undershirt and pants jumpsuit. She flopped onto her bed, crawling toward the top, raising up long enough just to slip under the covers.
“Crusher to Janeway.”
Stifling a groan, she flipped over to speak upward and not into her pillow. “Janeway here.”
“I was trying to decide which wine to bring for dinner – what are you planning on making…or should I just bring sandwiches?”
Scrubbing a hand down her face, she sighed. Of course. You promised her dinner and yet here you are. You can’t even get out of bed.
“Bev, I don’t think I can do dinner…I’m…exhausted.”
“Katie? Are you sick? You’ve slept every hour you haven’t been on duty, and Chakotay came down to see me today. He’s worried about you…and so am I. Do you need me to come over and look you over?”
“Beverly, I’m fine. I just need to sleep, okay?”
She stared at the ceiling as the silence stretched on and on.
“Kathryn, call me if you get sick, please. I don’t like worrying about you.”
She heard the sharp intake of breath on the other side and pinched her nose. “Bev? That’s not what I meant, or at least I said it too harshly. I just need to sleep, that’s all, I promise.”
“I understand, and I worry anyway. Get some sleep. I love you.”
“I love you too.” There was a small click as the line closed.
I love you, Beverly. Why, then, do I feel like hiding and crying and sleeping and never getting up?
Feigning interest in whatever report she was supposed to be reading, Kathryn answered the ready room’s chime. Waiting a moment, she finally looked up.
She leaned back as Beverly moved around her desk to kneel in front of Kathryn. She gently took the padd and coffee away, and clasped Kathryn’s hands.
Blinking back unexpected tears, Kathryn reiterated, “Doctor?”
“You’re worrying me, even though you say you’re fine. I would really like to run a quick scan to see if there is something quantifiably wrong, and if I can fix it for you. I brought a tricorder, as I presume you don’t want to make the trip to sickbay.”
Huffing her discontent, Kathryn nodded and sat in stony silence as Beverly scanned her.
“Nothing on the preliminary scan, but I’m going to run a better one – let me see if there’s something along the lines of a chemical imbalance, maybe?”
“No, Beverly, I’m fine and I’m not sick as you can clearly tell. I’m just tired. Four full years out here might finally be catching up.”
“Kathryn, you never sleep this much…ever, really. You’re scaring me.”
Kathryn drew back, officially annoyed. “Beverly, I’m not having this discussion any more. I’m fine. Please just let me go back to work.” She turned back to her desk and started reading reports, pulling up more information on her computer.
Beverly sighed and carefully stood. She paused, like she wanted to say something, but Kathryn saw her just shake her head before leaving.
Dropping the pretence of work, Kathryn slumped in her chair, hands over her face.
I’m not okay and I’m not fine.
Scrubbing a hand over her face, Kathryn prepared herself to step onto the bridge. She had slept an extra three hours, now extremely late for alpha shift, but she just didn’t care. It’s my damn bridge anyway.
She stepped off, and vaguely heard Harry’s stifled gasp. I don’t look that bad, do I? Oh well. Walking down and around, she quickly assured Chakotay that he still had the bridge, and she strode straight into her ready room.
Coffee. I need coffee.
“Chakotay to Doctor Crusher.”
“Beverly here, Commander.” Beverly set her computer aside and leaned back in her chair.
“You asked to know when she got to the bridge, and only just a minute ago. She barely muttered anything and is hiding already.”
She sighed and rested her face in her hands before responding, slightly muffled. “Thank you, Chakotay.”
“Is everything okay?”
She hesitated. “I…yes. Maybe? Does she seem…off to you?”
“She’s been sleepy, but I’m sure she will get through this. She’s the captain.”
Fighting the urge to roll her eyes, Beverly placated back. “You’re quite right. It’s her prerogative anyway. Thank you, Commander. Beverly out.” She tapped her badge and dropped her arms and head to her desk.
I don’t know how to help you, love.
I’m not doing it. I won’t stay in bed all day. I won’t
“The time is 0600. The time is 0600.”
She rolled over just enough that her head wasn’t completely muffled. “Computer, stop alarm and reset 24 hours.”
“Good. Now shush and leave me alone.”
“Please restate the request.”
Kathryn just rolled over and went back into a restless sleep.
They’ll be fine without me anyway.
Kathryn startled, dropping her coffee to splatter across the entire floor. Beverly had stormed in, no warning, and stopped, toe to toe with the captain.
“You haven’t spoken to anyone in a week, Kathryn, and you expect me to just assume you’re okay? The first day I thought you were just busy, the second day I was upset, and now six days later, I’m just furious.”
Kathryn tried to step back, and opened her mouth to try to explain. Beverly, however, cut right back in.
“No – you don’t just get to ignore me and sleep all day! You haven’t been out of these rooms in a week, either – it’s not just me that worries, anymore – the whole crew notices.”
Kathryn just stared over her shoulder, falling into parade rest. I tried, Beverly, I tried. I walked to the door, ready to go, and crumpled in tears like a foolish child.
“Even now you’re going to ignore me?”
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Beverly grabbed her shoulders and gently shook. “Look at me! Kathryn – I was worried before, and now I’m just…terrified.” Her voice shook and Kathryn saw tears forming. “I need you to let me help you. I need you to let me in.”
I want to let you in. I need to let you in. I need your help but I don’t know how to ask. Shaking her head, Kathryn stepped back.
Beverly swallowed a sob and angrily wiped her tears away. “Fine.” She spun, but paused just inside the door. “Kathryn, I love you.” She turned to gaze back over her shoulder. “I’ll be here when you need me.”
Kathryn stared at the doors as they swished shut.
I love you. I need you.
She staggered backward, knees hitting the couch and making her fall onto it. A few silent tears slipped down her cheeks, but she was too far gone to cry. Crying stopped helping, weeks ago.
I love you.
You need to get up. Go to the bridge and at the very least read reports in your ready room. It’s not healthy to stay here all day.
She dragged herself to sit up on the edge of her bed, scrubbing her hands down her face and through her hair.
You’re a mess, Kathryn. Get up.
She stood, stripping her nightgown over her head and leaving it where it fell.
Beverly isn’t here to mind, anyway.
“Activate sonic shower.”
Good god. When’s the last time you even spoke a word? Oh well. Get in and shower.
The gentle hum started and she stepped in, leaning heavily against the wall.
Get out. Get dressed.
Pulling her underwear on, and her uniform, she stood in front of her mirror.
She opened the cupboard and laid her makeup out, neatly and in order.
Why do you even bother?
Finishing her face, she noticed the dark circles under her eyes still shone through.
Wonderful. Or not.
Carefully sweeping her hair into place, Kathryn tried a small smile.
Ah yes. That will clearly fool…no one.
She turned before tears came. Grabbing her jacket, she pulled it over her arms while walking toward the door.
I can’t do this.
Hearing more than feeling her knees hit the floor, Kathryn rested her head on her hands in front of her.
They don’t even need you anyway, clearly. Go back to bed. You lost them out here and look what they’ve done. They’ve taken it into their own hands and you’re nothing anymore.
Tears soaked the floor through her fingers.
I can’t do this.
She hit the edge of her bed and fell into it, without realising she’d even moved. Vaguely hearing the com, she rolled over and buried her head under her pillows.
I don’t even care.
Day Fifty One
Beverly sat with the EMH, both overlooking Kathryn’s vitals.
“She’s been asleep now for 24 hours. I would like you to check on her and see if you can get her to eat something.”
“Doctor, she’s not a child, and I can’t make her do anything.” Beverly sighed and dropped her padd. “I’m sorry. I’m worried and it makes me snappish. I’ll go check on her around dinner time.”
“Which, if anyone bothered to notice occasionally, is now. You’re working past shift, Beverly.”
She glanced again at the padd, and stood. “Wish me luck.”
Overriding the lock was easy enough; waking a sleeping captain was another story. Beverly sat on the edge of the bed and brushed Kathryn’s hair from her face, gently brushing over worried tension in her face. She almost giggled at how her nose crinkled, but she was immediately met with a glare.
“Why are you here?”
Beverly reached for Kathryn’s hand. “I’m here to make you dinner.”
“I’m not hungry.” She pulled her hand away and pulled the covers over her head. “Go away.”
Beverly just rose and walked to the replicator, ordering dinner and setting it on the table by the couch. Quickly turning back, she ordered a black coffee, just in case, and set that on the far side of the table.
No formalities. Now. How long until she wanders out…five…four…three…two…one…ah yes.
Kathryn padded over, blankets still wrapped over her shoulders. She curled up on the far side of the couch, warily staring at Beverly’s empty soup bowl.
“Would you like some?” Her eyes snapped up, knowing she’d been caught.
“No.” Her new glare would have been more effective, had her stomach not growled. “Fine. Yes. A small bowl.”
She stood, kissed Kathryn’s forehead, and placed a full soup bowl on the side table, and finally, pressed the coffee into her hands. “I love you.” Not wanting to push her progress, Beverly left, sparing just one glance over her shoulder to see Kathryn take a small sip with a smile over her face.
Sometimes the little things help the most. I love you.
Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe…I’m not quite as worthless as I think. I love you, too, Beverly.
Day Fifty Three
“She actually let me in her quarters, and we talked about the radiation without trouble. When I mentioned the holodeck time, she shut down completely. Beverly, she feels guilty about…everything.”
Beverly sighed and leaned back. “There’s progress at least. She’s talking, and specifically, talking about what’s gotten her so down. I’ll stop by for dinner again today…see if I can’t help more.”
“The crew knows, Doctor. They know and they’re concerned. Some, you might even say are actually angry that she’s feeling so sorry for herself. I didn’t let them go further, but you should know.”
“Thank you, Commander. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She stood and grasped his shoulder once in a grateful goodbye.
This is as good as it’s gunna get. Kathryn stared at herself in the mirror, willing the dark circles to go away. At least your hair is behaving somewhat.
Calling for the door to open, Kathryn stepped out just in time to see Beverly set brownies on the table.
“I may just keep you after all.” Kathryn let a smile play across her face, trying to crush the sadness away for just the night. As Beverly hesitated to hug her, Kathryn flinched, before slowly relaxing and relishing the first hug she’d had in weeks.
After dinner, she found herself slowly shifting closer to Beverly on the couch, unsure how to ask for another hug since the first had felt so completely refreshing. First their knees touched, then thighs, and somehow Kathryn then found herself completely wrapped in the doctor’s arms. Something about the basic touch soothed her deep seated pain, dulling an ache she’d learned to ignore.
She found herself clinging when Beverly stood to leave, and heard her own whisper before it registered. “Don’t go.”
Beverly looked shocked, but pleased, and answered just by pulling Kathryn to her feet and into a hug again. She softened and wrapped her arms around Beverly, sliding her hands under the jacket to rest on warn skin. With a halting sigh, she snuggled in and listened to the doctor’s strong heartbeat. Kathryn pressed a kiss over the heartbeat, and whispered again. “I love you.”
She felt the arms tighten around her, and a kiss to her forehead.
“I love you, too.”
Chakotay, there's no one I trust more than you. You're a fine First Officer. Are you ready to Captain this ship?
Assemble the crew.
“Chakotay? Please come in and take a seat – would you like some tea? This is fresh as of one report ago.” She started to clear a spot on her desk for his tea when she noticed his hesitation. Sighing, she fell back into her chair. “What did she do?”
He sat heavily, scrubbing his hands down his face. “She wants me to take the ship while she stays behind in a shuttle to destroy the wormhole. Kathryn actually expects all of us to just let her go.”
Beverly just stared, trying to comprehend. Gulping her tea, she frantically tried to figure out a loophole, a way to get her through the wormhole, too. She shoved the tea cup aside, and dropped her face to her hands, trying to control her racing thoughts.
“Beverly? I’m going to tell the senior staff, one by one, or by department, however I find them. We aren’t letting her do this. B’Elanna had an idea yesterday – I’d like to see if we can expand it.” He stood and leaned over to clasp Beverly’s hand. “Be on the bridge at 1400, okay?”
“I can do that. Thank you.” She stood as he left. As the sickbay doors swished shut behind him, she dropped to her chair and stared at the ceiling for a long while.
You couldn’t possibly expect us to leave you, could you? We all love you, you idiot.
1402 hours; Bridge
She watched Kathryn turn from crew member to crew member, ordering them to take the helm only to be turned down. As she turned to Beverly, Kathryn stepped closer, peering up at Beverly.
“Doctor, the helm.”
Beverly carefully tilted her chin in defiance but kept eye contact. “You know I can’t follow that order, Kathryn.”
She watched as Kathryn blinked back, keeping the tears at bay in time to turn to Tuvok. “As you can see, you’re not the only on who’s had time to evaluate the past.”
Beverly managed to keep her smirk mostly hidden as the captain poked fun at the situation with gallows humour. Her smirk, however, quickly grew to a full-fledged grin as the crew rallied around their captain and created a risky plan, but risk meant nothing when faced with losing Kathryn.
Gracefully, Beverly sat on the bench next to the captain’s chair, waiting for Kathryn to turn from bugging Chakotay.
“You helped, didn’t you?”
Her smile faltered. “I only went with the plan, Kathryn. I wasn’t about to leave you here.”
Narrowing her gaze, Kathryn barely concealed a smirk. “You’d be first to hang behind Chakotay.” She looked to her hand, playing with the seam in the upholstery. Her voice wavered as she continued. “Thank you.”
Beverly quickly peeked around the bridge to assure everyone was busy; leaning across the arm rest, she kissed Kathryn’s cheek, lingering to rest her forehead on her temple. “I love you.” Kathryn quickly and playfully shoved Beverly back to her bench, just as Tuvok started rattling off information about their oncoming confrontation.
After the stars started to appear again. Kathryn blinked back tears, feeling lighter than she had in weeks. Still not perfect, but she knew things might actually be on the upswing.
You made it. You really made it.
“Full speed ahead.” As she gulped back more tears, Kathryn inched her hand over her armrest and twined her fingers with Beverly’s.
You made it.