Captain’s Quarters, USS Portland
En route to DS9
The evening after launch
Authors: Cmdr. Alenis Meru and Lt. (JG) Arvel Darze
Alenis looked around her quarters. The Portland, being an older ship, meant that they weren’t quite as large or luxurious as those on newer vessels. Hers were nearly bare; she was still living out of her suitcase, as she hadn’t even had time to unpack. She’d done almost nothing so far to make these quarters her own; the only things not standard federation issue in her living room where her tea kettle on the counter and her belaklavion in one corner.
And Ko-ko, of course. She had an adventurous day the day before, and was resting in a cage near the window, pecking away at the food that Alenis replicated for her.
Tonight Alenis was brewing tea for two. The counselor graciously offered to come by for a house call, and it would be rude not to offer him a drink. Doubly so considering their previous relationship. As the water boiled, she was interrupted by the chime of the door. “Come in!” she shouted as she quickly straightened her uniform.
Arv stood outside her quarters and wanted to go inside but waited a minute he didn't want to appear to eager to go inside her quarters. He cared for her and wasn't sure what to think of how this relationship/counseling would work or if she even wanted that to happen. He was glad she wanted to keep Ko-ko, that bird had made his life miserable with her friend Alenis gone.
He came inside and looked at her she looked nice even in her uniform, "Hey there," He smiled at her the smile was warm and genuine and added as he came towards her then glanced at the cage with Ko-ko, "Seems like Ko-ko is right at home, and what kind of tea is this?" He asked noticing the tea kettle.
"Pyrellian ginger tea. I remember it was your favourite," Alenis said without thinking as she strode towards the counter. As the boiling water filled Arvel's mug, she suddenly realized the implications of her words. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... what I meant was..." she paused to exhale and collect her thoughts before babbling any further. "Look, Arvel, we can't keep beating around the bush any longer. We need to talk."
Smiling Arv said to her simply, "You are right talking right here right now would be perfect. I think it would be the best thing at the moment. And as for the tea it is my favourite. When will it be ready?" He smelled the scent of the tea and smiled, "What kind of things would you like to discuss about us?" His eyes were warm and tender towards her.
That look. He had to give her that look. It was the same look that he had given her so many times years ago. When they were just Meru and Arvel, not Commander Alenis and Lt. Darze. She'd not expected to ever see him again, but by some cruel trick of fate, here he was, in her quarters.
Yet, for the past two years, a part of her missed him dearly. For a long time, she carried at the back of the mind the words she would say on the off chance she ever saw him again. Yet now that he was here in her quarters, Alenis was at a loss for words.
"Arvel..." Alenis glanced back down at the steeping tea for a moment, staring into the swirls. Her eyes closed, she let out a deep breath before starting over. This was difficult for her, and it was not made easier by the fact that she barely got a wink of sleep the night before without the help of the tranquilizers she'd been taking. "Arvel, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for how things ended between us. What happened at the end, none of it was my intention." With a mug in each hand, she made a beeline for a seat on the curved sectional sofa next to her guest. "You have to understand, I... I..." Normally stoic, Alenis was beginning to crack. "I didn't want to hurt you."
Arvel accepted the mug in his hand and took it gently his hands brushing up against hers slightly and for sure on purpose. As he then looked up slowly into her eyes there was warmth and a bit of pain, though the pain didn't show in his voice, "A saying I heard once I am not sure whether it is from Earth or elsewhere, though I believe it is applicable throughout the Universe is this: 'All things happen for a reason and a purpose' What I mean to say is I forgive you, I've spent a lot of time thinking and realized that I can't change what has happened in the past what I can change is how I can approach this in the future."
He smiled at her, "I've learned to let it go because every moment I spend here with you is worth more than any moments that I could've spent worrying and fretting over things. Its what is ahead of us not behind that matters." He then heard Ko-ko chime in with slight noise that was soothing. "Oh and by the way the tea smells exactly how I remember it."
"If you would ever like a cup, feel free to stop by," replied Alenis with a smile. For a moment, she stared longingly into his dark eyes. "That's why this is so hard. I'd like to... but this can't be." A single tear began to form at the corner of her eye, which she quickly wiped away. This is what they meant by the loneliness of command. "I'm your captain; you're my doctor. And Starfleet regulations..." Alenis held her head in her hands. She couldn't bear to have him see her cry.
Arv grew quiet for a moment he wanted this to happen, he had hoped it would but now that it had he was just in complete shock and awe. "Well then," He smiled at her as he sipped his tea, "Just because its against regs doesn't mean we can't bend the rules a little bit. Don't you agree? I mean I am your Doctor so I can come back for sessions here many times and people don't have to know if I leave or not. Its just that simple. We can continue or start anew its up to you."
Alenis looked back up at Arvel as she wiped away the tears. As captain of a Starfleet vessel, she had sworn to uphold the rules and regulations of Starfleet, and hold herself to a standard that was beyond reproach. Were something like this to get out, it could ruin her career and damage any sense of order on the Portland. It saddened her to think that they had to keep everything secret. As long as Alenis was the captain and Arvel was a member of her crew, their feelings for each other had to be kept under wraps. They couldn't hold hands, or visit each other in the holodeck, or even sit together in Ten-Forward. In fact, outside of the bare minimum required for duty, they couldn't be seen together lest rumours start spreading.
"Lets just take it slow for now," said Alenis. "It's not perfect, but if we have to ." She wasn't quite ready to be so suddenly thrown back into the arms of the man she left two years ago. "Now, I believe I'm in need of some neuropressure," she added as she began unbuttoning her tunic.
Watching her carefully he hated the fact that this would have to happen nothing other than this though is this better than nothing? It was. "Alenis," He said softly towards her as he helped her off with her tunic, "You are totally correct you are in need of Neuropressure, more so now than ever. Though." he said with a smile in his eyes he couldn't help but joke about this, "What about Ko-ko? Can we trust she will keep her mouth shut?" He said as he placed the tea cup which was now empty down and started to work on Alenis's shoulders.
"I'm sure Ko-ko can be trusted," replied Alenis as she tried to relax her muscles. "And please, it's Meru," she added. To her, it was jarring to hear Arvel refer to her by her first name, especially in such a setting. As he manipulated her flesh, working out months of knots and aches, Alenis pondered their situation. Having to sneak around like a couple of teenagers trying to hide from their parents was hardly ideal. They were adults, and it was criminal for Starfleet regulations to try to rob them of what they both clearly desired. But her thoughts always turned to Arvel. She didn't realize when she left the depth of his feelings for her. Nor did she realize, until she was light years away, that they were mutual.
"That was wonderful, Doctor," she said as she turned back towards him. In doing so, their dark, expressive eyes caught each others' in a way they hadn't before, at least not for two years. Drawn closer, she slowly leaned in...