Disclaimer: No, you're not imagining my girls' resemblance to a certain Bard and Warrior who are property of RenPics. But, Dr. Eleni Sirtis and Nurse Selene are mine, mine, mine. Also, this story does involve a love/romantic relationship between two women, so if you're underage or that kind of thing isn't for you, this might not be the story for you.
The black haired woman glanced at a nurse passing by outside the clear shield that acted as a window out of and into her office. Then she turned her attention, and ice-blue eyes, back to the comm screen in front of her. Displayed was the face of a woman with curly blonde hair and the black eyes typical of her Betazoid heritage. Shed also, apparently, inherited a sometimes aggravating aura of omniscience.
"Chandra, Ive heard this all before,", she stated, with a tug at her uniform as she relaxed against the back of her chair. The black eyes held hers a moment in challenge, before the blonde responded.
"Eleni, you may be hearing but youre not listening. Selene " Eleni cut in.
"Selene is inexperienced, and whats more, shes been genetically altered. I dont know how you got this approved, anyway. Plus, I dont need a new nurse." Chandra knew that from anyone else those words would have sounded grumpy, or at least snippy. From Eleni though, they were neat daggers to cut through argument. It was the voice, Chandra decided. It was cool, calm, and instinctively obeyed.
However, Chandra had known Eleni too long to give up that fast.
"Selene may be inexperienced, but shes a very fast learner. Top 5% of her class." Chandra settled back in her chair, lightyears away. "As for her genetic status, she was made as part of a Starfleet experiment. But, you knew that already. As for why it was approved, the researchers made Selene and the others nonviolent, and with other personality traits to keep them from being a threat. Starfleet Command agreed, after I called in a few favors."
"I still dont see why I should take on one of your projects, Chandra. Especially when I dont need a nurse in the first place." While Eleni agreed that mental health care should be sought when necessary, being under the care of Counselor Chandra Stro for any length of time implied to her that the person was a serious case. Chandra sighed.
Shes not my project, Eleni. Weve kept in touch, but she hasnt been under my care in over a year. She wants to be a nurse on a starship, and she knew I could probably help her achieve that. As for needing a nurse, it cant be helping your patients to not have one." That one hit home, sliding neatly into one of the few vulnerable areas Eleni had left.
"Are you calling into question my ability to care for my patients?" Chandra backed off, knowing her barb had done the trick.
"No, Eleni. Everyone knows youre a miracle worker. It just might help to have someone to lighten the load a bit."
That was very hard to argue with. What was she going to do? Whine that shed just rather be left alone, knowing all the mistakes and breakthroughs were hers alone? Nope. That 3 to 4 hours of sleep in every 24 was perfectly healthy and normal? Chandrad laugh so hard shed fall out of her seat and roll her way right out of her office, through Starfleet Medical, then out through San Francisco.
In fact, there was a certain logic to getting some help. She was getting older, and it was getting harder and harder to run on just her reserves. Also, getting her own equipment and hypospray canisters was losing its appeal.
"Maybe youre right. But, howre you going to guarantee I wont want to space her after a week?" Eleni asked reasonably. The nurses who were on staff worked with the 3 other doctors, having found sickbay much more pleasant when its mercurial commander was left alone as much as possible. It had suited her just fine, as well.
"I cant guarantee anything but Ive never seen a person Selene couldnt get along with if given a chance. Remember Dr. Linaa?" A faint grin grew on Chandras face.
Eleni remembered him. He was a tyrant, and almost as much of a perfectionist as she was. The two strong personalities had collided more than once, and only excElenit grades on her work and tests kept him from giving her a near-failing grade in Medical History.
"Yes the ogre in the McCoy building who liked to eat medical students as an appetizer before faculty luncheons." The grin on Chandras face widened.
"Selene kept up with the coursework, and managed to befriend him. Last few months, they were eating lunches together in the cafeteria while debating."
Eleni blinked. That was impressive.
"So you think shell be able to handle another mean old doctor?" Eleni drawled. Chandra just smiled.
"I wouldnt put it that way, and you know it. Lets just say shes easy to get along with, and she wont get on your nerves by asking you the same thing 5 times." Having to repeat herself was, indeed, one of Elenis pet peeves.
Do I feel lucky? Guess maybe I do.
"OK Chandra. Ill give her a shot. Shes got two weeks on a trial basis, during which I can send her back anytime. At two weeks, Ill decide if she stays on the ship or you have to find her another post." It satisfied Elenis need to keep her options open, but it was also fair.
"Alright." Chandra glanced down, at what Eleni suspected was a PADD. "Youll be on Starbase 107 in a week and a half. We can have Selene join the ship then. Theres a transport headed there from Earth, on its way to Kimara."
"Makes sense to me. Ill get things set up with the Captain, since Im here," Eleni offered. Chandra nodded acceptance.
"Thanks. It would be a hassle to do it from here." Eleni sat up a bit straighter.
"I need to be going "
"Alright keep in touch. Counselor Stro out." Both women cut the comm signal, and Eleni closed her eyes a moment with a deep breath. What had she gotten herself into? Oh well. Shed find out soon enough.
Eleni stood, and watched sickbay for a moment. Her staff was working steadily and well, and at the moment things were rather quiet. That was rare, and made her wonder what would happen next. An attack from a Dominion ship theyd missed back at the assault on Cardassia? That was all too likely in this post-war universe, when the war itself had called doctors to pick up phaser rifles.
She shook those thoughts off, and exited her office. The door whispered shut behind her, and she gave a slight smile at the plate on it.
Dr. Eleni Sirtis.
Chief Medical Officer, USS Destiny
It was the product of 4 years at the Academy, 4 years at Starfleet Medical, and 10 years aboard a starship. More importantly, it was what she was now. Shed done too much evil to ever be absolved of it, but her responsibility to Starfleet, and more specifically to her captain, was enough to keep her dips back into it minor. She wasnt sure why that mattered though.
10 Days Later.
The small blonde woman sipped at an icy pink drink, seemingly oblivious to the glances of others in the Starbase Replimat. She was somewhat unusual, not wearing a Starfleet uniform or communicator. Also, she seemed very young. She wasnt more than 5 6", and her legs were swinging gently under the table as she devoured the drink with a rather childlike expression of pure pleasure. However once one got a good look at her, they could see the intelligence behind her green eyes. It was, if nothing else, a rather intriguing combination.
Selene glanced idly at her wrist chrono, only to find it was a good 20 minutes later than shed believed. The blond blinked, as if that might alter the readout, reacting with dismay. How stupid was she, to lose track of time that way? Especially when it meant she stood a chance of being late for an important meeting. Now she only had 10 minutes to get to sickbay, to meet a woman Chandra had told her was difficult at best to impress.
Her glass was quickly taken care of by dumping it in a reclamator, and then she was off. Only her basic empathy and telepathic abilities kept her from knocking people over in her haste. She did stumble once or twice though herself, to put on the brakes.
The Destinys corridors, once she reached them, were mostly clear. She surmised that most of the crew was taking the opportunity for shoreleave. Selene paused only once, when she lost her conviction that she was headed the right way. A quick query of the computer had gotten her back on track, and she arrived at sickbay one minute before she had to.
She stopped, knowing she couldnt go in in her present unsettled state. She smoothed her hands over the fabric of her tunic and leggings, then began to take deep breaths. They had the desired effect of settling her heartrate and thoughts, and calming her. Feeling nervous, but more centered, she ran a hand through her short-cropped hair. Then, she took another breath and stepped into the sensor field that would open the doors. She noted, idly, that there was a white caduceus on each one. A reference to the healing arts, and the ancient Greek god Asclepius who had presided over them. Selene liked it shed always been fascinated by myth.
Sickbay was also largely deserted. There were a few doctors and nurses, and just two or three patients it simply wasnt wise to move yet. After this initial appraisal, she found herself caught by the sight of a uniformed woman with black hair and positively piercing blue eyes. She was tall, but radiated a command and presence that had little to do with her height. There were also dark undercurrents running off her Selene didnt need her telepathy to sense. Selenes mind must have kept working, however, because she had identified the woman as the formidable Dr. Sirtis. She stepped forward.
"Im Nurse Selene reporting for duty, Doctor," she announced herself, easing into the relaxed attention shed been taught. She caught the slight flicker of amusement in the CMOs blue eyes as the tall woman navigated her way around the biobeds.
Elenis mind went through an evaluation of her own. Selene barely appeared twenty, at the oldest. It was an impression reinforced by the absolutely guileless manner the younger woman had taken her surroundings in with. She was also undeniably cute. Overeagerness and all.
"Welcome to sickbay. Youll usually find it a bit more chaotic. Im not used to having people who arent part of Starfleet working in my department, but I will give you a fair shot," Eleni stated. Selene knew she was telling the truth. However difficult a person to deal with, there was a principle of fairness Eleni held very dear. She nodded.
"Thats all I want. Thank you."
"Well I guess its time to meet the rest of the staff, and get a tour." Eleni was vaguely disgusted with herself. Whered that come from? I meant to have one of the nurses show her around. She didnt have the time or the inclination to ponder that at the moment, and steered the younger woman toward the rest of the staff, who had begun to form a clump.
"Dr. Aebi Nurse Minna Dr. TSalen Nurse Aian Selene", Eleni introduced. Selene had nodded to a middle aged Betazoid man, a brown haired human woman, a Vulcan female, and a tiny woman with a jewel set in her forehead, in turn.
Dr. Aebi nodded back, with a smile and projection of welcome. Nurse Minna also nodded, and TSalen gave a dignified Vulcan nod. Aian smiled and took a few steps forward, hugging Selene and kissing her on the cheek.
"Welcome." Selene was positive the room had gotten hotter, and she knew she was blushing. Dr. Sirtis had that vaguely amused look in her eyes again, and explained,
"Aians Risan, so thats a typical welcome." Selene turned her gaze back to Aian, and asked what she thought was a perfectly innocent, rational thing.
"Are there many Risans in Starfleet?" It was too much. The only people who didnt laugh were the Vulcan, and Eleni who managed only by biting the inside of her lip. What startled her more though was the slight pang of jealousy, and she knew she had to decide something then and there. Selene was off limits. She was a kid, and not a grown woman despite her age.
The tour ensued, with enough behavior from Aian for Eleni to make a mental note to talk with the irrepressibly vivacious woman. Aian, however well meaning, was only succeeding in making Selene more uncomfortable. The kid had handled it remarkably well, setting Aians comments aside and focusing on learning about her new workplace. Shed also managed to get along well with everyone on the staff, and in most cases very well.
Returning to her quarters that night, Eleni realized shed actually found the time pleasant. Selene was easy to get along with, and very very intelligent. Chandrad been right when shed said Selene wouldnt ask her things 5 times. Shed remember them the first time, which would make Elenis life much easier. With uncommon optimism she thought, as she pulled her boots off, This just might work out
One Year Later
er Her h
Shuttle Log Shuttlecraft Clothos
Recorded by Chief Medical Officer Sirtis. We are currently en route to the mining colony on Devor VII, to assist the colonys medical personnel following an accident there that has caused some of the cave system to collapse. Accompanying me is Nurse Selene, at the request of the captain. It is the first time she has been on an away team to a disaster site, and I do have my concerns about her presence given her telepathic abilities. In the past, she has had difficulty handling so much raw pain and emotion at once. However, she is willing to take that risk and another pair of hands certainly cant hurt.
Upon landing, we will be briefed further by the colonists, and then begin work.
Their first glimpses of Devor VII were inconsistent with a disaster site. Eleni had landed the shuttle just outside the settlement, and all that was visible were a group of buildings, and wilderness. The trees and vegetation were somewhat similar to Earths, but taller and tending toward red tones instead of green. It was beautiful, though, Selene thought. Shed been so used to the station she grew up on, and the barren planet outside, and then shipboard life, that any time outdoors felt wonderful.
Her appreciation was broken by a sharp bolt of pain running through her mind. It wasnt hers. It reminded her of just why they had come, and she quickly brought up her mental shielding to protect herself.
"You alright?" Eleni asked, concerned. She wasnt sure if shed picked it up from the small womans features, or if it had been something deeper, but there had been something wrong.
"Yes... Im fine. Just got a bit of a shock." That seemed to satisfy the doctor, and she nodded.
"Grab a medkit or two, and lets get moving." Selene complied.
The colonists were very happy to see them. Eleni groaned inwardly though when she realized that some of the residents had a very personal stake in the rescue effort, and could be trouble, or at least a nuisance. She could work with distractions, but shed be much happier and more effective without them. Selene found she enjoyed the attention to some degree, but she knew Eleni would rather get to work. She managed to get them through the crowd and heading for the mine entrance as fast as possible.
Her dark companion was quieter than usual, and when Selene skimmed her thoughts she found herself amused. Unable to help it, she smiled.
"Bet you wanted to give them a bunch of those glares that melt duranium, huh?" That got a half smile out of the doctor.
"It was that or tossing them aside and Captain Walker would have my head for either." Selene sensed a vague sadness from the tall woman shed sensed a few times before like when someone turned away with an Im sorry after Eleni had yelled at them. It was the loss of another little strand connecting her to the people she worked with.
"Well, it would have been interesting " Selene glanced around. "Is that the entrance, over there?" She lifted an arm, medkit in hand, in the direction she meant. Eleni glanced over at the large hole bored into a cliff face.
"Looks like." Selene wished she could get more than a few words out of the doctor at a time. She loved the sound of her voice.
"Alright probably mostly some deep cuts broken bones things like that, Doctor?"
"You can call me Eleni weve been working together for a year. And, that sounds about right. Probably some internal damage as well, from crushing injuries."
They continued on into the caves. The air smelled almost metallic to Selenes sensitive nose from all the dust in it, and the ore. There was also a faint dampness she couldnt quite identify. Eleni on the other hand knew caves well.
She ran, only barely aware of the others behind her. The boots on her feet were too thin for comfort, but shed long since gotten used to them and trusted the feel of the terrain under her feet. She could see the small cave mouth, hidden by brush and rock outcroppings, 100 meters ahead. It was a good place. Even if the Skera managed to track them there, the entrance was small enough to prevent them from entering. And, by the time they managed to blast through, Eleni and her resistance group would have disappeared.
She pushed some of the brush aside, and slipped through the break in the rocks. Lana was there, as scheduled, to pull them through, and Eleni recognized her touch on her hands. Inside the cave was pure blackness, and Eleni gave up on her eyes adjusting. There was the distinct musty scent that spoke of water existing in this cavern system, but no hint of dust.
"Fiat," Lana began, and Eleni felt the cold tickle of steel at her neck.
"Lux," she answered. The Latin codes had been her idea. They could quickly identify people, without giving the Skera their names. She was 15.
They met first with the colonys medical chief, which had contacted Captain Walker in the first place. After a more thorough briefing on what exactly had happened, and who was taking care of what, the two women from the Destiny were able to start. Their conversation had rarely gone beyond work, but both felt most comfortable working with each other. They were able to anticipate each others moves, and had a certain simpatico that allowed treatment or surgery to be an efficient and relatively easy thing.
Surgical nursing prior to Selenes arrival had been determined by lottery. While Eleni was typically able to get along well enough during surgery, there had always been tension in the room that made it more exhausting than it already was. But, with a little blond, shed found someone eminently compatible to work with. It had amazed her at first, but it was welcome.
Selene, however, was called on to search for survivors once her telepathy was known. Eleni had wanted to protest, knowing how difficult such use of her abilities was for Selene. Shed seen the woman come in the morning after a rough day with dark circles under her eyes and missing some of the spark in her green eyes that made her seem so alive. It had hurt.
Eleni continued treating the patients that were being brought out with the assistance of one of the colonys medics. The young man was good, and reasonably easy to work with. She could put up with him for a few hours, until he tired.
Eleni finally gave in to her exhaustion many hours later, and remembered dimly that Selene had left for food and rest a few hours before. She walked to the makeshift infirmary that had two cots set up in a corner for them. Selene was indeed asleep, arms wrapped around her pillow and looking even more innocent than she did awake. It was a good thing to come back to after a day spent dealing with blood and pain.
Eleni quietly moved to her cot, and pulled off her boots. Her plans were to get a few hours of sleep in, and then go back to the caves and continue the rescue. She set the neat black boots by the side of her cot, in case she had to get up quickly, and lay down. Her eyes closed soon after, and she lost herself in her dreams.
Selene awoke to intense emotional pain, and loss. Her sleepy mind took a few moments to come online, and then she determined that the source was very near in fact, less than 3 feet away. It wasnt a waking mind but one consumed by nightmares.
Her eyes slowly adjusted to the extremely low light, and she could make out the lines of Elenis cot and its occupant. The dark haired woman was still, and her jaw muscles clenched. She almost seemed a creature of darkness herself, without the blue eyes that gave her some humanity.
Selene gathered her blanket around herself and nudged Elenis shoulder with a free hand. In retrospect, she realized, she should have expected Elenis reaction. Still apparently asleep, Eleni grabbed her wrist tightly and was about to react when she realized who it was. The blue eyes were open, now.
"What is it?" Eleni asked, her voice still slightly hoarse. There had to be some good reason for waking her up. She was not going to be a very happy doctor if there wasnt.
"You were having a nightmare," Selene explained, moving closer. "Seemed like a pretty bad one, too."
"I dont call out," Eleni said firmly, as her eyes hardened. She couldnt have gotten that soft or relaxed, right?
"You didnt," Selene nodded. "At least not with your voice anyway. And, how do you know you dont yell or make noise during nightmares, anyway?" So, the kid had sensed something. Eleni recognized the diversionary tactic of the blondes last statement, but let it pass.
"Because I trained myself not to. Selene its late. And we need as much rest as we can get before going back to the caves." There. Perfectly reasonable.
"Youre right but sometimes it helps to talk about it. Im here, if you want to." After waiting a few seconds for Eleni to talk, or not, Selene curled back up on her cot and closed her eyes. Eleni followed only a few seconds after.
Selene didnt get much sleep that night. Waking Eleni up was apparently against the rules, but she didnt know what else to do. When she did manage to drift off, she was woken up soon after by Elenis nightmares.
She told herself though that she was not going to let Eleni know shed been kept awake. She didnt believe Eleni would send her back after a year, but Eleni was so strong, and able to work through discomfort that Selene felt she had to at least try to live up to her standards. Selene also didnt want to slow her down, or be a burden. So, when the nightmares tapered off as Eleni began to awaken, Selene pretended to be asleep. She waited, until finally she sensed Elenis mind coming back to full consciousness and heard little noises as Eleni rubbed at her face, and sat up.
Selene realized that her body was exhausted after the long hours, and all she wanted to do was go back to sleep. No way to wrangle that though without admitting her sleep had been disturbed. She felt a warm hand on her shoulder, then Elenis voice.
"Come on, Selene time to get back to work." Selene let herself roll over, eyes still closed, and mumble.
"Too early "
"I dont care. We need to get back to the caves." Selene opened her eyes, and did her best to look as if she was just waking up. Eleni wasnt fooled though. The dullness in Selenes eyes was enough to tell her the young woman had been up most of the night. The doctor felt suddenly guilty for the nightmares that had kept Selene awake. She wasnt sure if talking would help, and hoped it never got to that point. Maybe if she tried to control it a bit more? That might work.
Once fed and dressed, theyd returned to the caves. It was slow, agonizing work and every time they thought theyd found all of the survivors, Selene would feel another faint consciousness tug at the back of her mind. She wondered how many would not be found in time to be saved. That thought made an unwelcome chill run up her spine, and she turned her attention back to the search.
There it was very faint the person had to be barely alive. She knew that too because the mind had lost its distinctiveness, and was simply human. Tracking people telepathically was difficult, and she began to narrow the area down. That pile of rock on the far side of this room . Yes
"Eleni " The dark woman turned to face her.
"Yes?" Eleni was searching her expression. For any cue.
"Another one over there, under that rock " she pointed.
"Alright Mason, Larsen, gimme some help here." Eleni had turned back around momentarily, to fix her volunteers with her eyes. Mason and Larsen, two medics who also apparently spent time in strength training, trotted over.
Selene watched as they moved away the rock, feeling the mind slip away bit by bit. She cursed at herself. Sure, she could find the injured and assist in their treatment once theyd been retrieved. But she couldnt save them on her own. Her body wouldnt allow it. Elenis didnt seem to have any such problems though. The tall woman had rolled her sleeves up to work, and now Selene could see the shifting of powerful muscle in her forearms. Eleni obviously spent some time keeping herself in shape. Selene hadnt the faintest idea of how to get started, and made a mental note to ask the doctor about it once they were back on the Destiny.
Her musings were interrupted by a call for a medkit and assistance, and Selene jogged over with both. The man theyd uncovered appeared unconscious, and was heavily bruised. There were also signs of internal injuries. Eleni was silent as she worked to stop the bleeding, concentrating on her patient. Selene helped as necessary, and noted that some of Elenis methods were not exactly standard. They relied more on her strength and intimate knowledge of anatomy than modern technology. It was effective though, and the man was soon stable enough to move.
Eleni sighed, resting in her crouched position. * Come on snap out of this * Shed gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before, and was very irritated at her body for disobeying her. * Maybe Im just coming down with something. *
A small noise came to her ears. She gave a slight frown. It had almost sounded like a very low moan. There had to be someone else trapped under the rock and rubble. She stood, scanning the area for places that hadnt been checked yet.
"What is it, Eleni?", Selene asked.
"Thought I heard something Someone moaning." With that, Eleni took off. Selene tried to follow, but there were meters between them when Eleni stopped in a room farther back in the caverns. There was rubble, but she didnt hear anything now. She was also realizing that running off like that had been incredibly stupid, and it was almost pitch-black. If there was someone here, she couldnt see enough to find them. Shed have to feel her way back out, and bring a light.
Selene reached the entrance to the room Eleni had found, sensing her presence. She didnt go further into the dark. After a moment she could make out some movement, and a flash of white teeth. She didnt sense anyone else in the area injured or otherwise. Eleni seemed fine just disgusted with herself.
"Yes, its me Theres not anyone here Eleni. Alive, at least." The nurse heard a sigh, and shuffle of boots on what seemed to be gravel. Eleni was making her way back out.
Eleni carefully inched her way along in the dark, feeling for rubble before setting her foot down. It was rapidly becoming apparent that the floor was absolutely covered in loose rock. Another reason to berate herself. She was surprised she hadnt tripped and broken her neck in that absolutely insane rush down here. The toe of her boot caught on a rock she hadnt felt out, and she lost her balance. Eleni landed hard on a rock wall, letting out an oomph against her will.
"Are you alright?" It was Selenes voice, and it somehow allowed Eleni to focus her thoughts again.
"Fine. Lost my damn balance." She heard a slow trickle nearby, and guessed it was water. The scent of the caves told her it was present. Why hadnt she heard it before though? Then the rocks ripped loose from their moorings with a roar.
She felt herself hit by heavy, edged weights. Eleni made an attempt to get out of the way, but her legs had been the first casualties of the assault. They were exploding in pain, and wouldnt move right. Another large rock knocked her over, and then the heaviest weight yet hit her. Eleni didnt have time to locate where shed been hit before passing out.
Selene had been startled into stillness by the sound of the rockslide and Elenis pain. Once the dust had settled though, two things came to the front of her mind. The first was that Eleni was under all that, and not doing well. The second was a sense of aching familiarity that only made it harder. She forced herself to calm down. She tapped at her communicator pin.
"Selene to Mason and Larsen. Im down the north tunnel, and theres been another rockslide. Elenis under it. We need a medkit, and light." She had no light, but started from where she was, clearing away rock. Her sense of Eleni got fainter, and Selene refused to let her go. She moved away rock as fast as she could, and didnt care when sharp edges cut into her palms.
"No come on fight " It was the best way to keep from crying.
Larsen and Mason arrived an eternity later bearing palm beacons and a medkit. They stood, dumbfounded, at the sight of little Selene tugging rather large stones out of her way. She turned, to look at them.
"Dont just stand there. Lets get her out," she snapped. They just blinked, looked at each other, and mutually agreed it would be best to get moving.
15 minutes of hard labor later, they had Eleni uncovered. It had taken all three of them to move the largest stone one that was uncomfortably close to the injured doctor. The woman looked pale, and bruises were already starting to form. Selene also didnt like the angle certain limbs were at, or the fact that Eleni was still unconscious. Her breathing was steady, if shallow, and her heartrate was all right for now and Selene took some hope from that. Selene took a deep breath, and the fatigue of her muscles made itself known. She wasnt used to work like that.
Mason had a medical tricorder in hand, and was scanning the unconscious doctor. Selene came just behind him, looking over his shoulder at the readings. Broken bones internal bleeding and, most worrisome, indications of damage to Elenis spine. The area itself was swelling and reacting enough to make more detailed readings impossible. Selene felt a coolness on her cheeks, and put a hand up to test it. They were wet. Shed been crying.
"Uh miss?" Mason had turned around to tell her something, and seen her. "Are you okay?"
"Ill be fine Dr. Sirtis is just so much in control its strange to see her " * Almost looking like shes dead. * She swallowed. Mason nodded.
"Shes almost stable enough to move. Shell be alright though its probably going to take time for this to heal, if it does." What would that do to Eleni, though? The dark woman needed activity and the knowledge that her body was under her control like plants needed sunlight. Shed survive, for a while at least, but would be a weakened and washed-out version of herself. Selene swore to herself that shed do whatever she could to keep Eleni whole.
"I Im going to notify our captain, and the colonys medical chief." She stood, knowing that was the proper thing to do. They were of no assistance now to the already overloaded medical staff, and Selene knew Elenis chances were better back on the Destiny. Part of her simply wanted to go to the unconscious woman, and beg her to wake up.
Selene headed out of the cavern, but not before catching a snippet of conversation.
"Think shes really okay?"
"I dont know you should have seen the look on her face, buddy."
"Well at least the good doctors got a friend."
That didnt make the hurt go away, but it did warm her heart. Yes, she decided, Eleni was a friend. With that came the realization that they had been for awhile, but never spoken it. Selene continued out of the cavern, and quickly told the medical chief Dr. Sirtis had been injured. She extricated herself from that as soon as possible, and headed for the permanent infirmary in the settlement. There had to be a subspace comm station there.
Selene was right, and it was also not in use. She initialized a commlink to the USS Destiny, for Captain Walker, and tagged it urgent. She stood, and paced the infirmary as she waited. Finally actually it had only been 10 minutes Captain Walkers face appeared on the screen.
He was in his mid to late forties, with sandy brown hair and kind blue eyes. Selene had liked him immediately. She could see that he was in his ready room, and that the blue eyes were concerned. The comms origin had been unusual enough to catch his attention.
"Captain Walker "
"Selene whats going on there on Devor?" She bundled up what courage she had left, and spoke.
"Eleni I mean, Dr. Sirtis got caught in a rockslide during the rescue effort." The blue eyes were shocked. Eleni Sirtis was an old friend, one hed first known by the name of Night, and he pitied the accident that tried to happen to her. Apparently, one had caught up to her.
"How is she?"
"It only happened about 20 minutes ago, sir. But, the preliminary scans dont look good. The broken bones and bruises are easy enough to fix, but theres internal bleeding and a good chance she damaged her spine." The captain could see that it was difficult, but Selene was managing to be professional and strong as she spoke. He decided he might need to reconsider how he thought of the little blond nurse.
"What are her survival chances?" he asked.
"They think good but, nothing yet on the spine injury. Whether it can be fixed, or " Selene trailed off. Walker had to agree that the image of Eleni in a hoverchair was such a contradiction that it seemed so fundamentally wrong as to throw the universe itself off kilter.
"If anyone can get past an injury like this, its Dr Sirtis," he reassured her. "Were almost done with repairs here, and then well head to Devor to pick the two of you up. After that well see."
Selene turned her head a moment towards a group coming in, and saw that it was a medical team with Eleni on a stretcher. She turned back to the screen.
"Theyre just bringing her into the infirmary. Im going to go now, but Ill give you an update once we know a bit more." Captain Walker nodded.
"Alright. Walker out." He cut the comm, and the Federation seal replaced his face on the screen.
Eleni didnt fight her way to consciousness. It was more like trying to swim through cooled, and very viscous, molasses. The more she came to, she realized, the more dulled pain she felt. Also, her stomach seemed like it was preparing to get rid of whatever was in it. Not a good sign. They also had her on painkillers, from the fuzzy feeling in her head. Funny that her legs didnt hurt though.
She took a deep breath before opening her eyes. There was a doctor she vaguely remembered, and Selene. They both looked concerned though the doctor was doing a better job of hiding it.
"Howre you feeling, Eleni?" Eleni blinked her eyes a few times so that her vision would stay in focus.
"Hurts but, what did you give me?" Selene had looked almost encouraged when she said she was hurting. What was going on here?
"Painkillers a few other things. Where do you hurt?" the doctor asked. Eleni would have shot him a look if she were capable. It was bad enough that shed been stupid enough to get hurt. She wasnt going to have her nose rubbed in it. The rational side of her overruled that hatred of weakness, knowing keeping things from doctors didnt help. Hadnt she told her patients as much?
"Just kind of all over. Head, shoulders guess youve been working on my legs though. They dont hurt."
Even in her drugged state, Eleni didnt miss the look that passed between Selene and the doctor. That hadnt been what they hoped to hear. The doctor moved down to the foot of the biobed, taking out a slightly blunted but still potentially painful needle. He watched Elenis face as he pressed it into the soles of her feet then tried it on her calves Eleni realized that she should be hurting. But, she couldnt feel the needle at all. And, when he was done and rested a hand on her ankle a moment, she realized she couldnt feel that either. It was like her legs were just numb.
She hoped that perhaps shed just been lying still too long, and tried to wiggle her toes. She could see them, poking out at the bottom of the bed. They wouldnt obey her. She tried again. They remained still. No gods, no
Selene was there in a heartbeat. Shed seen the woman handle boardings on the Destiny, violent patients, and any other number of crises. None of them had provoked the pure panic she could feel now from her commanding officer as the woman realized she was paralyzed.
"Eleni this isnt over yet. Its early, and theres still a reasonable chance you could recover completely and a good one youll get at least partial mobility back. The Destinys on its way." The voice was soothing at a very basic level. Eleni knew it was part of what made her blonde assistant such a good nurse. Damned if she was going to give into it though.
"Whenre they going to pick us up?", Eleni asked, feeling the drugs begin to drag her back down into sleep.
"Another two hours. Cmon get some rest " Eleni drifted off, heavily medicated. Surely, though, that wasnt Selenes gentle hand stroking her hair, and soothing her back to sleep
Eleni woke up again back on the Destiny, feeling less drugged. However, she felt disoriented by not knowing what time, or even what day it was though the distinct scent and low hum of engines confirmed her location. More than that, she felt so damned stupid. What had gotten into her that day? She deserved to be paralyzed and useless for that kind of stunt. Eleni had no doubt that Captain Walker would be down here berating her once he knew she was up.
She opened her eyes. A few moments later, green eyes set in a face that reflected both relief and worry moved into view. Selene.
"Good to see youre awake again, Eleni... its been 3 days." The doctor tried to respond, but found her mouth was dry enough to keep her from speaking. Sandpaper would seem smooth by comparison. Selene guessed correctly, and brought over a glass of water. She tipped it to Elenis lips, not trusting the older womans muscles to do as they were told. Eleni swallowed a few gulps of water, then pushed the cup away as gently as she could.
"Thanks " Part of her rebelled at being treated like a child.
"How much do you remember?" Selene asked, retaking her seat by Elenis biobed.
"Going down into that damn cave for no reason getting hurt I think I woke up once and " Part of her hoped it had just been a dream. Oh, she might have woken up alright, but she might not be remembering clearly. The all-over ache felt pretty familiar though. She ran a hand down over her covered thigh, feeling only the faintest sensation of pressure from her leg. It was true then only difference was that shed recovered some feeling. She attempted to wiggle her toes, which were again visible. No luck there.
"Dr. Aebis been doing what he can the damage has been repaired, but itll take time to see if it was effective. Howre you feeling?" Eleni thought that had to be Selenes favorite sentence these days.
"Not good but, better than I should. Ive got some feeling back in my legs even if I cant move them." Selene nodded in response, with a smile.
"I dont have to tell you, but thats a good sign. Think youre up to seeing the Captain for a bit?"
Eleni sighed. She really didnt want to especially with the lecture she knew was coming her way. But, in a way, she owed it to him. She wouldnt be here without his help.
"Alright. Send him in." Selene gave a slight smile, and moved out of Elenis field of vision. The first thing that struck the injured woman was the stillness. She couldnt move properly, and there was no other noise. Boredom set in almost immediately. Was this how her life was going to be from now on? Gods, she hoped not. That would be unbearable. She heard footfalls, muffled by carpet, and turned her head to the sound. Selene had returned, and was escorting Captain Walker in.
"Hey there hows my favorite doctor?" She gave a slight smile, and joined in the game.
"Oh, alright for being paralyzed. Didnt know you cared." Selene watched the interaction with some initial concern, but realized that it was good-humored teasing.
"Well, Ill be with Dr. Aebi if you need anything Eleni " she excused herself. Eleni nodded acknowledgement as Selene turned and exited what Eleni could now identify as one of the private suites. So, thats where theyd set her up. Her eyes stayed fixed on the door for several moments after the little blonde left. She blinked, and turned her attention back to her visitor. The Captain had apparently helped himself to a seat.
"Eleni, Dr. Aebis been keeping me up to date on your condition and prognosis. The general consensus is that youd stand a better chance of recovering back on Earth, at Starfleet Medical. So, I want you there once you can be moved."
"Brian " the voice became a low growl, and he saw the eyes turn to ice. It was enough to make him consider letting her stay - just for the moment.
"No arguments. Youre going."
"Would you treat Night this way?" He remembered Eleni, when she was Night the toughest challenge to their rule the Skera would encounter. Night had been a creature both of a cold, ruthless cunning and a rage unleashed in battle to devastating effect. The junior lieutenant hed been was in awe of the Resistance leader even when hed realized that she was a good 10 years younger than him.
"No but, Night would have dropped me on my ass the moment I told her what to do."
Eleni had to admit that he was right. She would have, in a heartbeat. Her cell had run on order and obedience a fact she believed kept them alive and effective. Discipline had been strict.
"I still would, if you gave me the opportunity."
"I beat you at hand to hand once and youre at a disadvantage now. Eleni, look at this logically. What kind of setup do you have down in that sickbay of yours?" She sighed.
"8 biobeds medical replicator and computer surgical suite " Brian cut in.
"And, for long-term treatment of spinal injuries?" Eleni closed her eyes, knowing she couldnt weasel her way out of this. Whatever else, Brians research was impeccable.
"Nothing the Destinys sickbay is designed to handle emergencies, and routine care." Her mind was starting to wake up, and free itself of the medication. Good. Being doped like that was not going to help her think.
"Mind telling me how Im going to live there then? You know if I was in a hospital setting Id get a bit edgy." The slight growl implied shed be more than that, but was too well behaved to say so at the moment. Brian gave a soft snort.
"Youre the one person Id believe could still be a threat paralyzed from the waist down. As for living arrangements, youd have an apartment nearby. A nurse would live there to give any assistance you needed, and Selenes already volunteered for the job."
That floored her. Sure, she and Selene worked well together. It was a different matter though to be sharing an apartment full-time, and Eleni wondered if Selene realized that. The blonde had grown up in her year on the Destiny, but there were still areas where she was incredibly naïve. Eleni guessed though that it was better to go with someone she knew she could tolerate, rather than taking her chances. For a moment, the sensation of Selene smoothing her hair to soothe her back into a healing sleep came back with complete clarity. She also remembered how much shed liked it.
"She has?" Brian nodded.
"Yes. Did as soon as we brought up the possibility of putting you in an apartment with a nurse." Well, this was terrific. Was Selene acting out of some misguided sense of duty, or pity? Either one was not what Eleni wanted coming her way. She frowned. Maybe a little more time around Selene would give her a better handle on what was running through that genetically enhanced mind of hers.
"Well see. About how much longer do I have on the Destiny?"
"Im keeping your position held for you, until you get back. Dr. Aebi thinks another week to week and a half here, before going to Earth."
Eleni nodded, calculating how much could be done in that time.
"Alright." It came out more caustic than she would have liked, drawing a look from the Captain.
"I know youre not happy with this Eleni. But if you take it out on that nurse, who I might add helped rescue you, you havent changed much from when you were Night." Eleni blinked, startled even by the idea. She wanted to protect Selene how could she hurt her? Then, grimly, she realized Night would have if it had suited her interests.
"Brian dont worry. Ill get upset, but Selene wont be a target for it." The captain took her statement in, and knew it to be true. Whatever else, Eleni was a woman of her word bending it only for the Skera.
"Thats good enough for me. Now, Id best get going before I get chased out of here by an irate nursing staff." He stood, straightening his uniform. Eleni gave him a half grin.
"Itd take more than my nurses to run you out if you didnt want them to."
"Maybe. But, that sets such a bad example." He jogged out the doors, wagging his brows at her. Eleni rolled her eyes, but couldnt supress a smile either. Brian was a good friend, and the banter seemed to help her feel more normal.
Selene spotted the captain jogging out of Elenis suite, apparently in a fairly good mood, and wondered how the conversation had gone. Oh, the information was so close right inside his mind. Bad telepath She would have to satisfy her curiosity another way, and it was time for her to return to Eleni anyway.
She turned to Aian, who was working beside her.
"Do you need me to stay? If I can, I should be heading back to Dr. Sirtis."
The small woman shook her head, letting the light glint off her forehead jewel and light brown hair.
"No I can handle this. Go on."
"Thanks Aian "
"Youre welcome." Aian gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, which Selene returned. Aians Risan nature hadnt lessened in a year, and Selene found no harm in touch herself. It tended to be a way to connect on a different level than her telepathy, and Aian was a friend. "Now, go see to the doc."
Selene headed off, skirting biobeds. Aian looked up, with a smile, then dropped her eyes back down to her work. She didnt understand it, given the violence she knew lurked just under Elenis uniform, but if it suited Selene to stick around the doctor, who was she to judge? Eleni did seem to be easier to get along with since Selene had arrived.
The blonde let herself back into Elenis suite. The woman was, apparently, counting the holes in the ceiling. Selene smiled, and announced herself.
"I cant believe thats really that interesting, Eleni." Eleni gave her a rueful look, with the barest hint of a smile.
"Its not. The Captain said you volunteered to go to
Earth with me. Why?"
Selene ambled over, considering her answer.
"Well you shouldnt go through this alone and, Id like to think were friends." It was a perfectly reasonable answer, and definitely not what the injured woman expected. Shed always assumed Selene had been forced into spending time and working with her by necessity since the little blond was the only one who could put up with her. The only question was whether or not to accept Selenes implicit offer of friendship, with the accompanying potential hurt.
She decided it was worth it.
"I usually consider people who save my life friends Selene. My memorys a little fuzzy, either from the injury or the drugs, but I do remember that you followed me down, and had to have been the one to call for help." Selene glanced down at the floor a moment, a faint blush coloring her cheeks. Eleni suspected, for the first time, there was more to the story than Brian had told her or knew.
"Um just lucky. Someone would have picked up on the slide or that you were missing pretty quickly." The blonde looked back to the older womans blue eyes, and swore she could see the wheels turning behind them.
"Probably," Eleni agreed. "But, back to the topic. Why go? You have your job here, and most likely your friends and interests "
"My job is to be a nurse. It doesnt much matter if thats here on the Destiny, or back on Earth. As to the others " She frowned slightly, thinking of how best to express herself. "The more I learn, the more I know how far I still have to go. I hope going to Earth, and just seeing more might help that process along. I dont fit here now, anyway."
Part of her was startled by Selenes candor. The other, deeper voice inside almost expected it. She rationalized that away with her knowledge that Selene was unfailingly honest even to counting omission a sin.
"You were kind of tossed into shipboard life, and Starfleet." She sighed. "Part of thats my fault. Hows this for a deal? You can come, but you tell me the moment you want to leave." Eleni had no doubt that Selene would go, sooner or later.
Selene nodded agreement quickly, still smiling. Elenis response had been better than shed let herself hope for. It wouldnt have been odd for Eleni to have simply ordered her to stay on the Destiny, and end the discussion there.
"Its a deal. Now, do you want anything?"
Eleni took an inventory of her condition, noting the slight grumble from her stomach and the slightly matted feel of her hair. She stretched, arms over her head, to see how that felt.
"I could probably use something to eat and a bath." Selene nodded.
"Ok. Ill see what I can do. Be back in a few." She patted Elenis hand briefly, and headed back out of the suite.
By the time she got back, Eleni had counted exactly 217 holes in the ceiling. Selene pushed the hoverchair in with one hand, while the other held a steaming mug of something with a rich, meaty smell. It brought Elenis hunger to the fore. Selene brought it over, explaining as she handed it over.
"You havent eaten real food in 3 days it seemed like a good idea to start you off with some broth." Eleni gave a nod as she sipped. It was to just go right back to solids could shock her injured body. Selene waited quietly. For about 15 seconds.
"Itll be fun to be back on Earth. Theres a great little coffee shop not far away a few of my friends and I went there to congratulate ourselves after tests. Well have to go sometime Im sure youll like it. Then, theres " She stopped, at the look blue eyes were giving her over a mug of broth. "Sorry. I tend to ramble sometimes."
Eleni swallowed what broth was still in her mouth, and responded.
"Its okay dont worry about it." She went back to sipping her broth, which had a very pleasant warming feeling as it went down. "Um and the coffee shop sounds interesting." Might as well play tourist she added drolly.
Selene smiled back, and managed to hold her tongue until Eleni finished off the broth.
"Alright ready for that bath now?", she asked, taking the empty mug from Eleni and dumping it in the reclamator. Elenis brow furrowed. This could be a problem. Selene was considerably smaller than her, and didnt appear to have the muscle to make up for it. How could she be moved then?
"Yeah just not sure how youre going to get me into that chair." Selene took a few steps forward and answered, simply.
"Im going to lift you. But, please, dont fight."
Eleni knew, from the look of concentration on Selenes face, that the blonde was responsible for the change. But it was the strangest sensation - like being picked up in a giant hand. Selene had asked her not to fight well, she was too stunned to. The image of a sword flashing her way, blade first, came and went in an instant. Definitely too many drugs in my system She was settled gently into the hoverchair, legs and feet in their proper position. It was the first time shed seen Selenes telekinetic abilities in action.
"Are you alright?" Selenes concerned voice snapped her back into the moment.
"Yeah, fine just thinking. Id prefer to go back to my quarters for this." Selene nodded understanding, and headed for the door. Eleni saw the control mechanism placed at her left hand, and figured it out quickly. She maneuvered the chair out after Selene, gradually picking up how to smooth its operation.
Then, she was back in sickbay, and most eyes turned her way. Eleni was suddenly conscious of the fact that she was dressed in a rather thin shirt and drawstring trousers, quickly identifying her as an inmate of sickbay. She avoided their eyes, and followed Selene out. The nurse also seemed to be moving out quickly, for which Eleni was grateful.
They made it back to Elenis quarters without incident, and Selene disappeared into the bathroom to get things ready. The doctor, however, looked around her quarters, which were exactly as shed left them 5 days ago. The only difference was that duffel bag shed taken to Devor now sat neatly on top of her bed, jarring against the minimalist lines of the space. She had no time to deal with or appreciate knick-knacks, and so chose not to accumulate them.
Selene, returning to the room, had a different opinion. It was stark, and seemed the occupant was merely visiting. No, she reconsidered, it was more than that. In a hotel room, at least, one would leave a bag or two laying around a padd with an itinerary, maybe. It seemed that whoever lived here, though no visible clue was given to prove the room was occupied, was either so used to living like this they couldnt change or afraid to claim any ownership of it.
"Um the baths about ready. I know youll need help in, but are you going to need help to undress?" Selene asked with a blush. Eleni considered the question a moment, while noting that the situation was uncomfortable for Selene. She decided Selene would have to get used to it if she was going to follow her to Earth. The doctor hadnt grown up with the luxury of modesty.
"I can undress myself just have to do this." The dark woman lifted herself off the seat with one arm, and knew she could manage from there as long as there was nothing on her feet. Selene nodded.
"Well, its probably ready now. Ive got towels and all that waiting."
The two women headed into the bathroom, and Eleni striped down as Selene studied everything else in the room in an attempt to give Eleni some privacy. Part of Eleni found it almost amusing.
"Its alright Im not going to bite if you turn around, Selene." There was a soft thump as Elenis clothing was dropped onto the floor beside her chair. "There Im done."
Selene turned around, slowly, fighting her bodys urge to let her eyes linger in what she knew were inappropriate areas like the full breasts shamelessly displayed at the moment. But, she forced herself to concentrate, and lifted Elenis body out of the hoverchair and deposited it gently in the tub. Then she noticed the older womans back.
The skin was cris-crossed by taut white bands of scar tissue, line after line after line forming a map of pain that covered almost the entire surface. Some of them had not healed properly, and the skin was pulled in ways it shouldnt be or raised. Selene had never seen anything like it in her textbooks, or in her time as a nurse. Eleni seemed to read her mind, and responded in a hollow tone.
"I was born a slave, Selene. Just never accepted Id stay one."
"What are the marks from?" Selene asked quietly. Eleni gave a slight wince, in remembered pain.
"Whippings. The Skera hoped theyd make me a nice, docile little human."
"It didnt work," the blonde deadpanned.
"Guess not," Eleni said, with a small chuckle. She was human, all right, but nice or docile? They barely registered in her vocabulary. She heard Selenes footfalls, and turned her head to see the small woman exiting the bathroom. She assumed Selene was still having an attack of modesty. "You dont need to leave it doesnt bug me honest."
The blonde turned back around, pondering her response. Hmm tell her I dont think I can keep my hands off if I do, and I have absolutely no idea why? Mmm . Nope. She settled for another, equally honest answer.
"I know. But, if I stay, Im not sure I can keep myself from wanting to drag your past out of you. And, thats something I sense youre really not willing to do right now."
Eleni blinked, hand frozen in the middle of reaching for the soap. Selene certainly seemed to be surprising her a lot today, and she wondered why this hadn't happened before. The answer, she realized, was deceptively simple. There hadn't been opportunity. They'd danced around anything remotely resembling a personal issue, and circumstances were making that more difficult by the minute.
"Well... all right then. I shouldn't take long." Selene nodded acknowledgement, and exited the bathroom to wait elsewhere. Eleni sighed, and began to lather herself up with the clean-smelling soap. It felt wonderful, after three days. The quiet gave her time to realize though that what she was feeling wasn't surprise - at least not completely. There was some element of it, sure, but more than that it was a sense of rediscovery. As if she'd known how Selene would react, on some level. She dismissed that as ridiculous.
Selene leaned back against the nearest wall, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. That had been intense. She sighed, and twitched at her bangs. The marks on Elenis back had been awful. How could one sentient being inflict those wounds on another, and to top it off not even see that they healed properly? Shed never even suspected that kind of cruelty existed.
The blond dabbed at a bit of wetness just under her eye.
Selene inspected the apartment, and decided she liked it. The place was a decent size, and on the ground floor to make it easier for Eleni to get around. There were two bedrooms, a fully stocked bathroom, and what was best termed a great room. It held a pair of desks, seating, a replicator, and, to Selenes delight, a cooking area. When she exclaimed over it, Eleni simply grumbled something about not expecting her to use it when there was a perfectly good replicator available.
"Oh, but thats no fun. Its not the same," Selene responded, with a tolerant smile. To her surprise, that got a faint grin out of the dark doctor.
"Maybe not. I just know I was put in charge of breakfast once, and after that no one ever asked me to cook again." Selene stifled a laugh, and the blue eyes looking back at her showed amusement. "Go on I know, thats pretty pathetic."
"Its just " a laugh escaped. "Breakfast?"
"Yes. I was able to ruin breakfast." Selene allowed herself a few more laughs, but otherwise handled herself with enviable control. She knew too much laughter would seem to be at Elenis expense. Not a good thing.
"Well, there had to be something difficult for you." The blonde put her hands on her hips, and surveyed the few bags of possessions theyd brought. "We ought to get unpacked. Have you decided which bedroom you want?" The hoverchair-bound woman just shrugged.
"Doesnt matter. Theyre basically identical."
"Lets get things split up then. Are you going to need any help?"
Most certainly not. Eleni had sworn to herself that if she could do something on her own, she would. Whatever independence she had, she intended to use.
"No. Ill do it myself." She maneuvered her chair over to the pile, and lifted the two bags that were hers onto her lap. Satisfied that would work, she felt a small surge of pride at overcoming the minor obstacle of not being able to sling things over her shoulders.
Selene picked up her bags, which loaded down her small form. She could handle them, obviously, but it was difficult. Eleni quirked a brow.
"Selene you lift me in and out of the tub with your mind. Why not just move those to your room the same way?" Selene looked down a moment, then back up. She tried, but the nurse knew her eyes showed how startled she was.
"I its just easier to fit in if I dont use my abilities when I dont need to." Still, she realized, that wasnt all of it. Aside from a bit of shock the first time, Eleni had simply accepted her telekinesis. It didnt make her strange or somehow less than human in the dark womans eyes. That was so different from the reaction she was used to that Selene was deeply grateful.
"Its a gift just like being very intelligent, or the way youre able to comfort people. A lot of people just dont have the open mind to appreciate it for what it is," Eleni responded.
Selene looked down at her feet a moment, with a bashful smile. How can someone with such a reputation for being difficult know the right thing to say so often? She attributed it to Eleni being less stressed, and a growing comfortableness between them.
"Thats the first time Ive heard that. Im going to go put this stuff away." Selene headed for the short hall that led to the other rooms, trailed closely by the doctor. She went into one, and unloaded her bags onto the bed. After a momentary break to stretch, she began to unpack.
An hour later, she was done with the room. Her clothes were neatly tucked away in the closet and dresser, and the other items had been put away or arranged around the room. Most of the latter were items picked up on shoreleaves on various planets. There was a translucent blue crystal from Betazed, and a wood figure that seemed to have been carved out of a circular piece of wood and retained its flowing lines, among other objects. The crystal was a favorite, simply for its color, and the figure was another for its calmness. Shed found it a great meditation aid.
Selene gave a nod of satisfaction, and went to check up on Eleni. She found the woman in the great room, her hoverchair pulled up to the front window. The blonde stepped closer, observing that the scene that scene holding Eleni captive was a group of children playing outside. They were laughing, and totally innocent.
Perceiving that sneaking up on Eleni, or startling her, wouldnt be well received Selene let her feet drag slightly on the carpet. Eleni didnt move just said,
"Hi, Selene your room set up?" The blond walked closer, taking in the sight of the kids as well.
"Yes. You know, you got done with yours pretty quick," Selene added casually, wanting to bolster Elenis confidence. The doctor was hiding it well, but Selene knew she just felt broken. Her abilities had been the part of her wanted so long, she doubted she had much worth without them.
"Thanks. I just thought Id come out here when I was done, and ." Selene interrupted.
"Oh, wow did you see that catch?" The green eyes had widened slightly, at an impressive play by a boy with hair so blond it was more accurately called white. Eleni felt a small smile drift across her face at Selenes enthusiasm, and looked up at her nurse. The perspective was certainly something new.
"Yeah, barely," she nodded. "That was a tough one."
"Mmhm. So, what were you thinking about, before I got here?"
"Nothing much. Just kind of adjusting." The sight outside her window was so different. Laughing children, fresh air, grass Space had suited her better, with its size and coldness. It was a perpetual night, and wasnt that what she was too? It was part of why shed chosen Starfleet, after leaving Skera territory.
Selene seemed to take her words to mean adjusting to being in the chair, and nodded.
"Its got to be rough. But, if you want to talk, Im here."
Eleni sighed, as part of her welled up with the desire to do just that. No not tonight.
Dinner ended up a rather somber affair, though Eleni admitted she enjoyed the food. Selenes skill, however out of date, did produce a better meal than the replicator. There was the actual variation the age of the ingredients gave, and a bit of Selenes own flair with the seasonings thrown in. Not one to normally admit she even cared, she felt the need to acknowledge Selenes effort and made a point of complimenting the nurse on it.
The problem of what to do after dinner was solved by the fact that they were both exhausted by then. The transport had left so early, and theyd both been too wound up during the flight to sleep at all. The fact that the time in San Francisco was two hours earlier than their usual schedule wasnt helping much either. Unable to fight it off too much longer, both women retreated to their rooms with mumbled good nights.
Selene made a quick change out of her tunic and leggings outfit and into a nightshirt with the Academy logo emblazoned on the front. She knew she really ought to brush her teeth, but skipping one night wouldnt hurt and her body craved sleep. The blonde snuggled under the covers, letting her head burrow a comfortable depression into the pillow. The sea-green eyes closed, and she let herself drift off to sleep, aware Eleni was doing the same in the next room.
Once again, Selene was brought out of sleep by Elenis nightmares. Whatever was happening in it, Eleni felt trapped and restrained. Still very tired, Selene grumpily shoved the covers aside and got out of bed. She padded into Elenis room, determined that this was going to stop. It was one thing to not sleep well for a few days, and another to expect to for weeks or even months, Elenis rules aside. Fraud. You know you can nap while shes away, or awake. You just dont want her hurting any more.
Remembering the near-attack the last time she tried to wake Eleni, the blonde kept out of range, and used her voice.
"Eleni, come on its a dream wake up." The dark womans outline, all Selene could really see, shifted. The blonde could sense she was awake, and becoming more conscious of her surroundings. "Its me, Selene "
"Selene, its the middle of the night."
"I know. But, you were having another nightmare, and it woke me up. Eleni this needs to stop." Selene walked over, confident Eleni was awake enough not to think her an enemy, and sat on the edge of the bed close enough she could see the older womans features.
Eleni sighed. Selene was right. The nightmares needed to stop or at least become less intense. They werent fun for her, and they kept Selene from getting much-needed rest. There were moments, she mused, when logic was very inconvenient.
"Youre right. But Im not sure what good talking tonight is going to do."
"Im not going to be doing anything else", Selene responded pointedly. She regretted the manipulation, but knew it was for Elenis own good.
"I dont even know where to start." Eleni paused, frustrated by her prone position. "Ive got to get another pillow or two under my head", she muttered to herself. Selene quietly lifted her torso up, and got her companion propped up a bit so talking was more natural. Eleni noticed that Selene never really asked for anything in return for what she did. Helping for its own sake was too ingrained in her.
"Well lets not talk about the nightmares right off then. Lets just talk. I mean, we are going to be spending the next few months here together might as well get to know one another," Selene suggested. "How did you end up in Starfleet?"
Eleni considered the question.
"After I left the planet I grew up on for the Federation, I had to decide what to do with myself. Brian - Captain Walker convinced me to consider the possibility of going into Starfleet. Id been a good healer, and I found I liked being out in space. Becoming a doctor, and joining up, seemed to fit me."
"The Captain is important to you, isnt he?" Selene asked, quietly. She knew the answer, but wanted to hear Elenis response.
"Yes. He was the first argh." Elenis eyes darted around the room in frustration. There was no way to get out of telling Selene the whole story without diminishing what Brian had done for her. Or, diminishing what she had been. "I spent my teen years in a Resistance cell and led it by the time I was 17. I ordered whatever I thought was necessary to get my people out from under the Skera. Some of it was raids just trying to demoralize them, and take away supplies. But, wed torture Skera soldiers we caught for information kidnap officials children to make their parents free cell members from prison. Of course, sometimes we just assassinated officials. I was just known to them as Night Lmae in their language. We were creating some damage limiting their power."
"Then, a squad of Fleeters lands, with orders to reconnoiter the planet, and coordinate a Federation takeover. Seems some genius had just noticed there hadnt been any response from the colony placed there in 60 years. Well, Brian was on that team of Fleeters that landed. His group came to work with my cell, since it was the most widespread. The attack succeeded, and the planet was put back in Federation hands. A lot of good people died, though. I was a very angry kid. But, slowly, he started to make me believe I could change what I was. I decided to join Starfleet, and healing seemed like a good way to make up for all the pain and death Id caused."
Selene had remained silent through Elenis speech, just listening to Elenis story. It explained a lot to her, like Elenis strength and unconventional first aid methods. She also knew she wouldnt want that powerful mind turned against her, and guessed Elenis intelligence and knack for organization had been at least as much trouble as her physical abilities.
"Eleni, I cant say I dont have a problem with torturing people or killing them. I mean, I was programmed to have an aversion to causing harm. But, can I understand it as a means to breaking down slavery and as perhaps unavoidable if you were going to be effective? Sure. I may not like it, but I do understand."
The doctor realized, in that instant, how close to the edge shed been when Selene had walked into sickbay a year ago. It would have taken so little for her to just go renegade go back to what shed learned so well. But, add one little blonde telepath to the equation, and suddenly the result was different. Somehow, Selene had managed to be a moral center for her commanding officer, even through the strictly professional conversation. It was just part of the way she was. Eleni wondered why she wasnt running for the hills.
"I dont think you can really comprehend what Ive done, Selene. Youve lived your life too far from that kind of disregard for others." Selene looked at her a moment, features outlined in moonlight, then relaxed next to her in a gesture designed to prove she didnt think Eleni was evil , or totally rotten. She gave a slight shrug, and responded.
"Maybe. Still, that doesnt change the way youre living your life now. Youre doing good, Eleni. There are a lot of people alive today because of you, and the way you just get in there and dont give up. Even when it looks hopeless."
"Whole lot of good Im doing anyone right now " Eleni answered darkly. She hated feeling so damnably useless. That and the inactivity were already a serious stretch on her patience, and what passed for good humor.
"I know its rough, Eleni. But, theyre going to be doing everything they can, and chances are this is a temporary thing. In a few months, youll probably just be using motor assist bands."
Selene looked to see Elenis reaction, and knew from the closed eyes and slumping position that the doctor was asleep. That was progress, anyway, Selene thought. Before, Eleni wouldnt have allowed herself to fall asleep like that. The blonde stifled a yawn, and felt the time catch up to her. Not much point in going back to my bed she thought drowsily, as she drifted off too.
Elenis initial reaction to the weight she felt on her shoulder as she awakened was to bolt. However, the injury had left her legs unable to respond. She calmed her reaction, and took in the feeling of hair against her neck and a warm body next to her. Selene had apparently fallen asleep too. Eleni would have expected Selene to awaken at her earlier movement, but the small blonde was still sleeping soundly. The doctor sighed. The fact Selene hadnt stirred told her the nurse was still deep in sleep likely the result of the late night. All Eleni remembered though was talking too much then falling into a restful oblivion until she woke up just now. She frowned. Had she really made it through a night without revisiting Travi? Strange as it seemed she just might have.
Still, there was the problem of Selenes presence. She didnt want to wake the woman up, but if she wanted to move it would be unavoidable. Hmm her hair really is as soft as it looks Eleni could have slapped herself, or more specifically the disobedient fingers that had found their way to Selenes short blond locks. She put her hands safely on her lap, and gave Selene a slight nudge with the shoulder the smaller woman was using as a pillow.
"Selene wake up."
"Mrmph " Selene shifted, getting the message to awaken but really not wanting to listen. Scamp. I knew she was awake on Devor. If this was a typical morning, and Eleni had no evidence to suspect otherwise, Selene was not an up-and-at-em gal.
"Selene " The velvet voice led her toward awareness. Suddenly, her semiconscious decision to stay right where she was last night seemed horribly rash. Selene scrambled off the bed, knowing that shed overstepped some definite boundaries Eleni had set up.
"Im sorry, it was just so late last night, and I was in a bed already " the words tumbled out. Eleni looked back at her, her expression a strange blend of bemusement, decision, and barely hidden fear. Selene couldnt make heads or tails of it.
"Um its alright. I dont think I had another nightmare, after that first one."
Selene let out a breath she hadnt recalled holding. Eleni was fine with it. Shed shared a bed before with younger brothers and sisters when they were afraid or had nightmares, but this was different. Some element of the whole situation had changed. She just wished she knew what it was her instincts were telling her it was important.
"You didnt, that you can remember?" There was a shake of a dark head.
"No. And, if I didnt wake you up with one ", blue eyes looked for an answer, and got it in another headshake. " I guess I didnt have any." Selene looked pleasantly surprised.
"Well, good." She noticed the almost painful stillness of Elenis legs. The doctors torso had twisted, and her arms had moved normally, and she had a full range of head movement and facial expression. None of that would allow her to move her legs even a centimeter. It reminded Selene of why they were there. "Its probably time to get moving. They wanted you in at 0900 hours, right?"
Eleni nodded, and pushed herself to sitting with her arms. The movement sent dark locks into her face, and Selene couldnt help but watch. Until she realized she was staring, anyway.
"Alright. Ill start a bath for you, then get going on breakfast." Selene exited, anxious for a little space to process. Eleni quirked a brow briefly, then maneuvered herself into the hoverchair. Day one of therapy was off to a hell of a start.
Eleni waited impatiently for Selene to return from her errands. The nurse was already half an hour beyond when she expected to return. It wasnt as if shed had a lot to do. Still, Eleni rationalized, the unusually wet and stormy weather theyd had the past few days could have delayed the transports. 24th century or not, it was still wise to go more slowly when the weather turned nasty. She left her vigil of looking out at the brooding gray clouds with a sigh of disgust at herself, and turned her chair away from the sight.
She decided that she might as well keep up to date, and brought the latest issue of her favorite medical journal up on a padd. There were in fact some very interesting and useful studies presented, but Eleni found herself unable to concentrate on them. Where is she? Certainly theyd have commed me if she got hurt or something Stop it, she told herself firmly. Selene doesnt need you to worry about her if anything youd probably get her in more trouble, you gimp. She sighed again as her mind disobeyed a direct order.
She heard the door open, and looked to see who was entering the apartment. It was indeed Selene, and she was soaked to the bone. Eleni wondered how long shed been out in the elements, and then noticed the large, lumpy bulge under Selenes light jacket that the nurse had a forearm under to support.
"Selene " she maneuvered over, now able to see distress in the drenched blondes eyes and a tinge of blue to her lips. The nurse shrugged off her own discomfort, and headed for the table. She carefully unzipped her jacket and began taking what Eleni could only describe as wet balls of fur from the pouch shed created. Eleni followed behind.
"Please they need your help I dont know what to do besides dry them off " Eleni was now able to see six distinct furballs, and a much larger version she could at least identify as a cat.
Gods she expects me to know how to save them? Eleni knew a comment about animals needing to be good for food or labor wouldnt be appreciated. Cmon think here.
"Selene go get dry and warm yourself Ill take care of them till youre alright." The blonde shook her head decisively.
"Ill go get out of these wet clothes, then Im coming back." She darted off for her room, as Eleni went over to the replicator and had it make her towels and a heating pad. Those were the first things that needed to be taken care of. She returned to the family of felines, and picked up one kitten to dry first and examine. It was shivering, and its little heart was beating so fast she thought it would burst if it kept up. She rubbed it briskly but gently with the towel, getting as much water off of the tiny animal as she could. Eleni was no expert on cats, but these she knew were only about a week old. She wrapped it in a dry section of the towel, and set it on the heating pad.
Two others had received the same treatment by the time Selene returned in dry clothes. Selene grabbed another towel and a kitten, and got to work drying it. Elenis manner had been businesslike, but Selene talked to her little charge, reassuring it that it would be alright, and cared for. She wrapped it up gently, and set it with its siblings. Eleni had dried another kitten, but had also been watching Selene and her real caring for beings Eleni didnt think were worth noticing, much less helping.
Eleni took another kitten to dry, and Selene took the mother onto her shoulder as she rubbed at the felines damp fur.
"Its going to be alright see your babies? Theyre getting all nice and warm. You will be too, in a minute. Oh, youre a pretty one, arent you? Nice tabby markings " The mother actually purred as Selene dried her and her mind began to piece together that these were helpful beings. They were helping her babies, and taking care of them. Selene set her on the heating pad, and smiled. She sensed the mother understood what they were trying to do.
The two women watched for the next several minutes as the tiny bodies shivering slowed, then stopped. The immediate threat had been averted. Selene headed over to the replicator, and came back with a bowl of moist food and one of a thick milky substance with an eyedropper.
"The computer recommended these " Selene said, handing the bowls over. Eleni took them, and set them down on the table that was quickly being taken over by the family of felines. Shed noticed Selene was still shivering, and her hair was still hanging in wet clumps.
"Ill take care of feeding. Go on youre as drenched as they were." Selene stood her ground, and stepped forward.
"I need to know if theyre going to be okay." Well, Selenes protective instincts were certainly aroused Eleni could see it in her eyes. The meaning behind it had the doctor in awe. Her nurse was someone who could and would go to the defense of tiny creatures she herself dismissed as worthless. She also reasoned from just how soaked Selene was that the blonde had spent some time out in the elements rescuing the felines now resting on their table.
"Selene theyre dry and theyre getting warm. I can feed them. Thats as much as we can do for now. You need to take care of yourself, before you get sick," Eleni insisted. Finally Selene gave her a look that said she'd do as Eleni asked, but wasnt happy with it. She turned, and trudged back toward the bedrooms and bathroom.
Selene couldnt explain why shed felt the need to save them. Shed only known that she couldnt allow them to suffer like that. The numbness shed sensed taking over tiny bodies, and the confusing but dangerous feeling of the early stages of shock made her shudder, even just as a memory. It was that that had driven her to stop the transport, then follow what she sensed to find the family trapped in what would have been a fairly decent shelter before the downpour. Shed pulled them out one by one, stuffing them in her jacket in an attempt to give them some shelter and warmth.
Selene stripped off her clothing and pulled a shower shield around the tub. Dimly aware that she was shivering, she turned the shower temperature up a little higher than normal and got in. Wow I guess Eleni was right she thought, as the warm water began to bring feeling back to her fingers and toes. It felt so good, she simply let it wash over her until shed stopped shaking. That done, she finished the rest of her shower with her usual efficiency.
She stepped out and wrapped a towel around herself. Though the composition of the mirror kept it from fogging over, she could still feel the steam in the air and moist heat. Whew just what she needed. Drying her hair took only a minute or two, and then she was dressing again. Selene admitted to herself that she felt much better dry and warm. With that came admitting that Eleni had been right.
She walked back out to the great room and found Eleni turned alongside the table, eyedropper in hand and a kitten on her lap. The dark womans face was beginning to frown in frustration.
"Come on youve got to be hungry," she told the gray ball of fur that didnt seem to have any interest in the eyedropper. It opened its mouth, exposing needle-sharp little teeth in an attempt to mew.
Selene bit her mouth in an attempt not to grin. Her stoic, powerful friend had been foiled by less than a pound of gray fur. She walked over, again careful to drag her feet a little so she didnt startle Eleni.
"Not wanting its meal?"
"Doesnt seem to. Not sure whats wrong though " Selene pulled a chair over, ready to do her part of the work, and sat.
"Want to let me have a try?" Eleni shrugged in response.
"Might as well." She handed the little kitten small enough she could just hold it on one hand over to Selene, who took it gently. It was amazing. The little gray kitten was so tiny, but definitely alive and with its own opinions. It would end up with a very definite personality, she knew. She held it on her lap on its stomach. Eleni had been attempting to feed the kitten while holding it on its back, and something made Selene suspect that that was the problem.
Eleni handed over the bowl of milk replacement and the eyedropper next, watching the smaller woman intently. The kitten already seemed calmer, with Selenes touch. Selene used one hand to fill the eyedropper, then brought it close to the kittens mouth and squeezed the bulb slightly to release a few drops of fluid. As she hoped it would, the kitten licked the stuff off, and most of it got where it needed to.
"Ha! Not so bad after all, is it, kitten?" Selene chortled, with a touch of triumph. She dropped some more of the milk replacement on the kittens face, and it was licked off too. Now more comfortable with the dropper, and the strange human holding it, the kitten accepted the tip of the eyedropper into its mouth for a proper feeding.
"There that going to keep you for a bit?", she smiled at the tiny gray being. It opened its mouth again in complaint, trying to mew. "Hey you go back with your brothers and sisters for a bit keep nice and warm. They need some food in their tummies too." She set it back inside the half-unwrapped towel Eleni had taken it from, and looked over at the wheelchair-bound doctor.
"I guess youve got the technique figured out " Eleni said, cautiously.
"Its not that hard. I think they just dont like being on their backs, and need a little time to get used to the eyedropper. They cant see it." Selene picked up another kitten, turning its face in Elenis direction. "Their eyes are still closed, see?"
Eleni looked, and the eyes were indeed sealed shut. In fact, this ones had a discharge she didnt think was good. She wasnt a cat expert, by any stretch. Still, some things were generally signs of trouble, even across species.
"Yeah I see. Im not sure I like this bit of discharge though." She reached over, and picked a bit of it off. Part of it, she felt, was crusted over. Some of it was still liquid though. Gross. Selene moved the kitten back around, taking a look at its eyes herself.
"Me either. Think we ought to take it to a veterinarian?" Eleni opened her mouth to protest. It was just an animal, and should be subject to the same natural processes every other animal was not protected this way. If they kept it, it would also be a drain on resources. No she forced that line of thought off, as a relic of her Resistance days. Starfleet provided well for its officers. They didnt live in luxury, and indeed Eleni would have been contemptuous if they had, but she knew that the family of cats would not be a strain.
"Well how about if we watch it a day or two, and see if it goes away on its own?", she suggested, a compromise between the part of her that wanted to put them back out in the elements and the part that was perfectly willing to immerse itself in following Selenes example of care. The blonde nodded.
"Sounds reasonable. Alright your turn, baby," Selene said, filling the dropper again and preparing to feed the brown tabby kitten who seemed to be the runt of the litter. For an insane moment, Eleni almost thought the last comment was directed at her. She got control of herself, and cleared her throat.
"Ill try to see if theres anything else to take care of, since you seem to have feeding worked out." She obviously had no knack at all for handling felines, so she might as well make herself useful. Eleni maneuvered her chair over to the desk, intent on learning whatever was needed to care for the cats for whatever amount of time theyd be with them. She reminded herself to stay away from anything remotely connected to the Ferengi. Shed end up buying twice what she needed and paying 10 times what she should.
Eleni tapped at the computer screen, entering her query. The database quickly produced the information shed asked for. She looked the list of supplies over, attempting to see what use each one had. A scratching post? What use would those kittens have for something to scratch on? They cant really even move. She dismissed that. Hm maybe I ought to be a little more specific. She sent another query back out into the system, giving the further information that the cats in question were less than 2 weeks old.
Ah thats better she told herself, looking over the new supply list. Listed was the milk replacement Selene was feeding the kittens, and also suggested was a comfortably sized box with a towel in the bottom. She saw no point in pampering animals so much, but guessed there had to be some reason, however illogical. Her eyes continued to scan the list, satisfied.
She glanced back over at her nurse, who was murmuring at yet another kitten in tones that were soothing to any ear. It seemed to be working, since the baby was taking its meal without protest. The blonde woman was so intent, she didnt even notice Elenis eyes on her. Then, Selene laughed and looked up when the kitten licked her.
"Its so funny. It feels kind of rough, but good too," she explained.
"Ill take your word on that." Eleni had no intention of letting one of those furballs slobber on her. "I think Ive got a pretty good idea of what they need. I just need to replicate the stuff." She manipulated the controls and brought herself over to the replicator. Long fingers began punching in what she wanted.
Im reaching out to a higher ground
To a warm and peaceful place
I can rest my weary face
Crazy Maze, Desree
Selene woke up in the middle of the night, yet again, in a decidedly grumpy mood. Eleni was having another nightmare, and she realized her expectations had been unrealistic. There was no way their short conversation last night could have exorcised years of abuse. She threw the covers aside, and put her legs over the side before sliding off. Selene headed towards her door, with a pause to check on the kittens who were snugged down in their box in her room.
She smiled at the six little bodies, and picked up the one that was awake. It was a little black cat who had shown itself to have a very sweet demeanor. It was tucked into an elbow, and protected by Selenes other hand.
"Lets go see that big lady with hair your color, okay?" The kitten snuggled in response, and Selene headed for Elenis room.
The scene was much as it had been the night before, with a sleeping figure barely outlined by moonlight.
"Eleni please, wake up " Selene said, in a normal volume.
Eleni complied, with an ease Selene envied. She knew she tended to sleep until absolutely forced awake. The dark head turned, and very cool blue eyes found hers.
"Another nightmare wake-up call?"
Selene nodded, honestly.
"This one didnt seem as intense though, so I guess thats good," the nurse offered. Eleni looked her over, eyes stopping on the barely visible form of the kitten.
"Whove you got there?"
"The black kitten. She was awake when I got up, so I figured she could use a little attention." Selene sat on the edge of Elenis bed, giving the kittens head a gentle pet. Eleni nodded, not in a particularly talkative mood. "Shes not protesting, anyway. So, whats the question for tonight?" Selene plowed forward, hoping her apparent assumption that Eleni would talk would encourage her to comply.
"Well, Id like to know a bit about how you got into being a Starfleet nurse. Only fair, since you asked me why I chose what I did last night." Turnabouts fair play, Sel. Eleni didnt expected the flash of fear she saw in Selenes eyes, even in the dim light.
"How much do you know about how I grew up?" Selene asked.
"Well " Eleni fiddled with the hem of her blanket. "I know you grew up on Gagarin IV, in the Darwin Genetic Research Station, since thats in your records. But, not any more than that." Selene guessed that Chandra must have kept her mouth shut on the subject. For once.
"Ive never gotten the entire story, but we were quarantined there just us kids. The researchers left. Something from us was aging them very fast. So, for ten years after that, it was just us. I was one of the older kids, and we had to take care of the younger ones. Some of them were too small at first to even reach the replicator. I studied the database, and learned to treat any wounds that came up." Selenes usually expressive voice had become monotone, and she wasnt keeping eye contact. Eleni thought she deserved a slap, right across the jaw and hard, for bringing up that kind of pain. The blue eyes took on a milder look.
"You dont have to go on, unless you want to."
"I dont." Selene swallowed. It wasnt often she let herself remember her mind was more focused on her present and the future, and needed to stay that way. Eleni, she guessed, would have the strength to talk about anything, but Selene knew that wasnt her. "Im sorry but I just dont." Eleni seemed willing enough to let the subject go.
"Its alright whats that little thing up to?" Eleni asked, eyeing the kitten. It had its nose up, apparently interested in something it smelled or in acting like a princess. Its little legs were still too wobbly to be much use, especially on as soft a surface as Selenes forearm, so it stayed on its belly.
"Not sure certainly seems to be in an inquisitive mood though." Eleni shifted onto her side, with some effort, and reached out towards the kitten. It gave a more serious sniff, then sneezed.
"Thanks, furball I was just pondering how much fun getting sneezed on by a feline would be," Eleni groused, wiping her hand off. Selene bit her lip. The sight, however dim, had been unquestionably cute. Eleni would never agree, though. Eleni reached over again, and this time the kitten allowed her to scratch the top of its head.
"Alright gods, its tiny," Eleni remarked.
"Mm. Theres something Ive been meaning to ask you, but havent really gotten a chance," Selene said, glancing over at Eleni a moment.
"Oh? What is it?"
"Well, I noticed on Devor that youre in good shape you were able to keep going a lot longer than me, and you moved stones just as large as those two medics did. They werent weaklings. I was hoping youd help me. Id like to get in better shape, but I dont even know where to start," Selene answered.
Eleni considered the request. Selene was soft, and a bit on the thin side, but there was some physical potential there. Her maybe-instructor had no idea how coordinated the nurse might be. The fine work Eleni usually saw Selene at wasnt much of an indicator of a talent, or lack of it, for controlling her body. It couldnt hurt to give Selene the chance to learn, and one never knew when a bit of extra strength or cardiovascular fitness might come in handy. Still, Eleni had no idea how shed teach certain things from a hoverchair, or show Selene what she was doing wrong. The hopeful look on the blondes face made the decision.
"Ill teach you, but with the understanding that Im not going into anything I cant teach you to do properly." Selene gave her a smile.
"I accept. When do you want to start?" The excitement in her voice was obvious. I think I may have just created a monster Eleni thought wryly.
"How about after the doctors are done with me tomorrow? We can use one of the exercise holosuites at Starfleet Medical."
"Oh, that sounds good. I hadnt even thought of using those," Selene said, continuing to cuddle the black kitten unconsciously. The little furry body just felt so good to hold. Eleni gave a noncommital noise in response, then arched an eyebrow and gave Selene a half grin.
"Hey, the doctors owe me something for putting up with them," she stated. Selene laughed.
"I know you are one but you dont like doctors much, do you?"
"No. I just " she gave a slight sigh. "I just really hate being told what to do. And, doctors do have a tendency to be bossy."
"When they think they know best " Selene let her voice trail off, in agreement.
"And when do we not?" Eleni retorted. Selene grinned, and let herself laugh a bit.
"Very good point, Eleni." She patted Elenis hand without thinking about it, and though Eleni noticed for some reason it didnt trigger the almost itchy and ire-provoking feeling unnecessary touching usually did. And this is a revelation, Doc? You who ended up twining her hair around your fingers yesterday as she slept? Damn.
"Well, Id hope it was. Ill probably be back to sleep pretty soon." The dark woman allowed herself to yawn to emphasize her point. Selene watched her a moment, taking in the washes of emotion that were becoming very familiar. Eleni wasnt as tired as she made herself out to be, and was using it as a way to ask Selene, obliquely, to leave. The confusing part was that Selene didnt sense that shed offended Eleni, or made her uncomfortable. Still, Elenis mind was very disciplined, and capable of giving her a false impression on the surface as long as it wasnt too far from the truth. She spared a thought to question the wisdom of allowing nontelepaths to develop such mental control without the honesty imposed by telepathy, then stood.
"Alright Ill see you in the morning. Night, Eleni." She padded out of the room, the kitten in her arms blissfully oblivious to the tension between her humans. Selenes mind was storming, and she made no effort to stop it.
What is going on with her? I get sent off with a lie and absolutely no explanation. I know she doesnt have to give me one, but I thought we were getting along better than that. I know we were I got her to train me, right? She let out a breath, annoyed. She even made a joke. Theres something Im missing here just a small thread, but one whose absence is throwing off the whole pattern.
She set the kitten gently back in its box, and walked to the side of her bed distractedly. I wish I knew what it was She crawled back in, pulling the covers up to her chest. It wouldnt matter if Eleni had more nightmares; getting back to sleep already promised to be difficult.
A matter out of time
In the reaches of space
Caught up in the patterns
In the light of a life
Lead Me On, Teena Marie
Selene glanced around the waiting room for the 50th time in as many minutes. She was starting to feel tired, and that wasnt doing her mood any good. Elenis therapy for the day had been scheduled to finish 40 minutes ago, and when shed asked a nurse what was going on shed gotten a tense smile and the explanation that there were still things on the schedule for today. Selene turned her head when she heard a yell, recognizing the voice.
"No!" The voice got quieter, and much more dangerous. "You will let me go now, or youll see how much damage I can do even from this chair." Selene hoped whoever was trying to hold Eleni was wise enough not to test her. The doors opened, admitting a scowling Eleni who was testing the limits of her hoverchairs speed. A washed-out looking doctor who had apparently given up on controlling his recalcitrant patient followed her.
"Doctor Sirtis you know " Eleni whipped her head around to look at the man, interrupting.
"I am leaving, whether youve checked off all the little boxes on your list or not."
"Eleni, which way is the exercise holosuite were going to be using?" Selene broke in, innocently. She had no doubt Eleni could handle the man, but a little help might make it faster. Eleni glanced over, the blue eyes lightening slightly as she caught on to Selenes plan.
"Not too far. Follow me," Eleni answered, already aiming her hoverchair out the door. Oh, this Foil the Doctor game had the potential to be fun She was careful not to show it, but she couldnt help an inward chuckle at the poor mans predicament. Served him right.
Selene trotted after her, catching up. When Eleni glanced over, the blonde was biting her lip to keep from laughing, and her chest was shaking in silent laughter. Uh better not go there, El.
"So, did you dress like I suggested?", Eleni asked, thinking it best to get some form of conversation going. All she had to do was start it, than Selene would talk enough for both of them.
"Yes. The replicator files had some really interesting options. I didnt think anything with sleeves would be good. Its hot enough without them." Selene made a face, obviously unimpressed by the weather after spending most of her life under climate-control.
"Probably, since youre just starting. Your body will adjust though." Eleni brought herself up to the holosuite control panel, and started tapping in search of a favorite program. She found it, and told the computer to bring it up. "There Computer, run program."
The nearby doors opened up, allowing them to enter. The two women found themselves in what appeared to be a large clearing in the woods furnished incongruously with a variety of equipment. There were various weight machines, a rack of approved weaponry, and a large mirror with space in front. Selene took the space in, then headed straight for the weapons rack.
"Whats this?" she asked, holding up a wooden dagger with its edges rounded off for safety. Elenis heart sank to her stomach, then went up to her throat in a sickening wave. The bard was killing so many Romans, glancing over at her with each kill and her green eyes begged her to stand. To allow her to stop.
"Its a dagger. Put it back now." The last word turned itself into a growl, and Selene put the practice dagger back. She gave Eleni a quizzical look. Eleni berated herself, again, and forced herself to come up with some coherent explanation. "You dont so much as touch a weapon or a piece of equipment until I say. There are safeties on in here, but they wont be there in the real world and you could get hurt if you forget that."
"Alright " It was obvious Selene was only half buying it. The blonde decided to let the matter drop, and stripped off her top, leaving her in track shorts and a sports bra. Shed found the outfit comfortable, though she was less than secure with the amount of skin showing.
Eleni found herself swallowing.
"Why dont you warm up by running two laps around the path head towards the woods there, and youll see it," Eleni told her. Selene nodded, and took off at a jog.
An hour later, the two women left the holosuite. Selene had enjoyed the time, and found her body filled with a pleasant exhaustion. Eleni felt satisfied with Selenes ability to correct mistakes, and her tenacity. The only problem she had was with how the activity had stimulated her own need to move and use her body. It was a bone-deep need to be active that hadnt been a problem until she suddenly found her body uncooperative. Eleni muttered to herself as they left Starfleet Medical, wanting to swing a staff or a sword or anything else she came across anything to ease what was going on.
"Something wrong?" Selene asked.
"Nothing you can help."
"How can you be so sure of that when you havent even told me whats going on?" She eased the challenge in her words with a smile. Considering, Eleni had to admit the nurse had a point about her assumption. Still, what was Selene supposed to do to restore nerve function?
"Because I am. I just feel kind of punchy. Old fighters tend to get that way, if they cant exercise." Selene considered the problem a moment, as she kept up a steady stride to keep up with Eleni.
"The hoverchair wasnt always around, was it? They didnt have the technology beyond about 200 years ago."
"Right " Eleni confirmed, not entirely certain of where Selenes mind was headed.
"So, what was used before?"
"And before that?"
"Manual ones the person had to push themselves " Now she caught on. It wouldnt be real exercise for her, but it might take some of the edge off and keep her arms from weakening. It was a smart idea, and one she wouldnt have found as quickly on her own.
"Well, that would help a bit, wouldnt it? At least until you can do some more regular exercise?" Selene asked. She only hoped that her idea, if accepted, would work. Eleni nodded.
"Just might. Its not a bad idea Selene and definitely worth a try."
A week later
"Eleni, I know you like tormenting that doctor, but I think youre going to give the poor man a heart attack," Selene stated, glancing over at a street vendor. Eleni was right beside her, moving under her own power again. The manual wheelchair had its faults, but Eleni felt the relief from the stillness was more than enough of a benefit to keep it around.
"Says the woman who assists me almost every time," Eleni retorted. Selene grinned. She knew it was bad, but there was something so fun about foiling him. She suspected it was the exercise of her wit, and ability to work with Eleni. Still, that didnt make the issue any less serious.
"I know I do its amusing. But, Eleni I dont think you want to keep missing part of your treatment. You know as well as I do the longer youre paralyzed the harder its going to be to recover." Selenes eyes scanned the street quickly, taking in the crowd of pedestrians and the shops. She heard a sigh from beside her.
"Yeah. In my case though Im wondering if the cure isnt worse than the injury."
"Oh, I know where we are now " Selene said, looking up at a sign and then to her companion. "That coffee place I told you about is around here, if you want to go."
Ah, might as well. Its not like Ive got anything more pressing to do.
"Sure. Lead on, Sel." The blonde glanced over at the nickname, and Eleni decided she liked the way Selenes face lit up at it. She guessed the younger woman wasnt used to that familiarity.
5 minutes later, they reached the unimposing façade of Presidio Coffee. The café was designed to be a gathering place for students, artists, and musicians in a very old tradition. The building was much as Selene remembered it well-kept, with a group inside that was about 10 decibels from being too noisy.
The doctor and nurse entered. Selene took a deep breath of the rich coffee smell she loved, and Elenis eyes scanned the room out of habit.
"The counters over there," Selene said, pointing a discreet finger in the general direction of the register. She made her way over, Eleni trailing a few steps behind. The blonde looked over the menu displayed on the wall before smiling at the man behind the counter and ordering her usual.
"Id like a double latte with vanilla syrup, and could you make it with raktajino beans please?" He nodded slightly as he tapped in her order, then glanced over at a noise from the kitchen.
"Id know that voice and coffee preference anywhere, Selene, so dont you think of leaving without saying hello." Another voice, female this time, and affectionate despite the scold to her words. Selene found herself smiling in response. A moment later, a woman in her sixties came out of the kitchen, drying her hands off on a towel. Despite her age she was still tall and had a good amount of brown mixed with the silver of her hair, which combined with few wrinkles on her face made her look younger.
"This is Rena, Eleni. She owns this place." Her smile dropped, and voice trailed off, at the silence and the looks Eleni and Rena were exchanging. They didnt seem all that friendly.
"Hello, Mother." Rena took in the wheelchair her daughter was in, missing the flinch Eleni gave at the once over.
"What did you get yourself into now, Lmae?" Elenis head drooped slightly, having no defense since the accident had been her fault. Selene entered the fray, sensing that Eleni wouldnt defend herself.
"She got hurt in a rockslide, trying to help someone."
"Which no doubt served her interests more than theirs," Rena came back, disapprovingly. Selene felt a protective anger start to grow, and pulled the older woman aside, unwilling to accept more attacks on her friend.
"She isnt Night anymore. She got that injury putting herself on the line for someone else, selflessly. And, in case you didnt know, which Id bet on, your daughter has spent the last 10 years as a doctor in Starfleet." Selene noticed that at some point during her tirade shed started poking the woman in the chest, and let herself keep doing it. "Ive worked with her for the last year, and seen her heal patients nobody thought would live. Not having the use of her legs for a while is hard on her, so Id thank you to leave " Harder poke. "Off " Poke. "On the " Poke. "Nastiness."
Uh think I might have taken that a little too far She could see the surprise, however well-hidden, in Renas eyes. I dont think I care though. I cant believe shed say things like that about Eleni. I may never have had them, but arent parents supposed to be good to their children?
"Selene I think youve terrorized my mother enough." Elenis voice was low, and Selene thought there was a note to it that sounded like the purr she sometimes got out of the kittens. Selene glanced over. She knew a command when she heard it. "Lets go."
Selene jogged to catch up to Eleni, whod taken off the moment she was outside.
"Eleni, wait "
Eleni stopped, tension written in every line of her body. Selenes defense of her had been unexpected, and complete. To Elenis mind, it had also been misguided. She guessed it was time to knock a bit more gloss off Selenes image of her.
"What is between you and your mother? I may not know much about family, but I know they dont usually treat one another like that." Selenes anger was largely spent, but it threatened to spark again if given the opportunity. She had her hands on her hips, and the look on her face forced Eleni to meet her eyes.
"She doesnt approve of me some decisions Ive made."
"Any specific ones?" Selene asked relentlessly. Remind me never to hide things from this woman she could be an enemy interrogator, and in 20 minutes shed have gotten all the information she wanted and made you want to thank her for her time.
"Selene, I really dont want to talk about this now."
"Eleni, I dont like it when a friend of mine is just plain nasty to another friend. Especially when I dont know why."
"Selene, let it go. Its complicated."
"No." The two strong women stared each other down, each waiting for the other to fold. Eventually, Eleni sighed. Shell find it out anyway.
"She got off Travi a year before I left, with the Resistances help. I could have left then too, but I turned it down to keep leading my cell." Selene considered the implications. Eleni had chosen to remain Night, a decision that likely was not well received by her mother. In the course of that, Night had continued the activities Eleni expressed regret over. Selene didnt like what Eleni had done, but when she considered the circumstances and the mass of scar tissue that was Elenis back she could hardly condemn the dark woman.
"You did what you thought you needed to. And, after seeing their handiwork "
Gods, I never wanted to to be the one to Eleni never finished the thought, deciding it was best that way. Besides, Selene needed a response.
"Selene, dont finish that sentence. Youre right I thought what I was doing was necessary. Maybe it was, maybe it wasnt I still dont know. But, Mother didnt like it. She thought I should have taken the opportunity to go. We havent spoken since."
"Eleni, is it possible she was just trying to protect herself? That she was trying to sever contact because she thought that would help her not care as much if she heard youd died or been captured?" Selene asked reasonably.
"Selene just drop it." Selene frowned, not feeling right about prying further but her curiosity too much to allow her to just put it out of mind. This confusion was becoming more and more common, she noticed, as her relationships with people and particularly a certain dark haired doctor grew more complex. She set that observation aside to ponder later, and shook her head a moment to clear it.
"Alright, for now. Lets head back to the apartment the kittens will be ready for a meal." The mothers physical condition had been bad enough that even now she wasnt producing enough to sustain 6 kittens who were growing daily.
Eleni nodded acceptance, and the two women wove through the bustling streets of a thoroughly modern city silently. Silently, that is, until Selene found something to comment on.
Eleni studied a medical journal to continue calming her mind, with occasional glances in Selenes direction. The nurse was currently sprawled on the floor, playing with the kittens after their meal. As far as they were concerned, she was one of them though, admittedly, a lot bigger. She watched them work to walk on all fours, hindered by distended bellies and a decidedly lagging coordination of their hind legs. The blond smiled, glad to see them doing so well.
Wow not to long ago, I wasnt sure these babies would live. But theyre healthy and safe even the brown tabby we were worried about. So now Ive got her the black one, the grey baby, the two tiger cat twins, and the odd white one. Plus a big momma.
She pushed a kitten over gently, getting a token protest when it regained its footing. In all honesty though, it had reached the limit for how far it could pull itself along and needed resetting.
She watched, amazed, as it managed to bring its back legs into temporary concert with its front ones. After a few steps it was dragging itself along again, but even those few steps had been a big accomplishment. Selene laughed.
The sound made Eleni look over questioningly. Selene turned her head slightly, to make eye contact.
"One of the kittens managed to take a few steps," Selene explained, unable to keep a touch of pride out of her voice. Ordinarily, Elenis response to such sentimentality was at least an eyeroll but she found herself able to muster no more than a tolerant smile.
"They do seem to be doing pretty well... " Eleni admitted. Selene patted one of the kittens on the head, and looked up at Eleni.
"Do people typically give their pets names?", she asked. Eleni wasn't sure how to respond. Naming an animal gave it more of an emotional hold, she knew, but she doubted Selene would consider that a bad thing.
"Well, yes. Do you really plan on keeping all of them though? Seven cats are a lot." Selene considered a moment, watching the babies play.
"I'm not sure I'd want to break them up... but, with the care and space they require now, a starship's quarters wouldn't be best for them. Especially if they weren't allowed outside them." Eleni watched the emotions play across the younger woman's face. While Selene had grown up in a year, she was still physically incapable of hiding her feelings. She would give them up, for their own good, but she would miss them.
"One or two would be able to handle it just fine. It's just a question of deciding," Eleni stated. One that's too hard to make... Selene mentally protested.
"I think I'll name all of them, for now... then pick which ones to keep later on." Selene brought her legs under her and sat up. She picked up the brown tabby, looking it over. "Hm... you know what this one reminds me of?"
"No." A simple answer, with vague amusement.
"Wood grain, or a wild cat," Selene said decidedly. "How about... Oak?"
"Oak works..." Eleni was distracted by a beeping. "What in... oh, gods..." She scanned the message on her padd.
"What is it?" Selene asked, sitting up straighter.
"I'm invited to some damned reception tomorrow night... All it will be is a bunch of stuffed-shirt Admirals parading around in dress uniform congratulating themselves on their own wonderfulness," Eleni answered glumly. She had always hated social functions, but they were especially bad when they lacked any real purpose. Don't suppose I can run over someone's toes there with my chair, and say it was an accident, huh? That might at least make it somewhat interesting. Selene smiled from her position on the floor.
"Is it too rational to ask why you need to go, when youd obviously rather have teeth pulled without anesthetic?", she jibed.
"No just a bit too optimistic. Because Im not one of those stuffed shirt admirals, or at least the captain of a large vessel, Im supposed to jump at the chance. Id still turn it down if I didnt know that it would get back to Brian. Hes had to talk to me about my antisocial tendencies before." Selene looked at the situation. Stay home with the felines and find something to do, or follow Eleni to the reception. While it didnt sound especially appealing, going to the reception did have one bonus. She wasnt sure what to make of it herself, but being with Eleni particularly through a situation the older woman hated was enough to tip her mental scales.
"Well, how about if I tag along? At least then youd have some excuse to leave a boring conversation, or something," the blond shrugged, doing her best to keep it casual. Eleni noticed how it always sounded more right to her when Selenes voice lost its hint of formality. It was more in line with Selenes open and bright personality, and Eleni surmised the more careful speech had been acquired at some point.
"You may have a point there not sure how Id feel about subjecting you to an official function though." Eleni raised a brow in mock seriousness. Selene attempted to stifle a laugh, but it tumbled out anyway.
"I think Ill be able to manage, Eleni," the younger woman grinned. Oh, I hope so, or theres no way Ill keep from being a very naughty doctor Eleni muttered to herself, visions of trippings and lambastings dancing through her head.
The dark haired woman noticed that another message, from Betazed, was also listed on her queue. The blue eyes softened a moment in response and she filed it away to view in private.
Headin into twilight
Spreadin out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin off the deck
And shovin into overdrive
Danger Zone, Kenny Loggins
Upon entering, Selene was glad shed taken Elenis advice and dressed up a bit. The simple empire-waist blue dress had a uniforms clean lines and didnt look too out of place among the dress uniforms of most of the other attendees. Eleni had donned her dress uniform for the occasion, and looked distinctly uncomfortable. She kept tugging at the neck of the jacket, convinced the replicators always subtracted half an inch or so from that measurement.
"Wow thats Admiral Miller, right?" Selene asked, nodding her head toward a graying man holding court. He was obviously very respected. "I read about his work on the Mateas Treaty."
Eleni nodded an affirmation, more interested in cataloguing the attendees. She didnt notice the slight frown that formed on Selenes face.
"Im not sure what it is, Eleni, but I dont like him for some reason." Eleni looked up, meeting Selenes eyes. Her own instincts had told her there was something dark in the man, and more specifically in his need for command. Shed guessed it was just a matter of one blackness knowing another.
"Selene, neither do I." The doctor left it at that, and moved deeper into the crowd. Appetizers were being passed around, and she helped herself to a couple. Selene followed her lead, continuing to take in the crowd as she munched. It was one of the few times shed seen so many people together for the sole purpose of socializing, and she found it intriguing. There were the divisions into small groups shed noted before, though this time she was unable to identify what commonality there was since she was unfamiliar with the people. That brought a brief pain, as she contrasted her anonymity here with the way she knew the crew of the Destiny.
Captain Walker would be riding herd, and seeing that everyone had a good time. Aian would be observing the crowd, making funny though sometimes unflattering evaluations of people, or dancing. Dr. Aebi, who shed come to know as well, would be patiently identifying different crewmembers and their relatives for her. To help her remember, he often told a story about the person that they had a bad shoulder they refused to let be, or had been on a certain mission.
That memory gave her an idea. Why dont I just make up stories for these people, to keep my mind busy? She set herself to that while keeping an eye on Eleni. An easy-going woman she identified as a Captain Selene imagined was the descendant of explorers and bore their need to discover. Shed had a very good friend though as a child who still kept her in balance, and enabled her to keep both her power and her humanity An unlikely friend, Selene decided. There would be a bit more dramatic tension that way. She was so caught up in her flight of fancy it took a nudge from Elenis wheelchair to bring her out. The dark haired woman looked up at her with a raised brow, to which Selene could only blush.
"Now that youre back in the Alpha Quadrant its time to sit down for dinner." The tone was vaguely amused, and Selene was glad Eleni had elected not to make a big deal out of her distraction. Now that she was actually looking, she could see people filing into a second room and taking their places around a pair of very long tables.
"I can see that now. Guess wed better go."
Soon, they were seated. Large baskets of breadsticks were placed liberally on the table, and Selene indulged in a deep breath of their scent. There was a slight yeasty smell, and one of garlic. It was a good combination.
"Mm. That smells good." She glanced up the table, and saw that people were already getting breadsticks. She helped herself to one, munching on an end. "Tastes good too." Selene polished the treat off quickly, then saw that Eleni hadnt so much as leaned toward the basket. The blonde grabbed two breadsticks on her next reach, setting one on each of their plates.
Eleni picked it up, finding herself eating it for no other reason than that Selene had put it on her plate. She gave an inward sigh. Great move, El. Brava. Selene had started talking again, and Eleni gave the appropriate nods and murmurs when necessary. When Eleni finished the first breadstick, she found another on her plate. Again, her hand went out and picked it up, then brought it to her mouth.
"Why are you putting breadsticks on my plate?" Eleni asked, even as the taste prompted her to want more.
"Because," Selene grinned at her, taking a bite and laying another breadstick on Elenis plate. The black haired woman gamely grabbed it up, deciding to see just how far her dinner companion was willing to take this. She gave Selene a saucily raised eyebrow in challenge, and got to work on the food.
Ugh.. Eleni grumbled to herself. Shed definitely underestimated Selenes willingness to play. She wasnt sure exactly how many breadsticks shed eaten; shed lost count around 5. Next had been a very large dinner that had been addictive enough shed almost finished it. Selene had cleaned her plate and then some, and Eleni found herself impressed by the small womans appetite. Selene had made normal amounts of food for their meals before, but it seemed that once given the opportunity she could put away a surprising amount.
She glanced over at the object of those musings, finding the nurse in an animated conversation with a small group of junior officers. She was laughing, and gave a gentle jab to the upper arm of the man standing next to her. This is what she ought to be doing enjoying herself. Not stuck playing nurse for an old witch like me. Eleni let out an inconspicuous and soundless sigh. What is she, anyway? Some things about her seem so young, and then there are others that seem millenia old. She lost herself briefly in the image of those green eyes. While typically bright and alive, there was a certain calmness and awareness behind them that was ancient. Wonder what Grandmother wouldve thought of her.
Selene glanced over, picking up on the general subject of Elenis musings. The doctor was alone, as usual, in a room filled with people. The corners of the nurses mouth drooped slightly. She really didnt think that kind of isolation was healthy, and she knew it bothered Eleni more than the dark haired woman would ever admit. The nurse brought her smile back up easily, and caught Elenis eye. She motioned the wheelchairbound woman over.
There was really no reasonably polite reason to refuse, and Eleni found she wasnt interested in formulating one anyway. She wheeled herself over, forcing a moderately pleasant look onto her face.
"Hi guys, this is Dr. Sirtis, my commanding officer and friend. Eleni, these are Ensign TPana, Lt. jg. Jazri Marah, and Ensign Manuel Guevarra," Selene smiled, motioning around the small knot of people. Even without the motions Selene would have guessed that the calm Vulcan woman was TPana, the Trill Marah, and the young man of Hispanic descent was Manuel. She gave a polite nod to each of Selenes new friends in turn.
Glad the initial exchange had gone well, Selene continued, summarizing the current jobs and plans of each junior officer. The news that Ensign Guevarra was also planning on being a nurse gave Elenis already over-full stomach a twist. The rapport she could see between Selene and the swarthy young man wasnt helping either. She identified her feelings as twinges of jealousy something she thought shed rid her mind of Selenes first day on the Destiny. That done, she ruthlessly pushed the unwarranted and unwelcome feelings back down.
As the night wound on, Eleni watched Selene charm every person she came in contact with. The blonde woman wasnt even conscious of it, but Eleni knew first hand how difficult it was to resist the aura of simple goodness that seemed to be knit into every fiber of Selenes body. Eleni had certainly never been able to. The bunch of resident furballs at the apartment were proof of that much. Even though shes a telepath, she has no idea the kind of power just her smile has.
Selene had enjoyed the evening, but her body was protesting at being forced to be out so late. She wanted to be back in the apartment, snuggled down in soft, warm covers and dozing. A yawn escaped her, and Eleni looked up from the position shed taken at her side.
"A bit, yeah," Selene admitted.
"It is getting a bit late. Im starting to feel like getting back to the apartment myself," Eleni agreed, though her reasons for heading back had little to do with being tired. Part of her was just uncomfortable with being around so many people at once, any of whom could have a stiletto aimed at her back. Selene was the only one she trusted, and even that she didnt understand.
Leaving took longer than either woman expected. Once they began moving toward the exit, people began to come up to say goodnight. Selene had talked with most of them, and she was the one they made contact with first. They never stopped there though, and gave at least some brief salutation to Eleni. Selene knew Eleni was convinced they did it just out of politeness, but she sensed a genuine concern for the older woman, and in many cases a feeling of gratitude. It wasnt that far a leap to piece together that Eleni had been able to work a healing that should have been impossible around them, but found the woman herself too difficult to approach directly.
Selene decided it wasnt worth bringing up then, when it could likely start an argument, but placed the observation alongside others, waiting for the proper time. They finally made their way out of the crowded space and to the street. It was quiet, most people having gone home for the night. Selene craned her neck, looking upward.
"Wow its interesting to see the stars from this perspective again," Selene stated, a slight smile growing on her face. She loved the combination and contrast of the black sky with the pinpoints of light. The blonde had no reason to believe in spirits, or gods, or even that she had a soul, but the night sky made her feel in tune with something. She pointed towards a cluster of stars. "Eleni, dont you think that star group looks like a horse?"
Eleni glanced up, feeling the same sensation of déjà vu shed had before. She steeled herself for it to turn unpleasant, but it never did. There was no Selene doppelganger killing Romans, no flying swords only a childlike part of her bouncing with glee.
"Maybe Id say it looks more like a dragon though," she answered, vaguely surprising herself. Selene grinned at her, and then was interrupted by the low hum of a transports engine. Eleni raised a hand to signal the transport to stop, feeling vaguely annoyed.
"Argh Selene, please " Eleni pleaded. The blonde just gave her a tolerant look, and gently bent Elenis left leg towards her chest again. The doctor had made no fewer than 6 similar pleas, and though Selene was sympathetic shed given no indication shed stop before this session of physical therapy was complete. That being the case, she deduced that Elenis purpose in continuing was to give herself something to do. Perhaps she did deserve an explanation though or at least a threat.
"Eleni, you can do this with me in the comfort of the apartment, or with the doctor at Starfleet Medical on a lovely biobed. Your choice." The dark haired woman gave herself a mental kick. Shes doing this as a favor to make your life a little easier. Dont make a total ass of yourself, alright?
"I know, I know sorry," Eleni apologized. Selene glanced up at the older womans face. What she found there caused a smile to grow. The big bad commander had the most adorable look of contrition on her face Selene had ever seen. She seemed to remember a comparison often used that a humbled person looked like a spanked puppy. It certainly seemed to fit Elenis expression.
"Theres no problem with feeling that way," Selene said, keeping up her manipulations of Elenis legs. "I mean, this whole situation has got to be pretty rough for you. What Im having a hard time with is why physical therapy is such an issue. Its going to stimulate healing, and help keep your muscles up for when you need them again." Eleni, though with some grumbling, had accepted the rest of the program mostly.
"Trying to engage in psychoanalysis again, Selene?" Eleni asked, hoping to derail Selenes thoughts.
"No though if I had my guess, you dont like physical therapy for two reasons. The first is that it means giving up some physical control to whoevers working with you. The second, just as scary, reason is likely to be the fact that it emphasizes just how not right your body is. Thats a very hard thought for you Eleni," Selene stated, glancing over. Her expression showed she understood, even if she didnt accept being a target for Elenis bad mood.
The doctor had to admit she was probably right. There was
no logical reason for her to dislike the therapy, so it had to come from her
disturbed mind. It figured that Selene would be the one to untangle impulses
she wasnt even aware of. That ability was also a potential danger
Eleni refused to let herself carry that thought to its conclusion.
"I guess it is. Ill try to keep my mouth shut," Eleni said. Selene realized shed given the wrong impression, and set about trying to clarify what she meant.
"Eleni, part of the reason Im here is so you have someone to talk to when this gets difficult. I knew it would be hard for you to deal with, and youd need a friend. So, can we talk about what youre feeling and work through it, not just get annoyed at one another? Well get this over with faster too." Selenes patience had only been a bit strained, but she didnt want to give that the chance to escalate if it didnt have to. It wouldnt do Eleni, or her, any good. There was a barely audible sigh.
"Im just no good at talking about this kind of thing, Selene," Eleni replied quietly. Shed never developed that ability, and doubted one could learn at her age.
"Well, practice is only going to help," Selene prodded gently. The blonde knew she was pushing Elenis boundaries, but part of her thought the dark woman could use a good cry some release. She hadnt been the same since the accident. Outwardly shed shown all her usual confidence, but there was something out of balance in the doctor, like a bone that hadnt been knit together properly after being broken. When that happened, she knew, the only treatment was to break the bone again and give it a second chance to heal.
Eleni didnt answer for a long time. There was too much going on in her mind for her to make sense of it quickly, so she let her mind work while Selene continued stretching and stimulating her currently useless legs. The nurse talked about a comm shed received from Aian catching her up on all the gossip and events aboard ship. Eleni only half listened, in case a response was asked for. Finally, she made her decision.
"Ill talk but I think Id be most comfortable just before going to sleep. I get kind of tired, and it makes it a bit easier to ramble on." Selene looked up, some surprise evident in her green eyes.
"Alright makes some sense." The nurse found herself hoping the arrangement would give her an excuse to have Eleni close again, and wondered where that had come from.
And Ill go on to bring you home
All because Im
All because Im
And Ill become
What you became to me
-Black Balloon, The Goo Goo Dolls
Selene gave a gentle rap on the door to Elenis bedroom, electing to let the injured doctor run this experiment. It only took a moment for Eleni to call back that it was alright for her to enter. Selene opened the door, and gave a bit of a smile.
"Alright guess we have an appointment?" she joked lightly, wanting to get Eleni comfortable before starting a difficult conversation. The doctor was propped up in bed, dressed in nightclothes similar to Selenes. Her sculpted face gave a wisp of a smile in response.
"Yeah " Selene padded over, and sat in the bit of room on the bed Elenid left next to her. She wasnt a counselor, she knew, but she hoped she would be able to help the woman who was rapidly becoming her best friend.
"Eleni, do you remember the accident at all?" Selene asked, figuring the best place to start this talk was the beginning. Eleni shifted next to her, formulating a response.
"Yes I remember I ran down to that damn cavern, like an idiot. Then I heard you, and realized there was no one there to help. I started to walk back out, and hit a wall. That mustve triggered the rockslide. After that all I remember is getting beaten up by some rocks." An old question came back to mind, one shed wanted an answer to since Selenes blush while discussing the rescue. "Selene, Brian made it pretty clear I wouldnt be alive without you. Id really like to know what you did that made him say that."
Remembering those first moments after the accident proved more painful than Selene expected. During the event, Selene had needed to focus on the moment, and doing. Now, of course, she could reflect and knew the outcome a wheelchair and brokenness.
"I called for help with my communicator, and then started trying to move the rocks. You were so buried I was concerned that you wouldnt have enough air before long, either from the rocks pressing down on you or there being very little air trapped with you." The words were detached, as if Selene was writing a report, but the green eyes told a different story. Shed been worried, afraid of losing something she hadnt even recognized until an offhand comment. Eleni nodded, then asked another question.
"So, you did that until more help arrived?" Selenes blond head bobbed a nod in response.
"Larsen and Mason remember them?" Selene asked. Eleni gave a rare half grin, deciding that she wasnt going to let Selene stay in quite so serious a mood. That was her job.
"The Muscle Twins? Yeah." Selene let out a short laugh, then clapped a hand over her mouth. Elenis sense of humor had been an unexpected discovery, and it seemed to show itself at the strangest times.
"Im sorry " Selene said helplessly. "It was just too perfect."
"That was the intent," Eleni retorted. The conversation paused a moment, as Selene decided how to get the conversation back on topic.
"Youve said that running to the cavern was a stupid thing to do. Why?" The blonde knew Eleni didnt have appreciable psi ability, and needed to trust those other senses she had. It was hardly her fault if she made a mistake once. Eleni bristled, thinking for a moment Selene was baiting her.
That behavior, though, would be entirely too nasty for Selene. Still, the other option was that somehow Selene was unable to comprehend why Eleni saw her actions so negatively.
"It was I start hearing things, and run to an unstable area without any backup. Then, since I was brainless enough to forget a palm beacon, I start a rockslide that could have killed me. Id say that was pretty dumb, Selene." The nurse had to admit that framed that way, it did seem pretty ridiculous. Still, she saw it differently.
"You heard a noise you thought was an injured person how else could you have decided if there was someone there or not?"
Eleni found she couldnt answer. Ordinarily she could have scanned for life signs, but the caverns had been high in kelvinite. The mineral had a nasty habit of producing blank or inaccurate scans, and its presence had been the reason for Selene being called into duty as a psionic tricorder.
"I could have waited a moment to be sure I wasnt hearing things and gone down prepared," Eleni finally answered.
"You could have waited done it by the book. But, what if someone had been down there Eleni? Someone who would have died if youd waited," Selene argued. The doctor felt her mood worsen, and answered shortly,
"There wasnt anyone in the cavern. And if there had been, itd hardly be the first blood on my hands." Shed killed Skera when given the opportunity, the occasional fellow human who got in her way or betrayed
Eleni slipped into the caverns with her team, keeping her 18 year old body taut and light. Her blood was still singing in her ears from the raid. She knew theyd been set up. The Skeran soldiers had known far too well how to place their forces, and other small betrayals gave her proof. Still, theyd managed to win without too much loss. She flipped part of the black cloak shed taken to wearing to match her body armor. This was another victory, which would help purge the last resistance to her command.
There was still an errand to take care of though. She kept a good ten feet in front of her fighters, making sure she went down the chute first. A quick ride later, she was in darkness. Over the years it had become a friend, hiding her and her people. As it had been for years, a female pair of hands was waiting.
Lana who had been an early supporter and occasional bedwarmer. Who couldnt be a fighter, but made use of incredible night vision. Who Eleni had trusted to guard the entrance to Elysia the human settlement hidden in the caverns. Who thought that hadnt been enough. There was the familiar touch of steel at Elenis neck, and a familiar voice.
"Fiat." Reflexes took over the rest of the job, and before Lanas mind had even registered what was happening Eleni had turned the dagger and buried it in her chest. While Lana was still alive, Eleni finished the phrase.
Fiat Nox - Let there be Night.
"Eleni, thats not a surprise to me," Selene said calmly. She thought that perhaps it was part of the naivete she knew she possessed, but she had always been unable to reconcile the monster Eleni saw herself as with the person she knew. Eleni had a definite darkness, but Selene knew it would never be turned on her. Selene had never felt afraid of her, though a few members of the medical staff admitted they had.
"I know Ive told you, but " Eleni wiped a hand over her face in frustration. "But its like you dont listen or at least you dont completely understand." Selene, still seated on the side of the bed, looked at her earnestly.
"Maybe I dont. Im perfectly willing to admit that, since Ive been sheltered from a lot of violence. I do know though that youve managed to become a very good friend, regardless. Those times on the Destiny when things have gotten bad, Ive usually felt very safe if youre there." Selene had no idea where the words were coming from, but they were true and it felt right.
Eleni swallowed, and tugged at the standardized bedding. Selene didnt lie, and there was no way shed earned that kind of trust.
"I thought we were supposed to be dealing with my issues over being paralyzed," Eleni finally challenged, not meeting Selenes eyes.
Oh yeah definitely stepped all over something there Selene chastised herself. Ive really got to watch that. She forced herself to back off mentally, and get back to the conversation.
"That was the intent, yes. Eleni, when was the last time you actually cried?" Selene asked. It had been so long; it took Eleni a moment to produce an answer.
"When I was six or seven." Shed had no way then to keep the Skera from beating her physically, but shed learned that her mind was her own. Not letting it be controlled was the best revenge she could think of.
"Gods " she said, borrowing one of Elenis expressions. "Its been a long time then."
"I guess. Is this the part where you tell me a good cry is healthy, and I bawl like a baby, and everythings just rosy in the morning?" Eleni asked, a little more sarcastic tone to her voice than she would have liked. Selene shook her head, giving a slight smile.
"I wish it was that easy, but I think we both know its not. Still, El ," she met ice-chip eyes, " I do think sometimes you need to feel things before you can handle them. And, sometimes those things are so tough you just need to cry," she shrugged.
Eleni could feel herself tensing up, just at the mention. There went the muscles the slightly itchy feeling to her fingertips Selene watched her a moment, then set a hand on a shoulder that seemed suddenly fight-ready.
"If you dont want to, thats fine. But, if you need to, its alright," Selene finished calmly. Working with Eleni was kind of like gaining the mother cats trust, she decided. Shed gotten the lesson that she wasnt a threat out of the way quickly with the mother by helping her kittens. Then shed handled the feline very carefully, doing her best not to force anything but show that she was available anyway. Eleni, however, was turning out to be more resistant than the cat.
The dark haired woman was unaccustomed to the insistent gentleness Selene had turned on her. It had been easy to think of Selene as weak at first, but there was duranium just under the surface. Part of her was tempted to go along with Selenes idea to just spill every thought, every feeling going through her head. It didnt win.
"Selene, I no. Not tonight." Selene had pretty much expected that response, and shifted her weight on the bed.
She glanced around the room, finding exactly what she had in Elenis quarters on the Destiny. There was nothing out on any surface, and the only sign of occupancy was the mussed bedclothes from sitting on the bed. She wasnt sure how a woman paralyzed from the waist down managed to keep her space so immaculate. She also wasnt sure what had made Eleni so unwilling to lay claim to her space. The blonde had noted that while Starfleet officers might be moved often and were not allowed to make major renovations to their quarters, they made a habit of picking up small items while on missions or shoreleaves to display. Eleni didnt.
"Alright ", Selene said, bringing a pajamaed knee up to her chest. "Anything special happening tomorrow? You know I cant get the doctors to tell me anything I dont absolutely need to know." She gave a wry smile.
"Ah, you just havent tried hard enough theyll crack," Eleni gave a wicked little grin. "As for tomorrow, the only thing unusual going on is theyre going to do some tests to see how much progress Ive made." Eleni had spent years schooling her features, and only familiarity allowed Selene to read the minute betrayals to know the doctor was more concerned about it than she let on.
"I hope it goes well, El. Youve been through enough." Selene picked a little at the bedclothes. A growing weariness allowed a yawn to escape Eleni.
"Guess Im more tired than I thought", she apologized. Instead of having excess energy, her body seemed to have decided it was no longer necessary and she was tired more often than before.
"Sounds like it," Selene agreed. "Im not tired yet would you like me to stay till you fall asleep?" Eleni gave her a vaguely confused look.
"Why would you do that?"
"Its been a kind of emotional night. Um. When I was on Darwin Station quarantined, when a kid had a bad day it helped sometimes to just be with them until they could fall asleep. I guess just knowing someone cared enough to be there was a big part of why it worked." Selene had never talked about the station and what her life there was like openly, and Eleni knew that was significant. She also knew she didnt want to respond in a way that would make Selene clam back up. Part of her also had to admit that she liked being around the young woman, and the circumstances didnt seem to matter.
"That makes some sense. Selene, Im very used to being alone. Still, it might be kind of nice to try," Eleni compromised. Selene briefly had the urge to roll her eyes of course Eleni was alone a lot but it passed.
Next, Eleni needed to get herself under the covers. Her useless legs made the task more difficult, and she needed to maneuver with her arms. The doctor refused firmly any offer of help, holding to the vow shed made to herself that she would do any task she was physically capable of on her own. Selene wisely stood by after the first refusal, though she itched to help.
Once settled, Eleni turned down the lights and closed her eyes. Selene retook her seat on the edge of the bed, intending to simply sit there until a little after she sensed the dark woman fall asleep. Eleni rolled a bit, so her back was to Selene. Only partly conscious, one of the nurses hands moved to the spot where Elenis neck met her shoulders to begin a firm massage. The muscles she felt were hard and knotted, no doubt from their conversation.
"Selene, what are you doing?" a slightly drowsy voice asked. Eleni turned her head so she could see Selenes face. Her natural instincts against letting people in her space seemed to have been short-circuited, leaving only a pleasure that made a long dormant part of herself awaken with a lazy stretch.
"You just seemed kind of tense so far Id say your muscles have backed that much up," Selene observed, thumbs centering on one spot to release a knot. It was slightly painful, but when the pressure let up the relief was more than worth it. It took a moment for Eleni to remember that she hadnt responded, and another for her suddenly stubborn mind to come up with something.
"Guess so. I didnt realize how bad it was," she admitted. Selene smiled, a wonderfully odd image coming into her head.
"I bet I know what noise youd be making if you were a cat."
Selene let out a perfect imitation of a kitten sound that was meant to be a complaint but had too much tease for that interpretation to hold up. It took a moment for it to hit Eleni, but the absolute absurdity forced out a low chuckle. Selene joined in laughing, and it just seemed to build on itself until they were both helpless with it. What tension had remained drained out through the floorboards, leaving both women exhausted but feeling worlds better. The feeling lasted even as Selene returned to her room, and the two women fell asleep.
Selene became aware that she was standing on a beach, the blue of the water nearby a perfect match for her crystal. Under her feet she felt small, smooth stones. She found they were white, and intriguingly luminous. She knew she was dreaming an unsettling feeling since her dreams werent usually this lucid.
A mist came up, and coalesced into a female figure. It grew solid and took on color and definition until standing right in front of the nurse was a tall young woman. The woman was dressed in green leather, and the rest of her was brown tones. She wore a crescent on a necklace, and had another worked into her hair. The woman also bore a bow and a quiver of arrows on her back.
"Who are you?" Selene asked, but she wasnt certain if shed said it aloud or simply thought it. The enigmatic woman gave a smile.
"I forget you dont recall me every time. It is interesting though to speak with a mortal mind-to-mind this way. I am Artemis, the one you were named for. Indirectly," she sighed. "The Romans always kept dividing us up so, youre named for the aspect of me that rules the moon."
"I got the name because I liked to watch the sky at night when I was younger," Selene countered. "My brothers and sisters chose it." Artemis smile dropped slightly, taking on more compassion.
"They were pulled to give you the proper name. Selene, I know the time on the station was difficult for you. Even now you dont like to think about it, do you?"
"No." Artemis took a step forward.
"Chosen, this time it was necessary. Im sorry for the distress its caused though." She placed a hand on Selenes upper arm, and the nurse was surprised to find it felt warm. Somehow, shed expected the cool marble of a statue.
"Why do you call me Chosen?" Selene wasnt sure whether to be more disturbed by the fact that her mind had come up with this, or that part of her was starting to believe it. Still, there wasnt any harm in playing it out.
"Because it is what you are, Selene. Your personality is yours, but your soul is special one Ive had an interest for a long time. I will help and guide you, if you allow it." Selene felt all the insecurities and her own sense that she was somehow a fake human boil up in response.
"Im just a genetic construct designed and programmed. I dont have a soul."
"You do, and its a beautiful one." Selene felt a pair of fingertips under her chin, gently making her look up to meet the goddess serious brown eyes. If this was just a dream, it was certainly the most real one Selene remembered having. She felt her breath pick up slightly at the touch.
"Im not sure if I can believe you Artemis, but its a really nice thought."
"For now, that will be sufficient. But before I go, I have one gift to give you," the goddess stated, a slight smile on her face.
"Whats that?" Selene asked.
For an answer, Artemis leaned in closer and placed a somewhat tentative kiss on Selenes lips. Selene was stunned enough that she didnt fight the contact. The slight heartrate increase from before picked up speed, and she was aware of other sensations starting to run up and down her spine. Instinctively, she responded by returning the kiss
"Selene " The lyrical voice entered her consciousness, and Selene awoke with a start. She sat up quickly, still very conscious of the effect her dream had had. Eleni had wheeled herself to the side of the bed, and was currently wearing a somewhat startled look. Selene was difficult to wake up on the best of mornings, and had never gone from sleep to full consciousness that fast before.
Satisfied that the blond woman wasnt somehow injured or in deep distress, Elenis expression shifted to one of concern. The best explanation she could formulate was that Selene had had a bad dream one Eleni had inadvertently brought her straight out of.
"Are you alright?
"Just fine " Selene said, running a hand through her short locks to give them some semblance of order. "It was just a dream not a bad one just kind of intense." Gradually shed felt herself settle back down, and was confident she could keep up a conversation. Still, she hoped Eleni wouldnt ask for details.
"Mmm. Its 800 hours," Eleni told her, wheeling back slightly in preparation to leave. She knew Selene would make breakfast for both of them without being asked, and reminded herself to do something nice for her roommate soon.
"Oh guess Id better get moving then." Selene pushed the covers off, and slid out of bed. Eleni left as Selene gave her sleep-stiffened body an allover stretch. "Yow " She looked toward the box the cats slept in. "Guess I need to stretch a little more after my sessions with Eleni, guys. Ill be back with your breakfast after I shower." Even that pause allowed images from the dream to intrude. "And, call Chandra."
Before Selene could press the doorchime to Chandras office, the psychologist contacted her mentally. The Betazoid had probably been scanning for her, given that it was the time theyd scheduled to meet. Selenes call had been simply to give an outline of the dream and see if Chandra had some time free that day.
~Selene come in. Its good to talk to you again.~ Selene shook her head and smiled, then let herself in. It was rude to communicate mentally in the presence of nontelepaths, but since it was just the two of them all bets were off. Chandra liked to make use of that.
Selene found Chandra sitting in a chair, padd in hand. The office was separated into a desk area and another where counseling actually took place. The Betazoid had decorated the space to make people comfortable with its light tones and relaxed seating. For Selene, it had usually worked.
Chandra hadnt changed all that much, even to the way she strode over quickly and gave her former patient a hug. Somehow, the smaller blonde found that reassuring. Then Chandra held her just at arms length, looking her over. The hair was the same boyish cut Selene had gotten soon after her arrival, and there was still the warm aura Chandra remembered so well. At the same time, the green eyes seemed older than Chandra remembered. That brought a feeling of some sadness, but Chandra knew that change was inevitable. In Selenes case, she was happy it seemed to represent growth.
"Great Fire what a difference a year makes," she observed. Selene gave a wide smile.
"Its been a big one, with going to the Destiny. The starships certainly run into more interesting situations than you do planet-bound." The tone was lightly teasing, and reminiscent of their old arguments. Chandra felt she had plenty to do on planet, thank you very much, and only boarded a ship when required. Selene, on the other hand, had been fascinated by the records of various missions and dreamed of seeing for herself all the places she saw holos of in the databases. It had made Selenes return to planetary life all the more intriguing to Chandra.
"More dangerous, maybe but, there are challenges here too," Chandra defended. "Still, Id hope you didnt come to start that whole discussion up again." She released the younger woman, and took a seat on an overstuffed chair.
Selene shook her head, trying to bring her thoughts into some coherent order. She chose the couch, musing idly that the design was very similar to the one in the apartment.
"No, its not I still havent gotten that dream out of my head." Much more explanation than that wasnt necessary. Shed already explained most of the dream to Chandra over the phone, though shed left a few details for this face to face discussion.
"Well, youve told me what happened in it, mostly. The dream felt very real an ancient Greek goddess was there, and you talked she said you were some kind of chosen person, and you argued about that a little then she said she was giving you a gift " Chandra summarized, pulling out a padd with the brief notes shed taken during their conversation. "And, thats where we stopped, because you needed to be going." She looked up, expecting Selene to continue.
Selene just nodded confirmation that Chandra had the story right so far. Chandra was mildly surprised that the usually chatty nurse didnt pick up her story immediately. She took it as a sign of how unsettling the dream had been to her former patient. After a long pause, Selene spoke.
"Uh she leaned in a little, and she kissed me. Then Eleni woke me up. I think I startled her a bit I sat up so fast. She certainly had a surprised look at first," Selene said, smiling at the end. The small woman pushed a bit of hair back behind an ear. Chandra recognized one of Selenes old tactics steamrolling over the real issue with talk.
"Mmm. Now, back up just a little you said the goddess kissed you. How did that make you feel?" That, Selene decided, was the tough question. There had been some reverence but, she didnt know how to define the other things shed felt the way her heart had picked up and the nerve sensitivity shed felt even after the dream was over.
"Im really not sure. It was very intense, whatever it was. Kind of like getting a hypo of adrenaline. I didnt want it to stop either part of me was kind of disappointed when I woke up."
Chandra took the wisps of remembered emotion rolling off her former patient, and the conclusion she came to made her bite the inside of her lip. Selene was, apparently, unaware of the significance of the feelings the dream had brought up. Chandra had never dealt with Selenes sexuality while the younger woman was a patient, expecting that Selene would work out that part of her life gradually and naturally, as she was around normal adults more. She certainly hadnt expected a dream about an ancient Greek goddess of the hunt. Of course, that conclusion lead to the issue of how to handle this with Selene.
"Have you felt that way before?" Chandra asked, wanting more information and time to think.
"Hmm in bits, maybe. But, never just this rush," Selene said, the answer sounding lame to her own ears. I really, really need to work on getting my feelings communicated better Im not as bad as I was, but its still so hard to get across all of what I feel. Maybe I ought to start keeping a journal, like I did when I was first released. Why did I stop? Oh, yeah intense nursing training. Thatll do it.
Chandras curly blonde head bobbed understanding, and she asked another question.
Have you felt this, even in bits, in other people?" Selene shuffled through almost two years of memories, finding hints of it in other interactions shed been part of and observed.
"Yes now that Im thinking about it. Usually between men and women, but Ive sensed it between two women or two men too. Whatever it is." Selene gave the Betazoid a pointed look, resenting her lack of knowledge.
Chandra accepted the annoyance turned her way, but still thought shed been right. If Selene had been curious or asked her about things shed seen, Chandra would have known it was time to talk. As far as Chandra knew though, Selene had breezed through her life so far without so much as a double take at an attractive member of either sex.
"Selene its a lot more complicated than just saying, These feelings mean this, and you handle them this way. What youve described is sexual attraction. But, theres a lot of things that come with that and some that dont necessarily." She paused. "You need to understand that, first. Ideally, attraction comes with a special kind of love for the other person, and its returned." Chandra remembered Selenes fondness for reading, and headed for her desk. She started tapping at the screen, searching the database for a novel a friend had asked her to read years ago. The nurse looked on, knowing there had to be a point to Chandras behavior even if she didnt know it yet.
"Looking for something?" she asked. The curly blonde head bobbed a nod.
"Yes There was a novel I read a while ago. I didnt like it all that much personally, but I think youd get a lot out of it." The counselor gave a command, transferring the data from the database to a nearby PADD. She picked up the new book, and walked back over to where Selene sat on the couch, waiting. The younger woman took the PADD, scanning the first screen. It was the modern equivalent of a title page, with title, author, and year it was published glowing a muted yellow on a black background.
"Degrees, by Jori Walters " Selene read off. She looked back up to Chandra.
"Just read it," Chandra grumbled, giving her former patient a wry grin. Selene smiled back.
"Im not convinced, but its worth a try. Chandra, thank you. For your time, for trying to help " Selenes green eyes were earnest.
"Its what I do, Selene. Part of its my job, and part of it is because youre a friend. I just hope this works. Now, I want to hear all about what you and that dour doctor have been up to here in San Francisco." The counselor sat back down again, and leaned in slightly ready to hear all the gossip. The animated voice Selene had developed was such a contrast
Chandra had studied the file for her new patient repeatedly. Selene was mentally stable and had no history of hallucinations or any other aberrant psychology, making her a definite minority in the facility dedicated to cases that could not function in normal society. Her prognosis was good, and only required time for her to adjust and to learn to speak fluently again.
The girl Chandra found no other word fit, even though she was 21 years old entered. The straight blond hair that reached her waist was a bit tousled, and parts fell in her face. Chandra guessed she probably hadnt brushed it since the morning. Selene didnt speak, just walked to the spot on the couch shed taken the last time and sat down.
~This couch is nice I like the color.~ Selene thoughtcast. Telepathic speech, largely composed of images and feelings, had none of the structure of a written or spoken language. Selene was adept with it, but needed to relearn speaking too.
"Selene, can you please speak aloud?" Chandra coaxed. Selenes brow furrowed slightly, as she went about the task of formulating speech.
" Like couch " The voice was very rusty, and unused to pronouncing the distinct sounds properly. "The color good." Chandra nodded, making her way through the incomplete, clipped sentences.
"You like the color of the couch?"
From that rather awkward beginning, Selene had slowly grown more natural in her speech and in the way she interacted with people. Still, even on the day the young woman had been released to enter Starfleets nursing program Chandra knew she saw the world through the eyes of a preternaturally intelligent child.
Selene sensed Eleni before she heard her or saw evidence of her. The wheelchair-bound doctor was sending off very definite signals that something was very wrong, but she was also keeping a very tight rein on herself. When the dark woman did appear, Selene saw no evidence that her escort a young man in a technicians coat had picked up on anything out of the ordinary. Elenis face didnt give anything away, and only a familiarity with the woman allowed Selene to read a slight slump to the usually proud shoulders.
The nurse stood and made her way over to Eleni, who was politely taking leave of the technician. Somehow, Eleni not fighting was more unsettling than the glimpses shed gotten of the older womans potential for brutality. She forced a smile onto her face, and asked lightly,
"Ready to go?" Eleni nodded, and wheeled herself towards the door.
"Very. Howd the day go?" she asked, planning to keep the conversation on Selene.
"Oh pretty well. I visited Chandra. Has she always liked gossip so much, or is that something new?" Selene questioned wryly.
"Shes always had a taste for it says its the only way to really keep informed," Eleni answered. They exited the vestibule and headed left, down the hallway. Selene found that Elenis typically brisk pace seemed to have been increased slightly, and forced her strides to lengthen to keep up.
"I thought gossip was usually just considered exaggerations and half-truths." The nurse failed to see how such bad information could be of any use, especially when Chandra dealt so much in the nuances of situations and emotions. Those things were easily lost in the retelling.
"Yes, but theres usually a grain of truth and, you can get a reading on how a person is thought of by the people around them. Sometimes, that can be useful," Eleni explained absently. Selene found she still couldnt understand, but her attention was drawn more to what she sensed from Eleni. Skillfully stowed emotion, most likely fear. The most likely explanation Selene saw was that Eleni had gotten some bad news.
"Im still not sure I understand, but thats okay." She let a hand drop to Elenis shoulder in support as they walked.
"Mmm. Anything new going on in Chandras life?"
"She was a lot more interested in hearing about what was going on with us. I dont think she ever expected to see me back on Earth or you, for that matter. When you met her on Starbase 27 did you really slam that Klingon who harassed her into a wall?" She remembered the relish Chandra had told the story with. A slight grin flitted at the corners of Elenis eyes at the memory.
"Yeah I doubt Chandra mentioned though the he caught up to me after I left the bar, and said hed deserved it. Then we went out for bloodwine." Selene felt a laugh start to rise up, and let it.
"Oh my Id guess thats better than a bar brawl," Selene said.
"Got me in less trouble, anyway," Eleni answered, picking up the pace again.
Selenes curiosity was still piqued, but she forced herself not to question Eleni. The doctor, if she was going to speak about whatever had occurred at all, would not choose to do so on the streets of San Francisco only a few feet away. They exited the building and were thrust right into the streets of a bustling city.
Its strange to be writing in a journal again. Ive put this file under Akritian Counseling Strategies in Nursing. It sounds sufficiently boring and academic to keep it from being read by someone looking through the computer casually, dont you think? I doubt anyone would even care to see this, but whats written here are my thoughts. If I feel like being a little paranoid I will be. Wow that was harsh.
I started reading the book Chandra gave me. So far, it seems to center on two women who meet while applying for a doctoral program. What Im supposed to learn from this story, I cant even guess! They dont even seem to like each other. Still, Im not very far along yet. The conflict does make me want to keep reading, I admit. Thats probably the reason the author put it in.
Eleni still hasnt spoken a word about whatever happened today at Medical. Shes holding it together, but that just makes me think that when she does break theyre going to feel the shockwaves as far north as Alaska. Right now shes just sitting by the window. The courtyard is beautiful, but from the look on her face I dont think she even sees it. When I sense her, all I feel is the repeated attempts to calm her mind by just not thinking at all. My best guess, and it is a guess, is that someone told her shes not healing like she should.
She liked that chicken dish I made a few nights ago. Maybe that and some time with the kittens will put her in a better mood.
How can someone who hates inactivity as much as Eleni does stay so perfectly still when upset? Its almost like shes in some sort of trance state.
Wonderful, upbeat way to start my journal, huh? Oh well. I cant help worrying. It sounds like time for me to end this days entry, and get back to my doctor.
Selene stored the entry, and put the display back to default. It had felt good to get her thoughts down in a concrete form, and after a while the words had just seemed to become a river. The only hard part had been getting her fingers to keep up with her mind.
As she stood, she moved the white kitten that had taken up residence on her lap to a shoulder. A tiny paw batted at her in protest, but a gentle head scratch was quickly accepted as a peace offering. The nurse made her way over to the quiet figure by the window.
The dark head whipped around, and Selene knew the doctor hadnt registered her presence until shed spoken. That was a bit of a shock, and she wasnt sure whether to attribute Elenis distraction to the mental turmoil she sensed or the fact that shed forgotten not to sneak up. At some point shed just known that Eleni wouldnt harm her.
Eleni settled her old reflexes, noting grimly that almost 20 years after Travi, they were still quite present. Of all people, the young blonde with a slight questioning look and a tiny kitten perched on her was too good to see that part of her.
"Didnt hear you everything all right?"
I ought to be asking you that Selene retorted, but stopped herself from speaking it aloud. Starting out like that would only put Eleni on the defensive.
"Oh, fine I was just taking care of a couple things. I dont remember seeing those red flowers before. Did they just bloom?" Selene asked, casually. Eleni shrugged if the truth be known, she hadnt even noticed the flowers until Selene had pointed them out.
"I guess." Eleni forced a breath, feeling the full weight of a thousand thoughts she couldnt let herself define. "Selene what are you still doing here?" Selenes green eyes studied her a moment.
"Here as in here talking to you when youre upset, or here as in on Earth?"
"Both," came the answer, low enough Selene almost had trouble understanding. The doctor had looked away, but Selene could see her eyes had darkened in a trick of the light. She also sensed the war being fought inside Elenis mind one the older woman had clamped down on any consciousness of.
"Theres not a totally simple answer to either one of those, Eleni Im going to sit on the couch, and give you the best one I can. Cmon." Selene bobbed her head in the direction of the couch, then turned to walk over.
Selene moved the kitten to her lap once she was seated. She knew she was likely to touch Eleni out of habit, but right now she wasnt sure that would really help the woman pushing herself over in the old-fashioned manual wheelchair. The chair combined with the simple civilian clothing to make Eleni appear more human than Selene had seen her before at least while conscious.
"El I was talking to you when you were upset, because then maybe youd end up talking about whatever is bothering you. I can tell something is. If I can do something to help even if its just to listen Id like to. Thats what friends do. As for why Im still here on Earth, its because I want to be." Her own emotional state was steadily spiraling upwards, with a frustration not entirely her own. "Dont you believe that?"
Eleni remained silent by default, not sure how to answer truthfully without setting Selene off.
"Dont you?" The second plea was quieter and somehow tugged at whatever heartstrings Eleni hadnt severed over the years even more.
"I believe it, but I dont understand it. Selene, wouldnt you be better off back on the Destiny learning than here taking care of a cripple?"
"Eleni, do you want me to go back to the Destiny?" Selene asked, more than a little challenge in her voice. Eleni realized that the answer to that was a definite no. The little blonde had slipped into her life, bringing a light her eyes were still adjusting to. The plunge into darkness would be worse the second time around. But, was having her stay fair?
"Youve been a help. More than you know. But, I cant ask you to stay here. Im not an easy person to be around, and you sure didnt sign on for this." Especially when it looks like Im not going to be leaving anytime soon.
"Eleni, whats going on? And if you say its nothing, or nows not the time, I swear Ill smack you." Selene knew shed never be able to, but saying it satisfied her grouchy side.
The doctor looked anywhere but at her, tapping her fingers on the arms of her wheelchair. The planed face was drawn tight as she swallowed.
"The tests didnt go so good." Most of the anger or frustration Selene felt drained out of her and into the floor. She had hoped, even though it was likely, that it wasnt bad news about Elenis back, knowing the older woman would take it as prophecy about whether or not shed recover.
"Oh Its still early, Eleni. You could still walk again, easy " Selene said, feeling the need to at least attempt to raise Elenis mood. She still wondered how Eleni could annoy her to no end at one moment, and the next make her want to hold the dark woman close and simply share some of whatever weight was burdening her.
"You dont know that," Eleni shot back. Spinal injuries, even now, were notoriously unpredictable. She refused to set herself up for disappointment by hoping for a good outcome.
"No I dont for sure. But all the studies show "
"Selene, dont," Eleni growled. There was very little of the housecat, and a lot of the panther, in the sound. The nurse eyed her, green orbs searching for anything more to be read from Elenis expression. Whatever she saw there didnt meet her approval, as Eleni knew it wouldnt, expressed by the slight drop in the corners of the younger womans mouth and the darkening of the usually bright eyes.
"Alright. Sometimes I wonder though if you even want to be healed at all."
They stared off, until Eleni noticed that a PADD on a nearby table was rattling, threatening to lift off and fly. It was, she recognized, the telekinetic offshoot of Selenes emotions.
"Cmon if youre going to hit me, at least use your fists not some mind trick," Eleni challenged. Selene glared back for a moment, then closed her eyes. A few moments later, the PADD dropped back to the table with a small crash.
"Eleni, I think we could both use some time to cool off," Selene said quietly, setting the kitten aside on the couch, and standing slowly. She walked to the door, picking up a small bag before stepping into range of the sensor. The door opened, and Selene left, with only a brief glance back.
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