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"Shit, it's mom. Would you deal with her? I do not have the fortitude to deal with her right now."
"I will this time because the girls do not need to hear you two arguing. Go shower and change your clothes." Natalia told her. "Come in" She called out as Kacey disappeared into the bedroom.
The door opened. Patricia walked in with Liam right behind her pushing a cart with seven covered dishes on it.
"Grandma." "Grandpa" The twins called out together and ran to their grandparents.
"Hello me lassies." Liam said as he picked them both up. "Are ye being good for Aunt Natty?"
"Yes grandpa. Aunt Natty is helping us make a card for mummy." Erica said.
"And we are having a sleepover." Erin finished.
"Tis is a grand card lassie. You finish it and I will make sure she gets it."
"Thank you for watching them Natalia."
"They are no problem, besides it is good practice."
They moved away from the table so the girls would not hear them. "Is Kacey here?"
"She is taking a shower. She still had her protective suit on."
"I was hoping we could have dinner together before we went back to Sick Bay."
"I am not sure she is ready for that. How is Anya holding up?"
"She will not leave Kate's side or even let go of her hand. Did Kacey say anything when she got home?"
"She was very upset and all she said was that you argued. I do not know what was said or who said it."
"I hurt her very badly. I accused her of being the reason Kate was injured. Of not watching out for Kate. I was so wrong. I tried to apologize, but she did not want to hear any part of it. Then we got into an argument. Words said in anger or haste really can do more damage than any weapon ever could. I regretted the words as soon as I said them. But it was too late. I could not take them back."
"Kacey is hurting too. She will not admit it, but she does blame herself for Kate's injury. She tries to act like she doesn't, but I can see it in her eyes."
Kacey walked out of the bedroom in clean fatigues, her hair wet from the shower. She nodded to her parents.
"I am going back to sit with Kate." She said not looking at her mother.
"Your parents brought dinner for everyone."
"I am not hungry, Talia." Kacey said as she walked to the table. "You demons be good for Aunt Natty, okay." They both nodded. After you eat, make sure you practice for one hour." They nodded again. She kissed the tops of their heads. "Are you sure they will not be too much for you?"
"We will be fine. Do not worry about us. Will you be home tonight?
"I am not sure."
"We will be here, if you do." Natalia kissed her. Kacey started to leave.
"Kacey" Patricia called. Kacey stiffened and turned. Her mother handed her two containers. "In case you get hungry later on. See if you can get Anya to eat something."
Kacey took the containers, nodded and left. Patricia sat on the love seat and buried her face in her hands. Liam joined her. He held her as she cried. Natalia busied herself with the twins giving them time alone.
Anya continued to hold Kate's fevered hand. She rubbed the back of the smaller one. She talked softly to her wife as she fought back tears.
"Kate, please stay with me. I can not go on without you. You are my life. I love you with every beat of my heart, with every breath I take. I need you to stay with me, Kate, to stay with us. Please fight this Kate. Come back to us, come back to me."
Kacey stood outside Kate's room as she listened to Anya talk to Kate. She waited for several minutes before she knocked on the door frame. She watched Anya wipe away her tears before she turned towards the door.
"Mom sent you some dinner." She said as she walked in.
"I am not hungry." Anya said.
"Neither am I , but she sent it any way. You know her. In her mind every thing can be set right with food." Kacey put the covered plates on the bed table and pushed it out of the way. Kacey knelt down in front of Anya. "Anya you do not ever have to be ashamed of crying in front of me. I think I know how you feel."
"How are the girls?"
"They are fine. Natalia has them working on a card for Kate. She invited them for a sleep over."
"Thank you, Kacey."
"No thanks are necessary. I wish there was more I could do. Those damn Doctors would not let me volunteer."
"You could have the same reaction, then what, Kacey. You both would be lying here. I know you do not want to put Natalia through this. Not now. Not in her condition."
Kacey took a ragged breath as Anya words hit home. You're right Anya. I guess it is just another foul up on my part. First Kate got hurt and now I was not thinking about Natalia."
"You are not responsible for Kate's injury. I was there. It was not your fault."
"You are in a minority then." Kacey said.
"I do not believe that is true. Patricia was worried and scared when she struck out at you.
"I was always the problem child. I still am it seems."
"You can be a hand full at times, but no where near being a problem."
"Anya you have not left Kate's side for hours. Why don't you take a break. Go for a walk, slap some water on your face, change out of your away mission clothes, spend a few minutes with your girls or even go to the bathroom."
"I can not. What if Kate wakes up and I am not here?"
"I will be here with her. She will not be alone. If she wakes up, you are only a communicator call away.
To be continued...
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