A/N: hey everyone! Back again with more Christine, and little Kirk, too. This is the sequel to my first Christine fic, The Gravity of Solid Ground, but unlike that story this one is a chaptered fic. This first chapter is in Christine's POV, and the next chapter will be in Kirk's. There are three secondary female characters introduced in this fic - Helen Noel, Tonia Barrows, and Janice Rand - these are NOT oc's: they are characters from TOS and have (for most intents and purposes) retained their original jobs. I don't own them or anything else you recognize! Anyways, enjoy this next installment.
NOTE: While I'm using names from TOS (Christine Chapel for instance), this story is NOT an original star trek fiction. I make no references to events that happened in TOS, and don't claim that this story is in any way in character with the original series. This story is based on the REBOOT, where the characters of Christine Chapel, Tonia Barrows, Janice Rand, and Helen Noel have NOT yet made an appearance. How these characters were in TOS has no bearing on this story. So if you're a TOS purist, there's a good chance you might not enjoy this story. This isn't meant to be rude or anything of the sort, but I understand that a lot of readers like to have this information at the get go, so they can decide to read or not.
Christine wakes up to the sound of some 20th century pop song blaring in her ears. The tune is light and upbeat, and even as she struggles against waking up she can feel her chin bobbing traitorously to the beat, her toes flexing in time to the melody.
"Sun's up, it's a little after twelve, make breakfast for myself, leave the work for someone else..."
She burrows deeper into the covers on her bed for just a minute, soaking up the last vestiges of warmth that she can. Here in this cocoon of blankets she can pretend like it's not ten after five in the morning with a shift that starts in almost an hour.
"People say, they say that it's just a phase, they tell me to act my age, well I am..."
The song is completely mundane but it makes her want to move, which is really what she needs this early in the morning. Plus it's not like anyone's here to criticise her taste in music, so whatever.
"Computer..." she says, not really knowing what she wants it to do yet. "Stop music."
The music stops, as directed, but it's not right. Christine scrunches her nose and rubs her hands up and down her face. "Computer...play music, repeat previous playlist on forty percent volume." The music starts again, but this time it's not so loud that she can't concentrate.
Christine walks into her little bathroom and takes a shower, letting the computer turn the temperature of the water up to nearly scalding. Something she's found while she's been on board is that she gets cold very easily. It's probably irrational – after all, the ship's temperature is set at a comfortable level all the time. But there's just something about being out here in space that seems to chill her more than usual. The song now playing wafts through the steamy air of the bathroom and she hums along merrily as she shampoos her hair.
"up town girl, she's been livin' in her up town world, I bet she never had a backstreet guy, I bet her mama never told her why..."
Christine was never a heavy make up or jewelery girl – the makeup would be all smudged off by the end of her shift anyways, and if she tried to wear the dangly and ostentatious jewelery that Janice wore on her shifts, McCoy'd be on her so fast it'd make her head spin. One time, in her first week, one of the younger nursing cadets had worn a pearl necklace on top of her uniform and the Chief had exploded.
"Look here missy, this is sickbay not a damn beauty pageant!" The girl had run crying from the room.
Since then Christine hadn't worn any jewelery on her shifts except her simple silver stud earrings.
So the shower ended up being the only way she could really pamper herself, and she made sure to spend just a little extra time in it each day. It was just in the little things – her Tanzania jasmine scented shampoo and conditioner for instance, and the slightly more expensive razor that she brought with her in bulk because it had a special moisturizing tip that really did wonders and a little sensor that let her know if she was going to nick herself.
Like she said – the little things.
As she finished washing up, she stared longingly for a minute at the now turned off shower head. It's removable with a deep massage setting, and it's the best shower head Christine's ever had. It's proven to be an extremely efficient stress reliever so far.
And Christine has a lot of stress.
"breathe on me, oh baby just, breeeeeathhhhe onnnnnn meeeeee, we don't need to touch, just...breeeaaatthheeee..."
Oh god, just looking at it has her on edge, (and that damn song isn't helping matters either) clenching her thighs together to relieve some of the pressure that's building just underneath her bellybutton. Ugh, she doesn't have time for that now! She swallows once – hard – and leaves the shower with one final look at that shower head. Maybe she'd name it.
Whoa, she thought, stopping. Or maybe not. That would be kind of creepy. She wonders to herself if maybe that's sad – that she's having all her sexual needs fulfilled by a shower head instead of a man - but quickly dismisses the thought. She isn't quite ready yet to start dating again...not so soon after Roger, and not so soon after the death of her father. She still feels vulnerable, like some part of her heart is still gaping; still hasn't healed yet. So for now, the shower head would have to do.
She blow dries her hair quickly, combing it so that the shoulder length strands flip and swish around her face prettily, one slightly shorter swathe of hair falling diagonally in a long bang across her left eye. Then she moves to her closet and pulls out a fresh uniform. She shimmies quickly into the black under dress and then the navy blue over dress. The skirt hits her at mid thigh and even after a month she's not quite used to how it's just a little bit shorter than she's used to. Christine's never been the sort of girl you'd call a prude – but still, this was kind of ridiculous.
She walks back into the bathroom and swiftly runs through her makeup routine. Brush teeth, check. Moisturizer, check. Mascara, check. Blush, check. Lip gloss, check. She pockets the lip gloss - this one is really good, because it makes your breath smell good at the same time. Not that her breath usually smells bad, or anything, but sometimes you needed to get up close and personal with the patients and it was just better to be prepared.
Also, Christine's always had a habit of biting her bottom lip, and on the off chance that it starts to bleed the lip gloss will make it less noticeable.
She walks back out into her quarters and pulls on knee high black socks and then her knee high black boots. She grabs her communicator and affixes it to her shirt, and looks in the mirror once more. The music is still playing, some kind of disco-ish dance number...
"I know your name, I got your number, I know your game, and now I wonder..."
It makes her feel a little sassy, and she does a little head tilt, posing just a tiny bit. She looks nice. Neat and sweet. Pretty. Professional.
"Computer, stop music," she calls out as she grabs her bag. A lot of the cadets tease her about bringing it, but when you spend as much time in sickbay as she does, it gets tiring to have to go back and forth from floor to floor just to grab something. She's got her water container in it, and her PADD (with books uploaded onto it so she can read during downtime and pretend she's doing research or something like that – the Chief doesn't really care as long as she's quiet), and she'll grab an energy bar from the mess before she heads down.
Oh, and her sweater.
She leaves the room with almost twenty minutes until her shift, like usual, and heads to the lift.
It's been a month since she's been on the Enterprise now and all of this is part of the routine she's re-established, just one part of the process of putting her life back together, piece by piece.
Helen's waiting for her at the lift, and the brunette smiles as Christine approaches.
"Hey Christie," she says, her voice strong and pleasant.
"Hey Helen – ready to get back to the grind?" Christine asks, referring to the fact that Helen's had three (count them – three – plus the weekend!) days of off time because she'd been putting in so many hours since the Narada's attack on the ship. She'd been one of the few surviving Doctor's of the attack and had worked like a devil in her rehabilitation efforts to get the crew back in ship shape.
Helen Noel was the ship's physical therapist, studying under Doctor McCoy. She also had a background in psychiatry, and sometimes counseled crew members when Doctor Manji (the ship's psychiatrist) had a full roster. She was a tall, attractive, athletic brunette, just one or two years older than Christine, and since they both worked under Dr. McCoy in sickbay they had become fast friends. She was a steady, dependable girl with a dry wit who gave great advice and was easy to talk to.
"Ugh – don't remind me," she half moaned, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "I slept in till two in the afternoon yesterday!" she exclaimed. "This morning I woke up at four AM and needed to stand under a freezing cold shower for ten minutes just to wake myself up," she deadpanned, her expression indicating that she was wholly unimpressed with the morning's activities.
"You'll get used to it again soon enough," Christine soothed, her melodic and softer voice a contrast to Helen's stronger, fuller tones. "Especially with the way the Chief is setting up the schedules. He's on a rampage and it doesn't look like it's gonna end soon."
Helen rolled her eyes again. "The whole thing is ridiculous – so TWO of the cadets were late to their shifts – so what? Why does he have to punish ALL of us just because THEY never learned to tell time? Having to come in two hours earlier for my regular shift doesn't make me want to work any harder, it just makes me want to throw up all over somebody." The two girls laughed and then realized that one of their group was missing –
"Hey," Christine started. "Where's-"
"I'm coming, I'm coming! Wait wait wait!" a voice called out from down the hall.
"Twenty credits says that's her," Helen quipped, smirking.
A second later another girl rounded the corner in an uncoordinated run. She had one boot on and the other only half up her leg, and was struggling to pull and zip at the same time. Finally she managed it and jogged the rest of the way to the two girls.
"Augh!" she whooshed out in a large exhale. "So sorry about that ladies," she began, coming forward to give the two girls air kisses on their cheeks. "I had a houseguest who overstayed his welcome," she continued with a knowing smirk. Christine rolled her eyes good naturedly.
Tonia Barrows was the Chief's yeoman, and was head over heels in love with the older southern doctor. Christine couldn't really blame her – Doctor McCoy was a decidedly good looking man – but she guessed her auburn haired friend had to have a glutton for punishment with the way he went on shouting at her all the time.
"He's so frustrating!" She would complain to them when he left forms on his desk unsigned or refused to participate in any of the bureaucratic elements of the job, leaving Tonia to deal with them.
"I'm a Doctor, not a dancing bear!" she would mock in her throaty voice when the three of them were in Christine's larger quarters after a long day. Despite the fact that Doctor McCoy never gave any indication that he saw Tonia in that way, she continued to adamantly state her love for him to her two friends.
"If you love the Chief so much Tonia," Helen had asked her one day during their second week on board, "why do you sleep with so many crew members who AREN'T him?"
Far from being put off by the question, Tonia had answered, "what, and deprive myself? I happen to have a very active sexual appetite, and just because he's too stubborn to see what's in front of him doesn't mean I should have to suffer."
Well – Christine couldn't argue with that.
Despite some of Tonia's questionable sexual partners, she had become a good friend of Christine's. Bubbly and fun, she always seemed to know everything happening aboard the ship and who was involved, and was always up for a night of drinking or dancing, which was nice once in a while – even if it did have to happen in her quarters instead of in a club, and using replicated vodka tonics. Beggars couldn't be choosers, wasn't that the expression?
"mmmmm hmmm," Helen drawled out, amused and sarcastically.
"What?" Tonia asked innocently. "He really wouldn't leave!" Helen rolled her eyes to the ceiling once more before the lift chimed and opened its doors, allowing the three girls to step in.
Whilst inside, Tonia loped her arm through Christine's at the elbow and began chattering on about 'did you hear this latest piece of gossip about so and so,' and the like. While in the middle of that conversation, the doors of the lift opened to the mess, which was surprisingly full of people for the hour.
Christine furrowed her eyebrows, confused. There should not be this many people in the mess – it was nowhere near regular breakfast hours, and the huge line that had formed for food was not conducive to the fact that they needed to be in and out of there in ten minutes or less to make it to their shifts on time.
Tonia and Helen's mouths were wide open.
"Wha – what the hell is this??" Helen asked, her face doing a good impression of the crazed look Doctor McCoy was so well known for.
Christine had no clue, but was well aware that her own expression was beginning to mirror Helen's. If they didn't get to sickbay in the next ten minutes the Chief was going to kill them – his 'no tolerance for lateness' policy extended to everyone, not just cadets. But they had to eat, though! Could Christine go a whole shift without food? Hmmm, well maybe, but they were already here...
"Oh god, it's like the engineering bay exploded in here," Tonia complained, looking at all the red shirts in front of them busily walking about – their pale skin and frenzied movements were tell tales signs of what cadets sometimes called 'the engineer's madness'.
Suddenly a voice called out to them from amongst the din.
"Chapel! Hey Chapel!" Christine stood on her toes to try and get a better look at who it was that was calling her. She heard the voice again.
"Ugh – get out of my way, Colfer! I'm trying to get through here, hello..."
Christine smiled – she'd recognize that frustrated voice anywhere. It was Nyota, barreling towards them with her ponytail swishing forcefully behind her. Finally she reached the three of them.
"Hey girls," she said. "Isn't this crazy? The engineers are having a day long conference on safety and regulation because somebody in the higher ups forgot to schedule it while we were grounded. It starts at quarter to seven, hence-" she swung her arm out to indicate the mass of people.
The three girls groaned simultaneously.
"Oh, great. That's just great," Helen moaned.
"Tell me about it. I've been touched by engineers in places I don't even want to think about – it's like a mosh pit in there." Suddenly Uhura's name was called out by somebody to their left.
"Shit – sorry, I gotta go. We're running communications diagnostics all morning. Just push your way through – it's not so bad on the other side," she said, waving goodbye to them before walking off in a determined stride.
"Okay," Helen announced. "We're just gonna barrel through."
Christine grit her teeth. Why, of all days....
"lock elbows," she said, entwining her arms with Helen's and Tonia's. "Don't lose each other, got it?"
"Death by engineer," Tonia joked, and the three of them began to work their way through the crowd of people.
It took a couple minutes, but after some uncomfortable wading (and groping, gross!) they were on the other side of the mess, where the salad bar lay, along with fruits and the like – lighter food than the eggs and bacon all the engineers were clamoring for.
"Okay," Christine said. "Let's split up. Tonia grab fruit, Helen you grab energy bars, and I'll get....coffee. Sounds good?"
Before either of her two friends could answer her, Janice Rand and her 'slut brigade' as Tonia called them, sauntered by. Janice, dressed in her usual shorter than regulation uniform, heavy eye makeup and ridiculously ornate hair style looked the three of them up and down.
"Girls," she said, and then – "Chapel." Ouch. Tonia spoke for them. "Ladies," she said, her voice achingly sweet. And then, "Janice." Janice pursed her lips and kept on walking, her girlfriends following her, having said nothing. Christine felt Helen shiver beside her.
"Ugh, it's like whenever she walks by the smell of death and hairspray is unavoidable," she said. Christine wanted to laugh, but couldn't. Ever since she'd been on board the Enterprise, Janice Rand had had a dislike towards her. And Christine couldn't think of a single reason why.
"She hates me," Christine moaned – not because she wanted Janice to like her, but because it was exhausting having to participate in the blonde girls' dramafest.
"She only hates you because she's in love with the Captain and she knows he has a soft spot for you," Tonia said, shooting a look behind her at the retreating figures.
Christine rolled her eyes. "That's crazy," she said softly. "The Captain does not have a soft spot for me. What does that even mean, 'soft spot'-"
"Oh really?" Helen interrupted, her eyebrows raised incredulously. "How about when we're walking down the hall and he sees us – what does he do?" Tonia joined in, supplying the Captain's voice.
"He goes, 'ladies' in his usual voice, and then '...Chapel'," she demonstrated, making her voice lower, softer and smoother on Christine's name.
Christine couldn't help the bark of laughter that escaped her at that. "What!" she laughed out, swatting at Tonia. "He does not!"
"Does to-" Tonia was about to say when Helen interrupted. "Whoa! Okay girlies we need to move it – three minutes till shift. Let's grab our stuff and head out the south lift, kay?" Toni and Christine nodded, and the girls split up as previously stated.
Christine hurried over to the beverage dispensers, hearing her name called out by some of the engineers she knew in the process. She waved over her shoulder at whoever had said her name and then busily got to filling the cups with coffee. She made Helen's first (black, no sugar), Tonia's second (cream, two sugars), and hers-
Oh. As she reached for the last cup, she saw that the cup slot was empty. There's gotta be another one around here somewhere, she mused to herself, looking at the other cup slots. Hmm...all empty. This was not good.
Oh no – wait, there's one! It was at the very top of the dispenser – a whole row of cups. Christine bit her lip - she didn't know if she was going to be able to reach it. She put the two cups down on the metal ledge and dropped her bag beneath her legs on the ground. Standing on her tip toes she stretched her arm up to try and grasp the edge of it, maybe just knock it out of its slot with the tip of her fingers...
And then all of a sudden a hand was reaching out from behind her, grabbing the cup easily.
"Need some help?" came an amused voice just above her ear. Christine turned around, and why was she not surprised?
"Oh – Captain," she said, feeling like she was altogether too close to her superior officer at the moment, who was looking very fine indeed this Monday morning, dressed in just his regulation black slacks and the black long sleeved undershirt, without his command gold on top.
"Chapel," he said, and as he said it Christine realized that Tonia and Helen were right, he did say her name different. It came out all smooth and soft, kind of like a purr...
No! Her brain shouted, and her body jumped a little. Omigosh, don't think about that for god sakes...
She saw the Captain's eyes narrow a bit as one of his hands came to rest gently but firmly on her elbow. "What's up Chapel, you're all jumpy –" a beat later and his tone changed. "Anything I can help you with?" he asked teasingly.
"Oh," she half laughed, half breathed out. "No, It's fine, I'm just late. Well, about to be."
"Ah," he said. "Well here you go then," and held out the cup for her to take from his hand.
Christine smiled softly and moved to take the cup, her fingertips brushing his as she grasped it and turned back around to fill it with her own coffee (cream, no sugar).
He moved away only slightly as she turned back around to face him, and right at that moment Tonia and Helen barreled around the rounded corner of the buffet towards her.
"Let's get out of here Christie, I swear I've been contaminated by engineer swea-oh, Captain, good morning," Tonia let out, and the brunette obviously couldn't help herself because she sent a look to Christine that spoke of 'I told you so!'
"Ladies," the Captain drawled out. "Where are you all headed?"
"Sickbay," the two of them answered in unison. Kirk made out like he hadn't known this and exclaimed, "what a coincidence! So am I, I'll join you."
"Well – actually Sir," Tonia started, looking quickly to Christine, "Helen – I mean, Lieutenant Noel and I actually have to make a quick trip to...the quartermasters, so why don't you just head on over with Christie?"
The Captain looked to Christine and smiled like the cat who caught the canary. "Now doesn't that sound like an idea."
Christine turned to Tonia and Helen, her eyes slightly wider than usual. "I didn't know you needed to go to the quartermasters," she said brightly, her voice soft and high but her tone succinct, as if to say 'You guys are so gonna get it'.
"Yup! Well, we do," Helen added in. "So why don't you give me these..." she said, taking the coffee from Christine's hands "and be on your way!"
Kirk seemed ultimately pleased with this idea as he clapped his hands together once. "Great!" he exclaimed, that damned grin still on his face. "Come on Chapel, let's go," he continued enthusiastically, sort of like a little boy who's just heard he's going to the toy store, and began to walk to the lift.
Christine looked back at her friends with a narrowed expression, but they just waved maniacally at her as she turned to follow the Captain.
Christine (who still didn't like awkward silences) spoke up first.
"So, Captain," she chirped out softly, making her way through the throng of people, knowing she was going to be dreadfully late. "Why are you, uh-" she paused to make her way around an unaccommodating engineer, "headed to sickbay?"
"My throat hurts," he said simply. Christine was aware that she was giving him a look like her mother used to give her when she was little and fibbing about something. Her eyes would go wide and blinking, and her mouth would purse slightly.
"your...throat?" The Captain looked at her strangely.
"Yeah. My throat." Christine nodded her head up and down as they got to the lift. "Oh," she added simply.
"What?" The Captain asked, the corner of his lips turning up.
"Oh, nothing, that just – that – I wasn't expecting you to say that."
"What were you expecting me to say?" Ugh, why was he draagggggging this out?
"Oh – nothing, Captain."
"Just not that."
He seemed appeased for the moment and Christine let her shoulders relax a little. God, it was ridiculous how easily she got worked up whenever he was around. Not that she really showed it or anything, and not like she fawned all over him like Janice did – ugh. Janice. She let herself ruminate in displeasure over the thought of Janice Rand when he spoke again.
"So you think about me a lot then, huh Chapel?" Christine tried hard, but she could not keep her eyes from widening as they waited for the lift to open.
"What??" she asked, trying to keep the hysterical out of her voice and keep calm and quiet. She managed it too, sort of. The doors opened.
"It's okay to admit it Chapel," he said, moving past her to get into the lift as she stood there wide eyed looking at him. He smiled teasingly, and she could see the point of his incisor before she got into the lift after him, turning to face the doors. "I don't bite, you know," he continued, and she knew, she just knew he was fucking grinning. The doors chimed to let them knew they were about to close.
"Not unless you want me to, that is." The doors slid shut. Why did these things always happen to her???
She knew he was looking at her in the lift. She could practically feel his eyes burning a hole though the back of her skull. But this was getting ridiculous. She needed to shape up – where was this nervousness coming from?? It wasn't like she was some young, inexperienced virginal whatever. She was Christine Chapel, head nurse of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Granted, she actually hadn't had a lot of contact with the Captain – the Enterprise hadn't seen an amazingly large amount of hostile action or anything like that, and most of the cases in sickbay were from engineering or the sciences department. She had spent most of this first month organizing and training the nursing cadets and helping Doctor McCoy in his few surgeries here and there – plus, keeping sickbay organized and efficient. Every once in a while she would see the Captain in the mess (which was a mystery to her – he had his own mess- why did he still use the general mess when he could eat by himself?) or in the hall...or in the lift. Or in the rec room.
Okay, so she did see him quite a bit. But to her credit, Christine knew that she never acted out of character when she was with him – until now, that was. Christine had never been a skittish kind of girl – just soft and introverted. That was often mistaken for timidity, but it wasn't, not really. She wasn't a nervous sort of person, and up until today hadn't acted like that with the Captain. But then Helen and Tonia had gone and made that stupid comment that he had a 'soft spot' for her.
Well what the hell did that mean?? Did he like her? And who cared? Certainly not her – it wasn't like she could date the captain anyways, even if she wanted to -which she didn't. She was just sexually frustrated, that was all. It was completely against Starfleet code of conduct, in the first place, too. And the Captain didn't have girlfriends, either; he just had 'girls'. Jesus, she knew that well enough from when they were still cadets. Jim Kirk would sleep with anything that had two legs and breasts, and she had no desire to be one of his conquests. Not that....he wanted to...conquest...her. She knew for a fact that he was working his way through conquesting the female engineers at the moment anyways.
That was it. She was putting her foot down. She would be his Nurse first, above all other things. She would continue to act normally, just as she had been doing, and put all these thoughts of Jim Kirk and his broad shoulders and his blue eyes and his strong jaw line...
"Hey Chapel," his voice came from behind her. Omigod okay – you are a sexy, confident woman, who is not attracted to Jim Kirk. Focus! You look that blue eyed bastard in the eyes and stop acting like a pre-teen!
Christine turned around and looked at the Captain – really looked at him too, dead in the eyes – with a cheerful expression and a soft sweet smile. "Yes Captain?"
He looked a bit taken aback for a minute – it was like he kept expecting her to just flirt with him, or throw herself at him or give in, and every time she didn't it was some big surprise. He got that look on his face again like he was trying to solve something.
"Captain?" she asked again, still firm. Yeah, that's right Christine. You are not some easily influenced, flirtatious first year Cadet - or Janice rand. You will not be Janice Rand!!
He seemed to snap back at her voice. "Oh – nothing. You just looked really serious for a minute there. Everything okay?" Ha ha, everything is peachy buddy, juuuuuust peachy.
"Yup – everything's fine." The lift chimed open on the medical deck. "Now let's get to seeing that throat looked at, hmm?" she asked sweetly, waiting for him to exit the lift with her.
Ha ha take that! Chapel 1, Kirk 0.
well that's the first section of this two part fic. I hope you enjoyed, and a review would be wonderful! :) Before I sign off, there were four songs used in this fic, which I must disclaim no ownership of. The first was 'perfect day' by Hoku. The second was 'up town girl' by Billy Joel. The third was 'Breathe on me' by Britney Spears, and the last was 'got your number' by Nadia Oh.