Until the day The Enterprise rescued the thieving crew of the pirated Aurora, Scotty had all but forgotten about Cathleen Mears. He had moved on, or at least he thought he did, until he saw her on the transporter pad that day. At first he wasn't sure it was Cathleen. But as his eyes scanned the rescued crew, they kept comming back to an auburn haired woman in the back. He stepped up on the platform and noticed her eyes, and although he didn't say anything to give his suspicions away, he knew it was her. Her dark hair was much longer and her figure was rounder but her eyes were exactly as he remembered. And they were looking right at him; as if she had just seen him the day before.
In truth, he hadn't seen hide nor hair of his one time lover for almost two Earth years. He didn't know what to say or if he should say anything. And he was relieved when Captain Kirk and Commander Spock entered the Transporter room after the group protested at the suggestion that they assemble in the Conference room. If the captain or Spock recognized her, they didn't let on. And the spitefulness in Scotty, the part of him that wanted to lash out; wanted to hurt Cathleen as much as she had hurt him, wouldn't let him either.
The last time he actaully saw her was the day she left him at Spaceport after her mother died.
He thought at the time that she would use up her bereavement leave and come back to finish her enlistment. He felt the sting of shame when he thought of the last time he kissed her, touched her. There was something missing in the way she felt when she hugged him goodbye. Scotty decided he did not want to know why he should think such a thing. He had wrapped his arms around her tightly and decided to lose himself in the way she felt against him. If it were truly the last time she was to be in his arms, he did not want to ruin it by worrying too much.
But one day he was shocked to find her paddwork for a hardship discharge lying on his desk. He tried to contact her thinking maybe he could get her to change her mind. But his calls and sub-space messages went unanswered. Then, one day, he gave up. As much as he wanted to keep her, he signed the paddwork and let her go.
Scotty sat at his desk and thought about everything that happened the year he was with her and everything that had happened since, until he heard a ruckus coming from the engine room. He rose from his seat and stepped into the Engine room to find out who was causing all the trouble. It was Cathleen, and she was trying to gain more followers by converting his crew.
"They're not interested in Sevrin's codswallop, lass," Scotty boomed, ready for confrontation.
She turned to him looking more beautiful than she had a right to and smiled as he approched her telling her flat out, "Unlike some, they know where their loyalty lies."
"Dr. Sevrin is a brilliant man. Come with us, Scotty. You'll see." Cathleen reached out to take his hand and Scotty almost allowed it. Instead, he shied away and pretended to check some settings on a console.
"Dr. Sevrin is a lunatic, lass. And ye'll be lucky if he doesn't get ye all killed," he said glancing over his shoulder. She smiled but her eyes were almost pleading.
Damn her eyes, he thought.
"We could start over, you and me," she suggested softly. He turned to her and glared at his gawking crew. At the unspoken command they quickly stopped staring and made themselves look busy.
"There is no starting over Cathleen," he explained. "There is no you and me. Ye made sure of that when ye applied for yer discharge without even giving me a second thought."
"Is that what you think? That I never gave you a second thought? " she asked, touching his hand. He let her touch him this time but cringed inside at the way it made him feel as she continued. "With everything that's happened in the last two years, you're my only regret."
She actually had the nerve to look shocked and hurt. This was worse than he imagined because sadly, he knew that she was speaking the truth. He ached to smooth that look from her face, to take her back and forget how she hurt him. He felt so torn inside he was surprised he was not bleeding all over the floor. His stomache turned and a tightness in his chest made him feel as though his heart were literally breaking.
He glanced at his crew again and although the tense uncomfortable looks on their faces helped him subdue his pain, he knew it would be a short respite.
Scotty tore his hand away from her and said, "We all have to live with a few regrets, Cathleen. Now get out of my engine room."
She stared at him wide-eyed for a moment, as if she'd never heard anything as vicious as what he'd just said. But she left and he finally breathed a sigh of relief.
He stepped over to the comm. "Engineering to Bridge."
"Yes, Scotty, what is it?" Kirk answered.
"Captain," he said. "I just had to give one of those barefooted what do you call 'ems the boot out of here. She came in bold as brass, tried to incite my crew to disaffect."
"Thank you, Scotty."