Confessions…And The End
The two took their time walking to sickbay as she caught him up on her life since the last time she saw him. "It's been great seeing you again," he said after she finished telling him of everything that had happened since she literally disappeared from his life.
"You too," she said with a smile.
Just a few feet from sickbay he said, "I have to tell you this before I go back to my quarters…"
"I- I'm ashamed of the way I treated you, Kaira. You didn't deserve it. I knew something was wrong with me back then. And even though I didn't know what it was, I should have let you go. But instead I just held on. You were right to leave me the way you did."
She couldn't believe this was happening as she saw the look on his face. The man now seemed to possess a depth of emotion he hadn't before. "What happened to you?" she asked.
He smiled down at her as he finished walking her to sickbay. "When you left, my world…imploded. I was sad but I didn't feel it as fully as I should have felt it. I went to a doctor, a human doctor, and they didn't see anything wrong with me. I went and sought all sorts of treatment from so many places and no one found anything wrong. Then I went to Betazed. There was something inside my mind, they said, that was switched 'off'. It had to do with the transference of emotional impressions to the rest of the brain and nervous system. They said they were surprised I'd never committed any serious crimes in that state since I had no regard for the feelings of others. Had it not been for the guidance of my family all of those years ago who knows what I would have turned into. Because of them I grew up to be an ambitious young Starfleet officer. The Betazoids suggested I get therapy before getting the gene inside me activated that would turn on that part of my brain and they also suggested I get deep intensive therapy afterward on Vulcan to learn to grapple with what would be coming out of me after all these years.
"Once that switch was flipped on I felt all these emotions that I previously just…couldn't. And I want to thank you. You were the catalyst that pushed me to go and get all of this done. The way you ran away from me made me realize something was very wrong with me. I did some time on Vulcan with a Master to learn to handle the feelings I could now finally feel because for a short time there, I was almost nuts. I can honestly tell you now, without shame, I loved you back then and never knew it. There were at least two other women that I loved as well before I met you, but I couldn't feel it fully for them either. When I finally could think about what I'd done, I was so unhappy with myself, so guilty for what I'd done to you and to them. But I was broken back then. I was able to track them down, apologize, explain what was wrong, that it wasn't them, it really was me. And now that I see you're fine and happy, you look like you're over it…I'm so happy for you. But Kaira, are you over it? Did I assume too much?"
She felt it appropriate at that point and gave him a hug as her eyes started to tear up. "Oh brother, I'm crying again! This has been a constant since I got pregnant," she told him. "Yes, I'm over it. It's all right now. Let's leave the hurt of the past in the past and let's get into sickbay before I flood the hallways."
That night right before bed, Sarkaal watched his wife across the room making a pattern for their child's nursery. They would be moving to new quarters in less than a month and she'd been dabbling with patterns and colors since they'd gotten their orders and she'd seen the new space. "My wife," he called to her. "How did things go between yourself and Reynolds?"
She smiled over at him. "He's apparently gone to Betazed and been 'fixed' for quite a while now. After that he felt emotions he never had before. I'm happy for him. But he's been through a lot since then, I can tell. He apologized for the past, but I told him I'm leaving it right where it is, in the past. He felt so guilty and I'm so glad I could put his mind at ease."
"So he is still your friend?"
She laughed involuntarily. "When someone feeds you when you're hungry you have a friend for life," she said referring to their early days on that first broken down ship. "I can't help but still be friends with him. I pushed him to do something vital and he taught me something important about myself. And through all that hurt if we can still emerge with respect for each other, and I don't hate him, that's a real friend." Nothing else was said for a short time.
"He still feels the emotion of love for you," Sarkaal said out of nowhere.
She nodded, accepting of the fact. "I know. I can't help that and he knows he can't either. But he's not the man I loved years ago and I'm not the same girl. That time is lost and can never be regained, he knows that. And just like I did, he'll get over it someday, too."
Kaira's last day of duty was bittersweet. Her department held a party for her. They wanted to know when she would return to active service. Not for years. She was going to be raising a daughter, maybe one more child in the interim…maybe. She would still be on board the Enterprise for another year when Sarkaal's latest tour of duty would be up. They would return to Vulcan for about a decade and take possession of his hereditary home in the dessert. She would return to school when her daughter began formal schooling and he would practice at the Vulcan Academy Hospital and perhaps even teach. Who knew? But for now, she had her days free to rest since she was over eleven months along.
She spent most of her time with Keiko in the arboretum or visiting her quarters watching little Molly O'Brien grow up. For the first few weeks Collin couldn't go near her. She could tell he was fighting his emotions concerning her. She felt terribly for him in an abstract sense, but there wasn't a thing she could do about it. He got the mastery over his love for her, finally, and was able to sit with her and Sarkaal in 10-Forward from time to time. He blended in well with the crew and was a fine addition to it.
One day in Keiko's arboretum Kaira put her hand to her back and moaned miserably. "I wish these pains would stop!"
Molly was attached to Keiko via a sling and the botanist paused in what she was doing. She was planting new bulbs and turned to look at where her friend was rubbing. "What kind of pain are you having? Sharp or like a wave?"
"Low in my back, radiating across and down. Ow! There's another one."
"Aren't you supposed to make it to at least 12 months, ideally thirteen?"
"Yes, but I'm nearly 12 now. What's the big deal?"
"I think you're in labor," she said as she stood hurriedly and held Molly close to her.
"But the pain is in my back!" she protested as Keiko went to hit her com badge. "And I'm not even 12 months yet."
She pressed the badge and said, "Arboretum to sickbay. Medical emergency. I think Kaira Tenary's in premature labor."
Before Kaira could open her mouth to protest, Dr. Selar transported right into the arboretum and walked straight up to her, kneeled down and scanned her. She nodded over at Keiko. "Excellent powers of observation." She looked at Tenary, still on the ground. "You are in premature labor. We will go to sickbay now to get it stopped fully." She put a hypo-spray to her neck and injected her. "This should stop the pains and contractions temporarily."
"I can't believe I'm in sickbay again!" she complained crankily to anyone who would listen.
"You must remain here for a short time until you are stabilized. If we can help you to arrive at 12 months and two weeks gestation, that would be ideal. You're a week shy of 12 months. I'm sorry, but you're looking at three weeks of moderate bed rest," Dr. Crusher said as she took her turn scanning her. Dr. Selar was in the lab mixing up a cocktail for her particular physiology.
Keiko was standing next to her as Molly began to fuss. Just then, Sarkaal entered sickbay, face almost green with worry. "She is well?" he asked Dr. Crusher as he walked up to them.
"She is. Dr. Selar was able to stop the contractions. Your wife has to stay in bed for the next 3 weeks, Sarkaal. The only reason she's to be up is to go to the bathroom, to have a shower once a day, and because of her Beleine physiology she is to walk around the corridors for literally 2-4 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening. That's it. She may stretch, in bed, once a day. But otherwise I don't want her moving. She's not to make her own breakfast, do any cleaning, no heavy lifting, no rearranging furniture, nothing. If the contractions start again she has to get rid of the daily walks."
"You mean I have to be laid out, in bed, for 3 whole weeks?" she nearly shouted. "I can't do that!"
"If you cannot, my wife," said Sarkaal, "I will be forced to call your mother to assist you." The only answer he got from his wife was her wide green-eyed stare of disbelief. "That is better," was his only answer to her silence.
"Once Dr. Selar is done with your genetically tailored cocktail, the long walk back to your quarters is the last walk you'll be taking of that length for nearly a month," said Dr. Crusher. "I'll be right back."
Keiko offered, "I'll come by and visit you every day. Don't worry. Molly and I will keep you company for an hour or two at lunchtime."
"That is commendable," said Sarkaal to Keiko. "I will be there, my wife, to give you breakfast and dinner."
"I can't believe this is happening," she said as she crossed her arms from her sitting position. She looked utterly disappointed. "I'll tell you one thing's for sure, I'm never doing this pregnancy thing again. The worry alone has given me grey hairs."
The first two days were bearable. But by day three she wanted to put a hole in a wall. "I think there's some Klingon in me or something because I'm getting angrier the further into this bed rest thing I'm getting," she said to Worf when he went by to visit her.
"Your people are related to Vulcans, are they not?"
"The anger of an unrestrained Vulcan is a thing to behold, I've been told," he said with what was unmitigated approval in his eyes.
She thought of her husband in the throes of Pon Farr and whispered to the Klingon, "You've got that right, Jack." Before Worf could protest that his name wasn't 'Jack', her chimer sounded. "Come in!" she called. The door opened and Collin Reynolds was there.
Worf stood. "I must go. I will return tomorrow and read you passages from Klingon History of Great Battles and Legends ."
"Nice and bloody!" she said with a smile on her face.
He nodded in approval as he looked at Reynolds. "She is a true warrior," he informed the man and then left.
Collin sat down across from her couch and just smiled at her. "You look great you know."
She was reclined, lying on her right side. Since she had two hearts it didn't matter which side she lay on. "Thanks," she said. Then she wondered out loud, "what are you doing here, Collin?"
"I came to keep you company for a little while. I know you're confined to quarters and I know you've had a steady stream of personnel keeping you company and I figured it was my turn."
The crew had somehow come up with some kind of lottery system, she figured out. She got a visitor every morning for an hour and one in the afternoon for an hour, and Keiko came for lunch with Molly, that pretty much made her whole day nice and varied. Day one had been Deanna in the morning and Commander Riker in the late afternoon. Data had come the day before in the morning and Miles had come in the afternoon. And then this morning there was Worf.
She was happy to see the Klingon since she knew he would speak to her about inappropriate things if she wanted, like battle and carnage. And he'd even promised to return the next day! But Collin…was showing up right after Worf? So what was he doing there? It wasn't time for anyone to visit her again, yet. "For real though, what are you doing here?" she asked him.
He swallowed and looked down at his hands. "I missed your face, that's all," he said, his eyes a little sad. "And," he forced himself to say cheerfully, "I know for a woman like you to be stuck in your quarters is just horrible, probably next to unbearable."
She could only feel sorry for him as she sighed almost tiredly. "I do hate being stuck here. But I have to keep this baby in and bake her as long as she needs."
He seemed to think before speaking and decided to speak anyway. "Can I ask you something…personal?"
"It depends on how personal it is," she said. "If it's too personal the answer is 'none of your damn business'."
He laughed. He'd missed her sense of humor. "Why did you marry him? And don't give me a cliché answer, but really, why did you marry him?"
"Yes, of course him, he's your husband, right?" he joked. "Or is there another one out there somewhere?"
She laughed and then sobered up enough to give him a straight answer. She thought back to their past. "Truthfully, when he and I met we didn't make a blip on one another's radar. Some guys you see them and you get this feeling…this premonition that this man is your future. You feel love at first sight. But with him- I mean, he was attractive and of course a woman's going to notice that, but that was all at the time. There was no stranger across a crowded room thing in the beginning for him and me." She smiled.
"And then Deanna asked me to help him with his etiquette. He was having trouble with non-Vulcans in his department since he was the head of it. My goodness, it was the most fun I'd had in so long, helping him out! And the man made me laugh without even trying. And we just became friends; it was almost accidental in a way." The look on her face transformed as she thought of their early days together, the getting-to-know- you stage.
"Then I woke up one day and realized he was the person I was going to all the Enterprise parties and social events with and I was bouncing ideas off of him and asking his opinion about decisions. Then I realized he was doing the same with me. He'd really become my best friend by that point. And I couldn't have more than a day go by without at least talking to him."
"So how did you get from 'best friend' to 'husband'?" he asked, truly curious.
"Collin, that really is a long long story. But to shorten it, he was there for me during some difficult decisions about a lot of things. He didn't press me to decide one way or another, he was just there for me and all right with whatever decisions I made. And then one day, we had what you might call an awkward situation come up between us. We'd gotten too close and it sparked something we weren't sure of. So instead of talking to each other we avoided one another. We spent sometime not talking and I realized I was in trouble because I was in love with him and I didn't think anything would ever come of it. I tried to pretend it didn't exist. Then when I acknowledged it I tried to pretend it would eventually go away. He left the Enterprise to go to Vulcan, then. I didn't know why at the time. It was the most awful feeling, waking up knowing he wasn't anywhere near me. Next thing I knew his family asked my family to marry their son. The rest is history."
"So you already knew you loved him by the time they asked?"
"Yes, I did."
"What quality did he have that was a surprise to you? What was it that made you not turn your back on him, but made you hope and believe that maybe there was some chance?"
She thought long and hard before she answered him. But knowing him as well as she did, she knew Collin's real question was 'what did he have that I didn't?' "I'll answer that for you someday."
"But not today?"
She nodded. "Not today."
Kaira made it through her bed rest period, sanity intact. The day she was told by Dr. Selar, "You may now walk about as much as you desire. You are 12 months and two weeks along, full term enough that it will not harm the child to arrive any day now," she was in a flurry of activity after that.
She cleaned their new quarters from top to bottom, finally put everything into effect for the baby's nursery and cleaned every available piece of clothing that was dirty or even looked suspicious. She packed a bag for herself and the baby and did the last of her research to figure out what to expect from the new tiny person for the first few weeks after bringing her home. Finally, she felt as if she were ready. But all that work took less than four days! She still had a ways to go.
"You are doing too much, wife!" protested Sarkaal as calmly as he could. But she detected the note of urgency in his voice.
By then she'd learned exactly how to placate him. "Bring me a cup of tea, then, and I'll sit down and behave myself."
And he did so.
The dream was strange. It was Starfleet Command with a touch of the Enterprise thrown in. You would go down one corridor and it was the Academy, and then you would turn down another corridor and it was the ship. It was very confusing. And then there was Collin, standing there with his Pad Board. "What are you doing here?" she asked him, curious.
"I've come to finally tell you good-bye," he said.
She smiled. "That's so nice. I knew this day would come. Good-bye, Collin. And don't worry. Everything's going to be just fine."
"If you say so." But there was a hint of worry in his face.
Her eyes snapped open. Such a strange dream. And then she felt a sensation and knew what it was immediately. A contraction. It was light and didn't last long at all. She had a feeling this would be one of the last nights of sleep she would have in a long time so she turned over and let herself go back into deep sleep.
She had contractions for two days, off and on, but they weren't regular or strong. She finally said something to her husband the third morning. "I'm going to see Dr. Selar today for my exam. I've been having light contractions. I don't think that- what are you doing!"
He'd rushed over and stood her up and began grabbing her bag, ready to rush her out of their quarters. "It is time, is it not?" he said hurriedly
"No, it is not!" she nearly yelled. He paused. He'd been caught red-handed in blatant panic. She smiled to calm him down. "Go on duty and if there's anything, I'll give you a call."
"You should not be alone at this time," he protested, open worry in his eyes.
"I'm a com-badge away from help," she reminded him. "And you can spend the day wrapping up whatever you need to in the lab. But if it makes you feel better, I'll spend the day with Keiko."
He agreed with her thoughts on the matter. "That is fine." It was a wonder to him that she who would be facing this ordeal was thinking more logically than he was at the moment.
She spent as much time with Keiko as she could but then felt nearly exhausted. She went back to her quarters early and fell into a deep sleep. She slept from late afternoon, awoke only to eat dinner with Sarkaal and then fell back into a deep sleep for nearly the entire night. An hour before her husband was due to go on duty, her eyes snapped open to deep and radiating contractions. "I think this is it," she said calmly after that one passed. He jumped out of bed and went to grab her bag but she stopped him. "I don't need to go in yet. She said she'll come to me or I can go to her once I'm in active labor, all right?"
He visibly reestablished his cool. "Yes, of course."
Kaira spent most of the day walking the corridors of the Enterprise to keep her labor moving along. Sarkaal only called in to inform them he would not be back at his duty station for an unknown amount of time. Rumor went through the ship like wildfire that Tenary was having her baby. After the first three hours any calmness she wished to keep was busted by the crew of the Enterprise either smiling at her as she walked by, smart-aleck ensigns offering to 'catch the baby' or other well-meaning members (including the Captain!) asking, "Shouldn't you be in sickbay?"
She wound up in the holodeck in a nature preserve. It was a calm wooded path with the sounds of the rainforest and light mist. The sun wasn't shining too strongly through the heavy canopy of trees. The sights were calming to one who'd spent half her life on Earth and the heat and humidity was perfect for her Beleine physiology. After less than two hours, Sarkaal joined her there. Because of the bond between the two of them, many things went unspoken, but were largely understood.
She would walk as much as she wished and when she was tired she would sit on a stone bench and rest. When a contraction came, he would stand in front of her and let her lean into him as he reached forward and rubbed her lower back. She did as much deep breathing as she could. The pain wasn't at a high enough ebb yet.
After a particularly long and hard contraction, she looked up into his eyes and saw he was trying his best to keep his thoughts to himself, but still, that one thought slipped through. He wanted her to go to sickbay. "Not yet," she whispered.
She felt him reach out to touch her mind and he was surprised by what he found. "You are…calm," he nearly accused.
"What else should I be?" she asked him as she reached for his mind. And there beneath the surface of his calm she saw it: confusion, fear, concern…worry for her and the baby, but mostly for her. She reached up and touched his face lightly. "I love you, Sarkaal."
He hugged her to him as if her words had caused him pain. In a way, they did. He knew her. She was telling him good-bye, just in case something went wrong. No! And she accepted it so calmly. NO! "How is it you can say those words now?"
"I just want to be ready for all eventualities." And she briefly tensed. Another contraction. She forced herself to untense her muscles, let the pain radiate through her, breathe through it. As soon as it was gone, she looked up at him. "We can make our way to sickbay now. I think my body is almost ready to push."
Dr. Selar stared at her almost disapprovingly as she waddled into sickbay but didn't say a word.
"Any later and you'd have had the baby in the hallway," Dr. Crusher reproved her for both of them.
Kaira continued to breathe deeply and concentrate. "I got here in time, that's the important thing," she snapped at them both. It was the first sign of grouchiness she'd had all that day, to her credit. "That's what transporters are for. Get off my back!"
Crusher found herself holding back a smile. She was close if she was getting snappy with them. "Well, we should get our gear ready," she said to Dr. Selar.
The two examined her and Dr. Selar reported, "You are 9 and three-quarter centimeters dilated and the baby is in the proper position."
"I think I'm going to throw up!" Kaira said shakily as she felt a shot of adrenaline pass through her. And then she did throw up.
An hour later and a sweaty, exhausted Kaira had a screaming infant placed on her chest. "A girl, of course," whispered Crusher. "And she's healthy."
The new parents looked down at she who was now screaming as loudly as she could. When she'd first emerged she hadn't made a sound. The doctors had to prod her into opening her lungs, but now that they had she was letting the world know she was not pleased and was very cold! The baby had been cleaned off as well as possible and they both got a good look at her. She was so healthy her skin wasn't even pink, it was nearly purple! Her hair was a healthy thick mass of black curls and when her eyes opened they were green. "Just like you," whispered Sarkaal to his wife. "It was my wish she would be just like you. And she is."
Despite the curls and green eyes, she saw her husband's face staring back at her on the baby's face. "I think she looks like you."
That would be unfortunate for her indeed he joked within their bond and she found herself laughing out loud with joy.
Days later, when many well-wishers had come and gone and the couple settled in with their newborn, Collin Reynolds stopped by with a gift of a stuffed animal for the baby. "I just wanted to drop this off for her," he said. "It's from her old Uncle Collin."
Kaira couldn't help but laugh. The large stuffed animal was a sehlat the size of a large chair. "Oh my goodness, the baby's going to have fun with that when she gets to be about a year old!"
Sarkaal had gone to replicate them dinner as Collin sat down next to her on the couch all the while looking at the new baby in her arms. "She's gorgeous, Tenary," he said.
"Was it a hard labor?"
She smiled. "Yes and no." And she thought of her husband with her through most of it, there to rub her back, encouraging her to sit when she needed to, worried throughout but never saying a word. "But Sarkaal was an excellent coach."
"Remember that question I asked you weeks ago. Did you get a chance to think about it?"
She thought back to their last conversation and remembered the question he'd asked in relation to Sarkaal. '"What quality did he have that was a surprise to you? What was it that made you not turn your back on him, but made you hope and believe that maybe there was a chance?"' The one she interpreted as 'what did he have that I didn't?' She looked up at Collin and answered truthfully. "Empathy. He was a Vulcan with a clear-cut case of Empathy."
I want to thank everyone who tagged along for this ride, especially makaem for the constant reviews that kept me going and Archun for favoriting this. Special thanks to two of my two family members, Sagwin and Iggy (nicknames, obviously!) for reading this story before I posted it to . I know Sagwin, you're in love with that Vulcan. Me, too!