Destined From the Start - Part Two

Chapter One - Arriving

June, 2288

Grayson picked up his duffle bag, slung the strap over his shoulder, and headed for Jilly's dorm. He reached there just as she came out into the weak early morning light, carrying her own duffle by the strap. He reached out and took it out of her hand, setting the strap over his free shoulder, unknowingly repeating actions his own father had performed under similar circumstances. Side by side they headed for the Academy transit station, and beamed up to SpaceDock, where they quickly found a public terminal set to display the layout, and found the path to the vessel they were to board. A short walk and they were at the ramp, showing their IDs to the security guard on duty. He raised his communicator to his mouth and spoke too quietly for Grayson to really make out what he was saying, but in only a moment there was an ensign there to lead them in. They were shown to the quarters they would be using for the next few days, and Grayson was irritated to discover that Jilly's quarters were nowhere near the room he would be sharing with three male ensigns. He did manage to conceal that irritation, though, and arranged to meet her in the observation lounge just before the vessel was due to disengage, so that they could watch.

He dumped his duffle into the tiny closet that was empty, not even bothering to unpack anything. They would only be on this ship a few days. Anything he needed could be retrieved quickly and he would not need to repack upon leaving. As an afterthought, he did pull out his utility kit and drop it on the bathroom counter. He then had two hours to fill, and spent the first one at the comlink, learning about the ship they were on. The second was spent using that knowledge to roam about the ship, learning how to find the mess hall, and sick bay, and other interesting spots. And then he was at the door of the room where Jilly was being quartered, and she was coming out, and his heart lifted to see the wide smile she offered him. Side by side they walked the corridors to the observation lounge, where they watched as the ship pulled out from its docking bay, slowly pulling away until they could see all of SpaceDock, hanging there in the blackness of space, with many ships docked. And then there was the sudden displacement, the rushing sense, that told them that the ship had gone to warp drive. They were actually on their way!

The next few days passed uneventfully. Both of them ducked into sick bay to offer aid, should it be needed, and spent a few hours discussing the new instruments they were learning to use at the Academy, and new techniques they had learned. But there were no injuries or accidents while they were there, nothing that they were called in to assist with. Mostly they just spent their day together, strolling around, visiting the arboretum, much smaller than the one on the Enterprise, or sitting in the observation lounge, looking at the stars and talking. The most frustrating part of the whole time was that they really had no privacy at all, and could do no more than touch each other occasionally, their fingers lingering, not wanting to end the brief chance to make their bond flare about them.

It was with a great deal of relief that the time came to rendezvous with the the Florence Nightingale. Duffles packed, they headed for the transporter bay with slightly elevated pulse rates, eager for what would come next. The technician gave them both highly unnecessary warnings, and then the familiar swirl started, and when it stopped, they were on another ship. There was a personnel officer waiting, with PADDs requiring their thumbprints, and then they were given com-badges and told to put them on immediately. Now they were officially members of the crew for the next two and a half months. They were led down the strangely silent corridors, and it was not until they reached the empty mess hall that Grayson figured it out. "It's ship night, isn't it?"

"Right. Sorry about that. Unless we have a medical emergency, we really only run two shifts. Gamma shift is a real skeleton crew. So I'm giving you the minimum tour, just enough to let you get started in the morning, and then it's off to bed for me." A crooked grin accompanied this pronouncement, and the next spot on their tour was sick bay. After that, they went straight to their new accommodations. "This room is for you, Nurse Colcannon. Just place your hand over the lighted plate there. That's good. Now enter your ID and press your thumb in the indicated box and you're all set."

The door swished open, revealing a small cabin. Jilly stepped inside and ordered the lights up, looking around. A room all her own! She set her duffle bag on the cushioned chair and turned about, seeing the single bed against the far wall behind a woven screen, the tiny table and chair next to the small replicator, and the desk with the comlink on it against the hall wall. Compact, not any space wasted. But all the furnishings looked comfortable, and the color of the paint on the walls and the colors of the furnishings were all calming and peaceful. She sighed happily and turned to say something, only then realizing that Grayson and the personnel officer were on the other side of the closed door. She went quickly and opened the door, only to see the back of the personnel officer retreating down the hallway, and the door to Grayson's room, right next to hers, shut. She sighed. Well, it was the middle of ship night. She guessed she better try to get some sleep. She stepped back inside her room and went to the packet on the table. The personnel officer had said that one uniform had been pulled for each of them and they could get the rest of their standard uniform issue tomorrow. This must be it.

Before she had a chance to open the packet, the door chime sounded. That could only be Grayson. She went straight to the door and tapped the touchplate, allowing him in. The door opened to Grayson's grinning face, and he came in quickly, enveloping her in a full-body hug. "We're here! We're really here! We're actually crew!" He lifted her off her feet and whirled her around, grinning madly, and she laughed and hugged him back. And then he stopped and set her on her feet again, and his face sobered up and his hands rose to cup her face. "Come and spend the night with me in my quarters, Jilly. Oh, please. Just come and sleep with me and I'll be good, I promise, just hold you and I won't do anything else, just hold you." The words came tumbling out so fast she couldn't get an answer in until he had to stop for breath.

"Yes. Yes. Just let me let my uniform and my toiletries kit." She looked up at his face, seeing the wonder and love on it and couldn't resist one quick kiss before pushing away to open her duffle bag and pull out her toiletries kit, then grab the packet containing her new uniform off the table. She had barely finished that when Grayson pulled her along, charging out the door almost before it was open. Laughing, she hurried along after him into his quarters, where he took the uniform packet and set it down on top of his, and then pulled her back to the door and the touchplate beside it. Quickly he coded the door to allow her full access and she pressed her thumb on the plate and entered her ID code. "We can do my quarters tomorrow." Breathless, she looked up at him, only beginning to realize the freedom they would have here on this ship. She sidled away, and bolted for the bathroom, laying her toiletries kit on the counter. She stepped back out into the main room, almost identical to the one she had been assigned, and stood there looking at him, not entirely sure what to do next.

Grayson solved that problem by pulling the covers back from the neat tucked-in state they had been in. He turned back to her, breathing a bit heavier than normal. "Bedtime. We'll get a short night."

She nodded, suddenly shy. She hadn't ever undressed in front of him before. It was at that point that she realized that she had not brought anything to sleep in with her. Her cheeks suddenly flooding red, she blurted out her lack. Grayson quickly opened his duffle and pulled out one of his Academy tee-shirts and handed it to her. "This will do, won't it?"

She nodded, still red in the face. She looked around, and sat down in the chair next to the table to take off her boots. Grayson sat down on the edge of the bed and took off his, and then crossed to the small closet and set them inside, and stretched to get hers, and put them there, too. They both hesitated a moment, and then pulled off their uniform jackets. Grayson went back to the closet and pulled out two hangers, handing one to her. She stepped out of her regulation uniform trousers and folded them across the hanger bar, and then hung the jacket over the hanger. His hand came from behind her and took the hanger, and she realized that she was standing there in her panties and bra, and quickly pulled the tee-shirt Grayson had given her over her head.

Warm arms surrounded her, and he nuzzled against the side of her face. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"Just new. I never undressed in front of you before. If I had known I was going to, I would have gotten some special fancy underwear."

He sighed. "I don't need fancy underwear, but it would have been nice to see."

She giggled. And then she felt his hands, sneaking under her tee-shirt. "Grayson! What are you doing?"

"You don't really want to sleep in that bra, do you? I'm just helping you remove it." And the bra clasp was undone, and one strap was slipping down her arm. Giggling, she bent her elbow to help him, and the bra was soon completely off, and laying on the small table. She leaned back against him, relishing the feel of his strong body. He nuzzled his face against hers again, and then whispered that they really should get in bed and go to sleep. She turned towards the bed and took the few steps that took her to the edge. She sat down and scooted over, sliding her legs under the covers. She rolled over to face the bulkhead and felt him settling down behind her, tugging at the covers, molding his body around hers. He commanded the lights off, and sighed again, draping his arm over her ribs, his hand splayed out across the front of her body, his legs tucked up against hers, his chin in her curls.

She relaxed against his warmth and sighed softly. "Goodnight, Grayson. Sleep tight."

"Goodnight, Jilly. Sleep tight."

And they drifted off, content.

.

It was with a sudden alarm that Grayson awoke. Quickly he checked his internal clock against ship's time. They had slept too long! They really needed to get up and move quickly. He rose on one elbow and leaned over Jilly's sleeping form. "Ashayam, you need to wake up now. I forgot to set an alarm, and it's late. You need to wake up."

She stirred and yawned, making him grin. She stretched her arms, almost hitting him in the nose. And then she opened her eyes and looked at him, puzzled for a moment, and then grinning at him. And was up quickly, rolling over him and dashing for the bathroom. "I get to pee first!"

He sat there on the bed, grinning madly. This was just wonderful! He waited until he heard the flush, and then he was up, following her into the small bathroom. He was just in time to see her bare bottom disappearing in the shower stall. Quickly, he emptied his own bladder and pulled off his underwear, following her into the shower stall to her astonishment. "We have to hurry, no time for two showers."

Giggling, she slathered the handful of shower gel she had over his chest, instead of her own body. There followed far too short a time of mutual touching, disguised as washing. They were both breathing very hard in only a very, very short time, and Grayson's lok was hard and twitching. She stood there, almost touching him from toe to face, looking up at him, her face all soft and wonderful, and said. "We have to stop, Grayson. It's time to get dressed and go eat breakfast."

He knew she was right. He didn't want her to be right. He wanted nothing so much as to continue what they had started. He took a deep breath, and closed his eyes, and used those techniques he had practiced so hard. His lok deflated, falling dejectedly back down to the much smaller form it usually assumed. When he opened his eyes again, she was looking in that direction, one hand so close that she could have touched, if she had not known better. "I'll remember where we were, then." She raised her face back up to his and grinned, and then waved her hand under the showerhead to stop the water.

They tumbled out of the stall and grabbed the towels laying on the counter, suddenly conscious that they were standing there nude in front of one another. There was much drying off while holding the towels in ways that shielded them from the other's view. This was something they just weren't used to yet. Jilly tucked her towel around her like a sarong, and stepped to the right side of the sink, opening her toiletries kit to pull out her hairbrush, toothbrush, and deodorant. Grayson had to go back out into the other room and retrieve his from his duffle, coming back and leaning over the sink to peer into the mirror, pulling at his skin here and there, to check where he needed to spread beard retardant out yet. There followed a short period of duck and bob as they competed for the use of the sink and mirror. Never having done this before, they were not at all used to it.

Grayson retreated back to his duffle, fishing inside for clean underwear, picking up what he had discarded on his charge into the shower and dropping it into the container in the closet. He had picked up Jilly's underwear and was about to drop it in as well when he was stopped by her sudden cry. "I didn't bring any clean underwear over here. I need to wear that again today." Without moving from where he was, he reached behind him with the hand holding her underwear. A little tug, and she had it. And then there was a little smack on his bare bottom, which made him grin.

It didn't take much longer for them to finish dressing. They checked each other out, and then they were ready to go. Out into the corridor, and off to the mess hall they had been shown the night before. This morning it was full of people. Quickly they went to the serving line and helped themselves to the hot dishes there. They both noticed that there was not nearly the variety they were used to. Fewer people, therefore fewer dishes. Trays filled, they quickly found an empty table and sat down. They didn't know anyone to sit with yet. But they had hardly eaten half their breakfast before several people came and sat at their table, introducing themselves. "This is Nurse Jones, and I'm Doctor Craig, and that's Doctor Henderson and Nurse Opperman. And you two must be our summer interns, Nurse Colcannon and Doctor S'chn T'gai."

Grayson winced slightly at the butchered sound of his clan name. "Doctor Grayson is just fine. And what I'm used to." He grinned.

Doctor Craig let out a deep sigh. "Oh, thanks. I know I must have made that sound horrible. Did anyone show you where the sick bay was last night?"

"Yes, the sick bay and this mess hall and our quarters. That was the extent of it." But there were smiles on both their faces. "And one uniform. He said we would get everything else we needed today."

"Well, finish your breakfast then, and we'll get you started on that everything."

The next few hours passed in a whirl of signing in, checking out, getting assignments, and learning where everything was. Lunchtime came as a welcome break. And after lunch, they were able to settle down in the cubicle that had been assigned to them in sick bay, and learn how everything was stored on this ship. And then they were given PADDs with the information about the ship's next assignment, which would begin tomorrow afternoon, when they arrived at the planet where a plague was threatening to eradicate the entire populace.

They ate supper with the four medical people that had befriended them that morning, and then were drawn to one of the rec rooms for several hours of socializing. It was late when they arrived back at the doors of their respective quarters. Jilly went inside, and opened her duffle to unpack, only then realizing that her toiletries bag was still in Grayson's quarters. She was headed that way to retrieve it when her door chime sounded. She opened the door to find Grayson standing there, looking totally focused and intense. She stepped back to let him in, and the door had hardly closed before he reached out and took her upper arms in his hands, looking down at her imploringly. "Jilly. Bring your duffle and your uniforms and come and stay in my quarters. Please."

"You mean just move in with you and stay there instead of where I've been assigned?"

"Yes. Please. Ah, Jilly, please. I promise I won't do anything you don't want me to. But please, Jilly. Ah, it was so nice. Just holding you in the bed all night, and showering and getting dressed together, and everything. Oh, please, ashayam, please." He bent his head and rested his forehead against hers, trembling slightly.

She raised her hands, and stroked softly against his cheeks, circling around his neck until her hands were clasped together at the back of his neck. And then she rolled her face slightly sideways against him and began to cover his face with small kisses. In between each kiss, she whispered softly. "yes." Nothing else was necessary.