Disclaimer: Fan fiction for fun is, for profit is not.
Title: Six Days a Year
Summary: Haven't I written this already?
Rating: PG-13 (Violence)
Genre: Romance/ General
Author's Note: This an update in light of a lot of things (mostly finding out Cutler's rank and watching "Two Days, Two Nights"). I wrote this more than a month before the previously mentioned episode. I wanted to fix it ... but obviously couldn't. I wanted to delete it ... but didn't have the heart. I also made the format more readable. Flame if you wish. Review if you dare.

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Six Days a Year

Aeryn Alexander

Chapter One




"Phlox! Phlox! Wake up!"

Was that Crewman Cutler's hand that he felt on his thigh? Her voice was so faraway, so distant.

"Cutler to the bridge."

Yes, that was indeed her voice, but she sounded so very concerned, almost fearful. What could possibly frighten the young entomologist? Phlox could not understand why she was afraid until he realized that he was lying on the floor of sickbay, unable to move or open his eyes.

"I must be starting my hibernation cycle. I can't believe I let myself fall asleep here of all places." he thought, groaning internally. "This will not do at all."

"Archer here." he heard over the comm system.

"I have a medical emergency, captain. I don't know what to do." she said anxiously.

"Have you contacted Dr. Phlox, crewman?" questioned Archer.

"It is Dr. Phlox."

"Come again?"

"He was late for lunch, so I went to sickbay to find out why. He was lying on the floor when I came in. I think he has fainted or something, but I can't seem to bring him around." she explained. Phlox felt cool and trembling fingertips searching for a pulse at his neck.

"Stay calm, crewman. I will be right down." Archer told her.

"Thank you, captain. Cutler out."

He heard her reach up and switch the comm off. She was making a sniffling sound as she loosened his collar.

"She can't be crying." Phlox told himself. "I am only hibernating. It's perfectly natural and normal."

"Don't die. Please, don't die."

It was a remote whisper, both earnest and tender, full of fear and compassion. Phlox desperately wanted to answer her, but it was almost impossible to break out of the hibernation cycle once it had begun.

The crewman, disregarding or forgetting what she knew of Denobulans, grasped his hand and squeezed it.

"What harm is there in it?" he thought as the initial alarm faded. "It is a kind gesture in her culture. There is nothing to be ashamed of." he reasoned.

He felt the doors of sickbay swish open through the deck plating. The sound was lost to him, but the tread of hurried feet was not. One pair of feet moved with long, heavy strides. The other pair was light, almost subtle, but quick.

"Captain, Sub-commander," said Crewman Cutler, taking a deep, sniffling breath.

"He is alive?" asked the dispassionate Vulcan.

"Yes." replied Cutler.

"Then you may want to move out of the way, crewman." T'Pol told her.

He felt a slight twinge of regret as Cutler released his hand. He could feel her moving away, like a warm and comfortable presence being withdrawn and a cold breeze blowing in to takes its place.

"Is he going to be all right?" he could hear Cutler ask from an even greater distance.

Phlox was certain that he could hear the sound of a medical tricorder being used.

"Don't worry, crewman. We're going to do everything we can." said Archer, comforting the young woman.

"Captain," said the Sub-commander evenly, "your concerns are unwarranted. The doctor has merely begun his hibernation cycle. He is not in any danger at all."

An indeterminable amount of time seemed to pass before quiet voices drew him closer to the waking realm again. Phlox could perceive that he was lying in a dimly lit room on something soft, which he presumed to be a bunk or a bed of some kind.

"There is no need to stay here, crewman. He will awake in two days whether you remain or not." This voice he recognized as Sub-commander T'Pol's.

"The captain gave me permission to work from the computer in here. I'm not neglecting my duties." said Crewman Cutler defensively.

"I wonder what the doctor would think about your occupation of sickbay or your use of his computer."

"I haven't disturbed any of his files or records, if that's what you mean."

"What about his bat, crewman?"

"Someone has to feed it."

"Very well then."

"Why are you here, Sub-commander?"

"I have a headache. Where does the doctor keep the Anaprovalin?"

"In the cabinet over there."

"Thank you."

She had been there for four days while he slept? Cutler was dedicated, that much he had to admit. He thought he could hear T'Pol leave sickbay, no doubt administering the Anaprovalin herself.

"Did you hear that, Phlox? I think T'Pol disapproves." he heard Cutler say, her voice drawing nearer.

"Surely she doesn't believe I can respond." he thought.

"Just two more days." she sighed.

She was speaking to him, even though as far as she knew he could not hear her. It was fascinating. He felt the crewman carefully adjust a warm blanket that was wrapped around him.

"Two more days." he heard her sigh again as she left the room and he drifted back into a deep sleep.

"How is your patient, crewman?" he heard the loud, good-natured voice of Captain Archer ask.

"He's hardly my patient, captain, but he seems to be doing fine. Thank you for letting me stay here, sir." she said.

"If you weren't here, I would probably worry, but I know you will take care of everything." said Archer. "He should be back with us tomorrow, right?" he added.

"Or possibly very late tonight." she confirmed.

"You aren't going to wait up for him, are you, crewman?" asked Archer in a mock serious voice.

"I will be lucky if I can sleep at all."

Captain Archer was about to say something when the ship shook violently.

"Captain to the bridge." he heard over the comm system.

"What's going on, T'Pol?" asked Archer, the sound of his voice retreating.

"We are under attack."

"I'm on my way. Archer out."

"Captain?" question Crewman Cutler.

"Just stay here, crewman." Archer replied, leaving sickbay.

His heart was pounding, despite his altered state of consciousness. What would happen if there were casualties and he was not awake to treat them? Could Crewman Cutler handle the situation on her own? He felt someone sit down next to him. Gentle, but shaking fingers checked his pulse.

"Should your pulse be this fast?" she asked aloud, stunned. Then she frowned and exclaimed, "You can sense what's going on!"

The ship shook violently again. Cutler took a deep breath and came to her feet. Phlox wished fervently that the attack could have waited a day, just a day, so that he could comfort Crewman Cutler, if nothing else.

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