Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with Star Trek except the DVD. Jim and his crew all belong to Paramount, Gene Roddenberry, JJ Abrams and whoever else has a piece of that lucrative pie. Abby belongs to me. Marissa belongs to me, but was inspired by TalesFromTheSpockSide's story Hero. I am making no money, but am having a heck of a lot of fun.
Disclaimer #2: This story is rated M over all. Jim and Marissa are finally reunited; there just might be some sex involved.
Thanks: As always many, many thanks to RoyalPinkDogs who is my beta reader, co-author and all around moral support. These past weeks since Complications was completed have been rough. I still haven't found a job, but at least I'm walking without crutches or a cane and only have a slight limp. Some progress has been made and RoyalPinkDogs has been my cheerleader all along. Thanks! - RA
The Consequences 'verse is as follows: Consequences, Parenthood: The Sexless Frontier, First Impressions and Quality Time, Complications and now…
It took several more hours than Jim would have liked to finally get Marissa onto a shuttle and headed back to the Enterprise. He certainly would have been more than happy to leave as soon as he had her in his arms, but as it was he had to coordinate with Ambassador Boyarsky and Ranoyl, the supposed next viceroy of M'Qtobau. During the entire debriefing Marissa never left his side. It might have seemed unprofessional for a captain to not let go of one of his crewmember's hands while conducting his duties, but he didn't care. He'd do what he had to do, but he wasn't letting her out of his sight.
Listening to Marissa, Roth, and the two M'Qtobauans explain the situation, Jim couldn't help but be impressed. Both M'Qtobauans were highly complimentary of the whole away team, but Marissa and Roth especially. Ranoyl stated that if it hadn't been for Marissa's knowledge of propaganda and rhetoric, their taking over of the communications systems a few days previously would have been an empty victory. Instead they had followed her advice and what they broadcasted had brought down the corrupt government and UNISTAR in record time. Roth's planning and tactical abilities had been just as instrumental in securing several important objectives.
Marissa was embarrassed by their praise, but it was like the damn biography book all over again. She took what information she had and she 'spun' it to the rebels favor. It helped that everything they had broadcasted was the truth and was supported by photos, video and actual audio recordings of what was really happening.
With the old viceroy's soldiers, what was left of them anyway, in the custody of Boyarsky and Ranoyl's forces, there wasn't much more that the crew of the Enterprise could do. Both men were thankful for their help, but both parties agreed that it was best for the M'Qtobauans to take control of the situation with as little Federation intervention as possible. McCoy offered first aid and supplies to those injured in the cave and in need of food, and the security teams helped to clear the cave entrance and guard the soldiers that had been stunned, but that was the extent of their involvement. Prividan City had managed to get a shuttle in the air so within four hours the Ambassador, Ranoyl and the other injured personnel were on their way to the capital city.
Jim had offered the use of the Enterprise's shuttles in taking the rest of the former rebels to Prividan City, but was politely declined. He understood and was fine with that, but he did have a private word with Ranoyl regarding the possibility of the Federation contacting the new government concerning UNISTAR and what went on. He stressed the fact that they would gladly respect M'Qtabau's autonomy, but their cooperation in any investigation that might follow would be most beneficial not only to the Federation, but other planets and civilizations.
Jim watched as Marissa tearfully hugged Boyarsky and Ranoyl, as well as several other M'Qtobauans, farewell and then he ushered her into the shuttle. With a hand protectively on her back, he escorted her to a set of seats towards the front and somewhat out of the main thoroughfare, behind the flight deck and communications center.
"Welcome back, Marissa," Hannity said as soon as Marissa stepped around the corner and into view.
"Dana!" Marissa cried, hugging her friend and once again getting weepy.
"It's so good to see you," the other woman declared. "You are a sight for sore eyes, as my grandmother used to say."
"I'm a mess," Marissa said self consciously, once again reaching for her hair and brushing at her clothes, which had seen better times.
"You're alive," Hannity told her, with a smile as she glanced over at Jim.
"Let's get you strapped in Mariss," Jim said, prodding her along to her seat only to be stopped by Sulu.
"Good to see you, Lieutenant," Sulu smiled from the cockpit doorway.
"You too, Lieutenant," Marissa grinned, giving him a hug too.
Jim just shook his head in fond exasperation. "Let's get this shuttle in the air, Sulu. I want to go home."
"Yes, sir," Sulu winked at Marissa before returning to his seat.
When she was finally seated, Jim kneeled down and then reached around her to begin strapping her into the harness.
"I can do this myself, Jim," Marissa told him with the corner of her mouth lifted slightly in exasperated amusement.
He paused, halfway through his motions. "I know, but I…" he looked at her sheepishly, unable to finish and explain his need to take care of her.
She stroked his face in understanding. "It's okay," she told him. He nodded and continued to strap her in. Finally tightening the lap belt, his hand hovered over her midsection.
Since he'd first held her almost four hours ago, she hadn't left his sight, or been out of arms' reach, but that didn't mean that he'd really gotten a chance to see her. He'd seen her face and her bedraggled hair. He'd seen how thin her neck and wrists were compared to before. He'd felt how much weight she'd lost as he held or guided her, but they'd never been alone. He wanted to hold her and never let her go; to let his hands wander and touch every part of her to reassure himself that she really was alive and well, but he couldn't do that when they were surrounded by people and talking with the Ambassador and future viceroy. He'd settled for holding her hand, but it hadn't been nearly enough.
Now, seated and strapped in, he could see what he only thought he'd felt earlier – a slight bulge in her abdomen. "Is this the bug you said you'd picked up," he asked softly, his hand hovering over the bulky sweater that she'd been wearing that was now pulled tightly over her slightly distended tummy by the lap belt.
"Yeah," she whispered slightly, her hand coming over to press his firmly against her belly. "You're getting more than just me. Here, you'll feel something soon," she told him, moving his hand slightly to the side.
They both waited, Marissa eyes on Jim's face as he watched her belly. "There," he smiled, his eyes crinkling. "I feel it." Leaning forward, his hand not moving, he kissed Marissa gently. "I love you," he whispered against her lips.
"I love you, too," she replied, kissing him and then leaning her forehead against his, both of her hands coming up to hold Jim's hand against her, both of them feeling the fluttering kicks and prods of their baby's movements.
They sat in silence for a few more seconds before there was a gruff clearing of a throat behind them. "Not that I want to interrupt," McCoy said wryly, "but this tin can is about to take off and I want to be as secure as possible."
"What's stopping you?" Jim asked, not moving, but smiling as his eyes looked into Marissa's.
"Your lazy ass in the middle of the aisle, Captain," McCoy replied, kicking Jim lightly in the shin. "You should be strapped in too, Jim. No sense in tempting fate this close to home."
"Whatever you say, Bones," Jim answered, kissing Marissa briefly before rising from his knees and taking the seat next to her and nearest the exit, which caused McCoy to have to step over both of them.
"How you feeling, darlin'?" he asked once he'd checked and double checked his harness.
"Tired," Marissa admitted. "And hungry. And in desperate need of a shower."
"Didn't you get any of the rations we were passing out?" McCoy asked.
She shook her head. "Must have missed them," she told him with a shrug.
Squeezing her hand, Jim shook his head. "I'll get you something once we break atmosphere," he told her. "I'm sorry…"
"Don't be," Marissa interrupted. "It didn't even cross my mind until Len asked."
"But I should…"
"I'm fine Jim," she reassured him.
"We'll get some rations in you now," McCoy told her, "and once we're on the Enterprise I want you in Medical right away."
"But I want to see Abby," Marissa protested. They'd managed a few words about their daughter before duty had interrupted, so Marissa knew that Abby was fine and that she remembered her mama, but that wasn't the same as holding her in her arms.
"I know you do, darlin'," McCoy responded sympathetically, "but we need to look after you first. Abby's fine. She'll be in daycare and Rand can meet you in your quarters with her when I'm done with you. You need to get cleaned up and checked out. She won't have the patience to wait around."
"Jim says she remembers me," Marissa began slowly.
"She does," McCoy reassured her. "She's got a picture of you by her crib she says goodnight to every night and she watches those vids you made before you left."
"A picture?" She looked between the two men curiously.
"It was Bones' idea," Jim told her, brushing a kiss to her knuckles. "It's part of her bedtime routine; to say goodnight to mama."
"I…" she stumbled for words, her eyes tearing up. "I…thank you."
"Marissa," Jim said, brushing away a tear. "I wasn't going to let her forget you."
"I know," she whispered hoarsely, her head coming to rest on Jim's shoulder. "But what if she doesn't recognize me? I've lost so much weight. I'm sure I don't look anything like my picture. And seeing me on a vid screen isn't the same. What if she…she doesn't…"
"Calm down, Marissa," McCoy interjected, as Jim looked pleadingly over at his friend, unsure of what to say to ease her distress. "That's why we're going to clean you up first. I won't lie to you, she might be a bit…hesitant…at first, but that's natural. She's young, but Jim kept your memory alive for her. Just give it some time. Odds are in a week or two she won't let you out of her sight. That's natural too. She and Jim have had a lot of support from the crew and that will help, but you're her mama and she knows that and she missed you a lot. They both did," he added softly, as Marissa met his gaze.
"Oh Jim," she turned back towards him. "I know this had to be so hard on you. I'm so sorry," she told him, more tears falling down her face.
"Hey, hey, it's okay," Jim told her, trying to comfort her while being restricted by his harness. "It's been much harder on you; hiding in caves and running around mountains. And then fighting and caring for the wounded. I'm proud of what you did – what you all did – for the M'Qtobauans. I'm just glad to have you back. You're going to have to be debriefed eventually," he warned her, trying to change the topic to something less emotionally charged, at least for her. "The Admiralty is not going to like what you have to say. And you'll never believe who's been helping us find you."
"Selek, or 'Uzzer Spa'k, as Abby sometimes calls him," Jim told her with a small smile. "He joined us earlier this week. Apparently Spock, our Spock, contacted him about a month or so after…after you…left," he stumbled, "and he began researching what was happening on M'Qtobau. But you'll never guess who gave us the final piece of the puzzle that you were actually alive," his smile growing wider and cheesier.
Marissa looked at him expectantly. "Well?" she prodded when he didn't say anything more. "I can't imagine who."
"Queen Anidal'ai," Jim said with a comically wide grin.
"You're kidding!" Marissa replied, her mouth hanging open.
"I'm not," Jim told her. "Spock was suspicious of the stories we were getting from the M'Qtobau officials and from Starfleet – we all were. He began looking into UNISTAR. His father suggested contacting Selek, who eventually contacted Pike. It wasn't until the Queen had someone steal a pad from someone in UNISTAR and we heard the recording of a surrender response. Were you really the one to say 'nuts?'" he asked with a grin.
"You heard that?" Marissa asked, blushing. Jim nodded. "I was supposed to stay back in the cave and let Montiovo give the response, but I just couldn't help it. And I was so mad. It just came out."
"Well, I'm glad it did," Jim told her. "Between Veronique and Chekov, it was enough to convince Pike that you were alive and he went to the president."
"Veronique?" Marissa perked up. "Ronnie Meredith? She's here? On the Enterprise?"
"Yes, she is," Jim replied. "Starfleet assigned her about six weeks ago."
Marissa shook her head. "She must not have liked that at all."
"Not really," Jim agreed, "but she's done really well. She was the first one to recognize the significance of the phrase 'nuts.' So now we are here under direct orders of the President of the Federation. You've become quite the heroine according to Selek and Pike."
"I'm not a heroine," Marissa replied, nonplussed. "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"That's what all the heroes say," McCoy chimed in.
"I'm just glad to have you back," Jim told her.
"I'm happy to be back," Marissa said quietly, tucking her head under Jim's chin once again.
Jim caught McCoy's soft smile over the top of her head before the doctor looked away, giving them some modicum of privacy. Jim moved to bring his arm around her, his other remaining on her stomach. It wasn't easy to embrace while in a harness, but Jim was doing the best he could. He slowly rubbed small circles on her shoulder, closing his eyes and breathing in her scent.
"I missed you," he whispered into her hair, unsure if she could even hear him over the noise of the shuttle.
"I missed you, too," she whispered back, one of her hands coming to rest over his heart.
"Everyone kept telling me you were dead," he told her just as softly. "Everything pointed to them being right." He swallowed hard. "We were refused permission to come down to look for you and then we were ordered away." He paused, swallowing convulsively again, his voice low and gravelly. "If the Queen hadn't stolen that PADD…if she hadn't demanded we come to Cloral…if you hadn't said nuts…" he shuddered.
"There are some seriously talented people in security," she told him. "The whole team really deserves commendations and awards. With those random pieces of our comms that Roth removed right after our arrival and some parts we managed to steal…we were so close to building an array to contact you. And I knew the minute you heard, you'd be here."
"I'm sorry I wasn't here sooner," he told her.
"Jim, you couldn't have…"
"I'm sorry I gave up," he interrupted.
"Gave up?" she lifted her head and looked at him curiously.
Jim wouldn't look her in the eyes.
"We've left atmosphere now," Sulu's voice interrupted their conversation. "Twenty-two minutes until we dock with the Enterprise."
There were cheers from the rear cabin. Jim pulled away, reaching for his harness release. "Let me go get you something to eat and drink," he said, still not quite meeting her eyes.
"Okay," Marissa replied, slightly bewildered. "Thanks."
Jim smiled slightly, and then stood up and moved to the storage cabinet at the back of the craft.
"Len?" Marissa turned to the doctor on her other side.
He looked at her sadly and shook his head. "It hasn't been easy," he told her. "You being gone…presumed dead. Jim didn't handle it well. Well, he did," he corrected himself. "He kept control of the ship and was a good captain and father, but inside…" he trailed off and shrugged helplessly as Jim came back holding two ration bars and bottle of water. He'd had one of the other crewmen distribute water to the other rescued crewmembers and relief team, not wanting to be away from Marissa so soon after finding her.
"Here you go, Mariss," he said as he sat down next to her again, his smile back in place. "Gourmet Starfleet ration bars and lukewarm water. One of them purports to be chocolate, if that helps."
"Thank you, sweetie," she told him, taking the bars and ripping one of the packages open with her teeth.
"Go slowly, there," McCoy warned. "Them things might be nutritious, but they have the consistency of sawdust. You'll need lots of water to get 'em down."
"As long as they don't taste like fish," Marissa said with a full mouth and a grin as she opened her water bottle. "I never, ever want to eat anything that swims in water again."
"Bit of a restricted diet?" McCoy asked.
"Towards the end, yes," Marissa nodded. "In the beginning we had enough supplies and some fresh produce coming in. Then they started hunting us and…" she shrugged, taking another bite.
Jim and McCoy shared pained looks over her head, but neither said anything.
"So, Abby," Marissa prompted after she finished the first bar. "She really is okay, right?"
"She's in better shape than either of you," McCoy said with his usual censoring frown. "The entire crew has taken care of her, except maybe for Scotty. She still hasn't warmed to the man."
Marissa chuckled, shaking her head as she took another bite. "Poor Scotty, he tries so hard."
"She actually seems to love the old pointy-eared hobgoblin," McCoy continued in slight disgust. "You may have trouble getting her away from him sometimes. I don't know what they talk about, but he seems to find her fascinating," he said, complete with air quotes. "And Chekov has almost grown some breasts; he's such a good babysitter."
Jim nodded in response. "He's the heavy artillery whenever I'm occupied and she won't calm down for anyone else. Once she has her Pasha she's fine."
"True," McCoy nodded. "It's entertainin' to see Chekov wrapped around her little finger – Sulu too, as much as she will tolerate him. She doesn't like to share her Pasha with anyone," his words softer so as not to carry, "and those two tend to spend a lot of time together."
"Oh really?" Marissa replied with a grin and raised eyebrow. "Any real progress?" she looked over at Jim.
"Nothing yet," he shook his head with a small smile. "They're still in the 'friends' stage. If it goes on much longer I'm sure Scotty will start another pool or something, if he hasn't already."
"Abby's just fine," McCoy continued on their original topic, "but she misses her mama. She'll be one right happy little girl when she sets eyes on you."
"Thank you, Len," Marissa said softly, her eyes suddenly watery again. She placed her small hand onto his arm.
"You're welcome," he told her, squeezing her hand in reassurance and friendship. "It was a group effort. We couldn't replace you, but we all did our best to make sure that she was taken care of. Jim especially."
Turning back towards Jim, she rested her head against his shoulder and sighed heavily. "I knew that. I knew Abby would be okay. I knew Jim would take care of her; that all of you would help. It hurt to be away, but I knew she would be fine. I just worried about…" she trailed off with a shuddering sigh, absently wiping a few tears that had managed to fall.
"Worried about what, Mariss?" Jim prodded softly, his worry evident as he took her hand in his.
She looked up at him and then over at McCoy briefly. "I worried about you, Jim."
This apparently startled him, as he pulled back slightly, his eyes shuttering for a moment, before he gave her a weak smile. "Me? I'm a big boy. It was…hard, but…" he faltered and then shrugged. "We made it through and you're here now and that's enough for me."
Marissa wanted to protest. She knew it couldn't have been that easy for him. She hadn't said anything, but she knew by the way he clung to her and wouldn't let her out of his sight that her absence had been traumatic for him. With his history, it couldn't have been simple, even if he hadn't loved her as he apparently did, but before she could say anything, she felt McCoy's hand on her arm and turned to see a slight shaking of his head. This was something they shouldn't get into now and maybe she should talk with the doctor first. Jim never was one to talk about himself and she really didn't want to push him away or make him uncomfortable right now.
"Now I'll want you in Medical first thing," McCoy broke in, changing the topic. "I suppose the captain can come along if he wants, but no arguments, missy."
Marissa laughed lightly, though it sounded brittle to her ears. "Okay, have it your way, Doc. Can I use one of the showers first? We haven't had enough decent bathing water in weeks and I feel filthy."
"Of course, though it's only sonics," he told her. "You can use up Jim's water rations later. I'll even throw in some clean scrubs, but then I'm giving you a complete scan. I'm pretty sure you'll be needin' some vitamins and a protein booster, too, and…"
"Bones," Jim said from his seat, his arm still around Marissa. "She'll come to Medical first thing. I wouldn't have it any other way, but until then…could you maybe go check on the others?"
McCoy was already reaching for his harness release as he grumbled. "Fine, fine. I'll walk around on this tin can without being strapped in. Don't mind me, I got things to do, people to see." He winked at Marissa, causing her to giggle, as he stepped over her and then purposely onto Jim's toes. "Sorry 'bout that Jim. Ain't got my space legs." He gave his friend a firm squeeze on the shoulder as he made his way towards the rest of the away team.
"I thought he'd never leave," Jim said dramatically, wrapping Marissa up in his arms again and kissing her forehead. If he closed his eyes and inhaled her scent one more time, nobody but Marissa knew it.
"He's a good man," Marissa stated, resting her head against Jim once again.
"And a good friend," Jim agreed. "Without him…"
"It's okay, Jim," Marissa interrupted as he seemed to struggle to find words, "we can talk about it later. For now I just want you to hold me."
"Aye, aye," Jim agreed promptly.
They sat together quietly for a few minutes before a soft cough caught their attention. Without letting go of her, Jim turned towards his communications officer standing nearby.
"What is it Hannity?" he asked.
"Sulu says we're about seven minutes out," she told them. "Do you want me to contact Rand and have her get Abby?"
Jim smiled at her thoughtfulness, but shook his head. "Thanks, but Bones wants Marissa in Medical right away and we don't know how long that might take. What time is it on the ship?"
"A little past 1500, sir," she replied.
"Contact Rand, let her know that everything went okay and that she should pick Abby up at the normal time," he said. "Hopefully we won't be more than an hour or two with Bones. That way we can have dinner as a family."
"Yes sir," Hannity nodded. As she turned to walk back to her station, she was stopped by Marissa.
"Thank you," she said softly, "for thinking about Abby and…and me and…"
The blonde lieutenant smiled at her friend. "There's not a person on the ship who doesn't want to see you and Abby reunited as soon as possible, but it should be a private meeting. We've all missed you. The captain the most," she said quickly before exiting their alcove.
Jim stared after her dumbfounded, then looked down at Marissa, his cheeks red. "She's right, you know. I tried to…I tried to hide it, but I guess I wasn't that good at it. I can't even tell you how much I missed you and…"
Once again he struggled for words and Marissa took pity on him. Tucking her head under his chin, she reached for his hand. "Tell me about Abby," she requested. "How much has she grown? She was so little when I left. I'm afraid she won't remember me."
"She'll know you," Jim reassured her with a squeeze. "It may take her a minute or two, but she'll know you." He brushed some curls out of her eyes and tucked her hair, which had grown much longer, behind her ear. Resting his head against the top of her head, he continued softly, one hand absently stroking her belly. "She's maybe a few centimeters taller and has gained some weight," he told her. "She can eat with a fork now and she uses her napkin too. Most of the time." Marissa chuckled. "She still talks all the time – to me, to Sehlat, to her piano, to whoever is around – and her sentences mostly make sense. They have more words to them, but she still can't say her Rs. She likes to take her clothes off and run around our quarters naked and it's a fight to get her into even a diaper if we have a visitor. And she's started asking the men if they have boy parts."
"What?" Marissa laughed, looking up at Jim incredulously.
He shrugged and grinned down at her. "She walked in on me in the shower one day and…well, what could I say? You should have seen how Chekov blushed when she asked him. It was priceless."
"I can imagine."
"I've been waiting for her to ask Spock," Jim admitted, "but so far nothing." Marissa shook her head at his using his daughter to bait Spock, and tucked her head under his chin again. "But she's still a baby," he continued softly, "and she still needs her mama, no matter how well the crew has rallied around us, just like her daddy does."
"Oh, Jim," Marissa whispered, before Jim caught her lips in a deep kiss and didn't stop until Bones stumbled over them returning to his seat right as Sulu announced their imminent landing on the Enterprise.
Once the shuttles landed they had to separate long enough to remove their harnesses, but Jim grabbed her hand as soon as she was standing and led her to the hatch and onto the hangar deck. There were two or three dozen people milling about waiting for the returning crewmembers. Jim hadn't wanted to make a big fanfare event out of it, but he'd arranged with Rand to let the appropriate people know that their friends were returning if the mission was a success.
Everyone was rather shocked when Lieutenant Dick Scobee, one of the returning away team members, launched himself into the crowd, sweeping Ensign Mae Jemison into his arms. They all watched as he kissed her effusively. Some turned away to allow them some privacy, but since the couple was standing in the middle of the hangar bay it wasn't easy. Breaking apart, Scobee leaned forward and spoke softly to the woman in his arms who was beaming up at him, tears streaking down her cheeks.
Her loud gasp and delighted, "Yes! Dick, yes!" caused those around them to break into laughter and applause. Ignoring the crowd, Scobee picked up the young woman again and swung her around, before setting her down and kissing her again.
After a moment they surfaced to look at their audience, slightly dumbfounded and with silly grins on their faces. Scobee recovered enough to grin at Jim and Marissa who were standing at the base of the stairs to the shuttle, and salute smartly. "Just following the captain's example, sir!" he stated.
Jim gave him a thumbs up as Marissa applauded. "Very well, Lieutenant. Carry on." Chuckling, Jim turned and guided Marissa around the crowd in order to follow McCoy out of the shuttle bay. He watched her wave to a few of the assembled crewmembers, but he wasn't ready to share her just yet.
And now back to originally scheduled updates!
Currently I have enough written to get us through mid-December and I'm not even to the good stuff yet. ;-)
As usual – please review!