A/N: Inspiration for the chapter, You Must Love Me by Madonna: http (colon, slash, slash) www {DOT} youtube {DOT} com (slash) watch?v=06F7wOGEUcI

Chapter 20

Upon leaving Lucas' room, Nathan passed Wendy in the hallway.

"I just spoke with General McGath," Nathan told her. "It seems we'll be in New Cape Quest in about three days. Do you think we can get all the rest of the colony residents taken care of by then?"

Wendy nodded. "Is that what they want? Did McGath say that?"

"Well, no…but it seems we're going to be busy for a while. The trial for Jesse Sanderson and the colony doctors will start next month. They want to start deposing all of us by next week."

Wendy nodded. "I knew there would be a trial, but I thought we'd have more time."

"Well, I guess the faster we can get it over with, the better," Nathan said. "How is she?"

"The same, mostly," Wendy replied. "She did open up to me a little, but the one she really needs to talk to is you."

"It's not that easy," Nathan said. "She won't."

"She will," Wendy insisted. "You two need to at least communicate. Just let her take the lead. Don't force her. That's when she backs away, withdraws."

Nathan sighed. "I can do that, but now I'm even more worried about her. How's she going to handle the trial?"

"I've already taken care of that," Wendy said proudly. "Well, not officially, but I know it will work out: Elizabeth McGath."

Nathan knew the name. He'd met the general's wife in passing at a UEO banquet, but he was confused. "How is she going to help?"

Wendy smiled. "You didn't know? Doctor Elizabeth McGath is a very successful psychiatrist, and I think she can help Kristin. In fact, I think a lot of us could do with her help getting through this trauma. Being that we'll be in New Cape Quest, it's almost perfect."

"That's a nice idea, but could she take on extra patients?" Nathan asked worriedly.

"She has her own practice; she employs several therapists, so the answer is yes. But I'd like her to take Kristin on as her own patient specifically. Once she finds out who she is, I'm sure she'll agree," Wendy explained.

"And if her husband has any say, she will, too."

"What?"

"Oh, well, McGath's worried about me leaving already. I told him I'd have to let him know," Nathan said.

"I thought you wanted to stay."

"I do," Nathan said, "but, I have to remember it's not just me anymore."

Wendy nodded in understanding. "Well, I need to make a phone call and see if Dr. McGath can take us on then. Go ahead." Wendy gently pushed him toward the door.

Nathan gave her a look of uncertainty.

"Just remember not to push her."

Nathan nodded, and Wendy left him alone. Nathan took a deep breath and knocked before entering the room. "Hi," he said.

"Hi," Kristin said back.

An awkward silence lingered around them, both unsure of what to say next.

"Uh, can I sit down?" Nathan asked. "I mean, do you want me to sit with you?"

"I-I'd like that," Kristin replied. "Thank you."

"Uh…so…" he said.

"So?"

More awkward silence. Finally, Nathan couldn't handle it. "What happened to us?" he asked. He wasn't asking her in particular. It was more like he was thinking out loud.

After a pause, she finally said, "I don't know. I have to admit, this isn't what I pictured our life to be. I thought we'd be….happier."

"You're not happy?" Nathan asked, the realization of it causing him pain that was evident in his words.

"I was…but you changed…I changed."

"I never meant to hurt you, but I know I did," Nathan admitted. "Are you willing to give me another chance?"

"If you'll be patient with me. Getting over this," she motioned towards her body, "won't be easy. Even after all these wounds have healed, the ones inside are going to take more time."

"I know that," Nathan explained. "And the fact we've changed…well, that's not necessarily a bad thing."

"I realize that," Kristin replied, "but you and I didn't work together…these past few months, we've been against each other, for the most part."

"I lost sight of what was important," Nathan admitted. "I know I made a lot of mistakes, but I want to make it right. You, Robert, Lucas, the children…you all mean so much to me, and I want you to see that, to feel that."

"I want to feel that, too," Kristin admitted. I used to feel it."

"Can we start over?" Nathan asked hopefully.

"I'd like that," Kristin said. "I don't think I can handle this alone at the moment. I need you to be there for me, to support me…to love me."

"I do love you," Nathan insisted.

"I don't believe you stopped loving me," Kristin said, "but you stopped showing me. I forgave you because I love you…and I will always forgive you. But when you keep doing it over and over again…well, I can't be privy to that anymore."

"I am so sorry I made you feel that way," Nathan said. "You're the last person I want to hurt."

"I know," Kristin said. "I know you never meant it, and I'm not giving up on us."

"Can I kiss you, Doctor?" Nathan asked.

"Of course, Captain," she said, finally cracking a smile, the first time she'd smiled in days, remembering one of the first times the two had shared a kiss. Nathan had asked her the same way.

Nathan rose and placed a kiss to her lips, gentle at first, testing the waters.

Kristin pulled him closer to her, so Nathan kissed her harder.

After a short eternity, Nathan broke the kiss. "I love you so much, sweetheart."

"I love you, too," Kristin whispered, leaning her head on his shoulder. He could hear the twinge in her voice; he could tell she was close to tears.

"What's the matter?"

"I'm just scared, scared of losing us, scared I've lost myself," she replied.

"I won't let that happen," Nathan promised, wrapping his arms around her. "Do you trust me?"

"I'm trying."

"Good," Nathan said. "I spoke to Wendy in the hallway before I came in," he added.

"She and I had a lovely talk," Kristin said, her head still nestled on Nathan's shoulder.

"I know," Nathan said, "she mentioned. Um, there's more news, too."

Kristin groaned slightly. "It doesn't sound very good."

"Well, it depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Well, first all the colonies that Nyugen ran have been disbanded, and all the residents have been freed."

"That's good, but I sense there's some bad news coming," Kristin whispered.

Nathan sighed and kissed her gently once again. "In three days, we'll be in New Cape Quest. The trial for Jesse Sanderson and the colony doctors starts next month. They want to start deposing the crew by next week. I'm sure you'll be getting a summons," Nathan explained.

"Wendy tried to warn me," Kristin said. "She says the secretary general's wife is a psychiatrist. She wants me to see her."

"I know," Nathan replied. "I do, too. I think she'll be good for you, for us. But I didn't think the trial would start so soon. I'm worried about you."

Kristin finally moved her head to look at him. "You are?'

"Of course," Nathan replied. "I don't want you to have to relive the pain."

"Well, I'm not too fond of it either," Kristin replied. "And, yes, I'll need your support and your love, but I think it's better that it's happening now. I wouldn't want to go back and have to testify about it months from now."

"Well, I was thinking I'd rent a big house there, large enough for all of us, Robert and Michael, too…and Lucas, Wendy, and whoever else wanted to stay."

"That sounds nice," Kristin said. "You've thought this through."

"Only a little," Nathan explained.

"What happens after?" Kristin asked after a slight pause.

"After what?"

"How long do we have off for the trial?"

"I don't know how long they expect it to last," Nathan said. "But as far as us, as long as we need…or maybe indefinitely."

"What?" she asked in surprise.

"It all depends on you," Nathan explained. "I love being here, love being the captain. I know you love it, and the children seem to love it as well…but your sanity and your well- being are more important. If we have to leave this to save us, well, I'll do anything in my power for that."

"Oh, Nathan," Kristin said, tears starting to fall, "I love you so."

"I love you, too," Nathan said, wrapping her in an embrace once again. "We'll get through this. We'll put us back together again."

The end?

To be continued…

A/N: The third and final installment of the story is 'Miles to Go'. If you've been following from the beginning, please don't miss it. It will deal with the trial, and I'll be putting the Bridger family back together again. I'll also be answering the questions I've left unanswered. Will they leave the seaQuest? Will Kristin find her sanity once again? Will the marriage survive? Thanks for reading.