Location: Corridor outside of Engineering
Millie glanced yet again at the chronometer on the wall outside of Engineering. Beta shift should be ending soon, but it seemed like the more times she looked the longer the minutes dragged on. The door to Engineering hissed open, and a slow stream of crew members trickled out, several of which nodded a passing greeting to the counselor.
But no Evelyn. Where was she?
Evelyn trudged out, her face blank but also tired. She absently manipulated a PADD as she walked.
Millie stepped out of the little alcove she'd been waiting in. "Ev?"
She didn't jump or shriek though her expression was surprised. "Oh, hey." She lowered the PADD, unconsciously straightening her posture a little. "How're you?"
Millie gave a weary smile. "I'm okay. Getting settled back in." She noticed the exhaustion on the woman's face. "Rough shift?"
"A couple of systems have been glitching the last week or so. I'm trying to track down the source but it's a big ship." Evelyn hated small talk, it reminded her of being with her family. "What's new with the ship's crazies?"
Millie chuckled softly. "Well, too crazy, and I have to fill out a lot of paperwork." She gave a quiet sigh. "Can...can we talk?"
Evelyn nodded, her anxiety growing a little. "Somewhere else though?"
Millie nodded. "Of course. The Lounge? I'm sure you need dinner, right?"
"I can stand to eat a bite." She walked with Millie, finding the moments of silence anything but silent. "So what's new?"
"Well...they have me in counseling now. Twice a week. She was one of my professors in the Academy, so I guess it's not as uncomfortable as it could be, right?" When they reached the end of the corridor, Millie gestured for Evelyn to go first into the turbolift.
Evelyn stepped in, putting her back against the curved wall. "That's good, you need someone to talk to who can understand how you're processing what happened."
"You mean, the things I did." Millie stepped into the turbolift, letting the door slip shut. "If you need to talk to someone about what you saw, it doesn't have to be me. I can arrange for you to talk to someone else."
"What do you mean?" Evelyn told the lift which deck they wanted before looking at Millie.
The counselor flushed in embarrassment. "You meet a girl, get one interrupted brunch together before you have to find her halfway across the quadrant--covered in the blood of her slain enemies..."
"Oh..well, to be honest I really wasn't that shook up about that. I was just glad we found you." When the doors open she motioned for Millie to lead.
"Really?" Millie stopped short of leaving the turbolift, surprise on her face. "I mean, that's--" She flushed an even deeper shade of red, more in shame than embarrassment.
"Morbid and dark and souless, yes my mother made sure to point that out." Evelyn gave a small smirk. "I've never been particularly....sensitive."
Millie shook her head. "No, not you--you're perfect." She resumed her exit of the turbolift. "I'm the one that's mucked things up at every step."
Evelyn caught the compliment and kept pace. "You can hardly be held accountable for going missing after a crash landing. Truth be told I shouldn't have been such a bitch back on Earth. You got called away on business, it happens."
Millie shook her head. "I was awful." She took a deep breath, knowing that she couldn't give anyone details about James--not even Evelyn. "I left without a word, or a note, or any kind of message, and I just disappeared. It was awful of me, and I openly admit it, and I'm immensely sorry that I did." Instinctively, she reached out her fingertips and brushed them against Evelyn's hand as they walked. "And you deserve so much better than what I've given you the last three months."
The brief touch flooded her with a warmth. "You're back now and I don't think either of us is going off on an adventure anytime soon so maybe we can start over?"
A smile cracked through the weariness on Millie's face. "I would like that." She laughed. "And I don't think the Captain is likely to let me off this ship any time in the next decade." Her fingertips brushed against Evelyn's hand again.
There was that warmth again. "Your friend came to pay me a visit. Thanked me for my part in figuring out where you two were. Also warned me never to get in her business again."
This time, Millie took Evelyn's hand--almost protectively. "Those things we were fighting? That's the kind of business that Trish is into." She gave the hand a squeeze, remembering the threat that James made to bring Evelyn into the danger. "I don't even know a fraction of what she's had her hands in with her job, and I couldn't bear to know that you're in that kind of danger, too."
Evelyn smiled naturally. "She meant hacking her. I promised to never intrude again and she left with a smile....which is a little unnerving."
Millie giggled. "Then you should probably never watch my sparring lessons with her. I'm pretty sure she could actually break me in half if she actually wanted to." She held onto Evelyn's hand, not wanting to let go.
"I wouldn't be surprised. But you're on her good side so no worries there." She paused, not sure if she should ruin the moment or even risk it. "Are you really doing okay?"
Millie was quiet as they walked. "Do you really want to know the answer to that?" she finally spoke, softly.
Evelyn stopped, not letting go of her hand. "Yes, I want to know everything but we can talk about it later."
Millie felt the tug on her hand and stopped, turning back. She gave a small nod. "Okay."
Evelyn pulled her into a brief, light kiss. "I missed ya."
Millie's free hand came up to brush a wisp of hair out of Evelyn's face, and she lingered. Her hand cupped Evelyn's cheek, her thumb softly stroking the woman's face. "I thought I'd lost you--twice."
"And yet here we are. Someone, somewhere, likes us."
Millie, fully aware of the others passing them in the corridor, pulled Evelyn close and into a much deeper kiss than the first. When she finally paused for air, she murmured, "I like you a lot."
That brought out an impish grin. "My place is a little crowded, would yours be available?"
Millie returned the impish grin. "I thought you'd never ask."
Lieutenant Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio
Ensign Evelyn Moro
Computer Systems Specialist, USS Mercutio