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Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.

Notes: This was written for a writing exercise on The Delphic Expanse website. The prompt was "I could never tell anyone that..." Can you guess who's the narrator?

Rating: T


I could never tell anyone. Even now, wherever I've ended up after you die, I'll keep my mouth shut.

Her picture in her personnel file didn't do justice. I glanced at her face and thought, "Damn, they're recruiting younger and younger." The file outlined her achievements: second in her class, linguistics genius, the first person to learn the Klingon language. All before the age of 25. Great, an academic who would probably scream and run away at the first sign of combat. Then I read how she had broken a man's arm during a floating poker game at STC, got kicked out, then reinstated.

My mind ground to a halt. Wait. Was this the same person? Did someone screw up, put someone else's file in hers? I'm trained to notice things that don't make sense. In combat, it's that awareness that will save your life. That's what they teach you at West Point, anyway. I re-read the short paragraph. Nope, not seeing things.

Maybe this girl had some backbone after all. Meeting her was going to be interesting.

She approached our table, not long after we came on board. Not intimidated by the different uniforms at all...interesting. I noticed the smile as she teased Kemper about his "Duluth inflections", but that smile became serious as she reassured Chang about our upcoming mission. Part of me was the detached observer, but there was another part that was jumping up and down, screaming, but I ignored it.

I told her we had a briefing. That was the truth, but I needed to get out of the Mess Hall before I said something I'd regret later.

But I watched her from afar, the impassive observer, as I put the command staff through hand-to-hand combat training. I made sure to assign someone else as her sparring partner, like Chang or Romero. Bad enough that Reed thought I was trying to take over his department. It wasn't long before I figured out the Armory Officer had the hots for the Communications Officer, but was too much of a gentleman to take it any further.

Dammit. I understood the sentiment. I don't know how I betrayed my feelings for her, but Reed picked up on it. It all exploded that night in the gym. We never said it out loud, but it wasn't just control of security or the success of our mission. It was something more...personal.

Personal. I never let things get too personal. But I did. I guess it was the stress of the upcoming mission, but she sought me out after Reed and the others went to the Xindi Sphere. I guess she was worried about him, and Hawkins, and she needed someone to talk to. I did too, but damned if I'd admit it to anyone. She's perceptive; she knows these kind of things.

One thing led to another. Let's just say I underestimated her in more than one area of expertise. Afterwards, she kissed me softly, put on her uniform and left for her quarters. I stared up at the ceiling, wondering what the hell happened.

Three hours later, she was a prisoner of the XIndi. I'd promised Reed I'd bring her home.

Forty-eight hours later, I led the rescue party.

Fifty hours later, I died. And now I'm stuck here, wherever here is. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory. I'd do it all over again, for her. For the only woman I've really loved.

But I'll never tell anyone what really went on between us. If it means a permanent sentence in this in-between place, so be it.

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trekwriter151

May 2012

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