Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters: Christopher Pike/Number One
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for language
Word Count: 1,032
Prompt: 26. Number 1, moment of weakness at where_no_woman
Summary: I was his Number One for many years, and it doesn’t take much for me to see he’s hurting on the inside as well as the outside.
“Captain Cecilia Chamberlain reporting to Admiral Christopher Pike.” I stop, framed in the doorway of his room, hip cocked just slightly and a smile on my lips.
His head jerks up from the padd he’s reading. “Ceecee?” His shock is evident and I smile just a little more broadly. I can count the number of times I’ve managed to surprise him on one hand.
“Hi, Chris.” He sits in the bed, propped up with the pillows at his back. His legs are straight out in front of him under the blankets, and it hurts my heart to see him stuck in bed. I was his Number One for many years, and it doesn’t take much for me to see he’s hurting on the inside as well as the outside.
I lean forward and hug him. Normally we’re much more formal, despite being fast friends for many years, but I need this informality. I need to feel the warmth of his life under my fingers, especially after being stuck guarding the Klingon Neutral Zone for almost a year after Vulcan’s destruction. I never thought I’d be grateful that my ship needs repairs, but I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for awhile now.
“I didn’t know you were back yet,” he tells me as I seat myself on the edge of his bed.
“Yeah, we got in early, debriefed early, everything. I thought I’d drop by.” I don’t mention the three hours of sleep in the last forty-eight hours, or the stress of organizing my repairs and arguing with my XO over the rosters.
He reads the words between the lines. He hears the “I miss you” and “thank God you’re alive” in the slight rasp of my voices, sees it in the way I choose to sit closer and the way my hand flexes because I want to hold his.
“I’m glad you did.” The silence should be awkward, but it’s not. “How’s your baby?”
“Holding up well. Repairs are scheduled so damned well that we only get two weeks leave.” Our tour isn’t over, but many of my crew haven’t been home in so long, they really need the time off. I need the time off, even though Chris is the only one I’m really keen to see.
“How are you, Chris?” I ask, because I have to say it. I need to know, because I know he’s not been telling me the truth in the messages we trade. “Don’t give me the bullshit about being fine, either.” My eyes lock on his. He tries to stare me down, but I know when not to give. I’ve stood up to him many times before now.
He breaks eye contact first, lips pulling down in what is a patented Pike Pout™. It might not be your normal kind of pout, but I know that’s what it is. “Fuck you, Cee,” he mutters.
“Any time, Admiral.” The flip reply throws him off—he’s not used to not being my commanding officer, so he’s not used to my not having to comply with regs anymore. “Now how the fuck are you?”
He won’t look at me now. “I hurt, Number One,” he says softly. “Can’t hardly use my damned legs any more, and PT hurts worse than anything ever happened to us on the Excalibur. I’ll never be in the captain’s chair again, even if I do manage to walk without assistance.”
If I can’t imagine Chris not in command, I can barely grasp how horrible it must be for him. “You’ll walk again,” I promise him. It’s rash and it’s not in my control, but I swear to God I will make sure it happens.
I have to put an arm around him, and it’s a surprise when he leans into me. He’s always so strong, and I bet he hasn’t allowed himself a moment for himself since this all went down. Oh, sure, Starfleet mandates counseling but that doesn’t mean that he’s actually doing that seriously.
“You’ll walk again. You have to. Remember, you promised me a dance someday, all the way back when we were doing those stupid diplomacy gigs. So you have to do it, see?” His hair is soft under my cheek, and his arms are tight as he holds me. I’m not sure if he’s crying or not, but the sentiment is there. We’ve always had a good bond, a strong one; I’ve always wished for more, knowing I’d never have it. But right now, this is enough for both of us, as it always has been.
I don’t know how much time passes, but his tension melts slowly under my hand as it soothes circles on his back. We’re too fucking old for this shit, I think, and I must have said it because he chuckles into my shoulder.
“I will do it,” he tells me, starting to pull away. I let him go some, but I refuse to let go all the way.
“I know you will.”
He looks embarrassed, and I know he’s probably ashamed of what he thinks is a moment of weakness. Personally, I think it’s a moment of strength, because he looks stronger now. Sometimes it takes breaking down a little to build back up.
“Take me out to dinner while I’m on leave?” I ask him after forcing him to share his pillow with me. I’m tired.
I feel more than see him look at the autochair that lurks in one corner of the bedroom. “Oh, and I get to ride in your lap at some point, preferably when that brat Archer is around. He always looks so scandalized.”
He laughs, a full laugh that I haven’t heard in a long time. “Fine, fine, Cee. Whatever you want.”
Yes, he’s stronger if he’s laughing again. I only have two weeks, but I’m going to make the best of the time I have. “Be careful what you promise, Admiral. I might just take you up on it.”
I know Chris, and I can help him now. And maybe, just maybe, I think as he turns to me with a wicked glint in his eye, I might be the better for it as well.
A/N: I don’t know much about Number One, so this is entirely made up and probably out of character. I have no idea where it came from. My muse is on crack?