Chapter 10: Epilogue
Pairing: Christopher Pike x OC
Anxiously she sat on a bench in front of Cornwell's office, tea in one hand and coffee in the other while she waited for Chris’ arrival. They had spoken last night, planned to meet fifteen minutes before her appointment but now she was dreading meeting him. All the what-ifs, the idea of him casting her aside now-she wasn’t sure she would survive that. The gentle glow of the transport beam appears a few feet from her, fading into the wondrous appearance of Captain Christopher Pike in his constitution class captain uniform. The golden shirt made the blue of his eyes seem brighter even when he gave her an awkward smile. He looked unchanged, maybe a few more grey hairs than before but those dimples were familiar. Her hands trembled as she stood, letting him look her over to; looking for changes or injuries.
“Your coffee,” she held it out to him. She felt like meeting his gaze would reveal everything she was keeping hidden. He stepped forward, closing the gap between them he took both cups and placed them on the bench. His hands cupped her face making her look up at him, his eyes were glossy like he was fighting back tears.
“Hi sweetheart,” his voice cracked. “I’ve missed you.” The words he said and the relief in his eyes finally did it, her tears fell. She rose on her toes and kissed him softly, tentatively wanting to feel that familiar security envelope her. When they separated she smiled sadly up at him, registering the happiness in his eyes.
“I’m glad you’re home.”
He was being careful, scrutinizing her every move, reading her like he always had been able to do. He needed to know what happened because right now all he could gage from her was panicking relief. He wrapped his arms around her pulling her to his chest and holding her there, he let a few silent tears of his fall before regaining his composure and releasing her. They’d never been comfortable with public displays of affection, the intimacy of those acts were there’s and there’s alone but after the suffering and separation, they both needed that moment.
“I will explain everything once we get in there,” she promised, masking her emotions from him then. Slowly they began walking the perimeter of the courtyard, talking about whatever came to mind and quickly getting back in that comfortable atmosphere they’d always had.
“Everyone is eager to have you back on Enterprise.”
“My mission on Discovery isn’t complete, there are a couple of planets I need to survey and amongst them should be what Discovery needs. Once I finish that … I can return to Enterprise.” she’d almost called Enterprise home, he was making her feel like he was home again but she couldn’t accept it without him being completely informed.
“Kat promised to allow your return once you finish over there,” he smiled, offering his hand to her as they continued to walk. “Our quarters are lonely without you.”
“Chris, wait!” she turned to stand directly in front of him. “There are things-”
“Nothing is going to change.”
“Please just promi-”
His attention was solely on her, his eyes unwavering from her to make sure she saw how heartfelt his words were, “Artemis, my heart is still yours. During these years apart I have struggled with the things I’ve endured too but the one thing that got me through it was us. Picturing a time when we would be united again. I don’t want things to go back to how they were, I want us to grow stronger from navigating this difficult time.”
“Kat did say you were dealing with something too but your experience was classified.”
He nodded but didn’t linger on the topic, “Do you still love me?”
“Of course I do.” The lack of hesitation and the passion of conviction in her tone made his heart sore.
“Then we will get through this,” he vowed, kissed her forehead, took her hand, then led her to Kat’s office.
They sat side beside each other on the opposite side of Kat’s desk, Arty’s hand still in Chris’, Kat didn’t let her smile show. She let Arty lead the conversion while she and Chris simply listened. She started with everything Kat already knew, the events of those first three days and stopping after she pleaded with Terran Pike to remove the band.
“The doctors believe your fingerprint will remove it,” she pulled the turtle neck down revealing the necklace and red scars from previous attempts. Chris cursed himself for not realizing something was wrong, they’d discussed her wearing the dress uniform over slacks and shirt many times because the high collar made her feel claustrophobic. “Can you try now?”
He leaned over and placed his index finger on the spot indicated and the band immediately released falling from her neck. She sighed in relief but Kat and Chris stared and the gore, marred image of her neck from the damage of the scientist and doctors trying to remove it. She looked up at him with a grateful smile and then continued with her story.
“I didn’t have many options for getting back to Discovery and I was scared, it doesn’t excuse the actions I took,” she took a steadying breath. “I accepted Kirk’s offer but he wasn’t the one to kill Pike, I did it.”
He entered the bathroom to take a shower when the chime rang, she let Kirk in hating herself with every step she took. He told her to wait by the door and he’d get her out of there shortly. She went to change into a uniform, not wanting to show up to Discovery in pajamas when she heard the shattering of glass. When she ran into the bathroom she found Pike bleeding out, Kirk standing over him. Kirk was enjoying watching life leave Pike’s eyes.
“You gave me your word you wouldn’t kill him while I was here.”
“I haven’t yet, by the time you get to Discovery he will be close to the end.”
Mirror Pike slowly raised his hand pointing to Artemis, “Please.” she wasn’t sure if he was pleading with Kirk to spare her, or pleading with her to end it quickly.
She pushed past Kirk and kneeled on the floor, ignoring the bite of the glass as it cut into her skin. She looked into his terrifying eyes, tears flowing from her as she pictured Chris in this position. What would she do if there was no hope of him surviving? What would she do if he lay dying slowly in pain?
“I love you,” she whispered softly and leaned down and kissed him. A large piece of glass lay beside his head, she studied it only a moment before she made up her mind. She picked it up, looked into his eyes, and saw he wanted this to end quickly.
“Thank you,” he choked before she herself slit his throat. His body stopped moving then, his eyes staying on her as they glazed over into nothingness.
Kat and Chris just watched as she cried, confessing her sins, his hand only squeezed tighter to try and give her the support she needed. Chris met Kat’s eyes and knew that they both saw her as a survivor, not a murderer.
“His blood was all over me for days after and the worst part isn’t the guilt and hatred I feel for myself, it's when I did it I pictured you-that I’d be forced to one day…” she choked on a sob looking away from him.
Ignoring his superior officer, Chris slid from the chair and kneeled before Arty, “shh, hey look at me.” he said softly. “I’m right here and I’m not going anywhere.”
“I killed a man,” her lips dripped with tears as she spoke.
“You spared a man from pain and he thanked you for it.”
She dropped into his lap and cried out all the pent-up emotions as she held tightly to Chris. His presence eased her, made her feel like she wasn’t a horrible person. Kat let them have their moment, it didn’t take long before Chris’ whispering rose in tone and took on a jovial tone making Arty laugh. He helped her back into her chair and Chris looked at Kat expectantly.
“Looks like the three of us have quite the road ahead of us,” Kat smirked.
“Starting with our wedding, if you still-” Chris was cut off by Arty smirking at him. He laughed and looked back at Kat. “Are you free next Saturday?”
“Will there be booze?”