Where’s an All-Night Pharmacy When You Need It - Part 9
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8
Pairing: Christopher Pike x Reader
Summary: Flashback to five years ago. Noah'a birth is overdue and Chris proposes.
Five Years Ago
“Babies come when they are ready Chris, not when their impatient fathers desire it,” Phil says in a soothing tone. Amused he thinks, all expectant fathers are just alike.
Chris stops pacing and sits in a nearby chair. He picks up a PADD stylus and taps it against the palm of his hand. “She’s two weeks overdue. You said your calculations were always accurate within a day.”
“I got this one wrong. It’s not an exact science.” Chris glares in response. Phil then advises, “Try to relax and enjoy these final quiet days. Bank some extra sleep, you’re going to need it.”
“Should you induce labor?”
“Only if mother or baby are in distress. Otherwise its best to let nature set the timetable.”
“When did you examine them last?”
“This morning. Both are fine. I’ll check in on them again in the morning.”
“You mean this evening,” Chris suggests in a firm tone that invites no disagreement.
“Very well, but I am telling her you made me.”
“What? Are we in high school?”
Phil chuckles. “Right now her ankles are swollen, her back hurts, she’s shedding water weight, her abdomen is cramping. The baby is rarely still and often playing a solo high-impact contact sport kicking relentlessly and vigorously. Her body feels awkward and unattractive. She needs TLC but constant overt fussing becomes annoying. In the interest of marital harmony, try to be subtle.”
Chris mutters to himself. Phil is fairly certain the Captain is not complimenting his CMO.
“Surely Number One has something for you to do,” Phil prods. Best for everyone on board if Chris is kept busy right now.
“For reasons I cannot begin to fathom she is conducting a Level A1 inspection of everything. I am inundated with reports from it.”
Well done Una, just what the doctor ordered. “I’ll let you get to it then.” As Chris rises to leave Phil reminds, “Call me if our mother-to-be has any shoulder pain or a persistent headache.”
“Where’s Chris?” Phil asks as he scrutinized the readouts on his scanner.
I shift back and forth trying to find any position that’s comfortable. Once I manage to ease the now constant ache in my lower back the baby starts kicking. “Sent him to the bridge,” I reply through gritted teeth, adding in a low grumble, “so he can hover over someone else for a little while.”
“Ah. The fierce protector is in overdrive?”
“I imagine that feels suffocating at times.”
I nod again.
“It’s hard being the bystander. I know, I feel the same way. You’re like a daughter to me.” I smile at him fondly. He gestures to my swelling abdomen. “And this child a grandson. Chris is a man of action who is used to being in charge. He isn’t in this situation and there is no direct action he can take other than taking care of you.”
“Yes.” My voice gets very quiet. “I’ve made everything harder for him. Keeping a crew safe on a deep space mission is a heavy responsibility. Balancing the safety of his child on top of that is … it’s one burden too many.”
Phil chuckles. “I’m pretty sure Chris was a willing participant. Or did no one ever explain to the two of you the possible consequences of all that sex? The reality of long-term missions far from settled space is pregnancies happen and you cannot always get home before the child arrives. Our Captain has shoulders big enough to carry the load.” He places a hand on my stomach. “He really is active. There’s no doubt he belongs to Chris.”
“I don’t think he ever sleeps. The baby that is.” It’s impossible to hide my misery and the tears that are always just below the surface spill out. “Sorry. It seems like I am always crying or being ratty to Chris.”
“Tears are normal. As is a bit of crankiness. He understands.” Phil closes the scanner. “No signs of early labor yet, I think you have another week to go.”
“Just yesterday I was grateful the baby is late. I’m not ready. Today, I’m still not sure I am ready, but I just want it to be over.”
He patted my hand affectionately. “Also normal. May I give you some unsolicited advice?”
I didn’t try to hide my amusement, “When has saying no ever stopped you?”
That elicits a knowing grin. “True. When Chris comes back, spend time focused on each other and not the baby. Have a quiet dinner together, make love if you feel up to it. If not, spend the night in each other’s arms. I’m across the hall if needed.” Phil tilts his head and frowns slightly. “And after that unintentional yet awkward segue, I’ll make a quick exit.”
I rub my baby bump, which is more accurately termed a baby beach ball at this point. “You, little one, chose your father well. Let’s take care of him tonight.”
By the time Chris returned, I had freed my hair from the messy bun adopted over the past few weeks and changed into a soft wrap dress that clung to the parts of my body the pregnancy accentuated. The lights were dimmed, and soft music floated through the small rooms. He came bearing a bouquet of white roses, my favorite. Flowers are a rare gesture for him. And, as he did every morning before leaving our quarters, every night before going to sleep, and every evening when the work part of our day was through, he kisses me, a quick kiss of love and affection. I look forward to each one. I know it will be hard to maintain these little rituals once the baby arrives and consumes our time and attention, and I will miss them.
He smiles, that special smile reserved for me. “You look beautiful.”
After almost a year and half together, the sincerity of his compliments still makes me blush. I reach for the flowers and press them to my nose. “Thank you, they are lovely.”
“Are you hungry?” I ask. Chef, channeling his Italian and Persian grandmothers, has rigid views on diet for pregnant women and insists I eat at least one home cooked meal each day. My constant cravings for macaroni and cheese, French fries sauced with a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise, and vanilla milkshakes are taxing his considerable creativity and innate lack of patience. With Chris’ tendency towards vegetarianism thrown in, the challenge is pushing Chef to his limits, and he can be heard muttering to himself alternately in French, Italian, and Arabic and often using all three languages in the same sentence. Today’s offering includes a summery tomato salad, eggplant and lemon risotto, and rare beef coated with olive oil and basil served at room temperature. When he dropped off the tray, Chef shook his finger at me and admonished, “Finish all the meat, Phil says you’re are iron deficient again.” There is little privacy on a starship packed with a crew that becomes like family and with an event that galvanizes protectiveness everyone is micromanaging this pregnancy.
“Yeah. Let me get cleaned up and changed first.”
After dinner, Chris settles me on the couch, making me as comfortable as is possible when over nine months pregnant. While tidying up he says casually, “Today is our six-month anniversary.”
My brows crease. Is it possible I forgot? I count backwards. “Wait, no, our wedding anniversary is next month.”
“No not that one. Six months ago, in what is quite possibly the worst proposal in the history of mankind, I asked you to marry me.”
Despite that moment’s lack of anything within the same quadrant of romance it is a fond memory for me, and I smile. “The evening you walked into our quarters and said, without any preamble, ‘I checked the regs and I can marry us with or without witnesses. Shall we do it now and get it over with?’” I chuckled. “There was no asking involved.”
“To which you replied, ‘you don’t have to marry me just because you knocked me up.’” Chris grimaces. “And then you burst into tears.”
“Hormones,” I point out.
“And an insensitive boyfriend,” Chris finishes.
I crook my finger beckoning him. As he leans over me, I run my hands up his chest and wrap my arms around his neck, guiding him down and near my lips. I whisper in his ear, “Your apology was memorable.”
Sitting on the coffee table so we are at eye level, he takes my hand in his, kissing first my palm and then my wrist. Reaching for my other hand, he clasps them. “I request a do-over. I knew after our first date …”
I interject, “I don’t think being stranded in a shuttle for twelve hours is really a date.”
“Who is proposing here?” Chris asks with mock annoyance and a faint smile.
“Sorry. My bad. Please continue.”
Chris clears his throat and takes a breath. “After our first date I knew we were for each other, that you are my joy and true love. That every random occurrence in my life had cause, it was leading me to you, the one I was born to care for and cherish. That day I silently vowed my fidelity to you and promised that with me you would find the support and devotion to express your inner light and beauty.” He kisses me. “Every day since I’ve affirmed those vows. Will you be my partner for the rest of our lives? And beyond?”
This time the tears aren’t due to hormones. I pull him close, and we embrace. Chris tilts my chin up and wipes away my tears. “Well?” he asks.
“Yes. For always.”