Gun Brooke MirAndy/J7 Fanfiction Advent Calendar

- o - 0 - o -

Below the Surface


There are two hidden links so far (not behind any of the doors) that will lead you to two manips. Search with the cursor until you see it change into a hand. :-)


 


Happy St Lucia Day!

 

Door 13

 

Annika paced back and forth through her hotel room. Being quite wealthy, she still rarely stayed at luxurious hotel. She found three-star hotel completely adequate when she was forced to leave either her house in Oakland, or her quarters aboard Voyager. She had quickly found she loved living aboard the impressive science ship, surrounded by colleagues and scientists. For her it was the perfect world and now she feared she may lose it. What was even worse, by far, was the risk of never working with Kathryn Janeway…of not being in her vicinity on a daily basis. Being here in New York—literally on the other side of the world from the woman she cared so deeply for and admired so much—was painful.

The well-known Skype tone made her jump. She saw it was Kathryn pinging her and as much as she did miss her, Annika was worried about a video conference. Of course, she would never willingly ignore Kathryn. She tapped answer on the touch screen of her 17” laptop and sat down in front of it.

Kathryn came into view, smiling broadly. “Annika, there you are—wait…you look pale. Or is it the lighting?”

“Probably the lighting. I’m in my hotel room.”

“I see.” Kathryn frowned slightly. “Is there any way you can please share with me why you’re there?” Supporting her chin in her hand, Kathryn sat in a very familiar position. Behind her, Annika recognized the wall above Kathryn’s bed in her quarters. As captain and chief marine geologist, Kathryn held the biggest quarters, consisting also of a small kitchenette and an en-suite bathroom. All the other quarters were nice, but they shared the ten common bathrooms with each other.

“I’m seeing a…a specialist.” Not sure how to tell Kathryn the truth without upsetting or worrying her, Annika scrutinized Kathryn’s face as she felt her way forward.

“What kind of specialist?” Kathryn drew a deep breath and Annika realized being too obtuse was actually worse.

“A psychotherapist.” Annika cleared her voice. “I’m going through some things and you know I hate to let anything fester. I’d rather just face it head on.”

“What’s happened? Oh, God.” Kathryn paled enough for it to show up on Skype. “Has something happened to you? Have you been, you know, attacked?”

Appalled at how badly she was explaining herself to Kathryn, Annika hurried to reassure her. She had hoped to wait and explain until she reached New Zealand, but that was not possible. It never was, she realized. The mere idea was unprofessional—not to mention, dangerous. “No, not at all. Nothing like that. I’ve had issues during training, Kathryn. I get claustrophobic and panic attacks in the water. I don’t feel safe as your dive leader. I had hoped to discover the root of the problem before I fly to New Zealand, but that’s not very likely.” Dragging her hand through her hair, for once loose around her shoulders, Annika sighed. “I’m going to try hypnosis as part of the therapy. My therapist is considering my request she accompany me, along with her assistant. They are the ones I need the guest quarters for. If it is still all right now that you know?” Annika lowered her gaze and brushed away a few specs of dust from her keyboard.

“Is this why you’ve been so—unusually aloof?” Kathryn asked noncommittally.

“I suppose so, yes. I really wanted to fix the problem without worrying you. I know how much your company relies on this particular exploration, not to mention the film we’re supposed to shoot. I hate to be the one jeopardizing everything.” Schooling her features, Annika still couldn’t avoid a trembling breath from betraying her emotional state.

“You’re doing nothing of the sort. Yes, I depend on you for our divers, but when something happens that is beyond your control, you’re not to blame. Whether it is a broken leg, or…something else.” Kathryn leaned in closer. “And just to be clear. I will not have you endanger yourself. If you cannot dive, you will assist me in instructing Icheb and the others.”

Annika tried to fathom that her fears of letting Kathryn down didn’t seem to faze her boss at all. “But, this is such an important exploration. The film is going to pay for years of research and equipment we’ve needed for years and—”

“And that will still happen.” Sounding stern now, Kathryn pressed her lips to a fine line. “You are not expendable by any means, but there are more than one way to go about this mission. And you know my motto. Safety first. There are no films or explorations that are more important than any of my crew. When it comes to you, that’s an understatement. I can’t have anything bad happen to you. It—it would break my heart.” Pushing back from the table, Kathryn was now away from the web camera, but Annika could still hear her move inside her quarters.

“Kathryn?” Annika’s heart fluttered at what Kathryn had just uttered with such emphasis.

“I’m here. Just getting another coffee.” Kathryn returned to her chair, looking slightly flustered. Her blue-grey eyes were bluer than usual. “So, where were we?”

Annika swallowed. “You said if anything happened to me…” She couldn’t go on, couldn’t say the impossible words.

“Yes. That’s not even thinkable.” There was hardened steel in Kathryn’s voice.

“All right.” Clearly, Kathryn wasn’t going to repeat the part about how her heart would be affected. “Just to be clear. If Miranda Priestly and her assistant, Andy, decide they can come with me, is that still all right?”

“Absolutely. And did you say Miranda Priestly?” Kathryn looked stunned. “I’ve actually read a couple of her books. She’s your therapist?”

“Yes. I wanted the best because of the time constraint.” Annika shrugged self-consciously.

“Miranda Priestly doesn’t come cheap,” Kathryn said slowly. “And to have her undivided attention for two-three weeks…that must cost a fortune.” She shook her head slowly. “Annika, I’m not trying to pry into your private finances. Truly. I know I pay you well, but not that well.”

“I can afford it. Miranda’s fees will come out of my pocket. I don’t expect you to—”

“That’s not what I mean.” Rubbing her left temple, Kathryn sighed. “I’m not even sure what I mean.”

“Kathryn, I’ll be joining you in a week. We can talk more when we’re on the same continent.” By then, Annika may have come up with a good explanation for where her money did come from.

“I’ll make sure I’m very busy in the meantime,” Kathryn said, a half-smile gracing her lips. “A week can seem terribly long when one is waiting…I think your absence is getting to me. The rest of the crew are making up excuses not to work where I am. I might be just a tad cranky.”

“My absence affects your mood?” Annika knew she sounded just as incredulous as she felt.

“Well. What can I say? You’re irreplaceable. And I worry about you.”

Annika thought fast, but found herself incapable of drawing conclusions from Kathryn’s words. “I worry about you too,” she managed, tucking her hair behind her ears. “You can be quite reckless at times.”

“Reckless? Me? I never knew you thought of me that way?

Annika gasped softly. If Kathryn had any idea of how she sometimes thought of her, imagining them together in very different settings than as boss and employee, she’d no doubt find it appalling. Those daydreams were sometimes so vivid, Annika blushed as her mind barely nudged as it passed the forbidden scenes that could start replaying at the most inappropriate of times. “I do. And in many other ways.” God. Was it because Kathryn had spoken far too candidly earlier that Annika’s own filter was malfunctioning?

“I…I wish to know about those other ways,” Kathryn said, not making eye contact, her voice a throaty rumble.

No. Not now. Not yet. “I’m sorry. I need to go now. I’ll text you…or Skype you…tomorrow.” Trembling, Annika pulled her lower lip in between her teeth.

Kathryn covered her mouth with her three middle finger tips of her left hand, her eyes wide. “Oh. Yes. Of course. All right. Tomorrow.” She raised her free hand in a short wave and the screen went back to displaying her short contact list.

“Oh, my…” Annika closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. “What the hell am I doing?”

And, to be blunt, what was Kathryn up to, acting so up front all of a sudden?  

 

 

 


 
Door 14 will open on Dec 14, 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

FEEDBACK