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ST:END105 | "Who counsels the counsellor? Part 5"

Updated: Apr 21, 2023


(24 November 2417)


"Bishop to Larson"


"Larson here. What is it Sam?"


"Can you meet me in my ready room? I'll be up in a sec,"


"Do you want me to come down to medical?"


"No... I'll come up. Bishop out,"


Tasha looked around the ready room. "Dedoz, bridge?"


Kannys nodded. "Yes, Commander,"


They passed each other in a semi-awkward silence as she made her way to the ready room, perching on the side of the sofa and waiting for Sam. She had some idea of what Sam wanted to speak to her about. She had been thinking of her answer for a while now, but she still hadn't formulated a satisfactory one. She wrangled her hands together. How would she do this?


Sam entered the ready room. He looked weary, not at all as well rested as a man who was meant to be in sickbay should look. He smiled when he saw Tasha. "How are you?"


"Fine," she replied.


"How is command treating you?"


"As it normally does,"


"That's good... drink?" Sam made his way to the desk.


"No thanks. Sam you look tired. What's wrong?"


Sam poured himself a glass of whisky, taking it to the sofa. "It's stress,"


"Stress for what? You're meant to be resting,"


"That's the thing. Not doing anything stresses me out. Knowing that the ship doesn't have a proper Commanding Officer stresses me out,"


Tasha looked at him. "Sam, you know I'm in charge..."


"But you're not. Tasha. You're not. You're acting CO. I need someone who can bear the responsibilities of command if I'm not there. You and I both know this is not the only time I'll be out. You know what I'm like. That's why... Tasha, please. Take the promotion to First Officer,"


Tasha closed her eyes. She knew this was coming. "I can't Sam. I can't..."


"Why not? Tasha if you're worried about how you'll command, I can tell you, you've been doing great,"


"It's not that Sam. I... just am not confident in command,"


"Why?"


"I don't bloody know why!" Tasha yelled suddenly. "Okay? I don't know. I haven't got your tactical eye. I haven't got your presence. I don't love this ship as you do. I don't like people looking up to me, as you do,"


"Tasha, these things take time..."


"No. Sam. No. I've been your acting first officer for a few months. I know the job. I can't do it,"


Sam leant back. "You... don't blame yourself, do you?"


Tasha looked at him. "No Sam... I don't. I did what I could. But that's all I can do. Being in command... it scares me. I struggle to breathe. The walls feel like they're closing in on me. I don't like the feeling. But you do. Sam, I've stared at you on the bridge long enough to know that you revel in it,"


Sam took a sip of his drink before setting it down. "I can't lead alone Tasha. I don't have anyone left that I trust. Only you. Jaidan's gone. He was my next pick. It's just you. And I believe in you so much Tash," Sam shifted next to her.


"I know you do Sam... I just... it's not something I can do..." she rested her head on his shoulder. She felt his warmth, his presence. It was enough to calm her down. "I'll find you a First Officer Sam, I promise. It's just not me..."


Sam lifted her head off his shoulder and looked at her. "Tasha. There has not been a single officer that I've interviewed that I've just clicked with. But I did it with you. Even when we hated each other, we were such a good partnership. And now... now we're the only ones from the old breed left. I need you by my side. I need you on that right-hand chair,"


Tasha smiled slightly. "Sam. My place is not at your right. It's on your left, in the position afforded to me as Head Counsellor. We make a good team. But I... don't think we'll be better if I'm your XO,"


"Tash, what are we going to do then?"


"We?"


Sam scoffed lightly. "I'm in charge og this ship. And when I'm here, you're in charge of me. Isn't that how this works?"


Tasha smiled. "That is how it works. Sam. I will find you a First Officer. Trust me,"


"I do Tasha. You know I do. Apart from my wife, you are the only other person left alive who knows me well,"


Tasha let go of Sam's hand. "Sam... can I tell you something?"


Sam looked at her with those startling green eyes. Those damned eyes. "Yes, what's wrong?"


Tasha sighed. "I..." she stopped to take a breath. "I did love you Sam. All those years ago, at the academy. Despite loving Jenny, I... had feelings for you too..."


"I guessed that much Tasha..." he smiled.


"But I also fell back in love with you when I first joined. I felt like. Maybe we could have had a chance together,"


"Tasha..."


"No but... listen," she was on a roll and was too scared to stop, too scared to think what Sam's reaction would be. "When I found out that you were engaged, it felt like I was losing Jenny again. Only... only that I never had you to begin with. Do you know how much that hurts Sam? To watch someone you love, be with someone else, not even knowing what your feelings for that person is?"


Sam swallowed. "I... don't,"


"What's worse, is that she's so perfect for you Sam. So. Damn. Perfect. There's not a chance that I could ever compete with her. And so I stopped trying. I... I loved you enough to let you be happy. And," she looked up at Sam, her eyes dripping with tears. "And you are happy. So happy. It's so great,"


"So... Tasha... why are you telling me this? Why... why now?" Sam said, stunned.


"Because I want you to know. As... a counsellor, I don't have anyone to confide in but my friends. And you are my friend Sam. My best friend. And it's bugged me for a long time. This is the first time since your marriage I've had a chance to speak to you, without anything else in the way,"


"Does... this have anything to do with refusing to be in Command?" smiled for the first time since her confession.


Tasha reciprocated his smile, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Not... really... I promise. That's purely because I know I can do better as Second Officer,"


Sam paused for a second and pulled her into a tight hug. Tasha buried her face into his chest. "Listen, Tasha. Of course, I'm your friend. Your best friend. And you know that you're the only friend I have left. We'll look after each other,"


"I hate getting friend zoned," Tasha mumbled. "But I'm glad I told you,"


"So am I Tasha. You're someone whom I admire greatly. Someone who I trust with my life. When you're with me, I feel safe knowing that you'll get me home to my wife safely. You're... family to me Tasha,"


Tasha pulled out of the hug and looked at him. "You're family to me, Sam. It means a lot,"


Sam smiled and reached up to wipe the tears from her face. "You won't reconsider?"


"I will find you a First Officer. I promise you,"


Sam gave a slight nod and stood. "We'll get a drink after your shift. Let me know," he said.


"I will do Sam,"


"You have the bridge Commander," Sam chuckled lightly as he left the room.


"Thank you, Captain," Tasha replied.

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