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The setting for the Sheila & K'avir stories is the Star Trek Mirrorverse. Anything Star Trek-related are the intellectual property of Gene Roddenberry. All other characters, planets, star systems and content not within said scope are my own.


11.20.2011

The End of a Love Affair (1/3)

Starring Jay Tavare as Agent Kit Eastman & Kimberly Elise as Agent Zuri Troy

I guess I’ve had enough of Jackson.  I’ve been sitting here thinking about things as they used to be and as they are now and it has occurred to me that I’m seeing things a lot more clearly.  Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant and incapable of bullshit.  Be that as it may, I’ve simply had enough.  Yes, I was glad to see that he was all right; that his latest adventure left him no worse for wear.  I will never deny the bond we had, the friendship we’d built, or the love we shared.  I am not that kind of woman.  He meant a lot to me.  But his nonchalance at my pregnancy was the last straw.  He knew what it meant to me to finally be able to conceive; in fact, he’d helped me out a couple of times, but I never caught pregnant. 
Agent Zuri Troy
When he disappeared, I tried to move on with my life and sought out a fertility clinic.  I was successful the second time around, and when he came back, I thought I could count on his full support.  His words to the contrary cut me to the quick.  He just looked at me and tossed off banal congratulations as though he was reading one of the reports we have to submit to our supervisor.  I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.  How could he be so blasé about the most important thing in my life?  I think that was the beginning of the end. 
We weren’t meant to be a couple, and it was something we both understood early on in our relationship.  We’re better as friends; or at least we were.  I guess my hurt feelings were what got me to looking in another direction. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be Jackson’s friend and will help him in any way I can, but it will never again be the way it used to be.  Not anymore.  In the solace of my apartment, I took the time to really think about everything.  By the grace of God, I’d been given a wonderful blessing. I’d wanted a baby for years, ever since my miscarriage and I tried to do it the right way.  But I allowed my career to take precedence, to take over, to nearly consume me as it did him.  One day, I realized that I had to at least try and give myself a chance at an actual life.  Which, for me, included a baby, another job, and maybe even a boyfriend. 

I took my time planning my breakaway.  After I gave birth, I would put in for a transfer and go back to work three months after I had my baby.  There were so many options for a woman with my skills and abilities, but I wanted to make sure that I chose the right path for my baby and me.  I wanted sensible hours, less stress, and weekends off.   Jackson knew something was off.  I didn’t behave any differently, but he has always been a perceptive man and picked up on a vibe or something. 
 Anyway, he asked me if I was mad at him and I told him I wasn’t. 
He didn’t believe me, and I honestly didn’t care.  He kept trying to get me to talk about it, but I absorbed myself in my work and ignored him.  He wasn’t used to that; I’d spoiled him by always giving him my full attention, and when he wasn’t getting it, his petulance showed.  That was my fault; everything about the way he treated me was my fault because I’d allowed him to take me for granted so long.

One weekend, about five months into my pregnancy, I did something I hadn’t done in years; lose myself in television.  The glut of sitcoms and reality television had driven me from the idiot box, but for whatever reason, I wanted to indulge in being a pregnant couch potato.  I surrounded myself with snacks and curled up on my couch.  There were a few good mini-marathons running simultaneously, and I alternated back and forth, enjoying doing nothing.  My doorbell rang.  I hadn’t expected anybody to come by; I didn’t have many friends outside of my job at the Bureau, and they really weren’t friends, just acquaintances.  When I made it to the door, I peeked out and saw one of my new colleagues.  He’d been assigned to Violent Crimes about three months ago.  We’d worked together on a few cases, but nothing major.  His name was Kitchi Eastman and everybody called him Kit.  I opened the door, curious as to why he was there.  I guess my shock was evident because I have not given this man any reason to like me, but he seemed to in spite of it.

“Agent Troy?”

“Agent Eastman?”  I was looking at him as if he had grown another head.  I really was surprised to see him standing at my door, casually dressed in black jeans and a heavy black sweater that set off his obsidian eyes and midnight hair.  Kit wore his hair tied in a neat tail, and I’d heard more than one of my colleagues—male and female—wonder aloud what it felt like.

“I guess you’re wondering what I’m doing here?”

“You think?” I said, a smile creasing my face.  This was odd, but not entirely unpleasant.  Kit’s handsome.  I moved to bid him entrance, and he came in.

“Have a seat,” I said, and went into the living room with him following behind me.  “I must admit, I am surprised to see you here.”

I resumed my seat on the couch and he sat in the chair.  Kit’s skin was a dark tan, which was a pleasant contrast to his hair and made his smile even brighter.  He looked at me.  “I was wondering how you’re doing.  I didn’t see you come back to the office.”

“Oh,” I said.  “That.”  Jackson had actually instigated an argument with me in the cafeteria, questioning my aloofness and how I didn’t seem to care about him or our cases anymore.  I refused to engage him, and he became downright peevish, raising his voice and carrying on like a spoiled child.  I was embarrassed, and in trying to walk away, tripped and fell.  Louis, our supervisor, let me go home for the day.  “Louis was scared I was going to miscarry and let me go home early.

“I don’t want to overstep my bounds, Agent Troy, but I really wanted to smack Jackson.”

“Call me Zuri,” I said.  “And no, you’re not.  Jackson deserved a punch, not a smack.  But to answer your question, I’m just fine.  The baby’s okay.  My shoulder’s a little sore, but I’ve dealt with worse.”

“Zuri,” he said, as if tasting my name.  “Good.  I was concerned.”

“That’s sweet of you, but I’m okay.”  I leaned forward and grabbed my bottle of water.  “Care for something to drink?  I was in the middle of a SyFy sea beast marathon.”

Kit snorted.  “There is nothing quite like a SyFy original movie.  What’s on?”

“Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.”  I smiled gleefully.  “I admit, I love craptastic movies with bad acting, unrealistic plots and cheesy effects.  In this flick, the shark actually takes a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge and the octopus bitch-slaps an F-14 out of the sky.  It’s epically awesome.”
Agent Kit Eastman
Kit’s expression was one of surprise.  I’m sure he wasn’t expecting me to be so courteous, but what the hell.  I could do with some company.  And he was easy on the eyes.  “Do you want something to drink?”  

           “No thanks.  I’m fine.”  He eased back into the chair.  I was amused to see him relax; he’d gotten what he presumably came for, but showed no signs of leaving.  I decided not to call him on it.  Instead, I tucked my feet underneath my legs and relaxed on the couch.  A few minutes passed and then my curiosity got the better of me.

“Kit?”

“Yes?”

“Was that all you wanted?”

He looked down for a second, and then back up at me with a smile on his face.  “No.”
 I didn’t smile back.  “Well, what’s the other reason?”

“I was worried about you, Zuri.  I meant it.  No one else in the field office showed the least bit of concern about you or what happened; especially Jackson.  When I made a comment about it to Wolf Bridges, he said that you guys were always like that.  Then he told me that Jackson was the father of your baby, and that you guys were probably fighting about it.”

I closed my eyes as my face got warm.  How do I explain this to a guy—my sometime partner—I’d been working with for the past three months?
        “Zuri, I don’t care about that part.  What you do and who you do it with is your business.  I just don’t like the fact that nobody seemed to care, not even Jackson, that you or the baby might be hurt.”
        “Kit,” I said, sitting up.  “Thank you.  And you’re right; very few seem to care what happens to me.  I’ve not done anything to endear myself to anyone in the field office because of my loyalty to Jackson.  You see how he ostracizes everyone. You know how I’ve treated you.  So I’m surprised that you’re sitting in my house, demonstrating that you care enough to check on me.  I haven’t given you a reason to be so concerned.”
        “I know we didn’t get along at first; you thought I was trying to replace Jackson when he went missing.  And your penchant for going off by yourself without notifying me irritated the hell out of me.  We were partners and I didn’t know you were pregnant then.  Your stubbornness could have gotten you and your baby killed.  You could have at least considered your child’s safety, Zuri.”
        “It was very early.  And I wasn’t sure if I was pregnant.  I really didn’t mean to worry you, Kit.  I guess Jackson has rubbed off on me more than I thought.”
            “He’s rather notorious, isn’t he?”
            “You have no idea.”
            “How is it that you’ve stayed with him so long?”
            “We’ve been through a lot.  You know how it can be, working with someone 24/7, sometimes so close you’re like one body.  Jackson isn’t a bad guy; he’s just misunderstood because nobody knows what motivates him.”
            “Do you?”
            “I thought I did.  But I’ve since learned that he really is a selfish bastard and it’s time for me to get away from him.”
            Kit blinked.  Then he looked at me.  “Zuri, do you mind if I ask you something personal?”
            I knew what he was going to ask me.
            “There’s gossip going around; Wolf was the one who told me, but I never put any weight in hearsay.  Is Jackson the father of your child?”
            I wasn’t sure what to tell him.  Jackson and I had sex a few times and I had been trying to get pregnant.  He knew it and we already had an understanding about our relationship should I conceive.  But Kit didn’t need to know all of that.  “No. Not that it’s anyone else’s business, but I went to a fertility clinic.”
            “Hmm,” Kit said, and then frowned.  “Then why does everyone think he is?  And if you don’t mind me asking this: why would you need to go to a clinic?  I’m sure that there’s plenty of men that could…”
            “Kit, what’s with all the questions?”
            “I’m just trying to fill in the blanks.  I don’t like what people are saying about you and what that means for me as your new partner.”
            “I don’t care what people say about me, Kit.  They can get in line with the rest of the assholes waiting for me to give a shit.  They’ll never get within shouting distance of the truth.  Jackson and I had an affair, but he didn’t impregnate me.  If you’re thinking that I’m a loose woman who fucks every partner I get, well then let me make life easy for you and point you towards the door.  I don’t have to get along with or like anyone in that office; I’m there to work.”
            “You misunderstand, Zuri.  I never thought that.  I just heard the rumors and thought I’d come straight to the source.  Like it or not, we work together.  Jackson has issues with it; he’s territorial about you, but he’s just going to have to get over it.”
            I decided to tell Kit the truth.  “Jackson has opted to treat this event as if it doesn’t matter to him at all.”
            Kit looked like someone had just goosed him.  “What?”
            “When I saw him in the hospital after he returned, he took one look at me and asked how the cases were going.  He was rather nonchalant at seeing my pregnant state.  I admit; it hurt me that he could be so nonplussed about something that means so much to me.  He knew how much I wanted a baby.  Since then, I’ve decided that my child is more important than our friendship.”
            “What an asshole,” Kit said.
            “Eight months ago, I would have defended Jackson.  But I’m tired of him.  I’m tired of working in that field office and having nothing to come home to.  I need to get control of my life and that means getting away from Jackson.  I’ve decided to get reassigned.”
            “What?  Where?  When were you going to tell me?”
            “In a few weeks, but I may as well tell you now.  I want to transfer back to Quantico as a firearms instructor.  I’d keep normal hours, do something I like, and most importantly, be able to be a mother to my child.”
            “You’re leaving?”
            “I need to,” I said.  “Jackson has proven himself to be what everyone’s been saying all those years: a selfish, inconsiderate bastard.  I don’t have time for that anymore.  I’m going to be a mother and I want to put all my energies into being the best mother possible.”
            “You know he won’t just let you go, Zuri.  Jackson is possessive of you.”
            “Did he tell you that?”
            Kit closed his eyes and sighed.  “He didn’t have to.  I know the look.  Maybe it’s best that you get reassigned.”
            “I promise I was going to tell you.”
            Kit got up and sat next to me.  I stared at him; at those piercing obsidian orbs and at his mouth.  He had a beautiful mouth.  Why hadn’t I seen that before?
            “I believe you,” he said.  “Your obligations are to you and your baby.  You don’t owe me anything, Zuri.  Not even an explanation.”  Absently, he ran one hand over my bare foot and it was as if I’d received an electric shock.  I took a quick breath and looked at him.  He trailed one finger over my instep and I closed my eyes.
            “Kit...” I decided to ignore his actions and concentrate on the facts.  “…I did plan to tell you.  I hadn’t quite worked it all out.  I was going to put in my request next week and hopefully be able to start back at Quantico after my baby is born. I’ve spoken with my old instructor and he’s pulling strings.  I always loved my firearms classes.”
            Kit seemed entranced by my foot.  I was glad I’d gotten a pedicure yesterday after leaving work. “That’s reasonable, Zuri,” he said.  “I know how good you are with your weapon.”  Then he murmured, “I’ll miss you, though.”
            I looked him dead in the face.  I didn’t hear the man right, I’m sure. Kit and I had been working together on and off for about three months, and we'd never once been able to have a conversation without it becoming heated.  I resented him for trying to replace Jackson especially when I didn't know if he was dead.  It didn’t matter to me that it hadn't been Kit's choice to be partnered up with a woman everyone else called “that icy bitch.”

   “Why, Kit? This is the first time we've ever been able to sit down and actually talk.  I was sure you didn’t like me.  I sure as hell didn’t like you.”  No point in lying about it.

    “I’ll miss working with you.  You’re an all right partner, better than most I’ve had, in spite of the fact that we didn't get along.”

   “Kit, that doesn’t make a lick of sense.  We never knew each other and I pushed you away every chance I got.  I’d think you’d be relieved that you didn’t have to put up with me anymore.”

     He looked at me.  “Once I learned that you were pregnant, I could overlook your erratic behavior.  And now knowing the truth of your relationship with Jackson, I can forgive you for it.”

    “Thank you, Kit.  That’s very magnanimous of you.”  It was; for I’d been nothing but nasty to him when we first started working together.  “You’re very kind.”

    “Zuri, I’d like to be friends,” he said.  “You don’t have an ally in that office.  Not one.  Louis, maybe, but he plays the middle and sometimes you can’t trust him.”

    “Figured that out, have you?”

    “Didn’t take but two days.  Anyway, I came by to extend the hand of friendship.”  He did so, stretching his hand.  I grabbed it; his palm was warm and his hand was strong.

    “I accept,” I said.  It might be nice, having such a handsome man as a friend.  “But once I’m back at Quantico, you’re going to be stuck with Jackson.  Good luck with that.  Let me recommend you keep a nice bottle of vodka, scotch or tequila in your desk. You'll want a nice stiff drink after dealing with him on a regular basis.”

  “I don’t drink,” he said.  “Do you?”

“Wine, occasionally. I'm just giving you a heads-up.  Once Jackson knows I’m gone and he’s working with you, you’re going to catch all kinds of hell.”

Kit laughed; it was a pleasant rumble and a dark lock of his hair escaped the ponytail. He smoothed it back into place with one easy swipe and smiled at me.  “I can handle Jackson.  And just in case you’re wondering, your being at Quantico can’t stop me being your friend.”

   Why hadn’t I tried to get to know this man before?

   Kit sat back and looked at me.  “Are you hungry, Zuri?”

   I was amused to see that he hadn't made a move towards the door. As if he didn't want to leave. I wasn't bothered by Kit's presence; in fact, I was enjoying the company. Jackson was as close as I’d come to having male company in many years.  I cursed myself for allowing him to put a chokehold on my life.  But never again.

   I smiled at him and rubbed my thickening middle.  “We’re starving.”

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