Chapter 2: House Call
The next morning Henry found himself outside the Counselor’s quarters. He only waited a moment after ringing the chime before the door opened.
Evelyn was surprised to see him as she struggled to keep the kitten under control. “Captain…hello.”
He noted the mess behind her. “If you think that’s bad, wait till she starts walking.”
Evelyn knew parental advice when she heard it. “Ohhh yeah.”
“How is the Counselor doing?”
“She’s doing actually a lot better than I expected. Slept pretty well. I’m hoping she’ll have an appetite.”
“I don’t want to bother her, I just wanted to check in.”
“Henry?” Millie stepped into view shaking a warm bottle in one hand. “I didn’t know you made house calls.” She gave a soft smile as she reached for La’lana, scooping the infant into the crook of one arm.
“Well it’s not everyday anymore that I almost lose a senior staff member on a mission I lead. I’m glad to see you up and about.”
“From what I hear, we have our newly-rescued Chief Medical Officer to thank for being up and about.” She gestured to the sofa, which Evelyn quickly cleared of baby supplies. “Do you still take your coffee black?”
“Yes, I do.” He moved over and lightly sat.
With a wink and a smile, Millie passed La’lana and the bottle off to Evelyn, who disappeared into the bedroom with the baby. The counselor soon returned with two mugs, one with coffee and one with tea. “I appreciate you stopping in, Henry.” She passed him the coffee and took a sip from her own mug. “But I get the feeling you have something on your mind.”
“A little bit of guilt I guess. I can read all the medical reports in the world but until I lay eyes on someone, then I can believe it.” He took a long sip from the cup. “Looks like congratulations are in order,” he nodded towards the bedroom.
Henry never missed a thing. “It’s been a long time coming. Glad I waited–I could have accidentally proposed to the wrong woman.” Millie likewise took a long sip from her mug. “I know it’s not the counsellor-y thing to say, but I would tear apart the universe to keep those two safe.” She chuckled softly. “I sometimes wonder if you and I aren’t more alike than we’re willing to admit.”
“Well we certainly have some mutual connections. When I interrogated the copy of Ms. Moro, she told me more of where she came from. A universe where she assumed control of the Mercutio because her Captain, me, had vanished chasing his version of Edra. Some other details make me believe it’s the alternate reality Edra entered and then escaped. I haven’t told her about this. That experience still affects her deeply.”
Millie nodded quietly. “I’m aware.” She reached over and gently placed a hand on his arm. “It may be an experience that never entirely goes away–for *both* of you. It affected you as well, Henry, don’t forget that. You don’t have to bear the burden of this knowledge alone.”
“That is part of being a protector of people you love. You take on burdens to keep them off their shoulders. As you get your family unit going, you’ll encounter more and more of that.” He finished his coffee, setting the cup down. “I’m glad you’re doing better though, but my orders still stand. No work today or tomorrow.”
Millie chuckled softly as a feline yowl and a human yelp came from the other room. “No working–but I can’t promise it will be completely restful.” She likewise stood, walking him to the door. “Thank you for stopping by. Any time you need to lessen that burden, you know my door is always open.”
He gave her a nod and headed down the corridor to the lift as Evelyn walked out of the bedroom shaking her hand. “Well I’m not her favorite person right now.”
“What happened?” Millie crossed the room, reaching out for Evelyn’s injured hand.
“I was trying to feed her and she bit me.”
“You never complain when I bite you.” Millie smirked as she brought the hand to her lips and kissed the red welt.
“If you had teeth like her’s I might.”
“…I could bite harder.” She slipped an arm around Evelyn’s waist and pulled her closer.
Evelyn squeeked. “You’re supposed to rest.”
“I’m not supposed to work,” Millie whispered in her ear. “I’m not working.”
“I think you’re working at something.” She gave Millie a smirk.
“Because I can’t remember the last time I could have *you* instead of breakfast.”