“No, no, no. You’re not going to start that,” Lieutenant Commander Nayar chided. “First of all, I am not even two months pregnant yet. Second, I reject any claims of ownership you may think you have over my body.”
MacRory held his hands up in defeat. “I retract any statements which may have had unintended patriarchal implications. All I was saying was that you could have someone else do those spacewalks. Morning sickness and EV suits do not mix, Nehal,” he offered.
Both Nayar and her husband, Lieutenant MacRory, had been excited about starting a family for some time, and now Nayar was in the early stage of a twin pregnancy. She knew he was only looking out for her safety and the health of their children, but she was not going to abandon her duties just because of the minor inconveniences of her current condition. If she didn’t nip that sort of thing in the bud now, she would never hear the end of it from him.
“I’m the head of structural engineering. When we mount the new bridge to the Hokule’a, I will be there to supervise. End of story,” Nayar replied. “Though, I suppose I could accomplish that from a work bee. Depending on the conditions and how I feel when we arrive,” she conceded.
“See? Progress. Now, I’m sure I could negotiate that up to a shuttle pod,” MacRory replied, winking at her.
The turbolift doors opened, and Nayar took MacRory’s hand as they started down the corridor. She was carrying a decorative tin she’d filled with homemade laddoo, something she’d found herself making a lot of in recent weeks. Today they weren’t just to sate a craving, though. They were a present for Nate Windsor. Nayar glanced over at her husband and smiled as they walked, still so relieved that he’d made it off of the Hokule’a alive. Likely, he wouldn’t have if Windsor hadn’t pulled him from the burning bridge–the same bridge that Nayar had spent the last few weeks redesigning and fabricating.
“Do you think we should have called ahead?”
MacRory shrugged. “I think that’d spook him, honestly,” he said as they stopped at Windsor’s door.
A few moments after hitting the chime, Lieutenant Windsor appeared in the doorway and immediately gave them a broad smile.
“Is this a good time?” Nayar asked, holding up the present she made.
“Of course,” he replied, allowing the two of them to step into his quarters.
Nayar and MacRory sat down on the couch, facing Windsor in one of the armchairs. The younger man looked very curious about their unannounced visit, eyeing them cautiously. It was hard to know where to start with what they were going to ask him, so Nayar just dove right in.
“Nate, I know I’ve said this before, but I’m just so grateful for what you did. You brought Finn back to me, and that’s something I will never forget,” she said, squeezing her husband’s hand. “So, we would like to ask you if you’d like to be our babies’ godfather. You’re the reason they’re going to know their father, and it just seems like the only appropriate choice.”
“You don’t have to decide right away. And we’re not going rope you into babysitting or anything like that,” MacRory clarified.
Windsor beamed. “I don’t mind babysitting. I love kids. I’m really honored… I’d love to be their godparents!” he replied immediately, which made Nayar and MacRory chuckle at his eagerness. “Either of you would have done the same thing for me, though. We’re all Starfleet. It’s part of the job.”
“It’s okay to take a little credit, though, Nate. You saved Cody, too. And then pulled off a Medal of Honor-winning stunt,” MacRory reminded him.
Windsor shook his head, clasping his hands between his knees as he looked at them. Though he was tall and muscular, looking like an idealized version of a Starfleet lieutenant in his uniform, his youthful features and shy, self-effacing nature made him look like a wet-behind-the-ears cadet at that moment. Nayar noticed a flicker of sadness on his face for a split second.
“May I ask how you are doing?” she asked.
“I wasn’t able to save Lieutenant Commander Selon. It’s tough,” Windsor admitted; the ability to conceal his true feelings was nearly totally absent at the best of times. “Counselor Kaer called it ‘survivor’s guilt,’ so I guess I get that things in my brain are still working things out, but it’s hard not to dwell on it.”
“I feel the same way, Nate. You’re right. It’s tough,” MacRory replied, squeezing Nayar’s hand. “I was on an away team once. There was a cave-in, and I just happened to be on the side of the cavern that they could get a transporter lock on. Two people died, and it cut me up for months. I don’t think it ever goes away, but you learn to process it.”
The lieutenant nodded in response, looking pensive for a moment. “I didn’t know that. What did you do to get over it?”
“I had a good group of friends and a very supportive girlfriend at the time,” MacRory said, grinning at Nayar. “Other than that, I don’t think I really ‘did’ anything specific. That’s probably not a very satisfying answer, though.”
“At least I know I’m not doing anything wrong so far, then,” Windsor said with a chuckle. “Arturo has been great. And so have you two. I’m worried about Cody, though. He lost his dad–the admiral–almost a year ago now, and his runabout got into it with the Kazon just a little bit before that battle. That’s a lot to handle in one year. He’s always pretty quiet, but he seems withdrawn. Sullen.”
Nayar smiled at him. “I think that’s pretty normal in a situation like this. All you can do is be there for him,” she offered.
Windsor’s badge chirped.
“Hidalgo to Windsor.”
“Holosuite 24 is free. Want to find a beach somewhere?”
“Absolutely. I’ll be right there,” Windsor replied.
The three of them stood up, and Windsor surprised them by wrapping his long arms around both of them.
“Godfather. I like the sound of that. Thanks for talking about the other stuff, too,” he said.
“That’s what family does, right?” MacRory replied, looking like he was tearing up slightly.
“We’ll get out of your hair so you can go have a nice beach day,” Nayar said. “Arturo loves these, by the way,” she added, pointing to the tin before the two of them left his quarters.
“He’s a good kid,” MacRory noted when they were in the corridor again. “That went really well.”
“It did, but I don’t think you can really call him a ‘kid’ anymore,” she reminded him. “I saw you get a little emotional back there.”
“I’m Irish. I’m entitled,” he teased. “And as a man, I’m also entitled to resume bottling up my feelings until I develop a significant mental health problem, so let’s change the subject entirely and go back to looking through the replicator catalog for baby items.”
“Have it your way, caveman.”