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Blueberry

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Day 1

“Who are you?”

“Ensign Damian Rydell, Captain. I- “

“Yes, you’re Admiral Archer’s youngest son.”

“-was recently transferred to Enterprise to participate in your Command Training program.”

“Oh, very well Ensign. Dismissed.”

-

Day 5

“Ensign?”

“Yes, sir?”

“I apologise for jumping to conclusions the other day. It’s commendable that you want to advance under your own merits. Dr Boyce spoke highly of you.”

“Yes, sir, thank you. Am I dismissed?”

“Yes. Have a good day, Ensign Rydell.”

-

Day 17

“Captain, what is that?”

“Tea? Earl Grey I think. I just wanted to apologise again…”

“And you thought I’d like a cup of tea because I’m British?”

“Well…yes.”

“Thank you sir, but I can’t stand the stuff. I prefer coffee or hot chocolate…sometimes both.”

-

Day 32

“Rydell, what are you doing on the bridge?”

“You requested me, sir.”

“I requested the crew member with the highest marks in Astrophysics.”

“I have a Ph. D in Astrophysics, Captain.”

“Oh, well, you’ll be assisting Lieutenant Spock. Thank you, Rydell.”

“Yes, sir.”

-

Day 48

“How old are you, Rydell?”

“Twenty-five, Captain.”

“And you have a Ph. D in Astrophysics?”

“And in Robotic Engineering. I also have certifications in Navigation and ASCT from the Academy.”

“You’re a combat pilot?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, you can take over for Lieutenant Kybar while she recovers. I trust you know how to pilot a starship?”

“Yes, sir!”

-

Day 53

“Sir-“

”Everyone gets nervous their first time in the Chair...for you it’s a little more than the Captain’s Chair of a Starship, isn’t it?”

”I’m Jonathan Archer’s great-grandson...this is the Enterprise...”

”She’s just a starship, Ensign. Take your time, it helps to approach it in your own time.”

-

Day 65

“Where are you from, Ensign? Europe?”

“England, Stratford, if you want to be specific. And you, sir?”

“California, North America. The Mojave specifically. Is something funny about that, Ensign?”

“No sir. It’s just I didn’t think anyone could live in a place like that except for Vulcans.”

-

Day 87

“It’s about your brother-"

"Half Brother."

"He was killed in the battle when the Europa was destroyed.”

“I know, Captain.”

“I’m very sorry, Rydell.”

“Are we at war, sir?”

“Yes.”

“I’m scared.”

“…so am I.”

-

Day 88

“We’ve been asked to stand down?”

“Ensign Rydell! This isn’t the time- “

“Those bastards killed my brother and hundreds of our comrades and you’re not letting us fight?”

“Don’t make this personal, Rydell!”

“They bloody well made it personal!”

“Get off of my bridge, Ensign! Before I confine you to the brig!”

-

Day 89

“It’s two in the morning, Rydell.”

“I couldn’t sleep, sir. I keep seeing him. Seeing Arthur. I didn’t want to be alone.”

“Your roommate…”

“He works the skeleton shift in Engineering, we aren’t close...I’m sorry for what happened on the bridge yesterday, sir. I was out of line.

“Alright, come in.”

“What?”

“Come in, Rydell, I can’t sleep either. I guess we can keep each other company. Do you play chess?”

“How about a deck of cards, sir? I prefer Poker.”

-

Day 91

“Can I call you Damian?”

“Can I call you Christopher?”

-

Day 95

“I’ve never…been with anyone before.”

“If you don’t want to do this…”

“No, I want to. I just…I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Here, let me show you.”

-

Day 105

“How is he?”

”Physically? Aside from the hair loss and toxic sludge I’m still draining from his blood, he’s just got a few scrapes and bruises.”

”And mentally?”

”I don’t know.”

”You know everything, Phil.”

”I’m not a psychologist. He was held captive and experimented on for over a week by the Aurem, I pulled a needle as thick as a toothpick and three times as long out of his arm. How he stopped screaming long enough to build that transmitter, I’ll never know. He’s a tough kid, tougher than most. I told you you’d like him.”

”Whether he likes me when he wakes up is another matter. I told him to go down there.”

”He was following orders. If he thought he would get special treatment for sleeping with you...”

”You know he’s not like that...what?”

”You really like him, don’t you?”

”Is it that obvious?”

”Yes. Also you’re an open book when you’re exhausted...he’s had a hard time of it, Chris. Try not to pull your bullshit with this one?”

“I‘ll...I’ll try, Phil.”

“You’ve been panicking since we got word the away team was killed. Sit down, you’re off duty until you get at least twelve hours of solid sleep.”

-

Day 107

“How are you feeling?”

“Egg-like.”

“It’s not so bad, Dami.”

“I don’t even have eyebrows, Christopher.”

“It’ll grow back, I don’t care. So long as you’re still here I don’t care what you look like.”

“Be careful, I could grow extra limbs or a second head before this is over.”

“More of you to admire, then.”

“Wow, you suck, sir.”

“Only for you, though.”

-

Day 117

“It’s blue.”

“What?”

“My hair. It’s growing back blue.”

“I’ll call Phil.”

-

Day 128

“I kind of like it.”

“You kind of like that my DNA was altered and now every follicle of hair on my body is growing back blue?”

“It brings out your eyes.”

“I don’t know what to say about that.”

“Thank you would be a good place to start? I just complimented you.”

“I don’t feel like being complimented.”

“Too bad.”

-

Day 141

“I look like a blueberry.”

“I was going to say a Smurf, but blueberry works, Dami.”

-

Day 142

“Good morning, Blueberry.”

“Oh, I hate you.”

“No you don’t.”

-

Day 164

“I wish you’d let me in.”

“Hmm?”

“Nothing. Go back to sleep, Blueberry.”

-

Day 179

“Do you think we’ll win?”

“I don’t know.”

“What happens if we lose?”

“I don’t know.”

“What happens to us after the war?”

“I’ll never let them separate us.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

-

Day 184

“How are you awake? You drank more than what you weigh last night.”

“We have to be on the bridge in an hour.”

“I already signed off on your promotion, Lieutenant, you don’t have to keep impressing me.”

“Well if I want to get the next promotion I’d better shape up.”

“You’re not human. Go back to sleep, Dami.”

“What gave it away? The blue hair?”

“Your work ethic.”

“How did you become the captain of a Starship?”

“My work ethic, but right now I’m too hung over to care.”

-

Day 204

“Hey there, Starlight.”

”Starlight?”

”You call me Blueberry, so why can’t I call you Starlight?”

”I won’t complain. But why?”

”The silver in your hair.”

”Thanks, Dami.”

”And the way you smile at the stars when you think I’m not looking.”

-

Day 258

“I think we should tell Number One.”

”You mean she doesn’t already know?”

”I thought you’d like to know who knew about us.”

”Oh...you can tell her, if you want. I guess she should know, right?”

-

Day 301

“When we get back to Earth- “

“If.”

“When we get back to Earth, I’m going to take you home to Mojave. Mom’s going to love you.”

“What about your dad?”

“Can you quote bible scripture and recite Newton’s laws?”

“In Latin, English or German?”

“He’s going to love you too, Dami.”

-

Day 367

“Damian, I’m so sorry.”

“No.”

“Dami- “

“She’s not dead. She’s not…”

“Star Base One was attacked, there were no survivors. Damian, your sister…”

“Leave me alone.”

“Blueberry…”

“Leave me alone!”

-

Day 374

“Can I come in?”

“No.”

“I can override this door, you know.”

“But you won’t.”

“No, I won’t. Can I come in anyway?”

“…fine.”

“How is it you’ve spent nearly every night in my bed and I’ve never seen your Quarters?”

“Captain…”

“You can call me Christopher, even here…are you packing?”

“I’m putting my transfer request in tomorrow, I’m going to join a ship that’s actually going to blow up some Klingons.”

“Dami, I can’t let you…”

“Can’t let me do what? Fight? I’m a combat pilot, Christopher! I should be on a ship that’s fighting! It’s what Starfleet trained me to do!”

“They also trained you to build robots, perform complex equations, and speak seventeen different languages! One of them is Klingon!”

“Good! I can tell them they killed both my siblings before I blow them to hell!”

“You’re angry.”

“Really? Did they give you a medal for exceptional obviousness too? They killed my brother in the Battle of the Binary Stars and they killed my sister when they took Star Base One! I want to kill some of them before they win the fucking war!”

“And you think I don’t want to fight too? I am stuck on the edge of the galaxy while my friends, people I’ve known since I was at the Academy, die and suffer! I am exhausted, and losing you…”

“…Christopher?”

“Losing you would break me, Damian.”

“You want me to stay.”

“Of course I want you to stay, but I won’t stop you. And if we survive…I hope we can still have something together.”

-

Day 382

“Dami?”

“Can I come in?”

“It’s three in the morning.”

“I know.”

“I thought you were leaving tomorrow?”

“I…I don’t want to. Actually I want to, but I want to stay on Enterprise more. I want to…I want to stay with you.”

“You would have had me if you left or stayed, Blueberry.”

“…I don’t think I would have. Can I stay?”

“On the ship?”

“Here.”

“Always.”

-

Day 422

“Last time I saw you look at someone like that, it was the day you and Abigail got married.”

“I’ve had other relationships since then.”

“Any you’ve never looked at any of them like you look at Brainy Smurf.”

“Don’t call him that, Phil, he hates it.”

“And you know what, Chris?”

“What?”

“I’ve never seen anyone look at you like Dami does.”

-

Day 442

“It’s over. The war’s over.”

-

Day 500

“You made Evan Connolly your new Science Officer?”

“He’s the most qualified scientist in his division.”

“He’s a bloody moron.”

“You’re jealous.”

“I am but that’s beside the point. There’s five other perfectly qualified scientists aboard this ship who would make better science officers!”

“Are you one of them?”

“No but I’m more qualified than Connelly!”

“We agreed I wouldn’t show you favouritism, Lieutenant.”

“I lied I want four promotions and a commendation.”

“For what?”

“Being your boyfriend.”

“Not good enough, and I can’t tell Connolly I want someone else as my Science Officer because my blue haired boyfriend thinks he’s a moron.”

“Knows. I know he’s a moron.”

“Dami-What the hell was that?”

-

-

“Dami-what the hell was that?” Chris shouted as the ship jerked violently, causing them both to reel forward. He picked himself up from the floor and crawled to his feet, reaching out to help Damian stand.

“It feels like the ship just fell out of warp,” Damian replied, moving over to a computer terminal. “What the fuck is…I can’t access the system.”

“It won’t let you in?” Chris asked.

“No, it’s…it’s like the entire system has shut down, everything is failing catastrophically. Navigation, communications, warp capabilities are offline as a safety precaution," the younger man said, pushing his already unruly blue hair out of his eyes.

“Life support?”

“No, they’re on a separate network,” Damian told him. “Sir- “

“We need to get to the bridge. Are the turbo lifts…”

“Same system as life support and transport. If we cut through the mess we’ll get there faster,” Damian's hand wrapped around Chris’ wrist and he tugged. “Don’t tell the others though, it’s how we get an extra ten minutes of sleep and still make it to the bridge before you finish breakfast.”

“What?” Chris exclaimed, watching a spark of mischief fill those big, dark eyes as they moved through the mess and down the corridor, finally coming onto the turbo lift and stepping inside.

They came up onto the bridge and Chris felt Damian shift, it was slight and barely noticeable, but it’s something Chris admired about the younger man, and why he had continued their relationship. Damian stopped being himself when he stepped onto the bridge, any issues and concerns he had before stepping out of the turbo lift melted away. As far as Damian was concerned, their personal relationship, and any personal problems they might be having, didn’t exist on the bridge.

Damian went straight to his terminal, muttering to himself as he tried to assess the systems, and Chris sat in the chair and asked for a status report.

“Was it the signals?” He asked.

“No, sir,” Connolly said. “Enterprise just…stopped. I can’t get a hold on what systems are working and what aren’t.”

“Life support, the turbo lifts and transport still work,” Damian said absently. “Sir, navigation is shut down but warp is still operational, I can manually pilot us for a few light-years at a time at warp three.”

“It would take us a year to get to our destination at that speed!” Connolly said. “And no one can pilot a Starship at warp!”

“I can!”

“Shut up Brainy Smurf- “

Connolly,” Chris snapped. “Rydell is still a member of this crew and this isn’t high school, I won’t have you bullying my helmsman.”

Chris was thankful that no one aside from Number One knew about their relationship.

Can you pilot us at warp, Rydell?” He turned to Damian , who had that determined furrow forming between his eyebrows.

“Only for a few minutes, then we’d need to stop to adjust position,” Damian said. “I’ve done it before with a shuttle.”

“This is a Starship, it’s a little bigger than a shuttle,” Chris pointed out. “I don’t want to crash into an asteroid.”

“I can do it, but Connolly is right,” Damian twitched, it must have hurt to admit that. “It’d take us a year to reach our destination at that speed, and we’d definitely crash if we tried to move any faster without navigation systems.”

“Find a way to get communications back online,” Chris ordered. “We need to get in contact with Starfleet before our life support systems shut off as well. Number One…”

“Sir, a signal has managed to get through, it’s spotty but-“ Dox said, and a static image of Admiral Cornwell appeared on the main screen.

“Captain Pike.”

“Admiral,” Chris nodded. “I’m requesting assistance immediately, Enterprise has- “

“We know, I’m here to tell you to report directly to the USS Discovery to take over as Captain under regulation nineteen, section C. Immediately, Captain, we can’t lose these signals.”

“Yes, Admiral.”

Cornwell cut out, and Chris stared at the screen where she had been for a long moment before his eyes slid to where Damian was still running diagnostics from his terminal.

“Lieutenant Rydell,” He called. “Discovery is just a few hundred light-years from us, can you get us there?”

Damian shook himself, snapping back to reality as he began punching in commands in his terminal. “Yes, sir,” he said.

“Hit it.”

-

Damian chewed on his lip, agitated, as he glared at the infuriating man in front of him.

“Explain to me again why I’m not coming with you,” he said, even though he had Christopher’s reasons memorised.

“Because I need you here with Una,” Christopher replied, reading through his orders on a PADD one final time. “Because Discovery’s crew has been through hell, and because we agreed I wouldn’t show you favouritism.”

“It’s not favouritism,” Damian protested. “You’ve said it yourself, you barely sleep at night when I’m not there.”

“I don’t need a teddy bear, Blueberry,” Christopher retorted. “And once Enterprise is up and running again, I’ll be back on board and you and Connolly can go back to acting like children.”

“He starts it,” Damian muttered, irritated. “Promise you’ll call. Every night.”

“I’ll try my best,” Christopher said.

“No, promise,” Damian insisted. “I know you’ve been dreaming about Rigel VII and the Talosians again.”

“How…”

“You talk in your sleep,” he shrugged. “Sometimes it’s about me so I stay up and listen. Lately it hasn’t, not since Spock left. Promise you’ll call if something happens? Promise you’ll call if nothing happens, even. Just…I’ve never not seen you every day.”

Christopher’s face softened and he stepped into Damian personal space and pressed his lips against his own, sliding warm fingers through his blue hair as his other hand found Damian and tangled their fingers together firmly.

Damian savoured how close Christopher was, breathing in his scent. Sandalwood and Lemongrass, he mused, and almost whined in ever growing irritation when they parted.

“Every day,” Christopher promised, still gripping his hand. “I’ll miss you, Dami.”

“I’ll miss you too,” Damian smiled. “And one more thing?”

“Yes?”

“Leave Connolly on Discovery when you come back.”

“No,” Christopher kissed his hairline, grinning. “Behave.”

“You first,” Damian retorted, and they kissed once more, this time a little desperate, before Christopher was gone. Damian felt cold without the other man’s radiating heat and blinked back stinging tears. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat, then turned on his heel and stepped out of Christopher’s quarters.

Number One was in the Chair when he got to the bridge, just in time to see Discovery disappear into the black. “Lieutenant,” she called, and then her voice softened. “Dami, are you able to serve on the bridge today?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied curtly. “Captain Pike said you’d need me.”

“See if you can’t find out what broke the ship while we wait for Starfleet to send someone to tow us,” Number One suggested.

“Aye, Commander.”

-

Damian punched in the code to the Captain’s quarters and stepped inside once the doors hissed open, eyes heavy and his brain aching from the hours upon hours of fruitless diagnostics he’d been running on the ship’s systems. Everything should be working perfectly, but something was preventing the system from operating and he couldn’t find it.

He collapsed face first on the plush, orange and purple futon Christopher had in lieu of a couch and groaned into the fabric, letting his body relax as he inhaled deeply enough that his lungs strained against his rib cage and exhaled slowly, almost dizzy from it by the time he took his next breath.

The communicator dinged just as he was starting to drift off, and he swore at it loudly before sitting up. “Answer,” He said loudly enough for the computer to register his voice.

Christopher’s face appeared on the monitor and he smiled tiredly. “Hello,” he said softly.

“Long day?” Christopher teased.

“Una had me run diagnostics from the moment you left to about half an hour ago,” Damian explained as he noticed what Christopher was wearing. “Why are you in the old uniform?”

“Starfleet wants me to stay on Discovery and investigate these signals until Enterprise is operational,” Christopher explained. “It led us to a crashed Medical frigate in an asteroid field, there was an engineer aboard who’d been keeping the patients alive for almost ten months.”

“I’m sure Connolly would have had some snide comment about how the engineer should have done things,” Damian replied, pushing back his irritation at Christopher’s extended stay on the Discovery, and watched as Christopher’s face twisted into something sad and morose. “What’s wrong?”

“Connolly…he was killed trying to get to the frigate, smashed to pieces in the asteroid field,” Christopher told him, his voice gentle. “If he’d just listened to me, he might have…”

Damian shot across the main room of Christopher’s quarters and into the head, dropping to his knees in front of the toilet just as his stomach decided to empty itself of the dinner he’d forced himself to eat not ten minutes ago. Back in the main room he could hear Christopher calling his name and he pressed his forehead against the cool seat and felt a choked sob bubble from his already aching throat.

As much as he’d disliked Connolly, he never thought the man deserved to die.

Leave Connolly on Discovery when you come back, his own words from the morning echoed in his head and nausea twisted his insides once again.

He wiped his mouth on a discarded shirt that hadn’t been collected by the laundry unit and staggered to his feet, feeling clammy and cold as he stepped out of the head. Christopher looked at him guiltily and he swallowed thickly.

“I didn’t hate him,” he said, unable to think of something better to say.

“I know, Dami,” Christopher replied, and then looked at something off screen. “I’ll call you back in a moment.”

“Alright,” the screen blinked off and he shut his eyes as he pressed against his forehead with the heel of his palms. He felt wired but exhausted at the same time as when the groundskeeper died when he was a child, and he knew he wouldn’t be getting any sleep tonight.

The minutes ticked by at a snail’s pace, though they might have been hours because when he next opened his eyes he was lying on his side and there was a strong, broad chest pressed against his back and an arm around his waist.

“Good morning,” Christopher rumbled, his lips against the base of Damian's skull.

Damian's eyes snapped open and he sat up, twisting to stare at Christopher, who groaned and rolled onto his back, one hand draped over his eyes when the lights brightened almost painfully as the sensors registered they were both moving.

“Next time I’m leaving you on the futon and taking the bed,” Christopher grumbled. “Why were you sleeping on this thing anyway?”

“What are you doing on the ship?” Damian retorted.

“I’m the Captain?”

“Christopher.”

Christopher sat up, looking rumpled and sleepy with his hair falling over his forehead. Damian smiled and reached up to comb it back with his fingers, and Christopher gripped his hand and pressed his lips against Damian's pulse.

“Commander Burnham wanted to see Spock’s Quarters,” he said. “I decided to keep Discovery docked for the night and found you asleep.”

“You could have woken me,” Damian replied, and ran his thumb over Christopher’s cheekbone.

“I was tired,” Christopher shrugged. “I missed you, Blueberry.”

Damian felt a smile tug at his lips at the pet name and leaned in to press his lips against Christopher’s. “How long do I have you?” He asked.

“An hour,” Christopher said. “Maybe two. Hmm, why do you always smell like cinnamon and sugar?”

“It’s my sweet disposition,” Damian retorted, and received a laugh for his efforts as he pushed Christopher back against the futon and swung his leg over the other man’s waist. “Now how do you open these jerseys again?”