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From the Beginning

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Her team doesn’t like that she’s brought Diane in to talk to them. She knew they wouldn’t, but Maya felt like she needed to do something, anything. This is what she came up with.

She goes to sit outside at a picnic table to do her work. She’s far enough away to give everyone their privacy but close enough if anyone needs her or if there is a call.

 

But she’s dreaded this part. And somehow Maya thought that maybe because she was captain, she didn’t have to talk with Diane about how she is dealing with Rigo’s death.

Maya is beating herself up over having put Jack and Rigo together that day. She tells Diane that she is a horrible person for only caring about how Rigo’s death reflects on her. Eyes forward is the rule that was drilled into her by her dad. She admits she thinks about dying and how it soothes her.

“When I’m anxious I think about dying. And then I can fall asleep.” Maya tells Diane. The sentence sticks in head though. She doesn’t know the last time she was anxious and thought about dying when she couldn’t fall asleep. Actually, she knows. It was sometime before she met Carina.

“Eyes forward all the time is exhausting. I’m exhausted.” Maya sighs.

Diane nods at Maya. “Who taught you eyes forward?”

“My father.”

“Have you considered the possibility that he was wrong?”

Maya stares at Diane, defiant. Her father couldn’t have been wrong. He taught her everything she knows about life. He taught her how to train and work hard. He taught her how to set a goal and achieve it. He taught her everything she had ever needed to know.

“Maya. Isn’t it possible with everything else you’ve accomplished that you could learn to let yourself rest, and sleep, and love, in this life instead of waiting for death to set you free?”

Maya just stares at her for a minute before picking up her papers and tapping them against the desktop. “You can go now.” She dismisses Diane.

“I’ll do that. But, Maya, just think about what I said.” Diane encourages.

Maya turns her back to Diane. “Thanks for coming in today to talk with my crew.”

“You’re welcome. Call me anytime.” She means that. If she can help the team with anything then she is willing to.

She waits until she hears the door close and knows that Diane is gone before turning around and flopping down in her desk chair feeling more exhausted now than she did before Diane came in here.

After shift, Maya goes home and sleep until her next shift. She doesn’t get up early and go for a run. She doesn’t shower. She doesn’t eat. Just sleep.

She wakes up feeling groggy even though she just slept for like 11 hours straight. Maya looks at her phone. There is a missed call from Carina. She ignores it and gets ready to go back to work.

Her mind tortures her thinking about what Diane said over and over as she gets ready to go to the station. She wishes she had gotten up early and gone for a run to help clear her mind. Though, Maya knows that part of her would still be thinking about it.

Her father can’t be wrong. Could he? His methods were productive. They worked. She won a gold medal. She became a firefighter. All because of her discipline and training. Because of the self-control she has. Because of a strict regime of diet and exercise. He couldn’t be wrong. Those are all good things.

She gets to the station and focuses on paperwork. Her stomach grumbles and she knows she should eat but Maya doesn’t have much of an appetite lately. She knows she should eat even though she isn’t hungry. She needs to keep her strength up. She needs to eat to avoid losing muscle mass. She needs to eat to keep a clear head. She knows how important it is to eat. Her father drilled that into her as well. He was just strict on what she could and couldn’t eat.

So, she doesn’t eat. Now that she thinks about it the last thing she ate was her sandwich with Carina. Maya thinks about looking at her phone but avoids that too. She thinks about calling her dad and asking him to have a training session with her to help her focus again. She’s lost her focus lately with everything that’s going on. It’s starting to bother her and get under her skin that she’s let it happen. She’s lost focus and discipline.

Maya works on paperwork until the have a call. When they come back, she finishes up her paperwork from the call and all their other calls. She runs out of paperwork. Maya looks around the room for something to do.

The gym. She changes out of her uniform and heads to the gym and hops on the treadmill. Maya pushes herself to set a new best time for a five mile run. She pushes and pushes but comes up short by fifteen seconds.

Maya gets off of the treadmill and grabs a towel angrily. She rubs it down her face before throwing it on the floor in frustration.

Dean comes in, ready to lift weights. He saw the towel being thrown down. “Everything alright, Captain?”

Maya clenches her jaw and glares over at him.

He raises his hands in innocence. “Okay. Sorry I asked. I’m just going to lift weights, if that’s alright.”

“It’s fine.” She grumbles and hops on the stationary bike. She starts pedaling and Maya focuses in on her ‘bike ride’. She sets a quick pace. Quicker than her usual biking pace but since she didn’t get her running personal record beat, she’s determined to set a new record pace on the bike.

The problem with that is that about halfway through her fifteen miles she starts to feel fatigued. Maya is used to fatigued. She can push through it and get a second wind. All athletes know how to do that. So, she pushes through it, but her pace has started to suffer. Maya goes to stand to bike standing up, getting a little extra push when she starts to feel lightheaded. That too Maya knows how to push through. Except that she can’t see anything all of a sudden. She blinks trying to clear her vision.

“Maya?” Dean questions, alarm in his voice.

That’s the last thing Maya hears.


When she wakes up Andy and Vic are hovering over her. There is a blood pressure cuff attached to her right arm and Travis is checking her pulse. She blinks her eyes, trying to focus. She recognizes that she is in the station gym but has no idea what happened. One minute she was riding the bike and now this.

“I’m fine.” Maya goes to sit up, but that lightheaded feeling comes back and she lays back down. “Okay, maybe not.” She feels nauseous but swallows that down.

“Maya, you passed out. You’re not fine.” Andy says with concern in her voice.

It’s nice to hear that Andy is concerned for her.

“You’re going to the hospital.” Vic says.

“Noooo.” Maya groans. “I just need to eat something. Maybe lay down for a while. I’ll be fine.”

“I don’t think so.” Dean says. “I was here. You hit your head on the wall.”

So that’s why her head hurts.

“You’re going to the hospital.” Andy says firmly. “We won’t hear anything else about it.” She tells Maya what’s going to happen.

Maya huffs and folds her arms over her chest. “Can you get this thing off of me?” She wiggles her arm with the blood pressure cuff.

Travis unwraps it from her arm and removes it.

“Who’s coming with me?”

“I will.” Andy volunteers.

“No.” Maya frowns. Even though her head hurts she’s not mentally out of it. “I need you to stay here. Be in charge.” Maya thinks about who she can take with her that won’t ask so many questions or judge her. “Travis.” She knows he’ll be the perfect options. “You’re coming with me.”

“Me?” Travis wonders in awe.

Everyone looks at Maya in bewilderment.

“Yes, let’s go.” Maya sits up again, slower this time. “Woah, okay.” Her head pounds. “I might need help.” She admits. Dean and Travis grabs Maya under the arms and hoist her to her feet. Another wave of nausea overcomes her but Maya closes her eyes, breathing in and out slowly, controlling it. “Okay.” She gives them permission to help her out to the truck. They get her in the passenger’s seat and Travis gets in the driver’s seat.

“Ready?”

Maya groans. “Yes.” This is going to be torture. “Go slow. Don’t hit any potholes. My head is killing me.”

Travis grips the steering wheel tightly, white knuckled. It’s silent as he drives and it’s driving him crazy. “Why’d you pick me?”

“Cuz you wouldn’t ask too many questions. So don’t ask too many questions.” Maya grits out. “Are we almost there?” She has her eyes closed because the ride isn’t helping with the nausea.

“Just a few more blocks.”

“Good.” Maya’s stomach churns.

Travis pulls up and parks the station truck outside the ambulance bay at the hospital. As soon as he comes to a stop the passenger’s side door flings open and Maya bends over, throwing up on the pavement.

Travis grimaces as he gets out of driver’s side. He goes around, avoiding the stomach bile on the ground. He notices that there’s nothing else in the contents. He’s a trained paramedic so he asks. “When was the last time you ate?”

Maya groans. “What did I say about asking questions? Just get me inside.” She slips her arm over Travis’ shoulders as she gets out of the truck, and he guides her into the hospital.

Travis sits Maya down in a chair and goes over to the front desk. “Hi, I’m Travis Montgomery.” He points at his name tag and smiles brightly. “I’m here with my Captain. She had a fall and needs to be looked at. Can we get her into a room?” He knows that Maya will get special treatment at the hospital because she’s a Seattle firefighter, not just a firefighter, but a captain.

“And maybe page Doctor Bailey.” He adds and looks back to Maya. She has her eyes closed and her head back. Travis knows Maya won’t admit that she’s in pain but just by looking at her as she tries to hold it in and embrace it, he knows she is.

“Okay.” The nurse is already on the phone. She makes a call quickly. “Come with me.”

Travis goes to get Maya and the follow the nurse to a room.

“Okay, just wait here. Someone will be with you in a little bit. Doctor Bailey is in surgery right now but has been notified that you are here.”

“You called Bailey?” Maya groans. Her stupid connections to this hospital are maybe more aggravation than she needs. But she knows if the hospital didn’t contact her, she knows Ben would have sent at least a text message to his wife by now.

Travis stands at the side of Maya’s bed as Maya lays down.

“Is there anyone else we should call?” The nurse asks.

Travis raises an eyebrow at that. He knows it’s not his place. “Maya?” He questions her though.

“What?” She grumbles at Travis.

“Do you want her to call Carina?”

Maya closes her eyes as she settles into the bed. “If you must.”

“Call Carina DeLuca.” Travis tells the nurse.

The nurse raises an eyebrow at that. “I thought she had a fall. Is she pregnant?”

Maya laughs at that. It makes her headaches ten times worse but God it’s hilarious.

Travis smirks. “No, but you better call or page her. She’d be upset if she doesn’t know that Maya is here.” And Travis doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of that. Or accused of not notifying Carina.

“He’s right. Page her.” Maya adds.

“Okay. Anything else I can get you?”

“Some pain meds for my head?” Maya asks.

“Sorry, not til after you’ve been checked out and something has been prescribed.”

Maya frowns. She knew it was a long shot. The nurse exits and Travis takes up residence in the only chair in the room.

After about fifteen minutes, Schmitt comes in. “Hi, I’m Doctor Schmitt. He looks over Maya’s chart that the nurse has put together for him. “I’m just going to ask you a few questions and then check you out.” He tells Maya, finally looking up at her.

“Do what you have to do.” Maya grumbles. She grumpy now that she is here in the hospital and missing part of her shift at the station.

Schmitt looks over at Travis. “Are you-“

“He’s staying.” Maya cuts Schmitt’s question off.

“You know that’s not protocol.”

“You know I’m in a private room because I’m a fire captain.” Maya tells him that this isn’t exactly protocol either.

“Right.” He claps his hands together. “So, what happened?” He starts with his questions. Schmitt asks Maya all of the necessary questions and then does any exam but doesn’t find anything concerning. “I think you just have a mild concussion and not eating explains why you passed out. Maybe you should set reminders in your phone to eat or something. Does this happen often?” It’s a dumb question. Schmitt knows it is after it leaves his mouth.

Maya glares at him.

“Okay, okay. I’m just going to get Dr. Shepard to come down and look at you to make sure I didn’t miss anything. What, with you being a fire captain and all.”

Maya groans. “Can I at least get something for my headache?”

“Not until Dr. Shepard sees you but I will get it ready for afterwards.” With that Levi turns to leave the room. He throws Travis a look before he slips out of the room.

“He’s cute.” Travis comments.

“Don’t even think about it.” Maya warns him. “Aren’t you with Dixon Jr?”

Travis gags. “Don’t call him that. Wait, you know about that?” He’s shocked.

“I know about everything. I’m your captain.”

Travis doubts Maya knows about everything.

They are both expecting the next person to come through the door to be Dr. Shepard. Instead, what happens next is a slew of Italian and a bit frantic Carina scurrying through the door.

“Cosa e successo?”

Maya glances between Carina and Travis.

“She fell off the stationary bike.” Travis supplies the answer.

“Do you speak Italian?” Maya asks him.

Travis shrugs. It was just a guess as to what Carina asked. Travis was just reading her body language. “No. I’ll shut up now.”

“Hi, Travis.” Carina gives him a small smile as she sees that Maya isn’t bleeding or bandaged or in considerable pain. All she was told was that Maya was in the pit.

Travis can’t help but grin back. He really likes what he’s seen of Carina.

“I’m guessing you are the one who brought Maya in.”

Travis nods. “At her request, actually. Apparently, I’m the one who won’t ask so many questions.” He uses finger quotes around the last three words.

Carina chuckles and shakes her head. “Thank you, Travis.” She says and takes Maya’s hand in hers. “What happened?” She asks Maya again.

“It was stupid. I was stupid.” Maya berates herself.

“Non sei stupido.” Carina tells her gently though she doesn’t know what happened and can’t actually judge if Maya was stupid or not.

Amelia enters the room. “Okay, sounds like we’ve got a VIP patient in here.” She looks up and spots Carina standing at Maya’s bedside. The pregnant neurosurgeon smirks at the pair. “Dr. DeLuca, fancy seeing you here.”

“Hi, Amelia.” She blushes a little.

“So, this is your firefighter you’ve been talking about.” Amelia teases. Carina ducks her chin to her chest. Amelia winks at Maya. “So, you hit your head. Dr. Schmitt said he didn’t see any sign of brain injury or trauma but wanted me to make sure since you are one of Seattle’s finest firefighters.” Amelia starts her exam. “So, what were you doing? Rescuing women and children from a burning building.”

“It’s far less heroic than that.”

Amelia raises an eyebrow, waiting for an answer.

“Apparently, I feel off the stationary bike.” Maya finally reveals what happened.

“What? Bella. How?”

Maya wishes she could just avoid all of this. “I told you it was stupid. Can we not talk about it?”

Travis watches the couple interact from his comfy chair. He thinks about speaking up.

“No.” Carina gives Maya a bit of a pointed look.

Maya sighs. “Fine. I was- I was- trying to get out some frustration. I was pushing myself. Usually that’s not a problem, but I guess I hadn’t had anything to eat for a while.”

“Dio mio, bella. How long?”

The guilty look on Maya’s face is more telling than maybe her words. “Since you were at the station the other day for lunch.”

Travis’ eyes widen. “That was two days ago.” His shock is enough for the whole room

This is why Maya wanted Travis to come with. He’s the one who walked in on them the other day at lunch.

“Si.” Carina nods, agreeing with Travis. “Why, bambina? You need to eat.”

“I know.” Maya sighs. “I’ve just. You know I haven’t had much of an appetite lately.”

“Si. I know. But that’s no excuse. Especially with your job. Maya, you have to take care of yourself. You need to eat and rest and just take care of yourself.” Carina brings Maya’s hand that she is holding up to her lips and kisses the back of it.

Carina’s words remind Maya of Diane’s words about sleeping and resting and loving in this life. She looks up at Carina with big blue pleading eyes, willing her to understand.

“So, I don’t see any signs of brain damage.” Amelia jokes. “Just a mild concussion, a bump on the head, and a headache. You should be monitored for tonight and maybe take a week or two off of work until the headaches and concussion symptoms go away.”

“Really?” Maya hates the idea of taking off of work.

Amelia shrugs. “The concussion symptoms could be gone in a few days. But, Maya, it sounds like you need a break. You need to eat and rest. Just as a whole. It sounds like your body is exhausted. If you passed out that’s your body telling you it needs a break. It could be more than just not having anything to eat. Have you been under a lot of stress lately?”

“Si.” Carina answers for her.

Amelia smirks. “Okay. What I’m going to suggest is rest and a few days off. It’s up to you if you want to extend that but Maya stress and exhaustion are terrible for your body and tend to have cumulative effects.”

“Okay, I’ll take the next two shifts off.” Maya agrees. That’s all she’s willing to agree to right now. She doesn’t want to look like a poor captain for taking time off. She would push through this and not take any time of if it weren’t for Amelia standing there telling her that she needed to in front of Carina and Travis. She can’t get away with it because of the witnesses in the room.

“Now, I don’t have anything else for you. Just takes some ibuprofen for the headache. No phone or reading. You can watch tv but not for long periods of time tonight. Do you have someone to stay with you tonight?”

“Why?” Maya asks. “I thought you said I was fine.”

Amelia grins. She can see the stubbornness in Maya that Carina has mentioned. “You are. But just to make sure.”

“Bella?” Carina doesn’t want to presume.

“Carina will stay with me.”

Amelia laughs. “Wow.” She shakes her head and turns to leave. “You can go as soon as Bailey comes in to check on you.”

Maya groans and shifts in the bed. She’s antsy and just wants to get out of here.

“What’s wrong?”

“Does the whole hospital have to know that I’m here?” Maya whines.

Travis chuckles from his chair. “Is Captain Bishop a big baby when she is sick?”

“I’m not sick.” Maya folds her arms over her chest. “You know what? Go back to work Travis.”

Travis gets out of his chair with a frown. “But I was having so much fun here.” He jokes.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Thank you, Travis.” She concedes. “I do appreciate it.”

“Sure thing, Cap.” He salutes her before turning to Carina. “I know you’ll take good care of our captain.”

Carina just smiles and nods.

“What should I tell the team?” Travis says as he approaches the door. He turns to face Maya.

“That I’m fine.”

Travis smiles. “That’s what I thought.” He nods at Maya. “Feel better.” And with that he is gone.

Carina rounds the bed and takes the chair Travis was sitting in. She pulls it up close to Maya’s bed and sits at her side. They don’t talk. Carina’s eyes scan Maya up and down, watching her, assessing her, worrying about her.

“What?” Maya asks after a few minutes. She can feel something hanging in the air. Something that Carina wants to say.

“When I got paged- when they told me you were here- like as a patient- I think my heart stopped for a moment. It was scary. I was scared. I thought maybe something bad happened. I mean, I know your job can be dangerous.”

Maya scoffs. “I’m hardly ever in danger now that I’m captain. I don’t run into burning buildings anymore. I don’t do search and rescue. I just coordinate everything from the sideline.”

“But still. You could.

“I suppose if it were four or five alarms and we were the last station to arrive and I wouldn’t be in charge. I would be just another firefighter at that point.” Maya thinks it all through. She wonders if her job is going to be a problem for Carina. The danger of it. She hasn’t thought about that until now.

Carina nods, thinking as much. She finds Maya’s hand, holding it, finding comfort in the gesture.

Maya can see that Carina is struggling. “I’m sorry.” Carina shakes her head. “I didn’t want to put any more of my crap on you.”

“So, you didn’t eat and passed out and ended up here instead?” Carina tries not to sound angry or like she’s scolding Maya but she knows she does a little bit.

“Well, no. I didn’t do that on purpose.” Maya frowns. She realizes how bad this looks now. “If you don’t want to stay with me I can have Vic or Andy do it. I just thought-“

“What Maya? Why would you think I wouldn’t want to?” Carina nearly jumps out of her seat in frustration.

Maya shrugs. “Because you’ve go so much going on with Andrew. And now I’m just dumping more of my crap on you. How is Andrew, by the way?”

Carina shrugs and sighs. It’s good to change the subject maybe. That way so won’t be more upset with Maya and snap at her. But she doesn’t want to have to talk about Andrea either. “All I’ve heard from him in the last two days is a text message saying that he was fine.”

“Oh.” Maya bites her lower lip nervously. “I’m sorry I scared you. I know I need to eat. Actually, can I ask a favor.”

Carina raises an eyebrow.

“Can you get me something to eat? I’m starving.”

Carina thinks of something. She sticks her hand in her white lab coat. “Here.” She pulls out a chocolate bar.

Maya laughs. “Do you just walk around with a candy bar in your coat all the time?”

“Si.” Carina opens the chocolate bar and holds it out for Maya to take. “In case anyone gets low blood sugar. Sometimes it’s all day between meals for me. I need a little boost to get me through that sometimes.”

Maya smiles dopily at Carina. She’s just the most thoughtful, adorable person that Maya has ever met. She takes a bite of the chocolate bar.

“We’ll stop and get something more substantial on the way home.” Carina says not really paying attention to her words.

Maya is paying attention though. She knows Carina probably doesn’t mean anything by it, but the word home sticks in Maya’s mind. She tries to focus on something else. Maya looks Carina over for the first time since she’s been here. Like really looks at her and what she’s wearing. “You’ve seen me in my uniform multiple times now, but I’ve never seen you in your work attire until now.”

The mood in the room shifts. Carina grins. “And?”

“It’s cute. The pink.” Maya smirks. “And the white coat. Very professional and official.”

“Gotta look the part right.”

“So do you have to go back to work or-?”

“No, bella, I’m staying with you.”

“Okay.” Maya says dumbfounded and finishes her chocolate bar. She’s glad that Carina hasn’t questioned her further about what happened. She doesn’t want to have to explain what she was doing. She doesn’t want to have to say that she was avoiding Carina and avoiding eating and focusing on the wrong things. Maya just got so caught up in what Diane said about her dad. And she wanted to prove Diane wrong but, in the end, probably ended up doing the opposite. That phrase comes back around in her brain.

Maybe you could learn to sleep and rest and love in this life.

And now she’s literally being prescribed rest. She gazes at Carina as those words play over and over in her mind.


Maya takes the next two shifts off. She feels better an goes back to work for a week before deciding that maybe everybody is right. That she has too much stress.

Things have calmed down some over the last few days. Maya feels more normal, except for the continued stress and anxiety. So, she makes a decision and invites Carina over for dinner.

Maya finds out that things with Andrew are stable, for the moment, with him in therapy. So after a bottle of wine and time spent in front of the fire where they explore each other’s bodies for what feels like the first time in a long time, Maya works up the courage to ask Carina to take some time off and go on vacation.

Maya is at home with her clipboard. She has a list of all the things they need for their vacation. She also has a list of all the things she wants done at the station while she is gone. She’s just waiting for Carina to come over before they go to the station and then leave for their vacation.

Maya paces the room as she looks over her list. “We need to go down to the station. I need to post this list on the bulletin board.”

“We?”

“Well, you don’t have to come with if you don’t want to but-“

“You want me to come with you.” Carina finishes for her with a smirk. “Of course, I’ll come for you.”

Maya groans. “You’re trouble. You know that, right?”

“Si.” Carina grins widely.

“Let’s go.” Maya has the clipboard in one hand. The other reaches out for Carina’s. She looks down at their hands as Carina grips hers. “Is this okay?” She second guesses herself.

“Si, bella.” Carina squeezes her hand.

Maya nods. More to herself than anything. She doesn’t want to say anything but today she is willingly bringing Carina with her to the station and going to open up to her to everyone a little about her and Carina. They aren’t just going to be hold up in her office.

The team is up in the beanery when they arrive. Maya doesn’t let go of Carina’s hand as they enter the room. “Hey, guys.” The crew have been on better terms as of late and are working well together again.

“Who’s this?” Hughes asks.

“That’s the Italian I was telling you about.” Travis whispers to her.

“I still can’t believe you took time off.” Andy shakes her head. “But now I see why.” She nods at the connected hands.

Maya has to look down at the floor. “Okay, look. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this-“

“But it is a big deal.” Andy comments.

“But I’m going to be gone for a week and I have a list of things that I want done while I’m gone.” She holds the clipboard out to Andy. “I want you to make sure this all gets taken care of.”

“Yes, Captain.” Andy winks. “But I think you are forgetting something.” Andy pretends to look over the list.

“Let me see.” Maya tries to take the clipboard back, but Andy holds it out of her reach.

“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” Andy smirks.

“Oh.” Maya looks over at Carina. “I guess some of you might have seen her around before, but this is Dr. DeLuca.”

Vic groans. “So formal, Bishop.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. This is Carina.” She leaves it at that. The words girlfriend floats through Maya’s mind. Now is not the best time to be thinking about that word for the first time but it’s just dawned on Maya that that is basically what Carina is. They are going on vacation together. That’s something couples do. Maya frowns.

“What’s going on with you, Bishop?” Vic notices her awkwardness.

“Carina, this is the entire team.” Maya moves on. “Except Gibson, where is he?”

“Oh, too bad he’s missing this. You know he would have something terribly inappropriate to say.” Miller mumbles to Travis. Travis raises his eyebrows.

“He’s seen Carina before. He knows who she is.” Maya tries to brush the comment off.

“Does he?” Travis mumbles. He isn’t sure if Gibson would put all the pieces together and come up with the right answer.

Maya chews on her lip and shrugs.

Carina slips her hand out of Maya’s. Maya feels the loss immediately. That is until that hand is on the small of her back. “Should we sit?” She guides Maya to the table.

They sit and chat with the team for a little bit before Maya’s anxiety about the trip gets the better of her and she’s bouncing her leg and itching to get out of the station and go. She has to finish packing and they have to get to the airport.