701: A Handful of the Ocean: One

by Commander Azalea Adams
Following Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot
Soundtrack: Why Should I Cry for You by Sting


-=Sickbay, USS Alchemy, (currently on Bajor)=-

"No, no no." [[No, no no.]]

With hushed, mumbled words and hand signs both, small Gillan Tress objected to Azalea's continued attempts to scan her with a tricorder.

[[No?]] Azalea had quickly begun to pick up the toddler's simplistic version of Universal Sign. She smiled. [[No?]]

"No!" Tress repeated happily. It was, after all, her favorite word.

[[Yes!]] Azalea reached out and tickled the baby playfully between the rolling chubs of flesh at her tummy. She couldn't believe, when she had accessed Tress' limited medical records, how much weight the baby had gained since Fleur had taken over caring for her.

Tress had been just shy of emaciated when the woman had arrived at the Plains, but now she was rosy; she was, other than her recent illness and resultant hearing loss, healthy. And she was, for want of a better term, downright pudgy.

She was also nothing short of adorable.

Tress giggled, and pushed the tricorder away again. "No, no." she begged. Then she began to make the sign for 'play'; a gesture that Azalea didn't recognize.

Frowning at the grown-up's lack of understanding, she picked up the small stuffed animal she had so taken to and began to talk to it softly in gibberish.

Azalea sighed and gave up her scanning for now. No matter how many times she took the readings, they were the same. The child had lost ninety-two percent of her hearing, and even with electronic aids, would likely not regain enough to ever be able to use it effectively.

She set Tress back down onto her bed and nodded. "Go ahead, baby. Have fun."

Adams took a few steps away, over toward Fleur Le Marc. Jariel sat beside her, and he was whispering. Wondering if the woman had woken Azalea prepared to ask him, but stopped cold as she made out just what it was that Jariel was actually saying.

"If only you knew, Fleur, how many times I've asked you to dance." He was holding her hand tenderly against his cheek. He kissed it softly. "If only the Sylph had shown you what they showed me." His shoulders slumped and he sighed. "If only you knew how often I plan to dance with you, as soon as you're ready to get up out of that bed."

Azalea's mind flashed again, with much greater intensity than the earlier inkling she'd had when Jariel had hugged her. When she had focused, fully, on his face for the very first time since arriving on Bajor.

She'd been so dedicated to caring for everyone and completely preoccupied with finding a cure. Now that Hartcort had done it, her mind turned to other thoughts; other memories.

She had never met the Vedek before this trip, of this she was certain.

She was just as certain, though, that she knew a hell of a lot about him.

"Jariel," She blurted, and he jolted upright and turned around.

"Doctor?" He questioned her with kind, warm brown eyes. "Is something wrong?"

"I just thought, I thought I heard you say," Her lovely dark complexion took on an ashy tone, and she shook her head as if to force the thought from it by rattling it free. "Couldn't be."

"Thought I said what?"

"I...thought you said...Sylph."

His eyes widened.

"Why? Does that term...mean something to you?" Alarms rang off in his mind, warnings from Zanh Liis in times past about sharing sensitive information.

About corrupting the timeline.

From the look upon her face, though, Jariel had to believe that the mysterious Doctor Adams, wherever she had really come from before she had ended up here, knew exactly what he meant when he mentioned the aliens by name.

"Yes." She turned away, wincing. "I...recently had a very unpleasant encounter with a species by that name."

"Telepaths?" Jariel volunteered as little as possible but needed, desperately, to talk about it with someone who could understand.

"Yes. They. Wait." She looked at him with shock and sorrow on her face that surpassed any expression of emotion he'd seen in the woman since meeting her. "Dear God. What have I done." She backed away from him slowly.

"Doctor? What is it that you think you've done?"

"You're Jariel Camen!" Horror distorted her beautiful face.

Jariel couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, we've met. I'm Jariel Camen, and you're Azalea Adams,"

"Yes, I am, and for a long time, I was Chief Medical Officer of a Temporal Investigations ship under the command of Captain Keiran O'Sullivan."

Jariel's smile vanished.

"This is why I feel I know you, Jariel Camen. Why I felt I knew you the moment you shook my hand and told me your name." Her voice wavered with emotion. "He told me all about you."

Jariel's face took on a ruddy hue. "Did he."

"Yes. He told me that you and-" She stopped short of speaking Zanh Liis' name. "My God, Jariel, I came here and announced that she had...when you are the man who," she was whispering now. "You were the man who, according to him, had always stood between them. Stupid!" She berated herself. "I'm so stupid. I just blurted out that Captain Zanh had gotten married. I'm so sorry. I've just come from another round of...procedures and at first I didn't remember that you,"

"Memory resequencing?" He asked with disdain. "You recently had your memory resequenced?"

"How much, exactly, do you know about the process?"

"More than anyone who's never worked for Temporal Investigations should know."

Adams retreated across Sickbay and handed Tress another toy. She reached out and caressed the girl's cheek gently. Tress responded by giving her a tight hug around the neck with both of her tiny arms.

"Thank you. I needed that."

Jariel squeezed Adams' shoulder softly, standing over her shoulder. Tress squealed with delight at seeing him, and began to sign furiously.

[[All right, I'll play.]] He sat down beside her, and she took a closed tricorder from the table beside the bed and scrunched her features into as serious an expression as she could manage.

[[All better, Papa.]] Tress signed, then she nodded. [[Tress make Papa better.]]

"What did she say?"

"She said," Jariel cleared his throat, trying to still his emotions. "That she wanted to make me all better. But what she doesn't realize is," he closed his eyes and placed a kiss upon the baby's forehead before looking back at Adams with fresh tears in his eyes. "That's exactly what she and Fleur have done. Exactly."

He seized Adams' hand, holding it fast for a moment before releasing it. "And what you've done, without even knowing it."

"What do you mean?"

"I'll explain it to you in a moment. First, though, you seem a woman in need of a listening ear. Tell me, who does the doctor go to when she needs counsel?"

Azalea laughed incredulously. "Doctors, especially those of us who have performed the duty of both physician and counselor for Starfleet simultaneously aren't supposed to have needs. You of all people should know that. Or didn't they copy you on that directive?"

"Neither are starship captains, so I've been told. But we both know that it's not true, of either species. Counselors, or Captains." He gestured toward the chair beside the bed. "Please. Sit down."

Slowly wringing her hands, she sank into the chair.

"You've been told, I'm sure, that my position aboard the Serendipity is that of Ship's Chaplain. I am a trained counselor, Doctor and as you know, also a Bajoran priest. I can assure you that my confidence-keeping skills are a thing of legend."

"Of that I have no doubt." She wearily brushed a hand back through her hair, trying to smooth it back into place without success.

"We have a moment, while all is quiet and there is nothing more that you can do, right this second, for anyone else." He implored her compassionately. "Use it, and do something to help yourself. Tell me what it is that is troubling you."

Adams dabbed at the edges of her eyes with the sleeve of her labcoat and waved him off. "Nothing. It's nothing."

"It's not nothing if it makes you cry."

"I'm tired. It's been a long trip. We're still waiting to see if Lance's cure can do anything to help Timal and Fleur. I'm just feeling the stress." The serum had already begun to help the rest of the Bajorans stricken with the illness; Timal's frailty before he'd taken ill was hampering efforts of his body to heal.

"Those are excuses for crying, not an explanation of the emotions causing you to do so." He put one of his hands on her arm, while the other hand held Tress' toy and made it climb slowly across her dimpled hand, eliciting a laugh.

She snatched it away from him and turned her full attention back to it, allowing him to do the same for Adams.

"I don't believe for a moment, looking at you, that those are tears of joy, Doctor Adams."

"No," she laughed once, with more bitterness than she'd intended. "They're not."

"Sadness is understandable. If you've worked with Captain O'Sullivan for any length of time then I would imagine that you, like him, have seen things that the rest of us can barely imagine. I know that," he paused, "Zanh Liis has. You have every right to feel...how do you feel?"

"I feel...sad, Vedek."


"Camen." Her shoulders began to shake. "Zanh Liis is the reason that I know you, Camen. Rather, I should say, the things she told O'Sullivan about you, and things he learned himself about you in the time he spent working with you on the Sera while he was there. Before our last mission. Before the Perseids."

"The Perseids?"

"The ship that he took command of for Temporal. After he left the Serendipity."

Camen tilted his head in confusion. "You make it sound as though he commanded that ship for a long time."

He knew that TI agents often worked outside the linear timeline but only in pairs; and she said she'd been CMO of a ship and crew he commanded. It had been mere months at this point since they'd encountered the Sylph, O'Sullivan had left, and Jariel and Liis had gone their separate ways...

"Two years." She droned, staring past him and off into space. "From our perspective, our mission lasted for more than two years."

Commander Azalea Adams
Starfleet Medical
Currently on Bajor