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05 August 2015 @ 08:07 pm
FIC: That’s What Friends Are For (Star Trek AOS, Darwin, Madeline), G  
Female friendship FTW! <3

Title: That’s What Friends Are For (Part 2 of series "Worth It")
Author: megan_moonlight
Date of Posting: August 5th, 2015
Rating: G
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Characters/Pairings: Darwin, Madeline, James Kirk, Leonard McCoy, Spock
Disclaimer: All the characters © Gene Roddenberry. I make no money from this.
Summary: Madeline was unlike anybody else Aisha had known, but with time, her presence became something familiar Aisha could hold on to.
Spoilers: Minor for Into Darkness
Warnings: None
Beta: lil_1337, andrea_deer
Author's Notes: Second part of my series about Darwin ("Worth It"). This time it focuses on friendships and my headcanon backstory for her. And about Darwin and Madeline being awesome in general. Enjoy!
Thanks to andrea_deer for encouragement, all the comments and just being wonderful and supportive.
Mentioned at: At AO3 *HERE*




*THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR*


Aisha Darwin liked feeling that she was doing something important. It was one of the main reasons why she enlisted to Starfleet in the first place. Not that her life before Starfleet was lacking anything, it wasn’t, but knowing that what she is doing matters was satisfying.

Aisha’s life was good overall. Her family was supportive of her, her decisions and they were happy when she informed them of her decision to enlist to Starfleet, even if they didn’t like the fact that she would be so far away. They had heard many stories of lost officers, killed in action. But her father was still proud and never hid it, reminding her of that in every message. Her step-mother kept telling her how much she misses her and sending numerous pictures of the house, family pictures from parties and pictures of their dog, who somehow always managed to look as if he was trying to get as close to the camera as possible. It never failed to make Aisha smile. Even Marcus, her younger brother, who never understood her decision to join Starfleet nor her love for space, sometimes asked her to tell him about other planets and her job. She knew how lucky she was.

What had been bothering her back then was the fact that, apparently, she stood out among her classmates. She never liked being around people, not much more than it was absolutely necessary. Crowds made her… nervous and uneasy, especially when she was younger. That was why she preferred staying at home in her room, where she felt safe and comfortable, where she didn’t have to think about every little thing she had said or did. She was criticized, but she had learned to not care about what other people thought, even if it had taken her some time. But she had friends and people she could talk to. She just… preferred to keep her distance most of the time.

That it had been a problem for others she had learned from her first friend, Tina Sofin, the girl she had hoped would be her girlfriend. They had never talked about defining their relationship – they had spent a lot of time together, Aisha felt comfortable around her and they could talk about anything. It had been… good. It felt natural to tell Tina that she loved her. It was when she had learned that it wasn’t enough. That what she had to give wasn’t enough and Tina needed more ‘intimacy.’

“Aisha, I like you. I do. You’re a good friend, but… that’s all.”

It had hurt, but Aisha had accepted it. They hadn’t stopped being friends but it hadn’t been as comfortable as it used to be anymore. So she just stuck to what she knew - staying in familiar places, where she hadn’t felt like she had to hide or leave and where she could just sit down and read something. Tina’s friends insisted on going to clubs, loud music and long parties and for some time Aisha had accompanied them, hoping that Tina would see how much she meant to her and how much she had tried to change for her.

Slowly, though, when Aisha had realized that Tina just wasn’t interested, didn’t matter how much she had changed, she just had decided to let her go. In the end it would have hurt even more. She was usually perfectly fine being by herself and she had finally managed to accept that she just preferred it that way. She had learned that not many people understood that not everyone feels the need to be around the others. Most will never understand that, sadly.

Enlisting to Starfleet was something she had wanted to do since her father told her about all the possibilities, starships and traveling, even if she knew it would require stepping out of her comfort zone. Ever since her father had learned that his friend’s son had enlisted a few months back he seemed to actually intrigued by the idea, even if he never paid much attention to this subject, and sometimes focused too much on the fact that it was also dangerous. She had realized that it was something that could give her more opportunities to learn, to achieve something no one from her family thought about before, despite the fact that she would have to share her space with somebody at the Academy.

Surprisingly, her first roommate was very quiet as well. They rarely even talked if they had no reason to, which seemed to work for both of them very well. Only after the cadet graduated Madeline moved in and Aisha wasn’t really prepared for all the changes that living with her new roommate brought.

Madeline was unlike anybody else Aisha had known. She was always smiling, excited about being a cadet and she enjoyed being around her friends in general. She was one of those people for whom being cheerful and optimistic came naturally, and who knew how to cheer up the others just by being in the same room with them.

Surprisingly, Aisha didn’t mind. She had quickly learned Madeline wasn’t like Tina at all. She never seemed to mind when Aisha declined offers to join her for lunch or a picnic with a bunch of friends. She easily agreed that it was perfectly alright to just want to spend some time in the room.

One night, when both of them were done with their classes for the day Aisha was sitting on her bed, going through the Tactical Analysis and Survival Strategies notes on her PADD. When she felt her bed dip she looked up to see Madeline sitting on the edge of her bed. She was smiling lightly, looking a little bit uncertain. It made Aisha frown.

“May I ask you something?” Madeline asked. “I mean, if you are not too busy?”

Aisha put down her PADD and looked at the other woman. “Yes? What is it?”

“You are more quiet than usual lately and I was wondering why. I do know humans are usually very private about some aspects of their lives, and I don’t mean to pry, but if it is because of anything I said or did…” she paused and looked at Aisha curiously. She seemed to be a little worried, too, as she tilted her head a bit, waiting for an answer.

“Oh. No, it’s not you, Madeline, not at all,” Aisha answered, smiling at the other woman, hoping to reassure her. “I just really wanted to focus on the classes lately, that’s all. I’m just worried about some of the exams and I want to be prepared. I rarely go out when I’m reading.”

“Oh. That’s… good, then. Great,” Madeline looked at her hands and then at Aisha again, but she seemed to be calmer already, which made Aisha calm down a bit as well. “But you would tell me if anything was wrong, right?”

“Of course I would. But let me tell you, you’re already a pretty good roommate.”

“Thank you,” Madeline said after a while and looked at her again, but this time she was smiling, her usual cheerful smile that made everything around her seem… brighter, if that made any sense. “Really. I mean. Thank you for telling me. And… sorry, but I just have to ask, because I’ve seen you reading yesterday, too. Do you maybe have any holonovels? I mean, the detective ones? I’ve been reading some human literature and I’ve heard that I should give detective stories a try and I was wondering if you have any. You like reading, right?”

They spent a couple of hours talking about novels and Madeline mentioned she had classes early the next day, but she didn’t mind staying awake three hours later than usual. For the first time since she had left school Aisha felt close to somebody and it was… amazing.

And she was really glad to see Madeline on the Enterprise, too, when they both were assigned to join the Enterprise’s first five-year mission. It was incredibly reassuring to already know someone with whom she would work for such a lengthy period of time, since it made almost everything much easier. And judging by the hug they shared when they saw each other that day, and the way Madeline tightened her arms around her, she must have felt the same way. Seeing Madeline’s bright smile never failed to cheer Aisha up.

“I am so glad you’re here, too,” Madeline said as she moved away a bit.

“So, how do you feel about all this?” Aisha asked after a while, when they were both walking towards the mess hall.

They both, just like the rest of the crew, had been through a lot with the Enterprise. The hunt for John Harrison, the battle with the USS Vengeance, saving the Captain, all of this left everyone more than aware of the danger they might face in the future. While the Academy did a lot to prepare them for many different scenarios in theory, it was always difficult to predict what they actually might encounter later.

“Honestly? I think it will be worth it,” Madeline replied. “We went through so much here, near the base, can you imagine what we might find when we fly away?”

“Comparing anything to what we’ve been through so far is not very reassuring, you know.”

“But we’re a part of something big anyway, aren’t we? Can you imagine it?” Madeline smiled as she ordered a purple omelet and a glass of herbal tea.

Darwin ordered a slice of apple pie and spinach juice and followed her friend to one of the tables near the center of the room.

“I think I’m starting to,” Aisha answered, bringing her chair closer to the table.

“Only now?”

“It’s different to think of much when you’re focusing on protecting the ship and, well, everyone else. And on not dying.”

Madeline grinned at her and took a sip of the tea.

Their lives would look different for the next five years and for some reason it got to her more now that everything seemed to be so calm. The rest of the crew still talked about everything that had happened, but now it was just that. Talking. Those Aisha saw seemed to be calm, composed, talking to the others about everything, getting ready for their shift…

“Aisha, are you okay?”

Aisha turned to look at Madeline, who was looking at her, worry obvious on her face.

“Yes. Well, I will be, at least. I think the idea of being away from home is catching up with me more and more with every second.”

As soon as she said it Madeline moved a bit closer and put one hand on Aisha’s, squeezing her fingers gently.

“I’m always here if you need to talk. Or just sit in silence , that would be fine, too,” she said, smiling reassuringly, tilting her head to the side slightly.

“Thank you.”

“That’s what friends are for, right?”

Aisha smiled and nodded. Madeline probably didn’t even know how much she actually reassured her. Just her presence was enough to let Aisha compose herself.

Just the thought of leaving for such a long period of time was terrifying, leaving behind the familiar and comfortable places she usually stayed in when she felt lost. She had been preparing for it, this mission was what she thought about when she enlisted in the first place. It’d make a change. A change affecting not only Strafleet, but also her. It was soothing to know that she had something familiar to hold on to and that Madeline was there for her.

As they were sitting, talking, listening to everyone around them, too, Aisha noticed three more people entering the mess hall.

Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy and First Officer Spock were walking to the food synthesizers, a bright smile on the Captain’s face widening even more as he turned to look at Doctor McCoy.

“Come on, Bones, not like you never wanted to check before. You can’t lie to me.”

Doctor McCoy just rolled his eyes, as he ordered coffee for himself.

“No, I never did. Want to know why? Because you’re already telling me everything, sometimes even more than I need or want to know. Besides, we’re already flying in this death-trap, I don’t need to get into even smaller ones.”

“I believe I have to agree with Doctor McCoy in this respect, Captain,” the First Officer said, taking a cup the Captain handed him, glancing at it for a second before looking up at the other man again. “You tend to get enthusiastic when you are interested in certain matters, and in result talk much more than usually.”

“Really, Spock? Even you?”

“See, Jim? Believe it or not, not everyone’s obsessed with space and they don’t need to get into every flying object they have access to,” Doctor McCoy replied and Aisha couldn’t help agreeing with him on this. “Especially when it’s not even finished yet.”

“I bet Scotty and Keenser will finish it soon. And you’re no fun today, Bones.”

“Being fun is not in my job description.”

The Captain turned around to sit at the empty table, but then looked at Aisha and Madeline. “Oh, Madeline, Officer Darwin, good morning. How are you? Everything okay?”

“Yes, Captain, thank you,” Aisha replied and Madeline nodded as well, taking a sip of the tea. “And you?”

“You know what?” The Captain looked around, looked first at the Doctor, then at the First Officer, and smiled, taking a sip of whatever he had in the cup. “I feel pretty good. We’re a part of something great, right?”

Aisha nodded. Five years was a very long time, and it would be difficult for everyone, but she had a feeling it would be worth it.


 
 
*Mood*: artisticartistic
 
 
 
Julie: Original ★ fanfictionragnarok_08 on August 5th, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
This is really well-written - very in character :D