It was just around 5 or so in the evening and most of us were heading down to the mess hall. Me and the rest of the commanders, plus a few lucky others, had just finished a pretty hard workout. I had gotten my food and was just sitting down when I realized she wasn't there.
"Commander, where's lieutenant Taz?" I asked the other commander next to me.
"I'm not sure Up; I haven't seen her all day." He replied without giving it much thought. I couldn't help but find it strange; Taz almost never misses a workout if she can help it. I decided I'd try and figure out where she was… for Starship commander purposes only.
Without saying anything to anyone I got up, took my tray back and started walking. I wasn't sure where I was going, but I ended up at her room's door.
"Taz…" I said softly as I knocked on the door. I was half hoping she wasn't in her room, and the other half was hoping she'd open the door laughing and go down to the mess hall. So I wasn't at all prepared when I heard her response.
"Go away Up" she said sadly, I wasn't sure but I thought I heard her voice break at the end. That's when I gently pushed open the door and walked in. I saw her sitting on the little bench by her window just staring out into space. I sat down on the edge of her bed and said the first thing that came to my mind.
"Taz, I'm sorry. I haven't been there when my team needs me, I should have left Mega-girl on bug world, and I shouldn't have gone soft." I said and cursed myself on how pathetic my voice sounded. I saw though that I wasn't what was bothering her. Then she said something that once again caught me off guard.
"Up, how do you handle it?" she asked me in that Mexican accent of hers that I love. I asked her what she meant and she said something about losing everything and everyone that she loved.
That's when it hit me, she wasn't upset about any of the stuff I thought she was. How could I be so stupid? Today was her birthday for dead God's sake! Not only was it her birthday, but it was also the day that her life was turned upside down. Once I realized this I walked over to the ledge where she was sitting and wiped away the single tear that had started to roll down her tanned cheek. She gave a halfhearted smile and then started crying. I put my arms around her and held her as she sobbed. It was strange seeing my brave lieutenant just break like that. She cried for probably a good half hour before her sobs became shaky breaths and then gradually returned to her normal pace. All this time I had just stayed there and held her, never saying a word.
"Taz, look at me." I said as gently as I could. When she didn't respond I gently reached down and tipped her head up to face mine. That's when she couldn't help it anymore and her rich chocolate brown eyes locked onto my blue ones.
"You tell anyone about this and I'll have to kill you" she said, managing a shaky laugh. Then she did something I'd never expected, she leaned up and kissed me. I was shocked to say the least, but it's not as if I hadn't imagined this moment more than once. We kissed for a moment more when she gently pulled away.
"Now I'm really going to have to kill you" she said, this time letting out a real laugh this time. I didn't give her time to finish her thought before I kissed her again, this time more forcefully. I could feel the remnants of her laugh on my lips. I don't know how long we kissed that time, but it was cut short by my sudden realization, "Shit! I need to get back, the rest of the squads probably wondering where I am." I muttered.
"Screw them" she mumbled and kissed me. We kissed for a while more when that stupid science officer February interrupted us.
"Taz… OMDG! Taz I'm so freakin' sorry! Wait, Up?" She yelled. I heard Taz screaming at her about knocking and then telling her to get out, but I was too busy laughing to pay much attention. Once February left, I got up and shut the door behind her. When I sat back down, Taz couldn't help it anymore, she started laughing too. We laughed for a while and then we started talking. We talked about our pasts and about our time on the starships. About halfway through her stories, she started crying again. Once again I went and held her and kissed the top of her hair. By now it was getting pretty late and it didn't surprise me when she gave out a huge yawn. I sighed and gently lifted her up and carried her to her bed. As I tucked the sheets around her and turned to leave she started to say something, "No, Up. Don't go, please stay, please?" she sleepily mumbled. I gave another sigh and plopped down on the couch adjacent to her bed. I saw her looking at me so I returned her gaze, it didn't take long before she was out like a light. A couple of hours later she started mumbling something about the robots. "Up! No not Up, leave him alone…" she broke off into sobs. I got up of the couch and crawled onto her bed and held her again.
"Shhh, I'm right here Taz. I'm alright, everything's okay." I whispered and she looked at me as if she couldn't believe it. Then she went back to sleep. Too tired to get back over to the couch I wound up sleeping on the bed that night. In the morning when she woke up, her chocolate eyes immediately found my blue. Seeing them made me realize, this was how I wanted to wake up every morning. This… was where we belonged.