Red Flag

Chapter 10

"Everything looks like it's progressing normally. My guess, without an ultrasound, is that your 8-10 weeks along. Once you reach your second trimester, the morning sickness should dissipate," Rachel smiled kindly at the young woman on the exam table before her. Kara laid her head back on the pillow, sighing.

"How much longer until then? I don't know if I can keep going on like this, I'm practically useless sometimes," Kara had been feeling awful since the trials. The sickness came and went, but when it was there, she was down for the count.

Rachel offered an encouraging smile, "Fourteen weeks puts you in your second trimester," she was sympathetic for the younger woman, knowing that was not the news she was hoping to hear. "But then, four weeks after that, if I can get my hands on an ultrasound machine in Boston, we can see what sex the baby is," she gave Kara something to look forward, something to hold on to during the rougher moments.

"Thank you, Dr. Scott." Kara smiled at Rachel, sitting up slowly. Despite Rios being the ship's doctor, Kara had asked that Dr. Scott take care of her and the baby; she preferred a female during this time. Rachel was out of practice, and hadn't delivered a baby since her trauma days in Mogadishu, but she was confident she could get Kara through the pregnancy, along with Rios' help as well during the non-exam moments.

"Of course, Kara. Please let me know if you need more anti-nausea medicine. I'll look for something a little more effective while we're in port, and try to get my hands on some baby items for you as well."

Kara smiled her appreciation, heading for the door to exit sick bay. Danny was anxiously waiting outside. Rachel watched them share a quiet moment, as Kara reported that all was well so far, and watched them embrace. She looked away then, feeling like she was intruding on their moment. She could feel the engines still, knew they were docking. She'd been practicing her speech in her head about going ashore with them, needing medical supplies. She knew Tom was going to fight her. But she was determined to go with them-she knew what she needed and she didn't want to have to make a long laundry list for whoever would be retrieving her things.

She made her way to their deployment area, watching the boats being lowered into the water. Her pack over her shoulder, she stepped up beside Tex and Danny, who were armed and ready to head ashore. She knew time was of the essence; they needed to refuel, get food and supplies and get out of Boston as soon as possible.

Tom's back was to her as he briefed the team, Mike looking on. Mike had discouraged him from going, since his children were now very much in his life, he needed to stay safe, didn't need to be risking his life when Mike was very capable. Especially when Tom wasn't 100% yet after his injury. Tom had relented and agreed to let Mike go in his stead. But it had been an argument between the two. Tom wasn't one to stay behind.

This was the same as their trip to Gitmo, get in, get what they needed, and get out. They would be stopping in Norfolk potentially on their way back south soon; there were more family members to look for. But they realized how dangerous it was for them to be docked in any harbor now, had seen it first hand. Everyone needed to be on watch, armed and ready to head out of port as soon as danger arose.

When he finished addressing the crew going ashore, he turned back to the men behind him, raising his eyebrows immediately at the sight of Rachel. "What are you doing?" He questioned her. He didn't need to ask, he knew she would insist on going. But he stood fast, knew his strict answer.

"I need to go to what's left of Mass General. We need more medical supplies to keep replicating the cure, and I need an ultrasound machine to make sure Kara's pregnancy progresses normally. She also needs pre-natal vitamins, amongst other things. Quincy is not healthy enough to go, and-"

"Doc Rios can go for you, make him a list. You're too valuable," he was short with her, wasn't entertaining her antics today in regards to going off the ship. The answer was and, especially after what happened in Baltimore, would always be no.

He turned to Tex, began explaining something about their mission, but she interrupted them. Tex looked at her, surprised at her assertive tone. "Captain, with all due respect, I'm overruling you on this one," She pushed past him, following Danny to the ladder.

He watched her go, surprised into silence by her actions. She wasn't normally one to be overly bull-headed and completely disregard his authority.

Mike waited for Tom to stop her. He and Tex exchanged a look.

"Dr. Scott," came his sharp tone, turning to face her as she walked away. She stopped, only out of respect, crossing her arms and looking at him expectantly. "Did you hear what I said? Make Rios a list and-"

"Captain, I'm going," She moved over the railing, her heart racing as she climbed down the ladder, landing in the boat easily.

Tom clenched his jaw, watched after her, where she'd gone. He was angry, irritated by her defiant behavior. He rubbed the bridge of his nose. She was safer on board the ship, they couldn't afford to lose her. "Go with her, please. Do NOT let her out of your sight," he spoke to Tex and Mike, who nodded, their plans now changed. He would have gone, but with Garnett and Chung working to refuel and Mike already going, there was no one else to command the ship. He knew he could have switched places with Mike, but at this point it wasn't worth it. He had to trust his men to bring her back safely.

Tex settled next to her in the boat, and she ignored the chuckle that escaped him. "Somebody ruffled the Commodore's feathers..."

"I know what I need and it's easier if I just get it," was her snappy reply. Tex laughed at her, entertained by her antics this sunny, fall afternoon. Mike puffed on a cigar, taking the moment off the ship to enjoy one.

"She decided she needed a 45 minute walk, Tex, that's all," Mike replied with a laugh, also amused at the irritation of the captain and her complete disregard for his orders.

"Oh, 45 minutes, that's all it is? You're lucky I'm in for a stroll, now that we've been put on babysitting duty," his sarcasm got her a glare, and he just chuckled, "Oh lassie, relax. Enjoy your trip because I have a feeling it's the last one you're gonna get for a while."

When they finally got the last of her things on board, she was already delegating, instructing where things needed to go, where things needed to be stored. Tex and Mike stood tiredly next to her, admiring her endless energy. They shared a look, however, as Tom strode out onto the flight desk.

"Dr. Scott!" He called as he got closer. She ignored him, talking to Danny about the ultrasound machine's capabilities. Tom was so angry with her for her defiance, had been stewing the entire time she'd been ashore. He thought through everything he was going to say, how clear he was going to make it that she would never be allowed off ship again thanks to her behavior. Sitting in his chair on the bridge, he'd stared out at the ocean and the desolate city that was now Boston, thinking about his life now, how different everything was. And how if anything happened to Rachel...he couldn't lose any more people.

Mike could tell by the way she affected him, how his behavior changed when she was around. There was something underlying on Tom's end. He couldn't put his finger on it, but some of the recent exchanges he'd witnessed between the two intrigued him.

"Dr. Scott!" his voice was tight, and when she finally glanced up at him, she could tell he wasn't happy with her. "A word please. Privately." She dropped her head, excusing herself from the group, following the Captain as he walked off the flight deck at a good clip. She followed behind him dutifully, thinking of all the retorts she had for when he scolded her. She followed him to his stateroom, where they had privacy, and he opened the door, allowing her in first, and then shutting it behind him.

She faced the far wall, afraid to turn. When she finally did, she wished she hadn't. She began speaking first, now just as upset as he was. "Captain Chandler, you have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do. I am not one of your crew and you cannot order me around as if I am!" Rachel crossed her arms in defense. Normally she wouldn't be so hot with him, but with the way he was looking at her, his head down slightly, his eyes bearing into hers, she felt the urge to yell, because otherwise she'd end up doing other things.

"Dr. Scott, don't you ever undermine me in front of my crew again." His words were low, fierce. He seemed to have grown in his uniform, his shoulders drawn back, his arms crossed. They seemed to have begun a staring contest, their eyes locked, both seething with their own kind of anger. "I hope you got what you needed because I can assure you, your days of going ashore are over."

"You have no right-"

"I have every right!" His voice boomed in the small room, his patience quickly thinning. "This is my ship and everyone on it is under my command, including you! And if you think you can deliberately disobey an order without repercussions, you're wrong." He clenched and unclenched his fists at his sides, his frustration with her going so much deeper than just her going off the ship without his adherence.

"Captain, it sounds like your title is going to your head," her words were sharp, and if possible, his eyes darkened further, a darkness she hadn't seen since their first fight months ago, after the Russians had attacked them. She was breathing heavily, her hands defiantly on her hips, her eye contact never wavering.

"Dr. Scott, I am warning you, pull a stunt like that again-"

"Why am I so 'valuable'" she put air quotations around his chosen word from this morning, "to your mission? You have your cure, you have the lab. If something happens to me, Rios and Quincy know enough to continue my work. I am not valuable, I am no more important than anyone else!" She was so tired of him treating her like she was fragile. She was tough, had been taking care of herself far longer than she cared to admit. She didn't need his protecting.

He paced a little bit, no words coming to mind in response. How do you tell someone how important they are, when you're not even sure how much?

Instead, on a leap of faith and spurred by the severe anger he had at her for risking her life, he crossed the room quickly, his hands sliding up to either side of her face, his mouth covering hers. This kiss was fierce, intense, and he couldn't help himself.

She found herself shocked at first, but soon gripping his strong biceps, kissing back, matching his fervor. The feelings he pulled out of her were something she'd never felt before. She melted into him, her body meshing with his. She cursed the uniform that separated them, but that didn't slow her lips from kissing his back passionately.

He couldn't get enough, backing her into his desk. He wanted to eat her alive, to show her how important in fact she was to him. But in the same moment, he could still feel how upset he was with her, and how vulnerable he was in this moment.

He pulled back abruptly, staring at her, his eyes dark, his expression one she hadn't seen before. He released her, but stood closely. "Get out," he practically growled, so frustrated with her and himself, he needed to be alone.

Her eyes widened, confusion and hurt evident on her face. She blinked, trying to readjust to reality, moving quickly for the door. Her stubborn behavior was forgotten as she practically ran down the p-way, putting as much distance between herself and Tom as possible. This man had a way of turning her inside it in a matter of seconds. It was not something she was proud of.

She thought back to the moment in the ward room, when she'd kissed him and then ran. Maybe she deserved this. Maybe he was getting her back. What kind of game was this they were playing with one another?

Tom paced his stateroom, rubbing his face. Why had he done that? Why would he cross that line? He couldn't stop thinking about it though, the feeling of her lips on his, of her against him. He sighed heavily.

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