"I always loved the wind…
...until that mission on Telstrus 3."
They were visiting Betazed this shore leave, an unexpected treat for sure. Her father was pleased to hear about her surprise visit, and while she knew her mother would be busy back on Earth, there was still a twinge of regret there, along with her brother out on his own mission amongst the stars.
As such, she dressed in her favorite pink summer dress, her blonde hair flowing free today, under a beige wicker hat with a bow on it. The walk to the greenhouse was never long, just enough to get the mind wandering about, but not enough to tire her out. At least not now that she was older and no longer smaller than her kneecap whose steps equaled to that of three adult ones.
A knock at the door before she pushed it open. "Dad?"
"Corliss!" She heard a distant crashing and couldn't help but let out a small sigh of a laugh, shutting the glass door behind her. Plants upon plants upon plants surrounded her, creating their own version of a rainforest, one might say. One ivy crept along the top of the roof, and a tall tree bearing fruit that glowed blue caught her eye as her father appeared. "You've grown!"
"You say that every time!" He had his arms open and she couldn't help to walk into the hug being gifted, both of them squeezing as hard as possible, feeling her ribs creak and she had to smack his back, laughing. "Let go, hah!"
"Fine, fine!" He did, albeit one hand remained on her shoulder, a happy goofy grin remaining on his face that was echoed back on hers. "My, it has been a long time, hasn't it? Oh, where's that boy you wanted me to meet?"
And there it was. It made her face heat up and she sighed, shaking her head, arms crossed. "Dad, I'm not a little girl anymore. He's not a boy. He's a Starfleet officer as well, you know. Medical."
"What a field to go into! Mind you, I can't say anything," he laughed, his hands now on his hips, looking as always over the top, his glasses shining in the light like one of those cartoony villains. "I remember taking that course of study for half a semester! Never could wrap my mind into the whozits and whatsits, so good show on him!"
She couldn't help rolling her eyes, snickering. That was just her dad, being his usual self really. She'd been told they were so alike it was scary but she didn't see it. She had no green thumb and he was all green thumbs...so, yeah, she didn't see it.
"Anyway, we thought we'd go into town and eat, it's kind of our thing," she grinned. "There's a place I promised to take him that has that sweet tea that's a bright green, remember? The uttaberry chai."
"Yes yes, your mother adores it, although I think she likes it more for the decorations, I think," he nodded. "Well, let me finish up here and we'll get our wheels rolling!" With a tap to her shoulder, he was off back to wherever the crashing had come from. She shook her head with a laugh, leaning against the doorframe for a moment with a sigh.
It was colder than she remembered, or maybe, she was used to the ship being warmer. In fact, she regretted not lugging along a thin jacket. The mountains made everything feel just that much...heavier? Plus the snow in the winter, the sadness when the plants would inevitably die, the refreshing spring or fall weather...
The sun was beaming down now, warming her up through the glass of the greenhouse. Honestly, it was such a beautiful day. Perhaps she could convince both of them to go out and walk around the central plaza, the hedges always made such a wonderful maze...
"And I am ready, dear daughter!" He skidded back into view with a grin, this time wearing a checkered shirt and slacks, plus his mirrored glasses of course. She shook her head, smiling.
"Way to make an impression, Dad."
"Why of course! Who did you think you got your sense of fashion from?"
...she was not going to answer that. Instead, she opened the door with a sweeping arm. "After you, dear father."
"Why thank you, dear daughter," he playfully bowed, she bowing back, both of them cracking up in laughter.
Two steps out the door, the wind picked up.
"And you see, I thought I could make-Corliss?"
The wind whistled around the greenhouse, her hair picking up along with it like fingers sliding through the strands, her hat tilting as she froze in place.
The wind whistled angrily, more a shriek of anger than a simple whistle, the rain pelting on them from the clouds above. "To the cave!" came a voice, she knew the voice, she did, but she couldn't place them amongst the terror of the storm. "We'll be safe there, go, go!"
"I..." She could feel her breath pick up, catch in her throat like someone reaching out and squeezing it tightly, her heart hammering behind the bones that kept it safe.
She fell in the mud, one hand sinking lower than what she felt was safe, shouting out in pain from the jerk of her wrist. Lightning cracked across the sky, the wind gearing up into the shrieking crescendo that only toddlers could ever seem to reach, and just as she pushed herself up, her eyesight swinging up, a large tree branch was sent flying her way.
A touch to her shoulder had her jerking, blinking furiously as she stared at her dad, who frowned back at her. "Are you alright? You've got your net up," he tapped at his temple.
"...just....habit," she mumbled, staring up at the blue, empty sky. "Lots of people onboard value their privacy."
It took a moment, but he pulled his hand away, nodding quickly, a simple smile on his face. "Right! Right, yes, that whole...keeping to oneself thing."
"..." she shook her head quickly, pretending to brush a stray hair away from her cheek and clearing her throat before smiling. "Well, we're late, I suspect, we should go."
He sighed, doing that full-body sag as animatedly as he did every action that continuously surprised her. "You and your mother are so very alike, do you know that?"
"What!" she squeaked out, for a moment brought out of those dark, painful memories. "We are not!"
"You are indeed!" He laughed, turning around to start down the path once more, and her jogging after him huffing and puffing. "Neither of you are very good about talking about yourselves."
Oh. Well. He had her there. She winced, looking away, the hat tilting as if to hide her face from him. "There's not much to talk about. Just the usual...death-defying missions and all," she laughed uneasily, letting it trail off as the soft wind died down, leaving her arms covered in bumps of skin.
"I'm not so sure why everyone is so okay with that," he said, lightly. "I've never enjoyed my children close to death, after all."
"It's just how Starfleet is, Dad. Traveling...seeing things...doing things..." dying a few times, being yanked into an alternate reality where everyone she knew and loved was de-
"How exhausting," he sighed, a hand touching his temples as he shook his head, grimacing again and making her laugh. "And to think, you've not told me about a single mission so far! Here I am, left to float about the days, alone as ever," he sighed louder, his arms dangling like a dramatic teenager, and her face hurt from smiling so hard.
"Aw, Dad, don't be like that," she bumped his shoulder playfully, smiling. "I tell you things. Boss, on the other hand..."
"Your brother is so secretive, shhh!" He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, a finger to his lips with a giant grin. "Wouldn't want the neighbor boy to hear his dastardly plans and reveal them to the cats!"
She burst out into a laugh, swatting at him and they both started to laugh harder, their eyes clouding over from their joy as she leaned on him again, wheezing with laughter. "That's horrible and you know it! It's protocol!"
"It's mildly ridiculous!" he grumbled, his hand making motions in the air before he let it dropped, letting them walk in the easy silence for a moment. "But that's what it was, right?"
"A mission," he said. "Something happened last time, yes? Your face turned white, and normally you do that around blood."
How could he know her so well? He did raise her, after all, so maybe that was part of it. She let out a very long sigh, the kind that leaves one exhausted but weightless, as if the suitcases of stress were let down and they could lie on the ground for a little while. "...yeah. A mission."
He nodded, but didn't continue. They walked some more, turning the corner of the trail onto the concrete of the road. She cleared her throat, the small hubbub of the town echoing around them. "Remember when I was little, and I liked storms?"
"Yes!" he laughed. "You were such an interesting child! You'd open your window at night and your room would be soaked but you loved the chaos of the night!" he laughed harder, patting her back almost a little too heavily. "Your brother told you one day you'd be taken away by the wind, and you believed him for a little while."
"Mmhmm." There had always been something about storms that entranced her, the way the rain poured, the way the wind howled and squealed, arching around the mountains and bringing blasts of cold with it. "I always loved the wind...
...until that mission on Telstrus 3."
The tree limb smashing into her, the wind giving it enough gust to force her back, her feet scrambling at the ground for purchase. All she could do was hold onto the tree branch as it continued to fly, the wind giving it assistance, her heart nearly smashing its way out of her chest from fear and adrenaline mixing together-
"I guess the mountain wind just...it made me think of it," she shifted her hat back a little, smoothing out her bangs fussily. "But I'll be fine. Like always."
"Hmm," he had his hand on his chin in thought. "You should-"
"Dad," she interrupted with a flat glance, "if you say 'talk to your mother', I will tell them not to let you have cake."
"So cruel!" he groaned, shaking his head with a sigh. "No, not your mother. You should talk to the counselor."
"I am the counselor," she laughed. "Remember? I called you all and told you? It's been what, three years? You can't-"
"That's not what I mean," he set his hand on her shoulder again, that soft half-smile where he was trying very hard not to insult her or hurt her feelings, while at the same time telling her something that she probably didn't want to hear, "that Carys woman, she's onboard too? And Vatta?"
"Ah, her! The enthusiastic learning protégé!" He sighed, still smiling. "They're not just there to exist around you, dear. They're there to help as well, even if Vaala is only just stepping into the profession."
He...also had a point, although she didn't want to accept it. Perhaps he was right, she and her mother were quite similar in that. Corliss didn't bring up anything, and her mother acted like everything was okay with herself.
Or, she'd never told Corliss if she'd ever had counseling herself. Rather, it was always a storm of mystery about her, an outsider with only the most distant of relations.
She rubbed her neck, smiling. "Yeah, Dad. I'll do that."
"Alright then, now let's go see this boy that's so taken your eye!"
She let out a very low sigh, an amused smile on her face. He just could not help calling Loxley a 'boy', could he? Then again, Dad was at least three times their own age, so it wasn't too weird for him to see them all as children.
The wind picked up again, a few crinkly leaves skittering down the road, a few small children laughing as they ran by them. Her hair ruffled with it, slipping over her shoulders, the bumps of skin ghosting about her shoulders fast as wildfire.
She clenched her hands, swallowed, and started walking again, content to once again ignore the behemoth waiting in the wings.