Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

The Fear

The Fear

by Mara

Summary: Hoshi’s thoughts after “Sleeping Dogs.”

NOTES: Inspired by many things, including Fewthistle’s lovely “Shale,” and parts
of my life. Been there, done that, painted the spare bedroom. Thanks muchly to
Captain Average for the beta and reassurance.

*********************************

Space is so large that sometimes I feel it closing in on me.

Perhaps it’s just the walls of my quarters. I probably shouldn’t have been
staring at them since we got back from the Klingon ship.

I thought I could handle it, once I was here and I got used to the ship. I mean,
I’ve never been the bravest person, but I love languages and I love an
intellectual challenge.

When the Captain asked me to join this crew, I wanted to say yes. So many new
languages, so much to learn! But I was afraid. So, I pushed him, hoping he’d
give up and pick someone else.

Despite that, somehow I found myself out here, all alone fighting the fear.

The fear.

It’s almost like a sentient creature. I can see it looming over me, waiting to
find the tiniest opportunity to creep in and devour me whole. It’s worse when I
see everyone else so calm in the face of danger, and I’m about to explode.

Especially T’Pol.

I wanted to hate her. I envied the calm she exudes in the worst situations.

But then she held out that precious bit of hope, that maybe she could help me.
Finally, it would be all right, and I could be like everyone else.

The fear has always been there. Sometimes it swells up for absolutely no reason,
overwhelming me, drowning me, pressing the air out of my chest. Then it
disappears as fast as it came, like a malevolent visitor who drops in for
afternoon tea. One minute I’m fine, the next I’m screaming like a twelve-year-
old.

You can learn to live with even the most dreadful fear, if you have to. You
learn to ride the wave, and push away any thoughts that might bring it on, and
develop little rituals to avert it. It comes anyway, but you just survive it.
Then you spend your days worrying about when it might come again.

I could go to a doctor. Maybe they could help me. Sure, the rule book says they
can’t discriminate because you’ve asked for help. But what captain wants a
coward on his ship? So, I make light of it whenever someone notices, “Oh, it’s
nothing,” or “I just hold my breath.”

I wanted to hate T’Pol. I wanted to hate the fact that she isn’t constantly
fighting the fear.

When she held my hand, I was even more frightened. Ashamed to let anyone see
what a terrible coward I am, sure she wouldn’t understand at all. I think it
looked like I didn’t trust her, but that wasn’t it. I can’t trust myself, and I
don’t want anyone to see that. Especially her.

But she took my hand, and she held the maelstrom–the thunder and lightning and
sturm und drang–of my emotions in her grasp, and she controlled them. I felt
the warmth of her hand sweep through my entire body, bringing with it a peace I
barely remember from the days before the fear. She was so calm, undisturbed by
my feelings, saying she would show me how to control them myself.

Could she be right? Could she really teach me?

What she did worked. We sat together in the decontamination chamber, and I
enjoyed the silence in my mind, the feeling that I was truly in charge. I wanted
to hug her, to jump up and down and scream, to kiss her. I don’t know what I
wanted to do.

I’ve never believed I could beat the fear. It’s always been the enemy I couldn’t
defeat. The sleeping dog I was afraid to awaken.

But for her…I’ll try. As long as she’s there to help me.

–end–

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