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Overdue counselor Visit

Posted on 11 Jan 2022 @ 8:48pm by Lieutenant JG Cassandra Higgins & Lieutenant Michael Hawkins

Mission: R&R - Styx Outpost
Location: Counselor's Office
1864 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Michael paced a few times back and forth in front of the door, to the counselor's office. Part of him didn't want to go in there, as he didn't want to confront the tumult in his mind, but he had to. Too much was going on in there, and he felt, he knew, he needed to get it sorted out. Finally with a groan, and another moment of almost pulling his hair out, Michael stepped inside. He tried to smooth down his mussed-up hair and just gave up with a sigh. The loss of Xu, the guilt he was feeling of not being able to do more for her, being knocked out and taken away. It will cause him more problems if he didn't talk to a counselor. It was already causing him problems.

Clearing his throat a little bit, Michael shifted, well more likely could be called, fidgeted where he stood, looking at Cassandra. "Uh hey Counselor Higgins, hope you don't mind my just coming in without an appointment." He looked a bit haggard and his eyes had the telltale signs of not truly sleeping.

She could see he was not in the best condition, and who would be after so many events of late, even she was feeling a little up close and personal with her own limits but it was her duty to battle through and support her crew.
"Of course not Lieutenant, I've just made a pot of tea" she pointed at a small table with a cup and china pot with steam rising from the spout. "Would you like some?"

"I would dearly love one," Michael replied moving over to take a seat.

"Computer, one more teacup please," she asked of the computer having placed her textbook back on the bookcase and started across the room to collect the newly resolved and corporeal cup. "How are you, Lieutenant?"

"Not doing really good at the moment. However, there are others who are suffering more." offering a weak smile. He looked at the china teapot and quickly rubbed his hand across his eyes. That reminded him of that afternoon tea he had with Xu and Rose. Just seeing that, brought a lump to his throat. He was such a bastard, ignoring her for as long as he did.

"But how you are suffering is unique to you... So let's not worry about everyone else and let's just talk about shall we!" her tone was soothing and almost melodiously gentle as she made her way over to the couch opposite Hawkins. She saw his eyes fixed on the teapot and she could tell instantly she had erred but she didn't know how she had. "If tea isn't to your liking I can replicate something else for you?"

He shook his head. "No... No... it isn't that. It brought back memories. And me being a bastard and not realizing I was being one." Hawkins picked up the teacup and gazed at it, his mind was awash with those memories it brought back. "

"I had done an afternoon tea for two ladies, Xu and also Rose. I wanted them to meet each other, to open a line of friendship. I cared for them both." he placed the teacup down, and leaned back on the sofa.

"I am so blind, and here I thought I was such an observant guy. I found out later on, that Rose had feelings for me and I didn't know that. And was this true about Xu? I did have feelings for them also. I just got caught up with other things that, I never investigated those feelings I had. And then life moved on and I found someone, it was a slow development, Iola but now.. with what has happened to Xu, I am now questioning my feelings. Did I love Xu as more than a friend? I do love Iola, don't get me wrong but... now there are the what-ifs creeping up."

"I know Lieutenant Lau is currently in a coma and we were both witnesses to the events leading to that!" Cassie could still hear the screams in her sleep and often she woke herself in a cold sweat from those same dreams. "And I can't speak to your feelings towards her but if I could suggest with the greatest of respect to you Lieutenant... Could you be feeling a little bit of survivor's guilt?"

"I could probably be feeling that Counselor." leaning forward to put his head in his hands. "I am feeling a lot of things right now. I felt a connection with her, but did I put myself there to continue the connection? I wasn't there for her before this happened. I do need to cope, I need to do something. I can hear her cries of pain still. It was like a knife plunging into my heart." he lifted his head up to look at Cassie. "That is something that isn't going to go away too soon."

Cassy started to pour the tea in the two cups understanding that making him drink from the cup and having some of the tea could be almost therapeutic for him given his memories. She slid one of the cups across the table to him before filling her own.
"Do you want me to be delicate or straight up Lieutenant?"

"I'd prefer straight up, Counselor." taking the cup and sipping from it. "It's easier to take things if the bandaid is yanked off instead of slowly." wrapping his hands around the cup and taking in the warmth that was soothing to his cold hands.

"You'll never escape how you are feeling right now but time will heal you... and who's to say Lieutenant Lau won't wake up tomorrow... Also, how would she feel if she knew you were here wading through all of this?"
She asked directly as she kicked off her boots and brought her feet up onto the sofa.

"I truthfully do not know, well maybe she'd be rather dismayed at my messy feelings," Hawkins replied. "I just feel I missed out on something." he closed his eyes. "I do know I will get through this." opening his eyes once more "It will be just one step at a time, and may become messy as well." a half-smile appeared. He took another sip of his tea. "I've cleaned up a few messes where engineering is concerned. Just I'm not an engineer of dealing with the psychological messes."

"That's why I'm here Lieutenant but I don't feel a therapy session is what you need... What you do need is a friend which I can be if you need it and feel comfortable speaking to me!"
She didn't know if he had a large circle of friends on the ship and really this should be something he needed to speak to a friend about... She was also aware that oftentimes, in this kind of situation, talking to a friend that you didn't know could be far more of a release.

Michael thought over what Cassie had said, "Just talking to a friend, you know I could do that. I am just the sort who internalizes things at times. I can be someone whom someone can talk to, a listening ear but... me talking to them? I don't talk much about what goes on in my head. Even my personal logs feel lonely, as I've not really put down what is up here." touching his temple. "Heck I've not even gone out to go do dancing with my theater troupe. I've gotten some messages from my group as to when we'll be resuming our practices." He stopped and just chuckled, "And here I am just... spilling out things to you."

"So I'll take that as a yes you feel comfortable talking to me!" the slender blond chuckled as she placed her teacup back on the table, most of the contents now drained. "You say you internalize everything... Why is that?"

Michael grinned at Cassie's statement. "Yes I do feel comfortable talking to you." also nodding in agreement. "As for my internalizing everything. Well, most times I can deal with a problematic inward war. And honestly, I feel that my troubles are not as bad as what others are dealing with. Take, Oliver for instance, his lady love Xu is pregnant then goes through the whole gestation period in a matter of days. And then there is you, you were in the thick of things right from the get-go. Makes most of what I deal with, minor and trivial. And they can be termed that." giving a slight shrug.

She couldn't deny the trauma she had faced along with the others in sickbay and then it had continued for her even after the baby had been born, supporting Oliver through the rapid growth of his daughter into this ethereal being. She couldn't let on however just how much it had affected her, it would undermine her professional integrity and would mean the Captain would soon be looking for another Ships Counselor.
"That's why I'm here Lieutenant... But what you are dealing with is not trivial, it affects everyone differently!"

"You know, it may not be trivial for some but, I don't feel I have the darkest horizon that needs to be dealt with. It is all about I am, I'm me. And talking to you has given me more of a different perception. And others have experienced things even worse than I have." he gave a rueful chuckle. "Now there is my former fiancee' she's been through more than what I have. I won't go into details as it isn't for me to tell her story, but, she sacrificed a lot, and that included me." Hawkins gave a bit of a shrug.

"Well, I'm glad I could help... even if just a little!" Cassie said still feeling there was more behind his bravado, but she could also see that he was winding down so she would likely not get anything more from him at this time. Best to let things lay in limbo for a while and she would find an opportunity to talk to him again at a later stage.

And he was winding down, Michael was wanting to go check on engineering and see who was left in his department. He still felt unsettled, and it probably could be attributed to being captured, Even being knocked out and even having had that taste of that powder. He also recalled that he had a ship to finish getting repaired for it to be taken off the ship. "Well Cassie, I probably should go, but I do intend on seeing you again at a later time."

"I'm glad. Now I should really get to the bridge as well!"
She stood, pulling her boots back on which she had discarded in front of the sofa knowing she had to make an appearance to keep the Captain happy.

With a nod Michael replied, "And so must I." with a smile he left the counselor's office, actually feeling a little bit better for talking with Cassie.


Lieutenant JG Cassandra Higgins
Ships Counselor - USS Andromeda

Lieutenant Michael Hawkins
Chief Engineer-USS Andromeda


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