Title: What Lies Beneath Author: Dantana Skywalker Timeframe: Star Trek (2009) Characters: Anthea Mackintosh (OC), other OCs Genre: angst Summary: Cadet Anthea Mackintosh runs into a man from her past, but things have changed drastically for her since their last encounter. Takes place her senior year at Starfleet Academy. Part of "Even The Stars Burn". Notes: I only own Anthea Mackintosh (Harrison) and Kipling Dunn. An annoying part of her studies in Administrative Operations, she was frequently sent to run errands for instructors and staff at the Academy. Today found her waiting at the shipyard near Headquarters for a potential instructor to arrive so she could bring him in to meet with Resources. "Anthea Mackintosh. Feels like it's been an age." She turned, saw the man standing there, just come off the transport from Ireland, and felt both anger and desire. Kipling Dunn stood six-two, broad shouldered, with laughing blue eyes and shoulder-length, curly black hair, those eyes heavily lashed. He was dressed in Starfleet greys, his hair tailed at the base of his skull. She cleared her throat. "Commander Dunn. I take it the flight went well?" "Boring. but not as torturous as it woulda been, had I known it was you I was meetin' here." He stepped close and flicked the gold Starfleet emblem on the collar of her brownish-red cadet uniform. "Lieutenant." She narrowed her eyes at him. "I'm here to pick you up, and take you to campus. I've a class in half an hour and no time for your particular brand of foolishness." Kip held up both hands, warding off her anger. "Aye, a'right, take me there. But we're still on for lunch, yeah?" Anthea huffed out a breath. "Yes. We're still on for lunch." ---------- She left Kip by the Administration building and dashed off to her Engineering class, squeaking in a minute before the professor walked in. She hated the man, he was arrogant and talked too fast, assuming that everyone in his class was there because they loved the subject. She plunked her chin on her hand and heaved a sigh, using her free hand to "log in" at her station. Her PADD beeped. She quickly silenced it, eyes scanning the text. Having lunch with Prof Thomas. Dinner instead? She growled under her breath. He'd pestered her into the lunch date, and now he was crying off? Jerk! Rapidly, she shot back, Maybe I have plans already, you clod. She didn't, but that didn't stop her. Class dragged. Kip didn't respond until she'd found her own lunch in the cafeteria. Sorry I ditched. Maddie wanted to discuss class schedules and stuff. "Maddie"? Aren't *we* hitting it off. Hey, don't blame me. You're the one who said no. He had a point, a very annoying one. Who was she to be jealous of anything, when she'd been the one to break things off? Dinner's fine, unless you can manage to find another new friend to throw me over for. Never happen, girlie. Since I'm gonna do this thing, I'm spending the afternoon doing paperwork. What time you usually eat? Anthea sighed. Depends, really. My last class is out at 1830 tonight. We want to brave Gunny's, or eat at my place? Ooh, you have a "place"? Let's do it at your place, yeah. She rolled her eyes at the innuendo and sent him her address, along with, See you at 1900 then. Will do. I'll snag the eats. See ya, gorgeous. ---------- Even though it was usually her habit to immediately change out of her cadet uniform as soon as she got home, she didn't want to put on anything that might encourage Kip to think she was interested in more than dinner. Still, the jacket was stifling, so she hung that up, staying in the red skirt and black, sleeveless top with its black-on-black Starfleet emblem. Kip arrived precisely at 1900, buzzing her bell and making her jump a foot. She hurried to the door and let him in. He let out a low whistle on seeing the interior. "Nice," he commented. "Didn't think the whole futuristic-modern decor was your thing, but s'nice." "I like it," she said. "And it's temporary, really. I'm moving back to London after I graduate." "Mm." He held up the takeout container. "So, shall we?" Anthea took the food and carried it into the kitchen, plating it before setting the dishes on the breakfast bar. "We'll need to eat here. The table's got a loose leg and I haven't got round to fixing it." He made a derisive sound. "Pssh. Gimme yer tool kit. You do got one, don'tcha?" She fetched the toolkit and handed it over. He'd changed out of his dress greys, into blue jeans, a pale blue-grey shirt, and a black leather jacket. He tossed the jacket on the sofa, then got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the table. Not much later, he crawled back out and dusted imaginary dirt from his legs. "There ya go. All fixed." He carried his plate to the table. Sighing, Anthea followed. ---------- Dinner was a little awkward, as they tried to keep conversation to neutral subjects. After London, she hadn't expected to see him again, so having him in her San Francisco apartment was surreal. It didn't help that he wasn't the one she wanted to be eating dinner with. As he fetched his jacket from the sofa, he said, "Look, Anthea, I really am sorry 'bout how London went down. I was completely outta line, an' you were right t'walk out." She stood with her arms hugged to her chest, under her breasts, and didn't make eye contact. "I appreciate it. Still don't know if I'm going to forgive you." "Didn't expect ya to. Ye're not the jump inta things type." She wandered after him towards the door. "So where will you be staying? On campus? Off?" "Dunno, figured I'd go find a hotel, sort stuff out." Kip bent, brushed a kiss over her cheek. "G'night." Suddenly, she heard herself say, "You could stay here tonight. I've a guest room." The door he'd just opened slid shut, and he turned around. "Is it the guest room ye're wantin', Thee, or somethin' else? 'Cause ya know I'm good for either." She'd known since he'd agreed to come to San Francisco that at some point, they'd likely end up here. Anthea licked dry lips and whispered, "Really not the guest room." He shucked off his jacket, letting it fall to the floor, and grabbed her. He pushed her back against the wall with his hips, having to duck to kiss her. Kip's hands lifted her skirt, fingers skimming over her thighs, his touch sending little shocks through her. How long had it been since she'd been with a man? Oh, right. Not since the man himself, here. She wanted this, but it still somehow felt empty, like a wasted effort. Even if he accepted the position and stuck around, Kip Dunn would never be the one. He lifted her with hands under her thighs. Anthea wrapped her legs around his waist, yanking the tie out of his hair to run her fingers through the dark curls. Kip dragged his mouth from hers long enough to ask, "Which way t'yer bedroom?" "Opposite end of the living room," she gasped. He carried her there, kicking the door shut behind him, and deposited her on the bed. "I like it," Kip said of the wrought iron canopy bed, somehow both medieval and modern at the same time. "Yeah, it's . . . comfortable," she finished lamely. He would be the first man she had in it with her, and sex with her ex hadn't been part of her plan. He pulled his shirt off, over his head. His chest was nicely sculpted, but not too muscled, covered liberally with dark hair. Not her usual preference, but he'd do for now. "Ya sure 'bout this? Not gonna bite me head off after?" Anthea shook her head and said, "I want this." "'Kay, then." And he climbed up to join her. ---------- Sometime later, Anthea sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She worked the tangles out of her hair with her fingers, trying not to think about much of anything. She was failing horribly, everything all a muddle in her head. "What I do wrong this time?" Kip asked from behind her, as he sat up. "Nothing," she whispered, then repeated it louder. "Nothing. It's fine." "No, ye're moody 'bout somethin'. What'd I do?" "It's not you," she said sharply, then dropped her face into her hands. Anthea took a few deep breaths. "It's not . . . Not you." He scooted across the bed to sit beside her. "Thea. I'm aware I'm just a . . . friend wit' bennies, yeah? I'm not pushin' for more. So what's botherin' ya?" She sighed and tipped her head back, eyes closed. "I don't . . . It's complicated, and I'm not . . ." "I overloaded ya that much, huh?" Anthea snorted and elbowed him in the ribs. "You're not that good." "Ya wound me, heartless witch!" He caught her arm, ran his fingers over the faint scars. "Where'd ya get these? Ya didn't have 'em last time we were together." She tugged her arm out of his grasp and folded both across her abdomen. "It's nothing." That was one no he wouldn't take for an answer. He tugged her arm back, turning it over to examine the faint red lines. She wasn't his, likely never would be, but he still felt anger welling up at the sight. "Who did this to you?" he asked, his accent barely a trace now as he bit out the words. "Tell me what happened." Anthea ducked her head. "I can't. I can't, Kip." He stared at her, the blood draining out of his face. "Oh, God Jesus, tell me ya didn't, Anthea. I saw those Intelligence jackals sniffin' around ya in London. Tell me ya didn't." She began to cry, covering her face with her hands, tears pouring down her face. He threw his arms around her, hauling her close. "S'okay," he murmured. "It's over now, aye? At least, I'm thinkin' it is?" Anthea nodded, tears subsiding a little. "It was . . . I can't talk about it, I really can't. I'd like to, I need to, but you're not in, Kip. And I'll never be out. Never. Maybe not even if I retire." "Why'd ya do it?" he asked softly, stroking his fingers through her hair. "I mean, why? We joked about how horrible they were." "Because they asked me to," she whispered. "And I've never really felt I've belonged." Kip hauled her to the middle of the bed, wrapping himself around her. "You will find someone," he told her. "Even if it ain't me, Anthea, ye'll find someone, an' ye'll fall in love wit'im, an' he'll be someone ya can tell yer secrets to. Ye're only, what, twenny-five? There's plenty o' time yet, gorgeous." Anthea curled into him, her hand over his heart. "I feel like I've used you." "Used an' abused," he agreed, somewhat cheerfully. "I'm no' stupid, Thee. I know ya just needed the sex, not me specific-like. I already toldja 'm not the kinda t'get twisted in knots over it. That's why ya dumped me first time 'round." "Kip, I . . . don't want you to get the wrong idea about this. This, tonight, isn't . . . more." He quirked a smile. "Maybe, maybe not. If it does, great. Doesn't, that's okay, too. Quit worryin' so much, aye? Now go t'sleep. I been up near twenty-four hours an' I'm gonna sleep whether you do or not." She chuckled and rested her head on his shoulder. And, eventually, she slept.