December 11th, 2014
11th of December, 2014
Alfred F. Jones was being transferred to the USS Spontaneity and promoted to their Junior Science Officer. He would spend the next five years exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no man had gone before.
It was a promotion Alfred had been dreaming out since his days at Starfleet Academy, but the American Science Officer couldn’t even pretend to be excited about it. Because whilst he was being transferred, Arthur Kirkland was staying aboard their current ship, the USS Camelot, and Alfred wouldn’t see him for at least five years. And that was definitely a problem, considering Alfred had been secretly in love with Arthur since high school, and couldn’t imagine life without him.
It would have been so easy to take his secret with him to the USS Spontaneity, and Arthur need never know Alfred had been watching him longingly since they were seventeen years old. But Alfred hated himself for even thinking like that. Arthur deserved to know that he meant the entire universe to someone out there, and even if it meant embarrassing himself when he was so close to escape, Alfred knew it was time. This confession was long overdue.
And it seemed fate thought so, too, because Arthur called him one evening and asked to speak with him before his departure. Before he could chicken out, Alfred invited Arthur to his room, saying he had something to talk about as well.
So here they were, sitting on the sofa by the window in Alfred’s room, looking out into glittering space.
“Well, then, Jones, why don’t you go first,” said Arthur, folding his hands gracefully in his lap and putting on the formal air of the Captain he wished to be one day. “What did you want to tell me?”
Alfred had proven his bravery in all kinds of crises aboard the USS Camelot, but nothing compared to the courage it took for him to lift his head and look Arthur in the eyes. It was the scariest moment of his entire life, and for a moment he wasn’t sure he could go through with his confession.
But then his eyes met Arthur’s, that deep green gaze more dazzling than any star system the Science Officer had ever seen, and Alfred couldn’t let him down.
“I love you. I’ve loved you since the moment I saw you.”
There. It was out. After all these years of keeping them locked away in his mind, the words slipped out so effortlessly, as if they didn’t spell the end of his life as he knew it. And soon he was gushing forth words he’d been hiding for nine long years.
“That day you showed up at our high school I’d been hearing your name all morning, and I was so excited to meet you. I wasn’t sure why at first, but when I finally saw you outside at lunch and it was like I’d known all along I was born to meet you.
"I was completely swept away by you. And it wasn’t just your looks or your sexy accent…It was your passion. That infectious fire you were spreading around the school with all your talk of Starfleet, and moving to San Francisco just to be closer to the Academy for entry prep courses. I’d never met anyone like you before.
"See, I’d never had a dream when I was younger. Even in high school I couldn’t grasp the idea of the future or figure out what I was supposed to do with my life. I guess I was scared – not knowing what to do or how to make the most of myself. But then you showed up – talking about Starfleet and exploring the universe and making a difference to the human race. And you were so excited about the future and Starfleet Academy that I wanted to be part of it all, too. Suddenly I felt inspired – like I could change the world, like anything was possible! You made me feel as if I had the world at my feet, and I decided I wanted to join Starfleet, too, and be part of something bigger than myself.”
Arthur hadn’t said anything, but Alfred was sure he knew what the other man must be thinking. If Alfred had felt this way all these years, why had he never said anything? He wasn’t normally such a coward, but he had been nothing but shy around Arthur for nine years.
Alfred raked a hand through his hair, desperately, searching for a way to explain that terrible pull that had kept him away from Arthur all these years.
“I wish I could have told you all this when we were still seventeen but I was too scared. I didn’t know how to just go up to you and say: ‘Hey, I’m Alfred. I think you’re perfect, do you wanna go out? By the way, you also inspired me to copy your ambitions for the future so I’m going to Starfleet, too. How about that!’ I knew it would make me sound like a total weirdo and I wouldn’t have blamed you if were terrified and never wanted to speak to me again! I didn’t want you to think I was only joining in Starfleet because I had a crush on you, so I kept away from you for a few days while I tried to figure out what to do.
"And then, before I knew it, it had been a whole week and I hadn’t spoken to you at all. Then it was two weeks, and a few more, then a month…And the longer I waited the more awkward it felt to just go up and try to talk to you. It had already been so long I didn’t know how to change the way things were, and I didn’t want you to think I was joining Starfleet just because I had a crush on you…”
Alfred paused again, realising for the first time that he had been staring at Arthur this entire time, with Arthur’s eyes wide and green looking right back. He had been so lost in his thoughts and memories that he had barely been able to see the Englishman right before him.
But now, looking at Arthur clearly again, he felt his heart swell. This confession might lead to nothing but anguish if Arthur turned him away and called him a creep. But it was still the right thing to do. Just thinking about these memories made that passion that Arthur had awoken in him flare up once again, just like it had that afternoon he’d first seen Arthur at school. All these years that fire, that dream of joining Starfleet, his entire future – it had all been a gift Arthur had given him. And it was about time the Englishman knew it.
“You gave me my dream,” Alfred concluded. “If it weren’t for you, I never would have found my place in this universe, which is right here in Starfleet, so I owe you my entire life, basically.
"But you are my number one dream, Arthur,” Alfred vowed, his voice steady and sincere. “You will always come first. I want to be a great Science Officer someday, but you will always be the most important thing in my life. Without you, I wouldn’t be here in Starfleet where I’m meant to be. Without you…the universe just isn’t as beautiful.
"I know I’m going to the Spontaneity and we won’t see each other for a long time – hell, you might never want to see me again at all. But if you ever need me, Arthur, just call. I’ll always be here for you. I know I’ve been a coward and I should have told you all this a long time ago, but it’s always been true. I’m just sorry I couldn’t be the kind of guy you deserve who could have shown it to you all this time.”
A tingling silence settled over the two men, as Arthur kept staring and it finally dawned on Alfred everything he had just confessed. But rather than panic, he felt oddly empty and blank – like the dark space between the stars.
“I’m sorry, I’ve probably taken up way too much of your time with this dumb stuff,” he said, forcing a smile that he hoped didn’t look as tense and upset as he felt. “And I completely forgot you came here to say something!” he remembered suddenly. “So what did you want to tell me?”
“…I came here to ask if you would like to continue working on the Camelot as our new Junior Science Officer.”
There was another long pause as Alfred worked over the words in his head, taking far too long to grasp what Arthur had just said. He gazed at Arthur blankly, as if caught in a daydream, but even through his dazed confusion something felt off. Arthur looked strange, but why?
And suddenly he realised: Arthur was blushing. The sure, confident, captain-in-the-making was blushing, stammering, and averting his eyes. Alfred had never seen it before, not in nine long years of watching Arthur from afar.
“The choice is up to you, of course,” the Englishman said quickly. “I just…wanted you to have the option, rather than being sent away. You've…been a real asset to the Camelot these past five years and I’d hate to see such talent transferred. So I talked it over with the First Officer, and contacted the Spontaneity and Starfleet Command and called in a few favours from my Academy days…and I managed to get permission for you to stay on board. …If you’d like.”
Alfred still couldn’t manage to open his mouth and say anything. He stared, amazed and somewhat horror-struck, until Arthur finally looked up and met his eyes.
The passion and hope and earnestness in Arthur’s gaze took Alfred’s breath away. It was a look he recognised, despite never having seen it before.
This was the way he had always looked at Arthur.
“But…” said Arthur, his hand inching towards Alfred’s until their fingers brushed together. “What I was really trying to say by all that was…Don’t go, Alfred. Please stay here with me.”