A Mirror Shattered #258 "Black vs Black"


I'm posting this for Joy, who is at work right now. She asked me to post it.


It was a frightened but defiant young woman who made her way into the interrogation room, wondering what was coming to her next. She paused in confusion at the sight of a man who looked just exactly like her father, looking back at her with a warm smile, her 'rival' (as she could not help thinking of the other woman) backed off and looking disgruntled. Kitty paused in the doorway, then stepped tentatively further into the room.

Regulus rose to meet her, guiding her to a chair. "Come in, have a seat," he said gently, looking her over. "Are you alright? That's a nasty bruise forming on your knee.. did they hurt you?"

Kitty shook her head honestly. "No, they didn't... they locked us up, but they didn't hurt me. I.. uhm..." She faltered, not sure how to respond to this older man, looking both very much like her father and very much in charge.

"Have they fed you?" he asked next, knowing that it was past dinnertime now, and she nodded meekly.

"Why don't you tell me what happened?" he suggested.

Kitty told her tale exactly how she'd seen it, admitting that she hadn't known exactly why she'd responded so quickly and strongly, admitting also that she hadn't given the casino security an easy time. Regulus listened patiently, nodding when she finished. "This is my fault first," he said. "I should have taken precautions to avoid the confusion that led you to the wrong bar."

That threw Kitty off guard. She was trying so hard to be tough like she thought Petrova might be, while feeling the odd urge to act, to run, or fight. She wanted Evans to protect her, as her boyfriend, but at the same time she felt responsible for him, being of higher rank. To hear this man taking responsibility, not having to defend herself, made her feel a bit off-balance. She suddenly was not sure entirely how to react. Regulus let this new feeling work through her until it began to put her at ease.

"The way you reacted to him," he finally said, "reminds me of your mother. She wouldn't let anyone treat her that way. She'd have instigated a full barroom brawl and slipped out in the confusion." He chuckled at a few interesting memories. "Then she'd have gone on to the next one."

"My mother?" Kitty said in confusion. "Maybe she's much different here... I mean... she visits me sometimes, and it's.. well... boring," she admitted. "We go clothes shopping, or she buys me some ice cream and we sit there not knowing what to say to each other."

"Well, I'd imagine Mai Ling wouldn't take her own daughter bar-hopping," Regulus answered easily. "She might be different in your universe. But you said she was a fighter pilot, an ace, and that is precisely what she was here. Hot-tempered, bright, energetic... and hungry for the adrenaline rush. She wasn't the kind of girl you bring home to your dear old mother. She was a bit crazy. More than a bit." He sighed softly. "Until she died defending the retreat of the Federation. She died a hero, Kathleen. She made the enemy pay dearly."

Kitty couldn't help smiling a little in pride, even as the news was painful to hear. She'd never known that much about her own mother. "I came to ask you.. I wanted to know..." she said, taking a deep breath and beginning to tremble a little in her nervousness. "I needed to know... how long... you were together. Why... why you didn't marry. Why I wasn't..."

Regulus sighed. He could see the questions behind the questions. Just watching her, he could see so much of the fiery fighterpilot and so much of... his grandfather, mostly, a quiet, hardworking man who commanded respect through brilliance alone, being incapable of commanding authority through his presence. That gift Regulus had inherited.. and learned.. from his mother, a woman capable of silencing an entire classroom full of rowdy college students without raising her voice. Somehow it was both saddening and comforting to see this living creation containing within herself the people he missed so much. The difficult thing about understanding her so well, so quickly, was that he knew already how much the truth would hurt her, and he knew he had to tell it.

He leaned forward and gently took both her cold little hands in his own. "Kathleen..." he said, then paused. "Kitty... we never married because we never were what might be termed.. a 'couple'. It was..." He took a deep breath, feeling the dread of past misdeeds returned to bite him. "It was a one-night stand, hon. I knew her for one evening. Met her at a bar. We spent the night together and... she went back, the next morning, to her unit. I got the pregnancy notice about a month later. I wanted to talk to her, but I didn't. I was... too concerned with my own career," he said bitterly. "I regret that," he told her honestly, looking into her eyes and cursing himself out as he saw tears forming.

Kitty felt as if her whole foundation was slipping away. She knew all of the warnings she'd been given, that this wasn't her home world, this wasn't her father, and he couldn't tell her what had really happened with her own parents. Yet somehow, somehow she knew that her own story couldn't have been much different. "I was told.." she said, grasping desperately for some meaning, "that when you make love... that it's extra special. That you share something more, that you feel different than with anyone else you've ever been.. intimate.. with."

Regulus shook his head regretfully. "That didn't happen, hon. It wasn't.. It was like any other... well... I'm sorry, hon." And he was, truly sorry, deep down. "It may have been different where you came from," he said. "You should talk to the Regulus Black who belongs to you. He obviously managed to talk your mother into carrying you to term. That had to mean something. There had to be something there."

"Do.. you think so?" Kitty pleaded. She'd gone pale, stunned by his revelations, having believed so firmly for so long in the romance told in stories.

Regulus didn't think so, but that he could never let her know. "I think so," he finally said, making the best effort at lying that he ever had in his life. And it worked. He was both saddened and relieved to see her little face brighten. Then he took a closer look at this girl who could have been his daughter.

She was still trembling a little, holding back tears. He could tell that she was overwrought and probably overstrained, trying desperately to stay in charge because she felt it was her responsibility. With Mai Ling's impulsive temper, he thought, and his own grandfather's stubbornness, this could still turn bad. So he took a moment to give her the best gift he could think of. He gave her hands a quick squeeze before letting go and rising to his feet. He took a moment to arrange his features, to turn on his command presence. He knew it was working when her demeanor changed. She slowly rose to her feet, suddenly conscious of how untidy she looked.

"Your hair is not regulation, Lieutenant," Regulus said evenly, in a voice that carried far enough for the casino security manager to hear. "And you are facing a superior officer." It was true that he outranked her.. a little.. and he was going to put that to use. Kitty startled, then blinked. She pulled the hairclips out of her messy bun, letting the length out and quickly pulling it back in a neat ponytail. Regulus smiled.. but just a little.. as she saluted him.

"Very good," he responded, answering her salute. "You're out of uniform, Lieutenant, but under the circumstances I will overlook that small detail. You are a Starfleet officer, and Starfleet is well aware of your.. situation. If your superiors are not yet informed, I will see that they are. They will handle the terms of your release, and take disciplinary action as they see fit, as is their duty towards you. Until they respond, you are temporarily under my command." Regulus paused to see how she would take this. To his relief and amusement, she seemed heartily glad to see someone else In Charge.

"Your orders are to sit tight. Relay that to your crewmate as well. Eat what is provided and rest if you have the opportunity. Stay in shape. You won't be in here for long," he continued. Kitty nodded uncertainly, then more firmly. She'd felt as if she had no foundation, cast overboard and groping for a line, and he'd handed it to her. "You're safe here," he told her firmly. "You're one of ours, and we won't let anything happen to you." He knew she'd take it better from him than from casino security, and he knew that he had to put her at ease.

"Yes sir... Thank you, sir," Kitty responded, remaining at attention and feeling much more secure. The adrenaline response had died away and a heavy burden of responsibility was lifted from her shoulders. Regulus could see the desperation and defiance fading out of her eyes, replaced by weariness.

"Go now and get some rest, Lieutenant," Regulus told the young woman kindly. As she began to turn away, he spoke again. "Kitty... I failed you, over twenty years ago. But while you are here, I am willing to be your family... if you'll allow me." The command presence was faded now, and he was asking her simply as a man, a man who could have been her father. Kitty smiled, though she could feel the tears returning. She swallowed them down, unwilling to break down where any of those casino goons could see. "I'll write..." she said in reply, as she was led away. This time, she went calmly and willingly, her body no longer tensed for an opportunity to run.


Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus

Regulus Black NPC'd by Joy