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By Cirroco DeSade


Weeks have passed since we came down on this gods' forsaken sodden planet. I know that five weeks ago I might have found some amusement in the fact that the weather had managed to damage her always perfect appearance. Yet, I can't find it in me right now to feel anything but a shared misery. Her tight chignon hasn't existed in weeks, the long blonde hair instead plastered down around her skull and even in her face; with the lashing winds and rain a constant, neither of us has had any success at keeping the hair from our face. If I had any kind of sharp object, I would've shorn mine off by now, I am sure of it.

There wasn't a single thing worth trying to retrieve from the crash site after the shuttle blew. I barely managed to get her out in time; she clung on to the stubborn need to try to send out a signal first. I knew the plasma leaks had no patience for her signal and I had to forcibly tear her away. In the end it was the argument "for Kathryn's sake, come on!" that worked. I drug her up and over a nearby hill just in time, and we were showered with metal and clods of dirt and rock.

Irony of course dictates that we will now die slowly of starvation and hypothermia instead of quickly in a crash or explosion. We checked the wreckage afterwards and there wasn't enough technology left to even have some hope that Voyager might spot us from space. As good as Harry is at Ops, I don't think it will matter. I've been on enough planets to know ore rich soil. I'd dare to bet that with our luck, the sensors would have trouble finding an intact shuttle. Our little island is nothing but dark soil and algae covered rocks.

It was supposed to be a simple test mission of a new hybrid engine we had designed. Everything was going as planned until some lovely spatial anomaly popped up out of nowhere; a deep gravity well captured us and slung us in another direction. In the ensuing moments consoles sparked, systems flickered and engines died. It was everything we could do to put enough power back together to get some basic shields and sensors going.

And it was just in time to see that we were just crossing into the atmosphere of a Class O planet. I doubt there was anybody who would be better able to try to cobble together power and resources to survive that crash than the two of us. It doesn't really matter though. Neither of us will survive much longer anyway and I really doubt Voyager will ever find us. Poor Tom, how will he cope? Who am I kidding? He'll be fine after a while. He's a resilient man and will move on.

Janeway might not move on as easily. She's head over heels for Seven. I feel sorry for those who'll have to endure Janeway, as I know she will be relentless for months trying to find us. I doubt I even have a day or two left myself. I don't know how Seven's holding out any longer. She refuses to let me look at her enhanced arm. Something happened in the crash, but she just tells me it is 'irrelevant without the proper tools to fix it'.

Why should I care? Simple: because I do.

I feel her shiver against me and I draw my arm tighter around her, hoping to somehow put off a little more heat. Theoretically, I should be the colder of us. Somehow that stopped being the case a few days ago. We're both fairly well hypothermic even though it is a warm rain. Our bodies were just not designed to be wet all the time like this.

It rains when it's sunny. It rain's when it's dark. It rains when it rains I think.

She mumbles something then whimpers, burying her head in my neck. Kahless help me, I've longed to hold her many times in my most secret thoughts and dreams. I would bury every one of those thoughts in work or projects or outings with Tom. How can I bury them now when we've done nothing but huddle together for weeks?

"Hey," I shake her gently, trying to get her attention. "I think you need to wake up, Princess."

"It is too cold, Klingon," she mumbles in answer. I'm not happy that she's still mumbling.

"Too bad you wimpy little Borg," I try to joke with her. I get no response. "You've never had trouble spouting off at me before, so you better get to talking now."

"Nothing left that should be said," she replies. "I will not survive the day B'Elanna. I am sorry."

"Cut that crap" I'm getting angry now. I don't want her talking like that. I know it's inevitable that we'll die here, but I was sure I'd be going first. I don't think my sanity will take a blow like this.

Silence reigns again for a while. I wonder if I can just will myself to go right after her. I really don't want to be alone on this hell-hole.

I make a choice. I've always wanted to know and if we're dying why not ask now?

"Can I ask you a question Seven?" I ask. Silence and then a slight hum and I know she heard me. "Why Janeway? You didn't seem to want to accept her advances for a while there. What changed your mind?"

"How did you know?" she answers with her own question. Is that evasion?

"I could just tell that you were stalling her. I didn't think you'd mastered playing hard to get although I bet other people did," I respond. "So, what changed your mind?"

"She was always a worthy mate," Seven said quietly. "More worthy than I deserve perhaps. She loves me unconditionally. I was not sure I could give my heart to her."

It didn't sound like the full story. "Where was your heart?"

"Elsewhere," Seven answered firmly.

I sigh. I guess I will just have to live with the mystery.

"Why Tom Paris?" she whispers.

I guess I deserve that. Another sigh and then I answer, "First it was the whole Pon Farr thing. Then it was simply because he acted like he wanted me. Nobody else did and I was tired of being alone."

We lapsed into silence again. Okay, remind me not to start any more intimate conversations. That was not what I expected and it hurt more than I knew it would.

"B'Elanna," she mumbles. She's dragging her head up to actually look me in the eyes for the first time all day. Then I feel her right hand slowly scaling up my body and I wonder what she is up to. When she puts it behind my neck I wonder if she is trying to sit up. "B'Elanna, would it dishonor your marriage if somebody else forced their affections on you?"

What an odd question. "No, not as long as I didn't let it continue to happen."

"Understood," she replied. Then she pulled my head down and kissed me very gently, but with obvious feeling. When she pulled back I saw she was crying, tears running down the right side of her face. "You held my heart first. You never gave it back either. Kathryn deserved better than what I could give. But she never seemed to notice."

I didn't say anything. What could I say? The woman I had dreamt about had dreamt of me also, but neither of us knew so we committed ourselves elsewhere. Now we shall die together, but apart.

Irony, thy name is B'Elanna Torres.

Should I tell her I love her too? I decide not to. I don't want to hurt her now like I have so many times before.

She laid her head back down and into the crook of my neck and I just gathered her closer into my arms. It wasn't until much later that I noticed her breathing had become shallow and she was becoming heavier. I tried waking her, but never succeeded. It appeared she was right. She wouldn't survive the day.

As night crept over us I wept for all that could have been and never would be. She died sometime after dusk and I held my head back and howled, telling StoVoKor to watch out. For Seven was a warrior: my warrior. In the end, she laid absolute claim to my heart.

Laying her down across the rocky ground, I made my way to the shore. It was about a half hour's hike and by the time I got there I could barely breathe from the exhaustion. I didn't stop walking and just went straight into the water.

I'd spend the last of my energy here, swimming as hard and as fast from the shore as I could. I would fight this planet's ocean until it conquered me. I would follow Seven out and not have to spend one night away from her.

Tom's face was the last thing I ever expected to see hovering over me. Did I go to Gre'thor again? Then he's babbling praise that I'm awake and alive, telling the Doctor thank you. He's generally crying and blubbering like a fool. I suppose I should feel honored by his obvious relief and love, but all I feel is bereft.

"Seven?" I ask. More like I croak. Drowning must be hell on the vocal chords.

The Doctor looks away and even Tom stops his babbling for a bit. I see his eyes dart to the other side of the Sickbay and I turn my head to see what they must be trying to avoid telling me.

Kathryn Janeway, the indestructible Captain of a crew who've traversed the impossible, was a pale ghost of herself sitting next to the body of her lover. My old Maquis captain stood beside her, a hand on her shoulder supporting her as she wept silently. I couldn't bare it when the older woman leaned over and kissed now blue lips then laid her head down on her love's shoulder and bawled like a child.

I looked back up into the trusting and loving blue eyes of my husband. She didn't want to be the source of my dishonor. I would honor her choices and my own.

"When we have a little girl," I told Tom, "I want to name her Annika."

The End

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