I am in some pain. A lot of pain. It comes and it goes, pretty much like the contractions that brought me my lovely Miral. Only this time I know the only thing this feeling can provide is death.
I'm not scared of it. Not really.
I just wish I didn't have to go through it alone. It seems to me I've spent most of my life on my own, one way or another. First the loneliness of childhood, where I was nothing but an exotic misfit among the normal. Then at the academy, where my temper became too much for their precious starfleet sensibilities. The Marquis, that was my one chance to fit in, to be surrounded with misfits like myself. Yet somehow I was still the outsider. The Klingon among the Bajorans, the drop out amidst the former cream of starfleet. Chakotay was the only one who never seemed to care. Never seemed to hold my mixed race or volatility against me. He became my lifeline, especially when we got stranded here, in the Delta Quadrant. Here among the innocents of Voyager and the dregs of the universe that seemed to cling to her.
Voyager, my home for over ten years. The place where I finally found my niche, where I was encouraged to take on more responsibility, to take on a family. The place where I was perhaps the loneliest I've ever been.
Acceptance, friendship, respect even love. They were all the things I'd longed for, but when they were handed to me I still felt incomplete and somehow worse off than if I'd never known them. God, I'm so ungrateful.
The pain is back, it tears down my left side like a dagger. My breathing stops and the colours of death form a slide show before my eyes. Not yet. Not yet. Please Kahless, I need more time.
Air forces its way into my lungs, the pain of its arrival almost as hard to bear as the pain of my injuries. Yet I welcome it. Welcome the one sign that I might live just a little while longer. Perhaps even long enough to tell them both I love them.
Love. It was given to me on a silver platter. First the captain and her maternal kind of acceptance that embraces all the crew in a love of bewildering complexity. Then Tom, dear sweet Tom. A man who was at heart still only a boy, yet willing to look past the ridges and the anger and see a woman beneath who needed a friend, a lover. He loved me, in his way and I loved him. And for a while the loneliness receded, but never completely left.
I was the one to leave. Two months after Miral was born, two months after our last big attempt to reach the Alpha Quadrant failed. He cried and I cried for him. Maybe I cried for myself too, I'm not sure. I do know that some of those tears were for Miral and the heartache I felt my decision would inflict upon her.
Miral. She is the best thing in my life, the one constant that has kept me going these last three years. Whenever the loneliness become too much I just have to hold her, run my fingers through her unruly brown hair and I feel complete. I wonder if my mother ever felt that way with me? If she did, even for a moment, then I know all the anguish of my childhood was worthwhile. Because then I know that she really did love me more than anything.
God! The pain is back, coursing through my body on its preferred route. Squeezing my lungs, arching my back and sending my soul ever closer to Sto-Va-Kor.
The world around me was black for a moment, although how long that moment lasted I can't be sure. I know I'm running out of time. The time I need to be spending with them. With the two people I love more than life itself.
More than life itself. That thought is so corny I'm almost ashamed to realise it is mine. Yet I know it's true. I know that life without them would be pointless and hollow. They are the reason I get up in the morning, the reason for every smile that graces my lips. They are the reason I'm not alone anymore.
I try to imagine them here with me. Miral's inquisitive face looking at my battered body in both horror and fascination. Her little hands somehow finding my own and squeezing them to make sure I am real, that I've not abandoned her. Then those big brown eyes of hers will search out the crystal blue of my loves and plead with them to make things right. In Miral's world she can make everything better; because she makes me smile, she can perform miracles.
She's right. Seven can work miracles.
She gave me the life I have always dreamt of, the life where I'm not alone. The life where I can love without reservation, without fear of loss or betrayal. She looks me in the eyes and tells me when I am wrong, then she holds me and makes love to me and I know it doesn't matter if we argue or fight, because she will always be there for me. She loves me.
Arrggghhhhh! I can't take this much more! Help me! Someone help me!
Everything seems fuzzy, as if the clarity of the world has leaked out to leave behind a grainy black and white replica. Its almost as if I've fallen into one of those old movies Tom used to watch on his television screen. Only there's no Captain Proton here to save me.
I try to conjure up their images once more, but they too have become fuzzy. Miral is just a presence by my side, her warmth an illusion I will treasure all the way to the other side. Seven is there, her beautiful blonde hair still vibrant and alive despite my passage towards death. I wish I could hold her, just once more. Tell her all the things I never had time to say before. All the things I thought we'd have a lifetime to share.
"I love you." I wasn't sure the words had left my mouth until I saw the smile that tinged her full lips. Lips that I long to kiss.
Her hand caresses my face and I'm not sure if its a memory or merely wishful thinking, but I'm sure I can feel it. The warmth of her touch, mixed with the slight chill of her implants. It is a touch like no other, a touch I will remember until my grave.
"Hold on B'Elanna."
Her voice. Worried yet calm. Strong yet vulnerable. Kahless! I wish it were real.
The pain is about to descend and consume me, I can feel its greedy tendrils sneaking up on me already. It is too soon. I don't want to lose her. Not when it feels like I've just found her.
"Two to sickbay."
The words seem so real.
Her touch seems so real.
"I love you B'Elanna."
Her love is real.
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