DISCLAIMER: All characters are owned and copywrited by Paramount. No money was made from this work.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Started this so long ago I don't even remember. Since then I've unsubed and resubed many a time. So here it is, for those who feared it and those who anticipated it. A Fic, from Adi.
BETA THANKS: Thanks to BT and Emma (beta extraordinare), without which this work would probably still be hiding in my document folder.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Of The Ghost In My Bed
By Adi

They were beautiful together, no one could deny that. Their passion burned brighter than a star and lit up the dark night, their love was a blanket that wrapped around them and protected them from the cold world. They didn't get married, they didn't have to. They fit together so well they didn't need to tie a knot. Seven and B'Elanna. Who would have thought?

But the fates are cruel and jealous. Not once in the history of the universe have they allowed such a perfect love to last, and this time was no exception.

It was an accident that took her life, but at her funeral Seven, still bandaged and bruised - she had refused secondary medical attention and stopped her nanoprobes from healing her - made it seem like it had been a great battle between man (or in this case woman) and machine.

It had been a glorious retelling and all the mourners had been enthralled, and had forgotten their grief for just a moment. At the end, when B'Elanna was defeated, tears ran down Seven's face, though her voice remained steady. None of the other speakers could claim the same.

"Life is cruel," I had whispered in her ear after the funeral. "It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." I said, not believing that such inadequate platitudes were coming from me. "It'll be alright," I had said and held her shuddering body close. "It'll be alright." I don't know if she believed me or not, I don't even know if she was listening.

The crew held her up, made her eat, made her rest, made her talk. I spent most of my off-duty hours with her. She didn't cling to me, though part of me wished she would. She tolerated my presence, like she tolerated everyone else's. One day she asked me to return to duty, I wanted to say no, just so she would argue with me, convince me, but at that point I could refuse her nothing.

She went back to work. There were days when she threw herself into her job and we had to remind her to eat, to rest, and there were days when she sat in darkened rooms, roamed the decks at night. No one dared to remind her to then. Most days, though, she was, if not fine, if not normal, then at least functioning. I still spent most of my off duty hours with her. She still tolerated my presence. I still wished she would cling to me sometimes.

I married her less than a year later, I'm almost ashamed to say. It was a quick and dirty courtship. She had no patience for romantic gestures for a long time. When she proposed to me, and she did propose to me, no matter what the rumors said, I couldn't shake the feeling that she was giving me the ring she had meant for another, but I buried that feeling under a pile of rationalizations and accepted.

She would fill our house with flowers on the day of her death and say, with a smile and dry eyes, that they were for me. At night in her sleep she would whisper her name so softly I would barely hear it. And when we made love she would close her eyes as she orgasmed and I knew she wasn't seeing me.

I never thought getting what I wanted could be a punishment. I never thought loving someone or being loved by them could be the hardest form of penance. I never knew Seven could be so subtle with her torture. I never thought the words "I would be dead if not for you," could be an accusation.

The End

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