Disclaimer:  Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager.  I don’t.  Only borrowing                 

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     As Chakotay and Kathryn lie dying in a crashed shuttle, they talk openly

                      to each other about their lives and regrets.  In what they believe are their

                      last hours, they finally find each other but is it too late?



NOTE:  This story was written with full credit to Savant, a great friend who encourages me no end.  The love scene is all hers and no one can write them like she does.  Check out her site at
http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/startrek or else.







AT THE END WE COME TO OURSELVES.

By KAT LADY.



PART ONE.









“Kathryn…”  Silence.



“Kathryn…please…answer me…Kathryn…”  Silence still.



“Please God…KATHRYN…”  A faint stirring.



“Ahh…Cha…Chakotay…”  At least she was alive.



“Kathryn, are you hurt badly?  Kathryn, talk to me please…”  Silence for a few moments.



“Chakotay…I’m not…not sure…what…what happened…?”  Chakotay closed his eyes in the darkness.



“I don’t know exactly…something hit us.  We came down either way…”  He heard her try and stifle a groan before she spoke.



“Did you get a distress call off…”  He gritted his teeth as he tried to move his legs.



“Yeh…I got it off…you hit your head…got knocked out almost immediately…I got it off…then we hit the ground…that’s the last I remember…I can’t reach the controls…sensors…”  He gave up the effort and heard Kathryn try to move.  “Kathryn don’t try and move…”  He heard her groan again.



“I can’t anyway…something’s lying over me…pinning me down…legs…”  He tried to comfort her.



“Voyager will get the distress call…they’ll be coming for us…”  He heard her try and draw in a deep breath, followed by a moan of pain.  “Kathryn, we just have to hang on…” 



“Guess we just wait then…not that we have much choice…”  Chakotay wiped at the blood he felt on his forehead.



“So what do you want to talk about…”  Kathryn coughed and a silence followed.  “Kathryn?” 



“It’s all right…”  He knew that tone.



“Kathryn, what is it?  I know you…”  She smiled softly to herself.



“You do know me…sometimes too well…”  He smiled to himself too.



“So tell me then…”  She debated and then decided it wouldn’t matter much now anyway.



“I think I coughed up a little blood…well a bit more than a little…”  She immediately regretted telling him.



“They’ll get to us…”  She heard the fear in his voice as he tried to control it but Kathryn suddenly didn’t want false comfort.



“Chakotay…we both know they will…They’ll find us most likely…but I think we’ll be long gone by the time they do…the air in here won’t last…they’re not that near and they still have to find us…besides… you know me…I prefer the facts…”  The effort of talking was causing more pain.



“Damn it Kathryn…I’m just trying to…”  He heard her try and cough more quietly this time.



“Sorry Chaktoay…I know what you’re trying to do and I appreciate it…sorry…I just…I don’t want to waste my last hours in denial…avoiding…”



“I understand…really…I guess I just prefer to look forward…”  She was quiet for a moment.



“I think we can only look back now…to the past… because I can’t see a future to think or talk about…sorry…I’m not helping you…”  She could almost hear him thinking.



“No you’re right…we have to accept what is…”  He paused a moment, trying to move slightly to see if he could lessen the pain.  “Seeing as if we’re talking like this then, can I ask you something?”  He heard her once more try and hide a cough.



“Ask anything…you’re not going to tell anyone else now…sorry…that wasn’t fair…”  He smiled.



“No you’re right.  We’re facing facts here so let’s be totally honest…”  She tried turning her head towards where she knew he was but the pain stopped her.



“What did you want to ask…?”  He took a moment.



“Just…did you ever see it all…well…I guess…ending like this…?”  They were both quiet a moment as the question hung in the air.



“I don’t think so…I always tried not to…God I’m talking in the past tense already…sorry…I always TRY not to…oh hell…we’re being honest…I always TRIED not to think about it…”  She paused to try and control herself.  “I always thought it would be either as an old woman in bed…family around me…that kind of scene…although the chances of that passed me by…that or in a blaze of glory…going down with the ship like a good Captain…  Going down with the shuttle doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…”  They both smiled.



“How about ‘In The Line Of Duty’ then…”  She considered this.



“Yeh…that sounds good…I can live with that…sorry…bad choice of words…does ‘I can die with it’ sound better?”  He didn’t answer.  “My apologies.  Melodrama doesn’t sit well with me, does it?” 



“It’s OK.  What do they call it?  Graveyard honour?  It just takes getting used to…”  He heard her try and move again and then she cried out.  “Kathryn?  Kathryn…what is it…?”  She took a moment and he knew she was fighting pain.



“I’m fine…it’s fine…”  Suddenly he was angry. 



"For God’s sake Kathryn, don’t lie to me about what you’re feeling….You’re always doing that…”  She answered immediately.



“I don’t lie to you about…”  He cut her off.



“Kathryn, you do it all the time.  You lie to me about how and what you’re feeling, certainly the physical feelings you do.  The emotional ones, you just deny them constantly, even to yourself.  You probably lie to yourself about your feelings almost as much as you lie to me about them…”  He heard her sniff in the darkness and knew he’d hit a nerve.  “Kathryn…I’m sorry…”  She cut him off now.



“No…you’re right…I do that…you’re right.  We said we’d be honest here…”  She was quiet for a minute.  “All right…I…I can’t…feel my legs…”  They were both quiet now, not knowing what to say.



“What else…?”  She thought about it.



“Whatever is crushing me is across my lap…I can feel nothing below the waist…all the pain is…my back and chest…my head…I think my right arm’s broken…and I…I think something inside…I keep tasting blood in my mouth…when I cough…”  He didn’t answer.  “Your turn…”  He considered his body.



“I have most pain in my legs but I can’t…something is pinning them…I’ve a bad cut on my head…keeps bleeding…I guess something inside too…I feel strange…”  He heard her try and laugh.



“We sound as if we’re in competition…”  He tried to laugh at that but a spasm in his legs stopped him.



“Kathryn…do you have…any regrets…about your life…?”  She blinked back her tears.



“A few…oh my childhood was great…it just feels sometimes as if it was someone else…another life…doesn’t feel a part of me somehow at times…”  He knew that feeling.



“I know that well…I regret…I wish I’d been closer with my father…paid more attention to what he was trying to teach me…I think I hurt him many times…I thought I knew it all…”  Kathryn smiled.



“I think that’s part of growing up…thinking you know it all, that you know better.  It’s a shock when you grow up and find you knew nothing at all and that you never will know it all…  I feel I wasted so much though.  It’s like at this age, I’m at the top of the hill, starting to head down the other side now, only I missed some of the climb up the first side.  It’s like someone transported me to the top and I missed the stuff I should have been picking up along the way and now it’s too late.  I don’t just mean too late with being as we are now but with my age…”  He tried to look towards her but couldn’t see anything.



“What did you miss Kathryn?”  She smiled sadly to herself.



“Oh the kind of things most women take for granted though I’m probably being silly…”  He cut her off.



“Kathryn, our dreams or what we want in life is never silly…”  He heard her fight a sniffle.



“Maybe not…I’d have just liked…I’d have liked to have gotten married…the wedding day…all the trimmings…I mean I know it’s just one day and it’s the marriage itself that’s important…it’s just a childhood dream…”  He knew nothing he could say would help.



“What else…?”  He heard her drew in a breath and she was quiet for a few minutes which he gave her to herself.  When she spoke he could hear the tears in her voice.



“I so wanted to be a…be a mother…”  She let her tears fall, knowing they were hidden with the dark.  “Oh it’s just… there’s this huge hole inside me…what I saw and learned from my own mother…it’s like I have all this knowledge to impart…all this love to give…memories to share and pass on… and now it’s wasted…it’ll die with me…rot away with my body and the memory of who I was…”  She couldn’t continue and he gave her some time.



“Kathryn…you’re wrong with that…Kathryn Janeway won’t be forgotten easily…”  She snorted.



“Oh I will.  The most I’ll get is a dusty portrait at Headquarters that passers-by will look at and they’ll see the image in the paint and never think about the person who was, what I was like.  People who knew me will remember for a while but they’ll go on with their lives and don’t get me wrong…that’s as it should be but it’s just a sad thought.  I know…I saw this before remember…that alien and his matrix…?”  He wished he could reach for her and tried but failed.



“Do you believe in an after life?  Do you think that we see those who went before us?”  She thought about that.



“I’d like to believe that.  Whether that’s for comfort or whatever…I guess I’d like to think it’s a place of peace, free of all pain, physical and emotional, somewhere we get to do and experience all that we missed here…”  He leaned his head back and a sharp pain caught his neck.



“I find my beliefs very comforting.  It took time to come to them though…  I always believed before that there was nothing…just sleep…although I guess that wouldn’t be too bad either…you wouldn’t know about it…”  Kathryn tried to control her breathing to ease the pain in her chest.



“Makes you realize how much you take it all for granted, each moment…  I left my quarters this morning…smiled at people…spoke with them…not knowing that it would be for the last time…  We just never know when…”  Chakotay nodded to himself.



“That’s probably just as well.  If we thought about it too much, we’d never live…”  He was silent a moment.  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…”  When she didn’t answer, he filled in the blank.  “Something from Tom’s 20th century music collection…”  Kathryn coughed again slightly.



“I think it should have said that ‘death’ was what happened while you were making plans…  It makes you think how little control you have over your life…  The only certain thing about life is death, not the how or the where or the when…only that it WILL happen… though I guess if you kill yourself, that gives you some control…I mean at the time it does but before you thought of it you didn’t know…”  Chakotay rubbed at his head again and realized that the bleeding had slowed.



“Did you ever seriously consider that…killing yourself…suicide…?”  She was quiet for a while and he knew she was thinking more of if to answer rather than what to answer.



“A few times…”  He knew it had taken a lot for her to say that.  “After my father and Justin…and then…in the void…”  He nodded to himself.



“I guessed about that…the void I mean although I wasn’t sure how close you were but I worried about it…I didn’t know about the other…I knew you’d had a bad depression but…  was I any help…in the void I mean…?”  He reached out again, needing the gesture and suddenly his hand brushed hers and he knew she would have to have reached out too.  He grasped her hand and squeezed tightly and she returned it.



“Yes you were…you got me through…I’m sorry I never told you that…”  She squeezed his hand tighter and he knew it was from her pain.



“What about you…your regrets?  What did you want?”  He stroked the back of her hand with his thumb.



“I guess I always wanted a bit of land…somewhere peaceful… get married…raise kids and corn… a rocking chair on the porch…”  They both laughed at the image.



“Sounds wonderful…”  He smiled at her, knowing she couldn’t see it.  “God Kathryn…it takes dying for us to talk like this…”  She squeezed his hand again.



“Death The Leveller….”  He frowned.



“What’s that…?”  She sighed.



“A poem…I can’t remember who…  I guess it makes you appreciate what’s important.  Death can clarify life like nothing else can, especially when you’re staring it in the face.  Every day I put on my make-up and something like a lipstick is important to me and yet now, it’s just something to be thrown away and recycled…meaningless to anyone…all those unimportant things that seem so important…the material stuff…when the only thing you really take with you at the end is the love we have for each other.  The people…I think only of them now…nothing else…  It’s not a case of getting the SHIP home but getting THEM home.  Oh I know Tuvok will do it.  It won’t be as much fun for them with him instead of us but you can’t have it all…”  They both laughed at the image.



“Kathryn Janeway, you made a joke.  Nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of honour…”  She twisted a little and stiffened for a moment.



“Laughing in the face of adversity…”  He squeezed her hand again.



“Something like that…that or it’s just total denial of the situation…I guess in the end it’s like looking in a mirror…you’re left with yourself…  ‘At the end…we come to ourselves’…can’t remember what that’s from…”  They were quiet for a while, just sharing the physical contact.



“Kathryn…what have you missed most out here…from home or your life…?”  She let out a long sigh.



“Apart from real coffee…?”  They both smiled.  “I think I miss who I was most…”  That shook him but he understood.  “I don’t regret what I’ve learned out here or the people.  A part of me wishes of course, none of it had ever happened but another part is glad in a way, wouldn’t have missed it.  I wouldn’t have known you all and I’d never have gotten so close to any other crew.  It just isn’t done.  I wouldn’t be who I am now without this Quadrant although some days, I don’t like what that is at all.  I’m not sure I like what I’ve become, actually I don’t.  You know only too well…Ransom and the Equinox…I hated what I saw in myself and what I saw myself do to you…”  Chakotay sighed.  He wasn’t going to reply to that.  She had enough guilt.



“I don’t miss who I was at all.  That man would be a stranger to me now, one I don’t think I’d like either.  I had all that anger and hate…the troubled soul…  Sitting here dying…I think I’m more at peace with this than when I was full of life back then…I wish I’d done it differently…then of course…I’d never have met you…”  He wanted to hold her so much and wondered if she’d allow that, even now.



“Would you really have done it differently?”  He didn’t know the answer to that.



“I honestly don’t know.  Most of it was forced on me in a way…left me with no choice.  What about you?”  She ran her finger over his.



“Without the benefit of hindsight?  I don’t know either.  I guess you have to accept that it was right at the time, that you worked with what you had.”  She paused a moment and he filled the silence.



“Kathryn, do you miss…well…miss sex…?”  She managed to laugh at this.



“I wondered if that would come up…sorry…bad choice of words again…”  He laughed now and then was quiet. 



“I don’t mean just…  I mean both sides of it.  There’s the physical release and there’s the holding and the closeness, the whispering in the dark.  They’re two separate things.”  Kathryn squeezed his hand.



“Whispering in the dark?  You mean like we’re doing now?”  He chuckled, feeling bold.



“Guess we could just masturbate and continue whispering to each other.  It’s the best we’ll manage.”  Kathryn laughed out loud and then coughed.



“Oh God Chakotay, you really know how to lower the tone of the mood.  You forget though, I can’t feel anything there so it wouldn’t do me any good…  I’d have to rely on memory and mine’s not that good…”  Chakotay suddenly stopped laughing and the gravity of the situation hit him.



“Has it really been that long?”  She nodded silently in the dark and he could sense it.



“The night before we left home…”  He was shocked.



“I thought…”  Kathryn laughed.



“I know you did.  Everyone did.  Chakotay, he was a hologram.  I mean I was lonely but I wasn’t that desperate…Kashyk was…one kiss…but yes, I do miss it…both sides of it…”  She felt her tears return.



“Don’t you…well you know…on your own…the physical release at least…”  He suddenly wondered if he should have asked.  Kathryn remained quiet, knowing exactly what he meant.  “Kathryn I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that.  I know I joked a minute ago about it but asking this…I’ve embarrassed you and it’s none of my business…I’m sorry…”  Kathryn didn’t answer for a minute.



“It’ all right…actually it’s refreshing to talk this openly…I’ve missed that…  In answer to your question…yes I do…not very often though…I guess it just makes me feel lonelier…it’s not the same…even physically I mean…well you know what I mean…as to the other…I miss that more…the holding someone or caressing…”  She stopped and he heard her swallow and sniff quietly.  “Sorry Chakotay…we’re sharing what is probably the most intimate moment we’ve ever shared, the kind of intimacy that doesn’t involve sex and I get like this…”  He stroked a finger over the inside of her wrist.



“I think at this moment in time, we have a right to be any way we want to be.  Seriously though Kathryn, why are you so afraid out here?  Why couldn’t you ever come to me like that…and I’m not just talking about sex?  I’m always there for you, always have been.  You could have combined the two.”  He shook his head.  “You know the saddest thing?  It’s not that you’ll die so young but that you’ve denied yourself what you could have had, what was there for the taking, if you’d just reached out and taken it.  I don’t mean to sadden our last hours even more but admitting this to yourself…well it’s resolving it at least…one less regret…”  Kathryn didn’t try and hide the fact that she was crying now.



“One less regret?  What about the hundred it leaves in its place…?”  He gripped her hand.



“Kathryn…I’m sorry…please…I’m sorry…”  She sniffled.



“No it’s OK.  You’re right again.  I always do it.  I could have married Mark long before…I guess I kept putting that off too.  Despite wanting to get married, I somehow got scared to take that step…I’ll face anything physical but the emotional…it scares the hell out of me.  It took me a long time to get as far as I did with Mark.  If it means anything…I regret us most of all…not…you know…letting you in…but thank you anyway…”  He frowned.



“For what?”  She let out a breath.



“For everything…all you’ve given me, taught me, done for me, put up with from me…you’ve enriched my life Chakotay…made it worth living out here…and you stayed with me…despite all the pain I caused you.  You’re even making my dying easier to bear…I’d have so hated to die alone…I guess the way I’ve made myself live…”  She heard him cry too.



“Oh Kathryn…You know what I’m going to say to that…”  She smiled through her tears.



“I know…I’m never alone…”  He smiled too.



“Kathryn it’s true.  Even when you’ve been on your own, you’ve never been alone.  Can you understand that?”  She nodded again, gripping his hand tighter.



“I do understand…I’ve missed…in my childhood I had it…this…I miss time alone, the kind of alone you have when you know you have a choice not to be alone, that someone is there waiting.  It’s…being on your own…alone…as compared to being lonely…where being alone is a break, a relief and not a painful burden…do you know what I mean?”  He nodded and moved slightly.  Her voice broke the silence.



“Chakotay…are you…are you afraid…of dying I mean…?”  She choked up.



“Not really.  Some things I’ve faced in life have been harder…I guess there’s some fear…the not knowing what’s really after this…  The hardest part is leaving things behind…the people I love…care about…my faith and beliefs help me face it though.  You just have to accept it and it makes it a little easier.”  He drew a deep breath.  “Kathryn, are you afraid…?”  He gripped her hand tightly as if he could give her strength and heard her control a sob.



“I guess a little…”  She stopped and he knew she was deciding if she should say more.  “Since this is it and we’re being honest…  I feel it’s not so bad…dying I mean…since I have no control over it…well I have no choice in the matter…  Somehow it’s not so bad…I mean I’ve been…”  She stopped again a moment, then took the plunge.  “I’ve been depressed I guess for some time…I don’t exactly look forward to the future…look towards it…well aside from getting you all home…which I knew you or Tuvok could do just as well…”  He heard her swallow her tears.  “I’ve nothing waiting for me there, not really…all I have is this task of getting you home…now I’ve even failed at that…”  She dropped her head and stiffened a little with the pain.  “I won’t miss the guilt though… and as I’m not leaving anything behind…I guess I actually don’t mind dying at all…”  She regretted her words now, knowing how they’d upset him but she felt better for having said them.



“Kathryn…oh God love…why didn’t you ever talk to me…tell me you felt this way…?”  He was feeling a different pain now.  Kathryn tried to lighten the moment.



“What and make you depressed too…”  Chakotay parried the joke and shook his head.



“Before…you said…when I asked if you’d ever thought about suicide…”  He listened to her breathing for a moment.  “In my book, a few usually translates as more than two…”  She stayed quiet, knowing what he was going to say.  “Kathryn…have there been times recently when…?”  He didn’t want to say the words.



“I think you can guess the answer to that.  Chakotay I’m sorry…I never wanted you to have to know this…  Look I did think about it but I don’t believe I would have…just like before…  Thinking seriously about something and planning it are…well they’re different…I’m not sure I’d ever have had the guts to actually…  Things just built up lately…made me think like that…”  He sighed deeply. 



“Kathryn…it never had to be like that…there was so much there for you…  Without trying to sound trite…your guilt was self inflicted…no one ever blamed you…you did that to yourself…  The rest…it’s been there for you all along…me…the others…friends…love…  Depression and self pity…whatever they are…they become addictive…it can almost become enjoyable to wallow in them…  It becomes easier to feel that way than to try and change it…  Did you ever stop to think though, how your death will affect others…the pain they’ll go through at your loss…”  He heard her swallow a cry.



“They’ll all be fine…I won’t be missed…Tuvok will get them home and they have each other…  My family…those at home… well Mark’s all right…Mom and Phoebe…I guess they’re well used to me not being there now so that won’t be so bad…  the crew will be fine…I’m just their Captain…they don’t really need me…they’ll manage very well without…”  She closed her eyes, the tears escaping anyway and heard Chakotay crying also.



“Oh God…Kathryn…you saying this…the fact that you think and believe it even more so…it hurts me more than these injuries…”  She squeezed his hand, regretting having been so open.



“Chakotay…I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have told you all that…”  He felt angry now.



“No I’m glad you did…I just feel I failed you now…  Why I didn’t see this before…but Kathryn I’m sorry…you have to take some of the blame here…you should have come to me…and I know you’ll say I had enough to cope with or some other excuse…  Oh God…if you feel this way then it was all such a waste…what you did with your life…your personal life I mean…  Another thing…how can you be so blind?  Right Mark is married and moved on…big deal…your mother and sister…just because they don’t see you everyday…they know you’re alive and they live in hope of seeing you again…if you can’t see that your dying won’t crush them…  and the crew…you say you’re ‘just their Captain’…I can’t believe how blind you’ve been…  They love and respect you…look up to you all the time…need you and depend on you…oh Kathryn…why didn’t you see all that…”  She was openly sobbing now and he held tightly to her hand.  “Can you not see what I’m talking about…?  Your death will leave a huge hole in a lot of lives…”  She nodded.



“I…just never…never thought…that way…couldn’t maybe…”  She managed to control her sobbing.  “Chakotay…you never failed me…you kept me going…and I do see what you’re saying…”  He turned to her.



“It’s been your own guilt…which was unnecessary…that has you like this.  I think you’ve been punishing yourself for too long…I know you Kathryn…you feel to have to suffer as some form of stupid payback…you deny yourself what you falsely believe you’ve denied us…well you’re wrong and before we die…I want to know you believe that and hear you admit to it…”  He shook her hand, making sure he had her full attention.  “Come on…”  He heard her crying harder.  “Kathryn please….”



“Sorry…it just hurts…I mean the truth…it hurts…you’re right…in all you say…I’m sorry Chakotay…I’m so sorry…too bad I’ve learned all this too late…”  He so badly wanted to just pull her into his arms.  Holding just her hand felt so inadequate.



“Kathryn…humour me on this…just tell me that if we manage to get out of this by whatever miracle…promise me that you’ll remember all you’ve…all we’ve spoken of, all we’ve experienced here in the dark…all we’ve learned and all you’ve learned and understood.  Promise me that you will take it as the gift it will have been and that you’ll use it and not let it all be wasted.  Promise me you won’t just forget it all and go back to business, back to what was.  Even if you make it and I don’t…promise me…”  She was openly sobbing now.



“I’ll promise you but…only if we both make it…I couldn’t do it on my own…Oh Chakotay…I’m going to miss you more than anything else…I’m just so sorry it took dying for me to see all this…  When I said I wasn’t leaving anything behind…I didn’t mean you…I mean you’re here with me…  I wish you weren’t for your sake…it breaks my heart that you’re…I don’t want to even think of you dying…and yet having you here…you know what I mean… and with that…it sounds selfish but…I hope we pass over or whatever together…at the same moment…if not…I hope I go first…because…to be alone without you…even for a moment…and yet to think of you dying alone…”  She couldn’t go on and broke down.  She felt his hand gripping hers tightly, offering the only comfort he could.  An old saying came to mind for him.



“May you live my life plus one day, because I couldn’t bear to be here without you…”  She remembered hearing that before but it just made her cry all the harder.



“Chakotay…”  She fought to control her voice.  “I love you…”  He was quiet as he fought his own emotions.



“I love you too Kathryn.”  No more needed to be said as they both struggled to stop their tears.  Chakotay eventually spoke again, knowing they needed to rest from all that had been said.



“So Kathryn, have you ever wanted to do anything else with your life and miss out on all this?”  He got a laugh from her and it eased the charged emotion of the moment.



“Chakotay…oh God…”  She forced herself to think about his question.  “In all honesty, no I haven’t.  I feel as if I knew this was what I wanted to do before I was even born.  I don’t mean command but to go into space.  Command came later as you know.  Space though…even as a young child, I’d lie on the grass and stare at the stars, knowing all I wanted was to go there, even before I realized what my father did…it was just always there…”  She felt him flinch as he experienced pain.  “Chakotay…?”



“It’s all right…I’m getting used to it now…almost forgotten what it’s like not to have pain…”  He tried laughing but it fell flat.  “All I ever wanted was to study archaeology…everything else just happened but you know all that…”  They were quiet again for a while and Chakotay suddenly heard Kathryn fighting to control her breathing.



“Kathryn…?  What’s wrong…”  She coughed and managed to control her breaths.



“Just getting short of breath…”  She tried to laugh.  “That’s really all death is… you know… shortness of breath.  ‘She died of shortness of breath’…”  The laugh failed her miserably and she coughed again.  He knew she’d brought up more blood and heard it.



“Kathryn…oh God love…”  She was almost panting and she gripped his hand tighter than ever.



“It’s OK…the pain’s… actually fading…”  Her words came out in gasps and she gripped him tighter still.  “I’m not sure if that’s good or bad…  Guess it’ll make the end easier…oh God…”  He heard her drop her head back.



“Kathryn, God please…”  He heard her grunt.



“It feels as if my insides are collapsing…sorry…you don’t…need to know…that…”  She finally managed to control her breathing.  “I’m just so tired Chakotay…just want to go to sleep….”  He shook her hand sharply.



“Kathryn no you can’t…fight it…fight it as long as you can…stay with me…come on now…”  She groaned quietly.



“Chakotay…I can’t…please…I’m sorry…let me go…”  His tears poured down his face and he shouted at her.



“Dammit Kathryn Janeway, where’s the Captain in you…fight this…stay with me…”  He knew he was losing her, could hear her breathing slow, could hear a gurgling sound from her chest as her body fought.



“Kathryn please love…don’t leave me alone…”  He felt her try to grip his hand but she was growing too weak.  He held tightly to hers, willing what strength he had to her body.  It took him a few minutes to realize that her hand was limp in his, that she had let go, either to death or unconsciousness and he prayed for the latter.



“Kathryn, if you can hear me…please fight this…stay with me…”.  He held her hand tightly and continued talking to her, not knowing if she heard him somewhere or how much time had passed.  He drew some small comfort from the feel of the faint pulse he felt at her wrist and kept his finger gently against it, praying that it would continue.



Some time later, the only awareness he had being that of Kathryn’s hand in his, the warmth slowly leaving it and her thready pulse, he felt himself slip away slowly.  If darkness came for him, he didn’t notice it.  He felt his eyes closing and vaguely thought he saw a glimmer of light.  Was this death?  Was Kathryn waiting for him there?  He couldn’t feel her pulse anymore and felt his hand slipping from hers.  Was there a light when you died?  It was too difficult now to think.  Better to just let go when Kathryn wasn’t here any more.  With his last effort, he whispered her name and surrendered.



ON TO PART TWO.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.

RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.


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