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Something I Forgot to Say
It was still early when Tuvok knocked on my door. I'm not sure why he came personally, maybe he felt he owed me that much, but whatever the reason, I think it made it a little more real.
I can remember making my way to the door, still half asleep, and trying to tie my robe around my waist. And when the door opened, I can still feel that sense of...something, not knowing why he was here this late at night.
"Commander, I think you should come with me"
I think I must have stood there a full minute before what he was saying began to sink in. It was as if someone had given me a good punch, before my thoughts became coherent again. "What is it?" I asked, shaking my head.
The tall man standing before me then did something that I've never seen him do. He raised his right arm, and placed it on my shoulder. "There's been an accident."
All at once, a thousand different thoughts went running through my mind; was the ship safe, was anyone hurt, what happened? And then as an afterthought, will everything be alright?
Tuvok gently pulled me out of the doorway, and we started down the corridor, pyjamas and all, toward the turbolift.
As we stepped inside, I found my voice again. "Tuvok, what's going on?" I asked, turning to face the tall man standing before me.
The Vulcan security officer hesitated only a fraction of a second before he began to speak. "An engineering team was doing routine maintenance on deck 3, when the nebula we were travelling though caused a disruption in the power flow to the conduit." he said.
I nodded my head, for him to continue.
"One of the main relay circuits was damaged, and caused an energy buildup in that section. The entire team was subjected to the resulting plasma leak."
I let out an audible sigh, and rubbed my hands over my eyes. "How many were injured?" I asked.
"3 minor and 2 serious. They are being held in sickbay." he replied, and stepped out of the waiting lift.
I followed him unconsciously, as he led the way down the corridor to sickbay. I can remember that I was thinking of the injured crewmen, and of all the repair work that would need to be done, once everything was settled. I almost walked into his back as he stopped in front of me.
"Commander, the Captain was working in that section."
With one sentence, Tuvok stopped me in my tracks.
The Captain was working in that section.
I don't remember walking into sickbay or being greeted by the Doctor. It's as if my entire body went on autopilot. I may have asked about the other crew members, I can't be sure; all I could think about was how badly she had been hurt.
I was trying to convince myself that it was nothing more then a minor scratch, a broken bone that could easily be healed, but I think I knew, from the beginning, that it would be more then something that could be fixed.
Hurt like that can never be fixed.
It must have been days, maybe even weeks before I could even remember what happened next. I think I was trying to block it out; maybe I was trying to forget it even happened.
The Doctor told me that he had done as much as he could. She was strong, and maybe she would pull through, but the look on his face told me what his voice refused to convey. I could be with her, if I wanted, even talk to her, although there was no guarantee that she would hear anything I had to say.
But I refused to give up, because if I gave up, how could I expect her to fight her way back?
I was there for a long time, just sitting by her side, not touching, not speaking; just there.
One by one, all of our senior staff passed by her bed, whether to give reassurance, or to say goodbye, that I will never know, but their compassion and love for her, was overwhelming, even to me.
As time progressed, I think I began to understand that she wouldn't be coming back to me. I think that realization came somewhere around her birthday; as I sat, holding her hand, I prayed that she would only just open her eyes, just once, just for me.
But nothing ever happened.
Little by little, I went back to something of a routine; commanding the ship during the day, and staying by her side at night.
Maybe if I had gotten the chance to say goodbye, even just to see her one last time. Maybe then, this wouldn't be so hard. But the fact was, and will always be, that I will never see Kathryn again.
And even now, as I sit by her side, holding her precious hand for what may be the last time, the feeling of love that she instilled in me, will be something that will follow me for the rest of my life, because I know, she will always be a part of who I am.
How many people can say with absolute honesty that they found someone who, in the blink of an eye could bring you from laughter to tears. From wishing that the world would swallow you up , to quivering beneath her arms.
I had found that someone. And now I must let her go.
It may not happen today, or even this week. She's strong, she could hold on for a long time. But I know, well we both know that she can't hold on forever. The only thing I can do-the only thing that feels right-is to make sure she's not alone. Kathryn Janeway has left a legacy with this ship, and with me. She is the only woman I've ever really loved.
If only I had the chance to tell her.