Tender Goodbyes

summary: Kathryn’s last fleeting thoughts are those that she has pushed away for years. A very short, somewhat sweet, have-your-hanky-in-hand relationshipper fanfic.

Tender Goodbyes

by Celestia

J/C, G, and a level 2 hanky rating.

DiSCLAiMER: Paramount owns all this, all I’m doing is taking a sip from their cup of coffee.

I know this is all rushed together, and sounds somewhat frantic, but hey, if you were dying,
you’d think frantically too!!!

It was just a small ion storm, the sensors had told us. No need to panic. We’ll
just feel some turbulence, Harry had reported, and then we’ll be fine.
Well, none of us had expected that the particles of ion would turn out to be sentient,
had we? And we sure didn’t expect them to turn on me and strike me with a bolt of energy
when talking didn’t work, did we?
So now I’m stuck here, lying on this biobed, with you holding my hand and staring at me
with your concerned eyes, and with the Doctor running around frantically, and with these
thoughts that won’t leave me alone, the ones I’ve avoided for years.
I’ve let my mind handle one thing and one thing alone these past five years: get this crew
home, Kathryn. That and making sure that I got my coffee. Three cups of black coffee and the
warmth of your eyes. That’s all that’s got me through every day.
But I wouldn’t concentrate on anything else. Wouldn’t remember New Earth. Wouldn’t
notice or register the pain behind your eyes every time I pushed you away.
You’re telling me, no, begging me, not to leave you now. How many times have I asked
you to make the same impossible promise? But I suppose I’ve left everyone, not the other way
around. I left Mark back on Earth, I left my father and Justin on that icy planet after the ship
I feel my life slipping away, so I croak out these words to you with the little energy I
have left: “Take good care of my crew, Chakotay.” I squeeze your hand just as you do the
same, and I see the grief-stricken look in your eyes just as I hear the instruments monitoring me
go crazy, and then I see nothing but welcoming blackness.

But it was not to last. Soon, everything becomes surreal and I can tell that I’m
floating as I see myself, with you and the Doctor trying frantically to save me, below.
I look at my transparent hands and wonder, is this what the afterlife is? Then I look
down and realize that I’m wearing an outfit that I was last wearing on New Earth.
I guess that’s when I was most like myself, wasn’t it, Chakotay? When I was with you,
and you let me be human and not just the stoic captain I usually am.
I realize now that I should have admitted this to myself, to you, before I was gone.
But that would have been out of character, the stoic captain would never do that.
But maybe it’s not too late.
“I love you, Chakotay,” I whisper, blowing you a kiss and a smile.
And you look up, directly at me, with your warm brown eyes, and I know you’ve
heard me.
I see my already transparent body fade even more, and I feel myself float through the
ceiling of the ship, into the stars. And I know we will meet each other again, Chakotay, for
soul mates like us are found only once in a number of lifetimes.


please send as much feedback as possible to celestia@innocent.com


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