by VoyWriter

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A tiny vignette that fits into Coda where Kathryn sees Chakotay grappling with
her death in the cave.

Kathryn watched in disbelief as Chakotay rocked her limp and lifeless body, his
face a mask of pain. Of grief. Tears cascaded down his face, transforming it – a
mirror of her death as it tore apart his heart and opened up his soul.

“I’m here, Chakotay.”

An offering. A promise. Words unanswered echoing in the dark – touching
nothing and returning to her ears untouched. She could not tender even this most
basic human comfort – the single sound of reassurance in familiar tones.

Her arms ached with need to hold him, to press him to her heart, to settle all his
hurts with loving touch. Here was the real injustice – not her leaving – his being
left. Alone. And she unable to grant him even the safety of embrace. His torment
was far more torture than the matter of her death.

Frustration welled inside her. Anger driven by his emptiness – and her own.
Would he think for all eternity that she could leave him with such ease? That she
would fail to fight for life and in so doing, that she had failed to fight for him?
Failed to fight for them. Would he feel abandoned and alone – singular instead of
two when she was straining with her very being to bring her soul to bear upon his

If she could only touch his face once more, trace her fingers across the upsweep
of his cheek, press her hand against the fullness of his mouth and bid him – hush,
love, I am here and I will never go.

Helplessness. His. And hers. Threatening to cascade and to consume. So there it
was. That was what would finally test their faith. And their love. And their
strength of will and mind and soul. There was the truth of mortality – the
knowledge that you could not help, could not change, could not control the most
important passage in your life – death. Not yours. Not his. Not one another’s.

She wrapped her arms around herself and pressed her forehead to her knees. He
would carry this uneasily. Unease. Disease. Death and loss. How to fathom the

She waited while he cried. Held him warm within her mind. Odd that she could
not bear to see his grief, yet treasured it as well. Another oddity of life – of death.

Would he think of her each morning as he fastened the silver rank bar to his
collar? Would he brush his fingers across the length in silent benediction? Linger
on the fourth and final bar that made him Captain and counted her among the
dead? Could she watch him then as now – see the emotions war across his face
and settle into the mask he would wear upon the bridge. Public face. Private grief.
Where would he look for comfort now?

And how could something that was supposed to be so final have no finality at



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