by Suz

Disclaimer - Paramount own the names.

It's another story I've written when I should be sleeping!


The sheet is still.

I had not expected to see you like this.

I had imagined...tried not to imagine what it would feel like.

There have been many nights where I have been unable to sleep. It has only been on a few of these nights where I would hold the covers to me, tuck them close, and wonder.

Yes, they are particularly morbid thoughts, but it's something I've done since I was a child; since my father died. He'd always seemed so utterly immortal before. Not without faults, certainly, but in my mind there was absolutely no way he could die. I needed him too badly.

I hate that word even now; hate the weakness it implies. I shouldn't 'need' anyone - him, you, Tuvok - but I know it's the truth. And though with each passing I learn something and gain a new insight, I am somehow lessened. Not as much of the person I was before.

You would be horrified to learn that; that you made me even slightly less of the woman I was.

Just as well you're dead, I suppose.

A smirk appears on my lips briefly before it falls away, my eyes heavy. He's five feet away from me but I can feel the Doctor's presence in the room as if he were looking over my shoulder, waiting.

Very well.

The blue sheet covering you isn't moving. Reaching slowly, I grab the edge and pull it off.

The first thing I notice as the sheet flutters to the floor is that you're still in uniform. It's frayed around the edges and the wound, but the Doctor has - very cleverly - hidden any damage for the squeamish.

I am thankful for his thoughtfulness and promise that I will - some day - thank him properly for all he has done.

I look at your chest, unmoving.

I look at your mouth, open slightly.

I look at your eyes, closed.

You could almost be sleeping.

Moving my hand, I touch your arm, sliding my fingers along the uniform until I reach your wrist.

You are not cold.

I continue, touching your skin, needing the proof.

Rotating your arm at the wrist, I press my fingers into the right point - something taught in school and something you pray you never have to use - and wait.


Wait. Two.

Wait. Three.


It seems to hit me then; the realisation that this is real and you are gone and you are not coming back.

You bastard. You selfless bastard. Part of me hates you for saving Tuvok's life.

My eyes close, my fingers tighten, my mouth opens and something - a noise - escapes.

That is all. That is all.

Releasing my hold on your wrist I pull away, eyes opening.

The doors to sickbay hiss open. I know who is there but I continue studying your face, unharmed.

I have - in my more fanciful moments - considered taking your mark. On my shoulder, my ankle. But it isn't necessary. Not only is it probably sacrilegious, but I have the memories. And should those ever fade, I will simply ask him.

He comes to rest beside me, studying you.

Blindly, I reach out and take his hand. He does not pull away.

What will I do without you? Continue. Live. There is no other choice. I will be less of the woman I was, but I will have learned something. I will always have learned something.

My hand tightens in his. I speak, aware that the Doctor is still there, watching. A silent vigil?

"Tell me a story, Tuvok."

If he considers the request strange he says nothing. He simply shifts, subtlely, his hand comfortable around mine, and begins.


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