by Suz

Disclaimer - Paramounts owns 'em.

I started this yesterday after reading august and Sheena's challenge. This is their fault. And I still don't know what I was trying to accomplish with this.


I have coffee with your mum, she seems so glad to see me.

She welcomes me into her home when I arrive uninvited, unexpected. Unexpected on my part anyway; I didn't plan on going there but I find myself saying hello to her before I realise what I'm doing.

She doesn't seem surprised.

We make small talk for a while as she lets the coffee brew through the pot - "there is absolutely no way we're replicating a cup; it's hidious" - weather, life in general. She asks me what I'm doing now as if she knew what I was doing before. It's odd, because we've never met before today.

Pouring the dark substance into a mug large enough to fill a whole hand she passes it to me before pouring herself some. No milk, no sugar. Nothing fancy. The similarities, at least in this, cause the memories to resurface.

a hand
on my arm
your warmth surrounding
your breath, close



Faking a smile, I push the memories back in the recesses of my mind. They have no right to intrude on this moment. They do not belong. Just as you...

"Tell me about my daughter."

I can't help it. My smile falters briefly, vividly, there is no way she could have missed it. Vaguely I notice that she doesn't seem surprised by that reaction either, but it's not until later that I'll realise it.

"Anything specific?" I try to be casual.

"You know."

Yes, I suppose I do. She will have read all the official reports, all the articles published, everything that has been released to the public. But she's not looking for any 'secrets' either; I know that instinctively. She wants to know what kind of woman you became on Voyager. It doesn't seem to matter that you were *her* daughter, that she brought you up and knew you for decades longer than I did.

She wants to know.

I have no choice but to tell her. She is your mother. She is a part of you.

So I begin.

I tell a story of a courageous woman, driven by her desire to get home but still remembering that the crew need comfort, friendship, freedom. A woman who plays pool with them and participates in talent night. A woman who is a shoulder, a friend, who can make a decision and live with the consequences no matter how it affects her personally.

Your mother smiles.

Then that, too, falters.

"You're leaving something out."

Yes. Yes I suppose I am.

I tell a story of an obsessed woman, blinded by her desire to get home and forgetting that the crew need to see her smiling, happy, socialising. A woman who systematically isolates herself from everyone who cares about her. A woman who keeps silent, alone, who lets guilt dominate her every waking moment until she has forgotten who she used to be.

Your mother smiles, faintly.

"You cared for her." A statement.

It was sometimes painful, but... "Yes. Yes I did."

"I understand. It was difficult loving her father."

Love? Is that what it was? I had always been taught that 'love will set you free' or some other ridiculous romantic notion. But it was painful. It can squeeze your chest until you think you can't breathe anymore and then suddenly someone will say your name and for a while, the pain lessens. Just for a while. And then it returns. It always returns.

"But you made it work." I tell her.

"Edward was always a different person than she was. They may have shared the same sense of self-punishment but only she had my stubborness."

Of course. I'm aware of the pain in my chest again. I don't think it ever stopped.

Your mother stands and looks down at our two untouched drinks. "Kathryn would be mortified by the waste."

I close my eyes.

And just for one moment, one instant...the pain... gone.

And I'm there again. You're touching my arm, smiling knowingly and I'm drinking in the sight of you and Gods I love your smile...

...and it passes.

I'm back with your mother but there is still something touching my arm. She smiles at me.

"I'll leave you alone for a while," your mother says softly, before drifting away and leaving her hand to linger for a second in a way that is so familiar that I have to close my eyes again.

a hand
on my arm
your warmth surrounding
your breath, close




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