by Suz firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer - characters are Paramounts. Barely.
Okay, so I borrowed from B5. At least I didn't use tick and tock.
I have no idea where this came from...it's a bit different.
So, this was it.
There was no great revelation as she expected there to be. Her life didn't pass before her eyes in an attempt to show her all she accomplished and everything she'd failed at.
It didn't need to.
She knew how she had failed.
Instead there was a kind of sad resignation, acceptance if not quite willingness. Knowing there was nothing she could do to go back now and undecided as to whether she wanted to.
So much regret. Far, far too much for one lifetime, one woman, one person. Regret that she didn't live to see her crew get home. Regret that she would never actually *know* that they did reach their goal.
Most of all, there was regret for not loving and not being able to let herself be loved.
She lay suspended, frozen, between the final beat of her heart and the inevitable end that awaited her. She knew now that she couldn't go back, but she was unsure of taking the last step. What then? Would she stay here forever? In limbo between the last moment of life and the first of death?
It's not the end, Kathryn.
The voice was familiar, and yet it wasn't a voice. Was it a thought? An image? The intent was clear - comfort. It washed over her, through her, passing its message. It was him. He was here. Where he had gone so many years before.
It she had been able to, she would have smiled.
Was he still waiting for her after all this time?
Come to me Kathryn.
Yet there was something about the way he 'spoke' - too much eagerness, even for him. She was closer to the edge now, but she hovered, preventing herself from falling.
Come to me.
It was an order.
She could feel him watching, waiting. An inky blackness that was biding its time, that had been for years, decades, centuries - forever? Waiting for her? No, ever her ego wasn't that large. Not her specifically, but he was waiting for a victim. An easy target.
How could she fight him? She barely had control over her thoughts in this state. How could she keep him away?
Another voice, a *true* voice.
'Help me' she pleaded, knowing he would. Knowing that he would do anything.
And suddenly he was by her side again, after so many years. Wanting to wrap her arms around him, she almost cried in frustration. She wanted to touch him, bringing the pleasure that physical contact created after all these years of denying herself.
It was too late.
Regret struck anew, with such ferocity that had she been in corporeal form she would have been on her knees retching.
Sensing her weakness, the intruder grew closer but the true voice blocked his path, stopping him.
Realising what he was doing, she attempted to bring herself back together.
'No. No, I can do this myself.'
You can't Kathryn. You've just started the transition. You're not strong enough.
Part of her wanted to lash out at him for claiming that she could ever be anything less than strong, but she knew she was being irrational. She was terrified.
Come to me Kathryn he demanded again, still using his 'voice'. It seemed different to when she first heard it. Darker, ominous. She couldn't trust him. Wouldn't ever.
The true voice wrapped his essense around her, protecting her. He was so reassuring, and yet at the same time somehow dangerous. It had been so long since she'd felt this way. One thing she was sure of - he would never intentionally hurt her.
The intruder tried to break through but the true voice was strong. He had known this moment would come and had prepared himself.
No, you will not take her. Leave her alone!
Undaunted, the intruder proceeded ever onwards. He was infinitely older than the true voice, and in his way, infinitely stronger. It was just a matter of persistance.
Finally discovering some fragment of strength, Kathryn leant her support to the true voice. She was still Kathryn Janeway after all. She may have been somewhere between life and death, but she wouldn't allow even that to defeat her.
As he surrounded her, she now joint with him, making them stronger. Unified, the intruder could not stand before them without faltering.
'Leave' Kathryn ordered 'We will not enter your matrix'. She knew who he was now. His need was familiar. The greed, the laciviousness sickening her.
Was the true voice smiling at her? It was impossible to tell, but it felt like it.
They wove deeper into each other, their combined strength driving the intruder back.
I will not allow this!
'You cannot stop it.' Kathryn countered, glorying at the domination of the one who dared to take her individuality away from her.
He stumbled, and they pushed him back further together. They weren't capable of destroying him, but here they could stop him from taking her.
Happiness swept through her, eminating from her and him. She could see his face again, yet she had no eyes. Somehow she reached up and touched his face, though neither of them had a body. Was it a metaphor? A visualisation of what they were thinking? She didn't care and she knew he didn't either.
'I don't know what to do.'
He pulled her closer. Yes you do. You're just-
'-afraid. Not just afraid, I'm terrified.'
You're the bravest person I know.
And that was it.
She was wrong. She'd be wrong the whole time. This *was* a revelation. She had loved and been given love. Not freely, but it had been there. Carrying her weight when she faltered, giving support whenever it was needed.
Alone. Never alone, not even when she believed otherwise.
She grabbed what shouldn't have been his hand but couldn't have been anything else, and looked down.
She took a step forward.