"Jennifer L. Adkins"jladkins@iglou.com
One Breath (VOY, P/K) [PG-13] [CD] 1/1
This story is not meant as an infringement on any of Paramount‘s copyrights.
Yes, someone dies. It‘s a bummer story. Everything can‘t be rosy, huh? :)
Two very cute males are involved in a same sex marriage. If this bothers you, bail now.
Spoiler for "Deadlock." If you haven‘t seen that episode, this won‘t make much sense.
I see Naomi in this story at about two human years older than she was in "Mortal Coil." Since Ktarians age at different rates from other humanoids, that shouldn‘t be much of a problem.
Archive and link freely.

One Breath
by Jennifer L. Adkins (jladkins@iglou.com)
Tom slammed down his glass. "Another."
Sandrine hesitated. "Thomas..."
"Computer, reset program to two hours ago."
Sandrine froze, disappeared, then popped up across the room.
"Thomas, I didn‘t see you come in! What shall I get for you?"
"Whisky, straight up."
Tom had made sure that the program would only serve real alcohol tonight. Tomorrow he would move on with his life, but for tonight...

"You ready for bed, babe?"
Harry looked up from the datapadd to smile at his husband. "Is that a proposition?"
**Torres to Kim.**
Harry rolled his eyes. **Kim here.**
**You busy? We found a sick gelpack, and I could use some help diagnosing the problem.**
Tom walked behind Harry, put his hands around his waist, kissed his neck, then said, **B‘Elanna Torres, you know perfectly well that tomorrow is our fifth wedding anniversary.**
**Starting the celebration early, huh?**
Harry wiggled in Tom‘s arms just the way Tom liked. **Do you reallyneed me?**
**Nah. Go on to sleep. Or whatever.**
Tom hit Harry‘s commbadge, just to make sure that the connection was closed. He grabbed Harry‘s hand to pull him toward the bedroom.
"What, Tom, no seduction? Foreplay?"
"Just loving."
"I can handle that."
In short order, both men were disrobed. Tom went to get some of Harry‘s favorite rubbing oil for a massage.
When Tom returned to the bed, Harry was waiting. He was on his stomach, arms pillowed under his head.
"Harry, you take my breath away every time I see you like that."
"You say that every time."
"It‘s true every time."
Tom warmed some of the oil in his hands, then began massaging Harry‘s back.
"Hmmm to you, too."
After working oil into Harry‘s back, legs, feet, and buttocks, Tom straddled Harry and returned to his back.
Tom leaned down to whisper in Harry‘s ear. "Is this enough seduction?"
Harry rotated his shoulders around enough to look into Tom‘s eyes.
"Just loving."
Between that breath and the next, Harry‘s body transformed from a naked, warm, living body to a clothed, frozen, lifeless body.

Not far away...
Sam Wildman screamed when her daughter disappeared into thin air.

Tom was too concerned about Harry to worry about his appearance. The Doctor had given him sickbay pj‘s to wear when he had beamed to sickbay with Harry.
The Captain had brought B‘Elanna and Sam to Tom for a conference, since she knew that he wouldn‘t leave Harry.
"What does the Doctor say, Tom?"
Tom stopped pacing long enough to talk to the captain.
"Harry should wake up in a couple of hours. With Seven‘s help, the Doctor was able to repair the physical damage, but we won‘t know about mental damage until he revives. However, he has no idea what might have caused this to happen."
Janeway glanced at a downcast B‘Elanna and a frantic Samantha. "We think we know what happened, Tom."
B‘Elanna couldn‘t look anyone in the eye. "Evidently, the gelpack that I was diagnosing had somehow changed places with the identical gelpack in the duplicate Voyager that we encountered nearly eight years ago. When it was disconnected from the system, Harry and Naomi were returned to their universe, while our Harry was returned."
Samantha interrupted. "Why didn‘t my Naomi come back?"
Katherine laid a hand on Sam‘s arm. "We buried her in space here, remember? The only person to switch universes permanently was Harry. Both Naomi‘s ended up here."
Tom turned to B‘Elanna. "I assume that you tried replacing the gelpack?"
"No effect. We‘ll keep trying, but..."
Sam looked confused. "So, where is my daughter? When you get her back, will she be frozen like Harry?"
B‘Elanna looked Sam straight in the eye. "I don‘t believe that she will come back. I‘m so sorry."
Sam fell to her knees, her head in her hands. "Not again!!! I lived through this once, please not again!"
The Doctor had heard enough of the conversation to realize that Sam needed a sedative.

Tom sat at Harry‘s bedside, waiting for a sign that he would be all right. When Harry became restless, Tom stood, grabbed his hand, and leaned over to look directly into his face.
"Wake up, ba...Harry. I know that you can do it."
"Hmm. Tom?"
"Last thing I remember, I was blown out of a hole in Voyager. I thought that I was dead for sure. How did I get here? Is the ship OK?"
"It‘s a long story. Don‘t worry, everything is just fine. You just rest, you hear?"
"Sure." As Tom pulled his hand away, Harry noticed his ring. "Tom, when did you get married?"
Tom closed his eyes. "Five years ago today."

Later that day, Tom returned to sickbay to explain the situation to Harry.
"Tom...I just don‘t know what to say."
"I realize that none of this has anything to do with you. We‘re friends, and I hope that one day we might be more. I don‘t want you to feel any obligation to me."
"How can you say that? I can see how much this hurts you. You‘ve built a life with me...well, not really me..."
"My Harry‘s gone. I loved him...you...almost from the time I first saw you on DS9. You don‘t feel that way toward me, and I won‘t push you into anything."
"How do you know I don‘t love you?"
"Harry...we had a conversation soon after we got engaged. I know that it took a long time for friendship to turn into love for you. If you say you love me now, I‘ll know that you‘re just saying that to spare my feelings."
"Oh. So, what now?"
"One day at a time?"

Tom went to the captain to request quarters for Harry.
"Are you sure? Is Harry sure? You might want to try..."
"Captain, my husband died yesterday. I‘m going to have to learn to live with that. I don‘t think that I can mourn him properly with someone who looks exactly like him living in my quarters. My Harry and I built a life over the last eight years that this Harry didn‘t. We may get together later, or we may just remain friends for the rest of our lives. No matter what happens with this Harry, my husband is gone."
"B‘Elanna might..."
"No. She‘s tried everything, but that gelpack was somehow maintaining just enough flux to keep them here. When the power to it was disconnected, the flux dissipated, never to return. There is no hope. I‘d like to get Harry settled into new quarters, then arrange a funeral service."
"I don‘t think Sam‘s ready to give up yet."
"I need to try to let go, Captain. I want my Harry to have a safe, swift journey. That can‘t happen until I can start a proper mourning period."
"Whatever you need, Tom."

"I tried to set up your quarters like I remembered them. If I missed anything..."
Harry took a quick tour. "I don‘t see anything out of place. In fact, some of this seems new."
"Oh. It‘s probably stuff that he got after the switch, but before we married." Tom‘s voice broke on the last word. "Will this be OK for now? I really need to get back to...what I was doing before."
Harry looked at him quizzically. "Sure, but if you need to talk..."
Tom couldn‘t take it anymore. He ran.

Tom knew that it wasn‘t Harry‘s fault that he looked like his counterpart. That didn‘t stop the crushing pain every time he thought about his Harry. If he could join him...no. Harry would want Tom to live a long and happy life. How would he ever be happy without his Harry?
Lifetimes ago, Tom used to drown his sorrows in the bottom of a bottle. This seemed like a good time for a refresher course.

Not far away...
A woman sits rocking a stuffed animal, whispering..."Not again..."

The end
Jennifer L. Adkins jladkins@iglou.com

"Honey, when I was thirteen, I knew everything. Senility set
in some time afterward."

Arnold, Torch Song Trilogy