Any Day Now

His eyes trailed to the chronometer for the millionth time. She would be coming home soon. They were bringing her home after all this time; his heart leapt for joy, while his mind waffled. The time were apart had been bad, but things would be returning to normal any day now.

He could hardly believe so long had passed, sleeping alone in a cold bed, wrapped in sheets that no longer bore her scent. He was surrounded by cold gray walls that no longer echoed her laughter or her growl. He had faced life with the possibility of her never coming home and he hated it, but his quarters would return to normal any day now.

He knew she would be traumatized, he also knew she would never show it. Still, he vowed to the empty room that he would be here to help her through the nightmares he knew would follow. He would hold her, and love her and make sure she knew that she was safe. She would return to normal any day now.

He told himself this over and over as he rose from his empty bed and pulled on his uniform. He moved slowly from his quarters and through the unnaturally quiet corridors of the ship. Everyone knew that today would be the day that they came home.. that *she* came home, and everyone was waiting for the backlash that would inevitably follow. But life would return to normal any day now.

He stood outside the doors to the transporter room, shuffling his feet, wishing he was looking forward to this like he should. His palms were sweating, his heart raced, black lines ran before his eyes as he tried to convince himself that this was the moment he had been longing for. He would be truly excited any day now.

He wasn't alone in his thoughts as he met the one other person aboard who was missing his soul. His comrade was shaking slightly as they waited, a thin sheen of sweat shining against his brow, his body never still as he paced one end to the other. They each met the others gaze as the transporter chief told them that the team was prepared for transport. Man peered at man, joined only through their fear and concern for their assimilated counterparts. They would learn to appreciate the other's company any day now.

The tell tale hum gave voice to the return of their missing crew. Both men turned to face the transporter pads waiting with held breath until the most beautiful and at the same time terrifying faces shimmered into existence. Both men stepped forward, their hands held out to the women that owned their souls, but no hand extended back to them. Pale faces, mechanical whirls, extending optical enhancements, and robotic movements met crestfallen gazes. But they would physically return to normal any day now.

He walked beside her, wishing there were some place he was willing to touch as he tried to catch some glimmer of recognition, some hint of the love they shared deep within her cybernetic gaze. He could hear each of her footfalls as they clanked against the metallic floor, the sound of the borg drone she had become as they escorted her to sickbay where her transformation would begin. Love and laughter would return to her blank staring eyes any day now.

It was too far away. He knew he should be thinking only of her safety and her sanity, but all he could concentrate on was how much he missed her and how much he wanted her back *now*. He didn't have the patience to wait for the extraction of the borg implants. He didn't have the patience to wait for the regeneration of her dead nerve endings. All he wanted was to pull her into his arms and never let her go. He should have stopped her. He should have done as he had wanted, given up his career and kept her with him. He should have gone against her will and kept her aboard even if that had meant losing her love forever. Instead he had watched her leave. He had helped her leave. He had, in effect, helped the borg do this to her once beautiful body. Still, he would forgive himself any day now.

He couldn't bring himself to stay in sick bay once the doctor had activated the bio beds and went to work on resurrecting their crew members out of the borg drones. As much as he may have been needed, this was too much for his heart and mind to contend with. Rather he returned to his quarters, laid back down on his bed, and thought about what it would be like to have her really home once more. He would tell her that he would love her forever, no matter what.. any day now.