When The Music Stops..


I try to say good-bye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it, it's clear
My world crumbles when you are not near

(I Try - Macy Gray)


I cradle you gently as you draw in a shallow, belabored breath.  You face is pale and drawn. Your eyes are sunk back deep into your head in a way I've never seen before, and yet, you're still beautiful to me.  Even with strands of hair falling free from your scalp as I softly stroke your head, you're still beautiful.

Another shallow breath, and I thank God.  Right now, every breath is a blessing, one more moment of life that we will share together.

I'm not going to cry.  The Doc is more of a miracle worker than God himself; he isn't going to let anything happen, not now... not when we have everything so close.

Your chest rises slightly and again I send up a silent prayer of thanks.  You are my wife, my lover, my mate, my everything.  Simple radiation.  How more easy a disease could we have come up with to keep the Doc on his toes?  But simple radiation it's not.  It's extended exposure.  On top of a weakened condition.  On top of the baby.

Now tears came to my eyes.  Our baby.  A tiny little creature made up of half me and half the woman that stole my heart one day when I hadn't been looking.  How beautiful this child would be.  How beautiful our daughter would be with her little ridges and her kinky hair, and perhaps, if I am lucky, bright blue eyes that would tell the world: this child belonged to Tom Paris. 

I long to hold my daughter in my arms, much as I now cradle her mother as you shiver with cold, even though the doctor had raised the environmental controls to a deep heat.  

How long has it been since your last breath?  A moment?  An hour?  A lifetime?  Did you move?  Did you open your eyes?  No, you're still unconscious... but yes, your chest moved again.  You're still alive.  
There's still hope.  Don't give up hope.  You're a fighter.  You'll make it.  

She will make it won't she?  God?

God?  I know we're not on the best of terms, but please, if you ever cared anything for me as one of your children, don't let her die!  Take me.  I know I'm not much, I know you probably think I'd taint Heaven, laugh in my face when I show up at the gates and send me to hell.  There can be no worse hell than this.  My heart is in your hands, please, oh God, please, just don't let her die!

I look down once more as you shudder.  I take your hand in my own, pressing them both to your only slightly distended stomach where I can convince myself that I can feel our baby move.  But she is too 
young.  Still, I can delude myself, it's not like I've never done it before.

(I try to say good-bye and I choke)

No good-byes.  Not ever.  Not when you're in Sto'Vo'Kor and I'm in hell.  Not when you leave on your next away mission, because you will be here to do it!  You'll leave me with our child and we'll wave our 
farewells, but never good-byes, because you will come back.  Every time.  I have convinced myself of this.  You survived the Vidiians.  You survived any number of illnesses.  You survived shuttle crashes, and 
journeys to hell.  You survived the Borg for Christ's sake!  You can't die because of a simple, tiny, barely even existent leak in the warp core.  You survived me, B'Elanna.  You can't leave when everything we've both survived was about to bring to us the one thing we've ever done that would have been perfect.  

I fix my eyes on your dark skin.. waiting.. waiting.. there.  Another breath.  Another moment.  Is this the same life I've lived for the past seven years?  I don't even know anymore.  I'm not the same person for sure; a better person, I would hope, thanks to you.

(I try to walk away and I stumble)

I'll never leave you.  Never, no matter how many people try to drag me away.  No matter how many times the Captain gives me a direct order.  No matter how many warnings I receive.  I.  Will.  Never.  Leave.  You.   You jump, I jump.  Where did I hear that?  Never mind, it doesn't matter, but you'd better believe it B'Elanna Torres.  If you die, I swear by all that is holy, I'm coming after you.  Don't doubt it for an instant.

(Though I try to hide it, it's clear)

DAMNIT TAKE A BREATH!!  Oh, thank God; why was there so much time between now and the last?  Where's the Doc?  Why isn't anyone doing anything?  You're trembling again.  Your bio signatures are dropping.  You're giving up!  Jesus!  God!  No!!  FIGHT!  Please, fight.  

You stopped in the middle of a breath.  B'Elanna?  Finish the breath, B'Elanna.  Let the oxygen out of your lungs, B'Ela, please!  Don't stop now, don't stop now, don't stop now.  Don't do this to us.  Why are 
you doing this to us?!

(My world crumbles when you are not near)

Go away, Captain.  Go away, Doc.  Go away, Chakotay.  Go away, Harry.  All of you, just go away and let us be.  Why don't they listen to me, B'Elanna?  They've never really listened, not like you. 

You're so quiet now.  You don't tremble.  You don't shiver.  You don't breathe. I can't feel our baby moving, B'Ela.  Beneath my fingers, she's as still as you.  I think I'm numb, but I'm not really sure.  I can't think straight.  

I can hear them talking around me, sometimes to me.  Am I making the proper responses?  I don't know anymore.  I feel my head nod, something about a funeral.



NO!  You're not dead!  You're just sleeping.  You're not dead!

(Walk away)

NEVER!  They won't take you away from me, they can't!  SHUT UP ALL OF YOU AND LEAVE ME ALONE!  Why won't they go away?  Why won't they stop trying to reach me?


No.. please not good-bye.  Anything but that.

(Walk away)

I can't.  I can't move.  I have you in my arms now, we're sitting on this cold bio bed, and I'm holding you.  Warming you.  Breathing for you.  But you're not fighting.  Why aren't you fighting?




The end