Title: Live Long And Prosper

Author: nostalgia

Rated: PG

Disclaimer: Paramount own these people.

Summary: Harry Kim is dead, long live Harry Kim.

Notes: Something that always bugged me post-Deadlock.

Oddly, no one ever mentions that he's dead.

True, it was a long time ago, and true, people don't like to talk

about things like that… but sometimes he wonders if they've all

forgotten. He, on the other hand, is still very much aware of it.

Three years ago, more or less to the day, Harry Kim died.

Except that this Harry Kim, the one who lies in bed staring at the

ceiling and wondering if he'll ever feel like he belongs in this

reality, is not, and has never been, clinically dead. He's been

close a couple of times, and his heart has stopped on at least one

occasion, but he's never actually died.

The Harry Kim who left Earth on this Voyager, who replicated the

clarinet lying on the coffee table, who brought the family

photographs that lie in the drawer next to the bed, died three years

ago. Three years, more or less to the day.

But no one ever mentions that. No one seems to remember that Harry

Kim and Naomi Wildman should by all rights be dead.

Everyone tells him that the Harry Kim who died was the same person,

that all the details are correct. But sometimes he wonders, when he

can't quite remember an event, and worries that it never really

happened to him, that it's a false memory put there by everyone

assuming that he's their Harry Kim.

He makes a conscious effort not to spend much time with the

Wildmans, as if there's an in-built limit on this new existence, and

if the Universe remembers what they've done everything will snap

back to the way it was, the way it should be. So far as he knows,

Naomi has no idea that she isn't the little girl who was born on

this ship. When he visits sickbay, he can't help wondering where she

was in the room when she died that first time, that very real death

that the two of them have cheated.

He thought – or maybe hoped – that B'Elanna was going to mention it

once, when they were on shore leave and horribly drunk. Just for a

second, she stared at him, opened her mouth to say something. But

then she changed her mind, and he didn't have the guts to ask her

what she had been about to say. Maybe it was something else, maybe

she's forgotten that she saw him die once.

But they've cheated the odds so many times on this journey, why

should death be any different? Sometimes he wonders if infinity has

turned a blind eye to the lost ship, if the afterlife doesn't want

them anymore. They should all have died in Borg space, and everyone

on board knows that. When they say so out loud, they raise a glass

to Captain Janeway, who cheats the law of averages with a delicate

finesse, but maybe inside some of them wonder, the way he does.

Ensign D'Kella once suggested that Janeway had sold her soul to

Mt'Craza to keep most of them alive and get them home. B'Elanna had

laughed at the idea, and said that if Janeway sold her soul to any

demon, it had better make sure it kept a receipt. And anyway, that

was all just superstition. Harry had laughed as well, but replaced

the alien devil with one from his own mythology. Stranger things had

happened.

And maybe… Maybe…

He certainly wouldn't put it past her, and he wonders if his soul is

still his own. Not that he believes in things like that, not that

he's lapsing into paranoia on occasion.

But the one thing he knows for certain is that he should by rights

be dead. That he isn't the man everyone thinks of him as, that he

sleeps in a corpse's bed and laughs with friends who aren't quite

his own.

Three years, more or less to the day. He wonders if he'll ever

forget that fact.