Title: Memory

Author: Aelan Greenleaf

Category: Angst

Summary: "The man stands alone in the courtyard, his eyes focusing on some far away place in the heavens."

The man stands alone in the courtyard, his eyes focusing on some far away place in the heavens. I watch him from my spot near the entrance, as I study this strange human and his obsession with the stars.

He notices me, and before I can leave, he focuses his gaze upon me. I am somehow transfixed, and stand still. We look into each other's eyes for a long moment, and I can almost read him through those bright blue orbs... I see a world full of pain, and haunting regret. Finally, I break his stare, and quickly hurry out of the courtyard.

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The next day, he's in the same place. And the day after. And on and on.

And every day, I never say anything. I just stand there. Watching him from a bird's eye view. I wonder what troubles him; I think about what's going through his head. The mysterious man from the stars.

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Weeks later, the courage finally comes to me. I see him in his familiar spot, and I slowly walk up to him. I stand right beside him, and wait awkwardly for the next thing to happen.

He's got his eyes closed, I notice; sometimes he'll stand like that, as if he's meditating or something. I watch him for a long moment, until he suddenly speaks to me.

"Yes?"

I am taken aback. I'd never heard him speak before. Not in the courtyard, or the mess hall, or even during the interrogations. Never had I heard a word come through those tightly drawn lips, and I come to the conclusion that I may had thought him mute.

"I... uh..." What to say? I'd waited for this moment for a long time now. I decide just to come out with it.

"Why do you look to the stars like that?"

He opens his eyes, and looks down at me. A smile crosses his lips, albeit it a small and slightly sad one.

"It reminds me of another time." he says softly, then closes his eyes once more.

I stare at him for another moment, then hurry off, leaving him alone in the courtyard once more.

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Each day passes like the last. I go up, ask him a question, then leave again. It has become our daily routine, almost like the brushing of one's teeth or eating dinner. Sometimes I ask him things about himself, and he doesn't answer. He just looks down at me, into my eyes, and says nothing at all. It is those times when I leave more quickly than the others. There is something in his eyes, a spark of emotion that I can't recognize that flashes through him when he looks at me.

Once in a while, I'll feel it too. I'll be staring into those big blue eyes, and a shiver of recognition will pass through me so quickly that I'll doubt that it even happened. Something about this man stirs something within me, and I don't know what it is.

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Some time later, how long, I don't know, I enter the courtyard as usual, and look over to where he usually stands. My heart jumps into my throat suddenly as I notice that he is not there. Swiftly, I search the small courtyard, and find nothing.

I run back into the main building, and head over to the central dorms. I peek my head into each one, trying to find him, but to no avail. I am worried now, as I cannot find him. Tears start pulling at my eyes, and I angrily brush them away, reminding myself that this is not the time to cry.

Finally, as I turn the last corner in the central dorms, I come across one final room. I open the door cautiously, and peer inside. Relief pours through me at first, as I have found him, but I notice the curious attachment to his arm. It is a tube filled with liquid, and I finally make the connection. It is a pallais, a device invented by our captors to provide the final drugs to a dying person.

I go to his side, and finally let the tears come down. He turns his face to me, and opens his eyes. That shiver of recognition runs down my back, even stronger than before. His gaze meets mine, and he gives me a weak smile.

"I knew you'd come, Hoshi."

Hoshi? Who was Hoshi? My designation was 784, at Xindi Encampment Facility 32 in the Expanse. What

was he...

And then I knew.

The memories started rushing back through my head, like a dam that has just broken. I remembered everything: Enterprise, the attack on Earth, the mission, the war. I even remembered how I was captured and put into this godforsaken place.

But most of all, I remembered him.

I recollected the gifts and the dates, I recalled the happiness and joy I felt with him, but most of all, I remembered the love that I felt for him. The love that he held for me too.

I look back down at him, and his smile brightens. "You remember now, don't you?" he asks, though he knows the answer.

I only nod, not trusting myself to speak. The emotions running through me right now are too much to bear. I kneel down beside him, and take his cold, clammy hand into mine. Tears are running steadily down my cheeks now, as I realize that this is our last moment together. Those familiar blue eyes are staring at me now, and I cannot look away.

I lean down to kiss him, and I can taste the salty tears slide into my mouth. We break apart after a moment, and I see him mouth one last thing to me.

I love you.

"I love you, too." I whisper, as his hand goes limp in my grip.

His eyes close shut, and a sob escapes my lips.

He's gone, and all I have left is my new found memories.