Your body haunts me

Title: Whirlwind

Series: VOY

Date: 2-1-01


Disclaimer: If they were mine, Janeway would be President. She rocks.

Summary: The flip side of Tempest, by request. All aboard the angst express for Chakotay's version.


By Starbaby

Oh, brooks I too have gone astray

And left my comrade on the way

Guide me through aisles where soft you roam

To some sad spot you know alone

Where only dreams and nestlings stir

And I may dream and dream of her---Henry Bonner

Your body haunts mine.

In the curve of a hilltop, I see a sloping fall of shoulder.

In the firelight, I see dancers moving in synch, each flame leading the next into a burning union as old as time itself.

When nothing remains but cinder, your rich voice will curl out of the perfumed air. The spirits are gone; I sit before the embers, alone with a rebel memory of you. The distance between dawns is interminable.

My sun rose and set with you, Kathryn.

The flames bob and weave against the lusty winds that batter this mountainside, pulling at the laurel and wild rhododendron. A storm is coming, and my heart breaks. You were at your best in skirling weather; a force of nature inspiring others to carry on in the face of chaos and cling to life like that buffeted laurel. The high wind sings, keening an epic song of the Delta Quadrant, Kathryn Janeway, and the freedom fighter who loved her noble spirit and flaming courage. I hear it in my dreams.

Are you happy in your new life?

That's all I ever wanted for you, from the moment we met on a dark frontier. There was an instant connection, a certain crackle in the air heralding first contact between two untamed natures. Where did you find the magic that turned my thoughts from revolution and made me forget that we were enemies? At the edge of Borg space, I faced the truth of us: we could make the journey together, or not at all.

You gave me faith, that swelling certainty of survival, the strength to stand upright in the whirlwind. I, in turn, stood between my friend and oblivion, speaking loudly over the call of martyrdom, banishing the alluring voice that beckons Captains to come, die a hero, and perish in Starfleet's faith.

We withstood the storm, but not the reconstruction.

Hope is love on the battlefield. I know this, as surely as I know the Sky Spirits will someday call me home to rest. We were bound by hope, and faith, and the great journey, but that was a different world, full of danger and romance. We fell quietly in love over the course of a noisy adventure. It was easy--far from Starfleet, far from Earth--to put off declarations until the next crisis was over. We never spoke of us, of what we could be in the Alpha Quadrant. I thought the fates would wave their hands in blessing and we would fall into each other's arms forever, somehow, someday. We never spoke of us, Kathryn, because you had promises to keep. Once the words were spoken, nothing would ever be as important, not Earth, not Voyager, not duty, God, or country.

There were no words that night.

That is our great failure. We fancied ourselves conquering heroes, sailing into the Terran system with our makeshift crew and one salvaged Borg--but we were cowards in the darkness of your quarters. If the words had come as easily as that burning passion, you'd be by my side instead of a rebel memory. There was a storm in your eyes that night, and I was swept away.

The party was a goodbye to the journey, to Voyager, to the good, brave souls that did not return. The others would be leaving the mother ship with heads held high, because they were yours for a time and knew no other way to be. In one day, everything would change. We left the music behind, wandering away from the unusually raucous stamp of feet--Paris put something in the punch, I think--into the corridors where we'd laughed, and cried, and fallen in love quietly; the corridors, where I'd taken up arms to defend a Starfleet vessel, your Starfleet vessel.

Why did we give in, after long years, bending in unison to pick up a fallen pip--yours or mine, I don't remember which. Our fingers and eyes met, and the air crackled. Was it relief, exhilaration, or exhaustion? Or was it fear, Kathryn? Were we making merry in the face of the lengthening shadow, joining hearts and bodies in the twilight of us? The room was dark, your skin was soft, and there were no words.

We thought we knew what sorrow was, standing in the whirlwind.

Sorrow is these dying embers, this path I travel alone, a wanderer fleeing your memory with every step. Sorrow was brushing against you on Deep Space Nine, and having you move away. I understand now; you were facing an uncertain future, Voyager's crew was still yours to defend before Starfleet's armchair warriors, summer soldiers who would flog you with the bones of your dead. Forgive me, Kathryn. I have never been a patient man.

Something of tranquillity descended after the first months, though your well-remembered footstep no longer comes to my waiting ear. The voyage remains, a great charge led by two patriots whose live touched on a dark frontier, partners who danced in the shadows and parted at journey's end. Walking away, I vowed to forgive.

I didn't know that your body would haunt mine.