Disclaimer: I don't own the Star Trek universe or its characters…

Author's note: Umm…not much to say besides, Here's some more for anyone who's actually reading this. No matter, I'm enjoying it. :-)

Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy


A gentle voice calling his name roused Lavelle from his feverish slumber. He didn't open his eyes right away, savoring the feeling of a cool hand stroking his burning cheek. When Geena's soothing voice called his name again, he gave in and opened his eyes.

"I'm awake," he managed to choke out with some difficulty. His throat was dry and sore and he was covered in a cold sweat.

"Would you like something to drink?" Geena asked, proferring a silvery packet of liquid. "I found some emergency rations near where the Medkit had been stored. A few of them were salvageable."

Sam nodded his head in acceptance, then tried to sit up, his head spun and his leg screamed with renewed agony over the movement. He moaned and fell back to the floor.

"Let me help you," Geena coaxed, placing a hand behind his shoulder and guiding him to lean forward enough to drink from the packet she brought to his lips with her other hand. It was inarguably the most refreshing drink Sam had ever had the pleasure of swallowing. It soothed his parched tongue and scratchy throat. Unfortunately, it did nothing for the stabbing pain in his leg or the feeling that he was burning alive.

"Is the warp core nearby or about explode or something?" Sam asked after he had his fill of the emergency packet water and Geena had helped him to lie back down. She smiled at him, but concern lined her features.

"No, actually," she informed him. "You have a fever. I think you've gotten an infection."

"That makes sense," Sam said through gritted teeth. The pain in his leg only seemed to intensify with every passing moment.

"Are you in pain?" Geena asked, openly worried. "Would you like me to use the hypospray?"

Sam didn't answer her. What if it this was only the beginning, what if the pain was going to get a lot worse? What if he was just being weak right now? And if he was, then how was he going to handle the pain if it got worse? He felt ashamed of the situation he was in. He was the commanding officer out of the pair of them, and formerly the second-in-command of an entire Starfleet vessel. And yet here he was, helpless, being cared for by the Chief Enigneer, who had a number of other things on her plate, like getting them rescued, or keeping them from being sucked out into the vacuum of space.

Geena just watched her only surviving shipmate as he appeared to consider something in his head. At least, that's what she hoped he was doing. She was no doctor, and possessed very limited medical training, but she could tell he wasn't in good shape. He had most definitely contracted a fever, and from what she knew, that probably signaled that the wound he had sustained while fighting the Jem'Hadar had become severely infected. And it was probably her fault, she hadn't been careful enough when she dressed the wound, she was too distracted with stopping the profuse bleeding.

Shaking off the guilty thoughts, Geena focused on her next task. She swallowed hard. She wasn't sure how the commander would respond, how he felt about Kobayashi Maru-type situations. But given his condition, this might be the only chance he had.

"Sam," she said his name lightly, trying to draw his attention back to her. When he finally met her eyes after several tries, she continued. "I've been able to rig up the console over there…" She inclined her head signaling the one behind her, the only one lit up. "…to record a...a message in case, you know, we aren't rescued."

She took a deep breath and studied his face. He didn't seem offended by the idea. In fact he nodded his head in acknowledgement and gratitude.

"I've already recorded a message informing Starfleet of the attack and subsequent events. And my own message," she explained. "So, I was wondering if you wanted to, had some family that you wanted to…uh…say 'goodbye' to?"

"Yes, thank you," Sam said, nodding his head, relieving Geena's discomfort. He couldn't help feeling slightly jealous of her, her abilities. She had thought of everything. She was the perfect Starfleet officer, even under the pressure of such a situation. He couldn't believe that, even had he been uninjured, he would have been as exemplary an officer as she was proving to be.

"Okay," she said, giving him a reassuring smile. "You're going to have to be sitting up to be on level with the interface. And given your leg, I thought maybe you'd want to use that painkiller now?"

"That sounds like a good idea," Sam concurred. He let his eyes slip closed against the pain and feverish exhaustion for a moment. When he opened them again, Geena was leaning over him, administering the hypospray. Its effects were almost immediate, and he felt a wave of tingling relief flood over his body.

Geena knew the effects of the hypospray would be almost immediate, but gave it a few moments for Sam to recollect himself fully before offering to help him sit up. She offered one hand to him, which he gratefully accepted, but even so, it was immensely difficult for Sam to lift himself to a sitting position. Her other hand went to support his back as he shifted so that he was completely upright and facing the console. Unfortunately, when she removed her support, he wavered, still too dizzy to hold himself steady. She quickly caught him and held him firmly still by the arms.

"Thank you," he said softly. "What would I do without you?"

"I don't know…" she said teasingly. Then she turned more serious. "Are you alright, now?" He nodded his head. "I'm going to turn it on then, and you can start your message, okay?"

When again he nodded his head in affirmation, Geena leaned him against what remained of the nearby wall, watched him carefully for a moment to be sure he wouldn't fall over, then turned to see to her task.

"Wait," she said, pausing. Instead she returned to the man slumping against the debilitated bulkhead, pathetically attempting to maintain his concentration.

Sam watched as she bent down to pick something off the debris-strewn floor before crouching down beside him. She then leaned in and he started as her hand quickly appeared in front of his face, holding a yellow rag torn from her uniform. After he realized her intention, he held still for her as she wiped the sweat and grime off his face. It was slightly embarrassing and made him feel like a child again, having a doting mother wash his face, but he also enjoyed it. He couldn't deny how good it felt to have the perspiration and dirt removed from his pores, allowing his skin to breathe again, even though he knew that in his feverish state, he would soon be drenched with sweat again.

"There," Geena said with a smile when she finished, leaning back to study his face.

"How do I look?" Sam asked, able to flash her one of his more charming grins now that the pain had subsided some.

"Perfect," she replied before moving to the other side of what was left of their vessel, what was left of their home of the past few years. She found the panel she needed to start the recording and placed her hand to hover above it. "Ready?"

He nodded his head and swallowed hard, trying to clear his mind and organize his thoughts. He licked his lips. She initialized the recording and with an incline of her head signaled that he should begin his message.

"Uh…This is Sam Lavelle, formerly second-in-command of the Federation Starship Manitoba, which was recently destroyed in battle against several Jem'hadar vessels-but I guess you already know all about that, thanks to our Chief Engineer. In case we aren't rescued, I guess I just wanted to say to my family…Mom, Dad, Andy, 'I love you guys.' And thanks for always being there for me, supporting me. I know, we haven't been as close as we should've been, especially lately, and it's my fault, I've been busy with my career…Well, I guess that's just an excuse. I could've made the time for you, for my family…" He paused momentarily, almost overcome by his emotions, before he could continue. Although affected by his obvious discomfort, Geena found that she could not turn away. He forced a smile, a bittersweet one. "But no regrets. I've had a good life, a meaningful one, I think, and a lot of that was thanks to you, Mom and Dad. And Andy…we had a lot of good times, good memories…I want you to remember the times we had together, not the times I failed to come home.

"And lastly, I guess I just want you to know that I don't regret serving in Starfleet, despite what's happened. It was part of the risk and I knew it. And I want you to know that I didn't have to face this alone. Geena is here with me-Geena come here…" He beckoned to her with his hand and she shook her head. She didn't feel like she could, or should intrude upon his goodbye message. "C'mon." But how could she refuse him, when he was suffering so much? She made her way over to where he sat propped against the wall, while managing to skirt the range of the recording device. He held his hand out to her and again she realized that she couldn't refuse. She took it and found herself pulled down and into the frame of the recording next to him.

"This" he said. "This is Geena Skolowolski." He looked at her and smiled, and she smiled back awkwardly, out of embarrassment and shyness. "And she saved my life, fought off a Jem'hadar that was about to slice me in two. It's only thanks to her that I've made it this long, that you'll get this message. And although I'd never wish this upon her, or anybody," He turned to meet her eyes, addressing the last bit directly to her, knowing he wouldn't be able to express the sentiment to her in any other way. "I couldn't ask for a better companion.

"So..." He returned his attention to the recording device across the room swallowing hard. "I guess this is 'Goodbye.'"