"Try Not to Breathe" by Allronix

"Try Not to Breathe"

by Allronix

Disclaimer: Paramount owns them. I wanted to wash my hands of this pair 5 years ago. However, I got nostalgic.

Summary: There is one last decision for Jadzia, and one last duty for Julian…

Dedication : To Richard Pugh and Nell - those who make me realize that for all you leave behind, you wind up going back to it someday.

Inspired by Cnell's "I have that Much"


"I will try not to breathe. I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees. These eyes are they eyes of the old - shivering and cold.

I will try not to breathe. This decision is mine. I have lived a full life and these are the eyes that I want you to remember…"

REM, "Try Not to Breathe"


I'm contemplating my life in the short time I have left.

Joined Gods, what a waste.

In out…deep breath…hold…exhale…detach yourself and prepare to join with Kele and Tosa in the afterworld, to be sent to the Winds.

Who are you kidding, Jadzia Dax? You failed as a Host. You'll be cast to the Winds. You'll howl on them for eternity and be forgotten.  Kele is a bitchy Goddess, and Tosa's no charmer, either.

Did I establish myself? Well, I tried. Then…

I Reassociated, and I got lazy. I let Curzon's love of Klingon ways hold sway. I got pulled in and didn't bother fighting back or thinking about what Jadzia wanted. Always, I was paying homage to Curzon, walking his footsteps. I didn't try to become me. "Me" hadn't been good enough.

I know Julian is here. I can hear him as he sorts and resorts medical equipment, or reads my vital signs, praying to whatever humans believe in that there is hope, and to give him strength to face this.

Oh, I want to be your strength, Julian. I didn't tell anyone, not even Kira when you collapsed after trying to save Bariel, able to do little but lean on my shoulder and just let yourself break. I saw you age a decade in a day when you couldn't save those people from the Blight. And when Verad attacked the station, you admitted you had nightmares, too.

If I had the strength, I'd open my eyes and sing the Parting. I know what you think of my Homeworld, Julian. I just hope that you could put aside your contempt for it long enough to listen to it, take comfort in its words, though I doubt it translates well to your dialect of Terran.

*Aslar Kiva salda jinn…* My Time as Host is over…the rest of the words…I have sung them seven other times. Joran didn't get to sing them. And I sang them in my head when Verad came. Why can't I sing them now?

His warm hand takes my cold one. I will myself to open my eyes.

"I was able to save the Symbiont," he says. "But…"

The rest doesn't need to be said. It's time to make your peace with the Gods, Jadzia-Host. You'll be going to them soon. There's only one last decision I have to make. In Trill custom, you can choose one friend to symbolically carry you to Judgment. I've never been religious, but the thought behind the custom weighs in.

Who would I choose to carry my soul?

Why is it that I don't want Worf here now? Aren't you supposed to be calling out for your spouse on your deathbed? Torias cried out for Nilani with his last conscious breath. Most of my other Hosts outlived their mates.

Why am I not asking for Benjamin? He knew my past Host. He knew me. Maybe he will find my next Host. So, why am I not asking for my former student?

Julian has been quiet, barely moving. He has such an expressive face, such wonderful eyes. I can see the emotions there. I never told him how much I envied his ability to keep your heart, even in times like this. Please don't let it turn to stone. Please don't live another person's life like I did.

He straightens, trying to be professional about it, eyes still telling everything. "I'm so sorry."

I shake my head. "You did what you could." I squeeze his hand. I've told him about this, the Separating of the minds. I know it's time to go, and it doesn't frighten me, only leave me feeling heavy with regret.

*Regret's bad for the Symbiont.*

Whichever Initiate trainer or Field Docent you were, you can shut up and go to the Winds.

"Julian... we've had some good times, haven't we?" I say. Please, don't remember me like this. You're human and have only one life  - it's too short to remember me like this.

He seems to think for a moment, hopefully of better times. I'm thinking of the times I've spent with him. Everything Joined, what was I thinking or not thinking when I didn't take him seriously? To think of what I passed up because it was "improper." I married someone who is stuck on his Homeworld's customs and "proper" behavior. I thought I needed the structure. Winds, I *married* the structure and the whole honor code - not the man.

I wasted my life trying to live in the damn lines. Why did I listen and stick to the roads that Curzon and my priors traveled? Trill Legends and customs - Klingon "honor." It's all the same in the end.

In spite of himself, Julian laughs softly. "The best."

I know why I want Julian here. He's been part of this life - Jadzia's life. I was newly-Joined when I met him, less than two years. All this time, I have seen him grow. He has been just as much Jadzia's support as I've been his. He is most prominent person in this Host's lifetime. I keep a holo of him and Benjamin in my Memory Box - nothing I have from Worf. I wonder what the next Host will think of it. Will he or she look upon Julian's face with regret? Will the new Host curse me for the lost opportunities and my weaknesses?

No, Host-Yet-to-Be, I want you to remember my wrong turns and take your new life as an opportunity to grab onto things like friendship and love and seize them like a one-life. Make up your own mind and choose for yourself and not those who were behind you and long dead.  Life is too short, no matter what you are. Tell the rules and honor code to go to the Pits of Armak if you have to.

A nurse in red scrubs rolls over a stasis unit. There's a sinking feeling when I realize what it's for.

"Any requests before…?"

"Have Worf and Benjamin been contacted?"

He nods. "They're coming."

I make my last decision.

"My last request? My last request is for you." I touch his forearm. "I think I'll miss you most of all."

He is puzzled. Well, I can't blame him. I'm a little puzzled myself. Being in pain doesn't help. Knowing I'm about to Separate and die doesn't help.

"Don't remember me like this. It's going to be hard, but I want you to remember…" I can't believe this is the end. "I also would like you to take charge of my Memory Box. It's on the shelf. The next Host will ask for it. If you feel strong enough, take it to him or her. Tell them about me." I muster enough strength to say the final words. "I place my soul in your care."

He goes ashen. He knows just enough about my Homeworld to know what I am asking of him. "Don't you think -?"

"No. You're the one I trust…with everything." The end will come soon. I need to save my strength for my Symbiont, so I will myself to not struggle for breath.

"Jadzia…" He starts to say something, then stops, starts again, then stops and reaches for a delta-wave inducer.

"I know." I manage a whisper.

"I'll give it to the next Host. I promise, and I will tell them about you." He touches my forehead under the pretense of brushing hair from my face. "And I will tell the Joined Gods of what you have taught me." He butchers the pronunciation, but gets the words right, his Terran accent thick as he says the words in my home dialect.  "*Aslaran Kiva Zahn selwin, Jadzia, aslar jo thrae aslaran - * You were a worthy Host, Jadzia. I cannot forget you.*"

It flatters and saddens me that he tried to learn my language. I let a smile substitute for all the words too late to say.

He checks the monitors. "We can't wait any longer."

I nod.

He places the inducer on my forehead, and I slowly drift off to sleep for the last time. Somehow, I think my soul is in good hands.