Disclaimer: ST: VOY is not mine.

Author's Note: And after humor, one must write angst.

Diamond and Coal

By mistress amethyst une

The cold glimmer of a perfectly cut diamond or the raging fire born from burning coal?

Ice blue stare or the burning glare of an azure star's blaze?

Cold gold or warm blood red?

Why couldn't I see beneath the surface?

She was beautiful, intelligent and young.

Any man could want her.

I once deluded myself into desiring her.

I almost loved her.

But now the illusion has dissipated…

And as she lies dying in my arms, I can plainly see all the flaws in her perfection.

Even a diamond suffers from tiny hairline scratches.

The jewel cutters can only do so much.

We did all we could to shape her into what she wanted to be.

The Doctor, Kathryn and I…

We all cared for her.

Our mistake was wanting her to be more than what she could possibly be.

The Doctor wanted somebody to love.

She could not comply.

Kathryn wanted a protégée.

She tried to comply.

I wanted Kathryn.

She tried to comply in her mentor's stead.

At least in my eyes…

She was just a substitute for Kathryn.

I can see that now and I hate myself for it.

I betrayed them both.

I've broken two promises.

I promised to stay by her until death parted us.

Now that death is parting us I know in my heart that I was never with her to begin with.

I promised her something that was no longer mine to give.

And the other vow...

One made long before I pledged myself to the woman dying in my arms...

How could I have forgotten?

How could I offer myself to another after I had given myself so fully to someone who had handed me so much faith and trust in return?

Why had I been so impatient?

Why couldn't I have waited for her?

Why did I have to be only human?

And so now here I sit with a diamond shattered in my arms as the one who eluded me begins to weep.

The fire in her is dying...

How can the cold beauty of a diamond ever replace the warmth provided by burning coal?

Their blood is all over me now.

Both of them.

The woman in my arms bleeds and gasps for her last few breaths.

She drags my head down to whisper something but all I hear is the sound of life escaping her body.

Her last breath...

My wife…

My diamond…

My substitute for love…

The woman standing before us has tears streaming down her face.

She too bleeds as her heart breaks for us both.

My captain…

My fire…

My love…

And now I am alone in the dark with the fragments of a dead glimmering gem in my arms and a piece of coal that has burned itself out with grief...

I actually wrote this same scene from Seven's POV in my previous story: Caught in the Middle. That features exactly what she was trying to whisper in her husband's ear before she died.