AN: Just a short thing that burrowed its way into my brain when I was listening to Judy Collins sing "Amazing Grace", and it wouldn't let me go 'til I wrote this. It's unbetaed and barely looked over cause it's sad, so hopefully the Klingon phrase guide was accurate enough, and I didn't miss anything else. Oh yes. Character death is involved. You have been warned.
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Kathryn stood rigidly straight, afraid any slight relaxation and she crumble completely. She'd been asked to speak, but even though she was the best person for the job she'd had to decline. Her stoicism in the face of emotional turmoil only went so far. B'Elanna was talking, saying something suited to the occasion she was sure, but she hardly heard a word. A chill had settled deep within her.
A few words floated by her, unusually emotional. "As much as I think I knew him—"
Kathryn gave a concerted effort to focus her attention back on the podium.
"—As much as we'd all like to say we knew him, there's so much left unsaid, undone," B'Elanna went on. She gave a small smile, that otherwise might have gone unnoticed if not for the momentary break in the gloom. "Yet somehow I think that suited him. He wouldn't have been the man we knew and loved if his life was an open book." She stepped down from the podium, and laying her hand gently on the wooden coffin (oddly suitable for this nontraditional ceremony) added quietly, "epetai-zana, batlh Daqawlu'taH."
Several people moved towards the coffin and lifted it on their shoulders, walking it the short length of the mess hall and back so everyone could pay their last respects. Tom gathered B'Elanna in his arms, ostensibly to offer his support, but equally to draw it as well. Seven showed an uncharacteristic display of emotion, placing her hand on the coffin and inclining her head, a testament to how much the man had been an influence on her short individual life thus far. Once it had made the rounds, the pallbearers placed it back on the stand. Harry went over to the panel on the wall, wordlessly entering a command. The coffin shimmered and disappeared, reappearing a few yards from the still starship.
"Somehow didn't seem right to just shoot him out like a torpedo," he explained gruffly, turning towards the window. "Goodbye," he whispered.
The crew started to move away, leaving behind those who knew him best and were unwilling to let go just yet. Kathryn moved over to the windows, pressing her hand up to the barrier, like a child being torn away from her best friend. She started to sing quietly, scarcely even hearing herself. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me." She would win no contests with her singing, but that didn't matter. "I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see."
The Doctor's rich voice joined her seamlessly interweaving a simple harmony. His musical research and expertise wasn't limited to opera. The sound floated lightly around the room, belying the heavy air. "T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved."
Seven's voice joined in flawlessly, but with a rare expressive tone. "How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed."
Even those remaining started to drift off, leaving their captain still at the window. The voices of Seven and the Doctor could still be heard along with Kathryn as they left, "Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come…" The doors closed, seemingly with an even softer hiss of air than usual, leaving her all alone. She quietly continued, barely noticing her lack of accompaniment, quiet tears now streaming down her face. "'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home." She broke off, leaning heavily against the pane. She stayed there in silence for nearly an hour, her thoughts moving so fast she didn't even have a chance to think.
"Kathryn," a whisper unfurled suddenly in the silent room.
She whipped her head around, sure someone was there.
"Kathryn," he called again. "You've got to let me go."
"I can't," she sobbed, finally breaking down. "What we missed…"
"Cannot be changed," he stated calmly. "I knew though. Even though we didn't act on it, it was always there. True love cannot be found where it does not truly exist, nor can it be hidden where it does."
Kathryn steeled her expression, hoping it would shore up her soul. "I will try," she said softly. "Goodbye." She bowed her head, placing it on the window, and closed her fist. "Chakotay…"
He was gone.