Disclaimer: These characters, the events of this episode, and anything else pertaining to Trek do not belong to me, and I neither claim nor hope to make profit from them. Sorry, Quark, I know you're disappointed in me.

Author's Note: Formerly part of my longer fic, "Don't Let Go," this fic is from Ben Sisko's point of view during Jadzia's final minutes. A friend pointed out that "Don't Let Go" was pretty heavy on the death scenes, so I decided to cut one. Jadzia was Ben's best friend, so I felt that Ben deserved a fic of his own. Reviews embrace with enthusiastic arms.

Ben's heart shattered the instant he saw Jadzia lying on the biobed, exhaustion and pain reducing her to a mere shell of the vibrant, mischievous woman she'd once been. As he drew closer, the paleness of her face and the sharpness of her spots against her skin pierced him through, stole his breath away. She was so weak that she couldn't even embrace her husband; so pain-ridden that Worf dared not gather her into his arms.

The Klingon's attention was solely upon his wife, but Ben saw Jadzia's gaze flicker up to his own as he moved past her. He tried to turn away, to keep her from seeing the guilt hanging there, but he wasn't quick enough. The sharp ache in her eyes told him that much.

He stopped just behind Worf, close enough to see Jadzia's face and hear her tortured words.

"I'm…I'm sorry," she whispered, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes.

The apology struck him in the gut. Sorry? You're sorry? Why are you saying you're sorry, Jadzia? You have nothing to be sorry about. It's my fault you're like this. My fault that you haven't got Dax anymore, that you'll never have the baby you want. I didn't listen to the Prophets, and now They're gone, and you're here…dying. I can't promise that I'll get you out of this, Old Man. I can't even call you Old Man anymore. You're dying before my very eyes, and it's all my fault.

Hearing Jadzia's words, Worf lifted his ridged brow from her hand. "Save your strength," he said gently, so softly that Ben could hardly tell the words from the rumble of his voice.

From where he stood, Ben could see the sad, knowing look that filled Jadzia's eyes. The weight on his heart doubled as he realized what his old friend was thinking. Save what strength? She had no strength left to save. None left to expend, except for these last precious minutes'.

Jadzia's eyes traced Worf's face, as if memorizing its appearance. Ben saw her swallow, saw her fingers strain upward, reaching to touch her husband's cheek, his beard. To caress him one last time.

She was silent for so long that Ben was afraid she'd died without even saying goodbye. But then her fingers curled onto Worf's, and her voice sounded once more, tremulous, but audible.

"Our baby…would have been so beautiful…"

The words seemed to cut the final thread of denial inside him, and Ben realized—really, fully realized—how wrong this woman's death was. He couldn't tear his eyes from Jadzia as her final words left her lips, as her eyes fluttered and finally closed. Her chest rose and fell once…twice…and after the third time, no more.

His heart slammed down with a sickening thud, and Ben sucked in a breath, bracing himself for what was to come. Worf seemed to sink lower over his wife's body, until he suddenly threw back his head and howled, roaring his grief and pain to the quadrant. Warning those in Sto-Vo-Kor that a warrior came to join their ranks.

The Infirmary fell quiet, the two men's darkened eyes upon Jadzia.

"neH taH Kronos. Hegh bat'lhqu, Hoch nej maH. neH taH Kronos. yay je bat'lh manob Hegh."

Worf's chant drew Ben forward, stirring his own pain and grief. Offering his own, silent goodbye, he reached to touch the back of his hand to Jadzia's cheek. It was warm and smooth, as if she were only asleep. There was a deep peace etched onto her visage, marred only by the drying trail of tears on her temple and the scene Ben had witnessed moments before.

He gazed at her, wrestling with what he knew to be true and what he wanted to be true. If he just nudged her shoulder, whispered in her ear, maybe then she would wake up. She'd open her eyes and flash him that trademark grin. The old glint would leap into her eyes, and she'd swing from the biobed, insistent upon changing out of the ridiculous open-backed gown. She'd wake up, and everything…everything would be all right.

All these thoughts and more passed through Ben's mind as he gazed down at his dear friend's tranquil features, trying to accept the fact that she wasn't there anymore. But the words that welled up from his heart and echoed in his mind weren't ones of what if's or but only's. They were a silent plea, a plea from the depths of their friendship, from the core of his heart.

Don't let go, Jadzia. Please, don't let go.

But it was too late.

Jadzia was gone.