50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Summary: Kathryn Janeway can’t help breaking hearts, but at least she never does it the same way twice.
Characters: Janeway, Tuvok
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Paramount. I'm just having a little twisted fun with them.
Notes: When I posted A Long Journey on tumblr, @caladeniablue asked 'Fic to go with this?' and it got me thinking. This is the result. (If you have a request for a lover Kathryn could leave, email me!)
eight | Tuvok
Requested by @purpledog47 and @tri42.
Stardate 61625.1 – 16 August, 2384
He must really be slipping if that’s the best he can come up with, she thinks, then chastises herself for it.
Cynicism and gallows humour have become second nature. Just a couple more shreds of her that this journey does its best to strip away, but she refuses to stop resisting it.
She rings the chime.
~Commander Tuvok has requested not to be disturbed except in case of emergency,~ the computer informs her.
“I’d say this qualifies. Open the door,” she orders. “Authorisation Janeway lambda one four three red.”
The computer chirps, the doors slide open, and Janeway steps into arid heat and shadows.
“Go away,” howls the hollowed-out wreck that emerges from the gloom. The whites of his eyes reflect the light of stars he hasn’t seen for decades.
It can’t be more than a week or two since she last visited – can it? – but to Janeway he looks wasted, diminished.
There is nothing of serenity or stoicism about him. He is raw fright and crumbling bedrock. He is unrecognisable.
“Tuvok,” she tries to gentle him. “It’s me. Kathryn Janeway. I’ve come to help you.”
“You’re a ghost,” he hurls at her. “Leave me alone. Let me die. I want to die.”
Maybe he really does, she thinks, and wavers. Maybe she should let him. It might be kinder, in the end.
But she’s come this far making choices based on gut and selfishness, and she’s not about to stop now.
“It’s just the pon farr, Tuvok,” she says, enunciating loud and clear. “And I’m here to help –”
If she’s expecting him to put up more of a fight, she’s wrong.
He’s on her before she’s even finished speaking. Fingers clamped tight around her head, stale breath hot on her lips. Eyes she doesn’t recognise. Pain –
Pain that steals not only her breath but her spirit.
It’s worse than Cardassians, worse than the Fen Domar. It scours her out from the insides and pulps her mind, and she can only retreat, disengage, shrink into the tiniest cowering shard of herself. The last remaining shred of Kathryn Janeway.
She doesn’t know how long it takes until he purges the plak tow. Hours, days, eternity, it’s all the same from her point of vantage, from this place that isn’t a sanctuary but is the only prison she can bear.
But at some point, she remembers that her prison is the one she’s made for herself, and it’s her duty to bear it whether she thinks she can or not.
She emerges. Forces herself to her feet. Puts on her uniform.
Checks Tuvok’s pulse – steady – and fever – broken – and summons the Doctor.
Shattered in body and soul, she drags herself to her quarters and tries to dredge up the wherewithal to replicate a hypospray and draw herself a bath.
But all she can do is curl up and keen, and hope to God she’s dead, or they all are, before another seven years have passed.