Sitting quietly in my command chair, I can see the rippling energy building within the bridge staff… the view screen filling with an achingly wonderful sight. Home. Closing my eyes against brimming tears, I finally let me mind take in the sight… the harshness of my older, alter self…
Her mannerisms were a vague hint of my own, yet they were slower, more gentle. Her silver head bowing to take in the lingering scent of rich coffee. I saw the fragile hint of smile ghost across her face, and I couldn’t help but smile in return.
As I looked into her eyes, I could see that she had come to realize something I could never allow myself to dwell… to notice outside the darkness of my nighttime dreams. Her eyes hooded with loss and sadness, a sorrow born of not only a lost love… but of hundreds of lost chances. I could almost feel the coldness that now surrounded her, the grief making her harder then I thought I could ever be. She shied away from Seven at first, her body cringing away from the unfamiliar wanting. Lack of innocent emotion had made her… my ability to hide feelings inadequate. Very inadequate.
Her face brightened as Seven entered the sickbay… I could almost see the wistful joy breaking clear of her old heart. I flinched at the sight of it. I knew then; as I had always known on some level, that Seven would always be the love of my life. The haunting hurt in those aged, gray eyes hinted at a lifetime of loneliness… of seeing one’s life crumple and rot away.
She told me she wanted to save her… to save those she had lost all those years ago. In a way, she was telling the truth.
The need for redemption is a harsh poison… one I lived with for seven years. But it was something else that drove her sacrifice… the sight of him and Seven together. I could see the hurt… the self-hate that gleamed gently in her eyes. It was a dull pain, one that had been there for quite some time. I wanted to reach out to her, to make her realize that life didn’t have to be as lonely as she had made it. But, looking into her eyes, I realized that I was indeed looking at my future. Alone and mourning a love I have wanted for far too long.
We talked for hours. Hours of fond memories, of times when life was less complicated. Life before realization. A part of me hated this Janeway, and hated myself for my weaknesses.
Looking one last time at my aging, mirror image, I saw the darkened soul peeking out behind steely eyes. It scared me, yet comforted me in a way. I could live with watching Seven love someone else, no matter how much of my heart died seeing it.