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My Last Lingering Caress

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I thrust a foot out, and with a quick sweep his face connects with the deck. Less than a split second later he is rolling away swiftly as I sprint at him, dead phaser in hand. Judging by the urgency in his motion, he can see the murder in my eyes.

I land hard with only cold unyielding deck to stop my momentum, and a sharp pain resounds, running up my knees and solidifying in my lower back.

My joints hurt.

I can feel the muscles in my arms shake in exhaustion as I brace the deck from the impact… He is on me before I even manage to ungritt my teeth, heavy weight crashing on me from above…or behind…I can't tell any more. Fatigue and the concussion have slowed my senses, twisted and warped them so that the ground beneath me shakes and rolls.

The arm he secures around my neck tightens painfully to constrict my air flow, his other hand fisting in my hair. Pulling my head back, in an apparent attempt of freeing me clear of it. The instinct to claw at the arm, twist, and attempt to slink away from it's constricting vice is unbearable. And I do, as it presses with more certainty on my windpipe. A virtual nose around my neck threatening to disconnect me from my very core.

My vision swims.

I can't stop the few coughs that are able to escape from my burning throat. But it does nothing to relieve the building inferno in my chest, nor the hard thrumming at my temple, as minuscule little needles prickle across my scalp, burrowing deeper and deeper, at the tightening of his fist.

I want to free herself.

Scream in rage.

Beat him.

Beat him till he is bloody, weak, begging…I want to watch him drown in his own blood.

Their is an ascending fire in me of a different kind. The remains of my unfailing reserve throughout this ordeal. Swirling and racing through my blood like an infection, contaminating every cell in it's path with malicious intent.

I lock my knees beneath me in the slight separation of an up-heaved console; and despite the jagged edge cutting through the thick fabric of my uniform, into already discolored skin, I push back with a strength I did not realize I possessed knocking us both back in the process. I feel a small pang of satisfaction as the sound of the air rushing out of his lungs whistles passed my ear at forced impact and I waste no time and using the sudden jolt to free myself from the momentarily slackened arm. The ground shifts and wobbles beneath my feet as I pry my hair from his grasp, a few tendrils still clutched in his grip.

His hand shoots out, quickly snatching at my uniform. An attempt to entrap me once more…fails as I pulls away from his seize and unto my feet. Tired muscles cry out in protest when I give a swift, but satisfying kick at his ribs. He grunts, as my boot connects, or more accurately as my boot attempted to dislodged his rib cage, curling away with a howl of pain, his hands instinctively reaching to cradle the wound.

I kick him again, and again, gritting my teeth into a grimace to keep the obscene words from tumbling out, but more honestly, to keep the venom inside. My fuel. This was not a time for words anyway. This is rage. A language all speak. One that leaves no use for a universal translator. Rage, raw and bitter and …powerful.

As she had been.

This was payment for the duty he had done their Captain.

Kathryn's image flashes across my mind and a new surge of anger swells in my chest, a balloon filled with acid threatening to push out every molecule of air in my lungs.

I kick at him again, in the back this time, with more force and he makes a sound I've never heard come from a humanoid life form before. Of any kind.

Good.

But not enough.

I fall to my knees, my hands wrapping around his thick neck, sharp scales rasping against my fingers as I seek and find his trachea with the speed and precision only blind ire could create; Intent on breaking it. Shattering it so that he can feel the pain and panic course through him, covering him…cold, a mantle of snow building at him from the inside. I want to feel him struggle to keep his life from slip away from his body in slow waves; Like Kathryn's had between her own fingers.

Waves...God, torrents of midnight-prince colored fluid evacuating her, faster than I knew how to deal with. Flowing through her tightly clutched fingers and pooling around her. Enough to see my own horrified expression reflecting back at me in.

But Janeway's expression hadn't changed. She grew paler, from one second to the next but her goddamn expression didn't change.

Nor her command.

Her jaw remained locked, her eyes unwavering even as they took a turn from Celeste to ashen gray. Her gaze just as hard and commanding, as when she instructed us to return to the shuttle.

The puddle beneath her grew, in the split second I turned to look at Harry.

His skin looked clammy and pale. Like he was on the verge of becoming ill.

My chest thumped hard painful thumps then. I could hear their heavy footfalls coming down the corridor. She ordered me to the shuttle once more, emphasizing my rank. Her eyes a gargonizing intensity even as her knuckles whitened on the phaser she clutched and blood continued to flow around her fingers.

I head in the same direction Harry disappears to, gravity making every step heavy and unbearable. The sound of phaser fire and the loud thud when I reach a darkened corner makes me gag even though my stomach has been bereft of any content since we crashed on this hell-forsaken planet.

The sharp racing pain at the back of my leg, slams me back into presence. My boot immediately filling with hot liquid, pain piercing deep into the muscles of my calf, enough to make me scream in agony at the twist of the sharpness in my leg and my visions fuzzes as I stumble. Clutching around me at anything that will keep me from meeting the cold ground again, as he rises, from around my feet, a statuette, towering above me, hobbled over slightly, but menacing all the same.

Despite my blurry vision, I note that he is favoring his uninjured side as he swiftly swings at my chest, knocking every modicum of oxygen I had within me to oblivion.

I am only half aware of my head hitting the shattered console behind me, the one that had been my loyal friend only minutes ago, housing me under its protective panels and wires. I cannot help but feel slightly betrayed for a second; for one hysterical second forgetting that it is an inanimate object and nothing more.

…but it was one that I'd worked on for hours. Configuring and re-configuring it to cooperation. Till my fingers were chaffed and numb and the distress call to voyager had been cast.

I thought we'd bonded.

Oh, how wrong we can be. I can only think as my vision begins to darken. I can half see him looming over me. Something large and angled in his hands raised high above his head, a sacrifice to whatever miserable, xenophobic, Human hating gods these p'taks worship, undoubtedly.

I know he wants to kill me.

He tells me with his eyes.

He will.

….his eyes change. I feel distant and far way and I know I am quickly swimming towards unconsciousness.

I'm only half grateful.

I know she did not have that luxury.

She knew she would die when she ordered us away. She knew from the moment we crashed and they urged her cooperation. After all they did she would not allow herself to fall unconscious. She did not give an inch. She would face her death like….

...his eyes were so blank and his body so still. The piece of angled console he held fell away from his grasp, landing right on my thighs with a force that betrays it's intent. His arms remain above his head, gaze unfocused. I am desperate to rise, but my limbs are no longer cooperating. My head is performing a intricate rhythmic pounding, at the same rate as the thumping in my chest, and my thoughts swim in and out of my reach.

He falls to his knees before me, gaze far away and unfocused. Straight ahead. I want to scramble away...to perform a finishing move... when it suddenly shifts to me.

Black and impenetrable. Only for a moment before he falls flat on his face.

The walls shift in and out of focus as I catch a glimpse... a flash of red and black. A phaser. A glimpse of pale skin, bright red droplets smeared across and auburn locks.

Half lidded Icy gray irises.

I claw desperately at the tendrils of conciseness but I can't help as my eyes slip shut. My body succumbing to the overwhelming pull.

I feel her hand on my wrist, a whispered cold caress. It makes me shiver and cling to the life line.

One that might not be my own.

When I wake up in Sickbay, I expect all of this to have been a product of hallucination.

Some terrible new Delta Quadrant menace that threatens our very lively hood.

I expected this to all have been some horrible dream.

One that I would wake up from to Tom's gentle hands comforting me.

Or Red Klaxons gratefully yanking away from but...

But I wake.

In sickbay.

And my knees hurt.

And Tom's eyes are red rimmed and swollen.

And I can still feel cold fingers on my wrist.