Janeway entered engineering. She couldn't see much, only a little bit. Members of the engineering staff, stood in shock. She stopped short when she caught sight of a familiar figure in black and red, leaning against the warp core. She started toward the door that led to the inside of the containment field. Kathryn was focused on her objective. She didn't see the three figures rushing toward her.
One arm was grabbed by the doctor, the other by B'Elanna. Ensign Vorik had grabbed her around the middle. Kathryn fought briefly.
"You can't go in there, captain." B'Elanna said, her voice shaking.
"But he'll die." Kathryn said, struggling against those who held her.
"He's already dead." B'Elanna told her. Kathryn looked to the doctor.
"It's too late." He said quietly, regret in his tone.
Kathryn looked toward the warp core and felt her heart lurch. She turned toward the doctor. "Why can't you go in there and help him?"
"The radiation would disrupt his holographic matrix, captain." B'Elanna said. The three let her go and she walked quietly to the glass. She leaned her hands against it and mouthed the word, Chakotay. She tapped her comm badge. Kathryn didn't care if anyone saw and heard her or not.
"Chakotay." She said, the grief evident in her voice.
Her heart pounded as she saw him move. Maybe B'Elanna and the doctor had been wrong. He was alive. Chakotay slowly moved to his knees, then to his feet. He stood straight and pulled down at his uniform. Through the haze of his mind, he wanted to have that final dignity with his commanding officer.
He staggered toward her voice, her face only a dim shadow of the one he knew.
"Don't grieve, Kathryn. It had to be. I alone could do it. I had the authorization."
"Chakotay." She whispered.
"I've... always wondered what my response would...be at a ...situation like...this." He said. It was getting hard to talk. The darkness was closing in on his vision. For a brief moment, Kathryn was clear and even with tears and grief on her face, she looked beautiful. He slid a little down the glass.
"I...don't have...many regrets. Save... one." He said, looking her in the eye.
"What?" Kathryn asked.
"I never...told you... the truth...that I love you." Chakotay said. He gave a brief smile that tried to hide the pain.
"Chakotay." She said. With some effort, he pulled his hand from the glove and pressed it against the glass, the intention one Kathryn knew from long ago. From a planet that was for a short time, home. Kathryn raised her hand and held it against the glass, wishing desperately that she could touch him in the flesh.
"I love you...Kathryn....Janeway." He said. His dead eyes pleaded with her. He needed to hear it once.
"I love you too, Chakotay." She whispered. He smiled again and shifted slightly. The one last moment. He would not let her see him die. Chakotay slid to the floor, with his back against the glass, his dark head leaning against it. As the darkness overtook him, he thought that the last thing he'd see in his life was his Kathryn's face.
It took Kathryn a few minutes before she removed her hand from the glass. His figure silent, her life blood dead. She, too, slid down the glass, her back against his. No one approached her for a long time, realizing that they had witnessed something beyond their greatest expectations.
The doctor finally came over and he gently picked up the captain in his arms and took her out of engineering. As they made their way to sickbay, she put her arms around the neck of the illusion of a man she called the CMO.
Once in sickbay, he carefully lowered her to the bio-bed and turned to get a hypo. Administering it to her neck, Kathryn began to fall asleep. She replayed their conversation in her mind, wondering if there was anything else she could tell him. As she drifted off, she saw his smiling face, his subtle voice telling her to go on. To be strong. To not grieve. That he'll always be alive as long as she remembered.
Her hand reached out in air.
"Chakotay." She whispered as sleep overtook her.