Beyond Definition – Chapter 5

Beyond Definition – Chapter 5

by mizvoy

Spring 2418 Indiana, the Janeway homestead

“You’ll be feeling better soon,” Olivia announced as she sat down beside her mother.

“Really? The Doctor told you that?”

“Not in so many words, but-.”

“But that’s what you heard, because that’s what you wanted to hear.”


“Don’t ‘Mother’ me. The Doctor knows better than to try to mislead me. I know the truth, and I’m fine with it.” She lay back on the pillows and sighed. “I know how difficult it is to face losing someone you love, but it doesn’t help to deceive yourself about what’s happening.”

Olivia brushed away tears with her free hand. “First Dad, then you. I’ll be an orphan.”

“No you won’t. You’ll still have us with you, in your memories, in the way you think, your habits, your outlook on life. You’re ours, Sweetie, and that will never change.”

“But we were never really a family.”

“Weren’t we?”

“Not really. We never shared a house. You went months at a time without seeing or being with him.”

“We talked often, maybe more than you realized.”

“Over subspace.”

“He seemed closer, somehow.”

“Not to me.”

Kathryn frowned. “I’m sorry that you missed him so much, but he had to move to Trebus and help his family.”

“I wanted more.”

“We both gave you all that we could. You are the best thing that ever happened to us—we always agreed on that.”

“You didn’t plan to have me.”

“There are a lot of people out there who arrived without their parents’ planning for them.” She shifted to face her daughter. “Your father and I loved you. No child was ever cherished more than you were. Never doubt that.”

“But you and Dad.”

“Were never really a couple, right?”

She nodded in reply.

“Why do you let that haunt you so much?”

“Because I know you would have been happy together.”

“We were happy together.”

“You weren’t together!”

“No! Stop!” Kathryn struggled to her feet, her left leg still uncooperative following the stroke that had nearly killed her a month earlier. “We were partners in every way that counted, Olivia. If we had wanted to change that, we would have done so.”

“Why didn’t he ask you to marry him?”

“I think he might have been afraid that I would say ‘yes.'” She grinned, but sobered when she saw the anger in Olivia’s eyes. “You’re right, in some ways, about the Delta Quadrant. Too much had happened between us, too many harsh words, too many power struggles, too many obstacles skirted instead of resolved. After seven years of it, too much had happened. We had to find a way to a perfect balance.”

“So I would never have been born if it weren’t for Quarra.” She said it flatly, without emotion.

“Probably not.” Kathryn admitted. She walked to the window and looked out at the farm that had been her childhood playground. “We decided not to grieve over the things that couldn’t be changed. We moved ahead and cherished the gift that we’d been given, found a way to enjoy what we shared.”

“You settled.”

“We accepted.”

“You gave up.”

“We never stopped.”

“You limited.”

“We opened ourselves to all the possibilities.” Kathryn turned to look at Olivia and shook her head. “Perhaps our bond was unique, inexplicable. Probably so. But it was pure and untainted by expectations or demands.”

“You were together so little over the years.”

“We were never really apart.”

“Mother, I don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t, and I’m at a loss to explain it better, except to say that we were true friends, in the best sense of the word. I never let your father go, and he refused to leave me.”

“What does that mean?”

Kathryn sighed. “Some relationships defy description.”

“So? What? He’s with you?”

“Yes, he is.”

“And you hear him?”

“Not out loud.” Kathryn laughed. “But when you know someone by heart, when you’ve been through the fire together, when you’ve opened your eyes to eternity and said, ‘So this is how it must be,’ there is a peace, and a knowing, that surpasses understanding.”

“My God, you’re a mystic, too!”

“No, sweetie, I just accept the fact that there are mysteries in this universe that science will never solve.”

“So you loved him.”

“Sweetie, he was my heart.”

“And you were his . . . heart?”

She nodded.

“I don’t get it.”

Kathryn sighed and glanced upward. “You were right. She’s me all over again.”

“While he’s on the line,” Olivia sighed, “tell him I miss him.”