Title: The Science of Regret
Author: AngelWings
Rating: PG-13, I think
Summary: R/T fic, of course. Switches POVs.

You'll never know how much I'll miss you, you won't see it in my face. You'll never know I'll never find another that can take your place. Cause I'll be smiling when I see you, no my tears won't ever show. Yeah, I might always love you, but you won't ever know.

    We stood in front of each other one last time. People walked around us and outside us. We were there and we were not, we were real and we weren't. What would happen now?
    She was as beautiful as always. The black hair I loved running my fingers through fell in soft curls past her shoulders, and her beautiful black eyes were wide and shimmering with a million emotions, each as real and vivid as the next, each as demanding. Each with equal power to wound.

    I missed him already. Even when he was there I ached for him, and now he would be there no longer. No more laughing at stupid jokes, no more playful banter, no more strong shoulder to strengthen and support me. No more Imzadi. I would have to close this part of my life and myself like a finished book and begin writing a new one. How was I supposed to do that?

    I loved her more than anything in the universe, so much it killed me. She was the only woman I had ever loved, the only one who opened my eyes and awakened my heart with one simple glance. She was my once in a lifetime, my one and only. They say for each of us there is one person worth everything. I found her. Now how do I let her go?

    I fell forward into his arms. "I'm sad. Are you?" Terribly inadequate words. Sad? Is this sad? Does sad make you feel like everything that mattered at all in your life is leaving all at once? Then yes, I am sad. I buried my face in his chest and inhaled deeply, trying to commit his scent to memory. The fabric under my chin, his scratchy beard against my forehead, familiar strong arms tight around me that will become foreign. Tears slip from my eyes and burn holes into my skin. I feel him nod an answer to my question and hold him close as I feel teardrops slide onto my hair and face from above and mingle with my own.

    I hold her close for the last time. She feels delicate and fey in my arms, deceptively fragile. Tears flow unchecked from my eyes and soak her hair. I can't stop them. I nudge gently at the corner of her mind and feel her open just a little. Her grief rips through me, so fierce it leaves me winded, so strong it leaves holes in my heart. I send her my love, pure and desperate and unchecked, and we join our minds for the last time. For a second we are one person, whole again, and I am what I never expected to be today-happy.

    We finally break apart. It physically hurts to do. A hint of a smile plays at his lips and he starts to sway, humming under his breath. I recognize the tune, although I don't know how, as he is completely tone deaf-All My Life, by an American singer and songwriter named John Lennon. It is the song that was playing the first time we made love, it is the song he used when he wrote a poem for me back on Betazed, all those years ago. I smile too and dance our last dance.
It is a warm night, muggy and stifling on the Ba'aku homeworld. The light breeze brushes over my face like a caress and tangles my hair. The moon is bright and beautiful above me. I miss you.

    It has been almost two years since I saw you last. We talk whenever possible, which is not often because we are in working in different ends of the quadrant. Our paths do not often cross. I must say I am coping better than I thought I would. My body seems to have made up for the loss of my heart, and it is functioning fairly well considering I am 45 earth years old now. My life is....normal. I have a job I like and friends I love, and that is all many people have. Many people never find the complete, deep-down-inside happiness I found in Will's arms. The thought saddens me.

    Was it worth it? Beverly asked that once and once only, after Jean-luc's announcement that he and Anij were getting married. It is a loaded question, for sure. Do I regret it? If I could, would I go back in time and stop an idealistic young girl from ever meeting a handsome young boy from Starfleet? I would never have known that utter joy that comes from joining souls with someone, from Imzadi; but at the same time, it would have saved a lot of pain too. It didn't take me long to think about.

    Do I regret parts of it? Sure. A fight here and there about something stupid, not seeing the restlessness in his eyes sooner than I did, hiding my feelings on Enterprise because I was so afraid of being hurt again, and I didn't think I would survive it a second time. But it was worth it. Every single tear, every lonely night, all the confusion from the thing with Worf, and every day now when my heart shatters just a little bit more. It was worth everything. I was lucky. I was blessed. I loved someone. I loved someone so much it kills me a little more every day. But you know what I've finally realized? It was all worth it. Love cannot be measured, cannot be weighed. The happiness and the sadness cannot be made to equal one another. The happiness is fearful, and the sadness is exquisite. Love is an emotion, a chemical reaction that changes your body your brain your heart forever and ever, a dream, a rainbow, a type of magic. Love is love is love. It is what it is. It is what you are. No more and no less. So yeah, it was worth it.

    Thank you, Will Riker. I know a part of you is here, I can feel you in every breath of wind and every ray of sunlight. You are here with me, and I know you'll be in my dreams tonight. There we will meet over and over and live out lives as real and dear as my own. And there we will fall in love, night after night after night, while the birds sing their lonely songs: if only, if only.