How very beautifully rare it is, to find a soul mate within a twin flame. Many spiritual zealots would argue the impossibility of such an existence. Closed minds burdened by scholarly teachings. Strange and extraordinary is this scarce phenomenon; only occurring possibly once, in an entire universe every few billion Millennia.

It is argued that a twin flame could not possibly be one in the same with a soul mate. No exceptions. Given the profound circumstances, it may be true that that is the case. However one such anomaly manifested at least once during the space time continuum construct most beings find themselves manifested within.

A twin flame is a shared soul, split between two individuals. The emotions and connections run deep and explosive. One cannot expand ones self, explore ones potential, or discover the concept of self-love without triggering the shadow self from ones twin flame. Twin flames spur personal growth, and realization. They mirror the darkness within each other and bring about self discovery.

A soul mate, in contrast is two separate souls. Cosmically destined to connection. They are soothing to one another and provide solace and comfort. A safe place. The comfort and stability found when one finds their soul mate can be like a beacon in a dark harbor.

Scientifically speaking, these two cannot be one in the same. Unless the karmic connection is also linked in. A Karmic partner is tumultuous and harsh. They are intense and difficult. Hard lessons are learned, spilling over from past lives. If one is lucky enough to find this connection, it is not an easy relationship, and nearly impossible to let go of. It is when all three of these combine into the same relationship, with the same two beings, that the scientific merges with ethereal.

This is the telling of the only two beings to ever exist, so far, with this rarity of connection.

2378 - Star Date 55382

I stared at the view screen as the ship I'd spent 7 years trying to bring home was lead by an armada of Starfleet vessels towards the familiar blue and green marble floating in the vacuum of space. I couldn't breath. My mind went blank and overstimulated all at once. I absently listened to Commander Chakotay beside me, uttering commands to various crew members before I felt his large paw of a hand rest on my shoulder.

"Perhaps you would like a moment in your ready-room?" He whispered quietly enough only myself, and more than likely Seven of nine with her Borg enhanced hearing could register.

I turned slightly to look up at him and nodded curtly. My body felt foreign as I stepped away, briskly making my escape, hoping my command mask would remained. It was like I was standing on the edge of precipice. Teetering on the edge, knowing not to look into the cavern beneath but powerless not to.

"Coffee. Black." I croaked to the replicator. Wrapping both hands around the warm metal, the familiarity grounded me. I took a deep breath and sipped at the comforting liquid. I closed my eyes at the feeling of it coating my throat with velvet tendrils.

My eyes stay closed when I hear the chime, indicating someone outside the door. I hold my breath and take three deep, steadying breaths before straightening my spine to an almost military attention stature.

"Come." My voice sounds timid in my ears.

The doors part, and She walks in. Seven of Nine. She steps inside just passed the sensor and when we are alone she adopts her usual stance, hands clasped behind her, chin forward.

"Captain, May I speak with you?

Her intonation matches mine. Uncertainty etched across her face like a Halloween mask. I've never seen her look this way. Her usual arrogance and self assurance replaced by this diminutive woman standing before me.

Then it dawns on me. She has never been to Earth. She is about to embark on the most excruciating venture into humanity and I knew she was afraid. She'd never showed me this level of vulnerability. Not in all our happenings in the Delta Quadrant had she looked so… childlike.

"Of course, Seven." I walk towards her and place my hand on her arm. "You can always talk to me."

Her jaw twitches and her eyes seem to be unable to focus. It's her tell that she is experiencing apprehension.

"I.." She starts, but I can tell she has no idea how to proceed. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other and glances at my hand, still on her arm.

"Come. Have a seat with me?"

She nods and allows me to lead her to the couch. The couch that is usually blanketed with starlight, now aglow with the brightness of Earth looming in. She sits right beside me, our thighs touching and I rest my hand on her back.

"I know." I whisper to her. She visibly relaxes and lets out a soft breath through pursed lips.

"Where do I go?" She looks at me with big doe eyes, shimmering pools of blue ice brimming with tears. Her voice breaks slightly and she shudders.

My heart is breaking for her. I have no idea what lies ahead and that scares the hell out of me. I'd been so preoccupied with executing Admiral Janeway's plan, the end game my only goal. I'd saved Seven's life. I hoped. The repercussions possibly every bit as unsettling as the thought of her demise.

"Do you want to go with Chakotay?" I asked her gently. She looked at me shocked.

"Why would I go with Chakotay?" She almost sounded disgusted. I smirked in spite of her obvious irritation.

"I thought," she cut me off with a wave of her hand. A practice she'd likely adopted from me.

"No." She shook her head. "I do not know him. Having been on a few dates with him, does not make him someone I would choose to begin this journey with."

She looked at my lopsided grin with amusement. Her eyes dancing, still holding unshed tears.

"Well, where would you wish to go?"

She leaned into my hand that was still rubbing soothing circles on her back and shoulders.

"Indiana." Her voice was almost lyrical. Heavy with emotion. It was almost a question; almost.

I nod once and watch one tear fall down her cheek. My lopsided grin turns into a full toothy smile when she allows it to trickled down her alabaster skin. The simple act of allowing me to witness the display is a rare gift. When I bring my hand from her back, around and up to wipe the streak away with my thumb, she catches my hand. She presses my palm to her cheek and leans her face into it.

I am mesmerized. She ghosts her lips across my wrist before pulling our clasped hands down to her lap. She looks at me, waiting for confirmation.

"Of course."

She smiles and squeezes my hand. I feel the cushions shift and she's kissed my cheek.

"Thank you." She whispers in my ear and my insides melt. Her breath on my neck makes me dizzy and I grip my coffee cup. My knuckles white from the strain. "I will go regenerate until the appropriate time you wish to leave."

"Ok." Is all I can verbalize. The heat from her body is a comfort to me and I feel a pang of sorrow when she stands and crosses the room. She stops and turns just before the doors open.

"Congratulations, Captain." There's a twinkle in her eye, but behind the brilliance is a shadow of worry.

I nod and she's gone.

Almost twenty-four hours it took to dock at McKinley station, and prepare the ship for all hands to disembark. My initial debriefing with Admirals Paris and Shelby left me concerned. Shelby seemed overly concentrated on Seven of Nine, and the Borg components installed throughout the ship. She used terms like, 'Drone' and 'automaton' with distaste. Admiral Paris however, was jovial and kind. His express concern over Seven's nervousness warmed my fears. I sent him to sickbay when our meeting was over. There was someone there he desperately needed to meet. I laughed aloud watching him almost skip to the doors leading to the bridge.

Chakotay entered, without request a moment later.

"Well, come in!" I jokingly jibbed, but his eyes were sad. "Something on your mind, Commander?"

I could tell he was considering his words carefully. His arms limply hanging by his side. His face sunken and dark. He took a shaky breath and shook his head.

"I just came from the Cargo bay." His voice was stoic. "I wanted to find out if Seven wanted to come say goodbye to you before we left."

I looked at the floor and closed my eyes. I felt deep regret for his breaking heart.

"She's coming with me." I offered.

"She is." He stated and took two steps towards me, reaching up to clasp his hands on my arms, forcing me to look up into his eyes. "I had wondered." he searched my face, but i held onto my command mask. "I've known a long time. Most of us have." His gentle grasp gave my biceps a light squeeze. "Be Happy, Kathryn."

My trusty command training betrayed me and I looked at him utter shock. "What?!" I breathed out in a heavy sigh.

He just smiled and dropped his hands to his sides.

I stood there, locked in place as if my feet were submerged in concrete. Long after he'd gone.

A few hours later Commanders Chakotay, Tuvok, and my self stood at the entrance to the gangway. We greeted our crew and I almost cried as each one shook my hand before heading down the passageway and off the ship. It was bitter sweet and I let my emotions flow. Naomi Wildman hugged me so tight. I couldn't help the sob that escaped my chest.

"This isn't goodbye, Captain!" She smiled up at me, nuzzling my side with her tiny face.

"I know, my Darling." I laughed and peered down at her.

"Tell Seven I'll see her soon!" She shouted as she let me go and ran up the passageway towards the great room where everyone had gathered in on the station.

Harry Kim was particularly difficult to send off. I took his hand and shook it firmly. He looked at me with that crooked grin and I matched it with my own.

"It's been the honor of a lifetime," and there was glint in his eye when she finished his sentiment with, "Ma'am."

I barked out a laugh and yanked him towards me. I felt like I was hugging my son, sending him off to college. This young man who'd grown in countless ways before my very eyes. I could never express how much he meant to me. The look on his face when we parted told me I'd never have to. He knew.

When the last of the crew had disembarked, and I saw Tuvok off, then Chakotay, I snuck around a corner out of sight and pressed both palms against a bulkhead. I felt the waves of uncertainty cascading around me. I couldn't keep from wavering as I was consumed by a profound grief. Grief of what, I had no idea.

Tears began flowing down my face. My body wracked with a loud sob and my knees buckled. I felt myself tumbling to the ground, only to be caught by strong arms. I was lifted to my feet and spun around, pulled into an embraced and supported by powerful but gentle arms.

"Seven." I heard myself say and wrapped my arms around her waist, clinging to her like a long lost child. She held tight to my shoulders, her metal encased hand cradling my head to her neck.

"I got you." Her words washed over me and the levy's exploded.

I could maintain my command fortitude no longer. The last 48 hours weighing heavy and I let myself cry. I allowed the release and it consumed me. Wrecked my body and soul.

"I'm sorry, Seven." My voice was ragged when I'd exhausted myself and finally found it. She kept her arm around my shoulders but leaned back. The hand that had been holding my head snaked around to my neck and she looked at me those large blue eyes. "It's been a long 3 days!" Seven nodded and carefully pulled away, stepping back and adopting her trademark stance.

"I believe that to be an understatement." She was joking with me. I chuckled through dwindling tears and wiped my face.

"Come on." I shifted in my uniform jacket and smoothed my palms over some wrinkles, straightening the garment with a quick tug. "Indiana awaits."

The trip to my mothers traditional home in Indiana was by no mean swift. We had to transport to Indianapolis and acquire passage on a shuttle to Bloomington, then hover car for 10 miles to the traditionalist colony where technology was scarce. Seven found the whole experience fascinating, to my shock.

"I'm sorry this is taking so long, Seven." I shrugged, but she just smiled and continued to look out the window as we glided along passed the fields and farm houses blanketed in freshly fallen snow. Her pure curiosity was endearing and I let myself watch her.

"It's beautiful." I heard her say. So close to the transparent aluminum her breath cast a fog across it. She reached up and traced a heart into it with a metal tipped finger. I felt a lump form in my throat when she turned to look at me with a beaming smile.

"Yes." I sighed. "Beautiful." But I was not referencing the snow covered fields. I'd never seen her smile like that. It was as if a weight had been lifted off her consciousness; a light gaiety that charmed me to my core.

My mother and sister seemed to be even more charmed by this intriguing 'blonde bombshell,' as phoebe called her.

My mother, Gretchen watched her closely as we talked over a home cooked meal. Roast beef and potatoes with carrots. Perfectly seasoned and Seven made jokes about my cooking skills. Seven joked often that evening. I watched her bloom into her humanity more that night than in the previous 4 years combined. She seemed freer. Happier. It both delighted and saddened me.

"What are you thinking about?" She asked after we'd finished dinner and sat on the front porch swing in the darkness, sipping our glasses of red wine. The crickets singing their welcome home songs.

"You." I said without thinking. I felt heat rush to my face and I knew I was blushing.

"What about me?" Her voice was lilting and sweet.

"I'm not your Captain anymore." I shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant. "I'd really like it if you called me Kathryn." I smiled and peered at her out of the corner of my eye.

She shifted her body to face me and placed her hand on my thigh. The heat radiating from the connection was like a live wire sparked on my skin. My breath left me and I twisted on instinct to face her.

"Kathryn." She whispered. "To countless journeys." She lifted her glass and I clinked mine against it. We both took a sip; eyes locked. She leaned forward and placed her glass on the wooden railing. I sat mine on the small table next to the swing.

She kissed me that night. On that swing. Or maybe I kissed her. I would replay the heavenly sensations over and over for my whole life. The feeling of her lips against mine. Her hands on my face, cupping my cheeks. The look in her eyes when we parted and I reverently traced the implant above her eye with my finger tips. The cool feeling of the starburst by her ear, sharply contrast against her hot skin.

She stayed with me for a month. My Family fell in Love with her. I was already in Love with her, and I could finally crumble the walls I'd put up.

She left on a Sunday. Sometimes you never know how long it will be before you connect with someone again. Sometimes they're always with you, even when they are not.