OK - fair warning, this is not a happy story.
Inspired by a song of the same name by Julia Fordham

Threadbare

'Kathryn, I don't think I can do this anymore.'

We are both startled, you at my words, me because I don't think I meant to say them outloud. I'm not sure I'm ready to confess this to myself, let alone to you and yet here we are in my quarters, sitting on the couch and I'm telling you what? I can see you want to know.

I've been thinking it for a while now, perhaps not in exactly those terms but at the beginning I'm not sure I realised how difficult it would be to be your friend and now that I do know I'm not sure that the exercise is worth all the effort it takes.

I have a feeling you knew this all along, and that's why you were so resistant, why you still are so distant. There were brief moments when I thought I'd broken through and reached you, the real you, not the persona you hide behind. But I think that was just wishful thinking, my eternal optimism getting the better of me. I don't think the person I'm looking for is within you at all and all these years I've been unfair to you, not treating you as who you are, but as who I think you ought to be.

The truth is, I'm tired. I feel as though I've been trying for so long to get close to you but all I'm faced with is your indifference no matter what I do or say. You talk to Seven far more than you talk to me, you listen to her while my voice, my views seem to carry no weight with you at all.

I'm worn down with trying to get through to you. It's like digging a tunnel knowing you will never reach daylight. If I'd known then what I know now would I have told you the story of the ancient warrior, or would I have saved my breath? I guess we'll never know, but saving my words would have saved me a lot of heartache.

But right now your looking at me with startled eyes, like a child who's balloon has just burst in her hand. 'Can't do what anymore?'

'Be your friend.' It would be easier to give up, to give you what you seem to need. To just be your First Officer, tidy up your loose ends, lead your away teams without ever pushing for more, without ever trying to be close to you. 'You don't seem to need me Kathryn, you don't seem to place any value on our friendship. I'm tired of talking and knowing you aren't listening to me, that you don't want to listen. I feel,' I shrug, a little melodramatic here, 'threadbare, used up, warn out.'

'Don't say that.' Your voice is tremulous, eyes full of unshed tears and my heart leaps a little before I realise you've fooled me this way before. I start to turn away but you reach for my hand and grasp it forcefully.

'I'm here, aren't I?' You say, as though that ought to make all the difference.

The End