"Her Heart Is Only Human..."

Author: Lieutenant Commander Karissa Bentara
Date: December 20, 2384
Location: Karissa & Ryans Quarters

Karissa lay on the floor watching the twins sleep soundly. She had done her best to shield her own emotions from them. But her pain and sorrow were just as strong as they had been only hours before. The only reason she was no longer crying was she had no more tears to shed. She looked at Luc... at his dark hair and gentle face.... How would he grow up without a father? And Maya? Will was her father, but Ryan was raising her.... Now she would have to raise her alone.... Not that she couldn't do it, she knew.... But her heart ached so much. She was suppose to do this with Ryan, she anguished over all the wonderful plans they'd made together.

Shara sat down on the floor next to her. She had been watching Karissa since escorting her back to her quarters. The drugs had sedated her quite a bit at first and then all Karissa had wanted to do was hold the babies, and then watch them.... Shara wasn't sure how to help Karissa. She knew anything she said would be trite.... How do you comfort someone who just lost a chunk of their heart, she'd thought.

"Karissa... I wish there was something I could do for you.... I wish there was something I could say...," Shara said helplessly.

Karissa sniffed. "I know...," she replied, gently touching Maya's face. She then sat up and looked at Shara. "But there isn't anything you can really say.... There are no words that can comfort...." With that, newfound tears formed in her dark eyes. "But it's good to know you're here and that you care...."

"Of course, I care!" Shara replied. "I'm your sister!"

Karissa forced a smile. "Yeah, we are sisters.... At least we have each other...."

With that, Shara embraced Karissa warmly. "I'm here for you," she said, as Karissa let loose a sob.

"I just can't believe he's gone, Shara.... I can't.... And if only I had gotten through even 30 seconds... maybe even 20 seconds sooner I might have been able to save him...," she cried.

"You don't know that," Shara said. "Anything could have still happened. Don't beat yourself up for something you couldn't control. It will eat you up inside...."

A surprised laugh escaped Karissa. "Whose the Counselor now?" she asked as their eyes met. "But you're right.... I just can't seem to stop the images in my head. It's a type of stress reaction to the event...." Then the tears she thought were gone came again, pouring from her dark eyes. "How am I going to live without him, Shara?" She covered her face with her hands and sobbed softly, not wanting to wake her sleeping infants.... They weren't even two months old and they were without their father... and with Christmas coming they would spend it alone without the man that made them a family....

Shara embraced her as she cried sensing bits and pieces of the thoughts breaking through. "Maybe I should get one of the medics in here to help you. Maybe you should rest. I can always watch Luc and Maya for you for awhile...."

Karissa sniffed as the tears still spilled from her eyes. She looked at Shara and at her babies, then around the quarters at the festive, holiday decorations she had just put up, despite their treacherous mission. She had wanted a symbol of hope.... Now they were only a reminder of what she was facing alone. She breathed in deeply and nodded.

"Shara to sickbay, we need some help in Commander Bentara's quarters," she said.

With that, Karissa laid back down on the floor near her babies and watched as they slept, while the tears kept falling and the pain of her heart kept wracking her body.