TITLE: Linger

AUTHOR: Little Red

RATING: PG-13

CATEGORY: Harry Kim. Angst. Mention of Kim/other (Tal), Kim/Torres UST, and Paris/Torres.

SPOILERS: "The Disease"

SEASON: Late. 6, maybe?

SUMMARY: In the end, neither of them are his.

DEDICATION: For A.j., who thinks Harry Kim is a SEX GOD and wanted him to have B'Elanna.

***

Harry Kim still dreams about Tal.

He wakes up in the middle of the night, voice choked by the unrelenting responsibility of paper-thin walls, hands clenched, sheets soaked. His skin hurts with the absence of luminescence.

Harry reaches for the glass of water he keeps by his bed (a habit from childhood, his mother always left one there) but his limbs are shaky and it crashes to the side, spilling liquid and glass across his nightstand. He yelps in surprise -- his voice is hoarse with sleep -- and hopes Tom and B'Elanna can't hear it through the layer of bulkhead between their quarters.

He thinks that he dreams about Tal because he can't dream about B'Elanna. Tal made him feel so much more than B'Elanna ever did, if not for as long, and that is his saving grace. That's how he can dream about his skin alight and on fire, his body twisted and sweaty and buried in the spicy skin of a Delta Quadrant alien who made him want so hard he couldn't see straight, rather than casual touches in Engineering or quiet confidences shared in a Jeffries' tube or an Ocampa hospital ward.

She needed someone to challenge her, to make her better, and Harry liked her just the way she was.

Tal just needed him.

In the end, neither of them are his.

Reflexes spare him from breaking his skin on the sharp glass edges as he cleans up the mess, and he feels horribly alone.

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