So much anger so deeply engrained
seemed a burden that was [his] alone
[He] didn't think that there was anything wrong
with wanting a life that [he] could call his own.
How could I explain? You would not want to hear
You wouldn't listen if I talked anyway
for you were too weighed down by your own fears.Sarah McLachlan
How can you say that it was entirely my fault? I admit, I made the choice, refused to allow you any deeper into my mind, but you kept insisting, and you set down the ultimatum, that it was all or nothing. I did understand how important it was to you, but you refused to accept how important it was to me. Now you want to know why? After all these years, you finally want an explanation. Where can I begin?
My father, of course. Where else would it begin? My entire life was spent trying to satisfy him, to earn one word of praise which was not qualified by some complaint. Of course you knew I was driven. How else would I end up the youngest captain in Starfleet, the youngest admiral, the most famous name since Zephram Cochran? You never knew that with each victory, each new honor, each "well done" from the admiralty, I could still hear my father's voice whispering in my ear. "Yes, but..." But you destroyed a research opportunity. But you allowed your men to die. But you should have known sooner. But you should have been better. You never wondered why I kept returning to the farthest reaches of space, away from the long arm of Starfleet, where I could play fast and loose with the rules. To me, the only rule was success. Nothing was more important, not the prime directive, not the whole list of Starfleet rules and regulations, nor the opinion of any man. I suppose I should be thankful that my goals were, for the most part, benign, because I certainly set myself up as greater even than God when it came to deciding right and wrong. No, I do not want to discuss religion. Yes, I know, we have met our share of gods who were no such thing, easily fallible. No, that is not what I mean.
What I am trying to say is that my father was always there, dead or not, telling me I had to be better, the same as he was when I was only a dreamer, watching the stars and longing for the chance to flee the narrow confines of an Iowa farm. Except they always came with me, those walls, the empty spaces. You don't know how confining distance can be, until it is inside of you, and all you can do is fight to get away. Half of my so-called conquests were merely a fight against my father's morality, the same black and white code of thou shalt not that had been handed down through millennium. And every one of them was just another way of saying, "I am free of you at last." Even you started out that way.
I know, there was so much more between us, so many unspoken feelings. But the sex, that was always the best part, and always, for me, the worst. Because how could I admit, each time I gloried in the hot touch of your hands on my skin, at every breath shaped lovingly by those lips, at all those wonderful moments of unrestrained passion, that inside, I knew it was wrong. It would have destroyed you to know I felt that. Even now, I can see the hurt in your eyes. Yes, you would think in a world where there are more species and more ways of sex than man could imagine, in a world where ideas are a light beam away, and other cultures are as common as grass in an Iowa prairie, you would think that parochial, narrow-minded religious dogma could have no more hold. You would think that. But you would be wrong.
And even so, that was only part of the reason. Because I was pretty sure that together, you would help me get past that shame, the self-loathing of wanting another man more than life itself. I knew your love could clear the ghosts of my past and help me to be a new me. Except for one thing. You offered to replace the molding force of my father with yourself. How could I possibly let you into my mind, let you claim a part of my very soul, when I had never had a chance to be myself? Was it so very wrong to want a life of my own before I gave it to someone else?
How could I have possibly told you these things all those years ago? You carried your own father like an avenging angel on your back, driving you ever onward. Tell me you did not have your own shame to bear, the guilt of an impossible love, the humiliation of finding that your body wanted more than it should be allowed to take. Every time you lost control, every time the heat of our desire drove you into mindless pleasure, I could see you withdraw afterward, trying to contain a Vulcan mask over the unexpected delight. You never would admit that you enjoyed sex with me, and in denying, you helped me make it less than it should have been.
And when I ran from you, from the temptation you held out to me like the serpent in Eden, did you come after me? No. Your own fear drove you further away, to deny everything that we had ever been in the Kohlinar. So how can you say that it is my fault, this distance that stands between us? It is years of little hurts, and the sins of the fathers visited on the sons.
But I never came here to place blame. I have felt the hurt in equal measure, and I have suffered for my crimes as much as ever I made you suffer. It is all past, and as you say, it is not logical to dwell on the past.
A deep breath.
The reason I am here, now, is to say... I am ready now. If you can forgive me. I would share my life with you. I would give you my soul, if you will only take it.