Disclaimer: All the characters are owned by Paramount but since they have no clue what to do with them I decided to help they out.
Second Place in Blue Alert
"APPROACHING DESIGNATED COORDINATES." The computer announced her arrival.
"All stop," Admiral Janeway ordered the shuttle to stop for one last check before completing her journey.
"WARNING: VESSEL APPROACHING, VECTOR 121, MARK SIX."
“Kim to Janeway”
“Damn.” Kathryn took a deep breath and flipped on the view screen. "Harry!" A crooked smile slipped gently across her face. "I didn’t expect to see you, and people are always saying that space is so big."
"Lower your shields, Admiral.” Harry’s stance conveyed his anger and instantly ignited hers.
“Prepare for transport. I'm taking you into custody."
"You have no grounds to take me into custody...Captain." Kathryn straightened, treating Harry to the death glare.
"I know what you’re up to, Kathryn, Reg told the Doctor everything, and the Doctor told me." Harry’s softer approach was met with a harsher glare and he immediately retreated into his anger. "Now please, Admiral--stand down."
The past thirty-three years raced through Kathryn’s mind at warp speed, the last eight passed a little slower; his eyes almost black with determination held fast to hers. Poor sweet Harry, he finally learned to stand up to her; she owed him at least an explanation.
"On one condition, Harry.” Her look softened, with his nod. “You let me explain why I'm doing this."
“Drop your shields, Kathryn, and we’ll talk.”
Kathryn ordered the computer to drop her shields and was instantly transported to the readyroom of Rhode Island.
“Nice office.” Kathryn accepted the tea Harry offered her.
“You’ve seen it before. Sit down and talk to me.” Harry sat on the couch and Kathryn took the seat beside him.
“If your information came from Reg then you know what I’m doing.”
"You have no idea what the consequences would be!" Harry ran his fingers through his hair.
"I know what the consequences are if we do nothing. So do you." Kathryn met his eyes, pleading with him for understanding.
“Are they so bad?” Harry gently touched her cheek and she smiled.
“Not now, Harry- not for us. Think of all the others, all the pain that could be avoided. Think of Leaha and Tawney. I have a chance to change all that." Her voice is soft, but determined.
"If Starfleet command knew what you were trying to do…"
"You haven't told them?" Kathryn should have know he wouldn’t betray her but even now, his unending loyalty still caught her off guard.
“The Doctor and I decided to keep things in the family."
"What about your crew?"
"I told them I needed to take you back to Starfleet Medical because you'd contracted a rare disease."
"I hope it isn't terminal." Kathryn laughed.
"No...but it has been known to affect judgment." He smiled.
"I know what I'm doing, Harry."
"Do you? Can you say with absolute certainty that it'll work? Because if you can't..."
Kathryn watched him struggle with himself, he was losing; he never could deny her anything.
"Even if it weren't a violation of every rule in the book, it would still be far too risky!"
Kathryn laughed, as she set down her cup and took his hands.
"What?" he demanded.
"I'm remembering a young Ensign who wanted to fly into a Borg-infested nebula, just to explore the remote possibility that we might find a way home."
"If I remember correctly, you stopped me."
"We didn't know then what we know now."
"Our technology may have advanced, but--"
"I'm not talking technology. I'm talking about people--people who weren't as lucky as you and me."
Kathryn kissed his cheek. "You said you and the Doctor wanted to 'keep things in the family,'" She stood and moved toward the viewport. "But our family's not complete anymore, is it?"
Harry moved behind her wrapping his arms around her and drawing her back against his chest.
"I'm asking you to trust my judgment, Harry...one last time."
“I trust you, Kathryn.”
“Then let me go.”
“Harry…” She turned in his arms, her pleas silenced by the sadness in his face.
“It’s my past too, Kathryn. We’ll do this together.”
“The Queen always did like you best.”
“All Senior Officers to the Bridge.”
The Captain’s voice blared across the ship, startling Chakotay and Seven and bringing their date to an abrupt halt. They hurriedly composed themselves and arrived on the bridge together. The Captain glanced in the direction of the lift, noting their arrival, then turned her attention to her console.
"What is it?" Chakotay asked as he took his seat beside her.
"Judging from the tachyon emissions, some sort of temporal rift." The Captain checked the reading on her console again, without looking at him.
"How is it being generated?" Seven had taken her place at the science station behind them.
"That's what we're trying to figure out." There was a hint of irritation in the Captain’s voice.
“Captain, I'm detecting nadion discharges on the other side of the rift." Tuvok’s calm voice reported.
"Weapons fire?" Chakotay eyed the Captain as he asked.
"It's possible." Tuvok studied his console further. "The signature appears to be Klingon."
"Red alert." As the reading indicated a widening rift, the Captain resigned herself to yet another fight.
"There's a vessel coming through the rift," Tuvok broke the tense silence that had settled on the bridge.
"Klingon?" Chakotay straightened up keeping a close eye on the Captain.
For the first time, the Captain shared a look with her First Officer.
"We're being hailed," Ensign Kim reported.
After a moments hesitation the Captain tore her eyes from Chakotay’s. She stood and walked toward the helm. “On screen."
The screen lit up revealing the slightly different but very familiar face. The Captain silently stared at a much older version of herself.
“Recalibrate your deflector to emit an anti-tachyon pulse. You have to seal that rift."
The voice was also a familiar sound of authority on Voyager. It was a voice used to being obeyed and clearly expecting it. The eyes held steel and the Captain matched their intensity with a glare of her own.
"It's usually considered polite to introduce yourself before you start giving orders."
"Captain, a Klingon vessel is coming through.” Tuvok reported from behind her.
"Close the rift!" The Admiral ordered. "In case you didn't notice, I outrank you, Captain. Now do it!”
“Do it.” The Captain ordered never lifting her eyes from the Admiral’s.
With a quick recalibration of the deflector, Tuvok fired a beam that sealed the rift before the Klingon vessel could pass through. The bridge crew relaxed only slightly as they watched the Captain and the newcomer glare at one another.
"I did what you asked. Now, tell me what the hell is going on here." The Captain gripped the railing as she waited for the Admiral to answer.
The Admiral settled back in her chair and smiled. She had forgotten just how passionate, forceful and determined her younger self could be. It amused her now to see it and her smile only served to harden the glare she received.
"We've come to send Voyager home."
Without taking her eyes from the Captain’s, the Admiral widened the transmission to include her companion. In an instant all eyes turned toward Opps, where Harry stood gaping at the graying version of himself.
“What do you make of it, Chakotay?” The Captain paced the upper level of her readyroom.
“The Doctor will have results anytime now, Captain.”
“Yes, I know but...” She turned and studied him, was it a fair question? “I want your gut reaction, Chakotay. No one on this ship knows me as well as you; is she me?”
Chakotay sipped his tea. From the gut---well there was no question there. The minute the woman had turned those crystal blues eyes on him he had known it was Kathryn. Cosmetic surgery could make her look like Kathryn, and with enough practice she could perfect the crooked smile, they might even disguise her DNA, but no one but Kathryn could invoke that instant swell of dizzying emotion in him.
“Yes?” Kathryn came back to stand in front of him. “Yes, she’s me?”
“Yes, Kathryn. She is very definitely you.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“You asked for my gut reaction. That’s it.” Chakotay looked into his Captain’s eyes and realized this Kathryn wasn’t aware of what she could do to him---was doing to him at this very moment. The other one had been, he was sure.
Kathryn sat on the coffee table and studied the serious look on Chakotay’s face. There was something burning in those eyes she hadn’t see it in a long time. She thought he had moved on, she knew he was dating Seven but, suddenly it was all there as plainly as she the first time he told her the angry warrior story. She fought the urge to take him in her arms.
The chime broke the spell. The Captain quickly stood and called for the door to open.
“Captain, you asked to see me?”
“Yes, Harry. Please come in. Have seat.” She gestured toward the couch. “Harry the doctor is confirming it now but we…” Kathryn looked toward Chakotay who nodded. “We have every confidence that he will confirm the identities of our guests.”
“You believe them, Captain?”
“Yes, Harry I do and Chakotay does as well.” Kathryn sat next to Harry on the couch. “Are you all right?”
“It’s a bit startling to see your future self.”
“I know.” The Captain smiled. “Look on the bright side, Harry, you finally got promoted.”
“Yeah, I’m going to be a Captain--- Captain Kim.” He smiled. “I think I like that.”
“Sickbay to Captain Janeway.”
“Yes, Doctor.” Kathryn looked to Chakotay then smiled at a nervous Harry.
“Captain, I have finished all my scans and I must report that aside for a neuro interface and a few years, these two are exactly identical to you and Ensign Kim.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
“One more thing, Captain. Do you think you could find a more –suitable location for the Admiral?”
“Is there a problem, Doctor?”
“Only that you won’t have any more respect for my position in the future.”
“A bit impatient is she?”
“You could put it that way.”
“I’ll be right there to take her off your hands, Doctor. Janeway out.” The Captain turned and surveyed the smiling faces. “Shall we, gentlemen?”
“Captain?” Harry stood nervously.
“You have to meet him sometime, Harry. It might as well be now.”
Kathryn just smiled, maybe he was right. This just might be crunch time.
The Admiral quietly briefed the Captain and Commander on the objective of her mission, while Harry stood off to the side talking awkwardly with Captain Kim. The older man had initiated the conversation with a handshake and a smile that said there were many pleasant memories of his life on Voyager. Harry just tried to be polite.
“Captain, it’s late and we have had a long busy day. If you wouldn’t mind, we can discuss this more thoroughly after we have had some rest.” The Admiral climbed off the biobed and tugged at her uniform. She left no room for objection.
“Of course, Admiral.” The Captain turned toward Chakotay. “Do we have empty quarters near the VIP suite?”
“Not that I recall, but I’ll check.” Chakotay turned to leave.
“That won’t be necessary.” The Admiral touched Chakotay’s arm to stop him. “Captain, I’m familiar with your VIP suite. It has sufficient space for both of us.”
“If you’re sure, Admiral.”
“Quite.” The Admiral turned to her companion and the Captain raised one eyebrow as she glanced at her smirking First Officer. “Harry. I’ll be headed to the VIP suite, join me when you are finished. You know the way.”
“I’ll come with you.” Captain Kim laughed. “I think Harry has had enough of me for tonight.” He turned back to Harry and extended his hand to Harry. “I’ve enjoyed out talk, I hope we get to spend some together.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Harry shook the offered hand. “I look forward to it.”
“Well, that was fun.” Once inside the VIP suite, Kathryn stripped off her jacket and tossed it on the couch.
“If you think so.” Harry laughed and moved toward the replicator. “Wine?”
“Sounds good.” Kathryn sat on the couch and kicked off her boots. “How was you talk with young Harry?”
“One sided.” He handed her the wine and sat beside her. “Was I really that shy?”
“Oh, he’s come a long way from the green ensign that boarded Voyager at DS9.”
“Kathryn, he called me ‘Sir’!” He laughed. “How would you feel if she called you Sir?”
“I doubt that Kathryn will ever call me ‘sir’—‘bitch’ maybe before we’re through but never ‘sir.’”
They laughed and sipped their wine in a comfortable silence. Kathryn swung her feet into Harry’s lap and he obligingly massaged them.
“How was it-seeing him?”
“Not like I expected.” Kathryn rested her head against the back of the couch.
“Is that a good thing?”
“A little sad, but yes I think it’s a good thing.” She sat up and looked at him. “I still love him, Harry, but it’s not the love I once had—it’s not the same as what she feel’s for him. I guess I’m a little jealous of that, but mostly I miss our friendship. From here I can see so clearly what we lost and that’s sad.”
“Our being here will give them a chance to change that.”
“Yes. Everything is different for me but it hasn’t changed for him yet. If she’ll come to her senses it can all be so different.”
“Are you going to tell them?”
“Originally, I thought I would tell Kathryn, but now that I see her and remember how it really was, I’m not sure how to handle it. Maybe I should talk with Chakotay.” Kathryn lowered her feet to the floor and moved closer resting her head on his shoulder. “What about you? Do you want to see her?”
“I’m not sure.” Harry pulled her closer to his side. “It’s different...”
“I know. Chakotay and I destroyed what we had; what you lost was not your fault.”
“I’m not sure how I’ll react when I see her. I know she doesn’t belong with me but…”
“But she’s going to look pretty much like you remember her and she will be young and alive –just the way she has been in your mind all these year.”
“I’m not sure I can handle that.”
“You can and you will. Because you love her, you will do this for her and Leaha and Tawney and even young Harry so they can experience the future that was stolen from you.”
“You’re right, but then you usually are.” Harry laughed. “Must be why I love you so much.” He kissed her hair. “I do love you, Kathryn --no matter what I feel for her.”
“I know that, Harry- but it’s nice to hear.” She placed a gently kiss on his lips. “Now, how about you replicate me a bathrobe while I take a shower?”
“How about I join you in that shower and we forget the robe.”
“Why you dirty old man!” Kathryn feigned shock at he idea.
“And that would be why you love me!” Harry laughed at the mock indignation. “Go ahead deny it.”
“No sense in trying to deny the facts.” Kathryn stood up and smiled. “There must be clean towels in here somewhere.
Kathryn and Harry shared soft gentle kisses under the warm spray of the shower. They weren’t fool enough to try the antics their younger counter parts might have, but content to share the warmth and intimacy of the setting. Soapy fingers slid over familiar contours enjoying the simple sensation of touching and being touched. The quiet pleasure of the gentle arousal radiated warmth and trust. Harry shampooed her hair, gently massaging her scalp as she leaned back melting against him.
When they were clean and rinsed many times over, they dried each other with large fluffy towels, the slightly rough surface intensifying the subtle longing. They climbed into the large bed, slipping naked between the cool stiff sheets, to continue their gradual lovemaking. It was warm and gentle there was no rush, no urgency. They knew how to share the joy of pleasing one another; for them the destination wasn’t as important as the pleasure of the journey.
Hands moved slowly, everywhere fingers, lips, tongues sought only the reward of a sigh or moan. His thickness throbbed against her palm as her thumb spread the leaking moisture over his swollen head. He groaned, pressing his lips wet and hot against her breast, his tongue teasing the nipple into a tight knot for his teeth to nibble.
Slowly, steadily the desire built, their breathing raspy and quick, their bodies pulsating with deepening need. Kathryn ran her tongue along the slick satin skin sucking him deeply. Her belly clenched as his questing fingers teasingly spread the thick smooth moisture through her folds finally slipping inside; her hips arched against him. A husky whimper, the puff of hot air against his body as his thumb teased her swollen center signaled the nearness of their completion. They both knew well that Kathryn would break first, needing to feel the rigid length of him deep within her as she gave herself over to the glorious waves of total surrender.
At her quiet urging Harry moved over her, settling in the cradle of her thighs, he watched the rapture register on her face as he slowly pressed into her. Once buried deep within her, he stilled bending once again to capture the sweetness of her mouth. Kathryn responded hungrily, sucking his tongue into her mouth as she continued to caress him. Her hips rocked against him rhythmically, he answered with deep steady thrusts. Kathryn arched, bucking up against him, his name escaping in a moan and Harry moved faster, harder delving deeper into her with each thrust. Kathryn cried out softly, clutching at him as her inner muscles clenched tightly around him, only then did Harry allowed himself the pleasure of his own release.
Over the next few days the Admiral struggled to get her point across to the Captain. Dealing a crippling blow to the Borg definitely peaked the Captain’s interest but she wanted to do it without the intentional sacrificing of lives.
“We can’t just rewrite history and change your life because you are dissatisfied with the out come.”
“Captain, you are not listening to me. This isn’t about my life, it’s about yours.”
“All the more reason we should….”
“What you should do is stop being selfish and think about your crew.” The Admiral was tired of pussyfooting around her stubborn younger self. She leaned across the desk putting their faces only inches apart. “Twenty-two crewmen will die, children will be born only to ripped away without ever having a chance to grow, Tuvok will go insane and Seven will die a painful, unnecessary death in the arms of her husband- Chakotay.” The Admiral saw the pained expression before the Captain was able to cover it. “Virtually no good at all will come from spending another sixteen years here – go home now and avoid all this unnecessary pain.” The Admiral retook her seat and continued in a calmer voice. “And in the process you can deal a crippling blow to the Borg, beating them back before they ever make their first strike on Earth.”
“There is merit in what you say, Admiral. And the technology you brought us is certainly impressive.”
“But, I can not permit you to sacrifice yourself…”
“Bullshit, Kathryn! You would do it yourself in a heartbeat and we both know that.”
“Admiral, I will consider the plan and discuss it with my senior staff. I will let you know when I have reached a decision. In the mean time I believe we can incorporate the technological advances you offered into our systems. If you would like to work with B’Elanna we can implement the changes.”
“Think quickly and think hard, Kathryn. They trust you and they are depending on you—don’t make them suffer needlessly.”
“I said I would consider it Admiral and now I will speak to B’Elanna and…”
“Fine I’ll be happy to assist in the necessary changes.” The Admiral stood and walked toward the door. “And Kathryn think about this—you will lose him to that Borg even thought neither of you wants it and once you do you will never regain the friendship you have now.”
The Admiral left the readyroom and returned to the VIP suite. As soon as the door closed behind her, she tore off her jacket and tossed it across the chair, she kicked off her boots and angrily flung them across the room.
“I take it your meeting with the Captain was less than successful.” Harry replicated two cups of tea.
“What gave you that idea?” Kathryn threw herself down on the couch. “How can anyone be so smart and so stupid at the same time? She is the most thick headed, stubborn….”
Harry’s laugher stopped her tirade. She turned and glared at him as he set their tea on the table and took a seat next to her.
“I would love to know what you find so funny!”
“You are.” He kissed her hair and held her close when she tried to pull away. “You knew better than anyone she would react this way. Relax, Kathryn, and give her a few days.”
“You’re right of course.” She pulled back and took his face in her hands. “I hate it when you’re right.” She kissed him gently and settled back on the couch with her tea.
“I know.” Harry laughed. “So how about plan B?”
“Tell him. You said the other night it might be the way to go. I know you only gave her an outline—tell him just how it was. Let him do your work for you.”
“Maybe.” She put her head back and closed her eyes. “She agreed to incorporate the new technology at least.”
“Good.” He took her teacup and put it on the table then gently turned her around so that he was behind her.
“What are you doing?” She only weakly protested the change in position.
“Taking care of this headache.” He began to gently massage her neck and shoulders.
“How did you know?” Kathryn relaxed into him.
“Kat, I can spot your headaches a light year away.” He leaned in and kissed her head. “Besides taking on a stubborn Kathryn Janeway would give anyone a headache.”
“I think I need to kill you for that but, I’ll wait until you’re finished.” She relaxed to allow the magic of his fingers sooth her pain.
“Well, before you do that, do you think we could have lunch in the messhall—if your headache is better?”
“If you’d like, but may I ask why?”
“I checked the duty roster, she should be having lunch in about an hour.”
“Then I guess we eat in the messhall.”
“Hey, Harry, I hear you do OK for yourself in a few years…” Tom slid his tray across the table and took the seat next to B’Elanna
“Shut up, Paris!” Harry growled.
“What are you so grouchy about. You make Captain and get the girl too--not bad.” Tom laughed.
“Leave it alone, Tom.” B’Elanna warned.
“Come on B’E, you and I probably end up in jail for god sakes and he’s shacked up with the captain!”
“Tom!” B’Elanna smacked his arm.
“Oh, excuse me the Admiral.”
“Paris…” Harry glared at Tom.
“Harry.” Celes grabbed his arm. “Tom is only joking.” She looked pleadingly at Tom.
“Don’t make excuses for him, mouse.” Harry yanked his arm away.
“I’m not making excuses, you’re being over sensitive.”
“Easy for you to say, its not you!”
“That’s the point, its not you either.” Celes looked pleadingly at Tom.
“Hey, I’m sorry I was only joking.”
“It’s their future not ours, Harry. They already changed the time line, it can’t happen now.” Celes tried to calm Harry down. “Isn’t that right, B’Elanna.”
“She’s right Starfleet. It won’t happen now.”
“I don’t get it though.” Tom nodded toward the door. “Why do they want to change it, they look happy enough.”
The group got quiet as they watched the older couple make their way down the serving line. The Admiral added several things to the Captain’s tray while carrying only a cup of tea on hers. He shook his head but kept moving down the line. When she thought he wasn’t looking she slipped a piece of chocolate cake on his tray; he caught her hand laughing loudly at her attempt to look innocent. Their laughter continued as they made their way to a nearby table.
“It’s not right.” Harry mumbled into his cup.
Celes looked at the others for help. B’Elanna shrugged and Tom just shook his head.
“Look at them, Harry. How can you say it’s not right?” Celes smiled as she watched the older couple share their meal, both eating off of his tray.
“I don’t want to look at them and I don’t think I can ever look at our Captain again either.”
“Harry that isn’t fair!”
“This isn’t fair! They shouldn’t be here.” He grabbed what was left of his lunch and moved toward the recycler.
“Harry?” The Admiral called to him as he passed.
“Admiral.” Harry whirled around avoiding her companion. “I’m sorry, I’m very late for shift.” He spun on his heals and trotted away.
Celes was close enough behind Harry to hear the exchange. The Captain started to say something but the Admiral shook her head and reached out to cover his hand. The look they shared was sad and knowing.
“Admiral, Captain, I’m sorry.” Celes stopped at their table. “Harry is a little upset right now.” She spoke mainly to the Admiral but she felt the Captain’s eyes on her.
“Crewmen Tal.” The Admiral smiled up at her. “If you’re not also in a hurry, why don’t you join us.”
“Oh Admiral.” Celes flinched “ I would like to but I’m due in Astrometrics.”
Try as she would she could not ignore the Captain, even with her back to him she could feel his eyes on her. She took a deep breath and turned to face him. Her eyes slowly rose to meet and lock with his.
“Celes, we won’t keep you from your duty, but..” He smiled and she could feel the warmth of it. “I would like to speak with you, maybe lunch tomorrow?”
“Ahh,--- Yes.” She had no idea why she said that but there was no way out now. “Lunch would be nice.”
“Good, tomorrow at 1300 hours.”
“OK.” She was scared to death and she had no idea why.
“I’ll meet you here.” He smiled again.
“Will I see you also, Admiral?” Although she spoke to Kathryn, Celes never took her eyes from his.
“I would love to but I have plans for lunch tomorrow, maybe another time.”
“I don’t want to make you late for your shift.” Harry resisted the urge to touch her, cradling his cup with both hands instead.
“Wow, Yes, I better run. Seven will kill me.”
“If she gives you a hard time tell her the Admiral and I detained you.” Harry winked.
“Yes, Sir, thank you. Bye.” Celes smiled nervously at each of them and quickly exited the messhall.
“That didn’t go well.” Harry sighed.
“She agreed to lunch.”
“She’s scared to death of me.”
“She’ll be fine.” Kathryn dipped her finger in the chocolate icing and licked it off. “Once you talk with her.”
“I have no idea what to say. I can’t tell her what happens.”
“No, that wouldn’t be good, but I’m sure you will put her at ease.” She dipped another finger in the icing and held it out for him; he licked it clean.
“And just who are you lunching with tomorrow?”
“Well, I made that up, but I think I will invite Chakotay to lunch. We need to talk.”
“It should be an interesting day all around.”
Admiral, you wanted to see me? Chakotay entered the VIP suite, which also served also as the admiral’s office.
“Chakotay.” She came forward stopping just short of touching him, and then backed off slightly. “Please, have a seat, lunch will be here shortly.” She motioned toward the couch and took the chair.
Chakotay watched curiously as she moved away. From her manner, he suspected this was not a professional meeting. The Admiral was struggling with something he was sure he knew the root of. Chakotay had seen the strange sad longing in her eyes when he came in – it was the same look he noticed at their first meeting in sick bay. He had seen a similar look in the Captain’s eyes on several occasions, most recently when he and Seven had run into her at Sandrines. The Captain always denied a problem; Chakotay wondered if the Admiral would also.
“Tell me about the crew, Chakotay. You were always much closer to them than I.” Kathryn tried to ease the awkward tension of the moment.
“What is it you want to know?”
“How are they taking this—having two Kathryn Janeways; two Harry Kims?”
“It’s a bit odd for all of us but then…” Chakotay laughed. “Weird is just another part of life out here.”
“Well, if it’s any comfort it’s a bit unsettling for us too.” She seemed to want to say more but was interrupted by the door chime. “That would be lunch.” She stood and walked toward the table. “Come.”
“Admiral.” Chell pushed in a cart containing their lunch. “I hope I’m not late.”
“Not at all, the Commander and I were just getting re-aquatinted.” The Admiral helped Chell empty the cart onto the table and sent him on his way. “Shall we continue our conversation over lunch?”
“Won’t Captain Kim be joining us?” Chakotay had hardly seen one without the other since their arrival.
“No.” She smiled and began to fuss with their plates. “He has business…” Kathryn looked up and laughed. “Truthfully, I wanted time alone with you. He’s overseeing some changes in engineering and then he has some catching up of his own to do.”
“So then this isn’t strictly a professional meeting?” Chakotay grinned as he took his seat across the table from her.
“Nooo, but I did want to be sure you would show up.”
“I’m always willing to spend time with…” Chakotay looked up suddenly unsure of who he was spending time with.
“It’s alright, I find myself confusing you with him also.”
“And you had doubts as to whether he would want to spend time with you?”
“We remained friends, Chakotay, just barely and it wasn’t easy. After your-his relationship with Seven and especially after…” The Admiral caught her lower lip between her teeth as made her decision. “Let’s just say our friendship became strained.”
“Excuse me, Admiral, but before that happens to you and I, may I speak freely?”
“Certainly, Chakotay. You can always speak you mind to me.”
“Yes, I always could. It was my heart you never let me speak of.”
“She’s wrong, Chakotay, and I think you’ll find I’m open to both.”
“Alright, especially after what?” He watched her eyes; he could almost see her thinking. “Don’t give me the temporal prime directive, you blew that all to hell when you and your…” Chakotay caught the quick upturn of the crooked smile and a sudden twinkle in her eyes. “Just what exactly is Captain Kim to you?”
“Which question should I answer first?” Kathryn laughed. “Never mind, I’ll answer the easy one first. “My Lover.” She held his eyes observing the shock he tried to hide. “Harry and I have lived together for over eight years now.” Kathryn laughed again. “You look shocked, Chakotay. You did know we were sharing this suite.”
“Yes, but, you and I have shared smaller accommodations in the past and you always said you considered Harry more like a son.”
“He was young than, Chakotay, but that was a long time ago. Harry isn’t a child any more, why he’s older than you are.”
“Still, and please forgive me for saying so, but there is still a rather large gap in age.”
“Yes.” She smirked. “Much the same as you and Seven?”
“Well, no. That is, not in any good way.” He laughed “Are you trying to point out the good in this type of relationship or trying to discourage my relationship with Seven?”
“Yes.” Kathryn got serious. “My relationship with Harry is very good and yours with Seven might have been also if you waited another twenty years but …”
“So, that brings us to - especially after what?”
“Chakotay, in my time line you marry Seven…”
“I can see where that might strain my relationship with Kathryn.”
“Well the circumstances weren’t good, for more than the obvious reasons.” She straightened her shoulders ever so slightly, taking a moment to fortify herself. “It was more than jealousy, though I can’t deny that was part of it.”
“Tell me about these circumstances.”
“Chakotay, do you love Seven?”
Chakotay’s eyes dropped to the table; he studied his food, unable or unwilling to give her an answer.
“Maybe I have been wrong all these years. Do you love her, Chakotay?”
When he still didn’t answer she continued.
“I always thought he loved me with the same veracity that I loved him. Was I wrong?”
“No, you weren’t wrong.” He looked up at her. “I love Kathryn. Go on, please tell me what would make me marry Seven.”
“You are a noble man—too noble for your own good. Seven became pregnant ….”
“That’s not possible! My boosters are up to date— and Seven…”
“Should not have gotten pregnant, I know. Until that very day the doctor would have sworn that it was medically impossible, but-- it happened. Due in part to nanoprobes, Chakotay, we were never quite sure how she passed them to you. Probably an accident, but they counteracted the boosters.
“Probably?” He studied her carefully. “Why do I get the feeling you don’t believe that?”
“Because you know me too well.” Kathryn smiled as she reached across the table covering his hand with hers. “And I don’t believe it. I can’t offer you proof of any kind because I have nothing but my gut to base it on.”
“I’ve always trusted your gut.”
“Not that time.”
“And so you married them.” Chakotay was having difficulty seeing himself as the Admiral portrayed him. Her growing discomfort showed her pain even after all these years. Chakotay couldn’t believe himself capable of inflicting the kind of pain this must have caused Kathryn at the time. “Kathryn?”
“No.” She cleared her throat. “No, I----I refused to marry them.”
“Just like that—You said no?”
“Of course not. I tried to talk to you---him, I tried to reason with him. We argued about it.” She took a breath to compose herself. “It wasn’t pretty. After a while he just walked out on me. I gave him some time, but I couldn’t let it end there, so a few hours later -- I went to his quarters..” She looked away, when she continued, her voice barely above a whisper. “I begged him not to do it—but—I couldn’t offer him what he wanted. We argued again.” She sighed and slowly raised her moist eyes to his. “A few days later I received a formal request—I denied it.”
They sat quietly for a few minutes. Kathryn withdrew her hand from his and studied her half eaten lunch.
“But they married anyway?” Chakotay broke the silence.
“Yes.” She nodded her head raising her eyes to look off into the distance. “I was on an away mission, negotiating supplies on a small planet. When I contacted the ship to report my progress, Chakotay spoke to me from the ready room. After we ended the transmission, he passed command to Tuvok explaining only that he and Seven would be beaming down to the planet. Tuvok assumed I had requested their presence and the Commander didn’t correct him.”
“They just left the ship and got married?” He waited for her nod to continue. “Then he just informed you they were married?”
“No, actually the computer did. As you know, being in charge of personnel he simply had to enter the changes into their files. Any pertinent updates to those files are automatically forwarded to the Captain.”
“He must have know the computer would alert you.”
“Of course he did. He also knew that he had followed regulation to the letter and every thing he did, including passing command and leaving the ship was technically with his rights as first officer.”
“But you had denied them permission to marry.”
“And I could have pressed that point, but as he so aptly pointed out, then I would have to make it clear and public my reasons for doing so. He knew once they were married there was little I could do.”
“Is that why you came back—to stop that wedding?”
“To be honest, yes partly, but there is so much more. Seven’s pregnancy overloaded her borg components, her nanoprobs fought to eliminate the foreign body. The Doctor wanted to abort the baby, Seven refused. She never even told you. The doctor informed me, because her life was in jeopardy. I couldn’t tell you and she waited until it was too late. You lost them both only a month after the wedding. You blamed yourself; the doctor blamed himself and even I blamed myself. I outlined it all for the Captain, the deaths, the losses, the children. Talk with her Chakotay, don’t let this opportunity slip away. I have missed you greatly over the years don’t let that happen again.”
There were tears in her eyes when she came around the table. Chakotay stood and couldn’t resist taking her in his arms. She dissolved willingly into his arms, sighing against his chest. Neither noticed the door opening.
“I’m sorry, am I interrupting you?” Harry smiled as Kathryn stepped out of Chakotay’s arms and straightened her uniform.
“Yes, but I don’t mind.” Kathryn walked over and put her arm around his waist. “Come join us, we were just going to have tea.”
“You have tea, Kat, I’m having something stronger.” Harry poured himself a drink. “Chakotay, how about you?”
“No, thank you—tea is fine.”
Chakotay watched them closely. Harry took a seat on the couch, he leaned back stretching one arm across the couch and sipping his drink with the other. He was completely relaxed as he explained today’s engineering progress to Kathryn.
“Sounds good we should be ready to go in a few days.” Kathryn set the tea on the table and sat beside Harry, his hand casually fell to her shoulder. “I’m afraid the Captain isn’t quite ready to accept the final plan, but you’ll help us with that won’t you, Chakotay?”
“I’m afraid I don’t have much influence these days.”
“You don’t really believe that.”
“The Captain and I ---well we aren’t communicating as well as we once did.”
“You think she isn’t listening, but believe me she listens to every word you say, she is in tune with your every move. This little aff…..Your relationship with Seven is disturbing her but there is still no one’s professional judgment she trusts more.”
“I think you’ve made your point about Seven and me.” Chakotay shook his head and forced a smiled.
“And will you help us convince the Captain?”
“I’m not sure I can. What you plan on doing is a suicide mission.”
“Chakotay, try to look at it this way. Kathryn and I may be giving up a few years but this mission isn’t about death it’s about life.” He tightened his arm and pulled her closer to his side. “It’s about the 22 crewmen who won’t have to die, about the children who will have a chance to grow up, about Tuvok whose life won’t be wasted in insanity and about the opportunity to avoid the mistakes of our past. And as a bonus we will get to deal a crippling blow to the Borg, one that will save the Alpha Quadrant many years of hardship and fear.”
“Captain, I don’t understand…”
“Harry, please, Chakotay, call me Harry.”
“OK, Harry. I can see why Kathryn wants to do this—our personal life aside –she’s the captain and she always felt it was all her fault she never really forgave herself for making the decision that stranded us here. But why do you want to give up a life you are obviously happy with?”
Kathryn and Harry shared a look. She was leaving the decision to him. As important as Chakotay’s cooperation was, Kathryn was willing to support whatever decision Harry made on his own personal information. Harry nodded, Kathryn touched his cheek in question, he nodded again. Chakotay didn’t know what they were deciding but he clearly understood their mutual support.
“Chakotay, your young Harry and Tal Celes will get married soon. In a couple of years they will be blessed with twin girls – Leaha and Tawney-.” He smiled a teary smile and Kathryn gripped his hand. “On a shore leave, celebrating the girls third birthday a wayward ground vehicle will crash into café they were eating at…” Harry lowered his head, raising their joined hands to his forehead.
“Celes and Leaha died instantly. The doctor tried every miracle he knew to save Tawney but we lost her two days later. Harry walked away with out a scratch.” Kathryn picked up the story for him.
They sat quietly, Kathryn held him stroking his back with her free hand. Finally he lifted his head and wiped her tears with his fingers.
“That day I lost my wife and family, I lost my life, my hope, my will to go on. For years it didn’t matter to me, whether we got home or not. I lost friends but I had no more tears to cry. Kathryn tried to reach me. It took her years to force me back into the world of the living and then just marginally. It wasn’t until we got home and we lost you…’ Harry looked at Kathryn and she nodded again. “You two had barely been friends for many years but when she was forced to accept the finality of it all, Kathryn fell apart.” Harry smiled at Chakotay’s surprise. “She really is the strongest person I have ever known, but the ship was home, the crew or what was left of it had lives to rebuild, she lost the only man she had ever really loved and still she stood up to countless months of debriefing. But when the uniform came off she ceased to function, literally, she didn’t eat, she didn’t sleep, she just existed and waited for it to end. I couldn’t leave her like that, I had to stop wallowing in self-pity and help her they way she had helped so many of us.”
“After the debriefing, Starfleet gave me a promotion and an extended leave. I tried to disappear which is probably exactly what fleet had in mind, but Ensign Harry here…”
“Sorry, he got few pips himself in those months – Lieutenant Commander Harry wouldn’t let me go. Every where I went he was there, feeding me, scolding me, forcing me to live. God I wanted to kill him for almost a year!”
“The point here, Chakotay is that Kathryn and I eventually worked it out and our lives are comfortable and meaningful again, but that took many painful years of adjustment. For most of the surviving crew the pain continues.”
“You’ve already changed things for us.”
“For you maybe, not for everyone. The only way to correct this is to get Voyager home. The plan will work and the timeline will be reset. Harry and I don’t belong in your world.”
“I’ll think about it and I’ll talk to Kathryn but I can’t promise she will go along.” Chakotay stood.
“That’s all we can ask.” Kathryn stood and followed him to the door. “Thank you for listening and thank you for this afternoon.” She hugged him and kissed his cheek. “It’s been a long time since we talked so openly, I‘ve missed you.”
“This probably sounds strange knowing that I sit next to her everyday but I’ve missed you too.”
Kathryn stepped away and nodded her understanding. Chakotay smiled then nodded at Harry and left them alone. Kathryn returned to where Harry had stretched out on the couch. She lifted his head and slid beneath him resting his head in her lap.
“How was your lunch?” She absently stroked his hair away from his face.
“Rocky for a while, but it got better.” He closed his eyes. “It was very hard to just sit there with her. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to tell her it would all be OK. She is Celes but she isn’t my Celes.”
“I know, Chakotay and I got confused a few times too.”
“She needed to know that he loves her and not you- poor girl this is very hard on her.”
“It’s hard on all of us..”
“Kathryn.” He looked up pain in his eyes. “I didn’t mean..
“Shh, I know. For a brief moment as he held me…” Her words faded away in a sigh. “then you walked in and …”
“I’m sorry if I spoiled it.”
“No.” She bent and kissed him. “You didn’t spoil anything. That wasn’t real. You are my reality and if it didn’t mean so much suffering for others, I would have been very happy to continue in this reality with you.”
“It has been good hasn’t it.”
“Yes, in spite of all the suffering that’s gone before, you have made these last eight years very, very good.”
Kathryn replicated a glass of wine, and headed for the bathroom. These last days had been doubly stressful and a long hot soak in the tub was all she wanted. The new technology was welcome and Kathryn would like nothing better than to fill the Queen's orderly world with chaos and get a free ride home, but the price was too high. She couldn’t condone a suicide mission. As she poured the bubbles into the running water, the door chimed.
“Damn.” Kathryn mumbled as she considered ignoring the chime; it chimed again. “Come.” Kathryn picked up her wine and made her way back to the living area.
“Chakotay?” The shock at seeing him at this time, at least seeing him alone at this time of day was evident in her voice. “What can I do for you?”
“Nice to see you too, Kathryn.” He walked past her into the living area.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.” She smiled nervously. “I just didn’t expect to see you.”
“Why?” He placed a bottle of wine on the table. “You did invite me to dinner.”
“I did?” Kathryn couldn’t remember even speaking to him on a personal level in the last few weeks and she certainly didn’t remember inviting him to dinner.
“Yes, you did and…” He looked at her and then glanced toward the sound of running water in the bath room. “You really don’t remember. I’m sorry, am I interrupting your bath? I’ll go.”
“No!” Kathryn jumped at the sharp sound of her own voice. “Well, yes, but I don’t mind.” She smiled “I’m sorry I must have forgotten.”
“It’s alright. You have a lot on your mind.” Chakotay smiled and started toward the door. “I’ll let you get to your bath.”
“No, stay.” She stepped in front of him to stop his leaving. “Please. I’ll just turn that off.” She nodded toward the bathroom. “Why don’t you open the wine.”
“If you’re sure.” He smiled turning the dimples on full force; she just smiled and stared. “Kathryn?”
“Oh, sorry. I’m sure.” I haven’t prepared dinner, but we can replicate something.”
“You change out of that uniform and I’ll handle dinner.”
“OK, be right back.”
Kathryn turned off the bath and went into her bedroom to change. She tried to figure out it could have slipped her mind that she asked him to dinner and more importantly how she could have forgotten that he accepted. There was something strange about this and something even stranger about him. The only one who knew the answer was waiting in the other room. She changed quickly and joined him for a glass of wine before dinner.
Surprisingly, the conversation flowed easily without any hint of their recently strained relationship. Several times it occurred to her to ask why he was here instead of with Seven but she didn’t want to spoil the mood. The replicator signaled the arrival of dinner and they moved to the dinning area.
“I had lunch with the Admiral today, in fact I spent most of the afternoon there.”
“Shirking your duty, Commander?”
“Not exactly. You could consider it a reconnaissance mission.”
“Oh, it was an official visit?” Kathryn paused with her fork in the air and raised her eyebrows.
“Not exactly.” He laughed. “But very informative on that level also.”
“Let me guess. She has enlisted you to plead her case?”
“You know, they are really quite cute together.” Chakotay avoided her question.
“Cute?” Kathryn rolled her eyes. “That’s what I have to look forward to? I have never thought of my self as cute.”
“I know that, but with Harry you are cute.” He smiled and she shook her head and looked away.
“You think she really loves him?” Kathryn gave him a doubtful grin.
“Well, yes, I suppose I can see that too. I just can’t understand it. I mean, I could never picture myself loving any one but…” She stopped and considered her dinner plate.
“I know. I can’t either, but in her time line, I was very different. I don’t know what changed me. She thinks Seven's nanoprobs had a lot to do with it.”
Kathryn was quiet, she didn’t answer, she merely pushed the food around her plate.
“He called her ‘Kat’.”
“What?” She looked up and laughed “Your kidding, right?
“No, Harry always had a thing for nick names. Doesn’t our Harry call Celes mouse?”
“I think so.” She laughed “It sort of fits her though.”
“Well, this one must fit too, he called her Kat.” Chakotay laughed when she rolled her eyes. “It just came out naturally and neither reacted to it so I assume he calls her that a lot—a pet name, I suppose.”
“Don’t ever call me Kat! Whatever happens…” She stopped and sipped her wine. “If they are so happy, so cute together why are they so anxious to end it?”
“They don’t see it as the end they see it as a fresh start—they are doing this to give life not to give it up. They are doing it for the lost crew, the lost children, to alleviate the suffering, even to protect the alpha quadrant from the Borg.” Chakotay reached across the table and took her hands. “And they are doing this for us.”
“Chakotay…” Kathryn looked up shaking her head.
“I know, there is no US. But there should be, I know it, they know it and I think you know it too.”
“Chakotay I…” Kathryn tried to pull her hands away but he wouldn’t let her.
“I love you, Kathryn.” He leaned closer. “This is where we get to decide – do we live our lives or theirs?”
“Seven to Chakotay.”
He didn’t answer the call, instead he held tightly to Kathryn’s hands while he searched her face for the answers he wanted. Seven hailed him twice more, then the room was silent.
“Computer, mark status unavailable for all but emergency hails for Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay, until further notice. Authorization Maquis Beta two three seven three.”
The computer chirped in response.
“You should probably just go, Seven’s waiting.”
“Let her wait. This is where I want to be.” He held her eyes as her struggle subsided.
“I didn’t invite you to dinner, did I?” Kathryn stopped trying to free her hands.
“No, I made it up.”
“I had a very enlightening afternoon. I understand now what they are trying to do. They are happy together, but that comes after nearly twenty years of hell and that hell isn’t over for everyone. They came to make it right and I think we should let them.”
“And getting it right means what?”
“It means setting the Borg back centuries. It means getting this crew home—next week, whole and alive, not after sixteen years of pain and hardship. It means children who can be born and grow up in the safety of the Alpha Quadrant not risking their young lives in the dangers of deep space. It means Tuvok can be cured and twenty two crew members won’t have to die.” He got up. Without letting go of her hands, he came around the table and drew her to her feet. “It means there can be an US.” He brushed a light kiss on her lips and pulled her into his arms. “If you’ll let it happen.”
Kathryn didn’t struggle; she let him hold her for several long quiet minutes. Finally she stepped back, taking his hand she led him to the couch.
“How can we let them do this?”
“It’s why they came here. Neither of them ever expected to return from this voyage. They don’t belong in our world. Coming here has already changed the time line; their world doesn’t exist any longer. There is only one way for them to set it right.”
“And us?” Kathryn bit her lower lip as she studied his face. “Can we make it right?”
“I think we just did.” Chakotay took her face between his hands and slowly lowered his mouth to hers, stopping just before their lips met. “Kathryn?”
Her eyes closed as she felt herself lifted toward the inevitable. Their warm breath mingled and he sighed her name, allowing her one last retreat. Kathryn raised her hands, threading her fingers through the softness of his hair and completed their long awaited journey. Gently she pressed the soft moistness of her mouth to his, her lips yielding willingly to the gently urging of his tongue. Soft moans surrounded their gentle exploration, inquisitive hands and pounding of their hearts; they forced themselves apart. He eyes sought hers for validation; she smiled. There was no going back.
They walked into the messhall, hand in hand. She put a cup of tea on her tray and slipped the chocolate cake on his. They laughed and took a table.
“What are they doing here?” Tom nudged B’Elanna.
“Having desert?” B’Elanna shrugged.
“You know what I mean, It’s only half an hour until they ---you know.”
“I think they are saying goodbye.” Harry glanced toward them with a lot less rancor than their last meeting.
“Wouldn’t you think they would do that privately?” Out of the corner of his eye, Tom watched them licking the icing from the Admiral’s fingers. “Why here?”
“They’re not saying good bye to each other. They’re saying good bye to us, to the crew, to the ship.” Celes smiled and took Harry’s hand. “And they are trying to let us know they are happy with this. They’re correcting past mistakes and giving us a very different future and they want us to go into it guilt free.”
“Did he tell you this?” B’Elanna questioned quietly.
“No, we talked, but he wouldn’t tell me about the further. He said he was happy with Kathryn but that that was his life and ours should be much different. And he asked me to trust him.”
“Yes.” Celes stood and tugged Harry to his feet. “Come on.”
A little reluctantly he followed her across the room.
“Admiral, Captain.” They turned and smiled at the younger couple. “I –we want to say goodbye and...” Celes and stepped closer to the Captain. “Thank you.” She bent and kissed his cheek.
He sat startled for a second then stood and embraced the young woman.
“You’re welcome.” He tightened his hold, sighing as he kissed the top of her head “Have a good life, mouse.”
After a minute, Captain Kim stepped back and offered his hand to the Admiral.
“Her majesty awaits.”
“Then we mustn’t disappoint her.” Kathryn smiled “She’s waited a long time for you.”
Kathryn stood beside him and took his hand. They smiled and nodded at the younger couple then left the messhall for their long awaited audience with the Queen.
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