Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager™ is the registered trademark and sole property of Paramount Pictures. This story is non-commercial and for enjoyment only. No copyright infringement is intended.

20020305

AUTHOR: JinnyR

EMAIL: jrossca@sympatico.ca

RATING: PG-13

SUMMARY: An epi addition to Endgame. What happens when things don’t happen the way you thought they would?

 

Endshame

 

Captain Kathryn Janeway sat alone in the alien bar, trying to decide exactly when her world had fallen apart.

Admiral Janeway’s plan had worked. So what? Big surprise. Even this younger version of the Admiral had known that her future self would never have broken every temporal directive in the book if she’d had even one doubt of the outcome. The captain had taken the admiral in stride and had even felt a happy twinge of excitement at the possibility of reaching Earth after only seven years.

She’d also listened to the Admiral’s description of the future with the smug feeling that it was now highly debatable. After all, that time line was now completely polluted and critical choices once made were now very open for re-consideration. No, Kathryn had taken the admiral’s arrival for what it was – a gift.

The excitement on the bridge as Voyager punched her way into the Alpha Quadrant was palpable, something not one person there would ever forget in their lifetime. Her saucy remarks to their welcoming committee, together with the sudden cry announcing the arrival of the first Starfleet baby conceived in the Delta Quadrant, was an almost overwhelming experience, even for this weathered crew.

She’d let new Daddy Tom dash to sickbay and had her first officer guide them into formation for the victorious parade home.

Was that when she noticed a little crumble? Perhaps from this perspective she did, but she honestly didn’t think she’d taken much notice of the fact that Chakotay had stepped down from the top level of the bridge to take the helm. It was only when she started to look back had she begun to put the pieces together.

She cringed even now and then took a deep draught of her drink. She had no idea what it was, but by damn it hit the spot. She looked deeply into its purple swirls.

She’d been excited. Well, who on board wasn’t, for goodness sake? But, for the self-contained captain of Voyager, she’d felt absolutely giddy and there was really only one person with whom she wanted to share this feeling and experience. She’d almost run to Chakotay’s quarters when quiet finally reigned in the late evening.

They were best friends, had been for years, and slipping into each other’s quarters without chiming wasn’t unheard of, even if it was unusual. Kathryn wished now, for the millionth time, that she had just rung that damned chime.

He’d cooked, and the faint smell of the food lingered along with the empty plates on his table. Plates. Two plates. He’d already had supper – she looked confusedly at the chilled bottle of champagne in her hand. And then she heard the soft noises from his bedroom, followed by a laugh. She knew that laugh, it had taken years to pull it out of the Borg. Kathryn had actually been happy the first time she’d heard it.

Then the bathroom door opened and Chakotay stepped into the room. He took one look at Kathryn and then followed the direction of her eyes. Another laugh filtered out into the main room.

"Kathryn?"

Kathryn came to as if from a coma. She looked at her best friend as if seeing a stranger, and then years of training kicked in.

"Chakotay. I’m sorry, my timing is as bad as my manners. I didn’t even chime, please forgive me. I brought you a bottle of champagne to celebrate, I hope you enjoy it." She put the bottle on the supper table and turned to go.

"Kathryn!" Chakotay cried and took two quick steps, managing to grab her wrist. "Don’t go. It’s just Seven in there, she’s trying on some clothes she replicated for Earth. I’m sure she’d love your opinion."

She wavered, her heart slowed down to measurable beats, and she was almost beginning to smile and ready to accept his offer when she looked into his face. He hadn’t quite managed to get all the lipstick off when he’d been in the bathroom. Of course, he wouldn’t have realised that it might be necessary when he was in there.

"I don’t think so, Chakotay. Three’s a crowd, as they say. I’ll see you tomorrow on the bridge."

Kathryn laughed bitterly to herself. She’d beaten it out of his quarters so fast that he probably thought she’d beamed out. And, all she could remember throughout that whole wakeful night was his face as he saw her standing in his quarters while Seven’s laughter rang out. He had not been happy to see her. It was, however, better than the mental images that had haunted her nights since then.

He hadn’t looked very pleased on the bridge the next morning, either. Kathryn felt it best to allow him to raise the subject so that he could control the situation, but he never did. Whether he restrained out of anger or just respect for both protocol and her position, she still hadn’t figured it out to this day. All she knew was that, when the senior staff had beamed down to Starfleet Headquarters for the official greeting home, she had somehow been paired with Tuvok while Chakotay and Seven remained glued at the hip. That was the moment when Kathryn Janeway realised that she was living the first day of the rest of her life without Chakotay.

 

 

She signaled the barkeep for another drink.

She’d even missed Tom and B’Elanna’s welcome home party. The crew had waited patiently for a couple of hours, understanding that the captain was still wallowing in Starfleet issues, before finally talking amongst themselves to figure out a reason for her absence. There were plenty to choose from, but the disappointment experienced by her faithful crew was another thing Kathryn chose to consider here in the dark bar. Her behaviour had been inexcusable, both that night and the next day.

If they considered her no-show at their crew party to be ‘running’, what did they end up calling her action the following day? To follow the old saying, it could only be ‘hiding’.

She’d been in Owen Paris’ office when he received the news that Captain Gee of the USS Pearson had been killed in a freak accident. The Pearson was scheduled to launch for a nine-month tour of duty in three days’ time, and this was devastating news on more than one front. Without even thinking Kathryn had volunteered her services.

Of course, it was ridiculous. Three days was not enough to get completely acclimatised to either the Pearson or her crew, although the mission was basic enough. Besides, she had just returned from a seven-year absence and needed a break. She managed to convince Admiral Paris that a routine scouting mission in the Alpha Quadrant would probably do her more good than all the visits to old friends and haunts could possibly accomplish, and that she’d hold him to an extended leave when she returned. He put her off and she returned to her tiny apartment, still feeling incomplete.

Two days later she received her orders. Starfleet had still not recovered totally from the war and experienced manpower was at a premium. The decision was made to continue reviewing Voyager’s logs but to postpone the actual debriefings, and Kathryn received command of the Pearson. She left the following day. It didn’t occur to her until her first breakfast on board that she hadn’t said goodbye to a single member of her Voyager crew. Oh, it was definitely hiding, even she had to admit that. She hoped her mother would forgive her.

The first crewmember to track her down was B’Elanna. Kathryn had been indescribably pleased to see that half-Human, half-Klingon face glaring at her on the screen in her ready room. She even laughed out loud at Be’s greeting.

"Coward!"

"And hello to you, too, B’Elanna; it’s good to see you. How are Tom and Miral?"

"Tom’s Tom and Miral is a blessing. You’re a coward."

"Duty comes first. The Pearson needed a captain."

"So does the Voyager crew. Ever think of that? Of us?"

Kathryn’s eyes flashed and her voice was cold. "Lieutenant, I don’t think an hour has gone by in the last seven years when the crew of Voyager wasn’t my primary concern. I just needed a break."

There was a small silence as the two women let their eyes do the talking. B’Elanna reached out and touched her screen. Kathryn actually found her hand responding in kind without her even considering it.

"Yeah, you did. I’m sorry."

"It’s okay. I’m sorry I snapped."

"That was a snap? Kah’less, don’t ever move to Qo’noS. That was just baby talk. So okay, now that I’ve found you, how long are you going to be gone?"

"Nine months. Nothing spectacular, just going out to DS4 to do a stint of patrol and exploration. I’m bringing Captain Chenery some new personnel and then I’ll eventually bring others back home. It’s a nice busman’s holiday for me."

"Well, if you’re happy, I’m happy. Tom needs the communicator now – do you mind if I call you once in a while?"

"I’ll be angry if you don’t. Take care, Be, and give my love to Tom and Miral. Tell them I’ll bring them both a toy when I return."

B’Elanna had laughed and signed off. And she hadn’t forgotten, either. Kathryn received a hail from her at least once a week and their friendship grew in ways neither one of them had ever imagined possible. Both women began to cherish the friendship that only one woman can give another.

That had been eight months ago. Then, this morning, B’Elanna had called and Kathryn had known by the look on her face that today’s chat was going to be a little different. Over the months they had talked of many things, but somehow Chakotay’s name had never come up. The mere thought of him still shot a pain through Kathryn’s heart that never faded away, while Be just never seemed to be in the mood to discuss him. Kathryn had a sneaky feeling that, in her own way, B’Elanna felt as betrayed by him as Kathryn did. The young woman’s best friend and mentor had let her down dreadfully with his clandestine relationship with Seven, and Kathryn suspected that the pain caused by that hadn’t quite faded away for Be yet. Unfortunately, it seemed that today they had both run out of excuses.

"I heard from Chakotay today."

"Oh?"

"Yeah."

There was a brief silence before Be continued. "He was looking for you."

"Oh?"

"Yeah."

Again, another brief silence while the women looked at each other.

"He wants to get married and he wants you there."

"Oh."

Be nodded. "Yeah." They looked at each other.

"Tell him he doesn’t need me to marry him. We’re not on board Voyager anymore."

"I don’t think that’s what he means. When I told him to leave you alone, he just said you’d been friends for too long and gone through too much together to have it end this way. He just wants you there."

"When is this big event?"

"He knows you’re scheduled back next month, so I suppose it’s sometime after that. I hope he lets you catch your breath for a bit, it’s not like you’ve even had the opportunity to see your mother or sister since Voyager got home."

"I know, but they call every week, too, so we’re pretty well caught up. But I am going home to see them as soon as I’m back on Earth, and then after that I’ll be too busy with Voyager’s debriefing. You know, I can hardly wait to finally see Mum – she makes the best coffee in the universe."

B’Elanna smiled. "Yeah? How does she do with raktajino?"

"You, Tom, and Miral should come home with me so you can find out. Do you think you could do that?"

"You know, I think we could. Tom will need some time off by then and I’ll be back to work after that, so it would work out perfectly. But are you sure your mother would appreciate us all arriving together?"

"Yes, I know she would. I’ve…well, I’ve told her how you’ve kept me together all these months."

"Works both ways, you know. So, okay, we’ll come with you. Now, what do you want me to tell Chakotay?"

"I don’t know right now. I know I should, I really do know that, Be. But…"

"I know. He’ll be bugging me until you give me an answer, but I can handle him. Just let me know what’s best for you when you can. Now, Miral wants to say hi to her Auntie Kathy."

 

 

Kathryn had thought of nothing but this conversation since Be signed off. She jiggled the glass stir stick in her new drink and then lifted it up to her mouth. She was half way through pulling it out slowly between pursed lips when she was interrupted.

"May I buy you a drink?"

The stick came out of her mouth with a little pop.

She looked up to see a man, one eyebrow still raised as he waited for her response. She slowly nodded and he sat down.

He was a civilian in leather and – never mind that leather was the best choice for rugged space travel – his attire stabbed deeply into Kathryn’s wounded heart. She thought briefly that a Neelix would have been much more welcome. Then she looked into his eyes and decided that she wasn’t really a Neelix kind of woman, anyway.

They exchanged the usual pleasantries. He seemed quite interested in knowing about her captaincy on the Pearson while she pointed out that a Human civilian in these parts was pretty rare.

"You looked like you were a million miles away when I arrived."

"Even further than that, I’m afraid."

"News from home?"

"Something like that."

He looked nonplussed, as if he didn’t know what to say to that cryptic remark, and then slowly took a sip of his ale. She felt him appraising her and briefly wondered how she was stacking up. She couldn’t do much about her looks or her age, but she knew who she was and caught herself wishing that he liked that in a woman. At the very least, she required a romantic relationship with an equal, and she couldn’t help but telegraph something that would warn him that he’d have to play his cards perfectly in order for the romance card to come out on top.

She sighed and looked up at him brightly. "I’m sorry, that was rude. I heard today that an old friend is getting married and it affected me more than I wanted to admit."

He nodded in understanding. "An ‘old friend’ that you had feelings for, I take it?"

"Perhaps. I was never in a position to tell him, so he carried on with his life. I can hardly blame him."

"Why couldn’t you tell him?"

"Circumstances. Senior officers just do not fraternise with subordinates. It’s not the Starfleet way."

"I see. I think."

She laughed bitterly. "Don’t say a word. I swear, every person who’s familiar with me these past several years has told me that I’m a fool. It’s hard enough losing someone you care for without adding insult to injury."

"It’s a deal. I’ve been there myself, so why don’t we just sit here and commiserate with each other."

They sat together for another few hours. When closing time arrived he silently held out his arm to her and she slid her hand through it without saying a word. As they walked through the quiet streets she thought of her former first officer with his string of lovers throughout their voyage, and cursed her weakness for what she was about to do. Inside his hotel room, as she notified the Pearson that she would be detained for a few hours longer, he unfastened her dress and followed the fastener down with his lips against her back. She offered no resistance when he took her to bed and made love to her but, when she came, she couldn't help but shout out, "Chakotay!"

 

 

Kathryn Janeway sat in the big chair, smiling and watching the stars flash by. Even after nine months, seeing familiar stars was exciting to the captain. And then she fell into a deeper meditation.

Unfamiliar stars, unfamiliar species, and often unexplained hostilities, that about summed up the Delta Quadrant – or did it? It never seemed to matter much to her how the days passed, so long as no one was hurt and Chakotay was by her side. Her mind jumped guiltily to the man in her quarters.

Home. She’d be home in less than a week and finally get to see her mother and sister. Should she take him to meet Mum and Phoebe with the Paris family, or not? It wasn’t necessary, he certainly could catch up with his own affairs while she was visiting her family.

She sighed and wearily covered her eyes.

 

 

The shuttlecab dropped them all off in front of Gretchen Janeway’s front door. Miral was the first to scramble out, followed by her frantic father running fast across the yard to scoop her up. The bags and boxes were piled on the porch and then the door flew open. A blur raced down the few steps and grabbed Kathryn into a mother’s hug.

"Oh Kathryn…"

"Mum…"

They both looked each other over and then laughed. Almost eight years apart and now it seemed like it was only eight seconds. Gretchen smiled and then turned to everyone.

"All right, everyone! Grab something and take it right upstairs. I’ve got the rooms all ready for you."

Gretchen knelt down in front of Miral. "I thought maybe we could have some caramel brownies and then I could show you your own little cot in my room. Would you like that, Miral?"

It seemed apparent by her bright eyes and smile that Miral would indeed, although it turned out that she would soon abandon the cot and sleep cuddled up to the older woman in the big bed.

At last the coffee and raktajino was poured and everyone sat quietly on the back porch, sipping and watching the sunset. It was so peaceful that it almost felt like a spell would be broken if anyone spoke. A bird warbled its evensong and finally Gretchen spoke.

"So, when is this wedding?"

Tiny sighs escaped from everyone’s lips. Kathryn was the first to reply.

"Chakotay wants it one week from today. It was a special day for his family on Dorvan, so he feels that it would be the perfect date for his wedding."

"I know it’s his wedding and all, but is it convenient for you?"

"Yes, Mum, it’s fine with me."

Tom jumped in. "I heard from Harry the other day and you’ll all have a laugh at this. He and Libby went on a double date with Susan Nicoletti and her old fiancé and, guess what?"

"What?" asked Be. "You never tell me anything."

"I’m telling you now. Harry and Sue are coming to the wedding together. As a couple."

"What?!" chorused everyone.

"Yup. Seven years together on Voyager, back with their original fiancés for months, and only now they get together. I think that’s a howl!"

"Oh, I don’t know," said Chakotay. "Sometimes you just have to try something different before you realise that the best thing you ever had in your life is what you never had in the first place."

"Tangled, but we get the drift, old man," replied Tom.

"I’ll never forgive you, Chakotay. Never."

"B’Elanna, you didn’t ask where I was calling from. And you didn’t ask why I wanted Kathryn at my wedding. I would have told you if you’d only asked."

"Don’t talk to me."

Kathryn laughed. "Be, when I left the Pearson to go to that bar, I never in a million years expected Chakotay to walk in and buy me a drink. I thought I was either dreaming or that the purple drink was a hallucinogenic. Believe me, I didn’t believe it myself until the next morning."

Chakotay smirked. "I gave her plenty of evidence to believe it."

"I’m not sure that this conversation is fit for a mother’s ears," objected Gretchen.

Chakotay laughed. "I love your daughter, Gretchen and that’s all you have to know. I promise that how I love her will never be shared with you."

"Unless I ask."

"Okay. Unless you ask."

"Because I might, you know. I’m old, not dead. And I have a feeling that none of you sitting here are all that quiet behind closed doors. A week can be a very long time for a lonely widow."

They all laughed together; Kathryn and Chakotay exchanging secret winks. Gretchen still hadn't been told that pitched tents for all the guests would be dotted around her property for at least another week after the wedding. Lonliness would be the least of Gretchen's worries.

Slowly they all drifted back into silence. Kathryn finished her coffee first and stood up to get both pots for refills all around. Chakotay decided to help and followed suit, stretching his legs before entering the kitchen. Minutes passed and the sun dipped below the horizon. Crickets started broadcasting their night calls. A small breeze picked up and B’Elanna shivered against its coolness.

"I think we’re out of luck in the coffee department," stated Tom finally.

Gretchen stood up stiffly. "Well, let’s go inside and enjoy our last cup before bed. I don’t imagine those two will be wanting their next one much before breakfast now, anyway."

Inside, Kathryn and Chakotay pulled out of their kiss and smiled at each other.

"Could that possibly be true?"

"What?"

"That you’d actually give up your last cup of coffee of the day just to be with me?"

"Oh definitely. I never really cared for the stuff, anyway."

"Yeah, right, I knew that all along. Not."

"It was just my crutch, Chakotay. Whenever I had a cup of coffee on Voyager, it was only to keep myself from thinking of you."

He stared at her. "You lie without shame. I love that about you."

"Would I kid you?"

"Absolutely. But, just in case…" Chakotay turned towards the trio entering the kitchen. "Gretchen…"

"Yes, dear son?"

"Kathryn won’t be needing coffee until at least lunchtime tomorrow. Take my word for it."

"Much too much information," the mother muttered.

 

The End

 

Thank you, Camryn, for this gorgeous pic!

You'll find more of Cam's work at:  http://www.geocities.com/camryn_jc/

 

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