Summary: Losing and regaining her memories jolts the captain into reassessing her long-held priorities, including the decisions she’s made about a certain first officer … but timing has never been their strong suit.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Jaffen
Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Jaffen
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for #fictober2018 Day 28 prompt: “I felt it. You know what I mean.” Episode addition to Workforce.
no place (here)
The Stepford Wives, thinks Chakotay, scratching at the nasal ridge of his disguise as he eyes the laughing faces around him. Tom Paris had screened the movie at the last Voyager cinema night: an oddity featuring brainwashed, robotic women and the smug husbands who’d reprogrammed them. A dark comedy that has become Chakotay’s reality.
It’s not at all funny anymore.
There’s Ayala, one of his oldest friends, talking non-stop at a raucously laughing Tuvok. There’s Samantha Wildman, arm in arm with a Quarren man, and Naomi nowhere in sight. And Tom Paris, who doesn’t remember he’s a pilot, serving drinks and chatting up pretty girls while B’Elanna sits at a corner table with a couple he’s never seen before.
You don’t belong here! he wants to shout at them. Remember who you are!
And then Kathryn enters the bar, smiling up at a silver-haired man who looks at her like she outshines the stars.
Chakotay’s stomach lurches.
When he spoke to her at the power plant, there hadn’t been the slightest flicker of recognition in her eyes. Everything they’d been to one another, everything they are – wiped clean as though it never existed.
He can’t remember the last time he felt as afraid, as alone, as he did in that moment.
no place (I'd rather be)
“Why are you risking everything we have?”
From the moment he met her, he’s been captivated by her eyes, and the way they reveal her every emotion. Now, in the wake of his plea, they look stricken.
“What if he’s telling the truth?” she half-whispers. “Over one hundred people abducted, their memories wiped? What if – what if I really am the captain of that starship?”
“Is that what you believe?” he asks harshly. “Or just what you’d like to think?”
“Jaffen…” she bites her lip. “I don’t know what to think, all right? But I do know there’s nowhere I rather be than here. With you.”
He thinks, I wish I could believe that, and reaches for her hand.
“I saw the way he looked at you, Kathryn. Earlier, in the bar.”
“How did he look at me?” she asks, defensive.
“Like you mean everything to him.” Jaffen can’t help the bitter tinge to his words. “I felt it. You know what I mean.”
“But he means nothing to me,” Kathryn says angrily. “I don’t even know him, and I don’t want to. You’re the one I want. Why can’t you believe me?”
“Because I know you,” Jaffen says. “And whatever he means to you, it isn’t nothing.”
no place (like home)
“Ready to go?” Chakotay asks.
His eyes are warm and his tone is gentle, and for a moment she doesn’t know how to answer him. She stares at him, at his once-again-familiar face.
“It may not have been real, Chakotay, but it felt like home,” she murmurs. “If you hadn’t come after me, I never would have known that I had another life.”
He dips his head in a gesture of apology, and her throat closes tight. She doesn’t want his pity. Her failure, her heartache, is humiliating enough without that.
She thinks about leather-clad inspectors and jilted holograms shouting her name from trees, and her mouth hardens. Once again her private life has become public business.
So much for command distance. So much for maintaining the respect of her crew. She feels hot and jagged and raw, spilling over with unruly emotion.
She has spent years trying to close herself off from the man beside her, just so she won’t feel this way.
And she is so very tired of burying her feelings.
I almost had it all, she thinks. Everything I wanted, or thought I wanted. A fulfilling job; purpose in my life. Friends. A home. A man who loved me.
But she has all of those things now, she realises with a sick, lurching shock. Starfleet. Their journey back to the Alpha quadrant. Voyager. Tuvok, Seven, B’Elanna, Tom. Chakotay.
How ironic, she thinks, how sad, that she has just this moment recognised what she could have had all along, mere weeks after she closed the lid forever on those possibilities.
Be careful what you wish for, Kathryn. You just might get it.
“Are you sorry I showed up?” Chakotay asks.
Too late. Too late.
“Not for a second,” says Captain Janeway, colouring her tone with every ounce of command and conviction she possesses. “Resume course, Mr Paris.”
She fixes her eyes straight ahead, and Voyager goes on.