50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Summary: Kathryn Janeway can’t help breaking hearts, but at least she never does it the same way twice.
Characters: Janeway, Earhart
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Paramount. I'm just having a little twisted fun with them.
Notes: When I posted A Long Journey on tumblr, @caladeniablue asked 'Fic to go with this?' and it got me thinking. This is the result. (If you have a request for a lover Kathryn could leave, email me!)
seven | Amelia Earhart
For a woman who’s been abducted by aliens and woken from a four hundred year slumber only to find herself on the other side of the galaxy, Earhart’s resilience is remarkable.
She hangs over Tom Paris’ shoulder at the helm, peppering him with increasingly insightful questions. She asks about the nacelles and the astrogator and the warp core. She inspects the stellar cartography stations and pores over the navigational readouts, and when Paris mentions there’s an entire navigational array on deck twelve, her eyes widen.
Before her helmsman can suggest a visit, Kathryn jumps in.
“Perhaps you’d like a tour, Miss Earhart?”
Miss Earhart indicates that she would like that very much.
They’ve inspected the nav array and main engineering and are on their way to deflector control when Earhart’s knees buckle and she stumbles, pressing a hand to Voyager’s smooth bulkhead for support. Kathryn is there, one hand under the other woman’s elbow, the other lifting her chin.
“Are you all right, Miss Earhart? Maybe you should rest –”
“Absolutely not,” Earhart interrupts hastily. “I’ve been asleep for four centuries, and I have too much to catch up on.”
“All right,” Kathryn concedes, “but I could use some coffee before we continue.”
They drink coffee and eat tiny round cakes, brought to their table by Neelix, and Kathryn once again finds herself admiring Earhart’s aplomb as the woman barely even gapes at the Talaxian before collecting herself. Afterwards, Kathryn is uncharacteristically reluctant to return to duty. She steers the aviator into the turbolift and starts to order it to the bridge, then stops.
“Earlier, you asked my helmsman some very impressive questions about Voyager’s flight operations,” she says. “How would you like to fly her yourself?”
Earhart’s eyes spark. “Is that even possible?”
“In a manner of speaking, anything is possible.” Kathryn smiles at her. “Computer, holodeck two.”
It doesn’t surprise her that Earhart takes holography in her stride, nor that she’s quick to grasp the basics of thruster control, impulse drive and warp mechanics. Within an hour, the aviator is laughing as she pilots a holographic Starfleet fighter in loops and dives, bringing it to a landing so smooth that even Tom Paris might be impressed.
Then Kathryn calls for a simulation of Voyager’s bridge, and Earhart sits behind the conn, touching the flight panel with reverent fingertips.
“May I?” she asks, and at Kathryn’s nod, Earhart lays in a course for –
“Earth,” Kathryn says, eyes fixed on the viewscreen.
“You know,” Earhart says softly after a long stretch of silence, “this planet could be home to you, too.”
Kathryn breaks her gaze, looks down at the woman in the pilot’s seat. “You were my childhood hero,” she blurts. “I wanted to be like you. A pioneer.”
Earhart’s dark eyes are warm. “And now you are.” She stands, takes Kathryn’s hand. “If I inspired you, if I’m partly the reason you became who you are, then I’m proud.”
“Miss Earhart –”
“Call me Amelia,” the aviator says, and leans in to kiss her.
“I meant it, you know,” Amelia says. “You could stay. We could make this a home.”
They’ve wandered away from the rest of the group. In the shadow of Voyager’s nacelle, Kathryn reaches for Amelia’s hand.
“I can’t stay,” she says, and is surprised to find that she feels every bit of the regret she hears in her own voice. “I made a promise to my crew.”
“I know you do,” says Kathryn. “I just wish this wasn’t the last time I’ll see you.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that anything is possible,” Amelia squeezes Kathryn’s hand, “so don’t be so sure about the future.”
She steps closer, and after a quick glance around to be sure they’re still alone and unobserved, Kathryn kisses her. It’s lingering and sweet, a question and an answer.
“Goodbye, Amelia,” Kathryn says.
Amelia smiles. “Until we meet again.”