Summary: They’re home… but it’s not what they hoped for. Estranged by circumstance and misunderstanding and kept apart by devious design, Voyager’s former command team is drawn into a world of danger, deception and political intrigue that could end up costing their lives.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Seven, Kim, Tuvok, Torres, Paris, Sekaya, Original Female Characters, Original Male Characters
Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/m, Chakotay/Seven, Kim/Seven
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Warning: Non-consensual sex depicted.
Hold your breath and count to ten.
Fall apart, start again.
– Placebo, English Summer Rain
They’d burst into the Alpha quadrant two hours earlier and were just entering the Sol system, having been officially cleared by Admiral Paris. Kathryn was in her ready room; he was sure she was frantically collating reports, ready for the debriefings they assumed would be starting once the crew had been welcomed back into the bosom of their families. Chakotay pressed the chime and waited for her distracted reply to enter.
“Commander,” she greeted him absently, shuffling through PADDs on her desk. “Have you seen the latest crew evaluation report? I could swear I left it right here.”
He shook his head, laughing. “Kathryn, leave it. There’ll be plenty of time to worry about reports.” He moved up close, placing a hand on her shoulder, and she looked up at him, stilling her movements. “We’re home,” he said, smiling down at her. “I’m sure you can spare a few minutes to enjoy it.”
To his surprise, the corners of her mouth barely turned upward. She seemed to be searching his face for something; he wasn’t sure what. But he had almost seven years’ worth of practice at handling Kathryn, at getting her to open up. Run at her head-on and she’d retreat. She needed to be cajoled.
“Have you met the baby yet?”
“No,” and another expression flitted over her face and was gone. “No, I haven’t. I’m sure Tom and B’Elanna would like some time alone with her.”
“They’d love you to meet her. Come with me,” he entreated. His hand slid down from her shoulder, catching hers.
He felt the moment she tensed, and her hand pulled out of his grasp. “It’ll have to wait. Pass on my best wishes, will you?”
To hell with cajolery. “Kathryn, what’s wrong?”
“I’m extremely busy,” she said tightly, turning her back on him. “Why don’t you take Seven?”
Chakotay’s stomach tightened. “You know,” he stated, though he couldn’t imagine now how he’d ever thought it would stay a secret.
“Of course.” Her voice was light now, breezy, but she still wasn’t facing him. “Congratulations. I’m sure the two of you will be very happy.”
He couldn’t seem to find words.
“I imagine you two will want to visit Trebus as soon as debriefings are over. Maybe even settle there – I know how keen you are to see how the rebuilding is coming along. You will keep in touch, won’t you?”
Keep in touch? Chakotay wanted to be sick.
“What are your plans?” he asked, trying to keep his voice steady.
“A long vacation in Indiana with my family. After that, who knows? Wherever Starfleet sends me, I suppose.”
“What about us?”
“The Maquis? I’m sure Starfleet will welcome you with open arms as soon as they’ve read the crew evals. If I can ever find the damn things, that is.”
“I wasn’t talking about the Maquis,” he said quietly.
“Hmm? Ah!” Kathryn turned finally, giving him a brief smile as she held up a PADD. “Found it. Excuse me, I need to have Harry send this to HQ.”
She strode quickly for the door.
She was just going to leave, he realised. They’d part as soon as Voyager reached Earth, and he might never see her again.
And she seemed to want it that way.
She stopped, turned back to him, her eyebrows raised. “Commander?”
He calmed his voice with effort. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Seven. It’s just – new, and we didn’t want to ... And you and I …”
“You and I what?” she asked, but there was a warning in her tone.
Chakotay waved a hand in frustration. “Are you really going to stand there and pretend there’s nothing between us? That there couldn’t have been something incredible?”
She said nothing.
“I always hoped that when we got home,” he walked slowly toward her, “we’d get the chance to –”
“Stop,” she said abruptly, holding up a hand to ward him off. “Commander, this isn’t the time or the place for this discussion.”
“When is it the time, then?” He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. “You’ve been dancing around this for seven years, Kathryn!”
“Then it’s a good thing we can get some distance from each other now,” she fired back. “It’ll help you regain a little perspective. I’m sure I’ll see you again once you’ve spent some time with your sister and – and Seven.”
She turned her back on him and moved quickly toward the door, leaving him almost too stunned to speak. Almost.
“Well, don’t be a stranger,” he called after her, bitterness lacing his tone.
Too late for that, he thought.
She stopped again, turned, frozen-faced. “Is there something else you want to say to me, Commander?”
Chakotay studied her: steel-grey eyes, firm mouth, straight shoulders. There was no trace of Kathryn, his friend, his once-might-have-been. Only the captain.
“No,” he said slowly. “Nothing at all.”
She turned and left without another word.