Effulgence

Summary: Never let it be said that Suzy Q isn’t grateful.

 

Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Female Q

Codes: Janeway/Chakotay

 

Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.

Notes: A birthday fic for Talsi74656, and an episode tag for The Q and the Grey.

Rated T

Kathryn sank onto the couch and tipped her head back in relief as the omnipotent being and his offspring flashed out of her ready room.

“And stay gone,” she muttered under her breath, propping her feet on the coffee table, then just in case: “No offence, Q.”

The door chimed and she raised her head and called for entry, smiling as her first officer strode in. He took one look at her, slumped on the couch, and diverted to the replicator.

“Coffee, black,” he ordered, carrying the steaming mug to the upper level and sinking onto the couch beside her.

“What would I do without you?” She sipped gratefully.

Chakotay smiled at her. “It’s the least I can do after you saved the universe. Again.”

“Supernova explosions, hours upon hours of running around in a corset and hoop skirt dodging supernatural weapons, becoming a godmother to Baby Q … Nothing particularly unusual for the Delta quadrant,” she quipped.

“Godmother?” his eyebrows raised. “Baby Q? Already?”

“You just missed him.” Kathryn shook her head. “Just another advantage of omnipotence, I suppose. Instant baby, no pregnancy. No waiting around.”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Chakotay angled his gaze downward, dimples appearing. “I think there’s something be said for all that waiting around.”

“Not to mention the trying to get pregnant part,” Kathryn agreed thoughtlessly, then clapped a hand over her mouth. “Oh God. I must be more tired than I thought.”

Chakotay tried to smother a laugh. “Human conception is a lot more appealing than the Q method.”

Kathryn’s cheeks burned, but before she could steer the conversation to safer subjects she was interrupted by a blinding flare of light. When it dissipated she found herself squinting at the smirking female Q.

“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” Q told Chakotay archly, tossing her long red hair.

“What are you doing here?” Kathryn demanded. “You got what you wanted.”

“Yes, I did.” Q examined her perfect fingernails. “That’s why I’m here. To –” her lip curled in distaste “– thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Please leave.”

“I can’t leave until I reward you,” Q scowled. “I don’t like feeling indebted to a lesser being.”

Kathryn’s fingers strayed to rub at her temple. “I don’t want a reward. I just want you and every other Q to leave Voyager alone.”

Q slinked closer, rolling her eyes as Chakotay moved protectively between her and Kathryn. “At ease, Tattoo Boy. If I wanted to harm her, there’s nothing you could do to stop me.”

“I’d try,” he growled.

Kathryn rested a calming hand on his shoulder, moving forward to address Q. “This isn’t necessary. Knowing we helped avert war in the Continuum is thanks enough.”

“Ugh.” Q draped herself gracefully over the couch. “Starfleet – the worst kind of human. You’re all such do-gooders. Bounding from one end of the galaxy to the other trying to make friends, like a cosmic pack of puppies. Getting all excited over a few stars exploding. Following all those silly, pointless rules you make for yourselves when all you secretly want to do is break them –”

She broke off, straightening to stare from Kathryn to Chakotay and back again, eyes sharp.

“Oh,” she breathed, her lips curling in a wicked smile. “Of course! I know exactly how to reward you. Yes! That’ll do nicely.”

“Miss Q…” Kathryn narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know what you’re planning, but I’m not interested.”

“Oh, do be quiet, dear. You have no secrets from me – I know you’re interested in this.” She snickered. “Now, just relax and enjoy yourselves, if you’re at all capable of that.”

She raised her hand and clicked her fingers –

– and Kathryn found herself blinking in darkness, completely unable to see.

“Damn it, Q,” she called, “this isn’t funny!”

A familiar male voice spoke close by. “Kathryn?”

“Chakotay!” She squinted, trying desperately to see something. Anything. “Where are you?”

“Here,” he said from immediately in front of her, and she felt warm hands clasping hers. “More to the point, where are we?”

“I have no idea.”

She clutched his hands, grateful for the anchor, and tried to take stock of their surroundings. Beneath her feet was a solid surface, but that was all she could tell.

“Q,” she shouted again.

“Oh for pity’s sake,” came the disembodied voice of the female Q. “All right, Captain, if you must know – you’re in a place where none of the rules apply.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“It means you’re not leaving until you,” her tone grew thick with suggestion, “enjoy yourselves.” She laughed wickedly. “But since you’re so slow on the uptake, let me move things along for you.”

They heard the click of fingers. At first it seemed nothing had changed, but then Kathryn heard Chakotay make a surprised sound.

“Uh, Kathryn?”

“Yes?”

A pause. “What are you wearing?”

Frowning, she pulled one of her hands from his and fingered the pips on her collar.

At least, that was what she’d intended to do. But her neck was bare.

So, she discovered as her fingertips travelled downward, was her chest. Inhaling sharply, she continued her exploration and was greatly relieved to encounter the familiar texture of satin.

“It appears,” she said, “that I’m wearing my nightgown.”

“Ah.” Chakotay coughed.

“What are you wearing?”

“Uh…” she heard him shift his feet, “what I normally wear to bed.”

“Oh?” Curious despite herself, she reached her hand up to settle on his chest and drew back as if burned when she felt warm bare skin.

Chakotay flinched, grabbing both her hands. “Kathryn.”

“Chakotay,” she smirked, “what do you wear to bed?”

He huffed out a laugh.

“That’s what I thought,” she said dryly. “Okay, I’ll try to keep my hands to myself.”

She heard the smile in his voice as he replied, “Don’t try too hard,” and let go of one of her hands, keeping hold of the other.

Kathryn turned her head this way and that, straining her eyes. “Is it getting lighter?”

“I think so.”

She could see the faint outline of him now, and quickly averted her gaze. “Any clue what Q is expecting from us?”

“Oh, I may have some idea,” he said, silky-voiced.

Wide-eyed, she turned to stare at him. “Commander!”

He shrugged, and she realised it was now light enough that she could make out the white flash of his teeth. “She did say no rules, Kathryn. I’m guessing that also means no ranks.”

Heat rose in her cheeks and she looked away. Unfortunately the direction of away she chose was down, and as the light level rose to daylight, there was no way to avoid seeing more of her first officer than she had ever seen before.

A whole lot more.

“Oh my God,” she blurted, eyes wide.

Chakotay laughed out loud and tugged on her hand, drawing her closer until her body bumped his and his arm looped around her waist. His skin felt hot through her satin nightgown. She settled her arms around his shoulders, fingers winding into his hair.

A corona of radiant light surrounded them both, growing brighter and brighter, like a supernova.

Dazzled, she stared up at him, breathing fast and shallow. “What now?” she whispered.

“I think,” he murmured, bending toward her, “we’re supposed to be enjoying ourselves.”

As his lips finally met hers, they were enveloped in dazzling light –

– and Kathryn sat on the couch in her ready room, fully dressed in uniform, steam curling lazily from the mug of coffee on the table beside her.

She felt the couch dip as someone sat beside her and looked up into her first officer’s face. He was watching her, his expression guarded.

“Are you all right?”

“I don’t know…” she lifted a hand to lips that felt chafed and swollen, still staring at him. “Was that real?”

Chakotay shifted on the couch. “It felt real to me.”

“Me, too.” Kathryn stood and paced away from him, arms wrapped around her body. “Damn it, Q,” she said, half to herself, “now what am I supposed to do?”

She felt him rise to stand behind her, touching her shoulder gently. “Believe it or not, I think Q’s intentions were good.”

“She wanted to give me something I’d enjoy,” Kathryn mumbled. “And right before she appeared, I was talking about – well, what we just, um. Damn it, this is my fault!”

She buried her face in her hands.

“Q said no rules applied in that place.” Chakotay moved his hand to rub the back of her neck and Kathryn sighed, relaxing into it for a moment before she pulled away.

Turning to face him, she said, “The rules still apply here, in the real world. And the parameters haven’t changed.”

“I don’t regret it.” He looked at her so tenderly she had to drop her gaze. “And I can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”

“But you have to try.”

“Oh for pity’s sake!” In a sizzling flash of light the female Q appeared, glaring at Kathryn. “You really are the most ridiculous bipedal specimen I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. Why Q enjoys you, I’ll never know!”

Kathryn turned on her. “How dare you?” she seethed. “How dare you kidnap us and force us to do things we’d never willingly do –”

Force you?” Q threw back her head and laughed. “Unwilling? By all means, Captain, if it helps to delude yourself, be my guest.”

“What do you mean?”

Q planted a hand on one hip. “Do you really believe the two of you only touched fingers, and all those other unpleasant body parts, because I waved my magic wand?”

“I would never –”

“Of course you would,” Q rolled her eyes theatrically. “And if you weren’t so stuck on upholding some ludicrous protocol dreamed up by miserable old codgers half a galaxy away, you’d be a hell of a lot happier. Trust me,” she turned to eye Chakotay, “as humans go, you could do a lot worse than Tattoo Boy here.”

“Um, thanks?” he muttered.

“Be quiet.” Q swivelled back to Kathryn. “Did he or did he not make you see stars?”

“Excuse me?”

Q stared at her pityingly. “You really don’t understand, do you? You probably thought the effulgence was a magic trick too.”

“Miss Q,” Kathryn grated, “what are you talking about? And please get to the point, because I’ve had a very long day.”

“The light,” Q said with exaggerated patience. “When he pressed his mouth parts against yours,” she paused to shudder, “there was a burst of luminescence. You must have noticed it.”

“Well, yes, but –”

Q raised her forefinger in the air, circling it slowly. “Remind you of anything?”

Kathryn remembered the Q mating touch and gaped at her.

“That’s right,” Q said smugly. “Of course, your association with this graffitied lout here pales in significance when compared to my everlasting love with Q, but in mortal terms, it’s …” she shrugged, “I suppose you could call it … cosmic.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” Chakotay asked, moving to stand beside Kathryn.

“It means,” Miss Q smirked at Kathryn, “that Q was fingering the wrong appendage when he tried to mate with you, dear. It never would have worked. You’re destined for a dull corporeal existence with Chuckles here, and nothing can change that. Not even an omnipotent being.”

Both Kathryn and Chakotay stared at her.

“So you see, there’s no point in fighting it.” Some of the superiority bled out of Q’s tone as she folded her arms and gazed back at them. “The light never lies.”

Kathryn found herself reaching for Chakotay’s hand, folding her fingers into his. Q’s expression turned approving.

“Well, Captain,” she said. “It seems you’re not such a slow learner after all, and I believe my work here is done. Goodbye,” and with a brief splash of light she was gone.

Kathryn looked down at her hand, joined with Chakotay’s, then up into his face. He was trying to contain a smile.

She arched an eyebrow at him. “There’s no need to look so pleased with yourself, Commander.”

“You heard what she said,” he said, grin widening. “Rules, protocols, parameters – they’re all meaningless. You can’t fight fate, Kathryn.”

She made a growling sound, but couldn’t quite hide her own smile as she turned to face him, one palm resting over his heart, the other curving behind his neck.

He circled her waist in his hands and dipped his head to kiss her, stopping just before his lips reached hers.

“What are you waiting for?” she demanded, impatient.

“I was just wondering if we’re going to see supernovas every time we kiss.”

“Count on it,” she murmured, closing the distance between them.