Summary: When Kashyk gives his lover what he thinks is a harmless trinket, there’s no way he could predict the wild ride it’s going to take them on. Fortunately for him, his lover is the indomitable Kathryn Janeway, who’s no stranger to being thrown across time and space … but the Mirror Universe presents her with challenges even she will struggle to meet.
Written for the @voyagermirrormarch fic event.
Characters: Janeway, Kashyk, Mirror Cornwell, Mirror Georgiou, Mirror Lorca, Mirror Pike, Mirror McCoy (AOS)
Codes: Janeway/Kashyk, Janeway/Mirror Lorca, Janeway/Mirror Cornwell, Janeway/Mirror McCoy (AOS), Janeway/Mirror Lorca/Mirror Pike, Janeway/Mirror Georgiou
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Star Trek universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: We’re not in Kansas anymore. Or, obviously, the canon Voyager universe. Let’s just say this is one of many possible timelines that could have occurred as a result of one tiny change to Counterpoint.
Warning: Violence, rape/non-con, dubious consent and Threshold puns.
Kashyk screws his eyes closed, wishing he could shut out the lewd and graphic sounds as easily as the sight of his lover coming apart in the arms of these two men. He hears Lorca growl, low and feral, and a moment later Pike mumbles something that could be a string of endearments or simply gibberish. Kathryn sobs, once, and the next sound Kashyk hears is one of the men shushing her.
Curiosity drives him to crack open his eyes, and he immediately wishes he hadn’t. Lorca has removed himself from the tableau and is pulling his uniform back on, but Pike still holds Kathryn close, her face in his hands, his lips pressing light kisses to her forehead, her cheek and hair. She’s trembling, her hands curled loosely against his chest, and Pike is whispering, “It’s okay, honey, I’ve got you,” over and over, and if Kashyk didn’t know better he’d swear he was spying on a pair of lovers locked in intimacy.
But then the Emperor uncoils herself from the chaise and walks toward them, looming over the couple, one hand casually flipping and catching a knife she’s pulled from the sheath at her belt.
Pike looks up at her and grins.
“Well, Christopher?” the Emperor says. “Did you enjoy your treat?”
“You know, Pippa,” he drawls, helping Kathryn untangle her limbs from his own and stand, looping his arm around her waist to support her, “I’m not sure I’ve thanked you for your generosity. Why don’t we let Kathryn here rest for a bit while I show you my appreciation? Maybe she can even join us later.”
The Emperor’s eyebrow arches. “Tempting,” she concedes. The knife flips and she catches it easily. “But I was rather hoping to test Kathryn’s stamina for just a little longer. You see, I have plans for her, but I have to be certain she’s worthy of them.”
Pike looks down at Kathryn, who’s still leaning against him, though she’s stopped shuddering. “Sorry, sweetheart,” he shrugs. “No rest for the wicked, I guess.”
He extricates himself from her gently, scoops up his uniform from the floor and dresses quickly, following Lorca out of the antechamber.
Kashyk watches as Kathryn straightens under the Emperor’s scrutiny. Naked, again; sex-flushed, again. Her limbs tremble finely with exhaustion, but her chin is held high and her gaze is steady.
“Well done, my dear,” the Emperor addresses her. She tosses the dagger again; it executes a perfect aerial flip and alights in her waiting hand. “You’ve proved to me that you can follow orders. You’ve proved your courage under pressure. You’ve proved you can improvise and entertain.”
She tilts her head to one side, studying Kathryn closely, her gaze wandering over the fine-boned face, the upturned breasts, the narrow waist and slender legs. She steps closer, deliberately, until they’re almost touching.
The knife flips in the air, its hilt landing neatly in the Emperor’s palm.
In her spike-heeled boots the Emperor is several centimetres taller than the barefooted Kathryn, whose gaze is fixed directly ahead. Kashyk can see her chest rising and falling quickly.
“Look at me, dear,” the Emperor says softly.
The knife in the Emperor’s hand is suddenly flat under Kathryn’s chin, tilting it up, forcing Kathryn’s gaze to lift.
“I said, look at me.”
Their eyes meet.
“Perhaps you need a lesson in following orders, after all,” purrs the Emperor, and she turns the blade and drags its point with utmost delicacy down the centre of Kathryn’s throat, over her sternum and down, circling her navel, until she halts at her pubic mound.
As Kashyk watches, a thin scarlet line blooms on Kathryn’s white skin. The Emperor hums in approval. She dips her head to lick at the line of blood, blurring it, and meets Kathryn’s eyes again.
Kathryn’s gaze never wavers.
“Kiss me,” says the Emperor, and parts her lips in anticipation.
Kathryn says, “No.”
The Emperor’s eyes widen. “What?”
“I’ve done everything else you’ve demanded of me.” Kathryn’s voice is strained, and Kashyk realises the Emperor’s blade is pressing into the soft flesh of her lower abdomen. Blood wells from its tip and begins to trickle down into her cleft. “I’ve proved my loyalty and my worth. Don’t ask this of me.”
“I … don’t … ask,” the Emperor whispers, and turns the knifepoint, dragging it upward along the centre of Kathryn’s torso until it reaches its originating point, just under her chin.
Kathryn flinches. It’s an infinitesimal movement, but to Kashyk, it’s a screaming neon sign that she’s just about ready to crumble.
And he can’t let that happen.
“Hey,” he barks. “Hell-bitch.”
The Emperor’s attention switches to Kashyk, and for a moment he quails. Fury mingles with revulsion in her dark, narrowed eyes. She crosses the room in three strides, the point of her dagger finding the soft meat under his left ribcage.
“You dare address me, rubeta?” she hisses, low. “I’ll gut you and feed your entrails to my dogs!”
The knife slides into his stomach like butter and Kashyk groans through gritted teeth. “Better that,” he manages, “than let you lay a filthy finger on my woman.”
The Emperor bares her teeth.
But before she can plunge the blade deeper and undoubtedly kill him, her arm is caught from behind.
“Stop,” says Kathryn, plucking the blade from her hand and holding it to the Emperor’s throat.
The Emperor stills.
“You’re playing a very dangerous game, my dear,” she says in voice so soft Kashyk’s spine crystallises.
“Maybe,” Kathryn says, equally softly. She leans in so close her lips brush the Emperor’s ear. “But I think you like it … Pippa.”
And she closes her teeth around the Emperor’s earlobe and bites down. Hard.
The Emperor utters a sound that’s a cross between a hiss and a growl, and shoots one gloved hand around Kathryn’s wrist. Kathryn gasps, releasing her bite and dropping the knife, and the Emperor flips her easily onto her back, straddling her and shifting her hold to circle Kathryn’s throat with one hand. The other reaches back to plunge two fingers into Kathryn’s cunt.
Kathryn wheezes for air around the Emperor’s tightening fist, blood staining her lips, her hips bucking upward – though whether to dislodge the other woman or to encourage the movement of her stroking fingers, Kashyk can’t be certain. He watches, doubled over in pain, his lifeblood eking from the wound in his abdomen, as Kathryn arches her back and scrabbles at the Emperor’s vice-like grasp.
But the events of the long night have taken their toll, and Kathryn’s efforts to free herself grow weak and spasmodic. Her legs jerk and shudder; her hands twitch and drift to the floor beside her body. Her eyes flutter closed, her desperate sips for oxygen growing erratic.
Her thighs fall apart, and Kashyk can see the Emperor’s leather-clad fingers stroking, stroking, slick with Kathryn’s juices. Kathryn’s hips twitch.
The Emperor laughs.
“You don’t know what to do, do you?” she croons. “What do you want, my dear? Do you want to come, or do you want to breathe?”
She eases her grip on Kathryn’s throat just enough to let Kathryn suck in a rattling breath.
It’s a mistake.
Kathryn’s left hand gropes for the discarded knife and closes around its hilt. With a herculean effort, she twists her hips violently, dislodging the Emperor and flipping the other woman over. Her thighs clamp around the Emperor’s hips.
Her left hand brings the knife to the Emperor’s throat.
Kathryn coughs, lungs rattling, crimson marks mottling her throat. She’s shaking so fiercely she can barely hold the blade. But she’s the one smiling now.
The Emperor looks up at her, still.
“What are you going to do?” she taunts. “Kill me?”
Kathryn looks like she’s seriously considering it, Kashyk thinks. But she shakes her head.
“That’s not my style,” she rasps. “And besides, I prefer to play the long game.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” the Emperor asks suspiciously.
Silently, Kashyk echoes the sentiment.
In response, Kathryn eases the knife away from the Emperor’s throat. She drags it slowly downward over the woman’s leather breastplate, the sharp blade slicing easily through each leather thong, until the corset falls away to reveal the Emperor’s pristine, golden torso.
“Very nice,” Kathryn murmurs, leaning down briefly to bite at one brown nipple.
The Emperor catches her breath, but Kathryn is not to be distracted. Rising up again, she continues the path of the knife, cutting through the ties lacing the front of the Emperor’s pants, parting the leather until the blade can go no further. And then she tosses the knife aside and plunges her hand between the Emperor’s legs, curling her fingers into hot, creamy flesh.
“Oh, Pippa,” Kathryn utters in a voice of smug satisfaction, “I might win this game after all.”
And as her fingers begin to move, and the Emperor moans and shudders and arches her back, Kashyk, bleeding slowly onto the floor, wonders just whose game it is they’re playing.
The Emperor lies shell-shocked on the floor. Her smooth black hair is tangled, her lipstick bitten away, her leather garb in useless tatters. Her long legs are sprawled open, and between them lies Kathryn Janeway, who has just raised her wet mouth from the Emperor’s sodden cunt.
“My God,” says Philippa Georgiou.
If Kashyk wasn’t so close to passing out from blood loss, he might agree.
Kathryn licks a slow line along the inner crease of the Emperor’s thigh and sits back on her heels. “I’d like to let you bask in the afterglow, Pippa,” she tells her, “but I’m a bit pressed for time.”
“You have somewhere better to be?” Philippa eyes her lazily.
“Not me. Him.” Kathryn nods at Kashyk, slumped onto his side in a pool of blood. “He’s dying.”
“So? I’ll give you a new slave. I’ll give you a hundred slaves if you’ll make me come like that twice a week for the rest of my life.”
“I don’t want another slave, Pippa,” Kathryn cajoles, leaning down to trace her lips over the Emperor’s bloodied earlobe. “I want this one.”
The Emperor sighs. “Fine. There’s a medical kit behind the panel over there. If you can’t figure out how to use it, call Dr McCoy.”
“I’ll work it out,” Kathryn answers with a shudder, getting quickly to her feet to retrieve the medkit.
“When you’ve finished, I have a surprise for you.”
Kashyk watches Kathryn’s face fall.
“Don’t worry,” says Philippa. “You’ll like it.”
Kashyk is held by Januzzi and Rhys before the ranks of soldiers in the Emperor’s throne room. He’s dressed in rough drawstring trousers that feel like burlap, but he’s on his feet, healed and unshackled.
The Emperor, resplendent in a gold cloak, stands on her dais in the ring of lights. At either side of her, decked out in full, impressive uniform, are Captains Pike and Lorca. They’re facing the enormous set of doors at the far end of the throne chamber, the ones through which the Inquisitor had escorted Kashyk and Kathryn when they’d arrived in this universe.
Had that only been six hours ago? Kashyk shakes his head.
The double doors swing open and a woman strides through. She’s dressed in the uniform of the Terran Empire: close-cut, midnight-coloured fabric overlaid by ornate gold armour. Her gait is strong and confident, her head high, her auburn hair loose over her shoulders. She bears a bloodied cut across her cheekbone and signs of strangulation around her neck, but her lips are turned upward in the slightest of smiles.
She strides directly up to the throne and stops before it, bowing low at the waist.
“Rise, my dear,” instructs the Emperor as she descends from the dais. “The uniform suits you.”
“Thank you, Your Imperial Majesty.”
The Emperor takes her hand, turning them both to face the crowd and raising her voice.
“I present to you all my new Inquisitor,” she announces, “and the newest ranking officer in the Imperial Starfleet: Captain Kathryn Janeway.”
“Long live the Empire,” shout the troops in unison.
“Long live the Empire,” Kathryn echoes, a smile playing about her lips.
Deep in Kashyk’s gut churns a cold pit of fear.
“Take the slave to my quarters,” Kathryn had ordered after the ceremony, and Kashyk had been bundled through corridors and shoved into an opulent suite, left to pace the length of it alone. He’s tried to activate the food synthesiser and found it locked down; triggering the exit door earned him an elbow in the stomach from the guard posted outside Kathryn’s brand-new quarters.
After half an hour’s cooling his heels, he’s so frustrated and indignant that if he still had the limina, he thinks he might try using it to get home without her. But she’d taken possession of it before the guards had led him away to change his clothing. He has no choice but to wait.
Finally, just when he’s trying to come up with some no doubt suicidal plan to break out of the suite and find her, she strides in, ordering, “Computer, seal the doors.”
She walks straight over to him and lifts her hands to his face, blue eyes limpid with concern.
“Are you all right?” she asks.
And Kashyk finds himself curling his hands around her wrists, letting go of a good portion of the anger and the worry and the humiliation he’s endured over the past seven hours. Not all of it. But enough that he doesn’t feel the need to make her pay for everything he’s suffered.
“Where’s the limina?” he demands instead.
Kathryn steps back and fishes it from inside her armoured bodice. “I slipped into the bathroom so I could steal a few minutes to study it,” she says. “It’s not good news.”
“Explain.” That gut-clenching fear is back. If they’re stuck here –
“The device’s power source is almost depleted. If I can’t reset the coordinates to send us back where we came from, I don’t think we’ll get another chance.”
“Then you’d better make sure your calculations are accurate,” Kashyk grinds out.
“My calculations?” Kathryn raises an eyebrow.
“You’re the scientist.”
“Whom you haven’t allowed access to any technology more advanced than a speak-and-spell for two years.”
“If you’re referring to the educational toy I gave you so you could learn the Devoran tongue, you know very well that I know you hacked it. Prax intercepted the message you attempted to send to Voyager.”
“You didn’t expect me not to test you, surely?” Kathryn moves to the viewport on the pretext of angling the limina to the starlight to better see the controls.
Moving up close behind her, Kashyk lifts the hair from her neck and presses his mouth to the spot under her ear that always makes her shiver. “On the contrary – I expected you to challenge me daily. That was always part of your appeal for me, Kathryn.”
She shifts away. “I just wanted them to know I was okay,” she says so quietly he can’t be certain he’s heard her.
There’s a chime at the door.
“Come,” calls Kathryn, tucking the limina into her bodice and moving quickly away from Kashyk.
Lieutenant Januzzi steps over the threshold and bows obsequiously. “Captain, uh, Inquisitor, the Emperor requests your presence in her bedchamber.”
Kathryn can’t quite mask her dismay. “Tonight?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He waits.
She raises her eyebrows. “You mean now?”
She rubs her forehead. “I need to freshen up. Wait outside, Lieutenant. I’ll be fifteen minutes.”
Januzzi looks pained, but nods. With a third “yes ma’am,” he bows his way out of the room.
Kathryn locks eyes with Kashyk. “We have fifteen minutes to figure out those coordinates, and hope like hell the power cell holds up.”
“Then let’s get to work.”
“I think I’ve got it,” Kathryn utters tensely.
“Are you sure?” Kashyk leans over to check the sequence she’s entering into the tiny control panel.
She shrugs one shoulder in irritation. “Would you be able to tell if I was doing it wrong?”
Since he probably wouldn’t, he bites his tongue and lets the jibe pass, concentrating instead on the quicksilver movements of her slender fingers and the tiny beads of perspiration along her hairline that he’d like to lick.
The door chime sounds and Kathryn swears. “I thought we had a few more minutes.”
“Apparently not. Do you have it yet?”
“Al…most … Got it,” she claims triumphantly, “I’m ninety-six percent sure.”
“Only ninety-six?” Kashyk asks in alarm.
Januzzi’s fist thuds on the door. “Inquisitor, open the door!”
“Sounds like good odds to me,” Kashyk mutters.
Kathryn’s fingers trip across the panel, and they’re enveloped in swirls of indigo light.
Kashyk curls his toes into familiar carpet and just barely restrains himself from dropping down to kiss it. He drinks in their surroundings, just to be sure. But it’s all right. These are his quarters, on his ship.
There is his bed, the sheets rumpled just as they left them, seven hours and a century and a universe ago. He slumps onto it in relief and pulls Kathryn into his arms, laughter bubbling in his chest.
“We’re home,” he exults.
“Yes,” she echoes, glancing away, “home.”
“Well, that was an adventure,” Kashyk declares, fresh from the shower, a towel wrapped around his hips.
Kathryn glances up from the edge of the bed, where she’s been sitting staring at the floor. “That’s one way to describe it.”
“Oh, Kathryn.” Kashyk catches her hand and pulls her up to stand in the circle of his arms. “Already it barely seems real – as if it were some fever-dream. Let’s agree to think of it that way.”
“A dream,” she repeats tonelessly. “From my perspective it was more of a nightmare.”
“Really?” he can’t help lashing at her. “Because from mine, it looked a lot like you were enjoying yourself.”
Kathryn presses her lips together, eyes flashing with hurt, and pulls her hand from his grip. “I need to get out of this uniform,” she says quietly.
He watches silently as she undresses, placing the pieces of the Terran armour into the recycler. She retrieves a small hand mirror from the dresser and sits on the bed naked, holding the mirror up to inspect the wound on her cheekbone.
“Kathryn …” Kashyk sighs.
She remains silent, and his gaze wanders over her, taking in her pallor, the clear exhaustion in her movements, the smudges under her eyes. There are purplish-blue bruises on her throat, he notices, from where the Emperor’s gloved fingers had squeezed her.
He thinks about the way Kathryn’s eyes had widened, her neck craning, her pale back arching as she strained for air. It makes his neck prickle and his gut tighten. It makes him want to fuck her, put his hands on her in all the places other greedy hands have marked her.
It makes him uncomfortable, that he wants to do that to her. And it shouldn’t, because he quite enjoys inflicting pain on her, and in fact, she usually takes pleasure in a certain degree of it.
He covers his disquiet by tossing his towel aside and dropping to his knees beside the bed, grasping her hips, pulling her toward him. As he buries his mouth between her legs she gasps, her fingers clutching at his hair. “Kashyk,” she half-pleads, “no. I’m so – I need a shower in the worst way.”
“I don’t care,” he mumbles against a mouthful of her hot, succulent flesh.
“But I do,” she answers, gentle but firm, and pushes him off her. She pads toward the bathroom, tossing over her shoulder, “Order us some food, will you?”
The door closes behind her.
It’s the first time she has ever refused him since the day he offered her the choice between her crew and her freedom.
But it doesn’t mean anything. She is here by choice, after all – her choice, then and now. And she has just been through quite an ordeal. To save his life, no less. He can give her a little leeway for that.
Kashyk strides to the replicator and programs in a new body scan, ordering a freshly tailored uniform of the Devore Imperium. He pulls it on, slicks back his hair and comms the ship’s galley to place a peremptory order for crus ranae. It’s Kathryn’s favourite, and she deserves a little treat.
He thinks about recording his log, but when he tries to begin, the words won’t come. How can he possibly explain where they’ve been? What they’ve done?
How can he tell anyone, even a computer, that a proud Devore posed as slave to a human?
How can he tell anyone what he let them do to his woman? His Kathryn?
His spiralling thoughts are thankfully cut off by the chime at the door. “Come,” he shouts.
A man strides in. Tall, rugged-looking, warm brown skin, dark hair. He dumps a tray of food on the bed and steps back, glowering darkly.
There’s a marking on his forehead. Kashyk recognises it.
“Are you trying to get yourself killed, Kash?” the man growls. “She thinks you’re looking after the children. What the hell are you doing in here, ordering food from her personal chef?”
Kashyk isn’t sure which is more astonishing: the words he’s hearing, or the man who’s speaking them.
At that moment, the bathroom door opens on a waft of sweet-scented steam and Kathryn steps out in a silky black slip, brushing her freshly-cleansed hair.
“Is that dinner?” she begins. “I’m starv-”
As her gaze tracks to the third person in the suddenly crowded room, her words drop away like stones in a pond. Kashyk watches as her lips part, as the colour drains from her face, as the hairbrush drops unnoticed from her hand.
“Chakotay,” she whispers, and then her knees give way and she sits down, hard, on the floor.
TO BE CONTINUED ...
Note: I promised Latin Threshold puns, so here they are.
Limina (the magical universe-hopping transport device): this one is obvious; it’s simply Latin for threshold.
Stelio (the name of the slave market where Kashyk bought the limina): Latin for trickster or lizard.
Ignot (the small, helpless creature Kashyk compares himself to when he’s captured by the Terrans): from the Latin ignotus, a newt.
Lacerta (the sector Pike’s ship recently returned from patrolling): Latin for lizard.
Rubeta (Emperor Georgiou’s insult for Kashyk): toad.
Crus ranae (Kathryn’s favourite Devoran delicacy): frog’s legs.