By Maquis Leader
Author's note: Yet another Endgame fix the way we wanted it to be! An ‘end around’ is a football play that appears to go one way then reverses to go the opposite direction. Which is really the way it intended to go from the start
Seven of Nine is going to die. Three years from now she’ll be injured on an away mission. She’ll make it back to Voyager and die in the arms of her husband. Chakotay.
die in the arms of her husband. Chakotay.
her husband. Chakotay.
her husband. Chakotay.
The words had replayed endlessly through the long day. Taking another sip of her coffee, Kathryn wondered for the thousandth time why Admiral Janeway had told her about Chakotay and Seven. She knew the pain it would cause. One simple phrase. One word. One name. Her husband. Chakotay. Why had she told her? Knowing Tuvok would lose his mind was enough. Knowing she'd lose 22 other crewmembers was enough. Just the chance to get home!
Why? Settling on the sofa, she pulled the afghan around her. She’d gotten one other piece of information out of the Admiral. Chakotay was dead. Oh, the Admiral hadn't said a word. She didn’t have to. The look of pain and longing when she first saw Chakotay in the transporter room had told her everything. That and the sure knowledge that if Chakotay had been alive, he'd have been with the Admiral. Kathryn chuckled. No doubt lecturing and arguing the entire way, but he would have been there. After all, he'd made his own trip back in time to save Voyager. If Harry could talk him into it – she damn sure could.
So why? They’d spent 23 years in the Delta Quadrant. 23 years – when had Chakotay died? Had Admiral Janeway ever told her Chakotay how she felt? Or had she kept the rulebook between them all that time? Had he died before she could tell him she loved him?
Why? Chakotay and Seven? She just couldn't see it. Although, if he grew tired of waiting...23 years was a long time. And Seven was blonde and busty – everyman’s type – and innocent – everyman's desire. Kathryn sighed. She wasn’t completely stupid. Chakotay was a man of passion. He had his occasional affairs, discretely of course, he’d always been considerate of her feelings but he’d never fallen in love with any of them. Always he’d come back to her side. Always he’d let her know he loved her. Never in so many words, but in the way he stood a little too close in the turbo lift, walked close enough in the corridors that their shoulders brushed, the way his eyes lit up when he looked at her. She sighed again. And the way he said her name as if they were lying naked in bed together after making love. He’d promised to wait and she never doubted it for a second.
She shook her head. Seven was tempting walking around in her skintight suit and stiletto heels – Lord knows every man on the ship panted after her including the Doctor. Chakotay, however, had never given her a second glance. He’d once commented that she was too cold and distant for his taste. He’d tugged on her hair and said he liked his women to have fire in their spirit.
Kathryn rubbed her eyes trying to force back her headache. The Admiral had a plan, but she had her own plans. One sleepless night she’d decided that if they were still in the Delta Quadrant after 10 years, then protocol would be set aside. Despite what the crew thought, Kathryn Janeway wanted a life. Wanted a husband and children. A smile tugged at her lips, Chakotay had let her know he wanted a wife and children – she almost dropped her coffee cup. Seven couldn’t have children! The Borg had removed her reproductive organs. Of all the women on Voyager he might marry, Seven wouldn't even make the list. Maybe if he loved her enough he might settle for a childless marriage. True love conquers all and all that crap. Truelove? She snorted. Chakotay loved her, not Seven. She knew it and he knew it. The last time they had dinner together, he'd made that perfectly clear.
Something had happened that night the ship was fractured, something that made him more aggressive. Flirting more openly, touching her at every opportunity, and brazenly letting his feelings show when they were alone. He had begun a slow assault on her senses that had culminated that night.
His arm settled around her shoulders and he pulled her against his side.
Kathryn looked up from the report she was reading. "Comfortable, Chakotay?"
"Very much so." He smiled at her. "Aren’t you?"
Yes! "You’re just a little close."
"I wanted to look over the report, make sure I haven't left anything out." He brushed her fingers with his as he scrolled through the information.
"This is B'Elanna’s engineering report." She felt his breath on her neck just before his lips touched.
"I looked it over." He nuzzled her ear. "Interesting idea about reducing fuel consumption."
"Chakotay... " She tried to pull away, but his arm held her firmly against him.
"Something about pooling resources."
"We can't do this." She clutched at his hand as it moved to rest on her belly.
"Do what, Kathryn?" He nipped at her neck. "Can’t care for each other?"
"We can't act on these feelings." She tipped her head back to look at him. Desire burned in the black velvet eyes. As his mouth lowered to hers, she twisted so the kiss fell on her cheek. Seemingly undaunted, he kissed along her cheek to the corner of her mouth. "Chakotay, we can't. No matter how much I want to."
"Can’t what? Can't feel? Can't love?" He covered her breast with one hand, teasing the hard nipple. "I think it's too late for that." His other hand captured hers and laid it in his lap.
It was getting hard to say ‘no’. Fire spread from his hand and mouth through her body. "I can't..."
"Yes, we can... " He cupped her hand around him. He was throbbing under her fingers. Helplessly, she tightened on the hard shaft, causing him to moan against her neck. "I want to make love to you, Kathryn..."
"I can't... " She struggled out of his arms. "I can't, Chakotay."
"Tell me you don't want me." He lay back on the sofa panting, his eyes burning into hers.
"I can't, Chakotay!" Tears spilled down her cheeks.
"You can't keep denying what we feel, Kathryn." He wiped the tears from her cheeks. "You don't have to say you love me. Just tell me you care. One word from you, and I’ll wait forever if I have too."
She stood mute, unable to say what he needed to hear. What she desperately wanted to say. Fresh tears fell as she watched him rise from the couch and walk to the door.
"If you need me, I’ll be right next door." He stopped and looked back at her. "If you don't love me, Kathryn, then let me go." Then he was gone.
The friendship was still there, but the teasing and flirting was gone. He'd put up a wall between them. Not that she could blame him. Why wait forever for a woman who was scared to love him when every woman on the ship was crazy about him and would be happy to take him? Clearly he had left it up to her to make the next move. And like a stupid fool, she hadn’t made it. She should have told him about her 10 year deadline. It wasn’t as if protocol forbid telling someone you wanted to be with them at a certain point in the future. Would it have hurt to let him know? She’d always assumed he knew how she felt. You know what you get for assuming, Kathryn!
He'd stopped having dinner with her although he continued to have lunch with her in the mess hall or the ready room. One subtle change was that he sat across from her and not beside her. Then a few days ago, he declined saying he already had plans. There'd been a tension, evasiveness to the casual way he’d said it. His eyes had skipped over hers refusing to make contact.
After two days of driving herself crazy wondering which woman on Voyager was enjoying his company, she bit the bullet and invited him to dinner. The shock she felt when he said he already had dinner plans must have shown on her face. Chakotay had flushed and had offered to cancel if she wanted to talk to him. Given a second chance, her courage deserted her and she told him not to worry about it. Later, she'd been secretly pleased that Admiral Janeway’s appearance had cut that dinner date short.
After Admiral Janeway dropped her bombshell, Kathryn had checked the computer logs. The skipped lunch Chakotay had been in the cargo bay with Seven and dinner in his quarters had been with Seven as well. Scrolling through the information she found two earlier dates. Both were dinners in the mess hall. One with other crewmembers and one without. He’d had also been in astrometrics quite a bit lately.
Admiral Janeway had been right; he was starting a romance with Seven. So why tell her? To rub it in? Gee thanks, appreciate that, stop by anytime. Can I escort you to the nearest airlock? There had to be another reason. The Admiral had to have known she'd want to destroy the hub once she knew it was there. Had to have known she’d try to work out a way to do it and get home. So why? What was the Admiral really planning?
Getting up from the sofa, Kathryn got a fresh cup of coffee. "Computer, extrapolate on these facts: Admiral Janeway knew the Borg hub was in the nebula, she also knew I would want to destroy the hub. Admiral Janeway wants to bring Voyager home through one of the apertures in the hub. Admiral Janeway has told me of several crew deaths as a result of not using the hub. Admiral Janeway also told me of the future marriage of two crewmembers during her time line. Computer, how does the information of this marriage affect the probability of Voyager's return?"
"No effect. Voyager has an 85% probability of success."
"Computer, Admiral Janeway has a neurolytic agent that can infect the Borg and render them helpless during our escape. Speculate on her possession of this agent."
“Admiral Janeway had the neurolytic agent prior to exiting the temporal rift. Conclusion, Admiral Janeway intended to use this agent from the beginning of her mission."
Kathryn nodded, that had been her own conclusion as well. “And the information on the marriage has zero affect on Voyager's probable return home?"
"Computer, crewmembers in question are Seven of Nine and Commander Chakotay. Extrapolate on the effect of their current relationship and possible future marriage on Voyager's success."
"I didn't think so. Maybe, Computer, I ought to let you figure out for me why Admiral Janeway would tell me about their relationship – I sure can't figure it out myself."
She lifted her eyebrows. The computer had taken her words literally and was trying to find a reason for her. What the hell, Voyager's computers were smarter than she was anyway.
“99.99% probability that Admiral Janeway wanted you to intervene in the relationship prior to the future marriage."
Stunned, Kathryn sat down bonelessly on the sofa. "Computer, what are you basing this hypothesis on?"
"Hypothesis based on facts given as well as personal logs of Captain Kathryn Janeway."
"You looked – Computer, you looked at my logs?"
"Affirmative. Personal information was required to form hypothesis. Query did not impact ship’s functions."
"So Computer..." In for a penny, in for a pound. "Do you think I should intervene in the relationship?”
"Based on my logs?"
"Affirmative. Hypothesis is based on personal logs and Computer usage."
Computer usage? "Computer, what computer usage? "
"Queries on Commander Chakotay's locations during previous 7.2 years. Holodeck program New Earth run approximately--"
"Computer, enough, stop!" Good God! She didn't need it pointed out to her how often – she set her coffee cup down on the table with a thump. Maybe she did. Maybe that was why Admiral Janeway had told her about Chakotay and Seven. To kick her in the ass and remind her she was a Janeway and Janeways didn’t give up what was theirs without a fight. The question now was how to go about ‘intervening‘ in this so-called relationship?
Snuggling down into the warmth of the afghan she’d ‘borrowed’ from Chakotay, Kathryn started putting together a battle plan.
"Are you ready to go home?"
"Sure, aren’t you?" Kathryn linked her arm with Chakotay’s as they walked to Admiral Janeway's quarters.
"Honestly? I'm not sure." He patted her hand. It felt good to be close to her again. "There’s more uncertainties in the Alpha Quadrant than there are here. At least for the Maquis."
"Former Maquis." She reminded him. "Don't worry, if Starfleet gives you any trouble when we get home, they'll answer to me."
Admiral Janeway's door opened on the first chime. "Over here. I’m getting one last drink of coffee." She called from where she stood by the replicator.
"I can have Chell make you a thermos to take along, if you like." Chakotay offered.
"No." Admiral Janeway turned away to stare out the viewport. "Don't you have more important duties elsewhere, Commander? "
Kathryn bristled and took a step toward the Admiral. Chakotay stopped her with a hand on her arm. Shaking his head, he gave her a sad smile before he turned and left.
"Let me finish this cup and I'll be ready to go. "
"I don't know what happened in your time line, Admiral, but there's no excuse for talking to him like that."
"I'm uncomfortable around him." The older woman sighed. "Tell him I'm sorry. It's just so – so hard to – see him."
Kathryn softened. She'd already figured out that Chakotay was dead in the Admiral's timeline. She couldn't imagine how painful it must be to see him alive again. "I'll tell him. I’ll tell him a lot of things after this is over."
The crooked smiled made the Admiral look years younger. "See that you do."
Chakotay sighed as he made his way to the bridge. Admiral Janeway's snub hurt more than he cared to admit. Since coming on board, she'd avoided him whenever possible. In the briefings, she'd spoken to everyone but him, and had made an effort to avoid eye contact. There'd been a moment when they were installing the shields when she'd smiled and touched his arm. Then she’d slowly retreated back into herself. Had they had a falling out bad enough that she hated him? Was that why she was on her mission alone? No, the look in her eyes when she first saw him showed happiness then pain and longing before she covered it with her command mask. Chakotay stopped. Was he dead?
Moving out of the center of the corridor, he leaned against the bulkhead. Spirits, Kathryn had told him 22 more crewmembers died in the remaining 16 years it took them to get home in the Admiral's time. Was he one of them? He hadn't stopped to think about it, somehow assumed that his future self had stayed behind. Now that he thought about it, he should've known that he'd be at her side. No wonder she was jumpy around him.
No matter, if the Admiral was unhappy to see him, he had someone else who'd be very happy to see him. Smiling, Chakotay turned and headed to astrometrics.
Two snubs in one day were almost more than he could take. Admiral Janeway had told Seven something, she wouldn’t say exactly what, that made her want to break off their relationship. What had Admiral Janeway said? And why? What did she stand to gain? Settling into his command chair, Chakotay checked the status of the ship’s departments. Every one was ready for Showtime.
His thoughts strayed from his reports. Was she trying to protect Seven's feelings? If he died, then Seven would undoubtedly be hurt. Kathryn had always seen Seven as a daughter in some ways and was very protective of her. She might want to spare her the grief of his death.
No, wait. She said Seven would hurt him. How would she hurt him? Was she going to dump him for someone else? That would be a blow to his ego, but he wasn't in love with Seven. Chakotay grimaced. Although the way he'd practically begged her just a few minutes ago probably made it look that way. He'd never been dumped. He certainly didn't want the first time to be by an ex-Borg drone.
So what did Admiral Janeway have up her sleeve? She'd told Kathryn something that had her walking around in the daze and now she’d told Seven she should break it off with him because she'd hurt him in the future. Had his counterpart in the Admiral's timeline hurt her with his relationship with Seven? He already knew Kathryn’s ego would be hurt because he’d dated a woman half her age. It wouldn't last much longer anyway; he and Seven were too different. That was one reason he insisted they keep it a secret. So Kathryn would never find out.
Except ... Admiral Janeway knew. So she did find out. Had the fallout ended their friendship? He knew he couldn't allow that to happen. His friendship with Kathryn was more important than light dates with Seven. While he enjoyed teaching her how to kiss, he wasn't throwing away seven years of friendship for it. Chakotay ran his hand through his hair. As long as he was being honest, he should be honest enough to admit that it was Kathryn's love he was afraid to lose.
He looked up as Kathryn took her seat. Whatever Admiral Janeway had intended, he intended to make sure Kathryn never became the lonely old woman Admiral Janeway was. Reaching out, he took her hand. Her smoky blue eyes flicked up and she smiled. The chance to be with her was worth more than a casual roll in the sack with some blonde.
There was a fire in the black velvet eyes that Kathryn hadn't seen in some time. If everything went according to plan, it was a sight she’d see for the rest of her life.
Voyager screamed out of the exploding Borg sphere. The inertial dampeners strained to keep her on an even keel as they rode the shockwave and debris bounced off the enhanced shields.
"We did it." Kathryn stared at the cluster of starships waiting for them.
Chakotay turned to find Seven smiling at him. He did not remember moving over to her station. He turned his attention back to Kathryn and felt a twinge of guilt. He should have been at her side. She seemed rattled by their sudden return home, as did everyone else. Voyager was silent. There were no cheers or whoops of joy, just a stunned silence.
Harry broke the silence. "We’re being hailed."
"On screen." After a moment Admiral Paris appeared on the main screen. "Sorry to surprise you. Next time, we'll call ahead."
"Welcome back!" The admiral was smiling broadly.
"It’s good to be here."
"How did you--"
"It’ll all be in my report." First there’s something else I need to take care of.
Admiral Paris blinked as she cut him off."I look forward to reading it. "The screen returned to the image of the gathered starships.
"Thank you for your help, Admiral Janeway." Kathryn whispered.
“Sickbay to bridge. Doctor to Lieutenant Paris, there's someone here who'd like to say ‘hello’. "
She smiled at the sound of the baby in the background. "You’d better get down there, Tom."
"Yes, ma'am!" Tom jogged to the turbolift.
Turning, Kathryn saw Chakotay smiling down at her, his dark eyes meeting hers. He seemed completely unaware of Seven and the lovesick smile on her face. "Mr. Chakotay." She gestured expansively toward Tom's abandon console. "The helm." Pre-emptive strike.
"Aye, Captain." He nodded and smiled, flashing his dimples as he walked past her.
Kathryn watched Seven as her eyes followed Chakotay hungrily. Their eyes locked and after a moment the other woman looked down and fidgeted with her console.
Settling herself comfortably in her command chair, Kathryn gave the order. "Set a course. For home." She watched the starships part to flank Voyager, their running lights blinking in welcome. Just a moment to enjoy this victory before starting the next battle.
She stood suddenly and turned to look up at Seven. "Seven, I believe you're needed in astrometrics." Fire one.
The blonde woman looked startled, but nodded. "Yes, Captain." Hastily she made her way to the turbolift.
"Tuvok, you have the bridge. Lieutenant Morgan, take the helm." Kathryn put hand on Chakotay shoulder. "Commander, you're with me." Fire two.
In her ready room, she replicated a bottle of champagne and two glasses. Handing the bottle to him, she took a seat on the sofa.
"Congratulations, Kathryn." Chakotay opened the bottle and caught the first spurt of wine neatly in a glass. Handing it to her, he poured a second one for himself. "You did it."
"We did it. " She patted the cushion next her. When he sat down, she touched her glass to his. "To the journey."
"To the journey." He echoed before taking a sip of his champagne. Kathryn had a gleam in her eye that meant she was up to something. "So, now that we're home, what do we do?"
"Now, we clear some things up." She sat her glass on the table. "Chakotay, if it's not too late, if you can forgive me.” She leaned forward. "I love you." His eyes widened and the glass slipped from his fingers. Shields down.
“K – K – I –" His heart was lodged in his throat. He had dreamed of this but never really believed that it would ever happen.
"I love you, Chakotay." Kathryn pressed her mouth to his. His lips trembled and a soft moan escaped him. Direct hit. Sliding her fingers into the raven hair, she teased his tongue with hers.
Pulling back, Chakotay searched her eyes. "Kathryn? Are you – are you absolutely sure? We can't – I won't go back."
"I don't want to go back. I don't want to be a bitter old woman who threw away her only chance of love." She smiled. "I don't want to be Admiral Janeway."
"Well, you might get to be Admiral Janeway, but I’ll do my best to be sure you’re never a bitter old woman. Or lonely." He pulled her into his arms and kissed her hungrily.
Unconditional surrender. Janeway 1 – Seven 0.
"Torres to Chakotay."
Kathryn giggled as he growled against her mouth before slapping his combadge. "Chakotay here."
"Get down here and see your niece. She doesn't have a name until you give her one, remember? "
"I remember. I'll be right down. Chakotay out."
"You have to name her?"
"It’s traditional among my people for a child's uncle or godfather to give them their name."
“Which means they still haven't chosen one?" She laughed. "Maybe they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. They can point to you when someone wants to know why their name wasn't chosen."
"No doubt." He put his arm around Kathryn's waist as they left the ready room.
Tuvok watched them as they walked past him to the turbolift. He arched an eyebrow as the doors closed.
In Sickbay, Chakotay took the squalling baby from B'Elanna. Her tiny fists shook with anger and her face was red. Cradling her to his chest, he bounced her gently and began chanting a baby song.
Slowly her cries grew less strident as she responded to his voice. Her fists became something to be chewed on rather than shaken. Chakotay smiled at her. The blue eyes studied him far more seriously than those of a child less than an hour old. "She has wisdom, and character, she's a warrior."
Pulling off her blanket, he examined her body for blemishes or imperfections. There were none, she was perfect. Using Voyager's bow as the reference point for North, he oriented himself to face east. Holding the baby up he offered her to the spirits. First to the East where the sun rose and life begins, then to the South, the West, and finally the North with the sun set and life ends.
Wrapping her blanket back around her, he handed her to Tom. "I give you Miral Kathryn. May she have her grandmother's fierceness and aunt’s strength."
Tom solemnly took his daughter. "Miral Kathryn, welcome to the world."
Kathryn wiped away her tears as Chakotay put his arm around her. Reaching out to stroke the downy baby hair, she whispered. "I want one."
B'Elanna and Tom looked up from their daughter. Had she really said that?
"We can get started right now if you want." Chakotay kissed her cheek.
"I’d like that. Promise me our babies will have brown eyes." She smiled up him. "I love your eyes."
"I’d promise, Kathryn, but if your genes are as stubborn as you are –" He laughed and hugged her to him. "Our children will all have blue eyes and red hair."
She tilted her head as if thinking that one over. "You’re probably right." She turned back to Tom and B'Elanna. "Now give me my namesake, and that's an order."
Tom and B'Elanna smiled at each other as Kathryn lifted Miral into her arms.