By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: Post Endgame and inspired by this picture from the 2002 Picnic Prose contest. Oh, and I played fast and loose with the events of the last Trek movie. I hated it, so sue me…
There's a lot to be said for self-delusionment when it comes to matters of the heart.
~Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider
“Kathryn, how are you doing today?”
“I’m fine, Deanna.” Kathryn smiled in spite of the interruption to her busy schedule. “Our appointment isn’t until – “ She shot a glance at her schedule hovering at the corner of her desk console. “Sixteen hundred.”
“If that’s four o’clock, then yes.” She waved a hand. “I know I’m supposed to add five or drop a one – “
“Add twelve.” A male voice said from off screen. “Honestly, Deanna, after all this time, I’d think you’d understand military time.”
Deanna winked at Kathryn. Obviously this was a running game between the exotic counselor and her husband. “I want to try something a little different today.”
Since Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant, Kathryn had been talking with Deanna Troi daily per Starfleet orders. She wasn’t happy with it, but she found that the Betazoid woman was both charming and relaxing. So much so, that Kathryn had almost begun to look forward to their sessions.
“I want you to meet me in the landing bay instead of my office.”
“Tell her which bay.” Came the chiding voice of Will Riker
“Yes, dear.” She rolled her eyes. “Kathryn is a Starfleet captain. I’m sure she can find her way to the landing bay.”
“On which ship, dear?”
The teasing banter made Kathryn smile, but it also made the ache in her heart start up again. Would she ever enjoy such teasing and playfulness? The one man she’d wanted to spend the rest of her life with was happy with another woman. If only –
“Kathryn – “ Deanna’s voice broke into her thoughts. “Circular thinking.”
“Excuse me?” Her cheeks colored as she realized the empath had picked up her churning emotions.
“Meet me in the main landing bay here on the Enterprise at four o’clock – “
“Sixteen hundred.” Will corrected.
“Out of uniform – “
“Naked? Deanna, really!”
“Will! Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Deanna laughed. “Forgive me, Kathryn – I don’t normally consult with people when Will is around. He’s a bad influence.”
“Nonsense! This isn’t a consultation.” Will leaned into the pickup range of the viewer and grinned at Kathryn. “It’s a conversation.”
“One to which you were not invited.” His wife swatted his leg.
A Will Riker grin was infectious, and Kathryn found herself grinning back. “Will, good to see you again.”
“Of course it is.” He agreed. “What my delightful bride is trying to say is that you’re to be in the Enterprise’s main landing bay – dressed casually – at sixteen hundred hours.”
“I did say that!”
“This is a rather odd therapy method, don’t you think?” Until now, all of her meetings with Deanna had been in the counselor’s comfortable office on the Enterprise.
“Not at all.” Will kissed his wife’s cheek. “She’s a visionary.” He let Deanna see his own vision of her.
“I’ll see you at four, Kathryn.” Deanna’s cheeks were suddenly much pinker.
“I’ll be there. Janeway out.” The screen went dark, and Kathryn sat back in her chair. If she swiveled the chair around, she’d be able to see the Enterprise just off Voyager’s bow. It was quite the honor to be escorted by the flagship of the fleet.
Quite the honor unless you wanted to hurry up and get home. Starfleet was bringing them in at impulse power, saying they wanted to be sure the crew was able to readjust to life in the Alpha Quadrant.
“Probably want to have time to plan those long boring events we’ll have to attend.” The ache sharpened. “I’ll have to attend.” Alone.
Kathryn shoved aside the thought and turned back to her work. Chakotay was happy, and that was all that mattered.
“Strange place for a therapy session.”
“It is, isn’t it?”
Chakotay turned to see a dark skinned woman wearing a dark purple caftan and a very odd hat – headpiece? – step around the end of a parked shuttle. She smiled at him. “But then, some problems require unique solutions.”
“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.”
“Not with those dimples.” She extended a hand. “I’m Guinan. Deanna’s running a bit late.”
“Chakotay.” He took her hand and shook it, surprised at the firmness of her grip.
“So, you’re home – now what?” Guinan settled herself on the steps of the shuttle.
“Ah… I’m not sure, to be honest.” Tugging at his earlobe, he wondered again why complete strangers thought they could ask such personal questions.
“But you’re not always honest, are you?”
“What?” Chakotay felt a spark of irritation. “I am honest – “
“As the day is long.” Kathryn smiled as Chakotay turned around. “Sometimes, I wished he were a little less honest with me.”
“He’s being less than honest now. But then – “ Guinan shrugged. “So are you.”
“I beg your pardon?” Kathryn settled her hands on her hips and glared down at the other woman. She’d met Guinan once on a tour of the ship, but she didn’t remember her having been rude.
“Look at the two of you! Both smiling and pretending you’re happy – lies, lies, lies!” She cocked an eyebrow. “And that glare doesn’t bother me. Save it for Admiral Nechayev.”
“I, for one, am happy to be home.” Turning to Chakotay, Kathryn smiled. “No more replicated coffee.”
“Or recycled air.” He returned her smile.
“Let me move up a step.” Guinan pulled the hem of her skirt up off the deck. “It’s getting deep in here.”
“I was supposed to meet with Deanna Troi.” Ignoring Guinan, Kathryn focused on Chakotay. He looked good, and her heart ached once again for losing him.
“So was I.” He frowned. “You cut your hair. Again.”
“Oh… well… I needed a change.” And I need to hide the scissors the next time I have too much Irish coffee at my own pity party.
The shoulder length bob hadn’t been a style he’d miss. Chakotay much preferred Kathryn’s hair long, but this cut made her look almost boyish. Not that Kathryn cared what he thought. “It’s a nice change.”
“You ever hear the story about the little boy whose nose grew when he lied?” Guinan held a hand up to her nose and pulled it back as if her nose was rapidly growing. “Watch for closing hatches.”
Chakotay and Kathryn both glared at her, but she was unfazed. “Listen, by now you’ve got to realize this is a setup. Deanna sent me to help the two of you get your act together.”
“My ‘act’ is together perfectly fine.” Kathryn turned her back on the woman. “I’m going back to Voyager; I have too much work to do as it is.”
“As do I.” Chakotay tapped his combadge. “Chakotay to Voyager.”
There was no answer and Guinan laughed softly. There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “Oh, did I forget to mention we’re in the middle of a battle drill?”
“A drill?” Kathryn’s hands went back to her hips.
“Bay doors are locked, too. Security and all that.” Standing, Guinan smoothed her skirt. “Now, let’s get down to what’s important here.”
“It appears we’re a captive audience.” Chakotay said tightly.
“Exactly. I knew you were a smart boy.” She grinned at Kathryn. “Now, Kathryn here is stubborn. Much too stubborn for her own good.”
“I am not!”
“Oh, yes you are.”
“I am – “ Kathryn clamped her mouth shut. She was not going to argue with this woman like she was four years old.
“And you – “ Guinan shook a finger at Chakotay. “Wipe that grin off your face. You’re as contrary as any man I’ve ever seen.”
“I am – “ Chakotay stopped as he saw the same trap Kathryn had fallen into. “Yes. I am. I admit that.”
“At least you know your faults.” She leaned toward Kathryn. “A man who knows his faults is a keeper.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.” Kathryn muttered.
“You made a promise to Kathryn. Oh, you hid it in a pretty story – but it was there.”
Chakotay shot a look at Kathryn over Guinan’s hat. She shook her head and mouthed ‘no!’ at him. The Angry Warrior had remained a secret between the two of them.
“You should have stuck by that promise.” Guinan tapped his chest with a finger.
Kathryn nodded before she could stop herself.
“But you – “ Turning, Guinan shook the same finger under Kathryn’s nose. “You shouldn’t have asked him to wait. The first time took twenty three years! Men get lonely – you know how they are!”
Now it was Chakotay’s turn to nod. “True.” He didn’t care that he’d just painted his entire gender as thinking with their balls.
“You just be quiet.” Guinan said over her shoulder. “And you – “ She turned her attention back to Kathryn.
“All right, so I was stupid.” Kathryn sighed, too tired to wonder how this bossy little woman knew about the Angry Warrior story or the altered timeline.
“Forget stupid. Try insane. Have you looked at this boy? No, you were too busy playing the Virgin Captain.” Striking a regal pose, Guinan crossed her eyes. “Making the supreme sacrifice – well, Elizabeth died old and lonely! And so did Admiral Janeway!”
The image of Admiral Janeway; bitter, old, and tired, came back to Kathryn. She didn’t want to be Admiral Janeway. “I know that now. What do you want from me?”
“Honey – “ Guinan’s voice softened, and she took Kathryn’s hands. “You grab love when it’s offered, because you never know if you’ll get another chance. I know.”
Kathryn blinked back tears. She knew it. Only too well. She squeezed Guinan’s hands.
Dropping Kathryn’s hands, Guinan looked from one to the other. “Well? Go on! Kiss and make up!”
“What about Seven?” Kathryn looked into the black velvet eyes.
“She’s – there is – “ He didn’t know how to answer. Forming a relationship with Seven had come out of the blue and it still confused him.
“Oh, please.” It was Guinan’s turn to put her hands on her hips. “You both know she’s not the one he’s in love with. Now will you get on with it?”
“Does a bartender outrank a Starfleet captain?” A smile crooked up the corner of Kathryn’s mouth.
“On this ship, it appears so.” Chakotay held his hands out to Kathryn and when she took them, he pulled her close. “I intended to wait, Kathryn. Forgive me.”
“No. It’s my fault.” She brought their clasped hands up to rest on his chest. “I was foolish to think you’d wait forever. Forgive me.”
“Somebody just forgive somebody and let’s get on with the kissing.” Guinan sighed. “I have a bar to run.”
Slowly, Chakotay lowered his mouth to Kathryn’s, his lips hovering over hers for a moment before pressing against them. She melted into him, her hands pulling free of his to wind around his neck as her tongue shyly played with his.
“Well, my work is done here.”
“Wait – “ Breaking the kiss, Kathryn turned to Guinan. “Did you lose the man you loved?”
“Me? Oh no, I’ve got grandchildren – great grandchildren – great great grandchildren – “ She walked out of the bay, the doors hissing open and then snapping shut behind her.
Chakotay tipped Kathryn’s head back. He was about to kiss her again when a thought struck him. “Weren’t the bay doors locked?”
“We’ve been had.” Kathryn arched an eyebrow.
“I wonder how she kept the combadge from working?”
“Riker.” They said together, laughing.
“It appears there was a ship wide – probably two ship wide – conspiracy.” Laughing, Kathryn rested against his chest once again.
“How about… if we change Miss Stubborn to Mrs. Contrary?” Chakotay brushed a hand over the auburn hair. “Provided she promises to let her hair grow.”
“I think Miss Stubborn can do that. If Mr. Contrary promises to help brush it.”
“I believe Mr. Contrary is agreeable to that.” Agreeable and had many hot fantasies to play out in that area.
“Well, Mr. Contrary…” She traced his lips with a fingertip. “I appear to be free for the rest of my life, if you’ll have me.”
“Miss Stubborn, I love you.” His lips found hers again.