Lovers that never were
by Jinny W
Disclaimer: Paramount created and owns them. I'm just foolin' around.
I wrote this little piece in response to spoilers for "Shattered". Some... ahem, shall we say... very detailed spoilers. A big thankyou to Thinkey. You're a champ :-)
The title comes from an Elvis Costello/McCartney song. The less said about that habit the better. Chakotay's line about the things left unsaid in their relationship is also pinched, well, paraphrased anyway, from a recent interview with Kate Mulgrew at startrek.com. Did I come up with any of this myself? Umm... I'll get back to you on that one.
"When all of the clocks have run down all over the world
we'll be the lovers that never were... "
Later that night, when we'd finished dinner and Kathryn stood up to get us some coffee, I couldn't stop thinking about that cheeky smile of hers. How did she do it? Not the smile, I mean the way that she always seems to know those little details about what's going on all around the ship. Where I hide my Antarian cider is just the tip of the iceberg.
She knows about Tom Paris' secret betting pools. She knows which junior crewmembers do the best Janeway impersonations. She manages to keep up on the Voyager gossip without ever seeming to participate in it.
I don't know how she has the time to find out these things, given all her other responsibilities. But somehow she manages to keep it all together. I think, not for the first time, about what a truly amazing woman Kathryn Janeway is.
I watch the back of her head, bent over slightly as she picks up the mugs of coffee from the replicator. Despite my refusal to talk about recent events, I can't help recalling the disorientation I felt when she - the captain from Voyager's past - stared at me so suspiciously on the bridge.
"I didn't realize we were on a first-name basis," she had retorted, when I called her Kathryn.
My reply had been hesitant then. She was so familiar, she was Kathryn after all, but she was a Kathryn who didn't know me. Who didn't trust me. Who most certainly didn't like me. It was oddly alienating. I wonder why this, of all things, bothered me the most about my time travelling experience? Even encountering Seska again had little emotional impact. She felt like an annoyance, a stumbling block in my way, but that was all.
My mind skips forward to the curious gleam in Kathryn's eye as she bade me farewell. I recall her question about how well we'd come to know each other - just how close did we end up getting?
My answer was dissembling. The truth, but still not the truth.
"Let's just say, there are barriers we never cross."
Kathryn - the old Kathryn - had smiled in understanding. But did she really understand, I wonder? My reply hadn't intimated at the strange and close friendship that we have now. The way that things hang unspoken between us without needing to be said. How significant some of these silences really are.
"Not as exciting as your cider," Kathryn says, breaking into my reverie as she brings the coffee back to the table. "But it wouldn't be dinner without it."
I smile at her. "Not dinner in your quarters, anyway."
She sinks down next to me on the couch. "Are you telling me that crewmembers on this ship are getting away with not drinking coffee?" She snorted derisively. "I thought it was the wonder potion that kept this well oiled machine going week after week."
"It's what keeps you going, Kathryn," I say.
She takes a deep appreciative drink from her mug before responding, straight faced once again.
"There are several things that keep me going, Chakotay."
"Is that so?"
I raise an eyebrow, but I don't ask her what that cryptic remark means. I don't have to. Some things just don't need explaining.
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