I have to thank myself for everything.
Ever since that white-haired Admiral Janeway dove
through space and time to destroy the Collective and lead us home, I
have been thinking of little else but the painful glimpse into my
future – no, her future – that she leaked into my brain.
Seven and Chakotay?
The very thought makes me sick.
That great bear of a man, a nice guy to be sure, but not much
going on in the brain region. A
steady officer, yet one who will never be a great captain.
No. He’ll be one
of many who will serve the Federation well, but ultimately lack the
creativity and daring to be a true leader.
I’ve known that in the seven years of our journey through the
Delta Quadrant. There’s
nothing special about him. Chakotay
is merely able, dependable, and incurably mediocre.
And to think his hands have been wandering over
my beautiful Borg officer. Yes,
my Borg, mine. Because
that is what she is. I
believe even she knows it. There
is a connection between us that has always existed from the first
moment of contact, growing and evolving and deepening in ways that
Chakotay could never understand or appreciate.
She’ll never feel it with him, because that connection is all
about us. Seven and
He’s too easy for her, and she’ll always be
too much for him.
I know why Seven went for him in that other
timeline. I stared into
the Admiral’s eyes for that moment in which she told me, and
suddenly I knew. It was because she (or I, god I hate time paradoxes) stood
back and allowed herself to watch the whole damn thing unfold.
Never once stepping forward to declare her feelings, never once
letting Seven know that she (or I, what a headache) was available.
Always staying one step away, untouchable, unattainable, and
forbidden. It was a mistake. Perhaps
the worst one she ever made.
I can still see the desperate haunting in my
older self’s eyes, vestiges of all the pain and sadness.
The self-imposed loneliness
she had suffered for years. What
was it like, I wonder, to watch their courtship, marriage and then
I cannot even imagine, and I will not need to.
That is my gift to myself.
Here on Earth, I’m no longer Seven’s captain.
My posting is up in the air, and the same goes for all the
It’s been two weeks since our return.
I’ve used my influence to keep them apart — Seven with
daily, lengthy briefings at Starfleet headquarters, and Chakotay with
numerous meetings about sundry subjects, from Maquis matters to
Starfleet commendations for the crew.
We’re on Earth, Chakotay, and all bets are off.
Seven won’t be settling for second best.
Here she comes.
Oh, my beautiful Borg queen.
My breath catches. I feel my palms starting to tingle, to sweat, and I know I
have to make this quick. Because
otherwise I won’t be as dignified as I need to be.
“Seven, thank you for coming.” Is it just me, or does my
voice sound huskier than usual?
She’s smiling at me, but I see tension in her
posture. Have the
Starfleet briefings been so bad?
“Captain, I was delighted to receive your invitation.”
“Seven, please call me Kathryn. I am no longer your captain.
We’re colleagues now, Seven.
We can be friends…. and anything else we would like to be.”
My words are delivered in a low voice, purposely caressing her name.
I am explaining this quickly to her, hoping that she’ll
understand the nuances and implications of this change.
Hierarchy was a hard concept for her to grasp, and right now I
really need her to get it.
She is staring at me with that introspective look
of hers, the soft one where her pale eyes seem to lighten even
further. It’s one of my
favorite Seven looks, because it means that something utterly
delightful and unexpected will soon come dancing out of her mouth.
But I’m not going to give her a chance yet to
process too deeply. I
move to her, gently grabbing her forearm and steering her to the sofa,
all the while a soft smile playing on my lips.
I’m staring right into her eyes, watching them dilate just a
little. That’s good.
Her voice is hesitant, my name an elongated phrase from her
lips, as though she’s testing it out, trying to fit it into her
conception of order.
I feel my lips curling into a wider smile.
I just can’t stop smiling.
When have I ever felt this confident?
Shouldn’t I be scared just a little?
Shouldn’t I wonder at the strength of the hold that my former
first officer enjoys with this woman?
Why don’t I?
God, she’s saying it again, and I love it so much I feel
shivers working up from my toes.
I can’t believe my smile just got bigger.
“Do you like saying my name, Seven?” I know
I’m interrupting, but I can’t stop myself.
My voice is now actively caressing her, dropping even lower.
Her words are slow and I know she’s a bit confused. “Explain. What
else would we want to be, other than friends?”
My smile falters just a bit as I take a deep
breath. Here goes.
Suddenly the fear comes. I
really shouldn’t have doubted it.
It was there all along, waiting until this singular moment to
come raging through. I
press my hands together, feeling my smile freeze just a little.
Then I meet her eyes, and suddenly I know what I need to do,
what I have to say, how this is going to end.
Slowly, I drop my eyes to my hands.
I know that her eyes are doing the same.
My right hand moves and grips her left hand, and my fingers
start to trace the Borg metal tips ever so slightly.
I hear a swift intake of breath, and for an instant I wonder if
it is mine or hers, before I realize that it is Seven, who is now
breathing just a bit deeper than before.
I continue my quiet touch, tracing her metal
fingertips. The moments
tick by in my head, as I revel in the fact that she is not pulling
away. Her hand is now
trembling. I raise my
head, capturing her eyes with my own.
My throat is suddenly dry, but I don’t care.
“Seven, I’ve come to realize that I have certain feelings
for you. I’ve had them
for quite a while, but forced myself to ignore them. I believed they would be intrusive for you, that perhaps you
weren’t ready. But I
know now that this was a mistake of judgment on my part.”
Another sharp intake from her and
I grasp her Borg hand tightly; my body turns further towards hers.
“Seven of Nine, I love you. I want to be with you in every way. As lover, as partner, as friend, as colleague.
All the possibilities are open to us.”
My other hand slithers forward, grasping her
human hand. I squeeze
gently and move my face a shade closer.
“I hope you want the same thing.”
Seven is stunned.
She simply stares at me, and my eyes calmly trace over her
face, trying to memorize those narrow lines, the high cheekbones, the
full soft lips, the pale blue eyes that will stare out of my dreams
for the rest of my life.
I pull back, gently releasing her hands.
“I know you are involved with Chakotay.
But I would like you to consider this other possibility.”
Another deep breath. “Please,
She tears her eyes from mine, looks at the floor,
hands twisting around one another.
I want to take her into my arms, but I know that right now I
can’t. I need her to
come to me without (too much) manipulation.
I want her to be free with her choice.
“Kathryn.” Her voice is so much lower than
normal, almost a whisper. I
peer more intently at her, trying to figure out her conflict.
And she tells me. “Chakotay
has spoken to me of fidelity. Would
it not be a betrayal for me to entertain…this possibility?”
should have known he would pull a stunt like this, trying to protect
his own dumb luck. Preying
on her unfamiliarity with human society in that righteous manner of
his. Notice, though,
Seven did not turn me down. She simply wants to know the propriety of the matter.
Hope surges through me. I
could just kiss her, but not just
“You are not married.”
Damn that was painful to say.
For a split second, I see my older counterpart’s eyes when
she told me of the match. I
push away the memory. “You
still have a choice in this matter.
And, Seven, I don’t know what he told you of fidelity, but
the most important thing, in my opinion, is this.
Fidelity means, first and foremost, being true to yourself.
If you are not true to your own needs and desires, then how
true can you really be to any one else?”
As she absorbs this thought, I stand suddenly.
She looks up, startled and confused.
I hold out my hand, and she grasps it uncertainly.
I urge her off the sofa, and then lead her to my door.
“Please think of this. I
will be here waiting for your answer.”
I won’t manipulate her.
I won’t try to influence her choice with a long litany of my
wants, my desire, and my love. I’ve
said enough. The rest is
up to her.
She continues to stare at me wordlessly, and I
think I can see her mind working, her thoughts processing these new
There is still one more thing. One more factor for her to consider.
We are at the door, and I turn to her.
I tilt her face downward; place my face a breath away.
I feel her trembling, just as she can feel me shaking.
Gently, I kiss her soft full lips.
Seven’s breath is sweeter than I ever imagined.
I can feel my knees sway, my heart race, my mind fog.
One sweet kiss, barely parting lips.
Our breaths mingle once, twice, three times.
Then I pull away.
I don’t think she wants to leave right now, but
I make that decision for her.
I need her to come to me with a clear head and an
“You took her from me.”
“She was never yours.”
He doesn’t like that response at all. His
face is flushing redder than I’ve ever seen it.
A part of me feels badly for him.
After all, he and I did share many strange, intense
experiences. In this
matter, however, there is no margin.
There is no common ground, and there will be no compromise.
I won’t make this easier for him.
That would only feed his desperate hope, and so would be
terribly unfair. Someday,
“What did you say to her?”
I sigh. I’ve
already answered this question about ten different times in the two
months since Seven arrived on my doorstep with her bags and a
delicious smile on her lovely face.
“Chakotay, I only told her how I felt about
her. And I merely advised
her to follow her own heart.”
“I don’t believe it.
She and I had something, Kathryn.
It can’t have been so simple.”
He’s been dense before, but this is really the
apex of dullness, even for him. I
patiently try to explain again, in somewhat sharper words.
“Perhaps you did have something.
Yet it’s not what we share, Seven and I. I’m sorry for your pain, Chakotay, but you need to move on.
Please respect her wishes.”
He still looks stubborn.
I imagine he will be so for quite some time. I pick up my bag. Time
“We all are starting a new life, Chakotay.
I hope you can, too.”
That came out more gently than I had planned.
See, I’m not such a bitch, Chakotay.
He doesn’t say another word. His eyes burn into me with something akin to hate.
our relationship has changed. I
can’t say I’m too sad about it, though.
I leave his apartment, the door sliding shut with
a resolute firmness.
I look at my chronometer and smile.
She’ll be waiting by the pier, golden hair shining, pale skin
warmed by the last rays of a setting sun.
Hope you enjoyed it!!
(I had to stop the story at this point or I might be tempted to make
Chakotay into a stalker figure.)