Nothing But Time
By Elorie Alton
This was written for Audabeeís "Janeway Lives" story challenge. Thanks to Aeris and Little Janeway for the betas.
Disclaimer: All Voyager characters are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.
One of the first things she noticed about the Continuum was that the Q didnít communicate, they talked. In fact they talked all the time, round and round in circles, incessant conversations that solved nothing. They were polite, they never raised their voices and they never actually agreed on anything.
If the Continuum had a sound track, it would have been some kind of demented twentieth century elevator music, with a slightly out of tune electronic flute and goddamned wind chimes. It was a subliminal but intrusive sound and never hearing wind chimes again would be way too soon. That sound could drive a human being insane and one thing was sure, Kathryn Janeway was a human being right down to the bottom of her consciousness.
Now the Borg collective was exactly the opposite of the Continuum, Kathryn knew that for a fact, she had been both. The Borg did nothing but communicate, their existence was all about being the one cell in the all powerful hive mind, and they didnít talk at all. There was no music there, the silence was a heavy weighted presence and of course argument for the sake of hearing your words wasnít a consideration at all.
The Borg had no individuality. The Q however were super individuals, it wasnít any wonder a few of them had to get out among the "little" people. She hadnít met one yet that didnít rub her the wrong way in some manner and from simple observation she knew that everyone of them had the same effect on the others.
The final straw was when she realized that neither the Q nor the Borg had sex. She had lived like a nun for almost ten years, she has sex once and bam sheís dead. To farther the injustice, that one incident was with Chakotay, and god only knew that once with Chakotay was not enough. Yes, she was mad as hell and she wasnít taking it anymore.
For a while she expressed her anger with a litany of expletives. She thought them in standard, she thought them in Klingon, and in each of the other alien languages she understood. She even thought them in the smattering of Delta Quadrant languages she had acquired. She thought them loud enough that even the Q in other galaxies could hear her loud and clear. Kathryn Janeway was not happy and everyone had to know it.
This time she didnít have a compression phaser rifle. She didnít need one, however, because she still had her wits and they were honed to a razor edge. No, she was going to get out of this one on her own no matter how long it took, she had nothing but time anyway.
She didnít spend a lot of time watching her family and friends, as they had been forced to move on without her and she didnít think she could stand to see Chakotay with anyone else. Not that she wanted him to live the rest of his life alone (she loved him too much for that) but it would hurt too badly to watch.
She had, however, observed the course of Starfleet and once on the outside she quickly spotted a big problem. For the most part Starfleet and the Alpha quadrant had come through a baptism of fire, and the trouble was that the Cardassian War had left a lot of young people dead and the survivors filled with hate. Wars were all alike in that respect. She wondered if the Federation could survive another such incident unless they turned things around.
Now Voyagerís crew had been through their own baptism of fire, but they had been forged into fine metal for they had overcome obstacles but without the residue of hate. Starfleet needed their influence and it wasnít going to happen if she was stuck in the Continuum.
Kathryn knew that most of the "good old boys" in Starfleet wouldnít believe it, especially those that worshiped at the feet of "The Sisko", but omniscience sucked big time. It didnít matter if you were a Q or the Borg Queen; either way the trade off for power wasnít worth an ounce of fermented leola root.
Benjamin Sisko was one of the first people she visited when she returned to the Alpha Quadrant. She had stopped on Bajor just before she and Chakotay made that trip to Tevlikís moon. He spoke to her about his time with the Prophets. It took him several months in linear time and god only knows how long in the bosom of the timeless Prophets to find a way out. He hadnít mentioned the sex part but now that she thought about it Kasidy Sisko had the look of a well loved and very satisfied woman. Sisko had tasted omniscience with the Prophets. He said he much preferred linear time, now she knew why.
There was a faction in Starfleet that wanted every captain to be measured by some kind of Ideal standard, and it was pretty clear that they thought Ben Sisko was that ideal. Trouble was even Captain Benjamin Sisko himself knew he didnít measure up to their image. Sisko was being endorsed by a lot of the movers and shakers of Starfleet as the supreme height to which all Captains should aspire and none of them forgave her for making Admiral before he did. Never mind that he had told them no once and was now retired.
This attitude needed to stop and Voyagerís crew were the ones that could do it. As Admiral Janeway she would have enough influence to place her people carefully. She knew Tom and BíElanna werenít totally happy. They both should be at Utopia Planitia designing ships and engines. Chakotay would be happier at the Academy teaching and the Doctor needed to be able to simply practice medicine.
She did have a couple of problems though. She didnít know how to get out of the Continuum yet and there was no way for her to have sex again without a body. Kathryn knew she would come up with something. She just had to put her mind to it and at least she could still do that. She did wonder if this had been as hard for Sisko.
The first problem got solved when the Q actually passed a lot of Q power to her. It was obvious that they were reluctant to share in the beginning but as super individuals with exceptionally short attention spans considering their all seeing power, they soon grew tired of providing for her. The Q, if nothing else, were lazy down to the center of their consciousness and thought themselves above catering to a mere mortal.
So with just a little help from her godson, she was soon zipping around the universe. That part wasnít too bad and it was far better than being a Borg Queen but it still couldnít take the place of sex done right, and boy Chakotay did it right. If she had been smarter she would have jumped his bones on Tevlikís moon when she had the chance. Thatís when the final piece of the puzzle fell into place.
All she needed to do was use her powers to enter a time prior to her last assimilation and join her consciousness with her past self. She was pretty sure she could get her prior self to agree because all she had to do was dangle the memory of sex with Chakotay in front of her, and that sex starved bit of femininity would jump at the chance. After all, she had done without so long she almost qualified for virginity.
Once that part was settled, it was just a matter of deciding when and what she would do about the Borg.
The Borg for all their vast knowledge and the fact that they could strike fear into the heart of the galaxy were actually pretty stupid. They had an enormous amount of knowledge and no common sense what so ever. She was proof of that. The desperate drones that assimilated her had no Queen, they needed one and they picked her.
Their first mistake was picking a grown woman. Borg protocol stated that the Queen should be assimilated young and carefully programmed. She spent so much time arguing with the Borg central computer she hardly had enough time to even act like a Borg Queen, much less be the one that was many. The computer apparently thought all it had to do was adapt in just the right way and everything would be ok. She could have sworn that she heard it sighing in relief at her death.
She had been pretty pissed at finding herself as a Borg Queen. Her top knot was a hundred times worse than the bun she had worn early in the Delta Quadrant and she did spend a lot of time worrying about how she was going to get out of that rubber suit when Chakotay got there. Besides all those clamps that held it on her body hurt like hell.
The only good thing that came out of it was she now knew the Borgís weaknesses. Drones were very susceptible to Admiral Janewayís neurolytic virus; a combination of the virus of species 6339 and the virus perfected by Ichebís natural parents; however, both had difficulty crossing over the cubeís central plexus to infect the rest of the collective.
Her doppelganger had improved on that virus to the point that it apparently did considerable damage to the center of the Borg collective. The problem was that enough drones remained out in the fringes to regroup and form the Neo Borg. If she could stop the Neo Borg from regrouping, in fact if the virus carried by the older Admiral Janeway were capable of spreading farther and causing more damage, the Neo Borg would never raise, she wouldnít be assimilated and turned into the Borg Queen and she could continue to have sex with Chakotay.
Kathryn mentally checked off her preparations. She hoped she hadnít forgotten anything; it was possible that the Qís lack of any short term memory was affecting her too, and she didnít have fingers to make notes with or even tie a string around.
As there was nothing to pack and nothing else to prepare she slipped out of the Continuum. She flung out a loud "good-bye" as she slipped over the threshold and damn if she didnít hear a "donít let the door hit you on the ass!" as she left.
She arrived on Voyager almost immediately although she also had a distinctly disquieting feeling that the trip had taken forever. If she had a head it would have been aching, god she hoped she would never have to face a time paradox again. Temporal mechanics sucked as badly as either the Collective or the Continuum.
Kathryn floated, invisible through Voyagerís corridors, managing to eavesdrop in the conversation between Captain Janeway and Admiral Janeway. She watched herself consulting the Doctor and Tuvok concerning Tuvokís condition and finally the simple joy of being here again with her crew began to dissipate her anger. The time of anger had passed and the time of action had taken its place. Her agenda was in place and all that was left was to join with her younger self. So she settled herself in the mess hall to wait.
Finally early in Gamma shift, Captain Janeway entered the mess hall, replicated a cup of coffee and sat down as if watching the stars flowing by the view port and the Kathryn-Q slipped into her mind.
"Who the hell are you?" The captain hadnít moved, hadnít even spoken but Kathrynís ears rang with the powerful thought. Actually they were Captain Janewayís ears but they rang anyway. She knew how stubborn she could be but Kathryn was holding all the right cards.
"Iím you, donít you recognize me?" Kathryn asked.
"There are way too many meís on Voyager right now and where the hell did you come from?" It was a good thing that Kathrynís anger had settled because the Captain seemed to have enough for both of them.
"Look, Iím the you from two and a half years in your future, and Iím here to make sure we both get more than just those two and a half years."
"Are you saying youíre dead? I have a 70 something me in the VIP quarters that would prove you wrong. Just what do you mean, dammit?"
"She ceased being you the moment you set eyes on her. Youíll get this crew home but you yourself will only survive two more years, dying on a Borg cube and your body eaten by a Borg Floor."
"Now thatís a lovely picture," the captain said. "But why should I change time again, itís not as if I have much to look forward to."
"You mean, Chakotay?"
"Heís going to marry Seven! My somewhat aged self told me."
"Not if you allow me to join with you. Besides Iíve done something neither you nor that biddy in the VIP quarters has done."
"Iíve had sex with Chakotay!"
The captainís next thought was more like a whispered sigh without words.
Kathryn continued, "Iíve been thinking lately that Admiral Janeway wasnít above embroidering the truth if it suited her, so just maybe she was lying to you, or to us. I do know that Chakotay and Seven went their separate ways within hours of our return and I like an idiot waited another two years to do anything about it."
"Sex with Chakotay, Youíd share that with me?"
"Iíll share everything, including exactly how not to be eaten by a Borg floor. The Admiral will be in here in a couple of minutes. She will have a plan that we have to coax out of her. The plan works to a degree. I know how to make it work better and we will both wind up with Chakotay. You donít want to die and be stranded for eternity with the Q."
"The Q? How did the Q get into this conversation?"
"It would be easier if youíd just join with me. Then you would have all my memories."
"This isnít one of those Ďmy mind to your mindí Vulcan things."
"Well, itís actually more like accepting a Katra."
"God, I just know Iím going to have such a headache."
Captain Janeway closed her eyes accepting all the thoughts and memories of Kathryn and the last separate thought she had was "Damn Chakotay is good, and omniscience sucks."
Captain Kathryn Janeway opened her eyes to the stars passing outside the view port in time to hear her older self speak.
Once the agreement was made Kathryn replicated the Virus added the one protein and the one subroutine that would assure that it traveled across the central plexus of very Borg vessel in the galaxy. The only Borg that would be left were the ones from Unimatrix Zero who were already separated from the hive mind.
She hoped that just perhaps she had increased the odds of Axum finding Seven.
The rest was surprisingly easy, most likely because a part of her had lived through this period before. Everything fell into place and happened as it should, right down to Miralís cry echoing across the bridge, Tomís mad dash down to sick bay and Chakotay actually piloting Voyager.
And just as quickly they were home, she was an Admiral and Chakotay came to the celebration banquet alone. Her heart leaped with joy. She still thought of herself as we but the conversations in her mind quickly died away.
Finally Chakotay ask her to join him on a short hop around the demilitarized zone. She had decided that this would be a perfect time to seduce Chakotay, not that he would need much seducing. What was it that he had said in that time line that now will never be?
"All you ever had to do was say the word, Kathryn."
Well she was going to say that word and pretty damn quickly too.
The days spent with Chakotay in the Alpha Flyer were as pleasant as Kathryn remembered them. The spent the first couple of days just relaxing with each other, opening the friendly relationship and regaining what each of them had somehow let slip away.
Kathryn flirted again and Chakotay drank it all in like a thirsty man that couldnít get enough water. She watched carefully allowing him time to get comfortable. Laughter was spontaneous again, and longing expressions were not so quickly hidden.
They each spent a day apart on Bajor, Chakotay wanted to look up an old Maquis friend that had somehow survived and Kathryn took that time to visit Benjamin Sisko.
She had a rather enlightened talk with Sisko because he agreed with her assessment. Starfleet was too wrapped up in the aftermath of the Dominion War and its legacy of hatred. He wasnít pleased at all that the mantle of role model had been laid on his shoulders.
When they met the next morning, Kathryn slipped a basket in the stasis unit and then joined Chakotay at the controls, sliding into the copilotís seat. He hadnít told her where he was taking her, but as she had taken this trip before so she already knew the destination was Tevlikís moon.
They finally talked about his relationship with Seven of Nine, and his ambivalence at accepting Starfleetís generous offer to return to Starfleet and his rank.
It was afternoon when they set down on the beautiful moon. Tevlikís moon had been the site of a devastating Cardassian massacre of the Maquis, a massacre where even the children were not spared. They read the plaque, they spent reverent moments remembering those that had lost their lives and then Kathryn Janeway began to speak.
"Chakotay, I think you have a lot to offer Starfleet. They of course havenít the first idea of what kind of man you are. If you stayed, would you want to Captain a ship again?"
"Thatís all they have offered me so far, but while I might take command again I donít believe my heart would be in it. "
"No, your heart has always been at the Academy."
"You remembered," he look up at her with awe.
"I remember everything; you said once that you loved teaching. I think thatís the gift Starfleet needs. It needs you teaching cadets, you seeing that they remember Tevlikís moon not with hatred but with determination. You once told me a story about an angry warrior and how he found peace - thatís the legacy you could pass on."
"Peace is precious. But there is such a thing as too high a price for peace," he replied his voice tense with emotion.
"Yes there is, but you canít move forward when youíre weighted down with anger. We need to use the anger to plan, then we need to let go to take action. Starfleet is carrying an enormous load of anger right now, and you can help because you know how to use it. There is going to be an opening in the Anthropology department next semester, and I have it on good authority that the Commandant will be retiring in another year, you could have that job, Chakotay. You could influence the next generation of Starfleet personnel."
His face reflected the pleasure at the thought, "You think so. It would be a relief to believe that I wouldnít have to take deep space missions any longer. The last one..." Chakotay shook his head.
They turned away from the monument and headed back to the small space craft, the shadows of late afternoon stretching across the landscape.
She laughed, "Let's just say I'll never look at the words 'three week mission' the same way again. I donít think I want any more deep space missions myself. I think I would like to run my department at Starfleet Headquarters. Then find a house with some land around it and vegetate."
"Ah," he joked, "Youíll always be captain to me."
She looked into his dark eyes, "I hope not," she said.
"Kathryn?" He stopped, turning to catch the expression in her eyes.
"Chakotay, I donít want to be your captain any longer. I love you." There she had said the word and hopefully he would take it from there.
Chakotay stood still for a long moment, looking at her, seeing the truth in her eyes and then with one sigh he gathered her into his arms pressing her close to his body. And just as quickly his mouth was on hers.
Her body hummed with delight as she accepted his kisses and returned them with her own.
For a while the kisses held all of her attention but finally she became aware of his whispered words of love whenever they broke apart to catch a breath.
"Iíd given up hope, I thought youíd forgotten. Spirits, I love you too, Kathryn."
He lifted her up into his arms, holding her tightly against him, chest to chest. She wrapped her legs around his hips, arms around him tightly, kissing his cheeks and neck.
The skirt of her dress pushed up past the top of her thighs and her sex rubbed against his enlarging erection in a very pleasant way. Every step he took rubbed at her clit and within seconds she realized that it was affecting him too, he was as hard as tempered steel.
"Mmmmm," she mumbled. "Where are you taking me?"
"Back to the Flyer!" he growled through gritted teeth. "And if you donít stop squirming like that, we may not make it."
"Like this?" She teased, deliberately rubbing against him.
"Donít do that Kathryn! Or youíll find yourself on the ground under me!"
She rubbed again letting the pleasure throb out through her body. "Is that a promise?"
"Spirits! If I ever make it to a bed, we are not getting up for a very long time. Now behave at least until I get you inside. People do come here you know."
"So!" She squirmed again. "I donít care if the Universe knows; I could shout it from here to the Delta Quadrant. Kathryn Janeway loves Chakotay now and forever," her voice softened. "I love you."
He held her close even though he hadnít much control left and practically sprinted up the Flyerís ramp, closing the door behind him with a bump of his elbow to the control panel and deposited Kathryn in the Captainís chair.
He tugged her dress over her head, pulling it away from her body, lifting her to slip her underwear off until she sat naked before him. His shirt hung open and he pushed at his trousers until his erection was free. Without another word he spread her thighs then lifted her hips and plunged into her.
Kathryn moaned at the intrusion, it had been so long and he filled her to the point of pain. She looked down to where they were joined, and then up at Chakotay braced on his arms over her. She was almost too full, but it was real and better than any memory. She had wanted him for years and she was going to savor every moment.
Chakotay had felt her tense, she was impossibly tight and he knew he could hurt her. She was so tight that he didnít know if he could move without coming, but he pulled gently back.
"Donít stop," she moaned.
"I canít, if I move Iíll come."
She wrapped her legs around the back of his thighs and pushed up impelling herself on him, driving him in until he was seated to the hilt.
"Kathryn," he sobbed as if her name were question and answer. "I love you."
He dipped down to catch one of her nipples with his lips, again brushing his body against her clit and pleasure exploded through her blazing out from her sex with the cold fire of orgasm. She cried out and he joined her hips jerking in and out only a couple of times until the cold fire spread through him too, and he came filling her with his semen.
He held himself up on trembling arms and fought for his breath, but the sight of her breasts heaving with each drawn breath was a mesmerizing sight, pale satin nipples on silky mounds, nipples that he had barely tasted.
As soon as he caught his breath and strength had returned to his arms and legs he lifted Kathryn out of the chair and moved to the aft cabin.
"I can walk."
"I know, but I donít want you to."
He gently lay her down on the deep couch, then quickly shrugged off the rest of his clothing. He draped himself over her, stretching her arms above her head so her upper body arched at him as if offering her pretty breasts. He slid into her and whispered. "I hope you are not ready to leave because Iím not nearly finished with you."
She pushed him back and over until he was lying back on the cushions and she straddled his body. "Maybe itís me that isnít finished with you."
"Spirits!" he shuttered and watched the fantasy he held in his heart for years come true.
He watched her as she fought for ecstasy. He watched the need and desire flicker through her eyes as she set the pace of love making. He watched her body flush with pleasure until his need began to overpower him.
She slowly rode him up and down until his concentration broke and grabbed at her hips and pushed himself deep, his orgasm triggering hers and she melted down on him.
They dozed a while, woke up made love again. Sometime late in the night they remembered her basket and ate fruit and cheese and drank amber cider. They exchanged love words, touches and themselves and Kathryn finally knew why she had been so angry. It wasnít just the sex, it was Chakotay and the love they had shared for one short night, a love they could now enjoy for many years.
Somewhere in that night of love she became whole again, all the memories were intact. She still remembered what wouldnít happen. She was no longer we, but I and a sense of peaceful joy swept over her.
The next morning they left Tevlikís moon as a couple sharing their lives forever.
"Kathryn, how would you like to go to Venice with me?"
"Iíd love to."
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Fiddle by Gates Hepburn