Warnings: Discussions of unpopular points of canon.
Categories: Ship, Het, Angst, Episode Tag
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
A/N: We really do need to deal with the C/7 issue somehow, however much we want to ignore it. Once Homecoming is published, we'll all feel a little better, but in the meantime, here's my "post C/7" piece. It's more of an explanation than a story, but I needed something that my mind could accept as fact, without interfering in any way with continuity.
Disclaimer: Paramount's lousy screwed up universe.
"Was there something between you and Seven?" She needed to know.
"Yes," he said. "I let her use me to hide from her feelings for the Doctor. It was nothing serious; just a few meals. It wouldn't have worked out. The only thing we had in common was you."
"The Admiral said you married her."
"What? That's impossible. Kathryn, I'd never choose her over you."
"Maybe it wasn't a choice. If we were out there for twenty three years - "
"Kathryn, I still would have waited."
"And how fair would that have been, for me to expect you to wait more than twenty years?"
"We're a team. If you couldn't have a relationship, then I couldn't either. That's a fact."
"Things must have changed, for them. For the Admiral and her Chakotay."
"I can't imagine how. I could never have been happy with someone else, anyone else, if you were alone. I treasured our friendship; it was more fulfilling than any love affair. Until now. Until ours."
"Something must have happened. I...she...probably pushed you...him, away somehow."
"I'm pretty sure she lied to you, Kathryn."
"That was my first thought. She wanted to get to me, and she knew exactly what would have hurt the most. She could have said you died, but that wasn't enough. She had to tell me that you'd been unhappy for twenty-six years before dying. That got to me."
"What do you mean?"
"She told me that Seven died, in the arms of her husband. You. And that you were never the same after that. It's the sort of thing I would have said, in her place. Which I guess I was; she was me, after all."
"I'm sure she was lying. Even if we assume for a moment that Seven and I were somehow involved, had been pushed together somehow, she still would have been second in my heart. Her death may have been painful; I would have grieved. I do care for her. I can't even imagine the guilt, if I had married her when I loved you, and I know I would have still loved you, because I've tried to stop and it isn't possible. Seven's death wouldn't shatter me, regardless of the situation. It wouldn't be like losing you, and maybe in those circumstances that would be wrong, but it would still be true."
"Maybe that's why you weren't the same. Maybe it was your guilt over still loving me."
"Maybe that's possible. But even so, I know she was lying."
"Why are you so sure?"
"She lied to me. She was you, almost. There is no one I know better. I could tell she was lying."
"What did she tell you?"
"That I'd be with Seven, and you'd be fine with it. Even if some set of circumstances put Seven and I together, you'd hardly have been fine. I could tell she was lying, and yet it wasn't to hide the pain she'd no doubt have felt if Seven and I really had been together. I couldn't imagine her motive, but she was not being honest."
"Yet you and Seven were together, however briefly."
"She knew that, because I would have told you about it. She used that."
"Chakotay, I know I had no claim on you. Not really. But why Seven? I need to know."
"She came to me. Asked if we could date, to improve her social skills. It was the day after the Doctor told her he loved her. I wasn't sure if she wanted to use me as practice, or if she wanted to use me to hide from him, but I let her. I didn't think it would go anywhere."
"Where did it go?"
"You're asking if I slept with her. Of course I didn't. But I did kiss her, and felt damn guilty about it, too."
"You kissed her?"
"She kissed me, actually. But I didn't exactly push her away. I don't have an excuse. But when I heard your voice over the conn...I felt I'd betrayed you. After that, I wanted to break it off, and yet when she came to me to end it, I didn't let her. She wanted to end it because she thought she was going to die, and she wanted to spare me that pain. I knew the Admiral was behind it, and I also knew that while we had to end it, that couldn't be the reason. It was the wrong lesson for her to learn.
"Then we were home, and she expected me to escort her to that damn Starfleet reception. I knew that if I did, I'd hurt you. I couldn't do that. I also couldn't go with you, without hurting her. That's why I called Sveta."
"I wondered about that."
"When Seven arrived with the Doctor, I knew everything would work out, for all of us."
"It has, hasn't it?"
"Most definately. I love you, Kathryn."
"And I love you, Chakotay. I'm so glad I can finally say that."
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, March 2002.