Disclaimer: Paramount may own the universe, but I think I care more about it than they do.
Those of us who insist on writing fanfiction all have our own opinions on a number of matters. I thought I'd share mine here. You may agree. You may disagree. I wouldn't mind a spirited debate. Just be warned: There's a hole in my apartment wall which commemorates the day my best friend called Janeway an uberbitch and suggested that Chakotay would be better off with Seven. So don't diss the captain. I'd have to hunt you down.
Now, first of all, I think it goes without saying that Janeway and Chakotay belong together. Jeri Taylor created these characters. And she created them for one another. She, as their creator, is like unto God to these characters, and so these two fictional beings were made for each other by the god of their universe. And what God joins together, let no man tear asunder. (Got that, Mr. Berman?)
But perhaps the will of God is not enough reason for you. Perhaps you'd like proof. Proof of love? Well, if the legend of the angry warrior wasn't enough for you, I'm not really sure what will do. Perhaps the last three pages of Pathways? That surely proves that he loves her. It takes a novel, which can use interior monologue to let us see into a character's head, to really prove it.
Nearly everything ever said in an episode, with the exceptions of Chakotay's possessiveness in The Q and the Grey and the angry warrior legend in Resolutions, could be interpreted within the confines of friendship. Close friendship. I'd argue that close friendship is the vital foundation of any romantic relationship.
Still, close friendship doesn't prove romantic love. There are many close friendships on Voyager, and sex doesn't figure into most of them. I know there are plenty of slash fans who imagine something more than friendship between Tom Paris and Harry Kim, or even between Tuvok and Neelix, but I doubt many would argue that there really is something happening there. Tom and Tuvok are married men, after all, and we've seen both Neelix and Harry with plenty of women.
Anyhow, as for Janeway and Chakotay, there is, beyond a doubt, love there. Why haven't they moved forward in that relationship? The simple answer is ratings. Early in the show's history, they needed all the help they could get, and the threat of a romantic relationship always draws more viewers than an actual romantic relationship.
Yet within the universe, what reasons could they give? Mark Johnson, perhaps, prior to Hunters. Certainly before New Earth, at least. Protocol, surely. Yet that's hardly ranked up there with the Prime Directive. Picard broke it without tremendous fuss. Janeway's fear of intimacy, perhaps in part. She's lost two fiances, after all. Yet she's no coward.
My answer is tied up in the Maquis situation. She probably feels that she can't afford any questions regarding her relationship with Chakotay if she's to protect the Maquis from prosecution once they reach Federation space. If her fear of intimacy underlies those concerns, she probably isn't aware of it.
For an "in canon" look at Janeway's concern for the Maquis, see Christie Golden's novel No Man's Land. Janeway frets over that in the first chapter. We see its resolution in Homecoming, yet to be released.
So Janeway and Chakotay are waiting. They are both aware of the other's feelings. I doubt either wonders how the other feels. I don't think the meaning behind Janeway's words in Timeless was particularly well hidden. (Long enough. We've waited long enough.) Observe the interaction in Unimatrix Zero. Look at the first chapter of Christie Golden's Cloak and Dagger. There's a silent understanding there.
As for other couples, I think Paris and Torres are good together. I think Seven and the Doctor would be good together. And just for kicks, I usually pair up Tal Celes and Billy Telfer, as well as Brad Harrison and Noah Mannick (paired off by Jeri Taylor in Pathways, by the way.)
In the case of Harry Kim, I'm torn. You see, I know that Libby is waiting for him. He doesn't know that, though. The best match for Harry, at least on Voyager, is our seldom seen transporter officer, Ensign Lyssa Campbell. If you watch closely, you'll see them seated at the same table in the mess hall on a few occassions. If you want to see them spend time together, read Marooned by Christie Golden. She doesn't imply anything but friendship, but it wouldn't be a bad match.
I don't approve of seeing Harry with Seven of Nine, Tal Celes, Marla Gilmore, or either of the Delaney sisters. Seven is better paired with the Doctor. Celes is too shy. Megan isn't shy enough. Jenny isn't either. Marla certainly isn't right for him. No, for Harry there are only two possibilities. Lyssa and Libby.
Now what's with all the fics pairing off Joe Carey with Samantha Wildman? Can any of you name a single episode in which the two were even in the same room? I can't, and I'm an obsessive freak. Perhaps it's because they're both married. Well, so is Lieutenant Ayala, and he's actually been on the bridge at the same time as Ensign Wildman. I don't recall them speaking, but at least they've been in the same room.
Seriously, I don't think everyone needs to pair off. They won't die without sex. I know, or I'd be dead. Anyhow, there is the holodeck, you know.
Now, I have a few strong opinions about the details. First of all, there is the alleged bathtub in cargo bay one. It's there. There is no way in hell they left it on New Earth. Chakotay is an anthropologist, for goodness sake. He wouldn't leave it there to become a source of great mystery for some future generation. Besides, I'm certain there are regulations against leaving Talaxian vegetation on alien planets.
Then there's the interesting dilemma regarding the end of Timeless. How much does Janeway know about the alternate timeline? Enough to know that the ship was destroyed, and a future version of Harry Kim broke the temporal prime directive to save them. No more. The future alternative version of Harry did not have time to chronicle years of history, and even if he did, Janeway didn't listen to it.
Anyhow, my point is this: Janeway knows that a future version of Harry Kim had to break the temporal prime directive to save Voyager. I'm guessing she's going to beat herself up a little over that, seeing as she let her own desire to get home risk the safety of the ship, and it killed everyone. They damn near stayed dead, too. Just one more reason for her to stick to protocol when it comes to personal feelings, I'd say.
As for the whole Endgame fiasco, I obviously disapproved most strongly. Chakotay and Seven? Wrong. Just wrong. I know what she was doing pursuing him; she was hiding from the fact that the Doctor had just said he loved her. But what the hell was he thinking, making that stupid comment about transporter range?
Well, if we can't pretend that Endgame didn't happen, then we'd better deal with it. It hurts, doesn't it? I felt betrayed. I know it's only a television show, but it's supposed to be better than life, an escape. It shouldn't hurt like that.
But I've seen the first few chapters of Homecoming, and I know everything turns out all right. Like everyone else, I wrote a little post C/7 piece in order to heal, and felt a touch better. Janeway forgives him, and even as I type these words, she's with him, kissing him in the pilot's seat of the Alpha Flyer. I guess I should forgive him as well.
Kashyk. No, Janeway most certainly did not sleep with him. I don't want to know what she did with Michael Sullivan on the holodeck, and I don't want to think about Jaffen, but I know that she didn't sleep with Kashyk. Watch the episode. It's just not in there, people. (Doesn't mean we can't write lots of dark, creepy fanfic about it, though.)
Kellin. No one remembers her. She is a non issue. I do have an explanation, though. I think Chakotay fell for her specifically because he wouldn't remember. There was no long term potential, and so it was safe. Kathryn couldn't be hurt, because even if she found out she'd quickly forget.
Riley Frasier was a manipulative little *%^@#^$# and I don't want to talk about her. Chakotay felt guilty, don't you doubt it. And Janeway knew, don't doubt that either. She forgave him though, probably reminded herself firmly that she had no real claim on him, and was hurt anyhow, and scolded herself for being hurt.
Enough of dark subjects. They find each other in the end, the end just isn't Endgame, is all.
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