Captain Kathryn Janeway was at her San Francisco home preparing for Voyager’s 2nd family reunion. As much as she hated to say it, she didn’t want to go, but she knew she couldn’t get away with ducking out early. Not again. She hadn’t planned on going, but she had coincidently bumped into Tom and B’Elanna who insisted on escorting her to the reunion. She snorted. ‘Coincidence, my ass.’ She wondered whose idea it was to corner her. Perhaps Tuvok. She sighed. Who was she kidding it could’ve been any of them. She really should respond to their messages, but one thing always led to another, then that led to the one topic she really did not want to think about. She made another circuit around her living room before sighing in disgust at her restlessness. She picked up a PADD and tried to get some work done while she waited for Tom and B’Elanna to arrive. A little work would keep her mind off things. Unfortunately instead of grabbing the PADD with her new ship’s schematics, this PADD held a series of communiques from Seven of Nine. Messages she had been trying to forget. She eyed the PADD for a second before playing it. Janeway’s heart melted as Seven’s smiling face lit the screen. She truly was beautiful when she smiled.
“Captain, it has been a while. I trust you are doing well? We must meet again for a philosophical session. Perhaps in Bloomington, Indiana? You once promised to take me there. I am sorry I have been negligent in sending messages, but Chakotay and I have been busy with the baby-”
“End Playback.” Janeway stared at the blank PADD where Seven’s smiling visage was moment’s before. A child. Seven had a child. Not any child, but Chakotay’s child. And they named the baby after her. She felt tears sting her eyes and furiously wiped them away. She should feel happy, honored even! Anything but this cold dead feeling nipping away at her at every thought of Seven. She sighed and stared at the PADD. Seven had his child. She grimaced as she was bombarded with images of how that child was conceived. Forcing the images away, she marched to the replicator.
"Whiskey, neat." As soon as the beverage materialized she downed it in one go then called for another downing it as quickly as the first. She called for one more before returning to the couch. The alcohol warmed her and she definitely needed that warmth now. Glaring at the PADD that held all of Seven's letters, she sipped her whiskey. She had hoped when she had stopped responding to the letters she would stop receiving them, but no that would be too easy. Seven had always been stubborn and apparently she very much wanted to share her joy with her. Included with the letters were many pictures of the happy couple and their new addition, little Kathyrn Chakotay. The thought left a bad taste in her mouth and she immediately washed it away with whiskey. Seven did look happy though. If only she- Smothering another stray thought, she turned on the newsfeed, anything to keep her mind off what ifs.
Voyager’s final flight over the Golden Gate bridge had been on a loop since this morning. And why shouldn't it be? Voyager's return was a momentous occasion for the Federation. Families were reunited, Starfleet gained its new poster child -no don't think of children-, and the Federation regained hope for moving on from the war with the Dominion. Everyone was happy. Everyone except her. Let's be honest Katie. Her inner voice chimed in. You at least owe that to yourself. You haven't been happy for a while now. Janeway sighed. No she hadn’t been happy. Not since she found her Astrometrics Officer in the arms of her First Officer. She had hoped that particular scenario had died with the alternate timeline. She had hoped for a lot lately. Laughing bitterly at her gull, she shut off the newsfeed - it wasn't helping her forget - and thought back to Voyager.
Seven and Chakotay had been dating for quite some time before the other Janeway arrived or so Seven explained after she found them embracing in the Cargo Bay. And it turned out Seven was happy with him. She was happy and if anyone deserved to be happy it was Seven. So she buried her feelings, gave them her blessing, and watched. She watched as their relationship blossomed. Watched as they grew closer and happier until eventually they married. At least she was spared from marrying them herself. Her heart went out to her counterpart who didn't have that privilege. She knew she wouldn't have survived that. She knew and Admiral Janeway had been living proof. Admiral Janeway hadn't survived losing Seven. She had just closed herself off until there was nothing left, nothing but a bitter old woman trapped in the past. Unfortunately, it seemed time would repeat itself in this instance. She was a bitter old woman trapped in the past. Why would Seven want her when she had someone who can provide her happiness? A family? Which Seven apparently wanted to share with her if the namesake and letters were anything to go by. And dammit she wanted to share this with Seven. She wanted to be there for Seven as she regained another facet of her humanity. But she couldn’t. Not while knowing every night she would return to his house, to his bed. Another image of Seven in his arms assaulted her and she debated getting another drink. A much stronger drink. Needless to say she felt another drink was damned worth it. She'd need it if she planned on getting through the whole celebration.
She hadn't even talked to the crew beyond her initial communiques to see how they were adapting to the alpha quadrant. They were. Everyone was apparently. She was the one stuck in the past. It’s irony at it’s finest. The Starship Captain who fights tooth and nail to come home and when she finally made it it hardly felt like home at all. Home was on a bridge of a starship surrounded by her friends and family all around her, but mostly home was with her. But Seven already had a home of her own, with Chakotay, and there certainly was no place for her there. There was no place for her anywhere. No place in Starfleet for a half cocked Captain who couldn’t follow the chain of command nor was there any place for a woman who could do nothing but pine over a married woman. Not the place where she wanted to be anyway. She couldn’t go on watching her life go by like this. Her heart was gone, but she still had pips on her shoulders and blood in her veins. She still had her commission and she had a new ship that’ll take her to the edge of the galaxy if she’d let her. So she will go to this celebration and she will smile and laugh with her crew. She will enjoy the time she had left with them. Then she will leave. She’ll go away on her little ship and she’ll find someplace where hopefully she’ll end up happy too. Didn’t she deserve some happiness? Before she could lose herself further to the familiar darkness filling her mind, her door chimed. She breathed deeply to regain her bearings, wiped away the tears she hadn’t realized had fallen, and opened the door. It was show time.