The Journey Home

    by Tenderware (tenderware@gate.net)

VOY J/7 PG-13

Warning:  This story is not sexually explicit but does contain lesbian themes. If that offends you, try something else.

Disclaimer: The characters were created by Paramount, Kate Mulgrew, and Jeri Ryan.  I'm just borrowing them to tell a tale. This is strictly a fair-use, not-for-profit, just-for-fun kind of deal. No money exchanged hands; just a few ideas about romance.

Summary: After several years absence, Q returns to Voyager to make Janeway an offer.

Timeframe: Season 6.



 

"What did you say, Q?" Captain Kathryn Janeway asked the omnipotent being. He had just materialized on her ship after several years of blessed absence, and he was clearly up to his old tricks.

"Quite right, Kathy. I must remember I need to take it slow with you mere mortals. I'll give you the remedial version.....but first let's make sure all the usual suspects are present."

With a wave of his hand and four accompanying flashes that were just for effect, the alpha bridge crew was joined by the rest of Janeway's senior staff. B'Elanna Torres was deposited at the starboard engineering station. From Astrometrics, Seven of Nine now occupied the aft auxiliary engineering station. Neelix, chief cook and itinerant diplomat, found himself plunked down in the passenger seat to Chakotay's left. And finally, the EMH was rerouted from Sickbay and portably re-emitted at the port science station.

"Please state the nature of the med--......Captain, what am I doing here?" the Doctor requested.

"Steady everyone," Janeway advised her crew. "Q says he has an offer to make."

"An offer you can't refuse," he added. "Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager," he began more formally, "the Q have been monitoring your progress through the Delta Quadrant since our last encounter--a mere blink of an eye for us, but a good three years by your clock. And sad to say, after so much time limping your way home, you're still decades away."

"We've managed to advance over 30,000 light years since we started!" Janeway protested.

"Don't flatter yourself, Kathy. You've only managed that much thanks to Kes and a Borg transwarp coil. At this rate, you'll be well into middle age before you see your beloved earth again."

"Your point?" Janeway asked testily.

"Standing before you are the trusted members of your senior staff. Together, you and these other mortals have shared close quarters and any number of close shaves. With that kind of history together, it's only natural that you should form a bond .....perhaps even a couple of close friendships. Heck, with that much closeness, Kathy, you might have even started to develop some very deep personal feelings for at least one of these bipedal humanoids, wouldn't you say?"

"I have deep personal feelings for everyone here.....and for several other members of the crew," Janeway countered. "We're like family."

"Come, come, Kathy. No need to understate. As you say, we're all 'family' here. But the person you've been thinking a lot about lately isn't someone you care for like a child or a sibling or even a cousin--unless we're talking kissing cousins. No. You're affection is more romantic.....more carnal."

There were audible rustles as speculative glances were cast about the bridge by everyone except Janeway and Q, who of course knew who the person in question was.

Flashing a spotlight from the tip of his index finger at B'Elanna, he began, "Could it be Volatile Bachelorette No. 1? Or...." indicating Tuvok, "is it Married Vulcan No. 2? Or is it, perhaps, Misplaced Borg No. 3?"

"I am Seven of Nine," Seven corrected.

"Are you trying to make me lose count?" he quipped.

Seven quirked her brow. "I never met an omnipotent being who had difficulty counting past the number three."

"And you still haven't, you cheeky Borg. I'd recite Pi for you, but you wouldn't live that long!....Now, where was I?"

"I believe you were intending to proceed to Mr. Kim as 'candidate number four'?" Seven offered helpfully.

"Yes," Q considered, "Ensign Wet-Behind-the-Ears. Oh, think of the wonders you could teach him, Kathy. Or do your tastes run more toward the exotic, like Mr. Mutton Chops No. 5, here? And then, of course, there's the Irrepressible Good Doctor No. 6, less alive than your Vulcan over there but a lot livelier if his fantasy life is any indication? Or is it No. 7, here, Mr. Paris, who probably fancies himself the most eligible bachelor on the ship?"

"Not if he values his life," B'Elanna shot back, casting an accusatory look at Paris. The sandy haired pilot threw up his hands defensively in silent protest of his innocence.

Q laughed almost sadistically. "Or is it Chakotay--Mr. Sensitivity himself--our candidate No. 8, who's really your No. 1, although I'll always think of him as 'No. 2'?.......There you have it, Kathy--your nearest and dearest. Which is it? Who do you love best?"

Kathryn Janeway had forced herself to remain as patient and impassive as possible throughout Q's rundown. She now carefully folded her arms and smiled calmly at him, praying she could bluff her way out of the corner he was assiduously backing her into.

"Actually, Q, I believe that, given the right circumstances, any two people could become romantically involved--say, if they were stuck on a desert island together."

"Careful, Kathy. To a Q, that sounds like a proposition. By the way, did I mention I still have those red satin sheets and heart-shaped pillows from our last encounter? I do hope you still have the pink nightgown."

"Q," Janeway winced, pinching the bridge of her nose, "you're giving me a headache."

"Ah, the age-old female complaint--what a roundabout way to say 'no'. But it's a perfect example of why it's taking you so long to get home. You just don't know how to take the direct approach, Kathy. You meander. I've never seen anyone get so sidetracked on her way to the Alpha Quadrant! Like getting yourself stuck in photonic space thanks to Mr. Paris's little holodeck program......or risking another encounter with the Vidians to try to get back Mr. Neelix's internal organs, which unfortunately had already been recycled--tough luck, Neelix, but good thing Kes had a lung she could spare.......and then there was that little excursion right into the heart of Borg space to retrieve an errant drone. Hmm. It's just one detour after another with you."

Q stopped directly in front of Janeway again and stared at her intently for effect.

"I'm giving you one final chance at a more direct route. I know and you know that you're in love with someone in this room. Tell us who it is, and I'll zap you all back to the Alpha Quadrant."

"You can't just wipe out the last six years."

"Actually, I can, but I don't intend to. I'm not offering to change your history; just your future. And all you have to do, Kathy, is be direct for once in your life."

"Why, Q? Why are you doing this?"

"Honestly, Kath. Did you sleep through all your lectures on Ancient Greek mythology? I'm an immortal! We amuse ourselves by toying with the likes of you. And who knows: you could actually learn something. You're the hero of this odyssey, Kathy, and I am like a god unto you. By me, I'm going to show you how to navigate a straight course--right between Scylla and Charybdis and on home to your Penelope!"

"And doing it here, in front of my whole bridge crew, is that to be the trial I must endure?"

"What? Oh. No, I could have arranged a more private setting, but you know how much I love an audience," Q replied with an unrepentant grin.

Then Q allowed the smile to fade from his face. "The moment of truth has arrived, Captain," he pronounced. "How badly do you want to get your crew home?"

Kathryn Janeway swallowed apprehensively. Studying her bridge crew, she saw a touch of sympathy in their eyes and realized how much she regretted that look. Obviously, she would be making her declaration under duress, but if she was going to do this right, she needed to show everyone that her feelings were nonetheless very sincere. The only way she could do that was to retake a measure of command. She had to accept the challenge with courage and integrity.

Taking a deep breath, she shot up out of her seat, forcing her stomach to quell and her back to stiffen. After all, she was a Starfleet officer, who had faced down far more trying challenges than this.

"Very well, Q. It's a bargain!"

Q smiled.

With breaths held and eyes riveted on the captain's deliberate movements, the crew watched as Janeway turned starboard and made her way to the upper landing. She paused barely an instant in front of Tuvok's station, but it was long enough to force a Vulcan brow to spasm inquisitively with uncharacteristic nervousness.

Janeway caught the reaction and, despite the situation, couldn't help smiling to herself. Then she turned again to her right and came to a dead stop in front of Seven of Nine, casting about the pale blue ocean of her eyes for some buoy.

Seven stumbled back a half-step in mild shock, and Kathryn instinctively shot up a hand to steady the young woman. As soon as Seven calmed, Kathryn withdrew her grip and proceeded.

"I'm sorry to embarrass you like this," she began, eyes glistening with emotion. "Obviously, I'd much rather be doing this in private.....if at all.....I had hoped to spare you my feelings. I didn't want to confuse you......I just don't know if you're emotionally ready to return these sorts of feelings....or whether you'll ever really feel this way about me, but.....I love you, Seven."

Kathryn glanced away. In the next moment, she felt the warm palm of Seven's right hand on her cheek, urging her gaze upward again. When it reconnected with Seven's, Kathryn noted that the young Borg's face was more animated than she'd ever seen it, eyes bubbling with emotions that leaked in warm streams over the slopes of flushed cheeks. Kathryn followed the trails down to the corners of Seven's full lips, which were curled in the sweetest smile Kathryn could ever remember witnessing. The expression was adoring and devoted and even--in a sense--relieved.

"Captain," Seven whispered. Drawing nearer, she whispered again with more ardor: "Kathryn."

Then the young woman pressed her lips against her captain's, kissing her sweetly. She returned Kathryn's expression of love with all that her own heart felt at that moment for the diminutive captain--for her own red-haired hero, who battled holographic light beams and disease-ridden body snatchers, imperialistic cyborgs and even obnoxious immortals.....and managed always, somehow, to come out victorious.

As if to illustrate the point, Q waved his hand and instantly transported Voyager in a brilliant flash of light. "Congratulations, Captain Janeway," he announced. "You finally made it home!"

Kathryn pulled back from Seven's lips and smiled openly as she gazed again into her love's eyes. "Yes. Oh, yes," she said. "Home."
 

The End


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This page is from the Delta Quadrant of Venus website. The site was originally hosted on AOL's hometown pages, which AOL shut down on October 31, 2008. The DQV site was resurrected and moved to this new home on November 30, 2008 because fans asked to have it back. Thank you for your continued interest in my stories. I'm truly touched. --T'ware

Originally posted October 17, 1999. Updated January 2, 2002, to delete table and add logo graphic.