Going Forward
 

Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Voyager was home. You would have to be in stasis not to know it. Everywhere you went in the Federation you heard Voyager this and the lost crew that. Every patron, in every pub, in every space station, discussed every decision the captain ever made. Was she fair? Was she honest? Did she break the prime directive? Should she go to jail for temporal infractions? The list was endless, the conversation was lively, and quite frankly it gave Seven of Nine a headache. The controversial captain had freed the former Borg drone from the Collective. When she thought of Captain Janeway, Seven saw a petite, auburn haired woman who worked hard and did what she had to do to get her people home. Separated from the Federation, with no one to rely on but herself and her crew, Kathryn Janeway overcame every obstacle, not the least of which was 70 thousand light years, to bring so many back to their families. It made Seven angry to think that anyone had the right to judge the captainís decisions. How could they know what it is to be depended on by so many for so long? Of course the fact that Admiral Janeway, who was Kathrynís future self, broke many regulations by going back in time to get the crew home sooner, made for an even more interesting debate. But all Seven cared about was that her captain was free of the burden that had weighed so heavily on her.

Having been courted by every scientific agency in the Federation, Seven took a position with Dr. Leah Brahms at the Theoretical Propulsion Group.  Two months later she found the work interesting, but life in general lacking. Her regeneration periods were frequently disturbed by thoughts of Kathryn. She often found herself subconsciously listening for the captainís foot steps while she worked, wishing she were in Astrometrics on Voyager. Seven didnít have to work. She was quite well off from her patents. Many of the enhancements she made on voyager were her intellectual property and she will be receiving royalties on them for the rest of her life. With this in mind she headed in for her meeting with Dr Brahms.

"Hello, Seven. How are you? " Asked the beautiful scientist as Seven entered her office.

"I am functioning within normal parameters, Leah Brahms."

Dr Brahms gestured to her chair and waited for Seven to tell her why they were meeting.

"I have decided that I will be taking some time off. All of my currant projects are ahead of schedule. I will spend two weeks visiting my family. I find life without the Voyager Collective less then satisfactory. I need to decide how I am going to proceed."

"Seven, most people request leave when they need a break and we schedule it around our needs." Seven cocked her head and raised the implant over her left eye.

"Dr. Leah Brahms. I am not used to human etiquette. I did not feel it was necessary to ask, because it is necessary to go. It would not be efficient for me to get in to a discussion about my going except to inform you that I am."

The Dr. was stunned by Sevenís forthrightness. "And if as your supervisor I told you that going was not an option?"

"Dr. Brahms, going is always my option. It is the coming back that is up to you." Seven stood with her hands behind her back as she looked directly in the other scientist eyes. Brahms could not control the burble of laughter that burst forth from her.

"Oh my Seven, you must have driven the good Captain Janeway crazy with your logic. What would she say in my position?"

Leah watched Seven as a hint of emotion crossed her face. Then, in an almost wistful voice, Seven replied, "Captain Janeway would never be in your position, leaving her was never an option." Seven turned to leave the office and said over her shoulder. "I will finish my work today and contact you in two weeks."

The scientist shook her head with a smile as she watched Seven leave. She hadnít lived this long without knowing a few things. I bet Captain Kathryn Janeway is in for a bit of a surprise. I just hope she comes back.

Several hours latter Seven of Nine was packing up her portable regeneration unit. She never had any doubt where she needed to go. The only question was how does one get to a traditionalist colony that only allows transporters be used in an emergency?

Kathryn Janeway sat on the branch of her favorite tree overlooking the cornfields of Bloomington Indiana, home. She had requested six months leave to get her life in order. Kathryn was relishing the peace of her childhood hideout. In the two months since she arrived home there had been precious little peace in her life. First fighting for the rights of the Dr. and Seven to citizenship and self-determination, then facing her own court marshal for temporal misconduct and prime directive infractions. She spent weeks defending almost every decision she had ever made. By the time it was over she wouldnít have been surprised if she had been reprimanded for the fourteen pot roasts she had burned during the seven years they were out there. I can hear it now. ĎCaptain Janeway during your time in the Delta Quadrant werenít you short of rations on many occasions? How can you explain your willful waste of replicator rations during these pot roast incidents?í Janeway smiled at her vision, which was a lot easier to take then the memories of the real questions. Rehashing the death of every lost crewmember, justifying every first contact and explaining how she and Tom Paris managed to seed the Delta quadrant with their amphibious offspring. Lord Mom almost fainted at the news of her only grandchildren. I swear she wishes I had brought them home. I can just see her raising them in the bathtub or some aquarium at the farm.

After several weeks of questioning it was over. Letters of commendation were put in her file and she was absolved of all charges. Captain Kathryn Janeway had done all that Starfleet could expect for a person in her situation. She had upheld her principals at every turn and brought her crew home against all odds. If everything turned out so good then why am I so empty. Kathryn sighed. As soon as the briefings were over she came home. No interviews no parties just the sanctity of home. Her mother, Gretchen and sister Phoebe were at her side almost as soon as Voyager docked. Their silent support held Kathryn up through the craziness and as soon as they could they brought her back to the farm.

"Clang, clang, clang."

Kathryn heard her mother ringing the triangle by the back door. Looking at her watch Janeway realized she had been lost in thought for hours. The clanging signaled dinnertime and she was supposed to have set the table.

Gretchen smiled at her daughter. "Some things never change Kathryn. Oh, by the way set a plate for your sister. Her show in Paris is finished and she will be joining us for a few days." Gretchen was hopping that the arrival of her younger daughter might shake Kathryn out of her melancholy. She had refused to talk about Voyager since the briefings. When Gretchen tried to bring it up Kathryn changed the subject or just plain walked away. Invitations from old friends remained unanswered. All Gretchen knew to do was provide a safe place for Kathryn and hope the rest would take care of itself.

Kathryn set the table and went upstairs to freshen up. No need to give Phoebe ammunition for teasing, and a maple leaf in the hair is certainly that. As she was coming back down stairs she heard the door chime. Odd of Phoebe not to just come right in, thought Kathryn, as she went to the door. When Kathryn opened the door she felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. There on her front step, in full hiking gear, was Seven of Nine. "Seven IÖIÖcome in." Janeway took a step back as she studied Sevenís face in shock. She had heard that the fledgling relationship between Seven and her first officer Chakotay hadnít lasted more then a few days after Voyager's return. She also knew about Sevenís position with the propulsion group. What she didnít know is what Seven was doing in farm country. Kathryn felt herself overcome with emotion. She tried to reach for her command mask but just couldnít find it. Without even realizing what she was doing Kathryn Janeway, hero of the Delta Quadrant, threw herself into Sevenís arms and burst into tears. She cried for the crew that didnít make it, for friends that seemed so far away, and yes, even cried for fourteen burnt pot roasts.

Phoebe, who had come in the back door, walked round the corner and then just as quickly went back to the kitchen. "Mom, set another plate. I think the cavalry has arrived."

Seven was quite surprised as the captain launched herself into her arms. A crying Janeway was not a site she had ever expected to see. Instinct caused her arms to encircle the shaking woman and pull her in tight. The tall former Borg rested her chin on Janewayís head and just waited.

Kathryn for her part couldnít think, only feel. The emptiness of the last few months was filled with the joy of Sevenís arrival. As she sobbed into Sevenís chest she was reminded of her last conversation with BíElanna Paris.

"Captain, you canít just let her leave with him." The Klingon woman looked at Kathryn in disbelief. "For Kahless sake we are home, you arenít her captain anymore."

"I donít know what you mean Lt.," Replied a stony faced Janeway.

BíElanna paused, not sure how far to push it, oh what the hell sheís not my Captain anymore either. "You love her. Twice you faced down the Borg for her. Your other self changed the entire future to save her life. After all that how can you let her walk away?"

"You are out of line and way off base Lt." The look of pain, only barely visible behind the command mask, was enough to make BíElanna back off.

Oh god she was so right, thought Janeway, as she felt Sevenís arms go around her. Even as she hated the weakness that she was showing, she relished the warmth of Sevenís body pressed in to hers. As her tears began to slow Kathryn became aware of the softness of Sevens bosom against her cheek. Her thoughts began to wonder to happier places like what would happen if she turned her head just a bit and her lips connected withÖJaneway started from her revelry and pulled back abruptlyÖ "Well Seven, I guess the fact that I have missed you has been adequately displayed. What brings you to Indiana?"

"Captain, I find things lacking in my currant existence. Being separated from the Voyager collective is not easy for me. I wanted to see you." Seven looked up shyly waiting for Kathrynís response.

"Kathryn, Seven, not captain anymore. Here on earth I hope we will be friends. Itís funny, it was a week before I truly recognized my own name again. So many years of captain, I thought I would never get to be Kathryn again."

Seven smiled at Kathryn as a memory niggled at the back of her mind. "Now that you are not my captain, you can always be my friend?"

Janeway answered with her own crocked grin. "Always, Seven." She put her arm around the waist of the taller woman and led her into the dinning room. "Mother can we add another place?"

"We are way ahead of you Katie," her sister said from the table where she was adding a fourth water glass. Phoebe gave her sister a peck on the cheek as she walked passed to get another napkin. "Mom is even making up the guest room. You will stay won't you? For a few days?" Phoebe looked at Seven almost pleadingly.

"I am pleased to accept your invitation. Kathryn and I have much to discuss. However I know that use of energy and technology is restricted here. I will need to leave daily to regenerate for several hours. Can you suggest an appropriate place?"

Phoebe grinned with relief. She believed Seven would provide her sister respite from her melancholy. "Oh donít worry about that, you can plug yourself in anywhere. We will call it a medical aid, there is latitude for that."

All heads turned as Gretchen Janeway entered the room. "Well, Seven of Nine, we meet at last. I see you have met my youngest daughter Phoebe, you will stay for dinner?"

"Seven has already agreed to Phoebeís invitation Mother. Seven this is my mother, Gretchen Janeway." Kathryn was starting to worry that all this family may be overwhelming for her friend. Seven however was up to the task and disengaged herself from Kathryn and moved forward to offer Gretchen a handshake. And for the second time that day a surprised Borg found her arms full of a Janeway woman. Gretchen wasnít sobbing just hugging.

"I know how important your role was on Voyager. I can never thank you enough for the times you helped my Kathryn." After a big squeeze Gretchen let go and began to serve dinner. As she motioned to the table, Seven eyed Phoebe warily. The other woman grinned a semi-evil grin.

"Donít worry Iíll leave the hugging to themÖat least for now." Seven nodded her head in acknowledgement and took a seat. As they began to eat Phoebe saw her chance to learn things that werenít made public during the debriefings. "So tell us Seven of Nine. What was it like stuck in a bucket for seven years with my bossy big sister?"

Seven looked up from her plate and cocked her head. "I was only fortunate enough to be on Voyager for four years. But bossy is an adequate description of her captain. Stubborn also applies."

Phoebe, sensing blood, gleefully moved in for more. "How so?"

Seven replied seriously. "Of all the sentient beings I have met only two have come close to Kathryn in those attributes. The Borg queen and Admiral Janeway."

Gretchen looked surprised, "How could you have met Edward?"

"Mother," said Janeway with a wry smile, "I think she means my future self."

Phoebe laughed, "Thatís still you Katie, which means the only being in the known universe more bossy and stubborn than you was the Borg Queen."

"Excuse me, I did not say that the Borg Queen surpassed Kathryn, only that she came close." Seven smirked as the table erupted in laughter. Kathrynís laughter was the loudest.

"Ok Seven," Kathryn said once she could contain herself, "If you are going to give her more ammunition you can leave."

"I am sorry Kathryn, I did not intend to give her ammunition, but a warning. If Phoebe had known the Queen as well as we did that comparison would cause her to be the one leaving." The table once again erupted in mirth.

Gretchen Janeway found herself holding back a few tears as she saw her daughter emerge from the shell she had been hiding in. It is amazing that in just a few minutes Seven has been able to do what Phoebe and I have not been able to accomplish in two months.

"Coffee anyone?" Gretchen asked as she notice plates were empty and began to clear. The four women all pitched in and made short work of cleaning up. Soon settled in the living room in front of the fire they were chatting comfortably. The evening passed with Kathryn opening up more and more about her time away. Keeping the conversation light, no one brought up loss just the adventure and friendships. Soon the eldest and youngest Janewayís were off to bed and Seven and Kathryn were alone sitting by the fire.

"Thank you for coming Seven. I havenít felt this good since we got back. The debriefings were hard. I know I did the best I could, I just wish I had done better brought a few more people home. I havenít been able to talk about Voyager with anyone, they werenít there, they canít know."

Seven moved close to Kathryn and took her hand. With her free hand she tilted Kathrynís face so that they were looking into each otherís eyes. "I was there," She said softly, "I know." Moving slowly Seven placed her lips on Kathrynís. Just a feather light kiss, over in an instant, but so powerful both women were shaking.

"Seven IÖwhat do you want? Why are you here really?" Janeway stood up and walked across the room. Seven followed and turned Kathryn to her.

Seven replied, "I want to be close with you. I want to kiss you until I cannot stand up anymore and then I want to lie down and kiss you some more. I am here because I cannot be anywhere else. You are necessary for my ability to function. Kathryn, I love you, and I believe you feel the same."

Kathryn smiled a slow smile that began with her mouth and lit up her whole face, "Yes, Seven."

"Yes what, Kathryn?"

Kathryn moved her lips to Sevenís and as they brushed together she responded, "Just yes, yes to everything." 

This kiss was different then the last. The pressure of joining lips was still gentle, but firm. Slowly they experimented with the different ways their mouths could blend together. Unhurriedly Kathryn allowed the tip of her tongue trace the crease between Sevens lips. As she began to suck on Sevenís lower lip she heard a low growling sound emanating from the taller womenís throat. It was as if the sound was connected to a string that pulled at her pleasure centers. Kathryn could feel a tingling between her legs and her nipples harden as Seven made her own pleasure known.

"Kathryn," Seven drew herself away. "I did not know that the part where I could not stand up anymore would come so soon."

Kathryn grinned a sultry grin. "I know a place where we donít need to stand." Kathryn took Sevenís hand and led her up the stairs to her bedroom. "I want to undress you. I want to feel you, taste you, touch you, are you sure this is what you want?"

Seven did not hesitate. She took Kathrynís hand and placed it on the catch of her suit. "Only if you can take what you dish out. I have been wishing for this night for as long as I have known you." 

As she felt Kathryn peal her bio-suit down her body Seven decided it was time to take charge. She stepped out of her clothing and pushed Kathryn back on the bed. 

"You are not in command anymore my love." Not bothering with buttons or catches, Seven used her Borg enhanced hand to cut the clothes off her former Captain. Licking her lips as she studied the older womanís body, enthralled by the contours and textures, Seven lay down on the bed next to Kathryn and gasped at the feeling of their naked bodies sliding together. Their kisses became more passionate as their hands ran over soft skin. Janeway moaned as Seven caressed her breasts and gently pinched her nipples. Kisses turned to nibbles as Seven began to slide downward. She began to worship Kathrynís breasts as the older woman breathlessly whimpered her encouragement. While licking the underside and gently biting the tips of her modest bosom Seven was relishing the feel of Kathrynís skin against her face. Running her hands up and down her loverís body Seven became fascinated with the soft patch of hair between Kathrynís legs.

"Oh God, Seven itís been so long. Oh yes darling, oh Seven please go inside, I need to feel you inside." 

Seven moved her hand to cup Kathrynís mons as she slipped one slender finger into her lover's center. As Kathryn writhed in pleasure, Seven added another finger and began to gently rotate her hand. Soon Sevenís thumb was making a circular motion outside as her fingers relished the feel of tightening muscles gripping them. Kathrynís moans as she climaxed were the most enthralling sound Seven had ever heard. The noise rippled through her body like a drug filling her with need. Pulling Kathryn on top of her Seven held her while she shuddered, almost dizzy from the powerful feeling that came from giving so much pleasure.

Kathryn slowly came back to herself. Her body was tingling all over from the contact with her young love. She pulled herself up on her arms and looked deep into Sevenís eyes. 

"Thank you Seven. Thank you for taking control and reminding me that I am a woman who has desires. Now I want to show you that I can give, can be gentle, and can take direction." In a voice so low that it vibrated through Sevenís body Kathryn asked, "Tell me what you want. How do you want me to touch you?"

Overcome with shyness Seven avoided the question and began to kiss Kathrynís neck. But Kathryn would have none of that. " Tell me, Seven. Let me love you."

"I do not know the words, I do not know how to askÖ. The Dr. never really covered this in social conversation lessons." Seven buried her head in Janewayís neck and shoulder.

"Then I will tell you what I want to do. I want to taste you, every part of you. Is that what you would like?" Seven nodded shyly. Kathryn pulled Sevenís head up and kissed her hard on the lips. "Donít be ashamed of our love, or the act of loving. You are beautiful, we are beautiful and I want to show you how beautiful love can be." And for the next several hours, until both women fell into and exhausted sleep, that is exactly what she did.

The next morning Kathryn Janeway found herself quite pleased to be in a traditionalist home. As she stood under the hot shower and soaked her sore muscles thoughts of the previous night made her smile. Aches in body parts seldom used brought back memories of moments of pleasure. I had forgotten what it felt like to wake up after being loved to sleep. Kathryn dried off and made her way down to the kitchen. Seven had hooked up to her regeneration unit just before dawn and wouldnít be down for a little while longer.

Kathryn tried to be nonchalant as she made her entrance into the kitchen. "Morning Mom. Oh great, coffee." She walked to the counter to pour a cup. "Sleep well?" she asked innocently.

Phoebe Janeway could not contain herself. "Why no, Kathryn, as a matter of fact we didnít. There seems to have been some kind of Delta Quadrant mating ritual going on in your old room." Gretchen looked up; there was a decided twinkle in her blood shoot eyes. Kathryn on the other hand was white faced.

"Oh is that all it was, I thought we were being over run by stray cats in heat. Of course I had to get up and make sure everyone was okay. As I headed down the hall I heard someone yell 'Omega' and realized you must have been working on a science experiment."

Kathryn choked on her coffee as Phoebe replied, "Uh huh, exobiology to be sure."

Kathryn sat down at the table and put her head in her hands and Phoebe continued as only a little sister can. "I must say I am quite impressed, I didnít know you could hit that note Katie, I have always thought of you as more base than soprano."

"Well," Gretchen said with a grin, "at least I wonít have to change the sheets in the guest room."

"If her crew could see her now," Phoebe quipped, "That was one Borg encounter that wonít make Starfleet logs." Both Gretchen and Phoebe were overcome with laughter as Kathryn held her head down totally mortified by her family's teasing and her own conduct that brought it on.

"I am so sorry, I guess I wasnít very considerate last night."

"I do not think that is true." A familiar voice came from behind her seat. Seven bent down and kissed the exposed back of Kathrynís neck. Her voice dropped to a purr as she said, "I think you were very considerate of my every desire." This of course set Phoebe and Gretchen into more gales of laughter.

The laughter died down as Seven got herself a glass of juice and sat down at the table. "I assume," said Seven in a more serious tone, "the fact that you are all laughing and no one unplugged my regenerator means you are not unduly upset by the obvious change in our relationship. Is this correct?"

"Oh lady, and after what I heard last night I use the term loosely, anyone that could make my sister smile again is tops with me. And the fact that you could get her to loose her Starfleet stiffness, for even a minute, never mind a night, makes you a walking wonder."

Gretchen reached out and took her eldest daughterís hand. She then took Sevenís hand as well and looked her in the eye. "It takes a special person to see past the captain and love the woman. If you are that person I am happy for you both." She smiled at Kathryn and continued, "I do have one request however."

"Sure Mom, what is it?"

"Stay in San Francisco tonight, I have got to get some sleep!" This time even Kathryn joined in the laughter.

"Seriously Kathryn," Said Gretchen. "You canít avoid your own house forever. Phoebe has moved her things out. You know you could stay with me indefinitely, but is that really what you want?"

Kathryn looked down at their intertwined hands. "You are right Mom. I guess I just havenít been ready to go forward with my life. All that time I spent with a goal. Every moment I was working towards getting people home. But once we were here and the excitement was overÖnow I just see all the things I missed. Mollyís puppies, Phoebeís shows, my wedding. I feel like I have lost so much. My life didnít go as planned."

Seven looked at Kathryn with sad eyes. "If you had not suffered these losses, I would never have had a life. I would never have had the chance to make even one independent choice, eat ice cream or fall in love."

Kathryn smiled, "I would never change that Seven. Given the chance I would do it all again. And maybe that is why it is hard to move on. It is so hard to separate the joy of home and the sadness for those who didnít make it. I find it difficult to both celebrate what is gained and mourn what is lost at the same time."

"Maybe," said Seven quietly, "the time for mourning is past. Would you like me to come to San Francisco with you?"

Kathryn looked in to Sevenís eyes and remembered what it feels to be strong. "Yes, Seven, take me home."

finis