Full Circle

RATING: strong PG-13, for swearing and mention of sex

SUMMARY: Endgame – how it should have gone, from Kathryn's POV

DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns these kids, not me! In fact, the story is mostly theirs. I have merely put a different spin on it, included a few extra details and created an ending JCers can definitely prefer. Both my ending and the title are mine and therefore belong to me.

NOTE: This was written over two days. The first was the day Endgame aired, a mere few hours prior to it. It contains strong spoilers for Endgame, or what I knew of Endgame at the time. The final 2 parts were written the day after the broadcast. I have also made mention of an event from Mosaic by Jeri Taylor.

It's been a fun ride, folks. Long may the adventures of the Voyager crew continue!

PART 1

It's difficult sometimes. There are occasions when I want to strangle him, or at least blind him so that his eyes can't follow me around a room. But I don't and he continues to attempt to hide his feelings, yet failing miserably.

I sometimes wish that he would, could, get over his feelings and move on. I need him to. He is my best friend. We cannot be more, no matter how he might wish it.

When we were on the planet his words were a comfort to me. It was just the two of us, and I had no one else to turn to. Unless you count a monkey that liked to spy on me. Would I have turned to him if we had not been rescued? I don't know. And it’s a bit late to wonder that now. That was five years ago.

Five years since the beautiful Angry Warrior speech. Strange thing is, I can't recall much of it now. I think he told it as much for himself as for me. He had found peace though. I know that much. And today he is so different from the angry Maquis terrorist who first came aboard my ship, armed, when we found ourselves in the Delta Quadrant missing members of our crews.

He says I am responsible for the change. But he is also responsible for it. He did much, my first officer, to combine our crews and to find a peace when there should have been chaos.

I value his counsel. I might have known Tuvok for years but he does not have the emotion to handle certain parts of my psyche. When I want an unbiased opinion on a tactical situation then I will turn to Tuvok. But when I need someone to tell me if I'm right or wrong or to yell at me then I turn to Chakotay.

He is a damn sight better first officer than Tuvok could ever be or that Cavit ever was. But I have long since realised that if it wasn't for him leaving Starfleet and joining the Maquis and then us all being stranded here he would never have been my first officer. Actually, knowing half the old Admirals as I do back at Starfleet I suspect that if we had ended up serving together he'd have been the captain and myself the first officer.

Do I love him? Yes. Am I in love with him? No. I have learned over the years that there are many different kinds of love. My love for him is that of a best friend. It is not romantic. I admit that there are days when I may have experienced some attraction to him, but it has been temporary, fleeting. I have thought about his touch but it has been nothing to endure. First and foremost he is my best friend.

Which is what makes it incredibly difficult knowing how he feels and not being able to do a damn thing about it. I do not wish to hurt him and yet it seems I am just by existing. If I pull back from our friendship then it hurts him even more. He seems to think he can live with it. The question is: can I?

PART 2

Shit! Shit! And damn! Today I married my best friend. To someone else. Someone who could never give him the love I could. Someone who can never feel what I can. And I have no one to blame but myself. If only I had realised sooner. Instead it happened just as I said, "I now pronounce you Commander and Wife." Damn it! If I didn't know better I'd say he did it deliberately. But I know he didn't. He's not like that. He doesn't like to intentionally hurt people.

But of all the women on this ship, why her? Why choose a former drone who revealed to me only last year that she had a problem with emotion thanks to one of her Borg implants. I can recall clearly the day I was told. We were in sickbay of all places and I was trying to get some emotional response for an action she had taken. She looked about to collapse and that's when the doctor told me not to excite her!

And I know Chakotay. He's not someone to go half-heartedly into something. Once he decides to do something he's quite capable of doing it with a passion. Does he know of Seven's "little problem?" If he does then what sort of marriage is this? Is it a marriage of convenience, giving him and escape from me and her a life lesson? Or is it a complete marriage, in every sense of the word? Does one need to get emotional over sex?

Okay, Kathryn. That's enough. When all is said and done you still have your best friend. Get over it. And learn this. Now you know how he felt for all those years.

What it comes down to is me having to work out just how long I have been in love with him. Have I always been and just denied it, or is it something that crept up on me, announcing its presence when it was too late, as if to gloat? I really don't know. I don't know that I will ever know.

Things will change though. I know that. How can I expect for him to spend his off-duty times with me when he has Seven to go back to? Wait, does Seven still have to regenerate? Does she still have to do that in the cargo bay? I haven't seen any requests to move a regenerating unit to quarters. But of course he would handle all that. He deals with all the crew problems. Always has. I could always take a casual stroll down to the cargo bay and see. Or break into his quarters while they're still at the party to check for a unit.

But that wouldn't be right. And they're probably expecting me to return to the reception on the holodeck. I wonder if Chakotay will come and attempt to drag me back like he normally does when it comes to me attending parties.

But if she has to regenerate in the cargo bay still… No, that would be wrong of me to think that I could do that. I refuse to be "the other woman." And somehow I have a feeling that to even raise that question with him would be to lose my best friend forever.

Why does he have to have quarters next to mine though? Why do they have to have quarters next to mine?

PART 3

Just when we were beginning to adjust to the turn of things. Just when I was beginning to accept how things had changed. Just when I had begun to accept their marriage. Just when Seven had begun not to need to regenerate.

This happens.

Today I lost a valued member of this crew.

And my best friend lost his wife.

I have lost several crewmembers over the years that this journey has taken us. Until now the worst I had to face was the killing of Joe Carey. Engineering still misses his expertise. With his death and then B'Elanna being literally forced into maternity leave sometime later, engineering relied on the knowledge of Seven.

Astrometrics has been left in the capable hands of Icheb, who seems quite determined to teach Naomi all that he can.

But now, with the loss of another valued member, engineering is sadly lacking.

I could spend the time there. But right now I am needed on the bridge.

And to comfort my best friend.

At this moment I would give anything to have landed on an M-Class planet and settled several months ago. And then this might not have happened.

It's his grief that gets to me most of all. It is now evident that he cared so much about her. I feel ashamed for ever doubting their relationship.

I recall that kind of grief. It is one that gets to you, keeps at you for days, weeks, months even. I had my sister and a stray pup to wake me out of it. Who does he have? Just a sorry excuse for a best friend who might quite possibly remind him of the things he could never have.

PART 4

It's been years since I've been to this spot. Too many years have passed since I spent time with my friend. There is a part of me that hopes his spirit is near. At times I've thought I heard his voice, guiding me gently yet firmly. But he's never been there. By my side. He could never be here.

His body rests here. At least we made it back before he finally gave in. I don't think the fearless Captain could have got through seeing his body sent into the depths of space. Yet for all that I'm glad its here, I've not made a habit out of spending time here.

It's a beautiful spot. High on a hill, overlooking a valley, under the shade of a weeping willow tree. Tom carved the stone. Whoever would have thought Tom had it in him to do something like that. "Even the eagle must know when to rest," it says. I guess my dear friend had said that to B'Elanna once or twice, which is how it must have ended up as the inscription. And it is a beautiful spot for eagles. Here he can rest, and here he can launch off and soar high above the valley.

So why am I here? I don't know. I suspect he'd know, if he'd care to tell me. But I have an idea forming in my head. Too much time has passed; too many mistakes have been made. We did get home, the Maquis were cleared, and I made Admiral. But my best friend died. And I watched him wither away, grieving for his wife. I could comfort but I could not bring her back.

And then he got angry with me. Said it was my fault and in some strange way he was right. If I had acknowledged how I felt then maybe, just maybe, Seven might still be alive. For if I had told him the truth he would not have married her, and then he would not have sent her on the mission. I remembered then, he had sent her on the mission because he was desperate not to show favouritism. It had been a dangerous mission, a high risk involved, one he could have pulled her back from going on because she was his wife. It is a warped way of looking at things, extremely twisted. But it was the last time that we ever spoke to each other.

He died one week after that argument we had.

I think I know what I am going to do. Admiral Janeway is going to right this mess that Captain Janeway created. Although I would love to be able to get the Captain to change her mind regarding the protocols she hid behind, I suspect it will be easier to convince Chakotay not to send Seven on that away mission.

Then again… what if I could stop the wedding and the mission. What if I could use the knowledge I have now to get Voyager home quicker?


TRACK 2

PART 1

It's difficult sometimes. There are occasions when I want to strangle him, or at least blind him so that his eyes can't follow me around a room. But I don't and he continues to attempt to hide his feelings, yet failing miserably.

I sometimes wish that he would, could get over his feelings and move on. I need him to. He is my best friend. We cannot be more, no matter how he might wish it.

When we were on the planet his words were a comfort to me. It was just the two of us, and I had no one else to turn to. Unless you count a monkey that liked to spy on me. Would I have turned to him if we had not been rescued? I don't know. And it’s a bit late to wonder that now. That was five years ago.

Five years since the beautiful Angry Warrior speech. Strange thing is, I can't recall much of it now. I think he told it as much for himself as for me. He had found peace though. I know that much. And today he is so different from the angry Maquis terrorist who first came aboard my ship, armed, when we found ourselves in the Delta Quadrant missing members of our crews.

He says I am responsible for the change. But he is also responsible for it. He did much, my first officer, to combine our crews and to find a peace when there should have been chaos.

I value his counsel. I might have known Tuvok for years but he does not have the emotion to handle certain parts of my psyche. When I want an unbiased opinion on a tactical situation then I will turn to Tuvok. But when I need someone to tell me if I'm right or wrong or to yell at me then I turn to Chakotay.

He is a damn sight better first officer than Tuvok could ever be or that Cavit ever was. But I have long since realised that if it wasn't for him leaving Starfleet and joining the Maquis and then us all being stranded here he would never have been my first officer. Actually, knowing half the old Admirals as I do back at Starfleet I suspect that if we had ended up serving together he'd have been the captain and myself the first officer.

Do I love him? Yes. Am I in love with him? No. I have learned over the years that there are many different kinds of love. My love for him is that of a best friend. It is not romantic. I admit that there are days when I may have experienced some attraction to him, but it has been temporary, fleeting. I have thought about his touch but it has been nothing to endure. First and foremost he is my best friend.

Which is what makes it incredibly difficult knowing how he feels and not being able to do a damn thing about it. I do not wish to hurt him and yet it seems I am just by existing. If I pull back from our friendship then it hurts him even more. He seems to think he can live with it. The question is can I?

PART 2

Even though I once told Ensign Kim that weird was part of the job there are still days I wonder just what the hell is going on around me. My first officer is absolutely no help. He's looking like its his lucky day. He now has two of me in front of him.

She scares me though, the Admiral. Is this who I'm going to be when I get older? Absolutely driven while managing to be totally bitter at the same time. This is the very same person I once told Chakotay I did not want to be. He was to hold me to that. Obviously we both failed.

She won't say what is going on, but instead has taken protocol to its full limit making herself the leader. Even I must delegate to her. Which makes me fairly uneasy. She is me, and yet she is someone completely different to me.  For one thing, it is apparent that she wants to do whatever it is alone and she appears to have had no input from anyone else on whatever her plan is. There has been no mention of discussing a plan with either Chakotay or Tuvok and I fear something must have happened to them in her timeline.

And that makes me worry. Chakotay and I might have had our differences in the past but he has always been there. As he once said, I might be the Captain but he is the first officer and it is his job to support me even if he does not agree with me. What has happened to him? It is clear that in this timeline we got home but at what cost? Did we lose our crewmates who were former members of the Maquis? Or were some of the crew killed in the attempt to get home? She will not tell me.

In fact she has said little. She arrived through an anomaly and began barking orders the very moment we made contact with her. She has said something about Klingons and Borg and I have had to make every effort to make sure neither B'Elanna or Seven have been in her hearing when she has made derogatory remarks about both. However, she does regard both women with some fondness, seems to adore B'Elanna's daughter and appears sad when  she talks with Seven.

I just wish I knew what was going on. What is going on in her mind?

PART 3

The Admiral finally told me what has happened in her timeline. So much for the temporal prime directive! But she says she is hoping to change that time line by telling me, so that Voyager and I do not face the same fate as she has.

I don't know what upsets me most. What she has told me about the future or what her plan is for changing that future? I certainly think that getting technology from a Borg cube is a crazy idea and a long shot at best, but I still think it might just work.

As for the marriage of Chakotay to Seven, that surprised me. Those two have never been particularly close. I also know Chakotay has a strong distrust of the Borg in general. He's not alone, we all feel like that, but he has gone through more with them than us. Than me. He was linked to the collective once. I think it still haunts him. Seven might not be a drone any longer but he still only sees her as a member of this crew, rather than a friend.

And, okay, I'll admit it. I'm wondering what the hell happened between us. Did I have something to do with him marrying Seven? I might not be in love with him but I certainly care for him. But I've also realised lately that I've been distancing myself from him. Did I distance myself so much that he sought out the company of others? And okay, I'll admit also that I am acting like a jealous person, which I have absolutely no right to do.

The Admiral has also gone so far as to tell me that because we don't get back to Federation Space at a certain time that Seven is killed in an away mission. And that is all she will tell me. I know she is keeping something back, something emotional. But I happen to know myself and I know that I have a hard time sharing my emotions with anyone. Why should anyone else have to feel the way I do?

Seven gets killed on an away mission. How does that change everything? One might think I was being callous here but I have unfortunately lost other crew members, the most recent being Joe Carey. A man who is sadly missed in engineering. Telling his wife was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Probably because I had to actually tell her face to face over the communication channel.

But this would be my best friend's wife who gets killed. And there's a voice inside of me that says, what if it was you, or what if it was him? Is this the reason I have kept certain people at arms length? Both Seven and Chakotay do mean a lot to me. But is that alone worth the risk that the Admiral is making?

PART 4

We are home. I should be overjoyed, but I am not. We are not without casualties. The Admiral did not make it back with us, but where the Borg are concerned I should know now not to expect a one hundred percent success rate. But we are back in the Alpha Quadrant and shortly we shall see home.

Before the Admiral left us she handed me something. In the midst of battle I could not see what it was. But afterwards I retreated here to my ready room and opened the box. It was her diary.

Three hours later and I am still sitting here. I've just finished reading it. It makes for sorrowful reading. And I now know why she wanted to come back to her past to change the future.

We got home earlier than she and her crew did. We have not lost Seven. And, quite maybe, if I am brave enough to accept it, I have not lost Chakotay. He might still be waiting for me, unless he has already quietly moved on. The Admiral's diary suggests that she only realised how she felt when it was too late. And then for them to argue the last time they saw each other. I cannot allow this to happen. The Admiral told me that I had the opportunity to make my own future. Perhaps I can.

After all, my first priority was to get my crew home. He knew that. Now my crew are home.

Do I still have that chance? And if I do, and if I take it, what will become of Seven? Knowing what I do, can I take away the one chance of happiness she might have?

There's always the doctor I suppose. After all, he did tell her not too long ago that he was in love with her. Told all of us in fact. I'm not sure what will remain with me longer – Seven's expression when he told her or his when he found out that B'Elanna was able to fix his program remarkably quickly. How Chakotay and I laughed that night.

Chakotay. Do I take that chance?

PART 5

It was a remarkably easy decision to make once I thought about it. If I had managed to embarrass myself then at least I may never have had to see him again. Though it might have been the end of a beautiful friendship, a friendship that got us through the tough times when we were in the Delta Quadrant.

Then I got the news I'd been waiting for regarding the Maquis. I had known about the war between the Federation and the Dominion, and had discussed it at great length with Chakotay. We had decided not to mention it to the rest of the crew, did not want it to be an issue when we were so far away. Privately we were both relieved, I think, that the Federation realised the truth about the Cardassians. But thanks to that war, and the Federation's new stance, all the former members of the Maquis, including their leader, would be free.

And that helped to decide, knowing that if I lost him it would not be to forces beyond my control.

So I called him, we sat and we talked, discussing the future for the crew and Voyager in general. And then I jumped in, feet first. I think perhaps that my sister would have been proud of me. Phoebe is renowned for being blunt and saying just exactly what is on her mind. So I told Chakotay what was on my mind. I told him of what I had learned from the Admiral.

Looking back, I guess I was a little harsh. I did manage to make it sound like an ultimatum. Seven or myself. But I had to tell him the complete truth.

He told me there was no choice to make. He told me once again how he could not sacrifice the present for a future that might never happen.

Do I love him? Am I in love with him? These were questions I had asked myself before the Admiral interrupted our lives. I know now that the answer to both of those questions is yes. Was I lying to myself before? I'm not sure of that one. I think perhaps that I have loved him for a very long time, it is just that that love has changed over the years. I still believe there are many different kinds of love and I believe I have experienced a few of those. I know the Admiral did. Ultimately she was willing to exhibit the greatest kind of love, the kind where you are willing to sacrifice yourself for others. And that is what she did. Without her I would not have had this opportunity.

This grand opportunity to go through each day of our lives. Together.

THE END

AUTHOR NOTE:

The majority of track 2 was written the day before Endgame aired. The following morning I had a choice. I could go back and use the actual events of the finale if I wanted to. But, as with Chakotay, there was no choice to make. I decided to stay true to my vision. If there's something that has to be learned, it is this – why sacrifice the present for a future that may not happen. Endgame really was left open-ended. It is ours to make what we will of it. The future is ours to develop. But meanwhile, let's live in today. It really is a good day, you know!