Title: Destiny Ends
Author: kiraananke@hotmail.com
Series: VOY Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: All characters herein owned by Paramount Studios and various other entities. No copyright infringement intended.
Archive: Yes
Summary: Another vignette for the original Endgame timeline. Admiral Janeway reflects. Slight spoilers.

And when man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own -Andre Malraux

My Dear Commander...

I can pretend. I can remember. I can even try to forget.


These days, the word doesn't evoke much in the way of stirring warmth. Good. All the better for burning bridges.

You've arrived, my mantra, two words I drifted off to sleep whispering and awoke crying for weeks. You've arrived, Kathryn. Home. 

And it eventually became a damned empty victory.

I can't say what was wrong with me, still don't entirely understand it myself. Nothing terribly bad happened. Your Maquis were reamed and released. A few kept commissions. A few walked away peacefully. A few probably found another underground sect, equally satisfying. Tom Paris was free. Happy. The Doctor was in no danger of deactivation or reprogrammming, despite the notable standstill on the topic of holographic rights. Naomi Wildman reunited with her Ktarian father and seemed to be adjusting well. B'Elanna Torres, likewise. 

But those are the things you know, as well as I, for you carried your duties beyond the ship, beyond expectation...and they killed you.

You must let me go, just as Captain Janeway let Voyager go, just as I let go of the woman you know as Kathryn Janeway.

I made my home on a planet without a name, a reclusive hamlet, a green world, with air of planty and uniforms of none...with no duties beyond self, and no regulations to hinder those duties. Not a peaceful planet, precisely, lack of law nulls that, but a place ripe with life and emotion. They were kind to me there, in whichever form I chose to appear, and believe me, there were days I still used the latter two identities. I'm learning not to. It wasn't something evil and blind-sighted, that seclusion, no religious dervishes chasing me to solitary mountaintops, no alien mind-washing. It was, briefly, richly, freedom, relinquishing of burdens. Ask Tuvok about it, on that higher plane I'm convinced you share now, that area beyond death and life, sanity and madness. Ask him. Vulcans know.

I was suicidal. Did you know that, watch me destroy myself? 

The rest of the crew. My senior staff, minus Seven and...

We braved what, upwards on a hundred functions those initial weeks home? Ninety-nine of them I cut my wrists under the white tableclothes. Never enough to do any serious damage, only a few light-headed spells and some pretty nasty looking oyster knives resulted. I was a coward, wouldn't follow through, wouldn't beg anyone for the help I needed to either finish me off or end the self-hurt. Too proud. Too scared. Too damned tired.

I think Tom figured it out first, maybe because he sat at my side through most of them, maybe because he alone is perceptive enough to recognize both my strengths and fatal flaws. Attempt ninety-nine failed when his hand encircled my wrist, fingers prying away the knife. He grinned to the crowds as he did it, and I swallowed a scream. His medical training came in handy as he steered me to an alcove, tucking my hands under his loose coat, making us appear to all the world like another duo of bantering friends. His voice was less amused. Hard, even, as he located an emergency kit and reknitted the skin. "I once tried that. If it had worked you wouldn't have had the chance to save me. Get help, Captain."

I did. Why am I back here?

You left us all, Commander, and in your usual mysterious manner...but of all the slammed doorways, you forgot one...forgot me. Be silent, then, in death, for you were in life...at times I couldn't help but wonder what it was you were thinking behind that reserve of yours, that mellow emptiness.

Emptiness. I suppose that would be it. Seven changed that. You changed me.

Freedom is moot, after all. Only Starfleet can get me this dream, this way to bring things back as they always should have been, to bring Seven back to you and you back to I, in however distrant a form it may take.

My plan required sacrifice.

Admiral Kathryn Janeway. Uniform. No peace. I hate it, but is it worthwhile?

Perhaps. The means to an end.

Not your end, or hers. Good enough.

The End