Title: Home Trials Part Eleven
Author: RoseKira@aol.com or email@example.com
Series: VOY Rating: R
Disclaimer: All characters herein are property of Paramount Studios and various other corporate entities, no copyright infringement intended.
Summary: This is becoming fun again. I like playing dialogue dodgeball with these people. After the night before, Janeway and Kim deal with more business, professional and personal, over morning coffee.
I'm not sure what I expected when I woke up. She wasn't beside me, or in the same room with me, that was a relief. I needed the time alone to swallow my shock. The captain, of all women?
Pulling on my uniform, I made way into the kitchen, figuring by the coffee aroma that it was a safe bet. There was coffee to leaven her mood and kitchenware for self-defense. She was at the table, in her robe, peering over a padd. The look she gave me as I came through the door was three-fourths measuring and a fourth outright confronting. "Admiral..."
"Sit down, Harry." The voice was raw, raspy, not unlike the muffled complaints heard when we'd rouse her for an early morning problem on Voyager. She wasn't a night person, even less a morning person.
I did, accepting the lukewarm mug she pushed my way. "Admiral, about last..."
She waved away my half-born apologies, resting her tousled head on a hand, the other swiftly scrolling down the padd, pressing it forth for my viewing. "They think I'm incompetent. Worse yet, my crew...people I spent seven years learning to love...thought I was incompetent."
"You got us home. I don't call that incompetence."
Her chuckle was wry as she shut the padd down and placed it in my hand. "The padd you were so diligently hiding on that holodeck. You left it here." She was watching me, blandly. "One of the few benefits of an Admiralty is the clearance to see nearly any sort of document or the know how to break into them, including some of the less pleasant recordings about oneself. So, Starfleet had me under watch on that last little leg of the journey home. A tactfully phrased private communiqué to Tuvok, I imagine, requesting surveillance of his captain and senior staff evaluations of her command stability after such a terribly, terribly arduous trip. Interesting, those evaluations. Chakotay felt that my previous self-imposed isolation had left me incapable of sustaining any viable personal relationships and thus cut off from the feelings and needs of others. You ought to heed his words of wisdom. Tuvok seemed to think that I was focusing all of my frustrations inward, a veritable mounting self-destruct. Tom Paris, of course, believed I was focusing my frustrations outward, lashing out
with random unfairness. Torres was a bit more tactful, only saying that I might have been losing sight of my original goals and becoming more uncertain in my handling of some matters. The Doctor believed I had developed a sort of coarse insensitivity to anything and anyone contrary to my immediate convenience. Seven felt that I was increasingly drawn to risk and unbalance, attempting to prove my worth to the universe in general and myself." Her expression
shuttered, lips twitching nervously as she moved to stand. "And your
"Admiral. Kathryn." Gripping her hand, I dug for the proper words, coming up empty. "Look, the evaluations weren't our idea, I know I didn't like it. We were told they would be used with purely
psychological intent, for the post-return counseling. Court martials were never mentioned, and we all asked, very specifically. None of us wanted to hurt you. Not even Paris. We didn't believe you were any different than the rest of us, any more deserving of scrutiny..."
"I was the Captain."
"A ship runs on more than a Captain. Starfleet..."
"Took enough stock in the evaluations to formally recommend that I be court-martialed and given the same 'treatment' that worked so well on their new shining star, Lieutenant Commander Tom Paris."
I fought what I had feeling was a rising tsunami. "They won't send you to New Zealand. They can't, not for things that happened half a quadrant away, for decisions made under desperate conditions..."
"The Monean incident. I imprisoned Tom for thirty days, a direct violation of medical orders...his claustrophobia. I could've caused permanent psychological harm...even more than already, at least." Her tones were ironic. "It was personal. He knew it and I knew it and Owen Paris knows it...and therefore Starfleet knows it."
Once again, there came that little cold sliver of doubt...ah, hell, what was I getting myself into with this woman? Shaking it off, I focused. "Still, that alone wouldn't call for prison, not for someone of your clout."
"Harry, there were other incidents, other misjudgments, things I've no doubt it nearly killed Tuvok to elucidate on, but that were elucidated on nonetheless. I deserve the court martial. I probably deserve the prison. However, I'm human enough to want to fight it with ever inch of tenacity I have..."
"I'll help you, then. You have a lot of people in your favor...the command staff of Enterprise would probably recommend a much better option, Colonel Kira...if nothing else, you could accept a suspension."
"Starfleet is your life. You'll need some part of it to return to."
"No. I just need something to return to. Something or someone to fill the void. It'll be a damned big void."
"We've survived them together before, haven't we? You'll just have to show them you're fit for a command."
"By sleeping with my former Ensign, with my former pilot, a married man?"
There, she had at least put it out in the open, that nagging guilt I had seen in her eyes a hundred times over the last few days among the slight flirtations, the nagging doubt that had come to a head last night. Maybe Chakotay had been right in his evaluation, but... "You aren't the first commanding officer to make the mistake. You were lonely. You *are* lonely." And much as it hurt like hell, I could almost understand.
"Mister Kim, your innocence never fails to astound." Sardonically, she brushed a hand across her face, eyes shutting.
"Since we're on the topic of unabashed self-pity, my career hasn't been going exactly the way anyone would hope either, has it?"
Her chuckle was soft, low, a keening drawl. "Why don't we stop hurting one another and hang it up already?"
"Maybe because no more hurting would have to mean loving. That frightens you, doesn't it?" It wasn't me speaking, not the Harry Kim of my universe. It was every Harry Kim I had wanted to be and every Harry Kim I had never wanted to admit to, every pent-up ounce of frustration and longing and...maybe it was the sex that had made me bold, or the knowledge that she had the same carnal weaknesses, the same relentless needs. I wasn't seeing pips when I looked at her now, I was seeing flat out flesh. Human flesh, mortal flesh, and mortal
fears and cries, a woman capable of desperate need.
Her head snapped up, eyes opening, no longer lazy. "Terrifies me. To the incompetent core."
"Admitting to being human never hurt anyone. Admitting to needing someone else didn't either."
"I don't need you, Harry." She stood, padding over to the kitchenette, putting on more coffee. "Paris, perversely, I needed. You...I want you. That's a hell of a lot worse."