Title: Time of Your Life
Series: VOY Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: All characters herin owned by Paramount Studios and other entities.
No copyright infringement intended.
Note: This is the direct result of coffee ay 3 a.m., song lyrics, and fan fiction challenges. One: Write a story in which Seven's death brings Paris and Janeway closer. Two: Write a story in which...nah, that would be giving it away.
Personal Log, Tom Paris
She took her human breath within a cocoon of lonely, cold mud. Those are her words, no exaggerations, no dramatizing. Seven of Nine didn't dramatize. Little Annika Hansen might have been tempted to, but then, Annika Hansen was little more than a scratching, wailing memory, a separate entity from the adult woman we came to know, hate, and admire. Just how separate...we might never have figured out, if not for the Doctor's prying and Seven's counseling.
Annika Hansen died at six years of age.
Seven of Nine never stopped living with her loss.
I knew from the beginning, had the pieces to the puzzle under my fingers. I was the medical assistant, had first hand knowledge of the status of Seven of Nine at any given time...her DNA readings, her genetic makeup. Nowhere, in any of the scans, was Annika Hansen. Nowhere but in the mind of one frightened, disoriented, mutated human being. She had the memories, you see...memories of the Raven, of the Hansens, of one terrifying end to a little girls entire world. Problem is, her DNA didn't match that of Annika Hansen's that we have on record here in the Alpha Quadrant...the memories, well, they weren't her memories.
The Doc now tacks it up to Borg technology, brain-washing, a complete reprogramming...the creation of a perfect spy. Annika was a front, a shield, to keep Voyager's ambassador drone from getting too entangled in her human roots, unless those roots became a necessary lure. It would've worked, I can tell the hive mind that.
Seven of Nine was my daughter. The Captain's daughter. That even rounds out to *our* daughter, when I'm brave enough to think it. I usually don't try, this is one of those exceptions, a spill-your-guts for posterity matter.
You see, Miral is asleep in her crib beside my chair as I write this. I've been watching her, absorbing the tiny, puffy little breaths, the twisting fingers, the twitching toes. I can touch her, kiss her, and *know* that she's mine. I can reach her.
Seven wasn't like that. She was sub-human, on some levels, and trans-human on others. Human life as we know it began for her on a muddy, swampy alien planet surrounded by fear and inhuman siblings. Her salvation from certain death, in her evolved, fragile human form, was her destruction, the Borg. I failed her. Never leave your own behind, even if your own happen to be a pack of lizards. Lizards are living, and living has a funny way of equating to lingering. She evolved, became more than we gave her credit for being capable of becoming. I failed her, and I kept on failing her. We never could talk, we couldn't communicate, no better than we ever did on Voyager, maybe a little worse.
I have to leave something, some way of letting someone know how I feel, and this is about as far as I can go. I'd begun to love her, you see. It had gotten to the point where I actually looked for her in a room, worried about her on those damned Starfleet missions she still went on, thought up fatherly lectures, even if they were only warped recreations of my own mothers. I never actually gave the lectures, of course, or walked across a room to single her out, or asked her to belay a mission. There was a fine, thin line we had set up, Seven, Janeway, and I.
Janeway, my other sticking point. Her attitude towards Seven never changed notably...understandable, she was the mother figure from the beginning. Her attitude towards others, on the other hand, did and still is twisting at an alarming rate. We already knew she was upset, even depressed, over Chakotay...and Seven. The connotations of Seven's birth are taking that round of jealousy to outright funny levels. You can't reasonably hold a grudge against your own offsprings happiness, can you? And after all thats happened since...
And Chakotay. He did try to flush Seven out into space when we first picked her up...while I think the relationship said that they recovered from that auspicious greeting, its clear that he's having to rethink the whole matter. Trying to flush the Captain's daughter into space is no small problem, and having been in love with the Captain's daughter, when you really haven't totally gotten over the captain herself, is an even bigger one. He's doing a good bit of meditation, B'Elanna says.
I've got a picture of her, right here on my desk. Its one of those final new ones, the 'irrelevant' ones the Doc took at the wedding. He caught her unexpectedly, leaning over to peer at one of the gifts spread out on the outdoor tables. Her ashy hair was loose, curled slightly, blowing in the wind, and the faintly curious, childishly bemused look in the eyes was captured perfectly. By sheer luck, the Captain and I were both in the background, she on the left, smiling faintly at something, and me on the right, holding Miral. Its striking, you know, the similarities I've begun to notice. Seven had my height, bolstered by Borg maturation technology, and my hair, only a lot prettier, and even my bone structure, though with more elegance. She picked up Janeway's determination, a few of her facial expressions, her arrogance, her discomfort with personal relationships. Oh, I noticed that, in both of them.
There was a time, at the beginning of the trip, when I would've liked to have pushed past that discomfort. I didn't like Kathryn Janeway the first time I saw her, didn't really care to get to know her, but I had to respect her. There was an energy about her in those days, a sort of driving passion, a childish exuberance. It drew me, but never enough to lead to an actual relationship. I knew her protocals, knew asking would only lead to more disappointment than either of us could have taken at that time. I was still earning trust, self-respect, and she was just trying to live. We had a fragile brand of understanding, and I didn't want to risk breaking it.
So I found B'Elanna. I do love her, in degrees I find almost terrifying at times, and I think Miral is the embodiment of the best in both of us. That always leads me to thinking about Seven of Nine. What did she embody? Betrayal, insecurity? I don't know, but I do know that I'm grateful for whatever she was. Had the Borg not come, picked her up from that planet, assimilated her, she would have died before having a chance, lonely and afraid, an abandoned child. They didn't take much from her, after all, except immediate death. She said before that they provided her with family, purpose. I can't blame them for that. They're cruel, but they did keep my own safe until it was time to come back to me, for however brief a time.
It was a brief time. She discovered the pregnancy little more than a year after we got home, a few months after her marriage to Chakotay. They were overjoyed-it was a gift neither had ever expected to receive. It was obvious, though, that it wasn't a typical human-human pregnancy...Seven's Borg implants were fighting the basic processes, trying to reject the fetus, draining her own strengths. Reluctantly, the Doctor recommended a termination. She refused, was determined to carry the baby to term, to give it every chance possible, since an artificial womb or surrogacy weren't options. We all pleaded with her, berated her, argued with her, right down to Chakotay, whom it was hurting the most. She cried for the first time I remember, but refused, over and over. It was around that time, during all the bloodwork, and scans, and background checks, that the doctor found the discreprency, the astonishing fact that our Seven of Nine wasn't Annika Hansen, not biologically. Her DNA was totally different, and out of all the human beings on file within our massive medical database, matched mine, mine and the Captain's, perfectly. We pieced it together then, after memory counseling, long nights of arguing, long nights of no sleep. I knew damn well I had never slept with Janeway, not in any human form, and she said the same. We narrowed it down to the lizard farce, and the Borg tied up the maturation details.
I had a daughter. A daughter determined, come hell or high water, to bear her own safely.
She did, too, carried that pregnancy through, most of it in bed, on drugs, on machines, meditating, brooding, preparing. Only she knew what she was preparing for, only she was willing to admit it might be a losing battle, a costly compromise.
Annika Taya was born on the Earth holiday of Christmas, just as snow flurries began to fall on San Francisco. She was passed into her fathers shaking embrace, and he led out of the room by the Captain. That left the Doctor and I. We cleaned up the mess, cleaned up Seven, washed the sweat and blood from her skin, brushed her hair, settled the limbs into resting position, took our final looks at her. He left the room, dimming the lights, but I stayed behind, watching her, watching for some slight quiver of the lips, a breath, a drowsy blink. None came, and, after moments of suffocating chill and agony, I erected the force field around the body, leaving her in peace, protected.
I had failed her.
It was a bittersweet failure, Janeway told me as much at the funeral. Seven had
had a good life, for all its hell, had fulfilled her wishes, had found love,
acceptance, had created a little life of her own. She had had the time of her
life, and we shouldn't forget that. There were tears in the Captain's eyes as
she gripped my hand, shutting the rest of the world away. seven had found
Somehow, I think we did as well.
Time of Your Life- Greensday
Another turning point, a fork in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
Its not a question, but a lesson learned in time
Its something unpredictable,
But in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind,
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time,
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial,
For what its worth, it was worth all the while
Its something unpredictable,
But in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life...