Liberation

Janeway and the Doctor at Seven and Chakotay's wedding.

Rating: PG-13 for language.

Disclaimer: Characters belong to Paramount, not me. Not used for profit

abbey@repunk.com


Tom Paris stood at the door of the meeting hall. It had been a church once, but was now mostly used for non-denominational weddings. Chakotay and Seven's wedding was going to begin shortly, and he was beginning to wonder if Admiral Janeway was going to show. Now this would make an interesting plot for a holonovel.

Janeway paced up towards him, walking a little more briskly than usual. "Hello Tom, care to find me a seat?"

"I've saved you one next to the Doctor. On the bride's side." Damn Paris and his wicked sense of humor, Janeway thought as she grinned her thanks and moved in next to the Doctor.

"Why Admiral, how good to see you." Sotto voce he whispered "I was beginning to think you wouldn't make it."

"It took me a long time to make it out of Headquarters."

"On a Saturday?" Janeway smiled sheepishly.

"I'm here, can we leave it at that?"

"Of course Admiral."

The room was noisy, Janeway mentally picked out the faces of chattering crew members between the two aisles.

"Yes, since Chakotay and Seven have very little family of their own, Mr. Paris split the crew between the two aisles, dutiful usher that he is. Although I think it would be more logical to have you on the other side of the aisle."

"Maybe not."

"He cares about you deeply, you're aware of that fact, correct?"

"Yes, I am."

"Admiral, that's more than I can say for Seven's feelings towards me."

"Oh Doc, you know that's not true. After all you did for her, I'm sure she cares for you."

"That's improbable and you know it. Don't try and lie to a Hologram."

"You'll find the perfect woman, don't worry. I just have this sense, this feeling that you will."

"Very well, Admiral. And you?"

"Well I'll probably die a bitter, sexless old woman. Just like the Admiral."

"She was a far deal less bitter than you would expect. In fact, she treated Commander Chakotay with a great deal of tenderness. And, quite frankly, I found her rather attractive."

Janeway giggled throatily and elbowed the Doctor in his holographic ribs. She would have to thank Paris for seating her next to the Doc.

"Shh. Absolutely enough. We came here to show our appreciation for the bride and groom."

"There's no rule against having fun at a wedding."

"But Doc, please-"

"Certainly no rule against having fun at your best friend's wedding."

"Doctor, that's quite enough."

A hush spread through the room as a strain of a long, elegant, march began to play. And there was Seven, sans the Catsuit, now in a ivory gown. On Owen Paris' arm. Oh Jesus. And they were so happy, too. Both absolutely radiant. This was not happening to her. Of course, Janeway reminded herself, who else would have done the honors? Seven had become very close to Admiral in the three years since Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant. He had been impressed by her dedication to Starfleet and intrigued by her experience with the Borg. He was Seven's one father figure. It was only that...It was Admiral Paris who had been supposed to give her away. To Mark. Who would have....It was all so perfect, it was all so horribly, wonderfully perfect.

Janeway watched the Doctor's eyes follow Seven's form to the front of the room, watched him attempt to smile as his eyebrows rose in agitation. He was really quite good company. The officiating officer was a member of Chakotay's tribe. The happy couple knelt before a medicine bundle and began to consult the spirits.

"'Akoochemoya, we are far from the bones of our ancestors," they said in unison. They must have gotten a go ahead from the spirits, because a few minutes later they stood and formally requested to be married.

Tuvok, best man, surveyed the scene. Janeway could have sworn his eyebrows rose ever so slightly as he observed the Doctor easing his arm around her back. Or that he held her gaze for just a second, quizzically, sympathetically, knowingly? Or was he peeved by her thoughts? She'd always had the distinct feeling that Tuvok could read her mind.

Nobody in the room knew the maid of honor. She'd must have been one of Seven's new friends. The chief recited a tribal story about the nature of true love; faithfulness, patience, friendship, sacrifice, truthfulness, wisdom. And how a loving relationship could help us find peace, and bring that peace to others. It could have only been worse if it had contained an angry warrior.

Janeway gripped the Doctor's hand and smiled softly as Seven began to recite the words that would bind her to Chakotay forever. She'd never seen Seven smile so much. She could handle this. She could be happy for them. She would have to be. After all, hadn't the Admiral gone back in time for this? Therefore, in some part of her psyche, Janeway knew she was willing to die for Chakotay to be happy with another woman.

Bride and Groom kissed and Janeway wriggled her hand out of the Doctor's so they could applaud with the rest of the hall as Seven and Chakotay made their way down the aisle and outside. Janeway grabbed her purse and headed towards the exit, so she and the Doctor could proceed to the wedding reception held at a nearby building. There was a light rain shower, the Doctor protectively guided Janeway towards the banquet hall.

Later there would toasts to give, stories to edit, smiles to straighten. It was certainly going to be draining. But afterwards... She would be free. Free of the whole damned thing. Free of him, free of worrying about him, of worrying about Seven's personal life. What a fucking sorrowful relief it would be.

Janeway and the Doctor neared Admiral Paris at the door. "Hello Kathryn, Doctor." They exchanged pleasantries. "I must ask you Doctor, this is your first time attending a wedding on earth. How do you find it?"

"Admiral, I find it rather...liberating."

"As do I" Janeway drawled, tugging on the doctor's arm and leading them into the banquet hall, a snorting chuckle dying on her lips.

FIN