Chapter Seven: Elvis Has Left The Building

The Captain looked over at Seven, who was sitting quietly in the co-pilots chair of the shuttle, lost in thought.

"You all right?"

"I am functioning adequately, Kathryn." The Borg looked at her sadly. "Except for a tightness in my chest and a hollowness I can not identify."

"It's loss, Seven." She took the young woman's hand. "You're going to miss them." It wasn't a question.

"Yes, I will. But I will always have the memories of having known them and the knowledge that Anni will grow up healthy and happy."

"Thanks to you."

Seven smiled at her. "Thanks to us."

They said nothing more as the rift began to appear before them.

Several hours later, Captain Kathryn Janeway sighed happily. She was stretched out on the couch in her quarters wrapped warmly in her lover's arms. Seven smiled as the older woman's hands began to wander down her thighs.

"Was there something you required, Captain?" She teased.

"Only you."

The door chime cut off their conversation and Janeway sat up, frowning.

"Computer, who is at the door?"

"Commander Tuvok."

Leaning back against Seven, she called out, "Come."

The door slid open and Tuvok stepped into the room. He did not look surprised to see them in such a familiar position. "Captain. Seven." He nodded to both of them.

"Hello, Tuvok." Janeway smiled. "I was wondering when you would show up here."

He raised one eyebrow and handed Janeway the book.

"I assume since you read this that you are well aware of the change in our relationship." She smirked, taking it from him.

"Indeed, Captain." He glanced at the ring on her finger but his expression did not change. "I did wish to inform you that I have removed all traces of the novel from the ships databanks. I did not feel it was necessary for members of the crew to read certain parts of it. I am sure you would rather they learn of your new circumstances at your discretion."

"Thank you, Tuvok."

"I did, however, feel that you might wish to retain a copy for your own purposes."

"Why, Tuvok!" Janeway teased gently. "How very sentimental of you."

He ignored the comment. "I also wanted to suggest that you read the final page of the novel, together. I believe it is something that you would find interesting. Good night, Captain. Seven."

When he was gone, Janeway snuggled back into her lover's embrace and opened the book to the last page. Quietly, they read it together.

A Final Note

When I was a young boy, I asked my mother how I had gone from being so sick, to being perfectly healthy.

This was the story she told me.

As that small child, I was able to believe my mother's words with a grace and wonder that have been missing from my life for many years. I took this story and made it a part of my own mythos, often imagining what my life would have been like if my "Aunt" Kathy and Seven had ever walked back into it. I also spent many a childhood afternoon pretending they had taken me with them. Back to their "Federation", as my mother called it.

But in truth, I never saw either of them again.

And so, when I reached my late teens and early twenties, I put aside the things of my childhood, this fairy tale among them. I believed that this story was merely a mother's attempt to gently explain the unexplainable.

I had just been lucky, it was that simple. Somehow, someway, I had defeated a disease that could not be beaten. I had cheated death, and it made me feel invincible, a rationalization that got me through many of the tougher moments in my life.

Now, however, in my later years, I begin to wonder how much of what my mother told me was really the truth. My heart would like to believe that every word of it was. And each passing day, my head can come up with fewer and fewer reasons as to why I shouldn't.

Maybe my cynical years were merely that. The middle age of a man who knew magic in his life, but only briefly. And when it was gone, he found nothing that could compare.

Now, I think I would rather believe.

Believe that there is magic…somewhere out there, that there could exist somewhere two individuals whose love for each other was strong enough to withstand anything. And whose love for a child they had never met was strong enough to transcend time.

Will I ever see them again? I can't answer that.

The only thing I know for sure is that in a universe as vast as this one, the possibilities are limitless.

I have to believe that with all my heart. And I will spend the rest of my days trying to find a way to reach them, trying to find some way to thank them, for what they did.

For saving a little boy and the woman who meant the world to him.

Annikan Scott Hansen

1995 - 2066

Seven held Kathryn as she cried, whispering, "I believe he found a way.

The End

A note for the hopeless romantics:

The box the ring came in really did light up. When I opened it in the dark during a Melissa Etheridge concert, it lit up our entire row. She was singing "I Want To Be In Love" at the time.

Kristen said yes, and everyone around us applauded.

Dance as though no one is watching you

Love as though you have never been hurt before

Sing as though no one can hear you

Live as though heaven is on earth.

"Mercy" Copyright Melissa Etheridge and Island Records