Title: "Eating It Too"
Author: jlr ( jlr at babealicious.net )
Pairing Code: J/Admiral Janeway (J/7 implied)
Rating: NC-17, bdsm
Archiving: FFF, ASCEM, BLTS. Anybody else: I'd prefer you LINK to this page OR contact me first.
Feedback: is always appreciated (by email or here)
Thanks: to Kelly, for being my schoolmarm.
Note: For Round X of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.geocities.com/femme_fuhq_fest/
Disclaimers: They're mine by lust, Paramount/Viacom's by law. This story is mine by copyright, but not by capitalism. If depictions of a woman having kinky sex with her future self are incompatible with your sensibilities or your age, please read no further.
Summary: What else might Captain Janeway and Admiral Janeway learn about themselves from each other? Mostly PWP.
Author's Note: A "missing scene" piece for the series finale "Endgame", this story takes place between the "have our cake and eat it too" ready room scene and the sh*ttl*cr*ft scene where Admiral Janeway leaves to meet the Borg Queen. Watching the ep again makes this story even more fun. If you haven't seen it, here's what you need to know [spoiler alert!]:
All that is lovely in himself he loves,
The coffee had gotten them through the better part of the night. Finally, their scheme was complete, glowing at them from the padd in immaculate rows of calculations and specifications. A perfectly balanced recipe: one part science, one part subterfuge, with a generous dash of good old-fashioned heroism. It had a flawless elegance that belied its absurdity -- arrogant, indeed, perhaps just enough so to succeed spectacularly. Only the two of them could have created it, in the hours they'd shared absorbed in the thrill of the technological chase, settling close together on the couch so they could read off the same screen, working symbiotically, their thoughts intersecting and merging as if they were one. Captain Janeway's cheeks were flushed with intellectual excitement, her eyes bright and dancing with triumph, her skin radiating caffeinated ardor. But Admiral Janeway could no longer lose herself in the cerebral pleasures of an analytical puzzle, blind to the human costs. Her expression was grave, and when the Captain looked up and met her pensive gaze, she too remembered that the outrageous coup they were contemplating was not hypothetical, that every victory has its price.
The Captain turned her eyes back to the padd, subdued. "This is how you want it to end?" she asked quietly.
"Somehow, I feel that this is how it was meant to."
The silence was suddenly uncomfortable, and Admiral Janeway stood up and gravitated to a spartan hand-mirror propped on one of the countertops. Her graceful fingers traced the outline of her reflection. She spoke without turning.
"You know you could have court-martialed me when I arrived. I used my Starfleet rank and privileges to steal Federation property and negotiate for alien technology. I committed a criminal temporal offense."
"Do you regret it?"
"Not for a second. It's other choices that I regret."
"It never occurred to me to arrest you."
"You realize, you're more like me than you thought."
"We've both become fanatics, then. Rogue elements." The Captain tried to make it sound droll, but her voice was haunted.
"I don't know about that. I thought you were a self-righteous autocrat who would put your arbitrary morality ahead of the lives of the comrades you refuse to care about. But I was wrong about you. I saw you trust your bonds with your crew above even your own idealism. I thought I was the one who cared about human connections -- now I wonder if I wasn't just being selfish all along."
"It's not as black and white as that. Maybe we're both a little self-righteous and a little idealistic; a little selfish and a little devoted."
"Life doesn't always have to be either/or, I suppose." The Admiral let this axiom hang in the air as she considered her counterpart, shrewdly. "Aren't you going to ask me what they are, the choices I regret?"
"No, I'm not." There was a warning in her tone.
"I'm going to tell you anyway. It's one last thing I have to say, while I'm here." But the Admiral didn't go on, not immediately. The CaptainÁs shoulders tensed as if she were unconsciously preparing to flee, but she couldnÁt turn away from her own most unflinching glare, suddenly trained on her in full force.
"You love her."
There was a moment where time was infinite again, and then Captain Janeway replied, very quietly, "I know."
The Admiral stifled her surprise. "But when? I didn't admit it to myself until... after."
"It was when you told me about... her future. Everything else in the universe disappeared for a second, went as black as the Void. And then, I saw the way you looked at her." The Captain didn't meet her opposite's eyes.
"So much for the temporal prime directive," the Admiral said, with a self-mocking smile. But the Captain wasn't receptive to levity.
"And unavoidable." The Captain was resting her forehead wearily in her palm. Slowly, Admiral Janeway moved to kneel in front of her, and raised one hand to touch her cheek with unexpected tenderness. "We know too well what it is to make a decision that will cost us everything. You've already spent seven years trying to erase the past by sheer force of will, thinking that if you're single-minded enough in your self-denial, you can make things right again. Don't put yourself in that position a second time. Tomorrow, you can put the past to rest. So take a look at what's around you. You made her what she is, and you know she's no child. Don't set yourself up to make a mistake you'll never forgive yourself for."
"I can't make her happy. I've killed too many parts of myself. Maybe Chakotay can."
"I'm not so sure about that. And you should know, he never did."
"That's your unbiased opinion, I'm sure."
"Look, I hoped it would be true as much as you do. But wanting you was the only thing they shared. She's beautiful, and vulnerable, and it seemed to be enough for him. But not for her."
"She doesn't love me. It's gratitude, maybe a touch of a schoolgirl crush."
"You won't know that for certain unless you're willing to take a chance. Are you going to let this be the one risk the dauntless Captain Janeway was too afraid to take?"
"You'll die for her?"
"You'd die for her. But I'm not going to. I'm dying for you. So you don't have to live the kind of life I've had, without her. Please..." Admiral Janeway's voice finally broke, and the Captain couldn't do anything but embrace her. It was bizarrely ecstatic, clinging to someone who understood, finally, what her life had been these past seven years.
"I don't know if I can let you do it. I've been assimilated before."
"Yes, so you know how I want this. I've earned my oblivion."
"And what have I earned?"
"You have to answer that for yourself, Kathryn."
The name sounded strange between them. The Admiral rose and turned to look out the viewport.
"Was there anyone... ?" The Captain asked, after a moment.
"After her? No. How could there be?"
"So the last time you... made love..."
"Was that last morning with Mark, yes."
"More than 30 years ago, for you." Captain Janeway studied the elegant lines of the Admiral's profile against the starlight, the trim, vigorous figure hardly tarnished by age. The silhouette was so familiar, yet so foreign to her -- fantasy, nightmare, angel, and mirror all at once. Her duplicate was the enigma of her own future, and she wanted to split open the impenetrable skin of time and find the answer to herself inside. They were beyond regulations, beyond differences, practically beyond any rational model of reality. But they were still two women alone together at night. She stood up and walked toward her until they were almost touching, lifted her hand to brush the Admiral's silver hair away from her ear, and whispered, "Come to bed with me."
And so it was that, after spending several hours briefing the senior staff, they both retired to the Captain's quarters. In lieu of small talk, Admiral Janeway was taking a quiet trip down memory lane, brushing her palm along surfaces whose shape and texture she still knew so well that they were part of her, picking up knicknacks with sentimental value, some of which she'd lost over the years. Tactfully ignoring Captain Janeway, who stood paralyzed in the middle of the room, conspicuously silent, unsure how to proceed now that the moment to do so had arrived. The Captain was affecting a nonchalance betrayed by her own body: her cunt was already warm and throbbing.
The Admiral stilled and turned toward her. "You don't have to do this."
"I want to, it's just..." she heard herself and realized she'd spoken too quickly, with an eagerness that seemed feigned.
"It's been a long time?" the Admiral finished for her, with a wry smile.
The Captain was too annoyed at finding herself out of her depth to allow the joke to lighten the air. Never one to back down, she opted for honesty to repair her gaffe: "I'm nervous."
The Admiral smiled in earnest, and the Captain let out the breath she'd been holding. But she gasped again, almost imperceptibly, when her duplicate told her, "Come here."
Reflexively, she bristled at being given an order, but she knew they were no longer playing power games. She took a calming breath and forced her feet to move forward. She didn't stop until she was facing the Admiral, standing a little too close for conversation. Her stance was self-consciously relaxed, but her body hummed with wariness and anticipation. The combination made her wetter, and she had a sudden surreal visualization of her organs competently pumping her full of adrenaline and rerouting blood flow, like a physiological crew running a tight ship, oblivious to the doubts tendered by her higher reason.
Then the Admiral raised a hand to her face. The Captain closed her eyes as fingertips traced the architecture of her head and neck with the barest of touches -- the bones, then the cartilage and tendons, then the fleshy muscle -- and thought of nothing but the tingling trails they burned into her skin.
"You're in my fantasies," Admiral Janeway was saying, "I don't dream of myself anymore, only you, doing the things I never allowed to happen. I imagine you making love, being in love, so that things might have turned out differently." The Admiral's hands were becoming more insistent, one slipping into her hair to hold her as the other reached for the zipper of her jacket. "You think of yourself as old, unattractive, finished, but to me your body is ripe with possibilities. It's glowing with all the chances I never took, ready to be opened in all the ways I never was."
The gravelly echo of her own voice slid sensuously into the Captain's ear, and she found herself helping her partner, shrugging off her jacket and raising her arms so the turtleneck could be pulled over her head. It fell on an end table, and she heard a pip ping on the metal. She was intoxicated and out of breath, her overstimulated nerve endings rushing ahead of her consciousness to push more and more of her skin against those hands. But when the mapping fingers slid up under her tank top, her own powers of fantasy kicked in. She snapped her eyes open and reached for the Admiral, fumbling singlemindedly with the unfamiliar uniform. Her partner half chuckled, half groaned against her neck.
"And what does Captain Janeway want?"
"I want..." she began, but the fastener was stuck, and the Admiral was biting below her ear and stroking the curve of her breast -- she forgot what she was going to say.
"I suspect you want to know what you've got to look forward to. You're thinking that when you're my age, she'll be just over 50 -- not too much older than you are now, and probably still stunning. You're wondering what she would see when she came to bed."
Annoyed by the Admiral's disarming capacity to read her, but unwilling to admit it, she quipped, "I want to know if I remember how." It was a joke, but not a lie.
The Admiral laughed, though, and some of the erotic tension dissipated. "Perhaps we should explore the empirical evidence," she said, and headed abruptly for the bedroom. By the time the Captain had recovered enough to follow, she was kneeling at the far side of the bed, rooting through the contents of the nightstand's second drawer.
"I suppose it would be silly of me to yell at you for violating my privacy by looking in there without asking," the Captain said peevishly.
"I'm not just looking," the Admiral replied, with a Mona Lisa smile. She was taking things out of the drawer and lining them up on the carpet, but the bed blocked the Captain's view. She watched the Admiral for a moment, somehow apprehensive about approaching.
"Take your clothes off." Maybe that would put her back in control. And she did really want to see.
"Yes, Ma'am," the Admiral answered, with amused sarcasm, but she rose to comply. She had long ago given over the bitterly repressed hopefulness that had made her hate her traitorous body, and she removed her uniform efficiently, without embarrassment or pride. She didn't stop until she was naked, the garments slung neatly over the back of a chair.
Captain Janeway stared, and then she did find the courage to come closer, eager to study the planes and surfaces of this figure that was so like and different from her own. There was a deep crease under the Admiral's breasts where they rested against her ribcage, but they were rounded, ripe and firm. Her skin was elastic and barely wrinkled, curved over the womanly fleshiness of a belly and thighs that had once been slender, but sagging practically nowhere. The outlines of wiry muscles still traced across her arms and back, accented by faint freckles.
"The Doctor has made a special effort over the years to keep me looking my best. My appearance never mattered much to me, but I think it was his way of saying he hoped... I would find someone."
The Captain reached out, tentatively, to touch the nude, living flesh. She knew this body, its contours and structure, its secret sensitive spots, and she proved it by making the Admiral gasp, and gasp again. The uncanniness of the situation struck her anew. Wasn't this like incest? Or a violation of temporal law?
"At least it's not a breach of protocol," the Admiral said as her caresses stilled, still standing there passively, "because there are certainly no regulations covering this."
The Captain opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, Admiral Janeway had seized her, one hand trapping her arms behind her back, the other squeezing her throat. She cried out and was hungry again, all protests abandoned.
"You forget how well I know you, Captain. Are you going to stop me from giving you what you want, after all these years?"
She turned so her captive could see what she'd taken out of the drawer.
So much for no more power games.
Admiral Janeway assumed she was too turned on to see straight, so the Captain took advantage of the element of surprise. With a deft twist, she broke her adversary's hold and tackled her onto the bed. The Admiral struggled back instinctively, defensive reflexes still honed, but the Captain was stronger. Soon she had her pinned, straddling her and digging an elbow painfully into her back. They were both breathing hard, both more aroused than before.
"The deal goes both ways," the Captain hissed in her ear. "You think you know me so well, but there's an awful lot of me in you too, and I'm pretty sure that if you think I'd like those toys you picked out, you'd probably like them just as much. What do you say we find out?"
The Admiral was silent.
"I'm 26 years younger than you, and I just proved I can take you in a fight. And I think you've already learned a lesson about who's in charge on this ship. If I let you up, are you going to roll over and behave while I restrain you?"
She hesitated, but she couldn't resist. The Captain had already inspired an intriguing humility in her. "Yes," she choked out.
Captain Janeway lifted her weight off the Admiral and was almost surprised when she did as instructed and laid herself out spread-eagle. But she recognized her own lust and knew she would have done the same. Picking up a pair of padded cuffs from the floor, she bound her opposite's wrists. The self-adjusting cords attached to each band could affix microgravitationally to almost any surface, and the anchors were voice-activated to facilitate her own auto-erotic activities. The Admiral wasn't going to try to set herself free. She did speak, though, in a flash of panic.
"So you want to make sure you've fulfilled my forbidden fantasies before I die? Send the old broad off with a bang? Will that make you feel better?"
The Captain slapped her across the face, hard. She sensed the flush of shame outracing the actual sting, spreading over her breasts. Her counterpart stared her down, gripping her jaw so she couldn't look away.
"I've wanted to do that since I met you, and I'm sure you don't plan to give me an excuse to do it again. If I intend to ensure that when you call on the Queen tomorrow you can still feel me inside you, you're not in any position to argue with me, are you? If you're getting more than you bargained for, tough. You're going to take it, and like it, and meanwhile you're going to treat me with respect."
By the time the Captain had finished securing her ankles, the Admiral's chest was rising and falling rapidly. Her tormentor was all tenderness now, trailing feathery kisses up from her knees as she crawled onto the bed, catlike. When they were face-to-face, she lowered the full length of her mostly-clothed body onto her prey, unconsciously grinding her hips a little. She reached over the side of the bed, purred "Time for your next selection," and blindfolded her.
After a moment of indulgence, she got up and considered the remaining two items on the agenda. Taking off her boots to quiet her footsteps, she headed for the replicator. At her instruction, it made four copies of one of the devices. The other she left on the nightstand, buried in a bucket of ice. She stripped off her pants and underwear, but left the tank top on.
Too excited to let Admiral Janeway stew, she straddled her shoulders, auburn-brown curls hovering just above her chin. Her cunt smelled like springtime, ready to be plowed, and the Admiral struggled fruitlessly to lift her mouth closer for a familiar taste.
The Captain said, "Did you think, when I invited you here, that I was going to lay back and let you have your way with me? That I'd let an old lady off the hook? You should know I'm not that easy. I meant it when I told you I wanted you. You've revealed all your secrets, and I'm going to open you up and show them to us. Who am I?"
"Captain Kathryn Janeway."
"Try again," she replied, and reached behind her to gather a breast into her palm. A metal talon was fastened to each of her fingertips, connected to a small vibrator that sat over the pad. The combined energy of the five motors made her whole left hand tingle slightly, as if it were electrified -- especially the deadly prosthetic nails. When she used one on her own clit, the claw arched down to jab at her hole with enticing pinpricks. The Admiral felt her breast hum, speared between the five sharp points.
"Seven..." came the whisper.
"Use your imagination."
Now, she could explore this too-compelling body without reservation. She settled herself next to the Admiral on the bed and let her hand hum over every curve and angle, leaving buzzing indentations where she squeezed the flesh. The sharp tips trailed a ticklish hint of danger behind her caresses. When she increased the pressure, the hint was transformed into angry pink scratches, adorned with tiny, tantalizing beads of red. She watched her double writhe alluringly away from the tracks of pain, and thought, 'This is what I would look like, under her hands.' One talon outlined the Admiral's lips, and she bent her head to suck it in, feeling the vibrations on her tongue and tasting a trace of her own blood. The Captain put an ice cube in her own mouth and soothed the scrapes on her victim's skin with burning-cold paths of wet. She could pinch the flesh with the blades as if to pierce it, numb the tortured tissue with freezing lips, and stimulate it back to life with electric fingers. She teased mercilessly, swathing this duplicate form in a facsimile of her own desire, her clit throbbing with every one of the Admiral's pants and groans as if she were the one flayed by the brutal symphony of sensation. But she patiently avoided her prisoner's hungry center until she heard her beg, incoherently, to satisfy her.
If she whispered, her voice could be anyone's. "Say it. Say my name."
Shrouded in darkness behind the blindfold, the Admiral could lose herself in her fantastic longing. "Seven, please, make love to me..."
Captain Janeway shuddered when she heard the words, raw with a lifetime of need. She reached for the object in the ice bucket: a gracefully bulbous dildo, made of metal. The Admiral screamed when it touched her cunt. The Captain chewed ice, and tormented the smoldering sexual flesh with her frozen mouth and the equally frigid tool. Her captive's hole devoured one bulge and then the next, and she moaned as she was penetrated: in relief from the cold as the cock came out, in bliss at being filled as it went in. The Captain's glacial tongue stroked her clit until it was brittle as an icicle, ready to shatter. "That's right," she murmured between kisses, "heat it up. Work for it. Take what you want from her."
And the blaze seething inside her cunt did warm the dildo as it reamed her, and the ice in the Captain's mouth melted away. Soon she was fucking the Admiral hot, towards an apotheosis of searing pleasure. She toggled a switch on the toy's controls to activate an intense vibration, took her lips off her opposite's clit and squeezed it between two buzzing, clawed fingertips, and Admiral Janeway screamed Seven's name as she came, sobbing.
Dimly, she was aware of the Captain releasing her from the restraints and nestling up next to her. When she collected herself enough to lift her arm and remove the blindfold, she found that her lover was stroking her own clit furiously. Raw and exposed, annoyed and amused, she shook off her post-orgasmic stupor with renewed determination.
"So that's what we look like when we indulge the habit. Very nice -- it's too bad nobody else gets to appreciate it."
The Captain glanced at her, eyes clouded with lust, but she didn't stop. "I need to come," she growled, "You were... captivating."
"So this is how the story goes, with you at the keypad? You mind-fuck me into oblivion, then get yourself off like you do every night, as aloof and untouchable as always? I didn't travel all this way to settle for such a predictable ending. I think it's time to write a new one. I recall we learned something tonight about potential conclusions. Something about cake?"
"That we can have our cake and eat it too," the Captain panted out, distracted.
"Yes, yet you seem to think that now that you've had your cake, you can skip the part about eating it. That only one of us is going to get to live out our fantasy. But it doesn't have to be that way, and you don't really want it to be, do you? You want to feel everything you just made me feel. You want to remember what it's like to let someone touch you. What kinds of cake do you imagine you might want to eat in the future, Captain? Need a little reminder of how sweet it tastes?"
As she came, the Admiral wrapped a hand around her neck, making her fight to breathe.
"Now that you've gotten that out of your system, I'm not going to need to tie you up, am I? I know Captain Janeway's little secret. I know how much you want to submit to me. Forget the fact that I'm a superior officer -- you're going to do what I tell you just because you like taking orders, aren't you? Answer me."
Admiral Janeway released the Captain's throat and she coughed out, "Yes. Yes, Admiral."
"Take your shirt off, and get on your hands and knees."
When she was naked and in position, the Admiral took her turn to scrutinize her double. She caressed the protrusions of the Captain's spine and shoulder blades, the pendulous curve of her breast, the rise of her belly and the silken skin of her thighs, cataloguing every part that was flat where she was rounded, smooth where she was wrinkled. She palmed her buttocks, parting the glistening lips that swelled beneath, and slid one finger inside, very slowly. The Captain sighed, and the Admiral offered her the digit to lick clean, remarking, "See how you taste? Ripe and ready to be plucked."
She leaned over and reached into the drawer again.
"How many reasons why you can't seduce Seven are in your inventory of self-denial? Do you think there are this many?" She showed the Captain what she had picked up: cradled in her palm was a bowl of small, spring-loaded metal clamps. "Is that why you clip these all over you and try to focus on the pain instead of her when you touch yourself?"
The Captain's temper flared. "A wet dream is hardly an adequate basis for a relationship!"
The Admiral fisted her hair and pulled her head back hard, adroitly snapping one of the clamps onto the tip of her tongue. "That was a rhetorical question," she chided. The devices exerted a relatively mild pressure: the Captain's tongue ached, but bearably. The effect was cumulative, though, and if enough of them were chained across the skin, the little nips charted a map of fire. The Admiral zigzagged the metal jaws from her armpit to her nipple, then continued down the sensitive flesh along her side.
"So, you remember what it feels like to be assimilated? Like being possessed in every cell by an imperative you have no control over? Like being split open from the inside out? I'm going to get inside you now and split you wide open, just like that."
She matched the pattern of clamps on the other half of the Captain's torso and started a new path up both inner thighs. The Admiral's hands followed the pinches toward her center until they were stroking and pulling her labia, leaving each with a final intimate bite.
She selected something else from the drawer and held it so the Captain could see it. "You like this one, don't you?" It was compact vibrator that seated itself over the clit, hands-free.
"Don't move, and don't turn around."
Admiral Janeway went to the replicator and came back wearing a cock.
She seated herself in front of Captain Janeway's face and ordered, "Suck it," pushing her mouth down onto the head. The clamp still hobbled the Captain's tongue, but she compensated for the hindrance with her enthusiasm, groaning around the shaft and leaving it shiny with spit. Meanwhile, the Admiral pried off the control cap on the vibrator and started tinkering with the circuitry, running a long lead out of the self-powered motor. When she was satisfied, she let it whir to life and touched the wire to the metal in the mouth that was busy blowing her. A stinging jolt of electricity shot through the Captain's tongue, and she gagged and spit out the cock, coughing and trying to soothe the prickle.
"I'm going to light you up like a Borg Christmas tree," the Admiral taunted. She shut off the apparatus, replaced the controls, and went around to affix it to the Captain's clit. A gentle suction held it in place, and she moaned at the slight stimulation, and moaned again, louder, when the Admiral put her finger on the toy and stirred it in a slow circle.
"Mmm, you are so hot for this. If only the Queen were here to see how much she turns you on." The Captain grunted in indignation, but pushed her ass back against the teasing contact. The Admiral began stringing the cord along the array of clamps, up one side of her and back down the other, kindling pain back into the numb flesh as she manipulated each one. When she'd completed the loop, she rubbed the Captain's tortured labia. "The wire ends here, and when I turn it on, it's going to feel like twin assimilation tubules are stabbing right into your cunt. I'm not closing the circuit, so that charge is going to zing back to its source straight through the inside of you, right where I'm about to stick my cock. So I should get a nice buzz myself out of your cyborg pussy. Are you ready?" The Captain's hips swayed, and she mumbled something that sounded like 'please.'
The Admiral flipped the switch, but she'd set the vibration at the lowest level, and the Captain felt only a sensual hum flowing through her body like a sonic massage. "Put your hand down here and turn it up," her tormentor ordered. She diddled the dial obediently, crooning as the intensifying tingle sang against her clit, then gasping as the electric pulse running through the clamps sparked into discomfort.
"That's right," the Admiral explained, "the pleasure and the pain are inextricable: if you want more of one, you have to take more of the other. You'd better find the right balance, because I'm not going to stop fucking you until you come."
Admiral Janeway spread the Captain open with her thumbs and rubbed the tip of her cock tantalizingly against the slick opening. Her duplicate shoved her hips back hungrily and swallowed the head, and the Admiral groaned as the shaft conducted a shock directly to her own clit. She inched forward until she was spooned against the Captain's ass, sighing as she felt the tight muscles sucking at her. When she slid part way out and began to work her tool in earnest, her counterpart whimpered and fingered the controls, writhing as she was speared between the blissful pressure sizzling in her cunt and the stinging pangs that pierced her flesh. The Admiral grabbed her waist and fucked her harder, intoxicated by the rhythmic compressions and the surges of energy. The Captain lowered her shoulders to the mattress to brace herself, turned the vibrator up even higher, and keened as she met her double's thrusts. They spiraled upward in tandem, unravelling into their clits, until their hips slapped together and the air around them crackled. When the Admiral felt the Captain clench around her cock, she leaned over and tugged one of the clamps on her nipples once, twice. Then, as she watched her whole body go taunt, she yanked, ripping off the trail of mauling jaws in one cathartic explosion. Captain Janeway screamed and screamed in sublime agony as they came together.
Spent, they were barely able to rouse themselves enough to get untangled from the wires and toys and burrow under the sheets. But as they drifted toward slumber, the Captain murmured, "You were right, I had forgotten. I forgot how extraordinary it can be to make love."
They rose the next day after a few hours sleep, both up before the computer's preprogrammed wakeup call. They said nothing to each other but "after you" as they performed identically efficient morning toilettes, one following the other in the routine as if it were choreographed. Without asking, Captain Janeway replicated a mug of coffee for each of them, and they both inhaled the extravagant aroma before closing their eyes to savor the first sip. It was time to go, but they didn't move toward the door. The Admiral cleared her throat to speak.
"Kathryn, will you... kiss me?"
The Captain smiled, but the delight in her face was bittersweet. She reached out with her free hand to cradle the Admiral's head and pull it toward her, and their lips touched for the first time, clinging to each other in a caress as plush as velvet. Their tongues met, hot and liquid, dark with the taste of the replicator's signature French roast (perfection after seven years of tweaking). They kissed deeply and interminably, as if each could swallow all the other's sorrow.
Admiral Janeway thought, 'All these years I believed Seven was the only one, that I'd do anything, anything to bring her back. But now I see it is, it always was you I love, as I can love no other. You I will give my life for today, truly, with no regrets.'