by Suz

Disclaimer - I guess Paramount own the names.

Claire! Thanks for the idea and a great first line!

Despite how this turned out, it's not a parody of Trek fans.


I'm dating a deity.

I guess that term isn't particularly accurate. We don't 'date', but we sometimes eat together. Mostly we have sex. Occasionally we talk.


I know more about her body than I'll ever know about her mind. She seems to prefer it that way and - if I were honest - I'd probably agree.

The welcome home wasn't quite what I expected. I expected some to be impressed with how well she held up. How much she accomplished. How many people didn't die, given the odds.

I expected there to still be some hostility towards the Maquis, even considering the Cardassian defeat.

I expected there to be a little trouble resolving the situations of both the Doctor and Seven. What should be done with them; if anything should be done with them.

I expected all of that to happen, and it did.

I didn't expect the interviews. The press conferences. The personal questions. The "Are you *sure* nothing happened between yourself and Captain Janeway aboard Voyager?" The "Are you planning on forming a new Maquis cell?" The requests for autographs.

She hated it at first. Hated the invasion of her privacy almost as much as I did. Eventually, she started to become used to it, perhaps even expected it. It had quietened down, a bit. It had been over a year since we returned, and most people just smiled or waved or made a point of saying hello. And though each time they did it grated a little, I merely smiled in return and ignored it.

It was the incident today that did it. We ate in public together - the first time in weeks - amid the curious stares and whispers.

I'd almost become used to that, but never would.

Since the moment Voyager returned they've been fascinated with us. Always with her, but also wanting to know about the rest of us. More so with me, especially since I became her 'plaything' - according to one particularly unflattering news report.

We were just finishing dessert when a middle-aged woman who had been staring at us through the entire meal came over to our table. I thought perhaps that she might ask for Kathryn's autograph, or just wanted to say hello.

She leant towards Kathryn and whispered. "Do you mind if I...touch you?"

Kathryn smiled, and allowed her to. She had always been a tactile person.

I waited until we left. I waited until we walked into the apartment.

"I'm leaving."

Pouring herself a drink, she fell inelegantly into a chair and pulled her shoes off by tugging at the heels with her toes. "Why?"

"I thought I could handle it," I answered. "I thought that, after a year, after it dropped off a bit, that I wouldn't mind so much."

"And you do mind."

I ran a hand through my hair, frustrated. "She asked to *touch* you, Kathryn. Do you know how ridiculous that is? I'm dating a God. I'm not up to it - I'm only a mortal." Turning away, I looked out of the window and studied the scurrying forms on the street below. The day was just turning to dusk. Placing a hand on the window, I removed it and watched the sweat evaporate. "There are actually days when I wish we were still on Voyager. When I wish we hadn't made it home. But," I shrug, almost laughing. "We're not the people we were."

When she speaks, her voice is directly behind me. I can feel her breath on my neck. She has to be standing on tiptoes to do that... "We were never them."

"Never?" I ask, seeing my breath fog the window, remembering the bathtub, remembering Sandrines, remembering the rose...

"I think - sometimes - that she was a dream. Simply a figment of my own imagination. A projection of a persona."

"You'll always be her, Kathryn, just as she'll always be you."

"Oh enough with the purple prose, okay? Can't you just say anything without trying to make it sound elegant?"

I faced her, giving her exactly what she wanted. "I'm leaving. I'm leaving because I can't deal with it - I need my privacy. I'm going to a place that has no technology, because thanks to technology every person in every house in every street in the entire world, knows who I am. I don't want to be recognised everywhere I go. It's not what was meant for me."

"And you think that leaving me will help you?"

"I'll be a hell of a lot harder to identify if I'm not hanging on your arm."

"You really think so? Because that tattoo kind of stands out in a crowd, and you have very good reasons for not wanting to remove it."

I shook my head. "I don't have any choice, Kathryn."

That made her smile, and she spoke softly. "You always told me that there was another choice. There was always another way."

She had me there. "I'm starting to regret my own advice."

She touched the side of my face. "It's not easy for me, you know. I will admit that I do get some satisfaction from the attention, but it's certainly not what I dreamed of happening. I just wanted to get home, see my family, see my friends, seduce my First Officer...and then do whatever I decided on. I didn't *want* people to chase after me wherever I want, and it has put a dampner on my plans on more than one occasion...but I refuse to go into hiding. I will still do whatever I want whenever I want, and I am not going to let them stop me." Kathryn smiled. "It's strange. I always thought you would be the one who would accept every situation he was thrust into, and find a way to live with it. I never thought it would be the other way round."

I looked at her eyes. "We're not the people we were."

"We were never them."

And it occurred to me that, not for the first time, she might be right.


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