There's No Forgetting
porque no se que contestar:
hay tantos muertos,
y tantos malecones que el sol rojo partia,
y tantas cabezas que golpean los buques,
y tantas manos que han encerrado besos,
y tantas cosas que quiero olvidar
[I know not what to answer:
there are so many dead,
and so many dikes the red sun breached,
and so many heads battering hulls
and so many hands that have closed over kisses
and so many things that i want to forget]
Pablo Neruda, No hay olvido (Sonata) [There's No Forgetting (Sonata)]
Sometimes, when I pass a mirror, I am still startled by the face in it. I spin around to look for the person behind me, and then I remember. At the beginning I was in a state of permanent confusion - it happens less often now. For the most part I am used to looking at my reflection and seeing a stranger staring back at me. Her hair is longer and darker than mine was, her facial structure, nose, lips altered beyond recognition. You have to get close to see the resemblance. Only the eyes belong to Kathryn Janeway now; steely blue, icy grey - no one has ever called them warm. That woman doesn't live here any more. It wasn't hard to disappear, with the aid of modern techniques - one day Admiral Janeway left her house and her job and vanished into the darkness. Money and sexual favours can buy most things, so with their aid I visited a plastic surgeon, and bought my way out of life and Janeway lay on the surgeon's biobed and mutated into another woman. I try not to think about her, and her life. Beneath everything I know we are one and the same, but I try not to remember.
I have never been here before, that is what I tell myself. Everything is a discovery, every corridor and corner. Bullshit. Janeway walked the corridors of Deep Space Nine countless times. As I walk along the promenade I see faces I recognise vaguely, so I shut them out of my mind (a familiar experience). I thought I was ready to come back here. As usual, I was wrong. The familiarity overwhelms me. The same walls and carpets I knew for many years, the Starfleet smell assaulting my senses. People, of all species, go past me, and my eyes linger on two young ensigns who are chattering gaily to each other over some unknown event that seems to them so important. As always, they remind me of the young Kathryn Janeway, young, animated, enthused. So in love with the principles of Starfleet. Proud to be a Starfleet officer, and above all, caring so greatly about so many things. I have slid into apathy; but I am not yet so insensible to life that it does not hurt. I try. I can't get away from these Starfleet uniforms. I can feel the fabric under my fingers, feel the round hardness of my captain's pips. I worked so hard to get there. She did. I should have learned by now that I must never return to places Janeway frequented, but I never learn. I always think I can get the better of myself. There is nowhere to escape to now, so I must bear it. Push all thoughts of Captain Janeway out of my mind and pretend, fiercely. I can't do it by myself, my willpower was never that strong, so I need my artificial aid. My feet turn of their own accord in the direction of Quark's.
After what seems far too long a time, I slide my legs under the bar. I haven't been here in a long time, but I know this feeling all too well. There are many times like this in my life, where I take the easy route out. It's so banal, this search for oblivion that has claimed so many for so long. But then, the best things in life are banal (and the worst). I just want to lose myself, to forget the pain. I order a drink, some Ktarian cocktail, and for a moment I look at it sitting in front of me, stir it round, watch the warm reds and oranges stir. Then I raise it to my lips and feel the liquid fire slide down my throat. I close my eyes momentarily, savouring the taste and the feeling. Beautiful. I want the synthehol to mist around my mind, remove the sharp edges. I want to attain a state where I don't know whether I am drowning in the most intense of pain, or I have forgotten. I don't want to live. I want to simply exist. So I sip more of my drink, waiting for the fuzziness, and I look around the bar. There is a young Trill seated alone at one of the tables, staring into a drink. Her hair is dark and cropped short, and she looks lonely, and I have always had a thing for Trills. Too young for me, perhaps - but when I lost myself, I had a few years shaved off for good measure, so who will know? I drain the rest of my drink and get up.
"Hi," I say, as an original way to start the conversation, slipping into the chair opposite. She looks up, startled out of her reverie, and a smile seems to come just naturally to her face. It lights her up, makes her even better looking, but there's a darkness behind her eyes that I have seen behind mine. It doesn't seem right in one so young, but life doesn't work that way. I am drawn to her instantly. I want to heal her. Of course, most of all, I want her to heal me. And I know that nothing we can do tonight will accomplish either aim.
"Hi," she says.
"Can I buy you a drink?" I ask. She already has one, but I don't think that will feature in her acceptance or denial.
"Of course," she replies.
"I'm Laura," I tell her. I don't tell her that my last name is Hansen. That was a bad choice, and it reminds me of things (of people) I don't want to remember. The little voice sounds in my head again... *because you killed her* Shut up, Kathryn, fuck off out of my life, I tell it silently. It won't go away.
"Ezri," she says, and smiles again.
"Pleased to meet you," I say, with an unsubtle emphasis on the 'pleased'. She tells me she'll drink whatever I'm having, so I return with two glasses and sit down, making sure I cross my legs in just the right position. The dress is long and blue and silken, and the slit in it is almost as long as the skirt. It works; her eyes move to my legs before returning to my face, where I almost imperceptibly raise my eyebrow and let my lips give a small smile in return. She blushes a little, smiles and looks down for a second.
"So," I take a sip of my drink, "I see you're pretty highly ranked," and I reach up and I finger her lieutenant's pips, let my hand linger there. "What are you doing on Deep Space Nine?"
She replies proudly, with a hint of self-mockery, "You're talking here to Deep Space Nine's one and only counselor," smiling after she tells me.
"Impressive," I say. "I may find myself developing some psychological problems in the near future."
"I'll do my best to help you with them," she replies, returning every ounce of the suggestiveness, although hers is friendlier and less smutty.
"I'm sure you'll do very well indeed," I drawl, looking her up and down. She raises her eyebrows.
Having made my intentions clear, and received a pretty interested response, I tone down the innuendo, because it's too early in the evening, and we aren't drunk enough yet. There isn't any weather on a space station… which is a shame, but there are substitutes. We talk about daily life on DS9. What it's been like working here after the war. Where we'd like to be if we weren't here. She asks me whether I'm in Starfleet, and I smile and reply, "Oh no, I'm just a civilian." Technically, it isn't a lie. But I still feel a little stab of dishonesty. Not that it really bothers me. I don't really listen to what she's saying, and I answer absently. Instead I keep my eyes on her. Her eyes are mesmerising, and her spots enticing, and like it's done to everyone else who has ever lusted after a Trill, the trail of markings beckons me. Dark on light. Skin smooth as silk and space-time. It would be easy to sit here for a long, long time, just pleasing my eyes, but I don't just want to please my eyes. She got the second lot of drinks, so now it's my turn - I go up to the bar, and when I return, she's looking into the distance. We sit in silence for a bit, and I decide it's time.
"Are you attached?" I ask her, abruptly, breaking the pause. The grief that has been lurking behind her eyes comes out and rests on her face, and she looks down and says quietly,
"Not any more." I wonder a minute whether to just let it go and continue flirting, or do the sympathy, and I choose a route between the two.
"Good," I say gently, taking her hand, "because I'd hate to have to steal you from anyone." There's a pause. "Do you want to talk about it?" She gives a little deprecating laugh.
"I'm supposed to be the counselor, remember? I have enough talking in my job as it is… and somehow, I don't think talk is really in order right now." I laugh, and then offer,
"Your quarters are probably of a higher standard than mine…" And so, with unspoken consent, we rise. As we leave and I follow her down the corridors, I keep my eyes on her, walking close to her and feeling the heat where we touch. Seeing the beauty of the spots that run down her, smelling her scent. I am desperate to take off the uniform and bury myself in her. And I'm quite stunned that it's happened so quickly - usually there is so much charm and procrastination. But today we both want the same thing. The walk to her quarters is far too long, and when we get there I pause only a second to be thankful I have not picked somebody with bad taste, as I glance round the room. For I moment I wait, savouring the anticipation for one last second. Then I press her up against the wall and kiss her roughly. I push my tongue into her mouth and my hands are behind her head, tangling in her hair; this is so beautiful, I would do this forever, she tastes wonderful. My breathing is quickening and her hands are on my back, reaching for the dress's fastening. As I pull away, the dress sinks to the floor like a spray of rain. I take a deep breath, before saying, my voice low and throaty,
"Now's where the good time begins." I kiss her again, and she just breaks it off to say,
"Computer, seal doors."
I take her by the hand and lead her towards the bed, stopping her just in front of it and watching her speculatively. She looks at me, her face pleading. I smile. Slowly and deliberately, I unfasten her Starfleet jacket and throw it to the floor. I lean forward, run my tongue up the spots on her neck, and say, my breath hot in her ear,
"Time to throw all those good clean Starfleet protocols and morals out the airlock."
And I almost rip off the rest of her clothing, frantic to see her, unhooking the bra of dark blue lace and pulling down the matching panties. Then I gaze at her, transfixed by her naked body. God, she is so beautiful. Still she wears that look of childlike innocence. The trails of spots run down her, touching the sides of her breasts and thinning out and tapering off lower down, disappearing into her triangle of dark pubic hair. The markings of dark brown contrast with the paleness of her smooth expanse of skin, and her nipples stand out darkly. This shape, her shape, is the most perfect thing, the curves of her body and her breasts, the length of her legs, her everything. And I throw her down onto the bed, and straddle her, and lower my mouth onto hers. Her mouth is open and tongue crushing against mine, the heat surrounding us. My hands begin to softly stroke her body where the spots are. She sighs; I know how she loves this, my former self has been with Trills before. I'm going to do this slowly, slowly, because that way it lasts longer.
I move my hands lower and start making long strokes up and down her thighs, and I leave her mouth and bring mine to the side of her neck. I nuzzle the spots, draw my tongue softly over them. Slowly I begin to trail my tongue down the band of markings, lingering on each one. When I reach her breasts I stop my descent, and bring my mouth up the slope, and let my tongue flicker over an already erect nipple. She lets out a breath and I gather as much of her breast as I can take into my mouth, and suck at it, circle the nipple fast with my mouth, and all the time I've got my hands moving up and down her, stroking her legs and the spots on her abdomen, and I can feel she's getting worked up. She arches her back a little, and says, catching her breath,
"Come on, please..." so I decide to humour her. Lightly, lightly, I draw my fingers up her leg and draw invisible patterns in amongst her hair. I tug gently and tangle my hands in the curls, circling, and with my mouth begin once more my downward motion. My tongue and lips flicker over the spots again and both fingers and tongue move faster, and then she gasps as I slide my fingers inside her. I begin to move them, pumping in and out, at first just lightly brushing against her clit. I can hear her breathing getting heavier and faster and my tongue's just reached her hair, and I draw the liquid out with my fingers and put my mouth to it and lick, taste her. Can't think of anything that's better than this taste, this feeling. So I lick, encircling her clit faster and faster, moving my fingers along with my tongue. Her breathing is more laboured by the second, I feel the tightness in her thighs, and work harder, faster, until she comes with a cry and a spasm, and I relax. I rest a minute, face still in between her legs, drinking in the scent. Then I move up and start kissing her gently, spreading her own juices round her lips and tongue with mine. She breathes out deep breaths and suddenly she rolls me over and pins me down. I look up at her.
"You didn't think I'd let you have all the fun?" she asks. The combination of the young and innocent face and the sensual body is driving me crazy. I can feel her nipples brushing against me and her cunt hot on top of mine. She trails her hand down my body and spiders it around my hair, then inserts two of her fingers and draws them out again. She brings the hand up and spreads the liquid liberally over my lips, and then she kisses me hard; I can taste her and me all mixed together, and I'm desperate for more. I make just a little moan, muffled by her kisses, and I can feel her responding by returning her hand low down. She enters me again, thrusting her fingers in and out and rubbing my clit. All the time she's kissing me frantically, and I can feel my whole body becoming more tense, every touch now sending sensation through me. Because this is what it's all about, right now when she's taking me higher and higher and I'm holding on like this it doesn't matter who I am, I have lost myself. All I can think of is the know in me that grows tighter and larger every second, I'm feeling her moving more and more and I'm on the brink. Then I explode, and waves crash through me.
I'm awake before her the next morning, and I wander through her quarters, picking up holo-images and touching furniture softly. It's strange how inanimate objects can mean so much to us. Her uniform lies discarded on the floor where I threw it, and I pick up the jacket, finger the gleaming commbadge, symbolising everything Starfleet represents. I hate that symbol. Currents of emotion run through me as I touch it - Janeway to Torres. Captain to the bridge. Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway. Why won't she leave me alone? I don't want to be her. I hate the things she did, and I hate her. What can I do to stop it? Why can't someone rearrange my mind? I will get away from her... I will. I shouldn't have come here.
I turn away from the churnings of my mind, and look instead at the woman lying on the bed. So peaceful is her repose. (I would like to know that peace.) She is beautiful, this one. I would like so much to stay and to watch the stars with her, share the loneliness of space. As I watch, she stirs. The eyelids slowly rise and blink a few times, and she props herself up sleepily on one arm. I smile at her, walking over to join her. I run my hand lightly down over her body.
"Have you had a good sleep?" I ask her.
"Very restful, thank you," she says, mock-formal. I pull her to me and kiss her, caressing her back. Then we withdraw, and I look at her for a while. Drinking in the sight.
"You have beautiful eyes," she murmurs. I start stroking her again, but just as things have begun to get a little heated, we're interrupted by the beep of her commbadge. She rolls her eyes.
"No rest for the wicked," I say, and pass it to her.
"Kira to Lieutenant Dax," comes the voice.
"What?" she asks and then remembers something, "...oh God, I'm sorry... look, I've got such a headache, can't we put it off until tomorrow?"
"Well… I guess I'll forgive you just this once."
"Thanks. Dax out." She turns back to me and smiles, ready to resume what we were doing, but I'm staring at her, stunned.
"You're Dax?" I whisper, and I should have guessed; and this is it, this has broken the barrier. Images flood my mind, I can't force them out - black hair tumbling down over her shoulders, the sweetest words of love, the anger flaming between us, and the pain that racked me when she'd gone. Kathryn's taking me back over after all this time. How could I not have seen, this is Kathryn's Jadzia... and she's looking at me puzzled, my Dax; and then recognition dawns in her face, and
"Kathryn?" she says, softly and incredulously. I can't help but react.
"No, God, no… hell, Dax, I'm not Kathryn! Not any more!" I try and get away, but she holds me.
"You *are* Kathryn! We all thought you were dead…"
"Shit, why can't you people just leave me alone? I can't go anywhere without people from her past coming up and ambushing me! Just one night I think I've got a beautiful woman all for myself. But no. Janeway invades again..."
She's still shell-shocked. "My God… why'd you do it, Katie? Why? What about all the people left behind, the people who cared about you?" I sigh.
"There was *no-one* in my life who cared about it, so you can just forget that line. And how did you manage to go through the whole evening without mentioning any of your ex-hosts, anyway? Jadzia would never shut up about them..." *Now* her expression grows dark.
"There it is! Jadzia again! Hell, I didn't exactly ask for yet another one of Jadzia's ex-lovers... Have you ever thought that maybe for one night I might just want to be myself? Not to have Curzon and Emony and fucking Jadzia's shadow following me for once? I mean, who sees just Ezri? No, it's always Dax... you're shorter than the last one! You're quieter than the last one! *Jadzia* could have done that easily!" She subsides, fuming, and even now when my carefully constructed world is crashing down around me I can't help but notice the fire in her eyes and her passion and how she flashes. She certainly has Jadzia's temper. I don't want to sink further into this, but I need to know.
"How did she die?" I ask, quietly. The anger lifts itself off her face and there's just sorrow there.
"She was killed… by Gul Dukat. He was inhabited by a Pah-wraith."
"Oh, my God…" I can't stand to think of her being murdered, that perfect body scarred, blood crimson running down it. I hate thinking of her hurting, my poor Dax, and to think that Ezri has to remember it all. She was so beautiful, how can anyone have killed that? I look at Ezri Dax with pity and love overflowing in me. I loved her so much, would love her so much… oh shit, this can't be happening. I look round frantically and seize the dress from where it dropped last wonderful night. I'm putting it on with desperate speed, desperate to get out of here before it's too late and I've been sucked into that black hole of love and pain and feelings that is Janeway.
"Katie!" she says, impulsively, and then, gently pleading, "Don't go." I look at her, confusion, agitation, wildness in my eyes.
"Just for a while… stay here, talk to me, Kathryn."
This turbulent sea within me rises and threatens to choke me with emotion. She's standing here with this look of such fucking concern in her face, I haven't seen that in anyone for longer than I can possibly think. So beautiful she is, I know so much of her, I could live with her so easily. Just let go of this wall I have built. Watch it crashing to the ground; would it matter? I don't know, I don't know. She would know so much about me, we would be silent together and gaze out at the universe, we would love. I can't! She doesn't know me, not any more... but she wants to. I can see it in her amazing, deep eyes. She's sucking me in with those eyes. Shit, I don't want this, I don't know what to do. I am Laura, I am Laura - I am Kathryn. I don't know who I am.
I run, and disappear once more into the darkness.
Back to Trek fic