Orange is the New Black / Star Trek VoyagerCharacters:
Norma and KesRating:
This is absolutely AU for Kes, since I had to somehow put her in the same setting as Norma and I decided that putting both in the OITNB setting was easier than somehow putting Norma into space (though that would have been fun too). So yeah, Kes is human and an inmate in Lichfield, but other than that, I tried to keep her backstory as canon as possible. Also, I’m totally going to keep this as my headcanon, because I love it.
Also, spoilers for everything OITNB. Word count:
We found love in a hopeless place
Norma didn’t often get post. She didn’t have many ties to the outside world and she considered Red and the other girls her family. It had been this way for many years and she didn’t mind it. She had arranged herself with living here and she liked this life. Even with Red losing the kitchen and everything that happened after that, she was still content. And when Red got the family together again, she was hopeful for the future, even with Vee lurking in the shadows.
But now that Red was in the infirmary, nobody even knowing the extent of her injuries, she felt lost again. She had done the curse with Gloria mostly to do something, to stop feeling so helpless. But apparently it had worked. Vee was dead. She was as happy with that as anyone with a heart could be about another human being dying, even when that human being had done nothing but be violent and cruel.
Things were slowly returning to normal, but she still couldn’t feel completely content again. Not with Red still not back. She just lived every day and hoped that this day would be the one when Red was finally healthy enough to come back again.
A letter had been the last thing she expected. But it was a very welcome distraction from worrying about Red, especially when she saw who it was from. She went to her bunk and waited until her bunkmate was out to open the letter. She didn’t like sharing her private life with others, so she preferred reading letters when she was alone. She opened the letter and began reading. “Hi Mom,
I’m sorry that it took me so long to answer your last letter. Apparently it takes quite a while for a letter to get sent to Europe (and then probably another while for my letter to arrive there I guess). Oh, and that reminds me, I am putting my new address in this letter, we are in Spain right now and we are planning on staying there for a while. At least we hope so, we will see.
How are you? I hope good. I was very happy when I got your last letter. I am happy that you and Red have been able to make peace, I am still sure that she didn’t want to hurt anyone, let alone one of her daughters. I am still thinking about what you said in the letter before, about Christmas, and I still wish I could have been there to hear you sing. I can’t put in words how proud I am of you and how happy it made me that you still had a good Christmas despite the circumstances.
I am sending you a picture of me and Nadja in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Germany is very interesting, even though the weather here is far too wet and cold for me to want to stay much longer. I prefer warmer weather, which is why, as I said, we decided to travel to Spain and stay there for a while.
We are planning to visit Barcelona and definitely stay at the sea for some time. We have found a nice apartment here that costs only little rent and we will be able to travel from here. The landlady agreed to send any post to wherever our current address will be, so you can send letters here for at least a few months I think.
I am very happy here, Spain is a really interesting country with a lot to explore and to see. Nadja and I have found work in a local restaurant. We love this little town, so we’ll stay here for a while. As always, I especially love the ocean. It’s always astounding to me how different it is in every country I visit. And yet it’s still always the same. Or at least it feels like that.
We have found some really fun shells, I wish I could send them to you, but I am sending you a picture with an arrangement Nadja and I made for you for your birthday. Nadja basically found all the shells by herself, she is very good at that. We both hope you had a very happy birthday and that Red and you were able to celebrate a little bit with the family.
I am hoping to get a letter from you soon. I miss you always.
Nadja sends greetings and kisses.
Hugs and kisses
Your loving daughter,
Norma read the letter twice, tears running down her face. After she had finished the second time, she took the two pictures in her hand, lovingly stroking her daughter’s face and the face of her girlfriend, whom she also considered family. Looking at the second picture, she smiled through even more tears. Her daughters had made her a heart out of shells on the beach, writing ‘We love you Mom’ in the middle.
Looking at the pictures, Norma’s heart went out to her daughters. It was such a precious feeling, knowing that the person she loved the most was out there and was thinking about her and loved her too. Especially at times like these, when the other most important person in her life was out of her reach.
Lying in her bunk, Norma’s thoughts went back to that day fourteen years ago, the day guards brought a scrawny little short haired girl into the kitchen. The day she met her daughter.
Back then, Red was already running the family, and Norma was happy with how things were. Red had her daughters and being Red’s best friend, Norma had them too. She was part of a family, something she had never really had outside. She never aspired to running things on her own, she was happy that Red took on the role of mother, while she was more like an aunt.
But that day, when they brought in this little thin girl who looked like she was barely older than twelve, when Red mustered her with the same harshness she had for all new girls, when the girl just quietly did everything she was told, something in Norma went out to the girl.
Something compelled her to work alongside Kes more and more. She immediately took to the girl, the way she was taking everything as an adventure, the way she was happy about little things and the way she never lost her cheerfulness even when things were quite bleak.
It didn’t take long for Norma to find out about Kes’ life, about how she grew up with overprotective parents who wouldn’t let her do anything. How she ran away from home at a very young age, only to find cruelty and abuse out in the world. How she was saved by a man who claimed he would take care of her and did for a few years, working as a cook in his own restaurant and employing her as help, but who then involved her in drug trading. How she was arrested and sentenced. How her family tried to get her back, but how she would rather spend years in prison than to go back to them.
Most of the women in prison liked Kes for her cheerful and optimistic personality. But for Norma it was more than that. The more time she spend with Kes, the more they understood each other without words. Sometimes she even had the feeling that Kes understood what she was saying with gestures and with her face far better than she should, not as if she was reading her mind, but as if she just understood what she was going to say without her having to say it or even show it with gestures.
She didn’t know how Kes did it but she knew that she felt more comfortable in her presence than with anyone else, even Red.
When the time came to make Kes’ status as Red’s daughter in the family ‘official’, Norma had already been contemplating asking her if they could swap places this one time. She had been hesitating, but in the end it just felt natural and easy. Red agreed, although Norma could tell that she was a little disappointed. She would have liked calling Kes her daughter, but she respected Norma’s wishes. And Kes’ wishes, who very much agreed to be called Norma’s daughter, not Red’s.
When the time came for Kes to be released, all of them were sad and happy at the same time. Norma knew that Kes would finally be able to have all the adventures she dreamt about, and this time, aided by Red’s connections, it would not end up as it did the last time. But she also knew that she would miss her daughter terribly.
Kes strived outside of the prison. Finding jobs easily due to her nature and her skills as a cook and waitress and her willingness to do hard work, she was able to get through the first tough weeks outside. After her probation was over, she made her dreams a reality and traveled all over the world.
She was finally happy, and every time Norma received a letter from her, it told from new adventures, new friends and new places. She would always include a picture or two, and for Norma these pictures, these letters were her window to the world.
No, Norma didn’t often get post. Most of her family was right here. She didn’t have many connections to the outside world. But she did have a daughter. And every time she received a letter from her, her life inside of these walls got a little bit brighter. Knowing that her daughter was able to live her dream made her own life less bleak, less hard.
Inside these prison walls, she had found love, and nobody would ever be able to take that away.