Categories: Ship, Het, Episode Tag, UST
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
A/N: What happened before they left orbit in Resolutions. Written for the Talaxian Tomato contest at Talent Night. This fits nicely into canon as I see it, and it also serves as a prequel to Filling the Void.
Credits: Thanks to Kim for the beta.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything, even the flora of Rinax, and subsequently New Earth.
He had to go down without her, for just a few minutes. It wouldn't take long. His eyes made a final pass over the sights. The path to the river; the lumber that would have been a boat. That shelter, which had been home. Not because he had lived there, but because she had lived there. It was the same with the ship, he realized, and yet it wasn't really the same at all.
Here, there had been a chance. He didn't think that same chance existed on the ship. Maybe someday, in the Alpha Quadrant, but not out here.
They could never have been truly happy here, and he wasn't sorry to be leaving. Sad, but not sorry. This had been a gift, these weeks on New Earth. He had seen more of Kathryn than he had ever dared hope, here in the freedom of their green and sunny prison.
He ignored the shelter. Campbell's team would take care of the shelter. But these plants, tended so lovingly by Kathryn's hands, he wanted to transplant himself. They couldn't be properly moved by ensigns in EV suits, and they certainly shouldn't be moved with the transporters. These deserved to be moved with his own hands.
Memories of Kathryn, dirt on her hands and her face, floated through his mind. She'd lie here, coffee beside her, relaxed and so beautiful with her hair in a casual braid.
Tears fell into the soil as he carefully removed the plants. Not a root could remain. They didn't belong here, on this alien planet. He didn't belong here, either. He belonged with her, in whatever capacity circumstances allowed.
His eyes sought Campbell in the ugly EV suit. There hadn't been enough vaccine for the away team. They couldn't afford any more insect bites. Campbell hadn't complained. She had laughed and declared it a bold fashion statement.
Harry had laughed, the joy he felt at rescuing his captain clear in every aspect of his expression. Chakotay had laughed, too, hoping that the hollowness in the sound wasn't noticeable to the others.
Now, he held the precious Talaxian tomato plants carefully and turned for a last look at the bathtub he had built for Kathryn. Campbell's team probably had orders to dismantle it. It was the practical thing to do. He wanted to stop them; to have it beamed to the ship.
But no, that wasn't his place. It had been his gift to Kathryn, and she had enjoyed it here. There wasn't a place for it on Voyager.
As he watched, Campbell approached the object, tricorder in hand. She tapped her combadge, speaking with someone on the ship. The bathtub shimmered, disappearing from view. It had been beamed on board intact.
Chakotay smiled, a real smile this time. So she had kept it. Perhaps there was hope after all, someday.
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, September 2002.