Categories: Ship, Het, Romance
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: Year in Hell
A/N: So what happened to that watch that Chakotay replicated months before the events in Year in Hell? The timeline was erased, but there was still a May 20. Written for Astrogirl's Birthday Bash.
Disclaimer: Paramount doesn't treat its toys very well, but I do what I can.
He replicated it long before her birthday. It seemed right, to have it in his quarters all of those months, awaiting the day when he would give it to her. Like somehow it would be more a part of him that way.
It was significant, this gift, in a way he couldn't quite grasp. He had seen it, hazily, in a vision quest.
Kathryn, clutching this watch, drawing strength from it. He sensed that the Kathryn in his vision had lost her Chakotay. This was all she had left of him. He ached for her, alone as he prayed his Kathryn never had to be. In the silence of his quarters, he vowed once again to stay by her side.
Dinner with Chakotay. She couldn't imagine a better way to spend this birthday, the last birthday of her thirties. The years were passing, slowly erasing the possibility of children. How many more years would they be out here? How many more years did she have to wait to build a personal life?
She scolded herself for such thoughts. They'd find a shortcut. They'd be home. Perhaps not tomorrow, but soon. In the meantime, she had no right to resent the protocol that ruled her life. She had chosen Starfleet over a personal life before she ever set foot on Voyager; her desire for children had never been stronger than a vague notion that she'd get around to it someday.
Someday. That word had taken on greater meaning out here. It was something she told herself often, every time Chakotay let his feelings show in his eyes. Someday she would let them both have what they wanted. Someday, in the Alpha Quadrant.
That didn't mean they couldn't be happy now. An intimate relationship wasn't the key to happiness. The closeness she shared with Chakotay was something she had never experienced with a lover. With Justin there had been passion, and caring, but not the type of friendship she shared with Chakotay. Mark had been a friend for years before they had come together, but she had never been as close to him as she was to Chakotay. There was too much she couldn't share with Mark. There was nothing she couldn't share with Chakotay.
So while she and Chakotay couldn't make love, they still shared something far more special than sex. And tonight they could share one of the quiet evenings she cherished.
It was carefully wrapped and waiting on the coffee table. He'd give it to her after dinner. The engraving had kept him awake the night before. Should he have said more? Less? He didn't want to put a strain on their friendship, or overstep the parameters she had set, but he did want her to know how he felt.
The door chime sounded; it was too late to change anything now. "Come."
She entered, stealing his breath as she so often did. He swallowed the urge to sweep her up in an embrace, or to press a kiss to her cheek. "Happy birthday, Kathryn."
"Thank you." She accepted the glass of wine he offered.
They sat and ate together, flirting lightly as they often did. When he carried in her birthday cake, her eyes lit up. "Are those chocolate covered coffee beans?"
"Replicated," he answered. "But the cake itself is fresh from the kitchen."
He knew what she wished for as she blew out the candles. The longing she kept hidden beneath her smile tugged at his heart. Then she popped a coffee bean into her mouth and he knew she was thinking of nothing outside the pleasure of the moment.
The sight of Kathryn tasting coffee always had a powerful effect upon him; she was beautiful, with her eyes closed and such a look of enjoyment on her face. He watched, transfixed, as her tongue chased every morsal of the coffee bean around her mouth. Her eyes opened, meeting his, and she smiled.
He swallowed and tried to regain his composure. "I think it's time you opened your gift."
She took the package and he watched as her perfect fingers removed the delicate bow without damaging it. "It's beautiful."
"It's a replica of the one another great captain wore..." His eyes met hers as he explained the signficance of the watch. She gave him a dazzling smile even as tears welled in her eyes. "You'll get us home, Kathryn, and if ever you doubt that, I want you to look at this watch, and remember the faith I have in you."
She turned the watch over, and noticed the engraving. The Time Will Come. Their eyes met again and he knew she recognized the dual meaning. "Dance with me, Chakotay."
They rose together and he ordered a selection of music from the computer. It was a rare pleasure, to hold her in his arms. He couldn't help but wish the evening would never end.
She savored the feeling of being in his arms, but it didn't seem fair somehow. She depended so much on his silent love, but what did she ever give him in return?
He sensed her mood immediately, of course. "Kathryn, what's wrong?"
She looked up into his face, so full of concern for her. "I just had this sudden feeling that I owed you an apology."
"You have nothing to be sorry for, Kathryn."
"No, you don't." He pulled her closer, and for a moment she let herself find comfort in his words and touch. They would get home; they would be together there, in the Alpha Quadrant, and the waiting would be over. The time would come.
But would it? She didn't doubt that they'd get home, but why exactly were they waiting? If she took him as her lover back in the Alpha Quadrant, wouldn't the Starfleet brass assume that she already had, out here? And hadn't she, in her heart?
The waiting suddenly seemed terribly dishonest. She pulled back slightly, and caught his eye. His love for her was scrawled openly across his face, and she watched him try to hide it once again.
"You said the time will come," she said. Her hand came up to touch his cheek. "But I have another thought."
"There's no time like the present."
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, October 2002.