Summary: An 11:59 episode addition. Chakotay, with the assistance of the senior staff, manoeuvre Kathryn out of her funk. A possible scenario of what happens later at the Ancestor’s Eve party.
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
Happy Birthday Cath. I hope you had a great one.
From his place amongst the revellers on the far side of the mess hall, Chakotay had been keeping a watchful eye on Kathryn as she sat alone by the viewport staring at the passing stars. She’d been there for some time now, her brow creased and her eyes suspiciously bright in the reflected starlight.
Voyager’s inaugural Ancestor’s Eve celebration was well underway – an impromptu gathering thrown together by the rather guilt ridden duo of Neelix and Tom Paris. They’d been the instigators of an ancestral hunt that led to the discovery of Kathryn’s distant relative, Shannon O’Donnell – for centuries immortalised as a Janeway family icon of grit and determination – turning out to be no more than delightfully ordinary. The chastened pair had concocted this ‘holiday’ to atone for having unintentionally blasted their captain’s sacred family mythology to smithereens.
Kathryn was so deeply in the doldrums they’d had to trick her into joining them in the mess hall, but after the ‘official’ welcome, gift giving and photo opportunity was over, Kathryn had wandered away from the group and taken up her solitary vigil.
The ploy was a calculated one, on Chakotay’s part, to see if she could shake off her gloomy disposition on her own. It hadn’t worked, so, after counting down his self-proposed moping-time limit of twenty minutes, he smiled at his companions, excused himself and made his way to her side.
She was keeping herself deliberately aloof and, although tempted to ask permission to sit down, he decided not to interrupt her reverie. Maintaining a respectable distance by leaving one empty seat between them, he pulled up a chair to bide his time. The change in her breathing signalled that she knew he was there but still, she made no move to acknowledge him.
He wasn’t concerned; he could wait.
Waiting was something with which he was well acquainted.
After a minute or two, she sighed, then heaved her shoulders wearily.
This was his cue.
“Kathryn? Are you all right?”
Without turning, she spoke into the darkness. “You’re insignificant, Chakotay.”
“I beg your pardon.”
Turning slowly towards him – her brow still furrowed and sadness written clearly on her features – she elaborated. “You’re unimportant in the scheme of things.”
He rubbed his chin and tried not to smile. “I’ll try not to take that personally, but yes, most likely.”
She ignored his attempt to lighten the mood and continued to articulate her troubled thoughts. “All this time I’ve worried about how it would impact on our lives and our future, but that doesn’t matter. We don’t matter.” Her eyes flicked towards the rest of the senior staff, who were now busy doling out the remnants of the bottle of champagne. “And they don’t matter either.”
Chakotay followed her sad gaze but couldn’t help smiling at the crew’s antics. Tom was measuring the remaining champagne into each person’s glass – one drop at a time – ensuring that they all had an equal share. The man was such a child sometimes.
Turning back to Kathryn, Chakotay gave her a sympathetic look. He wanted to reassure her, and let her know that he understood what had prompted this outpouring but he knew her well enough to be aware that his placating words would not be welcome. The disappointment about her family history and the renewed feeling of homesickness were both playing a part in her melancholy mood but he was secretly pleased that she was so readily sharing her feelings with him.
Kathryn continued to belabour the point. “In a couple of hundred years, who will remember?”
Moving the spare chair out of the way, Chakotay shuffled closer and spoke in hushed tones. “Probably no one. But we are significant, especially to one another, although you’re right. On a universal and temporal scale, we’re pretty small fish.”
“Then why did I think that we mattered so much? Why was I so afraid?”
This he didn’t quite understand; she was being confusingly cryptic. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, Kathryn, and we do matter to one another. That’s what’s important.”
“Matter to one another? Of course we do! Haven’t they just proven that?” He nodded towards the group over by the counter.
Tom noticed them looking and lifted his glass, acknowledging them.
Chakotay turned back towards her. “They love you Kathryn.”
Her voice was barely a whisper and rough with emotion. “I know, and I love them, too.”
She sank into silence again – so quiet and motionless that Chakotay couldn’t be sure if she was even breathing.
Then, into the quiet, she husked. “I love you.”
Afraid to move in case he broke the spell, Chakotay let several seconds tick by before he whispered in return. “I love you, too.”
Her eyes remained glued to the vast blanket of space beyond Voyager’s hull – her only reaction the barest of nods and a brusque – “Good.”
Chakotay couldn’t help grinning. “Well, I’m glad we’ve got that sorted.” He picked up her untouched glass of champagne and pressed it into her hand.
She turned then, her eyes still shrouded in sadness. “We’ve wasted so much time.”
“No, not at all. I certainly don’t see it like that.”
Kathryn blinked and gave a rather exasperated sigh. “That’s because you’re Pollyanna in long pants.”
“Who?” Chakotay chuckled at her annoyed expression.
Shaking her head, her mouth twisted into a half smile as she waved the comment away. “Forget it. It’s too complicated to explain.” She glanced down at her champagne and then back up at Chakotay. “I suppose we should toast to something, shouldn’t we?”
“I’d like to. I think the moment warrants it. Don’t you?” He lifted his glass and tilted it towards Kathryn, indicating with a nod that she should make the toast.
Her eyes met his, as she wracked her brain for something appropriate and meaningful to say. “To… sentiments long unsaid.”
Chakotay leaned forward slightly and, in a low rumbling voice, countered. “To sentiments long felt.”
Tapping the rim of his glass against Kathryn’s, he took a sip, watching her as she followed his every move.
Kathryn sipped from her glass, her eyes riveted on his mouth.
There was a hunger and yearning in her look – something he hadn’t seen in a long time. To test his theory, he licked his lips slowly and then smiled as her pupils dilated and she inhaled sharply.
Kathryn’s eyes darted to his and she took a hearty gulp of champagne to cover her embarrassment. He was pleased to see though, the sadness beginning to fade and that much-loved Janeway feistiness taking its place.
She challenged him. “You did that on purpose.”
Not to be outdone, Kathryn blinked slowly and parted her lips – the tip of her tongue moving languidly to moisten them. Then, after catching her bottom lip gently between her teeth, she allowed it to slip free slowly. Her gaze never wavered from his and a knowing brow rose as she watched his eyes widen and his nostrils flare.
This time she leaned forward, letting one breathy word caress his cheek. “That.”
Stunned and instantly aroused, Chakotay couldn’t believe this was happening. It was the last thing he’d expected – tonight of all nights.
While he sat speechless, Kathryn quaffed her remaining champagne and placed her empty glass on the table. “So, Commander, what do we do now?”
Fortified by love, a heart bursting with joy, and the liquid courage of a couple of glasses of effervescent alcohol – the real stuff – Chakotay said the first thing that came into his head.
“Now, I’m going to bed you, woman.”
Kathryn’s eyes widened and Chakotay immediately regretted his outburst. As luck would have it, at the exact moment he’d spoken, there’d been break in the conversation amongst the rest of the revellers; his voice had rung out loud and clear throughout the room.
Deathly silence ensued and all eyes were upon him – most notably Kathryn’s startled ones. He was getting ready to punch himself in the face to save her the trouble, when she nodded sharply, pivoted to her feet, and began to make her way towards the mess hall doors.
Staring at her retreating back, Chakotay stood slowly, then glanced towards the others and saw that their looks of commiseration told the whole gruesome story.
He’d blown it.
Heartsick, his shoulders sagged. He’d been so close and ruined it all. She’d never speak to him again.
Just as he was calculating the quickest way to the nearest airlock, Kathryn stopped, turned, and glanced at him, then swung back towards her senior staff.
She held their gazes for a moment before asking, “Does anyone have a problem with the Commander’s suggestion?”
Startled for a split second, the crew looked at one another before – almost in unison – they began shaking their heads, voicing their denials and relief, their words tumbling over themselves in their enthusiasm.
“No, no, not at all, Captain.”
“Absolutely not. Go for it, Captain.”
“Please, Captain, without delay.”
“A most logical suggestion.”
“Oh. My. God. It’s about time!”
“Kahless! At last. I can’t believe it.”
Kathryn looked at Chakotay and quirked her eyebrow. “There you have it, Commander. It’s unanimous. Your plan has senior staff approval.” Turning fully towards him, she placed her hands on her hips and grinned broadly. “You don’t have a problem with that, do you?”
It took Chakotay less than a heartbeat to process Kathryn’s question before he was bolting over tables and shoving chairs out of the way to get to her.
Ending with a shuddering halt mere inches from her, he grabbed her shoulders and stared into her eyes before slamming his lips onto hers, lifting her off the floor and kissing her as if there was no tomorrow.
The Doctor harrumphed happily and, looking around at his companions, nodded sagely. “I think we can take that as a ‘no’.”
The onlookers seemed very pleased, smiling at one another although backing away slightly from the enraptured couple.
Kathryn wound her arms around Chakotay’s shoulders and held on tight, the fingers of one hand tangled in his hair and the other gripping his jacket tightly. The kiss was heaven and – after waiting so long – she couldn’t bear the thought of it ending.
Chakotay held her firmly against him – her deceptively small body moulding to his as she melted into him. He could feel the shiver in her skin through the gabardine of her uniform and his mind filled with visions of her divested of that very same piece of fabric. He was lost.
After several excruciating minutes of watching their commanding officers in this desperate and desire-sodden clinch, the smiles of the onlookers gradually morphed into uncomfortable grimaces.
The kiss went on and on, with Kathryn and Chakotay entirely lost in the taste and feel of the other, oblivious to everything and everyone around them.
It seemed like an interminable stretch of time and Tom and B’Elanna gawped at the pair in astonishment. Harry shuffled restlessly from foot to foot, looking everywhere but at his commanding officers. Seven stared openly, analysing the process with firm detachment until even she could stand it no longer, her lip curling in distaste.
Tired of waiting, the Doctor cleared his throat, none-too-subtly, but still, it had no effect.
There was an en masse shuffle towards the exit, but Harry looked panic-stricken and whispered. “We can’t just leave them here. What if someone found them like this…or worse?”
It was obvious that the mere thought of anything more intimate was having a profoundly deleterious effect on Harry’s peace of mind. He looked towards Tom and B’Elanna for help. They shrugged, unsure what to do. This wasn’t something that was covered in the regular Starfleet handbooks.
All eyes turned beseechingly towards Tuvok who was looking about as uncomfortable as a Vulcan could look. With a perceptible droop of his shoulders, he spoke in slow measured tones. “Captain, Commander it might be wise to continue this in the privacy of your quarters.”
Chakotay and Kathryn remained blissfully unaware.
Finally, B’Elanna lost patience and blurted, “Oh for Kahless’ sake, you two; I’m going to throw a bucket of water over you if you don’t stop. Enough already! You’re going to kill poor Harry.”
This broke through the haze of their long-denied desire and they pulled away from one another slowly then turned towards their senior officers. They blinked once or twice before smiling dreamily and then shrugging.
The Doctor shook his head and took a step forward, shooing them with a wave of his hand. “Go, before you cause a hull breach or Mr. Kim’s demise, whichever comes first.”
Before they could obey the Doctor’s request, Tom dashed across the room to the replicator. “Hold on a second.” He spoke quickly to the replicator and turned back around, another bottle of champagne in his hands. “Captain, Chakotay, congratulations.”
Chakotay took the bottle but instead of the insolent smirk he was expecting to see on Tom’s face, he was met with a look of sincerity. Chakotay extended his hand and they shook hands for the first time.
Tom nodded, then smiled at Kathryn. “I think Shannon O’Donnell would be very pleased.”
“No doubt, but she doesn’t really matter. Not now.” Kathryn looked around at the delighted faces of her closest friends and breathed deeply. “But you do and I’m happy and proud that we have your approval.”
“Nothing but, Captain.” Harry grinned, relieved that the command clinch was over.
Holding out her hand to Chakotay, Kathryn cast her eyes over her senior staff one last time before she turned towards the door.
The bottle of champagne tucked under one arm, Chakotay wove his fingers through hers and, without a backward glance, they disappeared through the mess hall doors.
There was breathless silence. Only when the doors hissed shut behind them did the muffled but raucous sound of joyous whoops and hollers follow them up the corridor to the turbolift.
Kathryn turned to Chakotay as they stepped out onto deck three. “I’ll be sure to gazette this holiday.”
“I have a funny feeling that it’s going to get a name change.”
When they’d arrived at her door and entered her quarters, Kathryn cringed at the thought of what it might be re-named. “Let’s just stick to Ancestor’s Eve for now, shall we?”
“You’re the Captain.”
Meeting his eyes with a steady but open look, Kathryn nodded. “Yes, and you’re my love.”
Almost floored by her words, Chakotay took a bracing breath and after lifting her hand to his mouth, kissed her fingers. “And you are mine. This day we will remember forever.”
As she stepped into his waiting arms, her hand cupping his cheek, Kathryn chuckled quietly. “Yes, definitely one for the history books.”