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Blinded - Part 5
Chakotay first took the Captain to Sickbay for a quick checkup, and to ensure the Doctor that things were getting better, as far as her adjustment was concerned. As they walked out of Sickbay, Kathryn made a shocking request.
"Will you take me to the Bridge?"
What a day of surprises this was turning into. Especially since she refused to take visitors just a few days ago. "If you feel up to it, Kathryn."
She nodded her head, and Chakotay led her to the turbolift.
"How about some breakfast first?" he asked.
"That would be wonderful!"
He led her into the mess hall, which was somewhat deserted. Neelix, however, was ecstatic.
"Captain! It is so wonderful to see you out and about! How are you?"
"I'm better, thanks." Kathryn was grinning, as she could mentally see the happiness bubbling from her Talaxian ambassador. "Are we too late for breakfast?"
"It's never too late for breakfast. I'll go get it for you right now." Neelix shuffled off to his kitchen while Chakotay helped Kathryn to the nearest table. He sat down across from her, noticing that she was much more relaxed today. And seeing her more relaxed helped to calm his own fears.
Chakotay briefed her on the latest happenings on the Bridge. Nothing major. A relatively quiet sector of space. But Kathryn listened intently, absorbing all the information. Her enthusiasm was remarkable. It wasn't long before he was as excited to return to duty as she was.
They quickly finished breakfast, and bidding Neelix good day, left the mess hall and entered the nearest turbolift. Chakotay ordered their next destination.
"Deck One. Bridge."
The doors opened to the Bridge, and Captain Kathryn Janeway returned to extremely familiar territory. The beeps from nearby consoles, the hum resonating from each bridge station. Familiar and comforting sounds. The entire bridge crew stood at attention, surprised to see their commanding officer, but nonetheless relieved.
"Welcome back, Captain," Tuvok said.
Kathryn turned towards his voice and smiled.
"Thank you. It's good to be back. Have I missed anything?"
"Nothing significant," he replied.
"Good. Keep me posted," she answered, feeling as if nothing had changed. It was a good feeling. She turned back towards Chakotay, who helped her down the few steps which led to their command chairs.
Kathryn settled into her seat and stared straight ahead into darkness. Brief anxiety passed through her as she recalled a similar feeling as they traveled through the Void. Nothing but darkness. She attempted to push these melancholy thoughts aside and focus on her work. Knowing that those thoughts would eventually creep back in.
The day went relatively quick. Another quiet day in the Delta Quadrant, as Tom put it. Kathryn had spent most of the day in her chair, listening to the many conversations and discussions. Participating occasionally. But the inactivity gave her too much time to think and concentrate on recent events. She came to realize that her adjustment to her blindness was just beginning.
Chakotay escorted her back to her quarters after taking her by the mess hall once more for dinner. Many more crew members had stopped by their table to greet her and express their best wishes. Kathryn cajoled with them, but Chakotay couldn't help but sense a feeling of depression from her.
"So did you enjoy your day on the bridge, Kathryn?" he asked as they walked in.
"It was nice. I just wish that there was more going on. I detest slow days," she replied as he helped her sit down. The look on her face was one of terrible sadness, unlike the jovial expressions her face had carried earlier in the day. Something was definitely bothering her.
"Are you OK, Kathryn?", he inquired, deeply concerned.
Kathryn was tired of pretending. Today had been rotten for her. The events of the day had made her feel completely useless. Not unwanted, but simply unhelpful. And it scared the hell out of her.
"I'm frightened, Chakotay," she whispered, resting her elbows on her legs and lacing her fingers together in front of her. "I'm afraid that things will never return to normal. That I will never be able to do all the things I set out to do when I decided to follow to command track. I'm scared that I am failing this crew as a leader...and that I'm failing you."
Chakotay saw the tears forming in her eyes. She was finally opening up. She had moved past all denial and was finally accepting her condition. To some extent, it made him happy.
"Is there anything I can do to help ease your fears, Kathryn?"
"Could you just...hold me?" she answered timidly.
Chakotay smiled. He sat down next to her on the couch, and taking her hands, pulled her close to him. He wrapped his arms snuggly around her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. Kathryn began to weep softly, and he consoled her, thankful that she had finally dropped her shield.
Kathryn wasn't sure when she fell asleep. She awoke in Chakotay's arms, her head still on his shoulder. She could tell by feeling the steady rise and fall of his chest that he was asleep, too. She did not want to wake him, so she tried not move. Kathryn decided to enjoy the comfort of being in someone's arms again...the arms of someone who loves you. And she knew that Chakotay loved her. She had always known. It showed every time he looked at her. It showed in the way he smiled. The way he laughed. How Kathryn longed to see Chakotay smile again. To see the formation of those adorable dimples. Would she ever have that privilege again?
Kathryn shifted slightly to move her wedged arm, which had fallen asleep with her. She rested her head on his chest, and could hear Chakotay's heartbeat. Steady as a drum, as it pounded against her ear. Soothing and comforting. Kathryn moved her hand up along Chakotay's chest and hooked one finger over the zipper of his uniform. Feeling safe, she dozed off again.
Chakotay woke up sometime later, not quite remembering where he was. He only knew that the kink in his neck was tortuous. When Kathryn drew in a deep breath and released it, he suddenly remembered his location and sighed. He finally had the woman of his dreams, sleeping in his arms. Not exactly as he had pictured it, but it certainly was close enough. He brought the arm from around her shoulder and placed it lightly on her head, caressing her soft hair
Chakotay placed his other hand gently over the hand on his chest, carefully latched over his uniform zipper. Just to be near her, and to be able to touch her sent his heart into a flurry. He only hoped that the pounding wouldn't wake her from her much needed rest. When Kathryn's breathing changed, he knew that it was too late.
Kathryn felt the soft beat against her ear grow stronger, thinking that Chakotay was dreaming. When she felt the hand in her hair, she realized that it quite the opposite. She also felt his other hand surrounding hers on his chest. She turned to face towards him, and freeing her hand, reached up to find his lips with her fingers. She touched them lightly, and could feel them smiling back at her.
Chakotay took her hand again, and planted soft kisses on her fingertips as she passed them over his lips. There was no stopping the feelings he was having at that moment. It almost seemed like a dream, since Kathryn didn't seem to mind. But suddenly, she moved her hand from his grip. Chakotay opened his mouth to offer an apology when Kathryn shifted up, leaning further over him, grasping at his uniform for leverage. She used her hand to guide her face closer to his. Their lips met in a tender, sweet kiss.
It had been more that he had ever dreamed. The feel of her lips against his sent Chakotay's mind reeling. He did not want the feeling to end. As if reading his thoughts, Kathryn deepened the kiss, forcing his lips apart with her tongue. Chakotay obliged her, allowing their tongues to dance together.
Almost as quickly as it had begun, Kathryn broke off the kiss, needing to take in some air. They were both breathless, chests heaving against each other. She leaned her forehead against his chin, trying to sort through the many thoughts racing through her mind. Soon one thought became clear, and Kathryn realized what she wanted. Shifting her head back upwards, she began placing more small kisses against his mouth, and whispered the words, "Make love to me, Chakotay."
Chakotay drew back some, wondering if he was hearing her correctly. He had never expected Kathryn to say those words to him. And he also realized that she was in a very vulnerable state. "Are you sure that this is what you really want, Kathryn?" He mentally kicked himself for even saying it. But he never would take advantage of her. His love for her ran too deep.
Kathryn understood his concerns. Her emotions had been an virtual roller-coaster, shifting from moments of pure enjoyment to moments of complete anger. But she knew one thing that had never changed. Her innermost feeling of compassion for her devoted first officer. Compassion that was slowly molding itself into love.
She kissed him again in response, and as Kathryn moved her hand slowly back down to Chakotay's chest, they both realized how this night was going to end.