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Blinded - Part 6

Kathryn awoke with a start, and immediately felt around the bed. Nothing. No one was there. Damn, she thought, feeling disappointment overtake her. It had only been a dream.

"Computer. Time," she requested, sitting up on the edge of her bed.

"0613."

Almost two hours before her shift began. If she even decided to report. Kathryn couldn't help shaking that feeling of uselessness. The feeling that she was only in the way of any progress.

She stood up, and suddenly realized that she wasn't clothed. Maybe it hadn't been a dream. But she had so wanted to wake up with his body snuggled close to hers. Closer than they were on her couch earlier that evening. And now he left her...alone.

Sighing, Kathryn found her way over to the dresser to seek out her robe. She tossed it around her shoulders, sliding her arms inside. As she made her to the doorway, she ran into something. Stifling a scream, a familiar scent gave way as to exactly what she had collided with.

"Didn't mean to scare you. I was just getting a drink of water. Did I wake you?" Chakotay asked, placing a hand on her trembling shoulder.

She shook her head, relief replacing the disappointment. He hadn't left, after all. Kathryn leaned her head forward, resting her forehead against his chest. "I thought you were gone."

"I would never leave you alone, Kathryn," he told her, wrapping his arms around her. "In fact, I think you're stuck with me now."

Chakotay reached up, touching a finger below her chin to raise her gaze to his. He bent in to lightly kiss her lips, to which she hungrily responded. Then breaking off the kiss, they stood silently in each other's arms, contemplating what to do, now that their relationship had moved, or rather, leaped to a new level.

"Captain, it's good to see you this morning. I have a surprise for you!" the Doctor cheerfully announced as she and Chakotay entered Sickbay later that morning for her daily checkup, hand in hand.

"What is it, Doctor?" she asked, as Chakotay helped her up onto the nearby biobed.

He began scanning her with the medical tricorder, practically on the verge of singing. Chakotay was amused by the Doctor's mood, and barely contained his laughter. "It must be pretty exciting!" he commented.

"I think you will be very pleased!" he answered, continuing his scans. His left eyebrow suddenly raised in curiosity, and he cut his eyes in Chakotay's direction. "Well, I guess I don't have to ask how your second night *alone* went," he spoke curtly.

Chakotay's and Kathryn's faces immediately flushed. The thought had not even crossed their minds that the Doctor would discover their secret. Chakotay averted his glare towards the floor, somewhat embarrassed, and unsure how to respond. Fortunately, no response was necessary.

"But, that's none of my business", the Doctor continued, clearing his throat. "I worked on this most of the night. Allow me to show you...I mean..." he stuttered, catching his mistake.

Kathryn placed a reassuring hand on the Doctor's arm. "It's OK. Please tell us."

The Doctor walked into his office and returned with something which looked very familiar to Chakotay. His eyes lit up when he realized what the Doctor was planning.

"Captain, if you will recall when we took Seven on board, I created an ocular implant to replace the Borg technology in her left eye socket. I am in the process of fashioning similar implants for you. A somewhat more complex design, but I think it will work well." He held up the prototype for Chakotay to examine.

"Doctor, that is wonderful! I had almost forgotten about that," Chakotay replied. "Don't you agree, Kathryn?" he asked, turning his attention to her.

Her eyes were welling up with tears, and there were no signs on her face indicating that she was pleased with this idea. Then, as if to confirm it, she simply replied, "No."

"But Kathryn..." Chakotay pleaded.

"I said NO!" she answered more forcefully, jumping down from the biobed. She began walking in the direction of the door, and Chakotay lightly grasped her by the upper arm, an attempt to assist her. She quickly shoved his hand aside. "No. I'm going alone." Kathryn managed to make her way to the door and left Sickbay, leaving the Doctor and Chakotay stunned at her all but joyous reaction.

"What was that all about?" the Doctor asked, a puzzled look across his face.

"I have no idea."

Kathryn leaned against the wall outside of Sickbay, wondering which way to go, wondering even more as to how she would get there. Chakotay had been her eyes for the past several days. Then an idea struck her.

"Computer, give me verbal directions from my present location to Holodeck 1."

With great difficulty, Kathryn eventually arrived outside of the holodeck. In a way, she was also very pleased with herself. It was a major step in her recovery, her ability to move about the ship without assistance from another.

She requested a program from her personal database, and entered the holodeck to find comforting sounds and smells of a far away place. Her home. Beautiful Indiana.

Kathryn quietly padded across the grass, feeling out ahead of herself to locate her favorite spot. Her thinking tree. Her hand gently brushed against the bark, and she swiftly moved to the ground in front of her tree, leaning against it. Kathryn pulled her knees up into a hug and rested her head against them, the wind rustling through the treetop eventually lulling her to sleep.

Sometime later, Chakotay became worried about Kathryn, mostly concerning her reaction in Sickbay. Certainly not the response he would have expected. But then, she had become pretty unpredictable lately.

He walked onto the holodeck, and spotted her beneath the large tree. Moving to stand beside her, he knelt down and placed a hand gently on her arm.

Kathryn woke up at his touch, but she didn't bother raising her head.

"What are you doing here?" she grumbled.

"I was worried. Everyone was asking about you on the Bridge. Seems that you are missed there," he said, now placing his hand on her back. "I missed you, too."

She lifted her head. Chakotay could see the despair in her eyes. He desperately wanted to know what was bothering her.

"I'm sorry...for everything," she started, anticipating his next question. "I don't know why I reacted so badly earlier."

"Do you feel like talking about it?"

He took a seat next to her as Kathryn nodded her head, and she instantly fell into his embrace. It was something she took great comfort in. One hug from Chakotay seemed to bring all her fears to rest. But he deserved to know what her reservations were.

"I want to get my eyesight back, but I want to be able to see through *my* eyes, not some medical device. It just won't be the same."

He took her hand into his and placed a kiss on her fingers. "I understand, but at least it is an alternative to your present condition. The Doctor wants to make life better for you. You said last night that you felt useless. In the first place, you could never be useless. This crew needs you, no matter what. But I think that the Doctor's solution will help curb that fear in you. If you just give him a chance."

Kathryn was looking up at him as he spoke. When he finished, he returned her glare. She smiled at him.

"How do you always know just what to say?"

He returned her smile, pulling her closer. "Would you like some more time to think it over?"

"I don't need any more time to think. I'll do it for you. I want to be able to look into your eyes again...to see into the soul of the man I love."

Chakotay wasn't sure how to respond. Kathryn had admitted that she loved him, something he had longed to hear her say. His heart pounded madly as he replied, "I love you, too, Kathryn Janeway."

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 ]
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