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Blinded - Part 8

Kathryn's eyes fluttered open. She wasn't quite sure where she was at the moment. She remembered having been in Chakotay's quarters that evening, having dinner. She also remembered terrible pain and pressure. But most prominent in her mind, she recalled what she had seen. Kathryn had seen flashes of light.

"Captain, how are you feeling?" the Doctor asked, scanning her once more.

"A little better. The pain is not as bad..." she started, looking up at him. She gasped when she noticed that she was able to see him looking back.

"I can see! I can see you, Doctor!" Kathryn squeaked out, barely able to talk. Her vision wasn't perfect, a little cloudy even, but she definitely was able to tell that it was the Doctor standing in front of her. She bolted upright on the biobed, scanning the room. She saw a figure in the corner. Tom Paris, if she wasn't mistaken. She could see the blinking lights on the nearby consoles. The lights overhead. The medical equipment on the table next to the bed. Everything.

"The implants...they're working!" she exclaimed, grabbing the Doctor's hands.

"Actually, Captain, the implants are still on my desk. You are looking through *your* eyes."

Kathryn covered her mouth with her hand, almost to the point of total shock. "How...how can it be?"

"It seems that it just took a while for your optic nerves to catch up, for lack of a better description. The first operation was basically a success. Your system just needed a little time to adjust."

"But it's not completely clear..."

"It may take a few more days for your vision to completely return to normal. But it most certainly *will* return to normal."

The doors opened, admitting Chakotay and B'Elanna. Kathryn turned her head towards them.

"Chakotay!" she spoke, delighted that she could actually see him again.

Chakotay nearly stumbled, amazed that she knew he was there. "Kathryn?" he asked, walking to her as the Doctor moved away from them. She grabbed his hands, clutching them tightly, as tears of joy began streaming down her face.

"Chakotay, I can see. I can see everything. I can see with my own eyes!" Her voice was filled with excitement.

"You mean...these are not the implants?"

Kathryn shook her head. "These are my eyes. And I can see you, Chakotay." She reached up and lightly brushed her fingers over his tattoo. "I can see you."

Chakotay pulled her into an embrace. Tears stung his eyes when he realized that his fears had been unwarranted. She hugged him tightly, continuing to cry into his shoulder. "I love you, Chakotay," she whispered.

He drew back, staring into her eyes once more, oblivious to the fact that others were in the room. He tilted her face up even with his, and brushed a gentle kiss across her lips. "I love you, too" he whispered back, pulling her into another kiss. The rest of the world melted away.

Tom stared in amazement at the affectionate display between his commanding officers. B'Elanna noticed and tried not to laugh.

"Close your mouth, Helm-boy. Let's give them some privacy," she said, pulling him towards the door.

Two weeks later, the crew has assembled in the mess hall for a small celebration. A simple welcome back party for the Captain. Kathryn wasn't quite sure why the party was necessary, since she had not been anywhere.

"Must you question the actions of your crew?" Chakotay had berated her, as he clasped the crystal pendant around her neck. The dress code was casual, and he practically had to force her to wear a nice dress for the occasion. He himself was dressed in a sweater and trousers, and he refused to show up with her wearing a uniform.

"I just feel silly, I suppose. I don't like being the center of attention."

"This, coming from the captain of a starship, whose job it is to *be* the center of attention," he commented with a laugh, turning her around to face him.

"You know what I meant, Chakotay!" she retorted, playfully punching his chest.

"Yes, I know. But believe me, Kathryn. After tonight, I think you will be very glad that you went," he replied, pulling her close and placing a kiss on the tip of her nose.

They walked into the mess hall, her arm hanging from his. They went virtually unnoticed for a few moments as the noise level was close to intolerable. To a great extent, Kathryn was glad for this. There were balloons, streamers and confetti everywhere, not to mention champagne. Kathryn lifted a glass from the tray as Neelix passed by.

"A bit extravagant for a welcome back party," she commented.

Neelix crumpled his face in confusion. "Welcome Back? I was told to plan an engagement party!"

Kathryn threw her glare at Chakotay, who was grinning from ear to ear.

"Engagement?!? Who's getting married?"

"Well, I had been wanting to ask you all week, but things kept getting in the way." He produced a diamond ring from his pocket and took her left hand into his. "Will you marry me, Kathryn Janeway?"

He slipped the ring onto her finger, then enclosed her hand in his. She looked up into his eyes, unsure how to react. When she saw the love beaming from his face, she knew there was only one possible answer she could give.

"No," she answered.

"WHAT?!?" he yelped, shocked at her response.

"I said no, Commander. Not until you kiss me." She grinned as the relief washed over his features.

He bent down to oblige her, and when he pulled back, he whispered, "Don't you ever do that to me again! You almost gave me a heart attack!"

Kathryn laughed, kissing him again. They were unaware that the crew had witnessed the entire scene, until the cheers and whistling began.

As the couple turned to face them, Kathryn whispered again, "You're going to pay for this little set-up."

"I hope so, Kathryn," he responded, offering her another smile. "I truly hope so."

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