Disclaimer: All things Voyager belong to Paramount. I gain no profit from this...other than the fact that Kathryn and Chakotay behave the way *I* want them to behave, not the way TPTB think they should act!
Decisions - Part 4
Kathryn composed her message carefully, knowing that she would be unable to give him the news personally. She was about to crush his heart...but maybe, deep down, he would understand, she kept telling herself. It was the only way she was able to press the "Send" command.
"...I must go where my heart tells me. Please believe me when I say that I never meant to hurt you. You will always hold a very dear and special place in my heart...and I hope that we can get through this and still remain good friends. I wish you well.
Forever yours, Kathryn"
Her decision had not been an easy one, as was evident from the tears trailing down her face, but she also knew that it was the right choice. It was the one thing that would be best for her...the one thing Chakotay had said he wanted for her. So she *knew* he would understand.
A smile tugged at her lips when she began to think about the man she loved...picturing his expression when she told him how she felt. To tell him how she arrived at this particular decision...and what a story it would be!
Kathryn slipped into some clothes - something far more comfortable than the Starfleet issue uniform she'd been wearing for the last eight years - and walked downstairs, a new spring in her step. This was going to be a good day.
"Would you care for any breakfast, dear?" Gretchen called out from the living room.
"No thanks, Mom," Kathryn answered as she headed into the kitchen. "I'm just going to grab a cup of coffee and head out to headquarters. There's a lot of reports I need to wade through before our debriefing in a few days."
She could hear her mother grumbling, and it brought a grin to her face. Kathryn was glad to see that some things never changed.
"For goodness sake, Kathryn! You just got home and already you're going back to work?"
Kathryn leaned against the doorway and began sipping the warm liquid. "I'm sorry, Mom, but I *really* have to do this. Besides, Starfleet headquarters is about the only place where the press can't bother me."
"Press? What press?" her mother commented, quite sarcastically.
"Ah! Then you *have* looked out on the front lawn this morning!"
"They were stomping on my flowers. There's a lot less of them out there now, you know."
Kathryn cocked her eyebrow. "Let's not go there, okay?" She walked to the window, taking another peek at the thick layer of camera crews and reporters, each one waiting to hear about the first night back. She let out an audible sigh. "Now I just have to figure out how to get out of here."
Gretchen began to chuckle. "Never fear...your father's old transporter pad is still here!
Kathryn smiled. "Really? I'd almost forgotten!" She gave her mother a quick kiss on the head before racing into her father's study. "What would I ever do without you?"
"Do you really want to know?" Gretchen teased, returning her attention to her sewing when she heard the shimmering sound of her daughter fading into oblivion.
Finally. A place where no one could bother her. Her old office at headquarters. It hadn't changed a bit...not that she had expected it to. Now it was time to get down to business...but not of the professional kind. Kathryn had to tell a certain man how she felt.
Seating herself at her desk, she accessed her console, ready to compose another message. Straightforward and simple.
"I think it's time for us to talk. Meet me at my quarters at Starfleet as soon as you can.
Now the waiting begins, she thought, settling back into her chair. Her mind began to wander into thousands of scenarios. How exactly would she break the news? She could be just as straightforward as her message, telling him as soon as the doors opened. They could have something to eat, and she could tell him over a cup of coffee. Or she could...
Or she could just go with the flow.
Kathryn took a deep breath, walking to stand in front of the door. This was the moment of truth. She gave the command for the doors to open...and her heart nearly stopped. There he was. The man she loved. The man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. The one she always wanted by her side...a place he should be quite comfortable with by now.
"That was quick," she commented, stepping aside to allow him entry into her office.
"Your message sounded urgent...and I needed some excuse to get out of the house," Chakotay replied, a mild bitterness in his voice. He moved past her and sat down in front of her desk
"Camera crews in your front yard, too?" she quipped, now standing in front of him. At least he was smiling. She had been afraid that he would be angry...furious, even. Terrified that her actions the day before would have upset him.
"I suppose you know why I've asked you here."
Chakotay couldn't bring himself to look into her eyes. It hurt far too much. "I saw how you responded to Mark yesterday. It was obvious that you still love him very deeply...and I would never stand in the way of your happiness. He will be good for you, Kathryn."
Kathryn tried to contain her smile. And he's never been one to sulk, she laughed to herself, noticing his pouting lips...those lips that she hoped to soon have against hers.
"It's true, Chakotay. Mark is a wonderful man, and I care very dearly for him. He deserves all the happiness in the world...and I hope that one day he finds it."
Chakotay opened his mouth to make another remark and stopped. His eyes finally lifted to hers and the confusion was written all over his face. "Wha-what did you say?"
She knelt down in front of him, taking his hands into hers. "You told me that this decision would have to be one that I felt would be the best thing for me. Your opinion is that spending my life with Mark will be best for me...but *I* think that *you* would be better for me."
"But I thought...I mean, yesterday...when you..." he stammered, searching her face for some clue. Kathryn placed a finger over his lips to silence him.
"I had many dreams last night," she explained. "Many dreams about Voyager...but I also dreamed about Mark, and about you. What I came to realize is that as much as I cared about Mark, I cared about you a thousand times more. You were the reason that I got out of bed everyday. I couldn’t wait to see you on the bridge, to see your beautiful grin, to hear your soft voice...to be surrounded by your great spirit."
Chakotay furrowed his brow at her last comment, but soon became hypnotized by the large smile that had formed on her lips. She gazed lovingly into his beautiful, dark eyes, wanting to finally say the words she'd longed to say since the day she met him.
"I love you, Chakotay. I've always loved you. I love you with all my heart and soul. And I know that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life."
He reached out and caressed her tear-dampened cheek, his heart ready to burst with joy.
"You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say that..." Chakotay finally whispered, his voice filled with emotions. "I love you so much, Kathryn. More than you will ever know."
He enveloped her in his arms, holding her tightly against his body. Continuously whispering expressions of love softly against her ear. She could feel his fingers threading into her hair, sending fiery sensations through her body.
Kathryn pushed him back, and could see all the desire and passion burning in his eyes. No doubt, he could see it in hers. She leaned in, brushing her lips briefly against his.
"You know, Commander, I was thinking about our dinner the other night...and we never did get around to our...*dessert*..." she said, placing another gentle kiss against his lips.
Chakotay unloaded a full dimpled grin. Pulling her onto his lap, he responded. "Who am I to argue with that? You’re the Captain!" She laughed as he finally dove in to fully claim her lips.
Later that afternoon, Kathryn was roused from her slumber by the annoying buzz of her door chime. "Who the hell could that be?" she mumbled, attempting to sit up in her bed. A difficult task considering that Chakotay's arm was wrapped securely around her waist, his nose nuzzled in her neck. She wriggled out of his grasp and quickly grabbed her clothes. He grunted loudly, then rolled over to his other side, seemingly undisturbed. She watched him for a moment, remembering all of the events that had recently taken place. And thinking that she would now be able to do all the things she had only been able to dream about up until this day.
Another chime of her door startled her out of those thoughts and Kathryn hastily ran to answer it, hoping that whoever it was would only take a moment of her time. She certainly wasn't ready to reveal her relationship with her former first officer...not just yet. She gave the command to open the doors and immediately, she felt all the blood drain from her face.
"Oh, God!" she blurted, very unintentionally.
"Well, its nice that you think so highly of me, but I would prefer it if you would just call me 'Mom'," Gretchen commented as she strode past her daughter.
"Mom, what are you doing here?" Kathryn asked, an irritable tone lacing her voice.
"Well, I'm a mother. It's my job to worry about you. And since you've only been back for one day...I just wanted to make sure that you weren't burying yourself in your work again," she replied, setting a dish down on the table. She turned back to face Kathryn, offering her a sweet, if not devious, smile.
"This really isn't a good time for me, Mom. I still have...a lot of...*work*... to do."
"See? I was right. Now I brought you your favorite dish. Why don't you take a few moments to at least enjoy it. You *do* still have to eat...and I went through a lot of trouble..."
"I appreciate the effort, Mom, but this really *isn't* a good time. I can't explain it now, but..."
"Kathryn?" came the sleepy voice from the bedroom.
Gretchen's smile grew larger when she saw Chakotay stumbling into view, obviously not aware of his surroundings. The sleep quickly left his face when he discovered that he was on display.
"I...I'm sorry...I didn't know you had company..." he muttered, frozen in his tracks.
The three of them stood in silence, unsure of where to take the conversation. Kathryn was at a loss for words, as was Chakotay. But Gretchen didn't have a problem with expressing exactly what was on her mind.
"God, my grandchildren are gonna be *gorgeous*!"
Kathryn closed her eyes in horror, still thanking her lucky stars that Chakotay had chosen to pull on some clothes before wandering out of her bedroom. She reached out and grabbed his arm, pulling him to stand beside her.
"Chakotay...I would like to introduce you to my mother, Gretchen Janeway."
He extended his hand, feeling the blush racing throughout his entire body. Not one of the best ways to impress you future mother-in-law, he thought as she shook his hand.
"A pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. Janeway. I can see where Kathryn gets her beauty."
Gretchen smiled. "Flattery will get you *everywhere*, Mr. Chakotay...and please, just call me 'Mom'."
Chakotay felt somewhat relieved, as he finally worked up the courage to smile about his precarious situation. He couldn't detect a trace of that terrible temper Kathryn had so often displayed...a welcome surprise. Gretchen continued to shake his hand, never moving her eyes away from his.
"If you'll excuse me," he started, finally taking his hand away from her. "I think I'd better go put on some more appropriate attire."
"Oh, it's not bothering me. What you have on is just fine."
Chakotay felt the already present blush turn a deeper shade of red. Kathryn covered her face.
"Mom! You are impossible!"
"Well, you didn't tell me he had dimples!"
Rolling her eyes, Kathryn began pushing Chakotay towards the bedroom. "We'll go get dressed, then we can talk."
"Great! I have enough food here for everybody."
Kathryn shut the door and pounded her head twice against the closed door. "I can't believe this!" Turning back to watch Chakotay, she gave him a lop-sided smile. "I'm so sorry about that...my mother does have a tendency to be a little nosy."
"It's perfectly alright, Kathryn. She's quite charming. Of course, I would have preferred to meet your mother in a *little* more fashionable manner, but then, with you..."
"What are you trying to say?" she giggled, wrapping her arms around his waist. He bent to give her a deep kiss. Feeling herself getting caught up in the moment, Kathryn pulled back, trying to restrain herself.
"You know, if my mother wasn't in the next room..."
She was quickly interrupted by her Gretchen's voice. "Hey...just because I said something about grandchildren, I didn't mean you had to start on them right now!"
Chakotay began to chuckle as Kathryn rested her forehead against his chest, groaning loudly.
"You do realize what you're getting yourself into, don't you?"
He lifted her chin and brushed his lips softly against hers. "If it means that I'll get to wake up every morning with you by side, then I think it will be well worth the trouble."
Kathryn smiled, taking his hand and leading him out into the living area. She quickly realized that this was the best decision she had ever made...and began to wonder how there ever could have been any doubt.