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Let Him Know - Part 3

Kathryn finally returned to her quarters after midnight. The Sunari captain had been very talkative and somewhat irate. Once they had discovered that Voyager had negotiated with the Tani, the Sunari instantly assumed that Voyager had become Tani allies. The Sunari captain wanted desperately to have Voyager join their cause instead, due to Voyagerís superior weaponry.

It had taken Kathryn several hours to convince the Sunari that she had not joined any cause, as the Prime Directive would not permit such actions. However, she was willing to share a little technology in exchange for information as to how to obtain safe passage through the apparent "War Zone" that Voyager had entered. Finally, the Sunari captain was satisfied and left in search of another Tani vessel to bombard.

When Kathryn awoke the next morning, she realized that she was late for breakfast with Chakotay. It was 0645, as she had forgotten to tell the computer to wake her earlier. She rushed around to get ready, hoping that Chakotay would still be in the mess hall. When she arrived, she saw that he was about to leave.

"I am so sorry. I forgot to re-set my alarm and..."

"Itís alright. I know you were up late on the bridge. Sounds like those Sunari are a pretty insistent race." He offered her a smile.

"Just a little," she said, smiling back.

"Well, I had better get to the bridge. Iíll see you there later." Chakotay left the mess hall, and Kathryn nearly stomped her feet in disappointment. When would she ever find another chance to tell him?

Later that afternoon, the crew was gathering in Holodeck 2 for a huge birthday bash for Tom Paris. The whole idea had been BíElannaís, and she wanted it to be perfect. Neelix had baked an enormous birthday cake, and even attempted to make one of Tomís favorite foods, pizza. Harry had been in charge of selecting some suitable music from the database. Rock and roll.

Everything was going well, and almost everyone was there. Even the Captain. Kathryn walked around, conversing with various crew members. She saw Seven amongst the crowd, deep in conversation. Kathryn smiled. Everything seemed to be working out with Sevenís return to humanity. She finally found Tom, and wished him a very happy birthday. Then she saw another crew member enter the holodeck. Maybe this would be her chance.

Chakotay walked through the doors, and immediately winced at the noise level. Not from the crowd, but from the music. He knew that rock and roll was intended to be played at high volume, but this was ridiculous. He then saw Kathryn approaching him. She looked absolutely lovely. She was wearing a simple blue dress, which complemented her eyes. He smiled.

"Good evening, Commander," she practically yelled, trying to speak over the music.

"Hi! Nice party!" he yelled back, pretending to plug his ears with his fingers. Kathryn laughed. She nodded in agreement.

"I was hoping we could finish our conversation from last night."

"Give me just a minute to talk to Tom." Kathryn nodded, and Chakotay walked over to where Tom and BíElanna were standing. She practiced her lines in her head. Then she decided just to pick up where she left off. She saw Chakotay returning, and the butterflies began fluttering in her stomach. This would finally be the moment.

After Chakotay walked away, Tom decided that he had had enough. He enjoyed rock and roll music, but he never played it this loud. "Harry, could you turn down that music? Itís way too loud!" Tom yelled.

"Iíve tried. Something must be jammed. Iíll try to re-set the computer."

"Youíd better do something quick. Weíre all going to go deaf!"

Chakotay returned to Kathrynís side. He was anxious to hear what she had to say. She motioned for him to join her over in the corner, away from prying ears. He followed. She turned to face him. She then took his hands in hers.

"Iíve been wanting to tell you this for 2 days now."

"Really? Well, maybe this time, we wonít be interrupted." He was still amazed that she was holding his hands. He loved the feel of her touch. "What is it youíve been wanting to tell me?"

"I...I love you," she said, though too quietly.

"What?" he asked, unable to hear over the music.

ĎI said ĎI LOVE YOUí," she said louder. The words seemed to echo throughout the entire holodeck. She hadnít yelled that loudly, but it suddenly dawned on her why. The music had stopped. She looked around to find several faces staring back at them. Everyone had heard the words. Her private conversation had suddenly become a public affair.

Kathryn then looked back up at the face nearest to hers. Kathryn couldnít decipher Chakotayís expression. And worse, he had not responded to what she had said. Her simple plans had gone awry. It was not supposed to happen this way. Feeling terribly embarrassed, Kathryn dropped Chakotayís hands and rushed from the holodeck, away from the glares and the whispers that were beginning.

As the doors closed, all eyes returned to Chakotay. He turned to face the crew, sporting the biggest smile he could muster. She did have feelings for him. She had finally admitted it. Unfortunately, she had admitted it in front of the entire crew, he thought as he suddenly noticed that he was the center of attention.

"Well, I guess that's one way to liven up a party!" he replied, as everyone began to cheer and applaud. They had wanted this to happen, as well. Protocol was irrelevant. They just wanted their captain to be happy. Chakotay couldn't help but laugh.

Harry started up the music program again, at a much more tolerable level. BíElanna rushed over to Chakotay to give him a big hug. She knew that this was something that he had wanted for a long time. She then scolded him for not having gone after her, which he promptly did.

Kathryn paced her quarters, unable to stop the flow of tears. How could she have let this happen? She should have known better than to try and tell him in public. Her door chimed, and she knew that it was him. How could she ever face him again? Not only had she made a complete fool of herself, she had probably embarrassed Chakotay as well.

"Come in."

As expected, Chakotay strolled in, a smug look on his face. Kathryn immediately began apologizing.

"I canít tell you how sorry I am for what just happened. That was not how I wanted to tell you. I wanted to say it in private, but so many things had interrupted us before, and I didnít want to miss another chance, and..."

Chakotay placed a single finger across her lips to silence her. He then brushed his thumb across her cheek to remove the tears that continued to fall. With both hands, Chakotay gently cupped Kathrynís face and pulled her lips close to his.

"I love you, too," he whispered, as he brought their lips together. He could feel her smiling, as she wrapped her arms around his back to pull him closer.

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 ]
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