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Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, but that doesnít mean that I canít let them play. The lyrics belong to Bonnie Raitt (her version of this song was my inspiration).

Summary: Set during "Timeless". This is the unwritten scene where Kathryn and Chakotay share dinner on their last night in the Delta Quadrant. Based on the song of the same name.

 

I Can't Make You Love Me

Chakotay sat back in his chair, feeling stuffed from the wonderful meal Kathryn had created for him. Her cooking had improved over the past few years. He was glad. He looked across the table and smiled at her.

Kathryn smiled back, pleased with how the evening had turned out. It had been a long time since they had enjoyed a quiet meal together. So much excitement and work over the slipstream drive had kept them apart. Suddenly Kathryn had an idea as to how they could cap off this evening.

"Commander, would you care to dance, in honor of our last night in the Delta Quadrant?"

What an evening of surprises this was turning out to be. First, Kathryn had asked him, no, ordered him to have dinner with her tonight. Now, a last dance. Chakotay was wondering what would come next.

"What did you have in mind, something spirited, upbeat?" he asked.

"I was thinking slow," she replied, with her lips curled up into a sly smile. "Why donít you pick the music?"

Now Chakotay really was surprised. But nonetheless, willing to comply.

"I know the perfect song. Computer, play Chakotay musical program number 67, minus the lyrics."

The slow, jazzy sound began to full the room, as Chakotay rose from the table and walked around to Kathryn. He took her hand, and gestured for her to join him for a dance. She gladly accepted, since it had been her idea. He pulled her up into his arms, and began leading her across the room. Kathryn leaned in close to him and rested her head on his chest. Another surprise. Chakotay thought that he must be dreaming.

"Whatís the name of this song? It seems that Iíve heard it before," she asked, still leaning against him.

"Youíre not going to like it if I tell you."

Kathryn looked up at him, curious. "Please, I want to hear the words. Why did you choose this selection without the lyrics?"

Chakotay stopped their dance, and gazed down at her. Well, sheíll eventually find out anyway, he thought. Chakotay sighed, then gave the command.

"Computer, restart Chakotay musical program number 67, with lyrics." He then looked back at her. "Donít say I didnít warn you."

The music started again, and their dance resumed. Once the lyrics began, Kathryn shot a look up at Chakotay. He smiled, and pulled her closer, humming along with the music.

Turn down the lights, turn down the bed
Turn down these voices inside my head.
Lay down with me, tell me no lies
Just hold me close, donít patronize
Donít patronize

ĎCause I canít make you love me if you donít
You canít make your heart feel something it wonít
Here in the dark in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I feel the power
But you wonít, no you wonít
ĎCause I canít make you love if you donít

I close my eyes, then I wonít see
The love you donít feel when youíre holding me
Morning will come and Iíll do whatís right
Just give me Ďtil then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight

ĎCause I canít make you love me if you donít
You canít make your heart feel something it wonít
Here in the dark in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I feel the power
But you wonít, no you wonít
ĎCause I canít make you love if you donít

As the song faded, Chakotay glanced back down at Kathryn. She was crying, reaching up to wipe away a tear from her cheek. He instantly regretted having chosen that particular song. It helped him to get through the feelings he had for Kathryn, but he had never intended to share these personal thoughts with her. He opened his mouth to offer an apology, when Kathryn lifted her eyes to meet his.

"But I do," she whispered.

Chakotay displayed a look of total confusion. Had he heard her correctly? Before he could ask, Kathryn reached up and lightly ran her fingers across his tattoo. Chakotay felt a shiver run through his body at her touch. Then, sliding her hands around to the back of his head, she pulled his lips down to meet hers. Chakotay did not resist. Maybe choosing this song wasnít such a bad idea after all, he thought, as he returned her kiss.

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