As she opened the door, the aroma of fresh baked bread wafted towards Kathryn. It had been a long two weeks of diplomacy and she was so glad to be home at last, but she was even more glad to be reassured that her husband was there to greet her.
“Chakotay,” she called out, “Next time you are coming with me, I don’t care how it looks.”
As she bent to drop her bag on the ground, Kathryn discovered that the standard synthetic flooring had been replaced by what appeared to be hardwood.
“It’s that Bajoran maple that you liked so much.”
Kathryn turned towards Chakotay’s voice to find him standing beside her, watching her surveying the floor. She felt a surge of affection as she took in the familiar sight of of the man she loved so dearly, his dark hair now streaked with grey and his strong bone structure contrasting with the softness of his lips and his expression.
“It’s beautiful, Chakotay. I thought we talked about you not bothering with this kind of thing, though. If I know you, you spent days matching up the planks perfectly and hand finishing.”
It wasn’t that Kathryn didn’t appreciate the way he had implemented the garden they’d planned together, the fresh cooked meals, the beautiful hard carved furniture, the skylights he’d installed, and now these magnificent floors. She just felt awkward about it, like some historical sailor, leaving her spouse behind to tend to the house and wait for her.
“It’s our home, Kathryn. I want to make it beautiful for you so that you look forward to coming home.”
Kathryn pressed her body to his, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply, drinking in the comfort and reassurance of him.
“I do. Don’t ever doubt that. Home could be a cramped academy dorm room and I’d still look forward to coming home to you.”
“Are you saying you’d rather live like that?” Chakotay wrapped his arms closer around her and Kathryn laughed.
“No. It is wonderful what you’ve done with the place. You’ve truly made this house a home… a sanctuary even.”
It was true. Every time she turned around it seemed like he had made some other improvement which made their home more beautiful, comfortable, and inviting. For so long she’d lived in survival mode, doing without things that felt like a luxury, including him.
“Good,” he grinned, face full of anticipation, I was going to be disappointed if you didn’t want to see the improvements I’ve made to your bathtub.”
Kathryn had thought she was too tired to do anything other than curl up and go to sleep when she arrived home, but she found that energy was suddenly stirring within her, demanding other comforts than just a warm bed.