It’s the way that you make me feel
Spinning my world around
Tell me how can I walk away
I don’t care what they say
I’m loving you anyway
It’s the way you make me feel
There were a million things he thought about, but everything always came back to her. It always had. Since the first time he had met her, and she had been there in front of him, always showing him the “Starfleet” path. He hadn’t always agreed with that path, and he hadn’t always agreed with her. But there had been something between them since the day they had met.
He had spent seven years ignoring it, trying to make everything better, so that he wouldn’t have to put her in an awkward position. She had been his captain, he had been her strong right arm, and that was the way it had worked for them. Since the beginning, that was the way it worked, and it had worked. That had been one of his points of pride. They had made a mixed crew with so many different backgrounds into a well-oiled machine.
Now they were home, and things were so very different, and he could do everything that he wanted with her. He could show her everywhere that he had always thought of, and do what he had always intended. It might take her a while to take off her captains’ hat, but he knew eventually she would, and he would help her to do that.
The table was set, and her favourite food was waiting for them in the replicator. He had planned the night in exquisite detail. He had every eventuality planned for, including her saying that she didn’t want this. He really hoped that eventuality didn’t come to pass. He knew she was still in the house, and he waited for her to come outside. Waiting and watching, because the slightest thing could ruin this night. But it was worth putting it all on the line, just so that she could be his, even if just for a night.
He turned as he heard her small chuckle, and his breath caught in his throat. She looked spectacular, and she hadn’t needed to dress up to impress him. He took her hand and led her to the table. They had eaten together so many times, in so many different situations. Nothing had ever worried him like this. Nothing had ever eaten at him the way this did.
They sat together in the lounge of his house in the hills, just talking about their crew. About how Tom and B’Elanna had adjusted to parenthood, how Harry was already itching to serve again, how Naomi was adjusting to her school. It was the familiar conversation of two friends. Until she turned to him, and smiled that shy smile he rarely saw.
“Is there something you wanted to ask me?”
He stumbled over his words, just looking at her and trying to decide what to say. “Kathryn, be mine.” Fell out of his mouth, the least thought out phrase he had ever uttered.
“What?” She looked at him with an air of utter understanding. She knew what he meant, what he was asking, but she would wait for clarification, he’d known that. She approached every situation in her life the same way. Cautiously, but hopefully, and always with the undercurrent of love that she had always shown him.
“Be mine.” He whispered again. Getting on his knees in front of her and taking her hands in his. Looking up at her and trying to show every emotion on his face, every emotion that she made him feel, that made him feel complete when he was with her. “You know how I feel about you, and I’m pretty sure you feel the same. Can we just give it a try?”
“Chakotay…” he saw in her face that she wanted this, but she was so cautious, and he knew her worries, about what it might do to their friendship. He didn’t need to hear the end of the sentence to try and convince her that her initial reflex was wrong. She didn’t need to run away from him.
“I’m not taking no as an answer. We’ve spent so long dancing around this, too long trying to change the direction that we were going. There’s no reason to keep doing that, we’re home now. You’re no longer my captain.”
“OK” she smiled, he wrapped his arms around her and held her close to him. Now he’d never have to let her go, and he could live with that. He leant in for the first kiss, and fell more in love with her every second. He didn’t know how he had ever thought that what they had in a friendship was enough. He couldn’t walk away from her, or from the promise of what tomorrow held.