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“Everything’s going to be fine.”

She finds herself reassuring him, despite that fact that she’s wounded and livid at him right now. He’s just so obviously anxious, clearly worried about how Starfleet is going to rule on his status and that of the rest of the former Maquis.

The truth is that she doesn’t know what Headquarters will do initially, but she does know she is going to fight until she gets the right result ultimately.

“How?” he won’t meet her eyes, and she hates that this is where they’ve gotten to.

“If the panel rules against the favor of the Maquis half of our crew, I’ll take it up the latter until they change their mind. I didn’t drag you all across two quadrants only to have our homecoming be anything less than welcoming to all of Voyager’s crew members.

“I never doubted that, Kathryn,” he shakes his head in disbelief, “I have no doubt you will get Starfleet to tow the line.”

“Well something’s clearly bothering you,” she replies, before she remembers that it isn’t her place to say it, not anymore.

“It’s a personal matter,” he tells her and she wishes she hadn’t. She doesn’t want to hear about how his relationship with Seven is progressing.

“I know… none of my business.”

It’s her turn to look away, digging her nails into her palms.

“That’s the problem,” he sighs, "I want it to be, but I’ve lost any right to even hope… if I ever had any.”

“Chakotay?”

For a moment she forgets why they are sitting in this waiting room, as her heart rises up in her chest.

“I’ve been acting like a fool this last little while, parading around with a someone young enough to be my daughter, even though she was just the closest I could get to you, and now I’ve destroyed whatever promise-”

Once again she can’t bear to leave him in his misery, even for a moment more.

“Chakotay,” she reaches out and takes one of his hands between both of hers, “Look at me. Everything’s going to be fine. We’re going to be fine, if you really want us to be.”

“More than anything, Kathryn-”

And that’s how half a dozen admirals happen upon Voyager’s recent command pair locked in an embrace which might best be described as passionate.

Kathryn flushes scarlet as the most senior member of the panel clears his throat to get their attention.

“We thought you might want to know that the ruling is to let your recommendation stand, recognizing the field commissions issued above Voyager and considering the time served abroad as fulfilling any sentences former Maquis members might have been issued, but it seems you are rather preoccupied…”

As they head towards the turbolift after the requisite boot kissing, Kathryn buries her face in her hands.

It is Chakotay’s turn to reassure her, pulling her hands away from her face and kissing them gently.

“Everything’s going to be fine.”