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Now and Then

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“Do you remember when we first made contact with home and Starfleet sent those letters back to us?”

Kathryn seems nervous, pacing the room.

“I do. I seem to recall a lot of it was bad news.”

“The letter I got from Mark was expected, on some level. In some way it made me feel better… though you so thoughtfully tried to comfort me even though the news you’d received was far worse.”

“It’s not a competition, Kathryn.”

“Do you remember what I said that day, about how I’d been using Mark as an excuse to avoid getting involved with someone else?”

“Like it was yesterday.”

Chakotay wonders where she is going with this. At the time he thought she was getting ready to let him in completely, but then that had come to nothing.

“There was more I wanted to say,” she stops pacing and looks at him directly.

“Why didn’t you?” he asks, not daring to press her to say what it was for fear it won’t be what he hopes.

“I couldn’t then,” she sighs, “I couldn’t then, but I can now.”

“What did you want to say then, Kathryn?”

“It wasn’t just someone I was avoiding getting involved with… it was you. I wasn’t brokenhearted over Mark because I had long since shifted my heart in your direction, Chakotay. I couldn’t tell you that then, though.”

“Why not?”

He knows her answer but he asks anyway.

“I couldn’t tell you I loved you out there, Chakotay; because, I couldn’t do this out there.”

And then she’s puling him down into a kiss the like of which he has never experienced. Then again, he supposes he’s never waited eight years for a kiss either.