All I ask
Earth turns before her. She can almost touch it. They made it home.
Seven years of hard work, the many lives lost, new lives begun… This should be the happiest moment of her life. Yet it isn’t. One important thing missed out…
She exhales a shuddering breath and closes her eyes, fighting a moment against emotions that don’t seem in place.
Her chime rings.
“Come in.” her eyes still closed. She can hear someone coming in and can sense it’s him. She has never understood how, but she always knew it was him.
“Captain.” He addresses her.
She opens her eyes again, looking for some strength in the familiar globe spinning just outside her window. A pained smile spreads across her lips. “Is everyone on their way home?”
“Good.” She slowly turns to face him.
He’s not looking at her. He’s gazing past her at the same thing she was looking at moments before. His eyes don’t hold the same excitement either. Strange.
“What are our further directions?” she tries to get his attention back.
“They will be escorting us to Utopia Planetia and as soon as Voyager has docked, we are free to go. We are given a week before debriefings to reconnect with our families and friends.” There’s this strange sadness she hears in his voice, and she wonders why. Finally home, where he can start his new life with his new love.
The sheer thought makes her heart ache for a moment. She nods, not quite trusting her voice all of a sudden.
He turns to leave, but seems to hesitate and she seizes the moment. “Chakotay…”
She almost but jumps up and in a few steps closes the distance between them. She is standing so close…
They stand there for a few moments, both scared to move.
Very slowly she places her hand on his shoulder and when he doesn’t move away from her, she dares to take the last step and rests her cheek against his strong back.
This simple touch says a thousand words unspoken. The words spoken don’t matter at that moment, they’ve all been said before.
Her hand travels down and around, her palm now firmly on his heart. She can feel it racing, his breath a bit faster than normal. Then his hand covers hers.
“Don’t get me wrong, I know there is no tomorrow, but if this is my last moment with you, hold me like I’m more than just a friend.” She whispers and feels his heart skip a beat or two.
He turns around and envelopes her into his arms. Hers wrap around him and hold him so tight like her life depended on it.
She remembers so many times where she had needed this, but had to let the moment pass because of silly rules and regulations. Oh how she regrets that now, but being sorry always comes too late. She pushes away the thought, not wanting them to ruin this moment. The moment that will be forever engraved in her mind.
He kisses the top of her head and let’s his lips linger there. She suddenly realizes he needs this as much as she does, and can imagine the struggle inside him.
He had made his choice weeks ago, to pursue a different path in life. A new love…
But she couldn’t care less about that at that moment in time. She claimed this moment as hers, theirs. Nothing else mattered now.
She looked up into his eyes and she could only think of one thing. Making one last memory with Chakotay. “I realize what I am asking of you, but it matters how this ends. I need this; I need you, even if it is just this moment. A memory of you and me I can hold on to.”
“Kathryn, I… you pushed me away… Not to sound cruel, but you drove me into her arms and now you’re asking me to…”
“Yes!” she cut him off. “I hear what you are saying, but I realize that you are the only one that matters. I don’t want to imagine how you will love her; I need to remember how it feels to do what lovers do with you, because what if I never love again?” She chokes out the last few words and feels a tear run down her face.
She can see his inner turmoil. He has wanted this for years and now he’s with someone else, she asks the one thing he is unable to give. He’s that committed that he can’t be unfaithful.
“Let this be our lesson in love. Let this be the way we remember us. I don’t want to be cruel either and I’m not asking for forgiveness for pushing you away, but… “She sounds so desperate, but she can’t help it. This need is so strong it almost consumes her.
“What if I can’t? What if I can’t give you this memory? What if, when we do make this memory, we won’t be able to stop making memories together?” The hurt is clear in his eyes and his voice. He is torn between doing the right thing and doing the right thing for them.
His words slowly register and she needs to make a decision. If she doesn’t, the moment will be gone and she will lose her last chance of loving the man she has loved for years.
“Chakotay, I love you! And I’m sorry I never said those three words aloud. Never let you feel what you mean to me because of…”
“No! Fear! I was afraid of loving you, of losing you… and I almost did lose you because of it. But I’m not afraid anymore and I’m sorry that I just realized that.” Words rolling off her tongue, words of truth.
“Kathryn, I… can’t.” he gently pushes her away from him and she can see the pain in his eyes when he does so. That pain he could definitely read in hers too.
All the wind knocked out of her, she stands there, watching as he turns and leaves. As her door hisses shut, she sinks down to her knees and a painful cry escapes her.
This felt as worse as dying, which she was doing internally.
She doesn’t know how long she has been on the floor, but when she tries to stand, her knees protest. Her head spins a bit when she’s finally upright and she closes her eyes to gain equilibrium.
As she does, images of Chakotay rejecting her come flooding back in and her chest starts hurting again.
She understands why he did it, but she can’t believe he just left her there. He once promised her he would always be there for her.
Her chime rings and she is harshly pulled back to reality.
‘I thought no one was on the ship anymore.’
When the doors open, he is in front of her in just a few strides.
“Let’s make some memories.” He simply states and pulls her close to him, pressing his lips to hers in a searing kiss…