Anna (aka Ceridwen) sent me an interesting idea concerning "With This Ring". I decided to take her up on the challenge. The idea is hers, the story is mine. Again, a great big thanks! Note, this is not intended as a sequel or anything to "With This Ring", just another version.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns characters and Star Trek. I own the disk with this story.
Kathryn looked in the mirror, carefully scrutinizing her image, seeing if anything else could be done. She'd pulled her short hair back from her face and fastened it in clips. Slightly more make-up then she wore on duty. No, she couldn't find anything that needed improving.
She looked into her jewelry box, looking for anything else. As a rule, Kathryn didn't go overboard on accessories. Tonight would be small jade earrings and a ring. She had a few that she liked to choose from. One, was a ring she had purchased as a second year cadet at the Academy. Kathryn had some time to burn and she had walked past the little shop a few times, on her way to various places. It was tucked neatly into an old section of town.
Kathryn hadn't really thought about what she'd do with the ring, but the shop keeper had told her an interesting story that had went with the rings. Much to Kathryn's disappointment, the mate to the female ring was no longer with it. But she had fallen in love with the ring and the design. A gold band with a brass rose set on it. Within the center of the rose, sat a tiny diamond. Simple, yet elegant and most importantly, it fit Kathryn's finger perfectly.
Then she had put it in her jewel box and had practically forgot about it. It moved along with her belongings from assignment to assignment. Every once in a while, when looking for some other piece, she'd run across the ring, pick it up and looking at it, swearing that she would wear it sometime. Then she'd forget about it until the next time she needed something.
But tonight, the ring just seemed to call to her. Not to mention, the green of dress seemed to set off the rose that sat upon the band. She had slipped it onto the her right hand when the door announced her escort.
"Be right there," she yelled, giving herself a final look and going to the door where her first officer waited.
As usual, the Neelix party had been a success. The Talaxian had met the commanding officers at the entry to the holodeck, commenting on both Kathryn and Chakotay's attire and how happy he was to see them there. The two had then split up and had mingled with the rest of the crew. Yet, to anyone watching, one would occasionally look up and search the room for the other, then only go back to the conversation when the other would catch the others eye and smile.
When the party began winding down, Kathryn was surprised to turn around to Chakotay.
"Goodness, you sure make your way around, don't you?" she said with a smile.
"I could say the same about you, Kathryn," Chakotay said, returning her smile. He held out his hand. "Would you care to dance?" Kathryn started to protest. "Please, it's the last one of the evening."
Kathryn placed her hand in his and followed him onto the floor. By now, the only ones still in the holodeck was Neelix, Harry and Seven. Remaining a comfortable distance from her friend, they began dancing.
They made small talk, all the time getting closer to each other in their dance. Soon, Kathryn's forehead rested gently on Chakotay's shoulder. He, of course couldn't be happier. He had been playing eye tag with her all evening, enjoying the quiet little game that they played.
It was then he noticed it, cutting slightly into his left hand. He raised their clasped hands up and looked at what cut into his finger. Chakotay couldn't believe what he was seeing; a ring that resembled one he had purchased years before.
"Hmm?" he said, not having been paying attention to the fact that the music had stopped and that Kathryn had been talking to him.
"I was just saying that we should be going back to our quarters. We both have duty in the morning."
He looked at her sheepishly. "I'm sorry. It's just that your ring was cutting into my hand." Chakotay held up her hand that had the ring, in his hand.
"Oh, this ring. I bought this years ago. It had once been part of a wedding set, but the shopkeeper told me that someone had bought the other one."
"Really? What a shame. Those kind of things should remain a set," Chakotay said. Kathryn looked up at him, trying to register the look on his face.
"Yes, it is. The woman who ran the shop had told me an interesting story behind it, one of the reasons I purchased it."
"Well, Kathryn, you've always been a sucker for old stories. I believe I told you the last one, I think it's only right for you to tell this one," Chakotay said. He pulled her over to one of the tables on the holodeck. As they settled in, Harry and Seven approached them, telling them good night and that it had been nice having them there. Neelix took his leave a moment later and Kathryn began recounting the tale to Chakotay.
"When I was in my second year at the Academy, when we were on break, I had taken to do some sight seeing. My father, as usual, hadn't made it back for a visit and I hadn't really wanted to see my mother. So, I stayed at the dorms and spent my time learning about San Francisco."
"Must have been hard for you," Chakotay said.
"It was, but if you want me to finish the story before we go on duty, you'd better stop interrupting me."
"Okay," Chakotay said, flashing her a grin.
"On the second day of my explorations, I visited an old part of town and came across this antique shop. Figuring 'what the hey', I went in and looked around. I hadn't intended on buying anything, but I came across these rings and I fell in love with the one." Kathryn extended her hand an looked at the ring.
"As I was looking at and deciding whether or not I wanted to purchase it, the woman behind the counter told me this story of this couple who had once owned them. Very devoted to each other, very much in love, having faced many odds to be together."
"Sounds familiar," Chakotay muttered under his breath. She gave him a strange look then continued on as if he hadn't interrupted.
"Well, they remained married and faithful to each other until the day one of them died. The other kept the others ring and wore it. When the other half died, their oldest daughter took the rings and held onto them for years. Eventually, she gave up the rings and sold them." Kathryn looked at Chakotay, measuring the look on his face.
"Sometimes, fate plays in mysterious ways," Chakotay said.
"What do you mean?" Kathryn asked him. She leaned forward in her chair, closer to him.
"Well, the couple were devoted to each other, had faced many changes and. . . were in love. Sound familiar," he asked. Kathryn looked at him with wide open eyes.
"You make it sound like you trying to put us in a. . . in a previous life," she said.
"Like I said, sometimes fate entwines us in various ways." Chakotay sat back. Watching her, carefully weighing his next words. "Well, put it this way then, Kathryn. One, they were devoted to each other. When haven't we gone out on a limb for each other, fighting, trying to pull the other back from some self destructive path, put the members of this crew in peril, for each other?"
Kathryn mulled this over in her mind. He was right. They had gone out on a limb for each other as well putting the rest of the crew and ship in danger as well. "Two," Chakotay continued. "facing many challenges, changes. We've combined two crews, we've defeated enemies such as the Viidians, the Kazon, Borg, Hirogen. We've had birth's, death's, differences. B'Elanna and Tom. . ."
"Okay, okay, Chakotay. You've made your point."
"Have I? I seem to recall one more point about this couple you were talking about."
"You mean they being in love?"
Chakotay raised his eyebrow in response to Kathryn's question. He wanted her to answer this for herself. She studied her ring a long time before looking him in the eye and answering.
"How would you like me to answer, Chakotay?"
"I don't know, Kathryn. Between you and me, you always seem to have the answers." He could see her pull back, if ever so slightly. "I would really like to know where we stand Kathryn. Are we friends, coworkers, what?"
She took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes. He tried to read her expression and found that he couldn't. "All right. You want the truth, Chakotay? I'll give it to you." She took another deep breath. "Yes, I love you." She cocked her head and studied him intently. "Surprised?"
"No, I don't think I am." Kathryn looked at him with disbelief.
"I can't believe you. You make me admit that I love you and you. . .you act indifferent." She stood up quickly and turned to leave. He followed and grabbed her arm and swung her around.
"I never said I don't love you, Kathryn. I just said that I wasn't surprised by your admission." He took her right hand, on which the ring still rest. "I said we were entwined by fate."
"How can we be entwined by fate, Chakotay? The mate to this ring is gone. It's just a story." He took her arm and led her out of the holodeck.
"Come with me to my quarters. There is something that I want to show you."
They arrived at Chakotay's quarters and he keyed the combination to let him in. Leaving Kathryn in his living area, he went into his bedroom and emerged a couple of minutes later. Kathryn didn't see anything that he was carrying. Both of his hands were emptied.
"You're good at talking, Kathryn, but sometimes you don't listen. I know the story behind the rings. The couple in question once said, 'the rings, if separated, can bring together those who love truly.' Well, you're the scientist. Figure this one out," he said. Chakotay opened his hand and there, in the palm, lie the mate to the ring on Kathryn's finger.
"I bought this, before you ever bought yours. I thought it was unique, if nothing else, just to have for those important Starfleet functions."
"Why didn't you buy the. . . this one, the mate?" Kathryn said, taking the ring from his palm and looking at it closely.
"I couldn't. I wanted the set, but at the time, it felt like I had to leave the one there. I never understood why I didn't buy the set. I still don't. All I know, is that something inside me told me to leave yours, there."
"Entwined by fate, huh?" she asked, smiling up at him and holding out his ring to him. As he reached out to get it, Kathryn grabbed on to his hand and pulled him into her arms. "I think this phenomenon requires further investigation. Scientifically speaking of course."
"Two hours before duty?" Chakotay said as she pulled herself up to kiss him.
"A little experimentation, some discussion. A true scientific experiment takes more then a couple of hours to investigate. I think this will be an ongoing experiment," Kathryn said, finally laying to rest the doubts between both of them.
Fate can be very strange.