Disclaimer: Owe all to the big rock.
Dedicated to Suz, because I want to.
It doesn't start with roses and candlelight. It starts with the simple things. In their case, it was very different.
First, an exchange of information over a comm line. He, suspicious of her motives. She, only wanting to find a peaceful solution. An agreement. A meeting of two leaders. Simple in its offering. Work together, find their missing crew members.
The first confrontation. He sees one who he feels isn't worthy to be called former Maquis, let alone good enough to don a Star Fleet uniform. She gets in his face, invading his private space. She barely reaches his shoulders, but she stands proudly. Her chin lifted, her words measured.
He notes her stance, listens to her words. He backs down. The first obstacle tackled and conquered. From that point on, they work together, looking for answers. She, through her crew and the respect she has earned, allows him to be saved in a cave.
He returns the favor when he goes to his ship and joins the fight, buying her precious time to find a way home, even if it means his capture. His own honor means nothing if the battle is empty. The larger warship can destroy Voyager with one fell swoop. He locks on target, knowing that death will not be in vain. He succeeds, beaming to her ship only to learn they can't go home. They will destroy the array to preserve a race until only a short time ago, they knew nothing about.
She hates doing this to them, but she has no choice. The little Klingon rushes her, asking boldly who she thinks she is for making this decision for all of them. He resigns himself to his new fate; knowing this auburn haired woman would be carrying his fate in her hands.
"She's the captain." He says. Only three words and their lives become entwined.
She tells him he has a choice. He asks her what. She says it's either find him and his crew a nice little M-class planet and let them settle there. He asks her 'or'. She tells him that she is willing to let his crew join hers, since she doesn't have enough to do it herself.
"I'm going home, come hell or high water." She declares. He looks at her and notices how her eyes sparkle with life and determination. He has no doubt she'll succeed in this challenge. He tells her he'll join her crew. She informs that she's making him her first officer. He seems surprised but takes it in stride. He finds he respects her.
She holds out her hand to him. He takes it. Both grips are firm; neither letting on the feel of electricity sparking between their flesh. She shows him to his quarters and retreats to hers.
No, no explanation.
From there, the path is clear, but not always smooth. They fight over minuscule items. Does Torres have the discipline to be Chief Engineer? He deftly tells her that he will not be her token Maquis officer. She relents.
Then something begins happening, to him at least. He finds the admiration turning to something else. She touches him frequently, friendly gestures, nothing more. But he loves the warmth her touch leaves behind.
He teaches her to contact her animal guide. She allows him to see that vulnerable part of herself. He sees there is more to the woman then the captain. He learns she is human. She is smart, disciplined, courageous, graceful. He finds her to be funny and a teaser.
She finds him a gentle soul. Hell bent on his dedication to her. She hates reprimanding him when he goes on his own after stolen technology. She finds that he is very sorry. He's let her down, he tells her. That means something to him.
As time goes, he finds himself more at peace then he has ever been.
He credits her.
She'd call him by his given name frequently. He never called her by hers; only in his personal logs and thoughts. She'd never let him; given her permission to do so.
Then they came to this planet. They had spent a day there, not realizing that they had been bitten by bugs. A short time later, they are back on the planet. Seventeen days later, they are awoken to find that they can never leave the atmosphere of the planet.
She asks for scientific equipment to be beamed down. He thinks its excessive. She calls it 'roughing it'. He laughs at her. She says there is no bathtub. He asks why a bathtub. She says its her favorite way to relax. He tells her she can learn to enjoy the sonic shower. He calls her captain.
She stops, turns and looks at him. He waits for some witty rebuttal. She simply says that they are no longer in a command structure.
"Perhaps you should call me Kathryn." And she turns and walks away.
"Give me a few days on that one, okay." He says, then follows.
In reality, he's calling her Kathryn by the time the sun sets.
It's the small things. He hides and builds her bathtub. She is surprised by his generosity. She makes a mess of cooking, he patiently takes over. She notes he is good at it. He begins noting the little things.
He is surprised when she calls him one night while she is in her bath. She is sure someone is in the woods. He laughs inside as he detects a monkey high in the branches. She laughs, saying that maybe the monkey might have the answers. He stops laughing, seeing a side to her he never thought he'd be privileged to see. He drinks in the beauty of her; long neck, pale skin. She turns and sees him, noting the look on his face. She is flattered, yet pulls the towel a little closer around her. He excuses himself and leaves, she looks after him.
It's her first hint. . .hint that there may be something there.
He notices her sitting up to read through the transparent wall that separates her sleeping area from the rest. She doesn't know he watches her. He decides to make her headboards. She tells him she appreciates all he does, but she feels that he's given up. He tells her that he can't sacrifice a present for a future that may never happen. She smiles, gives him her hand and goes to work.
He becomes concerned when the storm drops on them. He searches, finding her huddled on the ground. He takes her case, using his body to protect hers from the onslaught of storm. Once back, he grabs her and takes her under the table. She watches her life break around her. He is happy to hold her in his arms.
After a day of working, she complains about her neck. He offers to rub the knots from her shoulders. She is receptive, telling him how good it feels. His hands still. She leans back against him. His breathing shallows and all he can think of is wanting to kiss her, take her to his bed and make tender love to her. She thinks quickly the same thing, but her fears come back. She opens her eyes, rises and tells him thank you and goodnight.
He tells her to sleep well.
She retires to her bed, climbing beneath the covers, putting a wrist against her forehead, trying to calm the beating of her heart.
He sits again at his table, watching her turn back and forth. He knows it now.
He's in love.
She comes out, wanting to define parameters. He says he can't. He proceeds to tell her a story, hiding his meaning behind a fable. She smiles, a tear sliding down her nose. She asks him if it's a real story. He smiles, laughs nervously and tells her no, but it made it easier to say.
She holds up her hand. He matches it with his own. Another tear takes the same path as the first down her nose. He rubs the back of her thumb with his own.
No words are spoken.
They leave. He notes they are now closer. She notes that she relies on him more then she thought she ever thought she would. She can call him friend.
He wants to call her something more.
She allows him to look for a phantom son. He is pleased for her faith in him. She stands up to the enemy when they take her ship. He catches her when she is pushed down. She thinks while confined. He again steadies her when the bumps become to great.
She vows not to cry in front of them-in front of him.
He can't start the fire. She says he's not the only one. He looks up. She asks what. He says its something his father once said about starting fires. Her hand strays to her hair.
He helps her remove the pins, allowing it fall. He then gestures to Harry to cut off a lock. He is happy that it's her strands that start the fire.
The years pass. He pushes her belief in only the sciences. She pushes his capacity as a commander. She almost dies. He tries to breathe his life into her. She watches as he pulls her body to his, telling her lifeless body that she can't die. He cries. She tries to comfort him.
She comes back. He tells her what happened. She allows him to help her to her feet. She walks slowly, putting her arm up over his shoulder. He puts his around her waist.
He doesn't care who sees.
He gives her a rose. She thanks him. They discuss life and death. She tells him she cheated death. She asks him if he would like to join her on Lake George. . .moonlight sail, bottle of champagne. He says it sounds like something worth living for.
They skip like two kids from the ready room.
They face more challenges. The Borg. The leaving of Kes. They faced the Hirogen. She received news that her fiancee back home had moved on. He found out his cause no longer existed. She sulked. He told B'Elanna.
She finally told him. She stared into his eyes. He stared back. She continued long after Harry had told her that she was needed on the bridge. He shook himself out of the reverie. He thought.
They sat for tea. He noted she was flirting. She told him that she'd been using Mark as a safety net. He told her she had plenty of time.
Arm in arm they went to Neelix's party.
She began looking at him more. He noticed. She would touch him more. He noticed. She turned around and he was there. He loved the look on her face.
He brought her out of a self imposed exile. She told him that he'd told the crew of her plan. He told her that it was his job.
They grew closer.
Another year passed. She would eat in his quarters one night. He in hers the next. They began sharing stories about their pasts. They weren't friends, yet they weren't lovers. It just grew.
He would help her with her sculptures. She would learn how to do sand painting. He would sketch her on the holodeck. She would find stones on planets for him to carve. He taught her how to carve them.
She took him to her favorite holo-novels. He played along. He found her varied in her talents.
She found that after six years, she could finally admit that she'd fallen in love with him.
It was night. She had invited him to her quarters to work on reports. They worked in silence. He enjoyed her company, wanting more, but knowing that this was more or less all he'd be getting; maybe until they either died or they got home.
She kept looking at him sideways. He did likewise. She noted everything about him she'd been scared to see before. The long nose that looked as if it had been broken and set hastily. The strong jaw. The way the gray was creeping into the hair at his temples. The darkness of his eyes.
He noted her little button like nose. Her short eye lashes. He saw the hair that was just now getting to point below her shoulders. Her perfect eyebrows.
She stretched. He noted it mentally. She scooted a little bit closer. He didn't seem to notice. She bent over to retrieve a Padd she had let slide off her lap on purpose. He noted it again. She slid still closer to him. He felt the heat of her body.
She slid beside him, her thigh against his. He slowly looked up and turned his head. She was looking at him. He stared into her eyes. She tilted her head and smiled. He smiled in return. She closed her eyes. He moved toward her. She felt the first shock as his lips brushed against hers. He started to pull away. She snaked her arm around his neck to hold him.
Padd's slid to the floor, unnoticed as he laid her down on the couch. She opened her eyes as he pulled away. She smiled. He smiled back. He saw in her eyes the burning of desire. She saw his unspoken love. He sat up, pulled her to her feet. She touched his body the entire way to her bedroom. He said not a word as she stripped him of his uniform. She was equally quiet as he removed hers.
They moved to her bed, the stars lighting the room in a strange cast. He ran his hands over her body, committing as much to memory as possible. She did likewise. He was afraid of hurting her. She encouraged him. He made them one.
She made love to him. He made love to her. They made love together. The culmination of their long suppressed love, being locked away within her, two spirits joining as one. As they were of one body, they were of one mind. Both knew immediately. Love had created a new life.
They bonded a very short time later, not wanting to go longer without the other. Then it began.
He would bring her breakfast in bed. She would attempt to cook things he liked. He would brush out her hair when she was too tired. She would rub his back, when shouldering her burdens became too much for him. He would rub her lower back when the extra weight she carried hurt her.
He would bring her roses from the hydroponics bay. She would make an effort to learn the ways of his people. He would reassure her when she felt ugly. She would laugh as her stomach moved of its own accord. He would laugh with her.
They held each other at night, glad of each other.
She felt that first stab of pain. He knew immediately, without her saying a word. She remained strong. He held her. She pushed. He encouraged her. She squeezed her eyes shut. He held her hand.
She gave him a son and a daughter. He gave her a son and a daughter.
They looked each other. No words spoken. No words were needed.
They slept in their bed. He held her. She smiled contentedly in her sleep. He heard the first cry. He quietly got out of bed and made his way to the small bedroom containing two cribs. He picked up the squalling infant; this his daughter. He held her, getting a bottle and sitting in one of two rockers that had been put in the room. He rocked the baby. She looked like her mother and like his mother.
His mother. The last time he had seen her was before he left again on another Starfleet mission. He had begun to tell her that he didn't mean to hurt them; his mother and father. She had put her fingers against his lips.
"You owe us no explanation. Love requires none." She'd said gently.
He took care of his daughter, putting her back down and checking on his son. He went back to bed and pulled her to him.
"Chakotay?" She said sleepily.
"It's all right, Kathryn." She woke and looked at him. "Your daughter was hungry."
"I'll get up with Kurt if he starts in." She closed her eyes and went back to sleep. He knew he'd be getting up with their son if he awoke.
Chakotay looked at the stars. He sent a silent message to his mother. He hoped she could hear him.
Love requires no explanations.