Disclaimer: In the end, it’s not who owns it, it’s who can get them together first. . .what? you mean fan fic writers beat paramount to the punch. . .? Well, I’ll be damned.
Based souly on the signature line of one of the JetC15 members (raise your hand, Suz). “You say things that make me close my eyes”. I love this line. To quote “In Living Color” ‘wrote a story about it. Like to read it, here it goes!’
It summed up to nothing more then a resilient virus. Over half the crew had come down with it. The only ones who seemed immune to it were Doc (of course), Neelix (most surprising), Tuvok and Vorik (no surprise at all) and Seven of Nine (what did she get). Kathryn had been one of the first ones to come down with it and she knew what it felt like. The aching joints, heavy head and chest, raw throat and a chill even the thickest blankets would chase away. Chakotay had stayed with her the whole time, making sure she was comfortable and taken care of. Tuvok hadn’t minded taking over the ship for a few days to ensure that Captain Janeway was fine.
Now, it was her turn to ensure that Chakotay received the same treatment. She reflected, in the living area of his quarters, it also allowed her time to catch up with reports. Chakotay, she thought, had to be one of the most co-operative of the sick patients. He slept most of the time, which she thought odd. But the more she thought, the more she realized that he hadn’t been sleeping much since this epidemic began. He’d been busy, filling in where he was needed and tweaking the schedule at a moments notice to accommodate the newest victims. Kathryn smiled as remembered seeing him curled around himself, eyes shut tightly.
The fine lines around his eyes became visible. She had drawn her fingers over his brow, hoping to magically erase them from his head. She sat and just watched him, enraptured by his quiet acceptance and strength. After a while, she decided to go do some work.
Sitting at his desk, Kathryn began reading over reports from B’Elanna, Harry and Seven. Soon, though, she tired of B’Elanna’s ranting’s, Harry’s gushing over Seven’s accomplishments, and Seven unending technical jargon. She laid the reports on the desk and thought. She didn’t know why, but she wanted to see what Chakotay kept in the drawers. Kathryn knew she was invading his privacy, but she was just too curious to not look.
The top drawer held few items. A couple of extra Padd’s. A stone and a couple of his carving tools. The next drawer contained some story Padd’s and to Kathryn’s amazement, real paper. She could see writing and though she knew better, she pulled out the sheets. Before looking, she leaned out over his desk and looked into his sleeping area and heard his steady, rhythmic breathing. She began to read.
I don’t know why I’m writing this. I don’t even know if I’ll ever let you read this. Probably not, since you never seem to be ready for more then friendship. I can accept that. I don’t like it, but I can live with it.
I didn’t come on board this ship with the intention of falling in love. Certainly not with the captain. But I did. I have no more control over it then I do the rising of the sun. It’s just there. This longing and burning deep within me for the love a woman that is beyond my grasp.
Perhaps I should rephrase that. You’re not beyond my grasp, only just outside of it. I carry this flame that never waivers for you. No matter how hard the wind blows, no matter how wet the rain. The flame burns for you. It doesn’t matter if I stray from you, for you’re always there, with your open arms, telling me that it isn’t my fault. You validate me, without ever questioning my motives or my feelings. Kathryn, you give me absolute forgiveness. I’ve never had that from anyone.
You give of yourself, all you can. To your crew and your unfailing promise to see them home. To your ‘reclamation projects’ for giving them incentive, drive and acceptance. To your ship, for keeping her held together. Yet there never seems to be enough of you for yourself, let alone me.
I’m always telling you that you’re not alone. You’re not Kathryn. Not as long as I live, you’ll never be alone. Sometimes, I feel when you’re the happiest, is when I’m alone. I remember those lectures, telling us that we must retain decorum and isolate ourselves for the well being of ourselves. I never admit that I’m alone, too, Kathryn. But to tell you so, would only add to your burden when I swore I’d ease them.
You remind me of the best humanity has to offer. Intuition, intelligence, charm, grace, faith, charity, determination, devotion, love and clarity of judgment. I wish I had one ounce of that ability. You are never alone. I’ll never let you be alone. I’ve resigned myself to let you come around on your own. I fear you may never, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take. I once told Neelix that what you risk when you love someone outweighs what you lose. I’ll take that chance.
Kathryn, you told me that you had used Mark as a safety net, to avoid becoming involved with someone else. You’ve never needed a safety net, Kathryn. Just someone to catch you when you fall to let you down easily. Someday, maybe you’ll understand, I’ll understand. It’s just for now, I’m content to call you my best friend, my confident, my dream lover. You’re my world, my reason for getting up in the morning. Your smile brightens my day, your eyes remind me of the blue sky we never see and your laugh is like the fluttering of birds wings.
Maybe I’m just sentimental, maybe only a fool. But you only find the other half of yourself once in a lifetime. And you’ll do anything to ensure that half remains within your grasp. Just remember, Kathryn. You need not reach far, for I’ll always be there.
No matter what.
I love you.
Kathryn failed to notice the tears that slid gently down her cheeks, tickling the side of her nose. Some fell onto the paper, smudging the ink and leaving a part of her on his declaration. Never, had anyone been so candid with her with there words.
She put the sheets away where she found them and stood up. Kathryn wiped at her cheeks with the back of her hands, sniffling as she walked across the room into his sleeping area. She noticed he’d pushed some of the covers from his body. She covered him again and sat beside him. He felt the bed dip with her body and he opened his eyes.
“Kathryn?” He said.
“Shh. Go back to sleep.” Kathryn said, caressing his forehead slightly and letting her hand linger on him.
“Kathryn, you’re crying. What’s wrong?” Even in his sickly state, his concern for her emanated from his eyes.
“Nothing Chakotay. It’s just. . .”
“It’s just,” Kathryn smiled at him and cocked her head to the side. “ It’s just that you say things that make me close my eyes.”
“Chakotay, even if I don’t always show it, I do care.” Kathryn said. She reached over with her other hand and took his within her grasp.
Chakotay smiled at her, noticing the tears had begun again.
“You’re not alone.” She whispered.