Disclaimer; Paramount own Star Trek.
Alternative ending; to Future's End Part 2.
The party had broken up; it had been one of Neelix's better ideas. A "get together" meant to relieve the build up of tension, something they all needed after being so close to being home. and yet so far away.
Neelix and Kes walked hand in hand down the deserted corridor.
"I don't recall turning that pan off?" Neelix stopped in mid stride. A small hand touched his chest as he turned.
"I'll go check."
"Sweetie it's my." his words silenced as she touched her finger to his lips
"I'll go. You must be weary, having spent all day watching television. "Laughing as she turned and retraced her steps to the mess hall. Neelix watched her for a moment then carried on to his quarters.
Kes entered the mess hall.
Everyone had returned to his or her quarters, it was so quiet and peaceful. The lights were off, but she could see well enough as the room was lit by the glow of the security night-lights. She moved to the cooking area, and just as she had thought, there was no pan left on. Shaking her head, and smiling at Neelix's memory.
As she turned to leave, a movement caught her attention. Kes almost called
out, announcing her presence, but something made her pause before she
spoke. Then she saw it was the Captain.
Kes had noticed Captain Janeway had been quiet and deep in thought all evening; so not wanting to disturb her now, Kes waited. The older woman stood then looked around as if she was leaving, so Kes didn't think she would have long to wait. Stepping back, Kes made sure she was out of sight. Not wanting to intrude, it had been a hard day for the crew of Voyager being home and yet not home.
Kathryn placed her empty glass on the table, she moved toward the door, but something caught her eye. Gasping softly, as she realised what it was moving toward something Kes could not see.
Kes watched intently, wondering what had caught her Captain's attention.
Lifting the jacket in her arms, Kathryn ran her hand lovingly over it.
It was Chakotay's. He'd obviously forgotten it. Smiling as she held it to her face touching the material to her cheek. Kathryn loved his scent, normally his scent she used that as a warning guide if she could catch his scent she was too close. However, this was different, for this moment unseen she could allow herself this small luxury of closeness. Surely that was allowed, wasn't it, a second to dream of how things could be, no how they would be if they weren't so far from home.
Kathryn stood, lost in thought cradling his jacket in her arms. An overwhelming sense of comfort seemed to descend around her, as if she found solace in the fact that it was his. As if, she were being held close and safe in his arms.
Kes sensed Kathryn's turmoil, the emotions and memories of how not that many hours ago he'd been wearing the jacket, and they had been happy, walking in the warm sunshine of Earth. Together.
Feeling the older woman's silent questions, questions that she would never ask, had he rested his hand so gently on the small of her back to guide her or simply to touch her? Had he meant what he had said about her legs? She smiled ruefully as she remembered. Maybe they were only destined to share moment out of time.
A feeling of overwhelming happiness floated toward Kes, made up of Katherine's memories of today, of enjoying being close to him, not having to keep their distance, and being able to touch each other. Memories she would treasure.
Kes watched as the Captain picked up Chakotay's jacket. It was then that she realised, that what she was watching. Also that this wasn't meant to be seen or felt by her, or by anyone other than Kathryn.
These were private dreams that this dreamer, denied even to herself. But like the curious child she was, Kes was fascinated and could not bring herself to look away. From the picture unfolding before her or the feelings that were, being uncovered.
Watching the Captain silhouetted in the window, holding onto the jacket as if it was a lifeline. As if her world would end if, she let it go. It was hard for Kes not to pick up, on the tender sadness that surrounded the other woman; the feelings flowing from the Captain were so intense that tears formed in Kes's eyes.
A sad thought entered her mind - "Was Chakotay aware of how much she loved him?"
The door slid open and Chakotay entered, walking briskly. He obviously didn't expect to find any one still there. Although he stopped, calling out
Kes knew he must have sensed someone, as he paused while his eyes became accustomed to the dim room. Then, as he realised who it was, he spoke softly.
He moved toward her. But when he saw her holding his jacket. He stopped. Kes snatched her hand to cover her mouth preventing herself from crying out as he spoke; she'd never heard anyone call her anything but Captain. The couple were immobile now, each watching the other, and Kes wished she could leave, but she couldn't, not without them seeing her. So she stayed, she couldn't stop this. They needed this that much she understood.
Then he exhaled softly, as if he'd just seen something magical. Maybe had.
Chakotay moved toward her, slowly as if she would disappear at any moment in a puff of smoke.
This time his voice was so tender that Kes had to look away, his actions told her that Chakotay was not only aware of the Captains feelings for him, but he reciprocated them. Kes realising that of course he and he alone used her given name, as well as her title.
"My jacket;" He spoke softly and extended his hand to take the jacket. Kes watched as his fingers almost but not quite brushed against the Captain's as he took the jacket, draping it over his arm. Katherine released it as her fingers almost but not quite touched his.
"I just found it." The Captain's voice was softer than Kes had ever heard it, then it struck her - the voice she was hearing was Kathryn's and not the Captain's.
"I forgot it." He told her.
"Yes." She whispered in reply. Each reluctant to break the moment, yet knowing it would soon end.
Kes watched as neither of them moved. The room filled with such longing; it was so tangible that Kes could almost reach out and touch it.
"It was a nice today, being back on Earth." As he spoke, he moved closer, and the Captain changing her position, lowering her head as she did, almost but not quite resting her forehead on his chest. He froze, unwilling to make the first contact, but grateful for the closeness, she choose to have.
"I have to get them home." Her voice was so shaky. Kes would never have believed Janeway could be this unsure. But then again she had always seen the Captain, and realised that almost no one ever saw Kathryn.
Maybe no one other than Chakotay ever would.
Kes had to wipe a tear from her face as she listened to her voice. Her heart breaking for the older woman, but grateful she knew, that he understood. That he would wait.
"I know Kathryn. And we will."
Taking a breathe; he inhaled his eyes closing for a second as if he were trying to commit the scent of her hair to his memory. His voice so soft, and yet strong and confident. As he spoke again, trying to reassure her, letting her draw from his strength.
"We were there today, and we will be there again, Kathryn. I promise."
"And when we get there, when we get home?" She lifted her head locking his eyes with hers. The question, lingering in her eyes.
"And when we get home, what Kathryn?" his voice was teasing her, emphasising the "when," reassuring her once more it was alright that they could do it. That she had the strength to do it.
In response to his teasing, Kathryn smiled. Kes watched, transfixed, aware that no one but Chakotay ever had the privilege to see that look on the Captain's face.
"Tell me again, what we'll do? Tell me the story of what will happen we get home, Chakotay." She took a breathe waiting for his reply. The reply she knew, so well.
He laughed. It was a deep pleasant laugh, and, feeling the warmth in it, Kes realised the question had already been answered, with an answer known only to them.
It was obviously a game; and one they had played before.
Then it happened the Captain raised her hand, and for the first time, since he'd come in they touched, as slowly he raised his hand, placing his palm against hers. Their fingers slowly lacing together. It was a gesture, with such a deep meaning, obviously one they both knew and understood.
Now, one more person understood. Kes.
She saw the gesture for what it was a promise. A promise of the future; a promise of what was to be, when they could simply be a man and woman.
When it happened, the skin on skin connection between the Captain and her First Officer, Kes could feel the power of their attraction, her senses acutely aware of the unspoken emotion and suppressed lust that surrounded them at that moment.
The Captain was a decisive and focused leader, and Kes had always admired, her commitment to getting them home. Now she realised where that strength came from. Chakotay was the reason she remained focused, centred. Kathryn needed him; he was the reason she was able to continue.
Chakotay had changed since the start of the journey, Kes had noticed he'd become calmer more at peace with himself. He needed her. She was the reason for his inner peace, his centre.
"Just what "will" we do, Chakotay?" Kathryn's voice so soft and husky, that it made Kes blush and look away briefly, but it made Chakotay smile. A smile so enticing, so full of promise that Kathryn found herself returning the smile with her eyes, equally full of promise. Of an unspoken agreement. Of happiness.
"Kathryn first I'll.." he stopped as the door hissed open and Neelix hurriedly walked into the messhall. They quickly moved apart, standing back from each other, and Kes heard their collective sigh of hurt, at the forced parting.
Neelix squinted into the darkness "Sweetie?" Kes held her breathe.
"Computer lights." He ordered. As the lights he'd called for came on, Neelix saw them not realising what he had done. "Ah ha! Captain, Commander; I didn't expect to see you here still, I'm looking for Kes have you seen her?"
"She's not in here Neelix. There's no-one but us, and we were just leaving."
"Goodnight Neelix." As she passed, the Captain briefly touched Neelix's shoulder giving him a little smile.
"I wonder where she's got to. Oh yes good night Captain."
"Hope you find her soon Neelix." Chakotay smiled at the worried talaxian.
"Thank you Commander and sleep well, both of you."
As they left, Kes stepped out, the spell had been broken, she moved to stand behind him, and he jumped as she spoke quietly. "Neelix."
"Sweetie I didn't see you there what are...?" he stopped as she ignored him moving past him toward the doorway.
He followed her, concern showing on his face "Are you alright?"
She didn't answer him; she couldn't not now. Watching as they walked down the corridor, side by side. So close, yet so far away.
At the end of the corridor, Chakotay stopped and turned to face her placing his jacket gently around her shoulders; Kathryn's eyes following his every move. Her fingers brushing against his as then, turning from each other they walked away, each going in opposite directions.
"Hmm, it must be colder than usual." Neelix spoke as he watched, shaking his head bemused as usual by the actions of his commanding officers.
Kes turned, linking her arm in his. "No Neelix. Not really it's just a long journey home." Neelix pulled her closer sensing but not understanding something had happened, wanting to understand he asked. "And when we get there.?" He paused as he realised she had tears rolling down her face as she whispered. "When they get there..."
THANKS FOR READING