Second Epiphany

By Jade East (
© December 2001
Rating: PG
Series: Star Trek: Voyager

Chakotay's reaction to Janeway's insight.

Paramount owns Voyager. They don't deserve to. They have messed it up pretty badly. I don't make any money on this. I just get a bit of pleasure correcting things.

Acknowledgments: I want to thank several people for their help in finishing this. Thank you Jemima and Dakota for your betaing and thanks Cindy for your ideas and for being such a great "cheerleader."

I found myself leaving Sandrine's, Kathryn's arm around my waist and my arm around her shoulder. I was truly in a fog of emotions. I could not get my mind to accept what my eyes, ears, and body had just witnessed. Captain Kathryn Janeway - my erstwhile enemy, seven-year best friend, and commanding officer - told me that she loved me and kissed me in front of the crew. She told me that she wanted to talk to me about plans she had. I was eager to hear them.

I should have realized that something was up first thing that morning. We were going over reports and unexpectedly something was different with Kathryn. I still can't put my finger on the change but she was suddenly not the same.

I would have probably not given it another thought except for what happened next on the command deck. The mood was light; Tom and Harry were teasing Tuvok. After the first few comments we all expected the captain to stop the banter or to go to her ready room. However, neither happened. She continued to sit in her chair, and I swear I saw her suppressing laughter. At least once I found her glancing at me when she thought I didn't notice.

And once I saw her face turn a deep crimson as she watched Tom and B'Elanna interact. I wished at that time I knew what was going through her mind. However I think I was the most surprised at her reaction when I asked her to have dinner with me so we could work. I didn't actually want to work but I had always had better luck getting her to have dinner with me if I couched it in the 'work' excuse.

"Captain," I spoke low enough to keep the others on the bridge from hearing. However she did not respond. She merely sat there with that wonderful half smile of hers on her face. I spoke a little louder, "Captain?"

"Sorry, Chakotay." She didn't look me in the eye. "My mind was wandering. What were you saying?"

I leaned a little closer and lowered my voice, "I didn't say anything yet." I smiled and continued. "I wanted to know if you would join me for a working dinner tonight." I still felt like I was asking for a first date.

With her eyes smiling, she spoke in a deep, almost sultry voice, "I would love to, if you let me bring the wine."

I am sure that my face showed the surprise I felt, but I kept my voice calm and said, "I was hoping you would."

Soon after we set a time for dinner she left for her office and didn't come out until the end of her shift. I remember thinking that she was back to her old self - that maybe my invitation brought her back from wherever she had been.

I heard the chime ring, and knowing it was the captain, I called out for her to enter. I looked up ready to welcome her, but the words never left my lips. She was not in uniform or even her regular casual clothes. Every cliché I ever heard about beauty swirled through my head. She was a vision of loveliness, a breath of fresh air, blindingly beautiful in a royal blue sleeveless knit dress. She stood holding the bottle of wine close to her body with one hand. My thoughts then wandered off again; I wished I were in the bottle's position. I don't know long I stood there staring.

She grinned and said, "Why don't you replicate two glasses, Chakotay?"

As I hurried to do what she had asked, I kept stealing glances. I was almost sure I was seeing things. Kathryn turned from me and opened the wine.

"Allow me, Kathryn," I took the bottle from her hand and poured the sparkling liquid into the glasses. After I set the bottle down and handed her a full glass, I lifted mine to toast. "To good friends."

She raised her glass and touched it to mine. Kathryn smiled a slow smile looking directly into my eyes. "To us."

Those two words sent a thrill through me. I wanted so much for them to mean what I thought she meant. But why now? What had changed? I had so many questions running through my mind. I cast a glance around the room in an effort to find a safe subject. I saw and picked up the PADDs I had been working on when she arrived. "Do you want to go over some of these before I replicate dinner?"

However instead of the "Of course, Chakotay," I expected her to utter, she slowly walked over to me and took the PADDs from my hands. She threw them onto my couch. In a voice reminiscent of the husky one she used on the bridge that day, she said, "No working tonight, Chakotay. In fact we aren't staying here. We are going to Sandrine's for dinner. There's enough time for you to change."

I stood for several seconds with my mouth open. The thought "Who are you and what have you done with my captain?" ran briefly through my mind. I then snapped out of my cogitations and excused myself to go to the other room.

I wanted to take the time to enjoy the anticipation of the evening, but I also didn't want to risk her changing her mind. I grabbed a pair of pants and a blue shirt that I remembered Kathryn once saying she liked.

When I came back into the room, she was waiting for me, sitting rather relaxed on my sofa. She stood slowly, gazing intently at me.

I began to worry about what I had put on until she cleared her throat and said, "Good choice, Chakotay. Let's go."

As we left my quarters she slipped her arm through mine. Although she had done so on many occasions before, this time seemed different somehow. She walked closer and held on tighter than ever before. I could tell by the looks we were getting that others that I wasn't the only one who noticed a difference.

The Sandrine program was running when we arrived. Many off-duty crewmembers were there. Tom and Harry were playing pool. I noticed Kathryn chuckle quietly at the shot Tom missed when he saw us walk in. Sandrine showed us to the table that Kathryn had reserved for our use.

The table was situated toward the back of the club so we had to pass most of the crew to get to it. I have to admit that I was glad to be seated when we finally reached the table. It was far enough away from the others to keep our conversation private.

I tried to remember if we had ever come to Sandrine's for dinner but I couldn't remember any time. The waiter brought us wine and assured us that our meal would be on time. I relaxed after a few sips of wine. We talked of ship's business for a few minutes until the food arrived. As the holo-waiter began to serve the meal, I realized that whole meal was made up of my favorites. I smiled and thanked her. My breath caught as she reached and covered my hand with hers, her touch lingering.

"My pleasure, Chakotay." Her voice again took on a deep sultriness.

I was beginning to expect surprises so I decided to respond from my heart. I covered her hand with my other one and looked into her eyes. Then I let go of her hand and began to eat. I ate most the meal in a bit of a haze. Kathryn was silent as well. I couldn't help wonder what she was thinking. Everything in me screamed for answers. I wanted to know why this was happening. However I was afraid that I would somehow jinx it by asking any questions.

I watched the crew cast surreptitious glances in our direction. Their smiles and nods were approving. Tom, who had by that time had sat down with B'Elanna and Harry, even had the nerve to wink at me and give me a "thumbs up" sign. I was sure that it looked like we were on a date. Actually there was no other explanation. I was on a date with my best friend and captain in front of the biggest gossips on the ship, but I was not sure how it came about.

The waiter brought the dessert, coffee ice cream. Though it was not my favorite, I didn't mind. I chuckled when I saw the bowls. "Are you sure you are willing to share all of these rations with me?"

"Oh, I don't mind a bit," she said with a knowing grin on her face. "I won't be short on rations for long."

I was about to ask her what she meant when the music began and couples started to dance. Kathryn stood and took my hand. I know I must have grinned like a fool. On the dance floor I took her in my arms. I wasn't prepared for what happened next. She leaned against me, put her cheek against my shoulder, and wrapped her arms around my neck. After my initial shock, I was happy to put both my arms around her tiny waist. There are only a few things in the world that I would have enjoyed more than holding Kathryn Janeway in my arms, dancing. Actually even those few include holding her in my arms.

I was so caught up in the pleasure of holding her that I nearly didn't notice the music stop. When it did, I drew back and looked into her eyes. I had so many questions, but I was more at peace than I had been since New Earth.

Kathryn smiled up at me and in a whisper, said, "Chakotay, I have something to tell you."

"What is it?" My voice was low as well.

"I love you."

"Kathryn?" I was sure I heard wrong.

She smiled, "I said I love you. I hope I'm not too late in telling you."

"You did take way too long, but you aren't too late. I still love you."

She reached up and quickly kissed my cheek. Then she took my hand and walked to where Tom was sitting.

"Mr. Paris," Kathryn said with a grin on her face, "I think that the house will have to pay up now."

"I'm not s..sure what you mean, Captain," he stammered red-faced.

"Tom, I am not sure if you think I am stupid or just blind. Your betting pool is legendary, and if I am not mistaken one of the first wagers you took had to do with when the commander and I would get together." When she paused, I thought Tom would faint as he waited to hear what she would say. Then she spoke again, "If you check your records, you will find that there was a wager placed of 10 replicator rations at 200 to 1 - Sandrine's after dinner during a dance in front of the crew - under bet number 6 delta 889. I would like the winnings credited to my ration account." With that she turned to me and put her arm around my waist.

"Captain, that isn't fair," Tom sputtered.

"I think it is better than the brig for you." She looked back over her shoulder. "After all running a gambling ring on a starship is illegal."

"You will have your winnings, Captain, first thing in the morning."

When she turned her attention to me again, I couldn't help but smile. She smiled back and lowered her voice as we made our way through the door of holo-deck, "Commander, I would like to let you in on a few plans I have come up with."

However just before the doors closed, we heard Tom's voice. "I don't believe her. I think I have been set up."

Kathryn leaned against me and laughed a deep throaty laugh. My mind was still swimming from the events of the day, and I would have worried that Tom might be right if I hadn't heard something that Tom didn't. Kathryn would never tell me she loved me just to expose Tom's betting pool. I started to chuckle just for the pure joy of seeing her so happy. I pulled her into my arms and held her close as we laughed.

As we slowly sobered, I moved back slightly and lifted her chin so I could look into her eyes. I searched them carefully to make sure I had not merely dreamed the wonderful things I had experienced today. She did not look away or shrink from my gaze or my touch. All I saw was love, clear and bright shining from her soul.

She slipped her arms around my neck and pulled my mouth down to hers. I met her half way and wrapped my arms tightly around her. My eyes closed instinctively, as her lips met mine. That moment was beyond my fantasy, beyond my imaginings, beyond my dreams or visions. The kiss was soft, sweet, with a hint of coffee ice cream. For a fleeting moment the world around me ceased to exist, except for Kathryn.

I had waited for the moment for so long that I thought it would never come, and now I wanted it to continue forever, however we both finally needed to breathe.

Kathryn rested her cheek on my chest and cuddled under my chin and sighed, "I don't know why I waited so long. I love you so much."

"I don't know why you decided now was the time after so long." I was happy but curious.

She pulled out of my arms slightly. "Let's go some place to talk. I told you I had plans, and I will tell you what happened today as much as I understand it myself."

We decided on holodeck 2. It was not reserved. Kathryn called up a program. As the doors opened I saw a familiar place, one that only the two of us knew. It was a spot on New Earth near our shelter. We had discovered a tiny clearing in the woods. It was the place where we liked to picnic. One day she joked about wishing we could to go out to eat somewhere. I planned a picnic and took Kathryn there. She told me that it was her favorite place to eat out. I remember how we both enjoyed this spot so much that we even went there alone to think or read.

Kathryn stood grinning at me, watching my surprise. "I missed this place so I decided to make a holo-program of it. Let's go sit down and talk."

I sat down on the soft grass with my back against a moss-covered log. Kathryn sat next to me and lifted my arm so that she could get closer to me. I took the hint and wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her tight against me. She stared up at me with a completely unguarded gaze. Her look held so much adoration and longing. To be honest although my body began to respond with mutual desire, my mind was in such awe of the moment that I could only look back at her, attempting to convey my love to her and to absorb what my senses were telling me.

She gently broke the spell by smiling and reaching up to touch my mouth. I leaned toward to kiss her but she spoke, "Let's talk first." She chuckled at the frown that came involuntarily. "Chakotay, I know I have tried your patience, but I think we should discuss what happens next."

I knew she was right, but I pretended to pout for a moment before I grinned at her and said, "I would like to know what happened today. Rather why today after all of these years."

She began to tell me of her epiphany in the ready room that morning, about the insight that she finally knew she was in love with me and that she did not care to wait until we were returned to Earth to let me know. She confessed that she didn't know why she had chosen this particular day, or why she was so sure after such a long time, but she was positive beyond a doubt that she loved me. It was also then that I found out that she had mentally planned our wedding and even dreamed of children. Kathryn paused in her account, suddenly seeming almost shy.

"What is it, Kathryn?"

She swallowed twice before she said, "I just realized that I am assuming a great deal. This is very typical of me." She sighed before she continued, "I tell you how I feel. I start to plan a wedding and children, but I haven't taken your feelings into account. You told me that you still loved me, but maybe you are so fed up with my stubbornness and slowness in coming to my senses that you don't want any of this."

I wanted to laugh out loud, but I knew she would be hurt. I merely gave her a quick kiss, tightened my arms around her and began to tell her that Tom and B'Elanna's wedding had been food for imaginings for me as well. The thought of Kathryn Janeway walking down the aisle toward me had kept me awake for a long time the night of their wedding. I had tried very hard not to think about Kathryn pregnant with my child after I found out that B'Elanna was expecting, but I had only half succeeded.

"Kathryn Janeway," I tried to put as much feeling as possible into my voice. "I have loved you for a long time. I have never loved anyone this way. I am honored that you want to marry me and to have my children. Would you marry me as soon as possible?"

Tears welled up in her eyes just like they did way back on New Earth when I told her the legend of the angry warrior. She reached up and caressed my cheek, "No, Chakotay, I'm the one who is honored. My answer is yes."

She lifted her face to me for a kiss. It began as an almost chaste, holy touch. Joy coursed through me as I realized again the wonder of what was happening to me. We deepened the kiss at the same time. She opened her mouth as I opened mine and our tongues met. I could not get enough of her. I had waited so long. To say I desired this woman was too much of an understatement. I felt her small hands rake through my hair. Mine sought to bring her closer to me if it were possible.

Kathryn pulled back from me slightly. She was out of breath. She leaned her forehead against my chin as she fought to regain her composure. In a soft whisper she said, "Chakotay, my love, there are two things we need to take care of."

I kissed her hair before I spoke, "And they are?"

"I believe that we can take care of them both at once." She chuckled lightly. "We must be married as soon as possible. I do not believe in long engagements anymore. And I want to show Tom that he wasn't set up." She kissed me quickly before continuing, "I know that my word should have been enough for him, however I want for once to make sure he has no doubts. In fact I want the whole ship to know for sure that I wasn't trying to scam a scammer."

"Well, Captain," I teased her with her title, "I do believe that a ship wide invitation to a wedding set for say two days from now would do that trick on both counts."

Kathryn wound her arms around my neck. "Commander," there was a twinkle in her blue-gray eyes as she said, "I think that is an excellent solution. Remind me to put a commendation in your file. Such thinking deserves a reward."

"I can think of a better reward." I chuckled as I began to show my bride-to-be what I had in mind.