Blue in Hawaii

By Jade East (
© November 2000
Rating: PG
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Award: Purple Comet Lyrically Speaking, 2003 (second place (tie))
award graphic

Voyager is home. Chakotay leaves with nary a word. Kathryn tries to find solace in paradise.

Paramount owns the characters; I do not. I am only inviting them to have a little fun. I will not receive anything but a little pleasure from the adventure. Lyrics copyright 1986 by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Dedication: I want to thank my prince for taking me with him to Hawaii. Without the trip and the post-vacation depression, I couldn't have written the story. I want to thank my beta, Jemima for her wonderful help and advice. Also I want to thank those who gave me suggestions when I had trouble with the ending.

It seemed strange to Kathryn Janeway to be a passenger on a transport craft after all her years of commanding Voyager. The small craft lifted off from San Francisco. Janeway was taking an extended leave. Starfleet had insisted on it after long debriefings and hearings. Voyager herself had needed much retrofitting, and since Janeway was unwilling as yet to take a desk job, she had been ordered by the brass to get away, from the crowds, the press, and her ship.

Many had expected her to take her leave off-Earth. However she was not ready to leave the planet of her birth after such a long time away. She had spent several weeks with her mother and sister in Indiana eating caramel brownies, drinking endless cups of fresh-brewed coffee, and sleeping until she found that she had gained some weight and had finally caught up on her sleep.

It was at that time that she became restless. She couldn't sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. Kathryn spent hours walking and thinking about her life and the choices she had made.

As the transport lifted from its pad, Janeway remembered the moment she had realized what her problem was. She knew she missed her crew, her friends from Voyager, but, in a moment of epiphany, understood that most of all, she missed her XO, her best friend, Chakotay. She had not seen him in the six weeks since the final hearing on the fate of the former Maquis.

Janeway had spoken eloquently in their defense. Every time one of the presiding officers had questioned her about their actions or hers in regards to the Maquis, she was as quick and as cleverly defensive in her responses as she had been when she faced the many threats to her crew in the Delta Quadrant.

No one was happier with the outcome of the hearing than she was. The former Maquis of her crew were given full pardons, and as with rest of the Voyager crew, were given full credits for the service of the seven years and offers of rank up-grades and choice Starfleet postings.

When the hearing adjourned Kathryn had tried to go to Chakotay, only to see him being ushered out a back door. Before she could follow Admiral Paris had spoken, "Kathryn, we must get you out of here before the press gets wind the proceedings are over. The transporter eight operator is waiting to get you to your hotel."

There had been a message from her mother waiting for her when she arrived at her room. Kathryn, I just received the news that you are finally able to come home. Phoebe and her family will be here for dinner. I expect you here be 1800 hours. No excuses! We miss you, sweetheart.

As Janeway had listened, she had smiled at her mother's no nonsense approach to life. At one time in her life she had balked at her mother's bossiness, but now she saw that her own command style had been influenced by her mother.

She had spent the hour before her shuttle was due to take her to her mother's place trying to find Chakotay. He was no longer in his hotel. No one she that contacted could tell her where to find him.

She had finally had to be content with leaving a message with Admiral Paris' liaison officer in charge of Voyager's crew. She had asked Chakotay to contact her at his earliest convenience.

When she finally heard from him, it was only a brief recorded message telling her that he was leaving San Francisco to take his leave. He had thanked her formally for her help in defense of the Maquis. He had closed with, "It was an honor to serve with you, Captain."

She had sat at the terminal for an hour replaying the message. She hadn't been able to believe that his message was so cold and formal. Chakotay had sent the message from a transport terminal, so she had no way of finding him.

"We will be arriving in Honolulu in thirty minutes." The voice of the transport attendant brought her back to the present. "Is there anything I can get for you, ma'am?"

Janeway smiled but shook her head. She turned her eyes to the clouds below her window. They were beginning to stain with color, rich yellows, pinks, oranges, and reds as the sun set. The beauty of the moment brought a lump to her throat. She wanted someone to share it with.

She had chosen the a small, relatively slow ship for her journey to the islands. The flight was billed as a scenic one. As she gazed again out the window she understood the appeal. The transport flew at same altitude that ancient aircraft had flown, allowing its passengers to view the Pacific ocean and the clouds floating above it.

She remembered Chakotay telling her of a trip he had once taken in a private shuttle from San Francisco to Hawaii. It was the main reason she headed in that direction. She needed to see what he had seen and to make some of his memories her own. She wanted to share more with him than their Delta Quadrant experiences. Her recent memories of Chakotay on Earth were too painful, too lonely.

The truth, as she glanced at the empty seat beside her, flashed through her. She wanted to share this with Chakotay. Her spine stiffened as she mentally upbraided herself for her foolishness. He was probably on his way to Dorvan or Risa by now. She was sure he would not stay on Earth any longer than he had to. She did wonder what he planned to do when his leave was over. Kathryn could still not believe that after over seven years his final words to her had been so formal and not even to her in person.

Her throat tightened again and tears stung her eyes. She had not felt so alone in all the time Voyager was so many thousands of light years away, not even in the void. On Voyager Chakotay told her that she would never be alone, and on New Earth the angry warrior had promised never to leave her side.

What had she done to cause him to leave that way? A sardonic smile crossed her face. Nothing - she had done nothing. She had put her ship, her crew, Starfleet protocols before anything else - before him. She had even taken a holographic "boyfriend" for a while. Chakotay had seemed to approve the diversion, but in the long run she knew that he was not happy she chose photons over him.

Janeway was grateful when the attendant asked the passengers to prepare for the landing. She did not want to follow where her thoughts were taking her. She did not want to go into one of her bouts of depression. She wanted to find a way to handle this before she went back on duty. If not, the Starfleet doctors would insist that she stay on Earth or give her a desk job on some nonessential star base. Clinical depression was not a luxury she would allow herself.

After disembarking the transport, she made her way to the Hale Koa Hotel. The hotel had been a resort for military personnel since the mid-20th century. This was another of the things that she had learned about Hawaii from Chakotay. The hotel had been preserved in its centuries-old style and was adjacent to Waikiki beach. Her fame as the queen of the Delta Quadrant had given her an edge over even admirals in both getting a room in the normally fully booked lodging place and the room itself. The management had made sure that she had one with a panoramic view of the Pacific too.

After dismissing the young bellhop and changing into cooler clothing, Kathryn replicated a glass of iced-coffee. Although it was now evening she walked out onto the small balcony and sat down. She could see the lights of the various hotels reflected on the surface of the sea. As she listened to the soft sounds of the wind and waves, she couldn't help but wish that Chakotay were there. She could almost feel him next to her, teasing her about the coffee drink in her hand and telling her the history of each hotel she could see from her window.

She knew that this part of the island had been declared a federation resort park. About a hundred years ago the whole of Waikiki had undergone a restoration. It was one of the few places left on Earth that a time traveler from the 20th century could come and not known he had traveled but for the various non-terran species he might encounter.

Kathryn wondered what Tom Paris would think of the place. He seemed to love all things 20th century. She sighed as she thought of the impudent young pilot and his half Klingon wife. The couple had visited her at her mother's home several times before she left for Hawaii. B'Elanna and Tom were very happy together. They had confided to that they were hoping to have a child soon. As their captain she was extremely proud of the progress both individuals had made in maturity and inner strength.

When Kathryn had asked them if they knew where Chakotay had gone, they said that they had received a recorded good bye message similar to the one she had received. Although they did not say it, Kathryn could tell that they, too, were perplexed by the way he chose to say farewell. B'Elanna speculated that her former Maquis captain needed time to himself and that he would explain when he was ready.

"Will you, Chakotay?" Janeway spoke out loud. "Or have you finally given up on us, on me?"

Again she straightened her spine. This was not the way to spend a vacation, especially in this place. She decided to explore; something that she knew well how to do. In the lobby she found the activities desk. Video terminals were available with information about everything the island had to offer including actual plane ride tours of the island and its neighbors. Next to the terminal was a kiosk containing printed material. The clerk told her that such material was used in keeping the 20th century atmosphere of the park.

Most of the activities were day time ones, but after searching through ads for nighttime events she found a flyer that detailed a 1960's style cabaret located in a neighboring hotel. She asked the clerk for her opinion. Her smile and enthusiastic endorsement of the place convinced Kathryn that it was a place she wanted to see. After receiving directions from the clerk, she went back to her room to change. She still had the dress she had worn to the holodeck tropical resort simulation from Voyager's early days in the Delta Quadrant.

She donned the dress and pulled her hair back in a clip. As Kathryn looked in the mirror and thought of the luau she had attended in the dress, she gasped as the memory of her "date" with Chakotay flooded back to her. He had looked so relaxed and handsome. She had chided herself at the time for noticing how handsome. His dimples were in constant view as he chatted with her and the other members of the crew. When the Polynesian girl gave them their leis, he had insisted that he be given the honor of placing one around Kathryn's neck. She had not been familiar with the custom, so she agreed to allow him. The smile that lit his face was still fresh in her memory. He took another necklace of flowers from girl. For the first time she heard of his visit to Hawaii. He told her the word aloha and its meanings - hello and love in Hawaiian. Chakotay then placed the blooms around her neck and lightly kissed her on each cheek, saying aloha softly as he did so. Something in the tenor of his voice made her realize he wasn't bidding her hello.

All of the hotels on the beach were open to the outside. A person could wander in to any lobby. It was almost as if an invitation of welcome hung on the front of every building. As Janeway made her way to entrance of the cabaret, her eyes widened and a sense of déjà vu came over her. It looked just like the holodeck simulation. She wondered if Chakotay had had input into its programming. She was more sure of his handiwork when she entered. It was exactly the same inside from the plants to the tiki torches. She could almost feel Chakotay standing next to her, grinning down at her. Before she could examine her emotions further, she was greeted by the host.

"Aloha, Captain Janeway!" The smiling man placed a lei around her neck.

Responding to her look of bewilderment, he said, "I am a hologram, programmed with the latest recognition subroutines. Your picture has been in the news a lot lately. If you do not want to be recognized, I can delete the file." He grinned broadly again as he leaned closely and whispered, "I have *forgotten* many people."

"I would prefer that you call me Kathryn, but no need to *forget* me." She chuckled and asked him, "What should I call you?"

"Don," he told her, "I am called Don Ho. I run this place and sing here too sometimes."

Kathryn settled down in the deck chair that Don had shown her to. She ordered a drink and a snack, waiting for the entertainment to begin. She had expected Hawaiian music. But the evening's show was a surprise to her. As with the host, the other musicians were holographic copies of 20th century ones.

Don walked to the stage and introduced a trio. "I would like you all to give a big 'Aloha!' to our next act. They are here from a recent tour of the mainland. I present - Peter, Paul, and Mary."

Kathryn smiled as she watched the threesome walk on stage. Tom had introduced their music to the crew once on a talent night. He had 'lip-synched,' she thought he called it, with Logan and Wildman. She was interested to see how the holo-trio performed.

The group entertained the audience with several songs. Janeway recognized one from the talent show, but when the music began for the final song, she forgot Tom and his group as the words gripped her consciousness.

Ocean breezes, rum on ice, lazy days and party nights.
Here I am in paradise, I'd rather be in love.
Golden sun, silver sand. Careless touch of a stranger's hand
I'll be rested, I'll be tanned, I'd rather be in love...

Tears threatened, her throat tightened, and her heart pounded with longing as the song washed over her.

Miles and miles, clear blue skies, not a cloud in paradise
Except the ones here in my eyes, I'd rather be in love.

She quickly wiped at her eyes and swallowed against her closed throat. She wanted escape the pain as she agonized over her loneliness. Why had she not understood sooner? Now she was alone in a way that she hadn't been in years. And she had made the choice. She had chosen Starfleet over Chakotay, and now Starfleet meant little to her. She could be here with *him*, but she had only memories, memories that taunted her.

Fearing that she would not be able to control the tears any longer, she rushed out of the room, into the night where she found that it was raining. She laughed mirthlessly as she remembered the line in the song:

I've had more fun on one rainy night
When you were there to call my name and hold me tight.

Then she wept because she had not even allowed herself the joy of a walk in the rain with Chakotay. As she slowly walked back to her hotel, she could hear the final chorus drifting on the wind.

Ocean breeze, rum on ice, lazy days and party nights
I've had enough of paradise, I'd rather be in love.
Oh, I'd rather be in love.

Suddenly she stopped as she felt like someone was near her, but when she turned searching for whoever it was, she found no one. Taking a deep breath, she continued to her hotel and her room. She wanted no more than the oblivion of sleep.

The next morning Kathryn woke with pain in her sinuses. She rose from bed slowly and walked to the bathroom. When she looked in the mirror, she saw that her eyes were still red and puffy from the long bout of tears she had succumbed to the night before. No wonder she had a headache. She shook her head slowly as she thought of the lonely song of the evening before. She thought she must be losing her grip; she had not wept that much since she lost her father and Justin. She decided to leave her room quickly so as to not give in to her gathering depression and emptiness.

Because the weather was bright and clear after the night's rain, she donned her swimsuit, towel, sunglasses, and a book, and at the activities desk she checked out a beach chair and umbrella before heading down to the beach right outside her hotel. The shore was nearly empty because of the early hour. Kathryn chose a spot fairly close to the water and arranged her things. As she sat down in the chair, a waiter from one of the hotel's restaurant approached her.

"Ma'am, may I bring you something?"

"Why, yes," she answered, "I would love some coffee and a fruit plate."

While waiting for her order, she stared off at the blue water. Again she sensed Chakotay's presence and could almost hear his voice pointing out that the sky was probably the bluest she would ever see anywhere outside of his home planet, Dorvan V. The vision in her mind seemed so real that she almost answered him. She was saved the embarrassment of talking to herself by the young waiter's return.

As she sipped her coffee and ate the fruit, she tried to decide what to do once she became tired of just sitting. With the mind more of a captain than a tourist, she made a mental list of what she wanted to do. She would definitely have to go for a swim because she was not the sunbathing type. She smiled at futility of her trying to tan.

She sighed with contentment as she finished her Hawaiian Kona coffee. Her book laid unopened on her lap as she nibbled on the last of her breakfast. She had just made up her mind to go back to the activity desk after her dip in the Pacific when her waiter brought more coffee. She would have one more cup, she thought, and then into the water.

"Always room for another cup, Kathryn?" She could hear Chakotay's voice in her mind. She frowned and left the coffee to enter the water, seeking to escape her memories. The thoughts of last nights followed her into the water.

Golden sun, silver sand, ...
I'll be rested, I'll be tanned, I'd rather be in love.

The sea water felt cool against her flushed face as she plunged into its depths. Kathryn swam as quickly as she could and as far as she dared. Coming up for air she found herself far from the shore. Floating on her back, she looked up at the azure sky. She knew she should be happy to be back on Earth and especially here, but with each minute that passed she felt more desolate. She made for the shore, determined to shake her malaise.

After a quick shower and change of clothes, Kathryn made her way to the famed International Marketplace. Small kiosks lined alleys and sidewalks. Each booth overflowed with kitsch and tacky souvenirs and a few rare treasures. The vendors called to the passers-by, reminding Kathryn several bazaars she had visited in other places in the galaxy.

She stopped at one tiny stall that sported jewelry made of several kinds of coral. She was not an expert when it came to that sort of thing, but she was surprised to see an exquisitely carved pendant amongst the cheaply made things. It was tiny gecko made from black coral. Holding it her hand, she recalled the time Chakotay had introduced her to her animal guide. The little creature nestled in her palm reminded her of her guide and the man who helped her meet it. Almost unable to stop herself, she purchased the necklace.

The proprietor insisted, "You wear it, lady. Bring you good luck."

Kathryn assented and clasped the gold chain around her neck. It felt warm and almost alive against her neck.

Again she sensed someone close to her. She grinned self-depreciatingly. There were so many people. How could she "sense" someone? Even so she looked around the crowded marketplace. Her heart leapt to her throat as she saw a man of Chakotay's build and coloring standing with his back turned to her about ten meters from her. She stood frozen for several seconds, but when he turned to face her direction, she saw that he was no one she knew. She drew a trembling breath. Her eyes stung with disappointment. The stalls and their wares suddenly had no further appeal. She left the alley to return to her hotel.

For the next several days Kathryn spent her time on guided tours of the island's attractions. Each one was interesting and unique, but each time she returned to her room at night, she found herself either remembering something Chakotay had shared with her about a certain place or wanting desperately to share a new memory with him.

The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor was one such place. The memorial to those who died during the surprise attack by the Japanese centuries before was poignant enough for its own sake. But it also caused memories of the memorial at Terackus to come back to her, however, not the battle memories. She could recall the pain Chakotay experienced. He had shared some of that pain with her after they had repaired the monument. By that time he had known that the memories he had endured were not his own. However, he told her that he had had to spend much time with his animal guide to sort through the whole thing. He said he was, in retrospect, happy with her decision to make sure the memorial was in working order. He explained that his guide told him that temporary pain can bring great reward.

As she recalled the afternoon she had spent at the Pearl harbor site, tears again threatened. She paced the room trying to calm herself. A bit later she found herself standing on her balcony, wondering again why this leave was so different; why she could not shake the nearly debilitating misery and intense longing that had plagued her since her arrival. She wanted to blame Chakotay, and in a way it was his fault. She missed him and he was gone. But she had never given him any reason or hope to stay.

The tiki torches had been lit, and their lights reflected on the calm ocean below her. The beauty of the scene below for only added to her yearning. Kathryn bit her lip as she fought against the tears. She could tell that she was in danger of losing herself to her hopelessness.

The thought of trying to sleep or even staying in the room became a terrifying one. She quickly freshened herself and left her room. She found herself back at the same cabaret as her first night on the island. She was reluctant to enter, but she felt somehow compelled.

As she stood still in her indecision, a cheerful voice greeted her, "Wahine Kathryn!" the voice of the holographic proprietor boomed, "Aloha!" He again put a lei about her neck. "I have a special private table for you tonight. You will not be disturbed tonight."

Kathryn looked at him in surprised. How could he know she needed privacy?

"How did you ...? " Then she answered her own question, "The latest subroutines, right?"

The holo-Don Ho merely smiled as he led her to a table. He pulled out a chair for her. Sitting down in the comfortable chair, she looked around the secluded area. She was seated at a small table which was hidden from the view of the rest of people in the room by beautiful plants and a screen made from a Hawaiian quilt. She could, however, still see the stage.

"I will be right back." The hologram slipped away as Kathryn relaxed.

In a couple of minutes time, he was back with a pot of coffee and a plate of caramel brownies. He chuckled at the look of astonishment on her face. "The tastes of the captain of Voyager are as famous as she is."

Kathryn grinned. She was still bewildered by people's fascination with all things Voyager. She was happy that the fame was not as bothersome here as in San Francisco.

Kathryn picked up the cup of coffee Don had poured for and sipped the hot liquid slowly. She took a bite of one the brownies. Her eyes widened with shock and pleasure: the brownies were so close to her mother's, she wondered if her mom had followed her to the island. Knowing that her mom would not, she laughed and picked up another. Soon music began to play. She turned her attention to the stage.

Don Ho walked to the center and announced, "Aloha, wahines and kanes! Welcome to my humble establishment! I have asked to sing for you tonight. I hope you won't be too disappointed." He was silenced by a loud round of applause. As the sound died, he bowed slightly and smiled. "Mahalo, my friends."

Kathryn sighed with relief that the group of the week before would not be performing. The performer began by singing several Hawaiian melodies. The songs were soothing. Kathryn leaned back in her chair. She poured herself more coffee and ate the last sweet from her plate. She had nearly forgotten her depression when Don Ho spoke.

"A special friend of mine has requested a song. He told me it was one of his favorites." Don paused, "It is one that my friends Peter, Paul, and Mary usually sing, but my friend asked me to sing it. So here it is." And with a smile he began to sing as the music swelled.

Ocean breezes, rum on ice, lazy days and party nights.
Here I am in paradise, I'd rather be in love.

Stunned by hearing the music again, Kathryn nearly choked on her last swallow of coffee. She trembled as she put down the cup. As the song continued, she felt the tears fill her eyes. She bit down on her knuckles to keep from crying out. She both cursed and blessed the hologram. He just had to sing that song, but he had given her a hiding place.

"Don't cry, Kathryn."

She thought she must truly be losing her sanity; she heard Chakotay's voice softly trying to comfort her. She closed her eyes as the tears fell down her cheeks.

"But I have lost you," she whispered hoarsely, not realizing she had spoken her thoughts aloud, "And after I realized how much I love you."

"You haven't lost me," the voice spoke again. "I love you, too, Kathryn."

She heard a sound of movement and turned to look to the right, just behind her. She saw someone standing in the shadows near the far wall. She watched, not breathing as the figure moved into the light. The man looked like Chakotay, down to the light blue Hawaiian shirt that he had worn in the holo-program years back. She turned white as her grip on reality seemed to slip away.

He came to where she was sitting and knelt before her and took her hands. "It really is me, Kathryn," he said gently.

"Chakotay?" She drew a timid breath.

"Yes, it's me," he stood and pulled her into his arms.

The joy of finally being in the haven of his arms was more than enough to break the little control she had on her emotions. She put her arms around his waist and sobbed deeply. Chakotay rocked her slowly and murmured soothing words, as she wept. Slowly the storm of emotion calmed, and she relaxed against him. Thoughts of all kinds filled her mind. Joy and relief at finally seeing him again. But how and why was he here? She was so confused. She had to be hallucinating. But his arms felt so real and warm around her. She could feel his breath through her hair. He was there. But it couldn't be.

"What are you doing here?" she finally asked, looking up at him and touching his face. "When did you get here?"

"Since just before you got here, about eight days."

Kathryn pulled back from Chakotay, starring at him in disbelief. "I don't understand...."

Chakotay gazed at her tear-stained face for a few seconds and touched her cheek lightly. "Let's sit down and I will explain."

He guided her to a chair and pulled the another next to it. He took her hand again and began to speak, "I had decided that if the Maquis were acquitted that you would have no excuse to push me away but one. But I could not take being rejected by you one more time. I decided do some traveling. I spent weeks visiting places that you mentioned you had gone to through the years. I even visited Indiana." He smiled at her surprised face. "I saw your home one night. I didn't trust myself to see you. I wanted to see you so badly that it hurt, but I knew if I saw you there, I would not be able to keep from telling you I loved you. I was sure you would pat me on the shoulder and tell me to get on with my life, so I walked past your home."

"Finally I knew I had to go away from being your memories, so I hopped a transport and came here. The island is so beautiful and my old memories of this place did not include you." He paused in his narrative to collect his thoughts.

Kathryn's breath came shallowly; she still did not completely believe that he was with her, still loving her despite all she had put him through. However, something new was percolating up from the depths of her heart and mind. Bubble after bubble came to the surface; joy, elation, delight all burst upon her consciousness. Her love was with her; she could feel his hand and hear his voice. She closed her eyes as tears of a much different nature flowed.

After a few seconds she opened her eyes again and saw Chakotay looked at her with deep concern, his face clouded with regret.

"I am so sorry that I didn't come to you sooner." His voice sounded choked. "I first found that you were on the island when you came here to the cabaret. I helped a friend of mine design this place years ago. He lets me use this private table whenever I want. I was sitting right at this table when Don came in to tell me you had walked into the place. I didn't want to spoil your evening or intrude on your leave, so I watched you for a while. When that song began, I was ready to come to you, but you left suddenly."

Kathryn frowned and nodded, remembering the pain of that night.

"I followed you through the rain," Chakotay continued. "And found that you were staying at the Hale Koa as was I. I decided to follow you at a distance. I wanted to find out if you were all right. I guess I thought if I knew that you were happy without me I could find a way to live without you."

He shook his head as he went on. "It took me another day to figure out that every place you visited was one that I had told you about at one time or another. It was when you went to that tiny, used bookstore in Chinatown that I realized it. That place is not a tourist trap or even well-known."

"Yesterday I nearly showed myself to you, but after your trip to the Arizona, you look so at peace. I didn't want to violate that peace. I followed you back to the hotel. I packed my things and was ready to leave when I saw you going across to the cabaret. I had to see you one last time. I had instructed Don as what to do if you came back to the club."

"So it was you who told him about the coffee and the brownies." She gave a look of gratitude.

"Yes," he admitted, "I wanted to give the one last a bit of enjoyment I could."

"You were one that requested that song," she said in the whisper.

Looking down at their entwined hands, he nodded. "I heard you humming it several times this week. I thought you would like to hear it. I am so sorry that it caused you pain."

"Chakotay!" Something in her voice made him look at her again. She looked radiant, her red eyes and blotchy face being the only sign of sadness on her face. "Don't be sorry. That song was one of the things that helped me understand what I really wanted. I was a fool for far too long. I know now a little of what you have gone through. I needed to feel this pain to understand what I wanted. I thought Starfleet was what I wanted. I was wrong." She turned so that she could looked straight into his eyes. "I love you."

Chakotay's eyes gleamed with delight. He leaned forward and kissed her. Kathryn responded eagerly. She felt all of the pain and despair wash away. Her heart had come to a place of healing and safety that kept away all thoughts of regret and blame. Love was hers at last.

After several moments Chakotay broke the kiss. "Marry me, Kathryn."

"When?" Her tone held no reservations.

"There is a chapel in the Hale Koa, open 24 hours." He smiled and told her, "The chaplain is a friend of mine, from my old Starfleet days. I am sure we could arrange something quickly."

Her voice was filled with laughter as she ordered, "Do it, Commander."

"Aye, Captain."