Notes: Another “Resolutions” story. Consider it as
a missing scene, a link between a despairing Kathryn as she realizes her
equipment is destroyed, and her more positive attitude later during cleanup
from the storm.
By Mary S.
Kathryn stood in the open door of the shelter, watching the rain pour down. The world outside was coloured in shades of gray – gray trees, darker gray rocks, gray-green leaves dripping onto blackish-gray ground. Even the grass looked gray. The scene out there pretty well summed up the way she was feeling – gray, depressed, cheerless. They were stuck here for the rest of their lives, left behind on a nameless planet deep in the Delta Quadrant while her ship and her crew continued their journey home.
A lump rose in her throat and she couldn’t quite stop a loud sigh. Oh damn! She mustn’t cry. What was the use anyway? All the tears in the world wouldn’t change anything. Her research equipment, her only hope to escape this wretched planet, had been smashed beyond repair by the plasma storm. She couldn’t leave, couldn’t go home. Even attempting to do so would mean her certain death. Despite herself, several tears trailed slowly down her cheeks as her heart ached with sorrow.
From across the room, Chakotay kept one eye on her as he stood on a chair to place a temporary patch over a hole in the ceiling. He knew she was unhappy – he could see that from her slumped posture and drooping head. What he didn’t know was how to help her. Kathryn dejected and miserable was a new experience for him and he had no idea how he should respond. She had always been so confident and sure of herself even in the worst of times. Decisive, bold, unafraid all described Kathryn Janeway pretty well. This poor saddened creature bore very little resemblance to the captain he’d thought he’d known.
Maybe that was the problem, he realized. In the circumstances of the last two years, she’d had to be the captain twenty-four hours a day. There had been no downtime, no relief from her responsibilities, no rest. Always on duty, always in command to the point where the captain had taken over her personality, subsuming Kathryn, pushing aside all personal desires and hopes for the sake of the ship. Now, with her command stripped away, she had to redefine herself, find Kathryn again.
As he sealed the seams, then checked for leakage, Chakotay considered his theory. The more he thought about it, the more sense it made. Up until yesterday, she had still been upbeat and positive. But up until yesterday, and the plasma storm, she had still believed she could find a way for them to leave, to go home. Now it was gone, all of it. There was no way home. Period.
He could accept that, indeed already had, but then, he didn’t have much to go back to in the Alpha Quadrant. He had lost his home and his family long ago. He remembered the soul-rendering pain he’d felt when he’d first walked through the ruins of his village on Dorvan, trying to find some remnant of the people who’d lived there. And there had been nothing.
Over the years, he’d been able to push it to the back of his mind, bury it in the heat of battle. With time, the pain had eased to a dull ache, one he could live with, that no longer ruled his life. He had Kathryn to thank for that, he realized. He had existed for a long time on anger and revenge, before she entered his life and unconsciously began to bring him the peace he had been seeking ever since walking across the burned soil of Dorvan.
He didn’t know if he could bring her any peace, but at the very least he could offer comfort, a shoulder to lean on. Maybe it would be enough.
Chakotay climbed down from the chair and walked quietly across the room to stand behind Kathryn. He could see now that she was trembling, whether from cold or sorrow he couldn’t tell. He moved closer, brushing against the fabric of her dress, letting the heat of his body warm her. His hands remained at his side, allowing her to decide whether she would accept his offer.
At first, she remained motionless, still gazing at the sodden landscape, but he could hear her breathing quicken and knew she was aware of him. After several moments, she sighed again, then slowly turned to look at him. He could see the tearstains on her cheeks and clenched his fists to keep from touching her. She had to make the first move.
Kathryn stared up at him, seeing the comfort and sympathy in his eyes, and something more – a nameless longing, desire, she wasn’t quite sure what. As his body heat warmed her, she felt weariness overtake her. She was so tired, and he was here, willing to help her in whatever way he could. She let her head fall forward until it rested on his chest.
At once, he lifted his arms and wrapped them tightly around her, one hand gently stroking her hair. She burrowed further into him, needy, wanting only to feel warm and protected, to let him console her.
Dropping her guard, she started to cry again. What did it matter, after all? Why was she trying to maintain a façade when there was no one here but him? She had no ship, she couldn’t be a captain anymore. All she could be was Kathryn.
Chakotay felt her tears soak into his shirt and silently blessed the spirits. Maybe now she would accept their situation, accept that this place was their home. He rubbed her back, and let his chin rest on top of her head as he looked out the open door at the rain.
They could make a good life here, he knew. They could be happy.
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