To JetC40 ... Believe the dream!

"Dancing In the Dark With A Stranger"
by Becca O.

"Leave them off."

Kathryn was just reaching for the light switch when the voice came from the far reaches of the room. Straining her eyes, she could barely make out the figure standing by the viewport.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"I will be, I suppose."

"I was worried for you."

"I'm sorry. There was no other way."

"Your ship-"

"Is gone."

"I'm-"

"-sorry. I know. Kathryn, you can't spend the remainder of the voyage home feeling sorry for me. You did what you had to do."

"How will we explain this?"

"We won't." He felt rather than saw the astonishment on her face. "We can't jeopardize the mission. You know what Admiral Paris said. We have our orders."

"Chakotay, I can't go along with that. It might be years before we reach the Alpha Quadrant."

"Or it might be days or even hours. You have to believe that." As he spoke, he came to stand before her, his clothing still smelling faintly reminiscent of the burning remnants of his ship. "We must NOT divulge the true nature of our relationship."

"Do you mean working or personal?" she answered, resting a hand against his broad chest.

"Either one," he replied firmly, grasping her hands in his in a vain attempt to push her away.

"Dance with me? One last time?"

He sighed. "I never could deny you anything. Computer - play music, Janeway 12-Delta."

"You remembered!" Laughing softly, she went willingly into his arms, swaying gently in the dark. Her body rejoiced in the feel of his, a feeling she had been without far too long.

Gradually their bodies stilled. Tilting her chin upward, he pressed a soft kiss to her lips, catching the sounds she made and offering them back to her in kind.

"Someday ..." he said with regret.

"Soon, I hope." Kathryn moved to the table by the entry. "I brought you something."

"A Starfleet uniform?"

"I have an idea."

~ ~ ~

At 0800 the following morning, Captain Kathryn Janeway stood before her crew, her new First Officer by her side, the remnants of the Caretaker's Array scattered about the Quadrant. She told them, Starfleet and Maquis alike, of the alliance that had been formed between herself and Chakotay - an alliance that would see them through the worst of times, the best of times.

A knowing look passed between the two commanding officers, a look that held the promise of a lifetime and beyond.

Turning to face her new helmsman, she gave the order.

"Mr. Paris, set a course ... for home."


FINI
9-16-99



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