Warnings: Discussion of character death(s) in a possible future.
Categories: Ship, Het, Episode Tag, Angst
A/N: Set after Shattered.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the universe, and that includes Commander Chakotay's private thoughts. (Does that seem right to you?)
I can't forget Naomi's words. You both died. Naomi, in lieutenant's pips, standing in astrometrics, beside Icheb, who wore the rank of commander. It could only mean that Voyager is still in the Delta Quadrant in that future. And Kathryn and I are dead.
I don't fear death. Kathryn's, but not my own. I take some small comfort in the implication that we died together. I couldn't bear her death. I need her. She could survive without me, but I'm not sure the reverse is true.
I know it's only a possible future. I don't believe in predestination. But it haunts me, that possibility. For almost seven years now I've longed to reach Earth so that I might finally kiss the woman that I love; so that I might finally hold her in my arms; so that we might finally make love.
But if that future I saw is true, none of those things I long for will come to pass. I will never be able to tell Kathryn that I love her. I will never feel the joy of hearing those words from her. I will never taste those exquisite lips.
Why wait for Earth? Protocol. I hate the word sometimes. But I respect Kathryn's desire to obey the rules. Not that we've discussed it. Not in so many words. To do so would be to acknowledge our feelings. And we can't do that. Protocol.
Why wait until Earth, if we may never reach it? I could tell her what I saw; convince her that no one at Starfleet will ever care that we made love. We could be lovers before death came to claim us.
But I can't tell her. It isn't the temporal prime directive that prevents it. I just couldn't. How could I look into those stunning blue eyes and tell her that she'll fail; That she won't get this crew home? No, I couldn't do that. I couldn't make her live with that knowledge.
It's only a possible future, and I pray that it will never become our future. I want a future with her, on Earth. And she can get us there. All I have to do is keep her alive to do it.
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, April 2002.