Reaching Out

Disclaimer: see part one

Okay, so I lied. I guess this story is an A/U for my Rosa-series.

Chakotay got up from the couch.

“Naomi, bedtime.”

The girl untangled herself from Kathryn’s arms. He lifted her up from Kathryn’s lap. She still wasn’t looking at either of them. Naomi made herself comfortable in Chakotay’s arms, and just as he started to leave the Messhall, she whispered into his ear. He pulled back a little to look at the woman on the couch.

~ * ~ * ~

Kathryn hadn’t noticed Chakotay and Naomi were still in the room. She had pulled up her legs and was hugging her knees. Her head was resting on top of them. A single tear ran down her cheek. The look in her eyes showed her haunting solitude, but Chakotay didn’t notice. He only saw the woman who could make him feel any variety of emotions with just one look. Her loneliness was completely lost on him. All these years as he stood by her side, next to her and always trying to support her, he had never realised her loneliness was self-imposed. He just figured she never felt for him the same way he felt for her. Therefore he thought her loneliness was merely a facade to protect their friendship. He had thought he was the only one who was hurting all this time, when in fact Kathryn was almost torn up inside by her ‘controlled’ emotions.

~ * ~ * ~

He was brought back to the present by Naomi’s wriggling. She whispered something in his ear again. This time he walked back to where Kathryn was seated. She saw the movement through her vision blurred by unshed tears. But she didn’t look him in the eye, instead she suddenly found her shoes an interesting point of focus. Chakotay sat Naomi back down on the couch and crouched in front of Kathryn. He held his hands out to her.

“Kathryn.”

At the mention of her name, she looked up straight at Chakotay. He smiled at her, showing his dimples. What she saw in his eyes made her forget all her earlier doubts. She put her hands in his and let him pull her from the couch.

~ * ~ * ~

Ten years later…

~ * ~ * ~

“Please Naomi, one more story?”

A pair of brown and a pair of blue eyes looked up at the young woman.

“No, you two, it’s time to go to bed.”

“But, Naomi, I’m not tired yet,” the youngest of the two exclaimed while he tried to stifle a yawn.

“And if Paka’s not tired, then I’m definitely not tired.”

“And mommy said I could stay up until Rose went to bed, so if she’s staying up I’m staying up.”

Naomi had already decided she would tell the two children one more story. She also knew they knew she would.

“Alright, now Paka, why don’t we tuck you in and then I’ll tell one more story.”

“But then Rose won’t be in bed, and mommy said…”

“Okay. Why don’t we surprise your mommy and daddy. I’ll tuck you both in at the same time in their bed.”

The two ran all the way to their parents’ bedroom at the other end of the house.

~ * ~ * ~

When Naomi had agreed to look after the children, she had never expected them to be this persistent. Ever since she arrived this morning, they had been continuously trying to get her attention. Their parents had warned her, but she told them to go out anyway: she could handle these two. Of course, they wanted a bedtime story, and while she was telling them story number five, she realised how much trouble her storytellers on Voyager must have had with her bedtime.

~ * ~ * ~

“All settled? Now, let’s see. This last story is not really a story. It is also part legend.”

“What’s a legend?”

“Your dad can explain to you in the morning, Paka.”

Paka and Rose were all bundled up in their parents’ bed. Naomi, seated in the middle, served as their pillow.

“Ready? This story is a legend among your people…”

~ * ~ * ~

“Chakotay, Paka’s not in his bed.” Kathryn almost ran back into the hallway.

“Neither is Rose. And Naomi is nowhere to be found.”

“You don’t suppose anything has happened to them, do you?”

They walked towards their own bedroom.

“…and then the very smart and pretty girl whispered again into the angry warrior’s ear. And he finally walked over to the brave and beautiful and very wise woman warrior. She didn’t look at him, but he spoke her name and he reached out to her. Finally both the now-not-so-angry-anymore warrior and his still brave and beautiful and very wise woman warrior had found the peace and love they had looked for all their lives.”

Kathryn and Chakotay stood just inside the doorway.

“Did they live happily ever after?”

“I don’t know, Rose. What do you think?”

“I think they do.”

“Why do you say that, Paka?”

“Well, isn’t that how all good stories end?”

“They do.” Rose piped in.

“What do you think, Kathryn?” Chakotay whispered in her ear.

“I think the woman warrior just wants to know what the very smart and pretty girl exactly whispered in the angry warrior’s ear.”

Reach out.”

“Chakotay?”

“She wants to know, doesn’t she? Well, it was reach out.”

“That’s it? All these years I thought she whispered a powerful magic spell, which would keep the angry warrior and his woman warrior together forever. And all she said was reach out?”

“I’d say it was powerful enough.”

FIN