Paramount own these characters, but due to the emotional pressure they must be under, I've decided to intervene, for their own good.

My desire for a happy ending has become so great I've decided to write one, although it isn't really an ending.

The Good Days

 

She lay in the sunshine, the long grass tickling her bare legs, the gentle chirrup of crickets in the distance and just breathed out all of the worry and concern that normally burdened her. Her lungs filled with warm, gently fragranced air instead - so much nicer than the sterile, recycled air she breathed in the other rooms of the ship. Her worries weren't gone for good of course, they were still there, waiting in dark corners for her, but today she was resolutely in the light and she wasn't going to think about what could go wrong.

Today it didn't matter too much that this was a holodeck, rather than the real Indiana, or that she was still separated from Earth by distance and time. Today was a sunny day when she didn't have anything to do but be lazy and lie here sunbathing. She had finally, after four long, hard years learned the value of taking the good days as they came, not questioning their provenance, or feeling guilty about them, but just allowing herself to relax, to enjoy herself. It felt good.

Her lip curved into a smile at the thought of who had taught her this, of the lesson she had finally allowed herself to learn. Chakotay. Almost since the beginning of this journey he had been gently encouraging her to spread her wings, promising her that he would catch her if she fell. He had always been so certain that there was a way for her to be more than the Captain of Voyager - and now she was learning that he was right. It made her wonder what else he might be right about.

She couldn't pinpoint the moment that she had started to let go. Perhaps it was after the crisis of the void, when she had taken a good, hard look at her circumstances and decided that she couldn't allow herself to become so depressed again - not without harming the ship and the crew.

It hadn't been easy, to acknowledge a vulnerability in herself, to accept that it would probably never be entirely gone, that she would have to learn to live with it, to manage it. Chakotay had helped her with that as well, pointing out that everyone had weaknesses and that most of her senior staff struggled with their own demons every day. He had asked her, a little mockingly, if she was so arrogant that she expected herself to be different? She hadn't thought he would understand and her reply was to tell him it was a hard habit to break, trying to be perfect, since for a long time she had thought that was the only way her father would notice her.

But he had understood, too well perhaps and he had whispered back, 'but we have to break that cycle sometime Kathryn - or be doomed to repeat it for ever.'

She had started looking at people differently, seeing them as whole, struggling with their flaws, their imperfections and doing the best they could. It was a little like having a blindfold removed - seeing people as they really were, and so many of them had suddenly risen in her estimation, become stronger, braver than she would have ever imagined possible.

She was seeing Chakotay in a different light as well - he was no longer the heroic, enigmatic figure who had been so much a feature of her fantasies. He was a real person, flesh and blood, who made mistakes, who felt pain and who, by some miracle, had never given up on her. She didn't know why he had held on for so long, she had given him precious little reason to hope. She had treated him so badly at times that she was embarrassed even to think about it, except that she was determined that things would be different from now on.

Today, with the sun on her face and the sweet scent of wildflowers on the breeze she felt as though she was on the brink of a miraculous discovery, a discovery that she could truly appreciate, and treasure for the rest of her days. Today she felt ready to fall in love.

The End