Complicated

By Maquis Leader

 

 

Author’s note: This is the third story in the Song Series. Please read the previous chapters first. Endgame never happened in this world. Complicated lyrics by Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Shave Smith.  Performed by Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

 

 

 

I’m so scared that the way that I feel

Is written all over my face.

When you walk into the room,

I want to find a hiding place.

 

 

What was I thinking? Kathryn pulled on a comfortable pair of sweats. She’d just kissed her First Officer in the middle of a dance floor full of people. No, not her First Officer. Chakotay. “Oh God.” Had Seven seen? Do I care?

 

Seven and Chakotay wasn’t a subject she cared to think about. Getting a cup of coffee from the replicator, she settled on the sofa. Slymaria turned peacefully below Voyager. Where did that kiss come from? She could blame it on the wine, but knew better. Deep down, she was scared of losing Chakotay to someone else. He was right. She didn’t want him but didn’t want anyone else to have him.

 

Except she did want him.

 

 

We used to laugh,

We used to hug.

The way that old friends do.

But now a smile and a touch of your hand

Just makes me come unglued.

 

 

Too much wine. She told herself firmly. It was just too much wine.

 

“Chakotay to Janeway.”

 

Her heart stopped. “Computer what is Commander Chakotay’s location?”

 

“Commander Chakotay is on Deck 3 outside his quarters.”

 

“Where is Seven of Nine?”

 

“Seven of Nine is in her quarters.”

 

So they weren’t together? Kathryn felt a guilty rush of joy. “What is it, Chakotay?”

 

“I just wanted to be sure you were okay.”

 

“I’m fine.” He was always concerned more for her than for himself.

 

“Goodnight, Kathryn.” His voice was soft and gentle.

 

“Goodnight, Chakotay.” She blinked back unexpected tears. “Thanks for the dance.”

 

“Anytime.”

 

Why had she brought up their dance? Here she was hoping it would be filed away as nothing special and she’d wound up thanking him. Scrubbing her stinging eyes, Kathryn told herself she was not jealous. She was not in love with Chakotay.

 

Except she was.

 

 

It’s such a contradiction.

Do I lie or tell the truth?

Is it fact or fiction?

Oh, the way I feel for you.

 

 

“Mind if I join you?”

 

Kathryn looked up to see Chakotay standing next to her table. “Sit down.” She patted the seat next to her.

 

“Looks like Chell is filling Neelix’s pots and pans after all.” He took a bite of his oatmeal and rolled his eyes. “This is actually edible.”

 

She laughed at the blissful expression on his face. “How many spoonfuls of honey did you have to add?”

 

“Just one.”

 

“Oh my, that is cause for celebration.” He smiled and her spirits rose as they always did when he was around. “I miss Neelix, but not his cooking. Does that make me a bad person?”

 

“Yes, but I won’t tell.” He glanced around surreptitiously. “I feel the same way.”

 

“We’ll just have to be bad together.” As soon as she said the words, she wanted them back.

 

“Kathryn?”

 

“I need to get to the bridge.” She stood up.

 

“You haven’t finished your breakfast.”

 

Looking down at her half-eaten omelet, Kathryn threw out the lie she’d rehearsed. “I have an upset stomach. Too much wine. I – I’m sorry about last night.”

 

“You don’t have – “

 

“It won’t happen again.” She turned away from the hurt in the black velvet eyes.

 

 

It’s so complicated.

I’m so frustrated.

 

 

Chakotay watched her go. Pushing away his cereal, he turned and pretended to stare out the viewport at the stars. His first impression had been the right one, Kathryn hadn’t meant to kiss him and now she was embarrassed.

 

“Chakotay?”

 

“B'Elanna.”

 

“So, how did last night go?” She dropped into the seat next to him.

 

“Same as always. Just good friends.”

 

“Chakotay, she cares for you.” She laid her hand on his arm. “I know she does.”

 

“Of course she does.” He stood up abruptly. “We’re friends.” He walked away.

 

 

 

On the bridge, Kathryn leaned back in her command chair, pretending to study the PADD she was holding.  She was irritated at herself. She didn’t need him to be happy. She was perfectly capable of having a great day without having him around.

 

The object of her thoughts sat down beside her. Her heart rose at the sight of his fingers gliding gracefully over the controls on the console between them. He was frowning slightly in concentration, the full bottom lip curving slightly. The black velvet eyes were suddenly looking at her, crinkling at the corners as he smiled. A dimple flashed in one cheek.

 

“I – I need – “ She stuttered. “I’ll be in my ready room.”

 

A controlled walk brought her into the ready room. Collapsing against the bulkhead beside the door, she thumped her head against the unyielding metal.

 

 

I want to hold you close.

I want to push you away.

I want to make you go.

I want to make you stay.

 

 

 

Kathryn spent the entire day in her ready room. Not hiding. She, Kathryn Janeway – intrepid starship captain -- was not the hiding type.  She met challenges head on. Today was merely a day for staying in her ready room and reading reports. She glared at her coffee cup. End of story.

 

Except she was hiding.

 

As she left the ready room at the end of Alpha shift, she stepped into the turbolift to find Chakotay already inside. “Commander.” She nodded as he ordered the lift to their deck.

 

“Captain.” Being formal are we? “Did you get a lot of work done today?” Not a single report had been forwarded to him by the computer.

 

“As a matter of fact, I did.” This was ridiculous, being so nervous around a man she’d known for seven years. “Are you free for dinner tonight?”

 

“Actually, I have plans.”

 

“Oh.” Of course. How could she forget his… friendship with Seven?  Kathryn forced a smile to her face. “Maybe another time?”

 

“Tomorrow?” He stepped out of the lift as it opened on Deck 3.

 

“Sounds good. Have a nice night.” She walked quickly to her quarters, punching in the code by touch. Tears blurred her eyes. So he’s having dinner with Seven? Who cares? Be happy for him.

 

Dropping into a chair, she buried her face in her hands and let the tears out. It just wasn’t fair.

 

 

Should I say it?

Should I tell you how I feel?

Oh, I want you to know,

But then again I don’t.

It’s so complicated.

 

 

She cried until she had no tears left. Seven years of frustration poured out, leaving her weak and exhausted. Washing her aching eyes, Kathryn stared at her puffy face in the mirror. This couldn’t go on, she had to do something.

 

Going to her desk, she took out an old fashioned notebook her mother had given her. Down the center of a blank page she drew a line. One side she labeled ‘why’ and the other ‘why not’. Why not was the easier side to fill. Danger of damaging crew morale, violation of rules and/or protocol, personal feelings could affect command decisions. Before long, she had a sizeable list of why nots. There was only one why. I love him. Just the one, but the scale was tipping that way.

 

Frustrated, she threw the notebook and pen across the room. The number one most important notation on the list was that it was against the rules. This was a Starfleet ship and she was a Starfleet Captain. End of story. We’re friends. Anything else would be too complicated.

 

 

Just when I think I’m under control,

I think I finally got a grip.

Another friend tells me that my name is always on your lips.

They say I’m more than just a friend,

They say I must be blind.

Well, I admit that I seen you watch me from the corner of your eye.

 

 

“Thanks for having lunch with me, B'Elanna.”

 

“Thanks for inviting me.”

 

Kathryn set the plates on the table. Now that B'Elanna was here, she was afraid to tell her why she’d asked her to come to her quarters for lunch.

 

“Captain?” B'Elanna broke the long silence. “Is something wrong?”

 

“B'Elanna, I need someone to talk to about something that’s bothering me.”

 

“I’d be happy to help.”

 

“How did you know for sure that you were in love with Tom?”

 

Caught swallowing a bite of her sandwich, B'Elanna choked. Of all the questions she’d expected, this wasn’t anywhere on the list. Swallowing a gulp of water, she shook her head. “When I didn’t want to kill him anymore, I guess.”

 

“Were you confused?”

 

“Confused? Oh, Kahless! My mind spun in circles for weeks!”

 

“How did you – “ Kathryn stopped and a flush stained her cheeks. “How did you know what to do?”

 

“Kathryn, are you asking about Tom and me? Or about yourself and Chakotay?”

 

Her cheeks reddened another shade. “B'Elanna, please don’t tell him.”

 

“I won’t say anything.” She took Kathryn’s hand in hers. “I remember what it was like.  Wanting to be with Tom one minute and wanting to get as far away from him as possible the next.”

 

“That’s it. I keep telling myself we’re just friends and nothing can happen. Then he smiles…”

 

“He’s got a great smile. Those dimples…” B'Elanna sighed. “Don’t tell Tom!”

 

“Never.” She smiled at the younger woman. “Half the women on Voyager have fallen for those dimples.”

 

“Half? Try all. And some of the men, too.”

 

“Oh God, I really don’t know what to do. B'Elanna, I’ve always been in control. Always! I loved Mark, but he didn’t – didn’t – “

 

“Consume you?” She nodded and smiled knowingly. “That’s what scared me. My happiness depended on him. I lost control of my life. He had the control.”

 

“Yes…” Tears burned Kathryn’s eyes once more.  Damn! That’s what I get for not crying more often.

 

“But you know what I realized, Kathryn? That I had control of his life, of his happiness. I had his heart in my hands just as he had mine. Once I realized that -- the rest was easy.”

 

“If only it was.” The tears overflowed.

 

 “There’s an old Klingon saying – seize your happiness before you’re too old to enjoy it.”

 

“That’s Klingon?” An auburn eyebrow arched up skeptically.

 

“Well, it’s actually something about seizing your happiness by the throat – I edited it just a little.” B'Elanna held her hands a wide distance apart. “You get the idea.”

 

“Klingons are such romantics.” Kathryn laughed.

 

“The point is, if you don’t take your happiness now – someday you’ll be old and bitter. And alone.”

 

“Suppose I tell him I think I love him and he doesn’t say it back? What if we really are nothing more than friends?” She dropped her head into her hands. “That sounds like something a high school girl would say for God’s sake.”

 

“Are you blind?” She rolled her eyes. “He watches you the moment you come into a room – even if he doesn’t come over to you. Which he usually does! He’s like the moon to your Earth.”

 

Kathryn had to admit that no matter the occasion, Chakotay usually found his way to her side or was close by.

 

“Would it help if I told you you’re all he talked about last night?”

 

“Last night? I thought he had dinner with Seven last night.”

 

“Seven? He broke it off with her after the banquet.”

 

“I didn’t know.”

 

“Well, now you do!” B'Elanna smiled at the happiness on Kathryn’s face. “So tell him how you feel!”

 

The smile faded. “It’s not that simple. If we were anywhere else but Voyager, I’d throw myself at him so fast he’d never know what hit him. I’m just so confused. B'Elanna please don’t say anything to Chakotay.”

 

“I won’t.” She squeezed Kathryn’s hands. “But you’ve got to stop fighting it – believe me, I know.”

 

“I’ll try.”

 

“I can always put the two of you in EVA suits and shove you out an airlock.”

 

Kathryn pretended to think it over. “Don’t tempt me.”

 

 

 

Oh, it’s so confusing,

Yeah, I wish you’d just confess.

But think of what I’d be losing,

If your answer wasn’t ‘yes’.

 

 

Kathryn was so beautiful it hurt to look at her. She had on a green dress that brought out the blue of her eyes and the red in her hair.

 

“Chakotay?” Kathryn waved a hand in front of his face. “Kathryn to Chakotay.” His combadge chirped as the comm system obediently opened a channel. She giggled.

 

“Sorry. I was just thinking how lovely you look.”

 

“Thank you.” Her cheeks pinkened.

 

“Dinner was delicious. Did you make peace with the replicator?”

 

“I’ll have you know that replicator lives in fear of me.”

 

“Chell?”

 

“Chell.” She admitted. “I didn’t want you to wind up in Sickbay.” She laid her hands over his.

 

Squeezing her fingers gently, Chakotay tried to sort out the signals she was sending him. One minute she was laughing and teasing, and the next she was behind a wall.

 

 

It’s so complicated,

I’m so frustrated.

I want to hold you close.

I want to push you away.

I want to make you go.

I want to make you stay.

Should I say it?

Should I tell you how I feel?

Oh, I want you to know,

But then again I don’t.

It’s so complicated.

 

 

Pulling her hands free, Kathryn went over to the sofa and sat down. Patting the cushion next to her, she tilted her head to one side questioningly.

 

Getting up, he walked over to the sofa. Sitting next to her, he settled back into his corner. What exactly was she up to?

 

Working up her nerve, Kathryn leaned forward and picked up her book from the table. When she sat back, she sat between Chakotay’s parted legs and leaned back against his chest. Opening to the bookmark, she started pretending to read.

 

“Kathryn, if you don’t mind – “ She jumped and started to get up. Grabbing her around the waist, Chakotay pulled her back down. “If you don’t mind, hand me the PADD that’s on the table.”

 

“Oh, sure.” She’d been certain she’d stepped over the line. They’d always sat next to each other, never in this intimate of a position. Handing him the PADD, she leaned back against him once more.

 

They sat in companionable silence for sometime. She was pretending to read her book and he was pretending to layout new designs for sand paintings. The reality was that her mind was running back and forth between wanting to kiss Chakotay and wanting to throw him out of her quarters. He was trying to figure out if Kathryn was wanting to be more than friends or if she was just teasing him with the hope of being more.

 

As it grew late, he laid the PADD aside. “Kathryn, we have to get up early in the morning.”

 

“I know.” She leaned her head back on his shoulder. “This is nice. I wish…”

 

“What?” He held his breath.

 

 

I hate it.

‘Cos I’ve waited so long for someone like you.

 

 

“I wish it wasn’t so late.” Damn! Where is my nerve? She got up from the sofa.

 

“Me too.” He was imagining things again. Too much wishful thinking. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

 

Oh, what do I do?

 

 

“Chakotay.” Kathryn stopped him before he got to the door. “I – I – “ Jesus! She could look the Borg Queen in the eye but she couldn’t tell Chakotay how she felt?

 

“Yes?” Chakotay could feel his heart pounding. There was something in her eyes that thrilled and frightened him all at the same time.

 

“You’re – a good friend, Chakotay.” Standing up on tiptoe, she brushed a kiss across his lips.

 

Of course. A friend. Pain put a stake through his heart. “Goodnight, Kathryn.”

 

After Chakotay left, she sat down on the floor, tears falling onto her clenched hands.

 

 

Should I say it?

Should I tell you how I feel?

Oh, I want you to know,

But then again I don’t.

It’s so complicated.

 

So complicated

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4 Shiver