Kathryn strolled into the bustling room, looked around and then made her way up to the bar. "Hello, Guinan," she said with a smile. She had been on the Enterprise for a week, only for a short visit and already made a new friend she knew she would treasure for a long time.
"Captain Janeway, what can I do for you?" asked Guinan.
"Did I leave a PADD here this morning?" she asked. This was the last place it could be; she had backtracked everywhere else she had been that day.
"I'm not sure, I'll have a look," offered Guinan. "While you’re here, why don't you grab a bite to eat?"
"I'm not very…" she began, but quickly changed her mind. "You know, that sounds fine. How about something with pasta, something light."
"Anything in mind?"
"No, surprise me," said Kathryn with a smile.
"Go have a seat and I'll bring it right to you," said Guinan. "I'll also keep an eye out for that lost PADD."
Kathryn made her way to the nearest seat, nodding to the crewmen she passed. She was on the Enterprise more to add her name to the assignment than anything else. Picard was headed to negotiate with the Carenens and one of the stipulations they had was to meet the "Famous Captain Janeway."
"Ahh, the life of a celebrity! Whatever," she mumbled to herself. She wasn't really enjoying the limelight. It seemed no matter what she said about her wonderful crew, the press just wanted it turned into 'Captain Janeway saved the day.'
Kathryn had finally stopped giving interviews, telling the last reporter that if he didn't want to hear the whole story, than he might as well leave now.
Kathryn missed her crew, more than she could have imagined. Since the debriefings ended, it seemed they all had gone their separate ways. At first it was nice, visiting with her family and long lost friends but after a while, all she could think about was her Voyager family.
Kathryn had tried contacting Chakotay but with no luck. She did find Seven at her aunt's and was quite surprised to find out that the two of them were no longer dating. In fact, Seven spent half of the conversation talking about a young man, close to her own age, who lived down the street. It seemed the two of them had been spending a lot of time together, going on picnics and the like. The smile that lit up Seven's face when she talked about Steven told Kathryn that Seven was falling in love.
Kathryn visited Tom and B'Elanna, spending the majority of the visit with Miral in her arms. Of course, while she was there she asked about Chakotay but it seemed they, too, hadn't seen him. B'Elanna assumed that Chakotay might have went back to Dorvan, since she had already contacted his sister and found his visit there was quite brief. He then went to visit his cousin in Ohio but had already come and gone.
After the visit with the Parises, Kathryn made a few more phone calls, still coming up with one dead end after another. She hadn’t entirely given up, but she had lessened her efforts. Now she was really questioning herself about why she was so adamant about finding her missing friend.
Kathryn had to admit that she was confused about how she felt. Once upon a time it would have been easy to say she loved him but later, as their journey through the Delta Quadrant continued, she wasn't so sure. Well, that wasn't entirely true. She did love him, but the love a friend has for another friend. Despite the numerous rumors that continually floated around the ship, she had not been playing a game of cat and mouse with Chakotay. She had not endlessly flirted with him, only to dump him on his rear anytime he got to close. In fact, they had both pretty much given up on the idea of a relationship between the two by the third year of their journey. They settled into a comfortable friendship that still had its ups and downs yet was treasured all the same.
It was only getting home, seeing him with his arm around Seven that all those feelings came back, rushing at her like a tidal wave. She loved him! She always had and probably always would. Yes, she was happy that he had found someone, happy to see him smiling, to see the joy returning to his eyes but at the same time those long buried feelings she had for him had come rising from deep within her, and now overwhelmed her with a need for completion.
Kathryn wanted so badly to tell him how she felt, how she loved him more than life itself, how she couldn't imagine spending a day without him but she hadn't. She sat back and watched her crew disperse, leaving her feeling more lost than when she had been in the Delta Quadrant.
Now here, on the Enterprise, she had finally found the person she could talk to. Of all the councilors Starfleet offered, friends who wanted to lend an ear, and family who just wanted her to tell them what was wrong, it was to Guinan she felt the most comfortable pouring out her soul. The woman had a way about her that instantly put Kathryn at ease. Of course, Guinan reminded her that her race is a race of listeners, that they were famous for it, and that anything Kathryn had or needed to say, would be held in confidence.
So there she had been, one late one night, while Ten Forward sat empty, telling Guinan about getting lost in the Delta Quadrant, finally coming home but then losing the man she cared about most, and losing the people she now called her family. How, on familiar ground and in her childhood home, she had never felt more lost, how she wanted to go back and change things so that she could be where she felt most at home.
Kathryn had confessed to Guinan how she had 'lost' her feelings for Chakotay until it was too late and that now she just didn’t know what to do. Guinan had told her how it only seemed that way, that Kathryn wasn't really the one lost. The others were, but not to worry, those who are lost usually end up finding their way back home. Guinan had even used Voyager's own journey as the prime example, saying that loved ones only needed time to discover the path home, and if Kathryn could muster up the patience, she would see her family come back to her.
Kathryn was broken out of her reverie by a hand on her shoulder. "Captain Janeway, I've come across something that you lost."
"Oh, really? You found that PADD?" asked Kathryn, taking another sip of coffee. She received no answer.
"Guinan?" began Kathryn, turning to face the woman walking away. Instead she was now face to face with Chakotay, who was reaching down to pull her to her feet.
"I've missed you, Kathryn," he said, enveloping her in a hug.
Kathryn wrapped her arms around him tightly. "I've missed you too." Feeling his arms wrap around her more tightly, she repeated, "Oh how I've missed you."
"You know, Captain," said Guinan, "your habit of losing things is going to become as legendary as your journey back from the Delta Quadrant. "This time, keep a better hold on him," said Guinan, before walking away.
"Don't worry, Guinan, I'm going to hold on to him and never let go again."
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