by Delta Story

October 2006


My heart is pounding with fear as I stare at the door but I can feel your hand on my shoulder. Why did I ever let you talk me into this? Am I up to it? After all, it has been seven years since I last did it. And there's bound to be some pain involved after having gone that long without anyone touching me in this way.

"It's all right, Kathryn," you whisper into my ear, your hand slipping from my shoulder and encircling my waist. "But you did say, during those final hours on Voyager's return, that this was one of the first things you wanted to do... needed to do... when we returned to the Alpha Quadrant."

"I just don't know if I'm ready," I answer, my voice betraying the panicked chill that has frozen my body. "When you do this kind of thing with regularity, there's nothing to it. Before Voyager, it was part of my routine."

You let out a long breath. "And it will be again. Why should this time be any different? I researched our options thoroughly to find a place that has a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere. The rooms here come complete with low lighting, d├ęcor that sets a tranquil mood, even aromatherapy! If necessary, we can always start off with a massage..." With that, you begin to gently knead the small of my back and I can feel some my anxious knots dissipate.

It's been a long time for you, too, and I should be just as conscious of your needs as you are of mine. I take your free hand and squeeze it, gazing into the deep brown liquid of your eyes. "Chakotay, years ago when you said that I was never alone, that you would always be there for me, did you ever think we would be doing something like this together?"

You let out a nervous twitter of a laugh. "Never in my wildest dreams! But then, life with you has always been filled with surprises, never knowing what lies ahead... or even behind closed doors. Let's just look at this as another one of those adventures."

I make a pathetic effort to smile, but I'm sure you can see behind my false bravado. "I know that this is just plain silly. After years of struggling with fears about the Kazon, the Hirogen, Species 8742 and the Borg, this should be pure pleasure."

Your face clouds over. "Oh, Kathryn - how can you even begin to equate all those hellish experiences with something like this?" I see the disappointment in your eyes and feel the hurt in your voice - after all that you have done to make this experience as pleasant as possible.

You reach for the keypad by the door and the large metal panel slides aside. As promised, the place is beautiful: walls in soft pastels with hidden lighting bathing the area, soothing music floating in the air, lovely pieces of art and a sea of vases overflowing with flowers adding to the ambiance. I take a deep breath and squeeze your hand; we cautiously proceed into the room.

An inner door opens and a young woman steps towards us with an extended hand of welcome and greets us cheerfully. "Good morning, Captain Janeway... Commander Chakotay. My name is Saralynn - I'm Dr. Flannigan's assistant. Let me say that we are so happy that you have chosen us here at 'Happy Smiles' for your first dental examinations upon your return to the Alpha Quadrant."

~ The End ~

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