Author's Note: Well, I couldn't just leave them like that, could I?

Epilogue

The hum of docking and departing starships penetrated the captain's quarters as Voyager sat at Proxima Station, gleaming with nano-level maintenance and updated parts. Chakotay stirred and pulled Janeway closer.

"Do you remember the last time we were here, like this?" he asked.

"At Proxima?" she asked, limp with contentment and drifting.

"No," he said. "Here. You in my arms, in this bed."

She was awake instantly. "Yes. I remember. The Captains' Dance."

"You told me I had to forget. I never could."

She tightened her arm around his chest. "I tried to forget. I couldn't either." Janeway climbed on top of him, just as she had all those years ago on the far edge of the Delta quadrant. This time she had no purr but a sad, thoughtful face as she studied the new lines and silver hairs he had acquired since the last time they had been this close. They had wasted so many years – but waste was the wrong word. They had brought nearly all their crew home alive and well. She could never regret that. "You were right, you know. I was trying to seduce you that night. I thought it was the best way to win your loyalty."

His dimples creased as his eyes lit with the same amusement he had so often when he looked at her, as if whatever she did was a source of delight to him, although she couldn't fathom why. She'd caused most of those silver hairs, she was sure of it. "You didn't have to seduce me, Kathryn. You had me at 'You are speaking to a member of my crew.'"

She closed in for a kiss, stretched out along the length of him and rested her chin on her hands, inches from his face. "There was so much I wanted to tell you that night. How much you moved me. The connection I felt. I knew it was over between me and Mark that night, although it took me years to admit it to myself openly. I thought I'd never get to tell you – and then later, it seemed as if you'd forgotten after all." She inhaled hard. "It was a mistake, of course. That Captains' Dance. Those years would have been far easier if I hadn't been in love with you. Probably easier for you, too.

His face grew tender as his arms wrapped around her. "It was no mistake, Kathryn. It meant the world to me, even when I was acting like an ass. What was it your professor said? Something about the value correlating to the risk?"

Janeway nudged his chin with her nose and nodded. "Sunek. Yes. The value correlates highly with the risk."

Chakotay's laugh shook both of them. It was so good to hear him – feel him laugh. He had seemed to forget how, later in their journey. That had been her fault too. "That sounds like a perfect description of falling in love with Kathryn Janeway."

Janeway grinned and scooted up to look him in the eye. "If that's how you feel about it, Captain, I'd better improve the value proposition." She dropped her mouth to his, determined to drive from his mind all thought of the Captains' Dance and the long, hard years when they'd held each other at arm's length – at least for the moment. Chakotay stretched under her like a satisfied feline and willingly succumbed.

END