Title: Room at my Table

Title(2) : Room at my Table

Contact: MEGDENTON@prodigy.net

Series: Voy

Date: 11/14/00

Disclaimer: Not mine. I don't want Neelix, thanks anyway. The song is by Pam Tillis.

Summary: Poor, love-starved Janeway gets her wish. This scene wouldn't leave my fevered brain. It's sappy, but hey, I'd love to see it on screen.

There's room at my table.

Why don't you pull up a seat?

The music's inviting but I'm staying off of my feet.

The party had been in full swing for hours, and further proof of its success was written on the faces of Voyager's former crew. Home at last, they celebrated with abandon. Starfleet protocol was forgotten in the joy of the moment. Backs were slapped, stories were retold, and Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, to his consternation, was repeatedly grabbed and hugged. The last of the Talaxian champagne flowed, and glasses were raised to Kes and all the other crewmembers present only in memory. Throughout the joyous night, curious glances were cast at the lone figure not reveling in the joy of having fought the good fight and finished the course.

The floor's getting crowded

But I don't want to take part.

I bet you can guess it's got

Something to do with my heart.

Kathryn Janeway shook her head quietly at Tom Paris's offer. At his questioning look, she smiled reassuringly, and with a slight inclination of her head, sent him back to his true partner, who was in a rare mood. The Delaney sisters were allowed within ten feet of Voyager's pilot on this joyous night. The others gave up after that and concentrated on the party. And what a party it was! Even Seven of Nine looked pleased, but refused to lead the conga line. Kathryn twirled her wineglass between elegant fingers; eyes fixed on the sparkling liquid within. At one point, the others noticed, she looked up-was it hopefully-when the crowd parted. It was only the Doctor, who had programmed himself to experience intoxication on this night of nights. Janeway's gaze returned to her wine.

I could sure use your company now,

But don't be mistaking my smile.

I'm only in between dances,

Sitting it out for a while.

Neelix approached the Captain and offered a slice of cake. The elaborate chocolate wonder had been purchased from a bakery, and the Talaxian had seemed mildly offended at first, but a moment later shrugged his shoulders and smeared icing on Seven's nose, to all-around applause. Kathryn accepted the plate with a tiny smile and Neelix patted her hand comfortingly. He knew what she was feeling. In the tumult after disembarking, no one but Neelix had noticed the tall figure slipping away. No one but Neelix and Kathryn Janeway.

The partners are chosen,

Look at them waltzing away.

The tempo gets lower,

Closer and closer they sway.

Janeway watched her friends pairing off. Tom and B'Elanna spun around the floor with the practiced ease of an established couple. The accomplished Harry Kim tried to pull Seven of Nine into a dance, but she was on her 5th piece of cake, having rediscovered the wonder of chocolate on this night. Neelix stepped on Samantha Wildman's feet until they agreed to part on good terms. The Doctor was just drunk enough to agree to be Neelix's new partner. Janeway looked upon them all with fondness. Her crew was one of a kind, a unique blend of distinct personalities. Her sadness was compounded by the knowledge that the days when they were all in all to one another were gone forever. That time had flown, and, perhaps, her moment with it.

I've had my moments

When I could get lost in the sound,

But when the song ended

The one in my arms let me down.

She thought of Mark. His letter's arrival had been sandwiched between various crises, and she had never really mourned what might have been her last chance for happiness, her last opportunity for a child. All her stray mothering instincts were poured into her crew. The brig was a time-out chair for naughty crewmembers like the wayward Tom Paris, who had such potential, for God's sake, but seldom used his common sense. And Kathryn had brought forth life, in a way, demolishing the Borg Seven and building something new on the human foundations left intact by the collective. That would be her legacy in the long years to come.

I could sure use your company now.

Don't be mistaking my smile.

I'm only in between dances,

Sitting it out for a while.

The band struck up a slow number; a mournful song of lost love and missed opportunities. In the dimmed light, Kathryn saw the crowd moving, spinning away from the tall man striding through its midst. She stood shakily, holding to the edge of the table as if it might take off across the ballroom, dragging her with it, away from this long-awaited moment. Chakotay stood before her, and they were only a man and woman now, not an officer and his superior. They'd struggled through the Delta Quadrant for nine years, and the battle to maintain distance had been as fierce as any skirmish with the Romulans or Kazon. Love was put in stasis indefinitely; it's chances of ultimate survival slim in the face of the choices Captains must make. And Kathryn Janeway was a good Captain. Her people loved her, and they were loved in return. She'd kept the faith and brought them through the fire, and now it was time to rest. Perhaps her moment hadn't passed.

Chakotay held out his hand, and Kathryn placed her smaller one within it. The music had stopped, and the dancers were still. They were watching the fulfillment of a dream. The tall man swept the elegant woman into the passionate embrace that had percolated for years, waiting for the right moment to come into fruition.

The men and women of Voyager, friends now instead of crewmates, exploded into a furious round of clapping. The journey was over for Kathryn Janeway. She might return to the stars, but could fly no higher than she did at this moment, on this night when protocol was forgotten.