The sand was solid and rich beneath his feet, different from the fine sediment on other planets

Title: Sand

Contact: MEGDENTON@prodigy.net

Series: VOY

Date: 12/4/00

Disclaimer: They're not mine. If they were, Chak would sh** or get off the pot. The song is Billy Joel's.

Summary: It's about a beach. That was helpful, wasn't it? Okay, Okay…a little P/T, a lot of J/C, just after returning to the AQ. Some angst and indecision.

Sand

By Starbaby

We walked on the beach beside that old hotel

They're tearing it down now

But it's just as well

The sand was solid and rich beneath his feet, different from the fine sediment on other planets. This wasn't fine silk blowing on the Erosene winds, screaming in its aridity. This was earth sand, firm and wet, loamy with life. The tides that rolled across it had witnessed mankind's earliest struggle, fed the children of the mist from her bounty, and claimed their bodies at cycle's end. Chakotay could stay on earth forever just for the oceans.

On this morning, on this misty beach, he stood at a crossroads. The wild ride was over, leaving him at a great turning point, still breathless with exhilaration. Voyager's odyssey would fade into legend now, a mere hearth tale for winter nights, the story carried in history books and the hearts of her rebel children. They were vigorous and talented, leaving Voyager with heads held high. He took great pride in them, even the wayward Tom Paris, who was always in his life, popping up behind doors one, two, and three. All their roads were connected, crossing and intersecting, every separate path leading to Voyager and Kathryn Janeway.

Someday we will both look back and have to laugh

We lived through a lifetime and the aftermath

He could walk away right now, find some worthy war, choose up sides; Return to what he knew. He'd build societies, honor his father and die somewhere in the borderlands. Always, always, she'd walk in his soul. He'd have the memories of their long friendship, unsullied by a valiant attempt at more. Chakotay was at a precipice. He could forge ahead and risk the ultimate fall, or stay forever in view of the promised land. The choice was his.

Holding you close is like holding the summer sun

I'm warm from the memory of days to come

The wind ruffled his dark hair, grayer now than at the start, due in part to the two people with him on the beach. Far ahead, B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris walked in the surf, oblivious to the cold. They were lingering, like him, but had made their choice long ago. Tom scooped B'Elanna off her feet and threatened to throw her in. She laughed, a musical lilt in the morning hush. Chakotay never thought he'd see the day. Love made allowances.

I know we've got to move somehow

But I don't want to lose you now

He loved Kathryn Janeway. For years she'd been his colleague, his Captain, his quest, his calling. She was everything. He loved her, truly, but was he strong enough to stay with her? Leadership was in her blood, making Kathryn brave, charismatic and fearless when she needed to be. She was, most assuredly, the finest person he'd ever known. A woman of substance. As often happens, with brilliance come stubbornness, tunnel vision, and passion bordering on obsession. She was a calm water easily whipped to a frenzy by an atmospheric storm of emotion. The Delta Quadrant still rang with their bitter, frustrated words.

It was a bad call!

I'll note your objection in my log.

I don't give a damn about your log!

What's happened to you, Kathryn?

Chakotay wasn't blameless. He was a hard man, with lots of pride and little forgiveness. In the face of all that could be lost, Chakotay wished he had Tuvok's logic, B'Elanna's fire, and Tom Paris's "carpe diem" philosophy of life. The precipice loomed before him.

I haven't shown you everything a man can do

So stay with me baby

I've got plans for you

The sand decided it in the end. A big, wet ball smacked into the back of his neck, and he turned to see her standing there, smiling in the weak morning sun. He'd always thought her beautiful, but home at last, promise kept, she shone with a contentment he'd never seen before. Oh, Kathryn. Do you know your own strength? It was enough to break them or hold them together.

That choice was hers, and hers alone.

His was made, stamped, and delivered instantaneously, in the second it took to grab sand and return fire. He'd seize the day and step off that precipice with her. They'd be traveling alien territory, journeying into the unknown again. It was what they did best. Tom and B'Elanna entered the sand war, and the battle was joined. It was childish. It was inappropriate. It was glorious.

You've given me the best of you

But now I need the rest of you

The years ahead wouldn't be easy, but they would be good. Navigating her moods was hazardous, dangerous like dodging asteroids in the Belt. At times, he'd want to retreat to the jungles of Central America.

She was mercurial. She was difficult. She was the love of his life.

Yes, love made allowances.

FINIS