A few months later
B'Elanna had just put the children down for their naps when Tom came into their livingroom and plopped onto the sofa beside her. Leaning toward her he said, "Don't look now, but it seems we're all alone." He tilted his head and kissed her neck. At that moment the door chime sounded and she got up.
"Saved by the bell." she said with a giggle. Tom threw his head back against the sofa and exhaled loudly. B'Elanna opened the door to see a young man in a courier's uniform.
"Mrs. Paris?" he asked to which she nodded. "This is for you and Mr. Paris." he said, handing her an ice blue envelope. She thanked him and closed the door as Tom came up behind her. She carefully slipped a finger under the flap and opened it then removed the card inside as she made her way back to the sofa, reading as she went. Tom followed and sat by her, watching her face. Her eyes grew wide then she let out a yell.
"Shhhhhhh!" Tom warned her, "You'll wake the kids! What is that?"
"Listen to this," she said excitedly then read, "It is our heartfelt wish that you join us on the evening of..." Her hand went to her mouth as her eyes misted. Tom took the card from her.
"...to witness our union and the beginning of our journey together as man and wife..." he read aloud. His eyes skipped to the bottom and he whispered, "Chakotay and Kathryn." He looked at his wife as their smiles broadened before they both let out a yell and fell into a hug. Awakened, the children began to wail yet Tom and B'Elanna were laughing. They stood and put arms around each other's waists and started toward their children's rooms.
"It's about damned time." B'Elanna said, still smiling and looking down at the card in her hand.
"I'll say!" Tom added.
Harry and Libby had spent the morning in bed discussing baby names and talking about how their lives were about to be changed forever. Their baby was due any day. Harry lay one hand on Libby's extended stomach and with the other reached for the card on the nightstand.
"I still can't believe it." he said,
"But you're happy about it?" Libby asked, knowing he was thrilled. She moved his hand and turned onto her side, getting as close to him as her middle would allow.
"Absolutely," he answered, " but I'd just about given up hope that it would ever happen."
"It's so romantic." Libby said as she kissed his neck then tilted her head back to look up at him. Harry looked down at her and smiled. "Yes. Yes it is." he said, and kissed the tip of her nose.
Tuvok stood in his garden watching the sun set, hands folded behind him. He did not hear his wife approach until she was at his side holding the card out to him. He accepted it with a brow raised in question to which she replied, "It is good news." With this she turned and silently left him as he raised the card and read. When he had finished, his expression softened ever so slightly and the corners of his mouth lifted almost imperceptibly. "Good news indeed." he said aloud, then turned back to the setting sun.
Neelix sat at the monitor reading the message for the second time. Since his presence at the event was impossible, he had received an announcement rather than an invitation. Leaning back in his chair he smiled broadly. "Well Captain, Commander," he said aloud, "this is very, very good news."
Dreams can be forgiving when taken from the mind and made real within the heart...
Kathryn stood in front of the full length mirror looking at her reflection. Her pale peach suit, a thigh length tunic and flowing fluid pants, fell gracefully on her form. Her hair was put up in a cluster of loose curls with a few falling around her face. Her boquet of six white roses was held together with a simple peach ribbon. Her heart was full, her spirit settled. There were no jitters, no hint of doubt. Only the clear feeling that everything was finally, finally right.
"Ready?" B'Elanna said softly from behind her. Kathryn turned and hugged her friend tightly.
"I'm more than ready." she said as she linked her arm through B'Elanna's.
"Took you long enough." B'Elanna sniped as they left the room.
Chakotay wore a light gray suit with a miniature white rose on his lapel. He was standing at a window which faced the ocean, staring down at the small gold band in his palm. He felt such peace and quiet joy, and certainty that this day had been well worth the long wait.
"It's time." Tom said as he came up behind Chakotay and put a hand on his shoulder. Chakotay turned and shook Tom's hand, at the same time pocketing the ring.
"Let's do it." Chakotay said with a wide grin.
On an oceanside clifftop terrace their friends and family had gathered to witness their union. For many present, it had been far too long in coming and there were many tears shed before the bride and groom even appeared. Tuvok walked straight and proud with Kathryn on his arm. She smiled very slightly with her eyes focused only on Chakotay as he stood tall, his hands folded in front of him, smiling proudly and never once taking his eyes off her as she approached. When she and Tuvok reached him, Kathryn handed her boquet to B'Elanna then turned to face Tuvok and whispered, "You're not going to like this, but..." With this she reached up to kiss his cheek. His vulcan brows revealed his surprise bringing muffled chuckles from the guests. Tuvok then turned to shake Chakotay's hand and received a firm clap on the back as well. As rehearsed, Tuvok then put Kathryn's hand in Chakotay's and took his position beside Tom.
Chakotay and Kathryn looked at each other for a moment then turned to face Admiral Paris. He smiled at them then addressed the crowd.
"Family and friends, we are gathered here this evening to witness the union of Chakotay and Kathryn. It is their wish to share with you the beginning of their journey together as man and wife. Hear them now as they recite their vows to each other." With this, he nodded slightly at Kathryn.
When she and Chakotay had turned to face each other, their hands clasped between them, she looked into his dark eyes and said:
"More than a decade ago I was sent to find you. How could I have known that I would not only find the best friend I've ever had but the one who would fill my heart and make my life whole? For this I am eternally thankful." She paused and blinked back tears. "On this day, in the presence of everyone important to us, I pledge to you my friendship, my loyalty, my faithfulness and my everlasting love." She looked down, took the gold band from her thumb and slid it onto his ring finger. Looking back into his eyes, now barely able to speak past a whisper she added, "For the rest of my life, I can't imagine a day without you."
Chakotay's expression clearly showed how deeply she had touched him and for a moment he dared not try to speak past the lump in his throat. Kathryn squeezed his hands gently and winked, making him smile. As his smile slowly faded, he swallowed and fianlly spoke:
"The spirits smiled upon me the day you came into my life. Our journey has been long, with great peaks and valleys, yet you have remained steadfast by my side and within my heart. Your friendship is my greatest treasure, but your love is truly my salvation. I pledge to you this day all of myself and all of my love, for all the days of my life." He took the ring from his pocket and put in on her finger. Kathryn looked down at it then back at him, tears threatening to spill. Admiral Paris now spoke although he wondered if they heard a word, so caught up were they in gazing at each other. Just as he was about to tell Chakotay he could kiss his bride, Katie broke free of Chloe's grasp. She ran up front and wrapped her arms around their legs, breaking their gaze and bringing laughter from the guests. Chakotay smiled and picked her up, kissed her cheek.
"Chakotay, with Katie's permission," Admiral Paris said, "you may kiss your bride."
Chakotay encircled Kathryn's waist with his free arm and pulled her to him. As he kissed her the guests rose to their feet in loud applause. Katie turned to look at the commotion then began clapping her hands. Chakotay and Kathryn ended their kiss with a meaningful look, then began to laugh at Katie who seemed to be enjoying all the attention of the crowd.
"I think she approves." Kathryn said above the still noisy applause. Chakotay nodded with his dimpled grin then leaned in to kiss his wife again.