"I guess I came here because I knew there would be a lot of people." Tom replied, honestly. "There are a lot of famous people that live here, more so then I could ever be... so when I think someone is going to run up and ask for an autograph, they are really heading for the person behind me." They were walking away from the park, to have lunch at a cafe Tom discovered.
"You also didn't tell anyone where you were going, not even your family." Kathryn scolded.
"I told Neelix." he defended.
"I'm being serious."
"So am I!" They were quiet for a moment as they waded through a crowed together.
"I was worried when I couldn't track you down. That's all. You know, Chakotay isn't even talking to me, and now that I've resigned... I've lost more friends than I've kept." She admitted, and when his hand found hers, she didn't object.
"We're still friends. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I half expected you to go back, I think. But I know how stubborn you are, I suppose I should've known better." He bumped into an elderly woman's cane and it clattered to the pavement.
"Oh, excuse me." She said softly, bending to pick it up. Kathryn crouched down and picked it up for her and the elderly woman reached out and touched her face gingerly. Kathryn looked up quickly, almost alarmed but the woman seemed harmless. All three of them had fallen silent.
"I'm... I'm sorry we knocked this over." Kathryn said, and pulled the hand away gently.
"You look like my daughter." she said. "But I've seen you somewhere before." Tom jumped in at this point.
"I don't think so; we've never been to New York before." He said, and he knew the old woman knew it was a lie.
"Of course," The woman looked away and Kathryn and Tom continued.
"That was bizarre." Tom mumbled, but Kathryn looked back a moment. The woman was still watching with her head cocked.
"You can call me Kathryn." She said, turning to Tom suddenly. "You haven't called me anything yet... Seven hesitated like that too. I just want you to know... if you want to be my friend I can't be a Captain to you anymore." He looked over and smiled, retaking her hand.
"Thank you." They crossed the street and then they were standing in front of a small coffee house. They sat down at one of the round tables made for two in front and when the waitress came, Tom ordered her a coffee. She might've been mad at the masculine gesture but now she was grateful because all she wanted to do was sit there and look at him, watch him, make sure he was really and truly there.
"So what are you going to do, now that you aren't Captain Janeway?" He asked when her coffee and his tea arrived.
"Well, first I was going to find you. Which I've done." He smiled and she felt 14. Was this puppy love? She didn't bother to think about that yet. "I've been working the science circles; I've had a few things published."
"I know. I've read them." She was surprised and cocked her eyebrow. "Just because you couldn't find me, Kathryn, doesn't mean I was ignoring you."
"You were at that conference too, weren't you?" When she had thought she's caught him out of the corner of her eye, she had dismissed it immediately, but now she wasn't so sure.
"I was. I saw Seven, we had dinner. We talked about you." She felt indigent.
"Have you been spying on me or something?"
"Don't get angry, I just... didn't know how to approach you. I figured if you wanted to see me you'd find me. I figured you needed time." she didn't know whether to be angry or not. On principle, she was angry, but she could see Tom's logic. He saw her thinking it over, and handed her his tea cup for distraction.
"What?" she asked.
"Taste it. It tastes like Christmas." she sipped it and chuckled.
"It does." she agreed, handing it back to him.
"Remember when we'd have the party in your quarters after the Prixin celebration. Harry, and you and I, and Seven when she came aboard."
"I remember. It was hard giving up Christmas. You know, after we'd had it all our lives. It's wasn't quite the same. You couldn't ever program the holographic tree to smell right... but it was still Christmas."
"Sometimes... I wish we were still on Voyager, I know I shouldn't, but when I think about laying under the tree and looking up through the branches, or Harry playing his clarinet, those sad songs..." They shared a moment of silence.
"I'm not very hungry." she said.
"Me either." he answered.
"Come home with me. Back to Indiana, I can't go back alone Tom, I can't spend anymore quality time with my mother." she pleaded.
"Stay in New York."
"I'm not a city girl, I couldn't live here." They regarded each other for a moment. "Sandrine... she sends her love. Maybe we could go there, you could give me a proper introduction."
"That," he said with a cheeky grin, "I could agree with. And then... we can go to Indiana?"
"We wouldn't have to stay long..." she offered.
"Only long enough to pack up your things." He agreed in a matter of fact manner.
"And then we could come back, just long enough to pack up your things." she insisted.
"Where would we go?" They pondered for a moment.
"Somewhere it snows... where we could get snowed in for Christmas. Harry, is he still talking to you?" she asked, not wanting to lose Harry more than anything.
"Yeah, he's still talking. Is Seven still talking to you?"
"No... I don't think so. But Harry, he could come for Christmas, and play me a sad song, and we could lie under the tree, and stare up through the branches." She smiled at the thought.
"We could do it, Kathryn, we could live together on the ground. I could transport here, and keep my job testing shuttles, and you could write for your science journals and we could have the quiet life. Just think." She stood up and he did the same, pressing his thumbprint to the PADD on their table.
"Do you think we could?" she asked. "Be happy with each other? I mean... could you be happy without whatever it is you do?" He shrugged.
"I've never had you before, how do I know? But, I'd be happy trying." She laughed and kicked a stone out of her way, scuffing the tow of her boot.
"I'll drive you crazy." she warned him.
"I'm counting on it."
"Somewhere where it snows." she sighed. In the back of her mind, she had her doubts, they would drive each other crazy, that was a given, but... she never imagined it would be Tom she clung to in the end.
"Come on, I'll buy you another drink, some place far away." He said and his hand found hers.