Disclaimer—Everything belongs to someone else. I don't make a cent. Only my dreams and imagination are mine, and they are Priceless.

Spoiler for Endgame (like that could be spoiled further)

Rating -- M for sensitive subject matter

Setting -- The last night in the Delta Quadrant.

Very Angst and sap alert

Shattered Porcelain

"Five years? It may as well have been a life time." He thought as he watched her hands touch the green vines. Five years since he had watched her garden. Now, as then, he had always loved her skin and compared it to fine china porcelain. The creamy texture, the pure color and even the slight chill that it held if he accidentally brushed his hand up against it, he loved her skin. Now as he looked at her he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Mike Ayala had called him on his com badge as to not alert the entire ship, but this would be hard to keep under wraps. Even if he could swear the other people to silence, he was sure that someone would find out what had happened tonight. He suddenly thought that maybe she had planned it that way so that they would all have to face the truth. The truth that now he saw in front of him.

Their strong captain that had stood in front of the Borg, the Hirogen and Species 8472 and never batted an eyelash was just as human and frail as the rest of them. He had known this all along. He had loved that part of her. Ever since New Earth he had loved her with all his heart. Now his heart was breaking at the sight in front of him.

"Commander what are we going to do with her?" Lt. Ayala asked quietly.

"I am going to calm her down first of all. Then I am going to have a very long talk with her." Chakotay stared at the woman on her knees in the hydroponics bay. She had her back turned to them but it was obvious she was still crying, "Mike, you keep anyone from coming in here. I'll let you know when we beam to her quarters. I don't have to tell you to keep this quiet."

"That's why I called you first after Sam and Naomi found her." Mike gently put his hand on Chakotay's arm, "Good luck, I know you love her enough to get through whatever is happening."

"You are a good friend Mike." Chakotay smiled briefly at his friend and then started walking towards Kathryn.

"Captain," Chakotay said as the doors slid shut behind him, "Kathryn look at me."

When she only started crying harder again he knelt down behind her. He looked at the tomato plants she was carefully touching.

"What's wrong Kathryn? Please talk to me."

"Five years I have tended these plants and I can't make myself go through it anymore."

"Go through what Kathryn?" He asked still trying to get her to turn around and look at him.

"I guess you really have forgotten now Chakotay. The Admiral said it was already serious."

Suddenly all the answers flooded his mind. The Admiral had told her something about his dates with Seven, and those were the same tomatoes that she had insisted they bring back from New Earth. Could she still love him after all they had been through?

"Just what did she tell you Kathryn?"

"That you are in love with Seven and that after you get married she will die in your arms and you will never be the same afterwards."

This news set him back on his heels. While he had somewhat enjoyed the first two kisses that he and Seven had shared. He could not imagine marrying Seven, not when he loved someone else. Not when he loved Kathryn so much.

Not able to stand another second of hearing her cry, Chakotay reached around her to embrace and comfort her. What happened next was so completely unexpected that if it wasn't for his years of Star Fleet and Maquis training, a tragedy would have occurred right then.

She startled at his touch and jumped toward the corner turning over the container of tomatoes in her haste. As he leaps to his feet to walk toward her his eyes caught the gleam of something shiny. It was the pair of pruning shears she had been using on the plants.

"Kathryn, you don't want to do that. Now just hand those to me and we can talk."

"No Chakotay, there is nothing more to talk about. I won't keep you from Seven."

"You don't know what you are really talking about. Now hand me those shears Kathryn." He tried to keep the fear out of his voice but the sight of his captain, his beloved, holding a pair of razor sharp shears to her wrist was quickly unnerving him.

"No! You don't need me anymore and you can get the crew home tomorrow as well as I could. Then you won't need me at all. No one will."

"You are so wrong Kathryn." He said trying to step closer to her.

"Stop Chakotay, You are the one wrong. If anything this is fitting that I stay here in the same quadrant that I doomed all of us to seven years ago."

"Kathryn please give me those, you are scaring me." He held his hand out while he took two more steps toward her.

"No. I don't want to hurt you, but I can't go on with things this way."

"Kathryn, I won't let you hurt me physically. But if you do this you will kill my soul too."

"How? You love Seven now!" she said pressing the blade harder against her wrist.

"I should have told you that she asked me out on four dates. But it has only been four dates. I am not in love with her and I can't be when I am still in love with you."

"You're lying. You just want me to stop and nothing is going to stop me."

"Then here Kathryn," Chakotay said stepping closer still and holding his arms out wrists up, "Here, cut me first! Because I swear that if you die you will take my soul with you!"

For the first time that afternoon Chakotay saw a hint of reason in Kathryn's eyes.

"You really do still love me?"

"Yes, my love. I never stopped loving you. We just drifted for a while."

"I never stopped loving you either Chakotay. I couldn't stop. I have loved you since that beautiful speech of yours on New Earth."

Encouraged by her words he takes another step toward her and reaches out for the pruning shears she still holds against her delicate wrist.

"No don't come any closer Chakotay."

"Please stop this, my love."

"I don't deserve your love. I still am the one who condemned all of us out here. I still am responsible for all of my crewmen's deaths. Even if we do get home tomorrow I can't face all of those families and try to tell them why I made it home and their loved ones didn't."

She suddenly saw the man in front of her change back into the Angry Warrior who had beamed aboard her ship seven years ago.

"Kathryn Marie Janeway you listen to me right now." The volume of his voice makes her jump and she stares straight into his fiery black eyes. "First of all, I will determine who I think deserves my love and no one else. Not an Admiral from the future or a borg drone or someone who isn't thinking rationally right now, No one will tell me who I decide to Love."

Kathryn relaxes her grip on the shears that he had made for her on New Earth. Chakotay slowly holds his hand out to her and she gently places them onto his large palm. He slowly closes his hand around the tool and brings it to his side.

"Secondly, If you ever try anything like this again you will not be able to sit down for a week I promise you." He doesn't pause at the sudden fire in her eyes, "I don't care if you would hate me afterwards. It would kill me faster to have to bury you. They would have put me in the coffin beside you."

At these words she starts trembling and crying, so he quickly throws the shears across the room and gathers her in his arms. After minutes of whispering comforting words into her hair and rubbing her back, Chakotay feels the first wave of pain and suffering that she has locked up for seven years begin to ebb. He careful holds her away from him just enough so that she can look at him again.

"And third, I will be right beside you, as I have tried my best to be these past seven years, as we face those families and the Admirals and the rest of our years alive."

"Chakotay, What do you mean?"

"I mean I love you with all my heart and my soul. I never want to leave you for as long as I live. I mean I want to grow old with you and love you for the rest of eternity."

"Oh Chakotay I have loved you for so long. How could I have ever given up hope on you?"

"It's been hell these last seven years, but I know that after tomorrow when we are back in the Alpha quadrant we can start to make our life together. I will do everything in my powers to make it happen for us."

He brings his hands up to her face and softly begins to wipe away the remaining tears and smooth back the ruffled hair from her face. She closes her eyes as he touches her with feather light fingers all around her face and neck. Then as he once again holds her face in his hands he says, "Kathryn, look at me." When she finally opens her eyes he continues, "Are you going to be alright now?"

"Yes. For the first time in my life I know I will be alright because I know that you will always love me."

"Computer, transport two to my quarters order Maquis twelve wolf five." Chakotay says still looking into her eyes.

After they materialize in his cabin he lets go of her face with one hand to quickly tap his com badge, "Ayala, the bay is free again. Could you lock it for the night?"

"Yes sir." Lt. Ayala answers the Commander sounding very happy.


"Yes, Commander?"

"The captain and I have some last minutes plans to finish and we do Not want to be disturbed until further notice. Do you understand?"

"Of course Sir. I will reroute all calls. Tuvok out."

Chakotay gently places his hand back on Kathryn's face and begins softly kissing her forehead then her cheeks then looks into her eyes and says, "I never want to see your porcelain face look that broken again. Promise me, my love."

"I promise you, because you make me whole, my Chakotay."

With those words, Chakotay finally leans down and kisses her for the first time and begins the process to make their hearts and souls finally whole.