by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
This is the first story in a series inspired by this sonnet that can be found at here.
Summary: Janeway experiences a personal crisis
as a result of a decision that she made.
Disclaimer: Voyager and its characters belong to Paramount.
Thanks to my Writing Consultant and Super Idea Woman: Mizvoy
Thanks to my Beta: Jadie
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
Kathryn stepped hesitantly into sickbay. She had delayed her visit until Voyager was out of Mizzerian territory and on its way around it. It wasn't that Tuvok couldn't manage commanding the vessel in her absence, but the heavily armed escort made her both uneasy and agitated. She was relieved that the Mizzerian government didn't make good on their threat to impound Voyager after she tried to get the information she needed on her own. All she needed was a scan of their wormhole so she could determine if it was worth fighting the bureaucracy to get permission to use it. She failed to get the scan and should have felt lucky that the crew wasn't now stranded on one of this sector's less inviting planets. However, losing an opportunity for a possible shortcut didn't correlate with her definition of luck.
Sickbay was mostly dark except for the glow from the light in the Doctor's office. He rose to greet his guest when the doors opened. "Captain, what can I do for you?"
Looking around the room at the four occupied beds, she asked, "How are they?"
"They're going to be fine in another 10 hours or so. The thermolitic energy discharge caused a neural trauma that affected their brain's ability to regulate their cardiovascular system. I've repaired all of the damaged tissues and the biobeds are monitoring their cardiac rhythms until they are once again regular. The only thing left to do now is to let them rest and watch them carefully."
Kathryn questioned with worry, "But the Mizzerian officials said they were only stunned?"
"Perhaps that is what the effect would be on Mizzerian physiology, but on human and human/klingon hybrid physiology, it was considerably more than a stun."
Not even wanting to consider the personal and professional repercussions of losing B'Elanna, Harry, Ayala, and Chakotay, she pushed down the fear of what might have happened if the Doctor hadn't acted so quickly. She realized that the Doctor knew she had sent these people on a near-fatal mission. "Thank you Doctor. I don't know…" She trailed off, not sure what her words should be.
With his usual pride significantly toned down with concern for his captain's emotional state, he said, "I just did what needed to be done. As they did."
Kathryn nodded her thanks and moved around sickbay, taking a moment at each bed to make sure the equipment was on and running smoothly. It wasn't that she didn't trust the doctor to manage the biobed sensors, but it made her feel a little more in control of their fates. She tucked one of B'Elanna's wayward hair strands in with the others, and she smoothed out the covers over Harry. She thought Ayala looked cold, so she added another blanket to his legs.
Finally, Kathryn made her way to Chakotay's bed. After she checked his monitors, straightened his sickbay gown, and added a warming blanket, she stood over him and debated whether or not to stay. She thought he looked pale and came to the conclusion that another pair of eyes wouldn't hurt his recovery. Pulling a chair close, she cautiously sat down as if he might wake with her movements. She watched him carefully and wished she could take back everything she had said to him earlier in the day. Once again, she had taken a chance and gone against his better judgment, putting him in harm's way. It happened when she forced him to fight his innermost demons when they were in chaotic space, but that time it worked. This time, it didn't and she felt sick about it.
With her stomach tied in knots, Kathryn tried to relax by leaning back into the chair. She placed her hand on his leg and imagined her strength flowing into him. She knew she should be a better listener, that she should be more willing to modify her decisions, but earlier that day, she was so sure that her plan would work and that they would succeed. It wasn't long before her mind drifted back and she could hear his words clearly…
"Captain, it isn't worth going behind their backs to get the information a few days earlier."
"It might not be just a few days. It could be a week or even longer at the rate they're going. And the scans they get might not even tell us what we need to know. All I want is for you take Harry and B'Elanna to the wormhole and get the quick scan we need. Then we'll know if it's worth sticking around to play their bureaucratic games."
Chakotay rubbed the back of his head and thought for a moment. "There is no guarantee that we won't be detected. Are you sure you want to risk that?"
Smiling, Kathryn said, "I have the utmost faith in your subterfuge skills, Commander."
"I'm glad to hear it, but I'm not sure I agree. They detected us light years before we detected them. Doesn't that indicate that their sensors may be stronger than ours?"
Kathryn frowned. "Or it means that they could have had a scout ship that we didn't detect, or an outpost that scanned us. Nothing they have shown us so far gives any indication that their technology is more advanced than ours."
Sighing, Chakotay added, "That doesn't mean it isn't. I recommend we give them at least two more days to provide the data. Then we can re-evaluate. Until then, there are things to be done in engineering that we can't do when we're moving."
Kathryn shook her head, starting to get agitated at Chakotay's reluctance. "I don't like sitting here like we're dead in space."
"It's not as if we're defenseless and they haven't shown any hostility." His tone contained a little disbelief.
Kathryn stood. "They won't allow long range scans and we aren't allowed to move without an escort. I feel like a damn sitting duck!" She emphasized her next points by hitting the desk hard with her finger. "There is absolutely no harm in a scan. It's not like I'm suggesting we go through their precious wormhole without their permission."
Rising to meet her, Chakotay said, "And you're sure that you're perceived vulnerability is worth risking their anger and the chance to cut weeks or months off our trip? Don't you think you're being a little impatient?"
Kathryn glared straight into his eyes. "You have your orders, Commander." She could tell that he was angry with her, but she knew that he wouldn't contradict her once she gave an order unless he thought lives were at stake. She chose not to give a reprimand when he nodded curtly and quickly exited the ready room.
Kathryn's focus returned to Chakotay's face as guilt swelled inside her. She knew his request had been rational and sound. Her excuse for speeding up the process now seemed foolish. She was sure he had grounds to refuse to obey her orders, but he had followed them anyway. He never refused to follow orders, even when he should. He was more loyal than she deserved, and today's mission proved it once again.
The doctor interrupted her train of thought. "Pardon me, Captain. I just need to make an adjustment to the monitor."
She sat up straighter. "Why? Is something wrong? Is he getting worse?"
Sounding surprised, he said, "No, not at all. In fact, the monitors haven't sent any pulses to his heart for two hours. It's time to take him off."
Kathryn looked around. "And the others? What's their status?"
The doctor smiled soothingly. "All the same… although they've been off for an hour already, I had to keep the commander on longer. He seems to have received a stronger shock than the others… perhaps because he was in the pilot's seat."
Her heart hammered in her chest with the realization that Chakotay was in such bad shape. "You're sure it's okay to take him off?"
The doctor squeezed her hand and said, "I'm sure. Why don't you go get some rest? I'm sure you probably need it."
She was too worried about Chakotay to be bothered by the doctor's patronizing tone. "I'd like to stay just a few minutes longer… then I'll go."
The doctor nodded and quietly called up the privacy screen around the beds. He said, "Just in case they wake up, they'll have more privacy."
Accepting his reasoning, Kathryn focused again on Chakotay. Worried that his heart might stop, she took his hand between both of hers and let her thumb settle against his wrist. The gentle pulsing was reassuring and a reminder that despite her poor judgment, good fortune prevailed and he was safely back on Voyager. Her mind drifted again to earlier in the day…
"Captain, we're being hailed," Tuvok quietly reported.
A Mizzerian official appeared onscreen. "Captain Janeway, we have picked up one of your shuttles on our sensors. Would you please explain why it has left your ship?"
She pulled out her excuse. "We detected a rare combination of gasses in the nebula and sent a shuttle to explore how they naturally coexist."
The Mizzerian looked at her with astonishment, "Captain, hydrogen and argon gasses are commonplace in nebulas in this region of space. Surely you've encountered them before?"
"Yes, you're correct. However, we've not had the luxury of time that we currently have while waiting for your council to consider our request."
The alien didn't respond as his attention was diverted to someone Kathryn couldn't see or hear clearly. A few moments later, he stated, "Captain, your shuttle resisted arrest and we were forced to take action. Your crew has been stunned with a thermolitic charge and they and your shuttle will be brought to you in a few moments. You have violated our trust and will be escorted out of our territory. Stand by for further instructions."
Before Kathryn could respond, the signal was terminated and the view screen went dark. She anxiously asked the ops officer, "Ensign, do you have our shuttle on sensors?"
"Yes ma'am. It's being towed in with a tractor beam."
"Lifesigns?" Kathryn held her breath while the ensign made the scan.
"Four ma'am, but they are not stable."
Kathryn's heart beat heavily as she called the doctor. "Bridge to Sickbay. Prepare for incoming wounded. Our away team has been stunned with a thermolitic charge and their lifesigns are not stable. I'm sending Lt. Paris down to assist." She nodded at Paris as he practically ran to the turbolift doors. She had no doubt that he was moving quicker than usual because his wife was in danger.
Kathryn startled awake when she felt a tightening around her hand. She looked up to see a gentle smile. "Chakotay?"
He closed his eyes while he squeezed the hand that was still holding onto his. "Your neck is going to hurt if you keep sleeping with it at that angle."
She blinked rapidly to clear the sleep-induced fog. "I fell asleep." She looked down at their joined hands and instinctively pulled hers away. "Sorry. I was just checking on you."
Disappointment apparent in his still gentle expression, he said, "You don't need to apologize. It was nice to wake up with you here."
With a caring smile, Kathryn asked, "How are you feeling? You had a pretty big shock."
Chakotay moaned softly. "I feel like I've been hit by a…. what was that anyway?"
"A thermolitic charge. It was supposed to stun you so they could more easily arrest you." Kathryn squeezed his shin.
"Since I'm here on Voyager, I guess it didn't work?"
She sighed. "No, it worked, although it did a lot more damage than a stun. We almost lost all of you." She smiled, trying to fight the moisture forming in her eyes. "I was very worried."
Reality starting to seep in, he quickly asked, "Is everyone else okay?"
Nodding, she said, "Yes, or they will be. They're resting. The doctor says you were hit the worst."
Compassion in his eyes, he said, "And I'm okay, so you don't need to worry."
"I should go check in with Tuvok." Kathryn stood and straightened her jacket. "We're outside of Mizzerian territory now." She hoped he couldn't detect the tears that were forming.
Chakotay struggled to raise his head and shoulders as he reached for her hand. "I'm sure he'll let you know if he runs into any problems. Please stay?"
She could tell that he knew she was fighting tears. "I've stayed too long already. I'll catch up with you tomorrow?"
"Kathryn, are you okay?"
His concern was apparent, but she didn't want to talk to him about what happened at the moment. "I'm fine. Tomorrow?" She deactivated the privacy screen and was out the door without giving him an opportunity to answer.
The next day, Kathryn received notice that the doctor released all four away team members as they woke, and Chakotay was the last one at 11:00. She made a point to be unavailable to continue their discussion by sending Tuvok and Paris off duty so that she would be the only one left to command the bridge.
When Paris took over for beta shift, Kathryn went to engineering to check on their status. Carey and Vorik were struggling with re-fitting a section of plasma conduits and they all wanted to avoid calling B'Elanna. Kathryn was coming out of a Jeffries tube when Chakotay found her.
"Any luck, Captain?"
Kathryn looked up, confused. "With what?"
"Carey said you were up to your elbows in plasma residue looking for a broken latch. I was curious if you found it."
Smiling wryly, she held up the guilty piece of equipment. "Aren't you supposed to be off duty?"
Chakotay crossed his arms in front of him. "Aren't you?"
She wiped her hands on her uniform pants while ignoring his question. "Joe will be glad to see this." She walked over to Carey and handed him the latch before turning back to Chakotay. "Is there something I can do for you, Commander?"
"I was hoping to drag you away to dinner."
Kathryn was prepared for his invitation. "Thanks, but I've been working on a sandwich in B'Elanna's office."
Chakotay asked, "Could I speak to you for just a moment?"
Unable to refuse him in front of Carey, she agreed and let him follow her into the office.
Kathryn took a drink of coffee and asked, "How are you feeling? Did you get plenty of rest today?"
"I'm doing all right, pretty sore, but getting better." He put his hands on his hips. "I think you've been avoiding me today."
Kathryn raised her eyebrows. "I've been working and you've been resting. How could I have been avoiding you?"
"You sent everyone off duty who could command the bridge and now you're doing overtime in engineering."
"Tuvok had been working all night and Tom wanted some time with B'Elanna. Joe didn't want to call for B'Elanna's help so I stepped in. It's as simple as that."
Chakotay slowly sat down with a sigh. "Last night when you left sickbay, I was worried about you."
Needing to avoid this conversation until she was ready to have it, she dismissed his concern. "I was just tired. I felt better this morning."
He shook his head and looked up at her. "Kathryn… Don't you think I know you better than that?"
Kathryn looked down at the desk. "Look Chakotay, I don't want to discuss this right now. It's been a long day and I'm not exactly sure what to say."
He studied her for a moment. "That's honest, at least. Do you have more work to do?"
She nodded. "I should help for a little while longer. I hate to leave them in the middle of it."
Chakotay stood and came around the desk. "I'll check in with you later then, when you're back in your quarters." He put his hands on her arms. "I'm not upset with you, I'm just concerned."
She smiled warily up at him. "I appreciate that, but I'm pretty upset with myself right now."
He laid his cheek against her hair and pulled her into a loose, but quick embrace. "We can talk about it later." He left her standing in the office.
She took a moment to compose herself before she followed. Stepping into one of the computer alcoves, she overheard a crewman around the corner.
"The commander must have as many lives as a cat. The captain keeps sending him off on deadly away missions and yet he lives. I wonder if his luck is going to run out one of these days."
Kathryn closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. She felt like she was starting to lose control. Just as she was about to confront the crewman, she heard Chakotay's very low and very serious voice. She stepped back into the corner of the alcove.
"Crewman, I would appreciate it if you kept your opinions to yourself."
The crewman inhaled loudly and replied, "Yes, sir. Sorry." After a short pause during which Chakotay must have started walking away, the crewman asked, "Sir? If you don't mind my asking?"
Chakotay replied, "Yes?"
"Doesn't it bother you that the captain risks your life for no reason?"
Kathryn's heart was heavy in her chest as she waited for his response.
His voice deadly serious, he answered, "I can assure you that she would never send anyone on a dangerous away mission without good reason. If she says it's important, then it's important. Is that clear?"
Chakotay added, "Just so you know… I would die to protect her and this crew. And I have absolutely no doubt that she would do the same."
Kathryn closed her eyes to fight back the tears that were threatening as she heard his footsteps walking away and the door to engineering closing behind him. Until this moment, she hadn't realized how much he respected and believed in her. She wasn't sure how she had earned such loyalty and devotion. She thought back to something her father told her when he had been severely injured while saving the life of a close friend and fellow officer. She was angry that he had put his life at risk and he told her, "There is no greater love than a man who would give his life for his friend… and that is what true devotion and loyalty means." She didn't quite understand at the time, but it rang truer now that it ever had before.
Several Hours Later…
Kathryn moaned as the computer notified her of someone's presence at her door. She remembered that Chakotay was coming to visit after she asked who was disturbing her rest. From her position on the couch where she had landed earlier, she called, "Come."
Chakotay stepped into the room and let the doors close behind him. He sighed when he saw Kathryn lying there with her eyes closed and her arm thrown over her face. "I was afraid I might wake you." He moved over to her.
"What time is it?"
"21:00." Chakotay picked up her legs and sat down, laying her feet in his lap. He started taking off her boots.
"Are you sure you want to do that? You might not appreciate the odor you're about to unleash."
"I'm sure I'll survive." After the boots were off, he began to massage her feet. "I found something that will make you feel better."
Her arm still across her eyes, she asked, "What's that?"
"After I left engineering, I enlisted Harry's help to pull the information out of the shuttle's computer."
She groaned. "Do I really want to know?"
"Yes, you do. We took the scans of the wormhole and got out of there as quickly as possible so we didn't take time to analyze them. I didn't know until about 30 minutes ago what the results were."
She propped herself up on her elbows. "And?"
"It leads to what appears to be the closest heavily populated sector, which was about 1400 light years away. However, it's not entirely in the direction we're headed - the coordinates are closer to the outer rim of the galaxy. We would have only gained about 500 light years and might have been out of communication with Starfleet for about a year."
Kathryn let her head and shoulders fall back down on the couch and sighed heavily. "That should make me feel better, shouldn't it?"
"I was hoping it would."
She recognized the unasked question in his voice and answered, "I am, or rather, I was upset about the lost opportunity, but I am more upset about not listening to you and putting the team in danger."
"You didn't think we'd be in danger and even the Mizzerians didn't realize how badly their weapons affected us."
"Don't try to let me off the hook, Chakotay." Kathryn pulled herself up and drew her knees to her chest. "I was wrong about not listening to you, and you could even say that this was a violation of the Prime Directive. I deliberately ignored their laws."
"You're over-reacting. This has nothing to do with the Prime Directive. We did violate a Starfleet regulation by not adhering to their laws, but we often have to scan into alien territory without permission. How often does a Starfleet vessel in the Alpha Quadrant scan into Romulan territory? The answer is as much as possible. We would be naïve not to."
"But we've only done it when we perceived a threat." Kathryn stood and went to the view port.
"Only when we gather intelligence, can we perceive a coming threat. You felt like we were sitting ducks without the ability to use long-range scanners. You just worked around it by sending a shuttle ahead to use its short-range scanners."
Kathryn said, "I keep going over the 'what ifs' in my mind and I know that I shouldn't."
"No, you shouldn't. You'll start doubting yourself."
With a sigh, she said, "I already do."
Chakotay stood and came around to stand beside her. They could see each other in the reflection. "You shouldn't."
Scrunching her eyebrows in question, she asked, "How do you know what I feel?"
"Hmph. Because I know you, probably better than you know yourself."
Kathryn said with challenge, "You think so?"
He nodded. "You feel guilty right now, very guilty. You feel like you let me and the other away team members down. If that wormhole had been useful and we'd lost the chance to use it, you'd be working on a severe state of depression. But I have no doubt that as soon as this crew or this ship arrives at it's next challenge, your 'what ifs' and doubts will disappear as you step up to make the tough decisions."
"And what happens the next time we disagree?"
Chakotay stepped closer and said, "Life wouldn't be very interesting if we agreed on everything, would it?"
Kathryn walked away. "You're making light of a very serious issue. You were right, I was wrong, I didn't listen, and people got hurt."
Sighing heavily, Chakotay said, "Fine. You want to talk about that? We will."
"I seem to have a recurring pattern of ignoring your advice and going forward full speed ahead."
"I think you're only remembering the incidents when you were wrong. There have been times when I've been wrong."
Kathryn turned to him. "I can think of two. Your instincts are usually right on, yet I…" She closed her eyes and clenched her hands into fists.
"Well, I can think of more than two, but I'm glad you have so much faith in me… in retrospect."
Her eyes flashed open. "What?"
"If you want to discuss this, then I think you need to hear this. You have a lot of faith in me, but usually after the fact. You applaud my intuition only after the game has been played."
Kathryn wasn't sure whether to feel angry or chastised. She took a moment to let the anger fade... her temper is what led them into needing this discussion in the first place. "Do you really feel that way?"
"I'm afraid so."
She felt deflated. "I don't know what to say."
Chakotay closed the distance between them again. "Do you know what worries me the most?" Kathryn shook her head and he continued. "One day, you're not going to listen to me, someone is going to die, and you're not going to be able to live with the guilt."
Quietly she said, "People have died as a result of my decisions before. Why would that worry you?"
"No one has ever died from a decision you made when you directly disagreed with me or Tuvok."
Kathryn exhaled forcefully and scratched her head. "I guess I should consider myself lucky then?"
"I don't know whether to consider you and this ship very lucky or just graced with a greater purpose."
"Greater purpose?" Kathryn arched an eyebrow. "That sounds a bit like pre-destination. Were we destined to be out here? Were we destined to meet?"
Chakotay shrugged. "Maybe you should call it fate. Whatever the source, sometimes I wonder how we've survived at all, and it always seems to come back to you. Is it your decisions, your instinct, or that brilliant mind of yours? I honestly believe we wouldn't be alive now if you weren't our captain. I can't describe this amazing gift of yours is, so I call it grace. It's an intangible aura that seems to protect you and this ship."
"You really believe in me that much?" She watched him nod. "I wish that aura had been protecting us the day the Caretaker brought us here."
Chakotay tugged on his ear. "Do you think maybe it was? That it allowed for the rescue of my ship? I know my life was forever changed by your arrival into it and I find it hard to imagine myself in the Alpha Quadrant right now… probably because I'd be dead or in prison."
Kathryn reached out to place her palm on his chest. "I can't either."
Chakotay was silent for a moment while he covered her hand with his own and looked into her eyes, the attraction between them nearly palpable. "I hate to bring this up right now, Kathryn, but I think we should talk about it."
She pulled away and looked out at the stars again. "I don't think I can."
"Not while we're out here. I can't allow myself to even consider it."
Staying in the same spot, he asked, "You don't ever think about it? Not even in your dreams?"
She threw her head back in frustration and said, "Chakotay, I don't have the strength for this."
"Then let me describe it for you and you can tell me what you think?"
She rubbed her face with her hands and said, "Okay, fine. Describe it."
"You would do anything for this ship and this crew. You love every single person on this ship so much that you make every sacrifice possible to ensure his or her happiness. You're only happy when they're happy and you're miserable when they aren't."
She interrupted him. "What does that have to do with us?"
He sighed. "I just wish…"
He closed his eyes. "That you only loved me half as much as you love this crew."
Very quietly, she said, "Oh, but Chakotay. I do… and so much more."
Neither spoke for a long moment. Kathryn was afraid he hadn't heard her until she felt his arms fold around her from behind. After standing in his embrace for a minute, she said, "The problem isn't that I don't. It's that I can't."
He squeezed her and laid his chin on top of her head, looking at their reflection in the viewport. "I'm not asking for a relationship. I only want to acknowledge what's between us so that we don't have to hide from it. We'll be stronger with it out in the open."
After a long silence, Kathryn quoted, "I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach." She pulled his arms around her tighter.
"Browning?" Chakotay asked.
"You know her work?"
Chakotay smiled. "Only a little. That one is pretty famous. How do I love thee?"
She answered, "Let me count the ways."
"What comes next?" Almost imperceptibly, they had begun to sway together.
"I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach when feeling out of sight." She paused while she thought about it. "The beginning of this poem… I believe that its talking about an infinite amount of love that is so pure that the tangible aspects are unseen."
"Like our love? We know it's there, we just don't talk about it or act on it?"
She shrugged. "Maybe something like that." She continued. "You know, it's remarkable that you mentioned grace earlier. The next line of the poem is about a love so great that it's beyond what we can see or sense, and so it can only be explained by grace."
"Do you believe that?"
"It's not very scientific, but when is anything about love scientific?"
He chuckled. "Good point." He held her in the quiet room for a long time as the repercussions of their conversation sank in. "So do you think there might be capacity in your 'infinite love' for both me and this ship?"
Closing her eyes, she said. "I don't know. I don't think I have it in me, but I don't know."
Chakotay quoted, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
"Who wrote that?"
"I thought for sure you would know. Your poet's husband… Robert Browning."
She thought for a moment. "So, am I your heaven?"
He smiled. "On most days."
Laughing, she said, "Fair enough."
"Kathryn, I'm really not asking for a physical relationship, only an acknowledgement of what we have."
She turned around and put her hands on his chest. Looking up into his eyes, she said, "At the end of the day, when the crew is happy and the ship is safe, if I have anything left, it's yours. I don't think I can promise any more than that."
His hands moved up her back to bring her into a tight embrace. Her head found its way onto his shoulder and his face nuzzled into her hair. "I promise that I won't ask for any more and I won't give you any less."
They stayed like that for a long time before Kathryn lifted her head. She looked deep into his eyes as she extended her face up to his. Their eyes closed as their lips met in a soft, warm, and tender embrace.
The kiss ended gently with their lips remaining very close. Quietly, Chakotay said, "I love you, Kathryn."
She smiled. "I know. I don't know what I did to deserve it, but I know." She paused before she pulled her head back a little and said, "I heard you in engineering today. Would you really die for me?"
Chakotay tightened his hold on her and said, "Without a doubt."
Warm shivers spread through Kathryn's body at the pure love and devotion that his words and eyes conveyed. "And you were right… I would do the same."
He closed his eyes and let their foreheads touch. "You bring peace to my soul, Kathryn."
She had no words that could convey what she was feeling at that moment, so she just held onto him as if her life depended on it.
His words interrupted her reverie. "We both should get some sleep."
She nodded. "But I don't want to let go."
Chakotay kissed her softly and pulled away. "I'll see you in the morning."
After the doors closed behind him, Kathryn stood in the middle of the room with her fingers touching her lips. She knew her life had been forever changed in the last hour. Her heart seemed to be rapidly forging ahead, while her mind was struggling to catch up.
The end of the story, but the beginning of a wonderful life together.
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