May 20, 2374
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Summary: She wasn’t blind to what the pocket watch symbolised for him, but she didn’t see it the same way.

Characters: Chakotay, Janeway

Codes: Janeway/Chakotay

Disclaimer: Characters are Paramount's. No infringement intended.

Notes: Stardate 51380.8, during Year of Hell.

Rated K

For weeks he’d kept the watch in his pocket, a talisman, and so often had his fingers and thumb strayed to rub at its comforting shape that the brass now wore an aged, authentic patina.

Candlelight and laughter had steeped into its surface, and its cogs turned with loyalty and shared history. Defiance marched in each steady tick of its hands.

And hope.

He wanted to give her back that, too.

She was hunched over a burnt relay and her face was stone. In the flickering dark, he crouched beside her.

“Happy birthday,” he said, and held out his heart.