Advice For The Hard of Reasoning
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount own them. I play with them.

Part 19 in the DQ90210 series. Earlier parts can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~SuzVoy/deltaq.html

I have a feeling Part 20 will be very short.

*

It was ridiculous, really. She certainly wasn't going to barge into sickbay and insult him until he lost his temper.

No, she wasn't going to take Tom's advice at all.

As it happened, she would have looked rather ridiculous barging into sickbay because Chakotay wasn't there. The computer had informed her that he was in his quarters, no doubt having been released by the Doctor but under strict orders to rest. Or, as B'Elanna liked to put it, "Get some sleep or I'll kill you."

Nothing like a half-Klingon to inspire a sudden need to snooze.

It *was* ridiculous. There was no way she could even contemplate more than friendship with Chakotay. So much time had passed, so many rifts had been created. It was utterly implausible.

So why, Kathryn mused, was she standing just inside his doorway, staring at the darkness of his quarters?

There was only one possible conclusion: she was mad. Temporary insanity. It happened to everyone on occasion, although even Kathryn had to admit it seemed to happen to her more frequently than anyone else she'd encountered.

Mad. She had to be, because Heaven forbid that Kathryn Janeway would actually decide to get her hands on something that she wanted. Not for any noble reason. Not to benefit the crew. Just because she wanted to.

Heaven forbid.

Not particularly worried about the lack of mental stability that temporary insanity could well have caused, Kathryn decided that as she was already mad, another step forward wouldn't hurt at all.

Or another.

Or another.

He was nowhere to be seen, so she assumed he wasn't following her example and was actually getting some sleep.

That was fine. It wasn't as if she was going to talk to him anyway. She was just going to observe...and figure out what the hell to do about the writhing worms that seemed to have inhabited her stomach.

She knew very well what they meant. She just didn't know how to deal with them.

Quietly tiptoeing into his bedroom, she sighed when she heard the sound of deep breathing. At least he wouldn't see her staring at him. She wasn't sure she could face him if he were conscious. What did she expect to see, really? Some unexpected answer? An expression on his sleeping face that explained everything and would dissolve her confusion?

Unlikely.

Yet she was here anyway.

Shaking off that particular reverie - at least she was doing *something* - she looked towards the bed.

And stopped breathing.

Chakotay wasn't alone.

"Oh God," Kathryn whispered, unable to stop the words from escaping, unable to do anything except shake her head, close her eyes, and turn away. "Oh God, oh God."

Her skin was suddenly ice cold.

Even facing away, even with her eyes closed, she could still see them; Chakotay on his back, sleeping, with one arm wrapped under and around the waist of his companion. The young woman, hair free from its usual restraint, with her delicate un-Borgified hand resting on his bare chest and her head against his shoulder, the soft starlight highlighting the implant on the right side of her face.

Face facts. This was her own doing, wasn't it? She had encouraged Seven to go after Chakotay. She had basically told Chakotay to go screw himself because he was never going to get the opportunity to screw her.

But surely...he wouldn't...

...not Seven.

Not Seven.

Not him.

In the shuttlecraft, talking to her, it had been believable.

Here, now...it was unthinkable.

"No."

"Captain,"

At the sound of Seven's voice, Kathryn no longer wanted to exist. She wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else. She wanted to loose her tenuous grip on consciousness and slip into that soothing nothingness.

But she was, after everything, Kathryn Janeway. Opening her eyes, raising her head, she slowly turned and faced her. "Seven," She responded, matching the quiet tone.

Seven was sitting up in his bed, and Kathryn could quite clearly see now that she was wearing...pyjamas. An interesting sight. One she probably would have appreciated more if it had been any other moment.

"There is no need for concern," Seven stated. "We will not wake him. He is sleeping deeply from the medication the Doctor provided him with."

Grateful that she was staying away from other subjects, Kathryn nodded. "He took the medicine himself?"

The younger woman smiled softly. "All I will say is that it required some Borg ingenuity."

"I'm sure it did," She responded, allowing a smirk. "I really should get going-"

"No," Seven interrupted. "You clearly came here for a singular purpose. I am the individual who should leave."

"Seven-"

Kathryn stopped talking when Seven carefully moved out of Chakotay's hold and stepped out of the bed quickly. Walking by her Captain she strode into the next room where she obviously waited for Kathryn to join her.

Doing so, Kathryn opened her mouth to continue but, again, Seven cut her off.

"Captain, during my time on Voyager I have learned a great deal about the subject of 'love'. While I certainly believe I do not yet know everything, I do believe that I know enough to make a statement about you."

"Oh?" Kathryn asked, folding her arms across her chest. "And what would that be?"

"Despite your recent closeness to Lieutenant Paris, it is now obvious to me that you have developed romantic feelings towards Commander Chakotay. I had suspected beforehand, but recent events have led me to look at some situations with a different point of view, whereupon I came to my conclusion. The nature of his feelings for you have long been apparent, and as both of you share these feelings it seems foolhardy to resist them." Her statement made, Seven relaxed and stepped away a little.

Kathyrn let her hands fall to her side, trying not to let her defences crumble, trying to not let them be destroyed by the woman who had caused her frustration at least as many times as she had saved the ship. "You can't seriously tell me this is what you want, Seven. I saw the two of you together."

She lifted her chin. "We are friends. That is all. I believe he finds the action of sleeping together comforting. He dislikes loneliness."

"And you?" Kathryn stepped closer, frowning, whispering. "Why do you do it?"

Seven took another step back but her answer came immediately. "He is warm. Goodnight Captain."

Before Kathryn could utter another word - although anything she said would have been truly futile - Seven turned away and walked out of his quarters.

*

The Doctor hummed merrily to himself as he worked at the console in his desk, just allowing himself the indulgence of reading over his most historic medical moments. Hearing the hiss of the doors to sickbay opening, he deactivated the console as he stood then walked into the main sickbay area.

"Please state the nature-Seven?" He was really quite surprised to see her. Although, he had to admit, it was more her appearance that was the surprise. Her hair was down, she was dressed in pyjamas, and she was barefoot. She looked rather...confused. "Seven?"

Hearing her name she spun around to face him and - looking quite relieved - approached. "Doctor, I...felt the need for some companionship. May I stay with you?"

He frowned. "Of course. What happened?"

"I do not wish to discuss it."

The Doctor knew then that it involved the Commander. That he had somehow...hurt her. He had to repeat to himself several times that the Commander had not done so intentionally. He was not a person who hurt people deliberately. Deciding that light-hearted talking was the best course of action, he turned back towards his office and began with, "Well, I was just reading over-"

"Doctor,"

Looking back at her, he smiled. "Yes?"

She was studying the floor. When she lifted her head she looked nervous. "Will you...hold me?"

It was the not the kind of thing a hologram expected to hear, but he complied. "Well...yes, of course." He began an awkward shuffle towards her but she strode forward decisively, reaching him in two steps. Her arms went around him immediately, and as his went around her he hesitated for a split-second before he finished the movement and hugged her close.

Standing in the sanctuary of sickbay, he held her and wondered if perhaps he should thank Commander Chakotay after all.

TBC

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