Simply
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount own 'em.

Set quite some time into their journey.

*

Something was bothering her, that he knew for certain. He also knew that she wouldn't bring it up unless he told he wanted to talk about it, so he made the decision and went to her quarters after her shift ended.

There was some delay after he beeped for entry, but eventually she allowed him in.

She was in a chair, in her night wear, staring out the viewport. A leg was propped elegantly up on the table in front of her, bent slightly at the knee.

There was no illumination in her quarters.

"What can I do for you, Chakotay?"

He smiled. Of course she would know.

"I bring coffee." He told her, moving around her chair and placing it next to her foot on the table. Stepping around the table he promptly sat on the couch. Had she been looking straight ahead, she would had been looking directly at him. As it was, she continued gazing out the window.

"Thank you," She responded softly, allowing the drink to remain where it was.

Chakotay remained silent for a while, trying to enjoy the silence and being in her company. He honestly believed that she had forgotten he was there until he spoke again. "What's wrong?"

Finally pulling her gaze away from the window to look at him, she didn't even try to argue. "You don't want to hear it."

He frowned, leaning forward. "Of course I do. You're my closest friend."

"You do not want to hear *this*."

"You can't make that decision for me."

She shook her head, finally displaying an emotion other than apathy. "Chakotay, just trust me on this. You really don't want to hear about it."

"Yes I do," He insisted. "When have I ever not wanted to listen to something you had to say?"

Kathryn sighed, not her usual stubborn self. "Fine. You want to know what this is about? You *really* want to know what this is about?"

"Yes," Chakotay stated with finality.

Moving her gaze away from him, she relaxed and let her gaze linger out the viewport once more. Eventually, she spoke. "I...just want to go somewhere...and find someone...and not even know their name and just take them to bed and enjoy myself as I enjoy them."

It was...quite a surprise. But he honestly couldn't say it was entirely unexpected. "Then why don't you?" He asked, softly.

"In case you hadn't noticed, Chakotay, I'm the Captain of this ship. I know every single person on board. Quite well, I should add."

"Oh I don't know about that," He rebutted, leaning back against the couch. "You know some of us very well, but not all of us." At her raised eyebrow, he pressed on. "Do you know Ayala's first name?"

"Ayala has a first name?"

Chakotay smiled. "Absolutely."

"Absolutely Ayala? That's a very strange name Chakotay..."

"Very funny." He allowed himself a quick chuckle before he continued. "Besides, it doesn't have to be someone on Voyager. Why not the next friendly planet we come to? Space station? Space ship?"

"Are you suggested that I should whore myself through the Delta Quadrant?"

He tried not to wince at her choice of wording. "That's entirely up to you to decide. All I'm suggesting is that if you want to then you should."

That eyebrow rose again. She had clearly been spending a lot of time with Tuvok. "And what of the crew?"

"And what *of* the crew?" He countered. "How the hell are they going to find out? And what does it matter if they do? Having sex with someone isn't going to change your style of command, or alter the way you captain Voyager. You will be the Captain you've always been."

Her silence stretched out for a while, as they continued looking at each other.

"You know..." She said eventually "I've had this conversation with myself before a thousand times. And I came to that decision a thousand times. But I didn't, despite that."

Standing from the couch, he smiled. "Maybe it's time you did, Kathryn. Goodnight." Walking by her, he touched her shoulder gently before he walked to the door.

"Thank you."

Chakotay stopped before exiting. "Did I ever mention that I have another name?"

She smiled, staring at the stars. "Really? And what is it, if it doesn't insult your animal guide to ask."

"Simply," He responded, then left the room.

Still smiling, Kathryn closed her eyes and enjoyed the aroma of the drink that still rested next to her foot and imagined the sound of his footsteps disappearing along the corridor.

~FINIS

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