Stumbling
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Yeah, Paramount own them.

Part 20 of the DQ90210 series. All earlier parts can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~SuzVoy/deltaq.html

I said this would be short. One more part.

*

His first thought was that he needed to stretch.

Pointing his arms behind his head he pulled his body in several directions at once, yawning loudly.

His second thought was that Seven was getting entirely too fiendish for her own good. She was certainly nowhere near as fiendish as a certain Captain of a certain Intrepid class Starship. But she was on her way.

Then he noticed something else: Seven wasn't lying next to him. Someone was definitely there, though - he could feel the added pressure of their weight on the mattress. Opening his eyes and blinking the sleep away, he looked to his right.

He sat up, throwing off the cover in his surprise.

She was sitting on the edge of the bed, her back towards him. She was slumped forward, resting her head in her hands. Sighing audibly - she must have known he was awake - she sat up and turned her head towards him slightly.

"Kathryn?"

And it was. It was her. She was in uniform, she had her com badge on, but it was her.

She opened her mouth, shaking her head.

"I thought I..."

That was as far as she got before she stopped talking, but it didn't matter. From the honesty in her expression, he knew - he understood - everything she was thinking.

I thought I...

I thought I could fight this. I thought I could force myself to stay away.

I thought I could erase the memory of your voice, your smile, your touch...from my mind.

I thought...

I thought I could walk away from you.

He moved, leaning towards her. She jerked away immediately and stood, an instinctive response, but he was off the bed just as quickly grabbing her hand, touching her skin, turning her back towards him.

Chakotay wasn't going to watch her walk away this time. Not again.

Frowning painfully, she kept her gaze on his chest. "This isn't-"

"You were the one who came here," He whispered. "Trust yourself."

"That's the one thing I can't do." She shook her head, closing her eyes.

"Then trust me," He replied. "Let me prove you wrong. Let me try."

Eyes still closed, her face relaxed and her free hand moved to rest on his side. "I love the feel of your skin."

Chuckling, delighted, he studied their position, they way they could almost have been dancing. "I love your ability to screw with my mind in the most amazing way."

She smiled, raising her eyelids and looking at his face. "Screwing with your mind was never my intention."

Tightening his grasp on her hand, he pulled her a little closer. "Really?"

"I *hate* being wrong," She muttered.

Somehow, this time, it didn't seem quite so bad.

TBC

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