by Suz

Disclaimer - shake baby shake. Jump that mountain. *

"Who's the father?"

Kathryn and Sam sat comfortably together in the Captains quarters. The question was not an unexpected one so Kathryn gave the answer.


From Sam's expression Kathryn concluded that it wasn't too much of a surprise...although...there was something. "What? What is it?"

The younger woman hesitated. "I know it's not my place-"

Kathryn chuckled at the terminology. "Samantha, for what I'm asking of you I think you have the right to ask just about anything." She liked Wildman. The woman was strong but not arrogant or challenging. A welcome change.

"It's...look I know biologically the timing is way off for what stage of pregnancy you're at but...I thought that if you were pregnant by anyone it would have been that Devore."

Kathryn's smile froze a little. While at the beginning of her 'relationship' with Chakotay she had been brought frequent memories of her time with Kashyk, of late she had taken to thinking of him less. It wasn't done entirely on purpose, but she would admit that part of her found it somewhat difficult to reconcile the fact that he had betrayed her and every day she had a growing sense that Chakotay would do the same. She knew Kashyk would betray her the moment they met. But Chakotay...

As her Captain said nothing, Samantha pressed on. "I only had the...pleasure of meeting him once but..." she tipped her head to one side, thoughtful. "There was something strange about him."

Finally, Kathryn smirked. "It's called 'unusual amounts of sex appeal'." They both grinned and Kathryn grew contemplative. "He knew, the entire time. He knew he had it." It had been in every moment, every step, every heavy-lidded or wide-eyed look. "Chakotay...he knows sometimes. It's not as obvious but he knows."

After a few more moments of silence, Sam spoke again. "Captain, why aren't you having the baby? The truth."

Her response was immediate. "I don't want the burden. And I believe that will result in my being a bad mother."

"I don't think that will happen, Captain. You have always done what it absolutely necessary for your crew. If it were absolutely would do it. You would have your child, raise it, love it and some part of you may even be happy because of it."

Kathryn shook her head. "I'm not the domesticated type-"

"I'm not saying you are." Sam interrupted, growing bolder. "I'm not saying you have to be. I don't expect to see you running around doing the cleaning and looking after the baby while Chakotay goes off for a hard day's work. You can raise this child by yourself and do a *good job*." She paused, apparently losing her voice for a moment. "I know it's possible Captain."

"Not for me." She was insistent.

"Perhaps. Perhaps not." Sighing, she ran her hands over her face. "I can't do this for you Captain. In spite of my own spite of almost anything I would seriously consider doing this...if it weren't for Naomi. I don't want to risk how this may affect her."

"She's a strong girl Sam."

"I know that." She seemed almost regretful that she was. That she had to be. "But I won't take the risk. She is more important to me than *anything*."

And Kathryn knew then that any further words would be futile. Samantha would die before she'd risk hurting her child. And Kathryn...

...Kathryn dismissed Wildman and pulled up the next name on the list.


"I heard what happened."

B'Elanna looked across at her old friend as he sat opposite her in the mess hall. "How?" She asked grumpily, wondering why he didn't look as pissed off as she felt.

"Maquis tactics," was his only reply apart from the cheeky grin.

She snapped, throwing her fork onto the table. "Why are you in such a good mood?"

Used to her displays of anger, he shrugged it off and spoke quietly. "Think about it logically B'Elanna. Who in their right *mind* would have our child? No one on the ship would risk it, knowing that if something happened they'd have to face Kathryn or me. She's going to run out of people to ask and then come to the 'startling revelation' that she's going to have to have the child herself after all." He seemed almost manic.

Watching his expression, she came to a revelation of her own. "That's what you like most about this, isn't it?"

He frowned. "What?"

"Not that she's going to keep the child or have it herself...but that you're going to prove her wrong. This has nothing to do with the child." Kahless, it was all so simple now.

His nostrils flared; his eyes darkened. "Don't you dare assume that this has ever been about anything except the child."

She wasn't in the slightest bit threatened. "Really? Then what about before the pregnancy? What was it about then?"

"It was-"

"Yeah. Yeah, I know what it *was* Chakotay. I know what it's about now." Standing with her tray she looked down at him. "When you figure it out yourself maybe we'll have better luck with this conversation."

Dumping her tray on the counter she pushed by the people in front of her and stormed out of the room.

At the table, Chakotay took a sip of his coffee.


Part Eight

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Vengeance Of Heaven