Even Educated Fleas...

by Suz suzvoy@yahoo.com

Disclaimer - Paramount on the characters.

I intended this to be a parody, but then the damn story wrote itself and mutated into this. Hopefully I'll be able to get to the parody later...

I don't know what it is with me and really short stories lately.


"Well then Chakotay, let's do it."

He blinked, having no idea what she was refering to. Mentally re-playing their conversation in his mind he soon came to the conclusion that her words had nothing whatsoever to do with the crew rotations.

"Excuse me?" he asked, partially to double check and partially to convince himself that she had said the words because by now he was so confused he could barely remember how to spell his own name.

Kathryn leant towards him on the couch in her ready room, the padd resting between the, seeming to have lost all importance. "I said," she whispered "'let's do it'."

"Do *what*?" he continued, worried at what her answer would be and just as worried that he had a good idea what her answer would be.

Fortunately, it wasn't what he expected.

Unfortunately it was something worse.

"Fall in love," she told him, eyes glistening.

Chakotay's whole body froze. He couldn't move, couldn't speak. He was sure that he even stopped breathing for a few moments.

It was then that he seemed to be outside himself in that curious way that happens when something doesn't seem real or it's something you can't or don't want to deal with.

So he watched. He could feel nothing clearly, hear nothing clearly. But he watched himself in this small room in a ship lost between the stars speaking to Kathryn. Kathryn. The beginning and the end of everything. Or so *she* liked to think at times.

He watched as he asked "Why?", a question that held so many permutations. Why me? Why now? Why not before?

Still he could hear nothing but he watched her lips move and saw the answer emerge:


With almost a slow fascination, he looked on as Kathryn raised a single hand to gently touch his face. As soon as a lone finger made contact suddenly he was back in his body and he could hear his blood pounding in his ears, could smell the scent of her, could see her smile as if nothing else existed and the contact was so real and so true and more intense than anything he had ever experienced.

Swearing, he jerked away from her.

She looked as shocked by his behaviour as he felt, her hand still hovering in the air.

It wasn't enough for him. He wanted it to be - Gods he wanted it to be - but after everything that had happened, everything they had been through, it simply wasn't enough. 'Because' was no kind of answer. Not anymore.

Repeating his question again, he watched as her face saddened and she lowered her hand.

"It just seemed right at the time."

And that was it. 'At the time'. He hated that, hated that about her. With something that was this important, something that had the potential to affect their lives, it was right 'at the time'. Which meant it was equally likely that she could change her mind in the future.

This had to be more than just a whim.

"What about later, Kathryn? What if this evening or tomorrow it doesn't feel right?"

Shaking her head she sighed. "Chakotay, I can't offer you any guarantees-"

"Of course you can't and I'm not asking you to. I *am* asking that you'll at least try, that the first time we hit a bump in the road you won't turn and run."

Glaring at him she sat up straighter as if she couldn't believe he'd speak to her like that. "What are you implying?"

He matched her glare for glare. "You're like two different people, Kathryn. One day you're laughing with the crew, the next you've got a permenant frown etched into your forehead and you snap at everyone. Fair enough, we all have our mood swings. I know I'm certainly not at my cheeriest at three a.m." He paused. "But with you it's always one extreme or the other."

Her glare lost some of its strength. "Chakotay..."

"I just need to know that you're going to try," he continued, determined to get this out before she tried to dissuade him.

They sat in silence for a while, and soon he began to lose all sense of time. It could have been minutes, hours. Nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

"I snore." she told him.

"I know."

"I'm one hell of a bitch when I have PMT."

"I know."

"I had sex with Neelix."

"No you didn't."

"Just checking."

She grinned.

He smiled.

Picking up the padd that sat between them, he began to read off the details. "Ensign Parsons and Crewman Emmanuelle are being moved to beta shift..."

"I like to be on top."

"I figured."


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