by Suz

Let's just say I was babysitting...

Very short.

Disclaimer - Paramount owns them, I'm not making any money.


I haven't really thought about her in years. There'd been brief recollections occasionally; a gesture, a smell. Something insignificant would remind me of her but then I'd brush away the memory as easily as brushing a leaf from the grass.

There was a time, so long ago it seems, that she was all I could ever think about. There would be surface thoughts - just enough so I could work and socialise - but my deeper thoughts were always focused on her. I didn't think they'd ever stop.

Funny how time changes things.

I saw her at the last reunion of course, and it was surprisingly easy to talk to her and Jack. I guess that was when I knew that the 'thing' that had never really existed between us was over. When I could look at her laughing, in love with someone else, and not wish I was the man she was smiling with.

Sometimes I wonder if my feelings for her on Voyager were real. I know I loved and cared for her but I have a hard time now trying to analyse why I thought I was in love with her.

The obvious answer is loneliness. We were thrust thousands of light years away from practically everyone and everything we knew. It's a part of human nature that we reach out for someone. No one wants to be alone.

But then perhaps I really *was* in love with her. It felt like it at the time. It was as if I had never seen my future more clearly or my destiny more accurately - to be with Kathryn and make sure she was happy.

So if it was love, why did it end? Why were we never together? Like all things in the universe, nothing is eternal. Not even the universe itself. One day it too will cease to exist. Perhaps that's what happened. It simply stopped, or slowly faded when we arrived back home.

We kept in contact with infrequent messages. I learned more about her life by reading the Federation News Service reports. An Admiral now, and she decided to forgo the child she said she'd always wanted and got another dog instead. I remember smiling when I read that. I'd wanted so much to meet Molly when we came back but she'd been long dead.

I'm baffled as to why, in this particularly moment, she's what I'm thinking of. I've moved on since then; married, divorced then married again. I'm happy with my life the way it is.

Feeling another presence in the room I force my aged eyelids open and see that she's staring down at me, a bemused half-smile on her lips. Did she come all this way to see me?

She moves her head down slightly, her grey hair reflecting in the sunlight passing through the window, and I don't even think to ask why she's there and my wife isn't.

"It never ended Chakotay," she whispers, her voice just as strong as it's always been "it *never* ended."

I don't even know what my reply is going to be until it emerges, and despite my confusion it brings an odd kind of peace. "I know."

My eyelids close then, too weary from their brief foray into exercise to remain open.

And strangely, my last thought is not of my wife, or of Kathryn, or of our relationship. My last thought is of a bathtub built seventy thousand light years away that's probably still where we left it. Mossy perhaps. Rotten through. But it's *there*. It's enduring.


Suz's Voyager Fanfic.

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