Read Me To Sleep

by Suz

Disclaimer - "Harry, Harry, Harry," Tom Paris said as he was assimilated by the Para-Borg.

Sorry Rona. The next one will be what you wanted. Promise.


The land hadn't changed since they'd arrived here, so many years ago now. Every morning he rose, stepped outside of the shelter, and received the same view of the horizon. Only the sky changed. Dependant on the time of year, the weather, and sometimes it seemed, dependant on his mood. His favourite way to spend a morning was convincing a moaning Kathryn that she *had* to get out of bed right now and see what was happening. And yes, if she hurried he'd promise to have a cup of coffee waiting for her.

It was the last tantilising image that always managed to fully rouse her. Her cover would instantly flip back and she'd almost leap out of bed, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Chakotay always thought she looked adorable when she did so and although he never mentioned it he was always under the impression that somehow she knew and did it for his benefit.

Not that he knew, mind you. But it was nice to think so.

So they'd sit outside, usually on a rock big enough to accomodate both of them so they wouldn't get damp because of the morning dew. Kathryn would lean against him slightly, both hands wrapped around a Janeway-sized mug of coffee as she would take slow appreciative sips. On occasion she would catch him looking at her at which point she'd invariably move one of her hands from the mug to push a strand of hair behind the ear that was closest to him before stating "I thought we were here to look at the sky, Chakotay."

Somehow, every time, he would just catch a smile she'd try to hide as he turned his eyes back to the equally beautiful sight before him.

On colder days they would still venture out but bundled up, and still with a mug of Kathryn's coffee. Every now and then one of them would slip over, and when it happened to her she'd be more upset about the fact that she'd just lost a perfectly good cup of coffee than the fact that she'd spilt it all over Chakotay. Of course she proceeded to make up for it later.

When nothing so slippery occured, they'd sit where they usually did and huddle closely together, breaths escaping as foggy clouds, the smell of Kathryn's coffee seeming to permeate every breath he took in.

He remembered one day when it had been pouring with rain, the sound of the water on the roof like gun shots. And for once he suggested that they didn't go.

Kathryn's response had been to grab his hand and pull him outside into the rain still in their nightwear, the drops drenching them both and their footsteps in muddy puddles spraying up the murky liquid that stained their clothes. They didn't care.

She stopped by the rock they usually sat on and turned to him, still holding his hand.

He shouted to be heard over the rain. "Not that I mind...but can I ask why we're out here?"

Laughing, she squeezed his hand. "It's a tradition Chakotay!" Her hair was plastered to her head now so with her free hand she pushed some of it out of her face. Blinking against the water she looked up at the sky. "Besides...I've never stood in the rain deliberately before."

Looking back at him, Kathryn smiled gently before leaning forward and placing a just as gentle kiss on his lips. For an instant he was so stunned that he completely forgot that he was soaking wet. And then he smiled.

They sat on the rock together then, and spent the morning alternating between watching the horizon, flicking water at each other and laughing at dirty jokes.

Of course, as the years passed, the leaps out of bed would become slower, the slips on the snow more painful and the water flicking carefully restrained...but the dirty jokes got even dirtier.

This morning they didn't watch the horizon.

Kathryn hadn't been able to sleep which wasn't exactly a surprise - she was not a stranger to insomnia. But she'd been more restless than normal as if her body couldn't decide whether it wanted to move or keep still.

He could tell she was exhausted now, but she still couldn't sleep. He hugged her close, placing a kiss on the side of her head.



"Read me to sleep. Please. I love your voice."

His sixth sense kicked in and he tried not to shudder. "Anything particular?"

Her smile was small. "You choose."

Groaning slightly, he pulled himself out of bed and grabbed a padd that he knew contained something that was a favourite of both of theirs.

Climbing back in, and after some readjustment, Kathryn leant against Chakotay's chest and he was irrationally glad that she couldn't see his expression. Activating the padd, he began to read.

"All those sweet smiles, all of the passion, all of the peace, the heat, the pain, all those blue skies, where your words were my freedom..."

He knew halfway through his reading that she was gone, but he continued doing as she asked, hoping that somehow she could take the words with her.

When he finished, he placed the padd on the bedside table and looked at the window they had installed over thirty years ago. The morning sunlight was just starting to shine through, creating minature rainbows in the air.

Bending slightly, he kissed her forehead before looking at her face.

Such beautiful eyes.

Straightening his neck again, he rested his head against the wall, closed his eyes, and slept.


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