Disclaimers: This story is mine, but the characters are owned by you-know-who. No copyright infringement intended, inferred, or implied.

Series: Voyager
Codes: J/C
Written: October 20, 1998
Rating: G

Summary: Spoiler alert! What happened after 'Night'?

Author's Notes: This might not make much sense if you've not seen the 5th season premeire of Voyager, "Night." I know I said I wouldn't write a sequel but...after reading Sarah's sequel, something sparked and I couldn't help it...Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah! :)....

Part 2
A 'Night' Sequel

October 1998 : Saffron

Kathryn sat in her quarters. The stars, once again streaking by her windows, were the only light in the room. Part of her wished for the obscurity and darkness of the void. Despite recent activity, she still felt detached from the ship and the crew.

Sure, she had come center stage when the situation called for it. That had become habit over the last 4 years...and maybe that was the problem. The sense of loss she felt was overpowering. And still, she refused to cry. Alone or in front of anyone. That would create a crack in her armor that she wasn't sure she could seal up again.

Kathryn was so deep in thought that she failed to hear the door chime or the swish of the doors opening and closing.

She stood up, startled, when she heard Chakotay's soft voice speak her name.

She regarded him with half-open eyes. She was half-annoyed by his intrusion, but had fully expected his visit.

"OK, out with it, Commander."

"I want to know what's going on with you."

Kathryn feigned ignorance. "What do you mean?"

If Kathryn had been closer to Chakotay, she would heard Chakotay grind his teeth with impatience.

"For about 2 months, I left you alone. I thought you'd need that time to sort out whatever is bothering you. In hindsight, maybe that was a mistake. Maybe I should have been in your face everyday...whether you wanted me to be here or not."

"Chakotay..."

"Please, let me say this. Does it matter to you that I care about you? Does it matter that the crew cares about you? I keep wondering about your idea to send Voyager on while you stay here in the Delta quadrant. Don't you realize what kind of hell the crew and I would go through if we had to travel the rest of the way home without you? I've heard them talk about the time we were on New Earth..."

New Earth. That was a topic neither of them had mentioned since they left the planet. As soon as they stepped back on Voyager, it was almost like it never happened.

Kathryn felt her throat constrict. "Commander," her voice was shaking, "that's quite enough."

Chakotay's voice held no anger, but was insistent, "No. I think I need to throw a little realism in your world right now and putting on the Captain's mask will not work here."

Kathryn blinked her eyes to hold back the tears that threaten to form. Chakotay continued to speak.

"Right now, this very minute, I am talking to Kathryn Janeway, the woman, the human being...my friend. You are trying to hold on to the ideals of the Alpha Quadrant, a lot of which works in the daily operations of the ship. But there are instances, here in the Delta Quadrant, where some of those ideals aren't working as well. You don't have to be so isolated from the ship. Unilateral decisions make less and less sense the longer this journey takes. Somehow you feel you have to be larger than life...but..."

Chakotay stopped speaking when Kathryn held up her hand.

"It's very easy...for you to say these things." Her voice cracked with emotion, "It's very easy for you pick apart what I'm doing wrong. You just don't get it. I'm not an idiot, Chakotay. I know myself better than anybody. Up until now, I've never allowed myself to be depressed about being stranded here. Sure I'd get sad once in a while, but, I never allowed myself to grieve. I..."

"But Kathryn..."

"Let me finish. I thought focusing on my duty, the crew and getting home would keep me going. But that void, the lack of activity and stimuli from other sources...I had no choice but to face it."

"But you don't have to face it alone. That's my whole point. You've got a ship full of people who are in the same situation and have the same feelings of grief and...you've got me."

Not one to give up without a fight, Kathryn tried to protest, "But..."

Chakotay closed the distance between them in one step. He reached out to her. "Give me your hand."

She trustingly placed her hand in his. He placed it on his cheek. She could feel the soft stubble on his face.

"See...I'm real. I'm here. Despite ups and downs, differing opinions, we have been able to make our friendship grow. Talk to me, Kathryn. If you'd let that wall down, you'd be surprised how much lighter your burdens might become. You said that you trusted me more than anyone. It's time you put your money where your mouth is."

Kathryn moved her fingers, caressing his stubbled cheek, enjoying the warmth of his face before she walked away and turned her back to him.

"Can I tell what I'm most afraid of?"

She continued without waiting for an answer.

"If I let down 'that wall,' what if I can't get back to who I was. Will I still be me?"

Chakotay almost responded matter-of-factly, "I don't know, but...who will you be if you don't?"

When she turned around, Kathryn's face was wet with the silent tears that had fallen. She gave him a small, but grateful smile. "When did you get so smart?"

"I've had a good teacher for the last few years," Chakotay smiled back.

FINIS

To next part

To my other stories:

 Resolutions Vignette  No Longer Alone  All or Nothing
 What He Wants  Pursuit of Closure "Night" Prequel
"Night" Sequel Reaching Out The Hunt
Thank you for being a friend The Encounter If you like Kathryn Janeway
The Dream Gotcha Mad Scientist Janeway
Remembering Kathryn Vignette Series It's Never to Early for That
Sex & Ice Heat & Insomnia  

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