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 16, 1998
Rating: G

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

Author's Notes: This story begged to be written...I couldn't help it. :D

Part 1
Time Away: A 'Night' Prequel

October 1998 : Saffron

Kathryn sat and stared at the PADD in her hand. When had her ability to concentrate dissipated? The tedium of the routine, the petty complaints of the crew...they were starting to get to her.

It had been months since the spark of hope had been snuffed out--the chance to get home. She had bounced back before...why not this time? She threw the PADD onto the table. It slid onto the floor. She stared at it but didn't pick it up. Instead she stood up and walked over to the window.

There were fewer stars now. Sensors showed an expanse ahead of Voyager that was void of star systems. The thought made her uncomfortable. Sensors also indicated that, through this void, was the most direct path home.

Home. She pushed the thought out of her conscious mind. It was replaced by a reply of her last routine tour of the ship...watching the crew as they went about their duties...she felt a wave of emotion wash over her.

As the pangs of guilt got stronger over the last four years, the techniques she used to "override" that guilt got weaker...and her tours of the ship got fewer and fewer...

The door chime brought her out of her trance. She looked in the direction of the door.

"Come."

Chakotay entered Kathryn's quarters. The furrows in his brow was his only sign of concern, but Kathryn, who had come to know him very well, recognized the look.

She turned back to the window. "I'm fine."

Chakotay stared at her for a moment. "I don't believe you."

Kathryn sat back down in her chair, picked up the PADD and began to work as though Chakotay had never entered the room.

Chakotay sat down on the table in front of Kathryn and took the PADD out of her hands.

"What's going on?"

Kathryn sighed, closed her eyes and shook her head but sat silent as Chakotay continued.

"Your visibility on this ship has lessened by at least fifty percent. Your taking your meals in your quarters, you've cancel your time on the holodeck..."

He moved toward her so the only thing she could look at was him. "What's going on, Kathryn?"

Suddenly, the weight of the ship and her responsibilities to it suddenly doubled. Her resolve to stay in control was crumbling. Her eyes, more gray than blue, looked into his for the first time since he came in the room. "I...just...need some...time. Time away from being....Captain."

Chakotay put a hand on her knee and squeezed it reassuringly and gave her a small smile. "It's about time, don't you think?"

Kathryn stood up and walked back to the window, now devoid of stars. She spoke softly. "I still want weekly reports, Commander." She couldn't be cut off completely.

Chakotay now knew it was time to leave. As he got close to the door, Kathryn said his name. He paused, turning his head toward her.

Kathryn was still looking out at the void. She spoke so softly, he could barely hear her. "Thank you."

He nodded in response, even though she couldn't see him, and exited the room.

FINIS

To next part

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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    

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