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Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, but I let them have a good time!

Summary: Kathryn FINALLY decides that she should tell Chakotay how she really feels about him. But can she ever find the right time and place?


Let Him Know

Kathryn stood in front of her mirror, placing her pips carefully on her collar. Today would be a very special day for her. She was tired of using protocol and rank as excuses. It was time to let her feelings be known.

Today was the day she would tell Chakotay that she loved him.

Kathryn walked onto her bridge. Looking around, she noticed that Chakotay was reading through some reports. Not now, she thought, as she walked around to each station to receive the status of the bridge crew.

Chakotay glanced up to acknowledge her presence, then quickly returned to his reading. It seemed that he had been having a lot of trouble lately making himself comfortable around her. He wasnít sure why. Maybe it was due to the fact that he was so consumed with love for her. It had been three months since Kathryn had received the letter from Mark, releasing her from all ties of her engagement. He felt sure that things would certainly change after that. They hadnít. In fact, Chakotay felt that Kathryn had become more distant.

Of course, they still talked and had an occasional meal together. But things had changed. She no longer touched him as often as she used to. He once enjoyed the pleasure that her touch gave him. Now it was gone. So, rather than mope about hoping that she would come around, Chakotay decided to try and forget about her. The only way he could do that was to no longer allow himself to look into her eyes. He didnít want to see the rejection in her eyes. He didnít want her to see the hurt in his.

This morning, he was using the reports to avoid having to talk to her. So far, it was working. She had not said one word to him. She spoke to Tuvok, Harry and Tom, but never to him. To some extent, it was downright annoying. But then, wasnít he doing the same thing to her? Shrugging it off, Chakotay returned his thoughts to the PADD.

As Kathryn returned to her seat, she wondered why Chakotay had suddenly become so distant to her over the past few months. Since she had received the letter from Mark concerning his marriage, part of her had hoped that Chakotay would begin trying to win her affections, as he once tried to do while on New Earth. Yet, he had tried nothing. In fact, he no longer looked at her the way he used to. She loved the way he used to look at her. She could see all the love and care he felt for her in one brief glance. It tore her apart inside to not be able to return those feelings, but then, whose decision was that?

Maybe he only wanted her when she was unavailable, Kathryn began to wonder. Now that she was free, he was no longer interested. It certainly made sense. No, she thought, he would never do that. Or would he?

She grew tired of these questions and decided to get her plans for today underway. If he was no longer interested, she would soon find out. Kathryn retreated to her ready room, requesting a pot of coffee. After pouring herself a cup, she placed to pot on the table in front of her couch and sat down to begin making plans.

As she sipped the warm liquid, she finished the details for dinner that night. Vegetarian lasagna, one of Chakotayís favorites. Fresh garden salad...minus leola root. Decatant strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Kathryn knew that it would use up all of her replicator rations for the month, but if things ended the way she was hoping, it would be well worth it. With that out of the way, she tapped her comm badge.

"Janeway to Chakotay."

"Yes, Captain?"

"Could you report to my ready room? I have something that I need to discuss with you."

"On my way."

Good. At least they would have a few minutes to talk. Maybe she would tell him now see what happens. But if he was going to reject her, she didnít want it to happen while she still had a shift to work. Just ask him over for dinner, and let the rest fall into place.

Chakotay hesitantly entered her ready room, again, avoiding looking directly at her. Just get this over with, and you can go back to the bridge, he thought as he sat down on the couch next to her. Not too close.

"What can I help you with, Captain?"

"Well, actually I was hoping that you could review these..."

BOOM! The ship lurched as a torpedo blasted into the side, threatening to breach the hull.

"Tuvok to Janeway. We are under attack by an unknown vessel."

"Weíre on our way!" she replied, as they both raced for the bridge. Later, she thought.

"Hail them!" Janeway shouted, as she stumbled onto the bridge.

"Weíve tried, Captain! No response!" Harry Kim said, holding onto his console as another blast rocked the ship.

"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager! Please respond!"

Suddenly, the firing ceased. Then an unusually clad alien appeared on the viewscreen, wearing some sort of huge headpiece, or was that his hair?

"Captain Janeway. My apologies. We mistook you for a Sunari vessel."

"Obviously," she muttered, relieved that they had finally gotten through.

"Are you badly damaged?"

Janeway glanced back as Tuvok intervened. "We have sustained minimal damage and have no casualties. Shields are down to 28%, and helm control is off-line."

"Can we be of any assistance?"

Tuvok muted the transmission. "Captain, I have detected large quantities of dylithium in their cargo bay. This would be an opportune time to negotiate a trade."

"Excellent idea, Mr. Tuvok," Janeway said, smirking at her security chief. "Letís give it a try. Open the channel."

After the brief conference with the Tani race, Kathryn decided to give her plans with Chakotay another try.

"Commander, could I have a word with you?" she asked as he started to leave the briefing room.

"Yes Captain?" he replied, staring at her nose to avoid her eyes.

Kathryn so wanted to look into his eyes, to see if she could sense any feelings from him. "I was hoping that you might join me for dinner tonight. Are you available?"

That did it. Chakotayís eyes finally lifted to meet hers and they lit up as a smile crept across his face. Something was still there. She could see it.

"Yes, Kathryn. Iíd love to."

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