Disclaimer: Voyager characters belong to Paramount. Lyrics to "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (with slightly altered lyrics) belong to Elton John and Tim Rice. J/C Fantasy...why, that's mine!!
Summary: Takes place somewhere during Season 6 (between Equinox and Unimatrix Zero). Kathryn allows curiosity to get the best of her. As far as Chakotay is concerned...all I can say is that if Seven can get away with it...well, you'll get the picture.
"Computer, locate Commander Chakotay."
"Commander Chakotay is on Holodeck 2."
"Damn it! He's *always* on the holodeck!" Kathryn cursed to herself, tossing the PADD on her desk. In fact, she had noticed that lately, all of his free time was being spent on the holodeck. And it was certainly beyond her what could possibly be holding his interest there. Unless, of course, it was...
She shook her head vigorously. What Chakotay did off-duty was his business. He have never questioned *her* before...except to scold her for not taking *enough* free time. She had to shake all the images from her mind and focus on the task that lay before her. A task that she would have to accomplish without her first officer. A task that, at the moment, she was not very interested in...a visit to Astrometrics. Kathryn sighed. When would Seven *ever* develop a personality?
The following week, Chakotay, Neelix and Ensign Celes had departed on an away mission to collect deuterium. It was scheduled to last about 3 days, which is not that long on a starship. But it was long enough for Kathryn's curiosity to get the best of her.
When the thought first occurred to her, she quickly put it out of her head. It was unprofessional, untrustworthy...and most unlike her. But as the day wore on, the idea kept creeping back into her mind, wheedling around in every attempt to convince her that it *was* okay. When her duty shift ended, Kathryn rushed to her quarters and flopped down on her bed. She lay there for half an hour, debating the thoughts, knowing that somehow, it was still wrong, no matter how many excuses she created. She also knew that if Chakotay ever found out, he would *never* forgive her.
But then...there were some things that simply could not be ignored. There was absolutely nothing going on in this sector that was of any interest to the crew. Everyone on board was utilizing this free time...and so should she. Besides, what harm would it be to do a little snooping...that is, internal investigation?
With that last thought, Kathryn found herself outside Holodeck 2 a few minutes later. She quickly scanned the corridor, in search of prying eyes and ears. Seeing no one, she began to whisper.
"Computer, display a list of holodeck programs accessed by Commander Chakotay for the last 4 weeks."
"Access to those files is denied."
Kathryn groaned. This wasn't going to be as simple as she anticipated. But she also found this to be highly unusual. Most holodeck programs were accessible to *all* crewmembers. So why were these programs so heavily guarded?
"Damned curiosity," she grumbled, realizing that she was actually going to follow through with her plan as she spouted out her security codes.
"Security code accepted."
The monitor lit up before her, and Kathryn was quite surprised at what she saw. Expecting to see a long list of several programs, she found a long list of only one. Guilt began to wash over her as she ordered the computer to begin running the program. She thought that knowing would be enough, but now that she was this close...
"Oh, what the hell!" she yelped, stomping through the doors. Her breath caught in her throat as she instantly recognized her surroundings. A wonderful, yet strange feeling stirred within her as she started walking through the familiar fields of New Earth, recreated to exact detail...and every bit as beautiful as the day they left it. Kathryn suddenly felt uneasy. Why was Chakotay spending all of his time here? It had taken her a long time to readjust once they returned...but this...this would be utter torture.
Of course, she couldn't argue that it was a most peaceful place...perfect for taking vision quests or simply meditating. But according to the list, Chakotay had visited New Earth nearly every single day for the past month. In her mind, that was a bit too often for vision quests.
A frighteningly familiar voice called out from inside the shelter, sending a chill racing down Kathryn's spine.
"Chakotay? Is that you?"
Kathryn turned towards the shelter and froze. Staring back at her with an equal amount of amazement was...herself. A very convincing holographic copy. She could feel her blood beginning to heat up. "Just *wait* until you get back, mister" she growled, scowling at the figure that was approaching her.
"Kathryn!" she spoke, hesitant to come *too* close to her.
"Yes, I guess I would be...at least I *think* I am," Kathryn answered, unsure of how to respond. She could only recall one other occasion on which she had the opportunity to talk to herself...at least in a *sane* manner. But this was totally different.
The hologram stared back at her, and Kathryn believed for a moment that she was looking into a mirror. The only difference between them was the hair. Her copy had auburn locks cascading over her shoulders, very much like it did when they were stranded on New Earth.
Kathryn remembered how Chakotay had caressed her hair briefly, enjoying the feel of it in his hands before moving them down to her shoulders. It wasn't the first time she had noticed this...and it certainly hadn't been the last.
The two continued to stare, the replica finally breaking their silence.
"Chakotay...tells me so much about you."
Kathryn smirked. "Only good things, I hope," she replied, suddenly feeling silly that she was actually participating in this conversation.
The hologram tilted her head. "Not always. He tells me if you've had bad days, or if you've been extremely harsh on him."
Kathryn blinked several times in confusion. "Oh, really."
Her counterpart nodded. "Absolutely. But don't be discouraged...he mostly tells me how much he admires and cares for you. But you're quite a complex individual."
Squinting her eyes, Kathryn glared intensely at the hologram, who never flinched. And it was no wonder. She couldn't really intimidate herself, could she?
"I may be a holographic representation of you," she continued, "...but I *am* the Kathryn that Chakotay needs to see. The one to whom he can confide his problems and innermost thoughts. The one he feels he can talk to in an effort to help resolve *your* problems..."
"I don't have any problems," Kathryn snapped.
"Well, if that were true, then I wouldn't be here, now would I?"
This was extremely frustrating, and she wasn't about to get into an argument with herself. It was always a no-win situation. Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself, she decided to find out more.
"OK...let's start over. First of all, you *know* that you're a hologram?"
"Of course. That's the first thing that Chakotay told me."
"And what else has he told you?"
'Kathryn' covered her mouth, obviously deep in thought as she averted her eyes to the sky. "Well, he told me about your encounters with the Borg. There was Seska...boy, was she a nasty one! And there was Species 8472...and of course, the incident with the Equinox."
"He told you about that?" Kathryn cringed.
The hologram's expression spoke volumes. "Chakotay was very hurt after that. He didn't want to forgive you for what you did to him, the crew...and yourself. He knew that you were bordering insanity, but there was nothing that he could do to stop you. You made him feel powerless!" The anger which was evident on her face suddenly softened. "He only wants to love you, Kathryn."
The tears began to sting her eyes. This was too much to process...and she definitely did not feel like being lectured by herself.
"Enough of this nonsense! Why don't you just admit that you're nothing more than Chakotay's sex toy?!?" She winced at her own scathing tone, knowing that she had no room to criticize. Who could forget her holographic affair Fair Haven? Kathryn shuddered at the memory. Had she *really* been that desperate?
The more she thought about it, the angrier she became at Chakotay. So *that's* why he was okay with her relationship with Michael Sullivan...he had been *here* doing the same thing with *her*! Kathryn began scanning her memory of every protocol in the Starfleet manuals, in search of any that this could violate. And if there were none, then there would *be* one in place by the time the away team returned.
It was then that she noticed the hologram shaking her head.
"I'm sorry...but you're wrong. In fact, he's never even kissed me. Chakotay says that he only wants the real thing and will settle for nothing less."
Kathryn was stunned. Scratch the new protocol. Crossing her arms, she walked around her replica. "Then...what *does* he do with you?"
She smiled. "Usually, he gives me a hug when he walks in. Then, still holding me close, we settle down by this tree, and he tells me his troubles. I listen, comforting him when necessary. Some days, he tells me *your* troubles, then comforts *me* the way he wishes he could comfort you. Sometimes, he sings until..."
"Oh, Chakotay has a wonderful voice! So soft and gentle...like a lullaby. I hate to sound so condescending, but you *really* should pay more attention to him."
Tears began to trickle slowly down Kathryn's face. She never knew how much Chakotay loved her. He had hinted at feelings once before, but she thought that maybe he had moved past all that once they returned to duty...and back amongst the crew. She had no idea how deep those feeling had run...and to think, she had to learn all this from *herself*.
She reached out, hands shaking as she touched her counterpart's lengthy mane. "Your hair..."
"This...is the image Chakotay first fell completely in love with. He came crying to me the day you cut it off. If I were real, I probably would have cried with him."
Had this really been going on *that* long? That was...was...
Kathryn could take no more. She turned quickly and left the holodeck, sobs wracking her body as she entered the blessedly empty turbolift. How could he do this, she thought, regretting that she had ever allowed curiosity to get in the way. And now that she knew, what *was* she going to do about it?
The away team returned, another mission successfully completed. Chakotay stepped into his quarters, worn down from his travels as he dropped his bag to the floor. He began to debate taking a long nap, treating himself to something decadent from the replicator, or making his daily visit to the holodeck...a visit which was now three days overdue. His thoughts were interrupted by his comm badge.
"Welcome back, Commander," Kathryn's voice called out. "Feel like reporting to duty?"
"I certainly hope you're joking," he responded, hearing her laugh over the comm. "Actually, I was thinking about taking a little break...if that's acceptable."
"By all means. I'll see you later," Kathryn said, cutting off their transmission. A wicked smile crossed her lips, for she knew exactly where he was going. And did she *ever* have a surprise in store for him.
A few minutes later, Chakotay walked onto the holodeck, immediately pulling 'Kathryn' into his arms. "I missed you so much."
She wrapped her arms around his back, pulling him close. "I missed you, too. Where have you been?"
"Typical away mission. But I don't want to talk about it. It was uneventful. All I could think about was having you in my arms again." He moved over to the tree, settling down with her still in his embrace, delicately stroking her hair. Enjoying the peacefulness surrounding him. Now he was finally home, and he could feel his body relaxing as he closed his eyes.
"Chakotay?" she whispered after a few silent moments.
"Hmm?" he answered sleepily.
"Sing a song for me."
He chuckled. "Since when did you start making requests?"
"I don't know...guess I just like to hear you to sing. It's so...soothing."
He regarded her for a moment. This was unusual for her...but then, it wasn't *that* unusual. Smiling, he asked, "What would you want me to sing?"
"Sing the song I like the most."
"How soon you forget. I programmed you, remember? You like *everything* I sing."
"Please?" she begged, grasping the front of his shirt.
He had never been able to resist her...and this time would be no different.
"Fine. You win. Now let's see...."
Chakotay gently rested her head against his chest and began to lightly rub his hands across her back. Finally, he found the perfect song, and the words flowed softly from his lips.There's a calm surrender to the rush of day
Chakotay felt teardrops on his arm, and he was stunned beyond belief. True, he programmed her...but he couldn't remember her ever crying, especially after he sang to her.
"What's going on with you? You seem...different. Has someone been tampering with your program?"
'Kathryn' wiped the tears from her face. She couldn't make herself look into his eyes. She left his embrace and started to walk away. "I thought that I would be able to do this...to make you think..."
Hesitating for a moment, Kathryn turned back to face a bewildered glare from her first officer. "Chakotay...what would you do with me right now...if I were real?"
Now he was confused, and most certain that something was wrong. Then it hit him. His body tensed up, and he began to pray silently to all the spirits, hoping that he was wrong.
"Computer...locate Captain Janeway."
"Captain Janeway is on Holodeck 2."
His entire body began to shake, partly from surprise, but mostly from knowing that his little secret had been discovered by the one person he'd hoped would *never* find out. He stood up, leaning against the tree for support in case his knees decided to give way.
"Captain...I can explain..." he started, suddenly remembering the security codes necessary to access this particular program. "Wait a minute...how did you..."
Kathryn returned to him, gently taking his hands. "Chakotay, let *me* explain. I did a little snooping. It was wrong of me, but I had to find out what you were up to. You've just been spending so much time here. I'm sorry...and I hope that you'll forgive me one day..."
"You...accessed...my personal files! How could you?!?"
"I know...I had no right to pry. I guess I was just...a little worried..."
She nodded, biting down on her lip. Chakotay resisted the urge to grin, forcing himself to maintain a scowl of disgust. Actually, he enjoyed seeing this side of her...and he couldn't help but notice the fact that she was still holding his hands. His breath caught in his throat as the idea began to sink in that he had actually been touching *her* all this time. It was almost too much to process. But then another idea dawned on him as he gazed once again into her eyes...Kathryn wasn't going to get away with this *that* easily.
"I want you to know that I'm not very happy with you right now," he started, releasing her hands and crossing his arms in front of him.
"I understand that, and..."
"What I do on the holodeck is *my* business."
"Yes, but I-"
"And it's not your job to go breaking into other people's programs without asking simply because you have the security clearance to do so..."
"Chakotay, I've tried to ex-"
"...and you know...you could have just asked."
Kathryn had opened her mouth to try to get a word in, then stopped. Her eyes met his in wide surprise. "Like you would have told me about all of this!"
Chakotay shrugged. "True...but it's better than snooping."
She lowered her gaze, on the verge of tears again as she grasped a few strands of hair and began twisting them through her fingers. "Are you *very* angry with me?"
Chakotay's face melted into a soft smile as he reached over, gently lifting her chin. "No, Kathryn...I could never stay angry with you." She returned his smile as he delicately ran his fingers into her hair, allowing it to fall across her shoulders. "Nice touch."
"It's holographic. But I promise to grow some of this back...for you."
"Because...I know you always liked it this way."
"But why would you do something like that for me?"
"I'm listening, Kathryn."
"Because...I love you."
A great weight lifted from Chakotay's heart. At first, he'd been afraid that Kathryn would hurl him into the brig for the remainder of their journey for simply using her likeness in this program. That alone would have been reason enough. But now, that seemed to be the furthest thing from her mind.
"Kathryn, you don't know how long I've wanted to hear you say that. And I'm sorry for the way I've acted. What I've created here is wrong. And..."
She silenced him by placing her finger over his lips. "It's okay. Your hologram and I had a little chat...and I know what's been going on here. I know why you did it...and I completely understand."
"So...you're not mad?"
"I'm still here, aren't I?" she responded, offering him a devilish grin. "You know...you never did answer my question."
Chakotay raised his eyebrows. "And what question was that?"
"What would you do with me upon finding out that I was the real 'Kathryn'?"
He grinned, reaching out for her hands once more. "First, I would pull you close...like this," he answered, doing as he said, wrapping his arms around her tightly. "Then I would kiss you here," kissing her cheek. "And here..." kissing her other cheek. "And here..." kissing her forehead.
"How about here?" she asked, pointing up to her mouth.
"Oh...definitely," he responded, closing the distance to claim her lips with tremendous passion. Fully exploring the depths within. His hands entangled themselves in her holographic tresses as he carefully pulled her down to the ground. Kathryn's hands caressed his body, never wanting to let him go as they rolled softly down onto the grass.
Slowly, he began to pull back from her, breaking their deep kiss, but continuing to place feathery kisses around her face and neck. Brushing away a stray hair, Chakotay stared deeply into her eyes.
"I love you, Kathryn."
She reached up to traces the edges of his tattoo. "I know. She told me."
He raised an inquisitive brow. "Speaking of that...what did you do with my hologram?"
Kathryn laughed. "You've tortured that poor girl long enough. So I decided to ease her frustrations."
Chakotay suddenly heard moans of desire emanating from inside the shelter, and he glanced towards the window. There was his holographic Kathryn, pressed against the wall, passionately kissing a hologram of himself. He turned back to Kathryn, utterly shocked. She grinned, lifting her own brow.
"You're not the *only* one who has holograms!" she answered pulling him back down for another kiss.