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"Computer Demon" by Lissamay Pearl

Summary: The crew of Voyager is having a time of it. Nothing works right and everybody (almost) has his or her own background music. I don't mean to offend anybody with some of my comments on the music, cause I am sure that I listen to stuff a lot of you would hate. If you don't know a song, feel free to skip it. Lots of mischief and good fun. I dedicate this to JetCjr10! Weirdp Forever!

Disclaimer: Heya, the story itself is mine, the songs belong to the singers and writers of them, and since Paramount owns Voyager and her characters (sniffs), I am just playing with them.

Rating: A couple of swear words. It's hardly anything to worry about, so if you are old enough to watch the show you are more than old enough to read this. Therefore, PG.

E-Mail: lissamay1@hotmail.com

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Computer Demon
by Lissamay Pearl

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I have been called Lady Luck, Fate, Karma, Fortune, and (my favorite) Computer Demon, just to name a few. I like to work behind the scenes. Pulling a string here, a string there. Nothing can be boring with me around. Ah, here comes some fresh meat now. Care to join me?

Monotony, boredom, stagnation. Yep. That pretty much describes today on the bridge. Empty space, full of dust clouds and nothingness. Perfect time to shake things up.

**************

Kathryn Janeway was sitting in her command chair looking though miscellaneous information at her console to keep herself occupied. Beep! She had gotten a message from the chair beside her. A chair that just so happened to contain a certain commander. She touched the icon for the message to come up. "Dinner tonight?" it asked. She smiled and typed back, "Where? When?" It had been boring for the past two weeks. Chakotay always gives her a good story or conversation to think about. They always had a good time together. He typed in, "My quarters, at 1900 hours." She typed back, "I'll be there." He leaned over and whispered, "Good," in her ear and smiled a wickedly handsome smile at her. Kathryn felt herself returning the smile in kind.

"Captain, we are about to pass though a thin dust cloud," Tuvok said in his amazingly neutral tones.

"Splendid," the Captain said sarcastically, "Continue course."

A few seconds later the lights flickered out and the ship began rocking. "Status," Janeway yelled as soon as the power was back on.

"We apparently went though an energy field in the cloud that was concealed from our sensors. There are no injuries in need of medical attention. Although, we seem to be experiencing system wide glitches."

"What do you mean by glitches?" Janeway asked as she walked up to Tuvok's station.

"Deck 3 has a temperature of 97 degrees F. Deck 4 has a temperature of 50 degrees F. Several decks are hearing random music. Replicators ship wide are dysfunctional. The doctor has put in a complaint about his appearance changing. Engineering has minimal lighting. The holodecks are starting up programs at random. Shall I continue?"

"I get the idea, Tuvok." She contacted the senior staff that was not on the bridge and told them to fix what they could and get a report to her by 0800 hours. "Looks like we have our work cut out for us." Just as she said "us", the bridge crew started hearing "Hyper-Ballad" by Bjork very softly. "A long shift just got longer." Kathryn said with a grimace. It wasn't that it was a bad song. She did not feel up to glancing at Chakotay and seeing that faraway, loving gaze. She already knew how he felt about her, and she felt about him. She would have to avoid his eyes during them, lest she betray her true emotions. That could wreck their entire friendship. Kathryn depended too much on that friendship to destroy it. The bridge crew worked in silence during the first song.

We live on a mountain
Right at the top
There's a beautiful view
From the top of the mountain
Every morning I walk towards the edge
And throw little things off
Like:
Car-parts, bottles and cutlery
Or whatever I find lying around

It's become a habit
A way
To start the day

I go though all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

It's real early morning
No one is awake
I'm back at my cliff
Still throwing things off
I listen to the sounds they make
On their way down
I follow with my eyes til they crash
Imagine what my body would sound like
Slamming against those rocks

And when it lands
Will my eyes
Be closed or open

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you
Safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...safe up here...........................................................

"Captain, I am no longer receiving any data from the neural gel pack in your ready room," Tuvok said just as the song was ending.

"I'll go see what the problem is. Commander, would you join me?" Janeway asked. She was hoping her ready room didn't have any music playing in it.

"Aye, Captain." Chakotay followed her into her ready room. Just as the doors slide open the next song began and it definitely was not at the quiet level it was on the bridge as in her ready room. The song was "Violet" by Savage Garden.

(knocking, talking)
If there's a way that you could
Be everything you want to be,
Would you complain that it came
Too easy

"I may end up breaking the audio emitters before the day is out," Kathryn said in an attempt to lighten her now dour mood. It worked, too, after Chakotay chuckled and flashed a grin at her.

"I can see you doing that." She laughed and headed over to the replicator and started to key in the command to unlock the panel. Each time she hit a key, she was met by a horrible screech.

"Looks like we will have to do this manually." Chakotay proceeded to get a hand on each side of the panel and started to pull. A few seconds later he was sprawling backwards, panel in hand, right into Kathryn's lap.

"Sorry, Kathryn," he said sheepishly.

I've got a dream to take you over
Exploding like a supernova
I'm gonna crash into your world
And that's no lie

"No apology needed, Chakotay," she said as they disentangled themselves from each other. "Let's get to work now." They got out their tricorders and examined the gel pack. "Janeway to Tuvok," she said after she tapped her commbadge.

"Tuvok here, Captain."

"We found the problem. A feed back pulse interrupted the data flow. It should be fixed ...right...now," Kathryn said just as she keyed in the last of a code, this time without accompanying screeches.

"I am now receiving data flow."

"Good. Janeway out." She looked over to Chakotay and said, "Back to the bridge now?"

"Sure." He fell in step behind her towards the bridge.

If there's a way to infiltrate you
Sway your mind and complicate you
I'm gonna crash into your world
And that's no lie

She was thinking she liked this song. Just as she was about to step out onto the bridge, the doors decided not to allow her passage. Kathryn rebounded right off of the doors and into Chakotay's arms, thanks to his quick reflexes and unceasing watching of the object of his hidden affection.

"Damn!" she muttered darkly as Chakotay raised her back into a standing position. "Thanks. Janeway to Tuvok."

"Tuvok here. Yes, Captain?"

"It appears that the doors to my ready room are malfunctioning. The Commander and I are going to try to fix them. I'm not sure how long it will take. Notify me of any major change in status. Janeway out."

Contemplate jealousy intermixed
With urgency
A million things take a damned
Good shot at you and me

They worked together in silence. Each time they isolated a glitch, another popped up. "Eeerrgghh!" Kathryn exclaimed in frustration. Her head whipped around at the sound of Chakotay laughing. She eyed him stonily and asked quietly, "What, I repeat, what is so funny?"

"If you could see your face right now, you'd be laughing, too." he said by way of apology.

"And why would that be?" she asked with a hint of danger in her eyes.

"The way you had bared your teeth, widened your eyes, and looked so frustrated all at once, had the effect of making you look incredibly cute." he said while fending off her attempt to playfully slap at his arm.

"I am not cute!" she said while restraining a laugh.

"Oh, yes, you are, Kathryn. I've seen you look cute several times, I seem to recall once finding you in your da Vinci program with clay smeared all over your face, hands, and uniform," he said while laughing and smiling at her.

"It was holographic clay!" she defended

"So? It still looked cute. Go ahead and laugh, I know you want to."

"Okay. You win, this time." So she laughed. After a few minutes of listening to Santana's "Smooth", a new song began. It was "Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry.

Go on and close the curtains
All we need is candlelight
You and me and a bottle of wine
Going to hold you tonight

We know I'm going away
How I wish...wish it weren't so
Take this wine and drink with me
Let's delay our misery

"I give in. Janeway to Tuvok." She said with an exasperated sigh.

"Tuvok here."

"Tuvok, when you get a spare pair of hands, we need someone to open these doors manually. Until then, Commander Chakotay and I will fix what we can from here."

"Aye, Captain."

"Janeway out. Well, Chakotay, do you want to help me fix my replicator?" Kathryn asked teasingly.

"Why, yes, *we* could not deprive Kathryn Janeway of her *coffee*, now could *we*?" he teased right back.

"Exactly." As they walked towards the replicator the lights suddenly went out. Chakotay bumped into Kathryn. He kept his balance, but Kathryn started to fall. In her efforts to stay standing and his efforts to catch her, they landed on the floor with an, "Oomph!" from both parties involved.

"Janeway to Tuvok." No response. They stood up and she tried her commbadge again. "Janeway to Tuvok...please respond... Try your commbadge."

"Chakotay to Tuvok," he also got no response. "Communications must be down."

"Agreed. I can only imagine how funny that looked," she laughed at what it may have been like.

"I bet it was pretty funny. Do you want to try to get over to the couch?" he asked while laughing with her.

"It's worth a shot. I'll try to warn you of any upcoming obstacles," she said as she started feeling her way across the room. It was very dark. The only light came from very distant stars.

"That would be very much appreciated." Even though she couldn't see him, she knew he was smiling. It was something in his voice. She was just mentally tracing his tattoo when she walked into the railing surrounding the casual area.

"Oof, watch out for the rail," she warned.

"Are you okay?" he asked before he could stop himself. He tried to stop himself from being so protective and worrying over her so much. It made her uncomfortable sometimes.

"Fine. Steps coming up for you." She gingerly made her way up. As she slid her hand along the rail, Chakotay accidentally put his hand over hers. She inhaled sharply. Then to let him know she was all right, she turned and grasped his hand with her other hand. After he made it up the steps, Kathryn did her best to lead them both around the coffee table. She only half succeeded.

"Ouch!" Chakotay exclaimed as the corner of the coffee table and his shin connected with a solid thud.

"Now it's my turn to ask. Are you okay?" she said with a hint of humor.

"I'll survive." Chakotay said just as another song began. This new song was "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.

"Ah, finally," Kathryn said as she and Chakotay sat down, hands still clasped.

"You can say that again." Chakotay was trying to gauge how badly bruised his shin was.

"Janeway to Tuvok," she tried again and again she got no response. So she turned to the window to watch the stars. Chakotay turned, too. His eyes had finally adjusted to the darkness and he was watching her and their suddenly entwined hands.

And I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now.

And all I could taste is this moment
And all I can breath is your life
And sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight

At that moment she was going to make a comment on the song when she turned to see Chakotay staring at her. She saw him without the walls up, and since she had been surprised, he saw her without her normal barriers in place.

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

She tried to pull her gaze away, but only succeeded in looking down at their hands. She realized that they had entwined their hands like they did after Chakotay's Angry Warrior story on New Earth. Kathryn looked back at Chakotay's face. They started inching towards each other. Then, Tuvok, Master of Bad Timing, got the lights and Comm system working again.

"Tuvok to Janeway." At this Chakotay rolled his eyes and muttered something about "*every single time*".

"Janeway here." She shushed Chakotay with a finger against his lips. He debated kissing her finger. She noticed this and moved her hand away quickly with a blush.

"Captain, as you can tell we have Communications and light systems functioning again. We will start pulling your doors open in five minutes."

"All right. Janeway out." She gave a slight smile to Chakotay and said, "Tis life."

"Agreed... Tell me, was I just daydreaming?" Chakotay decided not to let this be buried.

"It really happened. Can we talk about it later? We are going to be very busy, very soon," she practically pleaded with him and stared into those deep, dark coffee-colored eyes of his.

"All right, tonight, after dinner." They sat listening to the rest of the song.

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am...
I just want you to know who I am...
I just want you to know who I am...
I just want you to know who I am...

A slice of the bridge appeared giving Kathryn an excuse to stand up and put some distance between herself and Chakotay. She could not think about this now, her ship needed to be taken care of. She walked over to the doors and started pulling on one side. Chakotay followed suit and pulled on the other side.

**************

Damn that Vulcan! We were *that* close! Ooooooooohhhhhhhh, is he gonna get it. What should we inflict on those delicate Vulcan ears tonight? Britney Spears? Michael Jackson? Backstreet Boys? Donny Osmond? Spice Girls? N'Sync? Chistina Aguilera? Snoop Doggy Dog? All of them? Yes, all of them will do...for now. Man, I was distracted for three minutes and look at what he did! Now we'll have to work really hard just to end up even.

**************

So the Voyager Crew ended having about half of the glitches fixed by 1800 hours. It was a little after that time that the Captain and Commander stepped into a turbolift and headed to their deck. "Remember, 1900 hours, dress casual, too," Chakotay said as he entered his quarters.

"Don't worry. I'll be there. It's not like I have anywhere special to go." she teased while stepping into her own quarters. Chakotay was leaning out of his quarters to continue taunting her.

"I'm just making sure you don't pull a disappearing act and try to sneak back up to the bridge, or into engineering, which you have been known to do before." He was teasing, but then again, he wasn't. He really didn't want her to run away.

"Who, me? I've never done a thing like that! I wouldn't even dream of it!" she said mockingly and disappeared into her quarters. What she found was chaos. Her drawers were opening and slamming shut on their own. All of her logs were being replayed. The sonic shower was on. Beethoven's 5th was playing loudly. The lights were at half percent. Her closet could not decide on being closed or open. And to top things off her replicator had no lights on at all. So she snatched a couple of things from her drawers and lifted her robe off its hook and went to take a sonic shower while she could.

When she got out she grabbed a chair and wedged it in-between her closet's doors so she could get something to wear. Kathryn managed to pull out some green slacks and a cream colored blouse. The blouse was button down and very long. The time by then was 1845 hours. So, she got dressed and headed next door. In response to the door chime Chakotay said, "Come in."

When she entered, she was amazed at how few things were going haywire. There was only one drawer that Chakotay had stopped from slamming shut by wedging it open with a pair of boots. There was a thunderstorm program in the background. "You got off lucky," she commented when he came into view from his bedroom.

"How bad are yours?" Chakotay had changed into black pants and a navy blue button down shirt.

"Let's just say, I may end up staying in my ready room tonight." She gave Chakotay a favorable look and said, "You look nice."

"I believe you look far better," he said as her looked her up and down, making her flush slightly. "If your quarters are that bad, why don't you stay here tonight?" he asked as they sat down to eat.

"Okay. After dinner I'll go grab a blanket and a pillow. Then I can just settle in on the couch." She was thankful for his offer. Staying in her ready room would make her want to work, and she was tired enough already.

"You can have the bed. I'll sleep on the couch." He wouldn't mind sleeping on the couch, he had slept in less comfortable places.

"I'm not going to push you out of your bed. End of story." She inhaled deeply, supper smelled delicious. "What are we eating?"

"Vegetarian Spaghetti. Dessert is a surprise," said Chakotay as he took the tops off of their dishes.

"Oh, I like surprises, give me a hint." Kathryn was genuinely curious. A surprise from Chakotay always meant something special.

"Let me think...ah, yes, it's also a coffee flavor." If he didn't have her interest before, he definitely had it now.

"A coffee flavor? That is almost too broad...is it ice cream?"

"It is. And you don't get another hint as to what type it is." Teasing Kathryn has almost become a sport for Chakotay. Dinner proceeded with friendly banter and mellow music.

**************

"Ready for dessert?" Chakotay asked after their plates had been clean for half an hour.

"You bet." Kathryn figured she had just enough space left for one bowl of ice cream.

"Close your eyes." He took two bowls out of a stasis field and checked to see if Kathryn was peeking. Amazingly enough, she wasn't. He uncovered the bowls and took a spoon and got a generous amount on it and said, "Open your mouth." She obeyed. He gently put the spoon into her mouth and let her grab it.

"Mmm! Vanilla bean!" She opened her eyes to his smiling face.

"I knew you wouldn't have any trouble recognizing it," he laughed.

"It's one of my favorites. How did you find out?" Kathryn could not remember telling anyone that, least of all Chakotay.

"I heard you say that you wanted some the last time that Neelix attempted to make ice cream."

"I remember now. But, you didn't sit down with me for at least ten minutes." Kathryn said mock suspiciously.

"I snuck out, so you wouldn't know I heard. That way I could surprise you."

"You sneaky puma. Thanks. This was sweet of you to do." They dug into their ice cream.

"You're welcome."

"Ow! Brain freeze!" Kathryn put a hand on her forehead and grimaced.

"Here, take a drink of this." Chakotay handed her his glass of water. She did as she was told and her face relaxed.

"I'll have to remember that the next time I have ice cream," she said as she put his glass back in its place.

"It helps. Those headaches are killer."

"You ain't just whistlin' Dixie." At that phrase Chakotay raised his eyebrows.

"I haven't heard that one before," he looked at her quizzically, "What does it mean?"

"It means something to the effect of you aren't lying. I heard Tom say it to Harry not too long ago," she explained. So far this had been a very relaxing evening. Kathryn had almost forgotten her earlier trials and tribulations. Chakotay, on the other hand, was secretly dreading something happening to spoil the mood. Fortunately, only good things happened. After they finished dessert, the lights dimmed to a romantic level. At about that time, Kathryn decided to go grab a blanket and a couple of pillows.

"I'll be back in a second," she said as she stood up.

"Can I hold you to that?" he teased.

"Maybe," she said with a laugh as the doors slid shut. He decided to pick up the dishes then. Just as he got the last of them into the recycler, she was back shaking her head. "It's so odd that my quarters have so many things going wrong, and yours so few."

"Are they as you left them?" he asked.

"A little better actually. The music is a lot quieter and the sonic shower is off." She still wouldn't want to sleep there tonight. It was eerie and a little creepy in there. It was almost like her quarters didn't want her there.

"Just how bad was it earlier?" He was thinking that while Kathryn slept, he could sneak over and fix what was still malfunctioning.

"Bad enough that I don't want to be there longer than I need to be." She knew what he was up to. She wasn't going to help him. Kathryn was of the opinion that Chakotay needed sleep more than she needed her quarters fixed.

"Can we talk about what happened in your ready room now?" he asked since Kathryn didn't have anywhere to disappear to.

"Yes," Kathryn had been hoping against hope that he had forgotten, but she knew better.

"If the lights hadn't come back on and Tuvok hadn't contacted you, would we have kissed?" He had wanted to ask her that all day.

"Yes, but it would have turned everything upside down." Kathryn lowered her stormy eyes to keep herself from getting lost in Chakotay's.

"Why would our kissing turn everything upside down?" he asked as calmly as possible. All he wanted to do was kiss her right now and prove her wrong.

"You are my best friend and I am captain. What would happen to our friendship? What would happen if we fell in love and I had to send you on a dangerous mission? Would I fall apart everytime you got hurt? What if we had a fight? Would I still be able to do what is necessary to keep this crew safe? What would the crew think about us? Do you know? Because I don't and I can't risk being wrong." she poured out in as few breaths as possible and only looking into Chakotay's eyes for the last sentence.

"How long have you been holding these questions in?" he asked in astonishment as he knelt in front of her and took her hands in his.

"Since after we came back from New Earth," she said quietly and looked down.

"I'll do my best to answer your questions. Our friendship would grow if we opened up to each other. You will always be able to do things for the greater good, even if that means sending me on a dangerous mission. If something happened involving me you would stay strong and in control, because that is what you do best. If we had a fight, we would do what we always do, bite our tongues and not let it interfere. And I don't think the crew would want to keep us apart. They genuinely care about your happiness." She wasn't saying anything, so he moved her chin so she would be looking into his eyes. When she did look at him, she took a deep breath.

"I'm scared." Kathryn had finally said what was really holding her back.

"I wish there was something I could say to take away your fear. But, know this, I will wait and I will always, always love you." He was afraid to move, uncertain of what came next.

"Someday," Kathryn said as she wrapped her arms around him. She clung to him like she would never let go and said again, "Someday." After a moment she said, "I think we should sleep now." And she regretfully let go of him. "Good night, Chakotay, sleep well."

"Good night, Kathryn." He stood up slowly and went into his bedroom. Chakotay laid down and thought about what had just happened. He listened to her movement to get comfortable and then her deep breathing.

Meanwhile, Kathryn nestled into a good sleeping position on Chakotay's couch and tried to understand why she had told him so much of what she meant to keep hidden forever. Just when she was on the edge of sleep, she felt two strong arms underneath her. Then she was lifted up and carried into the bedroom. Chakotay laid her down on the bed and pulled the blankets up to her chin. He brushed a stray lock of hair out of her face and said, "Sleep well." He leaned down to kiss her cheek, at that moment she woke a little and stirred. So instead of kissing her cheek he kissed her lips. Her eyes fluttered open and then shut and the kiss deepened. Chakotay regained his senses as quickly as he could and pulled away. Kathryn turned on her side and murmured, "Goodnight, Chakotay, my love."

He walked back to the main area after a few seconds of staring at her peaceful form. At the doorway he said, "Sleep well, my Kathryn."

His walking away woke her up enough to remember what just happened. She didn't know what to do, so she pretended to sleep. After she heard him lay down on the couch, Kathryn opened her eyes and brought her hand to her lips and mouthed *my Kathryn*. She had an insane urge to giggle. She loved Chakotay with all her heart and soul, and she wanted everybody to know it. Suddenly, she was overcome with indecision. She knew only one person on board would be able to help her. She decided to see him before her shift began tomorrow.

When all she heard from the main area was deep breathing, she slipped out of Chakotay's bed and went to look in on him. What she found brought a smile to her face. Chakotay was sprawled out on the couch. One arm was behind his head, the other resting on his chest. He had kicked off the blanket and had one foot resting on the floor.

She walked over to him and grabbed his ankle and managed to heave his leg onto the couch without waking him. Then she picked up the blanket and spread it over him. She took his arm and put it over the blanket and tucked him in. She smiled at him and brushed her fingertips along his tattoo. When she had burned his image into her memory, she went back to the bedroom to seek some sleep.

**************

That was so sweet! Oh, we have to get them together if nothing else! Let's just concentrate on these two tomorrow. That way that *Vulcan* can't interfere until he is supposed to. Hey, I just got a good one to make him listen to! David Hasselhoff! Ah, I just love torturing some people. It can be so rewarding. We should let our little lovebirds sleep now. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for them.

**************

IT IS NOW 0630 HOURS. IT IS NOW 0630 HOURS. IT IS NOW 0630 HOURS.

"Computer, reset alarm for tomorrow," Kathryn said as she swung her legs over the side of the bed. It took her a second to realize where she was. When she did, Kathryn leapt up to wake Chakotay. She found him almost as she had left him. She sat on the edge of the couch and touched his hand as she said, "Chakotay, it's 0630 hours. Time to get up."

"Good morning," Chakotay said groggily. He smiled up at her and halfway opened his eyes.

"I'm going back to my quarters to get ready for duty. Meet me in the Mess Hall for breakfast at 0700 hours?"

"I'd love to." He watched her walk towards the doors. "See you then," he called out.

"You bet," she called back as she stepped into the corridor. It was then that she realized that if anyone saw her, the rumor mill would be fired up red-hot. Luckily for her, the hall was empty. Her quarters were back to normal, except for the music playing. Currently playing was Alanis Morissette's "Uninvited". She walked over to her closet and pulled out a fresh uniform and got out other necessities. Then she took a nice, hot water shower.

Like
Anyone would be
I am flattered by your fascination with me

Like
Any hot-blooded woman
I have simply wanted an object to crave

But you,
You're not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

Must be strangely exciting
To watch the stoic squirm

Must be heart telling
To watch shepherd lead shepherd

But you,
You're not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

You speak of my love like
You have experienced love like mine before

But this,
Is not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

I don't think you unworthy
I need a moment to deliberate.

The next song is "Pale September" by Fiona Apple.

Pale September, I wore the time like a dress that year
The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin
But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared
My heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within
But then he rose, brilliant as the moon in full
And sank in the burrows of my keep

And all my armor falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep

He goes along just as a water lily
Gentle on the surface of his thoughts his body floats
Unweighed down by passion or intensity
Yet unaware of the depth upon which he coasts
And he finds a home in me
For what misfortune sows, he knows my touch will reap

And all my armor falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep
All my armor falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep (to sleep)
All my armor falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep

Third song is "Higher" by Creed

When dreaming I'm guided through another world
Time and time again

At sunrise, I fight to stay asleep
'Cause I don't want to leave the comfort of this place

'Cause there's a hunger, a longing to escape
From the life I life when I'm awake

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets

Although I would like the world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay

Up high I feel like I'm alive for the very first time
Up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams and make them mine
Up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams and make them mine

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets

By the time the third song was done, Kathryn was putting her last pip on her collar. It was about 0647 hours by now. She left her quarters and headed towards the quarters of her second most trusted friend on board. AKA: The Master of Bad Timing, or, if you prefer, Tuvok. She activated the door chime and received a prompt, "Enter," for her trouble. As she came in Tuvok greeted her with, "Hello, Captain." Tuvok was going through security reports. If it were possible, Kathryn would have said he looked tired. Playing in the background was some sickening music being sung by a woman with a breathy baby voice.

"Hello, Tuvok. Can I speak to you? It is of a personal nature." Kathryn decided to get straight to the point considering with whom she was speaking.

"I would be privileged, Captain." He motioned for her to take a seat.

"Tuvok, you are very observant. Have you noticed how the Commander and I have feelings for each other?"

"Yes, you both took care to hide your feelings. After a period of observation, I noticed a fondness between you both."

"We do care a lot for each other. But, I am scared of what could happen if we pursue a relationship," she said with care.

"We are a long way from Starfleet, Captain. You need someone to provide you with emotional stability. If that does not convince you, which I don't believe it will, consider the following hypothesis of what could happen. First, something happens to you, you are no longer captain, Commander Chakotay is. I believe he is too devoted to you to pursue a relationship with someone else. Second, something happens to him, he is no longer captain. The logical choice for captain now is me. I am devoted to T'Pel. Third, something happens to me, I am no longer captain. Who is next in line? It is reasonable that that the next captain will try to follow the standards set by his or her predecessors. That would also include being alone. There is a possibility that this person is married or perhaps even has children. What should this person do? It would not be logical for you to be alone, this far from Starfleet. You require support that you would normally get between missions." Tuvok said all this as if he were discussing weather patterns on Jupiter or the ingredients in Neelix's latest creation.

"Thank you, my friend. You have helped me a great deal." Indeed he had. She had never thought of if that way. What Tuvok said and what Chakotay had said almost completely convinced her. She left and went to Chakotay's quarters to see if he was ready yet. She activated the door chime.

"Enter," he said, so she did.

"I just came to see if you were ready yet."

"I am. Let's go," he said as he walked towards the doors, but he was stopped by Kathryn's hand on his arm.

"I have a confession to make." She was now committed to whatever she was going to say next.

"Go ahead."

"I was partially awake when you carried me into your bedroom. What I said is true, my love. And... I want to start a tentative relationship." She had and irrational fear that he had suddenly changed his mind.

"And I thought I was the actor," He smiled at her and she felt her fear slide away. "What do you mean by tentative?"

"Going slow, holding hands, watching the crew's reaction." she said slowly and she hoped unconcernedly.

"Ah, so there's the reason. Well, if it will make you feel better, it's okay with me." He gave her his trademark-dimpled smile and she practically melted.

"Good, now, I want to show you off. Let's go get some breakfast." They went hand in hand to the Mess Hall. What they found was an extremely full room. They got their trays and their mystery breakfast. It resembled scrambled eggs, but it was bright orange.At least it didn't smell like leola root. They searched for a place to sit for what felt like an hour. Eventually, Kathryn spotted a free table in the corner. She grabbed Chakotay's hand and led him to it. "It's real busy today. I wonder why." Just then Chakotay spotted Tom Paris speaking secretively to Harry and B'Elanna.

"My guess would be that a new rumor is flying around." Then, Tom gestured over to Chakotay and Kathryn. Tom, B'Elanna, and Harry all looked over to see Chakotay and Kathryn's amused faces. They hurriedly looked away. Kathryn and Chakotay laughed about their friends' embarrassment.

"Kathryn, since this new rumor is about us, do you want to add some fuel to the fire?" Chakotay said as he put a small black box on the table. "I've wanted to give it to you for a while now. And today just feels right for it." She picked up the box and gently opened it.

"Oh," she gasped, "It's beautiful." In the box was a silver flower ring. She took it out and it came apart into four linked rings. "It's a puzzle ring!"

"Here are the instructions, inside the box. Now you have something to fidget with the next time you are nervous." Chakotay was pleased with her reaction. He was glad that the intended owner of the ring liked it so much.

"I am glad I told the crew that it was all right to wear a piece of jewelry on duty." She was absolutely fascinated by the ring. She played with it, breakfast and the crew in the room forgotten, until she cried out triumphantly, "Ah ha!" and slipped the ring onto her right ring finger.

"Do you want to see if we can find out what Tom knows or thinks he knows?" Kathryn asked now that she was now paying attention to her surroundings.

"After you," and so they snuck behind the table containing Tom, B'Elanna, Harry, and now Sam Wildman.

"I had to help debug the internal sensors last night. It was real late. I checked again at about 0400 hours and she was still there. She spent the night." Tom was whispering across the table to Sam.

"It took them long enough. They always look so sweet together," said Sam.

"You should have seen the way they look at each other when they're on the bridge and they think the other isn't paying attention. Almost smoldering," chimed in Harry.

"I think we should stop talking about this. It's their lives. We are being very rude." B'Elanna said to Tom since he would not let it drop. Just then Tom turned pale, because he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder.

"I agree with B'Elanna," Kathryn said as she smiled wickedly at their surprised expressions.

"After all, you know, what goes around comes around," Chakotay said with an equally wicked smile.

"Nice ring, Captain." Harry said as he recovered from his shock and noticed the ring.

"It is, isn't it." she said with a significant look at Chakotay.

"We'll see you on duty. Have a nice day," said Chakotay. Then Kathryn and Chakotay went laughingly back to their table and finished breakfast. Kathryn realized that everything's gonna be all right. The next song to come on in the Mess Hall was "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins.

She grew up with
The children of the stars
In the Hollywood hills and the boulevard
Her parents threw big parties
Everyone was there
They hung out with folks like
Dennis Hopper, Bob Seeger, Sonny and Cher

Now, she feels safe
In this bar on Fairfax
And from the stage I can tell that
She can't let go and she can't relax
And just before
She hangs her head to cry
I sing to her a lullaby, I sing

Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Rockabye

She still lives with her mom
Outside the city
Down that street about a half a mile
And all her friends tell her
She's so pretty
But she'd be a whole lot prettier
If she smiled once in a while
`Cause even her smile
Looks like a frown
She's seen her share of devils
In this angel town

But, everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Rockabye

I told her I ain't so sure
About this place
It's hard to play a gig in this town
And keep a straight face
Seems like everyone here's got a plan
It's kind of like Nashville with a tan, but,

Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye

Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye
Everything's gonna be all right
Rockabye, rockabye, rockabye, bye, bye
Bye, bye

**************

Oh! That was sweet! We didn't even have to do anything. Too bad that Tom guy and B'Elanna are already together. That would be a fun couple to get to match up. Let's sign off with one last song. It should be Celine Dion's "If That's What It Takes".

You're the bravest of hearts, you're the strongest of souls
You're my light in the dark, you're the place I call home
You can say it's all right, but I know that you're breaking up inside
I see it in your eyes
Even you face the night afraid and alone
That's why I'll be there

When the storm rises up, when the shadows descend
Every beat of my heart, every day without end
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes
If that's what it takes

You can sleep in my arms, you don't have to explain
When your heart's crying out, baby, whisper my name
'Cause I've reached out for you when the thunder is crashing up above
You've given me your love when you smile like the sun that shines
through
the pain
That's why I'll be there

When the storm rises up, when the shadows descend
Every beat of my heart, every day without end
I will stand like a rock, I will bend till I break
Till there's no more to give, if that's what it takes
I will risk everything, I will fight, I will bleed
I will lay down my life, if that's what it takes

Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes

Through the wind and the rain, through the smoke and the fire
When the fear rises up, when the wave's ever higher
I will lay down my heart, my body, my soul
I will hold on all night and never let go
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes

~ The End ~