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"Comfortable" by Tara

Author: Tara - tara9@eircom.net

Disclaimer: If Voyager were mine, Seven of Nine wouldn't have lived past Human Error.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Kathryn muses on how she feels after being in the 'workforce'.

Author's Note: I loved Workforce, I have to say I really enjoyed it, it offered some nice moments and was an especially good chance for Mulgrew to stretch her legs... and she did (get your mind out of the gutter!) So this little... drabble, I suppose I should call it, is what resulted from this. Being a JCer I had to input something, but I didn't mess it up to much, so little in fact that it could almost be canon... *almost*.

*

"Are you sorry I showed up?"

Kathryn registered Chakotay's question as his eyes flickered to his right awaiting her answer. She stared out the viewscreen to the huge ball of blue and white. It had been home to her not so many hours ago. She thought back on the life she had, or was given if she was to be correct. Her time with Jaffen was the only factor of her 'life' that she had controlled really.

I've never been more comfortable in my life.

The words she had said came floating back to her. She had wondered if indeed she had never been more comfortable in her life than she was there with him or if that was just another fabrication created by the doctor while tampering with her memory in his attempt to make her remain in the workforce. She remembered considering the answer when she was back to her real self.

She thought back to when Jaffen came to visit her in her quarters.

"Congratulations," She congratulated his promotion. "You deserve it."

She watched him in the dim light of her quarters, standing across the room and now stooping to lay a bag on the floor. She wavered in her spot; torn by the urge to go to him like she had before and the fear that she couldn't trust the feelings she was experiencing, if they really belonged to her, the real her.

Twisting her fingers together she chanced a glance at his eyes. He was gazing transfixed at her, caught between the need to say what was playing on his lips and interpreting her mood.

"I might reconsider, " Kathryn's eyes darted up from her twisting hands at his voice. "If perhaps Voyager was taking on civilian passengers."

Her eyes dropped immediately, silently. Guilt wormed its way into her and gnawed at her insides.

"Jaffen..." She fought the feeling and grasped for the little bit of courage that had all but deserted her. She caught his eyes and looked sadly back at him. A brief glint of hope flickered before his eyes dulled and he pulled a weak smile.

"Let me guess... it still wouldn't be appropriate?" He joked meekly and he roused no amusement from her. He let a short sigh out as he broke their eye contact and bent towards the bag he had brought.

"I thought you might like some of these back," He said as he opened the bag and pulled out the bent plasma relay she had decided to decorate their apartment with and held it up before placing it on the table. Kathryn watched him as a resh sadness pooled through her. "To remind you of our time together." He glanced up, almost shyly and she felt a spear in her throat and swallowing it back, she looked at him.

"I won't need a souvenir to remember." Her words were almost choked. A sudden burst of emotion flowed between them and they lunged for each other and pulled themselves into a crushing yet tender embrace full of need.

Finally they released each other and stood facing the other, drawing strength from the closeness.

"There's more to this than your reputation, isn't there?" He whispered and no longer afraid of the answer she nodded. He smiled knowingly and with a final caress of her arm he took a step back from her.

"I will always remember our time together... fondly. But... it also made me forget some things." She confessed, casting her eyes away, feeling a blush creep up her neck.

"Like?" He prompted gently. He was not demanding she tell him, rather he was suggesting she tell him if for nothing else then to remind herself of it. Kathryn's eyes danced about the room as she wondered if she should answer. As she considered it, her eyes sparked and she was overcome by an unusual giddiness. When her eyes finally rested back on Jaffon she smiled warmly.

"Despite my ease with you... I can remember being more comfortable." She had been worried he may have viewed that as an insult but she knew otherwise, especially when he smiled softly in return and bowed his head.

As the memory faded, Kathryn realised she hadn't answered Chakotay's question yet. She blinked at the viewscreen and her gaze fell from the orb that consumed it. She felt Chakotay's eyes on her and turned her head sharply.

"Not for a second." She replied and he rewarded her with a flash of his dimpled grin. She couldn't help but grin in response.

Turning her gaze back out in front her grin faded to a melting smile as she pawed the arm rest and revelled in the feel of the familiar cushion of her seat beneath her and the occasional beep from her left where she knew Chakotay was checking up on ship's systems, still wearing that absurd grin she loved to see.

Yes... she was comfortable... very comfortable.

*

THE END
Feedback to: tara9@eircom.net