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"I Care" by Tara

Author: Tara - tara9@eircom.net

Disclaimer: Like Paramount would care.

Rating: PG

Summary: Kathryn observes Chakotay and realises something about him.

Author's Notes:*squeezy huggles* to Coral for betaing this for me. To everyone else, you didn't see this story, never read it, it doesn't exist, ok? Good, now... you can read it.
I've been having too many baby conversations this last while. My friend just had a baby girl, my sister thinks she's pregnant, a friend of the family had a miscarriage, I was sitting in mass one day actually watching the couple in this story (and promised myself I'd write a fic about it) and then *takes a breath* last night in #JetCjr speaking with Coral... and ok... so Becci was there too, our conversation (or lack thereof) reminded me about it. So... cheers gals, this would've got lost in the great expanse that is my brain if it hadn't been for yous.
PS: Da monkey is MINE!

*

We were at some alien function when I saw the sadness in his eyes. He was sitting right beside me among the rows of seats lined up for the event, which I couldn't report on because I paid little attention. I wondered what was wrong until I followed his gaze to the row of seats in front of us. He was watching a young couple settling into their seats with their baby.

It wasn't hard to tell that the child was only newborn - it was nearly swallowed by the carrier - but even more unmistakable was the look of pure joy and raw pride in both the mother and father's eyes. The way they cooed over the child, taking every opportunity to touch it or lean in over it, the way they exchanged silent glances that said volumes, and smiles that lit up the entire room.

I found myself smiling at them. And whether he felt my gaze or did it simply by chance, the father glanced up and caught my eye. He obviously knew now that I had been staring at him and his family and instead of looking away as one would do under scrutiny, his lips curled until they melted into a warm smile, his eyes twinkling with pride. I could do nothing but smile in return.

His eyes flickered slightly and I remembered Chakotay. And in fact the man was now looking at Chakotay. I watched him and waited for the smile the man had evoked in me but it did not come. Instead Chakotay looked away abruptly with a frown on his face. I glanced over to see if he had confused the father as much as me but he was once again giving all his attention to his own little bundle.

Looking back to Chakotay I could tell he wasn't aware of my gaze. I watched as the deep lines on his forehead ironed out and then I saw the sadness cloud his face again. Another quick glance at the young family and I realised what was wrong with him and my heart ached for him.

He wanted a family, a wife and a child. He wanted the pride in that man's eyes, the joy in his smile. He wanted to share it with his wife... he wanted to coo over his own child. Chakotay wanted a child.

No one seems to care, even in this day and age, what men think when it comes to having children or a family. If a woman decides she wants a child but doesn't have, or possibly want, the means - the means being a spouse - bang! A little discreet trip to the sperm bank and she's got her baby. A man on the other hand can't just decide he wants a child unless he has a wife, girlfriend or a really, really, good female friend to help him out. He can't nip down to the local egg bank and stop by the uterus store on the way home. They don't care that maybe my first officer, 30,000 light years from home, womanless and likely to stay that way for a while yet, wants a child. No one seems to care.

But I do. I care.

*

THE END
Feedback to: tara9@eircom.net