by Myu

Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager and everything associated with it is owned by CBS/Paramount.
Notes: Add-on to Workforce. Chakotay has to help Janeway remember all that she has forgotten, and more besides.
Rating: Universal/G

Chakotay paced. He had been circling the room like a dazed animal for what seemed like hours but there didn't seem to be anything better to do – at present he found it difficult to sit for more than half a minute without fidgeting and nothing could divert him from mulling over the conversation he had had with the Doctor.

"The modifications made to her memory were extreme, Commander," the hologram had informed him grimly, "I'm afraid it will take longer for her to recover than most of the other members of the crew. She and Lieutenant Tuvok both require extra time to recuperate."
Chakotay had looked down at the biobed upon which Kathryn slept soundly, completely unaware of the arduous task she would be faced with when she came back to consciousness – regaining her memories. Tuvok had returned to the ship bloody and bruised, and it left Chakotay cold to think of the havoc the doctor on the planet had wreaked upon his fellow crewmembers and the harm the aliens had been capable of inflicting upon those closest to him.
"It's like she's lost part of her identity," He muttered, mouth twisted with anger and pity, "She values her experiences; they're a vital part of who she is."
"She also values the people close to her," the Doctor pointed out gently, "You can help her in a way that no one else can."
Chakotay regarded the Doctor for a moment and gave a half-smile.
"Thank you, Doctor. I know you've been working round the clock to treat everyone. If it's all right, I'd like to be the one to help her regain her memories. With both her and Tuvok on leave I'm in command, but this is very important to me."
"I understand. Try not to overdo it, though – it won't do either of you any good." The Doctor proceeded to outline the beginning of a treatment plan.

Chakotay had known it was important to pay attention, but in truth he was only half-listening. It was like she was taking up most of the space in his brain, and there wasn't much room for other important things to filter through. So far he had managed to schedule a few important repairs, but Ensign Kim was taking on much more responsibility than he ought to and Chakotay knew he was obliged to take over as the senior officer. Saving all the crewmembers who had been abducted had been the first priority, then all efforts had to be concentrated on returning the ship's systems to normal operating levels and it bothered him that he couldn't let her needs come first, even as he had vowed to do years ago.

He received a padd from the Doctor and held it loosely without even looking at it. As his attention drifted towards Kathryn lying there, he considered that he didn't often take the time to simply look at her anymore and it was a surprise that he had become so used to her appearance that he often didn't see all the small details as he had done before. His gaze passed over her hair, fanned across the headrest with the reddish highlights shining in the Sickbay lighting, then he caught sight of her hands clasped across her middle and noticed her nails, clean and filed at the tips of slim, pale fingers. He cared for her, had grown to love her, and yet time had made him become accustomed to her presence and he realised it was now easy for him to overlook how pretty she was and easy for him to not value that the knowledge that she was happy was somehow enough for him – enough to sustain him better than anything else he could have wished for. In working with her he had found it immeasurably easier to find peace within himself, then as their relationship deepened so did his general sense of contentment in his life. Now he found that he was bewildered by the absence of the grounding effect she had on him and felt the loss keenly. He waited and drummed his fingertips impatiently on the padd the Doctor had given him.

When Kathryn had returned to the ship she had donned her uniform for less than a day before being admitted to Sickbay. Chakotay had had only a snatched moment alone with her before he had to rush off to the Bridge, and he told her that he was looking forward to seeing her later on and had squeezed her arm gently. She had nodded, frowning slightly. He hadn't paid much attention at the time, and then later combed his memory and berated himself for not having said more, not having taken real notice of her oddly vacant expression.

She had then said goodbye to Jaffen, the man she had met on the planet. Afterwards she had requested that she be taken to the medical bay and, once there, she explained quietly that she had barely known enough to keep up appearances and was on the brink of complete confusion. The Doctor had immediately brought forward her appointment for treatment and found that, after Tuvok, the surgery performed by the alien doctor had been the most extensive of that on all of the other crewmembers. He had also found traces of bruising and evidence of healed fractures in her arms and had suspected that she had been restrained quite forcefully. The same kind of injuries had been found on Tuvok. Upon receiving this piece of information Chakotay had felt sick and ached to have been able to do something more for them, and he was a little disgusted that he had had to read the facts in a report rather than be with them first-hand. He had thrown the offending padd down on the desk and stormed back to the Sickbay, vowing not to leave her side that night even though his guilt at neglecting his duties dogged his every footstep.

Chakotay continued pacing a neat circle around the biobed and was contemplating whether or not to call for a status report when Kathryn's eyelids began to flutter and open tentatively. He grabbed her hand without thinking and waited as she took in her surroundings. Her eyes wandered for a moment and she finally focused on him. It was a start – the past few times she had come to she had barely managed to stay awake for a few seconds before slipping out of consciousness again, her eyelids heavy with exhaustion.
"Where am I?" She asked throatily, eyes searching his face curiously as if something about it puzzled her.
"You're on Voyager," Chakotay said, hardly daring to breathe, "You've been recovering from treatment by the Doctor."
Kathryn squinted for a moment.
"Voyager...the starship – the ship I captain." The words came uneasily and she looked to him for confirmation.
"That's right," Chakotay agreed, concealing his feelings behind a mask comprised of a reassuring smile and relaxed composure. He itched to ask her about the planet.
Her eyes moved sideways and her gaze settled somewhere to the left, where his hand gripped her curled fingers tightly.
"How are you feeling?" He asked quickly, releasing her hand under the pretence of smoothing his uniform jacket.
"Oh? Well..." She trailed off. Chakotay almost bit his tongue.
"I'm Chakotay, your first officer," He cut in stupidly. She smiled for the first time, and Chakotay felt a hint of hope touch him.
"I remember your name." Her eyes moved over his face intently, but she didn't say any more.
The thought cheered him, but also served as a painful reminder of all that she didn't remember.
"I'm sorry, Kathryn."
"What for?"

The Doctor came over at that point and passed a medical tricorder over her. Chakotay stepped back, letting go of everything he wanted to ask her. "Good morning, Captain. I'm the chief medical officer on board. You normally just call me Doctor. Are you experiencing any dizziness, headaches, nausea...?"
Kathryn grimaced a little.
"That's to be expected. How are you feeling?"
Chakotay considered briefly that none of the other crewmembers had complained of such, but it was just adding one more concern to all the others. He was faintly envious of the way the Doctor spoke with her – he was at ease, answered all of her questions smoothly and he could see Kathryn calming visibly in his presence. He was almost sorry when the hologram moved across to the office and he stepped back to her side nervously, because he wasn't sure what to say. Beyond 'Do you remember...?' he couldn't articulate exactly what he wanted to know.
She still seemed relaxed, but continued to scrutinise his appearance.

"What is it?" Chakotay asked finally, wondering if he had a smudge on his face.
"Sorry," Kathryn answered, casting her eyes to the side quickly, "I didn't mean to stare, it's just that seeing you..."
"Yes –?" he motioned for her to go on and tried to keep his eager look suppressed. She shifted herself so she was sitting a little more upright on her elbows.
"I feel like I know – or should know – lots about you. I just..." She pursed her lips and shook her head, looking embarrassed.
"Kathryn, you're not going to remember everything straight away. It's going to take time, but I'll help you."
"Thanks. I know – I don't know how, but I do – I can trust you."
He smiled at her, but her gaze was focused somewhere around his forehead and her expression was somewhere between intrigued and perplexed.
"If there's anything I can do or if you have any questions, just ask. Anything."
She opened her mouth and he leaned in slightly, wondering if -

"Kim to Chakotay."
They both started and he apologised hastily before taking a step back.
"What is it, Harry?"
"Commander, we could really use your help up here."
"Can it wait?" Chakotay asked, a hopeful veneer to his voice though he already knew the answer. There was a pause at the other end and he eyed Kathryn, who had lain back down on the bed and was already beginning to look a little drowsy again.
"It's okay, I'll be right there. Chakotay out."
He exhaled deeply and stepped back to Kathryn.
"I'm sorry – Kim wouldn't have called me if it weren't urgent."
"'S'fine," Kathryn murmured, still watching him closely even as her eyes were almost reduced to slits.

He told her he would be back and left the Sickbay feeling faintly annoyed. Although he could hardly blame her, some jealous part of him wanted it not to be 'fine' – wished she had wanted to ask more questions about who he was and what he meant to her. Ever since the whole incident had begun he'd felt pushed to the side a little, and he was feeling isolated and alone even while working closely with the other members of the crew.

*   *   *

The away mission had been tough and he had wanted nothing more than to get back to Voyager. Harry had fallen ill and, even after several years in the Delta Quadrant, there was still the odd occasion where he felt he could only endure Neelix in small doses. Although the mission had been relatively short, by the end he was missing Kathryn and thinking wistfully of Voyager and the three hours of holodeck time he'd been saving up so they could have an evening out together.

It had been difficult, seeing Kathryn by chance in the bar on Quarra and not being able to greet her as he normally would. He had been trying to get through it by forcing himself to think of her as someone else, but that thought did little to help when her colleague, a man called Jaffen, abruptly revoked her invitation to sit with them. Kathryn had thrown the two of them an apologetic glance before meekly following her companion over to a table. Chakotay glowered at Jaffen's back until Neelix nudged him.
"Who does he think he is?" Chakotay muttered.
"Ssh," Neelix replied in a low voice, "I'm sure the Captain can take care of herself."
"Right," Chakotay said, although the way his eyes constantly darted to the two hunched over the table betrayed his true feelings.
"Will you stop that?" Neelix urged after a tense few minutes, "They'll see you."
He needn't have worried, though – Kathryn was oblivious, sitting with her head inclined towards Jaffen and appearing completely at ease. Despite looking a little wan, her eyes were bright and she seemed perfectly content – so much, in fact, that Chakotay found his mood darkening all the more. Neelix's impassive expression appeared more forced as the time passed and they fell into a strained silence.

The discomfort was something that had stayed with him and dragged at his footsteps even while he was running desperately from the plant security personnel after he and Neelix had managed to corner B'Elanna and transport her back to Voyager. After managing to lose his pursuers he found his way back to the bar, more concerned now with getting lost in the crowd or possibly securing an alibi, given that his short absence may not have attracted notice.
Kathryn had approached him, a little breathless, but he was distracted in keeping watch for the security guards and only listened with half an ear to her apology for Jaffen's stand-offishness.
"Are you all right?" She asked, her easy, pleasant manner showing nothing beyond proprietary concern for a colleague. He mumbled a polite refusal to her invitation to join her table with an excuse about being tired after work.
 "Well, if you change your mind," Kathryn offered, rocking on her heels, "we're celebrating."
"What's the occasion?" Chakotay asked, trying to keep his voice normal. His shoulder was throbbing more painfully by the minute and he could feel his skin growing clammy with sweat, and probably blood.
"I've decided to move in with Jaffen."
Chakotay was glad that the elaborate disguise the Doctor had fashioned for him had left the muscles in his forehead immobile; otherwise his eyebrows would have shot up and betrayed his true feelings.
"Congratulations," He said quickly to cover the awkward pause.
Chakotay pretended to be absorbed in gathering together his belongings and left silently, his head reeling with the news. The shy smile she had cast while imparting the news was so uncharacteristic of her – certainly not the way she would ever act around colleagues or near-strangers. He had encountered this behaviour from her first-hand, though in an entirely different time and place, and he felt resentful and a little jealous that it was someone else who had provoked such a reaction in her on this planet.

When they had been unofficially dating he had noticed Kathryn becoming a little quieter and more reserved when they were alone, and on the day they had come together as a couple she had sat with him in a sunny orchard on the Holodeck and hardly said a word, toying with an apple and twisting the stalk until it broke. If he hadn't known her so well and been comfortable about the way their relationship seemed to be headed he might have been worried, but the progression seemed so instinctive and unforced that he had simply let it run its course. That day he had given up trying to make conversation and was instead watching her intently, mildly curious about the direction that this particular mood was going to take.
Suddenly her eyes snapped to meet his and she leaned over and kissed him. Though her move towards him was abrupt, the kiss was a soft whisper touched with a sweet taste of longing that could have lasted an hour and still have been entirely too short.
"You're making me act like a first-year cadet," She murmured, her hands running lightly down his arms until her fingers found his and laced through them, "It's embarrassing."
She had been the very picture of innocence in a white summer dress with the heat bringing a hint of rose to her cheeks but, for all her lowered eyes and shy demeanour, she had then launched herself at him with enough force to make them topple backwards onto the grass and had flatly refused to let him take the lead, capturing his lips and making him lose concentration whenever he tried to begin to object. Their hands remained linked, tightly bound with a promise of fulfilment that made him ache with anticipation, and the air was full of the rustle of leaves and the ragged protest of a dress unfastened too quickly.

From that day forth, in developing a relationship with her he had drawn out all those different sides to her personality that lay beneath the steely command exterior. She could spend the day giving orders on the Bridge and then be so submissive to him when the mood took her; she would calculate complex equations in her head and then burn an omelette; she negotiated difficult situations with a cool head and diplomacy and then was unable to stop laughing when he tripped over while carrying her to the bedroom in an attempt to be romantic. They had reached a point where they could show their weaknesses and depend on each other to help them through anything they were faced with. He found he wanted to tell her things just to see her reaction; he liked being with her and liked the person he was when he was around her and, although he knew it was selfish, he resented that someone else had been enjoying that kind of intimacy with her.

*   *   *

Chakotay had aimed to work hard during his shift and then go back to Sickbay, but he hadn't quite taken into account the scale of the workload that was involved. Voyager had sustained heavy damage while the crew had been away and the Doctor, Harry and he had concentrated only on getting vital systems up and running. Now, in addition to the primary systems, the non-urgent repairs were mounting and posing serious inconveniences at every turn, and the fact that both Kathryn and Tuvok were indisposed meant that everyone was automatically reporting to him as the only commanding officer. As much as he wanted to be at Kathryn's side, he felt torn between his personal feelings and adherence to her sense of duty as well as his own – to add to his own high expectations, there was the obligation to run her ship while she was unable to and he felt doubly pressured to do his best. He left his post several hours after the end of his shift feeling as though he hadn't done enough and tried to ignore the guilt as he made his way down to deck five.

"Commander," the Doctor greeted him; his voice lightly emphasising that he was late. Chakotay chose to ignore him and approached Kathryn, who was standing by her biobed, looking up from a padd she had been reading.
"Chakotay!" Despite her bright tone she appeared slightly mystified, and looked at him expectantly.
"Join me for dinner?" He asked hopefully.
"Oh, I already ate."
He felt a slight twinge at her words. Soon after they had got together she had all but insisted that they always eat together after working extended duty shifts, and the thought made him lose his appetite even as his stomach felt emptier still. In the past everything they had been through at each other's side had brought them together, but now he felt as though all of it were lying between them like a river and Kathryn had her back turned to a stream of experiences that were flowing past. It hurt him to think that their shared history was now creating distance where it had brought them closer previously.
"What did you have?"
"Not much – soup, some kind of bread roll," She said vaguely, "I still don't feel too good."

Kathryn drifted over to the biobed on the other side of the room, where Lieutenant Tuvok was sleeping.
"I was speaking to Tuvok today," She said in a low voice, "I know he's a close friend of mine. The Doctor had to treat him again a few hours ago; I'm so angry that he had to go through all that."

Kathryn looked miserable, and Chakotay had to stop himself from reaching out for her. In light of their positions in the crew hierarchy they weren't particularly physically demonstrative in public areas on the ship, but it was strange not to be able to offer her some comfort. Even in her darkest moods when she preferred to be left alone, after some time had passed and she was over the worst of it she would sidle back up to him silently and stay by his side until she felt better again. It wasn't even like he had to hold her or stop what he was doing, though he often did – it was more like his very presence was reassuring for her and he liked that he could support her in that way. He had found himself doing much the same thing, and he was now bereft of that comfort when he needed it most.

"How was your day?" She asked as they began a slow circuit of the room.
"Busy," He admitted, "Sorry, I wanted to come down sooner, but I just couldn't. It's been crazy up there."
"What's been happening?"
"We're still having trouble with the plasma injectors, so we're refitting some of the system. Once that happens we should be able to travel at warp without all the problems we've been having. The secondary systems are becoming the real problem now. We had to hold off on repairs to them because some of the primary systems were in bad shape, but now the repair schedule is backed up and on a skeleton crew -" He stopped.
"Is this all making sense to you?" He asked.
Kathryn looked stung, and he could have kicked himself.
"Most of it," She said, looking at the floor, "General things I don't have much of a problem with."
She seemed unwilling to elaborate further and there was an uncomfortable silence.

"Torres to Chakotay."
He looked at Kathryn, who gestured at him to answer.
"Chakotay here. What is it, B'Elanna?"
"We're about to start that work on the engines. Do you want to come and supervise or review the schedule?"
"I trust you. I'll read your report first thing in the morning and give you my recommendations."
"Understood. Torres out."

Chakotay turned back to Kathryn.
"Sorry about that."
Kathryn's brow had furrowed.
"B'Elanna Torres – she was the woman you rescued first," She glanced at him for affirmation.
"That's right. She happened to be in the right place at the right time, but she's also a great engineer so it was lucky that we had her back on the ship as soon as possible."
"I saw Tom; he was upset when she disappeared. I suppose he's getting his memories back, too."
"He's actually her husband."
Kathryn looked at him sharply.
"They're a couple…on board the ship." She said slowly, as if to affirm it to herself.
"Yes. We've been travelling for about seven years; it's natural that people begin to settle down."
He paused, and decided to take his chance.
"I've been –"

"I remembered something that didn't make sense to me," Kathryn changed the subject abruptly, "You and I..."
"Yes?" Chakotay felt his heart leap.
"...we were outside the – the cargo bay -" The words still came out with some difficulty, as though they had come unstuck from her faded jumble of recollections, "We were holding a man there. A Starfleet officer – I don't know who. We were arguing, and I was so angry..."
No. Anything but that. Chakotay tried not to let his keen smile drop, but it was impossible under the weight of that sad memory. Kathryn, openly disgusted with the ethics of the crew they had discovered on the starship Equinox, had become increasingly fixated with the idea of bringing Captain Ransom's crew to justice and had constantly argued with Chakotay and overruled his orders. Things had come to a head when she shut one of the Equinox crewmen in the cargo bay and was torturing him with the prospect of opening a portal for the hostile aliens to come through, at which point Chakotay had snapped and challenged her before removing the prisoner against her will. The looks they had thrown each other were more poisonous than any words they could have uttered and the incident had caused friction between them as a couple as well as a command team.

*   *   *

The night of that particular incident he had gone to bed late and then gotten up almost as soon as he'd lain down.
"Where are you going?" Kathryn's voice came from the gloom, sounding wearied and tinged with worry. She sat upright, and Chakotay could see even in the near-darkness that she looked exhausted and upset.
"I don't know if I can look at you right now," He said, carefully studying the crumpled bedclothes – testament to the restlessness that was pervading like a thick fog through the nights.
"Then close your eyes and come back to bed," She said quietly, without a trace of humour.
"Don't," He urged, shaking his head slightly.
"Chakotay," Kathryn began, "I'm asking you just for a short period of time to put aside work, our ranks, our professions...everything except the fact that I'm Kathryn and you are the one I love. Because I need you right now, and I think you need me, too."
He bit his lip as she got up and moved noiselessly to him, took his hand and guided him to the bed, sweeping away the jumble of sheets. Her fingers ran incessantly over the lines of his palm and when she stopped he realised they were both crying. For the first time he was reluctant to hold her in case he wasn't comforted the way he usually was, and as a result he watched her fall into a fitful sleep, where between periods of dozing he could see her reaching out, her fist perpetually clenching when her cold fingers closed around emptiness.

*   *   *

Back in the Sickbay, Chakotay was fumbling for an answer and he too was struggling to grasp anything. He gave her a short summary of the events, deliberately keeping close to the facts and avoiding anything too emotionally charged.
"We...worked it out," He finished lamely.
"I did all that...?" Kathryn asked, her expression changing from mild shock to a kind of unsure disgust. She got back on her biobed and brought one of her knees up to her chest.
"Ransom's actions were extreme. It was one of the most difficult situations we've ever had to deal with. You did -"
"I remember what I did," She cut in pointedly.
"You do? That's great-"
"I don't feel well," Kathryn interrupted quietly, and Chakotay cringed, "I'm going to go to bed."
"– all right," Chakotay said finally, wondering if he should be trying to tease more out of her, but she seemed resolute, "Sleep well, Kathryn."
As he turned away he thought he saw her flinch, but when he looked back she was determinedly busying herself in unfolding a blanket.

After conferring with the Doctor quickly, he made his way up to deck three to their quarters to get some sleep before the beginning of his next official shift – not that he paid much attention to the hours when such a situation demanded round-the-clock supervision. On the way there he was alone with his thoughts again, and mused over the situation she had recalled while he was waiting for the turbolift. Once the whole Equinox affair had been settled he had rehung the Voyager dedication plaque and led an interminably exhausted Kathryn back to their quarters, and she looked close to tears when he told her he had agreed with Tuvok that they would both have the next day off. They practically passed out the moment their heads hit the same pillow, and slept a full ten hours. The next morning was long and lazy and, while she was sitting on his lap in the armchair after breakfast, everything about Captain Ransom had poured out of her in a rush. He listened to a tirade that was angry and confused, his heart breaking to hear of the torment she had faced – a destructive course of broken reasoning which reminded him of the angry resentment that had plagued him for much of his adult life. She was furious with Ransom for throwing the Federation rulebook out of the window, and had been unexpectedly shaken to the core when his crew showed unwavering loyalty to him. Then she surprised Chakotay completely by admitting exactly what he had suspected all along – that she had come to rely on her Federation principles too much as a kind of security. She had made the decision to stay in the Delta Quadrant based on them, and they had become the gilded cage that she stubbornly shut herself into. With every moral dilemma they had faced she rattled the bars of that cage made of principles while knowing all the time there was no lock to speak of, and in that way they had become a source of blame as much as a source of guidance. She didn't like to think that her own crew would sacrifice themselves to protect her and on more than one occasion had expressed that she didn't think she was indispensible – Chakotay wasn't sure whether this was a weak point in her sense of self-worth, or the influence of her Starfleet science background where there was less emphasis on community and more importance placed on individual excellence. This made the actions of Ransom's crew doubly difficult for her to deal with and the strain was punishing.

She didn't ask him to forgive her – hadn't had to, as their emotional separation had been penance enough – but since then he had noticed she had been more careful to check herself and ask his opinion, and the incident seemed to strengthen their relationship to the same degree that it had threatened to drive them apart at one stage. With some shame he realised that that was precisely the detail he should have emphasised to Kathryn, rather than freely volunteer an opportunity for her to reiterate the grief and regret she had been stricken with at that time.

The journey up the decks was short and he walked along the corridor to their shared quarters with fatigue dragging at his footsteps. He had been so exhausted the previous few days that he had taken little notice of the state of their quarters beyond where to throw his clothes as he made his way to bed and, without Kathryn to nudge him to clear up, there were several forgotten items dropped around the rooms. As he began tidying up he could see that, while he'd been away, Kathryn had taken it upon herself to begin rearranging the main room, for some reason – some of the lighter items of furniture had been moved and she appeared to have been clearing a space in the back corner near their bedroom. The heavy bookcase, emptied of its contents, was the only object there now; perhaps she had waited to ask him to move it.

He turned back to the living area and picked up a discarded padd from the floor. As he bent down he could see something sticking out from under the armchair, and when he felt underneath to investigate he drew out Kathryn's cloth knitting bag. On top of some squares of the throw she had been working on the previous month there was the beginning of something she was crocheting in a soft white wool, but it wasn't much more than a few rows and he hadn't the faintest idea of what she would be making in that colour or for whom – in anything for herself she preferred to use dark or deep shades of colour. He replaced the skinny rectangle of wool and the crochet hook carefully back into the bag and held the soft bundle to his chest for a moment.

Reviewing reports, checking her ready room for clues, piecing together the course of events on Voyager while he had been away...everything was turning into a pointless detective game with no solutions. About a hundred questions popped into his head every hour of the day regarding her – mundane things, minor points, important life questions he would forget her reply to the next day – and with each one came the horrible reminder that she might not be able to answer. He hadn't the vaguest clue why there was a burnt-out plasma coil on a shelf in their quarters, what had prompted her to finally fix the loose trim on the escape hatch or why, according to the replicator, she had been eating breakfast in their quarters first thing every day in the week before being captured when normally she wouldn't touch anything before 0900 hours that wasn't poured from a hot coffee pot. He went to bed none the wiser and the night was troubled.

"Chakotay? Chakotay!"
"Mm?" It took him a moment to try and shake off the heavy blanket of sleep and focus on her.
"I remember...I remember us." Her smile was wide and he almost felt touched with warmth.
"You – what? Oh, Kathryn, that's -"
She held up her hand as he leaned towards her, and she stopped his lips with her fingertips.
"I'm so sorry..." Kathryn whispered, her smile turning sad, "He's the one. He just is. I can't love you while he's in my life."
Chakotay looked over her shoulder and Jaffen was there, looking grim.
"Kathryn? Kathryn!" He called, but she was already retreating from him, back into Jaffen's arms, enveloped in the protective embrace of a man who wasn't him, someone who could make her feel happy and settled within weeks while Chakotay had been inched into her life bit by bit over months and years. He suddenly saw himself as the one who had forced his way into her routine, who had squeezed through every tiny opening she gave him and left little room for argument, the toxic substance that seeped into her schedule, the cuckoo in the nest–

Chakotay woke up covered in a thin film of sweat with the sheet sticking to him. He got out of bed and called for a cool glass of water from the replicator. As he drank he cast tired eyes around their quarters and remembered how long it had taken for them to get used to living together and how strange it had been at first to see his furniture and belongings crammed in next to hers; remembered that messy first month when they kept tripping over piles of bags and boxes and the ruthless clearout that followed. He won the battle to keep the ratty blanket that reminded him of home; lost the statue given to him by an alien race particularly taken with his negotiating skills on the condition that she get rid of a particularly horrible bulky ornament. The story of every item was recounted, and everything added to their quarters after that was 'ours' rather than 'mine' or 'hers' and, although he might complain with every new addition, at the same time he liked building their collection of shared personal effects – not just the physical objects, but the intimate memories associated with them. He didn't much care for flowers, for instance, but he liked that he knew which ones were Kathryn's favourites and that she had been given the glass vase by an aunt when she got her first apartment. The truth was that on Quarra she looked so happy that he almost felt betrayed, and since that evening he had carried out his duties with a heavy heart, weighed down with the fact that he'd have to persuade her to come with him and in the process would inevitably make her unhappy and resentful, even if it was only temporary.

When he had had to hide in her Quarran quarters to avoid being detected by the authorities, he found himself pointing a weapon at her when she returned to collect something. At that moment Kathryn had stayed very still and any movement in her expression was wiped out as she stood before him. As he shut the door to her room and killed the lights his fingers on the gun were already slack, and he hated the thought that she was afraid of him and what he might do to her. He hadn't been prepared to find that she wouldn't remember him, let alone learn that she actually had been enjoying herself and was practically putting down roots on the planet.
And then he was in the position of power and didn't want to be, but she couldn't and wouldn't take over. As he spoke with her she still didn't move and her response was normal and yet not – the Kathryn he knew stayed calm under pressure, but she visibly steeled herself and her manner grew hard and authoritative. The woman in front of him stood tall and rooted to the spot, but appeared much more tense and vulnerable. He had to keep from wincing when she expressed disbelief that she could be a captain, because in a way he had to agree – she shook her head quickly as though she had no conviction in her own abilities, as though the very idea was cause for embarrassment. But then after all that she had gone with him and left Jaffen behind without showing anything except the slightest trace of reserve, and this remarkable show of courage had been enough to convince him that everything just might be all right once they got back to Voyager. He had just about expected the return to the ship to be like flicking a switch off; as though the Quarra incident was nothing more than an interlude that would end the moment she appeared on the transporter pad. For now, though, the switch seemed to be jammed, and he only was only seeing snatches of Kathryn's old self emerge.

The next day Chakotay went down to Sickbay after his shift ended...and then some. He found Kathryn's attention absorbed by some kind of game she was playing with Tuvok.
"The Al-Batani," Kathryn said solemnly. The Vulcan gave a short nod, and tapped a button on the padd he held.
"What was the name of the ship's first officer?"
"Um...tall man. Bearded. Had...a habit of drumming his fingers on the armrest of his chair. He liked to arrange post-shift drinks on the Holodeck. He was called...called..."
Chakotay watched Kathryn's face screw up in concentration.
"Fletcher. It was Fletcher."
"Correct. More recently..." Tuvok tapped the padd a few times, "Mr Paris wrote a holodeck program set in an Irish town. What was the name of that town?"
Kathryn's mouth opened to answer, but she said nothing. She blinked a few times and clamped her jaw shut with a click.
"It'll come to me," She muttered, "Ask me another."
"What species was the Voyager crewmember named Kes?"
Kathryn's jaw tightened, and Chakotay was astonished to see her eyes suddenly fill with tears.
"The name, Captain," Tuvok pressed.
"Mm..." Kathryn's chin began to tremble with effort and he saw the muscles in her cheeks tense.

"Hey – that's enough, Tuvok," Chakotay took a step forward and had to stop himself at the last moment from taking Kathryn in his arms.
"It's all right, Chakotay," Kathryn said quietly, dabbing at the corners of her eyes. Both she and Tuvok were giving him odd looks and he felt like a fool.
"Sorry," He mumbled, "Can I join you?"
Kathryn nodded and shuffled to the right. He balanced on the edge of the biobed precariously.
"We're quizzing each other. It helps...a little," She explained, avoiding his gaze as she finished discreetly pressing a tissue to her face.
"My turn," She addressed Tuvok, and looked down at her padd.
"What was the objective of the first mission we were on together?"
Tuvok's answers were brief, but Chakotay couldn't help noticing they often came more quickly or were expressed with greater certainty than Kathryn's. Sometimes her voice wavered and she held her hand close to her face, the tissue clenched in her fist as though to ward off any more lapses of control.

"Have you remembered any more about when we were captured?" Tuvok asked eventually. Chakotay's eyes snapped to Kathryn. Her shoulders jerked into a half-shrug.
"No," She sighed, "I don't think so. I don't remember anything like the room you described. There was only one was in a dream. I'm not even sure."
"What was it? Try to concentrate. Think back to the room – the surroundings of that dream."
There was a timbre to Tuvok's voice that Chakotay was sure was deliberate – it provoked an instinct in him to focus, even though he wasn't being addressed directly.
"It's even hard to remember that. I couldn't see much, but there was a lot of noise. And there was..." Kathryn went very still, "There was more."
"What have you remembered?"
"They were holding me down, but I kept trying to move; kept fighting against them. They weren't listening to me, and I was almost frantic...I needed to tell them that I– I–" Kathryn's expression changed, and her face lost its colour suddenly.
"Get the Doctor," She breathed.
"Kathryn –?"

Chakotay was off like a shot, and the Doctor came running from his office. Chakotay turned back to find Kathryn with her back to him, retching over a small basin Tuvok was holding in front of her. She was clutching at his free hand and her knuckles were white.
"Both of you can wait in my office," The Doctor said abruptly, picking up a medical tricorder and approaching the biobed. He began to scan her and they spoke in hushed voices.

Chakotay turned away and headed for the small glass-walled box that passed for the Doctor's office. He thought of Kathryn's words – thought of the aliens restraining her and Tuvok so tightly that their bones had cracked – and felt cold all over.
"I can't bear this," He heard himself say, and pressed his fingers into his forehead.
"She will overcome it," A voice came from behind him – calm, deep, measured. It was exactly the kind of tone he needed to hear. He quickly tried to catch hold of himself and turned to Tuvok.
"How are you holding up?" It was almost painful to keep his voice level.
"Through meditation and the Doctor's treatments I continue to show daily improvement, but it has been...difficult," Tuvok answered with his characteristic solemnity, "The recovery is slow, sporadic, and erratic progress frustrates the Captain."
"I'm grateful to you for helping her. I haven't been able to be here as much as I'd like."
Tuvok gave a nod, and Chakotay took a deep breath before he spoke again:
"You and I...we haven't always seen eye-to-eye. I'm sorry to admit that in a lot of the memories you'll regain about me, I wasn't particularly gracious towards you. So I want to tell you now that I have a lot of respect for your dedication and your diligence. Your friendship with her..." He swallowed, "She values your counsel greatly, and I'm glad that she has you. Truly."
"As I am, to have her," Tuvok acknowledged, a little stiffly. The Doctor retreated from Kathryn's side and nodded to Tuvok and Chakotay. Tuvok approached his bio-bed and settled himself down with a padd. Chakotay hovered over to one side, unsure of what to do.

"She remembered...?" Chakotay asked the Doctor as soon as he was nearby.
"Give her a minute. I've administered a mild sedative."
Chakotay looked past the Doctor helplessly and stood rooted to the spot.
"How are you doing, Commander?" The Doctor asked in a low voice while passing a device over some of the medical instruments to sterilise them.
"It's hard. The Captain's condition..."
The Doctor nodded knowingly, and interrupted:
"You know, before all this happened she told me she was very happy. Busy making plans..."
Chakotay racked his brains and had a vague recollection that they had talked about taking a couple of days of shore leave. He hadn't realised Kathryn had been looking forward to it quite so much; she had been the one who was doubtful that they could both be spared when they were due for a refit of the warp coils...
"...I think you need to steer her back to that point. Remind her that you're in this together and you'll get through it." The Doctor looked across towards the biobed where Kathryn lay half-propped-up on her elbow, determined to leech the last few moments of productivity before the sedative took over. It was a familiar sight – she would often sit up in bed to finish reading reports despite regularly falling asleep while looking at them. It wasn't unusual for him to wake up with a padd digging into his back or side, but he had grown used to it.
"How is she with you? How is she handling it? It's a lot to take on board at this time, I know, but I was rather hoping that with, well, you know..." the Doctor nodded towards Kathryn, "It would give you a push to look forward."
Chakotay didn't really know what he was referring to, but the thought was quickly eclipsed by the prickling realisation that the Doctor believed he had progressed much further with Kathryn than the truth.
"She...she doesn't remember...about us. Yet," He added feebly.

"You haven't –?!" the Doctor's expression darkened and he quickly motioned for Chakotay to follow him into his office. Chakotay was somewhat puzzled by the nature of the hologram's reaction – he seemed angry and almost alarmed, for reasons Chakotay couldn't quite put his finger on.
"You haven't told her about the two of you on Voyager? You haven't been helping her regain that aspect of her memory?" the Doctor hissed once they were out of earshot.
"," Chakotay offered uneasily.
"Then you have no idea –" the Doctor made an impatient noise. He turned away from Chakotay as if to brace himself, and then moved closer to him, speaking quickly and quietly:
"I can't impress the importance of it on you enough. I trusted you to help her remember her life. Everything. I thought that you of all people would prompt her to make sense of all that she remembers and help her fill in the gaps. So far the rest of the crew have recovered their memories in sporadic bursts, and they needed support to order and accept all that."
The hologram threw up his hands, and Chakotay averted his eyes.
"Every crewmember is either recovering, assisting another's recovery or working overtime to complete repairs so no one else has much time to be with her, especially since she had to spend longer in Sickbay. I'm greatly disturbed by this, Commander."
"I'm sorry, Doctor," Chakotay said automatically, chewing down on his irritation and regret, "It hasn't been an easy few days."
"Nor has it been for the Captain," the Doctor shot back.
"Not for any of us," Chakotay said through gritted teeth. They both looked towards Kathryn. She had finally fallen asleep, face down on the biobed. He knew the padd would be wedged beneath her or would have fallen to the floor – it was something that happened so often that retrieving discarded books and padds from her side of the bed was practically second nature. No one else knew that.
"I don't mean to be insensitive," the Doctor said suddenly, "And she is improving – maybe even more than you’ve realised. It's just very important that she while she recovers those memories, that she can make sense of the things she remembers. She's in a very vulnerable position. Believe me."
Chakotay could feel the Doctor's blank eyes boring into him and felt very uncomfortable.
"I need to take some leave, to support the Captain," He said to the hologram in a low voice, "Can we work out a plan to cover me for a few days?"
Chakotay held his breath.
"I think that it's a good idea, and I'll take over while you do that. I'll arrange a briefing in the morning. Now...go and get some rest, Commander. I'll let you know if anything changes down here."

When Chakotay retired to his quarters, he continued tidying up. By the bed there was a discarded padd, and when he picked it up he could see there was a file still active on it with the end of a line of text:

finds out. I miss him and I'm so impatient for them to get back.

Chakotay felt his eyes grow hot and he swallowed the lump in his throat quickly. He gathered the rest of the padds together and put them to one side, then went to bed for another sleepless night.


In the morning the Doctor held a quick briefing to discuss arrangements, and although the Bridge staff who were back at work took the news in their stride, Chakotay had to work to ignore the voice at the back of his head telling him that he had let the crew down. He went straight from the briefing room to Sickbay, feeling exhausted in spite of the early hour of the morning.

"Morning, Commander," Kathryn greeted him, weighing slightly on the last word with a hint of triumph in her voice.
"Hi," Chakotay answered, wondering whether to ask if she'd remembered anything more than his rank.
"I've been reading the crew personnel files," She indicated the padd in her hand, "Seems you have quite a colourful past."
"'Past' would be the operative word, in this case. Haven't you got to the part about me being a fine upstanding member of your crew yet?"
She swatted his arm with the padd and smiled. He hadn't seen her smile like that for a while, and he found his mood brightening.
"How's it going?" Chakotay asked lightly.
"It's difficult. I can sense that I have memories and feelings connected to some things, but I can't experience a lot of them, you know?" She jigged her foot and the biobed shook slightly. It was an old habit of hers; she had learned to stop doing it when he was sitting next to her because he found it unnerving, and he held back from reaching out and stilling her knee with his hand.
"It's like I'm standing before a huge bookcase," She continued. The shaking was irritating, although he was more saddened by the fact that she had forgotten it bothered him, "But I can't reach the shelves or read the titles on the spines of the books."
"It'll come to you. You've written every single book on those shelves."
"Tell me something," She commanded softly. He tried not to flinch under her gaze, which still retained an level of intensity he felt uneasy around.
I love you. You love me. Once I kissed you in your ready room and you got angry, but it didn't matter because you surprised me in my office later. You like it when I won't let you be the boss all the time. You don't like when I grind my teeth in my sleep or leave my clothes on the floor. I love you. I love you.

"I– let's take a walk," He replied deftly.
Kathryn looked hesitant.
"I don't really want to be around a lot of people. Not just now."
"We wouldn't have to start with deck one. We could work our way down from deck three."
"That's where my quarters are," Kathryn uttered, and immediately raised a hand to her mouth as though she had spoken without thinking. "I want to go there." She looked at him expectantly.
"Er..." Chakotay faltered, knowing it might not be the best idea if she couldn't remember their living situation. She eyed him for a second.
"Let's go." She hopped down from the biobed and strode towards the door. Chakotay followed, praying that he had made the right decision.

Chakotay wasn't sure what he had expected – perhaps too much. It struck him that she had met with Jaffen while in their quarters a few days previously when she was collecting more clothes to take to Sickbay. The thought of the two of them bidding each other a passionate farewell made him feel dejected and a little bitter. Instead of immediately recalling a hundred things at the sight of her old rooms, Kathryn looked around with an unreadable expression and didn't seem especially interested in anything.
"They seem smaller than I remember," She commented as she looked around the living area, "I didn't really look around much when I said goodbye to –"
She stopped, pursed her lips and turned away from him. Chakotay suppressed a sigh; he was tired and the last thing he wanted to think of was Jaffen.

"I chose this pattern?" Kathryn ran her fingers over the fabric cover of the armchair, looking sceptical.
It was his chair, brought from his quarters because it had a high back and he liked to sit in it to read. It was also a little bigger than hers and they had often spent evenings squashed in it together, her legs dangling over one of the cushioned arms. It felt odd to have her stand by it and look bemused because the upholstery wasn't to her taste. When he shrugged his shoulders loosely and didn't answer, her eyes narrowed a little and she looked away again.
"Where did they come from?" Kathryn asked, frowning at some objects on the shelves by the viewports.
" know," He trailed off vaguely, sauntering across the room.
"No, I don't," She said with an edge to her voice, following him, "You do. Why won't you answer any of my questions?"
"I want you to remember your own version of events. You'll remember," Chakotay tried to sound reassuring.

Kathryn didn't seem convinced – that much was apparent. She made to turn around, and then stopped.
"But I don't remember," She snapped, slamming the palm of her hand down on a side table with a crash that made him wince. She didn't show any sign of having felt it at all.
"You will," Chakotay uttered through gritted teeth, and moved to straighten the glass ornament that had jumped.
"But you don't know that, do you?" She answered, breathing hard, "What if I don't get everything back?"
Kathryn snatched up the small object as soon as he'd replaced it. It had been a gift from Seven when they had begun living together and was probably the first thing she had given them that was purely decorative and didn't appear to serve any kind of practical function. Kathryn had always maintained that it was a step in the right direction as far as the former Borg drone was concerned and was quite proud of it, even though it wasn't really a design she liked. She turned it over in her hands roughly.
"What's this, Chakotay? It doesn't mean anything to me. If it were to break right now I wouldn't feel a thing." She held it at arm's length.
"Don't," Chakotay cut in before he could stop himself, and her eyes lit up.
"I know you'll regret it."

Kathryn turned on him, her manner keenly hungry.
"How do you know that? Why?" Her eyes glinted and her breath came in short, angry hisses.
Chakotay said nothing, breathing a silent sigh of relief as she let him take the ornament and set it back down. She was looking at him fiercely, growing more angry as the silence stretched on.
"You're trying to provoke me, Kathryn," Chakotay said in a low voice, "It's not going to work."
"What are you not telling me?" Kathryn demanded.
"Where do I start?" He didn't say in light of the voice in his head urging 'Not now; don’t lose your temper now…'

They were standing very close to one another now and neither had moved away. It was too narrow a space for acquaintances, colleagues, even friends and yet he still wasn't seeing any spark of realisation in her expression. She started and looked to the right quickly, as though she had heard something, and Chakotay hardly dared breathe. It was like there was a silk thread between them that was drawn too tight. She squeezed her eyes shut and held her fingers to her temples.
"It's not fair. I need you to help me and you're just confusing me even more. I wish -"

Chakotay half-began to hold his arms out to her, but her frown deepened and she turned away quickly without opening her eyes.
"Oh, this is pointless. Why did you have to come back with me, anyway?"
At the pressure of her irritation the thread grew tighter and his patience was too taut.
"Because these are my quarters, too!" Chakotay snapped finally. The only sound was a juddered breath, and he geared himself up to hear the worst, his old self-hatred speaking clearly, screeching in her voice that he wasn't enough for her and that he couldn't possibly understand what she had had to give up to come back to Voyager.
"Chakotay, I'm pregnant." Kathryn said suddenly.

In the blink of an eye the world had been turned on its head and he staggered sideways in an attempt to keep his balance. She choked on a sob; he couldn't see properly, the next few moments were nothing more than a blind roaring and he barely registered pushing past her into the bathroom where he tried to splash water on his face and ended up soaking the front of his uniform jacket. He shrugged it off, letting it drop on the floor as he stumbled into the bedroom and lay down on her side of the bed. The pillowcase still held the scent of some kind of perfume or shampoo of hers and his eyes prickled as he got straight back up again and sat on the edge of the bed. Before long he heard Kathryn's shuffling footsteps approach and the mattress inclined under her weight as she sat next to him gingerly. He could hardly bear to look at her; choosing instead to concentrate on his feet.

"Why didn't you tell me about us from the start?" Her voice was different now – much softer and the words were a little disjointed.
"'Thought you'd remember," He answered gruffly. There was a tense silence.
"It was hard for me, too," Chakotay continued in a low voice, "I went down to that planet and found you with someone else and you were so relaxed and happy. Then I had to take you away from all that and watch you struggle to recall my name when I'm supposed to be the one you've been living with for three years."

Kathryn leaned over.
"I didn't forget you. I didn't. I remembered bits and pieces from the day I woke up in the medical bay. But I didn't know anything about the gaps. I remembered us being together and I was confused; I didn't know if that was still the case or not. If you had only..."
"I didn't want you to remember my version of things that happened. I wanted you to recall everything from your own point of view."
She began to speak, but he was already babbling away, his head in his hands.
"I've been so stupid. I've been working around the clock when you needed me the most. I just – I was angry. A little jealous. I'm sorry," he conceded, his chin resting in the palm of one hand while the other was clenched into a fist on his chest at the point where it hurt – the same spot where she often used to rest her head or drape her arm. He squeezed his eyes shut.
"We'll have to turn around and go back," He said, the words gouged out of him painfully as he forced a matter-of-fact tone, "Try and find Jaffen."
He felt Kathryn's hand touch his arm tentatively.
"Chakotay, no…the baby is human." Her voice was a little soft, but the tone was steady and clear for the first time.

After the blow to his system earlier, this new revelation felt more like a flabby punch to his bruised spirit. He blinked and stared into space helplessly. Finally he turned his head towards her.
"It's ours?"
She nodded, and he reached for her hand and began to speak:

"We've lived together for almost three years now. We were growing closer, and then we started seeing each other officially after you found out that Mark – your fiancι, back on Earth – married someone else. A few months after that you invited me over for dinner for the fourth time in a week. I didn't sleep another night in my old quarters after that. Last year we found an abandoned Borg cube and we took some Borg children aboard, including a baby girl. The Doctor did his best, but her implants failed and she was too weak to survive. You were upset when she died – we both were. We started talking about how life was too short and then...I don't know who brought up the idea first, but we agreed that we wanted to start a family of our own someday. We talked about it for a while, decided that we were both serious about it and we were ready. We just left it to chance so it's been a while, but you didn't tell me if you suspected you were pregnant before Voyager was captured."
"– you were away," Kathryn said abruptly; he knew it had just come back to her, "I was going to tell you when you got back."

"Kathryn, a lot has changed. I understand if you feel like it's too much for us to deal with right now." The words came with difficulty and it hurt him to say them. Kathryn tugged on his hand, but he wouldn't look at her.
"Chakotay..." She stopped, "Yes, things are different, but nothing stays the same. I don't remember what the occasion was, but I remember telling you once that every day we spent together would be different from the last. And...and that we should welcome each day together because everything in the universe either grows and changes or it dies. Something being different doesn't mean that it's bad. Look at me..."
He did; her eyes were beginning to moisten.
"You did say that, " Chakotay murmured, surprised, "The night before we moved in together. I'd forgotten."
"I might not remember everything at the moment, but I knew...I knew, even when I had nothing to judge against, that this baby isn't coming because of a mistake or for any other reason except that I love you."
She squeezed his hand and her eyes moved over his face as though she were taking in every tiny detail.
"I do. I love you...I know that. Maybe I couldn't always put a name or a face to it, but it's always been there, and I can remember...things. You. I remember you. And that means that a lot of my feelings are starting to make sense now."
She shut her eyes and the sigh she left out lifted some of the weight from her expression.
"And I love you, Kathryn. More than I ever knew."

He held out his arms and she lay down with him, nestling into his side with her head on his chest exactly as she used to.
"What else do you remember?"
She closed her eyes momentarily.
"I was so happy to find out," The corners of her mouth turned up as she thought back, "You're right – I was happy on Quarra, but I wasn't sure why. I put the sickness down to nerves. I knew there was something else – it wasn't just the job or the new start. And then Jaffen came along..." She glanced up at him ruefully.
"Don't – I'm the one who overreacted."
"No, it was like...I had to find someone. I don't mean you were replaceable, it was like I knew I was supposed to be happy with someone and he was there when I needed that in my life. He was so persistent that I thought it could be him, and things moved so fast that I hadn't the time to think about it. In some ways, though, it seemed like forcing a puzzle piece into the wrong space. I kept holding back and couldn't explain it."
"Well, he was a quick worker," Chakotay muttered, then held his tongue.

"No, I didn't," Kathryn murmured after a pause, her voice muffled into his front.
"Sleep with him," She craned her neck to look up at him again, "You wanted to know, didn't you? I can tell...I told him I wanted to wait until we were committed. I think he thought I was old-fashioned, but I just wasn't sure."
"No wonder he asked you to move in so quickly." He stroked her hair.
"I wonder if that's something else that doctor did – made me look for someone to settle with as soon as possible."
"Maybe," Chakotay felt his arms tense and she looked at him sharply.
"Listen – if I had really thought I was meant to be with him, then I'd have left you to the authorities from the moment I saw you in my room and never looked back," she said decisively, "I might have been slow to act, but it's because I couldn't work out why I immediately believed you – instantly trusted you, a stranger, far more than the man I was supposed to be moving in with. I didn't know how, but I knew you were telling the truth. That doctor could make me forget about 80% of my existence, but he couldn't change that. And it's not that he just missed it, because otherwise everything would have been a lot easier now. He did a pretty damn good job of messing up everything else in my head."
Her voice cracked.
"I missed you," She whispered, sounding choked up, "I missed you so much and I didn't know it was you. I know I didn't forget you, I couldn't...because you're more than a thought or a memory – you're part of me."

Chakotay pulled a blanket around them and thought of what would be their child – something that didn't physically amount to more than a few cells and a stirring in its mother, but represented a union and commitment that endured an alien doctor's fight to erase it from Kathryn's mind and would have still been the beginning of their family even if he had never found her on Quarra.
She inched herself higher up until she could kiss him and she did so tentatively, as though testing him. He reciprocated, keeping to her pace until she drew back and snuggled into the crook of his elbow.
"How are you feeling?"
"Comfortable," Kathryn answered after a moment's thought, smiling to herself.
He glanced down at her.
"I mean – never mind. It's -"
"I know what you meant," He cut in gently, "I was thinking the same thing."
Her smile widened, and he saw the Kathryn he knew – the one he remembered, and the one who, finally, remembered him.


- End -

Additional notes: I was kind of nervous about posting this one because it took such a wacky turn in the end, but somehow I just couldn't resist putting this spin on the episode, and trying to work out how to fit it all together in a coherent manner (it mostly involved having to cut out such a lot of pathetic fuzziness from the end). Thank you for reading!

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