The Q Files - part 8

In which our heroine almost finds out something

Settled into Chakotay's couch, cradling a cup of coffee that she had had to bargain ferociously for , Kathryn Janeway felt a familiar sense of relaxation spread through her. Chakotay's quarters always made her feel calm, although looking at Chakotay she wasn't sure they were having the same effect on him. He did seem more jumpy than usual - it wasn't like him to be so restless.

She'd been trying to decide whether or not to call him on it. A reticence she'd experienced before when it came to her First Officer. She'd willingly acknowledge that he was here closest freind and yet there were certain aspects of their friendship that they seldom addressed. They'd argued bitterly, thrown words and accusations at each other and then somehow found a way to restore the precarious balance between freindship and command. But, always, between them was a wall, an acceptance that there were subjects they could never discuss.

Deciding on an oblique approach rather than a full frontal attack she said, 'having a member of the Q on board is bound to prevoke a little anxiety among the crew.' Chakotay's face was expressive - he'd never make a poker player. There had been numerous occasions when she'd been aware that he broadcast all too easily everything he thought or felt. But she hadn't entirely expected to hit the mark so easily. 'Including you it seems - what's bothering you Chakotay?'

His sigh was a heavy one - and she was grateful for his lack of a denial - he still seemed reluctant to talk though, gazing out of the windows for a moment before comingh to perch beside her on the sofa.

'It's nothing really, I am worried about having Q on board, no one in their right mind would claim that their previous visits have been uneventful. They've shown themselves to be unscrupulous when it comes to using us, manipulating us when it suits them. And frankly they've shown a personal interest in you. Isn't that enough reason for a First Officer and a friend to be worried?'

'Yes, it is,' she pushed aside a momentary flutter of pleasure at his words and continued, 'and I won't say the idea of having David on board is one I'm entirely comfortable with. But what could I do - judge someone we've never met before on the basis of what we know about the other Q, the ones we have encountered? I couldn't do that Chakotay.'

'No, I know.' He smiled, 'I thought you might tell me not to worry about you - launch into a debate about whether or not it is the role of a First Officer to worry about his Captain.'

'I think it depends on the Captain - although worrying about me must keep you pretty busy.'

It does take up quite a bit of time.' He reached out, cautiously it seemed, to lay his hand over hers, 'but that's what friends are for - and Kathryn, I do worry about you.'

'I know, I'm glad, it makes a real difference to know that someone cares, even if I don't always appreciate it.'

'Don't ever doubt how much I care about you.' The moment flared - becoming suddenly intense, she gazed back at him, caught up ina whirl of emotions until she came to her senses.

'Well,' she said, gently pulling her hand away from his, 'perhaps we'd better do some work.'