"I still don't see why you all think I need a break." Captain Kathryn Janeway said, looking at three of her crew.

But the three men stood adamant. "You've been working hard, Captain. Particularly with the recent Borg attack." Commander Chakotay said.

"Your stress levels have been increasing." The Doctor added.

"Coming with us to the Markets will be fun." Lieutenant Tom Paris encouraged.

"Oh, all right!" The captain said after a moments pause. She was touched by their concern, but knew there would be no living with them, if she didn't agree.

The Doctor smiled in satisfaction. "Good. Now if you'll excuse me, Captain, I must return to the sickbay."

Kathryn nodded her permission, before turning to the other two men, standing in the middle of her ready room. Her pilot and First Officer were looking slightly relieved, presumably because she had given in. She raised an eyebrow enquiringly. "Anything else?" she asked.

"No, Captain." Chakotay answered.

"Very well. Dismissed." Kathryn said.

* * *

So that was how, three hours later, Kathryn joined Chakotay, Tom, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Harry Kim at the markets on Aliode Prime. During the past two days, while Voyager was in orbit, almost all the crew had visited the extensive markets and had come back with many strange stories to tell. Kathryn admitted to herself that she was quite curious to see if any of them were true.

A warm breeze ruffled her hair as she surveyed the crowded marketplace before her. Already, strange and exotic smells were enticing her to explore the many stalls lined up in hap-hazard rows all over the marketplace. She saw many species around her - some familiar some not. She glanced to the left and saw Chakotay watching her with an amused and slightly smug smile on his face.

"What?" she asked.

"Nothing." He replied, turning to watch the crowds, his smile broadening.

Tom, B'Elanna and Harry were talking together a few paces away, so Kathryn and Chakotay wandered over. "Decided where you're going, then?" Chakotay asked the group.

"Yes. I'm going looking for some parts for the plasma injectors." B'Elanna stated firmly.

"I thought we were going to get some food!" Tom said.

"I want to go see the musicians myself." Harry added.

Chakotay laughed. "We'll just have do it all then. Captain?"

"Fine with me." Kathryn said.

So the five crewmen from Voyager wandered happily about the markets for hours, finding many interesting and exotic things to see and do.

Towards late afternoon, the group stopped close to where they had arrived in that morning. "I want to get back to Voyager, if you don't mind Captain, and have a look at these parts." B'Elanna said.

"I've got to get back too." Tom added.

"Harry?" Chakotay asked.

Harry smiled sheepishly. "I wouldn't mind a bit of practice with this." He said, holding up an exotic looking instrument.

"Well, I'm not quite ready to go," said Kathryn, "but by all means, don't let me stop you. I'll see you back on board. Commander?"

"I think I'll stay with you, Captain. I'm quite interested to see these fabled acrobats."

So Tom, Harry and B'Elanna bid their goodbyes and returned to the ship. "Acrobats, was it?" Kathryn asked.

"Yes." Chakotay grinned.

"Well, acrobats it is then."

The pair wandered towards the opposite end of the markets, and the arena where the acrobats were to perform. On the way, some exotic plants caught the captain's eye. "What are they?" she muttered, and stopped to look at them.

"Strange plants." Chakotay said behind her.

"Aren't they?" Kathryn replied.

They were so engrossed in the plants that they didn't notice two humanoids come up behind them.

"I wonder." Kathryn began, as a bright stab of pain erupted in the back of her head, and she crumpled to the ground. She had the vague sensation of Chakotay landing beside her, before everything went black.

* * *

Slowly Kathryn regained consciousness. The black faded to grey and she became aware of the throbbing pain in her head. She struggled to open her eyes, only to discover that they wouldn't. Her ears were ringing, and her mouth felt like sandpaper.

"Captain?" a weak and gravelly voice called out.

Chakotay. Kathryn struggled to reply, but only a faint groan came out. She tried again. "I'm here." She managed.

She tried to open her eyes again, and discovered she was lying on the metallic floor of what looked like a giant metal box. The floor felt cool and hard beneath her, as she regained her sense of feeling. Kathryn turned her head, and a sharp pain pierced the back of her skull. When her vision cleared, she saw Chakotay lying not far away, struggling to sit up. After a while, he fell back, exhausted.

As she watched him, Kathryn's eyes slowly began to close, and she drifted into a deep sleep.

* * *

When she woke for the second time, she discovered Chakotay was sitting against the wall, his eyes closed. "Chakotay?" she asked, her voice sounding rough and harsh.

His eyes flickered open. "You're awake." His voice too, was rough and harsh. "I don't recommend trying to sit up."

Kathryn noticed he was looking very pale beneath his usually tanned skin. "Not feeling too good?" she asked.

She was rewarded by a faint smile. "I've felt better." Chakotay said.

Kathryn became aware of a feeling of nausea and pain as she, too, tried to sit up. She groaned, wordlessly, before the world, once again, went black.

* * *

The next time she woke, Kathryn found Chakotay sitting next to her, holding what looked like a cup of some sort. "I did warn you." He said, by way of greeting.

Kathryn glared at him, and discovered she felt a lot better. She sat up slowly, but found, although she was still sore, the world didn't spin or fade away.

"Water?" Chakotay asked, offering her the cup.

"Yes please." She answered and grabbed the cup.

"Slowly." Chakotay cautioned, as she gulped the liquid down. It seemed to Kathryn, that the water in that cup was the sweetest and most delicious thing she had ever tasted.

Along with the water, they had been given some dark, grain bread and some weird looking fruit. As soon as she saw the food, Kathryn's stomach rumbled. Chakotay grinned. "Hungry?"

She smiled back. "A little."

Within moments the food was gone, although the fruit was tasteless and the bread was full of stones. Feeling slightly better, Kathryn moved backwards and leaned against the wall. "Any idea where we are?" she asked after a while.

"No." Chakotay sighed. "I've tried looked for a door, but if there is one, then I can find it."

"Then how did we get in?" Kathryn asked, almost to herself. "Because if there's one thing I know, its: if there's a way in."

".there's a way out." Chakotay finished for her.

Kathryn smiled. "Exactly."

"They took our comm badges and phasers, so we have no weapons and no way of contacting Voyager." Chakotay said.

Kathryn's expression was grim. "Do you have any idea how long we've been here?" she asked.

"None." Said Chakotay. "Although, if I had to guess, I would say over 12 hours." He smiled faintly. "My internal clock is telling me it's time for my shift."

Kathryn gave a small smile at that. "Are you sure there is no way out of here?"

"I've checked the place from top to bottom. The only openings I can see are those two small vents for ventilation and I can't find where the light is coming from." Chakotay replied.

"Vents? Why didn't you say? Maybe we could crawl." Kathryn began.

"With all due respect Captain, I've tried to find a way out. I can't." Anger made Chakotay's voice sound harsher than it normally would have.

"Maybe." Kathryn began again, before she saw the look on Chakotay's face. She sighed. "I'm sorry Chakotay. I guess I just don't like giving up so easily."

"I never said anything about giving up." Chakotay replied.

"You have an idea?" Janeway asked.

"Well, when I first woke up, there was no food. And now there is. They had to get it in here somehow." Chakotay said.

"True." Kathryn said thoughtfully. Then she sighed again. "But they won't be giving us food again for hours."

The pair sat in silence for a while, each lost in their own thoughts. Kathryn's drifted between thoughts of escape and how long it would take Voyager to notice they were missing, and how the ship was doing. I'm sure Tuvok is doing a fine job, Kathryn thought. He is quite capable of handling both the ship and himself. But Kathryn couldn't help but worry about her ship. She was, after all, the Captain.

An hour or so later, Kathryn felt the need to break the silence. Unlike the silences aboard Voyager - if there ever was any, she reflected wryly - where you could always hear the quiet whir of the engines or the chatter of the crew, here it was just silence. Oppressive and absolute silence.

"So, Commander, tell did you end up with that tattoo?" Kathryn asked.

Chakotay looked up at Janeway. "My tattoo?" he asked.

"If it's not too personal a question." She added.

"'s not." Chakotay replied quietly. "As you know, I was a Marquis before I joined Voyager. I was fighting the Cardassians because they had destroyed my homeworld.and killed my father Kolopak. I took the tattoo to honor him and my ancestors."

Kathryn smiled softly. "I wish I could have done that when my father died." She said. "I would have done anything to get him back."

Chakotay nodded in understanding. "I know the feeling."

A few moments later, asked softly, "How did your father die?"

"He drowned under the polar icecap on Tau Ceti Prime." Kathryn said softly.

"That must have been hard."

"I was devastated." Kathryn smiled sadly. "I.I still miss him. There was so much I should have said."

When she looked at Chakotay, she saw a look of great sadness on his face. Kathryn reached out and put a hand on his arm. Chakotay looked down at it, then up at her face. "There was so much I wanted to say to my father, too. But mostly I wanted to apologise. I was angry the last time I saw him, and I disappointed him. I wish there was some way I could make it up to him."

"I'm sure he would have been proud of you." Kathryn said softly. "For all that you've become."

He looked at her with pain and sadness in his eyes. "I hope so." He whispered.

They talked for many hours after that, about hopes and dreams, pain and loss, heartbreak and triumph. With each word they grew closer together and understanding of what drove the other. Then finally, exhausted, they fell asleep, curled together.

* * *

Kathryn woke slowly, a feeling of warmth and comfort about her. Her eyes flickered open to reveal a bare metal wall. This isn't Voyager, she thought. Then memory came crashing down. They had been kidnapped. Chakotay. She turned her head to find him lying beside her, asleep. She frowned when she saw what was on his other side. More food and water.

* * *

That was how Chakotay found her. Sitting up and giving the new tray of food her 'Starfleet death glare'. "Not hungry?" he joked.

She turned. "They snuck it in when we were asleep."

"The food?" Chakotay asked.

"Damn it!" Kathryn yelled, jumping up. "I need to do something! To escape! I can't sit around anymore!"

"You always were a woman of action." Chakotay said.

"What do you mean?" Kathryn snapped, and then winced at her tone.

Chakotay smiled softly, and went on. "You are the driving force behind Voyager's continued journey to Earth. You refuse to give up and won't leave anyone behind. I always admired that. Just like on New Earth. You never gave up."

Kathryn was hit by memories of their time on New Earth. Of how Chakotay had made them a home, with a bed and a bath. Of how he was always there to help, to comfort, to protect.

"I was always stubborn." She said.

Then she smiled. "I always admired the way you deal with the crew. They're your friends, but they respect your authority." She sighed. "I can't do that."

"You are the Captain." Chakotay pointed out. "You're allowed to be distant. Larger than life. You almost have to be."

There was a slight sadness in the tone that hit Kathryn, and she realised that Chakotay regretted the distance between them. The distance she had put there. And suddenly she didn't know what to do about it.

"Breakfast?" asked Chakotay, breaking into her thoughts.

"Any coffee?" she quipped.

"No, but we do have some weird fruit and grain bread."

"I guess it'll do." She sighed and Chakotay handed her some. She took a bite of the tasteless fruit. "Not as good as coffee." She said, morosely.

Chakotay laughed. "Neelix once said that if you were trapped with any of the crew, Tuvok would be the worst." He grinned. " 'All logic and no conversation' he said. But somehow, you with no coffee sounds worse."

Kathryn laughed. "I'm not that bad, am I?"

"Let's just say, that the crew and I have learnt not to get between you and a cup of coffee." Chakotay said.

They sat in silence for a while, once again thinking about Voyager. Finally Chakotay stood up. "I can't sit around anymore. I have to do something."

"What did you have in mind?" Kathryn asked.

"Well, it wouldn't hurt to take another look around."

So for the next hour, the pair scoured every inch of their prison, but found no way out. Resigned, the sat down together. "I can't take much more of just sitting here!" Kathryn growled, temper flaring.

"There's nothing we can do but sit here." Chakotay reasoned. "We have to stay strong."

"I know." Kathryn said sighing. "Let's change the subject."

"Have you seen Tom's new holonovel?" Chakotay asked.

"Yes. Captain Proton strikes again." Kathryn chuckled.

"Harry's already hooked. I caught him running late for his last shift."

"Sounds like Harry." Kathryn said wryly. "He's just like Tom."

She sighed and leaned against Chakotay, thinking about Voyager and her crew. "We will get back." Chakotay said. "They can't keep us locked up here forever."

Kathryn smiled at his words of comfort. "That's encouraging." She said.

"The crew won't stop looking for us." He added.

Kathryn turned slightly, and looked up at Chakotay, and into his dark brown eyes. She slowly felt reality slip away replaced by a feeling of warmth, comfort and calm. Along with reality, her need for distance from this man dropped away. Her body tingled where it touched his. Flashes of memory flew through her head. Pictures of Chakotay on New Earth, their dinner's together and their time on the holodeck. The way he spoke his mind, and his calm presence on the bridge.

"Chakotay." she began, unsure of how to say what she wanted to tell him. "I want you to know that I.I thought distance between us would be better for the crew, but." she trailed off.

"But what?" Chakotay asked softly, a mixture of hesitation and joy in his eyes.

".I don't think I can do that anymore. On Voyager there was always something to distract me, but here there's nothing." Tears welled in her eyes. "I can't deny what I feel anymore."

"What do you feel?" Chakotay whispered.

"I don't know.lost, because I don't know what this means. And love. I think I've fallen in love with you." Tears fell down her face.

"Sshh." Chakotay whispered, pulling her into his arms.

Quiet tears fell down her cheeks as he held her. "For what it's worth," he whispered into her ear, "I think I'm in love with you, too.Kathryn."

Kathryn felt her heart swell at those words, at the way he said her name. He loved her. Then he took her face in his hands, and kissed her. A warm glow spread through Kathryn as she put her arms around his neck. She didn't want this sensation to stop, this moment to end.

Reluctantly, they pulled away from each other, but not very far. Neither wanted to think about what this would mean.

Kathryn pulled one hand away from his neck and traced the tattoo on his forehead. "I've always wanted to do that." She said.

Chakotay slid his arms around her waist, before leaning in, as if to kiss her. "And I've always wanted to do this." He whispered against her lips, before kissing her again.

When they finally came up for air, Kathryn slipped her arms about his waist and leaned against his broad chest. They were still like that, hours later, when they fell asleep.

* * *

After 'breakfast', Chakotay and Kathryn lay in each other's arms, and talked. They told each other their life stories, their dreams and hopes. They were still talking when Kathryn felt a familiar tingling sensation. "Chakotay." she began, as she dematerialised.

She materialised in the sickbay on Voyager, Chakotay by her side. "Welcome aboard Captain." Came Tuvok calm tone.

Kathryn blinked a few times. "Thank you Mr. Tuvok. It's good to be back."

Commander Tuvok began to describe how they had been found. "The humanoids who kidnapped you were after your technology. We managed to track their ship and transport you back to Voyager."

"Ship?" Chakotay asked.

"Yes. We are approximately 17.4 light-years from Aliode Prime." Tuvok replied.

Everyone was silent as the Doctor finished fussing around Kathryn and Chakotay. "Apart from suffering from dehydration, you're fine." He pronounced when he was finished.

"Thank you Doctor." Kathryn said. "Mr. Tuvok, you have the bridge. Commander," she said turing to Chakotay. "Report to my ready room in an hour."

* * *

An hour later, Chakotay arrived at Kathryn's ready room, dressed in his usual red and black uniform. "Come in." he heard her called.

Kathryn sat at her desk, wearing her Starfleet uniform. "Captain?" he inquired.

She got up and walked towards him. "Kathryn." She said.


"My name is Kathryn." She said. "But don't go telling the crew I let you call me that." She smiled softly.

Chakotay was silent.

Kathryn bit her lip. "I still love you Chakotay." She said. "Being on Voyager isn't going to change that." She stepped closer. "As Captain, I have a responsibility to my crew and that isn't going to change. But I was hoping."

Chakotay smiled, relief clear on his face. "That I would give you a kiss?" he teased.

Kathryn smiled back. Taking the final step into his arms, she brought his lips down to hers, and kissed him.

"Tuvok to Captain Janeway." Her comm badge beeped.

They broke away reluctantly. "Janeway here." She replied, looking slightly annoyed.

"You're needed on the bridge."

Sighing Kathryn turned towards the bridge, Chakotay falling into step behind her. Then she stopped and turned back to him. "We'll finish this later." She said.

Tom was curious when his Captain and First Officer entered the bridge sharing a secret smile, but he never got a chance to think about it as Voyager was catapulted into another adventure.