Holding You By Kate O'Riley

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager, blabby blab blab. You know, it would make it much easier on us poor widdle fan writers if we didn't have to write that EVERY TIME?!?! Come on! The disclaimer is sometimes longer then the story!

It all started out completely innocent.

She was reviewing reports with me, over a working dinner. She'd been up the last three days, supervising repairs from the latest battle, only snatching a few minutes of sleep here and there. Her coffee cup seemed to be permanently glued to her hand.

When I asked if she would join me for dinner, she looked up, surprised. Her normally perfect hair was a tangle, and she looked like she hadn't bother to take the time to do much at all other then repair the ship in the last few days.

"Chakotay," she scolded me. "What makes you think I can take time for that?" The disapproval was evident. From experience, I know the average crewman would have instantly done her will, through sheer fright. Goodness knows, that tone has even had me shaking mentally a few times. But I was determined.

"What makes me think it is the fact that I have seen you eat exactly one sandwich since the battle, Kathryn, and I had to practically force-feed it to you." I placed my hands on her desk, going for a serious, slightly menacing look.

Unfortunately, as small and slight as she is, Kathryn Janeway is the master of "serious, slightly menacing". "The ship was severely damaged, Chakotay! We need to get it repaired, we need more supplies, we need-"

I reached over and grabbed her arm. "We need a captain who is well rested and not starving herself."

She sniffed. "I'm not starving myself. Besides, I need to he-"

"Kathryn, I checked the logs for how your replicator rations were spent. I checked with Neelix. Coffee does not count as food. And you do not need to help. That's what engineers are for. That's what the entire crew is for."

"Chakotay, I'm the captain, and I can't just-"

She was rapidly running out of arguments, and we both knew it. I had her penned. "This is your duty, Kathryn. It's your duty to provide the crew with a healthy, happy captain, which you will not be if you work yourself to death. And all of the senior officers have asked me, at some point in the last few hours, to please make sure you get a break, because you're so tense you're driving them insane."

She was silent a moment, before sighing. I grinned inwardly. I had won. "All right, Chakotay," she said grudgingly. But then she looked up, a gleam in her eye. "On one condition."

"Name it."

"I can compromise."

"What sort of compromise do you have in mind?"

"You'll have to find out. Can I?"

She had the stubborn look on her face. I gave a inward sigh. "All right. You can make a compromise."

"All right. Where and when?"

"My quarters, 1900."

"Good. I'll be there with the PADDs."

"PADDs?! Kathryn-"

"Nope." She shook her finger at me, a devilish grin on her face. "You said I could compromise, remember?"

=/\=

I looked the table over again, ensuring I had the entire meal laid out. I had stolen some flowers and candles, and crowded my small table with no room for a PADD. I had prepared all of Kathryn's favorites, mostly from scratch, in the mess hall, which Neelix had lent me. I was ready for the chime of my door. I was not ready for her to take "captain's prerogative" and walk right in. I was certainly not ready for the ten PADDs she carried. I've always been fairly good at coming up with plans to get out of situations though, and after less then a week of serving with Kathryn, I had blessed my lucky stars for having that skill, because even at the early time, I knew I would need it.

"All right, Kathryn. Working dinner. But you do it after dinner, and after you've relaxed some."

She gave an exaggerated sigh and rolled her eyes at me. "Chakotay. Making more conditions?"

"Just following my captain's example."

She tossed me a dirty look, but put the PADDs on the table by the couch.

We sat down to a delicious dinner, even if I did make it myself, and afterwards, she promptly crossed over to the couch and picked up a PADD. With a sigh, I followed her example. We both began to read the stack of reports. It wasn't for several minutes that I noticed her head drooping. "Kathryn?" I said. Her head snapped back up. "I'm sorry, Chakotay. Seven's report." She gave me a brief smile and continued reading. A few minutes later, I glanced back again, and was thoroughly satisfied to see that she was quiet deeply asleep. The drug I had put in her drink had taken full effect. The Doctor and I had discussed our concern over her lack of sleep, and we had agreed the only way to get her to sleep was a sedative. Unfortunately, we couldn't put it in her coffee; the caffeine would neutralize the effect. It was I who had suggested putting it in her juice, which she had drunken only a few minutes ago. It was also I who arranged for several of Seven's latest reports to be compiled into one extremely long one. Kathryn, being the stickler for protocol she can be at times, would feel determined to read it all, and just a quarter of it was enough to put anyone to sleep.

However, I was now faced with a dilemma I had not anticipated. Kathryn couldn't sleep on my couch. The hard, standard Starfleet issue cushions were all right for sitting, but not sleeping. She'd wake up with a sore back. And I couldn't carry her to her quarters, or have her beamed. The talk would be all over the ship that Commander Chakotay had been seen carrying The Captain out of his quarters, and that she was soundly asleep! Who knew what weird rumors would come off that? No, for Kathryn's sake, I couldn't.

Which left one option. My bed. I carefully pulled off her boots, laying them on the floor. I then managed to pull her forward enough to remove her jacket. Thankfully, the drug had enough effect that she was very soundly asleep. Boots and jacket removed, I then hesitated. Should I remove her turtleneck as well? No, that would only leave her undershirt. She might be embarrassed if she woke up in only her undershirt and uniform pants. Turtleneck stayed. But I pulled off her pips.

This done, I gently picked her up in my arms, managing to lay her head against my shoulder. She was relaxed in sleep, and her head moved forward and finally came to a rest next to my chin. I could feel her hair against my cheek. I took only a second to hold her to me a bit tighter, and take in the feeling; the warm weight of her body in my arms and against my chest, her soft hair on my cheek, the deep, even breathing. I then carefully maneuvered into my bedroom, laying her on my bed and pulling a blanket over her.

Which left me one problem. Where did I sleep?

Wait, make that two. What if someone asked where Captain Janeway was? The computer would state the location of her comm badge; my living room.

Obviously, some subterfuge would be needed.

=/\=

Carrying a stack of PADDs, I entered her quarters, nodding to the crewmen in the hall. They'd think that I was delivering reports to the captain. A normal enough event. Except I normally didn't carry her comm badge cupped in my palm.

Once inside her quarters, I sat the PADDs down and contacted Tuvok, who was in charge of the bridge. I explained the situation. Wise Vulcan that he is, he quickly assured me he'd see to it that no one would contact the captain, although I must wonder how high his eyebrow hit when I had to tell him that Captain Janeway was asleep in my quarters.

I made my way back to my quarters to solve my original problem. Somehow, I couldn't help but want to be near her. In my own bed as well was out of the question; she'd wake up and her first thought would probably be as to what we had been drinking. I didn't like the idea of the couch. I finally settled on the floor next to her. Snagging a pillow off my bed, and a spare blanket, I bunked down on the hard floor. It was easy to ignore the fact though, when I listened to the soft, even sounds of her breathing. I was quickly asleep.

=/\=

I woke up, somewhat confused. What had woken me? Why was I on the floor? Then I remembered. What time was it? 0324. Kathryn was still in my bed. The drug would have worn off by now.

I heard a soft whimper, and I realized what had awakened me had been Kathryn having a bad dream. I pushed myself onto my knees and looked at the bed, uncertain of what to do, but wanting to comfort her. Then I heard another whimper. "Chakotay," she moaned. "No, don't, don't go, don't leave me, Chakotay, I need you."

I knew what to do. Forget her pride. She was having a bad dream, and I wasn't going to let her. I climbed into the bed, grateful that she at least had the good sense to have unintentionally give me some room. Laying down, I scooped her into my arms and pulled her close to me, tucking her head against my chest protectively. Leaning my head somewhat, I whispered into her ear; "I'm here, Kathryn. I'm here. I'm not leaving you. I'll never leave you."

I felt her body relax, and almost instinctively, I used one hand to massage her shoulder muscles, working out the tension and stress she'd accumulated. She let out the slightest moan of pleasure as I worked out a very large knot. After I felt the muscles in her shoulders loosen, and I was getting sleepy, I stopped. I left my arm draped protectively over her, encircling her. Within a few minutes, I was on that border between sleeping and waking, and the only thing I felt was the distinct senses of joy, happiness, contentment, and the feeling of weight on my arm.

=/\=

Kathryn Janeway stirred slightly in her sleep, coming out of it enough to see the man whom she loved was holding her in his sleep. She was moderately surprised to find herself there, but she was more happy then anything else. What matter was it, how it happened? The point was, Chakotay's arms were around her, holding her close to him. You're the captain, though, a little voice said, but she ignored it. She'd go back to being the captain in the morning. Right now, she would bask in the love that Chakotay had for her, even in his sleep. She would pretend that the things she sometimes imagined happening had really happened. They never would in life, of course, thanks to Starfleet protocols and the four pips on her collar, but for now... She gave a small, happy little sigh, and snuggled into him closer. For now, the world was good.

The end