Disclaimer—Everything belongs to someone else. I don't make a cent. Only my dreams and imagination are mine, and they are Priceless.

Romance and angst in the time period right after the episodes Prey and Endgame.

(okay so that isn't a full five years maybe, but stretch it little and fudge for me ok)

Spoilers- Hunter, Prey and Endgame. But the series is over right.

Summary- Kathryn's feelings on hearing certain sounds.


Heart Sounds by finlaure

In five years she'd only heard that happen once before. That time had been the night they had most all received their first news from home and then suddenly lost the link before they could respond. That night she had heard a sound she had never wanted to hear again. She had heard similar noises, but this one broke her heart.

The first night she had heard this particular noise she had been awake wallowing in her own misery of her 'dear Jane' letter from Mark her now ex fiancé. She had decided to drown her sorrows in chocolate coffee ice cream and had curled up in a blanket on her couch to ward off the inevitable internal chill. She was busily spooning her way to oblivion when she heard what she thought was a small child or even a small animal. Throwing off the blanket and setting down the ice cream, she stood silently hoping to figure out what and where the noise was coming from. When she heard the noise again she moved and put her ear against her wall that connected her room with that of her first officer's.

Suddenly realizing what the sound was she hurried out her door unconcerned by her night gown and rushed down to his door. Standing at the entrance she could barely hear the cries but the sound was still there. Ringing his chime several times and receiving no answer she quickly gave into the panic that had been building from the first moment she had heard his voice that night. Using her emergency override she let herself in and stepped into his room enough to let the door close.

The lights were low but enough to tell that he was not in his living room. She quietly walked towards his bedroom until she could see him sitting in the middle of his bed. She softly called out to him but received no response. Walking closer she noticed him rocking slightly and now saw the tears that were streaming down his face. She walked to stand beside his bed and called out to him again. For the longest time the only sound in the room was their breathing, his short and unsteady and hers very soft. Then he made the cry again that had caught her attention at the first. She jumped back at the agony in the sound and the look on his face when he made it. This wasn't just a person crying or even mourning, this was a soul dying. Swiftly she sat down beside him and put her arms around him without any hesitation or thought of protocol. Her dearest friend was in dire need.

"Chakotay please talk to me." Kathryn pleaded, but instead of replying he just collapsed into her arms.

"Make it stop hurting." He finally sobbed several minutes later.

"Are you physically hurt?" she asked holding his chin up so that she could try to look into his eyes.

"No,, Yes,, I don't need the doctor. I just…" he started sobbing in her arms again.

"Chakotay I know what happened to the rest of the Maquis. Ayala came and told me everything because he was worried that you wouldn't let yourself grieve." She took his wet face in her small hands and made him look at her, "I'm guessing he was wrong?"

All he could do was nod his head to her, and then took her in his arms in a huge hug. She could feel his tears falling into her hair but since he had stopped shaking and rocking she wasn't worried.

"Don't ever leave me Kathryn. You're all I have left. Please don't ever stop caring for me."

"You know how I feel about you Chakotay. I care more for you than anyone I ever have before in my life."

"If anything ever happened to you,,,"

"Now hush. Don't start saying things like that and get all upset again." She gently pushed the big man down on the bed.

"But I," He said trying to sit up, but she just gently pushed him to his pillow.

"But nothing," She said lying in front of him on her side, "You just hold onto me for the rest of tonight and sleep. I'm going to need my First Officer in good shape tomorrow."

"Thank you Kathryn." Was all Chakotay said as he softly took her in his arms and let her curl up against him. They both quickly fell asleep.

The next morning when his computer awoke the couple they both laughed at the fact that they both still had on their night clothes.

"How are you going to get back to your quarters?" He asked becoming a little concerned that she might now regret her breach in protocol last night.

"Being a captain does have its privileges. I am just going to call for a sight to sight transport and if anyone has a problem with it, well they can get over it in the brig."

At his obvious sigh of relief she added, "You needed me."

Now these 5 years later she was packing the last of her knickknacks and souvenirs from her 7 year trip across the Delta quadrant. With a little help from her older self, Voyager had returned to Earth. This morning the five weeks of debriefings and debating over the fate of the Maquis and the Equinox crews had been settled. This time had been made mercifully shorter since the Midas array had forward all of the logs before hand. The Equinox crew had received a dishonorable discharged but would not serve any prison time as their time on Voyager would be counted as time served. The Maquis had not been prosecuted at all since the truth had come out about the Cardassians during the war. All of the Maquis had in fact been asked to stay and serve in Star Fleet if they wanted. She hadn't even been put through the court marshal she had been ready to face. The Board had decided that the Delta Quadrant had presented enough of a punishment and the circumstances were beyond their control to convict her for stretching the Prime Directive. She laughed at the thought that they had even hinted at a promotion in the near future.

The last of the senior staff had come back on board Voyager to finish packing their things before starting a very well deserved six month vacation. Kathryn had just finished wrapping the small carving of a gecko that Chakotay had made for her on New Earth. He had made several small carvings for her over the years, but this one was her favorite. The thought of Chakotay made her heart cringe. She wondered if he was with Seven right now. She picked up a picture of Chakotay smiling at some talent night. It was her fault that he was with Seven. She had pushed him away once too often as the journey got longer.

As she laid it in the box she thought she heard a noise over the soft classical music she had playing. Her heart suddenly froze. Seven, he had brought Seven with him and they were next door. She couldn't postpone her packing, but maybe a trip to airponics bay would be long enough to not have to hear them. She sat the photo down as tears threatened to over flow.

'Crap' she thought to herself, 'I'm going to have to go by his door to get to the turbo lift. Maybe I won't hear anything else.'

But she couldn't help herself, maybe part of her wanted to see if the noise was them, maybe she wanted to punish herself by letting herself her them again. She slowed down as she walked passed his door. Quickly looking both ways to make sure the hall way as empty, she leaned against the door. It was quiet. Maybe he and Seven were done and she could go back to packing and moving on without him in her life. Just as she was about to move she heard the noise again, but this time being closer she seemed to recognize the sound. Her heart jumped into her throat as she remembered when she had heard it before. Seven or no Seven, she was going to go in there and find out why she heard that soul shattering cry. Not bothering with the chime she used her override code again and strode into the living room.

This time the living room looked totally different. A few boxes were stacked in the middle of a bright room stark empty except for the basic furniture. As the time before, he was no where in sight so she started towards the bedroom. Then her thoughts hit her that if Seven was here, she would not be welcome to rush into their privacy. Her procrastination was broken by one more mournful wail from the room in front of her. She raised her hand and knocked on the door.

"Chakotay, are you okay? Listen I don't care if Seven is with you. Just come to the door and tell me you are okay." Kathryn said loudly. After waiting a few seconds she considered using another override to open the door, but decided to knock one more time.

"Chakotay please just let me now that you are not hurt. I'll go away and never bother you again if you'll just come to the door."

"No, Kathryn please don't." A low and shaky voice finally answered.

"Let me check and then I'll go away forever." Tears threatened her eyes.

Suddenly the door opened and a pair of strong big arms engulfed her in a tight hold. Not having any choice but to put her arms around him she held him as he silently quaked in her arms. They stood that way for several moments before she tried to back away from him. He held on the tighter to her.

"Chakotay, talk to me. Tell me what happened." She said as she struggled to get enough room for a deep breath. Finally having felt her struggles, he let go and lead her to his couch.

Kathryn was having a hard time excepting that this man that had strongly stood by her side even when she was at her worst moments, was now holding her like his life depended on it. Another sudden realization came into her mind. Before she would let herself ask the question now in her heart, she needed an answer to the one in her mind.

"Where is Seven?"

"Why does that matter?"

"Because I don't think she will appreciate me sitting here if she is waiting for you in your bed." At that he held her at his arms length and looked at her as if she had lost her mind.

"What the hell do you mean by that?" Chakotay asked standing up in anger.

"Commander it is just that your new girlfriend would not be very happy with me out here, while she is waiting for you to go back and make love to her again." How dense could the man be, she thought to herself. Why had she ever come to check on him anyway? Seeing the realization finally dawn on his face, Kathryn turned to run out of the room. She was suddenly grabbed from behind and drug into his bedroom. He threw her onto his bed and quickly pushed her down and covered her with his strong body.

"Seven, has never been in this room or in my bed and she never will be Kathryn." Before she could say anything he took advantage of her shocked open mouth and kissed her passionately. He did not stop kissing her until he felt she was relaxed under him.

"But I, the other admiral, said that you and Seven were dating. That you were to be married."

"Seven and I broke up after four dates before we even reached the Alpha quadrant Kathryn, and I don't know what galaxy your older self was from but I would have never married Seven anyway, she was just an interesting mistake my ego made."

"But then what are so upset about now?" She felt his body tense above her and as he started to roll off of her she put her arms around him, "Chakotay, tell me?" she softly asked him.

With his face held just an inch from hers he said, "I thought I had lost you this time. I knew you knew about Seven. And you hadn't said or done anything since Quarra to give me any kind of hope that we might still have a chance at even being friends. I thought I might have really lost you." Then with tears in his eyes he asked, "I haven't have I? I haven't lost the only true love of my life?"

Kathryn caressed his tattoo with her small hand and whispered back, "No my love you have not lost me. You are the one that has help keep me going this whole voyage. I thought I had lost you. I thought I had lost my only true love."

He buried his face in the pillow beside her. Then while kissing he face and hair and ears he said over and over, "My love, you are my heart and I will never let you leave my love again."

Kathryn held Chakotay close to her and listened to his heart now beating peacefully.