The clock in Kathryn's quarters was showing oh four thirty ship's time when Chakotay was roughly shaken from his slumber on the captain's couch. "Its not red alert," he mumbled as he attempted to roll over.

"Wake up, Chakotay," Kathryn hissed into ear. "I need to tell you something."

Gradually his eyes opened and he found himself staring straight into Kathryn's face. He blinked. "Kathryn, this had better be good. I still have a good hour or so before I need to get up, and I still would like to sleep off whatever poison Neelix put in that concoction last night."

She giggled. "I don't think I've ever seen you that drunk before."

"It wasn't funny," he growled. "And did you see the look on his face when he realised that whatever it was didn't agree with the human system? I could have cheerfully killed him."

"Now that wouldn't have looked good in front of our guests."

He sat up a little, placing an arm underneath his head. "Okay, what did you need to tell me that couldn't wait til morning?"

She sat on the edge of the couch and placed a hand upon his chest. "With everything that happened yesterday I forgot to tell you something rather important. I love you too."

He stared at her. "And that couldn't wait until morning?" He attempted to turn over again.

"What?" she asked incredulous. "I tell you the most important thing I have ever needed to say and you ask if it could have waited? I don't believe this."

He turned back to face her and grasped her hand. "Kathryn, its not something I didn't know already."

"Why, you arrogant bastard!"

He laughed. "Oh, Kathryn. Of course I'm happy to hear those words and I love you too. But your sense of timing is woeful." He sat up properly and raised a hand to stroke her cheek. "How long have you been awake?" he asked gently.

"Quite a while, actually," she admitted, looking down at their hands. "I couldn't stand it any longer. You out here, me in there, those three little words hanging over me with a voice telling me I needed to say them."

"Well, thank you. It does mean a lot. But why don't we get back to sleep okay? We've got a busy day tomorrow, with the supply detail." She nodded but seemed hesitant to leave. "What is it? You want to sleep out here?"

"It's a bit small for both of us, why don't you come sleep in there?" She nodded towards the bedroom. "Just sleep, mind."

He shook his head. "The way I'm feeling, I don't know if I could do anything else to be honest."

"Maybe I should kill Neelix."

"It wouldn't look good in front of our guests." He stood up and held out his hands to her. "Come on, let's go."

Two hours later Tuvok was again calling for Chakotay's attention. "Our guests are ready to depart, Captain. Are you able to come to the transporter room?"

"I'll be there shortly," was the reply. "Chakotay out. Well, sleepyhead. I've got to go." He looked down at the form lying next to him. "It's good manners, you know."

She pouted. "Do you have to?"

"Fraid so. I'll be back soon. I just want to check in with Tuvok, give him bridge duty for today, and make sure Carey can handle the supply trip."


"Most of it's for engineering. B'Elanna prepared a list for him but obviously she can't lead the away team."

"Mmm, true." Kathryn prepared to bury herself under the blankets again. "Get me a mug of coffee on your way out, would you?"

Chakotay stood up and shook his head. "Love me, love my coffee," he chuckled. "What a demanding woman!"

"But you do, don't you?"

He leaned down so that his face was close to hers. "You don't know how much I do." He kissed her nose and stood up straight again. "Back soon."

Kathryn was up, dressed and reading reports at her desk when he finally did return. "Everything okay?" she asked.

"Absolutely fine," he replied, crashing down on the couch. "They offered us all shore leave, you know. I think a few people are actually going to take them up on the offer."

She put her work down and looked at him. "Who?" she asked incredulous.

"Tom and B'Elanna for two. It'll be good for them. I also think that once Joe's got his supply teams set up he's going to take Sam and Naomi for a trip."

Kathryn crossed over to him, taking a spot on the couch. "That'll be nice for them. He misses his own children so much."

He nodded. "I ran into Sam, she's thinking about taking Icheb as well. Like I told the Ambassador, that'll be a match someday."

He received a swift jab to the side. "You're insufferable. So, what are we going to do?"

"Well," he said, placing an arm around her. "I didn't think you'd want to go down to the planet's surface."

"Not on your life. These past few days have been bad enough for me."

"That's what I thought. So I booked us some holodeck time. Any program of your choosing. Just someplace where we can be ourselves."

She leaned in close to him. "That sounds lovely."

"And," he added. "I also stopped by the mess hall to see Neelix."


"Yep, and to make up for last night's mess he is currently preparing a picnic for us. How's that?"

She stood up. "Well, what are we waiting for?"

He laughed. "Absolutely nothing."

They were halfway through the door when Kathryn asked him a question that had been dwelling on her mind. "By the way, Chakotay. Just when do I get my ship back?"

He sighed. "I thought we were going to have a day of just being ourselves?"

"I am being myself. Deal with it."

He grabbed her by the waist. "Always have to be in control," he muttered. "Okay, I will deal. I'll give the authority codes back to you if you agree to take a day off. What do you say?"

"Is that the best you have to offer?" she asked, grinning.

"There's a lot more but you won't find out what unless you agree." He winked at her.

"Awful man. Okay, I accept."

"Computer," sung out Chakotay, keeping his arms firmly around her. "Transfer codes, authorisation, Chakotay Kathryn Alpha Delta Home."

"Transfer complete," the computer replied. "USS Voyager now under the command of Captain Kathryn Janeway."

"Your ship, ma'am," he said.

"Thank you."