In Darkness Find Me
by Suz

Disclaimer - characters belong to Paramount. Sort of.

For Sharese, who demanded. I bet this isn't quite what you expected...

Thanks to Mary W.

And Happy Birthday Hanna! Consider this a gift.

A 'Night' episode addition.


Destiny had a new plaything, and its name was Kathryn Janeway. She stood in the corner of her quarters, somehow having an inkling that destiny had meant for the purpose of her entire life to be *this* - that she would end up regretting every decision she had ever made.

Thinking it over now, it seemed that every step of progress in her life - big or small - had been a build up to this time. It was a rare moment of absolute understanding, genuine revelation.

She had failed.

At everything. Everything she had ever done.

The first fatal mistake she had made was being indecisive. It was why she fought so hard against being so now. The Captain of a starship couldn't afford to be indecisive. Kathryn Janeway had been once before, and it had cost her the lives of both her father and her beloved Justin.

She hated her sister for making her live.

How? How was it possible that destiny could be that cruel? She had always been a woman of science but lately she couldn't seem to find the solace that she usually discovered when investigating one of her curious impulses. So she retreated to blaming something she couldn't control for her misfortunes. She wasn't a woman who shook off her own responsibility either, but Kathryn just couldn't handle it. Not now. She was tired but couldn't sleep. She was hungry but couldn't eat.

Her door beeped. Lethargically, she moved further to the corner, keeping her face in careful shadow. Staring at her own reflection in the inky blackness that was held behind the viewport, she called for her visitor to enter, not really bothered as to what anyone had to say.

Of course it would be him. How obvious. Destiny really did enjoy screwing around with her life. "Yes?" she ordered, voice sharp, clipped.

Chakotay sighed and if any of her heart had still been capable of caring it would have snapped in two. Unfortunately her heart seemed to have left her two months ago, although she knew some would argue it had happened before then.

Another failure, then. She had depressed him of all people.

Remaining in silence, she concluded that perhaps he was expecting her to say something else. Why should she? He was the one who had come to her.

When he finally did speak she knew she had been wrong. Yet again.

"Do you know how much I want to slap you around the head?"

Her lethargy left in an instant. "What?" she demanded, only slightly positive that she must have heard him incorrectly.

Walking towards her he stopped short and sat down in one of the beige chairs.

Finally moving her eyes from the viewport to look at him, she took one step forward and uncrossed her arms. "Just what are you doing?"

Resting his feet on her coffee table, he drummed his fingers on the arms of the chair studying them intently. "I'm having a seat."

Another step. "Why?"

"Because you're going to be a while."

"Doing what?" she queried, completely baffled and wondering if she had finally overdone it with the caffeine.

"How should I know? You just said it'd be a while so I decided I'd wait after all. Tuvok's in charge at the moment so I thought I would just sit here until you're ready."

A second revelation of the evening, albeit a much smaller one. Drawing back from him she retreated to the corner again, masking any expressions that might have escaped onto her face. "Fine. Make yourself at home."

She hadn't counted on his stubborness.

Miraculously he managed to stay in the seat for over four hours before he finally had to get up to stretch his legs and keep himself awake. Kathryn remained where she had the whole time.

"Computer, hot coffee, black."

Her head jerked around at his words and she watched as he picked up the cup and approached, the drink obviously intended for her held in his outstretched right hand. He really wasn't playing fair.

Where was the harm in having a little coffee? Besides, the exhaustion she had managed to evade for the past forty eight hours seemed to be rapidly catching up with her and she couldn't allow herself to sleep.

Taking the mug without a word she wrapped both hands around it and stared at the contents, almost a mirror image of the view outside the window. Darkness surrounded her everywhere. Even with his presence she couldn't dispel it.

Breathing in the strong, bitter aroma, she didn't notice he had moved until he was standing behind her. Very closely. And she felt something other than depression and regret for the first time in sixty days. Confusion. Was he going to touch her? Whisper a kind word, an endearment, a demand, an admission? And it was only then that she allowed herself the indulgence of knowing how much she needed to hear that from him.

He said nothing, and she took his silence as punishment for ever getting her hopes up about anything. Probably not the way it was intended.

After five minutes passed intercut with several sips of coffee, she had become comfortable with his closeness almost forgetting that he was there at all. That was when he spoke.

"When was the last time you ate?"

Swallowing another taste of the hot liquid, she briefly considered lying to him but decided against it. "I had something yesterday morning."

A slow reply. "I thought as much."

He must have been standing very close now; she could feel his breath softly caressing the back of her neck. One of the benefits of the shorter haircut. Wait...a benefit? No, it wasn't a benefit at all. It was a burden.

'...that he would stay by her side, doing whatever he could to make her burden lighter...'

No! She couldn't think about that right now. It had to stay locked up in the metaphorical safe inside her mind. It was always an uphill battle against that memory.

Chakotay spoke again, quietly, softly but ensuring her attention with his words. " helped me find my own. Please let me help you find your peace."

The cup hit the floor.


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