What's She Like?
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - all characters belong to Paramount.

Dearest thanks to Sammi for her support.


What's she like
When she turns around to kiss you goodnight?
When she wakes up in the morning by your side?
What's she like?

What's she like
The yellow moon or the deep blue of the sea?
Do you feel the same way you did when it was me?
What's she like?

Oh I've been holding on
I've been holding on for far too long
I've been holding on
I've been holding on much too long

What's she like
When you're making love and stars are in her eyes?
When you're looking for the answers in her smile?
Oh what's she like?

Oh I've been holding on
I've been holding on for far too long
I've been holding on
I've been holding on much too long
Too long

I never knew I could love somebody the way that I love you
I never thought I'd be the broken-hearted
Nothing hurts you like the truth

So what's she like
When she turns to you, when push comes to shove?
When she whispers in your ear that she's in love?
Oh what's she like?

Oh I've been holding on
I've been holding on for far too long
I've been holding on
I've been holding on much too long

So what's she like?

-Words and music by Per Gessle.


There are some days when I can almost convince myself that I don't need anyone. The Captain of a starship always has to be self-sufficient to some degree. Even in the Delta Quadrant. There are those in the crew who would argue that because of our unique situation I shouldn't concern myself with being too isolated, but they don't understand. They've never been the Captain of a Federation vessel. All through the academy and your career, it's drilled into you about the need for control. You always have to be in control. You can never let your crew see you be vulnerable.

As I said, you have to be self-sufficient. And most days I can handle that. I can proceed through my life at a normal pace. Perhaps it's a faster pace than most, but it's one of the prices that comes with being a Captain.

I can interact with the crew on a surface level. Laugh at their jokes, make comments to bolster their confidence, but try as hard as I can not to get too personally involved. It never works of course, but you try anyway.

And then there are the other days. Days when it feels as if the whole universe has come crashing down on your shoulders and now hangs around your neck with the weight of a million lost opportunities. Days when your previously tame life is disturbed by something so shocking that you doubt you'll ever be the same again.

On those days, it's impossible to ignore just how lonely I am. How I long for companionship, or a gentle hand on my shoulder to guide me. A voice that says You made the right decision, and never doubts you. Something that can offer support.

On days like yesterday, I can't hide from my own feelings.


Seven came to my quarters last night. I have to admit to being rather surprised; it's a very rare occurrence. At first I thought she had a report of some kind to give me, but I noticed she wasn't holding a padd so I invited her in.

"Would you like to sit down?" I offered, somehow knowing that this was going to be a 'personal' conversation. Who it would be personal for I had no idea.

"No thank you Captain," she replied, slowly lifting her Borgified eyebrow "I pre-"

"-fer to stand. Yes I know." I added with a slight smile. "How can I help?"

Seven seemed to hesitate which struck me as rather odd. There wasn't much that disturbed her now, so it had to be something to do with human interaction. She still wasn't completely used to the concept.

"I have something of a...personal nature I wish to discuss with you." She began, then stopped. She frowned.

"Yes?" I prompted.

Rethinking her earlier decision, she proceeded to sit down on the couch, which was opposite the chair I was sitting on. I got the impression she was doing it more for me than for herself. Perhaps she was learning. Some days I doubted it.

Had she been fully human, I imagine she would have been leaning forward slightly, with her hands clasped nervously together over the end of her knees. But being Seven, she sat straight, back erect and expression composed. Although she did look vaguely uncomfortable. Perhaps I was imagining things.

"May I ask you a question Captain?"

"Of course." I replied, hoping it wouldn't be too personal. We'd already covered periods and touched briefly on sex and love. I was hoping that she wouldn't ask me something else about that last subject. But what she asked me was the last thing I expected.

"Do you know of a woman called Kellin?"

What could I say? The name was completely unfamiliar to me. "No. Why?"

Seven nodded. "I had to confirm this. I have carefully questioned a few others, and they don't know of her either. Of course, that was their intention."

"Whose intention?" I demanded.

I shouldn't have asked. I should have left my curiousity alone. I didn't need to know about Kellin or her people. Seven told me everything she knew, every detail, her voice never wavering from its confident speech pattern. Until she reached a particular subject.

"Kellin was in love with Commander Chakotay." She stated boldly.

My eyes widened at this. Although it certainly wasn't hard to see why.

"And I believe the Commander...reciprocated these feelings."

I felt my heart stop for a beat in absolute shock. My eyes were even wider than before, and I'm sure they must have been transmitting all of my feelings to Seven. I tried to bring my expression back to normal, tried to keep myself in control. My mind wouldn't keep quiet. Chakotay? In love with someone else? Unimaginable. Unthinkable. I didn't care if these aliens did have a device that wiped memories. How could I possibly forget about something like this? It was too important, far too important for me to forget more easily than a vague dream.

Seven could have been wrong. She could have imagined it, or dreamt it, or been manipulated by someone who was purposely giving her false memories. I desperately wanted to believe that, but somehow I knew she was right. I have no idea how I knew. Just intuition.

I jumped up from my seat and almost grabbed her hand. "Come on. We're going to sickbay." I ordered.

She stood. "Why?"

"I want to find out why you remember and no one else does."


Of course the Doctor had no recollection of Kellin either. Seven informed him that he had treated Kellin in sickbay. He scoffed at the very idea. He was a computer program - he couldn't forget anything. "I could give you a detailed description and analysis of every patient who has entered this room, what was wrong with them, and how I helped them. I find it highly unlikely that I would just 'forget' one of them."

Even after Seven explained that the aliens had the ability to wipe any evidence of themselves from computers he still doubted it, but ran some scans on her anyway. He didn't find anything abnormal. Well, he didn't find anything that was abnormal from usual. Seven's physiology was pretty abnormal in the first place.

He also scanned me, but couldn't find any evidence of memory suppression. Of course, if it was a completely unusual technology he may not be able to tell anyway. Even an EMH with the memories and experiences of 47 doctors couldn't do everything, despite what he believed.

His only theory as to why Seven remembered was because of her Borg implants or nanoprobes. They were really the only way she differed from the rest of the humans on board, at least physically.

So I was stuck with my next question - what should I do? Nothing, that's what. I would make a note of Seven's observations in my official log, and no doubt some of my own depressing thoughts in my personal log. I would tell Tuvok of the possible security ramifications, but that was it. I wouldn't tell the crew. There was no need.

But maybe I should. Maybe they had a right to know. Even if I didn't tell the whole crew, there was another person on the ship who had to know. My own personal involvement towards him didn't matter. It was a part of his past. He had a right.

I just wasn't sure I was the one who should tell him. Maybe I should send Seven, and she could tell him what she had told me.


When I found myself outside his quarters two hours later I wasn't the least bit surprised. I could never fully control myself where he was concerned. I could display some control, but that was it. He had a knack for eroding away my command mask.

I beeped three times, and after getting no answer I asked the computer to confirm that he was in his quarters. He was. My hands felt damp on the padd I held.

Using my emergency override code, I quickly stepped in and allowed the door to swish to a close behind me.

The room was dark save for the starlight coming in through the viewports. I squinted as I looked around the quarters searching for him. The first thing I could see when I looked at the floor was a piece of paper. In fact, as my eyes adjusted I could see several pieces of paper thrown around the room. All torn.

And then I saw him. He was crouched down on the floor, leaning heavily against the wall that separated our quarters. I moved toward him slowly, careful not to tread on the paper. Some part of me wanted to pick up a piece and read it, but he needed me right now. I disposed of the padd I was holding by placing it silently on his coffee table.

As I approached him, I could see more of his expression. His eyes were closed tightly, his forehead pulled into what looked like an extremely painful frown. And in that instant I realised. I had suspected when I first entered, but now it was confirmed.

He knew.

I fought the urge to say something. I wanted to speak to him, reassure him, but the only phrases I could think of would sound trite.

So instead I continued walking. When I reached him I barely hesitated as I bent down and knelt behind him. He didn't say anything, didn't move at all but he must have known I was there. Leaning forward slightly, I wrapped my arms around his back, reaching round so they rested on his chest. I lay my head gently on the back of his shoulder.

He still said nothing. Neither did I.

Eventually he moved slightly, but it was only for the purpose of resting his right hand on top of mine. And that's when I realised something else. He knew that I knew. He didn't know how or why, but he had to have known. There wouldn't be any other reason for me to come and comfort him.

Finally he spoke, his words quiet and frustrated. I could feel the vibrations in his body as he began.

"I don't even know what her voice sounded like."

I felt insanely jealous of her. I knew I was being selfish, after all, I had told myself that Chakotay and I could never become romantically involved. Despite that, I was jealous of a woman I had no memory of.

"I don't know what she looked like, what kind of laugh she had..." he continued "...I tried to explain it to myself in the letter..." his voice drifted off as he indicated the pieces of paper with his free hand "...but I did a poor job. You can't describe something like that."

So that's how he knew. He must have written it all down on paper so he would always remember in some way. There were definite advantages in not using technology.

But now the revelation his own written words had brought was tearing him apart, and I wasn't entirely sure why. In that instant, I hated Kellin. I hated her with every fibre of my being. How dare she come into his life and make him feel this way? How dare she encourage him in his feelings towards her and then vanish? I was jealous of her, but I hated seeing Chakotay like this. I almost wished she were still here so he would be happy. I wouldn't be too pleased with the idea, but better that I be jealous than for him to be aware of another lost opportunity.

And I had something that would help him. Or at least I hoped so. His mood was unpredictable. I could tell that he wanted to know as much about her as possible, and yet he also wished that he had never known about her.

"I have something for you." I whispered, finally having something fulfilling to say.

Pulling back slightly, I found I couldn't move any further because he still maintained his grip.

"I'm going to need my hand back." I murmured with a soft smile.

He looked down at our hands and seemed almost surprised, but let me go. I stood and retrieved the padd from the coffee table. I kept the front faced towards my chest. He had turned slightly, still sitting down so his back rested fully on the wall. I knelt down in front of him and explained about Seven and what she remembered. He listened quietly, all the while staring at the padd knowing it contained something important. It did.

"I asked Seven to...create a picture of what she looked like. She's not the best artist I've ever seen, but her near-perfect memory gave us a good indication of what Kellin looks like. Seven says the picture is 96% accurate."

He continued looking at the padd as I offered it to him. He kept frowning, but eventually he reached out a hand and took it from me then slowly turned it so he could look at her picture.

I knew what she looked like. When Seven had first handed me the padd I thanked her then quickly retreated to the privacy of my quarters. Drawing a deep breath I activated the padd.

She was beautiful. I hated her for that. It was childish I know, but I almost wished she was ugly and that Chakotay had loved her only for her personality. But Chakotay was the same as anyone else. The same as me. I didn't deny for second that I loved him, but it wasn't the personality that I lusted over in my dreams. It was the man. The body. His touch.

For a brief time I had foolishly let myself believe that he was above that. That he was only interested in the pure and the spiritual. Silly, really. I don't mean to suggest that he only loved her because she was attractive, it was a combination of the two. Maybe that was why he'd loved me.

Past tense. Loved me. As in used to. No longer. It felt strange to think like that. Maybe it wasn't true. Maybe he could love two women at once. Okay, so I'm getting desperate.

My mind returned to the present where already he had stopped looking at the padd and had faced it away from his eyes. He was handing it back to me.

"No," I said, thinking he'd misunderstood "it's for you to keep."

"I don't want it."

His expression was closed.

I was confused. "Chakotay..."

"Please." he whispered, a plea.

Grudgingly, I took the padd from him. His head was now leaning back on the wall, his gaze locked on the ceiling.

Why didn't he want her picture? There were so many questions I wanted to ask.

"Chakotay, why did you tear up your letter?"

His eyes squeezed shut tightly again, as if trying to dispel something he didn't want to remember.

"I..." he whispered. He cleared his throat, still staring at the ceiling. His voice was full of wonder. "I just couldn't believe..."

Believe what? That he could fall in love with her? That they would erase our memories? "What?" I asked in a hushed tone. The mood of the moment demanded as much.

Chakotay blinked slowly and licked his lips. He shook his head, clearly upset. Not just about losing Kellin. Something else was bothering him. I placed the padd on the floor, knowing I'd need the use of both my hands later. I don't think he noticed the movement.

He leant his head to the right, his face now drinking in the sight of the universe as it warped past.

"So much unknown..." he said, the words barely audible, and I knew he was talking to himself. Then the volume of his voice rose, but it was still quiet. "Before reading that letter, I had never even considered...moving on. Finding someone to love."

Someone other than me. I couldn't deny it. The implication was blatantly there.

"And then suddenly...I met a woman and instantly fell in love with her. How could I do that? Leave everything else behind so quickly? I'd never even contemplated..."

Guilt. Oh bless him, he felt guilty for falling in love with someone else. Of course, part of me was delighted but I quickly stuffed her away in the Pandora's box inside my mind. Something that should never be revealed. Not if he was going to be happy.

"Maybe..." I began slowly, and he looked back at my face. "...maybe Chakotay, it was there for a long time. Maybe you just didn't recognise it for what it was."

There. That was it. My blessing. I didn't think he needed it, but he thought he did.

"And maybe it's there now." I added softly.

A horrified expression passed across his face.

"I didn't ask for you to stay in love with me Chakotay." The words weren't said unkindly, just stated. "I think you're beginning to realise that."

God it was so hard to say this. So hard to say without crying. I didn't cry often, so when I did it meant something. Not just getting teary-eyed over a romantic book. I fought back the darkness I could feel encroaching over my heart. We could never be together. Not here. I knew it, and even though he fought it he knew it too.

It's much easier to think you're in love than to realise you're alone.

I didn't doubt for one moment that he had loved me and maybe even did still. But he was wavering between what he wanted and what he needed. I knew what he needed, and it wasn't me. God I wanted it to be me. As soon as I left his quarters I knew I was going to cry.

But I hid it. Ever the Captain. Remember? You can't show them that you're vulnerable. Dad was brilliant at that, and I learnt my lessons well.

I managed a smile that I knew looked genuine. It was amazing what I could do with enough will power. I could make him think that I was happy for him while the other part of me was screaming to get out of her box. Rattling the chains that kept it locked, tucked away in a dark corner.

"Be happy, Chakotay."

I leant forward and wrapped my arms around him, cradling his head. He shuddered, breathing hotly against my clothes. I thought I heard a single sob, but other than that he cried silently. We clutched at each other and stayed there for hours.

Eventually, exhausted, he slept. I lay him gently on the ground and watched him.

Did she do this? Did she watch him while he slept? Would I have liked her? Could we have even been friends under different circumstances? I glanced towards the papers again. The answers I was seeking could be there, written by his own hand.

I moved towards them, holding back a groan as bones and muscles clicked in protest to my hours of stillness. With a hand massaging my neck, I sat cross-legged next to the pieces of his letter. I couldn't read it. It was too personal. Too...Chakotay. Maybe one day if he gave his permission...

The replicator was my next stop. I ordered some adhesive before sitting by the letter again and set about repairing it. I did as much of it as I could just by comparing tear lines, reading as little as possible. Occasionally I would catch my name and my eyes would inevitably fix there before I forced myself to look away.

It took me longer than I thought it would - he'd done a pretty thorough job of trying to destroy it. I placed the rest of the adhesive back in the replicator, and as it dematerialised I made a mental note to transfer a couple of rations to his account to pay for the use.

I looked over at where he lay, still asleep. So peaceful. I couldn't help but think of his angry warrior story. So many layers to this man. So much depth.

I placed the letter on the floor next to him, on top of her picture. Technology and tradition. That described Chakotay perfectly. I smiled down at him sadly.

"Be happy, Chakotay," I mumbled softly, feeling the tears beginning. I turned and quickly left his quarters, far too aware of the words of love that rested on the drawing of the woman with long blonde hair.


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