Warnings: Discussions of depression.
Categories: Ship, Het, Angst, Episode Tag, Hurt/Comfort
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
A/N: Set immediately after Night. Depression isn't cured that easily. (Not this easily, either, but Starfleet captains are made of tougher stuff than mere mortals.)
Credits: Thanks to Kim for the quick beta.
Disclaimer: Paramount really should give more thought to the treatment of its subjects.
It never got easier, no matter how many times it happened. He could have lost her. Again. Yet even before she had tried to solve their latest difficulty with a suicide mission, he had been afraid he had lost her. And simply saving her from death didn't erase the problem. Her depression couldn't be ignored or it threatened to consume her.
She was alone in her quarters. He knew that. This time, he wouldn't leave her alone. He went to her. He didn't bother with the door chime, which would have given her the time to screw her mask in place. He used his override code.
The sight before him wasn't unexpected, but it tore at his heart nonetheless. She was on the couch, her face wet with tears. Her face registered shock at his appearance and he moved swiftly before she could compose herself enough to voice an objection.
He slid onto the couch and put a finger to her lips. She looked at him questioningly, her objection not yet gone. He moved closer and pulled her into his arms. His hands stroked her back soothingly but he didn't speak a word. It was a delicate balance between what she needed and what she would accept from him; he prayed he had found it.
Her arms slid around his neck and her body began shaking as she allowed the tears to return.
Relief flooded him even as her pain cut him deeply. He clutched her harder and allowed his tears to join hers.
They remained like that long after the tears had dried to their faces. Ship's night was ending by the time her head rose from his chest. Her hand wandered up to briefly touch his face.
"Thank you," she said.
He gave her a little smile. "Anytime, Kathryn. You never have to be alone."
"I know." She was silent for a moment. "Join me for breakfast in the mess hall?"
His smile grew. "Nothing would please me more."
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, September 2002.