By Shayenne

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything but I doubt they want this.

Rated G

"Shields at 47%." Chakotay's calm voice relayed the bad news.

"Phasers are off-line." Harry didn't sound as calm, but he was controlled.

He should be, reflected Kathryn Janeway, after all, they had all had enough experience at being under attack by now.

The ship rocked again. "Direct hit to the navigational controls." Tom's voice had a nervous edge to it. "Captain, I've lost helm control."

She exchanged a glance with Chakotay. This was bad. He covered her hand briefly with his own warm one. His steady touch reassured her. "We've been worse off, Kathryn."

"Do we still have thrusters?"

"Affirmative, Captain."

"Tom, can you steady us enough with the thrusters and bring us around? Tuvok, ready a photon torpedo."

Tom's hands were sure on the controls. "I can... and I am."

Voyager shuddered and lurched, but Tom worked her around, alternately powering port and starboard thrusters to deftly maneuver the wallowing ship.

"Torpedo is loaded, Captain."

She nodded at Tuvok, eyes on the viewscreen and the approaching alien ship.

"Nearly there..." Tom was still working the thrusters.

"The Calari are powering weapons," reported Harry. "Diverting maximum power to shields."

The ship rocked again and the bridge went dark.

"Report." The emergency lights came on, illuminating faces bent intently over flickering consoles.

"Shields are down. Hull breach on deck eleven. Diverting power to seal it."

"Emergency power only on decks five through twelve."

"Three injured on deck eleven, one is critical."

"We still have thrusters."

"And we still have torpedoes on line."

"Good. Tuvok, fire when you can get a lock on the other ship. As soon as possible, we're sitting ducks here. We can't take much more of this."

Tom worked frantically. "Now, Tuvok."

"Torpedoes are launched."

Kathryn mentally crossed her fingers. They only had this one chance.

"Direct hit." Tuvok's statement was unnecessary; they could all see the explosion on the viewscreen.

She relaxed slightly into her chair.

"Harry, scan for other ships and keep scanning. We don't know that they were alone. Tuvok, see what you can do to get weapons on line, Tom, find out if the Doctor needs you in sickbay and if he doesn't report to engineering. I'm going there now. Chakotay, you have the bridge." She turned and headed for the turbolift.

"Captain," Harry's voice stopped her. "Two Calari ships are approaching our position."

She retraced her steps, stopping behind Chakotay's chair. Unconsciously she placed a hand on his shoulder, gaining momentary reassurance from the solid feel of him. "Hail them."

"They are not responding."

"Hail them again, Tuvok. One more hit and we won't have a ship to repair."

"They are still not responding. Captain, they are powering weapons."

"Evasive maneuvers, Tom. " She said it without much hope. With no navigational control, Tom could do little with the thrusters alone.

"I'm trying, Captain."

"They are firing." Tuvok's voice was stoic as ever.

So this was it. It all came down to a senseless attack by aliens who wouldn't even communicate their reasons. Voyager had no hope of surviving this attack. No time to escape, nowhere to run. Under her hand, Chakotay's shoulder tensed and his hand came up to cover hers. She looked down at him, this man who had stood quietly by her side, and he looked up at her. There was no condemnation in his eyes, just the warmth he normally showed her.

She didn't want to die without telling him. "I love you, Chakotay." She whispered the words softly, for his ears alone.

He smiled, and in that split second his eyes were peaceful. He started to mouth the words of love back to her.

There was a blinding white light and the dull roar of explosion.

* * *

Caitlin Janeway sat upright in bed, heart pounding in shock. Those dreams again, frightening in their reality. Always she was the starship Captain, often she was in battle, and always she was fighting her attraction to her first officer.

She lay still for a few moments, allowing her heart rate settle back to a normal rhythm and let the familiarity of her surroundings soothe her. She lay under the floral quilt. Dim light filtered in through the drapes from outside. The regular breathing of her husband sprawled on his stomach next to her reassured her. Lightly she touched his shoulder, needing the comfort of his living, warm flesh after the nightmare.

Quietly she rose and crossed over to the window. Pulling back a corner of the drapes, she saw that snow was falling outside. The moon was full and the luminosity of the light gave the scene a surreal edge. The grass was already covered and the minivan was a snow-blanketed hulk in the driveway.

She padded on bare feet out into the hallway. The dream had unsettled her more than she cared to admit. Quietly opening a door, she peered into the twin's room. They were sleeping, the sleep of the dead or the innocent. Tom was on his back, both chubby hands above his head. Harry was curled into a little ball, clutching his teddy. Caitlin noticed that once again Harry had crawled into Tom's bed. Those two really didn't like being separated for long.

Closing the door, she slipped further along the hallway to the room at the end. In the moonlit room, the hanging moon and stars mobile above the baby's cot caught the light as it revolved gently. She bent over the cot; Bella was awake, staring with wise old eyes at the mobile. She wasn't fussing, just lying quietly in that funny little way of hers. Caitlin kissed the tips of her fingers and pressed them gently on Bella's forehead.

The echoes of the dream were fading, reduced to a whisper in the normality of her everyday life. She felt she could go back to bed now, wrap herself around Chuck's comforting solid body, press her cheek to his chest and let his arms enfold her. Chuck. She still didn't know what she had done to deserve this wonderful man.

She crept back into the bedroom. Chuck was lying on his back, snoring faintly. The moonlight caressed his bronze skin, and the lines of the tattoo on his chest, the remnants of a drunken weekend in college. She would never tell him, but she loved that tattoo, felt that there was some mysterious symbolism behind the random pattern of lines.

She crept past the bed into the bathroom. As she washed her hands, she stared at her reflection in the mirror. No, she wasn't imagining it; her normally mousy brown hair was definitely getting redder.

Feedback? Please. Shayenne

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