Tom and B'Elanna watched as Kathryn and Chakotay strolled hand in hand down the beach away from the remains of lunch leaving only a pair of footprints in the sand to show they had been there. Most of the crew had taken shore leave over the previous three days leaving only a handful to take theirs on their last day in orbit around an uninhabited planet. Most of those in the area were enjoying the water and sun after their picnic lunch.
"What do you think, B'Elanna?"
"I don't know. Something has been bothering her all week."
"We've all noticed on the bridge. What has me worried is that I don't think Chakotay knows what's bothering her either."
"That means it's nothing to do with the ship and they didn't have a fight." B'Elanna was really concerned. "They've only been together six months. You don't think she's having second thoughts about the whole relationship, do you?"
"I hope not. They've both been happier and more relaxed off duty and it certainly hasn't affected the ship or crew adversely. Whatever is bothering her is something very recent. Maybe they will work it out this afternoon."
"Ready to tell me what's bothering you, Kathryn?"
"That's honest at least." Chakotay smiled. "Well, if you don't want to tell me what's bothering you, I'll tell you what's bothering me. I have a friend, a very dear friend, who has a problem and won't tell me what it is. I'm worried about her and the problem because I'm afraid I might be the problem and she wants to end what we share and I have no idea why."
Kathryn stopped and turned to Chakotay. "No. It's nothing like that." She wrapped her arms around his waist. "Don't ever think that. I'm so sorry. It never occurred to me that you might think I wanted to end our relationship. I love you too much to ever consider that."
Chakotay hugged Kathryn close and sighed in relief. The last six months had been the happiest of his life and he had thought Kathryn shared that happiness. But something had been bothering her recently and the only way he could explain it was that she was having second thoughts about their involvement. Anything else she would normally have mentioned before now. He leaned over to kiss the top of her head and then started chuckling. She looked up in surprise.
"Why are you laughing?"
"I'm sorry. I'm just so used to you wearing those ridiculous boots all day that you seem too small barefoot." His smile turned a bit lecherous. "You have to admit, we don't spend a lot of time barefoot together, at last not standing."
Kathryn chuckled but pretended righteous indignation. "You calling me short, mister?"
"Never, ma'am. It's obvious that I must be too tall." The dimples came out full force. "Peace?"
"If you do something for me." Kathryn saw the opportunity and took it.
"Within reason, of course. What do you want me to do?"
"Just make an announcement to the crew for me some time in the next day or two."
Chakotay was curious now. Both of them made announcements to the crew when it was required but she had never tried to avoid making one. His dimples faded into concern.
"Is this what has been bothering you?"
"Yes. I guess we need to talk about it a bit. Let's find a spot to sit down." Kathryn sat close to Chakotay, so close that it was almost impossible for her to comfortably meet his eyes with her own.
"I meant what I said before. I love you and have never considered ending our relationship." Kathryn paused to collect her thoughts. "You remember that one of the things I was concerned about was that our relationship would interfere with the ship. So far, it hasn't. In fact, if anything, ship's operation and crew morale are better than before. But it's going to interfere and we can't avoid it."
"You're talking in circles, Kathryn. If it hasn't so far, how can you know it will in the future and that we can't avoid it? If we know that it will interfere with the ship, we can take steps to avoid the problem before it happens."
"We did and it didn't work. The problem exists, except that it isn't a problem."
"A problem that isn't a problem and hasn't affected the ship yet is going to affect the ship. That makes less sense than not being able to avoid it. Why don't you just tell me what this nonproblem is?
"I'm pregnant." Kathryn words were barely a whisper and Chakotay was certain he heard wrong.
"What? I couldn't hear you, at least I don't think I heard you."
"I'm pregnant." Kathryn's words were still soft but this time clear. "The doctor confirmed it eight days ago. I'm about seven weeks now. He can't explain why the birth control failed, but it did. And before you ask, I'm not sorry it failed."
"This is wonderful news, Kathryn. A baby? We're having a baby!" Chakotay's excitement was clear in his voice. He pulled Kathryn back on the sand and kissed her soundly. As he leaned back to look at her, he ran his hand over her belly. "You're really carrying my baby?"
"It better be yours or we're both in a lot of trouble." Kathryn was smiling again. She hadn't realized that she had actually been worried about his reaction to her news but his enthusiasm removed any doubt about the baby's welcome. They just lay on the sand for about ten minutes while Chakotay adjusted to the news. Kathryn was the one who finally returned the conversation to the 'problem.'
"So, will you tell the crew about our baby?"
"That's what's been bothering you all week? Telling the crew you're pregnant?"
"Are you still trying to convince yourself that the crew doesn't think sex is part of our relationship?"
"Kathryn, they're adults. They know we make love regularly."
"But if I tell them, it will feel like I'm shouting to the universe that I have sex with my first officer."
"You do have sex with your first officer."
"That's not the point and you know it." Kathryn was smiling despite herself. "Please, will you tell them?"
"If it will make you happy, I'll tell the crew, but I'll pick the time and place. Agreed?"
Kathryn had second thoughts about his choice of time and place six days later when Chakotay passed out bubblegum cigars to the entire crew at Tom's next movie, "She's Having A Baby."
Tom and B'Elanna watched as Kathryn and Chakotay strolled down the beach away from the remains of lunch. They each held the hand of a wobbly toddler struggling to keep up with her parents. Most of the crew had taken shore leave over the previous three days leaving only a handful to take theirs on their last day in orbit around an uninhabited planet. Most of those in the area were enjoying the water and sun after a picnic lunch.
"What do you think, B'Elanna? Something has been bothering her all week."
"I'm betting she's pregnant and wants to talk Chakotay into telling the crew again."
Tom laughed and pulled B'Elanna to her feet. "Think he'll do it?"
"I'll dig out that film when we get back to the ship."
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