Disclaimer: Paramount is god... I just borrow their wonderful creations. The ideas however are all mine.

Once again no betas have touched this.... heck i've heardly read it over. But how many mistakes can you make in 571 words?

"Lieutenant may I see you in the ready room." The Captain calls midway through my shift. I rise relinquishing the helm to some poor new ensign who looks positive scared to death. But then that could be because I tore shreds out of the last ensign off all trades who take over stations when ever we get called off. She was awful. If seems she'd only passed the piloting test by the skin of her teeth and then had promptly forgotten everything. She almost hurt my ship. I was not impressed.

The Captain is seated at his desk when I entered. "You look tried today Mr. Paris."

"I didn't sleep to well last night." I say. It's not quite the truth I was up reading old logs until the wee hours of the morning. "But I'm fine sir." I add reassuringly.

"The logs again?" He asks.

How does he do that I wonder he always seems to know? "Yeah." I admit.

"Still can't quiet believe it Tom?"

"I think I might be starting to."

"Yeah me too. It is still hard to believe sometimes."

"Well Chakotay considering the two of us expected to be hauled off in irons." Yeah I said Chakotay. They pardoned him, and all the other Maquis. Only a few of them stuck around with the Fleet but last I heard they were all doing well. Next time we run in to Voyager I'll have to ask B'Elanna she keeps tabs on every one.

He offers me a cup of tea. We sit and discuss things for a while. I've found that since I got here if I can't talk to Harry about something I'd much rather talk to Chakotay. Sure we have a ship's counselor. She's a great women, does a great job. But there are some things she just can't imagine much less understand.

Like being thrown 70,000 light years from home never knowing if you'll get back. Or the utter confusion of thinking for years you killed your shipmates. That it was entirely a fault. Only to discover later you weren't.

Sure Chakotay and I didn't always get along too well... okay fine we hated each other's guts. But we're better now. We were mostly better even before we got back to the alpha quadrant. I think that next to Harry he's probably my best friend.

He understands so much of the things that still haunt me. Probably because it haunts us both. Even with his own command, and in my case being third in the chain of command. Neither of us can quite shake the feeling that someday it's all going to disappear and turn out to just have been a dream. But I think it might finally be sinking in.

I sigh. "Thanks Chak." I smile. "But I better get back before that terrified ensign I left at the conn hurts my ship."

"My ship." He shoots back. It's a long-standing play argument.

"Then why can't you get her to do half the stuff I can?"

"Because you're her boyfriend and I'm just her father, kids never do what their father tells them."

I'm still chuckling as I walk on to the bridge. No one pays any attention to me. They're used to things this way. I smile at Harry up at ops where he's all ways been. Yep things are the way they're supposed to be. Maybe this time it is real.

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