"I told you Kathryn, there are things about everyone which would surprise you." I walk to the replicator to refill our drinks. "Even the doctor."

"There is nothing you could tell me about the Doctor that would surprise me," she jokes.

"Well, I don't know where I first heard this. I don't even know if it's true . . ."

We All Have Our Reasons
by Jen Ferris

There never seemed to be enough time. The work was accelerating. I think the Bureau was pleased by my progress. Certainly we had received generous funding in the last few quarters, and god knows that was unusual given their usual pinched purse. I'd been working double shifts ten days of every fortnight, and would have done more, but they finally put their foot down and said you've got to go home, the union is going to have our balls.

Not that I cared much about that. I just wanted to work. I used to want to go home, and in some ways I still did, but it got tiring after a while, always being in the wrong. It was easier to just play the dutiful husband, and sound as if I was glad the Garden Committee on Major was finally coming round. Our home had been written up in all the local journals; I think Callie was aiming for bigger guns. The Geographic Society was scheduled to visit next year and she was working overtime with her specimans, making them bigger and more beautiful, she said. Garnish, I thought, but I kept it to myself.

Well, if that's what made her happy, so be it. If I couldn't - well, that was the fate of many husbands, wasn't it. Jerrica - she hates me to call her Jerry, now that she's fifteen - used to share my dreams. All that ended when I met Val. Oh, all right, not when I *met* Val - Callie would purse her lips at that - but after our weekend. The Weekend. One lousy accidental weekend that I didn't even mean to happen. God knows I've heard enough about that weekend to fill a dozen journals.

So I'm filling my own journals now, with notes both meticulous and dreary. Work upon work upon work. It used to be my dream, you know. Jerry and I talked about it all the time when she was little, when she'd come with me to the lab and let me measure her and test her and we'd compare notes and giggle about someday... Someday.

I just wanted to go, that's all. The thrill of discovery - and of being a vital part of that - that fed me for years. I was planning the whole time I served my appenticeship. If I racked up enough credits, enough brown points with BuPers, and kept adding to that impressive string of credentials, they'd have to notice. They were starting to. I would've been assigned to the Potemkin, if I'd kept my nose clean. If I'd... well.

I didn't quite make the grade. Even in this day and age, with increased funding and unrest on all the borders, they're still pretty selective if you aren't born and bred to the trade. So I do my research, and I expand the database as best I'm able, and if I still can't do in situ work, well, I can always fall back on the brain I know best: my own. And I've got a federation full of history and exobiology and research to draw from.

I hear there are some potential candidates at the closest starbase. Which is good, because I'm heading there on my own credits, and they aren't infinite. Not with a teenage daughter and a wife who wants to impress - somebody, I've never been sure who. I guess I wasn't good enough in that department, even if it's my name on the Senior Chair's door now.

So I'll head out to DS9 next week, and I'll do my interviews, and if I have to, when they send the prototype out next year, it'll bear the imprint of one Lewis Zimmermann, M.D., Ph.D, Soc.D.S., physician extraordinaire. If I can't go, maybe my doppelganger can.

I hope he enjoys himself. If that's even possible.

I hope he keeps his nose clean.

* * *

She is deep in thought when I finish the story. "Thank you, Chakotay." She says finally. It's the last thing I had expected to hear.

"Thank you?"

"I was feeling self-indulgent tonight. I forget how far we've come."

I lean over and kiss her softly.

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