Disclaimer:  Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager.  I don’t.  Only borrowing                 

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC 17.

Summary:     When a crewmember loses his partner and unborn child, he blames

                      Kathryn Janeway.  Trapping her on the holodeck, he plays out his

                      terrible revenge on her, forcing Chakotay to watch helplessly.





Chakotay’s hands covered his face as he paced the bridge, his fingers digging painfully into his skin.  B’Elanna watched for a few seconds then grabbed his arm, stilling him.

“Come on Chakotay, hold it together now.  Think clearly about what this means.”  She could see his eyes darting back and forth, desperately trying to tie in the signs with anything in his memory.

“I can’t think…it’s familiar…”  B’Elanna grabbed him again.

“Come on Chakotay, think…”  He pulled from her grasp, pain written all over him.

“What do you think I’m doing…oh God Kathryn…”  He threw his head back and squeezed his eyes tightly closed.  B’Elanna’s voice broke into his mind.

“Chakotay, just take deep breaths, take a minute…”  He opened his eyes and stared at her.

“She doesn’t have a minute…”  He resumed his pacing, one hand squeezing the bridge of his nose, muttering to himself.  B’Elanna was working her console, Tuvok at her side.

“We have 3 then 20, 14, 7, 16, 10, and 9 with two more to add…”  She was aware of Chakotay speaking to himself.

“Hands…signs…handshake…palm up…fist…”  He stopped suddenly as if a light had just gone on in his mind and he turned back to the Engineer.

“How and Pow…Regis…the bar…what was it?”  He saw B’Elanna shake her head, not understanding any of what he was saying.  “The bar…called…no…our name…we’d meet there again…”  He slammed a fist down on the edge of the screen.

“24 7.  24 and 7 that’s it, put that in.  Come on B’El quickly…”  He stood over the young Klingon woman, his hand covering his mouth.  When she didn’t immediately enter the last two numbers, he turned on her.  “B’El come on, we’ve no time…”  The Engineer turned on him and pushed him back a bit.

“Listen to me.  This is too easy.  Trust me on this.”  Tuvok interrupted.

“Lieutenant, do you suspect…”  B’Elanna turned quickly to the Vulcan.

There’s just something…not right…it’s…  Look, he’s still sitting in there, nowhere to go, just waiting.  We use this to open the door and…  There has to be another number.  It only makes sense.  All these kind of codes have ten sets…”  Tuvok was calmness itself as usual.

“Do you believe the door will still be wired?”  B’Elanna was pacing now.

“There’s always ten sets, the sequence and then a user ID.  We have the nine he gave us…  Look this bastard has nothing left, nowhere to go, nothing to lose.  In his mind he’s done what he set out to do with the Captain but that still leaves you and the rest of us.  He wouldn’t give up this easily…not without…  Chakotay he expects you to come charging in there to rescue her but it’s both of you he wanted to hurt.  He WANTS us to come rushing in there…  Chakotay, think again…a number that was special to him, maybe one he used as an ID or a special date or meaning…”  Chakotay shook his head, his anguish taking over.

“I don’t know…  he called himself…  I can’t remember… Joe something…some old cartoon…I can’t remember…”  Tom jumped up from his chair and rushed towards them.

“90, enter 90 now.”  Three blank faces stared back at the pilot.

“Joe 90, he was a comic book hero, 20th century…”  Chakotay grabbed B’Elanna.

“That’s it.  I remember it.  Do it B’El.”  B’Elanna entered in the last numbers and the screen flashed, granting them access.  Chakotay was already at the lift, shouting to Harry to stay on the bridge and get the Doctor to the holodeck, as the others followed him.

When they reached the doors of the holodeck, the Doctor was already waiting there.  B’Elanna accessed the doors and they slid open, the group holding their breath.  Chakotay was ahead of the others and entered the woodland he knew so well now.  He immediately ordered the computer to shut down the program and his eyes fell first on the figure of Joe Feeney, sitting cross-legged and playing with the blade he held, the one he’d used on Kathryn.  Only strong hands holding him stopped Chakotay from ending the man’s life there and then.  Tuvok and his security detail dragged Feeney to his feet and left the holodeck, the knife clattering to the metal floor, Kathryn’s blood still staining the blade.

They saw Kathryn immediately on the other side of the now featureless room, still lying as she had been when they’d seen her on the screen.  Chakotay was on his knees at her side before the others reached her and the sight of her up close almost caused his heart to stop beating.  His eyes, blurred with tears, took in her battered face and body, cut and bruised, the deep burns oozing fluid.  He saw the blood pooling beneath her from the knife wound to her stomach and more blood between her legs and on her thigh, the light fabric of the dress soaking it up.

Chakotay fell backwards as the Doctor and Tom pushed him away and immediately started work on their Captain.  Chakotay sat there in shock with B’Elanna trying to talk to him but her words drifted over him.  He kept his eyes glued to Kathryn’s face and saw her eyelids flutter open for a second.  He crawled to her, staying out of the Medic’s way and saw her lips move slightly.

“Chakotay…”  He barely heard her faint whisper and lowered his head to hers, his lips to her ear.

“I’m here Kathryn.  You’re safe now.”  He saw her eyes close and a tear escape her eye and let himself cry out, a keening wail escaping him and echoing around the metal room.

When The Doctor decided it was safe to move Kathryn, he transported her to sickbay and a long battle for life began.  It was five hours before Chakotay looked up to see Tom emerge from the surgical area, his scrubs covered with Kathryn’s blood.  The Doctor came out behind him, pulling off his own blood covered surgical gown and made his way to Chakotay.

“I don’t need to tell you how bad her injuries were…”  Chakotay’s pain filled face met the Doctor.

“Just tell me she’s still alive…”  The Medic nodded his head, giving Chakotay the first hope he’d had.

“She’s alive but I have to tell you she has one hell of a fight on her hands.  I just want you to be prepared…”  Chakotay stood and turned his back on the Doctor.

“She’s tougher than you know.  She’ll fight this and more, you’ll see.”  The Doctor moved around to face the big man.

“Commander, the blood loss alone should have already…”  Chakotay didn’t want to hear it but the Doctor needed him to know all the facts.  He pushed his Commanding Officer into a chair.  “I’m not trying to be cruel but you have to understand this.  Her body is in shock from the blood loss and burns and her major organs were starting to shut down.  The knife wound did a lot of damage as did the wound to her leg and she haemorrhaged quite heavily from tearing and…from the…other attack.  She suffered severe beatings, broken ribs, a fractured skull…”  He softened his voice when he saw the pain on the other man’s face.

“Commander, a lot of her lesser injuries, the cuts and bruises, broken bones, were easy enough to treat but combined with the others…  I’ve stopped all the bleeding and treated her injuries but the blood loss and shock have caused her to slip into a coma.  I can’t say when or if she’ll come out of it.”  The Doctor saw the stricken face before him and reached out and grasped his arm.  “Sit with her, talk to her, it’s all we can do now…”  Chakotay sat stunned for a minute then slowly stood and let the Doctor lead him to where Kathryn lay behind a privacy screen.  He felt himself lowered into a chair and then the Doctor left.

Chakotay sat with his head down for several minutes then looked up at the woman lying before him.  She appeared so small and vulnerable as she lay there, her chest barely rising and falling.  His eyes took in the now fading bruises around her throat and on her face, the cuts there yet to heal.  He saw the scars from the deep burns on her face and neck and on her arms and closed his eyes tightly, his mind still hearing her screams and seeing images he knew would never leave him.  He became aware of the Doctor back with them, running scans and looked up at him.

“The scars…the burns…will she still have…?”  The Doctor shock his head. 

“He didn’t succeed there.  She won’t be scarred, I give you my word on that.”  Chakotay nodded, grateful for that at least.  The medic closed his tricorder and sighed.  “You know Commander, there will be other scars…”  Chakotay nodded, his eyes closed.  He drew in a deep breath and then looked the Doctor in the eye.

“He won’t succeed there either.  I give you MY word on that.”  Both of them looked down at Kathryn, at peace for the moment.  The Doctor patted Chakotay on the shoulder and left, leaving him alone with the woman the entire crew knew he loved.

Over the next two days, Chakotay rarely moved from Kathryn’s side.  B’Elanna sat with him as often as she could and Tuvok came by and reported to him on his findings.

“Ensign Feeney is secure in the brig.”  Chakotay just nodded, not trusting himself to say anything.  The entire ship knew he wanted to go down there and rip the bastard’s throat out.  B’Elanna let out a low growl.  “We found this on him.”  Tuvok handed a small black box to B’Elanna.  “He apparently used it to control the imagers and of course we have the knife.”  Chakotay stood up and motioned for them to move out to the main area of sickbay as if he didn’t want Kathryn hearing any of their conversation.

“I take it the Doc’s examined him?”  Tuvok nodded.  “No terminal diseases where he’ll die in agony?”  Chakotay’s words dripped with the hatred he felt.  Tuvok said nothing as B’Elanna smiled sarcastically.

“It can easily be arranged…”  A look from Tuvok and she shut up.

“Commander, I need to ask about the last numbers you deciphered, what they meant.”  B’Elanna moved closer, curious also.  Chakotay met her eye and smiled sadly.

“It was before your time B’El.  Feeney and Sally joined about two months before you, before things got really heated.”  He sat, his mind revisited a past he now tried to forget.  “When I first met Feeney, he was a real joker, always said what was on his mind, spoke out straight.  He never meant offence, it just came out that way.  Anyway, when he saw I was Native American, his answer to that was the old idea of the hand up, palm facing out and ‘How, big Chief’.  He often greeted me that way even though he knew to most it was an insult but that was his way.”  Chakotay shook his head, not able to believe that a man could change so much.

“The three of us socialized a lot together, hung out in bars.  It was amazing the information you could pick up when people had a few drinks and as I didn’t really drink, I listened a lot.”  His eyes took on a faraway look.  “There was this place, Regis it was called and a bar there, I think it was called Spikes but I’m not sure.  Feeney got into a fight there one night, someone had said something about Sally and all I saw were his fists flying.  I gave him a hard time for drawing attention to himself but later I called him ‘Pow’, like the idea from old comic books when one character hit another and the word ‘Pow’ was written above them to indicate a punch.  That’s how we became How and Pow.”  B’Elanna leaned against a bulkhead.

“How did you get numbers from that?”  Chakotay stood and walked to a tray of instruments, casually rearranging them.  “The bar, we had this deal that after the war, we’d all meet back there, where we’d been happy.  We never called it Spikes though.  It was open all the time, never seemed to close.  Sally named it for us, called it the 24 - 7, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We had some times there…  a few more fights…  He became Joe 90 then…I’d forgotten all that…  Life changed.  When things hotted up, all that was left behind.  Then you came along.”  He turned to B’Elanna and she saw the deep sadness there then watched as it turned to anguish and pain.  “Oh dear God, how did I let this happen?  Why didn’t I see it coming?  It’s all my fault.”  He twisted his fingers in his hair, pulling it.  B’Elanna grabbed his wrists and pulled them down.

“Listen to me now Chakotay.  You didn’t make the man.  Only the man himself does that.  I agree that certain things in life help shape us, but in the end each of us is responsible for who we are and what we do.  We’ve all talked, the crew, his closest friends and not one of us saw this coming.  Rogers and Peterson were the closest to him, spent more time with him than anyone else and they saw nothing to indicate this.  They’re not in good shape over this and think they’re responsible so imagine how bad they feel now.”  She saw some of what she said get through.

“Chakotay, what matters is now and the future.  We can do something about that but we can’t change the past.  It’s gone.  What’s important now is that we’re all here for her, you in particular.  She’ll need that because she will come back to us.”  B’Elanna rubbed up and down his back and saw that he was close to tears.  Tuvok coughed slightly and they looked at him.

“I have to concur with Lieutenant Torres in this matter and I have far more years of experience to draw on than she does.”  His face remained straight and suddenly B’Elanna burst out laughing, not really knowing at what and she saw Chakotay smile.

“Tuvok, don’t ever change.  You’re the one rational thing in all this madness.”  They both saw the Vulcan frown, the entire joke going over his head and Chakotay laughed now.  Suddenly the Doctor appeared, a stern look on his face.

“This is a sickbay.  Can you please take this some place else?”  They all sobered quickly and Tuvok and B’Elanna left quietly.

“Sorry Doc, I know there’s nothing funny…”  The Doctor’s face softened.

“Commander, we all need to let go now and then.  I didn’t mean to speak harshly.”  Chakotay smiled his thanks and went back to Kathryn, sitting down and taking her hand again.  Almost immediately, he felt her fingers move and shouted for the Medic.

“Doctor quickly, her hand…”  The EMH scanned his patient and smiled to himself.

“She’s coming round all right.  It may take a little time…”  Chakotay was already leaning over her, calling her name and within minutes he saw her eyelids flutter, as she fought to open her eyes.  He felt her hand grip at his as if she was using it to find her way in the dark and so he continued calling her name, talking to her quietly, guiding her back to him by the sound of his voice, then finally got his reward as she eventually managed to open her eyes and he looked into the blue depths he loved so much.

“Hey there.  Welcome back.”  He smiled softly and saw a faint tug at her lips and then suddenly he saw her eyes cloud over, as memories flooded back to her and the horror of everything slammed into her mind.  He saw tears fill her eyes and spill out, running down the side of her face and without thinking to ask the Doctor’s permission, he just reached down and pulled her into his arms, whispering softly to her, giving what comfort he could as she clung desperately to him and cried out her anguish and pain, great heaving and choking sobs racking her small body.  Chakotay caught the Doctor out of the corner of his eye, approach them with a hypospray and shook his head.

“Come on honey, let it all out, he can’t hurt you any more.  I’m here, just let it go.”  He continued to rock her like a baby absorbing every cry of pain from her until she had nothing left.  Her body continued to shudder and she still held onto him for dear life as he continued rocking and soothing her, doing all he could to chase any the demons.  Eventually she calmed somewhat and slumped against his large frame and he eased her back down, still holding onto her and whispering to her.  She kept her eyes locked with his and the pain in them tore at him.

“Kathryn, I promise you I’m here for you.  We’ll get through all this…”  She turned her head away and he saw fresh tears start.

“They…they all saw…”  Chakotay had been waiting for this and he sat on the edge of the biobed and took her hands in one of his, his other hand pulling her face back to him.

“No Kathryn, no they didn’t.  I give you my word of honour on that.”  He saw that she was confused.  “Kathryn, you have a very loyal crew, every last one of them and they love you.  Not one person watched, even on the bridge.  Every single screen on board was covered and they even piped music to each station so they wouldn’t hear.”  He saw her tears spill over again from knowing this.

“You saw it though…I know he made you…how can you want to touch me…”  Chakotay gently cupped her cheek, careful to avoid the healing burn there.

“Kathryn listen carefully to me now.  Yes, I saw and the Doctor here saw bits but only so he could know what injuries to prepare for…”  She turned her head and met the Doctor’s eyes and he smiled softly at her.  “If you ever think that what I saw would make any difference to how I feel about you then you don’t know me very well.”  He saw her about to protest and pressed a finger softly to her lips.  “I’m not finished.  What I saw that…him…put you through caused me pain beyond anything I’ve ever known or ever want to know.  The helplessness I felt was beyond words and the guilt I still feel for not seeing this coming…  Kathryn I saw you fight him every step of the way…”  Kathryn pulled her face away.

“You saw me beaten, saw me lose…degraded and humiliated…I couldn’t fight him…”  He pulled her face back to him again, determined that she see his eyes and the truth he spoke in them.

“No Kathryn….”  He saw the pain spill from her eyes.

“You saw what he did to me…  the horrible things he said…  he beat me…he won…”

“I saw HIM lose, not you.  Even had you died Kathryn, you’d have beaten him.  You said it yourself, it was only your body, that he could never beat you where it mattered.  You won, I heard you beat him in the only way that’s important and I was so proud of you.  Now you can beat him again by putting this behind you and taking your life back.  Your own words again Kathryn, he can’t make you a victim, only you can do that.  It won’t be easy and it’ll take time but you’ll get through this because you’re stronger and better than he is and I’ll be there with you every step of the way.  Kathryn, I know I’ve never had the courage to say this straight out before, but I’ll say it now.  I love you and I’ll be with you as long as you want me.”  Kathryn choked on a sob and pulled herself up into his arms and he held her tightly.

“Oh God Chakotay, I love you too.  If you’re sure…”  He pulled back and held her face, staring deeply into her eyes.  “I love you Kathryn Janeway and I’ve waited a long time to say that.  I’m so proud of you and I respect you so much and admire you and you’re one of the bravest people I have ever known.  You’re also one of the most beautiful women, actually you are THE most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.”  Kathryn lowered her eyes.

“Even looking like this?”  Her hand went to her face and then she looked down at her arms and the healing burns on them.  “I’ll be scarred for life Chakotay, can you really bear looking at me every day…”  The Doctor stepped in, diffusing the situation with some honour.

“You might ask me first.  I am the Doctor, in case you’ve forgotten.”  Kathryn pulled back, both of them having forgotten he was there.  The Medic looked from one to the other.  “Oh don’t mind me, I won’t breathe a word about any of this.  Ahh amore…”  He caught himself.  “Sorry.  Actually Captain, you really should only believe what I tell you.”  His expression softened and he grew serious.  “The burns are healing nicely Captain.  In a matter of a few days, there won’t be any sign of them.  You have my word there won’t be any scarring whatsoever.  The injuries on your thigh and stomach won’t leave any scarring either.  I made sure of that, took my time.”   A shade of the Captain showed itself and Chakotay caught himself smiling quietly.

“What about…other…?”  She glanced at Chakotay and he squeezed her hand.

“Would you prefer to discuss this in private…?”  Kathryn shook her head, more of the Captain showing.

“There is nothing you can’t say in front of Chakotay.”  She returned the squeeze on his hand.  The Doctor looked from one to the other then back to his Captain.

“All right.  There was…considerable tearing…and haemorrhaging…”  He watched as she lowered her head a moment, pulling herself together then looked back to him.  He also noticed Chakotay squeeze her hand tighter.  “Captain, I repaired all the damage.  Everything is fine although you will be a little tender for a few days.  After that, you’ll be perfectly all right.”   Kathryn nodded.

“Thank you Doctor, you’ve been… well thank you.”  She reached over and took his hand and he nodded, not sure what to say.

“Well, I’ll give you two some privacy…”  Chakotay smiled.

“Bit late for that…”  The Doctor threw his eyes up.

“I’m leaving, all right?  Commander, please don’t stay long.  I want my patient to rest.  If she does and behaves herself, she can leave here in two days, if not…”  He trailed off and left the room.  Chakotay ran his thumb over the back of Kathryn’s hand.

“He’s right I suppose, you should try and get some rest.”  Kathryn lowered her head.

“Where is…where is he now…?”  She raised her head slowly and held his eyes.

“Kathryn…that isn’t…”  She shook her head.

“I’ll feel better knowing…safer…”  Chakotay nodded.

“All right.  He’s in the brig.  Kathryn, he can’t get out.  You’re safe now…”  Chakotay watched her reaction and saw her relax slightly before lowering her eyes to their joined hands. 

“We will get through this, won’t we?  The memories will go away in time?”  She looked back up at him, almost pleading.  He stroked her hair.

“Yes love, they will and we will get through this, I promise you that.  Now, you get some sleep and I’ll stay here until you nod off.  I might even read you a bedtime story.”  She smiled and reached her hand to his face, her eyes already drooping.

“As long as I have you…”  She closed the distance between them and brushed her lips to his then pulled back, looking closely into his eyes but there was only love there.

“Kathryn, you’ll always have me, I swear on my life.”  He helped her lie down again and continued stroking her hair until she fell asleep then returned to his own quarters where he cried for over an hour before falling asleep also.

When Chakotay called by sickbay the next morning, Kathryn was nowhere in sight.  He called to the Doctor and the Medic came out of his office.

“What is it Commander?  I’m trying to run some scans…”  Chakotay cut him off.

“Where’s Kathryn?”  He saw the Doctor frown and look around.

“She’s here, she was asleep…  Computer locate Captain Janeway.”  He looked around sickbay as if he expected his Captain to be hiding under a biobed.

“Captain Janeway is in sickbay.”   The monotone voice of the computer irked Chakotay and suddenly he spotted Kathryn’s comm badge lying on the console beside her bed.

“Oh shit Kathryn, please don’t be where I think you are…”  He took off through the doors at speed.