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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     Finally home, Necheyev shows the full extent of her hate for Kathryn

                     and presents her with a deal.  Either she goes to prison or Chakotay

                     and the crew do.  Forced to announce her wish to retire and reclaim

                     her old life, Kathryn is sent into a living hell, leaving behind a very

                     hurt and angry Chakotay and crew, who have no idea of the sacrifice

                     their Captain has made for them.  By the time they find out, it may

                     already be too late.



WARNING:   This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.





AND I WILL LEAD YOU HOME.

By KAT LADY.



PART SIX.





Fayla and Taymar left the following afternoon and Fayla spoke with Kathryn before she left.



“I have to tell you this Kathryn and I hate doing it, but I think you already know.”  Kathryn nodded.  “You’re doing very well, coping with this at the moment but a part of you is holding it all together for now.  Things will slip and come back and you’ll have good days and bad.  You’ve made the biggest step but rough times are ahead.  I hate saying this to you but it’s better that you are prepared.  You’ve a lot to deal with and face in the coming weeks and months but we both know you can do it.  We’re all here for you so don’t ever be afraid to come to us.”  Kathryn smiled her thanks.  “I’ve spoken briefly with Maya and she’ll come up here to see you.  Just take your time with this and you’ll come out the other side.  You’re stronger than all of what happened Kathryn, just never forget that.  You survived so the worst is over.  You’re stronger than it all…keep remembering that.”  Kathryn gave a tearful smile and pulled Fayla to her for a hug.



“I know I am and I have you all and Chakotay…  With him, I feel I can move mountains…”  Fayla hugged her back.



“Well, we’re sisters in this.  If we can put up with the men in this family, we can survive anything…”  They both laughed and cried at the same time.



“Cheek…we heard that…”  The women pulled apart to see Chakotay and Taymar with puppy dog expressions on their faces.



^^^^^^^^^^



Throughout the long winter, Maya visited Kathryn three times a week.  She led her through her painful memories, listening to her, holding her, being there for her in every way, as Kathryn faced the horrors of her time in the prison.  She shared her own experiences with Kathryn even, helping her patient in that way too.  Chakotay always let Maya work alone with Kathryn, knowing that she needed him in a different way when her session was over.



They spent the long winter evenings tucked up in the house in front of the fire and even celebrated a quiet Christmas, finding a tree and decorating it together.  Sometimes they talked about the past, their shared experiences and their childhoods, other times they looked to the future, making quiet plans.  Some evenings, they didn’t speak at all and would sit back against each other, quietly reading and yet communicating still in their own way.  In the end, they talked about everything and dealt with all their shared pain.  Kathryn opened up to Chakotay and told him everything, knowing the pain it caused him to hear it but needing to speak to him of her horrors, even though she saw he knew most of it already. 



“They seemed to go on forever…the debriefings…wearing me down.  I know now that was the plan.  By the time she came to me, I was so worn down and tired, I couldn’t stand up to her, not really.  I felt so alone there, missed you all so much, felt so cut off.  There was only that guard who was so nice to me but that was so small a thing.  I missed the sun even.  I was back on Earth and yet I might as well have been still in the Delta Quadrant, only this was nothing like that even.  There I had you and ‘my family’ around me.  It was our home.”  Chakotay just sat quietly and let her talk.



“I gave in to her.  Wouldn’t change that…believe it or not.  I’d go through all that again rather than let one of you go to prison.”  Chakotay pulled her to him.



“I feel so…guilty.  If we’d only known…could have stopped…”  Kathryn pulled away to look at him.



“Don’t do that Chakotay.  I’ve spent so much time now wondering if I could have done something differently, said something at the press conference, anything at all.  In the end, I have to accept that I can’t go back and change it.  It happened.  It’s over.  Now we deal with that.”  He nodded his understanding slowly and she leaned back into him.



“I tried so hard not to look at you and the others that day.  Not just because she had said so, but because I couldn’t cope with it myself.  I barely held it together.  I just kept telling myself that it was for you…my last job as Captain…and used that to cope.  I wanted to say so much more and couldn’t.  I wanted to remember our dead and she even twisted that, made it look like I didn’t care, didn’t even remember.”  Chakotay kissed the top of her head.



“Afterwards…oh God…when I saw the hurt I’d caused you…saw your face…”  Chakotay hugged her tightly.



“I’m so sorry for what I said to you…  I can’t ever forget that…and I saw the hurt on your face…oh Kathryn…”  She heard the tears in his voice and twisted in his arms.



“Chakotay, we said we wouldn’t do this…”  He nodded and pulled her back to him.



“I know…I’m sorry…  In time…”  He felt her nod against his chest.



“That’s the way to get through this.  It’ll go away in time.”  She was silent for several minutes and then spoke on.



“The only way I coped with the prison…was knowing it was me and not you…you and my crew…the people I loved.  I coped with it that way.”  She drew in a ragged breath.  “I was so afraid.  I felt every last piece of control I had slip away in those first minutes.  I know that was how they worked.”  She twisted her fingers together.



“Stripping me and searching me…”  She felt Chakotay tremble against her.  “It was their way to degrade and humiliate me, dehumanise me and it worked to some extent.  In the shower, listening to them and their filthy comments, I could tune it out to some extent, knew the game they were playing.  Later in the cell, in the dark and alone, I still managed to hold something inside me but I don’t know what it was.  It didn’t last through…”  She was picking at a piece of loose skin now at the side of a nail.



“The drink they gave me…  I felt the cramps and the sickness and…  They watched…jeered and laughed…”  Silent tears were running down her cheeks.  “That was the last piece of dignity I had and it left me there and then…  They took it…”  Chakotay kissed the side of her head, his own tears joining hers.



“You have it still…didn’t lose it…”  She nodded, acknowledging his words.



“They hosed me down a few times…mocking me…watching me…  All I seemed to feel was cold and hungry, thirsty and alone…afraid too…the not knowing…endless years stretching ahead…more of this…and somehow I knew I’d never get out of there…wouldn’t survive ten years of that...wouldn’t survive one year of it.   She knew that too.”  Kathryn cleared her throat and sniffed.



“That week…”  She felt Chakotay stiffen behind her.  “Are you OK with me talking about…”  She felt his lips press against her ear as he hugged her tighter, giving his answer. 



“I didn’t know until recently how long it went on…  When they came…I knew…instinctively knew and I was so terrified…tried to fight…but they were too strong…”  Her tears increased.  “And they held me down…couldn’t fight them…and I screamed at them…begged them…even though I knew it was useless…”  She stopped to control her breathing as Chakotay held her tightly.



“The pain…the evil on their faces…but the pain…felt myself tearing…”  She stopped and gripped Chakotay’s arm, taking a minute to draw in deep breaths.  “Then…it’s strange to me…even now…but somehow…part of me wasn’t there…like I was watching it happen…I could feel the physical but…inside was…detached in some small way…  I mean…I felt them…their hands on me…doing…hurting…pulling at me…turning me…but…in my mind…”  Chakotay leaned his head against hers.



“It was your mind’s way to coping love…”  She nodded against him.



“I know that…and now it makes it easier I guess…  I remember lying there…for how long I didn’t know…although now I know it was a week or so…but I only remember being in pain…being cold…and them coming all the time…but I can pull back from it now because…I did then too…  I felt it happen to me…heard them laughing…felt their hands…pulling at me and hurting me…scratching and biting…pinching…and I don’t remember them washing me…  That was to me just more of it…more hands on me…  I gave up…let it happen…because it was easier.  Towards the end and even later on…I just didn’t feel anything at all…withdrew from it completely.  It became no different to anything else that happened in there.  I just stopped thinking at all or feeling even.”  Tears were pouring down her face and she turned suddenly in Chakotay’s arms and buried her face in his chest as she cried out every ounce of pain.  He held her for a long time, saying nothing, just holding her.  Finally she pulled away a little and he knew she needed to get it all out.



“Eventually they stopped coming so much and yet…instead of feeling relieved or something…I just accepted it…and they finally gave me another uniform…”  She shook her head and sighed deeply.  “It’s amazing and so strange what you come to accept…  How easy it is to let go of what you once were…lose the self-respect…the pride…the value you had…to lose yourself…all dignity gone…  I know they set out to break me…  They did…”  She trailed off.  Chakotay kissed the back of her neck.



“No honey…they didn’t.  It just seemed like that for a while.  You’re here and you survived…  They didn’t succeed…I promise you that…”  She leaned her head back against him.



“I know…”  She sighed deeply and was quiet for a few minutes before speaking again. 



“After that, I was taken to the fields to work…  That was a different hell…”  She shook her head.  “For a long time, I blocked so much out but I was aware of where I was and what I was doing.  The guards hit me all the time and I could see others working…  Most of the time I just tried to work myself to exhaustion so I wouldn’t have to think and so I’d just collapse on the cot until the morning.  My feet and hands were so sore all the time…blisters…burst and bleeding…  Later on they made me work with the women…  I guess I still don’t know if their attacks were…whether the guards told them to or they wanted to anyway…  I guess it doesn’t matter anymore…  I mean I saw them…going with the guards sometimes and I understood…I don’t know and it doesn’t matter now…”  She licked at her lips which felt very dry.



“They jumped me a lot…beat me…and I tried to defend myself…usually couldn’t…  I felt so weak and sick all the time…and…and…then…”  Chakotay knew what she was going to say.  “One day…one of the guards…he pulled them off…and I thought it was over…but he…he took over…kept hitting me in the face…knocked me down…and then…”  She gripped his arm again, drawing strength from him.  “In the field…with them all…he just…just forced himself on me…and for a minute I tried to fight…just for a minute…and then I stopped…just gave in like always…let it go on…and after…I just went back to work…fixed myself…and they’d all been cheering…actually cheering…but they stopped suddenly…and after that…they didn’t attack me as much…”  She shook her head sadly.  “How can people be like that Chakotay?  How can men like that want to hurt so much and how can a woman cheer when it happens to another woman…?  How can that be…?”  She was crying hard again and he pulled her tightly against him.



“I don’t know love.  I don’t understand it either.  I’m not sure I ever want to understand that kind of evil.  I’d be afraid getting close enough to try and understand it, would only taint me in some way…”  She clung to his arm and sobbed yet nodded her head in understanding.  Eventually she gained back some control.



“I never knew at the time how long I was there.  Time had no meaning anymore.  It was before or after this or that, with no understanding of the time in between.  Then I was stabbed and I thought I would die that day…  I felt the blood on my hands and the pain and felt myself fall…but it all seemed unreal…and one of the guards dragged me back to the cell…and I could hardly stand…but he didn’t care…threw me onto the cot.  They left me there…the light on and off…just like always…and when it was dark…the rats would come…and they were the only thing in there I wasn’t afraid of…”  She turned slightly in his arms now.



“I just lay there…in agony…for a long time…and I cried…something I’d stopped doing…and in time someone stitched me…no anaesthetic…nothing for pain…  In the end…I was back in the fields but I couldn’t work…  Just another excuse to hit me…  When the women attacked me again…the worst beating I ever got from them…I could do nothing…  I was on the ground…felt their fists and feet…  I know I lay there for a long time…end of the day I think…and they brought me back…and I never went to the fields again…”  She turned again in his arms.



“I have little memory of after that…just being in the cell and being in pain…and praying…something I hadn’t done in a long time.  At first I prayed to survive and then when the pain continued and I knew I had a fever…that the stab wound was infected…then I prayed to die…prayed so hard for that…”  She felt Chakotay’s arms tighten around her.



“I barely remember that last night…when they came…  I remember asking for help…praying to die…reaching out and then…there was just this explosion of pain in my head…just for a second…  I keep thinking I knew it was the end…an end to the pain and cold…the hunger…but I don’t know if that’s real…”  She sighed.  “After that…there was the hospital and you and the Doctor…snatches of memory which are clearer now.  I do know at first…when I came round in the hospital first…and I saw you there…and I couldn’t understand how I was there…and then this terror that because you were…because I wasn’t still in the prison…however that had happened…that you’d all go to prison now…that she’d say I’d broken the deal…blame you all…make you suffer…so I backed away from it…locked it away…”  She was quiet for a while and then sat up.  She smiled sadly at Chakotay.



“I can actually remember most of it now…since then I mean…and again it’s like having watched someone else.  Now it feels like the adult me was standing back and watching the child cope.  Does that make any sense?”  Chakotay watched her and smiled, then nodded.  “I saw myself for how I was…this…what looked to me or seemed to me like…I think some brain damaged sad little girl…and I don’t know how you coped with me like that…having to look after me…the nightmares…even when I…”  She shook her head, almost cringing.  “I remember when I wet the bed…how you were with me…”  Chakotay’s hand reached out and stroked her face.



“I love you.  There is no other way or reason.  You’d have done the same for me.”  She smiled at that and nodded immediately.



“Yes I would.  I just can’t believe that was me, that I was like that.  Oh I know it was how I coped…  I could deal with the moment and nothing more…nothing either side of it.  I was like that for so long…and then it all came back so quickly.  I find that hard to understand.”  She smiled.  “Just accept that side of it…that’s what Maya says.”  Chakotay took her hand in his.



“How do you feel about the rest of it now?”  Kathryn thought for several minutes.



“As bad as it might sound, I’m just glad that Necheyev is dead and I can’t bring myself to question how.  I don’t care actually and I’m not ashamed of that.  I’m amazed I can even say her name.  I always believed there was some good in everyone but she proved me wrong there.  I hate her in some ways and in other ways, feel nothing for her.  I know the guards reported everything to her and that she heard it all at the trial and…  I find it easier now to know that she’s not out there somewhere, still knowing it all, gaining her perverse pleasure by knowing what happened to me.  Can you understand that?”  He nodded and smiled gently.  “I mean, I know people know but they’re either people who love and care for me or strangers who will never know me.  I can deal with that.  To all of them, it doesn’t matter what happened.  With her, it mattered and that would be harder…”  She shook her head. 



“Now I’m just going to move past all this…leave it behind me.  I tell myself that it’s over…not just for me but the others who were there or those who would have ended up there in the future.  I tell myself that the prison is gone…the one I knew… reformed now into what it should be.  And I know that the others…the guards and so on…that now they’re being punished.  They did what they did to me for the sick pleasure of it…just as they had done it to others.  I know that it actually wasn’t me they were doing it to, me personally that is, as in who I was.  It was to a prisoner, one of many.  That helps in a way.  They didn’t see me, just this ‘prisoner’.  For a while even, when I learned that…that I’d had…from the Doctor’s report…that they’d given me…infected me… ‘sexually transmitted disease’…it sounds so dirty…and I felt that…and it just added to the horror of it all but now I can stand back from that…”  She smiled sadly. 



“So I look forward.  I know I have you…”  She took his hand.  “I also know I would have come to you anyway…  And so I’m putting it away…far behind me and buried.  I wanted to see the sun for so long when we got back and then in the fields it became an enemy but I survived so I like to think now that it was watching over me, witnessing my pain but there for me and later on when I came here…it was a friend again and now it warms me and looks after me.  I’ll hold the sun inside me now, banishing all the darkness and I’ll look to the future because we’re all that matters now…”  She smiled at him, tears in her eyes and gasped as he pulled her tightly against him, pushing the air from her lungs and she closed her eyes, finally feeling home.



Some nights later, Chakotay opened up to Kathryn, filling in the last blanks for her, knowing she was strong enough now to cope with them and that she needed to know, her imagination worse than the truth.  He told her about his feelings and his guilt of not being there to stop it all and about the trial, knowing she needed to hear it all, before dealing with it and letting it go. 



“I was hurt and angry but I moved past it quickly enough.  It still hurt though.  Tom and B'Elanna took it bad too but in the end, moved past it also.  They were upset you weren’t at the wedding.”  He saw the sadness this caused her and squeezed her hand.



“In the end, I came back here and built this house, but I couldn’t let you go.  I just kept thinking that you’d love it here and Taymar knew…told me I was building it for you…for my dream and he was right.  I think it was a way to hold unto you, by building it for you even if you never saw it.  Putting in the tub even was about that, a way to cling to you.”  He shook his head sadly.  “And then B'Elanna called me.”  He closed his eyes for a moment.



“When I heard Jason’s story…  Things moved fast after that.  You know how they happened…”  She nodded and squeezed his hand tightly.  “When we found you…oh God…  I don’t know what I felt…but the pain of it…and I felt so helpless and then I wanted to kill someone and…  The Doctor was there and I half heard his words…  Waiting for news at the Medical Centre was…  The hours dragged by…no word…and all I had was this pain and guilt inside me…eating away at me…that I hadn’t seen what that bitch was up to…hadn’t seen through it all…had let it happen…wasn’t there for you…couldn’t stop it…and torturing myself with images of what you must have gone through…and being alone with that…and…the fear that you wouldn’t come back to me…and…and…”  Kathryn pulled him to her, comforting him as he had comforted her when she had talked to him.



“Chakotay, let it go love, please…”  He cried hard against her shoulder, his tears soaking through her sweater. 



“I wasn’t there for you…wasn’t there…doubted you…believed…”  He clung to her as she soothed him.



“Please Chakotay…please don’t do this to yourself…”  Finally his tears lessened and he pulled himself together a little.



“When the Doc told us…there was so much hope and yet…you were in the coma…and then…I pulled him outside…knew there was more…and I knew…  he didn’t have to say…and it felt like my chest had been ripped open…but I knew I had to just be there for you…deal with that later…  There was only you…all that mattered…being there for you…”  His hands touched her face, as if needing to reassure himself that she was real.  She smiled gently at him and nodded.



“You were there for me…always have been…always will be…”  Her words gave him a peace.



“I don’t know how I got through the trial…hearing that…”  He looked up quickly at her.  “I’m sorry…you don’t need this…”  She smiled softly at him.



“You need this and I do too…”  He nodded.



“How I kept myself in that chair…didn’t end up on a murder charge myself…”  He shook his head.  “The crew…Tom and B'Elanna…Owen…the Doctor…the nurses…all of them…they got me through it…and seeing that bitch beaten…”  He looked up at her.  “You know the details…”  It worried him that she knew it all but he understood that she needed to.



“We’ll get through this…isn’t that what you said…?”  He nodded.  “We let the pain go Chakotay, it’s the only way.”  She was quiet for a moment.  “That guard…Gates…?”  He nodded slowly.  “I’m sorry for him I guess…yet I don’t really remember him.  There were a few who stood back I think…I don’t know.  It just all came together.  There were guards…all the same…and they hurt me…  I didn’t think beyond that.  I’m sorry I don’t remember that he wasn’t like the others…  He deserves that…”  Chakotay pulled her to him.



“I believe he’s at peace now.  I don’t think beyond that.”  Kathryn nodded.



“What about later on…?  I know it was hard on you…must have been…coping with the hospital…”  He eased them both back on the sofa.



“I just worked day to day…dealt with each moment as it was.  I marvelled at the trust you had in me…and I loved you…and knew you loved me…”  She looked at him.  “Your logs…how you’d said in them…”  She nodded now, sudden understanding on her face.



“Thinking of her reading them…”  She shook her head.  “I’m glad you knew though…in case I’d never had a chance…”  She looked at him now, a serious look on her face.  “I love you.”  She reached her hand up and stroked his face, wiping at the tears which rolled down his cheeks.  “That’s the way you should have heard those words from me…”  He just stared back, a look of love and wonder on his face.



“I love you too…”  Their eyes stayed locked on each other’s for a long time.  They cuddled in together for a while until Kathryn spoke.



“Tell me about bringing me here…”  He smiled and slipped his arm around her shoulders. 



“After that night, when you broke your wrist and asked me to take care of you and take you home… This in my mind was home to us and I took you here.  You didn’t speak again but that was OK.  I understood you…”  He smiled down at her.  “I’d had dreams of having you here with me…from before…but Kathryn…know this.  I would rather have lost you…taken that pain…than had you here that way…having suffered like that.”  She squeezed his  hand in understanding.  “As it was…having you with me filled me…completed me…but you needed me and that came first.  You were…  All I wanted to do was look after you and protect you…be there for you…make it all better…”  She reached her hand up.



“You did all that and more.”  She shook her head.  “It’s funny…I’ve always been this independent, stand on my own two feet kind of woman and yet…  I needed you and you were there for me.  I couldn’t stand…hadn’t got the strength to and you held me up…carried me…and the old me would have rebelled against having to be that dependent but I see the difference now.  I can be strong and still need you.  Needing someone isn’t weak.  I think I’ve found the balance.  I can be strong when I need to be and depend on and need you at the same time without that being a weakness...or being seen as a weakness.  It’s comforting to know that you’re there to share the load…share my life…in every way…  That’s what it’s about.  Carrying the other person when they need it and knowing they’re there to carry you when you need it.  There is no weakness in that.  It’s the combined strength of the whole.”  Chakotay just stared at her with love shining from his eyes.



“You are the strongest, wisest woman Kathryn…I love you…and I’m honoured and blessed that you share my life…”  Kathryn watched the play of emotions on his face.  He seemed to hesitate slightly before saying more.  “For a while…  All I wanted was for you to heal…and I felt guilty sometimes…  I was afraid that when you did…never if…that when you did…you’d want to leave…but…  I know I would rather have that pain than…  It would have been a small price to pay as long as you were all right…”  Kathryn just burst into tears at his words.



“I love you too my angry warrior…my soul…my life…my…everything…I never want to leave you…never will…”  They clung to each other for a long time, then just sat quietly, watching the fire die down.  Chakotay felt Kathryn stir against him.



“I needed to say something else…”  He leaned back and looked down at her.  “That night…when I found everything on the computer…”  He nodded slowly.  “I just ran…somehow thinking I could get away from my own memories…”  She watched his face closely.  “I know I told you about once before…running into the snow…”  She saw him nod slightly, knowing he remembered.  “This wasn’t…  What I mean is…  I wasn’t trying to do that again…”  She smiled slightly.  “I wasn’t trying to die out there…  I just wanted you to know that.  I’d never want to leave you…do that to you…  I needed you to know that…”  He nodded slowly.



“Thank you for telling me that.  I don’t think I thought you were…not really…but it’s good to know…that you told me that…”  He kissed the side of her head and pulled her back into his arms.  “Come on…the fire’s dying down.  Let’s go to bed.”  They made their way to the bedroom, a new peace over them both, knowing they were on the home stretch.



^^^^^^^^^^



By the time the snows began to melt and spring came, new growth sprouting all around them, Kathryn emerged with it.  She knew she would always remember but she could face it now without the associated pain which had accompanied those memories for so long.



Maya’s visits fell to one a week and then one a fortnight.  By the time spring was in full bloom, she only called once a month, Kathryn now often going to her instead.  At the end of spring, she said goodbye to Maya as a counsellor and welcomed her as a treasured friend.  They had shared so much with each other in the previous months and a deep bond now existed between the two women.  Kathryn also developed a deep and abiding friendship with Fayla and Taymar.



By the end of spring, she and Chakotay welcomed Tom and B'Elanna for their first visit and although Kathryn had been anxious about their visit, knowing the Doctor was also coming with them, she knew she needn’t have worried.  They picked up their friendship where they had left off and it deepened throughout their time together.  They shed many tears but they healed together, letting go of their guilt.



When summer came, Kathryn was practically her old self.  She knew all that had happened would always be a part of her, but she knew that she could leave it at the bottom of her mind and smother it with what she now had in her life.



She and Chakotay worked side by side, tending the garden, working an adjoining piece of land and even taking on some chickens, horses and other animals, adding a bigger barn with the help of family and friends.  They built a small smoke house for the fish Chakotay would catch and Kathryn became good at cooking, especially where making preserves was concerned, much to Chakotay’s utter shock.  He would watch her, working away with the other women, baking or doing needlecraft, looking as if she had been born to the life they now led.  And then there was the other side of her, as she worked within the community, adding to their knowledge by imparting her own,  her mind still challenged as she worked with Taymar and others to improve all their lives.  Chakotay also marvelled at how at ease she was now in the company of other men, her peace finally found.



As they sat on the porch one summer’s evening, watching ‘their’ sunset as they now called it, Chakotay was quiet and Kathryn sensed something on his mind.



“I know you well old man, say what’s on your mind…”  He looked up into her peaceful smile.



“You’re happy here, aren’t you?”  She frowned a little and nodded.



“You know I am…”  He smiled shyly.



“And you know that I love you…”  Kathryn nodded, feeling tears come to her eyes.



“I love you too Chakotay…  I wish I had said that to you long before all this…”  Chakotay just drew in a deep breath and held the moment in his mind for a while.  Finally he spoke again.



“And you’re happy to…make your life here…with me…?”  Kathryn blinked her tears back and put her glass down.



“I thought that’s what I was doing…”  He smiled and nodded.



“Then…would you consider…making it more…well…permanent…?”  Kathryn swallowed and stared at him.



“Chakotay…are you…?”  He shrugged bashfully and smiled.



“I was hoping…asking…if…”  He shook his head and slid down from his chair, going down on one knee as Kathryn stared wide-eyed at him.  “Kathryn Janeway, would you marry me?”  He seemed terrified in case she refused him.  Kathryn just burst into tears and threw her arms around his neck, sending them both crashing onto the decking.  Then she was lying on top of him and kissing his face almost numb.



“Is that a yes?”  He finally got his breath.



“Yes…and yes…and yes…and…”  Each word was separated by another kiss.  His lips covering hers stopped any further words.



^^^^^^^^^^



They planned their wedding quickly but still gave everyone time to arrive for the ceremony.  Once again, as Kathryn met with all her former crew, tears were shed and guilt was let go.  It didn’t take long for everyone to get used to calling their former Captain ‘Kathryn’ either.  Kathryn met Jason even, finally able to thank the man for all he had done.



Kathryn and Chakotay exchanged their vows in a clearing down by the river, wearing traditional robes which their neighbours had lovingly sewn for them.  Tuvok, now a Captain, performed the ceremony, along with the local Spiritual Leader, combining the two traditions.  Owen Paris gave Kathryn away and Taymar and Tom both acted as ‘best man’ for Chakotay.  Kathryn had B'Elanna, Fayla and Maya stand behind her as bridesmaids, a silent memory passing between B'Elanna and Chakotay at that.  He had whispered quietly to her earlier when she had met his eyes and saw that they both remembered her joke at Starfleet during their debriefings so long ago.  He had lowered his lips to her ear and whispered… ‘permission granted’.



They celebrated well into the night and the following day, sharing laughter and tears with their family and friends and saw them all off two days later, knowing they’d never be short of visitors in the future.  As they returned to their home, the place seemed deadly quiet after the previous days of merriment.  Kathryn almost cried when she saw that their neighbours had stayed behind and cleared everything away.



“This is the best place anywhere and we have the best family and friends anyone could ever have…”  Kathryn was almost crying.  Chakotay pulled her to him and kissed the side of her face.



“You don’t need to tell me that…”  He smiled tenderly at her.  “How about a quick walk down to the river and then I’ll cook you dinner…”  She smiled wickedly at him.



“I can cook too now you know…”  He laughed and held his hands up in mock surrender.



“Oh I know…I taught you everything you know.  I trained you well woman…”  He took off before she could hit him.



^^^^^^^^^^



That night, they lay content and sated on the porch, the sun’s rays lighting the sky still as it sank behind the mountain.  Chakotay played with Kathryn's hand, turning the ring now on her finger.  It was their first night alone since their wedding and he was hesitant.  Kathryn though, seemed to read his thoughts.



“I’ll be fine you know.  I’ll be with you.”  He looked up at her and frowned as she smiled at him.  “We’ll be fine.  This is us…about our love…  There’s not going to be anything between us that could ever remind me…”  He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it.



“I was a bit worried…”  Kathryn brought her other hand to his face and smiled gently at him.



“I thank you for thinking of me like that and I love you for it… and I’m glad we waited…”  She paused a moment.  “We’ve shared so much…and I still remember how you cared for me when I first came here with you…the love and tenderness you showed me…helping me when I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom…”  She smiled at his expression.  “Yes my love…I remember all that…”  She squeezed his hand.



“Chakotay…I’m your wife now and you’re my husband.  We’ve shared the best of times and the worst of times and we’re still together.  We love each other and that’s all that matters and now we’re in love and together with our future ahead of us.  Nothing else matters.  I love you Chakotay…”  He let go of her hand and pulled her to him.



“I love you too Kathryn…so much…  I’ll always be here for you…”   They kissed deeply and then just lay quietly against each other as the sunset continued its show.  As the last light faded from the sky, Kathryn turned to Chakotay and stared lovingly at him.



“You know…they all…they all thanked me…our former crew…our friends…for leading them home.”  Chakotay smiled and nodded.



“You did…”  He saw her smile slightly.



“I know I led THEM home but…I didn’t lead US home.  You and me.  I led us to the Alpha Quadrant and to Earth.  You my love…”  She reached up and stroked his face, tracing her fingers over his tattoo.  “You led us home…you led me home.  This is home.”  Chakotay was too overcome to say anything.  He just pulled her into his arms and held her to him.  When he was finally able to speak, he pulled back a little and stared deeply into her eyes.



“You have no idea of how much that means to me, to hear you say that.  I didn’t think it was possible to love you more than I already did but I do…”  They just stared into each other’s souls and then as if reading each other, stood slowly and walked into the house.



Chakotay cleared the last of the dishes in the kitchen and kept glancing towards the bedroom.  Kathryn had left his side almost immediately and told him to give her a few minutes.  He shut the lights off and made his way into the bedroom now.



Chakotay sat on the bed and waited, hearing Kathryn in the small bathroom of the room.  He looked up now when he heard the door open and his breath caught in his chest.  She stood shyly in the doorway, a cream satin and lace camisole falling from her shoulders, barely covering matching panties.  He stared in open admiration at her, the creamy skin of her thighs and arms inviting his gaze.  He swallowed and stood up.



“Oh Kathryn love…  God you’re so beautiful…”  He reached his hand out and cupped her cheek, tears in his eyes.  “I love you so much…you know that…”  She smiled back at him.



“I love you too…more each day…”  She reached her hand behind his head and pulled him down to her, brushing her lips across his.  Chakotay groaned and pulled her to him, deepening the kiss.  He let go when Kathryn pulled away and stared deeply into his eyes.



“I ask only one thing of you love…”  He nodded.  “Treat me as you always would have…as if we were coming together and nothing else had happened…  I want tonight to be just us…no ghosts or shadows…  You won’t hurt or upset me…  I love you and trust you…and I want us to remember this night for what it is…  It’s us…in love…sealing that love…joining totally…”  He nodded his understanding.



“I will…no asking if you’re all right every minute…I understand that…  Kathryn I love you so much and I know this is just us…new and fresh…”  He stroked her face and smiled.  “No ghosts…just me ravishing that delectable body of yours…”  She laughed at this and gloried in his ease and freedom with her.



“That’s a two way system lover…now lose the clothes…”  He obeyed and dragged her down onto the bed with him.



“Lady…I’m going to take you to heaven and back…  You won’t even know your own name when I’m finished with you…”  Kathryn groaned and pulled him to her, delighting in his response. 



“Put your replicator credits where your mouth is Mister…”  Chakotay growled and rolled her beneath him.



“Oh I have plans for my mouth woman…don’t you worry about that…”  Kathryn squirmed as he brought his mouth down on hers hungrily.  He pried her lips apart and slipped his tongue into her mouth, sweeping across her teeth and duelling with her tongue.  Kathryn moaned loudly into his mouth, her hands pulling him against her as they swept up and down his back.



Finally Chakotay released her mouth and laid smaller kisses all over her face and down her neck.  She arched against him as he reached the spot behind her ear and she heard him chuckle against her.



“So that’s a special place…?”  Kathryn merely moaned louder as he leaned back and slipped the thin straps of her top off her shoulders, then pulled it over her head, as she sat up a little to assist him.  She lay back down and watched him as he stared in wonder and love at her breasts.



“Oh Kathryn…”  He lowered his head and blew wisps of warm air over her nipples as Kathryn moaned beneath him.  He lowered his mouth to her breasts and gently licked all around them before making contact with her nipples.  Kathryn cried out and arched beneath him as his hands moved to her shoulders to hold her down as she tried to sit up.



“Easy sweetheart…this is about you only…”  He worked his mouth over her breasts until she though she would pass out, the tremors and sensations building inside her.  Slowly then he moved down, licking and kissing his way to her belly button, wetting her skin and then blowing on it.  Kathryn was almost insensate as she tried to pull him closer.  And then she was moaning loudly again as his fingers slipped beneath the elastic of her lace panties and he slowly eased them down her legs.  He kissed and licked his way up her legs, easing her thighs apart as he approached where Kathryn most needed him.



Chakotay marvelled at the trust she had in him as she spread herself open for him then.  He gazed down openly and lovingly at the sight before him and almost cried.  His fingers lazily stroked her before he lowered his head, breathing gently onto her, small breaths blowing her downy cover.  Kathryn groaned and cried out, the torture almost too much.  When she felt his mouth cover her, she screamed and arched up, one of his hands on her hips now as he held her to him.



Kathryn thought she would lose her mind as the sensations flowed through her, the tingling and tightening building inside her.  Chakotay worked her with lips, teeth, tongue and now fingers, building her slowly, almost painfully to the crest.  He slipped a finger just inside her, testing her readiness and smiled at the wetness he found there, before sliding his finger in further, a second one joining it.  Kathryn cried out and groaned.



“Oh….mmmmm…Chakotay…oh Goddddd….”  She was almost gasping as she twisted under him as he worked her up and up.  She felt him suck hard then on her small bundle of nerves, his tongue flicking across it and screamed out as the waves of orgasm crashed down on her.  She was vaguely aware of his fingers gently thrusting in and out of her as her inner walls spasmed and pulled him in deeper.



As she slowly came back down, she felt his fingers busy again and cried out, not sure if she was able for any more but he wasn’t giving her a choice.  His mouth attacked her again, his fingers pushing in deeply, until he brought her back up, holding the moment as long as he could, before dropping her over the other side, her scream echoing around the room. 



He kept her there for a long time, stroking her and thrusting his fingers in and out of her, creating more and more wetness.  His mouth never let up on her as he worked her, pushing her further and further.  Kathryn was lost to everything but the continuing pleasure which filled her.  She slowly became aware of coming down a little, only to start back up again.  She cried out, as her body strained against the tremors which gripped her.  She felt his fingers enter and retreat and then enter again.  She felt his mouth on her, licking, sucking and nipping at her hot centre and then another sensation and she bucked against him.  She was right on the edge, barely hanging on, aware only of her pleasure and his hands.  She felt it but it took a moment to register.  Another finger, moistened with her own juices, as it pressed against her anus and then plunged in deeply.  The result was instantaneous as Kathryn was flung into the fires of a pleasure she had never known before.  She heard her own scream somewhere in the distance and felt her body lose all control.



Awareness came back slowly as the waves of pleasure gradually faded, leaving her body tingling, weak and shaking.  She slowly opened her eyes as she felt Chakotay cover her body with his own, his hardness pressing against her entrance.  Her hands, feeling heavy, clutched at his shoulders, as she moaned into his mouth, pulling him to her.  He kissed her deeply, sharing her taste with her then leaned back a little and watched her face, his eyes locked with hers as he pressed slowly and deeply into her, joining them as one.  They both gasped at the raw pleasure of it and Kathryn raised her legs either side of him, tilting her hips up, allowing his penetration to deepen even more.



Chakotay began to rock her at first and then moved slowly, barely moving in her at all.  He then began to increase his movement, sliding in and out of her, filling her beyond what she thought possible.  There was no friction, she was so wet, yet still he caressed her inner walls with his hardness, creating a stimulation she had never experienced before.  He ground himself against her clitoris on each inward thrust,  adding to the pool of sensations which flowed through her.  Their breathing quickened, matching his thrusting as he stimulated her inside and out. 



Kathryn felt the tightening once more, her eyes flying open wide as she felt herself coming again.  She cried out in surprise as she felt herself gripping him, her inner walls tightening on him.  He increased his pace again, slapping against her and grinding himself into her almost.  Kathryn felt it happen, couldn’t believe it was happening, and yet it did.  Her body thrust against his as he pounded into her now, and then she exploded, no other term applicable.  Her world disintegrated into a show of lights and sparkles as she screamed out, her inner muscles clamping down on Chakotay’s rock hard member, triggering his release and milking him dry.  She felt him fill her, the warmth of it as it caressed her insides, adding still more sensations.



She held in inside her afterwards, not wanting to ever let him go.  She felt him soften and somehow that added to the pleasure.  Eventually of course, he slipped from her and pulled her into his arms, neither minding the mess or the stickiness between them.  She felt him pull the quilt over them and snuggled deeper into his arms.



“I love you…”  He smiled down at her and kissed her lips.



“I love you too…”  Neither was aware of falling asleep.



^^^^^^^^^^



Chakotay gripped Kathryn's hand, flinching with pain as she gripped his back.  He looked down at her and smiled.



“Come on honey…you can do this…”  She glared up at him and growled.



“Don’t you talk to me…  This is all your fault…  I swear…  You’re never touching me again…Ahhhhh …God…”  She screamed out and then fell back against the pillows, her body soaked with sweat.  Fayla smiled up at Chakotay.



“Don’t worry…they all say that.  I said it after each of our four…”  Chakotay smiled nervously and looked back down at Kathryn as she glared back at him.



“Don’t you even think about it…  If you want more…you can have them yourself…  Oh sweet Godddd…  Get this thing out of me…”  She twisted on the bed and screamed out again.



“You didn’t say that at the start…”  Chakotay couldn’t resist but instantly regretted his words when he saw the death glare he received from his wife.



“Never…never again…you sleep in the barn from now on… oh shit…here comes another one…”  She tried to sit up as she pushed down.  Fayla helped her.



“Come on honey…you’ve already pushed one out of there…the second shouldn’t be too much worse…  Look at it this way…you’ve saved yourself a second pregnancy…”  Kathryn strained and then fell back against the pillows.  For a moment she forget her pain as she looked at Taymar cradling their new son.  Then another contraction hit her and she forget everything.



“You bastard… I swear you’ll pay for this…  All those night feeds are yours…you’ll see…all those diapers…”  She strained hard again and screamed out as the baby slipped into the world.



“It’s a girl…oh Kathryn…”  Suddenly all the pain was forgotten as Kathryn burst into tears.  She stared at the tiny wriggling form now lying across her belly and reached her hand down to her daughter.



“Hello little one…”  She looked up at her husband and smiled.



“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…”  He was too choked up to say anything and just grabbed her hand as he stared at the miracle of life before him.  Taymar lay their son down beside his sister then and watched as his wife smiled down at them all.  When she looked up at him, he backed away nervously at the look on her face.



“No Fayla…forget it…  We go through this every time you deliver a baby…  Four is enough…”  Kathryn smiled at Chakotay and pulled him down to her then kissed him tenderly.



“Thank you love…for the gift of these two.  I know I said…”  His kiss cut her off.



“Kathryn, thank you.  I love you and I love them.  I’m the happiest and proudest man in the world.”  Their eyes locked and a million messages passed between them.



“Thought of names yet?”  Chakotay smiled down at his wife who nodded back at him.



“We were hoping actually for one of each.  Can you call Maya in?”  Taymar nodded, a frown on his face as he went to fetch her.  She had wanted to be here in case Kathryn needed any help coping.  Fayla covered Kathryn up and whispered to her.



“I’ll clean you lot up in a few minutes.”  The two women held hands a moment then turned as Maya came into the room, her eyes alight at the sight of the two babies.  Chakotay smiled over at her.



“Maya, come here.  We want you to meet two very special little people.  This is…this is Lara and Raul…” Maya looked up from the babies, tears springing to her eyes.



“My…my parents…?”  Her tears slid down her face.  “Oh Kathryn…Chakotay…”  She couldn’t say anymore and just ran to Chakotay and hugged him, then leaned down and kissed Kathryn.  She leaned back and stroked the small faces.  “Thank you so much…you’ve no idea…  Thank you…  It means so much…” 



^^^^^^^^^^



Chakotay hugged his wife to him on their first night alone in the house with the babies.  As if on cue, they started crying together.  They both groaned and laughed at the same time.



“You’re lucky I’m breast feeding Mister, or I’d have kept my word about these night feeds…”  Chakotay got up with her.



“You did keep your word…  One still has to hold the other while one is fed…or…whatever…I’m so tired…I can’t think straight…”  Kathryn smiled as she turned on the light.



“Don’t worry old man…it won’t be forever…unless there’s another one…”  They looked tenderly at each other and then shook their heads at the same time.  “No…no more…”



As they settled back to sleep after the feeds, Chakotay hugged Kathryn to him again.  She murmured quietly to him.



“We’ve come a long way…I’ve come a long way…”  He kissed the side of her face.



“We’ve come a long way love…always ‘we’…”  They slowly drifted off to sleep.



^^^^^^^^^^



THE END.



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RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.



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