|Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don’t. Only borrowing
them. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Summary: Voyager unexpectedly finds a way home, leaving Kathryn and Chakotay
going their separate ways but when Kathryn is savagely attacked and
raped by the brother of a dead crewmember, Chakotay comes back into
her life to guide her through a slow and painful recovery.
WARNING: This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.
MANY RIVERS TO CROSS.
By KAT LADY.
Tom stumbled down the stairs, tying his robe as he went. “All right, all right, I’m coming…” He shook his head angrily, wondering who would dare call at 01.30. He pulled open the door and gasped when he saw his father standing there. He vaguely heard B’Elanna come down the stairs behind him.
“Dad? What is it? What’s wrong? Is it Mom?” The old man shook his head.
“No, the family is fine. Please, I need to speak with you both.” Tom nodded and stood back, pointing to the front room. He followed immediately, B’Elanna at his side. They all sat quickly and Owen Paris got straight to the reason for his visit.
“I wanted to tell you face to face. It’s Kathryn Janeway. Something happened tonight…” Tom looked fearfully at his wife a moment.
“Dad, what happened to her? Is she all right?” He saw the older man hesitate a moment and knew it had to be bad. “Dad please…” The Admiral nodded slowly.
“She was brought to the Bay Hospital. I was notified immediately, once they knew her identity.” He drew in a deep breath. “She was attacked tonight, about a mile from her apartment…” B’Elanna jumped up as Tom dropped his head.
“I told her not to go walking at night…” B’Elanna let her tears fall and looked down at her father-in-law. “Owen, will she be all right…?” He nodded slowly.
“Yes she will. Please B’Elanna, sit down. There’s more to this. Her attacker knew her. This was planned.” He held up a hand to the questions he knew would come. “Do you know the name David Furlong?” They looked at each other and Tom spoke.
“There was an Elizabeth Furlong on Voyager…” He stopped a moment to remember. “She was killed on an away mission. I think she had a brother named David but I’m not sure…” He looked across at his father. “What has that got to do with all this?” The Admiral continued.
“It was the same man. It looks like he went after Kathryn in revenge for his sister’s death.” B’Elanna stood now, her anger showing.
“Elizabeth was killed in an accident. She ignored all the safety protocols and wandered off. She died in a fall.” Owen Paris nodded.
“I checked the files tonight, read the reports. Her brother was notified properly at the time and the counsellors followed it up. It seems as if he fell through the cracks somewhere when you got back though. Starfleet were still trying to contact him so Kathryn could speak with him.” Tom stood now, disbelief showing on his face. B’Elanna knelt down in front of the old man.
“How’s Kathryn? Is she really all right?” The old man stared into the face of his daughter-in-law, a young woman he had come to admire greatly and saw the tears swimming in her eyes.
“B’Elanna, you’re a good friend to her. She’s really going to need that now, going to need both of you…” He looked up at his son then back at B’Elanna. “She was pretty badly beaten. He stunned her first…she couldn’t fight back…” He watched the pain and anger on the young people’s faces and hesitated before telling them the rest. Their eyes remained on him, knowing there was more.
“He cut her…her chest and neck and…her face…slashed her…” Tom dropped his head and moaned. B’Elanna let her tears fall but kept looking at the old man, asking a silent question and fearing the answer. Their eyes met and he nodded slowly. B’Elanna’s hand flew to her mouth and she shook her head. Tom looked at her.
“What? B’El…what…?” His father spoke the words.
“He…he raped her…” The old man dropped his head. B’Elanna sobbed out loud as Tom punched the wall. There was silence for several minutes before Tom spoke.
“Where is that bastard now? I assume you caught him if you know who…” Owen Paris saw the hate and pain in his son’s eyes, the same emotions which had filled his own earlier when he had seen the woman he had helped nurture.
“Dead. Some local residents…they heard…heard her screams…they called Security…” He stopped and rubbed at his face. “I don’t know why they didn’t stun him instead…maybe because he had a phaser…maybe there was a high risk to them…I don’t care really…he’s dead…” Tom paced the room.
“Amen to that.” Tom kept pacing as B’Elanna sat back on the floor, trying to take everything in.
“He was going to kill her?” She looked up at Owen. He nodded.
“He was about to, from what I gather… I only got a brief report from the two Officers…” B’Elanna jumped up.
“We’ll get some clothes…go right away…” The Admiral nodded again.
“I’ll take you. I have a transport waiting outside. She’s in surgery at the moment. I informed Voyager’s EMH, knew he’d want to know…” The couple nodded and left the room.
Three hours later, they still waited for news in the relatives’ room. B’Elanna leaned over to her father-in-law.
“Owen, you saw her. How bad is it really?” Her eyes pleaded for the truth. She saw the old face crumple a little.
“She didn’t look good. There was a lot of blood…bruising… She wasn’t conscious thank God…” B’Elanna closed her eyes a moment but jumped up with the others when Voyager’s own Doctor came out to them.
“Please sit down.” Slowly they all sat and three pairs of eyes met the Doctor’s. “She’s out of surgery for the moment but she’ll need more. Before I say anything else though, she will recover from her injuries.” They all let out the breaths they had been holding. “First off, she was stunned and there are no injuries from that but it meant however, that she was unable to defend herself. The beating she was subjected to was frenzied…her skull was fractured, her nose and cheekbone also, along with her right wrist and several ribs.” Owen Paris dropped his head. Tom just closed his eyes, shaking his head but B’Elanna didn’t take her eyes off the Doctor. “There was also some internal bleeding…from the beating…damage to her kidneys also…which we’ve taken care of…” The Doctor met B’Elanna’s eyes and saw immediately that she knew the whole story. He gently laid a hand on her arm and nodded.
“The knife wounds are… they’re not deep…I don’t think they were intended to be…I believe he meant to maim her…” He shook his head. “There are slashes across her chest and neck and on her face…her cheeks…which are deeper…” He leaned back in his chair.
“We’ve done what we can to heal them but her other injuries took precedence. I didn’t want her in surgery any longer than necessary. I want to give her at least 24 hours before I take her back in and repair the wounds. I’ll do the cosmetic work then also.” Tom stood and looked out the window, still shaking his head. B’Elanna just continued to stare at the Doctor.
“There were some injuries from… “ The Doctor sighed, one of his many habits, picked up from the crew. “There was tearing, some bleeding, bruising…all physically healed…” He stared at B’Elanna, his eyes telling the rest. She nodded.
“We’ll take care of the rest later… Can we see her?” The Doctor nodded.
“Give them a little time to get her settled. Someone will call you…” B’Elanna managed a small smile and gripped the Medic’s hand.
“Thanks Doc…well you know…” The EMH stood and nodded his understanding then left them.
Tom held his wife tightly as tears flowed down her face. They stood looking down at their former Captain, lying still and pale in the bed. Gauze pads covered her cheeks and bandages were clearly visible on her chest and neck above the sheets which covered her. There were still bruises on her face and arms, showing how deep they had been, that the dermal regenerator hadn’t removed them completely. Thin intravenous lines snaked into her arms, supplying the unconscious woman with blood and other fluids. Tom led B’Elanna over to a chair beside the bed and sat her down. She reached out and stroked Kathryn’s arm.
“Oh what did that bastard do to you?” Tom squeezed her shoulder.
“Honey, she’ll be fine. You heard the Doctor…” B’Elanna shook her head.
“Physically he said. Oh Tom, how could anyone do this…why didn’t she listen…?” Tom pulled another chair over and sat beside her.
“B’El, he’d have tried this anyway. If she hadn’t been out, he’d have gone after her somewhere else…” B’Elanna nodded and then drew in a sharp breath.
“Oh God, that was him…” She turned quickly to Tom. “That man…the night at her apartment…you remember…?” Tom nodded slowly, remembering how his wife had tried to think where she had seen the man before. “It wasn’t just him I knew… although I met him once with Elizabeth…he was just so like her…oh Tom…if only I had remembered…we could have maybe stopped…” Tom grabbed both her hands in his.
“Now listen love, don’t go down that road. Even had you spoken with him, he could have had any number of reasons for being there. None of us can know what’s in another’s mind or what they plan to do. This isn’t down to you or anyone else. We have to be strong for Kathryn now…” She nodded tearfully, knowing he was right. She turned again quickly, another thought coming to her.
“Tom, what about Chakotay? He should know…should be here…he’d want to…” Tom nodded and frowned at the same time.
“I agree but try and see him without Susan…” B’Elanna’s face showed what she thought of the other woman.
“I’ll go see him first thing in the morning…” They both nodded together.
Owen Paris came in a little later and looked down at Kathryn, tears in his old eyes. Tom saw him out, knowing his father needed to go home and get some rest. When he returned, he and B’Elanna sat quietly for the next few hours, occasionally whispering to Kathryn.
At about 08.00 the following morning, the Doctor called by to check on his patient. When he had finished his examination, he looked towards the young couple who had politely turned their backs while he worked. He coughed slightly to get their attention and they turned to him.
“She’s stable. I can’t tell you when she’ll regain consciousness. She received several blows to the head and there’s still some swelling to the brain which I’m happy to say is subsiding. It’s a case of wait and see, I’m afraid.” They both nodded, looking towards their former Captain. B’Elanna asked the question.
“She will come back to us though, won’t she?” Her eyes pleaded with the Medic. He smiled slightly and nodded.
“She will when her mind and body are ready. The body sets its own pace. It will take the time it needs. Her mind will also decide some of this. She’ll deal with this when she’s ready. Aside from the physical attack, the emotional trauma will be very deep.” They both nodded their understanding. B’Elanna looked back at the Doctor.
“Doc, should I get Chakotay? I think he should know…should be here…” The Doctor nodded.
“I agree with that. Get him.” B’Elanna pursed her lips and nodded. She turned and kissed Tom.
“I’ll go now. I’ll keep in touch and let you know when I’ve spoken with him. Stay with her Tom…” He smiled gently and nodded. B’Elanna went over to Kathryn and kissed the top of her head as Tom sat down beside her again.
“Fight this Kathryn, we’re all here for you. You’re safe now.”
B’Elanna spent the next hours hunting down Chakotay. She found out quickly that the apartment he had shared with Susan was now owned by someone else. Starfleet informed her that he was on leave but wouldn’t give any more information than that and so finally, she got her father-in-law to trace an address through confidential records. Now she stood looking at the small stone house and nodded to herself. Chakotay’s mark was all over the place, the traditional style of the dwelling speaking of his own life. She knocked and heard someone approach the door. When it opened, Chakotay stood before her.
“B’Elanna, come in. Where’s Tom?” He looked behind her and didn’t see her face as she fought to control her emotions.
“Just me…” He looked back at her and nodded.
“Come in. Sorry I haven’t been in touch. Been getting this place in shape.” B’Elanna looked around at the warm furnishings and wall hangings, nodding to herself. She turned and smiled, giving her approval.
“You’re a hand man to find…” He shrugged.
“Obviously not too hard. You found me.” B’Elanna bit her lip.
“You just don’t hide so good. Well, not from me anyway.” She smiled then grew serious. “Is Susan here?” Chakotay’s smile vanished also.
“No.” B’Elanna nodded.
“Good.” She looked up quickly. “Sorry I didn’t mean that…well the way it sounded… I just wanted to speak with you alone…” Chakotay frowned.
“Look, you may as well know. Susan and me…we’re not together anymore. We broke up a few weeks ago.” B’Elanna nodded slowly.
“You kept that quiet. Why didn’t you let us know?” Chakotay rubbed a hand over his face and sat down, indicating for her to do the same.
“Because I didn’t need people telling me ‘I told you so’ or ‘it was for the best, it would never have worked’.” B’Elanna just stared sadly at him.
“Chakotay that’s not fair. We only ever wanted you to be happy…” He ran a hand through his hair.
“Yeh well…life doesn’t always work out that way…” He looked back at her. “Is this a social visit or should I be worried?” He smiled at his own words and let it slip the minute he saw the serious look on B’Elanna’s face. “What is it? Has something happened?” B’Elanna leaned forward.
“It’s about Kathryn.” Chakotay immediately stood up.
“B’El, we’ve been through this. Just because Susan and I are no longer…” B’Elanna stood also.
“Chakotay, she needs you…” He cut her off.
“No she doesn’t.” He turned away.
“Chakotay…” He turned back quickly.
“Was this her idea? Did she send you here?” B’Elanna looked shocked and shook her head.
“No she didn’t. She doesn’t even know I’m here.” His laugh caught her by surprise.
“Oh that’s great. That makes it worse. At least if she’d sent you, I’d know she was thinking of me but this… Look B’El, just leave it alone…” He sat down again and she looked down at him.
“I can’t do that. She needs you.” She sat back down beside him. Chakotay shook his head as he looked at her.
“If she needed me that much, she’d have come here herself. No, she’s made herself very clear. She has the life she wants.” B’Elanna got angry now.
“You know that she would never have come between you and someone you were with. She saw you with Susan and accepted it. Anyway, that’s not important now. She needs you.” Chakotay grew angry himself and laughed.
“Oh my life isn’t important?” B’Elanna threw her eyes up.
“Chakotay, just listen to me…” He shook his head.
“You know, you say Kathryn would never have come between Susan and me, well she did. Maybe not intentionally, but she was there between us all right. She’s the reason we broke up. Well not directly. I just couldn’t let her go from inside and Susan saw that.” B’Elanna smiled slightly.
“You still love her? Kathryn I mean…” He laughed again.
“God help me, yes I do. No matter where I go or what I do, she’s there. Well I have to fight for my own life now. Kathryn has her life and I need to move on and get one of my own. I can’t go back to all that again.” B’Elanna looked around the room a moment.
“Chakotay, I’m asking you to put that aside for the moment…” He shook his head.
“That’s asking a lot. Sorry I forgot. She needs me. So you keep saying and I should just jump. Well I’m a free man now…” B’Elanna leaned towards him and gripped his hand.
“Chakotay, she’s…she’s in the hospital…” She saw his face pale, anything else he was going to say forgotten instantly.
“Is she ill? What happened? Some kind of accident?” B’Elanna gripped his hand tighter.
“She was… She’ll be OK…” She drew in a deep breath. “Last night…she…she was…attacked…” She met his eyes and saw deep worry and pain there.
“What…? I mean…how…?” She gripped both his hands now.
“I’ll tell you.” He nodded, worry written on every feature of his face.
“Kathryn… you haven’t seen her lately…she’s…keeps to herself…all work…empty apartment… long hours at the office…not taking care of herself. The only social life she has is when Tom and I drag her out…” She watched him absorb all this and saw the pain the knowledge caused him.
“She’s also become…reckless…I guess is the only word. She started to take walks…I guess not to be in the apartment…anyway…this was always late at night…” She saw the alarm on Chakotay’s face and nodded.
“Oh we warned her…but you know her…” She hesitated. “Last night, when she was out…” Chakotay was shaking his head.
“No…no…” B’Elanna stopped him.
“Chakotay, do you remember Elizabeth Furlong?” He looked confused at the sudden change in her direction and frowned for a minute, thinking.
“Ensign on Voyager. She was killed. I remember the way Kathryn was about it…shut herself off for weeks…” B’Elanna nodded.
“Her brother David… he blamed Kathryn…” The penny dropped and Chakotay swallowed loudly.
“It was him? He attacked Kathryn…?” B’Elanna nodded.
“He followed her last night when she was walking…” Chakotay pulled back a little, almost in a panic.
“Tell me what happened, B’Elanna tell me…” She nodded, hating what she would have to say but knowing there was no choice.
“He grabbed her, dragged her down an alley…” She saw the deepest pain on Chakotay’s face. “He stunned her with a phaser and then…he beat her up…pretty badly…” Chakotay groaned and lowered his head.
“You said she’d be OK though?” He looked back at her, pleading for hope and saw there was more. “What are you not telling me?” B’Elanna licked her lips.
“He stunned her with a phaser…she couldn’t fight back…he…cut her…slashed her chest…her face…” Chakotay jumped up.
“No…no…this isn’t real…” He turned back. His pain mixed with the anger which surfaced now. “Did they get him?” B’Elanna locked eyes with him.
“He’s dead. The Security Officers shot him. Residents heard her screaming…called Security… He had a phaser…was about to kill her…so they shot to kill I guess…” Chakotay paced.
“Bastard…too good for him…a helpless woman…” He stopped and looked down at B’Elanna. “Come on, take me to the hospital…” B’Elanna didn’t move.
“Chakotay…our own Doc is treating her…the knife wounds…he won’t treat them fully until tomorrow…she was too weak for longer surgery…” He nodded and grabbed a sweater.
“I don’t care what she looks like. I just want to see her…” B’Elanna stood now and moved to him then pulled him back to the sofa and sat him down. She saw the deep frown on his face.
“Chakotay…she’s still unconscious. Doc said she will come round…when her body and mind are ready… Chakotay…she had head injuries and she’ll be deeply traumatised from…” He just stared at her until she spoke again. “Chakotay… she…she was…” She stopped and drew in a deep breath, steeling herself for saying the words. “She was…raped…he…he raped her…”
Chakotay just sat and continued to stare at his old friend for several minutes as her words sank in. Slowly he started shaking his head as tears filled his eyes.
“No…no…not Kathryn…please don’t say that…” B’Elanna reached for him and pulled him to her.
“Chakotay, I’m so sorry…” He pulled back.
“B’El, not that…not to her…what was so sacred to her…please tell me it’s not true…” He searched her eyes but only saw the truth of her words there. He let her pull him to her and hold him, giving full release to his tears now.
Tom looked up as B’Elanna led Chakotay into the room where Kathryn was. She nodded to him to leave with her and pushed Chakotay over to the bed.
“We’ll be right outside if you need us…” Chakotay nodded, not taking his eyes off Kathryn. He barely felt Tom squeeze his arm as he passed.
He moved slowly over to the bed and sank down into the chair Tom had just vacated. He looked at her face, the remains of the bruising and swelling still there and the gauze patches covering her cheeks. He looked down and reached for her hand, seeing the bruising still on her arms. Careful not to touch the IV lines, he lifted her hand into one of his. The other he used to brush some stray strands of hair back from her face.
“Kathryn… Kathryn love…it’s me…it’s Chakotay…” He prayed she could hear him in some way and just sat and watched her for almost an hour, still whispering to her. After a while, he heard the door opening and looked up as the Doctor entered the room, smiling sadly at him.
“Commander, I need to check her. You can stay where you are.” Chakotay nodded and watched as the Medic carefully removed the gauze from her face. Tears sprang to his eyes immediately as he saw the weeping cuts on her cheeks and he clenched his fists as a deep rage washed through him. His eyes met the Doctor’s and he saw that the other man understood exactly what he was feeling.
“When I’m finished tomorrow, there won’t be any trace of them. You have my word on that Commander.” Chakotay watched as he checked the slashes on her chest and neck and his rage intensified.
“There won’t be any physical scars to remind her?” The Doctor shook his head.
“No physical scars, no. The others…I take it Ms. Torres has spoken to you?” Chakotay nodded.
“I know what happened…all of it…” The Doctor sat down at the other side of the bed. “I take it you took care of…you know…” The Medic nodded.
“There won’t be any pregnancy and I checked her for…well…any diseases… she’s clear…” He looked away a moment. “I can’t give you answers on when she’ll come round but I assure you she will. After that, she still has a long road ahead of her.” Chakotay nodded and looked back to Kathryn.
“Was she…would she have been…?” He swallowed and drew in a deep breath. “Was she conscious when…?” He didn’t need to say the rest. He looked back at the Doctor and saw the deepest look of sadness on the face of the EMH.
“I’m sorry. Yes she was.” The Doctor saw the pain his words caused to the man before him but preferred to be honest. “She only lost consciousness when he… The Officers shot him and he fell over her… From what they saw, she was trying to fight him but… she had been stunned…there was no way she could…” Chakotay wiped angrily at the tears on his face.
“So she knew it all…everything that bastard did…was helpless…” He looked at the face of the Medic and saw the answer without any words being needed. The Doctor stood now and adjusted the sheets.
“Commander, first off we get her healed physically. We deal with the rest later. I’ll be honest with you, this will always be with her in some way and you know that. To what degree it remains, is up to a lot of things. Getting her to accept this and then to deal with it, getting her through it with the right counselling, having her friends there for her... A lot of it will be up to her.” Chakotay nodded his understanding. “Commander, one step at a time…” He patted the large man on the shoulder as he left.
Chakotay stayed with Kathryn through the night, whispering quietly to her. He kissed her softly on the forehead when they came to take her to surgery the next morning and was waiting when they brought her back that afternoon. Tears came to his eyes when he saw her face and neck. No trace of the cuts remained and the skin was only a little red from the regeneration. He looked up as the Doctor entered the room and smiled his deep thanks and gratitude. He turned and saw Tom and B’Elanna standing there, seeing the miracle of modern medicine for themselves.
“You two go home and get some rest. I’ll call you if there’s any change.” They nodded and hugged him before leaving, whispering a ‘see you later’ to Kathryn.
Kathryn remained unconscious for the next two days, during which Chakotay never left her side. On the third day, he was reading quietly to her when he felt her hand move in his and looked up to see her fight to open her eyes. He watched as she finally won the small battle and looked around her, confusion at first followed by a brief terror, until he spoke her name. She rolled her head to the side, following the sound of his voice.
“Chak…” He smiled and leaned closer.
“Shhh, it’s OK. You had some surgery but you’re fine… You’ll be fine Kathryn…” Her face crumpled for a moment and she looked away. He squeezed her hand tighter. “Kathryn, you’ll be all right. You’ll get through this…” She looked back at him.
“You know then…it was real…” She turned away again and tried to pull her hand from his but he refused to let go.
“Kathryn…I’m here for you…” He didn’t know what else to say.
“Why are you here? How did you…?” Chakotay took his time.
“B’Elanna found me. I’m here because my friend needs me…” He saw her eyes fill up.
“Susan will be missing you…” She didn’t look at him.
“Susan and I split up weeks ago…” She showed little reaction to the news and Chakotay dropped his head. She was silent for several minutes before she spoke again.
“Am I badly scarred?” Her question caught him off guard and he looked up quickly and saw the pain in her eyes. He shook his head.
“There are no scars. Doc took care of them.” She looked away again and nodded.
“None you can see…” She closed her eyes. “Please…I’m tired…” Chakotay shook her hand.
“I’ll get the Doctor. He’ll want to check you…” She didn’t open her eyes as he stood and called the Medic.
Chakotay stood outside and waited until the Doctor was finished examining his patient. When the Medic came out of Kathryn’s room, Chakotay related how she had been when she first regained consciousness and now searched the face of the Doctor, waiting for his opinion.
“Commander, physically I’m happy with her progress. She’s doing very well. As to the rest…well we both know that will take a lot more time. For the moment, I’d prefer she took this at her own pace, let her work through it in her own mind for a little while. Let’s just see how she goes.” Chakotay nodded, accepting the Doctor’s superior knowledge.
Over the next two days, Kathryn rarely spoke, only answering direct questions from the Doctor or nurses. Chakotay didn’t mention anything outside of trivial conversation and neither did Tom and B’Elanna when they called. He felt as if he was walking on eggshells the entire time but was terrified of saying the wrong thing. She slept as much as she could during the day and he knew it was her way of avoiding everything, seeking a haven from what had happened. When she was awake, he began to notice shades of emotions in her eyes, which disturbed him. Once when one of her nurses dropped something, she jumped in the bed, a flash of panic crossing her face. She slept at night too but in contrast to her daytime naps, she constantly jerked her arms and legs, trying to escape her terrible nightmare and her eyes moved rapidly under her eyelids, as images assaulted her. During these times, Chakotay would hold her and whisper in her ear, hoping he was comforting her in some way. It always seemed to work and she would settle again until the next one.
As time passed, Chakotay saw the shadows in her eyes increase and knew her memories were getting stronger, that she was getting weaker at fighting them and that the strength of her denial of what had happened to her, was wearing down. Instead of letting everything come out to be dealt with though, Kathryn became more withdrawn as she fought to suppress reality.
One evening, Chakotay was sitting quietly as she dozed and looked up to find her watching him. She turned away quickly when he met her eyes.
“It’s all there with you, isn’t it? Has been all the time.” He knew he was taking a risk but felt she needed to face this and deal with it. She was silent for several minutes.
“When can I leave here?” Chakotay closed his eyes and shook his head.
“I don’t know. I can ask the Doctor for you.” She nodded slowly.
“Thank you.” He decided to try again.
“Kathryn, you can talk to me. You need to…” She turned quickly and looked at him.
“Can you ask the Doctor now?” He stared at her for a minute and slowly nodded, giving in for the moment.
“All right, I’ll ask him.” He stood up and went in search of the Medic. They spoke quietly outside Kathryn’s room.
“I tried to get her to speak a little but she just ignored it. It’s like she’s trying to deny what happened.” Chakotay rubbed at his face, tiredness washing over him.
“Commander, she’ll deal with this when she’s ready. As regards her physical injuries, she’s fully recovered and I’ll be ready to release her tomorrow. I freely admit that I’m out of my depth in all this and I want her to speak with a counsellor here but if she doesn’t want to do that, I can’t force it on her. I do know that she’ll face this when she feels able to. As I’ve said before, this is done one step at a time and she has to set that pace for herself.” Chakotay sighed deeply.
“You really think she’s ready to be released?” The Doctor shrugged.
“She will most likely be better in her own surroundings. Being here can only hinder her, trap her in an associating situation if you understand me.” Chakotay showed his uncertainty.
“Her own apartment is hardly ideal from what Tom and B’Elanna have told me.” He thought a moment. “What if I suggested she come home with me?” The Doctor thought a moment.
“I can’t answer that Commander. Ask her and see what she says. It’s important that she has control over her own decisions at the moment. She’s going to feel she’s lost so much of that with all that’s happened, and she needs to have full control of her life now.” Chakotay stared at the floor. “Take your time and talk with her. Let her set her own pace and decide for herself.” Chakotay nodded.
“She hasn’t even asked… She’s asked nothing about… that bastard… what happened…nothing…” The Doctor shook his head sadly.
“Asking that is opening herself up to thinking about it all. She’s in a form of denial with this until her mind feels ready to cope with it. Oh she knows what happened but for the present, it’s easier to ignore it. She’ll deal with it when she’s ready. Just give her time and be there for her when this all comes out, because it will Commander. Either the floodgates will open at some stage and the resulting flood could threaten to drown her or it could come slowly and over time. Now I don’t mean to scare you with that, just prepare you.” Chakotay squeezed his eyes closed a moment and nodded. He eventually thanked the Doctor and returned to Kathryn.
“Doc said you can go home tomorrow if you feel ready. He wants you to see a counsellor first…” Her head jerked towards him.
“I don’t need or want to see anyone. I just want to go home.” Chakotay sat down beside her.
“Kathryn, you need to speak with someone…” He reached for her hand but she pulled away from him.
“I’m fine. I want to go home. They can’t keep me here…” He eased off.
“All right Kathryn. Think about this though. You still need some care. Instead of returning to your own apartment, why don’t you come and stay with me?” She shook her head quickly.
“No I can’t. Please just let me go home…” She was getting upset.
“Kathryn, all right. It’s all right. You can go home tomorrow. I’ll take you myself and see you settled. Just promise me one thing. Let me help you…” She turned away now.
“I’ll be fine. I don’t need your pity. I’m not some charity case.” It was like a slap in the face to him.
“That’s very unfair Kathryn. If that’s the only reason you think I’m here…” He saw a flash of anger cross her face.
“I don’t know why you’re here. You don’t need to feel under any obligation to me. I’m not your Captain anymore. I’m not anyone’s Captain…” His anger matched hers now.
“That’s just cruel. We were always more than Captain and First Officer. Kathryn we were friends, still are as far as I’m concerned…” She barely glanced his way.
“How can you be? I pushed you away…” He lowered his head.
“That was only where any romance between us was concerned. Maybe I’m wrong but I thought we still had a good friendship.” He looked back up at her and she met his eyes this time.
“I haven’t seen you in months and now… You’re only here because you pity me and feel an obligation or something…” He cut her off.
“As regards not seeing you, you’re right about that and I’m sorry. That’s my fault and my mistake and some time I hope we can talk about it but right now, I’m here because my friend needs me and I want to be there for her if she’ll let me.” After a few minutes, she nodded slowly and Chakotay let the matter drop for the moment.
That evening, the Doctor had to give Kathryn a final check-up including a Gynaecological exam and even Chakotay saw how nervous she was about it. Up to now, only the female nurses had examined her in this way and even then she had lain rigid in the bed, staring at the ceiling until they were finished. In the end the Doctor agreed to give her a mild sedative before starting, agreeing that it would be too traumatic for her at this early stage, even with the nurse present. Chakotay sat with her later when she came out of it but she didn’t speak. He knew how upset she was but she refused to let it show and finally just forced herself to sleep.
Chakotay took Kathryn home the next day. She wore a baggy tracksuit which B’Elanna had loaned her, refusing all their offers to call by her apartment to collect some of her own clothes for her, claiming she didn’t want them to go to any trouble on her account and so they didn’t push the issue, afraid of upsetting her. She was unsteady on her feet from being in bed so much and he gently supported her as they walked into her apartment. She had flinched when he first touched her but seemed to accept it now, even though he could still feel her tremble slightly. He helped her to her bedroom to change while he replicated some tea. While she was out of the room, he looked around him and almost cried at the emptiness of the place. There was nothing to mark it out as hers or even to show that anyone lived here. She came back into the room wearing a robe which fell to the floor and came right up to her chin, the sleeves long, almost shrouding her. Chakotay understood her need to almost closet herself within the material then he snapped out of his thoughts and smiled at her.
“Tea. Doc said you were to stay off coffee for a while.” She said nothing and took the cup. They sat in silence for a while and drank their tea. Needing something to do, Chakotay took the empty cups back to the replicator and watched sadly as she stood slowly and walked to the window, staring out at nothing in particular. He moved to join her, making sure she saw him coming.
“That’s a nice view you have…” From her apartment on the fifteenth floor, he saw the old Golden Gate Bridge and the vast expanse of the city stretching out below them. Kathryn barely nodded.
“I like to walk down there, get lost among it all…” She turned away. “Chakotay, thank you for seeing me home. I’ll be fine now.” He took the hint but didn’t want to leave her.
“Kathryn, I’m worried about you on your own…” She gave a half smile.
“I’m used to being alone here.” There was such a sadness in her voice, even Kathryn herself heard it and she caught herself. “Chakotay, I’m tired. I’d like to get some sleep. I’ll be fine now. Thank you again.” She moved away from him, leaving him no choice but to leave.
“All right Kathryn. I’ll call you later on. If you need anything or just someone to talk to, you know where I am. I’ve left my address and contact details on the table there.” She glanced over and nodded. When silence followed, he moved to the door. “I’ll call you later and I’ll come by in the morning.” She nodded with her back to him and stared out the window again.
Chakotay was only home about half an hour but he couldn’t settle. Finally he gave into his impulse and called Kathryn but there was no reply. Feeling worried, he left the house and returned to her apartment. He knocked several times but received no answer. As he stood there, a fair-haired woman came out of an apartment and went to enter another one. When she saw Chakotay, she smiled at him.
“She’s not in there. I saw you earlier with her, didn’t I?” Chakotay nodded, a fear building in him.
“Have you any idea where she went? I need to find her…” The woman smiled.
“Sure. I just saw her a few minutes ago. Missed seeing her for a while. Were you two away somewhere?” Chakotay stepped towards her.
“Please, can you tell me?” She sensed his urgency and nodded.
“Sorry of course. She was headed up onto the roof. There’s seating up there and a great view of the city…” She stared after Chakotay as he ran for the stairs.
Praying he was worrying over nothing and that his imagination was getting the better of him, Chakotay raced up the stairs, taking them three at a time rather than wait for the lift. He forced himself to stop when he reached the door which led out onto the roof and pushed it open gently. He stepped out into the bright sunlight, blinded for a second and scanned the roof space.
At first he didn’t see her. It was her light cotton dress flapping in the wind which caught his eye. He moved out from the door a little and then stopped dead. Kathryn stood at the edge of the roof staring down into the street below, only a small rail between her and the drop of some twenty floors as she stood on the low wall running around the roof area. Her hair whipped against her face and she raised one hand to hold it back, gripping the rail with her other hand. Her dress blew up around her thighs for a moment and she looked down at it, her hand now trying to hold it down. In that second, as she raised her head again, she saw Chakotay standing watching her, and the deep look of fear on his face. For a few seconds their locked eyes and in that moment, Chakotay knew, knew with certainty why she was here.
“Kathryn please…please step down and come away from the edge…” She just stared at him, shaking her head slightly.
“Why did you come back? You were suppose to go home…” She seemed confused by his presence. He moved a little closer to her when she looked away a second.
“I was worried about you…” She laughed, still using only one hand to hold herself against the rail.
“You shouldn’t waste your time doing that.” She looked back at him and caught him moving towards her again. “Stop…stay away from me please…” He did as she asked and held up a hand.
“All right Kathryn, I’ll stay here. Will you at least talk to me?” She looked out over the city, shaking her head.
“So many people down there…all those lives…” She seemed lost for a moment and he took the opportunity to inch his way towards her. She whipped her head around suddenly and he stopped.
“You said you’d stay there…” He just nodded.
“All right but do something for me please…” She narrowed her eyes as she looked at him. “I’ll sit here and stay where I am if you just step down while we talk…” She shook her head angrily.
“I don’t want to talk. There’s nothing to say…” Chakotay sighed deeply.
“Well will you listen while I talk then…” She looked down below her. “Kathryn please…please come back in… Look you can stay near the edge and I’ll stay here but just step down. If you slip…” She turned back to him and laughed.
“That’s kind of the idea…” She sobered immediately when she saw the pain on his face. “Sorry…” He closed his eyes a moment and prayed for strength.
“Kathryn, I’m begging you, please just step down and stand back a little. I promise you I won’t try anything…” She stared hard at him for several minutes and he slowly sat down on the ground, keeping his side of the bargain. Finally she nodded and stepped down, still keeping her hand on the rail.
“There’s really nothing to say…” He smiled sadly.
“Maybe I have something to say. Will you at least hear me out?” She eyed him wearily.
“What if I don’t like what you have to say?” He tried another smile.
“You rarely have but you always listened. Well most of the time…” They locked eyes, a million memories passing between them. “Come on Kathryn, for old times sake…” She bit at her lip and nodded, then sat also, letting go of the rail but staying against the wall. She folded her hands on her lap and picked at her nails.
“Kathryn?” His voice appeared to startle her and she looked up. “Do you ever think about our time out there? Sometimes it feels as if it never happened. At other times it feels like yesterday, and then again it can feel like twenty years ago.” She shrugged lightly.
“I haven’t thought about it…” He watched her closely, unsure if her words were a barrier against talking or if she was telling the truth.
“You must have some opinion. How do you feel about it all, now that we’re home? I mean all we achieved out there…” She shook her head.
“I don’t know. I told you I don’t think about it…” She looked out over the city again.
“Well think about it now…” She turned back to him.
“I don’t want to think about it…” He saw the beginning of tears in her eyes.
“Why Kathryn? Are you afraid to? That doesn’t sound like the Kathryn Janeway I know…” She seemed angry now.
“The Kathryn Janeway you know is still floating around out there somewhere in the Delta Quadrant. If I’d known this was what I was going to come home to, I’d have had you drop me on some M Class planet.” She turned away from him again, appearing shocked at her own admission.
“I don’t believe that. Has it been that bad?” She looked back at him but said nothing. He rubbed at his chin. “Sorry… I didn’t mean… I mean when we got back first… I mean… sorry…stupid thing to say…of course it’s been that bad…” He stared deeply at her. Kathryn, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I’d give my life to undo what’s happened to you.” He expected a strong reaction from her but instead she just dropped her head, picking at her fingers again. He stayed quiet until she looked up at him once more, her face a mask of pain.
“I…I remember…remember it all…” He stared sadly at her and nodded.
“He’s dead.” He needed her to know that and saw her bite down on her lip.
“I wasn’t sure…” She looked away again, her mind taking her places he couldn’t know. “I didn’t want to ask…” She looked back at him. “Asking would make me think about it and I didn’t want to do that…” She shook her head again. “He blamed me…said I killed her. He was right…” Chakotay shook his head.
“Kathryn, we’ve been down this road too many times now. You know my speech by heart.” She looked at him angrily and shook her head.
“Your words can’t undo the past…can’t bring back the dead…” Chakotay threw his eyes up.
“No they can’t but neither will this…” He threw his arm out, pointing to the edge of the roof. “Tell me something Kathryn…” She met his eyes. “When your father and Justin were killed, did you go around blaming people and trying to hurt someone, or did you just see it for the accident it was?” She looked away again.
“I know what you’re saying but it doesn’t help how I feel. At least for this one, I got punished…got what I deserved…” Something snapped inside Chakotay and he stood quickly. He ran at her and dragged her to her feet as she fought him feebly.
“You said you wouldn’t…you promised…” She cried out as she continued to struggle weakly but he just dragged her back and pushed her against the wall of the central block, which housed the power supply for the building.
“Damn you Kathryn…don’t ever let me hear you speak like that again…” He was angry as he pinned her to the wall, well aware that he was frightening her and bringing back painful memories but at this moment, other things took precedence. “Enough Kathryn. Bury your dead and move on. Let go of the self-pity and get angry at that bastard.” He watched tears flow down her cheeks, no trace of the knife wounds there now. “You remember what he did to you. Well get angry at that and use that anger to move past this and claim your life back.” Her eyes blazed as she stared back at him.
“What life?” She screamed the words and instantly seemed to regret them. She slumped against the wall. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to say that…” Chakotay let some of his anger go too.
“Maybe not Kathryn, but it’s obviously how you feel. Our innermost feelings come out when we’re angry or afraid…” She looked away from him, staring out over his shoulder. He shook her slightly. “Kathryn, we’re home now. You can show your feelings. You can be Kathryn again. As to the rest…you can get past this…” She looked back at him, her eyes showing confusion, as if she hadn’t heard what he said.
“Why are you really here? I know you said your friend needed you but… I needed you when…” She looked down between their bodies. “Forget it…I’m sorry…” He shook her again and she looked up.
“Can you finish what you were going to say?” She looked away from him again but his hand brought her face back to him. “Kathryn talk to me. I’m here for you. I know we have two issues here but please, tell me what you’re feeling.” Her face fell as she fought her tears.
“I don’t feel anything…” He smiled sadly.
“I think you’re feeling too much, too much to cope with all at once. Talk to me please…tell me…” He almost regretted his words as the floodgates opened. She pushed back against him and he stood back a little but stayed where he could grab her if she ran for the edge of the roof.
“Just leave me alone…go home…I needed you when we got back but I’d already pushed you away. You were with Susan…had moved on…I lost you and I deserved that…even though you were never mine to start with…just leave me Chakotay…it’s too hard for me…” He stood and stared, shocked at her words.
“Kathryn, you made it clear that there could never be anything between us. What was I suppose to do?” She shook her head, her anger boiling over.
“Nothing. It was all my fault. It was just a stupid dream. I always thought that if or when we got home…” Her anger was bringing out her honesty. Chakotay rubbed at his face.
“We honestly didn’t think we’d get home. What was I to do with Susan? Just dump her there?” He watched as Kathryn hugged her arms around herself.
“It’s not you I’m angry with, it’s me. I told you, it was my fault. Just leave me be…” Chakotay moved back towards her a little.
“I told you I’m not with Susan anymore. I am here for you though…if you just let me… I’m here because I want to be here, because I care about you so much. You’re my friend Kathryn…” She hugged herself tightly, pressing back against the wall.
“If that was the case, you’d have come to me weeks ago. You’re only here now because of this. Admit it Chakotay, if this hadn’t happened, I’d never have seen you again…” She glared at him as he dropped his head.
“These are all separate issues Kathryn. You were the one who said there could be nothing between us. You made that very clear to me. It wasn’t fair to ask me to wait for what could have been the rest of my life if we hadn’t gotten home. I had to move on. When we did get back, I couldn’t just leave Susan. Be fair Kathryn, I’m not a mind reader. I saw you at Headquarters and you seemed so at home with all that. Starfleet coming before me or us again. That’s how it looked anyway. As to the last few weeks, I needed time to get myself together again. As far as I was concerned, you had moved on. You could just as easily have contacted me.” He stared at her sadly as she shook her head, not caring about the tears which flowed down her face.
“It was made very clear that I wasn’t wanted there, at least where Susan was concerned and I understood that… I had no place there anyway…” He moved forward again and took her shoulders, feeling her cringe slightly.
“Kathryn, I don’t know what the future would have held if this hadn’t happened. I like to think that we’d have gotten together…I just don’t know. What I do know is that I’m here now because I care and because I feel you need me. I’m here because I want to be, because we’re friends. Are you saying you wouldn’t have come, if something had happened to me?” She met his eyes and shook her head slowly.
“No…I’d have…of course I would…” She lifted her hands and wiped at her face. “Chakotay please, I can’t do this. My emotions are all over the place. This wasn’t some accident. I can’t face…” She bit down on her lip hard, unable to think about what had happened much less talk about it and Chakotay saw that. He leaned in closer to her and lifted one hand to cup her face and was grateful when she didn’t pull away.
“Kathryn, listen to me now. We have two things here. One can wait until the other is dealt with. For the moment, just come back and stay with me. I have a house, and your apartment is…well Tom and B’Elanna said you don’t like being there and I can see why…” She didn’t say anything and he saw that as a hopeful sign. “Kathryn, B’Elanna is the only other person who has ever been to my house…” He stared hard at her to make that point. “Just come and stay with me until you feel stronger and can deal with this a little better. I promise you there won’t be any pressure, just a place of peace to rest and heal. I believe you can get through this with the right help. Let me help you as a friend at least. Surely we still have a good friendship. Isn’t that worth something?” He watched his words sink into her mind. “Kathryn, above anything, you have always been my friend and I hope I’ve always been yours. This isn’t pity but friendship. Can’t you take it at that? We get you through this first and move on from there…” She stared at him a long time and he almost saw her thoughts working through her mind. Eventually she nodded slowly and he let out the breath he found he’d been holding. He leaned his head forward and looked into her face with a small smile, deciding to take a chance at something.
“Kathryn? Can I hold you?” She looked up at him startled for a moment and then her face fell and she nodded eagerly. She hesitantly eased away from the wall but then fell into his now open arms and let him wrap her in them. He felt her body shudder against his chest and tightened his arms as she broke down and cried, deep racking sobs erupting from her.
Chakotay held her to him, absorbing her cries and pain. He whispered softly to her, his hand stroking her hair as he felt her hands grip and un-grip on the back of his shirt. His eyes swept out over the city below them and some part of his mind prayed that this was a beginning, that some day they would stand here again under far happier circumstances. He held her and rocked her slightly now, letting her get some of her pain out. Slowly she calmed a little and slumped against his large frame, exhausted now. He held her a few minutes more and then pulled back.
“Come on, get what you’ll need and come home with me OK?” He wiped at her face and smiled softly. She nodded, her eyes down but she let him lead her.
ON TO PART THREE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.