|Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don’t. Only borrowing
them. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Summary: God, I hate trying to write summaries LOL.
This is mainly an angst story but there are babies in there. I wouldn’t
call it a babyfic but that’s your decision….
Back on Earth, Chakotay gets a visitor who makes him face his past, a past where
he turned his back on Kathryn when she needed him most. Now she needs him
again. Can he get past his own pain and guilt in order to be there for her this time?
This story has taken a long time to finish and I left it and came back to it many times. Finally it was finished – with much help (and persuasion).
So – thanks a million to –
Judy – my ever patient beta who read and re-read this and made so many helpful and useful suggestions and corrections, of which there were many. She cracked her whip when needed, even when I probably drove her to madness. Thanks, my friend – for everything. I’d be lost without you.
Gine – who also read and re-read this until I was sure she’d hit me with it. She became my mirror so many times as I worked through this. Dear SS, your encouragement and friendship have been beyond words. And… You know what I mean.
MEMORIES AND DREAMS.
“Excuse me…Captain Chakotay?”
A dark head looked up from a pile of padds. “Yes. I’m Captain Chakotay. May I help you?”
The woman hesitantly entered the empty classroom. “Yes…I…”
Chakotay smiled. “I’m afraid classes are over for the day if you’re meeting someone and they’re full if you’re looking for a place.”
The fair-haired woman came closer. “No…no…I’m not a student. This isn’t an academic matter.”
Chakotay nodded slowly and smiled. “Ahh…a reporter.” He looked down at his desk and began to pile some padds together. “I’m sorry…but I don’t give many interviews.” He looked up at his visitor.
She shook her head. “Not that either.”
Chakotay let his smile slip a little as he raised his hands in the universal sign of surrender. “I give up.”
The woman drew in a deep breath. “Actually, it’s a personal matter.”
Chakotay frowned now and his suspicions grew. “Do I know you?”
She shook her head again. “No. My name is Elizabeth Fulton.” She hesitated a moment. “Could we talk somewhere privately?” She saw the man before her was waiting for her to continue. She looked around, feeling a little out of her depth. “Somewhere…else?”
Chakotay studied her a moment and then stood up, gathering his things together. “All right. I was just heading to the campus coffee shop.”
Elizabeth leaned forward. “I’m sorry. Could we perhaps go to your office?” She saw the large man size her up. “Please…it’s important.”
Chakotay picked up his belongings and nodded. “All right. I’m not sure why I’m agreeing to this but…” He sighed and waved towards the door. “This way.”
Chakotay looked over at the woman sitting in front of his desk. “Tea or coffee?”
She shook her head. “No. Thank you. Please go ahead though.”
Chakotay got a tea for himself then sat down behind his desk. “So what is this about, Ms…Fulton?”
The woman smiled softly. “It’s Dr. Fulton actually.” She pulled her Medical ID from her pocket and showed it to the man before her. He studied it a moment and then nodded his satisfaction. Placing it back in her pocket, she drew in a deep breath. “May I ask you just one favour please?”
Chakotay took a sip of his tea. “All right.”
She smiled her thanks. “Can I just ask that you hear me out? I promise I’m sincere in my reasons for being here. I’m not some crazy Starfleet groupie or anything.”
Chakotay smiled at that. “All right. I’ll hear you out.”
Elizabeth nodded and smiled. “Thank you.”
Chakotay watched as she mentally rehearsed what she wanted to say. He leaned forward a little and smiled at her discomfort. “I don’t bite, you know.”
The doctor nodded, but didn’t share his joke with him. She drew in a deep breath. “I’m here about Kathryn Janeway.”
The smile fell from Chakotay’s face and his features hardened immediately as his defences went up. He leaned back in his chair. “That’s a name I haven’t heard in some time.” He looked down at his cup. “I’m not sure I want to hear it again now.”
Dr. Fulton leaned forward quickly, placing a hand on the desk before her. “Look, this isn’t… You promised you’d hear me out. Please. It’s important. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” Her eyes implored the man before her and something in her demeanour confirmed her sincerity.
Chakotay studied her for almost a full minute before finally nodding. “All right. Say your piece and then leave.”
Elizabeth sat back and sighed. “As I said, my name is Dr. Elizabeth Fulton. I’m Kathryn’s doctor.”
Chakotay barely nodded. “What kind of doctor are you?”
She held his eyes. “I’m a psychiatrist.”
He laughed at that, shocking the woman in front of him with his change of mood. “So she’s finally seeing a counsellor. About time.” He shook his head then grew serious again. “Sorry.” He leaned forward now giving her his full attention. “So why do you need to see me? I don’t know anything about her anymore. Did she send you here?”
Dr. Fulton shook her head sadly. “No. She doesn’t know I’m here.” She sat back and softly pleaded. “Please…can you tell me what happened between the two of you?”
Chakotay’s expression was suddenly like granite. He pushed his chair back and stood up, moving to the window to look out and gain control of his emotions. “Didn’t you get the story from her?” He looked back at Elizabeth. “Oh, I get it. You want my side of it.”
Elizabeth just sat patiently and waited. Chakotay stared back out the window for several moments lost in thought. “Why do you want to know all this? Why should I tell you anything about my private life?”
The young woman sighed. “I know it’s asking a lot, but I really need to know. I give you my word that this is strictly confidential. Nothing you tell me will ever be repeated.” She saw him turn and study her, gauging the honesty of her words and the sincerity in her eyes. “Please just trust me that this is very important. I really need to know. I wouldn’t have troubled you otherwise.”
Without understanding why, Chakotay suddenly returned to his desk and sat down again. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. Probably because it’s past now…and somehow I trust you, although I can’t explain that.” He leaned back in his chair, as if needing the support it offered him. He looked at the woman before him. “I take it you know the general background to all this…where we were and how we got there?”
Elizabeth nodded. “I know about that, and that the two of you were together. I need to know what happened to cause your break-up and the feelings you have now.”
Chakotay sighed heavily and nodded his understanding. He was silent for a moment before speaking. “We weren’t married, but we’d finally started a relationship. She seemed happy with that…with the crew knowing. They were delighted for us.” He shook his head as he remembered. “We were in a relationship…finally. We were happy. I was over the moon…especially when she told me she was pregnant. I was the happiest man in the world. It was all I could ever have wanted.” He came close to a smile for a brief moment before it disappeared.
“She wasn’t so sure, but she eventually seemed to accept the idea of a baby, especially when she saw that the crew approved. It was life as usual though for her. I nagged her constantly about eating right, not drinking so much coffee, getting more rest. It all fell on deaf ears. It often felt as if she was denying the baby’s existence. I think that had she had the choice of not being pregnant, she’d have taken it.” He shrugged sadly.
“She was just under five months pregnant. We were low on supplies…as usual. We came to this planet and the natives agreed to trade with us…supply what we needed. Everything went fine. They even directed us to a nearby moon where we could get the minerals they couldn’t supply us with.” He sighed again.
“We managed some shore leave and got a bit of time alone and it was great…for me anyway. I was so happy…so much to look forward to. She seemed happy to be off the ship too.” He shook his head.
“The problem started when we reached the moon and she insisted on going with the away team to mine the minerals. I fought her on it. Even the doctor advised her against it. Of course there was some damn thing there she just had to study. I can’t even remember what it was now. It certainly wasn’t important enough that she had to take the risk of going on a mining expedition even though she promised to be careful.” His anger was coming back now and fuelling his words.
“No one was sure what happened. There was a cave-in…some explosion…a reaction with our drilling against the natural gases in the caves. I never looked for all the details. B'Elanna, our chief engineer who was with her, called for an emergency beam out to sickbay.”
Chakotay sat forward, his forehead in his hands as he re-lived the events he was talking about. “There was so much blood. She was conscious…crying out. The Doctor pushed me away…called for Tom Paris who usually assisted him. They worked for what felt like hours. Eventually the Doctor came out and told me…” He closed his eyes and whispered the words. “She’d lost the baby…internal injuries…blood loss…”
Elizabeth sat silently and gave the man before her the time he needed. Finally he continued. “Later…when she came around from the anaesthetic… The Doctor called me down. I didn’t want to be there…didn’t want to see her even. He wanted me there though, and I found out why.” He drew in a deep breath.
“He told us…told her…that there had been complications during the surgery…that because of them she’d never be able to have any more children.”
Elizabeth felt the need to speak at this point. “I’m so sorry.”
Chakotay didn’t seem to hear her. “I couldn’t look at her. All the time she’d been unconscious, I’d been letting my anger and bitterness build. I think I began to hate her the moment I was told my child was dead.” He sighed again.
“She just lay there. No reaction. No emotion. She didn’t even ask about the baby. I asked the Doctor… I remember saying something like I didn’t care if she didn’t want to know, but I did. I demanded to know. Eventually he just handed me a padd and I read it there…that the baby had been a boy…my son…” He got up quickly and walked over to the replicator. He stood there for several moments before speaking, getting his emotions under control. “Tea?”
The doctor shook her head. “No…thank you.”
Chakotay nodded and ordered some more tea for himself. “I didn’t see her for the next month. I couldn’t look at her…was afraid of what I’d say. My last words to her had been in sickbay that day…although not TO her exactly. I remember thanking the Doctor and then saying that I was finished there and had a ship to run.” He sighed.
“She returned to her quarters when she was released from sickbay…what had been our quarters, but I moved out that first day.” He shook his head. “After a month she came back on duty. I’d been acting captain during that time. She called me into the ready room, said something about having to get the crew home and needing to work together. I barely acknowledged her. I couldn’t.”
Elizabeth spoke again. “You made it home together though.”
Chakotay shrugged. “We communicated only to run the ship and most of that was through others. We never spoke outside of ship’s business again.”
He moved back to his desk and sat down once more. “She was Starfleet through and through. I always saw myself walking away and her staying on. I never thought I’d be the one to stay. I certainly never believed she’d leave. But I stayed and accepted the promotion they offered, and she walked away.”
Chakotay took a deep drink of his fresh tea and then put the cup down, his face hard. “Different from her side of the story?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “She didn’t go into as much detail, but it ties in.”
Chakotay sighed, barely keeping his anger in check. “Look doctor, I’ve told you what happened, although I still don’t know why, and I’ve listened to you. I parted company with her within days of getting back here and I haven’t seen her since. That suits me just fine.” He picked up a padd from his desk and activated it. “Now…I have work.”
Elizabeth stayed where she was until he looked up again. “I haven’t finished. I’ve barely talked in fact. You promised to hear me out.”
Chakotay threw the padd down on his desk and fell back in his chair with a deep sigh. “Whatever it takes to finish this.”
The doctor shook her head. “By rights I shouldn’t be here…shouldn’t be talking to you at all but…” She sighed and sat back.
“Kathryn was referred to me. She was a patient at the hospital where I work. I was asked to see her. She was there because…” She closed her eyes a moment before looking back at Chakotay. “There’s no easy way to say this, but… She attempted suicide. And in case you’re wondering… No…it wasn’t a cry for help or attention seeking. She meant it. She took a massive overdose. It’s a miracle she was found at all.”
Chakotay just stared at her. If he was shocked, he hid it well. “How?”
Elizabeth sighed. “She checked into a hotel and did it. There was a small electrical fire a few rooms down and the fire fighters found her when they were checking the other rooms. They got her to the hospital just in time.”
Chakotay just shook his head. “I don’t know what to say.”
Dr. Fulton ignored him. “Anyway…as in all these cases, she was referred to a psychiatrist…and I was on duty. I saw her and we talked.” She sat back and smiled sadly. “She knew she wasn’t getting out of there until she talked to me, so she did. She told me some things…said a lot of what she thought I wanted to hear. Eventually she was discharged on the condition she saw me as an out-patient. I wasn’t happy with that, but I reluctantly agreed.”
She rubbed at her eyes. “That was my mistake. I let her down. She tried again…tried to kill herself again.”
Chakotay looked across at his visitor giving her his full attention. “Tried? Then she’s not…?”
Elizabeth looked weary now. “Dead? No. Believe it or not, she was found again. I guess she has someone up above looking out for her…some guardian angel. This time she went off into the wilderness. She took a transport to Vickers National Park and hiked into the hills. She threw herself into a river…and at the worst time of the year. It was raging…swollen… She was found by two hikers a few miles down river.” The doctor shook her head. “She had severe injuries…head injuries…spinal…internal…broken bones…” She looked up and sighed heavily, sadness radiating from her eyes. “Physically she’s on the mend now, but it was some struggle.”
Chakotay rubbed at his temples, his expression unreadable. “So why are you here? Are you afraid she’ll try again? There’s nothing I can…”
Elizabeth interrupted him. “As she is, she won’t try again.” She drew in a deep breath. “Captain, she’s…what could best be described as…catatonic…or close to it. She’s withdrawn so far inside herself and I can’t reach her. I let her down before. I refused to see or just didn’t see the risk. I want… No. I NEED to fix that…for her sake mostly, but also if I’m honest, for my own. I failed her. As a doctor, that’s hard to accept.”
Chakotay sighed and leaned forward, lacing his fingers together on his desk. “Look, I’m sorry for what happened to her, but I’m not the answer to this.”
Elizabeth watched him. “You’re still very bitter…angry…”
Chakotay showed some of that anger and bitterness. “Yes, I am.”
Elizabeth shook her head sadly. “She murdered your child.” Chakotay stared hard at her as she shrugged slightly. “Her words, Captain. Words I think you probably agree with.”
Silence followed as Chakotay sat back and studied his hands. Finally he spoke. “At one time maybe…” He sighed. “Probably still…I don’t know.”
Elizabeth smiled sadly. “I do. In the time you’ve been speaking of her, you haven’t once used her name. You’ve said ‘she’ or ‘her’ but never once ‘Kathryn’.”
Chakotay said nothing to that because it was true. He squeezed his eyes closed for a moment. “My son…”
Elizabeth spoke softly. “Her son too.”
Chakotay’s face hardened again, bitterness dripping from his words. “Too bad she didn’t think of that back then. She never really wanted that baby and in the end, she got her way. As far as I was concerned at the time, she may as well have had an abortion.” He shook his head, as if regretting the severity of his words. “I apologize. That was uncalled for and very unfair…no matter what.”
Elizabeth just shook her head. “You have a lot of pain.”
Chakotay merely shrugged. “Still…” He frowned then as a thought struck him. “You didn’t seem surprised when I said ‘my son’. It’s as if you knew.”
Elizabeth smiled sadly. “I knew your baby was a boy, yes. Kathryn told me.”
Chakotay looked surprised at that. “I didn’t think she wanted to know.”
The young woman shook her head. “She did. She asked your Doctor and he told her.” She leaned back. “I think there are probably a few things you don’t know.”
Chakotay looked up quickly at that, his eyes narrowing. “Like what?”
Elizabeth sighed and leaned forward. “I shouldn’t really be telling you this, but under the circumstances, I’ll do anything to try and make all this right.”
Chakotay watched her carefully. “What should I know?”
The doctor took a moment to formulate her words. “Did you know that she asked your Doctor to keep the baby in stasis?” Chakotay stared at her in shock. “She buried him here on Earth and used to visit his grave regularly.”
Chakotay swallowed loudly. “I never knew…”
Elizabeth watched him carefully. “Didn’t you ask what happened?”
Chakotay shook his head as some of his anger dissipated. “No.” He sighed heavily. “I should have. I was just so hurt and angry. She never told me…” He saw the answer to that on the doctor’s face. “Yeah. Why would she when I ignored her. I know.”
Elizabeth studied him for a moment, debating how far to go. Finally she took the plunge. “You haven’t really faced this before, have you, Captain?”
Chakotay laughed sarcastically. “What’s the matter, Doctor? Looking for a new patient? Going to analyse me now?” He regretted his words immediately. “Sorry. You’re right. I’ve no right to accuse you or judge you.”
Elizabeth held her hands up, accepting his apology. “That’s OK. You’ve every right. I suppose I am doing that.” She leaned back. “Since you mention analysis though, I think you’ve built up hate for her since all this happened…probably in order to cover all your other feelings…in order to avoid dealing with it and feeling the hurt and pain. It’s easier to take it all and roll it into this one ball of hate and blame towards her and you’ve been hitting her with it ever since.” Chakotay said nothing as she pushed on.
“Look, you had every right to be angry and hurt…to feel grief at the loss of your son, but rather than deal with that and work through it, you converted it into this hate and turned it against her.”
Chakotay felt his anger return. “I wasn’t to blame. The Doctor warned her. I warned her. Several crew members warned her, but Kathryn Janeway knew better.” His face twisted. “There. I said her name. Happy now?”
Elizabeth felt a little anger of her own. “Captain, she made a mistake and…”
Chakotay glared at her. “A mistake that cost my son his life.”
Elizabeth leaned forward, her voice harder. “And you can’t ever forgive her? She lost her son too.”
Chakotay softened slightly. “I know that. I suppose now you’re going to tell me that a miscarriage is far worse on a woman than a man.”
Elizabeth looked shocked. “I would never say or believe that. Physically maybe it is, but that’s all.” She shook her head and sighed. “Look, you lost your child. She lost her child and she lost you. She also lost her ability to ever have another child. Don’t you think she’s been punished enough?”
Chakotay took a deep breath. “I lost her too.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No. You walked away from her. There’s a difference.”
Chakotay shook his head too. “Not in my mind. The woman I thought I knew would have put her baby first.”
The doctor studied him for a moment. “You have another child I believe? I know it’s not a replacement, but…”
Chakotay’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know about that?”
Elizabeth smiled sadly. “Kathryn briefly mentioned that you’d married before you got home. You were expecting a child. She didn’t elaborate.”
Chakotay’s eyes travelled to an image frame on his desk. “I have a little girl. She’s almost six months old now.” He studied the image for a moment then looked back at his visitor. “Look, I’m sorry. You’re probably right. All this has built up inside me over the years. If I’m honest, I don’t really hate her. Maybe for a time I did, but not now. I still grieve for my lost son and I’ll probably always blame her in some way for that, even though I know deep down that’s wrong. Mostly I just try not to think of her at all.”
Elizabeth understood that. “What about your wife and child?”
Chakotay’s face clouded over with pain as his eyes returned to the holo image. “My wife was an ensign on Voyager. Her name was Louise.” He sighed heavily. “She died in childbirth…almost unheard of these days, but there were severe and unforeseen complications when Rose was born.”
Elizabeth let her sadness show. “I’m sorry…about your wife. That’s very hard and unfair.” Chakotay said nothing, merely nodded. Elizabeth tried to change track as she smiled sadly. “Your daughter’s name is Rose?”
Chakotay nodded again. “Yes. Louise loved the name. She picked it to honour her mother who died when she was young.” He picked up the frame and handed it to the doctor.
She took it and smiled at the picture of the cute little girl. “She’s your daughter all right. A little double. She’s beautiful.” She studied the image a moment longer, then handed it back.
Chakotay smiled as he put it back in its place. “She’s a handful.” Finally he tore his eyes away and forced his mind back to the woman before him. “Do you know where my son is buried?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I’m sorry. I don’t know. I think perhaps Voyager’s Doctor might, but I’m not sure.”
Chakotay looked down at his hands. “You think I should have asked.” It wasn’t a question.
Elizabeth nodded. “Yes, I do. From what I know you walked away that day…said you wanted to hear no more and told the Doctor never to speak to you about it again. You washed your hands of it all.”
Chakotay at least looked guilty about that. “Yes, I did, but that day was… Later…as time went on…it just got harder.”
The young doctor watched him. “It was a month before Kathryn returned as captain?” Again Chakotay nodded. “You didn’t see her at all during that month?”
Chakotay shook his head. “I sent Tuvok, our security officer and acting First Officer, to liaise with her. He was her friend for many years”
Elizabeth hated hurting him, but needed to say her piece. “Look, there’s something you need to know. Kathryn never told you. You should know that as he treated her afterwards, your Doctor discovered that she probably would have miscarried anyway.”
Chakotay’s head snapped up. “Oh, come on. That’s too convenient.”
Elizabeth shook her head quickly. “There’s no easy way to say this but…” She drew in a deep breath. “It seems your son would have been handicapped. Even had he been full term, which was very unlikely, he wouldn’t have lived long.” She saw the shock and pain her words caused. “I’m sorry, but you should know about this.”
Chakotay stared at her. “Why didn’t she tell me this? Why didn’t the Doctor?”
She had to be honest. “You’d made yourself very clear. You were finished there. There was nothing more there for you and you had a ship to run.”
The point hit home and it hurt. Chakotay nodded slowly. “You’re right. Point taken.” He sighed deeply and stood up, going to the window once more. He was quiet with his thoughts for several moments. Finally he looked back at the woman sitting at his desk. “You must think I’m a real bastard.”
She shook her head. “No. I can’t say I agree with how you acted, but I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in your shoes. I didn’t feel your pain.” She sighed. “I did wonder if perhaps there was something in your past that…”
Chakotay laughed cynically. “What? Something to explain the bastard I was back then as well?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I thought perhaps a girlfriend or someone might have had a termination against your wishes or… You mentioned earlier that Kathryn may as well have had an abortion and…”
He shook his head and sighed heavily. “No. There are no excuses for me. One woman did use me…stole my DNA to impregnate herself against my wishes, but she failed. I did think the child was mine for a while, but I found out the truth.” He blew out a long, slow breath. “So, Doctor Fulton, with all that, why do you think I can help? Shouldn’t I be the last person she’d want help from?”
The young doctor watched him a moment, deciding to be totally honest. “I’ve tried everything else. You were the only real thing she talked about, inasmuch as she talked about anything. I’m just asking you to see her…to try.”
Chakotay matched her honesty. “You’re asking a lot. It took me a long time to get over all that. I’ve really no wish to re-visit it.” He looked at the young woman, hoping she’d understand.
She shook her head. “Surely at one time…”
Chakotay laughed derisively. “What? I owe her?”
Elizabeth sighed. “I just mean that she must have meant something to you at one time.”
Chakotay came back to his desk and sat once again. “So…for old time’s sake?”
She nodded. “Something like that. Whatever it takes.”
Chakotay studied her for several minutes. “I know this probably sounds very ignorant of me, but… Can’t you bring her out of it some other way? It’s the 24th century. Isn’t there a hypospray or something?”
The doctor smiled sadly. “If it were only that simple.” She shook her head. “No, Captain, even in the 24th century the human mind is more powerful than all our technology and medical knowledge put together. It doesn’t work that way I’m afraid. You’re my only hope.”
Chakotay nodded very slowly. “I’ll think about it. That’s the most I can offer you.”
Elizabeth knew it was the best she’d get and had no choice but to accept it. She reached into her bag and withdrew a padd. “Here are my details and what you’ll need…the clinic address where Kathryn is and so on. I only work part time at the hospital where she was brought. Most of my work is at that clinic.”
Chakotay took the padd but didn’t look at it. He placed it on his desk, face down. “As I said, I will think about it. I won’t make promises to you other than that.”
Elizabeth stood and extended her hand. “That’s better than nothing. Thank you for seeing me and hearing me out.”
Chakotay stood also and shook her hand. “I’ll contact you one way or the other. I won’t just leave it.”
The young woman smiled as she let go of his hand. “Thank you again. I’ll just hope, if that’s all right.” As she moved towards the door, she stopped and turned back to look at Chakotay. She sighed sadly. “You know the sad thing? She could still have a child.”
Chakotay looked confused. “But the Doctor said…”
The young woman shrugged. “Captain, you were in the Delta Quadrant. Your Doctor had the most up-to-date medical knowledge when you left. He had no access to the medical advances made during the time you were away, and seven years is a long time in medicine. The latest surgical techniques and knowledge make it possible for her to carry a child to term. She knows that but refused to have the surgery. In her words, she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.” She watched him absorb that, his eyes falling to the image of his daughter. She decided he’d had enough for one day.
“I have to go. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Thank you again for seeing me.”
When Chakotay looked up, the room was empty.
ON TO PART TWO.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.