|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.
Over the next week Chakotay spent many a long night walking the halls with his daughter in his arms. He’d rock her until she fell asleep, then continue his slow pacing, cradling the sleeping child against him. Somehow holding her close in her slumber comforted him and soothed the way for his thoughts to roam freely.
During the long hours, he re-lived his life with the woman who now occupied so many of his waking thoughts and even many of his dreams. He opened his heart and examined his conscience, mostly not liking what he found.
Kathryn intruded into other areas of his life during this time. He began to see aspects of her all around him. A student’s hair or habit, a turn of phrase a fellow lecturer used. They all spoke to him, bringing his past into the present, making it impossible to ignore.
During the evenings, he even found himself re-reading many of his logs from Voyager…personal and command. He let himself remember times he’d pushed away for so long, either because they were too painful or too shameful.
By the end of the week he felt exhausted, his long journey into the past costing him so much in so many ways. It also gave him a sense of cleansing though, and he began to welcome it.
Chakotay kept his word and returned the following week, sitting with Kathryn for well over an hour. He talked pretty much as he had during his first visit, making small talk and telling her the latest news.
As before, Kathryn showed no reaction to his presence or his voice. She stared unseeing towards the window, her hands once again folded in her lap.
Chakotay stopped talking and just stared at her. He shook his head sadly as he found himself almost assaulted with memories of how she had been when he first met her. He sighed heavily. “I did this to you, didn’t I?” He looked up and saw Elizabeth Fulton standing in the doorway.
She smiled sadly at him and came into the room. “Time’s up, Chakotay. It’s time for Kathryn’s bath.”
Chakotay nodded and stood, feeling stiff from having sat so long. “All right.” He placed a hand on Kathryn’s shoulder. “I’ll see you next time, Kathryn. Take care of yourself.”
Over the next several weeks Chakotay visited Kathryn about twice a week. The visits started to become a part of his routine, although his feelings regarding the woman he came to see remained confused.
Each evening his routine remained as it had since he’d brought his daughter home from the hospital, but once she was in bed, instead of preparing for the next day’s lessons or catching up on his reading, he’d stare off into the distance, continuing his new ritual of soul searching, reliving his past and trying to sort his jumbled feelings.
Despite his mixed emotions he continued to visit Kathryn. Eventually Elizabeth Fulton suggested B'Elanna and perhaps Tom visit also, feeling B'Elanna would be good for her patient as both another woman and as an established friend, and Tom as someone who shared much of Kathryn’s past, long before Voyager, and who understood her upbringing. She spoke with them before they visited though, preparing them in much the same way as she’d done with Chakotay.
Chakotay walked in the garden with Kathryn’s doctor one day, knowing B'Elanna was visiting their former captain first. He studied some freshly planted flowers and shook his head. “None of this is working, is it?” He sighed. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up. Maybe I’m just doing this wrong or I’m the wrong person for it. I’m sticking with it though as long as you feel I should…if for no other reason than the fact that I owe her.”
Elizabeth studied him. “That’s not the right reason to do this, Chakotay.”
He nodded slowly. “I know…and it’s not the only reason. I care…I do really care. It’s just so frustrating…not to see any reaction from her.”
Elizabeth came up beside him. “Your friend B'Elanna had a similar conversation with me the other day. She made a suggestion in fact.”
Chakotay looked at the woman beside him. “Knowing B'Elanna, she probably wants to beat Kathryn out of it.” He gave a tired smile. “Sorry. I’m just over tired today. Rose is cutting a tooth.”
The woman smiled and nodded. “Ahh yes…I remember those days well…or should I say I remember those nights.” She shook her head but kept her smile. “It does get easier, Chakotay. Another forty years and you’ll be able to relax just a little.”
Chakotay rolled his eyes. “Thanks for the advice. I just want to get a night’s sleep.”
Elizabeth laughed at that. “And you think that will happen when she’s past the baby and toddler stage? Wait until she’s dating.” She laughed at the look of horror on Chakotay’s face. “I know. You’ll sit sentry and want to interrogate them all. My husband quizzes our eldest daughter’s dates, leaving her dying of embarrassment. I think she may hate him at the moment.”
Chakotay laughed as he looked back out over the gardens and then grew serious. “I can deal with Rose and missed sleep better than this. I talk to Kathryn until I’m hoarse, but there’s nothing. I’m at the stage where I think the wall will answer me first.”
Elizabeth lost her own smile and nodded slowly. “That’s roughly what B'Elanna felt. She had a suggestion…one I’m seriously considering.”
Chakotay turned to look at her. “What is it?”
Elizabeth looked uneasy then sighed as she looked behind Chakotay and nodded her head. “Here’s B'Elanna now. She’ll tell you.”
Chakotay turned and stared at B'Elanna, not wasting time on a greeting. “Dr. Fulton tells me you have a suggestion to help Kathryn.”
B'Elanna suddenly looked uncomfortable as she looked from the doctor to her old friend. She drew in a deep breath. “I thought it might be an idea for you to bring Rose in and leave her with Kathryn.”
Chakotay looked horrified. “Force a baby on Kathryn after what she’s been through? Hasn’t it occurred to you that it could do more harm than good?”
B'Elanna hardened her face. “More harm? Do you think she can BE any worse?”
Chakotay’s eyes flew from B'Elanna to the doctor and back again. “Of course she could. She could…”
B'Elanna interrupted him and looked at Elizabeth. “You said you’d consider this. What do you think?”
Elizabeth sighed and shook her head. “She’s deeply withdrawn, but there’s hope of pulling her back. This could push her even deeper to where there’s no hope.”
B'Elanna wasn’t accepting that. “You said yourself that you’ve tried everything. Chakotay has talked to her for hours. I’ve talked to her about the ship and the people who were there. Tom talks endlessly about their growing up and their families. There’s no reaction…nothing.”
Chakotay stared at Elizabeth as she nodded. “You can’t seriously be considering this. It could push her so far away…so deep into this state…”
B'Elanna gripped his arm. “Or it could pull her out of it…make her react.”
Chakotay ran a hand through his hair and turned away. “I think it’s madness to take the chance. Pushing a baby at her…especially my baby…could push her over the edge.”
B'Elanna moved after him and grabbed his arm again. “In case you haven’t noticed Chakotay, she’s already there. She was already pushed over the edge. She damn well tried to kill herself twice, and now she’s withdrawn into this half dead stage. Just how much more over the edge can she go?”
Chakotay glared at her. “So far that she can never come back.” He shook his head in disbelief. “She lost her baby…lost any hope of having another one…lost me because I walked away from her… She sees me marry and have another child. She comes home to nothing…no family. When she has nothing left, she tries to end it…twice. When that fails, she retreats into this place…the only place she can obviously feel safe…and you want me to walk in there and present her with the most tangible reminder there is of all that?” He rubbed a hand across his eyes. “Maybe you think I should just walk in there and plunge a knife through her heart. It would hurt less.”
B'Elanna and Elizabeth watched him as he closed his eyes and dropped his head back. He looked up when he felt a hand on his arm. Elizabeth smiled kindly at him. “Chakotay, I need to discuss this with others…a panel of my peers if you like. There will have to be a case conference first but…” She sighed. “If you agreed and we went ahead with this, it would be under very controlled conditions.” She saw he wasn’t convinced. “Chakotay, this isn’t something that’s going to happen tomorrow. It will need to be studied and discussed. Just think about it. Hear what we say when we’ve talked it over. I’m just asking you to withhold your judgement until you hear everyone’s opinion…learned opinions I might add. Then you can think about it.”
Chakotay looked from one to the other. “And if I refuse you’ll probably just find another baby.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “You’re the closest to next-of-kin Kathryn has. I can’t reach her sister or any other family members. Your opinion matters.”
Chakotay nodded. “But at the end of the day, what treatment you choose is up to you and the board of this institution. You don’t need my permission for anything.”
Elizabeth was honest with him. “No, I don’t. I would like it though.”
Four days later Elizabeth called Chakotay into her office and gave him the news he didn’t want to hear.
“The board has agreed with me. They’ve given the go-ahead to try this.”
Chakotay sighed heavily and looked down at his feet. “Somehow I had the feeling they would.” He looked back up at her and smiled slightly. “You can be pretty persuasive when you want to be.”
Elizabeth didn’t smile to share the small joke. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I saw any other way. Besides, I think it’s worth trying. We’ve tried everything else and shocking her out of it may be the only way.”
Chakotay just shook his head. “Or it could, as I said, push her much deeper into it.”
The doctor didn’t try to hide the truth. “Yes, it could…but I still think we have to try this. Of course it’s a risk, but in my opinion it’s a risk worth taking, as do my colleagues and superiors.”
Chakotay sighed again and stood up. He shook his head before moving to the window. He gazed out as he sorted his thoughts. “I still have some say in this, I take it? I have to consent about using Rose for this?” He looked back into the room and towards the woman who sat watching him.
Elizabeth smiled sadly. “It is your choice, but I hope you’ll agree.”
Chakotay watched her carefully. “And if I don’t agree, you’ll just find another baby?”
Dr. Fulton nodded slowly. “One of the nurses here is just back from maternity leave. She volunteered her son…” She stopped suddenly, her eyes seeming to apologize for using the word. “Chakotay…I’m sorry…I…”
He held up his hand. “I can’t go around avoiding the word. The world is full of sons…just as it’s full of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, and whoever else someone has lost. Life goes on. It’s taken me a while to realize that.”
Elizabeth smiled softly. “You’ve learned a lot these past weeks. It’s changed you.”
Chakotay merely shrugged. “It really doesn’t matter what I’ve learned or how I’ve changed. If Kathryn comes out of this and hates me, it’s all irrelevant.” He shook his head and turned back to look out the window.
Elizabeth allowed him the time she felt he needed. After a few minutes he turned back and stared at her. She smiled gently. “It won’t be irrelevant to you, Chakotay, or to Kathryn or me. She’ll hopefully be out of this state, she’ll have been helped, I’ll have done my job and please God, you’ll have found some peace.” She watched the man before her think about that.
He turned away for a moment then looked back at her before nodding. “All right. I’ll agree, but only because I’m bowing to your superior knowledge on this. This is in your hands. I’ll just have to trust you.”
Chakotay spent the evening before Rose’s first visit with Kathryn as he spent all his evenings. Everything felt different to him though. He played with the little girl before her bedtime, but part of his mind was back at the clinic.
Suddenly he looked up at the mantle where the images of Louise and the crew were displayed. He stood up and took them both down, returning to his place on the floor beside his daughter. He held out the image of Louise to the child and watched as she grabbed at it.
“That’s mommy, Rose. That’s your mommy. She loved you very much.” Tears filled his eyes as the little girl actually seemed to study the image, her small hand slapping against it. She shook it and giggled. Chakotay nodded and smiled. “Mommy…” She squealed in delight and then brought the frame to her mouth, finding a good chew more enjoyable. Chakotay gently eased it from her fingers and replaced it with one of her toys. “There, young lady. That’s a lot safer.”
As Rose chewed on her toy, Chakotay looked at the smiling face of his late wife. “How am I doing, hon? Do you approve?” He looked at the other frame, his old crew, all friends, all family, and smiled.
“How about this, Louise?” He pulled the image from the frame and uncovered Kathryn’s face. He stared at the group of people as he replaced the image in the frame. He looked at it again and somehow it seemed as if they were all smiling more than he remembered.
He stood up and placed both images back on the mantle. “There. Back where they belong.” He looked at Louise again and even she seemed to be smiling more. “That’s better, isn’t it?” His eyes were drawn back to the crew and then to Kathryn, smiling broadly in happier days. “I hope you smile like that again some day, Kathryn.”
B'Elanna sighed as she climbed into bed beside Tom. “She’s asleep at last.”
Tom smiled and put down the padd he’d been reading. “She struggled hard to stay awake tonight. She sure fights it.”
B'Elanna nodded and sighed as she lay back against the pillow, staring ahead of her at nothing in particular.
Tom knew her well and put his padd on the bedside table. “Worried about tomorrow?”
She turned to look at him and half smiled. “I was thinking more about Chakotay.”
Tom frowned. “In what way?”
B'Elanna made herself more comfortable. “He doesn’t say as much, but I think he realizes that the bond between them is still there. He says he’s worried about taking Rose in to see Kathryn. He’s concerned about Rose of course, but he’s really worried about Kathryn. That tells me a lot.”
Tom smiled at his wife. “What does it tell you, oh all wise and all seeing one?”
B'Elanna elbowed him. “Oh shut up. It tells me that he’s still deeply in love with her, even if he doesn’t know it yet. In fact, I don’t think he ever stopped loving her. He’s in denial. He’s just too pig-headed to see or admit it.”
Tom thought about that. “I think you’re right. What can we do about it though?”
B'Elanna snuggled down beside him. “I don’t think we need to do anything. It’ll reveal itself when it’s ready. It’s there, and in time he’ll know it.”
Tom ordered the lights off and pulled B'Elanna to him. “And if he doesn’t, no one better than you to tell him.”
ON TO PART FIVE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.