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


Rating:            PG13.


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? 



Note:

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.


By Katlady.


Part Five.

 

The following day Chakotay stood outside Kathryn’s room, Rose sleeping in his arms, oblivious to the goings-on around her.  He looked down at his daughter a moment then towards Dr. Fulton.

“I still don’t know why I’m doing this…agreeing with it.  It’s wrong and cruel.”

Elizabeth nodded slowly.  “Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.  Besides, it may not even work.”

Chakotay sighed as he looked down at his daughter again.  “That’s what I’m afraid of.  Mind you, I’m also afraid it WILL work.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay stepped quietly into Kathryn’s room and looked at her sadly.  He wanted to squeeze Rose tightly against his chest and had to fight the urge.  He glanced to his left seeing Elizabeth nodding her approval.

She whispered to him softly.  “Go on…”

A look of panic crossed Chakotay’s face as he shook his head quickly.  He held his daughter out towards the woman.  “Please…could you…?”  He shook his head again, an appeal for understanding in his eyes.  “Please…I can’t…”

The doctor smiled kindly and took the infant carefully from his outstretched arms.  “All right.”  She moved around to face her patient, motioning with her head for Chakotay to move with her. 

Kathryn sat in her usual pose, her eyes staring ahead unfocused.  Chakotay noticed she was wearing a pale green robe today and wondered briefly why that fact had registered with him.  He drew in a deep breath and forced himself to concentrate.

Elizabeth smiled at the nurse who had accompanied them and nodded.  The young woman nodded back and leaned down, arranging Kathryn’s arms so Elizabeth could place Rose on her lap.  The doctor knelt down then and used one hand to hold the still sleeping baby in place.  With her other hand she took one of Kathryn’s and stroked the small body.

“You have another visitor, Kathryn.  This young lady wanted to come and see you.  Can you feel her on your lap?  Feel her skin.  She’s so soft.  Her name is Rose.  She’s asleep at the moment, but she’s very happy to be here.”

Chakotay watched Kathryn’s face closely, but there was no change.  He whispered quietly to Elizabeth.  “I think I expected an immediate response.”

Elizabeth’s eyes flitted from the baby to her patient.  “It could take a bit of time.  I’ll just wait another few minutes then give her a break.  I’m sure our presence is registering with her somewhere, and a bit at a time is the best way.”

A few minutes later she lifted the baby from Kathryn’s lap and handed her back to Chakotay.  “I think that’s enough for now.  Let’s give her some time and we can come back a little later.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Elizabeth Fulton placed baby Rose on Kathryn’s lap another three times that day and twice the following day before they saw any response.  She gasped and risked a glance at Chakotay to confirm what she was seeing.  His stunned look told her all she needed to know. 

Very slowly, Kathryn looked down at the small child in her arms as a lone tear rolled down her cheek, but there was no further reaction.  Elizabeth reached for the baby quickly.  “That’s enough for now, Chakotay.” 

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay stood quietly and watched one of the nurses tend to his daughter.  He sighed heavily and looked at the doctor beside him.  “Tell me I didn’t just hear from you what I think I heard.”

Elizabeth eyed him warily and nodded slowly.  “You heard me right.  I want to suggest that you leave Rose alone with Kathryn.”

Chakotay looked shocked.  “I have to seriously question that.  You’ve already taken a hell of a risk.  You got your reaction and thankfully it was mild.  This is going too far.  You’ve no idea what could happen if you push her further.”

Elizabeth shook her head slowly.  “Yes, it was a risk and it paid off.  But it wasn’t enough.”  She waved towards the viewing panel in the wall which looked into Kathryn’s room.  “You saw her.  She barely moved her head, scarcely looked at Rose.  I saw one tear.  It was a reaction, but it was small…too small.  I need to push her a little more now.”  She held up her hand.  “Look, just hear me out.”  Chakotay nodded.  “We’ll watch her very closely…monitor it all very carefully.  We’ll be right here and can see everything.  We have audio linked up so we can hear her as well.  I don’t believe she’ll harm Rose in any way, but we’ll be right outside.  I know I’m asking a lot of you, but please trust me.”

Chakotay looked unsure.  “I don’t know.  Yes, I’m worried about Rose, but I’m also worried about Kathryn.”  He ran a hand through his hair.  “When did you want to do this?”

Elizabeth smiled slightly.  “After lunch would be good.”  She grew serious again.  “Chakotay, leaving it longer would let her sink back into that comfortable place she’s been.  I want to continue this now while her defences are still down.”  She sighed.  “I’m asking you again to trust me.  Please?”

In the end Chakotay just nodded, knowing he had no other choice.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay stood beside the viewing panel, B'Elanna at his side.  She had stayed beside him constantly over the past few days, feeling somehow responsible as the original suggestion for this course of action had come from her. 

Chakotay was grateful for his old friend’s support.  She was somehow a link between the past and present in all this.  He stood ramrod straight now and watched the scene before him.  His hands were fists as his eyes darted from his daughter in her carry cot to Kathryn sitting unmoving in her chair.  He shook his head, trying to fight the feeling that this was wrong.

Rose cried, her small arms and legs flailing, her only way to demand the attention she wanted.  Chakotay looked desperately at the doctor beside him, his mind screaming his unasked question of why no one was doing anything.  Finally he found his voice.  “It’s enough…”

Elizabeth never took her eyes off her patient.  “Wait, Chakotay.  Just give her another few minutes.”

Chakotay stared at her then turned to B'Elanna, his friend shaking her head, indicating she didn’t know what to think.

Rose continued to scream for attention, her cries growing a little more desperate now.  A hand found Chakotay’s arm and he looked down to see that it belonged to Elizabeth.  “Just another few minutes.”

After a further minute of Rose crying, Chakotay tore his arm from her grip and pulled away.  “I can’t take this.  It’s too upsetting.  And it’s wrong to leave Rose crying like that.  I’m going in to get her.” 

Elizabeth grabbed his arm quickly.  “Chakotay…wait…look…”  When he turned back to her she wasn’t looking at him but staring at the panel.  He followed her gaze and gasped in shock, his breath catching in his throat.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn turned her head slowly in the direction of the crying child.  Chakotay felt as if he’d turned to stone as he watched, Elizabeth’s fingers digging into his arm being the only physical sensation he was aware of.  He heard both the doctor and B'Elanna breathe slowly as they also watched the amazing sight before them.  He felt as if his own breath had frozen somewhere in his chest.

Kathryn finally let her eyes settle on Rose and for a moment she seemed frozen in time.  Finally she moved, standing slowly and unsteadily, her arm reaching out towards the carry cot.  Her hand trembled in mid air before lowering to the small face to stroke the soft cheek.  At once the baby stopped crying and turned her head, her small mouth searching for a source of food.  She latched onto Kathryn’s finger and began to suckle. 

Chakotay reached out and grabbed for B'Elanna who stood rigidly beside him.  “She…”  It was the only word he was capable of.

Suddenly the air was filled with an agonized cry as Kathryn pulled her hand back.  Both hands flew to her face as she backed away.  Rose began screaming again, denied what she believed she’d been offered.  Kathryn backed into her chair, knocking heavily against it and stumbling.

Chakotay bolted from the room, suddenly realizing that Elizabeth was already ahead of him.  As Elizabeth’s hand reached out for the door of Kathryn’s room, a voice stopped them.

“Dr. Fulton….wait…”  They both stopped and turned.  One of the technicians stood in the doorway of the room they’d just run from.  “You need to see this.”

Elizabeth and Chakotay locked eyes.  They both felt torn between wanting to go immediately to Kathryn and Rose and trusting the technician’s instinct in stopping them.

The young woman nodded her understanding.  “Sorry…I think you’ll want to see this first.”

Elizabeth nodded at Chakotay first and then at the young woman.  “All right…”

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn picked herself up and stood shakily, her eyes locked on the bassinette.  She inched her way towards it, a confused look on her face as she looked in at the small crying child. 

Chakotay watched with Elizabeth as Kathryn dropped her head to one side, her confusion seeming to give way to curiosity as she moved closer.  And then her hand came out again, reaching forward and withdrawing several times as Rose continued to scream her protest. 

Chakotay stood in shock as his eyes moved from the viewing panel to the monitor in front of the technician, as if the image there would be different.  He looked back through the panel and felt his breath catch in his throat. 

Kathryn leaned closer to the baby, a look of awe on her face now.  Suddenly she spoke.  Chakotay looked to the others for confirmation and got it in the shocked expressions on their faces.  He looked back towards Kathryn, hearing her words clearly.  “Shhh…shhh now…it’s all right…” 

Chakotay stared at the scene before him in amazement.  Kathryn reached out her hand again and stroked Rose’s cheek.  “Hush now…”  She trailed a finger over the small mouth and Rose latched on again.  This time there was no fear on Kathryn’s face.  Just pure wonder.

“She’s…”  Chakotay glanced at Elizabeth and saw the doctor had tears in her eyes.

They all watched as Kathryn pulled her finger away for a moment, then leaned into the basket and picked up the crying child.  She rocked the infant as she replaced her finger in the small mouth.  As Rose’s cries ceased, they were replaced by Kathryn’s as she hugged the small body to her own.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

On Elizabeth’s advice Chakotay let one of the nurses retrieve Rose, the doctor feeling that her patient had enough to cope with.  He felt relieved at her suggestion in fact, unsure if he could cope with facing Kathryn himself at that moment.  He watched on the monitor as the young nurse gently eased his daughter from Kathryn’s arms and clearly saw her confusion.

“I hadn’t thought about this bit…how she’d cope with us taking Rose back.”  He turned and looked at Dr. Fulton.

She nodded.  “It’s the hard part of all this, but we’ve broken through a barrier here today and that’s what matters most.”

Chakotay just shook his head.  “All I see is a confused woman who’s having a child taken from her arms and doesn’t understand why.”  At that he turned and walked out of the room.  He met the nurse in the corridor and took Rose from her.

“Chakotay…”  He turned to see that Elizabeth had followed him out of the room.  “I’ll say it again.  Cruel to be kind and all that.  You just have to trust me on this.”

Chakotay smiled down at his daughter then grew serious as he looked back at the doctor.  “I guess we’ll see.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay received the call very early the following morning.  He groggily stumbled to the communications unit.  Elizabeth’s concerned face looked back at him, causing a fear to fill him.  “I’m sorry to have to call you but…  She woke up screaming during the night.  We couldn’t calm her.”

Chakotay rubbed at his face, trying to force his heart rate back to normal.  “Why didn’t you call me then?”

Elizabeth shook her head.  “Chakotay, it was 04.00.”

He blew out a long breath.  “I don’t care.”  He sat down heavily.  “How is she now?”

Elizabeth shook her head.  “We gave her a mild sedative.  She’s calmer, but still very upset.  I don’t want to give her anything stronger.  We had to give her something though because I was afraid she’d hurt herself.  She eventually crawled into a corner and won’t leave it.  She slaps out at anyone who comes near her and I don’t want to upset her even more.”

Chakotay shook his head, his mind thinking ahead.  “Just let me get dressed and drop Rose off with B'Elanna.  I’ll be there as soon as I can.”


^^^^^^^^^^

Elizabeth glanced at Chakotay as they walked towards Kathryn’s room.  “Thanks for not saying ‘I told you so’.”

Chakotay just shrugged.  “What would that serve?  I expected something like this.”  He stopped when Elizabeth placed a restraining hand on his arm.

“Chakotay, I’m sorry she’s had this reaction but I don’t regret my decision.  This had to be done and I stand by what I said before.  Besides, I’d rather have this reaction than none at all.”

Chakotay held her eyes then slowly nodded.  “Maybe you’re right.  I just don’t know.”  He shook his head.  “Whoever was right, it doesn’t change what’s happening now.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly.  “No, it doesn’t.  Come on.”  She began walking again, Chakotay moving with her. 

^^^^^^^^^^

When Chakotay entered Kathryn’s room, he saw that the lights were dimmed and the curtains had been drawn. 

Elizabeth whispered to him.  “We wanted to keep things quiet and the low lighting helps that.  The rising sun pouring into the room wouldn’t be a good idea.”

Chakotay nodded in acknowledgement, his eyes on Kathryn now as she huddled in the corner, a nurse standing close by.  He moved towards her and then knelt down slowly before the frightened woman.  “Kathryn?”  No reaction.  She continued to cry.  “Kathryn…”  He took a chance and reached out to touch her arm.  “Kathryn…it’s Chakotay.”

Eventually his voice seemed to reach her and she looked up at him, her eyes filled with tears.  Her voice was a pained whisper.  “I lost the baby…”

Chakotay frowned, her words shocking him more than the fact that she’d spoken.  “What?”

She looked away a little.  “I lost the baby…”

Chakotay closed his eyes a moment and dropped his head back.  “Oh Kathryn.”

He looked back at her when she whispered again.  “I lost the baby…was here…  I looked…couldn’t find her…”

Chakotay’s eyes flew to Elizabeth.  “Her?  Which baby is she talking about?”

Elizabeth shook her head in confusion.  “I don’t know.  We couldn’t get a word out of her before you came.”  She knelt down beside her patient.  “Kathryn…which baby?”

Kathryn shook her head, her tears continuing.  “Baby was here.  I saw her.  I lost her.  She’s not here now.”

Elizabeth looked at Chakotay and saw that he knew what she was thinking.  She nodded at him.  “She may be tying the two babies together in her mind, but saying ‘she’ and ‘her’…  I think she means Rose.”

Chakotay groaned inwardly and squeezed Kathryn’s arm.  “Kathryn, she’s at home.  She’s fine.”

She looked up at him slowly.  “I didn’t lose her…didn’t hurt her?”

Chakotay tried to smile.  “No, you didn’t.  That was Rose…my daughter.  I brought her here to see you, and then I took her home.”  He saw her try to understand that.

She shook her head and then pulled her arm from his hold, trying to push back against the wall.  “No…no…you’re lying.  I lost her and you’re not telling me.  I hurt her or…”

Chakotay reached for her and grabbed her hands.  “I’m not lying, Kathryn.  I’ll prove it to you.  I’ll get her.”  He looked at Elizabeth for approval and she nodded.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Once outside Kathryn’s room, Chakotay rubbed at his face.  He shook his head as he looked at the doctor.  “What was all that?”

She shook her head.  “Somehow she’s connecting the two babies together in her mind and yet she referred to Rose as ‘she’ and ‘her’.  It tells me that Rose’s visits and what we said registered with her on some level.  Had she just been thinking about your son, she’d have said ‘he’ but something in her knew that the baby she was looking for was a girl.  I don’t think Kathryn realized what she was saying but her subconscious knew.”

Chakotay didn’t even try to think too deeply on that.  All he cared about now was Kathryn.  “Did I do the right thing?  I just said what came to mind.  It seemed the only way.”

Elizabeth sighed.  “It IS the only way.  If we don’t do this, she’ll never trust us again.  She needs to see that Rose is all right.”

Chakotay nodded.  “I left her with B'Elanna.  I’ll call her and have her bring Rose over.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Half an hour later Chakotay stood outside Kathryn’s room once again with his daughter in his arms.  He smiled his thanks to B'Elanna then nodded to Elizabeth.  “I’m ready.”

Elizabeth nodded back then opened the door, preceding Chakotay into the room.  Kathryn hadn’t moved from her ‘safe’ corner.  She sat with her arms wrapped around her knees, slowly rocking back and forth. 

Elizabeth moved over to her quietly and knelt down beside her.  “Kathryn, Chakotay’s back and he’s brought the baby with him.  Look.”  She pointed towards the door.  “She’s here and she’s just fine.  Why don’t you see for yourself?”

For several minutes Kathryn showed no reaction.  Elizabeth kept talking to her quietly, gently trying to draw her attention to Chakotay and Rose.  “Rose has come all this way to see you, Kathryn.  Don’t you want to see her?  She’s fine.  I promise you.  You didn’t hurt her and she wants to see you again.”

After another minute Kathryn eventually stopped her rocking.  Her eyes travelled across the floor until they came to Chakotay’s feet.  Inch by agonizing inch they travelled upwards until they reached his arms which held the sleeping baby.  She stared for several minutes, her breathing shallow and her eyes showing her confusion.

Chakotay stood very still and just watched her.  Eventually she moved slightly as if to get up, but then seemed to change her mind.  Elizabeth smiled at her patient.  “You can go to her, Kathryn.”

Chakotay watched as Kathryn moved again then changed her mind once more.  She seemed afraid as if what she was seeing wasn’t really there.  He took a step forward and spoke for the first time.  “Kathryn, come and see her.” 

Kathryn continued to just stare at the small bundle in Chakotay’s arms.  She reached out a hand and then withdrew it.  Elizabeth smiled at her.  “Go on, Kathryn.  Go and see her.  Touch her.  She’d like that.”

Chakotay moved closer and smiled down at her.  “Here she is, Kathryn.  She’s fine.”
 
Kathryn’s eyes left the baby for just a second as she looked up at him, then returned to the sleeping child.  She stared at her for a further minute, tears filling her eyes now.  Eventually she reached behind her, her hands searching for the wall.  She struggled to stand, using the wall as support.   Once upright she stood shakily, continuing to stare at Rose.  She reached out then drew her hand back.  She stood there, afraid to get too close or touch the little girl.

Chakotay watched her closely.  “You can touch her, Kathryn.  Do you want to hold her?  Rose would like that.”

That seemed to shock her out of it.  She slid along the wall away from him.  “No…no… I can’t.  I’ll hurt her…lose her.  I’m not allowed to…”

Chakotay sighed.  “Of course you’re allowed to.”

Kathryn kept shaking her head.  “No…not good.  I’ll do harm…can’t be trusted…”

Chakotay closed his eyes in pain.  Only Elizabeth heard his almost silent words.  “Oh God…this was my doing.  I did this.”  He moved closer to Kathryn and held Rose out to her.  “Kathryn, you can hold her…”

Suddenly Kathryn cried out and turned into the wall, her hands clawing at it.  “No…no…not safe…I’ll hurt her…no…”

^^^^^^^^^^

Elizabeth quickly took charge of the situation.  She stood up and moved between Chakotay and her patient.  “It’s OK, Kathryn.  You don’t have to hold her.”  She slipped her arm around Kathryn and hugged her.  “I just wanted you to see that the baby is fine.  You didn’t hurt her.  You can see that.”

She gently pulled Kathryn around to face her.  “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  Why don’t you get some rest now?  You’ve seen that the baby is fine.  You don’t have to do anything else.”

Kathryn held herself rigidly against the doctor.  Her voice was a mere whisper.  “I didn’t lose her…didn’t hurt her?”

Elizabeth smiled gently.  “No, you didn’t.  Look at her.  She’s just fine.”

Kathryn looked over the doctor’s shoulder at Rose, her fear clearly showing on her face.  Just at that moment the baby decided to open her eyes.  She stared up at her father, unconcerned about where she was as long as he was there.  Chakotay smiled down at her then looked back at Kathryn.

“She woke up to say hello to you, Kathryn.”  He tilted his arms so she could see the baby and watched the wonder on her face.  “She’s not able to say anything yet, but I know she’s happy to see you again.”

Kathryn stared at the tiny face for a moment and then backed into the wall again, shaking her head.  Elizabeth nodded at Chakotay.  “Maybe that’s enough for the moment.  We know she’s fine.  Let that sink in for a while.”

Chakotay nodded his understanding.  “OK.”  He smiled at Kathryn.  “We’ll see you later, Kathryn.  You get some rest.  I’ll bring Rose back to see you anytime you want.”  He nodded again to Elizabeth and then left the room, his heart aching at the knowledge that so much of this was his fault. 

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay waited outside until Elizabeth came out, having settled Kathryn with one of the nurses.  She smiled tiredly at him.

“She’s finally asleep.  She was exhausted.”

Chakotay was pacing up and down, B'Elanna holding Rose now.  “I don’t understand this.  She held Rose before.”

Elizabeth nodded and smiled tiredly.  “Yes, but I think that was pure instinct.  We all feel the need to help a crying baby.  It’s natural.  It’s possible she was just reacting to that.”

Chakotay stopped pacing and rubbed a hand across his face.  He felt the stubble on his chin and briefly remembered that he hadn’t had time to shave.  “So Rose didn’t bring her out of it the way you’d hoped.”  He wasn’t accusing her of anything.

The doctor shook her head slowly.  “Not in the way I’d hoped…no.  But she did bring her out of it enough for me to be able to work with her.  I also learned from tonight that some things registered with her…like Rose being a girl.  It’ll be hard, but we have a starting point that wasn’t there before.”  She sighed heavily.  “Look Chakotay, why don’t you take Rose home and come back later.  We need to talk about all this, but I need to get my thoughts together first.  We’re all tired and you probably haven’t had any breakfast.”

Chakotay glanced at B'Elanna and nodded.  “Yeah, you’re right.  I need to sort out my own thoughts.  My head’s all over the place.”

Elizabeth reached out and gripped his arm.  “Get some rest and come back later…late morning or early afternoon.  We’ll talk then.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Early that afternoon Chakotay sat in Elizabeth Fulton’s office and played with the tea she’d given him.  He studied the contents as he swirled the liquid.  “If we were in the southern hemisphere, this would swirl the other way.”  He looked up and shrugged.  “Sorry.  I don’t know where that came from.  I guess I just don’t know what to say.”

Elizabeth smiled her understanding.  “I’d heard that before.  Something about the pull of the poles.”  She licked at her lips.  “Chakotay…”

He looked up and shook his head.  “What was all that this morning?  I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I don’t understand what I saw earlier.  What about…?  I mean, she was like…  It’s like a breakdown or something.”  He put his cup down, stood up and walked towards the window.  It was becoming a favourite place.

He sighed heavily.  “OK…so you brought her out of it…but look at the pain you had to cause her to do that.”  He looked back at the doctor.

She nodded slowly.  “There was no other way that I saw except to shock her out of it.  I’d tried everything else, as you know.”

Chakotay still wasn’t convinced.  “But look where she is now.”

Elizabeth sat up straighter in her chair.  “Look, imagine her life since she lost the baby to where it is now.  Imagine that as one long line of time.  Kathryn left reality.  Coming back, or being brought back, was always risky in that we couldn’t know where along that line she’d emerge when she came back…in her mindset I mean.  I had hoped it would be near the end where the pain of her loss wasn’t as fresh, but it now seems it was further back.”

Chakotay shook his head angrily.  “Does it matter?  From what I can see, the pain is the same for her no matter where along that line of hers she was.  Yes she had pain at the start, but it was obviously just as bad at the end for her to try and kill herself.”

Elizabeth held her own anger in check.  “Yes, I agree…but we’ll deal with that.  Now I need to take her back through all that and help her deal with it.  I need to help her heal.”  She sighed.  “Chakotay, I understand your anger, but you have to let me do my job.”  She gave him a moment to let that sink in.  He nodded slowly as he looked out the window again.  “Chakotay, please come and sit down.  We need to talk about what we might expect.”

He turned and nodded, taking his seat again.  “You’re right.  I apologize.”

Elizabeth smiled her understanding.  “It’s OK.  I do understand.”

He sighed and shook his head.  “I wish I understood.  Do I expect more of the same?  Do I visit her?  Do I stay away?”

Elizabeth played with her cup.  “Something you have to remember is that you’ve had time to deal with this and get past your feelings.  Coming out of this as Kathryn has…  Well, it’s all new to her again.  Her feelings will still be raw and in her mind you’ll still be the man who hates her.”  Her eyes pleaded for his understanding.  “I don’t mean to hurt you by saying that, but it’s the truth.”

Chakotay’s hurt showed.  “I know.”  He looked down at his hands.  “She seemed so confused…almost like a child, and Kathryn Janeway was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known.  She was never confused.”  He looked up.  “I think I half expected her to just be her old self again.  And she refused to hold Rose…which, if I’m honest, I had expected.”

Elizabeth nodded, her face deadly serious.  “She’ll be confused for a while.  It can be likened to waking from a deep sleep, where it takes time to wake up and get your mind working again…to get mind and body cooperating with each other.  And of course she’s been hiding from everything by withdrawing deeply into her mind.  She may still not want to face reality.”

Chakotay frowned.  “I think I was amazed that she spoke.  Somehow I hadn’t expected that…or maybe I expected her to just be back to normal or…”  He blew out a long breath.  “I don’t know what I expected.”

The doctor nodded slowly.  “It’s hard to predict and it’s different with each patient.  It’s mostly the conscious mind that shuts down though.  The subconscious ticks along fine, even if it’s not acknowledged.  Patients can take a long time coming back, over days, weeks or even months …or they can suddenly snap back…depending on the trauma suffered…although there is usually a breathing space they take.  There’s always this confusion at first though.”

Chakotay sat back.  “So what do I do?  Do I visit or stay away?”

Elizabeth pondered that a moment.  “Give it a day or two and let me work with her.  I’ll call you and keep you informed.  If she asks for you or about Rose, I’ll get hold of you immediately.”

Chakotay thought about that.  “I know I question you, but I do trust you…and I’ll trust your judgement on this.”  He stood up slowly.  “Just don’t be surprised if I call every hour on the hour.”

^^^^^^^^^^


ON TO PART SIX.



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