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 Six.




Three days later Elizabeth finally allowed Chakotay to visit her patient again.

“We’ve made some good progress with her.  She’s responding to us at least.  She lets us lead her to the bathroom and once we start her off, she continues washing or whatever on her own.  She works with us to feed herself too, which is a big step forward.  She’ll even brush her own hair.  It’s all on autopilot though.  It’s her mind she’s refusing to let work, not her body, although I believe her mind is very capable of catching up if she’d just let it.  Trouble is, she’s trying to go back to her hiding place and I think we need to hold her here.  Call it small jolts to keep her grounded here, but that’s what we need.”

Chakotay pondered that.  “You want me to talk to her?”

The doctor sighed.  “I want you to just visit her as you have before and see if she responds to you.  Talk to her as you have been, but ask her questions as well.  Try and draw her out.  And talk about Rose openly.  Talk about her day…her nanny…her favourite toys.  Whatever comes to mind.”

Chakotay looked doubtful about that.  “What if I say the wrong thing?”

Elizabeth shook her head.  “You’re used to her the way she was, Chakotay.  Use your judgement and watch her face carefully.  Gauge her emotions as best you can.  If you sense it’s not right, pull back and change the subject.  Just trust your instincts.”

Chakotay rolled his eyes at that.  “You’ve a lot more faith in me than I have.”

The young woman smiled and shook her head.  “You’ll be fine.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the next week Chakotay tried to follow Elizabeth’s advice and talked to Kathryn about his life, easing in details of Rose’s day.  She never showed much reaction, merely glancing at him occasionally, but he always sensed she was deep in thought and taking everything in.

After several days of little or nothing from Kathryn, he sought out Elizabeth again, finding her in the garden having just finished a meeting with some of the nurses.  She was drinking a soda and smiled at him as he approached.

“I had a feeling you’d be looking for me.  Do you want to go to my office or can we talk out here?”

Chakotay looked up at the cloudless sky and smiled.  “I see so little of the outdoors these days so I’d rather stay out here, if that’s all right with you.”

Elizabeth smiled and nodded towards a garden bench.  “Come on.  Take a load off and sit with me.  What’s troubling you?”

Chakotay sat heavily and shook his head, blowing out a breath at the same time.  “What else?”  He glanced at the woman beside him and smiled softly at her then grew serious.  “Elizabeth, I can’t keep doing this.  I’m trying, but…  I really thought she’d…”

The doctor grew serious also, matching his mood.  She sat back and studied him a moment.  “Chakotay, there’s no quick fix for this.  Getting her this far is just one small step.”

Chakotay sighed.  “I know that.  I just expected…”

Elizabeth shook her head slowly.  “What are you looking for, Chakotay?  Did you think she’d automatically snap back to how she was before?”

He shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I don’t know what I thought or what I expected.  I told you this.”  He looked to her for help.

Elizabeth patted his arm.  “Just hang in there a while longer and see how it goes.  I believe we’re getting through to her.  I think she hears every single thing we say to her and is just taking it in slowly and working through it in her own time.  We need to give her that time and be patient.”

Chakotay sighed and rubbed his hands up and down his thighs.  “You’re the expert.  I’ll try and be patient then.”  He smiled at the doctor.  “Thanks.  I think I just needed a bit of reassurance from you.”

She laughed at that.  “I aim to please.”

^^^^^^^^^^

Slowly over the next week, with a lot of help and prompting from Elizabeth and the nurses, Kathryn slowly came back to the world around her, but the woman who emerged was one Chakotay didn’t recognize.  She moved around her room, or sat and stared out the window.  She mechanically washed herself and brushed her hair, but she was always silent with the exception of the odd meaningless sound.

Chakotay felt at a loss and found himself once more looking to Elizabeth for answers to questions he wasn’t even sure of.  Two weeks after Kathryn’s ‘awakening’, he called at her office and took up his usual post at the window.

“I don’t know what to do.  I’m trying to be patient as you said.  I know one thing though.  She’ll never be the woman I knew before.  I destroyed that woman.”

Elizabeth studied his back.  “Chakotay, everything that happens to us in life changes us in some way, to a greater or lesser degree…for good or bad.  Everything around us affects us.  That’s just natural.  I guarantee you’re not the same man who went to the Delta Quadrant.”

Chakotay turned his head to look at her.  “You’re right.  I’m not.”

Elizabeth nodded slowly.  “So…having said that…you’ll have to accept this Kathryn and get to know her.”

Chakotay looked back out the window.  “How can I do that when she doesn’t even talk to me?”  He drew in a deep breath.  “I realized something…during one of my late night thinking sessions.  I’ve realized that back then when I shut it all out and turned to running the ship, I’d become Kathryn…the Kathryn who was before we got together…shutting it all out…quoting parameters.  I look at her here and I see her doing that again now.  I see it all in her eyes when she looks at me.  And that’s all she does.  She just looks at me, but says nothing.  She acknowledges my presence, but I think she’s just sorting it all out in her mind somewhere…basically what you already said.”

The young woman nodded slowly at that.  “She doesn’t talk to me either…well, very little anyway.  I’ve gotten a few words but nothing real.”

Chakotay smiled sadly at that.  “It’s something.  I think she’d rather I wasn’t even there.”

Elizabeth dropped her head to the side, a pensive expression on her face.  “Why not ask her then?  Maybe you can push her into an answer.”

Chakotay looked doubtful.  “I think I’m afraid of the answer I might get.”  He shook her head.  “Still though…what else can I do?”

^^^^^^^^^^

When Chakotay called to see Kathryn the following day, he chatted about this and that for almost ten minutes, but she just stood quietly and stared out the window.  Finally he moved a little closer to her and watched her face carefully.

“Kathryn…”  She continued to stare unseeing through the window.  He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “Kathryn, would you rather I left?”  He was met with silence.  “If you don’t want me here…”  Nodding to himself, he turned away.  He glanced back at her one last time and saw her turn her head towards him. 

She looked at him briefly, more than the glances he’d become used to, before looking back out into the garden.  He saw her slowly draw in a long breath.  “No…”

He frowned and moved a little closer.  “No…you don’t want me here or you don’t want me to leave?”

She turned slowly to look at him.  “No…no…it’s just…”  She sighed heavily.  “It’s just strange.”  She moved away from him a little.

Chakotay stayed where he was, afraid of crowding her and unable to believe she’d actually spoken to him.  He glanced towards the hidden viewing panel hoping someone was watching.  “What’s strange?”  He laughed inwardly at that.  Everything about their lives during the past two years was strange.

Kathryn just shook her head sadly.  “I can’t get used to you…talking to me…being nice to me…”

Her words were like a dagger being plunged into his heart.  “Oh God Kathryn…I’m so sorry.  I was so wrong.”

Kathryn looked away.  “I don’t know…how to act…how to be…with you…I don’t…”

Chakotay felt weak and sat down heavily.  Any happiness he might have felt at her talking again was overshadowed by the pain her words caused.  He looked up at her.  “I’m sorry Kathryn.  I’m so sorry.”

She looked down at him, her face devoid of emotion.  “Why?  Why are you here…visiting me and being nice to me?  I thought you hated me.”

Chakotay dropped his head.  “For a long time I thought I did too.  Now I just hate myself.”  He raised his head and looked at her sadly.  “Kathryn, I have so much guilt about the way I acted…the way I treated you.”

Kathryn still showed no emotion as she stared back at him.  She simply shrugged and turned away, looking out the window again.  “I can’t help you with that.  I can’t even help myself.”

Chakotay felt the knife twist in his chest.  His eyes flew to the door when it opened and one of the nurses came in.  The young man smiled shyly.  “I’m sorry.  Visiting hours are over.”

Chakotay glanced once more towards the wall, knowing that Elizabeth was indeed watching and had decided that her patient had been through enough.  He nodded slowly and stood.  “Thank you.”  He moved a little closer to Kathryn.  “Can I come back and see you tomorrow?  I’d really like to.”

Kathryn’s expression didn’t change.  “If you want to.  I don’t care.”

His hand hovered in the air, about to squeeze her shoulder as he usually did.  Somehow it didn’t seem right anymore.  He nodded.  “OK Kathryn.  I’ll see you then.”  He turned and almost ran from the room.

^^^^^^^^^^

As expected, Elizabeth was waiting for Chakotay outside of Kathryn’s room.  He almost ran into her.

“Did you…  Did you see…hear…?”

Elizabeth took his arm and led him away from the door.  “Yes.  I saw and heard.”  She smiled.  “We’ve broken through another barrier today.”  She stopped now and looked up at him.  “Just be prepared.  This could continue as it is and she’ll talk more.  It could improve, or it could be all we get for awhile.  We just have to wait and see.”

Chakotay rubbed at his face.  “I can’t believe she talked at all.  And she didn’t punch me in the face and scream at me to get out…which I think I expected.  It’s certainly what I deserve.”

Elizabeth smiled slightly and shrugged.  “Don’t rule it out yet.  I may be in line for a smack in the face from her myself.”

^^^^^^^^^^

B'Elanna and Tom visited Kathryn as usual over the following days.  With them she didn’t speak at all, but they both told the doctor that they believed she had been listening to everything they said.

Chakotay got the same reaction, Kathryn just staring out the window while he chatted away.  He watched her carefully, knowing she was listening to him.  Her eyes told him that every word was being taken in. 

He moved a little closer to her.  “I asked you this before, Kathryn.  I’ll ask again.  Would you prefer I didn’t come and see you?”

He got no reaction as she continued to stare out the window.  He shook his head sadly and moved away.  He turned back when he heard her inhale a deep breath and let it out again…slower than a sigh.

Kathryn stayed beside the window and dropped her head.  Her voice was almost a whisper.  “Memories and dreams…”

Chakotay frowned and moved a little closer to her.  “Sorry?”

Kathryn continued to stare out the window, her voice hard now.  “Memories and dreams, Chakotay.  Which live longer?”

He continued to frown, but his heart flipped at the sound of her saying his name after so long.  “I’m not following you.”

Suddenly she turned her head to look at him.  “It’s a simple question really.  Do memories live longer than dreams?”  She frowned deeply, her eyes darting along the floor.  “Or is it the other way around?”  She shook her head, looking confused now.  She looked around her, as if talking to herself.  “Maybe it’s just memories that stay with us and haunt us forever…and we’re not supposed to have dreams at all.”

She looked up suddenly, a strange glint in her eyes.  “Yes, that’s it.  Dreams are bad things.  They promise you all these false hopes, but never deliver.”  She frowned again.  “It’s cruel really, but I think that’s the punishment for having the dreams in the first place.”

Chakotay felt a deep concern as he watched her.  He glanced towards the wall where the viewing panel was hidden, hoping Elizabeth was there or that the technician on duty had called for her.  He looked back at the woman beside him, finding her watching him.  “Kathryn, we all have dreams.  We need them and we’re entitled to them.”

Kathryn suddenly turned on him, her voice rising.  “No, you’re wrong.  Only some are entitled.  The rest of us only think we are and we reach for them and then get burned.”  She waved a finger at him.  “You see I know, because I had a dream once…only it wasn’t meant for me.”  She waved her hand wildly now.  “Of course I ignored that fact and I got punished for it.”  She shook her head and stared unseeing at the wall, as if lost in her own world.  Her voice was softer now.  “I have memories of that dream, but they haunt me.”

Chakotay moved towards her, startling her back to an awareness of his presence.  “Kathryn, you were entitled to your dreams.”

Suddenly she screamed at him.  “No, I wasn’t.  I should have learned that.  I got enough warnings, but I didn’t listen.  Dreams aren’t meant for people like me.”

Chakotay felt scared as he watched her.  “People like you?”

She glared at him, her eyes wild.  “Yes…people sent to hurt others.  I touch people’s lives and I destroy them.”

Chakotay moved to her now, not thinking what was right or wrong.  He grabbed her by the shoulders, turning her to face him.  “You’re wrong.”

She pulled easily from his grasp.  “No, I’m not.  The proof is there.”

Nothing existed for Chakotay outside of the two of them.  He felt his anger rise.  “I think you apply too much importance to your ‘power’ and ‘influence’, Kathryn.  People…individuals…are perfectly capable of destroying their own lives…causing themselves enough harm…all on their own.  They can do it perfectly well without you.  And sometimes it just happens for no reason.”

Kathryn backed away and shook her head.  “No, it’s me.  I killed my father and Justin.  I left Mark.  I stranded my crew in the Delta Quadrant and not content with that, I killed many of them while doing it.  I left my mother to die alone and alienated my sister.”  She stared hard at him.  “I destroyed your life…murdered your child.  You need to stay away from me.  Keep your child away from me.  Keep them all away.  I’ll just destroy you all.”  She began to pace and wring her hands together.  “I bring death and destruction.  That’s all I’m good for.”

Chakotay watched her, his shock giving way to a deep sadness.  “Oh Kathryn…I’m so sorry.”

Her eyes flew to his.  “For what?  Pointing out the obvious?  You knew what I was and still you were with me…until I proved to you what I was capable of.”  She laughed suddenly, an empty sound.  “At least you had the good sense to walk away before I killed you too.”  She saw him advance on her and backed away, shaking her head wildly.  “Just go.  Leave me.”

Chakotay’s anger returned.  “Leave you to what, Kathryn?  Leave you so you can try and kill yourself again?”  The words were out before he thought.

Kathryn just glared back at him.  “So what?”

He shook his head in amazement.  “They won’t let you out of here until you’re well again.”

Kathryn laughed sarcastically.  “I’m not sick.  I’ve just had enough.  Anyway, I don’t care if they never let me out of here.  There’s nothing out there for me.  I don’t care if they keep me locked up here forever.”  She waved him away.  “Just go.  Leave me here to rot.  I deserve it.”

Chakotay sighed heavily, his anger abating now.  “You’re depressed, Kathryn.  You’ve been through a terrible time, but you can recover.  You’ve been depressed before but you were strong and beat it.  You can do it again.”

She sneered at him.  “Maybe I don’t want to.”

Chakotay watched her sadly.  “Apart from what I did to you, you had seven hard years out there.  You need to recover from that.  I also think you’re depressed and that has become ingrained with you.  You know no other way now.  You need to learn to be happy again…want to be happy again.”

Kathryn merely shrugged at that.  “What is happiness anyway?  Personally I think it’s over-rated.”  She moved slowly back towards the window, her voice softer now.  “I’m tired of living and being what people want or expect me to be.  It’s too damn hard.  I like this way better.”

Chakotay moved after her.  “Kathryn, you were catatonic…totally withdrawn.”

She glanced back at him.  “Whatever label they want to give it, I liked it better.  I just know I was happier there.  I’d escaped and you brought me back.”  She looked back out the window.  “Damn you all for that.”

^^^^^^^^^^

When Chakotay came out of Kathryn’s room, Elizabeth was standing outside the technician’s office.  She met his eyes, but said nothing, merely sweeping her hand towards her office.  Chakotay nodded numbly and followed her.

He sat and stared at a painting of some rolling hills on one of the walls.  He broke his stare when Elizabeth placed a cup of tea in his hand and sat down opposite him.

Chakotay looked down at the cup in his lap.  “That all shocked the hell out of me.  From a few words to…that…that…”

Elizabeth nodded slowly as she took a sip of her tea.  “I’ll be honest and say it shocked the hell out of me too.  I was watching, as I know you guessed, and I debated whether to intervene or not.  In the end, I let it go.  I wanted to see what she was capable of.”

Chakotay almost snorted.  “You got enough there for quite a few reports.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly.  “It confirms my suspicions that she was ticking along just fine in her mind since she came back to us.  She was just chewing through it.  She surpassed even my thoughts on that.”

Chakotay shook his head slowly and studied his cup.  “What was all that?  I was shocked to hear her say so much, and yet what she said was…”  He looked up, his eyes asking for some sense of an answer.

The doctor placed her cup on her desk.  “You have to understand that there are a lot of feelings inside her…a lot of anger and confusion…hurt and pain.  Seven years of captaining Voyager in the Delta Quadrant also weakened her and took its toll.  I think what you saw was some of that coming out.  It had to come out.  However, because it came out in a rush, if you like, it sounded…well…exactly what you heard.”

Chakotay shook his head.  “Sorry for how it sounds, but it came out as some kind of madness…like she was having a nervous breakdown or something.”  His eyes apologized for his words.

Elizabeth smiled sadly.  “You’re being honest about how you feel, Chakotay.  Don’t apologize for that.”  She rubbed at her eyes tiredly.  “What worries me most is how she feels about ‘being back’.”

Chakotay closed his eyes for a moment and nodded.  “She damned us all for that.”

Elizabeth leaned back in her chair.  “I heard.  And I guess that’s our starting point now.”

Chakotay finished his tea and watched the woman sitting across from him.  “What happens now?  Should I continue to come here or what?”

The doctor thought about that.  Finally she nodded.  “For the moment.  I suspect she’ll be quieter for the next few days now that some of the pressure has been released, if you like.  She could also keep lashing out for a while.  We’ll just have to wait and see.”  She leaned forward.  “Come as normal, but let her take the lead.  We’ll see how it goes.”

^^^^^^^^^^

If Chakotay thought he’d find a quieter Kathryn during his next visit, he was in for a shock.  The woman who stood before him now was almost a stranger to him.  There was a coolness about her as she studied him.

Her voice, when she spoke, sounded strange in the quiet room.  “I’m well aware of why I’M here.  Why are you here?  How did you know where I was?”

Chakotay sighed gently.  “Your doctor, Elizabeth Fulton, came to see me.  She asked me to come and see you…thought it might help.”

Kathryn digested that as she regarded him coldly.  “I see.”  She turned away from him and stared out into the garden.

Chakotay moved a little closer to her.  “Kathryn, she just wanted to help you.  She was doing her job.  She also cares.”

Kathryn spun around, her eyes narrowing.  “I know why they put me in here.  I’m well aware of that.  I don’t need a shrink to tell me the reasons.”  She shook her head slowly.  “So I take it you know all the sordid details.”  It wasn’t quite a question and Chakotay’s eyes gave her the answer she sought.  She almost snorted as she shook her head again looking almost like the Kathryn he remembered  “I thought so.”

Chakotay spread his hands.  “Kathryn, I’m here because…”

Kathryn suddenly turned on him.  “Oh, I’m sure you have your own sick and selfish reasons.”  She stabbed a finger towards him.  “You come here…  You come here….not on your own, mind you…  You come here and…  What?  Did you want to see the freak show?” 

Her words cut him to the core.  He saw her anger rise and it scared him.  He risked a glance towards the wall panel and moved towards the window, clearing a way for Elizabeth to observe her patient.  “Kathryn, I wanted to come.”

Kathryn’s face twisted in anger.  “No.  You came here because SHE sought you out and asked you to come.  Right?”  She waved her hand angrily in the air as she sneered at him.  “So after all this time, you come to see me.  Feeling sorry for yourself, are you?  Maybe a little guilty?”

Chakotay stepped away from the window.  “I have a lot of guilt.  I also thought I could help.”

She laughed at that, the sound cutting through the air.  “Help?  Help?  It must be hard to live with being so arrogant.  Do you think you’re the magic wand that will make me all happy again?  Do you think my happiness and will to live depends on you?  How dare you.”  She spit her words at him.

Chakotay stared at her in shock.  “I didn’t think that.”

Kathryn laughed sarcastically again.  “Yes, you did.”  She changed the tone of her voice.  “What was it?  ‘Oh, I’ll be nice to her, and she’ll be so happy about that she’ll bounce back and be all right again’.”  She stabbed a finger at him again.  “You’re so damned arrogant.  You think because you walked away that I couldn’t live without you?” 

She stepped forward quickly and slapped his face hard.  “Damn you.  You weren’t the only thing in my life.  Other things mattered too.  I wasn’t that shallow or pathetic.  ‘Oh, without my man I can’t go on’.  Well, fuck you, Chakotay.”

He stared at her in shock.  “Kathryn…”

She wasn’t finished.  “I know what you were thinking.  ‘I’ll throw her some crumbs and she’ll be so grateful’.”  She took a step back from him.  “You think that’ll get you off the hook and appease your guilt…wipe out what you did to me?”  She slammed her fist against her own chest.  “I’m responsible for how I ended up, but you’re responsible for the way you treated me.”  She circled him and moved back to the window.  “I’ll deal with my sins.  You deal with your own.”

Chakotay continued to stare at her, his mind in turmoil.  He reached a hand out.  “Kathryn, it wasn’t…”  She looked back at him, her eyes challenging him.  He shook his head.  “I know what I did to you…how I treated you.  I’m sorry.  I know what I caused.”

She shocked him again as she advanced on him.  “You can’t come charging in here on your white horse and rescue me.  You also can’t just say sorry and expect the past to never have happened…for it to evaporate.”  She sneered at him again.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not just going to fall into your arms sobbing in gratitude.  You can’t pat me on the back and say ‘there…there…I’m back…it’s all over…all OK now’.”

She shook her head angrily.  “And another thing.  You act like it’s all to do with you…all down to you.  Well, it isn’t.  There’s a lot of pain inside me.”  She stared hard at him trying desperately to suppress a sob.  “Losing the baby was a major part of that.  I blamed myself for a long time.  That lessened somewhat when the Doc told me he would have been handicapped and that I’d probably have miscarried anyway.”  She stopped dead at that, her eyes wide.

Chakotay looked at her sadly.  “It’s OK.  I know all about it.  Voyager’s Doc told me.”

Kathryn took a moment with that and he saw her demeanour soften.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t think.”

He nodded.  “It’s OK.”

She looked away and was silent for several moments before turning back to look at him.  “Knowing that didn’t take all the guilt away.  I still took the risk and that was wrong.  I have to live with that…with the knowledge that I lost our baby…your baby…”  She held his eyes as she said that, then looked away.

“Later though…that was you.”  She looked back at him, her voice quieter now.  “When I needed you most, you weren’t there.  You walked away from me.  You left me alone to deal with that.  There were times during that first month when I thought I’d go mad with the pain and loneliness.  I came close to ending it many times then.”

She saw the pain her words caused, but hardened herself to it.  “But I forced myself to think of the crew, who didn’t deserve the fallout from our lives.”  She laughed slightly.  “I even thought of you.  I thought of the promise I’d made to get you all home.  That’s the only thing that kept me going.”  She shrugged.  “When that was done…when I’d achieved that…”  Her voice trailed off for a moment and she looked sadly out the window.  “There was nothing else…nothing left…no one…”

Chakotay’s pain was clearly written on his face.  “Oh God, Kathryn…I’m so sorry.”  It was all he seemed capable of saying, but his words seemed to snap her out of it.

Kathryn shook her head suddenly and looked confused for a moment then glared at the man before her.  “Damn you, Chakotay.  Why did you make me bring all that out?  I wanted to forget all this.”

Chakotay saw an opening and went for it.  “Kathryn, maybe it’s better to face it and deal with it.”  It was the wrong thing to say. 

Kathryn’s head snapped round and she almost hissed at him.  “I don’t want to face it or deal with it.  I’ve lived it.  That was enough for one lifetime.  The memories are too…”  She twisted her hands together.  “You must have gotten a sick pleasure in bringing your child here…using her to get to me.”

Chakotay’s eyes widened in shock.  “You think I brought my daughter here to hurt you?”  He fell back, shaking his head.  “Oh God, how could you think that?”

He saw from her eyes that Kathryn regretted her words, but it was too late to take them back.  She whispered softly.  “That hurt.”

He nodded.  “I know.  It wasn’t my idea.”

She didn’t seem to hear him as she went back to stand guard at the window.  Suddenly she turned back to look at him.  “I think visiting time is over.”  She might as well have been back on Voyager telling him ‘Dismissed’.

Chakotay just stood and stared at her, not knowing what to say at this point.  He once again glanced towards the wall, and when he looked back saw Kathryn watching him.  She smiled to herself and shook her head, then turned back to the window

^^^^^^^^^^

Having seen the turn in her patient, Elizabeth Fulton opened the door and walked into the room.  She smiled at Chakotay and nodded.  “I think that’s enough for today.  Kathryn needs her rest.”

Kathryn turned and stared hard at the doctor.  “And what have you got to say for yourself?”

Elizabeth refused to get flustered by the sudden question.  “Good afternoon to you too, Kathryn.  You’re doing well.”

Kathryn tossed her head back.  “You’re the expert.”

Elizabeth wasn’t going to be drawn.  “Not a good day?”

Kathryn sneered.  “Not a good life.”  She softened.  “I hate all these memories.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly.  “Take those memories, Kathryn.  Turn them into dreams.”

Kathryn stared at the other woman and then looked at Chakotay, as if suddenly remembering he was still there.  She smiled slowly as she looked back at Elizabeth.  “Oh yes…”  She jerked her finger towards the wall.  “I’ve noticed our friend here and some of the nurses glance at this wall from time to time.  Your timing coming in here just now and your comment about memories and dreams tells me they all report to you.  You don’t train your little helpers very well, do you?  I should have known you’d be watching me and listening to me.  Get some good images, did you?  Have a laugh with your fellow doctors?  Fill out loads of reports?  I do hope I put on a good and entertaining show for you.”

Elizabeth stood her ground as she held Kathryn’s gaze.  “It’s for your own safety and it’s the law.  All that I do is for your own good.”

Kathryn’s anger rose to the surface again.  “No, it’s not.”  She gestured towards Chakotay, who stood rooted to the spot.  “You’re as bad as him.  You brought him here…told him everything.  How dare you.  You had no right to go to him.  You had no right to discuss me with him.”

Elizabeth moved further into the room.  “I know that, Kathryn, but I could think of no other way to reach you…and it worked.”

Kathryn turned away, her anger abating from exhaustion more than anything.  “Your methods are cruel then.  You should have just left me there…left me where I was.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly.  “Left you in a catatonic state, Kathryn?”

Kathryn spun around with tears in her eyes.  “I was happy there.”

Kathryn’s eyes flew to the door as it suddenly opened.  B'Elanna walked in, inhaling the scent from a bouquet of flowers she carried.  She looked up and smiled for a brief moment before the smile fell from her face as she took in the scene before her.

Kathryn advanced on her visitor.  “Well…well…Lieutenant Torres.  Were you in on this little stunt too?  Did she recruit you as well?”

B'Elanna looked around at the others then back at her former captain.  “In on what?”

Kathryn rolled her eyes and waved her hand towards the other two.  “All this charade…using the baby…”

B'Elanna shrugged slightly.  “Not at first.  I knew later and I came to see you.”  She took the plunge.  “It was my idea about Rose though.”

Kathryn folded her arms and glared at the younger woman.  “Yes…well, I’ll deal with you later.”

Kathryn went to turn away but B'Elanna stepped into her path, a look of shocked amusement on her face.  “I beg your pardon?  You’ll deal with me later?  You’re not my captain anymore.  We’re not in Starfleet now.  The playing field is even, Kathryn Janeway.  I came here as a friend.”  With that she shoved the flowers into Kathryn’s arms.  “Here.”

Kathryn had the good grace to look embarrassed.  She walked over to the chair and put the flowers down on it, then looked back at B'Elanna.  “I’m sorry.  You’re right.  Thank you for the flowers.”  She sighed heavily and looked at them all in turn, a sad look on her face.  She returned to her window and shrugged.  “It doesn’t matter anyway.”  She stared hard at Elizabeth.  “After today’s little outbursts, she’ll never let me out of here again.  She’ll have me committed, if she hasn’t already.”

She waved a hand at them all.  “Oh, just get out.  All of you.  Leave the madwoman with some privacy.”  She turned back to look out the window, jerking her thumb towards the wall.  “Barring the security of course.”  With that she turned her back on them all, her actions saying louder than words that she was finished.

^^^^^^^^^^

Elizabeth gave her patient time to reflect.  Two hours later she pushed open the door and entered Kathryn’s room.

Kathryn was again staring out the window, her hands playing with the curtain.  She glanced back at the doctor.  “What do you want?”

Elizabeth moved to the other side of the window.  “Feel better, do you?  I bet it feels good to have gotten all that out.  It’s probably the first time in years you’ve felt anything that self-preserving.”  She moved to one of the hard backed chairs and sat down.  “Kathryn, everything you’ve felt since all this began has been negative…inwardly destructive.  Pain, depression, grief, loss, hurt, fear.  Now you have anger and that’s actually a positive emotion for you.  You’re suddenly fighting…standing up for yourself.  It actually matters to you what the rest of us are thinking and talking about.”

Kathryn left her window and moved to her usual chair.  She sat slowly, folded her arms then glared at the doctor.  “Swallow some of our text padds, did we?”

Elizabeth gave a small smile.  “Sarcasm?  That’s good too.”

Kathryn looked away.  “You think you have all the clever answers, don’t you?  You have the solution to this.”

Elizabeth looked at her patient sadly.  “No, Kathryn, I don’t...but you do.  Inside you.  I’m just here to help you see it…help you find it and know where to look.”

Kathryn just looked down at her hands in her lap.  “What if I don’t want it…this solution of yours?”

Elizabeth leaned forward.  “I think you do.  You care, Kathryn.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have gotten so angry.”

Kathryn stood up quickly and returned to the window.  “You think you’re so damn smart.”

Elizabeth stood also.  “No Kathryn.  If I’d been smart, I’d never have let you go after the first time you tried to end it all.”

Kathryn’s eyes flew to hers before she dropped them.  She studied the floor for several moments.  “I hate you.”  She knew it sounded childish, but she didn’t care.

Elizabeth smiled at that.  “Good.  I’d rather you hate me than yourself.”

Kathryn lowered her voice and looked down at her feet.  “It’s my life.”  She jumped when Elizabeth grabbed her arms and pulled her around to face her.

“Yes it is, Kathryn.  So damn well fight for it.”

^^^^^^^^^^


ON TO PART SEVEN.




RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.

RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.


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