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

Rating:          NC 17.  Kids go play elsewhere.  Contains adult material.

Summary:     Kathryn goes to see Chakotay one last time in the hope
                      that he has moved on and put her apparent betrayal behind him
                      but strong feelings are still there.

This came from an idea I got while reading another story.  I can’t remember either the author or the title of the story.  If it’s yours, contact me and I’ll give the well-deserved credit where it’s due.



Next day, the story broke and all hell broke with it at Starfleet.  There was not one detail that was spared and by the end of the day, Kathryn Janeway had been completely vindicated and a lot of people hung their heads in shame and three Admirals went to prison.  Those still left alive from the original plot joined them and even the Cardassians involved were dealt with by their own.  Everything was settled within one day, so eager were Starfleet to save face.  No Maquis would ever be charged and Admiral Paris, in return for his testimony was allowed to quietly retire.  The next generation of Starfleet vowed that nothing like this would ever happen again. 

Tom, B’Elanna and Owen Paris went with Chakotay when he returned to Kathryn’s apartment and this time they managed to get in.  They were shocked by the emptiness of the place.  “How did she clear everything out so quickly?” Chakotay asked no one in particular.   Owen Paris answered sadly.
“Actually it looks to me as if nothing’s missing.  I’ve been here twice and it has always been this way, this empty.” 

This only served to hurt Chakotay and the others more and he cried inwardly to think again of the loneliness of Kathryn’s life.  From speaking with the building superintendent, they knew Kathryn had left in a hurry and there was no forwarding address and so Chakotay readied himself for a search, knowing he wouldn’t rest until he found Kathryn, one way or the other.

Over the next week, all his efforts led nowhere.  Finally he had the idea of tracing her last known movements and checked at the transporter station.  Here he discovered the details of Kathryn’s collapse and how she was taken to the clinic semi-conscious.  At the clinic, he managed to speak with Dr. Chang and eventually with the help of Owen Paris and his connections, managed to get hold of her medical records and they made him feel even worse.  He read the doctor’s words of  ‘all the classic signs of rape but no defence injuries.  Patient was either unconscious during attack or for some reason, didn’t fight back or defend herself in any way.  Only sign of restraint was bruising on the wrists and only sign of resistance was heavy bruising on the area of the inner thighs.  Penetration was brutal and considerable tearing and bleeding occurred.  There were also injuries to the area of the breasts.  Patient left the clinic before full treatment could be administered although bleeding had been arrested.  As no identification was available, no follow-up treatment can be administered’.

Now that the entire truth was finally out in the open, Chakotay, Tom and B’Elanna started to hear from other crewmembers, each one feeling as bad as the other.  Knowing it was useless, Chakotay checked and double-checked with each of them to see if anyone had seen Kathryn or heard from her but he knew she wouldn’t have approached anyone from her old life.  He checked her mother’s house and had someone keep an eye on the place in case she showed up there.  He even had her name and description circulated around all the major hospitals and clinics in case she was admitted but there was never any word of her.

One night, almost three months later, he sat in the study of Tom and B’Elanna’s house, almost his home these days and poured over lists of unidentified admissions to hospitals around the country and even unidentified bodies in morgues but as usual there was nothing.  Every avenue of inquiry he had followed up these last months, had led to nothing and with almost the entire crew back on earth and helping in the search, he was just about starting to despair.

B’Elanna brought him some herb tea and he leaned back in his chair, rubbing his eyes.  “How can someone just disappear off the face of the earth?”  he asked wearily.  “We know for certain she didn’t leave Earth as we’ve checked every station and shuttle dock, so where could she be?”

Tom came in, catching what Chakotay had said and sat down.  “Look, maybe it’s just her description we should be concentrating on.  Kathryn’s a smart woman and she probably isn’t using her own name, hell she could even have altered her appearance.” 

“That or she’s lying dead somewhere and will never be found” Chakotay replied painfully, standing up and going to the window. 

“No, we can’t believe that.  We have to keep trying”  B’Elanna was close to tears. 

The silence was broken by an incoming message from a former crewmember, Ensign Morgan, asking if he could call by.  He wanted to speak to them in person and could be there within the hour.

What they heard from Ensign Morgan raised their hopes but gave them all fresh fears.  The young Ensign told them how he believed he had seen Kathryn the previous day.  He had been to a clinic with his wife for her check-up.  He told them that he had called out to her but she had fled upon seeing him from the far side of the room.  He guardedly told them that she had looked very thin and unwell.  Chakotay asked him which clinic it had been and when he told them, B’Elanna gasped and shared a knowing look with the Ensign.  She asked him if Kathryn had looked as if ‘she belonged there’ and he had answered her yes.

B’Elanna asked Tom to bring their guest to the kitchen for something to eat and then faced Chakotay.  “Well?” he demanded  “What was that about, what’s wrong, what is that place?”  She eased him into a chair and sat facing him.  “Chakotay, that clinic is.....well, it’s for women with problem pregnancies.”  The world seemed to stop for him, no sounds, nothing.  “And she seemed to look as if she belonged there, in other words, she looked pregnant.” 

The shock was almost too much for him.  While he was over the moon to know she was still alive, if indeed it was her, he now worried about her health and what she was going through alone.  “It had to be her, didn’t it, I mean, Morgan knows her, he couldn’t be mistaken, could he?” 

B’Elanna looked at him and shook her head.  “I doubt she’ll go back there now, knowing someone’s seen her, but it’s a fresh place to start searching.  She must have given some address, some information.  The only problem is that the clinic does such great work, that women come from all over to attend it and if she gave a false address, then......but.....wait, Chakotay listen, she’ll have to attend some doctor or hospital, and while she can use a false name, address, even date of birth, what she can’t change is her due date, she wouldn’t and couldn’t change that and we can use that to trace her.  It may take some time and computer searching but it has to work.”

Kathryn had gotten the shock of her life when Ensign Morgan had called out to her and without thinking, had fled as quickly as she could.  She hadn’t wanted to come back to the city for fear of someone seeing her, but at her doctor’s insistence and because this baby meant everything to her, she had had no choice and so she had taken the chance.

Once she had left her apartment that day, Kathryn Janeway had become Jane Edwards and she moved from hotel to hotel trying to come to terms with what had happened.  Because of constantly being on the move and trying to stay out of sight, Kathryn was completely unaware of everything else going on the world and so no details of events at Starfleet and her exoneration had filtered through to her.  Her morbid thoughts had grown stronger over the following four weeks and at first she had blamed her state of mind for feeling unwell but eventually it had dawned on her that it was something physical causing her nausea and dizziness and finally she went to see a doctor, who confirmed her pregnancy.

She had sat in a lonely hotel room for two days straight, sorting her thoughts and knew for certain that she could do nothing that would harm this part of the man she still loved which was now growing inside her, and so over the following weeks, she had rented a house about twenty miles from San Francisco and tried to take better care of herself. 

Due to her neglect of herself, problems with her pregnancy had shown up almost immediately and her doctor had insisted that she attend the clinic in the city, once every two weeks and she had gone, each time terrified that someone she knew would see her and now it had happened.

The house was near enough so she could travel easily to the clinic but still outside the city, away from anyone she knew.  She sorted her affairs and prepared for the coming child.  She decided that when the child was born, her instructions would be for him or her to be given to Chakotay and then she would finish her business and she would never need to enter Chakotay’s life again.  She knew he still hated her but she also knew he would take care of their child no matter how he felt about her.

As she lay in bed that night, she knew it was only a matter of time before Morgan reported his sighting of her to Chakotay and then another thought struck her.  Why had she assumed all along that Chakotay was looking for her?  He hated her, maybe felt a bit guilty for what had happened that day at his house, but that didn’t mean he would try and go after her.  Maybe all her running and hiding had been for nothing, still it was better not to take the chance.  Tomorrow she would make arrangements to move on.

Chakotay and B’Elanna sat long into the night, pouring over computer records.  They had received the list of patients at the clinic that day and the name Jane Edwards had jumped out at them but they still had to be sure.  The date of birth was different but the year matched. 

“She would have to give her right age Chakotay”  B’Elanna told him.  “That information would be vital to her doctors, and this address has to right, for test results and the like to be forwarded to her.  It at least has to be an address she has access to.”  Chakotay was close to breaking point. 

“The due date for the baby ties in also.  It has to be her but she’s aware of having been seen now and will probably run again.  First thing in the morning, we go there.”

Next morning, Kathryn was up early and was packing up her few possessions.  As usual she seemed to spend more time in the bathroom retching than anything else.  As she packed the last of her things, she was unaware of the man watching the house.  Chakotay had checked around the house and had caught a glimpse of her passing a window and so leaving B’Elanna and Tom waiting across the road, he had hidden himself at the side of the house, trying to decide the best plan of approach.  When he caught sight of Kathryn opening the front door, bag in hand ready to leave, his decision was made for him.  He watched as she closed the door behind her and slowly walked down the few steps then he carefully stepped out behind her and softly said her name.

Kathryn dropped her bag in shock and spun round to the sound of his voice and their eyes met, tears in his and panic in hers.  Chakotay saw panic and then fear in Kathryn’s eyes and felt as if a knife had stabbed his heart, knowing he had caused this.  His eyes moved down her body and he saw the swell of their child, clearly evident against her thin frame. 

“Kathryn, please....”   He moved towards her, holding his hand out to her but she backed away, panic still in her eyes and joined now by her tears.  She looked around her wildly for an escape route and saw Tom and B’Elanna blocking her way, they having come across the road when they saw her emerge from the house. 

“Kathryn, please,  I’m not going to hurt you.  I just want to talk to you” Chakotay pleaded. 

Kathryn was turning in circles, still looking for a way out when Chakotay reached out to her and
gently touched her arm but she recoiled as if burned, her eyes wild and tears streaming down her face. 

“No, please......”  was all she managed and then the ground was coming up to meet her and suddenly she felt Chakotay’s strong arms around her, holding her tightly and all she could hear through the roaring sound in her ears was his tearful voice whispering her name over and over and then came the blessed blackness.

Chakotay lifted her in his arms, shocked by how little she weighed and they got her back into the house.  He noticed quickly that only one room was furnished and he crossed to the bed and gently laid her down.  “Get a doctor here now, quickly”  he shouted.

As Tom took care of this, B’Elanna came over to Chakotay with a damp cloth and started wiping Kathryn’s face.  They shared a worried look and then B’Elanna backed off, letting Chakotay sit on the bed beside Kathryn.  As they waited for help, they both looked around the small room, at how empty it was, just the bed, a table and a single chair and the sadness of it all squeezed Chakotay’s heart tightly, causing him to almost struggle for breath.  He turned back to Kathryn and gently stroked her face, seeing for the first time just how pale she was and then his eyes were drawn to her arms, where her sleeves had fallen back and he saw the scars there from her burns and his heart constricted painfully again.

Within ten minutes, a doctor had arrived and immediately ordered a transport for Kathryn to the hospital and the next two hours were the longest of Chakotay’s life, as he waited for news of Kathryn’s condition.  Finally a doctor approached them and motioned for them to sit and Chakotay found himself holding his breath, terrified of what he was going to hear. 

“She’s malnourished, very underweight, anaemic and her blood pressure is basically through the roof” he told them.  “I’ve received her medical records from the clinic and the doctor she was attending and we’ve got things under control for the moment but she still has a lot of problems ahead, including from what I can gather, her mental state.”  He looked at Chakotay.  “From what I understand, she has no family?”  Chakotay nodded sadly.  “You are the father of the baby?” 

“Yes, for all the good I’ve been.  I only found out she was pregnant.  She’d run off......I didn’t know.....”  He couldn’t go on.

“You’re here now” the doctor said  “but I warn you, you’ve a rough road ahead.  Are you up to it?” 

Chakotay was choking up and found it hard to speak.  “I’ll be here for her, I promise, I won’t leave her.” 

“We’ll all be here for her” Tom and B’Elanna spoke together. 

“I’m going to keep her sedated for a few days, to bring her blood pressure under control as that’s the biggest problem we have but you can sit with her.  I’ll show you to her room and I’ll be by later to check on her.”  The doctor rose and they followed him.

Over the next few days, as Kathryn lay pale and still, Chakotay never left her side.  Almost all the crew called by at one time or another and Kathryn’s room steadily filled with flowers and gifts.  Sadness and guilt was on the face of every caller and Chakotay recognized it immediately as it was a mirror reflection of how he felt.  He sat talking to her and reading to her and begging forgiveness and he watched as the life giving liquids of the intravenous drips travelled into her veins, blood to counteract her anaemia and fluids which provided the nourishment she and the baby desperately needed.

Tom and B’Elanna were in and out all the time but the saddest sight was Owen Paris, as he stood at the end of Kathryn’s bed, openly weeping and begging Kathryn’s forgiveness, until Tom gently led him out and took him home.

Kathryn’s doctor, feeling Chakotay was in fact her next-of-kin now, held nothing back from him.  He told him that the baby was small but that with the right care, it shouldn’t be a problem and was probably better for Kathryn.  He explained that because Kathryn herself was so small, giving birth could present complications, but they would have to wait and see how things went and in any event, if there were too many problems, they could always section her.  He then told Chakotay of the legal document which had been placed on Kathryn’s file, declaring that the baby was to be given to him upon birth and Kathryn’s estate placed in trust for the child.  This hit Chakotay very hard and he shared it with B’Elanna when she came by later.  “She really was going to do it, end it all”  he told her. “She was only hanging on until the baby was born.  She cared about the child that much.” 

“She also cared about you that much Chakotay”  B’Elanna gently told him.  “The baby was an extension of you.  She loves you, you have to see that.  This is your baby, to her it was you, all she had, the last thing she could leave to you.  That proves it to you, her love for you.  And think of it this way.  Had things not happened as they did, she might well have done it, ended it all.  This baby, her being pregnant, well it stopped her, saved her life really.”  Chakotay knew she was right but it didn’t help his guilt.

When Kathryn awoke four days later, the sedative doses having been decreased bit by bit, the first face she saw was Chakotay’s.  Confusion was followed by the memories of  finding Chakotay at the house and her fear and panic returned.  Chakotay kept calm and spoke softly to her, having practiced what he would say a million times. 

“Kathryn, please just hear me out and if you still want me to leave I will, I promise, but you have to hear me out first, please.”  She seemed to calm down somewhat and just slowly nodded.

And so Chakotay told her everything, how the truth was finally out, about Owen Paris and how he had made the whole matter public, how they had searched for her for months, how sorry he was about her family, about what he had done to her, how he had treated her, even before, how sorry they all were, and he pointed out all the flowers and gifts. 

“Everyone’s been by and they’re all so sorry and.......our guilt, Kathryn, we’re all so sorry for what we put you through.....we didn’t know....we stupidly believed...we should have known better, known you better....and me, I don’t know if you can ever forgive me for what I did...I hurt you so much, in every way...please forgive me...I’m so sorry...Kathryn, please.....I love you...I know now I never stopped, that what I called hate was just my pain, my own defence.....I...I understand how you must hate me....but I….please let me try and mend some of the damage....try and put some of it right...I really don’t think I can live with this if you don’t let me try at least, please give me a chance, please....I know I don’t deserve it...but...Kathryn, please....”  He couldn’t continue and broke down in racking sobs, clinging to her.

He suddenly felt her hand on his head, gently stroking his hair and he looked up to see silent tears pour down her face and he saw the pain in her eyes.  She placed her other hand against his cheek and sobbed to him.  “Chakotay, I could never hate you.  I love you, I always have, I never lied about that and as for.....” 

He broke across her.  “Kathryn, Gods, why did you do it?  We could have fought them together”  He took hold of her hand tightly. 

She looked sadly at him.  “You were my crew, my family out there.  It was my job to protect you all, at whatever cost and that still applies, even now.  I couldn’t let them, and particularly you, go to prison for even a day.  I care too much about them, even love some of them, especially you.  I just couldn’t let that happen and I saw no other choice.  I thought even if I told you, you would still hate me when you knew about the orders, that you wouldn’t believe me anyway.  I just couldn’t see any other way.” 

He gripped her hand tighter.  “Oh Kathryn, how did it come to this.  You should have told me long ago.  You could have trusted me, you know that.” 

Kathryn looked away.  “I did trust you Chakotay, I did but I didn’t want you to have this hanging over you.  We had enough to deal with out there and I guess I just wanted to protect you from this and it was hard not to tell you.  I don’t know how many times I nearly told you about all this and I don’t know how many times I nearly let you into my life fully but I knew what would happen when or if we got home and I really believed it would have been better for you and the others that way.”

Chakotay slowly looked up at her.  “Maybe you’re right, I don’t know but I still wish you had told me.” 

“I wish I had, but it’s done with now.  Does everyone know?” she asked him.  

He nodded.  “There’s a lot of shame and guilt out there, mine most of all.  My plea still stands, Kathryn.  Can you ever forgive me?  I’m not just talking about Starfleet and all that but for what I did to you...” 

She reached out for him but he stood up, still looking down at her.  “Chakotay,  you just believed what everyone believed, what you were meant to believe and of course I forgive you.  To just know that you don’t hate me, that the others don’t hate me now......to know that they are safe now..”  

He looked away for a second then back at her.  “I’m not talking about that, about the others.  Me, Kathryn, what I did.  Kathryn, I raped you, forced myself on you, hurt you in the worst way possible.......”  He turned away, unable to meet her eyes but the sound of her crying made him turn back and when he looked, she was holding her hand out to him and he grabbed it like a lifeline offered to a drowning man.  She pulled him to her, forcing him to sit again and then she took hold of his face and looked deeply into his eyes. 

“No love, you didn’t.  Please don’t even use that word.  Yes, you were angry and you were hurt but it was just all that emotion coming out and that was my doing.  You couldn’t have known the truth, only that someone who had caused you all that pain was suddenly standing in front of you and it was just too much to take all at once.” 

He looked at her, his eyes begging and pleading.  “Kathryn, I love you, I never stopped and yet I hurt you so badly.  I know how badly I hurt you, I found that out at the clinic, and look at now, the baby and you all alone......and I know how afraid of me you were, probably still are.  I don’t know how you can love me.  You must hate me and fear me....I mean ...you ran away… and at the house....I saw your fear....”  He looked away again but her hands brought his face back to her. 

“Chakotay, firstly I love you and I could never hate you.  As to hurting me, well it had just been a long time, that’s nature, not you.  Secondly,  I never was and never will be afraid of you, only of what I could do to you.  That’s what I was afraid of, afraid of hurting you again, causing you more pain, afraid of what Starfleet would do, and now, well, I’m not alone now, am I?  I’m not unloved now either Chakotay, am I?”   He pulled her to him tightly and they held each other as they cried together. 

When their tears had lessened, Chakotay looked at her.  “Kathryn, I need you to know that....if you’ll let me...that I’ll never leave you again, never doubt you again and.....I love you and I love our baby.” 

Through his tears he watched his own hand go to her stomach and for the first time, reach to his, their child.  Her hand covered his and she told him what he wanted to hear, handed him his salvation.  “Yes love, I want you, need you and love you.”

It was a further three weeks before Kathryn’s doctor agreed to let her out of the hospital and then it was only for a weekend.  She had managed to gain some weight and the baby appeared stronger.  Chakotay had asked if she wanted to go back to her own apartment but she had said no, and he knew that the emptiness of the place would be no good for her.  He suggested they go away for the weekend or stay with Tom and B’Elanna but again she said no.  Her suggestion shocked him.  “You want to stay at my place?  Kathryn.....I don’t know” 

She seemed hurt by his reaction.  “Chakotay, if you’d rather I went somewhere else, that’s OK, I understand.....” and she looked down at her hands, but he saw the hurt in her eyes and took her hands in his.  

“Kathryn, there is nothing I’d love more, it’s just, well...what happened there, what I  did...”  and now she understood. 

“Oh love, we’ve been through this and I told you not to think that way, please, in fact......well.....if I’m honest....there was a part of me that wanted it to happen.....I have for a long time, even on
Voyager and well, I guess I had thought it would involve candles and soft music but that’s just decoration.  I still wanted you.....I...I still do.”  Kathryn was actually embarrassed and he saw this and it helped him. 

“My Kathryn, to hear you say that, you have no idea what it means to me but it doesn’t alter the fact that I ........”   Kathryn put her finger to his lips, silencing him.  “Then let’s go home” and she stood up and took his hand, leading the way.

They spent a quiet, peaceful and healing weekend just getting to know each other all over again and everyone gave them the space they needed.  Kathryn had been exhausted many times by the flow of visitors to the hospital and all the emotion that went with each visit.  Owen Paris had come and the visit had been physically and emotionally draining but there was closure for them both and finally peace for the old man.  Here at the house, it was quiet and she spent many hours just sitting in the garden, sometimes on her own but mostly just lying back against Chakotay as he stroked her back or ran his hands over her growing stomach and they both knew that neither of them had ever felt more at peace.

Within a month, Kathryn’s doctor was happy enough with her progress, that he let her go home for good, insisting that she visit him once a week for check-ups.

On her first evening home, she sat in the garden while Chakotay prepared dinner and she realized that she truly felt at home here, felt as if they had always lived here.  She heard her name called and looked up to see Chakotay, donning a chef’s hat and she laughed.  “Dinner is served, Madam” he smiled and offered her his arm. 

He helped her up and they went into the house together.  Kathryn caught her breath when she entered the room.  Candles were everywhere and soft music played and it brought a lump to her throat.  Afraid she would burst into tears if she tried to say anything, she just squeezed his hand and he understood.

Dinner was perfect and afterwards they just lay back on the sofa holding each other.  Chakotay leaned down and kissed the side of Kathryn’s face and she leaned into him.  Next thing either of them knew, they were kissing and then the kisses were getting more urgent.  Chakotay’s hand dropped towards her breast and he gently fondled her through her blouse and she moaned into his mouth but then she stopped, pulling away slightly. 

“Kathryn, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.....I’ve overstepped the mark, I’m so sorry...and here in this room.....”  He sat back from her but she grabbed his hand.  “Chakotay, no please, it’s....it’s not that, really.  It’s not that at all.  It’s well, I guess I’m afraid.” 

He leaned back to her and put his arm around her.  “Kathryn, I’m sorry, I understand...the baby...I was being thoughtless.” 

Again she gripped his hand.  “No, that’s fine...I mean...there are other ways.......different...positions”  Her shyness amazed him but he suddenly noticed  tears forming in her eyes.  

“Kathryn, what is it?  Tell me, please.”  She looked away from him, trying to hide her tears.  “It’s....it’s....I’m afraid...that... that... I’ll disgust you....that...you won’t be able to look at me....the scars.....I..” 

Chakotay was shocked and gently took her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him.  “I’ll only ever say this once to you my love, so remember my words and imprint them on your memory for all time.  I love you and I desire you and nothing can change that, nothing.  I don’t care if you’re purple with big green spots,  I don’t ever want to hear words like that again from you.  Please don’t ever think that way again.  I know I’ve let you down in the past.....”  Kathryn started to say something but he pressed his finger to her lips.  “I’ve let you down in the past, yes, and I know we’ve dealt with that and moved on but don’t hurt me by thinking I would ever be disgusted by you, please.”  

Kathryn just leaned into his chest, crying all the more.  “I’m sorry love...I’m not trying to hurt you, it’s just my own self doubt about my scars.  I’m sorry.” 

He pulled her back to look at him again and there was just a hint of anger in his voice.  “Last word on this OK.  I love you, again, I desire you, again, and Kathryn Janeway, you are beautiful now and you always have been, OK.  Subject closed.  Now where were we?”  And he leaned in and kissed her tears away.

When they finally came up for air, Chakotay turned Kathryn so she was sitting back against him on the sofa and he gently nuzzled her ear, finding her special spot.  Kathryn moaned and tilted her head back.  “Just relax Kathryn, lie back and let me do this for you, please.  Let me love you properly.” 

He started stroking her face and neck and slowly worked his way down to her shoulders, back and forward, kneading the muscles gently.  Slowly his hands slipped inside her blouse and he continued stroking just above her breasts.  Kathryn lay back against him, her eyes closed, trusting him completely.  She felt him slowly unbutton her blouse and then leaned forward slightly to allow it fall from her shoulders.  Chakotay eased it down her arms and for a minute she opened her eyes, knowing he would see the full extent of the scars there but he just smiled gently at her, lifted her arm and gently kissed along the scars.  “Close your eyes, my love, trust me.” 

She did as she was told and leaned back into him again.  She felt him lower the silk straps of her bra and undo the clasp at the front, freeing her breasts. 

“You are so beautiful, my love” he whispered into her ear as his fingers played across her nipples, causing them to harden almost instantly.  He gave equal attention to each breast, licking his fingers and gently twisting and flicking her nipples.  Kathryn moaned deep in her throat, lost in the feelings he was creating in her, finally fulfilling her dream. 

His hands now moved lower, stroking her swollen abdomen and caressing her gently and then he continued lower, easing the loose elastic waistband of her skirt slowly down.  Kathryn sat up to allow him remove the skirt but her eyes remained closed.  He lowered the skirt, taking her panties with it and then made tiny circular movements across her thighs, up and down, eventually arriving at his final destination.  Ever so gently, he stroked her, gently teasing her hair and then slowly he parted her lips and began lightly stroking her outer folds and flicking across her clitoris and all the time he kissed and nuzzled her neck and whispered loving words to her.  Already, Kathryn could feel the onset of delicious tingles building in the pit of her stomach, growing in intensity all the time.  She was aware only of her own feelings and the feel of his fingers working their magic on her.  She felt him gently slip one finger into her opening and run it around just inside, then he slowly and teasingly pushed gently inside, a little at a time.  Kathryn was now close and moaned and writhed under his touch and he seemed to read her.  He gently inserted a second finger, caressing her inner walls and with his other hand, continued to flick across her clitoris and suddenly Kathryn’s world exploded around her and she came hard against his hands, crying out.

Chakotay held her gently, stroking her stomach as she came down from her plateau.  She leaned her head back and kissed him passionately.  “Thank you my love” she whispered “but I want all of you.” 

He smiled softly at her and made to get up.  “What was that you were saying about there being ways, different positions?” 

Kathryn smiled slowly and slid to the rug on the floor.  “Grab a quilt or my back will pay for it” she smiled seductively at him. 

He looked around uncomfortably.  “Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in bed?” he asked, both of them knowing he meant more than he was saying. 

Kathryn reached up to him.  “I’m very comfortable where I am love OK?  Now you trust me and go get that quilt.” 

Chakotay returned with the quilt and spread it on the floor behind her and knelt down, but he still seemed unsure. 

Kathryn reached her hand up to his face.  “Make love to me here, Chakotay, just like you did before” and she smiled at him. 

He felt his tears come and just leaned down to her and held her close.  “Gods, Kathryn, I love you so much.....” and his sobbing stopped any further words. 

“I love you too Chakotay”  she whispered back and then smiling at him said “Now get a move on.  This woman you love needs you.”

Chakotay lay down beside her and Kathryn turned to face him, then with his help, she undressed him.  “Do you want to dim the lights?”  Kathryn asked, and he knew she was still thinking of her scars.  

“No, I want to see all of the beautiful woman before me, every inch of her” and he leaned down and proceeded to kiss every part of her body, paying particular attention to the areas where her scars were and as her tears came, a silent expression of the love she felt for this man, he saw them and kissed them away then claimed her mouth again. 

Chakotay ran his hands and mouth over every inch of Kathryn’s body, loving the feel and taste of her.  He was careful not to lean over her too much, the memory of what he had done before still with him and also afraid of hurting her or the baby.  He worked his way down her, caressing and kissing her stomach and then still lower until he nuzzled against her hair and then gently easing her legs apart, brought her to his mouth, reading Kathryn by her moans and writhing.  She was so hot and wet for him and instinctively knowing what to do, he gently rolled her onto her side, his hand never leaving her folds.  She felt him hot and hard, prodding against her buttocks and drew her legs up slightly for him and then she felt him guide himself gently to her waiting and aching centre.  As gently as he could, he entered her and Kathryn’s moans told him everything he needed to know as she pushed back against him.  He kept his thrusts gentle at first, still stroking her but eventually he quickened them and suddenly they both came together in an explosive climax then just lay there, holding and caressing each other while their breathing evened out.  After a while, Chakotay realized that Kathryn had fallen asleep and he gently lifted her and carried her to their bed.  As he settled in beside her, he thanked the Spirits for the gift he had been given, before drafting off to sleep with her.

Life continued at this gentle and loving pace for the next three months and each day Kathryn seemed to grow in strength.  She hadn’t felt so at peace in a long time and as their child grew inside her, the love between her and Chakotay grew also, seeming to know no limits.

Chakotay hated to leave her side for a minute but one day at her insistence that she was fine and wanted to take a nap, he agreed to go with Tom for a game of hover ball.  Throughout the game, Tom could sense his restlessness and eventually they cut the game short.  Tom slapped his old friend on the back.  “Come on Dad, let’s get you home.  Don’t worry, I still remember how I felt with B’Elanna when our two were on the way.”

Grateful for his friend’s understanding, Chakotay hurried home.  All the way there, he had a nagging feeling and knew suddenly he had to hurry.  He rushed into the house, calling to Kathryn and received no reply.  With his panic building, he checked the bedroom but there was no sign of her and then he checked the bathroom but she wasn’t there either.  Something made him look out the window into the back garden and for a minute, his heart seemed to stop in his chest.  Kathryn was lying on the ground at the end of the garden, doubled up.

Taking the stairs three or four at a time, he was at her side in seconds and then he noticed that her skirt was drenched and knew that her waters had broken but he also noticed that she was bleeding as well.  Kathryn was moaning softly and he bent down to her.  “It’s all right love, I’m here, I’ll have you in hospital in no time.  It’s going to be fine.” 

He knew he was trying to convince himself as much as Kathryn.  Not stopping to think, he picked her up in his strong arms and carried her into the house and then ordered an emergency transport to the hospital.  As soon as they arrived at the hospital, a semi-conscious Kathryn was rushed away, leaving an emotionally drained and frantic Chakotay just standing in the corridor, her blood staining his hands and clothes. 

Within ten minutes, a doctor had appeared in front of Chakotay.  “She wants you with her” was all he said. 

“She’s not going to.......please....tell me she’s going to be all right....” 

The Doctor patted his arm.  “She’s lost a lot of blood and the birth isn’t going to be easy.  It’s too late now for a section, but with careful handling, I believe she’ll come through fine.”

When Chakotay entered the room and saw Kathryn, he was at her side in two strides.  She appeared very weak and pale but smiled at him immediately and held her hand up to him.  He noticed the blood flowing into her through the thin intravenous lines and was aware of the sounds of the monitors, keeping track of her heart and the baby’s.

He grasped her hand and smiled down her.  “What were you doing, love?” he cried  “What were you thinking?” but he couldn’t scold her, he loved her too much and at this moment he was too worried. 

She smiled weakly at him.  “It was a surprise.  I was planting a peace rose for you.......”  He felt her grip tighten on his hand and saw her face contort with pain.  “Kathryn......” 

The doctor moved in.  “All right Kathryn, you’re very close now.  Come on, breathe properly, concentrate and then on the next contraction, you push OK?” 

For the next hour, nothing else existed in the world for Kathryn and Chakotay except each other’s eyes.  They never broke eye contact for a second as he helped her control her breathing and she tightly gripped his hands and then there was the doctor’s voice.  “Right Kathryn, last push, big one now” and then the most wonderful sound in the world to them, their child’s first cries.

The doctor came up to them, holding the tiny bundle.  “I believe this young lady belongs to you two” and his smile lit up the room as he placed the tiny infant in her mother’s arms.  The doctor stood back and watched the three of them feeling he had the best job in the world most days.  “Not too long for the moment, you two” he told them gently “everything’s fine but Kathryn, you need a little repair work OK, nothing to worry about.” 

Kathryn nodded, still gazing at this little marvel and then she handed Chakotay his daughter and lay back exhausted but happier than she had ever been as she watched the look on his face as he gazed down at the baby.

Chakotay gazed down at the tiny bundle and watched amazed as her eyes looked back at him.  He stroked the tiny fingers and face and didn’t care who saw his tears.  A nurse came over to him and told him with a smile that he could have her back in a little while, once she had been washed and weighed and had a general check-up.  Chakotay handed the baby to the nurse and turned to look at Kathryn as a nurse took his elbow to lead him out of the room.

He thought at first she had fallen asleep and he smiled then he noticed the doctor and his frantic movements and an icy fist gripped his heart.  He rushed back to Kathryn’s side, grabbing her hand and looking to the doctor.  “You said nothing to worry about, a little repair work.  What’s wrong....?” 

The doctor looked up quickly.  “She’s losing a massive amount of blood and she needs immediate surgery.  Please, wait outside....”  The nurse was tugging at his arm and then another doctor was pushing him out the door. 

“Kathryn, Kathryn, don’t leave me, we need you, please Kathryn....” and then he was in the corridor and time lost all meaning.

Someone, maybe himself contacted Tom and B’Elanna but they were suddenly there with him, and then it was dark outside and he was pacing one minute, sitting with his head in his hands the next and finally the doctor was there and he was smiling.  Not trusting himself to stand or even speak, Chakotay just implored with his eyes. 

The doctor sat beside him, still smiling.  “I can tell you it was a very close call, but we stopped the bleeding eventually.  Her heart stopped and she gave us a hell of a run for our money but she’ll pull through.  She’ll be fine but she’ll need careful nursing and plenty of loving care for the next few weeks.  We’ll provide the careful nursing and the rest is up to you.” 

Chakotay stared at him then grabbed the surprised doctor and wrapped him in a bear hug.  He still couldn’t trust himself to speak and managed to croak a “thank you” only.  The doctor appeared embarrassed but pleased.  “You’re very welcome.  Your daughter is fine, actually she slept through the whole thing.  You can see Kathryn in a few minutes, the nurse will come get you.  She’ll sleep for the rest of the day and I suggest you go home once you’ve seen her and do the same.”  He stood up.  “I’ll call back later” and he was gone.  And then it was Tom and B’Elanna’s turn for the bear hug.

Chakotay sat with Kathryn for an hour as she slept, quietly talking to her and watching the blood drip slowly into her veins, before the nurse sent him packing.  He gently kissed her and whispered to her.  “I’ll see both you ladies later.  I love you.” 

When he got home, exhaustion took over and he sat on the sofa and cried his eyes out, everything needing release at once.  He felt better after a few minutes and wandered into the garden.  It had been the longest night of his life but he felt hope as he watched the sun rise and said a silent prayer.  He felt tears sting his eyes again as he gazed at the peace rose Kathryn had planted the previous afternoon. 

“Gods, I nearly lost them” he thought as his eyes caught sight of Kathryn’s blood, still staining the grass.    He watched the sun a little longer then went back inside and slept, dreaming of his family.

Within two weeks, Kathryn was ready to come home, her recovery amazing everyone and there was never a prouder man who brought his family home and that evening as he stood in the doorway and watched the woman he loved nurse their daughter, he knew that this image was the one he would remember over all others in his life.  It was the image he would hold with him when he closed his eyes for the final time in this life. 

Kathryn looked up at him and smiled then called him over and as he sat beside her and put his arm around her, looking from her smiling face to their daughter, he remembered the words of something Kathryn had once been reading on Voyager. 

“In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, appear the words ‘here begins a new life.”