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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     Kathryn reaches breaking point and copes with her inner pain, guilt and

                      loneliness by self-injury.  When Chakotay discovers her secret,  he and

                      the Doctor come together to help her overcome it and get her through.



NOTE:  This story involves the subject of self-injury and for this reason only I have

              given it the NC 17 rating.  I have tried to ensure that the facts contained

              within are as accurate as possible and most have come from people who live

              with this but if any offence is caused, it is not intended and I apologize.  

              There is  no shame involved with this subject.  Sufferers are as sane as you 

              and I.  They just deal with their emotions differently.                          

              See also note at end of story.





OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT.

PART ONE.







Chakotay fell into bed totally exhausted and tried to shut his mind down in order to sleep but the more he tried to switch off, the more active his mind became.  Today had been the sixth attack in as many days by a squadron of ships manned by a race they knew nothing of who called themselves the Abadi.  They attacked constantly, stating simply that they laid claim to this region of space and the word ‘diplomacy’ was totally alien to them.  The crew had no choice but to brave the attacks, knowing that to go around would take months.



Voyager’s First Officer sighed and turned onto his back, hoping they had finally seen the last of these Abadi now that they were finally past the borders of this area of space.  While other species they have encountered denied the claims of the Abadi, it made no difference to Voyager and her crew when their ship was under almost constant attack.  Chakotay wondered how Kathryn coped with it all, with the responsibility which sat on her shoulders and the burdens she carried alone despite not having to.  He felt alone himself now, his ‘fling’ with Ensign Carter from Cartography well over, despite its intensity for almost two months.  He knew the reasons his relationships never lasted was down to him, that he never put his heart into it.  He also knew it was loneliness which drove him to these women’s arms and sometimes thought it was hurt he saw on Kathryn’s face when she saw him with one of them even though she had made it clear that a relationship between them was impossible.  That had been over a year ago and Chakotay wondered often if she felt differently about it all now but neither of them had ever broached the subject with the other, so things between them had remained unchanged.  A good friendship, one he desperately depended on, existed between them but nothing more and Chakotay was always aware that as much as he tried to give Kathryn in the nature of that friendship, she rarely took him up on it, whereas she gave of herself to him constantly, listening when he needed it or simply keeping him company.  No matter how much he wanted to be there for her, she never seemed to let her guard down.



He turned onto his side now, forcing his mind to shut off and closed his eyes, using images of green fields and sunshine to lull him to sleep.  Within ten minutes, he was running through those fields, his dreams taking him on a restful journey.



Kathryn Janeway’s mind was anything but peaceful at that moment as she sat on the floor of her bathroom, the cold tiles offering no comfort.  Tears streamed down her face but her crying gave no release.  In her right hand she held a small blade, her left arm lying across her legs with the soft flesh of her inner arm facing her.  Kathryn squeezed her eyes tightly shut and forced the tears to stop then blinked several times to clear her vision.  She studied her upturned arm as if the limb were alien to her, belonged to someone else.  She could barely make out faint scars, healed as well as they could be with the small dermal regenerator which she kept hidden in her bathroom cabinet.  She shivered suddenly and gazed around the small room and let her mind drift back to earlier in the day.



She had almost broken down on the bridge, the closest she had come to it in fact, all from the pressure of the constant attacks but had managed to hide it well and knew she had fooled them all, even Chakotay.  When Tuvok had shown no signs of having noticed, she knew she had pulled it off but she also realized how close she had come to falling apart and it scared the hell out of her. 



Feelings of worthlessness and not being good enough, fear of failure and being seen to fail, a terror of letting them all down even, washed over her and her tears started again.  She knew these feelings came even when they were passing through calm areas of space and the boredom was driving the crew crazy.  Often those times were worse as she had the time to consider every decision she had ever made and wonder if it had been the right one or good enough.  A memory of something her father had once said to her filled her mind, of how ‘war was mostly boredom punctuated by sporadic explosions of fear’ and since being in the Delta Quadrant, those words had proved themselves to her many times.



Kathryn sighed deeply and wiped at her tears, asking herself how she had come to such a sorry state of affairs.  As her feelings intensified, she gazed down at her arm again and knew she would do it.  As if she was watching someone else’s hand, she gritted her teeth and saw herself move and the blade press against her arm until the blood flowed.  As the red liquid ran down her arm and into the small bowl on her lap, a feeling of intense relief came over her, flowing through her entire body and she dropped her head back, closing her eyes and going with it.  Gradually her breathing slowed as a calmness spread over her and she opened her eyes, the room blurring as a wave of dizziness washed over her.  Judging the time by the amount of blood which filled the small bowl, she eventually dropped the blade and pressed her hand over the small wound.  When the dizziness passed, she stood slowly and unsteadily and studied herself in the mirror.  In the bright light of the bathroom, she saw how pale her face was and reached for the dermal regenerator, quickly sealing the cut.  As she gazed back at her reflection, a strong feeling of self loathing took over at what she had just done but this feeling was always preferable to how she felt before cutting and Kathryn was honest enough with herself to admit that she was now addicted to this, that she would continue with the practice until…  She shrugged at her image and staggered out to the bedroom, the brief relief of earlier starting to dissipate.



As Kathryn stood in the centre of the room, her mind cleared just enough for her to remember to clear up in the bathroom and hide the evidence of what she had just done.  With this achieved, she fell across her bed, just managing to pull off her uniform.  As she lay there, semi naked in the low lighting, she remembered how this had all started just two months previously.



It had been a rough week, not unusual in the Delta Quadrant and Kathryn had been feeling guiltier than usual about stranding them there.  She had just returned from Sandrine’s, having witnessed Chakotay in a quiet corner with his latest and felt lonelier than she normally did.  It had been a simple accident, a glass dropped in the sink and as she had lifted the pieces out to dispose of them and turned to exit the small space of the bathroom, her foot had caught on her nightgown and she had fallen.  She knew instantly that the glass had fallen beneath her and when she checked herself, a shard of the glass protruded from her arm.  Instead of immediately attending to the injury, she had sat mesmerized as her blood had flowed down her arm.  What she had never forgotten had been the feeling of relief which had surrounded her, the sight of the blood giving her a feeling that she was really alive and here was the proof.  She had felt all the tension drain from her as the pain on the outside smothered the pain on the inside for that moment.  Within a minute, she had snapped to her senses and had attended sickbay and had the deep cut treated but over the following week, her mind had constantly drifted back to the incident and the feelings which had accompanied it.



Her next ‘cut’ as she came to call them started out as more of an experiment than anything else.  Ever the scientist, Kathryn had told herself she wanted to see if the feeling she had experienced had been just a ‘one off’, if she had imagined it or if there had been something more to it.  What she denied to herself, was the fact that she desperately wanted to experience the same feelings again.  Pain had shot up her arm when she cut it and she had looked away quickly and reached for the regenerator but as the same feelings washed over her she had halted and studied the blood flow instead.  Within a minute she snapped out of it and immediately healed the self-inflicted injury.  She resisted for several days until something else went wrong for her and once more found herself seeking the temporary relief cutting herself brought her.



Since that time, Kathryn found herself ‘indulging’ in her newfound practice every other day almost and at times, like this past week, on a daily basis.  Faint logic stirred in the back of her mind that this couldn’t continue, especially as she was not eating enough or resting enough to help her body cope with what she inflicted upon it and the blood loss it suffered but this thought was quickly passed over as total fatigue beat it down and eventually she drifted into a dreamless sleep.



When Kathryn awoke the next morning, her usual feelings of disgust visited her and she desperately pushed them aside.  Instead of the good breakfast she knew she should consume, especially after her blood loss, she found herself as usual reaching for coffee and nothing more.  As she dressed and studied herself in the long mirror of her bedroom, she could clearly see how much weight she had lost in the past two months and when she put on her uniform, saw that it still showed.  Undressing again quickly, she pulled on extra undergarments and then pulled her uniform on again.  She studied her reflection closely and saw that she would just about pass, knowing that most of the crew never studied her that much anyway, afraid of being caught scrutinizing the Captain.  The extra layers of clothing gave Kathryn's body a warmth she badly needed.  She realized she felt the cold more lately but gave it no further thought as she set about applying her make-up.  The fact that she used more make-up than ever registered with her but she knew she had to mask the signs of her recent habits and cover the paleness of her skin.  Finally satisfied with the disguise, she made for the bridge and another day of pain and at the same time, utter emptiness.



Kathryn spent most of her shift in her ready room, Voyager not encountering any more Abadi ships and Kathryn allowed herself the hope that maybe they were past the attacks which had plagued them for the previous week.  Chakotay reported to her that they had indeed passed through the disputed region of space and that what lay ahead looked calm and peaceful.  He informed her also that all repairs were well in hand and that they would be back at peak efficiency by that evening.  Kathryn had nodded acknowledgement of his report and felt his eyes on her.  Not looking up to give him fuel for his study, she had quietly dismissed him.



Over the next few days, Kathryn noticed Chakotay watching her more than usual and suspected that he was beginning to notice something different about her.  She went out of her way to avoid him, either finding something she just had to do on some other section of the ship or sending him on fool’s errands.



The beginning of the end came for Kathryn when she was in her ready room one day and was standing on a stool to reach some items on the top shelf behind her desk.  Chakotay had signalled for entry and come right in, not waiting for permission.  Being the gentleman he was, he had immediately offered to help her down but Kathryn had waved him off.



“Kathryn, don’t be stupid.  I’m just trying to help.”  He reached for her waist and lifted her to the floor.  How light and thin she was registered with him immediately and shocked him.  “Kathryn?  Good God woman, what do you weigh?  You were never this thin or light…”  Kathryn just pushed him off and grabbed the padds he had brought with him.



“What was it you needed me to see?”  She studied one of the padds, not seeing the words but giving a wonderful performance of someone engrossed in the text.  Chakotay was not to be put off however.



“Kathryn, don’t change the subject.”  He reached for the padd and snatched it from her hand, ignoring the glare he received.  “What’s going on with you?”  She glanced up and saw him study her face closely.  “And since when did you start to wear so much make-up?”



Kathryn turned away quickly, about to dismiss him but he was right behind her and pulled her round to face him then grabbed her face and studied her more closely.



“God Kathryn, what the hell is wrong?  Are you sick?  What are you trying to cover up…?”  Kathryn twisted from his hold and turned on him.



“My personal appearance and life are my own business and I’ll thank you to remember that.  Now Commander, if there’s nothing else, I would be grateful if you would return to your duties and let me continue with mine.”  She grabbed the padds up and turned her back on him.  “Dismissed Commander.”  Chakotay knew when to back down and simply nodded.  “Yes Ma’am.”



Throughout the rest of his shift, Chakotay couldn’t get Kathryn out of his mind.  She’d weighed little more than a child to him and yet she looked as she usually did.   She felt light but it didn’t show so much.  He thought deeper but nothing more would come to him.  He also realized that how much make-up she wore really was her own business but something still bothered the hell out of him.  Why change her usual habits?  The extra make-up was fairly recent as far as he could remember.  The deeper he thought the more came to him.  He realized he never saw Kathryn in the mess hall anymore, although that meant nothing.  Most of the crew avoided Neelix’s cooking if they could.  Socially she seemed to have faded from sight but then he knew he hadn’t really noticed especially while his relationship with Sally Carter had been at its height.  He suddenly remembered that as he had helped Kathryn down, he had clearly been able to feel her bones and it struck him that even beneath the thick layer of make-up, her skin had actually appeared pale.  As he thought on, it came to him that he hadn’t actually spent much time with her outside of ship’s business in the last two months or more and felt guilty for it.  Friendship was about give and take and it dawned on him now that he was the one doing most of the taking or at least had been.  When the end of his shift arrived, Chakotay had made a decision and acted upon it immediately.



Chakotay entered a deserted sickbay to find Voyager’s EMH bent over a tray of small dishes with strange colours in them.  The medic looked up and smiled.



“State the nature and all that.  What can I do for you Commander?”  Chakotay didn’t return the smile and indicated to the small office.



“If we could…in private please.”  The Hologram nodded, picking up that this was serious.  He followed his visitor into the glassed-in enclosure and sat, waiting for Chakotay to begin.



“Doc…look this is…strictly confidential…”  The Doctor leaned forward.



“Commander, you know quite well that all medical matters are…”  Chakotay held up a hand and leaned forward also.



“No, hear me on this.  I mean ‘strictly’ confidential.  That means no record whatsoever.  It means never spoken of, never noted anywhere, nothing to say this ever happened.  This stays between us until or unless I deem it should be otherwise.”  The Medic nodded his agreement.  Chakotay drew a deep breath and rubbed at his face. 

“It could well be nothing but…call it a gut feeling.”  He looked to the EMH and saw that he had his total attention.  “I have this…friend…I’d rather not say who at this moment and before you say anything, it’s not me.”  He saw the Doctor smile gently.  “I’m worried about this friend, very worried.  I think something is wrong but I can’t be sure and I’ve only just noticed so I can’t say how long…”  Chakotay stood up and paced.



“I don’t know.  Maybe with everything these last days, even weeks, probably even months…I just haven’t…  what with the Abadi attacks…the recent shortages we had…I mean we barely made it to restock…maybe I just wasn’t looking…whatever it was I didn’t see until now…maybe it’s because I see this person every day or never really looked…”  He stopped, lost in thought until the Doctor coughed slightly then he paced again.



“Sorry, I just keep remembering more and more.   The more I think…  This person has…they’ve lost weight…quite a bit I think, but it doesn’t show or maybe….maybe….”  He stopped and looked at the Doctor.  “Maybe it’s just well hidden.  I noticed too that…they’re quite pale and wearing more make-up than usual.  Why didn’t I see…?”  The Medic interrupted him.



“I can take it we’re speaking of a woman then.”  There was no trace of a smile when Chakotay’s head whipped around.



“Yeh, it’s a woman.  She…I never see her in the mess hall any more…never see her eating at all in fact.  Socially, she just doesn’t appear any more.  Why the hell didn’t I see this before now?”  He met the Doctor’s eyes and sat.  “All right, so we both know who I’m speaking about.”  The Doctor smiled sadly.



“With the level of concern you’re showing and well…talking about not eating and being underweight…  There is only one person we can be speaking of.”  The Doctor held up his hand.  “All Right Commander, no names.”  Chakotay smiled gratefully.  The Doctor took his turn now.



“First off, I can’t just drag her in here to examine her.  You know how she is and secondly that would let her know that she had been discussed behind her back and that wouldn’t go down well at all.  Commander, I can see you’re very concerned but the…she’s always been like this.  What makes now any different?”  Chakotay shook his head slowly.



“Doc, I can’t explain this.  Call it a hunch or some sixth sense, I don’t know.  There’s just something there I can’t put a finger on.  I just know something is very wrong.  Maybe if I’d been around more or…I don’t know…I can’t name something for you but I can say that I know with everything that’s in me that something is badly wrong here.”  The Doctor signed.



“Have you tried talking to her?  Asking her if anything’s wrong?”  Chakotay stood again and smiled sadly.



“Already been thrown out of her ready room for that.  Basically I was told where to go.”  The Doctor gave him a look that spoke volumes.



“And you want me to have a go?  She can’t terminate your program.”  Chakotay shook his head and rubbed his temples.



“Look, when is she due for her physical?”  The Doctor knew without checking.



“Annual physicals start next month.  Ah I see, bring them forward.  That might work.  I have been considering starting them a little earlier…  All right Commander, I’ll start with the bridge crew in the morning.  I’ll think of something.”  Chakotay looked a little less worried and stood, the Doctor coming around his desk to him.  “We’ll take care of her.  Try not to worry.  She’s probably just doing her usual act.  Never could take care of herself, that woman.”  He hesitated a moment and then coughed.  “Ah Commander, tell me to mind my own business but…  Look it’s plain to even a hologram that you love her…”  He ignored the look he knew was directed at him and went on.  “Why have you two never…”  Chakotay made for the door.



“Because it was made clear that that was out of the question.  Does that answer it for you?”  The Doctor saw the bitterness there and nodded sadly.



“Sorry Commander.”  Chakotay sighed deeply and moved off.



“Yeh, me too Doc, me too.”



Chakotay called by his Captain’s quarters on the way back to his own but the computer informed him that she was unavailable and he decided to let the matter drop for the evening.  He hoped the Doctor would find something when he checked her over the next day.  At least if a physical cause to this was ruled out, he would know where he stood.



As Chakotay made his way to his own quarters, Kathryn was once more sitting on her bathroom floor, the blade in her hand.  She sat and cried but her tears refused to give her the same relief that cutting and bleeding herself gave her and despite her own denials that she would stop this, a small part of her knew she couldn’t, that there was nothing to replace it.  Hurting herself relieved tension like nothing else could and she knew she cut her arms because she felt she had no other way to express herself.  Feeling this pain was better than feeling nothing.  It occurred to her that she was on a treadmill with no way to get off, that she was trapped on it.



Kathryn sat and reflected how empty her life was and she cried harder.  Guilt washed over her as she blamed herself for stranding her crew in the Delta Quadrant, fear that she would fail to get them home again but mostly there was loneliness and as usual when she thought like this, it was Chakotay she thought of.  Hatred at herself now surfaced and she cursed herself for her decision of a year ago, when she had pushed him from her life and then had to sit back and watch him with others.  As all these feelings built into a crescendo of emotion, Kathryn dug the blade into her arm and rode the wave of relief which flowed over her.  As she studied her blood drain from her body, she forgot everything else expect the blessed release.



Within five minutes of their shift starting next day, the Doctor appeared on the bridge and announced his plans.  Chakotay watched Kathryn’s face carefully and saw actual fear there for a moment before she turned away. 



Harry Kim coughed then spoke.  “Doc, we’re not due them for another month yet…”



“Really Mr. Kim, surely you’re not afraid of a little exam now.  I’m starting the physicals early this year because you lot constantly break appointments and give no consideration to the schedule I spend hours working out.”  The Doctor could have earned himself an acting award.  “Every year it takes longer to get through you all and every year I get further behind with my other work.  Now, I override you all on this matter so what I say goes.  I’ll be starting with the bridge crew, in alphabetical order so perhaps I could have you Commander Chakotay first and then you Captain…”  Kathryn turned quickly and nodded but Chakotay saw she was preoccupied and looked worried.  The Doctor just gave them all a satisfied grin.  “Good, it’s nice to see the command team setting a good example.  Commander, if you don’t mind…”  Chakotay just nodded and tried to act as if this were the last thing in the world he wanted.  It was in fact the last thing but he knew it was the only way to get Kathryn checked out.



When Chakotay returned from sickbay, Harry Kim approached him.  “Ah Sir, the Captain was called to Engineering.  B’Elanna needed her for something, so I’m to go next.”  The look on the young Ensign’s face was priceless and Chakotay knew he’d rather jump out an airlock.  Chakotay nodded at the young man and closed his eyes.  Within minutes, a call came for him from the Doctor, asking if the Captain’s absence was unavoidable and when Chakotay checked Engineering, he found that B’Elanna had indeed called for her Captain’s assistance.  He informed the Engineer to let the Captain know that the Doctor wanted to see her as soon as she was free.  There was nothing more he could do.



When his shift ended, Chakotay called by sickbay and saw the Doctor finishing up with the first of the Engineering staff.  He waited patiently in the small office until the Medic joined him.



“Well, did she show up?”  The Doctor shook his head.



“No sign of her and I couldn’t very well make too much of it without arousing her suspicions.”  Chakotay sighed.



“She’s avoiding this and I saw her on the bridge this morning…”  The Medic interrupted.



“Commander, I’m on your side here.  I think you’re right.  I made a point of studying her closely and I see exactly what you’re talking about.  I saw her face and she hid it quickly but I believe our fearless Captain was terrified at the thought of coming here.  Oh I know no one likes to see me for these exams but this was far more than that.”  Chakotay sat and shook his head.



“I wasn’t sure if I’d imagined that or not.  You think I’m right to be worried then…”  The Doctor nodded solemnly.



“Without wanting to worry you more, yes I do.  First thing tomorrow, she will report  for her exam or I’ll have Mr. Tuvok and a security team drag her here.”  Both men smiled at the image that came to them.  Chakotay nodded and left, nothing more to be said on the matter.



Kathryn paced her quarters, trying frantically to think straight.  She fought the build-up within her and forced herself to think rationally.



“God Kathryn, how rational is cutting her arms every night and bleeding yourself?”  Talking to herself aloud helped her.  “How do I get out of this one?” 



The Doctor turning up on the bridge that morning had thrown her completely.  She hoped she had managed to hide her reaction but knew that Chakotay had been watching her.  What she couldn’t do and knew it, was hide from the Doctor for much longer and once she had seen him, she knew he’d discover exactly what she had been doing.  B’Elanna calling her had been a Godsend and she had practically run for the turbo lift in her haste to get off the bridge.  When Chakotay had called down with the message from the Doctor, she had almost panicked again but thankfully the problem with the warp core had been more complicated than the Klingon engineer had anticipated and she had needed to stay until well past her swift.



Kathryn desperately wanted to find relief in her by now usual way but worried that the Doctor would notice such a freshly healed cut.  Common sense told her to just go to bed and try and sleep but she knew that was impossible in her present state of mind.  The urge however won and Kathryn found herself walking to the bathroom, promising herself that this would definitely be the last time.  She knew she should have tried to eat something first, but as happened a lot lately, the thought of food turned her stomach and she ignored the thought.



Entering her bathroom, she started her ritual, laying down her towel and the dermal regenerator.  She placed her small bowl and her blade beside that.  Trying to delay as long as possible, she changed into her nightgown first, dropping the clothes she took off on the floor at her feet, but the feelings continued to build until Kathryn thought she would burst.  Unable to resist the call any longer she returned to the small bathroom and sat on the floor.  Once more her tears came and she cried bitterly before pressing the blade to her arm.  She was thinking clearly enough to use her right arm tonight, having used her left for the last two nights.  As soon as the blood flowed and she saw the bright red colour fill the bowl, all the tension left her body and she felt alive again, the negative falling away to be replaced with the relief.  She dropped her head back and let it sweep her along, taking her to her special place.



Chakotay stopped outside Kathryn’s door and debated calling on her.  Using the excuse of not having received any report on the earlier problem in Engineering, he pressed for entrance.  He tried twice more before deciding to use his override codes, knowing Kathryn would probably kick him out but at this stage not caring, the need to check on her more important to him.



He entered the living area and saw no sign of her.  Not thinking to call out, he looked into the bedroom and not finding her there either, debated leaving.  A faint sound caught his ear and he found his feet taking him towards the bathroom, telling himself that she would probably kick his ass in the brig for this.  The bathroom door was open as Chakotay approached and he looked in.  Seeing Kathryn on the floor, blood pouring from her arm, he dropped to his knees immediately.



“Oh God Kathryn, what happened?  How did you do this?”  He looked around for a broken glass or anything she might have cut herself on.  He then noticed her head back and slowly she lifted it and looked at him but there was a vagueness in her eyes and a glazed look.  Chakotay reached for the towel he saw and stopped when the regenerator which had been caught within it clattered to the floor.  He looked at it puzzled and then suddenly the scene cleared for him.  He now saw the bowl on her lap and looked to her other hand which she had quickly moved under her leg.  He grabbed the hand and pulled but it was empty.  He rolled her slightly and saw the blade then, tinged with blood and everything slammed into him at once.



“Oh good God…Kathryn…what in…”  He saw her tears then, freshly fill her eyes and he grabbed the towel and pressed it to her arm.  He stood quickly and called the Doctor.  “Chakotay to sickbay.”  The Doctor’s voice returned immediately.  “Doc, can you go to a secure comm link?”  The medic didn’t question anything and was back in two seconds.  “Have you anyone else there?”  He bent and pressed on the towel on Kathryn’s arm when he saw her blood was soaking through.



“”Commander, I’m quite alone.”  Chakotay shook his head to clear his thoughts.



“Erect a privacy screen.  I’ll be there immediately.”  The EMH never questioned the First Officer and just confirmed that what had been asked would be done.



Chakotay bent down now to Kathryn and wiped at her tears.  “Oh honey, what have you done to yourself?  Why?”  She wasn’t capable of answering him and he saw it.  He placed the bowl out of the way and moved to pick her up as she struggled briefly, trying to get up.  She got herself standing and swayed then fell back against the wall.  Chakotay watched as her pale face grew even paler and her eyes lost their brief focus.  He watched as they rolled back in her head and saw her start to go down.  He caught her just before she hit the tiles and swept her into his arms then ordered a transport for them both to sickbay, using codes no one would be able to trace.



The Doctor was waiting when they appeared in sickbay and Chakotay laid Kathryn on the bed.  The Medic took in the scene before him, his unconscious Captain and a blood soaked towel wrapped around her arm.  He raised questioning eyes to Chakotay.



“I found her in her bathroom.  She had a blade and had obviously cut herself.  The blood was filling a bowl or something.  She also had a small dermal regenerator…”  The Doctor just nodded and asked the man to wait in his office.  Within twenty minutes, he appeared in the doorway and beckoned to Chakotay to join him behind the screen.



“I’ve healed the cut, simple enough.”  He looked at Chakotay and sighed.  “She’s anaemic, badly so and she’s also drastically underweight and malnourished.  Treatment at the moment as you can see, comprises of blood transfusions and getting the fluids and the nutrients she needs into her body.  I’ve also sedated her and I’m going to keep her that way until I’m happier with her condition.”  Chakotay nodded and saw that the Doctor appeared almost nervous as he lifted the sheet back from Kathryn’s still form.  When Chakotay looked down he gasped in shock.  While the Doctor had placed another drape to cover her breasts, he could still see her upper chest and neck area and the bones clearly evidence beneath her skin.  He looked to her shoulders and arms and saw the same.  The Doctor now lifted one of Kathryn’s arms and ran a finger along the inner flesh.



“There are numerous healed wounds, most of the scars still there.  Her other arm is in the same condition.”  Chakotay looked closely and saw the faint lines himself and closed his eyes, pressing down on the side of the bed to hold himself up.  The Doctor’s voice broke into his mind.



“Needless to say, she wasn’t skilled enough with the regenerator to completely heal these.  I’ll do that in time.  Commander, I think we should have the rest of this conversation in my office.  She’s not in any danger now.”  Chakotay just nodded and took a deep breath.  The Doctor moved away and Chakotay stood a moment and looked down at the sleeping woman before him.  Her paleness shocked him and he saw now just how thin her face was.  He leaned down and kissed the side of her face gently.



“Oh Kathryn.”  Words failed him as he felt tears fill his eyes.  Placing another kiss on her lips, he followed the Doctor.



ON TO PART TWO.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.

RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.

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