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Rating: NC 17. Kids go play elsewhere. Contains adult material.
Summary: Kathryn is taken by slavers and forced to work in their mines. Voyager
eventually manages to rescue her and the Doctor treats her life
threatening injuries but far greater problems have to be faced. Before
they can even start to address the psychological issues, Kathryn must
battle the drug addiction forced upon her in the camp.
SHADOWS IN THE DARKNESS.
By KAT LADY.
True to the Doctor’s prediction, Kathryn awoke again within the hour. She immediately discovered that she was tied and panicked, twisting and struggling against her bonds. Chakotay leaned into her view and was shocked by the look of alarm in her eyes.
“Kathryn please understand. You were hurting yourself…” Her emotion changed instantly.
“You just want to rape me you bastard. You want me like this, so you can take what you want.” Chakotay felt pain grip him.
“Oh God, Kathryn. Why do you say these things?” She laughed now, her emotion changing again.
“Well go on. Have your fun. Kill me when you’re done. You’d be doing me a favour.” He groaned and turned away.
“What’s wrong with you? Not man enough for me? Come on, I know you want me, that you’ve always wanted this.” Chakotay felt himself losing control and turned back to her. His rage was showing and she saw it.
“You want to hit me, don’t you? I can see it. DO IT.” She was screaming again, the rest of her words drowned out by her own cries. Chakotay sat beside her and tried to reason with her but he was getting nowhere. Finally exhausted once more, she slipped off to sleep again. He noticed how easily she tired when she was like this and saw it as a blessing.
Within another hour, she awoke again and Chakotay prepared himself for more of the same. She was quieter this time and he watched as she slowly looked around her before her eyes rested on him. He tried a soft smile.
“Chakotay…?” She was confused and looked lost and hurt and he felt the pain again.
“Kathryn, it’s all right.” She never remembered much when she was herself again and he never knew what to tell her. She pulled at the restraints and looked to him to explain and reassure her.
“Kathryn, I’m so sorry but we had to…” He watched as her eyes filled with tears and she tried unsuccessfully to blink them back.
“Was I that bad?” He knew she wanted him to be honest but he always tried to sugar coat the truth.
“You were hurting yourself….” He didn’t know what else he could say. He saw her absorb this and watched her tears fall more.
“I’m sorry. I don’t remember…” Suddenly her head snapped back to him.
“Oh God, did I hurt anyone? Are you all right?” She was really panicked now but he quickly reassured her and saw her relax slightly.
“Can I have some water please?” She was like a lost and frightened child and his heart was breaking seeing her like this. If he could have turned the ship around and gone after the bastards who had done this to her, he’d have killed them all with his bare hands.
He gently cradled her head as she drank, careful not to let her choke on the cool liquid. She pulled her head back and nodded that she had had enough. Chakotay put the glass down and stayed sitting on the bed beside her. He watched as her mind drifted to places he knew nothing of and he saw the pain her thoughts and memories brought her. Slowly her eyes slipped closed again and she drifted off. He barely caught her whisper.
“Don’t let me go Chakotay.” Tears came to his eyes along with a swell of emotion and he leaned over and kissed her forehead.
“Never love, never.” He didn’t know if she heard him or if she understood.
Over the next two days, Kathryn lived through hell and Chakotay and the others caring for her shared it. Twice she broke free of her bonds and the struggle to re-secure her was fierce each time. At one stage, she actually broke her own wrist and screamed out in pain. When the Doctor came to mend the break, she screamed at him and accused him of causing the injury in the first place.
Chakotay was amazed at the strength she possessed, despite her condition but learned to harden himself against her pained pleas to release her. He saw the muscle spasms were worse when she was tied but knew they couldn’t take any risks with her, afraid she would wound herself again. He massaged her muscles, trying to bring her some relief when they locked on her and sometimes she understood that he was trying to help her. On other occasions, she screamed in fear of what he was doing and then within minutes, would try and coax him to go further, attempting to talk him into ‘making it’ with her. She used cruel words on him and they cut deeply for a time until he told himself that these things came not from Kathryn but from the effects of the drug.
Some times, she was so pitiful that Chakotay almost relented and untied her and Kathryn quickly learned to use this against him but he was ahead of her. He even learned to change the bedclothes with her still secured. He was grateful that she understood nothing of his care of her, knowing how proud a woman she was and that she would be mortified if she was aware of how he needed to clean and wash her, taking care of all her bodily needs. When she was physically sick, he would hold her head to the side and then clean her up, soothing words flowing from him in the hope that she would understand them and gain some comfort from them. The only time he took off now was to eat and sleep and even this he did in her quarters, while Tom or B’Elanna kept watch over their Captain. Kathryn couldn’t be left alone for a second in case she was sick again and choked on her own vomit.
Chakotay was worn out physically and especially emotionally. Kathryn was using every game she could come up with to try and get to him and a few times, while someone else watched her, he quickly retreated to his own quarters to release his emotion and pain in privacy.
Within the last day, Chakotay saw that Kathryn was starting to remember her ‘lost’ hours more and more and on the more frequently occurring times she was herself, he saw how embarrassed she was by her behaviour. He constantly tried to tell her that none of this was her fault and he saw her accept this but knew she was mainly trying to change the subject as quickly as she could. Kathryn wasn’t ready to acknowledge any of this on a verbal level and so Chakotay let things lie.
By the sixth day in her quarters, Kathryn was a lot calmer but was still far from over her withdrawal. The Doctor felt it was now possible to undo her restraints and Chakotay prayed he was right. Kathryn could still not be left alone for even a short period of time and more and more, Chakotay saw her annoyance at this, knowing she was someone who badly needed her privacy.
As they passed into the seventh day, he saw her accept the situation and she even told him she understood the need for the constant supervision. Her paranoia was almost gone and her mood swings were settling down but the physical symptoms were still strong, although nothing like what they had been.
As Kathryn resurfaced, Chakotay noticed that she was far quieter and more withdrawn than he had ever seen her. He knew a lot of this was due to the memories of what she had suffered at the camp and also embarrassment at her behaviour during her withdrawal. He also understood that the loss of control she had suffered was something Kathryn Janeway would take a long time to get over. Slowly with the Doctor’s permission, he allowed her time to herself in the bedroom. She was finally able to take care of her own personal needs in private too and Chakotay saw that she understood when he hesitantly told her the Doctor had insisted that she leave the bathroom door unlocked when she used it. Chakotay did his best to explain that it wasn’t her they didn’t trust but what the drug was capable of making her do.
Within another two days, most of the physical symptoms had lessened to almost nothing and became more of an annoyance to her than anything else. The biggest advantage they had was the fact that Kathryn herself was determined to beat this addiction, that it was her body which had been dependent on the drug and not her mind. She was managing now to keep small light meals down and slowly Chakotay saw the woman he had known before, emerge from the chaos of what he had witnessed over the past week or so and he welcomed her with open arms.
By the end of the second week, the only sign of what Kathryn Janeway had been through, showed itself in the occasional trembling of her hands and an uneasiness she found difficult to shake. She still suffered some headaches and muscle cramps but even these were diminishing. Chakotay watched as her restlessness grew and knew she badly needed to get back to her life and so he gradually allowed her review reports and deal with small amounts of ship’s business. This slow easing back to her previous life was the therapy she needed and within a further week, Kathryn appeared almost back to normal.
Chakotay knew however, there was still a way to go, especially emotionally and so he sat back and bided his time. The Doctor was happy with her medical progress and finally declared her fit for limited duty but delicately urged her to speak with someone, either himself, Chakotay or Tuvok. While she had beaten the physical, the Medic knew she had still to face the emotional.
Kathryn herself knew she was avoiding dealing with the memories of her time at the camp and her time during her withdrawal. She knew for the sake of her mental health that she needed to speak of it all and also that a report would need to be filed on the entire situation.
As Chakotay led her back to her quarters one day after one of her many visits to sickbay, she was quieter than usual. When they entered her quarters, he replicated tea for them both and sat beside her on the sofa, feeling she needed to open up to him and sensing that she was working up to this.
“Chakotay, I….” She risked a glance at him and saw that he was simply waiting for her to continue. “What I put you through…you and Tom…B’Elanna…even the Doctor…” He interrupted her.
“Kathryn, don’t worry about that. You would have done the same for us. Remember when the Doctor was in need, how you sat with him…” He saw her shake her head.
“This was quite different. Chakotay, I know what I was like. I remember a lot more now and…well I made the Doctor show me my medical file…” She saw the pained expression on his face. “I needed to know. Not knowing what…how I was…” He nodded, his eyes showing her he understood.
“We were happy to be able to be there for you…” She laughed softly at this but was clearly embarrassed.
“I think what you did…what you had to do for me…went above and beyond the call of duty. This wasn’t in the contract when you took on the job…” She was making patterns with her fingers, avoiding his eyes. Chakotay laid a hand on her arm.
“It may not be in any Starfleet contract but it is in the contract you make with someone as a friend.” She looked up at him and saw the love there and a rush of feelings came over her.
“What I did…the things I said to you all…” He smiled gently.
“That’s not relevant now. Having you back to us is all that matters.” He pulled her to him now and they stayed like that for a long time. Chakotay finally realized that she had fallen asleep in his arms and seemed more at peace than she had been in a long time. He kissed the top of her head and hugged her tighter.
“I’m here love. You’re safe.” As if she heard him, she snuggled closer.
Once the Doctor knew his Captain was addressing the problems he was unable to cure with a hypo spray, he finally gave her permission to return to the bridge for limited periods each day. Getting her feet back under her on her own bridge had a remarkable effect on Kathryn and she improved no end. She made a point of speaking with Tom and B’Elanna separately, inviting them to her quarters for dinner and opening up to them in a way she never would have before. Their words almost mirrored Chakotay’s about what friendship was all about. Both felt they owed their Captain for the lives they had now, for having found each other and had been only too happy to try and repay the debt they felt they owed her.
Tuvok graciously accepted his Captain’s thanks with his usual manner and accepted her embrace without too much embarrassment but Kathryn saw past his armour and knew that her gratitude meant more to him than he let on.
Slowly, Kathryn and Chakotay fell back into their relationship and late one evening, sharing a light meal together, she finally worked up the courage to speak of the missing weeks. Following a silence in which Chakotay knew the camp was an almost physical presence in her quarters with them, she finally pulled back the curtain and allowed him to witness what she had endured.
“I remember little about being taken.” Her voice was shaky and she studied the carpet as if the words she needed were scattered there, waiting for her to pick them up.
“I remember being hit with something from behind and then only vague images, being carried, voices and shouting, moving in a ship or something. The next clear memory I have is of waking up at the camp. My uniform was gone and…I was in a…I don’t know…a kind of camp uniform. We were all the same. There were numbers or letters on it, different to the others. We all had them. I don’t know when they…while I was out of it or…who undressed me…” Chakotay saw that all this caused her great distress, the not knowing what had happened while she had been unconscious but he stayed silent and let her tell her story.
“It was a shack of some kind, wooden or something I think. I remember others there, different races, men and women or what passed for them. The shack was filthy and the smells…” She looked to the man beside her then away just as quickly.
“The days there are a blur. Not that I don’t remember but…they all rolled into one time…I…can you understand?” Once again she met his eyes and continued when he nodded, still silent.
“I lost track of time passing. Each day was like the next. We were pulled out of the shacks and taken to a large building. The guards would hit out at us if we didn’t move fast enough for them. There were hundreds of us, all in the same shacks, perhaps thirty or so to each…mixed…men and women together. There was no difference gender wise to the guards. We were just prisoners, worse than animals.” She paused and drew in a shaky breath.
“In this building, we all had to line up and guards came to us…the drug…a needle of some kind or syringe…old like we’d have had two hundred years ago. It was…they weren’t gentle…” She lowered her head but Chakotay saw the tears in her eyes all the same.
“They gave us water and some kind of mixture to eat. It was always…things crawled in it. I couldn’t take it at first and I remember gagging but…” She gave a small laugh. “Starfleet training.” She turned to Chakotay again and saw his small smile full of empathy.
“I knew it was eat or die. The water was almost stagnant, foul tasting but we all grabbed at it. We were always thirsty…maybe the drug or the food mix…” At this stage she draw her legs up to her chest, hugging them to her as if gaining security from the gesture. “Then we worked.” Chakotay saw the memories pass across her eyes.
“The heat was terrible and the stench. People died Chakotay…” She looked to him, her tears falling now and he gently laid a hand on her arm and squeezed.
“The bodies were just left there while the rest of us worked, hacking away at the rocks for the ore…worked around them… We were never allowed shoes of any kind…nothing for our hands… That rock just tore through the skin…” She looked down at her hands as if almost expecting the evidence of all this to still be visible.
“Hours and hours…no respite… Later we had to carry the bodies of the dead back with us… There was a pit…” She rubbed at her face, at the tears there. “I often thought they were the lucky ones…” Chakotay finally moved and pulled her to him and she went desperately into his embrace, clinging to him. Within minutes she pulled back and continued. “Thanks.” He just smiled and stroked her hair.
“We were then taken back to the main building and the morning process would be repeated. I knew within a day or two that the drug they gave us was addictive. Always just before we were given it, those two hours or so, I felt myself…I don’t know…agitated or…jumpy… Within a few minutes of the dose… none of it seemed so bad I guess…or we saw it that way. I fought those shots at first, terrified of what it was they were giving me. I saw most of the others though…almost pushing to the front for their dose…saw how the guards laughed at them, as if sharing a secret only they knew, which of course was the case…” She pulled her legs back to herself and hugged them again.
“The nights were the worst despite how the drug made me feel. I never seemed to be able to turn my mind off…stop remembering before…remembering you…” She turned and gripped his hand then pulled hers back again to keep her other one company around her legs.
“I used to lie awake and listen to the others and it almost became a study…watching how people drew strength from each other. They paired off, some of them, sleeping together. Some just held each other, others…well I guess it was just sex to them…a physical release or maybe just to feel alive…I don’t know…” Once again she wiped at the tears on her face.
“One night, one of them came to me. I had been crying and was trying to keep quiet. I remember being so afraid…afraid I wouldn’t have the energy to fight him off but…he saw immediately that I didn’t want…he just backed off and left me. They were like that…just…it was just comfort with them. He was only trying to give me some of that comfort…find some himself…” She swallowed loudly and drew in a shaky breath, trying to pull in the strength she needed to go on.
“The guards at least thank God…they never tried anything like that…I guess we were beneath them for that or maybe because we smelled so bad. Washing ourselves just didn’t exist…toilet facilities…wherever you were… Dignity wasn’t a part of your life anymore. The guards may have ignored us at that level but it didn’t stop the beatings. Maybe the other would have been better…” Chakotay put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him but stayed quiet.
“One day, I cut my hand badly, blood everywhere. I stopped working to see it. Big mistake.” She leaned further into him. “They were on me in a second, screaming at me and hitting me. I’d been beaten before by them but this was worse. They always seemed to know just how far they could go although sometimes that didn’t work too well. The pain was… When I felt myself black out, I prayed it was all over, I really did…” She was silent for some minutes now, memories assaulting her.
“I came round…it was getting dark…and I was in…” She broke down completely now and Chakotay did the only thing he could. He hugged her to him tightly and gave the only comfort he could. When she settled a little, he got up and replicated some tea, letting her sip at the soothing beverage and calm herself. When she finished her drink, she spoke on.
“Chakotay, it was the worst of all my time there.” Her tears were back instantly at the memories of it. “I woke up and I couldn’t see where I was, didn’t know. I was cold and in so much pain. It took me some time to understand…” She looked at him and he saw the pain in her eyes.
“I was in…in the…pit… All those bodies… I was lying with them…on top of…” Once more she broke down and Chakotay again just held her as she tried to deal with the memories.
“They must have believed they had killed me with the beating…or maybe that I was beyond help…I don’t know. I do remember crying out, screaming… Someone pulled me out…who I don’t know…then I was in a building…they were giving me more drugs…doing things…I can’t remember much but I guess it was a Doctor or someone who was there… Next I remember being back in the shack and it was night. Next morning I was pulled back to the main building and then to the mines. During that day, I wondered if I’d dreamed the whole thing but the images of those bodies stayed and I knew it had been real.” She stood up now and paced.
“The others…I guess they tried to comfort me a little but mostly it was just each for themselves…survival… They spoke to me but I couldn’t understand their words. I wished so much I could have, maybe even spoken to them so that they knew what I was trying to say. The guards…I could never understand them either although maybe that’s just as well.” A small smile played on her lips but got no further.
“I remember the despair…feeling so helpless…the pain and fear…praying Voyager would come…” She stopped pacing and turned to Chakotay.
“I can deal with those things, Chakotay. I can push all that away in my mind and deal with it. What won’t leave me is…the bodies…their dead eyes staring…the feel of their cold…almost as if they were grabbing at me…pulling me down with them…some rotting…the stench…” Kathryn fell to her knees in racking sobs and Chakotay was with her instantly. He lifted her and carried her to her bed. He reached for one of the sedatives and quickly pressed it to her neck. Within a minute, it took effect, not having the drug from the camp impeding it. As she slipped off into oblivion, Chakotay called the Doctor and had him check her. When he was satisfied that she was all right medically, he sat and related to the Doctor all that had come out of her time away from them, knowing the Medic needed to know. The Doctor just nodded.
“The sedatives will help when it’s too bad but only time will heal this. Her friends, you in particular, that’s the best medicine now.” Chakotay just thanked the Doctor and then went and sat beside Kathryn for the rest of the night.
Slowly over the next month, Kathryn’s own self defence system kicked in and with the help of her good friends and Tuvok aiding her with meditation rituals, she dealt with her demons and became a stronger person for it. Gradually the nightmares receded and the flashes of memory which came during the day also diminished. She knew the images would always stay with her but she learned to control them rather than have them control her.
Chakotay took the time to point out to her that it was mainly down to her own strength of will, that she had survived everything and that he and the others had simply been crutches who had helped along the way. He needed her to know that she could recover on her own, that her strength as the person she was, remained with her.
The other thing Kathryn found hard to deal with was the knowledge that while she was back, there were still hundreds and probably thousands still in the camps. It took her a long time to accept that there were some things she had no control over, that regimes like this had always existed and always would. The Doctor pointed out to her that this was known as ‘survivor’s guilt’ and that it was actually natural to go through it after an ordeal like hers.
After three months, Kathryn Janeway returned to duty full time. She knew she had been changed by the experience but was determined that it would never effect who she was as Captain and certainly not in how she was with the people around her. It slowly dawned on her that most of the changes could be positive if she only let them. She took more time with people, considered them more, listened more. Her proprieties changed and she now found that getting home came second to the crew’s welfare. The crew also saw this change in their Captain and welcomed it. They found her more approachable and Voyager was a better place for it all.
Finally, she and Chakotay set out on their much delayed weekend away. They had three days and cherished every second of their time together. The first night they simply lay wrapped in each other’s arms, whispering quietly into the night before dreamless sleep claimed them.
The next day, Chakotay presented Kathryn with a beautiful woodcarving he had made for her. All around the edges, tiny rosebuds curled around each other and in the centre, he had carved words, words which Kathryn could carry with her and gain strength from.
‘God Grant Me The Strength To Change The Things I Can – To Accept The Things I Can’t And To Have The Wisdom To Know The Difference.’
As she ran her hands over the polished wood, letting the feel of it flow into her fingers, she felt her tears come and eventually looked up to the man she loved, who had been there for her throughout everything. Too choked up to speak, she simply let her fingers speak for her as she reached to his face and gently caressed his cheek. He brought his hand up and covered hers, letting her know everything she needed to know with just his touch.
“Just let me be a light for you Kathryn. Let the light we create between us banish all darkness and all shadows.”
That night they joined as one and they both knew the memory of the experience was the one which would come to them before they closed their eyes on this life for the last time. As Chakotay had lain over Kathryn and entered her slowly, joining their bodies fully, the sweetness and tenderness of it all swept over her, filling every fibre of her being. She felt as if she had discovered the meaning of life and all the answers to all the questions ever asked, that she had finally found the reason for her existence. As she gazed into his eyes, she realized that they were literally looking into each other’s souls. Afterwards, they lay so close they were almost one. They awoke twice more during the night and each time their joining was as spiritual as the first.
Kathryn had been afraid that when their time on the holodeck came to an end, something would be lost when they returned to ‘real life’. She was mistaken. What they had, carried with them. She realized that what they shared wasn’t the setting or the time or any other variable but the connection and the love they had between them and that no matter what life would throw at them in the future, as long as they had each other, in life or death, they would always be one.
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