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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     When a trading mission to a misogynistic world goes disastrously

                      wrong, the away team members are left to pick up the pieces.

                      Despite being back on board Voyager, the threat still looms.

                      Can Kathryn and Chakotay ever put their lives back together?



WARNING:   This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.




              The idea for this story came from Betrayed by Crusher.  Many thanks for her  

              permission to use it.

              Check out her stories at http://www.geocities.com/believe1013/







THE DEAREST AND THE BEST.


PART TWO.



Tom Paris, Harry Kim, Joe Carey and Gary Cole woke within ten minutes of each other the following morning.  They were confused for several minutes before memories of the previous night assaulted them.  With Chakotay still sleeping heavily and monitored from sickbay, B'Elanna and Sam, along with Megan and Janice sat to the side of sickbay as the Doctor tried to explain to the men what had transpired.  B'Elanna saw that they remembered only too well, the drug well out of their system now.  Without it’s presence, the brain washing or manipulation which had also taken place, was rendered useless.  The Doctor explained that they may never be able to understand what had been done to them but that the future was what mattered now.  He also reassured them that there would be no fallout from what had been done to them, no side effects in a medical sense.  The women saw the pain and guilt on the men’s faces and moved forward now, to try and reassure as best they could, let them know that no harm had been done and no blame would ever be laid at their doors. 

The Doctor stood back, deep admiration for B'Elanna and the other women filling him but he knew that it would take a long time before things were ever back to normal again and before the men were able to accept that what had occurred had not been their fault in any way.  He released them all to their quarters, with strict orders to rest for the next two days.  He then went to check on the Captain.

Kathryn still lay unconscious but the Medic was satisfied with her vital signs.  He stared down at her and shook his head.

“Come back to us Captain.  The Commander needs you…  We all need you…”

^^^^^^^^^^

While Chakotay slept on, B'Elanna and the other women accompanied their men back to their quarters.  No one spoke during the short walk.  They paired off as they had on the planet and went their separate ways.

Harry Kim stood in the centre of his quarters, feeling Megan Delaney’s eyes on him.  He turned slowly and risked a glance at her, too embarrassed to hold her eyes.  She saw what he was feeling and moved quickly to allay his fears.

“Harry Kim, listen to me now.  I’m a strong woman and you’re a strong man, whether you believe that or not.  Sit down and listen to me.”  He met her eyes finally and nodded.

“Megan, I remember it all and I’m so sorry.  The memories…it’s like watching myself doing things I know I’d never do…like I was someone else…  Who I was before didn’t exist…”  She cut him off.

“Sit and listen.”  He sat and she pulled a chair over to him.  He eased his chair back a little but she reached over and gripped his arm, pulling her own chair closer to him.

“Don’t do that Harry.  I’m not afraid of you and never will be.”  He stayed where he was this time as he nodded, his faint smile trying to say what he felt incapable of speaking.  “Now Harry, we were friends before this and that hasn’t changed.  That bastard did this.  Not you or me or any of the others.  It was him.  The man who was in that cabin with me last night was not you, wasn’t Harry Kim.”  She shook her head when she saw he wasn’t convinced.

“Look Harry, without the sentient element, imagine you’re the computer which runs this ship.  You program it to do things a certain way and that’s the way it will remain.  Imagine that’s you for a minute.  Now someone else comes along and re-programs or alters the commands given to the computer so that it becomes destructive to the ship.  It’s not and never will be the computer’s fault that it acted differently.  The programmer is the one at fault.  Can you understand and accept that analogy?”  Finally Harry sighed deeply and then nodded tearfully.

“I just can’t understand how you can forgive me so easily.  I remember what I did down there.  I remember asking you to make me something to eat…”  He trailed off a moment, the images filling his mind to accompany his words, almost as if he were narrating an old film.  “I just knew that…believed…that was why you were there…to just serve me…and I didn’t see you…just this…someone who should obey me…  My thoughts weren’t my own and yet…at that moment they felt like the only thoughts I’d ever had…  Am I making sense?”  She nodded.

“You asked me to make you something and I was tired.  I remember just telling you to get it yourself and that I was going to bed.”  She gauged her words carefully now.  “You were behind me suddenly and just hit me…”  She saw the horror on his face as he remembered.  “Harry, it wasn’t that bad.  I contacted Voyager immediately and had us beamed back.  I still had my commbadge on.  You didn’t even try and hit me again, just kept shouting about me knowing my place and asking why I couldn’t have just done as you had asked.  Please Harry, I promise you that no harm, not one little bit, has been done to our friendship.”  She squeezed his hands and saw him accept her words.

“Megan, I don’t deserve you as a friend.  I can’t ever thank you for your understanding and forgiveness.”  Megan just laughed.

“Oh don’t think I won’t make you grovel and pay for this for years to come.  Next time I’m low on replicator rations…”  They smiled at each other and eventually hugged.  “Now get some sleep Kim, some of us have work to do…” 

^^^^^^^^^^

Janice Porter sat in much the same way with Gary Cole after seeing him back to his quarters.

“I must have terrified you Janice.  I’m just so grateful I didn’t hurt you in any way.”  Janice smiled at him.

“It’s over with, Gary.  I don’t understand why you took it out on yourself though.”  Gary went bright red for a moment.  “Gary, you know you can talk to me.  We’re friends and you know it’ll never go any further.  I give you my word of honour on that…”  He nodded and sat down beside her on the sofa.

“I know that…”  He took her hand in his.  “Look, I think I know why.”  He took a moment and then spoke.

“Their attitude to women…seeing them as inferior…  I guess I tend to see myself that way.  I haven’t the greatest confidence in myself as a person.  That’s the reason I think I took it out on myself.  The other reason I guess is…”  He watched her face for a moment, as if deciding how honest to be.  Finally he smiled softly.  “What you don’t know but maybe suspect is that…  well…you’re…you’re not exactly…my type…”  He waited to see if she understood or was shocked.  All he saw was a friendly smile.

“You mean that you’re gay?”  He nodded.  Janice squeezed his hand.  “Gary, I’ve guessed that for a long time.  It probably has something to do with why I feel so comfortable around you also.  I suspected…  No…  I think I knew actually.  Know this though.  It makes no difference to me at all but I’m glad you told me.”  As if a last wall between them as friends was finally demolished, they embraced tightly.  When they broke apart, Janice stroked his face.

“Now you get some sleep, my friend.  I’ve a duty shift.  Put this behind you and leave it in the past.  No harm was done between us.  In fact, I’d say it’s forged an even deeper and more abiding friendship between us that will last forever.”  She left him then, leaving behind her a man more at peace with himself than he had ever been.

^^^^^^^^^^

Sam Wildman checked on her sleeping daughter and returned to a very uncomfortable Joe Carey.  She watched him from the doorway for several minutes before he looked up and saw her.  She then moved to sit beside him.

“This changes nothing between us, Joe.  I just want you to know that.  Promise me you’ll accept that what happened was not down to you in any way.”  She saw the battle in his eyes but slowly he nodded.

“It’s hard and it’ll take time but knowing that you still believe in me…  I think I can do it.  Thanks Sam…”  She smiled and took his hand, raising it to her lips and kissing it.

“Look Joe, you and I have enough guilt in this relationship because of those we left behind on Earth.  We don’t need any more.  I believed in you before and I still do.  Nothing that happened down there was you.  We put this behind us and move on.  It’s the only way to beat that pig…”  He pulled her into his arms.

“Thank you for that.  I guess that was something he didn’t count on…”  She pulled back and
frowned at him.  He smiled and pushed her hair back from her face.  “He missed the meaning of what real love is about.  He failed to understand mutual respect and trust…what belief in another person can be about…what loyalty and love really are…”  Sam smiled lovingly at him.

“This changes nothing between us, Joe…”  He nodded.

“I know and I love you all the more for that.”  He leaned back now.  “I better go back to my quarters and get some sleep.  I know you’re on duty in another hour.  Tonight though…?”  She smiled back at him.

“Neelix won’t mind taking Naomi.  Tonight, we’ll bury it all…” 

^^^^^^^^^^

B'Elanna replicated some tea and took it into the bedroom with her.  She found Tom just sitting on the side of the bed, staring at his boot in his hand, as if waiting for it to speak to him.

“Tom?”  He looked up, then away.  “Tom Paris, don’t you dare avoid my eyes.  Nothing has changed between us.  I won’t let you do this to us.  That bastard tried to do enough damage without you letting him into our lives here…”  His head snapped back up and he looked at her.

“It will change things though…  B'Elanna, I hit you…tried to…  If you hadn’t been able to defend yourself…”  B'Elanna moved over to the bed and slammed down the two mugs she held.  She either didn’t notice or didn’t care when some of the tea spilled over the rims and onto the locker.  She snatched the boot from his hands and threw it on the floor then sat down beside him.

“That wasn’t you Tom, and you know that.  You’re an intelligent man so don’t tell me you don’t understand everything the Doc told you.”  She held her hand up when he went to speak.

“You and Chakotay were given the largest doses.  Of course you acted more…”  She hesitated, searching for the right word.  Tom smiled cynically and shook his head.

“See?  You can’t even think of a word that will lessen the severity of what I did…”  B'Elanna jumped up, her temper controlling her now.

“Just shut your mouth Tom Paris and listen to me.”  She saw actual fright in his eyes.  “This is not about what ‘you’ did.  You did nothing.  Neither did Chakotay or the others.  You were all under the control of that bastard.  I know that.  The Doctor knows that and even Tuvok knows it.  Everyone knows it.  You were not yourself Tom and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can get our lives back.  I love you and I always will and I know you love me and would never hurt me.  You have to accept that because if you don’t, he wins and I for one, will never let that happen.  If I have to spend the rest of my life beating that into that thick skull of yours…”  She was breathing hard now, her temper controlling her body and she looked up and saw her husband smiling slightly at her.  “What?”  He shook his head.

“I don’t deserve you.  You’re right though…  I love you more than my own life.”  His face saddened then and B'Elanna moved to him, sitting back down beside him and slipping her arm around him.  “B'Elanna, I would rather cut off my hands, than raise them to you.”  He shook his head.  “It’s just so hard knowing that I did raise my hand to you, even under the control of someone else.  To know that anything or anyone could make me do that…  That’s not easy to accept…”  She pulled him tighter against her. 

“Tom, let this go.  Don’t let it stay between us please.  I know it would be easier if you had been able to forget what happened.  Since the memory will be there though, we have to learn to bury it and let it go.  Personally, I don’t believe there is anything there for me to forgive you for, but if you feel you need me saying I forgive you, then know that I do.”  She saw her words give him comfort.  “Tom, nothing can destroy what we have between us.  I promise you that on my life.”  He sighed deeply.

“I’ll try, I really will.  It won’t be easy though so just be patient with me.  I can’t just shut off the memories that easily because they’re still very fresh…”  He looked at her and saw her understanding.  “I remember it so clearly now…  I tried to throw you out at first and then…pulling you towards the bed…demanding sex from you…”  He closed his eyes as if this might block out the images.  “I remember hitting you…  If you hadn’t knocked me out…been strong enough… oh God B'El, I’m so sorry…”  She pulled him to her and held him as he cried.

“It’s over Tom, it’s over and it doesn’t change how I feel about you.  Nothing ever could.  I love you…”  He eventually quietened and tried a weak smile.

“I love you too…and thank you…for your love and trust and faith in me…”  She smiled and kissed his cheek.

“That’s what that bastard didn’t count on.  His evil plan could never get past that…”  They held each other for a long time, giving and receiving comfort and love from each other.  Finally Tom spoke.

“How are the others?  Chakotay in particular.  You didn’t tell me…”  B'Elanna pulled back from him but he didn’t miss the sad look that crossed her face.  She quickly told him about Harry, Joe and Gary and about how great Megan, Sam and Janice had been.

“They’ll be just fine.  They were given far lower doses.”  Tom watched her closely.

“What about Chakotay and the Captain?  If I was given a larger dose, I imagine Chakotay was too…”  B'Elanna nodded.

“He was given an even larger dose than you were…probably because the Captain and I appeared the strongest of the women and were your partners…and with her being the Captain…”  Tom tried to read her face, but couldn’t.

“Did he do the same as me?  Did he…attack…the Captain…?”  B'Elanna barely nodded.  Tom pulled back a moment.

“You were able to stop me because you’re stronger…your Klingon blood…  The Captain is strong but not that strong.  Chakotay is a big man…  What are you not telling me?”  He looked at her now, his eyes holding hers.  She shook her head.

“Tom, they’ll be fine.  Chakotay is sleeping it off.  Doc sedated him.  I said I’d stay with him…be there when he wakes up.  Doc will alert me.  It’ll be a while yet.  It was a strong sedative…”  Tom kept staring at her, fear for his friends stirring in his guts.

“You’re avoiding my question…and where’s the Captain now?”  She shook her head again.

“She’s still in sickbay…  She hasn’t woken up yet…”  She felt Tom’s hand on her arm and finally met his eyes.

“B'El, talk to me.  Am I asking you to break a confidence here?  I understand if I am but maybe I can help Chakotay in some way…”  B'Elanna nodded tearfully.

“I think you’re going to be the only one who will be able to help him…if he can be helped at all…”  Tom looked scared.

“Talk to me here love.  A strong sedative for Chakotay tells me he was in some state if he needed that.  The Captain still unconscious in sickbay…”  His eyes widened as thoughts fell into place.  “Oh God no…”  B'Elanna tightened her hold on his hand.  “You were able to stop me…she
wasn’t…oh God no….”  He looked tearfully at his wife, pain in his eyes.  “How bad…?”  He was afraid of the answer as he saw B'Elanna’s tears.

“She’ll be fine in time.  Tom…please don’t ask me to…  Come with me and help me with Chakotay and if he tells you then that’s OK but please…  Besides, I don’t think I need to say anything…”  Tom pulled his eyes away from her face and stood up shakily.

“Oh Jesus…”  He ran his hands through his already tousled hair.  “That bastard…I just want to kill him…”  He turned and saw the shock on his wife’s face.

“Chakotay wasn’t responsible…”  Tom looked deeply shocked.

“No…B'Elanna…sweet God…I mean Brolar…  I know Chakotay wasn’t responsible.  He adores the Captain…he’d never do anything to hurt her in any way…he loves her…worships the ground she walks on…would die for her…gladly….”  He stopped when he realized what he was saying and saw the slight smile on B'Elanna’s face.  He smiled also.

“OK, I know.  Practice what I preach.”  He moved back to her and pulled her into his arms.  “We’ll be fine.  We’ll get through this.  We’ll also get Chakotay and the Captain through this.  We’ll all move past it.”  He hugged her tightly to him for several minutes.

“What about…?  What do we do about Brolar…?”  He spit out the name as if it were leaving a nasty taste in his mouth.  B'Elanna shook her head.

“I talked with Tuvok earlier.  He read him the riot act and lodged an official complaint but we both know that means nothing.”  She sighed deeply.  “There ‘s nothing more he can do.  Nothing any of us can do and I know how hard that is to accept but it’s a fact and one that has to be accepted.  You know me…what I’d like to do with him…”  She smiled at the knowing look on Tom’s face.  “Yeah well…even I have some sense.  We’re no match for them.  We couldn’t take on an entire planet and win.  All we can do is move on, which we’re already doing.  We broke orbit early this morning and we’re well away from there now.  Tuvok even left some warning buoys.  All we can do is ensure that he doesn’t win in what he set out to achieve…”  Tom shook his head sadly.

“Hasn’t he already done that?  Certainly where Chakotay and the Captain are concerned…?”  B'Elanna was thoughtful for a moment and then shook her head.

“Only if we let him.  It’s up to us to make sure he fails.  I refuse to let that bastard infect the rest of our lives.”  They locked eyes, signing a silent pack between them.  B'Elanna stood up slowly.

“I managed to get some sleep earlier.  You need some now.  I’ll go to Chakotay’s quarters and wait for him to wake up.”  Tom smiled and stood with her.

“I’ll come with you.  I’m not tired.  I did sleep all night you know, thanks to the Doc, although I know it’s not like real sleep.  If I get tired later, I’ll dose in a chair.  I want to be there with you when he wakes up.  I think he’ll need us both.”  B'Elanna nodded her agreement and took his hand.

“I’d feel better if you were there with me too.  I also think he’ll need both of us.”  Tom  nodded.

“What about the Captain?  How is she now?”  He held up a hand.  “I’m not asking for details…”  B'Elanna smiled sadly.

“I know you’re not…  I checked with the Doc earlier.  She’s still unconscious…”  There was nothing more she could say.  With silent understanding, they made their way to Chakotay’s quarters where they sat and waited for their friend to wake up, knowing the horrors which awaited him when he opened his eyes.

^^^^^^^^^^

It was another two hours before Chakotay stirred from the deep drug induced slumber which had held his horrors at bay, denying him any nightmares.  He moaned loudly and twisted in the bed, his eyes opening slowly, taking some time to focus on the two people sitting watching him.  They watched as everything slowly came back to him, invading his mind like slides from some old horror show.  They watched helplessly as the memories assaulted him and he sat up in the bed, dropping his head in his head.

“Oh sweet God…it was real…”  He rocked back and forth until he felt an arm go around his shoulders.  He pulled back quickly and jumped up when he saw it was B'Elanna who had sat beside him.

“Don’t…I’ll only hurt you…  I’m not safe to be near anyone…especially a woman…”  Tom stood up out of his chair slowly, his face serious.

“How do you think what you’ve just said makes me feel then Chakotay?”  The big man stared at his friend.  “I’m slowly learning to accept this…that I wasn’t responsible for my actions.  You have to know that it wasn’t you…”  Chakotay cut him off and moved away. 

“What do you know?”  Tom wasn’t having this.

“I know what I was like.  I have the memories of it all and will have them for the rest of my life…just like you…”  Chakotay turned on him.

“Just like me?  I don’t think so.  Do you know what memories I’ll have?  You have nothing…”  Tom pressed his face close to Chakotay’s.

“Don’t tell me I have no memories.  I know what I did to my own wife…”  Chakotay laughed, the sound filled with hate.

“I know.  You hit her…tried to pull her down on the bed…”  Tom remained quiet for the moment.  He saw the anger and pain rise in his friend and let it.  “You hit her and tried it on but she was able to stop you.  Do you have any idea what I did?  Well do you?”  Tom shook his head.

“No I don’t.  I can imagine…but Chakotay, it wasn’t…”  Chakotay shook his head angrily then looked at B'Elanna. 

“You didn’t tell him?”  She shook her head.  “Why not?  Everyone on board should know.  They should know so that they can stay away from me…”  B'Elanna jumped up.

“Cut this out Chakotay…”  He jumped back from her then turned to Tom again, his self-hatred building by the minute.

“Let me tell you then.  I beat the shit out of her.  Did you know that?  I heard the Doctor’s report…”  He held his hands up when Tom went to interrupt.  “I said the cruellest things to her and I beat her…smashed her face in more like…  I broke her cheekbone, her jaw, even her nose…  I split her lip and abused her…”  He dragged his hands painfully through his hair, not seeing the look of pain on Tom’s face.  “Then of course, I decided to drag her to the bed.  I smacked her around a bit more…threw her down and…”  Tom moved to him.

“Chakotay don’t…”  He was ignored.

“I raped her…just like that…”  He turned and glared at Tom, tears pouring down his face.  “Do you understand what I’m telling you?  I held her down…forced myself on her…tore at her…ripped her clothes…mauled her…and took what I wanted from her…  I RAPED her,
Tom…destroyed everything about the woman I was suppose to love…”  A cynical laugh filled the room.  “She fought it at first but I soon knocked that out of her.  And then she just gave in and let me.  Couldn’t fight me…  God love her…she couldn’t…  And I took her…turned her over…took it all…  Of course I wasn’t finished with that.  I had to smash her head off the table and almost kill her…called her a whore…”  B'Elanna had had enough.

“Chakotay…shut up.  First off, she fell against the table.  More importantly though…it wasn’t you who did that.” Chakotay ignored her too, as if she wasn’t even in the same room.

“Oh I got the Doctor’s report on that too.  Tearing, bruising, haemorrhaging.  Her head…internal bleeding on the brain, swelling, fractured skull…”  He turned angrily.  “I saw what I did…  She made it as far away as she could before she collapsed.  I saw the state I left her in…the blood on her head and face…the bruising…her torn  clothes…the blood on her thighs…”  B'Elanna leapt forward and slapped him across the face.  He stood and looked at her with a shocked expression on his face.

“You damned well listen to me now Chakotay.  You forget I know you better and longer than anyone on board this ship.  I know what you’re capable of and what you’re not.  When you love someone or even care just a bit, you protect that person fiercely.  Even after everything Seska did to you, you still couldn’t have harmed her.  You aren’t capable of harming someone you care about.  I know my husband.  I know the love we have between us.  He isn’t capable of that either.  You were all drugged and manipulated into those actions.  And remember you two had the highest doses, yours the highest of all.  Only one person is responsible for all this and that’s that bastard Brolar.  You have to learn to lay the blame for all this firmly where it belongs.  You have to do that for yourself and for the rest of us.  You also have to do that for Kathryn Janeway…”  He turned away with a cry when he heard her name.

“I did it, B'Elanna, no one else.  She’ll never get over this.  I saw the hurt and shock, the pain and fear in her eyes when I attacked her.  She knew.  She knew what was coming.  She begged me, pleaded with me…  I saw and heard her cries and tears…  I heard her screams…”  He stumbled backwards, shaking his head from side to side.  “She tried so hard to fight me…but she couldn’t…  My strength made sure of that…  She was terrified…  knew what I was going to do to her…  And then she just let me…lay there crying…her tears…crying out and screaming with pain…while I just pulled her around and took…hurt her so much…  God…you saw the place…the destruction of it…  You know the struggle it took to cause that…?”  He turned to B'Elanna, tears pouring from his eyes.  “You were holding her underwear…I just ripped…  You saw the bed…her blood…and even after…she tried to get away…oh God…”  He fell to his knees.  “I can’t ever go near her again…oh Kathryn…I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”  B'Elanna and Tom both went to him and held him.

“How…how is she…?”  They barely heard him.  He raised his eyes to them, the agony written there tearing through them.  “Please…I need to know…”  B'Elanna looked at Tom a moment.

“She’s…she’s still asleep…”  Chakotay saw through the lie and pulled back from their hold.

“She’s still unconscious you mean…  I knew the Doc wasn’t telling me everything…”  B'Elanna gripped his arm tightly.

“He also said she will come round and make a full recovery.  It’s a concussion.  I’m not lying to you on that.  Look, why don’t you go see her for yourself…”  She saw the look of terror which crossed his face as he pulled away.

“No…no…  I can’t ever be with her again…can’t ever be alone with her…can’t ever trust myself again…  She’ll always hate me now…”  B'Elanna knelt back on the floor.

“Chakotay, I know her.  She loves you.  She could never hate you.  She won’t blame you for this…will know who’s really responsible.  She’s not like that.  She loves you too much…”  Chakotay sat back on the floor, his face a mask of pain.

“Maybe she did…but now?”  He looked at them both, his eyes going dead.  “Tell me then…the memories of all this with her…  Whose fists do you think she’ll remember smashing into her face?  Whose body will she remember pulling her around…ripping at her clothes…lying over her…mauling her…tearing into her…?  Whose eyes will she remember staring down at her while she was held down forcibly and raped?  Whose hands did all that?”  He answered his own questions in a dead voice.  “Mine.  Always mine.  It won’t be his she’ll see in her nightmares.  Only mine…always mine…”  B'Elanna inched over to him.

“I think you underestimate the love she has for you , my friend and her intelligence…”  Chakotay wasn’t ready to listen.

“I know…  I know whose…”  He pulled himself to his feet.  “Please…I need to be alone…”  He saw the worried looks on their faces.  “Don’t worry…I’m not a danger to myself…too much of a coward for that.  I just need to be alone…”  B'Elanna shook her head and looked to Tom.  He stood up and walked over to Chakotay.

“OK Chakotay, on one condition.  You let the Doc look you over first and keep a monitor on you.  If you don’t, we stay here and you won’t shift us.  You also talk to me when you’re ready.  You’ll get through this and so will the Captain.  I also have to work through this and so has B'Elanna.  The others too to a lesser degree.  I believe we can only do that together.”  Knowing it was the only way to get rid of them, Chakotay reluctantly agreed.  He spent the rest of that day alone, at his own request and struggled with the demons which tried to consume him.  Not once did he leave his quarters.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn regained consciousness the next morning to find B'Elanna and the Doctor smiling down at her.  It was the first time she could remember coming round in sickbay, not to find Chakotay’s worried face before her.  She blinked several times to clear her vision before the memories slammed into her.  She struggled to sit up and her first words told B'Elanna everything she needed to know.

“Chakotay…where’s Chakotay?  He needs help…”  The Doctor and B'Elanna pressed her back down gently onto the bed.

“Captain, Mr. Chakotay is just fine.  The entire away team are fine.”  She let herself be held down as tears filled her eyes.

“Where’s Chakotay?  I want to see him.  I have to know he’s all right…”  She didn’t miss the look that crossed between the two standing over her.  “What’s wrong?  Where is he?  Something’s happened to him, hasn’t it?”  B'Elanna shook her head.

“Kathryn, he’s in his quarters.”  This was no time for rank.  B'Elanna knew the woman before her needed a friend more now.  “I promise you he’s fine.  We’re all fine and you will be too.”  She hesitated a moment but saw that her Captain waited for more.  “Look, he’s just having a hard time dealing with this…accepting…”  Kathryn shook her head, causing her tears to fall.

“He didn’t do anything…”  They saw her fight her memories.  “He wasn’t himself.  I saw that.  They did something to him…”  B'Elanna nodded.  Kathryn suddenly tried to sit up again.  “It happened to the others too?  Please tell me…”  The Doctor smiled gently.

“Captain please…lie back.  I’ll tell you…”  He knew the woman before him would settle for nothing less than the full truth and so he told her everything, knowing she would see if he was holding anything back from her.  He watched as she went from sadness to anger and back again as the story was told.  Just as he finished speaking, Tuvok entered sickbay and came over to them.

“Captain, it is good to see you awake…”  Kathryn managed a slight watery smile for him.

“Talk to me Tuvok…  I need to know everything…”  B'Elanna and the Doctor moved back a little.

“Captain, we have left Ular and are back on course.  The away team is fine.”  He filled her in on everything, knowing his Captain well, how she wouldn’t take anything less than a full report.  He saw that she already knew some of what he spoke of but made his report anyway.  “I left message buoys to inform any other unsuspecting ships of what they might expect.”  Kathryn nodded slowly, trying desperately to control her emotions, which were very raw at this moment.

“You acted correctly Tuvok.  There’s nothing else we could have done.”  She looked at the Doctor now.  “The others will be OK?”  He nodded and smiled gently.

“The women are already back on duty.  I wanted them to take more time off but they preferred to work.  I can understand that.  The men can return to duty this afternoon.  The drug is well out of their systems.  Physically they’re fine and getting back to work is probably the best therapy for them.  I’ll keep Commander Chakotay off for another day or so.  You will remain off duty for at least another three days.”  He expected a glare of defiance but none came.  She looked down at her hands, her thoughts elsewhere.  She looked up now.

“I’m sorry Doctor, I wandered there.  Yes OK.  Another three days.”  She smiled slightly at the surprised look on his face.  “I know.  I’m not arguing with you.  For once I agree.  I need some time here.”  She looked towards B'Elanna now.  “How are you really?  How’s Tom?”  The Doctor and Tuvok moved away now, giving them a moment to themselves.  B'Elanna moved over to her friend.

“I’m fine.  I wasn’t bad, just a few bruises.  Tom is slowly accepting this…dealing with the facts.  It’ll take some time for him to accept that he wasn’t to blame in any way…that it wasn’t him…but we’ll get there….”  Kathryn saw the unasked question in the other woman’s eyes.

“I’m fine too.  I’m a little sore but mostly I’m angry.  I want to kill that…”  She drew in a deep breath and looked down at her hands again.  “I take it you know…?”  She looked up guardedly and saw B'Elanna nod.  “B'Elanna, I’m fine, will be fine.  I’m more worried about Chakotay…  Tell me honestly…how is he?”  B'Elanna debated with herself for a moment and then decided that her friend needed the truth.

“He’s not too good.  Oh physically, he’s fine.  The Doc wasn’t lying about that.  It’s the other side of it…the emotional…”  She hesitated before continuing.  “Tom and I were there when he woke up yesterday morning…from the sedative…”  She pulled a chair over and sat, telling Kathryn some of what had happened with the man she loved, omitting some details.  She saw the pain on the older woman’s face increase as she learned more and more.  Finally she just lay back and shook her head, letting her tears fall quietly as B'Elanna held her hand.  “Kathryn, he’ll get past this.  He just needs time.  It was worst on you and him than any of the rest of us…”  Kathryn nodded quietly.

“I can’t remember how many times I’ve woken up in this sickbay…and always, his face was there for me…smiling at me…worried as hell but smiling…”  She turned her head to look at B'Elanna.  “I miss him…  I just want to see him…”  B'Elanna tried to hide the embarrassed look on her face.

“Just give him some time…”  Kathryn saw through it.

“He doesn’t want to see me…”  It was a question and answer all in one.  B'Elanna shook her head.

“No he doesn’t.  Kathryn, I’m sorry.  You have to understand how much pain he’s in over this.  He’s truly afraid to be near you.  He just can’t face you right now.  Doesn’t want to face himself.  There’s so much pain and guilt inside him at this moment.  Please, give him some time…  I’m
hoping Tom will be able to help him…that they can help each other…”  Kathryn nodded tearfully, to all outward appearances, accepting what her friend had said but B'Elanna saw how hurt she really was.

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the next three days, the Doctor kept his Captain in sickbay.  She never once objected.  He saw how upset she was by Chakotay’s absence but she tried her best to hide it.  Chakotay for his part had finally gone back on duty, avoiding people like the plague.  He constantly refused to be alone with anyone, demanding that Tuvok or Tom, even Harry, accompany him when he needed to meet with someone.  Not once did he go near sickbay.  Tuvok had informed him of Kathryn's condition, how she had regained consciousness and was asking to see him, but he refused constantly. 

On the fourth day, Kathryn was allowed to return to her quarters.  Before she left sickbay, the Doctor spoke quietly with her.

“Captain, I’ve waited for you to inquire about your condition but not once have you asked me anything.”  Kathryn shook her head sadly.

“I didn’t exactly need to ask you anything, did I?”  The Medic shook his head sadly.

“Nevertheless, I have to inform you of your condition.”  She met his eyes and he saw the pain hidden there in the blue depths.  “Your head injury was the worst.  There was a deep laceration, some swelling and bleeding on the brain, along with a hairline fracture.  Your cheekbone, jaw and nose were broken, your lip split, a few other cuts…”  Kathryn just nodded, accepting his words without emotion.  “They are all healed of course and there will be no problems resulting from the concussion you suffered.”  She still didn’t acknowledge his words.

“Of your other injuries…”  Finally a flash of emotion.  “Some tearing…bruising…a little haemorrhaging…  All easily healed…”  She looked away quickly. 

“Thank you Doctor.  Can I return to my quarters now?”  She finally looked up at him when he didn’t answer her.

“Did you hear all that Captain?”  She swallowed and nodded.

“Look Doctor, I heard you.  In my mind, they are just ‘by the way’ injuries, if that makes any sense.  I’m more worried about the bigger picture here…  The physical is healed or will be shortly.  I’m only worried about healing the emotional.  For myself, I can deal with this.”  She laughed slightly.  “Don’t for one moment think that I’m in denial about this, although with my track record, you’d be excused for thinking that.”  She played with her fingers.  “I know very well what happened on that planet.  I’m not in denial about that.  What I am doing, is dealing with it as it should be dealt with.  Chakotay was not responsible for what happened.  I’m well aware of where the true blame lies.  Oh I know in his mind, he feels he raped me.”  There was no hesitation in her use of the word, telling the Doctor a lot.  “Well Doctor, I’ve dealt with rape victims before, even victims of domestic violence.  As a Captain, you see these things.  I am not a rape victim and I don’t for one minute feel like one.  I just need to try and convince Chakotay of that.”  She looked up at the Medic and smiled a little. 

“I remember it all very clearly.  I was shocked and it hurt but not for one minute did I blame Chakotay for that.  I knew immediately that the man doing that to me was not the man I know and love.”  She showed no embarrassment at admitting her feelings.  “His body was there but he wasn’t.  I knew that at once.  I saw into those eyes and Chakotay wasn’t there.  Even while it was happening, I didn’t blame him.  My only concern was getting help for him.  I loved him before it, during it and still now after it.  What hate I feel is solely directed at the one who is to blame and I hope that he, ‘Ambassador Brolar’, burns in hell for what he did.  However, I refuse to let what he
did leave the legacy he intended it to leave and I will fight until my dying breath to ensure that he fails at what he set out to achieve.”  The Doctor smiled at her, actual pride showing on his face.

“And I have no doubt that you will succeed Captain.  However, let me say this.”  Kathryn gave him her full attention.  “The Commander is racked with guilt over what happened…”  He held up a hand when she went to speak.  “Everyone else knows that that guilt is misplaced completely, but that is how he feels.  The others are managing to let their guilt go, even Mr. Paris.  Talking to him might help the Commander more but so far that offer hasn’t been accepted.  As to you, talk to him by all means, but don’t push him on this.  I believe it will take him a long time to come to terms with what happened, with what he sees as his actions.  Only time will help alleviate those feelings.  From what I gather, he refuses to be alone with anyone at the moment, especially the female crewmembers, insisting that Tuvok or Tom be with him at all times.  He quite simply doesn’t trust himself, doesn’t believe it’s safe for him to be alone with anyone.  Learning to accept what he feels he did is one thing.  He also has to deal with the fact that he was controlled like that and made to do what he did.  You of all people understand how important self-control is.  To lose it or have it taken from you is hard to live with.  Don’t forget, the Commander has had bad experiences before, where he had his control taken from him.”  Kathryn remembered only too well, how he had been after Riley Frazer and the Vori.  “Ultimately, I believe he feels too terrified or guilt-ridden to face you.  It’s far from easy to forgive yourself for hurting someone you love, even when you accept that it wasn’t your fault.  Believing it was your fault, makes that a hundred times harder. ”  He sighed and shook his head.  “Captain, you have to let this go at his pace…”  Kathryn nodded sadly.

“I’ll try Doctor.”  She slid off the biobed.  “I think I’ll walk to my quarters…”  Her legs started to give out from under her and she grabbed the bed for support.  “On second thought…”  The Doctor steadied her and ordered a site-to-site transport for her. 

“Just take it easy and give it time Captain.”  She smiled her thanks as she disappeared.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn took it easy that afternoon, then called B'Elanna in the evening, needing the company but also wanting to know what was going on around her ship.  She replicated a light meal for them both then sat back with her friend sipping coffee.

“The Doctor would have a fit if he knew I was drinking this.  Still, it’s my first cup…”  Kathryn smiled.  B'Elanna shook her head.

“First cup this evening you mean.  What about the dozen or so you probably consumed earlier in the day?”  Kathryn feigned deep hurt.

“Don’t you trust me?”  She laughed.  “OK it’s my fifth cup today but who’s counting…?”  They both laughed and spoke together.

“The Doctor…”  Their laughter slowly died away and they were silent for several minutes, just staring at nothing in particular.  Kathryn know she was avoiding what she really wanted to talk about, using small talk and laughter to ease herself into it.  Finally she spoke.

“I hope Tom doesn’t mind me asking you here.  If you’d rather be with him or feel he needs you…”  B'Elanna shook her head.

“Tom’s taking a duty shift.  Working helps him.  He’s getting better anyway…accepting this more now…”  Kathryn seemed thoughtful before she spoke again.

“Have you seen Chakotay?  How is he?”  She met the younger woman’s eyes, pleading for her honesty.  B'Elanna shook her head sadly.

“He’s back on duty, throwing himself into his work.  Basically, I think he’s trying to wear himself out so he’ll be too exhausted to think.”  She played with her cup.  “He’s eaten up by this…”  She shook her head again.  “I’m sorry…maybe I shouldn’t have said that to you…”  Kathryn licked at her lips.

“No B'Elanna, please…  I need to know.  I need to know what I’m dealing with here.”  She hesitated.  “Won’t he even talk to Tom?”  B'Elanna sighed and sat forward.

“Oh Tom’s tried but he isn’t getting anywhere.  As far as Chakotay is concerned, Tom can have no idea of what he’s going through.  Tom didn’t do this or didn’t do that…not like he did…”  She hesitated.  “Kathryn, he told us everything…I’m sorry…”  Kathryn frowned.

“Told you what?”  The Engineer took a deep drink of her by now almost cold coffee.

“He told us everything… You know I already knew…I told you that…”  Kathryn nodded, remembering their talk in sickbay.  B'Elanna continued.  “I didn’t tell you everything.  Look, I don’t believe he was thinking straight at the time.  He’d just come round from the sedative…”  She stopped.  “Doc told you all about that?  Sickbay the night before?”  Kathryn nodded.  “Of course…I was there…  Sorry…it’s…”  Kathryn just waited quietly for her to continue.

“Anyway, he was…beyond upset.  It hit him that it was all real, that it had really happened.  Tom tried to help but I hadn’t told Tom what I knew from the night before.  Chakotay lashed into him and when he found out that Tom didn’t know…  Well he just let it all out.  Started screaming at Tom about how he’d never be able to understand…that he knew nothing…  Then he told us how he’d…”  B'Elanna hesitated again and Kathryn nodded permission for her to go on. 

“Sorry…  he said about how he’d beaten you…hurt you… said terrible things.   He quoted the Doc’s reports…your injuries…said how he’d…he’d…”  B'Elanna swallowed.  “How he’d held you down…raped you…”  She watched her Captain’s eyes carefully, trying to gauge if she should stop.  “He said you didn’t stand a chance against him…that he’d destroyed everything about you…what was good and pure…your love…and then…how he’d smashed your head…Kathryn…I’m sorry…  You know this will never be repeated though…please know that…from either myself or Tom…I’m sorry…”  Kathryn had tears in her eyes and just shook her head.

“It wasn’t like that…”  She sniffed.  “Maybe to someone else seeing it, it might have looked that way…but not to me…”  She took a few moments and wiped at her face.  “Look I know none of this will ever be repeated.  I’ll say that first.”  B'Elanna tried a smile and nodded.  “B'Elanna, I knew immediately…  The man I know and love would never…could never…do that.  I knew something was terribly wrong.  He was too quiet on the way home…”  B'Elanna nodded her head.

“I think that’s when I first noticed something too.  Thought maybe he was just tired…”  Kathryn played with the cold coffee in her cup, dipping her fingers in and out of it. 

“I thought that too.  I knew something was wrong.  He asked me to make him tea and then disappeared into the shower.  I got changed and made the tea but it was cold by the time he came out for it.  He threw the cup at me and I knew then for sure that something was badly wrong.  He was shouting and screaming at me and I tried to get away to get help for him.  I couldn’t though.”  She lifted her finger and watched the cold coffee drip off it.

“He shook me…pushed me against the wall and hit me across the face…most of it is a blur really.  I was just so shocked and worried about him.  I honestly didn’t think about myself.  I just knew something was badly wrong with him and I had to get help.  I then suddenly thought that this was most likely happening all of you as well and I fought to get away to get help for you all…check on you.  Then when he started pulling at me, dragging me to the bed…I was scared then.”  She looked up tearfully.  “Not for what he’d do.  That wasn’t it.  I knew…just knew…what his knowing later on would do to him…”  Tears fell down her cheeks.  “I didn’t think about what it
would do to me…only what it would do to us…to us…him and me…later on…and it has…and I won’t let that happen…I won’t…”  Her tears were of anger now and B'Elanna reached over and took the cup and put it on the table, then pulled the older woman to her.

“Kathryn, I’m so sorry.  I can’t begin to understand what you’re going through.  Tom tried but I was able to stop him…”  Kathryn let herself be held for a few minutes and then pulled back.

“You don’t feel any differently about him though…?”  B'Elanna immediately shook her head, no hesitation in the slightest.

“Of course I don’t.  I love him.  That’s all there is to it.  I know he wasn’t in control when he did that.  Tom at least, is starting to believe and accept that.”  Kathryn pulled back and hugged herself.

“You know, even when…  I looked into his eyes…  Oh I was in pain…it hurt…”  She looked at B'Elanna briefly.  “I tried not to cry out or scream but…  Anyway…I saw his eyes and they weren’t his…  They were dead.  Chakotay wasn’t there.  I can tell you this though…even during…when he was…while it was going on…  Not once did I feel anything but love for him.  I remember telling him we’d get through it…that we loved each other and that it would be all right…that we’d survive.  I told him it wasn’t his fault…that I loved him…even then…while it was happening…and again when it was over…  He didn’t hear me though…I know that…”  B'Elanna took her Captain’s hands in hers and smiled softly at her.

“I think he’s just afraid you’ll hate him…will be afraid of him.  You have to tell him again…that’s all…now that he’s himself again…”  Kathryn nodded slowly.

“I know that…  I’m just not sure he’ll see me…let alone listen to me…”  She smiled sadly.  “However, I’m not going to stop trying until he accepts that.  I don’t care if I have to fight to my dying day…”  B'Elanna looked at her strangely.  Kathryn smiled and shook her head.  “Just a figure of speech.  Seriously though…I’ll fight for him…whatever it takes…  I love him and could never hate him.  He has to know that.” 

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn spent the next day off duty also, taking the time to herself to get her thoughts and emotions in order.  She reported for duty with the Doctor’s full clearance early the next morning but Chakotay was nowhere to be seen.  Tuvok reported to her that the Commander was in Engineering, helping with a problem with some of the relays.  Kathryn had no choice but to accept that.

Two more days passed this way and Kathryn was growing more and more impatient.  She had tried on several occasions to speak with him in his quarters, but he was never there, spending all his off duty hours on the holodeck or helping out in some department, putting in hours of overtime.  She tried requesting time with him during their shifts but he repeatedly gave one excuse after the other.  Kathryn got the message and bided her time.  Finally she had had enough and called him to her ready room during their shift time, when she knew he was free.  He eventually reported to her, Tuvok in tow.  Kathryn stared at him.

“I asked for only you to report to me Commander.  Mr. Tuvok, you’re dismissed.”  The Vulcan actually looked uncomfortable.  Chakotay wouldn’t even meet her eyes.

“Captain, I asked Commander Tuvok to be here.  You can throw me in the brig but I refuse to be alone with you.”  He said nothing more.  Kathryn just shook her head sadly.

“Chakotay, this meeting is off the record.  We need to talk…badly.  This is personal…just between you and me…  I’d prefer that to be in private.  I trust you.”  Chakotay’s head snapped up.

“I don’t.  Tuvok stays or I leave with him.  Throw me in the brig for…”  Kathryn slapped the desk in front of her.

“Oh for God’s sake Chakotay.  No one’s going to the brig.  Just talk to me.  Don’t let this…”  Finally he met her eyes and she actually shivered.  There was such a look of pure pain there that it chilled her.  “Oh Chakotay, please…just talk to me…”  She looked to Tuvok.  “Please friend, wait outside…”  Chakotay jumped back.

“No.  He stays.”  Kathryn stared at him for several minutes and finally nodded her  surrender.

“All right then.  If that’s what it takes for you to listen to me.”  She sighed deeply and sat down.  “I’ll say what I have to say.  Just listen to me before you do anything.”  She looked up and saw him standing quietly before her but looking down at the floor.

“You’ve avoided me for days now and I understand why.  I know you’re frightened and feel terrible guilt, but there is no need for that.  You did nothing wrong.”  Her eyes dared him to speak when she saw him about to protest.  “This is my say.”  He nodded slowly and looked away.  She glanced at Tuvok, who was looking discreetly out the viewport, and took the plunge.  “Chakotay, I love you.  That stood before all this and it still stands.  I loved you then and I love you now.  I even loved you during it all…”  Suddenly he snapped.

“Don’t you dare say that.”  He jumped back, shocked that he had shouted and also as if terrified he would do something to her.  “I know what I did…what ‘I’ did Kathryn…me…no one else.  I destroyed…”  He shook his head vigorously and held up a hand.  “You had your say…this is mine.”  She nodded slowly.  “I destroyed what we had.  I did it.  My fists…my body…”  Kathryn had had enough.  Forgetting Tuvok in the room, she jumped up.

“No.  You were controlled.  He drugged and manipulated you all.  The others can move past it or work towards that.  Why can’t you?  That bastard tried and failed with the others but you’re letting him succeed with us.  You and Tom were given far more of that drug, you more than anyone…you couldn’t have fought that.  Don’t let him succeed here…please Chakotay…”  Tears filled her eyes.  Chakotay stared hard at her.

“I’ve news for you Kathryn.  He did succeed.  Admit it.  Be really honest with yourself.  When you think of this…and you will…because it’ll be with you constantly…it’ll be me you see attacking you…  You’ll only ever remember me hitting you, hurting you, saying those things…my fists, my voice.  You’ll remember the fear and the pain and it’ll always be me…not him…never him…  It was MY hands on you…my body that forced…took…  Every time I reach my hand out to you, you’ll prepare yourself for a blow instead of a loving touch.  As to anything more…I raped you Kathryn…there can never be anything like that between us again because you’ll always see that as what it was.  There can never be love between us again…it wouldn’t even be sex…only memories of rape…”  He watching her face pale before him, the blood draining from her.  He took it as reliving the horror, not for the anger and pain it was.  When she spoke, her voice was tight with emotion.

“You’ve a very selective memory Chakotay.  I remember it all.  I do.  But I remember eyes that held nothing of the man I know and love.  I remember you totally controlled by something no man could have fought.  I remember trying to get away from you…not because I was afraid OF you but because I was afraid FOR you.  I only wanted to get help for you.  Mostly though, I remember my words to you…during and after.  I remember never for one second feeling any hate or anything else like that for you…only love.  I told you we’d get through it, that we loved each other and that it would be all right.  I told you we’d survive it and that I still loved you and most of all that it wasn’t your fault.  Even during that time, I saw that and told you that.  If you think hard enough, you might just remember that.  If you can look past the guilt you’ve allowed to engulf you, the guilt that shouldn’t be there…you’ll remember that.”  She moved out from around the desk to him and saw him back away.  She knew by his face and eyes that her words hadn’t reached him, that he hadn’t allowed them to.

“Chakotay, you didn’t do this.  If I took your phaser and killed or harmed someone with it, it wouldn’t be your fault or you who had done that.  That bastard used your body as an instrument to play out his sick game.  You weren’t there.  The eyes which looked down at me weren’t yours.  I saw your eyes.  I saw into them and you weren’t there.”  She thought she saw him start to accept her words and pushed on.

“Chakotay, please…I beg you…don’t do this to us…”  His head jerked up in horror.  Kathryn couldn’t know that her words to him, the same words she had spoken that night, would slam it all back into him and close down the narrow opening she had begun to expose.  He stared at her, his head shaking back and forth.

“No.  No.”  Her words were the trigger that set off the horror and guilt in his mind all over again.  He saw it all unfold behind his eyes, everything he had done.  He turned away from her and let the shutters slam down.  When he turned back, his eyes were devoid of anything.

“This is how it’s going to be.  I won’t ever touch or harm you again.  I won’t ever let any opportunity arise where anything like this could ever happen again.  I did this to you and I can’t ever forgive myself for that, nor can I ever trust myself with you again.  I’ll only hurt you.  I’ll remain your First Officer until you can replace me but no longer than that.  I’ll do my duty and stay well away from you.  I’d like to see Earth again but I don’t have any right to ask you to allow me to remain on this ship.  If however, you permit that, I’ll continue my duties in whatever position I can.  Between us, there will be a purely professional relationship.  As I say, I’ll stay well away from you.  I can never trust myself around you again or take any risk with that.  I now refuse to ever discuss this again.  We won’t talk of this ever again.  Anything between us is purely professional.  In time, you’ll see that it’s for the best.  I hurt you and I can’t ever take that back…I’m sorry.”  Kathryn just stared at him, tears pouring down her face.

“You hurt me?  You think you hurt me that night?  No you didn’t.  Now…this moment now…?  Yes.  Your words just now have hurt me more than anything.  I love you and you’ve just torn my heart out and thrown it back at me.  It took me a long time to come to you and you just…  I’m not lying to you and yet you seem to think I am.  You obviously don’t trust me or my words to you.  I was there too and I know what happened to us.  Us Chakotay, not to you or to me individually but to us.  Not what YOU did but what HE did.”  She sniffed loudly when she saw he was unmoved by her words, the horror and guilt inside him drowning them out.  “Fine Chakotay.  You walk away from me, refuse to hear me or listen to how I feel.   You say this is for the best?  Well it’s not for my best.  I love you and need you more at this moment in time than I ever have and you turn your back on me.  You hurt me now…not then.”  She wiped at her tears and turned away, seeing Tuvok staring at her.  And then she ran, out the door and across the bridge, back to her quarters, not caring who saw her.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay looked up and saw Tuvok watching him closely.  Before the Vulcan could say anything, Chakotay held up a hand, demanding his silence.

“Don’t Tuvok.  Just don’t say anything.  It’s better this way.  I don’t and won’t ever trust myself with her again.  I hurt her, no matter what she says to the contrary.  I saw that and remember that only too well.”  He shook his head sadly.  “It’s better this way, better to hurt her some more in this way now than to risk really hurting her in the future.  I can’t ever trust myself again.  She says she loves me but that’s a lie.  She can only ever hate me now.  She’ll never feel safe with me again.”  Tuvok walked slowly over to his First Officer.

“I feel I must point out, that I believe you’re in error Commander.  I’m able to stand back from all that happened and view it without the emotions which cloud your memories of it all.  I know Captain Janeway well.  She would not have told you she loved you and trusted you, if that were not so.”  Chakotay shook his head.

“That doesn’t really matter Tuvok.  The simple fact is that I hurt her badly and can’t ever trust myself again.  This isn’t the first time I lost control like that, was able to be taken over and manipulated or controlled like that.  I can almost make a habit of it. Obviously, there’s a weakness in me somewhere, which allows me to be bent to the shape these others want.  I won’t ever take the chance that that can happen again, won’t put Kathryn at risk from me like that.  It’s better this way.”  Tuvok actually seemed at a loss for words.

“Right.  From now on, I take separate shifts from her, stay out of her way as much as possible.  I arrange the rosters so that’s easy enough.  With anything else, I’m ordering you now to ensure that she and I are never alone together.  I don’t care if it’s a security risk or whatever, on an away mission or a briefing here on board Voyager, you make damned sure that we’re never alone together.  That is a direct order Tuvok.”  Voyager’s Security Officer reluctantly nodded.  There was nothing more he could do.

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the next weeks, Chakotay kept to his word and avoided his Captain at all costs.  They were rarely in the same room together but when they were, there was always someone else with them.  He rarely shared a duty shift with her and only appeared on the bridge with her when his presence was absolutely unavoidable.  He attended whatever staff meetings required his reports but as soon as the briefing or meeting was over, he left immediately.

Kathryn for her part, had no choice but to accept the loss.  She remained in her quarters mostly when she was off duty, never going to the holodecks or crew functions because she found it too painful to see the man she knew she would always love.  Every time he refused to look at her or walked out of the room when she came in, drove another nail into her heart.  And so she tried to make it all easier for him.  She knew he wouldn’t attend any function when he knew she would be there and so she made it easier on him by staying away.

The crew didn’t miss what played out between their Captain and First Officer.  They would have to have been in a coma not to see the tension which existed between the command couple, on the rare occasion they were in the same room, most of it coming from Chakotay.  From Kathryn, they only ever saw her sadness and pain.  The weight she had lost over the previous weeks and the dark circles under her eyes spoke their own story.  This was a woman who was hurting very badly.  They all felt helpless to do anything, even those who had been on the away team.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn dragged herself out of bed after another miserable night alone.  She rarely slept for more than a couple of hours now but found she didn’t care.  She stood up slowly then fell back onto the bed as a wave of dizziness washed over her.  She stayed sitting for a few moments until it passed and then stood again gingerly, testing her legs.  They held her this time and she made her way to the replicator, ordering a coffee.  She shook her head as she watched it materialize before her.  It seemed to be her staple diet these days.

She drank slowly, her thoughts light years away, then suddenly put the cup down with a thump, as a rush of nausea came over her.  She dashed for the bathroom, barely making it in the door, before she emptied the meagre contents of her stomach into the toilet bowl.  She sat sweating and shaking for several minutes afterwards, forcing down the nausea which remained with her.  She closed her eyes and let her head fall against the cool tiles.  She felt the build-up of tears behind the lids and opened her eyes, allowing them to escape down her cheeks.  This was the third day in a row now she had been sick, and she knew she didn’t need the Doctor to tell her what was wrong. 

She rose on shaky legs and went to the wash hand basin, taking a cool drink of water and rinsing her mouth out, before brushing her teeth.

“Some mess you’ve managed to get yourself into this time Kathryn…”  She stared at the stranger’s face in the mirror before her, the paleness and lines showing there, almost mocking her.  The eyes scared her the most though, empty of all that had filled them only a few months ago, before it had been stolen and replaced by…  By what?  She looked more closely but there was nothing to be seen in her eyes, only the colour and even that seemed fake in the harsh light of the bathroom.

^^^^^^^^^^

Voyager’s Captain sat quietly in the privacy of the Doctor’s small office and waited for him.  She looked up slowly when she heard him enter and watched as he sat down behind his desk, his eyes betraying nothing.

“You were right Captain.  You are indeed pregnant.”  He watched for her reaction and saw none.  She barely nodded.

“I still don’t understand how…”  She managed a small tight smile when she looked at the Medic.  “I mean I know how…but not…”  She sighed deeply.  “I kept my booster up to date, had just had one before Chakotay and I…”  She shook her head.  The Doctor smiled gently.

“Captain, you know as well as I do that even in this day and age, no method of contraception is one hundred percent…”  Kathryn nodded but kept her head down.

“It’s from that night, isn’t it?  So much has happened since then that I just didn’t notice or think…  Oh God…this will destroy Chakotay…”  She looked up finally into the kindly eyes of the Doctor and saw him shake his head.

“Actually no Captain.”  He smiled slightly at the shock on his Captain’s face.  “That night, as you refer to it, was eight weeks ago now.  You are in fact, twelve weeks pregnant.  I’m surprised you didn’t notice before…when you’d have missed your first period…  of course I know you’ve never been regular…”  Kathryn stared at him in shock.

“You’re telling me I was four weeks pregnant when…”  She shook her head, total bewilderment on her face.  She looked up now.  “How come you didn’t spot this when I was here…”  The Medic looked embarrassed now.

“I honestly can’t say why it didn’t show up before.  Of course I wasn’t looking for it but still…  I can only assume that because it was still so early and perhaps as a result of the drugs I had to use on you…”  Kathryn's eyes widened in horror now.

“Oh God…will that have had an effect on the baby…harmed it…?”  The medic smiled reassuringly at once.

“Captain, I’ve scanned you very thoroughly.  I can assure you that the foetus is perfectly healthy.  You have nothing to worry about there.  Your own health however, leaves a lot to be desired…”  Kathryn waited for the lecture but it didn’t come.  “Are you going to inform the Commander?”  Her eyes snapped to his.

“No.  At least, not yet.  Come on Doctor, you can’t be the only one on this ship who doesn’t know how things are between us.  He won’t even be in the same room as me.  If I tell him this now, he’ll just assume that it’s a result of that night and spin into an even deeper pit of guilt than the one he’s already in…”  The Doctor nodded his understanding.  Kathryn leaned her elbows on her knees and rested her head in her hands.

“I can’t believe I didn’t know before this.  I’ve only been sick the last three mornings…  I should have known before now…”  The Doctor shrugged his shoulders.

“There are no two pregnancies the same.  Morning sickness, which can come at any time of the day, for as little as an hour to all day, varies from woman to woman so much.  Some get a few days of it, others have it all the way through.  Some get it later, like you have, and some miss it completely or have it from the word go.  There are even many documented cases where a woman didn’t know she was pregnant until she began to deliver…  In your case, you’ve had a lot of other things on your mind…”  He played with a padd before him on the desk.  “As I said Captain, the baby is fine but I’m worried about you.  I want you to remain here for the rest of the day and let me run some more scans and tests, do some blood work…”  Kathryn was lost in thought and shock and barely nodded her agreement, leaving the Doctor worried about how easy this had been.  “I’ll contact Mr. Tuvok for you and arrange for you to have the day off…”  Again she barely nodded.  Taking the ball on the hop, the Doctor stood and left the office.  He came back with a surgical gown and handed it to Kathryn.  She took it meekly and stood.

“I’ll get changed.”  The medic was in shock.  She turned then and smiled slightly.  “Oh Doctor, I know what you’re thinking, about how easy this is…?”  He smiled.  “Well, I won’t fight you on this.  This is one time when I’ll follow all your orders.  And before you faint with shock, I’ll tell you.”  Her face took on a profound look of sadness as she placed a hand carefully over her abdomen.  “This baby is all I have left of Chakotay.  He or she means everything to me, even within the short time I’ve known about this.  I won’t do anything to risk that.”  With that, she turned and left the office, leaving behind her pain and sadness which hung in the air like a fragrance.

^^^^^^^^^^

B'Elanna threw her eyes up as she stood over the cursing and twisting body of her oldest friend and First Officer. 

“You’d be better letting me get down there and fix those…  I’ve far more experience…”  As if to prove her point, there was a shower of sparks, followed by several loud expletives.  “As I was saying…”  Chakotay pulled himself up and glared at her, slapping a hypo spanner into her hand.

“All right then, you fix the damned thing…”  He appeared shocked at the anger in his voice and looked around quickly, making sure others were nearby.  He looked back at his friend and softened at the shocked look on her face.  “Sorry B'Elanna, I’m just not in the mood for stubborn relays and bits and pieces that seem hell bent on getting the better of me…”  B'Elanna took the spanner and examined it.

“Maybe if you treated them with less of that temper of yours…”  She knew she was skating on thin ice, worried that she had said the wrong thing but didn’t care anymore.  She was sick and tired of his attitude and his refusal to move past what had happened to them on Ular.  She knew Tom was blue in the face trying to get through to him, even Harry and the others having tried.  Daily, she saw the effect it was having on him but she also saw how it was affecting her friend and Captain, when she did see her, that was.  Kathryn had reduced contact with almost everyone on board, preferring to shut herself away more and more.  Her physical appearance was a talking point of the entire ship.

“Don’t start.  You don’t want to get on to that road with me…”  B'Elanna grew bolder.

“And why not?  It seems to me you’ve been alone on it long enough.”  She shook her head.  “Chakotay, you’ve stewed in this long enough.  It’s time to let it go.  You’re only hurting yourself and her with this…”  His eyes flashed a warning to her, one she choose to ignore.

“Kathryn.  I’ll say her name if I want to.  What you’re doing to her now is having a terrible effect on her, but then you wouldn’t know that because you never see her.  Well take a close look one of these days because that woman is slowly fading away thanks to you…”   Chakotay just shook his head and began working on something else.

“She’s fine.  She’s better off and far safer where she is… Well away from me…”  B'Elanna drew in a deep breath in an attempt to control her temper.  She shook her head and slid down on the floor to repair the fault already there and the added damage Chakotay had caused. 

“Be like that then…”  It was her turn to take it out on the relays.

^^^^^^^^^^

Two days later, Kathryn again sat in the Doctor’s office and watched as the Medic studied a padd in his hands.  Something on his face made her very nervous.

“Something’s wrong with the baby, isn’t it?  You said before that…”  The Doctor looked up and smiled a little.

“The baby is just fine.  I told you that already and with all the scans and tests I’ve done since, that has been confirmed.  The baby is perfectly healthy.”  Kathryn blew out a breath and let relief wash over her.

“Thank God…  I was so worried…”  She looked up now and her smile fell away.  “There is something though, isn’t there?”  He nodded slowly.

“I’d really prefer to do this somewhere more private.  Perhaps your quarters…?”  Kathryn eyed him warily.

“No.  If you’ve something bad to say to me, I’d prefer to hear it here.”  She moved her head to the side.  “I am right, aren’t I?  You do have some bad news in there…”  She nodded towards the padd.  The Doctor nodded slowly.

“Captain, have you noticed  bruises on your body?  I mean I know you’re a physical person and usually have some bruising from bumps and scrapes but…  I mean more than usual and more lately…?”  Kathryn thought for a moment, her eyes dropping to a bruise on her exposed lower arm.

“Now that you mention it…  I think so…yes…but I haven’t been visiting the holodeck lately…or done anything else…”  She looked at him.  “Why…what are they…?”  Instead of answering her, he asked another question.

“Captain, when you were on Ular…  Do you remember ingesting anything which hadn’t been scanned before you consumed it?”  His question caught Kathryn off guard.  She stared at him for a few minutes, then began to think, knowing he’d explain when he was ready.

“I don’t think so…  Tom scanned everything for us.  He was always there.  I mean, there was never a time when we were out of sight of the men…”  She stopped as she remembered something.  “Except…  The only time was when the men were in the side room with that…with Brolar.  We waited some time for them…”  Suddenly she remembered something.  “I think…  I remember being impatient to get everything over and done with.  Someone served me another drink.  I just knocked it back…wasn’t in the best of moods…”  She shook her head again, back in the present.  “Why is that important?  Is something wrong here?  Doctor…?”  The Medic held up a hand.

“Please Captain, just let me try and explain.”  Kathryn nodded and sat back, instinctively knowing that the next minutes and the Doctor’s subsequent words would somehow change her life.

“I’ve had some questions for the last two days.  Things which didn’t sit right with me.”  He watched the woman before him carefully.  “I failed to understand why your pregnancy didn’t show up for one thing, but that can happen.  Then there was your health.  It’s true you hadn’t been eating well and had been through a lot, but still…  Something just didn’t sit right in my mind.  I
assumed you were rundown, anaemic perhaps…hence the bruising…”  Kathryn remained quiet, fighting down the knot of fear which began to grow in her stomach.

“You know I ran several deep scans and any number of other tests on you.  I ran your blood work several times even.”  Kathryn leaned forward now.

“And you found something there.  Is that what you’re saying?”  The Doctor nodded sadly.

“At first I thought it was…something which would have happened to you anyway… but now I know it wasn’t…  I checked and re-checked.  That’s why it’s taken me two days…”  Kathryn rubbed the side of her face.

“I’m not understanding you here Doctor…”  He sighed deeply and met her eyes.

“You’re ill.  You’ve developed a problem…”  Kathryn bit at her lip.

“Doctor please just spit it out.  Tell me what you’re trying to say.  It’s obviously serious…”  He nodded.

“It is.  I’m sorry Captain, I’ll just say it straight.”  He watched as she waited.  “You’re developed a disease of sorts…very like leukaemia.  That’s something which up until the end of the 21st century…”  Kathryn interrupted him.

“I know what it was…and I know what it did.  How on earth could I have…?”  She closed her eyes a moment.  “You said ‘like’ leukaemia and then asked me about what I’d eaten or drank on Ular…  Are you saying…?”  The Doctor leaned forward now.

“I believe you were given something in that drink which caused you to develop this…”  Kathryn sat back in shock.

“They poisoned me?  That bastard gave me something…?  How can you be sure…?”  Her eyes widened in horror then.  “Oh God…what about the others…? The Medic indicated the padd in his hand.  The fact that his Captain would think of the others before herself, was no surprise to him.

“I’ve checked them all.  Without their knowledge I might add.  They are fine.  This only affects you.”  He swallowed, despite not needing to, but using the habit to take an extra moment to think.  “First off, there is no way you developed this naturally.  I re-checked through all your old exams and tests.  I checked your DNA samples even.  It didn’t exist in you and genetically, you would never have developed it.  Secondly,  there is nothing on this ship which could have re-produced what I found in your blood, therefore it had to have been given to you from outside this ship.  I also learned that this ‘toxin’ for want of a better word, could only have been ingested.  There is no other way to transfer it.  On top of that, you were well scanned after your last away mission before the one to Ular.  There was nothing there.  I scanned you when you returned from Ular but I was more concerned with treating your injuries.  It would have been too soon perhaps to show up anyway.  That’s the way this works.  It also explains why it hid your pregnancy from my scans.”  Kathryn looked horrified.

“You said the baby was fine…but if this thing is in me…”  The Medic held up a hand.

“It isn’t affecting the baby.  I’ve checked and re-checked that.  I can also ‘treat’ the baby while you carry it to ensure that it’s safe.  Much like they treated unborn babies for HIV and Aids in the 20th and 21st centuries.”  Kathryn fought to accept his words but knew there was more.

“What else…?  Can we treat this…?  I seem to remember that leukaemia became curable…is unheard of now…”  The Doctor put the padd down on the desk before him.  He hesitated a moment.

“Captain, this disease is attacking you.  Like I said, it resembles leukaemia but is not the same.  That is just the closest disease I can compare it to.”  He met her eyes.  “I have actually come up with a treatment although I don’t believe the one who gave this to you intended a cure to be found.  It’s only because of its resemblance to leukaemia and my own extensive medical knowledge that I was able to find a treatment.  As I say, I can treat it in you but…”  He laid his hands flat on the desk.  “If I treat you, it will affect the baby or you could well lose it.  The child would be affected either way.”  His eyes were filled with sorrow.  Kathryn merely nodded, trying desperately to control herself and take everything in.

“Let me understand this.”  She tried to stop her hands from shaking.  “If you treat me, I’ll be cured, but I’ll lose the baby or at the very least damage the child badly.”  The Medic nodded solemnly.  “If you don’t treat me, you can still keep the baby safe, is that right?”  He nodded again.  “And if you don’t treat me…?”  She left the rest of the question hanging.  The Doctor steeled himself.

“You will die.”  There was no easy way to say the words.  He saw his Captain pale before his eyes.

“I see.”  She stood slowly, wondering if her legs would hold her up but needing to look somewhere else for a moment, other than at the man before her.  “How long do I have if I don’t get this treatment?”  She turned slowly to look at him.

“I’d say about five to six months, perhaps a little longer.”  She nodded and drew in a deep breath.  “Long enough to have the baby…”  Her eyes scanned the room a moment then looked back at the Doctor.  “Can you treat me once the baby is born?”  She already knew the answer.  He shook his head.

“That would be too late to begin…”  She smiled slightly, not knowing what else to do.  It was that or cry and she knew she’d do enough of that later on.

“Can you keep me alive long enough to deliver this baby safely?”  She looked to him, pleading for one right answer at least.  He nodded slowly.

“I believe so.”  He knew the reaction his next words would receive but he had to say them.  “Captain, as your Doctor, I have to recommend that you terminate this pregnancy and begin treatment immediately…  I know it goes against everything we both…”  Kathryn rounded on him, just as he expected.

“No.  No way.  This baby comes first.  I could never kill or harm my own child…”  It was the first flash of the Captain rather than Kathryn he had seen since she had arrived.  His suggestion though, decided everything for her.  “Do what you have to do to keep this baby alive and healthy.  I don’t care what it is.  Try and keep me alive long enough to deliver…”  She stopped now and stared at him.  “Do you know?  Do you know if this is a girl or a boy?”  Her change in direction caught him.  He nodded.  “I want to know.”  He tried a smile.  He understood her need to know, to make the baby more real, to know what and who she was fighting for.

“It’s a boy Captain…”  Kathryn actually smiled gently and caressed her stomach.

“A son…  You’ll have a son Chakotay…”  She brought herself back.  “I’m sorry…”  She sat again and shook her head.

“That bastard…I knew he resented me…but this…”  She shook her head and smiled a little then, fighting her tears.  “Sorry for that slip Doctor.  Just do the best you can to save our son.  That’s all I ask.  I don’t care what I have to go through.  Even if I…”  She sighed.  “I suppose I better ask you what I can expect…”  They locked eyes and the Doctor nodded slowly.

“I’ll treat you weekly for about an hour.  That’s for the baby.  There won’t be any easy way to do this.  It will be rather painful and invasive…”  She understood and he saw that.  “I’ll also have to begin treating you both on a daily basis for ensure you get the vitamins and nutritional supplements you’ll both need.  I’ll need to check you daily also…run scans…test your blood...”  She nodded as he went on, but he saw the struggle for control.  “You’ll get tired quite easily as time goes on and find it more difficult to keep food down.  I’ll give you special drinks for that, which will help a little.  The nausea and vomiting…dizziness…which you have started to experience…”  Kathryn shook her head.

“I thought that was normal morning sickness…  I guess it explains why I’m so late getting it…because it wasn’t morning sickness at all…though without it…I still mightn’t know about the baby…my mind elsewhere…”  The Medic looked away a moment.

“I can give you something to help with this also but nothing too strong…  You may have the odd fainting spell…”  He scratched at his face, at an inch which didn’t exist.  “You’ll find yourself with less energy, growing weaker…and…I can give you painkillers later on…  Eventually… there will be coma…and…”  He didn’t need to finish and barely met her eyes.

“I think I get the picture…  old Captains never die, they just fade away…except in this case they die also…”  She smiled an apology then closed her eyes a moment.  She had tried not to think there might be pain involved.  She forced herself to try and hold it together a little longer.  “Sorry Doc, just some bitterness coming out there…”  He said nothing.  “So does this thing have a name?”  He shook his head.

“As I said, the closest I’ve seen to it is leukaemia.  What you have appears to be a manufactured disease.  Perhaps it is a recognized disease on their world but I’ve no way to know and I’ve never seen it before.  However, I recognize it for what it is…the make up of it.  I suppose in a way, I could liken it to you finding a star or nebula.  They are all different to the layman and you may not know the name of it but to you, it behaves the same and in a way you’ll recognize.  Sorry Captain, I just can’t explain it better than that…”  Kathryn stood slowly.

“That’s OK.  If you want to name it, go ahead.  None of the names I could suggest would be acceptable or permitted in public…”  She swallowed her anger before it got too close to the surface.  “Look Doctor, I need time on my own to think about all this.  Know this though.  I want you to do whatever it takes to save this baby.  If I fall into a coma…sorry…when I fall into a coma later on, you keep my baby alive by whatever means you need to use.  Keep me alive to let my son live.  After that, I don’t care what you do with me.”  She turned and left before she fell apart completely and for that, she wanted complete privacy.

^^^^^^^^^^



ON TO PART THREE.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.



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