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 FOUR.




For the next hour, B'Elanna sat with a silent Chakotay as they waited for news of Kathryn's condition.  They watched the small body in the medicrib, the tiny hands and feet stretching out, seeking contact with something.  Chakotay slipped his hand inside the crib and stroked the tiny limbs, watching as the baby settled.  Finally the Doctor came out to them and smiled guardedly.

“We’ve stopped the bleeding but it’s weakened her greatly.  We came very close to losing her.  I’m getting fresh blood into her as fast as I can.”  Chakotay never took his eyes from the Medic’s face.  “I’ve started her on treatment for the disease too.  At this stage now, I believe it was the disease which was suppressing her ability to fight the  injuries she sustained, her ability to recover from them.  It’s also most likely the reason for this haemorrhage.  Her blood isn’t clotting the way it should but I’ve given her something to help with that.  It should help with the bruising also.  I’ve started her on a rigorous course of treatment, along with other drugs but it may be too late.  I’m sorry…for how hard that sounds.  I’m afraid only time will tell now…”  Chakotay stayed sitting, not trusting his legs to hold his weight.

“The baby…?”  The Medic checked the infant and smiled.

“He’s just fine…small of course…but he’ll make that up…”  Chakotay stood now, rather shakily.

“Can I see Kathryn?”  The Doctor nodded and smiled.

“Tom’s just settling her now.  Go on…”  B'Elanna helped her friend across the sickbay and behind the screen.  She held him as he gazed down at Kathryn, lying so still and pale, the computer still keeping her with them along with the fluids and blood which flowed into her veins.  Chakotay nodded to himself and reached out his hand, gently stroking her face.

“Fight this love…please…  Our son needs you…”  He looked behind him and saw Tom, B'Elanna and the Doctor watching him.  He looked back at Kathryn again and then turned away.  Suddenly exhausted, he just passed out on the floor.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay remained unconscious for almost twenty-four hours, with help from the Doctor.  When he finally opened his eyes, the Medic was smiling down at him.

“Welcome back, Chakotay.  It’s been twenty-four hours since you collapsed.  I sedated you also to make sure you got some rest.  The baby is fine and there’s no change with Kathryn.”  The Medic’s face was almost smug, knowing he’d covered everything his new patient would ask about.  Chakotay nodded, a slight smile on his face and eased himself into a sitting position.

“Thanks, Doc, I think you covered everything there.”  He rubbed at his face.  “I guess I needed that more than I thought…”  He shook his head to clear his mind.  “No change in Kathryn…?”  The Doctor shook his head.

“I’m taking that as a positive sign actually.  She hasn’t improved but at least she’s no worse and that’s more important at the moment.  Baby is improving in leaps and bounds.  Quite a demanding young fellow.  Reminds me very much of his mother…”  Chakotay smiled, despite himself but it was tinged with sadness.  He looked up now to see B'Elanna coming towards them.

“About time you woke up.  Baby has had me waiting on him hand and foot…”  Chakotay looked at her.

“Baby…?”  B'Elanna shrugged.

“What else can we call him?  He hasn’t got a name yet.  The whole ship is calling him ‘baby’.  I think he’s starting to recognize the name…  Everyone’s been by to see him.  The gifts are piling up so I put them in your quarters.  Doc was getting fed up falling over toys and booties…”  They both looked at the Medic and laughed.

“This is a sickbay…  Besides, I didn’t mind the smaller items too much but that bear…”  B'Elanna explained when she saw her old friend frown.

“Some of the crew replicated this stuffed bear.  Don’t ask me how because it’s half the size of the ship.  I don’t know how they managed to move the thing, much less get it through the door.  Gave the Doc here quite a start at 03.00 in a darkened sickbay.”  The Doctor just shook his head and moved off.

“See how you’d react to a furry monster appearing before you in the dark.  Still, on this trip, I should expect things like that…  Then of course there’s Mr. Neelix…”  He walked into his office still muttering to himself.  Chakotay was still laughing as he slid off the bed.

“Come on, I better go see ‘baby’…”  He groaned.  “We can’t just call him that…”

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay finally got to bring his son home a week later, ‘baby’ having gained enough weight to make the Doctor more than happy.  Tom and B'Elanna accompanied their friend, knowing how hard it was for him to do this without Kathryn at his side.  He stood holding the infant for several minutes and looked around his quarters.  He smiled at the crib and other baby necessities which the crew had gotten together and provided.  B'Elanna watched him with a sad smile on her face.

“Everything you need is here…”  Chakotay shook his head.

“Not everything…”  They were all silent for a long moment.  B'Elanna broke the sombre mood.

“We put the bear in Kathryn's quarters.  You wouldn’t have room to move in here otherwise.”  Chakotay just nodded as he continued to look around him.  “Have you a name yet…?  This ‘baby’ thing is getting crazy.”  Chakotay shook his head.

“No.  I want to wait and see if Kathryn comes back to us.  Naming him is something we need to do together.  For now, despite how terrible it sounds, ‘baby’ will have to stay with him.”  As if to add his opinion, two tiny hands swung in the air, accompanied by a gurgle.  Chakotay smiled down at his son.  “If that’s all right with you…”  Another gurgle answered him, which Chakotay decided to interpret as a ‘yes’.

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the two weeks following the birth, Kathryn remained in her coma, but began to show small signs of improvement.  Chakotay took only limited shifts and spent the rest of his time with Kathryn, alongside taking care of his son.  The Doctor was expressing Kathryn's milk to feed the baby and Chakotay also insisted on laying the child on her chest and letting him feed there, again taking Kathryn's hand and stroking the small body with it.  He constantly took holoimages of the baby, determined that if Kathryn came back to them, she would be able to see in some way, what she had missed.  Barely an hour went by when ‘baby’ wasn’t with his mother, except when he slept during the night in Chakotay’s quarters and even then, he was still getting his mother’s milk.  During the day though, Kathryn's son was almost always with her, crewmembers taking turns in looking after their Captain and her child, laying the baby in her arms and letting him nap there.

^^^^^^^^^^

As they moved into the third week, Kathryn's condition began to improve at a steady rate, giving the Doctor more hope than ever.  By the end of the third week, he was quietly confident that she would be cured.  Her bruises were beginning to fade, her blood clotting on its own now but he worried that she still remained in the coma.

^^^^^^^^^^

By the beginning of the fourth week, it was one extremely happy hologram who informed Chakotay that all traces of the disease had been eradicated from Kathryn's body.  Chakotay sat holding his son, his hand patting the boy’s diaper.

“I can’t believe…Doc…there will never be a way for me to thank…”  He choked up and the Medic nodded. 

“We still have the coma…  I mean her injuries are healed and the disease is gone but…it’s had a rough effect on her body.  We can only hope that she’ll find her own way back to us now.  I do however, believe she’ll wake up when she’s ready.”  Chakotay smiled and nodded, kissing his son gently.

“Hear that baby, your mom’s coming back to us…”  The Doctor actually laughed.

“That name is going to stick, you know.”  Chakotay laughed and nodded.

“I know.  I’ll go tell Kathryn to hurry up.  He needs a name badly now…”  He stood and went back to where he spent most of his time now, at Kathryn's side.  He leaned down and kissed her cheek.

“Wake up Kathryn.  Fight to come back to us now.  The little one needs you…”

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the next few days, Kathryn began to show more and more signs of waking from her coma.  B'Elanna noticed Chakotay’s nervousness, despite his happiness.

“What’s going on with you Chakotay?  What are you afraid of?”  He stroked the baby’s head as he lay across his mother, suckling on her breast, small contented murmurs coming from him.

“I’m just nervous.  I know now that she’ll come back to us but…”  He sighed.  “I’m just afraid of how she’ll be…with me I mean…after everything I did…”  B'Elanna looked shocked.

“I thought you’d dealt with that.  Chakotay, don’t tell me you’re still feeling guilty about all that.  I thought we’d settled that.  I mean you finally talked to Tom and let him help you…”  Chakotay smiled as he remembered how he had finally opened up to the young pilot one night, pouring his heart out but gaining a deep healing in the process.  He shook his head quickly now and cut her off.

“No B'Elanna, I don’t mean all that.  I still have some guilt about that…well more bad feelings…bad memories…but I’ve accepted that and dealt with it, although I still have to deal with it with Kathryn…  I guess that’s part of it but mainly…  I mean the guilt I feel for the way I treated her…acted with her…after all that…  When I think what she went through alone for so long and then thank God…she had you and Tom but I still wasn’t there for her…  I think I’m worried that she won’t forgive me for all that…”  B'Elanna jumped up and glared at him.

“Don’t be so damned stupid Chakotay.  I told you how she felt.  She loved you and forgave you everything.  She understood completely how you felt and why you were the way you were.  She understood why you acted as you did.  It hurt her but she understood and accepted that.  She always loved you.  Up until the time of the attack, she felt that way.  I know with certainty, that she’ll still feel that way.  Apart from what she said about ‘baby’ as she lay there, do you remember her other words?”  They both shuddered at the memory of the attack and Kathryn lying so badly wounded on the floor of the bridge.  “She told you she loved you…that she was sorry…  Remember that more than anything.  In what to her was probably her dying breaths, the last things she would ever say, telling you she loved you was there with her.”  Chakotay nodded silently.  He felt B'Elanna’s hand on his arm.  “She loved you and loves you.  That’s all there is to it.”  He tried a smile and succeeded. 

“Thanks friend.  I needed to hear that…”  His attention went to the baby, who seemed to be finished feeding.  Chakotay watched the concentrated look on the small face for a moment and then sniffed the air.  “Guess I have a job to do…”  B'Elanna made a face.

“Rather you than me.  I’ve done my share.  That one strikes me as particularly nasty…”  They laughed together as Chakotay left sickbay to change his son.

^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay made faces and strange noises down at his son as he finished changing him.  Arms and legs flailed in the air as the baby gazed back at him.

“Is that better now?  Anything else Sir desires…?”  He picked up the small body and lay him in his crib, turning on the musical mobile.  Instantly all attention was turned to that.  “Forget about me so easily huh?  Thrown over for a mobile?  Be like that then.  You’ll be back to me when you tummy’s empty again.”  He straightened up and watched his son, knowing he could study him for hours without tiring.  Suddenly the Doctor’s voice filled the room.

“Doctor to Chakotay.  Get down here.  It looks like she’s trying to wake up…”  It took Chakotay two minutes to get Sam Wildman to sit with his son and then he raced for sickbay.  As he entered, he saw Tom helping the Doctor as Kathryn struggled against the tube down her throat.  He saw and heard her gag on the obstruction and stood back nervously, B'Elanna beside him.  The Doctor pulled the tube out as Kathryn gasped for air, her hands subconsciously going to her face to help them.  The Medic grabbed the suction tube and forced it between Kathryn's lips, her breathing easing almost immediately.  He then began tapping her face. 

Five minutes later, Kathryn groggily opened her eyes for the first time in months.  Chakotay saw her take her time to focus on her surroundings and also witnessed her confusion.  He stood back, not really understanding why as Kathryn's eyes settled on B'Elanna.  She tried to lift her hand but appeared too weak.  Her voice was a mere whisper, hoarse from misuse and from the tube having been in place for so long.

“B'El…”  She drew in a shuddering breath and tried again.  “B'El…”  They all saw things begin to slot into place in her mind and watched as they were reflected in her eyes.  Chakotay watched as Kathryn's hand slowly made its way to her stomach and feel around there.  The Doctor stepped forward to reassure her but before he uttered a word, Kathryn cried out, her voice straining.

“No…my baby…”  She forced her voice, making an almost strangled sound as her tears fell.  “No…all I had left…I lost him…”  The Doctor tried to restrain her and raise his voice above hers but Kathryn wasn’t hearing him.  “Told you…save him…not me…let me die…he’s gone…”  Chakotay stood rooted to the spot as the Doctor tried to get his patient to hear him but she was beyond understanding.  Making a quick decision, the Doctor grabbed a sedative and injected Kathryn with it.  She drifted off slowly, tears running from her eyes still, her whimpers fading away.

“I’m sorry.  I had to do that.  She needs to take this slowly.  I can’t have her this upset so soon.”  Chakotay nodded his understanding but his voice seemed to have deserted him.  He reached out a hand and stroked Kathryn's hair. 

It was a further six hours before Kathryn came round again.  Chakotay was instantly alert when he heard faint moans coming from her.  Once more he stood back, letting Kathryn see B'Elanna first.  The Doctor stood ready with another sedative, although he was reluctant to use it.  B'Elanna smiled down at her friend and took her hand.

“Hey there…”  She watched a replay of earlier as Kathryn fought to focus and get her bearings and then the confusion was replaced by pain.

“Oh God…I’m sorry…”  B'Elanna squeezed her hand tightly.

“Kathryn, listen to me…”  Kathryn shook her head, not hearing her friend’s words.

“Chakotay must hate me…be so angry…killed his son…couldn’t save him…”  B'Elanna shook Kathryn's shoulder now.

“Kathryn, listen to me please…”  Kathryn's tears fell heavily.

“Is he all right…?  He must hate me…killed the baby…why didn’t I die too…”  Her voice was still very hoarse, barely above a whisper.  “Oh God…I’m sorry…so sorry…let me die too…”  B'Elanna shook her again.

“Kathryn, listen to me.  The baby’s fine…he’s fine…”  Kathryn didn’t seem to hear her for some time, her tears and whimpers all that came from her.  Slowly though, as B'Elanna persisted, she seemed to hear her.  Confused, tear filled eyes slowly turned to her.

“Alive…?  No…you’re lying…I felt it…lost him…”  B'Elanna shook her head vigorously.

“You didn’t lose him Kathryn.  You’ve been unconscious for a long time.  The baby is fine.  Doc delivered him…  Kathryn, I’m not lying to you…he’s fine…your son is fine…”  She smiled gently.  “He’s a demanding and greedy little sod, with a wail loud enough to waken half the Delta Quadrant…”  She smiled when she saw her words reaching the woman lying before her.  “We won’t even discuss what happens at the other end…  If we could use that to fuel the ship, we’d be home already…”  Kathryn just continued to stare at her, her mouth trying to say the words even her mind was having trouble forming.

“He’s…I didn’t…?”  B'Elanna shook her head and looked towards the Doctor, who moved forward now.

“Kathryn, I delivered ‘baby’ nearly four weeks ago.  He was small but he’s more than made up for that.”  Kathryn suddenly tried to sit up.

“Where…?  I need…”  The Medic gently pushed her back down.

“You’ll see him.  His ‘daddy’ has been taking excellent care of him…”  He smiled up at Chakotay and motioned with his head.  Chakotay hung back nervously for a moment and then moved into Kathryn's line of vision.  She stared at him, tears flowing from her eyes.  He immediately saw the love in her eyes and suddenly felt an enormous weight lift off him.

“Chak…”  He smiled, fighting his own tears and then just fell on her.

“Oh God Kathryn, I’m so sorry…can you ever forgive me…?”  He felt her hand weakly come up and stroke his hair, pushing back the memories this triggered.  The Doctor and B'Elanna discreetly stood back.

“Chakotay?”  He eased himself back a little and stared into her eyes, the blue depths he thought never to look into again.

“I’m so sorry for everything I put you through…”  She shook her head, overwhelmed at this stage.

“It wasn’t you…”  Chakotay shook his head.

“I’m learning to live with that…I mean here on the ship…after…and then everything you went through on your own…the baby…I’m so sorry…”  Kathryn shook her head.

“It’s OK…I love you…if you still…?”  He stared deeply at her.

“I love you…I never stopped…and I love our son…so much…”  He saw the desperation in her eyes.

“He’s really all right?  Is he…?”  He pressed a finger to her lips.

“I promise you…everything B'Elanna said was true…  He’s fine…he’s…”  He turned when he heard a noise behind him and saw B'Elanna standing there, holding ‘baby’.  He grinned and stood up, taking the sleeping form from her and leaned down to Kathryn. 

“There’s someone here who’s desperate to meet you…”  He watched as Kathryn’s eyes grew wide as she stared at her son for the first time.  He gently laid the small body on her chest and took her
hand, once more stroking the soft skin.  This time, she was able to do it herself.

“He’s really…ours…?  He’s OK…?”  She tore her eyes away from the baby a moment and saw Chakotay nod.

“He’s more than OK.  He’s great.”  He covered her hand as she examined the baby.  “Kathryn, you were unconscious for a long time.  I know it all.”  She looked up at him with pain in her eyes and then alarm.

“How am I still here…?”  He reached out and stroked her face.

“Doc can tell you later in detail.  You just need to know that he cured you.  You will get to see this little one grow up and take those first steps.”  He stared at her and saw that she knew he’s read her letters.  He smiled sadly, confirming it for her.  “I read them.”  He looked away a moment.  “Look Kathryn, for now you just need to concentrate on yourself.  Baby is fine.  He has an entire ship waiting on him hand and foot.  You thought you commanded this ship?  Well you’ve been overthrown.  Baby controls everything now.  He has the entire crew wrapped around his little finger.”  Kathryn shook her head, trying to take everything in.  Chakotay saw how tired she was.

“Baby?  Hasn’t he got a name?”  Chakotay smiled and met B'Elanna’s eyes.

“Actually no, it’s just that.  He’s called ‘baby’.  Almost seems to know it.  It’s what everyone calls him.”  He looked at her and smiled.  “I know it sounds awful but I couldn’t name him on my own, not without his mother…”  Kathryn swallowed loudly, fighting her emotions.  Chakotay wiped some of her tears.

“You’ve been taking care of him?  You don’t mind…?”  Chakotay grew serious now.

“He’s our son and I love him so much…  I know when he was conceived but it wouldn’t matter to me even if it had been that night…”  She saw the flash of pain on his face for a moment and then it was gone.  “He’s our son…made from our love…”  She nodded slowly and looked back at the tiny form in her arms.

“I’ve missed so much and he won’t know me and yet…he seems content…”  She looked back up at Chakotay and saw him smile.

“Actually, he knows you very well.  The minute he was born, I laid him on your chest and took your hand…”  He mimicked his actions of that day, taking her hand again.  “I took your hand and let you stroke him all over.”  He saw the tears in her eyes.  “You’ve even been feeding him all the time.  I lie him on you and he feeds.  Doc even expresses your milk so he can have that at night.  The crew have helped with taking care of you and they keep him with you all the time during the day…  Kathryn, he knows you.  That’s why he’s happy there.  He knows your feel and your touch, even your smell.  I’ve also got a pile of holoimages and recordings for you.  You won’t miss anything.”  Kathryn just burst into tears, everything getting too much for her.  B'Elanna came forward and reached for the baby, the Doctor behind her.

“Kathryn, let B'Elanna take him back to his crib now.  He’ll be fine and won’t be far away.  You’ve dealt with a lot here today and it’s too much, too soon.  You need time to take all this in.”  Kathryn nodded, her eyes never leaving her son as B'Elanna lifted him.  Sensing the disturbance, ‘baby’ began to fuss and then wail.  B'Elanna threw her eyes up.

“See?  I told you.  Loud enough to waken the dead…”  She pulled a comforter from her pocket and placed it in the baby’s mouth, getting instant results.  “That’s better.  Come on baby.  Time for your nap.  You need one and so does your mom.”  Kathryn stared tearfully at them both, her hand gripping Chakotay’s tightly.

“See you later baby…”  She smiled at Chakotay.  “We have to get him a name…”  He nodded and smiled.

“I know.”  He grew serious and held her hand tightly.  “Look Kathryn, you still have some healing to do and so do we.”  She nodded her understanding.  “We’ll do that.  For now you need to rest and get back on your feet.  You’ll need all the energy you can get with that one.”  He looked towards the door as B'Elanna left, then back at Kathryn.  The Doctor was hovering close by and smiled down at his patient.

“Kathryn, he’s right.  You’ve been through a lot and you’re still very weak.  Now you can see that baby is fine…”  He shook his head.  “He’s fine and you’re going to be fine too but you have to rest.  You’ll be back on your feet in no time.”  Kathryn nodded and smiled at him.

“I owe you so much…”  The Medic smiled and adjusted the sickbay blanket on the bed. 

“Just remember that when I’m fighting to get you down here for your yearly physical…”  Kathryn shook her head.

“I promise.  I won’t give you any more trouble.  Well, not much anyway…”  The Doctor shook his head and smiled down at them both.

“We’ll see.  A few minutes and then you leave Chakotay.  My patient needs her rest.”  Chakotay smiled his consent as the Medic went back to his office.  He leaned in closer to Kathryn now.

“Everything will be all right…”  She nodded, still gripping his hand.

“I know.  I have him and I have you…”  The was just a touch of a question in her eyes.  Chakotay smiled sadly.

“You have me if you still want me.  I don’t know how you can ever forgive me though…”  He felt her finger against his lips and looked into her tearful smile.

“None of it was ever your fault.  I love you.  We put this behind us and move forward.  I know we still need to deal with some of this but we will.”  He nodded, fighting his own tears.  He saw her fight to keep her eyes open and squeezed her hand again.

“Sleep now, love.  I’ll be back to you later.”  She nodded, easing back in the bed. 

“So tired…”  He kissed her gently on the lips and felt her respond.  When he pulled away, she smiled at him.  “I’ve missed that…”  He stroked her face.

“I’ve been saving those for you too.  I’ll show you when you’re out of here…”  She gripped his hand but he felt it loosen as she slipped off.  Only when he was sure she was asleep, did he leave.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay sat in his quarters and let his head fall back against the back of the sofa, his arms stretched out to the sides.  He let his tired mind process the events of the past hours.  He sighed deeply to himself.  It had taken a lot for him to let go of his guilt over events on Ular and then that had been replaced by his guilt over his treatment of  the woman he loved, following all that.  Now just when he had begun to let go of his second load of guilt, Kathryn had returned to him, instantly forgiving him everything.  Instead of her faith in him reaffirming his progress, he felt it knock him backwards.

A faint sound from the other side of the room drew his attention and he stood quickly, going to check on the baby.  He looked down at the sleeping child and smiled, then stroked his back.
“Dreams visiting you?  Hope they’re good ones…”  The baby settled and slept on.  Chakotay moved back to the sofa and sat again.

He knew the time would come soon when his son would no longer sleep here, that Kathryn would take him into her quarters and he found himself dreading that day.  He’d become so used to having the baby share his life and his quarters.  For a moment, he dared to entertain the hope that maybe all three of them could share that life and then pushed it away, not needing the pain.  He sat up then.  Knowing and believing Kathryn that she held nothing against him over everything that had happened was one thing.  To believe that she would ever want to let him into her bed again was another and yet…  He smiled as he remembered how they had been together in sickbay, how she had let him kiss her and hope surged in him again, only to be tempered with his own fear and doubts, his own lack of trust in himself.  Did he really trust himself to be alone with her again?  Knowing his mind was too tired to delve into this and had started working in circles, he pulled himself to his bed.  That night he dreamed of running through a field with Kathryn, a more grown up version of their son barely ahead of them as he squealed delightedly at each new discovery he made.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn made good progress over the following days.  Her eyes lit up every time her son was brought to her and she easily slipped into nursing him.  She spent hours staring down at him, committing every feature of his small face to her memory.  She played with his fingers and toes and ran her hands over his skin, learning the feel of him.  She inhaled his special baby scent and cradled him to her as she hummed softly to him, watching his eyes slip closed as he drifted off to sleep.  It amazed her how relaxed her child was with her, despite how new all this was to her. 

Kathryn was nursing her son quietly in sickbay when she looked up into the smiling face of her baby’s father.  Chakotay delighted in the fact that she made no attempt to cover herself up, comfortable with him seeing her breast-feeding.  She smiled at him and nodded towards the contented baby.

“He knows where everything is better than I do…  He just latches on immediately…”  Chakotay sat down beside her and studied the tiny mouth as it suckled greedily.

“You know what they say about the way to a man’s heart…”  Kathryn laughed softly.

“I know.  It’s through his stomach.  Well, it’s certainly true for this little one.”  She stared down at the wonder in her arms.  “I miss him when he’s not with me.  It’s almost as if I’m afraid I won’t see him again.”  Chakotay saw the smile slip from her face and pushed down his own pain.

“He’ll be with you soon enough in your quarters.  If you’d prefer to have him here with you at night…”  Kathryn looked up quickly.

“Doc prefers things the way they are.  He said he wants me to sleep through the night for the moment.  I know it won’t be long until I’m out of here though…”  She didn’t miss the look of pain Chakotay tried to hide.  “You’ve gotten very used to having him, haven’t you?”  He tried to smile, to cover what he was feeling but failed miserably.

“He’s become such a part of my life now.  Not having him there will be…”  He cleared his throat.  “Sorry…”  He tried to change the subject.  “How are you feeling today?”  Kathryn continued to look at him.

“Chakotay…I don’t want to take him away from you.  He’s our son, not mine or yours…”  She looked down at the baby again.  “There has to be some way…”  She looked up and Chakotay saw that she looked slightly embarrassed.  “Maybe it’s too soon for you or…maybe we could…if you were OK with it I mean…that we could…”  She sighed at her sudden lack of verbal skills.  “What I mean is…well now we’re a family and if you didn’t mind…if you wanted…I mean I’d love it
and I think he would but…”  Chakotay saw hope dangled before his eyes and grabbed at it.

“Kathryn, are you saying…you’d be willing…for us all…to live…well together…or…?”  He saw her slow smile and she nodded.

“If I’m being too forward or pushing too much…  If this is too fast…”  Chakotay let his mouth fall open then pulled himself together.

“Kathryn, are you sure?  I’d love nothing more.  I spent hours agonizing last night over losing him…missing him before he even left…  If you’re sure…  I mean…can you feel safe or…”  He saw a flash of anger in her eyes.

“I see.  You think I don’t or won’t feel safe with you?  Chakotay, I thought you’d moved past that, that we were past that.  I know we need to talk and sort some things out still, but we can’t do that with a wall between us.  There’s been a wall of someone else’s construction between us for far too long now.  It’s well past time we knocked the bloody thing down…”  Chakotay just stared at her for some minutes before coming back to his senses.

“I’d love that…”  He thought quickly.  “Do you mean we could knock the wall between our quarters down…?”  Kathryn laughed at him.

“Well yes…  What wall did you think I meant…?  I don’t think the one into the corridor would be such a good idea.  Too many crew members passing by…”  Chakotay took the ribbing in good humour.

“All right.  Make fun of me.”  He grew serious again.  “We could use my living room for a nursery.  He seems settled there and yours for a living room, as it is now, although there’s an enormous stuffed bear there at the moment that the crew replicated for him.  We’d still have our bedrooms…”  He saw her face fall.

“Chakotay, that still leaves a wall.  I meant that we share…”  Chakotay drew in a deep breath.

“You mean you’d…  You’d still want…would trust me…?”  Kathryn got really annoyed now.  She shifted the baby slightly.

“Chakotay, get out of here and deal with this.  Don’t come back until you’re ready to put all of this behind you.  I’m not going to repeat myself.  I want us to share our lives, every part of that.  I want you in my life, in our son’s life and in our bed.  If you still have problems with all of that, get out now and stay away until those problems are far behind you.  We’ve let that bastard take enough from us.  I refuse to let him in anymore.  I love you and trust you one hundred percent.  The sooner you learn to accept that, the better.  I’m not going to live under the shadow of this anymore.  It’s caused too much pain already.  I don’t want you to stop and remember or think, every time you reach out to me.  I just won’t have that”  She softened her voice a little.

“We’ll talk before we do this.  I still have to be here for a few more days.  We’ll talk and get it all out of the way before then.  They can start work on that wall and have it finished before I leave here.  If you can’t accept that, then as I said…get out…”  She held his eyes for a moment more and saw the shocked look on his face.  Her voice rose again.

“So go on…get out and exorcise your demons and then come back here but not before.”  She looked down at the baby again and saw that her raised voice had woken him.  Making small cooing noises, she comforted him.  Looking up again, she stared hard at Chakotay.  “You still here…?”  At just that moment, B'Elanna came in and instantly sensed the tension in the room.  Kathryn nodded to her then looked back at Chakotay.

“Well, what are you waiting for?  Go and sort yourself out.  I’ll make the arrangements with B'Elanna.  Now get out and don’t come back until you’re right in the brain department.” 

Chakotay nodded his head, still in shock and backed away.  B'Elanna watched him bump against another biobed before he turned and walked out.

“What was all that about…?”  Kathryn smiled, a smile of the cat who’d gotten the cream.

“Just sorting out the men in my life.  Chakotay needed a swift kick in the ass and I just gave it to him.”  She lifted the baby and switched him to her other breast.  “He needed to be told in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough.  I took that for too long and all it did was make me miserable.  It caused me nothing but pain.  I let him wallow in his self-inflicted guilt but no more.  I’ve come too close to death for comfort and managed by God’s will to come out the other side.  I won’t take that crap anymore.  That bastard will not win, even from his space grave or wherever he’s rotting.”  Her tone even made B'Elanna want to shrink into the wall.  She just stared at the woman before her and nodded.  Her Captain was back.

^^^^^^^^^^

The following day, Chakotay still hadn’t shown his face.  B'Elanna had taken ‘baby’ to him for the night and brought him back again to Kathryn the following morning.  B'Elanna hadn’t questioned Kathryn further and one look at Chakotay’s face, stilled her tongue with him also.  When she got a call that afternoon to take the baby for a few hours, she meekly obeyed and took him.  Kathryn was mad and B'Elanna saw it.

^^^^^^^^^^

Once Kathryn had received the Doctor’s permission to take an hour or so on the holodeck, she contacted Chakotay, ‘demanding’ that he meet her in Holodeck 2 at 15.00.  He knew better than to refuse.  He paced anxiously now as he waited for her, barely taking in his surroundings.  His mind registered a plain room with simple furniture, nothing which would draw the attention.  He turned quickly when he heard the doors open and faced a Kathryn with her features tight with controlled anger.  She ordered a privacy lock and strode towards the almost cowering man before her.  She motioned for him to sit.

“Right Chakotay, this is make or break with us.  Talk to me.  You go first and spill your guts.  Say it all now and I’ll listen.  Start at the beginning.  Then I’ll talk and you’ll listen.  I won’t interrupt you and you’ll afford me the same consideration.”  Chakotay sat and nodded.  Kathryn moved across from him and sat also.  He saw her face soften and drew in a deep breath before he began.

“After the dinner…”  He looked up at her but her expression was neutral.  “I remember the drink tasted different and Tom said something to him…to Brolar about it.  I felt dizzy and everything sounded far away then.  I felt something stinging and pressing at the back of my head.  I don’t remember anything after that.”  She barely nodded. 

“The rest is blank or was.  It came back to me later.  I’ve no real memory of what I did at the time, only remembering back on it.  I think…  I don’t know.  It’s hard to tell the difference…”  Kathryn nodded her understanding but didn’t speak.

“We walked home and my mind felt…cloudy…is the only word really.  Understand that I still can’t really tell what’s remembered at the time and what’s from afterwards…”  He shook his head.  “Anyway…I remember feeling annoyed…frustrated or something…  I remember taking a shower…telling you to get tea…and then…”  He stood up, needing to move around.  “I remember shouting at you that the tea was cold…throwing the cup at you…”  He shivered.  “I just remember rounding on you…shouting and screaming at you…pushing you against the wall…hard…hurting you.  I remember punching you in the face…seeing blood…your lip…telling you about your duty to me or about you knowing your place…”  He looked at her slowly, trying to read her expression but there was nothing to read.  Kathryn saw the pain that telling all this was causing him though. 

“It’s only later on I remembered your words to me…I shut them out you see…”  He walked over to a table and ran his hand over the smooth surface, trying to avoid looking at his own reflection in the surface.  “What I remember most is…”  He turned away from the table.  “I remember pulling you, at you…pulling you towards the bed…tearing at your clothes and you crying out… ‘don’t do this to us’  I remembered that and hearing you use those same words in your ready room that day…it slammed it all back to me again.”  Kathryn lowered her eyes, remembering only too well.  She’d wondered about that.  Just as she had seemed to be getting somewhere, he’d closed down again.  Now she remembered her words from the cabin and how she’d unwittingly used them again that day.  No wonder he’d backed off.

“I remember hitting you…hitting and hitting…seeing your tears…hearing your cries…”  He stopped to take some deep breaths.  “Throwing you on the bed…that stays with me…tearing at your clothes…hurting you…hitting you…you pleading with me…  ‘don’t do this’…  I pinned you down…and you had no way to fight me…I tore your clothes…and then…then you stopped struggling…and I went on…tore your gown and panties…mauled you…”  He wiped at the tears he now felt on his face.

“I remember saying…terrible things…  ‘open your damned legs…spread them…’”  He turned quickly.  “Oh God Kathryn, I’m so sorry….”  She ignored him, just staring back at him, letting him know he had to finish.  He took some minutes to regain some control and went on.

“You lay there… ‘don’t do this’…your words…but I didn’t stop…couldn’t…I just tore into you and your scream…oh God your scream…how I must have hurt you so much…”  Kathryn forced herself to keep looking at him.  “And I…I just took…turned you…took again…then back…and you were crying and screaming in pain…”  He fell to his knees but Kathryn didn’t move.  He had to do this on his own first.

“It was only after that I remembered your words to me…what you said.  It came back to me after I’d read your letters.  All I remembered at first was you pulling out from under me…and screaming at you again…calling you a whore…that I wasn’t finished with you and then…trying to grab you…you going down…the sound of your head hitting the table.”  He stopped again and stood shakily then sat down on the chair.

“After that, B'Elanna was there with Tuvok and the Doctor.  Whatever he gave me worked pretty quickly but everything was still mixed up.  I saw the state of the place…didn’t know where I was at first…confused…more hypos…and I knew something had happened to you but I didn’t know where you were…”  He ran his hands through his hair.

“I just wanted to find you and didn’t know how.  I thought maybe we’d been attacked and someone had taken you.  Tried to move when Tuvok found out where you were…Voyager told him where…your bio signatures…”  Kathryn remained quiet.  She’d read all the reports on this.  “They didn’t want to let me go with them at first but nothing would stop me…”  He stood again.  “And then we found you.  Tuvok was worried about the Ularian Authorities finding out…”  He shook his head.  “We found you…lying in a field…so still…your clothes blowing in the breeze.  I ran to you…saw your face and head…so much blood…bruising…swelling…cuts…your lip…”  He turned in a circle.

“It was only later that I remembered the bruising on your chest…your…thighs…”  His eyes showed his pain.  “It came back to me later you see…your torn clothes…smears of blood…on your thighs…”  He turned away from her now and didn’t speak for some minutes.

“When we beamed back to the ship…I couldn’t understand why Tom and the others were lying there…I just worried about you…  I was so confused…I guess because of the higher dose…  I sat for an hour or so…trying to remember yet afraid to…  Tuvok came in then and then the Doc.  I remember thinking that the Doc must have called Tuvok…  He took me to the office and treated me again…more hypos…said you were fine…would sleep til morning…   After that I started to remember everything and oh God…”  He sat again.  “You know all this…”  He sighed and spoke
through it all again, how every detail had come back to him.  “When I remembered what I’d done to you…”  His pain was desperate.  “I wanted to die there and then.  When I saw you…I couldn’t touch you…was terrified to…  I felt I just had to get away….asked Tuvok to lock me in the brig…”  He spoke on for several minutes, filling in every detail for the silent woman before him.

“Later…I just couldn’t face you.  Didn’t think I’d ever trust myself with anyone again.  I knew I had to stay away from you…that being close to you was too risky for you…  Even you seeing me would only cause you pain…and I couldn’t do that.  So I avoided you at all costs.  And then you insisted on seeing me and I brought Tuvok.  You know all of that.  After that, I just moved from day to day…determined to stay out of your life.  B'Elanna tackled me constantly but I shut her out…thought I knew better.  When you collapsed in Engineering, I forced myself to shut that off too.  B'Elanna had a go at me again…tried to tell me you weren’t well…that I’d see that if I just looked.  Later on…I noticed all right…but I still couldn’t stop the pain and guilt I felt.  The longer it went on the harder it was to let it go.”  He noticed a carafe of water and some glasses and walked over to them, taking one and filling it.  “This real…?”  Kathryn barely nodded.  Chakotay drank deeply then refilled the glass.

“I saw them with you more and more and started to look more closely at you.  You were shutting yourself away at this stage so I didn’t see you much.  Then that day…”  He walked back to his chair and sat.  “That bastard…and what he said to you…and it didn’t make sense and then you were hurt and…your eyes and your words…they got through to me…and I remember thinking that it was too late…  It took some time for me to let it all sink in.  I sat in the corridor while they worked on you and then they brought me in and told me everything.  That pain was worse than before and I ran.  B'Elanna and Tom got me through that.”  He rubbed at his face.

“I came to sickbay one night and just watched you…and then the next night and the next…  It took a week for me to get the courage to touch you…and those two were watching me all the time…but once I felt your touch again…I couldn’t let go.  And so I pulled myself out of it and made myself be there for you in any way I could…  Everyone was there for you…”  He told her about Janice painting her toenails and saw a slight smile.  He spoke on then, filling in every last piece of the picture, everything he could think of, even the smallest details.

“And you came back to us…to me…and I grew afraid again.  I’d managed for the most part to let go of the guilt and some of the pain and suddenly it was back.  I was scared…felt so vulnerable.  Of course, having ‘baby’ made all the difference.”  He sighed, as if a great weight was lifted from his shoulders.  “You know the rest…”  Kathryn finally seemed to acknowledge him and nodded.

“OK Chakotay.  Feel better with that out…?”  He smiled slightly and nodded.  Kathryn bit her lip and stood.  “Now you get my side of it.  Sit.”  He obeyed as she started pacing.

“Most of this you read in my letters to you but I’ll say some of it again because after today, we won’t speak of this.  This room here is the past and what’s spoken of here will stay here.  I’ll delete this program when we leave and that will be that.  It’ll be over.”  She walked over and poured herself a glass of water then sat again, too tired still to stay on her feet.

“I’ll repeat some of this…the important stuff so you have it ingrained in your head.  I was shocked…yes…  All I wanted was to get you back to Voyager and to the Doctor.  I told you then it wasn’t you…asked you what Brolar had done to you…  Chakotay, I knew…knew immediately that it wasn’t you.  I can’t stress that enough.  It clicked that this was also happening to the others and I tried to get to them.  I told you that you weren’t yourself.  I couldn’t get away though.  I saw your eyes and they were dead.  I kept saying ‘this isn’t you’  trying to get you to hear me.  He’d controlled you so well though.  You hit me a few times…”  She didn’t look at him.  “You pulled me to the bed and tore my clothes and yes…I knew what was going to happen.  I remember saying ‘don’t do this to us’.  I didn’t realize when I said that to you again in the ready room and I’m sorry for that.  I set it all off with you again, just as I saw myself getting somewhere.”  She took a drink of her water.

“I was never afraid of what you were going to do to me.  Not once.  I was afraid of what it would do to us later…what your knowledge and memory of it all would do to us…and I was right.  I fought you and struggled to try and stop that…not to stop you.  My words were ‘don’t do this…don’t destroy what we have…’  I know now that sounds as if I was speaking to you directly but I wasn’t really.  I think I was just trying to reach you in some way…some part of you that might have been left unaffected…”  She took a deep breath.

“You threw me on the bed and tore my clothes and I just stopped struggling.  You didn’t need that.  I fought at first because I needed to stop what was happening so you wouldn’t have to face the knowledge of this later on…and I failed there.  You had sex with me then…under his control.”  She looked right at him.  “YOU did not rape me, Chakotay.  Know that.  I wouldn’t be able to say that word if you had…if I had felt as if I’d been raped.  I can say the word easily.  That should tell you something.  You had sex with me…your body…under his total control.  That’s all there is to it.  I told you I loved you.  I remember that so clearly and that was during it all.  That should also tell you something.  Not once during all that…never once…did I feel any hate for you.  This was you, the man I knew and loved, with someone else making you do all that.  It wasn’t ever you.  I stared deeply into your eyes during that time and I saw the deadness there.  You weren’t there.  There wasn’t even the tiniest part of you there.”  She took another drink, her throat dry.

“I told you we’d get through it, that we loved each other and that it would be all right.”  She saw by his eyes that he remembered.  She needed to confirm that though.  “You do remember that?”  He nodded, saying nothing.  “I prayed for us, prayed that we’d survive.  Not me but us.  I prayed that WE would survive it all.  I said that too.  I told you we’d survive it, that I still loved you and that it wasn’t your fault.  All that was afterwards and I stroked your hair.  Do you remember that too?”  Once more he nodded.

“After that, all I knew was that I had to get help for you and the others.  I didn’t think about any injuries I had.  I just had to get out of there and so I ran.  I fell.  It was a pure accident that I hit off that table.  I could just as easily have fallen the other way and done nothing to myself.  Either way, it still wasn’t your fault.  Anyway, I passed out in the field and then woke up here.”  She crossed her legs and played with the remains of the water in her glass.  “You must accept that it was only your body that was there.  Your mind, the engine that runs who you are, wasn’t there.  It was under the total control of a madman.”  She was handing Chakotay his absolution and he saw it.

“Later on, I was so hurt when you didn’t come to me but I slowly learned to accept and understand what you were going through.  It felt so bad not to see your face when I came round.  I was so used to that.”  She smiled slightly to herself.

“When I finally saw you in my ready room that day, you looked so frightened, so filled with pain and guilt.  You spoke of it being your fists and your body that did it all and I’ll tell you again now that it wasn’t.  You were the instrument.  If I let myself think of then, it will always be of him.  It’ll be his fists and his body I’ll hate, never yours.  I told you before.  I loved you before it, during it and now.  I’ll also tell you that I’ll always love you.  I know how hard it was to accept and that you’d had bad experiences before with being controlled but you got past those and you have to move past this too, because what you’ll lose, what we’ll lose if you don’t, is too much.  You personally destroyed nothing.  You have my word on that and if you love me like you say, you’ll take my word and the truth and honesty you know it’s spoken with.  You destroyed nothing but he tried to and he’ll fail.”  She shook her head, speaking on about how things had been before the attack by Brolar, most of which she’d already spoken of in her letters.

“I also told you that I was never afraid OF you, only FOR you.  I’ll say that once more.  I never hated you.  You only hurt me afterwards by turning away and letting that bastard win but I hope that’s behind us now.  I also have to say again that this happened to US not to YOU or ME but to US.  When I woke up from the coma and discovered that the baby was all right and that you were there for me again, all I wanted was to put it all behind us and move on.  I found that some of those ghosts were still hanging around however and now I’m going to get rid of them.  Now, I
hope I’ve made all that clear and that we can finally leave it behind us and move on.  Can we?”  She looked him straight in the eye now.

“Kathryn, I want nothing more.  It’s still hard to accept and know that I was capable of those actions, no matter how much someone else was controlling me.  That’s something I’m learning to accept.  Tom’s been a great help and I’m almost there.”  Kathryn nodded her head in understanding.

“I do understand that and I’m just happy to see you move past it.  Control comes in many guises though.”  She licked her lips.  “Chakotay, it took me so long to accept that I couldn’t control it all in my own life even.  I held you away for such a long time, believing I could do all this alone, that I could be in total control.  Well I couldn’t.  No one has total control of their life.  Sometimes, it’s someone else who takes that control from us and other times it’s ourselves who take it or even give it away.  A mental illness can take it even, which is still not curable, even in the 24th century.  There’s loss of control there.  This is the same you know.”  She leaned forward.  “For all the discoveries, to the far reaches of space, the human mind is still the greatest unknown, the vastest un-chartered territory of all.  If it can’t be understood, it can’t ever be controlled by us.  Others can control it for a time but in the end, we take that control back.  You were not to blame Chakotay.”  She saw his troubled expression.

“I wish I’d listened to you.  You had a feeling down there about it all and I didn’t take you seriously…”  Kathryn shook her head and sighed.

“Chakotay…yes…I had bad feelings…suspicions…but there was never any way to have foreseen all that…besides…I could have given the order any time to pull out…”  She shook her head again.  “Look, it’s over.  We can’t change the past…un-ring that bell…  Thinking and talking about what we could have done differently gets us nowhere”  She saw him accept her words slowly and went in for the kill.  She stood now.

“As I said, we’ve spoken of all this now and it gets left behind in this room.  We delete it just as we will this program.  I’ll lay the rules for this now because I think it has to be me but that’s simply because of how you’ve viewed all this and so in this I’m the one laying down the law and you’ll listen.  I fought at first and then I stopped.  Well I’m fighting again…fighting for us.  I’ve been passive for too long where we’re concerned.  We both have.”  Chakotay just stared up at her.

“I think I didn’t fight more when we were back here, because I gave in…felt too weak…emotionally and physically.  I shouldn’t have done that.  Seeing that bastard’s face again stoked the fire inside me…the one I’d let die down.  Well, not any more.”  She turned to him now and squared her shoulders.

“We stand up to this and we fight it.  We fight for us.  We face this, just like we face up to any other enemy we’ve met out here.  This is no different.  We’ve beaten the Borg, Species 8472, countless others.  We made our mistake when we let all this get to us individually, instead of standing together and facing it head on.  We let it in and lay down under it.  We won’t ever allow that to happen again Chakotay.  We stay together and work together, because together we’re stronger.”  Chakotay barely nodded, lost in admiration for the woman before him.

“Seven once told us that our individuality would be our undoing.  I didn’t agree with her and still don’t in the sense she meant it.  As I see this now though, in this case…well she was right.”  Kathryn sighed.

“You know, it suddenly struck me that I’d give my life…gladly die…for this ship and this crew.  You would too, I know that.”  He nodded.  “Yet when it came to us, to our relationship, we stood back.  When it was threatened…instead of fighting for it…we just took it…took what he did to us.”  She shook her head sadly.

“Are we only capable of standing up to protect others?  We didn’t fight for ‘US’ and that was our mistake, but I’ll be damned if it’s a mistake we ever allow again.  We let that bastard onto this ship…brought him back with us into our home…instead of leaving him behind.  He’s dead now and I’m glad.  I hate to have to say that about any life form but in this case, I’d be lying if I said otherwise.  He’s gone physically from our lives.  Now we get rid of him psychologically.  No more Chakotay.  I won’t have him in our lives or in our home…in our bed.  He won’t be in our heads anymore because I won’t stand for it.  I won’t lose you to this.  You let go of your guilt now.  I tried the ‘softly softly’ approach with you for too long and it didn’t work.  Now I get tough because you need to be shaken into this.  It was like watching you drowning and I was standing on the bank calling and beckoning you to me, when I should have just gone into the water after you and dragged you out by the scruff of your neck, so that’s what I’m doing now.”  Chakotay felt he’d lost the power of speech.  The strength of the woman standing in front of him was amazing and a surge of pride and love for her ran through him, almost knocking him out of his chair.  Kathryn nodded to herself, finally feeling in control of her own life again.  She wasn’t quite finished though.

“I told B'Elanna to go ahead with the changes to OUR quarters.  I also told her that you needed a kick in the ass and I meant it.  I think I’ve given you one.  Enough is enough Chakotay.  I told you to exorcise your demons and I hope you have and that this has helped in that.  I let hurt live with me for too long, just as you let guilt live with you for too long.  We both took the fallout of what happened for far too long a time and it only caused us more pain and made us miserable.  I felt almost suicidal at times, I’ll admit that.”  She saw the pain in his eyes.  “In a way, I was as bad as you.  You let your pain and guilt eat at you, instead of using anger against the one who caused all this, the one who was to blame, the one who was responsible.  I let my hurt and pain invade me, instead of getting angry at him and fighting back, fighting to keep you from what he was still doing to you.  I was weak.  We both wallowed in self-inflicted negative feelings for a long time.  He put them there but we kept them there and inflicted them on ourselves.  That’s to our shame but no more.”  Her voice rose and she stepped closer to him.  This was Kathryn, using everything she had of the Captain which she held within her.

“I came too close to death and came out the other side.  I almost lost it all…as did you.  I won’t take this anymore.  I won’t let that bastard win or control anything else about our lives.  We have each other and we have a beautiful son.  Nothing is going to take that away.  I claim it all back Chakotay and that means you too, in exactly the same way as we were.”  Her face softened and her voice lost a little of its hardness.  Chakotay thought he saw just a hint of mischief. 

“I’ve another three days in sickbay and then I’ll be home. I’ll be home to our quarters and I expect to see you in our bed.  With the exception of sensitive breasts, there is nothing wrong with the rest of me and I fully expect you to take care of that when I get home.  It’s been a long time and I’m horny as hell.  See to it.”  She turned and walked away, leaving a man almost turned to stone in shock.  Her voice reached him from the other side of the room.

“This is over now Chakotay.  I’m going to delete this program and everything that’s been spoken of within it.  Except the last part of course.  That still stands.”  He turned and looked at her, seeing a smug grin on her face.  “I’d stand up if I were you.  When I delete this, the chair goes too.  Your ass isn’t holographic and it’ll hit that floor.  I want that ass intact.  I need it.”  He nodded, still in shock and stood.  He heard her give the order and the room disappeared around him.

“Kathryn…?”  She walked back to him.

“No Chakotay.  No more on this.  There’s you and there’s me.  We love each other.  We will now live together.  We have a beautiful son…who by the way…had better have a name by the end of this day…because I refuse to call our child ‘baby’ any longer.  We have a loving past and a glorious future.  There is no more.  Nothing else matters.  And that’s an ORDER.”  He stared at her for a few minutes, drinking in the fire in her eyes and the love there with it.  He let it all slip away from him and smiled softly, finally taking the absolution she offered.

“Aye Aye Ma’am.  Whatever you say.”  She lowered her head to one side.

“Don’t you forget it mister.  Don’t ever test this Irish temper again.  I’ll always fight for what I love Chakotay.  I just let that slip for a while but I’m back now and I claim what is mine.  I know we agreed that between us there would never be any rank but this has to be the exception to that rule because too much is at stake here.  Now – to quote another famous Captain – Make It So.”  She leaned up and kissed him on the lips.  “I’d better get back to Doc before he sends out a search party.  Besides, you’ve exhausted me.  I’ll talk to you later and you better have a few names to suggest.”  With that she turned and left the holodeck, leaving behind her a man finally at peace.

^^^^^^^^^^

That evening, Chakotay sat beside Kathryn in sickbay and watched her sleep.  She looked so small and delicate, he had trouble equating her with the woman who had stood with him earlier on the holodeck.  She seemed so at peace, her face totally relaxed in sleep.  Within minutes, she began to stir and slowly opened her eyes, meeting his.

“Hello love…”  He smiled at her.

“Hello yourself.  I didn’t think you were ever going to wake up.”  Kathryn yawned and stretched.

“You exhausted me earlier.  Mind you, I plan to have you do a lot of that in the coming days and weeks…”  Her eyes challenged him, watching his reaction closely.  He didn’t let her down.  He leaned down and whispered softly to her.

“You might regret saying that.  I plan to use you in ways you’ve never dreamed of.  You’ll have trouble walking when I’m through with you.”  Kathryn gloried in his words and the freedom with which he spoke them.  For just a moment though, she saw a glimmer of doubt in his eyes and jumped on it.

“Chakotay…we agreed…”  He shook his head.

“I just want to be sure you’re all right after the baby…”  She relaxed and nodded.

“I’m fine.  Down there wasn’t affected anyway and the scar from the section is long healed.”  He nodded and smiled slowly.

“Well in that case, my words still stand…  Just you wait…”  He slipped a hand under the blanket and stroked her thighs.  He pulled it back quickly when he heard the Doctor cough behind him.

“If you two could please wait until you’re back in your own private quarters.  This is a sickbay and that is not part of my patient’s treatment.”  They both had the good grace to blush.  They waited patiently as the Medic scanned his patient and nodded to himself.

“Everything’s fine Kathryn.  I should be able to release you in another day.  I would normally tell you to take it easy for a few days after that but I guess I’ll have to settle for just keeping you off duty for an extra few days.  You’ll probably need the rest…”  He looked pointedly at Chakotay and left.

“Caught in the act.  He makes me feel like a teenager again…”  Chakotay’s eyes widened.

“And just how many ‘compromising positions’ were you caught in as a teenager, may I ask?”  Kathryn just tapped the side of her nose.

“A woman has many secrets Chakotay.  That is one of them.  Now, tell me…what about our son.  He has to have a name.  This ‘baby’ lark has gone on long enough.”  Chakotay laughed.

“I think it suits him…”  He held a hand up in surrender at the glare he received.  “OK OK…I don’t know Kathryn…I’m stuck here.  You mentioned your Irish roots earlier…maybe Sean…I don’t know love…”  Kathryn lay back and considered that.

“I like it…”  Chakotay shrugged.

“I checked it out.  It’s the Irish version of John, which means ‘the Lord is gracious’ or ‘Grace of the Lord’.  I thought it fitting.  I also considered naming him after Tom, who’s done so much for us but then I thought that one ‘Tom’ was enough…”  Kathryn laughed at that.

“I agree with that.  It might just invite trouble.  Sean…”  She tried out the name on her lips and smiled.  “Sean..yeah…I like it…  If you’re sure…?”  Chakotay nodded and reached for her hand.

“Sean it is then…”  As if hearing himself called and knowing his new name, they heard the wailing before seeing their child.  ‘Sean’ was carried into sickbay by B'Elanna.

“Here Janeway…take your brat.  I’ve had enough for one day.  It goes in one end and straight out the other.  I told you before, if we could fuel Voyager on that stuff, we’d be home by now.”  Kathryn smiled and took her son, who stopped crying immediately as he made straight for his ‘meal’, much to the annoyance and amazement of B'Elanna.

“Why won’t he do that for me?”  Chakotay laughed. 

“Because you may have the equipment B'Elanna, but it doesn’t work for him the way he wants it to…”  He watched as Kathryn slipped her breast free and let the baby latch on.  “See?  If you could do that for him…he’d love you and shut up for you.”  B'Elanna shook her head.

“I let Tom do that but it doesn’t shut him up…”  Kathryn and Chakotay stared at B'Elanna now, their faces set in shocked amusement.  B'Elanna smiled sheepishly.  “Well…I’m honest…”  She laughed then and turned away.  Chakotay called her back.

“Oh B'Elanna…”  She turned back.  “This is Sean by the way.  Spread the word.  If Kathryn hears ‘baby’ one more time, brig time may be involved.”  B'Elanna clicked her heels and saluted.

“Ensign Sean Janeway…pleased to meet you…”  They all laughed just as the Doctor appeared behind them.

“About time.  I can finally amend my records.”  He shook his head.  “Ensign huh?  Being the command team’s son has its privileges I take it.  Promotion already?”

^^^^^^^^^^

Two days later, Kathryn was finally released from sickbay with a clean bill of health.  Chakotay stood back proudly as Kathryn carried a sleeping Sean into their new quarters, her eyes inspecting every detail of the work which had been done in her absence.  He saw her nod her satisfaction although she eyed the large bear a little nervously. 

“I love it.  It’s just perfect.”  She turned to Chakotay and smiled at him.  He knew she was looking for doubts on his face.  She didn’t find any.  “B'Elanna and Tom are taking Sean tonight?”  He nodded and smiled.

“I think she gave our son a talking to.  He’s behaving himself much better with her now.  If she can intimidate Tom, a baby should have been a walkover for her.”  Kathryn laughed.

“Maybe, but this is our son.  He’ll never be walked on by anyone.  We’ll make sure of that.  In this case however, I’ll make an exception.”

^^^^^^^^^^

“How much stuff does one little kid need for just one night?”  Tom struggled with the bags he carried as B'Elanna held Sean. 

“Come on Paris, let’s get a move on.  I think these two want us out of here.  They must be frustrated as hell after so long.”  She grinned widely as Kathryn almost choked on her tea.  “We’ll bring him back in the morning and not too early either.  I know at your age, you’ll need your sleep after all that strenuous activity.  Now are you sure you can manage?”  Chakotay took a step towards her.

“I’m not too old that I can’t whip your butt Mrs. Paris.  Do the terms ‘toothbrush’ and ‘deck plates’ mean anything to you?”  B'Elanna feigned fear and backed away.

“Oh yes Sir.  Just leaving Sir.”  She grinned again then.  “I’ll alert Tuvok…tell him to ignore any moans and creaks he hears…”  She was gone before the cushion could hit her, Tom trying to keep up.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay held Kathryn close to him as they sat on the sofa.  They’d been sitting cuddling close together for almost an hour now, just relishing the peace and quiet as well as the closeness they were sharing.  Chakotay turned his head and kissed the side of her head.

“Happy?”  He felt her nod against him.

“Very.  Totally relaxed too.”  She turned her head up to look at him and smiled softly.  “What about you?”  There was only a trace of worry in her voice.  He smiled.

“I’m very happy.  I couldn’t be happier.  I’ve everything a man could want.”  Kathryn raised an eyebrow and he laughed.  “Well, almost everything…”  Holding her eyes a moment longer, he then leaned down and brushed his lips to hers.  No further words were necessary.  Kathryn pushed herself up a little and leaned into the kiss, feeling a deep passion stir in her.  She moaned against him.

“Oh Chakotay, I’ve missed you so much…missed this…”  She wound her arm around his neck and pulled him closer to her, her mouth pressing down on his firmly.  Chakotay didn’t need any further invitation.  He deepened the kiss, prying her mouth open and pushing his tongue inside.  Kathryn groaned deeply in the back of her throat, both her hands pulling at him now.  Finally they broke away, needing air, but their hands were still busy.

“Chakotay, I need you…very badly…  We’ve time later for finesse…  It’s just been too long…”  His mouth devouring her neck answered for him as his hands swept over her body.  When he began to stroke around her breasts, he stopped and looked at her.  Sensing his eyes on her and feeling his hands stop their movement, she opened her eyes and looked back at him.

“Kathryn…?”  She shook her head quickly.

“No Chakotay, don’t even go there.  I’m fine…”  He smiled and shook his head.

“I know that.  I just meant…well…how sensitive are you…how should I…?”  She relaxed again.

“I’m very sensitive and I’m leaking a little but you can still…Ohhh…Mmmm”  His fingers were brushing over her nipples before she even finished her sentence.  “Oh yes…you learn quickly…”  He just grinned and pulled away from her.  Seeing her dismay, he grinned and leaned down, pulling her into his arms, before picking her up and making his way to the bedroom.

“Oh you are the masterful one tonight…”  She leered at him and he growled back.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet baby…”  He threw her down onto the bed and flopped down beside her.  His mouth and hands were busy in seconds, divesting her of her dress and underwear, exposing her to his eyes inch by inch.

“You’re more beautiful than ever…”  He trailed his lips around her sensitive breasts as his hands moved down, followed in time by his mouth.  Kathryn was busy with her own hands, almost ripping the clothes from his body.  Eventually, he sat back a moment to help her, as naked as she was within minutes.

Kissing and stroking her body, licking and nuzzling into every crevice, Chakotay soon had Kathryn squirming beneath him.  As he slowly and gently spread her legs, he could already smell her arousal and as he drew nearer, felt her heat.  Kathryn was almost bucking against him already, desperate for his touch, that which she had been denied so long.

“Don’t tease Chakotay please…I need you too badly…”  He looked up from his task and smiled at her.

“Don’t rush me.  I need to show you what it’s really about.  I need this Kathryn… I need to love you…”  She understood and nodded, biting her lip to try and control the desire which was threatening to consume her.

Chakotay returned to her body, slowly drawing nearer and nearer to where she needed him most.  He took his time, almost torturing her in his slowness.  Kathryn felt ready to explode by the time his mouth finally came down on her and she screamed out.  She felt his hands reach for her ankles, as he pushed her legs up, using his hold to spread her as wide as he could.  His assault was relentless, bringing her to the brink, only to pull back and start the build-up all over again.  Using his shoulder now, he leaned against one of her legs and slipped a hand beneath the other, keeping her open to him.  The fingers of his other hand pressed gently against her opening, exploring and gently probing, seeking entrance to her body.  Kathryn lay almost insensate as he worked her and then screamed out again when he drove two fingers into her, his mouth sucking greedily on her small bundle of nerves at the same time.

“Oh sweet God…oh please…Chakotay…yesssss…do it…”  Kathryn's head thrashed back and forth, her hands not knowing where to grip.  Chakotay grinned against her, drowning in the trust she had in him and her physical reaction.  He added a third finger, quickly understanding that he wasn’t hurting her, despite how long it had been since they had been together.  He pulled his fingers from her then drove them back in with some force, repeating his action again and again.  He flicked his tongue over her clit and then sucked hard on her.  Kathryn screamed at the top of her lungs as her world exploded around her, her inner muscles clamping down on Chakotay’s fingers, drawing him in deeper.  He rode the wave with her, his hand still pumping her as he lapped at the rush of fluids she produced.  Even before she settled, he was bringing her back, up and up, before dropping her over the edge once more.

Kathryn lay in a stupor, her body almost shivering in the aftermath of the two shattering orgasms.  She felt Chakotay lower her legs and come up over her and forced her eyes open.  He smiled down at her and licked his lips.  Kathryn growled and pulled him down to her, claiming his lips and sharing her taste with him.  She wriggled her hips, allowing him to settle between her legs.

“Give it to me…give it to me hard…I need to feel you inside me…”  He shifted slightly until she could feel his hard length against her opening.

“Now who’s the masterful one?  Hard, Kathryn?”  She nodded, panting now.

“Oh yes…as hard as you’re able…”  Chakotay grinned down at her.  He adored her lack of inhibitions with him.

“Sure you’re not going to regret those words…?”  He pressed against her and withdrew, teasing her mercilessly.  Kathryn pulled at him, moving her hips down to him, trying to impale herself on him.  He pulled back a little more.

“Chakotay…please…”  He moved slightly.

“Well, seeing as you ask so nicely…  Are you sure you want it all…?”  She squirmed again.

“Chakotay…don’t do this to me…”  He stared deeply at her a moment longer, eased himself up and pressed against her once more.

“OK lady…you asked for it…”  Before she was able to drew a breath, he surged into her, bringing another scream from her throat.  He watched her face closely for any signs that he had hurt her but all he saw was a look of rapture.

“Yesssss….oh God….”  She pulled at him and raised her legs each side of him, trying desperately to deepen the penetration.  “More…more…”  He obliged, pulling almost all the way out before ramming himself home again.  Kathryn bucked against him, her hands clawing at his shoulders and back.  “Give me everything…give me it all…”  She threw her head back, savouring each sensation.  “Oh God…I’ve missed you so much…yessss….”   Chakotay alternated between long and short strokes, filling her each time.  He ground himself against her on each forward thrust then pulled back, before slamming back into her.  Kathryn continued to cry out, urging him on further and further. 

Making a quick decision and taking a risk, Chakotay pulled out of her completely and locking eyes with her a moment, reached for her and went to turn her over.  She smiled at him, her eyes showing their full understanding and giving her permission.  She rolled herself over, helping him and felt his hands on her hips.

“Give it to me…please Chakotay…”  She knew he needed her consent and encouragement, and wriggled her bottom against him.  She felt him slip an arm around her waist, pulling her against him.  He pushed two pillows under her hips and settled himself behind her.  She felt his fingers probing her, teasing her clit as he pressed into her again, sliding in easily.  Kathryn moaned loudly as she tried to push back against him.  He began pumping her hard, his fingers pinching her small nub as she cried out, trying to get her arms and knees under her to give herself more control.  She pushed against him.

“More…”  He pushed harder into her, the fingers of his other hand tracing around her anus, before pressing in a little.  Kathryn groaned loudly.  “Oh yes…please…there…”  Chakotay grinned.  He had been more than a little surprised at the start of their relationship, to learn that Kathryn very much appreciated anal sex.  He certainly had no objections and was in fact, more than happy to oblige her.  He pulled out of her, his fingers still working her clit and pressed against her anus.  He spread her wetness before plunging into her rear.  Kathryn cried out, grinding herself back against him.

“Oh God Chakotay…harder…more…”  He pounded in and out of her, pumping her ass as fast as he could.  With her helping him, he didn’t need to hold onto her hips and pressed his fingers deeply into her vagina, accompanying the thrusting into her ass.  Kathryn lowered her head, pulling at her own hair as she pressed back onto him, meeting his thrusts with powerful ones of her own.  Chakotay knew she was close and pumped even harder, willing his body to retain control.  He felt her come, her inner walls gripping his fingers tightly and then her wail. 

Before her orgasm was over, he pulled himself from her and tossed her over onto her back.  With her inner muscles still spasming, he drove himself back into her, pushing past her clenching muscles, ramming himself in as far as he could go.  He rode her mercilessly, his hands gripping her hips tightly, lifting her almost off the bed and bathed in the raw lust he saw on her face. 

“Take me…do it…yessss….”  Kathryn had also surprised him with how vocal and open she could be and he loved her for it.  It did his ego no end of good.  “Yes…yes…”  She pushed against him, watching him.

“Take it…take everything I’m giving you…take me into you…all the way in…hard…fast…feel me ramming myself into you…”  He knew she loved him to talk like that to her and he loved the freedom it gave him.  He heard her panting, knowing his words were doing wonderful things to her.  They locked eyes as he continued pounding her.

He knew he was losing all control and fought to hang on a little longer until she came with him.  He slammed himself against her and ground his pelvis against hers.

“Come on Kathryn…come for me…scream for me…feel my prick inside you…ramming you…taking you…pounding into you…”  His words were like a trigger and he felt her come again.  She threw her head back, her hips arching against him.

“Oh Goddddd…..”  Her scream could probably be heard on the bridge, but neither cared at that moment.  As she gripped him tightly, he joined her, his ejaculation  exploding from him, filling her before being forced back out.  Chakotay fell over her, both their bodies slick with sweat.

^^^^^^^^^^

It was almost five minutes before either of them gained enough breath to speak.  Kathryn weakly pulled herself onto her side and lay her head against his shoulder.

“Welcome home lover…I badly needed that… and that was…the best ever…”  Chakotay grinned like a Cheshire cat at her. 

“I wasn’t too bad, was I?  I was afraid I’d be out of practice…”  Kathryn shook her head.

“Oh no…you were beyond perfect.  I’m sure they heard us…well certainly heard me…on the bridge.  We’ll get the knowing smiles and grins tomorrow.”  Chakotay stroked her hair.

“So what?  It’s made me think though.  We’ll either have to use the holodeck a lot or get B'Elanna and Tom to baby-sit more.  Sean won’t get much sleep with us.”  Kathryn smiled and then frowned.

“Isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?  He’s supposed to keep us awake all night…”  Chakotay pulled her to him.

“It is but then most kids don’t have you for a mother…”  He jumped at the slap he got.

“You can make enough noise yourself mister.”  They cuddled together and were quiet for a long time.

“You still awake?”  Kathryn nodded against him.

“Yeah.  Just enjoying the afterglow.”  He stroked her back.

“It was good wasn’t it?  We were, I mean.  Nothing changed.  It was even better in fact…”  Kathryn sat up now and stared deeply into his eyes.

“I never expected it to be any other way.  We just had to trust in each other again and take it all back.  We love each other.  That’s all there is to it.  That answers everything.”  Kathryn sat up slightly.

“I was reading about love.  Nothing else to do in sickbay but read.  Two things stayed with me.  One was a biblical passage.  It said that if we haven’t got love, we’re nothing, that love is patient and kind, never jealous, conceited or proud.  It isn’t selfish and doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.  It also said that love never gives up and that its faith, hope and patience never fail.  It’s eternal.  After everything else has passed, three things will remain.  Faith, hope and love and that the greatest of the three is love.”  Chakotay felt himself choke up.  “I also read another verse.  A poem I think.  I loved the words.  ‘The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test, that lays upon the altar, the dearest and the best’.  I think they say what I’m trying to say.  It boils down to this Chakotay.  I love you.”  They both had tears in their eyes and just gave way to them.  They held each other tightly, glorying in what they shared. 

“I love you too Kathryn.”  No more words were needed between them. 

As their son slept quietly on, his parents came together again, sealing their love for each other, the love that would never die, the love that would act as the finest example their son would ever have, the one that would guide him through his life and on down through the generations yet to come. 

^^^^^^^^^^




THE END.



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