Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don't. Only borrowing them. Etc. Etc. Etc. Besides, I can't do any worse than you know who. An illiterate snail could do better than him.
NC 17
This is my story for Spring Fling 2008 which was for Moof. See request below.

My request:

Just after arriving in the DQ, Janeway finds out she is pregnant. Everyone assumes it is Mark's child, and she allows this belief, but it turns out she was raped by someone she knew, possibly an Admiral (but not one she's really close to) just days before Voyager's departure. Although hurting terribly both mentally and physically, she determinedly covers up the rape and Voyager leaves on schedule. I'd love to see portrayal of the attack - it can be as graphic as needed. It need not be an overly 'baby-fic' story, I want the focus to be on J's ongoing trauma from the rape. I'd also like to see an early friendship develop with B'Elanna. Something happens that B'Elanna learns what has happened to Janeway - a panic attack on J's part perhaps, changing B'Elanna's outlook on Janeway. When they get to New Earth, the baby goes with them and so has to stay too. That is where she finally reveals the truth to Chakotay and he helps her overcome it - overall she'd just buried it to that point, not dealt with it. This can't be a 'magically all is better' story…I want it to be realistic (and preferable end J/C or the promise of J/C). Squicks - Death Fiction, unhappy ending, C acting like J is an invalid during pregnancy. Rating obviously up there because of the topic, Smut optional. :D
Written for VAMB Spring Fling 2008.


The Sins Of The Father...

by Kat Lady

"Is that really an ancient legend?"

"No…but it made it easier to say."

Kathryn raised her hand, fingers slightly apart, palm facing him. It was a profound moment as Chakotay joined his hand with hers. Eyes met eyes and they seemed to connect on a level they hadn't reached before. It was as if they both shared one heart and mind as time appeared to stop and the world was reduced to the small space they occupied. For a minute it was perfect. He saw her tears and took them for happiness. And then it was over.

Kathryn pulled away, physically and emotionally. She shoved her chair back and jumped up. "I'm sorry. Oh God…I'm sorry."

Pushing his hurt aside, Chakotay jumped up also and moved around the table to her. He turned her to face him, his hands gently gripping her shoulders. "Kathryn…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."

She shook her head. "It's not you. It's…" She blinked back her tears. "I've no right to even think about this…about being happy." She pulled away. "Chakotay, I abandoned my own daughter. What kind of woman does that make me? What kind of mother am I?"

They'd been through this and Chakotay had known it would come up again…and again. He leaned against the table. "The best kind, Kathryn. You know that. You made the only decision you could. I know how painful it was and is for you but…."

She glared at him through her tears. "She'll hate me someday. God, even now. She won't understand where I've gone. What damage am I doing to her?"

He sighed heavily. "A lot less than if she'd stayed with us." He shook his head. "Kathryn, it was a damn miracle that Alice wasn't infected down here with the two of us. We had no choice but to stay here. Had you kept her with you though…" He raked his fingers through his hair. "We've been through this. Keeping her here with us would have been too risky. She would have been infected eventually. And if we had an accident, what would happen to her? You made the right decision. She's with people who love her and will take the best care of her. Letting her go took more courage…a greater love. You put your love for her over your own needs. It was the most unselfish thing I've ever seen. You sacrificed your own peace for her."

He reached for her hand and pulled her to him. "Kathryn, believe me when I say I know how much pain you're in over this. I miss her so much too. I love that little girl. You made a wise choice in leaving her with Sam. She's a good mother and Naomi will make a great 'sister'. Even the Doc believed this was for the best." He stroked a finger over the back of her hand.

Kathryn shook her head. "She'll forget me…" She choked up on her words.

Chakotay gripped her hand tightly. "No, she won't. Sam and the others will make sure that never happens. And when they get home… Well, you left all the instructions for her to go to Phoebe and your mother. She'll have family. They'll make sure she always knows you."

Kathryn looked down at their hands and was silent for almost a minute as she fought to control her emotions. Slowly she looked up into his face. Her voice when she spoke was hesitant. "You must wonder…have asked yourself…why I didn't arrange for her…to go to Mark." She studied his face. "You…never questioned that…"

He realized she was saying more than her words alone conveyed, that she was easing a door open if he wanted to take the unspoken invitation. He squeezed her hand a little tighter and held her eyes.

"Mark isn't Alice's father, is he?"

Despite giving him the opening, she seemed surprised at his question, his directness catching her off guard. "What made you…?"

He sighed softly. "It was never my place to say anything, but I think I've known for some time. Strongly guessed at least. And then arranging for her to go to your mom and sister rather than him..."

He led her over to the small sofa and eased her down onto it, then sat down beside her and held out a hand, the decision hers on whether to take it or not. She took it.

"What happened?"

Kathryn swallowed loudly and blinked back her tears. "What happened? Not… 'who was he?'"

He smiled kindly at her. "I think I know you better than that by now, Kathryn. You don't sleep around…you're not into one night stands…you don't get drunk and out of control either and wake up with some stranger…and you're not the kind of woman to ever be unfaithful." He sighed. "Besides, there were other things…"

Kathryn blew out a shaky breath. "Thank you for your faith in me." She looked away. "You're right. I'm not like that." Her words deepened his fears.

She looked down at her hand in his, trying to find the right words…trying to find the courage to use those words. Finally she looked up into his kindly face. "What happened leads to who was he…but there are long and short answers to those two questions."

Chakotay remained silent, knowing she needed his quiet support at this moment rather than his words. They would come later. They would be needed later.

"The short…… Admiral Blake. And I was…. He…" She didn't need to say the word. He knew. It was confirmed for him now. A furnace of rage erupted inside him but he slammed the door on it for the moment. His rage…that too would come later.

She blew out a shuddering breath. "I've never said the word out loud…not about myself, I mean. I don't know what happened and I don't know who he was. I thought I had known but the…the man then…against the one who…"

She swallowed and looked around the room. She had to pull back a moment before talking about this. She knew she needed to finally confide in someone and the man beside her was her closest friend. She could trust him. He wasn't pushing her and she was grateful for that. He'd never let her down and she knew he never would.

She looked back at him and gave him a tired smile. "You were so good to me from the very start. You knew before anyone. I'll never be able to thank you for all that…for all your support. You were my friend when I needed one so badly."

Chakotay smiled across at his new captain. "Can I ask you something personal?"

She gave him a lopsided grin. "You can ask."

He smiled softly. "But you may not answer. I know. Don't worry. It's not too personal." He slowed his pace, and she adjusted hers to match. "I know it's only been eight weeks but do you have any regrets?" He watched as her smile fell away to be replaced with an almost distraught look.

She stopped walking. "What?"

He stopped also when he realized how she'd taken his words. "No…no… I don't mean the decision to destroy the array…"

She looked down at the floor. "You mean MY decision."

His hand on her arm made her look back at him. "I agreed with that decision. We all did. I thought we'd settled that." He signed. "Sorry. I should have been clearer. I meant if you had any regrets about making me your First Officer."

Kathryn managed to look embarrassed before she smiled. She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I'm still a bit raw about all that's happened." Her smile widened. "But no. I don't have any regrets where that's concerned. You're one of my better command decisions."

They began to walk slowly towards the turbolift. "What about B'Elanna and the other Maquis? Any regrets there?"

She laughed at that. "That's two questions." She shook her head. "No. Same answer. No regrets."

They continued in silence for a moment as Kathryn studied the man beside her. "Go on."

He glanced at her but didn't smile. "One last question?"

Kathryn rolled her eyes. "You do push it."

He nodded slowly. "Yes, I do."

She stopped and crossed her arms. "Go on then. Ask while I'm still in this generous mood."

Chakotay nodded to a passing crewmember and pointed towards the lift they'd just reached. "Not here."

Once inside the lift, he took a moment as Kathryn watched him. "It can't be that hard."

He sighed. "Computer, halt lift." He turned to her. "I know I'm being too…" He drew in a deep breath. "Are you pregnant?"

The look on his captain's face would stay with him for a long time…the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. A flash of something he couldn't read filled her eyes before she turned away. He felt a need to defend his question. "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to pry. It's just… Look, my mother was the midwife for our tribe. I watched and worked with her for so long. And all this was out in the open with my people. It was all discussed and taken as completely natural and part of life…even for the children to know."

Kathryn still didn't speak but her face had grown red. He reached out and placed a hand on her arm. "I'm sorry. It's none of my business."

She seemed to snap out of it and pulled some control over herself. "Why would you think…?" She drew in a shaky breath. "Of course. You explained."

He watched her closely. "Does your fiancé know?"

She looked away quickly at that, again something he couldn't read. "I haven't said I am."

He sighed softly. "You haven't said you're not. You are, aren't you? What did the Doc say?"

Her reaction shocked him. "I haven't… I didn't…" She actually looked guilty.

His eyes widened. "You haven't been to see him yet? Kathryn, that's dangerous. You need to…"

She interrupted him, perhaps an attempt to escape the direction he was heading in. "How did…? It's just still early and… I didn't think I'd given anything away."

He watched her closely. "You didn't…to the untrained eye. In time though…well, you'll show…" He stopped a moment. "Unless you're planning not to…"

She shook her head. "No, I'm not planning that…"

He nodded slowly. "Look, Kathryn…I'm not prying here, but I wouldn't be a very good First Officer if I didn't… I mean…"

She nodded and briefly met his eyes. "I know. This will impact the running of the ship. It will affect things and…"

He laid a hand on hers. "Kathryn, I'm mostly asking as a friend, if I'm not presuming too much with that. This ship will be fine. It's her captain I'm more worried about."

She studied his hand on hers for a moment and then seemed to reach a decision. She met his eyes and managed a small smile. "Thank you…for caring. And it would be good to have a friend."

He surprised her by pulling her into a hug. She allowed it and closed her eyes, drawing strength from his embrace. He whispered softly to her. "Then you have one, Kathryn. I'll do whatever I can to help. You'll get through this. We'll get through this."

Chakotay smiled as he remembered with her. "I told you you'd get through it."

She shook her head. "You said 'we'd' get through it…and you were right…although there were times when I didn't believe that." Her eyes searched his…for understanding…for courage.

He reached over and stroked her hair once before dropping his hand. His voice was soft and filled with love and kindness. "Do you want to tell me what happened?"

He thought she might look away but she held his eyes, hers filled with pain and tears. "He…raped me…"

He forced his rage down again, determined to be strong for her and be what she needed. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Her tears spilled over. "I could hardly admit it to myself…suppressed it, I suppose…and I think I believed that if I didn't say it or think about it, it wouldn't be true."

He forced his voice to remain even. "Who was it?"

She drew in a deep breath. "Admiral William Blake…someone I thought I knew." She wiped at her face. "He was retiring. He'd been a friend of my father's. I remember him at the house a few times. I think he was more a work friend though." She drew in another deep breath and sat a little straighter. Somehow with the emotional decision reached to open up and the first words spoken, they came a little easier now. She fought to detach herself from the feelings and emotions that accompanied them, tried to 'remember' as if talking about someone else.

"He 'asked' me to his office that evening, although he was one of those admirals who never really 'asked'. A 'summons' disguised as a 'request'. I didn't want to go but I couldn't refuse. Captains don't refuse admirals." She looked down at the floor. "It was late enough. His aide had gone home and much of the building was in darkness. Even the cleaning and maintenance staff had finished for the day." She glanced up at him. "He was all friendly…talked of the 'old days'…my father…how he remembered me growing up…how proud my father had been. He casually handed me a drink…" She shook her head in disbelief. "I never suspected. Why would I? He droned on about missed opportunities…things he wished he'd done.

She frowned. "I began to feel tired…thought it was just me. It had been a long day, getting ready for Voyager…meetings and briefings and so on. I knew it was more when I started to feel dizzy and the room began to swim. I remember looking down into my glass, wondering if the drink was that strong but I'd only drunk half of it. Then the words that froze me filtered through. 'You're a path I'm not going to leave un-travelled'."

She tried to brace herself for the rest of what she was going to tell him. "The cowardly bastard. He'd put something in my drink. Maybe it was meant to knock me out completely…maybe not. I don't know. Anyway, it didn't. I remember every detail. The fact that I was aware didn't stop him. I tried to fight him but I couldn't. Everything…my reactions and thinking seemed to have slowed down. I was in no state to fend him off and he knew that. I guess he knew his drugs."

Chakotay heard bitterness alongside deep pain in her voice as she struggled to get the words out. All he could do for now was silently support her. He gripped her hands tightly between his own.

Her voice became almost a whisper. "He dragged me down onto the floor…stripped me…ripped my clothes…took off his own. He was that confident of not being disturbed. I pleaded…begged…but it meant nothing to him."

She swallowed loudly. "When he…climbed…on top of me… His words were so crude...his sick laughter…'I outrank you. I order you to spread your legs'. I rolled my head to the side. I didn't want to see him…and I was afraid I'd be sick and choke on it."

She looked at him with tears pouring down her cheeks. "He was already doing the worst to me. He didn't need to hurt me even more but he did. He didn't care that I begged him to stop. My tears made no difference to him. He took what he wanted…did what he wanted…and all I could do was endure…listen to his crude and filthy words…feel the pain and humiliation…and pray for it to be over."

She looked away. "I tried to block it all out but…God, it hurt…he was so rough. He told me he'd taken something to make sure he lasted…to give nature a hand. It seemed to last for hours…and it was. I thought whatever drug he'd given me would start to wear off…give me some chance against him…but it didn't. He used me and took from me…pinching and biting…scratching…hurting…pulling me around…feeding his sick desires. His highlight was throwing me over his desk and…"

Finally she broke down, deep sobs racking her body. Chakotay went to pull a hand free to wrap an arm around her but she held on tight. He nodded silently, understanding that she didn't want that yet…that she just needed to get the words out in one go. She pushed herself on.

"He said… 'I'm going to fuck you in the ass, bitch.'…using his words to add to it for himself…turn him on even more. He didn't even try and make it less painful for me. He enjoyed my cries and screams…knew no one would hear me." She sobbed again and he just let her, making no further attempt to touch her. He knew she'd let him know when she was ready for that.

After a few minutes, she regained some control. She looked away again, her eyes scanning the room as if suddenly shocked to find where she was. She drew in several deep breaths, using them to calm herself further. Eventually she met his eyes. "After… He knew Mark was away. I don't know how. He knew my home was empty. He beamed me and my clothes home. Just before he did, he laughed… 'Our secret, Janeway. No one will believe you anyway. I have a good alibi set up for tonight and there'll be no record of this transport…and yes…I'm that good and you know it'. And he was. He'd obviously planned it down to the last detail."

She closed her eyes a moment but opened them just as quickly, as if the images she wanted to avoid were behind her closed lids. "At home…I lay on the floor where I'd materialized…shivering and shaking. I couldn't move for a long time because of the drug. Eventually the stuff wore off and I was able to start dragging myself…knew I had to move. With Mark away that night, I could crawl away and hide it all. I was in shock and yet so disgusted with myself…so ashamed. I felt so dirty and I hurt everywhere. All I could think was that no one would believe me or they'd say that I'd asked for it…maybe that I'd made it up. He was a highly decorated admiral on the brink of retiring from an illustrious career. I'd gone to his office alone…late at night and well outside of 'office hours'."

She licked at her now dry lips to moisten them. "I managed to get to the bathroom and locked myself in. I was sick for a long time, even when there was nothing left in my stomach. I don't know if it was because of what happened, from the drug, or a mix of the two. I remember I pulled a robe off the back of the bathroom door and wrapped it around myself. I just lay down…couldn't get warm. I stayed there for a long time on the floor, just staring at this crack in one of the tiles."

Her eyes held a faraway look as she spoke. "Eventually I felt so dirty I filled the bath, the water as hot as I could stand it. I sat huddled there and watched my own blood make patterns in the water. The cuts, bites and scratches…they stung so badly but I welcomed the pain at first. It forced my mind from what had happened. I needed to feel that other pain to drown out the memories…try to anyway. In the end, I couldn't take it anymore. I got out and healed what I could. I had to. I couldn't stand them there and I had a dermal regenerator so I took care of them myself…what I could anyway. I could still see them in my mind though, as if they were still on my body."

Her hands tightened on his. "I took some painkillers then refilled the bath…poured in scented oils…anything to get rid of the smell of him off me. I got back in and just sat there for such a long time and cried. Oh, I knew I was…that it was the wrong thing to do…legally, I mean. There was no more evidence and I'd healed most of the injuries I'd had. So, I just sat there hugging my knees…let the water go cold…and all I could do was stare at the door…waiting for it to open. Every noise scared me, the normal noises any house makes…noises I knew well…but that night they were different. My own home wasn't my home anymore…and I was terrified to leave the bathroom…to go out into my own bedroom. This small room…those four walls…and I was afraid to leave them."

She shrugged slightly. "In the end I had to. I forced myself out. I crept into my bedroom…ordered all the lights on because every shadow was him. I mean nothing bad had ever happened to me there but yet… And I hated him for doing that to me too…turning my own home…my sanctuary into…I don't know what."

She looked at Chakotay a moment then down into her lap. "I remembered to clean up afterwards. I made myself do it…so Mark would never know. I threw away my clothes… and took more painkiller…had to. Then I pulled on an old sweat suit and my big dressing gown…crawled into the bed under all the blankets…I 'hid' there…watching the door again. Exhaustion won in the end I guess, but I don't remember falling asleep."

She looked back at him sadly. "Next morning when I woke up… For a moment I thought it hadn't happened…had been some terrible nightmare. The moment I tried to move I knew it hadn't been. I hurt everywhere and it all flooded back to me. I remembered it all." Tears slipped down her cheeks but she quickly brushed them away.

Her voice took on a hard edge. "What I did forget was contraception. Oh, I was on one with Mark but my booster was almost up and I was due for another one. I hadn't had time to see a doctor…too busy with Voyager. And you know they're not as effective at the end or the start…that they need to overlap at that time to work. So…"

Chakotay finally needed to speak. "You were in shock, Kathryn. You were deeply traumatized."

She seemed angry with herself. "I could easily have gotten something to supplement it or the morning after hypo… He obviously hadn't used anything…either didn't think or more likely didn't care. He was that sure I wouldn't be reporting what happened. Maybe he just assumed that I was already on something with Mark. I just didn't think at the time." Her anger faded as quickly as it had appeared and she looked across the room at nothing. "You know…it's so strange how the mind can become numb and yet the body can feel every pain." She looked back at him sadly. "Later on, of course, it's the other way around."

She pushed her emotions down. "Mark was back that afternoon and I put on a hell of an act for him…my family…everyone. I think they put my strangeness down to the upcoming mission. Somehow, I got through the next few days…forced myself through the work. I was counting the minutes though until Voyager left. I avoided Headquarters as much as I could. I was terrified of running into him there but I didn't. Maybe he made sure of that. I don't know." She shook her head. "Mark of course wanted us to…before I left. I couldn't and pleaded my time of the month. He believed me. I was still…after… I needed sanitary protection. We lived together and he knew…saw me in the bathroom I think…so he didn't doubt me. He'd always have taken my word anyway and he never remembered my dates."

She sighed heavily. "I'm ashamed to say it but I was relieved when we were stranded out here. It meant I wouldn't see him or run into him. Just because he was retiring… So many of them still hung around Headquarters…did consultancy work…" She closed her eyes a moment. "I felt so guilty about that though. I've asked myself so many times if that influenced my decision to destroy the array…even subconsciously. I truly don't think so though. Through all that I was 'the captain'…found a haven in it in fact. It was an escape. Nothing else existed outside of dealing with what we were facing. It was probably one of the few times I was able to force the nightmare away."

Chakotay shook his head. "I don't think it influenced you either. I know people, Kathryn. You were purely 'on the job' then. Besides, your decision was one we all ultimately agreed with. It was the right thing to do." He gave a small smile. "You know, I asked myself the same question…if my decision, my agreeing with you, was to get away from the fighting. Like you though, I know I acted as a captain…doing the right thing to save a race of innocent people."

She squeezed his hand and smiled slightly. "We did the right thing."

He nodded. "What about after that?"

She shook her head. "After that…when we got on our way… I got through those first days and weeks with the help of a good supply of pain relief hypos I'd brought with me. As a captain I was able to replicate them myself at home. Sometimes it was the only way I could physically function to get through the day." She looked at him sadly. "I put in all those extra hours…anything to avoid being alone with my thoughts off duty. It was just as well we had rationing in those first weeks. I think I'd have become an alcoholic otherwise."

She attempted a smile but instead her eyes filled with tears. "It was always with me though…always there somewhere. It would come to me at the strangest times…with the smallest things. Details of it would come back to me…something I hadn't thought about before. What I'd had for lunch that day…someone I'd met…nothing details. And other memories…the colour of the carpet in his office…pictures on the walls. Questions plagued me too. Why me? What was it about me that had drawn his attention? Did he see the girl I'd been but hadn't done anything about? Was it a one-off thing or lots of things? Why then and not before? Had he only seen me somewhere a while before and remembered? Was it because he was retiring or because I was going on the mission? I thought about how well he'd obviously planned it all… And I wondered about others…if there were others he'd done this to…and was I the last or was there another after me? Did he ever talk to anyone about it or tell someone? So many questions and no answers…but I know that having those answers wouldn't undo what happened anyway." She looked at him helplessly. "I don't know."

Chakotay ran his fingers over the back of her hands. She seemed comfortable with him talking now. "You've never told anyone? At the time or after…"

Kathryn shook her head. "No…at the time I was afraid to…couldn't face the questions that would come. Any doctor I saw would have had to report it. Being Starfleet…even if I'd gone outside… I was afraid I'd be taken off the mission if they knew…would have been…whether they believed me or not. I couldn't take that risk. I had to get away and there was also the thought of anyone finding out. I couldn't take that."

Chakotay stared at her in disbelief. "So you'd no medical treatment at all?"

She shook her head. "I know it was stupid. Apart from our Doc suspecting something when I eventually went to him…and I think B'Elanna did too…"

Chakotay frowned. "She never said anything to me."

Kathryn nodded slowly. "We were working together one day and she started talking about the baby…"

B'Elanna looked kindly at her captain. The words were out before she could stop them. "You're not happy about this baby, are you? You didn't plan it." The shocked look on Kathryn's face and the realization of her own words slammed into B'Elanna. "Oh Captain, I'm sorry. I have such a big mouth and I don't think first."

Kathryn looked down at the tools in her hands before looking back at her Chief Engineer. "I know you mean well. It's all right." She sighed. "No…I didn't plan this baby. I also didn't plan on being stuck out here."

B'Elanna frowned. "But you had a choice to not go ahead… I mean you could have…"

Kathryn looked away again. "There was a choice but not for me. I did think about it but in the end, I couldn't."

B'Elanna nodded at that. "Once you get used to the idea though… I mean, a lot of women…once they're over the shock of an unplanned pregnancy…well, they're happy…" She shook her head sadly. "You're not though…"

Kathryn's expressed hardened a little. "B'Elanna…this…I don't wish to…"

B'Elanna pushed on without thinking. "You don't talk much about your fiancé. Is he not the father?"

The blood drained from Kathryn's face. She hid by attacking. "You think I whored myself around Starfleet?" She instantly regretted her words but they were already out.

It was like a smack in the face to B'Elanna. "Oh no…Captain… I didn't mean. I mean, I just thought you may have…another relationship or…" She dropped her head. "I'm sorry. I'm over tired today and I'm nervous and not thinking and I've a big mouth and…" The other woman's hand on her arm stopped her.

Kathryn saw a chance to change the subject and grasped it with both hands. "What are you nervous about?"

B'Elanna shrugged. "I'm still new and proving myself and you're the captain. I also can't control my mouth today…"

Kathryn managed a smile. "I don't bite, B'Elanna." She sighed heavily. "As to the rest… Let's just leave it. I'll be fine."

The younger woman relaxed a little. "I know you will. I knew some women in the Maquis who had babies on their own." Her face hardened. "They didn't have a choice either…in being on their own. Many of them didn't even have a choice in their child's conception. They'd had that taken from them by some evil Cardassian…"

She watched as her captain's face paled before she turned away and went back to work. "Yes…well…we'd better get on with this, Lieutenant."

B'Elanna felt as if a shuttle had hit her. She stared at Kathryn for a moment before her eyes dropped to her stomach. When she looked back at her face, Kathryn was watching her. Something unspoken passed between them. This time though, the new Chief Engineer knew to close the subject. She managed a soft smile. "Let's get this finished…then we can have some dinner. My treat."

Kathryn held the other woman's eyes a moment before nodding, grateful to have the subject closed. "Dinner sounds good."

Kathryn shrugged. "Very little was said between the two of us after that. When she said about some of the women she'd known in the Maquis who'd been… Well, you know… Anyway, I must have reacted some way…something that gave it away. She just seemed to know not to ask or say anything more though. She gave me, a 'searching look' I believe they call it, then she looked down at my stomach before meeting my eyes again. She's perceptive, I'll give her that. In that moment, I knew she knew. The fact that I didn't dismiss it or laugh it off… It was like some silent…some unspoken understanding. It was never mentioned again but from that time on, she was my friend."

Chakotay smiled to himself and felt a warm rush of love for his 'sister'. "You and Sam became close too."

She nodded. "Yes, we did…but that was more about sharing the physical. We were pregnant at the same time, in the same place. We had the same worries and fears about carrying and rearing a child on a ship in the Delta Quadrant and no father for that child with us. She had a husband at home though."

He reached over and cupped her cheek. "And you had me and the rest of our Voyager family."

A fond smile lit her face and she nodded. "Yes, I did. And I wouldn't have made it without you. You supported me through it all. Even when she was born…" She shook her head. "Trust me to have my child in a turbolift. Thank God you were there. If I thought I was scared during the pregnancy, it was nothing to how I felt when I went into labour."

The lift had been stuck for over twenty minutes now. B'Elanna was working flat out to get them out. Chakotay sighed as he watched Kathryn pacing in the small space, one hand on her back. He tried to hide his worry and keep his voice calm.

"You're in labour, aren't you?"

She glanced at him. "I'm fine. It's just a twinge…"

They both looked down as her waters broke. Chakotay shook his head. "Famous last words." He looked up to meet her eyes and saw genuine fear there. He managed a smile, despite how worried he felt. Not only was most of the power out, but transporters were offline and so was their Medic. "It'll be fine. B'Elanna will have everything up and running in no time. Come on, Kathryn. Sit down if you can."

She stared at him. "I'm barely eight months. It's too early…" He saw her fight to get her panic under control before she nodded and eased herself down onto the floor. "I'm sorry. It's just… Nothing is what I expected and…" Her words were cut off as she cried out in pain. Chakotay sat down beside her, his hand in hers as she crushed his fingers. Despite his own pain, he refused to let her see what she was doing to him.

"Breathe through it, Kathryn. Remember what the Doc told us."

She glared at him and gritted her teeth. "What the hell do you think I'm trying to do?"

He smiled to himself and knew that far worse was to come. He'd seen many women give birth and often wondered how many of their relationships with their partners survived the process.

An hour later any amusing thoughts he'd had were long forgotten. Kathryn was in a deep panic now and he was getting more than worried himself. Things were moving too quickly for his liking. B'Elanna was fighting with everything that she had to get them out and get the Doctor back online and Kathryn was fading fast. She'd passed any embarrassment and had finally let him examine her, barely noticing anyway as pain tore through her.

As it eased for a few minutes, she looked into his eyes and saw his worry. "What is it? What's wrong?"

He had to be honest with her. "Kathryn, the baby hasn't turned. It's breach and…" They'd known this was a possibility but the Doctor hadn't been worried, believing his patient still had over a month of her pregnancy to go. Chakotay saw naked fear fill her eyes.

"I can't…keep…" She dropped her head back against the wall. "Oh God…why me…?"

Chakotay gripped her hand tightly. "Kathryn, come on. You have to work with me here. We have to turn the baby." He expected full scale panic from her but just at that moment another contraction hit and she needed all she had to get through it. Exhausted when it was over, she barely nodded at him.

"Please…do what you can. I trust you."

It seemed to take forever as he worked, desperately trying to remember all his mother and the other women in his tribe had ever tried to teach him. He knew he was adding to her pain but forced himself to concentrate on the job at hand and ignore her screams and cries.

Finally he got the baby turned but Kathryn had torn and was bleeding heavily. He wanted to scream to B'Elanna to get them out but knew she was already doing everything she could. He cast deeply worried eyes over Kathryn and saw how weak she was getting and knew he had to get the baby out as soon as possible. Not having anything to work with except his bare hands he did all he could to ease the baby from her body.

Kathryn was beyond screaming out at this stage. She cried through the agony and fought to stay conscious. "Come on, Kathryn. You're almost there. Try and work with me. Push as much as you can."

She at least seemed to hear him and barely nodded. Tears poured down her face, mingling with the sweat there as she tried to find one last ounce of strength. She screamed out as he finally delivered the baby from her, a rush of blood and fluid easing the passage.

Chakotay worked frantically now as Kathryn slumped back against the wall as if finally giving in. "Stay with me, Kathryn. Your little one needs you." He cleared the small airway and puffed a few breaths of air into the tiny lungs. Finally the baby mewled rather than cried but was at least breathing for herself.

Kathryn was still bleeding and he needed to tend to her now. Lying the baby beside him, he pulled off his tunic and rolled it up, using it to raise his friend's hips. He then tore off his shirt and balled it up, pressing it between her legs to try and stem the flow of blood.

A strange look came to her face. "What's wrong?"

He pressed his shirt against her. "You're hemorrhaging a bit. I need to try and slow the blood loss." She hadn't asked about the baby and that worried him a bit. "Do you want to see the baby?"

She looked away. "Is it…a boy…?"

He frowned. She'd never spoken of any preference and hadn't wanted to know the baby's sex. "It's a little girl and she's perfect. She's so like you." He watched as she closed her eyes for a moment and nodded. What he saw when she opened them again was pure relief. "Thank God… Please…can I see…?"

He nodded and placed the baby across her mother's stomach and breasts. He saw Kathryn examine the small face closely, not sure what she was looking for. She seemed nervous, almost afraid as she examined her child. Finally she dropped her head back and nodded to herself. One hand came up and reached for the baby, hesitating for a moment before she touched the small body. And then she sighed deeply as fresh tears fell from her eyes. "Thank you."

He frowned and wondered if she was speaking to him at all. "You're more than welcome."

She jumped at the sound of his voice and opened her eyes, meeting his. "Sorry. I…" She drew in a deep breath. "Chakotay…thank you…for everything…"

He forced a smile and nodded to her. "That's all right." He hesitated a moment. "Kathryn…is there something…?"

He never got to finish as B'Elanna's voice filled the small space. "We're all back. I'm transporting you now."

He blew out a long breath. "Thanks, B'Elanna. Three to transport."

"I'm so glad you were the one who delivered her…not that we had a choice…" She managed a weak laugh.

Chakotay smiled. "No, we didn't. I was just relieved I'd paid so much attention to my mother's lessons."

Kathryn gave a small smile. "I'd been trying for ages to work up the courage to ask you to be with me for the birth although I was so sure I'd be asking too much of you. I know you came with me for all my exams but I wanted you there with me for the birth too." She gave a small smile as she shrugged. "I guess it was meant to be after all."

He hesitated a moment and then decided to speak. "Can I ask you something?" She didn't answer but simply nodded. "I know we were both…during all that time…that we were both…afraid…but afterwards…"

Kathryn seemed to know what he was asking. She let the smile slip from her face and sighed. "I panicked during it all…and I was terrified. I can admit that. The exams and check-ups were hard, being touched in that way. I was just as terrified when she arrived though."

Chakotay nodded as he remembered. "I've always wondered about that. I saw you when she was born. You'd always refused when the Doc asked if you wanted to know the baby's sex…yet you were so relieved she was a girl and then you searched her features…scrutinized them…as if you were nervous…" He stopped and thought, then shook his head. "No…not just nervous. You seemed… It was like you were afraid of what you'd see. It wasn't just checking for ten fingers and ten toes type of thing. When I said she was so like you…you weren't just flattered or happy at that. I saw relief wash over your face."

He studied her to see if he was going too far but she nodded. "I thought I'd hid all that so well. I guess I didn't." She sighed. "What else did you see?"

He squeezed her hand lightly. "All through the pregnancy you held back. When she was born though, you were afraid to look at her at first…hesitated in touching her. And you were slow to bond with her. I never saw you stroke your stomach or talk to her when you were carrying her. You barely looked at the scans. You had nothing prepared and refused the shower the women on the ship wanted to give you. You almost denied you were pregnant. At first I thought you were just being superstitious. As time passed though… And you avoided your check-ups. I know you always hated going near sickbay as we all do but this was different. I almost had to force you to go for your first exam. I put it down to embarrassment at first but something still felt…not right."

Kathryn sighed heavily. "I held off going to the Doctor not just because I was in denial but because I wanted to let myself heal. I'd been bleeding…must have been torn. I guess I still hadn't completely healed though because he still saw something. He asked me about it on the quiet, of course, but I refused to answer. If he knew or guessed, he never brought it up again. Whatever was there, he just quietly healed it."

She shrugged. "Also…well… Yes, there was embarrassment but it was being touched there and in that way… And being pregnant just constantly reminded me of how I got that way. I was afraid that every time I looked at that baby I'd only see how he or she was conceived. The pregnancy was forced on me and the baby would be a continuation of something against my will."

She gave him a sad smile. "As to her being a girl… I was so afraid she'd be a boy. I didn't want to know the sex because… I don't know. Not knowing made it less real…less 'personal' to me. I know I could have saved myself a lot of that 'fear' I had but at the same time not knowing meant protecting myself in some way. Oh I knew that even as a girl she could have resembled him but… A boy could have grown up like him…not just what he did but could physically look like him. I wasn't sure I could spend the rest of my life looking into HIS face…seeing HIS eyes staring back at me. Yes, a girl could also have had his eyes but somehow being a boy would have been worse. I don't know. In appearance a boy could one day have grown up into the man who haunts me."

He nodded in understanding. "The sins of the father."

She thought about that for a moment. "Yes, I guess that was it." She licked at her lips. "The entire thing… I felt I had no control over any of it. At the start or after. The birth…it was pain and no control…in many ways just like when he…" She didn't need to finish. She looked into his eyes and saw that he understood. "After…I looked at her and…" She looked down into her lap. "She fought hard for her life. She was so small and frail…" She looked back up at him. "I guess that helped me bond with her. Seeing this weak, innocent little creature… How could I fear her or hate her? I suddenly saw that she was my flesh and blood and was completely innocent of her conception."

She sighed and shook her head. "When it happened…I was so angry at him…and then at myself. I was angry at how I'd let it happen…how I hadn't seen it…how I'd walked into it. I remember thinking…why me…I'm not the kind of woman this happens to. I'm strong. I'm a Starfleet captain. This happens to others. You hear about them…read about them…rarely do you know them…and then I realized how arrogant that sounded…how stupid and how insulting to others who've also been…who've also had it happen to…" She looked away. "The shame was overwhelming…"

Chakotay reached over and tiled her face up to his. "Kathryn, you didn't LET this happen OR walk into it. There IS no shame, except the shame you allow that bastard to put on you. I've known many women this has happened to. They were strong, intelligent, confident fighting women."

She bit at her lip a moment and nodded. "I know. It was just…memories of that night and then seeing this little life… I didn't want them connected." She looked sadly at him. "I don't wish Alice away though. She's the only good thing to come out of all this. Of course I wish it hadn't happened but that feels like wishing her away and…" She sighed. "I guess somewhere in my mind I must have felt something for her at the start. When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I did was check the painkillers I'd been taking wouldn't have harmed her." She shook her head. "It's confusing. All I know is that I never want her to know how she came about. So I decided to make that 'official' and the Doc went along with me… Her birth certificate is blank where the father's name should be. I didn't…don't…want her to know. She should never know she was his. Not that leaving it blank won't cause problems too…" She looked away. "Still, better that she thinks her mother a whore…"

Chakotay felt a rush of anger at that. He pulled her face back to him. "She'll NEVER think that. Anyway, she's not HIS daughter, Kathryn. She's YOUR daughter." He took a chance with his next words. "If you'd just let me, I'd love her to be mine too. If we ever get back, I'd love nothing more than for you to put my name down as her father. No one needs to know differently." He smiled lovingly at her. "Let me be her father, Kathryn. That would solve the problem of a blank on her birth certificate. And before you say it or think it, it's not me being the 'big man' here. This is out of love for you both. Nothing more."

Tears filled her eyes and she squeezed both his hands in hers. "You've been a father to that little girl in every way that matters."

He drew in a deep breath. "I love her and I love her mother. I never wanted anything FROM you, Kathryn. I only ever wanted something WITH you. I hope you can see the difference there."

She looked at him with a profound look of sadness. "I'm not sure what I could ever offer you." She held up a hand when he went to argue that. "Please, Chakotay. It's not you. I'm not afraid of you or afraid of men. I guess I'm not even afraid of sex. At least I don't think I am. I know the difference between love and what he did. I suppose somewhere in my mind he just 'dirtied' the act. What I'd always associated with love and tenderness, he turned into pain and violence. He sullied it all. Ever since…" She blushed. "I still can't….even on my own, I mean."

Chakotay closed his eyes a moment then opened them and looked deeply into hers. "Kathryn, sex has nothing to do with this. I'm talking about love. Love and sharing and closeness…tenderness and friendship. I'm talking about joining souls…not joining bodies."

Before he said anything more, Kathryn fell into his arms. He was shocked for a split second before wrapping his arms around her. "I love you, Kathryn. I have from the start. You're the bravest woman I've ever known and I'm filled with the deepest admiration for you…for what you've come through and survived…for everything that you are…with this and everything completely unrelated to it. I love YOU…everything about you."

His heart soared when she whispered back to him. "I love you too."

He held her against him and rocked her gently. It was one hell of a beginning but he knew they had a long way to go. Kathryn had a long way to go. She'd made a wonderful start and had finally acknowledged the deep wound she'd lived with for so long.

He eased her back from him and looked down into her face. "Sleep with me tonight. Just let me hold you through the night. Stay with me."

She searched his face and then nodded. "I've so missed being really close to someone." She sighed sadly. "It sounds dramatic, but I think I'm starved for this kind of human contact…a kind touch…a loving gesture or caress …and I don't mean in a sexual way…"

He smiled softly at her. "I know what you mean."

She smiled at that. "I touch people all the time but it's…I think some need to connect without letting myself get properly close. It's a substitute, I guess." She leaned in closer to him. "This is different."

He kissed the top of her head. "It's always been there for you, Kathryn."

She nodded against him. "I suppose I just didn't want to see that…couldn't see it. I think I'm ready to accept it now…start to anyway…"

Chakotay hugged her to him. "Your pace, Kathryn. Heal first and let the rest happen as and how it wants to."

The days and weeks that followed on New Earth were a time of healing for Kathryn. She had peace, rest and love in its purest form. The wound of her soul, now cleansed and no longer festering, began to slowly heal.

Chakotay delighted in what he saw. He watched her become more like the woman he'd always known was there. More and more he saw sunshine in her unguarded moments instead of clouds. Only one deep shadow hung over them both. They desperately missed Alice.

Whatever Gods watched over them were determined not to leave them with that pain though. Voyager returned and Kathryn was reunited with her daughter, Chakotay now part of their family. To Kathryn's relief, Alice slipped back into being with her mother as if she'd never been away.

Once settled back on board the ship, Kathryn took another step and confided in the Doctor, letting the Medic help her on her road to full healing. B'Elanna too was brought into the fold and proved to be the friend Kathryn and Chakotay had always known she could be.

By the time they reached Earth, the captain who stood on the bridge was a very different woman to the one who'd taken her ship out seven years previously. She proudly walked down the ramp holding her husband's hand, her other arm wrapped around their squirming 14 month old son. Alice squinted against the bright sun as her father held her in his free arm, too big now to be carried in such a way but too nervous of this new world not to want to cling to her daddy.

The Gods stayed with them. Debriefings went smoothly and no changes were brought against any crewmember. Chakotay watched proudly as his wife went through her much longer debriefing, taking care of their children so she could concentrate on what Starfleet needed from her.

Finally he was free to begin six months of leave, time he badly wanted and needed with his family. Kathryn still had a few days before she could join him. He hadn't seen her for the last two days and missed her badly, as did the children, as much of her time was taken up with matters at Headquarters. He knew it wouldn't be long now though before they could all be together.

He made a decision then…one he didn't want to think too long about. He arranged with Tom and B'Elanna to take Alice and David, then found access to a computer and used his still standing security clearance level to find what he wanted. He had unfinished business.

Chakotay stood at the side of the bed and watched the object of his hate begin to stir. Faint annoyance clouded the wrinkled face. "Are you the new help?"

Stepping a little closer, Chakotay stared down at the frail old man, his hands tight on the pillow he held. "No. I'm your worst nightmare." He glanced around the room. "Nice nursing home…or do they call it a rest home or retirement residence? Whatever name they give the place it's too good for you."

Retired Admiral William Blake struggled to sit up a little. "Who the hell are you?"

Chakotay gave an evil smile. "I told you. I'm your worst nightmare. I'm not really sure but I may be here to kill you."

Fear showed on the old face, but mostly arrogance as if he couldn't believe anyone would dare to speak to him in this way. "Get out of here."

Stepping closer and lifting the pillow, Chakotay spit out his words. "My wife is Kathryn Janeway. Remember her? Remember what you did to her?"

The fear faded and was replaced with a leer. "I did nothing she didn't ask for…" His words were cut off as the pillow pressed down over his face. Chakotay's voice still reached his ears though. "Prepare yourself for the journey to hell for what you did to her. I want you to think about it as you struggle for your last breath."

He pressed down hard for a moment as the old body beneath him fought…frail, bony hands clawing at the pillow.

Something snapped into place in Chakotay's mind and he suddenly pulled back. His face was a mask of hate at he looked down at Blake gasping for air.

"No…I don't think so. That would be too good for you…too quick. I'd rather see you rot away here with no one near you…no one to care if you die. I know you've no family or friends…no visitors. You're sad, pathetic and alone. I want you to suffer with the knowledge of how happy she is with me, her husband, and our wonderful children. Live with that, you evil bastard. And then when you finally go, know that you'll burn in hell for your sins."

There was no arrogance on the old face anymore. Fear had returned now that he'd come so close…now that he'd seen what this man was capable of.

As a final act, Chakotay took a last look and actually spit onto the old face. "Rot in hell." He tossed the pillow on the floor and turned to the door…then stopped dead.

Kathryn stood just inside the room, the door closed behind her. Chakotay hadn't heard it open or her entrance. He hadn't heard it close behind her either. She studied him for a second, her face devoid of emotion. "I followed you. It was your first chance to slip away and I guessed you might find out where he was and come to…whatever…"

Before he could say anything, she looked away and walked over to the bed. She coldly looked down at the old man lying there, his face now a mask of confusion and fear. She boldly met his eyes, her voice hard. "You remember me?" She indicated Chakotay behind her. "This is my beloved husband…a million times the man you were or could ever have been. I'm actually glad that he didn't kill you. I wouldn't want your worthless blood on his hands."

She moved closer to the bed as Chakotay stood in shock behind her. "Look at you…a pathetic old man…withering away…rotting away…with no one to give a damn. Well, I'm the one with the illustrious career now. You had that once and you think you'll die with the glory of it, but you won't. You shamed me into silence once. Well, no more." She sneered down at the man she'd hated for so long.

"I've been busy the past few days. I've met with the proper authorities and made a full statement about that night. I've even found others you did this to. They've also made statements. Your reputation, what was so important to you, is in tatters. Your name will only ever be remembered with disgust. The only thing you'll die with is shame. What you tried to impose on me…what I LET you impose on me for a while, has come back on you a hundred fold. You've been stripped of all rank and honours…effective immediately. I have friends in high places. You'll even be moved out of here to a state facility."

She stepped back, savouring the look of horror on the once arrogant face. "When I walk out this door, I'll leave you behind me in the past. You'll never enter my life again. You'll get your final 'headline', not one you'll want, and then fade away into obscurity where you belong. You'll simply be forgotten."

She walked over to her husband and saw the shock fading from his face to be replaced with love and pride. She reached for his hand. "Come on, Chakotay. We're finally back on Earth and our children are waiting. Let's go home."

As they left the room, neither one of them looked back.