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

Rating:          NC 17.  Kids go play elsewhere.  Contains adult material.

Summary:     With Kathryn missing and then presumed dead while on shore leave,
                      Voyager and her crew are forced to go on without her.  When they
                       rescue a young telepath, she brings them horrifying news but hope too.



This is based on August’s story ‘Shoreleave’.  I hate sad endings.  They keep me awake at night.  Sorry August – great story and wonderful writing but I just had to sprinkle a little fairy dust – eventually.


WARNING:    THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC MATERIAL OF A VIOLENT AND SEXUAL NATURE
                      AND DIPICTS RAPE.  IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SUCH, PLEASE DO NOT READ ON.



WHEN YOU STILL REMEMBER LOVE.
by KAT LADY.



PART THREE.


While Chakotay spent his time at the side of the woman he loved, constantly whispering to her and stroking her face and arms, Voyager’s crew kept themselves busy doing what they could to help on the planet below them.  It helped them to work with Reea and the others, fighting to rebuild a life for these people and at the same time kept their minds from the other fight they knew was taking place in sickbay.

Each crewmember spent every spare second he or she had, day and night, trying to reach the shadows which crept the dark alleyways and hovels.  They helped with building permanent homes and worked feeding centres, reminiscent of Earth’s old ‘soup kitchens’.  By the end of the week, the dwellers of the caves have been fed and had the medical treatment they desperately needed.  Cabins had been built for them and small ‘villages’ established.  Help was given in educating the people on aftercare and running their small newly founded societies.  Wells were dug and seeds planted.  In the cities, small cooperatives were set up and the former victims encouraged to help themselves and make a new life.  Counsellors worked constantly and soon small support groups were found everywhere. 

Gradually, everyone had been reached in some way and a new life began on Intara.  The Voyager crew felt great satisfaction with each achievement.  Every time they succeeded and witnessed a small smile, their energy levels and determination doubled and they set off to do even more.  What had started off as being something they were doing for their Captain, turned into something they wanted to do for these people.  Helping them was something each crewmember would stay proud of until their dying day.

Chakotay continued to spend every minute with Kathryn.  He slept at her side and read to her, telling her stories of his life and hers, what the future would hold.  He also told her of the situation on the planet and told her constantly how much he loved her, that he was still there for her.  He pressed the stone he still had with him into Kathryn’s hand, holding it in place against her limp fingers, hoping the feel of its presence would get through to her somehow.

Late in the evening on the tenth day, Chakotay became aware of the Doctor scanning Kathryn and sat up quickly, concern on his face.  “Doctor, what is it?  Is she all right?”

“I believe she’s starting to remain consciousness” the Doctor answered and ordered the lights in sickbay to a low illumination.

Chakotay held her hand tightly as Kathryn slowly moved her head and then her eyes gradually opened.  Chakotay choked back sobs as her eyes met his again but he saw the confusion there.  Softly he spoke her name as the Doctor stood by.  “Kathryn…Kathryn…”  She tried to speak but no sound came.  “Your voice will come back.  It’s OK.  Kathryn you’re home.  You’re on Voyager.  Do you understand?”  Her confusion continued then slowly her eyes moved around the dimly lit sickbay and Chakotay thought he saw glimmers of recognition flicker in her eyes.  When she looked back to him, there were tears there.  He held her hand more tightly and raised her other hand which held her stone so she could see it and he saw that she remembered.

“Cha…”  It was barely a whisper.

“Chakotay.  I’m Chakotay.  Oh Kathryn…”  He lowered his head to her and then felt her other hand stroke his hair.  He broke into sobs and realized that she had joined him.  Not thinking or caring, he pulled up and gathered her into his arms, holding her tightly to him.  They stayed that way for a long time as the Doctor made a discreet exit.  Chakotay held her until her breathing slowed and he realized she had fallen into a deep and healing sleep.  Kathryn was finally home.

Bit by bit over the next week, Voyager’s Captain gained strength.  Her eyesight was slowly accepting more light and her hearing was fully restored.  Her voice also was almost back to normal.  Physically she improved daily but emotionally, the ghosts followed her constantly.  With the drug out of her system, her memory slowly returned and with it, understanding of the full horrors she had endured.  Chakotay spent all his time with her, doing what he could to chase them away and slowly it started to work.  Gradually, her eyes began to lose their haunted look.  Kathryn constantly used her good memories to try and rid herself of the bad ones.

Night was different.  Nightmares plagued her but Chakotay was always there, his strong arms surrounding her, pulling her back from the abyss of her torment.  As this faded, Kathryn Janeway emerged gradually to the waiting arms of the man she knew she loved with all her heart.  He knew that what had happened would never leave her completely but together they could place it away from their lives, somewhere in their minds where it could do little harm to them.

Each evening, Chakotay brought her to his quarters for dinner and later as they sat curled together, Kathryn would open up to him, cleansing herself of the horrors inflicted on her.  Chakotay held her, listening painfully but using his strength to help her and not himself. 

Kathryn finally completed Chakotay as she told him of her real reason for her depression and uncertainty before her disappearance, and when she told him for the first time how much she loved him, he broke down completely and repeated the words back to her.  He in turn told her of the weeks and months following her disappearance, their pain and despair, finding her log and the agony that had lived with him.  He told her of Denar and the hope they had all felt along with the fear that they might be too late.  He told her also of their search and how they had found her and his terror when her heart had stopped on the shuttle.  They shared everything and in this way purged each other of all the bad things.  They clung to each other throughout the night and towards morning, as sleep claimed them, a peace settled in, healing and powerful.  Dawn came in two ways, into the sky below and into their new life.

By the end of the second week, Kathryn was to all appearances almost back to herself.  Only Chakotay saw where the cracks were expertly covered.  When she told him she wanted to return to the planet surface, he was uncertain.

“Chakotay, I have to see them.  Can you understand?  There are some things I’ll never get past without them.  I don’t mean to hurt you in any way, but there are some things only they can understand, Lall and Manna…  Please, I have to face that again to let it go…Chakotay please understand…”  He pulled her into his arms.

“Oh sweetheart.  I do understand.  I’m just worried about you.  I guess I’m also afraid to let you out of my sight…”

Kathryn pulled back a little from him.  “Chakotay, I don’t ever want to be out of your sight again.  I want you, need you with me for this.  Please, will you come with me.  I don’t know if I can do this alone but I do need to do it.”  Chakotay pulled her back to him again.

“I’ll be with you every step of the way, I promise.”  They held each other for a long time, drawing strength from each other.

The next day, Kathryn made her way around the ship, calling into each department, greeting crewmembers.  Protocol disappeared as many hugged her and tears fell.  Kathryn of old would have been embarrassed, would have pulled back but too much had happened and the new Kathryn bathed in the love she felt from these men and woman who had served with her with such loyalty and devotion.  Her own tears never stopped.  Chakotay was never more than a step away from her and she fed off his strength constantly.

That evening, keeping a tight hold on Chakotay’s hand, Kathryn returned to the surface to finally lay the last of her ghosts to rest.  This journey was a form of exorcism for her and they both knew it.

Chakotay held her close to him all the time as they walked the city and she faced her demons but also her saviours.  She saw that the part of the prison where she had been held had been demolished during the escape and felt satisfaction at this but she cried for those unknown souls who had not been as lucky as she had been.  She gained greater satisfaction when she discovered that all the visiting places as they had been known, had also been razed to the ground.  Chakotay kept a tight hold of her hand the entire time. 

The only time Chakotay stood back was when she met with Lall and Manna again.  The women held each other tightly and cried away all their pain and the horror, which had filled their lives for such a long time.  This time, with the aid of her comm Badge, Kathryn was finally able to express her feelings to her friends, to thank them as she wanted to for what they had done for her and understand their words in return.

Kathryn wept also as she witnessed the work her crew had achieved with the buildings, the food centres and the clinics which had been set up.  She repeatedly looked to Chakotay and it was always his loving face and smile that got her thought.  He never needed to speak.  Everything was there on his face and in his eyes for her to read.

Later, he went with her to the caves and again stood back a little as she once more dealt with what she needed to deal with in order to let go of the past.  He smiled to himself as he saw her marvel at the work, which had been achieved here too, and her pride in her crew and what they had done.

That night, back on the ship, Chakotay held Kathryn close to him as she cried for all that had happened and he cried with her.  Her tears were a mixture of sadness and anger for what could never be undone but also of the deep emotions of the day, the friendships she had made and the hope she had witnessed.  She cried as she remembered the work her wonderful crew had achieved and the love and care they had put into every stone laid and every kind gesture made and throughout it all, Chakotay’s arms held her, a buffer against it all and a comfort and promise of the future.

The day before they left, Kathryn and the entire Voyager crew attended a sunset ceremony to mark the lives of those who had not lived to see the bright future this world now faced.  A small gold bowl which would house an eternal flame, sat atop a stone plinth, naming all those fallen friends who had been cruelly taken before their time.  Tears streamed down Kathryn’s face as the Official stepped forward and asked if she would light the flame on behalf of them all.  As she took the smaller flame from his hands, she reached behind her for Chakotay’s hand and together they lit the bowl and watched as the flames leapt into the air, reaching to the sky and the spirits they hoped were finally at peace.

As Kathryn lay in Chakotay’s arms later in his quarters, she suddenly leaned up on one elbow and looked shyly into his eyes.

“Chakotay…I want to tell you…things I need to share with you…things you need to know, that I need you to know.”  He wore a worried look but stayed silent.

“Some of this you know but…throughout all…throughout that time…my memory…well it was…  I couldn’t seem to hold on to anything and I remember trying to recite things…names and places…to hang on to them but they slipped away.  Even some of what you meant…but your face and your smile Chakotay…all the time…in my mind …and I felt safer with that…but I’m sorry…all the details of what I had felt…”  She was crying now and he took her hands in his but remained quiet.

“What I guess I’m trying to say is…the stone…it meant everything…tied me to you even when I couldn’t understand it…I forgot so much but I always remembered you and your love…that never left…your face always there…telling me all…just like today…Chakotay…you were always there…and I’d like for you…that stone has become my most treasured possession and I’d…if you want…I’d like for you to have it…maybe for your medicine bundle…but if you don’t…”  She got her answer in a tearful hug.

“It is the greatest gift…Kathryn I…”  He choked up.  Kathryn spoke for him.

“Chakotay…I love you…”   He stared into her eyes and answered her with them before speaking the words.

“I love you too”  They hugged for a long time, their bodies moulded together.  Slowly Kathryn pulled up and there was a hesitant look in her eyes.

“Chakotay…I…”  He sat up also, a bit worried.

“Kathryn?  What is it love?”  She looked away for a second then back at him.

“I…I…”

“Kathryn, there is nothing you can’t say to me, you know that.  I love you.  Nothing we can’t deal with.”  He saw tears come to her eyes, balancing on her lids.

“Chakotay…I…don’t know what you’ll think…after everything…what they did…”  She looked away quickly and the tears spilled over.  Chakotay quickly took her chin in his hand and raised her face to look at him.

“Kathryn, please don’t think that anything that happened before…Spirits Kathryn…I love you…”  She sobbed and lowered her face to his chest and he held her until it passed.  Finally she looked up at him again.

“I…Chakotay…I want to…need you…if you can bring yourself to…”  Her tears spilled again and she looked away but once again he made her look at him.

“Kathryn?  Are you saying…you want us to…be together…?”  She nodded slowly.

“If you can…bring yourself to touch me…like that…after…”  He just pulled her into his arms.

“Oh my sweet Kathryn.  I would want nothing more.  I just want to be sure…  Are you ready…?  Gods Kathryn, I love you so much.  Nothing could ever change that, could ever stop me wanting you.  I just need for you to be sure you are ready, that I won’t hurt you.  That would kill me to think I hurt you…”  She just smiled gently at him.

“I…I was afraid…you wouldn’t want…”  She got her answer as she saw him lower his face towards hers and his lips slowly brushed hers.  The tenderness and sweetness of it all choked up her and deep sobs erupted from her.  Chakotay held her tightly to him, all the time whispering reassurances to her.
When she had settled again, he checked her eyes, searching for any doubts she might have but all he saw was her love for him.  



“Can you understand…why I need…  I need to replace the bad with the good… in this way…and because I love you… that more than anything…”  He kissed her gently.



“I do understand love and I’m honoured.  I promise I’ll try and erase it all…and also because I love you…”  She just smiled and traced his lips with her finger.  He took hold of her hand and again lowered his lips to hers and this time, he deepened the kiss.  He felt her lean into the kiss and her arms come up around his neck.  When they broke away finally needing air, this time her eyes spoke of desire as well as love.  Chakotay stood slowly and swept her into his arms and carried her to his bed.

They made love slowly, savouring the sweetness and tenderness of it all.  They slowly undressed each other, taking time with each new discovery.  They spend time learning the feel of each other’s bodies, touching and caressing each inch of skin, worshiping the other.  They spoke with their eyes and their touch and as Chakotay gently suckled at her breasts, Kathryn felt safer than she ever had as his touch erased all memory of the feel of others.  He stroked and soothed her with his hands and when he finally reached where she most wanted to be touched and brought her to his mouth, she cried out with the overwhelming sweetness of it.  He bore her slowly to her climax and gently eased her down from it before he settled over her.  Once again, he checked her eyes and saw though his own tears that hers were tears of joy.  Never breaking eye contact, he slowly and gently entered her, and a feeling of completion crashed down on them both.  They rode the wave together, finally crying out as their joint climax washed over them, and the joy of it swelled their hearts.  They were finally home.

Over the next couple of weeks, as Voyager made its way back to Denar’s home planet, Kathryn and the young girl formed a strong friendship, Kathryn getting to know the telepath slowly.  Denar already felt she knew Kathryn but the physical presence of the woman who, up until that time, had only been felt, filled in gaps and cemented a deep friendship.  Neither would ever forget the other.

When they reached Briall, Kathryn who was still on leave, ordered that every member take part in extended shore leave despite the lost time and every one agreed, needing the time to work through the last months.

Chakotay took Kathryn away for a few days, time they needed together, to just walk barefoot on the grass, sleep late, swim and eat and generally just be together.  When they returned to the ship, everyone could see the difference in their Captain.  She appeared to be reborn and they silently celebrated the new life they saw.

When they finally broke orbit to resume their journey home, Kathryn stood on the bridge, back in uniform to give the order and it felt good.

“Mr. Paris, engage.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”  Their Captain was fully back, an enhanced version.

Kathryn glanced to her left where Chakotay stood watching her, love and admiration shining from him.  Despite protocol, Kathryn reached to him and took his hand, gently squeezing her thanks and love to him.  The gentle return grip told her all she ever needed to know.

She was loved and she was home.


THE END.


RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.

RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.


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