Disclaimer: See part 1
Old Acquaintance Be Forgot Part 4 by Cheshire
Chakotay was relieved to see Kathryn in sickbay when he arrived the next morning for the final treatment. He tried to speak to her but she gave him the cold shoulder and ordered the Doctor to get on with the procedure. Paris raised an eyebrow at Chakotay, but he just shook his head at the younger man and laid down on the biobed.
Chakotay felt himself regaining consciousness and opened his eyes. The Doctor was hovering over him, "Welcome back, Commander. How do you feel?"
"Alright I suppose." He sat up and realized the bed next to him was empty. "Where's Kathryn?"
The Doctor sighed, "Mr. Paris is escorting her to her quarters as we speak. She insisted I wake her first before you. Then once she was awake she insisted on leaving before I could attend to you."
"That sounds like Kathryn," Chakotay sighed. "Was everything a success?"
"Yes. Over the course of the day all of your previous memories will seem familiar again. There may be a few blank spots here and there for a few days, but you both will regain everything that you lost."
"Not everything," Chakotay muttered before turning to the Doctor. "So am I free to go?"
"Yes, you may go to your quarters. I want you to take it easy for the next twenty-four hours before you return to duty." The Doctor stepped aside so Chakotay could put his feet on the floor. "Oh, and please inform the Captain I still need to see her about her after care."
The Doctor hedged, "Yes, well, she left out of here so quickly I didn't have a chance to go over everything with her."
"What's left to go over?" Chakotay asked.
The Doctor was saved from having to give a complete answer when Samantha Wildman walked into sickbay, "Ah, Ms Wildman, thank you for stopping by. You can go, Commander."
Chakotay was still confused about why the Doctor wanted to see Kathryn, but he was more than willing to accept the excuse to make a quick exit.
Kathryn and Tom rode the turbolift to her deck in complete silence. Kathryn was too involved in her own thoughts to notice how closely Tom was watching her. It had taken everything she had to walk out of that sickbay, and not stay by Chakotay's side. She loved him so much despite what she had said, but she would not allow herself to be ruled by some after effect of mind control. It had to be an implanted emotion and memory because she hadn't been able to find anything in her logs that would suggest anything else was possible. It was obvious she held him in high regards and felt very close to him as a Captain would for her first officer. It was also obvious he was a close personal friend outside of what his second in command duties required, but no where did she say she loved him. She sighed as she and Tom reached her door, "Thank you, Tom."
Tom felt like it was now or never, "If you really want to thank me, you can tell me what's going on."
"I beg your pardon?" Kathryn stopped just inside her quarters and glared at him.
Tom went for broke and stepped through, letting the doors close behind him. No reason anyone else should hear the Captain ordering him to the brig, "You have never before left Chakotay's side in sickbay, and today you insist on being gone before he even wakes up."
"You are out of line, Lieutenant."
"I wasn't talking to the Captain. I was talking to Kathryn." Tom circled her. "Why, after everything that's happened, are you turning your back on him?"
She pulled her command mask in place before turning to him. She wanted to present a stony front to his arguments, but the mask didn't seem to fit as well as it did before. "It is precisely because of everything that has happened that I have to."
"I was there remember. I saw you on the planet." He put his hands on her shoulders. "It was probably the first time in seven years I've seen you so happy and relaxed, and it's because you were with him."
Kathryn clenched her jaw. She wanted to yell and scream at him for bringing her back. She wanted to rave at him for destroying her one chance at happiness. She wanted to tell him to get out. But she couldn't. If she so much as opened her mouth the whole house of cards would come crumbling down around her.
Tom let his hands fall from her shoulders and his chin dropped towards his chest. "You have no idea how hard it was. We had been so worried about you and then we finally found you. You were safe and unharmed. Mostly anyway. You were happy, and then it came down to us to tear you away from that. I'm sorry."
He turned and started for the door but her whisper stopped him.
"I loved him."
"You still do," he answered her.
She looked up and Tom saw her eyes were bright with unshed tears. She nodded.
"And he loves you, Kathryn," Tom spoke quietly.
"But as the Captain it wouldn't really be appropriate for me to…" Her thought trailed off, but her hand was clenching nervously by her side.
Tom straightened up, "Seven years ago you gave me a second chance at a life I thought had given up on me. I was able to find a balance and I finally allowed myself to fall in love and be loved in return. Think of this as me returning the favor."
Chakotay didn't go to his quarters. He found it ironic that he hadn't had all of his memories returned for an hour, and he was already going against doctor's orders. He went to engineering instead.
He found B'Elanna head and shoulders deep underneath a warp conduit. He lightly kicked her feet and earned himself a growl, "Whoever that is better be gone before I manage…Commander!"
He smiled and offered her a hand up. "Lt, you were saying?"
B'Elanna hesitated and then took his hand, "Sorry. I wasn't expecting you. How are you?"
"I'll be alright. I wondered if we could talk."
"Sure," she said and headed for her office. She waited for him to speak, unsure of how he felt towards her now that he had his memories back.
"I wanted to thank you, B'Elanna," he said after an uncomfortable silence settled between them.
"For bringing us back."
She snorted at his answer and then sighed, "I'm sorry."
"We didn't belong there."
"But you were happy."
"Yes. But it wasn't real."
"It was real, Chakotay. Don't ever think it wasn't."
He tugged at his ear, "Well, she disagrees."
"What?" B'Elanna jumped to her feet. "What did she say?"
"She feels that it was all part of the memory manipulation that they did on the planet."
"I was afraid she would try something like this." B'Elanna paced the small area behind her desk. "Well, she won't be able to hide from it for very long."
"What do you mean?" Chakotay asked.
B'Elanna froze in mid-pace with her back to him. She squeezed her eyes shut disbelieving what she had just said. "Nothing."
"You meant something by it B'Elanna, or you wouldn't have said it." Chakotay stood up.
"This pregnancy is making me lose my mind, Chakotay. I never should have said anything. It's not my place." B'Elanna tried.
"The Doctor wants to talk to her about after care after the procedure but he doesn't tell me anything. And now you know something." Chakotay paused and then the color drained from his face. "Was there something wrong with the procedure? Is Kathryn okay?"
"She's fine, Chakotay," She tried to placate him. "It's nothing."
"Then why does the Doctor need to see her? He must've found something."
B'Elanna pushed Chakotay down into the chair, "Chakotay, listen to me. There is nothing wrong with Kathryn. We picked up something on her medical scans when we brought the two of you back, and that's why the Doctor wants to talk to her."
"What did those bastards do to her? Does she know?"
"I'm going to be in so much trouble for this," B'Elanna muttered and then sighed. "Do you remember everything that happened while you were on the planet?"
"Yes, you know that."
"You and the Captain were living together."
"Yeah, we thought we were engaged. We were even trying to have a child together," Chakotay said. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"You were successful."
"Successful at what? What do you mean?" Chakotay asked and then at B'Elanna's exasperated look it dawned on him. "Do you mean? Are you telling me? Kathryn's pregnant?"
B'Elanna chewed on her lip.
"Kathryn's pregnant." Chakotay slumped back into the chair. "Does she know?"
"I doubt it, if the Doctor is trying to talk to her about after care."
"Why didn't he tell us earlier?"
"The two of you had enough to deal with just getting your memories back." B'Elanna shrugged and sat back down. "The Doctor wanted to get the Captain back before he added to her concerns."
They sat in silence for a few moments letting the news sink in. Finally, Chakotay huffed dryly, "The Doctor may have waited to tell the Captain, but Kathryn's going to kill him."
Kathryn hated pacing. She felt it was a waste of energy that could be better used elsewhere. She'd been pacing ever since Tom left. Her route had started out just in front of the couch but now she was walking from bulkhead to bulkhead. Everything had been so clear yesterday, and now. What? She scrubbed her hands over her face and then ran them through her hair leaving it looking disheveled. She had reached her bedroom once again and she stopped pacing. She stared at the bed and gave a dry chuckle. She hadn't even used her own bed since she'd been back. She kept waking up in sickbay or staying on the couch all night. She almost swayed when she thought about how tired she actually was. It had been a very long and very emotional few days.
She sat down on the edge of the bed and took off her boots. She shook her head as she remembered now why she wore such tall boots. Just yesterday, she had been looking in her closet at her shoes and wondering why anyone would willingly choose to wear three inch heels all the time. Then she noticed that she was talking to Paris' chest, and decided she would begin to wear the heels again.
She threw the boots in the direction of the closet and stretched out on the bed. Her mind was still racing with thoughts of Chakotay and how to handle that situation when her hand brushed up against something solid underneath her pillow. "What the hell?"
She lifted the pillow to find her hand resting on a leather bound book. If she wasn't such a woman of science she may have thought it was a Bible. She turned it over and the cover read, To Phoebe Janeway. It sparked a cascade of memories. This was her journal. Everything she'd ever wanted to say was written in this book in the guise of a personal letter to her sister. Anything and everything she hadn't dared to put in a file that Starfleet may one day read. She opened the book and began to read.
Phoebe, my God what have I done….I condemned everyone on this ship….None of us will see home for another 70 years…I've made the man I was supposed to arrest my first officer…I'm going to be taking a lot of cold showers over the next seventy years…
…I let it slip today…I actually told him that if I had any questions about mating I'd come to him…
….I killed a man today, Phoebe…I wanted Tuvok back….I wanted Kes to have Neelix back…I stayed stoic in front of my crew….He found me in my ready room….He sat with me….I still don't know if he agreed with me….
…..They came back for us…..everything has changed…Or at least it should…..It was just Chakotay and I there…Not the Captain and the Commander….I have to be the Captain again instead of just Kathryn…We weren't lovers…yet…..but we had moved past the constraints of our shipboard roles….What will we become now…
...I died today, Phoebe….I saw his anguish and grief at the thought that I was dead…..he loves me….the look on his face when I caught him staring at me tonight in the moonlight of Lake George…
...He told me I'd never be alone and then I made a deal with the devil…..he had deserted me…That made it so much easier for me to be angry with him…I didn't want to hear about any consequences I'd have to face….the enemy we knew versus the enemy we didn't know and then….we stopped fighting each other and our working together saved us all…
….ask me about my time in WWII one day…I think Captain Miller was fond of this gung-ho gal…
….I have to deal with a dear John letter….He tried very hard not to look happy about it….that safety net has been removed and Phoebe, there aren't too many left…
…..My crew mutinied on me today…they protected me from myself the same as you did with that bucket of water…and it was all his doing…I can't exactly punish him for saving my life…
…..this time tomorrow we'll be home and you'll finally get to meet him…if this doesn't work this journal may be all that's left…..my family acted with distinction and honor….I love them all but especially…..
…..never believe what I had to do today….it was almost fun….wish Chakotay had seen me in that outfit…
….I would've crossed a line today if it hadn't been for Chakotay….hell, I did cross a line….But he kept me from going so far over the edge I couldn't find my way back…And at the time, I hated him for it…
...I woke up in sickbay today…the first thing I saw was his face…I wish I could wake up that way everyday…
…..I'm going to be assimilated later today…I'm scared…He held me tonight…..As I'm sure Tom held B'Elanna…if he should read this journal now because I didn't make it back….I love him…
…..He was under the influence of mind control….but the way he looked at me, I felt like prey…He came close to killing me….I finally got him calmed down….I'll be here when he wakes up and once again we will pick up the pieces together…
...He's gone down to the cargo bay to get another bottle of cider…There's something he isn't telling me…
….I cant wait until the morning….I'm getting off of this ship for several days…with Chakotay….supplies as always….a chance to spend some time with him away from the command structure…..we can have a few more moments together to satiate the aching hunger for him that has become my constant companion…
Hours later Kathryn laid her head down on the pillows and smiled. It hadn't been just the planet. She had loved him for years. She closed her eyes against the fresh tears of joy that threatened to break free. It was such a relief to know that those six weeks really had been a dream come true and not just some alien's sick joke. And what was even better was protocol had been broken and there was nothing she could do about it. It was already done and it was only logical for her to continue this relationship. She could make her command log reflect that easily. She had to talk to him.
She sat up so she could retrieve her boots and the room began to spin. She quickly laid back down trying to shake it off. She was tired and she sat up too fast. That was all. She decided to rest for a few minutes before leaving to find him.
The red alert klaxons sounded waking Kathryn moments before the ship rocked and she was thrown from the bed. She stood immediately wanting to throw on her boots and head for the bridge, but she had to run for the sink instead. She tried to push down the bile that was rising in her throat but didn't manage it and found herself washing her mouth out when the ship rocked a second time.
"Oh, that's enough of that." Kathryn grabbed her boots and headed for the bridge. Her bridge.
"I am the acting Captain and I request that you cease firing on this vessel," Tuvok spoke to the alien on the screen.
"Acting Captain, bah," the alien sneered. "That means nothing to me. Your vessel is puny and I will destroy it unless you give me the respect I deserve. I will speak with the Captain. No one else."
"Hold your fire."
Harry looked up from his console and watched Kathryn Janeway step away from the turbolift. He had never been so happy to speak up, "Captain on the bridge."
Tom spun in his chair to watch her walk down the steps and around to the center of the bridge. He smiled and turned back to the viewscreen. He almost felt bad for the alien.
"Captain?" Tuvok asked at the same time stepping aside to give her the place that was rightfully hers.
"Don't worry, Mr. Tuvok. I'm all here." She turned back to the alien on the viewscreen and with her hand on her hip she announced, "I am Captain Kathryn Janeway."
The alien surveyed this strange small woman that had just strode onto the bridge. He had watched all the reactions to her entrance from the men he had been talking with. He let out a bark of laughter, "Now that. I can believe. We Captains are a rare breed and can recognize one another, can we not?"
Janeway regarded the alien's amusement at her appearance. "And you are?"
"Captain Falcome of the Ghul. We control this part of space, Captain." He chuckled and leaned forward. "I would be happy to offer my services as your personal escort while you are in our space."
Kathryn heard the turbolift doors open behind her and knew that Chakotay had entered. She smiled inwardly and felt him take his place at her side. "Allow me to introduce my first officer to you, Captain Falcome this is Commander Chakotay."
Chakotay barely nodded and the alien chuckled again, "Well, Captain. I guess you won't be needing a personal escort after all. More's the pity."
Janeway graced his response with only a nod. "We mean no intrusion on your space, we are simply trying to reach our home. Can we reach an agreement?"
"Of course, Captain. You and I speak as equals for our people. And now that your purpose here has been established we desire no quarrel with you." Captain Falcome relaxed back in his seat. "My vessel will stay with yours until you reach the borders of our space."
"I thank you for your generosity, Captain." Janeway shook her head slightly as the viewscreen returned to a view of the stars. "Does everyone in the Delta Quadrant have to shoot first and ask questions second?"
"It would appear so, Captain," Chakotay said with some emphasis on her rank. She turned to face him at his comment and he simply smiled at her. "The Doctor wants you to stop by sickbay."
"He always does," she chuckled wryly. "Commander, I wonder if you'd join me for dinner this evening?"
"I don't know, Captain. I seem to remember you having an argument with your replicator." At her raised eyebrow he quickly added, "However, I would be honored if you'd allow me the honors of arranging dinner."
"Agreed." She stood up from her chair. "You have the bridge, Commander. I'll be in engineering."
"Don't forget the Doctor." Chakotay tried again but she just waved him off as she walked to the turbolift. He smiled and shook his head. She'd learn soon enough.
B'Elanna had finally wedged herself back under the warp conduit that Chakotay had found her under. She had just assessed that all the work she had completed earlier had been undone by the 'friendly' greeting of the most recent Delta Quadrant denizen. She let loose with a few expletives for good measure at the exposed circuitry.
"Are you going to kiss your baby with that mouth, Lt?"
B'Elanna was so surprised to be addressed that she sat straight up, forgetting where she was and banging her head on the open panel. She swore again and then more carefully peered out from under the console spotting a pair of boots. The only person besides her that wore boots that tall was the Captain. She felt like swearing again. "Sorry, Captain. Is there something I can help you with?"
Janeway squatted down on her heels so that she was eye level with B'Elanna. She smiled, "Actually, I was going to ask you that."
B'Elanna regarded her carefully trying to ascertain what her Captain was up to. "You could hand me that hydrospanner."
The Captain settled herself onto the floor at B'Elanna's feet and handed her the requested tool. B'Elanna took it and lay back down underneath the console. She looked up at the circuitry not really seeing it. She was thinking more about the woman sitting at her feet. She almost missed it when the Captain spoke.
"I never thanked you, B'Elanna." She cleared her throat. "For bringing me home."
B'Elanna rose up on her elbows and regarded Janeway carefully. "I never thanked you for saving my life."
Janeway looked up at her and smiled, "I guess that means we're even."
"I guess so," B'Elanna agreed and they both fell silent.
"Well," Janeway broke the momentary silence. "That conduit isn't going to fix itself."
B'Elanna smiled, "I guess it's a good thing I'm better than the last engineer you hired."
"We'll see," Janeway said and leveraged herself underneath the console. "Now, Lt, are you going to use that hydrospanner?"
Two hours later, B'Elanna slid out from underneath the console. "That should do it, Captain."
"I sure hope so," Janeway laughed pulling herself out. "Soon you'll be too big to get under there like that."
B'Elanna rolled her eyes but was prevented from commenting when the Captain swayed as she stood up. "Captain?"
"I'm fine." Janeway managed to say before she fell into B'Elanna's arms.
B'Elanna got the Captain lowered to the floor and waved off Vorik's concerned help. She hit her comm. badge as she saw Janeway coming around. "Torres to the Doctor."
"I'll be bringing the Captain down in just a few minutes." She smirked at the Captain's confused expression. "Just as soon as I get her back on her feet."
"Is everything alright?"
"Nothing unexpected." B'Elanna signed off and got Janeway on her feet. "C'mon Captain, let's go."
Janeway was rubbing her forehead. "I'm sorry, B'Elanna. I don't know what came over me."
"I do." B'Elanna called for the turbolift. "Let's go to sickbay."
"The Doctor did want me to come by." She looked up registering what B'Elanna had said. "What did you mean, you know?"
"Not this time." B'Elanna shook her head and led her Captain into sickbay.
Chakotay was mildly surprised when she rang for entrance thirty minutes early, but was thrilled to see her nonetheless. "Hi."
"Hi." She was dressed casually and carrying a book. She walked in and stood fidgeting by the couch. "I'm early, I know."
"That's okay. I'm happy to see you," he said. "Would you like some coffee or tea?"
She sipped at the coffee he gave her and stared into its depths. Chakotay could tell she was working her way towards saying something she found difficult breaching. He desperately wanted to ask if she had been to see the Doctor, but felt it would be too obvious. Instead he asked, "What's the book?"
"Hmm? Oh, this." She showed him the cover. "It's a seven year open-ended letter to my sister."
He found that odd. "Why didn't you keep it on the computer? That way you could've sent it to her in the datastream?"
She smiled and shook her head, "No, this is too personal to be kept on a computer."
He waited for her to explain.
"I, uh," she cleared her throat. "Haven't been very kind to you over the years or thanked you for everything you've done for me."
"Kathryn," he began to argue but she stopped him.
"Please, Chakotay, let me get this said."
"This book contains all my true feelings. My deepest emotions. Everything that I have kept hidden from everyone, including you." She swallowed. "I started out keeping a letter to Phoebe after my first experience with the Cardassians. Y'know the one with Owen."
Chakotay nodded not sure where she was heading with this.
"I wanted to go back on duty immediately but as part of my counseling review they questioned me about my feelings concerning the experience. It became clear to me during that interview that Starfleet had deemed it prudent to read my personal logs." She took a fortifying sip of her coffee. "Since then, I've always kept my personal logs only slightly less professional than my officer logs. Any true worries or concerns, I put into the form of personal correspondence to my sister, and not recorded on a computer.
"This is the journal I started seven years ago when I started this mission. One of the first entries, well, you can guess what the first entry said," she chuckled dryly. "Even though I have all of my memories back, I sat and read through this entire book after the last treatment."
She didn't seem to know how to continue. Chakotay brooked the silence, "Did it help?"
"There's a lot of me in that book," she answered after a moment's thought. "A lot of me that I locked away a long time ago. Or so I thought. Turns out, I just needed some minor memory swiping to learn how to be Kathryn again."
He smiled at her slight humor but remained silent.
"I'll always be the Captain, but after this experience, I know I want to be Kathryn as well." She took his hand in hers and looked him in the eye, "I love you, Chakotay. It'll never be simple, and we'll probably never have an easy life. But I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I hope I'm not too late."
"You could never be too late." He smiled and kissed her hand. "I love Kathryn Janeway, Captain of the Starship Voyager."
"In that order?"
"In that order." He smiled again giving her the full dimples.
"Thank goodness," she laughed and leaned back against his chest taking his arm and draping it over her shoulder. "I missed you the past few days."
He chuckled, "Kathryn, you kicked me out of your quarters."
"I love you more today than I did yesterday," she said smiling up at him mischievously. "Because yesterday you really pissed me off."
He laughed long and hard until she silenced him with a kiss. When they came up for air he asked, "Does this mean you aren't interested in dinner?"
"No, I'm just giving you a preview of what's for dessert." She stood up and pulled him to his feet. "We need to have dinner. I'm starving."
"Aye, aye Captain." He couldn't help smiling as he walked over to the replicator. Kathryn actually wanted to eat something besides coffee. He guessed that was going to be something he'd have to adjust to over the next eight months. "Did you go see the Doctor?"
He turned to look at her when she didn't answer. She had both hands on her hips and her eyes were narrowed in his direction. "What?"
She raised an eyebrow at him, "You know."
It was not a question, and he couldn't help the smile that started to spread across his face. She threw one of the carefully arranged dinner napkins at him, "How did you find out?"
He caught the napkin and then her hand as she tried to throw the other one at him. He held both of her hands behind her back as he trapped her between his body and the bulkhead. He looked down into her face and he had to remind himself to breathe. "Is it true?"
Her eyes turned dark as the heat from his body made her knees go weak. She licked her lips trying to catch the warmth from his breath. She smiled at his question, "Yes. We're going to have a baby."
Lt. Ayala was conducting his security rounds when he passed Commander Chakotay's quarters and heard a loud whoop of laughter followed by a very feminine squeal coming from the other side of the closed doors. He decided he'd better double up his bet in Tom's pool as soon as he got to the bridge.
Phoebe, I'm sure you've noticed that I've been writing less to you these past several months…. I now have someone to share my joys and fears with besides these pages…. I don't know how many years we have left in our journey, but I know he'll stay with me….If Quarra hadn't happened, I would have never known another life was possible….a life with him….
Chakotay entered the quarters he shared with Kathryn and was surprised by the sight that greeted him. The Doctor had finally convinced Kathryn to limit her work days due to her advanced stage of pregnancy. Kathryn would leave the bridge after four hours, but Chakotay usually found her working on reports at the desk in their quarters when he came off shift. Tonight, however, she was sound asleep on the couch.
Chakotay drank in the peaceful sight. She had a blanket covering her feet, a glass of tea cooling on the table, and a discarded book lying on the floor. The book, standing on its side supported by its bending pages, had obviously slipped from her fingers as she fell asleep.
He moved quietly to her side leaning down to kiss her forehead. He moved the book to the table as he watched her eyes flutter open.
She smiled sleepily up at him, "You caught me."
"So, you do sleep." He laughed lightly.
Kathryn sat up making room for him to sit on the couch. As soon as he was seated, she settled herself back against him.
"What were you reading?" He asked indicating the book on the table.
"I wasn't reading," Kathryn explained her eyes falling shut again as she snuggled in closer to him. "I was letting Phoebe know, I wouldn't be writing to her as much anymore now that I have you."
Chakotay smiled at the sleepy sound in her voice and waited quietly. Within a few minutes she was asleep again. He continued to stroke her hair as he thought about how they had gotten to this point. Their bodies had been taken, their minds twisted, their memories removed, but their hearts could not be changed. Throughout the years and everything that had happened since their first meeting, their love for each other had continued inexorably towards its goal. The events on Quarra had made them question their own identities, but their hearts never forgot. Despite past transgressions and hardships, despite recent questions and accusations, their love for each other persisted until it was embraced.
Chakotay smiled to himself, and kissed the top of his sleeping wife's head. He let his hand rest on the swell of her abdomen. He felt the baby kick and saw a frown mar Kathryn's forehead. She could look disgruntled even in sleep. He ran his hand over her rounded tummy, "Ssshh, little one, you'll wake your mother."
The baby seemed to quiet at Chakotay's voice and Kathryn's face relaxed. He felt his heart swell with love and knew that this moment would be another part of his heart that could never be forgotten.