End And Begin Again
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: Endgame: right before the scene with Captain and Admiral Janeway where the Admiral takes up coffee drinking again.
Kathryn and Chakotay were having lunch with Admiral Janeway. The atmosphere in the ready room was more relaxed now that the Admiral was resigned to their attempt at destroying the hub.
“More tea, Admiral?” Chakotay asked as he got himself a fresh cup.
“Yes, and please call me Kate. Admiral makes me feel old.”
“Kate it is then.” He smiled and refilled her cup. “And you’re not old.”
“Flatterer.” She patted his arm.
“I think I look good with gray hair.” Kathryn smoothed her own auburn hair. “It’s nice to see how you’ll look in twenty years.”
“You think I’m gray? You should see Harry! And Tom!” Kate chuckled. “Don’t tell him, but the hairline starts moving back. Only the Doctor doesn’t go gray.”
“And Chakotay?” Kathryn ruffled his raven hair.
They turned to look at Kate as the teacup hit the tabletop. She was suddenly very pale.
“Kate?” Kathryn felt sick; she had forgotten that Chakotay was dead in Kate’s timeline.
“He – he – his hair had streaks of silver.” She pushed down the pain in her heart and forced a smile to her frozen lips. “If anything he was more handsome.”
“Do you have a picture?” Kathryn asked gently. She’d seen the bag that Kate had retrieved from the shuttle and was more than a little curious about what might be inside.
“I have many pictures. I’m just not sure that I should show them to you.” Her favorite picture spelled out her relationship with Chakotay quite clearly. “Then again, maybe I should.” Getting the bag, she pulled out a small album. Flipping it open, she tapped an image.
In the picture, Chakotay was reclining on a blanket under a shade tree. Kathryn lay between his legs; her head was on his chest and her eyes were closed. He had one hand resting on her back and the other on a baby lying next to them. Naomi and several other children were lying next to them.
Kathryn and Chakotay glanced at each other. Both were surprised at the intimate position.
“We were on shore leave –Voyager speak for resupplying. We never resupplied, never restocked, never stopped for repairs.” She shook her head and laughed. “We had a shore leave.”
“Is that Naomi?” Kathryn pointed at the girl with long strawberry blond hair. “She’s so big.”
“This is Tom and B'Elanna’s baby.” Chakotay tapped the small child with forehead ridges. “She looks like she’s three or four years old.”
Kate smiled but didn’t answer. “We spent a month here. We had to set down and ah… take shore leave. Beautiful planet. This was a typical afternoon.”
“What about…” She didn’t want to say Seven’s name and risk breaking the light mood.
“This was after that.” She smiled and winked.
“After what?” Chakotay frowned. The two women smiled at each other and he knew they were keeping something from him.
“Nothing that will happen now.” Kate patted his shoulder.
“I assume protocol took a beating somewhere along the way?” Kathryn asked.
“We pummeled it to death and tossed it out an airlock one night.” The other woman smiled a mysterious smile. “And we never looked back.”
Chakotay smiled at Kathryn and laughed when she turned pink.
“Somehow we always wound up babysitting. ‘Can you watch Miral? Can you watch Joey?’ The old married couple stuck watching the kids.” She laughed at the look on their faces. “No, we never married. But you get the idea.”
“You were the grandparents of the village.”
“I drew the line at Aunt Kathy.” Kate shook her finger at Chakotay. “I’m nobody’s grandma.”
Kathryn tried not to think about what that statement really meant. She looked at the picture again and at Chakotay’s contented smile. “He looks happy.”
“Yes. Put him with children and he was truly happy. Hell, it got to where he spent most of his time in the nursery.” Kate smiled at Chakotay fondly. “Let me tell you, every child born on Voyager had a very healthy respect for living things and their spirits.”
Chakotay flipped to another page and saw a picture of himself surrounded by children. It looked as if he were telling them a story judging from the rapt expressions on their faces.
“Do we…” Kathryn bit her lip. Was one of these children hers and Chakotay’s?
Kate shook her head. “Have I always been like this, Chakotay?”
“For as long as I’ve known you.”
“I – we – “ Kate stopped and rubbed at her forehead. “I was stubborn one time too many. I can’t have children. Of course, I’m not the only one who’s stubborn. He wouldn’t even discuss having a surrogate mother.”
“If we were… together, I would want a child of your body, Kathryn.” He swallowed a bitter taste at the thought of never having children of his own.
“You always said that Voyager’s children were ours as much as their parents.” She said softly. He looked as sorrowful as the day her own Chakotay had found out that she was no longer able to conceive a child.
Kathryn had been slowly turning the pages. She stopped and pointed at one that clearly showed the two of them arguing. “Why this one?”
In the picture, Kathryn had her hands on her hips, her chin tipped up defiantly, and her eyes were blazing. Chakotay was leaning over her, a fierce expression on his face. They were nose to nose over something.
“When the Doctor gave me this one, I couldn’t figure out why the heck he took it.” Kate chuckled at the memory.
“What were we arguing about?” Personally Chakotay liked the way Kathryn looked when she was angry.
“Who knows?” Kate waved her hand dismissively. “Could have been anything. But you know, I loved him this way too. I’m glad the Doctor took it.” She sat quietly for a moment. “My angry warrior…” She said softly.
Kathryn tapped another picture showing them sitting with Tom and B'Elanna watching Miral tear open a Christmas present. “This looks so wonderful.” She smiled wistfully. “We both look happy.”
“Yes.” Kate sighed. “Here, let me show you my favorite.” She took the album and flipped to the back. “Very few people have seen this one.”
Kathryn whistled. Chakotay was sprawled on his belly sound asleep. The dimples in his lower back showed above the edge of the sheet that barely covered him.
“Satin sheets, Kathryn?” He teased. “I had no idea.”
“Me either.” Kathryn’s cheeks were bright red.
“It’s something you’ll pick up.” Kate sighed again at an old memory. “I always liked him on white sheets. The contrast with that gorgeous golden skin.” She grinned as Kathryn’s flush spread down her neck. “His preference was black. He has a real thing about white skin.”
It was Chakotay’s turn to flush. “How long did we have?”
“Now who’s wanting answers to questions they shouldn’t ask? You want to know? You want to know it all?” Kate’s voice rose angrily. “There’s no happy ending, Chakotay! I wouldn’t be here if there was!”
Chakotay took her shaking hands in his. “Kate, I know that I’m dead in your time. If not, I’d be here with you.”
She closed her eyes. “He died just as we returned home. Another month – that’s all we needed.” Tears leaked out and trickled down her cheeks. The steel façade cracked and shattered to reveal the sorrow filled old woman inside.
Chakotay pulled her to him and hugged her. Kate hugged him back fiercely. “Get us home. Give us another chance.” She cupped his face in her hands. Tears flowed down her cheeks freely now. “I love you as much now as I did the first time I met you.”
“I’ve always loved you, Kathryn.” He looped an arm around Kathryn and pulled her into the embrace with Kate. “Both of you.”
Kathryn rested her head on his shoulder. “What about Seven?”
“To hell with her. It was a mistake. One that ended badly.” Kate wiped the tears off her face. “She’s haunted us for far too long.”
“Wait a minute – how do you know –“ Chakotay pulled back to look at Kathryn. “We’ve only had a few dates.”
“A few dates, a failed marriage – oh, did I say too much?” Kate rolled her eyes.
Chakotay looked shocked. “Marriage? I don’t care for Seven enough to marry her!”
“No, you don’t. And that’s the problem. You tried to force the feelings that weren’t there. Pretended to love her. Pretended to care for her when you never did.”
“I would never pretend to care for someone.” He protested. “I do care for her in a way.”
“But not the right way. You don’t feel love for Seven and you never will.”
“Don’t tell me how I feel.” Chakotay stood up. “You don’t know how I feel.”
“Yes I do. I was there when you poured your heart out. When you realized your mistake.” Kate arched an eyebrow. “And you just said that you don’t care for Seven.”
“Not now maybe, but in the future – “
“I’ve seen your future, Chakotay!” Kate stood as well. “You don’t love her and you never will! Don’t waste our time again!”
Kathryn put her hand on Chakotay’s arm but he jerked away. “No one knows how my life will turn out – not even you, Admiral!”
“But I do, Chakotay. I’ve lived with you and I’ve listened to the words you told me in the dark. But you do what you want.” She sat back down and smiled up at him. “When you come back to your senses…”
Chakotay turned and left the room.
“I’d forgotten that contrary streak of his. It’s almost as bad as mine – ours.”
“Their marriage failed?” Kathryn got herself a fresh cup of coffee from the replicator. “You said Seven died in his arms.”
“She did.” Kate assured her. “She was calling for him. He felt so guilty because he’d sent her with the away team so we could be alone.”
“We weren’t cheating – exactly.” It was Kate’s turn to blush. “We’d started spending time together again. Sitting too close, finding excuses to be alone, touching a little too much. Kissing. Oh God, can he kiss!”
“I always thought his lips looked…” Kathryn grinned. “Very kissable.”
“You have no idea!” She smiled at an old memory then sobered again. “He was planning on leaving her. Chakotay realized pretty quickly that he’d made a mistake. He tried to make it work. Seven was very happy with him but – “
“He wasn’t? And he wanted out?”
“Yes. He was going to move out of their quarters and back into his old quarters. He was going to divorce her. We’d keep a low profile for awhile – we really didn’t want to hurt her.” Kate rubbed her forehead again. “We did care for her.”
“While you were planning all this, she was hurt.” Kathryn shook her head as the scene played out in her mind.
“There were these small furry animals – they looked like big ducks. They looked harmless. Turns out they were carnivorous and had retractable claws and teeth.” She shook her head. “We lost Seven and two other crew members. They tore them apart.”
Kathryn shuddered. The first rule on away missions was ‘never assume cute equals harmless’. “Chakotay felt guilty because he’d sent her on the mission?”
“He took himself off the away team and put Seven on instead. He felt guilty – believed he’d killed her.”
“And why do you feel guilty?”
“Because I was glad it was her and not Chakotay.” Kate looked her younger self square in the eye. “Guilty but glad. But it ate at him. She haunted us the last thirteen years of our voyage.”
“Chakotay’s death – if we get home now – “ Kathryn bit her lip, wanting to know and at the same time afraid to know.” Is that something that won’t happen now?”
“He’ll be alive. He may wind up with Seven – “
“Not if I can help it.” Kathryn’s eyes narrowed. “Not if I can help it.”
Kate smiled at the determination in the familiar blue eyes. “I’d like that cup of coffee now if you don’t mind.”
“Coffee’s on me, Admiral.”
The bridge was eerily silent. Chakotay watched Earth grow larger on the view screen. The other ships had moved aside to escort them. They had blinked their running lights and a few had waggled in the ancient way of welcome. With a gentle tapping, he had dipped Voyager to port and then starboard and flashed her lights in return. Behind him, he could feel Kathryn’s presence. Heard her shift in her chair.
Kathryn stood up suddenly. “Janeway to Paris.”
“Tom, are you planning a homecoming party?”
“Sure, I can have something ready in a few hours, Captain.”
“Do it, Tom.” She smiled slightly. “And don’t spare the replicator rations.”
“Janeway out.” Turning to Harry she ordered. “Remind all department heads that it’s business as usual – if not more so. I want their reports on time.”
Kathryn looked up at Seven. The younger woman stared back with a slight, secretive smile curving her lips. “Seven, have Icheb join you in Astrometrics.” She smiled her own smile at Seven’s startled look. “I want everything we collected on our trip through that hub in a detailed report for Starfleet.”
Chakotay heard the staccato sound of Seven’s heels hitting the carpeted deck and the lift doors opening and closing. Kathryn ordering the other woman from the bridge wasn’t a surprise. The look they’d shared before the Borg sphere swallowed them showed the hurt she was feeling that he wasn’t at her side. The betrayal. They had connected for a moment as they always did at crunch time. Her blue eyes held his long enough for him to see her sorrow.
He kicked himself in the ass mentally. Once again his contrary nature had betrayed him. Does it matter? I could be driving myself up to the prison gates for all I know.
“Lieutenant Morgan, take the helm.” Kathryn ordered. “Chakotay, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my ready room.”
Turning the station over to the younger man, Chakotay sat in his command chair and tried to read the reports that were starting to come in. His mind kept wandering back to his argument with Kate. After reading the same report three times, he gave up the pretense. “Tuvok, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my quarters.”
“Your quarters, Commander?”
“A quick lunch, Tuvok.” Chakotay stepped past him and into the lift. “I’ll be back in thirty minutes.”
In his quarters, Chakotay took his medicine bundle from its place. Maybe he’d find answers in a vision. His spirit guide had been in a bit of a snit lately and even his sleep had been restless and dreamless.
Settling on the floor in front of the sofa, he spread the items across the fur. Resting his fingertips on the akoonah, he began chanting softly…
Waves crashed against the rocks and the sun warmed his bare shoulders. Opening his eyes, Chakotay looked across the water. He’d never found himself on a beach before. Looking around, he saw his wolf sister sitting nearby. “Hello, sister.”
The gray wolf looked at him before shifting around so that her back was to him. Don’t talk to me, her pose said.
“Sister – “ Something slithered past his leg and he jumped, still not fond of snakes even if they were spirit animals. Glancing down, he saw a small lizard. It looked up at him for a moment before moving out to the edge of the rock he was sitting on and stretching out to soak up the sun. Great, now I have two spirit guides ignoring me.
“Sister, I need guidance.”
The wolf snorted and stretched out on the rock.
“Why must you be so contrary, Chakotay?” A voice asked from behind him.
He turned and his eyes widened. “Mother?” She’d never appeared in one of his visions.
“Just because I know the science side of how things work doesn’t mean I don’t accept the spirit side as well.” She sat down beside him.
Wrapping his arms around her, he hugged her plump form tightly. “I’ve missed you, Mother.”
“I’ve been here, Chakotay.” She smoothed the raven hair. “Tell me about your wasichu woman.”
“I love her, Mother. I’ve loved her from the first moment I saw her. Is it possible to love someone so quickly?”
“I loved your father the first time I saw him, Chakotay.” She smiled. “Those dimples, ah! What woman wouldn’t fall for him?”
“I’ve never been sure if she loves me. And now that I know she does – I don’t know what to do.”
“There’s another woman.”
“Yes.” He sighed and rested his face further into the soft curve of her neck. “She cares for me, but I don’t care for her. Not in the same way.”
“Chakotay, you’ve known all along your woman loves you. You love her. And this choice you’re struggling to make is no choice at all.” She rubbed his back as she had when he was a child. “This other woman is nothing. You would already be with your woman except you’re contrary and stubborn.”
“I’m not contrary!”
“Huh! You’re angry because you don’t like being told what to do.” She snorted much as the wolf had. “Men, you think with your balls instead of your brains.”
“She’s stubborn.” He muttered into her neck.
“Yes. And scared. She’s scared you’ll swallow her up. Scared she’ll stop existing.”
“Why would she think that?” He lifted his head to look into her sunflower brown eyes.
“Because she loves you, Chakotay. Loves you until it threatens to consume her.” She cupped his face in her soft hands. “She’s never truly loved. She’s ready – you must go to her. And you must be gentle with her.”
“After I waited for seven years? I still have to go to her?” Anger surged up inside of him once more.
“Put aside your man’s pride! Anger is your enemy! It sets your feet on the wrong path!”
“Mother, I can’t just give in.”
“I wash my hands of you. Maybe your machine woman will keep you warm at night.” She rose gracefully to her feet. “Maybe she can offer you comfort when your spirit cries out for another.”
His mother ignored his outstretched hands as she walked away. Even as he watched, she faded away.
Turning back to face the ocean, he sighed.
The wolf whined.
The lizard stirred on his rock.
“My spirit already cries out for her.” The admission seemed to lift a weight off his shoulders.
The wolf turned and licked his face.
“So, I’m just contrary?” He rubbed the soft fur.
“You’re just a man with a man’s pride.”
“I can be happy or I can be prideful? Not much of a choice.”
The lizard looked at him and a laugh came out of the small mouth.
The wolf grinned at him.
His quarters faded back into focus around him. His mother was right, there was no choice to be made. He had made his choice the moment he had met Kathryn.
Kathryn was standing by the viewport looking at the ships escorting them home when Chakotay came into the ready room. He went into her arms as if they’d been lovers for years. Her head rested on his broad shoulder. He opened his mouth to tell her he loved he when she spoke.
“I’ve lived with you right next door for seven years, Chakotay. I see you every morning. You’re there when I need to talk or there’s something I want to share. I’ve sabotaged my own replicator all this time so I could make sure you came over and fixed me dinner.”
His eyebrows rose at that admission. “I wondered how you could get coffee and danishes but not dinner.”
“Selective programming. Why do you think one danish always had twice as much icing as the other?” She knew his weakness was sweets the same way hers was coffee. “Every night for seven years, I’ve gone to sleep and felt safe knowing you were here. I don’t want it to end, Chakotay. I want to be sure you get the danish with the most icing every morning for the rest of my life.”
“You can.” He rubbed his hands up and down her back. “You can get a house with two bedrooms. We can be roommates and split the rent.”
Kathryn lifted her head to see the mischievous twinkle in the black velvet eyes. “That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.”
“Oh?” He tried his best to look innocent. “What did you have in mind?”
“Going to bed with you every night and waking up with you every morning.”
“One bedroom then? Bunk beds?” He bit his lip to keep from laughing.
“It would serve you right if I said yes.” Kathryn trailed a fingertip over his lips. “I don’t have to order you to kiss me, do I?”
“That could be fun – but no.” He lowered his mouth to her for a gentle kiss. “We can play that game later.”
“Will you be with me, Chakotay? Will you be my friend and my lover?”
Her heart ground to a painful stop. “No? Why?”
“For one thing, you haven’t said that you love me.”
Her heart started up again. “I did too.”
“Admiral Janeway did – you didn’t.”
“Oh, well. Admiral Janeway is me.” She twisted in his arms as he tickled her. “Okay! Okay! I love you!” Gasping for breath, she leaned against his chest. “What’s the other thing?”
“I won’t be just your friend and lover, Kathryn.” He tipped her head up. “I have to be your husband.”
“No.” She tried unsuccessfully not to smile at the look on his face. Two can play this game, mister!
“No? Why?” His dimples flashed as he tried to hold back his smile.
“For one thing, you haven’t said that you love me.” Her tone was teasing but she ached to hear the words.
“I did too.”
“You told Admiral Janeway – not me.”
“Admiral Janeway is you.” He ignored her efforts to tickle him. “Wait – I did too! I said ‘I’ve always loved you, Kathryn’ and then I said ‘both of you’.”
“Doesn’t count.” Damn! The man just isn’t ticklish!
“I love you, Kathryn. Now, what was the other thing?”
“I don’t have one. You had two, so I should have two.” She gave him a quick, shy kiss. “I’ll get back to you later.”
“I’m looking forward to it.” Chakotay pulled her tighter against him and kissed her again. Her lips parted for him and her tongue slid along his, tasting and playing. Their first kiss held the sweetness of long denied love.
Kathryn broke away for a moment to order the shielding changed on the viewport. “So we can make out with out anyone seeing us.” She led him over to the sofa.
Pulling her down on his lap, Chakotay nuzzled her throat, nipping and kissing the soft skin. Unzipping her uniform jacket, he cupped her breasts in his hands.
Moaning, she tangled her fingers into his hair and arched back as his mouth burned its way down her neck. Moving to sit astride his thighs, she rubbed against the hard bulge.
“Spirits, Kathryn, I want you so badly.” His hands settled on her hips to hold her while he thrust up against her. Tugging at her shirt, he managed to get it loose enough to get his hands underneath it and the tank top and onto her bare skin. He bra felt cool and soft. “Satin?”
“Yes.” She sighed as he undid the clasp and his warm hands covered her bare breasts.
“Not Starfleet issue.” He teased.
“Are you going to tell on me?” She pulled her shirts up out of the way for him.
“Never.” He captured a hard nipple in his mouth.
Rocking against him, Kathryn held his head to her as he suckled and kissed her breasts. The ache between her legs intensified a hundredfold as she watched his dark head moving against her. Grinding harder against him, she felt her climax building. Pulling his mouth back to hers, she sucked his tongue into her mouth.
Pushing a hand down inside her pants, Chakotay found her wet and ready. Rubbing and massaging the swollen bud, he swallowed her cries as she came.
Kathryn’s eyes were dazed and unfocused, staring up at him as he laid her back on the sofa. Moving over her, he spread her legs so he could lay between them. Grinding himself against her mound, he pushed her shirts out of his way again to allow him free access to her breasts.
Kathryn pulled her knees up so he could rest fully against her. Chakotay wasn’t trying to pull her pants off; he knew they couldn’t risk getting caught naked. He seemed willing to settle for dry humping. He was close to climaxing, judging from his gasps and moans. His fingers dug painfully into her buttocks as he held her up against him.
Raising himself to her lips again, he thrust his tongue into her mouth as the fire snaked through his body and he came. Panting, he rested his head on her shoulder. “I love you, Kathryn.”
“I love you, Chakotay.” She held him tightly as his pounding heart slowed to its normal rhythm. “Too bad we can’t make love in here.”
“Maybe later.” Hmmm… after they docked and everyone left?
“You know, most people begin at the beginning. Leave it to us to begin at the end.”
They lay together in comfortable silence until Chakotay rose and went into the small bathroom to clean himself up.
“Admiral Paris told me Voyager will be put in Spacedock so they can ‘study’ her enhancements.” Kathryn leaned against the doorway watching him. “I’m afraid that’s a polite way of saying they’re going to tear her apart.”
“I don’t think they will. Kate said Voyager was a museum, didn’t she?” He tossed the washcloth into the recycler.
“Uh hum…” She reached out tentatively to touch him before he could fasten his pants back up. He was soft and velvety smooth; bearing no resemblance to the hardness she’d felt thrusting against her earlier. His breath hissed in between his clenched teeth as she slid the foreskin back. She looked up in surprise. “Am I hurting you?”
“No.” He forced the breath back out. “Far from it.”
Smiling, Kathryn watched as he began to harden in her hands. “I better quit, huh?” With one last touch, she put her hands behind her back.
“Unless you want me to drag you down on the floor and fuck you?” He laughed at her regretful look as he finished fastening his pants. “When do I get to make love to you?”
“I’ll be relieved of duty tomorrow at 0700.”
“I guess we have to wait until tomorrow night then?” Chakotay sighed. What’s one more night after waiting seven years?
“We should.” She placed a hand on his chest. “Unless you feel like breaking the rules tonight?”
“You know me.” He grinned. “I’m a rebel.”
“My rebel.” She kissed him softly. “My Maquis warrior.” Another quick kiss before she stepped back. “My quarters, Commander. 1700 hours.”
“Aye aye, Captain.”
“And wear the leather pants.” She grinned and winked. “That’s an order.”
Chakotay laughed and kissed her again.