Fate’s Pawn

By Maquis Leader

 

Author's note: It occurred to me that Kathryn and Chakotay changed history in Checkmate, so something should've happened differently in the Admiral's timeline.This is an addition to Checkmate. Please read it first or this won't make a lot of sense. This addition fits in right after Admiral Janeway tells them about what happened in her timeline.

 

Chakotay updated his log while Kathryn was dressing. He decided not to go into details on Admiral Janeway or what she had told them. He did note that he had been dead for six months in her time.

“Ready?” Kathryn had pulled on a pair of slacks and black sweater. Her pale skin seemed to glow.

" Yes, but we need to walk Kate home. " He got up from the desk. Offering an arm to her, he offered the other to Kate as they left the captain's quarters.

" It’s good to hear you joke again. " Kate squeezed his arm. " We got too damn serious. "

Chakotay nodded to crewmen who passed. The startled looks were amusing. What, you've never seen a lucky guy before?

When they arrived at Admiral Janeway's quarters, both ladies settled on the sofa while Chakotay replicated a pot of coffee and a plate of sweet rolls. Sitting down next to Kathryn, he nibbled on one of the sweet rolls.

Kate was laughing with them over the memory of Neelix's first attempt at St. Patrick's Day. " I couldn't look at anything green for – "

" I wondered why you didn't come get in the shower with me. " The voice came from behind them, causing Kathryn and Chakotay to jump.

Kate's face turned deathly pale. The coffee cup slipped from her fingers, crashing onto the tabletop and cracking the glass. She lurched to her feet.

Standing in the bedroom doorway was Chakotay. He was wearing sweatpants slung low on his hips and his skin was damp. The raven hair was streaked with silver. Kathryn did a double take between the Chakotay next to her and the one across the room.

" Chakotay ... " Kate nearly knocked him over as she threw herself into his arms. Kissing his face, she clutched him to her. " Oh, Chakotay ... "

" If you felt that way, why didn't you get in the shower with me? " He laughed as he looked over her head at Kathryn and Chakotay. They were both staring at him as if they’d seen a ghost. " What? "

Kate was kissing and hugging him frantically. Her hands were cupping his face, sliding over his arms and chest. Tears were running down her face and his name was coming from her over and over.

" Kathryn? What's wrong? " He was getting worried about how she was acting. " Why are you crying? "

" I've missed you, oh God, I've missed you! " She sagged against him suddenly, pressing her hand to her chest and gasping for breath.

" Sickbay! We need an emergency beam out from Admiral Janeway's quarters! " Kathryn ordered. " Four to beam out! "

They materialized in Sickbay and the elder Chakotay lifted Kate to the bio bed. "She’s having chest pains! "

 

The Doctor ran his scanner over her. " Anxiety attack. " He said casually. " A panic attack, if you will. "

" What? " He was cradling her in his arms as she cried. " She’s never panicked over anything in her life. "

" Excuse me. " The Doctor pried Kate's arms loose from the hold she had on the other man. Briskly, he slapped her face.

" What the hell are you doing? " He shoved the Doctor back. Snatching the mobilemitter, he tossed it across the Sickbay. " Damn glorified toaster! " Pulling her into his arms again, he rubbed his hands up and down her back and kissed her red cheeks.

Kathryn retrieved the Doctor's mobilemitter as he rematerialized. " Well, how rude!” Taking the electronic device, he clapped it back on his sleeve. " I assume this is another time traveler? "

" Yes, he – " She shrugged. " He just appeared. "

" We must have done something to change the timeline. " Chakotay told them.

" The only thing we changed was – " Kathryn frowned at the Doctor who was listening avidly. " You know. "

Chakotay smiled. " I know. "

Kate had calmed, but was still hanging on to the older Chakotay. Sitting up on the bio bed, she wrapped her legs around him to keep him close. One hand was in his hair, the other stroking his face.

“What happened to your hair?” He was frowning as he ran his hand over her silver hair. “I didn’t mind the gray streaks.”

Pulling off his jacket, Chakotay stepped over to the pair. Touching the other man's shoulder, he was about to offer the jacket when a hand closed around his throat.

" Don’t ever touch me. " The dark eyes were dangerous.

Stumbling back, Chakotay rubbed his throat. " I thought you might be cold. "

" Thank you." Taking the jacket he slid it on.

Kate smoothed the material over his shoulders. " This brings back memories. "

" You want to tell me what's wrong now? " He asked her.

" You – you've been gone. " Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.

" Gone? I've been back for six months. You threatened to make me sleep on the couch, remember? "

" No. " She buried her face in his neck.

The Doctor stepped up to him with a medical scanner and he snatched it away from the hologram. "Go away."

" I'd like to make sure of who you are. " The Doctor tapped him on the shoulder. Only holographic reflexes saved the Doctor from the hand that whipped towards his head. " If you don't mind. "

" You’ve already checked me over once. "

" I did? " The Doctor got a faraway look in his eyes as he accessed his logs. " So I did. However, I have no memory of doing so. "

" Right after we arrived. " The elder Chakotay frowned at the Doctor. " You scanned both of us. "

"The Doctor doesn't have a 'memory' like we do, how can he forget --" Kathryn put a hand to her forehead. "I hate temporal paradoxes."

" No, you weren’t here. " Chakotay stepped over to the bio bed again. " She was alone. "

" I – we came through the rift in her shuttle together. " He looked from Kate to Chakotay.

" She was alone. " Kathryn extended her hand slowly to touch his shoulder. "Please let the doctor run a scan."

He nodded slowly. Kate took the scanner from him and handed it back to the Doctor. She smiled at Kathryn. " Well, Captain, looks like you're the only smart one here. "

" I noticed he seems a little jumpy. "

" Jumpy? I learned pretty quick to be sure he knew I was there. " She laughed. " I walked up behind him one time, put my arms around him – and wound up with a black eye. "

" I told you not to sneak up on me. " He frowned at the Doctor as the hologram ran the scanner over him.

" Did you tell her you were sorry? " Chakotay wasn't sure he liked his future self.

" She forgave me before the night was through. " His smile held a wealth of meaning. Lifting a hand to Kathryn’s hair, he rubbed the auburn strands between his fingertips. " I always loved your hair. "

" He is Commander Chakotay. " The Doctor snapped his tricorder shut. " There’s a few implanted items similar to the Admiral's, but there's no mistaking who he is."

" What happened to your tattoo? " Kathryn still wasn't convinced. He could be from a completely different timeline.

" It’s there, it's just covered. It's a bit conspicuous; I couldn't afford to be conspicuous. If you've got a dermal regenerator handy. " He shrugged.

" This is confusing with two of everyone. " The Doctor looked from one pair to the other.

" You can call me Jack, if it will help. That's the name I’ve used for the last ten years.”

" To be inconspicuous? " Chakotay asked.

" Exactly. " Jack stood patiently while the Doctor worked. " I should go into the afterlife with it showing. "

" The afterlife? "

" You know there can't be two of us. If this succeeds, we may just vanish like we never existed. If not, the Borg will kill us. " He shrugged again. I've been ‘dead’ for ten years anyway. "

After the Doctor uncovered the tribal marking, Kate ran her fingers lovingly over the black lines. "Oh, I've missed you. "

" Let’s go back to our quarters and the two of you can get reacquainted. " Jack smiled the slow smile again. A blush spread across Kate's cheeks.

" I have some questions I'd like answered. " Kathryn told him.

" Let’s go. " Ignoring her, he took Kate's arm and led her out of Sickbay.

In Chakotay's opinion, Jack's grip on Kate's upper arm was a little too tight and his manner a little too forceful. " I don't think I like ‘myself’. " He murmured to Kathryn.

" With any luck, you won't be me. " Jack said over his shoulder. His hand slid down to the small of Kate's back, guiding her to the turbolift.

Kathryn and Chakotay followed, knowing that if they wanted answers, they weren’t likely to get them in Sickbay. In the lift, Jack leaned against the back wall and pulled Kate into his arms. He whispered something in her ear that made her laugh and blush again. " No, and we're not going to now, either! "

Chakotay bit his lip, trying not to laugh. He could imagine what the question was.

In Admiral Janeway's quarters Jack and Kate sat on one end of the sofa, Kathryn and Chakotay on the other. " Since everyone seems surprised to see me, I'm guessing I should start with how I got here. " Jack rubbed his forehead; the tattoo was still tender. " Six months ago, my cover was compromised. I was going to a meeting with Koltan, a Klingon in Korath’s household, and I – decided – not to go. " He paused. " I'm not sure why. I needed the temporal device, but I knew I would die if I went. Not thought or worried – I knew I would. "

Kate wiped away tears. " You were right. "

" I came back to Earth, to Kathryn – Kate. She insisted on coming along and her contacts made it easier. Nobody questions a legendary Admiral. I hated waiting while she stole the device from Korath. " He hugged her. " It was a long tweleve hours. Besides, she can handle the Queen better than I can. "

" You’re just scared of her. " She patted his leg.

" With good reason. " Moving her off his lap, he got up from the sofa.

" Where are you going? "

" To get a shirt. I'm sure he'd like his jacket back. "

" No. " Kate grabbed his hand.

" I'm just going into the bedroom. "

" No! " Tears pooled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. " I’m afraid you’ll go through that door and never come back. "

" I'll get you a shirt. " Chakotay went into the bedroom. Leaning on the dresser, he brushed tears from his own eyes. It tore at his heart to see her so vulnerable and frightened. Grabbing a black sweatshirt that was laying on the bed, he took it to Jack.

Tossing Chakotay his jacket, he pulled the sweatshirt on and sat back down on the sofa. Kate burrowed back into his arms. " I've spent the last few months hiding out at Kate's ranch in Texas. She'd go into Starfleet headquarters everyday and I’d play househusband. "

" I have a ranch in Texas? " Kate looked amused. " Do I have cows? "

" No, tumbleweeds and armadillos. " He laughed. " It’s very remote, so we didn't have to worry about anyone seeing me. "

She leaned her head back on his shoulder. " So I got to come home to you every night? I like that. "

" I know. " His hands rubbed across her belly and up under her breasts. His head dipped down and he placed a gentle kiss on her lips. " You were very ... appreciative. " He kissed her again.

" I think we’ll leave you two alone. " Chakotay pulled Kathryn toward the door. "We’ll see you in the morning. "

In the corridor, she turned to Chakotay. " How did he get here? What did we change? "

" I made a log entry while you were dressing about how I'd been dead for six months." Chakotay shook his head. "I'm guessing that's what made him – me – make the decision not to go to the meeting. I wish I had mentioned the holoprogram. "

" Let’s not screw around with time any more than we already have. " She slipped an arm around his waist. " Admiral Janeway may not come back and it never happens. Again. Or she does and we still take another sixteen years to get home. "

" Sixteen years with you is okay with me. "

" Remember that -- I intend to hold you to it. "

" Hard to believe one log entry made that much of a change. " Stepping into the lift, Chakotay called for their deck. " Time is truly fluid. "

" Where’s the Temporal police? " Kathryn paced the tight confines of the lift. "This is the kind of thing they get involved in. "

" Maybe this is the right future and hers was the wrong one somehow. "

" And maybe Braxton screwed us somehow after all. " She stopped and smiled at him. " Want to change the future again? "

" Kathryn? "

" Well, we know they never had sex in the turbolift – we can change that. "

" No! " He laughed. " With our luck, Tom Paris would catch us. "

" Maybe not. Computer, hold lift. "

" Kathryn? I'm not – ” Her lips cut off his protest.

 

 

Kate lay listening to his heartbeat. It was steady and strong. Something she'd thought she'd never hear again. The last time she'd seen him, he was cold and still. The young man who had brought him to her had been kind, suggesting that Chakotay had died quickly from the bat'leth's blow. It hadn't helped. Chakotay was dead and that was the only important thing.

Now here he was. Walked out of her bedroom like he'd always been there. He’d described the house in Texas, told her about the gardens he planted and the glorious sunsets they had watched. The nights they’d made love for hours trying to make up for the wasted years. He’d laughed when he told her she'd had to remember to act like a bitter old woman after people noticed her new attitude.

Reg Barclay had been in on their secret. He'd been in contact with Chakotay from the start and the two of them had hatched the idea of traveling back in time to correct the past’s mistakes. There was a lot more to that nervous little man than anyone realized.

Getting up from the bed, Kate placed a soft kiss on the tattoo above his eye. “I love you, Chakotay.” She’d never really been able to think of him as ‘Jack' – no more than he’d thought of her as ‘Kate’. Walking into the main room, she took the PADD out of her bag and added to the entry she'd recorded earlier. Describing the ranch in Texas as he had described it to her, she urged her younger self to find it and buy it. " He said he felt completely at peace there. I'll bet you will too. "

Closing the log, she placed it back inside the wooden box she’d brought along. In the morning she'd give it to Naomi to deliver after they exited the wormhole. There was a noise from the other room, a soft moan. Hurrying back, she found Chakotay moving restlessly under the sheets. Cautiously she reached out to touch him. She hadn't lied when she told her younger self he was jumpy.

" No! " He sat up suddenly. " Get it off me! " His hands were clawing at his right shoulder.

" Chakotay, it's alright, you’re dreaming. " She grabbed hold of his hands. " It was just a dream. "

" I can feel them! Feel them coming through my skin! " He twisted away, his hands going back to his shoulder.

" Chakotay! Look at me! " She took his face in her hands, forcing him to make eye contact. " It was just a dream. There are no implants. "

" Kathryn? " He laid his forehead against hers. " I could feel them under my skin... tearing through ... the nanoprobes ... "

"Shh ... " Pulling him into her arms and cradling his head against her breasts, she soothed him. He hadn't had this nightmare in years and not with this intensity. It must be because they were so close to the nebula. " Admiral Janeway to Sickbay. "

" Sickbay here, Admiral, are you all right? "

" I'm fine. I need a dermal regenerator and a hypo with a sedative. Zatlytren preferably. "

" Have you injured herself, Admiral? " The Doctor's voice was concerned. " Do you need me to "

" No, just please beam me the regenerator and hypo. "

" Very well, Admiral. "

The items materialized next to her. Injecting Chakotay with the sedative, she waited until he drifted into sleep before laying him back on the bed. The regenerator quickly healed the scratches on his shoulder and cheek.

There'd been a time when Kate had kept the regenerator and a sedative in the nightstand. Six years before they got home, Chakotay had been captured by the Borg. The Queen had been fascinated by him. She had spent quite some time running her hands over his naked body, trying to understand why Janeway favored this one individual over the others of her Voyager collective. The Queen had absorbed the memories of him from the time of the Unimatrix Zero rebellion. She didn't understand the fantasies she'd absorbed. Borg drones were neutered as quickly as possible. Sex was both fascinating and disgusting to her. Failing to comprehend, she had given up and injected him with her nanoprobes.

The Doctor had been able to remove the implants that had burst through Chakotay’s skin as well the nanoprobes, thanks to Icheb's anti Borg virus. However, Chakotay had suffered from nightmares for months and would wake clawing at implants that were no longer there. Over time the nightmares had decreased in frequency and intensity and, to the best of her knowledge hadn’t surfaced in years. Just one more thing that would never happen if everything worked out right.

" Borg bitch. " Kate stared out the viewport. " You’ll get yours tomorrow. " Lying back down next to him, she laid her head on his chest once again listening to his steady heartbeat.

 

 

Chakotay woke up suddenly as a hand pressed down on his mouth. " Relax. " The voice was soft and familiar. " Don’t wake her. "

Pushing the hand away, he whispered back. " What do you want? " He wasn't sure he liked looking at an older, harder version of himself.

" She told you about Seven. "

" Yes. "

" You’re through with her. " It wasn't a question. The dark eyes glittered in the starlight. " Good. Otherwise I'd have to spend my time in the afterlife haunting your visions. "

" You wouldn't have to, I’d make him pretty miserable on my own. " Kathryn's voice was husky with sleep. She rose up on one elbow and a smile crooked the corner of her mouth. " Two of you in my bed? The possibilities are staggering. "

Jack put a hand on the back of her head and pulled her to him. His mouth covered hers, tongue pushing at her lips.

Chakotay tried to sit up, but a strong forearm across his throat held him down. He heard Kathryn's surprised squeak and saw her hands push at the other man's shoulders. He struggled under the weight lying across his chest and arms.

Tangling his fingers in her hair, Jack held her head still while he leisurely explored her mouth. Finally, he allowed her to push him away. " If we had time, we could explore those possibilities. " He caught her hand before she could slap him.

" I was joking! " She hissed.

Her blue eyes were spitting fire and her bare breasts were heaving. " We’ll have spirited children. " He laughed. Raising up off his younger self, he stepped back quickly. " Just make sure you get it right this time. You have no idea what we've been through. " He stepped through the doorway and was gone.

Chakotay pulled Kathryn to him. He definitely didn’t like what he'd become.

“You’re awful quiet.”

“I don’t want to turn into the kind of person he is.”

“Chakotay, his life was different.” She rose up to look into his eyes. In the starlight she could see he was worried. “What happened with Seven and her death. I can't imagine the life he must have led working for Section 31. That won’t happen now.”

“He does love her, doesn’t he?”

“Kate? Without a doubt.” Kathryn smiled down at him. “Did you see his face when the Doctor slapped her? He’s lucky he’s a hologram.”

“I just didn’t like the way he treated her.” He hadn’t seen because he’d been considering killing the Doctor himself. “He didn’t seem the least bit sorry about blacking her eye.”

She rolled her eyes. “He said he apologized. Chakotay, he’s lost the patience that you have, he’s gotten used to being the one in charge. You didn’t see her objecting, did you?”

“No. But I still don’t like it.”

“Now you’re just being contrary.” She kissed the pouting bottom lip.

“Captain Janeway, the time is 0600 hours.”

“Computer reset alarm for 0630 hours.”

“Resetting alarm for 0630 hours.”

“Let’s see if we can change your contrary attitude in thirty minutes, shall we?” She climbed astride of him.

“Am not.” Chakotay’s hands slid over her bare bottom.

“Are too.”

 

" Where have you been? " Kate asked as he entered the shuttle.

" I went to check on B'Elanna. " He kissed her cheek before tossing his duffel bag on the floor and settling in the seat next to her.

" You missed saying goodbye to them. "

" I watched. " He shrugged. " They don't like me very much, so it doesn’t matter. "

" It’s not that they don't like you, Chakotay. They don't like to look at what the future might be. " She slid her fingers through his silver streaked hair. " I like you and that's all that matters. "

" Yeah, but you were always easy. " He yelped as she tugged on his hair.

After they launched from Voyager, he pulled a hypospray out of his bag. "Kathryn, I can't go with you. "

" I didn't think you would. " She patted his arm. " It won’t take both of us to bring the Queen down. "

" I’m afraid if she assimilates both of us – " He paused. " I don't know if I could watch you suffer even knowing what the end result will be. "

“How long have the nightmares been bothering you again? "

" For the last couple of months. Once it became clear that we were going to do this. " He hated admitting his fear to her. " I just can't "

"Shh…” She placed her fingers over his mouth. " I know. " She remembered his terror at finding Borg implants imbedded in his skin. The way he clawed at the metal trying to tear it out of his body. The only thing she knew he was afraid of was assimilation. Taking the hypo, she pressed it to his neck. " I don't want the Queen to get her hands on you again, I’m the jealous type. "

Reclining the seat back, he immediately felt the weakness spread through him. "Kathryn, I'm abandoning you again. "

" It’s better this way. " She stroked his face and hair for a moment. Turning to activate the armor and check the course, she heard him whisper her name. " I'm here, Chakotay. "

He squeezed her hand. " I want to die with your name on my lips. "

 

On board Voyager, Harry Kim looked up from his readouts. "Captain! Comman – er – Jack, his life signs are failing! "

" What? " Kathryn turned in her command chair. " Cause? "

" Unknown. The Admiral's readings are stable. His are continuing to fall. "

" Beam him to Sickbay! " To hell with whether or not there could be two of him in one time.

" The shuttle's shields are up. " Harry shook his head. " We can't beam through them. "

" Put me through to the Admiral’s shuttle. " She ordered.

 

" Kathryn ... " His voice was weak.

" I'm here, Chakotay " She kissed him gently. Behind her the comlink beeped for attention.

" I'll be there ... waiting in the afterlife ... " The black velvet eyes were unfocused. "If we ... actually get there. "

" We may go to a better life instead. " She kissed him again. " Today is a good day to die. " He gave a soft sigh as she kissed him one last time.

 

" His life signs are gone, Captain! " Harry reported. " Admiral Janeway isn't answering our hail. "

" I wouldn't either. " Kathryn took Chakotay's hand.

" Captain, Admiral Janeway is hailing us. "

" On screen, Harry. " Standing, she faced the view screen.

" I'll be entering the nebula in two minutes. I just wanted to wish you good luck. " On screen they could see the elder Chakotay laying in the seat next to her. His eyes were closed and he looked peaceful. She was holding his hand tightly.

" What happened? "

" It’s for the best, Captain. " Kate smiled sadly. " He didn't want to be assimilated."

Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other as they realized what happened. How could she be so calm, when he had committed suicide next to her? Had she helped?

" It won’t matter in a few minutes anyway. "

Forcing down the tears, Kathryn straightened her spine. " Good luck, Admiral, and thank you. "

" Good luck, Captain. " She smiled. "Kiss the grandchildren for us. " Her image winked out.

" The Admiral’s shuttle has entered the nebula. "

Chakotay rubbed a hand on her back and Kathryn turned to smile at him.

 

 

“Look at him, Chakotay, isn’t he beautiful?” Kathryn cradled the baby to her chest. “Beautiful golden skin… like yours.”

Chakotay brushed his fingers over the dark hair covering the baby’s head. “Guess he’s not going to get your red hair.”

“That’s okay, I like my men dark.” She kissed the baby’s soft cheek. “That’s from me.” Her lips brushed across the other cheek. “And that’s from Kate.”

“We’ve been waiting a long time to honor that promise.”

“Do you think they know?” She looked up into his dark eyes. “That everything worked out?”

“I’m sure they do. I’d like to believe Jack and Kate are together in the afterlife and can see us.” He kissed her over the baby’s head before dropping a soft kiss on the downy hair. “And this one’s for Jack.”

Across the room, their son looked up from kissing his wife. “What?”

“Nothing, Jack.” Kathryn shared a secret smile with Chakotay. “Just admiring our grandson.”

Jack’s black velvet eyes glowed with pride, and he flashed a dimpled smile at them.

 

 

Back to Chakotay's bedroom for another romantic story

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