Forever At Your Side
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: Set early in the last season, before they got rid of the Kinderborg. (Thanks to Cress for the German translation at the last second)
“Thank you so much, Commander.”
“I’m happy to help out, and please, it’s just Chakotay.” He waved a hand to indicate his casual clothes. “I’m off duty.”
“Chakotay.” Sam nodded and leaned down to give Naomi a hug. “Be good, honey.”
“I will, Mom.” She turned to Chakotay. “Hello, Uncle, how does it go with you today?”
“It goes well, Naomi, and with you?” He knelt down in front of her.
“Very well, Uncle. I got to help Neelix load the shuttle.” Chakotay smiled at her, and Naomi threw her arms around his neck to hug him.
Sam shook her head as she left. Women of all ages fell for those dimples. She was glad the Commander had offered to watch Naomi. On the rare occasion she was scheduled for Beta shift, Neelix stayed with his goddaughter, but he had left earlier on a trading mission to a nearby planet. Not that she really needed anyone to watch her daughter; Naomi was safe on Voyager, but it felt better knowing someone was watching her. Commander Chakotay was great with Naomi; he would make a great father. Sam sighed; or he would, if he ever noticed any woman besides Captain Janeway even existed.
“I have to work on my spelling. I hate spelling.” Naomi settled on the sofa next to Chakotay, PADD in hand.
“What’s wrong with spelling?”
“There are so many rules, and some letters make two or three different sounds. Why can’t they just look like they sound?”
“Because… “ He thought about it. “I don’t know.”
“I thought you knew everything!”
“No, nobody knows everything.” He laughed. “Standard is made up from words from so many different languages it’s hard to figure out. But, there are patterns.”
“Patterns?” Naomi was skeptical. He was the First Officer, but how important was spelling to being a Commander?
An hour later, she’d completed her homework with his help and decided maybe he did know something about spelling after all. He did know it all, he just didn’t want to brag.
“You ready for something to eat?” Chakotay looked up from the PADD with her finished work.
“Sure, Neelix made some leola root casserole before he left.”
Ugh. Naomi had to be the only one who actually liked leola root. “You can have whatever you want, my treat.”
Her eyes lit up. “Can I get some ice cream?”
“Sure, as long as you eat dinner first.”
“Let’s go!” Grabbing Flotter, she took Chakotay’s hand and pulled him out the door.
In the mess hall, Tom spotted them and waved them over to the table he shared with B'Elanna. “Hey, Commander, is this your new girl?”
“She’s all mine, Tom.” He lifted Naomi's hand to his lips.
“Hearts must be breaking all over Voyager tonight.” Tom sighed dramatically.
“Yeah and you without a betting pool.” B'Elanna nudged him in the ribs.
“Don’t mind Tom, he’s… well, you know.” Naomi patted Chakotay’s arm.
“Yes, I do.” He was having a hard time controlling his laughter. The look on Tom’s face was priceless.
“Young lady… “Tom leaned over to Naomi. “Behave yourself.”
“Yeah, or you’ll turn out just like him.”
“B'Elanna! Whose side are you on?” Tom put his hand over his heart. “I’m wounded!”
“Get over it, helm boy.” B'Elanna snorted.
“Janeway to Chakotay.”
Chuckling at Tom’s expense, he tapped his combadge. “Chakotay here.”
“Just how long were you planning on leaving me standing out here in the corridor?”
“What?” The question threw him.
“Is the door chime not working, or is there a certain number of times you want me to hit it?” Her voice sounded faintly amused.
“Oh, Kathryn, I’m sorry.” He felt his face flush. “I forgot we were going to have dinner.”
“You forgot.” The devil could have skated on her tone of voice.
“I volunteered to stay with Naomi when Neelix left this afternoon. Sam’s on Beta shift this week.”
“Oh, so what you’re saying is that you didn’t forget that you were supposed to have dinner with me, you stood me up for a date with another woman.” Her voice was warm and teasing again. “Trying to steal my assistant, Commander?”
“Not at all, Captain. I’m just filling her in on the finer points of assisting the Captain.”
“Such as not standing her up for dinner?” Tom laughed.
“That would be one of them, yes.” He glared at the younger man. “Kathryn, why don’t you come and join us in the mess hall?”
“We’re having ice cream!” Naomi told her.
“Well, how can I resist? I’ll be right there. Janeway out.”
“Rule number one has got to be ‘Don’t forget a date with the Captain.’” Tom told Naomi.
“No, it’s ‘Put insubordinate lieutenants on the night shift.’” Chakotay gave Tom a look that said he might not be joking.
“Is that why my mom’s on Beta shift?” Naomi couldn’t imagine her mother being insubordinate.
“No, little one, it’s her turn.” Chakotay assured her. “Everyone takes a turn on the other shifts. It’s only fair.”
“But she never works on Gamma shift.” She pointed out.
“No, and I doubt she ever will. Maybe when you’re older.”
“But isn’t that unfair to the rest of the crew?”
“It’s what’s fair for you that matters.” They looked up to see Kathryn standing next to their table. As she slid into a seat next to Naomi, she hugged the little girl. “Chakotay, bless his chauvinistic heart, has decided your mother should be there with you every night.”
“It’s only right for a mother to be on the same schedule as her child.” Chakotay defended himself.
“What’s chauvinistic?” Naomi asked.
“Old fashioned.” B'Elanna told her. “Chakotay is secretly a caveman who believes women belong at home barefoot and – “
“B'Elanna.” Chakotay warned.
“Cooking.” She finished with a grin.
Kathryn laughed and reached behind Naomi to pat Chakotay on the shoulder. He smiled at her.
They had an enjoyable dinner complete with ice cream.
Chakotay relaxed, his arm lying across the back of Naomi’s chair, his fingers
resting on Kathryn’s shoulder. For a minute he let himself pretend Naomi was
their child, that they were sitting at the table in
their own home. He felt someone looking at him, and glancing up, he caught Tom
smirking. And they would never invite
Chakotay was lounging on the sofa with Naomi playing at his feet. She was leaning back against his legs while she played with her dolls. He’d noticed she tended to gravitate to certain men on Voyager. Himself, Neelix, and oddly enough, Tom. He strongly suspected she was trying to fill the void of not having a father.
So what was his excuse for jumping at the chance to be with her anytime he could? What void was he trying to fill? The sound of the door chime brought him out of his self analysis.
Naomi ran to the door. It opened to admit Seven and the Borg children. Borg brats. He thought, and then felt a twinge of guilt. It wasn’t their fault they had been assimilated and turned into cold little drones.
“I have brought the children for a sleepover.” Seven marched over to the sofa. “It will be an excellent learning experience.”
He forced himself to stay relaxed with her towering over him. “Sam isn’t going to be here tonight. You’ll have to postpone until she’s off Beta shift.”
“You are here; that will be sufficient adult supervision.”
“Seven, these aren’t my quarters. I can’t agree to something like this. Sam would have to be the one to make that decision.”
He almost let his relief show, until she spoke again.
“Seven of Nine to Ensign Wildman.”
“I am in your quarters and have brought the children for a sleepover.”
“Uh… Seven, I’m on duty tonight.” Sam sounded surprised. “Commander Chakotay is watching Naomi.”
“The Commander said the decision is yours.”
“Oh, um, sure, okay I guess.”
“Seven out.” She turned back to Chakotay. “I will return at 0800 hours.” She turned and marched out of the room.
Well, this is just lovely. Naomi and Mezoti had sat down with Naomi’s dolls, but Icheb, Azan, and Rebi stood just inside the door like statues. So how exactly do you entertain Borg children? He bit the bullet. “What would you boys like to do?”
“I would like to return to the cargo bay. I believe I am too old for this activity.” Icheb spoke first, his contempt for this activity obvious.
“I agree, Icheb, you are a little long in the tooth for this type of thing.” That earned him a blank look. “Go back to the cargo bay if you’d like.”
“Seven has ordered me to stay.”
“I outrank her.” Chakotay told him.
“Yes.” The boy nodded. “However, you are off duty.”
Heat rose up the back of his neck and Chakotay forced his voice to stay level. “Even off duty, I still outrank Seven. If you would like to return to the cargo bay, you may do so.”
“Yes sir, however, she will not be pleased. Therefore, I will stay. I can work on an assignment I have been given.” He went over to the computer terminal.
“Fine.” The twins were still standing by the door. “And you two?”
“We wish to build – “ Azan started.
“With the connecting blocks.” Rebi finished.
Their habit of finishing each other’s sentences was unsettling. “Naomi, do you have connecting blocks?”
“There’s a bucket of them in my room, on the shelf by the toy box.” The two boys followed her directions and were soon building what looked like a model of Voyager.
Lounging back on the sofa once more, Chakotay went back to reading the reports he had brought with him. The incident report was easy enough. Once the crew had figured out his methods, discipline wasn’t a problem. Depending on the incident, a punishment could be as simple as helping out in the mess hall or as extreme as doing EVA looking for weaknesses in the hull. Then there were the special cases where he invited the miscreant to be his sparring partner.
After the first week, the crew had learned he meant business. Luckily there were still enough problem children to keep him in good shape. Grinning, he saw Tom Paris on the list. Again. Sometimes he wondered if the man got himself into trouble deliberately. He did have a Klingon woman to keep up with, wouldn’t do to be lacking stamina in her bed.
Naomi patted him on the knee to get his attention. “Isn’t that right, Uncle?”
“What, sweetheart? I didn’t hear the question.”
“Daddies come home from their shift and kiss the mommy, right?” She held up one of her dolls.
“I do not see the relevance of this action.” Mezoti looked up at him. “How is an exchange of saliva considered a greeting?”
Exchange of saliva? “ Um, well there’s not always… saliva involved.” Unless Daddy’s really hot for Mommy and she hasn’t given him any for seven years. “Sometimes it’s just a peck on the cheek or lips.”
Oh boy. “Like this.” He leaned down and kissed the top of Naomi’s blond head. “That was a peck.”
“And this is considered a greeting?” Mezoti frowned.
“When people care about each other they kiss to show affection.” He assured her.
“So the daddy would kiss the mommy when he gets home from his shift on the bridge.” Naomi pressed the faces of her two dolls together.
“No doubt, he would.” Chakotay agreed with a smile.
“But there would not be an exchange of saliva?” Mezoti still looked confused.
“French kissing is a better term, Mezoti. And that depends, are there any baby dolls around?” Naomi shook her head. “Well, in that case, there’d be some… saliva exchanged.”
Naomi giggled as he winked at her.
“I do not understand.”
“You will when you’re older.” How did he get elected to explain the fine points of kissing to a Borg child?
“Do you enjoy excha – French kissing Captain Janeway?”
He stared at the little girl, his mouth gaping open. “What – I don’t – why would you ask – “ She pointed out Naomi’s dolls. They were clad in black and red Starfleet uniforms. “Naomi, I don’t kiss Captain Janeway.”
“You should.” She shook her head. “It’s sad.”
“I have observed the Captain watching Commander Chakotay when he is not aware of it. Also, at other times, he watches her when she is not aware of him.” Mezoti reported with Borg efficiency.
“You’re imagining things.” Kathryn was watching him? The two little girls looked at each other, Naomi giggling. “You’re imagining things.” He repeated firmly.
The girls went back to their dolls and he turned his attention to the other children. Icheb appeared to be studying an engine design of some type. The twins had constructed a Borg sphere and were in the process of assimilating the Voyager model they’d built earlier. How did he get himself into these situations? He hated the Borg; it had taken him years to come to a civil relationship with Seven – and here he was in a room full of them.
Maybe it was a genetic fear buried deep in his DNA, the memory of being assimilated into another culture on Earth that made him want to snatch up Naomi and run for safety. Or get a phaser and blast them out of existence. In the end, he did neither. Instead, he did the only thing he could do. “It’s bedtime.”
“It is only 2200 hours.” Icheb pointed out.
“You may stay up, if you want, but the little ones need to go to bed.”
“There are no – “
“Regeneration units – “ The twins said
“You won’t need them, you can sleep on the floor.” Looking around, Chakotay frowned. “Didn’t you bring anything with you?”
More blank looks. He sighed. “Chakotay to Seven.”
“Seven here, Commander.” She answered crisply.
“Seven, the children need night clothes and sleeping bags. Unless you want them to sleep in their regeneration units.” Please, please!
“The exercise includes sleeping at the host’s quarters. I will replicate the appropriate items and have them beamed directly to the Wildman’s quarters, Commander.”
Of course you will. “Thank you, Seven. Oh, and Seven?”
“No need to use my rank. I understand I have none when I’m off duty.”
“I – uh – yes, Chakotay. Seven out.”
The problem with a battle of wits is that sometimes you faced an unarmed opponent. He looked down to see Naomi grinning at him. With a wink, he grinned back at her.
A pile of sleeping bags shimmered into existence in the center of the room. Each was neatly labeled and had a small package of clothing attached. One thing about the Borg, they were efficient.
The children took their turns changing and brushing their teeth before settling on the floor in Naomi’s room. After some complaints that the floor was hard and uncomfortable, Chakotay had called Seven again and had her replicate air mattresses for them. She had a ton of rations. About time she used them.
“Will you tell us a story, Uncle?” Naomi asked as he tucked her in.
“If you want.” One reason he had wanted to stay with her was the chance to tell her a story or two. As his grandfather would say, she was like a bear in a honey pot. Settling down on the floor with the children, he ordered the computer to dim the lights.
He told them one of the creation stories he had enjoyed as a child. The Old Man of the Shadows had thumped on a hollow log causing the People to come and crawl out of a hole in the log into the world. First Man, then First Woman, then others…
“And are the People still coming out, Uncle?” Naomi jumped into the deliberate pause.
“No, a fat woman got stuck in the hole, that’s why my tribe is a small one today.” He winked at her.
She laughed, but the Borg children stared at him. He’d noticed they’d been less than enraptured during the telling.
“Humans evolved from – “
“Single celled organisms.” The twins said.
“Commander Chakotay is from a more primitive culture with a pagan belief system.” Icheb informed them.
“Pagan?” Mezoti turned to look at Chakotay as if he were an interesting specimen she’d discovered.
“They believed elements were deities and used these deities to explain natural phenomena because they did not understand science.” The other Borg children nodded at Icheb’s explanation.
“All cultures start on a primitive level, Icheb. It may be true that my people’s way of explaining their world was uninformed – “ Chakotay kept a tight rein on his temper. “They did the best they were able within their scope of understanding.”
“Why do you still cling to these beliefs?” Icheb’s voice was challenging. “You know differently. You know how science works.”
“Even so, you can’t deny that there are some things that exist in the universe that science can’t explain.” His jaw clenched with the effort to keep the growing anger out of his voice. “My people left Earth and chose a simpler lifestyle without all of this technology. We honor our ancestors by remembering their stories and beliefs.”
“I’d like to visit someplace without all the metal and computers everywhere.” Naomi told him. The tension in Chakotay’s body was unsettling. He was always smiling and good natured, never angry.
“You will not be able to do so, Naomi.” Icheb informed her. “Trebus was under Cardassian occupation and the inhabitants were all eliminated.”
Naomi turned to Chakotay, her eyes wide. “Is that true? Is everyone dead?”
Before he could answer, the twins spoke up. “Maybe if they had had the proper technology – “
“They would still be alive.”
Chakotay maintained his composure as best he could. They were only children parroting back what they’d been taught; they had no way of knowing they were hitting a raw wound that he’d thought was closed long ago. “The Maquis had ships, but even if we’d had Voyager there to help, Trebus would still have been leveled.” Standing up, he had the computer lower the lights to sleeping level before going into the main room.
Settling on the sofa, he closed his eyes, concentrating on his breathing and counting his heartbeats to calm himself. It had been a long time since he’d thought about his home world. The pain of losing his family and people had gradually faded away under the constant activity of the Delta Quadrant.
The anger that had that had burned inside of him in the Maquis had gone out after he’d joined Voyager. There were no Cardassians to fight in the Delta Quadrant. His rage had eventually drained away. When Sveta’s letter had brought word of the slaughter of the Maquis in the Alpha Quadrant, he’d felt only sorrow over the deaths. At the time, he’d had his hands full keeping B'Elanna from killing herself in her grief and guilt, and hadn’t had the time to dwell on the past.
Primitive people! Pagan beliefs, huh! This from a boy whose parents created him with nothing else in mind but killing Borg. When Voyager had taken him home, they’d been so overjoyed to see him that they had shipped him back out to be reassimilated. Who was he to – Chakotay stopped himself. Anger was destructive. They were children. They were unable to help being the way they were. Anger was wrong.
The condescending attitudes of Icheb and the other children had hit too close for comfort. Chakotay remembered scorning his people’s ways, eagerly running off to Starfleet and pretending to be something he wasn’t. Not until his father’s death had he come to realize who and what he was. He still knew so little. Luckily, Trebus’ history and traditions were stored in Voyager’s database to help fill in the gaps in the memory of a contrary child.
Anger still seethed up from a source he’d thought long dead and he sighed. Tonight when he returned to his quarters he would seek peace in a vision. Perhaps his father would speak to him and help him to be more tolerant.
He jumped as Naomi touched him. She’d crept up on the sofa next to him without his realizing it. “What’s the matter, little one?”
“They’re complaining too much. I can’t sleep.” She crawled up on his lap and laid her head on his chest, dragging her blanket with her. “Are your people really all dead?”
Pulling her blanket around her, Chakotay stroked the blond hair for a moment. “Most of them, yes. Some left before the Cardassians came, but many refused to be relocated.”
“What about your family? Your mom and dad?”
“My mother was already gone, years ago. I told you about her, remember?” He felt her nod against his chest. “My father and my sister were killed by the Cardassians.”
“They didn’t leave?”
“No. It was our home. They were – “ Murdered! “That’s when I left Starfleet and joined the Maquis.”
“You were a teacher, a good one. What’s Advanced Tactics?”
“How do you know about that?” He looked down at her.
“I read your intelligence files.”
“What?” It felt as if a boot had been planted in his stomach.
“Not the classified parts, of course. It’s in the general files in the database.” Naomi sat up and looked him in the eye, a serious expression on her face. “It said you’re a terrorist. I had to look it up.”
His heart ached. What could she have thought when she read that? “Naomi, I never attacked any targets that weren’t Cardassian. Never any Starfleet ships or innocent people.”
“Captain Janeway was supposed to take you to prison.”
“Will she do that when we get to the Alpha Quadrant?”
“No.” He smiled. “I think Starfleet will have a fight on their hands if they try to make her.”
“We should just stay here, I don’t want to go there anyway.” She rested back against his chest. “Voyager is home.”
“Yes, she is, isn’t she?” Chakotay kissed the top of her head, breathing in her clean pure scent.
“You’re my family. Me and mom. Neelix and Tom. B'Elanna and Seven.” She yawned.
“What about the Captain?”
“Of course.” She yawned again. “Tell me about how bobcat lost his tail, again.”
Tucking her blanket back around her, he began. “Long ago, in the time of our ancestors, Bobcat had a long tail just like the real cat...”
Sam stood just inside the doorway looking at the pair on the sofa. Naomi was curled up on Chakotay’s lap, her head resting on his broad chest. His arms were clasped protectively around her daughter’s small body and his head had lolled forward to rest atop hers, the raven and blond strands mingling.
Quickly getting her holoimager, Sam took a picture for her photo album. And one for Captain Janeway. She’d love an image like this of her favorite pair. Make that trio. Flotter was standing silent guard on Naomi’s lap.
Carefully sliding her arms under Naomi, she started to lift her up when Chakotay’s arms tightened and his eyes snapped open. For a moment, Sam was frightened by the fierce look until the black velvet eyes softened as he recognized her. “I’ll put her to bed, Commander.”
“Watch out for the other children, they’re sleeping on the floor.” He rubbed a hand over his face. Picking up Flotter from where he’d fallen to the floor, he handed the doll to Sam when she came back into the main room.
“Sorry if I startled you.” She said as she took the bright blue doll.
“Next time, say something. I have a bad habit of waking up swinging first and asking questions later.” He gave her a drowsy smile. “I’d hate to have to explain to Naomi why I hit her mother.”
“Small price to pay for knowing she’s safe. Thanks again, Comm – “ He tugged at the collar of his shirt to show there was no rank bar. “Thank you, Chakotay.”
“Good night, Sam, see you tomorrow night.”
In the turbo lift, Chakotay leaned against the back wall. For the first time in years, anger burned within him. The memories of standing in the ashes of his home village assaulted him, and he could smell the smoke and stench of charred flesh. When he tried to envision his sister’s smiling face, the twisted and grotesque corpses pushed her away.
When the lift stopped on his deck, he asked the computer for Kathryn’s location. If anyone could help him rein in this anger and hate, she could.
“Captain Janeway is in her quarters.”
“Is she sleeping?”
He walked down the corridor past his own quarters to hers. He’d barely hit the call button when the doors opened. Stepping inside, he saw her sitting on the sofa wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt emblazoned with the Notre Dame logo. Her bare feet were curled up underneath her.
“Am I that predictable?” He settled on the sofa next to her.
“Men are fairly predictable, they get tired of one woman, they move on to the next.” She teased. “That and no one else has the courage to stop by my quarters after 2300 hours.”
“The Dragon Queen has been known to devour hapless crewmen in her lair.”
“Dragon Queen?” She smacked his arm with the book she’d been reading. “I’ll have you know this crew loves and adores me.”
“I know I do.” He rested his head back against the cushions and closed his eyes, missing her surprised expression. “Kathryn, do you think I’m a terrorist?”
“Naomi told me she read my intelligence files and it says I’m a terrorist. She said she had to look up the word to see what it meant.”
“How did she get access to your file?” She laid the book aside.
“It’s in the database, in the general files. Not the classified parts.” He laughed bitterly. “I can only imagine what’s in those parts.”
Kathryn was shocked to say the least. She had no idea any part of his Maquis file was in the general database. Then again, Voyager was a Starfleet ship; there weren’t supposed to be children on board accessing any files.
“What did she think when she read that?” His voice was so soft, she almost didn’t hear him. “Did she think I’m some horrible person – a murderer?”
“Oh, Chakotay, no.” She moved closer to him, placing a hand on his chest. “She would never think that.”
“What did she think?” He asked angrily.
“I – I don’t know.” Under her hand, his muscles were taut and his body was quivering with anger.
Tears were slipping out from under his closed eyelids. “I told her it was only Cardassians, like that made it all right.”
“It was war, Chakotay. It’s not like you went into their homes. You went after military targets.” When he didn’t answer, she put her arms around him, pulling his head down to her shoulder. “Naomi loves you, Chakotay. Do you think she’d have been in the mess hall eating ice cream with you if she thought badly of you?”
Stroking the raven hair, she rocked him in her arms, trying to comfort his injured spirit. “She’s not just any child. She’s seen the Hirogen, and the Borg, and things no child should ever see. She understands that there are enemies and that sometimes you have to kill or be killed.”
“She wanted to know if you were still going to put me in prison when we get to the Alpha Quadrant.” Chakotay felt the anger begin to fade at Kathryn’s touch.
“I don’t know.” She sighed wearily. He stiffened in her arms.
Pulling away from her, he got up from the sofa. Halfway to the door, he turned to look at her, his eyes full of pain at her betrayal. “You’ll have my resignation on file by 0800.”
“Chakotay!” He walked out the door. “Wait!”
In his quarters, Chakotay collapsed into a chair. After all they’d been through, she was going to turn him over to Starfleet if they told her to. “Stupid fool, how could you forget she loves Starfleet above all else?”
Getting to his feet, he began gathering his things. There was a nice M class planet they’d passed a few weeks ago. Prewarp civilization, interstellar travel capable, and near enough to human that he could blend in. He would take the Delta Flyer and then send it back on autopilot.
No need to worry that she’d backtrack to get him. Nothing would keep her from her damn crusade to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. He should warn B'Elanna. She and Tom might want to go with him. They had no future in the Alpha Quadrant any more than he did.
Spinning around, he found Kathryn standing in his doorway. “Unless you plan on locking me in the brig.” He went back to his packing.
“Chakotay, you don’t understand.”
“I understand perfectly, Kathryn. I understand that when all is said and done, your loyalty is to Starfleet. I mean nothing to you.”
“That’s not true.” He shrugged off the hand she put on his arm.
“Isn’t it?” Angrily, he swept her picture off the shelf by
his bed. “You’ll hand me and the rest of the Maquis over the moment we get
“Chakotay, listen to me. You don’t know that Starfleet is going to order me to turn you over to them.”
“You don’t know that they won’t.” Turning on her, he advanced until they stood eye to eye. “The last few transmissions we’ve gotten they’ve asked about the Maquis. You send back reports saying we’re all one crew – and their reply back always separates us again. It’s coming, Kathryn, they’ll send you the order to string us along until were close enough to home – then you’ll lock us up!”
“You’re jumping at shadows.” She backed up; anger wasn’t something she was used to seeing from Chakotay. The angry man in the intelligence files was someone she’d never met.
“I asked what if they ordered you to turn me over, Kathryn – what would you do? You said ‘I don’t know’.” The rage he’d thought long gone roared back from its grave. “Not, ‘no, Chakotay, you’re my friend I wouldn’t do that to you’!” Grabbing her arms and slamming her against the bulkhead, he growled. “Not ‘no, Chakotay, I love you’! No, never that!”
Kathryn’s ears rang as her head bounced off the metal bulkhead. “You’ve teased and tormented me for the last seven years. Maybe I should take what I want from you before I go.” His mouth came down hard on hers, bruising her lips. His tongue pushed harshly into her mouth, and one hand slid roughly up her hip to her waist.
Abruptly, Chakotay let go and she slid down to the floor. By the time her head cleared, he was gone. Staggering to her feet, she went into the main room only to find it empty as well. “Computer, locate Commander Chakotay.”
“Commander Chakotay is in Captain Janeway’s quarters.”
Rushing back to her quarters, she looked frantically for him as she entered. On the floor by the sofa, his com badge glittered.
“Janeway to the bridge.”
“Bridge here, Captain.”
“Mr. Kim, has anyone tried to take one of the shuttles?”
“Yes, Captain. Commander Chakotay just took the Delta Flyer out.”
Oh God! She forced her voice to stay calm and level. “Did he say why?”
“He said you’d ordered him to check out a planet in the next system. He took Tom and B'Elanna with him. Is something wrong, Captain?” Harry’s voice was concerned.
“Track them, Harry. I want to know where they are right now!”
“Chakotay, we have to go back.” B'Elanna turned from him to Tom. “Tell him.”
“Tell him that what, B'Elanna? That I’ll be happy to share a cell with him?” Tom shook his head. “I’ll pass, thank you.”
B'Elanna stared at him. “You’re both crazy.”
“B'Elanna, I asked her if she would put me in prison when we get back and she said ‘I don’t know’. You know why she doesn’t know? Because Starfleet hasn’t told her yet.”
“She said that?” B'Elanna felt her mouth drop open.
“Do you still want to go back?” Chakotay asked her. “Do you want to go to prison?”
“Chakotay, she won’t do that to us.”
“You’re a fool, B'Elanna.” Contemptuously, he turned his back on her and went to the hatchway.
Tom waited until Chakotay went to the small rear cabin before moving to sit next to B'Elanna. “B'Elanna, we have to stay with him.”
“It’s not like Chakotay to act like this.” She sighed and leaned into him. “It’s like something snapped inside of him.”
“Maybe it did. I always wondered what happened to all the hate and anger he used to have.” He rubbed his hands up and down her back. “The last time I saw him this angry… never mind.”
“Tom, do you honestly believe she’d just hand us over after all this time?”
“No, I don’t. Something happened between Chakotay and Captain Janeway. I don’t know what, but I do know she’ll come looking for him. And we can make sure she finds him.”
“And if she doesn’t come looking for him?” Doubt was beginning to eat at her.
“Then he’s right.” He took her hands in his. “And we’re better off.”
It took twelve hours for Voyager to catch them. The bigger ship was capable of maintaining a higher warp, but the Flyer had gotten a good head start. Tagging the Flyer with a low level pulse, Voyager knocked them out of warp.
“Voyager to the Delta Flyer.”
“The Alpha Quadrant is the other direction, Captain. I suggest you start moving.” Chakotay slapped the comlink shut. His hands moved over the controls to jump the Flyer back to warp, he cursed as the ship shuddered under Voyager’s tractor beam.
“Voyager to the Delta Flyer.” Kathryn’s voice was Starfleet crisp, but ragged around the edges. “Chakotay, please talk to me.”
“B'Elanna, can we set up a feedback pulse along the tractor beam?” Chakotay asked.
“Yes, but – “
“Then do it.”
“No.” B'Elanna crossed her arms across her chest.
“That’s an order, Lieutenant!” Chakotay turned on her.
“Didn’t you resign?” Tom swiveled around in the pilot’s seat. With a touch, he lowered the Flyer’s shields.
“What the hell is this?” He got up from his seat, fists clenched.
“I guess it’s a mutiny.”
Tom’s smirk snapped what little of his self control that remained. Lunging down the ramp, he grabbed the younger man by the front of his jacket, slamming him back into his console.
“Stop it!” B'Elanna pulled Chakotay off and flung him to the floor.
Kathryn’s voice came from next to him, and looking up, he saw her standing over him. Tom and B'Elanna shimmered away back to Voyager.
“Leave me in peace, woman!” He growled as he got to his feet. “I’m through being your lapdog!”
“I’ve never wanted you to be – “
“Haven’t you? Making me think that you’re my friend? That you care? You keep me at arm’s length -- Touching me and teasing me, then pushing me away! Keeping me under control!”
”I do care, Chakotay. I’ve never pretended.” Kathryn reached out to touch him.
Slapping her hand away, he turned back to the pilot’s console. “I’ll send back the Flyer, wouldn’t want you to think I’m stealing it.”
“Why are you doing this?” She pushed him back, it was her turn to be angry. He stumbled on the ramp leading up to the upper level.
“Why? Because you’re ready to jump through whatever hoops Starfleet wants – including putting me in prison! Because I thought you cared for me, Kathryn. I thought that someday – “ He stopped, pain painting his face. “Someday you would – love me.”
“I do love you! Just what the hell am I supposed to do? They send me reports about rules and procedure they want me to follow – rules that don’t matter out here! You know what they want? Do you? They want to know why we haven’t repainted Voyager’s registry numbers!” She threw her hands up in disgust. “In seven years – somewhere between the Borg, the Hirogen, and Species 8472 – I forgot to take the damn time to repaint the fucking numbers!”
“You mean Captain Janeway managed to miss a rule? A protocol?” Chakotay mocked. “My God, the universe might come to an end!”
“Every month they ask for status reports on the Maquis! Every month I send back a report on our crew, Chakotay, our crew! How we’ve come together – put aside our differences – become family. And they aren’t getting it!” Kathryn paced around the small cockpit area. “They want reports on you, Chakotay. On what you’re doing, what kind of power you have. Oh, God.”
She collapsed at his feet. “Every month I dread the transmission. Is this the one that holds an encoded message telling me to toss you in the brig? Is this the month they tell me that my original mission orders still stand?”
He was silent, seemingly carved from stone where he sat on the ramp above her.
“What do I do, Chakotay, if they send me that order? Do I stop the ship? Do I turn us around? What do I do? What do I do?” She hugged her knees and rocked, tears streaming down her face. Despite his anger, he wanted to hold her, comfort her. “What do I do, Chakotay, when they tell me to betray you?”
“What do you want to do, Kathryn?”
“I want to take everyone home. I want to follow orders.”
“What do you want to do, Kathryn?” He asked again.
“I want to be happy. But I don’t know how.” She buried her face in her hands. “I want your arms around me. I want you to love me.”
“I do, and I always have.” Chakotay pulled her up onto his lap. “I just can’t go on this way. Knowing that Starfleet will always come first. I told Naomi that you’d fight for me. But I was wrong. I can’t live this way anymore.”
“I wouldn’t turn you over to them. How can you think that?” She leaned back to look in his eyes. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore. I want to get everyone home safely. I want to be with you. I want my dog.”
“Your dog?” At least he came before the damn dog.
“I miss my dog.” Her face crumpled. “She never expected me to be anything or to do anything more than rub her ears. She was happy just to see me. Everyone wants me to be something, someone they want. No one wants Kathryn.” Her fingers knotted in his shirt. “Nobody wants me.”
“I do.” He lowered his lips to hers. “I love Kathryn.”
She threw herself into his kiss with all the desperation she’d felt during the long hours before they’d found the Delta Flyer. Her mouth crushed against his, her fingers tangling in his soft hair to hold him to her.
Chakotay let her take out her anger on him as he had with her earlier. She was thrusting her tongue into his mouth, pulling his hair painfully as she savaged him. Pushing him onto his back on the carpeted floor, Kathryn pulled at his shirt, tearing it open. Her hand slid down his taut stomach to work at his belt.
Sitting back, she pulled off her sweatpants and panties. Climbing astride his thighs, she opened his pants, taking his hardness in her hands. She leaned up, stroking him into position, then plunging down, taking the full length inside herself. Gasping at the stinging pain, she sat up, pushing down until she imagined his cock was pushing into her womb.
Despite the pain, Kathryn reveled in the throbbing fullness inside of her, feeling her pussy stretch to hold him. Her hands resting on his hips were white against his golden skin, and she splayed one hand across his stomach, the contrast of dark and light intriguing her. He was hot to the touch, and soft – incredibly soft skin, almost like a baby she’d once held.
Chakotay lay with his arms at his sides. He couldn’t help responding to her; he’d probably be dead six months before she couldn’t get a rise out of him, but he’d be damned if he’d help her. If she wanted to use his body, she could do the work herself. This was probably her way of making sure he stayed. A bone to the starving dog. Bitterness filled him at the thought.
Leaning forward, Kathryn moaned as he slid part way out of her, the friction setting off ripples of fire through her. Resting her hands on his chest, she lowered herself down to kiss him. His face was turned away from her, and she kissed along his jaw to the strong cheekbone to the tattoo over his eye. Tracing the lines with her tongue as she had dreamed of in so many fantasies of him.
She pushed back down the length of him before sliding up again. The pain was gone, and she was slick and wet around him as she rode him. Placing her fingers under his chin, she turned his face to her to kiss him. The black velvet eyes were wide open, pooled with hurt, as he stared at the ceiling.
“Chakotay?” When he didn’t respond, Kathryn lay still on him, stroking his face and hair. “Chakotay?”
“Just finish and get off of me.” His voice was low and bitter.
“No, I want to make love to you.” She pressed her lips to his, but he turned away.
“You don’t know what love is. You want to use my body the way you have my heart? Go ahead, just don’t lie to make it something it’s not.”
She lay still on top of him for several minutes, her face buried in the curve of his neck. Stroking his arms and chest, she listened to his heartbeat, letting it calm her. Gradually, he started to soften inside of her.
“Are you done with me, Captain?”
“I’ll never be done with you, Chakotay.” Kathryn rose up to look him in the eye again. “When we get close enough to the Alpha Quadrant, we’ll decide what to do. If Starfleet still wants to put the Maquis in prison – “ She sat back up. “I will never let them take you. Never.”
“That’s not what you said last night.”
“You didn’t give me a chance! I don’t know what I’m going to do! Do you? Do you know what you’re going to do? Why don’t you be the Captain – you decide.” When he didn’t answer, she smacked her palm down on his bare chest. “Come on! Starfleet sends an order telling you to be ready to turn the Maquis over as soon as we hit the Alpha Quadrant. What do you do?” Poking her index finger into his chest, she emphasized each word. “What do you do?”
They stared at each other, neither giving an inch. Blue eyes blazed into brown. Finally, Chakotay blinked. “I don’t know.”
“Ha!” She lay back down on his chest, taking his face in her hands. “Isn’t as easy as you thought, now is it?”
“Would you either finish fucking me or get off of me?”
“No.” Considering the big lug was a lot bigger and stronger than she was, he could easily have pushed her off if he really wanted to and they both knew it. Kathryn smiled to herself. He needed that ruffled male ego soothed, no doubt. “I love you, and when we couldn’t find the Flyer, I thought I’d die. I was so afraid I’d never see you again.”
“You came looking for me. I didn’t think you would.”
“How could you think that? You’re my friend, I can’t leave you behind.”
“I don’t want to be your friend anymore!” He surged up, forcing her to sit up again. His hands closed on her arms, shaking her. “I can’t live that way anymore!”
“I don’t want to either.” She winced as his hands closed on the bruises covering her upper arms. Bruises he’d left there earlier and that she fully intended to make him pay for later. “I love you, Chakotay. I want you as my lover as well as my friend.”
“No more protocol between us?”
“No.” She kissed him.
“I’m not going to hide from the crew – we’re out in the open for everyone to see.”
“Yes.” Another soft kiss. He was hardening within her once more.
“I want children.”
“So do I.”
Absolute joy filled his heart at her words. His lips found hers again.
“Wait.” She pulled her mouth away, putting a hand on his chest. Pushing him back as his lips clung to hers. “My turn. No kissing or groping on the bridge. Or any public area while on duty.”
“All right.” So groping in a public area while off duty is okay? Chakotay tucked that slip away for future reference.
“No kissing, fondling, or sex in my ready room.”
He appeared to be thinking that one over. “No sex.” He agreed after a moment. “But – I reserve the right to kiss and some limited fondling.”
“Agreed. Clothes stay on, however.”
“Clothes on, jackets off.” He countered.
She fought to keep the smile from spreading across her face. Only she and Chakotay would negotiate their love. “No turbo lifts.”
“No turbo lifts.” He sighed. There went that fantasy. “Jefferies tubes?”
“Yes.” There were some very secluded spots on Voyager. “And the Captain stays out of the bedroom.”
“Agreed.” Chakotay smiled slowly. “Unless I invite her in.”
Kathryn smiled back. Obviously, he had some same fantasies about that. Well, so did she. Speaking of fantasies… “If you could pick any one fantasy to have come true, what would it be?”
“Any of them?” He closed his eyes and sorted through the various fantasies and erotic dreams of Kathryn. “On the bridge.”
She rolled her eyes. “I saw that one coming – no pun intended. Mine – “
“I’m not done, Kathryn.” He slid his hand down to where they were joined. “You’re naked. I’m in uniform.” He rubbed the swollen bud, causing her to suck her breath in. “I lay you across the helm console and stand between your legs.” His fingers traced around his cock where it was buried inside her, causing her to rock against him. “I fuck you hard, make you scream and beg. And Tom has to sit there and watch.”
“Oh, I like yours better than mine.” She laughed.
Lying back, Chakotay crossed his arms behind his head. “Make love to me, Kathryn.”
She began moving slowly on him at first, learning the feel of him. Then riding him harder, grinding herself down on him. When his hands slid under her shirt searching for her breasts, she pushed him back down, pinning his wrists to the deck.
“You like it this way, don’t you, Kathryn?” He growled. “You like being in control.”
“Yes!” Panting, she arched back, resting her hands on his thighs. Having his strength lying passively under her made the ache inside her unbearable. “God, I love it!”
It took all his willpower to keep his hands off of her, letting her have the control she needed. When she collapsed onto him, her inner walls spasming around him, Chakotay let his hands go to her hips. Holding her to him, he arched up into her, pumping hungrily, chasing the pain laced pleasure until he exploded into her. Kathryn cried out and clenched around him again as his seed spurted out, bathing them both in hot stickiness.
“I love you, Chakotay.” Kathryn’s words tickled his neck.
“I love you.” He kissed the side of her face. “I have a favorite position, too, Kathryn. We’ll have to try it out next.”
“Hmm… but in bed. I think I have rug burns on my knees.” His laugh rumbled up through her. “I’ll let you explain to the Doctor.”
“Gladly.” He shifted under her. “Someone just won a ton of rations. They just don’t know it yet. I hope they clean Tom out.”
They used the small shower to wash each other. Chakotay had been shocked at the bruises on her arms and had apologized until they exhausted the supply of hot water and were forced to get out. After they were both dressed, Kathryn sat on the floor next to him as he piloted the Delta Flyer into Voyager’s shuttle bay. “I think I know what we can do.”
“Not while I’m flying. I’m getting a reputation as a lousy pilot as it is.”
“Chakotay!” She swatted him on the leg. “Be serious! I’m going to tell Starfleet that I want an answer – no I want pardons for my Maquis crew and I want them now. And stop sending me Alpha Quadrant orders that don’t apply here.”
“What, we’re not going to paint the registry numbers?” Chakotay laughed. “Too bad, I’m sure Tom would do a good job.”
“Knowing Tom, he’d somehow sucker the crew into doing it for him. Sometimes he’s more Tom Sawyer than Starfleet.” She leaned her head on his leg. “If they tell me my original orders still stand, we’ll get close enough to let those who want to go home do so. The rest of us will find a place and settle.”
“The rest of us?” He turned to her. “You won’t go on to Earth?”
“Not without you. Where you go, I go.” Getting up from the floor, she a hand out to him. When he took it, she pulled him to his feet. “I realized when I thought I’d lost you – home is where you are.”
Lifting her hand to his lips, he kissed it. “My home is on Voyager – forever at your side.”