'Only fools or the very brave would dare to cross his path on a day like this.' He thought as he left sickbay, escorting Kathryn back to her quarters.
Six weeks have now passed since the Srivani and their ‘scientific experiments’ upon the crew had been exposed. Kathryn had forced them to leave the ship by flying Voyager through the binary pulsars they had been studying at the time. He shuddered as he recalled the doctor’s detailed report of the horrifying experiments the Srivani had performed on the crew of Voyager, including himself. It had taken the doctor four days to neutralize the genetic tags and reverse the genetic mutations of the affected crew members, and since then life has slowly returned to normal. Although, unbeknownst at the time, there would be one member of this crew that would not fully escape the Srivani’s experiments.
As Chakotay entered her quarters, his thoughts drifted back to how this day began.
Chakotay arrived at the messhall and spotted Kathryn. She was always there before he arrived, sitting at ‘their’ table as the crew had dubbed it, with coffee pot and mug close at hand as she reviewed reports. He grabbed a tray and chose enough of the fresh fruits for two, and some juice. He learned long ago that Kathryn barely ate anything off of her own tray, so he would add extra to his and sure enough she would ‘sneak’ the food off of his tray. He never minded though, he thought it was rather endearing.
Setting the tray down he took the seat opposite her, surreptitiously setting a fork on her side of the tray. “Good morning Captain.” he smiled. He scowled inwardly when she didn’t immediately pick up the fork and dig in, as was her custom.
Her eyes slid up from her report to meet his, with that crooked smile of hers that just melted his heart. She looked tired this morning. “Good morning Commander.” He could have sworn she blanched when her eyes set upon the food between them.
Normally he wouldn‘t ask her anything personal unless they were in private, however he felt daring today and took his chances. “You look awfully tired this morning, anything wrong?” he asked, bracing for impact.
“I was late for dinner hours last night,” she said as she slid the tray of food over to his side of the table, “all that was left was Neelix’s Leola root stew… lets just say it hasn’t settled well, and I won‘t be trying that ever again.” She definitely had lost the color in her face now.
Quickly making a decision he reached over and picked up the stack of reports. “I‘ll drop these off for you on my way to the bridge,” he paused a moment, “while you stop off at sickbay to get something for that upset tummy.”
Her head snapped up. He was fully prepared for a battle of wills over his suggestion and then she sighed. “You’re probably right. You know how much I hate going to see the doctor, but I’ve suffered with this all night. Enough’s enough, and I suppose I should try and set a better example for the crew as well, right?” Sliding out of her chair she smiled as she gave his hand a quick squeeze and turned to leave, and that’s when her eyes rolled back and she crumpled to the floor.
“Kathryn!” he yelled as he rushed to her side, pulling her into his arms. “Computer, emergency transport for two to sickbay!”
Arriving in sickbay Chakotay gently placed her on the surgical biobed as the doctor approached. “What happened?” the doctor asked as he picked up a medical tricorder and started scanning the captain. Chakotay quickly filled him in as he watched the arms of the diagnostic medical scanner close around her body. The doctor’s eyebrows momentarily rose as he read the results. Stepping away from the biobed the doctor motioned for Chakotay to follow him into his office.
Chakotay was highly concerned. “What’s wrong with her?”
“I need to ask you a very personal question, and I need an honest answer.” the doctor stated.
“What is it?”
Glancing around quickly to ensure that no one else was nearby, he sprang the question upon Chakotay. “Have you and the captain had,” he paused a moment “intimate sexual relations recently?”
“NO! of course not, but not that I wouldn’t want to. Hell everyone knows how I feel about her… wait, are you saying that Kathryn’s…”
“Pregnant?” the doctor replied. “Yes, she is.”
“I see.” was all Chakotay said as he looked over at the captain. How could she do this to him, she’s been seeing someone else, playing him for a fool… he thought.
Noticing the angry look and his stiffened posture the doctor quickly spoke up. “I was hoping your answer would have been yes, it would have made this much easier for you and the captain to accept.”
Chakotay was about to speak and the doctor quickly cut him off. “Commander, you are the child’s biological father.”
“I’m what? That’s not possible, I just told you that we haven’t had…”
“Hold on Commander, I can assure you that you are one hundred percent the father, even though it was not conceived in the conventional manner.”
“And how’s that?”
“You’re forgetting about the Srivani.” the doctor stated. They both looked at each other, realization dawning upon Chakotay’s face. They both knew that this was definitely not going to go over well with their captain at all.
“Is there anything wrong with the baby? Please tell me they didn’t perform some horrific experiment on it.” he pleaded.
“Well, as you already know the Srivani had elevated the captain’s Dopamine levels to see how much she could cope with before ‘going over the edge’ so to speak. However left to it’s own, as we did, her levels returned to normal within a week. As far as the baby goes everything checks out normal, that’s why I had to ask you if you two had… you know, as this was showing as a normal pregnancy.”
Chakotay breathed a sigh of relief. “So if she chooses to… then this will proceed as any other normal pregnancy then?”
“Yes it would,” the doctor looked back at the captain, “I need to speak with her now to inform her about what has happened. She can return to her quarters when I‘m done.”
Chakotay nodded and watched as the doctor returned to Kathryn’s side. He sat down in the doctor’s office with his head in his hands and his thoughts running rampant. ‘Spirits this is what I’ve always wanted, children with Kathryn, but will she accept this? Will she be able to bear a child that has been forced upon her? I have the legal rights to this child as well, but can I live with myself if I demand that she bear my child? Can I live with myself if I allow her to terminate the pregnancy?
He wasn’t sure how long he had been sitting there when he felt her hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw her face, tired and drained, and realized that she must have the same thoughts running through her mind as well.
She spoke in a quiet whisper, holding her hand out to him. “The doctor said you were here to take me home.”
With a shy smile he rose and held his arm out to her. She took his offered arm, letting him lead the way. They walked in silence to her quarters where he gently led her inside and sat on the sofa next to her.
“If there’s anything I can do for you Kathryn…” he started to say as she interrupted him, turning to face him with tears welling up in her eyes she asked, “will you hold me Chakotay?”
He smiled, opening his arms to her and she slid in close to him, resting her head against his shoulder and her hand against his heart. With his arms wrapped around her he stroked her back, soothing her as she released her anguished tears. He relished in holding her so close, giving her the comfort that she deeply needed, until her tears slowed, then stopped.
“This won’t be easy Chakotay.” she mumbled against his neck. “I’m scared, I don’t know the first thing about being a mother.”
He swore the universe stopped and stood still, even for a fraction of a second. His heart raced and rejoiced at her admission… she would bear this child, their child, he was going to be a father… “I’ll be right here to help you Kathryn, every step of the way.”
Taking a deep shuddering breath she leaned back and looked at him with that beautiful crooked smile of hers. “So, we’re going to be parents Chakotay… are you with me?”
“Always my Kathryn, always,” he smiled at her.
Kathryn snuggled back into his embrace. “Chakotay?”
She whispered against his chest. “I love you.”
He could feel her smile against his chest. Looking down at this beautiful woman curled up against him he kissed the top of her head. “I love you too Kathryn, always.”