He knew it was rather early as he placed a comm call to B'Elanna. The sun was just beginning to rise, but he desperately needed her help. He was quite surprised to see her smiling face on the screen after only two rings. Back in their maquis days she was known to be a late riser, and often exuded an aura of ‘don't fuck with me yet' during her first hour of wakefulness. Almost like Kathryn before her first cup of coffee of the morning, he thought wistfully.
"Hey Bee, I hate to bother you so early but I need your help. I can't find her."
"Can't find who?" she asked.
"Kathryn. I can't find her anywhere," he said raking his fingers through his hair. "Nor can I find anyone else who has seen her recently either."
"I take it that's why you look like hell." she softly said. "Did you try her apartment over at Starfleet housing?"
"That was the first place I checked. Some of her clothes were missing, but her uniforms were still there. It doesn't look like she's been living there at all, the missing tell tale signs of coffee mugs, data padds and towels on the bathroom or bedroom floor are a dead giveaway." he fondly smiled. "She never picked those damn things up."
"And how do you know she leaves those things lying around?" she asked, trying not to smile as Chakotay's glance dropped and his cheeks flushed a bit as he tugged on his ear.
"C'mon Bee, you were in her quarters on Voyager quite a bit too. You can't tell me you didn't notice those things lying about on any available surface." he said, hoping to divert her attentions from where he was sure they were headed, and her next statement only proved he was correct.
"Of course I noticed the coffee mugs and padds, I mean who didn't right?" she said, "We all thought it was endearing to know she was just as human as the rest of us. However, for you to notice her habit of leaving towels on the bathroom and bedroom floor..." she paused, ready to deliver the killing blow, "It seems to me that you must have spent enough time in those places to know exactly what her habits in there really were." she said with a raised eyebrow.
Looking up he sighed, "ok, you got me there Bee."
"So... you two did have a relationship on Voyager then?"
"No, never on Voyager." he said noticing her confusion he continued. "After the debriefings were over, you recall that four day weekend they gave us? Well I was with Kathryn at her apartment during those four days."
"You were there... with her... for four days? So... are you both like... did you two..." she saw his head drop again, but only in a feeble attempt to hide the smile on his face. "Oh my... you did, you are?" she exclaimed, practically leaning through her vid comm.
"Well, let's just say we did a bit more than just talking for those four days." he smiled. "She's finally ready to explore a relationship between us, however, I don't know where she is now. All I know is she had about three weeks left to wrap up some loose ends from the debriefings, so I took that time to visit with my cousin in Ohio." he sighed. "I just got back yesterday afternoon... last night we were supposed to meet for a planned date and she never showed up."
"Well that doesn't sound like Kathryn at all," she said with a growing concern. "Have you tried checking at Starfleet Headquarters?"
"Yep, that was the next place I checked. Kathryn's aide said that she had decided to delay starting work there until the first of this month..."
"But, that was eleven days ago! Have you tried her Mothers house in Indiana?"
Yes, I just got off the comm with Gretchen. She hasn't seen or heard from her in the past two weeks."
"I don't like the sounds of this at all Chakotay." she stated with that 'take charge' look on her face. "Look, I want you to get your ass over here as soon as you can. In the meantime I'm going to fill in Tom and Owen about what's going on. We'll get to the bottom of this."
"Thanks Bee, I owe you one."
"No you don't old man, that's what family is for," she smiled.
The morning sun spilled through her bedroom window where it crept across her face, slowly warming her, urging her to wake up. She had been successful at her earlier attempts to keep consciousness at bay, quickly slipping back to sleep, however this time the sun demanded that her time was up.
Attempting to open her eyes was a colossal mistake as bright rays of sunlight broke through, blinding her as it reignited the pounding in her head. Rolling to her other side too quickly in order to escape the light only reminded her stomach just how unstable it was. There was no denying now exactly what her stomach's intentions were as she quickly made her way towards the bathroom where she kneeled before the toilet, emptying the contents of the previous nights indulgence.
After the spinning in her head began to dissipate, she slowly rose to her feet where she caught her reflection in the mirror. She was surprised to see that she was still wearing the black cocktail dress from the night before... the dress she had put on for her date with Chakotay. Her make-up was smudged and blurred, just like her memory was of the night itself, and she looked like hell!
Well, at least she knew where she was, her family's log cabin on Lake George. She supposed things could have been much worse, considering the hangover she had. Hell, she had to have drank a boatload to be in this condition. Opening the medicine cabinet she looked for an analgesic, found it, and downed two with some water before removing her dress and stepping into the old fashioned shower.
Feeling the hot water hitting her neck and shoulders she felt the tension there ease a bit. Oh how she wished for the feel of his hands on her now, massaging these damned knots away! Her body ached for his touch. The feel of his hands and lips caressing her body, igniting her like no man ever had before. She missed the feeling of fullness when they joined, and he always brought her to orgasm a few times before he released his own. She smiled as she recalled how there was no surface, wall, or floor left untouched as they shared their bodies with each other, in a variety of positions, all throughout her apartment.
He had made her feel like a woman instead of a captain for once. He commanded her mind and body, and she realized how willing, how easily she had allowed that. How easily she accepted, no... how much she had wanted him to take control! It scared her now, loss of control was never an easy thing for her, yet somehow it was for those four days. Her mind may have been in a fog this morning, however, she recalled with clarity those four passion filled days and nights they had together.
When Chakotay was gone her fears had slowly begun to work against her, making her feel confused. She began to doubt herself, doubt their relationship. And so it happened, last night as she was on her way to the Night Owl to meet with him, those self doubts that had built up caused her to panic, and like a fool she had run away.
Standing in the shower with the water cascading down her body, following the trail where his hands once roamed, she now realized she had ruined everything by running away. The tears began to slide down her cheeks, mingling with the water, and drowning along with it was the little hope that she had left.
~~~The Search Begins~~~
Chakotay arrived at the home of Admiral Owen Paris and smiled as he recalled how Owen and his wife Julia had insisted that Tom and B'Elanna come stay with them. He had seen the relief wash over Tom at how easily they accepted B'Elanna into their hearts. And the wriggling pink bundle in B'Elanna's arms had melted Owen's heart on the spot. It was a blessing to have his son back, but B'Elanna and Miral were precious gifts in Owen's eyes. Just as Kathryn was a precious gift to Chakotay.
The door had suddenly opened and before he knew it B'Elanna had quickly ushered him into what he could only describe as ground zero of a bustling yet organized tactical unit. "Bee, what's going on..." he asked when B'Elanna cut in.
"We're all here to find Kathryn of course." she smiled, giving him a crushing hug. Pointing to one side she said "Tuvok is handling security, looking for breaches, threats, or questionable transport signals. "Over there," she pointed, "Tom & Harry are handling transportation, going through all the logs of incoming and outgoing ships, both federation and private, during the last few weeks. And Seven is at the astrometrics lab at Starfleet headquarters, looking for any spatial irregularities or anomalies."
"Spirits Bee," he exclaimed turning to face her, "How the hell did you pull off something like this in such a short time?" Chakotay felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Admiral Paris standing beside him.
"What you probably don't know son is that I've always considered Kathryn as family, like a daughter to me. So when Tom and B'Elanna told me she was missing, well, I did what any father would do... I began looking for her. So don't you worry son, we'll find her." he said giving Chakotay's shoulder a squeeze before heading off towards Tuvok's location.
Chakotay was speechless, he just stood rooted in place as he looked around the room seeing so many familiar faces. "If only Kathryn could see this now," he said to B'Elanna, "Back on Voyager I always told her she was surrounded by family, and this proves my point."
B'Elanna glanced around the room, taking in what Chakotay saw. "I couldn't agree more," she took Chakotay's arm, "you look like you could use a hot cup of raktajino right about now." she said, leading him towards the kitchen.
~~~On the Edge~~~
Kathryn signaled the bartender for another shot of whiskey. From the darkened corner where she was sitting, she was able to see whoever entered the bar. Even though she was in a place that was not well known, she had to be sure no one would recognize her as she once again found herself drinking a few shots until the numbness settled in. The bartender delivered her drink and she had downed it before he had moved away. She dropped a few credits on the bar along with a decent tip. "You do understand that I was never here right?" she said to him. He just nodded in agreement and watched her leave.
She rarely visited a bar more than once, feeling more secure with the anonymity that choice gave her, however she had run out of options tonight. All she knew for sure was that she didn't want to head back to her small hotel room where she would not be able to stop thinking about Chakotay and the mess she had gotten herself into.
She ventured into the last place that had a bar, but along with it came a rather loud nightclub. How ironic she thought that the packed Infusion Lounge offered her the privacy she was after. There were so many people here, wall to wall bodies in fact. All writhing, bumping and grinding on the dance floor amidst the blur of flashing lights. The chance of her being recognized here was pretty slim indeed. Easing her way up to the bar she ordered a drink and began the ritual of finding a darkened corner to take up residence in.
Leaning back against the corner booth she closed her eyes for a few moments, feeling the vibrations of the music wrap around her like a warm blanket. So overpowering was the music that it dulled her senses without her even realizing it, and it was at that exact moment when a crew member from Voyager discovered his missing captain.
B'Elanna ran through the house, and out the back door, almost colliding with Chakotay. "They found her Chakotay, she's alive!"
The relief at hearing that was overwhelming, the past three weeks spent searching for her had been hell and after all this time he had begun to think they'd never find her. "Where is she Bee, is she ok?"
"I don't have all the details, but Ayala found her. He said she looked a little worse for wear and was transported to Starfleet medical. Our Doctor is there with her now."
"It must be serious if they took her there! Bee, I can see it in your eyes, what are you not telling me?"
"Chakotay, she..." B'Elanna paused, looking away from him. She hated to have to tell him what she knew.
"Bee, come on, I need to know."
Turning back to him she quietly said, "Apparently she's been under our noses all along. Ayala said she's been in San Francisco bar hopping at night and staying in hotels sleeping it off during the day."
"Oh spirits," he exclaimed, dragging his fingers through his hair as he started to pace. "I need to see her Bee, I need to see her now." he stated, clearly in pain.
"Alright, come on," she grabbed his hand and started heading for the house, "Owen said you can use the transporter in his office, he already had Gretchen transport over while I went looking for you."
When they entered the waiting room Gretchen, with tears in her eyes, went right into Chakotay's outstretched arms. "Have you heard anything yet?" he asked.
"Not yet, the doctor is in there now, along with Dr. Crusher."
"Two doctor's? he chuckled shaking his head, "I know how much she hates doctors, but at least she's in good hands."
Almost an hour had passed before the doctor came out. Chakotay and Gretchen immediately stood up when they saw him. Gretchen took two steps forward and stopped, reaching back for Chakotay's hand. They both followed the doctor into a nearby office.
"I'm sure you have a lot of questions," the doctor said, "Kathryn's mind was in a fragile state when she arrived here, and she was rather inebriated as well. I can put your minds at ease though, what caused this recent behavior was mostly achemical and hormonal imbalance which resulted in the changes in her brain leading to emotional distress. This I can treat and it will take time and a lot of patience on our part, but she will get better.
"Oh thank God." Gretchen whispered as she reached for Chakotay's hand.
Letting out the breath he'd been holding he looked at the doctor, "can we see her now?"
"She's sedated at the moment. We have to administer a round of detox sprays over the next twenty-four hours."
"Why not just give her a single dose of detox?"
"Well, there was a rather unexpected surprise we discovered during her examination when she first arrived. That of which I'm pretty sure she knows nothing about..." the doctor paused.
Gretchen spoke up. "What is it, what did you find?"
Looking a bit uncomfortable the doctor said, "Well, it's a rather delicate topic, I think I should talk privately with the commander..."
Chakotay looked at Gretchen, then the doctor. "It's ok doc, whatever you have to say... Gretchen should also know."
The doctor cleared his throat, "Alright then, she's pregnant."
"Pregnant?" both Chakotay and Gretchen said in unison.
"Yes, six weeks to be exact."
Chakotay thought a moment, doing the math in his head, then looked up at the doctor. "Then I'm..." he paused.
"Yes, you are the father."
With all the drinking she's done... Chakotay started to say, looking at Gretchen.
She squeezed his hand and finished for him, "Is the baby alright?"
"Oh yes! Of course!" the doctor exclaimed. "That's one of the reasons why we're doing a gradual detox, so as not to add further stress to Kathryn."
"I'm going to be a father." Chakotay whispered to himself quietly.
"And I'm going to be a Grandmother again." she smiled.
The doctor chimed in. "However, Kathryn isn't yet aware that she's pregnant. In consideration of the condition she was in upon arrival, I didn't think it was a wise decision to blurt out that bit of news just then."
"So what do we do, when should we tell her?"
At the moment, I recommend we don't tell her yet. She's going to be here for at least two weeks, we can‘t release her without making sure she‘s fit, both physically and mentally. And we really want her to be fit, mind and body before informing her of the pregnancy.
"I agree," Chakotay said, "she doesn't need to know about this while she begins her recovery. And who knows, maybe she'll begin noticing the symptoms herself."
Kathryn could hear a voice but it was far away. Her eyes wouldn't cooperate, refusing to open. Her hand, it felt warm, as if she were wearing a glove. The voice again, a bit louder this time, but she couldn't make out what it was saying. Pressure on her hand, a squeezing pressure, not a glove. A feathery caress on her cheek. That voice again, this time closer, louder. She struggled to make out what it was saying.
"Come on Kathryn, open your eyes love, you can do it."
A male voice. A scent... yes... earthy, spicy... she knew that scent well.
Focusing harder she attempted to open her eyes again.
"Yes love, that's it, come back to me now."
Her eyes cracked open a bit, no bright lights, her eyes opened fully now.
"Hey, there you are. You have no idea how good it is to see those beautiful blue eyes again," he smiled.
It was Chakotay, who else would be sitting here beside her, holding her hand.
"Where..." she tried to speak but her throat felt like the Sahara desert.
Chakotay raised the head of her bed a bit, then held a glass of water for her. He held the straw while she took a few sips. "Better?" he asked.
"Yes, thanks. Where am I?"
He held her hand again, she liked that. "Starfleet Medical." was his answer.
He watched her closely as her eyes roamed across the room, and held her hand firmly when she became aware of why she was here. She turned her head away from him as the tears broke free.
Reaching out he gently turned her head back to face him, wiping away her tears. "This wasn't your fault love. You had a chemical and hormonal imbalance, you had no control over it, it just happened."
"I didn't know what was wrong... I was so confused. You must think I'm such a fool," she cried.
"No love, I don't think that at all. You couldn't understand what was happening, and you panicked. I just wish I had been here with you, so you didn't have to go through this all alone, but I‘m here now and we‘ll fix you up again."
"Oh Chakotay... damn it all... I can't stop crying."
He pulled her into his arms, rubbing her back. "It's alright Kathryn, the doctor said it might take a day or two, so go ahead and cry if you feel like it. I love you and I'm not going anywhere."
"I love you too." she whispered against the side of his neck.
He continued to sit there, gently rocking her until her tears stopped and she dozed off in his arms. He laid her back down, tucking her in, and held her hand once again.
The remaining days went by quickly. At the beginning Kathryn had a few rough days, but Councilor Troi spent time with her each day, and she finally accepted and understood that what happened to her was no fault of her own, and from that point forward her recovery came in leaps and bounds.
Now three weeks later Chakotay had just finished helping Kathryn pack up her things and they were sitting in her room waiting for the doctor to discharge her.
Chakotay smiled at Kathryn, "So are you ready to go home?"
"More than you'll ever know!" she answered. "I'm dying for a real cup of decent coffee," she said, looking him right in the eyes. She knew what his reaction would be, and tried hard not to smile when it happened.
"Do you think that will be wise for someone in your condition?"
Kathryn got up, walked over to where he was and sat in his lap, winding her arms around his neck. She kissed him softly on the lips, eliciting a moan from him. Then she whispered in his ear, "I was wondering when you were going to get around to telling me I was pregnant."