Next of Kin
This could not be happening he said to himself for the hundredth time.
Chakotay sat back staring at the monitor after watching the message once again. He had returned to his quarters after a day of disasters, wanting nothing more then to fall asleep. He had stopped at his office and saw his monitor flashing letting him know that there were messages waiting for him.
No problem was so important that he had to talk to them right then. He admonished himself deciding that they might not all be problems, but he decided that he could give himself a break and deal with the messages the next day.
He finally reached his quarters securing the door behind him after hearing his name called a few times. Chakotay had decided he would not let anybody invade his quarters tonight.
Dropping some pads on the desk, he noticed the message light flashing on his workstation. Deciding to check over the list he thought he should see who wanted to talk to him so badly. Scrolling down the list one stuck out. He had not seen her in eight months since the debriefing had ended. They had gone their separate ways deciding that their relationship couldn’t work.
Or at least she had decided it wouldn’t work and had walked out of his life. Chakotay had been hurt but had understood, and after a rollercoaster of a month he had decided to step back and take some time to find out what he wanted from life and if he wanted to include anyone in it.
Opening the message he was surprised to see a note stating that this recording was to be sent to him in the event of death. She couldn’t be dead she was too vibrant, to full of life. Chakotay cried out as the implication of what this meant hit him full force as the message started.
‘Hello Chakotay,’ came the voice that had been haunting his dreams lately. ‘If you are hearing this message it means that I am dead.’
She continued, but Chakotay had stopped listening as his head sank to the desk and he cried.
‘This can’t be happening,’ Chakotay moaned.
He had been sitting there for what felt like an eternity with his head resting on his arms but he didn’t care she was gone.
‘She can’t be gone, she couldn’t have left me,’ he cried.
Gentle hands stroked his head and then the voice of his dreams was in the room.
‘Chakotay, please, Chakotay look at me,’ the voice pleaded.
The hands dragged him into an upright position and through bleary eyes he could see her.
‘Chakotay,’ she tried again as his lifeless eyes looked at her.
‘You’re dead, you’re not real,’ he whispered as a sob escaped.
‘No,’ Kathryn whispered as she wiped the few stray tears away. ‘It was a mistake; the young Ops officer on my mission panicked and sent a message to Headquarters in error. He informed Starfleet that the ship was suffering a core breach and when they scanned the area they found a debris field. I didn’t know what had happened until we limped into Deep Space Five and my mother greeted me.
Admiral Strand wanted to debrief me and asked my mother to leave. She informed him there was no damn way she was going to and that he was more then welcome too. I have never seen an Admiral run so quickly,’ Kathryn laughed but received no response from the man in front of her.
‘I didn’t know until we arrived back here that Fleet had declared us all dead and had released my recorded messages,’ she tried to sooth him but was not getting through.
Looking down Kathryn noticed his duffel bag and knowing that her mother would be contacting her soon, or worse she decided on a plan of action. Grabbing the bag she placed it beside him before heading to his bedroom. Returning to Chakotay a short time later she could hear him whispering.
‘Not real, she disappeared,’ over and over.
Placing a second bag beside the first Kathryn knelt down in front of him to look into a pain filled face.
‘Oh love I’m real,’ Kathryn said gently, as she took his hand to cup her warm cheek. ‘See, would it be warm if I wasn’t real, could you hold my face like this?’
‘I have held you like this in my dreams,’ he told her.
‘And I have held you in my dreams as well,’ Kathryn revealed to him. ‘Come with me Chakotay,’ she encouraged while dragging him into a standing position. ‘Computer lock onto my combadge and include Commander Chakotay as well as his bags in the transport on my mark,’ Kathryn instructed, as she made sure his bags were near them. ‘Now,’ she commanded.
The pair rematerialized in a warm study that was lit by an old fashioned lamp on the large mahogany desk.
‘Well it’s about time,’ an older woman said as she entered the room. ‘I was thinking you might have decided to stay at his place and jump -’
‘Mother!’ Kathryn’s cried out.
‘Oh relax Kathryn,’ she admonished. ‘I’m sure the Commander wouldn’t have minded, would you Commander,’ but stopped the teasing when she noticed his dazed state.
Reaching up to him she encouraged him to step off the transport padd.
‘It was a shock wasn’t it Chakotay,’ Gretchen asked as her voice cracked. ‘I thought I had lost her again after just getting her back,’ she whispered as she pulled his big frame against her small frail body. ‘It’s okay let it out because we have her and we are never letting her out of our sight again.’
And as Gretchen Janeway’s arms wrapped around Chakotay the dam broke for both of them and their heart wrenching sobs shattered the quiet room.
Kathryn was frozen to the spot as she watched the two people that meant the world to her dissolve in a broken heap on the floor. Watching them for a while she finally fell on the floor beside them, slowly she reached out to place a hand on each of their arms, they turned as if noticing her for the first time. Chakotay reached out, pulling her into the circle of their embrace.
‘She’s never leaving Earth again,’ Gretchen whispered to Chakotay.
‘Or home,’ Chakotay countered.
‘Do I have a say in this?’ Kathryn asked.
‘No,’ two voices informed her as they dissolved into laughter at her shocked face.
‘Okay maybe we will let you leave the house but not the planet,’ Chakotay relented.
‘Gee thanks,’ she said seriously.
‘Kathryn, I can’t live through this a third time,’ her mother told her and all the pain of this last event there for her daughter to see.
‘Oh Mom I’m sorry,’ Kathryn cried as she wrapped the older woman in her arms.
‘I know what you are saying Gretchen, because this is the second time for me. We crashed on a planet and for a short time she was dead but thankfully the Doctor was able to revive her.’ He said as Kathryn pulled him into her arms.
‘Okay you two,’ she intervened before they could plan out her career. ‘I will stay on Earth with only occasional trips off planet, I do have to go for negotiations occasionally.’
‘Fine,’ Gretchen said. ‘Unless I can convince this young man to keep you busy,’ the older woman commented as her daughter screamed in embarrassment. ‘Oh Kathryn, I might be old but I’m not dead and if he wasn’t so obviously in love with you I would go after him.’
Kathryn froze at her mother’s words slowly looking to Chakotay.
‘She’s right Kathryn,’ he said as he pulled her back into his arms. ‘I do love you very much,’ the large man declared.
‘And I love you,’ Kathryn confessed.
‘Good now that that’s taken care of let’s go plan the wedding,’ Gretchen demanded as she rose from the floor.
‘Mother, we haven’t even had our first kiss,’ Kathryn cried horrified.
‘Oh let me remedy that,’ Chakotay said as he cupped her face to give her a very passionate but brief kiss.
‘Fine that’s taken care of let’s go,’ Gretchen demanded as she held her hand out to help Chakotay up.
The two started to move out of the room when they were stopped in their tracks.
‘I don’t suppose I have a word in this event,’ Kathryn said sarcastically.
‘Of course you do dear,’ her mother threw over her shoulder. ‘You can decide what you want to wear, we will take care of the rest.’
Chakotay laughed as he reached down to the petite woman, pulling her up and into his arms.
‘You can have all the words that you want as long as they are “I do”,’ he said as he kissed the tip of her nose.
Smiling up at him, she said the only thing she could. ‘I do.’The End