It had been a week. One long torturous week in which Kathryn Janeway barely remembered any of it. They had been in negotiation for trade with a planet already left behind before it all happened. Not that the Captain was aware of, on some level she was. No one questioned when Tuvok took over more and more on the bridge. When he'd disappear for a few hours only to return. They all knew. Had sadly witnessed it. The breakdown had stunned them all during the daily senior staff brief.
Kathryn had one minute been looking at a PADD the next tossing it at Chakotay's empty chair. Screaming out in frustration. Tuvok quickly grabbing her as she fell, crumpling. Not one of her senior officers left her in that moment, offering what support they could. B'Elanna grabbing hands that dug into Kathryn's face, Tuvok holding her around the waist arms pinned above the elbow. Harry standing stunned calling the Doctor. Neelix whispering soothingly to the woman as Tom used a med kit on the claw marks she managed to get on herself. Seven standing still, frozen as she witnessed a part of humanity foreign to her and suddenly wanted to hold the woman who was the closest thing to family she had.
It hadn't even been two hours by then, since they returned from the surface with only one casualty. They'd been reviewing what happened, the cave in that struck the mines Chakotay was being shown along with a few engineers. Doc was still in surgery and could offer nothing to ease the breakdown but a sedative. Which Tom applied and then the group settled on letting Tuvok take her to sickbay.
Shed been there since. Not moving, not functioning as she normally did. She always had someone with her, sometimes more then two. At all times a member of the senior staff was present helping to get her to eat, to move about so she didn't end up needed Doc as well. A member of the crew would always present with them. Sometimes more then one of them. Doc was constantly on working with Seven on the idea she had from her Borg knowledge to help Chakotay.
Kathryn spent her time constantly sitting in a chair beside Chakotay's bed. Listening half aware to Tuvok when he came to update her on the ship. Passing along her orders with no thought. They all witnessed her at one time or another raging at Chakotay about how it wasn't supposed to be him, that he doesn't get hurt as bad as she does. Then sinking back down stroking his face, touching his chest and apologizing until silence reigned again.
It took one week. One week of her sitting and praying the Doctor was wrong. That Chakotay would wake up and be perfectly fine. Not an invalid or suffering amnesia or any other form of brain damage. So when brown eyes stuttered open she jumped up quickly alerting Tom in the Doctor's office. Tom who came rushing in time to hear her soft spoken words.
"Hey there," Kathryn whispered smiling down at the man who just blinked at her. Forced herself to wait for Tom or Doc to come instead of saying more. "Long time no see Commander."
"Who are you?" Chakotay's words were like a knife to her heart and Kathryn reached for him terrified vaguely aware of Tom reaching for her.
"No. Please, no," Kathryn's words left her in a semi yell, semi whisper as tears fell silently from her eyes. "Please, oh please -"
"Kathryn," Chakotay shot up suddenly alerted by her words. Concerned by the sight he was seeing and realizing now how idiotic it was to mess with her. "Kathryn I'm sorry -"
"Chakotay? " She was holding herself by now and Tom silently moved back sensing something about to happen. One nod from the First Officer confirmed it because Kathryn shot forward wrapping arms around his neck and inhaling as if she hadn't been able to breathe, was suffocating just seconds ago. "I love you. I love you. Please never do this again. I love you. I love you. I -"
"Kathryn, " Chakotay's arms quickly circled her grimacing slightly from doing so and he suddenly realized how much he ached and knew he had to be out for some time. It took both Doc and Tom to pry them apart. Kathryn holding herself again as the two checked over Chakotay, who they had to force to lie down.
"He's fine Captain," Tom spoke softly approaching her. His hand reached out as if wanting to touch her, reassure her as she so often did them. All he got was a nod. "He's sleeping now but Doc is confident. Working on a treatment plan now then he'll tell you more."
"Thank you." Kathryn's eyes told him it was for more then just now but the last week. He put up with her the most due to his shifts in sickbay. Tom just smiled and moved away turning at the office to watch with a sad smile as his Captain crawled onto the surgical bed, forced herself between the much larger body and clam shell. Knew it had to be digging into her. "You big idiot."
Tom chuckled at her mumbled words and tapped his comm badge. As he watched Chakotay's arms wrap around his Captain he knew life on board was going to get interesting. "Paris to bridge."
"Tuvok here," Tuvok spoke and the pilot heard the tension in the Vulcan and around him.
"He woke up," he gave a moment for the soft cheering before continuing. "You may want to prepare a brig cell though for when he's released. He decided it be smart to ask who the Captain was."
"How is she?" Tuvok's question was no longer a surprise. If not on duty the Vulcan was with his Captain and Tom could hear it, despite his humor and those on the bridge. Could hear the concern the man had for such a trick being played.
"I think she'll be fine. Sleeping actually if you want to stop by." Tom barely heard the on my way before the link was shut. From the Doc's office, with Doc beside him he watched as Tuvok entered and moved to the pair on the bed. Both men smiled as the Vulcan carefully tended to the pair. Putting a pillow between the captain and cold metal surface behind her. Pulling a second blanket over the pair.
Tom shuck his head as it was now Tuvok sitting down beside them. Having moved the chair back against the wall. Knew no one was getting near either of them without the security chiefs permission. Silently wondered if either would ever be allowed of the ship. Chuckling, he got back to work knowing he would never have the depth of connection, of affection, these three held for each other. Not even with B'Elanna, but he didn't mind. He knew that sort of connection was rare and felt privileged just to witness it.