Characters are not mine, but the story is.
4:00 p.m. - August 15, 2005/Completed: 11:35 a.m. August 17, 2005
Author's Note: Thanks to the ladies of VAMB for their suggestions and ideas.
This is an episode addition the Star Trek: Voyager episode, 'Memorial'
Kathryn Janeway sat alone in her darkened quarters, her unseeing eyes staring at the streaks of light flashing by the viewport.
The doctor had said depression was a normal part of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Normal. She scoffed as the word flitted across her mind. Life was anything but since Voyager had left orbit of Turakis.
What was frightening was that nearly the entire crew was affected by the memories of the massacre at the Nakan colony. They were hardly in any shape to really comfort each other.
As a result, Kathryn Janeway, being the consummate captain, showed her crew a strength and leadership that, in reality, she did not feel. And what *did* she feel? She tried to name the myriad of emotions that weighed down her heart but there was no way to label them.
She would never forget the look on Chakotay's face when she made the decision to repair the memorial on Turakis. She knew he'd wanted so badly to destroy it. Her gaze locked with his as she had stated her decision. She had seen the expression on his face only once before, when she had made the decision to form an alliance with the Borg. Now that expression haunted her, along with the images of the massacre.
It was he that she wanted to turn to, but as she had watched him work through his pain, she couldn't bring herself to compound his anguish by adding her own.
So, for the past three weeks, Kathryn Janeway stood a part from the rest of her crewoffering unconditional support, maintaining a familiar routine all the while ignoring her own needs, suppressing her own grief. She buried herself in reports, drank lots of coffee, and hardly ate. The Doctor had all but threatened to force nutritional supplements down her throat, but to no avail. She just wasn't hungry.
And her command wasn't suffering. In fact, she had led Voyager through two hostile territories with minimal damage and casualties. Those battles had been welcome distractions.
But now, Voyager was in a quiet sector of space and every thought in her head seemed to have been magnified. When she wasn't in the ready room working, she was in her quarters not sleeping not crying not anything. That was it, she realized. Her emotions were so intense, that she actually felt nothing. No tears. No anger. No sorrow. Nothing.
In recent days, the techniques she had used to repress her emotions were not as effective as they had been, so now she began to augment them with whiskey and soda. Irish whiskey to be exact. The good kind. The kind her father drank. Centuries old Bushmills Original. The kind, when drunk by itself, was smooth like velvet as it made a balmy path down her throat, creating a warmth as it settled in her stomach.
But today, she had abandoned the soda, preferring the more immediate numbing effect of the whiskey as the synthehol moved quickly through her blood stream. As she sipped her whiskey, the door chimed. Knowing exactly who it was, she ignored it.
The door sounded again. "Go away," she muttered, her words somewhat slurred.
"Kathryn!" Chakotay's voice could be heard through the door.
"Go away!" she said louder, her voice raw and hoarse.
There was a brief moment of silence before she heard the doors open and close. Kathryn closed her eyes and took another sip of her drink. She knew he was standing near the door, but even that far away, his presence was stifling.
She opened her eyes and resumed staring out the viewport, ignoring his presence, even though she was acutely aware of it. She caught her breath as she felt him move closer. "Leave me alone, Chakotay."
"You've been left alone far too long already."
Kathryn downed the last of her drink, choking slightly on the alcohol as she swallowed. "It's better this way."
Chakotay closed his eyes in exasperation. Why did she always have to do things alone?
He tread closer and she moved away, still not looking at him.
"Don't." Her voice was barely audible.
"Don't what?" he asked as he moved closer still. He watched her back away as though she was afraid of him, stopping only when a bulkhead blocked her path. Chakotay noticed her knuckles turn white as her grip tightened on her empty glass.
"Don't touch me, Chakotay."
Chakotay extracted the glass from her hand and tossed it on a nearby chair. "You have to let go, Kathryn."
He watched as her fingers curled into fists and her chest heave as she struggled to maintain her composure. "Kathryn "
Suddenly, she lunged at him, shoving him away with the heels of her hands. "I told you to leave me alone," she hissed.
Surprised by her sudden action, Chakotay lost his balance and found himself staring up at her from the floor. She was glaring down at him, nostrils flaring as she took a step toward him.
Chakotay scrambled to his feet then stood his ground and she approached him. "I'm not leaving you alone, Kathryn."
He steeled himself for another attack, but Kathryn stopped a breath away and simply stared up at him, her expression unreadable. He steadily returned her gaze.
Her eyes seemed to search his face as though she were looking for something. He noticed a slight tremor in her bottom lip and he knew the protective shield she'd built around herself was weakening.
"Allow yourself to grieve, Kathryn." He repeatedly used her name to remind her that she was still human. That she didn't always have to be in command.
She crossed her arms over her chest and gave an indignant snort. "That's not going to bring them back."
"Who?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"The Nakan!! Relocating at night was poor strategy. We should have "
Chakotay gripped her shoulders and gave her a little shake. "It wasn't your fault!"
Kathryn broke away from his grip, her eyes blazing with anger. "Don't you think I know that?! I know that colony was wiped out over 300 years ago! But I can't stop seeing innocent civilians being hit with particle weapons! I can't stop hearing the screams of the children as they watched their parents die! I especially can't forget the smell the stench of their bodies as they were vaporized! How can I can we... forget that??!?"
Silent tears streamed down both their faces. Without further comment, Chakotay pulled her to him and held her tight against him.
She pushed forcefully against his chest, struggling to break free, but he took advantage of his greater strength and maintained his steadfast hold, even though he knew he'd have several bruises to contend with later.
Finally, Kathryn's resistance to his close hold on her evaporated, but she remained stiff, her arms still hanging limp at her sides. It was not long before he felt her sag against him, her body becoming flaccid as all her energy went into the quiet, yet dignified, sobs that shook her body as grief finally overwhelmed her.
It was a good while later that Kathryn finally quieted, still not moving except to breathe.
Chakotay had begun to believe she'd fallen asleep on her feet when he felt her fingers grip the bottom of his shirt as she leaned in even closer for support. "Tired," she whispered. "So tired."
Instinctively, his lips brushed against her forehead as he tried to comfort her. "I know, Kathryn. I know."
Suddenly, Kathryn felt herself lifted by strong arms and she soon found herself gently laid on her bed. Gentle hands brushed hair away from her face as she closed her eyes.
As she felt him move away, she opened her eyes a little bit and grasped his hand and repeated her earlier words, not knowing what else to say. "Tired," she murmured.
She felt a comforting squeeze in return. "I know, Kathryn. I'll remove your boots and you'll be able to sleep."
Kathryn nodded, letting his fingers slip from hers. The last thing she was aware of was a gentle tug on her right foot.
As Chakotay covered his captain with a nearby blanket, he paused, looking down at her, noting how peaceful her elegant features had become. However, within that peacefulness, the prior week's stress was evident her normally soft, high cheek bones now had an angled look and her eyes seem lost within the dark circles that surrounded them.
With one last caress of her hair, Chakotay exited her bedroom. He didn't think he'd be able to forgive himself for allowing her to suffer unaided for so long.
By the time he entered his quarters, his eyes were moist with unshed tears. He hated to see her in such pain, but knew that she was finally on the path towards healing. He knew she needed him now as much as he had needed her over the last few weeks.
He took off his boots and slipped under the covers without changing his clothes. He stared up at the ceiling as he replayed some of the events of the prior weeks. He regretted it had taken him so long to see her anguish. His grief had made him selfishly blind to blind to her pain. But as he had recently rediscovered, no matter how much you wanted to change the past, it simply wasn't possible.
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