Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, the ship, the universe etc, everything but my mind. (although why they would want that is...)
Beyond All Reason
Second place in over the hill Third place in Purple Comet Birthday
“Kathryn, I said no and I meant no!” Chakotay paced the ready room, making every effort to keep his voice low and even.
“Chakotay, I know you hate these things but the crew..”
“NO!” His shout caught Kathryn completely off guard and she involuntarily took a step backwards. “I’m sick and tired of ‘it's for the crew’.”
“It’s not only for them. ” Her voice wavered a bit. “It’s ..”
“Kathryn, it’s not for me, because I don’t want a damn party or presents or any of the nonsense that goes with celebrating this age thing.” He was as angry as she had ever seen him and it totally confused her.
“Chakotay, it’s not like fifty is old or anything.”
“Damn it, NO!” His voice grew louder and menacing; Kathryn backed away again. Chakotay was as surprised by her reaction as she was at his. “Kathryn.” He reached out and she backed away further. “I know it’s only a party, but…”
“I don’t want it and I wish for once you would just respect my wishes and undo whatever is planned for tonight.”
“I’m sorry you feel this way. But it is already planned and it’s for tonight and it is your birthday.” She forced a smile hoping to ease some of the tension in the room.
“Go ahead and have your party, but I won’t be there!”
“This is just crazy, we shouldn’t …”
“You think I’m crazy, Kathryn?” He slammed his fist down on the desk and Kathryn fled to the other side of the room. “Do you?!”
Chakotay was shouting as he crossed toward her, his eyes were ablaze with anger and something that she couldn’t place. Kathryn looked at her husband and for the first time felt fear. She knew, on some level, he would never hurt her but there was definitely something there to be afraid of; she just wasn’t sure what.
“Kathryn!” He said her name in low growl and she felt the fear in the pit of her stomach and the tears welling up in her eyes. “Kathryn, answer me!”
As Kathryn backed away from his advance, she triggered the door mechanism and it slid open to the bridge. Chakotay was standing closer now, towering over her with burning eyes. She turned and ran across the bridge to the lift, an agonized sob escaping as the doors closed behind her.
Tom turned toward Harry, who just shrugged. Tuvok raised his eyebrows and the bridge crew immediately turned their eyes to their stations, but their attention was still on the obvious argument that happened in the ready room. Everyone knew they argued, all married couples argued; hell, they had even heard a few of the more heated ones, deck three was not that well sound proofed. The ready room was however, and to have heard Chakotay’s ‘no’ meant that it was delivered very loudly.
Tom reasoned by the Captain’s reaction, that it was a personal discussion. That woman running from the bridge in tears was clearly Kathryn; the captain would never visibly react like that. Chakotay just stood in the doorway glaring after her; Tom was glad it wasn’t at him. Finally, he stepped back and allowed the door to cut him off from the prying eyes of the crew.
Chakotay paced the ready room like a caged lion. He hated this birthday and he hated what it was doing to him and mostly he hated what he had just done to Kathryn. He wanted to follow her, but he was too angry, too deeply, wildly, irrationally angry. He knew she wanted to have this party for him and he had tried to talk her out of it, but no amount of gentle persuasion had worked. She didn’t understand; he couldn’t celebrate this. He slammed his hand against the bulkhead. How could she understand? He had never explained. He collapsed on the couch, hanging his head and let his own tears take over.
Kathryn had gone to their quarters. She thought he might follow her, but when he didn’t part of her was secretly relieved; she wasn't up to another argument. She threw herself on the bed and cried until she had no more tears to cry. Washing her face and replicating a cup of coffee, she took a seat on the couch and tired to fathom what had just happened. They were both acting strangely, so unlike their ‘normal selves’. Kathryn wasn’t happy with her behavior but at least she understood it. She was at a total loss to explain Chakotay’s. He didn’t want a party, he had told her that over and over, but he always said that and he never before reacted like this. There was something in his eyes when he yelled at her and it had nothing to do with the party, but before she worked on what it was she had to do something about the party.
“Janeway to Neelix.”
“Neelix, I’m sorry for the short notice but I need you to cancel the party for tonight.”
“Is something wrong, Captain?”
“No. Well, I’m not exactly sure right now. If you could just handle this for me, I would appreciate it.”
“Certainly, Captain. Is there anything else I can do?”
“Thank you, Neelix, but I don’t think so. Please just try to get it canceled with a minimal of fuss.”
“Yes, Captain. Neelix out.”
That settled, she had to decide on a course of action. The most direct course, and usually the best, was to speak with Chakotay. He should have had time to calm down by now and with the party canceled he should be happier. Kathryn’s inquiry to the computer, however, told her he was on the holodeck and the privacy lock had been engaged. Being captain, of course, she could override the lock, but they had a long-standing agreement, that if one of them engaged the privacy lock the other would respect it. A small ship like Voyager didn’t allow anyone much privacy and no matter how much they loved one another, living and working together day after day took its toll. Chakotay obviously needed his time alone; she wouldn’t intrude.
Chakotay was on the holodeck staring at the energy grid. He had tried several programs but nothing seemed right today. Chakotay thought, maybe a vision quest would help but his medicine bundle was in their quarters and Kathryn was there; he couldn’t face her right now. He knew he should talk to her but she had been so moody lately he hadn’t found the right time. The computer beeped it’s warning, his holodeck time was almost over. He checked and found that Sandrine’s was running; he wasn’t ready to go home yet.
When Chakotay didn’t show up for dinner, Kathryn checked again with the computer. His holodeck time was long over, but now he was at Sandrine’s. Kathryn was really concerned, Chakotay never did things like this, but she was getting more than a little angry too. She considered going to Sandrine’s but having a show down in front of the crew was probably a very bad idea, especially on his birthday.
“Hey, Old man!” B’Elanna joined Chakotay at the bar. “What the hell you doing here? I thought you were sick.”
“No.” He didn’t look at her.
“When he canceled the party, Neelix said you were out of sorts.”
“And what did Tom say about it?” He snapped.
“Well, you were out of sorts—sorta.” She shrugged
“Look, B’Ella, I don’t want to offend you, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Hey, I know you don’t like parties, but Kathryn was so pleased to have the perfect present for you and she planned this whole party, not just appointed some one to handle it and she…”
“Damn it!” He slammed his drink down and stormed out of the bar.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” B’Elanna ran after him, grabbing his arm.
Chakotay shook B’Elanna off his arm with so much force that she fell back against the bulkhead just as Tom exited the lift.
“Shit!” Tom steadied B’Elanna. “Are you crazy?! That’s my wife you…”
Tom’s words were cut off when Chakotay picked him up and slammed him against the bulkhead.
“Don’t ever say that again!” Chakotay growled.
“Easy, big guy.” Tom hadn’t seen that ruthless look on Chakotay’s face in years, but he knew to be afraid of it.
“Chak.” B’Elanna gently placed her hands over Chakotay’s. “Put him down, Chak.”
Chakotay froze. He looked at Tom and over at B’Elanna. He eased Tom back to the deck and dropped his head to his hands.
“Chak?” B’Elanna wrapped her arm around him. “Hey, talk to me. Please let me help.”
“No one can help. I’m going crazy. I’m hurting all the people I love.”
“You are not crazy.”
“Kathryn said I was crazy. Tom said I was crazy.” He lifted his head and looked at her. “B’Elanna, I think they’re right.”
“No. You're angry but you are not crazy.” B’Elanna put her arm around him and led him to the lift; Tom followed. “Come and talk to me. Tell me why you think you’re crazy.”
Chakotay allowed B’Elanna to bring him to her quarters. Tom fixed them some tea, while B’Elanna made Chakotay comfortable on the couch.
“OK, can you tell me why you got so --- upset about this party?” B’Elanna carefully chose her words.
“It wasn’t just that. It’s this whole fifty thing; the party just emphasized it.”
“What’s wrong with fifty?” Tom eased into the conversation. “It’s not like it's old.”
“It’s not the age exactly. It’s what it represents.”
“It was..” He ran his fingers through his hair, getting up and walking to the view port. “It’s then that it started to happen.”
“What happened?” B’Elanna followed him
“My grandfather. The voices, the hallucinations, he slowly went crazy.”
“That was your grandfather and a long time ago. It has nothing to do with you.” B’Elanna was trying to reason with him but he just stared and shook his head.
“B’E.” Tom joined them. “Remember our trip into chaotic space?”
“Yeah, what does that have to do with this?”
“Chakotay has a dormant gene that predisposes him to the same cognitive disorder his grandfather had. It was activated by, what the captain called, a nucleotide resonance frequency. That’s why Chakotay was able to communicate with the aliens.”
“OK, but what does that have to do with now?”
“My grandfather’s activated by it self around the age I am now.”
“And now you think this is happening to you?”
“Look at my behavior, B’Ella. I tossed you against a wall, pinned Tom and had Kathryn running in tears from the bridge. This is not the behavior of a rational man.”
“Yeah, man what did you do to her?” Tom had trouble clearing the image of Kathryn running across the bridge from his mind.
“I told her I didn’t want the party, but..” He shook his head. “I don’t know she’s been so jumpy, emotional, she tried to talk me into it and I got mad. She said I was acting crazy and I just lost it. You saw what I did to you.”
“God, Chak, you didn’t .. Spirits! Chak, tell me you didn’t do that to Kathryn.” B’Elanna was on the edge of panic. “Chakotay, did you hit her, push her or..”
“Spirits, no. I never touched her. I just yelled and she ran out crying. I don't know what's wrong with her.”
"Well, it is very unlike you to yell, Chak. Maybe you caught her by surprise."
"Kathryn doesn't surprise easily. Besides, it's even more unlike Kathryn not to yell back."
"Maybe she's worried about you. Have you told her any of this?"
"She knows about my grandfather. She knew at the time how much it concerned me."
"But you haven't told her it's been on your mind?"
"No, I didn't want to worry her."
"You didn't..?" B'Elanna smacked his arm. "Man you are crazy, but not from any dormant gene. What do you think she thinks about all this? You go around yelling, you..." She moved closer, getting right in his face. "She doesn't even know where you are-- does she?"
"I haven't spoken to her since she left the bridge."
"B'E, she can ask the computer." Tom just didn't get it; at least Chakotay had the good grace to look sheepish.
“OK, so maybe you are both crazy.” B’Elanna shook her head, throwing her hands in the air and shooting Tom a disgusted look. "First, go talk to your wife, then go see the doctor."
"I can't tell her this." Chakotay went back and sat on the couch.
"Since when can't you talk to her? She was your captain and your best friend long before she was your wife. Now all of a sudden you can't talk to her?"
"What am I supposed to say? 'Captain, your first officer is nuts'-- or maybe 'Kathryn, your best friend is crazy' or how about 'darling, you husband is losing his mind?'"
"Chak, don't you see? Nothing has really happened to you. All that happened was that you saw 50 as a marker of some kind. You were afraid that you would suffer the same hallucinations as your grandfather and you let yourself get carried away by it. You worried yourself sick over this. That's what has you acting crazy and I bet you have Kathryn in the same state." B'Elanna sat next to him placing an arm around his shoulder. "Go home and talk to her. Bottling this up inside isn't good for you and right now it can't be doing wonders for Kathryn either."
"But what if it's true? I can't condemn Kathryn to a life like that. She will have to relieve me of duty, which will be hard enough, but I can't ask her to spend the rest her life with a crazy old man."
"That is not your choice to make. Besides the aliens activated this and Doc shut it down, right?"
“So, he’ll know if it is active again and he already knows how to deactivate it.”
"She's making sense here, Chakotay." Tom sat across from them. "Talk to Kathryn and see the doctor."
"Kathryn, may not talk to me, after the way I've been acting." He smiled for the first time in days. “She might not even let me in.”
“If it was B’E in that position, she would have stripped me of my command codes and locked me out of everything. Hell, I 'd be damn lucky not to be in the brig by now. Lucky for you, you only have to deal with Kathryn.”
"Maybe I'll go see the doctor first." Chakotay stood, still a little leery of finding out.
"I think you should tell her."
"No, B'E, let him go and find out. It will be easier to talk to her if he already knows there is nothing to worry about."
"And if I find out there is?"
"You won't." Tom tried to sound positive, but he didn't know enough about this to be sure.
"OK, but I'm going with you just to be sure." B'Elanna stood and took Chakotay's arm.
Kathryn was restless. She was trying hard to be patient and let him come to her, but it didn’t seem to be working. First he locked himself in the holodeck, then he had gone to Sandrine’s and still later when she asked again, he was at B’Elanna and Tom’s. She couldn’t understand why he wanted to spend his birthday with everyone but her. She had cried and pouted; she had worried and cried some more, now she was becoming very angry.
“Computer locate Commander Chakotay.”
“COMMANDER CHAKOTAY IS ON DECK FIVE, SICK BAY.”
That was it; she had enough of this. If he was in sickbay something was obviously wrong and she needed to find out what. Kathryn stormed out of their quarters, torn between fear and anger. She raked her fingers through her hair and never even noticed the crewmen staring at her as she stalked to the lift.
The doctor examined Chakotay, running multiple scans and then repeating them. He assured Chakotay that the gene remained dormant and what he had been experiencing was simply his own anxiety. The best treatment the doctor could prescribe was for Chakotay to heed his own advice and share his burdens. Keeping his fears bottled up inside only deepened his anxiety.
“All right Doc., but we can keep an eye on this, right?”
“Commander, if it will make you happy, I will run a scan everyday.”
“And if something changes?”
“If I detect any change at all, we will immediately start treatment.”
“I’m ..” Chakotay looked at B’Elanna and back to the doctor. “I’m beginning to feel really foolish here.”
“Don’t feel foolish, Commander. You had some legitimate concerns here. Just remember to voice those concerns in the future.”
“I will.” Chakotay nodded. “Doc, one more thing.”
“What are the chances I could pass this on? I mean, if we have children some day, could I pass this to them?”
“Well, yes it's possible.” The doctor turned toward his office. “You’re free to go, Commander.”
“Doc, how possible?”
“I’d say it's pretty possible.” The doctor turned back with a sigh. “Probably about 50/50.”
“Well, there’s a compelling reason not to have children.” Chakotay half mumbled as he climbed off the biobed.
“You don’t mean that.” B’Elanna was again at his side.
“Chakotay, you have always wanted children.”
“I’ve changed my mind”
“Chak, that’s …”
“Crazy, B’Elanna?” His voice raised just enough to be heard on the other side of the room; Kathryn stopped in the doorway and listened. “No, it may be the least crazy thing I have said all day. I do not want children, not…” A loud gasp caused him to stop mid sentence and turn just in time to see Kathryn flee sickbay.
“Shit!” B’Elanna smacked the bio bed.
“Kathryn.” Chakotay called after but she was gone. “What? What the hell did I do now?”
“Chak.” B’Elanna looked at Tom who shrugged, the doctor who shook his head, then she took hold of Chakotay’s arms. “Go find her.”
“What do you all know?” He studied their dogged expressions.
“OK, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but you are just too damned thick today.” B’Elanna ignored the warning look the doctor gave her. “Chak, the present she had for you, oh spirits, the one she was so happy about, so sure you would be happy, too..”
“B’Elanna, what are you saying?”
“She’s pregnant, Chak, and she was so sure you would be thrilled.”
Chakotay closed his eye, dropping his chin to his chest, he took several deep breaths.
“Computer, locate Captain Janeway.”
“CAPTAIN JANEWAY IS ON DECK 15 SECTION 4 JUNCTION 16”
“The plasma relay room?” B’Elanna didn’t know if she was more puzzled by that or the smile that slowly appeared on Chakotay’s face.
“It’s OK.” He smiled and nodded. “I know where she is going.”
Chakotay made his way to deck 15. It had been a while since he was down here. He couldn’t help but smile when he remembered the day she first showed him this tiny hideaway. He remembered thinking that maybe she was crazy bringing him down here. Section four junction 16, the plasma relay room, a room with a small closet which if you knew how to do it, led you to a tiny bubble on the edge of the ship. Made almost totally of transparent aluminum, being inside it was like free floating in space. Kathryn had lined the bottom with large pillows and the space was just large enough for two people to maneuver comfortably. Until she shared it with him, it had been Kathryn’s secret. B’Elanna wasn’t even aware of it, although she would have discovered it if she studied the out side of the ship, but then who looked at the outside of a starship? He made his way into the bubble.
“Kathryn.” He called softly as he ducked into the room; she didn’t answer, just moved aside to give him room to sit. “You were too easy to find.”
“Only for you and only if you wanted to.” She was sitting with her back to him, just gazing at the passing stars.
“Everything. The party, the way I’ve been acting, not talking to you about this.” He took her shoulders and leaned her back against him; she didn’t resist. “For what you heard me say in sickbay.”
“Because they told you?”
“No, but yes, B’Elanna told me. She didn’t want to spoil your surprise but..”
“Why did you say that?”
“I’m scared.” He wrapped his arms around her and she placed her hands over his. “You remember me telling you about my grandfather?”
“Yes, he had some cognitive disorder, hallucinations. I remember, you carry the gene.” She snapped around to face him. “It's still dormant isn’t it?”
“Yes, the doctor just confirmed that, but I’ve been worried because his hallucinations began at my age and got worse as time went on.”
“But the doctor already knows how to stop it—doesn’t he? I mean if it becomes active.”
“He's pretty sure he can, but he is also pretty sure I can pass it on to my children.”
“I see and so you..”
“Yes. It was just panic and you always said we shouldn’t have kids out here and ..”
“How long have you been keeping this from me? Why didn’t you talk to me?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while but it’s only the last few weeks that it got really bad. I didn’t want to worry you and I was scared. I thought if you knew how frightened I was ..”
“What? That I would think less of you? Chakotay!”
“I know, it's crazy. I guess that’s the whole point. I was so afraid of becoming a crazy old man that I made myself crazy.”
“Don’t shut me out, Chakotay.” She rested her forehead on his. “It’s the worse thing you can do to me.”
“I really believed I was going crazy and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to tell you and I certainly didn’t want you to be stuck with me like that.”
“Please know that you can tell me anything. I might scream at you or fight with you but you’ve heard all that before. I’ll get over it.” She lifted her head to look into his eyes. “When I said ‘for better or worse, in sickness or in health, until death do us part’, I meant every word of it. We are in this together—forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Kathryn, I love you. I’m so sorry I spoiled all your plans.”
“You didn’t spoil them, I did. You didn’t want a party and I tried to force it on you. I’m sorry, I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t see had badly you were hurting.”
“Funny how it all seems so simple when we talk about. How could I ever forget that?”
“I'm not sure, but we both lost sight of that. Let’s try to remember it in the future.”
Chakotay shifted their positions, stretching out across the pillows and drawing her down next to him. Kathryn snuggled close to his side.
“So tell me about my present.”
“Are you sure you want it?”
“Yes. It scares the hell out of me right now, but you know it’s what I always wanted.”
“Well, you have to wait another 34 weeks and I hope you won’t be disappointed when she’s born.”
“It’s a girl? I mean she’s a girl?”
“Yes, are you OK with that?”
“OK?” He laughed and hugged her closer. “It’s great. I hope she is just like you.”
“Oh, spirits, I hope not! I hope she has your gentleness, your peace.”
“You are my peace.” He kissed the top of her head. “You saw what happened when I pulled away from you.”
“It’s all right now.”
"More than all right. I love you." He slipped his had between them to slid over the almost unnoticeable round of her belly. "Thank you for the perfect birthday present."
"I'll always be crazy about you." She placed her hand over his. "Both of you. Happy birthday, Chakotay."
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