Disclaimer: All but one of the characters belong to Paramount and I don't care.
Second Place in LTTY Die Seven Die
Kathryn was preparing a late dinner. She laughed to herself, if he were more himself these days he would find that funny. Kathryn was preparing dinner. But it seemed they had reversed a lot of their roles lately. She was always trying to make him eat or sleep, work less, and relax more.
Two months ago Chakotay and Seven had given up on their ill-conceived relationship. It had been more difficult for Chakotay to admit its failure to Kathryn than it had to agree to end it all with Seven. After all, Seven had been a part of it; she knew as well as he did that they had made a terrible mistake. Chakotay kept putting off telling Kathryn. He knew Kathryn would accept the news of their break up in much the same manner she had accepted the beginning; a forced smile and a nod of her head, maybe a few kind words. But he had seen the flash of betrayal before the captain’s mask fell into place when she learned they were dating and he clearly remembered the twisting knife in his heart at the sight of her pain. Chakotay knew Kathryn would never be unkind but he couldn’t bear to see “I told you so’ in her eyes. He didn’t want her to think he would come crawling back even if that’s exactly what he wanted to do. And most of all he couldn’t stand it if she rejected him, which she had every right to do.
Kathryn waited almost a week. The news was all over the ship, it wasn’t the kind of thing you could keep a secret very long, but he still hadn’t told her. She had cornered him in the ready room several times but it didn’t seem to be the place for this conversation so she didn’t press him. He made excuses every time she invited him to her quarters and avoided any situation that placed them alone together. Finally, she just barged in.
Chakotay had thought of ignoring the chime but he knew it was Kathryn and Kathryn only waited so long. He knew she had heard the rumors and now wanted to hear it from him. She had let him dance around it for a week. If he didn’t let her in this time she would probably just override the lock and the argument about that would only make this harder.
“Come in, Kathryn.” Chakotay went to the replicator, ordered and canceled coffee, then replaced the order with wine.
“Wine?” She took a seat on the couch without further invitation. “So you are going to tell me.”
“More than you want to know, I’m sure.” He handed her a glass of wine and sat beside her. “I’m not sure where to begin.”
“You don’t need to give me details, Chakotay. I already know that you and Seven broke up.” She winced at the pained look on his face, fighting the urge to wrap her arms around him. “These things are never easy. I only want to help - if I can.”
“Oh, Kathryn.” Chakotay sighed given her a weak smile. “I don’t deserve you.”
“Isn’t that supposed to me my line?” Kathryn laughed trying to ease the growing tension she felt in him.
“Not after I betrayed you, broke every promise I ever made to either of us and went off with, god!” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Seven, of all people – Seven!”
“This isn’t supposed to be about me. I came here to see how you are.”
“In the end it’s the same. There is nothing about me that doesn’t include you in some way, I just lost sight of that for awhile.” Chakotay ordered more wine and wandered around the room as he continued. “It was fun. In the beginning, we both had fun. It was new and exciting and immensely flattering. Hell, there wasn’t a guy on the ship that didn’t want to be me at some point.”
“That worked both ways. There was more than one woman jealous of Seven.” Kathryn came to stand beside him as he stared out the view port.
“I’m sorry.” He looked down; she only smiled and nodded. “And now I’m dumping this on you. I..”
“Go on. It’s why I’m here.” She took hold of his arm, resting her head against him as she watched his reflection in the view port.
“It got old. She learned first hand about relationships—some things good, some bad. We both learned we weren’t meant to be together, but it took some time to admit that. In the end it was harder to face you than her.”
“Oh, Chakotay, I’m sorry. I never want you to feel you can’t come to me.
“I should be the one who is sorry.”
“No, you were just trying to make a life. Spirits know I encouraged you often enough to do that. I want you to be happy.” Kathryn shrugged. “Part of me even hoped it would work.”
“And the other part?” Chakotay held his breath as he tilted her chin up watching the mist cloud her eyes.
“The other part is selfish - that part wants you to wait. It wants you to wait until I can share that life with you.”
“Oh, Kathryn.” He pulled her tightly into his arms. “What have I done?”
“You haven’t done anything wrong.” She hadn’t moved out of his arms and she could feel the shudder in his chest. “What is it? She looked up to see him fighting his tears.
“Let’s sit down.” He led her toward the couch. “Kathryn, there’s more.”
“More? Is something wrong?”
“Something is very, very wrong and yet it feels so …”
Chakotay sat beside her on the couch; he studied her expectant face for several seconds before dropping his head into his hand. Kathryn waited quietly for him to compose himself.
“She’s pregnant.” He heard the gasp Kathryn couldn’t control; he couldn’t look at her.
Kathryn hadn’t been able to stop the shocked gasp from escaping; it only made his discomfort greater. She saw the slight movement of his shoulders and knew he was fighting desperately for control. This time she didn’t resist. Kathryn took him in her arms and held him, soothing him, as his emotions burst forth, his tears dampening the front of her blouse.
“I’m sorry. I keep saying that and it can’t begin to make up for what I’ve done to you.”
“You didn’t do any of this to hurt me. The fact that I was hurt is entirely my own fault.” Kathryn kissed the top of the head he once again allowed to settle against her chest. “I love you and I have been so unfair to you. You have every right to seek the happiness I refused to share with you.”
“Don’t tell me that surprises you. I know I have never said it but I think we both know it to be true.” She held him till he stilled again, then gently raised his head. “Want to tell me about it? How do you feel about this baby.”
“Kathryn, you know how I feel about children. I’ve always wanted children, not with Seven, but that’s how it is.”
“She wants this too. She wasn’t sure at first, but she’s happy now. We’re not sure how it will work yet.” He saw the pain creep back into her face. “We won’t ever be a couple, we know that. But we will both raise this child.”
“I see.” Kathryn smiled and tried to move off the couch to compose herself, but he stopped her. “It’s OK.” She answered the question posed only in his eyes. “I’m just jealous of Seven again. I’ll be OK.”
Chakotay pulled her into his arms and they spent the rest of the night huddled together on his couch.
That had been almost two months ago. It wasn’t a secret that could be kept for long and soon the entire ship was buzzing with the news, which only made the adjustment harder. Seven had held up very well in the beginning, but soon began to experience difficulties. The crew was concerned about Seven, but most were happy to see that each crisis only served to solidify the command team’s relationship.
Seven experienced small discomforts at first, which the doctor dismissed as normal. It wasn’t long however before he became concerned with the lack of development exhibited by the fetus. Scans, tests, endless prodding and poking had finally pointed to the fact that Seven's Borg nanoprobes had not passed to the baby and therefore they considered it a foreign body which they prepared to attack.
The doctor began the slow process of trying tone down the activity of the nanoprobes to protect the baby while maintaining enough activity to sustain Seven. Establishing a balance was a delicate process. Seven began to spend a good deal of time in sickbay being monitored and treated and most of the balance of her time regenerating. The Captain was forced to hand Seven's duties over to Icheb.
Chakotay spent a great deal of time trying to take care of Seven and Kathryn spent what time she could trying to take care of Chakotay.
The scales tipped constantly. The level of control that allowed the baby to excel caused Seven great weakness, lowering the levels endangered the baby. They looked for another solution.
The doctor suggested a surrogate mother; Seven disliked the idea and sought another. When he explain the only other alternative he could find was to terminate the pregnancy she refused to discuss it any further and left him standing alone in sick bay. That’s when the doctor had again called Chakotay and sent him to talk some sense into her. Now Kathryn waited for him to return from this latest crisis.
The door opened and Chakotay staggered in letting his exhausted body slump across the couch.
“How is she?” Kathryn brought him a cup of tea.
“Stubborn.” He sipped the tea.
“Will she listen to reason?”
“Not much, but Doc thinks he has a compromise.”
“Yeah, if it works.” Chakotay put his tea down and rested his head against the back of the couch. “Doc thinks he can maintain her long enough for the baby to be strong enough to go into a maturation chamber.” He shook his head. “Sounds too Borg to me.”
“If it works…”
“Yeah, if!” He lifted his head and raised his voice. “Why can’t she just be sensible?” He looked at the deep sadness in Kathryn’s eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s OK.” Kathryn wrapped her arms around him. “I know how important this baby is to you.”
Kathryn held him, rocking him gently until they both fell asleep. It seemed like only minutes but it was seven hours later when the call startled them into awareness.
“Sickbay to Commander Chakotay!” The doctor’s usual calm voice sounded frantic.
“Chakotay here.” He sat up and struggled to wake up, Kathryn along side him.
“Commander, Seven has just been brought to sickbay. I need you here.”
“What is it? The baby?” He jumped to his feet and headed for the door.
“Not exactly. Please get here as quickly as possible.”
“On my way.” Chakotay cut the link as the door open in front of him. “Are you coming?” He looked back at Kathryn.
“If you want me to.” Kathryn had tried to allow Chakotay and Seven to deal with this privately.
“Please.” He held out his hand and waited for her to join him.
As they entered sick bay they could see the doctor working frantically across the room, Tom beside him. Kathryn knew immediately that this was very serious or the Doctor would not have called Tom in to help. She held tightly to Chakotay’s hand as they waited for the Doctor to join them.
“The office please.” When he finally joined them, he brushed past and seated himself behind the desk.
“What is it, Doc?” Chakotay followed the doctor into the office, still holding Kathryn’s hand.
“I’m afraid, Commander, that Seven has not been completely honest in her dealings with me. She has been experiencing much more difficulty than she let on. The scans only provided limited information on her Borg implants and she never expressed any concern. Icheb found her lying on the floor beside her regeneration chamber and beamed her here.”
“How is she? How is the baby?”
“The baby is holding her own right now. I’m afraid I can’t say the same for Seven.”
“You can treat her, can’t you?” The Captain asked into the awkward silence.
“I’m afraid there is little I can do.”
“We’ll put her in statis, until the baby is born!”
“Captain, that will only hold her at this level, it will not allow the baby to develop and when we take her out they will both die.”
“There must be something we can do.”
“I’m afraid that Seven has pushed this beyond my capabilities. Her Borg implants are all failing and I will be unable to sustain her without them.
“She’s dying?” Kathryn whispered the words everyone had avoided.
Kathryn turned to look at Chakotay. The pain and the guilt threatened to overwhelm him.
“She wishes to see you.” The doctor’s voice rang flat behind her.
“Chakotay, you must see her.” Kathryn tried to will him the strength he needed.
“No, Captain. She wishes to see you.”
“Yes, she requested to see you- alone.”
Kathryn took a deep breath and steadied herself before moving toward the bio bed, where Tom still carefully monitored Seven’s status.
“Seven.” She spoke quietly, gently touching the frail arm.
“Captain.” The dull blue eyes fluttered then focused on Kathryn’s face.
“The doctor said you wanted to see me. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Yes.” Seven didn’t have much strength left; she needed to be direct. “Carry this child.”
“I have resisted as long as I am able. Now, like her father, she needs you.” Seven gripped Kathryn’s hand. “Give them both the life I can not.” Seven drifted off without an answer.
Kathryn stood watching the machines pump life into the frail body. She didn’t know if she could do this. She didn’t even know if there was time. She wandered back to where Chakotay stood silently waiting. He couldn’t have heard what Seven asked but the look in his eyes pleaded with her for the life of his child.
“Doctor, is there still time?”
Somewhere Kathryn’s mind screamed all the reasons she couldn’t do this. She was the captain; she had an entire ship to worry about; she couldn’t risk herself for the sake of one crewman; yet she had done it before. The man in front of her said nothing.
“Doctor, Seven has asked me to carry her child. Is there time?” Kathryn never took her eyes from Chakotay’s.
“It's very late. I’m not sure we can make a successful transfer.”
“Is there a chance?”
“Yes, if we move to prepare your body to accept this quickly and if Seven holds on a few more days.”
“And if we are unsuccessful, will I be in any danger?” She made one small concession to the captain’s shouts in her head.
“There are always risks, but no, successful or not you may face some discomfort but you will not be in any mortal danger.”
“Then we'd better get started.”
Two days later the doctor completed the transfer. Afterwards, Chakotay stood holding Seven’s hand promising her they would take good care of her gift, while the doctor methodically silenced the machines around them. As the whirl of machinery died away Chakotay laid Seven’s hand across her stilled chest and crossed the room to where Kathryn slept.
“They’re doing well.” Tom assured him. “She needs to sleep a while but it looks good.”
Chakotay picked up Kathryn’s hand, warm and soft so unlike the one he had just held. He would be forever grateful to Seven for the gift she had given them. She had given them not only this child but a future they may never have shared without her prompting.
“Hi.” Her voice was thick and groggy,and she kept her eyes closed.
“How are you feeling?” Chakotay raised the hand to his lips.
“I’m OK. You need to rest.”
“Yeah, How’s the baby?”
“Tom says she’s fine. Just that you need to rest.”
“OK.” Kathryn started to drift back to sleep.
“Captain, how are you feeling?” The doctor checked his scanner and nodded. “Looks good.”
“Yes, you should be. Your body has just taken on a tremendous responsibility for which it had little preparation. You will need a great deal of rest.” He watched her nod without opening her eyes. “ If you intend to carry this child, you will need to take care of yourself. No long shifts, eat properly, plenty of rest and I want these feet up when ever possible. You should be able to return to the bridge in about three days.”
“OK, Doctor.” Kathryn smiled but still didn’t open her eyes.
“Yes, well. That was much to easy.” The doctor looked from one to the other. “Commander, did she just agree to my restrictions?”
“That’s what I heard.”
“Tell me please, what has happen to our captain?”
“I think, Doc.” Tom snickered as he stuck his head in between them. “I think she just became a mother.”
Chakotay held the tiny bundle in one arm. The clear blue eyes staring up from the delicate tan face mesmerized him. There was a hint of blonde fuzz on the nearly bald head but Kathryn didn’t hold much hope for light colored hair. Suddenly, all the serenity vanished in an ear-piercing whale.
“I think, Annie needs her mother.” Chakotay carried the baby back to their bed.
“She’s hungry again.” Kathryn laughed, adjusting the pillows to support her as she nursed the baby. She tried to hide the doubt she knew he had seen in her eyes. “What will we tell her?”
“The truth. That she is a very special little girl who is lucky enough to have the love of two mothers. One who helped create her and one who gave her life.”
Chakotay settled himself on bed next to them. As he watched Kathryn nurse their child, he thought of Seven and thanked the spirits for allowing these three woman in his life.
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