DISCLAIMER:  You know the drill---I don't own them--The entire Trek Universe belongs to Paramount.

Fourth place in Baby Mine contest
 

RATED: G

This story was inspired and written as a sequel to a wonderful story by Saffron, but it isnt necessary to read that one first.  If you would like to read the original story, click here   A Random Act of Kindness
 

Kashyk was on his way home. It wasn't his usual schedule.  He had been away for three days and as much as he hated to admit it, he missed her.  How had this happened to him?  She was a gaharay, for god's sake--a beautiful one, but, a gaharay just the same.  He had taken her ship and she was his prize--officially awarded to him by the Imperium.  She was his property and yet she rarely let him touch her.  He had tried once to force himself on her, after all it was his right; he couldn't do it.  Oh, he was much stronger, physically anyway, but he didn't want her that way.  He remembered the fire, the passion of the woman on that ship.  He remembered the way she had kissed him.  That's the woman he wanted, but she refused to show herself.  This woman was stubborn, strong, silent.  She refused to conform, wouldn't be a dutiful slave.  Kathryn cooked, which he knew she hated to do; she cleaned; she shopped and did all the things a good little house slave should -except one.  Of course, no one else knew that.  His friends and colleagues all envied him.  From their point of view, she was perfect.  She obeyed all the rules, took good care of him and his home, never spoke or questioned him in front of others.  Yes, perfect, until they were alone.  The problem was that as much as she defied him, refused him, questioned and provoked him, he still thought her perfect.  How had he lost himself to her?

Kashyk entered the house; it was quiet.  He called to her but she didn't answer.  It was early for her to be out; maybe she was still sleeping.  He walked through the silent house toward the bedroom.  It was clean, neat everything in its place; the bed was made.   There was an odd noise, sort of a grunt, but not quite.  He turned toward the sound.  The bathroom, that's where she must be, the door was closed--another noise and then a flush.  She came out into the hall, a little unsteadily.  She didn't see him at first.  He liked to watch her like that, when she didn't know.  At times like this she was closest to herself, but today something wasn't right.  She was pale and shaky; he advanced toward her.

"Kathryn?"  He spoke quietly, so he didn't frighten her.

"Kashyk, I didn't expect you until later."  Her voice wasn't as strong as usual.

"Are you all right?  You don't look well."

"I'm fine.  I must have eaten something that didn't agree with me."  She still held a hand on the wall to steady herself.   "Can I get you something?"  A little of the sarcastic fire returned.

"No, perhaps you should lie down."  He ushered her to the bedroom.

"Touching, but I'm fine."  The stubbornness in her voice was betrayed by the fact that she did lie down on the bed.

Kashyk stood and watched her.  Maybe she was right, maybe it was only something she ate or a local virus; he would let her rest; she would be better later.

"I need to check in.   I'll be back later."  Kathryn didn't answer and he silently left the house.

~~~^^^~~~

Kashyk had been detained much longer than he expected and it was dinnertime before he returned to the house.  This time there were lights and music; he heard Tchaikovsky playing.  Kashyk had been sure to copy her musical database for her before leaving Voyager.  He entered to the smell of dinner cooking, not burning this time; she was getting better in spite of herself. It felt right to be coming home to her. How could that be?

"Well, you seem much better."  He found her in the kitchen humming to herself.

"Yes, I told you it was nothing."  Kathryn had been smiling when he came in; now the smile faded.  "Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes."

"Good, I'll change."  He watched her work for a minute before leaving; she may adjust to this life ---in time.

They had a quiet dinner as usual.  Kashyk told Kathryn about his trip and she pretended to listen.  They had coffee in the living room, listened to more music, and retired to their separate bedrooms.

A few days later, he awoke to that retching sound again.  This time, he knew what it was.  Kathryn had been sick for days, but he had said nothing and she never mentioned it.  He was afraid of losing her.  When had that happened? When had he become 'attached to her'?  He approached the door quietly and opened it.

The sight of Kathryn, on her knees, retching, pale and weak broke his heart.

"Kathryn," He bent to touch her. She just grunted and rested her head on the seat.  "Enough, I'm taking you to a doctor."

She turned to protest.

"No! You will go."  He left the room to make arrangements.

They had traveled in silence.  Kathryn didn't want to see the doctor and she had said not a word to him since they left the house.  She was with the doctor a long time and Kashyk sat in the outer room quietly observing the people around him.  They were mostly Devore, but a few others, slaves, like Kathryn.  These were the lucky ones; some one cared for them in some small way, or they wouldn't have been there.  This doctor had been Kashyk's friend a long time.  He was one of the few who treated other races.  He was good; he would take care of Kathryn.

"Inspector."  The nurse called to him.  "The doctor would like to see you."

"Doctor?"  His concern was evident to his old friend as he entered the room, eyes flashing between the doctor and Kathryn.  "Kathryn, are you all right?  Will she be allright?"

"Kashyk, old friend, calm down.  She will be fine."  His friend smiled at him; Kathryn looked away.  "Congratulations."

"What?  Why?"  Kashyk was clearly bewildered, as he looked from one to the other.

"Kashyk, you are going to be a father."  Kashyk just stood with his mouth open so the doctor continued.  "According to my calculations and with Kathryn's help, I would say in about five months."  He walked over and clapped him on the back.  "Congratulations, take her home but be careful.  I'm a little concerned about her age.  From what she tells me of her species, she is older than most first time mothers.  Take care of her."  The doctor left them alone.

Kashyk just looked at her.  They lived in separate rooms; she had not allowed him to touch her in many, many months.   He took her arm and silently led her out, past the anxious faces in the waiting room.  The trip home was also quiet as he tried to figure this out.   Finally, he hit on a possibility.  He had given her a present, for an old Earth holiday she had told him about, Christmas.  He had brought two of her former crewmembers to see her.   He had given her only one hour, and she had been so happy later.  He liked to see her happy and had even considered bringing others to see her.  What a fool he was.  When they got home, she went to her room and he followed.

"Your Commander!"  It wasn't a question but an accusation.  When Kathryn turned her back and didn't answer, he grabbed her arm and turned her around.  He gripped both arms and shook her.  "Tell me!"   It was a deep growl.  She stared at him without answering.  "Kathryn!"

"Yes."  She stared at him defiantly, but there were tears in her eyes.

Kashyk held her arms tightly, his mind whirling.  His anger was evident and his grip so tight he cut off her circulation.  Their eyes were locked together and he wanted to hit her, needed to hit her--someone-something.  He flung her down on the bed.

"Someone will die for this betrayal!"  He spun around to leave the room.

"Let it be me."  Her voice was strong and defiant, she sat up and faced him and he turned to her, shock on his face..

"What!?"  He stepped closer to her.  "What did you say!?"

"Me, if someone must die -- it should be me."  Kathryn stood and looked directly in his eyes.

"You would die in his place?"  He stared at her in amazement, grabbing her arms again, locking his eyes with hers.

"Yes."  She stared, never moved, never flinched.  He threw her back on the bed and left the room.

Kathryn was afraid of what he would do, not to her; she didn't care about that.  Chakotay, she was afraid for him.  She knew Kashyk was a powerful man; he could get things done.   If he wanted Chakotay dead, he would be.  She stayed in her room all day.  She knew he was still in the house; she could hear him.   When evening approached, she went to the kitchen to prepare his dinner.  He was already there, preparing food when she entered.

"Kathryn."  He spoke softly now.  "Are you all right?"  He came and examined the deep purple bruises on her arms.

"It's nothing."  She stepped around him to her counter.  "I'll finish this."

"No, it's ready.  Sit down I'll bring it."

Kathryn went to the table and he served dinner.  They didn't speak or look at one another for a long time.

"I won't do it."  He suddenly broke the silence and she looked up startled.  "I won't hurt him."

"Thank you."  She struggled to answer and looked away.

"I'm sorry---sorry I hurt you."

"I'm OK."  She looked up at him, in his eyes she saw the truth. He really was sorry.

"How do you feel?  Can I do something for you?"

"No."

They had nothing else to say, so dinner was finished in silence.  The days and weeks that followed weren't much better.  Kathryn had grown too large for her clothes, so he brought her new ones.  His friends noticed and congratulated him; he quietly accepted.
 
 

~~~^^^~~~

Kathryn was in her sixth month, larger than he thought her body could be, when he came home and found her on the kitchen floor. She was doubled up, clutching her belly.  A noise somewhere between a groan and a pant escaped as he tried to help her up.  He could feel the panic rise and he fought to keep it down.  He called the doctor and scooped her up, carrying her out to meet him.

Kashyk paced outside the room.  He was so frightened. But of what?  Would he lose her, her child, both?  Why should he care?  It didn't matter; he did care that was all.  It was a long time before his friend came out to greet him.

"How is she?"  The panic was evident in his voice.

"Kashyk, sit down."  His friend guided him to a chair.  "She's OK...."

"The baby?"

"The baby is fine, for now."  He watched him relax a little.  "I told you I was concerned. She mustnít try to do so much.  If you want this child, than you must get her some help."

"If I want it?  She would be devastated with its loss."

"I see."  The doctor smiled at his friend.  "I would not have thought it of you but it is evident and I can't say I blame you.  She is a remarkable woman--gaharay or not."

"What?"  Kashyk just look at him confused.

"You obviously love her or you wouldn't be concerned for a child we both know isn't yours."

"You know?"  Now it was Kashyk's was surprised.

"Yes, I was afraid your DNA would not be compatible, so I tested the child; it's human."  He watched his friend.  "You already knew that, didn't you?"  It was more a statement than a question.

"Yes."

"You must consider something.  When it is born, it will be evident it's not yours.  How will you handle that?"

"I don't know. I haven't planned that far."  He considered his friend.  "You could make it appear Devore, couldn't you?"

"Yes, in time.  If you would like, no one else need to know."

"May I see her now?"  His head was swimming with questions, but he needed to know she was all right, before he worried about anything else.

"Yes, she is awake but you may only stay for a short time."

The doctor led the way to her room and left them alone.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better."  There were tears in her eyes and it broke his heart.

"It will be all right, the doctor will see to it.  The baby is fine."

"I know, thank you."  She looked up at him and took his hand.  "Thank you for taking care of us."

Kashyk only looked at her holding his hand and tried to smile.  After a short time, Kathryn fell asleep and he left.

Three days later, he brought her home.  Kashyk helped Kathryn into the house and insisted she go straight to bed.   The doctor had advised her stay off her feet as much as possible and  Kashyk intended she follow his orders.   He settled Kathryn in her bed and told her he would have lunch for her shortly.  She dozed on and off and finally there was a soft knock on her door.

"Come in."

"Hi.  How are you feeling?"

"OK, I really can get up, you know."

"Yes, maybe tomorrow,  if you promise not to do too much."  He smiled at her.  "I have a surprise for you. I got you some help."  He signaled to some one in the hallway and she entered the room.

"B'Elanna?!"  Kathryn shouted in surprise, tears immediately coming to her eyes.

"Captain."  B'Elanna came forward into Kathryn's open arms.  They both cried.

"I'll leave you. I have work to do.  I'll be home for dinner."  He looked at B'Elanna.  "Be sure she eats and stays in bed."

"Yes, sir."  B'Elanna hated Kashyk probably more than any of the others, but she knew how to survive.

"Kashyk."  Kathryn call and he turned.  "Thank you, but I don't..."

"Later, we'll talk later.  Right now you rest. I have some things to take care of."  He left them alone.

Kathryn and B'Elanna talked all afternoon and when she explained about Kashyk's Christmas gift, she saw B'Elanna relax slightly.  Life had not been the best for B'Elanna, but she was a survivor.  She knew where most of the crew was and had been able to spend some time with Tom, but that was months ago, before Christmas.  Now she wasn't sure where he was.

B'Elanna was about to fix dinner, which struck both of them as funny, when they received a communication from Kashyk.  He simply told Kathryn he was called away and would be gone for several days.  He would let her know when he would be back.  It wasn't unusual for him to suddenly be called away, so she just accepted it.

Kathryn and B'Elanna had almost a week together, before Kashyk returned.  He was glad to be home, but quieter than usual.  They had dinner together, the three of them, and then he left the house, claiming a business commitment.  It was late that night when Kathryn woke to the sounds of some one in her room.  She lay still, afraid to move, and waited as the figure approached.  He sat on the bed next to her.

"Kathryn."  He whispered, gently shaking her.

"Kashyk?"  She tried to sit up, but at almost seven months, it wasn't easy.

"Yes, shh.  Just listen."  He leaned in close.  "We need to leave here.  Will you be all right to travel?"

"I'm fine, just help me up. Why?  Where are we going?"  She whispered as he lifted her to her feet in the dark room.

"Here, put these on. No lights."  He went to the hall and returned with B'Elanna.  "OK, let's go.  Be careful."

The three of them left the house in darkened silence.  Kashyk loaded them into a transport and sped off into the night.

"Where are we going?"  Kathryn finally asked.

"You will see, soon. It's better if you don't know."  He looked from one to the other.  "If we get stopped, if we don't make it... It would just be better."  He stopped talking then and offered no more.  They rode in silence for another hour.

It was still dark when they docked.  It was a dreary and out of the way space station.  It appeared to be deserted.  Kashyk helped Kathryn out of the transport and signaled B'Elanna to follow.  The walked silently down several corridors, making numerous twists and turns.  Finally Kathryn saw a slight glimmer of light ahead.  Kashyk held her arm to stop her and moved B'Elanna up next to her.

"Wait here."  He walked on ahead and called out a signal and the lights came up.  They weren't too bright but bright enough to see.

"Voyager!"  Kathryn gasped.  "My god, it's Voyager!"  She looked at B'Elanna, who stood speechless and then at Kashyk.

"Come on."  He smiled at her and she and B'Elanna came forward.  "B'Elanna, I believe her to be space worthy.  You can check her out.  Most of the crew is aboard."  He gave B'Elanna a light push in Voyager's direction.

"Kashyk?"  Kathryn couldn't take her eyes off the ship.

"She's yours Kathryn.  Take her."  He watched her face.  This is what she needed to come alive and he could give it to her.

"How?  Why?"  She still stared at the ship.

"Kathryn, there is no time for that, now.  Let's go aboard.  We can talk as you prepare for departure."  He took her arm and led her onto her ship.  "It won't be easy.  You may need to fight your way out.  I can get you out of dry dock and a short distance, but it won't be long before they discover what I have done."

Kathryn boarded her ship, acknowledging her crew as she went.  Most were here except for the few that Kashyk had told her died in detention.  Kashyk took her directly to the bridge, explaining on the way that he was scheduled to take Voyager to a distant outpost and it would make a perfect cover for her escape.   She listened to all his plans.  It had taken him weeks to prepare this deception and he had taken many risks for her.  Kathryn couldn't begin to understand.  She stood on the bridge trying to hold back the tears.

Kathryn checked over systems, gathered reports from B'Elanna, assigned teams to work on Voyager's weaker systems and assessed their situation and the ship's condition. They could do this.  Tuvok was on the bridge; he even allowed her to hug him.  She cried when Harry kissed her cheek and received hugs from numerous others, before Kashyk ushered her into her ready room to rest.

"I can't rest! We have to be ready."  She protested.

"You have taken care of everything you need to, now let your crew do the rest.  We both know they are capable."  He guided her to the couch.  "Sit.  Put your feet up."  He bent and lifted her feet."

"Thank you, Kashyk."  Kathryn took his hand, looking into his eyes, trying to understand. "Why?"

"Kathryn,  I didn't understand before and now I do."   He sat next to her.  "This is where you belong."

"But you risked so much for me?"

"I understand now.  It's part of what makes you so special and your happiness is worth any risk."

"Kashyk?"

"You taught me this."  He smiled at her confusion.  "That night. You remember, when I was so angry--when we found out about the baby...."

"What about it?"

"You offered--no-- you demanded  to die in his place. I didn't understand that. I never knew anyone could love another that much. Now, now I finally understand."

"Tuvok to Janeway."  The unfamiliar sound of the comm startled her.

"Janeway here."

"Captain, we will be ready for departure in fifteen minutes."

"Thank you, Tuvok.  I'll be there."  She looked at Kashyk.  "What now?"

"I will request clearance and you can take her out.  Your helmsman will be here any minute, and..."  He looked at her sadly just as the door chimed.  "Stay,  I'll open it on my way out."  He left her and opened the door, changing places with the man there.

"Kathryn."   He had already been briefed by B'Elanna and knew what to expect.

"Chakotay."   She tried to jump up, but he was at her side before she could maneuver her cumbersome body off the couch.

Chakotay knelt before her, taking her in his arms.   They held each other, kissing, crying and then he released her, moving back to look at her.  He came back placing his hands on her belly; he bent to kiss it.

"Kashyk to Janeway."

"Yes, Janeway here."  The mixture of laughter and tears was evident in her voice.

"Captain, I have received clearance.  You may take her out whenever you are ready."

"Thank you, Insp...Kashyk.  On my way."  She smiled at Chakotay.  "If you'll help me off this couch."

"Aye, Captain."   He lifted her to her feet, kissing her before following her to the bridge.

"Captain on the bridge."  Kashyk said as he watched Kathryn cross to her command chair.

"Report."  She gave the familiar command and the bridge crew apprised her of their condition and readiness. "Take us out, Mr. Paris.

Voyager left the dock, and quietly slipped away.   They knew they had more than a week before they would be missed at the outpost and they intended to make the best of it.  According to their calculations they would be almost out of Devore space in that time, following the flight plan Kashyk had laid out.   The crew worked round the clock to ensure they maintained maximum speed and all went well for the first nine days.

It was 0200 on the tenth day when the klaxons sounded red alert and the call for battle stations resounded throughout the ship.   Kathryn struggled to her feet, rolling out of bed with a grunt.  Her eyes met Chakotay's. Kathryn saw the deep concern in his eyes as she  pulled on a uniform. She hailed the bridge.

"Janeway to the bridge."

"Captain, a Devore warship has been detected on an intercept course.  ETA twenty-seven minutes."

"Understood, Lieutenant.  On my way."   She smiled at Chakotay.  "Let's go."

Voyager was traveling at warp seven, currently their top speed,  away from the ship, but it was gaining on them.   They charged weapons and prepared to fight their way out.   The ship would be within firing range in minutes and the atmosphere was tense.  All hands were at battle stations,  Tuvok at tactical, Harry at OPs and Tom at the conn. The command team were in their places and B'Elanna in engineering.  They were as ready as they were ever going to be.

"Captain, an unauthorized shuttle launchis in progress."  Harry reported.

"Who, Mr. Kim?"  This shocked her.

"The Inspector, Captain."  Harry looked up at her.

"Stop him."

"Can't. He's out."

"Tractor it!  Open a channel."  But before they could do it, the ship was rocked with incoming fire.

"Return fire, Mr. Tuvok.   Full power to the shields."  She hung on to her chair to keep her seat. "Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Paris."

"Captain, the tractor beam is off line."

"Can you raise the shuttle?"

"On screen, Captain."

"Inspector, return to Voyager now."

"Sorry, Captain.  I can't do that.  You won't make it on your own."

"You will only get that shuttle distroyed.  Return to Voyager."  The ship rocked around them as the battle continued.

"Kathryn, I learned this from you--remember?"

"I remember."  It was almost a whisper as she watched his smiling face disappear from the screen.

The battle continued, the Devore ship was too concerned with destroying Voyager to notice or even care about the small shuttle approaching it.   The shuttle was barely visible on the view screen as it approached the plasma exhaust of the much larger ship and then it disappeared into the big ship.  The blinding flash signaled the explosion as the shuttle flew directly into the battleships engines. The shock wave sent Voyager rolling and spinning in space, forcing it hard to starboard.  Panels exploded, sparks flew and people were tossed from their stations.

When the ship stopped tossing, the crew picked themselves up and the damage reports flooded it.  The Commander picked the Captain up from the floor.  She stayed on the bridge long enough to assess the damage and see that repairs were underway and then retired to her ready room.  She refused to see the doctor until the truly injured had been taken care of, but agreed to rest in her office until then.  The same old stubborn Captain, Chakotay reluctantly left her there shaking his head.

When the smoke cleared and the damage was repaired, Voyager continued her journey to the Alpha Quadrant.  It took most of their time for the next month just to keep her running even after they had safetly cleared Devore space.  Once repairs were complete the crew began to relax, but also to mourn their losses.  A memorial service was held on the holodeck for all the crew lost in battle and in the detention camps of the Devore Imperiam.

The crew stood at attention as each name was read and each crewmember eulogized.  The last to be honored--but as the Captain said--not the least was the Devore Inspector who had made their escape possible and in the end sacrificed his own life for their freedom.

As the crew filed out of the holodeck, Kathryn suddenly gripped Chakotay's hand, glancing up at him in surprise.  He froze at the look on her face.

"Kathryn?"

"Chakotay...."  She stopped her eyes grew wide and her fingers tighened around his.

"Oh, god!"  The look of panic that crossed his face made Kathryn laugh.  "Chakotay to sickbay"

"I'm right here, Commander."  The doctor answered from just behind them.  "What is it?"  He looked from one to the other.  "Oh.  Well, don't just stand there looking dumb---bring her to sick bay."

The crew waited and paced for hours.  The command team, worked harder then they ever had before, but finally at 0500 hours, a  shipwide channel was opened and the cries of their newest crewmember alerted the crew to her arrival.  In much the same style as her mother would have, Katie Janeway-Chakotay announced her own arrival as she ushered in a new era for the Starship Voyager.

The End.

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