Chakotay POV flashback
My eyes fluttered, barely staying open as I approached our front door. Having a six month old baby is really making me consider taking up Kathryn’s coffee habit.
The apartment is cold and dark and I see the figure of my occasional lover asleep on the couch with our daughter bundled in her arms. I say occasional, because, well it is only occasional. I know I’m only apart of her life because of Rachel. Whilst Kathryn was, one could say, touchy with the crew of Voyager, that’s usually as far as she likes to go with showing affection, even to me. She has taken to motherhood well, but even in front of me, she can be somewhat closed off with the baby. It took a lot for Kathryn to let me move in. I told her it was best that I did in case she went into labour early or if something was to happen. Slowly, she let me. We do share a bed and cuddles almost every night, but she is reluctant to go further. And as Rachel, as neared six months, those walls have slowly gone back up. As of Monday, Admiral Janeway is back on duty.
I reach down to pick up Rachel from her mother’s arms and Kathryn stirred.
“Hey. Your home early.”
“Let those young cadets home early. They're going to need to get their strength up with Admiral Janeway back on Monday.”
She laughed quietly, careful not to wake the baby. It was rare for our baby to sleep!
“They ask a lot about you actually.”
“Really? And what could that possibly want to know about me!”
“How you bet the Borg. Our baby. Oh and a popular one lately is when are we going to get married.”
Her face dropped. She hated talking about marriage. She made is clear from the beginning of whatever this is, that yes, down the track we might become soul mates, but we are never going to get married, ever and that nothing will ever change that. She told me she has had her heart broken too many times and that it’s bad luck for her to be engaged. I said scrap the engagement, we'll just tie the knot and she made sure I regretted that by ignoring me for a week!
“I know I know. But things have changed. Don’t you think Rachel would want to know how much her parents cared about her by seeing them get married.”
“She’s six months old Chakotay, I doubt she would remember it.”
“I not saying now…”
“And I’m saying never. I love you I b-”
“But not enough to marry me?”
“No! I just… I just can’t see myself getting married. We don’t have to be married to care about each other.”
“No, but it highlights just how much we care about each other. A symbol of our love.”
“Chakotay, I’m not willing to lose you and I’m sure that what will happen if I say yes because it’s happened twice before.”
“That’s nonsense, Kathryn!”
“Chakotay, I am not going to marry you now or ever and that’s final okay! I’m going to bed.”
And just like that, she left us for bed. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get the woman to marry me. Maybe a deathbed confession. My heart breaks a little every time she tells me no. I’ve been patient. Some would say a little too patient. I waited for seven years. Now I’ve got her, but not all of her, some of her and slowly I feel it will be none of her. If it wasn’t for Rachel I know we would not be anywhere near this situation, we probably wouldn’t even be together, but sometimes I feel that we are only sticking together for her.
Rachel somehow managed to stay sleeping through all of that and even when I placed her in her crib which is when she always wakes up.
I walk past the couch, which is my usual sleeping spot after arguments. I know we will probably get to the point when sleeping separately becomes the new normal but we’re not there yet so why start now.
The left side of the bed has always been hers. She likes to watch the sunrise. My side is cold and her back is to me. As I bring up the covers and place a hand over her hip, she moves away slowly. Why do I even try?
Rachel POV flashback
My first away mission as a cadet was a complete success. There is something about space and exploring you know! But at the same time, I missed mom and dad heaps!
The usually beautiful garden at the front of our house is a little overgrown. Maybe Mom’s been too busy at work to tend to it. Gardening has to be Mom’s only creative (if that even describes it) side.
The smell of familiar coffee engulfs my nose as I walk through, despite the fact that it’s 0530hrs on a Sunday, the one day of the week they both like to sleep in.
Maybe they got told we were docking a little early and are up having a coffee waiting for me! I creep up the stairs, I’m going to surprise them! As I approach their bedroom door, I see the light on. I can see the familiar figure of my mother sitting in bed drinking her coffee, reading through some PADDs. Where’s Dad?
I’m startled by a quite nose downstairs. Making a dash before Mom spots me, I go an investigate. It’s coming from the guest room. It’s Dad.
I open the door to find him wide awake in the middle of the bed.
“Rach? What are you doing home so early?”
“We docked early. Why are you down here?”
“It’s good to have you back. Come give your old man a hug?”
I embrace him but he’s cold, not his usually warm self.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Hm, what was it?”
“Dad, what’s going on? Why are you sleeping down here?”
He breathed in deeply.
“Your Mom and I decided it was best that we sleep in different rooms. And I agree with her.”
“But you and Mom love each other. You always seem so happy around me.”
His face dropped. I knew as soon as I said it, ‘around me’.
“You’ve been lying to me! All these years, that’s why your not married isn’t!”
He hugged me to try and calm my tears.
“Rachel shhhhhhh. You know your Mom is never forthcoming with affection, and I try and try and can never break through. We are not separating Rachel, just not sharing a room. Giving each other some space. She’s stressed out from work out the moment.”
“She never wanted me, did she? And you're only here because of me.”
“That’s not true honey, she loves us both very much, just, in her own funny way. And now that you're progressing through the academy, you also have to see her as an Admiral, and you and I both know she takes that very seriously.”
Little did I know, that Mom had been woken by all the commotion, and was standing outside Dad’s door, listening to everything. But instead of coming in to comfort her daughter who had been away for a month, she walked away, back to her work.
Chakotay goes missing, POV Kathryn
“I’m sorry Admiral. Take as much time as you need. Kelly out.”
My eyes remained stuck on the symbol as the transmission ended.
Missing. Chakotay was missing. Maybe he finally got sick of me and ran away.
I packed up my things and began to get ready to go home. As I walked the corridors of Head Quarters I was met with the same expression from every person I passed. One of sympathy. I don’t need their pity.
The house was cold and quiet.
Damn, maybe I’m starting to miss him.
The guest bedroom, that he had made his own over the past several years, light was left on. How strange. I stepped inside. I don’t remember the last time I came in here. It was probably just before he left a few weeks ago. I couldn’t sleep one night and decided I needed some company. We would do this every now and then. Sneak back into each other’s bed like we actually missed each other. We both had been increasingly going on more away missions, particularly since Rachel moved out. I did miss him when he went away but I more so missed having some else in the house so I didn’t feel so alone. Rachel would come and visit sometimes, but she’s got a new man in her life so that keeps her occupied.
His shirts still smell like him. That familiar smell I became all too comfortable with when he first moved in with me. I missed that smell.
No. I can’t lose him. I told him years ago it would take a deathbed confession to get me to marry him and maybe this is it. Yes, I tell him I love him, but I never really show him. I need to do more of that if I get the chance.
A dark shadowy figure appears in the doorway.
“Mom? What are you doing”
“Ah Rachel, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”
She came to sit next to me on the bed.
“What are you doing in here.”
“Rachel, there is something I need to tell you.”
“Mom, I know. I have just been contacted and given my first commission as first officer.”
“What do you mean?”
“Captain Harry Kim is taking Voyager to find Dad and I’m going to be his first officer.”
“Mom, I’ll be fine. I leave at 0500hrs, so I came to say goodbye. We will find him, I promise.”
I ran a hand down her cheek.
“I’m so proud of you. Promise me one thing, Rachel. We have been testing out a new long-range transporter. I’ll send you it furthest coordinates. I want to be there on Voyager when you find him.”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s a promise then.”
Chakotay was awakened suddenly.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Just a nightmare.”
“Your sweating Chakotay.”
“What was it, honey?”
He looked down and saw her wedding ring shining in the darkness.
“Nothing. Just something from the past.”
She crawled closer into his arms.
“I was having a nightmare too.”
“Care to share?”
“It was from when you went missing. Promise me Chakotay you’ll never do that again.”
“I promise. Now that I have made you my wife, I’ll do anything!”