Chapter 7: Four days
Chakotay awoke with a smile remembering how Kathryn had refused to even discuss the possibility of Neelix providing food for their wedding. As much as he enjoyed teasing her about it, he was concerned that she wasn’t getting enough nourishment for herself and the baby. He also wasn’t sure their ration accounts together would be enough to provide all the food she would need to ensure a healthy baby. This dilemma would require him to use some creative thinking to resolve.
Deciding that thinking of any kind was not first and foremost on his mind this morning as his body was still very sore from his run in with the macrovirus, he determined that a warm soak in the tub with Kathryn would be just what the doctor would order.
He turned over, fully expecting her to be lying next to him. The bed was empty. He decided to avail himself of the technology at his disposal so he could surprise her and drag her into the bathroom for the nice soak he had planned. “Computer, locate Captain Janeway.”
“Captain Janeway is in sickbay.”
Forgetting his sore muscles and having a flashback about the last time the computer had echoed those words, he leapt out of bed, issuing orders to the computer, “Emergency beamout to sickbay for one!” With a blur of light, he was gone.
He arrived in sickbay in the same whirl of light. He immediately scanned the area to find Kathryn on a biobed with the Doctor hovering over her completing a series of scans. He rushed to her side. “Kathryn! Doctor! What’s wrong?”
The Doctor looked away from his scans long enough to run a critical glance over the Commander. “Nothing now that I know the answer to the question that has been just burning up the electrons floating around in my cortical area.”
Chakotay stopped short of the examination table waiting to hear what the Doctor had been questioning. “What question, Doctor?”
Before the doctor could answer, he heard her voice. “Never mind, Chakotay. Why the emergency beam in? Are you ok?”
“I was worried about you. I woke up and you were gone. Why are you here?”
“The Doctor was just checking to make sure the antivirus that I took while trying to rescue all of you has not harmed the baby. I left you a padd on the nightstand explaining as I didn’t want to wake you. I’m sorry, Chakotay, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“I didn’t even look, Kathryn. I just asked the computer where you were…and, here I am. So, Doctor, is the baby alright?”
The Doctor glanced up and down Chakotay again before responding, “Yes, Commander. I’ve completed my scans and all appears to be well with the baby.” With his diagnosis complete, he pushed the button that would remove the screen from over the Captain.
Chakotay helped her up from the biobed and started to leave sickbay.
“Perhaps we should call out for a beamout rather than take the turbolift back to our quarters.”
She couldn’t help but grin, “Well, I don’t want anyone but the Doctor knowing the answer to the big question.”
“I still don’t have any idea what you and the Doctor are talking about, Kathryn. What question?” Chakotay was truly puzzled at their statements.
Kathryn grinned as she explained, “Boxers or briefs, Commander!”
Blushing, Chakotay realized that in his haste to find Kathryn, he hadn’t bothered to put a uniform…or even pants for that matter. “Perhaps a beamout would be a good idea! Computer two for a site to site transport to Captain Janeway’s quarters.”
As they vanished, the Doctor just shook his head and returned to his work.
Once back in their quarters, Janeway turned to Chakotay, wrapping her arms around him, “So was there something special you needed earlier that sent you looking for me?”
He returned her embrace, “Just thought a nice soak in the tub would be good for our sore muscles. You up for it?”
“Sounds heavenly. Lead the way, Commander.”
After a nice long soak in the tub, the Command team was ready to tackle their day. “What are your plans for today, Chakotay?” Kathryn asked since they both had been given the day off to aid in their recovery from the virus.
“I’ll be in the holodeck. I’m working on the setting for our wedding.”
“Would you like some help with that?” Her inquisitive nature bubbled to the surface.
His smile lit up the room, “Oh I’m sure you would like that very much, wouldn’t you? But, this is a surprise.”
She pouted, wrapping her arms around him. “But you know how I hate surprises. Come on, Chakotay let me help! It’s my wedding, too.” For emphasis, she let her hands wander a little lower down his back
He chuckled as he grabbed her hands and pulled them back to a safe resting place. “You are incorrigible; but, I love you anyway. You catch up on your reading, plan the menu and write your vows. That should be enough to keep you busy, don’t you think.”
She reluctantly let him go as she moved to the sofa to begin her reading and planning.
A few hours later
Kathryn stood stretching to relax her taut muscles. She was still a little disappointed that Chakotay had not let her help with creating the atmosphere for their wedding; but she had accomplished a lot in his absence. She met with Neelix and they finally agreed on a menu that she found palatable. She made him promise that there wouldn’t be a leola root within 50 feet of the mess hall for the entire day of her wedding. Tuvok had agreed to officiate and Tom was to walk her down the aisle. Harry was in charge of the music and B’Elanna was her matron of honor. Little did Kathryn realize that by making B’Elanna her matron of honor, she was, unwittingly, putting her in charge of the bachelorette party.
The only thing she had not accomplished was the writing of her vows. Both she and Chakotay had agreed that they would write their own; but now she was second guessing that decision. How could she find the right words to say to him? How does one convey the words resting deep within your soul to tell another that they complete you? How….for once in her life, Kathryn Janeway didn’t have an answer. And, she was running out of time. Only four days left until their wedding. Four days until she could officially call Chakotay her own.
She sighed, picked up the padd she had started to write the words on, and forced herself to try again.
Chapter 8: Party time
The next few days went by uneventfully. There was an excitement surrounding the crew, though, as they prepared for the upcoming nuptials of their command team. Tonight was to be the bachelor party for Chakotay and bachelorette party for Kathryn. She had decided that she was more than nervous about the party than the wedding. The Delaney sisters were in charge of the “entertainment” which, Kathryn was confident, would ensure something less than proper. To make matters worse, Kathryn still hadn’t decided on a wedding dress. B’Elanna had asked her earlier in the day about the dress.
“You have to make sure Chakotay doesn’t see it, Captain. Promise me you won’t let him see it, ok?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem, B’Elanna, as I haven’t even seen it yet.”
“Captain? How could you have not seen your own dress yet?” B’Elanna was more than a bit confused.
Kathryn had given her one of her famous lop-sided smiles. “It’s very simple actually; I haven’t programmed or replicated it yet.”
B’Elanna tried to hide, rather unsuccessfully, her surprise.
“Well, with having to rescue the ship from a macrovirus and all the drama that ensued after that. Along with normal day to day running of the ship, all the extra care I have to take of myself because of the baby…well, I just lost track of time. But don’t worry, B’Elanna, I promise to look respectable tomorrow.”
“OK Captain. I’ll pick you up at 1900 hours to start your party.” B’Elanna was already plotting a surprise for her friend.
“Kathryn, are you ready? B’Elanna will be here soon to pick you up.” Chakotay called to her from the main sitting area.
She emerged from the bedroom dressed in a teal blue strapless dress. The sweetheart neckline clung perfectly to her blossoming chest. The empire waistline of the dress allowed for the extra room her stomach needed and the skirt fell to just above her knees. Her hair was partially pulled back allowing the length to fall gently around her shoulders. A matching comb held the remaining hair in place on the top of her head. She had selected a strappy pair of sandals with a moderate heel that aided her stature. She spun around waiting for his approval. “Well?”
He didn’t reply just stared at her.
“Chakotay! I need a little positive reinforcement here.”
“You look amazing, Kathryn.” He closed the distance between them and drew her into an embrace.
She pulled away some to get a look at him. He was wearing a black pair of casual pants with a black button up shirt. Of course, the top three buttons were undone as he didn’t like anything too tight around his neck. He had to endure the turtlenecks during his duty shift, he certainly wasn’t going to sport that look in his free time. Her hands went to his chest and she leaned in again to inhale his scent.
“Mmmm not only do you look divine; but you smell fantastic, too. You make sure that the women on Risa behave.” She issued sternly but delivered her warning with a smile.
“And what makes you think that the guys will take me to Risa recreated on holodeck 1?”
“Because that’s where all men go for their bachelor party. It’s not a big secret.”
“And you think the men of Voyager are that predictable?” Chakotay asked with a big grin.
Kathryn returned his smile. “I’d be willing to bet a month’s worth of my coffee rations…well, when I was allowed to have coffee…on it!”
Before Chakotay could respond, the door chimed. Both called out “Come in.”
Tom came bounding in with Neelix right behind him. “So Chakotay, are you ready to head to Ri…oh hello Captain. You look amazing.”
“Nice try Tom; but not quite quick enough. I was just telling Chakotay to behave himself on Risa; and he was trying to convince me that you gentleman were not that predictable.”
Tom started to respond; but Kathryn held her hand up to stop him. “Have a good time, gentleman…but not too good of a time.”
They all saluted, “Yes ma’am!”
Kathryn laughed, “Dismissed!”
Chakotay came over and gave her a quick kiss, whispering in her ear, “I promise to behave. What more could I want when all I ever dreamed of is standing right here in front of me.”
A blush crept over Kathryn’s body at his words. She was unaccustomed to such exclamations of love. She coughed slightly, “Well then, I’ll see you tonight.”
“Umm…Captain?” Tom interjected.
“I’m afraid you won’t see him tonight.”
“And why not?”
“Well, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride on the day of the wedding until she comes down the aisle. So B’Elanna and I thought he could stay in our quarters tonight. We wouldn’t want to do anything to jinx this thing now that we’ve finally got you two together.”
Chakotay spoke up now, “You can’t be serious, Tom? You expect me to leave her alone…tonight?”
“Well...” he couldn’t believe B’Elanna had decided that he should come in first and deliver this news; “not exactly alone. B’Elanna was going to stay with her.”
Chakotay shook his head in bewilderment. “So you expect me to spend the night before my wedding with you instead of Kathryn while she spends the night with B’Elanna?”
It was Tom’s turn to laugh. He turned to Neelix, “Now you see why he’s in command…he catches on very quickly.”
Chakotay wasn’t finding the situation very funny. Kathryn put her hand on his arm and interjected, “Chakotay, the important thing is that you get to spend the wedding night with me.”
Realizing that he was outnumbered, Chakotay decided to go along with this crazy tradition. “Fine. I’ll grab my things and then we’ll go. But, let it be noted that I go under protest.”
This time it was Kathryn’s turn to salute him, “So noted Commander.”
A few minutes later Chakotay had grabbed the items he would need up until the time they returned from the wedding ceremony. “Give us a few minutes, Tom, ok?”
“Sure thing Neelix and I will be waiting outside the door.”
Once Neelix and Tom had exited, Chakotay pulled Kathryn into his arms. She reveled in the warmth and strength he exuded. She allowed herself to melt against him her small frame completely encompassed in his embrace. His arms were caressing the bare flesh of her back. She instinctively turned her face up to meet his kiss. Their mouths met with a fiery passion and Kathryn soon found herself breathless under his assault. She was just about to tell Tom that the parties were off and that he would have to tell B’Elanna there was no way she would be apart from Chakotay tonight, when he broke the kiss. “That will have to hold you until tomorrow when I see you at the altar.”
Her lips were still swollen from his kiss and her lungs were still missing much needed air; so she just breathily replied, “I’ll hold you to that, Commander - until tomorrow then.”
He picked up his bag, threw her one of his devastating smiles and headed out to meet Tom and Neelix. On his way out, B’Elanna came in to collect her Captain.
“Captain, are you alright?” B’Elanna asked noting that Kathryn was flushed and a bit breathless.
Kathryn chuckled, “Oh, I’ll survive; nothing that won’t be cured after tomorrow afternoon. I understand you and I are to be roommates tonight?”
“Yes, Captain. I hope you didn’t give Tom too rough of a time about it.”
“I’m afraid Chakotay was his biggest battle. I took Tom’s side on this one. B’Elanna?”
“I think for tonight you should call me Kathryn. You are going to be my matron of honor I think it would be strange for you to be addressing me in my official capacity at least for the next twenty four hours.”
B’Elanna was honored and flustered all at the same time which was an interesting mix for a Klingon. “I’ll…I’ll try Cap…Kathryn. No promises, though some habits are very hard to break.”
Kathryn smiled as she put her arm around the young woman, “Fair enough. Shall we leave then? I’m starving!”
With that, the two women headed towards Holodeck 2 where their party would be held.
Holodeck 1: Simulated Risa
“Tom you have certainly outdone yourself. You must have spent a lot of time on Risa to be able to recreate it in such detail.” Harry offered as the group continued to enjoy the atmosphere and hospitality of the planet.
“Well, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Not to be too cliché, however, it was a tough job but somebody had to do it.” Tom responded as he bowed not so humbly.
“Come on Tom, Tuvok and I will take on you and Harry in a game of pool.”
Harry and Tom looked at each other before responding, “Like that will be fair…but hey it’s your night so just try not to beat us too bad and we’ll try to take it like real men.”
Tuvok just raised his eyebrow while Chakotay grabbed a pool stick, “Sounds good to me. If we win, no strippers tonight, ok?”
Tom stopped, “Are you serious, Chakotay? What kind of best man would I be if I didn’t make sure you got a stripper for your bachelor party?”
Chakotay walked over to Tom so he could speak so only he could hear. “Tom, there’s only one woman I’m interested in seeing less than fully dressed…and she is not in this room tonight. Understand?”
Tom was dejected, but agreed to Chakotay’s terms. “So if Harry and I win, we get a stripper, right?”
Chakotay shook his head in dismay, “Fine, Tom as long as you tell B’Elanna all about it tomorrow.”
Realizing Chakotay had him, “Ok, ok you win. Let’s play pool no strippers. We are so whipped by our women.”
He received a clap on the back from Harry as they walked toward the pool table, “Don’t worry about it, Tom. There are worse things in the world than having a woman to come home to every night. Besides, B’Elanna would kill you!”
Tom grinned knowing his friend was right, “Good point, Harry. Shall we play pool?”
The foursome started the game and played well into the night enjoying synthenol and the company of good friends.
Meanwhile at the bachelorette party in Holodeck 1
Kathryn was escorted in to the holodeck by B’Elanna. She was greeted by most of the female compliment of her crew. They were all seated at what appeared to be an upscale restaurant that must have been known for its ambiance. There were candles on each table and the lighting was muted. Soft classical music played in the background.
“Oh B’Elanna, this is beautiful. If the food is even half as good as the atmosphere, I’m in for a real treat.”
“I can’t take responsibility for this…Samantha’s was in charge of this part. My contribution comes later.” Her eyes sparkled as she shared this information.
The food was amazing and Kathryn enjoyed herself immensely. She was certain Neelix had nothing to do with tonight’s dining experience. The poor Talaxian tried; but he just couldn’t seem to get away from the leola root.
After dinner and dessert, the lights were dimmed further and the curtain opened up on the stage. Seven stepped out and walked to where the spotlight shone. It grew very quiet in room as she spoke quietly. “It is my understanding, Captain, that you and Commander Chakotay had a most difficult time finding your way to each other. It is my hope that now you have found each other, you will not let anything come between you again. While you may have trials and disagreements due to the nature of your occupation, I would like to give you this song as my gift tonight to always remind you that you must listen to your heart first and always.”
As she ended her words, the piano music began and she began singing the lyrics:
“I know there's something in the wake of your smile.
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yea.
You've built a love but that love falls apart.
Your little piece of heaven turns to dark.
Listen to your heart when he's calling for you.
Listen to your heart there's nothing else you can do.
I don't know where you're going and I don't know why,
but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.
Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile.
The precious moments are all lost in the tide, yea.
They're swept away and nothing is what is seems,
the feeling of belonging to your dreams.
And there are voices that want to be heard.
So much to mention but you can't find the words.
The scent of magic,
the beauty that's been when love was wilder than the wind.”
When she finished, there were tears in Kathryn’s eyes. She knew the words were true and very applicable to her and Chakotay. She knew if Q hadn’t pushed them together, she would probably still be pushing him away listening to all the reasons in her head why they should be apart. She vowed at that moment to always listen to her heart when it came to matters of her personal relationship with Chakotay. She walked over to Seven and hugged her, “Thank you, Seven. That was a beautiful gift and very perceptive for a Borg who claims that human feelings and emotion are irrelevant.”
“I still find they are irrelevant at least to me; however, I understand them to be an important part of human interactions. Therefore…” she was interrupted by Kathryn as she put her hand up indicating her to stop.
“I get it, Seven. Thank you for your gift it will always serve as a good reminder to me to listen to my heart. I hope someday…you learn to do the same.” Her raised hand went to Seven’s arm and she squeezed it affectionately.
The Delaney twins stood up next. “Ok, it’s our turn!” They said in unison.
Kathryn inwardly cringed she had no idea what these two had planned. If the rumors were any indication, it was sure to be…interesting. She put on her best smile, though, and replied, “I look forward to it.”
They took her by the arm and had her sit in a chair on the middle of the stage. Kathryn was visibly nervous as she waited for what was next. From the side of the stage walked a rather handsome and well built hologram. He was dressed in a red Starfleet uniform, complete with four pips giving him rank of Captain. He took her hand and kissed it, “Good evening, Captain.”
Deciding to play along for a moment, she smiled and replied back, “Good evening…umm Captain.”
His grin was wide as he spoke his next lines. “I don’t know about you; but I find these uniforms rather confining.” He tugged on the turtleneck as he spoke for emphasis. Somewhere from the back of the crowd, Kathryn heard laughter.
“Well, Captain I believe they were designed for a specific purpose…one of which…” the hologram cut her off.
“One of which…is to look forward to getting out of it every day.” With his words, the material of the uniform disappeared and was replaced by a pair of tight jeans and only suspenders to cover his bare chest.
Kathryn couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, that certainly gives new meaning to the term stripping!” Everyone laughed along with her.
The hologram took her hand and pulled her to her feet. “There’s something I want to show you.”
The blush crept over Kathryn again and she found herself sputtering, “Oh…well, I…that’s really not necessary.” She decided the Delaney sisters were definitely going to spend some time in the brig for this…if Chakotay didn’t hurt them first!
He smiled a dazzling smile and took her by the shoulders. Kathryn tensed waiting for what would happen next. He turned her around and she immediately noticed that the back wall of the stage had been replaced by a very familiar scene. She turned her head toward the Delaney sisters, “Is this where I think it is?”
They both smiled. “Why don’t you go see?”
The hologram released her, but not before giving her a quick swat on her bottom to send her on her way. She whirled back around quickly to give him some choice words; but he simply smiled and then disappeared. She made a mental note to delete his character later; but for now she wanted to press forward. She led the way past the cornfield and up to the large farmhouse that stood a ways in the distance. The ladies all followed. Within just a minute, she saw her. Gretchen Janeway…well, a holographic representation of her, sitting on the porch waiting for her.
Even though Kathryn knew it wasn’t really her, it was an acceptable and desirable substitute at the moment. “Momma!” she called out.
Gretchen stood up and turned toward her, “Kathryn! I’m so glad you could come see me before your big day.” Within seconds, mother and daughter were joined in a strong embrace the tears flowing freely for both women. Finally Gretchen spoke, “So tell me about this Chakotay. Is he a good man? I’m sure he must be if he’s won the heart of my Kathryn.”
Forgetting she had an audience, Kathryn was swept away in the moment. “Oh Mother, he’s my soul mate and my best friend. You would love him, too. I know you would.”
Gretchen smiled at the happiness she saw in her daughter’s face. “Well, if your smile and eyes are any indication, he certainly has made you very happy. I was beginning to wonder if you would ever let go of the pain of your past and move forward. This Chakotay must have cast his love spell over you.”
It was Kathryn’s turn to smile, “Yes, you might say that. It was certainly some type of magic that brought us together.” She thought of Q’s interference that had forced them well her into accepting her feelings and moving forward.
“I’m so glad you’re happy, my Kathryn. It is good to see you again and I look forward to the time when I get to meet this Chakotay. I better get back now and it looks like your friends are waiting for you.” She gestured towards the group of women that all stood there, eyes glistening at the tender moment they just witnessed from their commanding officer.
“Yes, Mother, they are a wonderful group of friends. Please tell Phoebe I love her and hope to see her soon.” She choked back some more tears as she finished, “I hope to see you again very soon as well. I love you.”
Gretchen hugged her daughter again, “I love you, too, my dear.” She walked back to the porch, sat down, and waved good bye as the women began to walk away. Kathryn gave one last look back before the holodeck changed back into the stage in the restaurant.
The Delaney sisters came and stood in front of her, “We hope you liked our gift, Captain. Sorry about the stripper; but we wanted to distract you a bit while the scenery changed behind you. Besides, what kind of bachelorette party would it be without at least one stripper?” They smiled hoping the Captain would forgive them for the distraction.
“Let’s just say you redeemed yourselves. We’ll not mention the stripper to Chakotay, ok?”
“Yes ma’am.” Everyone replied in unison.
She turned to the Delaney sisters again, “And thank you ladies for the beautiful gift. Even though it wasn’t real it was the next best thing and it was incredibly thoughtful.” She gave them both a quick hug.
The remaining gifts from the rest of the crew followed. They included scented candles and oils, lingerie, and some of her favorite lavender bubble bath. Finally, it was time for the last gift of the evening. The gift from B’Elanna.
“Captain…Kathryn, we’re ready for the last gift of the evening. This is the gift from Tom and me.”
“Oh B’Elanna you’ve done so much already and this has been so lovely…what more could I possibly need?”
“Just one more thing,” she said as she brought out a large box. Kathryn couldn’t imagine what in the world it could be. She looked at B’Elanna quizzically. “Just open it, Kathryn.”
Kathryn took a deep breath and pulled the lid off of the box. She gasped at the contents. Surrounded by gold colored tissue was the most beautiful wedding dress she had ever laid her eyes on. “Oh, B’Elanna…” the tears were flowing freely now. “It’s beautiful…I….I don’t know what to say.”
“Just say you’ll wear it tomorrow.”
Kathryn’s eyes were filled with fresh tears, “I would be honored thank you.” She stood and addressed the group of women standing in front of her. “I want to thank each of you both as your Captain and as a woman. Your loyalty and service each day and your thoughtfulness tonight…well, it’s exceptional and I thank you for both. I feel honored to be your Captain.”
After the goodbyes were said, everyone returned slowly to their quarters…hating to see the evening come to an end. They were all excited; however, as tomorrow was the wedding and the family they had become while on Voyager would be together again celebrating a most joyous occasion.
Kathryn kicked off her shoes as she and B’Elanna entered her quarters, B’Elanna followed her lead and lost her shoes as well. They both sat on the couch, just relaxing before turning in for the night.
Kathryn hit her COM badge, “Kathryn to Chakotay.”
“Chakotay here. Did you have a good evening?”
“A most delightful evening. You?”
“Synthenol, pool and good friends what else could one want?”
“Mmhmm, well I look forward to hearing all the details tomorrow evening.”
“That you shall, my love. And I look forward to hearing about yours.”
“Fair enough. Good night, Chakotay. I love you.”
“Good night, Kathryn, I love you too.”
She heard B’Elanna saying good night to Tom. When she was finished, Kathryn reached over and touched B’Elanna’s arm, “Thank you for staying with me tonight and for everything you coordinated with the party. It wasn’t what I expected…but, it was even better than I could have imagined.”
“You’re welcome, Kathryn. Everyone shared in coming up with ideas for what to do. With you being pregnant, it kind of limited the party factor a bit. But someday, we’ll have to throw you a real party.”
Kathryn laughed, “No hurry, B’Elanna…no hurry!”
The two women talked well into the night just sharing stories from their past as two good friends would. Finally the time had come to turn in for the night. B’Elanna made herself comfortable on the couch and Kathryn headed toward the bedroom.
Once inside the room, she went to the closet to gaze at the wedding dress. Without even wondering, she knew it would fit perfectly. She was sure that Tom would have accessed her medical records (as he had clearance for that as the Doctor’s assistant) to get her exact measurements. She wasn’t sure if she was pleased at his attention to detail or disturbed that he had access to such personal information about her. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful dress and tomorrow she would wear it when she said the words that would allow her to finally succumb to the spell Chakotay had her under since the first time their eyes had met.
She closed her eyes and had sweet dreams of eating corn on the cob in Indiana with her mother, sister and Chakotay.