Disclaimer: Paramount owns all the Voyager stuff. Carly Simon sings the song. No infringement intended.
"Coming Around Again"
Daddy breezes in
So good on paper
But so bewildering
Kathryn stared at the ceiling. One arm resting on the empty pillow beside her, back of her hand against her forehead. The other arm lie across her almost flat stomach. She let out a sigh. Try as she might, she just couldnít push the thoughts from her mind.
"He doesnít love me anymore." Kathryn said aloud. The words made tears well up in her eyes. Ever since the baby had been born, Chakotay had been indifferent to her. They had different shifts, rarely saw each other. He hadnít made love to her in months.
She turned over on her side, her body racked in the spasms of her emotions. It hurt. He hadnít touched her, hadnít hugged her, kissed her, held her; nothing. Everything had been fine, until about a week after she gave birth to their daughter.
Kathryn wiped at her eyes, yet the tears kept coming. What had she done wrong? Questions turned and burned behind her eyes, making her head ache. She didnít know what to do. She was usually asleep when he came off duty. She would listen to him go in and check on the baby, then come into their bedroom, where he would sit on the edge of the bed and divest himself of clothing. Then heíd go into the bathroom, take a shower, then go into the living quarters and would eat, finish up work. Chakotay would come back into the bedroom and climb between the sheets, not even kissing her. She would lie there, quietly crying until she had fell asleep. The cycle would begin again with Kathryn.
Tonight was no different. She heard him come in, check on their baby, then go into the bathroom. She heard the water shower turn on and Kathryn pulled herself from the bed. She went to the closet and pulled on leggings and a t-shirt and some comfortable shoes. She picked up a bag from the back corner and put some other clothes in it, and a fresh uniform. Sheíd pick up the rest of this stuff later.
With a backward glance at the bathroom door, she wiped her eyes, then fled their quarters, not sure where to go.
Kathryn had decided she wouldnít be coming around again.**
Chakotay closed his eyes as the water poured over his weary body. Heíd come in again and Kathryn had been asleep again. He quietly checked on his daughter then went in to take a shower. This time, when heíd looked at Kathryn, he could see the moisture on her cheeks. Same thing for the past month and a half. Heíd come back, and she would be asleep, cheeks streaked with dried tears.
He wasnít sure what to do. He loved her very much and he loved their daughter, but Kathryn seemed so indifferent to him. They never talked anymore. She slept so much of the time that he took care of the baby most of the time. Chakotay knew part of the problem lie with him.
Stepping out of the shower, he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist. He came out the bedroom and noticed that Kathrynís side of the bed was empty. He went over and sat, feeling the sheets where she had been. Sheíd been gone for more then a few minutes, for the bed was just barely warm. Chakotay thought that perhaps, she had gotten up with the baby. He rose to go into the nursery when his eyes hit it. The pale pink nightgown she had been wearing, tossed into a puddle in the corner beside the closet.
He went over and picked it up and held it up to his face. It smelled of Kathryn, the light flowery scent. He noticed the closet door, slightly opened, wedged like it was by one of her shoes. Chakotay opened it and looked inside, noticing a few missing articles and one of her fresh uniforms. The drawers of the bureau were also slightly ajar.
Worried, he left their bedroom and entered the nursery. Mary was still in her crib, sleeping, her mouth making sucking motions. He noticed a PADD beneath the bottle on the table to the side of the rocker. Chakotay picked it up to read.
"Chakotay, Iím sorry. I canít go on like this anymore. If Iíve done something wrong, Iím sorry. Iím just so tired of crying myself to sleep. I donít have any energy, I hurt and I donít know why. I donít want to go on hurting. Please forgive me. --Kathryn*"
"Computer, location of Captain Janeway?" He asked.
"Captain Janeway is on Deck Two, section three, cabin 38." The monotone computer voice replied.
"Why would she be there?" Chakotay asked the air. He went back to their bedroom and put on some clothes. Then going to the nursery, he picked up his daughter and headed to where Kathryn had gone.
I know nothing stays the same
But if you're willing to play the game
It's coming around again
So don't mind if I fall apart
there's more room in a broken heart
"I ĖI donít know where to begin." Kathryn said, sitting on the couch offered to her.
"Iíve found the beginning to be the best place, captain."
Kathryn smiled for the first time in a long while. She ran a hand threw her hair and looked out the view port. After a moment, she began to speak. "He doesnít love me anymore."
"I find that hard to believe. The commander has always been fiercely devoted and dedicated to you. Why, he absolutely floated around the ship when he found out he was going to be a father."
"But itís all changed." Kathryn began. She took a cup of tea offered to her. "I guess it started after that accident. Here I was, about to pop, and I was stuck in sickbay. I know he worried. He spent all of his free time with me."
"As he should." Kathryn ignored the interruption.
"He was with me all through the delivery, coaching me the whole way. Because of the nature of my injuries, as soon as Mary was born, the doctor induced the healing treatment to my body. When I came to, Chakotay was no where to be seen." Kathryn took in a shuddering breath. "When Doc released Mary and I, he hardly touched me at all."
"But he helped with Mary, didnít he?"
"Yes, but I was still too weak. Even now, almost two months later, I have no energy. I hurt, but I donít know if itís from a broken heart, a broken spirit or what. I want to sleep, all the time." Tears began fresh, sliding down her cheeks. "Iím just so tired. I held him off for what seemed like forever, then I finally accepted him. I marry him, give him a daughter, now he wonít even touch me. I miss himóus. I canít go on without intimacy and touch. Do you know he hasnít hugged me, kissed me since the week before Mary was born?"
"I donít know." Kathrynís confessor sat down beside her on the couch. "Heís been working double shifts for almost two months because you arenít back up to par. He drags himself to the mess hall, continually reading reports. Everyone has made the comment that heís as bad with coffee now as you are. He's doing his job and your job. I'm surprised the doctor hasn't gotten after him!"
Kathryn looked up at that statement. "I had no idea. Have I been that bad?"
"No. I remember a good friend of mine, Rikala. When she had her first baby, she lost all interest in the things she once loved. And because she lost interest, her husband, one of my other good friends, lost interest too. He threw himself into his work to escape her pain."
"Youíre saying that this can happen to anyone?" Kathryn asked.
"When Naomi was born, Samantha went through something similar, though it wasnít very pronounced or very long. Doc called itó" He scratched his chin in thought. "Post partem depression. At the time, he said it was a natural thing. Maybe, thatís what is wrong with you."
"But what do I do? I love him, but I still donít know what I should do. Go back? Talk to the doctor?"
"Do all of it, captain." He smiled at her. "You love him, he loves you. Donít throw it all away because youíre a little depressed. Iíve always found that talking about a problem, helps to solve them." He stood and gave her arm a pat. "You know youíre welcome to stay here."
"Thank you, Neelix. Youíve helped me a great deal."
Chakotay stepped up to the quarters, holding his sleeping daughter in his arms. He wasnít sure why Kathryn had done what she did. It surprised him that she chose to go to Neelix. In the back of his mind, he expected Tuvok, perhaps even Tom or BíElanna. But Neelix. . .
He wasnít sure he wanted to ring the chime. He hadnít talked to Kathryn in a while and even now, was feeling extremely guilty. Double shifts were no excuse to ignore your wife. But he felt he owed it to her. While he was debating, BíElanna came up to him.
"Chakotay? What are you doing up at this hour? Shouldnít you be in your quarters?"
"Itís Kathryn." He said quietly.
"That bad?" BíElanna asked. She had always been fond of Chakotay, looking to him as the brother she always wished she had had. She indicated to Mary. "Let me. You look like youíre about to drop." She said, beginning to walk toward her quarters. She indicated with her head that Chakotay should follow her.
"Iím not interrupting anything, am I?" He asked.
"No, if you mean Tom. Heís in sickbay, going over the functions of the bio-bed again with Doc. You look like you need to talk."
The entered BíElannaís quarters and BíElanna went in and put Mary in on her bed. "So, itís the captain? Whatís wrong? You have a fight or something?" She said, sitting on her couch with her leg tucked under her. Chakotay took the chair across from her.
"Fight? You canít fight when you donít even talk anymore." He said.
"Youíre kidding? You two arenít even talking? That doesnít sound like the couple weíve all grown to know and love."
"Kathryn hasnít been herself, not since after Mary was born." He sighed and looked at BíElanna. "Part of itís her. She sleeps most the time. Things that once kept her interest, she hasnít touched. She cries herself to sleep all the time. She doesnít talk to me. I donít know."
"Sounds like sheís depressed. Iíve heard of mothers going through it after they have a baby."
"But thereís more. I donít know if youíll understand."
"Try me." BíElanna said, widening her eyes.
"Iím afraid to touch her. This is going to sound weird."
BíElanna laughed at Chakotayís statement. If anything, this whole journey had been Ďweirdí. "Sorry," She said after a moment. "Please, continue."
"I was so excited when she told me about Mary. We hadnít planned it, hadnít even really thought about it. Then there we were, expecting.""What happened?" BíElanna had a good guess.
"The accident. She was hurt so badly and refused treatment until she went into labor. She didnít want to do anything to harm the baby. I spent all my time with her, talking to her, trying to keep her mind off the injuries that could only get worse."
"When she went into labor, I was there through the whole thing. Then I saw Mary emerge from Kathrynís body, and I kept thinking about what a miracle it was; that Kathryn had nurtured and carried this little person within her. Something we both had created."
BíElanna looked at him, slightly confused. "Chakotay, you witnessed the miracle of life. There is nothing bad about that. You were there for the captain and you were there for your daughter."
"But that isnít what bothered me. It wasólike a realization, BíElanna. As with centuries before, we see sex as something to enjoy. Until I saw my daughter leave Kathrynís body, I thought of sex as fun, with no consequences. But there, alive, in front of me, was the proof that sex is more then something to engage in. It has positive outcomes." Chakotayís eyes pleaded with BíElanna to understand.
"I think I see. Since you saw Mary come into the world, you see Kathryn as more then a womanómore then someone who shares your bed and engages in sex with. She is now a mother. From watching your daughter be born, you realized that Kathrynís body had another purpose."
Chakotay looked at her. "I think so."
"And because of this, you donít find her Ďsexuallyí attractive anymore?" BíElanna asked.
"God, no. Of course not. Iíve wanted nothing more then to make love to her. But itís like there is a barrier between us."
BíElanna reached out and took Chakotayís hand. "Chakotay, you broke her barrier before, you can do it again. Donít give up on her. If she is depressed, this is probably hurting her as well."
Chakotay squeezed her hand. "I think I feel better."
"Good. Now get Mary, and go talk to her. Let her know sheís not alone. Sheíll come around."
You pay the grocer
Fix the toaster
Kiss the host Good-bye
Then you break a window
burn the Souffle
Scream the lullaby
Kathryn clenched the blanket Neelix had covered her with. The corner was balled under her fist. Her eyebrows furrowed in the anxious state of sleep. Eyes squeezed even more shut. The dream was bad. Chakotay left her standing, in the corridor, with Mary in her arms. He didnít even turn back to see what he was doing to her, to them.
Eyes snapped open and for a moment, Kathryn didnít remember where she was. She looked around and noticed the different items then the ones she had in their quarters. She half heartedly laughed. Their quarters. Not since Mary had been born did they seem like their quarters. She spied Neelixís Great Forest tree and looked at it. Naomi had once told her about how Neelix said that everyone that ever loved the person was there, waiting for them, watching over them.
"Sure." She whispered. The longer she stared at it, the more drowsy she became. Kathryn tried to fight the sleep, since it was all she was doing as of late. But the temptation was to great. Kathrynís eyeís closed to the room around her.
It was like one of the vision quests that Chakotay had taken her on, yet different. There, it was a beach with the surf pounding the sand. Here, it was a forest. Like the enchanted forests she read about in stories as a child. It was beautiful; green, lush, warm.
For the first time in a long while, when Kathryn woke to an unfamiliar sound, she felt energetic and rested. All she needed now, was to give Chakotay the biggest apology of her life.
Chakotay stood outside Neelixís quarters again, as he had done a few hours ago. BíElanna had wanted him to go talk to her right away, but relented when she saw him dozing off. He didnít remember much after that, except that he had awoken a few minutes ago, a blanket draped over him. BíElanna was asleep on her couch. He had stretched, put the blanket over his friend and had taken Mary with him.
He tried to calm down his troubled mind, trying to allow rational thoughts in. The last thing that Chakotay wanted to do was start in on her. He hadnít honestly thought until his talk with BíElanna, that maybe Kathryn was depressed. And the more he thought about it, the more he realized that he was probably contributing to her depression by remaining away so much, not taking time off, removing himself from her state.
He rang the chime. From within, he heard a grunt, as if someone were just trying to get up. Chakotay stood there, suddenly at a lose for words. What was he going to say to her? How was he going to tell her that he felt horrible for what he had put her through?
Chakotayís thoughts were cut off when Kathryn answered the door.
"Hi, Kathryn." He said. And for the first time in a long while, she smiled at him.
And I believe in love
But what else can I do
I'm so in love with you
"Hi." Kathryn said quietly. She noticed her daughter in Chakotayís arms. She held out her own to gently take the baby from him. Mary stirred a little but continued to sleep as Kathryn gestured with her head for Chakotay to follow her.
"Neelix still here?" Chakotay asked, looking for the Talaxian.
"No, he went to start on breakfast. Weíre alone." Kathryn said, coming from Neelixís bedroom where she had put Mary down.
"I think we need to talk." Chakotay said, watching Kathryn take the place on the opposite end of the couch from him.
"I know." She said quietly.
They sat in silence for few moments, each of them trying to grasp the right words to say to one another. Finally, Chakotay took the silence and began.
"Iím sorry for not talking to you. I failed to see that you were hurting and depressed."
Kathryn sighed and looked at her hands. "I should have talked to you or the doctor before now. I didnít know why I was feeling the way I was. I still donít. I was convinced that you didnít love me anymore and that I was just some burden that only slept and cried."
"Kathryn," Chakotay scooted closer to her. "No. How could you think that I didnít love you anymore. I spent the better part of five years trying to get past you obstacles. I was so concerned with making sure this ship continued smoothly, that I didnít see the pain you were in. I should be the one apologizing."
"I didnít realize what was happening until Neelix spelled it out for me. I was so convinced that you had what you finally wanted, that you didnít need me anymore." Kathryn said.
"Iíll always need you, Kathryn. Didnít I promise you that Iíd stand by your side, forever?"
"Yes." Kathryn said, a smile ghosting her lips.
"And right now, I need my wife. Mary needs her mother." Chakotay took her hands within his, caressing the back with his thumbs. "Are you game?" He asked her, not wanting to push.
"Iím game. You leave me no choice but to come around again." She smiled fully as he stood and pulled her to her feet. She went in and brought Mary out. They emerged from Neelixís quarters and headed toward their own.
"I want you to see Doc tomorrow. See if he canít help you out of this funk. Then after a couple days off for the both of us, I think you should try some short bridge shifts. You need to get some sort of schedule going." Chakotay said, putting a hand at the small of her back.
"What I want," She said, smirking slightly and looking at him sideways. "is for you and me to spend some time together. If you catch my meaning."
"I do." Chakotay said, as the door closed behind them, and on another chapter of their lives.
I know nothing stays the same
But if you're willing to play the game
It's coming around again