I wrote my first Voyager fic! Any Voyager fans here, aside from those I already talked to? I'm watching it for the first time and enjoy myself immensely. This was not planned.
So when I came to the "Basics" two-parter I had two write something. This was originally a lot longer but my beta made me see what is important and cutting off stuff. Hope you like it!
Summary: "Here they were, stranded again on a planet. Only this time it was not just her and Chakotay, this time she had managed to bring the whole crew with her."
Kathryn and Chakotay have a talk. Missing scene to episode 3x01 "Basics part 2"
Link to AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/24061945
Kathryn Janeway kept her face calm while the thoughts were tumbling in her head. Here they were, stranded again on a planet. Only this time it was not just her and Chakotay, this time she had managed to bring the whole crew with her.
He had been right. They should have run the other way and never looked back. But she sent him to think about his fatherly feelings and this was the result. She had let her own feelings decide for her. Because she didn’t want to let him search alone for Seska’s child, she’d led all of them into disaster.
One of many mistakes she’d made since she’d started this journey. They were piling up one by one, eating away at her.
At least on New Earth there was shelter and food. And a bathtub. It had been almost idyllic in comparison.
This time they had exactly – nothing. They’d managed to find food for today but what would tomorrow bring? And the day after that? And how cold was the night going to be?
“Trapped on a barren planet and you’re stuck with the only Indian in the universe who can’t start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.”
She could hear the frustration in his voice and in his eyes she could see how it weighed on him, thinking that he failed her. She tried to comfort him by pointing out that others had failed too, but he was having none of that. He was a proud man who took his heritage very seriously.
She’d seen him struggling with the fire for a while. She didn’t want to put even more pressure on him so she kept herself busy elsewhere but, secretly, she was watching him. He refused to give up, turning the stick faster and faster, to no avail. The tip of his tongue had come out, unconsciously trying to help as well. It made him look adorable, like a four-year-old.
And she’d never reveal those thoughts to him.
But she had to talk to him, and soon. It looked like they were staying here for a while, and he needed to be clear minded for the things ahead. Earlier today he had been running around from group to group, helping in every way he could, like a good commander. But guilt showed in his unusual heavy steps, in his sagged shoulders, in his eyes. They seemed even darker now.
When he finally realized what was missing to start the fire Chakotay ordered Ensign Kim to do the deed, carefully avoiding getting into her personal space. But she caught a look of regret from him when he watched her strands fall. Whatever, the hair would grow back and probably longer than before, as it looked like this planet didn’t have any hairdressers either.
In the evening, when everyone had settled around fires, she realized she hadn’t seen Chakotay in a while. She looked around the cave, but could not spot him anywhere. Finally she went outside. More fires had been started here, as the cave was not big enough to hold all the people. Tuvok had posted a few guards around the perimeter.
She walked from group to group, asking if the crew needed anything and if anyone had seen where the commander went. Finally one of them pointed upwards.
It took her a while to spot him sitting on a ledge not far above the entrance to the cave, hidden in a dark corner. She followed the small path leading to the ledge.
He didn’t turn when she sat close to him. He didn’t say anything either. Together they watched the sun set.
The murmuring from the men and women on the ground could be heard in the distance, but up here it was quiet. A slight breeze had come up but the rock was still warm from the sun heating it all day long. Kathryn felt herself relax. She sighed, barely audible but, of course, Chakotay had heard it.
“It’s almost like old times, huh?” he said softly, and immediately Kathryn’s thoughts went back to New Earth, thinking about how eventually she had learned to relax. How Chakotay patiently waited for her to let the captain go and just be Kathryn.
They’d always watched the sunsets together back then. No matter what projects kept them busy through the day, they made it a point to meet in the same spot at the same time each evening, to say good-bye to another day. They’d found a nearby knoll from which they had a wonderful view over the landscape.
Lost in thought, she belatedly realized she probably should reply. But they spoke at the same time.
“Okay, you first.”
She smiled but he stayed dead serious.
“I’m sorry for changing my mind. I feel responsible for the mess we are in.”
“What actually made you change your mind?”
He was silent for so long that she thought he might not answer her question, but finally he did, with an even quieter voice than usual.
“I spoke to my father. I voiced my doubts if I could love a child that had been conceived without my consent. He pointed out that, in our history, a lot of children had been conceived without consent but were loved because it was not the children’s fault. I could not deny that. But I also feel responsible for bringing Seska on board in the first place. Without her, none of this would have happened.”
His arm moved in a circle that included her, him and the camp at the ground.
“Stop right there. You are not responsible for other people’s actions. If anyone, I’m to blame for bringing everyone into this situation. It was selfish. Because…”
“… because I didn’t want to let you go alone. Because I didn’t want to lose you. I couldn’t bear that.”
Saying it out loud was like admitting it to herself. She held her breath, waiting for his reaction.
He just looked her into the eyes, for a long time, and finally nodded.
The sun had almost set and two moons had come up. The wind felt colder and the warmth from the rock had disappeared. Time to go. She stood up.
“I should go back to the crew.”
His eyes never left her.
“A captain’s work is never done.”
“No, it isn’t. Are you coming too?”
“I’d like to stay a little longer.”
“Okay. Good night, Chakotay.”
“Good night, Kathryn.”
Just when she had turned to start her descent the voices from the ground that had been low murmuring the whole time suddenly spiked up. She heard shouts and people running. Alarmed she looked back to Chakotay.
Immediately he was by her side. Without a word he led them down from the ledge.
A captain’s work indeed never ended. As did a commander’s.
But she figured being stuck on a barren planet wasn’t so bad after all.
As long as Chakotay was by her side.