Title: Mirror, Mirror Author: Jemima Contact: email@example.com Series: VOY Part: 16/19 Rating: PG Codes: C, J&C, C/f, AU Summary: What would Chakotay do about Janeway, if their roles were reversed? An AU based on the episode "Resolutions". Disclaimer: I took these characters from an alternate universe without copyright laws. Mwhahahaha!
The tension mounted as the days on New Earth passed. At first Chakotay didn't notice - he had other things on his mind. But one night after the fateful plasma storm that had ruined her experiments and equipment, matters came to a head over a backrub, of all things.
Kathryn had retreated to her sleeping alcove in the crowded, Starfleet-issue shelter, but she clearly had not slept; some time later she emerged from behind the partition and sat before him at the table.
"We have to talk about this," she said.
He didn't want to talk about it, but she was right. She deserved the truth. "All right," he replied.
"I think we need to define some parameters."
Or reveal them, he thought, but he said, "I'm not sure I can define parameters. But I can tell you a story - an ancient legend among my people."
She looked curious enough, so he went on, "It's about an angry warrior who began his life in conflict with the rest of his tribe - a man who couldn't find peace, even with the help of his spirit guide.
"For years he struggled with his discontent, until his home was attacked and he found some relief in battle. He became a hero among his tribe, but the warrior still longed for peace within himself.
"One day, he and his war party met a similar party led by a woman warrior. The woman warrior was brave, beautiful, and wise. She brought him many fine weapons, sent to his people by an allied tribe. But their enemy was nearby, so the two of them were forced to lie low for some time." Chakotay stood up and walked over to the doorway of the shelter, looking up at the stars as he continued his tale.
"They fell in love, though it was no time for love, and they were married by the local authorities, who had also helped to conceal them. Once their enemies were far enough away, the two warriors parted and returned to the great battle.
"They met only twice more, when lulls in the battle permitted it, before his entire war party were carried far, far away by an unknown enemy. Yet in loving her, the warrior found the true meaning of peace."
He turned back and found that Kathryn had joined him in the doorway.
"Is that really an ancient legend?" she asked.
"No, but it's a secret I couldn't tell you," he answered.
She took his hand in sympathy, but he hardly needed consolation. Like others aboard Voyager, he had adjusted to indefinite separation from his spouse long before.
The weeks on New Earth passed slowly after that. Kathryn was no longer tense around him, though she seemed sad. At least Chakotay had his traditionalist past on Dorvan to fall back on - Kathryn, on the other hand, had nothing once her science project had been destroyed.
He watched her as she adjusted to their situation - as she puttered in the garden, looking up at the sky at dusk for a ship to take her home to her long-lost fiance. At least, he interpreted her wistful looks that way.
When he'd watched her for too long, he would force himself to go out and chop more wood, though he was running out of things to build. Additions to the shelter were fine, but what would Derryn think of the bathtub?
His hand froze on the axe at the thought. The trouble was, he knew very well what his wife would think of the bathtub and sunlight on Kathryn's long hair. She had told him.
"We may never see one another again," Derryn had said when they'd parted the first time. "The enemy is everywhere, and we are so few."
"Don't talk about them," he'd insisted.
"When I am dead," she had explained, "you'll know."
"I won't want to know," he'd said.
"Perhaps not," was all her reply.
She was Betazoid - they made the best guerrillas. But no Betazoid bond, he told himself, could stretch the 70,000 light-years that now separated them. There was no way for him to sense her death from so far - he told himself - nor she his. He would have to wait until...
But no one was coming back for him or Kathryn, not while Tuvok was in command. The best they could hope for in this sector was an unpleasant visit from Vidiian lung harvesters. He'd be happy to give them his heart at this point.
It was too dark to chop any more wood, so he made his way back to the cabin. A long, dull treatise on agriculture would take his mind off his troubles for a while.
A few days later, as they were preparing for their expedition by boat, Tuvok hailed them. It was strange to hear another voice.
They should have been glad to leave, two such unhappy people who had grown into almost wordless companions during their grim exile in paradise. Instead, they smiled half-heartedly at their rescuers; even Harry Kim wondered what had gone wrong.
It wasn't easy for Chakotay to readjust. There was no wood to chop aboard Voyager when his mind drifted to bathtubs and auburn hair. He shouldn't have handled it so badly; aboard ship he overreacted to his continuing attraction to Kathryn by turning cold and sullen. Even Tuvok seemed surprised at the new tension between his commanding officers.
Kathryn - Janeway, he forced himself to think of her now - seemed merely hurt at his change of attitude. She expressed it by being equally cold towards him. As time passed, though, both of them adjusted to their situation and grew closer.
Too close. Chakotay slipped into a pattern of responding to positive developments in his friendship with Janeway with confrontational behavior. He made every conflict more than it should have been, and tried to make every rapprochement less. Thus, when Janeway formed an alliance with the Borg, he put his objections in the strongest possible language. The damage to their friendship was great, but it was becoming resilient.
Whatever their false conflicts, the attraction between Chakotay and Janeway was constant, and legendary among the gossiping crew. It was all so wrong, and so unavoidable, like the unspoken relationship between Neelix and Samantha Wildman.
Neelix was not so circumspect when meddling in other's lives; still, Chakotay was fond of the colorful alien. One day at lunchtime, he cornered the Commander, leaving his part-time assistant Chell to serve the soup and casserole.
"Commander, about the dance tomorrow night..."
"I hear the Captain needs a date," the aspiring matchmaker hinted.
"Perhaps Tuvok could oblige her."
"Ensign Vorik says Vulcans don't dance," Neelix said, as though that were a surprise. Chakotay wondered whom he had tried to set up with Vorik.
The Talaxian decided on the direct approach: "I was hoping you could ask the Captain to the dance."
"I can't ask her, Neelix."
"Why not? You two make such a nice couple."
Neelix shrugged off his protest. "She's not married, though." Not like Sam, Chakotay heard behind his words. "You know what Tom says - 'no ring, no foul'."
Chakotay felt sorry for Neelix, and decided to tell him the truth, more for his own sake than to put an end to his matchmaking. The Commander reached inside his Starfleet turtleneck and drew out an object on a chain, pulling it over his head. He dropped it gently into Neelix's outstretched hand.
"A ring," the cook said quietly, and read the inscription traced around the inside of the ring aloud. "'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'." The Talaxian looked up. "I don't understand."
"It's an ancient Terran proverb."
"But what is the ring for?" he asked, still confused.
"I'm married, Neelix."
"Not to the Captain?"
"No, to a woman I met in the Maquis. The laws of the colony world where we were married required the parties to exchange rings."
"I don't know what to say," Neelix said. "It's all so...romantic."
"You mean tragic."
The Talaxian nodded.
"Everything about the Maquis was tragic," Chakotay said. "If we ever hear news of them from the Alpha Quadrant, it will certainly be tragic."
Soon afterwards, they encountered the Hirogen's communications array. Even after so long, Chakotay hadn't expected the news from home to be quite so bad. Almost all the Maquis dead, Sveta wrote him, but she sent no news of a female Betazoid casualty. There was no telling what had happened to Derryn - if all her contacts had been killed, no one would ever know her fate.
"I'm sorry about your fiance," Chakotay told Janeway, when he found out Mark had given her up for lost and married someone else. *He* would never do such a thing, he thought sadly. She looked so sad herself, he almost took her in his arms. Fortunately, they were called away to the bridge to deal with more Hirogen troubles.
Later, once the local node of the communications array had been turned into a sucking black hole, Chakotay and Janeway found themselves back in her ready room. As usual, he sympathized with her, asking her how she was and joking over her answer.
"Look what you've been through in the last few days," he said. "We finally make a connection with home and it's ripped away from us."
"Did you hear anything about your wife?" Janeway asked.
"No news is good news," he shrugged. Could she have survived, when all the others had died?
"I hope so."
Chakotay had a terrible sinking feeling. Perhaps it showed on his face, for Janeway asked gently, "What was her name?"
"I never knew her real name, or Suder's," Chakotay replied. "Some of us were known to law forces on many worlds. *Some* of us were even chased 70,000 light-years across the galaxy by the Federation." He smiled at that unexpected honor.
"But others," he continued, "were upstanding citizens of Federation worlds - Federation worlds not abandoned to the Cardassians, that is. They worked under cover."
"How could you marry someone without knowing her name?"
"On certain colony worlds under Cardassian occupation, the locals were accustomed to aliases," he explained, being careful not to make any definite or incriminating statements. "Everyone from tax evaders to guerrillas changed their names as the circumstances dictated. Marriage certificates read: 'The woman known to me as Derryn was wed to the man known to me as Kotay on this day in the city of...'" He paused. "Well, you get the idea."
She did. He shouldn't have told her his wife's name, Chakotay thought later. With her fiance married and his wife missing in action, they grew closer again, until the attraction grew irresistible. When it became a choice between crushing her to him or blowing up at her, the Equinox appeared and Chakotay chose the latter.
Like a pendulum always returning to its center, they found themselves chatting like the old friends they were soon enough.
One day, after they had been working half the afternoon in her ready room, Kathryn asked, "Could I borrow Derryn's husband for dinner tonight?"
"I'm sure she won't mind," he replied in kind, "as long as you behave yourself."
"Starfleet captains always behave themselves," she replied, laughing, though the laughter never reached her eyes.
When Starfleet established contact with Voyager through the Pathfinder Project, Janeway immediately brought up the subject that was always on his mind.
"Are there any clues you could give me to help track down your wife, Chakotay?" she asked. "I can make inquiries quietly. Admiral Paris won't ask any questions - or Reg. We can trust Reg."
He thought for a moment. "No, no clues." Nothing that wouldn't endanger her, if she were still alive.
Janeway nodded and moved on to a related subject. "Starfleet has been able to notify the families of everyone we lost except Lon Suder, and they've also had trouble tracking down a couple of your original crew," - she glanced at the PADD - "Carlos Fado and Korin Var."
"Carlos' real name was Arkot," Chakotay said. "He was from Dorvan, but he had family on Earth. They shouldn't be hard to track down." Chakotay thought a moment. "I never knew Var's real name. He was Bajoran, so I'll ask Tabor - he might know."
"I'll have the Doctor go through Suder's medical records; maybe there's a clue in there somewhere," Janeway concluded.
"You haven't heard news of your wife, have you?" Neelix asked him, after a few datastreams had been passed back and forth with Starfleet.
"Nothing more than I knew before."
The Talaxian was sympathetic to his plight, but others were not. Torres cornered him in his quarters one evening in the seventh year of their journey and reamed him out.
"Kahless, Chakotay, you've been pining after Janeway for five years already," B'Elanna complained. "It's time to move on. Seven likes you, Celes worships you, and Jenny Delaney is on the prowl for fresh blood. You could have half the women on the ship - why do you go on chasing after the only one who doesn't want you?"
Chakotay wished he could confide in his old friend, but the Maquis were going up on the stand when Voyager returned to the Alpha Quadrant, if it ever did. He didn't want anyone to have to lie for him, or to let anything slip accidentally. It was bad enough that Kathryn knew.
When the Pathfinder team established a stable, two-way line of visual communication with Voyager, Chakotay found himself seated at Janeway's ready room desk, having yet another conversation about tracking down missing Maquis. She was a natural at it, he had to admit.
"I spoke to Admiral Paris this morning," she informed her first officer. "He's hopeful about getting charges against the Maquis dropped."
"Even mine?" Chakotay asked. He liked to think of himself as a hard case.
"Especially yours," she replied. "Several former Starfleet officers jailed for Maquis activity have been paroled recently. The atmosphere has changed back in the Alpha Quadrant."
"Time heals all wounds," Chakotay said, standing as if to go. "How about lunch, Captain?"
"You're on," she agreed, "but first, there are a few last items of business from Owen. As I mentioned before, he has notified Carlos Fado's uncle and cousins on Earth of his death."
Chakotay merely nodded, his hands clenched at his sides.
"Also, the government of Betazed has identified Lon Suder. His real name was Vel Tenar. He was a patient at the Xar East Sanitarium on Betazed for some time." She looked up, puzzled at Chakotay's continuing silence, then went on. "I suppose that's no surprise. His parents were also confined there after an incident the government of Betazed refused to describe." Privacy was important in a society of telepaths. "Owen said he had no surviving family."
Chakotay turned pale. "Was he absolutely sure about Suder?" he asked flatly.
"Owen sent a report, but I haven't had a chance to read it." She picked a PADD out of several scattered on her desk and paged through it to the relevant information.
"Val Tenar," she read aloud, "parents both only children... Disowned by both their houses for unspecified crimes... In the eyes of Betazoid culture, Vel and Luxa Tenar had no kin..."
She stopped skimming the report to ask Chakotay, "Was Lon married, then?"
The Commander shook his head.
Janeway read on. "There's a section here about the status of houseless Betazoids...here she is again: Luxa Tenar, sister, deceased Stardate 48862.3, Terran year 2371... Captain of a private transport ship registered out of Bajor... The Farsight, lost with all hands when they strayed into a battle between the Cardassians and three Maquis vessels... Protests lodged by the Bajoran government over murder of civilians and destruction of a non-combatant trade vessel... The Cardassians claimed the Farsight was a combatant in the battle of Marva... No memorial on record, not unusual in the case of a Betazoid with no kin..."
"She had kin," Chakotay interrupted.
"Suder was missing and presumed dead - not that anyone would have known he was her brother." Janeway looked at her first officer quizzically.
"Not Lon," he corrected her, avoiding her eye. "And the Farsight was a combatant vessel. It was a Maquis vessel."
"If you know the Farsight, I can tell Starfleet to correct their records," Janeway offered.
"I've never heard of the Farsight before today," he said.
Janeway was nonplussed. "Chakotay?"
He walked over to the viewport to stare at the stars.
"Chakotay?" she said again, joining him by the window and putting a reassuring hand on his arm.
"The last time I saw Derryn Suder, she left me her crazy brother to look after."
"I'm so sorry, Chakotay," Janeway said. "I should have realized."
"It's all right." It had come as no surprise, after all.
"Take the rest of the day off, Commander. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Thank you, Captain." For what, he wasn't sure.
As the last living member of the house of Suder - he couldn't call it the house of Tenar because of respectable second-cousins on Betazed who bore that name - Chakotay was obliged to make a memorial for the dead. He held a brief, private service in a holodeck recreation of a Betazoid cultural center. Only a few Maquis who knew Suder well, such as B'Elanna, attended, along with Neelix, Paris, Tuvok, the EMH and Janeway.
The attendees expressed the traditional sentiment, "May the house of Suder live on in memory," as they filed out. Neelix remainded behind, however.
"You're taking this very well, Commander," the Talaxian said.
"I knew all along, in my heart," Chakotay explained. "I just didn't want to admit it. Derryn - Luxa - told me that when I fell in love with another woman, I would know that the bond was broken, that she was dead."
"You're not giving yourself enough credit," Neelix insisted.
"For betraying her?" Chakotay asked.
"For your loyalty."
"For my self-deception, you mean."
"Loyalty, Commander. Everyone could see how much incentive you had to give up - another man would have assumed his wife was dead and moved on."
"But I *knew* it, and didn't," Chakotay said bitterly. "Kathryn has suffered for my misplaced loyalty."
"I don't think it was misplaced," Neelix replied, groping for words to express his thoughts. "Sometimes all you can do is be faithful, beyond hope or reason."
For Chakotay it was strange, at first, to see Kathryn as anything but a friend and a temptation. She was typically forthright about it the next time they had dinner together in her quarters.
"I've been thinking of you as a married man all these years."
"And here I am, a dashing widower."
"I was thinking 'a dangerous terrorist widower'," she said, and laughed.
"There must be some Starfleet regulation to keep you safe from me," he suggested.
"'General Order 387/B: don't date the prisoners.' That might protect *you* from *me*, if I had the stomach for Starfleet regulations. But it's been too long..."
Too long to worry anymore about distant, disapproving Admirals, she must have meant, but her tone said something else.
"It's been too long," he echoed her words, and took her hand for the first time in five years.