Regrets By Kate O'Riley

Disclaimer: We have serious regrets that Paramount isn't in an AU. That way, Star Trek would be fan-owned. We know what's right.Paramount owns the characters, the rooms, the ship, the entire quadrant, they think they own the galaxy.but they don't own my imagination. Thank goodness.

Summery: AU. Chakotay dies. Kathryn realizes how much she loved him. Extreme angst. After I finish this, I'll probably start jumping around, happy I finally did a true AU, or shoot myself for killing Chakotay off. If you don't see any more Kate O'Riley stories.I shot myself.

=/\=

"Captain, we have a lock on the commander!"

Kathryn tossed and turned in her sleep. No, no, she didn't need this, she didn't need to relive this again!

"Beam him to sickbay!" Janeway of the past ordered.

Flash forward.

"I'm sorry Captain. There was nothing I could do. The damage was too severe." The Doctor's tone was grave and upset.

"No! No, there's got to be something you can do!" Kathryn rushed to the biobed. "No, Chakotay, you can't die on me, you can't, you weren't supposed to be in an accident, you were supposed to come back and have dinner with me this evening!" She began hitting his shoulder. "Chakotay! You can't! Chakotay!" She collapsed against the biobed and began sobbing.

"I'm sorry, Captain." The Doctor came up to her. She pushed him away and picked up Chakotay. She clutched his still-warm body and cried.

=/\=

The memorial service was like a bad dream to Kathryn. She heard her own voice conducting a service, felt herself move through it, talk to all the mourning crewmembers, but she was a hollow shell. What was actually Kathryn Janeway had retreated to a small, distant corner of her brain, where it continued to deny Chakotay's death.

Finally, she woke from the dream, tossing and turning. She stood and went to the window, where just a few hours ago, Chakotay's body had been sent to the same stars she was seeing.

She knew where she had to go.

=/\=

She nearly wept as she entered. It still smelled like him. The whole area looked like it was waiting for him to come back.

She walked slowly, with an almost holy reverence. A brush of a finger there, a brush of a finger here. Finally, she entered his bedroom.

There were his dirty uniforms, in a pile on the floor. There was his medicine bundle on his bedside table, next to a PADD. There was a picture of them at a crew party.

She obeyed the urge to lie down in his bed. She took a long, deep breath, smelling that distinctive Chakotay scent. After a moment, she picked up the PADD on the table and activated it, morbidly curious to know what he'd been reading.

Kathryn, Before every mission, I leave this PADD on my bedside table. I know if something happens to me, this is where you will come. I hope you read this when you really need it.

I love you, Kathryn Janeway. I've always loved you. I'll always love you, even in whatever afterlife there may be. If I can, I will be with you until the day you die. I will always be hovering by you. If you feel my presence, that's because I will be there. I will be there, watching you. I will cry when you cry, I will rejoice when you rejoice.

Kathryn, I wish I didn't have to go. I wish that I could have stayed with you, until we were back to the Alpha Quadrant. I wanted to stay with you, and I would have asked to marry you as soon as we were back.

I know this must be excruciatingly difficult for you, Kathryn. I've known something you haven't. I've known that despite your fear of commitment, you loved me. You couldn't have loved me more if we had been married. It was fear of love, really. You thought if we got married, you'd have loved me more. No, Kathryn, the only change would be that you'd have shown it. I'd have had to be blind not to see that look in your eyes. Sometimes it was all that kept me going, the knowledge that you loved me. Me, Chakotay. No one else.

Do you know how often at night I've heard you having a nightmare, or lying awake, and I've wanted to go comfort you, or to hold you until you fell asleep? How proud I've been of you, when you finished a painting, or gone through some difficult negotiations?

I love you, Kathryn Janeway. And I always will. Chakotay

She clutched the PADD to her chest, ignoring the tears streaming down her cheeks. "You're right, Chakotay," she sobbed. "I love you. And I always will."

The end