Shattered Promises By Kate O'Riley

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all, blah blah blah. If I owned Voyager, I would be much, much richer than I actually am. Like, "afford a new saddle", "afford my own car", "afford to take all my friends with me on vacation" rich. I'm not though. I'm a mere teenager, trying to make her way through life babysitting. I merely borrow my friends, the crew of Voyager, to play for a while. In the dirt. Because I don't have a sandbox.


Time: Immediately after "Endshame"


"You said you'd wait for me!" she raged. The lamp fell to the floor.

"You promised!" Her hand swept a stack of PADDs off the table.

"You PROMISED!" The table fell to the floor.

Kathryn Janeway stalked her quarters. Today was to have been the happiest day of her life so far. Voyager was home. She had done it. Kathryn Janeway had gotten her crew home.

But at what cost? Had she waited so long, come so far, only to lose the man she loved?


Chakotay paced his quarters. He couldn't get the look of horror on her face out of his mind. He kept reliving the moment, as fresh and clear as if it had just happened, not as if it had happened several hours ago.

The joy on her face melting into horror, before her face became emotionless, her eyes like cold steel. The way her voice had issued automatically, politely, saying she was sorry to intrude. The way he had felt as if someone had just stabbed knives through his heart and into his stomach, the way he had wanted to cry, to run to her, to beg her to forgive him. The way he had told her it was okay, he was sure it was an accident. The way they both wasn't.


Several hours earlier...

She couldn't begin to describe how she felt. Lighter than air! Lighter than anything! It was all she could do to avoid skipping down the corridor singing. She allowed herself to return the broad grins of the crewmen she passed, grins that wouldn't dare be allowed normally, not in front of the captain.

On the spur of the moment, a party had been arranged, a party celebrating all their years in the Delta Quadrant and their homecoming. She was on her way to tell Chakotay about it, to invite him to come with her. Of course, there'd been rumors about him and Seven, but it couldn't be true. He'd promised her.

She lightly tapped her override command on the pad beside the door. She wanted to surprise him. Stepping inside, she smiled and opened her mouth to speak.

And caught him locked in a passionate kiss with Seven of Nine.

The world seemed to drop from underneath her. She felt the overwhelming urge to be sick, to cry, to rush at them and pull them apart, to tear Seven away from him and punch her black and blue.

"Kathryn!" The word was gasped, from a now embarrassed Chakotay.

"Commander." The tone was cold and flat.

"What can I do for you?"

"Nothing. I came in here by mistake. I'm sorry to have intruded."

"Not a problem. Our quarters are right next to each other; I'm sure it was accidental."

His eyes attempted to find hers, but she refused to look at him. She quietly whirled around and left.

"Chakotay." He looked and saw Seven. A trace of some emotion he couldn't identify was on her coolly poised face. He realized he'd been standing there for several minutes.

" love her." Seven's tone was cool, matter-of-fact.

He lowered his head in shame. "Yes. I do."

She closed her eyes and lowered her head somewhat. "I understand. I must make a confession."

"Yes?" he prompted her, after she was silent for a minute.

"I love someone else as well."

He stood silently for a minute. "It would seem we feel the same way."

"So it would seem."

"Seven...perhaps it would be better if you left now."

"Perhaps it would." With the grace of a cat, she silently walked across the floor and left without looking back.

Chakotay was not alone, however.

He had his thoughts for company.


His mind was busy, too busy. He needed to talk to someone. Tuvok had already left, to meet up with his family so he could be healed from the mental disease which had seized him. B'Elanna was happily tending to her new daughter. Kathryn was obviously out. As far as he could tell, there was only one possibility; his spirit guide. He pulled out the familiar bundle, and immediately placed his hand on the akoonah, ignoring the ritual for only the second time in his life.

The world dissolved and reformed into the woods. It was a thick wood, heavy with undergrowth. Thorns scratched and bit him. He fought through it, knowing something important laid on the other side, but unable to get there. Every time he braved the pain to grab a handful of thorns and rip them away, more grew back instantly. Suddenly, he was aware of another beside him. He could not see the person; he knew only that it was not a spirit guide. With the person helping him, he quickly made headway, finally breaking through onto the seashore. He turned to thank the person, but they were gone.

"Why did you ignore the ritual?" a voice asked inquiringly. He turned. Sunning itself on a rock was a small lizard.

"Hello," Chakotay said, sitting on a similar rock next to it.

"Greetings. Why did you ignore the ritual?" The lizard crawled a few inches to a warmer spot.

"I was impatient, I suppose."

"Precisely! That is the answer to many questions."

"May I ask who you are? I don't believe I've met you before," Chakotay said politely.

"I am a spirit guide."

"Somehow I guessed that much," Chakotay muttered, but the lizard heard him.

"I am the guide for she whom you love most," the lizard informed him, moving to still another spot.

"Kathryn?" Chakotay asked, his brow furrowing.

"Is she whom you love most?" the lizard asked lazily.

He remained quiet.

"I would tell her, if I were you." The lizard scurried off the rock down onto the sand. "Remember the answer to the question," it said, as it disappeared into a hole.

"Wait! What question?" It was too late. The world around him began to blur and pull away, and then he was sitting in his quarters.


Years earlier...

"Chakotay, I can't!" She pulled away from his hand and began to pace.

"Why not, Kathryn?" he asked desperately.

She turned and faced him. "Where are we?" she asked.

"What?" He was confused.

"Where are we?" she asked again, firmly.

She must have lost her mind, he decided, but he decided to humor her. "On Voyager. In your ready room."

"Exactly!" She began to pace again. "My ready room. The captain's ready room." She whirled to face him. "I am the captain, Chakotay," she said simply.

"What difference does that make?! Kathryn, after all we've been through, you can't be serious."

"Chakotay, what if one of us died?"

"We know the risks. We both chose to join Starfleet."

"What about the crew?" she asked.

"They want it."

"Chakotay." Her face softened. She came and stood in front of him, taking his hand. "Right now, I have some emotional distance between us. If we went further...that distance would go."

His face was stony. "Kathryn, that distance is already gone. You just don't realize it."

He turned and began to leave, stopping when he heard her. "Chakotay!"

He turned and looked at her.

"Wait for me," she said, her eyes and tone imploring. "Wait for me. When we get back, when we're not in the Delta Quadrant, then I will."

"I'll wait, Kathryn. That's a promise." And he left.



Why couldn't he have waited? He had broken a promise that meant as much to him as did life itself.

"I would tell her, if I were you," he said, echoing the words of the spirit guide.

Yes. He would tell her.


This time, he typed his own override code in. The door hissed open, admitting him. The living room was empty. It looked, however, like a hurricane had swept through.

He made his way carefully to the bedroom. The door hissed open silently.

She laid on her bed, curled in a tight ball. Her uniform was rumpled, her hair a mess, and tears had left their mark on her cheeks. Once again, he was struck by what he had done.

What had the spirit guide said? "Remember the answer to the question." What question?

"Why did you ignore the ritual?" That was it! And his answer; "I was impatient, I suppose."

The spirit guide's words echoed in his head. "Precisely! That is the answer to many questions."

He understood. He had gotten impatient, waiting for her, had tried to forge a path without her. Like in the vision, he had made no headway. He realized who the figure was now. It was Kathryn.

He carefully sat down in the chair by the foot of the bed, but it squeaked. She was almost instantly awake. Catching sight of him, she opened her mouth to speak, but Chakotay started to speak before she could.

"Once, there lived an angry warrior. He loved the beautiful, brave, woman warrior, and he had joined her tribe and vowed to protect it – and her. He made the promise that he would remain faithful to the woman warrior, no matter how long it took for the tribe to find their way back to their homelands. But the angry warrior was foolish, and impatient, and his eye was caught by another, a young woman, not a warrior. He was intrigued by the young woman, and it made him forget his vow to the woman warrior, until he found that the woman warrior knew, and was upset about it. Instantly, he remembered his vow, and he was very contrite. He went on a vision quest, and found out two things; the first, that he had a problem with being impatient; and the second, that he was not truly happy, without the woman warrior. He wished that the woman warrior would forgive him, of his foolish ways. He vowed to once again be faithful to the woman warrior."

She was silent once again. "And how does it end?" she finally asked.

"That's up to the woman warrior."

She was silent for a minute. "I think, the woman warrior was terribly hurt and betrayed. She had waited; why couldn't the angry warrior? The young woman was very dear to her, which hurt her even worse. She wasn't sure she trusted the angry warrior all the way. But, she was willing to try for a reconciliation. Perhaps, just perhaps, they could regain their trust in each other as friends, and maybe, someday, as something more."

"Will the woman warrior make the angry warrior wait seven years?" Chakotay asked, with a hint of a smile.

She returned it. "Not if the angry warrior behaves." She stood up and took his outstretched hand. "He may not have to wait very long at all."

He smiled at her. "Now, I believe I heard something about a party. As captain and first officer, we should put in an appearance, don't you think?"

She shook her head. "As captain and first officer, no. As Kathryn and Chakotay; most certainly."

The angry warrior and the woman warrior had a long battle ahead, for the angry warrior had to regain the woman warrior's trust, but in the end, it was certainly worth it.