First Officer's Log FIRST OFFICER'S LOG
by Avalon (
J/C, PG-13, 1/1

NOTES: I hadn't planned to write a sequel to "Captain's Log"...but I just couldn't help myself. It would help to read "Captain's Log" first, although it's not really necessary. BTW - I wrote this a few years ago, so this conflicts with the ending of Voyager -- although there are a few similarities.. Guess that means it's an alternate universe now.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: To Linda, as always, for feedback, suggestions, impatient pokes to make me write faster and more. Thanks Linda!

DISCLAIMER: Loathe as I am to admit it, Chakotay is not mine. But I can dream, can't I?


Personal Log: I'm finally here. It's taken five long years but Starfleet has finally found a way to replicate the alien technology that sent us home... and I'm here at last. I just pray that she's still alive.
Chakotay stood on the transporter pad, quivering with impatience. The rest of the team were still gathering their equipment prior to beaming down and he refrained from leaping at the controls and transporting himself down now only by sheer force of will.

Five years. Five long years. A lifetime. What if...? No. Don't think about it. You're alive, Kathryn. You have to be. I won't let you be anything else.

Five years had passed since the day Kathryn Janeway had transported down to the alien ruins they had discovered and had set in motion the device that had sent Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant. Five long years since they had left her behind. Five years since he had felt peace...

It had been difficult enough for the others to go on with their lives once they had returned home. There had been the shock of their abrupt return; their sudden and unexpected reunion with loved ones; the hasty inquiry by Starfleet and equally hasty pardon for the Maquis...and Life without her. The others had coped -- somehow. Chakotay hadn't.

We should have stayed on New Earth, Kathryn. Or you should have let me come with you. Did you truly think you were doing me a kindness by sending me away? I've been just as alone as you have. Five years of unnecessary solitude. We could have been together if you had told me what you were planning.

Why didn't you tell me?

The rest of the team took up their positions on the transporters. Chakotay felt a reluctant smile pulling at his lips. They had all come back, risking the dangerous return journey and still-experimental alien technology. B'elanna, Tom, Tuvik, Harry, Neelix, even the Doctor...they had all come, simply because he had asked it. Chakotay smiled slightly. No. Not because of him. For her.

You would be proud of them, Kathryn. They've made good lives for themselves. It wasn't easy, especially for the former Maquis, but they did sticking together, no matter what. They're all still close, despite different assignments and locations. But they're family. You did that. You were the glue that held us all together. And I'm not sure how many of them ever really forgave you for leaving us.

I know I never did.

Chakotay shifted impatiently as two members of the U.S.S. Narragansett's crew joined them on the pads. The others gave him a sympathetic look...and then the transporter beams enfolded them.

* * *

Chakotay blinked as he materialized on the planet. A harsh wind howled through the alien ruins and the cold instantly numbed his bare hands. The landscape before him was bleak and empty save for the ruins and a few stunted trees. There was little light. Above, a blue sun shone distantly. Chakotay shuddered.

How could you survive here, alone in this Hell for five years? No one to talk to, nothing to do but survive. What did you eat? Where did you live? And...what did you think? Did you come to regret your decision? Did you ever decide that the price you paid for our return was too high?

Did you stop hoping?

I would have.

"Spread out," he shouted over the wind, "and stay in touch. Paris -- You're with me." The others nodded and move off in standard search patterns. Chakotay paused for a moment, watching them go...and prayed.

* * *

It was Tom who first detected the faint readings on his tricorder. Their eyes met in the gloom, sudden hope flaring in them. Bracing themselves against the wind and moving carefully over the uneven footing, they hastened toward a distant cliff.

* * *

The ground was eroding dangerously and it took longer than Chakotay had expected to reach the cliffside. Finally though, they stood at the top of a long, sharp drop.

Tom grabbed Chakotay's arm and pointed. "There!" Chakotay strained to see through the shadows. He was right. A faint flash of colour glinted at the bottom. Kathryn?

"I'll contact the Narragansett," Tom was saying, "Have them transport us down."

Chakotay shook his head. "No. They had enough difficulty beaming us through the atmospheric storms. We're going to have to do this the hard way." He was already kneeling and uncoiling the climbing gear from the pack he carried. He glanced up at the other man. "Tell the others to meet us here." He looked back down. "Hang on Kathryn," he thought desperately, "We're coming."

* * *

They made the descent rapidly, but it still took far too long for Chakotay's peace of mind. The patch of colour below hadn't moved in all this time. What if they were too late? "Be alive, Kathryn," he told her silently as he rappelled too quickly down a rockface. "Be alive."

Finally, after a lifetime or two, Chakotay reached the bottom, several minutes ahead of Tom on the other rope. His feet had barely touched the rocky ground before he was already unsnapping the lines holding him and dashing to the still form nearby.

Kathryn. His heart caught in his throat and, for an instant, tears blurred his eyes. And then he took a closer look and his heart jolted painfully with fear. She lay still and unmoving, her face ashen and her eyes closed. Only her hair moved, loose, blood-soaked strands blowing in the wind. One leg was bent at an unnatural angle and blood was pooling on the rocks from somewhere beneath her. A log recorder lay in her loose fingertips.

Chakotay hesitantly reached out a trembling hand and touched her neck. Her skin felt like ice. For a long moment, his numb fingers could find no pulse and despair rose up within him. But then -- there it was. Faint, but unmistakable. She was alive.

The exhilaration that swept through him left Chakotay weak and shaking, but it was quickly replaced by a driving sense of urgency. There was no telling how long she had lain here in the cold. He had to get her to the ship...

And then Tom was beside him, shouting into his communicator for an emergency beam out. It took far longer than Chakotay would have liked for the Narragansett to get a lock on them, but just as he was ready to give up, the air shimmered around them...

...and they were in sickbay. The Doctor, already there, rapidly took charge, ignoring the Narragansett's own Chief Medical Officer. Chakotay was unceremoniously brushed aside.

Don't die Kathryn. If you should die know, just as I've found you again...

Please don't die.

* * *

Chakotay sat beside the unconscious Kathryn Janeway, his hand holding her still one. He hadn't moved in the last two hours, nodding only as the others came and went, offering him brief snatches of conversation. Every fibre of his being was caught up in watching her feeling the slow but steady pulse under his fingers. He counted each heartbeat, each breath. And prayed.

She was alive. Battered, bruised, and bloody, but alive. She had a broken leg and massive internal injuries, the Doctor had told him, but she would recover. If they had found her much later though...The hologram's voice had trailed off. Chakotay had nodded wordlessly, then turned back to her, watching intently as the colour slowly returned to her pale cheeks.

Come back, Kathryn. Come back to us. You're safe now. It's over. We need you.

I need you.

* * *

Some hours later -- Chakotay wasn't sure how many -- Janeway stirred, and he stiffened, awaking instantly from his half-doze. "Kathryn?" His voice was a hoarse whisper, as if he had forgotten how to use it.

Her eyes flickered open at the sound and she frowned, trying to focus. "Am I dead?" Her own voice was rusty with disuse.

Relief so strong it was overpowering swept through Chakotay and he had to fight the urge to leap to his feet and do something irrational, like burst into song or dance a jig. Instead, he contented himself with smiling widely and reaching up to brush a lock of hair out of her eyes.

"No, you're not dead."

Her frown deepened. "Chakotay?" There was a note of disbelief in her voice.

"Yes. I'm here."


"It's...a long story. But you're safe now."

Janeway blinked dazedly, still trying to take it in. Rescue...after all this time. Her crew had managed a last-minute miracle after all. "You came back." The disbelief was still there.

"Did you really think we wouldn't?" He said lightly, trying to mask the emotions tearing through him.

"I...gave up hoping. I shouldn't have done that."

He frowned slightly, but managed to keep his tone light. "No. There were a lot of things you shouldn't have done."

Janeway flinched slightly, hearing the faint undertones of bitterness despite his efforts to hide them.

"You're angry." It wasn't a question.

Chakotay sighed and looked away, not releasing her hand. A long moment went by. Finally he looked back. "I don't think we should go into this right now," he said. "You're still not well. You need time to recover."

She tilted her head slightly, wincing at the pain the movement caused. "So you're going to wait until I feel better before you pick a fight with me? Most kind." She gave him a tiny smile, a faint echo of the one he remembered, and suddenly it all came crashing down over him. She was alive. She was alive. Once more the desire to do something irrational swept through him.

So he did.

He kissed her.

Janeway stiffened in surprise...then weakly reached up and held him, as tightly as she could.

Chakotay broke the kiss fairly quickly and sat back a little, staring down at her stunned face. A thousand emotions were running through him, chief among them relief, remorse...and fear. What would her reaction be? He might have just pushed her farther away than any alien technology could ever do. For an instant he thought of saying something...anything...of apologizing and brushing the incident away as if it had never happened. But, in the end he said nothing. Another eternity passed.

Janeway swallowed once then said finally. "Chakotay..." He braced himself. "Why did you come back for me?" Her voice was low and she didn't meet his eyes.

He answered quickly, not giving himself time to think about what he was doing. "Because I love you." There. He had said it. And his future trembled in the balance.

Her eyes had flown to his and she had stiffened. Finally, after another long pause, she spoke carefully. "Did you beam my log recorder back with me?"

Chakotay paused, frowning. Whatever he had been expecting, it wasn't that. "Yes. Do you want it?"

She shook her head slightly. "No. But I wondered if you had read it."

"No. It's your log. I wouldn't have unless..." His voice trailed off. Unless you had died The unspoken words hovered between them. His hand tightened reflexively around hers. She gazed down at their joined fingers, but made no attempt to free her own. Instead, she swallowed deeply once more, and met his gaze. "I only asked, because there was something I the end...that you should know."

Chakotay stiffened. "Yes?" The whispered word was barely audible.

"I said...I said that there had been a morning, two years ago, when I finally stopped lying to myself. A morning when I woke up and realized that I loved you. Had loved you...for as long as I could remember. But it was too late. You were on the other side of the galaxy when I finally said it and you couldn't hear me. And...and I wished I'd been able to say them earlier. So that you could hear." Her voice faltered but, blinking furiously, she continued. "I'm sorry, Chakotay. Please forgive me."

And then he was gathering her up into his arms, holding her tightly. Her arms twined around his neck.

"Forgive me," she whispered again, her voice muffled against his chest. "I do love you, Chakotay."

And then her lips met his, and neither of them said anything for a very long time.

* * *

Personal Log: It's over. I've found her. And we're going home.


End Personal Log