A Friend In Need
Disclaimer - Paramount own all characters, but not the situation.
Looking for a deep, inspirational story? Go elsewhere. You looking for some fun? Read on…
Kathryn had a headache. A throbbing, pounding headache. Settling back in her ready room chair she placed the PADD she was holding on the desk, then closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. To make matters worse she was having period pains. There were drugs she could take, she knew, but that would mean it would be necessary for her to visit the Doctor. She wasn't sure she could handle his sarcasm.
Her stomach gurgled.
Moaning slightly she rubbed her hand over the tender spot and decided maybe she could put up with the Doctor after all.
Rising out of her chair, she tried to ignore the sharp pain in her back but had to wince as she straightened out. Walking towards the door, she tried not to look as exhausted as she felt.
Evidently she fooled most of them because everyone greeted her normally. She walked to her First Officer.
"Commander you have the bridge. I just have to check on something."
He smiled at her, apparently knowing something was wrong because she could see the worry in his eyes. He knew her too well. Not realising what she was doing she quirked her lips slightly, letting him know she was alright, that it was nothing serious.
She remained there for far longer than was necessary. It was too easy to spend all day looking at him. He was a distraction…but damn was he good to look at. Suddenly Kathryn realised she had been standing there for at least thirty seconds. She was getting some pretty interested looks from the rest of the bridge crew.
Blushing (no, no! I can't blush in front of them!) she quickly turned around and started walking toward the turbolift at the rear of the bridge. Unfortunately that meant she had to step onto a higher level on the bridge, and in her eagerness to leave she moved a little too quickly. She lifted her right foot to step up…then suddenly found herself face down in the plush carpet of the bridge.
Even though he was on the other side of the bridge, Chakotay heard her muffled (closer to embarrassed) grunt and was by her side before anyone else. She was still on her front when everyone surrounded her.
She wanted to stay where she was. She should never had gotten out of bed this morning. How could she turn around and face them? She'd be humiliated.
But they were worried about her, and when she felt Chakotay's hands turning her over she didn't resist. Her view was filled with the ceiling of the bridge, surrounded by five concerned faces (although the blonde-haired one looked like it was in danger of laughing). She blinked.
Chakotay studied her curiously, almost as if she were an insect under a magnifying glass. "Captain, are you alright?"
Still on her back, she nonetheless lifted a finger and began waggling it at him. "No, Chakotay, I am not alright."
His tattoo scrunched slightly as his eyebrow's rose.
She continued. "I didn't sleep well last night, in fact I couldn't sleep at all last night, so I'm feeling exhausted. I've got a pounding headache, I'm hungry, I've got stomach cramps, my back is killing me and I just humiliated myself in front of my entire bridge crew."
The amount of people in her field of vision rapidly dwindled to just one. She could hear the rest of them scurrying back to their stations.
He stayed exactly where he was, still staring at her.
"Come on." He said quietly. "Let's get you to sickbay."
She managed to get all the way there without incident.
The Doctor clucked as he held a tricorder over her, unaware he was making her feel even worse by making that irritating noise.
"Just as I suspected." He informed Chakotay, who was hovering next to the biobed she was lying on. "It's a culmination of all the things she mentioned, but also the undue stress she puts on herself."
Chakotay nodded understandingly. "Too much work."
Kathryn whipped her head round to give him the death stare. He didn't budge.
"Indeed." Concurred the Doctor. "Not enough food of high nutritional value."
She turned to face him, one eyebrow raised.
"Not enough sleep." Responded Chakotay.
"Never takes the time to relax." Replied the EMH.
"Worries more about the ship than herself."
"Too much caffeine."
"Doesn't spend enough time socialising with the crew."
"Never takes an easy choice."
"Oh yes. Finds it difficult to-"
"Excuse me!" Kathryn shouted. Chakotay and the Doctor instantly stopped talking. "Do you think we could possibly discuss my faults at another time? A more appropriate time?"
The Doctor stepped towards her. "No Captain, we cannot."
Kathryn sat up, her fury setting in. "I beg your pardon?"
Clearly not realising the potential danger he was facing, the Doctor continued talking unabated. "You work far more hours than are necessary. Your devotion to your ship and crew is to be admired, but frankly you have to take care of yourself."
"Just what are you saying Doctor?" she demanded, knowing what he would probably say.
"What I am saying Captain, is that if the First Officer agrees you will be relieved of duty."
Her mouth swung open, then swung shut as she turned to face Chakotay on the other side of the biobed, waiting for his decision.
Chakotay was not enjoying this at all. He was facing the wrath of this woman. This woman who he loved. This woman who was stressed, tired, hungry and in pain. Basically this woman was pissed.
He almost gulped as he told them his decision.
Damn that man! And damn that hologram. Kathryn was fuming as she paced her bedroom. How could they do this to her? Okay, maybe she was in a little bit of a bad mood, but relieving her of duty? How humiliating!
Alas, there was nothing she could do about it. Conspiring against her, Chakotay and the Doctor had informed the crew that the Captain was indisposed and that Chakotay was temporarily in charge. The Doctor had ordered her to relax, as well as providing her with a diet plan that would provide her with the nutrients she needed.
"You should try it sometime," he'd said sarcastically as he'd handed her the PADD "it's called food."
That PADD now lay unread on the table in her quarters. Stomping over to the replicator she ordered herself a coffee.
"Unable to comply. Items available from this replicator are restricted to the nutrients listed on food plan Janeway alpha."
"Argh!" she shouted, fighting the urge to kick the silly thing.
Okay okay, she needed to relax. What would help her to relax? She smiled, her first real smile in two weeks. A bubble bath.
She quickly walked to the bathroom, and started running the taps for the bath. She sat on the side of the bath and ran her hand through the water as memories nearly overwhelmed her. New Earth. This was the tub Chakotay had built for her. After they'd been rescued she'd had the bathtub brought up to Voyager. It had taken her a few days, but eventually she'd managed to get the tub installed into her bathroom with its own water supply. The taps had been her own personal touch. They were old-fashioned ones and she told herself that she had replicated them for the tub because she preferred them to the new ones. The truth was they had initials on them to indicate 'hot' or 'cold', and whenever she had a bath she'd be staring at his initial.
She sighed, then cheered up slightly at the prospect of a nice warm bath. Maybe it would turn out to be a good day after all.
"Janeway to the Doctor."
He frowned as he received her hail. "Doctor here Captain. I thought you were supposed to be relaxing?"
"Oh I am Doctor, really. I just have a sort of a…problem."
"Is it urgent?"
"Well no, not really." She responded, sounding reluctant.
"Then I'm afraid it'll have to wait Captain. I'm just about to start knee surgery on Ms Nicoletti."
She sighed audibly. "I understand. Janeway out."
Kathryn shivered. She was getting awfully cold. She lowered herself further into the water, trying to feel what was left of the warmth.
She felt so incredibly stupid.
There was only one way out of this now. There was only one person she could trust right now to keep this quiet.
Resigning herself to her fate, she summoned her First Officer.
"Come in Chakotay." Her muffled voice replied from the other side of door.
Stepping into her quarters, Chakotay took a quick look around. "Captain, where are you?"
"I'm in the bathroom at the moment Chakotay."
"Oh." So…she was in the bathroom and she had asked for him to come to her quarters. What could she possibly want? "Why did you want to see me?"
Her voice travelled from the bathroom. "Before we do anything Chakotay, I need your assurance that won't mention what happened here to anyone."
"Of course Kathryn." He replied, wondering what the hell she was talking about. Why it almost sounded like…
"Well in that case Chakotay, could you please pick up the blanket from my bed and throw it to me?"
"Er…yes, of course." Totally bewildered he did as she said. He threw the blanket into the bathroom, being careful not to look too far into the room. From his position outside the entrance to the bathroom, he saw one bare arm reach down for the blanket, obviously not finding it easy to pick it up. Eventually she managed to get a grip and yanked it up. After a few seconds she told him to enter.
Somewhat hesitantly he entered the bathroom. His eyes widened as he took in her appearance. She was lying in a bathtub (the one he made??), but she had covered herself with the blanket which was rapidly getting soaked. She must really be in trouble if she didn't mind him seeing her like this.
She wasn't looking at him. In fact, she was being very careful about not looking at him. She kept her eyes fixed on the wall directly opposite from him. "I have a bit of a problem Chakotay." She told him quietly.
He knelt down next to her and turned her head around to face him. She tried to pull her head out of her hand but he wouldn't let go. He stared at her intently. "What's wrong?" he whispered.
She just stared at him for a few seconds, mouth slightly open, unable to say anything. Finally she recovered enough to pull the covers up from her feet. They sloshed in the water noisily. Still unable to stop looking at him she nodded toward her feet.
Eventually tearing his gaze away his looked at her feet. And laughed. He couldn't help it. She frowned at him and he instantly apologised. "I'm sorry…but I thought it was something serious."
"It is serious." She insisted. "This water isn't exactly warm anymore."
He dipped the end of his finger into the water. "Oo, you're right. Well, let's see what we can do." He told her, then moved to the other end of the bath to try and remove his Captain's toe from the faucet.
Kathryn wiggled her toe, extremely relieved to have it free from the tap. It had taken almost ten highly embarrassing minutes to get it released, but eventually Chakotay had completed his task.
She'd asked him to wait for her in the next room. She wanted some privacy, but she couldn't ask him to leave completely. She still had to thank him.
After he left the room, she unsteadily lifted herself out of the bath, trying to drag the blanket with her which was now completely soaked. Her attempts to maintain her modesty only created more problems. Trying to step out of the bath, her foot got caught in the blanket and she slipped.
Chakotay exhaled heavily as he entered her bedroom. Damn, that had not been easy. It had taken him far longer than it normally would have because he was extraordinarily aware of her state of undress. It wouldn't have been so bad if the blanket covering her hadn't gotten so wet. But it had, and when he'd caught the outline of her hardened nipples he hadn't been able to think about anything else. His hands had fumbled countless times on her toe after that.
He flopped onto the couch, but as soon as he started to relax he heard a yelp followed by a loud thump that had definitely come from her bathroom. He launched himself up to feet. "Kathryn?" He ran towards the bathroom but hesitated outside the door.
It took her a few seconds to answer. "I'm alright Chakotay. Just took a little tumble."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh yes. I'll be just fine."
He heard her moving, then heard another quieter thump. "Dammit. Okay Chakotay, I think I'm going to need your help again. If you can just give me a few seconds…"
He waited impatiently outside the door, almost tapping his foot. Finally she told him to enter. She was lying on the floor, and she had obviously pulled the wet blanket over herself to try and hang on to her modesty. He completely avoided looking at her chest. That could get him into all kinds of trouble.
Kathryn smiled at him, obviously in pain. "I think I twisted my ankle."
He nodded and sat himself down next to her foot. He examined it. Gently he felt it, wincing in sympathy as he heard her gasp. "Sorry." He whispered. She was going to have a nasty bruise. "I think I should get the Doctor."
"Oh that's really not necessary. It's not serious. Besides, the Doctor's performing surgery at the moment. I can live with it until the morning."
"If you're sure…" he asked. She nodded. He suddenly noticed that she was shivering and that goosebumps were forming on her skin. "We need to get you warm."
She agreed, her teeth chattering. "There's another blanket in the closet in my bedroom."
He rose. "I'll be right back."
A few moments later he returned with blanket. "Now, we have to find a way of doing this without embarrassing either one of us."
Kathryn grinned wryly. "I think it's a little late for that."
He smiled at her. Eventually they managed to swap blankets without exposing too much skin, although there were a few close calls. Slowly he helped her to her feet, and she hobbled into the bedroom with his help.
Following her instructions he managed to find her night wear and dressing gown (although one time he inadvertently found himself with his hands in her underwear draw - that had been embarrassing). He left the room when she got dressed but returned to help her settle in.
Eventually she was under the freshly replicated blanket on her bed. He leant over her and tugged the blanket around her neck. "I bet it's been a while since anyone tucked you in, huh?" he asked, trying to dispel the intimacy of the moment.
"It has been a few years." She responded fondly. "Chakotay…thank you."
He grinned softly, then remembered something. "I did nothing for you to be thankful for."
Kathryn smiled widely as she looked up at him. "That's lovely."
"It's just something I heard once."
"I think it's a beautiful phrase, but I mean it. Thank you." She mumbled the last sentence as her exhaustion finally pushed her towards sleep. She didn't feel the small kiss he placed on her forehead, or the hand that caressed her face. She didn't hear the slight "You're welcome." She just drifted off into a deep, relaxed sleep.