mending broken pieces of the life I had before
Summary: Tumblr prompt: “I’ve been undercover for months/years and I know I told you not to wait for me but I’m still in love with you and it’s killing me.”
Characters: Chakotay, Janeway
Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Jaffen
Disclaimer: Characters are Paramount’s. No infringement intended.
Notes: A sequel to my first AU prompt fic, you could be my unintended, was requested by a few readers, so here it is. I'm not sure this is exactly what people had in mind, but this is what came out of my brain. Sorry.
I am somewhat tech-savvy, but I really know nothing about the dark web or how IP tracking works except for what Dr Google tells me, so forgive me for anything I got ridiculously wrong. Incidentally, the research I did for this story taught me things I wish I could un-know.
Warning: There are references in this story to disturbing topics, but I’ve kept it as non-descriptive as possible.
“Who is your local connection?”
Camet stared into mid-air, his mouth shut tight.
Bendera leaned across the interview table. “Your friend Seska already gave you up. We apprehended you in the process of taking possession of abducted minors and contraband material. Things really can’t get much worse for you, Guillaume. Why not make it easier on yourself? Give us a little, and we’ll take it into account.”
Finally, Camet’s head swung around and he looked directly at Chakotay. He smiled.
“You have something to say to me?” Chakotay asked gruffly. Bendera put a calming hand on his arm.
“Agent Chakotay,” Camet said in a silky, lightly-accented voice. “I’d heard so much about you. I’m afraid our mutual acquaintance isn’t your biggest fan, although I suspect that’s partly because he was rather ashamed of his own incompetence.”
“What are you talking about?”
“He had his suspicions about you for some time. Took to tracking your movements – he’s quite clever with computers, you know. And you were quite good – you only deviated from your script on one occasion. Unluckily for you, it was enough.”
Chakotay stared at him silently.
“My understanding of undercover work,” Camet went on, “is that the agent must cut all ties to his regular life. But you didn’t quite do that, did you?” He smiled. “You went to visit some old friends.”
Will and Deanna, Chakotay thought, and then hard on the heels of that, Billy.
He stood up abruptly. “Interview suspended at fifteen forty-eight. Boss, a word?”
“What do you want?”
Kathryn knew her voice was shaking, but she moved subtly in front of Deanna, shielding her with her body.
“Get the kid,” Jonas answered, his voice clipped.
“Because if you don’t, I’m going to shoot the pregnant bitch,” Jonas snapped. He stepped to the side, aiming the gun directly at Deanna, who’d risen from her seat at the outdoor table. Kathryn glanced over at her. Her dark eyes were huge with terror.
“All right.” Kathryn held up her hands in a pacifying gesture, then slowly backed over to Billy, bending down to pick him up. The little boy wound his arms around her neck. “Now what?” she addressed the man with the gun.
He waved it in the direction of the house. “Now we’re going to walk out the front door, and you’re all going to get in my van.”
Kathryn felt her stomach seize. “Where are you taking us?”
“Move it.” Jonas placed the gun against Deanna’s skull and took hold of her arm. “You first, Red. Don’t try anything stupid.” He tightened his grip on Deanna’s arm and she gasped in pain.
“Okay,” Kathryn said quickly. “Just don’t hurt her.”
She walked slowly through the house and out the front door. There was a white van parked at the kerb.
Jonas glanced up and down the street. “Open the side door and get in.”
She did as she was told.
The back of the van had no windows, and the rear compartment was separated from the driver’s cab by an opaque metal panel. There was a bench seat. It had no seat belts.
Deanna clambered awkwardly in after Kathryn.
“Take a seat.” Jonas indicated the bench.
“This isn’t safe for the child,” Kathryn protested. “There are no restraints.”
“That’s right,” Jonas answered. “So you’d better make sure you hold onto him. Any funny business and I’ll crash this van. And believe me, you’ll all come off worse than I will.” He held out a hand. “Give me your cellphone.”
Reluctantly, she reached into her jeans pocket and handed it to him. Jonas tossed it to the ground and smashed it with his boot heel, then shut and locked the door.
As they drove, Kathryn tried to keep track of all the turns, but there seemed to be so many, and she couldn’t see outside at all. She held on tight to Billy with one arm and clutched Deanna’s hand with the other.
“What’s going to happen to us?” Deanna whispered.
“We’ll be okay,” Kathryn lied. “Deanna, if you see a chance to escape, grab Billy and take it. Promise me.”
“What about you?”
“He’s not that big,” Kathryn said confidently. “I have self-defence training, and Chakotay taught me a few tricks. I’m pretty sure I could take him.”
“Kathryn, he has a gun.”
“Then I’ll just have to be careful.”
The van rolled to a stop, and their door slid open. “Get out,” Jonas ordered them, gun trained on Deanna.
They stepped out into an enormous, darkened room, empty but for a couple of vehicles and a stack of crates. A warehouse, Kathryn surmised. She listened hard. She could hear the swish of traffic, but nothing that could pinpoint where they were. They’d been driving for close to an hour, but with all the twists and turns they could be anywhere from Hunters Point to the Embarcadero.
“That way.” Jonas waved the gun in the direction of a door on the far side of the warehouse. Kathryn watched him from the corner of her eye, wondering if she’d have a chance to take him by surprise. But although he appeared more relaxed since they’d entered the warehouse, he kept the gun trained pointedly on Deanna and his eyes never left Kathryn.
Deanna pushed open the door. Inside was what looked like a small studio, equipped with a kitchenette, a small lounge area and a corner filled with children’s toys. Kathryn stared at it.
“What is this place?”
“Make yourselves comfortable,” Jonas replied, ignoring her question. He sat on the couch, indicating Deanna should sit beside him. “We won’t have long to wait. You can put the boy over there.”
Kathryn let Billy down in the corner, kneeling beside him as he picked up a brightly-coloured musical toy.
Jonas pointed at an armchair. “Sit there, Kathryn.”
She stiffened. “How the hell do you know my name?”
Their captor’s smile widened. “Oh, you’d be surprised what I know about you, and your friend here. Deanna Riker, married to Will; those two were my first real clue. But you, Kathryn,” he grinned, “you were the missing piece of the puzzle.”
Jonas settled back, hooking one ankle over the opposite knee and resting the gun on his thigh. “I made a friend, not so long ago,” he began. “Took me longer than it should have to realise he wasn’t exactly what he claimed to be.”
“And what was that?” Kathryn was getting mental whiplash from this man’s idea of conversation.
“We call ourselves child lovers.” He watched their incomprehension turn to horror. Deanna pressed a hand to her mouth, her gaze tracking to Billy. “I’m sure you know us by less pretty names, but your prejudices are not my problem. Anyway, my friend claimed he was one of us, but I got suspicious. So I started following him around. And one day, lo and behold, he led me to you.”
He waved the gun towards Deanna, and she shrank back.
“I couldn’t figure out how he’d know you – a nice middle-class couple like yourselves. Husband a lawyer, wife a counsellor – two of the professions we prefer to avoid. We like to fly under the radar, you see, and people like you and your husband tend to be a little too clued in.”
Jonas rested the gun on his thigh again. “At first I thought he was interested in your little boy there, but like I said, I was already suspicious of his behaviour. So I watched the two of you as well. And then yesterday, you showed up.”
He turned to face Kathryn this time. “You were easy to identify as well. Kathryn Janeway, teacher, resident of Bloomington, Indiana. Owner of the very house next door to Mrs Riker here. And then I did a little more digging. I found your marriage and divorce records – sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you, by the way.”
Kathryn pressed her lips together. “What does this have to do with anything?”
“Well, I was bored and curious. So I looked up your wedding notice and found the name of your photographer. Then I went to his website. He still has some of your pictures up there, you know. Handy for me, as it turns out.”
Jonas dug into his back pocket and held up a creased photo.
“Turns out,” he said with slow relish, “you were married to my so-called friend. Thanks to this photo, I got his real name. Which led me to discover that the man I knew as Charlie Miller is in fact one Special Agent Chakotay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
“What?” Deanna whispered, turning to stare at Kathryn.
A dozen things clicked into place for Kathryn, one by one.
You don’t want children at all? Or you just don’t want them with me?
The drinking. The secretiveness, the withdrawn behaviour.
You need to choose. Either you stay with me or you let me go.
The ever-present laptop that he’d never let her look at. The undercover job he’d left her for.
These people need me. You don’t know what’s at stake here.
“Oh, God,” she said, staring at the man who now held his gun trained on her. “He was investigating you.”
As soon as he had Bendera, Hogan and Henley in a private room, Chakotay spoke fast. “Michael Jonas is the mutual acquaintance Camet referred to. He’s much higher up the food chain than I suspected. I don’t think even Seska knew how connected he is. I’m pretty sure he’s responsible for transporting the abductees.”
“He works for a car hire company. He has access to all kinds of vehicles and would be able to use a different one every time he moves the children. He’s also extremely technically adept and knows how to obscure a paper trail.”
“Locate him,” Bendera ordered Henley. She nodded and picked up the phone to dial Jonas’ rental outlet.
“I’m concerned about why Camet is letting us in on this now,” Chakotay continued urgently. “He mentioned friends of mine. They used to be my next-door neighbours. They have a two year old son.”
“You think he and Jonas set something up to take the kid?”
“I’m sure of it. And the parents could be in danger too.”
Bendera tapped his chin. “if he’s telling us this now, he must be confident that Jonas won’t be caught.”
“He’s wrong,” Henley interrupted, hanging up the phone. “I have the make and plates of the car Jonas took from the hire place. White Ford Transit with no rear windows.” She pushed a piece of paper to Bendera, the plate number hastily scribbled on it. “I’ll start scanning traffic cams.”
“Hogan, help her out,” Bendera ordered. “Chakotay and I will check out the residence. Let’s move, people.”
The front door of the Riker house was ajar. Drawing their weapons, Bendera and Chakotay entered silently. Chakotay scouted upstairs while Bendera moved through the lower level.
“Clear,” Chakotay reported when they met back in the hallway.
Bendera nodded. “Looks like the lady of the house had company.” He gestured to the back garden. “Half-empty cups of coffee and hot chocolate. I’d also surmise they left in a hurry.”
Chakotay stepped onto the patio and took in the scene. A child’s ride-on truck was parked in the middle of the paved area and a tiny long-sleeved T-shirt lay on the table next to the half-empty mugs. A woman’s jacket was slung over the back of one of the chairs.
He knew that jacket.
His feet carried him over to it as if his brain was unaware of the signals it was sending them. He picked up the jacket and pressed it to his face, inhaling.
Vanilla and roses and coffee.
His fists clenched on the jacket and he stared at Bendera. “Jonas has Kathryn,” he rasped.
“Chakotay works for the FBI?” Deanna hissed in Kathryn’s ear as Jonas took a call on his cellphone.
“And he went undercover to bust a paedophile ring?”
“So it seems,” Kathryn muttered back. She hadn’t taken her eyes off their captor since he’d begun his story. She noticed that he was engrossed in his phone call and had lowered the gun a little.
She let her gaze flicker over to the door they’d entered through. She didn’t think Jonas had locked it, but she guessed that with his gun and his hostages, he was probably confident she wouldn’t try anything.
Jonas returned his phone to his pocket and she snapped her attention back to him.
“Change of plans,” he said abruptly, levelling the gun at Kathryn. “Get the kid. We’re moving.”
“Shut up and do as you’re told,” he snarled, his control slipping for the first time. Kathryn got slowly to her feet. She didn’t want to antagonise him, but if his plans were falling apart, she had every intention of taking advantage of whatever opportunity presented itself.
She picked Billy up, gathering a few of the toys he’d been playing with to ensure he’d stay compliant. Jonas waved the gun, motioning Deanna to open the door. They stepped out into the warehouse.
“Get in the Nissan,” he ordered, pointing to a blue van parked beside the white one they’d arrived in. Kathryn looked it over. It looked a few years older than the Transit, but just as impenetrable. She felt fear squeeze her insides.
Deanna climbed in first, holding her arms out for Billy. As Kathryn passed him up to her, Billy dropped one of his toys. She bent to retrieve it, and as she glanced sideways, she realised Jonas’ attention was on his phone.
Before she could second-guess herself, she shifted her centre of gravity and kicked out, catching Jonas hard on the side of the knee. He shouted in pain, clutching the injured knee and dropping to the ground. Kathryn scrambled to her feet and kicked at the hand holding the gun. It skittered under the van, and she launched herself at Jonas, hands scrabbling for his phone.
Too late, she realised she should have tried to knock him out first.
He dropped the phone, but only so that he could grab her by the throat with both hands. She gasped, trying to pry his fingers off her. He was trying to roll her over so he could pin her to the floor, but was hampered by his dislocated knee – she could hear him grunting in pain as they struggled.
Desperate, she shoved her knee between his legs and brought it upward into his groin as hard as she could. He yelled again, but his grip on her neck only slackened for a moment.
Kathryn’s ears were starting to sing, her vision tunnelling from lack of oxygen. She thought she saw movement to her left – Deanna? – but she had to focus on Jonas, had to find a way to hurt him, had to breathe …
“We traced the van,” Henley said over the phone. “I’m patching the address to your GPS now.”
“Got it,” Bendera said a moment later. “Send backup and get the local police on it.”
“Hold up,” Henley said sharply. “We just logged a 911 call from that location.”
“Play it. I’m putting you on speaker.” Bendera slotted his phone into the dashboard holder.
My name is Deanna Riker, came the shaky voice. A man has kidnapped me and my son, and my friend Kathryn Janeway. I don’t know where we are. Oh, God, he’s killing her –
The recording ended with the sound of Deanna’s screaming and the operator imploring her to stay on the line.
“How far out are we?” Chakotay’s jaw was clenched so tight Bendera was afraid he’d grind his teeth to powder.
“Thirty minutes, depending on traffic.” Bendera glanced over at him. “The cops will get there sooner.”
“Not soon enough.”
Bendera stepped on the accelerator.
She felt her strength ebbing away. Her lungs burned and there was a roaring in her ears. She could barely hear Deanna screaming, Billy crying, Jonas shouting. Her fingers loosened on Jonas’ hands at her throat and she felt her arms go limp at her sides, felt Jonas flip her over. His face was inches from hers, his teeth bared, sweat beading at his temples.
Lights blurred her eyes, flashing red and blue, and she wasn’t sure if it was real or oxygen deprivation. She thought she could hear shouting, boots pounding on the floor. Dark shapes that looked like men swam across her vision.
She felt Jonas yank on her neck and slam her head against the concrete floor, once, twice, and then she knew no more.
By the time Chakotay and Bendera squealed to a stop at the warehouse, it was all over.
Jonas sat cuffed and sullen under armed guard in the back of an ambulance, his left knee bandaged. The police had retrieved his gun from beneath the Nissan and had impounded both vans. Deanna huddled under a blanket in the back of another ambulance, Billy sleeping against her shoulder. Behind her, Kathryn sat on a stretcher with her back to the doors, one paramedic inspecting the wounds on the back of her head and another shining a penlight in her eyes.
Chakotay rocketed from Bendera’s car and skidded to a stop before the open doors of the ambulance.
“Are you both all right?” he asked Deanna quietly, not taking his eyes off Kathryn.
“We will be, as soon as Will gets here.”
He looked at her, his eyes full of guilt. “I’m so sorry, Dee. I should have never gone near your house while I was on the job.”
She shook her head. “It isn’t your fault, Chakotay.”
His gaze drifted back to Kathryn. “How is she?”
“The medics say she’ll be fine.” Something like a smile lit Deanna’s face. “You should have seen her. She was amazing.”
“She is amazing.”
Deanna reached out to grasp his hand. “She thinks pretty highly of you too, Chakotay, despite everything. So go talk to her, and promise me you won’t fuck it up this time.”
He glanced at her in surprise and realised she was smiling.
“I promise,” he answered, then stepped up into the ambulance.
The paramedic with the penlight snapped it off. “Looks like you got off with a mild concussion,” he told his patient. “Must have a hard head.”
“You’re not the first person to offer that opinion,” she answered dryly.
She stilled, eyes wide. “Chakotay,” she whispered.
Then he was kneeling in front of her and taking her hands in his, looking up into her face as though he’d never seen anything more beautiful.
“I’ve missed you,” she choked out, and then she closed the distance between them, burying her face against his neck and exulting in the absolute rightness of his arms around her.
“I think it needs to go over there.”
Chakotay leaned on the back of the couch and sent her an exasperated look. “Kathryn, I’ve already moved the couch three times. I’ve been carting boxes all day, I’m tired and hungry, and this couch is really heavy. Do you think we could fine-tune the interior decorating tomorrow?”
Kathryn put her hands on her hips and gave him that lopsided grin he never tired of. “I don’t know, Chakotay. I have plans for tomorrow, and they don’t involve moving furniture.”
He grinned back at her. “Far be it from me to interfere with said plans. I’d hate you to leave me standing at the altar.”
“Registry office, Chakotay.”
“Figure of speech, Kathryn.” He straightened up, faking a long-suffering sigh. “Where would you like this diabolically heavy couch moved to, ma’am?”
“Call me ma’am one more time and I’ll make you move it into the attic,” she retorted, then laughed. “Actually, never mind. It’s perfect just where it is.”
“Thank God,” Chakotay sighed theatrically, walking round the couch to slump down onto it. “Come over here.”
She went gladly, slipping onto the seat beside him and settling under his arm, her head on his shoulder. From their position they could watch the sun sinking into the San Francisco skyline. Chakotay pressed his mouth to the top of her head. “You’re right,” he murmured. “This is perfect.”
Kathryn sighed blissfully, pulling his other arm over her and closing her eyes.
She thought about how hard they’d worked to get to this moment. It wasn’t only the logistics – cutting short their tenants’ lease so they could take possession of their house again, quitting her job and moving all her belongings back from Indiana, organising it all around the crazy hours Chakotay had been working to wrap up the Jonas case. It was the other, less practical, more emotional things that they’d really thrown themselves into.
It was mostly on Chakotay’s side, she admitted. Jonas’ arrest had led to him singing like a bird, and the Bureau had made another four arrests based on his intel. Chakotay was required to stay on the case until it was finalised, but he’d asked for and been granted a transfer to the white collar crimes division after that. He’d made a commitment to her that he’d never take on another undercover job. And he’d kept up with his counselling sessions and gone to a few AA meetings. He hadn’t had a drink in almost six months now. He was fit again, and healthy, and most of all, he was happy.
As for her… She was happy, too. Tired of travelling across the country to transplant her life for the second time in the space of a year, yes, but she was about to marry – re-marry – the love of her life, and she was back in the house she loved in the city that felt like home. As soon as they returned from their honeymoon, she was planning to take a few weeks off to potter around and figure out her next steps.
She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, career-wise. Tuvok had offered to take her back at the university lab; she was considering it, but she was reluctant to take on a job that meant long hours and weekend work again. There was something else she wanted more. She just had to figure out how to broach the subject with Chakotay. Their last discussions on it hadn’t gone well at all.
“Hey,” he murmured into her hair. “You tensed up. What’s going on?”
She hesitated. “Maybe it isn’t the right time to talk about this.”
Chakotay pulled back a little, turning her so he could see her face. “I thought we agreed on no more secrets.”
“We did,” she conceded, not meeting his eyes.
He tipped her chin up. “Then talk to me.”
“Okay,” she said slowly. “This is hard, Chakotay. Every time we’ve talked about this, we’ve ended up fighting.”
She sat up, taking his hands in her own.
“It doesn’t have to happen right away,” she began, haltingly. “We still have time. But I need to know if this is somewhere we’re heading, or if I need to close the door on it.”
He stared at her, then comprehension dawned. “Kathryn,” he murmured, tugging her hands upward so he could press his lips to them, “are you telling me you want to have a baby with me?”
“Yes,” she said, finally meeting his gaze. He read the trepidation in her eyes. “Maybe even more than one.”
She was worrying at her lower lip with her teeth, waiting for his answer. He bent and kissed the abused flesh, the tip of his tongue soothing it. She parted her lips instinctively, letting him deepen the kiss, and he loosened his hands from hers so his could cup her face.
“So…” she drew back a little, swallowing, her cheeks flushed, “what do you think?”
Chakotay dipped his head again, this time grazing his lips over her cheekbone. “I think,” he murmured, his mouth moving down her throat as she tilted her head for him, “that would make me the happiest man alive.” He slipped his hands under her sweater, stroking up her ribcage as she sighed and pressed into his touch. “And I vote we start trying tonight.”
A wide, slow smile spread over her face. “I hate to ruin your party, but I’m still on birth control.”
“So we get a few practice runs in,” Chakotay whispered, easing her backward on the couch and pulling her hips against his. “What do you say?”
His mouth found its way to her nipple and she moaned.
“No time like the present,” she managed to agree, before her hands were pushing his shirt from his shoulders and her mouth was too busy tasting his to waste any more time on talking.