Both Chakotay and Kolopak were eager to show her their village. Where Paka would point out significant readings, his son would show her where the tribe would meet for certain rituals. She enjoyed the attention they bestowed on her, and when they arrived at her lodge she felt her head swimming with varied details.
~ * ~ * ~
“Kotay! We’re back here.”
They walked to the other side of the lodge where they found Suttonay and Lorakish arguing over something. Kolopak stepped forward to introduce Kathryn to the two men and noticed Chakotay had stepped up closely behind her left shoulder to show the two equally handsome brothers his interest in Kathryn.
Oblivious to Chakotay’s move, she held her hand out to the two men. “One of you must be Suttonay, son of Levinak. I am Kathryn Janeway.” Suttonay shook her outstretched hand, “Welcome to Trebus Kathryn. I am Suttonay and this is my younger brother Lorakish.”
“Great to finally meet you,” Lorakish gently pushed his brother away, “I am Lorakish, but you can call me Lora. I’m looking forward to working with you.”
She smiled at the younger man, “You also work at the lab? I guess Kolopak has more partners in crime, considering all the research he has done.”
~ * ~ * ~
Looking at the lodge, Kolopak saw it would be finished fairly soon: too soon for his idea.
This morning after they had been upstairs, he and Mika had jointly contacted their spirit guides, asking them for guidance.
Ever since he had received Kathryn’s application for the posting, they both had discovered – each on a separate occasion – that their guides had left them fairly obvious hints about the importance of her arrival. It seems that where they had thought their son had just been “picky” in choosing a mate, the Spirits saw a greater goal for him. Mika’s raven and Paka’s bear had explained that Chakotay’s path in life was a universal constant, never changing and always persistent.
After telling the other about their spirit walk, they went to the Tribe Chief, Poketay, asking him for help. He told the he’d known of Chakotay’s destiny since his birth, when the Spirits had told him to pay close attention to the young boy.
Now that Kathryn was on the planet, Mika and Paka had decided it would be easiest for them to have her stay at their house. After all, having her there meant Chakotay would stay more often too, and the more time they spend together the closer they would become.
Mika had instructed Paka to delay the completion of Kathryn’s lodge for as long as he possibly could. Now if only he could come up with something, because it seemed Suttonay had thought of everything.
~ * ~ * ~
As Suttonay showed Kathryn around her future house, closely followed by Lorakish, Kolopak toured it on his own, desperately looking at something that would postpone the finish. Chakotay had decided not to follow them inside, he needed to talk to Suttonay alone, and found he was too distracted by Kathryn’s presence.
~ * ~ * ~
The lodge was very simple, yet a lot of detail had been put into it. It basically was one large room with an adjoining kitchen, a separate bathroom and a sleeping alcove. Very suitable for one or two people. To her dismay Kathryn noticed the traditional looking kitchen. She’d have to ask Kolopak or Mika about the possibility of installing the small replicator she’d brought. Not wanting to offend a proud looking Suttonay, she decided to ask Paka when they were alone again. Besides she really did not want more people to know she could not cook. Even something as simple as boiling an egg was beyond her abilities. The replicator had been her mother’s idea.
~ * ~ * ~
After they had seen the entire site Kolopak, Lorakish and Kathryn went on their way to the lab. Chakotay stayed behind. He did overhear Lorakish inviting Kathryn for dinner at his mother’s house that evening. As she declined – and accepted a rain check – he saw Suttonay closely scrutinizing her. He did not like the feeling he got when he in turn noticed Kathryn’s frank and open stare at Suttonay. She made it a point asking him if she could expect him at that dinner too. Suttonay’s lady-killer smile and suave answer was enough to set off her delightful blush again. Kolopak looked at the four young people with barely concealed humor, thinking his son’s jealousy might become a good incentive for him to pursue his interest in Kathryn.
~ * ~ * ~
“Suttonay could you help me with something?” Chakotay’s positively panicked expression made the other man laugh.
“Judging by the look on your face, it’s something of grave importance,” and he adopted a serious look.
Chakotay had to smile at that, “It’s not that important. It might turn out to be, though. I just need your help building something. And since you’re the one who can construct almost anything, I’d thought I’d ask you.”
“What do you want to build? Is your home missing something? I always thought it was fairly complete. Heck, I’d move in if you’d let me.”
“You’re right, it is complete and no – you can’t have it. I feel very at home there, but they other day I still noticed something missing.”
“Which is? A wife?” Suttonay laughed harder at his joke than Chakotay, not realizing it was the truth.
Still it made Chakotay smile, “Apart from that. What I need is help making a bathtub.”
“A bathtub? Spirits, Kotay, isn’t your shower enough? I thought you’d need help building some sort of contraption to move your marital bed out of your parents’ house, but a bathtub? Of course, I’ll help you. By the way, what happened to that bed anyway? Wasn’t it in the guestroom, where you mother no doubt put the lovely Miss Janeway.” Looking at his friend, the realization dawned on Suttonay, “Your mother let her sleep in that bed, didn’t she?”
Chakotay nodded, “She did.” He sat down on one of the logs behind the lodge, “It gets even worse.”
“What do you mean? How could it be any worse? Your mother puts a single attractive woman in the room, which houses the bed you built for your future wife. As far as I’m concerned that’s bad. What was Mika trying to do? Put a spell on Kathryn? I warned you when you built that bed, didn’t I? And now look what happened!”
“I know you warned me, please don’t rub it in. But how was I supposed to know something like this would happen? Last night when I realized where Ama had put Kathryn, I went to her room to tell her about the significance of that bed.”
Chakotay got up and paced around. “As I opened the door, she was there, lying on the bed.”
“And? Don’t make me wait.”
Putting his head in his hands, he groaned, “Suttonay, I couldn’t – I was frozen on the spot – I couldn’t tell her.” “Please tell me you’re kidding? You let her sleep in that bed? Why?” But one look at his friend’s face was enough, “O my! It’s true then? Poketay was right?”
“What do you mean ‘Poketay was right’?”
“I’m not supposed to tell you, but he once told your parents something like this would happen.”
“And how do you know? Who told you?”
“Your parents did. They wanted me to look after you, since you wouldn’t let anyone else near you.”
“What did Poketay tell them?”
“He just told them not to expect you to follow the normal path of life. You would do things your own way.”
“And how does this tie into Kathryn sleeping in my bed?”
“Well, you have to agree it’s a very unusual way to secure the love of your mate.”
“Right” Chakotay sat down again, still looking ill at ease.
“Hey, lighten up. As far as I’m concerned she’s a great lady. You did well!”
“You mean, I did well falling in love with the one woman the Elders would never agree to be my equal.”
“That’s the negative point of view. Anyway you said things got worse after your mother put her in the guestroom. What did you do, argue with her? Because that would have been fairly stupid, even for you.”
“No we didn’t argue. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We talked.”
Suttonay looked at him questioningly, “You talked? I still don’t see how that is worse.”
“It was wonderful. Yes we talked: about everything. I’ve never opened up to someone and I got the impression the feeling was mutual. We couldn’t stop talking, but I guess at some point we must have dozed off.”
“And where were you all this time? Standing in the doorway?”
Chakotay grinned self-consciously, “No I was not. Kathryn was reclining on the bed, and I sat opposite from her.”
“Probably in an incredibly awkward position. You must have woken up with a stiff neck.”
“Actually I didn’t. I haven’t slept this well in ages. Somewhere during our conversation we drifted closer together because when I woke up this morning she was right beside me.”
“On the other side of the bed, right?”
Chakotay’s answer was lost in the noise of two voices yelling his name, followed by two extremely worried girls.
“Chakotay! There you are. Ama is looking for you. And do you know where father is? The Elders want to see him and Ama is worried and she told me to find you because you need to help father. He’s in trouble again with them. And you need to come home. Now!”
He grabbed his sister by the shoulders, “Calm down, Sini. Take a deep breath and then tell me what happened. Sit down and drink some water.” Suttonay handed Teresini and his own sister Heminika a glass. Both girls were out of breath.
“Now tell me again what happened. Slowly this time.”
“Qantuin has gone to the Elders to tell them about Kathryn. Now the Elders want to question father in front of an official village meeting. Ama thinks they will force Kathryn to leave again unless she can claim she is bonded.” The girl was on the verge of tears and when he looked at her friend, he saw mirrored feelings there. “Chakotay, this time they have a reason to hurt father. You have got to help him. You will, won’t you?”
He crouched down in front of his sister, “Sini, of course I will help father, and Kathryn. We might not agree on certain subjects, but I will help him – them – in any way I can.” Taking her hands he continued, “After you have calmed down, the two of us will go to the lab and talk to them, alright?”
Teresini nodded and hugged her brother, “I just don’t want Kathryn to leave.” Chakotay smiled at her and whispered in her ear, “I don’t want her to go either.”
~ * ~ * ~