Walking into Sickbay and immediately noticing the frown on the Doctor's face, Chakotay went over to the biobed where Kathryn was being treated by him.
"How is she Doctor?" he asked, but got no answer. The EMH was studying a PADD and cross-referencing the data with the data from the arch.
"What?" Chakotay asked him again, his tone a bit firmer this time.
"Oh, Commander, I'm sorry. It's just..." the EMH started, but let his voice trail off again.
"Doctor!" Chakotay demanded.
"I think we have a problem." The Doctor simply said while putting his PADD aside.
"What problem? What's wrong with her?"
"There's nothing wrong, Commander -- at least not health wise."
"Then what is it?" Chakotay was getting a little agitated because he needed some answers.
"It seems that the Captain didn't leave all of her offspring on the planet."
"You mean..." Chakotay's eyes widened and fixed on the Captain's still sleeping form.
"Because of the short gestational period as the evolved... lizard being... the Captain is almost in her last trimester. It's DNA has transformed in sync with the Captain's and I'm happy to say that the baby is also in perfect health." The EMH managed a smile, but understood the predicament they were in.
Chakotay was at a loss for words. How were they going to tell her?
"The baby... it's hers and Tom's?" he finally asked.
"Yes and no. Mr. Paris has contributed, but because of the altering I had to do to the DNA, the baby has almost 90% of the Captain's DNA. The other 10% differ from hers because it's..."
"A boy..."Chakotay interjected. He felt his heart swell as a warmth he couldn't define spread throughout his body. He almost felt... paternal. He had to mentally shake the feeling, because they still had a problem and he had to figure out how to break the news to Kathryn... and Tom... and the rest of the crew. "When will she wake up?"
"I can wake her now."
Chakotay drew in a deep breath and nodded his okay.
The EMH administered a hypo spray to her neck and quietly left, knowing Chakotay was the best man to handle this situation.
Kathryn slowly opened her eyes, letting them adjust to the harsh light. She turned her head a little and a small smile appeared when she saw Chakotay standing by her side.
"Hi." She said with a raspy voice.
"Hi." Chakotay greeted back, "how are you feeling?"
"Less slimy." She tried to joke.
Chakotay managed a small smile, but that faded quickly. "I have to tell you something, Kathryn."
He used her first name and his hand came up to tug his ear, there was something going on.
"What is it, Chakotay?" Her face looked serious, mirroring her Commander's.
"There is a complication."
"What kind of complication. I feel fine."
"Kathryn, you're pregnant." There was no other way to say it. It was like ripping off a band aid.
For anyone who didn't know her very well, they would say she took the news rather well, but Chakotay saw the subtle changes in her demeanor. Her pupils widened, her breathing quickened and the little color she had in her cheeks, drained almost completely. "Excuse me?" Chakotay didn't repeat his words. Instead he placed his hand on her shoulder.
"How?" she asked, her voice merely a whisper.
"Apparently you mated. When we found you and Tom, we also saw two of your offspring, but they disappeared into the water. The third one was still in its gestation period when we got you back on board. We didn't know. The Doctor found out during your treatment." Chakotay explained.
"So this child... Tom's the father?" Kathryn swallowed, clearly upset about this small detail.
"Yes and no." Chakotay replied, repeating the EMH's words. "The baby has almost the same DNA as you because of the DNA alternation you went through."
"It differs on one thing -- the sex."
"It's a boy." She realized.
Chakotay gently squeezed her shoulder, not knowing what else he could do for her at the moment. "Kathryn..."
"It's okay Chakotay; it's just a lot to take in at once. This wasn't exactly how I imagined things, you know."
"I understand. Do you want me to tell Tom?" he asked her.
"Do you mind? I need a moment to process this myself."
Chakotay nodded and smiled. "We'll talk about this more, later." Reluctantly he let go of her shoulder and went over to Tom.
Later that evening
Kathryn sat on the bed, staring out at nothing, lost in thoughts. How was she going to manage all this? Captaincy, pregnancy, parenting... A flutter in her stomach got her attention and she looked down at the small bump, hesitantly placing her hand where she had felt the flutter. Pressing down a little, she received more reaction from the child within.
A tear, a smile... this was her child growing inside her. However unplanned it all was, there was nothing she would change about her situation. Kathryn realized things aren't going to be easy anymore, but she also realized that she wasn't alone.
The Doctor walked up to her and scanned her with his medical tricorder. "All traces of the mutant DNA are eradicated from your system and your original genome is restored Captain. Congratulations, you're human again."
"Thank you Doctor."
"Captain, it'll take some time for your genetic codes to re-stabilize. I also would like to monitor the baby some more therefore I'd like you to remain in sickbay for the next three days just to be safe. "
She nodded in acknowledgement. "Excuse me. "she said, realizing she needed to talk to Tom. Sliding off the bed she walked over to him.
"Captain I, uh..." Tom sat up.
"I've thought about having children but I must say I never considered having them with you." She joked trying to lighten the mood.
"Ah, Captain, I'm sorry, I... I don't know what to say except, I don't remember very much about... umm... you know..." he nods, looking down at her stomach.
"What makes you think it was your idea? Sometimes it's the female of a species that initiates mating but, apology accepted nonetheless." She pulled up a chair and sat down, resting her hand on her belly again. "You may be interested to know I'm putting you in for a commendation. Regardless of the outcome, you did make the first transwarp flight." She went back to business again. After all, she was still the Captain.
"Thank you Captain." Paris answered, but he wasn't exactly over the moon about it.
"Is something wrong lieutenant?"
"I don't know. I guess this whole experience has left me feeling a little overwhelmed. Flying at warp 10, evolving into a new life form, mating, having alien offspring..." He rambled, and then fell silent.
"You've broken more than one record, that's for sure."
"Breaking the threshold, it was... incredible, but somehow I doesn't mean as much as I thought it would."
"I guess I went into this looking for a quick fix. I thought making history would change things. Not just my service record, but my reputation as well." Tom seemed truly upset, disappointed even.
"If I'm not mistaken, you've changed quite a few minds on this ship. You've earned a lot of peoples respect and admiration."
"Yeah, but I'm starting to realize that it's not other people's opinions I should be worried about, it's mine. It seems, Captain, that I still have a few barriers to break. I just hope they're not just theoretical impossibilities."
"Somehow I don't think they will be." She reassured him before looking down at her belly.
"I'm sorry Captain; I'm so busy with my own issues. How are you holding up? I'm sure this can't be easy for you." Tom had had the full story of her situation explained to him and understood that he had no relations with the child, except his involvement in the conception, but somehow he still felt just as equally responsible for the Captain's situation as she did.
"I'm not quite sure yet. I'm still processing it all. I'm happy, but I realize this is not going to be an easy ride. I don't even know if I'll be a good mother."
"Nonsense! If you're half as good a mother as you are a Captain, this child will be the luckiest child ever." Tom smiled broadly.
That comment warmed Kathryn's heart and confirmed what she had thought before. She wasn't alone on this.
"Ready to go?" Chakotay asked when Kathryn walked out of the Doctor's office.
"More than ready." She smiled and took the arm Chakotay was offering. "Thank you for the personal escort by the way."
"My pleasure." Chakotay smiled down at her and they walked out of sickbay.
"She's running smoothly. There were some issues with the warp coils, but B'Elanna and her team have almost finished working out the problems." He informed her.
"And the crew?" she winced, knowing the news of her pregnancy would have dropped in like a bomb.
"They were a little shocked at first, but they know we'll manage. One crew, one team. We're all behind you and we'll all help where we can." Chakotay assured her.
They walked the rest of the way to her quarters in silence. When they arrived there, she didn't let go of his arm so he went in with her.
"Can I get you anything?" he asked, we she let go of him to sit on the couch.
"Tea?" she said with a wince. The thought of not being allowed to drink her beloved coffee...
Chakotay tried to hide his laughing by turning around and fetching the tea she asked for. He ordered two cups and offered her one, then sat down next to her.
"Thank you." She said as she took the cup from him. She took a sip, then sighed deeply and fell silent.
Chakotay took her cup, placed it on the table and took both her hands in his, giving them a little squeeze. He said nothing, just looked at her. She turned her head towards him and looked into his warm, comforting eyes.
That was her undoing. Her throat closed and it felt like the wind got knocked out of her. When she forced herself to breathe again, a strangled sob escaped her lips and the floodgates opened up. She pulled one hand free from Chakotay's grasp and covered her mouth. "Oh God."
Chakotay just did the first thing that came to his mind, throwing all protocol to the side, and pulled Kathryn to his chest. "Shh, it's okay. I'm here."
Kathryn grabbed the front of his shirt and let herself cry. She cried for this whole situation. How did she get into this? How was she going to manage? A baby on a starship? Her baby on a starship? The same starship she herself had to get home? She had a responsibility to the crew, but that got shoved down a step and she didn't know if that was what she wanted.
"I can't do this Chakotay." She managed between two sobs. "How am I... how can... this is..." she just couldn't put it into words.
Chakotay gently pushed her away from him and made her look into his eyes. "Yes we can, Kathryn. We will do this together, you and me, and the crew will follow. You're not alone in this, remember that." He reassured her and pulled her close again.
Kathryn just closed her eyes and wrapped one arm around his waist, the other hand resting on her stomach. As she quieted down, the baby seemed restless all of a sudden and brought Kathryn back from her ‘safe place' in Chakotay's arms. She silently took his hand and placed it on the spot where she felt the baby kick.
Chakotay said nothing and just enjoyed the privilege he had been granted. He suddenly felt bold enough to kiss the top of her head before he pulled her even closer and rested his chin on her head. He closed his eyes and thanked the spirits for this particular moment.
After a while, Chakotay noticed that Kathryn's breathing had evened. He looked down and saw that she had fallen asleep. He shifted one arm, while the other went under her knees and lifted her into his arms as he stood up from the couch. Even when six months pregnant, she was a lightweight and he had no trouble what so ever carrying here to her bedroom. Very carefully he laid her down on the bed and covered her with the blanket.
He watched her grab the second pillow, almost instinctively, and snuggle into it while a sudden sense of jealousy came over him. He reached down and caressed a wayward strand of hair from her face before turning around and leaving her quarters.
Once her doors closed behind him, he stopped and just stood there. All the same questions she had asked him before popped back up and actually gave him a headache. As sure as he was telling her it would all be okay, the more doubt he had now. Although Kathryn wasn't the only pregnant woman on board, and her child wouldn't be the only baby on board, Samantha Wildman just wasn't the Captain and didn't have the same responsibilities as Kathryn. This wasn't just combining your career with a family. This was taking it to a whole other level.
"Captain on the Bridge." Harry announced with a wide grin on his face.
Janeway gave him a lopsided grin and shook her head in amusement. "At ease, Ensign. Don't overdo it."
Harry lifted his hands in mock surrender and went on with his work.
"Fill me in, I feel like I've been away for way too long." She tried to sound and act confident, but the fidgeting with her uniform was so out of character, she didn't fool anyone.
While Tuvok gave the requested update, she walked down the three steps and sat down in her chair. "Thank you, Mr. Tuvok. Mr. Paris, we need to make some distance, take her to warp 6."
"Aye, Captain." He acknowledged.
Chakotay leaned over to her and placed a hand on her knee. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I feel a bit... weird. Not a bad weird, but still."
"For what it's worth, I'm glad to have you by my side again." He smiled at her and that made her feel more at ease.
"Thanks, that means a lot to me. I'm going to my ready room, catch up on some work there." Then she leaned in closer to him and whispered, "And I really need to replicate some larger pants."
Chakotay snorted, drawing attention, so he cleared his throat and straightened his face to the best of his ability, but Kathryn was still smiling, so he too failed at that.
She stood and playfully swatted his arm, not bothered by anyone looking. "Lunch later?" she asked.
Chakotay didn't have to think twice about his answer. "I'd love to."
She nodded and turned to leave for her ready room.
The very first thing Janeway did when she was in the private of her ready room was unfasten her pants, giving the baby no more excuse to push off upon the waistband. That was way too close to her bladder and it had annoyed her like crazy.
Then she replicated some new trousers and altered some specifics so she didn't have a low cut waistband anymore, but one with a large stretch band to go over her belly.
Second she pushed her old trousers over her hips and sat down in her chair to get rid of her boots. She sighed deeply when she realized this was going to be another fight. It had taken her almost ten minutes this morning to put them on in the first place. She sure wasn't used to having a big balloon in the way. "And this is only going to get bigger." She said as she looked down at her round belly. "Janeway to Chakotay."
"I need your assistance with something." She almost sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"I'm on my way."
"Something wrong?" he asked when he entered her ready room and saw her sitting there, rubbing her forehead.
"Yes." She looked up at him with a big frown. The immediate look of panic on Chakotay's face made her regret her answer. "It's just... and don't you dare laugh... I can't get my boots off." She winced at voicing the silly predicament she was in.
Chakotay visibly relaxed and she didn't know if it was because she had warned him not to, but he didn't laugh. He just came around the desk and knelt before her, where he carefully zipped open her boots, then lifted her feet one by one to help her out of the non-cooperating boots. "There." He said and put them aside so she wouldn't trip over them when standing up.
Instead of making his retreat, he got her out of her pants, took the new pair and helped her into them, one foot at a time. He offered his hand so she could stand and then gave her some space to pull up her pants.
She straightened her jacket and patted her belly. "Give it a week and I'll need a new jacket too." That made Chakotay smile. She smiled back at him and thanked him for his help.
"You still don't have them back on, you know."
"I'll let my feet breathe for a moment. Despite what you might think, these boots aren't exactly the most comfortable footwear, you know. Especially not now."
"Maybe it's good to know then, that I give really good foot rubs."
"Oooh, Chakotay, I might hold you up on that."
"You do that." He smiled and turned to leave. "See you later, for lunch." And the doors hissed shut.
A few weeks later (Resolutions, oh yeah...)
The sudden movement of the baby woke her. Janeway slowly opened her eyes, letting them adjust to the brightness of the open sky.
‘This wasn't a dream.'
She turned her head to the right and saw that Chakotay was already awake. She waved at him, asking if he was okay and at the same time letting him know she was okay too. She pushed open the top lid and sat up, looking around and taking in the surroundings.
‘Just another test...'
"I'm sorry I can't be of more help, Chakotay." Kathryn said as she watched him building their shelter. He stopped a second with what he was doing to smile at her, and then took another piece of the big puzzle to put together. "I need to find that cure, you know. Sooner rather than later. I was apprehensive about the whole ‘having-a-baby-on-a-starship' situation, but I'm actually, truly scared now."
"The Doctor has provided us with everything we need for your delivery and to take care of the baby. It'll be fine. I'll be with you every step of the way."
"I hope so. You'll be delivering it, Chakotay."
There was a slight pause in his actions and she knew he was as scared as she was about all this, maybe even more; but he simply shook it off and continued with his work. In a weird way, that made her feel at ease. If they did this together, it would all be fine.
They had finally moved the last of their ‘belongings' into the cabin and Chakotay had replicated them a simple salad. Kathryn had set the table and was waiting for him to join her.
"Enjoy." He said and dug in himself. He must have been hungry from all the work, because his plate was half even before she had taken a decent bite. It made her smile and he noticed.
"You have something on your face." She reached over and brushed her finger along his lip. Suddenly very conscious of the intimate gesture she was making, she pulled back and looked down, straightening her napkin just to avoid his eyes. She heard him clear his throat and dared to look up again. He too was staring at something else instead of her.
"Do you want some water?" he asked, but before she could answer, he was already up from the table.
She gave herself a mental slap in the face. What was she thinking? That was just the problem, she wasn't thinking. It came natural and that was the second thing since they got ‘stranded' that made her scared.
Chakotay poured her a glass of water and sat back down in his seat, taking a sip from his own drink. She did the same, but she had suddenly lost her appetite. "I'm pretty tired. Do you mind if I turn in already?"
"Not at all." He finally looked up at her, although she wished he hadn't. She managed an apologetic smile and brushed passed him to her part of the cabin.
When she sat down on her bed, she let out the breath she didn't know she was holding and closed her eyes. She thought she had skipped the flutter-in-her-stomach part, but these were a whole other kind of flutter... the kind she hadn't felt in a long time... and this wasn't the time, or was it?
Kathryn re-appeared from behind her privacy screen. Chakotay looked up from what he was doing and immediately sensed there was something on her mind.
"We need to talk about this..."
And they did. More or less.
He told her an ‘Angry Warrior Story' which had made her melt.
"Is that really an ancient legend?"
"No, but it made it easier to say."
Feelings surfaced as a tear slipped from the corner of her eye. She help up her hand and he didn't hesitate for a second, intertwining their fingers together.
They rose to their feet together and she moved to him, never letting go of his hand. She looked up into his eyes for a moment, and without both of them noticing, they closed the distance between themselves. The touch of their lips, soft and wanting, anything but demanding. Chakotay finally gathered her into his arms where she belonged. He had known that for a while now, and he wanted to make sure she did too.
When they broke off the kiss, she stayed just where she was. He rested his lips against her forehead, dusting it lazily with more kisses. This moment just had to last a little longer.
"Kathryn, I..." She tensed up when he started to speak, so he just stopped and just held her.
"Shh, don't say it yet. One step at a time."
"One step at a time." He whispered into her hair.
"Close your eyes."
"It's a surprise and you'll ruin it. Close your eyes and trust me." He tried to look stern but failed because he couldn't stop smiling. He was giddy like a little child and that didn't help her. She was too curious, but finally closed her eyes and let him lead her outside. He covered her eyes with his hand, just to make sure she wouldn't peek.
"Don't let me trip over anything, okay?"
"Who do you take me for? Trust me, will you?"
"I trust you with my life Chakotay!"
She felt him lean closer and kiss her on the cheek. "I'm glad." He whispered.
They took e few more steps and then halted. "Ready?" he asked, knowing well enough that question was redundant, and removed his hand from her eyes.
"A bathtub. Chakotay, you... I love it!" she strode towards it and ran her hand along the smooth edges. It was big and deep, spacious enough to fit them both. "If next you bring me coffee before I ask for it, I'll love you forever!" she turned around and flung her arms around his neck.
"You can't have coffee, but I'll keep that in mind for the future. By the way, you love me, do you?" he had her there.
Kathryn froze, her arms still around his neck, her cheek pressed against his. She took a breath, turned her head a little to press a kiss to his ear before whispering, "Yes I do."
Chakotay's heart skipped a beat. It skipped several beats actually, but that didn't keep him from feeling as good as he did right at that moment. "Can I say something too now?"
Kathryn pulled back a little and looked at him a little confused. "Sure."
"I love you too." His smile was bright enough to blind the sun and that was probably a reflection of how she looked, because they way she felt at that moment cried out for happy smiles. Her heart almost burst from the love she felt for this man and to finally hear him say it, even though she knew already it, made her world.
The baby kicking told them they were hugging too tight, so they reluctantly let go of each other. He grabbed both her hands and intertwined their fingers, not wanting to lose all contact just yet.
"I have an idea. What if I get this tub filled so you can soak and relax, while I prepare us some dinner. I'm feeling like roughing it. I have some pieces of firewood left; I can get a fire going and grill some fresh fish that I caught this morning."
"Sounds like I've died and gone to heaven. Can I help?" she offered, wanting nothing more than to get in that tub to relax her aching back.
"No, not really. You can go and get yourself a towel and some bubble bath. I have built in a heat generator, so I just have to fill this up and you'll have warm water within ten minutes." He smiled proudly.
"You have thought about everything, haven't you? A quick heating tub, large enough for even the both of us." She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
Chakotay just wiggled his brows suggestively and brushed past her, grabbing a bucket on his way to the cabin again to fetch the water for the tub.
She watched him, his strut playful but confident, and chuckled. She then turned back towards her bathtub, admiring it once more before following him to the cabin to get that towel and bubble bath he suggested. She was so ready for this or, better said, her achy back was ready for some pain relief.
She was halfway up to the cabin when she had to stop walking and breathe away a sharp pain that originated in her lower abdomen and travelled all the way around to her back. "Ooooh." she hissed and rubbed the painful spot just above her buttocks. It slowly receded and she just got her breathing back when Chakotay walked out again.
He immediately noticed her distress and was at her side in two strides, not spilling any of the water he had just got. "Everything alright?" he placed his hand on her shoulder to get her full attention.
She held up a finger, asking for a second, then drew a breath and nodded yes. "It is now." She assured him.
"What was that?"
"I think this was a warning. Braxton-Hicks."
"They shouldn't be painful." He remembered.
"It wasn't painful...ish. It was just sudden. A nice warm bath will do wonders. Besides, he's not due for another three weeks and he'd better behave and stay there. You hear me?" she addressed the unborn baby boy inside her. It was as if he understood what she was saying and gave her such a kick against the ribs, the wind got knocked out of her again. "Oomph." She exclaimed and rubbed the sore spot.
Chakotay had to stifle a laugh. "He's your son alright."
That earned him a swat on the arm before she pushed him aside to finally get her things.
Chakotay walked to the cabin for the tenth time, getting what he hoped was the last bucket of water. The tub was warming up nicely, ready for its maiden voyage.
When he walked in, Kathryn stood in the middle of the room, towel in one hand and the bottle of soap in the other, eyes wide with terror.
"What now?" his heart skipped a beat again. She really had to stop doing this to him; he wasn't a young man anymore.
"My water just broke."
"So much for the warning."
"It's the real thing."
"What do you need?"
"I don't know."
"If you don't, I don't either."
"I need your hand."
They were still rooted to the same spot, looking at each other. Then she made a funny face.
And he hurried to her, offering her hand. She took it gingerly and held on tight as she held her breath, trying to mentally make the pain go away. Sadly it didn't help. "Auwww."
"Definitely the real thing." Chakotay stated and put his arm around her waist to give her more support.
"Definitely." She finally breathed again and straightened her back. "That one hurt."
"Maybe you should still take that bath. The hot water might help absorb some of the pain, make it bearable for a while." He suggested, never letting go of her.
"I agree that's a good idea."
They slowly started walking outside, reaching the bathtub just in time for her to grab the side and hold herself up while getting through another contraction.
Chakotay helped her out of her slippers one by one, then without ever considering what an intimate act it was, lifted her dress up and over her head, leaving her in nothing but her bra and panties.
Kathryn was still breathing away the pain, so Chakotay took the chance to run back to the cabin to get something. When he got back, he gathered her long loose hair and twisted it up so it wouldn't get wet in the tub. "Sure you haven't done this before?" she asked when she regained her bearings.
"Very sure." He smiled and offered her a hand to step into the tub.
The hot water did just what she had expected it to do, which was relax her muscles and even calm her down.
"How's that?" Chakotay asked her, his voice soft and low in a soothing way.
"Just fine." She was concentrating on her breathing, relaxing as much as she could between the contractions. She wasn't an expert, but she knew this was going to go on for at least a few hours and that the pain would become harder to tolerate.
Chakotay sat on his knees next to her, one arm hanging on the side of the tub, and he just watched and studied her. She had her eyes closed, her breathing was even, and she looked so peaceful.
First her brow furrowed just a little, then her grip on the tub tightened and she began breathing a little more controlled. In through her nose, out through her mouth. He started counting in his head until she relaxed again. They lasted about a minute and a half. He kept counting, watching her and saw her start her ritual again. And there were about five minutes in between.
He wetted a cloth in the bucket that hadn't made it into the tub and placed it on her forehead. She jumped a little, but gave him a lazy smile thanking him for it. The coolness helped with staying focused. When another contraction hit, Chakotay pulled out the medical tricorder and scanned her. Both she and the baby were doing just fine and he was grateful for that. Although he knew what to do and what to keep in mind, he wasn't the Doctor. He wasn't trained for this, but felt confident enough that they were going to get through this alright.
Kathryn shifted, turning to her side to hang on the side of the tub, her head resting on her arm. Chakotay guessed the intensity of the contractions was picking up, because her breathing became more labored and her knuckles were white.
Chakotay rolled up his sleeves and put his hand on her lower back, putting a little pressure there to try and alleviate some more of the pain. He did so every contraction and she loved him for it. "Have you thought about a name yet?" he asked, startling her.
"You'll know when you have him in your arms."
"I didn't think I had a say in it, so no, I haven't given it any thought actually."
"Why wouldn't you have a say in it?" she managed to open her eyes just a bit and looked at him. "We're doing this together, aren't we? And I don't mean just the delivery."
"Yes, we are." He assured her and leaned towards her, kissing her dry lips. He wetted the cloth and brushed it past her lips, then placed it on her forehead again.
Another contraction started and it was a good one this time. "Mmmmmm." she hummed. It was the first time she found she had to make noise; something felt different all of a sudden. "Scan me again." She said when the pain subsided. Chakotay did as instructed. "You're almost at full dilation. Not long now."
"I think I feel like pushing." she whispered.
Chakotay stood up and helped her to a lying position. They had to get rid of her panties. "Do you want to stay in the bath? Or do you want to go inside?" he asked.
"I can't get out anymore, Chakotay; I can feel his head pressing down."
"Then we'll stay." He just said and scanned her one last time. Everything was still going perfectly. Mother and baby weren't in any distress. Chakotay was actually surprised at the calm state Kathryn was still in. He couldn't begin to imagine what pain she must be going through.
"Oh Chakotay, help me sit on my knees. Lying down doesn't feel right." He grabbed her arm and helped her up and on her knees. That gave him good access to her lower back which he started rubbing again as she breathed through her contraction. Every once in a while she stopped breathing and he knew she was pushing already. She was so in control, he had expected otherwise. Maybe it was because it was just the two of them doing this, in this peaceful surrounding and sitting in a bathtub. It was almost dark and the moon had already risen high above them, making her skin shimmer from the fine sheen of sweat. The sounds of the forest worked almost therapeutically. There were almost no pauses between her contractions anymore and she was starting to struggle. She felt exhausted. A single tear ran down her cheek as she looked up into Chakotay's comforting eyes. "I'm tired."
"I know. He'll be here soon."
"I want him out. Please, Chakotay, I can't do this anymore."
"You can do this, Kathryn. Gently push him out, he's just there. I can see him." Chakotay tried to comfort her in these last few minutes. "Reach down and feel." He encouraged.
She did as he told and the feel of her son's head gave her the last boost she needed to keep going.
"Breathe, Kathryn, just breathe him out. Slow and steady."
She kept her hand where it was, feeling him inch out of her with every breath she took. Then the head popped out suddenly. Chakotay reached into the water and turned the baby so the shoulders had more room. "Almost."
Kathryn drew in a deep breath and bore down, feeling the relief come over her as the baby was finally born. She reached down to grab him and pulled him close to her chest, sitting back down in the process.
Chakotay clipped the cord as he had been taught. A small cry sounded throughout the forest. Both she and Chakotay looked at each other with tear-filled eyes and the brightest smiles, before looking down again at the baby.
"He's beautiful." Chakotay managed to say and kissed the top of her head.
"Yes, he is."
The little boy snuggled into her embrace and tried to suckle his tiny fist. "I think he's hungry. Let's get you two cleaned up and in the house." He quickly took care of Kathryn, and then Chakotay held out a large towel and wrapped the baby into it, holding it close to his chest for warmth. With one hand for support, he helped Kathryn out of the tub and handed her another large towel then the three of them slowly walked back to the cabin, a new chapter of their life beginning.
Kathryn opened her eyes and immediately smiled as she saw Chakotay sitting on the sofa with the baby asleep on his chest. He had one hand under his bum and the other protectively on his back. It was endearing and scary all at the same time.
Just a few weeks ago, they were just Captain and Commander. If people saw them now, they would believe they were just an ordinary couple who finally took the next step in life after having a career first. Truth was, they were everything but an ordinary couple, they didn't have a career, and it had become their life and the next step... well...
Kathryn crawled out of bed and walked over to where they were both sleeping. First she kissed the top of the grown man's head, then bent further down and kissed the downy hair on the baby's head. When she stood again, she saw Chakotay had already opened his eyes and was looking at her.
"Hey." She said and smiled.
"Like a baby." He joked and tried to sit up a bit without waking the baby. Kathryn sat down next to him and caressed her son's face. Chakotay just watched her and felt his heart swell.
"We still have to decide on a name for this one." Kathryn said, surprising him.
"Yes, Chakotay, we."
Her steadfastness overwhelmed him and he had the sudden urge to kiss her. He was afraid it would be too fast, but he just couldn't help himself. He had to play this right though, "Kathryn, I want to kiss you." There!
She didn't move away, she didn't seem shocked. "Then why don't you?" she simply stated and closed a bit of the distance between them, just enough so that the tips of their noses touched. Her breath was warm against his lips, her lips a little open and inviting, her eyes locked on his. He took a mental step and jumped! Their lips touched, gently and carefully. Then more daring, their tongues explored the soft flesh of each other's lips, pushing in further, tasting one another and completely surrendering to the moment.
When the baby stirred, they broke apart, never losing eye contact. "That was..." she started.
"...Long overdue." he finished.
"I was thinking the same thing." She smiled at him and leaned forward to kiss him again. The baby, however, was done waiting and gave a little cry, letting them know he was still there and in desperate need of some milk. "Okay, okay, little one, I've got you." Kathryn said and lifted the tiny human from Chakotay's chest and close to hers. The infant immediately started searching for his lunch, pressing his nose against her swollen breast.
"Are you hungry?" Chakotay asked Kathryn as soon as she was settled and the baby had latched on.
"Yes actually. I think that's what woke me in the first place."
"I'll make us something."
Kathryn looked down at the suckling baby and smiled. "With a man like that, we're going to be just fine, aren't we?" she whispered. "Now, what are we going to name you?"
"What do you think about Edward, after your father?" Chakotay suggested.
"Oh no, Chakotay, that's a name suited for an old man, not for this handsome boy. Maybe you father's name?"
"Something completely different, something new."
"Something with the letter ‘C'." Of that she was sure.
Chakotay smiled, knowing why she wanted a ‘C'. He felt a little proud.
"No. That's just short for Kolopak." He shook his head. "Caleb?"
"Casey?" he tried again.
The smile on her face widened and she looked up at Chakotay. "Cassidy."
Chakotay smiled back at her. "Cassidy." He tasted the name. Yes, that was it. It sounded right, it felt right. "Cassidy."
"Cassidy." The more they said the name, the more sure they were. It was perfect.
Kathryn was mucking around in the dirt, tending to her tomatoes. Cassidy was snoozing on a blanket next to her, under an umbrella, safely shielded from the warm and comforting afternoon sun. She paused a second to sip from her mug of coffee and look at the handsome tiny human beside her.
Chakotay walked up to her and kneeled down between her and the baby. "How are they coming along?"
"Ooh, just fine. In a few days we will have some tasty tomatoes. I can't wait for you to do your cooking magic with them."
"Or maybe I could attempt something?"
"Fine by me." He smiled and leaned over to give her a quick kiss.
"I want to show you something."
"A surprise?" She wiggled her eyebrows and smiled.
"Yes." He smiled back and stood back up, pulling her up with him. He then reached down and carefully picked up the baby boy. The three of them strolled casually to the house, like they had never done anything else.
Once inside, Chakotay turned the computer so she could take a look at what he had been planning to build next.
"You said one day Cassidy would need his own bed to sleep in instead of on my chest or between us."
"Oh, Chakotay, it's lovely. Those details... You'll have your work cut out for you, to use the right terms."
Chakotay had to smile. "What do you think I have been working on the last few days?" He walked to the shelf wall and took an already carved piece of wood. As he started to make his way back to show Kathryn, he stopped suddenly as he heard faint static.
Their eyes locked as they suddenly realized where the static was coming from. Their comm. badges...
Chakotay placed the piece on the table and turned to fetch the badges, setting them down on the table too.
"This is Tuvok, calling Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay. Please respond."
Hesitantly Kathryn took the communicator into her hands and tapped it. "This is Janeway."
"Captain, it's good to hear your voice. We have news."
"What is it?"
"We have medicine which we believe will effectively treat your condition. We plan to be in orbit within thirty hours."
Chakotay sighed and she looked up into his eyes, searching for the meaning of that sigh. Was it relief or regret? Or a mixture of both, like it was for her? She couldn't tell and couldn't decide which of her feelings had the upper hand. They had ‘settled', found a rhythm and were happy living their lives as a mom and dad to Cassidy. On the other hand, Voyager could still get them to their ‘real' home. Voyager could provide for more concerning Cassidy, health wise as well as on educational and social aspects.
She guessed Chakotay realized the latter too, as he offered her a sincere smile of relief. They were going ‘home' again.
Okay, I know I can go on and on in this story... but I'm not going to.
I wanted to write this piece with that absurd beginning, take her through the remainder of her pregnancy and the birth. And that's all.
I hope that's okay by you all J