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Thank you so much to elem for the beta and for audabee for this freekin awesome site. And of course to Delta for the super first line.

Caretaker

Now this was one hedonistic haul!

Neelix chuckled and rubbed his hands with glee. New ships came through here almost every day, thanks to that strange space station. He worried though, that the bounty would soon stop. The Kazon had their eye on the place and it would only be a matter of time before they found a way to take it over. He had thought briefly about finding a way in himself, but the stories he had heard about that place made him shiver. It was haunted by an evil spirit. Why else would it drag all those poor ships to their deaths?

He shook his head to clear his mind of those frightening thoughts. It was time to get back to the work at hand; he needed to. Kes was somewhere down there on that planet with that awful, awful mean man, who would hurt her and destroy her innocent spirit. He would do anything to prevent that from happening - anything. Which was why he stayed around in this debris field, he reminded himself, to see if he could find anything of value the Maje would be willing to trade for Kes. Now if only he could find some water…

 

Elogium

Now this was one hedonistic haul!

Neelix set to work gathering the knobby roots. It was hard work pulling them out of the ground but oh so worthwhile. Oddly enough, none of the other crew seemed to appreciate the culinary benefits, but the doctor had approved of its nutrient value. So when they came across a bounty such as this one, the crew gathered all they could, in hopes that it would take them as a far as the next M class planet.

For him, this harvest was all the more urgent. Kes wanted a child.

A child! He stood hurriedly, as anxiety began to wash over him. The very idea frightened him. He wasn’t sure. He knew it would make Kes happy, but what if the child would know the pain that he had felt. He'd lost everything when his planet was destroyed and now he was all alone. The only one left of his species. What if something happened to him and to Kes, then the child would have no one!

No! No! He took a few steadying breaths. Captain Janeway would see to the child. He would be brought up safely. The crew would be his family, even Mr. Vulcan. It would be all right; the time for fear was done, now was the time to celebrate the possibility of new life. Imbued with new purpose, he knelt back down to resume the gathering.

Tonight, he would make a wonderful soup for Kes.

 

 

Homestead

“Now this was one hedonistic haul! Mind you, Tom Paris could not take his eyes off the la...”

At Dexa’s gentle shake of the head, Neelix hurriedly changed the story “the Leola roots”

“And did he really run away with all the Leola roots? Was the Ambassador angry? I bet he was. Did he try to shoot Tom Paris? Tell me again how you’ll escaped, how you wrested the phaser away from that guard and saved Tom and rest of the crew. I bet they are really sorry that you are not with the ship anymore. I wonder who will rescue them the next time?” The words tumbled out of Brax’s mouth as he dashed around his bedroom in delight.

Dexa grabbed her wildly excited son. “Time for you to go to bed now. Neelix has some work to do.”

Waving goodnight to the still talking boy, Neelix walked down the corridor. Heading to the control room, he turned on the viewscreen. Even though the field of view was just filled out with distant stars, he could imagine that one of those was Voyager, speeding on her way to earth.

The day had been so eventful. Leaving Voyager had been much harder than he anticipated. The walk through the ship with all the crew lining the corridors as an honor guard had almost undone him and he had almost changed his mind. But the thought of Dexa and Brax waiting for him had given him the strength to keep going. His eyes started to blur with unshed tears.

He felt Dexa’s arms go around his waist. He couldn’t turn, not just yet.

“You can call them, you know. I’m sure they would come back for you. You could go home again.” She whispered against his back.

He turned then. He could see her anxious face in the low light of the control room.

He took a deep steadying breath, and then leaning down, he pressed his forehead against hers. “No Dexa, my home is here now, with you and Brax.”



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