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"Hey Bean what's wrong?" Chakotay asked as he put his book down looking to the bedroom doorway.

The little girl stood in the doorway to the bedroom holding her bear as tears slid down her cheeks. She looked so sad standing there her hair was tousled from sleep and eyes looked so lost and Chakotay's heart shattered into a thousand pieces for her.

"I want my mommy," she whimpered.

Chakotay held his arms open and the little girl ran across the room. Upon reaching the couch she made quick work of climbing up and into the safety of his arms.

Gently hugging the child to his chest Chakotay soothed her with quite humming while stroking her back. The quite sobs subsided and Chakotay tilted the tiny face up to him. The blue eyes pleaded with him to make everything right and he so wanted to but was unable to give her what she wanted.

"Do you remember what we talked about?" He asked the child and the little girl nodded her head slowly.

"Mommy is on Earth," she said with a trembling voice. "And I'll see her soon."

"That's right," he confirmed as he kissed the auburn curls. "I know its hard being away from mommy but as soon as we get back to Earth you will see her, I promise. Now you should be sleeping so how about I take you back to bed."

"Please Kotay," the little girl pleaded as her lip trembled. "Stay here," Katie asked and he knew he couldn't deny her.

"How about you lie down here," Chakotay said as he patted the couch beside him. "And I'll tell you a story."

Quickly lying down on the couch with her bear she waited for the story but she barely heard two sentences of the tale before she drifted off. Smiling Chakotay grabbed the blanket off the back of the couch and covered the sleeping child.

Looking down at the little girl he wondered how they had got to this point. A week ago Voyager was rendezvousing with the Delta Flyer. The Captain along with crewmembers from a couple departments had been exploring a section of space taking scans of various planets.

The group had been gone for three weeks and Chakotay was glad to be picking the team back up. He hadn't felt comfortable letting the Captain go but had relaxed a little when Tuvok had added Ayala to the team for security. Chakotay trusted all the security people they had but Ayala was very determined in his job and the security of the Captain.

Regular check-ins had Janeway reporting on some interesting finds. But that excitement changed upon the teams return.

"Ayala to Voyager, we are on our final approach," came the announcement. "Commander Chakotay and Tuvok please meet us in the shuttle bay."

"Is there a problem?" Chakotay asked concerned.

"It's a little hard to explain but be assured no one is hurt," Ayala promised as he closed the channel.

A very concerned Chakotay handed over the bridge to Tom and headed for the shuttle bay at top speed with Tuvok. It didn't get past him that Kathryn hadn't been the one to contact the ship.

Entering the shuttle bay Chakotay watched as the small ship came to rest on the deck. The shuttle powered down as the door opened and the team disembarked. Chakotay looked for the Captain who would normally be the first off but he didn't see her. The two ensigns from the Science department stood to the side after a quick nervous smile at their First Officer.

Ayala stepped out with a nod to Chakotay and Tuvok and as the commander started to ask why the need for him and Tuvok to be here Ensign Wildman stepped off the ship.

It wasn't so much Wildman that shocked Chakotay or had Tuvok's eyebrow rose but what or more accurately who she was carrying in her arms. A small child about four was held in her arms and the little girl seemed to be asleep. Chakotay looked past Sam for the Captain but she was not there and when he looked back at Sam he could tell by the nervous smile that the child was.

"Commander we have a little problem," Ayala announced as Sam stopped in front of the first and second-in-command. "The Captain said she was tired and was going to lay down for a bit. I was glad to hear it because she had barely slept while we were gone she was so excited by the findings on the three planets. About two hours later a child stumbled out. We scanned her and the readings say that this Kathryn Janeway."

"We should take her to Sickbay where the Doctor can do a more thorough scan," Tuvok suggested and a shocked Chakotay agreed.

"I know you would like to get home to Naomi," Chakotay said as he reached for the child.

"Commander, I'll go with you to Sickbay," Sam offered. "It took a little to calm her down."

"It would be a good idea Commander it took a bit for Sam to gain her trust," Ayala agreed. "It might make it easier when she gets into Sickbay and the Doctor."

And Chakotay had to agree with the last statement since some of the crew still had trouble dealing with the EMH for close to five years.

Nodding his understanding, he indicated that they should head out to Sickbay thinking this wouldn't be the usual after mission check up.

Just as they made it to the lift the child's head raised from her resting place.

"Sam.m.m," the little girl stammered as nervous blue eyes darted about the group.

"Hey there kiddo," Sam said gently. "Katie do you remember when I said we would be going to my home," and the little girl nodded as she looked about. "Well this is my ship and I would like you to meet some friends of mine. This is Lieutenant Tuvok," Sam said by way of introduction.

"Hello," Tuvok said in his stern tone.

"Hello," Katie replied as she looked at the Vulcan nervously.

"And this is Commander Chakotay," Sam said hoping Chakotay's gentle manner would relax the child.

"Hi Katie, I'm very glad to meet you," Voyager's First Officer said giving her the full dimpled smile.

"Hi," she said returning the smile. "He the story man," the little girl whispered.

Laughing Sam whispered back a yes before leaning back and continuing to talk at a normal level.

"Katie, we are taking you to meet another friend of ours okay," Sam asked as they neared Sickbay.

The little girl nodded but held onto Sam tightly.

Entering Sickbay they walked to a bed and sat Kathryn on the bed.

"Who do we have here," the Doctor asked as he came from his office.

"Doctor, I would like to introduce you to Katie," Chakotay said. "Could you please scan her and confirm who she is?"

The Doctor nodded as he moved to raise the shell around the little girl. Katie started to cry but Sam hushed her telling her that everything was all right, that it wouldn't hurt.

"I promise," Sam said to the little girl. "And I'll be right here where you can see me," she promised as she stepped back slightly so she wouldn't interfere with the readings.

The scans took a few minutes but finally the arms of the panel retracted back into the table.

˜This is Kathryn Janeway at age four and a half." The Doctor stated. "I'll run some tests on the Captain as well as the Away team and see if anything pops up."

Sam asked if Katie and her tests could wait till morning. The Doctor started to protest but Chakotay stepped in.

"Doctor, Sam hasn't seen Naomi in weeks and she's tired and as you can see someone else is tired." Chakotay pointed out as they all looked down at the bed to find Kathryn curled on her side with her small hand holding tight to Chakotay's jacket sleeve. "Maybe if Sam doesn't mind taking Katie since she is comfortable with her she can bring her in when she comes for her tests."

"Fine but I would like them to," the Doctor started to concede when he was interrupted as the doors to Sickbay opened and Naomi Wildman burst through the door with Neelix in hot pursuit.

Skidding to a stop near the group Naomi looked about nervously.

"Mommy," the little girl said.

"Hi baby," Sam greeted her daughter as she scooped Naomi up to give her a hug.

˜Sorry everyone," Neelix apologized. "It seems this little imp programmed the computer to tell her when the Away Team returned."

Chakotay suppressed the laugh that wanted to escape with a cough. Yes their little Naomi was a bright one looking down at the sleeping child he wondered how bright a four and a half year old Kathryn was.

"I missed you," Naomi whispered.

"Me too," Sam countered as she gave Naomi another hug.

Naomi peppered her mother with questions about her trip. Sam promised to tell her daughter about the trip but it would have to wait till tomorrow. Naomi threw her arms around her mom again and agreed to wait.

"Who's that," was Naomi's question. Sam followed her daughter's gaze where it landed on the newest arrival to Voyager. Katie had awoken with the noise caused by Naomi and Neelix arriving in Sickbay.

"Naomi that is Katie," Sam said.

"Is she going to be staying on the ship?" Naomi asked and received a nod. "Can we play together?"

"I think she would like that," Sam agreed as she noticed Katie's nervous look. "How about we ask her if she would like to sleepover?"

"Yes that would be great," Naomi said joyously.

"Katie would you like to sleep in our quarters?" Sam asked and received a nervous nod.

"Sam if Katie is okay with it why don't I carry her to your quarters since your arms are occupied," Chakotay offered and the little girl raised her arms as an answer.

Picking up the child Chakotay followed Sam out the door with Naomi telling Katie all the fun things they could do on the ship. When they entered the Wildman's quarters the adults took the children to Naomi's room. Chakotay sat down on Naomi's bed with Katie in his arms. Naomi moved about the room showing all her treasures to her new friend.

"Naomi, honey, how about we leave the tour till tomorrow and get Katie something to wear to bed," Sam suggested.

"Okay and then could Uncle Kotay tell us a story," Naomi asked using her brightest smile to get Chakotay to agree.

"If it's okay with your Mom," the storyteller said as he rose from the bed. "You two get changed and into bed and I'll be back."

Sam helped the girls into pajamas; she found an old pair of Naomi's that was small and fit Katie nicely. Naomi called to Chakotay that they were ready and smiled when he entered the room. The two girls were in Naomi's bed, Naomi with her Flotter doll and Katie with her bear. Ayala had replicated it for Katie to try and calm her down on the shuttle and it hadn't left her arms since.

Chakotay couldn't believe how easily he accepted this little being as just that a little girl and at the same time realizing that she was their strong, determined leader.

Katie fell asleep two minutes into the story and Naomi wasn't far behind.

Over the next few weeks the two girls became fast friends while the crew investigated the circumstances around the Captain's transformation. Voyager returned to the area where the Away Team had been and took numerous scans while the doctor ran scans of the team but both investigations came up empty. The crew had accepted Katie quite easily and enjoyed the little tyke. She had easily wrapped everyone around her finger and Chakotay realized that he was among the group.

The girls became too much for Sam to take care of as the girls were always thinking things up to do and were usually up early in the morning to try to put their plans into action.

Chakotay offered to take Katie and decided to use the Captain's quarters as they were larger then his. Katie had questioned whose quarters they were using and he explained that they were the Captain's quarters. He had put up a temporary wall making the Captain's bedroom two small rooms.

Katie had come out of her bedroom at one point and presented Chakotay with a picture.

"Kotay," she called to get his attention from the report he was working on. "Who's the pretty lady?"

Chakotay took the picture and smiled as he saw the image. Leaning down he explained the image.

"This is the Captain and yes she is pretty," he said as he thought of the party that the image was taking at. Six weeks ago Neelix had decided the crew needed a night to let lose and had activated the resort program on the holodeck. Kathryn had relaxed for the first time in a long time. She had laughed and flirted with Chakotay and for the first time in a long time he had hoped that maybe something could happen between them.

But then two days later Kathryn was gone on the away mission.

"Miss her," Katie asked bringing Chakotay back to the present.

"Yes I do," Chakotay answered as Katie crawled into his lap so she could hug him. "Thank you Bean."

˜Welcome," Katie said before jumping down to go back to playing.

Naomi had been pestering Tom for more flying lessons but as of yet he had been unable to take her. The little girl was getting inpatient for the chance to be at the controls of a shuttle.

Tom finally decided to take Naomi to the holodeck to fly and invited Katie along. Naomi was enjoying the program but wanted something more difficult but Tom had declined to change the program.

Halfway through their timeslot Harry called for Tom and warned him that Tuvok was looking for him.

"Sorry Naomi maybe we can fly again next week," Tom said apologetically. "Now I have to go before," but was interrupted by a call.

"Lieutenant Paris, please come to my office immediately," came the order.

"Be right there Commander," Tom said dreading the meeting. "Girls I have to go can you go to the Mess hall and I will tell Commander Chakotay to pick you up there."

Both girls nodded and Tom sped down the hallway.

"I want to still fly," Naomi announced as she turned back to the doors.

Entering the room she moved to the control panel and started to look through the programs.

"I want something more difficult,' Naomi told her friend.

"Tom presses buttons," Katie stated.

"Buttons," Naomi questioned?

"Makes it harder he said," was Katie's answer.


"Like this," the little girl said as she pressed a sequence of buttons and they heard, "Safeties disabled."

"Let's go fly," Naomi said as she grabbed her friend.

Naomi took the pilot's seat and Katie knelt on the copilot's seat so she could look at the controls. The flight ran smoothly and Katie was clapping as Naomi flew around a small moon. Naomi decided to be daring and fly through a valley. The flight was going well until Naomi missed a tight turn and she hit the side of the valley wall. The small shuttle careened out of control bouncing off the walls till it flew out of the valley to skid across the surface of the moon until it came to a stop.

Chakotay walked down the hall he was late to pick up Katie and Naomi. He promised to take them for dinner on the holodeck to a restaurant that Tom created. It was another one of his creations based on dinners of the 1950s.

Tom had told him that the girls were with Neelix so he was headed for the Mess hall.

Entering the room he found it busy with the lunch crowd. Moving quickly to the counter he waited for Neelix to finish with the group he was serving.

"Commander, I thought you were taking the girls to the holodeck?" the chipper Talaxian questioned.

"I am," Chakotay responded a little confused. "I'm here to pick up the girls."

"The girls," Neelix questioned. "They are with Tom."

A cold fist wrapped around Chakotay's heart.

"Tuvok called Tom to his office on a matter and he told the girls to come here," Chakotay said as he tried to stay calm. "Computer, please locate Naomi Wildman and Katie Janeway."

"Naomi Wildman and Katie Janeway are located on Holodeck 1."

"Chakotay to Naomi Wildman," he called and received no response. "Katie Janeway please respond," he called as those at tables near became concerned as well.

"Chakotay to Tuvok please meet me at Holodeck 1," he ordered as he left the room leaving behind a crowd of very worried people.

Reaching the holodeck at the same time as Tuvok, they opened the doors to a heart stopping sight.

Katie lay behind the copilot's chair while Naomi was wedged between the pilot's chair and the console.

"Tuvok to Sickbay, Doctor please come to Holodeck 1," he ordered. "Naomi and Katie have been injured."

It seemed like an eternity to Chakotay before the Doctor appeared with Tom. They moved quickly to the two patients while Chakotay stood frozen.

Quickly assessing the injuries they called for a beam out for themselves and their patients.

Tuvok moved to Chakotay who was still frozen to his spot. "Commander why don't we go to Sickbay," he asked as he led the big man from the room.

Tuvok placed Chakotay near the biobed taking in the scene before him. "I will be back soon," he said to no one in particular.

Three hours later the Doctor stepped over to Chakotay, Sam Wildman and Tuvok who had returned an hour earlier.

"They are stable; Naomi sustained a broken arm, concussion and a fractured jaw. Katie broke her arm in four places along with her right ankle, a severe concussion and some damage to her lung from a broken rib. They are two very lucky girls. I have sedated them for now while we work on the numerous cuts and bruises."

"Thank you Doctor," said a relieved Chakotay and Sam.

Over the next few days Chakotay and Sam barely left sickbay as they sat beside the girl's beds. Naomi woke first followed a short time later by Katie. Chakotay and Sam were overjoyed when they opened their eyes and news traveled quickly through the ship that the children were awake and fine.

^ - ^

A few days later the Doctor was ready to release the girls to quarters. He had finished the last scan. He was going to explain Naomi and Katie's needs but was stopped by a very angry looking First Officer.

"I'm very disappointed in the two of you," Chakotay said a little more angrily then he should.

"Chakotay," B'Elanna tried.

"No they could have been killed," he shouted as he turned toward Tom and B'Elanna. "I want the two of you to get codes in place so unauthorized people can not disable safeties." he said dismissing the young couple that made a hasty retreat from Sickbay. "Doctor will there be any permanent damage?"

"No I don't think so, Naomi for the most part is on the mend and Sam can take her home," the Doctor explained.

"Very well Sam why don't you take Naomi and we will meet tomorrow at about 10 hundred hours in the Captain's ready Room to discuss restrictions on her and Katie's access."

Sam nodded taking a very dejected Naomi's hand and leaving Sickbay.

"What about Katie?" Chakotay asked.

"She will need some pyhsio for her arm but I think for tonight you can take her to quarters."

"Okay Katie let's go," Chakotay said as he turned to where the little girl should be standing. "Katie?"

Looking abut the room the two men were confused. "Computer, please give the location of Katie Janeway?"

"Katie Janeway is located in Sickbay," came the quick response.

"Exact location," Chakotay asked as he looked around the room.

The computer gave the location that led the two men behind a console where they found Katie's comm. badge.

"Damn," Chakotay muttered as he slapped his comm. badge. "Tuvok please come to Sickbay and bring Ayala with you."

˜Understood," came the reply.

A few minutes later the security chief and his backup arrived.

"Tuvok, Ayala, we have a problem," Chakotay said as he looked down at Katie's comm. badge that was resting in the palm of his hand. "Katie has run off and unfortunately her badge wasn't put on. I want a sweep done of all decks but do it quietly. I don't want Katie frightened," Chakotay took a deep breath. "I'm afraid I was a little hard on Naomi and her," he started to explain but Mike stopped him.

"Chakotay, I'm sure you were only hard on them because they could have been seriously hurt and you were trying to impress on them the importance of the safeties on the holodeck."

"I know Mike but I probably over did it," Chakotay commented.

"Commander, Lieutenant Ayala and I will organize the search groups. Why don't you talk to Miss Wildman maybe she can think of a place where Katie might hide." Tuvok suggested.

"Thank you Tuvok," Chakotay said with relief as his top security people left the room.

"Doctor thank you for everything," Chakotay called as he left Sickbay.

Pressing the call button for the Wildman quarters Chakotay waited as patiently as he could for a response. The door opened to Naomi standing just inside the door.

"Hi Naomi, can I talk to you for a minute?" Chakotay asked.

Naomi nodded as she looked down at the floor sadly.

Taking her hand Chakotay walked over to the couch and sat down with Naomi standing in front of him with her head still bowed. Tilting Naomi's head up Chakotay took in the big sad blue eyes.

"Naomi I need your help," he explained as Samantha walked into the room. "Katie has disappeared and I'm not sure where to look. She was upset with what I said in Sickbay to the two of you."

"I'm sorry we did what we did and I promise never to do it again," she spouted so quickly through tears that Chakotay nearly didn't understand all of it.

Scooping the little girl up, he held her as he whispered to her. "Ssh sweetheart it's all right, I don't think you will do anything like this again. Naomi I'm sorry I shouted at you in Sickbay but you and Katie scared us," he explained. "We could have lost both of you and that's too terrible to think about."

Sitting Naomi on his knee he continued to talk, "Do you understand?"

And Naomi nodded her head as she said, "Yes Mommy told me how afraid she was that she could have lost me."

"Yes we were all concerned that that could have happened and now I'm afraid that Katie might get hurt in trying to hide from me and I need to find her so I can talk to her. Do you think you could help me?" Chakotay asked as he brushed her tears away.

"I can try," Naomi said.

"Okay do you and Katie have a favorite place you like to go, a room or corridor?" Chakotay asked.

"We sometimes play castle using my closet as the fortress," Naomi explained as Sam went to check her daughter's room but returned a couple minutes later shaking her head.

"Okay where else," Chakotay questioned.

"The kitchen but Uncle Neelix would have seen her," Naomi said as she dismissed the thought.

"Chakotay to Neelix," he called. "I'll just check in case."

"Neelix here Commander what can I do for you," came the jovial voice of Voyager's cook and Morale Officer.

"Neelix have you had any little visitors?"

"No, Commander," came the confused answer.

"Would you mind looking around," Chakotay requested.

"Of course Commander one moment," he answered and they could here him moving about opening doors and cupboards as well as moving storage boxes out of the way. "No Commander the girls are not here, is everything all right?"

"Katie is a little upset with me and has run off but Tuvok and security is looking for her. Naomi is trying to help, please call if you see her," Chakotay asked before he closed the channel.

"Okay can you think of anywhere else," Chakotay asked and Naomi thought really hard. Her next two options came up empty.

Chakotay thanked Naomi for her help and gave her a big hug before leaving.

Five hours later a tired and very worried Chakotay entered quarters. Tuvok had suggested it but it had sounded more like an order that Chakotay should return to quarters and get something to eat and rest.

Standing inside the door for a few minutes Chakotay tried to relax. But he wasn't having any success so he moved over to the replicator. Standing looking at the panel he couldn't decide what to make as his thoughts kept drifting to Katie.

Slamming his hand into the wall he shouted, "Where could she be?"

Giving up on the idea of food Chakotay wandered over to the desk and sat down thumping his sore hand on the desk top. Sitting there he noticed a sound and wondered what it was but quickly realized it was coming from under the desk. Pushing his chair back he found a sleepy looking Katie quietly crying hugging her bear.

"Katie come here," he said gently but she remained tucked in a ball. Slipping from the chair Chakotay sat on the floor. "Katie I'm sorry about shouting at you in Sickbay but I was so worried about you."

With those words Katie's cries became louder as she scooted out of her hiding place into Chakotay's arms.

"Sshh little one it's okay," Chakotay whispered as he rocked her.

"I'm sorry," Katie whimpered as her sobs subsided into hiccups.

"It's okay," Chakotay said as he wiped the tears away. "You and Naomi now know why there are safeties on the holodeck," he explained while the little girl nodded.

The two sat for a little bit talking when Chakotay had a thought.

"Now I think you missed lunch," Chakotay commented as Katie's tummy growled causing both of them to laugh. "How about we have something to eat?"

Katie agreed quickly.

"And what would you like to eat," Chakotay asked.

"Pizza," Katie shouted with joy.

"Young lady you have been spending too much time with Tom Paris," Chakotay commented as he tickled her belly and received shrieks of laughter. "Now go and get washed up and I will see to the food."

"Okay," she said as she threw her arms around him. "I love you Kotay."

With tears stinging his eyes he responded, "I love you too Bean."

And with a kiss to his cheek, Katie ran off to the washroom.

Sitting there for a moment Chakotay savored these moments with the little girl but then he remembered the missing person and wished they could return Katie to her adult self but keep Katie as well.

Shaking himself out of these thoughts he rose from the floor to get the food before the hungry munchkin returned.

A few days later Voyager came into range of a planet that might hold the supplies they needed. Chakotay and Tuvok worked on the negotiations for long tiring periods and a break in the talks happened when Katie came running into the conference room with Tom Paris in pursuit.

"Kotay it's time for my swim," she announced with her big smile in place.

"Katie, what are the rules when I'm in a meeting?" Chakotay asked trying to keep the smile off his face.

"The person looking after me is in charge," Katie replied with her smile slipping a bit.

"Tom its okay Katie can stay here with me," Chakotay said to the young pilot. "And you young lady will go sit down at the end of the table until Ambassador Vi'an and I have finished our discussion. But before you do that can you say hello to our guest."

Katie turned to the tall stranger giving him her best smile, "Hello sir."

"Hello Katie," the Ambassador chuckled. "It's very nice to meet you."

"Thank you," the little girl said as she moved closer. "Can I ask you a question?" Katie whispered.

"Of course," Vi'an said as he moved closer to hear the question.

"Will you be much longer," Katie asked causing Chakotay to groan and the Ambassador to break out laughing. Scooping the little girl up he sat her on the conference table in front of him.

"You know what Katie I actually have a date with my daughter so why don't I leave you so you can go swimming and Captain why don't you come down to my home and we can finish the meeting and I can take you on a tour of our hydroponics facility. And this little lady can come down and play with my daughter," Vi'an finished as he tickled Katie.

"Please Kotay can I go," Katie pleaded giving her full out smile to him.

"Yes you can go," Chakotay said trying to sound a little angry with her.

"Yeah," Katie shouted as she crawled across the table to throw herself at Chakotay.

"Chakotay you will find daughters will always have you wrapped around their little finger," the Ambassador laughed as he rose from his chair. "I will have my assistant forward the time and such to Mister Tuvok. We can have breakfast as well with the girls then they can play in the garden where we can have our meeting and that way we can make sure they don't get up to anything," Vi'an laughed as he headed for the door. "Yes definitely wrapped around her finger."

Security escorted the Ambassador to the Transport room leaving Tuvok with Chakotay and Katie.

"Tuvok see to the usual security details please," Chakotay said by way of dismissal.

"Bye Mr. Tuvie," Katie called as the Vulcan left the room.

"Katie, I thought you promised me you would behave," Chakotay started in his gentle voice and received a nod. "What did Tom tell you?"

"You were busy talking," she said as her voice started to quaver.

"And," he prodded.

"You would be done soon," Katie continued.


"Then you'd take me," she finished as the tears started to form.

"That's right," he said as he smiled. "Now it looks like you charmed the Ambassador but next time you listen to Tom, okay." He asked and received a nod.

Placing her down on the floor Chakotay rose from his chair and they headed for the door to the bridge. Tom was at Harry's station talking to the young Ensign. Chakotay bent over and whispered in Katie's ear. Katie nodded and walked to the upper level. Stopping beside Tom unnoticed Katie tugged on his pant leg.

"Hey little one," Tom said as he bent down to see what Katie wanted.

"Sorry Unc Tom," the little girl said. "I promise to listen to you."

"Okay, I'm glad because Chakotay might not let me look after you again if you didn't listen to me. Give me a hug to seal the deal," Tom said as he held his arms open to Katie.

The little girl dove into his arms giving him a big hug.

"Tuvok you have the bridge," Chakotay instructed as he headed for the turbo lift with Katie and onto the holodeck.

The next morning a small group beamed down to the Ambassador's home. Vi'an was waiting with his daughter.

"Chakotay and Katie welcome to my home," the Ambassador said warmly. "And may I introduce my daughter B'ati."

B'ati looked to be Katie's age but slightly taller with long black hair that reached her waist. The child had the most beautiful eyes that were the brightest blue that Chakotay had ever seen.

Hellos were exchanged as the Ambassador escorted the group to a table set for four.

"I apologize for my wife's absence but she is helping her mother look after her father who is ill." Vi'an explained as he took his seat after helping his daughter into her chair.

The girls chattered on about different things that had the two adults laughing. The girls had enough of the food and ran off to the other side of the garden to play.

"Well I think they will be occupied for a while," Vi'an chuckled. "Chakotay, do you mind if I ask a personal question?"

"No please ask away," Voyager's Captain encouraged.

"I have never heard you mention Katie's mother and I was wondering what happened to her," the Ambassador inquired, "If it's not too painful to talk about?"

"No Vi'an it's not too painful just confusing," Chakotay said. "I guess I should have explained this from the beginning. Katie is not my daughter but our Captain. Or more correctly was our Captain before she went on an away mission and came back as you see her now."

"I'm not sure I understand," commented a confused Vi'an.

"We are just as confused, the team was returning to Voyager after being gone for a few weeks. The Captain said she was tired and went to lay down, a few hours later the child you see over there stumbled out. We have done numerous scans and have confirmed that she is Kathryn Janeway but she has no memory of her older self."

"That is extraordinary," the Ambassador said shocked. "And you are now looking after her?"

"Yes, Katie was with another crewmember when it first happened but she has a daughter and the two girls are a handful so I took Katie. We have tried everything to change her back but to no avail," Chakotay finished with a faraway look.

"You miss her, the Captain I mean," Vi'an questioned.

"Yes I do very much,' Chakotay replied quietly.

"You wanted a relationship with your Captain," the Ambassador asked.

"Yes but she felt because of our possessions that it would be unwise," Chakotay explained.

"But you don't agree," the other man pushed.

"No I think we would have made a great team in our professional and personal life but I guess I'll never find out," Chakotay said sadly.

"I would never give up hope Chakotay where love is concerned," the Ambassador said encouragingly.

The conversation was dropped about Katie and the trade talks continued for a couple hours beforehand then the Ambassador took Chakotay on the tour of the hydroponics facility while the girls played. They returned a few hours later to be greeted by Ayala holding a sleeping Katie as B'ati was carried off by a servant.

"It seems the girls have worn themselves out," Vi'an chuckled.

"Vi'an we seem to have come to an agreement in our talks," Chakotay said and received a nod of agreement from the Ambassador. "I would like to invite you and B'ati to Voyager for a small thank you party tomorrow afternoon. The girls can play some more and I can give you a tour of the ship."

"That would be very nice Chakotay and I'm sure B'ati will love it," the Ambassador replied.

After setting a time the group from Voyager beamed back to the ship. Ayala volunteered to take Katie to quarters while Chakotay talked to Neelix and Tuvok about the arrangements for the get together.

The next day Vi'an and B'ati beamed to the ship along with a few security people. Naomi was invited to join the group and the girls started chattering as they left the Transport room for the Mess Hall.

Neelix had set up a table in the Mess Hall so the senior staff could sit with the Ambassador and B'ati for lunch. The meal consisted of various dishes from the Alpha quadrant and ended with ice cream for the children and various pastries for the adults for dessert.

Chakotay and Tuvok gave Vi'an a tour of the ship while Tom took the girls to the holodeck and then to Katie's quarters to play.

Entering a few hours later Chakotay could hear the girls giggling in Katie's room while Tom worked at the desk on a couple of padds.

"The girls have been playing in there for a while," Tom explained as picked up his work.

"Thank you Tom," Chakotay asked.

"No problem, the girls loved the playground I took them to," Tom explained before he left the room.

˜Vi'an would you like something to drink," Chakotay asked as he headed for the replicator.

"Yes, you pick,' the Ambassador answered as he headed for the sitting area that Chakotay indicated.

Chakotay ordered two of his favourite teas and after allowing Vi'an's security to scan the drinks he headed for the couch. But Chakotay was brought up short by Vi'an frozen a few feet from the couch.

"Vi'an is something wrong?" Chakotay asked as he placed the tray on the coffee table.

"Chakotay where did you get that idol," the Ambassador questioned pointing to the item sitting on the shelf beside the couch. The idol was only six inches tall and made of glass like substance. The statue was made up of a head only and the face was smiling as if inviting requests.

"Kathryn found it on the away mission and Katie gave it to me when it was found in Kathryn's bag. One of the member's of the team told Katie was meant for me and she gave it to me. What's wrong," Chakotay said as a fear crept into him.

"The idol has been banned from our world and the neighbouring worlds because of its destructive power. And I don't mean that it can blow up but it could cause terrible things to happen as well as nice things. The Captain must have said something for the idol to do what it did,' Vi'an finished.

"But we went through the whole mission," Chakotay argued.

"You might have but it might have been something you missed at the time. Can you call the people who were on the mission?"

Nodding his head he contacted the members of the away mission and the arrived quickly.

Chakotay explained why he called them, "I know we have gone over every moment of the mission but Vi'an thinks maybe there was something we might have missed."

Turning to the Ambassador he nodded to him that he could ask his questions.

"Do you remember when the Captain found this item?" He asked pointing to the idol not wanting to get any closer to it.

The group thought about it and then Sam remembered.

"It was the last planet we were on," Sam explained. "We had been exploring along a river and the Captain saw it in the water she had gone in and retrieved it. "Captain Janeway said that she would give it to Commander Chakotay because she knew of his love paleontology."

"Okay that's good," Vi'an encouraged. "Now do you remember any conversation where she might have wished something?"

The group thought about and shook their heads.

"Of course," Ayala shouted. "Sam do you remember when you were telling us stories about Naomi," and Sam nodded but she wasn't quite remembering the conversation at first but then her face lit up.

"Yes I was telling something that Naomi had done and the Captain was sitting cleaning the idol. She had been laughing at the story and she said," Sam started and the whole group joined in. "I wish I was that age again when I didn't have a care in the world."

"She became sleepy a short time later and then when she came back out hours later she had transformed into a little child," Ayala finished.

"Yes that would do it," Vi'an agreed.

"Okay so now that we know how it happened," Chakotay said with a little hoping showing. "Can we get Katie to wish herself back?"

"I'm not sure it works like that Chakotay," Vi'an said apologetically. "It's getting late so I'm going to tale B'ati home and I will contact the Minister of History and ask him to investigate. He might know of some stories either written or verbal about the idol that might help us."

Chakotay thanked Vi'an for any help he could give and thanked the away team for their help.

That night Chakotay watched Katie sleeping and hope shone for the first time in weeks that they might soon have Kathryn back.

The hope that had been there the night before was shattered with the Ambassador called.

"Chakotay, I have spoken to the Minister and he says that he remembers stories of the idols and the havoc they caused. One story tells of a man and wife arguing and the man happened to have one of the idols. They were yelling things at it each other and then he told his wife that he wished she would go away and leave him alone for good.

The next morning when he woke she was gone, he looked for days and when he asked his neighbours they said that they hadn't seen her for days. The authorities were called in and they couldn't find her either and they actually thought that he had done something but since there was no evidence they couldn't do anything.

Another story tells of a young woman who was in love with a boy from another village that her family frowned upon. She came upon one of the idols and wished that she could be with the man she was meant for. Three day later she was married to the man her family wanted her with.

The Minister is investigating further for us so I would suggest that you put the idol away somewhere safe for now so nothing happens to anyone by accident." The Ambassador said.

"I'll do that as soon as I can Vi'an," Chakotay agreed.

"And I promise Chakotay when I find out anything I will contact you," Vi'an promised before ending the call.

The next day Vi'an was again calling the ship.

"Chakotay, the Minister has looked into this deeper and from what he has found is that the only way the effects such as the Captain's condition can be reversed is by a family member."

Chakotay's face fell at this information.

"It will be a little hard for her family to help unless they can do through the com," Chakotay asked.

"No they actually will have to hold the idol," the Ambassador explained.

"Well that will not happen for another few years unless we find a shortcut home," Voyager's Captain said.

The two men talked about a few things before closing the channel.

Chakotay finally entered quarters tired to the bone. Neelix greeted him with a dinner plate being kept warm and news that Katie was asleep. Nodding his thanks to Neelix he started to head to his bedroom when he saw the idol on the shelf.

"Neelix, how did the idol get back out here?" Chakotay asked as he looked at the offending item.

"Katie brought it out, she was very upset when she found it put away. Katie thought you didn't like it and I explained that you loved it and just wanted to keep it safe," Neelix explained.

"Thank you Neelix I'll talk to Katie in the morning," Chakotay promised as he walked the Talaxian to the door.

Walking back to the shelf Chakotay picked up the idol and headed for the bedroom. Stopping in the doorway he looked at Katie. She was sleeping like a little angel with her bear tucked in her arm. Smiling he wondered what Kathryn would think of the situation they found themselves in and before he could stop himself he whispered, "I love having you here Katie but I wish that I had my Kathryn here."

Shaking his head he wandered into his side of the bedroom. Stopping long enough to tuck the idol away in his dresser, he fell onto the bed and fell asleep quickly.

"Chakotay," said a voice close to him as he felt himself being shaken. "Chakotay?"

Slowly his eyes opened and he saw an image in front of him that didn't seem quite right.



"Yes, can you explain what's going on here," she asked with the confusion of the situation playing across her beautiful face. Her long hair was tousled about her face making her look even more beautiful.

And then I thought got his attention, Kathryn hasn't had long hair like that in a few years and then he was sitting up hugging her.

"Chakotay what is going on?" the Captain asked again.

"Just a minute," he said as he slapped his comm. badge. "Chakotay to the Doctor."

"Yes Captain," came the reply as Kathryn's eyebrow rose at the greeting.

"Is there anyone with you," Chakotay asked and was told that there was no one in Sickbay at the moment. "Okay prepare for a beam in," and then asked the computer to transfer him and Kathryn to the Doctor's location.

The Doctor's startled "Captain," was squashed quickly as Chakotay demanded a scan.

Kathryn laid down on a bed with her face still asking questions but willing to wait for the answers.

"Well Captain this Kathryn Janeway is at least a little closer in age to our Captain. She is about three years younger, she is in good health," the Doctor was explaining until he was interrupted.

"Excuse me but "she" would like to know what is going on," Captain Janeway demanded but when Chakotay looked into her eyes he could see a scared Katie looking back for a moment.

"How about we go back to our quarters and I will explain everything over breakfast," Chakotay suggested.

"Fine and my new bedroom will also be explained I suppose," she asked.

"Yes everything will be explained," Chakotay promised.

A few hours later a still confused Kathryn Janeway sat on her couch staring at Chakotay.

"Let me see if I understand this," Kathryn said slowly. "For the past three and half months I have been running around this ship as a four and a half year old," and Chakotay nodded in response. "And the crew have been taking turns looking after me when you are busy," and once again he nodded. "And I have been playing with Naomi," Kathryn asked.

"Yes and I don't know how I'm going to break the news to Naomi because she loved having you around," Chakotay said as he noticed Kathryn's hurt look. "She loves you too Kathryn but Naomi was enjoying another child being on board. The two of you were little terrors but the crew loved having the two of you on board."

"I wished I could remember my time as a child," Kathryn said a little sadly.

"You were a handful but a joy, you kept me on my toes and drove Tuvok crazy calling him Mr. Tuvie," Chakotay laughed along with Kathryn. "Not that Tuvok would admit it."

"Of course not," Kathryn chuckled as the doorbell rang.

Chakotay called for admittance as he went to the table to refill their cups. The doors opened to reveal Naomi and Sam.

"Good morning ladies," he called as he poured the tea.

"Is Katie ready," Naomi asked excitedly as Sam noticed the Captain.

"Oh Naomi," he started but Naomi heard her mother's gasp and looked to her and then where Sam was looking.

"Captain," Naomi shrieked as she ran to the couch and threw herself into Kathryn's arms. "You're back, I've missed you," and then she realized what this meant. "Katie's gone now?"

"Yes I'm afraid so," Chakotay confirmed as he sat down beside them.

"Oh," was the sad response.

Tears formed in Kathryn's eyes as she hugged the little girl. "I'm sorry little one that you lost a friend."

Naomi and Sam left a short time latter with Kathryn promising to take the little girl to the holodeck for an afternoon.

"Bridge to Captain Chakotay," came the call.

"Yes Ensign," Chakotay replied.

"Ambassador Vi'an has requested that you beam down as soon as possible as he has some info for you," Harry explained.

"Let him know that I'll be down shortly and ask the senior staff to meet in the conference room in five minutes," Chakotay replied. "Would you like to come?"

Nodding she followed Chakotay out of her quarters.

After a short meeting the Command team beamed down to meet with the Ambassador.

"Chakotay it's good to see you," the Ambassador smiled warmly.

"Vi'an it's good to see you," Chakotay responded. "I would like to introduce someone to you, Vi'an this Kathryn Janeway."

Shock crossed Vi'an face to be replaced by a giant smile.

"It is a great pleasure to meet you," Vi'an said as he shook the Captain's hand. "I have heard wonderful things about you."

"It's very nice to meet you," Kathryn replied.

"So how did this happen," the Ambassador asked.

"Well we're not sure, Katie was asleep when I returned to quarters last night and then this morning Kathryn was there. Our Doctor confirmed that this is Kathryn Janeway but from about three years ago." Chakotay said with the confusion written all over his face. "I thought a loved one could only cause the change?"

"That is correct and that is why I think she transformed back or at least I would guess why," said a new voice from behind them.

Chakotay and Kathryn turned to find a tall woman with long hair standing a short distance from them.

"Chakotay and Kathryn, I would like to introduce you to the Minister of History as well as my wife Fel'na," the proud Ambassador announced.

"I'm sorry I wasn't hear to greet you when you first arrived but I think my husband explained why I away," the young woman explained. "And my father's on the mend so when Vi'an contacted me regarding the Fate idol I had to return.

"So I guess what we need to ask is what happened last night," Vi'an asked.

"Nothing," Chakotay answered.

"Are you sure," Fel'na pushed. "Walk us through what happened yesterday."

"I was working late on the bridge because of a malfunction with a couple of systems. I finally returned to quarters to find Katie was asleep. I was saying goodnight to Neelix when I saw the idol back on the shelf. Neelix explained that Katie was upset when she found that it had been put away. I took it and headed for my room when I stopped in the doorway to Katie's room for a moment." And then Chakotay stopped in mid sentence as he remembered something he didn't want to relate.

"What is it Chakotay?" Fel'na prodded.

"It's nothing," Chakotay tried to brush off.

"Chakotay, what is it you remember," asked Kathryn as she placed her hand on his arm.

He couldn't look at her so he continued to stare at her hand. "I was holding the idol and without even thinking I said "I love having you here Katie but I wish that I had my Kathryn here." And then I went to bed."

"But why would she be three years younger then she should be," Fel'na questioned.

"A little over three years ago Kathryn and I were left on a planet because we had contracted an illness that our doctor couldn't cure. We laughed, we talked we didn't have a care in the world. The last few years have been hard on her as well as me and I guess that moment popped into my mind when I was looking at Katie and I wanted to see that Kathryn again."

Chakotay finally looked up and found Kathryn staring at him with tears sliding down her face.

"Oh Chakotay what happened to us over the past few years," she asked as she moved forward to cup his face.

"It's better that you don't remember," he whispered. "Too many fights and too many enemies have happened to us."

"But what about us," Kathryn questioned.

"We are friends," Chakotay told her.

"But I wanted so much more on New Earth, I was actually thinking about it the night we hid under the table and we fell asleep in each others arms. When I woke all I could think was that was the way I wanted to wake every morning."

"Me too," Chakotay promised as he hugged her for a few minutes then remembered Vi'an and Fel'na. The Command team remained on the planet for a few more hours before saying their farewells to the Ambassador and his wife.

Returning too the ship Chakotay followed Kathryn to her quarters planning on packing up his things. They entered her quarters and he mumbled that he would work on packing and then ask engineering to remove the wall as soon as possible.

Grabbing his duffle from the floor of the closet, Chakotay shoved the clothes hanging into the bag. Turning to the dresser next he cleaned out the drawers in no time. Looking to the nightstand he grabbed the picture and smiled at the frame and image as he sat on the bed. Painted on the frame was "Your Bean" and the picture was a smiling Katie.

A gentle hand touched him as her chin rested on his shoulder. "Bean?"

"It was my nickname for you because you were like a coffee bean full of energy and life just like your favourite drink. I'll miss her but I'm glad to have you back. I wish I could have both of you."

"And I wish she could be ours," Kathryn whispered as she hugged him. "A combination of the two of us,"

Chakotay turned to Kathryn pulling her into his arms. The kiss started gently but it turned demanding as Chakotay lowered them to the bed. The bed was a little crowded so Chakotay pushed the duffle and such to the floor. But he stopped when his hand landed on a cold smooth surface. Slowly raising his head Chakotay found the idol laying on the bed.

"Kathryn did you put this here," Chakotay asked as he picked the item up.

"Yes I found it on the floor under the bed," she answered. "What's wrong," she asked as she watched the emotions wash over his face as he went from concern to an amused look.

"Were you holding the idol when we were talking about Katie," he asked and just as Kathryn was about to answer a voice called.

"Daddy, Mommy where are you," was called just before a child appeared in the doorway?

The child was a replicate of Katie except the reddish blonde hair was replaced with dark auburn hair.

"Chakotay what's going on," Kathryn asked.

"I'll explain later for now I want to enjoy my family," he finished as he beckoned the child over.

The end

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