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The Gift
By Crusher

It had been a hectic two weeks, Voyager was low on supplies and they had entered an area of space that held a lot of answers to their needs.  Deciding the best way to get all they needed three shuttles were sent out to collect what they needed while Voyager scanned the adjoining section of space with some planets that held some possible sources but were populated.

The Captain had been successful in negotiating for some needed minerals and they were now headed to retrieve the teams.  The first team had been successful under Neelix’ direction in gathering food to supplement Voyager’s replicated food.  With the team back on the ship they were headed to collect the second group, which was, lead by Commander Chakotay.  The Captain was looking forward to having her First Officer back on the ship not only did she miss his counsel but she missed him.  Her dinners had been quiet without him and her evenings were boring without they’re after dinner talks.

Coming up on the fourth planet they found that there was an alien ship in orbit.

‘Janeway to Away Team,’ she called out.

‘Good to hear your voice but we are a little busy Captain, maybe you could give us a hand.’  Came Tom Paris’ cocky response.  ‘We are under attack could you convince the ship in orbit to leave.’

‘I’ll give it a try Mr. Paris, I’ll contact you shortly.’  Turning to Tuvok she demanded.  ‘Have you scanned their ship Mr. Tuvok?’

‘Yes Captain, we out gun them,’ was his simple answer.

‘Open a channel to that ship Mr. Tuvok,’ Janeway ordered.

‘Channel opened Captain,’ informed her Security Chief.

‘This is Captain Janeway of the Federation ship Voyager please identify yourself,’ she demanded.

‘They are ignoring our hails Captain,’ Tuvok told her.

‘Send a shot across their bow, maybe then they will notice us,’ Janeway commented.

Tuvok did as ordered and a few minutes later they were being hailed.

A furry creature about Chakotay’s height appeared on the screen.  ‘Why have you fired on us?’

‘It seems that your people are attacking my people on the planet, would you care to explain.’  The Captain demanded as she moved toward the screen.

‘I don’t need to explain anything to a woman,’ the alien spat out at her.

‘Fine Mr. Tuvok blow them out of my way maybe we can have a more civilized conversation with the group on the surface when they have no way of leaving.’  Janeway ordered as she turned her back on the screen.

‘What is it you want?’  The alien yelled a little to quickly.

‘All we want to do is collect our people that were here gathering supplies,’ the Captain said simply.  ‘Then we will be on our way and the planet is all yours.’

‘Fine be quick about it,’ he replied as if he had a choice about whether they gathered their people or how long it took.

‘Thank you I’m glad we could come to an understanding, Voyager out,’ Janeway said as she turned to Tuvok.  ‘Can we beam our people out?’

‘No Captain there seems to be some sort of interference in the atmosphere,’ Tuvok explained.

‘Janeway to Away Team,’ the Captain called out.

‘Paris here Captain, I take it you made them see reason since they stopped shooting at us.’  The amusement could be heard in Paris’ voice over the link.

‘Yes Lieutenant, I made them see reason, may I speak to Commander Chakotay?’  Janeway requested.

‘I’m afraid not, he’s dealing with another situation at the moment,’ Tom said nervously.

‘Fine gather your equipment and supplies and get on your shuttle and back to the ship.  Are there any injuries that I should alert the Doctor about?’  Janeway questioned.

‘Yes most of us have been injured in some form or another but Chakotay and Roberts are the worst.  We are also bringing a survivor from the group we found here.’  Paris informed his Captain.

‘I thought the planet was uninhabited.’  A puzzled Janeway asked.

‘We thought so to but the interference you found blocked sensor readings we didn’t know about them until we came down.  The group had been massacred except the one we found; she has attached herself to Chakotay.  She will not leave his side and he doesn’t seem to mind,’ Paris said not thinking about how the woman on the other end would receive the news.

‘Fine, see you soon, Janeway out.’  The Captain said as she closed the connection.  ‘Tuvok you have the bridge please let me know when the shuttle docks.’

Moving from the bridge quickly before anyone could see her heartbreak she made for her Ready Room.  But B’Elanna had seen and she was going to kick Paris’ butt when he got back and then kick Chakotay’s.  Paris would get kicked for being thoughtless and Chakotay for once again hurting the woman he said he cared about.

‘Come,’ Janeway called.

B’Elanna entered looking about for her Captain and finding her sitting on her couch staring out the window.  ‘Captain, are you all right?’

‘Yes B’Elanna I’m fine,’ Janeway said a little sadly.

‘Permission to speak freely,’ Torres asked and received a nod as an answer.  ‘Bullshit Captain your not fine, I saw your face when Tom thoughtlessly said what he did.  ‘

‘B’Elanna please,’ the Captain said quietly as she continued to look out the window.

B’Elanna moved to the couch sitting down beside her Captain.  ‘No I’m not letting this go you have feelings for him and you can’t just give in like this.  He has feelings for you and you two belong together.’

‘Obviously his feelings have changed,’ Kathryn said as she finally looked at B’Elanna and the young Klingon saw the pain.

‘Maybe, maybe not I don’t think his feelings can change that easily why don’t you try fighting for him,’ B’Elanna sated.

‘I don’t know,’ Janeway started but the young woman stopped her.

‘Captain I saw your face when Tom said Chakotay was hurt and I’ve seen you when he has been hurt before,’ she said to the older woman before her.  ‘You can’t hide those types of feelings, well not from those of us around you.  And he’s the same when you’re hurt or missing, fight for what you want and what he wants.’

Smiling for the first time Kathryn asked.  ‘Am I that obvious when it comes to him?’

‘Yes,’ B’Elanna laughed at the shocked face she received.

‘I’ll try B’Elanna but,’ Janeway started to be interrupted by the Chief Engineer.

‘No buts, how long have you felt this way about him,’ B’Elanna demanded.

‘Since the moment I saw him,’ Kathryn confessed.

‘Four years, woman are you nuts, I think it’s time you claimed him.  I don’t care who she is just go after him.’  B’Elanna ordered.

‘Yes ma’am,’ Kathryn said as she mocked saluted the young woman before her.  ‘Thanks B’Elanna do you always yell at your superior officers like this?’

‘Only when they are doing stupid things,’ B’Elanna laughed.  ‘But especially the ones I care about and respect.’

Kathryn leaned forward surprising the woman before her by hugging her.  ‘Would you care to stay and have a coffee with me while I wait.’

‘That would be nice,’ B’Elanna answered.

Three hours later Tuvok notified the Captain that the shuttle had docked and the crew was on their way to Sickbay.  Thanking Tuvok she handed the bridge to him and told him she would be in Sickbay to welcome the crew back and see how they were.

‘Care to join me B’Elanna,’ she asked her Chief Engineer.

‘Yes I think I will, I need to speak to a certain Lieutenant,’ she said with an evil look.

‘Go easy on him I do need him to fly the ship.’  Kathryn laughed, as they existed her Ready Room.

‘He doesn’t need legs to pilot the ship,’ B’Elanna answered simply.

Kathryn just shook her head as they headed for B’Elanna’s victim.

Entering Sickbay they found Tom working on Ensign Roberts so she moved in that direction.  She didn’t want to look to the other side of the room yet not wanting to see the woman that might have taken Chakotay from her.  B’Elanna moved in the other direction knowing her Captain needed a moment and would use the time to check on the other members of the team.

‘How are things Tom?’  She asked as she moved beside the young pilot.

‘He will be fine Captain I’m just finishing up, the rest of have been treated and released mostly minor cuts and bruises.’  He smiled at her and she could see that he was in need of medical treatment.  ‘Don’t worry mine are minor to the big guy’s; he’s a little worse for wear.  Why don’t you see if you can help the Doc, his new friend won’t leave him.’

Kathryn nodded and moved toward the other group at the main biobed.  B’Elanna was standing talking to him as he sat on the bed with his back to her.  The Captain couldn’t see this woman that Tom had mentioned near Chakotay or for that matter anywhere in the room.  She was slightly confused by this when she noticed B’Elanna was trying to reach for something in Chakotay’s arms.  That’s when she heard the scream and Chakotay’s gentle words trying to soothe the upset person.  Rounding the bed she saw him holding a small child that was obviously holding onto him for dear life.

‘Commander, I can’t treat you if she doesn’t let go,’ an exasperated Doctor said.

‘I know Doctor but she refuses to leave me, she’s been this way since we found her five days ago.  She has been by my side and refuses to let me out of her sight,’ a very tired Chakotay said.  ‘The translators aren’t working with her language not that she says much she just keeps repeating the one word over.’

And as they listened she could be heard mumbling a word that they couldn’t quite make out.  Chakotay noticed the Captain and smiled at her.  ‘Hi Captain glad to be home.’

‘Glad to have you home Commander, so who have you found?’  Kathryn asked as she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

‘She was the only survivor of her people,’ her First Officer said with tears evident in his eyes.  ‘She was on her own for about three days before we arrived.  The people who attacked us had killed everyone and either had missed her or didn’t care and left until we arrived.’  He told her as he stroked the small child’s hair.

‘How is she?’  The Captain asked the Doctor.

‘Considering what she has been through remarkably well, I have dealt with her bruises and cuts that were mostly minor a couple of major ones that were dealt with.  Mostly she needs some food and a bath,’ said the Doctor annoyed as he continued.  ‘It’s the Commander I’m trying to see to but our little friend will not leave his arms.’

Tom Paris walked up to the group and laughed.  ‘Chakotay has a thing for stubborn red heads.’

Everyone turned to him and just as the Captain was about to say something B’Elanna grabbed him.  ‘Paris why don’t I look at those cuts before you get yourself shoved out an airlock’ she hissed.

Kathryn noticed for the first time that the child’s hair was just about the same color as hers, falling in soft waves to her shoulders.  ‘Chakotay why don’t I see if I can take her while you get checked by the Doctor?’

‘I would appreciate it,’ and the Captain realized he must be in pain if he was this willing to allow the doctor near him.

The little girl had raised her face from Chakotay’s chest to look at the owner of the new voice while the two were talking.  She scrambled off Chakotay’s lap and knelt on the bed throwing her arms around Kathryn’s neck.

‘Well hello,’ said a surprised Captain.

‘I’m amazed, she has refused anyone who tried to hold her to give me a break,’ said an astounded First Officer.

‘Maybe she didn’t want to be the receiver of the Captain’s famous glare,’ came Tom’s smart comment from across the room.

Before Kathryn could say anything, B’Elanna turned to the group.  ‘You think he would learn, don’t worry I’ll put a muzzle on him.’

‘Thank you B’Elanna, you’ll go far unlike someone else,’ Kathryn shot Parris a warning glare.

‘That’s the look,’ Tom said quietly to B’Elanna.

‘Captain since she is willing to be held by you could you maybe take her for something to eat and maybe a bath.’  The Doctor asked as he helped Chakotay to lie down.

‘Sure Doctor,’ she said and then saying to the little one in her arms.  ‘Let’s go get something to eat, does that sound like a good idea?’

A little face looked up at her with dirt and blood smudges.  She smiled at Kathryn and she accepted this as a yes.  As she turned to leave the little one pointed to Chakotay and Kathryn walked back to him expecting the little girl to jump back into his arms.  But all she did was reach down and kiss him on the cheek.  Turning to Kathryn she pointed to Kathryn and then Chakotay.  The subject of all the attention sat quietly trying to not smile as he watched her go through her options.

Kathryn bent over and planted a gentle kiss on his lips.  ‘Behave Commander and do what the Doctor tells you.’

‘Yes ma’am,’ he stuttered out.

She smiled at B’Elanna as she walked past her and the young woman smiled her approval.  Entering the mess hall she went to the counter to see what Neelix had to eat.

‘Good evening Captain, what do you have here?’  The jovial Talaxian asked.

‘Commander Chakotay’s team found her and until five minutes ago she was exclusively attached to the Commander but she has decided that I’m okay.’  Kathryn laughed as the little one looked up to see where they were.

‘Hi there,’ Neelix tried as a friendly greeting as he moved closer.  The little girl’s hold on Kathryn tightened and she murmured something.  ‘What is that she is saying?’

‘Not sure the computer can’t seem to translate but that is a new word.’  Kathryn said puzzled as the little girl nodded her head and continued to say the word over and over.  ‘Neelix would you mind putting some plates together for us, she’s not going to let me go.’

‘I would be delighted to Captain, you just go sit and I will be there momentarily.’  He directed her as he turned to fix some food for them.

Kathryn found a table in the corner away from the main traffic and sat down with her charge.  She didn’t bother to try and sit her in her own chair she just turned the little girl slightly so she was sitting in her lap.

‘So little one how did you end up all alone on that planet?’  Kathryn asked knowing she wouldn’t receive an answer.  The little girl reached up and touched the Captain’s hair and then touched her own.  ‘Yes our hair seems to be the same color.’  The little girl pulled the Captain down and reached behind to touch the bun that she wore.  Kathryn realized to late what the little girl was up to and her hair partially fell out of the do.  ‘I take it you want it down,’ Kathryn asked as she reached up and pulled the remaining pins out to allow her hair to fall down her back.  ‘Is that better?’  She asked as the little visitor reached up to run her hands through the long tresses.

‘Here you go Captain,’ Neelix said as he placed the tray in front of her.  ‘May I sit with you?’

‘Sure Neelix I might need help with feeding her,’ Kathryn said as she indicated a seat to her right.

‘So do we know anything about her,’ he asked as he watched the Captain take a spoonful and offer it to the little girl.  Kathryn successfully managed to get several spoon full into the little girl.

‘Just that all the people in her group were killed, other than that we know nothing not even her name,’ Kathryn said sadly as she brushed the little ragamuffin’s hair from her face.  ‘She seems to have attached herself to Chakotay and he seems to be taken with her.’

‘Well that seems understandable,’ Neelix said.

‘Why?’  Kathryn asked confused.

‘The Commander has a soft spot for red heads,’ Neelix commented and then realized what he said.  ‘Coming, sorry Captain I’m needed in the kitchen,’ the flustered Talaxian said as he rushed from the table.

‘It seems everyone saw how he felt about me,’ Kathryn whispered to the little girl.  ‘So how is the food?’  She asked as the little girl stuck her fingers in the green goop Neelix had brought over for her.  ‘Hmm that looks good,’ Kathryn said as the little girl offered it to her.  ‘You eat it,’ Kathryn started as the little hand fed her offering to the woman in front of her.  Laughing as the mess slipped down her chin no one could believe the picture being presented to them of their Captain.  ‘So are you trying to tell me your finished?’  Kathryn asked the little girl as she laughed clapping her hands together.  ‘Okay how about we get that bath the Doctor mentioned,’ as the little girl wrapped her arms around Kathryn.  Standing up she grabbed the tray and dropped it off at the counter but Neelix was nowhere in sight.  Kathryn chuckled at his absence as she left the room.

Taking the little girl to her quarters she entered the bathroom where her salvation was, where she spent many an hours relaxing in her tub.  Turning on the water she filled the tub and then added some bath beads.

‘So little one have you ever had a bath,’ Kathryn asked the little girl as she watched the water run into the bath.  The water mesmerized her as it ran into the tub creating foamy bubbles.  Removing her clothes Kathryn lifted her up and placed her in the water.  She stiffened as her body made contact with the water, she sat unmoving, and Kathryn realized she had probably never had been cleaned like this before.  Grabbing a face cloth she soaked it in the water then squeezed it out so her charge could see the water drip from the cloth.  She then took the cloth, let the water drip on her arm, and did the same to the little girl.

Once she got her use to the water being splashed on her she captured some bubbles on her hand and then blew them into the air.  The reaction of the occupant in the tub was immediate as she squealed with delight and began mimicking Kathryn’s actions.

‘Chakotay to Captain Janeway,’ came the deep voice.

‘Janeway here, what did the doctor say?’  Kathryn asked as she sent a shower of bubbles floating in the air followed by squeals.

‘He said I’m fine and that I could leave Sickbay,’ Chakotay informed her.

‘Under certain conditions, don’t forget to tell her that Commander,’ came the Doctor’s voice.

‘What’s are the conditions?’  Kathryn asked getting exasperated by the Doctor.

‘He doesn’t want me looking after the child and someone needs to check on me,’ came Chakotay’s solemn voice.

‘I’ll take care of everything Doctor, come to my quarters Chakotay your little friend and I are here.  We can talk about what to do with you, Janeway out.’  Kathryn laughed as she closed the connection.  ‘Well little one he’s our responsibility tonight do you think we can look after him.’  The answer she received was a shower of bubbles.

They played for a bit more until the little girl looked up and screamed with joy.  Kathryn turned to see Chakotay standing in the doorway as the little girl babbled away in her language.

Hi,’ she smiled as she brushed away a wet lock.

‘Hi yourself, it looks like you two are having a good time,’ Chakotay smiled at Kathryn’s wet appearance.

‘Yes we are but you know I just had a thought, did you find any clothes for her on the planet.’  Kathryn asked as Chakotay knelt beside her.

‘No the aliens didn’t leave much of their settlement and what we could find was not useable.  Why don’t I just replicate something?’  He suggested as he received a spray of bubbles from his new friend.  ‘Hey there what have you been teaching her,’ he looked accusingly at Kathryn.

‘Me nothing,’ the woman sitting beside him said innocently.

‘Why don’t I believe you,’ Chakotay said as he wiped his face dry.  ‘I’ll go replicate her some pajamas.’

‘Good shot,’ Kathryn whispered as the little girl giggled.

‘I heard that,’ came Chakotay’s voice from the other room.

‘Come on let’s get you out before you turn into a prune,’ Kathryn said as she bent to lift the little girl out.  Carrying her out to her bedroom she sat her on the bed and quickly dried her.  Deciding she needed to change Kathryn grabbed her nightgown and robe and started to strip when she heard a voice behind her.

‘I hope I picked the right size,’ Chakotay said as he entered the bedroom heading for the bathroom.  He stopped dead in his tracks when he looked up and saw Kathryn half undressed.  ‘I’m sorry I thought you were still in the bathroom,’ Chakotay stammered as he turned away.

‘It’s okay Chakotay; I wasn’t thinking I just decided to change.  I should have warned you,’ Kathryn tried to ease his embarrassment as she blushed.  ‘Why don’t you get some tea for us and juice for her and I’ll get her dressed.’  Chakotay just nodded acceptance of her plan placing the garment on the dresser by the door as he fled the room.

Kathryn quickly finished getting changed and then dried and dressed the little girl that sat quietly watching what happened around her without saying a word.  Slipping the nightgown over her head Kathryn found that Chakotay had chosen well.  The gown fit loose enough for comfort but was the right length and she smiled at the design of smiling moons and stars.

Taking her brush she gave her hair a quick brush then sat and brushed out the little girls hair.  Taking her hand she led her out to the living room where Chakotay was just putting the drinks on the table with a plate of cookies.  Looking up he smiled at the beautiful picture before him.

‘Well don’t you two look pretty,’ he said as the little girl squealed running to him to be picked up.  ‘And who do we have here?’

‘Amazing what a little water and soap can uncover,’ Kathryn asked amazed.

‘Well she was on her own for a few days and then we were a little busy to think about bathing and things.’  Chakotay said seriously as he handed her the glass of juice and a cookie.  ‘We will finish our refreshments and then go to my quarters so you can get to sleep.’

‘No,’ Kathryn said as she sipped her tea.

‘No what,’ Chakotay asked confused.

‘Chakotay the Doctor said you were not to look after her and that someone needed to watch you, right.’  Kathryn reminded him as he nodded.  ‘Well you can go to your quarters if you want and I will come a few times during the night to check you but she stays here.  I promised the Doctor and for once I’m going to listen to him.  Now you can go or you can stay, the little one and I can sleep in my bed and you can stay on the couch but it’s up to you.’

The little girl clamored off Chakotay’s lap and onto Kathryn’s as if she sensed what they were talking about.  She turned herself so she was cradled in Kathryn’s arms and Kathryn automatically started to rock her.  Before they knew it she was asleep and Kathryn got up and carried her to her bed.

‘I think she has made her choice what about you?’  She asked Chakotay as they looked at the little bundle.

‘Can I have a pillow and a blanket,’ he asked.

‘Sure why don’t you get what you need from your quarters and I’ll make up the couch,’ Kathryn offered.

‘Okay,’ he answered as he headed out the door.  Returning a short time later he found Kathryn making up the couch as he put his things on a chair.

‘Did you want to go to sleep?’  Kathryn asked as he helped tuck in the blankets.

‘No if you like we can talk for a while,’ Chakotay said not wanting to let the night end.

‘Okay would you like another tea,’ Kathryn offered as she moved to the replicator.

‘Yes please,’ he replied as he sat on the couch.  Kathryn grabbed the two cups when they materialized and moved to sit beside him on the couch.  ‘So what did you want to talk about?’

‘How about your away mission and finding our little friend.’  Kathryn suggested.

He agreed and explained about the first planet they went to and then moving on to the second planet.  They found the minerals they were looking for and then they noticed odd readings and went to investigate and that’s when they found the bodies.  Chakotay was searching the one remaining building when the little girl came at him crying and chattering.

‘The poor thing,’ Kathryn said quietly.  ‘She must have been beside her self, how she survived on her own amazes me.’

‘Yes she reminds me of someone,’ Chakotay smiled sideways at her.

‘Oh really,’ Kathryn looked at him, challenging him to finish what he was saying.

‘So what are we going to do with her,’ Chakotay asked changing the subject.

‘Well it seems that she has adopted the two of us,’ Kathryn laughed.

‘Yes but,’ he started to say when a piercing scream was heard from the bedroom.

The two were up and across the room in a flash to find their little visitor thrashing on the bed.  Kathryn moved quickly to her when she woke and seeing the two people in front of her threw her arms around both of them.  For someone so small she held on for dear life nearly choking the two of them.  After a bit she relaxed her hold while Kathryn and Chakotay said soothing words that she didn’t understand.

They thought she had fallen asleep and tried to lay her down but she woke and pulled on Kathryn.  Realizing she wanted Kathryn to join her the woman complied and stretched out wrapping her arms around the little body.

‘I’ll let you two get to sleep,’ Chakotay said as he started to leave but was stopped by a small hand pulling on him.

‘I think she wants you to join us,’ Kathryn said trying to suppress her smile.

‘But,’ Chakotay tried to protest.

‘Chakotay come on just lay down it will calm her,’ Kathryn said as she pulled him down beside them.  The little girl snuggled between them as Chakotay tried to get comfortable he felt his arms being picked up or at least she tried to lift it.  Chakotay helped and allowed her to lead where she wanted it and in the end she placed it around her and Kathryn.

Chakotay woke the next morning to the sensations of being warm and a weight on his chest.  Opening his eyes he found his little friend lying on top of him and a surprise for him was Kathryn pressed up to his side with her arm wrapped around him and the little girl.  His arm was wrapped around Kathryn and he enjoyed the sensation of the two ladies in his arms.

‘Good morning,’ came Kathryn’s quiet greeting.

‘Good morning, did you sleep well,’ Chakotay asked with a smile on his face that she couldn’t see.

‘Yes I did,’ Kathryn answered from his chest.  ‘How about you, how are you feeling?’

‘Fine,’ he answered as he stroke the little girls hair.

‘Tuvok to Captain Janeway,’ came the Vulcan’s voice into the quite of the bedroom.

‘Janeway here,’ Kathryn said as she slipped from the bed.

‘We are retrieving Mr. Kim’s group,’ Tuvok informed his Captain.

‘Fine please inform everyone that we will have a staff meeting at 1000 hours, Janeway out.’  Kathryn said as she moved back into the bedroom to find their little friend awake and sitting on Chakotay’s chest.  He was busy tickling her, they hadn’t noticed Kathryn so she was able to watch the two of them, and enjoyed the thought of them here.

‘So are you two getting up or are you staying here,’ Kathryn asked as she returned to the bed and sat down beside Chakotay.  The little girl leaned over and hugged Kathryn before settling back down on Chakotay.

‘Sickbay to the Captain,’ came the interruption neither wanted.

‘What can I do for you Doctor?’  Janeway asked as Chakotay tickled his little friend.

‘How are my patients this morning?’

‘They are fine Doctor, did you want to see them?’  Kathryn asked as the little girl jumped off Chakotay into Kathryn’s lap.

‘No I just wanted to check, the Commander didn’t have any problems during the night?’

‘He was fine Doctor, I kept an eye on him,’ Kathryn smiled at Chakotay.

‘Fine I want the Commander to remain off duty for the next forty-eight hours to give his injuries time to heal fully and then light duty for the next week.  If you have any problems contact me, the Doctor out.’

‘Well I’m going to have my shower and then we can have breakfast before I go to my meeting.’  Kathryn suggested as she got up from the bed placing the little girl beside Chakotay.

‘Sounds good I’ll go next door and have my shower when you’re finished yours.’  Chakotay suggested.

‘Okay,’ Kathryn said as she moved to the bathroom.  Turning on the water she removed her gown and stepped inside.  She was only in it for a few minutes when she heard a tapping on the door.  Opening the door a crack she found their visitor smiling at her.  ‘Would you like to join me?’  She asked as she held out her hand and the little girl climbed in.

‘Kathryn is everything okay?’  Came Chakotay’s concerned voiced.

‘Yes someone’s joining me in my shower, why don’t you go next door and have yours.  Come back when your finished and pick us up and we will go to the mess hall.’  Kathryn said as she picked up her shower partner and allowed the water to cascade over her.

‘Fine I’ll be back soon,’ and with that he left quietly envying his friend for her shower partner.

They finished up and Kathryn dried the two of them off and then dried their hair.  Kathryn tried to put her hair up but the little girl kept pulling out the pins so she left it down in a ponytail.  Kathryn took her out to the living room to replicate some clothes and shoes.  When Chakotay reentered her quarters he found them waiting on the couch as Kathryn tied the little girls hair back like hers with a clip.

Chakotay smiled at the sight before him, anyone who met them would think this little one was Kathryn’s daughter the resemblance was that close.  ‘So are you two ladies ready for some food?’

Heading off they had breakfast and then Chakotay stated that he was going to the staff meeting.

‘Glad to see everyone back,’ Kathryn started once everyone was seated around the conference table.  ‘Let’s start with Mr. Neelix and his group’s success.’

‘Thank you Captain, we had mixed results with the two planets we investigated.  We found no minerals but we did find food supplies some old standbys and some new vegetables.’  Neelix did notice the hidden groans that everyone tried to suppress when they realized he had found more leola root.  He detailed the findings and then nodded to the Captain that he was finished.

‘Thank you Mr. Neelix, Mr. Kim why don’t you go next,’ Kathryn smiled at the young ensign.

‘We found a fair amount of minerals and a few other things but food was not found on the planets we surveyed.’  Harry explained that the soil was not suitable for crops but perfect for their other requirements.

‘We had success also with mineral finds,’ Kathryn explained about their talks with the people on the planet they had visited and she turned the floor over to B’Elanna.

‘We were lucky the minerals we received needed little refinement and we are now working on some repairs.  Captain I was wondering if I could have your help for a few hours in Engineering with a problem?’  The young Engineer asked and received a nod as an answer.

‘Well Commander why don’t you explain what happened on your surveys and who this is.’  Kathryn said as she turned to Chakotay as if understanding that Kathryn was talking about her she held her arms out to be held by the Captain.  She snuggled down into her embrace as Chakotay explained that the first planet they checked had nothing of use for them.  The second planet they started to check when they discovered the settlement or what was left of it.  He told of the massacre and the fight they had with the aliens.  Finding the little girl was heartbreaking for the group, they did their best to bury the dead or at least what was left.

‘We did find some files on their computer but we never got around to looking at them maybe Seven can have a look.  She might be able to get the translator to work and then we can communicate with this little one.’  Chakotay finished smiling down at the sleeping bundle in Kathryn’s arms.

‘Okay I think that’s all for now, you all did a great job.  B’Elanna I will be down to help shortly, dismissed.’  Kathryn finished as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the child.  Everyone filed out leaving Kathryn and Chakotay in the room
‘I’ll take her to my quarters,’ Chakotay suggested.

Kathryn sat stroking the little ones head.  ‘She knows my quarters, why don’t you take her back there, that way she doesn’t wake in a strange place.’

‘That might be a good idea, and when she wakes I’ll show her my quarters.  She’ll have to get use to them,’ Chakotay said as he watched Kathryn’s face, he saw something pass across her features but he wasn’t sure what.  ‘How about you join us for dinner?’

Looking up at him she smiled.  ‘I would like that.’

As Chakotay leaned forward to take the child Kathryn bent down and kissed her head.  ‘Sleep well little one, you have the best person to watch over you.’

‘Thank you,’ Chakotay whispered and Kathryn smiled a little embarrassed by speaking her thoughts out loud.

‘It’s true I feel safe when you're near.’  Kathryn confessed as she leaned forward to quickly place a kiss on his cheek.  Quickly she passed the child to Chakotay and left the room.

Several hours later found Kathryn in B’Elanna’s office going over a few last things before calling it a night.

‘Chakotay to Janeway.’

‘Janeway here,’ Kathryn answered with a smile.

‘Are you planning on joining us for dinner, someone wants to see you,’ Chakotay informed her.

‘I’m just finishing with B’Elanna then I’ll meet you in the mess hall,’ Kathryn said.

‘No we are having dinner in my quarters and it will be ready in twenty minutes.  B’Elanna don’t keep her any longer the necessary.’  Chakotay ordered.

‘I won’t we are just about finished old man,’ B’Elanna laughed.

‘Chakotay you are suppose to be taking it easy,’ the Captain admonished.

‘I am it’s not that difficult to make dinner well not for some of us,’ he teased and she could hear the smile over the comm link.

‘Very funny, I’m leaving engineering and I’ll stop by my quarters to change, Janeway out.’  Kathryn said as she cut the link to his laughter.  ‘B’Elanna what am I going to do with him?’

‘Do you really need suggestions?’  B’Elanna asked.  ‘I can give you ideas but I think you have plenty of your own.’

‘B’Elanna,’ Kathryn shouted in shock.

‘Please I saw your face when he called that smile could have lit up the void for us.  Go on have dinner enjoy the company,’ B’Elanna said as she pushed her Captain out the door.

‘I’m going, I’m going, you can be so pushy,’ Kathryn laughed as she walked out of the office.

Twenty minutes later she was buzzing for admittance to Chakotay’s quarters.  Smiling when he opened the door he noticed her appearance.

‘Wow you’re on time and you changed also,’ Chakotay said surprised.

‘B’Elanna kicked me out of engineering after we talked so I went and had a shower and changed.’  Kathryn informed him.

A little body ran to Kathryn as she entered.  ‘Hi little one,’ Kathryn said as she picked her up to give her a hug.  ‘Did you have a good time today with Chakotay?’

‘I took her to the holodeck after her nap and lunch, we played on the beach for a few hours.’  Chakotay smiled at them.  ‘Dinner is ready; I was just putting it on the table.  Why don’t you two sit down.’

Dinner was enjoyable as Chakotay and Kathryn try to get the little girl to eat.  In between feeding her they enjoyed the meal themselves.  After dinner they sat on the couch, as the child grew sleepy.

‘Why don’t I take her back to my quarters,’ Kathryn offered.

‘No you need your sleep since your still on duty,’ Chakotay pointed out.  ‘We will be fine Kathryn I can handle her.’

‘Okay,’ she answered trying to hide her disappointment from him.  ‘How about I settle her in bed and then I’ll go.’

And with that she picked up the little girl and carried her into the bedroom.  Helping her Kathryn had her changed and lying down in no time.  Giving her a kiss on the forehead she went to leave when she felt a little hand pulling on her.

‘What’s up little one,’ Kathryn asked and could see a little bit of fear in the girl’s eyes.  ‘Do you want me to stay till you fall asleep?’  And her only answer was another tug.  ‘Okay I’ll lay down with you if that’s what you want.’

Stretching out in Chakotay’s bed Kathryn felt immediately at home.  The little girl snuggled up beside Kathryn and drifted off to sleep right away.  Chakotay came in a short time later to find out what was taking Kathryn so long and stopped dead at the picture before him.  The woman he had wanted in his bed for a long time was there and curled up beside her was the little girl.

Moving to the bed he covered them, bent, and gave each of them a kiss on the forehead.  As he went to straighten up he noticed the little ones eyes open.  She reached up and pulled on his arm he understood she wanted him with them and gladly joined them.

Chakotay once again woke to warmth surrounding him.  Opening his eyes he found two auburn heads on his chest.  His arms held them securely to him and he never wanted to let them go.

Kathryn started to move and Chakotay found he didn’t want to release his hold.

‘How did we end up like this again?’  Came Kathryn’s question from his chest.

‘I’m assuming you lay down for a moment to make someone feel better and fell asleep.  I came into see where you were and found you.  The little one woke up and demanded I join the two of you.’  Chakotay chuckled.

‘Sorry Chakotay I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I guess I was more tired then I realized.’  The woman on his chest said as she stroked the little girls head.

‘It’s okay no harm and what man wouldn’t love to wake up to a beautiful woman in his arms and here I have two.’  He said as he squeezed her gently as the child woke and their day started again.

Kathryn worked between the bridge and engineering for the day while Chakotay entertained his little friend.  She was just finishing up when a little person appeared in front of her babbling away.

‘Hi,’ Kathryn said as she scooped her up.  ‘Where’s Chakotay?’

‘I’m here,’ he called as she turned to find him talking to B’Elanna.  ‘We were wondering if you would like to join us in the mess hall for dinner.’

‘Okay,’ was her tired answer.

After dinner they returned to the senior crews level and a tired Captain walked down the hall with Chakotay.

‘Would you like to come in for a tea,’ Chakotay asked.

‘No I think I better say goodnight here, she needs to get use to me not being there all the time.  I’m sure you would rather have one less person in your quarters.’  Kathryn said a little sadly as she missed Chakotay’s face and the hurt he tried to hide.

‘Okay we will see you tomorrow.’  And with that he walked on down the hall with the little girl calling to Kathryn.

She could hear crying and something being called as she came to the surface.  Looking about she couldn’t understand at first where the sound was coming from and then understood that it was coming from next door.  Grabbing her robe she made for Chakotay’s quarters.

As the door opened she could hear Chakotay talking quietly trying to calm the distraught child.  Kathryn moved to the bedroom and found him sitting on the bed rocking her.  She moved over and sat on the bed reaching out to stroke the child’s head.

‘What’s wrong,’ she asked.

‘She woke up crying and I can’t seem to calm her down, I actually had a hard time getting her to sleep.’  Chakotay explained as he continued to rock her.  “I’m sorry if she woke you.’

‘Don’t worry about it,’ Kathryn said as she slid closer to him on the bed.  Finally sensing that there was someone else there the child looked up and the tears stopped when she saw whom it was.  Slipping out of Chakotay’s arms she moved over to Kathryn and settled down.  She held onto Chakotay’s hand as she fell asleep.  “I’m sorry this is my fault, I should have come in made sure she was settled for the night.  I was being selfish; I just couldn’t bear staying for a while and then having to leave.  I know I only met her a few days ago but she has me wrapped around her finger.’

‘She’s done the same thing to me Kathryn,’ Chakotay explained as he slid his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close.

‘I hate to see her upset, I just want to chase the demons away for her.’  Kathryn said as tears slipped down her face.

‘I know that feeling there is someone I always want to be there for when she’s upset.  When I hear her cry out in the night I just want to go to her but I can’t,’ Chakotay whispered into her hair.  ‘But there are times I just happen to be in the right places and she doesn’t seem to mind.’

‘Are those the times you appear in the mess hall or my ready room in the middle of the night trying to tell me that you just couldn’t sleep but you looked like you just woke up?’  She looked up at him with more tears slipping down her face.

‘Yes,’ was his simple answer as he wiped the tears away?  Kissing her on the forehead he tucked her under his chin and held her tight.  ‘Go to sleep Kathryn I won’t let any more demons visit us tonight.’

The next day found Chakotay finishing up his half shift when Seven appeared on the bridge.

‘Captain, Commander I have been able to decipher their logs,’ the former Borg explained as she moved to a workstation.  ‘This group was the last of their race they had been hunted down.  The reasoning for this is not really explained and I don’t think they fuller understood it.  I have located the little girl in the files,’ she explained as pictures of a man and then a woman appeared on the screen.  The two people looked similar to Kathryn and Chakotay and they now understood why the little girl was attached to them.

‘Did you find her name,’ Kathryn asked her voice barely above a whisper.

‘No I’m afraid not, they just called her their gift, it seems that the women had trouble conceiving and she was the first child born to them in years.’  Seven looked apologetic and then continued.  ‘I have been able to get the translator to work so she will be able to understand us when we talk to her.  One other thing I did find out that she was born approximately twelve and half months ago.  In earth years she is a year old but for these people development wise she is two.’

‘Thank you Seven,’ Chakotay said as Kathryn stared at the couple that had been the little girl’s parents.

‘Chakotay she is all alone,’ Kathryn said as her voice broke.

‘No she’s not she has us, you and me and all the crew.  She has made it clear Kathryn that she wants to be with you and me.’  Chakotay explained as Seven moved away to the turbo lift.  The doors opened and Harry Kim walked onto the bridge with a very upset child.  When she saw Kathryn and Chakotay she squirmed out of his arms.  Running across the bridge she threw herself at them.

Their touch calmed her and they were able to understand what she was saying.  ‘Mommy, Daddy,’ was repeated over and over.

‘Sorry Captain, Commander, she was fine with Neelix and then all the sudden she started crying and asking for her mother and father.  I didn’t know what to do and Neelix was busy so we thought it best to bring her to you.’  Harry finished off feeling as if he had done something to cause the little one’s pain.

‘It’s okay Harry she lasted longer with Neelix then I expected,’ Chakotay said as he stroked her back.

The little girl finally calmed down enough that she pulled back to look at Kathryn with a tear stained face.  ‘Mommy don’t leave,’ she cried out and the bridge staff froze as they realized who she thought Mommy was.  Turning to Chakotay she continued, ‘ Daddy don’t leave.’

Kathryn didn’t bother to think about her next words they just came out in a rush of emotion.  ‘Don’t worry little one we won’t leave you, Mommy and Daddy are right here.’

Kathryn looked up at Chakotay her eyes asking if it was okay to say what she had said.

‘That’s right little one Mommy and Daddy are right here,’ he said confirming Kathryn’s words.  He hugged the two of them close to him not caring about protocol just wanting to give comfort to the two of them.

‘Let’s take her to my quarters,’ Kathryn suggested and Chakotay nodded agreement.  ‘Tuvok you have the bridge.’

Entering the room Kathryn headed straight for the couch and sat with the little girl still holding her tight.  Chakotay moved to the replicator to get drinks for them and sat on the couch beside Kathryn.

‘Hey little one would you like some juice,’ Chakotay asked.

Sitting up she nodded her head and took the offered juice.  After she had taken a drink he took the glass back off her and sat it on the table.  Turning back to them he reached out and wiped her tears away.  ‘Do you feel better now?’

‘Yes,’ came her quiet answer, her voice almost music like in it’s tone.

Turning to Kathryn he wiped her tears away.  ‘Now no more tears you two or you will have me crying.’  He teased them and they laughed.  ‘That’s better I like to see my girls smiling.’

The tears had stopped but they had exhausted the little girl so she dozed off.  After a little bit Chakotay picked her up and placed her on the couch, grabbing a blanket Kathryn kept on the back of the couch he placed it over her.  Taking Kathryn’s hand he led her over to her dining table and sat her down taking a chair beside her.

‘Kathryn I think we need to talk,’ he said gently.

‘I know, I’m sorry for saying what I did to her without asking.  I just wanted to calm her down and I know I had no right but,’ she said when he placed his fingers on her lips to quite her.

‘Kathryn I don’t mind, she needs a Mom and Dad and it seems she has chosen us.  I am happy with that she is great and to be honest I don’t think I could live without her now.  The question is how do we share her because it’s obvious that she needs both of us.’  Chakotay finished as he brushed her tears away.

‘Well we could open the wall between our quarters and that way she can have access to either one of us at anytime.’  Kathryn suggested.

‘Okay that would work but she will need her own bedroom,’ Chakotay said.

‘Well for now she can sleep with me, I think she needs to feel us close.  We can work out arrangements for a bedroom later.  If you want we can have a door installed that way if you meet someone you can have privacy.’  Kathryn said not looking at him as she spoke afraid he would see the fear that he may meet someone.

‘A door is not needed I don’t plan on meeting anyone,’ he stated firmly.  ‘I have everything I want right here, unless you think you might meet someone.’

‘No I have everything I need right here also,’ Kathryn said as she took his hand.  They sat staring at each other until a little voice broke into their silent communication.

‘Mommy, Daddy,’ was called and the two at the table turned to the couch.

‘Yes little one, we are right here.’  Kathryn told her as she moved to her.  ‘You know we are going to have to name her.’  She said as she turned to Chakotay as they walked toward the couch.

‘I have an idea about that,’ Chakotay said as he smiled at them.

One month later

Chakotay entered the holodeck to find the party in full swing.  He had taken the evening shift so Kathryn would enjoy the party and Tuvok had relieved him early stating that he had had his fill of the party.

‘Big guy,’ Tom Paris called out as he entered.

Chakotay moved over to the young pilot.  ‘Tom it looks as if your party is a success/’

‘Was there any doubt,’ Tom laughed and Chakotay joined him.  ‘Your two ladies are enjoying themselves.’  He pointed across the resort setting to Kathryn sitting with B’Elanna and the little girl they had found on a planet far behind.  Kathryn was laughing at something B’Elanna had said as she held the little girl.

‘It amazing how much they look alike,’ Tom commented to Chakotay.

‘Yes it is,’ the older man agreed.

‘The Captain seems to be so more relaxed these days,’ the younger man said.

‘Yes the little one has brought her some peace,’ Voyager’s First Officer said.

‘Not just the little one Chakotay,’ Tom stated simply.  ‘She has been watching the door for you since she arrived.’

‘Daddy,’ came the shout as the little girl saw him and ran over to greet him.

Scooping her up to give her a hug and a loud kiss that caused her to giggle he asked.  ‘How is my Katie?’

‘Fine,’ she answered simply.

‘Tell me that smile is because of this little person,’ Tom indicated with his head the direction that Katie had come from.  Chakotay looked over to see Kathryn watching him with the most breath-taking smile.  ‘I’d say that is all for you big guy, Katie why don’t we show Daddy what you learned in the pool today.’

‘Okay,’ she squealed as Tom headed for the pool.  ‘Watch,’ she instructed Chakotay.

Chakotay stood and watched as Katie and Tom headed for the pool.

‘How was your shift,’ came the question from beside him.

Looking down at Kathryn’s smiling face he answered before looking back at the pool.  ‘It was to quite without you there, Tuvok seemed happy to relieve me early though.’

‘Katie had him playing in the pool,’ Kathryn laughed at Chakotay’s shocked expression.  ‘You know he can’t say no to her.’

‘Should I be worried about what Tom has taught her,’ Chakotay asked as he looked back at the pool.

‘No Tom knows better then to do anything that might hurt the Captain’s daughter,’ Kathryn said seriously.

‘What about the Commander’s daughter,’ Chakotay asked with a pout.

‘He’s not as scared of you as he is of Kathryn, sorry Old Man,’ B’Elanna said as she walked up beside him.

‘Daddy watch,’ called his daughter from the side of the pool.

Chakotay looked back as she jumped into Tom’s waiting arms.  ‘Besides he has a soft spot for her,’ commented B’Elanna.  ‘I’ll go keep an eye on them while you two talk.’

‘Had a good time while I worked hard on the bridge,’ Chakotay tried a little guilt.

‘Yes I had a great time, your daughter kept me busy,’ Kathryn said with an arched brow.

‘What happened to her being the Captain’s daughter,’ Chakotay asked.

‘When she runs me ragged she’s your daughter,’ Kathryn teased.

‘You look pretty good for someone who has been run ragged,’ Chakotay smiled at her.

‘Thank you,’ she blushed at his comment.  ‘Tom and B’Elanna have offered to take Katie for the night.’

‘How does she feel about this?’  Chakotay asked knowing how his daughter felt about being away from them.

‘She’s very excited about it, she loves Lanna and Tom.’  Kathryn said.  ‘I hope you don’t mind that I said yes.’

‘No I don’t mind it will be a nice break,’ Chakotay said as Katie ran toward them.

‘Daddy,’ she said excited.  ‘See what I did?’

‘Yes Katie and you did it very well,’ Chakotay praised the child.

‘Did you ask,’ Katie looked at her mother?

‘Yes little one I asked and Daddy said fine,’ Kathryn told her as she wrapped a towel around her.

‘I’ll miss having you there,’ Chakotay told his daughter.

Putting her hands on her hips she shook her head at her father.  ‘You can hug Mommy.’

Tom and B’Elanna chuckled behind Katie as she talked to her father.  ‘Now where do you think she learned that move,’ Tom whispered to B’Elanna.

‘Do you have something to say Mr. Paris?’  Kathryn demanded with her hands on her hips.

‘Nothing you’ve just proven my point,’ Tom said innocently.

Kathryn started to head for Tom but Chakotay grabbed her before she could get in striking distance.

‘How about we go to our quarters and get Katie’s things together?’  The big man suggested while he still held her.

‘Okay,’ she answered him and then turning back to her pilot.  ‘I will have my revenge when you least expect it.’

Tom visibly swallowed the lump in his throat as the trio left the resort.

‘Lanna why don’t you stop by when your ready,’ Kathryn suggested.

‘How about if we stop by in a half hour to get her, okay Katie,’ B’Elanna suggested.

‘Okay Lanna,’ the little girl called as she rode out on Chakotay’s shoulders.

Hours later found Kathryn restlessly sleeping; giving up she got up and moved to the living room to try reading a book.  She had just sat down when a head appeared in the doorway.

‘Can’t sleep,’ Chakotay asked.

‘No, you can’t either,’ Kathryn asked.

‘No I was going to have a cup of tea would you like to join me?’  He asked with the dimples appearing.

‘Sure I would love a cup,’ she answered as she rose from the chair leaving the book behind.

As he sat down he placed a tea in front of Kathryn and sat with his.

‘It’s amazing after only a month I can’t handle the quiet,’ Kathryn laughed.

‘I know what you mean, I kept reaching out for the both of you,’ Chakotay admitted a little embarrassed.  ‘Kathryn can I ask you a question?’

‘Of course you can,’ she said surprised at the nervous sound to his voice.

‘I know this whole situation was thrown at you but I was wondering how you felt about having Katie here with us,’ Chakotay asked as he looked down at his hands.

‘Yes it was a shock to become an instant mother but I am enjoying it.  I use to stay in my office doing reports just so I didn’t have to come back to my empty quarters.’  She smiled as he slowly looked up  ‘Now I can’t wait to finish my shift to get home.’

‘I’m glad, Tom had mentioned to me that he thought you were more relaxed since Katie came on board.  I know having me around most of the time must be annoying and I want you to tell me if you want me out of your rooms.’  Chakotay said as he looked at her hoping she wouldn’t want her privacy back.

‘Katie isn’t the only reason that I hurry home,’ Kathryn said as she looked at him.  ‘Chakotay I enjoy your company too.’  She looked down at her cup of tea in her hands.  ‘I know your feelings for me have probably changed but I want to tell you that I love you.  I don’t expect you to feel the same but I just wanted to …’

She stopped talking as his hand slipped under her chin to pull her face up.  ‘I love you too,’ was his simple confession.

‘Really,’ she asked amazed.

‘Really,’ he confirmed for her.  ‘The reason this past month has meant so much has been because you and I have been spending time together with Katie.  It has meant the world to me if I died tomorrow I would have no regrets.’  He smiled and Kathryn could tell he wanted to say more but was afraid.

‘What,’ she urged him on.

‘I would have one regret,’ he said but wasn’t sure if he should go on until he looked at her and she was saying with her look to continue.  ‘I would regret that we never made love,’ he said quickly not looking at her afraid he had gone to far.

Kathryn stood and his heart sank as he realized that he had gone to far.  He wondered how they would share Katie and make her understand that Kathryn didn’t want anything to do with him.  She stood and he felt his world crash around him until a hand appeared in his vision.  He looked up to find her smiling and reached up to grasp her hand.

‘Let’s not have any more regrets,’ she said as she pulled him to his feet.  Walking toward his bedroom she smiled up at him.  ‘I think it’s time we become a real family but I think we will have to work on Katie sleeping in her own bed.’

Chakotay couldn’t speak he just kept nodding his head.

Katie entered Chakotay’s quarters the next morning after her sleepover.  Tom was bringing her back as B’Elanna had to go to engineering regarding a problem.

‘Daddy,’ Katie called as she moved to Chakotay’s bedroom.  They found his bed messed up but no Chakotay.

‘Why don’t you check the bathroom,’ Tom suggested and the little girl ran to check the room.  Voyager’s helmsman took in the bedroom and noticed Chakotay’s clothes dropped all over.  Bending over he picked them up to discover a few items that definitely did not belong to Chakotay.  Tom thought this was interesting and wondered what else he might find.

‘Daddy’s not there,’ Katie said and Tom could see the tears starting to form.  She had gotten better about being away from Chakotay and Kathryn but when she wanted to see them it was best to find them.

‘Let’s go check and see if Mommy knows where he is,’ Tom suggested and the little girl brightened with the idea.  Moving through Chakotay’s living room to Kathryn’s they did not find the Captain but Tom noticed a few articles of clothing across the floor.  Katie headed for the bedroom with Tom trailing her.

Katie’s excited shout of ‘Daddy’ had Tom moving to the door where he froze at the picture in front of him.  He had found Chakotay but he had also found the Captain.  Chakotay was lying on his back in the Captain’s bed with the sheets bunched around his waist.  Tom could handle that sight but it was what was draped over Voyager’s First Officer that had him frozen in the doorway.  Kathryn Janeway lay on the man she chose as second in command naked from the waist down.  At least he assumed she was naked because all he could see was her back from the waist up.

“ Oh God “ can I sink into the floor or the bulkhead Tom thought.

‘Daddy,’ Katie yelled again.

‘Hey little one, how did you get home?’  Chakotay asked as he turned to look at her.

‘Uncle Tom,’ she said simply as she pointed to the frozen man.

Chakotay looked over to see the young man frozen in the doorway.  ‘Kathryn time to wake up, someone’s home and she brought company.’

Lifting her head she smiled at Chakotay and then turned to Katie.  ‘Hi sweetheart, you’re home.’

‘Mommy,’ the little girl said as she climbed up on the bed.

‘We have company Kathryn,’ Chakotay said indicating the direction of the visitor with his head.  Kathryn started to turn but stopped deciding to just look over her shoulder at a stunned Tom Paris.

‘Good morning Mr. Paris,’ Kathryn smiled at him sweetly.

‘Ah, hi Captain why don’t I take Katie to the mess hall for breakfast and you can met us there.’  Tom suggested as he stared above her head.

‘Fine,’ Kathryn said as she turned to her daughter.  ‘Why don’t you go with Tom and keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn’t get in trouble.  Daddy and I will be along shortly.’

‘Okay Mommy,’ the little girl hugged her and then turned back to her father.  ‘Needed a Mommy hug?’  She asked smiling at Chakotay.

‘Yes,’ he answered his daughter, as he looked sideways at the woman draped over his chest.

‘Good hugs,’ his daughter commented.

‘She gives the best hugs,’ Chakotay confirmed as Tom tried to suppress a strangled groan.

‘Problem Mr. Paris,’ Kathryn asked.

‘No ma’am,’ he said then regretted it.  ‘Come on Katie before I die from embarrassment or possibly the death glare.’

The little girl jumped down from the bed and ran to Tom.  ‘You’re silly,’ she told him as he scooped her up and ran from the quarters.

‘Kathryn you are amazing, you’re lying in bed naked with your First Officer and you can still manage to intimidate Tom Paris.’  He laughed as he flipped them so she was underneath him.  ‘God I love you.’

‘I love you too,’ she chuckled.  ‘I’m the Captain I have to be able to intimidate no matter how I look.  Does it work on you?’  She asked with a sultry voice.

‘Your appearance is working but it doesn’t have the same effect on me as it did on Tom.’  He said as he descended on her lips.

A week later Kathryn was sitting on a lounge chair at Tom’s favorite resort with B’Elanna.  Katie was playing with Naomi in the shallow end of the pool.  Chakotay and Tom entered the area; they planned on joining the ladies for lunch.  Katie and Naomi ran to greet the men who tossed the girls in the air filling the resort with shrieks and giggles.

Placing them back on the ground they talked to the girls quietly.  Katie moved over to the ladies with Naomi trailing behind her.

‘Mommy,’ said the little girl.

‘Yes sweetie,’ Kathryn smiled at the two girls who looked like they were up to something and Kathryn wondered what the men had put them up to.

‘Here,’ she said as she handed Kathryn a small box.

‘What’s this?’  Kathryn asked looking to Chakotay but receiving no answers.

Katie turned to Chakotay for a moment and receiving a nod she turned back to the woman in front of her.

‘A present,’ Katie said with a giggle that Naomi echoed.

‘What’s the occasion?’  Her mother asked puzzled.

‘Marry us,’ Katie said excitedly as Kathryn opened the box to discover a ring inside.

Looking at her daughter and then at the man standing behind the girls she was stunned.

‘Naomi I think I need the Captain’s Assistant to help me with the decision,’ Kathryn smiled as Chakotay squirmed.  Naomi moved forward excited to be asked to help with the decision.  ‘Do you think I should marry him?’

‘Yes,’ came the child’s quick answer.

‘Can you tell me why,’ Kathryn asked as B’Elanna groaned.

‘Well he’s funny, caring and tells good stories,’ she explained.  Leaning forward she whispered to Kathryn as B’Elanna laughed.  ‘He’s good looking,’

‘Anything else,’ Kathryn asked the young girl.

‘The most important reason, he loves you and Katie very much.’  Naomi said seriously.

‘Those are all very good points,’ Kathryn said thoughtfully.

‘Kathryn quit torturing the man,’ B’Elanna admonished the older woman.

‘B’Elanna I’m just having a little fun,’ the Captain pouted.

‘Yeah well I will have to listen to him for the rest of the trip if the answer is no.’ B’Elanna accused.

‘Fine, Katie come here.’ and when the little girl moved forward Kathryn whispered in her ear and then turned the girl in the direction of her father.  ‘Go tell him my answer.’

The little girl ran across the area to her father shouting, ‘she said yes.’

Picking up his daughter he made his way over to Kathryn, his smile nearly cracking his face.

‘Yes,’ he asked her to confirm.

‘Yes,’ she answered as he swept her up into his embrace as the group watched the happy family.

The End
Chapter End Notes:
The characters don't belong to me but CBS Paramount but the story is all mine.
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