Thank you to Elem for the beta, I do appreciate the help and the input.
A Warm Love
Chakotay bent down, blew on his four-month-old daughter’s belly and then laughed at her gale of giggles. He kept the torture up until the little girl’s fingers curled around chunks of his hair and she began to pull.
Prizing her hands from his hair, he called a truce and just sat back to watch her investigate her toes.
A noise dragged his attention away from the toddler to the door where he found himself being watched by cool blue eyes. Surprised by her appearance, he rose from the floor and walked toward the former drone to greet her but stopped short when he saw her stiffen.
“Annika, when did you get back?” He asked not wanting to push anything.
“Two hours ago,” was her concise answer.
Nodding his head, “How was Vulcan?”
“Very challenging but successful,” the former Borg answered as the baby made her presence known.
Walking back to his daughter, Chakotay scooped her up and turned towards Annika with the wriggling child. He stopped just in front of the young woman and offered her the baby to hold.
Taking a step back, Seven declined with a brusque shake of her head.
“Annika,” Chakotay admonished, as he gently swayed with the baby. “You really have to start working on your human side. You can’t ignore children and people who want to greet you warmly.”
“Chakotay, I have no need for such emotional displays,” Seven explained in her no-nonsense way. A particular trait that had always irked Chakotay. “I merely stopped by to drop off this envelope.”
“Don’t you want to stay for a while?” he tried.
“No, I have to pick up some equipment at the Science Academy and then I am returning to Vulcan.”
“You left some things here too when you went to Vulcan,” Chakotay said stopping her departure. “Would you like to take them with you now?”
“No, just ship them,” and, without another word, she was gone.
Chakotay moved to the window to watch her walk down the street towards the Transport station and wondered again how he could have considered a relationship with her. Then he mentally kicked himself when he recalled how flattered he was by the attention. Seven was a beautiful woman but as he watched her precise stride, he acknowledged that it was a cold beauty.
Looking down at Emily, he smiled as the baby reached up to grab his nose. “Your mommy, on the other hand, is beautiful, warm and loving and I thank the spirits every day that she rescued me. And I thank Aunt B’Elanna for sending her to me.”
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
“Incoming transmission, Admiral,” Ensign Roberts informed her boss.
“Thank you, Ensign. Why don’t you call it a night? Go and relax; we have a few days before we’re back at HQ, there’s plenty of time to work on the reports.”
“Thank you, Admiral,” the young woman said, before quickly leaving the Admiral’s quarters in case she changed her mind.
Turning to the monitor, the Admiral activated the screen and a smile broke across her tired face as she saw her caller.
“B’Elanna, how are you?”
“Fine, Admiral; how are you?” The young woman replied but noted the exhaustion etched on her former captain’s face.
“I thought we agreed that you’d call me, Kathryn.”
“Okay, Kathryn,” B’Elanna corrected. “How are you and don’t ignore the question because I can tell by looking at you that you’re stressed?”
“Is this how you speak to an Admiral?” Kathryn asked as she tried to sound angry. “I thought the rank would make you nervous.”
“I once had a Captain - a very smart lady by the way - who told me never to let anyone intimidate me. That everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like me. So, no; this is how I talk to my friend, and I’d like an answer,” B’Elanna said firmly.
“Okay, I’m fine,” she started when B’Elanna snorted. “Just tired. It was an exhausting five weeks of talks with some very stubborn people.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” B’Elanna commiserated with her former boss. “So where are you off to next?”
“Earth, where I can hopefully catch up with everyone.”
“Great, I can’t wait to see you,” B’Elanna said enthusiastically. Over the years, they’d grown closer but since arriving on Earth with their once a month girls’ night outs and other social gatherings, they’d grown even closer.
“What’s wrong, Lanna?” Kathryn asked on alert to her friend’s unintentional signs.
“Nothing,” B’Elanna tried.
“Don’t try to lie to a liar,’ Kathryn goaded.
“Okay,” B’Elanna said taking a deep breath. “Chakotay left Earth three weeks ago, he went back to Trebus. Apparently, his home world is in really bad shape and when I talked to him the other day he seemed pretty depressed.”
“I’m sure Annika will help him,” Kathryn commented. The relationship between her former First Officer and the young woman whom she thought of as a daughter, still hurt.
“Seven’s on Vulcan,” B’Elanna said with ill-disguised venom. She’d never agreed with the relationship, especially since she always thought Chakotay and Kathryn would get together. “It seems that what she saw on Trebus didn’t appeal to her and wasn’t worth her time or effort. The fact that it was important to Chakotay didn’t matter to her.”
“How bad are conditions on the planet?” Kathryn asked.
“I wasn’t able to get much from him but what little he did say painted a terrible picture,” B’Elanna explained. “It seems the Federation has abandoned them again.”
“I’ll call you back shortly,” Kathryn snapped as B’Elanna watched the fatigue in the Admiral’s eyes disappear and the tiger emerge. She didn’t envy whomever her former Captain was calling.
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
An hour later B’Elanna received a call back from a very angry Kathryn Janeway, “I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with some of these so-called, Admirals. They gave me various excuses for their lack of action. I don’t have a very happy Captain here, but we are now on our way to Trebus so I can assess the situation. I call you once I’ve talked to Chakotay.”
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
Kathryn Janeway was not a happy camper. She’d asked to be beamed down to the outskirts of the main village but had ended up in the middle of the town square. The reaction was nearly riotous when the people saw the Starfleet uniform. A brazen few got close to invade her personal space but she refused to flinch.
However, just as a man was about to reach for her, a small woman stepped in front of the Admiral. He stepped back when he saw who Kathryn’s rescuer was.
“Back off! Kathryn Janeway is a friend of Chakotay’s and I’m sure he would be very upset if any harm came to her,” the woman said. “Now why don’t you move along and I’ll take the Admiral to see my brother.”
With that, she grabbed Kathryn’s arm and moved her away quickly, almost before the crowd realized she was gone.
“What were you thinking beaming down here without some form of security or at least alerting Chakotay?” Sekaya demanded as she dragged Kathryn down the road.
Soon out of harm’s way, Kathryn turned to her rescuer. “Thank you, Sekaya; although, I think I’m safe now, so you can loosen that vice-like grip.” She pointed to her wrist; it was starting to go numb.
“Sorry,” the young woman mumbled as she let go. “But honestly Kathryn, what were you thinking?”
“B’Elanna contacted me yesterday about conditions here,” the older woman explained as she shook her arm to get the blood flowing again. “I wanted to see how Chakotay was and if I could help in any way.”
“Beaming down to a better spot would have been a start,” Sekaya pointed out.
“Believe me, that was not the beam in point I ordered. There is a Captain – soon to be lieutenant - up there that has a lot of explaining to do,” Kathryn ground out as she stopped to look around.
The road that they were on was rough and dusty - barely different from the field it ran alongside. Off in the distance Kathryn could see some people working the parched ground.
Sekaya noticed Kathryn’s interest. “It has been a slow process to reclaim the soil for people returning to the planet. We have had three successful seasons of crops but desperately need an irrigation system. The Cardassians did a very efficient job of denaturing the soil,’ the young woman said coldly. “Chakotay was devastated when he returned and saw the planet. But that woman he brought with him was so cold. She told him that what we were doing was irrelevant. I haven’t seen my brother so angry in years and she looked at him as if she didn’t understand why he was upset. She was so remote and unfeeling.”
“Yes, Seven has that way about her,” Kathryn replied, angry at Seven’s insensitive comments.
They continued to walk until they arrived at the top of a hill that gave them a view down into a valley. It looked as though the residents had had a little more luck in restoring this area to its former glory. Wheat waved in the afternoon sun; the sight cheered Kathryn.
“This is one crop that has worked well and if the Borg woman had taken the time to look, she would have seen it.” After a few more moments, Sekaya turned and kept walking. “We have just a little farther to go to Chakotay’s cabin.”
A short time later, the duo turned off the road and moved through a small copse of trees to a large clearing. A cabin stood among the trees, shaded from the scorching afternoon sun.
“My home is just a little further down the road, so I will leave you here,” Sekaya told Kathryn. “I didn’t see him with the workers so he’s probably pottering around in his garden. He planted - what was it he called them? Oh yes, Talaxian tomatoes. Chakotay said that they are pretty hardy and he’ll have a crop in no time.”
Kathryn smiled as memories of her little garden patch came back to her.
“I’ll see you again soon,” Sekaya was saying unaware that Kathryn had become lost in recollections of New Earth.
“Thank you, Sekaya,” she replied as the younger woman continued through the woods.
Taking a deep breath Kathryn moved around to the back of the cabin thinking that would be where Chakotay’s garden would be. Sure enough, in a sunny spot near the back of the lot, there were several lush beds, but Chakotay was not there amongst them. Turning to scan the yard, she found him.
Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of him.
His back was to her and he was stripped to the waist. She watched, mesmerized as he washed in a tub, the water running in small rivulets down his golden back. He was leaner than he’d been on Voyager; the hard work had enhanced the muscles on his arms and back making him look like he did on New Earth.
His hair was longer too, and sprinkled with grey. Feeling her eyes on him, he turned and stilled.
“Kathryn,” he whispered as if she were a ghost.
“What are you doing here?”
“I heard a very dear friend needed help so I commandeered a ship to get to you,” was her honest reply.
Chakotay was frozen to the spot while he thought about what she’d said and then he was across the yard, wrapping her in his arms.
“I’ve missed you so much,” he said in his gentle voice.
“And I’ve missed you,” she answered.
Finally releasing her, Chakotay stepped back to look at her and noticed what he had done to her uniform.
“Oh, Kathryn, I’m sorry, your uniform’s soaked,” His dark eyes expressed his apology.
“It’s okay, it’s just a uniform,” Kathryn replied.
Taking her by the hand Chakotay said, “Let’s get you something dry to wear, you’ll be more comfortable.”
Kathryn didn’t even notice the wet jacket and could care less, but she was quite willing to wear one of his shirts.
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
A short time later, Kathryn curled up in the corner of the couch in Chakotay’s living room; in her hands a cup of freshly brewed coffee and her wet jacket replaced with one of his well-worn shirts.
Kathryn surveyed the room and liked what she saw. It wasn’t large but it was warm and inviting with touches of Chakotay sprinkled about the room. On one wall hung his medicine wheel, while on another hung a couple of his sand paintings. A blanket from Voyager was thrown over the back of the couch.
Chakotay sat down on the couch close to Kathryn with a mug of tea in his hand.
“B’Elanna called me,” Kathryn explained as she could see the question in his eyes. “and told me what she knew about the conditions here.”
“And probably happily mentioned that Seven walked away without a second thought,” Chakotay commented.
“No, she didn’t, but she did say that Seven dismissed your concerns about what was going on here,” Kathryn replied as she took a sip of coffee to hide the momentary pain she felt at the mention of the young woman.
“Honestly, I don’t mind that she’s gone; I’m kind of relieved,” the big man admitted as he looked at Kathryn sideways and saw her strained expression. “She was too much of a child, I was flattered but my heart wasn’t in it. My heart belonged elsewhere,” Chakotay explained as he turned to look at Kathryn fully. “I meant it when I said I missed you; I’ve thought of you every day.”
“You could have called,” Kathryn pointed out.
“I could have but I was too much of a coward,” Chakotay admitted.
“Afraid of me?” the small woman said shocked.
“Not afraid of you but of your response if I’d called to say,” Chakotay stopped as he took a deep breath before finally finding the courage to continue. “That I miss you terribly and more importantly, I love you. I was afraid you would laugh and tell me it was too late.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have laughed and I would have told you that it wasn’t too late because I love you too. Nothing could change that, not even a fling with a gorgeous blonde,” Kathryn told him.
“Yes, Kathryn, she is beautiful but you, my dear, have beauty, warmth and a giving heart,’ Chakotay truthfully informed her. “And Seven should have tried to emulate those traits.”
“Thank you,” Kathryn whispered as she looked down into her coffee mug.
She lifted her chin and he smiled as he moved in closer. “You don’t need to thank me for being honest,” Chakotay closed the gap between them to give her a gentle kiss before pulling her into a hug.
“Chakotay, as much as I would love to stay here, I have a starship on hold up there and a Captain to deal with,” Kathryn told him as she disengaged from him. “Actually, why don’t you come up to the ship? You can give me more of an idea of what is needed and watch me terrorize a Captain,” she said with an evil grin.
“Kathryn, what did he do to you that you want to torture him?” Chakotay asked.
She explained about the change in her beam down coordinates.
“What?!” Chakotay roared. “Is this guy an idiot?”
“No, I think it was retribution for the change of orders to bring me here,” Kathryn explained as she stood.
Holding her hand out to him, she pulled Chakotay to his feet. Releasing his hand, she grabbed her wet jacket as she slapped her combadge. “Janeway to the Pacific, I’m ready for transport and there is an additional person to beam up.”
Materializing in the Transporter room Janeway moved over to console and smiled at the technician.
“Ensign, may I see the transporter logs?” Kathryn asked in a casual voice.
“Of course, ma’am,” the young man said nervously.
Chakotay smiled at the unknowing slip that the new Ensign made. Not many knew that Kathryn couldn’t stand being addressed as ‘ma’am’.
“Thank you, Ensign, you’re doing a great job,” Janeway said before sweeping out of the room followed by Chakotay.
“Thank you, Admiral,” he replied.
A short time later Janeway entered her quarters with Chakotay. He stopped inside the door and whistled at the surroundings.
“Wow, it pays to be an Admiral,” he said as he took in the large living room.
Kathryn had moved through the living area to the next room and Chakotay followed to discover a generous sized office.
Sitting at her desk, Janeway tapped the console and Bajoran appeared on the screen.
“Lieutenant, could you please contact Starfleet and see if Admiral Baxter is available to speak to me and if so, feed the call to my quarters,” she ordered.
“Of course, Admiral,” was the reply before the screen returned to the Starfleet insignia.
Kathryn had time to offer Chakotay something to drink, which he accepted. He offered to make something for them to eat before her monitor beeped to announce the incoming call.
“Kathryn, how are you,” Admiral Baxter asked as he relaxed back into his chair.
Baxter had been with Fleet for years. He’d been a friend of Kathryn’s father and was devastated when Edward Janeway perished in the accident on Terra Nova - the same accident that had claimed the life of Kathryn’s fiancé and left her grievously injured.
“Fine, thank you, Thomas,” Janeway replied. “Admiral Payne told me to contact you about the situation on Trebus.”
“Yes, Scott got me up to speed before he left for his vacation,” the older man explained.
“I want to see if Chakotay can arrange a meeting with the elders so I can get a more detailed idea of what needs to be done but from my first look they definitely need an irrigation system.” Kathryn explained. “Also, I’d like to keep the Pacific here. Other than the ship’s scheduled trip to McKinley Station, do you know if it is needed anywhere else?”
“Just a minute and I’ll check,” Admiral Baxter said as he called for his assistant. He explained what he needed then turned back to Kathryn. “I have been pushing for the last year for a tour of the planets within the old DMZ to see if they are in need but others are overruling my concerns.”
A voice came in from the distance on Baxter’s end that Kathryn couldn’t hear but he smiled as he looked back at Voyager’s former Captain. “My assistant says that apart from the maintenance work - that he has now rescheduled - the ship and the crew are at your disposal for the next month.”
“Oh, that should go over well with Captain Stewart,” Kathryn mumbled but Baxter heard the comment.
“What’s wrong, Kathryn?” Baxter asked, pretty sure he already knew what was going on.
“Nothing I can’t handle, sir. Stewart seems to have a problem with me and has been making things a little difficult,” Kathryn explained. “But I’ll deal with him.”
“Captain Stewart is old school and thinks you should pay your dues for years before being promoted to the Admiralty. He just isn’t seeing the big picture and the fact that you did pay your dues - and more - for seven years in the Delta quadrant. Deal with him however you see fit and if push comes to shove, you can send him home on a shuttle and take command of the ship.”
“That’s good to know, although I’d prefer not to go that route, but thank you, Thomas. I’ll call you soon and bring you up to date after I speak to the elders.” Kathryn informed before ending the call after a few final pleasantries.
Chakotay poked his head into the room and asked with a look if the call was finished.
“All done and I have been given permission to speak to the elders on behalf of Fleet to see what we can do to help,” Kathryn explained as she rose from the desk.
Entering her living room, she found the dining table set with dishes, candles and flowers.
“Oh, Chakotay this is beautiful but you didn’t have to go to all this trouble,” Kathryn told him as she bent over the flowers to inhale the scent of the roses.
“No, I didn’t but I wanted to because I could, and to see that smile of yours makes it all worth it,” Chakotay informed her while he pulled her into his arms. “And besides, I can tell you haven’t been eating that well. So, my lady, please have a seat,” he instructed as he walked her over to her chair.
After dinner, they sat on the couch and the conversation moved to the needs of the planet and potential means of assistance. After five hours, Chakotay said he needed to return to the planet to arrange the meeting. Kathryn walked him to the door and they said goodnight with a sweet kiss that promised more. They had an unspoken agreement that once Trebus was dealt with, they would explore what was between them.
“I’ll call you once I have talked to the elders,” Chakotay promised as left.
“Okay and I’ll deal with a certain captain,” Kathryn said and Chakotay could see the wheels turning.
“Promise you won’t hurt him too much,” he said as he bent for another kiss.
“Promise,” Kathryn answered before the door closed.
Before heading to bed Janeway sent a message to Captain Stewart that she wished to see him in her quarters at 0800 the next morning. Once the message was sent, she went to bed to dream about Chakotay.
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
The next morning Kathryn’s assistant escorted the Captain into her office.
“Good morning, Admiral,” he said stiffly.
“Good morning, Captain,” she replied before looking up to find him standing at parade rest. “Have a seat, please,” Janeway indicated the chair in front of her desk.
Stewart hesitated before finally taking a seat.
“I spoke with Headquarters yesterday about the situation here and I have been asked to see what we can do,” Kathryn started and could see Stewart tense. “The maintenance for the ship has been rescheduled for next month and the Pacific will stay in orbit as my base of operations while we oversee the situation.”
“Fine,” the Captain ground out. “Admiral,” was added as an afterthought.
Kathryn looked at him steadily as she continued. “If you would rather not be here Captain, you can leave for Earth.”
Janeway watched as he started to speak but then he thought about what she had said and stopped himself.
She continued. “I’m more than capable of commanding this ship if necessary, but I would rather not have to resort to that. But I want to inform you that, for the record, I will not tolerate any more insubordination or misinterpretation – intentional or otherwise - of my direct orders. The Cardassians decimated this planet and you have an experienced and innovative group of scientists on this ship – you included – who can be of great help to the inhabitants of Trebus. I was most impressed by your atmospheric and soil rejuvenation techniques on Bakath V when the planet’s meso and thermosphere were poisoned by their enemies.”
His rigid posture was beginning to relax, so Janeway continued.
“I would like you to accompany me to the surface this afternoon, see the situation firsthand and then give me your thoughts on it.”
Stewart sat for a moment and Kathryn saw the last of the anger and stiffness leave him and he nodded enthusiastically.
“Thank you, Admiral I would be happy to help.”
Kathryn was relieved to hear the disdain had left his voice.
Later that day, they beamed down to the surface and after meeting Chakotay, they were taken on a tour. The Elders were very receptive to their ideas and especially pleased when Captain Stewart came up with an idea that would restore the soil faster and allow for more planting of crops. An irrigation system was put in place with the help of both the Admiral and the ship’s engineers.
Three weeks later, the ship was on its way to Earth with an extra passenger. He didn’t require quarters as the Admiral kindly offered to share hers with the person in question. And a month after they arrived on Earth they were married.
------------- ^ ^ ^ ----------
“Hello,” was called from deeper inside the house.
“And speaking of mommy,” Chakotay commented to his daughter as the woman in question swept into the room.
“How are my two favourite people?”
“Better now that you’re home,” Chakotay commented as he hugged her.
“I missed you too,” Kathryn confirmed as she looked up into her husband’s face. “So, what are we looking at out here,” she asked as she disengaged Emily’s small fingers from her hair.
“Just watching Seven walk away,” Chakotay said, before regretting the quick answer.
His wife might be a confident, strong Admiral but when it came to her former prodigy, she was still a little insecure. The expression of doubt came and went so quickly that if you weren’t watching you might miss it. But Chakotay recognized it.
“Seven was here?” Kathryn asked as she turned away from Chakotay with their daughter in her arms.
“Yes, she stopped by to deliver an envelope. I’m guessing it’s from Tuvok. I asked her to stay for a bit but she said she needed to get to the Science Academy to pick up some items before she returned to Vulcan.
“She missed out on seeing my beautiful wife,” Chakotay whispered in her ear as he slipped his arms around her waist and rested his head on her shoulder.
“You are a sweet talker,” she smiled as her momentary doubt disappeared.
“I only speak the truth my love,” Chakotay replied as he kissed her neck. “And to me you are the most beautiful woman on this or any other planet.”
“Thank you,” Kathryn answered with tears in her voice. She turned in his arms so Emily was between them. “And thank you for saving me.”
“I thought you saved me,” Chakotay laughed as he watched his daughter grab his wife’s nose.
“I think we saved each other,” Kathryn confirmed and Chakotay wholeheartedly agreed.