Disclaimer – Everything belongs to someone else. I don't make a cent. Only my dreams and imagination are mine, and they are Priceless.
Thank you to -- Bookworm2007 for your wonderful Beta. To Belanna for you picture that captures the scene so perfectly and to all my fellow Vambies. (Only the Vambie viewers will be able to see the picture, sorry no link on ffn
belannfaketrek dot com (slash) WebpageNEW (slash)[/img]
Rating – K+ or PG
Spoilers – none, the show is over
A/N – For Vambie's 5th's Birthday Challenge. I know this is very late, but I just had to use it.
This is also for Mother's Day 2009 to my Mom. I love you.
"It happened five minutes after the lights went out." Tom Paris' voice echoed through the old farm house where Admiral Janeway was sitting in a quiet room in a rocking chair. Tom was in his element reliving every bit of Delta quadrant gossip. She smiled at the memory that the story brought to mind. This party had been a good idea after all she admitted to herself. She was reluctant at first to have another after the heartaches of some of the previous reunions.
The first reunion had happened although they had barely had time to recover after the five long months of debriefing and then the five months of trials to determine if anyone should pay for their crimes before and during the seven year mission. She remembered the double pain of having to watch Chakotay be on trial and not be able to do more than briefly tell him that she was there for him. Seven had seen to that. She had been so possessive of him that she demanded to sit together with his lawyers. The lawyers had denied Seven of course stating that she and Chakotay were not even engaged. Still Seven made it clear that no one else was allowed near him. That was until B'Elanna took her aside one afternoon and made it abundantly clear that she would be allowed to be there for Chakotay and so would anyone else that wanted to support him in more than sitting in the courtroom. After that Seven had reluctantly allowed most of the crew to 'invade the precious few minutes of time she had with him' as she had put it. Kathryn couldn't really blame her completely; she had just wished the roles had been reversed. Chakotay had been blissfully unaware of Seven's complete possessiveness' since he had been in Star Fleet's court detention center since the beginning of the debriefings. That was a memory she was not going to relive this sunny day.
"Bless B'Elanna's Klingon spirit." Kathryn said softly to herself as she checked on her five charges sleeping in the darkened room.
"Five minutes to self destruct." Again Tom's voice had loudly come through the window of the room as he continued to tell another tale.
Kathryn opened the curtains and fiercely whispered at her former Lt. who was still standing under the window, "If you wake up your twins you are coming up here to rock them both back to sleep!"
"I'm sorry," Tom softly answered, "We were just heading to the tables anyway. Your sister said to tell you the food will be ready soon and that you've already been up there for five hours."
"I have not been up here for five hours." Kathryn argued smiling, "And I can't help it if my latest namesake is so cute sleeping Mike."
"Thank you Kathryn." Michael Ayala said looking up at the window.
"What about Chakotay's Godson?" Harry Kim asked from the small group.
"Well your son is very handsome Harry." Harry blushed at the compliment.
"Now shoo all of you before you wake them all up." Kathryn admonished the group of now gloating father's. She turned around again to check and make sure the five tiniest members of the Voyager family were still sleeping soundly, Kathryn again slipped back into thoughts of the first reunion.
Chakotay and Seven had shown up arm-in-arm at that first anniversary party here at her home. She gasped as the pain still surfaced in her heart, the pain of knowing that it was all her fault, hers and her older counterpart's fault. She could only blame herself for pushing him away for all of those years and then doing nothing when she found out about him dating her young protégé. That day at the first reunion had been awkward to say the best. Seven had again slipped into an overprotective mode. It had been asked laughingly more than once if Seven even allowed him to go the bathroom by himself anymore. Of course she had, and that is what eventually led to Seven's downfall.
Kathryn gently picked up the very latest addition to ever growing community and relaxed into the handmade rocker. Her thoughts still drifted back as she mindlessly hummed to the tiny infant.
Kathryn had been trying to change a very wiggly one year old Mirial in the bathroom when Chakotay had opened the door that day.
"Do you need help?" Chakotay had asked.
"Could you hand me that diaper please. I can't reach it and keep her on the changing cabinet."
"Here" He said trying to distract the feisty baby. The silence between the former command team was too profound to stand otherwise.
"How have you two been?" Kathryn finally managed to ask when the diaper was securely on her Goddaughter.
"Are you going to take the position the university is offering you?"
"Annika hasn't decided yet."
Kathryn winced at everything about that sentence. Finally frustrated enough at both Mirial's baby sleeping suit and Annika's infantile behavior she growled and then turned to address Chakotay, "When are Yougoing to start thinking for yourself again? You have let that overgrown Barbie doll run your life for so long people are starting to laugh at you. Whatever happened to the first officer who helped conquer the delta quadrant?" Further infuriated at his lack of response Kathryn plowed ahead and said, "What happened to that Maquis that beamed on board my ship with his guns ready to blaze? What happened to the Angry Warrior?" Then she softened and placed her hand on his chest in an all too familiar position, "What happened to MyAngry Warrior?"
That finally broke the silent man's reserve and he took her in his arms and held her tightly. Silent tears began to fall between the two while the little baby looked on quietly somehow sensing the importance of the moment. Just then the laughingly possible happened as Seven opened the bathroom door and started to say, "I wondered if you needed any…"
Quickly turning away from the embrace Kathryn began to fasten the sleeper.
"Explain yourselves." The former drone said as she turned the shade of a ripe radish.
"We, um, Kathryn was just…"Chakotay had begun to pull on his ear.
"Captain, explain yourself."
"That's Admiral now Seven."
"That's Annika now Kathryn. Explain why you were embracing my future husband."
"You are engaged!" Kathryn directed at the other two.
"Not that I knew." He answered to both women.
"Nonsense," answered Seven, "You yourself told me Chakotay and I were to be married."
"When was this?" the former command team asked at the same time.
"When your older self came back on Voyager. She told me that Chakotay and I were going to be married. Now explain your prior actions."
"I do not have to explain anything to you Annika," the other woman growled, "And furthermore did that Admiral happen to mention that you died in that timeline?"
"Yes she did, but now measures can be taken to insure that occurrence does not happen. I have carefully planned our future so that I will not be any situation of the Admiral's mentioning."
"You've done what?" Chakotay tried to ask but was interrupted by a fuming admiral.
"Did you ever consider that once we broke her timeline that other things would change also?" Kathryn practically yelled in the young woman's face.
The tall, dark, now angry man whom had been listening to this exchange as calmly as possible now turned on the tall blonde woman and oh so softly growled, "What do you mean by all of this?
"Don't worry about anything dear. I have taken care of everything since we have returned home. I will not let anyone come between us, especially her."
Kathryn picked up the small child hoping that she would not have to witness the bloodshed that the now twitching jaw of Chakotay seemed to be foretelling.
"Kathryn is the least of your worries right now. I wish I could say I don't believe that you would do something like this, but come to think about it, all you Borg ever thought about was yourselves."
"I am no longer Borg. I am a human being."
"Then why can't you show some human feelings?" Chakotay was still growling out his words. With a sudden realization he raised his voice and said, "Now everything makes sense. Are You why almost no one visited me while I was in detention?"
The young woman looked him in the eyes while tears streamed down her face, "Yes. I am. I had to make sure that no one else could take you away from me, especially her."
"Seven that is the last time you are to refer to Kathryn as 'her'. Kathryn has been not only my friend, but my rock for the last seven years and to think that you even tried to keep her away from me," Chakotay paused in his speech long enough to get right in his former girlfriends face, "I don't care if I ever see you again. I do not belong to you and I have been a fool long enough now to see how manipulative you truly can be. Come to think of it, you are being human, a very sick human whom I never want to have anything to with ever again."
Annika quickly turned away and ran out of the bathroom. The only sound that could be heard was as she slammed the front door shut behind her. Kathryn laid the baby down on the changing table again now sure that there wouldn't be any Borg bloodshed. When she turned around again Chakotay still stared at the open door and slightly shook and clenched his jaw. He jumped when she softly placed her hand on his arm.
"Kathryn I need some time. If she was able to take me in so easily I really need to find myself again. I love you and I have never stopped loving you. I just need to figure myself out. Can you understand?"
"Yes I can, and I love you too. I have always loved you. I will wait forever for you."
"You won't have to wait forever my love, but give me some time. Okay?"
"Can I kiss you one time before you go away?" Kathryn asked hesitantly.
"You bet you can." He took her in his arms and stared into her eyes. Then he slowly lowered his head until his lips almost touch hers, he waited for any resistance. Instead she pressed her lips to his as they shared their first passion filled kiss.
As Seven had run out of the house she had almost plowed into B'Elanna who had been coming in to check on her daughter.
"What was all that about?" B'Elanna asked, reaching the top of the stairs.
"Nothing, just correcting a situation that had gone on long enough." Chakotay answered, turned away from Kathryn who was picking up Mirial. They had heard the footsteps soon enough to finish their kiss.
Surprisingly the rest of the party had gone on without anyone questioning why the former drone had flown away in her shuttle in such a fit. B'Elanna had had her suspicions but didn't want to push the new couple if that is what had happened, finally.
The second reunion had been much smaller than the first. For Kathryn it was not as happy as she would have wanted it to be. Earlier in the year the Enterprise E had been heavily damaged and her childhood friend Data had given his life to save his captain and crew.
Although all her former crew had recorded messages for everyone if they could not be there, her heart still ached at not having her full crew with her. The Doctor had brought a message from Jupiter station where he and Seven were working on improving holotechnology. Seven had chosen not to attend the reunion. Harry Kim sent word from his new posting as security chief aboard the Fleet's chief medical ship. Several other members of the crew had new postings that kept had them from coming, but all sent messages to the group. They passed the pads around all afternoon.
Tuvok's absence was felt keenly by Kathryn as he had disappeared in Romulan space on the Titan with its Captain Wil Riker and his wife Deanna. Kathryn knew and liked both Captain Riker, whom she had known since Academy days, and Counselor Deanna, who had helped her and so many of her crew adjust to Alpha Quadrant life.
The most viewed and most prized message for Kathryn was from Chakotay. He had sent a video of the rebuilding processes he was helping to organize on his home world and other planets devastated by the war. No one else saw the private message that begged Kathryn to give him just a little more time to finish what he had started and then he would come to her.
The third anniversary was almost cancelled because of a tragic event. The painful blow to Kathryn had come right before the anniversary party. Her mother and niece were killed in a robbery attempt at a convenience store where they were buying sodas one afternoon. Only B'Elanna and Tom's constant support held Kathryn together until the couple could contact Chakotay. After five months of coaxing and courting, Chakotay managed to pull Kathryn from the pits of hell again. She still had nightmares that she would lose all she loved.
The fourth anniversary was Wonderful as Admiral Paris united Admiral Janeway and Chakotay in wedded bliss before most of the former crew and their families. Chakotay had decided to stay on Earth since that was where Kathryn felt most at peace. Kathryn had wanted to live in her mother's house because she said she felt closest to her recently deceased family. The house was also large enough to host the former Voyager crew who constantly stopped by to visit the now happily wedded couple.
In the year prior to the fifth anniversary nothing catastrophic had happened in Kathryn's life. In fact some amazing events had occurred, things that she thought would never happen in her life. That fact had the now retired Admiral very terrified about the prospects of sorrow for this party. She did not know if she could handle any more grieving in her life that had already been so painful. She knew she could not lose any more of her family.
"Hey Love," Kathryn almost jumped at the voice behind her, but then recognizing the voice of her beloved she relaxed before she woke the infant in her arms, "What have you been doing up here all afternoon? Are you feeling ok?"
"I'm fine sweetheart. I was just avoiding the hottest part of the day."
"Are you sure that you feel ok? I can get the doctor, he did come this year."
"I don't need him and you doting over me. I was taking it easy, as ordered."
"Phoebe said she would be up to watch over the little ones during the evening meal, so let's go down and eat ok?"
"I don't know if I can. I just don't want to leave her side yet."
"Love, you haven't been down to see anyone hardly since we made the introductions this morning. Everyone wants to see you." Chakotay looked toward the stairway, "If I go get Phoebe to come up right now will you come out for dinner?"
"Alright, I will. But hurry, I've smelled that grill all afternoon through the window."
"That's my girl." Chakotay gave her a quick kiss on the lips before running down the steps to find his sister -in-law.
Kathryn turned and laid the tiny bundle in her cradle and set the timer on the music mobile above the bed. The baby opened her dark brown eyes and looked at her mother.
"There, there my precious baby, Mommy has to go eat and Auntie will be here to watch you. Go back to sleep little Gretchen."
At the doorway Chakotay and Phoebe watched the mother and child.
"Do you think you have ever seen anything so beautiful?" Chakotay asked mesmerized at the sight of his wife and child.
"For what she has gone through to get to here, no I guess I haven't." Phoebe answered wiping a tear away, "You are really blessed Chakotay. You both are very blessed."