So this is a story I started work on several years ago but having lost my way with it, I have decided to re-write and then repost each chapter. There are at least ten more chapters that have been written but that just need proof-reading and editing so I will be posting at least once a week.

This story is set in the Star Trek The Next Generation Universe but also has characters popping up from the Star Trek Voyager Universe and is most definitely AU.

Whilst I appreciate constructive criticism, as I tell my students, we give feedback to help not to hinder, so no flames please.

I own nothing from any Star Trek genre obviously.

The noises of the wind and rain hid the whine of the transporter beam, as a young woman materialised on the front lawn of the Janeway homestead unnoticed by any who might be watching.

Stumbling against the strong wind that had suddenly started to push against her, the woman pulled her coat tighter around her slender frame and carefully made her way towards the warm glow emanating from the windows of the old-fashioned house.

Finally reaching the cover of the front porch, the woman wiped her sodden, red hair out of her eyes and pressed her hand insistently against the door chime.

"Coming,… coming," a voice called from within and within moments light flooded the porch and the door opened. "Now how can I help… Beverly?" The older woman cried in astonishment.

"Gretchen, I'm sorry, I know it's late, it's just I needed… and I didn't think… but I needed…" Beverly trailed off, her shoulders trembling and her eyes full of tears as she gazed at the older woman pleadingly.

"Oh sweetheart, come in, come in." Gretchen insisted, pulling Beverly gently but firmly into the warm hallway. Knowing how cold the younger woman must be, Gretchen quickly bustled her towards the living room. "Oh my dear, you're frozen solid, quickly let's get you near to the fire before you catch cold. Edward, we have company." She added as they entered the room where a gentleman was already sat near the roaring fire, his eyes fixed on the PADD that he held in his hands.

Looking up, Edward gasped in surprise as he saw his wife ushering in her waterlogged cousin. Jumping up, he quickly pushed his chair closer to the fire and gestured for Gretchen to seat her in it. Seeing this, Gretchen nodded approvingly and began pulling at Beverly's dripping coat, knowing that the only way to get the young woman warm again was to remove the wet clothing she still wore. However as she fought with the zipper, Beverly suddenly jerked away, wrapping her free arm tighter across her chest and curling her body into itself as though to protect herself.

Confused, Gretchen held up her hands in a calming gesture. "Beverly, sweetie, we have to get that coat off you. If we don't warm you up you'll fall ill. Trust us. We only want to help."

Slowly Beverly began to relax, the gentle tones of her cousin washing over and soothing her, and gradually she loosened the grip she had on her coat and allowed Gretchen to pull it off of her.

"Now that's better, now go and sit…down…" Gretchen trailed off in shock as she saw what had previously been concealed by Beverly's heavy coat.

Startled by the sudden light, the baby began shuffling restlessly in the sling that was strapped to Beverly's chest, delicate cries soon breaking the silence of the room. Instantly Beverly's attention was on the child and carefully lifting her out of the sling, she cuddled the child close, murmuring indistinct words to soothe the babe.

For a while, the child's gentle cries and Beverly's murmuring were all that could be heard as Edward and Gretchen continued to stare at the pair in shock.

Finally the child drifted off and Beverly raised her head to meet the questioning gaze of the couple in front of her.

"I'm sure you must have a lot of questions." She began, a touch of hesitance in her voice.

"Just a few." Edward quipped, a sparkle in his eye reassuring the young woman of their support. "Perhaps before we get into any serious conversations, we might beg a formal introduction to the little one?"

"Of course," Beverly replied, a flush now spreading across her cheeks as the warmth of the room seeped through her. Carefully she loosened the blanket that had protected her child from the weather, and eased her around so that they were able to see the delicate features that adorned the pale face. "This is Kathryn, my daughter and we have a big favour to ask of you."

Nearly twenty years later…

"Our top story tonight, it has been revealed that Vice Admiral Edward Janeway, his pilot and daughter have been in a shuttlecraft accident just outside of the San Francisco area. The Vice Admiral and pilot were killed on impact but it is believed that his daughter has survived, though her condition is not known at this time.

More information…"

Staring at the screen in horror, Dr. Beverly Howard wondered for a moment if her nightmares had become hallucinations, for surely that was the only explanation for what she was now seeing on the screen in front of her. However as the seemingly unaffected announcer continued to share details of the shuttle's crash and it's occupants, showing devastating images of the burnt out craft, Beverly was forced to consider the truth of what she was seeing and feeling her legs wobble, collapsed on the chair nearest to her.

"We're now getting reports that Kathryn Janeway has been transferred to Starfleet Medical for treatment."

Lifting her head at the news, Beverly launched herself out of the chair and headed for the door, grabbing her coat and ignoring the voices still coming from the monitor.

Strolling through the corridors which had seemed so warm and welcoming only the day before, a part of Beverly wondered about how nothing could appear different when something so terrible had taken place. Carelessly returning the smiles that the Nurses and Doctors sent her way, Beverly continued heading towards the emergency department of the hospital, expecting that she would find her daughter there.

Reading the list of admitted patients, Beverly felt both relieved and terrified as she found her daughter's name listed there rather than on the list of emergency patients that she had originally checked. Placing the PADD back in it's holder, Beverly took a deep breath and headed towards the turbolift, the need to see her daughter now almost overwhelming.

As she approached the room however, Beverly's confident steps began to falter and she found herself hesitating outside of the doorway, taking deep breaths as she attempted to calm herself down.

"You can do this, Beverly, you can do this." She muttered to herself, "You are a Doctor, you deal with all types of circumstances everyday, now get in that room," and with renewed determination, Beverly straightened her shoulders and stalked into the hospital room.

However, as soon as she saw her daughter lying still on her hospital bed, all professional thoughts and behaviours left her. No matter what she had tried to tell herself, nothing could have prepared her for that sight, and the emotions that threatened to overwhelm her.

Before she knew what had happened she was stood next to her little girl, mesmerised by the halo of red that surrounded the pale features, so like the ones she saw in the mirror every morning. She sighed and stroked a finger along a delicate cheek, regretting that it taken something so terrible to bring her to her daughter's side once more. She had tried to remain in contact, but watching her child grow, being there only as a cousin had become too painful to bear in more recent years and knowing that to tell her the truth would be more a selfish act on her part than a gift to her daughter, she had distanced herself.

Now running her finger down across the relaxed brow, the one she knew crinkled in just the same way as her father's, Beverly wondered whether anything would have changed had she stayed in contact.

"This isn't your fault, you know." A familiar voice remarked from behind her.

"How can you be so sure? if I hadn't been such a coward, first giving her away and then running away when it got too hard, maybe things would have been different. I never deserved her." Beverly replied, ducking her head to wipe away the tears that were threatening to fall. "I should go."

"Now you listen to me Beverly Howard, all you have ever done was try to protect that girl and although I will agree that some of your more recent choices might not have been wise, you have never once acted in a cowardly fashion and I for one will not allow you to speak of yourself that way." Gretchen snapped, wrapping her arms around Beverly in a tight hug. Stunned, both by the woman's words and then her action, Beverly froze but soon succumbed to the warmth of the woman's embrace and she began to cry, years of emotions breaking past the levy she had built against them.

When her tears began to subside, Beverly realised that she and Gretchen were now sat in the chairs that lined the side of the room. Pulling away, Beverly took a deep breath and gazed at the white tiles that adorned the ceiling, feeling the need to confide in Gretchen and yet still hesitant to tell the truth to this woman who had done so much for her.

"You know Kathryn gets that exact look on her face." Gretchen murmured quietly, almost to herself, "It usually means she has something to tell me but is worried about hurting me. I'll tell you, what I tell her. Spit it out or I'll sick Phoebe on you." Gretchen smiled mischievously and Beverly actually cringed slightly. If Phoebe was anything like she had been when she was younger that was truly a dire threat. The kid could wangle information out of a Romulan spy.

"I stopped coming because I wanted to tell her the truth and take her back. Every time I left I always had this thought in the back of my head, that I could just tell her the truth and take her home with me. That's what stopped me though, she already had a home, a dad, a mum. Who was I to destroy that? I feel so guilty though, because I have never stopped wanting to do it. That's why I stayed away." Beverly couldn't look at Gretchen, the guilt of knowing that, under any other circumstances she would have taken her daughter without a second thought to the pain it would cause others, still gnawing away at her.

For a while Gretchen remained silent, and Beverly wondered if this time her honesty had forced her to pay a price she truly wasn't ready for.

"I can't give you absolution for misplaced guilt, Beverly. You're a mother and to have keep leaving your child behind… well let's just leave that there. The fact remains that although you thought about it, you never did anything about it. We can wonder all we like about whether that would have changed anything that happened here today but the fact remains that you gave me twenty years with a beautiful daughter who I never would have had otherwise, and for that I will always be in your debt."

"You made sure my daughter was safe, that she grew up loved and never having to look over her shoulder, that's all I ever wanted for her. There is no debt." Beverly assured her before standing and walking over to her daughter's bedside once again. "Oh my little one. You grew up so perfectly and I'm sure both your fathers are extremely proud of you." She looked and met Gretchen's eyes, who now stood across the bed from her. "I know your mothers are."

"That we are."

So there we have it, I hope you like it. A xxxxx

For those of you who have stuck with me from the beginning thank you and I hope to post new/re-written chapters weekly.