For a "Baby Makes Three" contest, which I believe was part of an old Picnic Proze Contest.
First time publication - this fic was not published on my website before. I found the story last night in a notebook, which also has all the Scream, You Scream, We All Scream Icecream fics. "Serenade for Sarah" (Michel Legrand - Alan et Marilyn Bergman), in Les Uns et Les Autres [lyrics not yet found]
~ * ~ * ~
Returning to his office, Dr. Richard Lancaster was glad to be back in his cherished solitude. Away from the press, who seemed to be having a field day with someone else's misery, but also thankfully away from the sorrow that had the press posting outside the county hospital.
Because of an unknown, uncureable disease, a little girl's parents were slowly dying. There'd been more instances of this illness, but the press and governments had not picked up on it, even after various pressure groups had tried to show them this was a force to be reckoned with.
The only reason for the presence of the press was the fact that the girl's father happened to be related to one this year's heroes.
Tancho, son of Zartanay of Dorvan, was the sole remaining relative of the discussed Maquis Captain, Commander Chakotay of the USS Voyager.
The ship had quite unexpectedly returned to the Alpha Quadrant only a week after the Federation had decided to cancel the Pathfinder Project. Now, the ship andher crew were anxiously awaited to arrive at Earth sometime this week.
~ * ~ * ~
It had been one of the hardest things to write, but over two years ago, Richard Lancaster had started his monthly reports to Chakotay after Tancho couldn't write them himself anymore. He'd told the Commander all about the disease, and also about the probably outcome.
For now his main concern was to keep the press at bay. He already knew that as soon as Starfleet would allow it, Chakotay would rush to the hospital to see his cousin, and to meet his young niece, Sarah.
In his latest communique, Chakotay mentioned he'd bring his family, and after reading this week's Federation Enquirer - not that he acknowledged reading papers like this - he realized Chakotay's message would be even more shocking to the press outside the hospital than Voyager's return.
~ * ~ * ~
Federation Enquirer - Federation Enquirer - Federation Enquirer
It is true! The Starship Voyager is a guaranteed Love Boat! After being stranded in the Delta Quadrant for over 10 years, the Federation's most notorious starship has been harboring unlisted stowaways. According to a close family friend, even the strict, protocol-abiding Captain has found the time to make sure Voyager is indeed a generational ship. The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us Kathryn Janeway is 'the proud mother of ship's darling, 3 year old Elizabeth'. Our source could not disclose the name of the girl's father, but she did say that Captain Janeway had always had a thing for 'tall, dark and handsome [men]'. As Voyager approaches Earth ...
~ * ~ * ~
As soon as he'd told her the news about his cousin, Kathryn had insisted they'd let Tancho and his wife know their daughter would be welcome in their family. The little girl, Sarah, was roughly the same age as their daughter Lizzy, and she would be raised as their own without forgetting her birth parents.
For now Sarah was staying with Dr. Lancaster and his sister, but they realised she needed a real family soon.
~ * ~ * ~
At two in the morning, the Lancaster household received a call from the hospital, telling them Tancho and his wife Maggie had passed away in their sleep. His staff explained how it seemed they'd found the peace they'd been looking for ever since the start of their illness.
When Richard woke up the little girl later that morning, he told her the news. Even though she was not yet 3 years old, she understood what had happened. She had looked up at Richard, and she had asked him about Voyager's return.
~ * ~ * ~
The Federation had never seen a publicity circus like the one currently going on in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not even the media attention at the end of the Dominion War had warrented such response from all the Federation's citizens.
The return of Voyager had become the exact hype all the bureaucrats of the upper echelon of the Federation had been trying to prevent.
Public opinion had stopped them however. About a year ago a publication by one of the crew of Voyager had ensured everyone knew about the legendary voyage of the starship. Only two weeks later, Starfleet had decided to use all the attention to their advantage.
In little under one hour the ship would finally arrive, and the large reception hall - especially erected for this purpose - was filled to the brim with family and friends of the Voyager crew. It was also filled with all the Starfleet brass lucky to important enough to get in.
~ * ~ * ~
Their homecoming had been exactly what Chakotay had expected, but at the same time, he had not been prepared for the overwhelming feeling of being back on Earth again. There had been only a few debriefings and no trial. Starfleet had granted them their temporary commissions, but as soon as everything was over, the whole crew had been put on an extended leave, ranging between six months to one year.
Kathryn's mother had insisted they stay at her house for a while before looking for a place of their own.
Today they would visit Dr. Lancaster, to meet Sarah.
Chakotay still couldn't believe Tancho and Maggie had held onto their lives for so long. According to their doctor, they should have passed away a year after the disease set in. Kathryn told him they'd wanted to know for sure he'd be home on time. Chakotay didn't know what to make of it.
Lizzy was curled up on her mother's lap. They had tried to explain to her what they were going to do, but the little girl didn't understand.
"Mommy, is this the same as when Miral had a brother?"
"No sweetheart. Remember we told you about uncle Tancho and aunt Maggie? We told you what happened, didn't we?"
Lizzy nodded and looked at her father, "And daddy is her only family, and now we're going to ask if she wants to live with us. But she'll also be my sister, so it is like when Miral had Owen!"
~ * ~ * ~
"He looks like my daddy," the little girl whispered, "but his hair is shorter, and daddy smiled more."
Richard grinned, "Sarah, I'm sure Chakotay smiles just as much as your daddy. Want to say hello to them?"
"Yes, and may he'll smile when he sees me. Daddy always smiled when he saw me."
Kathryn was crouching down, hoding onto Lizzy who was ready to run up to Sarah to show her the teddybear they had bought. Chakotay slowly walked over to his niece. He got down on his knees and regarded her seriously, trying to see how much of his cousin was present in his daughter.
"Hello Sarah, I am Chakotay."
She shyly held out her hand for him to shake. "You look like my daddy. Except he didn't have those blue lines." She reached out with her other hand and touched his tattoo. "Daddy once told me he didn't want it, because he didn't like the pain."
Chakotay had to smile at that, "Your daddy never did like to be uncomfortable."
Sarah let out a small sigh, "Mommy and daddy are not feeling any pain anymore, are they?"
"No sweetheart, they don't have any pain now."
She looked over his shoulder, "Who are they?"
"That really beautiful lady is my wife, Kathryn, and that pretty girl is Lizzy, our daughter."
"Will I live with them?"
"Sarah, if you want to, you can come live with the three of us."
"Is your house pretty?"
"Right now we don't have our own house, and we are living with Kathryn's mother, but we are looking for a new house."
"Will your house have a garden?"
"Of course it will."
"I like gardens, but because mommy and daddy were in the hospital, I could never play outside."
"Well, I can tell you Lizzy has never played outside either. You see, we lived on a starship, and starship's don't have gardens either. I'm sure you'll have great fun playing outside."
"I'd like that." She turned around to look at Dr. Lancaster, "I like him. He has a nice smile."
~ * ~ * ~
"Sarah? Come on sweety, wake up. You're having a bad dream. Wake up, darling."
Slowly the girl opened her eyes, full of tears, to find Kathryn sitting on her bed.
"Come here, Sarah."
She was picked up, and she clung to Kathryn, not willing to let go. Kathryn rubbed the girl's back, soothing her with her voice.
"It's over, Sarah. You're here with us. You're safe."
Gradually she calmed down.
"Let's get you settled again. Do you want to stay with Chakotay and me?"
Sarah nodded, "Yes I want to sleep in our bed."
"Come on then, before Lizzy wakes up."
Kathryn carried Sarah over to their bedroom and carefully put her down next to Chakotay. She crawled in next to her and took the girl into her arms. "Sleep now, little one. Tomorrow will bring another day."
~ * ~ * ~
"Kathryn, I don't know how you manage! I mean, Miral and Owen keep me busy, but at least Owen still sleeps most of the day. Lizzy and Sarah are both extremely active girls, and together their energy increases ten-fold. Put Miral and your terrible two together, and we would never have needed the transwarp coil to produce the energy we needed!"
"B'Elanna, I just got used to it. At least they sleep through the night, so we get a decent night of sleep too, most of the time."
"Only most of the time? Is Sarah still having nightmares? I thought Chakotay said they had passed."
"No, Sarah doesn't have those nightmares anymore. It seems as if the girls have discovered how much fun it is to wake up mommy and daddy very early in the morning. I mean, I love them to bits, but at this rate, Chakotay and I will never get round to the more physical aspect of our marriage."
Kathryn looked at her friend who was suddenly doubled over with laughter. "I'm sorry, but 'physical aspect of our marriage'? Gods, Kathryn, why didn't you say so before? Tom and I would be more than happy to have the girls over for a long weekend. It seems Chakotay and you are long overdue for a weekend of nothing but great sex!"
"Well, it's true, isn't it? All of a sudden Chakotay's desperate looks towards you are starting to make sense."
"But you wouldn't mind? I mean, our two are a handful."
~ * ~ * ~
"I can't believe how quiet it is. Do you thingk the girls are alright? You did remember to pack Lizzy's monkey? And Sarah's bear?"
"Relax, Chakotay. B'Elanna knows our number, she'll call if anything is missing."
"I'm sorry, Kath. It just feels so strange. I mean, I love the fact we have a whole weekend alone, but I do miss the girls."
She leaned her head on his shoulder, and took his hand in hers. "I miss them too. But B'Elanna was right, we need this time alone. Just imagine tomorrow morning."
"What will happen tomorrow morning?"
Kathryn's sigh was al the answer he needed. He grinned at her happy expression. "I see. Spirits has it really been that long?"
"Well, between coming home, the briefings, living at my mother's, Sarah's settling in, we just haven't had any quality time away from it all."
~ * ~ * ~
"Mommy? What is happening? Do you want me to call daddy? Daddy! Come here! Mommy's feeling sick again. Daddy? Mommy needs you!"
Sarah ran into their backyard as fast as her legs would carry her.
"Hey sweetheart, where's the fire?"
Trying to catch her breath, Sarah pointed towards the house. "Mommy is sick again."
Chakotay picked up Sarah and jogged back to the house, where he found Lizzy looking at her mother who was reclining on the couch.
"It was so gross, daddy. Mommy was throwing up!"
He knelt next to the couch and stroked Kathryn's hair, "Kath, honey, are you alright?"
She slowly got up and smiled at him.
"I will be, just give it some time."
"Remember the nickname B'Elanna and Tom have for our girls?"
"Of course, the Terrible Two."
She smiled again, "Well, baby makes three."