As she dreams about birds and flowers, little Rosa won't wake up.
Disclaimer: let's see, what is it again? Right: Paramount owns all the characters, ships, aliens (well, not really), etc. that I use to get rid off some of those weird story lines in my head. I guess you could say that Paramount is the psychoanalyst who helps us with our struggle in life. (eh? Come again?)
Disclaimer 2: Rose, Ecco and Mr Fernando are all mine!
Okay, so shoot me, I'm in my song-period. Blame my mother! Hey, she bought the '25 Years after Waterloo' ABBA CD (sorry, only available in the Netherlands). I can't help but listen to her play it, and then when I get an idea, my psychoanalyst advised me to write it down. So there you have it! It's Paramount's fault after all!!
After hearing 'I had a dream', this is what happened.
* ~ * ~ *
"Rose. Rosa. Rosebud, wake up, sweetie."
The little girl stirred, but didn't open her eyes. Instead she continued to walk down the path that the winged figure had shown her. On and on she went, following the white birds that accompanied her on her way. She could hear her mother's voice calling out to her, but the pretty birds were more enchanting.
Two figures were huddled over a bed. A third joined them.
"Have you found something yet, Doctor?"
"Not yet, Commander. But I will keep looking. For now she is sleeping naturally, I didn't have to give her a sedative. We'll continue to monitor her to see if anything changes."
"Commander, I have set up an extra bed in case one of you wants to sleep here."
"Doctor, she will wake up, won't she?"
He had never seen this look in his Captain's face: it was one of pure despair.
* ~ * ~ *
She noticed that more birds had appeared. These weren't at all like the pretty white birds that she had seen earlier, no, these were really pretty! Their feathers showed all the colours of the rainbow and seemed to change like a chameleon in the sun. The white figure was no longer there. Only the birds. Still, she continued walking. Actually, she wasn't walking, but flying! The colourful birds had picked her up and were carrying her across the green field that spread out below her. As soon as she noticed that she was flying, the birds put her down on the ground again. One of them, the smallest one, looked at her curiously. Rose bend down to let the bird step on her arm.
"Hello. You're a pretty bird. My name is Rose, but my mommy calls me Rosebud. What's your name?"
The bird turned its head and gazed at her some more with his little beaded eyes. Finally it opened its beak, "I am Ecco."
"Well, Ecco, nice to meet you." She giggled, because she remembered her mommy talking about first contact things, and she thought she had just made her first 'contact'; mommy would be proud of her.
"Ecco, where are we?"
Another bird flew over to them and let out a shrill whistle. "Bye now, Rose, I have to go, my mom is calling me."
She was alone again. As she looked around she saw that all the birds had disappeared. The field was green and slightly hilly. Rose sat down.
* ~ * ~ *
"Chief Medical Officer's Log, Stardate ... I have not been able to determine the cause of young Miss Janeway's condition. She is still sleeping, but there is no significant eye movement. For now there is no treatment I can prescribe. I can only hope whatever it is, is not harmful to the little girl, and she will wake up. Both parents have spent the night in Sickbay, never leaving her side. They have taken a leave of absence."
Just as he finished, Tom Paris came into the Doctor's office.
"No change, Mr Paris. Is there anything I can help you with? As I recall you are not scheduled for Sickbay duty today."
"I just came by for an update. The crew is going crazy over Rose. All of them want to know what is happening, and I just volunteered to find out. How are the Captain and the Commander?"
"They're doing fine under the circumstances."
"They didn't sleep, did they?"
"No, both remained awake."
"Is there anything I can do?"
"As a matter of fact, you can see and try to get one of them out of here, so they can eat something. It won't help if they're both here at the same time. It will only increase their fatigue."
Tom looked at the Doctor, "You don't ask for much, do you?"
* ~ * ~ *
The white figure was back. Rose wanted to speak to him, but before she got a chance, it had already vanished again, only to leave a trail of daisies. The little bird came back and sat down in front of her.
"I can see. Did your mom let you come here?"
"Yes, she said that you needed me."
"O. My mommy doesn't want me to stay here."
"How do you know?"
"Before I came here, I could hear her say 'wake up' to me. But I wanted to sleep."
"Where are you from?"
"From Voyager, she's a starship and my mommy is the Captain."
"My daddy is her First Officer."
"What's a starship?"
"You don't know what a starship is? Well, it's a ship that flies through the stars."
"Like a comet?"
"What's a Captain?"
"A 'Captain' is a mommy who is the boss of a starship."
"And a 'First Officer'?"
"That's a daddy who helps 'lighten mommy's burden'."
"Oh, what's a burden?"
"I don't know. That's what my mommy says my daddy does."
"Okay. My mommy says that you have to follow the daisy path."
"I don't know, she told me to tell you."
"Will you come with me?"
"I don't know if I can."
"Well, that's the place where the special people go."
"But I don't want to go alone."
"Wait here, I'll ask my mom." The little bird flew off again, but returned within seconds. "She said I can come too!"
Together they followed the daisies.
* ~ * ~ *
Chakotay had gone back to their quarters. Tom had finally convinced them they could leave one at a time. He was now looking for the medicine wheel. Kathryn was still at Rose's side. The Doctor could not figure out what was wrong with their little girl.
Two nights ago she was still awake. When she had to go to bed, she told him to tell her a story because it was his turn. Kathryn and he had started telling her bedtime stories in turn. Hers were usually about fairies and princesses, whereas his were the stories of his people. He told her a story about the meaning of a spirit guide. She would be ready to meet hers in about a year. She went to sleep, but the next morning when Kathryn tried to wake her up, she didn't. They had brought her into Sickbay almost immediately, but the Doctor could not find anything. Ever since she was still sleeping.
When he entered Sickbay, he saw Kathryn sitting next to Rose's bed. She was stroking her brow, easing away the troubled lines that had appeared.
"How is she?" he softly asked.
"More relaxed. The Doctor said there was more eye movement, but still less than a normal sleeping person would have. Did you get the wheel?"
"Yes. Kathryn, why don't you go freshen up and get something to eat. I'll be here setting up the wheel."
"Okay." She bend over the bed and kissed their daughter.
* ~ * ~ *
Rose and Ecco continued to follow the daisies that had appeared wherever the white figure flew. Rose thought that Ecco was not very smart, because he didn't know about simple things like the Warpcore and Tricorders. But then when he asked her about flowers and plants, she could only remember the things her parents had told her, and she felt pretty stupid herself. She could hear her mommy telling her about 'diploma'-something and decided she needed it now. Her mommy was always talking to important people about things they needed for the ship, and then her mommy would come home telling her daddy that she wished she'd never heard of the 'diploma'-thing, but that it did help them get the stuff they needed. Ecco could probably help her here, so she needed the diploma-thing. She still hadn't seen anyone else, but Ecco didn't seem to notice. He was babbling about growing up and wanting to live on a starship himself. Of course, he was going to be a First Officer. At first he had wanted to be a Captain, but Rose quickly told him only mommies could be Captain. Once in a while he would fly away, then return with some berries for Rose to eat. Together they walked down the daisy path.
Rose saw him first. "Look, Ecco, there!" The white figure had returned. She went up to him, followed closely by Ecco, who came to sit on her shoulder. Together they watched the figure transform into a little green man.
He walked up to them, "Well, hello there, Miss Rosa. Or should I call you Rosebud?"
"How do you know my name?"
"I know a lot of things about you. I even know the starship you live on."
"You know Voyager?" said Ecco, "Wow, if you know the ship, could you take me there sometime?"
"Hello, young Master Ecco. And how are you today?"
The young bird suddenly realised he'd forgotten his manners, his mom would have his hide! "Sorry, Mr Fernando. Goodmorning."
"Ah, I can see your mother taught you some manners after all. Yes, I know about the starship, but I am afraid I cannot take you there. You see, only Rose can go there. You and I, and all the other creatures in this world have to stay here."
"Too bad, Ecco, you would really like the ship. I will tell you about it some more some time, okay?"
"Now, Miss Rosa, do you know where you are?"
"No. I like it here though."
"I thought you would. Now can you remember the story your father told you?"
"Yes, he told me about the Great Spirits, and how one day I would meet a spirit as well. But not now, because I am still too young. I wish I were older, because then I could meet him. Or her. Mommy told me that spirits can be girls as well."
"You listened very well, young lady. Now, your father said that you were still too young to meet your spirit guide, but I think that you could handle it. If you want to talk to yours, you will need a medicine bundle just like your parents have. Do you think you could collect things for one?"
"O yes! I have already some pretty things that mommy and daddy gave to me, and I can pick from those."
"Slow down. Before you can start collecting your 'things', you have to talk to your parents and they will help you make a bundle. Understood."
"Yes, Mr Fernando. But how will they know that I am ready?"
Mr Fernando picked up a stone that had appeared out of nowhere. On it were engraved the image of a small lizard in the protective embrace of a wolf. He handed the stone to Rose.
"Now, remember, you cannot tell your parents about us. But you know that already, don't you?"
"Yes, daddy told me that you cannot talk about your spirit guide, because then they will be offended."
"Good. Now, Ecco, I believe you have something for Miss Rosa as well?" Mr Fernando pulled out a feather from Ecco's wing.
"Ouch. O right, this feather is for you, Rose. It's sorta a thing that you can remember me by."
"Thank you, Ecco, it's really pretty. But, does that mean that I won't see you again?" The little started crying, and Mr Fernando put his arm around her shoulder.
"Don't worry, Miss Rosa, you will see Ecco again. Just not any time soon. He has some growing up to do. But you will meet again, and then you will recognise him by this white mark between his eyes."
Only now did she see the only white on the little bird. A small rose picture in white sat between his eyes.
"Now, Miss Rosa, I think it's time for you to wake up again. Remember what I told you."
"Bye, Ecco. Bye, Mr Fernando. Thank you."
* ~ * ~ *
Slowly the little girl stirred. Kathryn and Chakotay had finally fallen asleep and didn't notice. Kathryn had taken the little girl in her arms, and together they lay on the bed. Chakotay sat next to them in a chair, his hand holding both the girl's and her mother's hand. As she opened her eyes, she saw her parents.
The lights in Sickbay were on low.
Kathryn felt the movement and opened her eyes.
"Rose? Rose, honey?"
"I'm here, mommy."
Kathryn sat up, waking up Chakotay. Rose was smiling, because her daddy's hair was a complete mess.
She looked at them, and saw her mother's tears. "Mommy, don't cry. I was only sleeping."
"I know, Rosebud. But you have been sleeping for a very long time. Your daddy and I were worried about you."
"Hey, Miss Rosa. I love you."
"I love you too, daddy. And I love you too, mommy."
Chakotay took them both in his arms giving them a big bearhug.
The Doctor came in and scraped his throat.
"I hate to brake up this loving family moment, but I need to look at my patient. If you would excuse me."
They moved apart, but Kathryn didn't let go of her daughter.
"Now, Miss Janeway, you gave your parents quite a scare. For that matter, you gave the entire crew quite a scare."
"But I was only sleeping. I had a really pretty dream. There were all these white birds, and rainbow birds, and—o, I'm not supposed to tell you."
"Tell me what?"
"I can't say, Doctor. When can I go home again?"
"Humph, as they get older the parentage is clearly visible. I guess you can go home now. As long as you are careful. I don't want to see you in here until it is time for a check up, understood young lady?"
"Yes, Doctor." She jumped off the bed, forgetting she was holding something in her hands. The feather and the rock fell on the bed. Kathryn picked them up.
"Rose, what is this?"
Rose took it from her mother.
"I will tell you when we get back. Now, can we leave, please."
Her parents looked at each other, clearly relieved to see their Rose completely recovered. "Lead the way, Goldenbird."
"Okay, daddy, but first I want to go to the Messhall, because I am really hungry."
Chakotay picked her up to sit on his arm. Kathryn took his hand, and together they left Sickbay.
* ~ * One Year Later * ~ *
Rose sat between her parents. The three of them had their medicine bundles spread out before them. Rose's was still the smallest, but it already showed her most priced possessions: a rainbow feather and a carved rock.
It had taken some time to explain why she thought she was ready to look for her spirit guide, but when she had shown her parents the rock, they immediately realised she was ready. When she first met her spirit guide she was somewhat disappointed that he wasn't a bear or panther. She had always wanted a big and strong spirit guide. But then she saw the mark on the large rainbow coloured bird. In between his eyes, there was a white rose. It was Ecco!
Tonight they would enter the spirit world together. She was comfortably squeezed in between her parents. Their hands rested on her daddy's akoona. She was concentrating hard when she heard her daddy's voice, followed by her mother's.
"Akuchi Moya, we are far from the place of our forefathers ..."