While visiting a faraway planet, Kathryn meets one of the locals - is he who she thinks he is?
Disclaimer: as per usual Paramount owns all. I just play with the unfinished thoughts behind the characters.
Still working on the challenge and this idea came up, so what do you do? Yes, write down the story. Hope you like it; let me know, please.
* ~ * ~ *
Her mother noticed how restless she was. She'd only been back for 3 months, but Gretchen found that her daughter could not settle down for long periods of time. After all the hassle at HQ was finally over, Starfleet had allowed Voyager's Captain to go home as well. The other crewmembers, both Starfleet and Maquis, had been allowed to leave HQ after a week from their return, but the ship's Captain had to remain. Only 3 days had passed since she was back in Indiana, where she was driving her mother crazy.
Not that there was any reason for Kathryn to feel so restless: she'd received various offers for books, movies, conference lectures and other PR stunts to talk about her 5 years in the Delta Quadrant. Even visits from Tom Paris did not calm her down. He'd been trying to get her to join the senior officers on trips to the real Sandrine's in France, but she always turned down the invitation.
"Yes mom, what are you reading?"
"It's another invitation to hold a speech."
"I'm not interested, you know that. Please, just leave me alone."
"Now young lady, I don't care how 'alone' you feel, you WILL read this invite, accept it, and spend 3 days on a wonderful planet!"
"No buts, I've had enough of your moping, and I will not have you hang around doing nothing, understood?"
"Good. Now, listen to this: a primary school on Trebus II is doing a project on deep space exploration, and they want you to give a speech and help them with their project. They've arranged accommodation, but cannot afford the travel expenses; you will have to take care of that yourself. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?"
"Actually, you're right, it does sound good: at least I won't have to deal with sensational stories there."
"Like the ones that have been following Tom and B'Elanna?"
"Yes, you know them."
"Yes, but those were not about you, they were about Tom and B'Elanna. You managed to stop any stories about you and your gorgeous First Officer the minute you got off the ship. So I don't see why those non-existing stories should bother you."
"The stories only stopped here in the real world, at Starfleet they're still telling everybody how I convinced Chakotay to join crews."
"What are they saying, Kath?"
"That I seduced him."
"O Kath, honey, why didn't you tell me? That's horrible."
"It's okay mom, I didn't want you to worry."
"I always worry, that's what moms do."
"Thanks, I missed your worrying."
"I didn't stop it just because you were in the DQ. I was always with you."
Mother and daughter talked some more, finally being able to make up for those lost years. They decided that Kathryn would let the school know she was coming in 2 days. Kathryn would lease a small ship, and travel to Trebus II on her own. The reply from the school was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and she felt excited to go there.
* ~ * ~ *
"Trebus II to Pegasus."
"Captain Janeway, welcome to Trebus II, you are cleared for landing. Flight control out."
She carefully landed the ship. When the door opened, she was welcomed by a group of 15 children and some adults. They were all very quiet as she got out.
"Welcome to Dvorak City. I am Jenny Wodestone, I send"
"The invitation. Thank you Jenny, and please, call me Kathryn."
Just then a little girl with raven black hair and dark brown eyes walked up to her. She was approximately 5 years old. Kathryn knelt down and took the girls outstretched hand.
"Hello, I'm Kathryn. What's your name?"
"Hi Kelsfire, that's a beautiful name."
"My mommy gave it to me."
The other children started talking all at once, asking her questions and shaking her hand. Kelsfire was obviously the smallest, and to protect her from the pushing crowd Kathryn lifted her up in her arms. The whole group walked towards the central square where the rest of the school was assembled. Jenny explained to Kathryn that they had prepared a short play for her. As she sat down on one of the chairs, Kelsfire quite naturally stayed on her lap, and put her thumb in her mouth.
* ~ * ~ *
After the play, Kathryn was taken to the house where she would be staying. Jenny's place was small, but it had an empty bedroom where Kathryn could stay. Apparently Kelsfire was staying there as well, because her father was away on trip.
While flying over to Trebus II, Kathryn had read up on all the facts about the planet. Trebus II was newly colonised, and only 1 continent was inhabited. Its inhabitants were not full members of the Federation. The main idea of the planet was to live as close to nature without giving up on the main modern conveniences: each house did have a replicator, but people were encouraged to grow and prepare their own food. The school was also relatively new, and it didn't have many students yet.
Kathryn spent much of the rest of the day listening to Jenny who gave her a rundown on the planet's history. She also told her Kelsfire's story, who had fallen asleep on Kathryn's lap.
Angela, Kelsfire's mother, had arrived on Trebus II while 8 months pregnant. She had stayed with Jenny's mother. Two days after she gave birth to the little girl, she died. No one knew where she came from, and Angela hadn't told anyone who she was, or who the baby's father was. After she died, Jenny's mother took care of the infant. They had Kelsfire's DNA analysed and discovered that her father had been in Starfleet, but was now lost. Before Angela died she had managed to give her baby the name Kelsfire: no one had ever heard of it, but they all agreed, especially Jenny's mother, that the name fit the girl perfectly. After a year Jenny's mother unexpectedly died, and Kelsfire had to be put into the care of the orphanage.
Kelsfire, who had woken up earlier and who had listened to the story, decided to let her presence be known.
"And then, when I was bigger, my daddy came for me."
"Yes, and now you live with him, right?"
"Yes, and he will be back tomorrow, won't he Jenny?"
"But how did her father know Kelsfire was here?"
"Well, you see, Starfleet was on the look out for him, and when he returned, they send him a message explaining everything. I can tell you, his arrival was almost as exciting as yours was. He picked up Kelsfire and you could see there was a bond between them. He's stayed since then."
"And he's very handsome. You forgot to tell Kathryn that he is very handsome."
"Well, I'm sure she doesn't need that sort of detail."
"But Jenny, you're always saying how handsome he is."
"Well, okay. Anyone some more tea?"
"Kathryn, you wanna know a secret?"
"I think Jenny really like-likes my daddy."
"That's enough now Kelsfire, and you know it."
"You really like-like him, Jenny?" Kathryn asked, seeing how the young woman was blushing.
"Yes, but it's no use."
"Because anyone can see that his heart belongs to someone else."
Kathryn just smiled at the younger woman.
* ~ * ~ *
Later that evening, after Kelsfire had finally fallen asleep - Kathryn had to read her 2 Winnie the Pooh stories - the two women talked about the project.
The next day Kathryn gave a speech, and helped in the different groups. At the end of the day, she was in Jenny's classroom reading a story to Kelsfire.
* ~ * ~ *
They'd been away for 5 days, but he still thought it was 5 days too many. His cousin Joe had come and together with Roger, they had decided to explore the mountain region on the 3rd continent. It had taken his mind of things, just as Joe had promised, but now that they were back in Dvorak City, he couldn't help but wonder what to do. Joe had convinced him that he shouldn't stay on this planet, but that he should return to Earth. On the other hand, they both realised that this was the only home his daughter had known. Then there was also Jenny, who looked after his daughter as if she was her own. And she obviously liked him. He liked her too, but she was not the woman who held his heart and soul - she was still on Earth.
As he walked into the school, he ran into Jenny who was very happy to see him.
"Hello stranger, if you're looking for Kelsfire, she is in my classroom entertaining our guest."
When he found out about the project, he'd offered to help, but Jenny also wanted another expert. He now realised that she never did tell him whom she had invited. He heard Kelsfire's laughter, and another voice telling a story. He'd recognise that voice everywhere, but it couldn't be her, not here!
He stood in the doorway looking into the classroom when he spotted Kelsfire. She was sitting on Kathryn's lap. Kathryn!? What was she doing here? There in front of him, his wildest dreams had come true!
Just as he walked up to them, they both looked up, and Kelsfire was first to react. She jumped off Kathryn's lap and ran towards him.
"Daddy! You're back!"
She ran into his arms, and he lifted her off the ground, his eyes never leaving Kathryn's.
She couldn't say more, overwhelmed by her emotions, and just stood there paralysed. Kelsfire leaned back in her father's arms, looking at the two grown-ups.
He lowered Kelsfire and held out his hand to Kathryn. She seemed to have come out of her trance, because in seconds she was in his arms, and they embraced.
At that moment Jenny walked in, and she saw the two senior officers of Voyager holding on to each other as if they were the other's lifeline. Now she realised who the other woman was; ironic she thought, they spend 5 years serving together, and by pure luck they ran into each other on Trebus II, of all planets.
"Jenny, look, daddy's back!"
"I know Kelsfire, I know," and she left the room.
Chakotay let go of Kathryn, now really looking at her. She looked more relaxed than he'd ever seen her. There was a peace in her eyes, and her smile lit up her entire face.
"Fancy meeting you here, Commander."
"I was about to say the same thing, Captain."
He hugged her again, and she discovered that she fit perfectly in his arms with her head tucked under his chin.
They let go and looked at Kelsfire. Chakotay picked her up again.
"How come you and Kathryn hugged?"
The two grown-ups laughed, and Kathryn gathered their things.
"That my little goldenbird is a long story."
"But you'll tell me, right daddy?"
"Yes, I'll tell you. It all started when the angry warrior met the woman warrior ..."