Disclaimer: Paramount owns all the goodies, I just play with them.
Okay, this is my 'firstest' story ever, and I'm not really happy with it, but...I wanted to post it anyway. Let me know what you think ;-)
The shuttle had just left Shuttle Bay 1, when Kathryn realised what happened. Their last (and only) night together had been bittersweet.
In less than 8 hours, Chakotay would leave to serve on the Excalibur: he would be the new First Officer, since the last one was killed in the war against the Dominion. After dinner, Chakotay had told her what his plans were, and Kathryn was shocked: they'd only been in Federation space for 2 days and already their family, their ship, was broken up. They made love almost urgently, and both were none too gentle: what a waste of 5 years, they could have meant so much more for each other. It made her think of what Q had said a week earlier: "I'll give you your heart's desire". Now she understood what he meant, her heart's desire wasn't returning to the Alpha Quadrant, no it was being with Chakotay. And since she made him leave her in all her dreams, Q had merely granted her wish.
"Paris to Janeway. Captain, we're clear for docking."
"Go right ahead, Mr Paris, I'll be there shortly. Oh, and Tom,"
"Show them what this beauty can do!"
~ * ~ * ~
They were back on Earth, and most crewmembers were picked up by relatives or friends. Kathryn could see B'Elanna standing there looking lost, and she was on her way to go to her, when she saw Adm. Paris and Tom running up to her, and dragging her along. Phoebe and Gretchen ran up to her to greet her.
"Kathybug, you're back." Hugs and kisses followed.
"Mommy? Is that auntie Kathryn?" a little 3-year-old girl asked Phoebe.
"Yes sweetie." "O hi, I'm Kathy."
Kathryn was shocked, Phoebe's little baby had grown so much. She'd never thought that Phoebe would have children before her. Then again, she'd never thought she'd meet someone like Chakotay either.
"Kathy, hello dear? Are you with us?"
"I'm sorry, mom, I was just thinking about something."
"Someone, you mean," Phoebe interrupted, "I know when you get that faraway look! Tell me, is he handsome?"
"Stuff it, Phoebs."
"Girls, please, you sound like teenagers again, not the grown women I raised you to be. Besides, Kathy here really wants to talk to her famous aunt, and I believe that Kathryn doesn't want to talk about her stranger."
Kathryn had spent much of the ride back enjoying her niece. She was a delightful child with a witty intelligence.
"You know, she had more in common with you than just her name: yesterday, I caught her scanning the doorknobs to see why some turned one way and others not."
"I was never that awful."
"Yes, you were."
~ * ~ * ~
Kathryn couldn't sleep, she kept thinking about last night. It hadn't even been all that romantic. If only she could do her life over, or at least...
A light flash, "You rang, my dear?"
"Kathy, I told you I'd give you your heart's desire, but now that you have it, you're not satisfied with it. Well, I'm afraid there's no money back guarantee."
"If you think that having Chakotay leave me, was my heart's desire then you're wrong, dead wrong!"
"What 'o dear'? Q, I don't like the sound of this. What have you done this time?"
"Not to worry, Kathy. It's just that I only now realised that humans take so much more time to develop than us Q. You'll realise what I mean in a couple of weeks. Bye now, and give my love to Chuckles when you see him. It was his wish too, after all."
~ * ~ * ~
"Kath, are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine, I think."
"You were staring out in space for 5 minutes. Were you thinking about someone in particular?"
"No, Phoebs, not this time. It was something else."
"So, who is your mysterious stranger?"
That night, she told Phoebe all about her relationship with Chakotay.
~ * ~ * ~
- 1½ months later -
'O! I'm going to be sick again!'
Kathryn ran away from breakfast, only to be followed by Phoebe. She'd heard her sister this morning, and knowing Kathryn she'd probably had to witness it to make sure she'd acknowledge the fact that she was going to have to see a doctor.
~ * ~ * ~
- later that week -
"Well, Captain, this will certainly be a surprise for everyone..."
"Just say it, Doctor! Tell me what's wrong with me."
"Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with you, in fact..."
Phoebe all of a sudden remembered, 'My god, Chakotay!'
"Hello Captain? Did you hear what I just said? You'll be a mother in approx. 7 months. I suppose you will want to inform the father?"
"Doctor? Could you excuse us for a moment? I think my sister needs some time to recuperate from the unexpected news."
"Unexpected? You mean that this is...Well, that explains her increase in..."
"Yes, very well. Please tell the Captain that she needs to register with a GP close to her home..."
"Doctor, I've been there. Trust me, I'll make her do all the things she's supposed to do. Computer, deactivate EMH."
"Kath, he's gone now. It's just you and me. Do you want to talk about it?"
Kathryn just collapsed on her sister's shoulder, and started to cry. In between sobs, Phoebe could here the words "Q", "heart's desire" and "damn him". After a while she recovered enough to tell Phoebe about Q, and about finally finding out what he meant.
"But, Kath, are you okay with this?"
"O yes, I'm surer that I've ever been. You know, instead of taking Voyager home, I now have to create one. Where do you think I should live?"
Phoebe noticed how Kathryn had not mentioned Chakotay, and realised that she had found a new mission herself.
It took her almost a week to contact Tom Paris, but when she had he was only too keen to help her, and together with his father they reached Adm. Nechayev. Mark was a great help too: he'd gotten through to DS9 where he contacted Captain Sisko and explained what was going on. None of them knew the exact details, but they were all too glad to help.
~ * ~ * ~
- 7 months later -
A truce had been signed between the warring parties: the Dominion was to stay in the Gamma Quadrant.
Chakotay sighed, finally he'd be able to get away from this secret posting. For almost 9 months now he'd been undercover among the Jem'Hadar, and it'd nearly cost his life. Now he'd be able to get to Earth. He'd never felt so unsatisfied in his life: it was so cruel. Starfleet had commanded him to take this post to show them that they could trust him. Meanwhile, he'd been wondering how to tell Kathryn. He had tried to, but somehow their brains had short-circuited and they never got round to the why. During these months, he'd contacted his spirit guide only one. What he had seen had not made him happy. He'd seen Kathryn's guide resting under a tree with a black raven. At that time he was glad that she'd found someone else because he was not expected to make it back.
As soon as he arrived at DS9, Ben Sisko met him. "Commander, the Defiant is waiting for you, she's going to take you to Earth immediately. There's not much time left, I'll brief you on the way."
Captain Sisko told Chakotay that there were several Admirals looking for him, and he'd have to report to them as soon as they reached Earth. "They'll tell you more about your next mission."
'Next mission? I don't want a next mission; I just want to find Kathryn.'
~ * ~ * ~
They reached Earth in record time, and as soon as he transported down, he was met by a civilian woman. "Hi, I hope your flight was okay. Please don't ask any questions. The Admiral thing was just a set up. Your next mission is located where I am taking you. Please follow me."
Phoebe was glad that he did what she wanted. It was almost too late, because after what she'd heard from Kathryn, Chakotay would never forgive himself for leaving her in this position. Now at least he would have some time to get used to it.
It wasn't until 10 that evening when they reached the house.
"Where are we?"
"We're right where you're needed most. Do you know how difficult it was for me to contact you? Where have you been?"
"Well, considering the fact that I don't know who you are, I'm not going to tell you."
"O, sorry, I must have forgotten to introduce myself. I'm Phoebe - Phoebe Janeway..."
The way he spoke her name made Phoebe feel jealous. No one had ever spoken her name like that. Then again, she'd never had to suppress her feelings for anyone like Kathryn had.
"Where is she?"
"She should be sitting under her favourite tree, that's where she always goes to watch the sunset. Just follow the daisy path, and you'll find her."
"Thanks, I owe you one."
"No, you owe me at least four, but I'll explain that some other time. Now go, she needs you."
~ * ~ * ~
Kathryn was absentmindedly rubbing her belly. All these months she'd been an honorary professor at the Academy, but now she was finally on leave. Phoebe had helped her enormously, and Tom Paris had offered to be her birthing coach. He'd told her it would give him some much needed experience, so that he, in time, could help B'Elanna: if he could survive this one, he would also survive B'Ela's. Tuvok also offered his support, and he'd helped her relax when she couldn't stand it anymore. It had also been his idea to talk to the baby about Chakotay. While her classes at the Academy had been about the Delta Quadrant, her endless hours with the baby had been about its father. Half way through her pregnancy, Tom and B'Elanna had taken her to Dorvan. The people had been pleased to meet her, and Chakotay's aunt had taken them in. At first they thought this was only a group of tourists, but they had figured out who Kathryn was when she had made the trip to Kolopak's cabin. It was there that she'd contacted her spirit guide for the first time again, and she had seen the wolf leave almost at the same time she saw her guide with the raven.
She could feel someone coming; and she hadn't had this particular feeling in a long time. It couldn't be him.
She tried to get up, but there was just too much of her. When he reached her, he helped her get up, still only looking at her eyes.
He took her in his arms, and only then did he notice the change. He tried to talk, but found that he couldn't. Meanwhile, Kathryn had started crying. After some time, she stopped, and looked him in the eyes.
"I'm sorry, that seems to happen quite a lot lately."
"It's okay. You look beautiful. How long?"
"Hopefully, only one more week, I'm growing tired of this bulk."
They remained silent, while Chakotay went to sit under the tree, and he drew Kathryn on his lap. It was a close fit.
"Chakotay, why didn't you contact your spirit guide? She told me on several occasions that you clearly needed her."
"I chose not to, after all, there wasn't much for me to see."
She could feel him tense up, and put his hand on her belly, just as she felt the baby kick. "Chakotay, listen to me. This is the raven."
Kathryn wanted to say more, but couldn't because Chakotay was looking at her with so much love in his eyes. He took her face in his hands and kissed her very tenderly.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
Their foreheads touching, they stayed that way for several minutes just drawing strength from each other.
"That's Phoebe. Have you met her yet?"
"Yes, I have." And he told her what happened from when he arrived at DS9 until Phoebe dropped him off outside the house. Meanwhile, they were on their way back to the house. When they arrived, Kathy jumped out from her chair on the veranda and ran towards Kathryn.
"Aunt Kathryn, is this the man mommy calls Mr Chuckles?"
"Yes Kathy, I'd like you to meet Chakotay."
"Hi, I'm Kathy."
"Well, hello Kathy, I'm Chakotay, nice to meet you. You know what?"
"What?" she looked at him seriously, "What is it, Mr Chakotay?"
Chakotay whispered something in her ear. The girl immediately ran inside, and in record time, came back out dragging her grandmother behind her.
"What did you tell her, Chakotay?"
"O, nothing important."
"You know, I could still order you to tell me, so..."
Before she got her answer, Chakotay was already walking up to Gretchen Janeway.
"Mrs Janeway, good evening. I am Chakotay, and I would like to make an honest woman out of your daughter. Would tomorrow at 10 be convenient?"
"I don't know, Chakotay, let me check. No sorry, I have an appointment at the hairdresser's at 10. Would 12 do?"
Kathryn walked up to them, "Excuse me, but aren't you two forgetting 1 important detail?"
"What?" they asked in unison.
"O sorry, Kathryn. Is 12 convenient for you?"
"Commander Chakotay, I command you to formally propose to me, or I'll have you put in the brig. Understood?"
Chakotay got on his knees and took Kathryn's hands, "Captain Kathryn Janeway of the starship Voyager, currently stationed on Earth, would you do me the great honour of enabling to always serve under you?"
"I should've known that you were going to say something like this."
"Kathryn, give the man your answer."
"I'll say yes, on one condition..."
"O god, no parameters, please Kathryn?"
"No parameters, Chakotay. It's just that I want to wait until I can fit into a proper wedding dress, that's all."
"So, it's a yes?"
"Of course, how could I possibly refuse such a promising proposal."
Just as Chakotay was getting up to kiss Kathryn, her face scrunched up in pain.
"Kathryn, you okay?"
"O god, not now!"
"What's happening? Honey, tell me."
"Chakotay! Don't 'honey' me! Get me to a hospital instead!"
~ * ~ * ~
- six hours later -
"Hi, we came as soon as we could. Where do I go to get ready?"
"Hi Tom, B'Elanna. No need Tom, she is well looked after."
"Yup, and just in time as well. As soon as we arrived at the house, mom told me that her water had just broken."