The smell of caramel brownies had invaded the house. Every first Sunday of the month, Gretchen Janeway found herself baking her oldest daughter’s favorite brownies. Unfortunately, Kathryn would not be there to enjoy them. Instead Phoebe and her family would come over, and Kathy - Phoebe’s eldest - would do her aunt proud by begging her grandmother to let her eat them all.

Disclaimer: From all the money I’ll make with this story, I intend to buy Paramount. That way the characters will finally be mine! (*sigh* my dreamscenario)

Story n°5: still from that one moment of clarity when I met Rose.

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The smell of caramel brownies had invaded the house. Every first Sunday of the month, Gretchen Janeway found herself baking her oldest daughter’s favorite brownies. Unfortunately, Kathryn would not be there to enjoy them. Instead Phoebe and her family would come over, and Kathy - Phoebe’s eldest - would do her aunt proud by begging her grandmother to let her eat them all.

As the doorbell rang, Gretchen realized they must have come over early today. All week there had been rumors of a possible return of Voyager, but no one at Starfleet had been able to confirm.

It had been twelve years since she disappeared in the Badlands.

Opening the door she looked at the woman in front of her. It couldn’t be! This was a trick!



If it was a trick, someone was going to pay for it. For now Gretchen enjoyed finally having her Kathryn back in her arms.

“Mom. It is really me. We’re home!”

With a tear-streaked face, Gretchen pulled back to look at her daughter. Kathryn had changed. There was peacefulness in her expression. On the other hand, her body still showed the Janeway pose - hands on her hips. But her face showed a happiness she had never seen in her daughter. Only now did she see the tall dark figure behind Kathryn. He was standing at her left side. In his arms was the sleeping form of a little girl.

Kathryn saw her mother’s surprised expression. “Don’t worry, I will tell you everything. The whole trip down here was a bit much for her.”

Gretchen looked back at her daughter, this time scrutinizing her more closely. Kathryn had to smile when her mother’s gaze settled on the slight bulge of her stomach. She looked over her shoulder at Chakotay. “I told you she’d notice.”

Gretchen took her daughter’s hands, not willing to risk loosing the physical connection. “Kathryn Marie Janeway, you better have a damned fine excuse for not inviting your own mother to your wedding!” The two embraced again and Gretchen regarded Chakotay over her daughter’s shoulder. “You must be Chakotay.”

They contacted Phoebe immediately. By now Rose was awake and instantly took to her grandmother. Kathryn and Chakotay told Gretchen some things about Voyager, but decided to wait until the family was complete.

She rolled over in his arms and opened her eyes to look at the man beside her. He was still sleeping, but there was a smile on his face.

They’d almost stayed up the entire night talking to her family. So far they had covered the events up to New Earth. Gretchen and Phoebe had demanded they tell them everything. Kathryn had let Chakotay do most of the telling, after all, he was their story-man.

Tomorrow Chakotay and Peter, Phoebe’s husband, would go back to the ship to get their things. For the time being they would stay at the Janeway residence.

Slowly Kathryn untangled herself from Chakotay’s arms, trying not to wake him. She walked over to the large window and just gazed at the stars. The sight of the familiar constellation did not give her the reassurance she was looking for.

Starfleet had told her the crew was acquitted from all charges that would have been brought against them. In other words, the Maquis-part of her crew was free. However, they had to give up Voyager. Starfleet claimed the ship had been patched up too many times to be able to serve in the Fleet. Kathryn was furious at their decision. Voyager wasn’t Starfleet’s anymore. It was theirs. It had been a home to the crew for 12 years. For the youngest it was the only home they knew. But Starfleet was relentless.

At their initial briefing they actually had the nerve to give her a choice: a free crew or Voyager. She was still fuming at having been forced to make that choice. When she got out of the meeting, Chakotay was there and he immediately picked up on her feelings. Unfortunately they didn’t have the time to discuss it, because they had been ‘advised’ to visit their families until Starfleet knew what to do with the Voyager crew.

“Kath?” Chakotay sat up in bed, “Come back to bed. You get up too early, you know that?”

She turned around and walked back to the bed. Crawling under the covers, she snuggled up to Chakotay. “I still can’t believe they made me choose.”

“Choose? Between what?”

“Admiral Nechayev told me I had two options. The freedom of the crew or keeping Voyager.”

She felt him stiffen and his arms closed around her more. “My god, Kath! She told you that? Who do they think they are? Voyager has been our home for 12 years!”

“Well, what did you expect me to do? Send my own husband to prison? Never.”

He kissed her nose. “You realize this means you never completed your mission.”

“What do you mean? We’re back, aren’t we?”

“Yes, but I believe there was a different reason for following us into the Badlands. Weren’t you supposed to apprehend me?”

“I did, didn’t I?”

They almost missed the soft knock on their door.

“Mommy, daddy?”

Chakotay got up to open the door. Rose stood in front of him, Bamse tucked away under her arm. He picked her up and carried her to the bed. She snuggled up to Kathryn who in turn found herself tucked against Chakotay’s chest. They didn’t speak and within minutes, Rose was lulled asleep by her parents' presence. Kathryn followed soon after. Chakotay remained awake. Looking at the two most important people in his life, he decided to pay Adm. Nechayev a visit tomorrow. Nobody should be made to choose between family and the home of that family!

(approximately 2 months later)

“Why don’t you explain why your stress levels are still high?”

“Doctor, you know what it’s been like. Every day I receive over 20 requests for interviews, talkshows, and such. Then there’s Starfleet breathing down my neck, and of course Chakotay and I are still looking for a house. I simply don’t have the time to relax.”

Ever since they returned to the Alpha Quadrant, life had been hard on Kathryn Janeway. The reunion with her family had been her only positive moment. After her final briefing, Starfleet Command had given her the choice between her ship and her crew. Of course, she chose her crew and resigned in the process, but it didn’t mean they were going to let her go. She still had numerous actions to account for. Most of the crew had resigned when Chakotay had told them of the sacrifice she had had to make, and this resulted in the official declaration of the Voyager crew as persona non grata. Luckily the Doctor (after refusing his name given to him by his creator, and instead keeping Tom’s nickname: Doc) had been able to open his own practice. With all this going on, Kathryn and Chakotay simply didn’t find the house they were looking for and they were still living at her mother’s, who was more than happy to have them. Rose and her grandmother were like two peas in a pod, often ganging up on Kathryn to make sure she was taking Doc’s advice. Chakotay had been offered a job as Lecturer of Anthropology at Indiana University, but Kathryn was still unemployed. At least, that’s what she called it. With all her public appearances and Starfleet’s meddling, she managed to completely fill her schedule.

The Doctor was well aware of the pressure resting on her shoulders, but he also had to warn her of her situation. She was an older woman, and this pregnancy could take its toll on her if she wasn’t careful enough.

Three months later

“Daddy!” Rose came running down the stairs. “Daddy!” Looking around the house, she didn’t see her father. Another scream could be heard upstairs. “Daddy! Where are you?”

Chakotay was in the garden when he heard Rose’s voice, followed by the primordial cry from Kathryn. He ran inside and up the stairs. “Kathryn! Are you alright?”

Kathryn was crouched in front of their bed. “What do you think? Do I look alright? Get the Doctor! Your child is not going to wait another minute!”

He ran back downstairs into the study and activated the viewscreen. Within minutes the transporter came to life and delivered the Doctor.

Things had calmed down in the past couple of months. Kathryn was ordered to bed and rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. The Doctor still thought it was his best tactical move. Gretchen Janeway agreed with him. Because they still hadn’t found a house of their own, Kathryn was given the master bedroom in her mother’s house with a standing invitation to live there for as long as she liked. Chakotay was glad to have the extra persuasive experience of Gretchen: Kathryn proved to be a difficult patient. Rose was delighted they were living with her Nana, and she turned out to be a great help. She had been Kathryn’s main entertainer when staying in bed was too hard on her. The former crew of Voyager all had turned up at one time or another to give their Captain the much welcomed distraction. Starfleet, per the Doctor’s orders, had not bothered her anymore, and she was now free to do whatever she liked. They had even given her a chance to return to Starfleet, which she ignored. For now she would focus on her family, and her unborn baby.

Kolopak Edward Janeway was born half an hour later.