Something was tickling her nose, but she didn't want to wake up yet. She was much too comfortable, much too comfortable if her companion was asked. He had tried to wake her up numerous times, and each time his tactics had become more obvious, but still the lady did not move.
Time for another idea. Last night, Kathryn had told him about Justin and her father; it was almost as if she wanted to come clean before they took the next step in their relationship. She had also told him that Phoebe had been her savior. He was looking forward to meeting Phoebe this evening. Dinner with her mother last night had been wonderful: he'd always wanted to meet the woman who almost single-handedly raised her daughters, and she hadn't disappointed him.
Now however, he was trying to wake her up, but she wouldn't budge. So much for the easy approach, it was time for something a little more 'intrusive'. Of course he was happy that she had slept so well, but they had plenty of things to do, and the way he saw it they would still have a lifetime of sleeping in late.
Just as he was slipping out of the bed to start a bath, he saw some movement coming from Kathryn. He halted to see what she would do, but the only movement he got was Kathryn moving into the warm spot he had left behind. He smiled to himself, she was incorrigible. Walking into the bathroom, he could see where Kathryn got her love for bathtubs. The bath was another feature that had helped him make the decision to buy this house: somewhere in the back of his mind he must have been thinking of Kathryn when he bought it, and the bathtub just strengthened the idea that maybe she would be more interested in a relationship with him. He had never thought that events would lead up to what happened yesterday. He had come back from Starfleet HQ where they had offered him several positions, but he hadn't given them his final choice yet, because he wanted to know what a certain captain would be doing.
~ * ~ * ~
As he was walking towards his house on his way to the store, he saw a figure standing in front of the gate. When he came closer he couldn't believe his eyes: it was Kathryn. How had she found out about his address? He walked up to her and was shocked by the look on her face. She seemed to be completely oblivious to her surroundings and hadn't heard him approach. Her face showed a myriad of emotions, but mostly one of sadness. He couldn't help but stare at her, because she had never looked more beautiful. All he wanted to do at that moment was make sure that she wouldn't have to feel that sadness again. Suddenly, she turned around, before he could hide his emotions behind a mask on his face. She was surprised to see him here, so she must not have known about his address. It was her turn to surprise him when she told him that he had bought her childhood home.
~ * ~ * ~
When his agent had told him about this house, he had immediately come down have a look at it, and the familiar feeling that had come from the house amazed him. Now he understood why: everything having to do with Kathryn made him feel at home, and what would give more of a feeling of home than her home.
~ * ~ * ~
Later they had walked to her tree in the backyard, and his dreams had come true. Somehow, she had still surprised him when she told him that she loved him too.
~ * ~ * ~
Now, she lay there sleeping in his bed, their bed, and feeling more at home than she had ever had. His home, no their home: the idea just made her go all fuzzy inside. She could feel his gaze on her, but decided not to indulge just yet. The bed was too comfortable, and he'd have to come with a comparable offer before she would ever leave this bed. She could hear him going into the bathroom: now there was a possibility, but he came out again without her hearing the sound of water sprinkling down into her parents' tub. Too bad, he really could have scored some points there. But he was leaving the room, probably thinking that that would get her to leave the bed: no way.
~ * ~ * ~
She dozed off again.
Hmm,.now this was a smell she could wake up to: coffee. Slowly, she opened her eyes to find herself only millimetres away from a steaming cup and a smiling face.
"I knew that this would wake you up!"
"Thanks, but I was awake."
Taking her first sip of coffee, she leaned over to Chakotay. "Goodmorning handsome." He leaned over to get a kiss, but Kathryn was already up and moving into the bathroom. "You know, you could have woken me up just by the sound of this," and she turned on the water.
He came in after her, and put his arms around her waist. "You wouldn't have liked the bath I was planning to give you. Do you always sleep in this late?"
"Well, just to get you to wake up, I was seriously considering plunging you into an ice-cold bath. Just to wake you up, you know." She walked over to the bath, with Chakotay still behind her.
"Do you have any bath-oils I can put in?"
"No, not really. We'll have to get some today."
"That's not necessary. Even though I don't have a bath, I always keep my oils ready. So, what's our schedule like today?" She got into the bath, and moved around so that she could lean against Chakotay's back.
"Well, we need to pick up your things from your apartment, maybe even tell Starfleet where you are, and then move everything in here."
"The first part is going to be easy. I haven't unpacked anything except for the necessary stuff ..."
"Like bath oils."
"Like bath oils, exactly. Starfleet will be looking for me anyway, so I guess it will be nice of me to let them know where I am. They still want my decision before tomorrow. And then the wonderful part of our day will be when I move in here!"
"Yes, what postings did they give you?"
"Well, there's the one where I get to captain my own ship—"
"Really? They gave you a ship, after reading my reports on how you managed to completely destroy almost 5 shuttles? Wow, Starfleet keeps amazing me."
"Just for that comment, I might actually take the job. No, really, they did offer that position, but I don't think it will be 'me'. What did you get?"
"The best of course, or at least that's what they called it: you're looking at a possible Admiral, you know that?"
"Admiral Kathryn Janeway: it has a nice ring to it. So, have you decided yet?"
"No, I'm not ready to be admiral yet. All those hours behind a desk doing reports."
"Well, I always thought you sort of liked doing reports."
"Never, that was just all part of my plan."
"Yes, my plan to try to keep away from you."
"Ouch, you mean that."
"No, not really. Of course not. So, what other positions did they offer you?"
"Besides the captaincy? There is one that I really want to accept, but I told Starfleet that I would give them their answer after I had discussed it with someone else."
"Do you really have to ask, Kathryn?"
"No, sorry. They gave me another captaincy as well, but I don't think I'll go for that one either."
"They gave you three options? Ridiculous!"
"Look who's talking. So, what are you going to decide?"
"I think I'm gonna go for the one that is going to keep me close to you."
"Well, in that case: how are your teaching skills, Commander?"
~ * ~ * ~
They'd beamed over to Kathryn's apartment on the grounds of Starfleet HQ. Moving her things to the house was indeed very easy. So far, she had only unpacked two boxes, and they were easily packed up again. Now, as for Starfleet - they didn't know how they were going to react to the fact that Kathryn and Chakotay were going to stay together no matter what.
Admiral Ramirez seemed happy to see them. Over the past couple of weeks more and more rumours had been circulating around about the Captain and the Commander, curtesey of their crew. The stories they had shared with other Starfleet members were all positive, and somehow the crew had managed to create enormous goodwill for the command team. So, Admiral Ramirez wasn't too surprised when Kathryn and Chakotay stood before him, requesting their new positions to be together.
It was only a formality, but their positions had to be granted by another HQ member. Of all the people to grant their assignment, Kathryn and Chakotay found themselves in front of the office of Admiral Nechayev. Ramirez had apologised before hand, because he knew of the dragon lady's reputation.
"I'm sorry, sirs, but Admiral Nechayev is busy. You can only see her if you make an appointment."
"Lieutenant, we are fully aware that the Admiral is busy, but all we have to give her is a message from Adm. Ramirez. Now, even you could give it to her, and then she could send it back to Adm. Ramirez with her approval. We simply do not have the time to make an appointment which could well be 4 weeks away."
"Six weeks, actually."
"There, you see, 6 weeks. It is not possible, we need to assume our positions next week, understood?"
"Yes, Captain, Commander. I'll see to it that she gets it right away. I'm sorry for the inconvenience."
"That's all right. How long have you been working for the Admiral?"
"Only two days, sir."
"Well, Lieutenant, I am sure that the Admiral is pleased with your work, keep it up."
"Thank you, Captain Janeway."
~ * ~ * ~
Back outside, Chakotay couldn't help himself. "Kathryn, you are a wicked woman, you know? That poor Lieutenant now has to explain to the Queen B herself why she didn't force us into making an appointment. Really, have you no mercy?"
"No, not when it comes to evading your Queen B. Chakotay, you know what she is like - did you know that once I received my orders to capture you, she called me back into her office to tell me that this mission was probably the most important one in my life. She even promised me that upon my successful return, she would personally recommend me for the admiralty."
"Wow, I didn't know we were that important. This certainly is an ego boost, wait till I tell B'Elanna."
"Speaking of B'Elanna, do you think that they have contacted everybody by now with their new piece of information on us?"
"I don't know, I hope not, but I think that Tom and B'Ela would rather keep everyone guessing, so that they can claim some 'well' earned rations."
"The rations are not going to be of much help here, I'd thought that by now, they would have changed it to lithium."
"Or maybe our terrible twosome has grownup some, and have decided to finally lets us live our own lives?"
She looked at him to see if he was serious, but the twinkle in his eyes gave his composure away. "Nah, they'd never do that!"
They were laughing so hard that they people around them looked at them in ill-disguised disgust. Somehow, Starfleet seemed a lot stricter than when they had left it all those years ago. Both were secretly hoping that the Academy would be more 'fun'. Of course, if things were too bad, they could always ask Tom to entertain them. When they were waiting for their meeting with Ramirez, they had discussed the fact that their family was falling apart, but Chakotay was able to reassure Kathryn that Neelix was already planning a Voyager day to celebrate their return each year. He also was planning another commemorative day, but that would be one they would not tell Starfleet about: it was set on the day the Caretaker threw them into the DQ.
~ * ~ * ~
Half-unpacked boxes surrounded them when the comm-unit beeped. Kathryn struggled to get to the study, and almost fell over Chakotay's legs. "Hey, look where you put those long legs, mister. People might trip over them!"
"Hey shorty, look where you're walking, some people don't have the ability to just curl up and fit into the smallest spaces."
Grumbling something unintelligible, Kathryn finally made it to the study. She activated the screen.
"Hiya Kathy, so what's up?"
"Phoebe, hello. How did you get this link?"
"How do you think? Mom of course! I don't know what you did to her, but she is walking on air, and baking brownies like crazy."
"I think I know why. So, when will you arrive?"
"You're not going to tell me, are you? Really, Kathryn, sometimes you just have to learn to relax, and let other people in on the magic secret."
"Phoebe, I'll tell you when you get here. So, your ETA, darling sis?"
"Please, no Starfleet babble. Actually, that's why I'm calling: mom wouldn't give me the co-ordinates, and since we're early, I thought I'd just call you, and ask for them."
"I'll send them to you. Where are you now? I don't recognise the background."
"O, we're at Mr Rogers' house. I just had to see him."
"You're at Mr Rogers'? Hang on, I'll be back in a sec. Has he told you anything?"
"No, just that you came to visit him the other day, that's all."
"Good, hang on."
~ * ~ * ~
Kathryn ran out of the study and managed to almost trip over Chakotay's legs again.
"Careful, Kath, I don't want you to break anything!"
"You're not going to believe this! Phoebe is at Mr Rogers' with her family, and she is asking me for the co-ordinates! What do I tell her? Heck, we're not even ready here. Do you think she'll mind to stay in town a little longer? Do you think they could stay here? Do you think they want to stay here? Help Chakotay, I can't do this." She sank down on the floor, and cradled her head in her hands. Chakotay walked over to her, and helped her get up.
"I'm not sure I remember all your questions, but yes, they can stay here. I also think that you should ask them how long they are planning to stay at Mr Rogers, that way, we can walk up there and surprise them. Sound okay?"
"Yes, if they're going to stay here, they might as well meet me as soon as possible, don't you think?"
"You're right, of course. Okay, it sounds good, I'll ask Phoebe. Are you ready to leave?"
"Just go tell Phoebe, and clean up the mess a bit."
Phoebe was still anxiously awaiting her sister's return. Their mother had been acting weird, and didn't want to say anything about the dinner, and Kathryn was certainly not acting like her normal organised self. Something was up.
"Phoebs, sorry it took me so long. I was wondering how long you would be staying at Mr Rogers'?"
"O, he just asked if we could stay for tea. Kathy loves him, because he tells them these great stories about you and me. They're all really nervous to meet you. I think she got the wrong impression from seeing all the vids from Starfleet, she thinks you're really a battle-axe."
"She does what? What have you been telling her Phoebe?"
"Me? I haven't told her anything. It's just that you were so collected when they took the interviews, Kathy thinks you're like Miss Protocol all the way. She's been practising her salutes."
"Phoebe, I hope you told her I was a normal person."
"You, Kathryn Janeway, normal? Are you sure you're my sister?"
"Stuff it Phoebs. So you'll be at Mr Rogers' a bit longer then?"
"Yes. Do I get the co-ordinates now, Captain?"
"I'll send them over in 15 minutes, I need to make sure that Mr Rogers receives the right ones. Janeway out."
~ * ~ * ~
They practically ran to Mr Rogers' house. Chakotay was fairly nervous. Gretchen had taken an immediate liking to him, but he wasn't sure Phoebe would too. He only assumed that Kathryn was nervous as well.
When Mr Rogers opened the backdoor, he didn't seem surprised. "Hello Kathryn, Chakotay. I had a feeling you would be coming by."
"Hello, Mr Rogers. Have you told her anything?"
"And spoil the surprise, never! They're in the living room. Do you want something to drink?"
Chakotay started to walk to the living room, telling Mr Rogers that they still had a lot of cleaning up to do before the party started. Kathryn told him they would come by another time.
~ * ~ * ~
"Mommy, when are we going to see Aunt Kathryn?"
"I don't know sweetheart. Edward! Please, Peter, keep him away from the plants, he'll eat them. Kathy, your aunt told me she would send the co-ordinates, and we're just waiting for that."
They didn't notice Kathryn standing in the doorway, looking intently at the scene before her. Her sister always had been the lucky one, with such a beautiful family. Chakotay slipped his arms around her waist, and whispered in her ear.
"They seem rather anxious, don't you think? Maybe it's time we told them we're already here?"
She just hugged him tighter to her. "We should, shouldn't we?"
Just then Kathy turned around. Looking at the adults in the doorway, her conversation stopped, which made Phoebe look up as well. "Kathryn? What? How?" She ran towards her sister and the two women embraced. "O my god! What are you doing here?"
They pulled back to look at each other, scrutinising each line that had been etched in their faces since they last saw each other in person. "Phoebe, you have no idea how good it is to see you!"
"I think, Kathryn, that I do know. I missed you too you know!" They hugged again, but were interrupted by a little girl who was tugging her mother's skirt. "Mommy!" Kathy was standing there with her hands on her hips, in classic Janeway-mode. "Mommy! Is this Auntie Kathryn?"
Phoebe kneeled down and picked up Kathy. "Kathy, I'd like you to meet your aunt Kathryn. Kathryn, this is your niece and namesake, Kathy." Kathy held out her hands to Kathryn and allowed her to take her into her arms. The two Kathryn's looked at each other until Kathy looked over Kathryn's shoulder and pointed to Chakotay. "Who's that?"
Phoebe had already been staring at the dark man, and had recognised him as Kathryn's XO. She wondered why he was here, but then remembered that her mother had told her he'd been there at dinner.
"Chakotay, I'd like you to meet Kathy. Kathy, this is Chakotay." When she saw his smile, she started to giggle. "What is that you have on your head?"
Chakotay laughed. "I'll tell you when we go to our house."
Phoebe just looked at them, and then remembered that she hadn't introduced the rest of the family. "Kath, meet Peter Hariman. Peter, this is my weird and wonderful sister Kathryn. And this plant eating menace is Edward, our youngest." The toddler looked from his mother and father to Kathryn and Chakotay and begged to be picked up as well. He buried his face in his mother's hair. "He's going through the 'I only want my mommy'-phase right now, don't worry, within an hour he is all over you."
Peter walked up to Kathryn and hugged her. "It's great to finally meet you. Phoebe never stops talking about you."
"Well, Peter, I have to say, that when I received the letter from home, I was very upset for not knowing who had married my baby-sis, but I guess we can make up for that now."
Phoebe walked over to Chakotay, and pulled him aside. "So, Chakotay, what is it like to serve under Kathryn?"
"Phoebe, it is wonderful!"