Rating : PG-13
Disclaimer : Paramount owns the names, but the story is mine :)
They walked down the center aisle and stopped.
"Is she the one?"
"She is the numtra of her people?"
"I observed this species behavior since they arrived on the array.
I believe they call her... Captain."
"And what of a mate? Is there one among them she loves?"
"I do not think she has chosen."
"Then we will choose for her."
"This one... this one bearing a mark on his temple. What is he to this species?"
"I do not know."
"Can you see their souls Alijalis?"
"Have I chosen well?"
"Yes, my prophet, you have chosen our future... and theirs."
"Captain's Log, stardate 4726.7: We are beginning the fourth of year our journey home, the last few weeks have been, for the most part, uneventful until this morning. We encountered a Class 7 nebula. The random particle surges we passed through as we entered the energy cloud caused minor damage to the warp conduits on decks 11 through 16. As a result, the bio-neurol gel packs on those decks overloaded their internal sensors. Unfortunately, we don't have the..."
The doors to Kathryn's ready room chimed.
"Am I disturbing you, Captain?" Chakotay asked, standing before her.
"Not at all. I was just making a log entry about the damage we sustained. Have you found any solutions to our problem yet?"
"Actually, yes. But, you know, my explanation would sound much better if I had some coffee to liven me up." Chakotay smiled.
"Good call. I think this could use a little freshening up."
Kathryn rose from her chair. Grabbing the half-empty cup from her desk, she made her way to the replicator. Chakotay followed. Taking a seat on the couch, Chakotay watched as Kathryn poured. He smiled as she dropped two sugar cubes into the steaming cup.
She remembers, he thought.
Kathryn sat down next to her first officer. They sat in silence for awhile: sipping their coffee and glancing up occasionally. Each lost in their own thoughts about the ship, the crew and invariably each other. Kathryn could never figure out why she was so drawn to him. From the moment Chakotay appeared on her bridge, she ended up only inches away from him. She found the connection fascinating: she began to look forward to moments like this. Quiet. Comfortable. Easy. Why hadn't Mark been able to make me feel like this? she thought.
The touch of his hand was all it took. Unaware that she had been staring at Chakotay for some time, Kathryn felt her face turn red. She looked down at his tan hand covering hers.
"You were miles away. What were you thinking about?"
"Oh, I was just... thinking about our gel pack problem."
"I know. But I think I have an answer. Harry performed an extended sweep for the solution in its' pure form with the new astrometric sensors. We didn't find any. But, the sensors did detect 3 key elements of the solution on the surface of a Class M planet .1 light year from here."
"Flourizine, Metabanal and Binate." Chakotay answered, handing her the data padd of sensor information.
"That leaves Mercurial."
"Yes. But Neelix thinks there is another planet beyond this one with some deposits beneath the surface."
"Just 52 hours more."
"Were there any life signs on this first planet?"
"Yes. The majority of the civilizations seem to be in the Eastern Hemisphere. Their technology is not comparable to our own, but there are faint warp signatures in the atmosphere surrounding the planet. I think we'll be able to trade for the elements."
Kathryn placed her cup on the table in front of her. Chakotay did the same as he stood and extended his other hand to help her. Kathryn smiled and shook her head as he pulled her to her feet. Flirt she thought. In the discussion, she had forgotten she tucked one leg under her when she first sat down. As she started to stand she realized her leg was asleep. She fell slightly forward, grabbing Chakotay's uniform. He leaned back out of instinct and they both fell to the floor.
"Don't you think we should do this somewhere else?"
Kathryn's eye's widened.
"I mean, what if somebody walked in?" Chakotay smirked with a huge grin on his face.
Kathryn let her head fall on his chest as she burst out in laughter. The motion of his chest as he tried to stop laughing only made things worse. She lifted herself up on her hands as she looked down at him: her face covered with tears. He took a deep breath. She took one as well. The moment was there. The moment passed. As it had done many times before. Kathryn backed away, using the couch to get up. Chakotay leaned forward and stood as well.
"I think we should get to the bridge."
He brushed a strand of hair behind Kathryn's ear as he looked at her.
With her duty shift ending, Kathryn made her way to the turbolift. At last report, Voyager was only a week away from the planet containing the circuitry components they needed. With the warp drive capability off-line and the impulse engines working at a bare minimum, it had taken longer to reach the planet than expected. Energy reserves were low and Kathryn was feeling the strain. All she wanted to do was curl up with a good old-fashioned book. Holo-novels take too much energy, she thought.
Exiting the turbolift, Kathryn began rubbing her eyes. She could feel a headache coming on. She was almost to her door when she heard a loud crash, like breaking glass. She turned and walked down the corridor towards the sound. A bellow of pain escaped from Chakotay's quarters. Oh my Gods. Chakotay! She ran to the door.
There was no answer.
"Computer. Security override. Janeway Pi 110."
Kathryn entered his quarters to find him lying on the floor, surrounded by shards of glass. She rushed towards him. Lifting his head with her hands, she heard a moan escape his lips. There was blood everywhere. She immediately tapped her com badge.
"Janeway to sickbay. Emergency tran..."
Kathryn looked down at her blood soaked hands. Everything went
Chakotay slowly came to. He was in sickbay. He tried to lift his head only to be met by a sharp pain above his eyes.
"Lay still commander. I haven't removed all the pieces of glass." Snapped the Doctor, pushing Chakotay's shoulders back towards the bed.
"What..." he moaned. "What happened?"
"Well, it seems as if you decided to shatter the table in your quarters with your head. I take it this is one of your more violent tribal rituals?"
"Everything just faded... I was going to... to replicator for some tea... and it just... went black."
"Odd, that's exactly what she said."
"The Captain. She said heard a loud crash, entered your quarters and when she began to call sickbay, everything just faded in front of her. We found her lying on the floor next to you."
The doctor looked puzzled as he ran the portable scanner over Chakotay's head. There were no physical signs of contusions, internal bleeding or lacerations other than the ones caused by the broken glass.
Chakotay turned his head to see Kathryn asleep in the bio-bed next to him.
"She is fine commander. I want to keep you both here for the next few days. I need to run some tests. We can't have our commanding officers fainting on the bridge."
"I don't faint." Chakotay snarled as he sat up. "Besides, one of us needs to be on the bridge when we reach the planet. I..."
Chakotay dropped his head to his hands in pain.
"You're as stubborn as she is." The doctor retorted as he brought
the hypospray to Chakotay's neck. "Tuvok has everything under control.
"The nebula worked. They are on their way here."
"Very good Alijalis. They are the only way." The prophet sighed placing his hand on the altar. "They are her only hope."
He paused for a moment and turned. "This Captain and the one chosen, will they remember?"
"No, my prophet. They will know only what they see and even then, they may not believe."
They both knelt before the altar once more and continued to pray.
"I'm sorry, but I've found no medical reason for what happened to the Captain and Commander. So far, every scan I've run has come up negative."
"Is there some type of alien influence taking place?"
"Again, I don't know. I am at a loss and I don't mind how telling you how irritating that is for me."
"Very well, doctor. Continue the tests. I'll be on the bridge. Tuvok out."
Tuvok exited his quarters. With the Captain and Commander still in sickbay, it was now his duty to contact the planets' inhabitants and negotiate the trade Voyager desperately needed. They would be entering the planets' atmosphere in two hours and there were still preparations to be made before first contact.
The turbolift doors opened.
"Any word?" Harry asked looking up from his console. The rest of the bridge crew turned to look at Tuvok for some type of answer.
"Maybe that disease they contracted on that planet is resurfacing." Tom suggested.
"Speculation can serve no logical purpose, Lieutenant." Tuvok calmly stated as he looked around the bridge. "I suggest we concentrate on our individual duties and let the doctor worry about our commanding officers. I'll be in the Captain's ready room."
And with that, Tuvok disappeared.
"You know, there are times when I really hate his logic." Tom said shaking
his head in disbelief at what he just heard. "Vulcans. I just
don't get them."
Kathryn slowly opened her eyes to see Chakotay leaning over her. His hand holding hers.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty." He smiled.
"Chakotay?'" she said sitting up in the bed to look around. "Still in sickbay, huh?"
"Yes. Going on day seven."
"I thought I was just dreaming all this."
"You mean having a nightmare."
"Yes, that sounds more like it, I think."
She swung her legs over the side of the bed and hopped down: picking up her uniform as she headed for the doctors' office for some privacy.
"You want to make a break for it?" she asked.
"And where would we escape to?"
"The bridge, where else." Kathryn laughed.
"Once a captain..." Chakotay snickered as he pulled the sleeves to his uniform over his arms.
"Always disobeying orders." The doctor stated sharply appearing
before her as she finished pinning her hair up. "And where do you
two think you're going?"
"The bridge." Kathryn stated coldly.
"But I haven't released you. I... I haven't found out why..."
"Look, we appreciate your concern, doctor. But it is obvious that we are fine now."
"Commander, would you please tell her to..."
"Sorry doctor..." Chakotay replied. "she's the Captain."
Kathryn and Chakotay just grinned at each other as sickbay doors closed
behind them. It was like being a kid again and breaking curfew.
They couldn't help but laugh at the doctor's misfortune.
"They call me Alijalis. I am the Chakra's seer."
The entire bridge crew was mesmerized by the image on the view screen. A liquid light of translucent blues and greens hung in swirls in the background. Eight figures in white robes shown before them with their faces shadowed. Alijalis stood in front of the figures and slowly removed her hood. Her hair was silky white. Her eyes matched the blue of the skies that surrounded her and the lines on her tanned face served as a clue to her wisdom.
"Our race, Tuvok."
"I do not recall having ever met your kind before. How do you know my name?"
"We have been expecting your ship for some time."
Tuvok raised his eyebrow.
"In time, Tuvok. You will understand... they will understand.
Please, come join us."
Alijalis lifted her hands into the air. As Kathryn and Chakotay exited the turbolift, they saw Tuvok disappear in a bright blue flash of light.
"What happened?" Kathryn asked.
"Captain. Commander. You're all right."
"Yes Harry. We're fine. Now what happened to Tuvok?" Kathryn stated rather harshly taking her chair next to Chakotay.
Tom turned around. "We were making first contact with the race on the planet. They call themselves the Chakra, Captain. Then this light appeared on the bridge and he was gone."
Kathryn stood and began to pace back and forth.
"Did they offer any sign of hostility?" Chakotay asked punching commands into his console.
"No sir. But they did say they were expecting us."
"How could they be expecting us if that was our first contact?" Harry asked aloud.
Kathryn looked up at him.
"Tuvok was making first contact?"
"Yes, Captain. But they said we would understand."
Kathryn looked over at Chakotay. This is all too strange. she
thought. Why in the world...
Another flash of light appeared before them behind Tuvok's station. The entire bridge crew stood to see Tuvok reappear before them. A little disoriented, he brought his hand to his head as he leaned on the console. Kathryn moved towards him, reaching out to touch his shoulder.
"Tuvok. Are you all right?"
"Yes, Captain. I believe I am." He replied, attempting to stand up straight.
"Ensign. Please escort him to sick bay."
"That won't be necessary, Captain. He is fine. He is not used to our ways."
Kathryn turned to find a robed woman standing before her.
"Who are you?"
"I am Alijalis."
"She is the Chakra's seer, Captain." Tuvok said as he stepped down to where the two women stood.
"I was sent to bring you to her."
Chakotay rose to stand behind Kathryn.
"Bring us?" he asked.
"Yes. She needs you. She needs you both."
And in another flash of light, Voyager's commanding officers and Alijalis were gone. Tom and Harry looked at Tuvok.
"It is all right. The Captain and Commander are needed on the surface." Tuvok coolly stated. "I assure you, they are not in any danger."
"That is all. Return to your posts."
Tom and Harry looked at him strangely. Tuvok's behavior was unsettling
to say the least.
Not being able to question a superior officer, they reluctantly returned to their posts.
Kathryn and Chakotay found themselves among lush, vibrant greenery. Iridescent purple and gold flowers bloomed for miles around them. They looked up to see a temple made strong by swept steel and jade almost glowing in the distance. The edges protruded like jagged blades but aligned perfectly long the temple's sides. The three suns above beamed yellow rays through the blue green sky as they turned to look at one another. Alijalis appeared before them about a kilometer away.
"Please follow." She said as she lifted her right hand to show them the way.
Neither one moved. Alijalis looked at them with sympathy in her eyes.
"Let me assure you... Captain and chosen one..." she said. "We would not harm the creators, but we need your help."
"The chosen one?"
"Please. I promise you will understand. But you must
come with me."
Chakotay walked forward towards Kathryn. With a soft look, he took her hand in his and motioned for her to follow Alijalis with him.
"I think its O.K. Kathryn."
The three made their way up the path towards the temple. Chakotay gently pushed the hanging branches out of Kathryn's way as they approached the steps.
"You two care for each other, don't you?" Alijalis said without turning to look at the couple behind her.
Kathryn stopped in mid-stride to look at Chakotay. He smiled.
"I know I do." He sighed, hardly above a whisper.
Kathryn found herself resting her head on his shoulder as they continued on their way. There was that feeling again. she thought. Wait, I can't get lost in this. She lifted her head and let go of his hand.
"You must let yourself feel it Kathryn." Alijalis spoke softly as she turned to climb the remaining steps to the temple. "This feeling inside you... it must be realized... before it is lost to you both."
Kathryn froze. Chakotay looked at her as he felt her body shudder in response to the words hanging in the air. He let go of her hand and climbed two more steps to give her the space he thought she needed for a moment. The look in her eyes told him that Alijalis had struck something inside her. In that instant, everything that Kathryn had ever allowed her self to feel for Chakotay came into focus. The image was sharp and clear in her mind and she saw the answer in the eye's of the man standing before her: his hand extended towards her to keep climbing the steps.
They entered the temple to find it filled with thousands of masked people sitting in concentric circles across the vast stone floor. Streams of light bounced off the ivy strewn walls as a low chanting tone filled the misty air. Tiny mosaics of color peaked through the giant leaves that surrounded the row of columns along the aisle. And in the center of the gathered mass, seated in a white stone chair of some sort, Kathryn's eyes began to focus on a figure.
"She has been waiting a long time to meet you. Go forth."
Kathryn and Chakotay walked towards the center. A very tall man in a robe of blue and gold was seated just behind the stone chair. They both stood before her. A young girl with her face towards the floor reached her pale hands out towards them.
"Take her hands." A low, deep voice called out
Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other as each one reached out.
"They are the ones, my prophet?"
"Yes, my child."
She stood and lifted her eyes. And in an instant, her small, illuminated frame dropped to one knee.
"My name is MiKaya. I am the creators daughter."
Kathryn looked at her charcoal colored hair, the smallness of the hand she held and then returned her gaze to the young girl's deep, blue eyes. It as if she was looking into a mirror. But there was more than just her image staring back at her, she felt Chakotay staring as well.
"What?" Chakotay whispered.
"I am your daughter. You both created me to lead the descendants of your people."
MaKiya stood and took Kathryn's face into her hands.
"Just as you lead them."
They both stood there in silence. In disbelief, Kathryn backed away. She felt Chakotay's hand on the small of her back, keeping her steady. He watched as Kathryn's hands slowly reached for the back of her own neck. MiKaya looked at Alijalis as her eyes filled with tears. Letting go of Chakotay's hand, she pushed her way through the stunned pair and ran out the temple doors as they watched.
"MiKaya! Wait!" Alijalis disappeared before them.
"I was afraid you would react in this manner." A deep voice sighed. "Alijalis said you would not believe..."
Kathryn swirled around in a wild gust of anger and lunged towards
the tall man.
Chakotay caught her by the shoulders and pulled her back to him. Her teeth were clenched and the look on her face was one even Chakotay hadn't seen. She writhed in his arms like a wounded animal trying to break free from a trap.
"What do you expect me to do?! This is some kind of trick...some.."
Kathryn felt everything going black again. She brought her hands to her head.
"No... no... not..."
She and Chakotay fell to the stone floor. The prophet looked up at the temple entrance.
"MiKaya!" he called out. He quickly summoned those around him
to aid the Captain and Commander. "I must get to MiKaya."
The smell in the air was sweet. Kathryn's senses consumed the scent as she opened her eyes. A transparent white cloth hung from the ceiling above her and graced the edge of the bed as a breeze blew through the room. She felt satin move across her skin as she reached to stretch her arms. She sat up and looked towards the sunlight that was creeping across the floor. What a dream she thought. Then all at once, the image of MiKaya filled her mind. The temple. The feeling. Being told she had a daughter. It was all too much. She flew out of the bed, frantically looking for her uniform. A daughter. I can't be a...
She turned to see Chakotay standing in the doorway. She dropped the mass of fabric bundled in her hands to the floor. Without a second thought, she walked towards him. As she got closer, Chakotay saw the tears forming in her eyes. He stretched out his arms to offer her the haven she needed. Kathryn buried her face in his chest as she held on to him. Soft sighs of comfort entered her ears as he stood there rubbing her back with his hands.
"I don't understand, Chakotay." She whispered through the cries.
"I know, Kathryn. Be still."
"It's not true. It can't be true."
Chakotay moved one hand to Kathryn's neck and lifted her chin with the other.
"Is the thought of having a child with me that repulsive to you?"
Kathryn hadn't realized the impact of what she was saying. A small smile found it's way to her lips.
"I never said that." She whispered as she removed his hand from her face. She turned away from him and took a seat on the end of the bed. "I just don't understand all this."
"She is dying Kathryn." Chakotay almost choked on the words. "Our daughter is dying."
"Chakotay?" she turned to look at him. "You don't... you don't believe all this?"
Chakotay walked over and leaned against the bedpost: staring out the window as he spoke.
"You have been asleep for two days. The prophet felt it would be better that way."
"Two days? I.."
"Kathryn stop." He wiped at his furrowed brow as he sat down beside
her. "I need you to
He reached out and took her hand in his.
"When the Caretaker brought us here, he wasn't the only one on the array. There were others. Others unlike the Ocampa. There were only a few of their kind left, but he used their abilities to see all the species throughout the universe. They chose for him in exchange for what they needed. Once the Caretaker brought the species inside the array, he let the Chakra take whatever cell structure from whatever species they liked in order to restore some form of their race. But the cell cohesion kept failing even after a few days. Every attempt ended the same way. That is, until we were abducted."
Chakotay stopped and made his way to the balcony door. As the sun shown on his face, Kathryn could see a loan tear travel down his cheek. She walked over to him and placed her hand on his back.
"They watched us while were on the array. Once we were in stasis, they extracted our cells, almost from the entire crew, and combined them with their own to produce enough offspring to populate this entire city. But they needed a leader. So they chose your cells and they... they combined them with mine."
"But how did they know?"
Chakotay turned to her and smiled.
"I asked Alijalis that same question."
"She said she saw us together yet apart. She said our souls would always touch. That from the beginning of time, you and I were meant for no other. She called it the perfect love and said that all they did was give that love life. For the past four years, this entire planet's race grew."
"But that girl is obviously older than four, Chakotay."
"Their bodies mature quickly... until their blood cools and slows to a rate mimicking our races growth. Alijalis said it was necessary to assure total cell cohesion: the only way to assure the survival of both species off-spr..."
"...of our children. But MiKaya's blood is not changing the way it should. She is having trouble reaching the final emanation."
Kathryn shook her head.
"Emanation? What is..."
Alijalis stood in the doorway for a moment.
"It is the final stage of development in which the blood purifies and prepares itself to live through adulthood, Kathryn. MiKaya does not have the strength, her blood is too thin. She needs what only the two of you can give her. Can you not feel her pain, Kathryn?"
Kathryn returned her gaze to Chakotay.
"She is our child, Kathryn. We experience the blackouts the way she does. Don't you see it? We have to strengthen her blood by giving our own... we can give her life...again. It's the only way she'll make it."
Suddenly Kathryn backed away from Chakotay clutching her stomach. Mother she heard inside her head. Mother can you hear me? MiKaya's image seemed to float before her in a sea of white mist. She closed her eyes. She fell to the floor as a sharp pain filled her abdomen. She could feel it again. The extraction as she lay in the Caretaker's lab with the rest of her crew. The long, silver needle as it pierced her skin. And a small voice that kept fading farther away from her.
She opened her eyes to see that the image before her had changed. She saw a young, dark haired girl running through a garden. Kathryn saw herself chasing after her. She reached out, wanting to reach the playful little girl. She felt she had to protect her somehow. I need you mother The girl ran into someone's open arms. Her hair swung in the wind as the man swept her up and spun her around. As he brought her back down to his side, the two figures turned to look at Kathryn running towards them. We need you Kathryn and the image disappeared.
Kathryn looked up at Chakotay.
"It's true." She whispered.
Chakotay fell to his knees in front of her.
"Chakotay... MiKaya...she's ours."
"Yes, Kathryn" he replied wiping the tears from her eyes. "And she needs us."
Kathryn looked into Chakotay's eyes. The reason for the feeling. The connection. It was all there. She reached up and pulled his head towards her: bringing his lips to hers for the first time. With impassioned tenderness, they drew their bodies towards each other among the intensity that began to fill the room. All at once, Kathryn's body went limp in Chakotay's arms.
"Kathryn? Kathryn!" he yelled, shaking her. He looked up at Alijalis, questioning.
"It is time."
Chakotay held Kathryn close as he lifted her into his arms.
"Take us to her."
Chakotay entered the temple with Kathryn in his arms. He saw his
daughter lying upon an altar covered in a golden shroud and surrounded
by a sheet of white mist. The prophet stood behind her and motioned
for Chakotay to come forth. As he approached, two more altars rose
floor on each side of MiKaya. Chakotay noticed some type of symbols on the ends of the jade stone as they rose. The mark of my tribe he thought. He looked at the other altar and saw the image of a federation communicator. Just like the ones on their uniforms.
"Please. The creators must lye at their daughter's side."
Chakotay gently lay Kathryn's body down on the altar. She opened her eyes as he pulled away from her.
"It's all right Kathryn."
"Chakotay...MiKaya..." she whispered.
As Chakotay lay down, a blinding light pierced through the temple's
apex directly on MiKaya. The chanting grew louder around them as
the light spread to encompass he and Kathryn. Like stars from the
night sky, snowflakes of light began to swirl around in patterns of wonder.
Chakotay felt a tingling in his head as his body began to rise into the
air. He saw Kathryn and MiKaya floating above him. And then the thoughts
became one. The bodies had no boundaries. The love was truly
one as Alijalis had seen. A love that would live in MiKaya.
The prophet carefully watched as MiKaya regained her strength.
With each passing day, she assumed the role she was born to take in her
people's legacy. MiKaya greeted her followers with open arms as they
entered the temple to pray. She took walks among the villages and
found peace as she held the future of Chakra in her arms, singing the newborns
to sleep. The Creator's had truly returned their treasure, their
hope to the Chakra's, as Alijalis had seen.
Kathryn broke her gaze from the garden below and turned to look at MiKaya as she entered the room. She wanted to spend as much time with MiKaya as she could before Voyagers return. But everything was still so hard to grasp. This young girl, this pale beauty with Chakotay's smile before her was their daughter.
She and Chakotay decided to stay and let Tuvok command the mission to the next planet in search of the last element they needed. Voyager had been gone for four days and would be returning within the hour. Kathryn knew that she and Chakotay would have to return to the life that brought them here.
Kathryn took a seat on one of the plush pillows that were scattered along the floor. MiKaya sat down beside her.
"I'm sorry, MiKaya. No one has ever called me that before."
"What is, MiKaya?"
"The clothing..." MiKaya paused as she reached for the gold pins on Kathryn's collar. "Alijalis said you have to go back among the stars. You have to go to your home."
Kathryn could feel the tears forming in her eyes.
>I>How can I do this? she thought. How can I leave her like this?
"Yes, MiKaya. It's true." Kathryn heard Chakotay say as he sat down behind her, reaching to pull Kathryn into his arms. "Your mother and I... we have to... to lead our people like you."
Kathryn tilted her head back to look at Chakotay as he took MiKaya's hand and pulled her towards them. MiKaya tucked her small frame close to Chakotay's side as he wrapped his arm around her. Kathryn sighed and wiped away a tear from MiKaya's cheek. In that single moment of silence, Kathryn knew how it felt to have it all: to have the man she loves hold her: to comfort her own child. She couldn't remember another time in her life when she felt this way and she wasn't sure she could let it go.
"Tuvok to Janeway."
Kathryn brought her eyes to Chakotay's and took a deep breath.
"We are in orbit, Captain. The gel packs have been successfully repaired and warp drive is now operational. Are you and the commander ready to return?"
Kathryn couldn't find her voice to answer. Chakotay sighed.
"Yes, we're ready. Give us a few minutes. Chakotay out."
Chakotay slowly stood to help Kathryn and MiKaya to their feet.
"I understand." MiKaya said softly. "It has to be this way. Alijalis said it is called... duty."
Chakotay had to smile. "Yes MiKaya, duty."
"I want to stay." Kathryn whispered as she brushed her fingers across MiKaya's cheek. "I want to watch you grow. I want to... to tell you... I..."
MiKaya took Kathryn's hands in hers.
"I know mother. I know you both do." MiKaya let go of her hands and began to back away. "I love you too. But promise me you'll always love each other."
Kathryn looked at Chakotay.
"I promise, MiKaya." She smiled. "We promise."
MiKaya watched as Chakotay turned to Kathryn and took her in his arms
once more. Kissing her gently and letting her go as he signaled Tuvok
to beam them aboard. And just before they disappeared, MiKaya saw
her mother reach for her fathers hand.
Chakotay watched Kathryn as they walked through the garden. The last few months had been hard on her, but she seemed at peace here among the flowers: strolling underneath a night sky pocked with stars. She turned and tilted her head to look at him.
"What are you thinking?" she asked as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
"I was just admiring."
Kathryn started to plant kisses along his jaw line.
"The mother of my child." He grinned.
"Yes, really." He replied as he gently kissed her lips.
Kathryn ran her fingers along the edge of his hairline as she stood there in his arms. Their lips parted as Chakotay brought his hands to her face.
"Do you miss her?" she whispered
"Yes, I do... I find myself wondering about her. She is the best of you and me...she is a living, breathing extension of what we feel... forever." Chakotay replied. "It hurt to leave her."
But Chakotay smiled.
"But, like her mother, her duty to her people is always first." He paused. "I guess I wish she was here with us more than I realized. I wanted her to see earth. I wanted her to see..."
"See what Chakotay?"
"To see her parents... together... in love...complete."
"She'll always be here." Kathryn said as she touched his chest to feel his beating heart.
"I know." He whispered.
He kissed her softly again, pulling her even closer.
"I do love you, Kathryn."
"And I love you." She sighed.
After a few silent moments, the two decided to it was time to return to the real world.
"Computer, end program."
They were almost to the door when Chakotay stopped.
"What is it?"
"I was thinking, Kathryn. How would you feel about.."
Chakotay took her hands in his.
"About having another child."
Kathryn pulled her hands from his and wrapped them around his neck.
"The old fashioned way, Chakotay?"
"Yes, but...with a ring... I...want to marry you Kathryn Marie Janeway" He sighed.
Kathryn's eyes filled with tears as she tilted her head and kissed him again.
"Is that a yes?" Chakotay asked.
"Yes Chakotay... yes...I can't think of anything else in my life that I want more than you."
A grin came over Kathryn's face.
"But on one condition."
"And that would be?"
"As long as we can practice the old fashioned way... tonight."
"Can you see them, Alijalis?"
"Yes, my child."
"Are they together? Are they happy?"
"Yes, my child."
"Then everything is as it should be?"
"Yes, MiKaya. All the worlds are as they should be."
MiKaya left Alijalis' side and walked into the garden. She looked up at the night sky and smiled. That's their home. she thought. They are in the stars watching over me.
"Yes, my child." Alijalis spoke softly. "They are in the
stars and they will always be with you."
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