By Maquis Leader
Authors note: This story ties into Home To Your Heart, but it’s not necessary to read it first. Thanks to Ralkana for once again fine tuning a story for me.
Kathryn jiggled Miral on her lap. “Lookee there, Grandpa’s jealous.” Owen Paris laughed. “Well, Grandpa had you all week, so he can just be jealous.”
“She’s a beauty, isn’t she?” He captured a tiny foot that had kicked free of the blanket. “I think she’s going to have Tom’s eyes.”
“All babies have blue eyes.” Would Chakotay’s? She looked across the table to where Chakotay was deep in conversation with April Paris. It seemed Tom’s mother was an amateur paleontologist and was trying to organize a dig. Phoebe was sitting at the end of the table with Chakotay’s sister and Tom’s two sisters. That doesn’t look good. No doubt they were filling Aylian in on every embarrassing thing she’d ever done.
Voyager was stuffed with people. Both holodecks were set up as banquet halls and the crew were escorting their families around the ship that had been their home for the last seven years. Kathryn smiled at Reg Barclay as he flitted from table to table. He seemed to have blossomed into a confident man overnight.
“What do you think of Torres?”
“I haven’t met him.” She looked over at the table where Tom and B'Elanna were talking to B'Elanna’s father. The reality was that he was doing all the talking while Tom hovered protectively over his tense wife. “I know they haven’t spoken in years. He left her mother and B'Elanna always blamed herself.”
“What kind of man leaves his wife and child?” Owen frowned. “And to let a poor child think her father doesn’t love her – what kind of a father does that?”
Kathryn arched an eyebrow. “Children don’t always know their parents love them.”
He had the good grace to flush. “I just hope they can patch things up.”
“She’s not growling, that ‘s always a good sign.”
Kathryn turned to see Sam Wildman standing beside her. The younger woman was wringing her hands in distress. “What’s wrong?”
“Missing?” She looked around the crowded room. “Are you sure she’s not showing someone around the ship?”
“No, ma’am. She – she’s been unhappy.” Sam wiped tears away. “She doesn’t want to leave Voyager.” Her husband placed a hand on her shoulder in an effort to comfort her.
With a twinge of guilt, Kathryn realized that she had forgotten how Naomi had acted the first night they had returned home. She had been so blissfully happy with Chakotay that it had completely slipped her mind. “You’re sure she’s not – “
“She said she was going to the bathroom. She never came back.”
“I’m afraid she – she doesn’t like me.” Sam’s husband said sadly.
“I’m sure that’s not true.” Kathryn handed Miral to Owen. “She just doesn’t know you yet.” Rising from her seat, she caught Chakotay’s attention and waved him over. “Naomi’s missing. Get Harry and meet me on the bridge.”
“Missing?” The dark eyes widened. “Has someone taken her?”
“I think she may be hiding.” She said quietly. “Before we panic, I want to see if we can track her down.”
“I’ll get Harry.” He kissed her cheek before walking away.
“Sam, you stay here in case she comes back.” She patted the other woman’s shoulder.
Leaving the holodeck, Kathryn walked to the turbolift, smiling at the people she passed. Once inside the lift, she tapped her combadge. “Janeway to Naomi Wildman.” She waited but there was no reply.
“Deck 8.” The lift descended obediently. “Computer, location of Naomi Wildman?”
“Naomi Wildman is in her quarters.”
“A cup of coffee says her combadge is in her quarters.”
“Please restate the query.”
Overriding the door code, Kathryn walked through the empty quarters. A combadge lay on the table. “You’re too smart for your own good.” With a sigh, she headed to the bridge.
“There’s too many people on board.” Harry told her as she stepped out of the turbolift. “I can’t isolate her readings.”
“Could she have been beamed off?” Chakotay’s question earlier was beginning to gnaw at her.
“No, Captain. No one has beamed off since last night.” He shook his head. “And the airlocks are still sealed.”
“If she’s hiding, she could be anywhere.” Chakotay told her.
“I wish Neelix were here; he’d know where to look.” Kathryn chewed her lip. “Harry, call Seven. She’s close to Naomi, maybe she can help.”
Within minutes, Seven stalked out of the turbolift and onto the bridge. “You wished to see me, Captain?” She said coolly.
“Naomi is missing.” She told her. “We think she may be hiding.”
“And you believe I would know where she is hiding?”
“You and Naomi are very close.” Kathryn felt uncomfortable under the icy blue stare. Their last encounter was still fresh in her mind.
“There are several places Naomi calls ‘hideouts’.” Seven walked over to the Ops station and pulled up a schematic of Voyager. She quickly marked several spots. “If we each take one, we can search more efficiently.”
“Agreed.” Kathryn looked at the small group. “Be casual, ask if anyone’s seen her, but don’t get anyone upset. Harry, alert station security that we want Voyager locked down. Tell them we think a reporter has gotten onboard or is trying to.”
“Yes, Captain.” Harry nodded.
Splitting up, they walked through the ship to search each hiding place. When they met back on the bridge, Kathryn was becoming truly worried. “She could be hurt. She might have fallen down a Jeffries tube.”
“Kathryn, she’s grown up on Voyager.” Chakotay assured her. “She probably knows this ship better than any of us.”
“Why would she hide?” Tom asked. Harry had recruited him along with the rest of the senior staff.
“The first night we were home, Naomi was hiding under one of the tables.” Chakotay told him. “She was unhappy about leaving Voyager.”
“Poor kid. This is her home.” Tom shook his head sadly. “I know how she feels. When Harry was trying to talk me into his crazy plan – I was scared it might work.”
“Harry had a crazy plan?” B'Elanna looked shocked. “The guy who plans his next spontaneous move?”
“Very funny, B'Elanna.” Harry elbowed her.
“In all our plans, we never stopped to consider what this would do to her.” Kathryn rubbed her temples. “We’re all so happy to finally be home.”
“And we’re tearing her away from hers.” Chakotay rubbed the back of her neck.
“There are thousands of places someone could hide.” B'Elanna groaned. “Especially a child.”
“If we get everyone to go to the holodecks, we can scan the rest of the ship.” Chakotay looked up at Kathryn and when she nodded, he turned to Harry. “Get everyone in the holodecks. Make something up if you have to – just get them there. Quietly. No rushing, I don’t want them to know anything’s wrong.”
“Hey, the Captain’s yacht!” Tom tapped the display. “Too bad we never got to fly her.”
“It was too badly damaged.” B'Elanna told him. “We stripped it.”
“What’s in there?” Kathryn frowned at the display.
“Nothing. We haven’t even scrounged parts from it in years.” The younger woman shrugged. “We pulled out everything we thought we’d need and stored it in our inventory. The only reason it’s still there is that there’d be a big hole in Voyager’s belly without it.”
“So if nothing’s there – then why is the power on?” She tapped the display.
“It shouldn’t be. There’d only be life support and lights.”
“That may be enough.” Ordering the sensors to scan the small vessel tucked into Voyager’s belly, Kathryn smiled as the computer reported a single life sign. “I want everyone to keep looking just in case it’s a curious family member. Chakotay, let’s go check out my yacht.”
Chuckling, he followed her into the lift. “Ah, the perks of a Starfleet Captain.”
“Remarks like that will get you a night on the sofa, mister.”
He waited until the doors closed before pinning her to the wall. “We’ve already made love on the sofa, Kathryn.”
“I meant alone, you big lug.” She tangled her fingers in the soft raven hair and pulled his head down for a kiss.
When the doors opened on deck 14, both were flushed and panting. “Behave.” Kathryn slapped his butt as they left the turbolift.
“Why? I’m not Starfleet anymore, what are they going to do to me?” Earlier that week, Chakotay had given his resignation to Starfleet and announced that he was going to do ‘absolutely nothing’ for the rest of his life.
“I can still toss you in the brig, mister.”
“Are you saying you want to fuck me in the brig, Captain?” She shivered as his voice purred in her ear. “Tie me down and rape me?”
“Shush!” She nodded and smiled at Ensign Baker and his family. “Somebody will hear you!”
“So, I shouldn’t say I’d love to be tied down?” He pulled her close and whispered in her ear as they walked down the corridor. “Shouldn’t say I’d love to watch you riding my cock while I lay there completely helpless and at your mercy?”
Kathryn knew her face was crimson and she plastered a smile on her lips as they passed crewmembers and their families. “No!” She hissed. His laugh made her shiver once again.
“We’re getting everyone gathered in holodeck 1. I expanded the programming and made the banquet hall larger. The life sign in the yacht is human and Ktarian hybrid.”
“Thanks, Harry.” Kathryn noticed that the number of people in the corridor was beginning to thin out. “Good job.” She added before closing the comlink.
When they got to the hatch leading into the yacht, Chakotay lounged against the bulkhead next to the control pad. He grinned at her puzzled look. “No codes.”
“Get out of the way then, civilian bum.” She nudged him aside with her hip and keyed open the hatch. His hand slid down her back and over her hip to squeeze her bottom. “Will you behave?”
Inside they found the bulkheads of the small craft covered with pictures and drawings. The cabin had been sectioned off with hanging curtains made of bright patterns. Makeshift shelves along the bulkheads held toys.
“Naomi?” Kathryn said softly. There was a rustling sound from the front of the craft. “Naomi, honey, we want to talk to you.”
Pulling back the curtain that closed off the cockpit, Kathryn and Chakotay found Naomi sitting in the pilot’s seat. Tears streaked down her pale cheeks and onto her old Flotter doll.
“Naomi, we’ve been looking all over for you.” She brushed back the girl’s strawberry blond hair. “Your parents are worried. Your father – “
“I don’t like him!” She pulled away. “I don’t want to leave!”
“We’re home now.”
“Voyager is home!” Naomi clutched Chakotay’s hand. “Please don’t make me go!”
“Come here.” He lifted her up and sat down in the seat with her on his lap. “I know you’re scared. But you can’t live on Voyager anymore.”
“Just think, you’ll have other children to play with.” Kathryn told her.
“I can make other children on the holodeck.” She buried her face against Chakotay’s neck. “Who wants to play with some stupid kids who’ve never even been on a starship?”
“Sure they have, you’ll be living on Deep Space 9.” Sitting on the floor next to them, Kathryn patted Naomi’s leg. “They only way to get there is by ship.”
“Probably shuttles.” Naomi wrinkled her nose. “And a space station isn’t anything like Voyager.”
“I know it’s all very new and frightening, sweetheart, but we have to leave.” Kathryn bit back a smile at the superior tone in the little girl’s voice.
“They may turn her into a museum.” Chakotay kissed the top of her head. “You can’t live in a museum.”
“Why not? There’s replicators and I can live in my old quarters.”
He smiled at her child’s logic. “You’d be alone, even with a holodeck.”
“Come on.” Kathryn stood and held a hand out to her. “We’ll go together.”
Reluctantly Naomi took her hand and climbed down off Chakotay’s lap. She followed Kathryn to the hatchway before she stopped and jerked away.
“Naomi.” Kathryn’s voice took on a hint of her command tone. “We have to leave.”
“No!” She ran back toward the cockpit.
Chakotay scooped her up and she struggled in his arms, her ridged forehead scraping his cheek and neck. Carrying her back to the cockpit, he sat down in the pilot’s seat. “Shaa, skuya ishta, shaa.”
“Chakotay.” Kathryn put her hands on her hips. “What are you doing?”
“I’m not carrying a crying child through the corridors.” Rocking Naomi, he kissed her forehead and told her again that she was a sweet girl. Her fingers wound desperately into the front of his shirt as she sobbed.
“Fine, we’ll beam out.”
“Chakotay, we – “
“No.” His voice was soft but the black velvet eyes had turned to stone.
Kathryn sat in the other seat and watched Chakotay comfort Naomi as she cried. He laid his cheek against hers and whispered softly to her in both Standard and his own language. After a time, the little girl’s sobs slowed to hiccups.
“Children aren’t allowed to cry.”
“What?” Kathryn was caught off guard by his words.
“We don’t let children cry. They’re given whatever they want.”
An auburn eyebrow arched up as she envisioned a planet full of bratty children.
Chakotay laughed softly. “We’re also taught to mind without questioning.”
“I like that part.” She reached out to stroke Naomi’s damp cheek. “Poor thing. She looks so big, I keep forgetting she’s only five.”
“I’ll be six.”
Chuckling at the soft whisper, Chakotay kissed her forehead again. “It would be better if we could take things a little slower. Let her be around friends a while longer.”
“Lets see what we can do.” She smiled and trailed her fingers over his cheek. “Janeway to Paris.”
“Specify Admiral Paris or Lieutenant Paris.”
“Lieutenant Paris.” She glared at the unseen computer voice.
“Paris here, Captain.”
“Tom, I need you do to me a little favor.”
“We think Naomi needs a little time to adjust. We’re taking away the only home – the only life she’s known.”
Owen looked thoughtful as Kathryn finished. “I can arrange a reassignment or a leave here on Earth.”
Sam looked at her husband and he nodded eagerly. “If you could do that, Admiral, we’d be grateful.”
“It’s nothing.” He waved her thanks away. “I’m just ashamed I didn’t realize what this would do to Naomi. Forgive me, sweetheart.” He smiled and patted the little girl’s knee.
“To be honest, sir.” Sam smiled. “I’m a little sad about leaving Voyager, too.”
“Of course you are. You all are, you’re more than crew, you’re family.” Standing, Owen took another look around the yacht. “Impressive work here, Naomi. Excellent use of available resources.”
“Thank you, Admiral!” She beamed from her place on Chakotay’s lap.
“You’re Starfleet material, my dear.” He patted her on the head before he left.
Standing, Chakotay sat Naomi on her feet. Holding her hand, he held out his other hand palm up. “I am Chakotay. I am Naomi’s uncle.” He said formally. “Will you love and care for this child?”
Carefully, Naomi’s father laid his hand on Chakotay’s. “I have been waiting for her all my life. I love her with all my heart.”
Taking Naomi’s hand, he laid it on her father’s. “You go with your father, little one. Tomorrow you can come visit Kathryn and I. She has three nephews your age and my sister’s children will be there.”
“I’m scared.” She whispered.
“Hold your head up.” Chakotay chucked her under the chin. “You are winona. Walk with pride.”
Chin up and spine straight, Naomi walked resolutely to the hatchway with her parents.
“That was incredibly hokey.”
Turning, Chakotay caught Kathryn wiping away tears and pulled her into his arms. “Then why are you crying?”
“Something in my eye.” She laid her head on his chest and hugged him fiercely.
“Think it was hokey? He doesn’t take care of her and I’ll track him down and kill him.”
“Big bad warrior.” She chuckled. “What’s a winona?”
“Firstborn daughter.” Stroking her back, he sighed and rubbed his nose in her hair enjoying the freedom of finally being able to hold her. “When she was little, I told her she was Voyager’s firstborn daughter and that people would look at her and judge us.”
“Don’t you judge people by their children? Didn’t you say your cousin Rachel’s children are little monsters?”
“They are!” She nipped at his neck as he laughed again. “Are you going to teach our children hokey things like that?”
“Oh yes.” Tipping her head up, he kissed her gently. “That and much more.”
They kissed again, deeper this time. Tongues playing and mating while their hands moved over the other’s body seeking new and familiar places.
“Kim to Janeway.”
Chakotay laughed into her mouth when she moaned in frustration. “Janeway here.” She said against his lips.
“I’ve got everyone in the holodeck.”
“Good.” Kathryn rolled her head to one side to allow Chakotay’s lips better access to her neck.
“And, um, we’re waiting.”
“We’ll be there. Janeway out.” Sighing, she tangled her fingers in the raven hair as he nibbled on her earlobe. “You know, if they do make Voyager a museum, I want this left just like it is. She could have been a lonely child so easily. The only child in the company of adults.”
“Considering all the things she’s seen, it’s a wonder she’s so outgoing and happy.”
“I want everyone to see, Chakotay. I want them to know we raised a child here.”
“And we did a good job.”
“Damned good job.” Kathryn kissed him, pressing herself against him and tangling her fingers into his hair once again to hold him to her.
“Kim to Janeway.”
“Damn it! What is it, Harry?”
“Um, we really need you up here.”
“We’re on our way, Harry.”
She leaned her forehead against Chakotay’s. “What’s the big hurry?”
“You told me to get everyone to the holodeck, remember?” Harry sounded nervous and there was someone giggling in the background. “You said to tell them something, anything, remember?”
“Is there a point to this, Harry?”
“I told them you and Chakotay are getting married.” Howls of laughter erupted from the open comlink. “Shut up, Tom! It was your idea!”
Kathryn raised her head and stared at Chakotay in shock. He was trying to hold in his laughter and not quite succeeding. “I don’t know whether to kill him or kiss him.”
Laughing, he lifted her up and spun her around joyfully.