Disclaimer:  It all belongs to Them but the story.  Blah blah blah.
 
 





First Place in Voyager Christmas.

Rated PG
 

Kathryn busied herself unpacking the decorations, carefully unwrapping each one and setting it on the table.  There were so many memories in these tiny boxes.  Kathryn held the crystal Voyager up to the light; she always loved the way it seem to sparkle with a life all its own.  She unpacked the replica of the Liberty; it was only fitting to hang them side by side; it was how it all got started.

“Oh my.” Hearing a noise on the porch, she hurried to open the door. “That’s a big tree.”

“Yes, and it’s heavy.  Move out of the way.”  Chakotay stomped his snow-covered boots on the porch.

“You better shake the snow off that thing before you bring it into my house.”  Kathryn stood back and placed her hands on her hips, or at least the spot where her hips used to be visible.

“Kathryn,…”  Chakotay looked up, shook his head quickly then smiled.  “yes, ma’am.”  He chuckled as he shook the snow onto the porch, glancing back to sneak another peek at her.

“What are you staring at?”  She tried to look indignant.

“You.”  He rested the tree against the outside of the house and moved closer.  Kathryn raised an eyebrow when he chuckled and placed both his hands on her swollen belly, surprised when his touch was answered with a kick.  “Nice.”  He laughed.

“You might think so, but your son kicks me all day and all night.  It’s not always so nice.”  She brushed his hands away.  “Go bring that tree in before we heat all of Indiana.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Kathryn just rolled her eyes and went to move the coffee table out of his way.

“You get that set up; I’ll make us some hot chocolate.”

Kathryn busied herself in the kitchen while Chakotay tried to figure out how to set the tree up in the stand.  The stand itself wasn’t too difficult; the tree stood up well, but he was concerned about its stability.  Chakotay quickly discovered the purpose of the colored wire, Kathryn had handed him on her way out of the room and the hook he found already in the wall.  By the time Kathryn returned with the chocolate and brownies, the tree was standing.

“Looks good.”  She placed the tray on the table and went in for a closer inspection, tugging on one of the branches.  “Very good and you said you never did this before.”

“I never have but you left me pretty strong hints.”  He laughed and sipped the hot chocolate.

Kathryn picked up the two ships and joined him, handing him the Liberty. “I thought you would hang the Liberty and I would hang Voyager next to it.”  She smiled at his thoughtful nod.  “I have replicated these over the years, each has meaning and signifies something important in our lives.”

“But the Liberty was destroyed.”

“Yes, but if it weren’t for her we might never have come together.  It all started here.”  She gently touched the tiny ship.

Chakotay got up, pausing when she reached for his hand.  He smiled and lifted her to her feet.  He crossed to the tree and looked down a little confused.

“Does it have a special place?”

“No, as long as they are together, it doesn’t matter.”  She tugged on his hand as he reached for the top of the tree.  “Ummm, some place I can reach would be nice.”

“Oh.”  He chuckled and placed the ship a little lower on the tree.

“Thank you.”  Kathryn hung voyager next to it and went to retrieve another.  “Most of the other ornaments are full of memories of our years on Voyager, the happy ones and the ones we learned from.”  She handed him a Borg cube.

“Oh, lots of memories here.”  He turned it over in his hands.  “I can still see that look on your face.  You held back the tears but I always knew they were there.  When you said, Then I guess I am alone, after all, I wanted to die.”

“I really thought it would work, but you were right.”  She smiled.  “It hurt to believe you weren’t with me.”

“I was always with you, Kathryn, even when I thought you were wrong.”

“Yes, but I didn’t understand that then.”

“Well, on the bright side we got Seven out of it.”

“Yes, and you learned to like her.  In fact, you came to appreciate her quiet a lot at one point in our journey.”  She arched her eyebrows and he blushed. “Didn’t think I knew that did you?”

“Umm, well no, but it was never really anything…”

“It’s all right.”  She touched his hand.  “I know that was my fault, too.”

There was a short silence.  Chakotay wondered if she knew at the time and how she had found out.  Damn!  He knew now how that must have pained her.  As Kathryn watched his face, she realized that he had never meant for her to find out, that he had never meant to hurt her.  Ahhh, but he had and not only with Seven.

“It also brings to mind another blond, a certain doctor.”  She laughed as his eyes widened.

“Riley.”

“Yes, Riley.”

“I was –err- assimilated.”

“Not the whole time!”  She pushed him gently.  “Hang the cube on the tree.”

“This isn’t fair.”  He looked at the table and glanced at her over his shoulder.  “I can think of a few occasions…”

“OK.”  She reached past and picked up a deep purple ball.  “Here.”

“What is it?”

“There is a small power cell on the bottom, push it.”

Chakotay activated the cell and the ball came to life.  Bright lights shone through the deep purple glass casting a glow on the ceiling and the sounds of Mahler’s symphony number one played softly.

“The Kolyan Kolyar, that’s what he called the lights.  Here in onEarth, I guess we could say the Aurora Borealis.”

“The music is beautiful.”

“Mahler, but if you let it play long enough, you will hear some Tchaikovsky.”

 “The Devore Inspector.”  He tried to say it with as little venom as possible.

“Kashyk, he had a name.”  She smiled and took the ornament from him.  “I’ll hang it on the tree; you pick another.

“OK, this one I recognize.”  He held up the tiny replica of his medicine wheel. “But what is this?”  Chakotay held out the two ornaments.

“Yes, that is your medicine wheel.  Very important, it brought you back to me.”  She took it and hung it as high as she could reach.  “And this..”  Kathryn laughed as he handed her the clear glass tube with the strands of auburn inside.  “This is a rather bad replica of a stick with a lock of my hair inside.”  She laughed.

“Nice, Kathryn.  Still making fun of the fireless Indian.”  He smiled.  “Lots of memories attached to that.  Seska, now there was a piece of work!”

“Really, Chakotay!”  She moved aside and let him place it on the tree. “What the hell were you thinking when you got mixed up with her?”  She saw the look in his eye and slapped her hand to his chest.  “No, on second thought, I don’t want to hear it!”  She laughed.  “Here.”  She handed him another and hung one herself.

“A Kazon war ship.”  He nodded.  “They certainly brought about some defining moments.

“More so with your girlfriend’s help.” She hung the Flotter doll on the tree and they both
smiled.

“This must belong to Miss Earhart.”  Chakotay picked up the small red plane and flew it to Kathryn.” 

“Careful now, we know your flying record.”  She took the plane and ignored his hang-dog look.  “It’s a Lockheed Vega 5B. Amelia Earhart was the first woman and only the second person - the other was Charles Lindberg - to make a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.  And she did it in this.”  She walked past him smugly and picked up a smashed shuttle.  “Speaking of your flying record.”

“Oh, it just keeps getting better.”  He laughed as he took it from her.  “Is this here just to harass me?”

“No.  Actually that is the Sacajawea; we crashed in it when the Vidiians were after us.”

“When the alien tried to get you to leave us.”

“Yes, when I watched you cry over my dead body and knew you still loved me.”  She touched his cheek and nodded for him to place it on the tree.  “He would have been successful, you know?  He just used the wrong man,  I never would have left Voyager for my father, but I would have followed you, if you had asked.”

Chakotay wrapped his arms around her, holding her close,or as close as her belly would allow, and kissed the top of her head.

“So many wasted years.”  He spoke into her hair.

“I love you.”  She mumbled into his chest then stood on her toes for a quick kiss.

“I have loved you for so long.”  He smiled, bending to spread kisses across her face.

“But, we need to finish the tree, so don’t get any ideas.”  She backed away with a smirk. “Here, this should be good for a laugh.”  She passed him an ornament and picked up another for herself.

He laughed at the replica of the shuttlecraft Cochrane with three tiny mutant amphibians on top.

“My other children.”  She patted her belly and laughed.

“Ummm, yes.  I still owe Paris for that!” He laughed and hung it on the tree.  “Although, Tuvok’s reaction was almost worth it.”

“Maybe for you, but I was a mutant lizard and had children with Tom Paris!” She made a face and he laughed.  Kathryn hung a small object on the tree and moved back to the table.

“Wait.”  Chakotay grabbed her arm.  “What is that you are trying to sneak past me?”  He lifted the ornament.  “A shamrock.  Oh, yes, Mr. Sullivan.”

“Fair Haven was more than Michael Sullivan.”

“Not that you noticed.”

“I noticed…”  Kathryn laughed.  “I just didn’t care.”

“Well, I did!”  He tried to look hurt.

“Yeah, you were worried about a hologram.”  She slipped past and grabbed another one.  “Here, what does this bring to mind?”  Kathryn handed him an old fashioned writing pad with a pen attached.

“Kellin.  Did you miss any of them?”

“Probably, but let’s see, Valerie is here some where.”

“Valerie?”

“Valerie Archer.  Be a gentleman now and try to at least remember their names.”  She chuckled.

“Why? I obviously have you to keep track for me.”

“Oh, here she is.”  Kathryn laughed as she handed him what looked like a big grasshopper. “Species 8472.”

“Oh, yes, as I remember you sent me on a date with that grasshopper.”

“I sent you on a reconnaissance mission.  I never told you to kiss her!”

“I ad-libbed that part.  Just trying to be thorough.”  Chakotay shrugged.

“Yeah, OK.”

“Can we pick on you for a while?”

“No.”  She handed him a red ball with green leaves on top and smiled.

“A Talaxian tomato? Where’s the monkey?”

“Right here.”  She pulled the monkey out from behind her back and together they placed them on the tree.

It took hours to finish the tree.  Each piece held memories special to them in one way or another,and each warranted at least some discussion.  A lizard and a wolf hung together, a peace rose next to a pair of boxing gloves.  Voyager’s plaque, which they had replaced together after their encounter with the Equinox was placed beside a bottle of Antarian cider and a replica of a spent plasma relay.  Satan’s robot and a small white lamb, a pair of 3D glasses and a tiny pink satin heart shaped pillow all decorated this most intimate of Christmas trees.  The Delta Flyer joined the shuttles, ships, antique planes and DaVinci’s flying machine. It was truly a treasure, a sight to behold, as they enjoyed another cup of chocolate and admired their work. It had been an exhausting but wonderful day.  They sat cuddled together on the couch, each savoring the memories and the comforting touch of the person in their arms.  Kathryn had fallen asleep and Chakotay savored this time to hold her close and breathe in the warm sent of this woman he loved so well and so long.  Eventually he drifted off himself.

“Kathryn, what’s wrong?  Why are you crying.”  He woke to the soft sobs of the woman wrapped in his arms; He wasn’t used to seeing her this emotional.

“It’s all so perfect.”  She rested her head against his chest.

“Isn’t that a good thing?”  He could hear the tears in her voice as rubbed her back.

“It would be…”  She raised her head smiling sadly as her hands cupped his face.  “It should be….”  Kathryn took a deep breath, pulling back from him she stood up. “Computer freeze program.”

Kathryn gazed sadly at Chakotay’s stilled figure then quickly turned and crossed to the tree.  Resting one hand on her swollen belly, she looked over the ornaments. Carefully, Kathryn took down the snow-white globe.  Her finger traced the outline of the two gold rings, then she grasped the hook and let the ornament twist so she could read the date inscribed on the other side – 2372.

“Computer, delete characters.”  Her tears were evident in her voice as she smoothed her tunic down over her suddenly flat belly.

“Kathryn.”  Chakotay’s voice was soft and warm behind her but it startled her anyway.

“Cha….”  The shock was clear on her face as she turned to face him.  “What?”  A whole range of emotions flashed across her face, shock, sadness, anger followed by embarrassment.  Her face flushed bright red as she turned her back on him again. “What are you doing here?” Her voice quivered as she spoke.

“I’m sorry.”  He stepped closer taking her shoulders in his hands. “I didn’t mean to invade your privacy, I just…”

“How long have you been here?”

“I… I replaced the character and brought the tree in.”  He felt her shoulders slump and shake softly as her head dropped.”   “I’m sorry, I was concerned.  It isn’t like you to use so much holodeck time and…”

“Is it a crime that I should take a break now and then?”  There was a sad bitterness in her tone.

“Of course not, Kathryn.”  He pulled her back against his chest, surprised that she allowed this.  “When I heard that you had borrowed time, not only from Tuvok but from several of the senior staff, well, I was worried.  You were spending hours on the holodeck and yet you weren’t happy. You never confided in me or asked for time and you were so melancholy.  I’m sorry, Kathryn.  I was wrong to do this, but I was concerned and once I was here….”  He moved one hand, placing it on top of the one she still rested on her now flat stomach.  “You didn’t show me that one.”  He read the date on the spinning globe over her shoulder.  “My heart has always believed we were joined on New Earth.”

Chakotay stepped back turning her around to face him, taking the globe from her hand he hung it on the tree.  He lifted her chin so he could see her face, wet with tears and red with embarrassment.

“Look at me, Kathryn.”  She opened her eyes, but quickly looked away.  “Don’t be embarrassed Kathryn, this is beautiful.  I’m sorry if I spoiled it for you, but I’m glad I got to share it.”

“I’m sorry I used your image without permission.”  She stumbled through her words, looking down.  “It was wrong and…”

“No.  You did nothing wrong.”  He reached out and touched the white globe with his finger. “You have had my permission to use any and all of me since then.”  Kathryn glanced at the globe then looked up at him.  “Is this what you really want, Kathryn?”

She nodded, the tears welling up in the sad blue eyes as she waited for his reaction.  He pulled her tightly against his chest, his hands drawing circles on her back his lips repeatedly pressing softly against her hair; he said nothing.  It was a long time before he released her, stepping back to allow her to see his face.  Kathryn reached up her finger tracing the moist track along his cheek, searching his eyes for what she needed to know.

“I love you, Kathryn.  I always have.”  Chakotay saw the uncertainty in her eyes.  “We can have this, Kathryn.  We don’t have to wait for Indiana; we can have this right now.”

“I didn’t think you…”  Her voice trembled.

“Don’t think anymore, Kathryn.”  He smiled and touched his finger to her lips.  “Just say yes.”

Her eyes flickered across his face; she bit her lip and took a deep breath.

“Yes.”  She whispered then looked into his eyes; she smiled and in a stronger voice she said. “Yes.”

Kathryn laughed as the simple word registered and his face lit up.  Chakotay laughed, too, grabbing her and lifting her completely off her feet.  Putting her down his expression grew serious, her eyes dropped to his lips as they slowly descended to hers.  Soft and moist they pressed to hers, her breath caught, her lips responded moving gently against his. Kathryn parted her lips slowly and he took what she offered.  Moist, sweet touches, tender and soft, again and again; Chakotay groaned.  He traced her lips with his tongue nibbling at the corners of her mouth; It was Kathryn’s turn to moan.  A matching sound tore from deep in his throat as he plunged his tongue into her mouth to duel with hers.  It was hot and wet; their hands investigated any body parts that were not already tightly pressed together.

 “YOUR HOLODECK TIME WILL END IN THIRTY MINUTES.”  The computer blurted out.

They broke apart and rested their foreheads together, laughing.

“We need to pack up the ornaments.”  She stepped back keeping her eyes locked with his.

“They’re real?”

“Yes, as I said before, I have replicated them over the years.  They represent our journey—good and bad.”

“Pack this one carefully, Kathryn.”  He took the white globe off the tree.  “It’s the most important.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I've always thought so.”  He placed the ornament in her hand and cupped his own around them as he bent to kiss her gently.  “When Tuvok satisfies the official requirements with a ceremony, we will add another with this year’s date, but we both know we have belonged to each other since that time.”

Kathryn nodded and turned to carefully wrap the globe and place it in its protective case.  Chakotay moved behind her, reaching around to place his palms on her belly.

“I want to feel my son kick again.”  He whispered in her ear his warm breath caressing her.

“I want that, too.” Kathryn closed the case and placed her hands over his, leaning back and closing her eyes. “Maybe by next Christmas.”

The End.
 

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