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A Cold Day in Hell
PG-13

The bitter cold wind howled its icy fury as the two trackers made their way toward the ice cave. They had spent the last five hours tracking the beast there, and were now hoping for a quick kill so that they could return to the warmth of their ship. The two of them were not the only hunting party on expedition here, the captain had chosen four teams to beam down from the ship to spread out and hunt for game. Food supplies were at critical levels and the ships stores had to be replenished soon if they were to continue their journey home.

The captain yelled, trying to be heard above the roaring wind. “My tri-corder indicates that the beast headed this way. It’s picking up readings further ahead in that cave.” She pointed off a distance.

I smiled at her. She always relied on the scientific method of doing things, using the latest technology to help solve all her problems. I had watched her watching that tri-corder for hours now. It would never occur to her to rely on nature, to listen to her own senses. I had to hide a laugh, sometimes the simplest ways were the best. “Yes Kathryn I know it’s in there, I have been tracking it visually for hours. It’s taken this same path we’re on now into the cave.”

Kathryn arched her eyebrow in surprise. “Oh… and just how do you know that commander? She placed one hand on her hip in a cocky fashion, just daring me to come up with the right answer. “My tri-corder is only giving me an approximate reading; I think something in the rock here is interfering with the signals.”

Spirits I loved it when she stood like that, the challenge in her eyes was always so inviting, and I could never resist the game. “Would you like me to show you exactly how I came to that conclusion?” I asked as I circled her slowly, like a shark hunting its prey. “I used all the scientific methods I had at my disposal, compared my notes and reached the only possible conclusion that there was.” I smiled at her and she blushed. I knew the effects my smile had on her and I wasn’t opposed to using it. A good scientist used what ever tools he had at his disposal.

Her other hand came up now to touch my chest as I circled back around in front of her. A wicked gleam appeared in her eyes, the game was on. She tilted her head to the side slightly and smiled that adorable little smile, the one she knows I can’t resist. Then she leaned closer.

She looked me up and down like a hungry cat eyeing her next juicy mouse, her eyes lingering just a little too long when she looked down. There was no mistaking her meaning when she practically purred, “O.k. Mister Scientist, show me what you’ve…got.”

I tried to stifle my groan, but I should have known better. She was still the best damned flirt I had ever had the pleasure of meeting and she would best me every time.

I couldn’t help the thought that passed through my mind. “Oh I would love to show you what I’ve got for you alright, but I would rather show you someplace where it... isn’t in danger of freezing off.” Of course if I had said that to her it probably would have gotten me a one way passage out an air lock; but spirits the things this woman could make me feel with just a look or a simple touch. She had me in the palm of her hand and she knew it. I needed to take back control of the situation and stepped away from her. “Come on, I’ll show you what I’m talking about.” I said as I led the way forward a bit, and then stopped, allowing her to pass me so I could show her my evidence.

I came up behind her, close behind her, our bodies touching; and heard her inhalation of breath at the contact. I new she still wanted me every bit as much as I still wanted her. Seven years of abstinence between us had done little to curb our mutual attraction and need. I pulled her closer, enjoying the contact far more than I should have.

“Chakotay what are you doing?” She tried to keep her voice calm as if she were still in total control of the situation. I wanted to keep her off balance to push the limits of the boundaries she had set between us.

“I’m attempting to show you the data I’ve collected. First off,” I said softly near her ear, “I can see animal hair on that icy out crop up there. Can you see it?” I asked pointing my gloved hand over her shoulder towards the outcropping. Kathryn, in the name of science of course; snuggled back further into my embrace, allowing me to point her in the right direction.

“Where Chakotay… I’m not following your direction?”

It was a lie of course, and excuse we used to touch the other and we both new it. But it was as close as protocol would allow us to get. I was so damned tired of that word and lately I thought that Kathryn might be too. She was looking at the crew in a new light. People were paring off and families were forming. I think she finally realized that people could still do their jobs as well as have a family here in the Delta quadrant. I planned to help her along in that respect if at all possible. I pulled her even closer to me.

“Follow the path of my finger Kathryn,” I said continuing to point. I leaned in even closer to her and said in her ear, “Can you see it now, a little tuft of hair sticking out from that outcropping?” She shivered as my warm breath caressed her ear, and moved further back against my chest. My other arm came down to envelope her too.

“No” she said sighing, knowing that this would end soon. “I still can’t see it.”

I wasn’t about to end it, not this time. I wasn’t backing down. I held her close to me enjoying the feel of her in my arms. “That’s o.k. Kathryn. There are other signs that we’re getting closer.” My hands gently caressed her as I held her around the waist and she allowed it. “Yes,” I thought “definitely closer.”

“Such as what…exactly?” she asked, as she tried to calm her rapid breathing. “So far all you have shown me was a tuft of hair, which I’m not even sure… really exists.” The playful tone was back in her voice. “That’s not proof of anything Chakotay; you’ll have to do better then that.”

“Always the skeptic Kathryn, some times you just have to trust your instincts. Have you noticed that our walls are crumbling?” I asked her as my lips brushed her ear, and my hands caressed the lower curve of her taut breast.

“Chakotay…,” she groaned, quietly pleading. Only I wasn’t quite sure if she was pleading me to stop or pleading me to continue. I turned both of our bodies back towards the cave entrance, not quite willing to let her go yet.

“You didn’t notice the disturbance in the cave entrance? It’s something that your tri-corder wouldn’t have picked up. The snow on the ceiling of the cave has been disturbed by something big, bigger then us, which means this beast can stand erect. It knocked the snow out of its path on the way in and…” I smiled at her and winked, “The walls are starting to crumble a bit.” I let her go and she moved forward to study the signs. I could see her taking deep calming breaths. I had let the situation between us cool for now but I had no intention of stopping permanently. With Kathryn though you had to handle a situation slowly, she didn’t like to be cornered. We entered the cave and immediately noticed that it split into two, a left fork and a right fork both leading deeper into the separate caves.

“That was very observant of you Nature Boy, but it doesn’t tell us which fork the beast took.” She said turning back towards me with a smirk.

“Nature Boy…?” I asked, smiling back at her.

“I thought all the people from your tribe were supposed to have excellent tracking skills?”

I sighed, “I think my father would have disagreed with you on that one, I never did see the reason for the hunt, and I tried to resist all of his lessons. I wanted nothing to do with that way of life. The idea of hunting and killing animals was an enigma to me. Imagine what he would think if he saw me today, hunting and killing just as he tried to teach me.”

“I think he would be proud of you Chakotay. You may not realize it but a lot more of your father’s lessons have sank in then you thought. You noticed the disturbance in the snow at the entrance. You’re the one to realize that the animal we’re chasing is very big and can stand on its hind legs and what about that tuft of hair. I wouldn’t have noticed it. The tri-corder wouldn’t have picked it up. And if I recall correctly…” she smiled shyly “You were pretty damned good at tracking monkeys too.”

“I remember that,” I said smiling fondly at the memory. “You had me out in the woods chasing that little primate for hours. You told me I was a great Indian Tracker, and I had laughed and said…”

“Yeah… but we’re not tracking Indians.”

We had said the line in unison, and our eyes met. Heat smoldered between us in the frigid air.

“I remember it too Chakotay, I remember it all.” There was the unmistakable glimmer of tears in the blue-gray depths of her eyes. A sadness so profound it tore at my soul. I hadn’t been the only one longing all these years.

“So Kathryn… which path do we take now?” I asked indicating the split in the cave. “This is a sort of crossroads for us Kathryn. Which road do you think the beast chose? Which road will you choose now Kathryn? We’ve come down this path so far together, to far to turn back now.” We both new this conversation was about far more then choosing which tunnel the animal had entered.

“I’m not sure anymore Chakotay,” she said looking away from me for a minute. “The pathway is no longer clear to me. So much has changed along the way, I’ve changed. I feel lost all of a sudden.” She said and I could see the confusion written in her eyes. It was a huge admission for her to make, and I was damned glad that she trusted me enough to tell me. “It’s as if everything I believed in no longer makes any sense to me,” she continued. “Things were so cut and dried to me. I was the captain; this was a Starfleet crew, just like any other. The same rules still applied. But they don’t out here Chakotay. These people have become so much more to me then just my crew, and the ship has become a home. The same rules don’t apply, and we still have one hell of a long trip ahead of us, and I’m tired Chakotay. Tired of fighting our enemies tired of fighting for supplies and most of all I’m tired of fighting you.” Did she want to make that change?

“Then perhaps it’s time you let me lead the way for us, for a while Kathryn. Life is going on all around us, don’t you think it’s time that you allow yourself to start living yours again? Let me show you how much easier your life can be when you share your burdens with me. ‘A load is far lighter to carry, when it has been divided by two equals,’ I quoted. I could see the glimmer of tears in her eyes still, but she managed to give me that sexy crooked smile anyway.

“Is that more of your ancient wisdom Chakotay?”

“No…” I smiled down at her. “It’s something I once read on a sticker on a cargo carrier.”

“Oh you…” she said laughing and she swatted my arm.

I captured her hand and held it in mine. “That doesn’t make it any less true Kathryn. I want you to know that I love you and I’ll always be there for you to make your burdens lighter if you’ll let me…” There I had said it. The words that had been hidden in my heart had finally been revealed. I held my breath waiting for the parameters speech. Then I felt her hand caress my face.

“I know Chakotay and knowing that is the only way that I have been able to make it through these last couple of years.”
She pulled her hands away from mine and wrapped them around herself protectively. My heart sank, was she shutting me out again?

“P… per…perhaps your r…right.” Her teeth started chattering, “May…maybe its time I changed d…direction.” Hers eyes met mine in a smoldering embrace, “T…took a new course, ch…changed tact,” and then she smiled at me with a joyous grin. The game was on again, and this time I thought I was really going to enjoy the outcome. My heart soared. She hadn’t been pushing me away when she wrapped herself in her arms, she was just freezing. Freezing … “Oh spirits Kathryn…your freezing.” I said reaching for her again. I pulled her to my chest and started rubbing her back furiously. She snuggled into my chest. “Let me be your compass,” I whispered into her hair. “Let me guide you through the night. I’m a good compass Kathryn, I’ll never steer you wrong.” She leaned her head against my chest.

“No Chakotay…you never have.” She reached up on tip toes and placed a gentle kiss on my lips. “You have always been my guiding light. Will you show me the way, it doesn’t matter anymore which path I choose as long as we walk the same road together.”

“Are you sure about this Kathryn, there are no turns on this path. It’s forward together from now on.”

“Yes Chakotay I’m sure. There maybe obstacles to overcome in our path, but there is no turning back now.” She smirked took a step back and put her hands on her hips. She cocked her head to the side. “So… Nature Boy, which way do we go from here? Do we trust the readings my tri-corder is sending out or do we just wing it?”

I could barely keep the silly grin off my face. Kathryn had agreed to us moving forward together as more then just a command team. “That’s not very scientific Kathryn, but I was thinking… maybe we should just follow the animal’s tacks. They lead into the left tunnel.” I knew what was coming next and sure enough, her hand snaked out to clout me.

“Footprints Chakotay,” she laughed. “Why didn’t you tell me there were foot prints?”

“Because that wouldn’t have been half as much fun as watching you walk with that crazy device you’re so reliant on, besides… I was enjoying the View.” Kathryn blushed, a vivid shade of pink, and turned away slightly. I loved making her blush, not too many men could do it and it made me feel special.

“Oh Chakotay I feel so ridiculous. Here I’ve been, following this beast for hours with my tri-corder, and I could have just followed in its footsteps.”

“Well don’t feel ridiculous Kathryn. They weren’t this easy to spot until we entered the cave. The wind had done a good job of eradicating the ones outside.”

She smiled at me shyly again. “Even now you’re trying to lighten my burden, by lightening my heart. I don’t know what it is that you see in me that has kept you by my side for all these years Chakotay, but I’m very grateful for it.”

“Humm let me see,” I said as I started us forward again. “Perhaps it’s your tender, sexy smile. Maybe it’s the way you make me feel when you look at me, as if we’re the only two people who exist. Then again it could be that tough but tender attitude you take towards your crew. Or those auburn tresses that sets my heart aflame. I’m not sure myself which one defining thing it is either Kathryn. I just know that It took me one day of knowing you, to know that I belonged to you both heart and soul.” We stopped right in front of the fork. “Come on we have work to do.” I scrounged around in my pack and pulled out two wrist beacons. I handed one to her. “Let’s get this over with so I can get you back to the warmth of the ship.” She covered her hand with mine.

“You mean back to the warmth of our home.” I nodded with a grin. “Sounds good to me, lead on Chakotay, but you know our next window through those fierce winds isn’t supposed to happen for several more hours, and even then Tom said that the beam out was only iffy.” She was letting me lead, and I wouldn’t let her down.

We spent the next hour silently making our way further into the cave. Each of us lost in our own thoughts about the future. The going was slow the ground here being more slick and slippery. I had a bad feeling that we were the ones being hunted, lured in.

There it was again, only this time the noise was even louder then before.

“Kathryn…” I said unable to keep the scolding sound from my voice. This was getting more ridiculous by the minute. She could be so pig headed sometimes.

“N…no Cha… Chakotay, w…we’re n…not s…stopping. I’m f…f…fine.”

“No Kathryn… you’re not fine. Your freezing that pretty little ass of yours off. But you’re to damned stubborn to admit it. We are stopping here to make camp.” Kathryn turned and glared. “We can take the next window through the storm Kathryn. You need to eat and warm up.”

“W…we’ve been tr…tracking that damned b…beast to long to loose it n…now.” She tried to control her chattering. “The ship needs re…restocking now Chakotay, Voyager’s st…stores are almost completely empty. The supplies are not going to re…restock themselves you know?” Her voice took on a testy tone, the same one she used when she was low on coffee rations.

“I know that Kathryn,” I sighed impatiently. “But the ship is not going to run too smoothly if I let its captain freeze to death either.”

“Well Chakotay… it would be one less mouth to feed.” I grabbed her by the arm and spun her around.

“That’s not funny Kathryn, don’t ever think that. You are far more important to the crew then you realize, and your far too important to me.”

Kathryn looked at me with apologetic eyes.

“I’m sorry Chakotay I didn’t mean to s…snap at you and y…your right I am freezing my ass off, but I have a j…job to do here.”

I pulled her back to my chest encircling her once again with my arms. My hands slid lower and lower pulling our bodies closer. She sucked in a breath at the contact.

“Chakotay what are you doing?”

“You have your job to do Kathryn, and I have my job to do,” my hands slid down to cup her ass and I started rubbing the small mounds with my hands. “I’m making sure my captain doesn’t freeze her ass off. You have a great ass Kathryn, just perfect and I would really miss it if you froze it off.” Kathryn laughed in spite of herself.

“You are incorrigible do you know that?” She asked me.

“No Kathryn… that means that I am incapable of being reformed. I’ve already been reformed. That happened the day I met you.” I leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “It just took the right woman, that’s all.” I could feel her shiver in my arms and she looked up at me with uncertainty in her beautiful eyes.

“Am I Chakotay, am I the right woman?”

I had to wipe away her uncertainty, to let her know exactly how much she meant to me. I slid my fingers under her chin and tilted her face up towards mine. My lips brushed hers in a gentle kiss.

“Always Kathryn,” I said before I deepened the kiss. She allowed my slow lazy exploration of her mouth. I wanted to learn the taste, the feel, the texture of her mouth and lips. I heard her moan with pleasure, before she blazed a trail of her own. Our lips sought and searched each others mouth our tongues meshing and merging. Both of us giving and taking freely of the other. The passion between us so long denied flared to life in joyous wonder. I was lost in her, and completely unprepared for what happen next.

The animal had laid in wait, luring us down the sloping path further into its den. It had waited for the perfect opportunity to pounce, and pounce it did. It leapt from the shadows with a mighty roar. Its razor sharp claws extended for the kill. The creature was barreling down on us, and like any wild animal it headed for the smaller of the two of us, an easier kill that way. I had only fractions of a second to take it all in, but I managed to turn our body’s protecting Kathryn as best as I could. I could feel searing fire where its claws had ripped through my side tearing clothes and skin. I lost my grip on Kathryn and I heard her scream my name as she skidded down the slope further into the beast’s lair. Her phaser had slid away from her in the fall and she was completely defenseless. The beast turned away from me, it was leaving me in favor of Kathryn. Why not, it could always come back and finish the job it had started on me later.

The beast was big and white like a polar bear, except for its large paws which were now stained red with my blood. Its head was huge with pointed tusks, and long sharp fangs. It exhaled its fetid breath, and I watched as the air condensed around me. Its large size lent it a lumbering air, but I had already seen it in action. I knew it was as swift as the wind. I had to get to her somehow.

The spirits couldn’t be this cruel to us. To give us a taste of the pleasures that awaited us, only to rip them away before we fully had the chance to savor their glories.

Closer, it was getting closer to her. Kathryn kept scurrying backwards trying to put space between her and the creature. I had to reach the damned phaser in time. I tried to push my body across the ice but my feet kept slipping, unable to find purchase. The beast stood above Kathryn and bellowed, “Spirits help me,” I prayed. It raised its paw to strike. There I felt something, my foot made purchase and I pushed off lunging for the phaser. I saw its huge arm start to swipe for her, as if it were in slow motion. I rolled with the phaser and came up firing, praying the entire time to my ancestral spirits to let my shot meet its mark. The beast let out a mighty roar, then fell to the ground silenced forever. I was loosing blood having left a large trail of it across the floor, but I needed to know that she was alright.

“Kathryn, Kathryn,” I panted, continuing to pray for her safety. I felt the warmth of her hand touch mine, and I clutched it like a life line.

“I’m here Chakotay and I’m fine thanks to you. But your not, Oh God you’re bleeding pretty badly. I need to see your wound. Can you roll onto your side so I can assess the damage done? I’ll help you turn.”

Together we managed to turn me on my good side. She lifted what was left of my shirt and I could tell by her expression that it was pretty bad. Kathryn dug around in our packs and took out a hypo spray. “This will help with the pain Chakotay; it also contains an antibiotic to ward off infection. I need to clean the wound though before I can bandage it.”

“Bandage it Kathryn?” I knew that wasn’t good. If she couldn’t fix the wound with the dermal regenerator I knew the wound had to have been pretty bad.

“Yes Chakotay, but don’t worry I’m not about to let you die on me.” She smiled down at me, “Not after a kiss like that. I want to make sure you’re around for many, many more.”

“I’ll see what I can do for you Kathryn,” I muttered sleepily. “Kathryn what else was in that hypo… sleepy…?” My eyes closed.

“That’s right my brave warrior, you sleep now. Just let me take care of you for a change.” Kathryn went to work trying to repair the torn flesh as best she could. She did what she could with the dermal regenerator, trying to staunch the flow of blood then bandaged me up. She took the emergency thermal blankets from their packaging and laid one out next to me. She rolled me from my side, onto the blanket and covered me with the other. There was no way she could get the tent set up and me inside, I was just too big”.

“Voyager isn’t due back on this side of the planet for several more hours yet, and our combadges won’t be able to communicate until the next window in this damned storm opens up. Just how the hell am I supposed to keep you warm?” Then an idea struck her. “I may not be able to get you inside that tent Chakotay, but I’m not about to let you freeze to death either.”

Kathryn stood and approached the dead beast. She felt its body and sighed in relief. The beast might not have smelled too pleasant but it would do fine for her needs. Using all her might she tugged the blanket with me on it over to the beast. It wasn’t as difficult as she had thought it would be. The ice which had caused me so much trouble before, now actually aided her allowing my body to slide smoothly over it. She pushed and pulled until she had me snuggled up closely next to the animal. “The heat bleeding from this damned beast will help to keep you warm for a few hours my love.” She piled our packs and the tent around our heads to preserve body heat, and then she climbed under the blankets and snuggled up on my other side, being careful of my injuries. Kathryn pressed the emergency beacon and settled in for the long wait of rescue.

“This isn’t exactly how I pictured us sleeping together the first time Chakotay.” She pushed back a lock of my hair from my forehead. She brushed her lips across mine. “Please Voyager get here in time, don’t let him be taken from me now,” was the last words spoken before sleep had claimed her too.

Laughter, Kathryn woke to the sound of laughter. The lights above her were bright and sterile and she no longer felt bitterly cold.

“Chakotay” she yelled, sitting bolt upright.

“Hey take it easy Captain,” he said trying to resettle her. “From what I’ve seen you’ve been through a lot today,” said the jovial voice of Tom Paris. He could see the worry in her eyes. “Hey the big guy’s in surgery with the Doc, but don’t you worry, the doctor said that everything should be fine.”

“Thank you Tom, I’ll admit… I was pretty damned worried about him. How is my ship, any trouble at all with the other away teams?”

“Everyone is back and accounted for, the ships’ stores are full and we’re on our way. Only one minor injury to report,” he smirked.

“Oh and what might that be?” She asked curiously.

“This big lug,” he tilted his head towards Ayala, “was so busy ummm… checking out the scenery, that he wasn’t watching where he was going and stepped into a hole spraining his ankle.” Kathryn knew there was more to the story or Tom wouldn’t be smirking like that.

“All Chakotay and I saw for kilometers was frozen icy tundra Mr. Ayala. What was it that held your interest so much?” Kathryn smiled; she knew who he had been paired with on this away mission. The big muscular dark haired man tried to hide his grin.

“Ah… It wasn’t so much a what, as it was a who. Marla Gilmore was walking ahead of me taking readings ma’am. We did manage to capture two of our prey though.”

“Very good work Mr. Ayala.” She said smiling.

“Thank you very much ma’am.”

“Your welcome and Mike,” she said her voice softening. “I think she’s the perfect choice for you.” Both men stared at her as if she had suddenly lost her mind.

“Ahh… thanks again.”

The doctor wheeled a now recovering, Chakotay out from the operating room. “So Captain I see you have decided to join the waking world too. It’s hard to keep this command team down.” Kathryn jumped off the bed and went to stand next to Chakotay. “You see what I mean?” He asked acerbically, to no one in particular.

“How is he doctor?”

“I’m fine Kathryn, just a little scratch really.” I answered for the doctor.

“It was more then just a little scratch commander.” The doctor droned. “You had a lacerated liver, if it wasn’t for the excellent work of your field medic here, I don’t believe you would have made it back to Voyager alive.”

“Well then I have you to thank Kathryn.” I said sincerely.

“That’s right Chakotay you do owe me your thanks.” She leaned down and kissed me on the lips tenderly, much to the shock of everyone in sic bay. “That’s just a little down payment; you can pay me in full when you’re feeling better.”

I started to rise. “I’m feeling better already, Doc can I get out of here now?” Two pairs of hands held me back down.

“I’m glad you think you’re capable of… rising to the challenge, but I’m afraid you’ll be in sick bay a few more days commander, that’s an order.”

“You take all the time you need Chakotay,” Her hands stroked my chest and the skin to skin contact felt like heaven. “That damned thing almost killed you today. I don’t want you to ever do that to me again. I thought I had lost you after only just discovering you.” The other’s moved off giving the command team some much needed privacy. It was obvious to all there that some big changes had been made in their time alone together on that planet. Kathryn bent low, brushing her lips against mine again savoring the moment. “Thank you for saving me from that beast Chakotay. But if you ever do anything like that to me again I’ll kill you myself. I can’t do this alone anymore; I need you far too much.” She said echoing my words, as she stood there caressing my chest.

“Never alone again Kathryn,” I said sleepily. “You know I’ll be there for you always…” I could feel myself falling asleep, but I still heard her words and felt her kiss.

“As I will be there for you my love… always.” Kathryn brushed her lips once again over my now sleeping lips. Then she turned to the stunned faces of the men around her. “I’ll be in my quarters if I’m needed doctor.” The doctor was so surprised by her actions that he didn’t even argue as she headed towards the sic bay exit.

“I don’t believe it!” Mike Ayala was the first one to speak. “I always thought it would be a cold day in hell before those two finally got it together.” He said with an approving smile. Kathryn over heard his comments and stuck her head back around the door.

“It was Mr. Ayala,” she said with a wink. “It was a very cold day indeed.”

“Uhh… Captain Janeway ma’am, if I may speak freely.”

“Go ahead Mike, I’m listening” She smiled warmly.

“I think he’s the perfect choice for you.” He said with a grin.

“Me too Mike, me too. Carry on gentleman.”

Epilogue***

“I always like that story best when you tell it Chakotay.” Mike said laughing, as he held his baby on his lap.

“Yeah well… we all know the big guy here has a knack for story telling, I hear that’s how he got himself a wife.” Everyone laughed at Toms’ joke.

A dark haired girl with auburn highlights broke away from the other children who had been listening to the story, she held her arms up to the story teller, and he lifted her up onto his lap.

“Is that story true daddy? Is that how you and mommy first found out you loved each other?” Kathryn came up to stand next to her husband and brushed her hand affectionately across her daughters head.

“That’s the first time that we admitted that we loved each other honey, but we both new years before that.” Her father answered.

“Here, here,” Tom said loudly and everyone agreed.

“What do you mean Uncle Tom?” Taya asked.

“Well kiddo why don’t I take you,” he said as he picked Taya up off her fathers lap, “and the rest of the kids and go get some ice cream. “That way your mommy,” he said eyeing the very pregnant Kathryn now sitting in her husbands lap “Will have some where to sit, and I can tell you all about the ups and downs of your parent’s relationship. What do you say kids?” They all shouted for joy, stories were ok, but ice ream was great.

“This has been another successful Voyager reunion Kathryn; it’s wonderful to see everyone again.”

Kathryn pressed her hands to her back, “This time next year there’ll be another little voyager amongst us.” She grimaced with a sudden pain. “Or sooner… I think it’s time Chakotay.” She announced just as her water broke. Voyagers’ crew pulled together like the good family that they were, and Kathryn found herself at the hospital before she new it. Five hours later the newest little voyager joined their ranks.

The end.
















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Some flowers used to make the contest graphics from