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After you've read Chakotay's Cat you might enjoy The Cat Comes Home and Kathryn's Puppy


by Dakota  

Tom was practically running to keep up with B'Elanna as they made their way to the public transport.  There were very few people about this early in the morning.  He had hoped they might miss this one and have to wait for the next so he would have one more chance to change her mind about this visit.

“B'Elanna, slow down.  The transport doesn’t leave for ten minutes yet.”

“You can slow down if you want.  I’ll slow down when I get a seat on that transport and not before.  Then you can start trying to talk me out of this trip again, but I am not going to listen to the same old arguments standing up.”

Tom gave up talking and followed B'Elanna as she made her way on board the transport and found seats near the rear.  Tom caught up with her a minute later having stopped to get something for them to drink while they waited for the departure.

“I just think you should tell him we’re coming.  Dropping in for the day with no warning isn’t very polite.”

“Look, he told us we should come visit and that’s just what I’m doing.  If he didn’t want us around, he wouldn’t have given us his address.  It took me three days to make arrangements for someone to watch Miral for the day and I’m not changing my mind now. If you don’t want to see him, you can wait at the station for me.  Better yet, get off this transport and spend the day with your daughter.  I’ll be home on the last transport tonight.”

“I do want to see him.  I just think we should tell him we’re coming.”

“I don’t.”

“What if he isn’t home?”

“Then we’ll wait a while and if he doesn’t show, we’ll wander around Taos and shop for a while.  Then we’ll go back and see if he’s home yet.”  B'Elanna finally relented and changed her approach.  “Look, Tom.  Chakotay is as close to family as anyone I have except for you and Miral.  I don’t need to call him.  You don’t warn your dad or your sisters every time you drop by.  Well, it’s the same for Chakotay and me. It would practically be an insult to warn him I’m coming. I’d be treating him just like all the other people I know.  I want to see him.  I miss him.  We haven’t had a chance to talk since we got back to Earth.  I don’t want him doing anything special because we’re there.  He’ll understand, trust me.”

“Ok.  It just feels like bad manners to me, that’s all.”

“He’s family, Tom.”

“If you say so.  Do you really think Samantha and Naomi can manage with Miral all day?”  Their conversation turned to more routine topics as the transport departed San Francisco for Taos.

Chakotay sat on his front porch enjoying the morning.  He had been up in time to watch the sunrise and was on his second cup of tea as it climbed slowly above the horizon.  He glanced down at his third cup and decided that he really should consider starting breakfast.  He leaned back on the swing and pushed it slowly back and forth with his feet.

Chakotay enjoyed the early morning peace knowing that all too soon it would be time to get to work on his new home. He had bought it more for its location than for its condition. But the small old house sat on nearly ten acres of land and was quite isolated.  Chakotay considered himself lucky to have found it. The sagging porch and leaky roof could be repaired but he could never have changed the view from a newer home to match the view he had here. His first project here had been that leaky room. He had taken down the solar panels and replaced the entire roof with the help of a local handyman. He smiled as he remembered the week he had lived here amid the clutter and without any power. It was very different from his years on Voyager.

Voyager. Those had been seven very eventful years. He would never want to make that journey again but he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. He hoped he never had to go through a debriefing covering seven years again. Seven weeks of debriefing – five weeks too many in his opinion, even given the length of time they had been gone.  He smiled as he remembered the reaction of some of the brass at Starfleet Command when they were suddenly confronted with the civilian court’s current opinion on the Maquis. They were still struggling to understand the concept ‘the enemy of my enemy is my ally’ as the Maquis were officially released from the ‘arrest’ they had been under while on Voyager. Fortunately the C in C and the head of ‘fleet personnel understood and acted. Most of the Maquis had their field commissions confirmed and had received offers to extend their enlistment with Starfleet. Chakotay was officially on leave for another six weeks before he had to decide what to do about his offer.

Chakotay glanced around again. He liked it here. He liked the rhythm of the sun and the moon.  He particularly liked having the same stars around day after day rather than a constantly changing pattern. He liked his house. He liked working in his garden out back. He liked his life here since he had settled into a routine. He had a good life here. He wondered if Starfleet would be willing to assign him to headquarters. What if they wouldn’t? Would he be willing to take an assignment on a ship? He wasn’t sure.

Chakotay’s mind was still sorting out what type of assignment might convince him to take an assignment off Earth when he noticed two figures approaching his house. They were walking along the edge of the road since there was no sidewalk. As they approached, Chakotay could tell they were holding hands but it seemed almost as if one were dragging the other along. He smiled when he finally recognized B'Elanna and Tom. Company for breakfast was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. He stood as they approached the porch.

“Good morning.” Chakotay walked over to B'Elanna and hugged her for a long minute. “It’s good to see you, B'Elanna. How did you manage to get Tom down here this early?”

“It’s good to see you, old man.” B'Elanna’s light tone was teasing as she returned his hug. “I just told him I was coming and didn’t mind if he wanted to stay home.”

Chakotay reached out to shake Tom’s hand and smiled. “I’m glad you decided to come with her.  It’s good to see you, too.”

“It’s not that I didn’t want to come. I just thought we should give you some warning.”

“If it had been just you, maybe a warning would have been appropriate, but B'Elanna is family. She doesn’t have to get permission to visit me.”

B'Elanna glanced smugly at Tom. “See, I told you so.”

“Here, you two sit down and I’ll get you some tea.  I’ll be right back.” Chakotay returned quickly with hot tea for all three of them. Tom and B'Elanna had taken the chairs near the swing so Chakotay returned to his previous position. “We have about an hour before it gets too hot to really enjoy being outside. We can go inside later for breakfast. Last week’s project was a new replicator/recycler unit but it hasn’t really been tested on much until today. Now, tell me how Miral is doing.”

They talked about Miral and various members of Voyager’s crew for nearly forty-five minutes.  Chakotay even walked them around to his garden before B'Elanna turned the conversation to Chakotay.

“What are your plans, Chakotay? Are you staying in Starfleet?”

“I don’t know yet, B'Elanna. I haven’t decided. I have another six weeks leave before I even have to start thinking about it and six months to actually decide. Strangely enough, that is what I was thinking about when I saw you two walking down the road.”

“You could probably get your own command if you asked for it.”

“I don’t know that I want my own command. I’m not even sure I want to be assigned to a ship. I like being in the same place from one week to the next. I've missed the pattern of the seasons.” Even a stranger could have read the expression on Tom’s face. “Ok, so the seasons here are not as variable as they are some places, but there is a rhythm to the weather patterns.”

“Speaking of variable weather patterns, have you seen the captain recently?” Tom had been waiting for an opening and took advantage of the only one he had been given. B'Elanna didn’t hesitate to convey her opinion of his question with her elbow.

“It’s ok, B'Elanna. The captain and I weren’t allowed to see much of each other until after the debriefings were completed. I guess they wanted to make sure we didn’t have a chance to compare notes to make our stories match. Once that was over, she and I went to dinner a couple times before I started my leave. She told me before I left that she was starting her leave in about three days. I found this house and moved in right away and have been working on it ever since.”

B'Elanna had hoped that the captain and Chakotay would finally work things out between themselves, but evidently that was not going to happen – at least not in the near future.

“Why don’t you want to go back into space?”

“Like I said, I like it here.  If I stay in Starfleet I might ask for an assignment on Earth or at least in the system so I can live here. You saw my garden – I can’t just hope it grows if I’m gone too much. At the very least, those plants will need water. Then there’s my cat. I can’t go off and abandon my cat so soon after getting her.

“You have a cat? I never thought you’d be the type to go out and get a kitten.”

“Well, she is no kitten and I didn’t exactly go out and get her. She just showed up one night and made it clear that she was moving in. She made herself at home and has been expecting me to be her servant ever since. From what I’ve heard, that’s very typical of most cats.”

“What’s her name? Where is she?”

“I’ve been calling her ‘cat’ and right now she's probably sleeping curled up in the middle of my bed. She usually stays there until I start breakfast, then she’s down here getting in my way while I try to cook. It hasn’t been so bad since I got the replicator.”

“What did the captain say?” Tom made one final attempt to get more information.

“About my cat?”

“No, about her plans.”

“I didn’t ask her.”

“She must have said something or given some indication of what she is going to do.”

Chakotay had heard movement inside the house but Tom and B'Elanna hadn’t so the voice they heard shocked them both.

“Why don’t you just ask me what my plans are?”

Kathryn Janeway stood in the door wearing only a long white tee shirt with a cheetah on the front smiling at the shocked expressions on the faces of their visitors. She moved slowly to sit next to Chakotay on the swing, sliding close to his side as he put his arm around her shoulders. Kathryn took Chakotay’s tea and finished what was left of it before she broke the silence.

“So, Tom. What do you think of Chakotay’s 'cat'?”

Chakotay grinned at Tom's shocked expression. “I’d be careful answering that, Paris.  My Kat may purr for me but she has claws that she’s not afraid to use.”