Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Characters (well most of them) I own the story.
Chakotay rolled over reaching out to the empty spot beside him. Kathryn was missing, again; he tried to get up to find her but his eyes refused to open. He grunted, rolled over and struggled to sit up. It had been a tough two months in this section of the Delta Quadrant and in the middle of it Shannon had arrived. He didn’t know how Kathryn managed; he was exhausted.
“Lay back down.” Kathryn whispered as she slid in beside him.
“I wanted to help but…” He rolled toward her but still couldn’t pry his eyes open. “I didn’t even hear her.”
“Shhh, let’s sleep while we can.” Kathryn moved easily into his arms and was instantly asleep.
When Chakotay’s eyes finally opened he could hear the faint sound of voices in the outer room. He sat on the edge of the bed for a few minutes then struggled out to face another day; one he hoped would not be froth with disaster.
“Good morning, sleepyhead.” Kathryn crossed the room and kissed his cheek. “All’s quiet ….”
Before she could finish speaking, two screaming streaks crossed the room and wrapped around his legs.
“Well its quiet outside our quarters anyway.” Kathryn laughed and handed him the baby. “I’ll pry these two away if you can put her in the cradle. Your coffee’s on the table.”
“Thank you and good morning.” He shook his head and took the baby. “Why are you in uniform so early?”
“I have a meeting in engineering. B’Elanna wants to do some system upgrades along with the repairs—that is if no one attacks us today.” Kathryn smiled as she untangled their three-year-old twins from his legs. “Let’s go you two, you can see daddy after you are dressed.” She turned back and grinned as she dragged them to their room. “If I get them ready can you take them to day care?”
“I can get them ready if you have to go.” He put the baby down and gulped at his semi warm coffee. God he didn’t know how she did this.
“I’ll have them dressed in a minute then they are all yours.” Kathryn called from the other room.
Chakotay knew a minute with the twins was at the very least fifteen. He checked on the baby and darted off for a quick sonic shower. He was almost dressed when Katie and Kole bound into the room.
Chakotay sat on the bed and reached out to catch the children as they flung themselves into his arms.
“Daddy!” They cried together as the three of them fell backwards onto the bed.
They wrestled around on the bed, the twins giggling and squealing as they climbed over their father. Finally Chakotay noticed Kathryn watching them from the doorway.
“If you can handle them, I’ll be on my way.” Kathryn smiled and rolled her eyes at the sight before her.
“Of course I can.” Chakotay chuckled as he peered out from the tangled mass of three-year-old arms and legs. “Got it all under control, Captain!”
“You two…” Kathryn leaned in and kissed each of them. “be careful with your daddy. Don’t break him, remember mommy needs him.”
Kathryn winked at Chakotay as she rushed out the door to face what would be just another eighteen-hour day in the Delta Quadrant.
Kathryn had managed to visit the day care and feed Shannon on her ‘morning break’; it was the last thing that went according to plan all day. Lunch with the twins and dinner with her husband fell victim to a series of crisis in engineering. The good news was that no one attacked them today and all was quiet by the time she returned to her quarters. Like too many other days the twins were fast asleep long before she managed to crawl into bed beside her sleeping husband. Four short hours later and it all started again.
Chakotay woke again with an empty space beside him. Her nightgown was tossed on the pillow at least that told him she had been here. He checked the chronometer and listened for voices in the other room. It was 0700 and he could hear hushed voices, they must be having breakfast. He wondered how she ever managed to keep them quiet; he never could.
“Morning.” He smiled at the sight of his wife holding the baby in one arm while she assisted the twins with breakfast with the other hand.
“Daddy!” The serenity was shattered as they rushed him again.
“Good morning.” He scooped them up one in each arm and returned them to their breakfast. “Looks like mommy worked hard on this, you better eat it.” He placed them back in their places and took the seat beside Kathryn. “What time did you get in?”
“About 0100.” She put the baby down and passed him his coffee. “Sorry I missed dinner…” She shrugged. “Again.”
“It is now.” Her smile could not hide the exhaustion in her eyes.
“Good, why don’t you take the morning off and rest. I’ll take these guys to day care and …”
“Can’t. I have a meeting with Seven—I think we need to find a nice place for some shore leave, if it stays quiet. Then I have to go over some plans B’Elanna has—incase we find such a planet and are able to set down, she would love to make a few modifications and...”
“And I can handle that.”
“I know you can and a lot more, but I really need to go over these things. I’m sorry I know I’ve dumped the kids on you, I promise today Ill pick them up, I’ll be here for dinner and …”
“Kathryn, I don’t mind picking them up and I love taking care of them. Its you I’m worried about. You work all day, I go to sleep and you are working and I wake up and you are up and dressed and taking care of them and then it starts all over again. I know you were never one for much sleep but you have to get some rest.”
“I’m OK. I don’t…” Kathryn glared at him but the pain in his eyes stopped her, she swallowed her rising anger. “OK, I’ll drop the kids off, brush off Seven as fast as I can, give B’Elanna a quick nod and then I’ll get some rest.”
“Thank you.” He tucked her hair behind her ear and bent to kiss her.
“Eww.” Kole piped up; Katie just giggled.
“Well we certainly don’t do enough of that if our children react like that!”
Kathryn rolled her eyes and Chakotay smiled, but the sad truth was that they never spent any time together—no waking time anyway. They either worked different shifts or in different parts of the ship and then were almost never at home together unless one or both were sleeping. Kathryn resolved to make some changes.
Kathryn dropped off the kids, rushed her meeting with Seven, dealt quickly with B’Elanna and was home sound asleep by the time Chakotay checked the computer at 1100 hours.
Kathryn’s good intentions lasted just moments longer than her all too short nap. It was 11:45 when the first call came. Systems were crashing all over the ship, most lifts weren’t running and the transporters were off line making movement difficult. No other primary systems were down at the moment but secondary systems were failing like some one had hit the off switch.
“Chakotay to Janeway.” Chakotay hated to do this but he knew his life was worthless –both personally and professionally- if he didn’t.
“Janeway here, Commander.” Kathryn rubbed the sleep from her eyes. It was only11:45 and she had barely gotten to sleep, this must be serious.
“Captain we are experiencing scattered power outages and our secondary systems are experiencing serious failures. B’Elanna has requested all available hands to engineering.”
“I’m on my way, Commander.” Kathryn responded to Chakotay’s news as pulled on her uniform and headed for the door.
“Aye, Captain. I’m sending Mr. Kim now.”
“Understood, Commander we’ll keep you informed.”
The News through out the day wasn’t encouraging, systems continued to fail without warning and with little reason. Just as a repair team would bring one on line two more would go down in its place. Sporadic power failures complicated the repairs and prolonged the day well into the night.
“B’Elanna we need to set this thing down!” Kathryn tossed the spanner into the box.
“O-K.” B’Elanna cautiously glanced sideward at her frustrated Captain. “Can I give you a hand with that?”
“No, this is fine; finished in fact.” Kathryn sat down and rested her back against the bulkhead and closed her eyes.
“Captain, are you alright?”
“Of course. Its just …” Kathryn opened her eyes and studied the concerned face of her friend. “It’s 0330. I did it again.”
“Kathryn, I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault.”
“You know, Kathryn, its not like we are out having a good time. He does understand.”
“He understands too damn much!” Kathryn rested her head back. “Sometimes I could kill him!”
“You could kill him for understanding? You do need some rest, woman.”
“What I need is to make a date with my husband and KEEP it.”
“OK.” B’Elanna gathered up the remaining tools and stuffed them in the bag. “Here’s the plan, tomorrow we find a planet…”
“We haven’t see one in weeks.”
“Don’t interrupt.” B’Elanna scowled and Kathryn just closed her eyes and rested against the bulkhead. “Tomorrow we find a Planet, we set the ship down. Tom and I will take the kids – and you and Chakotay will have time to … to.. .well you can do what ever you want.” Kathryn didn’t answer. “Hey, you sleeping?”
“Dreaming I think. I thought you just said Chakotay would get to spend time together-alone.”
“Yeah, pretty much that’s the plan.”
“Well, it’s a nice plan but we can’t just land the ship so the captain and first officer can have some quality time.” Kathryn dragged her fingers through her hair and smiled at the friend. “Thanks anyway.”
“Look, you were right when you said we need to set her down. We just spent the better part of fifteen hours making minor repairs, none of which would have been a problem on their own; together they could have spelled disaster.”
“I know there was a time there we didn’t have one single back up system running. If we lost one vital system we would have been through.” Kathryn shuddered at the real danger her aging ship posed.
“Exactly, that’s why we need to land and do a major overhaul.”
“Agreed.” Kathryn dropped her head back against the bulkhead and sighed. “That’s a lot of work.”
“Yes, it is and we will be grounded quite a while if we do it properly.” B’Elanna closed the tool bag and sat back. “Not all of the crew will be working on repairs all of the time.”
“Yes, it would be an excellent time for some much needed off time. We’ll work out shift rotations and…..”
“And that off time includes the Captain and the First Officer.”
“I’ll need to help with the repairs…”
“So will I but we both need that down time.” B’Elanna held up a hand to silence Kathryn’s protest. “There is no way this last repair should have taken two of us an hour. We are as tired as the ship.”
Kathryn opened her mouth to protest but the determination on B’Elanna’s face cause her to pause and really look at her. The younger woman had dark circles under her eyes, her shoulders slumped and it was clear even her stronger Klingon constitution was weakening.
“OK. We’ll discuss it in the morning meeting.”
“No, that meeting is in just over four hours. By the time we get out of here and get to bed we will have about two hours sleep; I can’t function on that right now and neither can you. We’ll reschedule for later in the day.”
“And tell me Lieutenant, exactly when did you take command?” Kathryn shook her head smiling.
“When it became apparent my Captain was little more then sleep walking.” B’Elanna got up on her knees. “Now let’s get out of here.”
The search for a suitable planet went on for weeks without success. They seemed to be traveling through a void, it had many small clusters of stars but no inhabitable planets. The only good thing it seemed about this empty sector of space was that there weren’t any hostile aliens to attack them.
In the quiet weeks they traveled all of the repairs and all some of the minor modifications were completed. It was less hectic but still required long hours for every able engineer on the ship.
With nothing more to be accomplished until that much hoped for ‘suitable’ planet appeared on the sensors, B’Elanna and Tom showed up at the Captain’s door.
“Come.” Chakotay called at the chime as he paced the living area with a very unhappy baby.
“Nice place you have here.” Tom quipped as he stepped over the toys left in the wake of the twins.
“Yeah. There’s a real art to getting around in here.” Chakotay laughed as Tom stepped on a block and nearly lost his balance.
“So I see.”
“Here, give her to me.” B’Elanna took the wailing baby. “You…” She shook her head at Tom. “don’t break anything; I’m going to need you.”
“Just a friendly visit or can I do something for you two?” Chakotay automatically began picking up the scattered toys.
“Where’s Kathryn?” B’Elanna rocked the now quiet baby.
“Putting the twins to bed.” Chakotay shook his head. “How did you do that?”
“She’s just got the touch...” Tom tossed a few toys into the box. “I think its called fear, it always works with me.”
“Whatever it is, I’ll remember to call you when she is screaming at 0300 and her mom is crawling through a jeffries tube somewhere.”
“Great idea, but I’m sure B’Elanna would be crawling right beside Kathryn and I’m no good with babies.”
“Which brings us back to the subject at hand.” B’Elanna put the baby in the cradle.
“Which is?” Chakotay crawled across the room gathering toys.
“You have a date.”
“Excuse me, would you care to tell me just whom my husband has a date with?” Kathryn asked just before the twins ran from behind her and tackled their father.
“You!” B’Elanna laughed. “If there is anything left of him when they’re finished.”
Chakotay looked up from under the squealing pile and shook his head at the unvoiced question in Kathryn’s eyes. They both turned toward B’Elanna.
“Care to explain, B’Elanna?” Kathryn sat on the floor beside her family.
“You will remember- or maybe not- but anyway several weeks ago, you and I spent a very unproductive hour in jefferies tube 17 making the most minor of repairs.”
“We’ve done a lot of that lately, please do forgive me if I don’t remember the exact time.”
“We’ll I do, so let me refresh your memory. This was a particularly long day and night and you may recall that the chief engineer took command from her sleep walking captain and…”
“Yes, now its all coming back to me, but we never did find that planet.”
“Well, true. I may have been a bit too optimistic about that part but I have taken care of the rest.”
“Excuse me, would someone care to tell me what we are talking about?”
“We are talking about your date.” B’Elanna rolled her eyes.
“Kathryn, you speak federation standard, what are we talking about- what date?”
“Ours silly.” Kathryn patted his hand. “So where is this planet and when do we land?”
“Well there’s a bit of a problem with landing. We didn’t exactly find a planet, not one we can land the ship on anyway.”
“So being a resourceful woman, not to mention nosey, my wife searched the holoprograms and found a perfect place for your date.” Tom joined in.
“No more questions. You two up and out of here, we’ll take care of them.” B’Elanna offered her hands to the twins who gladly took them and stood beside her.
Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other and shrugged. They stood and started for the door.
“Wait, where are we going?” Chakotay turned back to B’Elanna.
“Holodeck two, you’ll find the program running. Its yours for the next 48 hours.”
“We don’t have that much time….” Kathryn protested.
“You do now. Go!”
They speculated on what program they would find running as they made their way to holodeck two. They discarded Tom’s tropical resort; in fact they discarded most of Tom’s programs. B’Elanna has said they had a date and none of Tom’s programs seemed romantic and B’Elanna didn’t have any that didn’t require self-defense.
The panel outside holodeck two said ‘Reserved: access restricted.’ Kathryn shrugged and pressed the panel for entrance.
“Access restricted Please, identify” the computer responded.
“Captain Janeway.” Kathryn replied and the door opened to allow them access. “Guess that was the right answer.”
They entered together stopping only a few feet inside the door. Before them stood a lush green planet, bathed in sunshine, the warm dry air filled with the familiar fragrance of long ago spring mornings.
“This is lovely but I thought it was a private program.” Kathryn leaned against him as she let her self absorb the peacefulness of New Earth.
“It is, but she is the chief engineer; she can access just about anything.”
“Guess that’s what Tom meant about her being nosey.” Kathryn put her arm around his waist as they slowly wandered toward the shelter. “Sooo what will we do with all this time alone?”
“I thought I’d do some fishing.” Chakotay quipped earning himself a sharp elbow to his ribs. “Ouch! You had something else in mind?”
“If you’re fishing I guess I’ll see what the monkey is doing.”
“See I always knew you like him better than me!”
“Maybe.” Kathryn teased as they drew closer to the shelter. “Hey what’s that?”
“It seems B’Elanna added a few things.” Chakotay chuckled as they approached the very large hammock hung between two tall shade trees, beside it a bottle of wine chilling in a bucket and two glasses.
“Nice touch, wonder what else she changed?”
“I hope not the tub…”
“Oh I hope not. I would love a long soak in that.”
“Computer what modifications have been made to this program in the last 24 hours?” Chakotay asked.
“The program has been modified to include on double sized hammock in a secluded, shaded area, two ice buckets, several bottles of wine and glasses. The monkey has been deactivated.”
As they laughed Kathryn flopped down in the hammock.
“Comfy, why don’t you join me?”
“I intend to.” Chakotay poured two glasses of wine and handed her one. “First I’m going to check on the tub and make sure the water is suitable for communal soaking.” He waggled his eyebrows and sauntered off around the shelter.
Kathryn’s eyes drifted close as she breathed deeply of the soft peaceful air. She rested her head on the pillow and listened to gentle sounds of the forest and for the footsteps that would tell her Chakotay had returned to her.
Chakotay found the tub was ready and waiting for them, B’Elanna had thought of everything. The clear water was a perfect temperature, several large fluffy towels hung near by and there was another bucket of wine standing right beside it. He silently thanked his friends and chuckled to himself that they had remembered to delete the monkey, then he made his way back to Kathryn.
“Kathryn.” Chakotay called as he came around the shelter, but she didn’t answer. “Kathryn?” He said softly as he approached the hammock.
Kathryn was curled on her side; one hand extended over the edge of the hammock tightly gripping the stem of the glass that slowly dripped its contents onto the grass below. She was sound asleep.
Chakotay smiled as he gently pried the glass from her fingers. He eased himself onto the hammock behind her and pulled her back against his chest. A warm breeze blew across them filling his senses with the sweet smell of wild flowers and the gently essence of Kathryn. He kissed her hair and snuggled closer drifting off to sleep. This was his idea of perfection; the bath could wait.
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