posted August 2004
Disclaimer: The characters of Star Trek: Voyager are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringements are intended and no profit will be made off this story.
Erin and Admiral Janeway had confirmed that their shuttle and its equipment were in perfect working order. They sat patiently in their seats awaiting the arrival of the captain and Seven. Erin felt her stomach tighten and sweat run down her neck as she thought about where she would be later that day. She glanced over at the admiral, who sat calmly while looking over a PADD in her hand. Erin knew this was just another day to Admiral Janeway, and could only wish that she had the admiral's poise in stressful situations.
The shuttle door opened and Erin and the admiral turned in their seats to see Captain Janeway and Seven walk in. Each was carrying a hypospray that they obtained from the doctor.
“It's about time,” the admiral remarked. “I'm not getting any younger, you know.”
The captain favored the admiral with a small grin as she entered the cockpit.
“You sure you want to go through with this?” Janeway asked.
“No,” the admiral replied. “But Voyager isn't big enough for the both of us.”
The captain smiled at her counterpart in response, then quickly injected her with the pathogen. Erin gave the silver-haired woman a sympathetic look as the admiral rubbed her neck to relieve the slight sting from the hypospray.
Seven hesitated briefly before approaching Erin . The young woman turned her head, exposing her neck to the former drone, who took a deep breath and then plunged her assimilation tubules into Erin 's neck. Erin winced and cried out from the pain. Janeway felt her eyes close involuntarily, and forced herself to reopen them. The admiral kept her gaze straight ahead, on the console in front of her.
Seven, with tears running freely down her cheeks, withdrew her tubules and stepped back to watch her daughter's reaction. Erin straightened her neck and looked at Seven, then down at her own left hand. Flexing the hand, she watched as two assimilation tubules emerged. She retracted them and met Seven's eyes once more. The young woman's skin took on a gray pallor for several moments as the nanoprobes established themselves in her system. Her glazed-over eyes reminded Seven of the look she had seen in the eyes of the individuals she had assimilated into the Collective years earlier.
“Are you all right?” Seven asked her daughter in a small voice.
Erin sat silently for a long moment.
“Yes, Mother,” she finally replied, in a precise tone. “I am functioning adequately.”
The admiral and Janeway looked at each other with concern on their faces. The admiral turned back to Erin and leaned in toward the young woman
“ Erin , are you sure you're okay?” she asked.
Erin did not respond.
“Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all,” the admiral declared.
Erin blinked and shook her head as her natural color slowly returned to her face and her eyes became their usual blue-gray. She glanced over at the admiral.
“I'm okay, Admiral,” she said in her normal tone. “I wasn't sure what to expect, and that was a bit...overwhelming.”
Janeway took the second hypospray from Seven and approached Erin with it.
“ Erin , if this doesn't work...”
“It will work,” Erin interjected. “I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but you have to trust me on this one...Mom.”
Janeway gave her a small smile and tried to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat. She placed the hypospray against Erin 's neck and before she could change her mind, injected the virus into her daughter's system.
There were no changes in Erin 's outward appearance, but the young woman knew that her nanoprobes were absorbing the virus. The adjustments she'd made to her internal implants would enable her to carry the virus for up to six hours before she succumbed to it. Even if everything went as planned, she would need nearly all of that time; the trip to the hub alone would take almost five hours.
Erin could sense three sets of eyes on her and looked up at the trio. “I'm okay, but we really should get going.”
Janeway squatted down in front of Erin and cupped the young woman's face with both hands.
“ Erin ,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You are a brave and strong person, and I am so very proud of you.”
Erin 's eyes shone as she finally heard the words she wanted to hear from her mom. She gave the captain a lopsided grin and pulled her into a hug. Janeway wrapped her arms around the young woman. Several moments later, they released and gave each other a tender smile. Janeway stood and made room for Seven, who took her place in front of Erin . Seven and Erin simply looked at each other as if words weren't enough. The former drone suddenly bent down and gave her daughter a lung-collapsing hug.
When Seven released her, Erin looked up into her large blue eyes with a smile. “Thank you for letting me do this. I know this hasn't been easy for you, but things will be better for all of us once this is over.”
“I know,” Seven replied in a small voice.
The Astrometrics officer then turned to Admiral Janeway, and before anyone registered what was happening, grabbed the admiral's shoulders and pulled her into a deep kiss. Janeway looked on in shock, realizing that tongues were being exchanged between the kissing mouths. She looked over at Erin, who was watching the two with amusement.
The young woman glanced up at the captain and shrugged her shoulders. “Technically, she's not cheating.”
Janeway closed her mouth after realizing it was hanging open, and felt her face redden slightly. Seven and the admiral broke from their intense kiss after several moments. Admiral Janeway gazed up at Seven in astonishment as the former drone gave her a seductive smile.
“That was ‘for luck', as well as a small compensation for the time we were not able to share with one another in your timeline.”
The admiral's face turned beet red, and she cleared her throat before speaking. “Well...umm...thank you, Seven.”
“You're welcome, Admiral.”
Seven moved over to stand beside the captain. Janeway just looked at her and blinked before shaking the jealousy off.
“Good luck to you both,” Janeway said to the admiral and Erin.
“You too. And Captain,” the silver-haired woman added. “It was nice getting to know you again.”
Janeway smiled at the admiral before she and Seven took one last look at their daughter.
Erin returned their gaze with a half smile. “Well, I guess I'll see you on April 5, 2381.”
“The day of your birth,” Seven confirmed.
“It's a date,” the captain said.
Seven and the captain exited the shuttle and rode the lift up to the control booth, where they watched through the windows as the shuttlebay depressurized and the small craft powered up its engines. The two women stood with their arms wrapped around each other's waist as the shuttle exited through the open doors, set on a course for the nebula.
FIVE YEARS LATER
The former crewmembers of Voyager and their families were assembled in the spacious apartment of Admiral Kathryn Janeway and Seven of Nine, which overlooked the San Francisco Bay , for their five-year reunion. The living room was filled with a mixture of Starfleet officers, crewmen and civilians, laughing and talking and catching up with one another.
Lieutenant Harry Kim and his very pregnant wife, Libby, were standing off to the side of the crowd, talking with Admiral Janeway. The admiral, in her Starfleet dress uniform, carried her sleeping two-year-old daughter in her arms. The little girl's arm was wrapped around Janeway's neck, and her face was nuzzled into the admiral's collar.
“I can't believe how big she's gotten,” Harry commented.
“She's inherited Seven's height...along with her attitude,” Janeway replied.
“She's a real handful, huh?”
“That's putting it mildly, but she's worth it.” The auburn-haired woman smiled as she placed a light kiss on the sleeping toddler's head. She then glanced over at Libby, who was rubbing her large pregnant stomach. “The doctor told me you're going to have triplets.”
“Harry and I wanted to have a few children, but I had no idea they would all arrive at once,” the expectant mother replied with a grin.
“I'm happy for you both, but I'll admit, I don't envy you. This little one keeps Seven and I on our toes constantly. I can't imagine having two more her age right now.”
“So does that mean we won't be able to talk you into babysitting?” Harry joked.
“Only if you sedate them first, Lieutenant.”
Harry and Libby laughed.
“Did you two get something to eat?” Janeway asked as she pointed towards the banquet tables set up behind them.
The lieutenant turned his attention to the tables, his mouth watering. “No, not yet.”
“Help yourself. Seven spent most of the morning preparing it all.”
Libby looked at the vast array of dishes sitting out and raised her eyebrows. “Seven made all of this?”
“Yes,” Janeway nodded. “She's quite the gourmet chef. I know I'll never go hungry as long as she's around.”
“I take it you don't do any cooking?” Harry questioned.
“Are you kidding? I can't even replicate a damn pot roast!”
The three laughed as Seven of Nine approached the small group.
“Kathryn, please refrain from cursing in Erin 's presence.”
Janeway swung around and looked up at her wife with a smile. “Honey, she's asleep. I think she's oblivious to what I'm saying.”
Seven linked her hands behind her back and raised her ocular implant, looking squarely at her wife. “Yesterday, when you came home for lunch and Erin was taking her nap on the couch, you used...'the F word'...in a sentence. After you left to return to Starfleet headquarters, Erin arose, and I spent the rest of the afternoon attempting to discourage her from using that word.”
“Oh? You didn't tell me that when I got home last night.”
“I was able to prevent Erin from repeating that word, and felt it was not an issue by the time you returned home.”
Janeway maintained a tight-lipped smile on her face in an attempt to keep from laughing. Harry and his wife kept their eyes focused on the floor, trying desperately not to laugh at the image of the beautiful little girl running through the apartment repeating Janeway's choice of words and Seven attempting to restrain the vulgar language.
The admiral soon found herself unable to control her amusement any longer and burst out laughing, which caused Harry and Libby to join her. All three stopped immediately when they noticed the death glare coming from Seven.
“The food looks delicious. I think we'll grab something to eat,” Harry remarked before he and Libby made their escape.
Janeway watched the couple depart and turned back to her wife. She leaned up and placed a gentle kiss on Seven's soft lips.
“I'm sorry, sweetheart. I didn't mean to upset you by laughing at Erin 's behavior.”
“I am not upset. Erin can be a difficult child to care for at times, due to her age and activity level. She imitates you frequently, including your inappropriate behavior and language.”
“I'll be more careful with what I say from now on,” Janeway promised with a smile. “Do you still love me?”
Seven gave a slow smile and leaned down to place a kiss to Janeway's lips.
“Immensely,” she stated in a sultry voice.
Seven cupped Janeway's cheek with her right hand before running her index finger down to the admiral's lips. Janeway captured the tip of the finger in her mouth and lightly sucked on it. Seven responded by closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, which indicated to her wife that she was becoming aroused. The former drone's eyes flew open as she remembered they were not alone in their apartment and their daughter was snuggled between them, asleep in Janeway's arms. She gave Janeway a subtle smile as she removed her finger from the tender lips and took a step back to compose herself.
“Perhaps I should put Erin to bed. She has been asleep in your arms for nearly an hour.”
“She's fine for now,” Janeway objected as she gave the toddler a gentle squeeze. “I like holding her, and besides, it won't be much longer before I won't be able to pick her up anymore.”
“At the rate she's growing, Erin will be able to pick you up in a few years, Admiral,” a familiar voice observed from behind them.
Both women turned around to see Voyager's EMH.
“Doctor!” Janeway exclaimed. “I didn't see you come in. I wasn't sure you'd make it tonight.”
“I've been putting in a lot of hours at Starfleet Medical, but I wouldn't miss this reunion for anything.”
The doctor approached Janeway and looked at the sleeping child in her arms with a smile on his face. He rubbed Erin 's back lightly.
“How's my favorite little patient doing?”
“She has been very well,” Seven responded.
“I assume she hasn't been jumping on the beds anymore since her fall last week.”
“No,” Janeway replied. “I think that bump on her head knocked some sense into her. Luckily, she didn't break any bones.”
“Admiral, your daughter is part Borg,” the doctor pointed out. “It would be almost impossible for any of her bones to break.”
Janeway shook her head slightly with a smile. “That's what worries me. Once Erin is old enough to realize how resilient she is, we may find her performing stunts off the balcony one day.”
“Perhaps you should consider moving to a safer environment before she reaches that stage,” the doctor suggested.
“What do you propose, Doctor?” Seven questioned.
“You may want to consider a house. Erin is an extremely rambunctious child; in fact, she is far more active than most two year olds. She may benefit from having her own yard, where she can play and expend that extra energy.” The hologram's face took on a sympathetic expression. “It may also save your furniture from damage.”
“You do have a point there,” Janeway acknowledged as she gazed down at her sleeping daughter. She looked back up at the doctor. “But I don't know whether a house would necessarily solve that problem. Whenever we take her to my mother's farm in Indiana , Erin always seems to find something to get into. By the way, Seven, we need to repair that antique table of my mother's that Erin broke the last time we were there.”
“I had planned to visit your mother on Monday and repair the table then,” Seven stated. “Along with the chair, the lamp, the...”
Janeway put her hand up to stop Seven from listing each and every item.
“I know everything she's broken. Maybe we should find a sitter for Erin while you're over there.”
“Kathryn, I believe we have already exhausted all of our resources.”
“What about Tom and B'Elanna? Tom usually stays home working on his holonovels and B'Elanna takes care of Miral.”
“B'Elanna informed me that Erin is too ‘active' for her. She finds it difficult to keep up with her.”
Janeway blinked in astonishment. “I didn't realize our two year old daughter could wear down a Klingon.”
“Seven,” the doctor interrupted. “I have some time off coming. Perhaps I can take Monday off and accompany you to your mother-in-law's house. I can make sure Erin stays out of trouble while you repair the items she broke from previous visits.”
“Doctor, Erin can be devious and is extremely quick,” Seven warned. “She must be monitored at all times.”
“I'm a hologram,” he responded defensively. “I don't tire, and I am programmed with enough knowledge about children to be a skilled babysitter.”
“I don't doubt your competence, Doctor,” Janeway interjected. “But you know Erin is not like other children.”
“I realize that she can be a handful, but I would be happy to take on the challenge.”
“Very well, Doctor,” Seven responded. “I will leave here as soon as Kathryn goes to work at 0700.”
The EMH folded his arms across his chest triumphantly. “Good. I'll be here at 0630 to help get Erin ready for the day.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Seven replied with a hint of relief in her voice.
The doctor nodded with a smile. He glanced over his shoulder briefly at a new arrival entering the apartment.
“If you'll excuse me, I see that Lt. Barclay just walked in. I need to remind him of our golf game next week.”
Janeway and Seven gave him a quick nod as they watched him walk away. Seven turned back to her wife and noticed the admiral shifting Erin 's weight in her arms.
“Let me take her, Kathryn. She is obviously becoming too heavy for you to hold.”
Janeway reluctantly handed Erin over to Seven. The little girl made a soft pouting noise in response to being moved from her comfortable position.
“Shhh,” the former drone whispered as she held the toddler gently against her chest.
Erin stirred and began to awaken. Seven rubbed her back and placed little kisses on her head. A loud laugh from the crowd of people scattered throughout the apartment caused Erin to straighten up and peer over her mother's shoulder. She recognized some of those she saw, but most were strangers to the young child.
Seven turned her head to look at Erin while continuing to rub her back. “Those are individuals from Voyager,” she explained to her daughter softly.
Janeway took a step closer and ran her hands through the child's strawberry blonde hair in an attempt to smooth it out from her nap. She leaned in and placed a kiss on the young girl's cheek. “Sweetie, are you hungry? Mama made some of your favorite foods.”
Erin continued staring out at the crowd of people as she nodded her head in response to Janeway's question. Suddenly, she pointed toward the group and looked excitedly at Janeway. “Mommy, there's a boo people!”
Janeway reached up and gently pushed her daughter's index finger down towards Seven's shoulder. “ Erin , honey, don't point. It's not polite.”
Erin ignored her mom's request and turned to look at Seven. “Mama, I wanna see the boo people!” she demanded loudly.
“ Erin , please use an inside voice,” Seven requested before turning to see what or who her daughter was talking about. She immediately spotted a jolly Bolian in the crowd, who was conversing with B'Elanna and Tom.
“The ‘blue people' are Bolians,” the former drone explained to her wide-eyed daughter. “The individual you see is Crewman Chelle. He was a member of Voyager's crew. After you have eaten dinner, you may meet him, but you must be polite. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mama,” Erin replied sheepishly.
Janeway smiled as she watched Seven carry their daughter to the buffet table. Erin clung to her mother's neck, taking in the crowd of people who invaded her home with big blue gray eyes. Seven set the toddler down once she reached the table. Erin stood next to Seven and immediately wrapped both arms tightly around her mother's right leg. She unconsciously placed her cheek against the silky blue trousers that Seven wore, never taking her eyes from the crowd. Seven moved through the line at the buffet table, keeping her right leg straight, and picking Erin up along with it, on each step she took. Janeway followed their progress from where she stood, until she realized that someone was standing beside her, offering her a drink. Janeway blinked at the glass held before her and looked up into the face of Tom Paris.
“I thought you might like a refreshment, Admiral,” the sandy-haired man explained with a smile.
“Thank you, Tom,” Janeway replied, taking the beverage from his outstretched hand. She lightly tapped her glass against his in a silent cheer, and they both took a sip of their drinks.
Suddenly, they heard Erin 's voice through the crowd.
“Mama, that man has a fat head!”
Tom nearly snorted his drink through his nose, while Janeway placed her hand over her reddened face.
“Chakotay must be here,” Tom joked as he wiped his mouth and nose with a napkin.
Janeway scowled at her former helmsman with a faint hint of amusement.
“Tom,” she warned.
“Hey, your kid started it,” he replied in defense.
Janeway shook her head and laughed. She glanced over at the buffet table to see Seven squatting down next to their daughter. Janeway imagined that her wife was attempting to explain the finer points of social etiquette to Erin .
The admiral smiled briefly and turned her attention back to Tom. “So how is your new holonovel coming along?”
“Very well,” he responded as he sipped his drink. “I should have it ready for my publisher within a few more weeks. That reminds me, I forgot to tell you last week that he's interested in releasing my Captain Proton holoseries.”
“Nope. Believe it or not, there's a demand for saving the galaxy.”
“I guess all that time you spent in the holodeck on Voyager paid off. And here I thought we'd seen the last of Chaotica.”
“Oh no. There are a lot of people screaming to see him and Captain Proton in action.”
“I wouldn't go that far,” Janeway joked as she rolled her eyes.
Tom laughed and glanced up to see B'Elanna waving him over from across the room, requesting him to join her as she spoke to a small group of people.
“If you'll excuse me, Admiral, my wife is beckoning.”
“Go right ahead, Mr. Paris,” Janeway smiled.
As he walked away, the admiral visually scanned the crowd, which had increased significantly over the last hour.
Janeway turned around to see her former first officer, who had walked up behind her.
“Chakotay,” she greeted with a smile. “I'm glad you could make it.”
They exchanged a quick and somewhat awkward hug.
“How have you been doing?” she asked.
“Good. How about yourself?”
He smiled, and then averted his eyes briefly before once again meeting Janeway's gaze.
“Kathryn,” he began with a serious expression. “I want to apologize for everything that happened between us.”
“Chakotay, that was five years ago.”
“I haven't seen you in those five years. I've never been able to make amends with you and Seven.”
“Why did you stay away so long?”
Chakotay shrugged and took a deep breath.
“I was ashamed that I had betrayed your trust in me.” The broad-shouldered man lowered his gaze to the floor. “I was in love with you, Kathryn. I had been in love with you ever since we were stranded on New Earth together. After Seven came aboard, I realized that you two had formed a connection, and I became jealous. At first, I tried to point out what I thought were her faults, so that you might find her less appealing. When that didn't work, I became desperate, and...”
“Keep your enemies close?” Janeway quipped with raised eyebrows.
Chakotay glanced up at her and gave a half snort.
“The more time I spent with Seven, the better I got to know her,” he explained. “I eventually understood that she's a wonderful person. I regret what I did, because it cost me two friendships.”
“Chakotay,” Janeway said as she placed her hand on his forearm. “Seven and I have no hard feelings towards you. I'll admit, I was still upset with you for a while after Voyager returned home, but in thinking about it, I realized how you must have felt, and why things happened the way they did. And I hope you know that I feel the same way about you now as I did back then, on New Earth. I care about you very deeply...as a friend .”
“I know,” he responded with a smile. “And don't worry, I've resolved those feelings I had for you. I'm just glad we can be friends again. When your daughter told me about...”
“My daughter?” Janeway interrupted.
“ Erin ,” Chakotay said. “She was your daughter from an alternate timeline, wasn't she?”
“Yes. I just didn't realize you knew who she really was. It's been a while since I've thought about her...or let myself think about her.”
“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring up any bad memories.”
“Oh, no,” Janeway reassured him as she waved it off. “It's just...Seven and I had a very hard time with the whole experience.”
“I wondered how you two were coping with that. I can't even imagine what it must have been like.”
Janeway looked down at the glass in her hand as her thoughts took her back to Voyager's homecoming. “A part of Seven shut down after we sent Erin into that nebula. No one really noticed the change in her, except me. It wasn't until we started preparing for her pregnancy that she began to come around again. And since she gave birth, she's been as happy as I have ever known her to be. But even though our daughter was returned to us, Seven still refuses to discuss what happened to the other Erin .”
“I'm sure that was incredibly painful for both of you,” Chakotay sympathized. “Especially Seven.”
The admiral glanced up at him with a sad smile. “It was extremely painful, but I wish she and I could have talked about it during the first couple years. It might have helped ease some of her pain.”
“I'm sure that if Seven ever does feel the need to talk about it, you'll be the first to know.”
Janeway gave her former first officer a grin and nodded.
“You're probably right,” Janeway sighed. She glanced up at Chakotay and realized that something about him had changed from the time when he served under her on Voyager. There was a light in his eyes that made Janeway curious about what was happening in his life. “So what have you been doing with yourself over the last five years?”
“After Voyager returned home, I lived in Arizona with my cousin for a while. I took some time to relax and just figure out what I was going to do next. I had a lot of job offers, even from Starfleet. But in the end, I chose to take an anthropology position on Mars.”
“That's wonderful, Chakotay.”
“During my second year on the job, I met my fiancée.”
“You're getting married?” Janeway asked enthusiastically.
Chakotay nodded with a smile. “Her name is Tessa. She's been working on a project that kept her running late tonight. I asked her to meet me here, if that's all right with you?”
“Of course it is. I can't wait to meet her.”
“Mommy!” Erin yelled as she came running from the crowd.
Janeway smiled as she set her drink on a nearby table and bent down with open arms to catch the running toddler. Erin leaped into her arms and was lifted up as Janeway stood.
“Mommy, I tawked to the boo people,” the little girl began rambling excitedly. “His name was Chelle and he whived on Vowager.”
“I know, sweetie,” Janeway replied with a laugh.
“He towd me he was in the mukkee.”
“The Maquis,” Janeway corrected. She turned toward Chakotay. “Erin, there is someone else I'd like you to meet. This is Chakotay. He was in the Maquis with Chelle, and was also my first officer on Voyager.”
Chakotay stuck his hand out and the toddler placed her little hand in his.
“It's nice to meet you, Erin,” he said with a grin.
“Nice to weet you, Chatopay,” Erin replied as she stared at the large man.
Janeway smiled and shook her head. “Sorry about that. Her pronunciation still needs some work.”
“That's quite all right,” he responded. “I've been called worse. How old is she?”
“Two going on twenty,” Janeway joked.
“Her vocabulary really is extraordinary for a two year old.”
“She inherited some of Seven's Borg physiology. The doctor believes she'll remain more advanced than other children her age as she matures.”
Erin continued staring at Chakotay as she unconsciously played with the insignia on Janeway's uniform collar. She suddenly stretched up and placed her cheek against Janeway's to whisper in her ear.
“Mommy, someone wrote on that man's face.”
Janeway leaned back to look at her daughter. “Erin, what did Mama tell you about whispering in front of guests?”
Erin glanced at Janeway, and then went back to playing with her mom's insignia.
“She said not to do wit,” the toddler replied sheepishly, with eyes cast downward.
Janeway gave Chakotay an apologetic look. Her former first officer's face revealed his amusement as he held up his hand to let her know there was no need to apologize for her daughter's bluntness.
Janeway turned back to Erin. “That is a tattoo on Chakotay's forehead. He is of Native American descent, and those markings signify his relationship with his family and his ancestors.”
Erin glanced over at Chakotay and back to Janeway again. “Wike Mama's otuwar ‘plant?”
“Yes, sweetie. Like Mama's ocular implant.”
Janeway and Chakotay shared a chuckle and continued talking, with constant interruptions from the youngest member of their little group. Several minutes later, Seven emerged from the crowd, followed by Voyager's former tactical officer and chief of security, Tuvok.
“Tuwok!” Erin screamed as she stretched her arms out to the Vulcan. Tuvok approached Janeway and took the child from her arms. Erin immediately threw her arms around his neck and squealed, even as Tuvok maintained his level expression.
Seven raised an eyebrow at her daughter's excitement before turning to Chakotay. “It is nice to see you again, Chakotay.”
“Nice to see you too, Seven,” Chakotay replied with a smile. “How have you been?”
Seven glanced briefly at her wife, as the auburn-haired woman lifted her glass from the nearby table, taking a hearty swig of its alcoholic contents. She knew from the admiral's expression that remnants of jealousy remained. Although Janeway had repeatedly maintained that Seven's brief relationship with Chakotay didn't bother her, the former drone could read her wife like an astrometrics chart.
Seven was somewhat disturbed that Janeway could still have any doubts regarding her loyalty and devotion as a spouse, but realized that this reaction would be a common one for most humans, since this was the first time all three had been in the same room together in over five years.
“ I will rectify any doubts she has tonight,” Seven thought knowingly.
Janeway caught her wife's eye and immediately turned red in the face. She knew her jealousy was unjustified, and that Seven had picked up on it. Janeway knew Seven's love was as strong as hers, but sometimes it was just too difficult not to resent anyone who had a desire toward her wife. And although Seven would be the first to point out how ridiculous Janeway's reaction was, the former drone, herself, was not without fault.
Janeway's mind drifted to a time over two years ago, when Seven was eight months pregnant with Erin. The admiral had been assigned to work with an extremely beautiful, young and single female captain. Janeway hadn't given a second thought to working with the younger woman, but her wife certainly had. Once Seven had gotten a glimpse of the captain and her flirtatious behavior towards the admiral, she'd made sure the woman knew Janeway was spoken for. Seven had insisted on waddling down to Starfleet headquarters each day to bring the admiral her lunch.
This routine had come to end one night after Janeway contacted Seven to tell her that she would be working late. Once Seven had confirmed that Captain Elisa Wright would also be working that evening, the former drone had made preparations to surprise Janeway with a special dinner at her office. The evening had been abruptly cut short after Seven, in an attempt to be seductive, had climbed onto Janeway's desk, only to have her water break. Janeway had suspected what was really going on and had found Seven's behavior endearing for a while, until her wife almost delivered their daughter on her desk.
Janeway's thoughts returned to the present as the conversation around her came into focus.
“So Tuvok, I heard you're teaching at the academy again,” she heard Chakotay say.
“That is correct. I instruct cadets on Starfleet survival tactics, as well as First Contact protocol.”
“Tuwok,” Erin interrupted. “Mommy said that if I was good, I can have a dowg on my nect birfday.”
Tuvok raised an eyebrow at the young child in his arms. “Erin, it is inappropriate to interrupt adults during a conversation. That display of behavior will no doubt prevent your parents from obtaining a canine companion for you.”
Erin's brow furrowed as she contemplated his words. Suddenly, inspiration struck and her face lit up.
“If Mommy and Mama won't wet me have a dowg, can I come whive with you?”
Tuvok's eyebrows shot up and for the first time in years, Janeway witnessed a loss of words in the Vulcan. She chuckled as she set her drink down and took the toddler from his arms.
She held Erin to her chest at eye level. “Sorry, kid, but you're stuck with us.”
Erin gave Janeway an obviously inherited crooked grin and threw her tiny arms around the admiral's neck.
The group continued talking and was eventually joined by Tom, B'Elanna, Harry, and Libby. Erin insisted on being passed around to all the adults and was periodically set down to play with Tom and B'Elanna's daughter, Miral.
Chakotay's fiancée, Tessa, arrived shortly thereafter and was introduced to all of Voyager's former senior officers. Tessa was completely delighted with Erin, and revealed to Seven and the admiral that once she and Chakotay were married, she wanted to quit her anthropology position, move to San Francisco, and open her own private child care practice. A light shone in both Seven and Janeway's eyes as they looked at each other. Was it possible that a solution to their babysitting problem had finally arrived?
“Have you chosen a date for your wedding?” Seven asked.
“We've planned on sometime next year. The gardens we want to use for the ceremony won't be available until then,” Tessa replied.
“Perhaps you should select another location,” Seven informed her. “One that will allow you to marry sooner...for instance, this year.”
“Seven!” Janeway whispered to her. She knew her wife was meddling in Chakotay and Tessa's wedding plans so the aforementioned day care would be available sooner. Seven simply looked at her haughtily, with a raised ocular implant.
“We wanted the location in Arizona because that's where Chakotay's parents were married,” Tessa explained.
“I recall Chakotay telling me his parent's marriage had become strained in their later years. Perhaps if you choose another site, it will bring you better ‘luck'.
Janeway rolled her eyes and shook her head.
Tessa laughed and nodded. “Maybe you're right, Seven. I'll discuss it with Chakotay.”
“If you would like assistance with the preparations, I am available,” Seven offered sincerely. “Kathryn's sister and mother would also be helpful, as they organized our wedding.”
“Thank you,” Tessa replied with a smile. “Since I have no family of my own to help with the planning, I just might take you up on that offer.”
The evening progressed smoothly as the group continued conversing and laughing about their time together in the Delta Quadrant. At one point, B'Elanna brought out a birthday cake to celebrate Miral's fifth birthday. Erin was placed in her highchair at the table next to Miral and was the first to stick her hand in the delicious chocolate cake. Miral imitated Erin's movement, and before anyone could get the children away from the table, the two girls were covered in cake. Seven attempted to clean up her daughter, but realized it was futile once Erin was returned to her highchair to eat the cake and ice cream that awaited her.
Several hours later, the last of the guests had departed, leaving Seven and Janeway looking at the after-party mess they had to clean up. They also took note of their daughter, who was sleeping on the couch with cake and dried ice cream on her face and in her hair.
Seven raised an eyebrow as she looked down at Erin. “I believe Erin will need a bath before I put her to bed.”
“Why don't you get her ready for bed and I'll start cleaning up out here,” Janeway suggested.
“Agreed,” Seven replied before she leaned over and gave Janeway a light kiss on the lips.
Janeway smiled as she watched Seven pick up their daughter and carry her down the hall. She glanced over the living area of their apartment and sighed.
“Where do I start?” she asked herself.
An hour later, Janeway had finished her cleaning chore and was making her way toward the bedroom. She could hear Seven singing ‘You Are My Sunshine' from their daughter's room. Janeway peeked around the doorway and saw Seven sitting in the rocking chair, holding Erin as she sang to her in a sweet, gentle voice. Erin was lying across Seven's arms, staring up at her mother with big blue-gray eyes.
When Seven finished the song, Erin reached up with her hand to lightly run her little fingers over Seven's ocular implant.
“Why doesn't whis come off?”
“It is attached to me. I cannot remove it,” Seven explained in a gentle voice.
“Where did you get wit?”
“From the Borg.”
“Did wit hurt?”
Seven paused briefly as she momentarily recalled the day she was assimilated.
“Yes, it was extremely painful. But that occurred a very long time ago.”
“Is that why you sometimes have to sweep standing up?”
“Yes. That is why I still must regenerate in my alcove once a week.”
“The Bowrg are mean. I don't wike them because they huwrt you.”
“The Borg hurt many individuals, Erin. But they cannot hurt anyone again. They no longer exist.”
“How did you get ‘way from them?”
“Mommy rescued me from them in the Delta Quadrant.”
“When Vowager got lost?”
Erin reached up and wrapped both her arms around Seven's neck.
“Mama, I'm gwad Vowager got lost.”
Seven embraced her daughter and smiled.
“So am I.”
“I wuv you, Mama,” Erin said as she nuzzled her face into Seven's neck.
“I love you too,” Seven replied. She closed her eyes as a tear ran down her cheek.
After several moments, Seven opened her eyes and glanced at the doorway of Erin's bedroom to see Janeway standing there. Seven smiled as her wife mouthed the words ‘I love you' to her. The former drone kissed the top of Erin's head and stood from the rocking chair.
“Erin, it is time to sleep,” she informed the little girl gently.
Erin didn't protest when Seven laid her down in her toddler bed. Janeway walked into the room and the couple exchanged ‘goodnights' with their daughter. They exited the room together after turning on the toddler's nightlight and pulling the door half shut.
The next morning, Seven awoke and smiled to herself as she looked into the sleeping face of her wife. A blue satin sheet covered their naked bodies, and their bare legs were intertwined. Seven traced Janeway's face lightly with her fingertip before leaning over to place a soft kiss on the admiral's lips, where she could taste the remnants of their lovemaking from the night before.
Seven closed her eyes contentedly as she rested her head on Janeway's chest and listened to her wife's beating heart. She allowed her mind to open to a memory that had once been too painful to recall...a memory of a gift bestowed by two women who would always remain with her, in her heart. As she drifted off once more into peaceful slumber, Seven's last thoughts were ones of gratitude. “ Thank you, Admiral Janeway...and Lieutenant Erin Hansen Janeway!”