Categories: Ship, Het, Episode Tag, Fluff, UST, Babyfic
Pairings: Janeway/Chakotay, mention of Ashmore/Ashmore
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: The Collective
A/N: Written for Talent Night's Baby Mine contest, it's babyfic. Since I'm afraid of babies, it was a challenge. Episode addition to The Collective.
Credits: Thank you Kim for the eleventh hour beta.
Disclaimer: Paramount, take, with my blessings, all of the thousands of dollars I have made writing fanfic.
Captain Kathryn Janeway looked down at the tiny life in her arms, completely at a loss. Turning the older Borg children over to Seven seemed like the right thing to do, but caring for an infant was different. She didn't know if there was anyone on board who would be willing to take on such a responsibility.
Sickbay had been fine for a couple of days, but now that the crisis was over, the baby needed more permanent arrangments. Hopefully Chakotay would have some ideas, because for once she was coming up dry.
"You're closer to the crew than I am, Chakotay. Do you know who might want to care for a baby?"
Chakotay met his captain's gaze over her ready room desk. "This is about our littlest hitchhiker?"
"Yes. I have no idea what to do with her, but we can't just leave her in sickbay."
"She needs a family," he said softly. The worry in Kathryn's eyes chafed at the familiar ache within him. With a skill born of frequent practice, he fought down the compulsion to touch her.
"But what if we give her one, and then locate the people she came from? What then? How can I give her to someone, ask someone to make that sort of commitment, and then take her away? How can I do that to someone?"
She quieted and met his gaze.
"This isn't your fault."
"That doesn't make it any easier to find a solution."
"I'd suggest that we not even look for the baby's people. We wouldn't know where to begin, and I doubt any good would come of it if we did. She was probably conceived in a Borg incubation chamber. She's ours now."
He must have imagined the flash of longing in Kathryn's eyes. "Would you talk to the crew, find out if anyone might be interested in the job?"
"I'll do that. I'm sure we'll work it out."
"Would it be alright if I took her for a while?" Kathryn asked the Doctor.
"I don't see why not," he answered. "It would probably do her some good. Babies need to be held."
"Do you have any suggestions about finding her a more permanent situation?"
"I wish I did. Now that I've removed her implants, she doesn't need to be here." He gathered together the things the baby would need for her outing. "As much as I enjoy her company, she can't be raised in sickbay."
Kathryn paced her quarters, a crying baby in her arms, and marvelled that a tiny infant could make her feel so helpless. She had no idea how to stop the crying. The baby was dry and fed, and yet wasn't happy. "What do you want from me? Please stop crying."
She was on the verge of tears herself, debating a call to the Doctor, when Chakotay appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and took the squalling child. The baby quickly settled down in his arms.
"How did you do that?"
"I don't know," he answered softly. "I don't have much experience with babies, but they seem to like me."
"She sure does." Kathryn smiled as she watched Chakotay with the infant. He'd make a good father someday. The reality of her thought stung; he'd never be a father if he remained faithful to her.
"Kathryn? What is it?"
"Nothing, just, you have better maternal instincts than I do."
"I'm sure that isn't true." He leaned back on the couch and patted the spot beside him. "Come here."
She joined him on the couch and let him arrange the baby in her arms.
"There." He smiled at her and squeezed her shoulder gently. "She's as happy as a little clam."
His touch had the same comforting effect on her as it had on the baby. She let herself lean against him as they both watched the sleeping baby. "She's beautiful, isn't she?"
"She is," he agreed.
"Chakotay, what are we going to do with her?"
"Give it a few days. We'll find the answer."
"So no volunteers yet." She sighed. "I can't ask someone else to take on this responsibility. Maybe I should take care of her."
"Is that something you would want?"
"It would be hard, but it would be hard for anyone, and I don't have the right to put such a burden on a member of this crew. It's my responsibility - "
He touched her hand. "Kathryn, is it something you would want?"
"I don't know."
"Do you want children?"
Did she? "I'll probably never have any."
"That isn't what I asked."
"I know. I never really thought about it." She was silent for a few minutes, watching the baby in her lap. "Having children was never high on my list of priorities, but I always thought there would be plenty of time, and now . . . "
"There still can be plenty of time, if that's what you want."
"Is that what you want?" She realized how her question sounded, but the answer was more important than maintaining the illusion protocol demanded. If he wanted children she had to set him free.
"I don't know," he answered.
"If you want children, you should have them," she said softly. Her throat constricted and she couldn't say more.
He reached out, cupping her face in his hand. "I don't know if I want children, Kathryn. The answer depends on factors that I cannot predict. But there is only one person I would want to have children with."
"You shouldn't have to wait."
"I know I don't have to, but I will." He smiled, his thumb still caressing her cheek. "She's worth the wait."
She turned her head and brushed his wrist with her lips. His combadge chirped in reply.
It was Neelix. "Commander, I believe I found a home for our youngest passenger. The Ashmores have been wanting to start a family, but she was worried about serving while pregnant."
"Then I guess everything is settled," Chakotay said.
"Yes," Kathryn agreed. "I guess it is."
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, March 2003.