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Summary: Chakotay continues his legendary tale.


This Christmas Eve - Part 3
Christmas Legends

Year: 2377

Kathryn felt her eyelids grow heavier with each passing second. She could barely make out any of the words on the PADD in her hand. No amount of coffee had helped. She was just too tired. And it was no wonder, she thought to herself. She had insisted on working extra hours to make up for all the time she had missed in the past few months. Not to mention the trouble she had sleeping through the night. If she had known one year ago that things were going to be like this, then she might never have agreed to marry Chakotay. Kathryn began to chuckle to herself. Thinking back through the memories from the past year, how could she ever have NOT married Chakotay?

The sleepiness finally won a major victory, and Kathryn decided that a few minutes of restful slumber wouldn't hurt. Besides, tomorrow was Christmas Day...and no one would really be too concerned if their Captain was just a little late in reviewing their reports.

Chakotay walked into their quarters minutes later, grinning from ear to ear. This was going to be his first Christmas married to the Captain, and did he ever have a wonderful surprise waiting for her. As soon as he entered the room, however, a look of disappointment replaced the grin. Seated at her desk, feet propped up on the nearby chair and reports in hand, was Captain Kathryn Janeway, fast asleep.

He had told her on many occasions that she didn't have to work nearly as much any more, but she insisted that she catch up on all the missed work. That it was her duty. Chakotay had further argued that her duties had been expanded to include other things, meaning that she could relinquish some of her duties to other crew members. That even *he* had lightened his own load. Kathryn persisted. She was the Captain, it was her job. She could handle it. Taking another glance in her direction, it was all too obvious to Chakotay that she could not. And he certainly didn't want to disturb her from her much needed rest for a simple Christmas surprise on the holodeck. "It can wait," he sighed. "It'll have to."

A noise from the bedroom caught Chakotay's attention. He walked in and diverted his eyes to the small bed in the corner of their bedroom. To the tiny form lying inside it. Listening to the cries emanating from his and Kathryn's infant daughter. Chakotay lifted her into his arms, whispering softly to her in attempt to hush her cries. Rocking her gently, she finally quieted down, staring up at her father.

Chakotay smiled. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine this life for himself. To be a father... yes. To have a child with Kathryn Janeway...not in a million years. It almost seemed unreal. Only the fact that he had endured all the trials and trauma of life with a pregnant Kathryn did he know that he wasn't dreaming. The baby wriggled in his arms, becoming restless once more. That, too, made it all more believable.

"What's the matter, Emily? Are you hungry?" He walked over to the replicator, requesting a bottle. He attempted to feed her, but she refused, and began to whimper.

"Now, now...we don't want to wake Mommy up. What's bothering you tonight?" He rocked her some more, stepping into the living area of their quarters. When the dimmed lights of the Christmas tree came into her view, Emily's whimpers hushed. Her eyes widened at the twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments on the tree.

"So, you like the white lights too? Must be a Janeway trait. I prefer the multi-colored lights. But if Mommy wants the white lights, then I suppose that's fine." Emily reached out with one of her tiny hands, trying to grasp at the ornaments as they swayed with each step Chakotay took. He moved closer to the tree, taking one particular ornament into his hands. He dangled it over Emily, allowing her to bat at it.

"Want to hear more of the legend of the angry warrior? Well, a few years later, the angry warrior was once again struggling to keep his inner peace. The woman warrior had lost sight of their journey, and had done many things to send their tribe into turmoil. He found himself constantly at odds with her. Soon, the angry warrior grew tired of the fighting and began to search for ways to end the struggle. But first and foremost, he wanted to let the woman warrior know that he would always be there for her, no matter how bitter their disputes became. He decided to do something special to symbolize his feelings. The angry warrior fashioned for her a symbol of her strength and beauty."

Chakotay held up the crystal rose ornament, allowing the lights from the tree to be captured in its petals, sending small rainbows of color across the walls. "The woman warrior greatly appreciated the gift. In return, she gave the angry warrior her heart." Chakotay carefully hung the ornament back on the branch. Plucking another ornament from the tree and putting it within his daughter's reach, he continued his story.

"Over the following year, the angry warrior grew closer to the woman warrior. This made him very happy. The angry warrior had vowed to always remain at her side, but he wanted so much more, having fallen in love with the woman warrior. He didn't know how to convey his true feelings, and his inner struggle began once more. Unfortunately, she had given no signs that she returned those feelings of love. The angry warrior feared being rejected, of being turned away, of being scorned for violating the rules once set by the woman warrior's own leaders. Finally, he worked up enough courage to tell her of his feelings, asking her to stay by his side forever, as his wife. The woman warrior was deeply moved by his proposal. She graciously accepted, declaring her own feelings to him. That night, they gave each other their souls."

Emily continued to play with the crystal bell, a smile forming on her face. Chakotay laughed. "Then, nine months later, she gave me *you*," he said, returning the ornament to the tree.

Chakotay offered Emily the bottle once more, which she accepted, suckling gently. Chakotay settled down onto the couch and watched her drift off to sleep, closing her dark eyes. He reached up to rub the auburn fuzz on top of her head.

"You're going to have your mother's hair. You already have her beauty. I hope that you also inherit her great spirit."

A loud smack startled Chakotay as the PADD fell from Kathryn's hand and hit the floor, waking her up. She bolted upright, temporarily unaware of her surroundings. She jumped when she saw Chakotay seated nearby. He placed a finger over his lips.

"Did you have a nice nap?" he asked quietly, not wanting to wake their daughter.

"It was better than usual," she replied, stretching her arms. She padded across the room to join him on the couch. Kathryn rested her head against his shoulder, watching her daughter sleep in his arms. "How *do* you do that? How do you make her fall asleep so easily?"

Chakotay grinned. "Guess she likes my stories."

Kathryn grinned back. "She's not the only one."

He turned towards her, leaning forward to gently kiss her lips. He then wrapped his free arm around her, pulling her close. "Would you like to hear another story?" Kathryn nodded, and Chakotay began.

"Finally, the angry warrior's dreams came true. The woman warrior joined with him in marriage, forever uniting their tribes as one. But most importantly, uniting each other's heart and soul. Soon after, the woman warrior bore a child. A daughter. This filled the angry warrior's heart with tremendous joy. He felt that his life was complete. Once more, he wanted to do something special for the woman warrior to symbolize his inner feelings. To show her how much she truly meant to him."

Chakotay reached to the back edge of the couch, retrieving the gift he had brought in earlier. He handed it to Kathryn, whose eyes lit up with happiness.

"To my beautiful and wise woman warrior. Merry Christmas, Kathryn."

Kathryn quickly removed the shiny paper, opening the box to reveal yet another crystal ornament. It had three figures on it. A man, a woman and a child. A nativity scene. Tears sprang to her eyes.

"Chakotay, it's breathtaking."

"I'm so glad you like it. I picked this one because it represents the true meaning of Christmas. But also because it reminded me some of our little family. From now on, when you see that ornament, it will remind you of this moment, this Christmas Eve."

"How can I ever thank you enough?" she purred, snuggling closer, giving him a passionate kiss.

Pulling back, Chakotay released a deep breath. "I'm sure I can think of something. Let's go put her down so we can do a little brainstorming." He offered her a dimpled grin, and quickly rose, heading for the bedroom.

"I'll be along in a minute. I want to hang up my new ornament," Kathryn responded. Chakotay nodded and disappeared from view. Kathryn turned towards the tree, attempting to locate a spot where the nativity ornament would be most noticeable. She placed the ornament on the branch, then stepped back to admire the view. A single Christmas bulb was directly behind the ornament, casting a brilliant glow through it. Kathryn smiled. She had found *the* perfect spot, but not just for the ornament.

Kathryn had finally found what she had always wanted for her life. A loving husband. A soulmate. A beautiful child. A family. All of these had provided her with true happiness.

The woman warrior had found her *own* inner peace.

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 ]
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