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Disclaimer: TPTB will never let this happen. However, the characters belong to them. I own the story!

Summary: A happy family is disrupted by a sudden loss.


To Lose Her Now

Captain Kathryn Janeway strolled onto her bridge, feeling glad that her meeting with Seven was over. I have got to get her to work on her personality, she thought. Her first officer, Commander Chakotay, turned around, and his face lit up when he saw her. She couldnít resist a smile.

"Iím glad to see youíve returned," he commented, as he smiled back. "I didnít think you would make it back in time." He stood and walked up the platform to stand beside her.

"In time for what?" she questioned, wondering what he was up to.

"In time for me to leave. I have a lunch date...with a beautiful young red-head. I thought you were going to make me be late," Chakotay answered, heading for the turbolift.

"A young red-head, huh?" Kathryn replied, feeling a smirk on her face. "Well, if it were any other red-head, I might reconsider allowing you leave," she called before the doors closed, catching a brief glimpse of that infamous grin.

Chakotay sat down at the table across from her, and she smiled. It was the smile that had first melted his heart when she first looked up into his eyes. It was the smile that made everything seem perfect in his life, and that made his heart leap with joy. He smiled back at Samantha, his and Kathrynís adorable 4-year-old daughter.

The name had been given in honor of the first mother on board Voyager. Kathryn and Chakotay had agreed upon it instantly. Samantha had inherited his dark eyes and tinted skin, but much to Chakotayís delight, she had also inherited her motherís beautiful red hair.

"So what have you been doing today, young lady?" he finally asked.

"Nothiní," she answered, as Neelix brought over their lunch trays. He patted her on the head, which always made her laugh. That was another thing she had inherited from her mother.

They mulled over lunch, as she told him of her latest adventure with Flotter, one of the many holo-deck characters Neelix had introduced her to. Finally, Samantha could not wait any longer, and decided to ask the question that had been nagging her all morning.

"Daddy, can I have a tattoo like yours?"

Chakotay almost choked. The question threw him off guard. When he finally recovered, he asked her why.

"I just want one." Simple, yet honest. One of his qualities.

"Let me ask your mother first. Iím sure she would like to have a say in this."

"Can we go ask her now?" she questioned, jumping out of her seat.

"You better let me. Now if youíll excuse me, Daddy has to go back to work. As always, it has been a pleasure, Miss Samantha," he said, taking her tiny hand and kissing it.

"Can I go with you...just to say Hi to Mommy?" There was no way he could resist her adorable little face. Holding out his arms, he replied, "Come on...but just for a minute!"

The turbolift doors opened and Samantha burst through, running towards her mother. Chakotay followed, grinning. Samantha ran to her motherís chair and climbed in beside her. Kathryn planted a big kiss on her forehead.

"Howís my girl?" she asked, hugging her tightly. Kathryn loved when Samantha visited her during the day. She knew it probably broke some rule to let children on the bridge, but Starfleet was still 40 years away. Besides, it brought a welcome break to the monotonous routine of bridge duty.

"Great!" Samantha replied, hugging her mother back. "Daddy said I could get a tattoo!"

Chakotay cringed as he took his seat, and refused to look at Kathryn as she shot him an evil glare.

"He did? Well, I need to talk to Daddy about that!" She continued staring at him, and he finally glanced over, feeling a chill run down his spine. Thanks a lot, Samantha, he thought.

Chakotay avoided looking in their direction as Samantha filled her mother in on everything she had told him over lunch. He didnít need to look. He could feel Kathrynís glare the entire time.

After a few minutes, Kathryn decided that she should get back to work. She knew that Tuvok frowned on Samanthaís visits to the bridge, and she could tell he was frowning now, as only a Vulcan could frown. "You had better run along. Iíll see you later this afternoon," Kathryn told her, giving her another kiss. Samantha jumped down and ran over to give her father a kiss, then left to return to the holo-deck.

After the turbolift doors closed, Kathryn turned around to face Chakotay. "Could I see you in my ready room, Commander?" She rose from her seat.

Iím in trouble now, he thought, rising from his chair to follow her.

"How could you tell her something like that without talking to me?" Kathryn spat as the doors closed behind them.

"Kathryn, I..." he started.

"I mean, I know that itís nothing major, and that it wouldnít hurt her, and that the Doctor could remove it at any time."

"I..." Chakotay tried again, but Kathryn continued ranting on.

"Chakotay, sheís only four! And to just tell her without consulting me? How could you? Donít I have a say..."

Chakotay grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her into a passionate kiss. When he pulled back, she just stared at him. Well, at least she stopped talking, he thought.

"You canít win me over that easily, mister," she finally said, trying to contain the smile she felt.

"Kathryn, itís the only way I know how to get a word in edgewise," he quipped. "Now, would you just listen to me for a minute? I didnít tell her she could get a tattoo. I told her to let me talk to you first. I would never make a decision about Samantha without talking to you first. You know that!"

She looked up at him, then began to nod. "I know." She took a deep breath. "Iím sorry. Itís just...well, why does she want a tattoo?"

He cut his eyes up in the direction of his own tattoo. "Apparently, she loves it as much as you do."

Kathryn reached up to brush her fingertips across it. "It is quite appealing." He grinned. Everything had been smoothed over. He pulled her up into another kiss.

"Should I tell her, or would you like to do the honors?" he asked, still holding her close.

"Iíll do it."

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