Disclaimer: Voyager and her recognizable characters don’t belong to me (yet), Bringing Up Baby doesn’t belong to me either (but it’s perfect the way it is). Blah, blah, blah … you know the drill.
A/N: Just a little post endgame fun with our favorite command team with a dose of a favorite screwball comedy thrown in. Brownie points if you can spot all the Bringing Up Baby nods/references.
Special thanks to SV for being a superb beta (and for the title). This story can also be found on fanfiction.net
“Katie, please! It’s just for the day… we’ll be back later tonight and I’m sure they’ll be perfect angels for their Aunt Katie.” Phoebe nagged at her older sister over the comm. After seven years in the Delta Quadrant and only six weeks back on Earth with her family, Kathryn had already realized that little sisters never change.
‘Perfect angels,’ ha, she almost had to laugh at that one. From the letters her mother had sent her she knew that to be the farthest thing from the truth: perfect little targs was probably more like it. But they were cute and they were family and when she really thought about it, the chance to spend some quality time with them and get to know them better really did pique her interest. But a whole day by herself with them?
“All right, Phoebe! Susan and David can stay with me for the day, but only because I know you’re in a bind!” she conceded with a scowl. She knew that she was probably going to enjoy this, but heaven forbid she let Phoebe know that.
Usually Phoebe would have asked their mother to watch the kids while she was off-planet with her husband for work, but this weekend Gretchen was vacationing on Risa with a new gentleman caller… although she told the girls that she had a “seminar” to attend there. Good for her, thought Kathryn; it was nice to see her mother finally getting on with her life.
“Oh! Thanks so much, Katie … I’ll be over in about an hour with them! I just know they’ll be little darlings for you.”
Yeah right! she thought. “Goodbye, Pheebs… I’ll see you in an hour.” With that, she smiled and ended the transmission.
‘Well, Jorge, what have I gotten us into?” she asked the puppy who had managed to fall asleep on her lap during the comm-call as she stroked his ears.
He gave no response.
Jorge was a cute dog; she had found him her first week back at a dog pound just outside of Starfleet Headquarters and couldn’t resist his clear green eyes and soft tan fur. It was love at first sight… and quite a mutual attraction at that. She brought him back with her to HQ as she still had debriefings to attend, much to the consternation of a few admirals… but what did she care? She spent seven years abiding closely to the rules and she’d be damned if they were going to argue with her about one little dog!
“A whole day with children… I must have been crazy to have just agreed to that,” she mused to no one in particular. “I don’t know anything about kids; how am I going to keep them occupied for the whole day?”
She let the thought hang in the air and set to targ-proofing her home moving some of her more fragile items to higher shelves, putting away the Risan romance novels she had ‘accidentally’ downloaded to PADDs and making sure that any of her Delta Quadrant mementos that might be appealing for small hands to play with were securely out of sight or at least reach.
Less than fifty minutes later she found herself answering her chime, leave it to Phoebe to be early for the first time in her life when she’s sticking me with her kids, she noted.
Opening the door, she was greeted with two sets of arms instantly wrapped around her legs and a smug looking sister handing off two duffel bags … not to mention, two children.
“Be good for Aunt Katie,” Phoebe warned her children. After a quick kiss for each of them and a hug for Kathryn, she passed her sister a PADD containing all the information she might need, thanked her and headed off to meet her husband at the transport station.
“Well … what would you like to do?” Kathryn asked the children.
They just stared at her. Susan, at six, with her fox-colored hair and blue eyes sparkling with mischief, resembled her aunt more than her mother, and David, at four, with his eyes and hair both a dark shade of brown, was the spitting image of his father. For two children who had just given her a very warm hello, they seemed to be extremely shy all of a sudden.
“Okay, then, are you hungry?” she questioned.
“Did you eat breakfast?”
“Would you like to play out back with Jorge?”
Finally, there was a sign of life from the two children as their eyes lit up at the mention of the puppy. She called to the dog and led them all out back to her fenced-in yard to let them play.
Going back into the house after a few rounds of tag and tackle with the kids, she got herself a cup of coffee from her replicator and then plopped down, exhausted on her couch. They weren’t the little demons her mother had made them out to be in her letters but they had been with her for less than two hours and she was already at her wits end about how to keep them entertained for a whole day… surely at some point they’d want to do other things besides chase her poor puppy around the yard. And then it hit her, Chakotay … I can call Chakotay, he grew up in a tribe surrounded by children and he loves kids!’ But then she remembered that she hadn’t exactly kept in close contact with him since the debriefings ended two weeks before — she’d been so busy getting reacquainted with her family and the AQ — she didn’t even know if he was currently on the planet. She then thought about giving B’Elanna and Tom a call: They have a kid, she reasoned — but dismissed the idea almost immediately, realizing that having Tom influence her niece and nephew in anyway, shape or form was definitely not a good idea. Her thoughts then drifted to Samantha Wildman and Naomi, but then she recalled that they were on the Ktarian homeworld visiting with Greskrendtregk’s family. Oh well, Chakotay it is. It won’t hurt to just give him a call, Kathryn, she told herself.
He answered the comm right away, obviously happy to see her. “Kathryn, what a surprise. What’s wrong?”
“Why, something has to be wrong for me to call a dear, dear friend?” she coyly questioned. Lure him in slowly with flattery, then go in for the kill.
“Of course not… but you do have that look on your face that I’ve only seen when you were staring at a Borg cube.”
He knew her too well, so straight to business it was. “I need your help, Chakotay … I have a small situation here.”
“A situation? What kind of situation?”
“Please, can you just come over and I’ll brief you when you get here?”
“I have plans. Important plans and I really can’t change them… nor do I want to.”
Plans, she thought, so that’s how it’s going to be … I thought I heard that Seven was out of the picture but apparently I was mistaken.
“Kathryn, is it really dire that I come over now?” he asked, really hoping that she’d say ‘no.’
“No, Chakotay. I suppose it’s not dire.” She overemphasized the last word, trying to be indignant, and was about to continue when a shrill scream drifted in from outside. She leapt from the couch, accidentally severing the comm-link to tend to her niece, leaving an anxious Chakotay on the other end.
The hubbub outside was nothing more than Susan’s reaction to Jorge’s new toy… a dead bird. But the children had had enough of outside — and of Jorge, for that matter. After coaxing the puppy to drop the poor thing — then properly disposing of it — they all went back into the house, where Kathryn replicated them all some lunch consisting of grape juice and grilled cheese sandwiches.
As they were all sitting down around her living room to eat, her door chimed, and upon answering it she found a very frantic Chakotay.
“Kathryn, I got here as fast as I could,” he said through panting breaths.
“Chakotay, what are you doing here? I thought you weren’t coming because of your plans.”
“I heard a scream and you ran off and the link was cut,” he huffed still trying to catch his breath.
“Oh, damn,” she whispered as she realized what had transpired. Oh well, he’s here now and that’s what you wanted.
Realizing for the first time that he was smartly dressed — for his plans no doubt — and carrying a small box, she led him into her house, filled him in on the situation, and introduced him to Susan and David. The children took to him instantly.
“Chakotay, we just sat down to lunch. Since you came all this way would you care to join us?” she asked as Susan found his hand and led him to the couch to sit with them. A child after my own heart, she thought with just the faintest twinge of jealousy that she couldn’t get away with such an action.
He looked around at the bright faces of his hosts and conceded, “All right, I guess a few minutes wouldn’t hurt … but just a few.”
We’ll see about that, she smirked to herself.
And with that, she replicated a lunch for him. David happily rushed it over to him, not stopping until its contents had landed squarely upon Chakotay’s lap. The little boy started to cry, afraid that he was now in trouble with his new friend, and Kathryn rushed to get Chakotay a towel to dry his grape juice- and cheese-sodden pants. Chakotay whispered soothing words to the boy, telling him that it was all right and that he wasn’t mad. Kathryn had to smile; the children seemed to be doing a better job of keeping him here than she was, and seeing him with the boy made her realize how great a father he would make.
“You might as well take those off and put them in the refresher,” she told him. “I’m sure I’ve got something around here you can wear in the meantime.”
“I could just replicate a new pair, Kathryn,” he replied.
Crap, he could! Think fast Kathryn … if he replicates fresh pants he’ll be able to leave for his date … plans … whatever!
“Oh, um … the replicator isn’t working properly … it makes food but seems to have problems with anything else,” she lied, knowing it sounded farfetched even to her own ears.
“Hates you already… did you call it a glorified toaster like your old one on Voyager?” he teased. “Maybe I can take a look at it for you … after I get cleaned up.”
“That would be great!” She smiled … now all she had to do was figure out how to break it while he was getting out of his pants.
The children finished eating and were more than ready to go back outside with Jorge — barring any dead birds of course — so Kathryn showed Chakotay to her bathroom and handed him an old dressing gown to put on until his pants were refreshed. As she waited outside of the door for him to hand her his pants, she caught a glimpse of him in the salmon-colored satin robe and she tried to stifle a laugh but didn’t succeed.
“Go ahead, Kathryn … laugh it up,” he chastened, also trying valiantly to keep a straight face, but the absurdity of the situation was just too much for the both of them and they dissolved into a fit of hysterics.
Regaining their composure, Kathryn left him in the bathroom as she took his pants to the refresher. Now, to figure out how she could possibly keep him here once his pants where clean.
“Kathryn, while I’m in here, do you mind if I use your sonic shower?” he called from the bathroom.
“Go right ahead,” she called back in response. Good, that will keep him busy for a few minutes, she thought.
She tossed his pants into the refresher and quickly ran to her replicator to loosen some of the circuitry for him to repair. Sitting back down on her couch, she caught sight of the small box that he had been carrying when he came in placed carefully on her coffee table.
Curiosity had the best of her — she was a scientist, after all — and with that came a need to discover the unknown. She carefully lifted the box from the table; it wasn’t very heavy — in fact it didn’t feel like there was anything at all inside it.
“What’s in the box?” she called to him, no longer able to stand the suspense that not knowing was causing her.
“What?” he yelled back after barely hearing her question.
“’sin the box,” she yelled a little louder, quickly giving up on wheedling this time as she peeked inside the box.
“Oh … it’s a bone I found on my dig last week … it’s probably going to disprove a whole bunch of —“
She stopped listening to him before he finished as it dawned on her that he wouldn’t leave the house if he couldn’t find his precious bone, so she quickly removed it from the safety of the box and shoved it under one of the cushions of her couch, putting the empty box under the table.
When the computer informed her that the pants were done, she removed them from the refresher and carried them back to the bathroom.
“Your pants are done,” she called to him.
“Thanks,” he replied as he opened the door to receive them. “I’ll take a look at that replicator as soon as I get out of here, but then I really need to leave.”
Kathryn went to the back to check on the dog and children and found them starting to slow down. Perhaps a nap is in order and maybe I can get Chakotay to help me put them down. Seven or whoever he’s supposed to be meeting can wait… hell I’ve waited more than seven years, she plotted.
A few minutes later, when an immaculate Chakotay emerged from the bathroom, she had trouble prying her eyes from him, but a cry from outside broke her from her perusal and they both darted out the back door.
They found David on the ground holding his knees and crying — he must have tripped again and scraped them. Chakotay gently picked him up and carried him inside with Kathryn, Susan and Jorge following right behind. Kathryn got a wet cloth and wiped the child’s knees while he snuggled closer into Chakotay’s arms.
“Chakotay, can you sit with them a minute while I get a dermal regenerator from my neighbor? I don’t currently have one in the house.” She didn’t wait for a response as she ran to the door.
David’s scraped knees weren’t bad and didn’t really deem dermal regeneration, but heaven forbid she return the children to her sister worse for wear.
When she returned — not five minutes later — she found David asleep in Chakotay’s arms and Susan curled up beside him on the couch. It was a precious sight and she just had to get a holoimage of it. She walked back over to them and tended to the little boy’s knees without waking him. Then in a hushed voice, she asked Chakotay to help her get the children settled on her bed for a while. He was happy to oblige, then came back out to tend to her replicator — which he easily repaired — and which they christened by replicating two coffees.
They sat back on the couch and fell into the easy banter that had been their forte aboard Voyager, quickly losing track of the time. It wasn’t until Susan emerged from Kathryn’s room that they realized how late it was.
“Oh, Kathryn, I really need to be going,” Chakotay started.
Disappointed, Kathryn replied, “If you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”
He got up to leave, realizing when he got to the door that he forgot his box. He looked to the table where he had placed it earlier, but it was nowhere in sight. He asked Kathryn, “Where did my box go?”
“Oh, it was there before… it couldn’t have gone far,” she half-lied as she pretended to look around the room.
“There,” he said as he spotted the box lying under the table next to where Jorge had decided to take a nap. He reached down to pick it up, realizing that it was now empty.
“I really need that bone …” he said as he stared to pace the room looking for it. “Jorge, be a good little dog and tell Chakotay where you put it.”
Jorge? How dare he blame my sweet innocent baby, she thought, then realizing that he was the perfect scapegoat, especially after telling Chakotay earlier about the bird incident — she mentioned that “he was always finding things and carrying them around,” so Jorge taking the bone was more than plausible. Poor puppy, she’d have to give him a special treat later.
“Oh, Chakotay, it could be anywhere!” she drawled.
“I need to find it!”
“Then we’ll look … we could make it a game for the children.”
They all searched the house inside and out for about an hour and a half (although the children had gotten bored less than fifteen minutes into the search and were now playing with Jorge in her bedroom) before they finally conceded that it would turn up when it turned up and it was getting to dark outside for any further searching there to be prudent.
“Kathryn, do you mind if I use your comm? Without that bone, I’m going to have to cancel my plans.”
He left the room to make his call and quickly returned.
“Chakotay, I still don’t understand what that bone had to do with your plans.”
“That bone is the whole reason the archeology society was meeting tonight ... to discuss my new hypothesis about —“
“Wait a second … you didn’t have a date with Seven tonight? You had a meeting?”
“Seven, Kathryn? What made you think that? I had a few dates with her before we got home but that was it. Why on Earth would you think that — is that why you have been trying to keep me here all night?” He looked at her, seeing her guilty expression and the heart clearly on her sleeve for the first time in what seemed like years.
“Spirits know I love you, Kathryn, but sometimes you are just too crazy for your own… or anyone else’s good!” he realized his slip but didn’t care, all the cards were now on the table.
“Oh. Chakotay, you knew… and you do? I do too!”
She watched him as he started the short distance across the room to meet her in what she anticipated would be a soul-scorching kiss, but was interrupted as a little hand tugged at her blouse.
“Aunt Katie, I’m hungry!” David announced, “Can we have dinner now?”
They both had to laugh — seven years of desire about to come to fruition and they’re brought back to reality by a four-year old.
“Can you stay for dinner, Chakotay?” she asked looking directly into his eyes.
“Always,” he answered staring back.
They all sat down in the kitchen and prepared to share a simple replicated meal, although deciding on a vegetable was a real chore; neither Chakotay nor David would eat carrots — David claimed they were evil and Chakotay agreed. Susan wouldn’t eat peas … something about cannibalism that had Chakotay and Kathryn in hysterics that a six year old would know that word but then again, she was related to Kathryn. They ended up settling on an easy vegetable lasagna that didn’t contain either.
Lounging on the couch after dinner with their bellies full, the children again drifted off to sleep as Kathryn snuggled closer to Chakotay.
“What do you say we put them back in your bed?” Chakotay asked as he gave her a wink.
“You grab Susan!” she answered as she quickly caught on.
They carried the children to bed and rushed back to the living room to reclaim their spots on the couch. Their first kiss wasn’t everything they had dreamed of as they ended up banging foreheads as they rushed into it. But eventually they got it right, and as their passion built Chakotay leaned Kathryn back on to the couch where his hand encountered something hard.
“Kathryn, what’s this?” he asked between kisses as he felt around between the cushions.
“Oh, Chakotay it’s the b —“ she started to confess, but was silenced with a kiss. She saw him remove his hand holding a PADD.
“Risan Summer Lust —“ He chuckled as he read aloud the title off the screen. “Hmm …” he resumed, kissing her, “maybe we should save this for after your sister takes her children home?”
And they did.
And before the evening was done, the bone was back in its box.