Disclaimer: Paramount owns all. I don't.

"Dear Diary. . ."

By Mindy

"*Dear Diary:

Today, I turned eight years old. The captain gave this to me, telling me it was for keeping my most private secrets in. She told me that I shouldn't forget my precious moments, as they are all important. What's funny is that she gave it to me to write in, in the old fashioned way. Paper and pen.

Chakotay gave me the pen to go with it. I like the commander. He's always smiling. Except when he looks at the captain.

I asked him to sign it. He has nice hand writing. It's on the inside cover. It says: "You are never guaranteed a tomorrow. Make the most of your today." And on the back cover he wrote, "There is nothing like a lost opportunity. Pursue your dreams.". I like those sayings. He also tells the best stories.

I took it around to the rest of the people at my party. Neelix, 'lanna, Tom, Harry, Tuvok, Doc, even Seven. I once overheard the captain telling her to embrace her humanity. I'm not sure what that means, but if I can help her, I will. Last, I took it to the captain. I let her read what everyone else wrote. She seemed to spend a lot of time, pondering what Chakotay had written.

"What's wrong, captain?" I asked. I don't ever call her by her name. Momma says it's inappropriate to call her anything but captain. I don't know. I think that 'Kathryn' is a pretty name. It fits her. She looks like a Kathryn. I don't think I look like a Naomi.

"Just thinking. How are you liking your party?" She asked, taking the pen Chakotay had given me and beginning to write.

"I like it, captain. Everyone I like is here. Everybody gave me very nice things." I looked over my shoulder and I saw Chakotay, watching us, watching her. He caught my eye and smiled. I felt a flutter. I did every time he smiles at me. I told momma this and she said she thought I was a little too young for crush. I don't know what this means, but momma said it wasn't a bad thing.

By the time I turned back around, the captain had finished and given me back my book. She hugged me and stood to leave. Momma helped me gather my presents. I saw Chakotay leave shortly after her. I had forgotten to thank her and told momma, so I ran after her.

Her and Chakotay stood in the corridor, having what I had heard Neelix call, a 'heated' discussion. I walked up to them, slowly, not wanting to really bug them. She kept saying she can't and he kept saying that she was afraid of trying. I don't know what they were talking about, but it sounded important. They saw me and I saw the captain wiping at her eyes, like trying to get rid of her tears. Chakotay smiled at me and continued away.

"Yes, Naomi. You needed something?" She said. Her eyes were red and I could see that her cheeks were wet.

"I wanted to thank you for your present. It's very nice. I can't wait to write in it." I said. She looked at me, I looked at her. "Why were you crying?" I asked.

"Oh, well-Chakotay and I were having an argument."

"It's not good to argue." I said. Momma told me that, usually when she wanted me to go to bed and I wanted to stay up.

"I know." She said, one corner of her mouth lifting up in a smile. Chakotay called it her crooked smile.

"You should make up with him. It's better to go to bed happy then mad." Captain gave me the funniest look.

"Your mom told you that?"

"No, Neelix." I said. I looked down the corridor where Chakotay had gone. "I like him."


"Chakotay. He's very nice and funny. He tells the most neat stories. He's nice to look at." I chewed on my bottom lip for a second, then looked at the captain. "You'd have to be pretty stupid to not like him."

"It sounds like you have a crush." Captain said. I almost didn't hear her.

"That's what momma says I have on him. A crush."

"You do, huh." Captain said, smiling.

"If I were older," I said, since this seemed to be a 'girl talk' session, "I would marry him. I'd always be running my hand over his hair. It's real soft."

"It is?" She asked. I thought she had touched it at least once. Whenever he came to sit with me when momma was working, I would run my hand over his hair. It is very soft. Not like Neelix's hair, which is very rough.

"You should try touching it. It feels like...one of my stuffed animals. All soft and smooth." I gave her a smile. "Thank you again, captain. I will write in this every night." I took off down the hall to where the party had been.

I wasn't tired and momma said it was all right for me to stay up, since it was my birthday and all. I read over what everyone had written in my book. I finally read what the captain had written.

"I know how hard it must be to be the only child on Voyager. I hope this book becomes something of a best friend, someone you can tell your deepest secrets too, someone to laugh, cry and be angry to. A best friend is there for you, no matter what. Have a happy day, and may all your days be as cheerful. Capt. Kathryn Janeway."

I asked momma if I could go for a walk. I wasn't tired and I thought if Neelix were still in the mess hall, I would talk to him for a while. I was walking around the corner when I heard Captains voice.

". . .she has a crush on you." I heard her say.

"She's eight years old. I don't think she's a threat." I heard Chakotay say. I think they were talking about me.

"She said that you'd have to be 'pretty stupid' to not like you." I heard her laugh. She doesn't very often.

"Pretty smart eight year old, don't you think?" Chakotay said.

I peaked around the corner then and saw her staring up at him. "She said you have soft hair, like a stuffed animal."

"Ah, so we get to the truth, Kathryn."

"May I?" He bent down and she ran her hand over it. She then ran her hand down to his cheek, then they looked at each other. I smiled when I saw them kiss. I had something to tell momma. So I left.

Well, it's time for me to go to bed. Tomorrow, Chakotay is taking me on a shuttle ride. I wonder if the captain will go with us.

I hope so.



One Year Later

Dear Diary:

Captain gave me another book today. Like I did last year, I had everyone sign it. Captain was right, when she said that this book would become my best friend.

But this year, she wrote something else.

"Naomi, last year, I told you that this book could become your best friend. Well, there is more to your present. Six months from now, we'll have a new baby on board Voyager and you'll no longer be alone. And when this baby grows up, you'll have a real person to confide in. All you need is some patience. Love, Kathryn."

Captain is having a baby with Chakotay. I can't wait. She said I can come over anytime I want to. I told her I want to hold her baby when she has it. She said yes.

I liked this birthday. Captain's happy, Chakotay doesn't just stare at her anymore. He's with her. And Voyager's getting a new baby.

'These are the times we have to live for.' That's what Chakotay wrote in my book this year.

He's right. I'm going to commit that saying to memory.

Good night, friend,



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