Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Star Trek franchise. I own my brain's franchise. No infringement intended.
The planet was a delicate mixture of earth. Warm, dessert, forest and snow. Kathryn Janeway has been cooped up for too long and she was feeling the mixture of cabin fever and an instinctive need to go. It wasn't as if she hadn't had the chance, it's just her situation had made it difficult.
Four short months ago, Kathryn had been summoned to sickbay. Her away team had been the victims of an unfortunate accident. In the middle of the accident was B'Elanna. Even in her advanced condition, she'd insisted on overseeing the retrieval of the trilithium. Kathryn had been told by a very dirty looking Chakotay just how bad it had been. Doc was doing all he could to save B'Elanna and her baby. But as Chakotay sat down and took a deep breath, he told her it didn't look good.
When she entered sickbay, she was immediately drawn to B'Elanna's bedside. B'Elanna had looked up at Kathryn with her expressive eyes, trying to convey her message. Eventually, the EMH had sedated her and told the captain himself the prognosis.
"Captain, it isn't good. The baby is too small to survive outside the womb, but it is still alive and has a good chance of survival."
"But B'Elanna. . ."
"I'm sorry captain. B'Elanna's injuries are not going to allow her to carry this baby to term. She asked me to bring you here. She has a request."
The Holodoc pursed his lips together and looked at his patient. "How would you feel about being a surrogate mother for B'Elanna's baby?"
Kathryn had opened and closed her mouth half a dozen of times before she uttered a word. "How long before I have to make a decision?"
"It has to be within the next hour, preferably sooner. She needs surgery." Kathryn had told her she'd be back. As she moved slowly toward the doors, she heard his voice.
"You're the only woman on board she trusts to do this, captain."
So Kathryn had went back to the bridge and sat in her ready room, thinking of the pro's and con's of doing this. Then again, she knew what this baby meant to B'Elanna. It didn't take her long to make her decision and she hailed the doctor, informing him, that yes, she would be a surrogate. She left the bridge with Tuvok, ordering Chakotay to take the rest of the day off and that she'd see them all at duty shift tomorrow.
It had been relatively simple. One moment, Kathryn had a flat stomach. The next, Kathryn had another life within her. She had had the doctor transport her directly back to her quarters, not wanting anyone to see her until tomorrow. To give her time to adjust to the situation.
The reactions the next morning were priceless. Everyone had turned to stare at the now noticeably pregnant captain.
"At ease, people. There was no other choice." She'd said as she eased herself into the chair. She explained the situation to them, with the doctor interjecting his act of brilliance. She'd dismissed everyone but Chakotay had held back.
"Well Kathryn, once again, you've managed to break the status quo." He said, leaning against the table.
"There was no other choice to make, Chakotay. It had to be done or we would have lost both of them. For all the short comings B'Elanna brought with her, she has turned out beautifully and just fine."
"Surely the doctor could have chosen someone else."
Kathryn sighed and put a hand to her back. She was unaccustomed to the extra weight in front. "B'Elanna asked me, Chakotay. She wanted *me* to carry her child for her. She wouldn't consider anyone else."
"I suppose if it's all right with you and B'Elanna, then I can't object." He smiled. Chakotay indicated to her stomach. "May I?"
At first, Kathryn had no idea what he meant. Then it dawned on her. He wanted to feel the baby. She nodded her head and he hesitantly reached out and felt the rounded stomach. "This is incredible." Kathryn smiled as the baby kicked.
Over the next few months, Kathryn continued to grow, taking supplements to help her body deal with the fact that the baby was half Klingon. As a result, B'Elanna and Kathryn grew closer. Seven gained an insight to humanity by watching the selfless way Kathryn conducted herself.
But alone, Kathryn began feeling the aching loneliness. She had to keep reminding herself that she wasn't carrying her own baby, but one of her most trusted officers and when she cared to mention it, one of her closest friend.
Everyone went out of their way for Kathryn. She'd taken a tremendous responsibility upon herself. But she was also getting anxious. She really wanted to get out. Her physical condition made her crave for the things she'd always taken for granted.
So, when the crew found the planet in the month by old calendar, December, Kathryn decided shore leave was what she needed.
"Captain, I must protest. You are too close to delivering to be running around on shore leave." The doctor told her. She stood in front of him, rubbing her neck. "Commander, surely you can talk her out of this."
"Doctor, would it be all right if she was accompanied at all times?"
"I would advise against it. There could be complications if she were to deliver without the marvels of my sickbay!" The doctor became insistent.
"Doctor," B'Elanna began. "She's taken a responsibility upon herself she didn't have too. I say let her go."
"Hmph!" The doctor said. "I can see my medical expertise has no bearing on members of this crew."
Kathryn had won the battle. Chakotay had decided to go with her, to ensure that she was all right. B'Elanna told her to have fun and they transported down to the snow tumbled land.
"Heads up!" Kathryn said as she pitched a snowball in Chakotay's direction. It hit him in the back of the head. He turned toward her, his nose red from the cool air.
"Kathryn, don't start anything you're in no condition to finish." He said, throwing one at her. It hit her square in the face. She started spitting the snow out of her mouth.
"That was low, Chakotay. Hitting a pregnant woman." She said.
"Well, I think it's low of a pregnant woman to hit a man with a snowball and expect him to not retaliate."
They played then went in search of a place to make a camp for overnight. They walked until they found a place that was wooded, with not much snow on the ground. The moon was rising in the sky by the time Chakotay got the camp set up. He heated up soup he'd prepared in Neelix's kitchen before they had came down to the planet. The two eased into comfortable conversation, the ship, the baby, temporarily forgotten.
"You realize what today is by the old calendar?" Kathryn asked.
"No. I don't."
"It's December 24th. Christmas eve." Kathryn said, looking up into the clear black sky, the stars twinkling.
"I never celebrated Christmas." Chakotay admitted, settling himself against a tree. "We felt no need to."
"Too bad. My sister and I used to lie on under the tree and watch the lights through the pine needles. My parents never brought out the presents until after we had went to bed. It's the things like that make me homesick the most." She smiled and rubbed her stomach.
"You okay?" Chakotay asked.
"Yeah. I guess I am. I suppose I'm just tired. Think less of me if I call it a night and turned in?"
Chakotay smiled and stood. He pulled her to her feet. "No, I'd think less of you if stayed out here nodding off while I was telling you some tale." Kathryn stood up on tiptoe and kissed his cheek.
"Merry Christmas, Chakotay." With that she slipped into the tent. Chakotay sat back down and watched the fire, thinking of nothing in particular.
2320 came and Kathryn awoke with a start. One thought entered her mind. 'One hell of a time for the doctor to be right.' She crawled out of the tent and found Chakotay fast asleep. She touched his shoulder, shaking him gently.
"Chakotay." No response. She shook him again and called a little louder. "Chakotay! Wake up."
"Kathryn, what is it?"
"B'Elanna's baby is tired of my accommodations. I think it wants out." Chakotay was on his feet immediately, fishing for his comm badge.
"Chakotay to Voyager." Static answered him.
"Maybe the clouds are creating the interference." Kathryn said, one hand on her stomach, the other pointing up the sky.
"Hell of a time for clouds." He muttered. He looked around. "Kathryn, there's not enough room in the tent for this, we're going to have to do this out here."
"That isn't very appealing." Kathryn said, squeezing her eyes shut at another contraction.
"We don't have much of a choice." He looked at the sky. "I hope the baby arrives before the rain."
2345 Kathryn was on the ground, her legs propped up. Chakotay had put the warmest blankets on her to keep her warm. The wind had kicked up as the contractions grew closer and closer. On particularly long contraction, Kathryn screamed.
"Well, we could do this the Klingon way." Chakotay said, once she'd settled back down and began breathing again.
"If I did," Kathryn panted. "Every sharp object in this camp would be pinning you to a tree." She shut her eyes as another contraction came.
"You're fully dilated, Kathryn. You can push with the next contraction."
"Come on. You're the one who insisted upon carrying this baby."
"Don't remind me. You always have to bring out my faults!"
"You push damn it! I'm tired of pushing."
"Come on, Kathryn. Push."
"I'm going to rip your head off."
"Threats are not going to help. Push."
"God, does this hurt."
"I know it does."
"Shut up. You will never know until you have to give birth to one."
"I don't think so. Now, push."
"Remind me to shove my boot up your rear and we'll talk about pain."
"Kathryn, come on. Focus."
"You focus. I've decided to cancel this."
"You can't cancel labor. It doesn't work that way."
"Why not? I'm the captain."
"This baby doesn't care a flying inch if you're the captain or a slime devil."
Kathryn screamed. Her insults getting worse each and every breath she took. Chakotay took it in stride.
"Push. You're almost there."
"Kathryn, just a couple more." Chakotay thought he could see the head.
"You're not dying. You're having a baby."
"I'M BEING TORN IN TWO!"
"I can see the head crowning." Chakotay was beside himself.
"CHAKOTAY, I LOVE YOU."
As the last words fell from her lips, the baby was in Chakotay's hands. He placed the infant on her stomach as he tended to Kathryn. After cutting the cord and cleaning the infant, he wrapped the crying baby in a blanket and gave it to Kathryn.
"I wish B'Elanna could have been here." Kathryn said, running her finger over the delicate ridges adorning the baby's forehead.
"Me too. I think she would have approved of the insults you threw at me."
Kathryn gave him a tired smile. "Did you note the time she was born?"
"Midnight on the dot." Chakotay said, also running a finger over the chubby little cheeks.
"The sky was perfectly clear." Kathryn said. The baby yawned.
"Did you mean what you said?" Chakotay asked. "About you, uh, loving me."
"I guess I did."
Chakotay looked her in the eye and she held his gaze. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas." She smiled and looked up. "Chakotay, this reminds me of a old Christmas carol."
"Which one? Remember, I'm not that familiar with the holiday."
"It came upon a midnight clear." Kathryn smiled. "She was born upon a midnight clear." She rocked the baby, while Chakotay slid behind her and held her. Sometime a short time later, while the three slept, a lone star cast it light on the three.
This story has been entered in Jennica's Christmas contest. . .