Written by:T'Kalara


Summer 1998 8th-9th grades

Author's note: As before, Paramount owns the characters, the ship, etc., but the story is of my creation.

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Trust Part VIII

Kathryn sighed. If she had thought Phoebe would welcome Chakotay, she was wrong. Of course, Gretchen had made every effort to make them comfortable. Aside from her younger sister's coldness, Kathryn was enjoying their return. Kayla seemed amazed at all the new sights and sounds in this place called Earth. It would almost certainly make the transition easier.

It was late afternoon, a week after they returned. The joy and elation still hadn't worn off many. Kathryn knew for some that they came back to discover grief and tragedy. Samantha Wildman found her husband had been killed fighting the Dominion, his ship destroyed defending the outer colonies. At least Naomi was somewhat old enough to understand, and accepted her mother's teary explanations.

Chakotay was surprised to find his wife in her room instead of outside. Gretchen had taken Kayla on a walk with her, to bask in the fair weather. Kathryn was sitting on her bed, back to him, holding an old-fashioned two-dimensional photograph in a gilt frame.

He peered over her shoulder. In the photo, a young girl who he immediately knew to be his Kathryn years ago sat on the grass. Beside her, an older man he didn't recognize held out a brightly wrapped package. He heard a sniff, saw a tear glisten in her eye.

"Ryn, what's wrong?" His voice cut through her reverie. The woman in question shook her head slightly, as if to clear it, and replied in a shaky voice.

"This is a picture of my father and me, on my tenth birthday. Phoebe was only six. This was before he became engrossed in the Cardassian situation. He always had something kind to say to everyone he met. I was just remembering everything he told me. And sometimes," her voice failed slightly. Chakotay held her close, "and sometimes I think I can still hear his voice, telling me what to do."

"Ryn, you've always done the right things, as far as I know. I believe that you can still hear him, his spirit guiding you. You got us home, and no one can ever forget that."

He felt her shake her head slightly. "No, Chakotay. It was through everyone working together. I just helped them focus their insights, gave direction." Both fell silent.

Through it all, they had found true love. And because of undying devotion, faith, and trust, they had stayed together. Nothing, not even the threat of death could tear them apart.

The End

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