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VC Compleat: Homecoming

VC: "Down for the Count"
Jason — 7 Oct 1998, 6:48 PM

It was a beautiful, calm and peaceful morning in Voyager City. Like most other days when the local law enforcement was able to keep a cap on town shoot outs, it meant that it was a slow day for Doc Holliday's practice. And like most other days where there was a slow work schedule, by noon the Doc had already polished off two bottles of the best scotch in Voyager City, imported from Defiant City.

After dozing off most of the morning, the Doc was brought to as full attention as his inebriation would allow him when the door to his practice opened. Entering was the young, vibrant Widow Wildman with her daughter Naomi.

"Good morning, Doctor!" Samantha chripily greeted, taking note of the empty bottles on the Doc's desk. *Oh no*, thought Samantha, realizing that he'd probably require more bedside manner from her than she and her daughter were likely to get from him. Yet despite the Doctor's liquoured-up state, the truth was that after all of these years, he could hold his liquour very well and often give the semblance of sobriety, even when that was not the case. Nonetheless, he took note of the bottles on his desk and casually motioned to them, explaining: "For medicinal purposes."

Getting up from behind his desk, he pulled his stethoscope out. "So, what may I do for you today, Ms. Wildman?"

Samantha was as pleasant as ever. "We've just come in for Naomi's monthly check up." she said as the Doctor helped little (but rapidly growing) Naomi on to his examination bench.

"She's looking much taller. I've never seen anything like this. Are you sure she's not part Ocampan-Indian?" the Doctor inquired, good naturedly.

"She grows so fast I can't believe it. It must be her father's genes. He was European, however." Samantha elaborated.

"That would certainly explain the horns on her forehead," he deadpanned. The Doc had never been able to explain the genetic diversity and individual characteristics possessed by many of Voyager City's citizens and those in the surrounding area. When he was a promising young surgeon, he'd arrived in Voyager City to conduct a study on that issue and eventually wrote a paper for the Yonadan Journal of Medicine postulating that these were not natural characteristics, but rather mutations caused, cumulatively due to radiation and local industrial development. After the initial furor over his bombshell "discovery", both he and his theory were laughed out of respectability, and he'd been forced to make his meager living in Voyager City, tending to the needs of it's citizens. The Doctor spent many hours drinking and contemplating his past. He'd prove himself again... he knew it. He would show all those fools back East! Perhaps one day he would even find a cure for all of Voyager City's genetic deformities. If only he could afford that brand new X Ray machine he saw in the office of his Federation City medical counterpart, Beverly Crusher, MD when he'd last been in that town. But that was in the future.

"You know," the Doctor noted to Samantha, "I don't believe I've ever heard you mention Naomi's father to me before this."

Samantha paused introspectively before continuing. "It's been a few years now... and I think I'm ready to go on with my life. Raising a daugther alone in a town like this was hard at first. But Naomi and I both love it here now. And she's doing so well in her classes. Her father would have been very proud of her."

"I only met him once-- he died shortly after you arrived in Voyager City-- if I recall. But he seemed to be a pleasant enough man. What was his name? It was so unusual."

Samantha paused, almost hesitant to offer this information. "Uh... his name was Gresgrendek, actually."

"Gresgrendek?" the Doctor spurted, his tact eroded by alcohol. "Gresgrendek Wildman? What kind of name is that?"

Part Two
Jason — 7 Oct 1998, 6:53 PM

"He was Czech, actually. But we called him Greg, for short. And his real last name was inpronounceable. Wildman was my maiden name name." Samantha said.

"Oh, I see." the Doctor said. "Naomi seems to be growing normally. Well, uh-- that is to say there are no evident physical problems. But I'd like to see her more frequently."

"Certainly," Samantha said. She and Naomi started walking toward the door when Samantha turned around... "You know, I'm planning to have a dinner party, within the next few days. I was hoping to invite a few people... Marshall Tuvok, Mr. Larson, Ms. Sandrine..."

"Sounds like quite an eclectic crowd."

"I think it'll be fun. I hope that you can possibly come as well."

"What? Oh, I couldn't possibly...."

"Please do.. I'd be very happy to have you."

The Doctor thought this over. He hadn't really been close to many people in Voyager City. He wasn't a people person. Even he and his daughter Sevenita were quite terse towards each other.

"It would be a privelege." The Doctor said, finally.

Samantha beamed with her smile-- she was always glowing. She turned to leave, when she realized that her daughter was no longer with her.

Naomi ran joyfully down the street. Like most children her age, blithely unaware of the dangers of horses, carriages or stray gun shots, all of which were quite common in Voyager City. But her attention was soon drawn by the sound of jingling bells approaching the town square. Samantha had finally found her after searching desperately for her daughter in the streets of the town.

Samantha held on to her as an elaborate carriage pulled in ot the square. It wasn't the typical one that came in regularly from Voyager City-- this was a special one, ornately decorated. It was painted red with gold trimmings all around it, pulled by white horses and inside it was well furnished and the walls were covered by wall paper. Samantha recognized immediately.

The driver came around and opened the door. Stepping outside was a pale looking man with large ears and black, curly hair held above his head.

Samantha was stunned. She certainly knew this man-- and he knew her. But luckily he had not seen her as she ducked in to one of the stores with her daughter.

Marshall Tuvok came in to the town square and met the man.

"Welcome to Voyager City. I am Marshall Tuvok. How may I be of help to you?"

The pale man, clasped his hands in front of his chest and bowed to him, slightly. "I am Ambassador Weyoun. I have come on behalf of the German Royal Family. Perhaps you could help me. I have it on good information that the King's nephew, an important Count may be residing here. Perhaps you would know a man by the name of Gresgrendek?"

To Be Continued in "A Little Princess"

"Angels and Addicts" (Pt. 1)
Jason — 11 Oct 1998, 8:33 PM

(Okay, so I lied, "A Little Princess" will be coming later.)
This story directly follows "Down for the Count"

Ambassador Weyoun surveyed the town square as he spoke to Marshall Tuvok. 'What a... quaint village.' thought Weyoun as he awaited Tuvok's response. Quaint, but just thirsting for order to be imposed on to it. He could just feel it-- there was an underlying chaos to this town which made it an ideal project for himself and those he served.

"You say that you are German?" inquired Tuvok..

"Vorta Indian, actually." Weyoun offered. "Many Houses of importance find that those from my tribe make exemplary servants. A reputation which I have been honored to uphold."

"Vorta Indian? I do not believe I have ever heard of that particular tribe." Tuvok said.

"They're a Canadian Tribe. I'm afraid the climate in this region is not quite to our liking. We prefer the cold."

"I see," said Tuvok, noting that Weyoun's pale skin must have come as a result of the frigid temperatures in which he was raised.

"Now, if you don't mind," Weyoun said, "do you recall the person I am inquiring about? I have it on good authority that he may have come here at some point."

"Gresgrendek? The name is not familiar. That is not, however to say that he was not here. Perhaps you might have better luck at the Voyager City Hall of Records. They would undoubtedly hold any record of the person you are inquiring about if, indeed he was here." Tuvok advised.

"Thank you very much, Marshall. You have been quite helpful." Weyoun said. "If I could impose on you further..." he asked, "would it be possible for you to direct me towards the local hotel and gambling establishment?"


Inside Carey's Tailor Shop, where she had been peering out the window, Samantha could not make out what Marhsall Tuvok and Weyoun had been talking about, but sensed trouble when she saw Tuvok point Weyoun towards the hotel. Weyoun was probably here to stay, she realized. At least, until he was convinced that she and her husband were *not* here. A million different thought raced through Samantha's mind. What was she to do? Should she and Naomi try to leave Voyager City?

While her previous personal encounters with Weyoun had been friendly enough, it was not truly him that she was concerned about-- it was those he served. She could try to meet with Weyoun-- reason with him. However Weyoun had a veneer about him which made it difficult to discern what his true intentions were.

As Weyoun's carriage rolled on down the street, Samantha cautiously left the store. "Come on, Naomi, we have to go home now." she said. She knew that this turn of events would probably require her to take drastic measures.

"Angels and Addicts" (Pt. 2)
Jason — 11 Oct 1998, 8:37 PM

"I need a room with accomodations for five." Weyoun said, at the check in counter of the Ritz-Kradin Hotel.

"Five beds?" routinely inquired the clerk, Voyager City's orphan girl Tora Ziyal, who had recently (in fact, just the day before) become employed at the Hotel.

"Only one." Weyoun smiled in his overly polite voice which exuded an underlying sense of deception.

"One bed? ...For all of you?" she said incredulously, taking note of the four large men carrying rifles behind him.

Weyoun motioned behind him.. "Oh, they don't sleep."

"Um, I see." Ziyal said, pulling out a key for a room. She wasn't going to push on that particular issue. She knew enough not to ask if she didn't want to know. "I'm afraid that you're going to have to check your weapons here with us." Ziyal said.

"Impossible." Weyoun said. "Do you know who these men are?"

"I have no idea," Ziyal said, innocently. "The Annual NRA Convention was last week."

"These men are the Jem'Hadar Guard. My personal security detachment. They are here to ensure my security and to obey the will of the Founders." Weyoun said.

"Regulations are regulations, Mr. Weyoun. And Mayor Cavit is determined to see that Voyager City's tough new gun legislation sticks." Ziyal explained.

"Do you realize that you are risking an international incident?" Weyoun asked, temper flaring. He wasn't used to not getting what he wanted on his own terms and he wasn't going to let a young girl be an obstacle.

"Mr. Weyoun, if it's protection you are concerned about, I'm sure your men can handle any challenge without their guns. But surely you understand our predicament. How can we expect gun control to work if it doesn't apply to everyone?" Ziyal reasoned.

Weyoun conceded that there was a logic to her reasoning-- she was preaching the very order that he and the Founders sought. Weyoun relented, and Ziyal summoned a man to take their bags up to Weyoun's room. Brone came up to Ziyal and collected the guns of Weyoun's men. "I don't trust them." Brone said.

"Maybe you should go up with them. Make sure they aren't up to something." Ziyal said. Brone nodded and followed Weyoun up to his room. "You will hear what I glimpse up there in the Soon After," Brone promised to Ziyal quietly, and lead Weyoun and his men upstairs to his room.

"Angels and Addicts" (Pt. 3)
Jason — 11 Oct 1998, 8:37 PM

"It is time for the White!" the second guard said to Weyoun, as Brone and another bellhop were bringing in Weyoun's extensive luggage.

"Quiet!" Weyoun shouted angrily.

"It has been twelve hours, I cannot wait!" the third guard said.

Weyoun turned to the First. "Temak'talan, if you cannot control your men then I will have no other recourse than to--"

"We beg forgiveness," Temak'talan said. "The men grow anxious when they are denied the White for long periods. How can you expect them to perform as soldiers when they are deprived of White? We are dependent on it."

Brone took interest in the conversation, but didn't entirely understand it. (And that's what people often said of him.)

"Very well," Weyoun said. "Can you vouch for the loyalty of your men....?"

Brone pretended to be still unpacking but was truly most interested in what was going on. A ceremonial exchange went on between Weyoun and the soldiers for a moment, when Weyoun opened a silver box in his possession. Inside it were vials which Weyoun distributed to each of the men.


"Drugs!" Ziyal exclaimed, shaking her head in disbelief. "If it's not guns in this town, it's drugs. It's a cultural epidemic!"

Brone shook his head, "What course of action should we take in the now, Ziyal?"

"Inform Marshall Tuvok!" Ziyal said.

"Do you fathom that wise?" Brone said. "Without their weapons, those guards could easily still send us in to the Way After."

"But drugs on the streets of Voyager City!" Ziyal exclaimed. "Think of the children!"

Voyager City had never seen a young woman as idealistic as Ziyal. To a large extent, that idealism was reflected in her naivete, a quality that had not been dulled by her relationship with the jaded tailor Garak.

"To think that this was once nothing but a sleepy town. We have to defend it, Brone!" she cried. "Shake off your trembles and dream of your sisters and mother while we go in to glorified battle in their name!"

Her rallying cry stirred Brone's underlying sense of radical nationalism. "Nullify the Jem'Hadar Beasts!"

The First Time
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 6:41 AM

The First Time: Leonie

Having made the decision, Chakotay covered the distance between his house and the main house in quick strides. His face had a determined look about him. He did not slow down, did not notice anything on his way there. The moon was high and full. The air seemed thick and pregnant with the rain that had been promised.

He entered the house and went straight up stairs to her room. She was at the dresser. She hid an object quickly in the draw at the sound of the door opening.


"I Love you. I have from the first moment that I saw you and I know that you love me. But this has got to stop. I will not be caught between two women any longer. I have made my choice. Either we continue this relationship or I leave the Delta Q. I will not work with someone who loves me but is too jealous of someone else to carry on a proper relationship."

His voice was quiet. It was unusual for him. If he was this determined about things, he would be in a shout. But he wasn't and this underscored the conviction that he had. She knew that it would be now or never. She walked up to him slowly and said


Her voice was soft and full of promise, and her lips only a breath away. He pressed his lips to them, the gentleness of that act surprised her, he had not expected it. She responded. A fire was set off in her and it spread throughout her body and she shared it with him. She tasted him, his maleness, life and essence. They explored each other in that kiss.

After a long time, Chakotay pulled away from her and said,

"Are you sure?"

"Yes" It had been a long time since she was so sure of her feelings as she was during this time.

He began to unfasten her dress and she, his shirt. Their eyes never left each other. When he only had his boots left, she bent down and pulled them off in one swift movement and they fell back on the bed.

She was surprised that he could be so gentle. With all the things that they had been through in the past months, she thought that he would not be, but he was. Still there was a roughness to his lovemaking that excited her and spurred her on. She received him and gave of herself. Their passion rose and in its crest he called out her name;


tbc in Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 6:45 AM


They lay in each other's arms, long after their passion was spent. It was quiet. Most of the House workers had retired long before and they were the only two people in the Ranch house. After their lovemaking, they had been very quiet, each thinking about the implications of what they had just consummated, the lives that would be affected and the things that would have to change. Kathryn shifted and sighed deeply. He held her tighter.

"Does Lee-Marie know?"

It was his turn to sigh. Chakotay was sorry that he had let it come so far with Lee-Marie and he couldn't help but think that he would have made a fatal mistake if she hadn't called him up on it. He hadn't told her of his decision but deep down inside he realized that she already knew.

"I haven't told her yet."

"What made you come to me?"

"In a way she did, she told me to chose. It seems that I could fool myself and think that I was over you, but I couldn't fool her."

So in the end she had kept her promise, she allowed it to be his choice. Kathryn was sorry also.

"What do you think that she will do?"

He thought of the way she had been when she walked out of his room a few hours ago. He couldn't read her as he normally could.

"I have no idea."

"And B'Elanna?"

He smiled, "Kathryn, you have no idea how long B'Elanna thought that we would be together this isn't going to bother her besides, she's a bit still preoccupied with that son of yours."

"What about Tom? Do you think that he is going raise a fuss because I'm seeing his mama?"

"You don't worry about Tom, he'll behave and so will everyone else. I have made my choice and you know how I am when I make up my mind." She gave him an intense longing look, he felt the passion stir within him.

"Yes Ma'am, I do indeed" and with that there were no more words that needed to be spoken.

The end for J/C

tbc in The Other Woman part 3

Leonie — 16 Oct 1998, 10:18 PM


The wind beat furiously against her skin as she rode. It was still a bit chilly at the end of spring in April at night, even though the days were warm and held the promise of a good summer. At any other time, the wind would have been invigorating to the rider. This time it just seemed to accentuate the chill in her body.


Her heart pounded. It seemed to match the pace of her mount. She crouched low in the saddle and edged him on with a slight dig of her spurs. He increased speed as they traversed the Nekrit Expanse. When they reached the base of one of the Little Coffee tributaries, her horse prepared to jump and she readied herself, by almost tucking her body into a tight curl. JTM was airborne for only a couple of seconds but it felt like eternity to Lee-Marie. She didn't know if the butterflies that were in her stomach was due to the jump or to the sick feeling she had in the bottom of her stomach about what she was going to discover that night.

She figured on the second.

When she left the Ranch, she had set off at a brisk enough pace. All Lee-Marie could think about was getting away from the Delta Q. She didn't care where she ended up. She simply picked a direction and left. As she continued to ride, her thoughts and anxieties instinctively made her lead her horse on faster and faster until at last it seemed as if JTM could go no faster. It was only when Lee-Marie found herself cursing her mount that she realized exactly how fast they had been going and had allowed him to slow down. She then realized how far out they were and realizing that she could be ambushed at any time, she decided to turn around and head back to the Delta Q and face whatever decision had been made.


It was the question that kept coming back to her.

"Why me? Why now? I was just beginning to get comfortable. It just held so much promise. I just thought that for once it would work out...."

It had seemed that it would

Lee-Marie knew why. She knew what she had been denying, avoiding and hiding away from. She thought that it would just go away.

It had seemed that it would.

But it had been a time bomb just waiting. Waiting on something to happen. Something that would force her to remove her head from the sand, and face the cold hard truth.


"Chakotay I......"

"Kathryn," and with that he kissed her.

Lee-Marie closed the carriage door silently.

There was no more denying it now, there was no more running away from it. Mr. Chakotay Torres was in love with Miss Kathryn Janeway. His mannerisms said it. They had been the warning bells that were ringing in Lee-Marie's mind. The scene that she had just witnessed played over and over again in her

Heartbreak pt2
Leonie — 16 Oct 1998, 10:20 PM

mind. The bells were now silent. They didn't need to ring anymore because the message that they had been trying to convey had been heard and understood.

The Durge had begun.

No tears.

It always surprised her how she could feel her heart break and still think clearly. In fact, things seemed to have come into sudden focus. As if she was seeing through a dirty window for the past six months and someone had just come along and cleaned it.

She knew what needed to be done.

Very slowly she walked back to her own carriage and sat down. She looked at her sleeping companions. It had been a long and difficult drive, but they had made it. The sale had been successful and they were now on the way back.

Lee-Marie had looked forward to spending some more quality time with Chakotay. But she knew that she would not be able to do that.

In the end she had a feeling that she would be spending her quality time


She ended not sleeping that night.


"It was nothing, Lee. It was just because of the things going on with Tom and B'Elanna, that's all." Chakotay argued vehemently

The thing that seemed to twist the knife more in Lee-Marie's back was that he really believed it. If she knew that he was lying to her, it would be easier to get mad and stay mad at him; to raise her fury at him. As it was all it did was intensify the hurt.

"No it was a lot more than nothing. And you know it. You just don't want to admit it to yourself. You're feeling guilty because the reality of the situation is that you are in love with two women and you never realized that until two nights ago." Lee-Marie was more soft-spoken than he had ever heard her; in fact he had to strain to.

Chakotay opened his mouth to argue, and then shut it as he realized that she was right. He never realized how good it was to have this out there between them instead of fighting to keep it out of his thoughts. He convinced himself that if he ignored it, Lee wouldn't notice it and things would just continue. He should have known better. Lee could read him like an open book. He always thought that this was a good thing; until now.

*Argue with me , Chakotay!!!! Tell me I'm wrong!!!! Tell me you love me like you did, that night on the drive!!!!!* The thought came screaming out of Lee-Marie's head. She didn't know where it came from and as swiftly as it invaded her, it left.

The silence was long and drawn out.

There were still no tears.

Her voice was still soft spoken as she continued.

Heartbreak pt 3
Leonie — 16 Oct 1998, 10:23 PM

"In a way, I'm as much to blame for this situation as you are. I didn't want to see what was so painfully obvious....I thought that in time......."

*In time that you would forget about Kathryn, that you would love only me. But it didn't happen and now... Now, now.......*

" I didn't intend for this to happen." He said softly. Chakotay turned away from Lee-Marie unable to face her.

"I know you didn't" Her throat constricted and she felt her mouth go dry as she forced herself to say the next phrase.

"You have a decision to make Chakotay."

And with that she had taken her leave of him.

Lee-Marie led JTM into the stables and left him, saddled up. All of a sudden she couldn't wait to hear what Chakotay's answer was. She knew him and she knew that he would make it that night. Knowing what was going on and living day to day ranch life would be unbearable for all concerned. A decision had to be made and the consequences dealt with now.

She paused and took a deep breath before leaving the barn and walked swiftly to the Mr. Chakotay's house. It was indeed now or never. He wasn't there. She supposed that he went out for a while to clear his head, and she decided to do something in her room before she went back to his house to wait for him.

It seemed that she was breathing normally when she was walking towards the house. She didn't know why and looking back later, Lee-Marie had a feeling that she would never guess what made her do it. What it was inside of her could make her sense when something was going on that she didn't want to know, didn't want to see and yet manage to see it in it's worst light.

She made her way silently up the stairs in the main house. Lee-Marie didn't know if Miss Kes or Miss Sevenita and her entourage would be lurking about, right now she didn't want to talk to anyone. It was then she heard it, coming from Miss Kathryn's room. It was one word uttered with such longing that if anyone else had said it, she would have found it endearing....


The decision had been made.

Lee-Marie clutched the banister as she felt everything inside of her crumple and fall like a house of cards. She couldn't move. It seemed like she stopped breathing. She had just taken a breadth before she heard the sound and had forgotten to exhale. She felt her body settling down on the stairs. She forced herself to breathe. Her heart hammered. If she hadn't undergone this kind of pain before, she may have cried out for help.

But as it was, she knew what heartbreak felt like.

The house swam around her and the nausea increased. She heard another cry. It seemed to snap her out of it. Swiftly she marched out of the house into the stables. JTM was there as she left him, saddled up and ready to go. The first time that she tried to mount him, she found that she couldn't. Her legs had turned to jelly. Somehow, after three aborted tries, she mounted him and rode off into Voyager City.

To be continued in "Lessons in Love"

Lessons in Love (1)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:12 PM

"If I wanted to,
I could do anything right,
I could dance with the Devil on a Saturday night
If I wanted to
I could turn matches to gold,
I could smoke, drink, swear and I will never grow old......."

Miss Racine's voice rang out in the half empty Quark's on Wednesday night.

'How appropriate,' Lee-Marie thought as she remembered her actions prior

Before coming into Quarks, she had ducked into the alley and smoked about three cigarettes in a row. Miss Leonie-Marie was more progressive than most, but she knew which boundaries she could and wouldn't cross in a town such as Voyager City. A woman smoking in public was definitely something that would bring out more than comments. It would have serious repercussions and she couldn't deal with that, especially now. Lee-Marie had no idea what she was capable of doing in the state that she was in now. A confrontation was something that was wise for her to avoid now. After finishing them, she had gone into the bar and found a quiet table in the back, ordered a neat rum and began to drink.

She had lost count of how much she had. Every time her glass emptied, her waitress refilled it almost immediately. Lee-Marie didn't even notice her and didn't care as long as she kept her glass filled and her mouth shut.......

" I wouldn't have to be in love with you,
If I only wanted to......

How she wish that it was true. But the fact was that it didn't matter if she wanted to or not. She was in love with him and he had chosen someone else over her.

The rum slowly began to dull some of the pain.

Miss Racine finished the song and looked over at Lee-Marie hunched over her drink at her table. While she was doing her performance she observed Miss Leeta continually fill Miss Lee-Marie's glass. Miss Lee-Marie and Mr. Chakotay had often come to hear her sing when she did performances at Sandrine's. She knew them well and had always been pleased with the complements that they gave her. Seeing Miss Lee-Marie in that state, Miss Racine did not have to think to hard to know what had occurred. What Miss Lee-Marie didn't know was that the local scuttlebutt didn't think that she and Mr. Chakotay Torres would last because of Miss Kathryn. Seeing the desolate look on Miss Lee-Marie's face, she wondered how long it would take for the news to reach town, then calculated the exact number of minutes it would take Quark to collect the house's stake in the pool. She felt sorry for Miss Lee-Marie. She had no idea what she had gotten herself in the middle of when she fell in love with Mr. Torres.

She turned to her band and made a request. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her pianist roll his eyes. She knew that they hated when she sang that song because of how depressing it was. But they hadn't seen Miss Lee-Marie's state and even if they had, being men, they wouldn't understand. When a woman was experiencing heartbreak, sometimes all she wants to do is to feel bad. Music always facilitated this, especially if it was sung by another sister who understood exactly what the woman was going through. Hearing the blues and listening to another sister belt out her own pain forms a kind of camaraderie among women. It lets them know that loving a man has always brought women pain since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so until the end of time. For every woman who wins at love; another loses. It was the nature of the game. Let her musicians grumble. It was the least she could do for a regular.

Part 2 correction...(sorry :-) )
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 7:55 PM

Love was always supposed to be,
Something wonderful to me,
To watch it grow inside yourself
To feel your heart beside itself,

Miss Racine's voice was smooth and her accentuation made it seem as if she knew exactly what she was singing about. Lee took a long hard look at the singer. She seemed to be singing to her specifically even though there were more people in the room. She also seemed to be singing out her own pain. It reached through the music and embraced Miss Lee. The combination of Miss Racine's voice and the alcohol in her system made Lee-Marie do something that she hadn't done in a long time. She began to remember. She should say that she allowed herself to remember.

This time when the memories came to her, she didn't chase them away. She embraced them, she let the pain from the past accentuate the pain of the present.


Sometimes it hurts to love so bad,
(when you know you've given all you can)
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(you do your best but still it's much too sad)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.....

Jadzia knew from the moment that she stepped into Mickie-C's house that something was very wrong. He had asked her to meet him at his house as he wanted to talk to her. That, in of itself, was normal, but the way that Mickie-C was acting was not. For the past couple of days he had been moody and uncommunicative. He kept to himself. They used to do everything together and now she found that she had a hard time even being civil to him. He was just so shut off from her.

She heard the rumors floating about town that he and Miss Jane Riley were becoming an item, but she thought nothing of it. Mickie-C had always come around courting a lot of girls, but none of them lasted.

In the end only one thing did. Their friendship. It was only lately that Jadzia realized that the friendship, which was forged between them ten years ago, had blossomed into love. She hadn't wanted to admit it to herself because of the complications that came along with the realization.

She was a Lady and he a ranch hand. Her mother had come to America with Jadzia shortly after her father died in England to start a new life. She had met, fell in love with and married Mr. Dayton. Her two siblings; Randye-Jane and Donna-May, had arrived soon after. In time when Mr. Dayton had acquired enough money, he had moved west and brought the Q-Beta Ranch where she had lived from the time that she was six years old. Her mother never let her forget her origins and had insisted that she keep her title even though her mother, Judith, had to give hers up when she married Mr. Dayton.

Jadzia knew that she had pushed the envelope of what her mother would tolerate when she insisted that she wanted to learn to run a ranch. Not only in the financial matters, but the knots and bolts of riding, herding shooting and building. She had a feeling that her mother had really allowed it because she figured that one day Jadzia would either get fed up of it or come to her senses one day and take up the life of being a lady. Her mother still clung to that hope even though Jadzia seemed to spend more of her time outdoors and turned away many a gentleman who had come calling at her door.

She knew that her mother had never suspected that anything was going on between her and Mickie-C because of the number of different women that he courted. She figured that Jadzia was safe with him. Not only because of the women but also because his whole family was depended on the Daytons for their income and Mickie-C would do nothing to jeopardize that. And even if he did, she figured that she would put her foot down and would do everything to drive them apart.

Lessons in Love (3)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:15 PM

Jadzia was more stubborn than most women, so if she really wanted to, she could have defied her mother and taken up with Mickie-C. But Jadzia had told herself for a long time that the feelings that were between them were those of close friends. Mickie-C had never made any moves to turn their friendship into anything else so rather than lose her family for someone who may or may not have feelings for her, Jadzia chose to keep their friendship as is.

Besides nothing could tear them apart. They had pledged themselves to be friends forever no matter what happened.

Their friendship would never die.

That's what she told herself right up to that moment.

Mickie-C was sitting by himself in the kitchen of his family's house. A lamp was burning low on the counter by the sink casting an eerie glow on everything in the room. His elbows were on the table and hands were covering his face. Not expecting to see anyone in the kitchen and thinking that she would have had to make her way to the front room, Jadzia made a lot of noise coming in. She stopped short when she saw Mickie at the kitchen table. He didn't raise his head from his hands until she sat down opposite him.

"Mickie, what's wrong? What is it?" Jadzia said in alarm when she was able to get a good look at him. He looked haunted and if she didn't know better, she would have sworn that he had been crying. His eyes seemed large and hollow in the dim lighting.

Mickie hesitated before he answered. He seemed to realize that there would be no easy way to say what he had to, so he may as well just go ahead and blurt it out.

"I'm going to marry Miss Jane Riley", he said silently.

Those words pierced her like a knife. Jadzia forced herself to breathe as the implications of what he had said began to race through her mind. She pushed them firmly away after a minute. Her needs would have to take a back seat for now, it was obvious that this decision was weighing heavily on Mickie's mind there had to be another reason why he called her to his home to tell her about it and why he looked so unhappy.

"Oh" She waited for him to continue, but Mickie had lapsed back into silence. Jadzia knew that she would have to draw the information out of him.

"This is kind of sudden isn't? You've only been calling on her for a month."

"She's pregnant."

It was then that loss of consciousness threatened Jadzia. She swallowed hard and griped the edge of the seat of her chair. Mickie had not told her that he had been sleeping with Jane. It was not that he told her everything about his life, but making love was always an experience that they shared and that they had talked about at length. She found it hard to believe that he would have taken a big step with Jane and not told her about it.


It sounded stupid, but that was all Jadzia would trust herself to say at that time. If she were to attempt to say more, her thoughts might come out.

*No it's not OK. I love you!!!*

Lessons in Love (3)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:16 PM

Those words she could not say. They were too little and much too late. Mickie had made his choice and so it should be. The sooner she accepted it and got on with life, the easier it would be for them all. She just sat in silence.

During his entire conversation, Mickie-C had not looked at her until he mentioned the pregnancy and then he noticed that Jadzia refused to look at him. He knew that he had hurt her deeply, but there was nothing he could do. He loved Jadzia too much to hurt her any more than he was doing now. This secret had to be kept. Jane was a different story. He sighed deeply, he had no choice. He had to do the right thing for all concerned. The story was much more complicated than any one knew.

"When will the wedding be?"

Jadzia finally faced him and he could see her blank look. His heart broke as realized the extent of the pain that he had just inflicted on her, and what her reaction would be. She would withdraw as he had; she would go deep within herself and cover herself in the functional mask that she was so good at putting on. She would smile, do and say the right things, be there for him. But she would not allow anyone, especially him to be there for her. She would deny the pain to others, to him and even to herself. How well had he gotten to know her.

"In about two weeks. Her daddy is anxious to keep this as quiet as possible so he will make it seem as if we've eloped."

That soon.

"Well I hope that you will be happy."

Jadzia got up to leave. She was on the verge of collapse. A scream from deep within was threatening to get out. She wanted to rail, to lash out. To make him hurt as much as she was hurt. She had to get away. To go to a private place where she could take time to absorb what had been said. To come to terms with it.

Mickie grabbed her hand as she turned to go. Finally the two of them faced each other, eye to eye.

"Jadzia, I'm so sorry that I had to hurt you this much, please believe me. If there was any other way..."

"Don't be silly, you were never courting me. I'm really ha............

Jadzia stopped when she saw the tears collecting in his eyes. She couldn't lie to him. She looked down to the floor and muttered.

"I really have to go..."

Mickie -C let her go


True love it has no hiding place
It's not something you put away
It's always there inside of you
And it shows in everything you do....

When she heard the footsteps coming into the barn, Jadzia realized who it was and looked around desperately for a place to hide. She and Mickie-C had avoided each other in the three days following their last talk in his kitchen. She had just finished taking a ride on her favorite horse, Bashir-Jules (BJ for short) and was brushing him down. She quickly spotted a bail of hay and hid behind it.

*Maybe he'll just want something and leave once he gets it

Lessons in Love (4)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 3:18 PM

She could only hope that she wouldn't be hiding for a long time.

Mickie-C came into the barn. From her vantagepoint, she saw that someone else was with him. She recognized Charlie, one of the hands from a neighboring ranch. She saw both of them look around quickly as if trying to see if anyone would spot them. Jadzia stooped lower. Satisfied that no one else was there with them, Mickie-C turned his attention to Charlie. Slowly, Jadzia raised her head from the bail of hay

Charlie looked as if he had just lost his best friend. Even though they were all of six feet away from her, she could see by the way the light hit his face that Charlie was crying. He looked at Mickie and said in a pleading voice.

"You can't do this."

"I have to." Mickie's voice was calm. Almost like a man who had been given the death sentence and had come to terms with it by just giving up.

"What about us? What about our *friendship*?" Charlie's voice went up a notch

"You knew that one day it would have to end." Mickie's voice still remained calm.

Charlie turned away and Jadzia saw him trying to compose himself. The two men stood in silence for a couple of minutes longer and then Charlie spoke softly.

"Yes I did" He looked up into Mickie's eyes and even from her point of view she could feel the emotion as it went from one man to the next

"It would be best if we go our separate ways now." Mickie put his hand on the man's shoulder.

"Take care of yourself." Charlie responded. Mickie nodded and Jadzia thought that she could see a tear fall from his face. Then Charlie gave Mickie a quick fierce hug and left. Jadzia ducked behind the bail of hay. It seemed an eternity before she heard Mickie's footsteps signal his departure.

When she was sure that he was indeed gone, she came out from behind the bail of hay and sat on the floor of BJ's stall. Finally a lot of things about her relationship and Mickie's began to make a lot of sense. Jadzia had always prided herself of being very aware and of noticing things, but this one had slipped right by her. She didn't even suspected.

Jadzia felt as if there was a stampede going through her head and her heart. Questions, which lead to answers, which lead to more questions ran through her mind. She ran the full gamut of emotions, from rage and jealousy to compassion and surprisingly love. She had no idea how long she sat on the on the barn floor, but when she stood up she had come to some resolution.

It was time to stop avoiding Mickie-C. It was time to confront him. She had questions to which he had to answers. She would ask him and he would answer her. He owed her at least that.

Lessons in Love (5)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:17 PM


He turned to see Jadzia standing at the door to his room. He was sitting on his bed putting his boots on, getting ready to go and meet Miss Riley to iron out the final details on their marriage plans.

"Now is not a good time Jadzia"

"It will have to be. We have to talk. Now."

Jadzia did not raise her voice but looked at him intently. He knew that look. He stood up, but made no motion to get any closer to her.

"So talk"

"Why did you lie to me?"

He looked puzzled. "What are you talking about?"

Jadzia crossed the room and stood one foot away from him. She looked at him directly and he could see the anger blazing in her eyes.

"You did not make Jane pregnant. In fact I don't think that you event slept with her."

Alarm bells were going off in his head.

"Woman what are you talking about? Don't you think that a man knows when he does these things?". He put his hands on his hips and stared at her.

"I overheard you and Charlie in the Barn"

Mickie's face fell and he turned beet red. His expression changed from shock to anger.

"Just what were you doing there? You must have been hiding. We looked around and saw no one. Do you always go around listening on people's conversations?" His voice raised in its anger.

"No. I was doing what we've both been doing these past two days, avoiding. I thought that you were alone and that you would leave as soon as you got what you came for. By the time I figured it out, it was too late for me to leave." Jadzia spoke softly and frankly and did not avoid his eyes. He saw her love and compassion in them. His anger left him. He drew her to the bed and they lay down, arm in arm.

"Now do you understand?" His voice was a pleasant rumbling in his chest.

" A little. Who's the father of Jane's child?"

"Some one in the Cavalry. She wouldn't say who, but he bolted and left her."

"Why you?"

"I just happen to be at the right place at the right time. I was just beginning to get interested in her just when she found out that she was pregnant. She came right out and told me. Jane asked me to marry her. She said that her father and her would treat me real nice if I did. With the thing going on with Charlie, I realized that I would not be able to marry the one that I truly loved. If I ever married, I would have to live a lie. At least this way it starts off as being a lie and it protects Charlie."

Lessons in Love (6)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:19 PM

Jadzia was silent. Mickie continued.

"It also looks good for the Ranch. Ole Mr Riley has convinced Mr Eddington to extend the loan on the Q-Beta. I have a feeling he tried extra hard seeing knowing the favor that I was going to bestow on him by marrying his stained daughter."

"I can't believe Mama and Papa would make you feel like you have to do something like that!"

"They don't even know. That was my own nudging. Mama is really too old to be an effective cook, that's why your mama hired two helpers for her. And Dad's leg keeps giving him trouble. Your folks have been very kind to keep them on as long as they have. If something were to happen and they lose the ranch, I don't know what my folks and I would do. At least this way everyone is safe and relatively happy."

"Except for you."

There was a silence. Mickie-C held her tighter. Jadzia closed her eyes and wished that it could be real, that it could convey the feelings that she wanted it to convey. Almost as if her were reading her thoughts, he said.

"I could never be the man that you need me to be Jadzia. That's why I never officially began to court you. I wouldn't hurt you like that. "

"I never realized that I fell in love with you until a year ago. I never mentioned it. I didn't know what or why, but I knew that you didn't have those kind of feelings for me."

"I love you Jadzia. Never doubt that. I just can't fall in love with you."

"I know" she said softly. "You best get going, you'll be late" She began to rise off the bed. He pulled her down again until she came to rest on his bare chest.

"Don't go, not yet" he murmured in her ear as he wraped his arms tightly around her.

She made no more attempts to leave


Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
(when you know you've given it your best
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(you feel a thousand miles form happiness)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.

"Tom, Tom are you listening to me." Thomas Magnum jumped as Cowgirl Vickie waved her hand in his face. He gave a deep sigh.

"I'm sorry Vickie, my thoughts are elsewhere tonight."

"I can see that." Her eyes followed his gaze until they rested on Lee-Marie at her table. She did not look too well, she seemed to be staring at her glass, but Vickie could guess that her eyes were unfocused. She seemed to have had enough sense to stop Leeta on the sixth tumbler of rum (man, that woman could hold her liquor!), but Vickie doubted that she had enough sense to know which way was the door and she was definately in no state to ride.

Lessons in Love (7)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:20 PM

She looked back at Tom. His face held a lot of concern for Lee-Marie. Vickie narrowed her eyes.

"Why are you so concerned about Lee-Marie?"

"Lee-Marie and I used to live in the same town. We were close, in fact we still are."

Vickie's eyes were almost slits by this time. Tom realizing what his statement sounded like looked up and caught Vickie's gaze.

"Vickie," he said softly, "It's not like that. I've known Lee-Marie since she was a teenager. She was like the daughter I never had."

Vickie groaned as she gave a relieved smile. "Are you that old? What does this say about me?"

He smiled. Vickie felt herself beginning to melt.

"Actually Lee-Marie is only in her late twenties."

"Really! I mean she looks that age, but she certainly acts older than that."

"She's had a hard life. I'm worried about her now. There was only one other time when I've seen her drink this hard and I don't want her to be in that kind of trouble again."

Vickie put her hand in Tom's and drew him up from the table.

"Let's make sure that she isn't then" and hand in hand they made their way to Lee-Marie's table.



Lee-Marie looked up. Her eyes hurt as they had to focus on brighter light. Her equilibrium seemed off too. She supposed it was due of the amount of liquid in her system.

"Mr Magnum, Cowgirl Vickie" She acknowledged them briefly and then looked down.

"Are you all right?" Tom sat opposite her and Vickie drew up a chair and sat next to him. She linked her arm in his. They seemed so much of a couple, that it hurt to look at them.

"No, I'm not."

"Did something happen at the Ranch" Vickie asked.

"Yes something did." Lee-Marie answered succintly

"Do you need a place to stay tonight?." Vickie asked kindly. It suddenly struck her what must have happened to cause Lee-Marie to be here by herself and drinking herself under the table.

Lee-Marie silently cursed herself. She hadn't thought ahead enough to make plans for what happens now. All she thought about was getting away from the Ranch. She had to make plans. She was going to have to leave the Delta Q. But where was she going to go? Perhaps.....

Her head swam and she realized that she was in no state to make any plans about her future. In fact she didn't even think that she was in any state to stand without assistance. She looked up at Vickie and Magnum.

Lessons in Love (9)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 7:21 PM

"I'd be much oblidged." She said sheepishly as she tried to stand. Her legs buckled and luckily Magnum was near enough to catch her before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

"Come on Lee, let's get you to Circle V" Lee-Marie leaned on him as he guided her outside to the carriage that they had taken to get to Quark's

When Lee saw the horses tethered, she remembered.

"JTM?" her words were slurred.

Vickie spoke up, "We'll take him with us, you can return him in the morning when you go to collect your things."

"He's good horse, do you know that? He's somewhat older but he has a certain grace about him, something you don't find in younger stallions. Definitely the best mount that I've ridden since BJ"

It was then that Lee realized that she was rambling and she was quiet for the rest of the ride to Circle V.


Cowgirl Vickie closed the door to the guestroom after she made sure that Lee-Marie was comfortable. She had fallen into bed as soon as she finished drinking three glasses of water which she swore would help her the next morning. Seeing how much alcohol that Lee had consumed, Cowgirl Vickie doubted that it would help fend off the morning hangover that much. Lee-Marie was definatley in for a rough morning.

She made her way to the front room where, Tom was sitting on couch waiting for her. Vickie sat next to him and he put his arms around her. She rested her head on his shoulder

"She asleep?"

"Went off like a baby as soon as her head hit the pillow."

"I hope that she's going to be all right."

"She will be, she just needs time."

"Will you let her stay here as long as she needs to."

"Of course. Still looking out for her well being?"

"I promised her mother that I would look out for her if ever our paths crossed again and they did this time. Seeing her again was the one good thing that came out of me coming to this town."

Vickie raised her head.

"The one good thing?"

Magnum grinned.

"Of course"

"What does that make me" Cowgirl Vickie demanded.

"The best thing that came out of me coming to this town." And his lips found hers.

"Well in that case..." Was all she was able to get out before he began to kiss her.

Lessons in Love (10)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 9:07 PM

"And I solemnly swear that I will

Drink that much again
So help me God"

Lee-Marie muttered these words silently as her lips reached for her fourth cup of Joe. It was only after the third one that she began to feel a little more human and a little less crappy. She sighed. That had to be the national anthems of drunks everywhere. She had heard it being said many times in her presence, but this was only the second time that she had said it for herself.

It was quiet this early in the morning. Lee-Marie had awoken half an hour ago and it had taken her a full five minutes to realize what had happened the night before. She lay in the bed of the guest bedroom at Circle V trying to figure out what she should do now. In the end, her head was still in no shape to make plans for her future so she had gotten up and made herself a pot of Joe. She sat in the dark and silence of the kitchen, trying to clear her head and plan her next move.

She had a couple of ideas, but even with the clarity of the fourth cup of coffee, her mind kept wandering back to Mickie-C. Lee-Marie knew that it was one of the reasons why she didn't like to remember that time of her life. Once she started she couldn't stop. It didn't help that the situation that she had found herself in now paralleled the one that she had been in


Looking back she thought that it would have been so easy to keep her friendship up with Mickie after he had gotten married. But a lot of things began change. For one thing he was no longer living on the Q-Beta and another foreman was hired to replace him. For another, Miss Jane was one jealous woman and did not keep a long leash on Mickie. She had found that in time it was just impossible to keep their friendship. By the time that Jane had given birth, she found that it was indeed possible for ten years of friendship to be undone by one year of marriage.

Jadzia mourned the loss of him. She just stopped doing anything around the Ranch besides riding. Her parents were at a loss to explain what was going on with her. They took her to the doctors who gave her medication, but nothing helped. She drifted that way for about six months until finally she was able to come out of it with the help of her sisters and her parents.

The pain of the loss of that friendship was a constant companion to her though. It never left. Then something happened to rend her world asunder forever.


Cowgirl Vickie was surprised to see Lee-Marie sitting at the kitchen table at that hour of the morning.


"Morning. Have a cup."

"Don't mind if I do." Cowgirl Vickie got herself a cup and poured. She sat at the table and looked at Lee-Marie intently.

"Can you tell me what happened?"

Lee-Marie winced. She didn't want to have to think about it, but she did at least owe Cowgirl Vickie an explanation.

"Mr. Torres has chosen Miss Janeway over myself." She sensed that she didn't need to explain that to Cowgirl Vickie.

Vickie nodded sympathetically. " I had a feeling that's what happened."

"I should have expected it."

"I don't think that you could have. You weren't here for the history of those two. You had no way of knowing what you were putting yourself in the middle of."

Lee-Marie looked at her curiously. "You were involved with him at one time weren't you."

A far off look covered Cowgirl Vickie's eyes. "Yes"

"What happened?" Lee asked.

Cowgirl Vickie's smile took on a sad look.

"It's a long story"

"One of these days, you'll have to tell me about it."

Lessons in Love (11)
Leonie — 17 Oct 1998, 9:09 PM

The two women sat in silence for a time.

Lee sighed deeply. "It is going to be so different not having his type of *companionship*" Indeed it was, she was going to miss him. The pain stirred in her stomach.

Cowgirl Vickie lowered the cup from her lips and said directly.

"The sex was mind blowing wasn't it?"

Without missing a beat, Lee-Marie answered, "Wouldn't know it. I never slept with him."

She had known that Vickie had intended to shock her with the directness of her question. She suspected that it was nothing compared to the shock she had instilled with that revelation. Lee-Marie was right.

The coffee sloshed over Vickie's cup as she almost dropped it from her hands. Lee-Marie grinned.

"You're serious? The two of you never......" Vickie looked at Lee-Marie intently.

"Nope. I may be progressive in a lot of areas of my life, but that does not mean I open my heart up to anyone to trample on it as they please. Trust me, it's never taken this long. I guess deep down in my heart, I knew that he wasn't really all mine."

Vickie gave a wicked grin and then said. "Well don't worry. You'll have to join my Housewives' Club. First meeting of every month is devoted to Mr. Chakotay Torres. When we get to talking about it, you'll feel as if you were there.

It was Lee-Marie's turn to almost drop her cup.

"You compare notes?!?" she asked incredulously.

"Well not exactly. Come to the meeting all would be made clear," Vickie said mysteriously.

"I don't think that I can. I'll be leaving town as soon as I can."

"Where will you go?"

"Don't know yet."

"You know, I'm still looking for a foreman for my Ranch. I told Grendell, not to keep wearing redshirts when he was out on patrol, but he wouldn't listen to me. I've been looking for a Foreman ever since. Tom tells me that you're quiet good and I know that I have heard Tom Janeway and B'Elanna say the same thing. Why don't you consider working and staying here."

Lee-Marie thought about it. She really had no where else that she wanted to go and in a way, she had begun to like this town. It was never boring.

"I'll take it Miss Vickie, but there is one thing about me that you need to know."

She took a deep breath before she continued.


"Mama what's wrong?'

Jadzia had walked into the front room sobbing. She ran to her mother's side. She had never, ever seen her mother cry before. She knew that something terrible must have happened and she had a sinking feeling in her stomach that it involved her stepfather.

"Jadzia.....we're going to lose everything...."

Jadzia felt the blood drain from her face. "What happened?"

"Mr. Eddington is going to collect on his loan....We...we don't have the money to pay him. You Papa has gone to see if he can talk to Ole Mr. Riley to lend him the money. He said he wouldn't at first. Said something about defective goods that he got from us a years back. But we never sold him anything!!! I can't imagine why he would say that.

Jadzia, could and the implications of her being right hit her all at once. She patted her mother's hand.

"Don't worry about it. I'll go and see Mickie and we'll get this all straightened out."

Her mother simply nodded and studied something in her lap as she wiped her tears. When Jadzia looked down she saw it was a picture of the five of them taken in front of the Q-Beta. She knew what she had to do.

Lessons in Love (12)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:13 PM

When Jadzia arrived at the Riley's Ranch, the whole area was deadpan silent. It was if no living creature wanted to disturb the ranch. It gave it an eerie aura. Jadzia recognized her stepfather's horse and buggy in front of the main house. At least she knew that he was there. She dismounted quickly, gave her reigns to the Ranch hand who had come out to greet her, and marched into the house without even acknowledging her presence

"Umm, I don't think this is a good time...." He was talking to the wind.

The door closed silently behind her when she entered the house. She walked around the main rooms, calling out for Mickie as she did so, but she got no answer and she could see no one. Suddenly, she heard harsh voices and loud crash coming from the study. Jadzia took a deep breadth to ready herself for the challenge that lay ahead. It was obvious that Ole Man Riley was in a drunken state and this was going to prove difficult to deal with. But she had to. Her father was there with him and she had to make sure that Riley didn't hurt him as he tended to when he was taken with the bottle.

The door not fully shut. There was a glittery object that blocked the entrance. Jadzia recognized the necklace. It was one of her father's family heirloom pieces. She pushed the door open. The sight that greeted her made her pause momentary and panic to settle in her heart. Her stepfather and Riley were at each other's throats and a vase lay in pieces at the foot of the two men as they wrestled.

"Why don't you just take the necklace......." Her stepfather screamed at Riley.

This seemed to snap her out of her trance.

"Papa, Mr. Riley...STOP IT" Jadzia flung herself at Mr. Riley.

He turned and his hand lashed out at her face. Jadzia felt a sharp pain in her cheek and tasted blood in her mouth. Her head seemed to explode with pain and for a moment she thought that she would lose consciousness.

"Owwww" She staggered backwards and grabbed the edge of a chair to keep her from collapsing. She was dazed, and felt her eyes closing.

"NOOOOOO" Rage built in her stepfather and he turned to Riley and charged at him. Riley went flying backwards and the two of them ended up on the floor at the base of the desk. Her stepfather was momentarily dazed and shaking his head vigorously trying to come out of it. Riley pulled himself up to a kneeling position and reached in his drawer and pulled out an object. Her stepfather charged him again, but in his weakened state he managed to hit Riley off center. It was still enough to knock him down.

Someone came charging in the Room

"Mr. Riley, STOP IT"


The gunshot that rang out was lout enough to force Jadzia's eyes to open. Riley got up slowly over her dead stepfather's body.

"Good riddance to that bad lot." He muttered.

Jadzia and Mickie-C stood transfixed staring at the scene in front of them.

Riley turned to face Jadzia and pointed the gun at her.

"You," he gave his face a quick flick in Mickie's direction as he said that word, "I don't have to worry about."

Lessons in Love (13)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:14 PM

"But her" he motioned to Jadzia. "You should have just stayed home little girl"

"Mr. Riley DON'T. She's just a woman, who's going to believe her. You have nothing to worry about." Mickie all but screamed, his eyes growing wide with fear as he made his way slowly and stood next to Jadzia.

"SHUT UP, you little Girlie Boy. You've made one too many mistakes as it is!!!! You don't ever think do you boy? Of course someone is going to believe her. Judge Magnum is too old a family friend to be brought off!!!" The comment made Mickie freeze in his tracks as Riley swept the gun from Jadzia to Mickie

The gun finally settled on Jadzia.

"I should have known why you were too ready to marry Jane. I should have seen the reason behind it!!!"

Mr. Riley squeezed the trigger




Mickie had leaped in front of Jadzia and taken the bullet that was meant for her. She caught him as he fell to the ground.

"Mickie, Mickie answer me!!!" Jadzia shook him. But he was dead. When she realized it was so, she bent over his body and cried out loud and long.

It was meant as a distraction.

Jadzia had known what death looked like. She knew that there was no saving Mickie from being shot at that close range and the large amount of blood that had collected beneath him, confirmed this. Fury built within her. She knew that she would exact retribution for what Riley had done.

'The Woman' seemed to warm the holster under her skirt petticoats. She had come with it. From the time that she learned how to use her properly, Jadzia had never left home alone without it. When she walked into the study she just didn't think that she would need to use it. She had foolishly believed that with her endeavoring to separate the two of them, they would come to their senses. She was wrong and now two people were dead, paying for her mistake.

The accidental shooting of his son-in-law distracted Riley, and Mickie-C's body partially blocked his view of Jadzia. He didn't see the six shooter come out of Jadzia's holder. By the time he realized what was happening, the alcohol and his previous fights had dulled his reflexes so much that his brain did not register the gun until it was too late.


Her aim was as always perfect. Riley dropped the gun as the blood poured from his right hand.


Jadzia ignored him, rage filling her being and making her oblivious to everything else but her desire for revenge. "The Woman" was still trained at his heart. When Riley saw this he paled.

Lessons in Love (14)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:15 PM


Jadzia recoiled as her gun went off. She felt as if she had snapped out of her rage as she saw Riley slump to the floor. She stared at him for what seemed to her to be an eternity.

Footsteps came up behind her and when Jadzia turned around she saw Mrs. Riley.

"I suggest you leave now!!!"

"I ......"

"Leave Jadzia. He was my husband and I hated him. I'm glad that he's dead. You've saved me the trouble of doing him in myself. But I won't have this family humiliated any more than we already have been. Leave town now and I won't demand that justice be done."

Mrs. Riley was dry-eyed and calm when she gave the order.

Jadzia complied.


"So you see Cowgirl Vickie. You will be employing a murderer as your fore(wo)man."

Cowgirl Vickie was amazed to hear the Lee-Marie's story. She would have never thought that she would shoot anyone in cold blood. But she understood how circumstances might make someone do something that they would not normally do.

"We all have a past Lee-Marie. And the way this town is, we are all guilty of murder. The job is yours if you still want it. But I suggest that we pretend that this conversation never happened. I won't be held accountable for you if your past decides to catch up with you. Fair enough?"

"Fair enough."

"I suggest we get going. We have to return your stallion to the Delta Q and get your stuff as soon as possible. I have plenty of work that needs to get done here, and today is your first day on the job."


Here we are the two of us
So full of love, so little trust
But dying for some tenderness
Buy too afraid to take the step....

"Hello Lee"

Lee-Marie was literally shoving stuff into her garment bags in her haste to leave the Delta Q before Mr. Torres spotted her. She knew that she would have to tell Miss Kathryn that she was leaving, but she was hoping that she could get things squared away without running into him.

She was lucky for the first ten minutes that she was back on the Ranch. She managed to return JTM to his stall and sneak into the house without seeing hide or hair of Miss Kathryn or Mr. Torres. But now he stood in her doorway, hat in hand with a sorrowful look on his face.

Lessons in Love (15)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:17 PM

"Mr. Torres" Lee-Marie acknowledged but did not look up from her packing. She could imagine the look that crossed his face when he heard her address him by his title. Well what did he expect?

"You are leaving the Delta Q?" He asked.

"Yes, I'll be at the Circle V. It was a promotion. I'll be the head fore(wo)man there. It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. My only regret is that I couldn't give Miss Kathryn more notice, but Cowgirl Vickie wanted me to start right away."

"Cowgirl Vickie is going to have all women running her Ranch one day. Pretty soon she wouldn't have any men in there besides redshirt field hand extras."

That got a small smile out of Lee-Marie

A silence ensued and eventually it was Chakotay who broke it.

"Lee, I take it that you found out that I've made my decision." He said tentatively.

"It's Lee-Marie, and yes I found out."

He winced. It was going to be even harder than he thought to talk to her.

"I hope that one day you'll understand, Lee-Marie"

That stopped her packing. She whirled around so quickly that he jumped. Her face was still deadpan as she said.

"That's asking much isn't it. The man that I love has chosen another woman. I don't think that I'll ever understand that one. The day will come when I will stop loving you, maybe even forgive you , but understand, no I don't think that that day will come."

Lee-Marie returned to her packing

An awkward silence filled the room. Chakotay tried again.

"I hope that at least we can still be friends."

*Somebody get a gun and SHOOT him for me. PLEASE!!!!!*

The anger built up again, and then the pain came. Lee-Marie felt her lower lip trembling and bit into it hard. She didn't turn around and didn't answer him. She just continued to move stuff from her bed to her bags.


Chakotay couldn't stand it anymore and crossed the room and put his hand on her shoulders and turned her around. The pain that he saw in her eyes touched him deeply. It mirrored his own at being the cause of it.

"Lee-Marie, I know that I've hurt you more than you ever had a right to be hurt in your life. I know that being sorry and saying it is not going to make it go away. But I am and so I'll say it. I am sorry Lee-Marie. I hope that one day you'll forgive me and I hope that you can move past this and still be my friend."

Lessons in Love (16)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:18 PM

Lee-Marie was biting her lip so hard, she could swear that she tasted blood.

*I am NOT going to cry*

It seemed to give her the strength she needed.

"I would like that, but I would be lying if I said that it would happen today or next week for that matter."

*Or next month, or two years from now, or ever...* She kept that part of the thought to herself.

"I understand." He let her go and walked over to the door.

"Take care of yourself Lee-Marie"

It almost caught in her throat, but she forced herself to say it.

"Likewise, Chakotay."

He shut the door quietly. Lee-Marie dropped to the bed. All of a sudden she felt heavy, empty and drained.

Sometimes it hurts to so love so bad
(when you know what it can put you through)
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
(there's nothing funny if it's killing you)
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.

The words sang by Miss Racine the night before came to her .

After a time, she got off the bed and finished packing.


Lee-Marie finally found Miss Kathryn in the stables. She was giving JTM a vigorous rub down. Lee-Marie felt a little sheepish. She had been so intent on not running into Mr. Chakotay that she had not taken care of her stallion's needs.

Well he was not going to be her stallion any longer.

Miss Kathryn looked up when she heard Lee-Marie enter the stall.

"Lee-Marie" She acknowledged her and went back to her task at hand. JTM seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Periodically, his flanks would give a shiver of pleasure as Miss Kate brushed past his soft spots.

*He's a spoilt one and a little TurnCoat, but I'm going to miss him* Lee-Marie thought to herself.

"Miss Kathryn, I'm sorry to say this, but I have to resign from the Delta Q effective immediately. I know that it's not proper to leave without giving you notice but I think that we both agree that it would be best if I didn't stay at the Delta Q any longer."

Miss Kathryn's head popped up over JTM.

"I think that it's for the best. I wish you best of luck at Circle V."

Lessons in Love (17)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:20 PM

"Thank you Ma'am. How did you know?"

"I was talking with Cowgirl Vickie when you came in."

Lee-Marie nodded and turned to walk away.

"You're forgetting something."

"What?" Lee-Marie said puzzled. Kathryn placed the reins on JTM and then gave them to her.

"Miss Kathryn, I can't take this." She said in astonishment.

"I want you to."

"I don't need any favors." Kathryn smiled a Lee-Marie's stubborn pout. They really were a lot alike. Pride was something that they did not let go of easily.

"Take him. Ever since you've ridden him, only B'Elanna can get him to go anywhere in a decent amount of time, and she still prefers Liberty and Kona. Still she can't ride him as you do. It seems that he prefers you to everyone else. Chakotay is so frustrated with him that he feels that he's ready for the glue factory. And to tell the truth, I think that he doesn't need the reminder. It hasn't been easy for him also you know."

*Yeah right!!* It was malicious, but it was what she thought.

She made up her mind.

"All right, but I'll pay you for him."

"All right. You have two weeks worth of wages coming to you. I'll use that as the down payment."

Lee-Marie took the reigns and lead JTM out of the stable.

"Lee-Marie, thanks for not telling him about Mr. Tuvix." Miss Kathryn called out to her.

"Thank you too, for not mentioning Mr. Riley."

With that she left.


"Where will you go." Jadzia was packing her bags and her mother stood next to her. The two women were in Jadzia's bedroom.

"Defiant City, Terok-Nor Ranch. Mickie-C had some friends who work there. They say that they'll give a job and a place to stay."

"Will it be safe?"

"Well it's far enough from here, and I'm going to take my middle name and your maiden name. Leonie-Marie Peters. How do you like it?"

"It suits you."

There was silence as Jadzia continued to pack.

"Your sisters are going to miss you when you go."

Lessons in Love (18)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:22 PM

Tears threatened Jadzia but she was dried eye when she said.

"I'll miss them too. I'll try to write as much as I can."

"The message came from England. When you turn twenty-one, the money that your father left for you will become available. It's yours whenever you need it. Just get in touch with me anyway you can, when you need to. Use your house seal."

Her mother pressed the stamp in her hand.

"Thanks Ma."

"I also wanted to give you this." Her Mama held the necklace in her hand.


Jadzia stared at the necklace. All at once it made sense to her. She knew that she hadn't fired the shot that had killed Mr. Riley. Now she realized who had.

Her mama looked at her with tears in her eyes.

"I'm so sorry Jadzia. I didn't think when I shot him through the open door. I just came over to make sure that things were all right. I sneaked in through the kitchen and didn't see anyone and then heard the commotion in the study. When I saw what he had done......I couldn't let him get away......"

Jadzia gathered her mother in her arms and held her as she cried. Only one or two tears made their way down her own cheeks. She had to be strong now, more than ever.

"I understand Mama, I do. I'm still going and it's best if everyone thinks that I did it. You have to be there and be strong for Donna-May and Randye-Jane."

After a time the two women separated.

"I know." Her Mama said and then kissed her on the cheek.

"Jadzia, I love you. Take care of yourself."

She nodded, as she didn't trust herself to speak

Jadzia finished packing and brought her things outside. Her sisters were waiting to see her off, trying hard not to cry and not understanding why their elder sister had to leave. She hugged her sisters and her Mama once more before mounting BJ. With a final view of the Q-Beta, she left.

As she reached the big gates, she realized that Jadzia Dayton had just died.

And Leonie-Marie Peters was born.

Lessons in Love (19)
Leonie — 18 Oct 1998, 8:23 PM

I know if there is any chance
For us to find our happiness
We've got to learn to let it go
Forget all the pain we know

Lee-Marie sat by herself watching the sun set and thinking about what had happened in the past week and a half. Things were going well for her at Circle V. She found that Cowgirl Vickie was a good boss, fair and expected to her employees to give a 100% to their jobs. That was just fine with Lee-Marie. She didn't' crowd her either. She had invited her to do things with her, but gave her space, knowing that she needed time to heal. Having Mr. Magnum in her nearby also helped. He and Cowgirl Vickie were practically inseparable and Lee-Marie was certain that he was going to take up permanent residence in either Voyager City or Circle V, within the year.

During that week, she had good days and bad days. Today was a bad day. She had run into Miss Kathryn and Mr. Chakotay in town and they were walking hand in hand. It seemed to Lee-Marie that all the healing she had done in the past week had become undone and she was back at square one. It was all she could do for the rest of the day to concentrate on her work and not break out into tears.

"Hey Lee"

"Hey Tom, have a seat" Lee-Marie looked at Tom Magnum as he came up to join her.

"How are you?"

"OK, I guess." Lee-Marie lied.

"Vickie told me that you ran into Miss Kathryn and Mr. Chakotay in town today."

"I did"

"It must have been hard for you."

Lee-Marie tried to answer, but she felt her throat constrict and the heat rise from her stomach. The burning sensation in her windpipe and the back of her eyes told her that the tears were threatening and she tried to force herself to block them.

Surprisingly the tears escaped her eyelids.

Tom was watching her and when he saw her tears begin to fall he put his arm around her.

"Let it go Lee." He said gently.

The cry that came from Lee-Marie began softly and became louder and louder. She howled at first and then began to sob uncontrollably. Eventually she just buried her head in his chest and cried, her body shaking with sobs. Tom wrapped both arms around her and held her tightly as she sobbed it all out. He didn't say a word, because he knew that there was nothing that he could say. He could only be with her in her pain. He would admit that he did have one or two stray thoughts of going to the Delta Q and throttling the man who was responsible for hurting her that much. Her cries pulled at his heart


Vickie watched her lover holding her fore(wo)man from a distance. She had just come riding up and saw the two horses. She dismounted and when she came close enough she heard Lee-Marie's cries.

She understood.

She left silently, so as not to disturb them, and returned to the Ranch House.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
And it hurts like hell
That's the way it feels.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 1
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 4:44 PM

"Mister Torres! Mister Torres! Got a latter from B'Elanna!"

Chakotay smiled down the hill at Harry, waving the letter as he came up, he gladly released the heifer he held to a hand. Harry gave him the letter, then turned back. "Don't you want to hear, too, Harry?"

"Thanks, Mister Torres, but I'll have to hear it later." Harry grinned. "Qwai-chang hates it when I'm late."

Chakotay grinned. "Give your brother my regards. And much obliged." Wiping off his brow, Chakotay gladly took a seat and a slug of water.

The last real letter was sent from a post a couple weks after they left, then a note for Christmas. Finally, she'd written again. He hoped it'd say when they'd be getting home. It'd been a long four months.

He took another drink as his fingers unfolded the paper. Then he read.


Kathryn saw him out the window, sitting with his elbows on his knees, head slightly bent. She frowned. Wasn't he supposed to be out checking the heifers?

She stepped out onto the porch, sat down by him by him, placed her hand on his arm. "Bad news?"

Ironically, he laughed, then pulled his head up only to look at the new stable. "You were right," he said softly.

"I was?" She wondered what she might have said that time.

Chakotay nodded and pulled the letter out of his pocket. "B'Elanna and Tom are heading home. Should be here next week."

"That's wonderful," Kathryn said, knowing there was more.

"They regained B'Etor's name in the tribe, Kathryn, vindicated her. That's why B'Elanna wanted to go." He grinned. "B'Etor would've liked that. It broke her heart more than she'd say to lose her family." He saw Kathryn nod in the corner of his eye. "B'Etor's father ended up taking them as his own. They did real good. It's all in the letter. Both of them wrote in it."

"I'll have to read it, then," she said, still curious.

Chakotay paused again, and that strange smile returned to his mouth. "Kathryn..." He licked his lips, met her eyes. "We're grandparents."

She felt a stone drop in her chest. "What?"

"You told me they were up to something--you were right. They hid it so they wouldn't have to get married. They knew we'd make them. They got married in the traditional Klingon way, retribution for B'Etor's marrying outside the tribe. About a couple weeks after, our granddaughter was born...Her name's Beata Janeway."

She stared at him, flicking her eyes to the letter. When he placed it in her hand, Kathryn walked down the steps. "They went behind our backs," she muttered. "Decieved us. I knew it" She turned a look back at him. He looked impassive. "Doesn't this bother you?"

Chakotay sighed. "Sure it does--I'm bothered by the fact they both refuse to have the reverend wed them--B'Elanna said specifically they wouldn't break their promise to Kor. Tom did too. It's important to them, this choice of theirs, important to B'Elanna. I've got to let it be."

She was surprised. "Let it be? You, Chakotay?"

"I can't ask them to break their word. I know what my answer would be if someone asked me the same...They've done what they set out to do, come clean, and are heading home with their girl."

"Beata," Kathryn whispered, looking again on the view. "Means 'blessing' you know."

"Really?" Chakotay asked. "Can't say I did know that."

"Yes." Kathryn took a breath, not looking back. "Guess I'll tell Miss Henley to fix up some things up for them," she said quietly, "get some things from B'Elanna's room...They should take the side house. It's plenty big, and I'm sure they'd like their own space."

Chakotay heard her tone well, like a wheel on soft gravel. "Kathryn--"

"I'm having a walk," she said abruptly. "I'll read this letter for myself." With that, she turned, glad Chakotay said nothing as she pocketed the letter and strode out into the yard.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 2
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 4:49 PM

"A niece?" Harry smiled. "That's great!" But when his voice died, the room silenced, aside from the ticking clock behind his mother, who sat very still. Her fork touched the plate; she took another bite of food. Harry closed his mouth.

Kes, watching them, offered a small smile. "Well, I think it's wonderful," she said. "They're good for each other, love each other a lot." She peered around the table. Chakotay was pleasant but neutral, pocketing the letter he'd read to them. Harry was back to his meal. The matron at the head of the table ate silently. Kes watched for a moment, then, "Don't you think it's wonderful, Mama?"

"Yes," Kathryn said, took another bite, chewed slowly. Her steely eyes rose but once to acknowledge her daughter.

The bell chimed on the hour.

Kes knew better. "You're upset because they lied to you."

Kathryn put down her fork, folded her napkin. Looking around the table to see six eyes aimed at her, her jaw tightened. "Excuse me."

As she breezed away from the table, Kes saw Chakotay move to stand as well, but she held up her hand. "Please, Mister Torres, let me." Putting aside her napkin, she left to find her soon after in the garden, staring up at the moon. Her arms were crossed, her posture was straight, her jaw was tight enough to break a nut. Kes couldn't help but sigh.

Kathryn didn't turn around. "How could he go behind my back like that? How can I trust him knowing he could--again? It's starting all over again, Kes, and I won't have it."

Kes smiled gently, shook her head. "Mama, it's not like it was before. Tom's grown up. He had to support B'Elanna in getting her family back--a family she never knew."

Kathryn turned then. "We're her family--here, on the Delta Q. That Tom would lie through his teeth for her, help her go through that fool of an idea--"

"I don't think it was foolish at all," Kes countered softly, looking up to her with a sure stare. "I know that if my roots had disowned my family, I'd want to get them back, by whatever means. As for Tom, he'd read about Klingon Indians since he was a boy. He knew what he was getting into." There, Kes laughed quietly. "Well, maybe he had some adjusting to do, but it seems like he takes a lot of pride in what he did. I can say the Klingons accepted him a lot more fairly than people here have."

Kathryn furrowed her brow slightly. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, Mama, that B'Elanna was about the only one, besides me and Harry, maybe Miss Julie too, who'd accept Tom for the man he became after righting his wrongs. Everybody kept expecting wrong out of him, waiting for him to mess up--even you."

"How can you say I thought Tom any less than--"

"Not less," Kes told her. "You just didn't trust him as much as you'd wanted to believe. And now he's proved you right and wrong."

"He proved me right, for sure--got himself wrapped up in B'Elanna's personal business and all that trouble. Lucky he didn't get himself killed. And I hoped I was through with having to wonder about him."

"Mama, that's not fair and you know it. Tom wouldn't have done it if he didn't want to, and he did what he truly felt was right--Or can't you remember the last time you lied to protect and help someone you loved?"

Kathryn froze at that. She remembered quite clearly, knew exactly who she protected, even then--and desperately wondered if Kes knew...No, she couldn't know...Maybe Tom's lie wasn't as shattering as my own.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 3
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 4:55 PM

Meeting her daughter's eyes again, she managed a weak grin. "Maybe so. Still, I would've preferred a normal wedding."

"They did have one. --I know, you mean a church wedding. But they never were keen on that, anyhow. It would've only been for appearance's sake if they had, which isn't like them. So instead, they committed to a marriage system twice as unyielding as our own, and it was true for them. They've made their bed and are laying in it. They have the right to make decisions according to their principles."

"Not so long as they're living on my land, they don't."

"Then you should tell them when they get in, so they'll have time to find a new home." Kes turned her look askance. "Actually, I think I know of a homestead up for let over by Miss Vickie's. I'm sure she'd be thrilled to have two young, skilled neighbors looking for work. And I'd look after little Beata if B'Elanna had to go out often."

Her tactic wasn't lost on Kathryn. Sighing, she moved away. "I don't want to lose them over that." She shook her head. "Figures Tom 'd love and marry a girl as stubborn as himself."

Kes laughed. "Then they're in good company here at the Delta Q. Be a shame to break up such a good likeness over the little things--and they are little things, Mama. They got her mother forgiven out there, earned the respect of a people not known for favoring foreigners, got themselves married and made a little girl. They did it together, out of their love and respect for each other."

"But what about respect for their parents?" Kathryn asked.

"They respect you. We wouldn't have gotten a letter with them fessing up and telling all if they hadn't cared. They'd have just come on home expecting everything would be just fine."

Kathryn had to agree to that. That poorer aspect actually sounded more like the Tom of old, in those bad days before Mark died.

"Now, I can see why Tom not trusting you to the truth and going against what you would've wanted would hurt," Kes continued, "but I would've done the same." Kes nodded to her mother's stare. "If I loved a man whose family was in disgrace and wanted to redeem that, I'd be right by him no matter what I had to do--and so would you."

Kathryn chuckled. "I suppose I would."

"It's different because Tom's your son, 'cause it's easier to act on your own heart than watch others do the same. But look who he learned it from."

Kathryn nodded at that, let her hands fall on her skirt. "Well, I suppose he could've gotten in a h*ll of a lot more trouble if he'd wanted to," she relented. "I still don't like that they hid from us, but maybe it was for the best, seeing how it turned out for them." She smiled again. "But that's Tom--give him a chance and he'll follow through. And just like B'Elanna to follow through with her intent." She thought on that. "Must've been hard for her, knowingly carrying a b@stard all that time. Likely, they were relieved to get married."

Kes peered up to her curiously. "And the wedding?"

"I suppose it doesn't bother me as much as I pretended," she admitted. "Indian marriages are common law even back east, and that's legal enough by me, as long as they abide, upright and proper. No, Chakotay's the one who's stuck between their promise to her granddaddy and his old ideals--the same ideals that got his wife disgraced and put his daughter on that mission in the first place."

"I'm certain he'll be fine, Mama," Kes told her gently.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 4
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 5:04 PM

Kes moved to put her arm in her mother's. "Just think about this, Mama: There's going to be a pretty little filly on the ranch, with a spirit and fire all her own--your granddaughter."

Kathryn smirked--yet another hard-headed soul on the Delta Q. But a baby girl, with little dresses and shoes, all those sweet things she'd remembered from her own and only daughter. Suddenly, it didn't seem that long ago, the memories came so clearly then.

Kathryn turned to her girl, couldn't help but smile into those big blue eyes, gazing soulfully up at her. "What would I do without you, Kes?" she whispered, then gave the young lady a hug. It'd been too long since she'd had the pleasure of her daughter's gentle wisdom. "Leave it to you to see the good in a thing and leave the mess in the garbage where it should be."

When they parted, Kes kept hold of her mother's hands. "So, why don't we go and look through the side house?"

"Now? At suppertime?"

The younger woman nodded. "Sure. We'll get a lantern, and start planning on how to fix it up. It doesn't need much. And seeing as it's more private and only across the back drive, I think they'll like it as much as y'all will."

"Actually, I'd toyed with the same thought today. You think so too, then?"

Kes grinned and led her mother out of the garden. "The walls in the big house aren't all that thick Mama," she teased. "Harry and I will never get any rest with another couple in the house."

Kathryn flushed, bit her lip. "Where's that lantern?"


Kes was on the back stoop when one of the hands ran up with the news. "Why don't you go tell Miss Kathryn? She's out back." When he left, Kes stood and walked down the drive. As she moved past the big oak, they were in plain sight and moving steadily closer.

They looked the same, Kathryn thought, rounding the corner of the big house. B'Elanna looked fine and pleasant, had on the skirt and shirt she recalled quite well, all her usual gear and that saber, but also a strange looking sling full of...The baby, she realised, and for the first time felt a sudden curiosity to see who it took after. Tom had his hat and taupe duster on, and a large, unusual blade slung over his back. But he flashed a smile bright enough to light the night sky when he caught sight of his sister.

Kes clapped her hands when Tom dismounted before her, and they hugged warmly. "Mighty good to see you, sis!" he said, then moved around to reach up to help B'Elanna, who was already dismounting. "See what we've got here."

B'Elanna laughed and kissed Kes' cheek. "Prepare yourself for the proudest stud this side of the range...Of course, she does deserve it."

Kathryn still watched, while the hands, whom they greeted kindly and gave some instructions to, led the horses off--after introducing the colt, of course, their other baby. They began to chatter on about their trip home, two days of rain on the trail and a dull train ride that the horses hated. Kathryn took a breath and walked out.

Tom had taken Beata from the sling for B'Elanna, who gladly put it aside to give her sister a proper embrace. On invitation, Kes proudly took the infant into her arms, as Tom and B'Elanna stood together, smiling at her auntly manner. Then B'Elanna glanced over, nudged Tom. He mirrored his wife's expectant face when he did.

Kathryn met both their stares in turn with one of her own. They're scared, she realized suddenly, seeing both the fear and hope in them.

"Mama..." Tom said, wanting to smile, but unable to say more.

"Miss Kathryn..." B'Elanna echoed, almost on top of his words.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 5
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 5:14 PM

Kathryn took a deep breath. They didn't have to say anything. Standing proud, their arms around each other, upright and proper, they still looked wanting. They don't regret what they've done, but they're sorry for the necessary hurt. Kes was right.

Finally, a little grin formed at the top of her breath, and Kathryn slowly opened her arms. "Come here you two rascals, and give your Mama a hug." Relievedly, they did move into her arms and embraced her, whispering their endearments in her ears, glad to be back, hoped she'd forgive them for the trouble. The mother felt a natural swell in her heart to hear it. "It's good to have you home. And about time." She held then both at arm's length. "So, where's this baby you made so much fuss over?"

B'Elanna touched her mother-in-law's arm as Tom took the baby. "Miss Kathryn--"

"Mama," Kathryn corrected with a grin.

B'Elanna's smile grew. "Mama, it's our honor to introduce you to our daughter, Beata Janeway." As Tom placed the infant in her grandmother's arms, B'Elanna caught his shining eyes. It had turned out much better than they'd expected, they both knew. Then, hearing a horse's brurr, she glanced aside and caught her breath. "Pa," she breathed, and moved to greet him.

She looked about the same, Chakotay surmised as his girl approached. Looked like she'd had a child recently, but much herself, too...And she embraced him in a way he always knew her to, quick yet warm, kissed his cheek. "Good to have you two home," he said, meaning it. And he greeted Tom with a firm handshake, some kind words. And he peered down at his granddaughter, smiled. "She's the spittin' image of her mama," he said, and laughed when the baby let out a yell. "In more ways than one."

B'Elanna giggled as she took Beata. "She's hungry, Pa, you knew that." She turned in Tom's arm, asked with her eyes.

Tom nodded, understanding, and looked back at the others. "We'll be back in a bit, get Beata's cradle and all."

Kathryn waved them off, and as the couple walked away, talking quietly to each other, she glanced at Kes. "You'd better direct them to the kitchen, lest we give their present away too soon. I know where they're thinking on going."

"I was thinking the same thing," Kes grinned. "I'll see they get some refreshments--certainly they're hungry and thirsty after their long ride." With a nod to the foreman, she hurried after her siblings and led them in.

RE: VC: Homecoming, part 6
D'Alaire — 13 Oct 1998, 5:22 PM

Kathryn then looked to Chakotay, who followed them with his stare alone. "You're taking this better than I thought."

"They're settled, grown up," he replied. "Why should I bother that? And as you said, they're common law married. That's enough for a judge."

She blinked at his plain tone. She'd thought he'd gotten over it, the way he'd acted. But he wasn't. Even his face had fallen as the others had gone in. "But not for you."

"No, it'll do," he said softly. "B'Elanna and Tom's got their word to Kor. I'm not gonna make the same mistake twice and tell them to break it. It cost too much the first time. It'll cost more if I do it a second. They're fine as is." He walked back to his horse, took the mare's reigns. "Tell B'Elanna I'll be in later, and we'll get to catching up with them then."

Kathryn was tempted to stop him as he rode off, but decided to let him go. Chakotay, she figured, always took a little more time to get settled in his acceptance.

As for herself, she'd had her own time to stew and get over it, then get happy about it while she and Kes fixed up the side house, complete with a little girl's room. She'd let Kes get her caught up in the little joys of their new addition, and she wasn't sorry, seeing how thrilled Tom and B'Elanna were just to have her approval. She was anxious to see how they'd take their gift.

She saw Harry coming in quick down the drive, and waved him in, called out with the news. Harry almost jumped straight off Libby, tying her on a post and running ahead of his mother when she told him to go ahead. She was on her way.

Chakotay would need time, she told herself again, and so she let him have it.

Crossing through the house, she found her four children and grandchild already there in the kitchen, her new daughter nursing the baby at the table, the other talking happily with her, her two sons greeting each other with a firm embrace and handshake. Then they all started chatting together, as if there'd never been a day between them, but with so much having happened. True siblings.

My family, Kathryn knew, feeling a proud beat in her heart, and her spirits lifted. As she gladly moved to join them in that unplanned homecoming party, she decided she didn't regret a bit of it.

Paths Converging pt 1
Leonie — 13 Oct 1998, 7:40 AM

Slowly he moved himself to the upright position.

He kept his eyes closed.

His heartbeat slowed and he knew that he was spent. He felt tired yet awake, exhausted yet invigorated. It was always like this; the rush, the ecstasy giving way to the feeling of contentment. He reached out with himself, with his Par and checked.

His head, his neck, his chest, his arms, his hands,
His thighs, his legs, his toes.

All were as they should be.
All male,
All uniquely his.

Warmth from another source spread throughout his body. From back to front; his chest radiated it, and it seemed that his blood transported it to other parts of his body. Heartbeats were synchronized at first, and then slowly the one became two.


Tim had been feeling restless of late and was at a loss to understand why that was his given state. On several occasions, he and Madame D'Alaireux had engaged in sharp words over trivial matters and it concerned the two of them greatly. All the Visions that he had taken and the Ponn Farr meditations that he had engaged in had revealed nothing to him. He was at a loss. This went on for about a week before the appropriate action, which needed to be taken, came to him in a dream. The next morning, he went into Madame D'Alaireux's room. She was dressed and stood waiting, knowing that he would come to her in his need. He said nothing, but she being the seer that she was, needed no words. She brought out the Experesso Java maker and began setting it up.

Tim sat cross legged in front of the fire as Madame D'Alaireux prepared the black liquid. He closed his eyes and felt his Par move through his body, ensuring that he was fit for the experience, that lay ahead of him.

When the preparations were complete, Madame D'Alaireux put the small cup of the steaming black liquid in front of him took her place in the back of him. He drank the liquid and set the cup down. She leaned against his back and put her arms around him as he began to shake. She added her strength to his and slowly, he began to stop shaking. Suddenly he went limp in her arms and she began to see what he was seeing...........


Madame D'Alaireux watched as pirates with tight black leather pants and thigh high leather boots fought each other. Shirts became ripped with the sword play and blood splattered everywhere. Suddenly, one of the pirates opened a chest and there was gold. He raised the chest over his head, laughing heartedly as the others watched. He tipped the chest and the bounty began to fall.........

gold......coins, the

Paths Converging pt 1: cont
Leonie — 13 Oct 1998, 7:43 AM

A symbol in gold.......



A fight, a man and woman fighting. ......another symbol in gold.......


It fell to the earth, embedding itself in the soil.

Madame D'Alaireux felt her self rising from the soil, from the ground, from the Earth, She watched the planet turn on its axis. Sun and moon rose and set thousands of times, millions of times. It seemed as if the earth were spinning off its axis and then it slowed down and the continent of North America got larger and larger until Madame D'Alaireux could see clouds, trees and shrubs and something else.............

A man walking among geese....passing tress....
the trees,
numbered trees with markings on them

Straight markings. Dark brown marked with the light brown of exposed bark. A cry....., The man was being chased by a group of cowboys......on foot. He ran but he was in no hurry.............

Suddenly there was no place to run, Calmly the man turned and faced his attackers.

The trees began to sway, then to bend and then to swirl. They formed one shape.......

A snake.

It was thick and fat and it danced in front of the cowboys. It grew even larger before their very eyes. The cowboys seemed unafraid. One approached it and the snake stuck out his head and showed its fans


As it came towards the cowboy, it seemed to be coming towards Madame D'Alaireux. When it seemed like it would swallow her up, darkness descended.

The Vision had ended.


Madame D'Alaireux slowly increased the distance. Timmy took his time in opening his eyes and smiled. Silently she walked from the back of her companion to his front. They spoke no words at first. Each took a full ten minutes in silence to absorb what they had just experienced.

Paths Converging pt 1 con't
Leonie — 13 Oct 1998, 7:44 AM

This was their normal ritual after either one of them had engaged in a Double Expresso Java Vision. It was one of the most powerful visions that any person can have. It was not a Vision that one engaged in at whim. In fact it was often said that the Force of the Universe was the one which directed the seeker as to the appropriate time of the Vision. It was suggested that a companion be taken on the journey so that the strength of two would be used in order that the seeker could withstand the act of the Vision. This companion should be someone who was close to the seeker, someone whom the seeker could trust. The Vision was known to call forth the deepest darkest secrets of a person and the companion must have the courage and the strength to be with the seeker in the Vision during those times.

Both Tim and Madame D'Alaireux knew that everyone who they came into contact with speculated on the exact nature of their relationship. Especially after his unfortunate accident and subsequent healing. They never told. Oh they hinted, made sly remarks and sometimes ignored the suggestive comments that were made, but they never admitted one way or the other to the exact nature of their relationship. They knew the type of ties that bound them together; the ones which formed their bond. And that was all that mattered.

"When will you leave for the Delta Q?" Madame D'Alaireux asked softly.

"As soon as I finish packing." Tim answered her.

However he made no move to begin.


Several hours later, Tim was standing in Madame's stable deciding on which horse to take. Madame D'Alaireux watched him

"Take Navarre."

Tim calmly went and saddled up George. "Nah, I think George here could use the experience of a long drive."

Madame D'Alaireux thought for a while and then nodded, "You're right, he could use it."

Tim made sure that all of his provisions were securely fastened to George and nudged him towards Madame D'Alaireux. They looked at each other for a long time before Madame said.

"Hurry back"

Tim raised his hat and lowered it again. Without another word he turned George around and set out.

Madame D'Alaireux watched him until he was a spec on the horizon and then walked back to her house.

VC: Paths Converging Part 2
Leonie — 25 Oct 1998, 9:55 PM

The stranger leaned back in his seat on the Delta Flyer. He hated train rides, he would have preferred to have come to Voyager City via horseback, but it was a long ride and it had been a cold winter. The thaw was going to be long in coming and as much as he enjoyed riding, it made more sense to take the train for this trip. He removed a piece of paper and a photograph from his pocket and gave a long look at it. It had been a while. He remembered that time, when their dreams were fresh and new, when the world seemed to be ripe and ready for the picking. Now things had become jaded and tarnished. It seemed as if the forces of that same world had conspired to drive them apart and force them to take such differing parts. His path had led to disaster. It had led to spending the last five years in prison.

He looked down and noticed that his hands were clenched. He unclenched them slowly as his thoughts continued to wander. There was no undoing of that now. There was no reason to keep looking back to the past, seeing what could have been done differently. He had done that for five years in a cell because it was the only thing that he had to do. Now it was time to pick up the pieces of his life and move on to greatness and the first place for that to occur was in Voyager City.


He folded the piece of paper and photograph and replaced it in his pocket. He had no idea why he felt the need to keep looking at the photograph. He had long memorized the face of the woman whose essence it captured. He sighed. This was it, his last mission for the fleet. It had just become too unpredictable and just too dangerous for him. He closed his eyes and remembered the time when life in the Fleet was the only life that he wanted. It was his proudest day when he left home to join the organization, without so much as a good-bye to his Ma and Pa, far less a forwarding address.

His old life had ended and he had embraced his new one with all enthusiasm of his youth. There was never a mission too dangerous for him to volunteer for. No weather too harsh for him to carry out his duty. Now after 15 years, the job seemed hollow. The body count was getting harder and harder to justify to his conscience every year. He felt as if now it was time to settle down, to find himself a sweet girl and get married. A year ago when the thought had entered his head, he had dismissed it, blaming its occurrence on the job that he had been working on at the time. But the thoughts did not go away. When his best friend on the fleet had quit to become a Trail hand, it jarred him out of his denial and had made him face his discontent. The disastrous results of the last mission forced him to make a decision and in doing so, he had handed in his resignation to the fleet.

Strangely enough he felt at peace with his decision to leave the Fleet, even though he had no idea what he would do next. That was the best part of this last assignment. His best friend was in Voyager City. Once he was finished with the assignment, he would find the ex-Fleeter and talk to him; see what life was like on the outside, what it offered him. Then he would make his decision. He had saved a tidy little sum from his earnings, not having squandered it in the last 15 years and he realized that it was more than enough to help him set up in whatever endeavor he wanted to pursue.

He only hoped that this assignment was as easy as the Fleet said it would be.

Paths Converging Part 2 cont
Leonie — 25 Oct 1998, 9:57 PM


He had known that porter had entered the car even though he had been in a sound sleep when the even occurred. It was part of his training and his reflexes were still razor sharp for his age. He pretended to be asleep because he didn't want the woman who had sat down next to him to start her inane chatter again. Now it seemed that the porter had come intentionally to speak with him. He gave a staged sudden awakening.

"I'm sorry to disturb you sir, but there has been a mix up. You are supposed to be in a seat ten rows back."

"You're only now bringing this to my attention?" He asked incredibly.

"The woman whose seat you are occupying has just taken a closer look at her ticket and realized that she was in the wrong seat. Since this seat is better than the one you are currently occupying, she asked to be moved." The porter's eyes rolled and this action combined with the tone of his voice carried the silent message to him


He decided that it would be wise not to draw attention to himself.

"It's fine, I'll move."

"If you'll come with me sir."


He was wide-awake when his new seatmate walked into the carriage car. Inwardly, he cringed. There was something about this stranger that made him do just that. He seemed to have an aura about him. He was at a loss to say exactly what it was, but it spelt *Danger* He knew that type. He had been 'friends' with one too many of them unfortunately. He stared out the window and feigned indifference.


He saw the reaction of his seatmate and sighed. Why did he get seated next to an ex-felon? He recognized who he was, but he also knew that the action was not reciprocated by the stranger. As he put his bag in the over head rack, he glanced at the seat number


Well that explained it. Four and seven were unlucky numbers for him.


"One horse for two weeks, that would be ten bits."

He winced. The price was a bit steeper than he had expected, but not unreasonable. Besides Ramoran looked like a fine stallion, capable of great speed and stealth. He paid Larson and left.

Larson looked at the stranger closely as he walked out of his livery.

*Hmm, he even walks like him. I certainly hope that he doesn't ride like him*

It didn't matter one way or the other to Larson. He had charged extra for insurance.


"One room for two weeks and a half"

"That will be sixty bits" Quark said gleefully. If this person were anything like the man that he looked like, this would be a very profitable sale indeed.

The man sighed. He hated dealing with Fearing.

"For that price I could stay at the Ritz-Kradin for a whole month and get free meals. Fifteen bits"

"Thirty and we have a deal"

"I don't think so Ferengi. Now do I have to call the Marshal here to inspect your gambling tables or will I get my room for a week and a half for fifteen bits."

He held out the money and Quark snatched it knowing that he had been beaten down to a fair price.

"Fifteen bits it is." He said, his voice laced with resignation. "Room 2B, here's the key. And it doesn't come with free meals." Quark called out to him as he mounted the stairs.

*Well I struck out on that little opportunity, but maybe I can make up for it.* Quark thought to himself.

His ears were still tingling. There was profit to be made. He knew that the presence of this person in town would spell trouble for the Delta Q and Voyager City. In this town, trouble always equaled an opportunity. He just had to figure out how to realize it.

Paths Converging Part 2 cont #3
Leonie — 25 Oct 1998, 10:00 PM

"One room for two weeks please."

The receptionist stared at the stranger standing in front of her. It took all of her concentration to not to openly stare at him. He was absolutely gorgeous.

"That will be 30 bits please, half payable now and the other half payable upon leaving."

The man withdrew the money from his pouch and paid the Ritz-Kradin receptionist. He then took the pen that she had offered him to sign his name in the register. Subtly he lay his left hand on the desk as he signed the book.

"Well that settles it, he's married. They always are. Either that or taken. This town is pure torture for a single gal. All these stallions running about in the coral, and all belonging to someone else. Well, it still makes for a good view."

She was startled when the stranger handed the book back to her.

"Have a pleasant stay in our town.....sir"

His handwriting was barely legible.

He grinned and tipped his hat as he left. In retrospect walking around with a wedding band was one of the best ideas that the Fleet had come up for him while he was on assignment. It was noticeable, it made a statement and best of all it prevent women from falling all over his feet every time he got within speaking distance of them. Of course there had been one or two exceptions, but all in all, it worked. He never allowed himself to get involved with anyone when he was on the job. He had learned the hard way to keep his job separate from his personal life.

Now he had a job to do.

It shouldn't be too hard to find Caroline.


"Here you are Mr. Miles. The package just came in yesterday by post" Miss Peggy Lou handed the parcel over to him.

Prospector Miles looked at the large square package covered in brown paper and he noted the address from which it was sent. He gave a rare smile,

*It's here early, excellent.* He hadn't expected the package quite so soon. With the arrival of this new piece of equipment he would be able to complete construction on his project a few days early. Not that there really wasn't any rush for the project to be completed, but this was the way that Terry Miles was. Once he got started on something, it was impossible for him to stop until it was completed.

"Thank you Miss Peggy Lou." He paid her for the extra postage that the parcel had incurred and then left. On his way out he encountered Mrs. Janeway entering the general store.

"Mrs. Janeway." He tipped his hat to her as passed her.

"Mr. Miles" She responded with a quick nod of her head and went straight into the store. The smile found its way back to his lips.

"What will it be Mrs. Janeway?" Miss Peggy Lou said by way of greeting.

"I'm going to need two new spurs."

Peggy Lou nodded and went into the back to get them. As she was wrapping them, B'Elanna said,

"That sure as a large package that Mr. Miles was carrying."

"Sure was." Peggy Lou replied. She bent closer towards B'Elanna and said. "Been getting them nearly everyday for the past two weeks. Rumor has it that he's building some new machine to help him find gold in the old mine."

"That mine was a big bust years ago. Ain't no amount of gadgets is going to make him find gold there, because there is none to find."

"I don't know about that. Remember the gold nuggets that Mr. Tuvix found before he was murdered. Maybe there is gold there, but no one has been able to find the mother lode yet. Maybe Mr. Miles' machine will be able to find it."


Paths Converging Part 2 cont #4
Leonie — 25 Oct 1998, 10:02 PM

B'Elanna grinned. She recognized that look in Miss Peggy Lou's eyes. The woman was a shark when it came to money."

"Don't even think about it, Schoolmarm Ruth has him wrapped around her little fingers."

"How do you know that?"

"She's always going on about the things he could do with his hands."

"Maybe she means his ability to build gadgets."

B'Elanna gave a snort.

"You're almost as bad as Tom. Trust me it has nothing to do with gadgets or needlework."

Peggy Lou laughed.

"I know, I know, but still looking at him I find it hard to believe what Miss Ruthie is rumored to have said about him at the Housewives' Club"

"Well different strokes for different folks, besides Miss Ruthie is a bit strange herself. Oh sure she may look and act like your typical schoolmarm, but I have a feeling that underneath it all, she must be as strange as he."

B'Elanna knew she was being malicious but she couldn't help it. She still looked at Schoolmarm Ruth funny because of the way she had been with Tom.

"Well we'll see what happens." Peggy Lou said as B'Elanna prepared to leave the store.


"Has everything been OK Mr., Miles?"

Terry jumped. He had been so lost in thought that he had not seen Miss Shelly come up to him. He had been concentrating on the stranger who was sitting in the window booth. He recognized who the man was and what his presence in Voyager City would mean for him.

"Everything was fine Miss Shelly. Thank you."

He paid her for lunch and made his way out of the restaurant. When Miss Shelly recognized the size of tip that he left. She called after him.

"Much obliged Mr. Miles."

Turning around, he tipped his hat and went through the door with his package.

As he put it in his buggy, he reflected on the things that he still had to get done. He knew that this day would come and now that it was here, he cursed himself for being caught by surprise. He had become complacent in his preparations. He sighed deeply. He doubted that he was going to get any sleep that night.


"We're sorry to interrupt, but did you see that stranger over there?"

B'Elanna and Tom looked up from their lunch at Tom and Shelly's Dinner to see the proprietors glancing nervously at the man sitting in the window booths.

Suddenly the stranger looked in their direction and B'Elanna found herself staring into ......

Her father's eyes.

She gave a sharp intake of breath.

Reunions, Chapter 1 (K/S)
Leonie — 20 Nov 1998, 10:32 PM

The aroma of freshly made coffee filled his small kitchen as he poured himself his traditional first mug of Joe in the morning. Kiteman brought the mug to his lips and took a sip making sure that his lips touched the side of the cup as a single drop found its way to his tongue, before he brought the mug away from his lips. It was too bitter and too hot as usual, but that was the way that he liked it. He sat down at his kitchen table and used the steaming mug to warm his hands.

It was a cold morning. The heat from fire that he had started in the front room had not reached the kitchen, and the coffeepot brewing had only brought a small amount of heat into the room. Kiteman didn't mind. It was going to be the perfect day to fly kites according to the VC Almanac, so he didn't mind the cold.

Kiteman was the biggest kite buff in Voyager City. A few people in town were aware that he was once a PKF (Professional Kite Flyer). He toured a lot of the towns in the mid-west winning a lot of championships and a lot of medals for his skill and performance in the particular sport. To the people in Voyager City, he was a toy maker, his specialty being the making of kites, of course. A lot of the toys that he created were made to order toys. However there was a small selection of his more popular toys that were kept in stock at Miss Peggy-Lou's general store. At times, to supplement his income, Kiteman also took on small odd jobs for the people in Voyager City.

If few people in Voyager City knew that he had once been a PKF, no one knew that all tournaments that he contended in were in fact staged. Oh Kiteman was a skilled flyer all right after all it would be kind of hard to fake that. But the tournaments were not set up in certain towns because they were the preferred venues of the AKFA. (The American Kite Flyer's Association). They were held in certain towns at certain times because the ACIA (The Anonymous Cowboys in Action or the Fleet as they were commonly referred to in government circles), had special concerns about certain people and situations in the specific towns. Kiteman was sent to "look out after the Fleet's" best interests during those times.

But those days were behind him now. After wandering into town and being part of Miss Kathryn Janeway's cattle drive and the Posse that successfully neutralized the bank robbers that had come into town a while back, Kiteman had stayed in Voyager City and made it his home. He figured that it would give him all the excitement that he craved, but not as much danger as the life of a Fleeter.

Kiteman finished his joe and made his way to a room at the back of his house. He opened the door and entered the room slowly taking in all that was in there. He breathed in deeply the scent of freshly cut wood, oil and turpentine. He saw the workbench, the tools that littered it and the wood shavings that seemed to have made a floor covering of its own. This room was the very heart of his household and at the center of who he was. Kiteman's eyes wandered around the room for a moment before coming to rest on his kites, his pride and joy. Some; the ones that were made for the children of Voyager City, were hanging on the ceiling. His own personal kites were on a bookshelf, which was located in a prominent place in the room. Of all of them, there was one particular kite, which occupied a special place in the bookshelf.

Reunions Chapter 1 pt 2 (K/S)
Leonie — 20 Nov 1998, 10:59 PM

He went over to the shelf and picked her up. Barbie-Borg was different from the rest of the kites in his collection. This particular kite was not triangular or even rectangular in shape, but had two elongated, oval pieces that were mounted on a large rack. It was silver blue in color, and sparkled when the sunlight caught it. Kiteman had won many a YAM Kite Design and Performance awards with it. He had affectionately Barbie-Borg after Sevenita's rock group (Or at least that was what they called that type of music with all the hooting and hollering that went on in it). He had gone with Reverend Windes to her first concert and had had his first spiritual experience when he looked deeply in her eyes as they conveyed to him her emotions when she was singing.

And thinking of songs, Kiteman felt one rising in his throat as he walked outside and to fly his kite. Mentally he apologized to Tim, Tim, Tim Man of the Jungle? (Sheesh the people in the local YAM club, where do they get these nicknames from?). He was the first person he heard singing the tune.......

I've got a lovely set of ki-ites,
Look at them, all arranged neatly on the shelf.
Small ones,
Pointed ones,
Some so big, yet still they can stand by themselves...
Oye Vay!!!
(da de dum).......


He saw the kite dancing in the wind as he rode out to Kite's residence. He smiled. It had indeed been a long time since he had seen Barbie-Borg in flight. He knew that it was she when he caught the reflection that the sun made off the object dancing in the wind. He managed to catch up with the owner of the kite just outside his house. Kiteman seemed oblivious to the sound that his horse made as he came riding up. The stranger's smile grew wider. As if he could fool him! Kite had been his mentor in the ACIA; he knew everything that Kite knew. The stranger realized that he was waiting on his identification before turning around. He also knew to make it before dismounting.


Kiteman turned so quickly that he almost dropped the string on his favorite kite.

"Sunrise? Sunrise, my goodness is it really you?"

He looked over the stranger to ensure that it was indeed his best friend from his fleet days. As "Sunrise" dismounted, he quickly drove a small stake into the ground and tied the string on Barbie-Borg around it. When Sunrise came up to him, Kiteman gave him a firm handshake and Sunrise responded in kind by clasping him on the shoulder.

"It is good to see you Kiteman"

The Fleet had insisted that they use their code names on all assignments, even when they were alone with other Fleet members. That way it was easier for them to become their alias on the job. Since Kiteman was a perfect nickname for what he did on the outside, it made sense that he would stick with it even though he had left the Fleet.

After the two men had finished with their introductions, they continued to watch Barbie-Borg as she swayed gently in the breeze, defying gravity.

"Nice to see that you've still got the touch. How long did you take to get her up in the air?" Sunrise asked

"By my count, 1.5 sec give or take 0.2 sec" They had been taught to do very accurate second counts in the Fleet, for Kite, it always came in handy when he was timing his lift.

"But I doubt that my ability to fly kites brought you here. Why are you in Voyager City?

Reunions Chapter 1 pt 3 (K/S)
Leonie — 21 Nov 1998, 3:05 PM

"Do you really expect me to tell you that?" Sunrise asked kindly.

"Nope." Kiteman replied. He had trained his novice well. "Will I know when your business in town is complete?"

"One way or the other, yes."

*The mission is that dangerous* Kiteman realized.

They two men watched the kite for a minute or two longer before Sunrise said,

"I'm out after this."

Kiteman nodded his head. He knew that it would have only been a matter of time before Sunrise would have come to that decision. In a way he was glad that he knew before anything happened.

"What do you think that you'll do?"

Sunrise chuckled. Every time he explained this to himself, he felt as if he were caught in the Woman's Vapors. Still if there was one person who would understand it would be Kite.

"I'm thinking that I'll find somewhere nice, settle down get married. Raise YAMs and grow pigs. I mean raise pigs and grow yams."

It was Kiteman's turn to chuckle. In Voyager City, they were one and the same.

"I'm worried that I would get bored with a life like that though", Sunrise continued.

"Settle here. It wouldn't be a problem."

"In this back of the woods little town?. I'm sure that the "Voyager City Bake Off" would be the most interesting thing to happen here!!

Kite burst out laughing. He doubled over and had tears pouring out of his eyes. Sunrise looked at him puzzled and eventually his laughter subsided.

"You'll find out different soon enough." He gasped out, as soon as he was able to manage it.

Later on in his life Sunrise would look back on that conversation and marvel at how wrong his instincts about Voyager City could be.

Re:Union Chapter 2 pt 1 (S/L)
Leonie — 21 Nov 1998, 3:10 PM

Sunrise crossed the main way in Voyager City and made his way into Caroline's shop. It had indeed been a long time since he had seen Caroline. In fact he had last seen her 13 years ago when she had finished basic training. She had been on mission every since.

The chime that rang when the shop door was opened fell on deaf ears. The women of Voyager City who came to do their hair that morning were making so much noise with their chatter, that the chime effectively served no purpose. Sunrise caught Caroline's reflection in a mirror as she bent over a woman's head giving it the finishing touches. He took off his hat and made his way towards her.

"I like it!!" The woman holding up a mirror to the back of her head in order to see its reflection in another, said.

"You know, you really should consider letting it grow out instead of cutting it all the time. The day may come when you would want to have longer hair and it just wouldn't grow back, then where will you be?" Caroline questioned.

"Think of it this way. If I continue to keep it short, then you'll always have a customer. Besides, I have to try and keep up with Miss Kathryn Janeway."

Caroline rolled her eyes and groaned. "Don't even say that name to Madame Emony. Miss Janeway tortures her every fortnight to cut her hair in the most dreadful styles."

"I know." Sunrise realized that the woman was trying to sound sympathetic but the undercurrent of bitterness towards this Miss Janeway was present in her voice. Whoever those two women were, they were not good friends.

"That last one made her look like a "Boy's Stickball Club" Mom". The woman continued.

They shared a chuckle over that while Caroline continued to fuss over her customer's hair. Sunrise rolled his eyes. Women!! They never shut up. But he would have to wait until this customer left. It just would be best that there would be no witnesses to the content of the conversation. Since he knew that he would be leaving town never to return, he really didn't care who saw him conversing with Caroline. Besides she already had Fleet story plants in place which could be verified if anyone asked her how she knew him. He just wanted to make sure that no one heard what they said.

"What do I owe you?"

The two women settled their accounts and the customer got up, and turned around.

Re:Union Chapter 2 pt 2 (S/L)
Leonie — 21 Nov 1998, 3:12 PM

That's her!!!!
That's the woman that you are going to marry !

The message that communicated with Sunrise's being was loud, powerful and distinct.


Lee-Marie's mind also communicated a message to her, but it was of a different content.



My God, that man is SEXY!!!



Indeed he was. Sunrise was tall, rugged, solidly build and dark. His jeans fight snuggly on his frame and his white shirt was a little loose on him, serving only to enhance his well-built chest. He possessed powerful arms and large square hands.

But it was his face that finally shook Lee-Marie out of the sexual fog that she was in when she glanced at his physique. His body made hers react, but it was his face that called her into something deeper.

They made eye contact.

Lee-Marie felt as if she was drowning. She couldn't look away even if she wanted to.


Sunrise felt the reaction within him intensify when their eyes met. With great difficulty he broke his gaze and turned his attention away from her face.

He scoffed at himself.

The woman of his dreams, the one that he knew he would marry and would have his children. The one he would grow old with, and leave his mark on this earth by, wore jeans, cowboy boots with a GUNBELT and short hair!?! .

What on earth had gotten over him. What was he thinking?

He shook his head. *I really could do with a vacation* he thought to himself. *It's a good thing that I'm getting out*

He looked at Caroline.

Caroline had missed this entire interaction because she too had been looking at Sunrise. The possibilities and consequences of his being in Madame Enomy's were going through her mind as she also stared at him. Lee-Marie was grateful that he broke eye contact with her and looking over at Caroline and realizing that the stranger was here to meet her. She decided that this was her cue to exit.

"Good bye Caroline." Lee-Marie said walking out the door quickly and not even acknowledging Sunrise.

Caroline didn't even answer her.


Lee-Marie didn't stop JTM until they were out on Pinnacle Buff. She dismounted and made her way over to the bench that was fashioned out of a plank on two tree stumps and sat down. It was the same one that she and Chakotay used to sit on when they were there. After they had broken up, she avoided the Buff at all costs. It hurt her too much to even ride by it. Now for some unknown reason she felt a need to go there. To sit and think.

She didn't know why but that brief encounter with the stranger shook her to the core. But not in an unpleasant way, in a way that made her want to be shaken a little bit more. And that's what she didn't want. Her experience with Chakotay Torres was still fresh in her heart and still hurt from time to time.

*I don't need this* she thought. *I hope he leaves town soon*

Lee-Marie moaned.

That was the same wish that she had for Quai-Chan Kim, a man who's but she had grabbed when she was going through the "Woman's Curse". Not only did Kim turn out to be Harry Janeway's real brother, but also he had stayed in town after that and worked at Madame Maxine's Provencal. Lee-Marie had never been able to get away from him.

She knew it would be the same for this stranger, even though what she wanted most was never to see him again.

Or did she?

Re:Union Chapter 2 pt 3 (S/L)
Leonie — 21 Nov 1998, 3:15 PM

"Why are you here?" Caroline asked him as soon as they step outside the shop and onto the veranda.

"I wanted to know about life." Sunrise said putting on his hat and then looking out onto the main way. Caroline likewise gazed out onto the main street in Voyager City.

*A hit has been ordered* She translated to herself. She shouldn't be surprised. She was the one who had collected and relayed the pertinent information.

"What's there to say? It's hell and then you die. " Caroline responded.

Indeed it was. Sunrise tipped his hat and took his leave of her.


Caroline waited until Sunrise was out of sight and then slumped into the rocking chair on the veranda. She knew that this day would come. After all that's why she was stationed here. But she had hoped that after Mr.Tuvix, it would have never come to having a hit being ordered on anyone in Voyager City. She was pretty sure that the Fleet had taken him out while Mrs. Janeway had been unconscious. She had hoped that she would be able to stay in town and just continue to gather information. Voyager City was a pretty happening place for her not to be needed so she was sure that she wouldn't be pulled out soon. However each time she had a visit from an agent, it made it more dangerous that she could be found out and it would make it easier for the Fleet to decide to pull her out.

Caroline didn't want that. She had settled into this town and had gotten to know a lot of people. Against her better judgement she had formed bonds with the people there. She didn't want to leave. But those things came with being an ACIA informant.

Caroline saw a figure coming down the main way from Ms Peggy-Lou's. It was Mr. Tom Janeway. She stood up and went inside to get ready for him. He was her next appointment for a tease and poof.

Favored Son, the Second Meal
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:13 PM

Harry took in the sweet spring air after hopping down the back steps from the kitchen. It was cool and still, and very dark--save the light coming from the side house where Tom and B'Elanna had recently taken up living. Not a month past, their mama had taken the young couple out back and pointed--"That's where you'll be sleeping, so y'all don't keep us up all night." Tom's face fell into a shocked smile, and B'Elanna whirled around and kissed her new mother's grinning cheek.

Still grinning at the memory, and since they were still awake, Harry moved across the back drive to pay a visit before turning in. Oddly, though, the front door was locked, so Harry decided to try around back. There, he noticed the curtains were pulled, and the back door locked as well. Harry shrugged, wondering maybe if they'd taken a walk but left the candles lit...But they never go leave Beata unless someone's with her.

Harry rounded the back of the house again, and was assured they were home when he heard Tom saying real low, "That stove too hot, B'Elanna?"

"Just right," she replied. "You sure you know what to do with that tenderizer?...Oh! I guess so...Mmmm, oh that's heatin' up just fine."

They got the kitchen stove working? I thought they'd decided to keep eating in the big house.

"Just takes a little kneading to..." and Tom's voice faded out into mumbling, and hers, too. He heard the scrape of burner lids being adjusted, then..."Grease all the...corners of the.......Woah! that sauce of yours got some bite, love."

"Ahh, that's that way I like it....I thought you liked it spic-aaah."

"Oh, I do, B'Elanna, I most certainly do," he chuckled low in his throat.

Harry tilted his head as he heard some shuffling, a few Klingon Indian words, and more stuff he couldn't quite make out, though they seemed to be really enjoying whatever meal they'd fixed up. Must've picked up some recipes on the reservation.

Finally, as Harry turned to head back up front, he heard B'Elanna growl loudly and a lid slam. Several moments passed. "Oh, my, do I love home cooking," she breathed.

Harry clawed a bit at his stomach, thinking he might do with a late snack. He walked back to the front door and knocked. Knocked again. And again. Another minute, and the latch pulled and Tom's slightly flushed face appeared. "Hi, Tom. Just thought I'd drop by and say hello, seein' as you're up."

Tom's lips twisted up. "Yeah, well..." He glanced back inside, said a little louder, "Come on in, Harry."

As Tom backed away, Harry walked in. But he didn't smell any food. "What've you two been cooking? I heard y'all in the kitchen."

"Just a little foolin' around," Tom replied with a grin."And B'Elanna would kill me if I told you what we were making. Take a chair, Harry."

By the time Harry had gotten himself seated and was looking around at the proudly displayed items Tom and B'Elanna had brought back from the reservation, B'Elanna bounced out of the kitchen, her eyes bright as she crossed the room. "Hey, Sourdough," she said lightly, giving Tom a little kiss before sitting down on the bearskin rug by the fire to poke the flames. "What brings you by?"

Harry grinned and shrugged. "Just callin'." He looked around again. Tom's bat'leth, which Harry, not a little nervously, watched Tom practice with, hung there. "Y'all miss the reservation?" he asked, trying to drum up some conversation, maybe get them to say what they were cooking.

The couple smiled at each other. "Yeah, we both do," B'Elanna admitted. "We'll probably visit again sometime, when we can."

"Now what about you?" Tom asked. "You little ferret, Mama had to tell us you'd had yourself a little adventure while we were gone. Told us we should have you tell us about it."

Diverted, Harry grinned, shrugged. "Well, I guess I did have a little adventure."

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 2
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:23 PM

B'Elanna shared a wise eye with her husband, then turned back to her little brother. "Well? Are you going to tell us?"

"Yeah, Harry," Tom said, lowering himself to sit on the floor beside B'Elanna. "We told you everything. Your turn."

Harry looked down at the two, who looked up to him with a mixture of curiosity and...amusement. It wasn't often either of them asked him to tell them things. "Well, it was a couple weeks before y'all got back, when I was helping my brother..."


"Good," Qwai Chang said quietly, smiling to himself. Harry had come far, made him proud enough to share the singing stick with him--mainly so the boy would meditate more and talk less. Plus, a good chant never hurt anyone.

Still, it went without question that Harry had done a good deal of work. The new garden would go a long way in paying off the debt he owed Max for his kind service to Harry and himself. Though Qwai-Chang did wonder what Max had meant by 'double compound interest twice the going rate'....

[Tom snorted, and even B'Elanna tried to keep a straight face. But soon, they'd leaned into each other, snickering.

"What?" Harry asked, looking at them both in turns.

Tom shook his head. "Never mind it, Harry," he said. "I'll talk to Max."

"Go on with your story, Sourdough," B'Elanna giggled.]

"How many more bushels do you think?" gasped Harry as he emptied another load of dirt--haul on, haul off, five bags, change arms--into the new garden.

Qwai-Chang perused the garden with his wise little eyes. "Six, Gadfly. Three bags, change arm. Looks good. Perhaps Madame Maxine will permit you to rest on the, porch when she sees." His younger bother smiled brightly and hurried off. Qwai-Chang closed his eyes, returning to his mantis meditation. "Then, perhaps not," he said to himself.

Harry went back out to the wagon to get another sack. Well, if anything, I'm getting better at this, he thought. Last week, I could barely drag those sacks of stone. Reaching in for the next bag, Harry hauled it up, and, turning, he heard a gasp. Nearly dropping the sack, he backed against the back of the wagon and turned to see Jenny Delaney.

"Oh, I didn't see you there! I'm sorry."

But Miss Jenny's eyes were pointed more at the young man's bare chest. They hadn't called Harry Janeway 'Sourdough' for nothing. But looking at his sweat-bathed skin in the still cool air, she could almost see muscles. Jenny blinked, shooting her eyes up to his. "That's all right, Mister Janeway," she said, a little softly. "I heard you were helpin' fix up the Provencal's yard, but I didn't know you had such a...talent for that kind of work."

Harry smiled at that, consciously toning down his voice. "Well, Miss Jenny, it's okay, once you get used to it." Feeling her appraising eyes on him, he managed not to squeak when he spoke again. "Uh, while we're here, Miss Jenny.., if you'd already been...uh, asked to the Icebreaker Dance."

Miss Jenny grinned. Men didn't ask her to dance...well, not unless they put two bits in her pocket first. "I might be free," she said coyly, taking a step closer to him, hip first. "Are you asking me, Mister Janeway?"

"Uh, yeah. I reckon I am, Miss Jenny."

She considered it, watching his eyes fly everywhere but out of his head, watching him squirm a little. Finally she said, "Okay."

["Well that's just like her," B'Elanna smirked, "Miss Jenny always had fun with vir..." She coughed when she felt a jab in her ribcage. "...virtuous gentlemen."

Harry frowned. "Miss Jenny ain't all bad! If you'd take the time to get to know her--"

"Humph! Maybe she'd best know Liberty's back hooves. Little Delaney slu--"

"Harry, why don't you go on?" Tom cut in, his best poker face in place. "I'm interested in knowing what Qwai-Chang gave you. Tell us about this singing stick."

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 3
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:29 PM

Harry shifted. "Well, I still haven't tried it yet, though the reverend said it was okay."

B'Elanna gave him a stare. "Why'd you go to the reverend? What'd he know about Shaolin stuff?"

Harry shrugged. "More than I thought. After Qwai-Chang gave it to me, I'd actually gone to talk to him about it--you know, see if it was sinful to use such a thing. I didn't know if Mama would approve or not--"

"More than she would've Miss Jenny," B'Elanna commented.

"Believe it or not, Mama was fine about me taking Miss Jenny out."

"Relieved is more like it," Tom muttered.

Harry furrowed his brow. "Huh?"

"Nothin', Harry," B'Elanna grinned. "Miss Jenny's just fine, and I'm being mean. Go on. So you went to see the Reverend?"]

"Ah come in, Mister Janeway," said Reverend Windes cheerily as the straightened the front pews. "Come and sit down, please. What can I do for you?"

Harry swallowed, complying with the holy man's request. "Much obliged, Reverend."

The reverend sat too, grinning kindly at the young man. "What can I do for you Harry?"

"Well..." Harry thought for a minute. He was scared, and he knew it, and tried to be as subtle as possible. He certainly didn't want to hear he'd burn in h*ll for using what many people thought of as a pagan device for meditation. "I have this, uh...little problem."

The reverend eyebrows rose. "A little problem?"

"Well, yes. I guess you know about my brother...and that he's, well, not from these parts." The other man nodded. "Well, there's something he suggested I try. I've always had a little trouble, uh, expressing my...wishes. He offered a little advice to, um, working that out. You know?"

The Reverend nodded. "And you took it, I suppose."

"Yes, Reverend Windes. But I haven't used the singing stick yet."

"Singing stick? That's what he calls it?"

"Yeah. Qwai-Chang uses his all the time. He holds it in his hands and...well, I guess you could call it singing--it all with one note, and ringin' bells, you know? He showed me how to do it a couple times. It was sorta neat." He saw the Reverend's face pale.

[Tom rolled his lips together, B'Elanna's tightly closed mouth trembled at the corners.]

Harry shrugged. "He suggested I use the stick as often as possible like that." The Reverend slid a few inches away. "Is it sin, Reverend Windes? 'Cause I really want to give it a try."

"B-b-but why?"

"It might help my problem."

Reverend Windes looked concerned. "My...son, aren't you at all interested in...propriety?"

Harry slumped. "Then it is sinful. I'll never understand yin and yang now."

The reverend sighed. "Harry, I know these...personal things can be confusing. I think it'd be just fine for all involved if you kept your yin and yang to yourself. Sometimes, keeping these...urges to our own private council is the best way of handling little problems like these. I think you can...sing with your stick, if you kept it very, very private."

Harry seemed relieved. "You really think so?"

"I most certainly do," Reverend Windes said, nodding assuredly. "But...I thought you'd been interested in Miss Jenny Delaney."

Harry was confused. "Well, yes. I had asked her to the Icebreaker Dance. But I don't see what that has to do with my problem."

"You poor lad," the reverend said sorrowfully. "Well, it'll look good enough, you and her together. You two would make quite an impression."


"Oh yes. And, with any luck, Miss Jenny might help you with that stick of yours."

"But I thought you said I should keep it private."

The Reverend smiled. "I think she might want to share it with you. Miss Jenny has a lot of...spirit. In her case, I'd say go right ahead."

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 4
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:36 PM

[B'Elanna crawled to her feet. "I'm gonna get the kettle. You want coffee?" Without waiting for a reply, she went to the kitchen, snickering all the way.

Tom pushed his grin down, regarding his brother. "Harry," he said, "did you ever tell the reverend it was for Shaolin chants?"

"Well, no. I didn't want him to think the wrong thing."

Tom rolled his eyes. "I'll talk to the reverend tomorrow."

B'Elanna returned and started to prepare the coffee as Tom relayed the last bit of information to her. "So, that's how the fuss started," she said.

Harry was a little more serious then. "The next day, really..."]

Relieved by the reverend's advice, Harry skipped off to Garek's shop the next morning to buy a new tie, and just grinned at the dizzying selection the storekeeper offered. Harry simply leaned back and said, "I'll be wearing a ruddy brown suit, so you take your pick, Mister Garek. I trust you."

Garek peered over at Harry, a grin on his clever mouth. "You seem rather confident today, Mister Janeway." It was all he needed to say, as Harry happily explained the reason he wanted a good tie. "Ahh, Miss Jenny. The Reverend told me all about it. Well, then, I would suggest the sable silk with silver tabs. That'll be five bits."

"F--five bits?" Harry sputtered. "Ain't that a bit much for a tie?"

"You do want to impress Miss Jenny? It's the best, and it'll go with your suit." His smile was broad, and the pat he gave Harry's arm when he got his money was full of care. "I know you won't regret it. A woman like Miss Jenny is always keen on good taste and sensitivity, Mister Janeway..."

[B'Elanna rolled her eyes]

"Oh! Speak of the...lady."

Harry spun and saw her passing by. Taking the tie, pocketing it, Harry grabbed his hat. "Thanks, Mister Garak. Maybe you're right." He dashed out of the store and caught up to Miss Jenny's side. "Mornin', Miss Jenny."

"Mornin, Mister Janeway," she smiled back.

"Where you off to? You aren't often on this side of town."

"And just how do you know what side of town I frequent, Harry?"

Harry blushed. "Well, I guess..uh..." She gave him the eye. "Okay, I've watched you."

Jenny giggled. "Okay. I was off to Mrs. McCormick's to pick up my new gloves for the dance."

He blushed again at her coy stare, cleared his throat. "Would you like a ride over? I've got Libby here."

"I thought you'd never ask."

["More like she was waitin' for him to," Tom muttered in B'Elanna's ear, then waved his brother to continue.]

And so they set off together on Libby up the north trail, Miss Jenny sidesaddle behind him, her arms around him. He felt her fingers tracing his ribs, descending, and turned a quick smile back to her. "It won't be long, Miss Jenny."

"It won't?" she asked suddenly. "Oh, that...Say, what is that stuff you're doing with Mister Chang, anyhow?"

Harry raised his head. "Oh, nothin', just a little bit of martial arts training."

"What's that, like funny hedge clippin'?"

"Well...uh, yeah, he's got a few of those little trees, but it's more than that, it's learning how to concentrate, lots of physical training, learning to focus you body in harmony with--"

Suddenly, Harry felt a WHACK! on his head and himself flying off his horse, rolling in the long grass after hitting the ground. He heard Miss Jenny scream and drug himself up to find her. Dizzy, he could barely stand. The last thing he saw was a group of men--judging by their hairdos, Kazon--moving in quick. One swept in and grabbed the young lady up, who kicked and screamed, onto his horse, while another one grabbed his arms from behind.

"Let go, darnit!"

"What's wrong, Janeway?" snickered one. "Thought you'd had the last of us?"

Before he could turn to see who'd spoken, the man head-butted him, knocking Harry unconscious......

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 5
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:40 PM

When his eyes opened, he found himself in a dirty, windowless shack. Wisps of sun were peeking through, but very few, there were ropes hung on the walls, a few sacks of grain, but no tools. His hands were still bound, as were his feet.

"Well, it's about time you got up," Jenny mewed, and he looked to see her similarly bound and pouting. Her face was dirty, and her dress sleeve was torn. "I shoulda figured every man in this dang town's got some kinda trouble. What's yours? You owe them money?"

Harry shook his head. "Oh, no, Jenny! I really don't know why they keep taking me. I guess they think I'm good for ransom or somethin' like that."

Jenny snorted. "Proves how stupid them Kazon really are."

"Yeah, pretty dumb, aren't they?"

"Yeah, but guess what? We're the ones who're caught, not them."

Harry sighed. "Sorry. I didn't exactly plan it." He looked over at her. "I hope they haven't hurt or...taken advantage of you in any way, Miss Jenny."

"No, that didn't work." She struggled against her ropes again. "Maybe we can find something to slice these binds? A loose nail or sharp edge?"

"There doesn't seem to be anything in here," Harry said. "But maybe if I hop outside and find a rock, or maybe an ax--whatever."

Jenny shrugged. "Whatever." She watched him squirm to his bound feet, tipping hard as he got his balance. He closed his eyes for a moment, relaxed. Fixing his eyes on the wall, he hopped over to it and peeked through a crack. Jenny eyed him. "See anything?"

Harry smiled back at her. "Nope." He hopped over to the door and pushed with his head. "Darn, it's latched from the outside, he moaned. "We'll never get out now."

Jenny's eyes widened when he turned--and she drew her eyes up from his behind. "Harry, come back here and sit by me. We can sit back to back and untie each other."

Harry's smile widened. "Gee, Miss Jenny, you're a smart one."

[Tom squeezed B'Elanna hand hard before she could even say a word. She went back to sipping her coffee, and Tom smiled at his brother. "So you got yourselves loose?"

Harry smiled. "Her hands kept tickling me--she couldn't see where she was reaching--but we finally got the knots undone. Took us another hour to get the latch on the door up. We got a stick and stuck it through the crack, lifting it up. But getting out of there was something else entirely."]

Finally untied, Harry gave Jenny his hankie so she could wipe off her face. "Ready now?" She nodded and he opened the door for her. Following her out, he found himself looking right at the backs of three Kazon. "Darn."

Hearing his voice, they turned and glared at the two. Grabbing their guns, the oldest stared at Harry. "Get back in that shed!"

Harry put himself in front of Jenny. "No way, Kazon! You can't hold us here!" The Kazon got closer, and he gulped, turned a glance to Jenny. Her eyes were bolt wide, and, seeing that, Harry steeled himself, looking back at their captors. "You'd better stay away," he said, using his lowest, meanest voice. "I'll warn you only once."

The Kazon laughed. "What you gonna do, Sourdough Janeway? Send your woman after us?"

Harry's eyes narrowed. "It's Harry. My name's Harry," he told them and leapt up on his attackers.

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 6
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:44 PM

With a wild cry, he whirled a circle, jumping into the air and thrust his boot into the teeth of one of the Kazon, landing solidly after on both his feet. The man moved to get up and Harry dropped his elbow into the Kazon's chest with another yell, knocking the man's breath out.

He spun--the other Kazon approached fast, and Harry sacked him, tossing the man easily over his shoulder and dropped him on the ground. The man grabbed his gun as he got back up, but Harry's hand swept a circle, throwing the gun aside before the heel of his hand caught the Kazon's nose, The man's head came back up, and Harry poked in him the eyes.

The oldest Kazon watched his cousin scream in pain, grabbing his face and running off. Then Janeway had turned to take him out, too, too. But the oldest Kazon was ready with his rifle.

They stopped--met each other's eyes.

The Kazon cocked his gun, but Harry Janeway didn't flinch. Instead he lifted his arms up like a bird, raised his knee, looking like he was in some sort of trance. The Kazon tilted his head. "What the heck are you doing, Janeway?"

Harry opened his eyes. "I'm gonna put you outta commission," he said assuredly.

"And I'm gonna blow your brains out."

"Go ahead and try, you Kazon scum. You won't keep us here."

The Kazon sneered. The younger man looked as thought he was readying himself to fly. "You're nuts."

"No," Harry replied, "I'm Gadfly."

Minutes later, Jenny was holding his hand tight, and he found Libby tied on a post near a chicken coop. Her eyes shone with pride...

[Harry grinned. "It was great. I'd never felt, you know? Anyway, after the Kazon was knocked out, we got Libby and went back to town."

B'Elanna squinted at him. "But how'd you kick him if he was out of your reach?"

Harry shifted. "Well, I didn't kick him," he admitted, then found both his siblings giving him the eye. He sighed, grinned sheepishly.]

"No," Harry replied, "I'm Gadfly."

Jenny sighed fast. "Dangit, is this gonna go on all day? I really want to get my gloves and go home."

Harry looked over. "Just give me a minute, Miss Jenny, and I'll--woah!" His supporting foot suddenly wasn't under him, and his butt hit the ground. "Darnit!"

The older Kazon loomed over him, pointing his rifle straight at Harry's mouth. His dirty smile was almost as mean as the slits that glared at him. "Bye, bye, Sourdough."

BOOM! And Harry saw four locks of Kazon hair go flying and the man grab his head.

"Sh*t," Jenny muttered in the distance, "I never did know how to shoot these things."

Harry grabbed the Kazon's rifle, and from behind, he saw two small hands whack the rifle against the man's head, knocking him aside.

When he fell, Jenny Delaney was revealed behind him, holding the still smoking rifle and staring into his eyes. Her mouth curled into a smile. Harry smiled back, sure he was in love, and took her hand when she reached down to him. "Let's get outta here."

She nodded and dropped the rifle to take his hand and run off to find Libby. After mounting her and pulling Jenny up to sit behind him, he set them off south, back to Voyager City. Her thin arms held him tight, her fingers dancing all over as she chatted on about how gross it was when the blood was spattering out of the Kazon. "But you really got 'em good, Harry Janeway."

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 7
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:51 PM

They got back to town nearly at sunset, riding in slow. Meeting his mother in front of Quark's, he quickly explained why they were so late getting back, an initially disappointed Miss Kathryn nodded with relief.

"At least you're all right. I'll have a...word with the Kazon soon enough." She sighed. "Well, it's time we got back to the Delta Q. Miss Jenny, I'm sure, needs a bath and some rest, and you too."

Harry nodded. "Yes, Mama."

Miss Kathryn eyed the two, grinned. "After all, you do have a dance to get to tomorrow night, and should be well fresh and pretty for it."

Harry smiled brightly. "Yes, Mama!" Turning to Jenny, he took a proud breath, then helped her down from Libby.

Jenny beamed up at her date, her hand still holding his, her fingers doing a little dance on his palm. "Six-thirty tomorrow, Mister Janeway," she said. "Don't be late."

"I won't," Harry promised, and kept his smile all the way home.

["Well, good for you, Sourdough," B'Elanna said, meaning it. "Mama said you two were quite a sight, but she'd never seen you so happy."

"That wasn't all she'd said," Tom grinned, and caught her smirk.

"Really?" Harry asked. "I was sorta curious why she was so friendly to Jenny. I was all prepared to convince her Jenny was okay. But Mama ended up being the one who made sure I wasn't late. Not that I minded, but...What did she tell you?"

Tom's lips pursed a bit. "Well, to be honest, Mama was sort of cryptic, then told us we should have you tell us yourself. And as for what she did tell us, I can't really remember all the details"...]

Miss Kathryn arrived in town at high noon, looking for her boy, who'd promised to meet her there. She searched the shops, finally going to Garak's, where scowled at the news she'd ridden off with Miss Jenny. Finding Miss Megan, she learned that Jenny was off to Mrs. McCormick's.

On her way back to her horse she crossed the Reverend's path. He seemed disturbed, and she asked what was troubling him. The reverend was hesitant at first, especially as he noted Betsy slung over her back. Finally, he sighed and whispered into her ear...

"He's WHAT?!?" Her hand went over her shoulder, grabbing Betsy at the neck and pulling her into position. "Where's that priest?" she snarled.

She found Qwai-Chang in the kitchen over a pot of something. There, she confronted him, fully prepared to blow his brains to snot.

Staring placidly into the barrels of her pointed gun, he said, "There has been a, mistake," and explained to her the use of the singing stick. Told her [it wasn't a pagan practice] but simply a meditative technique to increase concentration and restfulness.

Miss Kathryn rolled her eyes, throwing up her hands as she shook her head. Humbly, she apologized accepted a plate of food. While her ate, Qwai-Chang asked where his brother might be so that he could explain--again, just in case. She told him he'd left town with Miss Jenny. "Ahhh," he breathed, nodding solemnly. "This is good."

Miss Kathryn swallowed her bite even as her eyes narrowed. "My baby boy running around with that [social butterfly]?"

"It would be well if Harry would get [an education in the interpersonal arts]."

"Maybe you're right. It'd certainly ease my mind. After all, he's in his twenties, and he hasn't [enjoyed much company]."

"Perhaps he will acquire [inner peace] with some [hands on experience]."

Miss Kathryn nodded. "Yes, that little [lady] Miss Jenny would probably [fill the position just fine]."

And so they finished their meal and walked out to the street together. Miss Kathryn invited him to the Delta Q whenever he wished, thanking him for his devotion to Harry. Just as she was turning to return to her horse, she spotted Harry riding down the mainway, looking a mess and with Miss Jenny clutching to him.

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 8
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 12:56 PM

["Anyhow," Tom said, helping B'Elanna, then with Beata held close in her arms. sit again, "you can thank Qwai-Chang for clearing up at least a little of it."

"I'll have to thank him," Harry said.

B'Elanna had opened her blowse to let the baby nurse, and grinned as Harry's eyes politely turned away. "So," she asked. "how did the dance go? You and Miss Jenny have a...good time?"

Harry blushed, his eyes still pinned on the wall until Tom told him it was okay to look back. "Well, we danced a long time. Talked a lot, too--and ate. I never thought I'd meet a girl who liked to eat as much as me."

B'Elanna's brows rose. "Well, you've met your match, then. But what happened later? Didn't you...walk her home after?"

"Well, we did tale a walk."

Tom perked at that, thinking he might not have to go through with the damage control his mother had requested of him and B'Elanna. "Really? Harry, you sly dog, you didn't..."

Harry grinned. "Well, I did show her..."]

The moon shone bright and a gentle wind brushed over the grass as Harry walked with Jenny well off the path in back of town. Her little fingers danced in his palm, and he giggled. She giggled, too, and faced him when they took a seat by the pond.

"Jenny," Harry said softly, "I'd like to share something with you."

Her eyes lit up in the blue-white light. "Really?"

Harry nodded. "It's called a singing stick. Reverend Windes said it'd be okay if I showed it to you."

"Well, bless his soul," Jenny said, slipping closer as Harry unbuttoned his jacket. She stopped, though, when Harry pulled out an oblong rod from his inside pocket. He was smiling at her. She looked at the rod again, at Harry again. "Whatever floats your boat, Harry. But why don't we try it
my way first?"

Harry stared at her. "I didn't know you knew about chant--" His words were cut off when Miss Jenny pounced on him, kissing him full on the mouth. Harry gasped and stared up at her. "Jenny! What're you doing?"

She giggled again. "If you don't know that, Harry, then you're in worse shape than the reverend said."

"The reverend told you about it?"

"And told me I had some soul savin' to do," she replied, slipping her hand into his shirt, "and I intend to do so."

Harry took her wandering hands and stared her in the eyes. "I just wanted to show you my stick. I didn't mean to make you think I was wanting anything ungentlemanly. I think you've misunderstood the reverend. And I'd never do anything like that. Mama didn't raise me to act like them other men."

Jenny sat up, straddling him. "Oh you'll show me your stick sometime--maybe not tonight, but I will break you, Harry Janeway. Mark my words."

RE: Favored Son, the Second Meal, 9
D'Alaire — 18 Oct 1998, 1:05 PM

Finished with his story, Harry let his hands fall on his lap, sighed slightly, though his face was still pleasant. "Jenny's been after me since--and for some funny reason, Mama keeps asking about her, too....And you know, I think everyone's got this idea I've been...with her, you know? You know how people talk. But I swear I've been a gentleman."

B'Elanna sighed, a little disappointed, but she shrugged. "Well, I guess Miss Jenny wouldn't mind a chall...chivalrous man every now and again." She glanced to her side. Tom's eyes were still closed, his smile one of pure patience. "Maybe I should call on Miss Jenny," she suggested, "while Tom's talking to the reverend."

"Why? I thought you hated her."

"Well, might as well make nice, since you like her. 'Sides," B'Elanna smiled, "seems like she could use a little..sisterly guidance. I think she's misunderstood the way to your...heart."

Harry smiled warmly. "What would I do without a great brother and sister like you two?"

Tom didn't answer him, only grinned.


"What do you think?" Jenny asked.

Harry looked around, having stopped rowing to enjoy the sight of the supper picnic Jenny had set up at the end of the boat. She'd really gone all out, right down to his favorite dessert. "This is really nice, Jenny," he said. "I didn't know you liked picnicing, too."

Jenny smiled, said nothing, just as B'Elanna told her not to. "Why don't we make ourselves more comfortable, hmm?"

Harry nodded, and, following her cue, felt free to take off his jacket. A few minutes later, she convinced him he might enjoy putting his feet in to the water, so Harry removed his boots as well. Sitting on the seat in the middle of the boat, he dipped hid feet in, smiling over at her. "Yep, this is nice all right. Wanna join me?"

She smiled. "I was hoping you'd ask."

As she crawled over, he stopped her. "Uh, Jenny, you'd better take the other side, else we'll fall in."

Her smile grew. "I wouldn't worry about that Harry," she said, coming nearer still.

Sure enough, the boat tipped--but before she fell over and into the water, Harry grabbed her hand, pulling her into his arms. To balance the boat, Jenny leaned him back on the seat, crawling close up on him.

"My hero," she whispered, reaching over for a pastry from the picnic spread, putting her neck in close proximity to his nose and mouth as she did. "Hungry yet? --No, no. Don't move. Let me serve you, Harry. It's the least I can do for all the nice things you've done for me."

Harry breathed deeply to insist otherwise when he suddenly smelled her strong perfume. He could almost...taste it, it was so strong. His stomach started to rumble a little. "What is that you're wearing?"

Jenny's grin was feral. "Cinnamon and pumpkin oil," she whispered, and smiled when she felt him quiver beneath her, his breath get warm on her skin. "Want a cream horn?"

As he felt the confection pastry touch his lips, Harry simply could not say no. "Much obliged," he breathed.

"Oh you will be," Jenny purred. "You will be."