Author's note:  After hearing the spoilers for the rumored episodes
"Message in a Bottle" and "Hunters", I wrote this.  Paramount is welcome
to fit this into the "Hunters" script if they wish, but they have to
acknowledge that I wrote it.

Warning!  This story contains possible spoilers for the rumored episode

Forgive and Forget
by Cheile

      The Hirogen had destroyed the message array.  But the last of the
messages had been recovered before they had.
      Nearly every crew member had gotten a message of some sort.  Some
was good news, like Starfleet Headquarters pardoning the Maquis.
Others, like some of the personal messages, was disappointing news.

      "'....and I feel so guilty, now that I know you are still alive.
But I thought you were gone, and Danny was there for me.  I'm sorry.
Love, Libby.'"
      Harry Kim sighed and set down the message.  He had had a feeling
that this might happen.  But he never thought it actually would.
      The door chime interrupted his thoughts.  "Come in," he called.
      Seven walked in.  She stopped and looked at him.  "Are you all
      "My girlfriend married my old best friend, but other than that,
I'm fine."
      Seven perched on the couch beside him.  For a minute, she was
silent, her brow furrowed in thought.  Then she finally spoke.  "I am
not very good at offering words of comfort.  However, I believe that you
will be able to go on without her.  You are not alone here."
      Harry turned to look at her.  "No," he agreed, reaching out to
cover her hand with his.  "I'm not alone."


      "'....since they had told me you were dead, I went on.  I never
meant to hurt you.  I'm sorry things had to turn out this way.  The boys
still remember you and Armand and I won't allow them to forget you,
either.  Lynne.'"
      Joe Carey slowly set the padd down.  He felt a lump rise in his
throat, but pushed it back.
      At one time, he had wanted nothing more than to get home, to Lynne
and the boys.  But Lynne had remarried.  There was nothing waiting for
him back home now.
      His door chime sounded.  Joe sighed and pushed himself to his
feet.  "Come in."
      The door opened to admit Samantha Wildman.  She slowly walked in,
her eyes downcast.
      Joe looked at her.  He had always considered her pretty, with her
blond hair cut short so that it hung a little past her shoulders and
bright blue eyes.  But when she raised her gaze to his, he saw that they
were swollen from crying.
      "What's wrong?" he asked.
      "Greskrendreck--he married someone else," she managed to get out.
"Now Christine doesn't have a father."
      "Lynne remarried, too."
      "I'm sorry, Joe."
      Joe moved forward to embrace her.  "Sam, you're not alone."
Holding her close, he smoothed her hair.  "I won't leave you."


      "'....I never expected to hear that you were alive.  I wish you
could meet her, Kath.  Clary's great with dogs.  And the puppies--well,
they're not puppies anymore.  In fact, Kimberley has had two litters and
Maverick sired another by Pheobe's new dog, Jade.  Clarissa and I wish
you the best and I'm sorry it happened this way.  Love, Mark.'"
      Kathryn Janeway turned off her desk console.  Of course, she
hadn't expected Mark to wait around for her forever, but the fact that
he had actually married someone else was still unsettling.
      Her door chime rang.  Pushing away her upset feelings, she called,
"Come in."
      Chakotay walked through the door.  "How are you doing?"
      "Fine," she lied.  "Did you hear from your family?"
      "My brother died fighting the Cardassians.  My mother is doing
well and sends her love.  And you?"
      She turned away and slowly walked toward the huge window looking
out into space.  Chakotay followed.  "Kathryn?"
      "Mark married someone else," she choked out before bursting into
      Wrapping an arm around her, Chakotay led her to the couch, where
they sat down.  "I'm sorry," he said quietly.  "I knwo that you cared
about him a great deal."
      "I did love him.  He was such a comfort after Justin and my father
died.  And now--"  She broke off as her crying made it difficult to
      "Shh," he whispered.  "Kathryn, don't cry.  Shh."
      After several minutes, her sobs quieted and she raised her head to
look at him.  As she looked into his eyes and saw the tenderness in
them, she realized how much he cared for her--and how he had been
holding it back.  The thought made tears well up in her eyes again.
      "Kathryn, shh," he murmured.  Before he realized what he was
doing, he leaned over, gently kissing her tears away.  Then his lips met
      She did not pull away, as Chakotay thought she might.  Instead,
she kissed him back with three years of suppressed emotion.  One arm
slid around her waist, the other hand caressed her cheek.  Her arms slid
around his neck and she drew him closer.  When they finally separated
from the kiss, they were both breathless.
      "Kathryn, are you sure this is what you want?"
      She lay a finger across his lips.  "Chakotay, I've held back too
long.  I won't let my fears win this time."
     He smiled quietly, took her hand in his and brushed a kiss across
the back.  "Does that mean what I think it means?"
     "That I love you?  Yes, it does."
     "So I get special treatment now?" he teased, nuzzling her neck.
     Kathryn laughed.  "No, you--agh!  Chakotay, stop it!  That
     "It does?" he asked innocently.
     "Chakotay, quit!" she squealed.  "Agh--stop it!"
     He did stop, but was grinning as he pulled her into his lap.
"Kathryn, I love you."
     "And I love you, Chakotay," she answered as he leaned down to kiss
her again.


     B'Elanna Torres headed down the corridor.  She had been looking for
Tom everywhere and couldn't find him.
     *Where is he anyway?*  She half-expected him to be in Sandrine's or
in the Mess Hall with Harry and Seven.
     She frowned to herself.  She still didn't care for Seven of Nine.
But she had to admit that it was nice of Seven to offer Harry comfort
when he had found out that his girlfriend Libby had gone and married his
Academy best friend, Danny Byrd.
     *Some faith Libby had in Harry, to go and marry his friend like
     She hadn't gotten any messages--but that was because she hand't
sent any.  No one back home would have wanted to hear from her anyway.
     Reaching Tom's quarters, she pressed the chime button and waited.
No answer.  Keying open the door, she walked inside.  "Tom?" she called.
     She found him in his bedroom, staring out the window.  He started
when she walked in.  "Oh.  Hi, B'Elanna."
     Noticing his upset look, she asked, "Are you all right?"
     "Yeah, I'm fine."
     "Something's wrong, isn't it?  Was it something in the message you
     He turned his eyes to hers and was shocked at the pure anguish
reflected in the blue depths.  "That's just the point, B'Elanna.  I
didn't get one."
     "I thought you sent a message to your father."
     "Yeah, I did.  But obviously, being a lieutenant isn't good enough
for him."  He snorted.  "Nothing I've ever done was good enough.  He
wanted a perfect son--and instead got stuck with me.  I've never done
anything right.  I don't think I'll ever be able to either."
     "Oh, Tom," she said quietly.  She knew how hurt he must be.  She
hadn't gotten a message, but then she hadn't sent one.  Tom had sent a
message, and his father hadn't answered it.
     "It doesn't matter.  He's just an uncaring old man."  He turned
away from her, blinking back tears.
     "He's your father, Tom.  That's why it matters to you."
     Slowly, he lay down on his bed, his pillow bunched up underneath
his head.  B'Elanna scooted up beside him, resting her cheek against his
shoulder, the fingers of one hand laced through his.
     And while he cried silently, she held him close.

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