Title: Christmas Renewal
Author: Ronda Sexton
Series: Voy
Codes: J/C, P/T
Rating: PG
Parts: 1/1
Summary: Janeway's dad comes to help her daughter with visits to Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas future.

Christmas Renewal
by: Ronda Sexton

Captain Janeway sat in her darkened quarters sipping a cup of coffee. By Earth's calendar, it was Christmas Eve. There had been celebrations all over the ship tonight, and there would be more tomorrow.

Why was she feeling so morose?? This wasn't the first Christmas they had been stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Why should this one be any different. So many things had happened over the years they had spent trying to get home.

With no way to contact Starfleet Command, She had been forced to make so many decisions on her own during this journey. Some of the had been good, others had turned out badly. Their recent encounter with the Hirogen and the sentient holograms had been proof enough of that.

Rising from the sofa, she padded over to the replicator for another cup of coffee. Sipping the hot beverage carefully, she surveyed her quarters. This was the first year she had not felt like decorating her quarters for Christmas. Even attending the Christmas parties had somehow become a wearisome chore for her this year. There was no Christmas joy in her heart, only despair.

She blinked in shock as an apparition slowly formed before her. "Are you the same alien who tried to impersonate my father before?" she asked tersely.

"No, Kathyrn, I am not an alien. I am your father," answered the specter.

"Why are you here?" she asked, still not convinced that the luminous apparition standing before her was truly her father.

"I am here to protect your future welfare in hopes that you will alter your life and not end up as you will if you continue down the path you are on," answered her father. "First, we will visit your past. This will permit you to see just how much you have changed."

He took her hand, and suddenly they were in Iowa. She saw herself as a little girl helping her father decorate the Christmas tree. How happy she looked. She recalled that up until he had made it home two days earlier they had been uncertain if he would be home for Christmas. He held young Kathyrn high in his arms as she placed the angel atop the tree.

"You were so excited that year," her father reminded her.

"I remember," she replied softly.

Suddenly the scene changed, and she saw herself as a teenager on another happy Christmas. The entire family was gathered at the table for dinner and she was laughing at her sister's joke. They continued to visit past Christmases. It was sobering for her to see how much she had changed from then to now.

Finally they visited her first Christmas here in the Delta Quadrant. There she was with Chakotay at her side, laughing and enjoying the festivities. When had her joy evaporated to her current state of despair.

"You have seen your past, Kathyrn. Now, we will visit your present, looking in on your crew as they celebrate the holiday. We will be unseen observers," said her father.

First, they visited Tom and B'Elanna. A holographic fireplace blazed on one wall. Tom and B'Elanna sat cuddled in front of it. Their Christmas tree glitter brightly, showing them in colorful light. Tom rested his hand on B'Elanna's rounded stomach.

"Next year, we'll have our little girl to share Christmas with us," he said happily.

B'Elanna's eyes shone brightly. "Our daughter's first Christmas will be a special one, whether it's here or in the Alpha Quadrant."

"Well, this Christmas is pretty special to me," breathed Tom. "It's our first Christmas as husband and wife." He kissed her tenderly.

The room faded around them, and next they were in Chakotay's quarters. He was reading the book she had given him for Christmas. He took a sip of tea as he thoughtfully turned a page.

"You certainly chose well for your First Officer's gift." He looked at his daughter.

"He is the best First Officer I ever had. He is also the best friend I ever had," she said quietly.

Her father nodded. "Best friends are few and far between. It would be a shame if he never knew how much you truly feel for him," he remarked.

His cryptic remark gave her pause. Feelings she had forced to stay submerged for so long began bubbling up. Tears stung her eyes at the thought of him never knowing.

They visited many more crew members. Some were happy, others were depressed and gloomy. A comment by some of them caught her attention. If the Captain was depressed and unhappy, why should they be try to be happy. If she was that morose, then things must truly be hopeless.

Her Father looked at her. "Your crew looks to you for leadership. Your mood sets the tone for them. Now, I will show you what the future will hold if you do not alter the path you have chosen."

Captain Janeway gasped as the Alpha Quadrant materialized around her. A slightly older Tom and B'Elanna entered the chapel at Star Fleet Command. They spoke in hushed whispers.

"I can't believe she's gone," said B'Elanna. "No one even knew how sick she was. Even after we got home, she kept all of us at a distance."

Tom nodded, "She was never the same after the Equinox. I hate the fact that she died alone." His voice broke a little. "If she had only let us be close to her."

B'Elanna nodded, wiping her eyes. She and Tom embraced each other for strength and comfort.

Captain Janeway had stiffened at their words. She watched as they approached a casket. She could not see the person lying inside.

As they stood gazing at the body lying in the casket, Tom shook his head. "I was sure that once we got home, she and Chakotay would finally have a chance to develop their relationship."

"So was I," whispered B'Elanna. "But once we got home, she shut everyone out. Chakotay is taking this very hard. Seven has been staying with him. She says he hasn't eaten or slept since Starfleet found her body."

"Doc told me that if he doesn't snap out of it soon, he is going to put him in the hospital," said Tom solemnly.

"I just don't understand the way she got even worse about distancing herself after we got home," said B'Elanna, breaking down into tears.

The Chapel faded, and then they were in Chakotay's house. Seven sat quietly at his bedside as the Doctor examine his inert form. He shook his head as he looked at the readouts on his medical tricoder.

"How is he Doctor?" asked Seven with concern.

"I fear that no medicine will help him. His grief over her death is intense," replied the Doctor.

"I have never understood why once we got home the Captain held all of us at even more of a distance than before. Many of us were certain that once we got to Earth that the Captain would allow her relationship with Chakotay to grow," said Seven.

"She was obsessed with getting us home, Seven. Once she accomplished that task, suddenly she was without purpose," explained the Doctor.

The room faded away, and they were back at the Chapel. Tom and B'Elanna were comforting Harry who was weeping.

Her father led her to the casket. She looked down and saw herself. The pale, haggard, lined face shocked her. Was this what her future held? A death all alone, all of her friends closed out of her life, the man she loved..........she could not bear it. All of this because she would not let others in her life?

Suddenly, she was back in her quarters. She looked at her father, wondering if he had any words for her.

"You know what you need to do, Kathyrn. I have done all that is permissible for me to do. The rest is up to you." He slowly faded away.

She walked to her sleeping area, her eyes brimming with stinging tears. She held the power to shape the present and make sure that the awful future her father had shown her never happened. Sinking down on her bed, she resolved that starting tomorrow, she would begin anew and ensure that they all would have a bright and joyous future.

On Christmas Day, Kathyrn Janeway arose and dressed with care. She took more time applying her makeup and fixing her hair. Chakotay was picking her up for Christmas Breakfast in the mess hall. Naomi would be opening her gifts from the crew. Being the only child on Voyager, the crew showered her with gifts. Next year, she had no doubt that Tom and B'Elanna's daughter would receive the same treatment. Naomi was excited at the prospect of another child being on the ship, even if she would be considerably older.

The sound of her door chimes brought her back from her musings. She walked to the door, and it slid open.

"Hello, Captain," said Chakotay with a bright smile. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Chakotay," she answered with a warm smile. "I'm ready, let's go to the mess hall."

"Let's go," he agreed. Her smile and tone of voice encouraged him. Perhaps she was finally coming out of her depression.

In the mess hall, everyone seemed to notice the change in the Captain. The moods of everyone in the mess hall lifted as well.

She and Chakotay sat together and watched Naomi open her pile of presents the crew had given her. Later on, as they made their way through the buffet line, she stopped him.

"What is it?" he asked her, puzzled.

"You may have noticed a lot of the crew has been stopping here this morning. Her eyes twinkled merrily. He was in for a huge surprise. "Look up, Chakotay," she prompted.

When he spied the mistletoe, his eyes widened, and he looked back down at her. The invitation and expectation in her eyes were all the encouragement he needed. He slid his arms around her and kissed her tenderly. Afterwards, the promise of more to come shining in her eyes filled his soul with joy. He wondered what had brought about this change. Whatever it was, he as pleased with the outcome.

Captain Janeway took time to visit with and encourage everyone in the mess hall that morning.

She was confident that she could continue on this new path and that their future would be filled with love and happiness.

A shimmering in the corner caught her eye. For a brief instant, she saw her father once more with an approving smile. Then he was gone.

From that day forward, The crew saw a greatly changed Captain. Her positive mood helped restore joy and hope to her crew. Her relationship with Chakotay blossomed rapidly. The crew rejoiced that the two of them had finally found happiness together.

On the day Voyager assumed orbit around Earth, they stood on the bridge together as one, knowing that while this chapter of their lives was coming to a close, many more chapters of thier life together were yet to come

The End