Parting Gifts

Delta Story
cmwende@compuserve.com

PARTING GIFTS NC-17

Summary: Kes’ departure from Voyager brings bittersweet farewells all around; but she leaves
special gifts with Janeway and Chakotay.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kes slowly walked through the rows of Jaborian ferns in the hydroponics bay, letting the warmth
and
humidity of the jungle like atmosphere soothe her mind. It had been six hours since she received
the
subspace message from Zahir. The Nickall traveler was returning from his exploration of the
Solarian Rift and was within twenty light years from Voyager.
His face was haggard, Kes noticed immediately. But his words were firm and strong. “My
dearest
Kes, there have been no suns in any of my travels that bring the brightness to my life that you
have.
Even if it is only for a few hours, I need to see you, to replenish my soul and fill my heart.
Please
allow me to come to Voyager for a while.”

He wanted to see her! Five months earlier, he had asked Kes to join him. She reluctantly had
decided to remain on Voyager. But recently, she had begun to question her decision. Her answer
in
return to Zahir was immediate: “My life is incomplete without you. Come and make me whole
once
more.”

She reached out for one of the luxuriant plant fronds, and let the leaves slowly pull through her
fingers. They were smooth but rough at the same time, and as each green fragment passed
across her
fingers, it emitted a spicy odor. The sensual reminders created images of the last time she held
Zahir
in her arms, as they strolled through the garden outside his favorite inn. The inn! What stories
were
told there! What warmth was there, both from the continually blazing fire in the hearth to the
smoldering embers in his heart! Yes, she missed him…and yet, the Captain and Voyager’s crew
were
so good to her. And Neelix; what about Neelix? Yes, he understood that their relationship had
changed. But he *had* rescued her from her Kazon captors, and guaranteed her a place with
Voyager. However, Neelix had changed, too. He realized that she was growing in ways which
he
could not follow, just as he was carving his own personalized niche among the Voyager senior
staff.
They both knew that their journeys were moving in opposite directions away from the crossroads
that
their lives had reached a few months ago.

As she wandered from the ferns into an area with blooming Acadian lilies, she knew what she
would
say when Zahir arrived. She looked at the blossoms, as they opened before her eyes, revealing
the
ripeness and fullness of each iridescent trumpet. The time had come to move on. Voyager was a
flower that was closing upon itself with its obsessive desire of returning to the Alpha Quadrant.
She
was just beginning to bloom, alive and vibrant — opening up to all of the experiences the Delta
Quadrant. She wanted to savor its many delights. And Zahir would help her open the petals….

*************************************************

Captain Janeway sat on the sofa in her quarters with Kes. The Ocampan whom she had come to
adore had come to her once again to talk about Zahir, but this time it was not to ask the Captain’s
advice, but to advise the captain of a decision.

“Kes, I knew the moment he came on board this morning and saw the two of you together again
that
this moment was not far off. I can’t say that I’m surprised. But I guess I’m feeling somewhat
maternalistic regarding your decision. I want only what is best for you. You have been such an
asset
to the ship – and to me; it won’t feel intact without you. But you *are* growing up, and must
make
your life for yourself. That includes making your own decisions and abiding by their outcomes.
We
will miss you; *I* will miss you. What else can I say?”

“Captain, I knew that you would understand,” Kes murmured in her soft tone. “It has not been an
easy decision to make. You, the doctor, Tuvok, the commander, Neelix — you all have done so
much for me, and I feel that I can never repay you enough. Each of us is the sum of all our
relationships, and in that way, I will always be a part of you, and you a part of me.” With these
words, Kes reached over to Janeway, and embraced her as only a daughter could. She then
reached
up, and seeing tenseness in the captain’s face, gently massaged the older woman’s temples. “May
this help relieve you of your heartache,” Kes said as her fingers eased Janeway’s strained
countenance. Slowly, Janeway’s face softened into a relaxed smile.
****************************************

As quickly as he arrived, it seemed that Zahir was ready to leave, taking with him one of
Voyager’s
treasures.

Kathryn Janeway’s tears had been shed in private, so she was able to host the farewell party for
Kes
without worrying about *not* being the captain. There was a party atmosphere, with the finest
food,
drink and atmosphere that a very melancholy Neelix could provide. But the crew knew that there
would be a void left much larger than the physical size of the person leaving. The doctor was
already
complaining about having to teach someone else to assist him.
The party was breaking up. Hugs were being passed around; Neelix was both smiling and crying
at
the same time. “Be careful, my sweeting,” he said through his tears. “You will always have a
special
place in my heart.”

“And you to me, Neelix. Your understanding of all of this is making it much easier for me.
Your
love and concern have led me to know that I can be so much more, and I’ll never forget you for
that.” She gently kissed him on his whiskered cheek. He skittered off to his kitchen before his
tears
became uncontrollable.

“Commander,” Kes said softly as she walked over to Commander Chakotay. She motioned for
him
to lean over, so that she could whisper in his ear. As he bent his head to place his ear next to her
lips, she positioned her hands on his temples, her fingers leaving a soothing tingle. “Don’t be
afraid;
just think about what you both need,” she softly said. She added a gentle kiss on his cheek also,
leaving him with a mystified expression on his face.

She turned to see her friend, Tuvok, who was staring at her with the look of a secret query.
“Tuvok,
your patience and teachings will be with me always. You have given me the ability to observe
and be
non-judgmental. A brother could not have given me more.” Although she knew that he would
not
like it, she gave him a brief hug. “And it would seem, Kes,” he said looking at her sternly, “that
you
have given something to someone, too. I hope it was a wise thing to do.” Her last look at her
mentor, before she slipped away from him, was one of elfin mischief. “So do I,” she winked at
him.
“Stay well, my friend. And keep an eye on the Captain and the Commander.” She gracefully
glided
away into the corridor, to follow her newly chosen path and love.
***************************************

Kes’ departure left a pall among Voyager’s crew. Janeway knew that it was up to her to pull
them all
together. As she walked back to her quarters from the party, she was mulling over in her head
how
she was going to accomplish the task. The emotion of the day had left her quite weary. A good
night’s sleep would bring a solution.

She went to her replicator for a cup of tea. That and a couple chapters from the Klingon
romance
that B’Elanna had lent her should prepare her for a few hours of sleep. She changed into her
nightgown, and climbed into bed with the tea on her bedside table and the novelpadd in her
hands.
Sleep caught up with her quickly. As soon as the computer detected the rhythms of her sleep,
the
lights in the room were extinguished. Only the stars shining through her window gave light to
the
room.

*Kathryn, Kathryn…* She awoke suddenly, hearing her named called. Sitting up quickly,
throwing
off the covers and her sombulant state at the same time, she thought someone was in the room
with
her. “Computer,” she asked, “who is in this room?” “Captain Janeway”, came the reply. “No one
else?” she asked. “No, just Captain Janeway.” *Dreaming…I was dreaming…*, she thought, as
she
once more organized herself for sleep. Slumber came, but in a restless, dreamless form.

**************************************

The following morning, Voyager’s crew went through its paces with perfunctory motions. It
seemed
that everyone was in his or her own reverie of memories of Kes’ place in their lives. But, even
though the thought of her being gone was painful, everyone had seen the glow of love in every
expression, every movement that she and Zahir made. They were happy for the young couple.

Captain Janeway came onto the bridge, smiling her greetings to the crew in their stations.
*Good
morning, Captain; you look a little tired this morning. Long night?*, she heard her first officer
say,
with a usual mischievousness in his comment.

“Did you say something, Commander?” she asked as she settled into her chair. Chakotay had
hurriedly glanced down at his monitor.

“No, Captain; why do you ask?” he queried, looking at her. *I ‘thought’ something to you,
though,*
went through his mind.

Surprised, she glanced at him. *You ‘thought’ something to me?* she inquired with her look.

Their eyes met with a mutual astonishment. “Commander, may I see you in my ready room,”
Janeway tried to say as calmly as possible. She was on her feet and halfway to her office before
she
finished her statement.

“Right away, Captain,” Chakotay said, following close on her footsteps.
The bridge crew watched Janeway’s and Chakotay’s hurried departure. They looked at one
another,
their inquisitive expressions reflecting off of each other. All except the ship’s security officer.
Tuvok
knowingly nodded his head. He alone thought that he understood what had just happened, and
he
knew that his senior officers would be calling him shortly for advice.
***************************************

The doors to Janeway’s bridge office had barely closed when both she and Chakotay started
asking
each other the same questions.

“Chakotay, I can *hear* what you think, is that what is happening?” Janeway was pacing; her
eyes
were anticipatory and frightened at the same time.

“Captain, I was *hearing* you also! It was almost like…” Chakotay started to say, then thought
*when I was with Riley in the collective neural link…*

“…when I was with Riley in the collective neural link…” Janeway repeated back to him. They
both
stared at each other incredulously. What was happening?

“Chakotay, do you think that there is some residual of your Borg linkage and that somehow or
another it has transferred to me also?”

“Kathryn, you were there when the doctor said there was none left. And this is different; it isn’t
stimulated by physical touch, it’s just *there*!” (He actually blushed when he mentioned that the
Borg linkage seemed to be brought about, at least initially, by physical contact.)

Janeway’s pacing had taken on a frenetic cadence. “Well, we can’t go on like this. We’ve got to
find out what is causing this…this…fused mentality!”

Chakotay looked at his somewhat peripatetic captain. *Oh, I don’t know. This ‘could’ prove to be
interesting,* he transported from his mind to hers, as a devilish grin ran across his face.

“Chakotay, stop that! How could we ever get anything done?” *Especially when you look at me
like
that…*

*Like how?*

*You know what I mean…*

*Maybe we have finally found a way…to be professional, but yet have our own lives…*

Janeway stopped in the track she was rapidly embossing into her carpet. “Commander, I ‘order’
you
to contain your thoughts to the immediate business before us. We have got to determine what is
causing this phenomenon.”

The ship’s first officer sat down in the chair next to her desk. “Of course, you’re right, Captain.”
*God, you’re beautiful when you’re upset!*

“CHAKOTAY!” she yelled at him, turning on her heels. “We’ve got to figure out when and how
this
all started.”

Rapidly, her mind replayed the strange episode in her quarters the previous night. “Commander,
what were you doing at 0200 this morning?”

Chakotay looked at her strangely. “I was asleep, in my quarters. Why?”
“Commander, do you talk in your sleep?”

His expression was a mixture of question and embarrassment. “I really don’t know; why?”

“Did you dream last night?” his captain pushed on, dreading what she might hear.

“Well, probably. I don’t always remember…” *But last night, I dreamt about you…*

*Oh, you did? And why was that?*

*Why not? That’s the only place I can really be with you…*
“Commander, I’m not in the mood for these mind games.”

“Because you had looked so beautiful at Kes’ party. And because I was so happy for Kes and
Zahir.
And I was wanting to be with you. I called to you…”

“You said my name…in your dream…in your mind…”

“Yes.”

“I heard it. Your ‘call’ woke me up.”

“And what did you do?”

“I searched my quarters for an intruder. When one was not found, I decided that I had dreamt it,
and
went back to sleep.”

“Captain, it’s as if we have been endowed with telepathic capabilities, but only with each other.
Have you *heard* anyone else’s thoughts?”

“No. And come to think of it, your thoughts are transmitted only…when you are thinking of me.
I
*heard* nothing from you until I came onto the bridge.”

“So, we have determined that this probably started last night, and that the transference involves
thoughts only when we think about each other. Perhaps we should check with the doctor about
any
other similar occurrences among the crew.”

Janeway quickly hailed the EMH in sickbay. “Doctor, how’s business today? Are there any
unusual
maladies being reported?”

The doctor quipped back, “Only in the crew who partook of Mr. Paris’ supplemental punch at
last
night’s social gathering. *You* didn’t drink any of it, did you, Captain?”
Her knowing laugh answered him, “No, doctor; I learned long ago to stay away from any drink
that
has the word ‘buffalo’ or ‘purple’ in its name! Thank you for your information.”

“So,” she said, walking around her desk to Chakotay. “It’s back to us. Who on board would know
anything about telepathic transfers?”

Chakotay thought for a moment. “Well, Tuvok leans towards that talent. And Kes certainly had
those capabilities.”

Their eyes met with a sudden mutual thought. *Kes!* Could something have happened that
allowed
her to pass along her skill in such a way?

Janeway hit her comm badge, and Tuvok received the expected summons. “Mr. Tuvok, could
you
please join the commander and myself?”

**************************************

Tuvok turned the bridge over to Tom Paris, as he headed towards the captain’s ready room.
Tom’s
thoughts were soaring. *Man, something’s going on. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall
in
there!* He shot a glance at Harry Kim, who looked more bewildered than usual.

***************************************

Voyager’s three senior officers sat around the captain’s desk, as she explained as best she could
what
she and the commander were experiencing. Tuvok’s serious expression passed back and forth
between the captain’s troubled face and Chakotay’s grinning countenance.
The Vulcan considered his words, and then spoke. “Captain, when Kes was leaving the party
last
night, I saw her speak with the commander, and then place her hands on his forehead. Did any
such
incident occur between you and her?”

Janeway thought for a few seconds. “Not at the party; but earlier, she sensed my tenseness and
massaged away a headache that was rapidly approaching. I remember how pleasant her touch
was,
and how peaceful I felt afterwards.”

“Commander?” Tuvok queried.

“Yes, now that I think about Kes’ goodbye…she did say something rather strange to me.” His
dark
eyes looked straight into the blue pools of his captain’s eyes. “She told me not to be afraid, that I
was
to…” His words became thoughts that only Kathryn could hear: *…to think about what we both
need.*

Tuvok, raising an eyebrow, sensed that the sentence was completed telepathically, as he watched
the
captain’s face slowly color and lower itself.

“Kes’ last words to me were also an enigma, although I sensed that she had effected something
with
you, Commander. She asked me…” Tuvok cleared his throat, as if he were embarrassed. “She
asked me to ‘keep an eye on the captain and the commander.’ It appears that she knew that her
transferences would not be without problems and that they would need guidance. Perhaps…if
you are
willing…I could perform a mind meld with each of you in an attempt to rid you of this
unpleasant
intrusion of your privacies.”

Janeway and Chakotay looked at each other. Janeway spoke for both of them. “Mr. Tuvok,
while
this…um…condition is somewhat uncomfortable right now, perhaps Chakotay and I could work
on
some mental exercises that would allow us to close off our thoughts when necessary. I can
definitely
see how this…um…skill could come in handy at times. Consider the possibilities if our
communications were down! Or, if we became separated without comm badges.”
“Yes, Captain, I can see your logic in this problem. You correctly have looked for the best
outcome
given an troublesome situation; I commend you on your approach. Let me think about a ritual
that
would allow you to create a privacy barrier. I will share any idea as it comes to me. Are you
certain
that you will be comfortable for the time being? Perhaps the doctor could give you each a mild
sedative that would alleviate the current state.”

*No,* the two affected officers thought to each other. *Let’s explore this for a while.*

“No, Mr. Tuvok, I think we’ll manage for the time being. Thank you for your consideration and
suggestions,” said the captain as she walked with the Vulcan to the door leading back to the
bridge.

*What now?* Chakotay passed along before she turned back to him.
*We learn to control ourselves,* the captain shot back at him, with the devil himself in her Irish
eyes.

Chakotay walked towards her, his arms close at his sides, his mouth closed in a grin that went
from
dimple to dimple. *Why, Kathryn? For ‘now’, I can do this to you, and we aren’t breaking
protocol –
– I’m now taking you in my arms. Your body is next to mine; no, your body is becoming
mine…can
you feel it, Kathryn?*

The usually proper Starfleet captain closed her eyes with a deep sigh. *Yes; I can feel and see
everything. Can you feel this?* She transferred her image of his head bending down to her
upturned
face, of his mouth covering hers, of her mouth opening to welcome his desire.

She opened her eyes, and saw her commander, standing five feet away from her, with his eyes
closed, lost in the world they had just created. *Chakotay…*
He slowly opened his eyes, glazed with the look of newly found rapture. *This is powerful…we
‘do’
have to learn to control it.*

Janeway smiled. “And we had better be careful ‘where’ we use it, too…not among mixed
company!”
she said, as her eyes traced his form from his face to a lower part of his anatomy. “Perhaps we
better wait a few more minutes before returning to the bridge.” Her voice barely covered a deep
chuckle.

Chakotay’s expression was one of chagrin. *Yes; control ‘is’ important,* he thought back to her.

*************************************

When Tuvok returned to the bridge, he said nothing. Tom had wanted to ask what had happened,
but
he knew better than to prod the security chief for details.
Ten minutes later, the two senior officers returned to the bridge. Tom glanced at them as they
briskly walked to their stations. He couldn’t put his finger on it, because they appeared perfectly
normal, but there was something in the way they looked at each other…
*************************************

Throughout the day, Janeway and Chakotay were constantly befuddled with muddled mind
messages.

As the captain was trying to calculate replicator allotments with Neelix, her thoughts were
interrupted
by images that were best reserved for off duty hours. She shot back a sharp reprimand to its
originator. She had closed her eyes, and the expressions on her face ran from surprise to shock
to
determination. Neelix looked at her in horror. “Captain, are you all right? Should I summon the
doctor? Are you in pain?”

“No. Neelix,” she smiled back at him. “Just a slight twinge of …um…a headache. I’m fine.
Now,
where were we?”

Janeway herself found out how frequently *her* thoughts were drawn to her first officer. On the
bridge, he got up to check some figures with Harry Kim at the Ops station. She subconsciously
followed him with her eyes, not realizing that her vision was being turned into thoughts.
*Chakotay,
do you know how good you look from the rear?*

*Why, Captain; I didn’t know you noticed!* he transmitted back with a quick wink over his
shoulder.
Janeway quickly looked at the expanse of the bridge’s wide window, as her face turned several
shades
pinker.

*******************************************

In the early evening, both the captain and commander were contacted by Tuvok. He had a
suggestion
for their dilemma, he said.

The three officers met once more in Janeway’s ready room. The tall slim man looked at his two
senior officers who appeared quite weary from all the mental activity of the day.

“Captain, Commander…I have been searching for references as to other occurrences of this
nature.
Based on the histories my own people, the Betazoids and some other telepathic cultures willing
to
share their knowledge, it seems that strict concentration with an accompanying mantra could
help
form a self-induced privacy curtain. This should be a start for you in learning how to handle
your…new-found abilities. I shall be willing to coach you in the necessary techniques. Of
course,
any training should be done with each of you individually, to make it a personal technique.”

*What do you think?* was transferred between the man and woman sitting across from the
Vulcan.
The captain spoke first.

“Mr. Tuvok, we welcome your suggestion and offer. Shall we begin now?” She looked across to
Chakotay. “I would like to be the first ‘guinea pig’; I’m sure that ‘you’ will know if it is working
soon enough.”

*I’m sure*, the dusky man smiled back at her as he rose to leave. *Let me know if you ‘need’
me.*

*************************************************

As the days passed, there seemed to be much progress in using the mind control methods in
which
Tuvok was tutoring Janeway and Chakotay. “Keeping our minds on business” had taken on a
whole
new meaning to Voyager’s two senior officers! However, it had given a dimension to their
private
lives that they had never believed possible in the close atmosphere of the small starship.

**************************************************

*Chakotay…*

*I’m here…*

*What are you doing?*

*I ‘was’ reading. Do you have something else…er…’in mind?*
*What do you think?* Kathryn answered, as vivid images flashed through the closed doors and
walls
separating their quarters.

Chakotay closed his eyes. *What are you wearing?*

*A towel. I just got out of the tub.*

*Can you drop it? I want to see you.*

*I’m dropping it. What do you see?*

*A beautiful alabaster temple, topped with a glorious auburn cascade, and I’ve come to worship
there…*

*Are you kneeling?*

*Of course. How could I do otherwise?*

*And what sort of offering are you making?*

*I’m approaching an opening of the temple. It is warm and is inviting me to taste of it…I am
kissing
it…it is becoming warmer…and moister…mmmm…*

*Mmmmm…yes, the doors are opening…I can feel them…oohhh… here, I’ll help them open
further…I can sense that your offering is…pushing itself inside further…further…*

*Let my fingers help open the doors…ohhh, yes; now my offering can taste the temple
opening…fragrant wine is starting to flow from the doors…it’s sacred wine, so I must drink it
all…*

*The temple is losing its support, and must lay down.*

*My adoration is following the temple, for I am now caught in obedience to its wishes.*

*The temple has fallen onto its back. But it’s doors are wide open, awaiting the gift to follow.*

*My gift must be unwrapped…ugnh…oh, yes…hmmmh…it is prepared and now waiting to enter
the
temple.*

*Ooohhh…the temple has been through its preparation rites…and is…unnnghgg…awaiting your
offering…mmmmm…*

*Hnghmmmm…my offering grows larger as I approach. It will be a tight squeeze through the
doors…*

*Enter slowly, then…unghmm…perhaps some movement back and forth will allow for a better
entry…yes, yes; that’s it…*

*Back and forth…mmmm…back and forth…there is friction along the temple
walls…mmmmm…the
walls feel good…they are grasping the offering…ohhhh…throbbing with delight…mmmm…*

*Unnnngh…the temple wants more of the offering…its tightness against the walls is
starting…mmmm…to…cause…the…
temple…to…tremble…like…a…rising…earthquake…ohhhh, ooooohhhh!*

*Unngghh…the offering needs to get in…mmmmm…it’s pushing harder and harder…it feels the
quivers from the walls… ohhhh…let the walls…hold on tighter…don’t let the offering escape…yes,
yes, that’s it…*

*Ohhhhhh…the walls are trembling…the quake is almost here…hold up the walls…harder,
harder…ugnnhhh…*

*Ugnnghh…the offering is ready…yes, now…ohhhh, yesss… yessss…oh,Kathryn…ahhhhhhhhh!*

*Agghh…The walls are collapsing…mmmmm, yes,yes,yes…mmmmm… oh, Chakotay…
Chakot…Cha…yes!*

*******************************************

Pulses of satiated sighs broadcast throughout the subspace wavelengths over tens of lightyears.
Somewhere in the deep space of the Delta Quadrant, as she smiled with her own fulfilled
satisfaction,
Kes *knew* that her parting gifts had been accepted, and were now being shared.

*The best gifts are those that can be shared with others.* Kes was happy that her gifts to the
captain
and the commander would be appreciated to the fullest, and that they would make the long trip
back
to the Alpha Quadrant would be just a little bit more pleasant.
******************** There is good in every gift given in love **********************

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