Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Summary: From Naomi’s perspective, her thoughts and wishes on her birthday. Written for liselem birthday
Author’s Notes: Special thanks to Audabee, Debster and Shayenne for the beta.
Prompt Number for fic101: list 2 - 94 - sweet
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
“This is so great!” Naomi spun around, trying to take in all of the brightly decorated Mess Hall.
Different coloured streamers had been spiralled together to form one larger streamer, which was then hung up across the room. A large ‘Happy Birthday’ sign festooned a wall. They were the same decorations from last year but Naomi didn’t care. Scattered around the room were tables that had plates of party food and drink on them with a centrepiece of a bunch of balloons.
Some of the crew had replicated party food that they’d enjoyed when they were children instead of presents because of their meagre resources. Plates of fairy bread and chocolate crackles from Earth lay next to the more exotic spiced Bolian meatballs and Talaxian frog cakes. She couldn’t wait to try them all. Her mother had tried to get her to eat something for lunch but she’d refused. Naomi had wanted to leave room for all the wonderful party food.
Naomi was glad it was her birthday party. It would be a pleasant distraction from the stresses of the last three weeks. Every one had been feeling the pressure including her. She shuddered remembering the last terrifying battle.
Sam and Naomi had been jolted out of their beds and they’d held on to each other tightly as the ship rocked from the Equinox’s phasers and torpedoes. They’d been scared but quickly recovered to go to their red alert duty station, the Sickbay. It was the safest place on the ship. Sam had then assisted the Doctor in treating the wounded while Naomi had sat in the Doctor’s office.
Naomi was glad to stop thinking about that horrible time. She was about to get another present. Tom and B’Elanna were walking toward her.
“Happy Birthday, Naomi!” Tom and B’Elanna handed over a present.
Smiling, Naomi quickly ripped off the wrapping, dropping it on the ever-growing pile of gift paper to her side. The gift was a brand new Flotter Holodeck adventure program.
“Flotter has to find and cross the Coat Hanger Bridge.”
“Thank you so much!” Naomi jumped up and hugged them both. She really wanted a new adventure because she’d tried all the ones available in the database. Tom had created a brand new adventure just for her. It would be great fun going on a new adventure with her Mom or the Captain.
Since the shuttle crash that injured her mother, once a fortnight without fail, Captain Janeway had been doing a chapter of a Flotter adventure with Naomi. It was something she’d always looked forward to and she could tell that the Captain enjoyed it too.
“We’re so glad you like the present.”
“I can’t wait to try it out with my Mom or the Captain.”
Naomi couldn’t miss the change in expression on their faces when she mentioned the Captain. Although she didn’t know exactly what had happened with the Equinox, she could tell that the crew were still nervous around the Captain just as much as the Captain was with her crew.
Naomi wanted her party to make everyone feel happy just as they were before they had found the Equinox, but even though it had been two weeks since the other Starfleet ship had been destroyed, the mood on Voyager hadn’t returned to normal. There was still some tension and the normal lively chatter was only just starting to return.
Naomi wondered if this was because the crew were still angry with the Equinox crew. At first, they’d been happy to find another Starfleet ship that could’ve been their friend only to find out that they’d done some horrible things, killing aliens and trying to kill them and now they were here.
Naomi had spent a lot of time around in the Mess Hall with Neelix, and even she’d the rumour mill was running at warp speed. The main one being that the Captain had been very angry with Captain Ransom and had been on a very personal vendetta against him. She’d relieved Commander Chakotay from duty and some had even said something bad had happened in the cargo bay. A few of the more daring said she’d actually lost it.
Naomi realised there was a great deal the crew didn’t know but she could appreciate why the Captain had been very angry. Naomi tolerated her Mom’s explanations of what had happened and why - even though she understood a lot more about why Captain Ransom had turned bad than what the adults around her thought possible. They were just silly sometimes, treating her as if she was still small. Why, everyone knew that Ktarians developed faster than Humans!
She didn’t know if the rumours were true. Some were hard to believe but then again something wasn’t right either.
Naomi hoped that a journey through the Lewisham forest to find and cross the scary Coat Hanger Bridge might make the Captain smile again, or at the very least allow her to forget the pressure she was under even for a few hours. Spending time with the Captain as her Captain’s assistant, she knew how hard she worked. After doing the toughest job there was, all day, every day, for five years, without rest, maybe the Captain was entitled to make mistakes. She was only human after all and Naomi could forgive almost anything.
Tom shifted uncomfortably. “I’m sure she’ll love to, Naomi.”
B’Elanna looked toward the food, as if she were trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. “Have a great birthday, Naomi.” The engineer ushered Tom away.
Naomi wondered why B’Elanna had looked so awkward. She was Chakotay’s oldest friend on Voyager. Maybe she knew something about what really happened between the Captain and the First Officer to stop them being friends.
When the noise in the Mess hall dropped for a second, Naomi looked up. Commander Chakotay was walking toward her.
The extent of the strain on that friendship and again here was now evident as Chakotay entered the Mess Hall. Alone.
His coming alone hadn’t gone unnoticed by the crew either. Like the others, she was used to seeing the First Officer escort the Captain to practically all the ship’s social functions.
Naomi was very worried. She watched the crew’s furtive glances, their momentary hushed tones, and Chakotay’s attempts to ignore them as he walked toward her.
Chakotay knelt down and gave her a big hug. “Happy Birthday, Naomi.”
Chakotay looked at all the ripped wrapping paper on the floor beside her. “Do you like your presents?”
“Yes.” Naomi held up a beautiful polished blue stone pendant that hung around her neck so Chakotay could see. “Mom gave me this pendant and necklace.”
“It’s really beautiful.” He looked around at the tables of food, searching for his plate of food. “I hope you will try one of my cream buns.”
“Sure, Chakotay.” Naomi was about to show him more of her gifts when the Mess hall hushed completely again.
Captain Janeway had just walked into the Mess Hall with a present tucked under her arm. Naomi realized it was normal for her crew to straighten up and quieten down whenever their senior officer entered the room. It was a show of respect for her rank. Normally at a party, the Captain would have nodded and smiled and everyone would have continued talking but when the room continued to be quiet, Naomi took this as another indication of the crew’s edginess whenever Captain Janeway was around them.
The Captain looked around the room.
Naomi thought the Captain looked worried and a little nervous. She could tell she was making an effort to hide it, trying to make everyone comfortable by smiling.
“Please, at ease. Enjoy.” Kathryn then walked over to the guest of honour and drew her into a big hug. “Happy Birthday, Naomi.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
“I’m sorry I’m late.”
“It’s okay. I know you’re very busy.” With a big smile on her face, Naomi gladly accepted the Captain’s present. She attacked the wrapping with glee, ripping it off quickly. It was a book. The Ktarian children’s classic, Jehten’s Revenge.
Naomi’s eyes widened. She’d been nagging her Mom for ages to be allowed to read this adventure tale and now she had it. Her birthday was just getting better and better. “Thank you so much. This is just what I wanted.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
“I really do!” Naomi hugged her again.
As they hugged, the Captain’s stomach growled and they both laughed.
“I think I missed lunch.” The Captain looked around at all the food on the tables.
“So did I,” grinned Naomi then she glanced at Chakotay.
He had stepped aside when the Captain came toward her. The Commander looked just as uncomfortable as the Captain did when she’d first entered the Mess hall.
Naomi decided to see if sharing some food together would help them sort out whatever happened between them. “Captain, Chakotay has made some of his wonderful cream buns. I’m sure you’d like one and so will he.”
Naomi watched as the two senior officers looked at each other for a few seconds. They were deciding what to do. The Captain had always liked pastries and Chakotay’s sweet tooth was legendary on Voyager.
The captain nodded. “Lead the way, Commander.”
“Aye, Captain.” Chakotay ushered the Captain toward one of the tables.
For the next few minutes, Naomi mingled but continued to glance at the two officers. It took them a while to relax around each other but at least they were talking. She hoped that everything would work out.
Sam draped an arm around her daughter. “Naomi, it’s time to cut your cake.”
They walked toward an empty table in the middle of the room.
Her mother kissed Naomi on her head. “Don’t forget to make a birthday wish.”
“I won’t.” Naomi wondered about a birthday wish. It was hard because nearly all her wishes had come true. Tom and B’Elanna had given her the Flotter adventure and the Captain had given her the book, and she’d had other wonderful presents and food as well. She had her Mom and all her friends here. Although she had no other children her age to play with, she still had plenty of friends. Seven played Kadis-kot with her and she had sleepovers with Celes and the Delaney twins. There wasn’t much else she could wish for other than the near impossible, like Voyager getting home.
The crowd parted as Neelix brought in the birthday cake and Sam ordered the lights to decrease by fifty percent. The Doctor had his Holocamera at the ready.
It was a simple vanilla sponge cake decorated with sweet strawberries and cream. It was her favourite cake. The candles were sparkling brilliantly.
She looked around the room as Sam and Neelix began a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to you!’ When she looked at the Captain and Chakotay as they stood off to the side of the crowd still looking a little uncomfortable in each other’s presence, she knew instantly what her wish would be.
She wanted them to be friends again.
When the song ended, Naomi took a big deep breath and closed her eyes. After a second, she blew out all the candles with one almighty breath saying her wish in her mind.
Naomi smiled as the people clapped.
Neelix then cut the cake into pieces and handed them around.
Before long, the crew surrounded her, wanting to know what presents she’d received.
Naomi stole a moment to look around for the Captain and the Commander. She couldn’t find them and she hadn’t seen them leave but she didn’t mind. She wanted her wish to come true and so she hoped that they would work things out. They were closest thing to grandparents or an aunt and uncle she had and she only wished for them to be happy.
A year later:
Naomi finished putting the final touches on the Captain’s Get Well Soon card. She signed it at the bottom and placed it carefully in the envelope. She didn’t want to ruin her home made card. She’d stuck small paper flowers on top of a green border and all of this had been glued on to a plain bright yellow card.
Naomi was happy with how it looked.
Mezoti had also finished her card. “I have finished this activity.”
“I like your card.” Naomi gave Mezoti an envelope. “I’m sure the Captain will think it’s terrific.”
“Do you think so?” Mezoti watched how careful Naomi was in placing the card in its sleeve and she did the same.
Naomi nodded. “It’s very pretty.”
“I enjoy making things. It’s fun.”
“Me, too.” Naomi put her scrapbooking materials away in their box then looked at the wall clock. “Come on. We’ll just have enough time to give this to the Captain before going to my birthday party.”
Mezoti and Naomi picked up their envelopes and made their way to Sickbay where the Captain was recovering from an alien attack.
Voyager had been orbiting a planet. The Captain, Mr Tuvok, Neelix and Mr Vorik had been aboard the Delta Flyer going to the surface for the trade negotiations when it had come under attack. After a brief but vicious fight, they’d destroyed one of the two attacking alien ships but the other one had made a suicide dash for the Flyer hoping to destroy them. It had taken a last second manoeuvre by Mr Tuvok and a pinpoint accurate torpedo shot by Captain Janeway to avoid a catastrophic collision but the small ship couldn’t avoid the resultant explosion of the enemy ship’s warp core so close to them and they’d sustained heavy damage.
After a long fifteen minutes, Voyager had arrived at the location of the battle to find the Flyer adrift, without power and billowing plasma and fire. Naomi thanked her lucky stars that they were all alive and that Harry had been able to transport them all to Sickbay. The crippled Flyer had been tractored into the Shuttle bay.
Naomi hadn’t been allowed to visit the Captain for two days. Her mom had explained that they’d all been injured but would all survive. They had needed rest to recover.
Neelix had recovered quickly thanks to his sturdy Talaxian physiology, as did Mr Tuvok and Mr Vorik. The Vulcans had chosen to perform their healing meditations in privacy of their quarters. The Doctor hadn’t been happy with the Vulcans and he’d made them wear a cortical monitor so he could monitor them. That left the Captain alone in Sickbay. She’d been the most severely injured. When the alien ship was destroyed, she’d been operating the tactical console. It had exploded, sending burning shrapnel tearing through her body and slamming her against the console across the deck. Sam had told Naomi that the Captain would be in Sickbay for another two days much to the Captain’s annoyance.
As the girls entered the Sickbay, Naomi tried to grab Mezoti’s arm but missed.
Commander Chakotay was standing by the Captain’s biobed. His hand gently caressed her arm as he talked. For a second, Naomi would have sworn she heard him say something wonderful like ‘love you’ but she couldn’t be sure and the moment was lost after the girls had interrupted them.
The First Officer stepped back as Mezoti walked straight to the Captain.
Naomi was disappointed that she’d failed to stop the Norcadian. For the last six months or so, she’d been watching the senior officers, happy that they were friends again and perhaps more if the current main rumour was to be believed.
She followed Mezoti. The Norcadian charged straight up to the Captain and gave her the card, Borg style.
The Captain had no choice but to take the card. Mezoti had put it on her stomach with a fair amount of force causing Kathryn to flinch a little. “Thank you. Mezoti.” Kathryn tried to sit up but couldn’t. “Chakotay…”
Chakotay helped her sit up and put an extra pillow to support her sore back.
Naomi watched this exchange closely. It was cute that Chakotay wanted to put the pillow just right.
The captain smiled as she read the card. “It’s very beautiful, Mezoti. Did you make this yourself?”
Mezoti was happy, excited at the Captain’s approval of her work. “Yes. Naomi helped me.”
Naomi followed suit handing over her homemade card. “Captain, I hope you get well soon.”
“So do I, Naomi.” The Captain made of show of looking for the Doctor and pretending to be relieved that he wasn’t around to hear her say, “I don’t like it here.”
Her mother had told her stories of the Doctor’s frustration in trying to keep the Captain down for any sort of treatment and his inability to persuade her to stay beyond the bare minimum to treat her. To Naomi, the Captain looked fine but she could tell that she wasn’t ready to leave Sickbay if she needed help to sit up.
“Oh … how could I forget?” Kathryn smiled, “Happy Birthday, Naomi.”
Chakotay chimed in as well. “Happy Birthday from me too.”
“I’m sorry you can’t come to the party.” Naomi was a little disappointed but she was glad that she and the others were going to all right.
“Don’t worry. I have Chakotay here to keep me company.” The Captain reached out and touched Naomi’s arm, reassuring her. “If you come back here after your party with a slice of your birthday cake for us, I’ll give you your present.”
Naomi grinned widely. She always looked forward to the Captain’s presents.
“Chakotay, you know where the present is?”
Chakotay nodded. “Yes. I’ll be glad to get it for you.” Chakotay looked at the two girls. “I hope you both try some of my cream buns too.”
“I’ve told Mezoti all about them.”
“Good. You’d better go. You don’t want to miss out.”
“Naomi, don’t forget to make a wish.”
“I won’t, Captain. I’ll be back.”
“Okay.” The CO winced as she tried to get comfortable.
Naomi could see the concerned expression on the Commander’s face when he saw the Captain in pain.
Naomi wondered how he knew what the Captain wanted. She didn’t say anything but he knew exactly what she needed. He helped her lie back down on the biobed. The relief on the Captain’s face was plain to see. It must have been too painful for her to sit up.
The Captain saw her worried look. “It’s all right, Naomi. My back just started to hurt. I’m fine now.”
“Okay. Come on, Mezoti. Let’s go.” Naomi led the Norcadian out of Sickbay toward the Mess hall.
“Naomi, the Captain really liked our cards.”
“Yes, she did.”
“What did the Captain mean when she said ‘don’t forget to make a wish’?”
Mezoti and the other Borg children have been learning a lot since coming aboard Voyager but there were still a lot that they didn’t know. Mezoti knew nothing about the Norcadian home world or her culture other than the typically sterile Borg paragraph about their technology.
Naomi was happy to fill in the details. “It comes from Earth. When it’s your birthday, you have a birthday cake with candles on it. Do you remember Harry’s birthday?”
“The cake had candles that were lit. It’s a tradition in some cultures that as you’re blowing out the candles you make a wish.”
“What do you wish for?”
“Anything, but you’re not allowed to say what you wished for.”
“Because it won’t come true. It’s just the custom.”
Mezoti thought about it for a while. “Can I ask if your wish came true?”
“Yes, you can and it did come true.” Naomi had been so pleased that her wish came true. The Captain and the Commander had become friends again and life on board Voyager had returned to normal.
“Does that happen a lot?”
“Your wishes coming true.”
“It doesn’t happen all the time but I really wanted it to come true.”
The girls entered the Mess hall and immediately well-wishers surrounded Naomi, giving her presents.
It was another wonderful birthday party for Naomi. She received many wonderful gifts and ate lots of yummy food.
Naomi met up with Mezoti again an hour later. “Are you having fun?”
Mezoti had one of Chakotay’s cream buns in one hand and a cup of fizzy drink in the other. Still with her mouth half full, she happily replied, “I’m having a great time.”
“That’s great. Have you seen Azan and Rebi?”
“Yes. They are having fun too. They are with Tom and B’Elanna eating Neelix’s frog cakes.”
“Were they worried when Tom said frog cakes?”
“Yes, but then they laughed when Tom showed them what they really were.”
“Knowing the strange ingredients that Neelix sometimes puts into his food, I was worried at first too. But they’re very nice and similar to cakes that Mom says you can get on Earth.”
“That’s what Tom said.” Mezoti took sip from her drink. “Can I ask you something personal?”
“Sure.” Mezoti had only been on the ship for just over a month and she came to Naomi to ask questions that she thought Seven couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.
“Why did the Commander stop touching the Captain when we entered the Sickbay?”
“I don’t know.” Naomi thought about it. The girls had interrupted what seemed a tender moment. Maybe the officers hadn’t wanted to embarrass the girls “Maybe they were embarrassed. We are just kids.”
“I’ve noticed other couples like Mike and Jenny openly touching. Are they in love? They’re not just friends”
“Yes, they’re in love.” Mike and Jenny had been together for at least two years. She could tell where Mezoti was going with this. She really hadn’t thought about the Captain and the Commander in that way at all. They were like grandparents to her or her mother. It would be very strange for her to see them having a social life outside of looking after the crew.
Mezoti wondered out aloud, “Are the Captain and the Commander only allowed to be friends?”
“I don’t know why they can’t be more.” Naomi thought about it for a while. It could be that it has something to do with their positions on Voyager. “Maybe Starfleet won’t let them because she’s the captain.”
Mezoti shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense. They are so far from home. I wouldn’t want to be all alone for thirty years. I want a job. I want to fall in love with a wonderful man and have a family in that order.”
Naomi just couldn’t understand it either, agreeing with her friend.
Mezoti finished her drink then smiled. “It would be nice if they could be in love.”
“They remind me of my parents. I don’t remember much about them but they do look like them.”
Naomi watched as a smile grew on the Norcadian’s face.
“I know what I’m going to wish for when it’s my birthday.”
“Just don’t say your wish out loud.”
“I remember. I won’t. They have done so much for the others and me. It’s only fair that they are happy too.”
“That’s nice.” Naomi hugged Mezoti and she knew her friend was right. It didn’t make any sense to Naomi either. They had rebuilt their friendship and the morale on the ship improved.
When Naomi thought about them, she realized that they only had each other to talk to because of their age and their stature on the ship. They needed to be together for their sake as well as for Voyager’s. After what had happened these past few days, when they’d nearly lost their captain and the others, Naomi knew what she was going to wish for.
Naomi grabbed Mezoti’s hand. “Come on. It must be time for the cake.”
Naomi met her mother in the galley. She was arranging the candles on the cake.
“Great timing, Naomi. We’re just about ready.”
“I’ll wait over by the table.”
“Okay. Don’t forget to make a wish.”
“I won’t.” Naomi smiled and winked at Mezoti who smiled knowingly back.
Neelix carried the cake over to the table and started the crowd in singing ‘Happy Birthday to you!’
When it was time to blow out the candles, Naomi took a deep breath and again said her wish in her mind before blowing out all the candles in one shot. She just hoped that she’d wished hard enough as she’d done last year so that her wish would come true, like it had done last year.
After enjoying a slice of the vanilla sponge birthday cake with her mother and Mezoti, Naomi picked up two slices of cake and was about to leave.
“Where are you going, Naomi?” Her mother asked.
“I promised to take the Captain and the Commander a slice.”
“All right. Off you go.”
“Thanks, Mom.” Naomi left for the Sickbay.
She entered Sickbay through the Lab door instead of the main door because it was closer. She was just walking around the Doctor’s office when she stopped dead in her tracks.
Chakotay was tenderly kissing Captain Janeway on the lips. The Captain’s hands were cupping his face. They broke apart but her thumbs still stroked his face.
“I love you.”
“I love you too. Kathryn, I’m so glad you’re going to be all right.”
“I missed you.”
Naomi couldn’t move. She didn’t hear the rest. She didn’t want to interrupt as she’d done earlier but she was still shocked. Not because they were kissing or because they’d said they loved each other but because her wish had worked so quickly. She vowed to thank her mother for telling her of the birthday wish custom and she’d thank Pyotesh, a Ktarian goddess, for allowing her wishes to come true.
Naomi backed out quietly, leaving the same way she came in. She was so happy and she wanted to tell her Mom, Mezoti, and the rest of the crew but she knew she couldn’t tell anyone otherwise something might happen to make her wish not come true. She just wasn’t going to jinx it. It would just have to be her secret.
Naomi walked around to the main Sickbay doors and stood outside for a second before entering with a flourish. “Captain, here’s your cake…”