VGR J/C P/T EMH/7 K/Ca
Categories: Ship, Het, Humor, Angst, Crack!Angst
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: Resolutions and Fair Haven. (I know, those two most decidedly do NOT go together. Read on.)
A/N: Written as my entry in Astrogirl's Tipsy contest, but it didn't really turn out the way I was originally thinking. I think it'll do for Secrets and Lies at Love Through the Years. Our beloved first officer has a secret he hasn't shared with anyone, not even the captain. Especially not the captain.
Credits: Thanks to Anne Rose for the beta.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, but Paramount doesn't love them like we do.
It started after New Earth. It hadn't been planned, certainly not planned, but that really wasn't an excuse. It was silly. It was juvenile. It was obsessive. It was, perhaps, even a little bit creepy. But he just couldn't seem to help himself. Help, in fact, was precisely what he needed.
Still, these thoughts couldn't stop him as he advanced across his bedroom. His conscience nagged at him as he opened the dresser drawer. There it was. Just for a moment, then he'd go. He had things to do.
But first, this.
Just for a moment.
A long, dull shift on the bridge. Kathryn was off duty. She was in the holodeck. Chakotay tried hard not to care if Fair Haven was running. Recreational time was good for her. The relationship with the hologram was good for her. She needed to forget about the ship every now and again. He wanted that for her; had even told her to go ahead. So why did it hurt so much? Why was he hoping that she was in Leonardo da Vinci's studio, or sailing on Lake George, or playing pool in Sandrine's?
He had told her that he had been with holograms. And he had. Well, a hologram. Just not on Voyager. Back before his Maquis days, he had found solace in the arms of a hologram after his relationship with Sveta had ended. It hadn't happened since.
Kathryn had stolen his heart quickly. Once he had met her, holograms just didn't hold his interest. He might flirt with one. Sandrine was certainly entertaining. But it never went further. It hadn't been a conscious decision; it just hadn't happened. What hologram could possibly captivate him as Kathryn had?
Even real women paled in comparison. Not that it mattered. After Riley, he swore to himself there would never be another. Kathryn had understood, but he had seen the hurt in her eyes. Never again could he do that to her. Acknowledged or not, she held claim to his heart.
She returned his affection. He knew that. They'd make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, and she would be his. Of that he was certain. The hologram was a diversion, and one she needed. He didn't need to fear that it could replace him and he shouldn't be wondering how far the physical side of that relationship had progressed. It was none of his business. She was not his wife; not his lover. In the future, that would change. But right now, she had every right to visit Fair Haven.
Dinner alone was not a pleasant prospect, but he didn't want to call her. If she was still in the holodeck, he didn't want to interrupt. He also didn't want to know. He certainly didn't want to see guilt in her eyes as they both searched for dinner conversation that did not include the day's activities.
So when Tom Paris offered an evening of poker, he jumped at the chance. It had been a while since they'd all played cards. He joined Neelix, Harry and the Doctor in Tom's quarters.
"What are we playing for this evening?" Harry asked. "I'm out of replicator rations."
"So am I," Chakotay admitted. He didn't mention that they had all been poured into the captain's favorite coffee mug.
"What happened to your rations, Harry?" Tom asked. "You always have rations."
"Lyssa Campbell happened to my rations." The ensign grinned sheepishly. "She had a birthday."
"Why Harry, the fair Ensign Campbell! I had no idea."
"It's not like that, Tom. We're just friends. But I owed her after - "
"Whatever you say, Harry. In any case, we won't be playing for replicator rations. B'Elanna and I had a little disagreement and I needed a peace offering."
"What is it with the women on this ship?" The Doctor shook his head. "Seven ended up with my rations."
"Doc?" Tom looked puzzled. "What would Seven be doing with your rations?"
He shrugged in reply and mumbled something about doctor-patient confidentiality.
"And Naomi got all of mine," Neelix added. "What happened to yours, Commander?"
"Same thing that always happens to his, Neelix. The captain's coffee." Tom laughed despite the first officer's warning look.
"We could play for holodeck time," Harry said.
Chakotay shifted uncomfortably. "I'm a little short there, too."
No one dared ask if the captain had anything to do with that.
"We'll use frat house rules." Tom produced a bottle that looked suspiciously like real alcohol. "Each loser does a shot."
"So, play to lose would be sound strategy," Neelix said. "Sounds good to me."
"What about the Doc?" Harry asked.
"Oh, don't worry about that." Tom grinned at the EMH. "I've got that covered."
"Don't worry, Commander." Tom held up the bottle. "This is synthehol, and as for the Doctor's brew, it will automatically be negated in the event of an emergency."
Chakotay accepted that, and they all settled down for a game of poker. Unfortunately for the first officer, his concentration wasn't entirely on the cards. Try as he might, he couldn't stop hoping for his combadge to chirp.
"Another drink, Chakotay?" Tom gleefully passed the bottle.
"This is a most fascinating experience," the Doctor was saying. "Inhibiting one's mental functions...it's quite, liberating. When done responsibly, of course."
Chakotay, Neelix, and the Doc all folded and took the obligatory drink quickly in the next hand. Tom looked pointedly at a rather inebriated Harry. "Let's make this interesting."
"What?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"Winner of this hand gets to ask a question. Any question. Loser has to give an honest answer."
Harry shrugged. "I don't have any secrets."
Tom smirked. "Call."
Harry laid down three aces.
Tom's smirk grew. He revealed four kings. "So, just how do you feel about Ensign Campbell?"
"Lyssa?" Harry smiled. "She's beautiful, intelligent, funny...I think I might be falling for her."
Tom grinned triumphantly. "I thought so."
Chakotay tried to ignore his jealousy at this announcement. Harry could have a relationship. He didn't have to remain silent while the woman he loved cavorted about the holodeck with an Irish bartender.
Another hand was dealt. The first officer forced himself to look at his cards. They looked promising. Perhaps with this round he could wipe the smirk off Tom's face.
Harry glanced at his cards. "I'm out."
"So am I." Neelix reached eagerly for the bottle. The hand he dropped clearly included a Queen.
"Well," said the Doctor. "I can see that Mr. Neelix has achieved his goal."
Tom raised the stakes. Both Chakotay and the Doctor remained. "Well, let's see 'em."
Chakotay took one look at Tom's cards and prayed he wouldn't ask about the captain.
"So, Doc, care to tell what's been going on between you and Seven?"
He was going to ask. Damn. Chakotay barely heard to Doctor's stuttering confession.
"Chakotay? Same question - "
"There is absolutely nothing going on between myself and Seven. I do not have that sort of interest in Seven, and I wish the Doctor all the luck in the galaxy."
"Chakotay - "
"I answered the question, Paris. Now deal again."
The cards were dealt.
Chakotay looked down in astonishment at an ace high royal flush. Now he had Tom. He tried not to grin. Everyone else folded. It was down to the first officer and the pilot.
"Read 'em and weep!" Tom announced.
"Not so fast, Paris."
Tom gulped at the royal flush. "Okay, ask away."
Chakotay watched Tom for a moment. What should he ask? He and B'Elanna were far from a secret. In fact, he was pretty sure he knew all of Tom's secrets. How could he make the pilot squirm? "So, Tom, loaded question."
"When you are a passenger on a shuttle, who would you rather have as a pilot. Me, or the captain?"
Tom laughed. The question hadn't had the desired effect. "Well, I'd have to choose the captain. I'd much rather watch her all day than you, old man."
Another hand. Chakotay looked down at another sure thing. Again, it was the first officer and the pilot. Again, a royal flush was laid upon the table. This time, though, it was Tom's.
"So, Chakotay..." Tom looked around the room. Everyone held their breath. The tension could have been sliced with a laser scalpel.
To his credit, Tom didn't ask about the captain. "What is the one thing in your quarters that you hope no one ever sees?"
The first officer swallowed. "A bottle of shampoo."
"You heard me."
"That's your answer...oh. So then - "
"No! We never...no." His voice was barely audible. "When we returned from New...that planet we were stranded on, it got mixed up with my stuff. I kept it. I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help myself. I kept it."
Kathryn returned from the holodeck. It was nice to drop her command mask every now and again, but being with Michael tended to remind her that she couldn't have the real thing.
She went to change for bed. No, she would not give in to that temptation tonight. Yet she felt weak in this moment. She opened her bottom drawer. Just tonight. Who would know?
She had just gotten settled when she heard the door chime. Who would it be at this hour? Probably Seven. She still hadn't grasped the concept of private time.
The door opened to reveal a very miserable first officer. Whatever he had to say, it wouldn't be good. She braced herself and waited to find out what crewmember was dead.
"Kathryn...I owe you an apology." He held up a bottle of shampoo. Her shampoo. "I'm sorry, Kathryn. This...I kept this, after New Earth."
He looked so ashamed it made her heart ache.
"I think you'd better come in, Chakotay."
He followed her. "I know I shouldn't - "
"Shh. It's okay."
"No, I've - "
She untied her robe.
He stared, transfixed, at the sight. It was obvious that he recognized the clothes.
"You aren't the only one with souvenirs from New Earth, Chakotay."
Still, he was silent.
"Keep your souvenir, Chakotay. I don't want to give mine up either. And someday, well, someday we won't need these things."
"No, someday we won't."
"In the meantime, care for some tea?"
"There isn't anything I would like more."
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, August 2002.