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"The Game"
by GillyH
August 1997

Pairing: J/C
Summary: Chakotay's efforts to show Kathryn how vulnerable Voyager could be to an attack from within are successful, but stealth tactics become a game and a light-hearted distraction for them.
Notes An excuse for some J/C silliness at the very start of their budding relationship. Written when the characters were a lot more light-hearted in my minds eye, so this seemed possible in my J/C world.

Disclaimer: Paramount and the ViaBorg own all the characters taking part, but the story is mine - all mine! I'm not making any money off this, just having some fun. If you'd like to reproduce this story anywhere, please feel free to do so, but retain my name, my title and this disclaimer.


"The little copper-haired witch!"

She'd done it again! Despite all his precautions, she'd magically waltzed through his security lock-out's, gained entry to his quarters and triple tucked his bed for the third time. How the HELL had she done it this time? Using the transporters was against the rules. She wouldn't... would she? No, Not her. Kathryn might be a witch on wheels at the moment, but she'd never break the rules.

"Chakotay to Janeway."

"Janeway here. Is there something I can 'undo' for you Commander?"

"Only my bed, Captain. I give up, where do I start this time?"

"Top left hand side, third knot should do it, Commander. Sweet dreams."

She broke the Commlink and Chakotay growled in frustration. "I'll give you 'sweet dreams'. Just let me wrap my hands around your sexy, elegant neck and SQUEEZE!"

He set about unknotting and untucking five white sheets - all the while muttering to himself about what he was going to do to his Captain, in full and final settlement of this latest prank. He was too tired to give it the thought and attention it deserved now, but tomorrow... tomorrow was another day. Finally reaching the blue base sheet, he collapsed onto it, pulled some of the other sheets over himself and immediately slipped into sleep.


In the quarters next to Chakotay's, Kathryn sat cradling a celebratory Coffee in both hands, a triumphant smile lighting her face. Lifting her cup towards their party wall she murmered,

"Sweet dreams, my darling."

She sipped at her drink and after a while, she smiled again - more softly this time. Her eyes drifted shut as she imagined him finally slipping into sleep, his handsome face in repose, his dark, brown eyes closing, his muscular frame relaxing into the mattress as he dreamed of her, completely, blissfully unaware of ...

"Chakotay to Janeway, RESPOND, DAMMIT!"

"Janeway here."

"Very funny, Kathryn. You realise this is war. The safeties are off from now on, so watch your back because this Maquis doesn't play by the rules anymore. Goodnight, I love you, although I don't like you very much at the moment."

He broke the commlink.

"I love you too, Chakotay."

Maybe hiding heat sensitive watercache pads under his base sheet had been a bit harsh?

"I bet it cooled his ardour a bit, though."


The time is 0600HRS. Wake up, Commander - The time is 0600HRS. Wake up, Commander.

"Computer, re-set alarm, 24 hours."

Chakotay groggily made to swing his legs over the side of his bed and winced. Why did he ache so much? Why was he on the couch? His foggy mind tried to recall... Oh, of course - now he remembered. Last night.... He'd finally unknotted the sheets and collapsed into a deep sleep only to wake-up minutes later feeling cold and wet - very wet.

His first instinct had been to turn over and look up, expecting to see a leaking roof - but there was no sign of any leaks or drips, anywhere. Jumping up and stripping away his soggy base sheet, he'd found two large, heat-sensitive watercache pads, the type used for automatically watering soil grown plants in the arboretum - they'd burst open. He'd seen them before and Kes had explained that when the air around the plant reached a certain pre-programmed temperature, the bags ruptured and moistened the soil, thereby maintaining a required humidity. Very clever!

After a lot of swearing and slamming around trying to get himself under control, he'd calmed down enough to advise Kathryn to watch her back. Then shivering, he'd quickly donned 'Fleet sweats to keep warm, stripped his bed, leaned his wet mattress over a warm air vent and gone to sleep on the couch.

He sat gingerly on the couch now, rubbing his eyes. Man, was she going to pay for these aching muscles. She was going to wish she'd never been born!

To ease his aches he took a very hot shower, allowing the high pressure jets to massage away the discomfort. He washed his hair, combed it into place and cleaned his teeth before drying off properly and donning his uniform and his boots.

He couldn't face breakfast so he ordered a cup of hot, sweet tea from the replicator and carried it to the couch. He took a few sips and let the refreshing brew clear his head a little, before he sat back and got comfortable. Suddenly, his door chime rang.

Who could that be at this time ...?

Stupid question.

"Come-in, Kathryn."

She breezed in looking relaxed, well rested and gorgeous. Dressed in her sharply creased uniform, every hair smoothed into place and wearing a smile that said 'Butter wouldn't melt."

"Good morning, Chakotay."

She glided over and perched on the arm of the couch right next to him. Taking his face in her hands she tilted his head backwards and kissed him on the mouth so slowly and deliberately, it wasn't long before he realised he was becoming aroused and pulled away.

"Good morning, love," he smiled in spite of himself, still relishing being able to call her that.

Looking over towards his bed and then at his upended mattress, she smiled back at him and said, sweetly,

"Oh dear, did you have a wet dream or something?"

Before he could make a grab for her or reply, she stood up and moved towards the replicator.

"Do you mind if I help myself to coffee - I'm out of credits?"

He took a deep breath. She was unbelievable!

"No, please do." He let the breath out in a heavy, resigned sigh.

He watched her sidle towards him, coffee cup in hand, but instead of joining him she continued on around the back of the couch and ruffled his neatly combed hair before heading out. Over her shoulder she winked and called out, "Sorry, can't stop. Duty calls."

He didn't know whether to laugh or cry.


That same day, Chakotay joined Kathryn in the Mess Hall for a late lunch. Neelix had managed to put together a reasonable looking selection of foods and they both stood at the serving hatch, trying to decide what to have.

"The roasted vegetable ratatouille and ciabata bread, please Neelix - it looks delicious."

"Thank you, Commander. I think you'll enjoy it, it's certainly been very popular. And what can I get for you today, Captain?"

"I'll have the same, Neelix. I usually end up wishing I'd chosen the same thing as the Commander anyway, so another bowl of ratatouillle and a ciabata bread, please."

Turning around with her tray, Kathryn spotted Chakotay already sitting at a table in the far corner and joined him.

"How is it?"

"Very, very good - not a piece of Leeola root in sight and the bread is out of this world."

They sat in companionable silence for a while, both enjoying their lunch. Half-way through his, Chakotay put down his fork and took a drink of water.

There were only three other people eating at a table on the far side of the room, but keeping his voice low he said,

"The watercache pads were a nice touch, Kathryn. I'll have to site-to-site transport my mattress and screen out the water to get it completely dry. How the hell I'm going to do that without Paris and half the crew finding out, I don't know?! I can just hear the sorts of comments that go with a wet mattress. Still, I'm impressed."

"Why, thank you Chakotay, I guessed you'd appreciate it. Are you ready to give in yet."

"No way, Maquis never surrender."

"You surrendered to me over three years ago, you even destroyed your ship to help save Voyager - what's the difference?"

"I didn't know you then, but I do now. This is personal. I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of winning. Besides, I'm still enjoying the game. Will you have dinner with me this evening, in my quarters? Don't worry, I promise to call a truce for the duration."

"Yes, I'd like that. I've got some Cognac, shall I bring it?"

"As long as it's not drugged."

"Chakotay! I'd never do that. Why ruin an excellent Cognac? I'll abide by the truce too, I promise."

"Okay, 20:00HRS my quarters. Wear that little green dress - the one with a belt - and leave your hair down for a change."

"I'll wear the little blue dress- the one without a belt - and I'll wear my hair UP."

He grinned at her and mentally gave himself a huge pat on the back. He adored the little blue dress without a belt and the joy of Kathryn wearing her hair up was that he got to take it down.

"Alright, I don't mind what you wear, just try and be on time for a change."

She smiled back at him and nodded.

They finished their meal and headed back to the Bridge.


AT 19:55HRS Chakotay finished setting the table, then lit the candles in the centre of it and the ones around the room, too. He dimmed the lights right down and as he poured the wine, he asked the computer to playback the soft jazz piano music he'd chosen earlier.

He was just arranging the salad bowl and the bread basket on the table when his door chime rang out. Crossing the room, he collected a flower from where he'd left it and keyed open the door where-upon his nose was immediately treated to the fresh, delicate perfume of vanilla-shampoo and soap. As his eyes focused and took in the rest of his visitor, he was relieved to see that she hadn't pulled a double-whammy on him and worn the green dress after all. She looked gorgeous in his favourite pale-blue dress and with her hair up in a soft chignon.

"Chakotay, if you've finished the inventory, I'd like to come in now."

"I'm sorry, Kathryn. You look beautiful. Please, come in. For you...."

He pulled the rose out from behind his back and presented it to her, with a shy smile.

"Aww, that's sweet. Thank you."

She took the rose, inhaled it's perfume and smiled up at him. He fell in love with her all over again in that moment and all thoughts of revenge and 'The Game' evaporated. He couldn't even remember how the damn thing had started right now. Pulling her into his arms he kissed her slowly and deeply until she couldn't take it anymore and wriggled to be set free.

"Chakotay, you're crushing my rose!"

"Alright," he laughed. "I'll let you go - for now. Would you like a glass of wine before dinner, it's quite a nice red?"

"Yes, please. What are we having to eat, I'm famished?"

He moved to the table, picked up a glass of wine and passed it to her as he listed the 'menu'.

"Fresh melon, followed by Pasta quills with four cheeses and crisp garden salad, some more of Neelix's Ciabata bread and chocolate-orange mousse, for dessert. How does that sound?"

"Wonderful! How do you manage to make your credits last so long. Mine ran out two days ago?"

"I collect a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit from Kes to prepare myself, and I don't drink coffee until it's coming out of my ears - that's how."

He took a sip of his wine and joined her on the couch.

"My, aren't we domesticated! I'm glad I snapped you up before anyone else on the ship noticed your talents."

"Ah, but I have many talents, Kathryn. I really cook in other areas too."

She chuckled, "Well, I wouldn't know about that, but I'll take your word for it."

He reached over and took her glass out of her hand, placing it on the low table in front of the couch, beside his own.

"You don't have to take my word for it... Come here and I'll demonstrate."

Slipping his hands around her waist he pulled her towards him, turning her sideways and onto his lap. His lips covered hers and five seconds later, the sensible protest she had in reserve packed it's bags and left - without leaving a forwarding address.

She had to admit he was a wonderful kisser and that his lips definitely lived up to their sensual promise. After a few moments she felt him deepen their kiss and reach a hand up to pull the pins from her hair, uncoil it and slide his fingers through it. Oh, well - as long as she'd put it up for a reason. Soon, she felt him slowly abandon her mouth, move his lips to her jaw and flutter down her neck and linger there as his hand stroked up and down her bare arm before rising to her left breast and then the alarm bells began to jangle. This was too wonderful and too soon. Their relationship was too new.... "Chakotay, ah... I think... I think we'd better stop now." Opening her eyes and looking up into his amused ones, she blushed and tried to catch her breath.

"I'm really hungry, even after Neelix's delicious ratatouille earlier, I really hope he cooks that again soon. Could you serve the melon while I pour us some more wine and tidy my hair, it won't take a minute?" She was babbling and they both knew it.

He smiled, gently caressed the side of her face and whispered,

"I'm sorry. Too much?"

"No, don't be sorry - it's me, I'm getting there, I'm just not quite ready yet. Come on, lets eat, I really am hungry."

Much later, after they'd joked and messed about spoon feeding each other chocolate-orange mousse, they took their coffee and Cognac to the couch and collapsed in contentment.

"I'm not sure if I can give Special Commendations for 'Feeding the Captain, above and beyond the call of duty' - but I'll look into it."

"Forget the Commendation, Kathryn. Just promise me you'll never hide watercache pads in my bed again. I sleep on my stomach and I could have drown in my sleep!"

They dissolved into fitful giggles, which only eased when Kathryn settled against his chest, snuggling up to him.

When she was settled, Chakotay played with her hair as they talked. "Kathryn, I can't even remember how the game began. Can you?"

"Um... let's see now... You'd been my First Officer for about three months when you made some 'challenging' comments in that report about me being totally unprepared for a covert attack from within the ship. Your reporting style was refreshing, to say the least. You said and I quote,

'One determined, trained terrorist could run rings around the security systems on this Raft. Until you personally understand terrorist mentality and ethics - or lack thereof - there's little hope of you successfully directing a counter-action against just such an attack - particularly from the confines of a squeaky clean and isolated Starfleet Bridge, using squeaky clean and isolated Starfleet methods. In short, Captain - you sometimes have to get down and roll around in the mud to truely understand your enemy.'

"Kathryn, that photographic memory of yours is amazing."

"To be fair, it was a memorable report. Even Tuvok was impressed. Obviously I couldn't let it pass without showing you the error of your ways, but what with one thing and another - like Seska 'running rings around us' for instance, your schooling had to take a back seat. I never forget a report, though.

"We eventually worked on the problem areas together and you taught me a lot about thinking like a terrorist, but...yes, somehow it's degenerated into a game of tag between the two of us. Every few months, I crack your security codes and break into your quarters to play a prank on you, a little while later you break into mine and play one back on me. I'm sorry I've stepped things up recently, but I couldn't resist. Falling in love with you has had an effect on my sense of humour. The last time I checked, I was winning 10-8 by the way."

"Pretty juvenile stuff, really."

"Great fun, though!" they said, simultaneously.

"I remember my report and Seska proving me right, later. I remember giving you pointers and us working together and testing the systems, but I can't remember exactly how and why it turned into our little 'game' after that. Never mind, as long as we're both still enjoying ourselves, that's the main thing."

"I agree. Chakotay... can you kiss me now, without getting carried away again?"

"Is that a challenge?"

"Um... yes, I suppose it is."

"I'll try, but what if I can't?"

"I win another point in the game."

"Oh, no you don't! You'd have an unfair advantage."

Kathryn briefly adopted a Southern belle accent. "Oh, but sir, I have been told by many men that my advantage is beyond fair."

"See what I mean" Chakotay grinned, impressed. "No, I'll take dinner on your credits next week sometime if I win - if I lose, I'll cook again."

"Alright. Of course some people might say you were in a 'Win-Win' situation!"

After a few minutes silence Kathryn sat up, smiling smugly and Chakotay managed,

"So, Pasta and salad again?"


The next morning, Chakotay got up early. After a hot shower, he dressed in black pants, a white T-shirt and a black v-neck sweater. He wasn't on duty until 1300HRS but he had some thinking and some programming to do.

Leaving his quarters, he headed for Holodeck 2. Passing Kathryn's door enroute he briefly considered over-riding her doorlock and waking her with a kiss and a fresh cup of coffee, but then thought better of it. They hadn't said goodnight until the early hours and she could probably do with an extra hour of sleep because she was on duty later this morning. Apart from that, their relationship was only about a month old and he wasn't sure how she'd react.

At the Holodeck, he requested his newest program and entered. The woods and hills of New Earth welcomed him with a bright, sunny day and a light breeze that caressed his face and just ruffled his hair. He did all his best thinking here. When he'd first started work on the program a few weeks ago as a surprise for Kathryn, the memories had been bitter-sweet, but he'd persevered and now he was very glad that he had.

He strolled towards the shelter, opened the door and went in. For a split second, he saw and heard a ghost of Kathryn, her head thrown back, laughing her throaty laugh and telling him that he had wood shavings in his hair again.

Smiling at the memory and sitting down in his chair and facing the door, he automatically but gladly experienced other memories of things that had happened in their New Earth living room.

The electricity between them as he massaged her aching shoulders - her escape to her room, quickly followed by their 'defining parameters' talk, when he'd told her his 'Angry Warrior' legend. Holding hands until she broke the spell and got up to make tea. Talking for hours and agreeing to take things slowly - to get to know Kathryn and Chakotay. They had the rest of their lives didn't they?

They did. Until Tuvok's voice had taken it all away from them.

He smiled again - a little sadly this time as he remembered returning to the ship.

He'd assumed that she was committed to building a personal relationship with him, even back on Voyager. But the shutters had come down with lightening speed. It was as if they'd never had that late night conversation. She was his Captain again and that was that. He moved through his duties on auto-pilot for a long, long time. If it hadn't been for B'Elanna taking him to the Holodeck one day and literally knocking some sense into him, he might have still been at that impasse.

Damn, but that girl had a temper on her!

Then over a year later, just after he nearly lost Kathryn again - this time for real to the Borg and species 8472 - she'd come back to him alive, but changed. Her terrifying experiences had changed her. She no longer belived herself to be infallable, self-reliant and self-sustaining. Her famous confidence and the familiar, steely glint in her eyes were gone.

The day she came back, she summoned him to her quarters and asked him to give her another chance to build a personal relationship with him. She asked so meekly, hesitantly and fearfully that he'd done the unthinkable and said, 'No'. He'd actually pushed her away.

Something told him that if he allowed himself to accept her this way, she'd be a meek, hesitant, fearful Kathryn Janeway forever. She wasn't the woman he'd fallen in love with anymore and he didn't want that life for her. He could see how changed she was by what had happened to her on the Borg cube, but he and Voyager needed the other Kathryn - not a pale imitation hiding behind her First Officer's strength.

It had worked, but at a terrible cost to himself.

She was stunned at first - incapable of believing that he'd turn her down. Next had come tears of shame at his rejection and then finally, she'd found her anger. From somewhere she found the physical strength to haul off and slap his face so hard that he'd been rocked back on his heels. Hating himself, but knowing what needed to be done, he slapped her back - not hard, but enough to bring a look of total shock to her eyes. After that, all hell had broken loose. Grabbing anything that came within reach - ornaments, pictures, padds, cushions, glasses, and boots, she erupted into an incandescent rage and threw anything that came to hand at him, all the while screaming at him to get out of her quarters and out of her life.

When she ran out of things to throw she crossed the room and tried to push him through the door. Seeing that a lot of the old Kathryn was back, he took another tremendous risk and yelled at her that she needed him, that she couldn't run the ship without him - she just didn't have the guts the crew needed anymore! She went very still and very quiet. In an intense whisper she told him again to get out, before she called Security and had him thrown in the Brigg!

He left then. He went to Tuvok and explained everything to him and asked him to cover his duty shift while he finished what he'd started.

Returning to his quarters, he tried and failed to meditate and waited for her to make the next move. He didn't have to wait too long. Very early the next morning, his door chime rang and he called out for her to come in.

Meeting her half-way across the room, he saw that the old Kathryn was back. She looked very tired, but the familiar, steely glint in her eye was there and her whole demeanour and her posture shouted that she was the Captain of the Federation Starship, Voyager.

She Spoke before he could. She told him that it was unacceptable for him to re-jigg the duty roster without her express permission and that she expected to see him at duty call. Then, she looked him straight in the eye, smiled sadly and quietly said, "Thank you, Chakotay."

He grinned in relief, but he had to take one more risk before he could let her leave. Taking her hands in his he said,

"Don't go Kathryn. Stay a moment, please. I want you to know, you've never been alone, even when I've disagreed with your decisions. I've always understood that it's your job to take the final decision, but you have to at least consider my suggestions - not just dismiss them out of hand. Never forget that it's my responsibility to bring you options. I also have to tell you that until now, it's been enough for me to just be there for you, to help you in this huge task you've set yourself - to get us home, but now, I need you to remember this too..."

He pulled her into his arms and kissed her, breaking the contact only slightly to tell her that he loved her between kisses. She didn't struggle against him, but returned his kisses with a passion that left him breathless, until finally she broke down and told him that she loved him too.

And that was where they were now - just over a month later. In love with each other but not lovers, yet - not in the sexual sense of the word. Kathryn had told him about Justin, about the circumstances of his death, and the loss of her father in the same shuttle crash, and how she was terrified that she might lose him and needed to face her demons for a while longer before they took the next step. He was more than happy with what they had for now. To know that she loved him was enough, and he wouldn't rush her for worlds. She'd let him know when she was ready.

But he was allowing himself to be distracted. He was really here to update the program and to think about 'The Game'. He was 10-8 down and Kathryn was expecting a counter-attack to the knotted sheets and the water-cache pads. He knew their 'game' couldn't go on forever, but he wasn't willing to concede defeat yet - not by a long chalk.

So, what was he going to do? Nothing yet, that was for sure. He was going to make her sweat for at least two weeks. When he did make his move, she was going to be almost at screaming point.

An hour or so later, he was walking through the wood, congratulating himself on his game ideas and his programming skills when his commbadge chirruped.

"Janeway to Chakotay... I'm outside the Holodeck. Can I come in?"

"Of course you can."

He headed back over towards the exit. She was leaning against the edge of the bathtub when he found her - a wistful expression on her face.

"Hello, haven't we met somewhere before, young lady?"

She laughed.

"Oh, you I like! You can flatter me until the sun sets."

She walked towards him and slipped her arms around his neck, going up onto tip-toe to kiss him.

"Good morning, Chakotay."

"Good morning yourself, Captain."

"Oh, now you've blotted your copy-book. I might be in uniform but I'm not on duty for another twenty minutes."

He hugged her to him, holding her tight. He sometimes had to remind himself that he wasn't dreaming and the New Earth setting wasn't helping any either.

"Okay. Good morning, Kathryn."

"Much better. What are you doing here so early? I called by your quarters to steal some coffee."

"You could have helped yourself - you know that."

"I know, but it's no fun if you're not watching. So?"

"I needed to think, and I think best here.

"I won't pry and ask you what about. Was I in there somewhere, though?"

"You've crossed my mind more than a few times, yes. Come with me, there's something I need to get out of my system."

"Chakotay, I only have about fifteen minutes...."

"This won't take that long."

Grinning broadly, he took her hand and pulled her in the direction of the river. Cutting through a perfect reconstruction of their favourite meadow, filled with buttercup and bluebell type flowers, he eventually brought her down to the water's edge where celendines, marsh marigolds and daisy's thrived under dense shrubbery. He stopped suddenly.

"Close your eyes, Kathryn. Keep them closed, until I tell you to open them."

He lead her slowly forwards for about thirty paces.

"Okay, you can open them now."

Opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was a small sailboat, painted white and bearing the name, 'The Lazy Kate' in emerald green script.

"Oh my, Chakotay - she's beautiful!"

"Thanks. I thought it was about time I kept my promise. I programmed her this morning."

"And the name...?"

"All those rainy mornings spent watching you curled up in a chair with your third cup of coffee, I'm afraid."

She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, again.

"I love you."

"I love you, too. If I'd known one little boat would get that sort of response, I'd have programmed it a lot sooner."

"We don't have time now, but can we go for a sail in her, later. How about this evening?"

"My shift finishes at 20:30HRS. Will you still be awake?"

"Of course I will. What If I meet you here at 21:00HRS. I'll ask Neelix for a light, cold supper for us."

"Okay, I'll fit you into my schedule Captain - speaking of which, you'd better hustle, 'Lazy Kate'."

She kissed him again, turned and ran towards the exit.


Two and a half weeks later, Chakotay was ready to retaliate for the sheets and watercache prank. Kathryn was as jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof - and getting jumpier.

He'd set his alarm call for 05:45HRS and after a cup of sweet tea he showered and dressed ready for duty. He wasn't due on the Bridge until 0700HRS but he had something to do first. He knew that Kathryn had an early morning brain-storming session with B'Elanna and the Doctor to try and find a way to extend the life of the Gel-packs or maybe even attempt to make new ones. She'd have to leave her quarters by 05:55HRS to get to Engineering by 0600HRS.

He asked the computer to tell him where Kathryn was.

"Captain Janeway is in Main Engineering."

"Okay, Kathryn. Showtime!"

Exiting his own quarters, he hung around for a minute to make sure the coast was clear, then entered Kathryn's security code.

"Access denied."

He tried eight more increasingly complex codes. Each one was rejected.

"Oh, so you're finally learning! Alright, I warned you...."

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out an illegal Maquis device. Clipping it over the access-panel, he tapped a few buttons and checked the corridor while it made whirring and tinkling noises. Suddenly, it beeped and flashed up a code.

"Well that was a piece of cake, Kathryn. Nice try though."

He quickly checked the corridor one last time and entered. Once inside, he crossed to her bedroom closet and opening the doors took out her spare uniform. When he'd finished with it, he put it back exactly right and closed the closet door again.

After checking that he hadn't left any tell-tale signs anywhere, he quickly left her quarters and re-set the security code on her door. He had time for breakfast before he was due on the Bridge and his nervous energy made him feel suddenly hungry. Smiling an enigmatic smile, he headed for the Mess Hall.


At 0630HRS the next day, Kathryn rang Chakotay's chime and when he didn't answer, let herself in. She started to call out his name, then realised that she could hear running water and his clear, strong voice belting out an old Earth song. He was pretty damn good too! She'd have to get him on stage for the crew on Talent Night.

She moved to the bathroom and peeped around the door jamb. She couldn't see anything though, the Shower cubical glass was frosted and steamed up.

"Hi! Want me to do your back."

"KATHRYN! For crying out loud - don't do that. You scared the life out of me!

"Do you want tea or coffee?"

"Tea, please. I'll be out in a minute."

"Are you sure you don't want me to do your back?"

"Put-up or shut-up! Kathryn? Are you still there?"

"No, I left an hour ago. Nice glutes, by the way."

She left him to his shower, moved to the replicator and ordered tea, milk and sugar for him and black, strong coffee for herself. As she moved to the couch, she heard the shower shut off and more singing mixed with some whistling. She sipped her coffee and waited for him.

She sat up suddenly, with an "Ooh". Her inner elbow was itching like crazy. She put down her cup and raked the area with her nails through her uniform, which just made the itch worse. Gods, now her leg was itching. Scratch, scratch, itch, itch. It stopped as suddenly as it started. She picked up her cup again.

Chakotay emerged from the bathroom fully dressed in his uniform, hair neatly combed into place and smelling wonderful. He sat beside her and she leaned over to meet his kiss.

"You smell gorgeous, What is it?"

"Just a new fragrance for shampoo and soap I found in the replicator - number 114, if I remember correctly. I'm glad you like it."

"I loved your singing too. How about giving us a song or two on Talent Night?"

He almost choked on his tea.

"Absolutely NOT! Paris would never let me live it down. Anyway, singing in the shower is completely different to singing on a stage. The accoustics are perfect in a shower - even you sound good, I've heard you through the wall often enough."

"Cheek! I could arrange for a working shower to be dragged onto the stage?"

"No! And that's final."

She considered sulking, but he wasn't even remotely susceptible to that sort of behaviour. She knew he'd just laugh at her.

"Only death is final, Chakotay. I'm going to get you on that stage, somehow! So, how did you sleep last night - after our second boatride down the river?"

"Wonderfully well, thank you. How about you?"

"Yes, me too. We'll have to do that again soon, when we've got a lot more time. Speaking of time, I'd better head for Engineering - I'm meeting B'Elanna again and we're making real headway with the Gel-Pack problem."

She got up, bent down to kiss him, gave him her empty cup and headed for the door, frantically scratching her arm again.

"Thanks for the coffee, I'll see you on the Bridge, soon . Bye."

He grinned. As soon as she'd gone he pushed their cups into the recycler, gathered up a small bag and exited his quarters. He checked up and down the corridor and used the Maquis device to access Kathryn's quarters again - he only had about fifteen minutes before he was due on the Bridge. Crossing straight to her bathroom he opened the shower cubicle and got to work. When he'd finished he stepped right back and looked at the cubicle ceiling from all angles. Good, his handiwork was unnoticable. A little steam though and that would change!

He took a used towel from her laundry basket and wiped out the shower base and the floor- he didn't want to leave tell-tale boot prints. Replacing the towel, he quietly left her quarters and headed for the Bridge.


Chakotay had been on the Bridge for two hours when Kathryn arrived. She entered looking a little flustered and scratching at her arm. After calling "Good morning" to everyone, she nodded to Chakotay and swept into her Ready Room.

He gave her a few minutes, then handed the Bridge over to Paris.

He went straight in. She was sitting at her desk, staring at something on her screen but absent mindedly scratching at her arm and then her leg.

"Here are the first crew evaluations you asked for Captain. Captain?"

"What... Oh, sorry Commander. Crew evaluations... right."

"We both break at 1300HRS for lunch today. Will you join me in my quarters - my treat?"

"Yes, I'd love to. Um...Can we make it 1315HRS though, I've got something to take care of first?"

"Fine by me. I'll see you on the Bridge before then though."

He nodded to her, turned and left. They'd already discussed their behaviour on duty and decided it would be better if they kept it strictly professional. No kisses in the ready-room or his office, no special smiles or waves - even when they were alone in those places. That way they'd be less likely to slip up in front of anyone.

An hour later, Kathryn left the ready-room and took her Chair.

"Report, Commander?"

"All systems fully operational, Captain. Neelix had a small explosion in the kitchen, but everything's under control now and B'Elanna says she's ready to start running routine diagnostics on the transporter rooms."

"Thank you, Commander. Janeway to Torres. B'Elanna, you can start the Transporter Room diagnostics now, but don't forget that Gel-pack report for the Doctor will you. I know you're really busy, but he'll need your input for his own report."

"No, Captain. I didn't forget - he received it fifteen minutes ago. Torres out."

Kathryn smiled at Chakotay. A smile that said, "That kid really worked out well."

He smiled back, pleased and proud of B'Elanna.

For the rest of the morning, Kathryn surreptitiously scratched at her leg and then at her arm. Nobody could have been more relieved when 1300 HRS finally arrived. When Tuvok and Davies returned from lunch, she handed over briskly and followed Chakotay onto the turbo lift. As soon as the doors closed she allowed herself the luxury of a good scratch - her arm was driving her crazy and her leg was catching up fast. Chakotay pretended not to notice, bless him.

When they reached Officer's quarters, Kathryn almost ran out of the lift.

"I'll see you in about fifteen minutes, Chakotay."

He watched her access her quarters and quickly entered his own. Crossing the living area he was soon leaning back against the wall that divided his and Kathryn's bathrooms. Soon, he heard the sound of running water. Then, an ear piecing scream that became a series of shocked shrieks and groans - then silence. Less than twenty seconds later his Commbadge chirruped.


By this time Chakotay had slid down the wall, and given in to his laughter.

Revenge was definitely a dish best served cold.

Twenty minutes later, Kathryn swept into his quarters. He tried to look apologetic but failed, miserably.

She'd managed to calm down a bit though, especially after she'd noticed that the things blocking the drain weren't moving and realised they were fake rubber spiders - extremely authentic looking, but fake.

Grabbing a cushion she rained blows on his hands as he tried to protect his head.

"I had Security knocking at my door you IDIOT! Someone reported screams coming from my quarters!"

Choking back his laughter he managed,

"What did you tell them?"

She threw the cushion at him in disgust. "What could I tell them?! I told them It was a Klingon Opera I was listening to. I'm sure they knew I was lying, I was blushing and stuttering like a schoolgirl !"

"They've probably heard you sing somewhere, they must have thought it was you." That did it, he couldn't hold back anymore - he completely lost it. The cushion attack was worth it. Itching powder in her spare uniform and rubber spiders glued to the shower ceiling with non-waterproof glue might be Starfleet Cadet stuff, but you couldn't beat the classics!

"When you've got yourself under control you can join me in the Mess Hall - and not before. I'm obviously not going to get any food or sense out of you here, am I!"

And with that, she swept out again with his laughter ringing in her ears.


The End