"What is it that you haven't told me Chakotay?" Kathryn’s voice is quiet to make sure the prying ears of her pilot aren’t able to catch the conversation she is having with the man sitting to her left.
“Nothing that I can discuss here.”
He looks up at her to see if she is serious. She is. He glances forward and looks momentarily at Tom Paris. The blonde lieutenant sat still, facing forward, pretending to concentrate on his duties. The two commanding officers knew better though. They have had three years to get to know their crew and their silent mannerisms, especially when they see that particular crewmember at least five days a week.
Glancing back at Kathryn, Chakotay sees that she understands what he meant by the nod of her head. Leaning over she tells him, “see you in ten minutes”. Straightening back up she stands and turns the Bridge over to Chakotay before disappearing into her ready room.
She waits until the door closes behind her before she rests her hands on her hips and lets out a heavy sigh. The fact that Chakotay knows something but is keeping this information secret from her is driving her crazy. It’s obviously something that has somewhat of a personal nature otherwise he wouldn’t go through all the secrecy with her. He would have just quietly told her right then when they were talking. Ordering a coffee from the replicator, she racks her brain trying to figure out what the secret message being kept from her could possibly be.
“You are still alive this morning so I can hazard a safe guess that the Captain doesn’t know that you know her ‘secret’.” B’Elanna can’t help but to tease her boyfriend.
“I don’t think she knows specific details at all, but on the Bridge this morning I could hear her and Chakotay talking. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear their exact words and I couldn’t turn around and look at them otherwise they would know I was listening.” Tom takes another drink from his mug as he reminisces about earlier that morning.
“Well how did they sound? Annoyed, amused, curious?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t tell. All I know is they were talking.”
“Speaking of our Command team, look who just walked in.”
Tom turns towards the doors to see Chakotay standing there alone. When he spots Tom & B’Elanna he walks over. “Commander” Tom greets politely. Chakotay just nods his head at him.
“Something the matter Chakotay?” B’Elanna asks.
Chakotay frowns as he pulls out a chair and sits down. “Kathryn knows I am keeping something from her and she won’t stop pestering me to tell her. I’m not going to be able to keep it from her much longer.”
“Chakotay she can’t find out. If she does, it’s my head she’s going to have.” Tom’s voice was almost a pitiful plea.
“Why would she have your head? You’re her token born-again Officer, along with the rest of us.”
“Because whenever it comes to anything embarrassing to her, my name is somehow always attached. I mean, seriously. Could I help it that I just happened to be in the same corridor, walking behind her while she hummed happily to herself and literally danced down the hall?”
“No but you didn’t have to flaunt the fact that you had a secret you were keeping.”
“I was glad to see her feeling happy for a change. She’s been so stressed that she really needed to feel good. You know what it’s like Chakotay. I knew that if others knew, perhaps their happiness would continue to rub off on her.”
“Well you forgot one tiny important detail.” Chakotay pauses for a moment. “She misses nothing on this ship. Just because she doesn’t know specifics right away, she has her way of getting the information eventually. And something like this you know is going to set her back months. She is going to berate herself for not staying professional in public.”
“but if she realizes that we don’t mind seeing her let her hair down, so to speak, once in a while then maybe she won’t beat herself up so much.”
The conversation is quickly interrupted by the sound of Kathryn’s strong voice over the ship’s internal comm system. “Lieutenant Paris and Commander Chakotay, report to my ready room please.”
The three senior officers look at each other, then stand up. “I’ll walk with you” B’Elanna says. They could feel everyone’s eyes in the messhall watching them as they leave.
Chakotay and Paris stand just inside the door, watching Kathryn as she paces back and forth on the upper level, her hands planted firmly on her hips, a frown upon her beautiful face. Finally she stops at the stairs and faces them. A padd is firmly in her grip, resting on her hip as well. She slowly shakes her head back and forth as she stares down the two officers. To her pleasure she sees Tom squirm slightly more, so she knows for certain now who the guilty culprit is. “Mr. Paris…” she starts coldly. “if word of this little….observance….of yours ever gets out, you will be cleaning the dilithium intake chambers for the next month with a rag. Is that understood?”
“Captain it really isn’t as bad as you are making it out to be. The crew would be elated to hear that you….”
“….got caught being un-Captain like on my own ship? I’m serious. What you witnessed is not to ever be mentioned again to anyone! Is that clear?”
“Is that clear Lieutenant?” Her words drove into him like ice picks. With a nod he swallows and replies confidently, “aye Captain.”
She gives a quick nod. “Dismissed.” After Tom leaves she turns her attention to Chakotay. “Wipe that smirk off your face Commander. It’s not funny. You should have told me about this the moment you found out about it. That’s part of ‘looking out for your Captain’.”
“So is making sure she knows that it’s okay to let yourself go sometimes. No one will think less of you if they see you feeling good for once.”
Kathryn tried to hold her glare, but seeing that dimpled smile and the affection in those large brown eyes of his ends up crumpling her guard in the end. Heaving a big sigh she turns and tosses the padd onto her sofa before covering her eyes with her hands. She can feel the flush of colour rising to her cheeks. “This is so embarrassing. Next thing you know Neelix is going to hear about this and insist I dance during the next talent show.”
“And hum.” Chakotay adds with a chuckle.
Kathryn throws him a disapproving look, but soon it melts away and she is joining him in his laughter.