Written for the VAMB 2013 Ficlet Exchange. My recipient was JoAryn – thank you for the great beginning sentence.
A bored captain is an unpredictable captain, as Chakotay soon discovers.
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
Big thank you to Kim J for the beta. Hugs.
During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless parsec in the depths of the Delta Quadrant, while a sullen nebula pulsed oppressively before them, the ship had drifted idly on the stellar tides through this singularly dreary tract of space.
Kathryn glared out the window at the dull, unchanging view and Chakotay bit back a smile as he watched her silently goad the Delta Quadrant into doing something – anything!
But alas, nothing happened.
It appeared that the deity responsible for rescuing bored starship captains was busy elsewhere.
She turned towards him and he could have sworn she was pouting. This time, he couldn’t hide his smile.
Sighing, she flopped backwards onto the couch and Chakotay winced as her head hit the viewport with a dull thud. It must have hurt but she barely flinched.
He reacted for both of them.
“Ouch! Are you all right?” She lifted her head an inch and gave him a withering look.
Raising his hands in surrender, he muttered, “Okay, stupid question.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored in my life.”
She slumped back and her head bumped against the transparent aluminum again but this time Chakotay simply raised a questioning eyebrow.
Kathryn ignored him and stared at the ceiling of her quarters before waving a dismissive hand in his direction. “I know, I know. It had to be done. The engine overhaul was critical and the only option was to find a safe place to power down the core and drift. But God, I hate standing still. Aren’t you bored out of your mind?”
“How could I be bored watching you try to dent in the viewport with your head or wear holes in the carpet with your pacing? It’s a full time job just stopping you from dismantling replicators, transporters and various Bridge stations – again.” He gave her a teasing smile. “I have neither the time nor luxury to be bored. I’m too busy keeping you out of trouble.”
“Trouble maybe, but as far as keeping me occupied…” She sat up and looked at him pointedly. “You’ve failed in that mission, Commander. Don’t give up your day job.”
He chuckled. “I wasn’t planning to.” Trying a different tack, he leaned forward and touched her knee. “Okay, I’ll bite. What would you like to do?” She sat up and began to answer but before she could utter a word, he added a proviso, “And you’re not allowed to phaser anyone or,” He pointed out the window for emphasis, “start lobbing photon torpedoes at that nebula – just in case that’s what you were thinking.”
She gave him a narrow-eyed glare. “I wasn’t, but now that you’ve put it out there…” Her eyes sparked with mischief. “You have to agree that finding a way to target the pockets of plasma within the nebula without igniting the entire cloud would be an interesting diversion.” A gleeful smile lit up her face.
Chakotay sat back and grinned. “Well, it’s nice to see you smile for a change, even if it is at the prospect of wreaking havoc. But I’m afraid, as your sensible and much-admired First Officer, I’m going to have to say no.”
“Spoil sport.” Kathryn glanced at him before pivoting to her feet. “Well then, if you’re not going let me loose with the weaponry, we’ll just have to kill a few minutes having another cup of coffee.”
Grateful that it wasn’t something more challenging, Chakotay nodded. “I’d love another tea. Herbal blend seventeen, thank you.” He thought very carefully before couching the next question. “That’s how many coffees today? You must be heading towards double figures.”
“I’ve lost count but if you’re suggesting that I drink that swill you call tea, you’ve got another think coming. If I can’t shoot things, the least you can do is allow me my caffeine fix.”
Her spiky mood was starting to wear thin. He understood her frustration – they were all feeling the strain – but the continual griping didn’t help. His tone was a little more strident than he intended. “No need to remind me about ‘the finest organic suspension ever devised’. I’ve heard the spiel.”
“So it seems.” Her smile faded. “Now you’re grumpy. That’s my domain.”
“I didn’t know you had a premium on grumpiness. Is that some sort of ‘captain’s only’ privilege?”
Kathryn briefly turned away to order their drinks. “No, but it’s not like you. You’re always so… even tempered.”
“You make me sound about as interesting as that nebula out there.”
Resting her shoulder against the wall, she waited for their tea and coffee to appear. “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that I rely on you to keep a level head. You’re my compass; my barometer.”
He leaned back and crossed his arms. “Oh, that’s so much better. Now I’m instrumentation. If you’re trying to cheer me up, ‘don’t give up your day job’.”
“Touché.” Kathryn laughed quietly as she collected their drinks. “Granted this becalming is getting to everyone and I shouldn’t burden you with my petty gripes and complaints.” She passed him his tea and sat down close beside him. “It’s just that you’re the only person I can complain to. Tuvok refuses outright to listen to me and it would be inappropriate to air my grievances to the crew. So by default, you’re my wailing wall. I’m sorry.”
Chakotay shook his head, his irritation evaporating with her candid admission. “It’s okay, I really don’t mind and I do understand. Neither of us does well when we have too much time on our hands. You’d think we’d be grateful for the downtime.”
“Listen to ‘contrary’ us.” She nodded towards the door. “We could head down to Engineering and see if they need some help.”
“You’ve been banned from there, remember?”
“It’s my ship, therefore, my Engine room; how can I be banned?”
“You’ll have to take that up with B’Elanna but you’re off the rotation at the moment; the idea was that you’d put your feet up and relax.”
Her fingers flicked at the corner of her combadge as she glanced at Chakotay and grinned. “If you say so.”
Placing her mug on the table, she toed off her boots and swung her legs up and onto his lap.
He only just managed to whip his cup out of the way before she plonked her feet onto his thigh – precariously close to other vulnerable parts of his anatomy – before she leaned back with her hands behind her head.
He stuttered a shocked, “K-Kathryn! What the hell!?”
“My feet are up and foot rubs are relaxing – in case you’re offering?”
“Offering? I thought you’d never ask.”
Grinning broadly, he discarded his cup and waited until Kathryn was comfortable. Unsure of how far she would allow this to go, he gauged her reaction as he picked up her left foot and started gently rubbing her instep.
There was an issue with socks, however. So easing the leg of her pants higher, he slid his fingers beneath the top edge of her sock and with a small lift of his brow, he silently asked permission.
Kathryn nodded and her breath hitched as he peeled the offending sock from her slender foot. He repeated the action with her right foot and thrilled to see a dull flush creep up her neck to her cheeks. He inched closer, nestling her feet in his lap as he concentrated on his task.
He worked diligently on each foot, rubbing and pressing but kept a surreptitious eye on his captain and friend.
Her eyes were closed and she wore a blissful smile as she made small moaning noises that he loved. Emboldened, his hands crept a little higher, over her ankle and the lower part of her calf muscle but to his surprise, she didn’t pull away or complain.
Instead, she sighed happily and muttered, “God, that feels so good.”
Her voice was throaty and heat thrummed through his veins at the sound. This had gone further than he’d ever anticipated and he wondered if her boredom had compromised her decision making.
His hand slid higher still but she remained impassive except to moan a little louder and wriggle nearer as he continued to knead and stroke.
Several moments later, he could feel her eyes on him and his hands stilled as he met her gaze.
She didn’t move or withdraw. “Chakotay, how long have we known one another?”
His voice sounded rusty. “Six years.”
“We know one another pretty well, don’t we?”
“You’re my best friend?”
“Yes, and you’re mine.” He steeled himself for the inevitable brush off.
“We’ve loved one another for a good many of those years, haven’t we?”
His eyes widened in shock. “Err, yes. Many.”
She nodded and lifted her feet from his lap. “That’s what I thought.”
She stared out the viewport again. “We’re likely spend the rest of our lives in this quadrant and I’m tired of being alone.” She turned to him, her look deadly serious. “What do you think, Chakotay?” She took his hand. “Can we do this?”
“Together, we can do anything we set our minds to.”
Weaving his fingers through hers, he stood and pulled her into his arms.
She cupped his cheek, drawing his face close to hers and smiled. “Spoken like a man with a mission.”
“And dutifully accepted.” Smiling, he dipped his head lower and kissed her.
Several hours later, as they lay in each other’s arms, her head tucked under his chin and her fingers stroking random patterns across his chest, she leaned up and pressed her lips against his neck.
He closed his eyes, blissful and sated.
She nuzzled his jawline and whispered in his ear, “Mission accomplished, Commander. You successfully found something to keep me occupied.”
He grinned as he rolled her underneath him. Kissing her soundly, he mumbled against her lips. “Aye, aye, Captain.”