A Calculated Risk

Summary:Written for the 2006 Secret Ficlet/Drabble exchange. This was for Keanna, who gave me the first sentence, “You’re smart, you figure it out.”


Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount own everything. No infringement intended.

“You’re smart. You figure it out.” He stared at her for a long moment, and without another word, spun on his heel and walked out the door.

Kathryn gaped at his retreating back until the ready room doors hissed shut behind him, and then uttered a pathetic, “But…” to the empty room.

Still standing in the middle of the room, she huffed out a confounded laugh. What on Earth had gotten into him? He’d never spoken to her like that before. Never. A small smile quirked at the corner of her mouth and her face softened. He’d never spoken to her like that before but….. she rather liked it. Crossing her arms, she stepped back and rested her hip against the corner of her desk and contemplated the closed doors.

Hmmmm. She did however have a vague recollection, from many years ago, of a handsome Maquis Captain who had been graced with those impassioned tendencies. Someone she’d once thought of as her angry warrior.

A long forgotten thrill tingled through her and settled low in her belly at the memory.

Good heavens! She stood up straight and blinked. What on Earth had gotten into her? She wasn’t the type of woman to play these sorts of games and besides, wasn’t she too old for this?

Old? Are you ever too old for this?

God, she hoped not.

She’d started the argument on purpose. Boredom was a terrible thing. She sighed and shook her head. They’d lost their ‘zing’. The wonderful connection that had made their lives exciting and diverting. God, she missed it. Time and circumstances had taken their toll.

And where had that distinctive buzz gone? The one that had been ever present in the air between them whenever they were in the same room. It too seemed to have fizzled out, and she wanted it back.

The fault for the loss lay squarely at her door, and she readily accepted the responsibility. If you ignore something for long enough, eventually it fades away.

Over time they’d both become lacklustre and dreary, mere shadows of their former selves and she needed to do something about it. The days of outlandish escapades and impetuous ventures had become a thing of the past and these days he acquiesced to most of her orders without even blinking. It had to stop. And for some reason today had seemed like a good day to rattle his cage. By the look of things she’d succeeded brilliantly. He was in a mighty snit. Angry with her for the first time in ages and even though she knew she should be sorry…. she wasn’t. She was thrilled.

It had been a ridiculous argument. They’d been coming up on a new sector and she’d called him to her ready room to inform him of her plan to go on a reconnaissance mission, alone, and into this unknown territory. It was a given that he would oppose her plans. In truth, she’d had no intention of going, but had wanted to see if he was still awake. It seemed that these days they sleep-walked through their command duties. Well, she’d woken him up alright.

At first he’d been amused, shaking his head and smiling as he gave her a sideways look. “Kathryn, you’ve got to be kidding. Who put you up to this? Is Paris having a quiet day?”

She’d aimed one of ‘those’ glares at him. “I beg your pardon, Commander.”

He’d looked at her more closely and frowned. “Surely you’re not serious. Apart from the fact that it’s a ridiculous suggestion, it’s against regulations. And even if you ignore my wishes, Tuvok would never allow it.” He’d looked back down at the padd he was holding and changed the subject to avoid a confrontation. “Now, do you want to go over who you want on the away teams?”

But confrontation was just what Kathryn wanted. “No, I don’t want to go over the away teams, because I’m going, and that’s my final word.”

That’s when she’d seen it. It was as if a light had come on inside him. His eyes flashed, he seemed to grow in stature, his chest expanded and his jaw set. It was a sight to behold.

The angry warrior awoke.

“Kathryn, I won’t allow it. It’s against regulations, against protocols and against any form of common sense. You wouldn’t allow anyone on this crew to go on a mission alone and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you.”

Oh, she was loving this. Her eyes had flashed and she’d marched right up to him. “How dare you use that tone with me, Commander. You have no right to speak to me like that. I’m the captain and if I say I’m going, I’m going.”

The fury had rolled off him in waves. She could feel the heat of it from where she’d stood. Oh my, it was invigorating. Out of the corner of her eye she’d seen his fists clench and a vein pulse in his temple. He was livid. “Captain, I will not allow you to go on this mission on your own.” His shoulders relaxed a little. She’d known he was now going to try his ‘reasonable argument’. “Kathryn, be reasonable. This is far too dangerous.”

She’d had to bite her lip to stop herself from smiling. Instead she’d narrowed her eyes and spoken in a tone that could shatter duranium. “I don’t need to be reasonable, Commander. As captain of this ship, I’m ordering you to prepare a shuttle for my mission.”

His shoulders had shot back again and the steel glinted in his eyes. “Then I will have to disobey that order. You are not going, Captain, and that’s final.”

She’d taken a step closer to him and her knees had almost buckled. The warmth of his body and his scent were intoxicating. She’d glared at him for a long moment and then made a show of reluctantly backing down. “Alright…..but I want you to explain to me in detail, the reasons why you won’t let me go.”

That’s when he’d said it. He’d looked into her eyes and through the anger and the icy stare, she’d seen it. The love. It was still there. Her heart raced and she’d had to stop herself from throwing her arms around him right there and then. She’d waited and after a long moment, as the air sizzled between them, he’d taken a step away from her and said. “You’re smart. You figure it out.” And then marched out the doors.

Oh, she shook her head smiling, she was nothing if not smart, but she’d certainly been a fool where he was concerned. But no more.

It had been ten minutes since he’d left. “Computer, locate Commander Chakotay.”

“Commander Chakotay is in his quarters.”

Perfect. And without another thought, she walked through the ready room doors and jogged up the steps past the Tactical station, tossing over her shoulder as she passed, “Tuvok, you have the bridge.” Three more paces and she was in the turbo lift. She didn’t even wait to hear Tuvok’s reply.

Striding confidently out of the lift and up the corridor to his door she took a deep breath and rang the chime. The doors opened.

He turned towards her as she walked into the room, and watched her carefully. Standing by his table he held a cup in his hand, and as he contemplated her, he took a leisurely sip.

Kathryn, in turn, studied him for several moments. His anger had dissipated, but there was still that something in his look that struck a pulsing chord deep within her. It gave her courage. Her mouth quirked into a small smile and his eyes crinkled slightly in answer. The ‘zing’ was back. Like bolts of electricity, it was sparking between them, so sharp and vivid that you could almost see it.

This was it.

She walked up to him, and without taking her eyes from his, took the cup from his hand and placed it on the table beside them.

She was standing so close to him that with each inhaled breath his chest pressed against hers and a delicious warmth seeped through her.

With her eyes still locked on his she placed both her hands on his chest and slid them slowly up over his shoulders and behind his head. Her fingers wound their way into his hair and she pulled him towards her. Their mouths were almost touching and for several heartbeats they stilled and breathed each other’s breath. Kathryn’s eyes drifted shut and just before they touched, she whispered against his lips, “I figured it out.”

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