Disclaimer: Paramount owns them one and all.
Second place in Ros a Gael contest
“And, Captain, we have a holiday coming up.” Neelix was finishing up his usual boring supply report, when with a dash of excitement he made his announcement.
“And what holiday is that, Neelix?” Kathryn braced herself for yet another quasi Delta Quadrant holiday. One that, more then likely, existed only in the overactive imagination of her overly zealous morale officer.
“Why, Captain, you should be ashamed.” Neelix wagged his finger at her. “St. Patrick’s Day, of course.”
“Oh, is it that time again so soon.” Kathryn tried to hold back her smile and at the same time, steal a quick glance at her first officer.
“Why, yes and the crew always enjoys it so.” Neelix moved closer and clapped his hands. “I thought we could use Fair Haven again this year.”
“I’m not …” Kathryn could see Chakotay stiffen out of the corner of her eye. Last year's party at Sullivan’s pub had been rather-eventful.
“It’s such a perfect setting and I'm sure Mr. Paris will help me fix it up.” Neelix moved over and patted Tom’s shoulder. “Won’t you Lieutenant?”
“Yeah, sure.” Tom remembered the fight that ended last year’s party and winced. “If you think we should, Captain.”
“I’ll help, too.” Harry volunteered then reached down to rub the spot on his shin where B’Elanna kicked him.
“Captain, maybe we could find a more suitable location.” Tuvok clearly remembered all the security reports that piled up after their last adventure in Fair Haven.
“I’m not sure there is a more suitable location than an Irish Pub.” The Captain watched with amusement the pained look that passed between her first officer and her chief engineer. “I will consider the idea, Neelix, and get back to you later today.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
“If there is nothing else..” The Captain paused but no one responded. “Dismissed. Commander, may I see you in my readyroom?”
The Commander just nodded and followed the Captain out of the conference room and across the bridge.
Kathryn waited for the doors to close behind them. “A little reluctant to return to the scene of the crime, Commander?”
“Kathryn, I don’t think it would be very wise. I’m not sure if holograms hold a grudge, but I don’t think I want to find out.” He ran his hand along his jaw clearly remembering several good shots a certain hologram had landed.
“We haven’t run Fair Haven in a year. I hardly think even holograms hold a grudge that long.” Kathryn smiled as she settled on the couch. “Besides where else would we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?”
“All right, the atmosphere, the pub, is probably the best setting we have, but why don’t we run it without the characters?”
“Afraid of a rematch, Chakotay?” Kathryn laughed. “The competition too much for you?”
“All right, wench, if you need your boyfriend that badly...” Chakotay threw his hands in the air and laughed. “Fair Haven it is—characters and all. But it’s on your head. Just remember what happened last year.”
“Oh, how could I forget?” Kathryn laughed as she reached up to tousle his hair, remembering their last gathering in Sullivan’s pub and its consequences.
The Captain paced back and forth in front of the members of the senior staff assembled in sickbay. The five of them stood at attention awaiting treatment and dreading the moment the Captain would break her silence.
“What the hell were you thinking?” The Captain hissed as she moved up and down the line and looked each one in the face. “I would throw the whole lot of you in the brig if I could. You!” She glared at her First Officer. “No, you I will deal with later. You, first.”
The Captain moved to stand in front of B’Elanna. “I suppose we are to blame this on a hot Klingon temper and coming to the aid of a friend..” Kathryn glanced at her swollen and bleeding first officer. “who obviously needed rescuing.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” B’Elanna kept her eyes focused above the captain’s head and readily agreed with anything she said.
“And you, I suppose, were only defending your wife.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Tom didn’t dare to look at her, either. “Seamus did take a swing at her.”
“I believe, Mr. Paris, that was after she broke a bar stool over his head!”
“Yes, Ma’am, but…”
“And, Harry?” The Captain ignored Tom's feeble attempt at excuses and moved to watch Harry squirm. “What’s your excuse?”
“You always said we either stand together or fall alone, Ma’am. I…” Harry stammered.
“Oh, so you were just-what? Following orders?” Kathryn didn’t wait for an answer. Shaking her head, she moved to the next person in line. “Now, I can almost understand Ms. Torres’s inability to control her considerable Klingon temper while watching her best friend get beaten bloody. And I certainly understand Mr. Paris’s need to defend his wife, even if in this case, she was the aggressor. I am even willing to make concessions for Mr. Kim’s warped idea of team spirit. But I have to admit that I am totally dumbfounded by your behavior.” She threw her hands in the air. “Mr. Tuvok, would you care to explain your participation in the debacle?”
“While the Commander is an accomplished boxer and Lieutenant Torres an able warrior, Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Kim both strong and willing in spirit, it quickly became clear that they were no match for the local defense team, who were clearly much better suited to the battle conditions….”
“So in translation, what you are saying is that my highly trained senior staff is no match for a few drunks in a bar room brawl?”
“In effect, yes, Captain. I, however, possess superior Vulcan strength and techniques which made it logical that I step in and assist them.”
“Logical?! The majority of my senior staff in a barroom – No! Correct that they LOST a barroom brawl and it’s logical?!”
“Captain, forgive my interruption, but I have treated and released the other injured crewmen and believe I am ready to begin their treatment now.” The Doctor stepped between the Captain and his patients.
“I’m not finished with them, yet!” The Captain eyed her bruised and bleeding staff as she stepped around the Doctor.
“Captain, please.” The Doctor shook his head. “They lost a fight to inebriated photonic beings of their own programming. Have they not suffer enough?”
“All right, Doctor. They’re yours - for now. I’ll deal with them in the morning.” She walked to the end of the line and stopped in front of Chakotay. “Except this one.” She poked her finger into his chest. “You, Commander, are to report to my quarters as soon as the Doctor is finished with you.”
The Captain stood back and glared at each of them one more time before she turned and exited sickbay. It wasn’t until she reached the solitude of the lift did she allowed herself to smile. It had been quite a party and the brawl that ended it was nothing short of comical. Oh, she hadn’t thought so at the time but looking back she had to laugh. It had all happened in an alcoholic or rather a syntheholic haze, but the clearer it became the funnier Kathryn found it.
The party had literally roared on for hours, the music gained in speed and volume as the night wore on. The beer flowed freely; the doctor sang Irish folk songs and the room shook with the pounding of dancing feet. Michael had more than a little too much to drink but he was far from alone. Everyone in the room had consumed more than their share of synthehol and it was beginning to show in their behavior. Kathryn had never seen Chakotay dance so much, but then she had never seen him drink this way before either. Kathryn danced almost non-stop. Every man in the room seemed to want a turn with her. After each dance, she downed another cold one and it wasn’t long before she found herself as tipsy as the rest of them.
Before Kathryn realized what was happening she was being passed, however reluctantly, from Michael to Chakotay than Chakotay to Michael, until she was dizzy from the spinning.
“Wait, I need to catch my breath.” Kathryn panted as she reached out to still her current partner, which turned out to be Michael.
“Bit winded, are you, Katie girl?” Michael pulled her closer.
“Just give me a second.” Kathryn placed a hand on his shoulder and pushed back a bit.
Both of Michael’s hands had slipped to her waist holding her steady as she struggled to bring her breathing back to normal. The touch of another hand on her shoulder meant yet another dance partner, the thought of which cause Kathryn to groan involuntarily.
“Can’t you see she needs a breather, man?” Michael knocked the hand off her shoulder and pulled her closer. “Leave her be.”
“If Kathryn needs taking care of, I’ll do it.” Chakotay’s voice was slightly slurred. “After all that’s my job.”
Kathryn felt his hands on her shoulders as he tried to turn her away from Michael; Michael tightened his grip on her waist.
“You’re off duty now man. She’d rather be with me.” Michael turned moving himself between Chakotay and Kathryn.
“I believe you are mistaken.” Chakotay stepped around them and pulled Kathryn away from Michael.
The room was spinning and Kathryn was having great difficulty as she tried to shake off the effects of they synthehol and comprehend what was happening around her. Michael pulled her one way, Chakotay another.
“Stop!” Kathryn raised her hand and pushed herself away from both men.
The music had stopped and the room had taken on an eerie silence. The rest of the patrons watched the struggle as it took place in the middle of the dance floor. Kathryn swayed and both men reach to hold her up. Chakotay caught her first and steadied her on her feet. Michael reached for her and Chakotay yanked her back. Kathryn fought off both men. The crowd circled closer around them.
“Get your hands off her!” Michael lunged toward them.
“Stop this!” Kathryn struggled to free herself.
Chakotay sidestepped to avoid Michael and stumbled. Kathryn twisted away from him, her skirt tangled around her legs and sent her to her knees. Michael tripped over the kneeling Kathryn flattening her to the dance floor and sprawling on top of her.
Michael lifted his head to find himself staring into startled blue eyes. As Kathryn gasped for breath, Michael found the temptation of having his mouth only inches from hers far too great. He gave into the urge to claim her as his own and kissed her.
That was the final straw. Chakotay lifted Michael by the back of his shirt and hurled him across the bar. Chakotay knelt beside Kathryn helping her to sit up as she tried to gather her wits. Suddenly she was back on the floor, Chakotay on top of her, Michael on top of him.
The two men rolled away punching wildly at each other. By the time Kathryn scrambled to her feet, the whole room had erupted into an old fashion slug feast. Kathryn tried unsuccessfully to separate Michael and Chakotay and was rewarded by sharp jab that landed her on her butt again.
“Computer, delete characters!” Kathryn stood hands on her hips as she surveyed her battered crew. “This party is over. I suggest you all report to sickbay because I do not wish to see remnants of this tomorrow or I may be forced to take disciplinary action.”
Kathryn watched the crew slowly file out of the holodeck. Chakotay was still sitting on the floor partially hidden by a broken table. B’Elanna and Tom helped him to his feet and led him toward the door.
“Kathryn..” He stopped in front of her.
“Don’t.” She held up one hand to silence him. “I’ll see you all in sickbay.”
Alone in the empty pub, Kathryn surveyed the damage as the effects of the synthehol dissipated. Fortunately, it was only a holoprogram so the damage was easily repaired. The effect on the crew she wasn’t so sure about. She shut down the program and followed her crew to sickbay.
Back in her quarters, Kathryn stripped off her ‘Fairhaven’ dress and examined the deep purple bruise on her side. She probably should have had the doctor take care of it but she was reluctant to put herself in the same category as the others. After all, she reasoned, she had not been a participant in the brawl merely the instigation for it. The thought struck her as funny and she laughed as she prepared to take a shower. The laughter only served to aggravate her bruised ribs. Kathryn was painfully aware that between landing on her butt in the brawl and all the dancing, she had certainly used and abused more muscles than she was previously aware of having. A hot bath would work wonders for her aching body but a shower would have to do, as she knew Chakotay would be along shortly.
The hot spray felt so good on her aching body, Kathryn was reluctant to shut it off even when her door chimed.
“Computer, admit Commander Chakotay.” She instructed from the bathroom as she forced herself to turn off the water.
Kathryn dried off quickly, wrapped her hair in one towel and her body in another and stepped into the living area.
“Please get me a coffee and help yourself to whatever you want.” She savored the startled expression on Chakotay’s face as he turned toward her. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
Chakotay only nodded, staring after her as she disappeared into her bedroom. Kathryn toyed with the idea of dressing but opted for a short nightgown covered by only a slightly longer robe. When she returned to the living area Chakotay was seated on the couch, his tea and her coffee side by side on the table.
“Thank you.” She sat beside him and sipped her coffee. Chakotay nodded. Clearly he was a man of few words this evening. “So, mind telling me what the hell you were thinking?”
“Think it’s pretty clear I wasn’t.”
“I know you were drinking more than usual..”
“Kathryn, I’m sorry. It got out of control.” He looked up at her helplessly. “I have no excuse.”
“I don’t want excuses. We all drank too much and actually I was having quite a good time until..”
“I ruined it?”
“Until it got our of control.” She put her coffee down and turned to face him. “So tell me, what were you thinking?”
“I told you I wasn’t.”
“Then tell me what you were feeling.”
“Look, I’m sorry this happened, but it did and if you want to reprimand me fine. Just do it, but I really don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“I don’t want to reprimand you. The Doctor may be right about your probably having suffered enough. I just want to know what was going on- inside you.”
Kathryn watched the indecision play across his face. He was struggling with something and she wanted him to voice it, but he wouldn’t.
“Chakotay?” Kathryn tried to soften her voice to coax an answer from him; he only stiffened.
“Is that an order, Captain?”
The closed look on his face when he raised his eyes to hers, startled her. She hadn’t expected this kind of reaction from him. Kathryn searched his eyes but they were hard and cold. Kathryn took a deep breath got up and crossed to the viewport.
“No.” His silence sliced through her. “If I have to make it an order, then there is no point in saying it.” Kathryn leaned her forehead against the viewport. “You’re free to go, Commander.”
Kathryn kept her eyes closed. She listened to him recycle his cup and the faint swish alerted her to the opening and closing of the door. She sighed. That hadn’t turned out as she expected it to, but then she really had no right to these expectations. He had told her – it was a party, he drank too much, it got out of hand and it was better put behind them. She raised her fist to pound it against the view port.
Chakotay watched Kathryn’s reflection in the viewport. She looked pained. The last thing he wanted to do was cause her more pain. It was why he had refused to answer her- but maybe she really wanted that answer. He turned to go, stopping at the sound of her sigh when the door opened; he let it close again. Silently, he crossed over to her. A heavy sigh, the slump in her shoulders, she raised her fist and he caught it.
Kathryn gasped at his touch, raising her head and watching his reflection.
“He was holding you.” His voice was deep and soft with a slight tremor. “Such possession in the way his arms enclosed you. I needed to hold you, to take you from him, but I couldn’t. So I had a drink and another and then it didn’t seem so hard and I was holding you and you laughed as we danced – it was magical.” His eyes locked with the refection of hers. “He claimed you again and I had another drink. I had to take you back, but each time he was there. He was telling me, you wanted to be with him. I needed to be with you. It was all so unclear and out of control and then…” Chakotay squeezed his eyes closed and Kathryn turned to face him.
“And then?” Kathryn cupped his cheek.
“He kissed you.” Chakotay opened his eyes and she could see the fire there. “I only knew it should have been me.”
“It could be you now, Chakotay.” The soft velvet of her voice sent a tremor down his spin.
“You want it to be me, Kathryn?”
“I’ve always wanted it to be you.”
Kathryn slipped her hand behind his head and gently tugged him closer. Chakotay’s hands cupped her cheeks, their lips pressed softly together. Kathryn’s lips moved against his with purpose, easing them open, her tongue slipping past to tangle with his. His fingers moved down caressing her neck above the edge of her robe, his one hand on her back pressing her body close to his. Kathryn sighed into his mouth as he eased out of the kiss. Chakotay held her close enough that their hearts pounded together, with the promise of their newfound future.
By the time the Captain and Commander joined the rest of the crew the party at Sullivan’s was in full swing. The music was loud and the dancing had the building shaking. A quick peek inside told them last years troubles had been put behind them. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, B’Elanna was even dancing with Seamus.
“Katie.” Michael made his way across the room to embrace Kathryn. “It’s so good to see you.”
“Michael.” Kathryn let go of Chakotay’s hand to return the embrace.
“How have you been, Katie?” Michael had an odd expression as he took her hands and stepped back to look at her.
“Good, Michael and you?” Kathryn smiled as Chakotay stepped behind her and Michael’s eyes followed the dark hands as they slid protectively across the rounded swell of her belly. “Michael, you do remember, Chakotay—my husband.”
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