Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Trek.  No infringement intended.  I only seek what they won't let us have. I just took my friends out to play, I'll bring them home after they have some fun.
 
 
RATED:  PG
 
 
                                                 YOU'RE THE CAPTAIN
 
     Talks with the Marrinian Ambassador had been very difficult, already taking three days of the Command team's time and still with no end in sight.  They were not allowed to use transporters within Marrinian space, in fact  Voyager herself was not allowed into their space, so each negotiating secession necessitated a five hour shuttle trip each way, which made for very long and tiring days.  The Captain and Commander had just returned from their third shuttle trip, neither one operating on more than two hours sleep per night.
 
"Voyager to delta flyer."

"Chakotay here."

"Commander you are clear to dock---shuttle bay two."

"Acknowledged, Voyager--flyer out"  He turned and smiled at  a dozing Captain "Kathryn, we're home." He shook her gently.

"Sorry, Chakotay."  She yawned  "I'm not good company tonight."

"Seems to me, I slept on the way home last night---we're even."  He went through the shut down check list as he spoke.  "Let's go to bed."  He offered Kathryn a hand down off the shuttle.

"Why, Commander are you propositioning me?"  She used the padd she carried to fan herself in true southern bell fashion.

"My dear Miss Kathryn, if I only had the strength."  He brought her hand to his lips, bowing low as he kissed it.

     They were both giddy with lack of sleep and frustrated with lack of progress in their negotiations.  It was 0200
hours, so fortunately there were no crewmen wandering the corridors as the Command team made their way to the
officers quarters.

"Sir, can I offer you some warm milk before retiring?"  Kathryn keyed in her door code.  "Lights 50%.

     Chakotay followed her inside.  She replicated two cups of hot chocolate and sat with him on the couch.

"Thank you, Miss Kathryn."  He accepted the cup and took a sip. "You should be more careful-you know."

"Careful? How, sir." She batted her eyes at him.

"Inviting strange men into your home----well, it just isn't safe."  He shook his head.

"Perhaps, Commander, it is you who are not safe."  Her eyes smiled over the top of her cup.

"As inviting as that sounds Miss Kathryn, I'm afraid in my current state we are both safer than we ever wanted to be."  Setting down his cup, he  reached to embrace her. "Come over her by me."

"No." She stood up, smiling at the surprise in his eyes.   They were an excellent command team and the closest of  friends-sharing their lives in every way ---but one.  They often embraced one another, spent many hours relaxing together-her resting her head on his chest or him with his head in her lap-playful touches and occasional gentle kisses, but they were not lovers.  "If my reputation is to be compromised, Sir, at least let me be comfortable."  She took his hand and lead him to her bedroom.

"Kathryn?"  He followed--- uncertain what else to do.

"You said you were harmless---come we need to sleep."  She removed her boots, trousers, jacket and turtleneck, then unsnapped her bra and slipped it out from under her tank top.  Dressed now in panties and tank top she slipped under the covers and patted the bed beside her. "Join me."

"OK, If you're sure it's safe."  He chuckled as he undressed down to his black silk boxers.

"I thought it was 'till I got a look at those---not regulation-by the way."  She ran her hand down the side of the silk, giving them a playful tug.

"Woman, you should not be so interested in my underwear!"  He raised his eyebrow and backed away slightly.

"Oh--it's not the underwear."  She took his hands and tugged him into the bed. "Come to bed."

"Only if you promise to behave yourself."  He settled himself beside her.

"Well, if that's what you want."  She snuggled next to him, as he enfolded her in his arms.

CAPTAIN THE TIME IS 0500 HOURS---CAPTAIN THE TIME IS 0500 HOURS.

"Damn computer--reset 24 hours."  Kathryn grumbled as she disentangled herself form the nest of arms and legs tied up in her sheets.  "I'll shower--you can sleep a  little  longer."  She tossed the covers over the one opened  eye and hopped off the bed.

     Kathryn came out of the bathroom to the smell of coffee.  The table was set for breakfast, a note next to her coffee on the dressing table, told her he had gone to his quarters to shower and dress and would be back to eat soon.  She dressed and brushed out her hair and was bent over drying it when he came back.

"Nice view."  The sound of his voice startled her--she stood up and turned to face him, hair falling in her face.  "This view is OK too."

"You are not supposed to be staring at my ass."  She tossed the brush at him---he caught it.

"Come on, Kathryn---I must at LEAST get to look." He handed her back her brush and moved the hair out of her eyes.  "Do you torture yourself like this everyday?"

"Just part of what I go  through to maintain your VIEW."  She brushed her hair back. "Let's eat or we'll be late."

"Bridge to Captain Janeway."

"Janeway here."  She checked the chronometer--0530.

"Captain, the Merrinian Ambassador is hailing--should I send it to your quarters?"

"Thank you, Lieutenant Somers--yes send it through ---Janeway out." She turned to Chakotay. "What now?!"  She picked up her coffee and took it to her desk.  Chakotay stood behind her, positioned to see the screen, but not be seen, as she flipped on her view screen and the Ambassador came into view.

"Good morning, Captain, I trust you are well this morning."  His overly polite rituals were beginning to grate on Kathryn.

"Good morning Ambassador--I am quite well thank you and yourself?"  You could choke on the syrup in Kathryn's voice.

"Very well, thank you."  He smiled to accent his words.  "I believe I have good news for you---the council has granted your request to cross out space."

"That is welcome news, Ambassador."  She tried to cover her utter shock at this turn of events.

"I know our ways are strange to you and it may confuse you that we reached this decision now, however I will not bore you with the details of our reasoning.  It will however be necessary for you to travel here one more time.  I will meet with you---It is unnecessary to bring the Commander, I'm sure he would be of better service in preparing for your journey---I will give you directives as to flight plans and several stops you may make for supplies."

"I thank you for your consideration, but I much prefer the Commander to pilot my shuttle..."

"Captain, please--another of our 'strange' customs.  I must meet ONLY with you---I am well aware of your piloting skills."

"With all due respect Ambassador, we have made every effort to conform to your laws and customs, but I'm  afraid our own regulations will not permit the Captain to travel that distance from the ship without proper escort."

"I'm sure Captain, it would be acceptable for you to bring along a pilot of lesser rank---providing he remain with the shuttle."

"Very well--Ambassador I will need a little time to prepare another pilot--I will hail you upon arrival--which I estimate to be 1130 hours."

"I look forward to our meeting."  He bowed and the screen went dark.

"Well, I guess you get to go back to bed.---What do you think of this turn of events?"  Kathryn returned to the table.

"I don't like it."  He sat down,  "I would be more comfortable if I went with you---even if I waited in the shuttle bay."

"I know, but it really isn't so much to ask--just a little strange--which he readily admits to."  She considered the possibilities.  "I'll take Tom---He can beam me out if he has to and you know I couldn't  have a better pilot."

"It will save us over eight months.  Still---I wish..."

"I know ---me too."  She  slapped her comm. badge.  "Janeway to Paris."

"Paris here."  It took a few minutes for the foggy voice to answer.

"Sorry to wake you, Tom---but I find myself in need of a top notch pilot today, can you be ready in 30 minutes?"  She asked politely, the order was understood.

"Yes ma'am---30 minutes---shuttle bay two?"

"Yes Tom.  See you then---Janeway out."  She looked over at Chakotay.  "You worry too much, Commander."

"No such thing, where your safety is concerned."  He gave her a grin.  "Can I hide in the shuttle?"

"NO!-- You can get some rest and take care of my ship."  She shook her head.  "Sometimes I worry about your sanity, Commander."

     The Captain met Tom in the shuttle bay while the commander returned to his quarters for the ordered and much needed rest.  The trip to the Marrinian home world was long and uneventful.  After a futile attempt to carry on a conversation, the Captain succumbed to her own need for rest and slept most of the journey.  Tom woke her as they awaited landing instructions to be sure she would be presentable to disembark for the final stage of negotiations.  As the Captain slipped into the co-pilot seat, Tom handed her a cup of coffee.

"It's gonna be about fifteen more minutes before they let us land."

"Where did you get this?"  Her pleasure registered with her surprise.

"Chakotay had Neelix bring it."  A smirk evident in his sideways glance.  "Guess he knows his Captain well."

"A little too well sometimes---He's made this trip three days in a row, he knows this coffee could mean life or death.:  She laughed.  "You should thank him."

"Me?  I don't even drink the stuff."

"No---but if I don't -you could have a very tough trip home."  Her smile was far away.  "Chakotay would rather travel with a Klingon tarrg than me without coffee."  Tom shook his head and smiled -started to say something and stopped.  "What? You disagree?"

"Since YOU asked--yes--not that it's any of my business---but coffee or not -well- He'd just rather be with you---under any circumstances."  He glanced at her afraid he'd said too much.

"Me too."  She answered too fast.  "Chakotay is a good friend, Mr. Paris."

"Never thought anything different, Captain."  But his smile told her differently.

"Voyager shuttle you are cleared to land--bay six.  The Ambassador is waiting."  Their conversation was ended by landing clearance.

"Acknowledged."  Tom prepared to dock the flyer.

     The flyer was barely docked, when the Ambassador whisked the Captain away and Tom was left cooling his heals in an otherwise empty shuttle bay.  Tom waited for what seemed like days, while the Captain went through endless ceremony and received detail instructions as to proper travel and conduct for their journey.  Seven hours later,  the Captain reappeared in the shuttle bay only a little worse for wear.  The goodbyes were lengthy and boring---finally at 1930 hours the flyer was cleared for take off.

After half an hour's silence punctuated by only the Captain's groans of frustration and exhaustion, Tom produced another cup of coffee.

"Peace offering."  He held out the cup to her.

"Been holding out on me, Lieutenant?"  Kathryn took the coffee without smiling.

"Self preservation Ma'am."  His admission caused Kathryn to laugh out loud.  "The Commander knows his stuff---even I now have to admit that."

"He'll be pleased to know, Lieutenant."  She was more relaxed now---the laughter having broken her tension.

     Another hour into the trip and a lull in the conversation told Tom she was dozing again.  He was glad she could rest, the last four days had been rough--she needed the sleep.  There seemed to be no end to the things she would endure to bring this ship and her crew home---they were lucky to have her.  Tom's thoughts were interrupted by a warning light---something was in their path--on the sensors--he couldn't see it.  Suddenly the ship flipped sideways throwing the sleeping Captain from her chair, before the inertia dampers could make the correction.

"Sorry Captain---Are you OK?"  Tom asked as he righted the ship.

"What the hell was that?"  Kathryn climbed back into the co-pilot's seat, checking the instrument panel.

"Don't know--something on sensors-but I can't see anything---I think it's gone."  Tom's hands flew over the controls.

"Tom--next time, just wake me up if you want someone to talk to."  She was rubbing the shoulder she landed on.

     Lights started to flash and the flyer went into a spin, knocking systems off line.  Tom worked feverishly to bring it around, Kathryn tried to bring the dampers back on line,  The weapons console exploded sending sparks through the shuttle behind them.
"Shields are off line--dampers barely holding--weapons down--any idea what this is, Tom?"  She held tight to the console to keep her seat.

"No----having enough trouble just keeping us up."  Tom frantically worked the controls.

"I'm scanning the area---can't find the problem---we're losing life support."

"Warp drive off line--losing thrusters--Captain, can you give me more power to the thrusters?"

"I'll give you what I've got---Tom there's a big rock out there---class M."

"Heading?"

"02005---Can you land this thing?"

"Sure."  They looked at each other for only a second, knowing it was their only shot---not a good one--just the only option.  "Hang on---this is gonna be a little bumpy!"

"Entering the atmosphere---too fast---Tom can you reverse the thrusters?"  Kathryn clung to her chair.

"Trying----can't get...."

     The Flyer smashed into the surface, skidded several hundred meters rolling over several times, finally coming to rest right side up.  It was quiet, the cabin was smoky and dark she heard coughing-----they were alive.

"Tom?"  Kathryn called out and began to cough with the effort.  She couldn't see him.  "Tom?"

"Here."  He sounded better than she did but she still couldn't see him.  "Captain?  Where are you----are you OK?"  Tom struggled to his feet.  Assessing the damage, he was in better shape than the flyer. "Damn!"

"Tom?"  She sat up and groaned with the effort.  She was wet--soaked .  It smelled---wasn't blood-well that was good anyway---smelled like coolant---- plasma coolant! "Shit."

"Captain, are you hurt?"  Tom made his way over to her, he reached out and came away with a large piece of  her uniform.  "Shit! Plasma coolant."  He looked around for something to neutralize it.  "Gotta get that stuff off you."

"The fire suppresser---it should neutralize it---Hurry it burns."  The coolant had eaten through parts of her uniform and burned the skin it came into contact with.

"Hang on."  Tom grabbed the suppresser aiming in her direction.  The force of the spray almost knocked her to the floor.  "Turn around."  She spun around, he sprayed and they both choked on the chemical residue.

"Get the hatch open."  She choked on the fumes.  Tom opened the hatch and they both tumbled to the ground, sputtering and coughing.

Slowly her lungs cleared and she surveyed their surroundings.    The darkness made it difficult as did the water in her eyes from the chemicals---she waited for them to clear.  It was chilly---not surprising since she no longer wore her uniform, in fact she had only the scantiest of panties on, her bra had all but dissolved.  The suppresser was cold and sticky on her skin, which still burned slightly from the coolant.  Tom was no longer on the ground beside her, she could hear him cough inside the flyer, then a blanket covered her.

"Thanks." She wrapped herself in the blanket and turned toward him.  "Are you OK?"

"Yea---looks like we're pretty lucky."  He surveyed the damaged flyer.  "We should be dead."

"At least--but since we're not, we better salvage what we can from the shuttle and find some kind of shelter."  She stood up and looked around.  "Can you get the emergency supplies out?---I'll look around."  She grabbed a wrist light, tricorder and a phaser and walked into the darkness.

     Tom brought the emergency rations, blankets and medical kit, as well as anything else he thought would be needed, out of the flyer.  He breathed deeply to clear his lungs and again surveyed the damaged flyer----*Boy is B'Elanna gonna kill me for this one!*  He set off to find the Captain.

"Captain." He called out every so often.  She wouldn't wander far, he listened as he walked shining his wrist light. "Captain."

"Tom---over here, be careful it's a lake of some kind."  She was splashing around as he shined his light on her.  "It's freezing, but I had to get that stuff off me."

"I see."  Tom smiled as he shined his light at the surface of the water and imagined his naked Captain, who had just dunked beneath the surface.

"That's much better---god it's COLD."  She sputtered as she squeezed the water through her hair.  "Turn that thing off ---and give me your turtleneck."

     Turning his back in the darkness, Tom removed his turtleneck and handed it over his shoulder.  Kathryn slipped out of the frigid water, drying herself quickly with the blanket, she dressed in the offered shirt.  She fastened her wrist light and switched it on.

"There is an overhang not far from here---it's the best I could see.  Let's ...."  She turned around to find Tom smiling down at her. "MR. PARIS...."

"Sorry, Captain ---You just look so damn---well, I never thought---you look so damn CUTE."  He was laughing.

"Mr. Paris--Starfleet Captains DO NOT look cute."  She couldn't look at him and keep a straight face.  "Come on--we better set up camp or I'm gonna freeze my cute little butt off."  She started for the overhang--Tom right behind her.

"Yes---definitely."  He smirked.

"What now?"  She stopped to look at him.

"Definitely cute---your butt--it's definitely cute."

"Help me get the supplies."  She swatted him.  "And stop looking at my butt!"

"Yes ma'am."

     They set up camp as far back under the overhang as possible.  Kathryn set up a homing signal while Tom scouted for fire wood.  Kathryn was wrapped in a blanket against the back wall, but with the temperature dropping she couldn't get warm.  Tom didn't come up with much that would burn, but then it really didn't matter because they had no way to start a fire anyway.

"You would think Starfleet would include matches in their survival kits."  Tom Shook his head in amazement.  "Where is that big damned Indian when you need him?"

"You would think by now we would carry our own---we've done this a few times."  She laughed now for lack of something better to do.  "By the way, Chakotay isn't any better at this than us.----He uses my hair and it's still wet--guess we're out of luck."

"Well---next plan?"

"Come over here, Tom ----before I freeze."  She spread on blanket on the ground and laid down, motioning for him to join her.  Tom walked over bringing the other blanket and sat beside her. "Tom---the idea is to share body heat---either that or watch me freeze."  She held out her arms.

"Captain?"  He hesitantly positioned himself next to---but not touching--her and covered them with the blanket.

"Tom---first get closer---Tom--before I freeze!"  She moved in closer to him, sliding her arms under his and around to his back, forcing him closer.  Feeling the growing hardness between them, she realized why he had been so reluctant to come in contact with her.  Instinctively, she pulled back and looked at him.

"Captain---I'm sorry--it's just..."  He stammered as the color rushed into his cheeks.

"Tom--just relax---it's OK---it's just a reflex.."  She put her head down so they couldn't see each other.  "Tom, I think -----that under the circumstances--you know--if we're alone and one or the other of us is naked or wearing the others clothes---well, maybe--maybe-you should call me Kathryn."  She burst out laughing, he joined her and the tension was broken.

"OK-- Kathryn---now what?"

"Well, I guess we count sheep or something until we go to sleep."  She snuggled in closer trying to get warm.

"I'm lying here with a beautiful-almost naked-woman in my arms and she wants me to count sheep!" He sighed.  "No  Cap..thryn that is definitely not going to work---besides it's not good for my reputation."

"It's not doing wonders for mine either---OK, Let's talk."

"OK--now the beautiful naked woman wants to talk--not much better--OK what do we talk about?"

"First- you stop referring to me as THAT before I'm the one blushing."

"Do Starfleet Captians BLUSH?"

"NO they do not!"

"Just what is it Starfleet Captains do DO?"

"They bust smart mouthed Lieutenants down to crewman."

"Understood---MA'AM."

"B'Elanna--How about we talk about B'Elanna?"

"Yea--first she's gonna break every bone in my body for what I did to the delta flyer and just when the Doc. puts me back together--she'll break them in more pleasant activities----which I better not think about now."

"She loves you-Tom."

"I love her too---it won't stop her from killing me over the flyer."  He shifted "And we need to talk about something else..."

"How about plasma conduits and exhaust manifolds---both of which you will spend the next sixty years cleaning with your toothbrush if you move away again---It's getting colder out here."  She pulled him back to her.

"How about the big guy?"  Tom snickered.  "What do you think HE would do to me if he saw this?"

"What do you think he would do to you if you let me freeze?"

"Good point---come over here and let me warm you up!"  He hugged her so tight she couldn't breath.

"Tom---I need to breath."  She pretended to gasp.  "Chakotay is my friend --Tom--a very good friend and an excellent First officer---that's all."

"Yes, I know and he would jump at the chance for more---I know that too."  When she said nothing he continued. "Do you love him, Kathryn?"  When she didn't answer, he moved around so he could see her face.

"Yes"  She said it very softly.

"Then----Why?"  He rested her head on his chest.

"I'm the Captain.  I have a responsibility to this crew."  She was very quiet and he thought sad.

"The crew has no objection to your happiness---believe me I know.  I make book on everything and the odds are way in your favor."

"Do you seriously think the crew would accept---a different kind of relationship?"  She lifted her head to see his face.

"Half--half the crew would have no problem with it."

"And the other half?"

"They already believe you're lovers."  He smiled at her expression of surprise.  "No one expects you to stop living just because you're the Captain---no one but you.  Sixty years is a very long time---Kathryn---think about it."

"I will--right now I think that big damn Indian had better send someone to rescue us before I break some of his bones."

"That can be fun--ya know."

"I thought you weren't going to talk about B'Elanna."

"Speaking of the two of them..."

"Tom that's ancient history."

"I know--do you ever think about it?--does it bother you?---them having been lovers."

"Ancient history---besides neither one of us is exactly a virgin---not that Chakotay owes me any explanations."

"I know what you mean, but what if it was them here---instead of us---would it matter then?"

"Tom, B'Elanna loves you---Chakotay is her friend---it wouldn't be any different."

"Maybe I should dump her and go for you---She would never be that understanding---and hey -you're free--right?"

"Oh no---I'm not getting in B'Elanna's way---I wouldn't touch her man with the proverbial ten foot pole."

"I thought Starfleet Captains weren't afraid of anything."

"There is a difference between courage and stupidity."

"OK-- so your butt is cute and mine belongs to B'E, but if we want to keep it that way you better stop all that squirming around and go to sleep."

"Sorry---just trying to warm up."

"I think I'm warm enough for both of us."  He gave her a little squeeze.

"OK--got it---going to sleep now--good night Tom."

"Night Kathryn."

     When the flyer didn't return by 0200, Chakotay contacted the Marrinian Ambassador.  After being informed the Captain had departed at 1930, he requested and received permission for Voyager to enter Marrinian space to begin a search.  By 0300 long range sensors picked up traces of the delta flyer near an  uninhabited M Class and they set a course.

"How long before we're within transport range, Ensign?"  Chakotay kept a level voice, but continued to pace the bridge.

"Two hours seventeen minutes, Sir."  Ensign Roberts didn't work the bridge crew often and she had never been there when any of the command team were.

"I'll be in the ready room, Lieutenant Somers, you have the bridge.  Let me know when we're within range."  Chakotay left the bridge.  As soon as the doors closed behind him, he hit his badge.  "Chakotay to Torres."

"Torres here---this better be good."  It was 0330 and B'Elanna had been sleeping.

"B'Ella ---the flyer is missing---I'm in the ready room."

"On my way---Torres out."  B'Elanna pulled on her uniform and was in the lift almost before her eyes were open.  "Bridge."  She closed her eyes---both of them--couldn't be."  The lift opened and she crossed the bridge and rang the chime.

"Come"  He stood with his back to her. "Coffee?"

"Yea---I'll get it."  She replicated her coffee and joined him at the view port. "What happened?"

"Don't know yet---they didn't get back--left the Ambassador at 1930."

"Shit---that's too long ago---any sign?"

"Yea--traces of the flyer around a M Class--we'll be within range in about two hours."

"They went down?---or they landed?"

"Don't know--but traces aren't good--not a whole shuttle --yet."

"Hell---that's not like Tom---crashing shuttles is your job."  She gave a half hearted laugh trying to lighten the mood.  "He better not be dead---that pleasure I reserve for myself."

"If she....what are we talking about here?  They're fine."  He hugged her.

"It's just the damn waiting."

"I know." He sighed.  "My whole life is out there---I wish I knew where."

"With Tom."  She laughed. "Bet that's a comfort."

"Spirits help us!  Tom Paris has my life in his hands--again."

"Could be worse---You could be stuck loving that wayward flyboy---sometimes this really sucks!"

     They settled on the couch, sometimes talking, sometimes dozing, willing the time to pass.

"Bridge to Chakotay"

"Chakotay---go ahead."

"Coming into range Commander."

"On my way."  He turned to the sleeping form at his side.  "B'Ella-- it's show time."  Together they entered the bridge. "Report."

"Picking up warp signature---it's the flyer."  Ensign Roberts worked over the ops station.  "Two human life signs down there."  She looked up and smiled at that declaration.

"Send coordinates to transporter room one. Ensign"  He turned to Tuvok who had just entered the bridge.  "Put together a team, Torres and I will be planet side---see you there."  He tapped B'Elanna and headed for the lift.

     They materialized just as the sun rose, it was chilly and the wind was strong.  The first thing they saw was the flyer.

"Gods---that doesn't look good."  Chakotay surveyed the damage.

"Nothing I can't handle---later."  She scanned the area.  "This way."  She headed in the direction of the overhang.

     Chakotay found them first.  They were sleeping--together---wrapped around each other.  First he noticed Kathryn's jacket was missing, then he noticed her 'lieutenant's pips'.  They looked to be in good shape---thank the spirits.  He cleared his throat several times until Kathryn's eyes fluttered open.

"Chakotay?"  She tried to focus.  He was just standing, staring down at her--them.  "It's cold."  She offered as explanation.  "Coolant--the line broke..." *What the hell am I doing?*

"Kathryn."  He just smiled. "Glad to see you're in one piece---'LIEUTENANT'..."
 

"Wha..?"  She smiled as her hand reached up and  touched her 'lieutenant' pips.  They were still smiling into each other's eyes when B'Elanna came up next to Chakotay. "B'Elanna."

"Capta...Lieutenant?" B'Elanna raised her eyebrows and looked from Kathryn to Chakotay to Kathryn to Tom.

"Tom"  Kathryn gently nudged him and he grumbled. "Tom."

"Kathryn, go back to sleep."  He rolled toward her trying to make her lay down.

"Tom--we have company."

"HUH---company?"  He opened his eyes and saw Chakotay first.  His eyes got very wide. "Chakotay!"  He sat up taking his arms away from Kathryn and then he saw HER.  "B'E!---Kathyrn-Chakotay, B'E---shit, this isn't what it looks like--she was just cold."  He frantically looked from one to the other.  She didn't have any clothes...shit this isn't going well." He looked at Kathryn. "Kathryn---a little help here would be nice."

"Kathryn?---well--we ARE  chummy---get up flyboy."  B'Elanna loved the touch of fear in his eyes as he complied.  "This you can try to get out of later--right now I want to know what you did to my shuttle---Let's go."  She pushed him toward the shuttle winking at Chakotay.

"Poor Tom--this hasn't been his day."  Kathryn laughed as she got to her feet.

"Doesn't look all that hard to take to me." Chakotay eyed her in Tom's turtleneck. "Cute."

"Not you too."  She rolled her eyes. "Starfleet Captains..."

"I know--Starfleet Captains are not Cute!"  They laughed.  He took her shoulders and looked her over. "You OK?  That shuttle doesn't look so good."

"Just cold and a little stiff from sleeping on a rock---getting too old for this."

He drew the blanket around her and gave her a hug.  "Better get you home."

"Let's check out the flyer first--it was dark when we-----Landed."

"Some landing!"  He smiled as he followed her---picking her way across the rocks in bare feet and a blanket.  He thought about offering to carry her---but he was sure Starfleet Captains didn't  get carried either.

     He watched as she conferred with Tuvok and then B'Elanna, as she assessed the damage and plans for recovery and salvage.  She moved among crew listening here, commenting there, in complete control of  the situation.  She amazed him, she never seemed to miss a beat.  Finally she returned to where he was making his own assessments.

"Commander, we can go home now."  The lips she smiled with were purple with the morning cold.
 
"Yes Ma'am."  Stepping back he hit his comm. badge.  "Voyager two to beam up."  They shimmered in the glow of the transporter.

     As they materialized on the transporter pad, the young Ensign's face registered surprise for only a moment before he recovered.

"Welcome back, Captain."

"Thank you Ensign Cannon." She stepped off the pad.

"Captain?"  The ensign hesitated.

"Yes, Ensign?"

"Would you like a site to site?"  He tried not to blush, as he surveyed her attire.

Looking down at herself she chuckled.  "Very good idea, Ensign.  Send myself and the Commander to my quarters."

"Aye Captain"  This time he didn't try to hide the smile as they shimmered away.

"Kathryn, How do you do it?"  Chakotay asked as soon as they reached her quarters.

"What?"

"Look at you---lost your boots, your pants--hell your whole uniform.  Your wearing Tom Paris' shirt and a blanket--and yet you don't miss a beat---and not one member of this crew reacts any differently than if you are in full uniform on the bridge."  He was shaking his head.

"I'm the Captain." She said it matter of factly.  "And I need a hot shower."
 

"Yes, you certainly are."  He waited until she closed the bathroom door. "And you're right, not cute----damn sexy and I don't care what you say ---Starfleet Captains are sexy--at least this one."  She didn't respond and he wasn't  sure if she heard him--wasn't sure he wanted her to.

     It didn't take long, she finished her shower and dried her hair, joining him in the living room still wearing her bathrobe.  She replicated coffee for herself and tea for him and sat on the couch next to him.

"First Officers too."  It was the first thing she said since joining him.

"What? First Officers what?"

"First Officers are sexy too-very sexy----at least mine is."

"Well---I guess I should say thank you."  He blushed slightly, not sure where this was going.

"Not good enough."

"What--what's not good enough?"  He smiled. *What kind of game is this?*

"Thank you---it won't do--it's not enough."  Her eyes twinkled when she smiled.

"What would you like instead or in addition to thank you?"  He watched the devilish glint in her eyes.

"I would like you to kiss me."

"What?----OK." He bent and placed a quick kiss on her lips.

NO, no, no .... not like that---like this."  She placed her hands on either side of his face and drew him to her.  She gently brushed his lips, then slid her fingers into his hair deepening the kiss, her tongue slipping out to part his lips, tasting and exploring, until soft moans escaped both of them.  Breaking the kiss she smiled .   "That was much better----we can work on it.
"Yes Ma'am--- Your're the Captain"  He returned her smile.

The End.
 

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