Disclaimer:  The characters all belong to Paramount, as usual the story is mine (probably cause they didn’t want it)
Fair Catch
 

Second place in tanked smashed tipsy contest

Rated G
 

The small circle of women on the other side of the room eyed the command team.  It was another one of Neelix’s ‘holiday’ celebrations, no one was quite sure what the occasion was but they all showed up, anyway. Chakotay had arrived alone causing speculation and a great deal of excitement among the eligible women on the ship.  The drinks had flowed too long and too strong, by the time the captain joined him, to put a damper on their mood.

“Don’t look now, but I think Ms. Delaney has eyes for you.”  Kathryn leaned closer to Chakotay and whispered.

“Which one?”  Chakotay resisted the urge to turn and look.

“Ummm, might be both this time.”  Kathryn laughed.  “I think they are fighting over you.”

“Again?”  He groaned.  “They always do this to me when you make me come alone.  It’s all your fault.”

“Oh, Ms. Henley seems to want a piece of you as well.”  Kathryn laughed again and stood up.  “I think I’ll get a drink.  Can I bring you something?”

“A phaser.”  He grabbed her hand.  “Kathryn, if you leave me, you know they will swoop down on me.”

“Loosen up, Commander, let the young ladies have some fun.”

“Easy for you to say.  It’s not you they will be groping.”

“Yes, such a hardship!”  She tried to free her hand from his, but he wouldn’t let go.

“Please, Kathryn.”

“Really, Chakotay.  Begging is so undignified.”  She yanked her hand free and left him with a smile.

As Kathryn crossed the room, the lights grew dim and the music slowed.  She turned back to see pleading brown eyes swallowed up by a gaggle of young women.  Chuckling to herself, Kathryn went to the bar to refill their drinks.

“Captain, what can I get you?”  Neelix popped up behind the bar.

“Just a glass of wine, thank you.”  She pushed Chakotay’s glass aside as she watched Jenny drag Chakotay onto the dance floor.  “And maybe a dance partner.”

“Yes, well, one wine coming up.”  Neelix ducked away.

“They’re at it again, huh, Captain?”  Tom slid closer.

“Seems so.”  She smiled accepting her wine from Neelix.  “Well, with you taken, Mr. Paris, I suppose he is the most eligible bachelor on the ship.”

“If you say so.”  Tom smirked as he leaned back against the bar.

“Isn’t there some kind of protocol about jumping a commanding officer’s bones on the dance floor?”  Harry pushed in beside Tom at the bar.  “Oh, sorry, Captain.”

“It’s OK, Harry.”  The captain took a long sip of her drink.  “Actually, I believe as long as it isn’t the commanding officer doing the jumping its not a problem.”  Her smile turned to a hearty laugh when Tom spit his beer across the room.

“Geesh, Captain, I would think You would want to put a stop to this.”

“Jenny is only having a little fun, Harry.”  Tom put his arm around Harry.

“Jenny is drunk!”  Harry shook his head.  “And you know what she’s like when she’s drunk.”

Tom glanced at the Captain for help; she just rolled her eyes and took another sip of her drink.  The song finally ended; the lull in the music gave Megan the opportunity to switch places with her sister.

“There you go, Harry.”  Tom nudged him.  “It’s Meg’s turn now.  Why don’t you go ask Jenny to dance?”

“Why would she dance with me?”  It’s Chakotay, she wants.”  Harry grumbled, but he crossed the dance floor anyway.

Tom leaned back again watching the captain out of the corner of his eye, as she pretended not to watch Chakotay and Meg.  She was clearly amused by it and she didn’t appear to be the least bit worried, but of course she would say she had no claim on him anyway!

“What does he have that I don’t have?”  Mike Ayala shook his head and joined them at the bar.

“I’ll be damned if I know!”  The captain looked him over carefully.

“Well, in that case, would you care to dance, Captain?”

“Don’t let Neelix make off with that; I’ll be back for it.”  Kathryn placed her glass on the bar next to Tom and followed Mike to the dance floor.

“Yes, Ma’am”

As they danced, Mike moved them closer to the other couple.

“So is this a plan to rescue him?”  Kathryn laughed and shook her head.  “You know it’s good to see you laugh.”

“Everyone could use a little fun, me included.”  She nodded toward Meg and Chakotay.  “Unless of course you would rather be dancing with Meg.”

“We’ll switch partners before the night is over; right now I’m very happy to be dancing with you.”

“Why, thank you.  It’s odd but, I don’t think we have ever danced before.”

“He’s a big man, Captain, and I have seen him angry.”

The song ended and the captain was still laughing when they returned to where Tom was carefully guarding her wine.

“Thank you, Mike.”

“My pleasure.”  He winked.  “Now, I think I’ll go find Meg.”

Meg had finished her dance and was easily led away from the others by Mike.  The other two were not so quick to give up.

“Looks like it’s down to Jenny and Mariah.”  Tom leaned toward Kathryn and whispered.

“Wonder how that will work out?”

“Should be interesting.  Shall we?”  Tom offered her arm, which she took with a wicked grin.
 
“Think they are gonna flip for him.”  Tom gestured toward the nodding and grinning going on between the two women.

“Do what?”

“Jenny and Meg have this thing.  Instead of fighting over something they both want they flip for it.  It used to be done with a coin, each person would choose a side, the coin was flipped and which ever side landed face up determined the winner.”

“You don’t see many coins these days.”

“That’s why they amended it a bit.  Usually they have a neutral party toss a small object in the air and the person who catches it is the winner.”

“I see, and this works?”

“Yea, usually ‘cause they agreed to the rules.  It has kinda caught on in the lower decks; saves a lot of argument.”  Tom smiled.  “Of course sometimes it isn’t a clean catch.”

“You mean some times they physically fight over the object.”

“Well, sometimes.”

By the time Tom and the captain reached them, a crowd had gathered and the ladies had agreed on a clean one handed catch.  Chakotay tried to object to the entire thing, but no one was listening to him.

“OK, we need something to toss.”  Mariah looked around.

“We can use this.”  Jenny snatched the comm. badge off Chakotay’s chest and both women nodded and grinned.

“Mike, toss for us will you?”  Mariah yelled to Ayala.

Most of the eyes in the room were beginning to focus, at least those that could still focus, on the two women in the center of the dance floor.  Ayala entered the circle and took the badge from Jenny.  He couldn’t help but laugh at the miserable look on Chakotay’s face.  These things usually didn’t get this far and everyone, including Mike, was interested in how Chakotay would handle the outcome.

“OK, girls, one hand behind your backs.”  Mike reached one hand between the unsteady women and tossed the badge in the air.

Both Jenny and Mariah reached up, but a third hand came out of nowhere and snatched the badge away.

“Hey, no fair!”  Jenny yelled as she tried to maintain her balance.

“You can’t..”  Mariah spun around to face the interloper.  “Captain?!”

“Ladies.”  Kathryn held her tightly closed fist above her head.  “The game is over and I believe I shall claim my prize and go home.  Good night.”  Kathryn ignored the gasps and the stunned faces before her.  Amid the wolf whistles and laughter, Kathryn turned away, taking Chakotay’s arm and quickly exiting the holodeck.

The End.
 

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