Disclaimer: The whole universe belongs to paramount—god I am tired of that!
 
 


 
 



Rated PG:

Third place winner in Ros a Gael contest  Second Place in Green

You’re gonna miss the best party yet.”  Tom quipped, turning back to his console, just as the Captain entered the bridge.  “Fair Haven is expecting us--- all of us.”

“Report.”  Hearing Tom mention Fair Haven made her smile, she crossed over to her command chair.

“All systems functioning normally, Captain.”  The Commander reported, more than a little relieved to have the discussion of Tom’s party plans interrupted.

“Thank you, Commander.”  She nodded, giving him a smile, then turned her attention to the back of her helmsman’s head.  “Mr. Paris, how are the preparations coming?”

“Great Captain, everything will be ready.”  He looked over his shoulder at her and smirked.  “Oh and Mr. Sullivan sends his regards, he was VERY interested in whether you were planning to attend.”

“I wouldn’t miss it, Mr. Paris.”  She snuck a look in Chakotay’s direction.  “Tell him, I’m looking forward to it.”

“That I will, Captain, that I will.”  Tom pretended to return his attention to the helm, but with little there to occupy his time, he was more interested in the Commander’s sudden sulk.

“Commander, have you arranged the duty roster for the 17th, so that as many as possible can attend?”

“I have most of it complete, Captain, only the bridge to cover and I thought….”

“Excuse me Commander, but I have already spoken to the Captain in regard to this.”  Tuvok interrupted.  “I will be covering the bridge, and providing it remains quiet, I should be in need of no assistance.”

“I see.”  The Commander gave Tuvok his own version of the death glare.

“Good, that settles it, I will expect to see the completed roster on my desk by morning than, Commander.” She stood and headed for the lift.  “I have a meeting with B’Elanna, the bridge is yours, Commander.”  She called over her shoulder, as she stepped through the doors.

“Aye, Captain.”  Chakotay grumbled, as she left.

The last thing he wanted was to attend a party at Sullivan’s Pub in Fair Haven, but now, with Tuvok covering the bridge, he had lost his best excuse.  He could, of course, just decline to go, but she would never settle for that.  After all the problems on the holodeck, Kathryn was excited about Fair Haven being up and running again in time for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and wanted as many as possible to share in the festivities.  Kathryn wasn’t usually one for parties, so he supposed he shouldn’t begrudge her the one she was looking forward to, but he just didn’t hold Michael Sullivan in the same regard as she did.

In the beginning, he had seen Michael as a harmless diversion, a sort of animated playmate, but that all changed when the holocharacters gained awareness.  They were more sentient, like the doctor, almost real and the quiet, eighteenth century, gentleman barkeep was becoming all too aware of the vast changes in what was considered ‘proper conduct’ for ladies of the twenty-fourth century.  No, Chakotay was not happy with Kathryn’s relationship with Mr. Sullivan—not happy at all.  He had been glad at first to see Kathryn so excited about celebrating part of her heritage, but then they spoiled it all by resurrecting Fair Haven.  It didn’t matter what he thought, The Captain was happy with the plans, so a Saint Patrick’s Day bash at Sullivan’s it was and if he couldn’t find an excuse, he would once again, have to suffer through  watching her, with Michael.

He had had three days to come up with a feasible excuse, but he didn’t do well.  He had tried to arrange the duty roster so that he had very little time, but Kathryn vetoed it, saying it wasn’t necessary to work so hard in such a quiet area of space.  He tried being over tired and even thought of being sick but the doctor would never go along---the doctor loved Fair Haven. Everybody on the damned ship loved Fair Haven, everybody but him!  So tomorrow he would be in holodeck two, ‘enjoying’ the party and watching Kathryn with Michael---damn.  Well, at least he had her to himself for dinner tonight.  He rang the chime, no answer he rang again.

“Oh, Chakotay.”  She rushed up behind him.  “Sorry I’m late.”  She stepped past and keyed in her code.

“No problem.”  He watched her rush in, she wasn’t in uniform—that was her Fair Haven dress. *damn*

‘There’s a bottle of wine on the table—pour us some?”  She hurried toward the bedroom.  “I’ll just get out of this dress, be right back.”  She disappeared into the bedroom.

“I could help.”  He said to the closing door.

“Oh, Chakotay--- dinner is programmed, start the replicator---please.”  She called through the closed door

“Not the kind of help I meant.”  He mumbled as he started the replicator and opened the wine.

“Spirits, I don’t know how women ever got anything done in those things.”  She entered the room dressed now in leggings and a button up tunic.

“This suits you much better anyway.”  He handed her a glass.

“Yes, I would not have fared well in the eighteenth century.”  She laughed and plopped down on the couch, drawing her feet under her.

“Would seem you manage to get out of it fast enough though.”  He sat down beside her, avoiding her quizzical stare.  “So-- is Sullivan’s ready for the party?”  He added quickly, before she could question his last remark.

“Sullivan’s?!”  She laughed.  “They’re Irish, they are always ready for the party!”

“I see, so you were just visiting?”  He poured himself another wine.  “Ready.”  He held up the bottle but she shook her head.  “Thought you were Irish too.”  He teased.

“Michael says my blood has been thinned by centuries of space travel.  I’m too far removed from the old sod.”

“Yeah about six centuries and 70,000 light years.”  He smiled when he said it, but the tone of his voice betrayed quite a different attitude.

“Yes—well—we are all a little…”  She was a bit taken back by the hostility she heard. “far removed from our ancestors.”

“But we don’t all try to date them.”  His tone was harsh- it just popped out before he thought about it, he tried to cover with a chuckle, when he saw her face drop.  “It’s a joke, Kathryn—we are maybe --a little too sensitive about Mr. Sullivan?”

“Not this half of the ‘we’.”  She jumped up, crossing the room on the pretense of checking on dinner.  “Dinner will be just another minute.”

“Good, any more of this wine, without food and I could be in trouble.”

“You should know better, after all -your ancestors were notorious for their intolerance to liquor---weren’t they?”  She turned away from the replicator, smiling as she brought dinner to the table.

“That is how the legend is handed down.”  He picked up their glasses and the bottle and joined her at the table.  “Unlike yours, of course—is it true that if an Irishmen’s blood alcohol drops below 80% they call for an immediate transfusion?”  He placed the glasses on the table and held up the bottle.  “Another?”

“Yes, please.”  She took her seat.  “What’s bothering you, Chakotay?”

“Nothing, what makes you think something’s wrong?”

“You seem a little ---tense.”  She passed him a plate.

“Me?”  He chuckled.  “Seems to me, it’s you who is a bit sensitive about-- Michael.”

“Look at us sitting here like a couple of children---my ancestors can kick your ancestors’ butt.”  Her smile tried to hide her growing anger.

“Is that what we we’re doing? ----I though we were talking about Mr. Sullivan.”

“Michael?  This has nothing to do with Michael.”  She was indignant.

“Oh this has everything to do with Michael.”  He realized his mistake the moment he said it, but it was too late to take it back.  He looked down at his plate and they continued their meal in silence.

“Chakotay?”  She broke the silence, forcing him to look up at her.  She studied his face, then a small smile broke her expression.  “Why Chakotay –you’re jealous.”

“Kathryn –now you are being ridiculous.”  He tossed his napkin on the table and stood up.

“Where are you going?  You haven’t finished your dinner.”

“I think I better leave, before we say things we will regret.”

“Now, You are the one being ridiculous—Please sit, finish your dinner.”  She smiled and held out her hand to him.  He smiled and took it.

“Sorry, guess we are both being a little silly.”  He sat across from her again.  “Guess I had a little more wine than I thought.”

“And, maybe, I am a bit touchy about ---Fair Haven…”  She looked down at her plate. “Michael”

“Why don’t we change the subject?”

“Good idea”
 

The rest of dinner passed pleasantly enough, if a bit quietly.  They enjoyed their coffee on the couch and the conversation was easy and fun, until the subject of the party came up again.  They both became uncomfortable again and the evening drew to a quick close.

Chakotay said his good nights and made his way quickly down the corridor to his quarters.  Safely inside, he leaned against the door then pounded his fist into the panel.  He hated his reaction to this and he hated even more that she was aware of it---and even seemed to enjoy it.  He wasn’t going to let her laugh at him—no he would—would –hell, nothing – he would do nothing, just as he always did.  He pounded the wall again and headed for the shower.

Kathryn watched him leave, unable to believe what she was seeing.  Maybe she was a bit sensitive about Michael—but he had no right to act this way!  She was angry—he had no right--- she stormed around her living quarters –damn who did he think he was?  She paced the room, almost threw the coffee mugs at the recycler, then decided to take a bath.  She started the water added bath oils and stormed around her bedroom flinging off her clothes, before slipping into the steaming water with a sigh.

He stood letting the hot water sting against he skin, he needed to collect himself.  This kind of reaction was not acceptable.  Kathryn was a grown woman and free to choose whom she wanted to spend the time with—hologram or not, she liked spending time with Michael.  They were friends, god he had even encouraged her to develop this relationship, he had to find a way to accept it.  Spirits but he hated the way Michael looked at her!

She soaked in the bath, letting the hot water work its wonders on her tight muscles—god she hadn’t realized she was this tense.  It felt good to relax, she rested her head back on the wall and closed her eyes.  She tried to imagine why she was so angry, what was wrong with him?  Of course she knew what was bothering him---Michael—god he was jealous of a hologram!  How sad was that?  Suddenly she started to laugh—he was really and truly, insanely jealous of Michael.  Good, he should be.  He had paraded any number of real-- flesh and blood-- women through this ship over the years—it was about time she got to give him a little of his own medicine.  She closed her eyes and laughed again—this -just -could be fun.

His shower finished, he felt better and resolved not to sit and seethe while she danced the night away with her photonic friend.  If he had to be there and endure this party, he was going to have a good time—or at least make it look that way.  To make her believe it, that was the key.  He wrapped a towel around his waist and went in search of his comm. badge.

“Chakotay to Torres”

“Yes, Commander.”

“B’Elanna, where are you?”

“In my office—why?”

“Are you alone?”

“Yeah—just me.  What’s this about.”

“B’Ella, I need a date for the party.”

“And you’re asking me?”  She could barely keep from laughing.  “ Chak, that’s nice, but I thought I would go with my HUSBAND.”

“Cute B’Ella –can you come up to my quarters?  I’ll explain.”

“Sure, on my way.”

“B’Ella ---don’t mention this to anyone---OK?”

“Chak –just who the hell do you think would believe me? ”  She laughed.  “Torres out.”

The following day, alpha shift went quickly.  The Captain was a little hesitant when she first entered the bridge, but the good humor of her first officer soon had an effect on her and she relaxed.  Everyone was buzzing with plans for the party, the good mood contagious and command team soon fell into line.  Most of the day was uneventful and the Captain spent a good deal of it in her ready room.  It was almost time for shift change when she returned to her command chair.

“So Captain are you and Michael entering the rings tournament?”  Paris called over his shoulder, causing the Captain to cringe, just slightly, at the mention of Michael’s name.

“I’m sure we are Mr. Paris—though I haven’t spoken to Michael about it.”  She turned to her left, only to see her first officer smirking at her.  “What?  Don’t you think we could win?”

“Oh, quite the opposite.  I’m sure you will.  After all it’s Michael’s pub and I have never known you to lose at anything.”  He gave a chuckle, which caused a chain reaction of laughter across the bridge.

“Then what is it you find so amusing?”

“I’m just surprised that Michael would dare to make plans, without consulting you first.”  His eyes were dancing with laughter, as he leaned away from her mock death glare.

“Are you implying I am somewhat bossy—Mr. Chakotay?”  She raised one eyebrow and leaned in his direction.

“You are rather- enchanted- with being in charge.”  He laughed and ducked the hand she swung at him.

“Perhaps, I’m just waiting for someone with the audacity to take the lead.”  She smiled and settled back in her chair, enjoying the surprised gasps her remark produced.

“Sounds like a challenge to me –Commander.”  Tom quipped, keeping his back to the command level.

“Be careful what you ask for, Kathryn.”  The Commander leaned in close and whispered, leaving every one to speculate on his reply, especially when the Captain blushed.

“So Commander –will you be entering the tournament?”  She tried to regain her calm.

“I’ll have to consult with my partner, but I believe we will enter.”  He just smiled at her raised eyebrows, knowing she was dying to ask about his ‘partner’.  “Afraid of a little competition, Captain?”  He saw her register the double meaning.

“Never have been---why should I start now?”

Before he could answer the lift opened and deposited Beta shift, turning their attention to reporting the lack of activity to the newcomers.

“Before I leave…”  The Captain stood on the upper level.  “I just want to remind everyone that, Mr. Tuvok will be taking over the Bridge at 1800 hours so you can all attend the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in Fair Haven.  See you all there.”  She joined the Commander, who was holding the lift for her.

They rode to deck three in silence.  She saw him smirking, when he caught her glancing in his direction, she just smiled in return. She more than a little curious about this ‘partner’ of his, but she refused to ask. She stopped to key in her code and he brushed past, then turned back, flashing her a dimpled smile.

“See you in Fair Haven, Captain.”

“No.”  She finished the code and smiled up at him.  “But Katie will be there.”  She ducked into her quarters, hearing him chuckle, as the door cut them off.
 
 

It was after 2100 hours when she exited the lift outside the holosuite.  She had fallen asleep in the bathtub and now found herself very late—well maybe fashionably late—for the party.  When she entered the program it was clear there was a party going on, the music was loud and she could almost feel the room shake with the dancing.  She hurried down the street to Sullivan’s.  Outside the door she gave the dress a tug, fluffed up her hair and brought out her best smile, then entered and made her way to the bar.

“Katie.”  Michael yelled across the room, as he worked his way toward her.  “I thought you were lost. I was beginning to worry.”

“Hello, Michael.”  She smiled and accepted the kiss he placed on her cheek.  “Sorry, I got a little sidetracked.”

“Well, you’re here now, Katie—let me get you a drink.”  He ducked behind the bar and returned with her drink.  “Here you go.”

“Hey Michael, where’s me pint?”  Seamus called down the bar.

“Mind yourself lad—can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Ahhh it’s Katie.”  Seamus shook his head.  “We’re on our own now, fellas.”  He jumped over the bar.  “Now what’ll it be?”

“Michael, you won’t make a living with Seamus minding the store.”  Kathryn laughed and shook her head.

“There’s more to life than a shilling.”  He took her hands.  “Come on Katie girl, it’s a party --dance with me.”

Michael whirled her onto the dance floor.  The music was loud and strong and they twirled and stomped, spinning and laughing, until she couldn’t breathe.  She had seen every corner of the room—some a blur as she was spun past—but she hadn’t seen Chakotay.   Finally, the music and the dancing slowed and she was able to catch her breath and spot him at a side table.  Tom and B’Elanna, Jenny and Harry, Chakotay and—she realized she didn’t know that woman.  Nonsense she knew everyone on the ship.  There was no way she could be a stranger.

“Michael.”  She spoke softly, in his ear as they danced.

“Yes, Katie?”  He moved a little bit back to see her face.

“That woman over there.”  She nodded in Chakotay’s direction.  “Who is she?  I don’t think I’ve seen her here before.”

“Who?”  He looked around then smile at her.  “Oh the one with your friends?”

“Yes her—who is she?”

“That’s Catrina O’Malley—Seamus’ sister, she only came to visit for a fort-night.”  He watched the concern on Katie’s face.  “She has taken quite a likein’  to your tattoed friend.”

“So I see.”

“You wouldn’t be jealous—now would you, Katie?”  He could see it in her eyes—but then, he always knew what she so carefully denied.

“No, of course not.”  She turned back to him.  “Only concerned ---but if she’s Seamus’ sister, well…”   The music turned fast and loud again cutting off her next words.  She shook her head and motioned that she would like a drink, so he led her back to the bar.  Michael brought her a fresh drink, then went to pour a few rounds for the others.  She stood leaning on the bar purposely keeping her back to his table.  A hologram, so that’s what had him so amused all day.  A strawberry blond hologram—she should have know!

“Good evening, Kathryn.”  His voice from behind her made her jump a bit.

“Hello, Chakotay.”  She composed herself, before turning to greet him with a smile  “Are you enjoying the party?”

“Yes, much better than I thought it would be.”  He locked his eyes with hers—they had a devilish gleam.   “You and Michael seem to be enjoying your selves.”

“It’s a lively party….” She glanced at Catrina.  “You looked fairly content when I came in.”

“Just taking your advice and getting to know the locals.”  He leaned on the bar next to her.  They were staring at each other, so intently they almost didn’t hear Michael, when he joined them.

“What’ll it be Chakotay?”  Michael reached for the glasses.

“Oh another beer, please Michael.”  He had trouble directing his eyes toward Michael.

“And Catrina—will she be needing something?”

“No, she’s good.”

“Aye, that I know.”  Michael winked and went to draw the beer.  Chakotay laughed and Kathryn blushed.

“So when did Seamus get a sister?”

“Oh this morning, I believe it was.”  He chuckled.

“At your request?”  She raised her eyebrow in an accusing fashion.

“Are you jealous, Kathryn?”  He leaned in bringing his face closer to hers.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”  She turned to face the bar again.  “Photons and force fields,” She mumbled as she played with her drink.

“Fully functional photons and force fields.”  He answered, close enough now for her to feel his breath as he chuckled.  “Thanks.”  He straightened up and took his beer from Michael.  “See you two later at the rings.”

“Prepare to lose.”  She turned her head and smiled.

“I usually lose where you’re concerned---- I’m used to it.”

She watched him walk back to the table, there was something familiar about that woman—she didn’t know what.  She was so familiar, yet she knew she had never seen her before—how could she, Catrina didn’t even exist before this morning.  She saw her take his hand as he sat beside her, then felt a warm hand on her own arm.  Turning she saw Michael watching her.

“Would you like to meet her, Katie?”

“Who?--- Oh Catrina—no.”  She moved around to face him.  “We’ll see more than enough of them when we beat them at rings.”  She winked and laughed.  “Here.”  She patted the stool next to her.”  Can you sit a minute?”

‘Sure, we’ve some catching up to do.”  He sat facing her.  “So how is life on that starship of yours?”

“Quiet at the moment—it’s why we were able to get back here for the party.”

“Well, I’m glad of it then.  You were gone far too long.”

“I missed you too, Michael.”  She took his hand.  “It’s good to be back in Fair Haven.”

“Are you gonna do it forever, Katie?  Live out there among the stars?”  He thought she looked a little sad.

“I hope not—but I have a job to do.”  She sighed.

“Don’t you want a home?  A home and a family, children?”

“Yes, I want a family—funny I didn’t always, but more and more every day –I find I really do want a family.”

“Katie, I mean no disrespect, but…”  He looked at her and she laughed at the pained expression on his face.

“I know Michael—even with the modern miracles of the twenty fourth century, I’m not getting any younger.”  She laughed and patted his hand.  “It’s OK, Michael, believe me I’m well aware of that ticking clock.”

“Ahh look at you--- I didn’t mean to make you sad.”  He touched her face.  “Shall we walk a while?”

“Sure.”  She took his hand followed Michael out the door.  She didn’t notice him watching.
 
 

They were back just in time for the rings contest.  Hand in hand, her head resting on his shoulder as they entered the bar, they were surprised to find almost the entire party watching and waiting for them.  Letting go of her hand, Michael stepped behind the bar setting up drinks for all.  Katie found a seat near the rings.  Chakotay was already sitting on a tall stool, Catrina leaned against him.  She laughed and Katie tried to sneak a look at her, but she was turned toward Chakotay and all she saw was that damned reddish blond hair.

Michael joined her, resting his arm around her shoulders and the tournament got underway.  The more games they played, the faster they went, the more beer they drank.  By the time they played the third round, Katie was having trouble focusing on the rings---but so was everyone else.  It was synthehol and they could shake off the effects soon enough, but for now it seem appropriate –just for the party.  After her shot, she leaned back against Michael, watching Catrina prepare to shoot.  Catrina glanced over her shoulder and smiled—that was it—she knew that smile—damn him!  That was her smile.  She glared at Chakotay, he and B’Elanna were snickering.  So B’Elanna did this—knew he couldn’t do it alone.  OK—this is war.  She was a bit tipsy, and feeling maybe a little too daring.  She leaned back a little harder into Michael, raising her arms over her head and placing them around his neck.

Chakotay had seen the recognition when Catrina smiled, he had all he could do not to laugh out loud.  He watched her put her arms around Michael, he pulled Catrina onto his lap.  She snuggled back against him, something to be said for warm—photons..  Tom was shooting and –ohmygod—Kathryn was kissing Michael!  He forced his mouth to close and tried to pull his eyes away.  It was his turn, he lifted Catrina and moved to the mark, brushing lightly against Kathryn’s leg as he passed.

Kathryn felt him brush past and held the kiss just a few seconds longer, then stood and straightened her dress, as she prepared for her shot.  Michael happily brought another round of beers and as the tournament continued, another round and another.  One by one the teams were defeated and the crew filtered out as the party slowly wound down.  It was getting late, most of the crew had already left, only Tom and B’Elanna, Chakotay, Kathryn and assorted holograms were left.  Rings was clearly not the only game being played at Sullivan’s that night. Katie flirted with Michael, Chakotay hugged Catrina, Katie cuddled up to Michael, Chakotay whispered something to make Catrina giggle and blush.  Katie kissed Michael, Chakotay kissed Catrina.  Katie sat in Michael’s lap, after her shot, reaching a foot out to try to trip Catrina as she passed, Chakotay jumped up to catch her.  They were so busy getting one up on one another, Tom and B’Elanna could have walked away with the tournament, the bar and the whole damn ship—if they could walk.  Unable to hit the board at any distance, Tom finally conceded and he and B’Elanna stumbled out of Fair Haven, leaving the command team to their games.

“Computer, music selection Janeway 47 pi alpha.”  She stumbled into Michael.  “Dance with me.”  Her voice was husker than usual and the music slow and sensuous.  She leaned into Michael, who was not  much sturdier that she.

Chakotay sat back and watched, his arm around Catrina until she tugged his hand and he followed her onto the dance floor.  He looked down at her face, the hair was much too blond, she didn’t really look like Kathryn, but the eyes were Kathryn’s and that smile—god he loved that smile.  He pulled her close, she was exactly Kathryn’s size—thanks to the computer.  Holding her, he breathed in the sweet scent of Kathryn’s hair, B’Ella had done a good job—too good.  One hand stroked his back the other worked its way into his hair, she sighed against his neck, and he could feel himself harden in response.

At the sound of a moan, his eyes flew open, Katie was moaning into Michael’s mouth, his hands cupped her cheeks through the layers of the dress, pressing her hips forward against him.  His mouth moved across her jaw and down her neck, she threw her head back to give him better access.  His own hands stroked the woman in his arms, he pulled her tight against his erection.  He closed his eyes, she smelled like Kathryn, she felt like Kathryn, in his mind she was Kathryn.

She could feel his lips on her, his tongue licked that oh so sensitive spot behind her ear, she was losing her self in the sensations.  They swayed together to the soft sultry music, she felt his hot breath on her neck, his hands caressing her –too many layers of clothing, she wanted to touch and be touched—his mouth stopped at the high collar of the dress—damn the eighteenth century.  She took his face in her hands, bringing his lips back to hers, easing his mouth open, her tongue sweeping, tasting, dueling with his.  Hands stroking, caressing seeking contact through too many layers, she tugged his shirt loose, sliding her hands beneath it, running her palms up his chest.  Her fingers curled in the soft tufts, she froze.

Michael pulled back slightly, lifting her chin until she met his eyes.  He saw the truth there, as he had always know it.  She rested her forehead on his chest, he pulled her into a gentle embrace.

“Ahhh Katie.”  He held her close, felt her shudder slightly, with the tears she tried to hold back.  “It’s OK, Katie. I know.”

They stood still, in the middle of the almost empty dance floor.  She struggled for control, he gently stroked her back, as the soft music held them together.  It was only minutes or maybe a lifetime, she felt Michael relinquished his hold, large gentle hands gripped her shoulders, she looked up.  Michael smiled and nodded, as he stepped back and the hands turned her around.

Moist blue eyes looked into the dark orbs, that radiated a love and passion he was no longer willing to hide.  His finger brushed away a lonely tear, he bent lightly brushing his lips to hers, nibbling softly on a trembling lower lip, before claiming her more forcefully.  He eased her lips apart, her tongue darted out to taste him, dance with his, a moan escaping into his mouth, fingers reaching into his hair, holding him to her.  He pulled back from her lips, working moist kisses across her cheek, her jaw, down her neck, feeling her move against him, softly moaning, then gasping as he discovered the tender flesh just beneath her ear.  He held her closer, she could feel his arousal pressing her belly, he felt her heart pounding against him as she struggled against her weakening knees.  He returned to her mouth, his lips working hers, tongues tangling, intensifying their reactions.  She was melting into him, so weak and dizzy with wanting him, he had to pull her closer to keep her from falling.  Easing out of the kiss, he held her against his chest, hearts pounding as one, as they gasped to recover their breath.

“Kathryn, It’s time we went home.”  He wasn’t asking, or giving her room to object.  He called for an arch and with his arm around her shoulder, led her off the holodeck and back to his quarters.
 

“Come on Michael.”  She reached out a hand to him, as they watched the others leave.  “Our work is done, time we rested ourselves.”

“Ahh Cat, you always were a sly one.”  He took her hand and went about closing up the bar.  “I’ve been a long time trying to get those two together.”

“Just needed a little fairy magic.”  She winked at him and wrapped an arm around his waist as they walked.

“And you’d be just the one to supply it.”  He shook his head.  “I’ll miss her though.”

“Then we’ll have to do something about that.”  She tilted her head and gave him a crooked smile.

“Oh will we now?”

“Leprechauns aren’t the only ones with a pot of gold, you know.”

Their laughter could be heard through the streets of Fair Haven, as the lights went out and they made their way up the stairs.
 

~~~~~~

Alpha shift had started, every station was covered by a crewmen, each trying hard not to stare at the two empty chairs in the center of the bridge.  Tuvok had long since request the computer to locate the Command team and turned the bridge over to Tom for a time while he tended to some mysterious business in the Captain’s ready room.  Now he stood staring at his console, as unreadable as ever.  The doors to the lift opened and he turned with a raised eyebrow, to face the smiling couple.

“Good morning, Mr. Tuvok.”  The Captain smiled and nodded as she walked past, stopping to bid good morning at each station, as if she hadn’t shown up two hours late for shift, her first officer in tow, grinning like a Cheshire cat.  Chakotay just as casually took his place and bid them all a good morning, from his command chair.

“Captain, enjoy the party last night?”  Tom ventured.

“Yes, Mr. Paris, beyond even my expectations.”

“We left before it was over, who won last night?”

“We did.”  They answered in unison, then laughed at Tom’s puzzle expression.

“But you weren’t even a team.”  Tom spun around to face them.

“Not when we started, Mr. Paris.”  The Captain smiled and rested her hand on the Commander’s

“No need to concern yourself, Tom.”  The Commander’s deep brown eyes twinkled, but at the same time warned Tom not to challenge him.  “After you left, some of us had the audacity to change partners.”

Tom turned abruptly, to face his console, in an attempt to hide his knowing smile.  He heard the Captain’s soft laugher and imagined Tuvok’s eyebrows reaching for the ceiling.

The End
 

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