DISCLAIMER;   The ship, the universe, the air waves, the characters and all their space toys belong to Paramount.  Only this story is mine. I make no money at this and only seek to give pleasure to myself and other J/C ers  and to the "Command Couple" 
FEELING THE LIGHT
RATED  PG
    They had been at this for almost six years---it was nothing new.  Last night's conversation had gone much the same as all the others.  He wanted a life--one she felt she couldn't offer him--she told him to move on--he said he would try.  She watched him now out of the corner of her eye, as he stood behind Tom at the helm.  She didn't want him to move on--didn't really believe he would, but she got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach---what if he really did it this time?  How could she face it if he found someone else?  Why did she still refuse him, anyway?  They had a great relationship, both professional and personal---why change it?  Because they were both slowly dying of frustration---that's why! 

"Captain,--Captain?"  The Commander had taken his seat and tried to get her attention. 

"Commander, I'm sorry--I --my mind was elsewhere."  She flushed at getting caught with her guard down, grateful he didn't know what she had been thinking about. 

"I just wanted to verify the course corrections."  He handed her the padd. 

"Yes, these are fine." She looked them over quickly and handed it back.  "Commander, you have the bridge.  I'll be in my ready room." 

     He watched her as she walked away, wondering if it was last night's conversation that had her so distracted.  Maybe it was, but he couldn't let that undermine his plans.  He had to try to move on.  They were best friends and always would be---but he needed more---honestly-so did she-but she wouldn't allow it--so he had to find a way.  Trouble was he didn't want to, there was no one else he wanted to spend his time with---share his life with.  How many times had he tried, only to get caught up in his own desperation and hurt her--himself and sometimes even risk the ship.  This was crazy, maybe he should just learn to live with what she was willing to give him. 

     Alpha shift ended and he forced himself to leave the bridge without checking with her.  He wondered what she planned for the evening, wanted to ask about dinner---but they had decided it was best to cut down on the they spent together.  If they didn't he would never make a break--probably never would anyway--never could before. 

     They continued to sit side by side everyday, worked as closely as ever, shared a joke or a look and the untrained eye would never have known anything had changed--- the bridge crew was not untrained.  It had been two weeks and the strain was starting to show.  They had dinner only once in that time and a few working lunches in the ready room, just enough contact to keep them going---not enough to make them happy.  They weren't exactly unhappy, but no one would mistake it for joyful either. 

     Chakotay had become a standard figure at Sandrine's, playing pool almost every night.  He seemed happy enough, but his very presence told that something was wrong-- or at least different.  He socialized more with the crew in the past two weeks than in the entire year before.  B'Elanna had tried to ask, but he just told her he need more from his life and needed to socialize more.  It was the truth, just not the whole truth. He tried to hide the fact that this was killing him and the more time he spent with his friends the lonelier he got. 

     Kathryn had eaten a late dinner in the mess hall and was headed back to her quarters.  As she waited to dispose of her dishes, her attention was drawn toward a group gathered around Samantha Wildman.  She wasn't trynig to but she overheard parts of their conversation. 

"So, Sam are you gonna go?"  Ensign Betty Hapsman was eager for an answer. 

"I can't believe it, I would kill for the chance."  Jenny Delaney offered. 

"I don't know--it doesn't seem right."  Sam was hesitant. 

"Hell, he's free and you're---well, almost free--god it's only a dance---what's the harm?"  Betty reasoned. 

"Look if you don't want him--send him my way,"  Megan offered.  "You know you want to." 

"Yea---it's just---I don't know."  Sam got up and gathered her dishes.  "It is only a dance and..." 

"The Commander is the hottest thing on this bucket of rust!"  Jenny cut her off. 

"I guess---I have to tell him something---I guess I should go. I really want ..."  Sam stopped mid sentence when she saw the Captain. 

"Sam, let me know---'cause if you don't want him I do!" Megan  stepped around Sam and came face to face with the Captain. 

"Good evening, ladies."  Kathyrn smiled at their stunned looks. 

"Captain."  Jenny said and grabbed her sister. "We gotta go--bye." 

"Hey, wait for me."  Betty ran to catch up with the Delaneys. 

"Captain, I-I-I.." Sam stammered. 

"Samantha, can I speak to you?"  Kathryn felt badly for the girl. 

"Sure" 

"Let's sit over there."  Kathryn nodded to a table and they both took seats. 

     As they spoke, Kathryn could see the Delaneys peeking around the door and knew all three were waiting for Sam.  She kept her explanation brief and could see Sam visibly relax as they spoke.  In the end both woman smiled and Sam slipped out to meet her friends. 

"Sam, you OK?" Jenny pulled her into the lift. 

"Fine---don't be silly Jenny." 

"What did she say?" Megan spun Sam around to face her.  "Is she mad?" 

"Are you gonna spend the rest of the trip scrubbing plasma manifolds?"  Betty looked like she believe it was possible. 

"Stop, she's not like that---she said."  Sam looked around.  "Well she said--I should go." 

"She wants you to go with him?"  Megan was stunned.  "Gods is she sick!?" 

"Are you gonna go?" Megan still anxious for a chance at him herself. 

"Yes, now if you three will get out of my way--I have someone to talk to."  Sam smiled and spoke to the computer.  "Computer locate Commander Chakotay." 

"COMMANDER CHAKOTAY IS ON HOLODECK TWO." 

"Well, guess I'm off to Sandrine's"  Sam unfastened her hair clip and shook her head to loosen her hair.  "Deck six"  She ordered the lift. 

     Over the next week, Chakotay and Sam had dinner twice---once on the holodeck and once in the mess with Naomi.  Kathryn made a special effort to avoid running into them together.  Chakotay had not mentioned Sam to her and she didn't bring up the subject 

"Well, looks like we cleared up most of this.  How about a break--- coffee?"  Kathryn looked back at him on her way to the replicatior. 

"Tea, please."  He smiled up from the last padd which he had just finished. 

"Was that tonight's duty roster?"  She put her cups on the table. 

"Yes, and I must say I'm glad to see you name is not on it." 

"Seven is making her 'debut' tonight---I couldn't miss it!" She settled down on the couch. 

"I hear she is good, but I never imagined her a band singer."  He laughed. "Just not the type---I guess." 

"Oh --I think she's perfect---and she has a great voice."  She watched him out of the corner of her eye, he shifted uncomfortably.  "You will be at the dance---won't you?"  She was trying to provide him with the opportunity to tell her about his date. 

"Yes, I-I'm."  He cleared his throat.  "Sam and I planned to attend. He didn't look at her when he said it. 

"Good--it should be an interesting evening."  She smiled and sipped her coffee.  *There that wasn't so bad.* "With the way the roster is set up most people will have an opportunity to drop by---of course Tuvok insisted on being on the bridge---couldn't get him to go at phaser point."  She tried to keep the conversation up and level, she didn't want him feeling sorry or regretting his decision to take Sam. 

    Their break over they cleared away cups and padds and prepared to call it a day.  He gathered his things and was about to leave, he wanted to say something--but he didn't know how. 

"I'll see you later?"  He asked as he started for the door. 

"Yes, later."  She pretended to be very interested in the words on her screen.  Just before he stepped through the door she looked up.  "Chakotay, save a dance for me."  She gave him that crooked smile she saved for him alone. 

"Wouldn't miss it."  His eyes lit up when he smiled. The door closed behind him. 

     She left her ready room shortly after that.  She was taking advantage of their time in this quiet sector of space to relax and unwind.  She drew a hot bubble bath, pinned up her hair, replicated a glass of wine and slipped into the tub.  She sipped and soaked for hours.   After reheating the water several times she surrendered and dragged herself out of the bath. 

   She put on a bathrobe and replicated herself a salad and another glass of wine.  She hadn't eaten a full meal since...well in weeks.  She took her time eating, fixing her makeup and fussing with her hair, before getting dressed.  She didn't plan on spending a lot of time at  the dance, she needed to make an appearance, Seven was singing and of course she promised Chakotay a dance, that and a drink or two, a short time to mingle with the crew and she could come home. 

   She slipped into her dress, it was a simple black dress with thin straps, a low scoop neck which exposed just a hint of cleavage, it flowed to her feet softly clinging to all the curves on the way down and had a slit on the right side which went above the knee.  She wore black heels, which enhnaced the already inviting lines of her right leg as it peeked out the side slit. She  wore small diamond earings, and the tiny pins she secured her hair with sparkled as well.  Her hair was pulled up softly, with small wispy curls escaping on the sides and the nape of her neck.  She strategically placed a few dabs of perfume and added just a hint of it to her hair. Stepping back she assesed the results.  Pleased with what she saw she headed for the holoddeck. 

     The dance was in full swing, most of those present had gradually accepted the fact that Chakotay was here with Sam and not the Captain.  It was weird, but in the Captain's own words--they were Starfleet Officers--weird was part of the job.  The 'house' band was excellent and Seven had won over every skeptic with her first song.  Nelix's  refreshments were eatable and the synthehol was plentiful---the dance was a success. 

     It was 2300 hours and the captain hadn't showed up yet ---people began to wonder if she would.  Finally the door opened and everyone knew it could only be one person. Standing just inside the door, smiling with a radiance that could undermine any rumors was the Captain. As she made her way across the room a murmur of praise followed---it was a rare occasion indeed when they got to see this side of her.  She always dressed nicely when not in uniform, but tonight she could take your breath away. Tonight they got a rare glimpse of the woman within the Captain. 

     She worked her way to the bar, got herself a wine and was joined by Tom and B'Elanna.  A short while later the band took a break and Kathryn took the opportunity to congratualte the musicians and Seven on their overwhelming success.  The music resumed and Kathryn had no shortage of dance partners, she wondered if they were encouraged by the fact that Chakotay was not at her side or if they felt sorry for her.  It made her smile. 

     At precisely 2400 hours Seven called for everyone's attention. 

"I want to thank everyone for your support tonight and I have a special song I would like to perform for you now.  I'm new at this and special requests were not what I had in mind, but three weeks ago a very special person asked me to learn a song for this evening.  You all know me well enough to know I find such things irrelevant, but even I see the relevence in this one."  She paused as everyone laughed.  "So for a very special person and her special person, I'll sing it for you now. 

     The musical introduction started to play and people looked at one another, then some moved to the dance floor, as a few watched the Captain make her way across the room. 

"Excuse, me ---Samantha may I?"  Sam smiled and nodded and Kathryn turned to Chakotay. "I believe this is my dance." 

     Seven started to sing. 

Time 
You found time enough to love me 
I found love enough to hold you. 

     Kathryn held out her arms and Chakotay numbly stepped up and enfolded her in his. 

And tonight 
I'll stir the fire you feel inside 
Until the flames of love enfold you. 

    Kathryn lowered her head to his shoulder, he could feel her breath on his neck, smell the perfume in her hair. 

Laying beside you 
Lost in the feeling 
So glad you opened my door 
Come with me 
Somewhere in the night we will know 
Everything lovers should know. 

     "Kathryn"  He whispered into her hair and she  raised her head to meet his eyes.  He felt her heart beating--or his. 

You're my song 
Music too magic to end 
I'll play you over and over again. 

Loving so warm 
Moving so right 
Closing our eyes 
And feeling the light 
We'll just go on burning bright 
Somewhere in the night. 

      Not taking her eyes away from his, she reached her hand up to the side of his face.  Other couples dance around them, but they didn't notice.  The Delaney twins stood with their mouths open and Tom was counting his replicator rations, but they didn't notice.  They were oblivious to their crew, dancing and standing around the room--all of them failing miserablly  to disguise their staring eyes. 

You sleep 
When the morning comes 
And I lie and watch you sleeping 
And you smile 
When you dream about the night 
Like it's a secret you've been keeping 

Laying beside you 
Lost in the feeling 
So glad you opened my door 
Come with me 
Somewhere in the night we will know 
Everything lovers can know. 

     She slid her fingers into his hair and brought his lips down to meet hers.  Warm moist lips pressing his as their bodies swayed together.  She pulled back, looking to his eyes again--she smiled and claimed  his mouth with a renewed urgency.  His tongue parted her lips, savoring the taste of her, his arms pressing her body to his. 

You're my song 
Music too magic to end 
I'll play you over and over again 

Loving so warm 
Moving so right 
Closing our eyes 
And feeling the light 
We'll just go on burning bright 
Somewhere in the night. 

     The music stopped and when they failed to notice, the band quickly played another song.  When the second song ended she stepped back studying his face, communicating with her eyes, before she spoke 

"You have a date to finish---I'll see you later?"  He rolled his eyes and nodded and she went back to the bar for her drink.  He returned to Samantha. 

      She was standing next the bar, talking to B'Elanna. Tom and Harry were close by, tyring to calm down the Delaney sisters.  The party had just about returned to normal, when someone tapped the Captain on the shoulder. She turned anround coming face to face with Sam. 

"Excuse me, Captain."  She was leading Chakotay by the hand. 

"Samantha, what can I do for you?"  Kathryn tried to keep a straight face and not look at him. 

"Captain---I think this belongs to you."  She held out his hand and offered it to the Captain.  "He's useless to me."  She was laughing. "I couldn't compete with THAT---even if I was dumb enough to try!" 

"Are you sure Sam?"  Kathryn laughed with her. 

"Oh yea---I'm sure---Please take him!"  She winked at the Captain and gave Chakotay a kiss on the cheek. "It was short, but sweet---now go back where you belong."  She moved to where Jenny and Megan were standing. 

"Well I guess your date is over." 

"Yes I would guess it was over before it even got started."  He raised an eyebrow in her direction. "Why do I feel like I was set up?" 

"I wouldn't know---if you are not happy with the way the evening is going---we could pretend none of this..." 

"NO--I'm quite happy with things the way they are."  He moved in closer to her and took her in his arms.  "Can we leave now?" 

"Soon, let's let them calm down first.' 

"Like you left and doubt where you'll be going or what you'll be doing!"  B'Elanna put in a little reminder that she was still there. 

"I always try to make my intentions clear."  Kathryn chuckled. 

"Oh, you came across loud and clear, Captain."  Tom said joining them.  "By the way, I didn't get to tell you how fabulous you look, tonight.  Doesn't she look great?"  He winked and smiled at Chakotay. 

"Good enough to eat."  He replied, his eyes locking with hers. 

"Ya know---I think you're right---it is time to go."  Kathryn took his hand. "Good night --Tom, B'Elanna.' 
She tugged him toward the door and the four of them laughed, 

"Good night---gotta go--bye"  Chakotay said as he followed her toward the exit. 

     They passed through the room, crowd parting to make way as they nodded their good byes.  As the exit closed behind them there was a loud roar. They laughed their way to the lift as their crew cheered them on. 

The End.
 
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  Somewhere in the Night   (Kerr-Jennings)   sung in the seventies by Helen Reddy