The Language of Flowers
Disclaimer: All Voyager characters are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.
Admiral Kathryn Janeway was bored stiff, and, it was her own fault. She’d volunteered herself for this diplomatic mission to Deneb. Two weeks out, one week of teeth grinding diplomacy and two weeks back. She didn’t do boredom well; she knew that; seven years in the Delta Quadrant had taught her that, especially her time in ‘The Void.’
However in the Delta Quadrant there had been frantic moments of battle repairs, endless general repair time and restocking, endless restocking in between battles and diplomatic missions and all that amidst the day to day work of running a starship in deep space. She chuckled to herself; come to think of it she had managed to hive off a goodly proportion of those diplomatic missions on to Chakotay anyway.
Chakotay; her mind gave a little sidestep. Oh no, don’t go there she thought. She shuffled the Padds on her desk and got up…………. busy, busy, find something to do. She paced a bit, tidied up and moved the vase of flowers from the coffee table in front of the window on to the corner of her desk Damn….there was nothing left to do.
She made a half-hearted attempt to get mad. After all it was his fault she was on this bloody trip. She walked back around the desk and slumped into her chair. No it wasn’t, it was her fault.
She let her mind think back to the week after Christmas. They had been round for dinner at the Paris’s, an early dinner to allow Miral to be there. Admiral Paris had left after the meal and they were sprawled in the lounge enjoying the little one before bedtime, Tom, B’Elanna and the toddler, herself and Chakotay. Miral had just had her bath and Chakotay was trying desperately to put nightclothes on the wriggling and still naked little girl.
"Come on, somebody, don’t just sit there laughing. Give me a hand." He tried again to get her arms in her sleep suit. "It’s like trying to dress an octopus." A little foot hoofed him right under the chin. He grimaced.
Tom picked his daughter up and plonked her on Kathryn’s knee. "Show him how it’s done, Admiral."
Kathryn whispered in Miral’s ear and the toddler grinned and sat quietly till she was dressed. Tom picked her up and after kisses all round whisked her off to bed.
"Okay, I give in. What’s the secret?" Chakotay asked.
"I told her that it was very late and if she didn’t hurry up and get dressed Daddy might not have time to read her a story."
"Tom always reads her a story!"
"I know that."
"That’s sneaky and devious!"
She laughed "It worked didn’t it?"
Kathryn smiled at him. The expression on his face was a picture, and she loved teasing him. Loved the shocked, little boy expression he adopted when she won, loved the half dimpled grin he seemed to have just for her. She stilled and looked into his eyes, amazed at the strength of her feelings and those she thought she saw reflected back at her. She saw the questioning look on his face before she panicked and turned abruptly to B’Elanna and hurriedly made her excuses. An early start for an early appointment she had forgotten, had to go, sorry but it couldn’t be helped. Then she grabbed her coat and left. God knows what they all thought. Twenty four hours later and she was on her way to Deneb.
The chirp of her communicator broke her reverie.
"An incoming transmission for you, Admiral. A Mrs Masterson."
"Thank you, Ensign. Put her through."
The universal emblem of Starfleet filled the screen then cleared to reveal……
"Phoebe! What a surprise!"
"Bull, you run away and you don’t expect me to come looking, ha!"
"I wasn’t running, I had work to do and I needed a little time to think."
"And, what are we thinking about, pray? The Paris’s are a little puzzled and that handsome Captain of yours is a more than a little worried. He seems to think it’s his fault somehow."
Kathryn turned her head away to try to hide the blush that spread across her cheeks. "He’s not MY handsome Captain and it wasn’t anything to do with him." She fussed with the flowers on her desk to cover her confusion.
"Ha, so it was Chakotay. I knew it. What did he do? Come on, Kath, give. Gory details and all."
"Nothing, Phoebe. Nothing at all. Don’t be silly."
"So, that’s it. He didn’t do anything and you wanted him to and you’re miffed."
"No….Yes………..No, that’s not it at all. Just drop it pleeease, Phoebe."
"Okay Kath, for now anyway……….. Speaking of Chakotay……"
"No, Kathryn, I mean it. It’s dropped. I was just going to say when he came round to see if you were okay, we got talking. About the commission I’m working on, you know the flower illustrations for the Betazoid Botanical Institute. The one I was struggling with till you suggested they be drawings with an emotional theme that included flowers with the flower meanings."
"Yes, I remember."
"Well, he brought me a book. It’s a paper one, very old, belonged to his mother. I haven’t a clue where she found it, but it’s got these beautiful hand drawn illustrations and the messages the giving of each flower is meant to convey. It’s absolutely beautiful. For instance those ones you have on your desk, they’re Azaleas and the message in that case would be ‘Take care of yourself for me’."
Kathryn turned the vase around as she talked. "I haven’t got the faintest idea where these came from but I assume my aide replicated them for me. I don’t think they have any particular message to convey in this case. I must remember to thank her. I think I mentioned your commission to Chakotay and bringing you the book was typical of him. He’s very thoughtful like that. I’ll have to go now, Phoebe. I’ve got a briefing to prepare for."
"Okay. Bye, Kath. Take care."
As Kathryn made herself busy over the next week she managed to put thoughts of Chakotay out of her mind for at least two or three hours a day. On those occasions she had time on her hands she remembered how he had leaped into her life seven years ago and handed his life to her, trusting her to care for him and his Maquis family. She stilled again, shocked once more at the realisation of how deeply he had buried himself into her heart without her even properly realising it.
One more day and they would arrive at Deneb. It was her turn to call Phoebe and catch up before diplomacy took over.
"Hi Kath, ready for the Denebians?"
"As I’ll ever be, Phoebe. How are you? And the family? How’s the project coming along?"
"We’re all fine, well Mums got a cold but she’s okay. You would think that by the 24th Century they would have cured the common cold, but no.
The project is coming along fine, I’ve finished the first illustration and I’m quite pleased with it. I’m pondering on my next flower. I like those new ones you have. What are they?"
"I haven’t a clue. Computer, state the species of the blooms in my ready room."
The flowers are a species of Zinnia, native of Earth, region Mexico.
"They’re bright and cheerful, they might just do. Hang on a minute until I look them up." Phoebe’s head disappeared from the screen while she rummaged for her book. "Perfect Kath, listen to this. Zinnias have several meanings, lasting affection, as well as remembrance and thoughts of absent friends."
"All that?" She was impressed.
"Don’t sound so surprised. It’s a science as well as an art you know! Though I’d be a bit worried if I was you. Your aide seems to be sending you very funny messages."
"I think that’s a coincidence, Phoebe. She won’t have any idea about flower meanings. You only have because of the work."
"That’s true. It is interesting though."
"I’ll be on Deneb about a week; I’ll try to call you before we leave. Okay?"
"Yes fine. Take care, Kath."
"I will. Goodbye." The computer blinked off.
Her meetings on Deneb moved on much more smoothly than Kathryn expected leaving her with the last afternoon free. After a good mooch around the shopping areas and seeing her presents safely stowed away on board she returned to her rooms ready to give Phoebe the promised call only to find more flowers on her dresser. This time a beautiful mixed bunch of blue and white blooms. She really must remember to thank her aide as soon as possible.
Knowing Phoebe would be interested she decided to look up the meanings for the flowers herself. Fortunately the flowers, being all natives of Earth, had been replicated and the computer retained a file on what they were called. It was easy enough to follow on and find their meanings.
White Gardenia – you’re lovely
Blue Salvia – I think of you
Blue Violets – I’ll always be true.
Jonquil – the desire for the return of affection
She leant back and looked again at the print out. "I hope to hell Phoebe’s wrong and my aide doesn’t have a crush," she thought.
Quickly activating the consol, she put a call through to her sister.
Phoebe of course with her warped sense of humour thought it was hilarious.
"Oh yes! Do have a good laugh……….it isn’t funny……….this could be very embarrassing."
"I’m sure you were right the first time, Kath, and she has no idea. Have you spoken to her yet?"
"No, I haven’t had a minute this week. I’ll find time to do it when I get back on board."
The day before they entered Earth’s orbit, Kathryn finished dinner early and returned to her office to finalise her report on the mission before she sent it off to Admiral T’chenk. The door opened and Ensign Parsons walked in.
"Oh, I am sorry Admiral," she flushed "I didn’t know you were still here. I was just going to tidy up and leave you some flowers." She placed the vase of flowers on the coffee table and stood to attention.
"At ease, Ensign. I should have let you know I would be coming back here to finish my report." Kathryn gestured towards the vase, "It’s very nice of you to see that I had fresh flowers on this trip."
"It was no trouble, Admiral. I received some very good advice before I embarked." She ticked it off on her fingers, "One – make sure the Admiral has a plentiful supply of fresh coffee and two – make sure she has fresh flowers in her office every week."
Kathryn laughed, "And who pray gave you this invaluable advice?"
"It was Captain Chakotay. He even told me exactly what flowers to replicate. He was very specific."
Kathryn caught her breath then let it out slowly, "Yes, well, thank you again, Ensign. I won’t be long here so I won’t need you any more this evening. Dismissed."
"Thank you, Admiral." The Ensign turned smartly on her heel and left.
She could feel the heat of the blush that covered her face, and the noise of her heart pounding in her ears sounded loud enough to waken the dead. She hoped Parsons hadn’t noticed anything.
Chakotay had ordered the flowers for her! What was it Phoebe has said when she saw the first ones? Take care of yourself for me then that was followed by lasting affection then I think of you and a desire for the return of affection. What were these last ones? Forget-me-nots and Violets, white ones, she searched quickly through the database, forget-me-nots meant true love and white violets, let’s take a chance on happiness.
She couldn’t be mistaken, could she? No, the book he had loaned to Phoebe belonged to his mother and it was too much of a coincidence a book on the meanings of flowers and all these gifts of flowers.
Her heart leapt. He loved her! She thought any chance of romance with Chakotay had passed her by. Of course she wasn’t going to rush into anything…………like hell she wasn’t ……this had a feeling of rightness about it. They had come a long way since that fateful day they had been thrust together, and if he thought now was the right time for them to be together in other ways, so be it. She quickly looked up the right codes and arranged to have flowers delivered to Chakotay’s office. That brought her attention to the date. She would be home early tomorrow February 14th, the day that celebrated love. She busied herself until she was sure he would have received the flowers then put through a call.
"Hello, Chakotay. I thought I’d call and thank you for your flowers."
Chakotay leaned back in his chair and a slow smile spread across his face. "You’re welcome, Kathryn. I’m glad you liked them. You did like them?"
Kathryn smiled right back at him, "Oh yes, and such a meaningful gift I thought. I see you got the ones I sent to you." She nodded towards the vase of red roses on his desk.
"Yes, thank you, Kathryn. I really appreciate the sentiment."
"My pleasure, Chakotay………….I was wondering……..I’ll be back early afternoon tomorrow and debriefing should be short. Would you be available for dinner?"
"I’ll look forward to it."
"Good. My place about 19:00 okay."
"Anything special I should bring……wine……or something else?"
"No, that won’t be necessary. I have loads in." Kathryn leaned forward in her chair and looked into his beautiful eyes; she took a metaphorical deep breath, in for a penny so they say. "There is one thing that you might find useful if you want to bring one along."
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