The Wooing of Kathryn Janeway
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Chakotay disapproved wholeheartedly of lurkers standing in dark corners to watch their neighbours going about their business. It at the very least offended his sense of good manners and at the worst set his Maquis nerves quivering with danger.
So he only indulged after much soul searching, about 2 seconds worth, and loads of self justification. Anyway he only did it on Wednesdays and Thursdays at around 11 o’clock. That was when Kathryn Janeway crossed the gardens and disappeared into the faculty office.
Kathryn was a very busy woman and the precise time of her arrival couldn’t be predicted with any great accuracy. So, Chakotay felt quite justified in keeping the office under surveillance until he saw Kathryn disappear through the door. That was the signal for him to pick up the papers he had placed in readiness on the desk and heart beating faster than usual, head for the dining room.
It hadn’t always been like that of course. For the first few weeks after he took up his post at the Academy he hadn’t paid much attention to Kathryn; quite the opposite in fact.
Kathryn had rejected his offer of love, for whatever reason, 7 years ago and Chakotay was blowed if he was going to take any notice of the woman who not only didn’t want him but had the bad taste to prefer first a hologram and then a colourless, insipid alien like Jaffen. Anyway, he was still smarting from her lack of reaction to his short romance with Seven.
His opinion of her was reinforced during the debriefings. The joyous, laughing, free woman he had come to love on New Earth had changed over the years till all that was left was the Starfleet persona which became even more rigid on their return. She had grown cold, driven and frankly rather boring.
Then had come that fateful day when he had happened to visit the dining room at the same time as Kathryn.
The dining room was crowded and as chance had it, the only vacant seat was across from Kathryn and her companion L’as’wa Ranna one of the senior lecturers in Stella Navigation. Kathryn had known L’as’wa since they had been cadets together at the Academy and it was she who was responsible for persuading Kathryn to join the faculty to teach a module on ‘First Contact’ one day a week
"Good afternoon." Chakotay deliberately aimed a full dimpled smile at both Kathryn and the beautiful blonde sitting with her. It wouldn’t do to let Kathryn think he had the slightest romantic interest in her.
"Hello Chakotay, sit down. How strange, I was just thinking about you yesterday."
"You were?" He kept his voice deliberately non-committal, but his mouth went inexplicably dry. She had been thinking about him!
"I was looking through some holo-images from some of the old Academy receptions, and there you were dancing a storm with Nechayev of all people. You didn’t tell me you could dance Chakotay! Seven years of Neelix’s parties and I never knew!"
"I didn’t think you would be interested Kathryn, it is a contact sport after all."
To L’as’wa’s puzzlement this was said a little pointedly, Chakotay looking at Kathryn with a reproachful stare. She watched in fascination as Kathryn actually blushed then nudged her foot hard. Kathryn obviously wished to beat a hasty retreat. To make matters worse, Kathryn in her haste turned and bumped into Chakotay, who had politely stood as they began to take their leave, and dropped her book on his foot.
Chakotay bent down and picked it up. He glanced at it and blinked, it was an old fashioned paper book, "The Moon over Grethor." This looked like one of B’Elanna’s stories. A Klingon romance, huh? Perhaps the Kathryn Janeway who had flirted with him so outrageously all those years ago was not gone, merely buried under all that brass. With a twitch of his eyebrows that would have done Tuvok justice, he handed the book back. Muttering her thanks and towing L’as’wa behind her Kathryn left the room.
From that moment on Kathryn became a challenge. Chakotay was determined that all his years of tactical training and experience in Maquis manoeuvres would be put to one end and that would be the conquering of Kathryn Janeway.
So it was that conducting the resulting campaign with military precision he had taken to standing in the shadows of his office every Wednesday and Thursday till she arrived and then to following her into the dining room. Slowly he had begun to engage her in conversation trying to regain that special something they had had early in their epic journey. He pushed gently; drawing her out with reminiscences, till her laughter rang out. That short time twice a week became the highlight of Chakotay’s life.
In fact, he began to wish he had never given up so easily. He began to wish he had pushed at the boundaries of her protocol years ago. Somehow none of the other women he had met, however intimate his relationship with them had been, had never measured up to the simple friendship he had with Kathryn.
Chakotay didn’t regret his time on Voyager. Far from it, without Voyager he would certainly have died either in battle or with the other Maquis on Tevlik’s Moon. Besides on Voyager he had finally found his vocation. He had always been a good teacher; he knew that from his previous time at the Academy. On Voyager he had begun to explore his love of palaeontology and his experiences with the 37’s, his visit to 20th Century Los Angeles and later his experiences with the Voth and the research he had done into their Distant Origin Theories had thrilled and excited him in a way that Tactics however Advanced had never done. Finally his trip into the anomaly that held fast the Ares IV and the subsequent salvage of the files from her along with the last messages of Lt. John Kelly had given him the material for the book he had published on his return and was partly responsible for the teaching post he now held. No! Chakotay did not regret his time on Voyager.
His life had been full, with equal measures of joy and sorrow and on the whole he did not regret much. But, he was lonely. He decided that now was the time to settle down and undoubtedly the person he wished to settle down with was Kathryn Janeway. The trouble was he couldn’t decide how to bring this about. After all she had rejected him once before.
It was Wednesday again and Chakotay stood at his window with mounting impatience and not a little worry. Kathryn was late, where was she? Kathryn was never late. It would be too late to go to lunch soon. A sudden worrying thought struck him. Perhaps she was ill. His stomach lurched at the thought. Then he saw the silver lining in that and he smiled he could buy her some flowers, maybe some grapes, a little clichéd perhaps, or strawberries, she loved strawberries. Maybe a book to read, not one of those torrid Klingon things though; he wasn’t getting any younger, he didn’t know if he could keep up if her expectations ran along those lines.
Just then Kathryn hurried up the steps. Chakotay ran after her and arrived outside the faculty office to hear the secretary telling Kathryn that L’as’wa was out on business and had left a message to say she probably wouldn’t be back in time for lunch. This was his chance; he hurried into the office just as Kathryn was turning away.
"Oh! Hello Chakotay, I almost didn’t make it today, an urgent report on the Romulan situation and now I find I needn’t have hurried as L’as’wa is out for the day."
"Have lunch with me," Chakotay hurriedly asked "I hear the Vulcan bar has a good special on this week." He cringed at how it sounded like he was begging, but frankly he was past caring.
Why thank you Chakotay, it’s a long time since we had a meal just the two of us." His heart flip-flopped at the memory of some of the meals they had, had together. Especially to the night before the slipstream attempt when he thought she was finally going to kiss him. Lowering his head so she couldn’t see the blush on his cheeks he ushered her across the courtyard and into the Vulcan bar before she had time to change her mind. He saw a vacant booth by the window and led her over to it.
"Have a seat Kathryn, I’ll just order two specials" he smiled at her unconsciously showing his dimples. "I suppose you’ll want coffee with yours?"
Kathryn nodded in agreement and laughed. She sighed as she leant back in her chair and watched his muscular figure as he strode away, he was so damned gorgeous.
There was no coincidence about L’as’wa bumping into Kathryn and inviting her to teach on the course at the Academy. They had been dining together shortly after Kathryn had heard about Chakotay’s break up with Seven, when Kathryn had confided her feelings about him. She explained how she had lost the chance with him once before through her fear that a commitment to her first officer on Voyager would compromise the security of the Maquis on their return to the Alpha Quadrant.
L’as’wa had sighed at the romance of Chakotay’s legend on New Earth till Kathryn had pointed out that how ever beautiful it sounded, it was fairly easy to vow undying love when there are literally only two people alive on a planet. After all she wasn’t some innocent young girl, in the past she had plenty young Lotharios trying to get into her pants. Not that she was complaining mind you, but she much preferred to know that they wanted her for her and not because she was the only woman left alive. She thought longingly of the easy relationship they had once had, their growing closeness on New Earth, the teasing and the flirting on the ship.
She had hoped, rather foolishly she now thought, that he understood her feelings for him and would wait till they were safely home. But he had dashed that hope early on when he expressed the view that it would be impossible for the command team to have relationships on board as it could compromise their positions.
Then the silly man had proceeded to play fast and loose with a succession of blondes until his final fling with Seven of all people.
In her loneliness Kathryn had turned to the holodeck and Fairhaven. It was a silly programme really, Tom Paris’s view of an Irish village through ‘rose coloured spectacles’. But she had enjoyed Michael Sullivan; it was nice to have someone dote on you for a change and to have a conversation that didn’t include the word ‘Captain’.
They had gradually drifted further apart until Quarran had driven in the final wedge. Chakotay had seemed to take her relationship with Jaffen as a direct assault on his pride and sulked off in a jealous huff straight into Seven’s waiting arms.
Sometimes Kathryn thought she had been a tad too tolerant and understanding about some of Seven’s infringements of the rule book. Especially the incident with Chakotay’s double. If she had put her foot down then, perhaps Seven would have backed off. On reflection she thought that Seven had always been a bit thick-skinned when she set her mind on something, but then again so was she and this time he wasn’t getting away.
She and L’as’wa had racked their brains for a week to try to come up with something to rekindle his interest in her and then by chance at lunch he had made that remark about dancing and she had dropped the book L’as’wa had given her to return to B’Elanna. She’d been mortified when he picked it up, then she thought of his quizzical smile as he had glanced at it. He hadn’t made a sarcastic comment; on the contrary, his curiosity had been aroused.
She thought to herself that it was probably safe to relax a little now that Chakotay’s attention was fully engaged.
The husky tones of Kathryn’s laughter followed Chakotay to the bar. God, but that woman’s got a sexy laugh he thought for probably the thousandth time. Waiting at the bar he pondered on the last time he had felt like this. He realised he had never been so caught up in anything, let alone a woman. Hell! Even when he was a randy teenager he’d never felt so hopelessly out of control. I’m pathetic he thought to himself, but I don’t give a damn, she worth it. I think it’s time to start phase two of Operation Kathryn.
He remembered the faculty reception at the weekend, he normally avoided them like the plague but there would be dinner and dancing. It would be an opportunity to spend more time with Kathryn, an idea, he now realised, which filled him with joy. I’ll ask her if she would like to go.
A few days later Chakotay was waiting in the reception area of the Academy for Kathryn to appear. She had agreed to meet him there because pressing business at Headquarters had held her up. He shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot; he remembered now why he hated these things. The room was filled with Brass from wall to wall, he felt completely out of place.
Then there she was, coming down the main staircase, she certainly knew how to make an entrance, several heads turned towards her. The women’s he was sure with envy, he tried not to think about the men. The breath caught in his throat. Kathryn was breathtaking. She wore a dress of pure silk, patterned in dusky blues and grey, with palm leaves that cupped her breasts and caressed the swell of her belly. Chakotay stepped forward and offered her his arm.
From then on everything seemed to go wrong. Instead of spending time with Kathryn as he had planned she seemed to be in constant demand. Chakotay veered between anger, despair and frustration with huge dollops of jealousy thrown in.
L’as’wa appeared at his side. "Why the long face?" she asked.
Chakotay was in the middle of a jealous, angry moment, he had finally got Kathryn in his arms on the dance floor when he had been cut out by yet another white dress uniform dripping with medals.
"How am I supposed to compete with that?" he said.
"What on Earth do you expect Chakotay; she’s Admiral Kathryn Janeway, a strong, powerful woman, sexy as hell and unattached. If you ask me, unlikely to stay that way if you don’t get your act together. Do you realise how many men here tonight have asked her out? But no, she’s holding out for you."
"She is!!!! Why the hell didn’t she say something?"
"I think the ball was in your court, Chakotay. I don’t think she’s that sure of your feelings."
"Damn!" With a determined look on his face, Chakotay strode across the room to where Kathryn was dancing with a lumbering Admiral Paris. She saw him coming and smiled with relief till she saw the look on his face.
He tapped Paris on the shoulder. "Excuse me Admiral, but I think you have someone that belongs to me."
Kathryn stopped, her hands went to her hips, "I beg your par……………"
Chakotay grabbed her hand and towed her towards the door. "We have things to talk about Kathryn."
"We do? What?"
"Where we’re getting married, when, where we’re going to live, things like that."
They emerged in the garden, the sounds of the reception quickly dying behind them. Chakotay stopped uncertainly, realising what he had said. Kathryn’s silence unnerved him as he turned to look into her face.
Well, err, if you want to that is…………if you feel like that about me…….em….I know I haven’t said anything……..um
He was babbling, he knew he was babbling, he couldn’t help himself. Her eyes searched his face, then her hand reached up and cupped his cheek.
"I do and I do and very, very soon, she said as her hand slid round the back of his neck and pulled her face to his.
As he drowned in her kiss, for one fleeting moment Chakotay wondered how he had ever thought Kathryn Janeway was boring.
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