Little Red (mylittleredgirl) wrote,
Little Red

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Work: A Fiscally Wise Alternative To Unemployment

Okay, so work is kind of a timewaster today, because everyone is watching March Madness or crawling out of their Portlandy moleholes to experience Real Live Actual Sun. However, it's been pretty entertaining so far:

1) My coworkers were literally running around in circles earlier watching gamecast and yelling "WHAT THE F*** IS GOING ON WITH OHIO STATE!?" Literal circles. Men in suits. Love eet.

2) A man walked in to look at condos, and is all, "My name is Alrick," and coworker C is all "Alrick? That's a new one for me..." and I am all "I AM FOR YOU, ALRICK OF VAULT!" Except maybe that last part wasn't out loud.

3) So last night, right? Season 5 started airing on Spike TV. To refresh your memory, the beginning of Season 5 was the time when Everyone Goes Freaking Bonkers, except Chakotay, who is running around trying to keep people from jumping off bridges and stuff. So to compensate, today I wrote Voyager fluff.

Title: "Tautology"
Rating: G
Category: J/C friendship, UST, fluff
Spoilers: Set in Season 3, when Janeway And Chakotay Were Totally Dating.
Summary: They are who they are.
Author's Note: Not-Dating is my bulletproof kink. Originally, I think this was going to have a point.

He picks her up at her quarters for the holodeck party, and if he stopped by the aeroponics garden on the way to cut her a Talaxian starburst lily -- her favorite, lately -- it's only because he's been meaning to check out Kes' progress, and because it will make Kathryn smile.

She does, and goes to put the flower in a vase when he stops her.

The lily ends up in her hair, stem tucked behind a clip, and her arm is tucked in his just as subtly as they walk through the halls, because they're out of uniform, and that always means the rules change a little.

She knows what he drinks, and gets it for him from the holographic bar without asking.

"Neelix has outdone himself," he says.

Another month survived, this one without the loss of a crewman or any major setback. Minor setbacks, yes, but there are always those, and comparatively, this has been smooth sailing.

He can tell she agrees, that the past few weeks have been good to them, because Kathryn smiles more and more genuinely than usual and lies her head against his shoulder while the fire dancers -- holographic entertainment -- perform for the crowd.

She always leans on him most when she needs it the least.

That's just the way she is, and in all honesty, he doubts he'd feel the same way about her if she weren't as strong and stubborn and independent. As much as it gets him into trouble, emotionally speaking, that's just the way he is.

She leaves early, when it's barely 2100. She always does that, and when he asked her why, long ago when the hangout of choice was a French pool bar and not a Talaxian Tiki beach resort, she said, "The crew deserves a chance to unwind," like her Captainly presence would prevent that.

It might, on another ship, but this is Voyager, and he argued with her for two years about that. She's more than a Captain to the crew, just like they're more than a crew to her.

Then he stopped arguing. Instead, he asks her, when she starts glancing toward the exits, "Mind some company?"

Sometimes she refuses, if she's headed to the Bridge or directly to bed, but even then, it feels important that he ask.

No one looks surprised when they leave together. B'Elanna bids them both goodnight in the same breath, and then is distracted by Harry, waving at her from across the beach, yelling about sailing.

"You can stay and join them, if you like," Kathryn offers. "I know how much you like to sail."

That's a joke, because she always mans the sails when they share a boat, except for once, and that time they both ended up overboard. He waits for the devious twinkle to emerge in her eye, the one that says she's teasing him, and he isn't disappointed.

"Trying to get rid of me?"

She rolls her eyes and brushes his arm like she's swatting away his question.

With a good portion of the crew on the holodeck, the hallways are deserted. Theoretically, she's leading the way, but they're not really going anywhere.

He remembers the Voyager hallways once seemed sterile and identical, but now they're alive with identifying markers, fingerprints, memories. Deck seven holds Hargrove's quarters, where there are periodic backgammon tournments. Deck eight reminds him of the first time he saw Ensign Wildman's baby crawl, speeding away from her mother's quarters and laughing as Neelix pretended to chase her down the hallway. They pass a bulkhead that Chakotay remembers reattaching after a Kazon attack or another. He was working with B'Elanna and Harry, and though he can't remember why now, so soon after a damaging firefight, he and Harry were laughing.

Kathryn laughs now, at something he says about Neelix's latest attempt at French Roast.

"You're too hard on him," she chides gently, though he's only that hard on Neelix's coffee to make her smile, and she knows it.

He wonders, sometimes, if that bothers her. She used to tense up when he became too familiar, but they've struck some sort of professional balance that allows them to slip back and forth between their unusual command structure and their truly unique friendship.

He used to feel like he was pushing her, because he cares about her, because he worries about her, because he's attracted to her. When they returned to the ship after their vacation in isolation on New Earth, he figured she'd compensate somehow for how close they'd become by blocking him out entirely, because he knows how she thinks, and that would make sense to her Janeway logic.

He was wrong. She seems happy with the pattern they have fallen into, not a relationship, not not a relationship.

He pushes her. She pushes back. That's just how they are.

Their wandering leads them back to her quarters almost by accident, and she invites him in for tea or he invites himself, he isn't really sure. He orders their drinks from the replicator and she sits down on her couch, turning her head to look out the window.

The space they're traveling through is sparsely populated, but there's a brilliantly colored nebula in visual range. Chakotay's quarters are on the other side of the ship, but Kathryn's window gives her a perfect view.

He touches her shoulder to bring her attention back and hands her the tea. "Quite the view," he says.

She rewards him with a genuine smile. "It is beautiful."

It's nice to know that she can appreciate astronomical phenomena with just the naked eye, without sensors and analyses and percentage chances that a mineral inside the nebula will help the ship.

As if on cue, she says, "We should send an away team to perform a mineral survey. What are you smiling at?"

"Nothing," he assures her. "I'll get on it first thing in the morning."

She sips her tea, rolls her shoulders and sighs, but says nothing. He thinks he appreciates these moments best, when it's almost like he's not even here, company without the need for conversation.

It's a little while, at least the duration of a cup of tea, before she says, "I should probably turn in."

He recycles their teacups on the way to the door, Kathryn trailing after him. She always sees him out, and he wonders if there's some finishing school in her history that he hasn't heard about yet.

"Goodnight, Captain."

Normally, after a party and tea and a flower clipped in a woman's hair, he'd plan for a goodnight kiss at the door. He doesn't kiss Kathryn, but he thinks a little whimsically that she'd probably let him if he did. They're inching closer to something -- an inch a month, maybe -- but he doesn't mind the wait.

They have plenty of time. And this -- this isn't bad at all.

"Breakfast tomorrow?" she asks.

"Wouldn't miss it."

"Good," she grins. "Because you're cooking."

He laughs, shakes his head, because Kathryn is the only person in the galaxy who's convinced she can ruin replicated food. And she can, too, because she can't resist tampering with the basic recipes.

"If you do a job badly enough..." she said on New Earth after her first burnt omelette that smoked up the cabin for an hour.

And, true to the old saying, he never asked her to cook again.

Kathryn squeezes his hand good-night before the door of her quarters slide closed.

He's still smiling to himself as he walks back to his quarters, thinking of burnt omelettes and nebulas and how she'll find the starburst lily when she takes down her hair.

When he indulges in fantasy -- which isn't often, with how busy they are -- this isn't quite what he pictures, with her or with anyone else.

But she isn't anyone else, and that makes this work.

No, it isn't bad at all.

Tags: fic, life: is awesome, life: working girl, the happy voyager project

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