also appearances by P/T, EMH/7, Tuvok/T'Pel, K/We, W/Gr, and He/Ha.
|Spoilers:||Vulcans Don't Blush by Spiletta42, and since this is an Alpha Quadrant fic, or technically a Beta Quadrant fic since it's set on Vulcan, also spoiler warnings for Endgame and Christie Golden's novels Homecoming and The Farther Shore. Written before the release of the Spirit Walk novels.|
|Summary:||Lieutenant Vorik takes his fiance home to Vulcan while Admiral Janeway and Captain Chakotay attempt to spend time together before Voyager's relaunch. A sequel to Vulcans Don't Blush.|
|A/N:||Written for Dakota's Decathlon, Discus, hosted by Chakotay, who knows a little bit about balancing traditional ways with living in the twenty fourth century. Enjoy this fic thoroughly, because I've now typed it from the original handwritten copy four different times, thanks to a fun series of adventures featuring the untimely death of my almost brand new computer. This fic has not been betaed, or even properly edited by the author. Read at your own risk.|
|Credits:||Research works include Spock's World by Diane Duane, Star Trek Star Charts by Geoffrey Mandel, Voyager Companion by Paul Ruditis, The Star Trek Encyclopedia by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, The Starfleet Survival Guide by David Mack, and the Federation Travel Guide by Michael Jan Friedman.|
|Disclaimer:||Voyager and its characters belong to Paramount Pictures. Infringement intended and very much enjoyed. The title is stolen from Frederick Pohl, but titles can't be copyrighted, so I guess I'm safe there.|
Lieutenant Vorik had accepted the position of Chief Engineer on Voyager. This decision displeased his father, who had arranged for him to enter the Temple of Amonak and devote two years to studying the Disciplines. He had told his father that Starfleet needed good officers, having suffered so many losses during the Dominion War, and that he could serve the Federation best by remaining in the service.
This was true enough, and the logic was difficult to fault. An adequately determined team of Vulcan masters might have managed it, but fortunately teams of Vulcan masters disapproved of bending logic to their collective will, and would have refused the challenge.
Vorik had neglected to mention the other motivation behind his decision. His father certainly would not have approved, and Vorik did not wish to hear a lecture on the subject.
His motivation laughed and brushed her blonde hair from her eyes. Her laugh pleased him. He made a mental note to meditate on his reaction to it, and also to exclude it from her list of attributes when the time came to introduce her to his father.
"Vorik?" Lyssa laid her hand on his arm. That reaction also required meditation. "Would you mind having dinner with Sam and Greskrendtregk? I know you aren't overly fond of Ktarian food."
"I am always willing to socialize with our former crewmates," he said. "As for Greskrendtregk, his recent loan of the Jadzia saved lives and therefore adequately compensates for his cooking."
She laughed again. He definitely needed to meditate soon.
Chakotay hurried down the corridor at Starfleet Headquarters. Friday afternoons held a special magic planetside. More than two days of freedom stretched before him, freedom he could share with Kathryn. In space, senior officers never managed such a luxury.
While he recognized the selfishness in the thought, he wanted even more time alone with Kathryn. He wanted some real time together out of uniform, like a real vacation. Their last trip qualified as anything but recreational, and only Kathryn's hero status had saved them all from disciplinary action which would have added insult to quite literal injury.
Chakotay preferred his vacations free of kidnappers, rescue missions, and bloodshed of any kind.
"You're early." Kathryn rose from her desk to kiss his cheek. "One quick report and we can go."
He smiled, remembering a time when she'd choose reports over dinner well into beta shift. Now she only occasionally kept him waiting, and she enjoyed her leisure time. To his relief, her workaholic tendencies had remained in the Delta Quadrant. She failed to regard reports on the manufacturing of plasma injectors with quite the same urgency as she had regarded the safety of her crew in unknown and often hostile territory.
Kathryn skimmed the contents of the final PADD, pressed her thumb to it, and smiled. "Let's go."
They ate at the Low Note in New Orleans, an establishment recently recommended by Harry Kim. The exceptional jazz music overshadowed the food, which happened to be a shade better than excellent, and they agreed to make a point of visiting again.
"I think you've taken me to every restaurant on Earth," Kathryn said. "Trying to get out of cooking?"
"No." The corners of his lips rebelled fiercely against his effort to keep a straight face. "I'm trying to keep you from making the attempt."
She laughed and laid her hand on his arm, an action which put the value of a good meal in perspective. "I assure you, Chakotay, there's no danger of that at all."
Lyssa Campbell grinned and swept Naomi Wildman up in a hug. "Still growing?"
The girl rolled her eyes in a manner that showed she had plenty of practice in rolling them, and had mastered the exact speed at which eyerolling most effectively expressed her exasperation with adults. "Everyone always asks that."
"It would prove more logical to request that she inform us when her growing is complete," Vorik said. "Many cultures recognize that event with a ceremony or ritual of some kind."
"Naomi will probably undergo the same painful ritual I endured." Lyssa gave a mock shudder as Naomi's eyes grew wide. "The Starfleet Academy entrance exam."
"We have a few years before we have to worry about that," Sam said. "Now if you're done frightening my child, we can eat."
Later, while Greskrendtregk and Vorik discussed Starfleet's latest failure at designing a working transwarp drive, Lyssa and Sam moved out to the patio. "So tell me," Sam said. "What's it like dating a Vulcan?"
"Refreshing," Lyssa said. "I know it's been a while since I've dated anyone seriously, but I do remember the problems, and with Vorik it's different. I don't have to put every word he says through some complex translation algorithm. Also, he's really funny."
"Most people would question that, but I know you're right," Sam said. "Is he romantic?"
"Not in that pointless candy-and-flowers way, but yes." Lyssa smiled in a way that she suspected could be accurately described as dreamily, but she found it hard to mind. "When he looks at me, it's like I'm the only thing in the room, and I think he's memorized every word I've ever said."
"Uh oh. I know that look," Sam said, confirming Lyssa's self-reflective suspicion. "You're falling for him."
"I think you're right." She lowered her voice. "When we had our little adventure in the Jadzia he asked if I'd consider joining with a Vulcan. I have to say, if he asked for real, I'd say yes."
"Do you think he might?"
"I think he will, possibly soon. Once a Vulcan makes a decision, they tend to act pretty quickly."
"What's in Venezuela?" Kathryn asked.
"You'll see when we get there," Chakotay said. "In the meantime, no wheedling."
"How will I know how to dress?"
"Casual," he said. "I've packed everything we'll need. Now no more questions."
She laughed and hurried to get dressed, knowing that he took as much pleasure in surprising her on these outings as he had on shore leaves in the Delta Quadrant, only now they had the freedom to enjoy each other's company as more than friends.
A few minutes later she emerged in blue jeans. "Too casual?"
"Perfect. You look beautiful." He kissed her, and for a moment it looked like she might need to get dressed twice, a hardship she would endure with a complete lack of reluctance. Quite the opposite of reluctance, in fact. On one particularly memorable morning in recent history, she'd gotten dressed three times, and without the slightest thought of complaint.
"Okay," he said. "Let's go."
She let her fingers slide up to play with the top button on his shirt. "We could stay."
He smiled. "Tempting, but I think we should go."
The Alpha Flyer took only minutes to reach southern Venezuela from San Francisco.
"A short hike." Chakotay slung a pack over his shoulder and reached for her hand. Together they strolled up the jungle path, lingering over the local flora and sidestepping the fauna with proper respect.
Kathryn heard the roar of water and realized what they had come to see. "Angel Falls," she said. "The highest waterfall on Earth."
"You guessed it." Chakotay grinned. "I'm told it's the perfect spot for a little romance."
"Every spot in the galaxy is perfect as long as I'm with you." She squeezed his hand. "I've enjoyed every moment of Voyager's refit."
"So have I," he said. "I almost dread the relaunch. The weeks apart won't be easy."
She envisioned weeks of getting dressed only once a day. "At least you'll see some action. I'll be piloting a desk."
"I doubt my first mission will be much to envy. I'm expecting a milk run or two before Starfleet really trusts me."
"That may be true," she said. "I know you're still waiting to hear a decision regarding your first officer."
"At least I have a chief engineer and an operations officer. They both accepted positions on the same day."
"Are you reading something into that?" she asked.
He shrugged. "They are seeing each other, although it's hard to imagine a Vulcan basing a career decision on romance."
"Maybe that's the logical thing to do," she said. "A relationship has a better chance to grow if the two people involved are in the same solar system."
Chakotay stopped and pulled her into his arms. "I could stay."
"And let someone else captain our ship?" She shook her head. "No, you deserve your own command, and I want you to have it. Just don't go through any spacial anomolies without me."
His arms tightened around her. They both knew better than to offer a meaningless promise and neither wished to elaborate on their mutual fear. Life in Starfleet meant a certain amount of risk. They had each accepted that risk many years ago.
Kathryn Janeway did not fear death, but as she stood in Chakotay's arms she realized just how much she feared losing him. She'd waited seven years for this man, and she very much wanted to grow old with him.
"My heart will always be with you," Chakotay said softly. "Nothing that happens will ever change that."
"I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to put a damper on this beautiful day."
"You didn't," he said. "You never need to apologize for your emotions, or hide them from me. I want to share everything with you, Kathryn, and we aren't in the Delta Quadrant any more. The need for you to play the invincible captain has ended."
"That's your job now," she said.
"Not quite yet. This weekend my only job is to make you happy."
"You excel at that." She stretched up to kiss him. "I've never been happier."
"Let's run away together," he whispered against her lips.
"We're away together right now." She nibbled his lip for emphasis.
"We could take the Alpha Flyer and just disappear for a few weeks. No Starfleet, no crew, no interruptions." His hands argued the point far more convincingly than his words. "Just you . . . and me . . . and a healthy supply of coffee."
"After the relaunch," she said. "We'll go to Boreth to see Tom and B'Elanna."
"I like that plan. Weeks of travel time, and Risa just happens to serve as a convenient stop along the way." He grinned at her. "That means beach attire."
She grinned back. "Thought you'd like that."
"I do." He kissed her again. "It's a date, but right now we have a date with a waterfall."
She took his hand, and they resumed their hike.
Vorik considered his options. The time had come to declare Kunat So'lik and claim Lyssa as his mate, if she would have him. He did not wish to repeat the failure he had experienced years ago with B'Elanna. He also knew that humans viewed the circumstances surrounding the question as significant.
He therefore sought to arrange an evening which met the human standards for romance while still honoring the traditions of his own people. Tom Paris's suggestion, which involved hiding a gemstone in a box full of caramel-coated grain products, failed on both counts.
His research indicated that among humans, proposals of marriage were often presented as deliberate surprises, often on holidays, and frequently in public restaurants. This puzzled him. To do such a thing privately made sense, as did the option of sharing the occassion with family, or performing a ritual of some kind in front of community leaders, but to ask such a personal thing in public, yet among strangers, defied all logic.
Under such circumstances, a refusal would serve to embarrass both parties, and that a species as emotional as humans would show a marked preference for this option surprised him. Perhaps an individual would even feel a certain pressure to answer yes in such circumstances, and Vorik wondered if the frequency of broken engagements and failed marriages among humans might stem, at least partially, from this baffling habit.
He thought it inappropriate to pressure Lyssa in this manner, and decided that however he proceeded, he would approach the subject in private.
His research indicated that his next step involved purchasing a ring, and he set out for a jewelry store not far from Starfleet Academy.
The man behind the counter grinned at him. "I have just the thing for you." He produced a thin gold-colored band with a stone so small that the setting nearly hid it completely. "The Student Special. Works every time."
Vorik wondered exactly what work it did. "I believe I require something larger."
The next ring made the first look microscopic. Lyssa would certainly find it inconvenient to wear on duty. The weight of the thing would slow her hands down considerably in a crisis.
"Perhaps I'll browse for a few minutes," Vorik said. He studied the various rings under the glass, and tried to picture each one on Lyssa's slender finger. As a result, he once again found himself mentally increasing the meditation time on his schedule.
Chakotay grinned at Kathryn's reaction to the waterfall. He loved that even after all of their adventures in the Delta Quadrant, she still retained her sense of wonder.
"I've been to Janaran Falls on Betazed, but never here. It's incredible to think of what we miss in our own back yards."
"My father brought me here when I was a boy," Chakotay said. "I didn't really appreciate it at the time."
Her arm slipped around his waist.
NEVER THE END
Background and graphics made by Dakota. © 2003
Voting June 1, 2005 - July 31, 2005
Star Trek©, Star Trek: The Next Generation©, Star Trek: Voyager© and related properties are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, April 2005.