Categories: Ship, Het, Action, Humor, Romance
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
A/N: Written for Simple Math's We're Having a Heat Wave.
Credits: None of my talented betas can be blamed for this piece.
Disclaimer: Paramount must share its toys.
The alien attack came without warning. Tuvok calmly stated that a cloaked ship was approaching. As if on cue, the vessel decloaked and fired.
"Evasive maneuvers," Janeway ordered. "Hail them."
Voyager danced away from the attacker under Tom's skillful guidance.
"No response," Harry said.
Tuvok powered weapons, and a single warning shot sent the alien ship running. No amount of scanning could locate it, so as happened often in this quadrant, the attack now seemed destined to remain unexplained.
There had been no serious injuries and the damage was minor, although one lucky shot had somehow taken down the computer core.
Systems had failed all over the ship. Life support and artificial gravity were about all that was functioning on some decks. Without environmental controls, the ship was unbearably hot. Most of the crew abandoned uniform jackets in favor of their gray Starfleet issue tank tops.
Chakotay watched Kathryn lean over Harry's console, admiring how the tank top revealed her lean, muscular shoulders. Those shoulders bore the weight of so much. How he longed to massage away the tension and press soft kisses to her smooth white skin.
He shook his head, seeking freedom from the image. Now was not the time for his fantasies. The ship wasn't completely out of danger and he had a job to do.
Janeway sighed and leaned back against the wall of the turbolift. She was hot, sweaty, and frustrated. Three hours had passed and it still wasn't clear why the computer core had malfunctioned. She and B'Elanna had crewmembers crawling through Jefferies tubes all over the ship, checking and doublechecking every system.
Every gel pack had been scanned. Every diagnosic had been run. It was just fortunate that the doctor had been in the cargo bay when the system failed, and had therefore been wearing his mobile emitter. At least his program was safe.
The lift doors opened again, and she started to straighten up. Then she saw that the new arrival was Chakotay, and she relaxed again. She didn't have to be the invincible captain for him.
He treated her to a dimpled smile. "How are you holding up?"
"Fine," she said. "Hot though."
He made a show of leering at her. "That's the truth."
"Seriously, though. You sure you're alright?"
"Of course. We've been through worse."
"We have. But I know how you hate it when we don't have the answers."
She forced a confidence she didn't feel into her voice. "We'll find them."
He stepped closer. His hand landed on her shoulder. "Of course we will. We always do."
She nodded and smiled. He was right; they always did. The turbolift came to a halt and they both went back to work.
He found her in the ready room, staring bleary eyed at the moniter on her desk. They had finally located the problem. The alien vessel had somehow delivered a computer virus during their attack. It was now a race against time to purge the virus and repair the damage before their unknown adversary returned.
"Eat something." He placed a tray before her. "I'm afraid there's leola root involved, but it was the best I could do."
"Thank you." She turned her eyes from the screen. "Are you joining me?"
He nodded, relieved that she wasn't offering any arguments. If she wouldn't take care of herself during a crisis, at least she'd accept the care he offered.
He barely noticed the taste of his meal, captivated by a bead of sweat trickling down her chest. Again he struggled to overcome his distraction. She needed his support, and whatever computer skills he possessed, not his overactive imagination. Still, the temptation to lean across the desk and press his lips to her exposed collarbone was strong. How did she manage to look so damn sexy in the midst of an emergency?
The meal finished, Kathryn stretched and rolled her head on her shoulders.
"Sore neck?" he asked softly.
He rose and moved behind the desk. "Let me help."
He felt her tense as his hands came to rest on her shoulders, but she didn't voice her objection.
Those hands had a power she barely had the strength to resist. His touch was gentle but scorching on her bare skin. She wished she was wearing more than a tank top, but she was glad that she wasn't. The knots in her shoulders quickly gave way to his manipulation.
His backrubs were always sweet torture. Her breath quickened even as the tension left her muscles. This current crisis, only one of many in the Delta Quadrant; Part of the fabric of life aboard Voyager.
Alone, the stress would have slowly destroyed her. But with Chakotay beside her, they always prevailed. Yet she fought her instinct to share her life completely, and now she wondered why. The love was there; ignoring it was an unnecessary strain.
His hands left her skin and he stepped back. His voice sounded strained. "Better?"
"Much better," she said. "Thank you."
She turned to face him and had to fight the urge to touch him. It was rare to see him like this. His tank top, damp with sweat, clearly defined every muscle in his chest. Still, there was work to do. She saved a mental picture for later and turned back to the computer.
He remained behind her as they both looked for errors in line after line of computer code. The danger facing the ship almost wasn't enough to quell the fantasy that kept rising to the front of his thoughts.
"Torres to Janeway."
They both jumped at the sudden intrusion of the combadge.
"Janeway here. Go ahead B'Elanna."
"Their signal was carried through the phaser array, like a feedback pulse."
"Can you block it next time?"
"Maybe. We're working on it."
The ship jolted. Kathryn jumped to her feet. "Work fast."
The commanding officers rushed onto the bridge, eyes on the image of the alien ship. It had returned, and seemed to be alone.
"Well, at least they didn't go for reinforcements." Janeway dropped into her chair. "Evasive manuevers. Tuvok, ready photon torpedoes."
"They aren't firing," Chakotay observed.
"I don't think they were expecting us to fight back. Tuvok? A warning shot over their bow."
It worked. The ship disappeared once again.
Harry spoke up. "We've got the computer core back online, Captain."
She mopped at the sweat on her brow. "Environmental controls?"
"In that case," Janeway grinned at Chakotay. "Join me for a cup of coffee?"
Chakotay watched her as she stood before the viewport and cradled her cup of coffee. There was nothing sexier than watching Kathryn Janeway drink coffee. Someday he hoped he could tell her that.
Someday he would tell her exactly how this affected him. He longed to wrap his arms around her from behind. He would bury his face in her hair and slide his hands over her stomach. He imagined pulling her tank top from her pants, slipping his hands underneath to caress bare skin.
"A penny for your thoughts."
Was it his imagination or did her voice sound even sexier than it usually did? "I don't think you want these thoughts, Kathryn."
"Oh, but I think I do."
The reflection of her eyes caught his in the transparent aluminum. The heat in her eyes drew him to her. "Kathryn?"
A lopsided grin spread across her face. She didn't speak.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and released a shuddering breath. She leaned back into his chest and laid her arms over his.
"I'm tired," she whispered. "It's been seven years and I don't want to do it any more."
The joy he felt at holding her was suddenly muted by his concern for her. "It's hard, but you'll get - "
She turned in his arms. "That's not what I meant. I'm tired of lying to you and to myself." Her hands came up to slide through his hair. "Now why don't you share those thoughts with me?"
The joy burst forth once again. "I think I'll do just that." He chuckled and lowered his lips to hers.
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, October 2002.