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SUMMARY: A JetC40 April Fool's Day 2004 challenge fic, and that just has to mean trouble. A Usual Suspects fic or a Saturday Night at the Movies fic. Your choice!
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Kathryn Janeway entered the quarters of her first officer and then leaned back against the shut doors. "My word," she exclaimed dramatically, "what a day!"
Chakotay looked at her from his position at the replicator and raised his eyebrow. "Good, bad, or ugly?"
She considered. "Actually, all three."
"Really? That's interesting." He carried a steaming casserole dish towards the table and put a serving spoon in it. "And hi, by the way."
Those dimples were too inviting and she smiled back. "Hi."
Chakotay dished out the casserole as Kathryn poured the wine. When they were finally settled and enjoying their meal, he asked, "So, tell me about your day. It had to be pretty interesting if you were able to cram good, bad, and ugly into it."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Mmmmm, delicious. Chakotay, what is this ambrosia?"
"True chefs never tell, so let's just say it's something I perfected over time. But, I'm glad you like it." He held his wineglass up in a salute and she responded, clinking it with her own.
"I just can't get over how good you are in a kitchen and with only a replicator. Most people just take the stock recipes and live with them, but you actually cook. Promise me that when we get home you'll cook for me with real food."
"I'll promise you more than that, Kathryn. And, the kitchen isn't the only room I'm good in."
She choked a little and dabbed her mouth with her napkin. "Sorry. Got something caught in my throat."
"I'll let you off easy with that one. Why don't you just tell me about your day?"
Kathryn nodded. "Good idea. Oddly enough, it all started at another meal. I was in the messhall for breakfast and Neelix was stirring up something new."
"So, it started with Neelix. Why am I not surprised? What was he stirring?"
"I think he said it was leola porridge." She smiled at his stricken look. "Exactly. It was a huge vat of the stuff and just getting warm and thick. He had both hands on this big wooden spoon, stirring around and around whenkablumffff!" She threw her hands up. "There was this huge muffled blast!"
"'Muffled'? How can a blast be muffled?"
"You won't believe thisby being in the porridge!"
"Excuse me? There was an explosive in the messhall that the computer didn't detect?"
"Funny, that's the first thing Tuvok said, too. Don't you men ever just go with a story?"
"Sorry, I'll behave. Go ahead, carry on. But, we're going to discuss this later."
There was a little groan. "I know we are. With Tuvok. Anyway, this geyser of leola porridge came shooting out of the vat and the next thing you know Neelix is covered in it. And I mean covered!"
Chakotay didn't say anything right away. Instead he grabbed for his glass of water. To Kathryn, it looked as if all his effort was to keep himself from bursting into laughter. She continued on.
"And, just like regular oatmeal, this porridge turned first into glue and then into something much like concrete. Only faster. Much, much faster."
Chakotay almost looked like he was in pain, but he choked out, "My porridge is delicious."
"Yes, I'm sure it is, Commander, but stay with me here. The stuff on his skin was bad enough, but his clothes became solid. No, I'm serious! He was wailing and screeching words that even the universal translator couldn't make sense of, and all this time he was turning into a statue right in front of us. And, there was plenty of that glop everywhere else, too. It was covering pots, cupboards, drawers, even a couple of crewman hanging on the bar. The damned stuff was gluing the objects shut and the men to the counter. When I finally left for the bridge B'Elanna was still chipping away at Ensign Chell's arm, which was encased in a concrete pile on the counter. Three crewmembers from maintenance were circling Neelix like vultures over a dead body, and occasionally knocking on some part of his body or clothes. Those knocks had the strangest metal doinking sound, although it was hard to hear them over Neelix's ah protests.
"Please stop. You're killing me here!"
"Well, that wasn't my intention, I promise. But, I'm surprised you didn't hear about it. The whole ship was abuzz with it."
"Kathryn, believe me. We live and work on this ship and when I have a day off I like to stay away from regular day-to-day occurrences. Hell, when I have the holodeck reserved on those days I almost run there and back. But how is Neelix and the messhall now?"
"Well, maintenance thinks they'll have the concrete almost totally chipped off by tomorrow. They're having the most trouble with the replicator, of course. The food arrives but it's encased in porridge. Somehow the blob that landed on the pad gave that overgrown toaster the idea that this was somehow desirable. B'Elanna tried to pulse it off with a low phaser setting, but that seemed to transform it into something we could use to strengthen the hull. She's checking that theory out now and hopes to have a report for tomorrow's meeting. Oh, and the last thing I heard about Neelix is that he's still in sickbay and almost chipped out of his clothes. That muck pulled a few layers of his skin off, but at least Talaxians have a few extra layers to spare."
"No more, Kathryn, no more. But I admit, I wish I'd turned on 'Breakfast with Neelix' today."
"I think Tuvok cut the feed. Something about the language."
"Our Vulcan is nothing if not sensitive. But you sure did have a day."
She stared at him. "Chakotay, that was just breakfast. It continued on. I had a whole day of occurrences like that."
"You had more than one occurrence like Neelix's exploding porridge? That seems a little hard to imagine, somehow."
"It was harder to live, believe me. Chakotay, I'm telling you! You drew up the duty roster, correct? You knew that Tom, Be, and Harry had beta shift and were going to use the holodeck this morning?"
"Yes, I knew that. The guys finally convinced B'Elanna to be Constance Goodheart and I didn't have the heart to say no. Did you have a problem with that?"
"No, but they did."
"I don't understand."
"Well, like you said, they finally convinced Be to be Constance Goodheart. Let me just interject here that she was not impressed with the costume."
"Why not? She'd make a lovely damsel in distress."
The captain stared at her first officer as if he'd suddenly turned Cardy. "Maybe you need more time off. You're starting to worry me."
"I was speaking comparatively, Kathryn. Compared to Tom as Captain Proton and Harry as Buster Kincaid, Be would be lovely as Goodheart."
"Oh, well. If you were speaking comparatively, okay then. May I continue?"
"By all means," came her answer, while a masculine hand poured more wine into her glass.
"I don't know what story they were running, but it certainly had Chaotica in it." She paused as a quick look from him grabbed her attention.
"Was Arachnia there?" he asked archly.
"If you're asking if I was playing, too, the answer is no. Someone had to mind the store."
"I see. Carry on."
She sighed. "There was a slight hitch in the programming."
Another quick look, and then the question. "Dare I ask?"
"Someone put a small, very localised virus in the programme."
"Are they okay?"
"Oh sure, they're okay. Furious, but fine. Do you think I'd be lounging around here drinking wine if they were in any danger?"
"Well, maybe not if Be or Harry were hurt, but Paris " He shrugged his shoulders.
"Oh, come on. Admit it, even you're starting to like him a little, I know you are. You can't fool me."
Chakotay twisted his face into one of distaste. "Well, maybe a little. Just don't spread it around or I'll have to take issue with you."
"Oooh, I'm terrified."
"Now would be a good time to continue the story, Kathryn. Either that or we could do something about that terror you're experiencing "
"You don't scare me, Commander. Anyway, at Chaotica's first cry of 'FOOOOOLLLLLL', the Fortress of Doom vanished and the three of them were suspended in mid air. They had just enough time for their brains to catch up when they were plummeting down ten metres into a cold lake."
Chakotay almost choked on his wine. "Spirits! I'll bet they weren't too happy about that."
Kathryn shook her head. "Chakotay, you haven't seen mad until you've seen a wet Klingon in a Constance Goodheart costume."
"And then," she paused, as if to gather strength, "just as they surfaced and were bobbing there in the water, catching their breath "
"Yes?" He prodded.
"Satan's Robot fell out of the sky right on top of them."
This time Chakotay could not stop his roar of laughter. The first blast startled Kathryn, but as it continued she couldn't help but start to snicker herself. By the time he was able to gain control, she was laughing right along with him.
"Okay, Kathryn, you win. Of all the days to hibernate, I sure picked the wrong one."
"Do you think we're finished?"
"Finished? Oh, right, sorry. Hold on, I'll get the dessert."
Kathryn watched bemusedly as Chakotay quickly cleared the dinner dishes. He tossed them into the recycling unit and then worked the replicator. An ice bucket appeared, with beads of sweat forming on its sides. Chakotay pulled a bottle of champagne out from the cupboard underneath and wedged it deep into the ice. He put it on the coffee table with a couple of flutes and winked at her. "For later," he advised. Then he brought a concoction to the table that made her salivate, even after eating the large supper.
"Chakotay, this looks amazing. Will the chef tell me about this?"
"Not everything, of course, but the chef concedes that there are both chocolate and coffee in there somewhere."
"I love my chef," she murmured, and then bit her tongue. She looked up into his face and blushed.
"It's okay, Kathryn. You don't have to watch your words around me, especially after a day like you've had."
"Well, thanks. And, I should clear that up. When I asked if we were finished, it was rhetorical. I was talking about my day, not supper."
"Your day? You mean we aren't finished with it?"
"Nope. Want me to continue?"
"I'm not sure I do. This is starting to get strange, even for the Delta Quadrant."
"Chakotay, strange is a Kazon hairdo. Today was just plain surreal."
"You're just trying to scare me. Okay, ahead warp factor five, Captain."
Kathryn took a few spoonfuls of the concoction and finally licked her spoon. "Well, as usual when you're off duty, Tuvok had alpha shift and was acting XO. The shift was pretty average, actually, but when it finished Tuvok went to his quarters for his usual snack and meditation."
"Tuvok has snacks?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Sorry. It's just that all of a sudden I saw him coming home from school for milk and cookies."
"You're seriously crazy at times, you know that?"
"Hey, I'm off duty. And I can't help it if these visions flash into my mind."
"Try. Anyway, apparently he likes to meditate on an empty stomach so he had his snack afterwards."
"Be good. Only, when he put on his meditation garment he noticed a rather vibrant stain so he decided to just step into the sonic shower first to remove it."
"Well, I suppose that's logical. The stain would come out but he really wouldn't get very clean himself."
"I think he expected that. What he didn't expect is for the water to blast on when he requested the sonic version from the computer."
"Whoa! I'll bet that woke him out of his meditative state! But, at least no real harm was done. It was just water and he could simply dry off and call maintenance."
"You'd think so, wouldn't you?"
"Are you suggesting he couldn't?"
"I'm not suggesting anything. I'm telling you that poor Tuvok was stuck in the shower stall in his meditation robe for over ten minutes, being blasted from head to toe with his own shower running amuck. And, no matter how loud he ordered the computer to stop the flow, it kept blasting away."
"He was locked in and the computer ignored his orders? Now, that just isn't logical."
She nodded. "For over ten minutes. Remember what I said about a mad Klingon?"
"Well, you know, a mad Vulcan can be just as scary in his own way. He had all that anger inside that he couldn't, or wouldn't, acknowledge. I really thought he was going to blow, but he found his own outlet. I think Tom and Harry may have gamma shift for the next ten years."
"Why? And I prepare the duty roster, not Tuvok."
"Well, it may not be logical, but our security chief feels that they were behind his unfortunate incident. And, he feelsrightly I might addthat if he wants certain crewmembers to serve on certain shifts, the first officer would not object unless it was detrimental to the ship and its operations."
"If you say so."
"Well, I pretty much have to, don't I?"
"If you say so."
"You're sulking. I'm the one who had to deal with him, and I sure don't want to have to do that again."
"Okay, Kathryn. And, I do understand that was a horrible way to end your shift, so let's just enjoy our coffee and relax on the couch."
They settled comfortably on Chakotay's sofa and sipped their coffee. Finally, Kathryn looked over at him. "You know, you were wrong a few minutes ago."
"I was? About Tuvok?"
"No, about my shift being finished with Tuvok."
"You mean it didn't end there? What else could possible happen in one day?"
"Plenty. Of course, when you're dealing with the Doctor and Seven there's always room for disaster."
"I really don't think I want to hear this."
"Coward. I promise there was no Red Alert."
"Amazing. How many casualties?"
"How did you know there were casualties?"
He groaned. "I just know I'm going to regret this."
"Probably, but why stop now?"
"Why indeed? Okay, you start and I'll get us another coffee. Either that or we change the subject completely and open the champagne."
"I think we'd better have the coffee first. I really need to get this out, Chakotay, and I'm almost done."
"Coffee it is, then. Speak woman."
She snorted but made no comment. "You do know that the Doctor has created a series of lessons for Seven of Nine, right?"
His rolled eyes confirmed that he did. "I don't know why he bothers, I really don't. I realise that both of you feel Seven needs to be re-introduced to the Human race, but I'd be happy if she could just manage a civil 'hello' when she enters a room. Has it ever occurred to either of you that you really don't need to have the complete Borg transformation finished by next Tuesday?"
"Well, I know that but the Doctor seems to have a bit of a problem with project management."
Kathryn accepted the coffee refill from him and they got comfortable again. She continued. "He had some miserable lesson scheduled for later in the afternoon and Seven didn't show up. Apparently she felt it was irrelevant."
"It probably was, unless it was a lesson in civility."
"I'm not quite sure what it was, but when she didn't show up he smacked on his mobile transmitter and marched down the Cargo Bay Two."
"She still thought it was irrelevant. It was when they were arguing back and forth that they heard the funny noise."
"What funny noise?"
"Wait for it. They could tell it was fairly close by and, sure enough, it turned out to be somewhere in one of the containers that store toxic materials. You know, the ones around behind Seven's regeneration chamber?" At his nod she continued. "Well, the noise was obviously in one of those containers but they had to pull some out and shove a few others away. They were just pushing one last container when it fell on its side and the top popped off."
"Kathryn, those container tops do not just 'pop' off, they're programmed and sealed by the computer. They require a computer command to open them."
"Correct. And, Chakotay, you have no idea how toxic."
"Well, toxic is toxic. What happened?"
She hesitated for a moment, mostly to keep the twitch in her cheek under control, and then replied. "They were both buried under a waterfall of stinky, rotten, bubbling Talaxian sauerkraut."
He was in awe. "Talaxians make sauerkraut? Don't tell me. Sauerkraut liberally pickled with"
"Leola root," they ended together and nodded.
Kathryn sighed and then continued. "It was one of the really big containers, Chakotay. Not the medium big ones, the really, really big ones. And it was bubbling because the rotten stuff had started to ferment."
"That son of a bitch was going to feed us rotten, leola-flavoured sauerkraut out of that container for the next decade! And nobody would ever have known it had turned!"
"Well, probably, but that's not exactly what I was going for here. It was a powerful flow and the smell was awful and it knocked Seven to the ground and then continued to cover her up. The doctor went down right beside her, but as the flow continued he got disgusted and turned off his emitter."
"That emitter's a handy thing to have around in moments like that."
"Very funny. Commander, have you any idea what it's like being me today? While you've been lounging around, I've been dealing with a very wet and very angry bridge crew."
"Kathryn, I refuse to apologise for being off duty, but I do understand youve had quite the day. Your story definitely sums up the 'bad' and the 'ugly'. But, tell me, what was the 'good'?"
"This." She pulled the bottle of champagne out of the bucket.
He smiled warmly. "Excellent. I've been saving that for a special evening and I'm glad you approve."
"Oh, Chakotay," she said softly. "You have no idea how much I approve of this. Especially tonight."
Still smiling, he leaned towards her, sliding his arm behind her along the back of the couch. "Finally. You had a terrible day, Kathryn; let me help you relax. Would you like me to give you a massage?"
"Not right now. I have a better idea."
She stood up and looked at the bottle of champagne. "What's this for, Chakotay? Is this what you were going to use to soak me? Is it? When were you going to spray me with it? Now? In half an hour? When?"
"What are you talking about, Kathryn? That's champagne. Okay, it's P'tera champagne, but it's still champagne."
"You're the only one who was off duty. I was supposed to be your final victim, wasn't I?" She held the bottle by its neck and shook it up and down.
"What are you going on about?"
She shook the bottle again. "It was you! You were the only person who could have rigged all this mayhem!"
"Put that champagne down!"
She shook harder. "You think I don't recognise Maquis manoeuvres when I see them? And, you know who I have to thank for bringing me up to speed?"
"I have no idea. Kathryn, be careful with that!"
"Paris! I had to be told by Tom Paris what day it is." She continued to shake.
"Kathryn, stop it! You're believing whatever Paris has to say?"
"You're damned right I am." She started unwinding the metal wire. "I might even give him a promotion."
He was backing away with his hands up in a defensive position. "That figures! Only Paris could earn a promotion for knowing what day it is. Poor Harry will have to command the ship in his old age to get one."
"Don't you worry about 'poor Harry', Chakotay. He's in my good books now, too!"
"Why's that? Don't tell me he knows what time it is."
"What time IS it, Commander?"
"Time for you to put down that bottle, Captain."
"Wrong answer," she whispered and sprung the stopper. It flew so close to Chakotay's ear that he felt its jetstream, but it was forgotten immediately as his face was drenched in the fierce spray of champagne.
"Spirits!" he cried and launched himself at Kathryn. She was shaking the bottle again and when he tackled her another geyser of bubbly shot out. It blasted both of them in their faces and the remainder rained down on them. He managed to wrestle the bottle away from her and banged it down on the coffee table. She struggled to get it back but his counter moves brought them down to the floor.
The Maquis rolled onto her, grabbing both of her wrists to hold her hands over her head. Both were breathing heavily.
"Okay, Kathryn, what the hell was that all about?"
"As if you don't know. Get off me!"
"And go through that again? Not on your life. Now, explain."
"You know damned well what's going on. You're busted, bucko, so just be a man and admit it. And, let me go!"
His slow smile was warm, but this time evil humour shone through. "So? What if I am busted? I know you're not going to say a word to blow my cover. They've all had it coming for a long time, Kathryn. My only regret is that I wasn't there to watch it all; that might have given the game away too soon and I wouldn't want to do that now, would I?" He slowly brought his head down to the little hollow of her neck where a small pool of champagne was cupped. His let his tongue dip in but, when her escape attempts threatened to spill it out, he plunged his mouth down to suck it all up. He didn't stop when the wine was gone.
"You bastard! You're the first officer and you're behaving like a lowlife Cardy!"
"My parents would object to that first insult, Kathryn," he mumbled against her skin. "But, I object to the second. And, if you start screaming or crying out, no one is going to think it's because I'm hurting you." He slowly licked his way up her neck and slowly slid his tongue over her lips. Then he opened his dark eyes and looked into hers. "April Fool's!"
She stopped her struggling. "What?!"
"I said 'April Fool's'. That's what day it is, remember? I had no intention of spraying you with this champagne, but I can't help but love the fact that you actually did it. No one in the DQ could blame me for protecting myself, could they?"
"Get off me!"
"Nope. We're in my quarters and you've made a big mess. We're going to have to clean it up." His head dipped down to her ear and he sucked in her sticky lobe. He could feel her reaction all down his body. He slowly released the tender flesh and brought his lips to her ear. "Kathryn," he whispered. "Don't you think you should help?"
He felt her body twist and arch underneath him, torn between pride and yearning. Slowly she became still, her eyes focused on his lips, obviously summing up the situation. Then, her hands pulled gradually away from his and slid between their bodies, clever fingers sliding up under his shirt. Chakotay deliberately thrust against her, watching her face, and delighted in feeling her calves come around to rest against his own.
Her whisper was husky and full of desire. "You weren't going to spray me with that champagne? You didn't want to celebrate getting your last victim soaking wet?"
Her own shirt was completely open now and his response came from between her breasts. "Well, yes and no."
A tiny push against his jaw, and she got one of her nipples between those lips that had so often kissed their way through her dreams. She couldn't stop the little noises she made, but she laughed in her mind, thinking of the turbolift. If she pressed a button on a bulkhead, the lift doors opened. If he pressed his mouth to her breast, her legs opened. Excellent designing on both parts.
"What do you mean, 'yes and no'," she begged, letting her body move against his, demanding attention.
He brought his mouth up to her ear and nipped her lobe again. "Yes, I had every plan to get you soaked, but no, it wasn't with the champagne."
He kissed his way back down to her breast and then paid attention to her needsa fine first officerand slowly they became naked. His face shimmered over her face for a moment, his hair falling down over his forehead. His eyes were pleading but his mouth simply asked, "Yes or no, Kathryn?"
"Yes." And she tightened her legs around him in a solid grasp, letting herself feel every centimetre as he pushed in. It was sheer delight, she was slick and ready, but she deliberately clenched down to make him push himself home. The sweat was already shining on him, but she could see in his eyes that he knew she needed this. His strong arms held her steady as he thrust, driving himself in further with each stroke, until suddenly she lost control and let herself ride with the pounding machine that was his gorgeous, strong body. It didn't take long for her to come, the very image of Chakotay on her, in her, brought her to the edge, and then his hot whispers sent her over.
Those whispers! He wanted to watch her come because it was him inside of her. He wanted to feel her inner muscles milk him because of her body's demand for his. He wanted to feel her body convulse under him, her voice calling his name, begging him to give her exquisite release. She gave him everything he wanted, needed, and more. Her voice was raw as she came down, her head rolling from left to right, her legs weakly lying akimbo.
And, then it was Chakotay's turn, his ecstasy wonderful to watch and hear. His grunts faded away as his mouth opened to allow his gasping breaths as he reached his own apex. A male sound rose up past his throat, he muttered something she couldn't quite catch, his eyes rolled back as his lids slid shut, and then she felt his primeval pounding at the same time she heard him call her name. He emptied himself into her and then his head fell down to rest in the cradle where her neck curved into her shoulder.
"I love you, Kathryn," he whispered against her skin after a few moments had passed..
Her arms snaked their way up around his supporting arms, and her fingers began to stroke his neck. "I know, Chakotay. I've always known. And, you must know how much I love you, even if it is against protocol. After today I just didn't think I could pretend anymore."
"I know," he admitted softly. "I have a confession to make."
"I knew it was you behind those practical jokes as soon as I heard about the Chaotica stunt."
She could feel those lips smiling against her skin. "I thought you might figure it out fairly quickly, but that's not what I meant."
"Oh dear. Am I going to like this?"
"I'm pretty sure you are, yes."
Kathryn took a deep breath. "Then what's your confession?"
"I intended to seduce you tonight, come hell or high water. It was time."
"What a co-incidence. I came here fully intending to seduce you."
"Spirits! No wonder I love you."
"Made for each other, that's us. But, if you weren't going to use that champagne "
He rolled slowly off her and stood, holding a hand down to help her up. "I'll have you know that I saved that bottle of champagne for seduction purposes, not spraying ones. I already had your symbolic soaking session prepared. Let's go."
"Where are we going and can we take the champagne?"
"Absolutely. You grab what's left of that bottle and I'll get the glasses. There's another bottle on ice where we're going."
"But, where are we going, all naked and everything?"
"To the tub, Kathryn. I've had it programmed to the perfect temperature and bubble height for hours."
"A bubble bath?! No rotten sauerkraut? No flying cement breakfast food? No holodeck death dive or berserk showers?"
"No, although we can use the shower tomorrow morning. It's just you. Me. Champagne. Bubbles. Oh, and a lot of intermissions for lascivious behaviour. I intend to know you very well by morning, Kathryn, inside and out."
She grinned mischievously. "Then this day is truly ending up with the 'good.' And, thank heaven, Chakotay, because if you didn't, you'd be such a foooooool!!!"
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