Disclaimer:† Star Trek: Voyagerô© is the registered trademark and sole property of Paramount Pictures.† This story is non-commercial and for enjoyment only.† No copyright infringement is intended.

AUTHOR:† Jinny R

EMAIL: jrossca@sympatico.ca

RATING:† PG-13

SUMMARY:† An out-of-this-world Irish celebration on Voyager.† Is this the day that Kathryn and Chakotay finally get together?   A Usual Suspects Fic.


Getting the Irish Up

Countdown: 4 DAYS TO GO

"May I join you, Captain?"

Janeway looked up from the PADD she was studying, and smiled.† "By all means, Commander.† Here, let me make some room for you."

As she gathered the scattered PADDís into one neat pile, Chakotay placed his tray on the table and took his seat.† They both looked glumly at the food on it that represented todayís breakfast.

"You know," she said, "there are times when I think that Neelix is actually an agent whose sole purpose is to poison us before we leave the Delta Quadrant.† Do you think Iím being paranoid, Chakotay?"

"Probably," he muttered.† "But you know good taste when you see it and here, you donít see it."† He sighed and picked up his fork.† "So, what are you working on so early in the morning, Kathryn?"

"Actually, for me itís still last night.† Iíve been looking at BíElanna and Sevenís proposal for an upgrade of the Infinite Improbability Generation component of the IPS all night.† You know, Iíve always felt confident with my understanding of the warp power flow, but I have to admit I never completely understood the Ďigí component in the impulse system.† Tell me, Chakotay, how does one "upgrade" infinite improbability?"

"Frankly, Kathryn, I find the whole concept to be infinitely improbable."

"Well, I donít understand their proposal and that makes me uncomfortable.† And, since I donít like falling behind in Voyagerís working systems I think itís time I took a little holiday from command and did a tour of duty in Engineering to catch up.† Howíd you like a swing at the cat and sit in the big chair for a month, Commander?"

"Sure, Captain, whenever you want.† Voyager will still have a captain who doesnít understand the Ďigí component but honestly, I donít think anybody really does.† Now, getting back to Neelix, who is the universal definition of infinite improbabilities, I should give you a little heads up about him.† Heís advised me that heís planning yet another morale boosting day and, from what Iíve heard on the grapevine, itís going to be another lulu."

"Another luau?"

"No.† Another lulu.† Twentieth century phrase for holy shit."

"Oh my gawd, what has he got planned this time?† Iím still recovering from our Holographic Pet Show; I thought Iíd go crazy from all the holographic poopies I stepped in.† And frankly, I still donít think there really is a cross between a Kazon Kangaroo and a Wellyump Wallaby. "

Chakotay laughed.† "There is, too -- Neelix told me!† Youíre just jealous because I won the Blue Ribbon in Marsupials plus the Showís Gold Medal, while you didnít even get an Honourable Mention.† However, back to our next imminent disaster, Neelixís new morale booster is based on a special celebratory day from centuries ago Earth.† Iím not familiar with it but itís called" and he glanced at a padd he had brought with him, "St Patrickís Day.† Now, who would St Patrick be and how does one celebrate him?"

Kathryn suddenly clapped her hands and gave a small cry of joy.† "Chakotay! This is wonderful!† Itís an old Irish holiday and holidays donít come any better than that!† St Patrick was the missionary who gets the credit of converting many Irish to Christianity and also for driving the snakes out of Ireland.† He died on March 17th, which should meanÖ"†she tapped on one of her padds and waited for the response, "that we have four days to get ready for the party!"† Her eyes sparkled with delight.

Chakotayís face, however, remained confused.† "Why did he drive out all the snakes?† What did they ever do to him?"

"Oh, who knows.† Legend has it that that the snake was a pagan symbol so they had to go."

" ĎPagan symbolí," he repeated.† "Thatís getting a little close to home for me, Kathryn."

"No no no, Chakotay Ė you donít understand!† This isnít about religion, itís about green beer and Irish stew, parades and pub songs, and maybe finding a four-leaf clover and kissing the Blarney stone.† Itís all about FUN, Chakotay, and itís the one day when every one is either Irish or they wish they were!"

"Thereís no third category?† You know, for us snake lovers?"

"No!† Just put yourself in my hands and weíll have a wonderful time!"

"Iíve always thought we would if I did that, Kathryn.† However, we donít have to drink green beer to enjoy ourselves.† I have some special body oils that serve in a dual capacity and, since I prepare the duty roster, Iíll even make sure that we can sleep in the next day."† He smiled and his dark brown eyes remained steady on her blue ones.

She slowly smiled back and said, "You know, Chakotay, youíre more Irish than you think.† But Iíve got to get going now, see you on the bridge."

She gathered up her pile of padds and fled.† He remained still with his fork halfway to his mouth, thinking about Kathryn, himself, body oils and, just for fun, he threw in a snake.† A pretty green snake.† Then he shook his head and hurriedly finished his breakfast.† It was time for work.

Countdown: 3 DAYS TO GO

Tuvok was going to be a hard sell, she could just tell.† Janeway hated to give direct orders when it came to off-duty activities, but she wanted the senior staffís full participation with the St Patrickís Day celebrations.† Besides, certain plans had been discussed concerning her Security Chief.† She turned in her command chair and looked at him.

"Mr Tuvok, why are you pulling a double shift on St Patrickís Day?"† She held up the padd containing the duty roster and waved it at him.

"I advised Commander Chakotay that I would prefer to cover an extra bridge shift in order to allow another person to join in the festivities, Captain.† I do not celebrate St Patrickís Day.† The Commander was most sympathetic."

"Yes, I see that.† Iíll be talking to him about his double shift after I finish with you.† What do you have against St Patrickís Day, anyway?"

"Nothing, Captain.† I just donít understand celebrating the demise of innocent serpents."

"Oh, I see.† Propaganda.† You realize, Tuvok, that Commander Chakotay was just making an asp out of you?"

"Captain?"

"Just a pun, Tuvok, nothing against the Prime Directive.† The Commander does not entirely grasp the true spirit of the day nor the festivities associated with it."

"I have always respected the Commanderís perception in tactical matters, Captain.† If it is all the same to you, I will share that second shift with him."

"Sorry, Tuvok, but Iím on the Planning Committee, and we have a special job for you.† No one else on this ship could possibly do it as well as you.† Report to Neelix at 1600 hundred hours and he will explain your duties in full."

There was a pause in which Janeway could almost swear she heard him sweat.† She turned around to look at him again and smiled.† No sweat, but he was definitely green.† How appropriate.

"Aye, Captain."

"Computer, what is the location of Commander Chakotay?"

Tom, BíElanna, Harry, and Seven were sitting in the mess hall with their heads over a padd.† Neelix was hovering around them with a pot of coffee, but he really thought he was there to supervise.† Harry was getting frustrated.

"Whatís wrong with the Fair Haven programme?† Itís perfect and we donít have to expend any more energy on creating something else that wouldnít be half as good.† Youíre all being ridiculous."

"Harry, Harry Harry.† Youíre just not being a sensitive guy.† You know that Fair Haven has bad memories for both the Captain and the Commander.† After all, it wasnít loveís finest hour."

"I know, Tom, but be realistic.† Draping Sandrineís with green crepe paper is not going to make that French dive into an Irish lullaby."

"Heís right, you know, Tom," BíElanna said.† "I think we should go with Fair Haven and just cross our fingers.† Captain Janeway and Chakotay are adults, theyíll understand."

"I do not understand the concern over this Fair Haven hologram programme.† Why would the Captain and the Commander have any opinion on it at all?† It is in the index.† It is not restricted.† It is Irish.† To use it would only be logical."† And Seven stared at all of them.† At once.

Tom sighed.† "I guess youíre right.† Fair Haven it is."

" ĎFair Haven it isí what?"

They all jumped and turned around to see Chakotay staring at them in concern.† Couldnít he at least learn to make noise when he walked?† Wisping around on air was just plain spooky.

"Cripes, Commander, knock when you enter, will you!† You scared us half to death!"

"Sorry, Tom, I keep forgetting.† Now whatís this about Fair Haven?"

"It is the location of the St Patrickís Day festivities, Commander," explained Seven.

"Have you told the Captain, yet?† Has she agreed?" he asked.

"No.† However, there is no other programme that would serve as well.† She must comply."

"Well, one suggestion; delete the regular citizens from the programme.† Thereíll be enough crew attending without a crowd of holoidiots with their Irish up, hanging around looking for trouble.† They almost killed the Doctor in the last brawl, and he was their priest."

"Is that the only reason you want them deleted, Chakotay?" Tom asked with a smirk.

Chakotay stared him down.† "Be careful, Tom.† I know where you work.† And as for the rest of you, do NOT tell the Captain that I was here or where Iím going."† And, with that he turned around and left the mess hall.† No one heard a thing.

"Couldnít tell her anything, anyway."† Neelix whispered in awe.† "Didnít hear where he was going over all that noise he made."† And he poured everyone another coffee.

"What do you mean, heís not here? †The computer just told me he was here!"† Captain Janeway put her hands on her hips and gave Neelix her best stare.

"Iím sorry, Captain!† He was here.† And then he left.† Very quietly.† He didnít say where he was going."

"Well, if you see him, tell him to report to me immediately.† Computer!† What is the location of Commander Chakotay?"

Countdown: 2 DAYS TO GO

"Iím sorry, Commander, but you do not have the pox.† Nor are you pregnant.† Nor are you dying."† The EMH considered.† "Well, at least not fast enough for me.† I will not issue you a medical leave from the St Patrickís Day celebrations.† You are dismissed."

"Címon, Doctor.† Surely you have something in one of those hypos that could knock me on my ass for the next couple of days.† Have a heart!"

"My heart is merely an illusion of light, created by a projection of photons.† The captain has told me how youíve managed to duck her for the last two days, Commander, and she isnít pleased.† Iím certainly not going to get involved with your inevitable court martial.† You are dismissed."

"I would just like to remind you that Iím perfectly capable of making minor adjustments to your programme.† How would you like a lisp?† Or an annoying rash?

"Donít try to intimidate me, Commander, I have access to some terrorist tactics myself."

"Is that so, Doctor?† And just what could you do to me?"

"Well, for one thing, Commander, if you donít leave my sickbay immediately Iíll call Captain Janeway andÖ.tell on you."

Chakotay knew when he was beat.† He left.

The EMH smirked as he put away his medical tricorder and went to update his medical log.† The crew had been relatively healthy in the recent past so it didnít take him long before he could turn to his St Patrickís Day committee duty.

He stood in front of a replicator with a padd containing the specs for some costumes.† Sevenís was simple, one bright green catsuit.† Done.† Next was Commander Tuvokís Ė his eyebrow raised in silent tribute to him.† He ran a quick diagnostic on the padd but the specs remained the same.† Fine.† Done.† Neelixís was next.† The Talaxian had the colour sense of a blind Mutallian mole.† Done.† His own costume was last and heíd been given the right to choose it himself.† He quickly accessed the data file that Captain Janeway had created for everyoneís research on Ireland and St Patrickís Day.† He had a brilliant idea!† Done!

Just as he was sorting the clothes into neat piles, the Captain stormed in.

"Where is he?" she demanded.

"To whom are you referring, Captain?" he enquired with a puzzled look on his face.

"Commander Chakotay.† The computer said he was here, so where is he?"

"Ah.† Well, I would imagine heís either somewhere shooting himself in the foot or sucking on the warp core.† Wherever he is, Captain, he is not here, nor would I think heíd be returning any time soon, even if disabled.† And, may I say, thank goodness for that."

She glared at him, thought of something pithy to say, choked it down, and then turned to leave.† Just then she spotted the costumes.† She pointed at a pile.

"Is that Commander Tuvokís costume?" she asked.

"Yes, Captain.† I hope itís all right, I did double check my padd to make sure I read the pattern correctly."

"Donít worry, Doctor," she said as she picked up the pile.† "It looks perfect.† Do you mind if I take it to him myself?"

"As a matter of fact, Captain, I would prefer it.† Mr Tuvok has a worrisome talent for the holographic sciences and I like my nose where it is.† Take it out of my sight."

"Thank you, I will.† Computer!† What is the location of Commander Chakotay?"

Countdown: 1 DAY TO GO

Ensign Wildman was on her back and up to her hips under a console in the Delta Flyer.† She did not hear the Captain enter.

"Ensign Wildman!"† Crack went the Ensignís forehead against the consoleís underpinnings as she jumped at the sudden bellow.† She slid out from under.

"Captain," she said softly as she put a hand up to her wound.† "I didnít hear you come in."

"Where is Commander Chakotay?"

"Commander Chakotay?" she repeated, feeling quite groggy.† "I donít know, Captain, I havenít seen him all day."

"The computer said he was here in the Flyer," said Janeway sternly.

"Iím sorry, Captain, but Iíve been performing maintenance on the Flyer here since 0800 and the Commander hasnít been here since I reported for duty."† She swooned a little.

"Thank you, Ensign.† Perhaps you should see the Doctor about that bump on your forehead.† Itís starting to turn black and blue."

"Thank you, Captain, I think I will."† Wildman wobbled to her feet.

"And EnsignÖ"

"Yes Captain?"

"Donít let him tone down that colour until after St Patrickís Day.† It looks absolutely authentic, youíll be the hit of the pub!"† And Janeway strode off.

"Aye, Captain," whispered Wildman.† "But it is authentic, Captain," she added weakly, and started for the door.† Through the haze she heard the distant faint command, "Computer!† What is the location of Commander Chakotay?"† She entered a lift and requested sickbay.

Meanwhile, back at the messhallÖÖ..

BíElanna held up a padd.† "How about this one by Adrienne Cook: ĎSt Patrickís Day is an enchanted time Ė a day to begin transforming winterís dreams into summerís magic.í "

"I donít know, Be.† It sounds pretty sappy and besides, we donít have winter or summer aboard Voyager.† Itís justÖ..itís just a littleÖ.."

"It certainly is.† I agree with Harry, itís much too gushy."† Tom pointed to his padd.† "Hereís one by Hugh Leonard: ĎThe problem with Ireland is that itís a country full of genius, but with absolutely no talent.í† Itís kind of witty, donít you think?"

"I certainly do, Tom," confirmed Neelix.† "But weíre going from the sadly sentimental to the oddly insulting.† At least I believe our Captain -- you know, the one with the diluted Irish blood -- would not think that old Hughís comment was exactly apropos to our shindig.† Not striking the right cord, as it were."

"Well, hereís another one, and it cracks me up.† Itís from Sigmund Freud: ĎThis is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.í "

"Sigmund Freud, that quack!" sniffed the Doctor, walking up just then to join the group.† "I assume heís referring to the Irish, although it would be equally suitable for this crew.† And Iíd like to point out that it could be taken as a positive statement, considering its source.† What are you doing, anyway?"

"The Captain would like us to find an authentic quotation to use as our St Patrickís Day Mission Statement.† There are lots of quotes but theyíre either far too sentimental or a little on the scathing side." explained Harry.† "Personally, I think St Patrickís Day stands on its own just fine without a slogan."

"I must agree." Seven said.† "However, here is a quotation that suggests more of the convivial atmosphere stressed by the Captain than any of the others.† It is from Mr Alex Levine: ĎOnly Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.í† This would seem to fit her perception of the day more that any of the others and I am tempted to give this drink a try.† One glass of it and I could inform you, Doctor, that I had ingested more than your weekís quota of comestibles required over and above my regular nutritional supplements.† Do you concur?"

"I certainly do not, Seven.† One drink of that and youíd be in sickbay for a week.† Your Borg implants would melt down faster than a warp core breach and you wouldnít even care.† Keep looking."

"Hey, instead of a quotation, how about a blessing?† This one is really nice and I suppose we could change a few words to make it sound more like Voyager."† And BíElanna recited:

" 'May the roof above us never fall in
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.í "

Everyone looked at her and then at each other.

"Itís perfect, BíElanna.† Absolutely perfect, and we shouldnít change a word."

It was unanimous.† Neelix poured everyone another coffee.

"Computer!† What is the location of Commander Chakotay?"

"Commander Chakotay is no longer on board."

"Computer, when did Commander Chakotay leave Voyager?"

"Unable to respond.† That data is not on file."

"Computer, do you have a record of Commander Chakotay actually leaving Voyager?"

"Negative."

That conniving renegade.† He was still tinkering with the damned computer!† Well, just for that sheíd amend the duty roster herself and make sure heíd really suffer.† And sheíd put that damned Tuvok on report if he didnít come up with a good explanation of how one person on board could successfully disappear for days without being located.† First and Second Officers, indeed!† Non essential personnel!

ST PATRICKíS DAY

"I resign my commission."

"Donít be ridiculous, Tuvok, what would you do if you didnít keep Voyager safe and semi-secure?† Oh, and, by the way, weíll be talking about shipís security and being in cahoots with known terrorists tomorrow.† For now, however, just lift up your arms."

"I refuse, Captain.† I will not appear before the crew in this appalling costume.† I resign my commission."

"You said that already, Tuvok.† Donít repeat yourself, itís not logical.† Now, lift up your arms and thatís an order."

"I refuse again, Captain.† Mr Neelix said nothing of this costume when I reported to him three days ago.† He simply stated that I held a position of honour in todayís festivities and it would be relatively short in duration.† Logic would dictate that a position of honour would also be one of dignity.† I resign my commission."

"Knock it off with the resignations, Commander; I already have two pages of topics for tomorrowís meeting and I donít need three.† Now, you either lift up your arms for me or Iíll rip them off.† UP!"

Tuvok considered the situation and slowly raised his arms.† He was as outraged as a Vulcan could be without blowing his ears off.† Janeway pulled articles out of the pile at her feet and quietly constructed the perfect Grand Marshall for todayís St Patrickís Day Parade.† When she was finished she backed slowly away and admired her handiwork.

"Go ahead, Tuvok, take a peek in the mirror.† Youíre absolutely beautiful!"

He stepped towards the mirror and stared at his reflection.† "And what, may I ask, am I supposed to be?" he demanded.

"Oh címon Tuvok!† Look at yourself!† If youíre not the most perfect leprechaun ever created, Iím Neelixís mother!"

"I would be careful with my metaphors, if I were you, Captain.† You forget, I have had the unforgettable experience of tasting your cooking.† And what, if I may again be so bold, is the leather apron for?"

"Leprechauns are shoemakers, Tuvok, look at your gorgeous feet!† And theyíre really quite nasty little creatures who like their solitude.† You like your solitude, too, and your current facial expression is simply perfect for the part!† Theyíre only about two feet tall, but they do have pointy ears and who else could pull this off better than you?† Youíre absolutely adorable."

"I do not believe I have ever had the desire to be adorable, Captain.† If Ďpointy earsí were a major contributing factor for this caricature, why did you not simply order Mr Vorik to assume this honour?† Or, indeed, Mr Neelix if height was another of the major characteristics."

"Oh, I couldnít do that, Tuvok.† Vorikís still young, it would have scarred him for life and Vulcans live a long time.† And Mr Neelix has too many responsibilities for making this holiday a success already.† I know your resilience and strength.† I know your pride for a job well done.† I know yourÖ.."

"Captain, please desist.† We both know I do not experience any feelings, while at the same time we both know I recognize your slyness in referring to admirable qualities.† In short, Captain, I would appreciate it if you would shut up."

She looked at him in quiet amazement.† "All right, Tuvok, Iíll keep quiet.† But, just before I do, I have to tell you about your pot of gold."

There was a pause in which Tuvok stood perfectly still, his head cocked to one side.† Finally, he shook it and said, "Excuse me, Captain, for a moment there I thought you said my Ďpot of goldí."

"I did, Tuvok.† Really.† Itís the latinum of the dark ages and itís at the end of the rainbow.† The object of the game is to be the first to find it.† The winner gets twenty replicator rations so you know how serious this hunt is going to be, donít you?† Absolutely everyoneís going to be after it, probably even Neelix."

"Why would I care about this pot of gold or who wins it, Captain?"

"Because you have to try to stop them and, to make sure you try hard, theyíre your rations, Tuvok.† We had to make it a fair fight, if you know what I mean."

"Captain, are you trying to tell me that in addition to being exposed to all of Voyagerís crew in this ridiculous costume, I am also in a position of actually losing twenty of my own replicator rations?

"Well, yes Tuvok.† We couldnít just have you sulking in the corner and not being part of the action.† We wanted to give you motivation."

"Indeed, Captain, you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.† I can truthfully tell you that I am now fully motivated.† It is to arm myself for the rest of the day and randomly shoot someone, hopefully even someone with reddish brown hair."† It was amazing how his lack of feelings protected him from human experience.

"Oh Tuvok, you canít do that!† Youíd lose your commission!"

That evening six members of the senior staff were sitting in the remains of Sullivanís, Fair Havenís pub, reflecting on the dayís glories.

"The parade was just wonderful," sighed Janeway.† She turned to Tuvok with a firm stare.† "And, Mr Tuvok, you were the best leprechaun the Delta Quadrant has ever seen, bar none.† Now, arenít you glad you did it; everyone just loved you."

"No, Captain.† I cannot truthfully say that I am Ďglad.í† However, I do confess to no small amount of satisfaction."

"Yes.† Well.† That reminds me," and Janeway tapped her communicator.† "Janeway to the EMH.† Doctor, what is the current condition of Commander Chakotay?"

"He will live, Captain.† I have repaired the phaser burns to his chest and mended his broken jaw.† I am, however, failing to completely cheer him out of his funk.† He is not the happiest patient in sickbay today."

"I understand, Doctor.† Please advise the Commander that Mr Tuvok will be visiting him shortly to express his most abject apologies.† He will also be transferring the remainder of his March replicator rations to the Commanderís account plus a declining percentage of his rations for the next five months.† Tell the Commander that Aprilís transfer will be 50%, Mayís 40%, and so on."

"Yes, Captain.† One moment while I relay that information to my patient."† And, while they waited for the Doctor to return, Tom poured everyone a fresh pint of green beer.

"Captain, are you still there?"

"Yes, Doctor.† What did Commander Chakotay say?"

"I quote verbatim: ĎTell that green son-of-a-bitch that he can just transfer the damned rations directly to Captain Janewayís account.† That thieving, conspiring daughter of an Irish Artful Dodger will be the ultimate recipient of them anyway.í† End of quotation.† Heís really quite eloquent for a person in extreme pain, wouldnít you say, Captain?† I certainly respect that literary reference in his current condition."

"As do I, Doctor.† Janeway out."† She smiled at the others.† "Sounds like Chakotayís going to be just fine."

Tom nodded.† "Good, Iíd miss the Old Man in spite of what anyone might say.† You know, Captain, you really could have told him about Tuvokís state of mind when he got so intent on finding the pot of gold.† After all, he was just doing it to replace all those rations you steal from him for extra coffee."

"Well, Lieutenant, I might just have done that if he hadnít been hiding from me for the last four days.† I did everything except slam a Level Ten force field around him and the only reason I didnít do that was because I couldnít decide how to write it up in my logs".

Harry took a sip of his beer.† "You know, hearing the Doc made me think of the outfit he had on today.† Does anyone have any idea who or what he was supposed to be?† I thought todayís predominant colour was supposed to be green."

"It was," said BíElanna.† "I asked him about it and he told me I was an ignorant Klingon fool and that anyone should be able to tell who he was.† You know, Captain, you really should not allow him to drink.† He programmed himself to react realistically, and it turns out heís a mean drunk."

"Lt Torres is correct.† I also tried to assertain that information and I, too, was insulted," said Seven.† "I did not enjoy the experience."† And, as she tossed her head indignantly, her enormous ĎKiss Me Iím Irishí button sparkled in the low light.

"I donít blame you, Seven, but do you think you really should have thrown all those darts at him?† I mean, that had to hurt, especially after dislocating your shoulder in the pub brawl."

"It did not, Captain.† I am Borg.† Besides, it inspired me to slip a pain sub-routine into his programme during the rowdy sing-a-long and that made the food fight much more enjoyable.† I must ask him if his pain was a result of that baked potato in his face or if it was only his feelings that suffered.† And, Lt Torres, I do thank you for your diversion while I performed the upload.

"My pleasure, Seven.† I thoroughly enjoyed it.† I think we should have changed his colour at the same time, though.† He was simply bilious."

"I concur."† Seven nodded in sage agreement

"What is Blarney anyway, Captain?"

"The gift of gab, Tom.† You have it in spades; did you ever visit Ireland and bend over a parapet backward to kiss the Blarney stone?

"No Captain, I think I would have remembered if Iíd done that.† But why is the colour purple associated with it?"

"As far as I know, it isnít.† I was about to ask the Doctor about that at the end of the parade, but I slipped in a pile of holographic horse poopies.† I think Iím going to initiate a directive against any further holographic animals on board.† They seem to have the same regard to basic sanitation as their natural born brothers and sisters.† That goes for holographic birds, too."† And she wiped her shoulder in disgust.

"Oh, donít do that, Captain.† A village without animals or birds would be a dead zone; thatís why Tom and I worked so hard on making them perfect.† Why donít you just watch where youíre going?"

"Iíll certainly consider that, Mr Kim.† And do let me know the next time you reserve the holodeck, I believe Iíll have some tweaking to do to your programme."† She paused and smiled.† Pure evil.† "Thatís an order, Ensign."

Harry blanched.† "Yes, Captain," and he grabbed the empty pitcher and jumped to his feet.† "Who else wants more?† Iím buying."

Everyone chorused "YES!" and Harry looked at Tuvok.† "Geez, Commander, you donít have to shout so loud.† Iím not deaf, you know."† And he stalked towards the bar.

"Hey, shouldnít we eat something with this next round?† This beer isnít synthehol, you know."† Tom looked around at the group while they all displayed pained reactions.

"I suppose so," responded Janeway slowly.† "But that reminds me again.† Janeway to the EMH.† Doctor, what is the current condition of Mr Neelix?"

"He will live, Captain.† Iíve repaired all the sprains, cuts, and contusions and heís currently visiting with Commander Chakotay.† I believe they are plotting another morale booster but they stop talking whenever I come close to them.† Would you like to speak with him?"

"Later, thank you Doctor.† Please pass along the abject apologies of all his fellow crewmembers and advise him that everyone will eat anything with leola root for the next month with absolutely no complaining.† Try to stress upon him that we just werenít expecting it in our Irish stew, let alone our corned beef and cabbage.† It was most disconcerting."

"I will do that, Captain."

"Oh, and Doctor, could you please explain your costume to me.† I really donít understand its significance in conjunction with St Patrickís Day."† Everyone around the table heard the enormous sigh emanating from her communicator.

"Really Captain, I certainly expected you to understand the reference.† I thoroughly researched this celebration using your own file just before I replicated the costumes.† The file reference is," and there was a short pause.† "I donít understand this, Captain.† I performed a diagnostic on myself only yesterday morning as routine maintenance.† I can no longer find the reference file I used to design my Blarney the Dinosaur costume.† One moment, Captain.† Commander Chakotay, why are you laughing so hard?† Stop it -- youíll undo the regeneration of your jaw.† Commander!† What in the world is so funny?† Commander ChakotayÖ."

Janeway quietly disconnected the link.† "You know, everyone, I think this was our best morale booster yet.† Does anyone have any good ideas for next yearís St Patrickís Day?"

"Captain, I would be pleased to be next yearís Grand Marshall if I may be armed with our new hand-held micro cobalt torpedo launcher.† It would fit very nicely in my leather apron."

"Hereís Harry with the beer.† And, Tuvok, I have just the toast for you.† Charge your glasses, everyone!"† Everyone stood and held their pints high while she continued,

" 'May you have the hindsight to know where youíve been,
The foresight to know where you're going
And ÖÖ (here she glared at Tuvok)
The insight to know when you've gone too far!' "

They all clinked their mugs!

Late that night Captain Janeway tiptoed into sickbay and quietly approached the biobed holding her sleeping first officer.† As he snored fitfully she carefully pulled back the blanket and looked at his burnt chest.† When she was satisfied that it was regenerating properly she gently brought her finger up to trace his tattoo.† Then she bent down and softly kissed his wounded jaw.

Both his hands snapped up and grabbed her, one hand holding the wrist of the hand tracing his forehead, and the other planting itself on the back of her head.† He turned her head slightly until her kiss was meeting his own; then he deepened it until she needed her free arm to support herself.† Finally they pulled away only enough to look into each otherís eyes.

"Youíre awake," she whispered breathlessly.† "Who snores when theyíre awake?"

"Itís an old Maquis trick; you should hear BíElanna."† He raised up slightly and kissed her ear.† "So, you finally found me," he whispered into it.

"I knew where you were all the time."† She rolled her head and offered her throat to him.

He accepted it with pleasure.† "Oh really.† And where was that?"

"On report, Ensign."† She bent down and kissed his neck up to his ear, which she nipped.† "Did the nasty leprechaun hurt you very badly?"

"Enough to warrant sweet revenge.† But no one knows better than you, Kathryn, how patient I can be; Iíll get him when his sprightly little back is turned."† He twisted and with both arms managed to pull her up on the biobed, crushing her face into his chest for a moment.† Then he pulled the cover back over them.† She kissed his healing chest and then looked up and smiled.

"Okay, Iíll log it as a security training issue."† She snuggled back into him.

"How was your party?" he asked softly, running his hands through her hair and down her back.

She sighed happily.† "It was wonderful, but I missed you.† You were supposed to put yourself in my hands and have a great time, remember?"† She suddenly realized that she was actually in Chakotayís capable hands and enjoying it.† And then she couldnít help but notice something else, lower down.† She grinned and peeked up at him.

"So, youíre not permanently injured?"

He smiled into her eyes.† "Iím quite fine, Kathryn.† Iím only here because the doctor thought that Neelix and I were up to something.† I have no idea what heís talking about, but he insisted."

"No idea, eh?† Well, Iíll take your word for it."† She crossed her fingers in front of his face for her lie, and laid her head back down on his chest before continuing softly, "Chakotay, how much would you object if I overrode his order and released you to my care?"

His hand cupped her chin and brought them face to face again.† "It depends, Kathryn.† Truthfully, not at all, but I should warn you -- I need and want a lot of your care.† I've waited a long time for it and one nightís worth is not going to do it for me.† I wonít settle for that, so......are you finally ready for more, Kathryn?"

"Yes," she said softly, "so much more.† I had a defining moment at the end of the rainbow today when Tuvok shot you.† One of those blinding moments of clarity.† So, OíChakotay, do you want to come home with me, a run mo chroi?" *

"Aye, Katie O'Voyager," he whispered as he pulled her face back down to his.† A soft kiss and then he brought his eyes back to hers.† "I can get my Irish up for you forever -- and wait until you meet my snake!"

THE END

* "oh love of my heart"

Note: Neelix met up with the Wellyumps in Jeri Taylorís book, "Pathways." Obviously they must have talked a little zoology over that poker game.


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