Authors Note: Hello everyone, well this is my first Christmas story, and I really enjoyed writing it. I'm entering it in a competition, but I don't really expect anything to come of it. Thanks for reading, guys - and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Disclaimer: Paramount own everything. None of the characters, etc are mine.
Codes: J/C (of course!), P/T and a little S/K
Dedicated to: Diamond for all of her help and support!
Setting: In between 4th and 5th season.
Email me comments: WriteToSam@excite.com
Captain Janeway of the Starship Voyager was heading towards the staff meeting, the party the night before had been an excellent boost of morale. Neelix had held it on the holodeck and the setting had been on the beach. It was fun, and Security had beat the Astrophysicists three to one in a game of Volleyball. She was the last one to arrive, and it wasn't noticed.
When she entered, everyone sat around the table chatting like old friends and having fun. Once she sat down everyone quieted and the reports from around the table came in. Engineering had nothing to report, except a faulty circuit yesterday. Security, nothing, Astrometrics, nothing, nothing nothing nothing. Until Neelix.
"Uh Captain, I have a matter I would like to propose." He said from his place.
"Yes Neelix?" She asked.
"Well, as you all probably know, Christmas is coming up. I was revising some Earth customs and I came across a game known as 'Secret Santa'. I think it would boost morale to play it." Neelix said.
Everyone smiled and nodded, remembering fond academy days when the game was played.
"I think it's an excellent idea, Neelix. Chakotay, I want you to assist him with the project." Captain Janeway said.
Everyone was still smiling at the thought of the Secret Santa when Captain Janeway dismissed them.
"Commander I would like the report on the Secret Santa project first thing in the morning." She said to him.
"Aye Captain. Are we going to go over those crew evaluations tonight?" He asked.
"Has it really been six months since the last ones? I suppose we'll have to." Janeway said.
"Do you want to do it over dinner?" Chakotay asked.
"I think we'll have to, we'll probably be working half the night away." She said as she gathered up her reports from the table.
"See you after duty shift ends." He said with a smile as he walked out the door.
Duty shift had ended half an hour ago and Captain Janeway felt already like she was gong to fall asleep. Herself and commander Chakotay sat side by side on the couch, surrounded by data padds. She rubbed her eyes absently.
"We can do this another night, Captain. You look like you're about to pass out." He said, concerned.
"I'm fine commander." She said, putting some stray hair behind her ear.
"Maybe we should take a break." He suggested.
"All I need is another cup of coffee." She said defensively, shaking her head.
After another pot of coffee and half an hour later, Chakotay knew she was just being stubborn.
"Kathryn, I think you should go to bed. Your about to fall asleep on my shoulder, and as nice a thought that is, I think you should go to your quarters."
"Chakotay, let's just finish up engineering and then I'll think about calling it a night." She said.
"We only just started Engineering, it'll take an hour or two." He said.
"Exactly." She said with a small smiled up at him as she took another gulp of coffee.
"You are so stubborn." He said, shaking his head.
"I don't see why your not tired. You work the same hours as me and sleep about as much as me, I'll bet."
"On the contrary Captain, you work about twice as long as I do. I just don't think you've ever noticed." Chakotay said, teasingly.
"I don't work that much, your making me sound like a workaholic." She said with a sniff.
"You work, on average a nineteen hour day. Who in their right mind works such long hours?" He asked, the crew reports forgotten.
"I'm the Captain." Janeway said defensively.
"That's your excuse for everything." Chakotay said, they were both turned around in their seats, now, facing each other.
"Pardon me?" She asked angrily.
"You distance yourself from the crew because your the captain. You distance yourself from meaningful relationships because your the captain. You are stressed, under nourished and over worked because your the Captain." He said, mimicking her.
She glared at him.
"I am not stressed. I am not over worked. I eat properly. I prefer to be alone most of the time and I'd thank you not to intrude on my private life." Janeway said.
"You don't eat properly. Look at you your all skin and bone." He said, poking her in the stomach.
Janeway tried not to laugh when he touched her stomach but it tickled. He saw her reaction.
"I never thought of you as ticklish, Kathryn." He said, poking her some more as she frantically tried to deflect the blows.
"Stop it Chakotay. Chakotay....Stop it!" She said, laughing as he poked and prodded her some more.
"It was a nice way to distract you into a break, though." He said as he went to the replicator for more coffee.
"You're very manipulative Chakotay." She said, still laughing a bit.
As she started to sit up again from where she had tried to shrink into the seat, her neck cracked loudly and she yelped in pain.
"What happened?" he asked, concerned as he put the coffee pot on the table.
"My neck snapped." She said, still wincing.
"Are you having those sessions with the doctor still?" He asked.
"No. I came out hurting more than I did when I went in." She said, as he went behind the couch and started to massage her shoulders. She relaxed and felt her muscles unwind and the pain dull.
"This is better than it was on New Earth." She thought to herself.
Suddenly she jerked upright, tensing all over and stood up as the realisation hit her.
"Thankyou Commander. I think I'll go back to my quarters now, I am actually quite tired. We can continue these another night." She said, as she hurriedly walked out the door.
Chakotay just stood there, confused, having no idea what had just taken place.
Janeway escaped to the solitude of her quarters. After a shower, she went to bed, thinking over the evening. She had nearly fallen asleep on her first officer. She had been tickled relentlessly by her first officer. She had received a massage from her first officer. She couldn't believe what had taken place. But then she remembered why he had said to her. She did distance herself from relationships, from him. She had felt perfectly comfortable and had had fun up until she realised who she was. She was all but too aware of her feelings towards him. They both knew it, but agreed silently to wait. She knew he loved her... and after some thought she admitted that she loved him. She dreamed about him, daydreamed about him, but the reality was she wasn't prepared to have a relationship with him because of the risk of the ship, and also the fact that he was her first officer. One day maybe...
She sighed. It was late, she was tired and confused. She didn't want to think about the subject any longer.
The next day she went to her ready room all but straight away. She had a physical with the doctor scheduled for the doctor and she was almost praying that there would be an attack on the ship - anything to get her out of it. It was in two hours, and she hadn't gotten any sleep the night before hardly.
An hour later, she was working away steadily, when her door chimed.
"Come in." She called.
Chakotay came striding in with a data padd in his hands.
"Good morning Captain." He said with a smile.
"Wish I could say the same." Janeway replied, giving him a small smile.
"What's the problem?" He asked.
"I have a physical today, the last one on the ship not to. Any day with the doctor scanning me is due to be a bad one." She said, leaning back in her chair.
"I had mine yesterday. He gave me a clean bill of health. He said I should be Captain, and was looking forward to seeing you today." Chakotay said with a grin.
"That news has made my morning Chakotay." She said a bit drily.
"Anyway, what I originally came here for was to give you this. It's the Secret Santa project." He said, holding the padd out to her.
She took it and saw how long it was, no doubt written by Neelix.
"Couldn't you just give me the run down...a summary?" She asked hopefully.
He glanced over and saw how many reports she had strew over her desk and floor.
"Well, basically, we broke the crew down into several sections, Senior Staff, Engineering, etcetera and it is randomly operated by the computer and encrypted so it can't be tampered with. We programmed the computer yesterday and everyone should have a data padd by this afternoon with who they have been given. It has tight security on it. It'll go on for about twelve days, you know that old Earth song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'? - Neelix thought it would be a good idea. Everyone has to give a clue and a present, a small one, every day. The final clues and presents are to be given to your person at the Christmas Eve party." Chakotay explained.
Janeway nodded and thought it was an excellently done.
"You and Neelix have done a fabulous job. I can't wait to get started." She said.
Chakotay stood up to leave and said, "Neither can I."
"If you get me Commander, I'll be very suspicious." Janeway warned.
He chuckled as he left the ready room.
Janeway made her way to Sickbay a tad late. She had 'accidentally' lost the time. As she walked in she saw the doctor smile at the sight of her and motioned for her to sit on a bio bed.
"Ah Captain. I was beginning to think you weren't going to show up."
"I had an errand to run." She lamely said as she slid onto the bed.
After a few scans and a few taps on his tricorder, he grimaced. She really didn't like that grimace. In fact, she almost wished that something would delete his program, right then and there.
"Captain. If it is even possible, I think that you have gotten worse since the last time I saw you. You have 13% less fat than a woman your size should. Your muscles in you neck are about to crush your spinal column. You don't have enough sleep, and you are going to slip into a comma. But why should expect you to notice? 'Your the Captain'." He mimicked her on the last point, talking to himself more than her.
"Why is everyone saying that?" She mumbled unhappily.
"What was that? Never mind. Captain you are practically wasting away." He said, annoyed.
Janeway couldn't help it. She laughed, remembering last night when Chakotay had tickled her. He looked at her puzzled. He muttered something under his breathe, like 'Maybe the stress getting to her'. She didn't quite know.
"Captain, if you don't mind I'd like to run a few...psychological...tests." He said, pulling out another medical instrument.
Janeway stopped laughing. That would take forever.
"Doctor, I assure you I am in perfect health mentally." She said, as he ran it around her head.
What the Doctor did next was very unnerving. In fact, Captain Janeway almost winced. He grumbled. And frowned. And made a 'tsk tsk tsk' sound.
"Captain. You are extremely tired and stressed. My psychological diagnosis is that you are depressed. About something. About everymustg. I don't know. I am relieving you of duty for at least 48 hours." He said, shaking a finger at her.
"I am not depressed. Do you hear me? Not depressed! I am a happy person. Happy!" she exclaimed not-so-calmly as she advanced on him.
As the captain came closer he merely said, "All the same, Captain, you are relieved from duty. Do you understand?"
"You have to be kidding." She said in disbelief.
"No, I am not." He said blandly.
"I have work to do doctor." Janeway argued.
"No work for you. Calm rest and relaxation. If I find out you have so much as looked at a crew report, it'll become a week." The Doctor said firmly.
"You can't do that!" She said, outraged.
"I can and I will." He said defiantly.
She glared at him, and he almost wanted to give in and then she stalked out of the sickbay, nearly tripping over an Ensign. He watched her go and sighed.
Captain Janeway entered her quarters and went to her desk.
"Janeway to Chakotay." She said.
"Chakotay here, Captain." He replied.
"Chakotay, you've no doubt heard." Janeway said gratingly.
"Yes I have, and I have been given orders not to let you anywhere near the bridge and not to give you any work or even an astrology chart." Chakotay said, almost chuckling.
"Chakotay. As you commanding officer, I am ordering you to bring me the last of the crew reports. You won't be able to do them alone."
"Unfortunately, Captain, even if I did want to, Tuvok and I finished them this afternoon." He said, definitely chuckling now.
There was a pause.
"Chakotay we've been friends for a long time now haven't we?" She asked, quietly.
"Almost four years." He said, knowing exactly where she was heading.
"You'd do almost anything for me wouldn't you?" She asked.
"You know I would." He replied, smiling.
"Can't you just sneak me a data padd or two? The Doctor doesn't have to know." Janeway said.
"It'll be good for you to have a rest, Kathryn." He said.
"After all that you won't even consider it?" Janeway asked, irritated.
"Maybe once I see that you're completely relaxed and rested." He promised.
"Well, at the very least will you have dinner with me tonight?" She said huffily.
"You know I finally know my place now. I'm worse company than a data padd." He said, laughing.
"I didn't mean it like that." She argued.
"I know you didn't," He said, still smiling, "Dinner 2000 hours? My place."
"I'll be there." Janeway said.
After they'd ended communications, Janeway looked around her empty quarters and sighed. It was going to be a long couple of days. She was just trying to think of something to do, when her door chimed.
"Come in." She called.
Neelix stepped through the door. He beamed when he saw her and held out a data padd.
"Here's your Secret Santa, Captain. I hear you'll have lots of time to think about some clues." He said, still smiling.
"Thankyou Neelix." She said, taking the padd.
"You know Captain, having time off isn't so bad. Think of it as a vacation. Have fun!" He said exuberantly.
"Thankyou, Mr Neelix, I will." Janeway said with a tone that said 'dismissed' in it.
Seeing his job was over, he left.
Janeway sighed and thumbed it open. She just nodded when she saw the name. It just completed her day. She was just thrilled. Someone hated her today, everything was going wrong. Someone, out there in the Cosmos, hated her. To top off all her problems, Captain Janeway was Commander Chakotay's Secret Santa.
Usually, Captain Janeway wouldn't have a problem with giving to Chakotay. She was actually quite thankful it was him and not someone she barely knew. The one thing that bothered her was all the unbidden thoughts about him that had presented themselves to her in the past few days. Janeway felt awkward. He would know it was her right away. She made her way over to her couch and flopped down. She was definitely depressed now.
Chakotay arrived at his office for the first time all day. When he sat down, he discovered the data padd that contained who he was Secret Santering. He sighed when he saw the name. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. That's just great.
Tuvok was in the mess hall when Neelix scurried up to him and handed him a data padd before scurrying away again. He raised an eyebrow speculatively at the name. Neelix.
Neelix had saved the last for himself. He opened it over a bubbling Leola Root stew and was surprised to find he had his half-klingon friend, B'Elanna. Then he was confused. What would he give to B'Elanna? He knew practically nothing about Klingons. He sighed. Back to the Starfleet database.
B'Elanna was at her upper work station in engineering, when someone delivered her Secret Santa report. She opened it and was relieved to see she had Harry. She had been dreading she would get someone like the Doctor, or worse, Seven of Nine. They were friends, though. She would probably accidentally tell Tom and then somehow, one way or another, Harry would find out. What sort of clues was she going to give to him?
Harry was on Bridge duty when he received his report. He had nearly fainted, and at the least nearly hyperventilated. When he first opened the padd, he hadn't been able to actually comprehend who he had gotten. Then everything processed and he had a grin for the rest of the day. Seven of Nine. He had Seven of Nine. Someone was smiling on him today.
Seven of Nine had been a part of the crew for nearly two years, and still she didn't quite understand human behaviour. This exercise was one of the things in human behaviour that she didn't comprehend. Still, she was willing to participate in the frivolous, irrelevant activity. She found out she had the Doctor and found herself...relieved. She was almost worried she would get B'Elanna or... Ensign Kim.
The Doctor almost laughed when he received his report. He saw the name 'Lieutenant Tom Paris' and dropped a medical instrument. He hadn't been to sickbay for duties for over a week. He was going to enjoy Christmas this year.
Tom Paris was in the Mess Hall, talking to Ensign Vorik about the latest shuttlecraft when Neelix wandered over to him and said, "Tom, I hate to interrupt, but I nearly forgot all about you Secret Santa report. Here it is, though." He said, handing it to him.
"Thankyou Neelix. You're doing a wonderful job." Tom said to the little Talaxian.
Neelix nodded and started to turn around when Paris asked, "Hey Neelix, what's dinner going to be tonight?"
Neelix turned around again to face him and answered, "Well, Lieutenant, there is going to be Blithian Fel noddles, grated Natchi strips and a thick, chunky Leola Root Stew."
It took Tom all his strength not to grimace.
"Thanks Neelix." He answered.
"Quite alright Tom." He said as he scurried away.
"If you don't mind me asking, Lieutenant, why were you asking about tonight's menu?" Vorik asked.
"Well, Vorik, it's me and B'Elanna's anniversary and, well, I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything. It turns out I'm not. I have the whole night planned out. I'm... actually thinking about asking for... her hand in marriage." Tom said, excitedly.
Vorik just nodded. Tom was thinking "Vulcans." as he opened it. And gaped.
"What is it Lieutenant?" Vorik asked.
"Nothing." He said as he looked at Captain Janeway's name.
"Lieutenant you have paled considerably. I insist you go to Sickbay."
At the mention of sickbay, Tom coloured immediately.
"No need to go to sickbay, Vorik."
"You should." He argued.
"Look, I haven't done my duties in Sickbay for almost a week. I'm not going to go see the Doctor for anything short of a heart attack. Vorik, I have something to see to, would you mind if we did this some other time?" Tom said, getting up and not waiting for an answer. er gVorik merely nodded again, and went back to his report while Tom walked out of the Mess Hall.
Tom was going back to his quarters when he decided to go and see B'Elanna.
When he entered, she was sitting watching 'Breakfast With Neelix'...well, the rerun anyway. She shushed him immediately and they watched in silence.
"So, ladies and gentlemen, you have all been assigned your Secret Santa, and the rule is you have to give a present, and a clue every single day. Not a big present - a candy or something. So, this is A Breakfast With Neelix and have a lovely day!" He said, before the screen went blank.
Tom sat down next to B'Elanna and took her hand.
"How was your day?" She asked, inspecting his fingers.
"Hmm, alright. I only just found out who I'm Secret Santering. Neelix just gave it to me in the Mess Hall." He said, gesturing towards the data padd on the coffee table.
"I had an interesting day." B'Elanna said, enticing him to ask more.
"What happened?" Tom asked, curious.
"Carey got into a brawl in the Mess Hall over which Delaney sister was his Secret Santa - that was quite amusing. Luckily, it broke up before Tuvok or Security could do anything. Tuvok was asking me really annoying questions about Neelix until I told him I didn't know anything. Then Neelix started asking me questions about what I like doing in my spare time. Finally I threatened him to leave or be kicked out and he left mumbling something about databases. Overall, it was a strange day." B'Elanna said with a sigh.
Tom smiled at her detailed description of her day and almost chuckled.
"Who are you Secret Santering?" Tom asked.
"You tell me first." B'Elanna said.
"If you can guess, I'll tell you." He said.
B'Elanna looked at him sceptically.
"I swear!" He said, looking astonished.
"How do you know that I don't have you?" B'Elanna asked, poking a finger at him.
"Because, you would tell me right away, and plus, I know you too well."
They smiled at each other, before softly kissing one another. They were silent for a few moments, and then broke away.
"Are you going to guess?" Tom asked with a smile.
B'Elanna nodded, and tapped a finger thoughtfully on her lips.
"Hmm. Let me see. Tuvok?"
"Yeah, right. Did you see Harry today? He was walking on air! Wonder why?" Tom said with a snort.
"Uh uh." He said, shaking his head.
"I don't know Tom. Just tell me!" B'Elanna said, whacking him on the arm.
"Well, Chakotay is going to be a little jealous..." He hinted.
B'Elanna whacked him again - harder this time. Tom yelped at the pain.
"You DIDN'T!" She exclaimed, laughing.
"Yep." He said simply.
"Yep." He said again.
"At least your friends with her. It could have been someone like Tuvok or worse, the Doctor." B'Elanna said still laughing.
"I don't mind getting the Captain. I've know her for ages. I just feel...uncomfortable about giving her presents. I kinda figure it's Chakotay's job..." Tom said bluntly.
"Janeway is one of my good friends too. I wish she would hurry up and get together with Chakotay. One day I'm going to throttle the both of them. I swear!" B'Elanna said.
"I can see you throttling the Captain, right on the bridge while she's making negotiations with some species or other." He commented with laugh.
B'Elanna joined in.
"Your turn." Tom said.
"My turn what?" B'Elanna asked, confused.
"Who are you Secret Santering?" Tom asked.
"Oh. Well, you made me guess, now it's you turn."
"Do you like the person?"
"I'd send him a 'death to leola root' sign as a clue." B'Elanna said with a snort.
After chuckling, Tom continued, "Is it...Harry?"
"Bingo." B'Elanna said.
"That'll be fun." Tom said, imagining all the ways to torture the poor ensign.
"I know. He's so fun to tease sometimes." B'Elanna said, reaching up and smoothing his hair away from his face.
"I wonder who everyone has... this is going to be so much fun." Tom said.
"I just hope that I have someone who knows me well." B'Elanna said.
"I just hope that it's someone who likes me. I'd hate too think what would happen if the Doctor was giving to me." Tom commented with a shudder.
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