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

Rating: PG-13

Dedicated to: Diamond for all of her help and support!

Setting: In between 4th and 5th season.
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Secret Santa - Part Four



Four Days after Part Three (T minus 4 days)

Captain Janeway was sitting in the Mess Hall eating breakfast when Commander Chakotay suddenly sat across from her with his own tray.

"Good morning Captain. Is this seat taken?" Chakotay asked.

"Commander. Feel free." She greeted.

"So, how goes the Secret Santa for you?" Chakotay asked as he started to eat.

"I don't know who I think it is, to tell you the truth. I haven't had time to speculate over the past few days because of the problems in Astrometrics and Engineering. What about you?" Janeway said.

"B'Elanna is very unsubtle. The last clue she gave me was "We are good friends". B'Elanna would say something like that." Chakotay said.

Janeway stifled a smile.

"Who are you Secret Santering Captain?" Chakotay continued in a low voice.

"The name indicates it's a Secret commander." Janeway said in an equally low voice.

"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours." Chakotay said slyly.

"I'm your Secret Santa, Chakotay." Janeway said.

"Be serious." He said.

"Well I'm not going to tell you." Janeway said shaking her head.

"It is supposed to be a secret after all. Only four days until Neelix's Christmas Party where all will be revealed." He agreed.

"Let's hope it's not like last year where he nearly burnt down the holodeck with his Christmas Pudding." Janeway said.

"Or where he made the Egg Nog green. He couldn't believe it was still full at the end of the night." Chakotay said, both of them laughing.

"That's why I assigned Harry to help him this year." Janeway said.

"That's a good idea."

After a few moments of silence, Janeway remembered something.

"Chakotay, before I forget, I'm not going to be on the bridge today. I'll be helping B'Elanna and Seven." Janeway said.

"Well if you want any help just contact the bridge." Chakotay said as they both got up to leave.

"I'd ask Tom and Harry for help but none of them would get any work done." Janeway said with a joking smile.

Chakotay chuckled as they left the Mess Hall.

Later, Harry had taken Janeway's place in Engineering. B'Elanna was working hard but Harry had to admit that he worked better when he idly talked about nothing in particular. If he had to solve a really hard problem back in the Academy, he used to talk to himself and it always worked.

"B'Elanna when's the wedding?" Harry asked from across Engineering.

"Haven't set a date yet." B'Elanna answered.

"Traditional?" Harry asked.

"Nope, simple ceremony if I can get away with it but knowing Tom he'll want to go over board." B'Elanna said with a small smile.

"Who's going to give you away?"

"Chakotay most probably." B'Elanna replied, the smile gone.

"It'll be weird to see the Captain performing a wedding." Harry said.

"I've always wondered why she never got married those two times."

"She'll probably get it right eventually with Chakotay." Harry said.

"Third times a charm." B'Elanna quoted.

"I know that they're supposedly seeing each other but..." Harry said, sceptically.

"Harry the whole ship knows their together. Look at how they act around each other." B'Elanna said.

"You're right. It's the same way you and Tom acted when you pretended you weren't together." Harry concluded.

"They'll get married. I have a lot of replicator rations on those two." B'Elanna said.

"I wonder who'll preform the ceremony..." Harry said.

"Well seeing as there isn't going to be any such ceremony, I wouldn't worry about it Ensign." Janeway's voice crashed down on Harry and B'Elanna.

They spun around, faces pale and embarrassed.

"You're relieved Ensign as you and the Lieutenant here obviously can't keep their minds on the task at hand." Janeway said, rather angry.

"Captain...we're extremely sorry." B'Elanna said when she got her voice back.

Harry was still just in a state of shock. He couldn't believe this was happening.

"I think we should all just concentrate on getting the Warp Core back on line, don't you think?" Janeway asked.

Harry finally gathered himself and practically ran from Engineering, feeling so embarrassed that he wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

Captain Janeway returned to her quarters after duty shift very upset. They had finished the job on the Warp Core and Astrometrics was almost back to normal. Janeway scolded herself for the way she had reacted. She knew that the crew gossiped about her and Chakotay, that wasn't news. She had just never thought that hearing it would be so awful. And from Harry and B'Elanna it was even worse. Still, she shouldn't have reacted that way. Suddenly the door chimed and when she called 'Come', the last person she wanted to see walked in the door.

"Captain, I didn't get a chance to see you after duty shift. Did you get everything done?" Chakotay asked.

When she didn't answer, just continued pacing, he asked, "What's wrong?"

Then she stopped and looked at him.

"No offence, Commander but you're the last person I want to see at the moment." Janeway said.

"What's happened?" He asked, in a tone that said he wouldn't be leaving for anything short of a red alert klaxon.

"Nothing. It was nothing. I know they didn't mean anything by it." Janeway said, talking to herself more than Chakotay.

"What? Kathryn, please talk to me." Chakotay said, taking her by the hand and leading her over to the couch.

After a few moments of silence Janeway finally decided to tell him.

"I went back down to Engineering to relieve Harry when I overheard a conversation between B'Elanna and him I was obviously meant not to have." Janeway said.

"What were they talking about?" Chakotay asked, prompting her.

"Our relationship." Janeway said bluntly.

"What sort of things were they saying?" He asked, sighing.

"Nothing that I haven't heard about before, but I thought that B'Elanna and Harry would know a little better." Janeway said.

"They probably had good intentions." Chakotay said.

"Probably. But they are right. We do act...oddly around each other. I mean, look at the other day in my ready room." Janeway said.

"No one saw us then - not that we did anything." Chakotay said, stammering a little bit.

"Tom Paris knew - he picks up on things like that. The crew just doesn't understand our relationship." Janeway said.

"I don't even understand it myself." Chakotay admitted.

"Oh, Chakotay." Was all she said.

"Kathryn, you know how I feel about you, but I don't know about how you feel. I know your reasons. I don't want to pressure you - I can wait as long as I have to - but I need to know where we stand." Chakotay said.

Janeway took a moment.

"I don't know where we stand. You want more...but I don't." Janeway lied.

"It doesn't have to be hard." Chakotay said.

"But it is." Janeway said.

"B'Elanna and Harry know you didn't mean it. The rumours always die down." Chakotay said, taking her in his arms and giving her a secure hug.

Tom, Harry and B'Elanna were in the Mess Hall eating dinner. B'Elanna had finished fixing the Warp Core quickly, but it had seemed like days with Captain Janeway at her side.

"It can't have been that bad." Tom said again.

"It was." Harry muffled voice said from his place with his head resting on his folded arms.

"Believe me Tom, it was." B'Elanna agreed.

"I can't look her in the eye." Harry said.

"Ok, it's not that bad." B'Elanna said.

"Not to you maybe but she's never spoken to me like that before." Harry said.

"First time for everything." Tom said.

"Harry, she doesn't care that much. She knows that the crew gossip about anything and everyone. She even knows about the rumours about her and Chakotay, but she just doesn't want to stumble upon it herself." B'Elanna said as she took a drink.

"I think your quite wrong." Chakotay said as he took a seat opposite B'Elanna, next to Harry.

"Is that who I think it is? Good one, Harry, twice in one day." Harry's muffled voice said to himself.

Ignoring Harry, Chakotay continued.

"Captain Janeway is extremely sensitive about those rumours. She told me about the little 'incident' just now. It does affect her and it affects her even more when it's her own friends whom she trusts that are talking about her personal life. I expected more of you two, a little bit more respect at the very least." Chakotay said, annoyed

"Come off it Chakotay. We all know about you and the Captain. And before you say anything, almost everyone on this ship sees it and wants you two to be happy and it's not just about a betting pool. We mean it in a good way - we care about Captain Janeway." Tom said from his seat.

"That may be so, but you can consider yourself under orders to keep your thoughts to yourself." Chakotay said, getting up.

"Chakotay, you want to be with her." Tom said.

"Not if it means gossiping behind her back, I don't." Chakotay said and walked off.

"Hmm...behind her back." Tom said slyly.

"Tom, I don't even want to think about what your going to do." Harry said, he hadn't moved throughout the whole thing.

Harry just kept on repeating to himself, "This is the worst day of my life, this is the worst day of my life...".

"Nothing too drastic." Tom said.

"Oh no." B'Elanna and Harry groaned in unison.

T minus 3 days

The next day Tom Paris showed up for a duty shift in the Sickbay. The Doctor nearly dropped a hypospray.

"Lieutenant, I'm surprised to see you here. Do you have a cold? A broken knee?" The Doctor asked as he pushed the hypospray into Ensign Wildman's neck.

"Actually, I'm here for Sickbay duty." Tom said as Samantha left the sickbay.

"Really." The Doctor said, walking towards his office.

"Yeah, so if you would like to assign me to something..." Tom said.

"There's always plenty to do. Ah. Here you go. You can categorise the findings of the Bonan Moth we found on the last planet. It's due to be a fascinating learning experience. Then, I'll teach you how to treat a Klingon neck wart." The Doctor said, determined to make the duty shift hell.

"Uh, great. I'll get started right away." Tom said, cringing.

"Right this way."

Twenty minutes later, while Tom was working, he heard Christmas Carols being played. And the Doctor singing. It was quite loud and he couldn't concentrate on his assignment.

"Uh, Doc, could you possibly turn it down a little?" Paris asked.

"Surely there's more distracting sounds on the Bridge and you still avoid flying into an asteroid." The Doctor said looking up from his computer.

"Well, no offence, but flying a starship is a lot easier than categorising the mating habits of the Bonan Moth." Tom said, getting annoyed.

"Well if you don't like your work, why don't you just leave? You never turn up here anyway so I don't see why you should start now." The Doctor replied.

"Gee, why wouldn't I want to come to such a pleasant working environment such as this? I mean it isn't stressful - you're really a lovely person to be stuck alone here with." Tom said, his voice getting louder.

"Well you're not such pleasant company yourself Mr Paris, you are lazy and uncouth. You never learn anything and I think you do more harm than good." The Doctor said, his voice rising as well.

Then they heard a cough.

"People have complained of a disturbance, I think you should come with me to see the Captain." Tuvok said.

"Good work, Doc." Paris said as they walked toward the Turbo Lift.

"It's hardly my fault - you started it." The Doctor said.

"Oh yeah, that's really mature." Tom retorted.

They finally reached Captain Janeway's door. When they entered, she was standing waiting for them.

"Gentlemen. I hear that you two were having a disagreement." Captain Janeway said.

"It was hardly a disagreement." Tom said.

"Just a transfer of opinions, really." The Doctor added.

"A transfer of opinions that could be heard down the hall? I don't think so." Janeway said.

Tuvok left with a signal from Janeway.

"I would like to know what you two were arguing about." Janeway said.

"Uh...well... umm.." Paris said.

The Doctor looked confused.

"You don't know what you were arguing about?" Janeway asked.

"I was playing Christmas Carols and Mr Paris told me to turn it off." The Doctor stated.

"I politely asked you." Paris argued.

"No you didn't." The Doctor said.

"Hey! I don't want to know. I really don't want to know. It's too early in the morning for this. I just want you two to settle your differences and quietly. You two are going to have to learn to work together. That's an order." Janeway said.

"Aye Captain."

"Dismissed." Janeway said.

The two turned to leave and just passed through the door when Chakotay walked in.

"Why were they here?" Chakotay asked as the doors closed.

"Argument." Janeway said.

"What about?"

"I didn't ask - I didn't want to know." Janeway said.

"They'll work it out...eventually." Chakotay said, staring after them.

"It was the last thing I needed first thing in the morning." Janeway said.

"A cup of coffee is probably in order." Chakotay said.

"I just had one, and I'm so awake I could burst." Janeway said with a smile.

Chakotay smiled as well.

"Are you ready to go to breakfast?" Janeway asked.

"Yep." Chakotay said.

"Let's go."

The Secret Santa was going fine, all clues were misleading and clues were unclear and had double meanings. Neelix, however was scared about the Christmas Party.

"It's not that complicated, Neelix." Harry said again.

"Mistletoe, Christmas Trees...stars? I don't understand." Neelix said, very stressed.

"Look, Neelix, why don't you read about it in the Starfleet database?" Harry suggested.

Neelix cracked. It was scary.

"Don't you think I've looked in the database? Do you? It doesn't tell me a damn thing. I am going insane with this stupid human tradition!" Neelix yelled.

Everyone in the Mess Hall was silent and motionless, looking at Harry and Neelix. That's when Janeway and Chakotay entered, laughing. Then they stopped when they saw the scene before them and their eyes turned towards Neelix and Harry. Neelix seemed not to notice anything.

"Good morning, Captain, Commander. Eggs?" He asked, all calm again.

"Neelix, Harry, what's happened here?" Janeway asked in a weary voice.

"We're calmly discussing the Christmas party. Aren't we Harry?" Neelix asked, all smiles.

"Uh, yeah." Harry said, giving Captain Janeway a look.

He was thinking, "This is the third time in two days..." .

"It doesn't look like it." Chakotay said.

Neelix and Harry looked at each other, and then back at the Captain and Commander.

"I don't want to know. It's too early in the morning and I don't feel like having another talk within twenty minutes." Janeway said.

Neelix and Harry looked relieved.

"So, Commander, I'll leave it in your capable hands." Janeway said, patting him on the arm and walked off to find a seat.

Harry and Neelix immediately stiffened.

Chakotay was shocked at the Captain's sudden departure. He quickly dealt with Neelix and Harry and got breakfast and found his way to Janeway's table.

"What did you say to them?" Janeway asked when he sat down.

"Not to do it again and if I hear about it there would be trouble." Chakotay said with a shrug.

"Uh oh, the big tough Commander is on the war path." Janeway said drily.

"I never knew that Neelix could get so stressed over a Christmas Party. I thought he enjoyed throwing celebrations." Chakotay said, ignoring her comment.

"I suppose he does have a lot of tension at the moment." Janeway said.

"The Secret Santa is going well, though, don't you think?" Chakotay asked.

"Extremely well." Janeway said, eating what looked like eggs, but didn't taste like eggs.

"I would have to get Tuvok, he knew it was me after the first clue." Chakotay said.

"You're supposed to deny that you're his Secret Santa." Janeway reminded him.

"Why bother?" Chakotay asked rhetorically.

"How are you going with your clues?" Janeway asked, already knowing.

"I never knew that B'Elanna would be so obvious." Chakotay said shaking his head.

"What were some of her clues?" Janeway asked.

"One really obvious one was 'I have been told I have a short temper - to match another of my physical attributes'. Short hair, short in general, and we all know that she has a temper, Carey's walking proof." Chakotay said.

"It would have to be B'Elanna, wouldn't it." Janeway murmured.

"What about you?" Chakotay asked.

"Well, I know it's not you, now." Janeway said.

"Took you a while to accept it. Maybe you do want me to be your Secret Santa..." Chakotay said.

"Don't flatter yourself. My Secret Santa is very nice to me." Janeway said.

"How so?" Chakotay asked.

"Well, they gave me a bunch of Peace Roses yesterday, and the day before that a holodeck program...things like that." Janeway said.

Chakotay felt a flicker of jealousy and insecurity - Peace Roses???

"Captain do you think that maybe you could help me out with presents for Tuvok?" Chakotay asked.

"Maybe..." Janeway said.

When Chakotay and Janeway entered the Bridge, there was a Christmas Tree on Tom Paris's station, and he hadn't arrived yet. Janeway and Chakotay looked at each other curiously as they took their seats.

"Good morning everyone." Tom said, coming in from behind them.

"You're late Mr Paris." Janeway said.

"I had to finish up a few things with the Doctor." Tom explained.

"I hope it didn't end in bloodshed." Chakotay said.

"Nah, the Doc is a Hologram, he doesn't bleed." Tom said as he sat down.

"Mr Paris, why do you have a Christmas Tree on your console?" Janeway asked.

"I thought it would bring a little Christmas cheer onto the bridge - liven things up." Tom said.

"It would have been nice if you had run it by me first." Janeway said.

"Captain, permission to bring a tree onto the bridge?" Tom asked formally.

"Permission granted." Janeway said with a bright smile.

Tuvok raised an eyebrow.

"Don't worry Mr Tuvok, it's just a tree. It's not a security threat...just some Christmas cheer." Janeway said, seeing his sceptic gaze.

He relaxed. If he could.

"Anything to report?" She continued.

"All's clear on the western front." Harry said from his station.

Janeway eyed him curiously.

"I thought...seeing as though we are getting into the traditional... never mind." Harry stuttered.

Janeway chuckled, so did Chakotay.

"Well, I'll be in my Ready Room - Commander, you have the Bridge." Janeway said, striding towards he ready room.

"Aye, Captain." He answered.

Janeway was in her quarters, duty shift had finished a while ago and she was in civvies after taking a long bath. She was setting up a Christmas tree in the corner of her lounge room and she suddenly felt a pang of homesickness. Before it grew into anything too monstrous, her solitude was interrupted by the door chiming, as usual.

"Come." She called softly.

B'Elanna stepped into the dimly lit quarters and watched for a few seconds as Janeway decorated the tree.

"B'Elanna, what can I do for you?" Janeway asked over her shoulder as she wrapped tinsel around the tree.

"I just wanted to apologise, Captain." B'Elanna said.

"About what?" Janeway asked.

"About yesterday, in Engineering. We didn't mean anything by it..." B'Elanna continued.

"It's quite alright B'Elanna, I guess I just picked a bad time to relieve Harry." Janeway said, turning around to face her guest.

"We shouldn't have been talking about your personal's really none of our business." B'Elanna said.

"I said, not to worry about it." Janeway said reassuringly.

"Permission to speak freely Captain?" B'Elanna asked.

"Permission granted, but tread lightly, B'Elanna." Janeway said, setting down the box of ornaments and taking a seat, gesturing for her to do so as well.

"Captain, we know that you and the Commander have...feelings for one another. Unfortunately I've been the one who has been conned into this, but we - the crew - think that it's high time you two started a relationship." B'Elanna said all in one breathe.

Janeway was silent. She didn't quite know what to say.

"What I'm trying to say is, Captain, is that we want you to be together. To be happy. No one on this ship would judge you in any way, lose their respect for you and no one would challenge your authority. We're like a family - all of us - and everyone deserves to be happy out here. Especially you and Chakotay. You two do everything for us and we want to do something for you by telling you that you two have the support of the crew behind you. And to prove it...every single person on Voyager has signed this petition, even Tuvok. Except for Chakotay and you." B'Elanna continued, handing her a data padd.

Janeway took it scrolled through it. All 140 crew men...all 140 signatures.

"I don't quite know what to say, Lieutenant. It's not everyday that the Captain is confronted and told what to do with her love life." Janeway said unwaveringly.

For a few seconds B'Elanna thought she was mad, but then she saw that the Captain was touched.

"It is lonely out here, isn't it? It seems awfully desolate around this time of year. Maybe it's just Christmas getting to me. But right now, I'm wondering what I did to deserve such a wonderful crew to command. I'm... speechless...I don't know what to say." Janeway said, looking out at the stars.

"What are you going to do, Captain?" B'Elanna asked.

"I don't know, yet. I'm glad it was you who came to kick some common sense into me and not someone else." Janeway said with a smile.

"Ah, well. Kicking people is probably the one thing I'm good at." B'Elanna joked.

"Don't tell Chakotay yet, until I've made my decision." Janeway warned.

"We wouldn't dream of it."

"Help me decorate the tree?" Janeway invited.

"Love to." B'Elanna said, getting up with the captain and reaching for a box of decorations.

The End of Part Four of 'Secret Santa'

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