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
It was Christmas Eve on Voyager, and everyone was preparing for the Christmas Party the next day. It was the event the whole ship had been waiting for for 12 days. It was also a frantic time, for some people. People such as Neelix, Janeway, B'Elanna...almost the whole senior staff.
Captain Janeway was pacing in her quarters. She had just delivered a present to Chakotay and she knew that he would know it was her. She shouldn't have been so forward. She pushed the thought out of her mind and began to think about what to give him tomorrow, at the party. She knew the clue, but not the present. Then she stopped and looked at the Christmas Tree in the corner and she smiled. She knew what to give him. Then, unconsciously she began to hum, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...".
B'Elanna, too, was pacing in her quarters. What to give Harry Kim. Harry Kim. Harry Kim. Tom Paris stepped into her quarters and nearly knocked her over.
"Tom, what the hell are you doing here?" B'Elanna asked.
"Visiting. What else would I be here for?" Tom asked.
"Sorry. I'm trying to think of something to give Harry..." B'Elanna said.
"I know something to give him." Tom said, with a somewhat evil grin.
"What?" She asked sceptically.
Tom leaned over and whispered something in her ear.
"That's quite a present. What are you giving the Captain?" B'Elanna asked.
"Haven't decided yet. Any suggestions?" Tom asked.
"How about a holo program of her home, Indiana?" B'Elanna suggested.
"Hmm. Do you think she'd like it?" Tom asked.
"Absolutely." B'Elanna said after some thought.
"Sounds great." Tom said.
"What are you doing tonight?" B'Elanna asked.
"Having dinner with you?" Tom asked.
"You presume..." B'Elanna said, mock annoyed.
"Will you come to dinner with me B'Elanna?" Tom asked politely.
"I suppose. It's Christmas Eve. Let's do something fun." B'Elanna said.
"Skiing in the Alps?" Tom suggested.
"Perfect." B'Elanna answered.
Chakotay was in his quarters, lying in bed. It was late, and he was tired. But he couldn't get to sleep - something was nagging at him. The Secret Santa present he had received earlier was confirmation it was B'Elanna. The clue had been "I love you". He took it as meaning in brother and sister kind of love, and he and B'Elanna had always been close, pretty much the only family they had left. But there was something else...Captain Janeway had been acting very...odd around him the past few days. He wasn't sure what it was, but he could have sworn she was avoiding him. He sighed. He didn't really know, maybe it was Christmas getting to him, or her. She always acting weird during this time of the year - homesick, he thought. Everyone missed their families the most this time of year, and it was the only time he ever saw the loneliness get to her. It was the time she always isolated herself the most. Not this year, though. She was different. Happy. She was perfectly normal around everyone else, but then around him... he sighed. Finally he succumbed to the nagging fatigue.
The next day was filled with excitement that could be felt in the air and the corridors were filled with people who didn't want to miss a single thing. The party was a secret to everyone. Only Neelix and Harry knew what was happening behind the closed doors of the Holodeck. Janeway just knew that Chakotay still suspected B'Elanna as his Secret Santa, as he would have said something, or it would have been written in his eyes. The bridge staff on the bridge couldn't wait to get off duty, and everyone was chatting about it, wishing everyone Merry Christmas's. Janeway glanced at Chakotay and smiled. He returned it.
"Looking forward to the party, Commander?" She asked.
"I'm just a little disappointed that the surprise is already out of the bag for me." Chakotay said.
Janeway laughed silently. He was going to be so shocked.
"What about you Captain?" He asked.
"I'm looking forward to it. It's Christmas after all." She said.
"Any idea who your Secret Santa might be?" Chakotay asked.
"I have a few ideas...." Janeway said.
"You don't know." He said, astonished and let out a small laugh.
"Yes I do." Janeway protested.
"For the first time in your life, you have no idea." Chakotay said, disbelieving.
"I have a few guesses. No one has been able to pull one over on me yet, though." Janeway said.
"Who are your suspects?" Chakotay asked.
"Tom Paris, the Doctor. Maybe Tuvok." Janeway said.
"Or maybe Harry Kim...Seven, B'Elanna...who else is in the Senior Staff?" Chakotay asked jokingly.
"I don't have to justify my reasons to you or anybody." Janeway said, staring straight ahead.
"I'm sorry." He said automatically.
"I wasn't serious, Chakotay." She said.
From Tom's seat he could see that his plan had worked. The petition had been a great idea. He was pretty shocked when Tuvok and the Doctor had signed though.
The doctor had said, "Maybe he'll do something about her health."
Tuvok had said, "It's...logical."
Everyone had signed eventually, though. He was so proud of himself. The betting pool was raking in more than it ever had, the closing date was tonight, at the Christmas Party. Then, all would see whether or not they were together. He smiled. They looked pretty friendly, though, talking and laughing on the Bridge. He looked over at Harry, who had his eyebrows raised at the Captain and Commander. He started laughing.
After Bridge Duty, everyone returned to their quarters to prepare for the celebration. It was a tense time for some of them. Especially Captain Janeway. She was worried about how Chakotay would react when he found out it was her. It would mean a relationship...and she was finally ready to give it a try. If he was. She just hoped that they could keep it a secret for a little while, until she got used to the idea. Janeway sat in front of her mirror, already ready for the Party. She was giving herself a firm talking to about calming down and having fun.
Harry was scared. He had never really been as scared as he was at the moment. Tonight Seven would find out it was him. He wished he could go back and burn all of the clues he had given her. She would know it was him, and that he was being...romantic. He didn't want her to know how he felt about her. He was quite happy going on for the rest of his life with her never knowing. Really he was.
Neelix was all ready for the party. He stood in the middle of his holodeck splendour, everything prepared. He smiled, all his stress and tension was gone. Tonight nothing would go wrong. And if it did, he'd have a nervous breakdown.
The Doctor was very happy, Tom Paris would get quite a shock when he found out the Doctor was his Secret Santa. He still hadn't thought of an appropriate last gift, though. He would eventually. He had an hour or so until he was due in Holodeck One - plenty of time. The fight with Mr Paris the other day left lots of last clues to the imagination.
Chakotay was a little depressed. It was Christmas, again. He was alone, again. It was just like every other Christmas since being stranded out here. He was surrounded by friends, and yet he still wanted to stay in bed instead of going to the party. The only reason he could think of to go was because of Janeway. He tried to think of which dress she would wear. He hoped it was the blue one, or maybe the green.
Later on at the Christmas Party...
The first few strands of people began to enter Holodeck One, into a winter wonderland of a clear night sky, colourful lanterns, fairy lights, gazeboes and snowmen. Paths all led in different directions and went into a marble courtyard, raised from the ground with staircases and columns. Quartets played Christmas carols on the wind. The whole place was lit with lanterns and candles and fairy lights and the starry heavens. Christmas decorations and ornaments filled all the marble columns and wound their way around balconies and every nook and cranny. It was a beautiful party setting, and Neelix had outdone himself. With the help of Harry Kim, of course.
The party wouldn't be in full swing for another half an hour or so.
Back in her quarters, Janeway checked herself one last time before heading for the door as it chimed, and she opened it to show Chakotay. They were both dressed formally, as the invitations had shown. Janeway had replicated a new dress, and it was a dark green that reached to her feet. In her hair was a red velvet bow, and her earrings were gold bells. Her necklace was gold and studded with rubies. He was looking handsome in a tuxedo.
"Ready to go?" He asked, offering his arm.
"I suppose so." Janeway answered with a small smile.
"You're looking lovely, as always." Chakotay said as she took his arm.
"So are you." Janeway said, looking up at him with a small smile.
They walked down the hall, and were greeted in the Turbo Lift by Tom and B'Elanna. B'Elanna was in a red dress. B'Elanna and Janeway laughed as they stood next to each other in the lift. Tom and Chakotay just smiled at each other, and rolled their eyes.
"I saw that, Tom." B'Elanna said, chuckling.
They arrived at holodeck one and saw the party raging within. It was beautiful. The presents were all on a long table near the entrance, where they had all been put earlier on by Neelix. There was a specific time when all of them would be handed out and unwrapped. Janeway and Chakotay headed towards the little Talaxian in charge.
"Neelix this is absolutely amazing." Janeway said, gazing around.
"I thought you'd like it Captain. Harry Kim said that you would." Neelix said, very pleased with himself.
"Harry did, did he?" Janeway asked, looking at Chakotay.
They turned away from Neelix and Janeway said, "Harry might be my Secret Santa. What do you think?"
"It's a certain possibility. I never doubted you for a second on your guessing techniques." Chakotay said.
"Uh huh." Janeway said, smiling.
Chakotay ignored her scepticism and picked up two flukes of champagne for them.
"I hope this is synthenol. I plan on drinking a lot of it tonight." Janeway said as she took a sip.
"Are you sure you wouldn't prefer the real?" Chakotay asked.
"I am due on the bridge tomorrow, and it would be unfair on the crew to turn up with a headache." Janeway said.
People were dancing, chatting, eating and laughing everywhere. It was absolutely the most fun they had had at Christmas time since being stranded out here in the Delta Quadrant. Harry and Tom headed for the refreshment table.
"Harry, I suppose you're looking forward to the unravelling of the Secret Santa's." Tom Paris said with a smug smile.
"Tom, don't even start with me. I was thinking about leaving early, so I wouldn't have to put up with the humiliation." Harry said.
"Well, it's your own fault. You could have been more discreet." Tom said.
"I thought I was being discreet." Harry argued defensively.
"Sending the girl a heart shaped box of chocolates is not what I call discreet." Tom said pointedly.
"Oh, and you would know everything about being discreet. Aren't you still under orders-" Harry was cut off.
"Hey hey hey, wait a minute. Captain Janeway was under alien influence then. It doesn't count." Tom said.
"All I'm saying is you can't give lectures on being discreet." Harry said, folding his arms over his chest.
"Fine. Can we just get the egg nog now?" Tom asked, gesturing towards the table behind them piled high with food and drinks.
Later on, Chakotay and Janeway were talking quietly before Tom Paris sidled up to the Captain and said, "Care to dance, Captain?"
Janeway smiled and held out her hand.
As she drifted away with the young pilot, Chakotay knew that she was happy. Everyone got depressed at Christmas, and it was just a passing phase. Everyone on the ship had gone through it. He smiled before turning to talk to B'Elanna.
"How's your night going Chakotay?" B'Elanna asked.
"This is really something. I haven't had this much fun in years." Chakotay said, smiling.
"That's good. Tom has a bet with someone in Security that he can dance with the Captain for two songs in a row." B'Elanna said, following his line of vision to the two dancing.
"Trust. How's your night?" He asked.
"Fine. Once Tom stops dancing with the Captain, we're going to hit the dance floor. Hopefully something lively comes on." B'Elanna said.
"How goes the wedding plans?" Chakotay asked, a little more seriously.
"What wedding plans? We've...decided to keep it slow." B'Elanna said with a snort.
"I have to admit, I was a little shocked. I mean, I knew you felt strongly about him and all but I never knew you would marry him." Chakotay said.
"Well, I do love him, and I can't imagine a day without him." B'Elanna said.
Memories of Janeway and him in her ready room hit him, "Three years ago, I didn't even know your name, now I can't imagine a day without you". He shook his head.
"Well, I'm happy for you, Be. I'm glad you found someone out here." Chakotay said, giving her a hug.
"You will too, I bet." B'Elanna said over his shoulder.
"Can I give you away?" Chakotay asked.
"Actually I think Tuvok is..." B'Elanna said jokingly.
"Of course you can give me away. Who the hell else would?" B'Elanna added.
"Thankyou." Chakotay said.
Janeway and Paris were dancing in the middle of the room.
"So Captain, having a good night?" Tom asked.
"It's marvellous. The perfect Christmas." Janeway said.
"You're looking wonderful tonight." He commented.
"Thankyou, Tom." Janeway said.
After a few minutes, Janeway finally asked, "Why aren't you dancing with B'Elanna?"
He was silent and then he asked, "Do you want the truth?"
"That would be nice." Janeway said.
"I have a bet with someone in Security I can dance with you for two songs straight." Tom said.
"How much?" Janeway asked, not shocked.
"He's a little drunk, so he bet twenty replicator rations." Tom said.
"I should be saying "I'll have no part in this", but I'll pretend I don't know anything about it." Janeway said thoughtfully.
Harry Kim was talking to Neelix about the Christmas Pudding when Seven and the Doctor walked over.
"Seven! You're looking beautiful tonight." Harry said, staring.
"It's not my fault. B'Elanna asked me to wear it." Seven said, gesturing to the red sparkling dress she wore.
"That was a compliment Seven." Harry explained as the Doctor and Neelix discussed something.
"Oh. Well...Harry...you're looking beautiful also." Seven said, obviously trying to fit in.
"Thankyou. Would you like to dance?" Harry asked with a cheery smile.
"I do not know how." Seven stated.
"I'll teach you. It's easy." He said, drawing her towards the crowd of people dancing.
The Doctor was standing by himself when a Christmas Carol came on that he knew, and without knowing it, lifted up his voice and sang.
"Hark the Herald Angels Sing...Glory to the new born kinnnnnngggg..." He sang.
Everybody stopped and stared as the Doctor sang perfectly. When the song finished, he stopped, and looked around for the first time. Everyone was awe struck. Then somebody started to clap and everyone was applauding. He smiled, and blushed a little and took a small bow.
Tuvok was standing in a corner, watching everyone walk past. At least thirty percent of people in the holodeck were drunk. He was trying to be inconspicuous. He wouldn't say he was hiding from Neelix...just trying to avoid the little annoying Talaxian.
"Oh Mr Vulcan!" A voice said from behind him
"Yes, Mr Neelix?" Tuvok asked, turning around.
"I haven't seen you touch any of the food or drink all night." Neelix said, wagging a finger at him.
"I assure you, Nee-" Tuvok started to say.
"Nonsense. I know you want to have some Egg Nog, right down there in the bottom of your Vulcan heart..." Neelix said, practically dragging him over to the refreshments table.
"Come on. Just take a sip." Neelix said, holding out a cup of the liquid.
"Alright." Tuvok said, taking the cup.
"See? Admit it. It was nice." Neelix said.
"It was very...intriguing." Tuvok said.
"Uncle Neelix?? Will you dance with me???" Naomi Wildman's voice came up from below them.
"What? Oh, of course Naomi!" Neelix said, picking the little girl up in his arms and heading for the dancing.
Once Neelix was done, Tuvok set the empty cup on the table and walked back to his corner. He was stopped, though, by Captain Janeway.
"Tuvok, I know you're Vulcan. I know you don't like these sort of functions, but it's Christmas and I'm determined to see you have a little bit of fun for the whole year." Janeway said, walking with him.
"I am having 'fun'." Tuvok said.
"Standing here in a corner? No you're not. Dance with me." Janeway said, taking his hand.
"What if I decline?" Tuvok asked.
"I'll make it an order. But right now, I'm here as your friend. Just one dance. You've danced with me before, I know you can." Janeway said, smiling.
"Are you intoxicated, Captain?" Tuvok asked, raising an eyebrow at her...hyperactive behaviour.
"No." Janeway said defensively.
The truth was, she was trying to get a little drunk so that she wouldn't be embarrassed about what was going to happen later. With any luck, she wouldn't remember.
"Tuvok, will you please dance with me?" She asked in calm voice.
"If you insist, Captain." Tuvok said after a pause, and was lead into the crowd by his Captain.
After a while of dancing with Naomi Wildman and setting out more food and drink, Neelix climbed a small stage at the front of the hall and ordered the computer to project his voice a little.
"Excuse me, ladies and gentleman." Neelix called, his voice booming in the holodeck.
"I hate to drag you away from your festivities, but the time has come for the unveiling of the Secret Santa's. Everyone excited?" Neelix asked.
"I said is everyone excited?" Neelix asked again.
"Yes!" Everyone called.
Well, almost everyone. Harry Kim just rolled his eyes and gave a "no".
"Well alright then. Everyone calmly proceed to the presents table and pick up the one labelled with your name. Then we'll all calmly proceed back here and unwrap them all at once." Neelix said, all smiles.
Everyone turned to the table and waited in a long line, it didn't take long. When everyone was back in their places with big boxes or small, bright or dull, with bows or plain, Neelix stood once again on the stage and said, "Alright. It's time to unveil the mystery Santa's..."
Throughout the holodeck there was the sound of ripping paper and boxes being opened. Gasps of surprise and laughter echoed and sounded like a great thunder. Excited hugs were given and people were all saying things like, "I had no idea it was you...".
Janeway opened her present and found a data ecti containing a huge holo graphic program, titled "Indiana Dreaming". The card was on the top of the box. It read, "I pilot the Starship Voyager - Merry Christmas Captain". Janeway started laughing. Tom saw her and smiled with a wave. She gave him a quick hug and a sincere thankyou before going across the other side of the room to get a drink.
Tom Paris was a little....surprised. When he opened his extremely heavy box it was full of...medical textbooks and on top of it all was a medical tricorder. Tom nodded. He should have known it was the Doc. He didn't even bother looking at the clue, but it read, "I like Christmas Carols, no matter what you think.". B'Elanna, who was at his side, started to laugh and shut up when she saw his face. But then, he saw a smaller box, and in it was a holodeck program. Inside was another note, "I know that you are looking forward to your big day, and I hope that this wedding ceremony holo program will be suffice until we return home.". Tom smiled, and showed B'Elanna the note, she smiled again and gave him a hug.
"Do you like the present, Doctor?" Seven asked, who was at his side. It was a data chip.
"What is it?" He asked.
"It's a medical textbook...but not just any text book. It's all the...discoveries... the Borg have collected. I...made it when I was just becoming human, so I wouldn't forget. Do you like it?" Seven asked.
"Very much so, Seven." The Doctor said, giving her a big bear hug.
"Thankyou. This is quite unnecessary, though." Seven said over his shoulder.
Seven of Nines present had been a book on humans. It was written by a Vulcan, so no doubt she would be able to understand human behaviour more easily. She liked the present. It was useful, and also very thoughtful. Her clue had confirmed her suspicions. It was Harry Kim. And she was...flattered.
Harry Kim saw from across the room Seven coming towards him.
He was going to turn away and run for his life, but B'Elanna and Tom stopped him and said, "What's the rush Harry?" < fine gave them death glares and said, "You know damn well why I'm rushing."
They laughed and Tom said, "Oh, feisty."
"Shut up Tom. This has been the worst night of my life. My Secret Santa didn't even give me a present." Harry said, feeling miserable.
He felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see Seven of Nine.
"Hi Seven. Like your present?" He asked, his voice suddenly two octaves higher than it usually was.
"Very much, Ensign. This is your present from your Secret Santa." Seven said, grabbing his head and pulling it to her, kissed him for all he was worth.
A few minutes later they released each other, much to the surprise of the crowd gathered around them.
"You're my Secret Santa?" He asked Seven.
"No, I am." B'Elanna said, stepping up to his side.
"You?" Harry asked in disbelief.
"I was thinking of what sort of present to get you, and what better one than this? Did you like it?" B'Elanna asked.
"I can't believe this." Harry said, bright red from embarrassment.
The crowd had dissipated from around them slightly, into their own conversations. Seven of Nine had disappeared and Harry was about to die of embarrassment.
"I thought you would like it." B'Elanna said, sadly.
"I loved it B'Elanna. Thankyou!" Harry said, giving her a quick hug.
"That's alright." She said, smiling again.
"I don't even want to think about how you conned her into doing that." Harry said.
"I wouldn't either." B'Elanna said, a secretive smile on her face.
"Who was your Secret Santa?" Harry asked, changing the subject.
"Neelix. He gave me something nice for a change." B'Elanna said.
"What was it?"
"Well, he found out from an unknown source that I liked cherries. He gave me a cherry tree. A miniature one, but very cute." B'Elanna said.
"That sounds nice." Harry said.
"All I'm thankful for is that it's a normal gift, not some Klingon ritual knife." B'Elanna said with a small shudder.
Neelix was on the other side of the room, watching everyone being happy and celebrating, hugging and laughing. He unwrapped his present. It was a cook book, a leather bound one that was as thick as a tree trunk. It had recipes on everything, Human food, Vulcan food, Klingon food, everything. On the inside was the final note, "You try to make me smile, but to no avail - Merry Christmas Mr Neelix.". Neelix read it twice, disbelieving, then ran over to the Vulcan and gave him a crushing hug.
"Thankyou, Tuvok!" Neelix said happily.
"That is quite alright." Tuvok said, one eyebrow raised.
After Neelix let go, he unwrapped his present from the Commander. It was a big Terullian Crystal bowl with swirls of silver and green on it, to put one of his orchids in. There was no last clue for Tuvok, just a "Merry Christmas Tuvok, from Chakotay".
Chakotay was the last one in the room to open his present. It was hard to get the bow off, and then the tape. Finally the paper came off and fell to the floor. Janeway gulped from across the room. This was it. Inside was a wooden box, carved with intricate patterns and designs. Inside the box was a twig of mistletoe and the last clue saying, "I'm your Commanding officer". Nothing else. Just those four...little...words. It took a few moments to sink in, and a few more to get over the fact it wasn't B'Elanna, and a few more to remember that the clue before this had been, "I love you". He snapped his head up and looked around the room, looking for her, for Kathryn. They saw each other and their eyes locked, both of them knowing, and being drawn to each other through the crowd. They didn't see anyone except for each other. They met each other half way, and the crew had quieted and were all looking at their two commanding officers.
"Is this...what I think it means?" Chakotay asked quietly, looking down at her.
"You love me?" He asked.
"You love me?!!" He asked, louder.
Janeway nodded, again, this time with a smile on her face.
The crew smiled.
"Merry Christmas Chakotay." Janeway said, before reaching up, gently stroking his tattoo, and kissing him gently on the lips.
Well, it was supposed to be gentle, but we all know how these things go. He grabbed her waist, pulled her to him and kissed her for as long as humanly possibly. She wrapped her arms around his neck and never wanted to let go. The crew cheered around them, but didn't watch for two long, as it was like watching your parents.
After that, they danced in the middle of all the other couples dancing and continued that way until the end of the night, speaking in soft whispers to each other. They left the party, one of the last ones to leave and walked back to her quarters holding hands. Chakotay didn't really know what to say or do, there weren't too many words that could be said at a moment like this. Janeway knew what he was thinking and opened the door, gestured for him to enter, and she followed. He didn't come out until morning.
The rest of Voyager fell asleep happy that night, that Christmas out in the Delta Quadrant. The crew never forgot it, that year when they played Secret Santa, an old Earth tradition. It made the distance to home a little less ominous and hopeless. The stars shone brighter, and there was hope and happiness where before they had been loneliness. Out there in the Delta Quadrant, they were no longer a crew from that point on, they were a family.
I hope you liked this story, I got heaps of feedback from it, and I loved writing it. Have a great holiday, wherever you are in the world. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.
Please, please, please! I love getting feedback! Email me about what you thought : firstname.lastname@example.org
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