Summary: J/C - Episode addition to Repression.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, I don't.
Thanks: Thanks to Jade for beta-reading.
"Well, that was different." Kathryn commented dryly regarding the movie they just saw.
Kathryn looked around at her crew as she sat in companionable silence with her friend, Tuvok. Everyone was quieter than usual - the boisterous atmosphere that she associated with crew gatherings was painfully absent. Instead, the crew seemed to be scrutinizing her mood all evening, albeit nearly imperceptibly, trying to see if their captain was okay with what had happened. She hoped that her exterior looked more unruffled than the agitation that she attempting to keep at bay.
"Your disposition often sets the tone for the entire crew."
Kathryn was caught off guard by Tuvok's comment. "What?"
"They are concerned about your well-being." Tuvok continued looking straight ahead as if having this conversation with the empty seats in front of him.
"I'm fine." Kathryn tried to dismiss the conversation, feeling disconcerted that he could read her thoughts so well - even though it was that very same ability that she relied heavily on when her ship or crew was in danger.
"That may be, but your actions indicate that you are not."
He nodded toward her arms that were folded tightly across her chest. "Your body language conveys that you do not feel safe, and normally you would sit with the Commander at these functions."
She sighed heavily, the agitation bubbling up a little closer to the surface. "I'm cold." She looked at her friend, her eyebrows tight with annoyance. "And I'm not very happy with the Commander right now."
"He did nothing that I am not also guilty of."
Kathryn took a deep breath. "I know." She thought for a moment. "Actually, that's not true. Before he was ever under Teero's control - he said something that… " She wasn't sure that she should tell Tuvok about how much Chakotay's thoughtless comment regarding 'his crew' had affected her. "Well, he said something that he shouldn't have."
Tuvok was silent for a moment while he pondered the situation. "Captain, shall I begin citing situations in which you said things that you should have not?"
She cut him off with her raised hand. "You're just not going to let me stay angry with him, are you?"
"That is my intent."
Kathryn paused to look at Chakotay who was talking to various crewmembers. He seemed to know that she was looking at him and glanced back in her direction, smiled hesitantly and nodded at her. Watching him return to his conversation, not disconnected by the brief connection with his captain, she couldn't help but admire his ability to be such an attentive listener while not missing a single thing that happened around him. It was one of the things that she dearly loved about him. She criticized herself in frustration for having thoughts like that at a time like this. Dwelling on the fact that she loved him when she couldn't have him was not at all helpful, especially when she was trying very hard to remain angry with him.
Her thoughts were interrupted when Tom announced that the second half of the film would be starting in three minutes.
"Captain," Tuvok said as he stood. "I will be returning to my quarters to meditate. I am sure that I will find it more therapeutic than watching the demise of the Lobster People and/or their unfortunate adversaries."
She stood and laid her hand on his arm. "Goodnight, Tuvok. I'll see what I can do about improving my disposition."
He nodded and quietly left the holodeck.
Kathryn looked back over at Chakotay who had taken a seat by himself. She decided to bite the bullet and made her way over to him.
"Do you have any idea how angry I want to be with you?" She watched as Chakotay slowly lifted his eyes up to meet her glare.
He watched her for just a moment, a pensive look on his face. "About as angry as I am with myself?"
"Hmm." She searched his eyes and found that he was desperately asking her forgiveness. It was enough to deflate both her anxiety and her agitation.
"Is this seat taken?" She indicated the seat next to him.
His answering smile put her at ease. "Saving it just for you."
Kathryn sat down. "Why do I doubt that?"
Chakotay chuckled quietly. "Well, maybe it was just wishful thinking."
"Do you know what I wish?" Kathryn turned her head to look straight into his eyes.
"That this could have been the data stream we lost instead of the last one?"
"Well, yes, that would be nice, but I was actually wishing for something else." She couldn't help but smile.
Taking his hand, Kathryn whispered, "That you would forgive me."
He was surprised. "Forgive you? Wasn't I the one who mutinied, threw you into the brig, and coerced your oldest friend to assassinate you?"
She shook her head and chuckled quietly. "Well, when you put it that way." She looked down at their hands and rubbed her thumb across the back of his hand. "What I mean is… would you forgive me for letting all of that get in the way of our friendship?"
Chakotay was quiet for a moment. After the lights dimmed and the movie began again, he leaned in closer to her ear. "Kathryn," he held her hand a little tighter and whispered, "You've been through a lot, and I know that I screwed up the other day in sick bay. I was actually hoping that you would forgive me?"
She looked up at him to find herself looking right into his eyes, "Can you forgive me, then, for all the times I've said or done the wrong thing?"
He smiled and shook his head in mild amusement. "Not possible."
Scrunching her eyebrows, Kathryn asked, "Why not?"
Smiling, Chakotay closed nearly all of the minute distance between their lips. "Because I have it on good authority that the Captain is never wrong."
Kathryn's scowl slowly turned into the crooked smile that he dearly loved. "I see. Well then… try to remember that next time you want to throttle me for some decision I've made."
She gave him a light, gentle kiss before attempting to concentrate on the plight of the infamous lobster people.
Still holding her hand in his, Chakotay shook his head and did the same.
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