Disclaimer: I don't pretend to own anything, though I do love borrowing...
Chakotay was in the mess hall getting coffee when he noticed Tom and Harry not sitting far from him. Apparently something was very funny, so he picked up his tray and went over to where they were to find out what.
"Hi. Mind if I join you?" he asked.
"Hello, Commander, take a seat." Tom invited with twinkling eyes.
"Thanks. What's the joke? The food's not inedible today…" he prodded, sipping his coffee.
"Actually, it's the Captain and Tuvok," Harry informed him with no attempt to stop grinning.
"Are they in on the joke too?" asked Chakotay, one eyebrow raised as he sipped again with a smile, wondering what it could be.
"Oh yes," Tom grinned, taking over. "In fact, the Captain started it."
Now he had Chakotay's full attention and curiosity- and he took full advantage of it.
"This morning we were in that conference with the female Tkarian who left her husband for the guy who stole the Doc's program," he paused, glanced at Harry slyly, and continued. "The Captain was trying to convince the woman to tell her where he was, but the woman wouldn't buy our story of having goods for him and decided instead that Captain Janeway was after him herself. The Captain tried to assure her that she had absolutely no interest in stealing him away for herself, but then the woman demanded to know whether she thought he wasn't good enough for her! We were having the hardest time not laughing at this point, because it was all so totally ridiculous- the Captain too. Then, she got a funny look on her face and assured the woman that she was certain he was a great catch, and without batting an eye she reached over and grabbed Tuvok's hand and explained that she'd be after him herself if she didn't already have a man!" Tom's mouth twitched with another laugh. "You should have seen the look on Tuvok's face! You haven't lived until you've seen a Vulcan look so surprised. He had to go along with the lovey-dovey hand holding for a few minutes while the Captain wheedled the information from the alien woman- who was finally convinced- it was priceless! I've never seen the Captain laugh so much- you should have been there, Chakotay."
Chakotay grinned too. "Next time I'll ask Kathryn to let me in on those meetings."
Tom raised his eyebrows at the slip of her name, and opened his mouth mischievously.
"Tom- not one word," Chakotay stopped him in good humor, realizing he had slipped up.
"Hey, you're the one who said-"
Just then they heard the Captain's voice waft across the room. They turned their heads, and saw she was leaning against the counter talking to Neelix as he poured her a steaming mug of coffee.
"Speak of the devil-" began Tom with a twinkle in his eye.
"Not one word, Tom- now, if you gentlemen will excuse me," Chakotay got up and flashed them a smile as he headed towards his best friend, who was now laughing about something with Neelix.
Tom and Harry watched for a moment, then just looked at each other, and grinned. Tom let out a whistle.
"Getting pretty cozy, aren't they?" Tom said suggestively. "Either that, or he's got it bad-"
Harry cut him off. "Tom-- not one more word," he said urgently.
"Oh no, not you too!" Tom said loudly with a smile. "Harry, first he starts saying Ka--" Tom slowed as he noticed Harry looking urgently at him and glancing somewhere over he shoulder. Tom whipped his head around instinctively, and there stood the Captain herself. He ran his hand through his hair, mind racing.
"K-- Captain!" he recovered, only acting minimally flustered. "I didn't see you."
She smiled, resting one hand lightly on his shoulder. "I was just going to congratulate you on your new holodeck triumph, Tom. You seem to have a flair for pairing off members of my crew with your programs."
"Thanks, Captain, it was no trouble at all." He just managed to stop himself from making a comment about her apparent other half, when he became all too aware of the towering presence by her side. Chakotay gave Tom a firm look that Tom knew to mean in no uncertain terms to keep his mouth shut, as he narrowed his eyes and mouthed a few select words to Tom from over the Captain's shoulder. Tom only caught "dirty superconductors" and "toothbrush", but those few words were all that he needed. Under the circumstancesm thought it best to oblige the big man. Harry nearly choked on his gumbo and wisely fastened his gaze to the grains of rice stuck to his fork as the Captain gave him an odd glance.
"Well, have a nice lunch. May I recommend Neelix's pecan pie, it's actually very good today," she turned to leave their table as they said their goodbyes, Chakotay at her side.
Tom exhaled as Chakotay glanced back to give him another warning look, and he and Harry broke into grins, and wiped his brow theatrically.
"Tom," Harry told him gravely, "It's getting dangerous in here. You have way too many close calls like that."
"You're telling me."
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