Disclaimer: Paramount I know you own them and I own this but if you'd
like to steal this and use it you have my blessings. One can hope, can't one?
Rating: PG

Summary: Sometimes it only takes a moment for love to happen.

Copyright February 2001 Cassatt

Cupid's Phaser

It was a briefing like hundreds before with nothing in particular to cause it to be a life changing event. Yet that was just what it had become.

The carefully prepared agenda lay on the desk in front of Kathryn Janeway as though mocking her in its passivity. She stared at the PADD in confusion. How could it have betrayed her? She mentally checked off each item, following the course of the meeting, searching for her mistake. For she was certain there must have been one.

A report from B'Elanna on the latest problem with the gel packs and the dwindling virilium supply. Seven informed the group that a source for the mineral was possibly nearby. Kathryn ordered Chakotay to assemble an away team in preparation. Was that the mistake? His self-deprecating humor, his willingness to make a joke about crashing yet another shuttle? Was that what did it?

No, that was no different than so many times before. Maybe she could blame Tom. It likely was his fault. He couldn't let Chakotay's comment pass and made a joke at the Commander's expense. Kathryn remembered how easily Chakotay let it roll off his back. She had been struck at the time by the affection obvious to all between the two men. How far they had come. Was that it?

Nothing seemed apparent during the rest of the meeting. There had been, however, the short discussion of Naomi's educational needs. Everyone volunteered some of their much cherished off duty time and Kathryn had made a note to talk with Chakotay in private about Naomi. She stared at the PADD and the offending notation. The words glowed. She sighed.

It just all seemed so innocent. The meeting concluded but she didn't officially dismiss everyone as the familial banter continued. Neelix made one of his silly jokes. Most everyone groaned. The next moment in time was when Kathryn's life as she knew it went completely up in smoke.

She happened to look at Chakotay sitting on her left as he happened to turn in her direction. He smiled. She'd seen it thousands of times and often she'd had a very warm reaction. But never this one. Phaser fire hit the center of her chest, the burn spread throughout her body leaving her breathless and slightly disoriented. Her heart raced and her palms became damp. Somehow the word "dismissed" finally crossed her lips.

Kathryn still, three hours later, had no idea what happened or why. Reluctantly, she now admitted to herself that perhaps no mistake had been made. There was nothing that could have happened differently.

She had tried sitting in her command chair but the burning sensation in her left arm was just too distracting. And every time Chakotay spoke to her she had to force herself to concentrate on his words and not on his mouth. Just before she beat it to her ready room she reached the conclusion that Chakotay had, without a doubt, the most seductive mouth she'd ever seen. He'd lean toward her, burning her arm and saying something important, or not. Trouble was, who knew? She didn't.

The only thing Kathryn was certain of was that Chakotay would be checking up on her. By her estimation he was due any minute. She was not looking forward to it. Or was she.

He sat across from her, concern manifesting not just in his voice but in the deepened lines at the corners of his eyes. It was almost as difficult for her to meet those brown irises as to watch his lips move. Her heart had pounded when he entered, now there was just a dull thudding resonating, she hoped, in her ears alone. She chided herself again to pay attention. What was he saying?

"...planet. Perhaps it would be better to send Tuvok?"

Why the hell was he talking about Tuvok? "Why would that be better?" By the look of confusion on his face clearly that wasn't the correct response.

"Kathryn, for the reasons I just stated. You look like you could use a little time off -- and don't get angry, please..."

She watched with amusement as he held up his hand in an imitation of her own mannerism. And though she fully expected him to be concerned seeing Chakotay's, well, love radiate as he spoke was overwhelming. Her heart began to pound again in response.

"Chakotay, I'm not angry."

"Well then what's wrong?"

Nothing? Everything? The fact that my legs are like jelly when I stand? That your eyes locked onto mine as I walk around my desk hold me in a place that scares the hell out of me? That your mouth is moving and again I am hearing nothing, understanding everything? That as I bend over and touch your face I feel tears stinging my eyes? And if I am drawn to place my lips to yours, like this, will you feel it, too?

As Chakotay finally, after what seemed an eternity, returned her soft kiss the phaser fired again. His lips, so gentle and insistent, moving over hers, parting, his tongue touching hers shot the phaser again and again and again. When he stood and wrapped her in a tight embrace placing kisses on her face Kathryn knew something wondrous and inexplicable had happened to her. Their tears mingling as lips met again, and again, was proof enough.