Before The Stain
by Suz

Disclaimer - they all belong to Paramount, and are definitely feeling aggressive tendancies Captain.

This is a prequel to Perspectives On A Stain and is just silly. Hee. Let the Chakotay bashing begin! Lady V, that'd better not be you with that compression phaser rifle.

Sorry. There was no way to get through this story without humiliating Robert Beltran. And look for those scenes in 'Night', which I *had* to work into a story. They're there.

Slight spoilers for the ep 'Night'.


It was one of those days. They were both over-worked, over-tired and had gone way over their limit of caffeine intake. Sitting on opposite ends of the couch in her ready room, a pile of padds between them, the conversation drifted away from work and towards something else that had been much discussed recently.

"So," he asked carefully, trying not to offend. "Do you think they're real?"

Sipping from what felt like her forty-seventh cup of coffee, Kathryn shrugged. "I would think so. Seven doesn't quite have what you would call a vain character. I don't see why she would be concerned with breast size."

He nodded his agreement. "Maybe the Doctor...augmented them somehow."

She nearly smiled. "'Augmented'?"

"Maybe he does something to her clothes. Did you know he designs all of her outfits?"

Chuckling, she was careful not to spill her drink. "I know. When we first freed her from the collective the suits were constructed to help her heal, but now...personally I just think the Doctor enjoys being Voyager's fashion consultant."

Drinking his own coffee, Chakotay pondered her response. "Perhaps. Better him than Neelix at any rate." Expecting a grin or response of some kind, when he got none he looked up from his coffee cup. Kathryn was frowning and looking down. Suddenly having a feeling of what might be worrying her, he quickly decided that he had to do something to reassure her.


She looked up. "Hmm?"

Oh Gods, was he blushing? "You really have nothing to worry about." No, no. Try a different approach. "You really have quite..." Stop right there.

He was being adorable if ridiculously sensitive. "Chakotay, are you trying to say that I have very nice breasts?"

"Yes." At least one of them had said it. "Although I hadn't pictured myself getting so embarrassed about it. And I want to assure that although they are *very* nice, I don't spend all my time looking at them." The last sentence was added on hastily, a stray thought given form before he'd really had time to think it through.

"Really?" she asked in a light tone, sipping at her coffee again. "I seem to remember an incident when I was wearing nothing but a bath towel and you were *quite* interested in them at the time."

It was everything Chakotay could do not to let his mouth hang open in surprise. Kathryn Janeway had just brought up their most taboo subject as a joke? Was she feeling alright? Maybe it was the caffeine.

Taking in his shocked expression, Kathryn shook her head and grinned ruefully. "Come on, Chakotay. Surely it's time that one of us brought it up."

Placing his cup on the small table behind him, he swivelled back to face her. "I agree. I just didn't expect it to be you."

Eyeing her coffee warily, she grinned. "Maybe it's the caffeine."

At least he had one theory right.

And then Kathryn did something that made Chakotay extremely worried. Slowly, slightly, a smile appeared on her face. "Chakotay..."

"Yes?" he asked, anxious.

"Since you spend so much time looking at my breasts, would you like to partake of a little bet?"

He regarded her suspiciously. "What kind of 'bet'?"

"It's quite simple," she replied. "If you can guess my bra size correctly, I will answer any question you want to ask me."

It was an extremely tempting offer. But he still had his concerns. "What if I lose?"

The grin that hadn't vanished since she started talking about the bet seemed to grow in size. "Then you have to tell me..." her eyes lowered to his lap. His gaze unconsciously followed hers and as he realised what she wanted to know his eyes widened.

"You want me to tell you *that*?" Her grin was all the answer he needed. "That's a little bit private, don't you think?"

"I don't see how it's any different from bra size..." she shrugged.

"Well admittedly they're all usually kept covered up, but well...breasts are more *there*." He indicated with his hands towards his chest as if he had his own. "They're more noticable."

Sighing lightly, Kathryn delicately rested her cup on her lap. Almost half-heartedly she answered with "Well so is your penis if B'Elanna's comments are anything to go by."

Unfortunate timing meant that Chakotay had just picked up his cup and taken a sip of coffee. Fortunately he managed not to spit it out, although he spent the next thirty seconds trying not to choke. Eventually he managed to splutter out "What?!"

Kathryn had no idea how she was managing to stop herself from rolling on the floor laughing. She hadn't thought that even her control was this strong. Yet she knew that her lack of complete humour made the situation even more bizarre for him and thus even funnier for herself.

"Hmm..." she began, studying her nails "do you remember when we were in the void and you were showing Empk around engineering?" Not waiting for a response, she nonetheless noticed the look of horror on his face. "According to B'Elanna, you were quite...well, noticable."

The coffee cup once again abandoned, he placed his face in his hands. "That was all your fault." he mumbled.

Her voice was indignant. "*Mine*?"

Pulling his hands away he shook his head as if to clear it of the embarrassment. "I'd only just been in astrometrics with you. And was just so good to see you being active again after hiding for two months. I guess I got a little excited. I could barely keep my hands on my hips." Shaking his head in disbelief he kept his eyes lowered. "How the hell do you and B'Elanna find the time to discuss subjects like this?"

Leaning across the couch, she grabbed his chin and pulled his face up until they were eye to eye. "The Omega Directive isn't the only secret a Captain learns."

He laughed.

Releasing his chin, she stayed where she was. "So, are you going to guess?"

Chakotay stared back at her, seeing the detemination. "You're not going to give me much choice, are you?"


At least she was honest.

He guessed.


Unwilling to accept defeat, he challenged her. "How do I know you're not lying?"

"Do you want me to prove it to you?"

He almost said yes, and would have except for the fact that he *knew* she wasn't lying. So he remained silent.

"I thought as much," she continued, the growing eagerness evident in her eyes. "Well?"

"There's no need to be so impatient."

"Quit stalling," she demanded "and tell me."

Chakotay said nothing.

For thirty seconds.

One minute.


"You're chickening out, aren't you?"

She didn't sound the least bit disappointed, which worried Chakotay even more. "What would you do?"

Without answering his question, she sat back dramatically and disposed of her coffee cup on her own small table. "Well Chakotay, I've been been quite let down. This means that you have do a forfeit."

He nearly shrank away from her. "You didn't say anything about a forfeit."

"I can't have you getting out of this completely, Chakotay. You didn't keep your part of the bargain." She leant forward again, enticing. Her voice dropped to a husky whisper. "You need to be sufficiently punished."

Damn. Chakotay knew he had no hope of escape. "What did you have in mind?" he asked, voice hoarse.

Pursing her lips together, she smiled as her eyes moved from the coffee cup resting on the table behind him to his lap. Even without moving his head, Chakotay knew what she had planned.

"Kathryn...surely even *you* aren't that sadistic."

"Well Chakotay...I simply can't go wasting *my* perfectly good cup of coffee, now can I?"


e-mail // voyager fic