The Healer
by Suz

Disclaimer - characters are Paramounts. Fah.

Dedicated to Camilla, who demanded.

Follows on from The Red Lieutenant.


He arrived shortly, pausing in the doorway.

"Come in and take a seat," Tom invited, and as the newcomer sat Tom quickly explained what story he needed to tell.

"Ah. I understand." he responded. And indeed he did. He had told this story many times already.

Sulak spoke. "So tell us, Oh Bald One, of your story."

The Doctor sniffed. "I would prefer another name if you don't mind."

The alien shrugged in an agreeing manner. "What is your name?"

He hesistated briefly before grudgingly admitting that he didn't have one.

Sulak nodded patiently. "Well...what is your function aboard your ship?"

"I am a doctor."

"A 'doctor'?" The term was clearly unfamiliar to their host.

"Yes. I cure or heal people when they are ill."

"Ah, I understand. Then we will call you 'Healer' if that is acceptable?" As the Doctor nodded, Sulak continued. "Tell us then, Healer, your part of the story."

The EMH smiled and sat straighter, happy to have such a focused audience. "Of course. Now listen closely and I'll tell you a tale, a tale of a missing ship..."

"Doc," Tom warned.

Blinking huffily, the Doctor looked at him. "Very well Mr Paris. Have it your way."


It was 2300 hours when I transferred myself to the holodeck. I had some time reserved in there, and I was planning to run the Sandrine program that Tom invented. It's a small bar that he used to frequent on his home planet. Anyway, it had been a while since I visited so I had decided to go again.

When I appeared I noticed with surprise that Sandrine's was already running and I was standing behind the bar. I frowned when I heard someone speak.

"Did you hear something?"

I instantly recognised it as the voice of my Captain and then spotted her. She was sitting in a booth on the other side of the room with Commander Chakotay. They were on opposite sides of the table, apparently enjoying a meal. I quickly took in what I saw. Both of them were in off-duty were on a date!

As soon as I realised I dived down behind the bar, trying to make the impact of my landing as quiet as possible.

"I didn't. I was too busy listening to your voice."

She laughed shyly and I could imagine her reaching out a hand to rest on his forearm. "You're very sweet Chakotay."

How had this happened? I was absolutely certain that I had this holodeck reserved at 2300 hours. It was highly unlikely that I had made an error, so I came to the conclusion that somehow the holodeck had either been double-booked or they had made the mistake.

I wasn't too bothered about the mix up, in fact I was rather glad that the Captain was taking time to relax for once. She pushes herself far too hard, you know. Never eats enough, never sleeps enough, drinks too much coffee, works longer than she has to...I think the only person she relaxes around is Chakotay.

So I didn't mind. In fact I thought it was about time. I'd known about their attraction to each other for a long time. Well, *everyone* had known about their attraction except for them it seemed.

Silently I sat up, resting my back against the bar. What I was worried about was how to leave. It had only been a piece of incredibly good timing on my part that prevented them from seeing me. She had heard my entrance, and would undoubtedly hear me if I dematerialised again. Aside from that, to transfer back to sickbay I needed to either give a voice command or enter the command into the access panel. I was nowhere near it.

They began talking again.

"So how was your day Chakotay?"

"About as tiring as yours I assume." I could hear the humour in his voice.

"Oh yes, very...mmm...tiring. Stop that." Her voice offered a token resistance.

"Do you really want me to stop?" His voice was deep, seductive. Promising unknown pleasu-pardon B'Elanna? And how do you know what his voice souded like? Were you there? Thank you. Now let me continue.

I couldn't believe they were saying these things to each other. And I couldn't keep listening either. Well...actually I could, but my morals subroutine activated and told me I should leave. How to go about it? Perhaps I should just stand up and announce my presense, apologise for the intrusion and dematerialise before either of them could say a word. But it would look suspicious now, like I was trying to hide something. I should have just told them as soon as I arrived.

Maybe I *could* get to the access panel...

I kneeled up and turned until I was facing their direction. Slowly I raised my head, peeking over the top of the bar. He was feeding her small portions of coffee ice cream on a spoon. I had to prevent myself from thunking my head on the edge of the bar in relief. So it was perfectly far. This was clearly an intimate moment.

My eyes looked over toward the cabinet where the access panel was hidden. It was far too close to their booth for my liking, but realistically it was ten feet away from them. If I could get to it and use it...they would no doubt hear me leaving but hopefully they wouldn't see and wouldn't suspect.

Lowering my head, I crouched down and sneaked along the side of the bar until I reached the end. Peering around the corner, I made sure to wait a few moments until they weren't looking in my direction. They were pretty involved with each other anyway.

The Captain laughed at something he said (I was desperately trying not to pay attention) so I edged around the end of the bar and ducked behind the pool table that was half-way between the bar and their booth.

I lay there in silence, in a ridiculous frozen posture, worried they may have heard me.

They didn't say anything. In fact they weren't speaking at all. Were they staring at me, baffled at my behaviour? Could they see a fragment of my uniform somehow? Deciding to risk it again, I snuck a glance over the top of the table.

Ah. *That's* why they weren't speaking. They were kissing. I couldn't help but look, but I was also aware that this provided me with a viable escape opportunity. As I watched, they were leaning over the table, lips meeting gently. I had a feeling it was their first kiss. Then it changed. They became accustomed to each other and suddenly the kiss became passionate, rough. I started to crawl toward the panel but froze on my hands and knees half way there as the Captain made a noise. Had I been spotted?

Relief washed over me when I realised she was mumbling something to him about 'wanting to be closer'. Chakotay broke the kiss briefly before pulling her onto the table from the opposite side. At the same time with his other hand he swept the contents of the table away. The bowl shattered against the edge of the bar, splodges of coffee ice cream splattered against the pool table, and I had to duck as a spoon went whizzing past my head.

They resumed their kissing with gutso, the Captain pulling him down, closer. I resumed my scurrying at a faster pace, aware of the little dust clouds I was creating. I desperately hoped they couldn't hear me, although I didn't think they could. They were making quite a lot of noise themselves.

Finally, I arrived at the cabinet and reached up from a kneeling position, concerned that if I stood they would notice me. My hand made contact with the door to the cabinet but I suddenly knew...I *knew* that the door was going to creak when I opened it. Loudly.

Suddenly, from my left, a loud banging and thudding noise was heard. My body jerked, and it was all I could do not to shout out in surprise. They'd fallen off the table. The Captain was lying on the floor with her legs up in the air, and the Commander was lying between them.

She kept blinking, and I realised that if she turned her head slightly I would be directly in her line of sight. Once again I dived somewhere, this time to the side of their booth separated from them only by a piece of wood. I was closer to them than I had been previously, but they didn't have the faintest idea that I was there.

"Are you alright?" he asked, genuine concern in his voice.

She began laughing then moaned softly. "Yeah, but my back's sore."

"Do you need to see the Doctor?"

Calm down, I told myself. Once they leave the holodeck all you have to do is transfer yourself. It won't take long. They meanwhile, have to walk to the turbolift and then go up one deck...

"No, I'll be fine. I'm not sure I want to face his sarcasm right now anyway. No doubt he'd want to know how I fell off the table."

Slightly offended, I nonetheless smiled.

The mood was apparently broken. "What time is it?" she asked.

"I don't know. Computer, what is the time?"

"2309 hours."

"Already!? We'd better get going."

I could hear them moving about and deduced that they were about to leave. That was good. No, that was bad. If they deactivated the programme while I was still here there would be no where for me to hide...

They walked passed me, and I tried to push myself into as dark a place as possible in my limited confines. The Captain was wincing slightly, but the Commander raised his hand and lightly rubbed it on her back.

I started chanting to myself in my mind 'Please don't look back, please don't look back'.

They didn't.

They passed through the double doors that made the exit/entrance of Sandrine's. "Computer, end programme." she called out.

Everything vanished. The bar, the shattered fragments of the bowl, the dust on my clothes...and the booth I was resting against. I fell onto the floor, barely managing to conceal the "Oof" I wanted to make upon landing.

The holodeck doors opened, and just before they closed again I heard the Captain speak for the final time that evening. "You know Chakotay, it's been a while since you've given me a back rub..."


"And?" Sulak demanded.

"And what?" the Doctor countered. "That was all I witnessed, more or less. The Captain came into sickbay the next morning for treatment on her back and flat out lied about how she hurt it. There was no serious damage in any case."

"But what about after that? What happened next?"

Tom grinned first at the Doctor, then at B'Elanna. "You know who's next, B'Elanna. I think he's outside. Will you get him for me?"

"Of course," she replied with an evil little grin on her face, then rose from her chair.



e-mail // voyager fic