Disclaimer - Paramount owns them, I'm just playing.
Sequel to The Yellow Lieutenant.
I waited impatiently for B'Elanna in our quarters, dying to tell her what I had found out. As she revealed, she already knew which took the wind out of my sails slightly. Still, that wasn't going to stop me from telling my side of the story...
Standing outside the Captain's quarters, I hummed the theme tune of the latest film I'd been watching. I was halfway through the chorus when her door swished open. My humming instantly ceased and I held out the padd towards her. "Here's that report you wanted, Cap-"
I didn't get a chance to finish as her hand suddenly wrapped itself around my wrist and she flung me into her quarters. I barely had time to regain my sense of balance when I noticed that she had grabbed the padd and thrown it to one side.
She looked nervous as hell.
"Tom, I need your help."
This had nothing to do with a report, the realisation taking less than a nanosecond to enter my mind and process itself through my thoughts. "Okay..." I agreed, uncertain as to where this conversation was leading.
She tugged a short hair behind her ear. "I need you to tell me what you think of my outfit."
I finally looked down at what she was wearing. A big, heavy-looking grey robe surrounded her, covering almost every inch of skin. What could I say? It wasn't very flattering. "Very...concealing."
The Captain huffed at me. "No, not that Tom!" She undid the robe and dropped it to the floor. "This one."
Wow. I actually said that, and I could tell it embarrassed her as she blushed slightly but kept looking at me, waiting for a further opinion. It had been an instinctive reaction, but it also happened to be a correct one. She looked incredibly beautiful (not as gorgeous as you, B'Elanna, so don't you go getting jealous on me).
I waved my hands around for a moment, trying to convey how good she looked. To this day I'm still not quite sure what kind of material it was. It rested over her skin, gently outlining the curves of her body but not hugging them, leaving more to the imagination. It was vaguely see through - just enough to give a tantalising glimpse when the light hit a certain way, but not so much as to reveal everything - did this indicate that the material was good, her underwear was good, or that she wasn't wearing any?
That was not something I wanted to spend a long time considering.
My thoughts rapidly redirected themselves and I looked back at her face. The lights in her quarters were lowered, so it was only when I squinted at her that I realised she had softly applied make up. Not too much, but a little more than usual.
I couldn't believe this. My normally unflappable Captain was standing before me, looking wonderful but nervously wringing her hands waiting for my opinion.
Somehow I found the words.
"Captain...you look fantastic."
She exhaled, a shy smile appearing. "Really?"
"Really. Now can you do me a favour?"
"Who do you have a date with tonight?" I asked, as if I hadn't already guessed. Of course I knew. There was no one else on this ship that she would consider dating other than him, and there weren't any alien ambassadors who she might have fallen for. No, I knew who it had to be, and I'll admit in taking some perverse pleasure in waiting to actually hear from her own lips who she had a date with. She'd been keeping us all waiting for so long that I thought I deserved it.
Besides, to cash in on the rations I had to have first hand information.
"Oh..." she stated, trying to sound flip about the whole thing "just...well..." she drew herself together mentally, determined now. It was quite funny to observe. "Actually Tom, it's Chakotay." From the expression on her face I would have expected her to be telling me some kind of awful news. I knew she was worried about what the crew would think.
I had to put her at ease. "Why that's wonderful news Captain! I'm sure you'll have a terrific time."
The facade cracked slightly, a hopeful little smile appearing. "Really?" Why had I never noticed how vulnerable she was before? Did she hide it that well? Or did I just not want to see it previously? She's good at hiding her feelings, I'll give her that, but even she can't keep up a pretense all the time. Did I not want to realise that she was a person too? I hoped not. I'd like to think that I'd be happy for her if she decided to pursue a relationship, but...my God, was I jealous?
I'd never even considered it before. I was blissfully happy with B'Elanna (shut up Be), so it bothered the heck out of me. It wasn't a romantic kind of jealousy...but well, the Captain and I had always had a closeness. She'd trusted me and given me a second chance where others wouldn't. She allowed me to get away with sarcastic comments on the bridge that no one else (except perhaps Chakotay) would be able to get away with.
I didn't realise until then how much I took her for granted. I decided never to again.
I smiled, somehow pushing aside my own faint jealously. "Of course. You *do* know how long we've all been waiting for this, don't you?" That was the truth. Over five years. Sheesh.
The Captain turned away from me and nervously looked in the mirror. "Well I hope everyone goes well Tom. I'd hate to disappoint you all."
"Don't be ridiculous Captain - no matter what happens, you'll never be a disappointment to any of us. If it doesn't work out...well some things aren't meant to. Although I suspect otherwise in this case."
And so it was that she turned to me and smiled yet again. She told me of where they planned to meet, what time...and asked me to keep it quiet...although at the pained expression on my face she caved and said that I could tell B'Elanna.
I left her quarters then, desperate to find B'Elanna, and wondering how their date was going to go. Fingers mentally and physically crossed, I contacted B'Elanna and then went to meet her.
Tom sat back in his chair, and grinned at the people he had been talking to. He could sense B'Elanna's grin from his left but kept his gaze on the listeners.
One of them leant forward. "But what happened next, Red Lieutenant? You cannot keep us wondering."
Tom crossed his arms. "Well that depends Sulak...how much of that isotope are we going to get?"
Sulak leant forward, his cream skin glowing slightly in the dim light. "You are a cunning man. Highly devious..." he smiled "...you shall get all the isotope you require...*when* you finish the story."
He had to stop himself from leaping up in the air. It had taken them hours to realise what the Pulta traded in - stories. The Captain would be so happy when she found out... "Okay Sulak, you've got a deal. However, I think someone else should tell the next part...as they were actually there, and it's much better having first hand information."
Sulak nodded agreeingly, desperate to hear the rest. Tom tapped his com badge and requested that the appropriate crewmember beam down.
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