by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount own them. Hmm.

Well, I figured it'd been a while since I'd had a go at another cliché...


I don't know how he managed to talk me into it. Well...truth be told, he didn't. It was my crew or - more specifically - the senior staff.

"Come on, Captain," Tom pleaded, trying to pull off an expression of youthful innocence more befitting of Naomi that didn't quite work.

"I don't dance, Mr Paris."

"That's not true actually, Captain," Harry volunteered. "I definitely remember you dancing with Tuvok last year."

"That was different!"

"How so, Captain?" Seven asked, curiousity at its most efficient level. Naturally.

"For one thing that was at a diplomatic function, not a Birthday party and secondly, the Calari's idea of dancing was moving in circles three feet away from each other!"

Tom actually pouted, although I think it was more for show than anything. "But think of what it'll mean to Naomi..."

I held up a hand. "Don't. Don't try to guilt me into it by bringing Naomi into the conversation."

He shrugged, a little too easily for my liking. "Fine, Captain. But don't expect to get any peace."

"Mr Paris..."

"We'll do everything we can to get you to dance with him, won't we?"

Everyone nodded.

I glared.

Tom spoke again. "Say, Doc..."


"What can we look forward to at your next slide show?"

Grinning excitedly, the Doctor somehow managed to shuffle his seat even closer. "I'm glad you asked! We'll be taking an exclusive peek at the Talaxian adrenal gland which - as I'm sure you know - is something of a rarity on this ship. Then we're going to continue with a close-up of a Bolian stomach-"

"All right!" I snapped, getting to my feet and looking at Tom. "But you can expect triple shifts in sickbay for this one."

Stomping away from them I approached Chakotay who was mid-conversation with Samantha.

"Sorry to interrupt Chakotay," which I really wasn't "but since six members of my crew seem to have some kind of fixation with seeing their senior officers move embarrassingly to music, would you care to dance with me?"

Sam's jaw hit the floor.

Chakotay simply placed his glass to one side. "Since you've made it sound like such an appealing proposition, Captain, I'd love to."

My anger cooled somewhat as I realised how rude I'd been. "I'm sorry, Chakotay. It's just they were really getting on my nerves."

He was grinning, obviously amused by me.

And ridiculously, I felt my cheeks redden.

"You're blushing," he pointed out helpfully.

"Don't be silly," I insisted through gritted teeth, trying to remind him by nodding my head that someone else was here and it really wasn't the time.

"If you'll excuse me, Sam?"

"Of course," she grinned.

Turning away, I walked to the dance floor and waited for him to reach me. Once he did we carefully placed our hands on their perfectly precise dancing locations and moved to the music, rather stiffly. He may have been teasing me a moment ago, but he wasn't looking forward to this any more than I was. At least, I hoped not.

"Oh, God," I muttered, spying someone.


"The Doctor's heading this way with a holocamera."

He grimaced.

"Ready?" I asked.

He nodded, resigned.

The Doctor approached.


At just the right moment we faced the camera and smiled before looking away again.


The song ended and immediately merged into something a little more...a lot more sultry. Still swaying to the music, I glanced about. I couldn't help noticing the way that all the couples were dancing. That was when the silent alarm in my head went off.

This wasn't something we should be doing in front of them. Not in front of the crew.

Stopping mid-sway I start to move off the dance floor but he keeps holding my hand.

"Why do you have to portray the tragic, untouchable princess?" His voice is a little sad.

Lowering my eyes to the floor I think over his words for a moment before raising them back up to give the only answer I can - the only answer that comes to mind: "I'm not the one with the tragic existence."

He lets go - perhaps in shock, perhaps not - and I slip through the crowd of people swaying to the music and out of the room without a sound of protest following me.


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