by Suz firstname.lastname@example.org
Rated PG...to lull you into a false sense of security. Those of you who don't know me, anyway :)
Disclaimer - Paramount owns 'em, dangit.
Ensign Pablo Baytart was thrilled. He practically salivated over the opportunity to give her a new haircut. Voyager had no official hairdressers of course, but Baytart's list of talents (which included juggling, origami and making fruit crumble) also included hairdressing.
When first asked about the position he was rather dubious about it. He enjoyed hairdressing of course, but he also loved his job in the science lab.
Eventually a compromise was made - he would work half his shift in the science lab and the other half as Voyager's hairdresser. His only stipulation was that he should have a couple of assistants - should anything happen to him, who would give the haircuts? It was sound reasoning to him at least.
As Kathryn sat down in the chair she seriously thought about running out before he could touch her hair with even a comb. She wasn't having second thoughts about the haircut, just the hairdresser. Baytart was famous for his small talk. It occured to Kathryn that it seemed like a 'talent' all hairdressers had been afflicted with.
But she braced herself for the torture - she was a Captain, after all. Five minutes later she snapped. She threatened to shave her head bald if he didn't shut up. Okay, so she may not have used quite those terms...or perhaps she had. Either way, it would only be between the two of them.
He remained quiet for the rest of the haircut except for a few painfully polite suggestions which were actually quite good.
She thanked him when he was finished and gave her hair a thorough examination in the mirror. Not bad, really. Perhaps a tad shorter than she'd intended but she liked it.
Now came the real test - how the crew would respond. The doors to the unofficial hairdressing salon swished open and she stepped into Voyager's corridor. She glanced about. Typical. It was probably the only time in the history of her Captaincy of Voyager that should could recall no one else being the corridor. There was *always* someone in the corridor. Except now.
There was no other choice for it. She would have to hunt down a member of her senior crew to get their response, but make it look like she wasn't doing so. She tried to shove aside her slight feelings of guilt at only wanting her senior crews opinion. Well...what she really wanted to know was what *he* thought of it.
Finally taking the logical course, she spoke to Voyager.
"Computer, locate Commander Chakotay."
"Commander Chakotay is on deck 11, section 2 Alpha."
Kathryn's mind began working. Okay, if she could get to section 5 before him...she bolted to the turbolift.
She shot out of the turbolift just as he walked past it. He did a classic double take.
What to say now? Feign ignorance. "Oh hello Chakotay."
He walked towards her, shock all over his face. "What have you done to your hair?"
"Oh, I'd forgotten. Yes, I cut it. What do you think?" Her voice couldn't have been more carefree, but she was bothered by what he would think of it.
He studied her carefully, before coming to a decision.
"I'll admit that I prefer long hair...but I think I like it. It'll just take me a while to get used to it." he smiled at that, the devastating full-dimple grin that he only ever used on her.
And that was it.
That was the moment when she realised she was in love with him.
The force of the realisation would have caused her to stumble but she was so shocked, so stunned that she couldn't move. It felt as if she were a puppet and someone had cut her strings and yet something were holding her up.
Her mind was whirling, her palms were sweating, she had a knot in her stomach...is was every cliche in the book. Every cliche in *what* book? Where the hell did that phrase originate??
She ran her gaze desperately over his face. When had this happened? The tattoo. Why had this happened? Those eyes, a deep warm brown. Why hadn't she realised sooner? His lips...moving. They were moving, and she suddenly noticed that he was still speaking and had been the whole time. Probably something about her hair, although she couldn't actually remember him saying anything. All she could remember was the thudding of her pulse and the scent of him that before now she had always tried to ignore but couldn't for any longer.
Kathryn suddenly felt incredibly unconfident. This had nothing to do with her new haircut, it was simply that she was standing in front of the man she loved and she wanted to look good. God, it wasn't as if they even had a relationship...
It began its descent then, the moment. It lowered from its peak but the shock, the confusion and the love remained. They weren't quite as prominant as they had been a few moments before, but at least now she was aware of them. Aware of how she felt.
Even though she knew it was probably entirely psychological, Kathryn still couldn't hear anything he was saying. Using that legendary control, she once again pushed aside any feelings and forced herself to listen.
Chakotay's expression was one of concern, and she began to hear what he was saying.
"-thryn, are you alright?"
Her name! Her control shattered again. He had said her name and she hadn't been paying full attention. She had to get him to say it again. "I'm sorry, what did you say?" Her voice sounded warbled, even to her, but somehow she managed to keep it together.
"I asked if you were alright Kathryn. You were just staring at me."
Kathryn. Kathryn. Never before had her name sounded so beautiful than when he spoke it. She closed her eyes and tipped her head back slightly, enjoying the sensations that feeling created. His voice rolled around her, over her, through her...
Someone was clearing their throat. More specifically, it was Tom who appeared round a bend in the corridor.
At the obvious noise, Kathryn opened her eyes. To one side Tom was studying them curiously, but her attention was focused on Chakotay who no doubt wondered what the hell she'd been doing.
She didn't really know herself.
Tom stepped forward. "Nice haircut Captain. Just have it done?"
Kathryn freed herself from Chakotay's questioning eyes and looked over at the pilot/nurse. "Yes."
He nodded, clearly expecting her to have said more. "Well...umm...oh Harry just contacted me. They'll be waiting for you in the astrometrics lab in ten minutes."
"Thanks Tom," Chakotay answered as he faced him "we'll see you there."
Nodding, Tom left but not before glancing back at them again.
Chakotay turned back to Kathryn who was still staring after Tom, although he suspected she was actually thinking about more than Tom Paris.
"Have you rehearsed your part of the speech?"
Blinking, she smiled up at him, apparently finished with whatever it was she was thinking about, or postponing it for another time.
"Of course," she replied with the trademark Janeway glint of determination in her eye. "Are you suggesting otherwise?"
He held his hands up. "Hey, of course not. I was just asking." He lowered his hands as he continued talking. "So, shall we make our way there or do you need to get anything first?"
Kathryn pondered his question for a few moments, then began walking along the corridor knowing he would follow. "Let's quickly pop into the mess hall." The only thing that could help her through this surprise was there.
"What for?" he asked, keeping her pace.
She sent him a sly look that she half-hoped he would see. "Coffee." she announced, enjoying the chuckle it produced from him. It also happened to true. She shook her head and sighed dramatically, not knowing how close to the truth she was. "I desperately need some caffeine."