Barefoot In The Corridor

by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount have to learn to tout.

*

Kathryn Janeway was in a foul mood. Seven had tried to prove herself against Janeway *again*, Neelix was planning a leola root dinner *again*, and she had a stinking headache *again*.

Her shift over she entered the turbolift, her First Officer one step behind her.

"Deck two," she ordered harshly, figuring she might as well get the inevitable leola root meal out of the way. Just the idea of that darkened her thoughts even more.

"Halt turbolift," Chakotay ordered and turned to look at her.

She rose an eyebrow at him, and somehow her whole face managed to frown.

"You know what your problem is Kathryn?"

Oh God, this was just great. This was just what she needed to hear. "Do tell me Chakotay. This is just what I want to hear when I have a headache nearing 9.9 on the Richter Scale."

As if punishing her for speaking its name the headache suddenly twinged at the back of her head. Rubbing the area despite the fact it wouldn't remove the pain, she considered sighing.

"Your problem is that you've forgotten how to have fun."

"That's ridiculous," she barked.

"Is it?" he asked gently.

"Of course it is," Kathryn insisted. "You don't forget how to have fun."

He nodded slowly. "Let's say that's true then. Are you admitting that you won't let yourself have fun?"

She held up a hand. "Stop twisting my words."

Chakotay shrugged. "You're the one who's saying them. I'm just interpreting them."

"Good. So interpret this: leave me alone. I just want to go to my quarters and sleep. But no, I have to go to the mess hall for a meal I hate because if I don't I'll have an over-enthusiastic Talaxian at my heels snapping about eating properly and having a healthy diet, and God forbid I should want to do anything-"

He was taking off his shoes.

Then his socks.

"What the hell are you doing?" she demanded, placing her hands on her hips.

"Having fun," he responded, glancing up at her from his bent over position.

"And how does taking your shoes and socks off constitute fun?"

"You'll see," was his cryptic reply and Kathryn wanted to scream. That impulse soon transformed to a need to yell as he suddenly leant forward and grabbed one of her ankles.

Toppling over in surprise she managed to remove her hands from her hips so she could brace them on the wall a few inches behind her. She stared down in shock as he yanked one shoe off, then the other.

Kathryn couldn't help but gawk at the bizzareness of the situation.

His hand grabbed a sock.

"Wait a minute!" she yelled, balancing on one leg as she placed her unhanded foot on his wrist, stopping him from continuing. "No one removes my socks without my say-so."

"Can I have your say-so?" he asked, still looking at her socks.

"No! Not unless you give me some damn good answers!" Her head felt like it was about to erupt.

Chakotay looked up at her again. "If I explain it to you you'll say no, but you have to trust me on this Kathryn. I'm confident it will get rid of your headache, and I *know* it will be a lot of fun. Please, just trust me."

Did he have to sound so damn sincere? He'd never take advantage of her, that much she knew, but as her foot slipped away from his wrist she wondered if she was going to end up making a fool of herself.

Allowing him to tug off the socks, she remained leaning against the wall suddenly uncomfortably aware of how small it was in there.

Grinning, he stood slowly and spoke. "Now, we could have gone to the holodeck but we'd know that was an illusion. This, however, is the real thing. Computer: resume."

Almost immediately the doors opened and he stepped out.

"But...what about our socks and shoe-"

"Just leave them."

He grabbed her hand and suddenly she was being tugged along the corridor. Before long they were running, the walls rushing by and the floor zooming past.

"What are you doing?" she yelled.

"Having fun!" he shouted back.

She shouldn't have, she really shouldn't have, but she laughed anyway. It was just a tiny chuckle that emerged at first, but it seemed to be the beginning of an onslaught she didn't even know she was capable of.

This was just so...ridiculous!

"Incoming!" Chakotay exclaimed, and she followed his line-of-sight to see Tuvok approaching. He paused and rose an eyebrow when he saw them.

They didn't slow down.

"Don't mind us," Chakotay said cheerily as they neared him. "Just testing the durability of Starfleet carpeting."

The Vulcan took a step to one side to allow them to pass.

"Carry on Commander!" Kathryn yelled just for the hell of it.

"Intriguing," was all the response she received.

They turned a corner, dodging a few more crewmembers in the process. Kathryn still couldn't believe what she was doing. That was Tuvok - Tuvok! - her oldest friend aboard Voyager, and he had just witnessed one of the most bizarre things she had ever done.

Still, there was something strangely liberating about running barefoot in the corridor with her First Officer. The rhythmic thumping of their feet, the quickly exclaimed "excuse me" and "get out of the way!", the look of amusement on everyone's faces.

To all good things, of course, there comes an end.

Theirs came when a certain ex-Maquis Commander who was having so much child-like fun that he failed to notice the child who quickly appeared around the corner of an intersection until the last second.

Fortunately, he managed to avoid Naomi.

But in the process he tripped up both himself and the woman he was running with.

Kathryn yelled out in pain as she landed, her ankle twisted at a disturbing ankle.

Frantically apologising, Chakotay sat up - uninjured - and made sure Naomi was okay before he checked on Kathryn. "How is it?" he asked, gasping for breath.

Hissing the indication of her pain, she clutched at her leg just above the ankle. "Just get me to sickbay. I am *never* trusting you again."

He frowned. "Yes you will."

"Why?" she asked, wondering why he hadn't called for an emergency transport yet.

"Well has your headache gone or not?"

Oh he was going to pay for that one. "Naomi, be a good girl and bring me a phaser."

~FINIS

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