A Dancing Song

by Suz suzvoy@yahoo.com

Disclaimer - Paramount owns them, I let them have more fun.

Sap! Gotta love it.


Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.

--A Drinking Song, William Butler Yeats


I watch as you sip from the glass in your hand and move your hips slightly, unconsciously, in rhythm to the beat of the rag-tag band some of the crew have put together. You're unguarded, thinking that no one is looking at you, no one is expecting anything of you. These are the moments when I love you the most. When you're simply you.

A hint of a smile appears on your lips as you start to hum along with the now-familiar tune. The real expression is in your eyes. They've always shown so much more emotion than you allow yourself to display on your face - even when you're determined not to show anything, you can't stop your eyes from displaying what you're feeling. You also use them to your own advantage of course, emphasising some point, determined to drive a fraction of guilt even deeper into your 'victim'. You have them well trained for your own purposes when needed.

But they're happy at the moment. They're smiling more than your mouth is.

You laugh as Neelix tries to teach Seven to dance; first the foxtrot but then he gives up and just instructs her to wiggle her hips. At first she thinks the exercise is pointless but then complies, commenting that it would be an excellent cardio-vascular activity and that more of the crew should try it.

That's when Neelix gets the idea. I know it the moment it happens, a light bulb (or whatever the Talaxian equivilant is) almost appearing over his head. A grin firmly in place, he briefly stops his own gyrating to spin towards you. Your eyes widen and you nearly spill your drink as you realise what he's going to say.

"Captain - care to join us?"

It's all I can do not to laugh because the situation is just ludicrous enough to be classified as 'insane'. A short, yellow, brown-spotted hairy Talaxian, teaching an ex-Borg who is now practically a glamor model how to dance, and then asking his superior officer - a woman who almost never indulges in joining in with crew events - if she'd care to join them.

I don't know if it's the synthehol, the music or the mood, but I can tell that for just a second you seriously consider it. A brief waver, a short thought, before you acknowledge that no, of course you won't join them.

The relaxed visage I'd just been studying is replaced by the fake smile that always manages to look sincere to someone who doesn't know better. "Sorry Neelix. Maybe later."

Disappointed, he smiles anyway and turns back to Seven who has discovered the one thing she *isn't* perfect at. She demands more lessons from him, wanting her dancing techniques to be 'perfect'.

Now that everyone has turned away, you glance around self-consciously and I manage to move my eyes away from you to focus on Neelix just as you look at me. I try to study you out of the corner of my eyes, thinking that it's a ridiculous habit I've come to develop because I'm so used to doing it with you that I can still see a lot of detail.

Tom and B'Elanna pass in front of you, trying their own method of dancing which would have been considered quite worrying if Naomi had been present. Thankfully she'd gone to bed over an hour ago so you watch them as they dance and I move my eyes back to focus on you.

You're smiling again, watching them even as they're watching each other. And I realise something then, something that I should have noticed a long time ago. I have never, in my six years of being aboard Voyager, seen you laugh freely. I've never seen you laugh until you cry, never seen you gasp for breath because something was just *too* funny - you're my best friend and I don't even know what situation would warrant that reaction from you.

That isn't right. Not at all.

Gulping back the last of my own drink and not even tasting it, I place the glass on the closest table and walk towards the dance floor where Neelix, Seven and several others are still 'boogying' as I think Tom calls it. An interesting, if somewhat strange word.

I bow dramatically before the Talaxian, my hand held out towards him. "Would you care to dance, Mr Neelix?"

His mouth twitches and he grins as he realises why I'm doing this and he tries not to look at you. He takes my hand and I stand to my full height once more.

"Why I would be honoured Commander," he responds, taking my other hand and then ordering the the 'band' to play a jazzy little number. We're hopelessly mismatched as dancing partners, but he stands on tip toes occasionally and I bend my knees slightly when needed, and pretty soon we're dancing across the room together in a display that rivals even Tom and B'Elanna's interpretation of 'violation of personal space'.

I try not to think of all the body parts each of us is touching and only catch a few glimpses of your blurry features as I whizz by, but I think your expression is shocked for the most part.

After a while I can't help it - I start to laugh. I haven't done anything so free, so much *fun* for so long. Neelix spins with style in and out of my arms and I laugh again as I wonder who the hell taught him how to dance so well. Probably Tom. He always seems to be responsible for everything.

Everyone in the room has surrounded us now, it's impossible for me to be unaware of the large ring of observers that has formed. I don't care, trying to keep the pace as the band who previously seemed to have no talent suddenly develop musical abilities and increase the rhythm of the music as quickly as they can.

Eventually, it happens. I don't think I'll ever be able to fully decipher which one of us it was, but either myself or Neelix mis-stepped and just as suddenly we hit the floor in a tangle of arms, legs, and yellow hair.

The music stops as everyone surrounds us to check for injury but Neelix and I are laughing too hard to do anything other than wave slightly to let them know we're alright.

I'm still looking up at the ceiling, watching the heads that were just in view slowly departing, when yours comes into view. You look down at me, your hair hanging down, your cheeks red, and the biggest damn smile I've ever seen gracing your face.

"Chakotay..." you shake your head as if you're dealing with an adorable little puppy. "You just made the biggest ass out of yourself."

The smile on my own face *has* to match yours. "It was worth it," I answer.


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