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Forgive me J/Cers, for I have strayed. If you don't like swearing, then don't read this. Rated R.
For Trilly, who I wish I could have done more for. You'll always be missed.
The ship rocked violently, disturbing the for-once tranquil events of Alpha shift. Barely keeping seated, Janeway grabbed desperately at the arms of her chair as the rest of the bridge crew performed similar actions.
Tuvok's calm voice responded. "It appears we encountered a level three ion storm. Sensors did not recognise the phenomenon until we encountered it."
Janeway's back relaxed - slightly. At least they weren't under attack. Still, an ion storm...the headache she had been futily trying to ignore for three hours pounded on. "'Encountered'?" She queried, sarcastically.
That eyebrow rose. "There is no need for further concern. We have completed our journey through the storm. However-"
Oh God, here it came.
"-inertial dampners are off-line. Again."
It happened in less than a second. Her head pounded. Her hands clenched. Her shoulders slumped. Her head hung forward.
There would be those who would never believe it. There would be those who would scoff at the very implication, who would tease those who stated otherwise.
And there would be those who swore that it happened. Absolutely. Who ignored the teasing. After all, they were there, on the bridge, when it happened.
They were there.
Even the beeping of consoles stopped. Even breathing stopped.
It would become the stuff of legend; whispered in corridors, muttered in the mess hall, analysed clinically in Astrometrics.
But only those on the bridge, only those who heard it would know. Absolutely.
And those on the bridge merely gaped as she stood, ordered repairs, failed in her attempt to not look embarrassed, and fled to her sanctity of her ready room.
Where many a Starfleet Captain had hidden before.
As the doors whooshed shut, the room gulped. Then breathed. Then laughed, nervously.
Voyager's First Officer stood from his seat, and walked to her ready room.
Janeway was already gulping down the remnants of a freshly replicated cup of coffee. Swallowing quickly and knowing that not letting him in would cause even more embarrassment, she sat in her chair, placing the cup on her desk. "Yes?"
Predictably, Chakotay strode in, both of them trying to ignore the snickering that followed him in. Thankfully, when the doors closed behind him the snickering died a sudden and very ugly death.
Kathryn smiled, clenching her teeth together. "How can I help you Commander?"
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, thank you."
Chakotay lightened his expression. "Then may I ask...?"
"What?" She asked, hoping like hell that he'd get the hint and just *shut up*.
"You swore, Kathryn."
No, of course not. Of course he'd get the hint and ignore it completely. That *was* his job, wasn't it? "You're quite correct," She informed him diplomatically. "I did swear, Chakotay. However, I don't plan on making it a common event. It's nothing to be worried about."
He moved a step closer to her desk. "Normally I'd agree."
"It's really not that a big issue," Kathryn insisted, just wanting to be alone with her coffee and her headache.
"Really?" He questioned, smiling a little.
"Yes," She answered confidently.
"Then what is a big issue?" He moved closer still. "Is it a woman who squirms in her seat for three hours with a thumping headache, determined not to let anyone know and not get it treated? Is it a woman who clenches and grinds her teeth together, muttering ugly thoughts to herself and not expressing that to anyone? Is it a woman who is so embarrassed at slipping up - at simply swearing - that she runs off the bridge into her ready room? Is that a big issue?"
If he was trying to help, he was failing miserably. Her headache was getting worse. "I simply swore, Chakotay. That's all."
"That's not all," He smiled. "You swore. You displayed a genuine emotion and didn't try to suppress it. Do you have any idea how much of a relief that is? And you're so embarrassed by it. True, I don't think you should swear in front of the crew on a regular basis, but there's nothing wrong with it."
Her eyes had glazed over somewhere along the way. "Thank you for your thoughts, Chakotay. Now if you don't mind-"
"Do it again."
"Do it again. Swear."
She almost laughed. "I don't think so."
"Why?" He asked, finally sitting down opposite her. "Too embarrassed? Don't think you could? Don't think you're up to it?"
Sitting back in her chair, she crossed her arms over her chest. "If you think this puerile attempt to get me to swear just to amuse you is going to work-"
"It might amuse me. But that's not the main reason for doing it."
She wasn't about to ask. But she could leave her ready room. Standing, she stepped around her desk and headed towards the exit. Kathryn was a few feet from the doorway when he spoke.
Frozen, then blinking, she swivelled to face him. He was standing now, smiling.
"Excuse me?" She queried incredulously.
"Shit," He repeated. "It's just a swear word, Kathryn. It's not the end of the world."
"I don't believe this."
"Come on," Chakotay goaded happily. "Is it really so much to ask? I'm not leaving until you do it. I'll follow you onto the bridge. I'll follow you anywhere."
She'd known that for a long time, although never quite in these circumstances. She was almost tempted, just to get rid of him. "Chakotay..."
"You'll feel better for it. That's the whole point of swearing, isn't it? To get out some of your anger and frustration. It's just another form of relaxation."
"I really don't think it's a form of relaxation the Doctor would recommend."
Placing her hands on her hips, she rolled her eyes. Fine, fine. She really wasn't in the mood to continue arguing. She tried not to acknowledge how strange that was in itself. Sighing, she spoke. "Shit."
Chakotay smiled. "And...?"
"Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." She was actually feeling better.
"And...and this is a really shitty life, isn't it? I mean when the ship was first launched it was the height of Starfleet technology. Bio-neural gel packs. Sustainable cruise of Warp 9.975 - and why do we never travel at that speed, anyway? Something is always breaking down. Inertial dampners are always going off-line. And coffee! I live on coffee! I never use what few replicator rations I have for anything else - like food. Yet I must be. I must be eating otherwise I'd be dead! Christ, this is a really shitty life. Who would choose to live like this?"
Chakotay shrugged, watching as she paced. "Well,-"
"Don't," She ordered, walking towards him. "Don't you dare say this is how you'd choose to live. This is how you are living. This is what you know you have to deal with, so you might as well try to be happy. That's who you are, Chakotay. I can't do that."
"Because I'm Captain Janeway. I'm the daughter of Edward and Gretchen Janeway. I live for coffee. I say 'do it'. I always put my hands on my hips. I'm fascinated by scientific phenomena. I work too many hours. I don't get enough sleep. I don't eat enough-"
"And you're also Kathryn Janeway," Chakotay countered. "My best friend. You play pool with Tom Paris. You teach Seven about humanity, about compassion. Every decision you've ever made weighs on your conscience. You still miss Kes. You participate in holoprogrammes, whether it's as Arachnia or Katie O'Clare. You performed ballet at talent night. You-"
"I'm not her. I can't be her."
"Why can't you be both?"
She opened her mouth to respond, when- "Shit."
"Yes, shit. My headache is gone." She poked a finger towards him. "This is all your fault."
"I hope so." He was looking entirely too pleased with himself.
Her finger moved towards the doorway. "That's it. Get out."
"Why? So you can be left alone with your coffee and the headache that will no doubt return?"
"Okay," He responded easily, then brushed by her and walked out of her ready room.
Momentarily stunned, she blinked for a few moments. Well, okay. That was good.
Picking up her cup, she recycled it in the replicator, trying not to think about the things he'd said. He really did have the most annoying knack-
Somehow she just knew this wasn't going to be good.
"Yes?" She asked, still standing next to the replicator.
Chakotay walked in. Tom walked in. B'Elanna walked in. Harry walked in. Ayala walked in. Sam walked in.
They stood in front of her desk, turned towards her.
"Don't you dare," She whispered, knowing where this was going.
They did. Never had she heard such a vast collection of swear words.
They had just passed the ten second mark when she shook her head, and stampeded out of her ready room. As soon as the door closed she ordered "Computer; seal the doors to my ready room. Authorisation Janeway-Lamda 2."
The computer beeped. "Confirmed."
Hearing someone thump on the ready room doors, she smiled in satisfaction. Turning away, she saw that the bridge was empty save for herself and Tuvok, who stood at his usual station.
She nodded towards him as she headed towards her chair. "Commander."
He nodded back. "Captain."
God, she loved Vulcans.
After three seconds of sitting in her chair, she heard Tuvok speak.
"He does have a point, Captain."
Kathryn shook her head. "Shit!"
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