Disclaimer - Paramount own all characters, yadda yadda yadda.
This is set at the end of series one.
This is part one of a series I've yet to title…
"And B'Elanna reports that engine efficiency is down by another five per cent." Chakotay handed the PADD to Janeway who sighed as he sat down opposite her.
"We're getting seriously low on reserves." she commented, frowning.
"Only on fuel reserves. We still have plenty of food. Speaking of which, are you going?"
She rested the PADD on her desk with her right hand, then sipped her coffee with her left. He tried not to smile as she sighed with satisfaction.
"No. I don't think that my appearance would be a particularly...relaxing occurrence for the crew."
"Really? You know Captain, the crew are far more eager to interact with you than you imagine."
That caught her attention and she leant forward. "They are? I know that we're taught to keep a certain distance, but we are in a unique situation."
"Very unique." he added, nodding as he smiled.
She leant back in her chair again, sipping her coffee thoughtfully. Finally she made her decision.
"I don't think I'll go this time. Maybe next."
There was something about the tone of her voice that was bothering him. "What is it?"
Janeway looked baffled. "What is what?"
"You're hiding something."
"I am not..."
"Captain, I've been your First Officer for eight months now. I'd like to think I've got to know you pretty well, and..."
"And?" she asked, eyebrows raised to emphasise her interest.
"And my gut tells me you're hiding something." he finished.
She stared at him blankly. "Your gut?"
He smiled again. "Never underestimate the power of instinct Captain. I would have thought you'd know that already."
This time she smiled. "Actually, I do. It's just that it's rather embarrassing." she admitted.
"How so?" His curiosity was peeked, and his grin widened as she actually blushed slightly. It was very endearing.
"I can't actually dance."
"What do you mean you can't dance? I know that you can do ballet..."
"But that's all." she informed him. "I don't know why...but for some reason I was never taught how to just dance. Somehow I don't think ballet would be appropriate for Neelix's little party."
"Maybe not, but it would be interesting." he added.
Janeway stood and walked towards the windows in her ready room. Examining the stars warping past she muttered, almost to herself. "Who knows? Maybe someday the crew will get to see my performance of the Dying Swan."
"Now that would definitely raise morale, even more than Neelix's party."
Turning quickly she looked at him in the chair. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to help me?"
"Yes. Help me." It was almost a plea.
"Why do you assume that I know how to dance?" he replied, suddenly finding her ready room quite confining.
Janeway took a step forward. She appeared genuinely concerned. "You do, don't you?"
What else could he say? "Well, yes."
"Good. So are you going to teach me or not?"
"Alright. Let's say we meet in the holodeck at 1900 hours."
"Agreed." She stepped back down from the windows, hands behind her back. "You had me worried there for a moment Commander. I thought I was going to have to make it an order."
"I can see it now." he told her, then launched into a half-decent impression of her voice. "Commander, I order you to teach me the foxtrot."
Janeway laughed as she sat back down. "This is what you do in your spare time?"
"Only because I was in astrophysics the other day. One of the Ensign's there has just started impersonating your voice. She says that cataloguing all the anomalies we come across can be quite boring. Actually, I wanted to talk to you about her anyway. I think she's due for a promotion..."
He watched her as she moved to the music with her dance partner. Moving forward he told her "You're right. You're an awful dancer."
She stopped looking at her feet momentarily to glare up at him. "Tell me something constructive Commander - not something I know." Janeway then immediately returned to staring at her feet.
Chakotay found the whole situation hilarious, but Kathryn Janeway didn't.
"How can you be so good at ballet but so bad at this?"
That stopped her cold. Almost wrenching her arms away from her holographic partner she spoke to him in a shocked voice. "I'm glad you brought that up again. How did you know that I took ballet lessons?"
"It's in your personnel file." he answered, pursing his lips.
"You read my personnel file?"
"Didn't you read mine?" he countered.
Janeway actually looked flustered. "Well...yes. But that was because you were a criminal that I had been assigned to bring in."
"Thank you for reminding me."
Janeway sighed and visibly relaxed. "I'm sorry for snapping at you. I just want to..."
"...learn how to dance?" he asked innocently.
She glared at him. "That to."
He cocked his head slightly. "Computer, delete holographic character." The computer immediately complied and the man vanished. He took in her questioning look. "If you want to learn to dance properly, you're going to need a real partner."
Nodding grudgingly, she indicated for him to start.
"Captain, you're trying to lead again."
"I'm aware of that Commander."
"Then would you please stop?"
Janeway laughed again, and Chakotay realised that he was getting used to the sound. In fact he wanted to hear it every day for the rest of his existence. Not really aware of what he was doing, he once again showed her the movements she should be making with her feet as his thoughts filled with his confusion.
When had this happened? How had she become such an integral part of his life? He knew he'd always respected her and always enjoyed her company, but he hadn't thought anything else of her. Until now.
This was the side of her that few people saw. The clumsy woman with a knack for treading on his toes. The woman who adored coffee. The woman who, more than anything else, wanted to see her dog again.
Chakotay hadn't seen her this giddy since he'd introduced her to her spirit guide.
He was quite amazed by how much she had opened up to him today. Most of the time she was the confident leader, but this afternoon she had shown her insecurity and nervousness at learning how to dance. He felt so good that he could help her, that he could ease her burden.
Even so, he hoped to see this side of her more often. He would be lying to himself if he didn't admit that he liked seeing her slightly out of control.
"Janeway to Chakotay."
He snapped out of his reverie. "Pardon?"
She was obviously trying not to smile. "Are you awake Commander? Sorry if I'm boring you."
"I apologise Captain." He said, thanking the spirits that he hadn't accidentally called her Kathryn. "My mind was just wandering."
"Wandering to anything interesting?"
"Oh nothing you'd be interested in, I'm sure. I'm a pretty boring man."
"Somehow I doubt that Commander." She replied cryptically, then smiled again. She definitely seemed happy about something...
Chakotay suddenly realised they'd stopped moving. "We're not dancing." He stated rather obviously.
"No, we're not. Shall we continue? I want to know more than one dance before we head to the party."
He was only too happy to help.
"Rust?" The disbelief in her voice was palatable.
<beginning of 'The 37's'>