Disclaimer - Yeah, I guess Paramount own them.
Sorry Claire. This isn't quite what you were hoping for. But I may write a sequel...
Tom swore as the console he was working on fizzled. Shaking his hand in what was the universal cure-all for any kind of injury, he frowned.
Working to the side in Astrometrics, Seven approached. "Are you injured Lieutenant?"
"Nah, I'm okay," He assured her, as well as the Captain and Commander who were working at another console. "I am going to have a look at that though..."
Reassured, everyone returned to their duties. Tom found the engineering kit, grabbed a tool, and lowered himself until he was lying under the console.
Chakotay's hands moved confidently, separating out sensor readings. "Sensors show...high levels of dilithium." He sent a wry grin Kathryn's way. "And no civilisation of any kind."
"Excellent," She responded, pleased. "Then no one will mind if we help ourselves to a little dilithium."
"Well, the locals might."
Janeway frowned. "Locals? I thought you said-"
"Animals, Kathryn. A few indigenous life forms, but it looks like nothing that could be classified as sentient."
Amused, she grinned wryly herself and was about to respond when-
Tom's voice, muted by the console between him and the other occupants on the room, filtered through. "Hmm. Indigenous life forms." He paused, deliberately. "Any monkeys?"
No response. From anyone. Until Seven frowned, paused her work to study the legs sticking out from under the console, and spoke. "Monkeys?"
"Sure, Seven." Paris replied, grunting a little with the exertion of doing something unknown. "Don't you know about the whole monkey thing?"
She continued studying his legs, arching an eyebrow. "I was unaware of the existence of a 'whole monkey thing'. Explain."
He chuckled. "Well-"
"Paris," Chakotay's voice interrupted. "I suggest you shut up before I do something to you that will ensure we won't be hearing anything from deck nine, section twelve for a very long time."
Rather surprised, Seven turned her gaze towards the Captain and Commander, both of whom looked quite uncomfortable with the situation.
"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," Paris continued, unheeding. "Well, it's best to get it straight from the source. I only have second...actually, third hand information."
"Speaking of which," Janeway began, breaking her silence. "How do *you* know about the 'whole monkey thing?'" She walked towards him, passing the others. "As far as I know, neither of us have ever mentioned the monkey."
"To anyone," Chakotay confirmed.
Shuffling along, Paris' head finally popped out from under the console. "Ah, come on Chakotay. You know as well as anyone that a Maquis can never reveal their sources."
"You're hardly a Maquis."
Tom chuckled. "Yeah, well neither are you these days."
It was Seven of all people who stepped in. "This discussion is irrelevant. I merely asked about the 'monkey' situation. I did not ask you to specify anyone's role aboard Voyager."
Sighing, Janeway placed her left hand on her hip and rubbed her other hand over her forehead. God, she could feel the headache building already... "Fine. Seven - about four years ago - before you came on board - Chakotay and I were infected with a virus. The nature of the virus meant that to survive it we had to remain on the planet where we were infected. As the Doctor was unable to find a cure within a few weeks, Voyager continued its journey home without us." She paused, barely stopping her gaze from sliding towards Chakotay. "We were there for several months in the end, before they returned with a cure. During those several months we encountered a monkey."
"Kathryn liked the monkey," Chakotay volunteered. "In fact, you might say she became a little too fond of it..."
Not appreciating his input, Janeway now placed both hands on her hips.
"She preferred the monkey's company to yours?" Seven asked, with a small amount of incredulity.
"That's right," Janeway confirmed on his behalf. "I thought I might get a little more intelligence out of the monkey."
Paris snorted, completely out from under the console, but sitting on the floor.
Janeway ignored his reaction, stepping around him and Seven to approach Chakotay. "In fact," She stopped scant inches in front of him and raised her chin. "I was planning on teaching the monkey to fly the shuttle in case we ever needed to use it. God knows we didn't want Bad Luck Charm here losing another one."
Seven continued watching, stunned.
Paris giggled to himself.
Chakotay flared his nostrils. "Well at least the monkey didn't waste our energy reserves replicating eight hundred cups of coffee."
She gaped at him. "I told you that was for-"
"Don't lie to me Kathryn. I checked the replicator logs."
"You were checking up on-" Her shock faded away for a moment, as a memory returned. Several, in fact. "You checked the replicator logs."
"That's right. Which means I also know about some other interesting items."
"Oh big deal," She retorted sarcastically. "So, Captain Janeway replicated herself a vibrator or two. What's the matter Chakotay? Worried you can't fight the opposition?"
Paris was actually stunned into silence.
Seven actually stuttered. "C-Captain..."
Seeming to realise how far she had gone in front of her crew - her *crew* - Kathryn stopped. Then glanced at the two shocked observers.
Then didn't look at Chakotay.
Then said "Excuse me for being human."
Tom felt as if he should have passed out thirty seconds ago. Fortunately he hadn't. "Man, if I'd known what kind of reaction the monkey reference would have had, I would have used it years ago!"
Chakotay didn't even glare at him. Chakotay didn't even look at him.
Seven said nothing but quickly left the room, leaving the two men alone.
Chakotay turned back towards the console and tried to work.
Pursing his lips together, Tom pulled himself up from the floor and studied the older man. Well, well... "Your hands are shaking."
The hands in question clenched, quickly. "She pissed me off."
Tom blinked. Well, the old man really *was* pissed. These were the days you had to make logs of. Landmark days. Days to remember. "Why?"
"If you think for a single second that I'm going to open up and have a heart-to-heart with you..."
"Christ, the way you say 'you' makes it sound like I've got some disgusting flatulence problem. Not that I don't - well according to B'Elanna anyway."
Chakotay said nothing, still working at doing nothing while looking like he was doing something.
Paris took the initiative. Resting his hip against a console, he leant towards Chakotay a little and spoke quietly. "You know you're actually making progress. You want to know why?"
A hand paused over a console, before continuing.
Tom pressed on. "Because this is one the days when she admits she's human. Human, fallible, desiring. This is one of those days. They're rare - very rare - but when they do happen, it really is something for the photo album."
Chakotay didn't look up as he spoke. "I'm not the one making progress. It was only your comment about the monkey that got anywhere."
"You've never mentioned it before, even in passing?"
A hand stopped.
"You see a lot, Paris. You're a hell of a lot more intuitive than most people give you credit for."
Convinced that he had just been transported to an alternate universe, Tom blinked and checked his surroundings for versions of Janeway who hated coffee, or Neelix's who were actually good at cooking. Finding none, he came to the unsettling realisation that this Chakotay - this Chakotay - was actually saying those words to him. "Now you're just trying to make me blush."
"But you don't know about this," Chakotay continued flatly, stampeding over Tom's ego boost with a single blow.
"It's a little late in the day for anything to happen."
Smirking, Tom leant towards him again. "So get over it, Chakotay. Get over her. You've had plenty of time to do it." A rare, sincere smile touched his features. "You know you're actually better at hiding it than you used to be. Better at covering up how you really feel, despite all this time, despite all that's happened. But every now and then...whenever she risks herself for some ridiculously noble gesture that is absolutely unnecessary ...I can see it again." Shaking his head he stepped away. "You're both too noble for your own good, and for all the wrong reasons." With that last thought, he began to walk away.
Chakotay's voice stopped him.
"The worst part wasn't even what she replicated."
Paris peered over his own shoulder for a moment, then turned fully to study the man who was staring up at the Astrometrics screen but not seeing a thing. "It wasn't?"
"Of course not. I mean...why shouldn't she?"
"True enough, I guess. So what was the worst part?"
"I was jealous of a monkey," Chakotay admitted, shaking his own head. "Do you have any idea of what it was like? Being on that planet with a woman I...with Kathryn, and she spends more time with a monkey than with me? More time with a primate than the only other living humanoid? She made me jealous of a monkey. How pathetic is that?"
Yeah, that'd probably sting a little. Walking back towards Chakotay, Paris paused and turned until he was facing him. "You wanna hear something really pathetic?"
Chakotay finally looked at him. "Okay."
Tom braced himself, but forced it out. "I'm jealous of Vorik all the time."
The Commander blinked, several times. "Seriously?"
"Seriously. I mean...he gets to work with B'Elanna all the time. Just about the only time I get to see her when we're on-duty is in a meeting or on the bridge occasionally - and even then we're not working together as a team. I love the way her mind works when she's working; she's so damn clever that half the time she just blows me away. And that...Vulcan...gets to work with her every single day."
"You get to sleep with her every single night," Chakotay pointed out.
"Hey, don't think I don't know I'm getting the better end of the deal here," Paris agreed "But I would like to spend more time with her on-duty. Unfortunately our jobs don't always allow for it."
Chakotay nodded, sombre. "Duty doesn't allow for much."
Recognising the mood, Paris threw a friendly "I'm not gay" arm around Chakotay's waist. "Tell you what, old man. How 'bout I buy you a drink?"
Chakotay looked at the console. Looked at his hands. "Okay."
Pleased, Paris grinned. "Great! Sandrines it is."
Together they turned away from the consoles. As they walked towards the exit and the door opened, Tom studied Chakotay. "You know, this could be the beginning of a-"
"Don't even think about it."
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