Her eyes sprang open from the deep sleep that had overtaken her. She looked around; the room was darkened, the only light coming from the distant stars around her. It was once again that magic time… that time when she came to life.
She stretched her arms wide, breathing in the freshness around her. It was so wonderful that this was her time! Here she was, surrounded by the fragrant branches, soft and cradling. Oh, yes; this was the life! Even though it came but once a year, she loved the lights and the color… and all the other ornaments on the Christmas tree with her.
There was that lovely little angel, that always stood above all the rest, with a golden glow that came from within. Two teddy bears. There was even that starship on the other side of the tree, a ship that she remembered well from some other incarnation.
Even with all her friends around her, she had always felt that something was missing… something from another part of her. Tonight, however, she felt the presence of something…someone new close by her. A new ornament! They had put a new ornament on the tree! Well, she had to find out where that ornament was; after all, even as a Christmas tree ornament, she was still Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager.
She climbed over a couple of brushy branches, asking the little lamb and the golden bell if they knew of an addition to their group.
The bell sweetly tinkled, "I have heard of a new ornament halfway down the tree, on the other side. But it will be quite a journey."
"Hmmm. Well, my scientific curiosity won't let me rest until I find it," she answered firmly.
Onward she went. The branches were getting firmer and supported the weight of her construction better, but the needles were thicker, and the branches longer. The brightly colored lights helped her see her path, and their radiant energy warmed her in the coolness of the wintry room. She traded pleasantries with each of the three older men making their annual journey; there were the dog and the cat, still scowling after each other; the silvery bird with the blue feathered tail, always poised and ready to take flight; and the gilded mushroom with its red cap covered with white polka dots, looking more strange than anything she could ever remember in those atrocious concoctions that Neelix made.
Spherical and oblong and hexagonal shapes with metallic finishes and tinseled adornments filled the spaces within the full branches. She Twisted and turned her lithe body, ever determined to find her quest.
I am going to be at the bottom of the tree very soon, she thought, displeased that she still had not found the new addition to the arboreal community. Then, just when she thought all was in vain, she saw a form new to the collection. It stood tall and straight, with its back to her. But… she knew that figure; she would have known it anywhere… in any universe… any reality. The figure wore the same colors that she did, but it was taller than she, with wider shoulders and short, thick black hair covering its head. Arms hung straight down its sides from ample shoulders; long legs with firm thighs supported the broad body. Yes… it had to be… it couldn't be anyone else…
"Chakotay?" she asked in her low voice.
The new figure turned, and if there had been any doubt before, the face that greeted hers wiped it away. Dark eyes reflecting the glow of the surrounding lights met hers, and that captivating smile spoke back.
"Kathryn? Is that you?"
"When did you get here?" she asked, moving closer, still not believing her eyes.
"They brought me here today," he smiled back. "They said something that it was about time that they made a figure of me."
"I couldn't agree more," she smirked, climbing over the branch in between them. He reached over, helping her manage the distance. "But why do you think they put us so far apart on the tree?"
"Well, hasn't that always been the case? And in this house, I wouldn't expect anything else."
"Oh? And why is that?" she asked, now placing her hand on his firm chest.
"We're on Brannon Braga's Christmas tree," he answered back. "Now… if this were Jeri Taylor's house… or Klink's... or even Menosky's… I'll bet things would have been different."
She laughed heartily. "You are so right with that! Why, I'll bet if ole BB knew that we were standing next to each other, he'd have a conniption fit! This never fit into his plans for us!"
"But… we're not there anymore; we're here." He started stroking her soft hair.
"Mmmmm…" she allowed. "You're right. And here is different; we can finally do all those things that he never let us do there."
"How did you find me?" he murmured, as she put her arms around his sinewy neck.
"I just knew," she said. "Like I've always known, but haven't been allowed to follow."
"So what are we going to do about it?" he asked, his hands gently massaging her underarms.
"Well, we've come this far… how about climbing off this tree… and finding something more comfortable?"
"Captain… I thought you'd never ask!"
"Yes… well, let me see," said Kathryn, as she surveyed the situation. "It looks like we could move over there, where a tall present it almost level with the tree. We could scale the ribbon around the box, and that should get us to the floor."
"You're on," he said, grabbing her hand and leading them over to the box that was wrapped in metallic red paper, with a firm wide gold ribbon securing it. "I'll lead the way," he continued, as they got to the rectangular edifice.
Chakotay slid down the slippery surface, and waited for her at the bottom. "Piece of cake," he quipped. "Just like shooting through a vortex!"
"Oh, sure… when we got our tail singed!" she commented, as she started her descent.
"Mmmmm… well, that tail looks mighty good to me!" he remarked, a wicked smirk on his face as he watched her twist her way down.
Just before she reached the bottom of the ribbon, a pine needle fell and grazed her hands.
"Ohhhhh!" she cried, losing her grip and falling into his waiting arms.
"Well," he said smiling down at her gathered up form cupped in his arms, "this is the best Christmas present I've ever gotten."
"So… are you going to unwrap me?" she purred back at him.
"With the greatest of pleasure," he said, gently placing her on the thick velvet tree skirt underneath them and slowly starting to pull off her top.
"I demand equal rights," she said, reaching towards him to do likewise.
"Mmmm… there's a slight charge for this gift unwrapping service," he whispered, bringing his full lips down to hers.
"And I suppose you'll want some change, too?" she smiled, as she rose to meet him.
He didn't respond, their lips sealing any other words.
They pulled apart, only to stiffen at hearing a noise from the floor above them.
"He knows!" she said in horror. "He's coming down to separate us again!"
"No… no; you're just imagining it," he said, soothing her. "It's the wind blowing; you've forgotten how these wooden houses react to wind."
She began to relax a bit, and laughed. "You're probably right. After all those years, when we would almost make it, and then he'd come in with a damned re-write or, worse yet, edit out some beautiful scene… I guess I'm a little paranoid."
"Shhh," he said. We're here now; we don't have to worry about their precious rules and regulations and ratings; we can do want we want… what we need… to do."
"And we can write our own scripts and say the words that should have been said…"
"And do the things that should have been done," he said, completing his earlier task of removing her tunic jacket.
"My, Commander; I do believe that you're overdressed," she stated, as she quickly relieved him of his outer garb.
He continued thinning out the coverings on her body. "I think that you'll find this velvet underneath us a lot more comfortable that these uniforms."
"Anything but these horrible uniforms!" she uttered, hurriedly peeling off his bulky pants of. "Oh, yes; this is much better!" she continued, her now bare skin luxuriating in the cushioning plushness of the velvet.
"Much more comfortable," he said, allowing the burnished skin of his body to finally caress the pinkness of hers. He lowered his head to the curve of her neck, and blew warming breaths on her now-cool skin. The breaths rapidly became hungry lips, welcoming the long-denied delicacy of her flesh. She moaned softly, as he savored the forbidden taste.
Kathryn's hands were exploring every nuance and crevice of his back with a touch that was interested in learning all the details of this surface so long taboo. Up and down she went, feeling the soft tautness of his shoulders.. his back... his buttocks. Her own body was beginning to take on its own tension, for his wondrous mouth had once again found hers.
It was an urgent mission. Their repressed emotions had catapulted as quickly as any unseen alien attack, and struck with the ferocity of the Borg. But they were the commanding officers, after all; they were used to making swift decisions.
"Commander, I do believe that your torpedo is fully loaded," she whispered into his ear. "Won't you come into my ready room?"
"Your wish is my command," he barely spoke, easing himself into a position to launch. "Permission to come aboard..."
The doors to her ready room opened, with a warm hospitality that he had only dreamed of. She welcomed him in her tight embrace, completed encircling him with her readied chamber.
The invasion exercise continued at a rapid pace, reaching an explosive conclusion. The silence of the night filled with the aftermath of their sounds that accompanied the detonation.
Finally, he spoke. "Mission completed," he smiled.
"Perhaps," she grinned back. "I think that the timing might have been a little bit off. I would propose another drill, just to make sure that we know that we can execute this operation a second time. After all, if it is to become part of our SOP, we want to make certain that all systems are go at all times."
"Absolutely," he agreed. "I'm sure that the torpedo launcher could be readied again shortly. But I may need some help in its preparation..."
"A captain is always willing to help in any way possible," she smiled as she rolled him over onto his back and began preliminary work on the big gun.
He closed his eyes and let her continue. "Mmmmm.... Kathryn, you do have a way with er... ordinance tools..."
"Yes, but I'm a little rusty in my skills. I'm going to have to practice..."
"Practice away," he moaned, quickly rearming his firing device.
"Hmmm... this torpedo looks like it should be put into a safe place," she said hushed tones. She straddled his body, allowing the now fully armed device seek out the place of warmth and moisture that she provided for its safekeeping.
He sighed with contented comfort, "It's a pleasure to serve under you, ma'am." And his body began rising in rhythm to meet her in her movements.
The air of the room, softly illuminated with multicolored twinkles of sparkling lights above, continued to be filled with the barely audible noises from among the presents underneath the tree. As the pale rays of the early morning winter sun began to peek through the window, the sated pair awoke.
"Oh, my. Just look at us!" she exclaimed.
"I am," he smiled back.
"No... I mean, this will never do! What will happen if he finds us like this?"
"He'll finally understand what thousands said all along... that we should be together."
Suddenly, there were sounds of stirrings from the floor above.
"He's awake," she said. "We really should present a more um... proper picture."
"Back to protocol again, Kathryn? After all that last night?"
She quickly kissed him. "No, it will never be back to anything after last night, But... well, we really should get dressed..."
"You're right," he agreed, as they reluctantly pulled apart, searching for all the little pieces of their uniforms. They scrambled into the clothing and quickly clambered up the branches, just as they heard footsteps galloping down the stairs.
The host of the house was looking at his lovely Christmas tree, aglow with all the lights and tinsel and treasured ornaments. He leaned down to look at his most recent addition, the attentive and pensive-faced figure of Voyager's first officer.
Only the face was no longer serious, and the stance was not so vigilant. For there, right there on his Christmas tree, was the figure of Chakotay smiling down on the figure of Kathryn Janeway, with her not-so-captain-like body cradled in his outreaching arms. Her grin was just as telling, and her perfect hair was in quite a disheveled disarray. Her legs were slung out over his arms, one of them teasingly kicking out a foot that was without a stocking or boot.
The host reached down with a loud gasp, snatching the duo ornament from the tree.
"No!" he cried out. "This is NOT the way I want it!"
He grabbed at the figure of the woman, attempting to pull her away. But she remained fast and secure in her position in the man's arms, smiling with a satisfied frozen expression.
The large human was beginning to rant.
"This can't be... no!.... never!....I won't allow it....never! No...NO...NOOOOO..." he screamed, his voice raising in pitch with each outburst.
The local residents looked out of their homes in the elegant California neighborhood, into the early hours of the bright Christmas morning. It had finally happened... Braga had lost it. The emergency vehicle and its attendants were now on their way with the demented man. Perhaps he could be helped. Tsk, tsk... all the strain of these last few years...it was bound to happen... after all those letter campaigns and internet blasts and constant badgerings by hormonally imbalanced fans....
Poor man... yes, perhaps he would get better...