Simply a smile.
Captain Kathryn Janeway was smiling.
The Doctor and Neelix were "having the time of their lives" views were flying back and forth between the ambassadors of the two worlds Voyager had most recently encountered.
Neelix's idea to use Voyager as a "neutral meeting ground" had gone down well with the foreign ministers from each world. In fact, it the meeting had gone so well that they'd resolved the major issues involving the worlds.
Now the only debate was which world would host the "inter-world singing contest."
Neelix was overjoyed to have fellow ambassadors on board Voyager and the fact he'd helped set up the meeting, meant that he'd be insufferable for the near future. The Doctor, well the fact that singing and contest were the two main words on the agenda meant a very, very, contented hologram.
Between them Neeilx and the Doctor had managed to "capture" Chakotay, Kathryn had been watching for a little while considering going to his aid but she'd been "cornered" by Tom Paris, Kathryn watched as Chakotay patiently listen as each was trying to outdo the other in explaining the intricacies of the competition to her cornered first officer.
Kathryn felt for him having previously been shown a rough draft of the rules, of which Kathryn had not been able to make head or tail of. In fact, even Seven had struggled to understand them.
Nevertheless, for some reason both the Doctor and Neelix had found it remarkably easy to not only understand the rules but also felt confident enough to offer suggestion to the visiting ministers.
In addition, sadly as Chakotay was finding to his cost they also considered it their role to explain the rules to the crewmembers of Voyager who'd foolishly admitted they didn't quite understand.
Unfortunately, Chakotay had not been as cautious as the rest of the command crew, he'd been overheard to say in conversation with Sam Wildman that he didn't understand the subtleties of the competition.
As yet, another poor unwitting soul was captured by the "dynamic duo." Chakotay saw his chance and tried to escape, turning slowly away from the group.
Kathryn turned her head just as Chakotay glanced over in her direction, his eyes smiled, but his expression remained totally professional.
Kathryn wanted to smile back, but she could not return the gesture. They were after all on duty, senior officers on board a federation star ship that had just made a successful first contact.
to share the smile and all if offered.
Kathryn forced herself to return her attention to Tom who was still putting across an eloquent case for using Voyager for the competition, and of course his role as host for the evening.
Moments such as those just confirmed to Kathryn how much they'd come to rely on the support she and Chakotay gave each other.
Sometimes Kathryn wondered how she'd have managed if she still had Cavitt as her first officer. Not that she'd ever of wished him harm, but she couldn't imagine this journey without Chakotay. He was more than a first officer, although at that, as so many other things he was excellent, something else she hadn't expected. Oh yes she'd expected him to be competent but to excel, No.
But he did, somehow he made the two crews into one, he even managed to get the Captain to eat sometimes.
He was; what exactly he was to her she'd never quantified even to herself.
And never to him.
Chakotay gave her an objective view, even when it differed from her own. Nevertheless, out here alone so far from the restraining hand of Starfleet she was relieved to have such a man as her first officer, and best friend. She just couldn't, as she'd once been bold enough to tell him imagine a day without him.
Yet again Kathryn felt her eyes returning to meet his, as if magnets attracted each toward the other. Both seeking reassurance, and to tap into the unspoken support they gave each other.
As their eyes meet yet again, Kathryn's heart smiled.
Of course, no one knew why she was smiling, no one that is but the other half of her soul, and the fact Chakotay's heart was smiling too, made her smile even more.
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