As Time Goes By


By Diane

Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chakotay gratefully dropped down on the sofa as he let his gaze wander across the living room. A tired smile crossed his face as he recalled the morning's hectic activities, still in evidence from the torn wrappings lying across the floor, and the toys now haphazardly placed under the Christmas tree.

With a relieved sigh, he slowly swung his legs up onto the sofa and lowered himself onto his back. A quiet moan escaped as he settled into the cushions, and he seriously doubted his bones could ache any more than they already did. He decided to just lie there for a while, and to try and forget that he was suffering from the worst cold of his life on one of the busiest days of the year.

But just as more pleasant thoughts began to surface, he was caught off guard by a sudden sneezing fit. Grabbing a tissue from a nearby box, Chakotay blew into it, then looked with mild disgust at the mini-recycler on the table beside him. Leaning over, he dropped the tissue into it, then pressed the button and watched the small piece of material dematerialise. With careful movements, he tried to settle back into a comfortable position, preferably one that didn't aggravate his aching bones.

"Here, try this."

Chakotay looked up to see Kathryn walk into the room, a steaming cup of something in her hand.

"What is it?" he asked, moving a leg to allow her to sit alongside him, before suspiciously eyeing the concoction she handed him.

"The Doctor suggested it. He said it would help your aches and pains and should clear some of the congestion."

Chakotay raised an eyebrow then frowned as he took a quick sniff. "He expects me to drink this?"

"All of it," Kathryn replied. Chakotay hid a smile as he brought the cup to his lips, hearing some of the old command tone creep into her voice.

"I find it amazing," he began between gulps, "that we can cure all sorts of life threatening diseases, yet no-one can find a cure for the common cold." He heard her chuckle, a sound he found he never seemed to tire of, as he swallowed the last remaining drops before passing the cup back to her. "And you think they could at least make it taste a little better," he continued.

"You're worse than the children," Kathryn laughed as she began to rise. "And you should try to get some sleep, maybe you'll feel like some Christmas dinner with the rest of us after a little more rest."

Eyes flying open, Chakotay grabbed onto Kathryn's arm and pulled her back down, ignoring the pain that shot through him.

"Dinner? I can't believe I forgot all about dinner. How long before everyone arrives?" Grasping the back of the sofa, he managed to drag himself into a sitting position, though thought it pertinent to remain there until his head stopped spinning.

"Chakotay, what are you doing?" Kathryn's fingers were wrapped securely around his wrists, trying to prevent him from moving any further.

He looked at her blankly, amazingly surprised that she appeared so calm. "You didn't cancel did you?"

"No, of course not. You've plenty of time to rest before everyone starts arriving. And I'll take care of dinner."

Chakotay grinned and began to relax again, allowing Kathryn to push him back into the comfort of the cushions. "So who's bringing dinner with them? Phoebe or your mom?"

"Neither," Kathryn frowned. "I'd hardly invite everyone for Christmas dinner and then expect them to bring it themselves."

He watched as she stood, gathering the piles of wrapping paper scattered throughout the room, and frowned when she didn't continue. "You really are cooking dinner?"

Kathryn turned, towering over Chakotay's prone position, hands instinctively settling on her hips. "Are you implying something commander?"

"Kathryn, you never cook."

"That doesn't mean I can't," she immediately responded.

"No, but... "

"But what?"

Chakotay sighed, realising he was just digging himself in deeper with every comment he made.

"You have to admit, you rarely cook, Kathryn. And when you do... well... it's usually so long between attempts that it doesn't usually..." he paused, "go as planned. Last year's effort is a case in point."

"Maybe," she admitted, "but I'll use the replicator to help me. I know you and Mom usually prepare the meal from scratch, but we'll just have to make do this year."

Managing to sit up again, Chakotay swung his legs to the floor and hesitantly got to his feet. He placed what he hoped was a convincing smile on his face as he said, "You know, I'm feeling much better. I think maybe I can handle Christmas dinner after all."

He barely managed to move a metre before Kathryn blocked his path to the kitchen. "Don't be silly Chakotay, I can use the replicator."

"Kathryn, you burn toast using the replicator."

That simple comment, quietly spoken, brought a faint blush to Kathryn's cheeks. But she still wasn't quite ready to relent.

"You can't cook, Chakotay, you're not well enough."

Hearing the concern in her voice, he reached out and pulled her hand into his, gently pulling her towards him. "Why don't we compromise," he began, sitting back down and bringing her with him. At her silent prompting he continued. "You do the actual cooking, but I'll tell you what to do."

At her sceptical look, Chakotay shrugged. "Can't hurt to give it a try, can it?"

He could see she still wasn't completely convinced, but could also see she knew it was the best, and safest, option. She watched him carefully for several moments then slowly nodded, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.

"I'll just check on the children and then we can get started."

He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, then watched as she stood and walked towards the door. Grabbing another tissue, he let out a series of sneezes and felt sure this would be one Christmas dinner he would never forget.

The End

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