Sudden Inspiration

By Diane

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the ship and these characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is the result of a challenge from Jess in JCUK. She asked us to write a story no more than 600 words in length, in which Chakotay says the following words, "These arms won't be here forever."

I didn't quite manage to fit it into 600 words, but here it is anyway.

Feedback would be very much appreciated.

"Do you have to do this right now Kathryn," Chakotay almost complained as they entered the doors of holodeck one, momentarily diverted from their journey to the messhall.

"I want to record my ideas in my diary before I forget them Chakotay. Inspiration doesn't strike everyday and I'm sure they will help advance the Maestro's latest experiment," Kathryn explained, practically running through Maestro Da Vinci's studio towards a table near the window, Chakotay lagging behind.

As she began to rummage through the various bits and pieces spread across the table, Chakotay approached from behind, amazed that the Kathryn Janeway he knew could be this untidy.

"I know it's here somewhere," Kathryn mumbled to herself, then suddenly turned around and pulled an unsuspecting Chakotay closer.

"Here, hold this a minute," she said, depositing a collection of paper and parchment into his arms.

As she continued to rummage through the mess on the table, Chakotay stood beside her with his arms outstretched, becoming laden with everything she continued to add to the increasingly heavier bundle.

"Kathryn......." Chakotay said. "Kathryn". No reply.

"Kathryn!" He tried in a louder voice. This time she whirled round towards him.

Looking at her he said, "These arms won't be here forever. Your first officer hasn't eaten since breakfast and it's now nearly 1800 hours. His feet are going to march him out of this holodeck and straight to the messhall in one minute if......."

But Kathryn had turned back to her task by this time, anxious to find her diary, only half listening to what Chakotay was saying.

Just as she came to the only spot on the table left to search, she suddenly became aware that he had stopped talking. Turning to face him, she noticed he appeared to be rooted to the spot, as if frozen in time, but his eyes were now fixed on a spot a few metres away.

As her eyes followed the path of his gaze, she realised what had caught his attention. Sitting on an easel under the window was a large canvas, showing an unfinished painting, but one which was easily recognisable none-the-less.

A Starfleet shelter could be seen, surrounded by trees, with a bathtub in the bottom left hand corner. Her painting. She had forgotten to cover it.

When she looked back towards Chakotay she saw he had still not moved, so carefully began removing all that he held in his arms. She placed everything back on the table she had been frantically searching only moments before.

The movement seemed to have its desired effect, as Chakotay came out of the reverie he had fallen into. He then looked at Kathryn expectantly, obviously waiting for some sort of reply to his unspoken question.

Kathryn began to speak as she moved closer to her painting, Chakotay following closely behind her.

"It was supposed to be a surprise," she explained, "For your birthday. I thought you might like it."

"It is a surprise, and I love it," Chakotay assured her, clearly moved by her thoughtful gift. However Kathryn heard the unspoken but, so said it for him.

"But?" she prompted.

Chakotay appeared to drag his eyes form the painting to look at her and said with a sheepish grin, "But wouldn't it disappear if I tried to hang it in my quarters?"

Now it was Kathryn's turn to smile as she replied, "Actually, this was only a practice. I've tried several perspectives, but I think this one turned out the best. I was going to start the actual painting in my quarters tonight."

Neither Chakotay nor Kathryn appeared capable of looking at anything else in the room. Their eyes were fixed only on each other, trying to determine what the other was thinking. Finally, Kathryn closed the few steps that remained between them, standing directly in front of him, almost brushing up against his chest.

"I was hoping it would be a good way of starting a conversation I wasn't sure how to about us." Her voice was hopeful, but held a hint of insecurity that Chakotay was instantly aware of.

Enclosing both her hands in his, Chakotay leaned closer and whispered in her ear, "Maybe we should have dinner in my quarters tonight instead of the messhall. I think we can begin this conversation without the finished piece." Kathryn shivered as she felt his breath caress her ear, and only nodded her agreement.

Looking at the painting one final time, both turned and left the holodeck, glad for the sudden inspiration Kathryn had received.

The End

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