The Art of Diplomacy
Summary: A kiss as a lie.
Characters: Paris, Janeway, Chakotay
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
He’d been on some weird away missions, but Tom Paris was pretty sure this one took the cake – or in this case, the jhelen. At least, he thought that was what this sweet, gooey substance was called. Someone had shoved a bowl of it into his hands; he’d sampled a little and almost been knocked off his feet by the sugar rush.
Or maybe it was the alien liquor their hosts had been plying the Voyager representatives with all evening. He’d caught Chakotay surreptitiously tipping the contents of his glass into a flower arrangement more than once, and Harry had already had to excuse himself after over-indulging. Tom had been pacing himself, but even he was feeling a little woozy.
He wondered what was taking B'Elanna so long. She’d been grumbling all night that the gold body paint and feathered headdress all the Voyager women had been instructed to wear were itchy as hell, and that this was the last time she was going to let Chakotay talk her into one of these stupid diplomatic events, and then she’d mumbled something about checking in with Engineering and disappeared.
Tom sighed. She wasn’t wrong about the paint, although the Jessian who’d applied his body art had been kind enough to add some shadowing that made him look as ripped as Ayala, and at least the pants they’d given him to wear were feather-free. B'Elanna had certainly been appreciative when she’d met him after the dressing ritual, and he’d noticed the captain ogling Chakotay even less subtly than usual.
He scanned the crowd again; B'Elanna was nowhere to be seen. Most of the Voyagers seemed to have made their excuses, though he spotted Chakotay with his head bent toward the captain’s, leaning against a pillar. Janeway looked pretty hot, he admitted privately. She carried off the sparkles and feathers and skimpy outfit almost as well as B'Elanna did.
Speaking of whom… turning, Tom caught sight of his girlfriend at last. She was out on the terrace, her back turned. As he watched, her hand came up to scratch at her shoulder, and he read annoyance in her stance.
Time to get out of here, he decided, and pushed through the crowd.
She didn’t turn as he came up behind her. “Hey, you,” he murmured, wrapping his arms around her from behind and nuzzling into her neck. “I’ve been thinking about peeling you out of that dress all night. Let’s go home so I can rip it off with my teeth,” and he turned her, dragging his lips across her jaw until he reached her mouth.
Her lips parted and he took advantage, sliding his tongue across her lower lip. Her hands came up to his chest and for a moment it seemed like she was going to push him away, but he stroked his hands down her back and she made a small sound and tilted her head, her lips softening.
She felt different, he realised. Tasted different, too. Maybe it was the paint…
And then she pulled back with a gasp, bracing her hands on his chest, and he looked into her eyes.
Eyes that were not velvety-brown, but blue. A blue that, as he continued to stare at her, was rapidly turning glacial.
The owner of the eyes spoke in a voice at once frosty and husky.
“Lieutenant Paris,” she said, “I strongly suggest you take your hands off me before you find yourself a permanent resident of my brig.”
He dropped his arms as if burned and hastily stepped back. “Ca- Captain?”
Janeway put her hands on her hips.
“But I just saw you talking to Chakotay – I thought you were B'Elanna –” Tom whipped around to search the room behind him and let out a squeak.
Standing in the open terrace doorway, face like thunder, was Chakotay.
“Fuck,” blurted Tom.
“Paris,” Chakotay growled.
“Uh…” Tom cowered. “Where’s B'Elanna?”
Chakotay pointed upward. “And I suggest you go after her. You have some explaining to do.”
Tom didn’t need to be asked twice. Fishing his combadge out of his pants pocket, he whispered, “Paris to Voyager. One to beam up. Right now.”
As the transporter beam caught him, the last thing he saw was Chakotay turning that angry black stare on the captain.