You Could Be My Unintended
Summary: Tumblr prompt: “You’re a protester and I’m a police officer. Seriously can you please calm down a little bit, this is my job not my beliefs.”
Characters: Chakotay, Janeway
Disclaimer: Characters are Paramount’s. No infringement intended.
“Traffic violations, rowdy drunks, petty robbery; that’s usually the worst you’ll have to deal with in our sleepy little town. Except for the Janeway factor.”
Out-going Sheriff Paris, a wry, seasoned ex-Navy man, had actually shuddered. “God’s honest truth, son, if there’s one reason I’m retiring, it’s down to that woman. She has a knack for taking a good cause and sending it straight to hell. Show me any bandwagon you care to name and I guarantee that lady will be dancing on it.”
“She’s a protester?” Chakotay asked.
“More like a rabble-rouser. You’ll see. In fact, there’s a women-against-violence rally on Saturday. I’ve already scheduled on all officers and volunteers for peacekeeping duty.”
Chakotay couldn’t help raising his eyebrows. “How many protesters should we be expecting?”
“A good couple of thousand would be my guess. She’ll have been out drumming up supporters on the local scene, and I’ll bet she ropes in her San Francisco coven. But it’s not the numbers, son. It’s the attitude that counts, and Janeway has attitude in spades.” Paris chortled, slapping Chakotay on the back, and repeated, “You’ll see.”
Now, as he struggled to secure the cuffs on the petite redhead whose eyes lanced through him with a ferocity that almost made him shudder, Chakotay reflected ruefully on Paris’ warning. His first glimpse of Kathryn Janeway had made him doubt the previous sheriff’s sanity – how could one small woman in a tailored pantsuit possibly be the cause of the mayhem she’d been accused of?
But that was before she marched right up to where he and a couple of deputies were standing in front of the town hall, where the protest march was supposed to finish. She’d put her hands on her hips and looked him up and down with such open contempt that even his legendary cool was tested. “So you’re the new storm trooper in town,” she’d drawled. “Welcome to Half Moon Bay.”
And then she’d planted her small foot in the middle of the barricade separating them, and shoved.
He’d hissed in pain – the fence was heavy, and it fell directly onto the knee he’d injured running track in college – but recovered himself enough to ask, “Kathryn Janeway, I presume?”
“I see my reputation precedes me.” She’d folded her arms and smirked at him.
“Nobody warned me your reputation included assaulting police officers.” He righted the fence and carefully tested his knee’s ability to hold weight.
“Assault?” Her eyes narrowed. “That wasn’t assault, you Neanderthal. Assault is what women experience every day at the hands of their husbands and partners.”
Her voice was rising and the protesters nearby were starting to pay attention.
“Every day,” she repeated, stepping up closer to him. “Every single day, women in this town and every other are dealing with rape and abuse! And what do you so-called lawkeepers do about it?” She shook her finger in his face. “Nothing, that’s what! You just let them get away with it!”
“Bastards!” shouted the small, scowling dark-haired woman beside her, and several others in the crowd murmured assent.
“Move back, Ms Janeway,” Chakotay cautioned.
Instead, Kathryn moved right up into Chakotay’s face. “Or what? You’ll hit me? Teach me a lesson?”
“I’m warning you.”
“Oh, you’re warning me? You want to put me back in my place? Well, try harder, Sheriff. This woman is fighting back!”
She drew back her foot and kicked the barricade.
It collapsed, thudding onto Chakotay’s knees and sending him staggering backward into the shoulder of the deputy behind him. The women on the other side of the barricade cheered. Chakotay gritted his teeth as Deputy Ayala helped him straighten up. Kathryn Janeway smirked at him.
“What are you going to do now, Sheriff?”
In answer, Chakotay stepped over the fallen barricade, unclipped the handcuffs from his belt and reached for her arm. “Kathryn Janeway, I’m arresting you for assaulting a police officer and disturbing the peace.” He snapped the cuffs onto one wrist. “You have the right to –”
“You’re what?” she snarled, whipping her arm out of his reach. She glanced around at her supporters. “Do you see what he’s doing?” she shouted. “He’s trying to subdue me! Are we going to let him get away with this?”
“No!” yelled several of the protesters.
Chakotay sighed. “Ms Janeway, this will go much easier for you if you don’t resist.”
“I’ll bet that’s what you say to all the women you abuse,” she hissed.
“Okay, ma’am, that’s enough.”
Whipcrack-fast, his hand shot out and circled her wrist, twisting it up behind her back and forcing her to drop her shoulder to avoid dislocating it. He had her other wrist cuffed before she could gasp.
It was a move he’d practised until he could do it in his sleep, and he knew exactly how much pressure to exert so that it immobilised her but didn’t hurt her.
She writhed, her back against his chest. “Get your hands off me!”
“Ma’am, please stop struggling before I add resisting arrest to the charges.”
“Fine,” she hissed, going limp in his grasp and forcing him to shift an arm around her waist to hold them both upright. “Have it your way, Sheriff. And don’t call me ma’am.”
The dark-haired woman who’d been standing next to Janeway stepped forward with a murderous expression. “You have no right to arrest her. This is a peaceful protest!”
“It was a peaceful protest right up until the moment your friend here decided to kick in a few fences,” Chakotay answered tightly. “At that point, it became a mob. Please stand down, ma’am. One arrest is plenty for today.”
Kathryn stood straighter, whether out of pride or to ease the strain on her shoulder Chakotay wasn’t sure. “I’ll be fine, ‘Lanna. Take over for me, okay? Make sure everybody gets home safe.”
The woman subsided, sending Janeway an apologetic look. “I’ll come and bail you out as soon as the march is over. Don’t let these bastards get you down.”
“Watch your head,” Chakotay advised as he manoeuvred Kathryn into the back of his car.
“Do you think you could uncuff me now?” she asked him sarcastically as he reached over to click on her seat belt. “I’m not a flight risk, after all.”
“I could,” he said calmly. “But I’d need to be certain you aren’t planning on inflicting any more grievous bodily harm on me.”
She snorted. “I guess that depends on you.”
He raised his eyebrows. “You know, I think I prefer you restrained.” He ducked out and shut the car door, hearing her thump her elbow against it in frustration.
She glared at him all the way to the station; he could feel it even when he wasn’t looking in the rear-view mirror, which he seemed to be doing more frequently than was necesary. She glared at him as he ushered her inside, one hand clamped above her elbow, and led her to the front desk to fill in her arrest paperwork. She was still glaring as he unlocked the cuffs and took her hands in his to collect her fingerprints.
Her hands were delicate, he noticed. He found himself holding them gently, carefully.
He finished, and she rubbed her wrists where the cuffs had chafed. “Are you all right?” he asked.
“Fine,” she snapped. ”So what happens now?”
“You mean you don’t know? This can’t be your first arrest.”
Kathryn drew herself straight, letting her hands drop to her sides. “Sheriff Paris wasn’t the regulation-bound bureaucrat you appear to be, Sheriff…” She trailed off, looking at him enquiringly.
“Chakotay,” he supplied. “And to be honest, Ms Janeway, I can’t believe Sheriff Paris would’ve let you get away with the behaviour you exhibited today.”
“Aw.” She put on a fake pout and seemed to slink a little closer to him. “Don’t tell me a defenceless little woman hurt a big brute like you.”
Chakotay’s mouth tightened. “Whatever you think of me, Ms Janeway, let me assure you that I’m only doing my job. That doesn’t make me a Neanderthal, a misogynist, a woman-beater or any of the other choice epithets you’d care to throw in my direction.”
He gestured for her to precede him into the interview room.
“Ooh.” She widened her eyes. “Somebody swallowed a thesaurus for breakfast. Did it stick in your craw on the way down?”
Chakotay sat across the table from her and levelled her a look. “Ms Janeway, for someone so emphatic about demanding equal treatment and respect, you don’t seem to be prepared to extend the same courtesy to others.”
She opened her mouth to retort, and he held up his hand.
“You know I’m right.”
He watched as something changed in her eyes. They softened, and she lowered her lashes, then looked up at him in chagrin. Without the steely, self-righteous glint, it occurred to him that her eyes were a very appealing shade of blue.
Shrugging off that irritating thought, he pressed the button on the recorder. “Interview between Sheriff Chakotay and Kathryn Janeway commences at two-fifteen…”
Kathryn looked up from studying her hands as the cell door scraped open. The new sheriff was blocking the light in the doorway, all broad shoulders and soulful dark eyes.
Like a goddamned romance novel hero, she thought, rolling her eyes. She bet he thought he was God’s gift to women. That type always did.
“No,” she lied. She’d skipped lunch; too busy running around getting everyone energised for the protest. In fact, it was possible she’d skipped breakfast too. She couldn’t remember. That was happening more and more often these days, ever since her life had gone to hell.
Kathryn shook herself and refocused on the hulking figure in the uniform. “I suppose I could eat,” she said grudgingly.
The sheriff – she was ashamed to admit she couldn’t quite remember his name; something exotic and polysyllabic – stepped over the threshold, a tray held before him. “Mind if I join you?”
“Do I have a choice?” she asked petulantly.
He placed the tray on the unoccupied bunk and straightened. “Of course you do. I’ll leave, if you’d rather be alone.”
“No, wait.” Sighing, she patted the bunk beside her. “You might as well keep me company.”
The sheriff sat next to her, regarding her with those unsettlingly dark brown eyes. Kathryn shifted a little, then lifted her chin. Never let it be said that Kathryn Janeway was a coward who wasn’t prepared to admit it when she was wrong.
“I want to apologise,” she said, looking him straight in the eye. “I was rude to you, and it was wrong of me to kick you.”
He sat looking at her calmly, as if he were waiting for something. She squirmed a little.
“And I’m sorry I called you a woman-beater and a Neanderthal. You’re probably not one.”
She may have caught a slight twitch at the edges of his mouth. His dark, steady gaze unnerved her.
“In fact, I know you’re not a Neanderthal. I wouldn’t be much of a science teacher if I thought that, would I? Not that I’m much of a science teacher at the moment.”
She couldn’t seem to stop talking; if only he’d say something, so she wouldn’t have to fill the silence.
“I mean, since they fired me for being a bad influence on the students, that is. Which is so wrong, when you think about it. It’s part of my duty to teach kids to think for themselves, isn’t it? And to stand up when they see injustice in the world? So it’s unfair to fire me for inciting unrest or putting minors at risk, or whatever bullshit they came up with.”
He still wasn’t looking like he wanted to say anything, although she thought his eyes looked a little gentler.
“Really, they fired me because I don’t fit their Catholic ideal. I’m unmarried, and no hope of changing that now since my fiancé decided to leave me for some blonde, and the school only put up with us living together because we were going to be married. So the Take Back the Night rally was just an excuse to get rid of me. I had complete control of the situation, whatever those over-protective parents said. So what if their daughters aren’t usually allowed on the streets after dark? They were perfectly safe with me.”
“Let me get this straight,” the sheriff finally interrupted her, holding up a hand. “You’ve just recently lost your job and been dumped by your fiancé?”
Kathryn looked at him defiantly. “Yeah.”
“I’m sorry,” he said gently. “That must have been hard.”
To her horror, unexpected tears pricked her eyes and she looked down hastily to hide them. “Plenty of people have it worse.”
“Suffering isn’t a competition,” he said. “Somebody else’s rough time doesn’t negate the fact that you’re hurting.”
“I’m fine,” she answered, swallowing the lump that seemed to have taken up residence in her throat. “I’ll find another job, and I have good friends. And Mark’s new girlfriend already traded up, anyway, which serves him right.”
She heard a chuckle and glanced up. Whatever she’d been about to say died on her lips when she saw him smiling for the first time. That was some smile: white teeth, deep dimples, and full, kissable lips.
Fortunately, he’d turned away before he could catch her gaping. “I know it’s not fancy,” he was saying as he placed the tray of food between them, “but it is homemade, and if I do say so, it’s pretty good. Help yourself.”
She inspected the neatly arranged plates of corn bread and bean salad. “Your wife made this?”
The sheriff’s grin widened. “Why, Ms Janeway, that’s an extremely unenlightened comment from a feminist such as yourself.”
“Why would you assume a woman did the cooking?”
“Oh,” she said, blushing.
“Besides, I’m not married. Eat up, I can hear your stomach rumbling from here.”
She stuffed a hunk of corn bread in her mouth to smother her embarrassment, then widened her eyes. “You made this?” she asked, mouth full. “It’s really good.”
“Thanks,” he said. “I will admit my mother taught me how to make it. And that my sister is a better cook than I am.”
“I can’t cook at all,” Kathryn admitted. “I usually survive on take-out, when I remember to eat.”
She scooped up some of the bean salad. “Oh, this is delicious,” she murmured, her tongue chasing an errant bean around the spoon. “I wish I could hire you to cook for me.”
“I’d be happy to cook for you.” The sheriff’s voice sounded a little rougher than before.
She looked up in surprise, both at his words and his tone, and realised he was watching her, and those dark eyes were as warm as melted chocolate.
Deep inside, Kathryn felt something loosen and melt, something that had been strung taut for so long she’d forgotten it could be any different. Her breath caught. She put down her spoon.
“You’d do that for me?” she asked in a near-whisper. “Even after I insulted you and tried to break your knees?”
“What can I say?” the sheriff murmured. “I like my women feisty.”
She wondered if she was leaning into him or he was leaning into her, or were they just irresistibly drawn together? There was probably a scientific explanation for it, if she could just get her thoughts together enough to remember – oh, wow, she thought as his mouth touched hers, and she could no longer think about anything other than how heavenly his lips felt and the taste of him as she licked into his mouth and the way his tongue curled over her own.
She couldn’t have guessed at how long they were kissing, or when his hands had come up to cradle her face, or when her fingers had gripped onto his shirt. She just knew she never wanted it to end.
Except for one thing.
Breaking the kiss, she leaned her forehead against his, gasping for breath.
“Kathryn?” The sheriff’s voice was gravelly, clouded with desire. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes,” she said breathlessly, forcing herself to open her eyes. “Uh, Sheriff…?”
At the use of his title, he pulled back a little and some of the heat in his eyes dimmed.
She tightened her fists in the fabric of shirt. “Don’t you dare go anywhere,” she whispered. “Just tell me one thing…”
“Okay,” he said guardedly.
Kathryn felt the flush rising up from her collar. “I feel terrible about this,” she confessed. “But what was your name again?”
There were those dimples again, and Kathryn’s heart did a languid flip in her chest.
“Chakotay,” he answered. “My name is Chakotay. Can I kiss you again now?”
“I’d be tempted to break your knees if you don’t,” she whispered, and leaned in to capture that delectable mouth with hers.