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Two of a Kind

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Chakotay had honestly expected it to be a joke on him, something to laugh about after getting scolded. Tom had been the one to suggest it and Harry had doubled down and it was rare that the three of them got to pal around. It was understandable of course, it was hard to include the first officer in mischief but he was glad whenever they did - provided it wasn’t against any rules, and this wasn’t.

“I heard that Vulcans are heavy. Like stone heavy.” Tom had said while sitting on a large rock. They were all on shore leave and it was the bridge’s ‘shift’ to enjoy the sights and sounds of the planet.

He, Tom and Harry were relaxing on the various large rocks that decorated the planet’s surface, soaking in the sun. Tuvok and Janeway were standing together, discussing something in quiet tones. Chakotay had the sneaking suspicion it was about work and had been considering going over there to investigate when Tom spoke up.

“That’s just a rumor.” Harry had said. “One of those myths the academy teaches you not to pay any attention to. Like how bolians bounce on impact.”

“I’ve never seen a bolian bounce. Splat? Yes.” Tom said, grimacing. “But I’ve never seen anyone pick up a Vulcan.”

“I’m sure you’ve tried.” Chakotay said, smirking.

Harry laughed. “And failed.”

“I’ve never tried! Cold and dry just isn’t my thing.” Tom defended himself.

Harry’s eyes drifted upward towards the ship. “Yeah, you’re more into hot and-”

“Ah, ah! Not another word!” Tom said, tossing a towel at Harry who laughed, tossing it back. “Anyway, it was just something I heard.”

“It’s a lie.” Harry asserted, nodding.

“And how do you know?” Tom asked.

“Why don’t we test it out?” Chakotay suggested.

The two looked towards the first officer with wide eyes. Chakotay smiled. “I’ve heard you’re betting men.”

A few minutes later Chakotay had hopped off the rock and was heading over to the two workaholic stragglers, assured of being either two week’s replicator rations lighter or heavier. Depending on how light or heavy the Vulcan was.

Kathryn noticed him first, turning and giving him a smile as if already apologizing for talking shop while they were supposed to be relaxing. Chakotay put his finger to his lips and she looked curious for a moment before smiling wider and turning back to Tuvok, putting a hand on his shoulder and shaking her head - probably telling him it was nothing.

After a few more seconds Chakotay was close enough and his hands shot out, using all of his strength to lift the other man up into his arms.

That turned out to be unnecessary.

Tuvok was light. Lighter than he’d expected even a human of his height to be. He exclaimed at the sudden movement and his hand flailed momentarily, grasping for purchase so he wouldn’t fall. As a PADD fell into the grass Chakotay couldn’t help feeling vindicated. So they had been talking about work.

Tuvok grabbed the fabric of Chakotay’s shirt while the other found his shoulder. He looked at him with a bewildered expression: eyes wide, eyebrows furrowed, lips pursed. They were so close that despite his control he could feel Tuvok’s heart beating faster in surprise.

Cute. He thought and that thought made his own heart start to pound, heat rising to his face.

“Commander Chakotay. Why have you subjected me to this manhandling?” Tuvok asked, voice calm and dry as ever.

Kathryn chuckled. “I suspect those two are the masterminds behind this little stunt.” She said, gesturing towards Harry and Tom on the rocks. The two men seemed to be in hysterics.

Tuvok frowned while looking at them and again that thought ran through Chakotay’s mind. Cute. He cleared his throat, straightening. Tuvok’s grip tightened as if afraid he’d be dropped.

“I’m here to order you both, in my capacity as first officer of the USS Voyager, to stop working and start having a good time.” He said in his most professional tone of voice.

Kathryn laughed and butterflies appeared in his stomach. Not good. He’d truly been the worst person to do this but somehow he didn’t think he’d regret it.

“Well who am I to argue?” Kathryn said, picking up the abandoned PADD and placing it over her own.

“The Captain.” Tuvok pointed out.

“As the captain I second his suggestion.” She said, smiling. “Come on, let’s go mingle with the ensigns.”

“Temporary ensign!” Tom shouted from his perch. Harry had his hand on the back of his shirt, trying to keep him from falling.

“Aren’t they all?” Chakotay asked, smiling and Kathryn laughed, shooting him a look before moving towards the rocks.

“Please release me.” Tuvok said in a tone that read more as a demand than a suggestion and Chakotay flinched, remembering he was still holding the man as if they were posing for the cover of one of B’Elanna’s romantic novels.

He quickly set him down and Tuvok straightened, dusting and adjusting his clothes as if he’d just been rolling down a hill. He was always so fastidious about his clothing. Illogically fastidious. Normally he’d think it was vain but for some reason that irritating new little part of him whispered again that it was cute. Like a bird.

“Commander?”

Chakotay blinked. Tuvok was eyeing him and either upset or thinking very hard. “Are you ill?”

“What?”

“Your face is flushed and you appear to be distressed.”

That didn’t help the problem of his face being flushed but Chakotay laughed, taking a step back. “No! Maybe it’s just the sun. We don’t get a lot of it these days.”

“...I see.” Tuvok said in a tone that made it clear he didn’t believe him but thought it would be too much trouble to pursue whatever human nonsense he was being cagey about. Then he began walking in Kathryn’s direction without another word.

“Not even going to say goodbye?” Chakotay called after him.

“That would be illogical. You are going nowhere.” Tuvok replied.

Chakotay sighed. And I’m going there fast. He thought, remembering how Kathryn’s smile seemed brighter than the sun’s rays and how Tuvok’s body had pressed against him instinctively when he’d been nervous that he’d fall. Great.

“Commander! If you don’t get up here in the next three minutes, the captain’s taking your rations!” Harry shouted and Chakotay snapped out of it, grinning.

“I thought a deal was a deal!” He said, hurrying over to the rocks. Tuvok, sitting beside Kathryn who was standing with her hands on her hips, raised an eyebrow.

“It is unwise to trust the word of individuals who have demonstrated unscrupulous behavior in the past. Betting, for instance.”

“Aw, it’s just a bit of fun Tuvok.” Tom said with a grin.

Kathryn smiled down at Chakotay, tapping her wrist as if to say she was still counting, he was running out of time.

Chakotay grinned again and started to climb. He’d make it there in two minutes. Then everything would be even. Two minutes, two weeks worth of rations, and two stupid crushes to occupy him for around the next seventy years or so.