Disclaimer:  No infringement intended and unfortunately Trek doesn’t belong to me.

Request:  A J/C story, can take place at any point in the timeline, as long as one of the TNG couples (Picard/Crusher or Riker/Troi) somehow plays a role. Angst is fine, but a happy ending please.

Queen of Diamonds by Cheshire

Kathryn grasped his sleeve, waving with her free hand and nodding where she needed to as the holocamera lights trained on her every move. 

“I hate this,” she said through a smile, whispering into Chakotay’s ear and delighting the cameras with their secret exchange.

“Just keep walking,” he said back, dipping his head so no camera would be able to catch the movements his mouth made while he spoke.  “If we stop now, they’ll eat us alive.”

It took several more minutes but they finally covered the last few meters of red carpet and were safely inside.  They grinned in relief at each other for a brief second and then put their game faces back on.  Cameras weren’t allowed inside the hall, but there was still a reception line to complete before they were truly safe. Moving politely down the line, they glad-handed ambassadors and admirals, planetary officials, and the occasional actor that had earned an invite to the Presidential Honorees Annual Ceremony.

At the end of the line, Kathryn stopped to speak with the president’s chief aide as Chakotay shook hands with a holodrama director that wanted to make a movie of Chakotay’s life in the Maquis. 

“I promise you’ll be portrayed very fairly,” the director said, leaning in conspiratorially.  “After all, everyone knows now you were right all along.”

“I’m sure it’ll be great,” Chakotay nodded, freeing his hand, “if you’ll excuse me.”

He caught up to where Kathryn was standing, watching the crowd inside the ballroom. He placed his hand on the small of her back, making her jump. “Sorry,” he laughed, “at least we survived the preliminaries.”

She blinked at him for a second before her expression cleared and she looked back the way they had come.  “Yes, we did.”

“What did the chief bootlicker want?” he asked, guiding her forwards. 

Presidential Chief Aide Marcek had earned the nickname from Kathryn after sending her daily and sometimes hourly updates for the past month about how the awards ceremony would be conducted and what duties her role included. It seemed every step had been dictated and every moment scripted.  There was absolutely no room for improvising when it came to the president’s scheduling. 

“Oh, he just had some last minute instructions,” she said absently before giving him the same smile she’d been giving to all of the politicians. “Nothing to worry about.”

He nodded agreeably, but something about her tone was off. “Everything all right?”

She nodded, scanning the room again.  “Everything is fine.”

Chakotay accepted two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter and handed one off to her.  “Looking for anyone in particular?”

“Yes,” she said, indicating a small cluster of officers with her chin.  “Would you excuse me for a minute, Chakotay?  I need to speak to Captain Picard.”

“I’ll go with you.” He easily matched her stride.  “I wouldn’t mind saying hello to Doctor Crusher again.  I haven’t seen her since your last stay in the hospital.”

Kathryn frowned but didn’t answer.  As they approached the small group of officers, it broke up and Picard noticed them.  He nodded immediately to Kathryn. “Admiral.”

“Captain.”

 The redhead on Picard’s arm waited a beat and then smiled beautifully at Chaktoay.  “Commander, it’s nice to see you again.”

“Good to see you, too,” he said then carefully nudged his date in the side.  “Kathryn, you remember Doctor Crusher, don’t you?”

Kathryn finally seemed to remember her manners and smiled briefly in the other woman’s direction.  “Yes, of course.  How are you this evening?”

“Nice to see you outside of a medical facility, Admiral,” Beverly said easily, “and congratulations on tonight’s award.”

“Thank you,” Janeway replied, looking at Picard.  “Captain, I’m afraid I need a few minutes of your time to discuss an upcoming mission assignment.” She looked back to Crusher and Chakotay.  “If you’ll excuse us, it shouldn’t take long.”

Picard set his untouched glass of champagne down on the nearest table and gestured for the admiral to lead the way. He inclined his head. “Beverly. Commander.”

“Captain,” Chakotay replied and then watched as the two senior officers exited through a side door.  He looked at Doctor Crusher, who was still watching the door as though they would imminently reemerge. Chakotay cleared his throat and got her attention.  “What do you think?”

She nodded, seemingly to herself.  “I think it’s time.”



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