After the Last Dance
By Jane Griffen- JaneG100@rocketmail.com
Author's Notes: I wrote this story on a whim to satisfy my muse :) It's just a short vignette set right before Alter Ego where Neelix hosts a party in the holodeck. This is before Tom and B'Elanna got involved, and contains a lot of the fictional character Heather Whitney (and a cute Whitney/Kim scene, if I may say so myself =) Due partly to the fact that I'm under age, and partly to the fact that from the sip I had of champagne at a fancy breakfast I think champagne is disgusting (my dad had it was mixed in with orange juice), I have a) never had a hangover, and b) never gotten drunk before. So the timing is bound to be a little off ;) And I have never, ever seen a person drunk, so I just wrote in what I've read about it (an X-Files fan fic where Scully got *really* drunk and Mulder had to rescue her from a bar...it was hilarious :) and let my imagination run loose!
I'd like to thank Julia, who helped me come up with a color for Jenny's dress, and to Lauren, who told me to slur Heather's speech :)
All readers live for feedback! Send me some at the addy above. Flames will gladly be tossed out the nearest airlock, BTW.
Disclaimers: Paramount owns Voyager and her characters. I own Heather Whitney and the story.
"Heather, mind if I join you?"
Lieutenant Whitney looked up from the science datapadd she was reading. "Hey, Jenny! Go ahead." She gestured with a hand to the seat opposite hers. She was sitting in the Mess Hall next to one of the wide windows that showed the stars as they streaked past Voyager, which was still at a high warp. She inwardly breathed a sigh of relief as the Delany sister continued to grin as she pulled up a chair and sat. She *was* Jenny; Heather had lost track how many times she had gotten the two sisters mixed up since she had come onboard Voyager. It didn't help matters that they were identical, and both had flamboyant personalities. Although Whitney was now beginning to notice that Megan was quieter and not as rambunctious as her twin.
"So, what's up?" Heather asked curiously, setting aside her report. Even though she had only been onboard a little over two months, she had learned fast that Jenny and her sister were always on top of the gossip.
Jenny's eyes lit up. "Have you heard the news? Neelix is planning a party to celebrate Voyager's arrival at the Knossass nebula!" The Knossass nebula was a well-known wormhole in the Xia sector. If Kim's calculations were correct, the nebula would cut off thousand lightyears off of their journey home.
Until two months ago, when her shuttle had been mysteriously sent hurtling across the galaxy, Heather had thought of the Alpha Quadrant, where her friends and family were, as home. Now, stranded a lifetime away from everything familiar to her, she was gradually excepting the fact that home wasn't the Alpha Quadrant anymore. It was Voyager.
"A party?" she asked, smiling amiably.
Jenny must have sensed her lack of enthusiasm, for the corners of her mouth curved downward slightly and she sent the Betazoid a look. "Is something wrong with a party?" she asked in a teasing voice, slightly bewildered.
"How formal is the party going to be?" Whitney asked, taking a sip of her ginger ale.
Delany paused for a minute, then her frown was replaced by a wide grin. "Formal?! Are you serious? Gosh, if these parties were formal, almost no one would come!"
"Thank goodness. When is it?"
"Holodeck 2; it starts at 2000 hours."
Whitney's blue eyes sparkled. "This could make out for some interesting possibilities..."
Heather sighed as she stood in Engineering. The person who had just refused was none other than the chief engineer. B'Elanna Torres stood in front of the warp core with her arms crossed over her chest. "C'mon, B'Elanna..." she wheedled.
"Why not?" Now Heather was close to whining, and she and Torres both knew it. But there was no way Whitney was going to take 'no' for an answer.
The chief engineer sighed. "For one thing, I don't have time. The captain wants a warp core diagnostic on her desk by 0600 in the morning, and that should take all night." She eyed the Betazoid warily. The two had come to be friends over the course of two months, but as a Maquis she had learned not to give away her trust completely to a stranger, and that lesson had stuck with her ever since.
Whitney leaned against the console and stared up at her, blue eyes unblinking. "Are you sure that's it?" she asked in a low voice.
Torres's eyes narrowed. Then she sighed. "Heather, what am I supposed to do? Sometimes- The look in his eyes- I'd lose it. I'd lose myself to him." Her brown eyes whirled with emotions.
Heather smiled sympathetically. "Come to the party tonight." When Torres didn't answer, she reverted to begging again. "Please?"
B'Elanna sighed, then raised an eyebrow. "What am I supposed to wear?"
Ensign Jenny Delany's Quarters
"There is no way I'm going out there wearing *this*," Torres exclaimed seven hours later.
"Turn around," Megan Delany ordered.
Her twin clapped her hands in delight. "You look gorgeous!" she exclaimed.
Heather only laughed at the helpless look on B'Elanna's face. The four were getting ready in Jenny's quarters. It had taken quite a bit of wheedling on her part to convince B'Elanna to have anything to do with the Delany sisters (B'Elanna regarded them as brainless bimbos), but Heather's persistency had won out. Seeing that Torres was shooting daggers her way, she quickly tried to smooth things over. "You look lovely, B'Elanna."
B'Elanna wore a short black dress with slim straps. From the look on her face, obviously she didn't share their enthusiasm.
"What's wrong with it?" Meg asked, her brow furrowed as she scrutinized the engineer.
"It's too...bare," Torres finally managed to say, glancing down.
Jenny bit her lower lip as she scrutinized the dress, taking in what Torres had just said. "You're right." she admitted, then went over to the replicator. Changing the parameters, she replicated another black dress. "Here, go change into this and give me the other dress when you're done," she said, ushering the chief engineer into Jenny's bedroom.
Five minutes later, B'Elanna walked out again, wearing a dress that was duplicate of the other, only it didn't show as much cleavage.
"How's that?" asked Meg.
B'Elanna scrutinized her appearance in the full-length mirror. "I like it," she admitted shyly.
Whitney smiled, then handed her a pair of black three-inch heels. "You're done," she told her.
Torres smiled back.
"Tom will think you look beautiful," Jenny commented.
Torres's smile vanished. "Excuse me?" she asked, whirling around to face Delany.
Jenny paused, knowing that the chief engineer would most likely take it the wrong way, and that she didn't want a broken nose. "Well, Tom really likes you," she ended up saying, then smiled knowingly as the engineer glanced down at the floor, blood rushing to her face.
Heather smoothed her dress. She wore a long sleeveless light blue dress with a V-neckline that showed a hint of cleavage, and light blue shoes to match. Her hair was curled and piled on top of her head.
Meg, on the other hand, wore her dark brown hair down, and wore a hunter green dress that was low-cut and fell down to her knees. She wore dark green fancy sandals to go with them. Her twin wore her hair up in a French twist, and wore a dark maroon floor-length dress. "Well, ready to go?" Meg asked.
Heather grinned. "Let's go!"
"Care to dance?"
Heather looked up at Harry, who held out his hand. She smiled, and put her drink aside. The party was still in full-swing, even though it was almost midnight. Tom and B'Elanna were getting along for once, and they seemed pretty comfortable around each other. Whitney was glad. They made a great couple.
She stood up, and closed her eyes momentarily as she suddenly felt nauseous. She had already had five glasses of champagne, and she rarely ever drank.
"You okay?" Harry asked, grabbing onto her arm.
Heather opened her eyes and smiled weakly. "Let's just say I'm going to have one major hangover tomorrow morning," she groaned.
He laughed. "You and me both." He led her out onto the dance floor, then encircled her waist with an arm, and grasped her hand with his free one. They danced to the music gracefully. Heather rested her head on his shoulder, and glanced around the dance floor. Several couples were dancing. Meg was happily chatting away with Gerron, and Jenny was waltzing with Anderson. She smiled softly, making a mental note to give them the 'third degree,' as Tom had often joked during their days at the Academy together, about what was going on between themselves and their unofficial dates.
As the music changed from a faster song to a slow one, she spotted Tom and B'Elanna dancing together near the center of the dance floor. B'Elanna had her eyes closed as she swayed to the music with Tom, and Tom was staring into space, a peaceful look on his face. Heather had a feeling that his thoughts were a thousand lightyears away, and guessed that they had something to do with a particular engineer. She laughed softly.
"What's so funny?" Harry whispered into her ear. She felt a chill run down her spine as his lips brushed against her ear, but dismissed it, knowing that she tended to get a little spacey whenever she got remotely drunk.
"Tom and B'Elanna," she murmured. She tilted her head to glance up at Harry, and a smile danced across her face as she saw his reaction when he spotted the two lieutenants intertwined in each other's arms.
Harry let out a low whistle. "Well, I'll be," he said softly, then grinned slightly. "If anyone deserves to find a soul mate it's them. They've both been through so much..." His voice trailed off and he shook his head. "They're perfect for each other."
"Aren't they?" She rested her head on his shoulder again. "Now they just have to figure that out."
He chuckled slightly. "From the day-dreamy look on Tom's face, I'd say he's already figured *that* out."
She giggled, and blamed it only partially on the five glasses of champagne she had had. "What about B'Elanna?"
This time Harry laughed. "Oh, I'd pay a *lot* to be a fly on *that* wall when he firsts asks her out."
"Harry!" She pulled away, looking at him with widened eyes. "That's mean!"
"But wouldn't you?"
She thought this over, then grinned widely. "You know what? I think you're right."
By this time, the song was long since over, and as Heather glanced around she realized that only a handful of people were still out on the dance floor. The music had stopped, and the holographic band was packing up their instruments. A few scattered groups of crewmembers were still talking merrily, but for the most part the holodeck was deserted. "I guess the party's over," she commented sadly.
Harry laughed quietly at her sad tone. "Yeah, I guess we'd better turn in," he said.
She pulled back from his hold. "Yeah, I guesss..." The 's' became slurred, and her oice trailed off. She yawned, then looked sheepish.
Harry gave her a look. "C'mon." With a hand on her arm, they walked out of the holodeck and got onto the turbolift. "Deck 3," he said.
Heather's brow furrowed. "Your quarters are on Deck 6," she said off-handily.
He merely gave her yet another look. "Yes, my quarters *are* on Deck 6, but I'm going to make sure you get back to your quarters safely, because you're very close to being drunk."
Whitney's brow furrowed. "I am *not* drunk," she protested slightly, but her words slurred together. She suddenly felt dizzy, and if it hadn't been for Harry grasping her arm she would have started to faint. "I see what you mean," she admitted softly. "Thanks."
He squeezed her arm, then let go.
The turbolift doors opened and they walked in silence down the empty corridor. She would have continued to walk on down the corridor, but Harry grabbed her and stopped her. "Not so fast," he teased.
Heather grinned meekly. "How come you know where my quarters are and I don't?" she joked. By now her speech was starting to slur together.
"I'm not the one who had five glasses of champagne," he teased.
She smiled. "It's not nice to tease people," she shot back.
He shook his head, smiling slightly. "You know, you really are a mystery," he told her softly.
"It would take all the fun out of it if I weren't," she shot back with a grin. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
"0600 for the senior staff meeting, bright and early." Harry laughed at the look on her face as she realized what he had just said. Her aqua eyes widened, and she looked like she had just seen a ghost.
"You're joking," she stated, narrowing her eyes slightly.
"It would take all the fun out of it if I weren't," he breathed.
Heather's eyes widened again as she realized his face was inches from hers. "Harry," she murmured, suddenly realizing what was going on. She was drunk, he was probably drunk, or as close to being drunk as he could possibly be without completely losing it and they were standing right outside her quarters. Alarms went off, but she ignored them.
"I know this might ruin things, but..." His voice trailed off. He cupped her face with his hands, and kissed her gently on the mouth. When he pulled back, his dark eyes searched hers.
She smiled softly. "G'night, Harry," she whispered, then frowned slightly. "Watch me not remember any of this in the morning," she muttered.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" He scrutinized her carefully, fearful of what her answer was going to be. The last thing he wanted to do was to completely destroy their blossoming friendship.
She groaned as the beginning of a killer headache started to hit her. "A bad thing," she admitted.
He smiled slightly. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah," she agreed with a smile. He squeezed her hands, then headed towards the turbolift. She watched him go until he turned the corner, and then entered her command code into the door side panel. The doors opened, and she walked in. Dazedly, she hung up her dress and pulled on some boxers and an oversized tee shirt. She went into the restroom and cleaned her face, then crawled into bed. As her head hit the pillow, she groaned, knowing that she was going to have hell of a hangover the next morning. Her last thought before she fell asleep was a resolution to never have more than two glasses of champagne at one time.