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Fractured Fairy Tales

Little Red Ocampan Hood

Kes walked down the ship's corridor with a basket over one arm. She had grown some lovely hybrid canteloupe in the hydroponics bay and was taking them to Neelix to prepare for the crew's breakfast the following morning. As she moved, her new red cape flared out behind her. An off-hand comment by Ayala about blondes in red at Sandrine's the night before had inspired her to replicate it that morning. She thought the hood was a particularly nice touch and complimented the black simu-leather thigh boots that she had kept as a souvenir of her visit to Ilari.

Suddenly, Kes' combadge beeped. "Janeway to Kes."

"Kes here", the little Ocampan replied.

"I'm in the observation lounge and wondered if you could join me. There's something that I would like to discuss with you."

"Certainly, Captain. I'll be right there." Kes paused briefly before continuing. "Captain, are you all right?"

The disembodied voice came back from the combadge. "I'm fine, Kes. Why do you ask?"

Kes hesitated. "Well, your voice seems to have changed from a husky alto to a breathy tenor."

There was silence over the com link for a long moment. Then, "Well, I, um, I ... oh! I just gave up smoking, yeah. That's it. I gave up smoking."

Kes smiled warmly. "Good for you, Captain. I'm on my way. Kes out."

As Kes entered the observation lounge, she noticed that it was deserted, except for a solitary redhead in a black and red uniform, who was sitting down on a sofa and looking out the viewport. That's odd, Kes thought. The Captain's wearing her hair in a bun again.

"Is that you, Kes?" the redhead asked, without turning around.

Kes said, "It's me", setting her basket on a nearby table and removing her black simu-leather gloves with the chain mail trim -- an unexpected gift from Tuvok.

"Come closer, my dear", the redhead encouraged.

As Kes walked slowly across the room, she said, "My, what broad shoulders you have, Captain."

"The better to bear the burden of command, my dear." The redhead stood and turned to face Kes, smiling gently down at her.

"And what big gray eyes you have", Kes continued.

"The better to see you with, my dear."

Kes stepped closer to the redhead and said, "And what pearly white teeth you have."

The gentle smile slid into a familiar smirk. "The better to e--"

"Oh, knock it off, Tom", Kes snapped, saving this story from an "R" rating. "And take off that ridiculous wig."

Blushing slightly, Tom removed his Captain Kate hairpiece and stared at Kes' long, lush blonde hair, thinking resentfully, Oh, sure, that's easy for you to say. *Your* hairline's not receding like the evening tide.

"What is this all about, Tom?" Kes asked, tucking her gloves into the lacings of her black bustier. Tom remained silent, looking guiltily at the deck. "Answer me, young man!"

Tom jumped slightly and blushed more deeply, staring intently at the wig in his hands. "Well, ah, you know how I kind of had a crush on you, Kes, but you were involved with Neelix, and I decided that I wouldn't do anything about my feelings, and then you broke up, and it still didn't seem right, and then well, you know, B'Elanna and I, um ..." Tom's voice trailed off, and he sighed. Kes waited patiently. Tom sighed again. "And now B'Elanna's mad at me, again..."

"And you finally got up the courage to say something to me", Kes finished.

One corner of Tom's mouth quirked up, and he looked at the leather-clad pixie in front of him from under his long eyelashes. "Well, now, I don't know that I'd actually call it 'getting up my courage'..."

Kes threw her arm up in a "talk to the hand" gesture, silencing Tom and again saving this story from an "R" rating. She looked at the handsome, young pilot in exasperation and slowly started to circle him. As she did so, she had a sudden, vivid memory of an alternate time line and felt a surge of curiosity about a wedding night that she never got to experience. Moving around to face Tom again, Kes resolutely squared her shoulders in a way that made Tom's heart -- or something -- leap and came to a decision.

"Well, don't just stand there, Tom. Come here and kiss me."

Startled, Tom dropped the wig he had been clutching. 'I really must ask him about that later,' Kes thought absently. Tom recovered quickly and reached out to take the pretty girl into his arms. Unfortunately, just before he could do what millions of disappointed Voyager viewers waited all through "Before and After" to see, the doors to the observation lounge slid open, and Neelix stood there with a cleaver in his hand.

The surprised couple jumped apart. Kes reached for the riding crop that she kept hidden in her right boot, and Tom grabbed his wig and dove for cover behind the sofa.

Neelix surveyed the scene in consternation, finally bringing his eyes to rest on Kes. "Sweetie, did you forget that you were going to bring me those canteloupe for breakfast tomorrow?"

The End