First place in Voyager Talent Night Talaxian Tomatoe
They had been back on the ship for more than six weeks and at first Chakotay tried to understand her behavior. He tried to rationalize that she was just trying to cover the pain of their loss, but as time passed it was harder to understand. He and Kathryn had grown very close in the three months they had spent on that tiny sphere they called New Earth; he had believed what they found had been real. In the early days of their return, she had tried to avoid him and in the past few weeks, she had not spoken a friendly word or so much as smiled in his direction. It wasn’t his imagination; others had noticed and whispered comments were making their way around the lower decks.
B’Elanna started the effort to bring Chakotay back into the fold. She dragged him out to Sandrine’s, accidentally ran into him at lunch and he was beginning to believe that the steady stream of crewmen needing advice smelled distinctly of a Maquis plan. Harry usually had hoverball matches and frequently found himself in need of last a minute replacement for mysteriously missing partners. Tom had a standing poker game he insisted needed a ‘higher presence’ to be properly sanctioned. On the odd night that Chakotay found himself with nothing to do, Ayala would ususally drop by for a chat. All and all he was kept busier and busier as the days passed; it didn’t however keep his thoughts away from Kathryn.
Kathryn had withdrawn immediately upon her return to the ship. She knew she was being unfair to Chakotay but she didn’t know how else to cope. When they had found themselves stranded for what they thought was the rest of their lives, the woman emerged and the captain all but disappeared. Kathryn had been attracted to the man from then moment he had appeared on her view screen, but the captain could never allow herself to explore those feelings. The captain had to remain in control, she had to remain in charge and she had to bring her crew home. On New Earth, Kathryn had been in control and Kathryn had fallen in love with the man with whom she had shared that tiny speck of dirt, but New Earth was many light years behind them now. The captain needed to regain the upper hand and outwardly she had. It was only in these darkened quarters, when most of the crew slept that Kathryn broke free to mourn her loss.
Kathryn watched as Chakotay had been
slowly drawn back into life on Voyager, his friends trying to make up for
the pain they saw in his eyes. The captain was relieved to see him
smile from time to time; Kathryn hoped he could be happy. Either
way she was left alone, isolated, watching others play out their
“Computer, what time is it?” Kathryn had been lying in her bed staring into the blackness of her bedroom for hours; she was not going to be blessed with sleep tonight.
“THE TIME IS 03:57 HOURS”
Pushing back the covers, Kathryn swung her feet over the edge of the bed and gave up on another night’s rest. She replicated a cup of coffee and padded barefoot to the viewport. Watching the stars, feeling the slight vibration of the engines beneath her bare feet, she could almost give you the exact speed at which they traveled—traveled away from the life she wanted and toward that distant place she used to think of as home. It seemed funny how her perspective had changed so drastically in such a short time. As she gazed at the passing stars, Kathryn’s thoughts drifted back to the day she had opened her eyes on that planet, glaring at the sunshine through the clear portion of the stasis chamber.
The captain opened her eyes. Above her the sunshine filtered through the lush green leaves of the lofty branches. Patches of clear blue laced with fluffy white could be seen through the lattice of brown and green. Janeway automatically looked to her left but she saw only more green landscape. Shifting slightly, Kathryn turned to her right; she found Chakotay there. She had never been a spiritual person but it seemed a foreboding to her; a new position; a new life. She pushed the release and the chamber opened to her new world.
Chakotay was there in his stasis chamber, just waking as she watched him. There was no panic in the deep brown eyes as they glanced at his surroundings then met hers evenly. He pushed the release.
“Kathryn.” It was one small word and it spoke volumes as he climbed from his chamber.
“I haven‘t contacted the ship yet, but I assume this is our new home.” She gestured to the cargo crates surrounding the chambers.
Chakotay wandered through the crates, only half listening to the Captain as she conversed with Tuvok. He knew as well as she did, the second he opened his eyes; life would never be the same. By the time she cut the link, Chakotay was back beside her. She stood silently beside him, the cool confident captain, but the eyes that finally met his were soft and vulnerable. Chakotay stepped forward and wrapped her in his arms. Kathryn didn’t struggle or pull away she simply allowed him to hold her and for now that was enough.
“CAPTAIN THE TIME IS 0600 HOURS.” The computer sounded her wake up, her reminder that it was time for Kathryn to step back; time for the Captain to take command.
Kathryn reset the alarm and headed for the shower. Less than an hour later, the Captain stepped onto the bridge.
The days passed much the same way for
weeks. Every day the Captain made an appearance on the bridge, every
day she spent less time there before secluding herself in the relative
safety of her ready room. She would smile and greet each member of
the alpha shift as they took their stations, but there was none of the
warmth that had once been in her eyes. Everything she did was correct
and by the book; no one could fault her performance, yet everyone knew
there was something seriously wrong. Chakotay saw the pain in her
eyes all too easily, so she avoided looking directly at him, a fact than
did not go unnoticed by anyone.
The Captain spent most of her shifts in her ready room and her off duty hours confined to her quarters. She avoided off duty contact not only with Chakotay, but with most of the crew as well. Even Tuvok had expressed concern at her behavior.
Early one morning, the lift opened on the bridge and Samantha Wildman entered carrying Voyager's youngest crewman and purposely crossed the bridge to where the Commander sat.
"Commander, permission to speak with the Captain." Sam's concern was evident on her face.
“Do you have an appointment, Ensign Wildman?” Chakotay wondered what Samantha was up to.
“No, Sir. I have tried for weeks now, Sir but …” Sam shifted the baby to her other arm and sighed. “Sir, it’s really important.”
“I see.” Chakotay considered her. If anyone could get past the Captain and break through to Kathryn it just might be Naomi. “Mr. Tuvok, would you escort Ensign Wildman to the ready room.”
Tuvok raised an eyebrow but quickly saw the logic in the Commander’s tactics.
“Ensign.” He stepped from his station and led the way to the ready room. After two rings the door slid back and Tuvok enter; Samantha and Naomi right behind him. “Captain, a member of the crew has requested a meeting with you.”
“Tell them I’m busy and have the Commander handle it.” When Tuvok didn’t answer the Captain looked up to see Sam holding the baby behind Tuvok . “Oh. Thank you, Mr. Tuvok, dismissed.”
Tuvok left Sam and the baby in the ready room and returned to his post. For twenty minutes, Chakotay resisted the urge to go and see what they were doing. Finally, the door opened and They exited the ready room; Chakotay breathed a sigh of relief at the smile on Kathryn's face.
“Commander, you have the bridge. Ensign Wildman and I have some important business to take care of.” They crossed to the lift smiling. “If you need me, I’ll be on the holodeck.”
The lift doors closed and the mood on the bridge became noticeably lighter.
“And a child shall lead them.” Tom glanced at Chakotay, who only nodded, already lost in his own thoughts.
Chakotay was distracted by the smile, it wasn’t ‘his’ smile, but it was still a welcome sight after so many dismal weeks and it brought back memories. He remembered waking from stasis to find Kathryn watching him. He remembered the brave front she put forth, right up until she ended her conversation with Tuvok. He remembered how good it felt to finally hold her. But mostly, he remembered when she finally stepped back from his embrace, tilted her head and completely captivated his heart with that lopsided little smile.
They fit together well from the beginning. They had always worked as a team on Voyager and that earlier bond held true, but now they were free to explore beyond the working relationship, beyond the friendship. They felt no need to hurry, no need to rush this; they had the rest of their lives. Life wasn’t without its set backs but he had learned to coax a smile out of her on even the most dismal days. A fresh cup of coffee on a dreary morning could earn him a smile, the gift of a bathtub won him not only a smile but a spontaneous hug and the monkey, god, he loved that monkey.
Kathryn hummed as she soaked in her tub and Chakotay tried hard to concentrate on his sand painting.
"CHAKOTAY." Kathryn called out to him; there was excitement but no panic in her voice.
"What is it, Kathryn?" He moved closer to the door but was hesitant to go any further.
"Come out here." He could hear the splash of the water as she got out of the tub. "Chakotay."
"OK." He peeked around the door before joining her. "What is it?"
"Look, something in the woods." Kathryn pointed off into the darkness, but Chakotay's eyes were drawn to her wet body dressed only in a towel. “Chakotay?”
“I’ll get a light.” Realizing she had caught him staring at her, he bolted for the shelter and returned with a flashlight. “Where?”
“Over there.” She pointed with one hand; the other held the towel tightly in place. “A monkey!”
“Yes, looks like it.” He smiled at her excitement.
“Hello.” She reached out and took a tentative step toward it. “My name is Kathryn and this is Chakotay. We have had to move into your neighborhood.”
The monkey eyed them suspiciously as she spoke then screeched and ran off into the woods.
“Looking for a pet?”
“That might be nice but I thought..” She turned to find him only inches away. “emmm, he, well it might help us find a cure.”
Kathryn easily lost in the soft brown eyes that gazed at her almost naked body with a combination of lust and devotion. She stepped closer virtually eliminating the space between them, her free hand reaching up to trace the blue lines on his forehead. Her eyes dropped to his lips as his tongue unconsciously moistened them. Chakotay felt her shiver when his hand came up to cover the exposed skin of her back. Kathryn’s fingers slid into his hair as she guided his lips down to meet hers. Soft moist lips moved against his, the tickle of her tongue slipping out to trace his lips challenged him to deepen the kiss. He parted his lips and she readily accepted the invitation. One hand around his back held Chakotay tightly. His hands roamed Kathryn’s back, tracing her spine slowly, enjoying the soft velvet texture of her skin. One hand rested lower cupping her bottom and holding her firmly against his growing erection. Kathryn moaned into his mouth pressing herself closer with a slight shifting of her hips. The movement caused her towel to slip and Kathryn stepped back quickly grabbing the towel and holding it in place.
“I er.. “ Clutching the towel, she smiled at him. “I guess I should go in now.”
How small and vulnerable she suddenly looked to him, as she held tightly to the towel, blushing. His openly lustful stare caused her to backup slightly and he was reminded by the uncertain look in her eyes that he needed to be patient. She was still torn between her feelings for him, and the loyalty she felt she owed Mark. They had talked about it a few times and he had promised not to rush her.
“Why don’t you get dressed.” He smiled at the relief in her eyes as she nodded. “I’m going to grab a shower.”
“OK.” She started for the door. “I’ll probably just go to bed. See you in the morning.”
“Good night, Kathryn.” He watched her disappear into her cubicle before taking his shower.
Chakotay took his time in the shower. Tonight they had taken an important step and he relived every second of it in his mind. He needed to wait for her to come to him; he needed to be sure she really wanted this. This was so much more than a physical reaction, this was the rest of their lives and he didn’t want her to regret a minute of it.
When Chakotay left the shower, the shelter was dark except for a tiny light in the living area. As he made his way through he glanced at her room, it was dark and quiet; Kathryn must already be asleep. He moved to his own room and flicked on the light.
“Kathryn, what are you doing here?” His shock could be seen through smiling eyes as they took in the sight of her snuggled in his bed. "Did you take a wrong turn in the living area?”
“I don’t think so.” She pulled back the blanket, revealing her short satin nightgown and invited him to join her. “Do you mind?”
“Not at all.” He dropped his towel on the floor and slid in next to her.
Kathryn turned and placed her hands on his cheeks. She brushed soft kisses against his lips, across his face, and over his eyes. Chakotay rested his hands on her satin covered hips and waited. He was determined to let her decide freely just how far this would go. Kathryn’s lips returned to his, her tongue prodding his lips apart, her hands taking careful inventory of his body. Soft lips wandered across his jaw, Kathryn could feel the force of his moans as her fingers trailed along his ridged length.
“I love you, Chakotay.” Her hot breath blew across his neck as she moved his hand to her breast. “Touch me.” Kathryn threw her leg over his, gently rocking against his thigh. “Make love with me, Chakotay.”
Her words burned into Chakotay’s soul, her breast thrust into his hands, while her hands slowly brought his body to the edge. Chakotay rolled her back gently removing her hands from his throbbing erection and placing them at her sides.
“Let me love you.” He slipped the thin straps off her shoulders, exposing her breasts to his hungry eyes. Lowering his head, his lips paid homage to her creamy breast as his hands slipped the satin down her body, until she kicked free of it.
Chakotay raised his head and smiled at her before leaning in to capture her mouth in a hard wet kiss. In contrast to his demanding mouth, Chakotay’s hands wandered slowly down her body, one teasing her tight nipples the other grazing her belly, crossing her hip to gently stroke her inner thighs.
Kathryn opened herself to him, arching her body toward him as her own hands caressed his golden flesh. Soon she was making unintelligible sounds of pleasure, moaning as his fingers spread her moist curls and dipped into her growing wetness. Kathryn was panting, her breaths escaping in sudden bursts of pleasure as his thumb expertly manipulated her sensitive nerves, his fingers thrusting deeply.
“Ohhh goddss.” She groaned, grasping at him when his touch eased, his fingers slowly withdrawing. “Please.” She thrust her hips at him,
“Soon.” He gave her a knowing smile. Thoroughly enjoying the response he invoked, he softly kissed her lips then trailed his tongue down her neck to the milk white valley between her breasts.
Chakotay’s fingers rolled her taut nipples, his mouth sucking at the salty moisture of her skin. Leisurely, moving down her belly to tease her, Chakotay’s tongue lapped at her navel, licking a trail to the upper edge of her curls. Chakotay shifted, positioning himself between her open thighs. Kathryn’s nails dug into his shoulders as he spread her with both hands revealing the sopping wetness of her desire. His tongue slid into her swollen folds, drinking her sweet nectar, taunting, teasing while she writhed beneath his exquisite assault.
“Cha ko taaaa.” She gasped, her hips pumping, her fingers twisted in his hair. Mygodd pleeasee.”
Two fingers thrust deeply as his lips latched on sucking her hard. Kathryn’s world stopped, frozen for seconds before her every nerve exploded in a kaleidoscope of pleasure. Shards of electric ecstasy shot through her as a garbled form of his name ripped from deep in her throat, her whole body convulsing, inner muscles clenching his fingers as she screamed her release.
Chakotay moved to lie next to her, stroking her as she calmed, watching her as he whispered his love. Kathryn’s eyes opened her own emotions clearly visible as she drew his lips to hers. She reveled in his gentle caress, her own hands reaching out, touching, stroking, teasing him. Kathryn rolled him onto his back, lips locked, bodies tightly pressed together, then rose up to straddle him. Forcing a groan, she slid his length along her moist folds, positioning him, then straightened up to watch him as her body slowly swallowed him. With her hands on his chest, she languidly lifted her hips rising almost fully off him, then lowered herself to engulf him again and again. Chakotay tightened his grasp on her hips as she gradually increased her pace and he thrust against her in ever quickening movements. Kathryn could feel his heart pound under her hands, his chest heaving as he used his grip on her to force a faster, harder pace. Slipping one hand between them, he stroked her just above their joining, sending shivers through her body, forcing her onward, until arching she tossed her head back and cried out again, her body convulsing around him forcing him over with her. She collapsed on his chest.
“Commander.” Statton stood patiently waiting to take the bridge. “Commander.” She couldn’t help but smile at the look on his face; it was easy to guess who he had been thinking about. “Commander.”
“Lieutenant.” He blushed when he realized she had been waiting while he daydreamed.
“Any special instructions, Commander?” She was glad he had reason to smile, unlike many she didn’t believe the Captain’s current mood was his fault.
“No, Lieutenant. It’s very quiet, only routine work this evening.” He stood and switched places with her. “The bridge is yours.”
Statton smiled and nodded. As she watched the commander walk to the lift, she wondered just what was wrong with the captain. If Captain Janeway didn’t want that man, she would sure be willing to take him off her hands.
Chakotay tried to ignore the odd looks of the various crewmen he encountered on his way to the mess hall; it seemed to get worse with each passing day. Once he reached the mess hall people politely nodded but avoided him. He felt it even with some former Maquis; they respected the rank but were no longer sure about the man.
“Hi, can I sit with you?” B’Elanna held her tray until he nodded. “Good, really no place else to go. Busy in here tonight.”
“Off playing with Harry.” She laughed. “So how are you tonight?”
“Same as ever. You?”
“Yep. And the Captain?”
“Actually she doesn’t talk to me so I’m not sure, but she did smile when she left the bridge with Sam and Naomi today.”
“Guess that’s a start.” B’Elanna tried not to notice the odd looks they were getting. “Think it might lift her spirits enough to change that pissy mood?”
“Oh, come on. She’s been a real bitch since you two got back, especially to you. It’s months now; she needs to get over what ever it is.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Maybe you should just smack some sense into her.” B’Elanna shrugged when he shook his head. “Or I could do it for you.” She smiled but Chakotay didn’t find it very funny. “OK, OK but you won’t talk to me about this and she won’t talk to anyone at all. Something has to give. It’s getting really depressing around here.” She gestured around the room. “Look at them, no one is comfortable anymore.”
“I’m trying, but something has to give and soon. Besides I hate the way she treats you. What did you ever do to her anyway?”
“Not you too.”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that. I know you didn’t actually do anything—just shit, this really stinks and I hate to see you like this.”
“Thanks, B’Ella. Its nice to know someone cares and It’s also nice to know somebody doesn’t see me as a monster.”
“Damn, Chak, they just don’t know and its hard not knowing.”
“Tell me about it.” He actually laughed at that one and raised his cup to her. “Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day.”
Tomorrow wasn’t a better day and neither was the day after. The momentary lift of her time with Naomi wore off quickly and if possible the captain was more depressed than ever.
Several days later, at the end of alpha shift, Harry had the misfortune of being third man in the longest two deck lift ride of his life. He had entered the lift right behind the Captain and just before the doors closed the commander stepped in.
“Captain.” Neither missed how her body stiffened at the sound of his voice. “I’m glad I caught you.”
“What can I do for you, Commander?” Her eyes were focused somewhere over his head.
“I needed to go over these astrometrics reports.” He waved the padds in his hand. “I thought we might do it over dinner.”
“Could they possibly wait until morning?” The captain rubbed her temple with one hand. “I have a terrible headache and I thought I would just skip dinner and retire early.”
“I can help with that too, Kathryn.” Chakotay placed one hand on the back of her neck. “Like I used to. If you’ll let me.”
“Thank you, Commander.” She stepped away from his hand. “I’ll be fine.”
“Kathryn….” Chakotay tried to make her look at him, but the door opened and she slipped away. Chakotay didn’t follow; he leaned back on the wall of the lift. “Deck six.”
“Commander?” Harry saw the surprise. Apparently Chakotay had forgotten he was there.
“Harry, sorry, forgot you were here.” Chakotay smiled and shrugged.
“Yea, I gathered. Anything we can do?” Harry mustered his courage. “I mean for her. I know it’s not my business, but she’s so unhappy.”
“I wish I knew, Harry.” The lift stopped on deck six. “I’m headed to Sandrine’s for a drink, join me?”
“Yea, why not.” Harry shrugged.
“Seems I missed my stop anyway.”
They sat at a table and ordered beers. As the night progressed and the beers flowed heavily, Harry let Chakotay know that he wasn’t the only crewmember concerned with the captain’s well being. Her withdrawal was felt deep in the lower decks.
“It’s not like anyone thinks she isn’t doing her job; were just worried.”
“I know exactly what you’re saying, Harry.” Chakotay finished his beer and signaled for another round. “The Captain is fine; it’s Kathryn who’s in trouble.”
“Yea, I guess that’s it.” Harry studied Chakotay’s mood then checked to be sure no one else could hear them. “Look, it’s none of my business, but what the hell happened down there? I mean you were friends and we all thought that.. well.. that you would be closer after this and now she doesn’t even look at you.”
“You’re right, it’s none of your business.” Chakotay saw the concern on the younger man’s face and something else- fear. “Harry, it’s not what you think.”
“No? I sure as hell hope not, but what are we supposed to think? You were friends—now—I saw her pull away from you; I saw the tears in her eyes when she walked out. What the hell am I supposed to think?”
“Think what ever you want, Harry.” Chakotay was tired of defending himself. He downed his beer and stalked off to the bar leaving Harry shaking his head.
Out of the corner of his eye Chakotay saw a small crowd gather around the booth he had just vacated. This was getting out of hand.
"Ahh Commander." Sandrine stood across the bar with his next drink. "You are all alone tonight. What is wrong with the women on this ship?"
"Nothing, I'm just not interested." He took the beer from her hand.
"Ahh, but there is one who holds your interest."
"Well, I apparently don't interest her." He downed his beer and slammed the glass on the bar.
Sandrine went to refill his glass as Ayala took the stool next to him.
"So, what's the consensus?" Chakotay nodded toward the table Mike had just left.
"Let me guess-- I'm some kind of monster and now the Captain is a recluse and the next seventy years are going to be hell for everyone."
"Been tossed around. Most people think you must have done something to cause this-- or maybe she has just lost it."
"I know you better than most of them, except maybe Torres." Mike took a swig of his beer. "I know how you felt about her long before you were stranded together and I don't see any changes in that. Way I figure it -- some thing happened down there, but not the way they think."
"Then you would be closer to the truth than the rest." Chakotay glanced over his shoulder at what looked like B’Elanna trying to hold off a lynch mob. “This is really out of hand. I have to go.”
“Hey, if I can do anything..”
“Yea, thanks, Mike. I’ll let you know.”
Chakotay blindly marched to the lift muttering to himself as he tried to figure out what to do next. He paid no attention to the people he passed not even noticing the sidewards glances his mumblings earned him. There were only two people who could fix this and he decided it was time they got together and cleared the air—whether she wanted to or not.
“Deck three.” He ordered the lift not even noticing he wasn’t alone.
When the lift stopped he went directly to her door. The other occupants walked slowly behind him, not wanting to miss what ever was about to happen.
"Chakotay to Janeway." Although he knew she was in there, there was no answer "Kathryn, open this door or I will."
"Go away, Commander." She put as much command into her voice as she could muster.
"No. We need to talk, Kathryn, and you have put this off too long already."
"What ever it is can wait until our meeting tomorrow."
"Kathryn, this discussion is personal." He tried to ignore the passing crewmen.
"Then we have nothing to discuss."
"I hope you're decent; I'm coming in." He paused with his had over the keypad
"Commander, may I remind you I am still in charge here and breaking into the Captain's quarters will land you in the brig."
"Don't threaten me Kathryn, I'm not in the mood." He keyed in his over ride and entered her quarters.
"Get out." Her voice hissed from somewhere across the darkened room.
"No." He let the door slide close behind him and cautiously made his way toward the sound of her voice. "You are going to talk to me, Kathryn. I'm not leaving until you do."
"I'll call security and have you thrown in the brig."
"Go ahead." Chakotay sat in the chair across from where he found her. "This has to end and if it improves your mood to throw me in the damned brig than do it!"
They sat glaring silently at one another until Kathryn grew tired of it and tried to leave.
"No, you are not walking out on me." Chakotay grabbed her arm to stop her.
"Security to the captains quarters." Kathryn's other hand automatically slapped her comm badge.
"Computer, put a privacy lock on the Captain's door, authorization Maquis one zero beta." Chakotay pushed Kathryn back on the couch; sitting on the coffee table he held her still.
"Tuvok will get through whatever lock that is."
"But it will take him some time, and in the mean time you are going to listen to me." She winced and he glanced at the red marks his hold was producing on her wrists. "I'm sorry, Kathryn." He loosened his grip. "Please, just listen.." He had to grip her harder when she tried again to slip away. "DAMN-IT! LISTEN TO ME! Kathryn..."
"Captain." She retorted.
"No, I need to talk to Kathryn. Kathryn is causing problems on this ship and she is the only one who can stop it."
"I'm the captain; I can take care of my ship."
"I'm not questioning you ability to captain your ship. There is no problem in how the captain is running the ship-- the problem is Kathryn's and it’s effecting the entire crew."
"Tuvok to Janeway."
"Get in here."
"Captain, there is a privacy lock on your door."
"Break through it." She twisted to break Chakotay's hold on her. "Let me go."
"No. Listen to me, Kathryn. Because of your behavior the entire crew is speculating on just what happened on New Earth and how miserable the rest of this trip is going to be because of it."
"It's none of their damned business."
"Your behavior has given them reason to believe it is. You see, Kathryn, most of the crew thinks I'm some kind of monster. They think that I did something to you down there and now you hate me or are afraid of me. Some of them even think you're having a break down. There are only a few who believe I haven't hurt you in some physical way. Mike thinks you can't deal with your own reality, B'Elanna thinks maybe I should smack some sense into you. Oh, but, spirits you will love this! Harry thinks I raped you!"
Their attention was drawn by the crashing sounds of the security team forcing the door open.
"Captain." Tuvok stood flanked by three, phaser armed, security guards.
Tuvok looked over the situation. Chakotay was obviously forcibly restraining the captain but other then reddened wrists he had caused no damage and Tuvok didn’t believe he ever would.
"Commander, release the Captain." Tuvok ordered and Chakotay immediately complied.
"You are dismissed." Tuvok nodded to the guards as he holstered his own phaser. "I can handle this from here."
"Tuvok." The captain growled.
"Captain, I believe we should take a minute to consider the repercussions of such an action on the already strained morale of this crew."
"Tuvok, the Commander broke into these quarters and assaulted a superior officer. I order you to arrest him."
"Commander, did you in fact, forcibly enter these quarters and assault the captain."
"Tuvok unless you wish to join the Commander in the brig..."
"Yes, Tuvok, I did." He stood and looked down at the Captain. "Captain, I'm sorry to have bothered you. I thought I could reach the woman I love, the one who told me she felt the same way about me. Obviously, I was mistaken." He turned to Tuvok. "I'll come along peacefully."
"Captain, I will escort him to the brig." Tuvok glanced at the captain. "Perhaps you should see the doctor."
Kathryn watched silently as they walked toward the door.
"I will send an engineering team to fix the door." Tuvok stepped past the partially closed door.
Kathryn sat in her darkened quarters absently rubbing her wrists. She had seen him be forceful before, but he had never intentionally hurt her. Truthfully he hadn’t intentionally hurt her now, he only wanted her to listen to him; some thing she couldn’t afford to do. Some one was working on her door but she didn’t pay attention, instead she raised her hand to her face stroking her cheek and remembering his much gentler touches.
Kathryn was still in the twilight of sleep, warm and comfortable. Light fingers traced her jaw line. She rolled toward him snuggling close to his chest and the callused hands gently stroked her back. Slowly her mind recalled the pleasant shock on his face the previous night. Chakotay returned from his shower, wearing only a towel slung loosely around his waist, to find her ensconced in his bed.
“Kathryn, what are you doing here?” His eyes smiled at the sight of her snuggled in his bed. "Did you take a wrong turn in the living area?”
“I don’t think so.” She pulled back the blanket, revealing her short satin nightgown and invited him to join her. “Do you mind?”
“Not at all.” He dropped the towel on the floor and slid in next to her.
Kathryn remembered the thrill of touching him, his muscles rippling beneath the golden smoothness of his skin, feeling the beating of his heart against her breast. She remembered how he carefully followed her lead, allowing her anything she wanted and yet leaving her the option to stop at any point she wanted to. With her eyes closed she could feel his gentle touch, the soft caresses the gentle way he made love to her until her entire being cried out his name in release. A painful sob escaped from deep in her throat.
“Captain?” B’Elanna’s concern was evident in her voice.
“Oh, B’Elanna.” Kathryn opened her eyes surprised to see her standing there.
“Are you all right?” Torres eyed her curiously. “I was working on the door and I heard you … well, make a noise.”
“Yes, yes Lieutenant. I’m fine thank you.” Kathryn fought to replace the captain’s mask. “I didn’t realize you did these repairs personally.” She tried to change the subject.
“Not normally, but Tuvok asked me to do this one.” B’Elanna couldn’t miss the tears in the captain’s eyes. “Can I help?”
“What?” When Kathryn saw the look on B’Elanna’s face she understood. “OH, I’m fine thank you. If you just get the door fixed that would be a big help.”
“Yea, it should be fine now, but listen, Captain, if you want to talk or…”
“Thank you, Lieutenant. I will keep the offer in mind.” Kathryn shifted under B’Elanna’s gaze. “If the door is finished, that will be all.”
“It’s finished.” B’Elanna gave it one more try. “I don’t mean to be out of line here but..”
“Thank you. Dismissed, Lieutenant.” The Captain’s mask was firmly in place now.
“Yes, Ma’am. Good night, Ma’am.” B’Elanna exited without looking back.
The door hissed closed and Kathryn couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. Oh god how had she come to this? Did B’Elanna think she was crazy? Did they all? What had he said? They thought he had hurt her, forced himself on her. Oh spirits, her inability to control herself was costing an innocent man his reputation, and she was only making it worse. She had him thrown in the brig, for nothing more than trying to reach her through the walls she had erected. Her sulking and self-pity were expensive and her crew was paying the price. Chakotay the highest price of all.
Kathryn thought that if she actually got a decent night’s sleep she might be able to better cope, but sleep had not been her friend of late. She considered asking the doctor for a hypospray, but then he would want to see her tomorrow and she really didn’t need him prying into her life. No she would have to deal with this on her own. She decided a few glasses of wine and a hot bath would do the trick so she gave it a try.
At first it worked well. After a long hot bath and a few maybe four glasses of wine, on a virtually empty stomach, Kathryn fell into bed and slept. But the alcohol that numbed her conscious mind did little to slow the torture of her memories.
Chakotay had gone fishing and normally she would have accompanied him, but today she needed to tend her garden. The talaxian tomatoes she had planted as tiny shoots had grown strong and tall but the weight of their ripening fruit was weighing them down. Kathryn needed to stake them for support. Chakotay had helped her gather the stakes, sharpening one end so she could easily plant it in the ground and tie the heavy plants to it. It took Kathryn much longer than she anticipated to stake all the tomatoes. She was working on almost the last one when someone suddenly grabbed her waist scaring the hell out of her.
“OHHH!” Kathryn yelled trying to turn to see her attacker, as she kicked back at him.
“Easy woman.” Chakotay’s chuckle quickly put her at ease.
“Chakotay? Gods, you frightened me!” She turned to face him when he eased his grip.
“Who else would it be?” He laughed as he brushed a dirt smudge off her nose.
“How should I know? I wasn’t expecting you this soon.”
“Soon? I’ve been gone for seven hours.”
“Oh my! I’ve been so busy; do you think I planted too many tomatoes?” She laughed and gestured to the rows of plants now standing erect against their stakes.
“We will find something to do with them.” He pulled her close and kissed her nose. “I’m gonna clean these fish. Why don’t find us some ripe ones and we can have them for dinner.”
“OK, but I need a shower before we actually have dinner.”
“Ummm me too.” He waggled his eyebrows. “We really should conserve water.”
“Get the fish cleaned.” She gave him a gentle shove. “Then maybe we will.”
She found the ripest tomatoes and watched him finish cleaning the fish. They cleaned up the mess and headed out back to where he had a water shower rigged. Chakotay stripped off his clothes before Kathryn had time to bring out clean towels. He was waiting for her when she got there.
“In a hurry?” She eyed him as she put the towels on the bench.
“Yep, and you are way over dressed.”
Chakotay kissed her as he unfastened the blue dress and slipped it off her shoulders. As the dress puddled at her feet he began kissing the freckles on her shoulders and tracing the imaginary lines between them with his tongue.
Kathryn sat up with a start. She stared into the darkness and tried to remember where she was. The reality of her current life came crashing down around her and she felt the hot tears well up in her eyes. Slowly she climbed from her bed and rummaged through her closet until she found the blue dress. Kathryn brushed out her hair, leaving it loose across her shoulders. She added a touch of makeup and slipped into the dress.
It was 0300,so she didn’t run into anyone on her way to deck 9. Stopping outside the doors to compose herself, Kathryn straightened her shoulders and stepped into the brig.
“Lieutenant, you’re dismissed.” The Captain ignored the man’s shocked expression. “Your shift is over for tonight.”
“Yes, Captain.” Lieutenant Huston made a quick exit.
Kathryn stepped behind the console to lower the force field, but oddly there wasn’t one. She stepped into Chakotay’s cell. He was lying on the cot with his arm over his eyes, but she knew he wasn’t sleeping.
“What can I do for you, Captain?” He spoke without moving.
“You could sit up and look at me for starters”
“Isn’t there some regulation about humane treatment of prisoners?”
“Is looking at me so hard for you now?”
“I only meant it is the middle of the night and we should both be sleeping.” He still had not moved.
“I’m not sleeping and you don’t’ appear to be either.” She moved inside the cell and sat in the straight chair there. “Can we talk?”
“About what I fool I am. About how I’ve acted, how I’ve treated you since we got back.” She touched the arm over his face. “About anything you want.”
Chakotay sat up and looked at her. She was ghastly thin, she had dark circles under her eyes, she was pale and more nervous than he had ever seen her. Still to his eyes she was beautiful. Kathryn had obviously tried to please him. She had worn the blue dress he was so fond of because in the sunlight it brought out the color of her eyes. Her hair was loose, flowing down her back—another of his preferences and she even wore makeup at this ungodly hour of the night. He couldn’t hide the smile.
“Kathryn, it’s nice to see you again.” He held out his hand, she hesitated but she gave him hers. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too. I just don’t know how to do this here.”
“This is a good start.” He brought their joined hands to his lips. “Do we have to stay here?”
“No.” She stood and smiled - his smile. “Apparently you never did.”
“Oh.” He chuckled. “Tuvok never actually arrested me. He thought you might change your mind and it was far more logical not to have any records to have to erase.”
“God, what a bitch I have been. Even Tuvok is ignoring my orders.” She took a tentative step toward him. “Can you forgive me?”
“I love you, Kathryn.” He wrapped her in his arms holding her tightly. “I can forgive you anything, just don’t make me live without you.”
Chakotay put his arm around her shoulder
and led her out of the brig. Leaning into him
Kathryn slipped one arm around his waist as they walked the darkened corridor of deck nine.
“What about the crew? How do I fix this?”
“They only want you to be happy.” Just then they found themselves face to face with two ensigns who suddenly rounded the corner. Chakotay felt her stiffen and try to pull away. “Morning.” Chakotay held her tightly to his side.
“Morning, Sirs.” They nervously looked from one to the other.
“Morning.” Kathryn finally managed as the four of them stood staring at one another. “If you will excuse us, ensigns.” Kathryn’s hand squeezed his side. “We have some important matters to straighten out.”
“Have a good day, Ma’am.”
The young crewmembers scurried away whispering and Kathryn was sure she heard a giggle before they were out of earshot.
“See, you have improved morale all ready.”
“Well, at least it will be kinder gossip.” She stretched up and kissed him quickly checking the corridor. “We got away with that one. Let’s go home before we get caught.”
“I don’t mind getting caught with you.”
He held her close and carefully watched her face for signs of protest, finding none he gently pressed his lips to hers. He felt the moment the captain gave way and Kathryn readily welcomed him back into her life. He felt her kiss go from gentle to demanding, from welcoming to needy, as the months of denial fell away. Reluctantly, he broke the kiss.
“Kathryn.” He smiled at her flushed cheeks, the hunger so evident in her eyes. “Maybe you’re right—we need to go home. There are somethings I won’t share with our crew.”
“Computer, transport the Commander and me to my quarters. Authorization Janeway pi alpha two.” A strange sound came from deep in her throat as they were caught in the blue light of the transporter.
“Kathryn, did you just growl?”
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