Everyone belongs to Paramount. All things trek are the property of
this god to whom we pay homage. No infringement intended. Not making
any money ---just having fun. I promise not to permanently damage
The past two weeks had been hell. Supplies were low, systems seemed to be breaking down one by one, they had been attacked last week, incurring major damage to the weapon systems and still had no idea who or why, and moral was at an all time low.
The bridge was deathly quiet, due mostly to the obviously irritable Commander and the totally stressed and overworked Captain. The bad mood of the command team effected the bridge crew, who in turn effected crewmen in other areas of the ship.
"Commander, you have the bridge. I'll be in my ready room." The Captain left the bridge without even looking at anyone.
"Aye, Captain." Chakotay automatically responded without looking up.
The doors closed behind her and the Captain took a deep breath. She needed to get things under control---starting with herself. She replicated coffee and took a seat facing the view port. When had things gotten so out of control? She sat back trying to assess the situation. Supplies were low---nothing unusual, but long-range scanners didn't provide much hope. They were experiencing major systems breakdown---repairs were under way--B'Elanna could work miracles--most times--and life support and replicators had yet to be affected. Weapons were a problem--Harry was helping B'Elanna with that---maybe she should help also. The recent attack was a great concern, not only for the damage it caused to the phaser array, but because the origin was still unknown—the who -the why---were as yet unsolved. Who ever it was went away as mysteriously as they had come. The door chimed---it would be Chakotay. Gods--she had neglected him also--worse --she had been a real bitch lately.
"Captain, progress reports from Mr. Kim, on weapons." He stood formally, trying to assess her current mood.
"Thank you, Commander." She reached for the reports without turning around.
"Would you like to have lunch?" He knew her mood wasn't improved, but her took a chance on a personal request anyway.
"I really don't have time." She answered sharply and he started for the door. She turned around, then. "Chakotay---I'm sorry, please don't leave yet."
"Something else I can do for you Captain?" He stopped and turned back, but didn't move toward her.
"I'm sorry--I know I've been a real bitch----can we have lunch here?" She stepped toward him cocking her head to one side.
"Sure, I'll have Neelix send something up---about an hour?"
"OK---I'll try to be in a better mood." She touched his arm and smiled before turning back to the view port.
"OK--be back in an hour." He felt better--but not much, as he exited to the bridge.
She stood silently holding the report
he had used as an excuse. How sad, he had to find reasons to come
and speak to her, even sadder in view of the changes their relationship
had undergone in the last six months. Six months ago they had become
lovers--a step she could no longer deny either one of them. No matter
what protocol dictated, seventy years was too long to spend alone---too
long to wait for someone. She had made him wait years already---an
entire lifetime was too much to ask. That was how
She shook herself. Time to get
back to work. She read his report, then called Harry and offered
her assistance after lunch, which he gladly accepted. She contacted
B'Elanna and got an update on the other repairs --- it looked slightly
better. Supplies were still a problem. But she knew long-range
scans were continuous now and she would be informed of any possible restocking
sites. She went over the few remaining items on
"Come in Commander." She was seated on the couch trying to look more relaxed.
"Lunch is served." He looked more relaxed and he set the tray on the table. "Looks a little strange--but Nelix assures me it's delicious." He laughed when she rolled her eyes, taking a seat next to her.
"Anything on long range?" She hadn't wanted to discuss business--it just slipped out.
"Nothing---read Harry's report?" It was the last thing he wanted to talk about, but he guessed she did.
"Yes ---he's making progress, I'm gonna help him after lunch ---B'Elanna is doing well, but maybe you could lend her a hand."
"I'll contact her after lunch." He passed her a plate and stared down at his own.
"OK-- enough work." She placed a hand on his arm. "One hour break?"
"Agreed." He smiled, showing her the dimples, then bent and kissed her cheek. "I miss you."
"I'm sorry---gods that's all I seem to say anymore." She shook her head in frustration.
"It's been a bad few weeks---we just need to find some time to relax." He took a fork full of his lunch-almost spitting it out. “Soup?" He stood and headed for the replicator.
"Yea, and coffee---please." She cleared away their uneaten lunch.
The soup was much better and after eating it they relaxed a little. She moved closer to him leaning her head on his shoulder-he placed his arm around her. For a short time they just enjoyed being together quietly.
"Torres to Janeway." The comm. link interrupted their solitude.
"Janeway here." She jumped away, sitting up and separate from Chakotay.
"Captain, We are making progress, but I sure would appreciate any help you could give me. I'd like to have all major systems functioning by tonight so we can concentrate on weapons."
"Understood Lieutenant--take anyone you need. I plan on working with Harry on weapons later and I believe the Commander intends to lend you a hand this afternoon."
"Good--I could use him, thanks Captain."
"B'Elanna--let's make rest a priority for tonight--none of us can function much longer without it."
"Understood Captain, Torres out."
“Kathryn, she can't see us." He was obviously hurt by her insistence that they keep their relationship to themselves.
"I'm sorry, I'm just..."
"Please ---don't be sorry anymore---it's making me crazy." He snapped and jumped off the couch. "Guess I'll get to work."
"Don't." He turned away from her and stopped. "See you tonight?" He said in a calmer quiet voice.
"Yes--shall we plan dinner around 1800?" She walked over and put her arms around his waist resting her head on his back.
"I'll be there---let me know if you can make it." He disentangled himself and left the ready room.
She shook her head, she would make it better later, now she had work to do. She left the bridge to join Harry in engineering. He showed her what was done and they planned their next steps---the final one would involve actually going out to work directly on the array. It would take at least two people--maybe three and would only really be dangerous if they met an enemy or ran into a storm. They assembled the necessary equipment while discussing who should venture outside to repair the phasers. The logical answer to both of them was the three best engineers on the ship---B'Elanna, Kathryn and Harry.
Harry went to the shuttle bay to finish assembling equipment and collect environmental suits, Kathryn went to talk to B'Elanna. Crossing engineering, she found B'Elanna under a console.
"Lieutenant Torres." She squatted down next the console.
"Captain." B'Elanna ducked out from under the console.
"How are you doing--here?"
"OK, Carey and the Commander are finishing up the last of the burnt conduits on deck eleven and I'll be finished here in a matter of minutes. All systems will be up and running and we can move on to the Array. How are you and Harry doing?"
"Everything is ready---all we need now is a little tweak from outside the hull and the phasers should be ready for testing.
"It's gonna be more than a little tweak---what do you think two--maybe three people to handle it?"
"That's what we thought. Ready for a little space walk?"
"Sure---Harry and Carey?"
"Harry-yes, but --I think I'd like to assist on this one."
"You, Captain?" B'Elanna never imagined the Captain working outside the hull.
"Yes, me--I am a class five engineer--second on this ship, only to you-I might add." The Captain laughed as she found it strange to be explaining herself to her chief engineer.
"OH--I didn't mean--I never said--well I know you're qualified---I'm just surprised you want to---that's all." B'Elanna was flustered and a little tongue tied---having never seen her this before caused the Captain to laugh again.
"It's OK, Lieutenant---I understand."
"What is it you understand--that would have B'Elanna blushing." Commander Chakotay stood behind the Captain. "I don't think I've ever seen you blush before B'Ella."
"I'm just a little surprised that the Captain is going to work outside on the array with myself and Harry---that's all--no big deal, Commander." B'Elanna glared at him.
"I see." He smiled at B'Elanna, but Kathryn saw the unspoken concern in his eyes. "Is it really necessary for the Captain to personally do the repairs?" He said it lightly as he turned to Kathryn, but she didn't miss his intent.
"Not strictly necessary---but she is the second most qualified engineer on the ship---it's a great asset." B'Elanna answered totally missing Chakotay's objection.
"Yes---I am well aware." He turned to Kathryn. "When are you planning this little outing, Captain?"
"Harry is preparing now---so as soon as B'Elanna is ready, we're off"
"Captain, it's already 1730--couldn't this wait until morning?"
"We need the phasers operational as soon as possible, Commander." She tried to hold her voice steady---tried to understand his concerns--she just wanted to slap him! "It's always dark in space, Commander---the time makes little difference." She said sharply, then, remembering their dinner plans, regretted it.
"Correct as usual, Captain." The last word coming out very sharply. "That should not surprise me. I'll be on the bridge---if you feel the need to stay in contact with the ship." He turned and walked out of Engineering.
"Well I'll just be a minute here, Captain." B'Elanna wasn't sure what was wrong with Chakotay---but it wasn't good and the Captain didn't look like she wanted to discuss it--just as well --so B'Elanna ducked back under the console. "I'll meet you and Harry in shuttle bay one as soon as I'm finished."
"Right--we'll be waiting." Captain Janeway left engineering and slapped her comm. badge. "Janeway to Chakotay."
"Chakotay here--Captain are you ready?"
"Not yet, Commander--I'm on my way to shuttle bay one, now---Could you meet me there?"
"Aye, Captain---on my way, Chakotay out." His speech was formal and clearly he was unhappy about something.
The Captain, being closer arrived minutes before the Commander. She checked in with Harry and rechecked the equipment, sending Ensign Kim to retrieve a few more necessary tools. Chakotay passed Harry in the corridor.
"Captain, you wanted to see me?"
"Chakotay, are you upset about me going out or ---dinner?" Kathryn tried to remain calm, but his formal stance annoyed her---which she was sure it was intended to do.
"Captain, I am concerned for your safety---Captains don't usually do "outside" repairs."
"Not many Captains are in my position or are qualified. Chakotay, about dinner, maybe we can eat later--I'm sorry..."
"Gods Kathryn--not SORRY again! I'm so tired of you being sorry." He cut her off, clearly angry but still soft spoken--he never raised his voice.
"Chakotay, this will take only about an hour---when it's fixed --we will all relax better knowing we can defend ourselves."
"That's not the point--You shouldn't be going out there and you know it!" He stepped in very close to her. "B'Elanna and Harry can handle it---Carey if they need him--not you."
"Why not me? Are you suggesting I should send my people somewhere I wouldn't deem safe enough for the Captain to go?" She stepped in standing tall, but still tilting her head back to look him in the eye with her most defiant Captain look. "Besides, Chakotay--it's perfectly safe."
"Unless we come into a storm or another ship or some other unexpected phenomenon---god knows there is no shortage of the unexpected in this god forsaken quadrant. Kathryn please don't go. He was angry and his voice raised slightly, but his last plea was almost a whisper. He put his on her shoulders and pleaded with his eyes. "You take risks every day---I understand our situation out here--I know you're the Captain--but gods Kathryn--this could be handled by someone else."
"You worry too much--I'll be fine, I'll be back in little over an hour for dinner---OK?" She smiled up at him and thought he was about to soften when the doors hissed open and she quickly stepped back causing his face to harden again.
"Aye Captain, I'll monitor you progress from the bridge." He quickly turned, nodding to Harry and B'Elanna as he left.
They made one more check of the equipment
before donning their environmental suits. Once dressed and rechecked
they loaded their packs with equipment and signaled the waiting Ensign
to depressureize the bay. It took most of their first hour to work
their way around to the array and they were well into their third before
they were satisfied with their work and started back to the bay.
It was 2230 before the Captain returned to
"Hi, I'm..." She stopped herself from apologizing again. "It took longer than I expected. Have you eaten?"
"I've been on the bridge monitoring your repair team. I'm not hungry. Can I fix you something?"
"Not hungry, how about a cup of tea? She started for the bedroom and called back to him. "I'm gonna get out of this uniform---be right back."
Dressed in a tunic and leggings she joined
him on the couch, happily accepting the steaming tea he offered.
His mood had not improved and her mood wasn't helped by the fact that,
she wasn't accustom to the physical exertion of working in an environmental
suit. She was exhausted and ached, her head was beginning to hurt
and she clearly was not ready or willing to be challenged on anything---least
of all her interpretation of
"Kathryn, what do you want from me?" He spoke softly---these simple words and their whole future seemed to hang on them.
"Chakotay, please--we knew this wouldn't be easy and I really am sorry these last few weeks have been so hard. Look at it this way---it's bound to get better from here---right?"
"Kathryn, I do understand this hasn't been all your fault or even mine--unfortunately it's the nature of our existence, but --Kathryn--I don't know how much more of this I can stand."
"As much as we have to--I imagine---we're a long way from home and alone---things go wrong all the time--like you said the nature of our existence--there isn't anything I can do about it."
"We can't change life in the delta quadrant, but we can change how we deal with it--how we let it affect us."
"Chakotay--get to the point---what is it you want form ME?"
"Kathryn, just relax--a little." He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer. "Try not to worry over things that aren't important--try not to be so nervous about the crew finding out about us. If they do it wouldn't be the end of the world---would it?"
"No, of course not--I just need--I'm not ready to deal with that right now."
"Maybe there is nothing to deal with---I don't think it will have any effect on most and those few who care will be happy for us."
"I hope you're right." She leaned into him, willing herself to relax and not spoil the little time they had alone. A small groan escaped her lips, as she shifted position using her already strained muscles.
"Not as young as you used to be?" He laughed at her attempt to swat him, which caused her to groan again.
"Very funny. I'm not used to all that physical labor---which I might add is all the more reason to do it more often--not avoid it."
"I agree--we need more exercise--in the future let's see if we can find an activity we can agree on." He moved off the couch, pulling her with him. "Come on, I'll give you a massage." He pointed her toward the bedroom, turning himself to the replicator and requesting warm oils. "Cover the spread so the oil doesn't ruin it."
She covered the spread and quickly undressed,
so that she was lying on her stomach waiting for him when he came in. He
set the oil on the night stand and toed off his boots. He straddled
her, supporting his weight on his knees as he gently moved her hair off
her back. He rubbed the warm oil in he hands before starting, blowing
on it to attain the right temperature. He started with her shoulders
spreading the warmth and kneading his way across and down each arm, returning
to her shoulders, neck and down her back, slowly deliberately working each
muscle. She relaxed now, an occasional groan escaping as he worked
a particularly tight muscle. Leisurely he worked his way down her
leg, taking care to thoroughly massage each foot, before working his way
back up the other leg. She'd grown so calm and quiet, breathing soft
even breaths, he thought she had fallen asleep, until he massaged some
warm oil into her buttocks and was treated to a soft moan. He continued
kneading the muscles of her lower back, over her hips and when he shifted
his weight forward to move higher, she took the opportunity to roll over
and face him.
She reached toward him her fingers caressing his thighs, her eyes locking with his. She grabbed at him, pulling him into contact with her body, while her lips responded to his, her hands caressed him and sought to rid him of the remaining cloth barriers. She forced the offending trousers open and down over his hip, before he again pulled away from her grasp. Releasing her lips, he returned his concentration to her breasts. He gently rolled an erect nipple with his tongue, alternately sucking and nipping, sliding his oil slick hand down her body, she arched her back groaning as he slid his hand between her legs. Kissing and licking a trail to the top of her curls, his hands parted her thighs, his fingers seeking her moist center. Warm breath blew across her, causing an involuntary shudder as she arched toward him-her body begging him for more. Her fingers entwined in his hair alternately pushing, pulling, grasping, seeking to guide him---force the contact she so desperately needed. Slowly, torturously, fingers slipping through the soft velvet moisture, touching, teasing, fueling her burning desire. Slowly he slid lower, spreading moist open kisses along her inner thighs, nibbling, sucking, licking a path to where his fingers gently opened her to him. She cried out, as he tasted her, broad strokes lapping the sweet salty juices, gradually swirling his tongue toward her aching bundle of nerves. Darting and teasing, she gasped, writhing beneath his delicious assault, bring her to the edge only to ease her down again and again until she cried out, pleading with him-begging for completion. Again the tip of his tongue traveled teasingly the length of her, licking, stroking, returning to flick at her center, three fingers entered her as warm moist lips enclosed her, thrusting, sucking, licking, while she bucked against him, screaming her release.
Shedding his remaining clothing, he moved
along side her, holding her, kissing her face as she regained her breath.
She tasted herself on his lips--those glorious lips, she traced their outline
with her tongue, licked her juices from his face, pulled him close kissing
him deeply. She slid her body down his, the oil allowing fluid movement-creating
erotic sensations skin to skin. She wanted to taste him, but she
moved slowly--teasing him-touching and tasting, languidly covering every
part of him with warm soft kisses, gentle nips, moist licks---everywhere
but where he wanted her most. She watched him, eyes closed, hands
tightly fisted, the rapid movement of his rising and falling chest, as
she spread his legs and moved between them. He gasped as her nails
grazed the inside of his thighs, followed closely by her tongue.
Something like a growl escaped
Straddling him she bent to cover his
mouth, smothering his moans. Her fingers stroked him as she guided
his length toward her, positioning herself so that she took him in slowly,
savoring the sensation of his pulsating fullness as she eased herself upright.
She held him still for a moment, than raised and lowered herself--quickening
her pace until he joined her, together establishing a frenzied rhythm.
His one hand stroked
"Hey, you still with me?" He rubbed her back, trying to see if she was awake.
"Gotta, move---can't stay like this."
"Why not?" He voice was thick and groggy.
"In a word --oil. It's everywhere." He lifted her up and sat up. "Come on--if we don't clean this up we'll ruin all you bedding." He moved off the bed, setting her on her feet.
"OK—OK." She took his hand. "Let's shower." She stuffed the oily covering in the recycler along with his destroyed uniform and dragged him off toward the bathroom.
They opted for the sonic shower, it was quick and it would allow them to be clean and refreshed without the fuss of water, wet hair and totally waking up. It took only a few minutes and he would have sworn she slept through it. Before he knew it they were clean and tucked neatly into her bed, where she was already sound asleep, snuggled up to his chest. She made him crazy, this strong, stubborn, fiercely independent, intense--yet frightened and sometimes childlike woman. He loved her more intensely than he ever thought possible and he knew she loved him the same---somehow they would work this out. He ran his hand down her back, kissed the top of her head and joined her in sleep.
"CAPTAIN THE TIME IS 0500 HOURS--CAPTAIN THE TIME IS 0500 HOURS."
The computer sounded her wake up, she groaned and rolled over burying her face in his chest.
"Gods." She grunted. "Computer reset 24 hours."
"Morning." He kissed her head, then tapped her shoulder. "Hey, gotta get up."
"No I don't--I'm the Captain, I can just order you to take my shift." She spoke into his chest.
"Still have to get up---I can't go to the bridge like this." He laughed, then remembered the night before. "Hey, you recycled my uniform---I have nothing to wear."
"Guess you'll have to stay here with me."
"OK---You want to call Tuvok or should I?"
"Alright---alright--I'm getting up." She lifted her head to look at him. He smiled at her, she rolled her eyes. "Coffee." She slid off the bed and went to the replicator. "You want Coffee?" She called back.
"Yea and a uniform." He laughed. "Shorts, a robe---anything so I can get home without streaking the corridors."
"I'm sure we must have something here." She brought him the coffee and began looking for something large enough for him to wear home, when the door chimed. She froze--a look crossed her face, he could only call fear.
"Shit." She grabbed a robe and walking into the other room called for the door to open. It did and no one was there.
She was flooded with relief as she came back into the room and it instantly made him angry. She hadn't looked at him, just went right back to looking for and finally finding a pair of sweat pants---his--which she knew were there.
"Here we go." She said brightly as she tossed them at him. "I knew they were here somew..." She stopped when she saw his expression. "What---what's wrong?"
"Kathryn, would it be so bad if someone knew?" He tried to hold his anger but it wasn't easy.
"Oh--Chakotay." She sat on the bed beside him. "It's just that..."
"Don't ---I can’t listen to any more excuses." He pulled on the pants and walked out into the other room. "Computer is the corridor outside the Captain's quarters clear of crewman?"
"CORRIDOR DECK THREE SECTION 0301 IS CLEAR."
"Chakotay---please." She walked up behind him, putting her hand on his arm.
"I'd better go while I can." He pulled his arm away. "See you on the bridge." He walked out and she watched the doors close behind him.
The bridge was quiet. The command team was civil, almost even pleasant with each other, but something was wrong and it didn't go unnoticed. Fortunately, there was time to notice this due to the improved condition of the ship's systems. The repairs had gone well- all systems were functional, most at top efficiency and the rest would be up to speed by the end of the day. Next on the agenda was to replenish food supplies and Seven had just come up with a possible source for that. All in all the day was good one for everyone --almost everyone.
The M class Seven located was a three day journey and turned out to be populated by a short humanoid race calling themselves the Decout. The Decout were a friendly people led by a small --even by their standards ---woman named Becouta. The Countess Becouta and her court were more than happy to give Voyager all the food and seed she could carry, in return they asked only small trinkets which represented the worlds of the various species which Voyager carried and several long conversations with the Captain. The Decout were unique in their area of space in that they were led by a woman and were intrigued to find the Captain of this great Starship was female. The crew had been allowed shore leave and a dinner was given in their honor on Voyagers last night in orbit.
With all systems functioning at top efficiency, the food stores full to overflowing and the crew fresh and relaxed from recent leave the mood on Voyager was greatly improved from a few short weeks ago. The entire crew was to be allowed time at the dinner, which was to be served in two separate shifts to accommodate a rotation of Voyager's crew. The Captain and the Commander were attending the second serving along with Ensign Paris and Lieutenant Torres.
The Captain put the finishing toucheds
on her ensemble just before her door chimed. She dabbed on her perfume
and called for the door to open, taking one last look in the mirror.
She had purchased a new dress on the planet, just for tonight's dinner.
The dress was dark blue, cinched at the waist and flowing softly to just
above her knee. The
The door slid open and instead of Chakotay as she expected, she found B'Elanna.
"B'Elanna, come in---where's Tom?"
"Should be here any time ---am I early?"
"No. Want a drink while we wait---I'm having wine." Kathryn was impressed with her chief engineer--again--she looked great in a bright red dress which was only a little shorter than her own and matching heels --higher than she had ever seen B'Elanna in before.
"Sure, thanks--Chak's not here either?" She accepted the wine. "And they say we're always late."
“You look great B'Elanna--new dress?"
"Yea---Tom talked me into it on leave---these damn shoes too. If I don't fall off and kill myself."
They were about to sit down when the door chimed, again.
"Come in." Kathryn turned to find both men appraising them. "Come in and close your mouths---think you never saw a woman before."
"Wow, you both look great." Tom admired both woman and bent to kiss B'Elanna.
"I have to agree--very nice B'Ella." He stepped between the couple and Kathryn, facing her. "You are beautiful." He took her hand and blew her a kiss the others couldn't see.
"Thank you." She blushed slightly, shaking her head. "Would you like to join us in a wine?"
"Sure." Tom sat on the couch with B'Elanna.
They drank their wine with comfortable
conversation and for a short time they seemed like any other couples.
Normal people having normal conversation with friends on their way out
for the evening---except their lives were anything but normal and only
one couple openly admitted to being together. Kathryn offered more
wine, but B'Elanna declined, stating a need to maintain her balance, and
they proceeded to the dinner instead. The dinner turned out much
better than expected, no speeches and very little diplomatic rhetoric.
For the first time in a long time, Kathryn had most of the evening to relax
and enjoy the party. After the obligatory time spent with high ranking
dignitaries, Kathryn danced with the Countess' 'Partner', who was only
slightly shorter then her, while Chakotay and the Countess made the best
of their awkward dance--the
"It is well he is your partner not mine---you fit together much better." The Countess laughed and everyone joined her, not noticing Kathryn stiffen slightly.
"I rather enjoy taller women." Jacember glanced across the table directly at Kathryn's breasts, causing her to turn pink and earning him a smack from Becouta.
"Since Chakotay is at least twice as big as you---I would think you would be careful where your eyes wander." Kember joined in the fun.
"I am not intimidated by him..." Jacember was quick to counter, then jerked his head toward Becouta. "Now her---that's quite a different story."
The laughter continued, but the conversation thankfully took other turns. The dancing continued thoughout the night, but the people at the head table refrained for the most part. At one point Tom had been dragged off to the dance floor by Jenny Delaney and for the next three dances, Megan and Jenny had taken turns with him. By the fourth dance B'Elanna had had enough and made Chakotay dance with her so she could get on the dance floor and hopefully 'save' Tom from the sisters. This brilliant plan succeeded in getting Tom back, but now the Delaneys were passing Chakotay back and forth. While it was received in the spirit of fun in which it was done, these events did not go unnoticed around the table.
"Kathryn, it is an interesting relationship your crew shares." Jecember brought her attention away from the dance floor.
"Interesting? How so, Jecember?" She hoped he hadn't noticed the brief hesitation before her answer.
"They are warm and comfortable together." He glanced at the dancers and nodded at Jenny and Megan, who were now almost fighting over Chakotay. "We are much like that, but no woman on this planet would be so bold with me---save Rubeta--and she is my sister."
"I'm afraid Chakotay is closer to the crew than I am." She deliberately tried to ignore his implications. "Being Captain, I must maintain some distance."
"But surely to be so bold with the Captain's partner..."
"Oh--no Chakotay is not my partner." She struggled for words, knowing B'Elanna and Tom were hanging on everything she said. "Not in that sense--He is my first officer and friend--my best friend-but---nothing more." As she finished she looked up to see Chakotay had gotten away and was standing in front of her --having heard her last words. She saw the hurt in his eyes before he looked away.
"Tom---you take them---I'm an old man--I can't keep up. He laughed as he took his seat, but Kathryn knew it was forced.
"I'm sorry---I just assumed you were..."
"Don't be. It's a common mistake, we are so comfortable together -people often mistake us for---partners." Kathryn was embarrassed both for her hosts and for herself and Chakotay.
Tom made some quick comments and managed
to bring the conversation around to a lighter note. The mood brightened
again and the party continued. Chakotay was quiet for the rest of
the evening and no one dared to dance again, but for the most part they
recovered well. As the evening drew to a close, the crew, one by
one, thanked their hosts and returned to Voyager, leaving the Senior Officers
for last. As they stood,
"I must apologize again, I am sorry if I caused you embarrassment." Jecember shook Chakotay's hand.
"No problem--really." He smiled, then turned back to Jecember.
"I sometimes make the same mistake myself." Chakotay walked over
to the beam up site and joined the others and Jecember just nodded.
"Good bye and thank you again for everything." Kathryn smiled at her new friends. "Voyager, four to beam up." They all smiled as they disappeared in the shimmer of the transporter.
They materialized in transporter room one and Chakotay immediately left at a brisk pace. Tom and B'Elanna stood looking very uncomfortable, before making hasty excuses and going in the opposite direction. Kathryn stood alone quietly for a minute before stepping down.
"Captain, is something wrong?" Inquired the young ensign on duty.
"No Ensign--it's been a lone day--good night."
"Good night, Captain."
The Captain walked slowly to the lift to ensure she would be alone when she got there. Solo she rode the lift to deck three and went straight to her quarters. She undressed quickly and climbed into bed, but soon realized sleep was not going to be easy. Why did she always do this to him? Was it so much to ask that she admit or at least not deny their relationship? How much longer would he put up with this? What was she afraid of? The questions rolled around and around until she thought she would go mad. She got out of bed, dressed in leggings and a tunic and left her quarters---- another sleepless night. Kathryn wandered the corridors of her ship for hours, then found herself outside holodeck one, Sandrine's was running--she went in. It was quiet and darker than usual, one person at a corner table -a holocharacter she noted, and the bartender. She ordered a glass of water and sat down. When she looked up again the bartender was gone and Sandrine was handing her a glass of wine.
"I believe this would be more useful." Sandrine smiled. "Captain, what troubles you tonight?"
"The usual." Kathryn took the wine.
"No, this is not usual--not the crew--not her ship, or supplies---no enemy." She shook her head. "This is a man."
"How do you know?" Kathryn laughed.
"I know these things." Sandrine laughed, too. "So you are troubled about HIM again. Why do you torture yourself so?"
"What should I do? I'm the Captain."
"You are first a woman--think like one, Kathryn. You love him---no?"
"You know too much."
"So---make it right with him--everything else will work out."
"Easy for you to say."
"Kathryn, trust me---I know you--I know your crew-your ship and I know
him---trust me Kathryn."
"You are the Captain--a scientist--yes, you know much about these things. About Starships-I know nothing--but about love--listen to me Kathryn--about Love, I know." Sandrine placed her hand over Kathryn's and smiled. "Good night my friend--think about what I say."
"I will--good night." Kathryn finished her wine. Shutting down the program, she went back to her quarters--alpha shift would start soon.
The Captain entered the bridge to find all of the alpha shift already at their stations. She nodded to Tuvok as she passed, noticed the Commander looking over something on his view screen and took her seat without speaking to him.
"Report Mr. Paris."
"All systems go, Captain. Ready to break orbit whenever you are."
"Take us out of orbit, Mr. Paris. Set a course for home---warp 4."
"Aye Captain. Course laid in, breaking orbit."
"You have the bridge Commander. ---I'll be in my ready room." The Captain stood and left the bridge without even looking at him.
"Aye Captain." His response was automatic and he never looked up.
A pile of reports awaited her, stacked on her desk in one neat pile, which threatened to topple over if she breathed. She replicated a pot of coffee and dug in, sorting and prioritizing. Engineering reports, supplies, crew rotations, and update from Nelix--she put it on the bottom. Security reports-being sure all was well, otherwise Tuvok would inform her-she put it next to Neelix’s, lists of medical that were due-complete with a personal note from the doctor--she was overdue again--she set that aside also, astrometrics and stellar cartography could wait till later. She poured the coffee and started with the engineering reports. She worked her way through the pot of coffee and another, the engineering, supply and crew reports, scanned the security report--nothing new in stellar cartography or astrometrics--she didn't need a lecture from the doctor--so that left Nelix. She started his report, her door chimed.
"Come in" She called without looking.
"Captain, it's time for beta shift and you haven't even eaten lunch yet." The Commander reprimanded in a stern voice.
"Yes--well I was busy--not hungry, I..." She hesitantly looked up, relaxing at his smile.
"Dinner --one hour --my quarters--I'm not taking no for an answer." The smile faded but the twinkle remained in his eyes.
"Yes Sir." She smiled at him. He was letting her off the hook again. "I'll be there, Sir."
"See that you are." He turned and started out. "No uniform." The door closed behind him.
She smiled as she finished Neelix’s report.
Menus for the coming weeks, reports on morale, plans for talent night--in
three days- she made a note. Every thing else was normal, she approved
the menus and moved to the last report-medical. She approved the
schedule and returned the list to him without her name as usual--he would
find her eventually. Checking the time she left her ready room with
barely enough time to change.
"Come in Kathryn." He called from the other room and the door opened.
"Hello." She called out as she investigated the delicious smell, peeking under the lid of the dish on the table.
"That's cheating." She could feel the voice more than hear it, his arms slipped around her waist and she turned to him. "Hungry."
"Mmmmmm." Her arms reaching around his neck, pulling his lips to hers. "It smells delicious--but so do you."
"First you eat dinner." He removed her arms and moved back a step. "Then dessert"
"Now, now Ms. Janeway." He led her to the table. "Must keep your strength up."
"If you think I need to." She sat smiling.
"Oh without a doubt--you will need ALL your strength tonight." He smiled giving her full benefit of the dimples.
Dinner was both delicious and nourishing, designed as always to coax the Captain into taking care of herself. They retired to the couch after clearing the dishes away. Settling down with him at one end and her positioned between his legs leaning her head back on his chest, they watched the stars warp past.
"Chakotay?" She broke the silence almost shyly. "I'm sorry--I did it again." When he didn't answer she continued. "I never mean to hurt you---it just comes out---I can't seem to help it." Still no answer and she wondered if he were asleep or just angry.
"Let's not." He finally answered. "Please let's not go over this again tonight. You know how I feel and I know how you feel and until one of us can change that--well it only makes it more difficult."
"You're letting me off the hook again." She turned around to face him.
"Maybe--I can't say how long I can do this---I do understand your point--try to understand mine." He looked in her eyes, letting her see his love without hiding the hurt. "Please, not tonight."
She looked away and started to turn, when he stopped her pulling her close. He kissed the top of her head, holding her to his chest as he gazed out at the passing start. Finally she raised her head, moving herself up to capture his lips. They stayed there a long time, holding each other, kissing, just softly, quietly being together. It was times like this---when she was Kathryn--just his Kathryn--that made him hold on--that enabled him to steel himself against the next time---there would be a next time.
"COMMANDER THE TIME IS 0530 HOURS--COMMANDER THE TIME IS 0530 HOURS."
"Computer reset 24 hours." He stretched --as far as he could with Kathryn on top of him-- letting out a groan. This couch was not the best place to sleep--especially for two people. "Hey---sleepy head." He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back trying to bring her around.
"Mmmm--what time is it?"
”0530." He laughed when she suddenly jumped up.
"Gods--we'll be late." She made a face and sat back down. "Guess I was kinda tired---sorry."
"Me too, but I'm awake now." He pulled her down on him again.
"Oh my---we really are going to be late." She gave him a throaty laugh and kissed him.
The commander entered the bridge with about three minutes to spare. He heard reports from all stations and took his seat. Just after he settled in his comm. badge sounded.
“Janeway to Chakotay."
“Chakotay here, Captain."
"Commander, You have the bridge, I have several matters to attend to. I'll be meeting with Mr. Neelix for a short time, then I'll be in engineering."
"Aye Captain. Chakotay out." He smiled as the comm. link went silent. He didn't care that Tuvok raised and eyebrow or what Tom thought.
The Commander was out to lunch when the Captain returned to the bridge. She nodded to Tuvok to keep his seat and proceeded directly to her ready room. She was still secluded in there when alpha shift ended. When she exited, beta shift had taken over---she nodded to the lieutenant in charge, crossed to the turbo lift and was gone.
Chakotay was in his quarters. He wondered what had kept the Captain so busy all day, but dismissed it --if it were important she would tell him.
"Computer locate Captain Janeway."
"CAPTAIN JANEWAY IS ON HOLODECK TWO." The impassive voice of the computer replied.
"Computer what program is running?"
"PROGRAM NEELIX TALENT ONE IS CURRENTLY RUNNING ON HOLODECK TWO"
"Chakotay to Janeway."
"Captain are you still planning to go over the crew evaluations this evening?" He smiled knowing they were finished and they she would know that also.
"Evaluations? Why yes--I seem to have lost all track of time--I am just helping Nelix with preparations or tomorrow night, I will be finished with this shortly. Meet me in my quarters in half an hour?"
"Aye Captain--Chakotay out."
Half an hour later he sounded the chime at the Captains quarters, receiving no answer he punched in his override and let himself in. She was no where to be found so he made himself comfortable and waited. It was another half hour before the door opened and she joined him.
"Crew Evaluations? Just how long can it take us to do them?" She rolled her eyes and dropped down on the couch next to him.
"Pretty tired excuse huh?" He smiled putting his arm around her. "Maybe we better think up a new one."
"Just how stupid do you think this crew is? Neelix wasn't even buying it."
“Good." He looked for a reaction but she avoided looking at him. "So just what does Nelix need you to do for him and his little show?"
"Oh just some adjustments to the holoprogram---really don't know why he didn’t get Tom or B'Elanna to do it, they are much better with holoprograming than me." She settled in next to him. "When are you going to perform at talent night?"
"What's that saying----when hell freezes over--and you?"
"I did my bit---the swan remember?"
"How could I forget." He laughed and she punched him. "Hey--be careful- I bruise easily."
"I happen to know first hand that you are much tougher than you look."
"And it's a good thing---you do seem to do your damnedest to do me in."
"Please---when I try you'll know it." She got up and replicated some coffee. "Want something?"
"I'll have tea, thanks."
They spent the next few hours talking as they cuddled together on the couch. A few times one or the other would dose off for a minute or two. Finally, Chakotay got up and cleared away the cups. "It's time to go. I can't sleep on the couch again."
"Too old?" She took his offered hands and stood stepping into his arms.
"Yes--exactly. I am too old to be sleeping crumpled up on this small couch." He shook his head. "Old and tired--that's how I feel about now.
"You don't feel old to me." She ran her hands up his chest and through his hair. "Anything I can do to help?"
"Normally, yes---but tonight I need to sleep." He bent to kiss her then stepped back. "I'm gonna go---see you for breakfast?"
"Sure you won't stay?" She moved closer again, nuzzling her lips into his neck.
"Gods--I have to go." He stepped back again. "I need to sleep."
"You can sleep here." She gave him a crooked smile.
"Good night, Kathryn." He kissed her quickly and slipped out the door. He heard her laugh as the door closed.
They had breakfast in the mess hall and
went their separate way. The
"Chakotay to Janeway"
"Yes Commander." He could hear the sound of the water splashing as she reached for her comm. badge.
"Neelix is serving a special dinner at 1900 hours--would you like to attend, before the show?"
"Good idea---getting a little short on rations." She splashed a little louder just for him.
"I imagine you are working hard Captain--so I'll see you at 1900. Chakotay out." He was laughing as the link severed and she knew just what he was imagining.
She finished her bath and took great pains dressing for the show. She chose a dress she hadn't worn in many years--she didn't usually dress this way-but tonight----well. She chose a short bright red dress, who's soft full skirt ended a few inches above her knee. It cinched tightly at the waist and was fitted snugly up to the thin spaghetti straps. The built in bra provided enough lift so even she was impressed with her cleavage. She wore diamond earnings--something she never wore and three inch strapy shoes which accentuated her lean muscular legs. She dabbed on her perfume and spun in front of the mirror. Satisfied with her appearance she replicated two glasses of wine, just before the door chimed.
"Come in." She stood just inside the door and offered him a wine as he entered.
"WOW" He took the wine, kissing her cheek and stepped back to look again. "Do we have to go?"
"YES." She rolled her eyes. "You like?"
"An understatement to be sure---Yes very much." He walked all around her and she laughed taking a playful swat at him. "I think we better drink this wine and get out to here---or not." He put down the glass and encircled her with his arms.
"OK." She put her glass down, then surprised him by stepping back
and taking his hand. "Let's go." She led him out the door and
he made a face. "Never mind---we're going." She dragged him
to the lift Their entrance in the mess hall received a similar reaction.
The crew were not accustomed to seeing their Captain like this and reacted
accordingly. It took a little while and a few comments from the likes
of Tom Paris, but eventually they settled down and enjoyed dinner.
As they filed into the holodeck, each received a program and were seated
by Neelix’s newly programmed ushers. The Captain and Commander were
seated front row center---seats of honor, Nelix said. On one side
sat Tom and B'Elanna and on the other Harry and Jenny Delaney. They
sat and politely endured several different acts before the doctor sang
for them, lifting the mood for everyone. He was followed by a ventriloquist
act with Sam and Naomi Wildman. They were really very good
The last act ended and Kathryn hadn't returned. Chakotay was concerned, but unable to look for her as he was completely blocked in. Neelix took the stage and waited for the last of the applause to die down.
"Thank you, thank you." He held up his hands. "You are most kind, but it seems we are not quite finished. We have one more performance for you---you won't find it in your program, as this performer wanted no fuss. I will simply introduce her as she asked to be. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to present --Kathryn.”
The lights went back down and the audience was stunned into silence. One lone spot light shone down on the woman in the red dress as she started to sing.
You're my world
She slowly walked toward the front, center,
Her eyes glistened as she reached toward the audience. Leaving no doubt who she was singing to---a second spotlight shone on the front center seat.
With your hand resting in mine
As the music continued she made her way down the stairs at center stage. She reached out and took his hand, locking their eyes together, slowly stepping backwards, leading him toward the steps.
With your hand resting in mine
Kathryn was standing on the second step, which brought her level with Chakotay.
If our love ceases to be
As the song ended she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, smiling at the shocked expression on his face she kissed him. The audience went wild, They applauded whistled and stomped 'till Nelix thought the program would crash. Kathryn and Chakotay never noticed. The lights came up and the audience thundered on---finally she stepped back breaking the kiss.
"Kathryn, you didn't have..."
"Yes--I did." They stood locked together on the steps--center stage.
"OK, Ladies and Gentleman--the show is over." Nelix tried to usher the crew out, but they wouldn't be moved. "Please-- nothing more to see here." He looked at the couple--then looked around helplessly.
"OK ---every one gets a free drink at Sandrine's---on me---let's go." Tom Paris stepped up to clear the room. This was good, but everyone was sure they hadn't seen the last of this-so a free drink on Tom--which could only come once in a lifetime --was a good offer. Tom shook his hear thinking it was about time and spoke to Chakotay as he left
"You owe me, again big guy." And he laughed at the couple still too deeply engrossed in each other to notice anyone else in the room.
The End.EMAIL ME RETURN TO NC17 INDEX RETURN TO INDEX