Disclaimer:  Paramount owns them- so what?!  They have a better life with us in fanfic.
 
 





Rated:  R

“Commander, I’ll expect you at 1900 hours.” The Captain said with such a subtle trace of a question in her voice, she was sure no one detected it, except possibly Chakotay.

“Aye, Captain.”  Came his response automatic and level enough that no one even looked up.

The Captain crossed to the lift and stood just inside the open door delaying its closing long enough to make him look up.  She smiled, raising one eyebrow and stepped back watching him quickly divert his eyes to the padd in his hand.

Kathryn smiled to herself and leaned back against the wall. Poor Chakotay, she thought, he really had no idea what to expect from her anymore.  She had spent the last month tipping the delicate balance they had so carefully maintained all these years.

It had all started innocently enough.  The Captain was on a diplomatic mission.  She had spent a week negotiating with the very nice but very stubborn Gehrien High Minister.  Kathryn was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to return to Voyager and sleep for the next two days while the actual exchange took place, but the High Minister had other ideas.

The first day, Minister Turner took her on an extended tour of the high lands and the planetary gardens.  Kathryn smiled enjoying the beauty of the planet and doing her best to ignore the obvious and at times outrageous flirting of the high minister.  Pleading a headache, she had finally managed to return to her rooms shortly after dinner.

“Janeway to Chakotay.”  Kathryn kicked off her shoes and hailed the ship as she ran her bath water.

“Chakotay here, Captain.”  His very formal response was contradicted by the soft music she could hear in the background.

“You are off duty now aren’t you, Commander?”

“Yes, Captain.  I’m in my quarters.”

“I have just now managed to return to my rooms, myself.”

“So I take it you are alone.”

“Yes and you?”

“Quite.  So what’s wrong?”  He laughed, hearing a heavy sigh that gave him a clear picture of her collapsing on the couch.  “Tough day?”

“Not if fending off an over amorous High Minister is your idea of fun.”  Kathryn put her feet up on the table.  “Personally, I find it tedious.”

“Take a bath, Kathryn, you’ll feel better.”  Chakotay chuckled.

“It’s running.”

“Good, pin your hair up and grab a glass of wine and relax.”

“You know me a little too well, I think.”

“I should; I’ve lived next door to you for seven years.”

Chakotay could hear the clinking of the bottle against the glass and the sound of the water rushing as Kathryn wandered into the bathroom to turn it off.

“So tell me what’s going on.”  Kathryn removed her comm badge and set it on the side of the tub as she undressed.

“I thought you wanted to be alone and relax.”

“No.  I just don’t want to be with someone I feel I need a bat’leth to fight off.” Kathryn slipped into the water.

“I think I've just been insulted.”

“Why is that?”

“It sounds like you just invited me into your bath because I’m safe.”  He laughed when she groaned.

“I never said you were safe, Chakotay.  I only said I didn’t feel the need to fight you off with a bat’leth.”

Chakotay was quiet while he tried to force himself not to read anything into her remark. They had been friends a long time and often teased or flirted with one another. Chakotay couldn’t let himself think this was any different, even if it felt that way.

“Chakotay?”

“I’m still here.  I…”

Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of her door chime.

“Damn!”

“Don’t answer it.”

“I can’t just not answer.”

“Kathryn, you’re in the bathtub for spirits' sake.”  Chakotay really didn’t need the visual his last remark produced.

“I know, but I’m afraid if I don’t answer it, they’ll come in looking for me.”

“That probably wouldn’t be very good.”

As they discussed it, the chime rang several more times, but before Kathryn could get out to answer, she heard his voice in the other room.

“Kathryn?”  Turner’s voice came closer.  “Kathryn, are you all right?”

“Damn it.”  Kathryn grumbled.

“Is that him?”  Chakotay tried to keep his voice low.

“Yes.”  She hissed into her comm badge, then spoke louder toward the other room.  “Turner, I’m fine.”

“I was concerned.  I brought you some medication for your headache.”

“Thank you.  Please leave it on the table.”

“I promised your doctor I would give it to you personally.’

“Shit.”

“Kathryn, are you all right?”

“Yes, Turner, I’ll be right there.”

“I’ll let you go to your guest.”  Chakotay’s soft voice was punctuated with laugher.

“Don’t you dare desert me!”

“OK, go get rid of him.  I’ll be right here.”

Kathryn dried off quickly, pinning her comm badge to her bathrobe before she hurried into the other room.

“Kathryn, did I disturb you?” Turner smiled as he drank in the sight of Kathryn flushed and dewy from her bath, dressed only in a robe.

“No, I was just taking a bath.”  Kathryn gave her belt an extra tug trying to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.

“I thought I heard voices.”

“I’m talking to the ship.”

“Ahh, always the dutiful captain.” He stepped closer.

“You said you had some medication?”  Kathryn sidestepped and crossed to the table picking up the medication.  “Thank you, I think I’ll take this and go to bed.”

“It's probably only tension, Kathryn.  I have noticed that you work too hard.”  Turner moved behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders.  “You are entirely to tense.  Let me help you.”

“No.”  Stepping away from him, she tried to temper her sharp reply.  “I’ll be fine, thank you.”

“But, Kathryn….”

“Kathryn, I’m back.  Are you still there?”  The sound of Chakotay’s voice caused Turner to move away.

“Yes, Chakotay.  I’m here.  The High Minister has just been kind enough to bring me some medication for my headache.”

“Thank you, Minister Turner.  We appreciate your kindness.  I am always concerned when Kathryn is away from me.”  Chakotay’s voice grew velvety soft when he spoke her name.   “Kathryn, I can have Tuvok take over early and come down tonight if you prefer.”

“That won’t be necessary.  I’ll just take this and go to bed.  I’ll be fine in the morning.”

“Good, I've been looking forward to you showing me those gardens you spoke about yesterday.”

“Well, if you’ll excuse me?” Turner nodded toward Kathryn.  “I’ll be going.  I will see both of you tomorrow?”

“Yes, Minister.  If Kathryn is feeling better, I would like to get an early start and have a picnic lunch in the gardens.”

“Good night to both of you then.  If you are feeling better, I hope to see you for breakfast, Kathryn.”

“We’ll be there, Minister.”  Chakotay answered before she had the chance. “Kathryn, remember I’m only a transport away if you need me.”

Good night, Turner.”  Kathryn smiled as she walked him toward the door.

“Sleep well, Kathryn.”

The door closed and Kathryn made sure it was securely locked.  She returned to the bathroom to drain the tub and retrieve her wine.

“Safe?”

“Yes, thank you.  He’s gone.” Kathryn laughed.  “I’m always concerned when she’s away from me? What was that about?”

“I didn’t lie and I am only a transport away.” Chakotay laughed.  “Maybe you better reconsider that bat’leth.”

“Maybe.”  Kathryn pulled on her nightgown and climbed into bed.  “I’m going to bed.  See you in the morning?”

“Bright and early.”

“Dress casually, now we have to go on that picnic.”

“I’m sure I could find something to keep me here if you would rather go with Turner.”

“Very funny.”

“Sleep well, Kathryn.”

“You too.  Goodnight.”

Kathryn was already at breakfast when Chakotay reached the Minister’s mansion.  When the guards brought him into the large crowded dinning room, Kathryn spotted him immediately and left her table to greet him.

“Good morning.”  Kathryn kissed his cheek. Chakotay tried to hide his surprise as she took his hand to lead him back to her table.

“Commander.”  Turner stood to greet him.

“Minister, please call me Chakotay.”  Chakotay accepted the hand Turner extended.

“Please, Chakotay, sit and join us for breakfast.”

The High Minister excused himself shortly after that, explaining he had pressing business.  He told them their picnic would be waiting at the transport station.  Turner also wished them a pleasant day and a good journey home since he doubted he would be able to see them before their ship departed in the morning.

Kathryn and Chakotay had a very pleasant, if unexpected, day of sunshine and fresh air, enjoying their picnic in the gardens and dinner in the city before returning to the ship just before midnight.

“I’d ask you in for coffee, but I’m very tired.  Must be all that fresh air.”

“I know what you mean. We really need to get out more often.  I don’t think I’d be very good company.”  Chakotay stood outside her door grinning.

“What?”

“I was wondering if I get a goodnight kiss, too.”

“All part of the game, Chakotay.”  She rested her palm on his chest and smiled before turning to key in her code.

“But which game, Kathryn?” He turned her gently to face him.

Kathryn just rolled her eyes. “Goodnight, Chakotay.”  She stepped back and held his eyes as the door closed between them.

~~~^^^~~~

Chakotay was very aware of Kathryn after that; he sensed her presence in a way he hadn’t for a long time.  It seemed they flirted more freely, that she touched him more often, but he could have been imagining it.  They had traded well with the Gehrien and Voyager had come away in good repair and well stocked.  That fact alone always made for a more relaxed captain. Chakotay reasoned that was what he was seeing, but some of her behavior was still puzzling.

Voyager was in orbit around another large M Class with a modern warp capable society.  Kathryn had gone to the surface for a few hours in the afternoon and so they had planned a working dinner in Chakotay’s quarters.  It was a rather routine event that usually followed either of them taking time off, but it had one twist.  Kathryn had showed up with a bouquet of fresh native flowers. Walking in, she calmly arranged them in a vase, never letting on that this was anything but a normal everyday occurrence.

“These are very nice, Kathryn.”  Chakotay watched her fuss with the flowers. “Are they for me or are you taking them home with you?”

“They’re yours.”  Kathryn laughed. “I saw then in a shop and I thought you would like them.”  She finished, deeply inhaled the pungent fragrance and sat on the couch.

“Thank you, even if I don’t know what did I do to deserve these.”  He picked a large purple flower from the vase and handed it to her.  “This one looks like you.”

“Yes.”  She put the flower to her nose and breathed in its sweet scent, then returned it to the vase.  “But they belong together.”

Kathryn looked back at him with a warm smile, then picked up a padd and tossed it to him.

“We better get started or we'll be up all night.”  She laughed, dropping herself down on the couch and tucking her feet beneath her.

“Can we eat first?”

“Oh sure, you fix dinner and I’ll start these.”  She gestured toward the pile of padds on the table. “Unless, you would rather I cooked?”

“Oh, spirits, no!”  He moved out of her reach.  “You look comfortable.  I’ll get dinner.”

“Nice, I’ll get you for that.”

“I never doubted it.”

Chakotay fixed dinner and Kathryn put down the padds long enough to eat it.  After sharing light comfortable conversation over dinner, they returned to the couch and finished up the stack of reports.  They celebrated with a glass of wine then Kathryn headed for bed.  Chakotay followed her to the door.  When she turned just before it opened to say good night, he leaned down and kissed her.  It was a gentle kiss, his soft full lips pressing to hers, lingering just a bit longer than friendly.

“Thank you for the flowers.”  He straightened up, but didn’t move out of her space.

“My pleasure.”  She place one hand on his chest then stepped back and triggered the door.  “Goodnight.”

~~~^^^~~~

When Chakotay reported for duty in the morning, the Captain was already sequestered in the readyroom, where she stayed most of the day.  Chakotay wondered briefly if he had over played the game last night, but he dismissed the thought.  Kathryn hadn’t seemed upset and she was smiling when she left.  He waited for her to come out of her sanctuary.  When she didn’t he contrived a reason to go to her.

“Come.”  Kathryn answered her door chime.

“We still on for Tom’s movie tonight?”  Chakotay joined her on the upper level.

“What’s he playing now?  Not more Lobster People, I hope.”  Kathryn leaned back on the couch.

“It’s called…” Chakotay sat next to her scanning the padd in his hand.  “Pretty Woman.”

“I’m not sure I want to see any thing with a title like that.”  Kathryn laughed.

“Paris calls it a ‘chick flick’.”  Chakotay grinned at her raised eyebrows.

“Now I’m scared.  Knowing Tom, I’m almost afraid to ask, but just what is a ‘chick flick’?”

“I don’t think it's what you’re thinking.”  Chakotay laughed out loud at her expression and reddening cheeks.

“And just what makes you think you know what I’m thinking?”  She gave him an indignant look.

“These.”  He touched her pink cheek.

“Damn fair skin.”  She laughed with him.  “OK, so what is it?”

“It’s listed here as a romantic comedy.” Chakotay read Tom’s note on the movie.  “It says it’s a perfect date movie.”

“Great, so now we have a date?” Kathryn rolled her eyes.

“Unless there is someone else you’d rather go with.”

“Yea!  Like Tuvok maybe?  Tom’s close seats, a dark theater, a romantic movie and Tuvok!”  She shook her head.  “I don’t think so.”

“Oh, does that mean we get to make out in the balcony?”

Make out in the balcony?  Another one of Tom’s charming expressions.”

“Yes.  It means…”

“I know what it means.”  Kathryn gave him a shove.  “Tom doesn’t have a balcony!”

“I’ll make a note to speak to him about that.”

"You do that.  In the mean time, get out so I can finish in time to dress for our date!"

Chakotay chuckled as he left the ready room.  Kathryn certainly had been in an exceptionally good mood these last few weeks.  He hoped her mood would last and finally they would begin the relationship they should have always had, but even if it didn’t last, he intended to enjoy it now.

~~~^^^~~~

Chakotay was surprised yet again when he picked Kathryn up.  Instead of her usual leggings and tunic, she wore a pair of tight faded blue jeans and a soft but skimpy sweater that barely reached her waist.  She seldom wore anything without a heel so when she scarcely reached his shoulder he stepped back to look at her feet.

“What are those?”  Chakotay pointed to the white canvas shoes that were just not quite sneakers.

“Skippy’s.  Don’t you like them?”

“Cute.  I’m just not used to you being so.. um..”

“Short?”

“Well, yes, short would do it.”

“Well, I am, so get used to it and the data base said I should wear these with my jeans.”

“You’re really getting into this twentieth century thing.”

“I just figured if we were going to sit in a dark three dimensional representation of a twentieth century movie house and watch a two-dimensional image of a chick flick flash across a flat screen, that I should dress the part.  Don’t you like it?”

“No.  It’s not that- damn..”  He laughed.  “don’t phaser me, but it’s cute.”

Kathryn just laughed and walked out the door; Chakotay followed.

~~~^^^~~~

“Captain, Commander, how nice to see you.”  Neelix was waiting just inside the holodeck to greet the moviegoers.

“Hi, Neelix.”  Kathryn smiled at the evident excitement on the man’s face; she knew he had news to share.

“I wanted to let you know that Tom has added a new feature to the theater, a concession stand.”

“That’s nice, Neelix.”  Kathryn was a bit leery of what might be for sale.  “Did you prepare tonight’s snacks?”

“Oh, no, Captain.  Tom took care of it.  Traditional movie food he told me.”

“I see.”  Kathryn took Chakotay’s hand.  “Let’s go see what you can buy me.”

Neelix jumped out to the way to let them pass giving Chakotay the thumbs up behind the Captain’s back.

“You’ll be starting rumors again, Kathryn.”

“Let them talk: they enjoy it so.”  She pulled him over to the counter. “Ensign, do you have any coffee?”

“No, Captain, no coffee.”  The ensign grimaced at the disappointment evident on the Captain’s face.  “We have popcorn and something called juju bees.”  She scanned the counter for something to make the Captain smile.  “Oh, I know—we have cola!  It’s not coffee, but Tom tells me it has twice as much caffeine.

“Very well, I’ll try some of that and a big tub of popcorn.”  Kathryn turned to her date. “You want anything?”

“I think this will be enough.” He laughed at the jumbo sized containers the ensign put on the counter.”

“Oh!  You just might be right.” Kathryn picked up the soda.  “Pay the lady.”

“Me? You ordered it.”

“I never agreed to go Dutch- pay the lady.”  Kathryn ignored the giggle from behind the counter as Chakotay keyed his credit code into the padd.  “Now get the popcorn.”  Kathryn took his free hand in hers and walked toward the theater.

Once inside the darkened room, Kathryn looked around and shook her head.

“I thought you were gonna talk to him.”  She led Chakotay all the way across the row to the highest seats way back in the corner.

“Sorry, I didn’t think you really wanted a balcony.”  Chakotay struggled not to step on people as they worked across the row.

“It was your idea.”  Kathryn took the seat against the wall.

“I didn’t think you approved.”  He offered her some popcorn.

“Now, you won’t ever know for sure will you?”  She stuffed a fist full of the buttery stuff in her mouth.

They shared the popcorn and even the cola as they watched the movie in comfortable silence.  Kathryn kept touching him but Chakotay tried not to pay attention until Kathryn’s hand began to run up and down on his thigh.  Try as he might he could no longer ignore it.

“Kathryn, what are you doing?” He leaned in close and placed his hand over hers to stop the movement.

For a minute Kathryn looked like that proverbial kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar, when she tilted her head and smiled at him.

“Wiping the butter off my fingers.”  She bit her lip to keep from laughing.

“Well, stop it!”

“Why?”

“You really don’t want me to explain that!”  He took her hand and placed it on her own leg.

A short while later and a few more handfuls of popcorn and her hand was back.

“Kathryn.”  He hissed under his breath.

“What?” Her hand slowly crept toward the inside of his thigh.

“Behave!”  It came out loud enough to draw the attention of a few of the surrounding crew who turned to see what caused the commotion.

Chakotay moved her hand again, keeping his eyes glued to the screen as he tried not to look at the curious crewmen.  Kathryn giggled, causing a mummer to ripple across the back row. Finally she settled back in her chair and behaved.

The rest of the movie passed uneventfully and Chakotay was finally relaxed by the time they made their way to the lift.  Several crewmen rode the lift to deck three with them, but Kathryn exited briskly leaving them behind as she all but dragged Chakotay to her door.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me good night?” Kathryn leaned against the door.

“What?”  Chakotay was totally dumbfounded buy this turn of events.

“Don’t you ever do any research?”  Kathryn watched the toe of her shoe scrap across the carpet as she waited until the crewmen passed them.   “It’s supposed to be the whole reason you sit through a chick flick.”

“Kathryn, have you lost your mind?” Chakotay shook his head.

“All right.”  Kathryn shrugged and turned toward the door.

Kathryn keyed in her code and stepped just far enough in to keep the door open.  She stood on her toes and grasped his face with both hands to draw him down to her. Her lips softly moved against his, parting slightly to allow her tongue to slip out and trace across his lower lip.  Just as Chakotay recovered from the shock and prepared to respond, Kathryn stepped back and let the door close.

“Good night, Chakotay.”  She whispered as the door swished between them.

Chakotay stood for a minute staring at her closed door, then shook his head and went home.  Whatever she was up to, she was enjoying it and he planned on having a bit of fun with it while it lasted.

As the days passed, Kathryn’s mood seemed to keep improving.  She continued to flirt with him, even on the bridge, which was something she had given up years ago.   Kathryn had always been a very tactile person but the number and length of touches increased to the point that no one could help noticing them.  The rumors started to fly and he was sure the betting pool was in full swing again.  They had always spent time together, but now there were changes some subtle some not.  In public, Kathryn stood just a little closer and if she took his hand she might not release it immediately. When they were alone she was diffidently more playful.  The occasionally friendly kiss on the cheek evolved into a little more friendly kiss on the lips, still rather chaste, but growing in promise. Chakotay worked to be content to let Kathryn to lead the way most of the time, but the few times he had ventured beyond their usual limits had not been met with immediate resistance.
 

~~~^^^~~~

The lift door closed between them but in his mind he could still see the look on her face.  The cocked eyebrow, the crooked grin and that smoldering look in her eyes, tonight the game would end- one way or another.  Chakotay was a patient man but even he had his limits. They had flirted and teased for years, played endless cat and mouse games-to the point where he wasn’t sure who was the cat and who was the mouse anymore and still he was nervous as a kid on his first date.

~~~^^^~~~

Kathryn had left the bridge an hour early.  That in itself was reason for talk among the crew. The fact that she had made no effort to hide and had almost advertised their dinner plans kept Tom’s console very busy.

Chakotay noticed the action in front of him but he didn’t care. His mind was on his upcoming dinner date- and Kathryn had stressed that last word herself.  Their entire relationship could be redefined tonight and as much as he wanted that, it suddenly scared the hell out of him.

~~~^^^~~~

It was exactly 1900 hours when Chakotay rang Kathryn’s chime.  The door slid back revealing a darkened living area, illuminated by several flickering candles.  There was soft music playing and Kathryn was standing by the viewport watching him.

“Are you coming in?”  In the soft glow of he candlelight, Kathryn seemed to glide across the room.

“Oh.”  Chakotay chuckled and stepped in far enough to let the door close.  “Sorry.”  He smiled as she moved closer.

“These for me?” The sultry sound of her voice sent a shiver down his spine.  Her deepening smile let him know she was fully aware of the effect she was having on him. “Are you going to let go, so I can put them in water?”

“Sure.”  He held her eyes for a minute before releasing the flowers.

“I’ll take care of these.” She backed away slowly. “Why don’t you pour the wine.”

Chakotay poured the wine carrying it over to where Kathryn fussed with the flowers.  He stood close behind her breathing in the intoxicating fragrance that was Kathryn.  Stepping back, she brushed against him as she admired the newly arranged flowers.

“They are lovely, thank you.”  Kathryn leaned back against his chest as she sipped from one of the wineglasses he still held in each hand.

“How long do you intend to go on teasing me like this?  Chakotay bent and nuzzled her neck

“Until you’ve had enough..”  Kathryn sighed, tilting her head and resting it on his shoulder. “and make me stop.”

“And just how do you suppose I should do that?” Chakotay took advantage of her position as his tongue and lips explored her exposed neck.

“You’re a big boy.  I’m sure you could figure out a way to put an end to the teasing.” Kathryn moaned when his tongue tickled that sensitive spot behind her ear.

“Are you sure you want me to decide how to do that?” His words blew hotly across her ear and she shivered.

“Yes.”  Kathryn was almost purring as she took the glasses from his hand and set them next to the flowers, then turned to face him. “But if you need a little more encouragement, I’m sure I could help.”

Kathryn ran her hands up his chest reaching them around his neck and into his hair. Her eyes held fast to his as she eased his mouth down to meet hers. When her soft lips moved expertly over his, the kiss that followed was anything but chaste. Kathryn sighed.  The sound of her own blood pounded in her ears as their lips mutually parted and their tongues danced together in a hot rhythm. She could feel his growing desire pressed hard against her belly and the flood of wetness between her legs in response.  Chakotay’s arms wrapped around her pulling her tightly against him, moaning into her mouth as her tongue ravished his.  Slowly, Kathryn backed off, easing out of the kiss and resting her head on his chest, listening to the pounding of his heart while she tried to quell the desperate need raging through her.

“You don’t think I’m letting you stop there, do you?”  Chakotay stroked her back as he held her closer.

“I hope not.”

The husky sound of her voice, the flush on her cheeks when she raised her head to look at him, made him stir anew.  Chakotay gently ran his fingers across her face bending to spread soft moist kisses down her cheeks, nibbling at the corner of her mouth.

“Stop me now, Kathryn, if you’re not sure about this.”  Chakotay breathed the words hotly into her mouth as he continued to inundate her with tiny wet kisses.

“Don’t stop.” Kathryn pressed their lips together, her hands impatiently tugging his shirt free and slipping beneath, sighing into his mouth as fingers explored the smooth skin of his hairless chest.

Chakotay again followed her lead, nibbling at her neck as he slowly worked the buttons on her blouse.  He eased the blouse off her shoulders, his mouth moving across her shoulder, his tongue tracing her clavicle to the hollow in her throat.  Kathryn tossed her head back with a sigh, her hands pushing his shirt up to expose his chest.  Chakotay dropped her blouse to the floor and stepped back to quickly pull off his shirt. Kathryn reached back and unclasped her bra; Chakotay slipped the straps off her shoulders and let it join her blouse on the floor.  His eyes dropped to the dusky pink nipples, watching them pucker slightly as they contacted the air, then form tight knots as he brushed his fingers across them.  Chakotay cupped her breasts lowering his lips to brush light kisses across taut nipples. Kathryn gasped arching her back she moaned, as he suckled, tangling her fingers in his short hair to hold him to her.

“Chakotay,” Kathryn breathed,  “the bedroom.”

Chakotay stood up and studied her, watching her closely for any signs of hesitation; he found none.  Kathryn reached her arms around his neck kissing him as he lifted her and stumbled blindly toward the bedroom.  Chakotay tripped on something in the middle of the room and staggered trying to regain his balance until they bumped into the wall.

“Ouch.”  Kathryn spoke without taking her lips from his.

“Sorry.”  Chakotay lifted one hand to rub her head and almost dropped her.

“Hey!”

Kathryn gripped his neck tighter, shifting her weight and sending them reeling through the doorway.  Kathryn landed on the bed laughing; Chakotay sprawled on top of her.   He lifted his head and smiled.

“Pretty smooth. huh?”

“Yea, a real mood enhancer.” Kathryn laughed.  “You’re supposed to knock me off my feet, not drop me on my head.”

“At least you landed on the bed.”

“And you landed on me!”

“Better?”  Chakotay moved her over on the bed and lay beside her.

“Yes.”  Kathryn turned on her side to face him.  “I love you.”  Kathryn smiled at him then quickly dropped her eyes to watch her hands glide across his smooth chest.

“I know.”  Chakotay tucked her hair behind her ear and kissed her nose.  “But it sure sounds good to finally hear you say it.”

“It feels good to finally tell you. Chakotay, I’m so sorry…”

“Shhh, don’t look back.”  Chakotay tilted her chin to see her eyes.  “I love you, Kathryn, and you love me.  That’s the important part, we’ll work out the rest.”

Kathryn snuggled close in the loving security of his arms, breathing in his soft masculine scent. Chakotay reveled in the feel of Kathryn in his arms, his hands skimming over the inviting satin skin of her back, her warm breath against his chest.  This held all the promise of their future; they would leave the mistakes of the past behind.

“We begin our new lives together, tonight.”  Kathryn moved back and reached her hand behind his head, laughing as she drew his lips toward hers. “And cash in on Tom’s pool in the morning.”

“Kathryn, you are evil!”  Chakotay chuckled against her lips.  “And I love you.”

The End
 

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