Kathryn picked a bunch of grapes, absently eating them as she wandered through the garden. The lush green leaves still fresh with dew and the sweet pure fragrance of delicate fruit was such a welcome change from the stale canned air of a starship. As much as she loved the excitement and adventure of space, she wasn’t sure she could ever leave this behind again. Kathryn had spent many a peaceful morning here just strolling among the various plants.
It had been almost a year since Voyager’s return and Kathryn had spent a good deal of it secluded here in a rented villa in the south of France. Her mother knew where she was and her sister of course, but she hadn’t told anyone else. She needed this time, quiet and alone to rediscover herself and put her life in perspective. She hadn’t seen or spoken to any of her former crew since the end of the debriefings some seven months ago. She missed them all terribly but she wasn’t ready to go back. Last month she had received an invitation to their first year reunion. It was still a month away but she knew it still wasn’t enough time, so she had politely declined almost immediately.
Kathryn often wondered about the crew, how they had adjusted, what their lives were like, but she couldn’t go back there, not yet; right now her life was here. She sat on the bench at the edge of the garden, remembering their time together. The memory of her last days as their captain was as intense as if it were yesterday.
Kathryn smiled and blinked back her all too frequent tears. Her last few days on Voyager had been her best and her worst. The Admiral’s time aboard Voyager had been enlightening, challenging and completely stressful. Kathryn had learned of Tuvok’s illness, the possible other losses that future held for her crew and the heart wrenching news that Chakotay would marry Seven. Then the Admiral offered her a way home, a chance to change that future and she took it. The day they actually crossed into the Alpha Quadrant stood out vividly in her mind, the memory of it having replayed itself many times in the last months.
Directly after Voyager burst out of the exploding cube, Kathryn ordered Chakotay away from Seven. It wouldn’t be long before they were out of her control, but for now, she was still in charge. She exercised her power one last time. The Captain held a brief conversation with Admiral Paris, promising him a full report and retired to her readyroom. Kathryn knew she was on the edge, that it would take very little to push her over but she tried anyway to hold the façade of the Captain in place. In only a few days she would have accomplished her goal; Voyager would be home. Her crew would most likely be scattered; she tried to envision her life without them---without him.
Kathryn looked at the chronometer; she hadn’t realized she had been sitting here for four hours until the chime sounded.
“Come.” She straightened her uniform and tried to cover her distracted state.
“Captain?” Chakotay crossed over to her desk, a look of deep concern on his face. “Kathryn, are you all right?” When she didn’t answer, he took hold of her shoulders and leaned in close to her. “Kathryn, what’s wrong?”
“I’m OK.” Kathryn slipped past him and moved to the upper level, standing with her back to him.
“Are you sure?” He stepped up behind her.
“Yes, just-a bit-too-much---excitement, for one morning.” Kathryn struggled to maintain her tenuous control.
“You don’t sound all right.” Chakotay turned her to face him.
Kathryn tried to look away but the deep brown pools drew her to them. In them she could see concern, compassion and dare she see love? She felt herself start to tremble; all her willpower was not enough as the tears welled up in her eyes. Kathryn tired to pull away but he wouldn’t let her go. She collapsed against his chest and sobbed.
Chakotay held her tightly to him, his arms absorbing the shock of her shudders, his shirt absorbing her tears. Slowly, he eased them down on the couch, his large hands gently stroking her back as she emptied her emotions on to his uniform.
Kathryn allowed him to cradle her for a long time before pulling back, her tearstained face lifting up until her lips brushed against his. Chakotay hesitated briefly, but responded earnestly to the gentle increase in pressure. Kathryn’s lips moved eagerly over his, her fingers threading through his hair to gently hold him to her.
As much as he wanted to let himself go, to lose himself in her kiss, Chakotay held himself back. He eased back, holding her off while he searched her face for answers.
“Chakotay, please...” With breathless words and pleading eyes she drew him back to her; this time he offered no resistance.
Taking charge, his mouth claimed hers forcefully, his lips worked purposely parting hers, his tongue tasting, exploring. Chakotay reveled in the feel of Kathryn’s surrender, swallowing her moans as her eager tongue tangling with his.
A desperate need was growing in Kathryn. She needed to touch him, all of him. She tugged relentlessly at his uniform, needing to feel his skin beneath her hands, to taste him, to hold him inside of her. Her hands slipping beneath his shirt, she could feel the pounding of his heart as her fingers glided across his chest. Chakotay groaned as warm gentle fingers caressed his chest. He reached for the fastener on her jacket and she pulled away.
Chakotay reluctantly released his hold on her, watching breathlessly as Kathryn stood beside the couch. In a moment of panic he thought she would walk away but her smoldering blue eyes held a passion to match his own. Kathryn quickly unfastened her jacket, tossing it and her turtleneck on the floor. Chakotay stood and shed his own uniform as Kathryn yanked off her tank and unclasped her bra, allowing it to fall away as she dropped her trousers to the floor.
Chakotay stepped closer, his hands sliding over the soft pillow of her stomach, moving up to cup her breasts as his mouth once again claimed hers. His fingers explored the soft underside of her breasts, his thumbs circling the pebbled peaks. Kathryn arched, moaning as she pushed the full weight of her breasts into his hands. His mouth wandered across her cheek, his tongue lapping at the soft skin of her neck. She opened his trousers and with his help pushed them down his legs. His hips pushed into hers, groaning as his thick, hard length pressed against her belly.
“Computer, engage privacy lock, authorization Janeway…” His mouth closed over a taut nipple; her code was lost in a moan.
“UNABLE TO COMPLY. AUTHORIZATION INCOMPLETE.”
“Computer, engage privacy lock, authorization Maquis Alpha Pi.” Chakotay eased her onto the sofa and knelt beside it, removing boots, discarding her remaining clothing.
One foot still rested on the floor as he lifted her other one and draped it over the back of the couch, leaving her shamelessly spread before his hungry eyes. He studied her, course fingertips sliding over the tender skin on her inner thighs, reaching into the moisture at their junction. Kathryn shuddered as his warm breath blew across her damp curls. He leaned closer, breathing deeply the scent of her arousal. Kathryn cried out when his lips pressed against her hot center. Her breaths came in shallow pants, turning to gasps as his tongue stretched out to taste her. She threw her head back, groaning as her hands blindly sought to make contact with him. His fingers explored her, spreading her wide so his tongue could lap at her salty sweetness.
Kathryn’s hips jerked, her hands tangling in his hair. She felt a finger slide deep inside, withdraw and return with another. His tongue traced the slick surface of her inner lips, teasingly circling her clitoris. Slowly, rhythmically, he licked her sensitive nerves, tightening the coil in her belly to the breaking point. Kathryn writhed beneath his mouth, crying out as he brought her to the brink; begging as he backed her down again.
“Cha-ko-tay, pleeease.” Writhing, she tired to force herself harder against his mouth.
The sound of her pleas drove him crazy but Chakotay fought his overwhelming need to be inside her. Spirits only knew why this was happening but he was going to make damn sure she never forgot it did. He eased back, glancing up to watch her pleasure, his fingers just barely stroking her, while hers reached out helplessly seeking contact.
Chakotay dropped his head and began sliding his tongue through her wetness and stroking over her sensitive center. Suddenly, Kathryn shrieked, her legs clasped around his head as her hips bucked uncontrollably, forcing his mouth hard against her. She came hard and loud, clenching around his fingers, pushing herself into his mouth as she cried out a garbled form of his name.
Kathryn slumped limply back against the cushions, her legs falling invitingly wide. Chakotay moved over her, dragging his painful hardness slowly through her slick folds. Kathryn reached one hand behind his head drawing his mouth to hers, the other hand moving between them, stroking him, drawing him closer to her opening.
Chakotay pressed forward slowly, groaning as her tight walls stretched around him. She spread her legs wider, drawing him deeper, her hips arching to meet him with each steady thrust. Her short nails dug into his buttocks, threatening his last strands of control. His smooth, even thrusts quickly deteriorated into short, jagged, desperate movements. The sudden clenching of her muscles as she spasmed beneath him, pushed him into a shattering release and he emptied himself deep within her.
He lay motionless, his body completely covering hers, until Kathryn squirmed beneath his weight. Chakotay forced himself back to reality. He moved to the other end of the couch, lifting Kathryn with him so that she rested her head on his chest. They were drifting into a sated sleep when the page came.
“Seven to Chakotay.” Her voice was a harsh reality grating across their peace.
“Chakotay here.” He tried to keep Kathryn still but she was too quick and was sorting through their discarded clothes before he could answer.
“Shift ended several hours ago. I expected you for dinner.”
“Seven, I’m sorry but I got …” He looked at Kathryn; she avoided him. “detained. I’ll let you know when I’m free. Chakotay out.”
Kathryn had her back to him as she hurriedly pulled on her clothes. Chakotay picked up his own and slowly began to dress.
“Chakotay.” Kathryn didn’t turn to face him. “I—I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me—stress I suppose. Can you forgive me?”
“Kathryn.” He moved up behind her but she broke free and stepped into her private bathroom.
“Commander, I hope you can forgive my indiscretion…” Her voice hardened.
“Kathryn..” He pushed at the door but she held it closed.
“You’re free to go, Commander. I believe your date
Kathryn avoided Chakotay most of the next day and was distantly polite on those rare occasions that she was forced to speak with him. When he confronted her directly, she told him it was only a moment of weakness and a big mistake, which she hoped didn’t cause him excess pain.
Chakotay once again felt the raw pain of her denial, but fortunately he didn’t have much time to dwell on it; it was only a matter of days before they reached earth and the serious debriefings began. The Captain was kept separated from the crew for most of the following three weeks until her debriefing was finished, then she was kept busy testifying at hearings for the Maquis and Equinox crewmembers.
When it was all ended, Kathryn and Chakotay managed to squeeze in one quiet lunch date. They were relaxed and happy together for the first time in many weeks. They had only touched on future plans lightly. She told him there was a promotion in the offering but she wasn’t certain she would accept it. He told her about the many offers he had received, both from Starfleet and from the civilian sector. They had only just begun a more personal discussion when Seven showed up. Kathryn backed off a little, but she smiled and kissed his cheek before leaving, promising to be in touch soon. Soon after, she took an extended leave of absence and moved to an undisclosed location.
As Voyager’s reunion approached, the committee at headquarters issued invitations to all the former crewmembers. Kathryn’s invitation was passed to her by her mother and it was only when Kathryn declined, that her whereabouts became known at headquarters.
Tom had volunteered to work on the reunion committee and passed along the information to B’Elanna. B’Elanna naturally mentioned to Chakotay that it seemed very odd to her that the Captain wasn’t coming and he took over from there.
Chakotay checked the address again as he paced nervously outside the wooden door. He didn’t know why Kathryn was hiding, or if she would even speak to him but he was here and he had to try. Chakotay knocked several times before he heard someone on the other side. The door swung back slowly.
“Yes?” Kathryn looked up, shocked to see Chakotay standing there. “Chakotay?”
“Hi, Kathryn.” He looked down at her. She looked good, a bit heavier then he had ever seen her, but he thought she looked better for it.
“How have you been?” Kathryn shifted nervously behind the door.
“Good. I’ve missed you.” Chakotay smiled. “May I come in?”
Kathryn stared at him, something close to panic in her eyes.
“Kathryn, it’s rather warm out here. Could I possible get a cool drink?”
“Oh, sorry, of course.” Kathryn looked back over her shoulder then stepped back and let him pass through the door. “Come have a seat.” She led him to a table set in the shade of a tall tree. “I’ll just be a minute.”
Kathryn disappeared into the house and returned shortly
with two glasses of lemonade. They talked awkwardly for only a few
minutes, before Kathryn was called into the house. A young servant
came out of the house ten minutes later to explain that madam would be
unable to return. She was sorry but he would have to return on another
day. Chakotay thanked the young woman and promised to return the
Chakotay returned the next day only to be turned away at the gate.
“Madam is indisposed.” Teressa had told him politely and closed the door.
Chakotay returned every day for three more days and each day Teressa politely refused him entrance.
“Teressa, I am very concerned about Kathryn. I…”
“I am sorry, Monsieur, but madam is ..
“Yes, I know, indisposed.” Chakotay gently moved the young woman aside. “I realize you mean well, but I am not going away until I see Kathryn.”
Chakotay pushed past the maid and started down the garden path.
“NO! Monsieur, please!”
“Don’t worry Teressa, I won’t hurt her.”’ He shook off the hands that tried to stop him and proceeded toward the house.
“No!” The young woman frantically tried to stop him.
“Teressa, is something wrong?” Kathryn’s voice came from the other side of the garden.
Chakotay whirled around and followed her voice.
“Madam, he won’t go!” Teressa hurried behind him.
Chakotay made his way across the garden, passing through the short rows of neatly cultivated grapes. As he rounded the hedge. he found Kathryn seated on a lounge cradling a small pink bundle.
“Chakotay!” Kathryn looked up startled the panic reborn in her eyes. She relaxed her hold on the bundle and causing the baby to wail when it slipped away from her breast.
“Kathryn?” Chakotay stood open mouthed as he watched Kathryn comfort the child at her breast.
“What are you doing here, Chakotay?” Kathryn drew up the pink blanket, covering herself and the baby.
“Madam, I am so sorry. I tried…”
“It’s all right Teressa. I know how he is when he’s determined.” Kathryn gave a reassuring smile to the young woman. “Please bring our guest a cool drink.”
“You’re here. You might as well sit.” Kathryn returned her attention to the baby.
“Kathryn, who is that?” Chakotay sat in the chair next to her. “Where did she come from?”
“She’s my daughter.” Kathryn looked at his bewildered face and laughed. “And I managed to acquire her in the old fashion way.”
Teressa appeared with a tray of drinks, fussing a bit until Kathryn dismissed her with a nod. Chakotay accepted his silently and sat memorized as he watched Kathryn with the baby. Finally, she finished feeding and settled the baby on her lap as she adjusted her own clothing and folded the pink blanket.
“May I see her?” Chakotay reached out and Kathryn hesitantly handed him the child. “I won’t break her. I’m actually quite good at this.”
“I’m sure you are.” Kathryn sipped her own drink. “So, what brings you to France?”
“You.” Chakotay studied the dark child with the bright blue eyes. “Tom told me you refused your invitation to the reunion.”
“I have my reasons.”
“I suppose, but it’s not like you to desert your crew.”
“They aren’t my crew anymore and they don’t need me.”
“You’re wrong about that. They will always be your crew and we will always need you.”
“My daughter needs me more.”
“Bring her with you. Everyone would love to meet her.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“But I didn’t ask you.”
“No you didn’t. You seem to think you can still make all the decisions.” Chakotay raised his eyes from the child for the first time. “I would like to introduce my daughter to our crew.”
“What makes you think…”
“Kathryn, look at this child. She is my daughter as sure as if she had this tattoo painted on her forehead.” He kissed the baby’s head. “Do you intend to keep denying her her father?”
“Chakotay, I think you should leave.”
“No. I’m not leaving until you explain why you did this. Why did you run off and hide my child from me?”
“You had a new life; you left the ship with Seven.”
“Seven and I barely lasted through the debriefings. If you weren’t so damned all consumed with pushing me away you might have known that.”
“I had other things on my mind.”
“Like hiding my child from me?”
“No, like making sure each crewman was treated fairly by the council, like seeing they all made it through the debriefings as unscathed as possible.”
“And then just walking out on them?”
“I didn’t walk out on them.”
“You walked out on me.”
“As I remember it, you were the one strolling off the ship hand in hand with a blonde!” Kathryn raised her voice and the baby cried. “Here, give her to me.”
“No. I can handle it.” Chakotay stood and soothed the child, lulling her back to sleep. “Kathryn, I love you. I will accept that you don’t feel the same, if I’m forced to. It still hurts but I am willing to accept that it was—what did you call it?--- a momentary weakness, a serious mistake and not the natural culmination of the feelings you hid for years. But I will not be denied my daughter.” Chakotay lowered the child from his shoulder to watch her sleep. “What’s her name?” Chakotay looked up when Kathryn didn’t answer. “She does have a name, doesn’t she?”
“Yes.” Kathryn looked down at the baby. “Her name is Taya.” When she looked up there were tears in her eyes. “I never wanted to keep her from you. I tried to tell you once. Right after your last hearing. Remember we had lunch?”
“I remember. I was happy to be free and even happier that you seemed to be my friend again. I remember thinking it was just all the stress of homecoming that had kept you away.”
“I was happy too. I felt---comfortable with you again; it was nice. I don’t know what I was thinking---I couldn’t wait to tell you about her and …”
“Then Seven came in.”
“Yes. I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew how much you wanted children and I knew Seven couldn’t give them to you. How cruel it seemed to tell you then.” Kathryn sat beside him and brushed a light kiss onto Taya’s forehead. “I knew I couldn’t stay there and keep this away from you. And I knew it wouldn’t take you long to figure it out; I briefly considered terminating the pregnancy, but I couldn’t do it. So, I came here.”
“How long did you think you could hide here, before I came looking for you?”
“I didn’t know you would. I had myself convinced you loved Seven. I thought I had lost my chance.”
“Then it’s my fault. I’m the one who lost hope, the one who gave up too soon. I broke my promise to stand by you and missed the most important miracle of my life.”
“I won’t deny you your daughter or her you.”
“And you?” Chakotay saw the young woman returning but he wasn’t letting Kathryn get away without an answer. “Will you deny me you?”
“Excuse, Madam.” Teressa wasn’t sure she should interrupt. “Shall I take Taya back to the nursery?”
Kathryn looked at her daughter safely snuggled in the arms of her father and smiled.
“No, Teressa, I think she’s fine right where she is. You can set another place for dinner though. Monsieur Chakotay will be staying with us.”
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