Disclaimer: Paramount owns them...blah... bah...bah
Rated: A mild R
Author: BonnieH44@go.com
Summary: and so it begins....
Category: AT, JU (seems like the only thing I do)

First Contact

      After long exhausting hours of work, Janeway finally entered her ready room and collapsed on the sofa. The Commander was due any moment. Janeway let her thoughts drift back over their first meeting. It gave a whole new meaning to “First Contact” she thought with chagrin. She trembled slightly as she recalled his body pressed to hers, his searing brown eyes, so cruel and angry from betrayal, turning to amazement as he felt the strong, over powering chemistry their contact was generating.
     Chakotay made his way to Voyager's ready room. Spirits, here he was, 70,000 light years from home, and his heart was singing. Images of Voyager’s captain kept invading his thoughts. He smiled ruefully to himself. She has captured me, he capitulated, but not in the way she had anticipated. He was hers to do with as she wanted. He had already decided he would never lift a finger against her. If she wanted him in her brig, that is where he wanted to be. Gods, he entreated, how could you do this to me. Now! when my entire life has been turned upside down, you deliver this unbelievable gift at my feet. Standing in the corridor in front of the ready room door, he stopped, willing himself to take a few deep, calming breaths. He felt like a school boy, his palms sweating, his stomach in knots. He finally shook his head. “I must be crazy,” he thought to himself, not for the first time since being hurtled to this side of the galaxy, “I’m actually glad to be here!”
   Hesitantly, he reached out to activate the buzzer.
   "Come," snapped the authoritative voice, as the door slid open.
  Chakotay entered, his breath caught in his chest. He had to will himself to breath. If he had any doubts about his feelings for the formidable captain of Voyager, they were laid to rest as his body instantly reacted to her close proximity. He tried to hide his arousal, was embarrassed that he could not seem to control his body. His only consolation was that Janeway was trying to ignore her own reaction. He noted the reddening of her cheeks, her breathing turned rapid.
    "Commander," she croaked out, "please, sit down."
    Chakotay came to the desk, sat down in the chair she indicated, steepleing his hands over his growing arousal; a gesture that did not go unnoticed by the captain. He saw her eyes travel down his chest to rest on his groin, then rapidly look away. He allowed himself a small smile of triumph, a smile he wiped from his face instantly as her eyes came back to rest on his again.
    "I would like to take this opportunity to formally extend the gratitude of myself and my crew to you and yours. I would wish the price of our survival was not so high. I..." Janeway hesitated. She had to get this out; she was, after all, in his dept. "I regret the loss of your ship," she said finally, her voice low, her eyes never leaving his. She had to gauge his response, had to know what to do about him, and the rest of the Maquis.
    The Commander nodded, acknowledging her gratitude, but giving little else away.
    "I realize there is going to be a lot of hostility, anger directed toward me because of my decision to strand our two crews in the Delta Quadrant." She looked out the viewport at the unfamiliar starscape. "In all fairness to the Maquis, I'm am not just referring to your crew. My crew is equally distressed by this turn of events."
   Chakotay watched her intently. She still had not asked him a question, a question he knew she needed to ask desperately. She needed to know his intentions. She could hardly ask him outright if he intended to mutiny... to take control of the ship.
    "So, Commander. What do I do with 43 Maquis crewmembers who hate Starfleet with a passion?"
    Chakotay sat very still. This was a rhetorical question, he assumed. He was certain she had already decided the fate of the Maquis. He was surprised, therefore, to realize she was expecting an answer.
   "42," he said.
   Janeway looked at the man quizzically. So much was riding on his answer.
   "42 crewmembers," he repeated. "I never said I hated Starfleet."
   Janeway just looked at him. This meeting was so important. She had to know where the Commander stood. Everything hinged on his cooperation.
   This conversation was going nowhere. Janeway was dancing all around the problem.
   Chakotay decided to take the "proverbial" bull by the horns.
   "Captain," he said finally, "it may surprise you to know that a fair number of the Maquis agreed with your decision to destroy the array. You may view my crew as criminals, but they are, for the most part, compassionate people who have strong feelings regarding the powerlessness of the weak. That is why they joined the Maquis in the first place."
   "And you, Commander, what do you think of my decision?"
   Chakotay took a moment to think about that. "I would have done the same thing," he said honestly.
   Janeway tried to take a final measure of the man before her. She trusted him. Christ! she loved him! It was now or never. Janeway turned away. So much depended on the Commander's good will. He was attracted to her. Janeway felt it in her bones. Because of that, or perhaps in spite of it, he would accept her offer; he would see the logic in it, he would agree! He had to!
    "Commander," she said turning back to him.
    This was it, he thought to himself, 70 years in the brig or...or what? What were the options of the vanquished, after all? She could deposit them on the nearest earth type planet if she thought she could not trust him. He had to make her see reason.
    "Are you willing to accept the position of First Officer?"
    Chakotay was speechless.
    Janeway, seeing his confusion, repeated the question. "Mr. Chakotay," she said slowly, as if speaking to a small child, "you need a ship, I need a crew. Are you willing to accept this posting? Will you swear your allegiance to me?"
    Chakotay's eyes grew wide. It was an elegant solution to their problem. His admiration for the captain of Voyager increased exponentially. Suddenly the impact of her words finally hit him. She would never become involved with a member of her crew. His chest constricted as he realized what this meant to both of them on a personal level.
   Janeway could see his amazement, the growing respect, then the utter despair as he realized the implications of her offer. Janeway had already reconciled herself to that; she hated that she was the cause of his pain. It was unavoidable, she told herself, given their positions and circumstances.
   He was trying to hide his disappointment. It was a hell of an offer... one he could not turn down. The captain had known that. It was the only way to safely merge the two crews.
    Janeway thought she saw Commander's eyes mist over.
    He got up, turned away from her. How could he do this? She was his "reshun'dru." He had heard the ancient legends foretelling of the meeting of soulmates; nothing prepared him for the reality. In truth, he thought it was a myth. Janeway saw the broad shoulders set. When he turned back, he was again the fierce Maquis captain. "There are a thousand reasons to accept this offer, and only one why I should not!"
     Janeway did not even pretend to misunderstand him.
     He stalked up to her, his face just inches from hers. They could feel the heat, knew the kind of life to which they were consigning themselves.
   "God damn it," he growled, "if you can do this, so can I!  I accept your offer, Captain Janeway."
   He turned on his heels, exited the ready room, not waiting to be dismissed. He stood in the corridor, motionless. What had he done? He had allowed her to sentence them to an emotional limbo that could last well over 70 years. Spirits, how would he face her, day after day. Just being in the same room caused his body to ache for her.
    Well, he thought to himself, 70 years is a long time.
    Chakotay was a patient man, a persistent man. He would be by her side. One day, he assured himself, she will come to you. He would be the best goddamn first officer she ever had!


     Janeway had been sitting, trying to log the events of the last few days for over two hours. She had no idea where to start. She was no closer to logging these events than when she fist gave those incredible orders. “Commander Chakotay, you have the bridge,” and walked wearily into her ready room.
     Janeway shook herself. She really needed to put this in perspective, not to mention putting it in the log. Let’s see, she thought to herself, the ship was on a course for earth, a staggeringly impossible voyage that could take over 75 years. Her chief helmsman was an ex-con. She had no doctor, no engineer, and to top off her list of spectacular entries in this extraordinary log, she had just relinquished the command of the bridge to her newly minted First Officer, Maquis renegade and criminal, Commander Chakotay; a First Officer, she groaned inwardly, that she had fallen in love with the moment they met.
    He had said “Aye, Captain,” as if it were the most natural thing in the universe for a Starfleet Captain to relinquish control of her ship to a criminal.
    Janeway saw the contentment in his eyes as she left him on the bridge. He was actually glad to be here, she thought wonderingly, delighted to be by her side. It was going to be a very long, long voyage.