Rating : PG
Disclaimer : Paramount owns the names, but the story is mine :)
"Janeway to Chakotay."
"Please report to the bridge. I have some details I need to discuss with you about our meeting with the Camoria."
There was a momentary silence.
"Can it wait Captain? I... I have some reports I need to get done. To my knowledge, I'm not due on the bridge for another fifteen minutes."
The bridge grew quiet.
"Commander... never mind. Janeway out."
Kathryn sat in silence with her eyes to the floor. Lost in thought, she hadn't noticed the senior officers studying her for some type of reaction to the commander's flippancy. She felt her face grow hot. Her mind was racing. This situation was getting out of control. Chakotay had been like this ever since the encounter with the Borg: distant, disregarding, cold. He was a far cry from the man she discovered on New Earth. Kathryn had dismissed his behavior for several weeks. She thought the strain of being linked to the Borg, considering his history with the collective, was just too much for him and that maybe he just needed time and space. Kathryn lifted her head to find Tom, Harry and even Tuvok staring at her from their stations.
Time's up. she thought and with that, she took a deep breath, set her jaw and rose from her chair.
"Tuvok. You have the bridge."
The turbolift doors closed.
"Anybody want to bet on where she's going?" Tom joked, turning to look at Harry and ensign Wildman.
"Mr. Paris. The Captain's destination should not be your focus right now. May I remind you that you are on duty and such behavior is inappropriate."
"Yes sir." Tom muttered as he returned his focus to his console. "You're more protective of her than he is."
"What was that, Mr. Paris?"
"Nothing sir. Nothing at all."
Kathryn exited the turbolift to catch a glimpse of Chakotay as he rounded the corner.
Chakotay kept walking.
"Commander." She called out again.
There was still no acknowledgement. Two crewmen walked past and then another. She had been following him for nearly a minute when she lost what cool she had left.
"Commander!" she yelled.
Chakotay stopped for a moment without turning to look at her. He hated this. He hated every minute he had to spend near Kathryn and his fuse was getting shorter.
"Yes ma'am." He stated coldly, still not turning to look at her.
"Commander, it is customary to look at a senior officer when they are addressing you." She retorted through clenched teeth.
Chakotay turned and stood at mock attention in front of Kathryn. Another crewman walked past, eyeing the two of them.
"Didn't you hear me calling you?"
"Then why didn't you stop?"
"I was busy."
"Busy?" Kathryn asked. "You were... busy?"
"Yes ma'am. Is there something I can do for you?"
Kathryn could feel her jaw set even more. Her eyebrow began to rise and her hands were slowly finding their way to her hips. Chakotay knew the signs, but he kept pushing. He just didn't care anymore.
"I'm sorry, Captain. But as you can see, I have a lot of work to get finished before my duty shift begins." He stated raising the data padd he held in his hands. "Permission to continue on my way?"
Kathryn couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"Not granted." She hissed. "I want to see you in private, now."
Kathryn started to walk past him for the turbolift doors when Chakotay grabbed her arm. He motioned towards the doors of his ready room. In any other circumstance, Kathryn would have insisted on her ready room. But she didn't want the crew to see their commanding officers like this. She knew it would only add to the speculation already taking place.
Within minutes after entering his ready room, they found themselves inches away from each other. All the emotions inside gave way to angry, strained voices delivering words of disagreement and then silence. They argued over duty rosters and engine reports, ship's maintenance and low rations. They were dancing around each other and they both felt it. There was a strain, a heated emotional battle of denial going on and both of them were losing themselves and each other.
What has happened? Kathryn thought to herself. From where we began, how did we ever get to this point?
Chakotay found himself staring into Kathryn's blue eyes as she remained silent in her thoughts. Breaking his gaze long enough to take a seat on his couch, his own mind began to wonder.
Can't she feel this? Is she blind to all this? Does she even care? he thought as he rubbed his chin in frustration.
Kathryn let her head drop in exhaustion. She crossed her arms, took a deep breath and sat down beside Chakotay.
"I... I don't understand, Chakotay." She whispered into the air.
Chakotay looked up.
"There's nothing left to understand."
Kathryn felt her face begin to grow hot again.
"What are we going to do? She sighed. "I... we can't function like this."
"I'm not sure there is anything we can do, Kathryn."
Kathryn found herself reaching to place her hand on his shoulder. She could see he was in pain. She was so used to freedom, the closeness that she and Chakotay found on New Earth that it was easy to slip back into when she wasn't thinking. But this time it was different. She drew her hand away.
Chakotay stood and made his way to his desk. With a final exhausted sigh, he chose a data padd and sat down as if ready to continue his work. A moment passed. Chakotay paused from his pretended musings and looked up. Kathryn was still staring at him.
"Besides. You seem to be functioning very well."
Exasperated at his sarcasm, Kathryn shook her head, stood and headed for the doors.
"Is that all, Captain?"
Leave it alone. Kathryn thought as she stopped to adjust the pain she suddenly felt in her neck.
But all she could manage through clenched teeth was "Yes, commander.
I guess it is."
The doors to Kathryn's quarters closed behind her.
What in the hell is going on here? she thought, pacing back and forth. Why is he acting like this?
"Stop it!' she said aloud. "Oh great. Now I'm talking to myself."
Kathryn paused in mid stride and brought her hands to her face. Rubbing at her eyes, she found the whole situation intolerable. The moment she first laid eyes on him, Kathryn found him intriguing. He told her she wasn't alone. He told her that they would make the journey together. Even though she never wanted to admit needing someone to lean on, she had always appreciated the understanding that she and Chakotay had developed over the past three years. She had come to depend on Chakotay and draw from him the strength he so freely gave her. Now, with that support in question, Kathryn felt a weakness she detested.
I can't do this anymore. She thought. Maybe a bath....*
"Bridge to Captain Janeway."
Now what? she thought. "Janeway here."
"The Camoria have just taken position off the port bow."
"Already? Our meeting wasn't until 1700 hours."
"Captain. May I inform you that it is..."
"1700 hours. Tuvok, I'm on my way. Have all senior officers report to the briefing room."
Kathryn bit her lower lip.
"I can't think about this right now."
And with that she headed for the bridge.
Kathryn scanned her senior officers, searching.
"Please forgive our... early arrival Captain, but we were...anxious to meet you and your... crew. You're story is well known... here in the Delta Quadrant." Gatronus hissed through his snake-like teeth. "We are... honored."
Kathryn had seen a lot of species but this particular one was somewhat unnerving to her. When they appeared on Voyager's view screen, after weeks of communication, she swore her skin was crawling. These aliens were a far cry from her chameleon spirit guide.
"That's quite all right. We were looking forward to meeting you as well." Kathryn replied as she glanced at the chronometer on the wall console. Where is he? She thought. Just then, the doors opened to admit a rather late Chakotay. He looked flustered. He glanced at Kathryn before he spoke.
"Please excuse me for being late." He calmly stated, extending his hand in a friendly gesture.
Gastronus looked down at the hand before him. Kathryn stared at Chakotay for a moment before she snapped back into command mode.
"Our commander has been making the arrangements for your quarters and tours of our ship during our time in your space. We thought perhaps an exchange of information on our cultures would be insightful for everyone."
Tuvok raised his eyebrow.
"I agree." Gastronus replied as he shook Chakotay's hand.
"Let's hope your commander realizes that we value this time as well and
do not like to be kept waiting."
"My chief of security, Lt. Commander Tuvok, will escort you to your quarters."
Tuvok stepped forward. With a nod of his head, he motioned Gastronus and his entourage towards the bridge. Chakotay began to follow behind the mass of aliens leaving the briefing room
"I'd like to speak with you for a moment."
The doors to the briefing room closed. Chakotay turned directly face Kathryn. She had already made her way to the window, gazing out at the endless stars. Even through the uniform, Chakotay noticed her form. The soft curves, the cascade of hair that met the small of her back and that smell of peaches was already intoxicating him. He made his way around the large oval table towards her.
"That was definitely a display."
Chakotay stepped closer.
"Tuvok took care of those arrangements I mentioned two hours ago."
"I guess I should thank you for covering for me." Chakotay replied indignantly.
Let that one go. She thought.
"I'm not used to making excuses for my senior officers." Kathryn said as she turned. Suddenly aware that her first officer had positioned himself so close to her, she stepped back hastily. She was sure her face was red and she was very careful to avoid eye contact. "What was the problem, commander?"
"I guess I lost track of the time while I was working on the reports. It was not my intention to make a bad impression on the Camoria despite what you are thinking."
Kathryn's head snapped up.
"What am I thinking, Chakotay? If you know me so well, what am I thinking?'
"I don't know anymore." He whispered.
Without thinking, she moved closer to him. Her hand reached out to touch Chakotay's shoulder, but once again she stopped.
"What is wrong?" She asked softly. "What in the hell is going on with you?"
Chakotay caught a glimpse of her hand hesitating as he turned his head to look away. Not being able to stand the nearness of her body to his, he walked toward the other side of the table. Slowly, he turned. Kathryn had never seen that look before. It was as if he dreaded being in the same room with her. Placing his hands on the table, he looked down, making sure Kathryn couldn't see the pain that filled his eyes.
"I'm not at liberty to say, Captain."
Chakotay looked up as he straightened his uniform.
"I do apologize again for my arriving late. It won't happen again."
He turned for the doors once again but stopped. Chakotay whirled about and rushed to close the distance between them. With one sweeping motion, he pulled her close to him. Startled, Kathryn gasped. The intensity on his eyes was paralyzing and she could feel everything inside her begin to stir. She watched as his eyes found her lips, her cheekbones and the outline of her hair. Among the silence of intensity, Chakotay pressed his cheek against hers. A soft, husky whisper escaped with deepening breaths.
And in that same instant, Chakotay stopped and pulled away. In
a very curt tone he asked to be dismissed. With her heart still pounding
from his forceful touch, Kathryn had no choice but to comply.
A few weeks had passed. Conversations remained short between the
two of them. Chakotay was becoming more distant. Kathryn only
found herself asking more questions about his behavior. She could
still feel the strength of his hands on her arms. His deep whisper
in her ears. The images had found their way into her dreams.
It was becoming clear to her that she was losing the one thing that made
any sense in this crazy situation. She had to figure out what she
was going to do.
The doors chimed.
Who could that be at this time of night? she thought. Tom shifted in his sleep as B'Elanna rose from her bed. She grabbed her robe as she headed for the door. "Come in."
She was surprised to see the Captain standing there in some kind of outfit she had never seen her wear before. Kathryn had been leaning on the frame of B'Elanna's door. Startled a bit, she looked up.
"B'Elanna... I...I didn't realize how late... I mean, I was already
at your door and I thought... you know what, never mind. Please,
go back to sleep. I shouldn't have even..."
"I'm not making any sense... never mind."
Kathryn turned to walk away.
"Captain, is something wrong?"
Kathryn stopped and turned to look at B'Elanna. Along with an
attempted smile, B'Elanna saw tears forming in her Captain's eyes.
"I don't know... I"
"Yes. I think there is. Come inside."
"Are you sure, B'Elanna? It's late... maybe too late. I... should be going."
"Captain, it's obvious something is bothering you." B'Elanna said reaching for Kathryn's arm. "I guess I'm surprised that, well, you came to me."
Kathryn entered the rather rumpled quarters of her chief engineer. There were clothes strewn about the floor in a trail that lead to her bedroom. Kathryn was startled when she noticed that one of the uniforms was not gold and black, but red and black. Putting her hand on her forehead, Kathryn turned to make her way back to the doors.
"I'm so sorry. I barge in on you when it is obvious that you have company and I... I'll go..."
"No. You're not going anywhere except over to that couch. Now, yes... I do have company, but... well, Tom is asleep."
"Well, it's about time."
Kathryn smiled as she saw a hint of red color B'Elanna's cheeks. B'Elanna rolled her eyes and walked over to the replicator.
"Computer, two coffees. Black."
"Make that three."
Both women turned to see Tom emerging from B'Elanna's bedroom. Kathryn began to feel uneasy. Not from the sight of him in his robe, not from being seen in the middle of the night in a pair of jeans and old academy sweat shirt, but from being found in a most "non-captain-like" state by the founder of the ships betting pool.
"What? Am I interrupting something?"
"Well, we were just about to talk... and... well... about..."
B'Elanna hesitated as she looked at Kathryn. She thought she might have an idea of what was wrong, but didn't want to assume anything, especially where the Captain was concerned.
Tom took a seat facing Kathryn.
"He has been a little on edge lately."
Kathryn looked surprised. Tom realized that his statement was less than appropriate when B'Elanna threw a burning glare in his direction. Tom just grinned.
"Well, Captain...I just meant that after the two of you were on that planet..."
B'Elanna shot him another look.
"I think I better shut up before I get deeper into the trouble I see heading my way."
"No." Kathryn heard herself say in a somewhat challenging tone.
"I'm interested. Tell me what you think you know, Tom."
"Come on Captain, everyone sees the looks... the stares, the way you both are..."
"Are what, Tom?'
"Well... let's just say that there's not any personal space to be had
when the two of you are within range of each other. "
"It's just really obvious that... well, that you two are... you know, in love."
Kathryn shook her head in disbelief.
Was it as obvious as Tom implied? she thought reaching for her coffee
cup. If Tom and B'Elanna see the things that she and Chakotay were
denying, then the entire crew must be laughing at the two of them.
"I guess I thought I was fooling the world."
"Yeah. Chakotay too."
Kathryn pulled her legs underneath on the couch. She thought about digging at Tom about B'Elanna to even the score for the last comment. Judgement being the better part of valor, she decided not to. She would wait.
"Would you mind if B'Elanna and I talked?"
"No, go right ahead. Just pretend I'm not here."
"Tom. You're not here." B'Elanna said with a slight smile.
"Are you sure? I could give you the male perspec..."
"No." B'Elanna said again. "Go."
"Fine, fine. I'll remember this you two." Tom replied as he rose from his chair. "I'll just take my coffee and... forget it."
Tom peeked through the doors into the hall to make sure it would be a clean get away. He thought about picking up his uniform before he left, but in this case, he thought a quick exit best. As he stepped into the hall ensign Roberts came around the corner. Standing in front of B'Elanna's cabin, he watched the young ensign walk past him. As she turned and entered the turbolift, Tom heard a burst of laughter escape as the closing doors. He turned around to look at Kathryn and B'Elanna as the doors to the cabin closed.
Why me? he thought. Why does this always happen to me?
The two women watched the doors close, looked at each other and burst
out into hysterical laughter. Tom looked so pitiful. Wiping
away the tears as they settled down to catch their breath, Kathryn and
B'Elanna began to ease into talking to one another. They had never
been the best of friends, but over time they had come to respect each other.
Kathryn knew that if anyone could give her a glimpse of what could be going
on in Chakotay's head, it was B'Elanna.
A few hours had gone by when Kathryn realized she had allowed the conversation to get very personal. She told B'Elanna things she thought she would never tell a soul. But somehow, it was easy. I was almost like talking to her little sister, Pheobe, back home in Indiana. She hadn't realized how much she missed those late night talks until now. As B'Elanna listened to her Captain, she saw a side of Kathryn she never knew existed. There was a quiet vulnerability that surfaced when Kathryn told her she had felt completely alone since their encounter with the Borg.
"It seems as if the crew doesn't trust my judgement anymore. I mean, I admit there was a risk. But was I so wrong in taking that risk just to get us closer to home? And now... we have a borg on board whom nobody trusts, nobody. Every decision, every move I've made has been to get this crew home."
Kathryn realized that she was standing, almost yelling at B'Elanna in the midst of this emotional outpouring. She stopped and exhaled in an attempt to regain her composure. She brought her folded hands up to her nose as she thought for a moment.
"I am the Captain of this ship. I have a responsibility to this crew. I don't... I can't let myself...damn it, why can't he understand that?"
Kathryn sat back down on the couch as she realized what she just said.
"He? I thought we were talking about the crew." B'Elanna asked, discovering her assumptions were right. The entire time Kathryn had been talking to her it was about "the crew". She sat in silence for a minute, wondering if it was time to make Kathryn face what the rest of "the crew" already knew.
Yes. She thought. It's time.
B'Elanna took a deep breath.
"Do you love him?"
"Do you love him?"
"I can't answer that, B'Elanna."
B'Elanna thought about her next move. Kid gloves or full attack.
"Well, I can and the answer is yes, you do. You love him. He loves you. You both won't admit it and the entire crew is caught in the middle"
B'Elanna threw her hands up in the air in mock disgust as she rose from the couch. Kathryn just stared. It had already been quite a night, now this.
"How can you be sure? How can you be sure that he still loves me when all he's been doing is avoiding me, disobeying my orders and generally pissing me off?
"I can't do this anymore."
"Oh my Gods. He's told you how he feels, hasn't he?"
"Yes, on New Earth. On that damn planet we were on for so long. On the planet we were going to have to spend the rest of our lives on. Don't you see B'Elanna? He thought he was in love with me because I was the only one he had to love. The only other person on that planet he could be with. He was forced into it. That is not love."
B'Elanna stood there in shock. Absolute and total shock that Kathryn could even think that way. She decided to let loose and get even more personal.
"You're trying not to answer my question, Kathryn."
"Just answer the question. Good Gods, you can't be that blind! Or that stupid!"
"Captain...Kathryn. There is a man, an extremely loving and gentle man on board this ship that has loved you since the first time he saw you, I bet. He worries about you. He cares so much and so deeply that he forgets about himself. I promise you that Chakotay was like this way before that damn planet. Now, I am asking you again...do you love him?"
Kathryn placed her hands over her eyes. She knew how she felt. She knew what she wanted. But she knew the pain of losing too many men in her life. She wasn't sure she could take losing him. She wasn't sure she wanted to take that chance.
"Well?" B'Elanna asked as she reached to pull Kathryn's hands away from her face.
"I'm afraid." She answered barely above a whisper. "I can't... I can't lose him. I couldn't bare to lose him."
"If you can't even tell me you love him, you just might."
Kathryn finally looked up at B'Elanna.
Well, I guess that got her attention. B'Elanna thought.
"I... yes, I do. I love him. My Gods, B'Elanna, I love him so much. I... why are you smiling?"
"It's about time. " B'Elanna laughed.
Finally, Kathryn felt at ease inside.
That felt good. She thought.
Just as she began to laugh at how tense she had been, the door to B'Elanna's quarters chimed again.
"Who in the world?" B'Elanna asked punching a few commands into the keypad next to the door. "Computer, identify perso..."
"B'Elanna, it's me."
B'Elanna turned to look at Kathryn. Neither one of them could believe it. It was already so late and now this. Kathryn rose to her feet in panic. He can't find me here. She thought. He can't see me like this and he definitely can't know I was talking to B'Elanna about him.
"O.K., we can get through this... uh... damn... uh, just go in the other room."
"What? He'll see me!"
"No he won't, I promise."
"Look. I realize this is the first time I've given an order to a Captain, but will you get in the other room!" B'Elanna replied with a grin. "Besides, I can help."
"No. Don't help me B'Elanna. I mean it!"
It's for your own good... and his. B'Elanna thought as she grabbed Kathryn's hand and pulled her towards the bedroom.
Still protesting the situation she found herself in, Kathryn took a
seat on the bed and held her breath.
The door opened.
"I'm sorry to wake you."
"You didn't... I mean, I was up reading...uh, what are you doing up?"
"Do you mind if I sit down?" He asked, already pacing in front of her
"Do you think you'll be able to sit?"
Chakotay stopped. He sat down with a huff and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked like he hadn't slept in over a month. His face was unshaven, his pajamas were wrinkled and the dark circles under his eyes told B'Elanna that she was about to go through a few more hours of unspoken feelings.
"I don't understand her anymore."
"She never listens to me... she thinks anything I have to offer is worthless, she..."
"Who is she?" B'Elanna asked knowing all too well who "she" was.
"Doesn't even ask me... she just, she makes me feel... like there's nothing there. Nothing left for me to hope for."
"Chakotay stop. I want you to look at me and tell me who it is that has you... looking the way you...you look like hell." She said, cupping his cheeks with her hands
Kathryn pulled her legs up on the bed as she listened to Chakotay. Even in the other room, she could tell how much he was hurting. The tone of his voice made her shiver. The urgency of all the emotions pouring out of him was almost frightening.
He never told me how much I hurt him. She thought. As she shifted
to face the door.
You never asked. A little voice inside replied.
Chakotay reached for B'Elanna's hands. His eyes began to tear. He felt all the anger well as he searched for the strength to say that one word. That name, that beautiful name that owned his soul. That simple name that B'Elanna was looking for as she searched his eyes for what she knew was true.
He looked deep into B'Elanna's eyes and then closed his own.
B'Elanna sighed as she sat back, still holding his hands.
"I love her. The feeling stays in the pit of my stomach. I can't eat because it reminds me of how close we were. I can't sleep because all I do is dream about her. Bridge duty is unbearable if we are on the same shift. I'm getting to the point where I can barely function when I am around her... I mean, I can't take much more of this waiting... this wondering."
"Chakotay, have you asked your spirit guide to help you? I know I am the last person who needs to suggest it but... it always seems to help you."
"The spirits can't help me this time."
"B'Elanna, she runs with them in my quests. My spirit knows no other companion but her. We are one in my Gods eyes. She... she completes me like the very breaths I take and... Damn it, she is my soul and she doesn't even care!"
Suddenly a loud thud echoed from the bedroom. B'Elanna froze. Kathryn had been so mesmerized listening to Chakotay that she hadn't noticed her feet slipping off the edge of the bed. By the time she realized what was happening, she was already on the floor.
Chakotay glanced at the doors to B'Elanna's bedroom. "What was that?"
B'Elanna's eyes got wider.
"Why didn't you tell me you had company? I thought I heard voices before I came in...I... I shouldn't have dumped all this on you." Chakotay apologized. "Tom, come on out. The least I can do is let you two..."
Chakotay stopped in mid-sentence. The look on B'Elanna's face told him the thud he heard was not Tom.
No. He thought. There is no way she... no.
"Computer. Location of Captain Janeway?"
"Captain Janeway is in Lt. Torres' quarters."
B'Elanna stood and looked at the entrance to her bedroom as Chakotay rose from the couch. She could already see his face darken the closer he got to the door.
"Damn it B'Elanna, what were you thinking!" he yelled.
"Chakotay don't you think you should calm down?" B'Elanna asked as she attempted to block Chakotay from opening the door to her bedroom. "You need to be calm before you can do this."
"Open the door, B'Elanna."
"She was confus..."
"Open the door, B'Elanna!"
B'Elanna hesitated as she reached to touch the console. The door opened to reveal an uneasy Kathryn still sitting on the floor. Chakotay's face darkened even more. Kathryn stood and tried to make her way through the pair standing in the doorway. Chakotay grabbed Kathryn's arm and pulled her to him until she was on her toes. She looked into his charcoal eyes as she felt herself lean into him. And for a moment B'Elanna thought it may have worked. The two people before her were silent, close. But yet again, the silence broke.
"Are you two having a good laugh? I suppose you heard everything?"
"This wasn't planned."
"Sure. You can't tell me how you feel or even if you feel, but you get to listen to me... you..."
"Wait a minute, I didn't know you would show up."
"Why were you here?"
"I don't have to answer that."
"There you go...just don't acknowledge it. Maybe if you're lucky, he'll go away!"
"Why do you always assume everything is about you? The world doesn't revolve around you and I sure as hell don't!"
With his strong hand holding fast to her arm, the argument continued. Kathryn tried to squirm her way out of his grip only to have him wrap the other arm firmly around her waist.
This is ridiculous! I hate to have to do this. B'Elanna thought, backing away and punching commands into her wall unit. Let's see. These two here and this one... here. Yep, that should do it.
"Computer. Initiate site to site transfer to and from the following coordinates."
She turned to watch Kathryn and Chakotay disappear.
Tom rolled over and sat up with a start as B'Elanna walked into her bedroom.
"What am I... oh, I take it she's gone?"
"Yes. They're both gone."
"Both? What do you mean both?"
B'Elanna threw her robe on the floor as she crawled into bed next to him.
"I'll tell you in the morning."
"Tom, go to sleep."
Startled, they found themselves in Chakotay's quarters.
"That little... I can't believe she did that."
"It doesn't matter where she transported us, Chakotay. I want out of here and away from you!"
Kathryn didn't know how much longer she could stand his arm around her. She continued to try to break free only to have Chakotay pull her closer to him. She couldn't breath. She was having trouble concentrating on being mad and hating him for being able to get under her skin the way he did. He couldn't think from the smell of her hair, the movement of her body against him.
"Kathryn stop it!" he yelled as he backed her up against the wall, making it totally impossible for her to move.
"I won't let you go. Not this time!"
"I can't be here. I... I can't do this."
"Do what? Be human?"
"What?" she asked. "Human? Is that how you see me? I lead a crew
on a mission practically without hope.
Mothering and nurturing everyone on this ship except myself and I'm not human?!"
"No you wait, Chakotay! I have spent the last three years of my life on this ship in a self -imposed vacuum. Never at liberty to say or do anything because of my duties, my protocols, my starfleet way. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I get a tiny glimpse of life with..."
"Glimpse of what, Kathryn? Come on, talk to me."
"I have to do this alone. Can't you see that? And when you do this to me... I can't... I can't..."
Chakotay leaned in, bringing his face closer to hers.
"Think? Feel? Tell me, Kathryn. What can't you do?" he whispered. "Love me?"
Kathryn could feel herself getting weak in his arms. That voice. That all consuming voice that called to her every night in her dreams that was now holding her close.
"How can you say that?" she heard herself whisper before she knew what she was doing. "How can you not see..."
She immediately felt his cheek move against hers. Chakotay's hands began to travel up the curve of her back, around the smallness of her waist. He found himself unable to stop the need to finally touch the embodiment of his soul. He was engulfed in his hearts desire and nothing else mattered.
"See what Kathryn? Tell me what I need to see other than the woman in my arms. You are my spirit. You are my life, Kathryn and nothing, not even you, can keep us from where our hearts want us to be."
Kathryn sighed. She let her body fall against him as she buried her face into his broad chest. Without resistance, she allowed him to hold her. As if holding a child, Chakotay swayed back and forth, trying to ease the emotion of what he knew for the first time, she was allowing herself to feel. She had been walled inside with her feelings for so long, but so had he. Finally, he pulled his arm from her back and placed his hand underneath her chin. He lifted her closed eyes to his. Kathryn's face was wet. He brushed the wetness from her cheeks with his thumbs.
"Open your eyes. Let me see you, Kathryn." He pleaded. "I need you to see me. I need you to look into my eyes and tell me you don't see you there. My Gods, it seems as if I have waiting my whole life for you."
"What?" she whispered.
"I want you, now and for the rest of my life. I know that is the last thing you want to hear, but... Kathryn... I just... Gods, I love you."
Chakotay's voice seemed to sigh his words as he finally released his heart to her. He had never known such pain in his passion. He had never known the feeling of Kathryn in his arms. The effect was too much. He looked down at his hands as he began to pull them from her face.
"I'm sorry." He whispered as he turned to increase the distance between them and hopefully ease his pain.
He felt her catch his hand as he turned and pull him back to her. Questioning the look on her face, he stepped near her once again.
"I can't do this anymore." She sighed, searching his eyes.
Chakotay felt his heart drop.
*No.He thought to himself. *Please don't let her push me away again.
"I don't see me in your eyes, Chakotay." She whispered bringing her hands to his face, tracing the outlines she knew by heart. She drew his lips closer to her own.
"I see my soul, my heart..."
Chakotay moaned softly, sweetly as their lips met for the first time. He could feel her passion. She could feel his pain. The hunger underneath gave way to the most tender touches either one of them had ever known. Kathryn pulled back, looking into Chakotay's eyes as she began to unbutton his pajama top. As she let it fall to the floor, he lifted her tee shirt over her head. Slowly, the rest of their clothes found their way to the floor as well. Their hands were searching for the soft touch of skin beneath their fingertips. Every curve and smile lit by the soft glow of the passing stars.
"Beautiful." He whispered.
She looked into his eyes as he leaned down. Grabbing her waist
and legs, Chakotay lifted her in his arms. He pulled her closer to
him as he walked towards his bedroom. He stopped at the doorway.
"Do you want this?' he whispered.
Kathryn kissed him gently.
"I want you." She whispered as she teased his earlobe with her tongue. "I have..."
She stopped herself.
"Please put me down."
Chakotay couldn't take much more of this. He knew he shouldn't have pushed, but he couldn't help himself. All he could think or dream about was the woman now standing before him. Her hair was down and draped about her shoulders. Her small, perfect body that looked as if it were sculpted by artists hands. Chakotay's mind was swimming and his heart was losing control. He closed his eyes wanting to wake from this dream before she vanished before him.
"Give me your hand."
His eyes opened.
"I have wanted to tell you so much, Chakotay. So many things that I missed about our time on New Earth. I can't remember myself before I met you."
She began to pull him towards the bed. Chakotay, still rather astonished, felt his body react to his emotions. She pushed his chest so that he lay down as she leaned over him. Making patterns with her fingers, she began to rub his chest. Tracing the curve of his ribs and the muscles of his stomach. Chakotay breathed in deeply as the sensations traveled through his body. He felt her breast brush against his side as she leaned down to bring her lips to his neck. She nibbled her way to his ear and once again, she stopped.
He looked up. Moving her hair away from her face, he cupped her cheeks in his hands. She moved against his fingers as he gently stroked her jaw line.
"We... we can stop..." Chakotay sighed, bringing her forehead to his.
They both opened their eyes to look at each other. Searching. Knowing. Wanting. It was all there.
"No. I don't ever want us to stop." She whispered.
She placed her index finger over his dark lips.
"No more words, warrior. No more walls. There is only you and I. One spirit."
"One love." She whispered as a single tear emerged from her blue eyes.
"Love?" he asked as he drew her to him and rolled her on her back.
Kathryn took a deep breath. Placing both hands on each side of his face, she brought his lips towards her.
She kissed him tenderly.
"I love you, Chakotay."
Please send comments or feedback to Circe here