Disclaimer: This is not about Paramount's Voyager, but an entirely different group of people whose histories, names and hairstyles are identical to the Paramount group. What are the chances of that happening? Amazing really. 0:o)
Date: 07/06/02
Author: MaxGraal@hotmail.com (I always wondered why my parents put the hotmail bit on)
Rating: Universal (I think that's a G in America)
Summary: Shore leave


It was a hot day on an alien planet, and the crew were enjoying their shore leave. Everyone had remarked about how much like Earth it seemed, and how the people were so like their friends back home.

Kathryn laid back against her towel and closed her eyes, allowing the cool sea breeze to blow across her skin and over her swimsuit. In her mind she imagined the ocean stretching all the way to Earth, a great expanse of water ready to carry her home. She imagined being a sprite and flying across the waves, flying so close to the water that she could feel the cool haze that lifted away from it on warm days like this. She would skim the surface of the water with her fingers and trace images of long forgotten pleasures, like walking her dogs, or looking at the stars through a telescope. She remembered the deep underwater chambers that punctuated the Mars quarries like a web, and suddenly she was there, diving with Mark.

Diving down as deep as she could, she felt Mark's hand on her arm, making sure that she was okay and offering her reassurance in the murky black depths. Further down she went, all the time aware of his presence by her side. She didn't have to be strong for anyone else: he was there for her and they shared their problems together. As she swam through the underwater chamber, only the light from her beacon revealed the presence of the chamber walls. Somehow, she could hear a voice on the other side of the chamber and felt compelled to find the owner. She swam forward but the currents suddenly increased, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not move forward any more. Kathryn thrashed her legs against the water and kicked with rage against her sudden imprisonment. She could neither swim forwards to the disembodied voice, or backwards to the light that she knew was Mark. With one last kick of fury she broke against the current and penetrated the end of the chamber, finding herself in a tall vertical shaft leading upward toward the surface. As she slowly kicked up toward the light she noticed how quickly the currents had disappeared, and how incredibly light she felt. She came to the surface and pulled herself onto the bank. Sunlight surrounded her as hundereds of minute glowing particles drifted slowly through the air in chains, appearing like some exotic energy string. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she noticed the trees surrounding this isolated clearing somewhere in a forest. Birds sang and declared to the world that they had found their place in the universe, and the gushing sound of a small river reverberated through the glade. Kathryn pulled herself to her feet and took off her diving suit. She instantly felt the warmth of nature pass through her body and make her feel whole again. For the first time since she was torn from home she felt as though she belonged, here in this glade. The strong smell of grass and trees drifted up from the ground and made her feel safe, surrounded by the heady and comfortable atmosphere. She walked forwards, looking at the inhabitants of this secret haven. The press of fresh, untrodden grass against her feet made her sigh to herself, and she moved toward a log by the river. She looked around and sat gently on the log, slowly dipping her toes in the water. She allowed her hair to fall down around her shoulders and to her back where it rested, warm and clean. There she sat for hours just absorbing the feel of this secret glade, untrodden by any other and secret to all but herself. She wanted to stay there, safe and warm in her own private world, accepted by the birds and loved by the river. In her mind she felt the voice call to her. It was strange: she could not hear the words or the sounds, but she felt them with every part of her, drawn to them and rapped in them, completely surrounded by these soft tones. Slowly the voice grew stronger and she gradually awoke.

Chakotay was looking into her eyes as she rested on her back, the sun warming her. Propped on his left elbow he was raised above her, on her right. In his red shorts he looked younger than usual, somehow stronger. He was holding a bottle just below her vision and seemed to be waiting for a response.

'No, thankyou Chakotay. I already used sunblock before we got here.'

Somehow her words sounded insincere and he noticed. In his soft, penetrating voice, he asked her again.

'Are you sure? It's my own special compound: I had the Doctor make it up for me before we left. It keeps out the rays but gives you a tan at the same time.'
'No, really. Besides, your skin is much darker than mine: it wouldn't work.'
'Actually, it would. It doesn't matter whether your skin is tan, light or blue - it works on the cellular level.'

She looked at him, examining his eyes and felt herself being pulled in. Quickly, she tugged her eyes away and rolled on to her front.

'That'd be nice. Could you rub some on my back? I can't reach it with this swimsuit on.'

He looked at her open-backed swimsuit and her soft, light skin. He could smell the distinctive perfume she always wore, even when she was on duty. He knelt beside her, watching her back slowly move up and down. He saw the hairs move slowly as goosebumps formed across the small of her back and went away again. Squeezing the lotion onto his left-hand, he thought of nothing more than her back as he put the container down and rubbed his hands together.

She laid there with her eyes closed, her hands under her neck with her face away from him. Waiting for his touch, she was on edge, nervous and worried about reacting loudly - but when she felt his fingers trace down her spine, she relaxed and rolled her eyes under her eyelids. She felt his fore-fingers lightly move down her spine to the small of the back, where his thumbs took plant and rolled softly into the base of her spine, relaxing her even move. His fingers moved sideways across her lower back, to her sides, where they waited for a moment before lifting away. Then she felt his strong hands press into the middle of her lower back, slowly pressing in and out in a rhythm that reminded her of the glade. His hands moved up her back to her mid-section where his hands rotated outward so that his palms were against her back and his fingers reached out to her sides. She could feel the warmth of his skin against hers, and as he rippled his fingers firmly on her sides, she felt how large and strong his hands were, so masculine and powerful.. but gentle. He carried on massaging her sides for a short while before moving up to her upper back. As he placed his hands palm-down on the middle of her upper back, with his he spread his fingers to her shoulders, she let out a small sigh and breathed out. He squeezed her shoulders with his fingers, pressing his palms into her back with gentle force. As his fingers moved across her shoulders to her neck, she felt herself arch against her own will, and stretched her arms out in front of her as though she were about to dive. He moved his fingers to the length of her slender neck, and pressed his palms against the back so lightly that she could hardly feel them. Chakotay lightly moved his fingers forward and backwards across her neck for a few minutes. He lifted his hands away and ran both of his fore-fingers down her spine before picking up a towel and wiping his hands, then laying back down again with his hands behind his head. Aware that he was looking up at the sky, Kathryn shuddered slightly as she felt her body react to his touch even though he had moved away. She laid there for a while just listening to the sea lap against the beach before drawing itself away and repeating.

Still looking away from him, she spoke in a relaxed and soft tone to him.

'Thankyou. Did you ever consider becoming a masseur? You definately have the touch.'
'No, but I've always been good with my hands. I suppose it comes from there.'

An uneasy silence fell for a moment, and she lifted her head to look toward him, then rested it on her other hand. He was laying on a red towel, wearing red shorts and nothing else, save his lotion compound. He laid on his back with his hands behind his head, his eyes closed and a peaceful look on his face. His strong arms were relaxed away from him, drawing attention to his torso. His chest was wide and strong, his stomach flat and defined without a single hair across his entire front. She had often thought about his chest, how powerful it looked, so wide and embracing - never questioning or doubting but always there, always strong. Her eyes moved down to his thighs, surprisingly wide and muscular - lending well to his lower legs which were defined and lean. He could clearly move quickly if he wanted to, but he had power too. She closed her eyes and let her mind drift back to the sea, where she continued her journey home.

Dancing Chakotay