"Close Your Eyes"
Rating : PG-13
Disclaimer : Paramount owns the names, but the story is mine :)
“Computer, lights at fifty percent.”
Kathryn entered the mess hall and looked around. The empty room. The stray glasses left on the tables. The silence, it was happening again: three a.m. for the fourth time this week. She had gotten to bed early only to find that sleep still eluded her. All her reports were done, no new aliens were trying to rip Voyager apart, and yet Kathryn found herself in Neelix’s kitchen; searching for something that resembled coffee. Pulling the sleeves of her old academy tee shirt up to her elbows, she opened the doors to the food storage unit. Letting out a sigh, she shook her head and laughed.
“Neelix…” she thought. “The most disorganizedd cook in the delta quadrant.
There were cans with no labels, stacks of chilling plates and endless bags of leola roots. She found a large bowl of something purple and pushed it aside. Spotting a tall silver pitcher of what she hoped was coffee or something that had the same affect; she stretched her arm in.
“I wondered if you owned a pair of those.”
Startled, Kathryn’s head flew up and hit the shelf above her. Fruits, hair pasta, and even a bowl of darmat ferters flew into the air and shattered as they fell to the floor around her. She stumbled back. With a loud thud, she found herself siting in something brown and sticky. She brought her hand to her face and wiped around her eyes, looking down at her shirt. Kathryn was covered. She looked at the container in her other hand. Empty: Neelix’s coffee.
A stifled smirk and then full-fledged laughter came from the other side of the counter. Getting to her hands and knees, Kathryn slowly leaned her head out to see just who it was that made her create this mess and then proceed to laugh at her.
“You…” she thought, watching him roll on the floor and hold his sides.
She looked around behind her. There was another pitcher resembling the one she had just spilt all over herself: the lid was still on it. She grabbed it and used the counter to pull herself up. Carefully opening it, Kathryn lifted the container and proceeded to poor the brown liquid directly on his head.
“What the…” he yelled, shooting up from the floor.
“You deserved that.” She smiled. “ And I… enjoyed it.”
He flew around the corner of the counter and grabbed the pitcher out of her hand: trying to hold her as he searched for something to retaliate. They found themselves throwing anything they could get their hands on. Food, cups, you name it and laughing so hard they didn’t even hear the doors to the mess hall open.
They stopped cold and turned to look at Neelix: both grinning from ear to ear and totally covered in every color of the rainbow.
“May I ask… just what you two are…” Neelix huffed, stepping behind the counter.
“Doing?!?” he exclaimed, grabbing a cloth from the shelf and dropping to the food covered floor.
“Neelix… I… we’re sorry. I couldn’t sleep and… well, it just happened.” Kathryn sputtered out, trying desperately to hold back the laughter. Chakotay took hold of her arm as he handed her a cloth.
“Here, we’ll help…”
“No thank you commander” Neelix snapped, yanking the rag out of Kathryn’s hand. “I think you both should just… leave. Just clean yourselves up… or something… anything, just leave.”
Kathryn made a face at Chakotay. They both stepped over Neelix and headed for the door. When it shut behind them, their hysterical laughter filled the air.
“I better get to my quarters and get cleaned up before my duty shift begins.”
“I’ll escort you.”
“I think I can find my own way Chakotay.” Kathryn replied, wiping something brown off Chakotay’s cheek.
He looked up at her. “Believe me, I know you can.” He said in a rather serious tone, and then he smiled. “I just don’t want to be seen looking like this by myself.”
Kathryn rolled her eyes. “Come on then.”
They arrived at her quarters without even cracking a smile, despite the looks they got from the alpha shift officers reporting for duty.
“Well we made it… and with only a few looks.”
“You mean you made it.” Chakotay smiled. “I have farther to go.”
“Your quarters are just down the hall.” Kathryn replied.
“But the gym is two decks down.”
As she keyed the doors to her quarters open, Kathryn turned to look at Chakotay: cocking her head to one side.
“The gym? Don’t you have alpha shift, commander?” she asked.
“Yes, but I don’t have a shower. Ensign Perkino is supposed repair my shower at the end of his shift today.”
“And your due on the bridge in how many minutes?”
“Well, I’m in good with the Captain so I thought I could be a little late.” He smiled.
“No, you can’t.” She tilted her head to the other side. “Come on in and get cleaned up”
Kathryn stepped in and ordered the lights to full. A stunned Chakotay hesitated.
“What is it?” she asked, turning to look at him.
He remained silent as he moved his eyes around the room in front of him.
“Look, I’ll throw in a towel, you can use my shower, and get ready in the other room.”
Chakotay shook his head in amazement as he entered.
Kathryn ordered the shower on and threw a towel at him. “You first…” she said walking towards her bedroom. “…and hurry up.”
Chakotay looked down at the towel in his hands. Shrugging his shoulders, he let out a sigh, went into the bathroom and started to undress. Dropping his messy clothes on the floor, he slid the shower door back and immersed himself in the soothing sonic pulses. He couldn’t believe he was actually taking a shower in her quarters. Seemed strange for her to be so free around him. “Maybe it was all the fun.” He thought. He let his head rest against the wall as his mind wondered.
Kathryn emerged from her bedroom and tossed her uniform on the foot of her bed. “He’s got to be so surprised.” She thought. Walking towards her closet, she caught a glimpse of Chakotay’s form through the steam covered shower door. “He forgot to close the bathroom door.” She thought. “Or did he?” She tightened the tie of her robe as she bent down to get her boots: still watching his muted movements through the hazy door. She could just make out the muscles in his arms as he washed his hair: his thick, very dark hair.
Suddenly, Kathryn heard him order the shower off. “Uh, the boots, Kathryn. The boots.” She told herself rummaging around in her closet.
She let out a breath and looked up to see Chakotay standing before her: a towel wrapped around his waist. She had no idea his skin was so dark. Her eyes traveled to the massiveness of his hands, the movement of his chest as he breathed in, the broadness of his shoulders: but those eyes, those beautiful, smiling eyes. Immediately, she realized she was staring and felt her face redden. She looked down as she stood and closed the closet door: trying not to let Chakotay see the color filling her cheeks.
Chakotay smiled to himself as he watched his captain begin to fidget with her robe and set her boots on the floor.
She couldn’t think. Seeing him like this… so handsome…so… her mind snapped back as she heard his voice.
“We have a problem.”
Kathryn looked up at him, almost afraid of what he was about to say.
“I don’t have a uniform.” He interrupted.
He saw an easy smile come over Kathryn’s face. He knew what she was thinking.
“Well, you’re one door down. I guess you’ll have to go get it.” She grinned heading for the bathroom. “You were a Maquis, you shouldn’t have any trouble.”
Kathryn heard the doors to her quarters open. She turned to see Chakotay stepping out into the hall. Running to the doors, she saw him pass one of the Delany sisters in the corridor.
“Good morning Kym.”
“Commander…” Kym replied, stumbling over the words as he walked past her.
Turning around, she saw Kathryn standing in her robe in the doorway. Her eyebrow raised slightly. “Captain.”
The doors to Kathryn’s quarters closed.
Kathryn hurriedly stepped onto the bridge. She couldn’t believe she was the one who was late after chiding her first officer. Chakotay, dimples evident, was already at his post. Replacing a stray hair as she sat down, Kathryn looked around at her crew. Was everyone staring at her? She looked at Chakotay steadily entering codes into his console.
“Status.” She said.
“The warp core engines are off line for maintenance. The holodeck repairs are in progress for Ensign Lapino and Lieutenant O’Sheas’ pre-wedding party tomorrow night and there was a slight problem with one of sonic showers…”
Chakotay saw Kathryn trying not to smile. But then she tensed up. Chakotay looked up to see several of the crew members smiling at them. He tensed up.
“…in the gym…” he paused, wanting to slap himself. “…on deck 11. Ensign Jerodoe is seeing to it.”
Kathryn turned to look at her commander with a look he had never seen before.
“Very well. I’ll be in my ready room.”
“I am going to kill him. He enjoyed that entirely too much.” She thought.
“Tuvok you have the bridge. Commander, I need to speak with you about some upgrades I would like to make on some our systems.”
He stood and followed Kathryn to her ready room. The doors shut behind them.
“Upgrades, huh?” Tom mumbled to himself.
Tuvok moved to the captain’s chair with padd in hand as Paris made his way toward Harry’s station.
“So what did she say?”
“Not on the bridge, Paris.”
Tom huffed as he stepped closer to the ensign. “Come on, Tuvok isn’t paying attention. I want to know what Kym said.”
Harry sighed and pulled Tom towards the console behind him. “Look, all she said was he was in a towel coming out of her quarters and she was standing there in a robe. That’s it”
“That’s it!” Tom exclaimed.
Tuvok stood as Harry brought his hands to his face. “Is there a problem that requires you both?”
“No sir.” They replied in unison.
“I hope you’re proud.”
“Proud?” he asked, knowing he had to head her off at the pass.
“That wasn’t funny commander.” She said, taking a seat behind her desk.
“This morning in the mess hall or… this morning in your quarters? Or just now on the bridge?” he asked, making his way to her replicator. “Two coffees. Black.”
“None of it, but especially this morning. Kym Delany, of all people.”
He sat down on the couch and placed Kathryn’s coffee cup on the table. “Oh that.”
“Oh that? Oh that!” she raised her voice as she stood to join him. “You in a towel, me in my robe. You leaving my quarters at… you know what it looks like.”
“Yeah, I know what it looks like.” He was smiling again.
With an exasperated sigh, Kathryn sat down and playfully punched Chakotay’s arm. “What am I going to with you. This isn’t funny. This is serious.”
“Why is it serious, Kathryn?”
Kathryn felt that easy feeling with him again. Sitting there next to him and talking. She wished it could be like this all the time. Maybe it could, but she felt herself stiffen again.
“I’m not getting into this right now.” She replied, turning her head towards the window.
Chakotay took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, bringing his eyes to rest on the line of her neck. “No, I guess you won’t” he mumbled. “You never want to.”
“What?” she asked.
A few moments passed. She felt him staring; she brought her eyes back to meet his. And there in the silence, they said everything and nothing at all.
“So what were you doing in the mess hall anyway?” he whispered, finally breaking the silence.
“I couldn’t sleep. In fact, I haven’t been sleeping at all the past couple of days. I don’t know why…” Kathryn replied, closing her eyes in exhaustion. “…it’s odd.”
She opened her eyes to find Chakotay only inches away from her face: his hand reaching for her. Kathryn couldn’t move. She was frozen. His thumb rubbed the top of her cheek as his fingers curled around her neck and lightly touched her hair. A shiver ran up Kathryn’s spine as she found herself leaning into his hand: almost instinctively leaning her body closer to his touch. She closed her eyes and breathed in the musk that seemed to linger around her.
“Looks like you missed something on your cheek.”
She opened her eyes as she felt his breath on her face. She brought her hand to his knee and began to lean forward. “Thank you” she whispered.
Chakotay remained still as he watched Kathryn’s lips approach his. And just as Kathryn was about to give in, he leaned back.
“I better get a refill on this coffee.” Chakotay interrupted, lifting her hand.
He stood and headed for the replicator. “Don’t want to fall asleep with all this work to do.”
Kathryn couldn’t believe what just happened. She was just there, as ready as she felt she could be, and he walked away. He got up and walked away.
Chakotay blew on the fresh cup of coffee as he reclaimed his seat next to her on the couch. Taking a sip, he picked up a padd and feigned reading its contents.
Kathryn just sat there, taking in Chakotay’s actions and still not believing it.
The look on her face caused Chakotay to smile slightly behind the padd. “I guess that surprised her.” He thought.
“So you haven’t been sleeping, huh?”
Kathryn looked at him in puzzlement. “Well… no.”
“Is something bothering you?”
Kathryn suddenly sat up straight. “No, nothing is bothering me.”
“Have you tried warm milk with…”
“...a dash of nutmeg? Yes. My roommate at the academy, Beverly… Howard, well, Crusher now I think… well, she used to swear by it, but it doesn’t help at all.”
“Yes and no.”
“A glass of wine or a…”
Kathryn stood up exasperated, walked back to her desk, and flounced in her chair. “I’ve tried everything!” she snapped. “Nothing seems to be working today… I mean, at all.”
Chakotay stood and made his way to the front of her desk. She brought her hands to her face and began to rub at her eyes. Placing the padd on her desk, he reached across and placed a finger under her chin.
“You must be tired.” He whispered.
“O.K.” she thought, easing up a little bit out of the chair. “I’m sorry for snapping. I guess I am.” She smiled back, leaning forward even more, deepening the gaze and shortening the distance.
Chakotay breathed in as he removed his hand and reached down to collect the scattered padds on her desk. He turned and headed for the door. “I’ll take care of these upgrades for you…”
He stopped and turned as the doors to her ready room opened.
“...and I’ll see you at 2100 hours…” he said in a voice loud enough for the bridge crew to hear.
Kathryn looked up; her jaw must have dropped because Chakotay was smiling again.
“...in your quarters.”
And with that, he left. The doors closed. And Kathryn sat there with a feeling she had never felt in her life rising inside of her. Her heart was pounding and her mind was racing with questions. She felt like a school girl again. She reminded herself that Starfleet wouldn’t approve, but right now she didn’t care and Starfleet was a world away. Her head started to spin. She had to close her eyes. Suddenly the doors opened again. Kathryn’s head shot up.
“Sorry, I forgot one.” He smiled, picking up the remaining padd on
her desk and exiting again.
Still in her uniform, Kathryn paced back and forth in her quarters. Her duty shift ended an hour ago and left her with nothing to do but wait and wonder. She didn’t know if she should change: if she needed to prepare something to eat or even drink. The thought of not having control was something she hated. But that was the way he made her feel. From the moment he appeared on the bridge, Chakotay was unpredictable, dangerous and exciting. No one had ever had this effect on her, not even Mark. “I had gotten used to having Mark for protection.” She thought to herself. “Protection… Chakotay.”
The doors to her quarters chimed a visitor and the knot in her stomach got tighter as she commanded the doors to open. There he stood. Wearing a loose cream top of some kind and a pair of what looked to be something she herself owned, jeans. He smiled as he entered. Carrying something in his right hand, he walked in front of her couch and placed it on the table. His other hand suspiciously behind his back. He turned and like a cat ready to claim it’s prey, he headed towards her.
“You’re not ready for bed.” He calmly said.
“I beg your pardon.”
“I said you’re not ready for bed, Kathryn.”
She desperately tried to avoid eye contact. This was killing her. She could look anywhere but in his eyes. Slowly Chakotay brought his other hand from behind his back to reveal a single peach rose. Kathryn felt the soft petals on her skin as he brushed the flower against the back of her hand. She finally lifted her eyes to his as he brought the rose to her cheek. The fragrance intoxicated her and that look, that determined look in Chakotay’s eyes seemed to reach deep into Kathryn’s being.
“Do you sleep in that uniform too?” he whispered moving closer to her.
He drove his gaze deeper as he continued to seductively run the rose along her jaw line and down the front of her neck.
“Then you better get changed.” He finally replied. “I’ll wait.”
Taking a deep breath, she turned and headed for her bedroom. Closing the doors behind her, she went into immediate and sudden panic mode. “To hell with protocol.” She thought to herself as she darted for her closet and began searching through her drawers; desperately trying to get the pins out of her hair. Mid-stride she stopped. “What am I doing?” she thought. “This is absolutely crazy.”
She took a seat on the end of her bed as she looked around at the clothes
scattered throughout the room. On the chair to her left, the gray
nightclothes she wore on New Earth. A peach silk night gown and robe in her hands:
hairpins everywhere. She sat there with the knowledge that she had to make a
decision: a simple decision that would change everything or nothing at all. Removing
the last pin from her hair, Kathryn stood and began to unzip the front
of her uniform.
“Computer, location of Captain Janeway…”
“Captain Janeway is in her quarters.”
“Computer, location Commander Chakotay…”
“Commander Chakotay is in Captain Janeway’s quarters.”
Everyone’s eyes widened.
“See, B’Elanna. I told you.”
B’Elanna looked at Harry and Seven as she sat down on the floor in front of Tom. They were in the midst of teaching Seven about another human behavior characteristic: gossiping. “It doesn’t mean anything, Tom. I’m sure they’re just working on those upgrades.”
Tom and Harry smiled at each other.
“It is obvious that you two know something so spill it! “ B’Elanna exclaimed as she turned and started to tickle the truth out of Tom.
“No. I refuse.” Tom protested through his laughter. “Harry help!”
“This behavior is unnecessary.” Seven stated coldly. “Ensign Kim, elaborate.”
“Seven, this isn’t how…”
“Elaborate… please?” She replied, raising a questioning eyebrow.
Harry cleared his throat. “Well, it’s like… she… they… Kym Delany saw Chakotay leaving the Captain's quarters this morning in nothing but a towel.”
“I guess the Captain needed help this morning after the food fight, uh Seven?”
Harry almost choked on the sip of wine he’d just taken. Tom grabbed B’Elanna’s hands and pulled her up on the couch next to him.
“Who’s holding out now?” Tom exclaimed, attempting to return the torture and tickle B’Elanna. “Who told you? Who told you? Come on.”
“Neelix.” Seven retorted as she rose and headed for the replicator.
“Neelix.” B’Elanna laughed as she pushed Tom away and stood. “It seems that our Captain and Commander made quite a mess this morning in his kitchen. Neelix said there was food and coffee everywhere.”
“Really?” Tom grinned. “Must have been some shower.”
Chakotay thumbed through the collection of books on one of Kathryn’s shelves. Tolstoy, Physiology of Alien Lifeforms, and Theories of Quantum Mechanics moved under his fingertips. He wondered what she was doing as he ordered the lights to twenty percent. She had been in her bedroom for a long time. Lost in thought, he didn’t notice the sound of doors opening behind him. The sweet smell of jasmine filled the air. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply and turned around. She stood there in the doorway, silhouetted by the light. Her hair shown the deepest red as it draped around her shoulders. She had left her robe untied, open, exposing the blushing skin and nightgown underneath. She slowly walked towards him. Chakotay’s voice caught in his throat when he tried to speak. The way she moved, the line, the curve of her hip against the silk was making him weak.
“Are you all right commander?”
“Yes, Kathryn.” He said, in the calmest voice he could find walking towards her. “You’re still not ready for bed…let me help you with that robe.”
Chakotay turned Kathryn around; she brushed against him. His breath caressed her ear as he reached around her waist to find the front of her robe. The tips of his fingers brushed against her bare shoulders as he slowly removed the silk cover and let it fall to the floor. He saw Kathryn’s exposed back shiver as he moved the back of his hand up her spine. “Perfect.” He thought. Chakotay brought his lips to the nape of her neck. A single, gentle kiss drifted across her senses as he took her hand in his. She turned to look at him. Only inches away from each other, Chakotay wrapped his arm around her, leading her towards the bed. Never breaking eye contact, he slowly pulled the cover back to expose the soft, non-regulation satin sheets on Kathryn’s bed.
“Lie down.” He whispered.
Kathryn looked up at him. The desire evident her eyes: this was getting to be too much for them both. He let go of her hand as he brought the multitude of covers over her body. She watched him as he walked over to the table, reached for a chair and turned it around to face her from across the room. Opening the pages of a leather bound book; he let the silence around them sink in for a moment.
“A bedtime story?” she asked.
“I thought it might help you sleep.” He replied, looking up at her.
Kathryn looked up at the ceiling and let out a deep breath. That easy, comfortable feeling was taking her over again. She felt her body relax.
“Close your eyes.”
Again, he remained quiet for a moment, watching Kathryn do as she was told. And then, with the turn of a page, Kathryn heard the whisper of his husky voice begin to fill the room.
“In a time that most have forgotten. In a place that most only dream of, a forest stood with trees that touched the clouds above it. Gold and silver leaves sparkled in the moonlight as the night air danced through the massive maze of trunks and branches. And in the heart of that forest lived a young girl. Her eyes the blue of the living oceans and her hair in tangled braids of spun crimson thread. Every evening, as the darkness fell over the hills, she would walk among the forest, searching for something. But for what, she did not know.
Alone, yet content. Wanting, yet peaceful. She would pick the ripe fruits and dance the ancient dance; surrounded by the mist filled air as she waited for her life to find her somehow.”
Chakotay paused for a moment to look at Kathryn. Her head moved slightly on her pillow, as the rhythm of her breathing became constant. She was so relaxed she had fallen asleep. Quietly, he put the book down on the floor and stood, turning to leave. But something inside stopped him. He glanced back. And before he knew it, he found himself walking towards the bed and kneeling gently beside her. The soft blue glow from the passing space danced on her pale skin. He stared at the woman before him. A woman he vowed to protect. A woman he vowed to love as long as there was still a breath in his body.
Fully aware that he shouldn’t be there or even near her like this, Chakotay gently ran his fingers through her hair. She moved, turning her face towards him. He closed his eyes, knowing he should get up and leave. But he didn’t. He brought his lips to hers: carefully placing tiny kisses the way he always wanted to, for as long as he can remember. The taste was sweet and the hunger inside him rushed over like a tidal wave. He couldn’t stop.
Suddenly he felt her move. She brought her hand to the back of his neck and pulled him to her, responding to his expanding hunger. “I have to stop this.” He thought to himself. “I can’t do this.”
With all the strength he could find, he slowly pulled away from her kiss.
“Chakotay. No.” She whispered into the air without opening her eyes. “Don’t…”
Chakotay removed her hands and folded them over her as she continued in her pleas.
“I’m so sorry Kathryn.” He whispered. “No dreaming, it has to be real for me.”
He turned, headed for the doors and left Kathryn to dream.
Suddenly, Kathryn opened her eyes and sat up.
No one answered.
She looked around the empty room. He was gone. The chronometer on her night table clicked to three a.m. She threw the covers back. “Not again.” She thought, as she stood and headed for the replicator. “He was here… was I dreaming? Oh, damn it!”
“Computer. Coffee Ice Cream.”
She took the bowl in hand and curled up on the end of couch. Her mind filled with thoughts of him: with the uncertainty of his touch being real or just a dream. The room was hot, or was it just the image of him in her mind? She couldn’t tell. Kathryn knew she needed sleep.
Setting the empty bowl down, she headed for her bed. She pulled the
covers back and sat down, turning her gaze towards the picture of Mark on her night
stand. She picked up the frame and ran her fingers along the outline of his
face. “No more protection.” She thought. She opened the drawer and tucked the
picture away. “Chakotay.” She whispered into the air. Still warm, still thinking
of her first officer, she pulled her nightgown over head and slipped under
the satin sheets; letting the coolness embrace her skin.
It was 0800 hours and there was still no sign of her.
“Computer entry override. Chakotay Gamma Echo two.”
The doors to Kathryn’s quarters opened. Chakotay entered and looked towards the couch, then the bathroom: no one. He headed for her bedroom. “Kathryn.” She lay there still asleep; her back and legs exposed. He could see her form accentuated by the folds of fabric barely covering her. “Spirits, give me strength.” He thought. He knelt down beside her. “Kathryn.” He whispered, gently nudging her shoulder. “Wake up. You’re supposed to be on the bridge.”
She stirred and slowly turned towards him. Stretching her arms above her, the sheet slid down her body, exposing the soft curves of her breasts; the trim lines of her stomach and hip.
“Chakotay.” She smiled, her eyes still closed.
“Yes.” He replied, turning his head before the sheet slid any further. “I’m here and you’re…”
Kathryn pulled his head towards her before he could finish. Her fingers tugging at the zipper of his uniform as she brought her lips to his. Chakotay could feel his pulse quicken as he fought to keep his composure. But he found himself halfway on her bed, struggling to break the hold she had on him: his body betraying what his mind was telling it. The feel of her body against his. The way she was toying with his lips. It was just too much for him. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and rolled her over underneath him as they continued the assault on each other’s senses: the kiss deepening and their hands frantic in exploration.
She turned her head as his lips traveled downward. “Chakotay.”
He heard Kathryn whisper, her lips moving against his ear.
“Kathryn. My Gods, Kathryn.”
Suddenly, her movements stopped beneath him. She knew this wasn’t a dream.
“Chakotay… I… Chakotay.”
He closed his eyes as he placed one last kiss near her collarbone. Immediately, he pushed himself up and spun around to sit on the edge of her bed. Facing away from her, he brought his hands to his face. Kathryn leaned over and picked up her robe. Wrapping it around her, she stood, commanded the lights to full illumination, and headed for her bathroom; her mind still numb from the touch of his lips.
“Damn.” He thought. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
Still sitting there, Chakotay heard the sound of running water. He looked up to see Kathryn’s robe, and her gown, on the floor in front of a door that she did not bother to close. A soft sigh escaped him. “She’s not even going to talk about this.” He said to himself, becoming slightly irritated. “Just pretend it never happened like everything else. This is just a ga…”
He zipped the front of his uniform and adjusted it as he stood and headed for the door: his steps heavy with regret and confusion. He couldn’t do this anymore. This friendship wasn’t even a friendship and the pain was about to break him, no matter how hard he tried to fight it. At the moment, he resigned himself to giving up. “She’ll never admit to loving you. She was dreaming.
That’s all she’ll let herself do.” He thought, trying to lie to himself. He knew how she felt or he thought he did. He couldn’t tell anymore. “Close your eyes and walk away.”
Kathryn heard him check for anyone in the corridor and then command the doors open. “It’s now or never.” She mumbled under her breath. “You can do this, Kathryn.”
He stopped and backed away, allowing the doors to shut in front of him. He heard the swirling water move as Kathryn called out his name again. He turned his body towards the sound of her voice.
“Kathryn… I’m sorry… you overslept… I was worried… I…” he called out.
“I didn’t ask for an explanation.”
He took a step closer. “Kathryn?”
“Could you come in here for a moment. I need your help.”
She had to be joking. There was no way the Kathryn he knew would do something like this: something so forward. Alien influence? Sleeping in a living dream? His mind jumped from one thought to the next, but his body wouldn’t move.
“I won’t bite Chakotay.”
His head shot up. Slowly, cautiously he walked towards her bathroom door. He closed his eyes as he entered.
Kathryn smiled to herself. “You weren’t shy a minute ago.”
He smiled and took the dare, opening his eyes to find Kathryn surrounded by layers of bubbles. Her hair was loosely knotted in ways that left the stray strands wet and curled about her shoulders.
“I said no explanation.” She interrupted, handing him a sea sponge. “I can’t think of a better way to wake up in the morning. Here.”
Chakotay took the sponge. “Kathryn…I… are you sure…”
“Don’t make me give you a direct order” she replied, almost purring.
Slowly he immersed the sponge in the water near Kathryn’s leg. She leaned forward and turned her head to stare straight at him. He moved behind her and knelt down, bringing the sponge to her shoulder and gently squeezing it. The water glistened as it meandered its way down her back. He dipped his hand into the water again, deliberately moving his fingers near the small of her back. She arched in response. Chakotay continued for what seemed an agonizing eternity without saying a word. He was lost in her, in the feeling she was giving him all over again as her eyes traveled with his movements. It was indescribable in his mind. Suddenly, Chakotay dropped the sponge and looked around for a towel. He had to get away from her before his body betrayed him.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
“Kathryn… I want to… I need to explain what happened…”
“Aren’t you supposed to be on the bridge?”
“Yes, but so are…”
Kathryn moved to stand. “I’m the Captain. I can be late.” A slight smile came across her lips as she saw the look of shock. “I’ll see you there in fifteen minutes.” She replied; the whiteness of the bubbles her only cover as they slid down her skin. She reached for the towel in his hand and wrapped it around her as she stepped out of the tub and walked past his stunned expression into the other room. A few minutes later and after he found a hint of composure, Chakotay stood and emerged from the bathroom: heading for the doors to her quarters. Kathryn turned as the doors began to close behind him.
“Oh and Chakotay…”
He turned to look at her.
“I’ll see you in my quarters… at 1800 hours.”
“I thought you were… I mean, that party is tonight.”
“Yes it is.”
“At 2100 hours…”
“I need an escort. Do you mind?” she asked, using the edge of the towel to wipe away lather on her thigh. “I know it is a little early, but…I like to take my time… getting ready.”
The doors closed as he stood there.
The hours seemed to drag on endlessly as Chakotay sat on the bridge, his mind bombarded with thoughts of her. Her skin against the black satin. The lather traveling down her wet body. “What was she doing? Why?” he thought to himself.
When she stepped onto the bridge, she immediately headed towards her ready room.
Not one glance. Not one smile. Just business as usual.
Chakotay looked up, bringing himself back into focus.
“Yes, Ensign Kim.”
“It’s 1630 hours.” Harry said, clearing his throat. “Is there anything else you need me to do.”
“Ready for a party, ensign?” Chakotay chuckled.
Chakotay turned to see Kathryn walking towards the turbo lift with that slightly crooked grin on her lips. He began to squirm in his seat.
“Don’t you have to get ready for your date, uh, the celebration tonight,
Commander?” Tom asked taking a chance that he was right, not being able to resist.
Kathryn smiled as the doors closed in front of her.
Chakotay turned toward the rest of the bridge crew. “Beta shift, dismissed.”
Tuvok emerged from his station as Chakotay stepped onto the lift.
“She’s all yours.” He stated, grinning from ear to ear.
Tom raised one eyebrow. “We could say the same to you Commander.”
Chakotay stopped the doors with his hand and stepped back onto the bridge.
“Tom.” Chakotay asked, stepping directly behind him. “Conference room, now Mr. Paris.”
The two of them entered the room. Chakotay motioned Tom to have a seat.
“Commander, Chakotay… everyone knows… the look on her face… the grin on yours...” He stated, looking at Chakotay. “There is also the matter of ship’s… well, there is talk, Commander.”
“You mean the betting pool?”
“No, no. We just want you to be happy…” Tom said shyly. “Besides, that pool was over and done with months ago.”
“What?” Chakotay stated coldly and rather irritated.
“Well…” Tom hesitated. “You have been the Captains… friend… for quite some time.”
“Yes. I’m aware of that.”
Tom took a breath. “Commander, I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone except the two of you.”
The conference room doors opened.
“You two are head over heels.” Ensign Delany piped in as she entered. “Besides, I am a witness.”
“See.” Tom huffed.
“Commander, the Captain needs to see you… uh, I think the excuse was a missing data padd with upgrade information she needed.”
“Thank you, Ensign. You can return to the bridge now.”
“Aye, sir.” She replied, smiling to herself and heading for the door.
“O.K. So should I ask you for advice now or threaten your life if you talk?” Chakotay replied, unable to keep himself from smiling.
“Commander, you are going to be late.” Kym blurted out as the doors opened and she darted onto the bridge. “Don’t keep her waiting, the rest of us can’t take it.”
“Ensign, didn’t I tell you to…” Chakotay called out.
“Go on, Chakotay.” Tom encouraged as he stood, patting him on the shoulder.
“Besides, I think she really needs that data before the party.”
Chakotay shook his head and smiled at Tom as he moved towards the doors.
“Good luck.” Tom called out as the doors began to close.
“Thanks, Tom.” He said. “I’ll need it.”
Kathryn walked slowly through her bedroom as she sprayed the contents of a small, crystal bottle in the air around her; letting the mist fall on her damp skin. Putting the bottle on her night stand, she slowly put her robe on and began to run her fingers through the wet strands of hair that clung to her neck. Her mind filled with thoughts of his wet skin. His eyes and lips. She loved this feeling. This feeling that she kept buried deep that she finally allowed to surface. She felt her skin flush as her mind glimpsed an image of his arms around her. The way he tried to fight his body in spite of his heart. She knew that this time she was ready.
Her door chimed. She turned.
“Come in” she said.
The doors opened and closed but she heard no one there. No foot steps. She walked through her bedroom doorway and looked around. She didn’t remember ordering the lights lowered. Kathryn took another step. “Chakotay?”
Suddenly Kathryn found herself unable to move. She felt one arm curl around her waist and the other, around her shoulders and chest. By instinct, she struggled, trying to break the hold this intruder had on her. She only felt the arms grow tighter as she moved her head and arched her back in the fight. Stunned, her body fought back involuntarily.
“Is the thought of me holding you… touching you…” he breathed in her ear. “…that you can’t bare it?”
“What the hell did he think he was doing?” she thought. “Gods, I want this… but what right… Gods… to slip in here like a…damn it… I will not lose control.” Her anger was taking over.
“I can bare it.” She whispered, turning to look at him.
He leaned forward to claim her lips.
She pulled her head away. And then… she slapped him. Right across his face, she slapped him. He let go of her as he brought his hand to the stinging pain she just inflicted upon him. She stepped back, full of anger.
“What I can’t bare is someone who thinks coming at me in the dark, like some… some, Gods, what were you thinking? That you could just come claim me… that you can rush me into all this so you can have what you want?!? ” she yelled.
“What Chakotay? What?”
“I thought it would… I thought you wanted me to…the shower… you, you kissed me…” He sighed. “I shouldn’t have come here. I should have known you were just…” He headed for the door.
“Chakotay..” she called out hoarsely, realizing that her anger had just pushed him away again.
“I’m sorry Kathryn…” he said as the doors opened. “I just can’t do this game anymore.”
“I…” she called after him. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking…”
“You don’t know what you want Kathryn.”
The doors closed.
The pre-wedding party was in full swing as Chakotay entered the mess hall. Streamers hung from the ceiling, balloons floated around the couples already dancing to the salsa like music. Everyone smiling, everyone laughing, yet Chakotay just wasn’t in the mood. His head was still reeling and his face still stung from her hand. He promised the happy couple he would attend the party, but this was the last place he wanted to be right now. He walked towards the punch bowl.
“Commander!” Neelix exclaimed. “Glad you could make it. Where’s the Captain?”
That was the last question he wanted to hear. “How would I know?” he snapped.
“I’m sorry, uh, commander. I just assumed…” Neelix quickly looked around trying to find a way out. “Ensign Parsons, more punch?”
Neelix pardoned himself and maneuvered his way through the staring crowd.
B’Elanna looked at Tom and handed him her drink. “Damn.” She thought. Slowly, she walked towards Chakotay as he took seat towards the back of the mess hall. Grabbing a glass of deep red punch, she sat down next to him. “Well, I think Neelix will think twice before he…”
“I don’t need any…” he began
“Don’t start with me.” She retorted through her teeth. “I’m not the reason you’re… what happened this time? What has she done.”
Chakotay shot a heated glare in B’Elanna’s direction as he started to speak. But suddenly his expression changed. She had never seen such pain in his eyes, not even in the depths of the Cardassion death camps. B’Elanna lifted her palm to his cheek as he wrapped his fingers around hers.
“I’m sorry, Chakotay. I know how much you love her.” She whispered. “You… you just have to remind her how much she loves you.”
“I tried B’Elanna. I tried to… to show her… to…” he almost choked on the words. “She slapped me, B’Elanna. She pushed me away like I don’t… she doesn’t… everything on her terms.”
Chakotay immediately stood and made his way through the crowd.
He wasn’t making any sense. B’Elanna could feel her heart sink as she watched him. She looked at Tom for guidance. But Tom only motioned his eyes towards the mess hall doors. B’Elanna looked through the crowd to see her. Standing there in the doorway, in a long, midnight blue dress, Kathryn was looking around the room; her hair swept up and looking stunning.
B’Elanna stood, looking for him. Chakotay was on the dance floor and he was not alone. And as Kathryn’s eyes found B’Elanna, she stepped into the mess hall. She walked towards the dancing crowd, greeted by crew members delighted she could come.
B’Elanna made her way around the table towards her Captain only to be stopped by a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t Bel. Not here. Not now.” Tom pleaded.
“I’m not going to…” she stopped. “She can’t keep doing this to him”
“Are you enjoying yourself Captain?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“That’s some dress.” B’Elanna sneered, her klingon side showing. “Has Chakotay seen it?”
“B’Elanna… I…” Kathryn’s eye caught a crowd beginning to form around the dance floor.
B’Elanna turned around to catch a glimpse of the pair that seemed to have everyone’s attention.
“Perfect.” She thought.
“Well, it’s a party captain.” B’Elanna snapped as she grabbed Kathryn’s wrist. “Let’s join the fun.”
B’Elanna pushed her way through the crowd with Kathryn in tow. Just as they reached the edge of the dance floor, Kathryn felt herself being pulled forward.
“What do you think?” B’Elanna sneered.
“B’Elanna stop it.” Tom whispered.
Kathryn’s heart was in her throat as Chakotay’s eyes met hers.
“I didn’t mean to…” she whispered.
“Oh, you never mean to, Captain. You’re too good for that. No one can touch the Captain.”
Chakotay watched Kathryn turned away from him; He brought his hands to his lips as his eyes traveled down the single strand of pearls trailing down her exposed
back. That dress. He could feel himself yearning to touch her. He couldn’t believe she wore that dress. She was torturing him all over again. She enjoyed doing this to him. The rage was building inside him.
“See Kathryn.” B’Elanna whispered. “He doesn’t need you. Hell, with her in his arms, you don’t exist.”
“B’Elanna, that’s enough!” Tom gritted through his teeth as he took B’Elanna by the arm.
“Look at him, Kathryn. Look at him and tell me you don’t love him!”
B’Elanna’s angry voice trailed off as Kathryn turned her head slightly. She saw their bodies moving closely as the music played. Chakotay twirled Amanda and guided her back into his arms. Back and forth. His hand traveled up her back as his partner leaned in closer to him.
One more twist and the samba music stopped. Everyone cheered, but Chakotay only saw her trying to get away. Pushing past her crew. He quickly let go of Amanda’s hand to follow her. “Kathryn wait.” He called out, not caring who heard him.
Suddenly Kathryn found B’Elanna in front of her. “You’re not leaving.”
“B’Elanna, I realize that…” she took a deep breath. “He’s your friend, but you have no right to speak to me in thi…”
“And you have no right to love him. You don’t deserve him. If you did…”
“B’Elanna. This is between the Captain… Kathryn and me.” Kathryn heard behind her as she felt his hand move up her outer thigh and take hers. “Besides, she owes me a dance.”
“I need you to trust me, Kathryn.” He whispered in her ear as he turned her around to face him. Her eyes glistened with impending tears as Chakotay lead her through the silent and staring crowd to the dance floor. The music hung in the air as Chakotay gently wrapped his arm around her waist and brought her body to his. No force, only feeling and Kathryn was quickly losing her ground in his eyes.
“Everyone is staring.” She whispered, her body still tense to his touch.
“But they’re smiling.”
Kathryn glanced at Tom and Harry. Chakotay was right.
“Why are they smiling?”
“Because they have waited for this as long as I have.” He said softly. “And no amount of slapping can keep me away any more.”
Kathryn returned her eyes to his and closed them as a lone tear began to fall. She regretted what she had done but she couldn’t explain it. He brought out so many things in her. Desire. A need to feel love. Anger that he had such a firm hold on her heart that she couldn’t control. All the emotions were building. “No. I…”
“Kathryn. What is it?”
“I feel too much…” she whispered pulling away from him.
B’Elanna spotted Kathryn as she emerged from the crowd. She quickly stood and darted towards her as Kathryn reached the Mess Hall doors.
“No, not again.” Chakotay thought as he pushed past everyone to see B’Elanna keeping Kathryn from leaving.
“Why? So you can slap him again?” he heard B’Elanna yell. “So you can rip out his heart over and…”
“I love him!” Kathryn yelled. The entire room stopped. Everyone was silent and staring, including Chakotay. Kathryn felt her face turning red as she looked around the room. Her eyes found Chakotay’s. “I love him.”
“Then show him!” B’Elanna exclaimed as Kathryn let the doors close behind her.
Everyone turned to look at their first officer.
“Well?” Amanda said standing behind her former dance partner. “Go on!”
“And don’t come back without her.” Tom piped in.
Chakotay smiled, turned and disappeared through the doors.
She had removed her comm badge, making it impossible for him to find her. He had checked the hydroponics bay, the holodecks, everywhere. Still no sign of her. He returned to his own quarters, defeated and heartbroken. He couldn’t wait. He had to see her now. Suddenly he heard a loud thud next door. “I checked her…” he thought. He turned and exited.
“Computer, security override, Chakotay Gamma Echo.”
The doors opened.
An overturned table. A broken vase. A single peach rose on the floor. He stepped inside.
“What do you want?” he heard from her bedroom.
“Why couldn’t you just leave me alone?!?” she yelled.
He took a step closer.
“Please leave. I don’t want you to see me like this.” she pleaded, appearing in the doorway, her hands hiding her face and leaning against the frame.
He brought his face only inches away from hers and pulled her hands away. “Look at me.” He said, standing his ground and staring deeply into her blue eyes.
“I can’t have you…” she whispered. “Don’t do this to me… please, if you love me, stop doing this to me.”
“If I love you.” The words cut through him. He crumbled to the floor in front of her, shaking his head and wincing like a wounded animal. “Dammit Kathryn.” He whispered.
Kathryn knelt down next to him and removed his hands from his face.
“Don’t..” he sighed.
“All I do is hurt you?” she said through her own tears. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Then don’t.“ he replied, removing her hands and moving to stand.
She walked into the other room. He stood and followed. And when she stopped, still not facing him, he carefully reached for her hand; bringing it to his lips as he positioned himself in front of her. Without a sound, he took his other hand in his and nudged her chin upward. Bringing her eyes to his and locking her gaze.
“Just love me.”
“Don’t you know I do?”
“It doesn’t feel that way.”
“I want it to feel that way.” she sighed. “I’ve always wanted it to feel that way, but…”
“No Kathryn…” Chakotay watched her eyes widen as he softly brushed his lips over hers.
“No Kathryn. No waiting. No refusals.”
He stopped her mouth with a kiss. A very deep, passionate, seductive, hungry kiss. A kiss he had wanted to give her for a long time. A kiss she wanted to feel on her lips ever since he first touched her on New Earth. They stood there in each others arms as they continued in their passion; both lost in the feeling consuming them until they both finally needed to breath.
“I am so sorry.” She whispered.
“Hush.” he said, touching her face with his hands. “It’s this moment… here and now is all I care about.”
She brought her hands to his neck and began to move her fingers through his hair. Savoring the feeling of being in his arms, she nestled her body closer to his. She was in heaven. “I love you.” She heard herself say.
“Do you know how long… hearing those words escape your lips. You’re beautiful, red, delicate…” He lifted her lips to his.
She sighed in response. All the tension gone and in its’ wake, they finally let themselves find their hearts desire in each other. They began to touch. They began to explore. And they became one that night, like all great loves do.
But they never made it back to the party.
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