A Different Drum

Rated NC17

Summary: Written for the 2015 Vamb Secret Santa Exchange. My request from Katthryn was wonderfully simple – A JC story of the author’s choosing – and this is it. A quiet time of contemplation and resolution for our Captain and Commander, with a little help from the Bard.

Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.

Warmest thanks to Audabee for the read through and to CF for her eagle-eyed beta.

* Denotes direct quotes from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’.

************************************

Candlelight flickers in a shadow dance across the walls of my quarters. The shapes waver and shimmy in counterpoint to the soft hum of her favourite jazz music that I have playing in the background.

I exhale a long, satisfied sigh, and set this moment deep into the stone-hewn recesses of my memory. I carry with me a castle keep’s worth of similar moments, each one etched with a profound sense of contentment.

My captain and dearest friend is seated across from me, and I take this time of quiet contemplation to study her through the steam rising from my cup of herbal tea. It’s a familiar scene; a soft-edged still-life that has been the backdrop of my existence for the best part of six years – the ubiquitous cup of coffee cradled in her elegant fingers; intelligent eyes – bright and knowing – shine with warmth from the beautiful, character-filled face that I know almost better than my own.

She relaxes back into her usual place on the sofa; the Delta Quadrant stars shining benignly through the viewport behind her. I nestle more comfortably into my lounge chair. We’ve done this a hundred times or more.

Her eyes meet mine across the distance between us, and a Mona Lisa smile softens her lips.

These are the times that make it all worthwhile. The stress, the fear, the heartache all fade into nothing, and it is just us.

Our empty plates have been abandoned as we settle into our quiet, post-dinner camaraderie. For me, it is the highlight of the evening, a tradition we’ve secretly nurtured over the years. We never speak of it, or try to analyse it, but we both cherish this peaceful respite spent in each other’s company. It gives us an opportunity to loosen the shackles of command – they can never be cast-off entirely – but we allow ourselves this small taste of normality away from the rigid personas of Captain and Commander.

The Voyager Command Team.

The lofty title rolls over like a warm blanket in my mind and, even now, after so many years, I’m still a little bemused by the notion that I am one half of this extraordinary pairing.

We have become an entity unto ourselves, two halves of the same whole – The Command Team. As utilitarian as that moniker might sound, the reality of it is far more intricate and intimate in nature.

We’re joined at the hip – in the figurative sense – although my mind instantly takes off on a tangent, envisioning us joined hip-wise in a very different manner. The unbidden carnal thought takes me by surprise, and my breath hitches. I quickly haul my thoughts back to the present when I notice that my guilty start has caught Kathryn’s attention.

She lifts a questioning eyebrow.

In answer, I smile and give a nonchalant shrug. She knows how I feel about her – I’m pretty sure that everyone does – but, what she’s not aware of, is the fierce sense of longing that I wrestle with every time I am near her. I cannot tell her; to do so would risk irreparable damage to the equilibrium we so carefully guard.

Forcing myself to veer away from the aberrant thoughts of ‘hip-joining’ with my captain, I make a concerted effort to silence the siren call of hope. I fear it will taint the essence of what we already have, and that trepidation is almost enough to keep those thoughts at bay.

The extraordinary partnership that we’ve forged during our time together has become the most profound and meaningful relationship of my life. Over the last six years, we’ve become integral to one another’s physical and emotional survival; not an unusual phenomenon under the circumstances, but there is a depth of understanding between us that goes beyond the mundane and enters the realm of the spiritual. She’s my equal as well as my opposite; light to my dark; my saviour and dearest friend; the voice of reason that cuts through the layers of uncertainty.

I am, in turn, a sounding board for her flights of fancy and genius, more often than not, her conscience, and forever her champion. We are uniquely matched, but an odd couple in so many ways – a jumble of contradictions and incongruities.  Female to male, science versus spirituality, Starfleet establishment as opposed to ancient tradition. But we’re a team, a pair, a duo – the whole greater than the sum of our parts.

It’s no secret that I cherish and respect her – most profoundly so. She’s given me back my sense of worth and dignity and, with her unconditional faith in my abilities, she’s gifted me with the capacity to come to terms with the anger and hate that ruled my life for too long.

We’ve become vital parts of each other’s lives, and the central hub of this lifelong mission to get this remarkable assortment of beings home to the Alpha quadrant.

If anyone had ever hinted that this life awaited me, or that something so extraordinary lurked in my future, I would not have believed them.  But here I am, and here I will happily stay if destiny sees fit to keep me by her side.

As she quietly sips on her second post-dinner coffee, I relax into the moment and smile. She has no idea what I’m thinking, but she returns the gesture without question – it’s effortless and comfortable, but also reviving and revitalising. She keeps me and my psyche whole and intact, and it’s my fervent hope that, in some way, I perform that same service for her. The fact that I am the first person she seeks out when she needs reassurance or encouragement tells me that, to some extent, I do.

She sighs contentedly as she drinks her coffee, and I know that she’ll help herself to a third cup before making her way back to her quarters.

As is my habit, I’ll scowl and gently admonish her. Her only reaction will be to throw a sly smile in my direction, ignore me and proceed to pour another cup. Thus, the customary ebb and flow of our lives continues.

It’s our way – and has been for most of the time we’ve been captain and first officer. I know her habits well, just as she knows mine. It’s how it is meant to be – I’m certain of it. A perfect blend of synchronicity and surprise.

The truth is, we love each other; it’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Enmeshed within that complex simplicity is something so unique that neither of us could have anticipated it, or prepared for it.

Our paths crossed in such an unexpected way that we were, at first, surprised by the uncanny sense of accord we felt; of how effortlessly we fell into each other’s orbits. It was a strange, almost otherworldly experience, but there are reasons why we melded so seamlessly, and why our devotion has grown so readily in that fertile ground of understanding.

In part, it is because of our circumstances – thrown together in the Delta Quadrant, thousands of lightyears from home. I think, however, we both would be quick to acknowledge that had those circumstances been different, we would still be drawn to one another.

Those invisible fingers that beckon one unique soul to another are delicately attuned to Kathryn and me.

The rough and sometimes jagged edges of our characters simply fit together; the broken bits of mine become the bricks and mortar that shore up her shaky foundations, and vice versa. The chips of resilience and scraps of courage, remnants of joy, and the odds and ends of audacity in each of us fill the gaps and fissures in the other. And those strangely extraneous parts of ourselves that we so often puzzled over, have suddenly found a home, each of them slotting into the empty places in the other. We are an almost perfect match. With little or no effort, we’re able to give each other exactly what is needed to maintain the emotional stamina necessary to get through each day, and cope with the trials we face on this long journey home.

As inured as we may be with our current circumstances, the treacherous trail leading up to this point has seen us stumble and fall more than once. We haven’t arrived at this time and place unscathed. Those loose fragments and brittle pieces of our inner beings are the result of the harsh times and unkind events in our earlier lives that have shaped and moulded us into the people we are today. We’ve both come by way of sorrow, suffering the losses of people we’ve loved and in turn, bearing the scars and unhealed wounds of grave sacrifice. But we’ve survived and, in that surprising habit that life has of throwing unrelated and unexpected situations across one’s path, we’ve finished up here, together, each of us a balm to the other’s soul.

Kathryn places her cup on the coffee table and tilts her head to the side, her brow knitting in question as she looks at me fondly. “You’re miles away. What’s churning through that contrary mind of yours?”

I smile and then shrug. “Nothing that I haven’t wondered at many times before.”

She grins and leans forward, elbows on her knees, her chin resting on her clasped hands. “Ahh, serendipity and providence – the philosopher’s tools of the trade.”

Again, I shrug, but my heart surges. I love when she does that – reads me so well. It adds another layer of render to that ever-growing fortress of our friendship and affection. I attempt to articulate my thoughts. “It still amazes me that we finished up here, doing what we do, with the people we have with us. It’s pretty extraordinary when you think about it.”

Eyes sparkling, her mouth curves in a wry smile, and I’m another step closer to heaven.

She nods sagely, “It’s definitely magic.”

I can feel my eyes crinkle at the corners as I respond. “Now you’re making fun of me.”

She shakes her head, but her eyes are alight with laughter. “Never, but if I took the time to look into the quantum mechanics behind it all, I’m sure I could find the answer.”

“Destiny, by any other name…”

“Bastardising the Bard, hmmph! Typical.”

She’s quick and sharp-witted, other qualities I love about her.

I sip my tea to hide my smile. “I’m sure he won’t mind. It’s for a good cause, and it suits my meanderings.”

This time she shrugs as she quotes, “‘What’s past is prologue.'”*

It’s a little enigmatic, and I try not to read too much into her words, but hope is hard to censor. “Ahh, the Tempest – very fitting.” I meet her gaze with a slightly challenging one of my own. “And food for thought. Perhaps the Caretaker was really Prospero – that would explain a lot.”

She catches on quickly. “And I’m Miranda and you, Ferdinand?”

This time there is no mistake. She’s flirting with me, and I unconsciously ease closer, placing my cup on the table next to hers. “I could believe that.” My gaze holds hers for a long moment, and I’m delighted to see a telltale blush beginning to tinge her cheeks. I quirk an eyebrow and lower my voice half an octave. “Yes, that definitely explains a lot.”

I wait for her pull back, as she usually does. It’s the essence of the game we play, a part of our relationship that we both relish. Bandying words and edging ever closer to the invisible boundaries of friendship – each of us taking turns to dip our toes into the stream of ‘what might be’, but knowing that we’re safe and can’t drown. Every so often, a surge of want pushes me closer to the brink, making it difficult to withdraw. But the parameters were set years ago and until Kathryn redefines them, I’ll abide by her wishes and refrain from stepping into deeper water; unless, of course, she takes the plunge first.

She leans further forward and, in an unexpected move, reaches for my face, cupping my cheek in her warm hand. “What would it explain, Chakotay?”

I’m stuck dumb. This isn’t the usual script we follow, and I suddenly find myself floundering and have to improvise. Trust Kathryn to change the rules of the game midstream, and without warning.

But if she’s willing to take the risk, so am I.

Not to be outdone in this undeclared game of ‘Truth or Dare?’, I too lean further forward, and covering her hand with mine, I lift it from my cheek and bring it to my mouth, kissing her palm. My lips linger for several heartbeats as I gauge her reaction, ready to withdraw if she looks unsure, but she doesn’t object or hesitate. Her pupils dilate ever so slightly as I trail my lips over her palm to her wrist, and kiss her pulse point.

The rapid beat of her heart trembles under my lips, and I watch as she takes a deep breath and moistens her lips.

My groin tightens, and again I wonder where this is leading.

Rather than retreat, she bites her lower lip before lifting her eyes to mine. Her free hand drifts upward, and, with a feather-like touch, she traces the dark blue lines of my tattoo.

Entranced, I study her face as she focuses on her task. Then I close my eyes and concentrate on the gentle touch of her fingertips and the soft in and out of her breathing. My world spirals down to this intense moment of clarity.

More of Shakespeare’s words rush through my mind. It’s as though they were written just for us, and I murmur them quietly. “‘Hear my soul speak, of the very instant that I saw you. Did my heart fly at your service.'”* I feel her fingers falter for a split second before they resume their caress.

I open my eyes. Her face is mere inches from mine, and my heart skips a beat as she answers, “‘I would not wish any companion in the world but you.'”*

Our eyes hold for a long moment before, on a breath of a sigh, we close the distance between us, and our lips meet in the gentlest of kisses.

What started as a bid to tease and parry quotes has ended with our first kiss. I don’t know why tonight of all nights the stars have aligned and we have taken this step forward, but it seems right.

No, it is perfect – and I vow never to question my good fortune.

Our lips linger on one another’s for several heartbeats before Kathryn pulls back and smiles at me. My heart expands until I swear there is no room in my chest for breath. My head is full of words, all of them tripping over one another in a jumble. I’m desperate to express how I feel – to tell her how much I love her and how much this means to me. But after I look into her eyes, I relax. She already knows, and feels it too.

My hammering heart slows to a languid thud, and in a cherished gesture from a place and time half a galaxy away, I raise my hand, palm towards her. The Bard has stood me in good stead so far, so I borrow from him once more. “‘Here is my hand.'”*

Kathryn smiles her understanding, and reaches towards me, her fingers weaving through mine. “‘And here is mine, with my heart in’t.'”*

My soul soars.

The barriers crumble and we both ease into the moment with a defining sense of relief and anticipation. But before I begin to question her motives and mine, Kathryn tugs on my hand and, with her signature forthrightness, pulls me to my feet, and leads me towards the bedroom.

We stand at the threshold for a moment. It is not indecision that holds us there, we are simply taking a moment to acknowledge this next step, in both the figurative and literal sense. I let go of her hand, drape my arm around her shoulders to pull her close, and kiss the top of her head. She looks up at me and grins. Together, we step into the room, and the door hisses shut behind us.

Delta Quadrant stars cast their silvery glow across the bed and with a decisive step, Kathryn reaches for the covers and yanks them back. She is resolute. I can see it in the set of her shoulders and the firm line of her jaw; she has made her decision, and there will be no going back. No regrets, no doubts.

God, she floors me every time.

I want to shout my joy to the universe, but instead I commit to memory her purposeful movements, and the very slight tremble of her hands.

She turns to me, and raises her brow in silent question.

I smile, take a step closer, and then whisper her name, “Kathryn.”

My hand skims up over her collar bone, until my fingers nestle into the hair at the nape of her neck, and my thumb caresses the tender skin beneath her ear. My hand looks large against that vulnerable part of her, and I wrap my other arm around her waist and pull her closer. Our bodies align – chest, belly and thighs. It’s the closest we’ve ever been to one another, although, I’ve imagined moments like this more times than I can count.

The reality of it far outshines my imaginings, and I’m instantly aroused. I grind my pelvis against her, and she huffs a laugh before slapping her hand onto my left buttock and tilting her hips to press me closer. Her voice is a low husk and although Shakespeare’s prose may have brought us this far, these words are all Kathryn’s, and they light a fire in my heart and my loins.

“Front and centre, Commander. It’s time to get naked.”

This instant of exquisitely-timed bawdiness shatters the tension, and I burst out laughing.

Ever-ready to follow her orders, I nod, “Aye, aye, Captain,” before I hoist her into my arms and toss her onto the bed.

I topple down beside her, toeing off my boots as I begin tugging at the zipper of her jacket and pulling her shirt from her uniform pants. At the same time, she’s wrestling with the clasps on my uniform; her grunts of frustration give vent to her impatience.

I can’t stop smiling.

At last, I loosen her tank enough that I can slip my hands beneath the layers of fabric to skim over the warm skin of her stomach and hips.

She sucks in a breath and stills. “It’s been such a long time since anyone has touched me like that.”

A brutal shard of reality wedges itself between us as I grapple with the heartrending truth that neither of us has been touched in this way for years. The Doctor’s impersonal holographic ministrations don’t count. My elation is muted by a deep sorrow for all that we’ve sacrificed and have risked losing along the way. How could we have allowed such a thing to happen?

Kathryn stops struggling with my pants and shifts her gaze to mine. I see a flash of annoyance darken her eyes before she lifts her hand to my face, her fingers massaging the lines on my brow in an effort to erase the frown. I smile at her sadly, but she shakes her head and scowls. “No. Don’t do that. We’ve done what we’ve had to do. No regrets, no misgivings, Chakotay. We wouldn’t be here now, in this moment, if we’d done things differently. This is our time and our place.”

My lips meet hers in a deep, dredging kiss, and, after I pull away, I nod an acceptance of her words. She’s right, of course. Things happen in their own good time. It reminds me of the designated roles we play. I smile and quip, “Hey, isn’t it my job to spout the pithy, whimsical sayings?”

“Err, sorry.” She sounds anything but, and rolls her eyes. “I’ll leave them to you in future but, just a warning, if you don’t get a move on, I’m going to grab my phaser and vaporise your uniform – with you in it.”

I stifle a laugh. “You mean that, don’t you?” My regrets fade to nothing in the face of her undaunted spirit, and the sight of her kiss-swollen lips.

A Vulcan-like quirk of her eyebrow is her only reply, and I raise my hands in surrender.

In a move that would make a Klingon Mok’bara master proud, she flips me onto my back, straddles my hips, and rips my uniform from neck to waist. Her look of triumph is a delight to behold, and, without dislodging her – God forbid – I sit up, and shrug out of my jacket and tank. Naked from the waist up, I flop back onto the bed, and watch her face as her hands investigate my chest. Her nails scrape lightly over my skin, and her palms rub my nipples.

She is rocking against me, ever so slightly, and I can feel the heat of her through the layers of our clothing. I want them gone as much as she does, and reach for the fastening on her jacket once again. This time I’m successful, and after a few well orchestrated tugs, and a flick of her bra clasp, she is also bare from the waist up.

Beautiful.

I cup her breasts, and she sighs happily. “That’s better.”

I chuckle and lean forward, taking a nipple in my mouth. I suckle, gently at first and then a little harder. She groans her approval, and I move back and forth, from one breast to the other, savouring the taste of her and her response. Her breathing deepens as shivers ripple down her spine and her skin dimples with gooseflesh.

She whimpers – it’s a sound I’ve never heard her make before, and it speaks to a primal part of my being. The urge to bury myself deep inside her and make her mine is almost overwhelming, but I curtail my caveman urges. I want this to be an experience that we’ll both treasure. It’s certainly something I’ll never forget.

She eases her breasts away from my mouth, and takes a deep breath as she grins at me and shakes her head in wonder. “Oh, my.”

I wholeheartedly agree. We’re pretty good at this, even though we’re out of practice. The concept of riding bikes skitters through my mind. But before I make myself crazy with that obscure analogy, I brush the back of my fingers over Kathryn’s erect nipples and prepare to start feasting again.

She has other ideas, apparently. Breathing fast and flushed with arousal, she slides off my lap and points at me. “Pants.”

I don’t need to be told twice, and divest myself of them and my underwear in record time – as does she. We toss them onto the ever-increasing pile of discarded uniform paraphernalia.

Kathryn places a hand in the middle of my chest and pushes me back onto the bed again, and I watch from under hooded eyelids as she inspects me from head to toe – her steady gaze lingering heatedly on my groin as her eyes slide down my body. I don’t think I’ve ever been so aroused in my life, and I’m in very real danger of losing control without her even touching me.

I swallow, and try to concentrate on the schematics of antimatter flow charts in an attempt to cool my jets – so to speak. But then her hands land on my thighs, and she begins to slide them up, up, up, and all conscious thought evaporates from my mind.

I’m in heaven and hell.

Her head starts to move lower, towards my groin, and I know what she intends to do. Oh, glory! It’s a dream come true, but in a panic, I reach down to stop her.

“Kathryn!” I gasp a warning.

She looks at me, aghast. “You don’t like …?”

“God, no, I love it.” I quickly interrupt. I don’t want any misconceptions about that. “It’s just that I’m running on borrowed time here. It’s been a while and…” I blow a harsh breath from between pursed lips, and finish in a rush, “You have no idea what you do to me.”

She glances downward, raises an eyebrow and laughs. “Oh, I think I have an inkling.”

The light-hearted teasing eases the urgency a little, and thankfully she takes pity on me, clambers onto the bed again, and straddles my thighs to kneel above me.

Her eyes meet mine, and she reaches for my hand, placing it between her thighs, over the wet heat of her arousal. “You do the same to me.”

It’s the last straw. Her earthy sensuality demolishes the last vestiges of my control. My arms wrap around her, and I tumble her beneath me “For God’s sake, Kathryn – you’re going to kill me.”

I kiss her neck, her breasts, her belly, my hands skim and skate over her soft skin and rounded flesh, I can’t get enough of her. Her scent, so familiar but now enhanced with a mixture of her arousal and mine, is a heady brew.

I move further down her body and nuzzle her mound as my fingers stroke through the dampness within, and she gasps a husky, “Oh God.”

My lips curve in a smile against her and she jolts. “I can feel that.”

I taste her, and then blow gently across her sex, and answer with a gusty, “Good.”

Next thing I know, her fingers are tangled in my hair and she’s tugging me up her body, muttering accusingly, “Too much.”

I know exactly what she means, and mentally punch the air with glee. I’m pleased to know that I affect her as much as she does me. I nip and lick my way to her mouth, and then kiss her deeply.

Cradled between her thighs, her body open and welcoming, I press against her and ease my way inside. She’s tight, and I fight the urge to plunge deep. Both of us are teetering on the edge – I’m gritting my teeth, and Kathryn is grimacing. I feel the flutter of her inner muscles, and hold still a moment. I don’t want to hurt her – it’s been a long time for her as well – but she pivots her hips towards me and her hands grip my buttocks to pull me deeper. I guess that she’s not in that much pain after all.

I thrust hard, and then pull back, plunging again and again in a ever increasing rhythm.

Her body writhes beneath mine, meeting my downward thrusts with jagged upthrusts timed in perfect counterpoint. Our mouths grind together, tongues and teeth and lips – wet, warm and needy. It’s not pretty. It’s exhilarating, messy and real. I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better suited to us both.

My world narrows to the feel and sound of our lovemaking, and to the places where she touches me – her thigh grazing my hip, her fingernails gripping my shoulder, her hot breath against my neck.

I’m besieged by emotions – not all of them benevolent or gentle. My love is a fierce thing, and now that I have her, I’m tempted to brand her as mine, and guard her even more jealously than before. She must never know – her spirit of independence would rail against being held too close. I have a feeling that I’ve just made my life more difficult, but I will never go back, never give her up.

Kathryn is keening in my ear, her movements erratic, as I feel the telltale grip of her inner muscles. With a cry, she arches beneath me, her fingernails biting into my sides, and her legs clamping me to her. She’s as fiercely passionate as I am.

I wait, still as stone for several heartbeats, and watch her as she climaxes. Her neck arched, her face caught in a rictus of pleasured pain. She’s beautiful beyond words.

I can’t hold off any longer, and, with a growl, I plunge deep. Once, twice and then I feel the heat scorch along my veins to my groin. I empty myself into her, shuddering and jolting with the intensity of my orgasm, and then collapse, completely sated – for now.

It occurs to me that I might be crushing her, but not wanting to part from her just yet, I roll to the side, taking her with me. I sweep her hair back from her face and wait for her eyes to open. I need to see them – to see the truth in them.

Her face softens into a beatific smile, and she opens her eyes.

Everything is there. She’s hiding nothing from me, and my heart lurches in my chest. I adore this woman.

I’m overcome by emotion. She is too, but I have no idea what to say or how to put into words how I feel.

She does, and, glinting with mischief, her gaze meets mine. She leans forward, kisses me deeply, then smiles, “Outstanding work, Commander. Excellent attention to detail. I’ll be popping a commendation in your file, forthwith.”

Her irreverence is perfectly timed, and I laugh out loud. “The pleasure was all mine, Captain.”

Her heated gaze lands on my lips. “Oh, nooo it wasn’t.” She kisses me again, and when she pulls back, her fingers trace the outline of my mouth. I kiss her fingertips.

She stills, and her eyes meet mine as she whispers, “I love you.”

I hadn’t expected that, although I knew. She would never have taken this step if she didn’t love me. But hearing the words from her lips hits me like a kick to the chest.

My voice is rough with emotion. “I love you, too.”

This has been a day of revelations and, in a sense, I’m overwhelmed, but also breathtakingly relieved. I’ve dreamed of this for so long now that it seems almost unreal. I wonder if she feels it, too. I move to meet her gaze, and I slip from her body.

Her lips purse in a moue of annoyance; I feel the loss too. I know how to remedy the situation, but I’m not quite as young as I used to be, and need a few minutes to regroup. She snuggles into my arms, her head tucked against my shoulder, her hand resting protectively over my heart.

I kiss the top of her head, and sigh contentedly. “Do we have to go to work tomorrow?”

“Hmmm, I’m afraid so, unless you can finagle a day off from your tyrant of a Captain. I hear she’s a hard taskmaster, so I don’t like your chances.”

I skim my hand down her side, and press my fingers gently into the soft flesh of her buttock. “Not so hard. Actually, she’s lusciously soft in some spots.”

Kathryn huffs good naturedly. “If she has to go to work, so do you.” Rolling over onto her front, she layers her hands on my chest and rests her chin on them as she looks me in the eyes. “She would miss you if you weren’t there. She’s become used to having you there beside her.”

“It’s where I love to be.”

She nods decisively, and flops onto her back again, head on my shoulder, and then reaches around to tug my arm about her and clasps my hand in both of hers. She’s always been a ‘toucher’, and it hasn’t occurred to me until tonight that she probably loves to be touched, as well. Unfortunately, her position as Captain precludes any reciprocal gestures from those under her command – which includes everyone on board. I pull her close, determined to remedy that situation when privacy and circumstances allow.

As I’m making plans, her questing hands are making exploratory forays under the sheets. I’m rallying well, even if I do say so myself, and Kathryn looks up at me and smiles.

“Not bad. Not bad, at all.”

The Bard revisits, and I can’t help myself. “‘The mistress which I serve, quickens what’s dead and makes my labours pleasure.'”*

She snorts a laugh, her hand still working its magic, but then she frowns. “I can’t think of a quote that quite fits this situation.”

Neither can I, in fact, my brain is shutting down completely, and I mutter the first thing that comes into my head. “No fitting required. Always willing and ready to be of service, ma’am.”

She crinkles her nose. “Ewww. That sounds a little too much like a Starfleet reg.” She jabs her elbow into my ribs. “And you know how I feel about being called, ‘ma’am’.”

“This isn’t crunch time?” I ask.

I know there’s a withering retort heading my way, so before she can launch it, I grab her and roll her under me.

She laughs. “On second thought, I am feeling a bit crunched.”

I nuzzle her neck and breasts, and enter her in one fluid slide. We both gasp at the sensation.

God, I’ll never get enough of her.

I look down at her, and we both still. She clasps my face between her hands, and her eyes hold mine in a penetrating gaze. The banter is something that will always be a large part of our relationship, but she is deadly serious now.

Our faces are inches from each other, our gazes locked, and I can feel the warmth of her breath as she presses,

“This isn’t going to be easy – nothing worth having ever is – but I’m going to fight for us, Chakotay. Are you with me?”

She’s right, of course, but I know that together we will prevail.

I answer, as I have done so many times before. “Always, Kathryn. Always.”

She heaves a deep satisfied breath and exhales on a sigh. “Carry on, Commander.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

And I do.

 

fin.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Different Drum

  1. Susan Carnahan

    One of your most beautiful stories. I love how you have them come together, both with gentleness and intensity. Exquisite. I re-read your stories frequently, but have been remiss in leaving comments and complimenets.

    SusanC

    Reply

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