A Memorable Mutiny

Summary: An Worse Case Scenario episode addition. Starfleet’s fraternisation policy gets an overhaul thanks to Insurrection Alpha. This is a birthday story for char. Happy Birthday my friend. I hope it’s a good one. Hugs.

Thank you to audabee, Corinna and splv for the read throughs and Mary S for the wonderful beta.

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Chakotay’s door swished open and he spun towards it, almost spilling his tea. In astonished silence, he watched as Kathryn marched in without breaking stride and pointed at him accusingly. “You kissed her!”

 

It was late and he’d been sitting quietly, reading. The last thing he’d expected was his captain to come barging into his quarters and accuse him of … “What? I beg your pardon?”

 

Kathryn planted her hands on her hips and stood in front of him, scowling. “You kissed her. I can’t believe it.”

 

He had no idea what she was talking about. “I kissed someone? Who?”

 

“Why, Seska of course.”

 

Looking at her closely, he tried to gauge whether or not she was joking. “Kathryn, that was years ago and in case you’ve forgotten, she’s dead.”

 

Kathryn shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I know that, but I just saw you. You shot me and then you kissed her. You … you… turncoat.”

 

His hand hovered over his combadge ready to summon the Doctor and order a beam-out to sickbay, when it dawned on him what she was talking about. “You’ve just played Insurrection Alpha, haven’t you?”

 

Kathryn stared at him as if he were mad. “Yes, of course. What did you think I was talking about?”

 

Placing his book on the coffee table, Chakotay stood up and moved across the room as he spoke. “Well, to be honest, for a moment there I had no idea. I thought you’d finally gone space happy.”

 

A guilty smile hovered on her lips and she muttered a contrite “Yes, well…sorry, I suppose I didn’t explain myself terribly well.” Then she frowned again. “But I still can’t believe that you shot me and kissed her.”

 

He was over by the replicator now and gestured towards it.

 

Kathryn nodded distractedly.

 

“Kathryn, you didn’t explain yourself at all. Besides, when I played it, I didn’t get the chance to kiss Seska. You shot us both. Without a word of warning, I might add.”

 

“No more than you deserved, you traitor.”

 

“Hey, steady on with the name calling. It’s not really me and I can assure you that the whole mutiny thing was a figment of Tuvok’s vivid imagination. It never entered my head to take over the ship. In fact, at the time, I threatened to throw a couple of Maquis crewmen in the brig for even suggesting it.” He picked up their drinks and handed Kathryn hers with a smile, then mused. “So I get to kiss Seska, do I? I might have to run that particular scenario.”

 

“You’re kidding!?” Kathryn almost choked on her coffee.

 

“Why not? It sounds like fun.” He leaned in a little closer to her. “And at least I get to kiss someone.”

 

Kathryn drifted imperceptibly closer but then caught herself, averting her gaze, and moved a step or two away from him. She feigned interest in something on his bookshelf.

 

Chakotay followed her and straightened a couple of books on the shelf close to where her hand was resting. He smiled as she met his eyes before she slowly dragged her hand away. At her look, that all too familiar stab of arousal shot to his groin and he taunted. “I don’t understand why it would bother you anyway.”

 

“Of course it bothers me. You’re mi… you’re umm… my first officer. You shouldn’t be kissing anyone.”

 

“Anyone but…?” He hadn’t missed her slip and pressed the point, hoping beyond hope that she’d say something that would allow him to step over that clearly defined line.

 

“Anyone under your command. You know the rules.”

 

Stifling a groan, he stepped away from her and huffed derisively. “Yes, I know the rules. Intimately.”

 

Kathryn reeled them off anyway, just as a reminder. “Fraternization is not permitted if it is likely to compromise the command structure, or if either party feels coerced or threatened. An officer of higher rank is prohibited from initiating a relationship with either officers or enlisted personnel of lower rank. A relationship between….”

 

“Kathryn I know what the regulations are. You don’t have to repeat them for the millionth time.” It took all his self control to not snap at her. Talk about pouring salt on the wound. Was she really that oblivious to how he felt about her, and how her constant reminders about protocol injured him? Obviously she was or she wouldn’t keep doing it. He took a steadying breath. “Anyhow, I don’t see what the problem is. It’s only a hologram of me in a holographic simulation. Surely you can’t hold me responsible?”

 

With a frown creasing her forehead, she shook her head. He wasn’t listening, he never did, but there was nothing she could do about it. Over the years she’d spelled it out to him countless times, but he failed to see the thinly veiled message. Her shoulders slumped. “It’s all right, Chakotay. I was only teasing. I don’t really hold you responsible. It was just a little unnerving seeing Seska again. I wasn’t expecting it and you have to admit, she caused more than her fair share of problems for both the ship and you.”

 

“Yes, but that was a long time ago and I honestly haven’t thought about her in years.” While he was talking, he guided Kathryn over to the couch where they sat in companionable silence and sipped their drinks.

 

After a few minutes, Kathryn placed her empty cup on the table and made a move to leave.

 

He didn’t want her to go yet and turned to her. “Did you enjoy the rest of the program? I had a lot of fun when I played it and I’ve only heard good things from everyone who’s tried it.”

 

Kathryn smiled. “Yes, I did and, if nothing else, we’ve discovered that Tuvok has a flair for the dramatic. Did you know that he and Tom have decided to collaborate and finish the story? So now we’ll get to see Captain Janeway outwit the conspirators.”

 

“Ha! You think? You might be in for a surprise. The canny and irresistible Maquis rebel might overpower you and win.”

 

Kathryn snorted. “Yeah, sure. In your dreams.” But her heart did this strange flip flop and there was a very pleasant twinge low in her belly at the thought of being overpowered by Chakotay. She covered her errant thoughts by smiling benignly but their eyes locked and the air between them became thick with expectation. After several heartbeats, Chakotay dragged his gaze away and placed his empty cup on the table next to hers.

 

Kathryn’s shoulders slumped. He was pulling back again. This was her cue to leave. “Well, I suppose I’d better call it a night.” Standing, she gave Chakotay a warm but slightly sad smile. “Good night. See you on the bridge.”

 

He stood and walked her to the door. “Good night, Kathryn. Sleep well.”

 

“I’ll try, but it’s not going to be easy. I’ve still got Seska and that kiss on my mind.”

 

Chakotay huffed a laugh. “I’m sure you’ll manage.”

 

As she stepped through the door, she turned and looked at him strangely. “Don’t be so sure.”

 

The doors hissed shut between them and he didn’t have a chance to respond.

 

With a frown he walked slowly to his chair and picked up his book.

 

He tried to read but couldn’t concentrate. Kathryn’s visit had unnerved him; lowering the book to his lap, he stared off into the distance, his mind churning with thoughts of her stubborn refusal to break with protocol. On nights like tonight, with the heated looks and teasing banter, their connection was clearly evident and a relationship seemed so feasible. All it would take was a tiny tip in the right direction and they would be there. It seemed like they teetered on the brink so often but neither one of them was willing to take the plunge. He was in no doubt about his feelings and he was pretty sure he knew how she felt too, but her rigid adherence to the regulations meant that nothing could ever come of it. Tossing his book angrily onto the table, he stood up and strode over to the replicator to order another tea.

 

Irritation surged within him. What was it with her annoying habit of reciting those damned regulations every time she got the chance? It was like some sort of torture. She needn’t bother, he could recite them in his sleep, he’d certainly heard them often enough. They echoed through his mind now in a kind of taunting sing-song. ‘Fraternization is not permitted if it compromises the command structure. No officer of higher rank is permitted to initiate a relationship with an officer of lower rank. Relationships between those of equal rank are ….’

 

He jagged to a standstill. It was like a small explosion in his brain. He even stopped breathing as the words seared like lightning through his mind.

 

‘No officer of higher rank is permitted to initiate a relationship with an officer of lower rank. No higher rank….with a lower rank… but there was no mention of it being against regulations for someone of lower rank to initiate a relationship with someone of a higher rank.’

 

Chakotay took a great gasping breath and bolted towards his computer.

 

“Computer, download Starfleet’s Fraternization policy.”

 

The console came to life and a page-long screed of itemised rules appeared. Chakotay sat down and scoured the list, his heart galloping a mile a minute.

 

It was as he suspected. There was no regulation that stated that an officer or an enlistee couldn’t approach someone of higher rank. Chakotay could feel the burn in his cheeks as excitement started to well inside him. He tried to tamp it down and consulted the computer again, just to be sure. “Computer, is there any regulation or subsection that prohibits officers or enlisted personnel from initiating a relationship with an officer of higher rank?”

 

The tinny voice spoke magic into the night air. “If both parties are willing and there is no evidence of coercion, there exists no stated regulations that prohibit fraternisation, initiated by lower ranked officers or enlisted personnel, with those officers or enlisted personnel of higher rank. Mandatory protocols in regard to relationships are enforceable and commanding officers have discretionary power if it is considered that the relationship is harmful to those involved or to the safe running of a vessel. In subsection fourteen a commanding officer may… ”

 

“Computer end.”

 

His heart felt like it was going to burst from his chest but then it shrivelled a little and he slammed his hand against the desktop and swore. “Shit!” Why hadn’t she told him? All these years…!

 

And then he realised that she had told him. Many times. That was what she’d been trying to do every time she’d reeled off those damned regulations. Like a fool, he’d been so caught up in his misery that he’d been blinded to what was right in front of him. This was their ‘out’, their loophole, but he’d been too stupid to see it. His shoulders sagged. All this time wasted. He turned towards the door and took a deep breath. They may have frittered away the years up until this point, but he’d be damned if he was going to waste a moment more.

 

Without another thought, Chakotay bolted out of his quarters and ran up the corridor to her door. He tapped in the override code and strode through the open doors. Kathryn was standing over by the view port, cradling a cup of coffee in her hands. Her head snapped around as he entered.

 

He started towards her and then stopped. “You’ve been trying to tell me for years, haven’t you?”

 

Without moving, she nodded slowly.

 

“Why didn’t you just say something?” He took a few more steps towards her. “All this time….”

 

She turned to face him. “I have been saying something for years, Chakotay. You just weren’t listening. I couldn’t be any clearer without breaking regulations. I just had to hope that you’d figure it out one day.” Walking towards him, she spoke in a gruff whisper. “You have, haven’t you?”

 

He nodded with a smile. “Yes, I finally figured it out.”

 

Without taking her eyes from his, she placed her cup on the table and glided towards him, but he held up his hand. “If we’re going to do this, we’d best do it by the book.”

 

She stopped and grinned at him, waiting.

 

Coming to attention, he stood in front of her, his eyes looking into the distance over her left shoulder “Captain, with your permission, and if you are willing,” His eyes met hers, “I wish to initiate a relationship with you.”

 

Kathryn nodded, her face serious. “Permission granted.” He let out a breath and within a heart beat she bolted into action.

 

Smiling happily she virtually flew the last few steps towards him. “Thank God. It’s about time.” There was no hesitation in her approach and she leapt into his embrace, throwing her arms around him and holding him tight.

 

Chakotay wrapped his arms around her and laughed.

 

Kathryn looked up at him and cupped the side of his face. “What’s so funny?”

 

Laying his hand over hers where it rested on his cheek, he pulled it to his lips and kissed her palm. Then holding her hand against his chest, he shook his head. “Nothing. Everything. I can’t believe this is finally happening. I honestly thought I’d have to wait sixty years to have you.”

 

Kathryn gave him a look. “You’ve wanted to ‘have me’?” She tilted her head to the side and quirked an eyebrow. He thought for one horrifying moment that he’d offended her, but then she grinned. “You sweet talker, you.” Her eyes sparkled. “How does sixty seconds sound?”

 

His eyebrows shot towards his hairline. He should have realised that she wouldn’t waste any time. Once Kathryn Janeway made up her mind about something….

 

Still looking up at him, her mouth twisted into a wry grin. “I’ve shocked you haven’t I?” Pulling back a little, she began to unzip his jacket, not the least bit contrite, and continued talking. “Chakotay, we’ve been best friends for years, I’ve loved you almost from the moment I met you and I’m pretty sure you love me. I don’t need to be romanced, in fact, I’d really just like to get naked with you, right now.”

 

Visions of them together, naked, writhing in each other’s arms, filled his mind and Chakotay became instantly aroused. Spirits, she was something else. He was deliriously happy but somewhat in shock. This was happening so fast and so unexpectedly. Not that he was about to argue. This was more than he ever could have dreamed.

 

He looked down at her as she methodically began removing his clothes but she wasn’t as detached as she appeared. Her hands were trembling and she was breathing rapidly through parted lips.

 

Almost in pain from his arousal, he groaned as Kathryn pressed her lower body into his and slid her hands under his tee.

 

As she laid her head on his chest, his heart thudded fast but reassuringly under her cheek and she took a deep, deep breath of him.

 

His hands wove into her hair as he closed his eyes and whispered. “I love you.”

 

Kathryn smiled against him and, standing on tiptoes, brushed her lips against his neck and whispered in his ear. “I know. I love you too.” She caught his ear lobe between her teeth and nipped gently. Her breathy whisper sent shivers down his spine. “You’ve got about thirty seconds at my count. I’d get a move on if I were you.”

 

Chakotay barked out a laugh and hoisted her into the air.

 

She threw her legs around his hips and looked over her shoulder towards the bed. “Five metres in fifteen seconds? Think you can do it?”

 

“Just watch me.” He grinned and in five long strides he was beside her bed.

 

Her legs slid slowly to the floor, but she kept their lower bodies pressed together. Chakotay could feel the heat of her even through their layers of clothing.

 

Kathryn started to countdown. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six… mmmph.” His mouth landed on hers in a grinding kiss, as he pulled down the zipper of her jacket and slid it over her shoulders in one swift movement. Before her internal countdown had hit zero, his hands were under her tee, cupping her breasts and pinching her nipples. Warmth suffused her body and she groaned into his mouth. His hands were hot on her breasts and shards of pleasure pulsed through her body at his touch, stabbing straight to her clitoris. Her hips rocked against him as he thrust against her and she could feel her inner muscles already pulsing with want.

 

Chakotay dragged his mouth away and panted into her face. “I need to see you.”

 

“Oh God, me too. Hurry.” She stepped out of his arms and began frantically pulling off her uniform.

 

It took Chakotay a heartbeat to grasp what she’d said and then he jolted into action, reefing his tee over his head and toeing off his boots as he pushed his pants down over his hips. He’d had fantasies of peeling her clothes slowly from her body, exposing her inch by glorious inch, but that would have to wait for another time. Expedience was the order of the day and as he watched her naked form come into view, he had no complaints about her methods.

 

Within moments they were both standing naked in front of one another. They stilled and stared – their laboured breathing the only sound in the room as their eyes roamed each other’s body.

 

Kathryn lifted her hand slowly and laid it on his chest. It was a gesture endearingly familiar to both of them, but the sight of her pale hand against his golden skin sent a quiver through her. His skin was softer than she thought it would be, yet warm and familiar. She’d fantasised about making love to him so many times that, in a strange way, this didn’t feel like their first time. Looking up into his eyes, she smiled. “You feel good.”

 

Chakotay nodded, but his heart was thundering and he could barely hear her over the sound. He watched as her hand drifted lightly over his skin and then closed his eyes.

 

Kathryn’s finger traced around each of his nipples and feathered down his front, her nail scraping from his navel, over the thin trail of dark hair to the base of his penis. He was fully erect and she touched the head with her finger then continued dragging the back of her fingernail down the shaft.

 

He shivered with the effort of maintaining control, his erection darkly engorged with need. She looked up at him again. “You’re beautiful.”

 

Chakotay opened his eyes and looked down, shaking his head at the sight of her elegant hand stroking him. It was almost too much and he averted his gaze, his eyes sweeping up from her thighs to her mound, over her slightly rounded belly to her narrow waist, her breasts and then to her eyes. Holding her gaze he muttered in a husky whisper. “No, you’re beautiful.”

 

Kathryn blinked and smiled. “I’m glad you think so.” She looked over her shoulder at the bed. “I think that we should lie down, before we fall down?” She tugged his hand and they toppled onto the bed.

 

Chakotay was trying to think of a witty reply, but his mind had gone blank, so instead he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. It took care of his inability to speak and also meant that he could lie over her, pulling her small body flush against his. It was something he’d dreamed about for years and he marvelled at how well they fit together. He didn’t want to let her go. Ever.

 

Long delicate fingers wound themselves into his hair and she dragged his face towards hers. Her hot breath whispered across his lips as she husked the words that were now succour for his soul. “I love you.”

 

And that was it. Something surged inside him. It was a need so strong, so powerful that he trembled with the effort to contain it. He wanted her. He wanted her desperately. To be in her, over her, surrounding her – to bury himself deep in her warmth and sweetness and never leave. If it were possible, he would have devoured her. Savouring every last morsel until they were one being.

 

Her scent left him reeling and he pulsed with the need to taste her – her skin, her mouth, her essence. Rearing up over her, he was almost overcome by the urgency to take her. Hard and fast. But with great effort, he controlled himself ; taking a deep shuddering breath, he began his longed for and long overdue exploration of Kathryn.

 

Her neck and shoulders were where his foray began, and he nipped and kissed the all the tantalising nooks and crannies, his tongue lapping and his teeth scraping gently at the sensitive skin. Slowly he worked his way down her front, his hands and fingers kneading and stroking her with his lips eagerly following their path. He licked and suckled at her breasts, teasing her nipples and marvelling at the moans and sighs his ministrations evoked.

 

Kathryn caressed his shoulders, his back, his head – anywhere that she could reach – and urged him on as he moved down her body.

 

His tongue licked at her fragrant skin, dipping into her navel and then lapping his way over her belly. He rubbed his unshaven cheek against her, sliding his lips over the warm quivering flesh. The sensitive hollows of her hips were treated to broad strokes of his tongue as she thrust towards him and whimpered. But her cries, as his nose nuzzled her curls, spoke to something primal within him and a growl rumbled from deep inside him.

 

Kathryn spread her legs wide, welcoming him, encouraging him to touch her, to take her. Her fingernails dug into his scalp, tugging him closer and, as he parted her folds, tasting her for the first time, his senses reeled. He feasted for long minutes as Kathryn writhed and thrust against his mouth.

 

Tugging at his hair, she pulled him away from her, gasping. “Too much.”

 

With his mind almost on overload, Chakotay slid up her body again, kissing and fondling her as he moved towards her mouth. Strong thighs wrapped around his hips as his lips met hers in a hungry kiss. With their sexes meshed together and his rigid length nestled in her slick folds, they rocked gently against one another. The feelings were almost too exquisite, too sweet, too long desired.

 

Kathryn’s fingers pressed into the firm muscles of his buttocks, urging him on as she ground and pressed against him. The friction increased and the heat throbbed until she whispered hotly in his ear. “Now.”

 

All it took was a slight tilt of his hips and he slid into her. The soft silk of her inner walls gripped him, holding him tight inside her. He was home.

 

They stilled.

 

Breathing in short ragged gasps, Kathryn placed her hands on either side of his face and pushed his head away from her so she could see him. Her gaze locked with his and completed their connection. They were joined now, body and soul. Beginning a slow rocking motion that crescendoed steadily to a pounding rhythm of need, they thrust against one another, grunting and keening with the effort, their eyes locked in a heated gaze.

 

He could feel her orgasm approaching as she began muttering under her breath. “I love you, I love you. Oh God.” The flutter of her inner muscles became a steady pulse that gripped and squeezed him. With a cry, she arched, her eyes closing as she spasmed around him. It was too much. Chakotay’s rhythm faltered and with a howl, he thrust one last time, emptying himself into her.

 

He collapsed onto her, totally spent, feeling her climax gentle to the occasional shudder and soft spasm as he moved slowly inside her. Both were breathing heavily, their bodies sticky with sweat.

 

Kathryn’s hands were still roaming over his back and she was cooing softly to herself.

 

Chakotay lifted himself away from her and leant on one elbow, gently stroking his fingers through her hair, sweeping it from her damp forehead and tucking it behind her ears. He kissed her softly.

 

Kathryn lifted her hand and stroked over his cheek with the back of her fingers, then over his lips with her fingertips. She smiled. “Hmmm, I think our fraternizing is off to an excellent start.”

 

Chakotay grinned and kissed her again. “I think Starfleet would be pleased.”

 

“And impressed.”

 

“No doubt.”

 

They both grinned at one another.

 

Sliding from her, he rolled to the side, pulling her against him so her head rested on his shoulder. His fingers toyed with her hair and he studied the ceiling as the thoughts churned in his mind. Turning to Kathryn, he shook his head slightly. “I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out. All those years I thought you were oblivious to how I felt, and then reeling off those damned regulations at every turn. You should have hit me.”

 

“Don’t worry, I thought about it… more than once.” Kathryn smiled and snuggled in closer. “I was getting desperate but I couldn’t say anything more without it appearing that you were coerced, and if we want this to be on the up and up with Starfleet, you had to approach me of your own volition.”

 

“Volition… you have no idea, woman.” Chakotay’s other hand began fondling her breast, rolling the nipple between his fingers and he watched with delight as it puckered and hardened. “I’ve dreamt of this so many times. If I’d known, I’d have tackled you in the ready room that very first day. Torn those pins from your hair and taken you over your desk, without question.”

 

Kathryn draped her leg over his thighs and pressed herself against his hip. “Now there’s an idea. But I don’t think we can use the real ready room.” She began to rock against him.

 

He looked at her sideways, smiled slyly and then spoke to the computer. “Computer, are any of the holodecks free at the moment?”

 

“Holodeck one is unoccupied until 0100.”

 

“Now that’s executive thinking.” Kathryn craned her neck and checked the chronometer. “That gives us just over two hours. Computer, reserve holodeck one for Captain Janeway from now until 0100.”

 

“Affirmative. Holodeck one is reserved for Captain Janeway.”

 

Kathryn kissed Chakotay quickly on the lips and then leapt out of bed. “Come on, we’ve got some ‘insurrecting’ of our own to do. First the ready room and then …” Kathryn looked at him expectantly. “Where have you fantasised about making love?” He opened his mouth but hesitated. Kathryn interrupted him. “Oh, and don’t tell me that you haven’t fantasised about getting down and dirty somewhere on the ship. I know you better than that.”

 

Chakotay’s eyebrows shot up his forehead. “Kathryn Janeway! Down and dirty?”

 

Kathryn was standing naked by the side of the bed, and placed her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Are you going to make me feel like a demented pervert now, because if you are…”

 

He vaulted forward, grabbed her around the waist and hauled her back into bed. Lying over her, cradled between her thighs, he whispered hotly into her ear. “I’ve dreamed of making love to you, my demented pervert, everywhere on this ship. I don’t think there’s a place where I haven’t imagined it.”

 

Kathryn pushed his shoulders off her. “Well then, what are you waiting for? We can take turns. First, one of your fantasies and then, one of mine.”

 

Chakotay grinned. “Voyager is a big ship. It could take a while.”

 

“Perfect, and when we’ve finished with Voyager, there are several dozen other Starfleet vessels that we could use. This could very well take a lifetime.”

 

“I hope so.”

 

Kathryn kissed him hard, her tongue scouring his lips and mouth, and then she slid from the bed again. “I’m having a quick shower, I’d ask you to join me, but we’d never get anywhere.”

 

Stunned from the kiss, Chakotay shook his head and grinned. “What if I promise not to touch?”

 

Kathryn gave him a sideways glance. “It’s not you I’m worried about. I’m the one who wouldn’t be able to keep my hands to myself.”

 

Chakotay laughed out loud and watched, enchanted, as she sashayed into the bathroom, throwing him a wicked grin over her shoulder just as the doors slid shut.

 

He flopped back onto the bed and grinned at the ceiling. He wanted to shout for joy, to leap off the bed and tear through the corridors of Voyager telling everyone that they were together at last. Kathryn loved him. Spirits, it was almost too much to believe. She loved him and had for years. His heart felt like it was going to burst. It was a damn fine feeling.

 

True to her word, it was a quick shower and after only a few minutes, the bathroom door swished open. Wrapped in a towel, she stood over the bed. “Come on, Commander. We’ve got places to be.”

 

“Aye, aye, Captain.” He climbed from the bed and raced into the shower.

 

Moments later, he returned to bedroom and looked on as Kathryn dressed. Smiling, she moved over to the mirror and ran a comb through her hair and tidied her make up. Chakotay watched, enthralled.

 

Kathryn caught his eye in the mirror’s reflection. “What?”

 

He smiled and walked up behind her, wrapping his arms loosely around her shoulders and nuzzling her neck. “I love making love to you, I love everything about you, but watching you do these simple things, like getting dressed and combing your hair makes it all seem so real and so… intimate.” He straightened one of her pips. “This is what I’ve dreamed about.”

 

She quirked an eyebrow. “What? Me in uniform and you naked? I like the way you think, Commander.”

 

Chakotay laughed and, after kissing her cheek, stepped away to find his clothes. “You’re going to be trouble, aren’t you?”

 

“And this is news to you?” Grinning broadly, Kathryn spun around and leant back against the dressing table to watch him dress. He was right. There was something so ‘everyday’ about doing these things together. It made the whole thing so endearingly normal in a situation where normal was often the exception rather than the rule. This she could get very used to.

 

With her head cocked to the side, Kathryn contemplated him as he sat down on the end of the bed to put on his socks and shoes. The words were out of her mouth before she even thought about them. “Will you move in here with me?”

 

Sleeping together every night and waking up in his arms each morning was something that she dearly wanted. Cooking, cleaning, laughing and crying, and all the other minutiae of life had taken on a different tone all of a sudden and she didn’t want it to end. “I can’t bear the thought of you going back to your quarters each night. If we’re going to do this, I want do it properly. In for a penny… as Aunt Martha used to say.”

 

He was studying her from where he sat on the end of the bed. “Right now?”

 

Kathryn nodded.

 

His answer was swift. “Yes.”

 

Kathryn heaved a sigh and rocked to her feet, taking a step towards him. “Good. We’ll pick up your uniform, and whatever else you need for the morning, on our way back from the holodeck and then we’ll move the rest of your things in here over the next few days.”

 

His mouth twisted into a knowing smile as he nodded slowly.

 

Kathryn frowned. “You’re not going to try to wheedle your way out of this, are you? If we do this, we do it together and for the long haul.”

 

“That’s all I’ve ever wanted. But Kathryn, have you considered the crew? What are they going to think if I move into your quarters?”

 

“Do you care what they think?”

 

“I’d like to say no, to hell with what they think, but I do care, more than I want to, to be honest. Their opinions matter because they’re our friends and family. I thought you cared, too.”

 

“Oh, I care, very much, but I think you’ll be surprised. I worried about it for years, but then realised that they’ll accept the change, as they’ve accepted all the other changes that we’ve had to make in our time out here. And it’s not like we don’t spend most of our time together anyway. It won’t be that much of a difference. It’s just geography.”

 

“Kathryn Janeway, you never cease to amaze me.”

 

“I hope I never do.” She stepped forward and zipped up his jacket, sweeping his hair back from his forehead, she then kissed him sweetly. “Ready?”

 

“Always.”

 

With a smile Kathryn tucked her arm into his and they strode out of ‘their’ quarters to make their way to the holodeck.

 

It was late, but there were still crew wandering the halls. Kathryn and Chakotay nodded to those whom they passed and no one seemed the least bit concerned that the Captain and First Officer were walking the halls of Voyager, arm in arm. It was reassuring.

 

They arrived at the holodeck just as Tom and Harry were exiting, both wearing their Captain Proton costumes.

 

Harry was talking animatedly about something called the Cradle of Persuasion and the Pit of Doom. Kathryn and Chakotay looked at one another and tried not to laugh.

 

The two young men looked up and smiled. Tom slid his ray gun into its holster as he approached. “Captain, Commander, are you here to play Insurrection Alpha? Tuvok and I should have it finished soon; we’ve finally come to a compromise about the Dictates of Poetics.”

 

Kathryn smiled. “I’m glad to hear it, but no, we have something else planned that we’ve been saving up for some time.”

 

Harry nodded enthusiastically. “If you enjoy it, let us know. We might want to try it. We’re always looking for new programs.”

 

Kathryn could feel Chakotay tense beside her and she had to use all her self control not to collapse in a hysterical heap. “I’ll let you know, Harry. But I have a feeling that it might not be your cup of tea.”

 

Tom shrugged. “Well, enjoy it anyway.”

 

“Oh, we intend to. Goodnight.”

 

“Good night. Captain.”

 

“’Night, Chakotay.”

 

Kathryn and Chakotay watched as Tom and Harry strolled off down the corridor, talking again about their Captain Proton program. Once they were out of earshot, Kathryn turned to Chakotay and, with one look at his face, burst out laughing.

 

Chakotay looked a little pale. “You’re a nightmare, did you know that?”

 

“Well, I wasn’t about to share. What else could I say?”

 

He shook his head. “I have a feeling that my life has just taken a drastic course change. Are you sure I’m going to survive this?”

 

Kathryn grinned. “You’d better… and you’re going to love every minute of it. That’s an order.”

 

Chakotay returned Kathryn’s grin and stroked his hand down her back. “Yes, Ma’am.”

 

She shivered, turning quickly to the control panel. “Computer, load Voyager Bridge simulation.” Kathryn took his hand as the doors opened and pulled him through into an exact replica of their bridge. The doors slid shut behind them. “Computer, lock doors and mask our biosigns. Authorisation Janeway 841-alpha-65.”

 

Chakotay nodded his approval.

 

They were standing on the upper deck next to the tactical station. It was identical to the real bridge except that it looked newer – less battle scarred and shop worn.

Kathryn surveyed her domain and slipped her hand from his. “I think I’ve changed my mind.”

 

“What!?” Chakotay gave a strangled yelp.

 

Kathryn turned to him, puzzled for a moment at the shocked look on his face. Then it dawned on her. “Oh, no! Not about us. Oh, God, no. Never us. I was thinking of something completely frivolous. I’ve changed my mind about the ready room. I want to make love in my command chair.”

 

Chakotay almost collapsed. “God, woman, don’t do that to me. I’m paranoid enough.”

 

Kathryn started to laugh but then saw the poorly camouflaged fear in his eyes. Her smile faded and she became serious. With a gentle stroke to his cheek, she reached up and gave him a long languid kiss. “I have loved you for years, and I’m not about to stop now. I’m sorry, my love.” Her face softened and she let the last remnants of constraint drop away so he could see in her eyes, all that was in her heart.

 

He shook his head, suddenly feeling very emotional. The evening had been something of a surprise and a revelation, but seeing her like this, with her heart so open and her feelings laid bare, touched him deeply. Pulling her into his arms he held her gently, stroking her back and bottom.

 

He concentrated on the feel of her, the weight of her body against his, the way her arms reached around him and how her fingers played along his spine. So many sensations, so much love. With his eyes closed, his hands travelled over her, finding their way over paths that were in the same instance well worn through fantasy but new to the touch. He really hadn’t thought that they would ever find themselves in this moment, but her pliable body undulating against his was proof enough and he sighed.

 

Kathryn looked up at him with eyes bright with unshed tears but tempered with a healthy dose of desire.

 

Chakotay’s eyes sparked with heat in their dark depths and he took her hand and led her down to the command deck. They stood in front of their chairs, looking towards the star lit view screen. It was an achingly familiar stance, with her standing slightly in front of him, and he at her left shoulder. This time she turned towards him and stood, with her arms hanging loosely by her side, waiting. She seemed to know what he wanted and, without hesitation, he reached forward and began to undress her.

 

He went about his task with measured efficiency and intense concentration – each item of clothing peeled slowly and painstakingly from her body.

 

Kathryn watched his every move, her arousal rising exponentially as more and more of her body was exposed – her skin hypersensitive and quivering in the slight chill of recycled air. He barely touched her. His self control was admirable but if he was feeling anything like she was, the control was tenuous. She wanted to throw herself into his arms, to rip his clothes apart and reveal what was beneath – to bury herself in his body and warmth, but instead, she stood quietly, her ragged breaths and trembling the only indication of her heightened state of arousal and excitement.

 

The symbolism of this encounter was not lost on him either. Here, in this place where she held power and reigned supreme, she was letting him lead. Giving herself over to him wholly and without question. He couldn’t have loved her more. This showed the depth of her love and was where her true power lay – in her ability to let it go. To allow herself, with him, to be vulnerable, open and revealing. Her trust in him filled his heart to the brim and if he could have, he would have shouted his love to the universe, but again, control and restraint were the order of the day. There would be time enough for exuberance later.

 

Chakotay knelt in front of her and pulled her pants down over her bottom, sliding them gently down her legs, stroking the soft skin as he went and leaving a trail of goose bumps in his wake.

 

Kathryn kicked off her boots and stepped out of her pants and underwear. She watched, stifling a gasp, as Chakotay rubbed the silky fabric of her panties against his cheek before tossing them onto the pile of clothing at his side. His eyes never left her body, only glancing up at her for a split second with a dark and hungry look. She felt herself throb and warm under that heated stare. Oh God, she wanted him.

 

From his place at her feet, his eyes climbed the length of her body and leaning forward he buried his face in the soft pillow of her belly, kissing his way down to her mound.

 

Kathryn closed her eyes as she held his head to her. She parted her legs as his nose nuzzled her clitoris and his hot breath scorched across her swollen flesh.

 

With one hand splayed across her bottom, holding her to him and the other hand stroking up over her belly, Chakotay inhaled her scent and kissed and licked around the top of her thighs. His tongue darted out to taste her, and she gasped, pressing harder against him, her body flushed and needy. He rose to his feet, kissing her breasts and neck before dropping a light kiss on her lips. Taking her hand, he guided her towards her command chair, gently pressing her backwards.

 

She sat down, sliding her bottom back into the seat and gliding her hands along the armrests. The leather was cool on her heated skin and she took another ragged breath as she sank into the soft and familiar cushioning. Chakotay was standing directly in front of her and she could see his erection straining through his pants. She reached for him, but he pushed her hand away and shook his head. “No, my turn.”

 

Kathryn bit her lip and sank further into her seat. She gripped the arms of her chair to stop herself from touching him. This was for him and he had earned the right to direct this encounter. Her nipples puckered at the thought of him in control and she at his mercy. A sly smile lit her face as she thought of some of the fantasies that she had in store for him and closing her eyes, she waited.

 

It didn’t take him long.

 

Kneeling in front of her again he lifted each of her legs over the arms of her command chair. She was there before him now, open and exposed, not just physically but emotionally as well. She was his to do with as he pleased. The mere thought of that, and the sight of her, had him pulsing and hardening even more. The harsh rub of his trousers against his erection made it difficult to maintain control. He forced himself to redirect his thoughts, not wanting to climax before he had Kathryn writhing and desperate for him. However, his control was shaky at best. This woman excited him beyond all bounds.

 

With her eyes closed and her mouth curved in a blissful smile, she waited for him.

 

Leaning forward, his hands cupped her breasts, teasing and pinching her nipples as he kissed her belly again, slowly working his way down to her centre. With feather light touches, he watched her tremble and the sweat start to bead on her skin. He licked at her, tasting the salt and then blowing over the dampness, delighting in the small jerks and quivers this evoked. Her hips involuntarily rocked towards him as she made small mewling noises. God, she was beautiful.

 

He pulled away from her completely and watched as she arched towards him, her eyes still closed, but desperate for his touch. Without any warning, he leant down and his mouth covered her sex. She arched up off the seat, crying out loudly. Her fingers grabbed at him and dug into his forearms; her head straining against the back rest of her seat.

 

For Kathryn the feeling was beyond words. His hot mouth toyed with and teased her, his tongue making broad strokes along her folds. He drilled and flicked at her clitoris and then probed and delved. As he continued his sweet torture, she found herself spiralling, almost lost, and then, despite her pleaded urging, he eased her back down and then started again. Stroking, licking, pressing and exploring.

 

Kathryn could hear her own moans and gasps, and revelled in the loss of control. It was a rare experience for her and a measure of her love and trust that allowed him to see her like this. His hands now came into play and his thumb pressed against her nub. The sensations were tumbling through her, one over the other until they all became too much. Still lapping at her folds, he pushed two fingers inside her, and with a great gasp she came, hard. Her body spasmed, taut as a bow, her thighs clamped around his head as he drove her higher and higher until, with a keening cry, her world shattered into white.

 

Reality slowly returned and she found herself cradled in his arms on the floor in front of her chair, as he feathered her face with kisses and hummed softly to himself. Kathryn threw her arms around him and pressed her lips to his in a bruising kiss. Pulling away she husked into his ear. “That was incredible.” She leant back a little and looked at him with a grin. “One down… your turn now.”

 

Chakotay laughed. “Look out, we’ve created a monster.”

 

Kathryn laughed along with him. “It’s not just me. You can’t deny it; we’re rather good at this.”

 

“I don’t think they give prizes, but if they did, I think we’d be in the running.”

 

“Oh, you’re much too modest. We’re amazing and I think anyone who saw us would be extremely jealous.”

 

Chakotay’s face curled into a grimace. “We’re not going to be sharing after all, are we?”

 

Kathryn snorted and laughed. “Oh God, no! Can you imagine the senior staff? Tuvok would have one eyebrow permanently imbedded in his hairline, the Doctor would be giving us tips from the sideline, Tom and B’Elanna would most likely join in and poor Harry would die from embarrassment.”

 

Chakotay looked at her carefully. “You’ve obviously put some thought into this.” He arched his eyebrow. “Perhaps a little too much?”

 

Kathryn blushed. “Well, if I have to confess, one of my earlier fantasies had you grabbing me on the bridge and taking me over the helm.”

 

“I’m a brute.”

 

“Yes, you are. Isn’t it wonderful?” She beamed.

 

He looked at her thoughtfully. “This is a very different side to you. It’s going to take some getting used to.”

 

She gazed at him, meeting his eyes challengingly. “Chakotay, I’m not just the captain. I’m Kathryn too, and although I’ll never be a shrinking violet, it means a great deal to me to know that I can trust you to take care of me on the occasions that I let down my guard. Don’t expect it all the time, but every now and then, it’s a relief to put myself in your hands and not be the one in charge. It’s something I need to do. Being constantly strong, driven and implacable is soul destroying. I need your strength at times.”

 

Chakotay wove his fingers through her hair and tugged her close, knowing how hard it must be for her to make that admission. “Thank you, it’s yours and always has been, just as you’re mine.” He kissed her, gently at first and then with increasing intensity. The very thought of the strong and forthright captain allowing him to see her with her shields down, vulnerable and needy, was as endearing as it was exciting. Having just witnessed her surrender here in her command chair, he was overcome by a desire to protect and watch over her. It was something that he would never admit to, but seeing her so open and unguarded brought to the surface all his not-so-well-hidden caveman instincts and raw machismo. It was all very arousing.

 

Kathryn could almost read his mind and smiled to herself. However, she wasn’t going to make it too easy for him and just as he was about to take her in his arms and press her into the floor, she gave him one giant shove, pushed him onto his back, straddled him, and grinned down at his startled face. “I don’t want you to get too comfortable with the idea, though. I’m still the boss.”

 

He laughed. “Hmmm, this time.” And watched as she wriggled down his body to sit comfortably across his thighs. She pulled the zipper of his jacket down and then grabbed him by the front of his tee, yanking him into sitting position to heave off his jacket and help him pull his tee over his head.

 

With his bare chest in front of her, she leant forward, and licked and blew on his nipples, before pushing him back to the floor. Kneeling over him, she undid his pants, prodding him to lift his hips so she could pull them down and off. She grinned. “That’s better.”

 

He was now lying in front of her naked and deliciously aroused. Sitting back on her haunches, she took stock of his body. He was a very handsome man. Broad shouldered and narrow hipped, strong with a slight thickening around his middle, courtesy of his years. It was comforting in a way. Neither of them were young anymore, and all the angles and hard edges of youth had softened and rounded. She chuckled to herself.

 

Chakotay raised his brow in question. “Hmmm. I’m naked and you’re sitting on me, laughing. Is there something I should know?”

 

Kathryn shook her head. “I was just thinking that you’re beautiful.”

 

He lifted his hand and toyed with her nipple. His fingers stroked down her front, brushing over her curls and drifted over her thigh. “No, you’re beautiful.”

 

She cupped him, and leaning forward, ran her tongue up his length, tasting the small droplet of moisture at the tip. Engulfing him in her mouth, she heard him gasp and felt his testicles tighten. He was teetering on the brink already, so she let him slowly slip from her mouth and smiled as he blew a sharp breath through pursed lips. Sliding up his body, she lay along his entire length and danced her fingers over his mouth. “I’m not going to argue about it. We’re both gorgeous and I want to make love to every bit of you.”

 

He smiled, more than willing to let this woman have her way with him. “I’m all yours.”

 

“Good.” Kathryn began by landing a warm wet kiss on his lips before she nuzzled his neck and shoulders, wending her way down his body. His groans filled the holodeck as she did as she’d promised and made love to him from head to toe. She took her time, delighting in his responses, learning the feel of him and taking note of the places that made him moan with pleasure and shiver with anticipation. After keeping him hovering on the brink of orgasm for a torturously long time, Kathryn lowered herself onto his hardness. With her hands planted firmly on his chest, she ground herself against him, watching him through half lidded eyes – his face flushed, his mouth slightly open and his brow creased in concentration. Kathryn could feel her orgasm approaching, the grab of her inner muscles gripping him as her thrusts became ragged and erratic.

 

Opening his eyes, his gaze met hers and he grasped her hips. Kathryn arched as she came, her fingernails scouring his chest as she threw her head back and called his name.

 

With a roar, he slammed into her, coming in great throbbing spurts deep within her.

 

Kathryn collapsed onto his front and laughed through her gasps. “Oh my God. Are you all right? I swear I won’t be able to walk.”

 

Chakotay could barely breathe but gave a strangled chortle, holding her and kissing her hair. “I think so, but I’ll need to sleep for a week. You’re going to kill me.”

 

Kathryn rested her chin on her folded hands and looked at him. “Never. I’ve got good reason to keep you alive and happy.” She tightened her inner muscles and he jerked against her. “Besides, we’re going to live forever.”

 

“If you say so.” He watched as her smile faded and a thoughtful look took its place.

 

“We’re not, you know.”

 

“What? Live forever?”

 

“Hmmm.” Kathryn laid her cheek against his chest and her hands rested on his shoulders. “Just at this moment, I want to. I don’t ever want to leave you.”

 

Chakotay lifted his head and kissed her hair. “You won’t leave me, Kathryn, you can’t. We’re bonded. Joined in spirit, and we’ll walk all the plains of existence as one. We will always be together.”

 

“You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”

 

“No, not everything, but this I do know for certain. You don’t doubt me, do you?”

 

Kathryn raised her head. “Never. I trust you with my life and my love.” With her movement, he slipped from her body and Kathryn sighed. “I envy the Vulcans sometimes.”

 

Chakotay frowned. It was an abrupt change of topic. “The Vulcans? Grumpy all the time and sex once every seven years? You’ve got to be kidding.”

 

This time she huffed a laugh and her eyes danced with mischief. “Well, this is the first time I’ve had sex in over three years, so I’m getting close to qualifying.” Chakotay looked appalled and Kathryn swatted at him. “That’s not what I meant, though. I envy their bond. That constant presence in one’s consciousness. It must be very comforting.”

 

Chakotay picked up her hand and placed it over the centre of his chest. “You live here, Kathryn, and you always will. We don’t inhabit each other’s mind but we share hearts which is far superior in my thinking.”

 

She smiled. “See, an answer for everything. Thank you.”

 

The computer chimed. “Fifteen minutes of holodeck time remaining. Please prepare to vacate the holodeck for the next occupant.”

 

Kathryn didn’t move and Chakotay had to give her a small shake. “We’d better get going, or that scenario you mentioned earlier might become more than just a disturbing fantasy.”

 

Screwing up her nose, Kathryn leapt to her feet and gathered up her clothes. Within a minute or two they were dressed and Kathryn moved into the ready room to tidy her hair. Wandering back out to the bridge again, she found Chakotay deep in thought.

 

She stroked her fingers over his furrowed brow. “What are you thinking? You look troubled.”

 

He smiled. “No, not at all. The cogs are just grinding slower than usual. I had an idea though. Computer, how much time do have we left?”

 

“Eleven minutes until the end of your session.”

 

“That’s plenty of time.” He opened the weapons compartment near the command centre and handed Kathryn a phaser. “Computer, initiate Insurrection Alpha on my mark and open at time index 485.2. Delete the Chakotay and Captain Janeway holograms. Commander Chakotay and Captain Janeway will play themselves in the narrative. Mark.”

 

Kathryn frowned. “Chakotay, what are you doing?”

 

He grinned. “Just wait.”

 

The holodeck shimmered and Kathryn found herself in the transporter room. It only took her a split second to remember this part of the scenario. This was where she got shot. “Oh, great.”

 

He grinned again. “Computer, erect a forcefield a metre in front of us. Initiate.”

 

The forcefield fizzled into place just as the transporter room door opened. Seska, wearing her Maquis leathers, stepped into the room. “There you are. Oh good, you’ve got the captain.” She sneered. “I’m going to enjoy this. Throw her up on the platform and we’ll transport her into space.”

 

Chakotay played along for a moment. “Good idea, but I have something that I want to do first.” He pulled Kathryn into his arms and kissed her hard. Kathryn wrapped her arms around him and kissed him back. He began nibbling her neck and Kathryn tilted her head back to give him room.

 

Seska growled. “Chakotay!? What the hell are you doing? Toss her on the platform now. I’ll get the controls.”

 

He waved dismissively at Seska as he pulled Kathryn’s tee aside and nuzzled her shoulder, mumbling against her. “Just a minute. I’m not finished yet.”

 

Kathryn tried not to laugh. She could see Seska’s face over his shoulder and, in her fury, the woman was turning all the colours of the rainbow.

 

Seska charged towards them only to bounce off the forcefield and fall on her butt with an ungainly thud. “Arrrgh, Chakotay!!” She was shaking with rage and jumped to her feet, firing her phaser rifle at them. It had no effect, merely fizzling impotently against the invisible barrier. She bellowed. “Are you insane?” A vicious snarl contorted her face and she hissed through gritted teeth. “I always knew Janeway had some sort of hold over you, you insipid bootlicker. Well, she’s welcome to you, you bastard! I don’t know how I could have ever loved you.”

 

Kathryn felt Chakotay tense in her arms.

 

He slid from her embrace and turned towards the Seska hologram. “Computer, delete forcefield.” He walked towards her speaking quietly. It was terrifying. “Loved me? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Get out of here.”

 

“What are you talking about? The ship is ours for the taking. This is what you wanted and I’ll be here with you. You don’t need her.”

 

Seska tried to grab for him, but he side stepped her. “Get out of here Seska, before I throw ‘you’ on that platform and beam you into space. I know what you are.”

 

Seska’s lip curled. “You have no idea, you fool.” She shook her head in disgust and spat at him.

 

Kathryn had taken just about enough of this. She raised her phaser. “Seska, I’d leave if I were you. I’ve waited a long time to take my revenge for what you did to my crew, my ship and to Chakotay. It would suit me just fine if I had to use this.”

 

“You’d never do it. Your precious protocols wouldn’t allow it.”

 

“Want to make a bet? We’ve been doing a little reviewing of protocols over the last few hours and there are always loopholes.” Kathryn took a menacing step towards the hologram. “I’m sure I could find a nice big one that you could fall through. One move, and you’re a pile of smoking ash.”

 

Seska blinked. “You wouldn’t.” But there was a note of hesitance in her voice.

 

Kathryn took another step forward and she could see a spark of fear in the other woman’s eye. Chakotay stepped up beside Kathryn with his phaser drawn as well. “Leave while you have the chance, Seska. Take a shuttle, head to an airlock, or beam into space, but leave before we do this.”

 

Seska started backing away, keeping her eyes on both her adversaries.

 

Kathryn and Chakotay watched her carefully, she wasn’t to be trusted. Seska was almost to the door when, like lightning, she yanked a small handphaser from her pocket and aimed. She was too slow, however, and her face was lit by surprise as twin phaser blasts connected and she disappeared in an orange halo of lethal energy.

 

Kathryn and Chakotay turned slowly towards one another, both their eyes were wide with surprise and shock. Kathryn was the first to speak. “Are you all right? I wasn’t really expecting that.”

 

Chakotay nodded. “Neither was I, but in an awful way, it felt almost therapeutic. Is that twisted?”

 

Kathryn shrugged and gave him a guilty grin. “If it is, then we’re a pair. It felt pretty damn good to me too and besides, it’s not as if she hesitated to shoot us. Alls fair in love and war… as they say.”

 

“Aunt Martha?”

 

“No, Kathryn Janeway.”

 

He grinned at her. “Well, that’s one ghost put to rest.”

 

“Let’s hope so. The trouble with Seska is that she has an uncanny knack for popping up when you least expect it.”

 

“The proverbial bad penny.”

 

“Now you sound like Aunt Martha.”

 

“I could do worse.”

 

Kathryn laughed. “True. But you’re much better looking.”

 

The computer chimed. “Two minutes until end of session.”

 

With a grin, Chakotay took the phaser from Kathryn’s hand and placed them on the console before he called for an end to the simulation. The transporter room faded around them and the bare holodeck grid took its place. Kathryn heaved a sigh and turned to him. “Let’s go home.”

 

He nodded and crooked his arm. Kathryn slipped her hand through and they moved towards the doors.

 

“Computer, unlock holodeck doors, authorisation Janeway 841-alpha-65.” Just before they triggered the opening mechanism, Kathryn came to a stop and turned to Chakotay. “Thank you. I’m exhausted, exhilarated, sore and deliriously happy. Not bad for an evening’s work.”

 

He tugged her close to his side and kissed her forehead. “Come on, let’s get my gear and get to bed. We both have the early shift in the morning.”

 

Together they strode out of the holodeck and made their way to Chakotay’s quarters and then home. They collapsed into bed, sleeping in each other’s arms until the computer woke them for their shift.

 

Chakotay grinned through the entire morning ritual of readying themselves for work. Like the evening before, the everyday routines took on an air of delight. Life itself seemed fresh, as if he was looking at his existence through new eyes. His world was coloured by his love for Kathryn, each moment precious in its uniqueness, and he didn’t want the feeling to end.

 

As they showered and dressed, they chatted about the coming day, what Neelix might serve for breakfast, the agenda for the morning briefing, how they were going to arrange wardrobe space, what they should have for dinner… it was all frighteningly normal, so ordinary, but it filled his heart and he wanted to shout for joy.

 

Just before they left their quarters for the mess hall, Kathryn turned to him. “Don’t worry, it won’t go away. We’ll always be like this.”

 

He shook his head and smiled. “How did you know?”

 

Kathryn shrugged. “I feel the same and… I know you.”

 

Taking a deep breath, he sighed. “Thank you.”

 

She grinned. “You’re welcome.”

 

Without another word, arm in arm, they left her quarters.

 

The mess hall was filled with the pre-shift crowd as they sat at their usual table. The crew were gathered in their groups and they greeted their commanding officers happily. Nothing seemed any different, although everything was. Kathryn was surprised by the crew. She felt sure they would have noticed the difference in her and Chakotay’s relationship. People had seen them wandering the halls late last night, arm in arm, and they’d bumped into the Delaney twins as they left their quarters this morning, but there was no whispering or furtive looks. They seemed oblivious. Either that or they didn’t care. She wasn’t sure which reason she preferred.

 

“Good morning, Captain, Chakotay. Do you mind if we join you?” B’Elanna was holding a tray and Tom was carrying a couple of mugs of coffee.

 

“No, please, help yourself.”

 

The pair sat down, taking a moment to sort out their meals and then Tom turned to Kathryn. “So, did you enjoy your holodeck program last night, Captain?”

 

Kathryn’s head shot up, expecting to see a supercilious smirk on Tom’s face, but he looked genuinely curious. She nodded, resisting the temptation to glance guiltily at Chakotay. “Yes, we did, thank you.”

 

“Tuvok and I are going to head to the holodeck later today to work on the rest of Insurrection Alpha. With any luck it should be up and running in the next couple of days.”

 

B’Elanna opened her mouth to speak, but Tom cut her off. “That’s if we don’t get anymore help from the sidelines.” B’Elanna snapped her mouth shut and gave him a withering look.

 

Tom prattled on about the direction he wanted to take the program and how he was going to resolve the adventure. He slowly ran out of things to say and there was an expectant silence abruptly broken by B’Elanna when she turned towards Chakotay and said. “I hear you’re moving into the captain’s quarters.”

 

The statement came out of the blue and both Kathryn and Chakotay stilled. Kathryn stopped chewing and the spoonful of oatmeal that was on its way to Chakotay’s mouth stopped in mid air. He cleared his throat and dropped his spoon back into his bowl. “Where did you hear that?”

 

She shrugged. “Someone mentioned it this morning in the turbolift. Why? Isn’t it true?”

 

Kathryn and Chakotay’s eyes darted towards one another and then they quickly looked away. Kathryn took a deep breath and answered without looking at anyone. “Yes, the Commander is moving into my quarters.”

 

Tom took a mouthful of something aqua and pasty looking, before he nodded. “That’s good.”

 

“Yes, that’s wonderful, congratulations.”

 

Tom and B’Elanna continued to eat as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

 

Kathryn frowned and looked back and forth between the two young officers. “I’m surprised.”

 

Tom frowned. “What? You didn’t think we’d be happy for you?”

 

“No it’s not that, I’m just surprised that there’s not more of a fuss.”

 

B’Elanna shrugged. “I wouldn’t have thought there would be. Most of the crew already think you’re in a relationship, so it’s no news to most people.”

 

Kathryn was astounded. “Already in a relationship!? Where would they get that idea? We’ve never given them any indication…”

 

Both B’Elanna and Tom laughed but it was cut short by a glare from Kathryn that had Tom checking for scorch marks. He decided to be brave and answered her. “I know you think you hide it well, but it’s pretty obvious how you feel about one another and the crew have just put two and two together, so to speak, and assumed that you were involved. It’s okay. No one knows otherwise and to be honest, no one cares.”

 

Kathryn was astonished and looked towards Chakotay. He shrugged and smiled. “You can’t argue with that. It looks like we worried for nothing.”

 

Kathryn gave them all a tentative smile. “I did say they were adaptable, didn’t I?”

 

“You were right.”

 

“Aren’t I always?”

 

Chakotay reached under the table and squeezed her hand.

 

The mess hall started to empty. It was time to head to the bridge for their shifts. Tom gathered the plates and took them to the recycler, waiting by the door for the others to catch up. B’Elanna and Harry wove their way through the tables towards him and Kathryn and Chakotay followed a few paces behind.

 

Kathryn looked at Chakotay just before they met up with the other bridge officers at the door. Smiling, she indicated that he should precede her. “Shall we, Commander?”

 

He grinned and stepped back, sweeping his arm before him. “After you, Captain.”

 

Kathryn shook her head and whispered. “Together.”

 

The others looked on happily as the Captain, with her arm tucked into the Commander’s, stepped through the doorway and headed towards the bridge.

 

With Tom, B’Elanna and Harry following, Kathryn and Chakotay lead the way and a new day on Voyager began.

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