Disharmony

Summary:The repercussions from Kashyk’s visit do not bode well for the command team.

Rated NC17

 

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.

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Captain Kathryn Janeway sat at her desk sipping a much needed and long awaited mug of hot black coffee. They were just moments away from crossing the boundary out of Devore space. They’d spent weeks travelling through this xenophobic and paranoid species’ territory, having to tolerate constant scans and inspections, and each time hiding the refugee Brenari telepaths, Tuvok, Vorik, and Jurot in transporter suspension to avoid detection.

 

Her insides fluttered with the knowledge that at any moment the bridge would contact her to inform her of their departure from this sector and she could finally relax. The Devore had presented her with challenges that she’d found both delightful and terrifying.

 

She’d met a man who had fascinated her. He’d been intelligent, provocative, attractive and dangerous. A seductive combination. She’d played him though. He’d never gained her trust and she had manipulated him right from the start. The outcome of her subterfuge had left her quietly exhilarated. He’d played right into her hands and behaved exactly how she’d expected him to.

 

His arrogance had been his downfall and she was filled with a deep sense of satisfaction that she’d been able to use his blinkered ego against him. It seemed to her no accident that the word manipulated began with MAN. She chuckled to herself and had another sip of coffee.

 

He’d been a misogynistic fool and he’d underestimated her because she was a woman. She’d had him eating out of her hand because she was female and something he desired. He’d wanted her but hadn’t respected her and he certainly hadn’t accounted for her keen intelligence, her intuitiveness and her out and out street smarts. An age old mistake made by egotistical men throughout the galaxy it seemed.

 

They’d been out here in the Delta Quadrant for a long time now and she’d learnt a thing or two about trust and duplicity. She’d certainly become a dab hand at recognising deception.

 

He’d been all that she secretly desired in a man but as all women knew, he was all that was forbidden and for good reason. He’d been egotistical, arrogant, self-centred and ultimately cruel. He would’ve had no qualms about using her for his own needs and she knew this. She also knew that he wanted her and that’s what made him vulnerable. That’s what gave her the edge. She remembered the kiss in the shuttle bay and how when she’d kissed him back, she’d been certain of his treachery. It was a Judas kiss and in that moment, she’d felt no remorse for what she was going to do because she knew he would destroy her and her crew if given the chance.

 

It was a heady moment on the bridge when he knew he’d been bested. She’d let him think right up until that moment that he’d won. Snatching victory from him at that point had been almost better than sex – or what she remembered of sex. It had been a while.

 

This thought automatically brought her to Chakotay. They would celebrate tonight. She was looking forward to his company. She’d barely spoken to him over the last few weeks.

 

It had been for his protection. Aware of the depth of Kashyk’s cruelty, she worried that if he thought Chakotay was anything more to her than First Officer and colleague, he would be in danger.

 

She’d actually gone out of her way to avoid him, especially when Kashyk was with her. The connection between herself and Chakotay was so tangible that someone as perceptive as Kashyk would have picked up on it instantly. Kashyk’s ego wouldn’t have allowed for a rival and Chakotay would have been vulnerable. She would never do anything to risk Chakotay. He was far too important to her. It had been her game and she was only willing to risk herself, no-one else.

 

She couldn’t wait to discuss the whole experience with Chakotay. She was impatient to hear him laugh at the stupidity and misplaced machismo of the other man. He would be pleased and proud of her accomplishment.

 

“Captain to the Bridge.”

 

“On my way, Harry.” With a self satisfied smirk she left her ready room, striding on to the bridge.

 

“Report.” She stood in the centre of the bridge looking at the view screen with her hands on her hips.

 

Harry spoke from the Ops station. “We’ve just crossed out of Devore space. There are no ships on long range sensors. It looks like clear sailing ahead, Captain.” She turned to him and smiled.

 

“Very good, Ensign. I think this is reason enough to celebrate.” She glanced briefly at Chakotay, still smiling, and then walked down to the helm station and put her hand on Tom’s shoulder. He turned and smiled up at her.

 

“Tom, if you can get Sandrine’s up and running, I suggest we all meet there this evening at 20.00? I’ll contact Neelix and see what we can arrange.” She patted his shoulder, nodded her head decisively and marched back into her ready room. Without even looking at Chakotay, she called over her shoulder. “Commander, you have the bridge.” Then she was swallowed up by the doors to her sanctum.

 

Chakotay had been watching her over the weeks they’d been in Devore Space and particularly while Kashyk was on board. He’d been very wary of the tall dark Devoran. He could see the attraction between the captain and the inspector. It worried him. It worried him a lot. More than he was prepared to acknowledge. She’d literally thrown herself at Kashyk, openly flirting and teasing him.

 

She’d barely spoken to Chakotay outside of work the entire time Kashyk was on board. She hadn’t conferred with him about her plans. He hadn’t known until after the ‘sting’, what she had planned. He needed to speak to her about it. It just wasn’t good enough.

 

Leading a man like Kashyk on had been a dangerous manoeuvre. Chakotay had seen that type before. They were snakes, dangerous and deadly when cornered. She had played him and masterfully outsmarted him. Totally demolished him in fact and probably destroyed him. Chakotay didn’t think the Devore Imperium took lightly the loss of a vessel like Voyager, not to mention allowing a dozen or so Brenari telepaths to escape.

 

But she had taken a huge risk, one he thought was unwarranted. She’d allowed herself to finish up alone in the ready room and on the bridge with Kashyk. She could have been hurt or worse and there was no-one there to protect her. She had played a very dangerous game, one Chakotay felt she was lucky to have come away from unscathed.

 

He hadn’t been quite so lucky. He was angry with her. Very angry. He was her closest friend and confidante, not to mention second in command, and she’d decided to exclude him from the entire incident. But on further examination, what had really made him mad was that he cared so much, and it was eating away at him.

 

He was angry with her but just as angry with himself. He’d thought that his feelings for Kathryn had died a death of attrition. It had been three long years since their idyll on New Earth and the many losses and disappointments over the years had muted those feelings into a fine friendship, one that he treasured and one he thought she treasured as well.

 

He didn’t want to love her. She was too dangerous to love. He had never met a more powerful or provoking woman. She drew you in. She possessed her own personal mode of assimilation and any person who came within her sphere of influence was helpless to avoid it. He looked around the bridge crew. Each one of them was in love with her in some way or other. Tuvok loved her as a father loves a rebellious daughter, secretly proud of her waywardness and stubborn disregard. Harry loved her as a mother. She was his guiding light and he was desperate to bask in the warmth of her good favour.

Paris was just plain in love with her but had understood from very early on that she was completely out of his reach. He had taken on the role of slightly irksome but loveable younger brother and would do or say anything to get her attention.

 

To B’Elanna she was a beacon of womanly strength that was only enhanced by her femininity. A true warrior woman. Seven’s relationship with her was probably one of the most complex and one where Kathryn wasn’t in complete control. She was mother, mentor and student to this complicated woman/child.

 

He thought of those not present, like Neelix and the Doctor. Both loved her. Neelix didn’t even try to hide his infatuation. He would do anything for her and literally fell over himself to be at her beck and call. The Doctor also loved her in his own way. She was his Pygmalion and he her Galatea.

 

The rest of the crew, well they were devoted to her. They would follow her to the gates of hell and on occasions had.

 

And Chakotay himself. What of his feelings? Well, he was no different from the others. He was a victim as well, an unwilling one just at present. She was like a force of nature and very hard to resist.

 

He started to take note of the banter on the bridge. Tom and Harry were discussing what sort of beverages should be served at the ‘Farewell Devore Space’ party and how many bottles of vodka should go into the punch. Everyone was excited and looking forward to letting their hair down. Even Tuvok seemed keen. He certainly wasn’t attempting to curtail the conversation. It had been an extremely stressful time and they were all ready to relax. Chakotay tried to rally his enthusiasm but the clenched fist of anger that was sitting in his gut wouldn’t allow him to join in the revelry.

 

The doors to the ready room opened and Kathryn emerged, striding out of the doors with a spring in her step. She was still high on the success of her coup. “Chakotay, I’m heading down to the Mess hall to speak with Neelix. Then I’m going to my quarters. I have a bubble bath waiting for me. See you at the party?” She gave him her happiest smile and not waiting for an answer, stepped into the lift and was gone.

 

“Phew, bubble bath huh? Maybe you should go and see if she needs her back washed, Commander?” Tom swung around, grinning at Chakotay, as if he was party to some sort of ‘in’ joke. Idiot.

 

“Can it, Paris, and keep a civil tongue in your head. That’s no way to speak about your commanding officer. Keep your eyes on the road and shut up.” He turned towards Tuvok. “Tuvok, you have the bridge.” He strode into the Turbo lift without a backward glance.

 

He was seething, absolutely boiling mad and Tom’s inane comments were just adding fuel to the fire. He felt like hitting that smug supercilious face but knew Tom really wasn’t the problem. He was angry with Kathryn for mentioning her bath and for the fact that he felt exactly like Tom had said. All he could see was a mental image of Kathryn naked amongst the bubbles. Damn her anyway. If she could take off early then so could he.

 

On the bridge after Chakotay had left, Tom turned and looked at Harry. “Whoa, what was that all about? Who put a stick up his…?”

 

“Lieutenant! I would heed the Commander’s words and ‘keep your eyes on the road’” Tuvok spoke sternly from his tactical station. He was also somewhat surprised at the Commander’s outburst. It was unlike him to be so emotional. He usually kept a tight rein on his feelings. It was something that Tuvok admired about the Commander. He would observe him and try and deduce what the problem was. He made his way down to the command chairs and took a seat.

 

Kathryn had spoken to Neelix and as expected, he was very enthusiastic about organising the celebration. When they’d finished their conversation, he had scurried back into the kitchen again, muttering to himself and picking up pots and pans. She smiled fondly at the funny little man. He was such a treasure and always so eager to please.

 

She finally made her way to her quarters, looking forward to a long soak. Keying in her code, she stepped through the doorway and heaved a sigh of relief. She shrugged herself out of her jacket and threw it over a chair. She walked into her bedroom to remove the rest of her clothes. “Computer run bath, usual settings.”

 

Walking naked into the bathroom, she chose her bubble bath and poured a generous amount into the running water. She grabbed her wrap and threw it around her and headed back into the living area for a glass of wine. Carrying it back to the bathroom, she stood mesmerised as she watched the water flow into the bath. Smiling to herself, she hoped Neelix would be able to organise what she had requested. She had no doubt that he would. Chakotay would be so surprised.

 

Slipping her wrap off, she let it slide to the floor. She took the time to examine herself in the mirror. Her body wasn’t in too bad a shape for someone the wrong side of forty. It would be interesting to see what Chakotay thought. Small frissons of pleasure travelled up her spine at the thought of what she had in store for her first officer. A grin split her face. Tonight was going to be it. She’d waited too long, and strange as it may seem, Kashyk had been the catalyst. Being around such an arrogant, unpleasant and deceitful man had slammed home to Kathryn what a wonderful, kind and generous man Chakotay was.

 

She slid into the bath with a sigh. Her body tingled all over with the excitement of what tonight would bring. She was tempted to pleasure herself but then thought, no. The build up would enhance the experience later. Taking a few more sips of wine, she laid her head back and dozed in a fantasy land where there was no Delta Quadrant, no Voyager, and no Kashyk, just her and Chakotay living the life she dreamed of. She drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.

 

Chakotay strode out of the lift on deck three. His anger was like hot magma bubbling just below the surface. Fuck Paris, the idiot, and fuck Kathryn for her careless words. Yeah, fuck Kathryn. Fuck Kathryn. That was just what he wanted to do, had wanted to do for years and years. Why now, after all this time? He’d thought he’d got past this. For the first few years, he’d tortured himself about her. He loved her, desired her and was in awe of her. He still was to an extent, but he’d seen her darker side. He’d seen the ugly underbelly of Kathryn Janeway.

 

He stood stock still in the middle of the corridor. Yes, he’d seen her at her worst, her very worst and he didn’t love her any less. Goddamn it. Shaking his head, he started walking again. Was it just that someone else was interested in her and encroaching on what he thought of as his territory?

 

He thought he was too old and jaded to be involved in a pissing contest. But maybe? Then again, no. If she were truly happy with someone else, he loved her enough to be happy for her. No, that wasn’t it. He had to admit it to himself as much as he didn’t want to. He was jealous. Plain and simple. He loved her and wanted her and he didn’t want to lose her. Shit! He didn’t need this now. Her feelings for him, if ever she had any, had long ago muted and now he was back at the love sick puppy stage. He hated feeling like this. It undermined his self esteem and confidence. He couldn’t behave normally around her and the likes of Paris were quick to pick up the vibe. Being a fellow sufferer he was highly attuned to picking up the scent of someone pining after Kathryn Janeway. It was like a damn sickness.

 

Maybe tonight at the party he should find some obliging young ensign and take her home and screw her senseless. Maybe that would get her out of his system. Not likely. That wasn’t really his thing, random cold-blooded sex. Besides, all he would feel is guilty. He would feel like he was being unfaithful, as ridiculous as that sounded.

 

He chided himself. How in the spirits’ name could you be unfaithful to someone tha t you hadn’t ever slept with and who didn’t even know you were in love with them? He needed his head read. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

 

He was outside his quarters. He banged his code in and the doors swished open. He ripped his jacket off and threw it over a chair. He missed and it slid to the ground. “Fuck you.” He swore at the jacket and gave it a kick. Just typical. He had to calm down. He went to the replicator and ordered a double whiskey. He wasn’t a drinker, but tonight he needed this. If he was going to get through this damn party with her gloating all over the place, he needed some outside help. He slugged it down and then coughed heartily for a few minutes. Damn, it burned.

 

He ordered another one. This one went down a little easier. He looked at the time. He only had a half an hour before he was due at Sandrine’s. He was tempted to have another drink but decided to wait until after his shower and see how he was feeling then.

 

He stripped off his clothes and stood in front of the mirror. His body wasn’t too bad for someone just shy of fifty. He stood sideways and sucked in his stomach and puffed out his chest. Yes, not bad at all. He let his breath out and everything sagged back to normal. Gravity was a bitch. Oh well, as if anyone is going to see it anyway. He had a quick shave and was just about to start the shower when he heard noises from next door. Kathryn’s bathroom. He could hear the water splashing and then the sound of water draining. She had just got out of her bath, so she was standing less than ten feet away. Naked. Hell, now he had that image in his mind and his body was reacting accordingly. “Computer, shower on. Cold!” He dove under the freezing water. It wasn’t helping much. He had to visualise her with clothes on. But his mind wouldn’t co-operate. He was mentally dressing her one piece of lingerie at a time.

 

He got out of the shower, and wrapped a towel around himself. Goddamn it to hell! He was in a state. He didn’t know at that moment if he loved her or hated her. He decided after another double whiskey that loving her only made him weak, so for tonight he was going to hate her and avoid her at all costs. There were enough doe eyed ensigns to keep him busy so he wouldn’t have to talk to her. His mind made up he got dressed and staggered out the door.

 

The party was well under way when he arrived. Paris was over at the pool table with the usual suspects. B’Elanna was nursing a glass of red wine. Harry was trying to chat up a holographic hooker and wasn’t having much luck by the look of it. Neelix was bustling around behind the bar getting in Sandrine’s way, gauging by the frown on her face. It didn’t look like Kathryn was here yet. Good. He made his way to the bar and ordered another double whiskey. The real stuff. It didn’t seem like a good idea to change his poison at this stage of the evening.

 

Tom was watching him from the other side of the room. He’d been thinking about Chakotay’s outburst this afternoon on the bridge and analysing the possible reasons behind it. He’d narrowed it down to one. Kathryn Janeway. Poor Chakotay had it bad. They all did, but he suffered the worst of all of them. For the rest of them she was just a fantasy. She was so far out of their orbit that she was barely in the same galaxy. The tough thing for Chakotay was that she was right there within reach. Tom had a strong suspicion that the captain felt about Chakotay the way he felt about her, but was gun shy. She’d had some tough breaks over the years with relationships, but he knew she had a special place for Chakotay. If only the great lummox would figure it out. Tom shook his head and watched dumbfounded as Chakotay slugged back what looked like a straight scotch. The only thing he’d ever seen the commander drink was the odd beer, and he would sit on one of those the whole night. Chakotay turned around and caught Tom staring at him. He lurched away from the bar and staggered into Will Chapman. Damn, he was drunk. Great.

 

Tom sidled up to B’Elanna. “Hey, Be, I think we might have trouble tonight. It looks like the big guy has tied one on. Do you think we should get him out of here before ‘you know who’ gets here? I’ve got a funny feeling that this could get ugly.” B’Elanna scanned the crowd and finally found her target leaning over a table with the Delaney sisters and a couple of other young female ensigns from stellar cartography. They were laughing uncomfortably at what he was saying and Sam Wildman was standing behind him and pointing and gesticulating at B’Elanna about him. She got the gist of it.

 

Chakotay was drunk and making an ass of himself. Goddamn, thought B’Elanna, why doesn’t the man just grow some balls and tell the woman that he loves her. Could it be any worse than this? Tom was right. They needed to get him out of here. She’d seen him drunk on a couple of occasions. He only ever hit the bottle when he was upset or extremely unhappy. Subsequently he was never at his best when he was loaded.

 

Suddenly the doors swished open and there she stood at the top of the stairs. Kathryn looked beautiful. She was wearing a simple long sleeved black dress. It was low cut and draped her body closely, falling to just above her ankles. Her hair was loosely brushed and she wore just a touch of makeup and the biggest, happiest smile any of her crew had seen in a long time. She looked magnificent.

 

B’Elanna and Tom looked at one another and groaned. Tom shrugged. “Too late. Oh well, let’s see what happens. Are you ready to pick up the pieces when it all goes to hell?”

 

B’Elanna didn’t look too certain. “I’ll go and speak to Harry and the Doctor. Maybe between us we can limit the damage. Good luck.” She headed off in Harry’s direction.

 

Kathryn was looking over the crowd, trying to find Chakotay. She had been a little surprised that he hadn’t offered to escort her, but assumed he must have been busy. Anyway, she was so happy tonight, nothing was going to burst her bubble. There he was, talking to Samantha over at the bar.

 

Neelix was joining in the conversation just as she arrived. “Commander, I think you may have had enough. Perhaps I could get you a soda or a synthale?”

 

Chakotay looked belligerently at the Talaxian barkeep. “I don’t want a goddamned soda. I want a whiskey. Now go and get me one now. That’s an order.”

 

Sam Wildman took his arm. “Commander, I think it might be a good idea if you came and sat down.” She tried to lead him away but he was having none of it.

 

He shook her hand off, none too gently. “I don’t want to sit down. I’m perfectly happy right here, thank you.”

 

“Chakotay?” Kathryn stood just behind him and gently touched his arm as she said his name. He swung around, splashing his drink down his front and all over her.

 

“Ahh, Kathryn. Shit, I’m sorry. Here, let me.” He clumsily tried wiping the front of her dress with his sleeve. He was swaying and Sam was holding one arm so he didn’t fall in a heap.

 

“It’s alright, Chakotay. Don’t worry about it. Have you been drinking? Chakotay, this isn’t like you. What’s the matter?” She had never seen him like this. He never drank. This was entirely out of character for him and she was worried.

 

Tom and B’Elanna had worked their way closer in case they were needed. This scenario had disaster written all over it.

 

B’Elanna stepped forward. “Hey, old man, how about we get you home? I think it’s about time we left too. I’ve got early shift in the morning and so has Tom. Come on, let’s go. We can catch up with everyone another night.” She took one arm and Tom came around the other side to usher him out of the room.

 

Chakotay took one look at Tom and the volcano erupted. “Fuck off, Paris. Get your Goddamn hands of me, you snivelling wipe…”

 

That was it. Kathryn wasn’t going to stand for that. Tom was just trying to help.

“Commander, that’s enough. How dare you speak to a fellow officer like that? Now get yourself back to your quarters and report to my ready room first thing in the morning.” What had gotten into him? This was so unlike him. She looked over her shoulder trying to see if the Doctor was close by.

 

Next thing she knew two strong hands had clamped on to her shoulders, swinging her around to face her very drunk and seemingly, very angry first officer. His eyes were black with rage. He frightened her and he was hurting her. His fingers were digging into her arms and she could feel the bruises forming. This was a side of him she’d never seen. This was the angry warrior. This was the man before he had found peace. What had happened to destroy that peace? What had she done to take that away?

 

“Ahh, the mighty Captain Janeway. Your word is my command.” He mockingly bowed, almost falling on his face. “All hail the mighty captain, ruler of all she surveys. Have you decided to come and be with us lesser beings? Are we supposed to be grateful that you’re sparing us a few moments of your precious time? Don’t you have some Ambassador or Inspector to screw somewhere? What are you going to do next sector we come to? Fuck the whole ruling council. You should enjoy that. As long as it’s not anyone who cares about you.”

 

Kathryn was stunned. She didn’t understand what was happening. He hated her and she didn’t know why. The day had just gone to hell. He shook her a few times. The grip on her shoulders was really starting to hurt.

 

B’Elanna was livid. “Chakotay, that’s it. We’re getting you out of here now. Cut it out before I have to hit you.”

 

Letting go of Kathryn, he bent down close to B’Elanna’s face and slurred at her. “Just try it, Klingon.”

“Back off, Chakotay.” Tom grabbed him by the arm and Chakotay tried to take a swing but missed and flung himself spectacularly into the captain. He hit his head on the table as he went down. He landed heavily on top of her and her head smacked the ground hard. She saw stars.

 

Tom and the Doctor were leaning over the two of them. They hauled him off Kathryn. “Captain, are you alright? God, did he hurt you?”

 

She was shaking her head. “I’m fine. I’m fine. Excuse me. I have to go.” She was trying to scramble to her feet. How had this happened? It was supposed to be a happy and joyous occasion. Why was he so angry? She didn’t understand and now her head hurt terribly and she was feeling sick.

 

The Doctor took a quick look at Chakotay and then scanned the captain. “He’s out cold. Captain, you have a concussion. Computer, site to site transports for myself, Commander Chakotay and the captain to sickbay.” They disappeared in the shimmer of the transporter, leaving a thoroughly shocked and very worried crew behind.

 

Neelix made his way over to Tom and B’Elanna. Oh, dear. What a shame. The captain had such a lovely night planned. We were going to have dancing and she even requested a special song to be played when she danced with the commander. Such a shame.” Neelix handed Tom a padd and then wandered off with his head low.

 

Tom read the padd quickly and then turned to B’Elanna. “I probably should get to sick bay and see if Doc needs any help. Do you want to come? I think maybe the captain might need another woman around. I have a feeling that tonight was going to be the night that she told Chakotay how she feels and well…”

 

“How do you know that?”

 

“Just look at the song she chose. If that doesn’t tell you something…”

 

B’Elanna looked at the name of the song. “‘The first time ever I saw you face.’ I don’t know it.”

 

“I’ll play it for you.” He turned towards the bar. “Neelix, play the song will you?”

 

The hauntingly beautiful voice and quiet guitar and piano sounds drifted over the crowd in Sandrines. B’Elanna felt like crying. It was a beautiful song that said everything Chakotay had wanted to hear for years. The fallout from this was going to be awful for everybody. Chakotay was going to hate himself. The captain would probably never come out of her ready room again. The crew all looked forlorn. This was going to be tough.

 

Tom arrived in sickbay to find the Doctor hovering over the captain. She was struggling to sit up.

“Captain, would you please sit still. You have a concussion and a laceration on the back of your head and if you don’t sit still, I won’t be able to repair it. Ahh… Mr Paris. You’re here. Could you see to the cut on the Commander’s face? His head injury is minor. It must be true about drunks feeling no pain.” He smiled at his supposed witticism and then concentrated on the back of the captain’s head. It was lucky he couldn’t see the captain’s face.

 

Tom wasn’t so fortunate. He’d never seen her look this way. She looked desolated. What had happened was awful for her. Her closest friend and he guessed, the man she loved, had just humiliated and berated her in front of the crew. He felt so sorry for her. Her luck or lack thereof had held out again and she’d lost the man she loved. Life could be a bitch sometimes. Tom just hoped there was some way they could fix this.

 

Tom quickly ran the dermal regenerator over the cut on Chakotay’s head. He scanned him just to make sure, but the Doctor was right. He was just rotten drunk. He didn’t envy him in the morning. He was going to have one monster of a hangover and then when he realised what he’d done… Well, let’s just say he was glad he wasn’t going to be in Chakotay’s boots.

 

B’Elanna came through the doors just as the Doctor finished with the captain. “Captain, you’re free to go, but I want you to wear this cortical monitor and I would prefer if you weren’t alone. Lieutenant, perhaps you could stay with the captain.” Kathryn looked at the Doctor and then at B’Elanna. She was still a bit dazed by the whole situation and a little queasy. But truth be told, she didn’t want to be alone just at the moment. She was gutted. Maybe B’Elanna knew what was going on. She and Chakotay were close.

 

She still couldn’t believe what had happened and what he’d said. She’d had no inkling that he despised her so much. Her chest felt tight and her throat closed over at the thought. She was just glad that she hadn’t said anything to him about her feelings. It would have made the situation so much worse. The trouble was that she knew, and it was ravaging her insides. She had to get control. She didn’t want to cry in front of Tom and the Doctor. To be honest, she didn’t want to cry full stop, but she knew that once she got back to her quarters the façade would drop and the tears would come.

 

She brushed her hair back from her face and slid off the bio bed. “Very well, Doctor. Lieutenant, are you agreeable? We can go by your quarters if you like and collect your things.” She was all business.

 

“Yes, Captain. That’s fine. I don’t need much.” B’Elanna glanced briefly at Tom. Just as they were about to leave, there was a moan from the other bio bed and Chakotay was trying to sit up.

 

“Kathryn! Kathryn, where are you? Kathryn?” He was trying to get up off the bed. Tom put a restraining hand on him.

 

“No, Chief. You’re staying put.” Chakotay started struggling against him. The Doctor headed towards them with a hypo ready.

 

“Leave me alone, Paris. Get the fuck off. You can’t have her. She’s mine. Bastard Kashyk tried, but she’s mine. Kathryn! Kathryn, where the hell did she go? Don’t go, don’t go.” He started to whine. There was a hiss as the Doctor emptied the contents into the Commander’s neck. His speech became even more slurred. “Mine, so beautiful so…fucking …she’s mine…gone…miii…” He faded into oblivion.

 

Kathryn had her hand over her mouth. Now she was completely confused. It made no sense whatsoever. She couldn’t stay here. This was all too much. She just took off out the door with B’Elanna hurrying behind. They got into the lift but the captain had her head down and her arms wrapped around herself. B’Elanna didn’t want to intrude and honestly didn’t know what to say. They got out at deck eight and made their way to B’Elanna’s quarters. She keyed in her code and they stepped inside. Kathryn stood just inside the doors while B’Elanna gathered her things.

 

“That’s it, Captain. We can go now.” They stepped back into the corridor and back to the lift. It was the same as on the trip down. Not a word or a gesture. B’Elanna wasn’t looking forward to this, but there was no-one else and she knew if it was the other way around, the captain would be there for her.

 

They finally arrived at her quarters and they entered her immaculate rooms. Kathryn made her way into her bedroom and emerged moments later wearing one of the ugliest brown furry dressing gowns B’Elanna had ever seen. She looked like that character from one of Tom’s old holoadventures. What was it? That’s right. Star Wars. She looked just like a Wookie. The stress was getting to B’Elanna. She had this overwhelming urge to laugh. This was all so ridiculous. She gathered her wits. “Captain, I might as well get changed too. Do you mind if I use your bathroom?” Kathryn looked up at her and nodded.

 

“Yes, fine, Lieutenant. It’s just through there.” Kathryn sat herself down on the couch and snuggled into her father’s old dressing gown. She’d had it since she was in her teens. It was her comforter. A piece of her father that gave her solace when she was sad, and peace of mind when she was worried. She needed it tonight. Badly.

 

B’Elanna returned to the living area, dressed in her pyjamas. “Captain, I was thinking of having a glass of red wine. Would you like one too?”

 

“Yes, thank you, B’Elanna. That would be fine.” She tried a smile. Not entirely successfully, but it was better than nothing.

 

B’Elanna handed her a glass and sat down on the couch. It was difficult to know what to say. She was very fond of the captain, but they were far from close friends. That had been Chakotay’s domain, but it looked like the position was up for grabs after tonight. The silence was deafening. She had to say something.

“How’s your head, Captain? Do you need anymore painkillers?” God help her if she answered yes. She wasn’t quite sure where to go from here. Kathryn touched the back of her head, feeling the newly healed skin.

 

“It’s a bit sore, but fine. Thank you for asking.” Her voice hitched and B’Elanna’s head shot up and watched as the face of the strongest, proudest woman she knew, crumpled and she begin to sob.

 

B’Elanna wasn’t quite sure what to do. She moved closer to the captain and put her hand on her shoulder. Kathryn turned her head away and frantically wiped at her eyes. B’Elanna frowned. This wasn’t working.

 

“Captain, permission to speak freely?”

 

Kathryn looked at her with watery eyes. She nodded her head.

 

“Captain, tonight has been awful for you and for all of us. I don’t know what got into Chakotay, but I do know this. He loves you and he wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt you. You heard him in sick bay. He adores you. In Sandrine’s… Well, it was just the alcohol talking. He’s going to hate himself in the morning and not just because he’s going to have the hangover of the century. I think he was jealous of the Inspector. He tries very hard to hide it, but he’s very possessive of you and I think he saw Kashyk as a real threat.” She looked at the captain to gauge her reaction. Time for a bit of levity. B’Elanna raised an eyebrow. “He was very attractive in an evil, sexy madman kind of way. Huh?”

 

Kathryn smiled slightly. “Yes, he was, but I never trusted him. I knew from the start that he was vicious and deceitful. I thought Chakotay would have realised I would never have had anything to do with someone like that. He should know me better than that.” Suddenly Kathryn realised what she was saying. “This is crazy. I shouldn’t be speaking to you like this. I’m your commanding officer. I’m sorry, Lieutenant. I think I’ll go to bed.”

 

She went to get up, but B’Elanna took hold of her arm. “Captain. Kathryn? I hope you don’t mind me calling you that. I think you need to talk and maybe tonight we don’t have to be captain and lieutenant. Perhaps we can be Kathryn and B’Elanna – friends? Nothing that is said tonight leaves this room. Is that OK with you?” B’Elanna figured she would either be out an airlock in the next few minutes or maybe…..

 

“Thank you, B’Elanna. I could do with a friend and yes, please call me Kathryn. I think it’s long overdue that I let down the barriers a little.” She took a sip of her wine. She looked at B’Elanna feeling very vulnerable, but she had to ask. “Do you think that he hates me?” She started getting teary again. “He was so angry. I’ve never seen him like that. I know his fall was an accident, but before that I was actually afraid of him. I’ve never felt that before and it worries me.”

 

B’Elanna had seen Chakotay in some hideous situations and had seen him angry, very angry, but he’d never lost it. If he hadn’t been drunk last night and fallen on the captain, she was sure he would have controlled himself.

 

“Kathryn, he’s a man of deep feelings and those he has for you, well, they’re way down there. I can promise you he’d never hurt you. You have to believe that.”

 

“I hope you’re right, B’Elanna. I love him, you know. I was going to tell him tonight, but that got shot down in flames rather spectacularly. I’m not sure what to do now. I feel somewhat of a fool and the crew… God, what must they think? They must think I’m some sort of whore.”

 

“Kathryn, the crew would never think that. Kahless, even if you had been sleeping with Kashyk, and they know that you weren’t, they’d never think that of you. They’re devoted to you.”

 

Kathryn finished her wine and placed her glass on the table. “I hope you’re right, B’Elanna. Tomorrow isn’t going to be a good day. Thanks for the shoulder, but I think I should get to bed. Facing the morning is going to be hard enough without having to do it without sleep.” She got up and went to the cabinet, found some sheets and helped B’Elanna make up the couch.

 

“Will you be comfortable enough here? I’m sorry about this, but I couldn’t bear spending the night in sickbay.”

 

B’Elanna smiled. She understood absolutely. “Kathryn, this will be fine and I wouldn’t let my worst enemy stay in there overnight. Sleep well, Kathryn and you never know, things might look brighter in the morning.”

 

“Thanks, B’Elanna. Let’s hope so.” She gave her a quick hug. B’Elanna was surprised but pleased with the contact. She realised it must be difficult for a tactile person such as the captain to always remain aloof from everyone. “Goodnight B’Elanna. Sleep well.”

 

“You too, Kathryn. Call if you need me.” The lights dimmed and they both tried to sleep but worried about what tomorrow would bring.

 

In sickbay things were not going so well. Chakotay was turning out to be a belligerent drunk. He kept yelling for Kathryn and wouldn’t keep still. The Doctor had given him an antidote to the alcohol but it would take a few minutes to work. In the meantime, Tom was coming off second best. So far he had a black eye and a bloody nose. He decided that being at the helm was much safer than this. It was the last time he volunteered for anything.

 

Hang on. He hadn’t volunteered. The captain just assigned him here. He wouldn’t let that happen again. Suddenly Chakotay sat up. “I’m going to be sick.” The Doctor had been prepared and handed Chakotay a container. When he was finished, he fell back on to the bio bed with a groan.

 

The Doctor left the room to deal with the container and Tom took another scan of the commander. He was now sober. He’d gone from drunk to hangover in a matter of minutes. He’d be asking for analgesia any moment. Tom had suffered enough hangovers in his time to know exactly how Chakotay felt.

 

“Oh spirits, my head. Doctor? Oh Tom, could I have something for my head? God, I feel awful. What happened?” He was rubbing his eyes, trying in vain to clear his head. Tom decided to be kind and gave him the hangover cure and waited to see if he remembered anything from the night before. He wasn’t going to be a happy camper when he realised what he’d done.

 

Kathryn couldn’t sleep. She was shattered. How had it all gone so wrong? She’d had such incredibly bad luck with love over the years. Maybe it wasn’t for her. Perhaps she was destined to be alone, and maybe that was best. Anyone she’d ever been close to had suffered in some way or other. She just didn’t know if she could cope with the loneliness. She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow and sobbed quietly. Eventually exhaustion took over and she fell into a restless sleep.

 

Tom had escorted Chakotay back to his quarters in the early hours of the morning, after the Doc had run the regenerator over Tom’s injuries. Chakotay was still slightly disorientated and had no idea what he’d done that evening. Once inside his quarters, he headed for bed.

 

“Are you ok, Commander? The Doc is monitoring you from sick bay, so if you need anything, he’s but a comm. signal away.” Tom noticed the empty whiskey glass on the table.

 

“Thanks, Paris. I’ll be fine. This isn’t the first hangover I’ve had. I’m sure I’ll survive. Let yourself out, will you? Goodnight.”

 

Tom left, not sure whether it was the best thing to do, but he could hardly stay if he wasn’t wanted. As he walked past the captain’s quarters, he wondered how B’Elanna was going. Things were grim.

 

Chakotay lay on his bed looking at the ceiling. He hadn’t done this in a long time. He wasn’t a good drunk. Never had been. That’s why he avoided alcohol most of the time. He closed his eyes, wondering what had happened. He remembered going to the holodeck but not much after that. All of a sudden he saw a picture of Kathryn’s distraught face and his gut clenched. He sat up in bed. What had he done? He tried to remember, but it was all so hazy. He hit his comm badge hard. “Paris, can you come to my quarters now?”

Tom received the hail in the turbo lift and reversed course. Damn. He didn’t want to be the one to tell Chakotay what had happened. He was pretty sure that Chakotay would have no qualms about ‘shooting the messenger’. Just his luck.

 

He arrived back at Chakotay’s quarters and the door slid open as he approached. He gritted his teeth and entered. Chakotay was standing by the view port and swung around when Tom entered.

 

“Tell me what happened tonight, Tom. What did I do?” He didn’t look good. Tom took a deep breath.

 

“Maybe this would be best left until the morning when you’ve had some sleep.”

 

Chakotay gave him a good imitation of ‘someone’s’ death glare.

 

“Ok, ok. What do you remember and perhaps I can fill in the blanks?”

 

Chakotay leant back against the view port with his arms folded. “I remember being angry with her. The whole Kashyk thing had me fuming. The risk she took and … Well anyway, the Kashyk thing. I came back here and had a drink. I got ready for the party and had another drink….or two. Things start to get a bit hazy from there. I just remember being so damn angry. The only memory from the party I have is of Kath…the captain’s face. She looked upset.” He looked Tom right in the eye. “Did I say or do something to upset her? Shit, I know I did. What did I do, Paris? Tell me.” He was running his hand through his hair.

 

Damn, thought Tom. What to do? Skim over it and under play it or tell it like it was? Tom decided that it was make or break time. If he told him exactly what happened and the captain’s reaction…maybe? Besides, he was angry with Chakotay. He’d behaved like a real jerk tonight and had hurt the captain and tried to hurt B’Elanna. Maybe this was the wakeup call he needed.

 

“Ok, Commander, just don’t get angry with me, will you? This is what happened. You arrived before the Captain. You were pretty drunk already. You got another whiskey and downed that. That’s when I noticed you were loaded. You were talking to some ensigns, making a bit of an ass of yourself from what I could gather.”

 

Chakotay gave him a hard stare. “Get on with it, Paris.”

 

“Alright. Then the captain arrived. She headed straight to you, with a big smile on her face. At the time you were arguing with Sam and Neelix about having another drink. B’Elanna and I saw what was happening and came over. The captain spoke to you and you swung around and spilled your drink all over her. B’Elanna tried to get you to leave and when I tried to help you told me to ‘fuck off.’ Then the captain got mad. She told you to leave. Then you got really mad and grabbed her and shook her. Basically you wanted to know why she was mixing with all of us lesser folk and didn’t she have, I think your words were ‘some ambassador or inspector to screw’. Then you asked her what she was going to do in the next sector and if she was going to ‘fuck the whole ruling council’ or some such thing. B’Elanna then tried to get you away from her and threatened to hit you if you kept it up. You turned on B’Elanna then and I tried to stop you. You took a swing at me, missed and fell. You took the captain down with you. You were out cold. She finished up with a nasty cut and a concussion. That about wraps it up. Oh, except for the fact that I think you broke her heart. She’d arranged with Neelix for some dancing later in the evening and she had chosen a special song that he was to play when you two were together. So, there you go, Commander. Not bad for one nights work. B’Elanna is with the captain in her quarters. The Doc allowed her to go home, but she couldn’t be left alone with her head injury.” Tom watched the dawning horror on Chakotay’s face. He watched as he slid to the floor under the view port and put his head in his hands.

 

He felt sorry for him, but he’d brought this on himself. The man was an idiot. Everybody else could see how the captain felt about him and he was completely oblivious. He mooned around the place like some poor love sick Romeo, filled with unrequited love for the captain when it was obvious that he was so special to her. The rest of them were just glad when she gave them the time of day. He got to have meals with her, holodeck time and all those hours alone with her in her ready room. He didn’t deserve her. Well, he may have blown it, and by the look of him slumped on the floor, he was pretty upset with the thought.

 

“Are you going to be ok, Commander? Do you want me to stay?” He wasn’t sure if Chakotay was listening or not.

 

Chakotay slowly raised his head. He looked devastated. “Is she alright? Her concussion. Is it ok? I didn’t hurt her anywhere else, did I?”

 

“No. She’s going to be fine physically and the Doctor’s monitoring her. She’ll be up and about in no time.” He wasn’t quite sure what else to say. It wasn’t the physical wounds that were the problem.

 

“I’ll be fine Paris. You go.” He didn’t move from the floor.

 

Tom turned to go. “Chakotay, don’t do anything stupid, will you? She loves you, you know and you can fix this. Just think carefully before you do anything.”

He left before Chakotay could respond.

 

Tom contacted sick bay. “Doc, are you monitoring Chakotay?”

 

“Yes, Mr Paris. Why?”

 

”Nothing, Doc. Just checking. Keep an eye on him, will you?”

 

“Certainly, Mr Paris. Goodnight.”

 

Kathryn woke early, feeling like she hadn’t slept at all. Her night had been full of strange fragments of dreams and moments of wakefulness. She got up and ran her bath. As she slid into the water, she thought of last night’s bath and all her hopes that had been so cruelly dashed. She felt the tears coming again and stifled them.

 

Next door things weren’t much better. Chakotay hadn’t slept at all. He’d decided he had to see Kathryn as soon as possible. He was going to beg her forgiveness, resign and then organise to be let off the ship at the next appropriate port of call. It was the only possible solution. As the night had progressed, he had remembered more and more of the evening before. What had horrified him had been the memory of the fear in Kathryn’s eyes as he held her and shook her. He never wanted to see that again. He’d destroyed her trust in him and he was of no use to her if there was no trust. He’d ordered the computer to signal him when she was awake. It had just informed him. He got up had a quick sonic shower and made his way to her door. He was raw. His emotions flayed open and he was at her mercy. Whatever she did to him he deserved.

 

B’Elanna answered the door. She had only just woken up and was looking a little dishevelled. “Chakotay! Hi umm… Kathryn is in the bathroom. Did you want to see her? I’m not sure that’s a good idea. She was pretty upset last night.” She was surprised to see him here so early. She wasn’t sure the captain was up to this confrontation just yet. She had heard her crying last night and had been aware of all her tossing and turning.

 

“It’s ok, B’Elanna. I won’t hurt her again. I just have to see her. It won’t take long. Can you tell her I’m here?” He looked haunted. She was worried about him. Kahless, what a mess.

 

She walked through Kathryn’s bedroom and knocked gently on the bathroom door. “Captain, you have a visitor. It’s Chakotay. He says he has to see you. What do you want me to…” The door slid open and Kathryn was standing there in her peach silk dressing gown. Her face was impassive, but she had the same haunted look in her eyes as Chakotay had in his.

 

“I’ll see him B’Elanna.” She walked out to the living area and turned to B’Elanna. “Would you excuse us, Lieutenant?”

 

B’Elanna was still a bit confused. “Huh? Oh yeah. Sure. Call me if you need me.” She left the captain’s quarters still in her pyjamas and no shoes. Kahless, she hoped there were no loaded phasers in there within easy reach. She decided to head to Tom’s quarters. She needed to see him and be held close.

 

Chakotay stood looking at the woman he loved more than life and couldn’t speak. All the words that he’d prepared had gone. He just stood there staring. He opened his mouth but nothing came out. He wanted to hold her, to make all the hurt he’d caused go away, but he knew she wouldn’t let him. He hung his head. Perhaps if he wasn’t looking at her, he could remember what he’d come to say.

“Kathryn, I’m so sorry.” He lifted his head and looked at her. “Tom told me what happened and what I said. I know you can’t forgive me and I’m not asking you to, but you have to know how sorry I am.” He placed a padd on her desk. “That’s my resignation. I’ll continue doing the duty rosters and reports until such time as you can arrange a replacement, but I won’t be on the bridge. I also ask to be let off the ship at the next suitable M class planet that will take me in. That’s all I needed to say. Thank you for hearing me out.” He turned and headed for the door.

 

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare just turn away and walk out the door. You coward.” She was shaking. She was angry and sad and dismayed. Chakotay swung around and looked at her. Her face was flushed and her eyes were flashing. She took a few steps towards him. Her fists were clenched and she was going to make him pay. How dare he do this to her?

 

“You think you can do what you did to me last night, resign and then run away and everything will be alright? You bastard.” She rushed at him and started pounding his chest. He just stood there and took it. “You bastard. You broke my heart and now you’re going to desert me. You fucking coward.” She was running out of energy. She pounded his chest one more time and then used her fists to push herself away. “Get out. Just get out. If you want to run away and not try to fix this, then go. Just go. I don’t want to see you again.” She walked to her viewport and stood hugging herself, looking at the passing stars.

 

“Kathryn? Kathryn please. I’d dearly love to fix this but I don’t know how. What I did and said to you was unforgivable, but I’ll do anything to make it right. I’m so sorry.” His voice caught. The emotion of the moment coupled with no sleep was taking its toll.

 

“What sort of person do you think I am, Chakotay? Do you really think that I’d sleep with someone like Kashyk? That I could feel anything for such a man? Do you really have so low an opinion of me? I thought you knew me. Obviously I was wrong.” She still had her back to him. He moved closer to her.

 

“Kathryn, I was jealous. Mind numbingly jealous. You’d ignored me for all the time he was on board and discussed none of your plans with me. I didn’t know what to think. He was obviously attracted to you and to be honest, I thought you felt the same. He was a dangerous man, Kathryn, and I was worried. You took a terrible risk and I feared for you.”

 

“Chakotay, I was well aware of what sort of man he was. It was a game. A game that could only have two players. I wasn’t willing to risk anyone else. The reason I kept my distance from you while he was on board was this.” She waved her hand between them. “Our connection. It’s so obvious, and I knew if Kashyk saw us together, he’d know. He would see how we feel about each other and you’d be in danger. You’re my weakness, Chakotay, and he wasn’t allowed to see that. Maybe I should have told you what I had planned, but he was ruthless. There was no guarantee that they wouldn’t have tortured you or hurt you to get information and that I couldn’t have tolerated. I’m sorry if you felt excluded but it was for good reason.” She turned and looked at him. “It worked. That’s what’s important. We’re free. That was my goal.”

 

“Kathryn, you could’ve been hurt or worse, and I couldn’t have borne that. I love you, Kathryn. I have for years, but you leave me reeling. I don’t know if I can cope with the strain of loving you.” He gave a tentative smile, and moved a little closer. “If anything should happen to you, it would be the end of me. This, I don’t think is healthy, especially for the command team.”

 

“Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing, Chakotay. Maybe our survival instinct for each other will save us one day. I can’t believe that the love we have for each other can be a bad thing. It certainly doesn’t feel that way. When I’m with you, I’m filled with joy and peace. Can this really be wrong? That was what I was going to tell you last night. Being around someone like Kashyk made me realise how much I love you, and how much I cherish your steady presence and you innate goodness. Do you think we can fix this? Do you still hate me and what I did?” She was looking at him with her heart exposed.

 

He was lost. He had no strength of will where she was concerned. “Kathryn, I could never hate you. I love you more each day and I can’t ever imagine not loving you. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” He was standing before her completely at her mercy.

 

She knew he loved her, had known for years. This whole debacle had been partly her fault. If she’d told him of her feelings years ago instead of taking him on this wild ‘on again off again’ ride that was their relationship, they wouldn’t have finished up in this predicament.

 

She loved him, had for years. There was nothing for it. She couldn’t let him go and she certainly couldn’t complete this journey without him. “Computer, play Janeway RF1.” She held her arms out to him. “Dance with me, Chakotay?”

 

He stepped forward and gathered her to him. He was overcome with relief. The feel of her in his arms was such a joy. It swathed his soul in peace and he felt whole again. He held her close to him and swayed to the beautiful music. The tune was haunting and the words spoke to his heart. His tears were falling into her hair. She had her head resting on his chest and she was holding him tight. He leaned back a little to see her face. She had her eyes closed and a serene smile played around her mouth.

 

“I love you, Kathryn. Thank you for not giving up on me and I’m so sorry.” She lifted her head slightly and placed her fingers over his lips.

 

“Enough, Chakotay. We move on from here. I love you too and we’ll make this work. We just have to learn to forgive each other. We’re two very strong willed and stubborn people. This won’t be the last time that we have to forgive one another, but I think our love is strong enough to survive.” She was caressing his face, running her fingers down his jaw and over his lips. She leant forward and kissed his neck. She nipped his skin lightly and then licked the spot. A shiver ran down his spine. He ran his hand up her arm and around her neck, running his fingers through the back of her hair. She rested her head back into his hand. He lowered his head slowly and their lips met in a gentle kiss. They pulled apart and looked into each others eyes. Her hand slipped around the back of his head and pulled his head down to hers. Their mouths ground together, tongues entwined and arousal spiralled. Kathryn was making small whimpering noises that spoke directly to Chakotay’s heated blood. He began kissing down her neck, nipping and sucking at the skin there. She was fresh out of her bath and smelled of clean, fresh woman and Kathryn.

 

He pushed her gown off her shoulders and began kissing her shoulders. She gasped, but not with pleasure. He opened his eyes and was confronted with bruises in the shape of finger marks on her shoulder. He pulled the other sleeve down. There were matching bruises on her other arm. He stepped away from her. She clasped her gown around her and stepped towards him. “Chakotay, please.”

 

“Did I do that to you? Kathryn, answer me. Did I do that to you?” He was horrified. He’d been an animal. How could she bear to have him touch her?

 

“Chakotay, you didn’t mean it? I bruise very easily. Please don’t do this. It isn’t that bad. Please, Chakotay.” She had forgotten about the bruises. They’d seemed unimportant in the scheme of things.

 

“Kathryn, I don’t know what to say. You should have locked me in the brig. I’d never… I’m…” He was close to tears again. So was she. They had been so close. She walked into her bedroom. He was standing there not quite knowing what to do. He was about to turn and leave when she came back into the room. She handed him a dermal regenerator.

 

“Fix them for me, my love.” She pulled her arms free from the sleeves and let her gown drop to her waist. It was held in place by the tie. Her breasts were exposed. He took the regenerator from her and looked into her eyes. She was looking at him with total trust. He skimmed the back of his fingers over her right nipple then began passing the regenerator over the bruises. First her right shoulder then her left, lightly skimming her skin with his fingers until it was flawless. She was breathing quickly and her skin was covered in goosebumps. She took the instrument from his hand and threw it onto the couch. Taking that same hand, she held it to her breast and leant forward into his embrace. “Make love to me, Chakotay.”

 

He gasped a breath. “Oh spirits, Kathryn.” He picked her up and carried her to her bedroom. He laid her gently on the bed and sat beside her. He was mesmerised by her. He touched her breasts again, lightly scraping his rough hands over her nipples and watched as they puckered. He slowly untied the cord at her waist and pulled apart the sides of her gown. She was naked underneath and so beautiful. He ran his fingers over her stomach and down her thighs. She began to squirm.

 

“Chakotay please.” She reached forward and started pulling his shirt from his pants. Her hand glided underneath and caressed his skin. He was so smooth and warm. He sat back a little and lifted his shirt over his head. He kicked off his shoes and slid his pants off. Naked he lay down beside her.

 

They were only centimetres apart, not touching but close enough to breathe each others breath. She lifted her hand and traced his tattoo. He closed his eyes. Suddenly he felt her lips on his. He dragged her body close and they melded together. He wrapped his leg around her to hold her close to him. He was hot and throbbing against her stomach. She began to move her hips against him. He began to move slowly down her body, licking and kissing his way past her breasts, down her abdomen and sliding between her legs. He lifted one leg over his shoulder and she opened to him, hot and ready. He used his fingers to gently pull her folds apart then blew softly over her heated flesh. She groaned and thrust herself towards him. He moved forward, breathing in her scent and then placed his mouth over her.

 

She let out a cry and called his name. His tongue traced her opening and moved up to flick over her bundle of nerves. She was writhing on the bed, grinding herself into his face. He used his thumb to massage her clitoris while he licked and sucked at her folds. She started pulling at him, dragging him up her body. “Now, Chakotay. I’m so close. Now please.”

 

He sat back on his heels against the bed head. Lifting her up, he settled her over him. She slowly slid down on to his rigid penis. The sensation was exquisite. He leant forward and suckled at her breasts. Her head was thrown back and she was whimpering. He began to move slowly and deliberately, deep gentle thrusts. He was supporting her back as she raised and lowered herself on him. She was gasping for breath. “Oh God. Oh God. Nnnggg!” Chakotay started thrusting up and she began to slam herself down on to him, grinding herself on to him to stimulate her clitoris. They were close. He was torn between wanting release and never wanting this to end. He felt her muscles start to clench. He bit down on her nipple and she screamed as her vagina clamped around him. He let out a roar and slammed himself into her one last time. She slumped forward on to his chest and he held her tight. They were both out of breath.

 

She started laughing lightly. “God, I hope no-one was out in the corridor or security is going to be rushing through those doors any second.” She lifted her head off his chest and looked at him lovingly. “We’re going to have to increase the sound proofing in here. I’ve never been a screamer, but well… I’ll speak to B’Elanna about it later today.” She placed her hand on his face and smiled at him. “Are you alright, Chakotay? Are you happy?”

 

He graced her with a huge dimpled smile. He was happy, joyous in fact, for the first time in ages. “Happy doesn’t even begin to cover it. You’re amazing, beautiful, smart and as sexy as hell. Spirits, I love you, woman.”

 

She laughed again, a glorious sound to his ears. “I love you too. So very much.” She kissed him gently. “I have to use the bathroom. Then I’m going to speak to Tuvok about covering our shifts today. I’m so tired. All I can think of doing now is sleeping in your arms. How does that sound?”

 

“Wonderful. You go and I’ll straighten up the bed.”

 

While she was gone, he remade the bed then replicated them some teas. She emerged from the bathroom and came and sat next to him on the bed. She sipped her drink, screwing up her nose. “This isn’t coffee.”

 

He laughed at the look on her face. “No, it isn’t. I thought if we were going to sleep, coffee was the last thing you needed.”

 

“You’re not going to become more of a nag now we’re together are you? You’re bad enough already.”

 

He grinned at her. “No, I won’t be any worse, but I’m not going to stop either. You’re your own worst enemy and it’s my job to look after you.” He quirked an eyebrow. “All of you.”

 

She grinned at him. “You win.” She picked up her comm. badge and hailed Tuvok.

“Tuvok, the commander and I are going to take the day off and catch up on some much needed sleep. Can you mind the fort?” She could hear the whoops and hollers of Tom, Harry and the other bridge crew. “I’m sure Mr Paris will be of great help to you. Janeway out.”

 

She smiled at Chakotay. “Some people seem pleased. You know, B’Elanna was very kind last night. I think it would be nice to spend some time with her and Tom. Perhaps we could have dinner on the holodeck one night.”

 

He was smiling at her indulgently. “You mean like regular people, on a regular date? I don’t know, Kathryn. It sounds awfully like the normal thing to do. Do you think we’ll cope?”

 

She punched him in the arm. “I’m sure we’ll manage somehow. Come on, Mr Ordinary, it’s time for sleep. I can’t keep my eyes open a minute longer.”

 

They crawled under the covers and curled up together. “Goodnight, my Kathryn. I love you.”

 

“Goodnight, my love. Computer, dim lights.”

 

Five minutes later there was just the sound of soft breathing over the quiet thrum of Voyagers engines.

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