Summary: Voyager has been back for a couple of months but Kathryn’s life has become a misery as she is pursued by the press. She enlists the help of her best friend.
Happy Birthday Belanna. I hope you have a wonderful day my friend.
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
Chakotay hurried towards the front door, pulling on a shirt and buttoning it as he jogged up the hallway. “Hold on. I’m coming!”
The pounding on the door got louder.
It was a few minutes after 0600. Early, even for the locals, and he hadn’t been expecting visitors.
He yanked the door open to find Kathryn Janeway standing there.
“Kathryn!” His face lit with delight but almost instantly, his brow furrowed with worry when he noticed how harried and upset she looked. “What’s wrong?”
She pushed past him and then quickly turned back, peering through the partially opened door, before slamming it shut and falling back against it. After taking a few deep breaths, she looked up at him, and tried to smile.
Chakotay smiled back, then got the shock of his life when her face started to crumple and she turned away to hide her distress.
Kathryn Janeway crying?! It was something that he’d seen so rarely that it took him completely by surprise and he hesitated. It was a crucial mistake. Before he could offer comfort, she kicked herself away from the door, swiping at her eyes and moved out of his reach. He cursed himself for allowing another opportunity to pass him by.
Kathryn chided herself. “I’m sorry. Damn it! I promised myself that I wasn’t going to let them get to me.”
“The god-damned press, that’s who; reporters, photographers and news hounds of all breeds. They’re like damned vultures and I’m the carrion. Everywhere I turn, they’re hovering and they won’t leave me alone. It’s driving me insane.” Her eyes now glinted with anger, the moment of vulnerability gone.
Chakotay frowned and ushered her through to the living area. He had a quick look through the blinds to check that there was no one outside.
Kathryn noticed and reassured him. “I lost them somewhere over Nebraska. But I had to leave home at 0400 and lead them on a merry chase for nearly an hour before I finally shook them off my tail.” She took a deep breath and slumped into his couch. “I’m sorry to land on your doorstep out of the blue like this but…” Her eyes met his. “I didn’t know where else to go.” All of a sudden she noticed his dishevelled appearance. “Oh God, I’m sorry. You were asleep… I hope I haven’t disturbed you. Is Seven here?”
As Kathryn spoke, Chakotay ran his hands through his ruffled hair and began to answer, but did a double take when she asked about Seven. “Huh?”
Kathryn frowned slightly and then shook her head. “Never mind. Umm… what were you going to say?”
“Only that you’re welcome any time.” He smiled at her. “It’s been ages and it’s wonderful to see you.”
She tried to smile, but she wasn’t very successful. His kindness had always undermined her resolve. She’d been dealing with sycophants and grovelling toadies ever since her arrival home and Chakotay’s gentle sincerity set her on the back foot.
But God, it was so good to see him. Maybe now she could find some sense of equilibrium. It had been ages since she’d seen him. Months in fact, but it was no one’s fault but her own. Work had kept her busy but it was merely a convenient excuse. If she were honest with herself, she’d been avoiding him and she was a little ashamed of herself. Nevertheless, here she was. When the chips were down and she needed help, he’d been the first person she’d turned to. That though gave her pause.
This time when she looked up at him, her smile was genuine. “It’s good to see you too. And thank you. I know I can always count on you.”
He grinned and then a slight frown knitted his brow. She didn’t look well. There were dark circles under her eyes and she’d lost weight. Something was wrong.
“What’s been happening, Kathryn? I saw Tom and B’Elanna only the other day and they said you were well, but … when did all the problems start with the press?”
Kathryn ran her hands through her hair. It had grown longer again and she pulled it back into a ponytail, tying it in a loose knot to keep it off her face.
Chakotay watched enthralled, his palms itching to touch it. He had to put his hands in his pockets to stop himself from doing something that would embarrass them both.
“It’s been going on virtually since we arrived home. You must have had to deal with it too, and surely you’ve seen the endless holovids of me on the news broadcasts.”
Chakotay shrugged. “I don’t have a vid screen here. I find it easier to avoid all that sort of thing.”
Kathryn nodded wryly. “Hmmm, I thought you might. Very sensible.” She huffed out a breath. “Well, at first it was a novelty and a bit of fun, but that soon wore thin. They’ve been at me for months.”
“Can’t Starfleet do something about it?”
Kathryn snorted. “It’s their press reps half the time. I’m newsworthy, apparently. Every time I step out the door I’m holosnapped or videoed. There’s constant speculation about my work, my private life and the people around me. I can’t go anywhere without being followed. If I blow my damned nose it makes front-page news. God forbid that I should actually do something vaguely interesting. What makes it all so frustrating, is that if they can’t find something or get facts, they simply make it up. People have stopped coming near me for fear of being dragged into the mire. I swear I’m more isolated here than I ever was on Voyager.”
“Oh, Kathryn. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. What about your mother and sister?”
She slumped further into the couch and grabbing a cushion, hugged it to her chest. “The press have been camped on the footpath outside my mother’s house since we got home and I’m loath to disrupt Phoebe’s life. She has a new baby and doesn’t want, or need, that sort of intrusion.” She looked up at him and shrugged, giving him an apologetic smile. “I’m afraid I’ve come to disrupt your life instead. I hope you don’t mind?”
Chakotay smiled. “Not at all. Feel free to disrupt it anytime.” His grin broadened and he was pleased to see her face break into a corresponding smile. Ahh, but he’d missed her. The air between them started to crackle and before he did something foolish, he took a deep breath and asked. “Would you like something to drink, eat…?”
Kathryn also took a deep breath, aware of the tension in the air, but merely nodded in answer to his question, there would be time for analysing these sensations later.
He was about to head into the kitchen and get them both a cup of coffee, when she spoke again. “Chakotay, I don’t want to impose, but would you mind very much if I stayed here for a few days. Maybe, if they can’t find me, they’ll back off and find some other more deserving celebrity to focus on.”
Instead of whooping for joy, as he wanted to, he controlled himself and sat on the coffee table in front of her. Taking her hands in his he lifted one to his mouth and kissed it, ignoring her surprised gasp. “Kathryn you’re welcome to stay for as long as you like, but I’m afraid it won’t take long for them to find you here. I’m isolated, but not completely out of the public eye. Reporters drop by every week or so to see if I’ve done anything exciting with my life. So far I’ve been a big disappointment, but finding you here might just be classified as such.” He shrugged and grinned. “Well, interesting at least.”
Kathryn frowned. That had occurred to her and she mumbled something under her breath but Chakotay didn’t hear. He leaned forward. “I beg your pardon. What was that?”
She looked up and gave him a droll look. “I was just thinking that the Delta Quadrant is looking pretty good from where I’m sitting at the moment.” Pulling her hands from his, she shoved the cushion back onto the couch and stood up. She strolled over to the fireplace and fiddled with a few of the ornaments there. “Oh well, thank you anyway, Chakotay. It looks like I’ll have to think of something else.”
He stood up and followed her. “You don’t have to go, Kathryn – not yet anyway. You’re safe here for a few days, at least, and I’m sure we can think of something. There must be somewhere we can go where they can’t find us.”
“Us?” Kathryn turned and looked at him.
His chest tightened in dread when he realised what he’d said. He was about to correct himself, when, as quick as lightning, she took his hand and pulled him back towards the couch. She tugged him down beside her, and with his hand still in hers, she looked at him intently.
“If we do go somewhere, it will probably have to be off-planet. Some of the more tenacious hacks have got scanners and they’ve taken to tracking my bio-signature.” Chakotay looked horrified and Kathryn rolled her eyes and nodded her head in agreement. “You know… I even considered stealing one of those bio-dampeners we used against the Borg so I could hide in plain sight. When I started thinking like that, I knew it was time to give myself a reality check.” She looked at him again, cocking her head to the side. “Would you really come with me? Just drop everything and run away with me?”
Chakotay’s face broke into a beaming smile, his eyes dancing. “In a nanosecond.”
“Nanosecond?” Kathryn frowned, snatching her hand away from his and mumbled. “Damn, I forgot…” She looked up at him but the sparkle had left her eyes. “What about Seven? You couldn’t just up and leave…”
He gave her a puzzled look. “I thought you mentioned her before, but I wasn’t sure. What has Seven got to do with anything?”
Kathryn took a deep breath. “You don’t have to lie to me, Chakotay. I want you to be happy – I want you both to be happy.”
“That’s very generous of you, Kathryn. I want you to be happy too, but Seven has nothing to do with my happiness. We’re not together. We never really were. I heard the rumours too.”
“Rumours? But the Admiral told me…”
“What did she tell you?”
A glint of anger lit Kathryn’s eyes. “You married her, Chakotay. In the Admiral’s timeline, you married Seven and then she died leaving you a broken man and me that hardened, bitter shell of a woman.”
Chakotay took a deep breath. “She was something wasn’t she? And I hope I’m looking that good in twenty-five years. You’re a beautiful woman in your seventies, Kathryn.”
Chakotay almost laughed at the look she gave him. Her lip curled and she pulled away a little. “I don’t know whether to be flattered or disturbed by that revelation. You were ogling the Admiral?”
He chuckled and watched as her face softened slightly. “Well, hardly ‘ogling’, but she was a compelling woman… much like her younger self.” He raised an eyebrow and waited for her reaction.
It wasn’t long in coming. “How did we get onto the subject of me, compelling as I am…” She quirked her eyebrow in return. “…when we were talking about you and Seven?”
“I prefer to talk about you rather than Seven, that’s why.”
Kathryn narrowed her eyes slightly and hummed. “Hmmm, you’re not off the hook yet. You did date her for a while, didn’t you? The rumours had some basis in truth – they always do.”
Chakotay nodded. “Yes, we had three, by-the-book ‘dates’. We were up to the fourth, ‘Dinner Dates and Dodging Disaster’- according to Seven’s and the Doctor’s research – but we were interrupted by your older self’s arrival.”
“I apologise… in advance.”
He grinned. “It wasn’t going well, so no apology is necessary.” This time he reached for her hand and held it cocooned between his. “That was as far as it went, Kathryn. Three dates, two kisses and one very relieved first officer.”
“Was Seven all right? She’s never mentioned anything.”
“Oh, she was fine. She was the one who called it off, although, she only just beat me to the punch…” Kathryn gave him a questioning look. “… so to speak.”
“So there’s no Seven?”
Chakotay shook his head. “No, Seven.”
“There’s no one else…?”
Again he shook his head.
Kathryn didn’t look convinced. “Absolutely no one?”
“Well, there is someone…”
Kathryn sat back a bit. “Ahh, I knew there had to be someone. Another blonde, I suppose?”
Chakotay shook his head again. “No, I’ve given up the blondes.”
Kathryn huffed. “Yeah, sure.”
There were sparks flying between them and Chakotay couldn’t help smiling. “It’s true. I have a new obsession. Well, not so new really, more like…” Kathryn made a move to get up from the couch, but he was still holding her hand and wouldn’t let her go. “Don’t you want to hear about it?”
“Not particularly. I hope you’ll be very happy.”
“Oh, I will be.” Kathryn was looking past his shoulder and he shifted to intercept her line of sight. “Kathryn, you must know.”
“That I love you and have for years.” He gave her a goofy grin. “Everyone else has known. Everyone but you, it seems.”
Kathryn relaxed back into her seat. “I used to know. But a lot of time has gone by and both of us have behaved rather ordinarily on occasion. Are you sure?”
He stroked his fingers down the side of her face. “Yes, I’m sure.” His eyes met hers. “What about you, Kathryn? Do you love me or can you at least see your way to try to love me?”
She huffed a laugh and, rolling her eyes, reached over and grabbed a handful of his shirt, pulling him closer. “Oh, I think I can force myself.” She was quiet for a long moment, staring into his eyes. Then she spoke quietly and seriously. “I love you, and I apologise for taking so long to tell you. Why I didn’t, I don’t know. Well, yes I do, but it doesn’t matter anymore.”
Chakotay laid his hand over hers where she held his shirt and smiled. He could see that she was waiting for him to kiss her and her confusion was endearing. “Well… I think it’s time for coffee. You’re usual?”
Kathryn gave him an astonished look. “Coffee! At a time like this!?”
His lips pursed as he tried to suppress a smile. “I think I remember someone telling me once that there was never a ‘wrong’ time for coffee and that it was the greatest organic suspension known to man.”
Kathryn shrugged. “Obviously a wise and enlightened individual. You can’t argue with that.” Chakotay moved to stand but Kathryn stopped him. “Before you go, I owe you this, at least.” She reached over, wrapping her arm around his neck and pulled him towards her. He wasn’t expecting her to be quite so forthright and she played this to her advantage, pressing her lips to his before he had a chance to prepare himself.
It didn’t take him long to catch on, however and after the initial shock, he joined in wholeheartedly, folding her into his arms and pushing her backwards into the couch. The kiss started with their heads at an awkward angle, but they soon overcame that obstacle and, after a few changes of position, they fitted together like two pieces of a puzzle. Their mouths softened and opened, and their gentle kiss soon escalated into a desperate and aching need to be part of one another. Their bodies pressed together, breast to chest and groin to groin. Suddenly, with hearts pounding and eyes wide, they pulled away from one another to catch their breaths. Their eyes met, both sparkling with delight then, with a moan, their lips met again. .
Hands finally found their way under clothing. Kathryn’s hand sliding down the back of his pants to hold his buttock as she ground against him. Chakotay’s hand was under her shirt and he palmed her breast, teasing her nipple to a hard point.
Dragging her head away, Kathryn gasped for air and laughed. “Oh, God. I didn’t expect this. I’d have come better prepared if I’d known.”
“What … naked?”
Kathryn barked a laugh and swatted at him. “Oh, charming. You’re such a romantic.”
Chakotay lifted himself away from her and bent down to quickly kiss her exposed nipple. He smiled at Kathryn’s gasp and then kissed her again before pulling back to look at her. “Romance? Kathryn, we’ve had seven years of foreplay, I’m a desperate man.” Leaning down he nuzzled her neck and whispered in her ear, “and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re just as desperate. Shall we go to bed?”
“I thought we were going to have coffee.”
He stood up and then scooped her into his arms. “Sorry, you missed your chance; you’re just going to have to wait.”
She slung her arms around his neck, and buried her face in his shoulder. “All right, I’ll forego this time, but this better not become a habit.”
“Woman, I think this might very well become a permanent state of affairs. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. You’re not doing anything for the foreseeable future are you?”
Kathryn kissed his neck. “Not a lot.”
“Good because I’m not planning on either of us leaving the bedroom anytime soon.”
“I can live with that.”
Hoisting her a little higher in his arms, Chakotay strode out of the living room, down the corridor to his bedroom. He deposited her on her feet at the end of the bed and they stood toe to toe, smiling at each other. Kathryn still had her arm draped around his neck and she pulled him closer so she could kiss him.
She whispered against his lips as she pulled away. “Thank you.”
“What on earth for? This is a dream come true for me.”
Kathryn sighed. “Thank you for rescuing me again. You seem to do that a lot, now that I think about it.”
“It’s purely selfish you know. I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the day when you’d be so grateful, that you’d throw yourself into my arms.”
“Throw myself into your arms?”
“Uh huh, right into my arms. Preferably naked.”
“Oh, really? And you honestly thought that I would do something like that?” She was grinning at the absurdity of the scenario.
His face broke into a devastating smile and Kathryn couldn’t tear her eyes away from him.
He leaned down close to her, his tongue darting out as he moistened his lips. “Not in a million years, but a man can dream, can’t he?”
Kathryn could feel herself shiver at the thought. Her mind filled with visions of their hot and sweaty bodies entwined, him thrusting powerfully into her as she writhed beneath him.
All of a sudden, throwing herself at him, whatever her state of dress seemed like a perfectly feasible idea and without taking her eyes from his face, she stepped back and quickly slipped out of her clothes to stand before him naked. His eyes widened in surprise and she found it difficult not to laugh at his look of astonished delight mingled with lust.
Stepping forward, she kept her arms by her side. Her naked breasts brushed up against him and she watched his eyes darken. Slowly she raised her hands to his shirt and began to unbutton it, one button at a time.
Kathryn rolled over, the light from the Vulcan sun spilled through the window of their bungalow, warming the air although it was only early. “Computer, reverse polarity on the windows.” They darkened slightly, but more noticeably, the heat disappeared, the windows now reflecting the heat. It looked like it was going to be another blisteringly hot day on Vulcan. Not that it was any different to yesterday or the day before that, but it made Kathryn smile as she thought of how they’d ended up here. Vulcan, it seemed, was the only place they could find where the press were not welcome.
It had taken two days for the reporters to find her at Chakotay’s house. Two blissful, carefree days, most of which had been spent in his bed. Chakotay hadn’t been kidding when he said he had some catching up to do. She blushed at the memory. They’d been insatiable, their bodies almost rubbed raw by the time they emerged almost three days later.
“Hey, with that look on your face, I hope that’s me you’re thinking about?” He was awake and his hand was already starting to wander, teasing and arousing her. Kathryn’s skin was like fire where he touched her and she rolled towards him.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” She quirked her brow and watched a smile light his face. Without warning, he pressed his fingers into her and she gasped, and then frowned as she noticed the time. “I don’t think we have time, this morning. They’re due shortly and we both need to shower.”
Chakotay looked over his shoulder at the chronometer, and then nuzzled her neck. “This won’t take long, I assure you.”
She could feel his erection, hot and hard, pressed against her thigh, and damn, she wanted him. Self-control had become a thing of the past where he was concerned. If he wanted her, he could have her and she didn’t care. The thought almost made her laugh. If she’d said that to herself even six months ago, she’d have wanted her head read but her capitulation and the relationship she now shared with Chakotay was something she refused to compromise. It wasn’t surrender; he was as much a slave to her desires as she was to his. They loved each other profoundly, deeply and without reservation. She was his, heart and soul and in turn he belonged to her.
They teased each other, laughed and tormented one another, but their bond was deep and enduring, both of them giving wholly and without question. It was true love.
He was pressing into her now and she opened her legs wide, welcoming him into her body. It was a sensation that was now comfortingly familiar, but each time there remained a sense of wonder and joy as he filled her. He was right, it didn’t take long; his skilful hands brought her to the brink within moments and together, grasping at one another and moaning each other’s names, they came. Her hips thrust against his, gripping him and pressing hard into him, his spend hot within her. Their bodies slid wetly together, hot sticky and sated.
Kathryn groaned. “Oh, God. You’re going to be the death of me, you know? I’m not a young woman anymore.”
Chakotay shook his head. “I know for a fact, Kathryn Janeway that you never get old.”
“Oh no, there you go again with the Admiral fixation. You’re just going to have to be content with me for the time being. It’s going to be another twenty odd years before you’ll get your hands on her.”
Chakotay winked. “Oh well, what do they say? Good things come to those who wait.”
Kathryn shook her head. “You really are a worry, Commander. Now come on. Up! We have to get ready.”
“Always in a hurry, Kathryn. They’ll know that if we don’t answer the door that we’re busy.” He rolled her under him and kissed her soundly.
“That is exactly my point. I don’t want to have to contend with Tom’s supercilious look, Tuvok’s disapproval, not to mention poor Harry turning inside out with embarrassment. He may never visit again. Last time we were in bed when they got here. We’re not setting a very good example and I don’t want it to become a ‘tradition’.”
Chakotay chuckled. “All right. You win, which is not really a surprise.” He leapt out of bed and stood waiting for her. “Come on, now who’s being a layabout.”
Kathryn got onto her hands and knees and crawled towards him, grinning evilly at the look on his face. “Layabout? I’ll have you….”
“You can have me anytime, Kathryn. No need to ask.”
This time she slid to her feet at the side of the bed and hugged him to her. “I know. I love you, but we’re not fit to be seen by anyone, just at the moment. I’ve got first dibs on the shower.”
“We could share?”
“Oh brilliant thinking, Chakotay.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “For a tactical specialist, your strategies are sometimes seriously flawed. You plus me in the shower, with less than thirty minutes until our guests arrive…” Kathryn gave him a look and shook her head. “Seriously flawed.”
“The floor is good for me.”
Kathryn whacked his arm and swanned past. “I give up. Me first.”
Chakotay watched smiling broadly, as gloriously naked she entered the bathroom, throwing him a grin over her shoulder as she disappeared through the doors. He sighed happily. Life was truly a joy and each day he silently thanked those lowlife journalists who had chased her to his door. They’d done him a huge favour that day and all the days since. He’d never been so happy in his life.
He waited patiently; the shower started. It wouldn’t be long now and when he heard her, he grinned. She had no more restraint than he did.
“Chakotay, could you wash my back?”
Heaving a satisfied sigh, he called out. “I’m on my way.”
Life couldn’t get any better than this and their visitors would just have to wait.