Somewhere in Between: Rated NC17

Rated NC17

Summary: A Macrocosm episode addition. Chakotay takes his life in his hands when he tries to ease Kathryn’s discomfort after her encounters with the macroviruses. Happily, things go a little differently to how he imagined.

Happy Birthday KJ. Have a wonderful day.

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

Out of the corner of his eye, Chakotay watched as she shifted again in her chair. It was the umpteenth time he’d seen her change position in the last half an hour; not that he’d been counting… much. Pretending to log something on the central console, he eyed her surreptitiously. He could see the pinched look of pain around her eyes and her brow furrowed in discomfort. His frown deepened as he watched her stretch her neck gingerly, closing her eyes as she reached up to knead the stiff, sore muscles in her shoulder.

That was it. He’d been watching her suffer in silence for two days now, being told gruffly each time he enquired that she was ‘fine’ when she was obviously far from it. All he wanted to do was help and he was tired of being fobbed off and told – in so many words – to mind his own business. Well, he’d finally had enough of her misplaced stoicism and couldn’t bear to see her suffer a moment longer. It was the end of their shift, so, leaning towards her, he spoke kindly but firmly. “Captain, could I see you in your ready room please?”

Her eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright, glaring at him.

Ignoring her look, he smiled gently and stood, waiting patiently for her to do the same.

She ignored the hand he’d extended to help her from the chair; instead heaving herself stiffly to her feet. It took all his composure not to react as he watched her stilted movements and her eyes crease with pain. Without a doubt she was brave, but damn it, she was hellishly stubborn. Under no circumstances was she was going to let anyone see that she was in less than tip-top shape and she’d managed to fool almost everyone.

Everyone but him.

He’d spent the last forty-eight hours keeping a watchful eye on her as she tried not to hobble on strained legs, bend as if her back wasn’t stiff as a board, and carry on as though her arms and legs weren’t almost frozen rigid with muscle spasms. She was one determined woman – not to mention extraordinarily frustrating – but he loved her for it.

His step faltered slightly as he processed that last thought, but it only took him a split second before he gave an internal shrug and strode onward. Yes, he loved her, and had done so for nearly two years now and there was nothing he could, or wanted, to do, to change it. With the barest of smiles, he jogged down the stairs behind her, stepped into the ready room in her wake and let the doors hiss shut behind him.

It had been only two days since she single-handedly fought off the giant macroviruses that had infested the ship and incapacitated the crew.

Kathryn and Neelix had been on a diplomatic mission to the nearby Tac-Tac homeworld when Voyager had received an urgent distress call from a mining colony asking for medical assistance. They set course for the mining planet, knowing that they would be back to rendezvous with Kathryn in plenty of time. Once there, they sent the holographic Doctor to the surface, taking every precaution to avoid infection, even using the biofilters during transport, but despite everything, Voyager had been overrun with the mutant viruses and the entire crew had succumbed.

Kathryn had saved the day, the ship and all the crew. He’d read the report, re-embellishing all the parts he knew she’d downplayed, and the Doctor had filled him in on the rest. She’d fought like an Amazon, risking her life repeatedly; they were damned lucky to be alive. If it hadn’t been for Kathryn’s ingenuity, courage and dogged determination, Voyager would be a ghost ship and he wouldn’t be around to risk what he was about to do. He hoped it would be worth provoking her wrath, but he was doing it because he cared.

She swung around, frowning and demanded. “Well, what is it, Commander?”

He held up his hand. “I have something I’d like to show you. Would you mind sitting here, Captain?” He pulled the low-back chair out from the desk, turning it towards the upper level and indicated that she should sit.

She gave him a strange look, but didn’t argue. With a shrug, she took a seat, her back ramrod straight as she stared out the viewport. “Well… what is it?”

“Just this.” He placed both his hands on her shoulders and began to massage the stiff muscles of her upper back and neck.

She tensed instantly, becoming rigid under his hands and began to pull away. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Commander?”

He stopped massaging but kept his hands on her shoulders, holding her firmly but knowing that if she really wanted to, she could shrug him off and escape. Hoping she would stay and let him help her, he held his breath, waiting for the tirade. Surprisingly, she stayed put, so he began to rub again gently. “Kathryn, I’ve been watching you for the last two days…”

“Tell me something I don’t know. That’s hardly unusual, Chakotay.”

His hands stilled again in surprise, but quickly resumed their gentle kneading. That was a bold statement coming from her, and certainly under these circumstances. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but was willing to give as good as he got. “No, nothing unusual at all and, because I’m such a ‘Kathryn Janeway aficionado’, I can tell that you’re suffering, and I’d like to help.”

“I could simply get a hypo from the Doctor.” His fingers were working the muscles high on her neck, along her hairline and she tilted her head forward to give him better access.

“Yes, you could, but you haven’t, have you?”

She turned her head and gave him a withering look.

He harrumphed. “I thought so.” Working his way down her right shoulder, he loosened the knots, paying attention to the shoulder joint and upper arm. Then, much to his surprise, she unzipped her jacket. He lifted his hands away as she shrugged it off and tossed it onto the desk.

She turned and looked at him, speaking bluntly. “You don’t really think I’m going to say no to one of your massages, do you? I’m stubborn but I’m not stupid, and if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it properly.”

Chakotay smiled. She’d done it again; just when he thought he had her pegged… When would he ever learn? She wriggled her upper body to encourage him to continue and he resumed the massage, his thumbs rubbing up and down her neck as the heels of his hands pressed into the tight muscles of her shoulders. She took a deep shuddering breath and settled languidly back into the chair. Chakotay felt his groin tighten and spoke without thinking “You could lose the tee as well, that would make it even easier.”

She angled her head over her shoulder, giving him a searing look. “For whom?”

He swallowed but met her gaze squarely. “Hey, I never said that I didn’t enjoy this too.”

She shrugged and turned back around. “Not here, maybe later.”

His hands stilled again and he could feel her shoulders shaking as she chuckled quietly to herself. He wasn’t sure if she was teasing or if she really meant it, although it didn’t matter, he wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity. It was a dangerous game she was playing but he figured if they weren’t on the same page, she’d soon tell him, but for now, he was going to give it his best shot.

“Kathryn?”

“Hmmm?”

“Grab your jacket and follow me.”

He turned and strode out of the ready room without another word. Reaching the turbo lift, he turned, wondering if she would follow him or if he’d be eating on his own for the rest of the journey – in the brig.

Kathryn appeared at her Ready room doors, her jacket draped over one arm and an enigmatic smile gracing her features. He leant against the open lift doors, appearing much more relaxed than he felt, and waited. She quirked her brow but didn’t hesitate; moving forward to join him. Her eyes never left his, even as she passed the Tactical station and ordered, “The bridge is yours, Tuvok.”

Tuvok raised his brow but answered with a crisp, “Aye, Captain.”

She walked past Chakotay, straight into the lift. He stepped in behind her and as the doors closed, he turned towards her, looking deep into her eyes. “Deck three. Captain’s quarters.” It wasn’t exactly a question but he was asking just the same.

She met his gaze steadily, almost brazenly and gave him the barest of nods.

Chakotay’s insides flip flopped and he spun towards the doors as the lift came to a stop. Kathryn stepped through the opening and turned back towards him, waiting for him to join her.

He could hardly believe this. She’d turned the tables in him and it was almost as if she were daring him. This time he gave her a challenging look, which she met with one of her own. “Are you with me, Chakotay?”

“Do you really have to ask?”

“Perhaps not, but I’m just checking. One should never assume.”

This time she held out her hand to him and he didn’t hesitate. Grasping it, he tucked it under his elbow and together they strode down the corridor to her door. Within seconds, they were standing in the middle of her quarters. Her jacket had already been tossed on the nearby couch and she was about to lift her tee over her head when he spoke. “Are you sure about this, Kathryn?”

For the barest second her movements faltered and she turned towards him. Her eyes flashed but she continued pulling her tee over her head, then her tank, until she was standing before him in her standard Starfleet bra and uniform pants. She planted her hands on her hips and looked at him steadily. “I’m surer about this than just about anything.” She toed off her boots, pulled off her socks, and reached around behind her back to unclasp her bra, then nodded her head towards him. “I’m sure about you too, and what you feel for me. I haven’t had any doubts about that for a long time.” She slid her bra off, dropped it on the floor on top of her other discarded clothing and stood bare-chested before him. She met his astonished gaze and asked. “Do you have any doubts?”

A quick shake of his head was his answer and in two strides, he was upon her, scooping her up into his arms and carrying her to the bedroom. He laid her on the bed and, leaning forward, kissed each nipple in turn, smiling as he watched them pucker. Looking up into her eyes, his smile broadened. “I love you, you know.”

She nodded, smiling in return. “I figured. I love you too.”

Chakotay sat beside her and concentrated on the zipper of her pants, sliding it down and hoisting her bottom into the air while he slid her trousers and panties off. Kathryn looked up at him from where she lay naked on the bed, but propped herself on her elbows as he stood and left the room. “Err, hello, I think you forgot something.”

He chuckled from the living area, and spoke quietly to the replicator, then louder in answer. “I haven’t forgotten a thing. As difficult as you’re making this …” He reappeared in the doorway with a small bottle in his hand and a broad smile on his face. Placing the bottle on the bedside table, he removed his jacket and pulled off his tee. Kicking off his shoes, he left his trousers on and sat on the bed beside her, his eyes travelling hungrily up and down her body. “…we came here for a reason. Roll over, Kathryn.”

She frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

He smirked. “Don’t worry; I’ll let you know if I’m going to do anything kinky. I still owe you a massage, and I’m sure you’re still sore.” Grinning at her look of disbelief, he coaxed. “Over you go. You’ll appreciate this later, I promise.”

With a shake of her head, she turned onto her stomach and laying her head on her hands, laughed. “No one is ever going to believe this, you know. I’m lying here naked and you’ve barely batted an eyelid.”

He took a deep breath, and blew it out between pursed lips. “My eyelids are the least of my problem. You have no idea what you do to me.” He took her hand and placed it over his groin.

Pulling herself up onto her elbow and turning slightly, she stared wide-eyed as her hand gently explored him through his trousers. He was rigid and straining against the fabric of his pants. She palmed his erection, her eyes darkening. He was long and deliciously thick and Kathryn swallowed hard as she looked into his eyes.

She brought her fingers to her lips and kissed them, then placed them back on his erection. “Soon.”

He nodded, leaning over and kissing the small of her back. Kathryn arched and shuddered as his hot breath tickled against her skin and he whispered. “Very soon.”

Hardly able to believe it himself, he shook his head slightly as Kathryn lay down again and he reached for the bottle of warm massage oil. Drizzling some into his hand he began, gently working the tight muscles of her shoulders and upper back, loosening the spasm in her neck. Her mid-back was next and he kneaded the knotted muscles under her shoulder blades. Then, in long sensuous strokes, he swept from her shoulders to her buttocks, kneading the luscious globes before rubbing his thumbs in small circles along her spine to her shoulders again, only to sweep his hands down her back and bottom once more. Over and over he did this until he felt all the resistance leave her body. She was putty in his hands; his stroking was punctuated by her soft sighs and hums. It was mesmerising. Her skin, so soft and smooth, warmed under his hands as he worked the soreness from her muscles and joints.

His face broke into a broad smile and he shook his head, when about twenty minutes into the massage, she gave a soft snore. Kathryn had fallen asleep. Chakotay wasn’t surprised. She’d barely slept since the incident with the macroviruses and her injuries were still healing. He kept stroking softly along her back and buttocks, until he was sure she was in a deep sleep, then he carefully pulled the covers up, tucking them around her to make certain she was comfortable. Standing, he adjusted himself and picked up his tee.

He was about to return to his quarters when he hesitated. With his tee in his hand, he contemplated her, lying tucked under the covers, sleeping so serenely.

He changed his mind. Tossing his tee aside, and in a decisive move, he pulled off his trousers and underwear, and slid naked under the covers next to her. It was a risk, but one that he was willing to take.Rolling to his side so he could see her, he leant forward and kissed her forehead lightly. She stirred but didn’t wake as he slid his arm under her shoulders and tucked her close to his side.

Unconsciously her arm draped over his chest and she snuggled into the warmth of his body. The pounding of Chakotay’s heart was so loud in the quiet of her quarters that he was surprised it didn’t wake her. However, she was oblivious to everything and, after contemplating the woman in his arms for several minutes, his eyes grew heavy and he slid into a peaceful sleep by her side.

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

It was several hours later or at least that’s what he assumed, when movement in the bed beside him and a hand caressing his chest wakened him. He looked down to find Kathryn staring up him.

She smiled. “Hello there.”

“Hello. Feel better?”

Kathryn rolled her shoulders, grimaced slightly, but nodded. “Yes, I think I do. It’s still sore, but not as bad as it was. Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

“You made yourself at home, I see?”

He shrugged and kissed her forehead. “I didn’t think you’d mind, besides, it’s not often that I have a naked woman fall asleep on me.”

“How very modest of you, but I wasn’t on you at the time, if I remember correctly.”

“True, but that can be easily remedied.” With seemingly little effort, he tucked his arm further under her and lifted her so she was lying on top of him, her body stretched down the length of his. “Hmmm, that’s better?”

“Not bad. Not bad at all.” She wriggled so she was comfortable, her body settling onto his as if it was meant to be there. Her fingers stroked down his neck and over his upper chest and leaning forward, she kissed his chin. The bristles were rough against her lips, but it was earthy and real, and something she’d missed. Rubbing her cheek against his she took a deep breath. “You smell good.”

Chakotay raised his eyebrows. “Thank you, I think.”

Kathryn placed her finger over his lips, gave them a tap, and smiled. “You’re welcome. You know,” she contemplated him, her eyes filled with warmth and love; “there are quite a few things I love about you.”

He raised his brow in question. “It’s not just my massages then?”

Kathryn shook her head. “Although, they come very close to the top of the list, but I love your eyes.” She leaned forward and kissed his closed eyelids. “Your tattoo.” She did the same, wriggling up a little higher so she could reach.

The slide of her body on his made him shudder and she smiled as she felt him harden against her.

“Your heart.” She slid down lower and kissed his breastbone, noticing how his hands gripped the bed sheets beside him. Kissing and nipping her way back up his chest, she lifted her head again and spoke softly. “You have a very good heart.”

“It’s all yours.”

Kathryn nodded. “I know and that makes me love you even more. Mine is yours too, you know.”

“I’ll take good care of it.”

“You always have.”

“It’s one of the highlights of my job. Not exactly in the description, but definitely one of the perks.”

“Job satisfaction. That’s what I like to hear.”

He grinned up at her. “Can I ask one question, Kathryn?”

She placed her fists one on top of the other on his chest and rested her chin on them, then nodded, looking into those beloved eyes.

“Why now?” He noticed her frown. “We’ve been through harrowing situations in the past, why this time?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe because this time I had to do it on my own and it made me realise just how much I rely on having you at my back, or perhaps it was the gut wrenching panic I felt when I found you, so close to death, infested with those damned bugs. Death is so much a part of our lives that we’ve become almost inured to its presence. I’ve never been confronted quite so starkly with yours before and it scared me.”

“Fear isn’t a very good reason to do this you know.”

Kathryn shrugged again. “It’s as good as any out here, but with my history, fear of losing someone is more of a reason to not embark on this path. I love you, Chakotay but because of the nature of our lives out here, who knows how long we might have. I decided that I couldn’t live this solitary existence anymore. However, having said that, I will understand if you don’t want to pursue this. It’s a partnership of sorts, although an unusual one. I will still be your captain out there,” She tossed her head towards the door, “but in here, we’re equals. It’s a precarious balancing act, but I think we’re up to the task. What do you think?”

“I think you’ve thought about this far too much. Kathryn, I love you, I’ve loved you for years and if being together in any way helps you deal with your fears, your longings or your guilt, then I’m all for it. It’s not like it’s a chore or anything.” He thrust up against her, his hand splayed across her bottom holding her to him.

She grinned, staring into his eyes for a long moment before giving him a brisk nod. “I’m glad, and in that case, I’ll continue…” Her eyes drifted down to study his mouth. “Your lips. I’ve always loved them. From that first moment, you beamed onto my ship.” She hummed. “Hmmm. You were about this far from me, that day, and those lips were right there in front of me. I almost kissed you then, you know.”

He smiled. “I wonder what Tuvok and Ayala would have done if you had.” He chuckled. “I could barely swallow with you so close to me. Your eyes were all I could see. I remember stalking across the bridge; I had to get away from you. I was worried that you would feel how aroused I’d become. I scowled and nodded, only because I couldn’t speak.”

Kathryn’s eyes widened in surprise at his admission. “I’m honoured but damn, that’s a turn on.” She wriggled against him again. “It was a highly fraught time, tensions were high and stress levels were…”

Chakotay shook his head. “No, Kathryn, it had nothing to do with that. It was pure animal magnetism. I was drawn to you from the very beginning. I still am. You’re a compelling woman and I don’t think I’m going to forget the images of you from the other day; in your sweat-soaked tank, determination written all over your face and hoisting that phaser rifle.”

“Where did you see that?”

“When the macroviruses took over, we activated the internal sensors to keep track of the infestation and they were still active when you arrived back. There are several hours of footage of you roaming the ship, blasting those things to oblivion. I hear Paris is going to show it at the next talent night.”

Kathryn dropped her head onto his chest. “Oh God, you’re kidding.”

He chuckled. “Yes, I am. Only Tuvok and I have seen them, but I have to say, even he was impressed with your tactical skills.”

Smiling evilly, she slithered up his body until her lips hovered over his and she whispered against his mouth. “I hope you’ll be impressed with them too.” Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips before she pressed her mouth to his.

As her lips met his, Chakotay opened his mouth, his tongue pressing for entrance. She opened her mouth and with a rumbling growl, he kissed her. Hard. All rational thought fled. His mind became filled with Kathryn. Her scent, her taste, the feel of her body pressed against his. This was his dream come true, and as wonderful as the dream had been, it couldn’t come within a parsec of the real thing. She was extraordinary. As his hands stroked over her body, kneading her bottom and sliding sensually along her sides, he could feel her soften and fall into him. With small sighs and moans, she undulated against him, the abandon and sexuality of the woman drove him to the brink. She had no idea what affect she had on him. He wanted to envelop her in his arms, wrap himself around and hold her so close to him that nothing could ever harm her again; he was desperate to protect her but knew that it was a foolish fantasy. Nevertheless, for this moment in time, she was his and he would keep her safe, love her with all that he had to give and worry about tomorrow when it came.

Rolling her under him, Chakotay kissed her lips gently, and then began feathering small kisses over her face and neck. His tongue darted out to moisten the path his lips were taking as he nipped gently at the skin on her neck and shoulders.

Kathryn arched her neck and groaned, muttering incoherently under her breath. He listened, trying to decipher her words, but all he could make out was “Yes, yes, yes, at last.”

He smiled at her abandoned reaction and wended his way down her body, attempting to kiss every freckle on her chest. It was something he’d promised himself that he would do if he ever got the chance but he became distracted by her breasts and began laving at the soft skin around her areolas. Cupping each mound, he rubbed his palm across the nipples until they stood erect, begging to be suckled.

Kathryn sighed with each pass of his hand then opened her eyes and looked down at him. Her eyes were dark with desire and drilled into Chakotay’s as, with a smile he lowered his mouth and took a nipple between his teeth, flicking his tongue across the sensitive tip. Kathryn arched again, closing her eyes and thrusting her chest towards him. She groaned and gripped his shoulders, her fingernails leaving crescent shaped marks on his golden skin. He didn’t care. To see her like this was worth any amount of discomfort.

Her hand slid up into his hair and she pushed him harder onto her breast. Opening his mouth, he sucked hard, pulling on the soft flesh, then letting go to drill his tongue into the pebbled tip. He moved to the other breast and did the same as Kathryn’s legs spread wide and she pushed herself against his abdomen. Chakotay could feel the heat and damp of her as she thrust towards him and tugged at his hair.

Lifting away from her breasts, he looked up into two dark blue eyes.

Biting her lip, Kathryn took a deep shuddering breath. “Now, would be a good time, Commander.”

Licking her nipple gently, he grinned. “But I haven’t finished yet.”

“Oh, yes you have, for now. Come here.” Again, she tugged at him, hauling him towards her. “Let’s leave something for later. Besides, we have plenty of time.” Her eyes sparked with something and he remembered the last time he’d heard those words. On New Earth. Had she been trying to tell him something then?

Memories overtook him and he pulled her hard against him, his lips meeting hers in a desperate kiss. Arching against him, Kathryn managed to manoeuvre him towards her opening but he reefed himself away from her and sitting up pulled her towards him as he leaned against the bed head. “I want to see you.” With his hands under her arms, he lifted her to straddle him. His knees were bent and her bottom slid down his thighs as his hands slid up her front. Their eyes never left each other’s as his erection pressed against her. Looking deep into her eyes and with his voice was thick with emotion, he cupped the side of her face. “I love you, Kathryn.”

He watched as Kathryn took a deep breath and rasped. “You too.” Then dragging her eyes away from his, she looked down. Chakotay’s gaze followed hers and he groaned, almost coming as he watched his penis slide inside her. She was so warm, so welcoming, it was like coming home.

Kathryn’s voice hitched, “Oh God.” Her head tilted forward, her forehead resting against his. Her breath hot on his face as they both waited for the initial intensity to subside. He leaned towards her, his lips meeting hers as hands began to stroke and caress. Kathryn started to rock back and forth, a beatific smile on her face.

Gripping her hips, Chakotay thrust upwards in a counter rhythm. Together they undulated against one another, driving each other inexorably towards bliss.

Chakotay could feel the rhythmic pulsing of Kathryn’s inner muscles and slipping a hand between them, he flicked at her clitoris. When her eyes widened, meeting his, he pressed his thumb hard against the swollen nub. She stared at him for a split second and then throwing her head back, cried out as the roiling waves of her orgasm washed over her. Her fingers dug deep into his shoulders, leaving more marks. With her body arching away from him, she jolted with each clench of her climax. The rhythmic grip of her vagina was too much for Chakotay and with a growl; he thrust hard against her, coming in great juddering spasms.

After what seemed like forever, the tension left their bodies. Kathryn collapsed onto his chest and Chakotay sagged into her. He held her tightly feeling her shoulders shaking, only realising after moment that she wasn’t overcome with emotion and crying; she was laughing.

Grinning, her pulled back and looked at her, sweeping her damp hair from her face. “Kathryn?”

Kathryn tried to stop laughing, but couldn’t. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m laughing. I think it’s the relief. We actually did it, didn’t we?”

Chakotay looked down to where they were still joined. “It looks very much like it. Are you sorry?”

“Hell no. Are you?”

“You’re kidding aren’t you? Kathryn Janeway, I’ve never met anyone quite so contrary.”

She gave him a disbelieving look and then laughed. “Have you looked in the mirror lately?” Leaning closer she kissed him sweetly. “You realise, for all our righteous justifications, we’ve broken a hefty handful of regulations, I don’t regret it though.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

“The rebel in you must be rubbing off on me and I think if I’d had to wait any longer, I would have gone insane. You drive me to distraction you know.”

“I could say the same for you, but thankfully life will be much simpler from now on.”

“Simpler? How did you come to that conclusion? We can’t tell anyone, you know.”

“I know, but don’t be surprised if they figure it out. We have a remarkably smart crew. However, it will be much simpler because we won’t be spending half our time suppressing the urges and pretending not to care. It took a great deal of effort to hide my desire from you.”

Kathryn gave him a rueful look, her lips pursed as she tried not to laugh again. “I hate to tell you, you failed miserably, I’ve always known how you felt.”

“Well, I suppose you did have something of an advantage. I did tell you.”

“True, and so very beautifully.”

Chakotay shrugged. “I meant every word of it, but I didn’t take into consideration that you would turn Amazon and almost get yourself killed while I was unconscious with the rest of the crew. You scare the hell out of me you know.”

“I scare the hell out of myself sometimes. That’s why I need you and why we make such a good team, on and off the bridge.” She grinned.

“Speaking of which. We have to be on duty in an hour or so; I’d best get back to my quarters to get ready.”

Kathryn frowned. “I don’t want you to go. Isn’t that ridiculous of me?”

He tugged her close. “No, it’s not, I’d rather stay but I have to get a clean uniform.”

“We could just blast a hole through the wall.” She waved her hand towards the shared bedroom wall. “I’m sure I still have that phaser rifle stowed somewhere handy. One shot and voila, instant doorway.”

“I think Tuvok might want an explanation as to why you’re blowing holes in the ship.”

“I’m sure I could come up with some excuse. A visit from Q comes to mind, or I could say I saw a mouse. He knows I don’t like mice… or Q for that matter especially after his latest effort.”

“Q I can understand, but didn’t know you had a thing about mice.”

“See there are still some things we don’t know about each other.”

Chakotay smiled. “Some things? You’re a complete mystery to me.”

“I’m not all that mysterious, really. I’m just tend to play my cards close to my chest.”

“And it’s such a lovely chest.” He leaned forward and kissed between her breasts, feeling her heartbeat against his lips. He smiled.

Kathryn held his head in her hands and brought it up so they were looking into one another’s eyes. Kathryn stared at him intensely, her eyes dark and serious. “Stay.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“You can’t promise me that, we don’t know what is in store for us but I mean it, I want you to stay here with me.”

“I will, happily, but that might put pay to the crew not knowing.”

“You know, I don’t care.” Kathryn leant back and crossed her arms, then uncrossed them and began to gesticulate. “Whom are they going to tell? We’re still seventy thousand light years from home and if we’re going to survive, we need this.” Leaning forward she kissed him deeply. Pulling back, a little breathless she continued. “We need connections, love, a sense of belonging. All of us need that and I’m not going to let an archaic regulation that doesn’t take into consideration our circumstances, come between us any longer.”

“I’m convinced.”

Her mouth twisted into a familiar smile and she shoved his shoulder gently. “I’m sitting here naked with you still inside me. I could convince you of anything, I imagine.”

Chakotay shrugged and gave her a helpless look. “Most likely. Although if needed, I’ve proved I can resist, especially if my Captain’s wellbeing is at stake.”

“Your Captain is most grateful.” Kathryn rubbed and stretched her neck. “I feel much better, thank you.”

“Anytime.”

They smiled at one another for a long moment and then Kathryn moved off his lap, sighing as he slid from her.

“Duty calls.”

Chakotay nodded. “It seems brighter today for some reason.”

“I wonder why?” Kathryn grinned at him and climbed from the bed. “I’ll meet you back here for breakfast. I’d suggest we shower together but we may not make it to duty call if we do.”

“A wise precaution.” He stood up and grabbed her hand before she turned towards the bathroom. “I’ll see you soon.” Kissing her quickly and with a sigh, he let her go. He watched as she walked into the bathroom but smiled as she turned towards him grinning, just before the door slid shut.

Gathering up his uniform, he dressed and, after asking the computer if the coast was clear, he made his way back to his quarters to shower and change.

He stripped and stepped into the sonic shower. With a sense of regret, he let the rays remove all traces of Kathryn and her scent from his body. With his mind still preoccupied with thoughts of Kathryn, he stepped from the cubicle and dressed by remote control.

Loving her openly had been his dearest dream for so long and his heart was full. He knew for certain that those cannier members of the crew would realise what was happening but he hoped for both their sakes that they would show restraint. For a moment, he wondered if he should forewarn Paris, but decided against it. They would just have to see how things panned out.

His combadge chirped. “Are you coming, Commander. Coffee is getting cold.”

He laughed, tapping his badge. “I’m on my way.” Looking at the wall that separated them, he had a vision of her in her sweaty tank, phaser rifle at the ready, about to blast her way through. Shaking his head at his meanderings, he took a deep breath, and smiling, headed for the door and their new life.

Fin

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