The Best Birthday

Happy Birthday, Pookie. A little something for you on the day of your birth. 40, huh? A good score in any sport. May you have many many more, me old cobber.

NC17 (what else!)

Thanks to Kat Lady for the beta. 🙂

Kathryn rolled over and snuggled into her pillow. She’d just had the most delightful dream. Squirming with guilty pleasure, she kept her eyes closed as the tingles and warmth slowly faded. It had been yet another erotic dream about her handsome first officer. He’d monopolised her fantasies over the past several months and although she knew there was little likelihood of her ever acting on her attraction, her imagination gave her a welcome respite from the daily grind of duty and the burdens of command.

She’d been horrified at first, waking in a post orgasmic sweat late one night a few months ago. The dream had been so explicit, and it had made her flush with want for days afterwards every time she thought of it. She’d tried to cure herself of her infatuation by placing holoimages of Mark all around her room, but her unconscious mind had overruled her, and eventually she’d surrendered to her secret desire, and now delighted in her furtive vice.

These first few moments of wakefulness, before reality and responsibility reasserted themselves, were a secret pleasure that kept her sane amongst the madness that was her life here in the Delta Quadrant. Today she felt even more worthy of the indulgence. It was her fortieth birthday. May 20th, 2372. Something of a milestone, but in reality, just another day at the office. Still hugging her pillow to her, she wriggled into a sitting position and cast a quick glance at her chronometer. Shit! 08:47! What the hell!? She was sure she’d set her alarm for her usual waking time of 06:00. Damn, damn, damn. Just what she needed.

“Aarrggh!” She tossed her pillow aside and leapt out of bed, hitting the bathroom at a run. She jumped under the sonic shower, and spun around quickly under the rays. Then dashing into her bedroom, she hauled on some underwear and a clean uniform, grabbed some socks and pulled them on as she hopped about her quarters looking for her shoes. She deftly wound her hair into a bun as she wrestled with her boots, scuffing around her bedroom trying to find her combadge. Damn it! She’d been due on the bridge over an hour ago. Why hadn’t someone called her? She hated being late. Her day was now blown to hell. Contending with turning forty was bad enough, without having to make excuses for being late and running ‘catch up’ all day. Slugging down a quick mouthful of coffee, she tore out the door and up to the turbo lifts. The corridor was deserted, thankfully.

She tapped her combadge. “Janeway to Chakotay.”

His mellow voice echoed up the empty corridor. “Chakotay here, Captain.”

She smiled despite herself and a thrill ran through her as she let her imagination take reign. Instead of ‘Captain’ she heard the groaned ‘Kathryn’ from her early morning dream. He often said ‘Captain’ with inflections that almost made it sound like ‘Kathryn’, and she wondered if he did it on purpose. She didn’t care one way or the other; she just hoped he never stopped.


Ooops. Back to reality. She answered in clipped tones. “I’m on my way, Commander.”

“Take your time, Captain. All’s quiet upstairs.”

“Very good, Commander. Janeway out.” She stepped into the lift and waited for the doors to close. “Computer, halt lift.” She stood in the middle of the stationary lift and took a few deep breaths. The last misty moments of her dream were still lingering and she just needed a moment or two to gather her wits. Her late waking and mad dash from her quarters had left her a little out of sorts. She took a moment to bring herself into command mode – the practised look of the cool, slightly aloof, but caring, commanding officer settled over her. She straightened her uniform, dusted some imaginary lint from her sleeve and then, with a deep breath, spoke. “Computer, bridge, resume.”

The lift rose quickly and quietly to the command deck. Her mind was now on the job at hand. There were reports to read and Engineering diagnostics to go over with B’Elanna. Kes had asked her to visit the hydroponics bay and sample some new vegetables she had grown and there was a dispute between the Stellar Cartography and Geological Sciences departments over shared laboratory space that needed to be sorted out. And last, but by no means least, Neelix had complained to her last night that the leola root stores were running low. This she didn’t necessarily consider a bad thing, and decided to be thankful for small mercies. It was a busy day ahead but once the work day was over, she decided she would treat herself to a frivolous evening of indulgence. A long soak in a scented bubble bath and then time to curl up with a good book and a vat of coffee. Rations be damned. It wasn’t everyday that a woman turned forty. She’d think of something delicious to have for dinner and might even splurge and open one of the bottles of Chateau Picard Pinot that Phoebe had given her just before she left home.

Thinking of Phoebe and home sent a wave of intense sadness roiling through her. As a rule she tried not to think too much about her family and Earth. It only made her homesick and on a day like today, the feelings were even more intense. But, too late. The pangs of regret and sorrow had already burrowed their way into her psyche and she felt the tears prick in the back of her eyes. The lift slowed and she tried to gather herself. There would be stares, and raised eyebrows at her uncharacteristic tardiness. And she really wasn’t feeling emotionally equipped to deal with any smartarse comments from the likes of Tom Paris. She almost wished there was some sort of minor disaster to distract them. The lift stopped and she took a deep breath. Here goes.

The lift door opened and her eyes widened in shock. She took a staggering step forward and halted. The bridge was a riot of colour. There was bunting and balloons hanging from the ceiling and the bulkheads. Streamers and pennants were wrapped around the railings and chairs and all the bridge staff were wearing party hats and looking at her with goofy grins. Her eyes almost popped out on stalks when she noticed an enormous banner strung across the viewscreen. It sported a large picture of her smiling face with the words…. ‘Happy Birthday. It took you 40 years to look this good.’…in garish gold print across the bottom.

She didn’t know what to do. Her first instinct was to dive back into the lift and run away, as fast and as far as she possibly could. It was unbelievable. Then to make matters worse they all burst into song. They were singing Happy Birthday to her, loudly and off key. She looked around to find Tuvok’s steady and reassuring presence. Surely he wouldn’t be part of this? But there he was, standing stoically behind his tactical station, wearing a purple and silver pointed hat, with orange tassels drooping down one side. He was even joining in with the chorus.

They were at the ‘hip hip hoorays’ and she was still trying desperately to control her shock and dismay. They’d gone to a good deal of trouble to get this all organised without her knowledge and she really should be grateful for their kindness and enthusiasm, but all she felt like doing was crying and hiding. She turned slowly and looked at all their smiling faces. Garnering all of her command training, diplomatic skills and what was left of her emotional reserve, she managed to plaster what she hoped was a cheerful smile on her face and turned to thank everyone. But her eyes found Chakotay’s, and his look made her catch her breath.

He was smiling gently at her with kind knowing eyes. How was it that he seemed to be able to see right through her? The realisation that he understood her so well made the tears well again. It was like he could see into her very soul. Dragging her eyes away from his, she cleared her throat and spoke to the gathered crew.

“Thank you all so much, and Mr Paris…” She indicated the banner with a nod of her head. “I’ll speak to you later.” Tom grinned and many of the crew laughed quietly. “It was very….kind of you to go to so much trouble and I really do appreciate it.” She took a deep breath and stepped forward. “But, celebrations aside, we have work to do, or at least I do. I suggest we get to it.”

She began to move towards her ready room, but Tuvok stepped in front of her, barring her way. “Captain. Congratulations and salutations on your birthday. I have been given the honour of presenting you with the crew’s gift.” He handed her a padd tied with a red ribbon.

She took a moment to read it, then looked up at her Security Officer. “Mr Tuvok, this is very generous, but I don’t think it is entirely appropriate. A morning off?”

Chakotay stepped forward. “Captain, there is nothing for you to do this morning. All the reports are up to date and signed off.” He turned to B’Elanna. “Lieutenant Torres and I have gone through the Engineering diagnostics.” B’Elanna nodded at the Captain. “Stellar Cartography and Geological Sciences have come to a compromise over the use of the lab, without bloodshed, I might add, and, I’ve spoken to Neelix about the stores problem. Your morning is free and Kes has a surprise for you in your quarters.” She opened her mouth to protest, but then caught the look of unbridled enthusiasm in Harry’s eyes.

She closed her mouth and her shoulders dropped in resignation. “Alright. I know when I’ve been out manoeuvred. An excellent tactical move, Commander.” She gave him a wry look. “Thank you all. I will enjoy my time off.”

She turned towards the lifts and Tom gave Chakotay a slight shove and spoke from the helm. “Um, Captain? We drew straws and Chakotay got the short one. He is to escort you to your quarters.”

She gave Chakotay a sympathetic smile. “Tough luck, Commander. Maybe you’ll do better next time.”

He grinned at her, his eyes sparking with something that made her stomach clench. “It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.”

She couldn’t help a small smile from quirking at her lips. She then stood to the side as he jogged up the steps and ushered him towards the lift. “After you then, Commander.”

They entered the lift together and she turned as the doors closed to see the smiling face of her helmsman. She frowned, hit with the distinct impression that this was a setup and that Tom Paris – perceptive interferer that he was – knew something of her feelings for her first officer. Either that or it was just dumb luck. But she had her suspicions.

She was feeling a little better about things now. The shock of seeing the bridge looking like an exploded birthday cake had worn off slightly, and just the thought of Tuvok in that party hat had dulled the pain of her homesickness. The added bonus, of course, was that she was able to share some of her ‘gift’ time with Chakotay.

They arrived on deck three and made their way to her door.

Keying in her code, the doors swished open and they found Kes putting the finishing touches to a table set for two.

“Captain! Happy Birthday.” She stepped forward and gave Kathryn a kiss on the cheek. She then turned to Chakotay. “It’s all ready, Commander. Enjoy your day, Captain.”

Kathryn smiled. “Thank you, Kes. This looks lovely.”

Kes smiled at them both and walked quickly out the door, leaving them alone. Kathryn moved to the table and inspected the dishes, turning to Chakotay in astonishment. “Eggs Benedict with asparagus?” And lifting the lid on the second plate. “Strawberries and cream?”

He grinned. “And don’t forget. A gallon of coffee. The real stuff.”

She smiled at him affectionately. “You remembered this from all those months ago? That’s …..” She couldn’t quite think of the words that would aptly convey what she was feeling without exposing herself. “Um……Thank you.”

They stared at one another for a long moment and then she jolted into action. “Well, we’d best eat before it gets cold. Commander?” She indicated the chair opposite her as she sat down.

She took a small mouthful of eggs and made an appreciative moan. “Mmmmm, delicious.” She then picked up a piece of asparagus and bit the end. Her eyebrows rose in surprise. “This is fresh. How on earth…?”

He grinned at her. “Kes and I have been cultivating a small bed of asparagus in the hydroponics bay for the last few months. We wanted to have them ready for today.”

Those tears pricked again. “You’ve been planning this for all that time? I don’t know what to say.” She put her fork down and tried to swallow past the lump that had lodged itself in her throat. She stared at her plate.

Chakotay looked on, concerned. “Captain? Is everything alright? I thought you liked asparagus?”

She raised her eyes to meet his kind and caring gaze. “I love asparagus. I’m just a little overwhelmed. This is all so unexpected.” Another penny dropped. “You turned off my alarm too, didn’t you?”

He nodded, smiling sheepishly. “Guilty as charged. Although it was Tuvok who used his security codes to do it. If I’m going to land in the brig, I’m taking him with me.”

She laughed, struck with an image of both of them sitting side by side in the brig, wearing their silly party hats.

“Thank you. I enjoyed the sleep in.” More than he would ever realise, she thought to herself. She took a deep breath. He seemed to know exactly what to say to her to make her feel better. She loved having him around. Her eyes widened suddenly. Oh God. That’s what this feeling was. She was in love with him. Swallowing she tried to shake off the shock of this latest epiphany.

He was staring at her, his handsome face creased in concern. She gathered herself again to try and give some sort of explanation for her strange behaviour. “I really do appreciate all of this. It’s made my day. I was quite miserable this morning. Turning forty is one thing, and then being so far from home and family… Well, I was feeling quite homesick, but I’m much better now, thanks to all of this.” She waved her arm over the table, and made a point of encompassing him in the sweep of her hand. He was nodding as she spoke and she gave a gentle laugh. “You knew, didn’t you? You knew how I’d be feeling this morning, and encouraged the crew to do this. I bet they all thought it was their idea? But it wasn’t, was it? It was you.”

He darted his eyes from one side to the other and grinned. “Don’t tell them, will you? Especially Paris. He thinks it was his idea and I’d hate to burst his bubble.”

She shook her head, laughing. “Another tactical coup. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”

He chuckled. “Good. Can you keep another one?” She nodded her assent. “Well, I know that the crew got together to give you your morning off, but I also have a present. One that’s just from me.” He handed her a small box tied with string. She looked up at him, not quite sure what to say.

He nodded towards the parcel. “Open it.”

She untied the string and opened the box. Her breath caught. She lifted the small carving from its tissue paper nest. It was a stone carved in the shape of a small lizard. She shot a startled look at him. “How….?”

He held up his hand. “Remember, you’re not supposed to speak of it, but I have always known.” She frowned at him as he continued. “I’ve carried this with me for years as a sort of lucky charm. It was given to me by a friend of my father’s. He was a Zuni shaman, and he told me that it held the key to my future and my life’s happiness. He also said that when the time was right that I would know who to give it to.” He smiled at her. “The time is right. Happy birthday.”

The tears that she’d been fighting all morning finally won their battle, tipping over her lashes and rolling down her cheeks. She was deeply touched and felt herself tremble when he leant forward and wiped the tears from her cheek with his thumb. “Please, don’t cry. If you do, I’m not sure I can just sit here and watch. I’ll have to hold you.”

She didn’t move or even try to stop her tears. Damn it, she wanted to be held. She wanted to be held by him. Another tear tumbled down her cheek and he groaned. In a swift move, he stood and scooped her from her chair, holding her close to his chest. She wrapped her arms around him, the little stone lizard still clasped in her hand.

Closing her eyes, she held on tight. His scent surrounded her and she felt much of her sadness dissipate as his arms stole around her, holding her safe and secure. Her body melted into his and it felt so right. She’d always marvelled at their connection. It was something that had been so apparent, right from the very first time she’d laid eyes on him, but she’d fought it, reluctantly, since their first meeting. But she wasn’t going to fight it anymore. She whispered into his chest. “How did you know?”

She felt him shrug. “I don’t know how. I just did. I think I’ve always known. It might be fate, or something mystical, but I’ve always known that you…” He hugged her tighter. “…and this, was waiting for me. It was just a matter of time.” He leaned back a little and looked into her eyes. “The time is right, isn’t it, Kathryn?” A frisson of delight trickled down her spine at the sound of her name rolling off his tongue. Not just a word, but a caress.

She smiled. “It’s perfect.”

He smiled, and that wonderful tightening grasped at her belly. His dimples flashed before her and his eyes sparked with a heat that made her tremble and her insides coil. Before thought could intrude or rules prevail, she raised her lips to his.

Their mouths met and the world faded into a swirl of light and desire. His lips and the heat of his body became her universe. His tongue teased at her lips and stroked along her teeth, then plunged into her mouth tangling and tasting. She had never been kissed like this in her life. It was not frenzied or frantic, but there was an urgency that seared through her, sending shards of heat through her, turning her liquid with want.

Her body unconsciously undulated against his and his hands stroked slowly and firmly up and down her back. His fingers teased at the top of her buttocks and drifted up her sides, grazing her breasts.

Her hands were making a foray of their own, stroking over his shoulders, up his neck and into the soft hair on the back of his head. He began to pull away, but she held his head fast to her, feasting on his mouth as her arousal spiralled.

The need to breathe broke their kiss, and she grinned up at his handsome face. He cupped her cheek, and smiling, looked into her eyes. Love spilled from the dark depths of his eyes. “Kathryn, are you sure?”

Her grin broadened and she stroked her fingers along the ebony lines of his tattoo. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” She brought her other hand between them, and unfurling her fingers, studied the small statue. “I also know that this was always meant to be. I’m a scientist, Chakotay, and not inclined to believe in the fates or the gods, but it seems to me that there must be a reason for finding ourselves here, at this time and in this place. Our bond is too strong for this to be just a random occurrence.”

He stroked her face, running his fingers along her lips. “We were destined to be, Kathryn? Of that I have no doubt. No matter where we were, we would find our way to each other. I have faith in that, and in us.”

He closed his hand over hers, and clasping the little lizard between them, he lowered his head to her mouth. He kissed her deeply and then bent down and lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. They tumbled on to the unmade bed, their lips still locked and their hands still clasped. His kisses moved down her neck, and he laved the sensitive skin below her ear as he dragged the zipper of her uniform down and off her shoulders. She leaned back and placed the stone lizard on her bedside table, looked at it for a moment and then rolled towards her lover.

Clothes disappeared, and hands and lips wandered over planes and ridges; over soft flesh and hard muscle, nipping and tasting, learning and worshipping. They were both carried along on a wave of desire and love that was theirs alone. His hands and fingers knew exactly where to touch and stroke. Her mouth and hands knew precisely where to caress and fondle. They drove one another relentlessly towards their climax, easing away and then plunging forward again to drive each other to higher peaks.

After seemingly endless hours of foreplay, he arched above her and plunged into her welcoming warmth. They stilled for a moment, their eyes locked, their bodies and souls drawn together in this profound and beautiful union, and then the urgency took hold and he drove himself into her deeply, again and again. She countered his thrusts with strong thrusts of her own, forcing him deeper and deeper into her body. Their lower bodies ground together and he dropped his head to lave and suckle at her breasts. She closed her eyes and let the feelings take her where they would. He began to falter and she could feel him lengthen within her. Suddenly, his body arched and he grabbed her hips, driving into her deeply as he groaned her name. The sound of his voice echoed from her dreams. She looked up at him and his eyes drilled into hers. They were filled with such love and need that it sent her careening over the edge into oblivion. Her lower body arched up off the bed, her inner muscles grasping and clenching as he emptied himself into her.

He collapsed onto her, holding her tight, then easing away, he stroked her glistening body, soothing and calming her. A well of joy burst forth and she flung her arms around him. “I love you.”

He groaned, and holding her close, rolled onto his back. He wove his fingers into her hair and lifted her head from his chest. He looked deeply into her eyes. “I love you too, Kathryn. Always.” He kissed her tenderly. “Happy Birthday.”

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