The Here and Now

Summary:The obligatory Turbo lift story in the guise of a Message in a Bottle episode addition. 🙂

Rated NC17

 

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.

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The Doctor took a step towards them. “And they asked me to relay a message. They wanted you to know, you’re no longer alone.”

 

Kathryn swallowed past the tightness in her throat and emotion shook her voice. “Sixty thousand light years seems a little closer today”

 

She was completely overwhelmed. Those words had come from the very depths of her being. It did seem closer, and the relief she felt knowing she wasn’t alone in her quest, was like a warm blanket on her soul. Tears shimmered in her eyes and emotion pressed down on her chest. She wanted to laugh, to cry, to leap for joy, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She rigidly maintained her composure, knowing that all those around her were also feeling the impact of the Doctor’s news. She would dearly have loved to hug everyone in sight, but it was important to set an example. To maintain control.

 

It was difficult.

 

She was experiencing the most intense feeling of relief as the ponderous weight of sole responsibility was lifted from her shoulders. Even if it was only a theoretical sharing, just the thought that she wasn’t alone in her efforts to get this crew home was enough to recharge her waning enthusiasm and re-energise her flagging optimism. In short, she was elated.

 

The Doctor was still buzzing. His extraordinary away mission had been an immense success and he was very pleased with himself. She turned and looked at Chakotay. He was smiling gently, but she could see the light of renewed hope shimmering in his eyes. He understood. He, more than any of the others, knew what this meant to her. The responsibility was not hers alone anymore. Even if those who were sharing it were a lifetime away, just the knowledge that they were there, also working towards their return, meant that the tough mantle of control could soften just a little.

 

Shock was starting to set in and she concentrated on her breathing. In and out, in and out. Chakotay was standing close by. She realised he was aware of her emotional fragility and was standing guard in case she needed him. Bless him. What she desperately needed to do was get back to her quarters. The emotional turmoil would be better dealt with in the privacy of her own room. She had to get there though. She was in sickbay on Deck 5 and had to get to her quarters on Deck 3.

 

Wrapping her cloak of control tightly around her, she thanked the doctor, asked him for a mission report and then turned and left the bay. She was so focused on getting to the sanctuary of her room that she didn’t notice Chakotay walking a pace behind her. So oblivious was she to the world around her, that she only became aware of his presence when she stepped into the turbo lift and found him there beside her.

 

It was tenuous, her control, and Chakotay’s proximity was not helping her to maintain it. He was hovering and standing just a little closer than he normally would and what protocol deemed acceptable. Her emotions were raw and disordered, and she had this strange sensation of being disembodied, as if she was looking over her own shoulder. She felt exposed, stripped, almost naked emotionally, and she was fighting a losing battle to regain her composure. He knew of course. He understood exactly what this would mean to her and how it would affect her. God, he knew her too well.

 

It was something she loved about him, but also something that she feared. It made her vulnerable, and vulnerable was one thing that Kathryn Janeway hated to be. But her control was slipping and she began to tremble. Her breath was coming in short, shallow gasps, and she placed her hand on the wall of the lift to try and steady herself.

 

Chakotay, ever aware of her fragility, placed his hand under her other elbow to support her. His touch was the final straw. Her legs went from under her and she crumpled. But he was prepared and pulled her into his arms as she went down, calling for the lift to halt.

 

 

She was making strange gasping noises and clutched at his jacket as she tried to steady herself.

 

She could now hear herself muttering and making an odd keening sound. “They know. Thank God, thank God, they know. Hold me, please, hold me.”

 

His warmth and his scent surrounded her and she could hear and feel his soothing words as they rumbled through his chest. “I’ve got you, I’ve got you. Hold on to me, Kathryn. Just hold on. I won’t let you go.”

 

Did he realise how much she wanted to stay there in his protective embrace, to stay where she knew she was safe and secure? But she had to pull away. She made a move to push against his chest, but he held her closer.

 

“Kathryn, please let me hold you. I need this as much as you. Please just stay for a moment.”

 

It occurred to her then that he was probably just as shaken by this news as she was, and needed some reassurance. It changed everything, but changed nothing. They were still stranded 60 years from home and loved ones. In some ways it complicated things even more. Those loved ones had no doubt given them all up for dead, and now they had to deal with the reality of them being alive but so far away that they may as well be dead. Many would have moved on and there would be guilt and recrimination to deal with on both sides.

 

The Voyager crew had existed in a vacuum for almost four years now, but with the knowledge in the Alpha Quadrant of their survival, it meant that they were not their own little isolated community anymore. They were again members of families, with husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, fiancés…..

She tried to pull away again, but Chakotay held her. “Kathryn, please.”

 

She pulled back a little to look at his face and explain her thoughts. But his eyes. Oh God, his eyes. They pierced her soul. Their dark depths seared into her. All his love, his pain, his fear and his desire, were there to see, completely exposed.

 

“Oh my, Chakotay. Oh God. I….. Oh God…..” She watched mesmerized as her hand drifted up and caressed the side of his face and her fingers drifted over his lips. She hadn’t meant to touch him like that, but it was as if she was possessed and couldn’t stop herself. He closed his eyes and pulled her closer. Both their breaths were coming in gasps now and she could feel his arousal as he swelled against her belly. Warm hands moved up and down her back and slid over her buttocks. She took a deep shuddering breath as they skimmed over her body, leaving a trail of fire in their wake.

 

The world faded around them and they became aware only of each other. The breathing, the touching and the need.

 

She moved closer again and with her face tucked under his chin, she took great deep breaths of him. Her next coherent thought was that she was touching him. Her hands had found their way under his jacket and tee and she was caressing his bare abdomen and chest. Her jacket was gone as well and as she ground herself down on his thigh, his hands worked their way under her tank to fondle her breasts.

 

It was like they were in some sort of dream. In this strange other-world where they found themselves, clothing disappeared and naked bodies slid and undulated against one another. Hands and mouths began to move over bodies, seeking and finding those areas that made them gasp and jolt. Each spot was noted and revisited, both of them reveling in the new knowledge of each other. Kathryn’s eyes were closed and a beatific smile graced her features.

 

His hands manipulated her breasts, pulling and pinching her nipples gently. Sounds, scents and touch became their world.

 

Their need for each other built to a shattering crescendo. His hands were hot and needy on her skin, leaving a trail of aroused flesh wherever they touched. When she could stand it no more, she felt herself being lifted into the air and rested against the wall. Holding her breath, she sank slowly down onto his rigid shaft. The feeling of him inside her was a culmination of desires fulfilled. With each thrust she panted and grunted his name. “Chakotay, Chakotay, Chakotay…..”

 

He buried his face into her neck and breathed her in, again and again. She filled his lungs, his heart and his soul. His world became centered in the swirling mass of his oncoming orgasm. He was home and she was welcoming and warm and perfect. The feeling of her surrounding him, her breath, her movement as she thrust against him, her scent and her pliant body molded against his was like a revelation. He could feel her tightening around him. The small tremors and flutters of her internal muscles played along his length and he watched enthralled as she threw her head back and thrust herself towards him as she came. “Chakotay, oh God. Chakotay, I love you.”

 

He swelled and tightened and with her words he slammed himself into her one last time calling her name. “Kathrynnnnn!” He pumped himself into her time and again as she spasmed around him. Finally spent, he slid to the floor with her still wrapped around him. He held her tight to him, their sweat slicked bodies melded together, their groins sticky with their combined juices and the smell of sex heavy in the air. He could still feel the small jerks and tremors from her as she came down from her climax.

 

He kissed her neck and jaw and working his way around to her mouth. He nibbled at her lips and teased them with his tongue. Her mouth opened beneath his and their tongues met and snaked around one another. Her eyes were closed still and she was lost again in the sensations that he evoked. Her centre was still throbbing and her nipples tingled as their bodies slid against one another. There was a buzzing sound that throbbed in time with her heart beat. It became incessantly louder.

 

All of a sudden Tuvok’s voice blared over the internal comm system in the lift.

 

“Captain? Commander? Are you in need of assistance? Captain Janeway? Commander Chakotay? Please respond.”

 

She threw herself away from Chakotay and stared at him in horror. Scrambling to her feet and grabbing her tee and jacket, she clutched them against herself trying to comprehend what had happened.

 

“Captain? Are you in need of assistance?” Tuvok’s voice was like a bucket of iced water on the flames of their desire.

 

She rifled through her clothes and found her comm badge. “No, Tuvok. Thank you for your concern. We are fine.”

 

Her voice sounded surprisingly calm considering the circumstances. Starfleet training was deeply ingrained, and it always amazed her how it came to the fore in times of duress. Mind you, situations like this had never been covered in command school. What to do after having sex with your first officer in a turbo lift after finally making contact with your superiors 60,000 lights years away?

 

She was still staring at Chakotay as he rose to his feet and pulled on his pants. He handed over hers and then shrugged on his tee. She opened her mouth to say something, but closed it again. There was nothing to say. Chakotay watched her as she stared at him with horror and dismay written all over her face. He should have known. It had been an aberration.

He knew he should feel anger or despair but all he felt was resignation. He put his clothes on and passed the rest of hers over to her as she moved away, still staring at him.

 

He marvelled at her resilience. When Tuvok had demanded an answer, she’d spoken to him with remarkable calmness. She was really quite something. He watched her as she prepared to speak to him. Her mouth opened but nothing came out and he could see the distress in her eyes. He couldn’t think of anything to say either. All he knew was that he didn’t want to look at the dismay anymore. The numbness was starting to lift now and the hurt was beginning to stab at him. He handed her the last of her clothing and spoke to the computer.

 

“Computer site to site transport for the Captain to her quarters.” Her eyes widened as the blue shimmer took her away from him. He donned the rest of his clothes. “Deck 15.” He needed to get as far away from her as he could.

 

He stepped out on to the almost deserted deck and moved down one of the corridors away from the manned areas and towards the darkened and abandoned rooms of the lowest deck. He found a small view port at floor level tucked into a corner, and sitting down he stared at the stars as they shot past. Now that they had retrieved the Doctor, they were travelling at warp again in the same mad dash back towards that elusive quadrant they called home.

 

Kathryn materialised in the middle of her quarters, still naked and clutching her clothes. “What the hell?” she muttered to herself. What in God’s name was going on? “Computer, locate Commander Chakotay.”

 

“Commander Chakotay is on deck 15. Section gamma 12.”

 

She frowned and looked down at the clothes she still held in her arms. She grunted out a laugh at the thought of what they’d done. God, what had they done? Tears began to slip down her cheeks as reality began to reassert itself. It had all seemed like a dream, but the stickiness between her legs confirmed what had happened. She could still feel the echoing throb and tingle of recent orgasm, and she wanted more. She wanted him again, but she knew it was out of the question.

 

Oh, but it had been wonderful. It was something that had fuelled her fantasies for more than three years. She loved Chakotay and she thought he loved her, but he hadn’t said as much. Now she started to feel a bit foolish. She’d blurted out her feelings after having virtually thrown herself at him, and in the turbo lift of all places. How pathetically ridiculous. It was like some sort of pitiful cliché. No wonder he wanted her out of his sight. He was embarrassed for her. Her heart started to pound. She’d made a total fool of herself, but before the panic set in, she remembered the look in his eyes. There could be no doubt about his feelings. She needed to speak to him. To explain her behaviour. Now was the time to be open about her feelings. To tell him how she felt, but make him understand that this could never happen again.

 

 

She had a quick shower, and dressed in her uniform, made her way down to deck 15. She found him sitting tucked into a corner looking out a viewport at the passing stars. He didn’t acknowledge her presence, but moved his legs to make room for her as she slid to the floor beside him.

 

“Chakotay? I’m sorry. It should never have happened like that.” She watched him closely, trying to gauge his mood. “Chakotay? Please look at me.”

 

He turned and gave her a sad smile. “It’s alright, Kathryn. I know. I’m just a little raw at the moment.”

 

“Do you know? Really?” She moved a little closer. “What I said was true, Chakotay. I love you and have done so for a very long time.” His head shot up at this revelation. “But Chakotay, it can never happen again.” She reached out and picked up his hand where it rested on his leg. “I have a promise to keep to this crew, to get them home, and after today that promise is even more imperative. There are wives and husbands and families waiting at home now and I have to reunite them. I can’t be distracted from that goal.”

 

He opened his mouth to say something but she squeezed his hand. “Chakotay, don’t ever doubt it. You are an almighty distraction. I need you as my friend, my first officer and my advisor. I can’t have you as my lover as well. It would make my life too difficult trying to balance the professional with the personal. I love you, my friend, and if circumstances were different…..” She smiled at him again.

 

“Kathryn, I love you and always will. If this is the way you need to do this, then that’s the way it will have to be. But the moment we get home…..”

 

She smiled delightedly at him. “Thank you, Chakotay. I know we can do this. I think we love each other enough to put that part of our relationship aside for the time being. Are you ok with that?”

 

He nodded. “Yes, Kathryn. You’ve given me hope, which is more than I’ve had for a long time. You never know. Starfleet may have good news for us and we may be home in a week.”

 

She chuckled. “You never know.” She stood up. “Thank you, Chakotay. For everything.”

 

He smiled up at her. “Anytime, Kathryn.” He watched as she walked up the corridor and out of sight.

 

He took a deep cleansing breath. Things would be alright. He was relieved. She loved him. All was not lost and there was hope for the future. He could look forward to a life with Kathryn when they reached home, and he would have the memory of their lovemaking to keep him warm until that day came.

 

 

It had seemed so simple on the surface to just step back into their friendship and camaraderie without a second thought. However it was proving almost impossible. Every time Chakotay looked at her, he could see her face, contorted in rapture as he held her in his arms. When she walked around the bridge all he could think of was the feel of her ivory skin, hot and slick under his hands. When she spoke, he watched her lips move and remembered the throaty moans and whimpers, and her shouted proclamation of love. He found himself avoiding her company because he couldn’t trust himself not to touch her. Now that the floodgate had been opened he was powerless to stop the torrent of emotions she evoked just by her presence. He was miserable. He now knew that she loved him and that knowledge made his heart sing, but the forfeit had been his friend and for that his heart bled. He was being torn in two and he wasn’t sure what to do.

 

Kathryn wasn’t in much better shape. She had noticed his reticence and she missed his company and his counsel. On the bridge, where she couldn’t bow to temptation, she would find herself walking close by him just to catch a breath of his scent. It would cause all the feelings and desires to come flooding back. She had stopped touching him, wary of the almost visible jolt of electricity that arced between them. When she was in his company, she found herself in a constant state of arousal. She knew Tuvok was aware that something was very amiss. It had only been two days since the incident in the lift, but Kathryn was at her wits end. There was no way she would be able to maintain this level of distraction. What if there was an attack or some crisis? She was in no state to deal with anything.

 

She strode out of her ready room and without looking at Chakotay, handed the bridge over to him. She noticed Tuvok watching her. He was doing his version of a frown. Not many would notice, but she knew him well. He was very aware that something had changed within the relationship of the command team and she could feel the waves of disapproval flowing from him. Kathryn was very tempted to turn and glare at him, but she wasn’t foolish. She knew she could never outstare a Vulcan. Trying to look as cool and collected as she could, and failing dismally, she jogged up the stairs.

 

As she moved past the Ops station, Harry spoke up. “Captain, are you coming to the party on the holodeck tonight? Neelix has organised a get together to celebrate the Doctor’s return and our contact with the Alpha Quadrant.”

 

She smiled. “Has he now? Of course I’ll be there, Ensign. Time?”

 

“It starts at 19:00, Captain. We’ll look forward to seeing you there.” Harry grinned from ear to ear.

 

Kathryn stepped into the lift, and stared at Chakotay’s profile as he turned to input something into their shared console. “Deck Three.” She took a deep breath and leant against the wall. Just being in the lift brought back all the rampant memories of a few days ago. The lift stopped and she smacked her hands against the wall as she propelled herself out the door. She had to get a grip or the whole command structure was going to fall to pieces and that was just out of the question. It was 17:00, so she had a few hours to relax and unwind before she had to show up on the holodeck.

 

She ran a bath, and taking her book with her, sat and soaked for an hour. The warm water soothed and calmed her. She had a quick meal and then began to get ready for the party. There was much excitement amongst the crew, but it was tinged with sadness and regret. For those with families there was the thrill of knowing that their loved ones knew they were alive, but sixty years was still a long time to wait. However, many had reacted as Harry had, and been glad just to know that their families were aware that they were here.

 

Kathryn stood at her cupboard looking at her limited array of clothes. She pulled a sleeveless, bronze velvet dress from the back. She hadn’t worn this since the Academy Ball of ’69. It would do nicely. She fixed her hair, allowing it to fall in soft waves over her shoulders. Some light make up, her favourite scent, and slipping on her shoes, she was ready to go. It was just after 19:00, so the party would be in full swing by the time she arrived. She took one last look at herself in the mirror before she left, nodded and walked out the door.

 

There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air. Crewmen and women, who she passed on her way to the holodeck, smiled at her with ease and she could hear the rumble of laughter and chatter through the bulkheads. This had been a much needed shot in the arm for all on board. It did her heart good to see all the happy faces. Now she just had to get through the evening with Chakotay. Just the thought of him set her heart on a rapid rampage against her ribs, her palms began to sweat and the flashes of his beautiful face and heavenly body made her throb and heat. As she arrived at the doors to the holodeck, she took several deep cleansing breaths in an attempt to steel herself. Just as she was about to step forward, the doors opened and several laughing ensigns from Stellar Cartography exited, each giving her a hearty greeting. She smiled and stepped over the threshold.

 

The holodeck had been transformed into a replica of the main ballroom at the Academy. She had spent many pleasant evenings there over the years, dancing the nights away at various balls and receptions. A wave of nostalgia washed over her.

 

Her eyes found him instantly. She was so attuned to him these days she could tell when he entered a room without even looking. He was dancing with one of the Delaney sisters but his eyes met hers across the dance floor andher heart raced. She noticed Tom and B’Elanna over near the bar and made her way over to greet them.

 

“Lieutenants.” She smiled at the pair.

 

“Good evening, Captain.” B’Elanna smiled in return.

 

“Captain, can I get you a drink? Neelix has been banned from the bar, so the drinks are reasonably palatable.” Tom held up a mauve coloured concoction to the light and looked at it warily.

 

“Just a glass of white wine, thank you, Tom.” She scanned the room, and took quiet note of those crewmen who looked withdrawn and quiet. She was well aware of the mixed emotions that the Doctor’s away mission had evoked. There was happiness and relief to have finally made contact with the Alpha Quadrant, but it also brought into focus, and magnified their predicament. Over the years many had become inured to the distance and the isolation. It would take some time for the equilibrium to be re-established. She had faith in her crew, and knew they would eventually find their feet again.

 

She wasn’t so sure of herself though. She sipped her wine and sighed. Her eyes kept being drawn back towards Chakotay as he moved around the dance floor. He was surprisingly light on his feet. Kathryn had danced with him on the odd occasion where protocol had dictated, but it hadn’t been very often. In fact she’d avoided close physical contact with him as much as possible. The light touches to his chest and arms were all she would allow herself. She knew her own body language gave away her feelings whenever he got too close.

 

The dance ended and Chakotay made his way over to their small group. He stood opposite Kathryn with B’Elanna and Tom standing beside them. “Kathryn.” He smiled a greeting, but his eyes were clouded.

 

She gave a strained smile in return. “Chakotay.” She turned to look at the dance floor. “The crew seem to be enjoying themselves.”

 

“Yes, it’s good to see.” He turned to watch the crew as well. Both were making a concerted effort to avoid each others gazes. It was like a red rag to a bull for Tom Paris. Their obvious discomfort rang alarm bells loud and clear.

 

Tom jabbed B’Elanna in the ribs, gave a quick frown and shifted his eyes back and forth between his commanding officers. She gave a slight shrug. She had no idea what was going on.

 

The conversation was so stilted, and the uncomfortable tension between them was like a living thing. Very hard to ignore.

 

Tom got a wicked look in his eyes. “Captain, do you like to dance?”

 

She turned to him and smiled, pleased to have something to talk about and fill the uncomfortable silence. “Yes, I love to dance. I haven’t for years.”

 

“From what I can see the Commander here is pretty light on his feet. Why don’t you two have a turn around the room?” Kathryn’s wan smile morphed into a death glare set to kill. B’Elanna instinctively took a step back and groaned internally. At this rate Tom would be demoted to crewman before the night was out.

 

Chakotay blinked slowly. If he didn’t ask, they would know something was wrong. If he did ask and she turned him down, there would be embarrassment and they would know something was wrong. If he danced with her, he would have great difficulty suppressing his feelings and they would know something was wrong. It was the ultimate Kobayashi Maru. The no win, no win, no win situation.

 

He gritted his teeth and turned to her, his face as neutral as he could make it. “Kathryn, would you like to dance?”

 

He could see her jaw clenching and what looked like a blood vessel pulsing in her temple. She wasn’t happy, and forced a non-committal smile on to her face. “Yes, thank you, Chakotay. That would be nice.” She had to consciously stop herself from hitting Paris.

 

Chakotay extended his arm. She tucked her hand in the crook of his elbow and he escorted her to the dance floor. It was a slow waltz and Chakotay held her at arms distance and they looked over each others shoulders as they moved like robots around the floor. Kathryn could feel the inquisitive stares of almost everyone as they moved awkwardly around the room. They looked ridiculous.

 

“Chakotay?” She squeezed his hand to get his attention. He looked at her, almost startled. “Chakotay, this is so silly. They’ll know something is wrong. We look ridiculous.” She smiled, trying to coax him to relax his stance. She felt him consciously relax his shoulders and arms and she moved a little closer to him. This was playing with fire. She could feel the heat from his body, although she was still a foot away from him, and every time they turned she would catch a breath of his scent. It wasn’t doing anything to help her resolve. After a few more turns she found herself almost flush against him. They were like opposing magnetic poles. Their attraction was irresistible. Before she knew it, she was being held close in his arms and their bodies were moving to the music in an easy rhythm. She could feel his breath in her hair. His hand branded her lower back and she could feel his arousal hot and hard against her belly. She was in no better state. Her nipples were painfully erect, her face was flushed and her centre was throbbing and liquid hot. She had to stop this before they made a spectacle of themselves. She took a quick look around the room. Now that they were dancing normally, most of the crew had gone back to their conversations and weren’t paying them much heed.

 

She stood on tip toe and whispered in his ear. “Chakotay, we have to stop. Over there in the corner. We can sit.”

 

He nodded mutely and they danced over to the corner of the room and took a seat at a vacant table. They sat opposite each other and took some deep breaths trying to find some calm within this maelstrom of desire.

 

Chakotay was busy running through the periodic table in his head. It was something he’d taught himself as an adolescent when control of certain parts of his anatomy was a little less reliable than it was as he grew older. It was testament to Kathryn’s appeal that he was no better than a teenager when he was in her company. Vanaduim, Chromium, Manganese, Iron. Deep breaths, and for Spirit’s sake, don’t look at her. Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Zinc. OK, things were starting to settle down. Gallium, Germanium. He jumped. She was touching his arm.

 

“Chakotay? Are you alright?”

 

He blinked a couple of times. “Umm, yes. Sorry, I was thinking of something.”

 

“Chakotay, we have to talk. We can’t go on like this. It’s having serious repercussions on our command structure and the crew are getting the idea that there’s something very amiss. We have to get past this.”

 

He was starting to get a bit irritated at her insistence that they ignore their feelings for one another. He certainly couldn’t turn them off and on like a light switch. He felt. He felt deeply. And it was almost killing him. He turned to her ready to vent his anger, but her look of worried tenderness completely disarmed him. “You’re right, Kathryn. I’m sorry. I’m finding it a little difficult to do, that’s all. But I will. I miss you.” He took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “I miss my friend. I know we have to get past it. It’s just going to take a little time and patience.”

 

She nodded her head and then pulled her hand from his. Any contact at the moment was just too much. To cover her discomfort she asked him if he would like a drink.

 

“Whatever you’re having. Thanks, Kathryn.” He watched her as she strolled to the bar. He hoped she realised what a difficult task they had ahead of them. He yearned. He knew that sounded pathetic, but it was the only word that even came close to how he was feeling at the moment. She arrived back with two glasses of white wine and they toasted silently and sipped.

 

The party continued around them. The command team sat trying desperately to maintain their usual aura of convivial calm. They spoke in stilted sentences and occasionally stepped out on the dance floor with brave crewmen who dared to ask them to dance. They did not dance with each other again all evening.

 

It was getting late and Kathryn decided she’d been there long enough and it was time to let the young ones play. “Chakotay, I’m going to go home. I’ll see you on the bridge tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your night.”

 

He gave her a warm smile. “Thanks, Kathryn. I probably won’t be far behind you. I’m sure there are things afoot that the second in command is better off not being aware of.”

 

She nodded and gave him a sad smile. “Goodnight.” And then she was gone.

 

He looked thoughtfully into his drink. He wasn’t looking forward to the next few weeks. It had been difficult enough to control their feelings before the incident in the turbo lift. He chuckled grimly to himself. ‘The incident’. That didn’t go anywhere near describing the most profoundly intimate and mind-blowing lovemaking that he’d ever experienced.

 

He swigged down the rest of his drink and then got up and moved towards the door. If he sat here thinking of what happened he would work himself into a complete state of misery.

 

Kathryn left the celebration with a heavy heart. She loved him desperately, she needed him too, but she had to be strong. They had to get past this and show some restraint. For heaven’s sake they were both the wrong side of forty, not hormone driven adolescents. But she ached for him. It was the only word that came close to describing how she felt. It was a physical ache that ground away at her resolve. She closed her eyes for a moment and promptly bumped into someone. She jolted back to see Joe Carey.

“Lieutenant!”

 

“Captain! I’m sorry.” He took a step back. “I shouldn’t have been standing here. Are you alright?”

 

“And I should have been looking where I was going. I’m fine, truly.” She gave him a smile, but something in his manner made her stop and inquire. “Joe, are you alright?”

 

He heaved a sigh. “Yeah, I think so. I’m just a little … I don’t know … confused I suppose. It’s wonderful that they know, but in some ways it’s just a reminder of how far away they really are.” He shrugged. “Do you know what I mean?”

 

She gave him a sad smile. “I’m afraid I do. It’s the old two edged sword. But just think how thrilled your boys will be to know you’re alive. I’m sure it will mean the world to them. And who knows, if Starfleet can get a message to us, they might have a way to get us home. You could be back with them before you know it.”

 

This time his smile was genuine. “You’re right, Captain. I’ll just keep reminding myself of that. Thank you.”

 

She nodded and patted his arm. “Goodnight, Lieutenant.”

 

“Goodnight, Captain.”

 

She continued up the corridor, feeling a little better about life.

 

Chakotay left the holodeck and wandered up the corridor. He passed a cheerful looking Joe Carey. They said a quick hello in passing. He rounded the corner to see the lift doors open and about to close. He sprinted the last few metres and stuck his hand in the closing doors. They sprung open again and he slid through the opening.

 

Kathryn had entered the lift and slumped back against the side wall. She was weary now. All the emotional energy she’d expended tonight had worn her out. “Deck three.” Just as the lift doors were about to close, she heard the thud of feet and a hand thrust itself through the gap. The doors opened again and the person she most wanted to be with, but least wanted to see, stumbled through the door.

 

He fell back against the wall opposite. “Phew! Just made it.” He lifted his head and saw his companion. “Kathryn!”

 

She took a shuddering breath. “Chakotay!” Oh damn, damn, damn. They hadn’t been together in a turbo lift since ‘the incident’. They’d avoided it at all costs. He was slightly short of breath and his hair had flopped down on to his forehead. She loved it when his hair did that. It was getting warmer in the lift. A lot warmer. She looked at him. His eyes were dark pools of desire and her body was betraying her again. Frissons of pleasure trickled down her spine, her heart was hammering against her ribs and she had this tightness in her chest that was making it difficult to breath without gasping.

 

Shit, shit, shit. He thought she’d have been long gone by now. This was a nightmare. It was the first time they’d been together in a turbo lift since ‘the incident’. He lowered his eyes. Oh Spirits. It was all coming back to him in vivid colours and sounds. The feel of her skin, the smell of her arousal, her moans, her taste. She was panting and he made the mistake of looking at her. Her eyes were glazed with desire. It was all too much.

 

They stood and stared at one another for a long moment.

 

Then…… they both snapped.

 

He jolted himself away from the wall. “Halt lift.”

 

At the same time she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms and legs around him. “Oh God, Chakotay.”

 

He staggered forward and her back thudded against the wall as his lips slammed on to hers. With her arms wrapped around his shoulders she ground herself against him, the heat of her centre searing him through his clothes. Their tongues were plunging into each other mouths as they mumbled and grunted endearments in between kisses. Kathryn’s legs slid slowly to the floor. There was a tear and her dress pooled around her ankles. She tore at his shirt and in a matter of moments they were both naked. Her back was up against the cool metal of the wall again as he knelt in front of her and draped her leg over his shoulder.

 

Her arms were flung wide. She let out a plaintive wail and her head thumped back against the wall as his mouth closed over her centre. With one hand splayed across her abdomen he made love to her. He nipped and sucked, and as he plunged two fingers into her she was pushed to new heights.

 

Her mind was awash with desire and wanton lust. His hot wet mouth on her hot wet sex was driving her inexorably towards oblivion. Sparks and shards of light flashed behind her closed eyelids. Her mind was a tumult of grinding passion and crushing love. She was mumbling his name and her need in incoherent gasps.

 

Suddenly she was bereft. Her leg dropped to the floor and cool air wafted over her heated flesh, but before she could grasp what was happening, he had lowered her to the floor and she was looking up at the stark lighting of the lift. Then his beautiful face came into view as he hovered over her. His eyes were dark with passion and scoured her body with their heated gaze. His hands followed the scorched trail that his eyes had just taken, leaving seared sensitive flesh in their wake.

 

She stroked over his shoulders and arms, just revelling in the feel of his skin and her body arched as he began nipping and sucking her nipples. She grabbed his head and pulled it to her lips. Her mouth was open wide, and it was less of a kiss than an attempt to devour him.

 

He pulled her legs wide and played his length along her opening and muttered against her lips. “So beautiful, so beautiful.”

 

She thrust up towards him. “Pleeeease.”

 

He thrust hard and drove himself into her welcoming depths. She reared up under him and groaned. He held still for a moment. His control was tenuous at best and the feel of her tight heat pushed his control to the limits. He held her against him, unmoving until the initial rush of lust had subsided. He lifted himself away from her and began to thrust, deep and slow. She rocked in a counter motion as they rode the waves higher and higher. Their eyes locked and their world spiralled down to shades of blue and brown. Kathryn heard, as if from a distance, the small mewling noises that she was making and his grunted replies.

 

She clutched at his shoulders, squeezing her muscles tight as she felt him swell within her. Her climax was almost upon her and after an evening of riding the ebbs and surges of arousal, it didn’t take long before they both crashed over the edge to oblivion. Chakotay collapsed on to her, breathing heavily and muttering words of love. Her inner muscles were still jerking and throbbing, and she clutched him to her. She was overwhelmed.

 

He rolled over, taking her with him, and then sat up leaning against the wall. He held her tight to him, her head tucked into his neck. He wasn’t going to let her get away this time. He felt her body start to shudder and jerk. Oh Spirits. She was crying. He didn’t think he could bear that.

 

“Kathryn. Please, Kathryn. I love you. Please don’t cry.” He stroked her naked back, trying to soothe her.

 

She shook her head, and hiccupped.

 

He put his hand on her cheek and pulled her face up to look at him. She wasn’t crying. She was laughing.

 

“Oh Chakotay, I’m sorry. I know I should be horrified, but…” She shook her head and reached up and cupped his cheek. “So much for our resolve. We barely lasted 48 hours. We’re hopeless.” She chuckled again.

 

To his relief she seemed genuinely amused. Her eyes sparkled and he could see her love for him written clearly on her happy face. He broke into a delighted smile. “Good, because I’m not letting you go this time. The last two days have been the most miserable I’ve ever spent. We can’t go back. We’ve burnt those bridges. In fact I’d say we’ve absolutely obliterated them. I don’t think we have a choice.”

 

She nodded. “I should have known. I was a fool to think I could go back to what we had before. ” She pulled back a little and stroked down his cheek. Her fingertip traced the spot where his dimples would be. “So this is it then. We’re a couple. The Captain and the Commander.”

 

He leant forward and kissed her sweetly. “Kathryn and Chakotay.”

 

“Hmmmm. I like the sound of that. What do you think the crew will say? Although I think Tuvok already knows something’s amiss. He’s been giving me some very strange looks.”

 

“Does it really matter what the crew thinks? I’m sure that most of them will be pleased. Besides, if we’re discreet, many may not notice. We do spend most of our time together anyway. Things won’t change that dramatically.”

 

She dropped her head on to his shoulder again and stroked her hand down his arm and over his shoulder. “We should get dressed and go home before Tuvok starts checking the turbo lifts again.” They stood up and put their clothes back on. Chakotay draped his jacket over Kathryn’s shoulders to hide the tear in the back of her dress. She rolled her eyes at him.

 

Once they were presentable, Chakotay called for the lift to restart. As the lift took them to their destination she turned to him with a wide grin. “You know we’re going to have to take the Jeffries tubes from now on. We can’t have this happening every time we step into a turbo lift together. We’ll never get anywhere.”

 

He laughed loudly. “Oh, I think the novelty will wear off after a decade or two. Besides, if we have to crawl through the tubes everyday we’re going to finish up with knees like a Bolian’s butt. Do you think you can learn to control yourself?”

 

“Me?!” She glared at him. “I’m the picture of dignified restraint.”

 

He gave her a droll look. “That’s why I only have two buttons on my shirt. You call that restraint?”

 

She hit his arm and laughed. “Well at least it’s in one piece. I can’t say the same for my dress.”

 

The lift doors opened and they stepped out on to their deck. She tucked her hand into his. “Let’s go home.”

 

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