By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: Dipping into the Endgame well once again…
Kathryn closed her eyes and shook her head. Admiral Bullock was still on the view screen when she opened her eyes. “Admiral, this virus was cured over five years ago.”
“I understand, Captain, but it is still in your bloodstream. We have to be absolutely certain it can’t be reactivated or passed on to others somehow.”
“No one else on Voyager has contracted the virus.” She pointed out. “Not in five years – not even the other members of the original landing party.”
“True.” He rubbed his chin, apparently thinking her argument over. “Still, they were in the Delta Quadrant with you – there’s a chance they might have picked up an immunity to it.”
Turning to Chakotay for support, she found he was even more shocked than she was. “Admiral, with all due respect, the Commander and I – “
“It’s been settled. By order of Starfleet Medical, you two will remain on board Voyager for three months.” There was an urgent whisper from off screen. “Make that six months.”
“Admiral, I must protest – “
“The crew will be beamed to Starfleet Medical for their physicals starting in thirty minutes.” The admiral ignored her protest. “You and the Commander will confine yourself to quarters during that time.”
“Thirty minutes? They won’t be able to pack in that amount of time.” Chakotay had finally found his voice. “You just expect them to –“
“All personal items are to be left behind to lessen the risk of contamination. They can collect them after the quarantine expires.”
“Admiral, this is outrageous!” Kathryn put her hands on her hips. “You can’t expect me to go along with this!”
“I expect you to follow orders, Captain.” The admiral glared at her. “This isn’t the Delta Quadrant. You’re a Starfleet officer and you will follow orders. Or you’ll spend your quarantine in Voyager’s brig.”
“I’d like to see you – “
“Captain.” Chakotay’s voice was a warning and he laid a hand on her shoulder. “Admiral Bullock is merely concerned with the safety of everyone in the Alpha Quadrant."
“He’s concerned with his own – “ She winced as Chakotay dug his fingers into her shoulder. The dark eyes cautioned her to be quiet. “Fine, but I’m filing an official protest with Starfleet Command.”
“Protest all you want, Captain Janeway.” Admiral Bullock said smugly. “But orders are orders. The crew will begin disembarking at 2100 hours and the debriefings will begin at 0900.”
“Yes, sir.” The image winked out and Kathryn turned to Chakotay. “I can’t believe this!”
“Well, look at it this way, you’ll get some time off.” He smiled at her.
“It’s not funny, Chakotay.” She sat down on the ready room sofa. “I thought I’d get to spend it with my mother and sister.”
“I know. I’m sorry. You’ll be able to talk to them, that’s something at least.”
“Better than nothing, I guess.” When the order to report to her ready room with Chakotay for a private transmission from Starfleet Medical had come in, she hadn’t known what to expect. But this wouldn’t have been anything she would have considered possible.
Chakotay had moved over to the view port to stare out at the other ships sitting in the massive spacedock next to Voyager. “Looks like I’m going to prison after all.” He joked.
“Why do I have to come along?”
“You got us stuck in the Delta Quadrant.” He pointed out with a smile.
“Chasing you!” She laughed and elbowed him as he sat down beside her. “No good deed goes unpunished.”
The ready room doors snapped open, and Seven charged in. “It was announced that we will beam to Starfleet Medical while you remain behind.” She sat on the sofa next to Chakotay. “I wish to remain behind. With you.”
“Was the call button not working, Seven?” Kathryn forced herself to stay still as Seven practically sat on Chakotay’s lap. Grabbing the blonde by the hair and dragging her away from him was beneath her dignity. But not by much if Seven draped herself over him much more.
“I used my override code. I did not wish to wait.”
“Seven, Starfleet is concerned about the virus the Captain and I have in our systems.” Chakotay patted her knee.
“I – I am – afraid. Being alone is – ” Seven hesitated. “I am not used to being alone.”
“You won’t be alone.” He assured her. “The Doctor will be with you, and the rest of the crew will be as well.”
“I have been ordered to beam out with the first group. There has not been time to say a proper goodbye.”
Oh, dear God! Kathryn wasn’t sure she could stand to see what Seven deemed a proper goodbye.
“I’ll walk you to the transporter room.” Chakotay stood and offered his hand to Seven.
“We’re supposed to confine ourselves to quarters, Chakotay.” Kathryn hoped she didn’t sound as shrewish as she felt.
“I won’t tell if you won’t.” He winked at her as he escorted Seven out of the ready room.
The doors snapped shut behind them, and Kathryn grabbed her coffee cup to hurl after them. Carefully, she set the cup down on the table. “Welcome home, Kathryn.”
Voyager was deserted and quiet. The only sounds were the occasional chirps and beeps from the computers as they uploaded seven years of information to Starfleet Headquarters.
The bridge was empty except for the small figure sitting in the big chair. “Kathryn?” She didn’t turn as he stepped down to the command level. “Kathryn? Any plans for dinner?”
“It seems my dance card is empty for the next six months, Chakotay.”
“You’re suspicious, too.”
“Very. Owen had that same twitchy look Tom has when he’s pulling a fast one.” She turned to look at him. “Did you see how he neatly sidestepped and let Starfleet Medical give the orders?”
“And take the blame.” Chakotay sat down on the small console to the right of her chair. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t threaten him like I do his son.”
“You and Admiral Paris in the boxing ring?” She laughed. “I’d pay to see that.”
“You and half the quadrant.”
“Did you notice they shut down the transporter system? Took the shuttles – even the Flyer.” She laughed. “Guess they’re afraid we’ll make a run for it.”
“We could just take Voyager.”
“No warp core, they took it this morning. Although… “ Smiling, she tapped a finger on her chin thoughtfully. “We still have impulse engines… “
“As a matter of fact…” He looked around the empty bridge before leaning down and lowering his voice to a whisper. “I know this little planetoid in the Badlands… they’ll never find us.”
A shiver ran down her spine at the soft words. At the thought of running away with him. “I’m sure this is my punishment for destroying the Array.”
“So why am I being punished?”
“May I remind you that you’re an outlaw?” The minute the words were out, Kathryn wished she could take them back. “Oh, Chakotay, I – “
He stood and paced over to the railing. “No need, I hadn’t forgotten. I expect I’ll find myself in less pleasant surroundings after our quarantine is up.”
“No.” She moved to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “I won’t let them, Chakotay. We’d never have made it home without your help. They’ll see that.”
“We can hope.” He forced a smile for her sake. “So, what will we do for the next six months?”
“Let’s start with dinner.”
They were uncomfortable at first; the easy camaraderie had slipped away. Kathryn couldn’t stop thinking of Chakotay being with Seven. She pushed her food around her plate with her fork. I’m sure he’d rather be trapped here with a certain tall, leggy blonde.
Sipping at his wine, Chakotay wondered why Admiral Janeway couldn’t have come back a few days sooner than she did. Just a few days and things would have been different. After seven years I give up and decide to move on. Oh, and hello Alpha Quadrant, we’re home!
“What are you going to do when we get out of here?” She poked at a cherry tomato with her fork.
“You mean if I’m not in prison?”
“You will not be going to prison.” She pointed her fork at him.
“Yes, ma’am!” He grinned at her. “I guess, given a choice, I’d like to teach again.”
“You don’t want a ship of your own?”
“No, I never really wanted to command. I enjoyed the time I served on the different ships I was posted to, but when the opportunity to teach at the Academy came up, I jumped at it.”
“You didn’t like being my first officer?” That hurt almost as much as finding out he was in love with Seven.
“Kathryn, I loved being your first officer. I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything.” Reaching across the table, he took her hand. “You know how you always say you’re really a four pip scientist? Well, I’m a three pip teacher.”
“You were a good teacher. I remember reading your file; your students loved you.” She smiled and squeezed his hand. “Thought you were demanding and tough, but they really loved you.”
“I like seeing that light that comes on in their eyes when they learn. When they understand.” A faraway look came into his eyes. “I miss teaching.”
“You’ll make a wonderful father.” Where had that come from? Chakotay stared at her in surprise. “Someday, I mean.”
“Someday I’d like that.” He leaned closer. “Do you want to be a mother? Someday?”
“I – I – “ She pulled her hand away and pushed away from the table. “It’s late. I’d better go.” Her napkin fell to the floor as she made her escape from thoughts of things she couldn’t have.
“No, Admiral, I don’t see that as a violation of the Prime Directive. The Kazon could have used the Array to invade the Alpha Quadrant.”
“While that may be true, Captain Janeway, your log cites the protection of the Ocampa as the primary reason for your destruction of the Array.”
“Admiral Nechayev, it’s also true that the Caretaker was dying and was trying to destroy the Array himself. He asked for our help. He was a far more advanced being; therefore, the Prime Directive does not apply.” Kathryn sighed mentally. For the last six hours, she’d been spinning in circles. Every decision she’d made was being nitpicked to death. Nechayev seemed determined to find her guilty of something. Anything. Was Chakotay going through the same thing?
“Commander, you recently took over Voyager and put Captain Janeway in the brig. Care to explain your mutiny?”
“I had been subjected to a mind meld by – “
“You then handed Lieutenant Commander Tuvok a weapon and ordered him to murder Captain Janeway as proof of his loyalty to your new… regime.” Admiral Hayes continued as if Chakotay hadn’t spoken.
“Admiral. I gave him a weapon that I had personally altered to misfire. I would never allow any harm to come to Captain Janeway.” Teero was arrested for this. Why are we going over it? Chakotay forced himself to stay relaxed in his seat. What is Hayes up to?
“I’m confused, Commander. One moment you’re protecting Captain Janeway and the next you’re manhandling her in the brig.”
“I never manhandled her.” He ground his teeth as anger began to build up hot and heavy in his belly.
“So the incident in your log… it isn’t true?” Admiral Hayes smirked. “You falsified your log?” He glanced around at the other members of the panel. “Was this just a little fantasy of yours?”
Chakotay mentally kicked himself. He should never have put the incident in his log, but he had known Kathryn would put it in hers. Being meticulous to a fault was one quality that might land them both in hot water. “I was under the influence of the mind meld. Teero wanted the Starfleet officers – punished.”
“So when you assaulted Captain Janeway in her own brig – that wasn’t you?” The admiral snickered.
“Unfortunately, it was me.” He kept his expression calm, not allowing the seething anger to show. “Fortunately for Captain Janeway, because a part of me was still there, I didn’t follow through with Teero’s orders.”
“And what were his orders?”
“To rape Captain Janeway.” The Admirals on the panel gasped, the Vulcan looking even more displeased than she had been since this line of questioning had started. “Teero gave Tuvok specific orders to pass on to me when I took control of Voyager. One of those orders was to kill Lieutenant Paris – I managed to flip the phaser to stun. Another order was to sexually assault Captain Janeway. I did kiss her and – handle her roughly – but I did not – do – what Teero wanted me to do.”
Admiral Hayes shook his head. “Easy for you to claim, Commander. What I believe – “
“I assume that you’ve had time to read Commander Tuvok’s logs.” Chakotay smiled at the panel. “You’ll find the entire content of Teero’s orders dutifully recorded. Until Commander Tuvok advised me to read his log entries – I blamed myself far more than you ever could, Admiral.”
“Commander Tuvok’s logs are – “
Chakotay spoke over Admiral Hayes. He was getting his point across whether the man liked it or not. “Even now, I feel guilty over my actions. Knowing that I’m not responsible doesn’t lessen what I did.”
“Admiral Hayes.” Admiral T’Lara spoke up, arching one gracefully angled eyebrow in censure. “Teero is in a Federation penal facility and this matter has been settled.” She tapped the padd in front of her with a delicate fingernail. “The next issue on the agenda is the Commander’s preferred method of discipline for crewmembers. ‘Sparring partners’ is the term used.”
“My God, can they be any more pompous?” Kathryn propped her feet up on the table. They had returned to her quarters for dinner after a grueling day of being grilled by admirals who hadn’t faced a command decision in years.
“That’s one of the nice parts about being a teacher. No one questions your every decision.” Chakotay sighed and took a drink of his tea. “Kathryn, they really went over what happened with Teero with a fine toothed comb.”
“You can’t be held responsible for that. Tuvok’s the one I’m worried about them pinning the mutiny charges on.”
“It wasn’t just the mutiny.” He took another drink. “Hayes brought up what happened in the brig.”
“Oh.” The memory flashed back. Chakotay’s body on top of hers, his mouth hot and wet, his hips grinding into hers. She’d been terrified and excited at the same time. Excited because it was Chakotay and she couldn’t help responding to him. Terrified knowing that it wasn’t really him and wasn’t what he wanted. She still woke up in a cold sweat sometimes, still hearing the echoes of the guards as they urged him on.
She looked up to see concern on his face. “You didn’t do anything.”
“I almost did. Part of me was there, I could see your fear and – “
“Chakotay, that part of you is what made you walk away.” She patted his leg.
“Only because I – “ He stopped, ashamed. He’d never told Kathryn the whole truth. “I played out the idea of taking you some place more private and doing – more – to you.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Her face turned pink at the idea of what ‘more’ might mean. “What matters is that you were able to stop.”
He laid a hand over hers and squeezed her fingers. “If Tuvok hadn’t mind melded with me again after I tested his loyalty – I was going to the brig to get you.”
“Guess we shouldn’t be upset at Tuvok for his timing. Looks like he was on target for once.”
Chakotay was quiet. Kathryn was being flippant about it, but she didn’t know what would have happened to her. Teero was sadistic, and his orders had been to inflict as much humiliation and pain as possible. He shuddered as he remembered some of the specific tortures the Bajoran zealot had wanted done to her.
“Chakotay, stop it. That’s an order.”
“Aye aye, Captain.”
“So, what crap are they going to throw at us tomorrow?” She squeezed his hand before letting go. “The deal with the Borg? Maybe giving technology to the Hirogen?”
“Ouch.” Kathryn shook her head. “You win.”
After a week, they’d fallen into a comfortable pattern. Breakfast and pre-grilling pep talk. Lunch and encouragement that it was half over for the day. Dinner and a sigh of relief that another day had passed.
Her book was boring. Kathryn dropped the PADD onto her lap. Chakotay was engrossed in whatever he was reading. Sighing, she shifted her feet over onto his thigh. When he didn’t look up, she wiggled her feet until she knocked the PADD out of his hand.
“Bored, Kathryn?” He smiled at her.
“Well, let me think…” He tugged at his ear. “We’ve read, we’ve watched the movies Tom sent us. What else?”
“Played velocity and handball.”
“And you cheated at both.” Ignoring her outraged look, he continued ticking off their activities on his fingers. “We started packing the crew’s belongings – “
“Don’t remind me.” They had gotten the idea of doing the crew’s packing for them. Until they found some embarrassing items. “I’ll never be able to look at Lieutenant Stensone the same again.”
“He should have taken that with him when he left.”
“He should have buried it somewhere.” A laugh bubbled up as she remembered the shocked look on Chakotay’s face.
“We’re in a rut.” He sighed.
“I guess the honeymoon’s over.”
“Seriously, we need a break.” Chakotay pulled Kathryn to her feet. “Change into some casual clothes and meet me in Holodeck 1 in twenty minutes.”
“Hey, who gives the orders around here?” She smacked him playfully on the arm.
“Last time I checked, you’d been relieved of duty.” He danced out of the way before Kathryn could hit him again.
“I still outrank you!”
“For now. Who knows, you could wind up busted down to ensign.” He grinned at her. “Ensign Janeway… has a nice ring to it.”
“We could both be ensigns by the time this is over. Now get!” She motioned him toward the door.
“Twenty minutes. Don’t make me make it an order, Ensign.” He ducked out the door before she could answer.
Ensign Janeway and Captain Chakotay? One of her old fantasies surfaced. What would have happened if his ship had been the one they had ended up on and she had had to serve under him? A shiver ran through her. So, Ensign Janeway, how badly do you want that promotion?
“Get moving, Kathryn.” She gave herself a mental shake. Twenty minutes didn’t leave a lot of time for a cold shower and a change of clothes.
“How am I supposed to get in this thing? I’m wearing a dress!” Kathryn eyed the single man fighter craft. No way was she climbing a ladder in a long skirt. “You could have warned me.”
“Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.” He smiled and shook his head. “I’m not used to seeing you in skirts.”
“What is this thing?” The poor thing looked like it had been blown apart and put back together with spare parts.
“One of Tom’s programs. This is an x-wing.” Chakotay patted it affectionately. “They’re very fast and maneuverable.”
Boys and their toys. “Knowing Tom, I’m not surprised. But why are they in such bad shape?”
“The story is, we’re rebels fighting the – “
“The evil empire, no doubt.” She rolled her eyes.
“Of course. What fun would there be in rebelling against a good empire?”
“Hmm… good point.”
“We’re flying against tie-fighters. They’re similar and have more fire power but are much less maneuverable.”
“And the goal of this program?”
“To shoot things.” He grinned at her. “We can pretend we’re shooting certain admirals.”
She grinned back. “Now that sounds like fun.” Kathryn eyed the ladder again. “Let me get some pants.”
“Wait.” Kneeling down, Chakotay grabbed the back hem of her skirt and pulled it forward and up between her legs. “Hold this.” Pulling off his belt, he placed it around her waist to hold her makeshift pants in place. “There you go.”
“As a fashion designer, you should stick to your day job, Chakotay.”
He let his gaze linger on her legs. “I like it.”
A flush stained her cheeks, and she turned and scrambled up the ladder.
He followed and helped her get settled. “Basically, we’re just flying and shooting, nothing too complicated.”
Beeping behind her caused Kathryn to jump. “What the hell is that?” Directly behind the small cockpit a silver and blue dome turned back and forth, lights flashing frantically.
“That’s your droid, an R2. I have no idea what it does. We’ll have to ask Tom.” Chakotay patted the droid, earning a string of beeps and boops. “They’re friendly, I do know that.”
“How do you fly this thing?” She glanced around the cockpit at the strange controls.
“Most of it is just for looks. The flight stick is how you guide it, the thumb is your target lock, and the trigger fires. Pretty basic. Hit this switch here to open the x-wings to fire.” Chakotay was leaning over her, pointing out the screens that would show targets, and the spicy scent of his aftershave was proving distracting. “Got it?”
“Uh, yes. Basic as you said.” His face was close to hers and she had to fight the urge to stroke his cheek. Or kiss him.
“Put on your helmet.” He handed her a lightweight helmet. “There’s a big red button that says ‘reset’. Push it if you get killed.”
“We can be killed?” She yelled after him as he started down the ladder.
“I’ve programmed it so we can’t shoot each other or crash.” He assured her. “And we are on the holodeck, remember?”
“Considering your record with shuttles, that’s a good thing.”
He’d been at the bottom of the ladder but scrambled back up. “Care to place a wager on who’s the better pilot?”
“A wager?” The smoky blue eyes narrowed suspiciously. “What kind of wager?”
“If I get more kills than you – you go on a date with me.”
“A date?” Kathryn laughed. “Chakotay, we’ve lived together for seven years! We’ve had dinner more times than I can count!”
“A real date.” He said seriously. “Two people having dinner together.”
“I… “ Here’s your chance, Kathryn! Stop being such a damned coward! “It’s a bet.”
“Good.” He started back down the ladder.
“Hey, what do I get if I win?”
An hour later, Kathryn had been shaken, spun, and killed several times. However, the evil empire had taken a beating between the two of them. “I probably shouldn’t feel so good about shooting things – but that was fun!”
“It’s merely a therapeutic method of stress relief.”
“That sounds like a rationalization, Chakotay.”
“It is – one any good counselor would give you.” He helped her down the last few rungs of the x-wing’s ladder. Her face was flushed and her eyes were sparkling.
“Beats the heck out of talking a problem to death. Just line them up and shoot them.” She let her hands rest on his shoulders as he lifted her down.
His hands were still on her waist, and Chakotay pulled her closer. “A little less talk and a little more action?”
Kathryn waited, frozen, as he lowered his head as if to kiss her.
“Spacedock to Captain Janeway.”
They jumped apart. “Janeway here.”
“Incoming call for you, Captain. From Vulcan.”
“Tuvok.” They said simultaneously. Both grinned. Only Tuvok could interrupt them from thousands of light years away.
“I’ll take it on the bridge.” Kathryn said. “I need a few minutes.”
“Yes, ma’am. Contact us when you’re ready. Commander Chakotay has an incoming call as well. Seven of Nine.” The woman’s tone indicated her amusement at the number of times Seven called per day.
Chakotay sighed. “I’ll take it in my quarters.”
“Yes, sir. Spacedock out.”
Kathryn bit her tongue. Firmly.
“Tuvok, you’re looking well.” Kathryn leaned on the bridge railing.
“Captain, I look exactly as I did last week. There was no physical manifestation of my illness.”
“It’s a standard human greeting, Tuvok.” She smiled. “It’s nice to see a fresh face.”
The Vulcan’s eyebrows arched. “You once told me you found Commander Chakotay’s face quite appealing. Has your opinion changed?”
“Tuvok!” Her face flamed. Dear God is this channel secure?
“You no longer find the Commander physically attractive?”
“I – I find him very attractive, but that’s – never mind. How are T’Pel and your children?”
“They are well. T’Pel sends her greetings, as well as an invitation to visit as soon as your schedule permits.”
“Once they let us out.” Only Tuvok could make it sound like she was locked up in quarantine to duck an invitation. “I’ll be happy to come visit.”
“We look forward to welcoming you to our home.” He paused. “And you as well, Commander.”
“I’d be honored, Tuvok.” Chakotay’s voice came from behind her.
“Live long and prosper, Tuvok out.”
Maybe if she didn’t move the deck would open up and swallow her. Kathryn stared at the blank screen as Chakotay walked up behind her. Open now, come on, deck, this is the Captain! I order you to swallow me!
“So, you told Tuvok you think I’m attractive?” His breath was hot against her ear.
So much for the hope that he hadn’t heard that part. “I may have mentioned something in passing.”
“Has your opinion changed?”
His hands came to rest on either side of hers on the railing. “How’s Seven?” Why did I say that?
“Fine.” He spun away from her. “Nervous about being alone.”
“Isn’t she staying with the rest of the crew?” Starfleet had quartered the crew in the Academy dorms during the debriefings.
“Yes, but she’s – “ He shrugged. “Nervous.”
“Maybe she misses you.”
“Maybe.” Chakotay turned to her. “Kathryn, I – “
“I need to go call my mother, I haven’t talked to her today.” Kathryn rushed off the bridge before he could say anything else. She couldn’t bear to hear about his relationship with Seven.
Chakotay was pacing her quarters when Kathryn arrived from her afternoon grilling. “Where have you been?” He snapped.
“Good to see you, too.” She walked over to the sofa and sat down.
“I’m sorry. It’s 2000 hours. We’re usually done by 1700.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “I kept thinking – I was worried.”
“They wanted to talk about the Maquis.” She clasped her hands in front of her. “If you’d talked about anything you’d done – missions and raids – that sort of thing.”
“That should have been a short conversation.” He had never discussed specifics of his time in the Maquis except to tell her that he had never hit a Starfleet target.
“Yes, well, tell Admiral Nechayev that.” Her hands were shaking. Had been shaking for hours now, the only sign of weakness that had slipped out from under her command mask. “She kept going on about rebuilding our ties with Cardassia. Making amends for past transgressions.”
“Kathryn, you knew they would ask.” Chakotay sat down next to her.
“Not like this! Not about things like this! She wants to know how many civilians you killed!”
“I never – “
“I know! I know! I told them that. You hit military targets only – no civilians and no Starfleet! She just smiled that nasty smile of hers!” Pulling off her jacket, Kathryn flung it across the room. “I’m ashamed to wear the same uniform she does!”
“Actually, you’re not wearing the same one – “
“Don’t you dare make a joke about this!” She stood up suddenly. “She wants to hand you over to the Cardassians! Don’t you understand?”
“I understand.” He said quietly. His own debriefing today had been over the same subject.
“How can you be so calm? Aren’t you angry?”
“What do you want me to do, Kathryn? Point out how many people they killed? It doesn’t matter. Starfleet will do whatever they’re going to do.” Chakotay caught her hand and pulled her back down to sit on the sofa again. “I won’t go to Cardassia.”
“If they decide to send you, how will you – “ Her eyes widened. “What are you going to do?”
“I won’t go to Cardassia.” He repeated firmly.
“No.” Kathryn grabbed his shoulders. “I’ve already lost you to Seven – I won’t lose you – “ She stopped, realizing too late what she’d said.
“Lost me to Seven?”
“I mean – “
“How could you lose me, Kathryn? You never had me.” Now he was angry, and he surged to his feet. “Or should I say you never cared to have me.”
“How can you say that? How can you not know how I feel about you?”
“Every time I tried to tell you how I felt, you threw the rule book in my face!” He stalked over to the viewport.
“On New Earth, you said you understood.” She jumped up to her feet to yell back at him. “You said you’d wait!”
“You honestly thought I’d wait forever?” He turned back to her.
“How about five years?”
“It wasn’t five years, Kathryn! We were looking at thirty or even forty years!” Shaking his head, he pulled off his own jacket and threw it over the back of the sofa. “Starfleet was more important than – “
“You didn’t wait six months! What about Riley?” Kathryn spat out the other woman’s name.
“Don’t throw that in my face. You have no idea how that made me feel!” There was no way to describe the incredible feeling of experiencing sex from both his body and Riley’s. “You can’t even imagine – you would have done the same thing.”
“What about Kellin?” She arched an eyebrow sardonically. “Would I have done that too?”
“I don’t even remember her!” He threw the names back in her face. “What about Kashyk? And Jaffen?”
They stood glaring at each other. Kathryn had tears in her eyes, and Chakotay felt his anger draining away. This had smoldered between them for years; the only question was how it had kept from bursting into flame years ago.
Sitting back down on the sofa, he put his head in his hands. “I was lonely, Kathryn. We – you and I – had everything but a physical relationship. And I needed that. I needed the softness of a woman’s body against mine.”
“But Seven? For God’s sake, Chakotay, she’s a child.”
“She’s not a child. She’s – immature.” He flushed. “I was surprised when she asked me to lunch, but I had told her she needed to interact with the crew more.”
“And after that, you kept seeing her?” She wiped at the tears.
“I was intrigued. She started behaving more – human – and she’s very sweet and charming. And I was very lonely.”
“You slept with her.” Kathryn whispered.
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business!” His head snapped up, and he glared at her.
“What can I say? I moved in with Jaffen right after I met him.” Moving Chakotay’s jacket, she sat down next to him.
“Kathryn, you were brainwashed.”
“Was I? I’ve thought about it, Chakotay. I’ve thought about it a lot. I enjoyed having no responsibilities and having someone to take care of me. I’ve never had that before.”
He brushed her hair back from her face. “I’ve always been willing to take care of you.”
“I know, and I couldn’t let you.” She held his hand to her cheek.
“You wouldn’t let me.”
“Is that what it is with Seven? You take care of her?” Her eyes closed. Please, don’t tell me you love her!
“Yes, she needs me. Maybe it’s old fashioned and sexist, but a man likes taking care of a woman. Hell, it’s flattering to have a woman point blank tell me she wants me to be her first lover – the one to teach her about love.”
“A man with a woman half his age, Chakotay?” She dropped his hand. “That’s pathetic.”
“What’s pathetic is a woman drying up with old age because she’s afraid to be with a man!” Gripping her chin in his hand, Chakotay forced her to look at him. “Did you take a good look at Admiral Janeway? That’s your future, Kathryn!”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted.” To her horror, fresh tears trickled down her cheeks. Where was her tritanium backbone when she needed it most?
“Kathryn, you’re everything I’ve ever wanted. Seven is nothing I want.”
“And they say women are complicated.” She couldn’t hold back a laugh.
“As nice as it is to have a woman need me – it’s getting boring.” Taking a chance, Chakotay leaned down and kissed Kathryn’s tear stained cheek. “I don’t want to have to remind her to breathe.”
“It can’t be that bad.” Another chuckle forced its way out.
“It feels like it. Relying on someone is one thing – being dependant on them is another.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Let’s just see what happens. We’ll relax and wait.” He leaned back and pulled her against his chest. “We’ve got to get through the debriefings. What we want may not count for anything.”
“You’re not killing yourself if they want to send you to Cardassia.” Kathryn twined her fingers with this. “I’ve got this big rescue all planned.”
“Hayes and Nechayev are the only ones pushing for the Maquis to be imprisoned. If we stay focused, they won’t get the support they need from the others and then it’ll be over.”
“Owen is pushing for a pardon across the board. He’s not sure about keeping the Starfleet commissions.” Tom had been funneling her information from his father when he called so they could see Miral everyday. Thanks to him, they’d been kept reasonably well informed. “The press is putting pressure on Starfleet to let the Maquis go.”
“I don’t know if I want to be in Starfleet. I know you don’t.” He nudged her. “You’ve gotten too used to being the one giving the orders. It’s driving you crazy that someone else is telling you what to do.”
“That’s not it at all!”
“Huh! You cut Owen off when we got back.” The memory made him laugh. “Left him hanging.”
“I – we – “ Had she cut him off? “I did, didn’t I?”
“I’d have loved to see the look on his face.” Chakotay laughed and Kathryn began laughing with him. “I will bet that no one has talked to him like that since he was a Captain.”
They sat in silence on the sofa. Kathryn playing with Chakotay’s fingers, measuring her hands against his. He was content to watch her pale fingers against his darker skin. They’d had the worst argument of their friendship. Really the only argument. All their other disagreements had been over the crew, or the ship, or how to deal with something the Delta Quadrant had thrown at them for breakfast.
Kathryn looked up to find him studying her, the dark eyes serious. “Hi. I’m Kathryn.”
He smiled slowly. “Hello, I’m Chakotay.”
“I wish to terminate our relationship.”
Chakotay wasn’t sure if he should feel relieved or hurt. “Seven, we’ve only had four dates. I’m not sure there’s a relationship to terminate.”
“It is proper procedure to inform someone when you are through with them and seeking a more fulfilling relationship with someone else.” She said coolly.
Ouch. “Seven, I wish you and the Doctor all the best. Don’t worry about me.”
“I am not worried about you. I believe that Captain Janeway is the individual with whom you should seek a relationship.” Seven paused, and a smile softened her face. “She cares for you but is perhaps too stubborn to admit it.”
“I believe you’re right.” He smiled back at her. “At least about the stubborn part. Take care, Seven.”
Switching off the com signal, he suppressed the guilt he felt over how relieved he was that his relationship with Seven was over. Despite what he had said to her, they had had a relationship that Admiral Janeway said had turned into a marriage. Interesting tidbit for her to drop, now that he thought about it.
Leaving his quarters, he walked next door to Kathryn’s. The door opened at the first chime.
“Another day of garbage, Mom.” Kathryn waved him over to where she sat at her desk. “Now they’re harping over the alliance we set up to get out of the void. I guess they’d be happier if we were still stuck there.”
“That’s Starfleet for you. They’re more concerned with their damn rules than results.” Gretchen smiled as Chakotay came into range of the visual pickup. “Hello, sweetheart.”
“Gretchen.” He smiled at Kathryn’s mother. She’d adopted him immediately. As far as she was concerned, he was perfect for her daughter, and she’d made no secret of how she felt. No doubt she already had them married and settled, and had a name picked out for their first child. Chakotay had immediately decided he liked Gretchen.
“What are you two doing this evening?”
“Well, I thought we’d start with dinner.” He winked at Gretchen.
“A date! Oh that’s wonderful!”
“Mother!” Kathryn laughed. “We’ve been living together for seven years. It’s a little late to have our first date!”
“There’s no ring on your finger, Kathy. You can’t afford to be picky at your age.” She smiled a familiar crooked smile. “Not that he’s the bottom of the barrel by any means.”
“Actually, a date is exactly what I had in mind.”
“It is?” Kathryn turned to look at him.
“Certainly.” As of two seconds ago. “A romantic dinner.”
“How sweet! Well, I’ll let you kids go. Talk to you tomorrow, sweetheart.” Gretchen’s image disappeared as she cut the com link.
“Was she talking to you or to me?”
“She’s your mother.”
“She’s my mother – and a bigger schemer you’ll never meet.” Kathryn shook her head. “A romantic dinner date, huh? We’ll just let her think that.”
“No.” He held up a hand when she started to protest. “A date, Kathryn. No rules, no protocol – a date.”
“I – “ She caught the yearning in his eyes and it echoed inside of her. “Pick me up at 18 – at six.”
“Six it is.”
“Informal?” When he nodded, she couldn’t resist. “Do I need pants this time?”
“Not that informal.” Smiling, he turned and walked toward the door.
An hour later, they were seated in a cozy booth in a small Mexican restaurant.
“This is a great program, Chakotay.” Kathryn looked around at the old fashioned photographs on the stone walls. “Just lovely.”
“It’s a restaurant I used to go to when I taught at the academy.” He signaled a holographic waiter.” It’s been in the same family for over two hundred years.”
They ordered and were soon munching on chips and salsa while they waited. Two thirds of the way through her margarita, Kathryn realized the drink wasn’t synthehol. “This isn’t replicated.”
“They’re beaming up whatever we order.” Chakotay grinned at her. “Being a celebrity has its perks.”
She couldn’t argue. Since their return, she’d enjoyed real coffee and fresh croissants every morning. “To fresh food.” Kathryn lifted her glass.
“To real food.” He clinked his glass against hers. “And no leola root. Ever.”
They were sitting closer than they normally did. Chakotay’s body was pressed against hers, and his arm was around her shoulders. Leaning onto his chest, she let her hand rest on his thigh.
The waiter appeared and set their plates in front of them. Kathryn’s eyebrows rose. “Chicken?”
“You like chicken.” He deftly cut a piece and held it out to her.
“But it’s on your plate.” She took the proffered bite. “Oh, that’s good.”
“You have a habit of eating off my plate.” He grinned at her indignant expression. “The Florentine burritos are for me.”
“When have I ever eaten off your plate?” Chakotay obviously needed to order something to counteract the margaritas. “Name one time.”
“The Markonian outpost. The banquet the Slymarian ambassador hosted, that funny looking little restaurant on – “
“Enough, enough!” She laughed. “Can I help it if what you have looks better than what I have?” She offered him a bite of her chili relleno.
He closed his eyes appreciatively at the taste of tangy cheese and fresh pepper. “No offense to Neelix, but I missed real food.”
“Oh come on. Not a little homesick for leola root?” Kathryn laughed as he shook his head emphatically.
After they had eaten, Chakotay took her hand and guided her onto the dance floor. They’d danced together before, but this time it was different. There was no respectable distance between them with their hands in the appropriately respectable places. He pulled her against him, one arm around her waist and the other holding her hand against his chest.
Sliding her other arm around his neck, Kathryn rested her head on his shoulder. The soft music from the lone guitar player moved them slowly around the floor. There had been moments over the past seven years when their bodies had brushed together, but they had never deliberately pressed against each other like this. She laughed softly.
“What?” His breath was warm against her cheek.
“The only time we were this close, you were protecting me from volcanic ash.”
“Not the most romantic situation.” He nuzzled at her ear. “I seem to recall you telling me I was being chauvinistic at the time.”
“I was trying to pretend I didn’t like how safe you made me feel.” That miserable little rock of a planet had given her a moment that fueled many late night fantasies. “And I was trying to pretend I didn’t feel this.” Kathryn pressed her belly against his erection.
Chakotay gasped for breath as she rubbed herself against him. Seeking her mouth with his, he kissed her hungrily. The music was forgotten, and he slid his hands down over her bottom to hold her to him
In her dreams, she’d kissed Chakotay a thousand times, but those dreams fell far short of reality. His mouth was firm and demanding, his tongue teasing her lips open to allow him inside. Fire raced through her as she caught and sucked at his tongue.
“Spirits, Kathryn – “ He broke away. “I’m going to have you down on the floor if you don’t stop.”
Kathryn was suddenly frightened. Frightened because the idea didn’t sound that bad. “Let’s go.” Taking his hand, she led him from the holodeck.
In the turbo lift, they kept their distance. Chakotay leaned against the back wall and mentally stripped the black dress from her body. Meeting her eyes, he smiled and let her see the desire he’d kept hidden all these years.
She shivered at the thought of how many times she’d stood next to him in this very lift and had no idea he felt this way. Had she barely escaped rape all those times? It wouldn’t have been rape… Get the bodice rippers out of your head, Kathryn!
When they got to the door of her quarters, he stopped her before she could key in her code. Pinning her against the door, he gave her a body grinding kiss. One muscled thigh slipped between hers as his hands settled on her hips and pulled her into him “I always wanted to do that.” One last thrust against her, and he stepped back to key her door open.
Stopping him before he could follow her inside, Kathryn cupped his face in her hands. “On the first date? I’m not that kind of girl, Chakotay.”
He groaned in frustration as she gave him a quick kiss before the door slid shut between them.
In his quarters, Chakotay threw himself on the sofa. After seven years why hadn’t he learned that patience didn’t get him anywhere? He should have stopped the lift and taken her against the wall. The aching of his cock intensified at the thought of pinning Kathryn’s hands to her sides and forcing himself inside of her.
Unconsciously, he unzipped his pants and stroked himself, imagining her white thighs and red curls, her hot wet heat surrounding him. The door chime shattered his fantasy. Zipping his pants back up, he sighed. “Come in.”
“Can we talk for a minute?”
“Of course.” What was that ugly thing Kathryn had on? She was wearing a fuzzy robe that reminded him of a gorilla he’d seen once. Except the robe was pink. Very pink.
“Do you think this counts as a second date?” She slid the robe off to reveal a dark green satin top with matching pantalets, both were trimmed in black lace. “Or should I put this back on and go?”
He bolted up off the sofa. “Yes – and no!” Scooping her up in his arms, Chakotay carried her into his bedroom.
Trembling as he laid her on the bed and moved over her, Kathryn tried to relax as he tugged the pantalets down. His hands were impatient, pulling her legs apart and pressing the hot swollen head of his cock against her. His mouth came down to hers for a moment, kissing her between panting breaths. She cried out as he plunged inside of her, burying himself to the hilt.
He forced himself to lie still on top of her. “Kathryn – I can stop – “ Even as he asked, he wasn’t sure he could stop.
“No.” Taking a deep breath, she forced her muscles to relax around him.
“Are you sure? do you – “
“Yes.” She pulled his mouth back to hers as he began moving hard and fast.
Seven years of celibacy had left her body unprepared. No doubt Chakotay believed she’d slept with Kashyk – everyone else did – but she hadn’t. Nor had she had sex with Michael Sullivan or Jaffen. Jaffen was great cuddler, but his race wasn’t capable of sex.
Above her the black velvet eyes were anguished at the pain he was causing her, even as his body refused to stop its frantic movements. After four hard lunges, Chakotay exploded inside of her, the wetness easing the stinging pain.
“Kathryn – “ He gasped against her throat. “I’m sorry – spirits – thought you were ready – I thought you wanted me – “
“I do, Chakotay, I do.” Cradling him in her arms, she stroked her hands over his back and shoulders. “It’s just… been awhile.”
“You and Jaffen?”
“Norvallens are an asexual race. They don’t have sex organs.” She chuckled. “Why do you think I wasn’t that sorry to leave?”
Slipping down her body, Chakotay nuzzled through the auburn curls. The small nub was swollen and hot under his tongue. Gently, he laved and sucked at it until Kathryn was moaning and whimpering in pleasure. Her fingers clenched into his hair, holding his mouth to her as she arched up in her climax.
As she stilled, he moved back up to kiss her and share the taste of them with her. “I love you, Kathryn.”
Her eyes locked with his as he slid inside of her once again. “I love you, Chakotay.” This time the pleasure overrode all but a slight stinging as he filled her. Shifting her legs open wider, Kathryn relaxed her inner muscles around the hard shaft.
“Still hurts?” He held himself still as she shifted around and made herself more comfortable.
“Some.” She gave him a rueful smile. “Maybe if you weren’t so damned big.”
“You’ll thank me later.” Giving her a quick kiss, Chakotay got up from the bed and went into the main room.
“What have you got?” Kathryn rose up on her elbows as he came back into the bedroom.
“Something to help out until you get used to me.” She jumped as he spread the cool gel onto her, chuckling as she scooted back. “And you will get used to me, Kathryn.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Sighing as his cock slid easily inside of her, she wrapped her arms around him. A laugh burst from her. “I think I forgot what to do!”
They had seven years of suppressed sexual desires to make up for. Luckily, they also had an entire starship to themselves. They made love in her ready room, the turbo lifts, even the mess hall. Chakotay dug out his Maquis leather one night and they played out the ‘would you have served under me’ question she’d sidestepped so long ago. However, the holodeck was their favorite place.
“Lake George was much nicer this time around.” Kathryn shifted, sitting back up. “Not that it wasn’t nice last time.”
Chakotay looked up at her. Since last time he hadn’t been able to reach up and fondle her bare breasts, he didn’t think it had been nice. Not even in the same quadrant as nice. More in the vicinity of frustrated and horny.
“We should have done this sooner.” It was her mantra, said several times a day.
“You won’t get any argument from me.” He pushed himself up so he could kiss her. “I’ve had too many fantasies of this.”
“Really? I never would have guessed.” A smile curved her lips.
“Says the woman who wanted to play Maquis Mutiny.”
“It’s the leather pants.” She rocked her hips against him. “I have to confess, I considered tampering with the mutiny scenario so it would be just you and me.”
“Good thing you didn’t – that would have triggered Seska’s booby trap.”
“You and me naked in the brig – that would have taken some explaining.”
“The brig?” His eyebrows went up. “I think that needs some explaining now.”
“You know… helpless captive… “ A blush pinkened her cheeks. “Dark and dangerous man…”
“As long as we’re confessing… I did make a hologram of you once. But I didn’t do anything with her.”
“What, my hologram wasn’t exciting enough for you?” Kathryn wasn’t sure if she should be flattered or insulted.
“Holograms don’t kiss right, you know that.”
“She didn’t kiss you like this?” She nibbled at the full bottom lip. “Or like this?” Her tongue slipped in to play with his.
“I never kissed her. I felt guilty.” Chakotay panted into her mouth. “I’m cursed with a conscience.”
“Unfortunately so am I.” Tilting her head to one side, Kathryn sighed as he kissed his way down her throat. “That’s why I never made one of you like Seven did.”
“What?” His mouth froze above her collarbone. He couldn’t have heard that right.
“Didn’t you know?” She’d been sure that he knew about it. “The Doctor filed a report on it. She created a hologram of you for – romantic – situations.”
“Romantic situations?” The dark eyes glittered in fury. “And you didn’t tell me?”
“I thought you’d read the report.” Stroking his hair, she tried to soothe his injured feelings. “And I assumed that she would have told you once the two of you… “
“No doubt she thought it was irrelevant.” How much of their relationship had Seven plotted out? Was that what Admiral Janeway had meant when she said Seven would hurt him? “Let’s look at him.”
“Are you – Chakotay, I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Kathryn bit her lip. “I’m lying. I want to see him, too.”
They dressed and ended the Lake George program. Calling up a replay of Seven’s program, they watched a portion of her piano recital for ‘Chakotay’ as well as the dinner she had shared with the hologram.
“No more cracks about my fashion sense! Where did she get that outfit she has me in?”
“Neelix?” Kathryn bit her tongue firmly to keep from reminding him that he had a suit exactly like that. One she intended to toss in the recycler when he wasn’t looking.
“Did she forget I’m a vegetarian or did she just not care?” Chakotay shook his head.
Holding back a laugh, she patted his shoulder. “Maybe you confused her when you ordered something for me to eat off your plate. Remember the dinner she made before we were pulled into the void? Quail, wasn’t it?”
“Look at that!” He threw a disgusted look at where his hologram lay sleeping with Seven. “They’re actually sleeping! Fully dressed!”
“Chakotay, I don’t think she fully understood what ‘sleeping together’ meant.” Kathryn sobered. Seven had undoubtedly found out what the term really meant when she began her relationship with the real Chakotay.
“Kathryn, I didn’t sleep with her.” He tipped her face up so he could look into her eyes. “Or have sex with her.”
“Good.” She threw her arms around him and squeezed him until he grunted. “You’re mine.”
Opening the program file, they found that Seven had made extensive changes in the hologram’s parameters. Restoring the original parameters, they started the program again, this time adding a hologram of Seven using Tuvok’s security files.
“Now lets see what happens.” Kathryn grinned. “Computer, run program."
“Was there something you needed, Seven?” Chakotay tugged at his ear as he looked around the sparsely decorated quarters. “Who assigned you these quarters?”
“I wanted to invite you to dinner.”
“Thank you, but I have plans.” He smiled nervously as she came closer, stepping into his personal space.
“Do you like my dress?” She backed up and twirled around, causing the red skirt to flare out.
“It’s very nice.” He frowned. “What happened to your implants?”
“The Doctor removed them.” Her hand went self consciously to her left temple.
“I thought that was impossible. When exactly – “
“Let’s talk about something else.” Seven took hold of his arm. “I will play the piano for you.”
“No thank you, Seven.” He pulled his arm away. “Perhaps some other time.”
She grabbed Chakotay’s arm again as he turned to leave. “I have been practicing. I wish for you to listen.”
“Why don’t you play for us on Talent Night? Neelix is always looking for new acts.”
“I do not wish to play for the others.” She said harshly. “I wish to play for you.”
“Seven, this isn’t appropriate.” He looked pointedly at the hand on his arm.
“You are having dinner with the Captain. That is also inappropriate.”
His jaw hardened and the muscles in his cheek jerked as he ground his teeth. “It’s also none of your business.” She held his arm when he tried to pull away. “Seven, let go of my arm.”
“I wish to have a relationship with you.”
“I’m not interested.” He backed up as Seven tried to press herself against him.
“I am an attractive female by human standards, and you are not in a relationship.”
“I am, Seven. I – “
“The Captain does not return your feelings. You are free to seek companionship elsewhere.”
“It doesn’t matter if she returns my feelings. What matters is that I have them.” Pulling his arm free, Chakotay brushed at the sleeve of his uniform jacket as if it were dirty. “I’m leaving, and we’re going to pretend this didn’t happen. Do you understand?”
“No, you will comply!” Her left hand started for his throat and then fell to her side. “Computer, delete hologram.”
For a moment, Seven stood staring at the empty space that Chakotay’s hologram had occupied. “Perhaps it would be easier to simply assimilate him.”
“Computer, end program!” Chakotay clutched at his own throat. “Did she – did she do that to me?”
“Chakotay, I don’t think she was serious. When someone is angry they say things they don’t mean.” Kathryn was rather smug that ‘Chakotay’ had refused ‘Seven’s’ advances. “And besides, the nanoprobes would have shown up on the medical scan.”
In Sickbay, Chakotay lay on a bio bed while Kathryn activated the scanning system. “Heart rate and BP are elevated. Relax. Everything looks good.” She read the list scrolling past on the display.
“What about nanoprobes?”
“I’m looking.” She stopped the information on one section and read it again. “Well, there’s a lot of these little things.”
“Nanoprobes?” He tried to shove the sensor arm out of the way and sit up.
“No.” Laughing, Kathryn pushed him back down. “They’re supposed to be here.”
“Don’t scare me like that.” She was still smiling as she looked at the readout. “What are you looking at?”
“Let’s just say having children shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Kathryn! Shame on you, you shouldn’t be looking at such personal information.” His dimples flashed as he grinned. “How many are there?”
“Enough.” She rolled her eyes at his smug expression. “It only takes one, you know.”
“The rest are reinforcements.”
Men. “There are no nanoprobes in your system.”
“Good.” He sighed in relief.
“You’re not getting off that easy.” Patting his shoulder, she shut down the scan. “Although it’d be easier on my ego if she had done something to you.”
“Mine too.” Chakotay sat up as the scanning arm retracted. “In my own defense, she was much subtler than her hologram was.”
“I don’t imagine you told her about your feelings like your hologram did, either.”
“No. One thing we never discussed was you.” He pulled her into his arms. “I think we both knew I was trying to avoid those feelings.”
“I should have told you about her program. If I had known she’d go after the real thing, I’d have let her play with her holo toy.”
“No you wouldn’t.”
“No I wouldn’t.” She agreed with a laugh. “Even your photonic self is mine.”
“You know, these beds are just the right height.” Lifting her up, Chakotay sat her on the end of the bed.
Locking her legs around him, Kathryn reached for the waistband of his swim trunks. “You’re insatiable.”
“Just making up for lost time. And I seem to recall you waking me up this morning in a rather… interesting way.” He untied the ties to her bikini bottoms and tugged the material out of his way. Pulling her to the edge of the bio bed, he rubbed the fat head of his cock against her, coating himself in her wetness before he pushed inside of her.
Gasping, she clutched at his shoulders. “What happened to foreplay?”
“I thought the scan was foreplay.”
Laughing, Kathryn leaned back, bracing herself on her hands to meet his hard thrusts.
Tugging her top out of his way, Chakotay captured one taut nipple in his mouth while he teased the other with his fingers. His climax was coming up on him fast. He wasn’t sure if it was where they were or the talk of children, but he wasn’t going to last. He smiled as Kathryn fell back on the bio bed. From the sounds she was making, she wasn’t going to last either.
Her moans urged him on and, clasping her hips in his hands, he drove into her as she arched up and tightened around him. The smoky blue eyes were dazed and unfocused as she watched him. Kathryn’s hands rubbed over her breasts and belly, drifting down to where they were joined. Her fingers wrapped around his cock and tightened, adding to the fire roaring inside of him.
Chakotay’s fingers were digging painfully into her hips, but she didn’t think he was aware of what he was doing. His head was thrown back, and his face was transformed with ecstasy. He was lost somewhere in his own pleasure. Kathryn tightened her fingers around him a little more, careful not to pinch off the big vein running along the slick shaft, smiling at his grunts of gratification. Muscles clenched and shuddered under the velvety skin as he emptied his strength into her.
Chakotay was gasping for breath and his arms shook, barely holding him up, as she stroked him with her hand to milk the last of his seed from him. “Kathryn – you’re killing me – “
“Wouldn’t want the reinforcements to get left behind.” Sitting up, she let him rest his trembling body against hers. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think there was a fantasy you weren’t sharing with me.”
“The first time we had our physicals – “ He gulped for air. “I came in and you were lying there.”
“Here I thought you were just keeping me company.”
“Oh I was.” He laughed into the curve of her throat. “I was definitely keeping you company.”
She nipped at his ear, drawing a yelp from him. “B'Elanna’s right, men are pigs.”
“Your hands are shaking.”
“I’m not nervous.”
“You look nervous.”
“I’m just tired of waiting.”
“But you’re not nervous?”
Chakotay smiled. Kathryn was pacing the bridge while they waited for the call from Starfleet. The night before, they had received a message that the Admiralty considered their debriefings finished. They had been ordered to appear on the bridge at 0900 hours for the decision.
Kathryn had been wearing a path in the carpet since they received the message. He watched her pace past him again. “I don’t know; you seem nervous.”
“I’m not nervous!” She spun around as the computer signaled the incoming transmission. As she dropped into the big chair, her Captain’s mask slid firmly into place. She was the picture of tranquility.
Admiral Paris appeared on the main screen. “Captain Janeway. Commander Chakotay.”
“Admiral.” She nodded coolly.
“I’m happy to say that we’ve decided to drop all charges against the Maquis crew and to honor the Starfleet commissions given to them.”
Her hand reached across the console between their seats and found Chakotay’s hand.
“Also, we’ve decided that any violations of the Prime Directive and Starfleet protocol were justified given the circumstances.” Admiral Paris smiled at them. “You’re both being given promotions, as well. To admiral and captain, respectively.”
“Thank you, Admiral. But I’m not sure I want a promotion.” Kathryn felt Chakotay’s fingers tighten on hers.
“Don’t rush into any decisions, Katie. Take your leave to think it over. You’ve got six months – both of you.”
“Does that include the time here on Voyager?” Chakotay asked.
“I’m trying to get the quarantine lifted.” He frowned. “We’ve got some worry warts at Starfleet Medical that are convinced you can somehow infect the whole Alpha Quadrant with this virus.”
“Even if we did, we have the cure.” She pointed out.
“Don’t preach to the choir.” Admiral Paris held his hands up in a gesture that reminded her of Tom. “You’ll get six months off after you leave Voyager. Promise me you’ll take time to think over the promotion, Katie. We can use you in the admiralty.”
“I don’t know, Owen. Seven years back pay – I may run off and never come back.”
Chakotay stifled a laugh. “Or buy a coffee plantation somewhere.”
“Now there’s a thought.” Kathryn squeezed his fingers again.
“Take care, you two. Paris out.”
“I can see – oof!” Kathryn dropped onto Chakotay’s lap, cutting off his words with her lips.
Tugging at his pants, she whispered into his ear. “We haven’t made love on the bridge yet.”
The sequel: Coffee Break