Categories: Ship, Het, Romance, Experimental
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: Devil in the Dark
A/N: Written for Koffee Klub's Awesome Author Awards: A sequel to Devil in the Dark, written entirely in E-Prime. Within the body of the fic, I have not used the words am, is, are, was, were, be, been, being, or become. For more explanation, read Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by David Gerrold, found at Spiletta42's Online Bookstore.
Credits: Kim did the beta, so direct your complaints appropriately.
Disclaimer: Paramount, take, with my blessings, all of the thousands of dollars I have made writing fanfic.
After seven years he had finally kissed her. He had stepped across the line she had drawn so many years ago, and in a few short moments she had come to realize just how much that line needed erasing.
Love didn't belong within the walls of parameters, caged, hidden and ignored due to circumstances. Emotions resisted the bonds of protocol. Even a Starfleet captain had a right to her feelings.
Actions, on the other hand, had consequences. She had a responsibility to see that hers did not have a negative impact on her command. She and Chakotay had promised to talk over dinner. Together they would find a way to move forward with their personal lives while still fulfilling their professional responsibilities. Admittedly, they hadn't exactly used those words earlier. She had promised, quite flirtatiously in fact, that they'd find the definition of compensation.
Once again, she found herself in his debt. He had saved her life. Then he had met her thanks with an ultimatum. For a few brief moments he had let his true feelings show through the mask he always wore, demanding payment for the scare she had caused him.
He had kissed her then, a kiss that may have pushed the boundaries of friendship, but it wouldn't have shattered those boundaries. Her actions had shattered those boundaries, and to her surprise she felt no regret.
Tonight, many things would change, and any uncertainty that she felt paled in comparison to a joy she had always thought she couldn't feel until the Alpha Quadrant. For once, Captain Kathryn Janeway found pleasure in her error.
After seven years he had finally kissed her. He had almost lost her, and the all too common icy grip of fear had clutched at his heart yet again. He wondered at his boldness after the senior staff meeting. She had scared him like that before; sometimes such events seemed a weekly occurrence.
Every day, in both routine and crisis, he ignored his desire to touch her, to hold her, to reveal his love for her in a thousand ways, large and small. He'd grown very good at that, over the last seven years. He'd welcomed her back from near death with little more than a touch on the hand and a smile more times than he cared to remember.
This time he had not found the status quo acceptable. He had pushed her. He had never pushed her before. Her response had exceeded his wildest hope. She had returned his kiss, deepening it. Her promise to talk meant an opportunity for complete honesty. Maybe they couldn't take that final step yet, this far from the Alpha Quadrant, but he could finally tell her that he loved her without hiding behind an ancient legend.
No desire burned hotter than his desire for complete honesty with Kathryn.
Kathryn Janeway, who could maintain self confidence while face to face with the Borg Queen, had allowed her personal insecurities to interfere in her love life in the past. Yet tonight, as she prepared for dinner with Chakotay, she felt not the slightest glimmer of doubt. She knew what they both wanted, and how they both felt, just as she had known for years now.
She and Chakotay shared a permanent bond. It had always marched steadily toward this point, and only the practical side remained for consideration. They needed to keep their personal lives separate from ship's business.
Simple, in the Alpha Quadrant. Out here it presented much more of a challenge, so they had both waited, by mutual unspoken consent, for all of these years.
But now that wait had ended. She didn't want him to wonder about her intentions for even a single moment after his arrival. Her quarters clearly displayed a scene of seduction.
Music played softly in the candlelit room. A bottle of real champagne, acquired by Tom Paris in ways she had promised not to even guess at, sat in a bucket of ice. Her own attire differed notably from Starfleet issue. Chakotay had better share his replicator rations this month. Between the new dress and tonight's dinner, she'd run out of coffee by the end of the week.
The door chimed, and she turned to greet him. "Come."
She doesn't regret it. No uniform. No regret. The logical part of his brain knew that and little else. The rest of his mind found itself rendered speechless by the vision before him.
Her touch jolted him out of his fog, and he caught himself gawking at her like a love-struck adolescent. He couldn't stop the goofy grin that spread across his face in response to her dazzling smile.
In his fantasies of this moment, frequent and varied fantasies, he had always seen himself as the suave romantic hero, or at least in control of his faculties. The perfect words to express his love had flowed effortlessly from tongue, but now he fully realized the inadequacy of language.
Her hand rested over his heart, just as it had earlier, in the briefing room. In the briefing room, where he had finally kissed her. He had the freedom to kiss her again now. He read it in her eyes, and felt it in her touch as her hand rose to stroke his face.
"Kathryn," he breathed. He caught her hand in his and brought it to his lips. He kissed her fingers, then her palm, and then her wrist. This did not restore his ability to speak.
The touch of his lips turned her knees to jelly. Every cell in her body envied the skin on her wrist. She leaned into his solid chest and sighed in pleasure when his arms closed around her.
They stood like that for long moments, just holding one another. So often they had each needed a moment like this one; now they savored it.
"I don't want to let you go," he whispered.
"Then don't," she said. She stretched up to kiss him, slowly, tenderly, each expressing to the other things that words could not.
"Where do we go from here?" he asked.
"Forward," she answered. Her fingers sought to smooth away the worry she read in his face. "I'm not sure how, but forward. Tell me what you want."
"I want all of you, Kathryn. Can you give me that, out here?" His hand slid through her hair as he met her gaze. "I want the friendship that we've always shared, and I want your love. I love you, and I will always love you, but if you have any doubts about tomorrow, I want to know now. I don't want to pressure you; I want to share your burdens, not add to them, but I need to know."
"I love you." She smiled at him. "Whatever the future holds, Chakotay, I will always love you. I promise not to push you away again. I don't want to make love to you and then pretend it never happened. The ship will always come first, but I have decided that I can love you and still captain this ship."
"Not an easy path," he said. "As much as I hate to say it, maybe we should wait - "
"I never asked for an easy path," she answered. "Now, about dinner - "
"Forget dinner." He dropped his head and kissed her again. His tongue sought hers with a new urgency and she responded eagerly. She started to tug at his shirt, but he caught her hand.
"No, my love." His dark eyes sparkled with humor. "Not yet. I want to dance."
"I have loved you since before my own birth, but we've never danced. I want to dance with the woman I love."
She couldn't deny his simple request; she never wanted to deny him again. Despite her racing pulse, they didn't have to hurry. They had all night.
"Proper distance," Chakotay teased as he held her at arm's length and laughed softly at her frustration. He simply wanted to look at her. His eyes never left her face as they moved to the music together.
When his self control finally cracked he pulled her close, molding her body to his. He let his hands crawl up and down her back as her breath warmed his chest.
He traced a path up her spine and ran his fingers through her hair. He found it impossible to count the number of times he had wanted to run his fingers through that rich auburn hair. His fingers slid along the bare skin of her neck and he felt her shiver in response.
She pulled back to look up at him with her impossibly blue eyes and stole his breath yet again. He'd always find himself oxygen deprived with Kathryn in his arms.
He had Kathryn in his arms. He nearly failed to believe this remarkable development, yet he had known from the first time he saw her that the Creator had meant them for each other. Chakotay had scoffed when his father had spoken of soul mates. Yet when he met Kathryn, he had finally understood the truth. He belonged by her side.
Those dark eyes stared into hers with an intensity she rarely saw. Tonight, he made no effort to hide the depth of his feelings for her. She had finally stopped asking him to hide those emotions.
No one had ever loved her the way Chakotay loved her, and she felt awed by it. She had never fallen so completely in love either. It scared her, sometimes, how much she loved this man. She sent him into dangerous situations so often; how would she live with herself if she sent him to his death?
He touched her face, chasing away her dark turn of thought, and kissed her again. His hand slid down below her waist, pulling her body against his own. She could feel every contour of his well-muscled chest. The kiss deepened, and she might have melted down onto the floor without his support.
It took all of her willpower, but she pushed him away. She met his bewildered look with a wicked grin. "Dinner. You'll need your strength."
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, February 2003.