Warnings: None for this version.
Categories: Ship, Het, Romance, PWP
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: The Farther Shore.
Original ST-17™© version available, as is a less censored M™© rated version.
A/N: There's groceries, there's laundry, there's stuff in between. Not much of a plot here. This would fit nicely at the end of The Farther Shore, and it ties in very well with my ficlet Those Who Wait but it isn't really a sequel. This is the T™© rated version of an entry for Voyager Blue Alert.
Credits: Special thanks to Mysterious Participant for suggestions and beta reading. Thanks also to Squirrelly for excellent beta services and to Anne Rose for serving as technical advisor. You're the nuts!
Disclaimer: Paramount, oh Paramount, it wasn't the cough medicine...wait, who's going to get that joke? Guess I'm running low on witty disclaimers. Anyhow...Ownership is relative, Paramount.
The lamb, the wild mushroom risotto, the champagne...it was all delicious, but none of it could compare to the joy of sharing it with Chakotay. He smiled often, and she did too. Talk of the crew faded away, replaced by more inconsequential chatter. She told him about the cafe with the amazing coffee and the sinfully good croissants.
"We could meet there for lunch sometime next week," she said.
"No," he answered. His hand covered hers on the table and their eyes met. "But that's where we'll have breakfast in the morning."
She smiled, and the hope within her grew. He didn't want to wait days to see her again. Although tempted, she didn't quite let herself believe he meant more.
Chakotay suggested double mocha capuccino ice cream, a treat they had often shared in the Delta Quadrant, and they moved over to the couch. They sat close and Kathryn could feel the heat of his thigh against her own. A shiver passed through her as she thought once again of her plans for later.
Tonight, she would kiss him goodnight. For seven years she had longed to kiss him, and tonight she finally could. She wanted to really, truly kiss him -- kiss him in a way that erased all doubts about her feelings, kiss him with passion and love, but a casual kiss goodnight was safer. If he still wanted more, as she thought he did, hoped he did, then she'd let a casual kiss serve as a stepping stone. If he didn't feel the same, if it was too late, then a casual goodnight kiss was still acceptable between friends.
Friends. They would always be that, she vowed. If the Delta Quadrant hadn't destroyed their friendship, then a love affair, or lack of one, must not come between them either. Maybe too much time had passed; maybe she should be satisfied with their current relationship. Still, a simple kiss, a gesture of affection...
He took her hand. "Why so serious?"
"It's nothing," she said. "Just thinking about how long it's been since we did this."
"We won't let that happen again," he said. "I miss seeing you every day."
She smiled, her anxiety fading away. "I miss you too."
"Kathryn." He grinned, his amusement plain in his eyes. "You have ice cream on your nose."
She started to reach for a napkin, but he caught her wrist. "Let me get it." His eyes sparkled with mischief.
He leaned in, his warm breath mingling with hers. The world transformed into a slow-motion swirl and her breath quickened. He kissed her nose, his tongue darting out to catch the ice cream.
Butterflies, apparently the Klingon variety, exploded into action within her as he moved away.
"You've got a spot too," she said, her voice soft. She stretched up and softly kissed away a tiny speck at the corner of his lips.
"There's some above your lip," he said.
Their eyes met for a heated moment, and then he leaned forward to kiss her, nibbling softly before teasing her lips apart to tangle his tongue with hers. His kiss said everything that her heart longed to hear.
A huge grin split his face. "Think I got it all?"
She smiled back. "Better make sure."
"Best to be thorough." His voice was soft, his eyes black with passion. He kissed her again, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her close, his hand tangling in her hair.
The kiss lingered, stretching into another kiss, and another. Finally, after all this time, she was in his arms. His hand softly grazed her thigh, sending shivers up her spine.
"I think there's some on your neck," he whispered.
She laughed. "No there isn't."
He grinned wickedly and reached for his dish. "Now there is," he said, and smeared a spoonful of melted double mocha capuccino across her throat.
"You'll pay for that," she said, an eye on her own dish.
"Then I'd better clean it up," he answered. His lips followed the dribbling chocolate right to that spot on her throat that had always been her undoing.
Kathryn slid her hand across his chest and started to unbutton his shirt, wanting to feel his hot skin under her fingertips.
Her hand skated into his shirt and she felt the hammering of his heart against her palm. Her own heart raced, fueling a growing urgency. How could she ever have thought that kissing him would be enough?
His lips continued to explore her throat, kissing, tasting, always returning to that one spot that made her quiver.
"Chakotay," she whispered. "The bedroom."
"I like that idea." His hot breath stirred her hair. "I like that idea very much."
"Thought you might." She pulled back to look at him, her hand rising of its own accord to stroke his face. The love she had kept locked away for so long swelled within her, filling her with joy, and she saw that love and joy reflected in his eyes.
He grinned, his smile seemingly too big for his face. She realized her own smile must look just as ridiculous.
"It's finally time," he said.
"Yes," she said.
He stood and pulled her up after him, then hugged her fiercely. His shirt hung open, and she pressed a kiss to his chest. It seemed so natural to be with him like this, and yet so overwhelming, too.
"There's one thing I have to say before we do this."
"I love you," he said.
She looked up into his face, the intensity in his eyes stealing her breath away. Her hand came up to trace his tattoo as it had so many times in her mind. "I love you too."
They grinned at each other for a moment and burst into laughter.
"Why are we laughing?" she asked.
"It's called happiness, Kathryn. Something you haven't allowed yourself to feel in far too long."
"Or you either," she said. "I'm sorry -- "
He put his finger to her lips. "No regrets. We did what needed to be done, and we both know we made the right choice."
Then he kissed her again, and all second thoughts disappeared. There was only the heat of his solid body pressed against her, and the movement of his lips on hers.
She felt his fingers trace the zipper at the back of her dress and she briefly thought of the stiff fabric of her uniform. Starfleet uniforms didn't have zippers that could be lowered. With uniforms, Chakotay couldn't have let his fingers brush against her bare skin like that. The contact sent sparks of electricity up and down her back.
"The bedroom," she said.
"The bedroom," he echoed.
He leaned down and kissed the hollow above her collarbone. "Do you have any idea how beautiful this is?"
"It can't be as beautiful as this," she answered, her hand skating down his arm.
He sat up to study her. "Every inch of you is a natural work of art."
She took his hand and kissed his fingers. "You make me believe that. Then again, you once told me that a Bajoran vulture draped in rotting goat intestines is a natural work of art."
"It is, in the right light. He looked so content, so happy, basking in the sun..." He laughed. "I want to see you that happy, Kathryn." He kissed her softly. "But the only thing I want to see draped across your body is mine."
"I think that can be arranged," she said.
"I knew we'd remember how," he whispered into her neck.
"Don't make me laugh until I'm done seeing stars."
"I saw stars too," he said. "And of all the stars we've seen together, these were the most beautiful."
"You sound like a romantic fool," she whispered. "I love you."
"You'd better get used to it," he said. "I've spent so many years not saying the things I wanted to say that I'm not all that inclined to hold back now."
"I don't want you to hold back anything, ever again."
"And if I get the silly urge to call you darling or sweetheart?"
"Chakotay, I love you so much that I'd let you call me snookums if it made you happy." She paused. "You don't, do you?"
"Want to call me snookums?"
He chuckled. "No, Kathryn, you're safe there."
"I love this, relaxing here in your arms." She pressed a kiss to his shoulder. "Unfortunately, I'm very sticky, and I'd really like that shower now."
"I hope I'm invited."
"You certainly are," she said. "In fact, I might have to insist. You've got ice cream everywhere."
"Let's go, then," he said, although several minutes passed before either of them moved.
"I always knew the best part of getting home wouldn't be the coffee," she said after they showered..
He smiled. "The best part will come tomorrow, when we wake up together, and have breakfast together, and I don't have to bite my tongue to keep from calling you beautiful. Finally having the freedom to speak honestly, to say 'I love you' -- that's the best part, Kathryn."
"That part might have to happen somewhere else if we don't do something about that." She nodded at the bed, with its rumpled sheets sticky with melted ice cream.
"You find the fresh sheets," he said. "I'll take care of this." He kissed her softly. "Then we'll make our bed together."
They had breakfast at the little cafe she had told him about. She pointed out some of her favorite items on the menu.
"Real men don't eat quiche," he said.
She grinned. "Oh, I think I know how to fix that, love."
He grinned back. "I like the sound of that."
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. 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, October 2003.