Warning: None for this version.
Categories: Ship, Het, Romance
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Spoilers: Set in season seven with a reference to something non-specific which could apply to one of several episodes.
A/N: Janeway and Chakotay try to balance a command relationship with a personal one. Censored version of a fic written for the seventh Voyager Blue Alert contest.
Disclaimer: I have defeated Paramount and claim the universe as my reward! God invented love.
A game of velocity would do the trick. The physical activity would do her some good, and then she'd have the energy to finish these reports.
Janeway glanced at the chronometer. She'd better hurry. She'd told Chakotay that she'd meet him in his quarters by nineteen hundred hours.
When he failed to answer his door chime, she hit her combadge.
"Five minutes," he said. "I promise. I'm just leaving Deflector Control now."
She made herself at home in his quarters. His couch always felt softer than hers, although as Chakotay had pointed out before, they both had the same Starfleet issue furniture in their quarters.
She put her feet up on the coffee table, and knocked a PADD to the floor. When she bent to pick it up, her name caught her eye.
The entry was dated a week ago, and although she didn't mean to read it, she couldn't seem to tear her eyes away from the words.
I just gave an order that could have killed you. It hurt. It hurt so much I thought it would burn the very soul from my body, but I did it. I want nothing more than to take you in my arms right now and give praise that your heart still beats, but I can't. The crisis is not ended. Another hope for a quick way home shatters, and again I want to hold you. The disappointment in your eyes stings, and I wish I could do something, anything, to make you happy.
Finally, finally we are alone in your ready room, and the urge to touch you nearly steals my breath. I can't. Protocol. Parameters. My feelings right now are the very reason you won't let us explore what we feel for each other. I did what was expected. I gave the order. I stood on the bridge and did my duty as the woman I love risked her life. I remained professional, pushed aside my emotions, yet even now I dare not give them voice. Perhaps someday you will realize we can do both. Today, however, is not that day.
Her hands shook. She knew all too well what Chakotay had felt as he wrote those words. She'd felt it all too often herself, when she sent him into dangerous situations.
Against her better judgment, she skipped back to earlier entries. Most of them were letters to her, sharing feelings he needed to share, but couldn't.
Some were angry, cursing protocol. Others were happier. Romantic letters about how she had looked in the dress she'd worn to the Christmas party, or how her smile warmed him when they shared a joke on the bridge.
If only she dared risk more than friendship. But she knew the risks, and she couldn't put her ship at risk, not for her own happiness, or even for his.
She hated that she was responsible for his loneliness, and on the bad days it felt like someday might never arrive. He felt it too, she knew that now, and could no longer pretend that she didn't. It hurt.
How could she choose between the man she loved and the Starfleet ideals she'd followed since childhood?
Chakotay hurried into his quarters to change for velocity and froze. Kathryn sat on the couch, her eyes glistening with tears.
In moments, he was on his knees beside her, taking the PADD from her hand. "Kathryn, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said, her voice pinched. She avoided his eyes.
He looked down at the PADD in his hand and his insides grew cold. "You read these?"
"I'm sorry," she said. "I shouldn't -- "
"I shouldn't have left them out," he said. "You were never meant to see those."
"I've been so unfair to you."
"No, Kathryn, never. You'd only done what you felt best for the ship and the crew. The last thing I would want is to pressure you. I want to share your burdens, not add to them."
She met his gaze. "Is that what you think? That your feelings are a burden to me?"
"I've tried to keep them from becoming one," he answered. "I never meant -- "
"Chakotay." She caught his hand. "Your feelings for me, your friendship and love, those are a source of strength for me. You could never be a burden."
He looked down at their joined hands, watching his own thumb stroke her soft skin. "What we share has given me more happiness than anything before in my life. The sacrifices are a small price to pay for the peace that you've brought to my soul."
"Oh Chakotay." She tugged at his hand. "Come up here. I think we need to talk."
He settled down beside her on the couch, his heart pounding, then started to rise again. "Coffee?"
"No. Sit down, please." She took both of his hands in hers and looked him in the eye. "We're going to talk this through."
What he read in her eyes stole his breath away. He wanted to reach out and touch her face, but instead tightened his grip on her fingers. "I'm not sure what you want me to say."
"Convince me," she said.
He swallowed and stared down at their hands. After all the hours he'd spent thinking about this, now he wasn't sure what to say. "Nothing worth having is easy." Well that would certainly change her mind. "Sorry, Kathryn, I'm not sure where to start."
"I know. I've had this conversation in my head a thousand times, but now . . . " She shrugged.
"How many problems have we solved together over the last seven years?"
"Then what is there that we can't face?"
She smiled. "When you put it like that, well, I just want to say yes, we can do this."
"Maybe I should kiss you before you change your mind."
"Maybe you should."
He studied her face, searching for permission to do just that.
She let go of his hands and reached up to stroke his face, sending a tremor through him, and met his gaze. "I wasn't kidding."
"In that case . . . " He leaned in, cupping her face in his hands, and kissed her gently.
She sighed softly and slipped her arms around him, pulling him closer and deepening the kiss when he would have backed away.
They parted, foreheads touching, breath still mingling.
"So we're doing this," she said.
"How do you feel about that?"
"And here I thought nothing scared you," he teased.
She laughed. "Kazon, Hirogen, Borg . . . those were easy. But you're the most important person in my life and I don't want to mess this up."
"I love you, Kathryn. I will always love you, and no little fluctuations in the warp field will change that."
"I know that," she said. "But don't ask me to be rational about this." She treated him to the crooked smile he loved so much. "I haven't even said it yet, have I? I love you, Chakotay."
The words sent his heart into overdrive. He pulled her close and kissed her.
"I don't know if I can find the words to tell you what you've meant to me all of these years." She pressed into him and lowered her voice. "Maybe it would be better if I showed you."
"I like the sound of that." He grinned. "But I think I had a velocity game scheduled for tonight."
"You'll get more of a workout right here." Her fingers trailed along his thigh. "Think you're up to it?"
"I certainly hope so." He kissed her again.
Kathryn's heart pounded. After years of fantasy, she was finally kissing Chakotay, and it felt like the most natural thing in the galaxy. She tugged his shirt up in the back so she could stroke his skin.
"We don't have to rush this," he said.
"I know," she said. "But I'd rather get it over with."
"I said that wrong," she said. "What I mean is, if we . . . well . . . if we make love, then there's no going back. It'll be too late to change my mind."
"And you're afraid you'll change your mind?"
He looked so understanding that she nearly burst into tears. "I don't want to, and I certainly don't want to hurt you. I love you so much, I just don't want to take the chance."
"I don't believe I'm about to say this," he said. His hands slid down her arms and he took her hands in his. He stared out the viewport.
"Chakotay, please say something."
"We're not going to make love tonight," he said. "We're going to do this the right way. With dinner, and dancing, and candles."
"I don't need all of that," she said. "I just want you."
"And you'll have me, but not tonight."
"You're not leaving?" She almost cringed at how clingy she sounded.
"No, of course not." He smiled. "For one thing, these are my quarters."
"Oh, right." She stared at her hands. "I feel like I'm fifteen again."
"So do I," he said. "This is a big change, for both of us. We need to adjust before we go jumping into bed."
"We still have the holodeck reserved," she said.
He grinned. "Then let's go sailing."
Once they got the boat out onto the lake, Chakotay felt better. The last thing he wanted was to rush things with Kathryn. One of his worst fears, over the last few years, had been the thought that they'd finally give in and make love, but she'd regret it in the morning.
He wasn't about to let that happen. If she still felt the same way in a few days -- oh how he hoped she would -- then she'd be his. He wanted something permanent, not a night of passion that strained their friendship.
She turned to him and smiled. He loved to see Kathryn smile, and this time he didn't have to restrain the urge to wrap his arms around her as they stood on the deck and watched the moonlight play across the water.
"This is what I've always wanted most," he said. "I've ached to hold you like this."
Her arms covered his and she leaned back against him. "I love being in your arms."
He kissed her cheek. "I love having you in my arms."
It was late when he finally walked her to her door. She smiled up at him, savoring the happiness in his face. "Do I get a kiss goodnight?"
"Every night for the rest of your life," he said.
She didn't know how she'd get to sleep, especially after a kiss like that, but she barely remembered her head hitting the pillow.
Terror seized her as she got dressed in the morning. They couldn't do this, but if she pushed him away now -- she couldn't do that to him. Her mind spun a dozen worst case scenarios. She pictured Chakotay, deathly still in sickbay, the victim of one of a dozen ironically timed accidents.
Calm down, she ordered herself. She prayed, something she rarely did, and hoped that God existed to hear her plea.
The door chimed, and she rushed out into the living area, still fastening her pips.
"I needed to see you," Chakotay explained.
She read the apprehension in his eyes, and knew she was the cause. "It's okay, Chakotay, I still love you today."
He pulled her into a tight embrace. "I know you do, but it's very good to hear."
She gave him a quick kiss. "Ready to go to work?"
Nothing was different on the bridge. No wink from Tom Paris or knowing stares from the rest of the crew. Even Tuvok, who could usually read her so well, didn't make a comment.
That couldn't possibly disappoint her. She needed time to adjust before announcing changes in her personal life to the bridge crew.
Chakotay didn't act any differently. Even when they retired to her ready room for coffee he remained professional.
Chakotay could hear his own blood racing as he looked for the candles. He'd been fantasizing about Kathryn for nearly seven years, and now he worried that he'd fail to perform up to her expectations, or his own.
He wasn't twenty-five any more.
He'd been honest when he said that what he wanted most was to hold her. A life together meant more than sex, far more, but he wanted this first time to be special. He didn't want it to be fumbling and awkward, or over too quickly.
After seven years of longing and denial, he didn't want to see disappointment in Kathryn's eyes.
He heard the chime and could hardly find his voice to open the door. He read the same anxiety in her face as she stood beside the table clutching a bottle of wine.
"You look beautiful," he said. She did. The slinky green dress showed off her creamy white shoulders and just a hint of cleavage.
She smiled. "Thank you."
He moved around the table and slipped his arms around her. She stretched up to kiss him, one hand sliding into his hair, the bottle of wine she still held poking him in the ribs.
"Sorry." She reached over to set it on the table, where it promptly fell over and dumped the salad bowl. Leaves of lettuce and slices of cucumber scattered everywhere, leaving little damp spots on the tablecloth.
"Sorry," she repeated. "Let me get that."
"Leave it." He pulled her close and kissed her thoroughly, drowning in the taste and feel of her.
When they broke apart she rested her head on his shoulder, and he stroked her hair, savoring the silky texture under his fingers.
She laughed softly.
"It's just funny, the things that cross your mind at a time like this."
"Are you going to share?"
"Don't take this the wrong way." She looked up at him, smiling, and ran her fingers through his hair.
He swallowed. "Now I'm worried."
"You taste like toothpaste."
"Ah," he said. "That. I may have overdone it a bit. I've brushed four times since my shift ended."
"I changed dresses seven times," she admitted. "And I only own three."
"We're quite the pair," he said. "I like your final choice. Do I get to see the other two?"
"I'm sure you already have."
"There's the long cream-colored number with the thin straps." His fingertips danced over her bare shoulder. "And the other one is blue, with tiny buttons right along here." He slid his fingers up her spine, smiling when she shivered.
"So much for mystery," she said. "Maybe I should replicate something new?"
"Oh no," he said. "Then you'd be hitting me up for coffee rations, and I've got a ring to buy."
"Chakotay -- "
"We'll tell the crew, or not, as you see fit, but I want to give you a symbol of my love for you."
"I don't need symbols, I just need you." She chuckled. "Well, you and coffee."
They sat down to dinner and Kathryn nibbled at her food. Every time Chakotay smiled at her she relaxed a little more. She loved to see him happy.
"Tell me something about yourself," Chakotay said. "Something I don't already know."
She tried to think of something daring and sexy to tell him. "Every time I go to Paris, I try to drink my coffee with cream, even though I never like it."
He smiled and took her hand. "That's because you don't put sugar in it as well." She wrinkled her nose at the thought and he laughed. "You look adorable when you do that."
"Your turn," she said. "Tell me something I don't know."
"The first time I went on a vision quest aboard Voyager, my spirit guide told me that I had been created to serve by your side." He squeezed her hand gently. "We were made for each other."
"I believe her," Kathryn said. "I'm a better person with you in my life."
"Dance with me." He stood and offered his hand, his voice thick with emotion as he called for a music selection.
They kicked off their shoes and held each other close, melting into each other, whispering words of longing and devotion. She could feel the play of his muscles against her, and she shivered at the tickle of his breath against her shoulder. His hands slid up and down her spine, and she could feel the evidence of his desire pressing against her belly.
She pulled back a little and studied his face. "Let's continue this in the other room." Her trembling voice sounded unfamiliar in her own ears.
"Nervous?" he asked softly.
"Heck yes, I'm nervous. We've been dancing around this for nearly seven years. This has to be spectacular sex."
He laughed. "I'm aiming for fireworks."
"Then you've succeeded," she said. "I see them every time you kiss me."
He kissed her, and she melted into him once again.
He led her into his bedroom, and she gasped. Dozens of candles illuminated the room, their shadows dancing seductively on the walls. "It's beautiful."
"Before you say anything about shipboard safety regulations, or bite your lip in two trying not to say anything, I had a little something special rigged up to take care of it."
"What did you tell B'Elanna?"
"I didn't tell B'Elanna anything, she would have told Paris. Vorik did this."
"Have you ever known a Vulcan to gossip?"
She laughed, some of the tension broken. Her knees melted when Chakotay kissed her deeply, his hands sliding down around her hips to pull her against him. His lips trailed down her neck and he kissed her shoulder.
"I love you," he whispered.
They lay together in his bed and caught their breath. Everything had changed.
"I love you," she said.
"Not as much as I love you." He rolled onto his back, pulling her with him and holding her close.
They lay quietly, too tired to talk, and Kathryn was starting to drift off to sleep when she heard the red alert.
Chakotay swore and they both stumbled to their feet, searching for combadges.
"Janeway," she snapped the moment she found one. "Report."
"I've got a Borg cube on long-range sensors," Ayala answered. "You might want to come to the bridge, Captain."
"On my way. Janeway out."
Chakotay shoved a towel into her hands and hastily pulled on a uniform. "He said long-range sensors, you've got time to go to your quarters and change."
"I'm not sure 'change' is the word you're looking for," she answered, looking at the rumpled dress in her hand.
He took it from her, studied it a moment, and threw it back down on the floor. "Wear my robe. You're not going far."
She tied it quickly and sprinted down the corridor. Damn Borg timing, she cursed, worse than Vulcans.
Much later, Kathryn slid back into bed and settled down beside Chakotay. "I'm almost grateful to the Borg tonight."
"Tonight proved that we could be together, and still perform our duties. The timing was awful, but we still beat half the senior staff to the bridge."
"And we survived," Chakotay said. "Don't forget that."
"So far," she said. "Think you're up to another round?"
He chuckled. "With you or with the Borg?"
She didn't answer him with words.
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 are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, May 2004.