Categories: Ship, Het, Fluff, Romance
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
A/N: Written for Summertime at Talent Night. I think I managed to include summer heat, cool drinks, water, and a storm.
Credits: Unbetaed. All references to Milton's Paradise Lost have been removed from this fic, as have all footnotes pointing to Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology and any books by Edith Hamilton. I'll just say that Zephyr is the West Wind, the most gentle and welcome of winds, and leave it at that.
Disclaimer: That's right, Paramount, we're talking about you. Are your ears burning?
Sweat trickled down her brow and stung her eyes. The painting on her easel reflected the summer heat. Her mind wandered back to her ready room, and the stack of PADDs awaiting her attention. The inconvenient shore leave would mean at least one late night later in the week.
Janeway mentally cursed Seven of Nine. If she hadn't needed to set a good example for the former drone, she could have skipped this particular afternoon of alleged relaxation.
Her thermos of coffee sat ignored at her feet. It was too hot to enjoy coffee, and she wished she had brought something cool to drink. She wondered if she had been on the surface long enough. She wanted to return to the ship.
Perhaps she could transport back and hide out in an unused office on Deck Fifteen. Even Chakotay wouldn't think to look for her there. Maybe Campbell could transport her directly.
No, she realized, Ensign Campbell was off duty. She and Harry Kim were probably among those picnicking on the other side of the lake. She wondered if they had any cool drinks.
"May I join you?"
She turned to find Chakotay watching her. "If you've got something cold in that basket, then I insist."
He smiled, revealing those wonderful dimples, and held out a tall glass. Condensation dribbled down the side, and she could hear the gentle clinking of ice. "Iced cappuccino."
She snatched it greedily, and didn't even care when he laughed at her. "It's wonderful," she said after an extended taste. "Thank you."
"It's a good thing I came down here." He nodded at her painting. "It doesn't look like you've been having much fun."
Janeway looked at her work with a critical eye. The image of a sun-drenched beach glared back at her maliciously. "Don't look directly at it," she said. "It could be dangerous."
He chuckled. "I'm just glad that stormy sky you've painted isn't real. I don't want it to rain on our picnic."
She watched him lay out their meal. A light breeze stirred her hair, providing relief from the heat. A gift from Chakotay, like the meal? She smiled at the thought.
His generosity and support gave her strength to face the challenges of the Delta Quadrant. She couldn't imagine how much harder the last few years would have been without him. After each crisis, each tragedy, he was there, soothing away the pain as the soft breeze now chased away the oppressive heat of the afternoon sun.
Chakotay gave her so much, and yet wanted nothing in return. No, that wasn't quite true. He never asked anything of her, but she knew his desire. Such a simple gift, and one she longed to give him. He wanted her heart, her love.
Someday. She tried to content herself with the familiar promise and moved to join him on the picnic blanket.
"Kathryn?" His voice was soft, concerned.
"Everything looks wonderful." She smiled and reached for her plate.
"Kathryn." He caught her hand in his and waited for her to meet his gaze. "Tell me what's bothering you."
Those dark eyes could always read her like a book. She answered as honestly as she dared. "The one thing I can't discuss with you."
"I see." He squeezed her hand.
The understanding in his eyes tugged at her heart, and for a moment she wished he'd argue. But what then? If he pushed the issue, argued against protocol, did she expect him to convince her she was wrong?
"Chakotay..." She stared into his eyes, looked down at their joined hands, turned her gaze out across the water. "Tell me we can do it."
"We'll make it home," he answered. "We've come more than forty thousand light years in seven years. We've -- "
"No," she said. "I know all of that. Tell me I can kiss you right now and still get this crew home."
If he was surprised by her words, he hid it well. "Do you expect the warp core to breech the moment your lips touch mine?"
"Of course not."
"Do you think you'll ignore a red alert if it interrupts our lovemaking? That you won't be willing to send me with an away team once you've seen me naked? That -- "
"Enough," she said. She leaned forward and kissed him.
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, August 2003.