Summary: Tumblr prompt from @cheile: "Can i just ask for something happy because too much angst exists lately? a second moonlight sail on Lake George when they get home perhaps? except with the right results."
Characters: Chakotay, Janeway
Disclaimer: Characters are Paramount’s. No infringement intended.
He knew he was staring at her, but as hard as he tried, he couldn’t stop.
He tried to focus on the ripples across the dark water, the rhythmic creak and whip of the sails, but it was no use. His gaze continued to drift back to her: following the lines of her torso, the jut of her clavicle above the edge of her dress; caressing the slight upturn of her lips; lingering on her hair, caught by the mild breeze and tossed in a cloud around her shoulders.
“You’ll give a girl a complex if you don’t cut that out.”
Chakotay jerked his gaze away from the hollow where her neck met her shoulder. “What?” he asked sheepishly.
A smile was flirting with her lips, so he relaxed a fraction. “You’re staring,” she pointed out, and the smile widened into a grin.
“I’m sorry,” he confessed, “it’s just that –”
“I know.” Her face softened in sympathy, head tilting slightly. “I’m all right, Chakotay. Really.”
A wave of grief hit him unexpectedly in the solar plexus. “I couldn’t revive you,” he said thickly, looking down at his hands. “I tried for so long but you weren’t breathing. Kathryn, I couldn’t …”
A pale hand wound into his and his words tailed off.
“I know,” she said again. “Chakotay, if it wasn’t for you, the Doctor might not have been able to revive me. You’re the reason I’m alive.”
His voice was still raw as he looked up at her. “I guess we’re even, then.”
A crinkle appeared between her brows.
“You’re the reason I’m alive, too,” he explained, the words signifying far more than their surface meaning would suggest.
He watched the expressions play out across her face: understanding, compassion, a gentle, sweet sort of affection that changed as he continued to gaze at her into something warmer and altogether more powerful. The rhythm of her breathing faltered, the hand that was entwined with his tightened on his fingers, and her lips parted ever so slightly.
She swayed toward him, the movement infinitesimal, but to him it was everything. And when her other hand crept upward and came to rest against his cheek, Chakotay closed his eyes.
He felt the instant of hesitation as her mouth brushed lightly over his and he kept perfectly still, barely breathing, knowing that this was completely up to her.
But Kathryn was nothing if not decisive, and it appeared she had made up her mind.
At the first proper touch of her lips he couldn’t hold back a shuddering exhale. It must have emboldened her, because the hand on his face curved around the back of his neck, fingers winding into his hair as she pulled him close, closer, down with her.
They were really kissing now, tasting the sweetness of previously forbidden lips. He broke away to gasp air and then his mouth was on her throat, his arms stealing around her as she arched against him. He slipped one hand around to her waist and crept it upwards, sliding over the thin cotton of her blouse until he cupped her breast.
She moaned, a sound that sent a thrill down the length of his spine and pushed his hips into hers. He felt her thighs part under him, her legs wrapping around his hips. He began to work at the buttons of her blouse and felt her slip her hands inside the waist of his pants, heard her choked whisper, “Chakotay…”
A stray thought crossed his mind: Would they be doing this – would she be allowing them to do this – if she hadn’t almost died today?
He tried to brush it away, tried to concentrate on the warmth of her skin and the way she was clutching at him, but the inner voice was insistent.
This is wrong.
It was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, but Chakotay pulled back and let his hands drift away from her body. Kathryn’s eyes opened on his, dark with want. She blinked, the crinkle returning between her brows.
“We can’t,” he said, regret throbbing in his voice.
Her hair was shorter now, and the light breeze picked it up and threw handfuls of it across her face. Kathryn laughed and tucked it behind her ears. When she turned to face him her eyes were clear and sparkling and he found his lips widening in a grin.
“Do you remember the last time I brought you here, Chakotay?”
Unbidden, a swell of emotion rose in his throat. “How could I forget?”
Kathryn tilted her head, studying him. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I suppose it isn’t much of a happy memory for you.”
He shook his head, his smile growing shy. “Parts of it are.”
“Ah.” She smiled back and he was delighted to note the colour rising in her cheeks. “Yes, well, parts of it are for me, too.”
He rose from the deck, where he’d been sprawled across the picnic blanket. She watched him as he approached. He thought she might be holding her breath. He could see her gripping onto the railing behind her.
He moved up close, and closer still, and felt her breath catch as her face tilted up. Her gaze flickered and fixed on his mouth, and her own lips parted.
There was so much to say, so many things they needed to talk about, to reconcile and forgive. But in this moment, none of that mattered.
Chakotay rested his hands on the railing either side of hers, his thumbs stroking her clenched knuckles.
She swayed toward him, and he dipped his head and brushed his mouth over hers. As before, he knew this had to be her decision.
She didn’t hesitate to make it. Her hands unclenched from the railing and looped around his neck, her fingers winding into his hair as her lips opened under his. Her mouth tasted as sweet as his memory of it, and her body, when he placed his hands on it, was warm and lush. His hands spanned her ribs, his thumbs brushing the underside of her breasts in the thin cotton shirt, and when he felt her shudder his touch firmed.
Kathryn broke away from his kiss to let her head fall back, and he took her unspoken invitation to move his lips to her throat.
“Chakotay,” she gasped as he cupped her breasts, “please tell me,” she broke off on a moan as his mouth found that spot under her ear, “you’re not going to stop this time…”
He raised his head and observed the slight trembling in her body, the heavy-lidded eyes and the way her chest rose and fell with quick breaths. Experimentally he dragged his thumbs across her nipples and watched her body dip and quiver.
It was all the permission he needed. Slipping his hands under her thighs, he lifted her and started moving determinedly toward the hatch that led to the lower deck. But she squeezed her legs around him and said, “Wait.”
He halted, trying to control the hammering of his heart. “You’re changing your mind?”
“No.” She smiled. “I just want to make love with you here, under the stars.”
He grinned at her, and there must have been a certain wolfishness to it because he watched her eyes widen. She tightened her limbs around him.
“Now, Chakotay,” she ordered, and he laughed, turning to lay her carefully on the blanket.
It had never been like this before for him, not with anyone. She surrounded him, wrapped him up in heat and want and the inimitable scent of her. Neither of them noticed the hardness of the deck beneath them or the gentle roll of the boat. Everything was immaterial – everything but the stroke of hands over skin as they shed their clothes, the heat of lips and tongues, the sensation of bliss as he finally slid inside her.
He couldn’t be sure if it lasted forever or a moment, but when they lay still, Kathryn cradled against his chest and his arms holding her close, he realised that this was the moment he’d been waiting for, for seven years. The moment he’d been holding his breath for: the perfect rightness of being with her, with no hesitation and no barriers between them.
“I’m glad you didn’t stop this time,” she murmured, her lips moving against his neck.
“As I recall,” he smiled, turning his head to press his lips to her hair, “you weren’t going to take no for an answer.”
She laughed, propping herself up on her folded arms. “Well, as long as you’re feeling so amenable, can I ask you a question? And I hope you’ll say yes.”
His eyes widened. “If you’re going to ask what I hope you are, then my answer is –”
“Let’s get married,” she blurted.