Denial

Summary: “I never wanted to be adored.” - Janeway’s side of the story; a companion piece to Acceptance.

 

Characters: Janeway, Chakotay

Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Kashyk

 

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all, except my deviant imagination.

Rated M

The truth is, I wanted you to fuck me.

 

That night, that first night after you’d sacrificed your ship and I knew I owed you, I wanted you to take me. Oh, I allowed you to believe I was reluctant, that I was nobly whoring myself for my crew. But I wanted it.

 

God, I was so excited I was trembling with it. You pushed me face-down over my ready room desk and I spread my legs and waited for you to drive your cock inside me, branding me with your mark. I would have let you fuck me any way you wanted. I’d have drunk you in, engulfed you, clutched at your skin with my fingernails.

 

You were dangerous, a threat, and I would have succumbed to you. But you drew back from me instead.

 

You told me, months later, that I brought you peace; that in supporting me, cherishing me, adoring me, you became more than you were.

 

But I never wanted to be adored.

 

Justin understood. Until that night I’d thought he was the only man who did. But he died, and Mark gave me years of tender touches and words whispered into my skin. He was gentle, and very kind to me, and I never had the heart to tell him I wasn’t damaged in the way he believed – or wanted – me to be. My heart was hardened years ago, cauterised in a Cardassian cell, frozen under polar ice; there was no melting me, although he tried.

 

I am not the woman he wanted to believe I was. I’m not the woman you believe I am.

 

I learned years ago that I’m not made for caresses and kind words. Tied up, stripped down on hands and knees, tears in my eyes; that’s what makes me come. After Justin I sought it from others. Nameless men in bars, aliens on shore leave, once or twice a superior officer. I kept holo-programs, encrypted and stored on a portable chip, that I never ran anywhere near Earth. But I wasn’t careful enough; I was caught, and I was warned, and it frightened me, and so I ran to Mark and pretended.

 

And then, like a miracle, there was you. You, with your hard hands and your implacable eyes that roamed my body and promised a pleasure edging into pain, and oh, how I wanted you.

 

I saw the moment you realised you couldn’t do it. You kissed me, and then you stumbled back, taking your hands off my body, and offered to be put off the ship. Christ, I wanted to space you in that moment; I was shaking with frustrated lust and bitter disappointment. But I am a Starfleet captain, and my ship and crew come first, and so I pretended. Again.

 

Do you want to know what sickens me, more than the knowledge of who and what I am?

 

You were changing me. Those lazy weeks on that planet, the slow dance of courting, the lovely words you spoke; I fell for it, damn you.

 

I fell for you.

 

I was softening, undefended, believing we could have the kind of love you wanted. I waited for you; I knew, with a quickening heart, that some day, some time, you’d come to me. And I would open for you, welcome you into my body, and it would be sacred and beautiful and profound and all the pretty things girls are supposed to dream of.

 

And it – almost – was, until a burst of subspace static imploded our hazy, heavenly Eden. I sealed myself into the uniform and we turned away from each other, and it sickens me that I lost a piece of my soul that I never believed I had.

 

You don’t know that sometimes, alone in my quarters at night, I think of you standing broad and golden and smiling under that sun and I sob with desperate fury for all I could have had, and lost. For everything you made me want.

 

This quadrant metes out too many papercuts that tear the tender flesh of our almost-love. You draw away from me, flinching, and in retaliation I armour myself. You try to reach me – You’re not alone, Kathryn – you dig into my soft underbelly, insinuate the claws of your need into the brittle carapace that protects my feeble heart. You don’t know, because I’ve never let you see, that you are already there.

 

Perhaps you’ve been there since the day we met.

 

The only way I can repel it is to deny it. I grow colder, harder. You learn to look at me with eyes that guard your disenchantment. I go to the holodeck; you to passing aliens and uncomplicated ensigns. Someday, perhaps soon, you’ll tire of this difficulty. I am not an easy woman to love, and you won’t be the first to abandon the undertaking.

 

The night before that failed slipstream flight, drunk on anticipated success, heady with hope, I tried to offer myself to you. Perhaps I’ve played my part too well, practiced too many empty flirtations you no longer trusted; perhaps I was just too tentative, too oblique. Either way, my signals went unanswered.

 

I’d thought I wanted you to fuck me, that night. It was only after we’d parted and I was shoving the remnants of our dinner into the recycler that I realised, with a shock that almost sent me to my knees, that I’d wanted you to make love to me.

 

Too late, I told myself that night. I’d pushed you too far away, and you no longer loved me.

 

And then, the Devore.

 

I know you watched us, Kashyk and me – on the bridge, in the mess hall, walking the corridors with our bodies a hair’s breadth apart. And it was no small part of me that wanted you to see.

 

You’re waiting outside his quarters tonight, when I step through the doors with my colour high and my breath caught from rapid-fire flirtation. Your eyes are dark, a muscle flexing in your jaw, and I know now that you aren’t as indifferent as I’ve come to believe. I lay a hand on your chest and you wrap your fingers around it, gripping the fine bones of my wrist a fraction too hard.

 

“Chakotay,” I whisper.

 

I think, perhaps, that you might stake your claim on me now.

 

I think, now, that you might never make love to me, but maybe you’ll fuck me. And maybe, if you fuck me, I’ll be able to box you up and put you away. Maybe I can loosen your hold on my crippled, insufficient heart.

 

You unclasp my hand.

 

“Sleep well, Kathryn,” you say calmly as you turn away from me, my breathless hope dying with your measured tread along the corridor.

 

I walk back into Kashyk’s quarters.

 

I don’t think of you as he enters me. Gloved hands hard on my breasts, my neck angled sharply over the arm of the couch, knees bent to my chest as he pushes into me without tenderness: this is what I know. Flipped onto my stomach, fingers clenching my hips, hot breath on my neck as my nails score the carpet: this is the way I like it. It’s rough and it’s mindless and it hurts in the most exquisite way, and as he takes me, I remind myself that I’m not thinking of you.

 

I wanted you to fuck me.

 

But you didn’t, so I fucked him instead.

 

Hours later, I hold my head high as I pace my shame back to my quarters. You’re waiting inside, seated on the couch, one ankle hooked over a knee and your face wreathed in shadow. My step barely falters as I see you. I drop my jacket over the back of a chair.

 

“Commander.” My voice is even. “May I ask what you’re doing in my quarters?”

 

You hold something out to me: a dermal regenerator. “I thought you might need this.”

 

Rage grips me and I swallow it thickly. “How thoughtful. You can leave it on the table on your way out.”

 

“No,” you answer. “Sit down, Kathryn.”

 

My hands go to my hips. “I beg your pardon?”

 

“From the way you’re moving, you’ve done damage to your rotator cuff, the skin on your knees and back is abraded and you’ve strained a muscle in your thigh. You’ll probably have to visit Sickbay to heal that shoulder injury, but I can help with the rest. So unless you’d rather hear the Doctor’s lecture than take your chances with me, sit down, Kathryn. Now.”

 

To my own surprise, I move to the couch and perch gingerly on the edge.

 

“Turn around.”

 

I turn my back to you. Your fingers pull carefully at the fastening of my turtleneck.

 

“What the hell are you doing?”

 

“I can’t heal you if your clothes are in the way.”

 

“But –”

 

My protest is cut off by the turtleneck and undershirt muffling my face. A tug, and I’m sitting here in my bra.

 

“Commander –”

 

I feel your fingers at the clasp of my bra and reflexively my hands come up to clutch it to my breasts. You slip the straps from my shoulders and I’m naked from the waist up, only the scrap of fabric held to my chest protecting whatever modesty I still pretend to have.

 

I start to tremble.

 

I hear the soft whine of the regenerator as you pass it over the carpet burn on my back. You switch the instrument to deep-tissue mode and work it over my injured shoulder.

 

“Better,” you murmur when you’ve finished, and I feel your finger brush downward over my shoulderblade. I’m shivering, and it isn’t from cold.

 

“Stand up.”

 

“What –”

 

You sigh, placing one arm under my elbow to manoeuvre me to my feet. I stand numbly as you unfasten my pants and push them down my legs, press me back into my seat, pull the boots and pants away. You sit on your heels before me and pass the regenerator over my abraded knees.

 

Your face is blank, your hands steady.

 

You deactivate the regenerator and slide your warm hands onto my strained thigh, and I leap in my seat. “This is inappropriate –”

 

“This is necessary.”

 

Your strong fingers work into the tense muscles, soothing and inflaming simultaneously. My breath is hitching in my throat. I’m softening, my legs parting, my fingers loosing their clutch on my bra. I drop my hands, my fingers curling at my sides. I stare at you and wait for you to meet my gaze.

 

You look up at me, maddeningly calm, your hands working miracles on my abused flesh. I try to slide forward into you, but you still me with your big dark hands.

 

“Don’t – don’t you want me?” I hear the quaver in my voice, the pain. I’m stripped bare, body and soul.

 

A muscle bunches in your jaw and at last I see something in the depths of your eyes.

 

“Yes.” Your voice aches with emotion and you drop your gaze. “But not like this.”

 

Not while the scent of another man is still on my skin. Not while I’m aching and angry and raw, my insides scoured red with the knowledge of everything I’ve done.

 

“I wanted you to fuck me.”

 

“I know,” you answer. You rise to your feet, taking my hands and bringing me upright with you. “But that’s not what I want, Kathryn.”

 

“What do you want?”

 

You hold my hands to your chest, cradled in your gentle grasp, and dip your head to my upturned face. Your kiss is tender, deliberate, meandering, and I part my lips on a sigh as your tongue traces my mouth. My body leans into yours, a sapling yielding to an oak. Slowly, you pull back from me.

 

“Does that answer your question?”

 

The smile spreads inexorably over my face. The turmoil inside me quiets, quiesces, as understanding honeys through my limbs.

 

You still love me.

 

“When you’re ready,” you murmur against my lips, “I’ll be waiting.”

 

You unwind your fingers from my hands, stroke one finger lightly along the side of my face, and step back from me.

 

“Good night, Kathryn.”

 

Then you’re gone, and I gather my clothes from the floor, step into the sonic shower, wash my face and dress for bed.

 

I wrap myself in the covers and think about hard hands and implacable eyes and caresses and kind words. I think about words that wound and push-pull flirtations and all the weighted history of the Delta quadrant. I think about promises and denials and you, smiling under an alien sun in a place that felt like home.

 

You still love me, and it’s not too late.

 

Smiling, I fall asleep.