Summary: They’re home… but it’s not what they hoped for. Estranged by circumstance and misunderstanding and kept apart by devious design, Voyager’s former command team are drawn into a world of danger, deception and political intrigue that could end up costing their lives.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Seven, Kim, Tuvok, Torres, Paris, Sekaya, Original Female Characters, Original Male Characters
Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Other, Chakotay/Seven, Kim/Seven
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Warning: Non-consensual sex depicted.
Still my heart this moment
Or it might burst
Could we stay right here
Until the end of time until the earth stops turning
- Lamb, Gorecki
Chapter Ten: Hours of Moments
He tore his eyes from her to glance around fearfully, and the next thing she knew, he’d yanked the hood back over her head, grabbed her elbow and was hustling her out of the club.
“Chakotay, what the hell?” she hissed as they burst out onto the street.
“Kathryn, shut up. Just – shut up.”
Suddenly she was furious. “I’ve had just about enough of people telling me what to do –”
“Please,” he uttered through clenched teeth as he dragged her along the street and into a building. He keyed an access code into the elevator panel and pulled her into the lift.
“Where are we?” she demanded.
“This is my hotel.”
She opened her mouth to verbally scour him and was halted – and infuriated – by a volley of sneezes. It silenced her until after the lift stopped and he tugged her into a short corridor, through a door and into a small room containing a single tiny couch and an oversized bed. Depositing her on the couch, Chakotay crouched in front of her, his eyes searching her face.
“Are you all right?”
Kathryn sneezed again and he handed her a tissue. “I must be allergic to something. Chakotay, what –”
“I wasn’t talking about that,” he growled. “I was talking about you drinking alone in the rough part of town.”
She stared at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding? I was perfectly fine until you decided to go all macho on me. What the hell is going on?”
He stood, yanking off his coat and tossing it over the back of the couch, glancing at her as he started to pace. “You could have been in danger. What were you doing in that place?”
“Danger? It was just a club, Chakotay. If you recall, I’ve been in far more dangerous places than that.”
He huffed out a laugh. “Oh, I know. Your tendency to get yourself into dangerous situations is legendary. Seven years in the Delta quadrant apparently didn’t teach you a thing about self-preservation.”
Kathryn jumped to her feet, her hands taking up their familiar position on her hips. “Who do you think you are?”
Chakotay turned on her, hands gripping her shoulders, almost shouting into her face. “Who do I think I am? I’m the one who usually ended up coming to your rescue, hoping to God you’d still be in one piece when I got you back!”
The echo of his words died into the silent room as Kathryn stared at him, open-mouthed.
His hands dropped to his sides and he shut his eyes. “I’m sorry. That was way out of line.”
She sank slowly to the couch and he slumped into the seat beside her.
“What are you doing here, Chakotay?” she asked. “On Ajilon, I mean.”
“I’m...” He hesitated. “I'm on a mission.”
“I can't tell you.“
She watched him, gaze sharp. “Why not?”
“It's classified,” he said, reluctant.
She raised an eyebrow. “I could order you to.”
“No, Admiral,” he said gently. “You couldn't.”
“Because it's an Intelligence operation,” she deduced. “And you're not in my chain of command.”
“Are you in danger?” Her voice was quiet.
He shrugged. “No more than usual.”
She frowned, considering then discarding angles of attack that might trip him up, trick him into revealing more than he should. But her head ached so, and she couldn’t seem to form a cohesive train of thought.
“What were you doing in that bar?” he asked quietly after a long, tense silence.
“I was…” To her dismay, her throat was closing up. “I just… had to get away.”
“From what?” He was looking at her now, concern etched on his forehead.
“From everything,” she swallowed against the thickness of tears. “I just needed – needed to b-breathe,” and to her infinite horror, a sob burst out of her throat. She hid her face in her hands.
“Kathryn –” He touched her shoulder tentatively and she gritted her teeth, but it was no use. Her emotional fortifications crumbled into great, gulping sobs, and the next thing she knew, strong arms were around her and her face was pressed against his warm, solid chest.
She felt hot and prickly, even after tugging off her cloak and rolling up her shirtsleeves. It was partly the ambient temperature; the room’s thermostat didn’t appear to dip below twenty-six degrees Celsius and Chakotay had already pulled off his sweater, forcing Kathryn to avert her eyes from the sight of his broad chest in a white t-shirt. But mostly it was the shame of such an unguarded display of emotion. She had, it seemed, no defences anymore, and no way to control her own reaction to him.
To add to her mortification, she’d been unable to stop sneezing until he’d dialled up an antihistamine hypospray from the hotel replicator and applied it gently to her neck. Between her streaming nose and her tears, Kathryn didn’t even want to imagine how pitiful she must appear.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, subdued, as Chakotay passed her yet another tissue and a cup of coffee. She took a fortifying sip and placed it on the side table, forcing herself to add, “I’m sorry for subjecting you to my emotional breakdown.”
“Kathryn.” He looked at her so kindly she couldn’t bear it and dropped her gaze again. He touched her knee with his fingertips. “You have nothing to apologise for. It seemed like that’s been building up for a long time.”
She stared down at his hand. “You have no idea.”
“Really?” There was a gentle, lightly-amused lilt to his voice. “My guess is it’s been coming for oh, around eight years now.”
Kathryn huffed. “I always said you could’ve been a counsellor.”
“I have my moments.”
She shrugged a shoulder uncomfortably. “It was still embarrassing.”
“Actually, I'm flattered.”
She cocked a disbelieving eyebrow at him.
Chakotay picked up her hand, cradling it in his own. “It means you still trust me,” he said, his voice soft. “You don't know how much that means to me, Kathryn.”
She studied him. There was kindness in his eyes, affection, concern. But beneath those gentler, more predictable emotions she read something she hadn’t seen for far too many years.
Or maybe, she thought as her heart kicked up and her lips parted on an indrawn breath, I just haven’t been looking.
Almost of its own accord, her free hand lifted to trace the line of his jaw and she watched his eyes darken further. Her gaze dropped to his lips, and she brushed her thumb across them. The eloquent sound he made in response sparked a tense, blooming pulse deep inside her.
Without another thought, she closed the distance between them.
His lips were as soft as she’d always known they would be, and his sharp intake of breath dragged a moan up from her throat. She caught his lower lip between her own, running her tongue along it and nipping at it lightly. His lips were parted against hers, pliant, accepting as she sipped at them, as she licked into his mouth, but she could feel him holding back, his body rigid and tense as though he was afraid to move.
As though he was waiting for something; for her to come to her senses, maybe. Or for her permission.
That was it, Kathryn realised, the knowledge pushing a sweet ache into her throat. She wove her fingers into his and tugged gently to bring their joined hands up between their bodies, to cradle them against her chest. Her fingers fumbled to open the first button on her shirt and she pressed his hand flat over her heart, shuddering at the feel of his warm palm on her skin.
He exhaled shakily and she deepened the kiss, curling her free hand behind his neck to clasp him to her. She felt his other hand steal onto her hip, skimming lightly upward over her waist, felt the moment his passive endurance shifted and he began to respond, then take control. His mouth moved gently over hers. A tremor ran through her and she had to tip her head back to gasp in air. He took advantage of her exposed throat to trail kisses softly along it, humming in response to her low moan.
“Chakotay,” she whispered, “I want you.”
His hand, which had been tracing the span of her ribs, stilled, and he pulled back, resting his forehead against hers to catch his breath.
“We can’t …” but his words were at odds with the way his gaze dropped to her lips, the way he cupped her face toward his.
She shifted back just enough to meet his eyes, opening hers to him and hiding nothing. “Yes, we can. Chakotay, I’ve waited so long…”
“Kathryn,” he looked away, “you’re married.”
The laugh that burst out of her was half a sob. “You tried to tell me. I wouldn’t listen, but you were right about him. He manipulated me and he used me, and our marriage is over.” She brushed her lips against his. “I’ve always wanted this. Be with me.”
“Are you sure?”
She heard the crack in his voice and knew with certainty that whatever he’d once felt for her, it hadn’t faded. It was almost inconceivable that all those years of tension and disagreements, of denials and neglect, hadn’t killed their feelings for each other.
“This is the only thing I’m sure of,” she told him, and with shaking hands she unfastened the next button on her shirt, and then the next, until it slipped open and she let her hands fall loosely into her lap, her chest rising and falling quickly as she waited for whatever he did next.
He gave a quiet groan from behind clenched teeth. His stare was fixed on her body and his hand raised, hovering in mid-air. When he dragged his gaze up to hers, the heat in his eyes tightened her spine and set a pulse fluttering low in her belly.
“I really want to touch you,” Chakotay said, gravel in his voice.
“So what are you waiting for?” she asked, breathless, and in one smooth movement he spread his hands around her waist, tugged her across his lap and took her mouth with a hunger that stole her breath.
Oh, God, was her only coherent thought as the hard press of him between her legs sent lust firing through every nerve in her body. Through their layers of clothing she felt him swelling, straining against her, felt the sharp answering throb that started her hands trembling and her body pressing helplessly closer.
This was nothing like the feverish, consuming need she felt with Ryan. This was overwhelming in an entirely different way, and she couldn’t believe she had ever confused the two.
“Kathryn,” he growled into her throat, and then he was standing and her legs were wrapping around his hips as he stumbled the few short steps to lay her on the bed.
She yanked at his t-shirt, almost tearing it in her need to get it over his head so she could press her lips to the hard golden chest she had touched so many times through the barrier of his uniform. He wrestled off her shirt and she arched to fumble with the clasp of her bra, his hot mouth closing over her nipple as soon as she was bared to him. Boots were kicked away, pants and underwear toed downward, and then they were both naked and she couldn’t stifle the hitch in her throat as he moved between her opened thighs. She was liquid, molten with urgency and need, and as he began to kiss his way down her belly she shook her head in desperation.
“Now, Chakotay,” she rasped. “I need you now.”
The involuntary tilt of her hips as he raised himself above her, his eyes searching hers, seemed to be all the confirmation he needed. Slowly, so slowly, he pushed inside her. She felt the stretch and throb of her inner muscles as he pressed his forehead to hers, gritting his teeth against his precarious control.
“Please,” she almost whimpered, writhing against him mindlessly as he drew back. He surged into her, wringing soft, drawn-out cries from her lips as she squeezed around him. With each outward slide and inward thrust she held him to her tighter, clutched him inside her, wrapped herself around him, imagining she’d never have to let him go. He raised himself on his forearms to watch her face as he ground into her, and Kathryn felt the flush bloom on her chest. She threw her head back, crying out as her body clenched and shook, bringing him over the edge with her into an oblivion from which she never wanted to return.
When their breathing finally slowed she pulled him down and wrapped her arms around him. Tears brimmed from under her closed lids and he felt them dampen his cheek where it pressed against hers.
“What’s wrong?” Alarmed, Chakotay propped himself on his elbows, eyes searching her face. “Did I hurt you?”
“No,” she half-laughed. “It was wonderful. You were wonderful.”
“Then why are you crying?” He brushed a thumb gently beneath her eye.
“Because I always knew it would be like this.”
He felt an answering smile soften his face. “So did I.”
He couldn’t stop gazing at her. Fantasies of how she would look in this moment, of how he’d feel, had fuelled his imagination for years. And now here she was, her slender frame secure in his arms, her bare skin flush against his, her mouth soft from his kisses. He didn’t quite know how or why they’d ended up here, now of all times. But as he looked at her, drank her in, catalogued the strength of her arms around him, the feel of her soft breasts and her impossibly velvety skin, the inevitable, inescapable rightness of it settled into his bones and infused his every nerve and sinew with joy.
It seemed Kathryn was experiencing the same thing. She reached up to trace his jaw, a slow smile blossoming on her lips as he nuzzled his mouth into her palm. He felt her catch her breath at the sensation of his teeth scraping lightly on the heel of her hand, and his eyes sharpened, focused on hers. He shifted, and twitched inside her, swelling further as she gasped and arched her back.
Her tears were forgotten now, her eyes sliding shut as he dipped his head, his lips moving lightly over her throat and drifting downward to close around one nipple. The heat and pull of his mouth made her squirm and moan. He was almost fully hard again. He gave a slow, experimental thrust and she twined her legs around his hips and clutched his shoulders, the sharp bite of her nails bringing him to full swell.
It would be so easy just to let it happen.
Chakotay lifted his head. “Kathryn,” he said, and waited until she opened her eyes.
“What is it?”
“Can we talk now?”
Tension crept back into her limbs. She pulled away, sitting up to clutch the sheet to her chest. She looked shame-faced.
“What you must think of me,” she mumbled.
“Don’t do that,” he said quietly. “Kathryn, I meant it when I said I’d always be here for you.”
She managed a rueful smile. “Somehow I doubt this was what you had in mind.”
Chakotay ducked his head to hide the appearance of his dimples. “I’ve had this in mind for going on eight years,” he confessed, and glanced up at her.
To his relief, her lips twitched and the stiffness melted from her body. “Me, too.”
He felt his eyes soften as he looked at her.
“I can’t believe we finally did it,” she said, half to herself.
“It was worth the wait.”
Kathryn glanced away, her smile fading. “Worth the wait,” she echoed. “Sometimes I can’t even remember what I was waiting for.”
Chakotay hesitated, unsure what to say. “You made the best decisions you could at the time,” he finally settled on.
“I was arrogant,” she replied, meeting his gaze. “I made decisions for both of us and I never even talked to you about it.”
“It’s okay,” his voice was soft, “I understood. The ship came first. You were doing your duty.”
She huffed without humour. “I was scared, Chakotay.”
“You weren’t.” Kathryn almost sounded accusing. “You always seemed so centred. So certain.”
He gave a disbelieving laugh. “Is that what you thought? I was terrified, Kathryn. You turned my life inside out,” he shook his head as she curled into herself, “and I’m not talking about destroying the Array. I’m talking about you.”
Her fingers worried at the sheet. “And Seven?” she asked harshly. “How did that come about?”
Chakotay sighed. “Seven and I … we were each of us searching for something, and we fulfilled that for each other for a while. Looking back, it never would’ve lasted.”
“Don’t be so sure of that.”
“I know what she said, that future version of you,” he said firmly. “Whatever happened in her timeline, it’s never going to happen now. Seven is happier with Harry than she ever would have been with me. And I’m so sorry that we hurt you… that I hurt you.”
“It’s no worse than I deserved,” she half-whispered. “Sometimes I think it would be better if you had never met me.”
“Don’t ever think that.” Her entire body was written in lines of defeat and Chakotay couldn’t stand it. “You once said you couldn’t imagine a day without me. Well, I can’t imagine my life without having known you.”
She made a sound that was part laugh and part sob, but the despair began to ease from her limbs and she scrubbed at her face with the heel of her hand. He wanted to pull her close, to kiss her again, but he suspected he knew where that would lead and there were things he needed to know first.
“You said your marriage is over,” he reminded her. “What did you mean?”
Kathryn drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, tear-dampened eyes cast downward. “Let’s just say I no longer have any illusions that Ryan ever loved me.”
Chakotay reached out tentatively and she let him take her hand.
“You were right all along,” she said. “He used me to leverage his election campaign. He never cared about me. He – he manipulated me, and he tricked me into … And when I tried to resist, he –” She broke off abruptly.
“He what?” There was a hollow feeling in his stomach. “What did he do, Kathryn?”
“He did what he wanted,” she said tiredly, “in spite of my objections.”
“He forced you?”
“Not in his mind.” She hunched her shoulders. “I said I didn’t want it – I said no, more than once, but … my body responded to him. And for him, that was enough.”
“Kathryn,” he said, the ache turning his voice to gravel, and her face crumpled and she hid it in her folded arms.
Chakotay squeezed her hand gently. He could hear the hitch in her breathing that told him she was struggling for control and he longed to put his arms around her. But considering what she’d just told him, that had to be her choice.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said, muffled. “I just feel so stupid.”
He frowned, choosing his words carefully. “It’s not my place to tell you what to do, but you don’t deserve to be treated that way. Nobody does.”
Her body stiffened and she pulled her hand back from his. “You’re right. It’s not your place.”
To hell with caution. “Please tell me you’re not considering going back to him.”
Her retort, when it came, was sharp with a hurt he didn’t quite comprehend. “I suppose that’s my decision to make, isn’t it?”
“It’s not like you’re going to be around, anyway,” she went on, and pressed her lips together, not quite hiding the quaver in her voice.
Understanding dawned, and with it came helplessness. I’ll save you, he longed to promise her, I’ll take you away where he’ll never find you, but he bit his tongue. She was right; duty meant that was not a vow he could make to her.
“You don’t have to do this alone, Kathryn,” he said instead.
“Of course I do,” she answered so tonelessly it made him ache. “I’m always alone.”
“No. It’s fine, Chakotay, really.” She lifted her chin to look at him directly, her eyes dry and cool. “You don’t have to comfort me. I can take care of myself.”
“This is different,” he said flatly.
“Like you said,” she replied, “it’s not your place to tell me what to do. You’re not serving on my ship. You don’t owe me anything.”
He stared at her. “This has nothing to do with the chain of command. You’re my friend.”
“Your friend,” she repeated blankly, then laughed. “Is that what I am?”
“What are you talking about?”
“No,” she said tightly, “what are you talking about? You don’t have the right to decide how I should live my life.” Her voice was rising with every word. “We’re not friends, Captain. We’re just two strangers who had sex!”
He could see her breathing rapidly as the echoes of her accusation died away in the silent room. And he wanted nothing more than to protest, to deny what she’d said, to insist that they were closer than friends – closer even than lovers – and would always be so.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
He held out his hand, palm up, and after a moment her shoulders loosened and she sighed, her fingers curling around his. Her head was bowed but he could see her biting her lip.
“I had no right to do anything I’ve done with you tonight,” he hesitated, and honesty prompted him to continue, “but I can’t regret this. I just wish …”
“What?” she asked, and there was no anger left in her voice.
“I wish our timing was better,” he tried to smile.
“Me too,” she managed. “Chakotay, I’m sorry… I didn’t mean…”
“I know,” he murmured. “I’m just – I’d really like to hug you right now. Would that be okay?”
She glanced down at herself, naked beneath the sheet. “Do you really have to ask?”
“Yes,” he answered seriously.
Her smile wobbled and warmed. “In that case, yes. I would love you to hug me.”
So he reached for her, folding her in his arms and pressing his cheek to her hair, and gradually he felt her weight settling against him and the soft brush of her breath on his neck. He spread his hands across her back and she hummed quietly at the drifting of his fingertips along her spine.
Soon, he began to press small kisses to her temple and cheekbone, and Kathryn’s breathing quickened as she shifted in his arms, pressing restlessly closer to him. The sheet caught between them slipped lower.
“Chakotay,” she murmured.
He shivered at the sensation of her lips moving against his throat. “Yes, Kathryn?”
“Are we done talking?”
Something in the timbre of her voice brought him to instant attention. He pulled back to study her and read the lowered eyelashes, the flushed and parted lips, felt his body respond.
“What did you have in mind?” he rumbled back at her.
In answer she pushed the sheet aside and lowered herself over him, the hard points of her nipples brushing his bare chest. Her teeth closed carefully around his earlobe and she pitched her voice low and husky.
“I was thinking about making the most of the time we have.”
His better nature raised a weak protest, but as she curled her tongue around his ear, any misgivings he might have voiced levelled off into a groan. Kathryn took advantage of his distraction to brace her hands on his shoulders, pushing him onto his back. He found his fingers clasping her hips, and she levered upright, her eyes glittering as she squeezed her thighs around him.
He was fully erect now. Chakotay tightened his fingers on the curves of her ass, encouraging her, unable to stifle the low sounds of pleasure she was pulling from his throat as she began to move over him. He felt her shudder as the head of his penis rubbed over her clit, and then she was twisting her pelvis and he slid inside her in one long, slick, heated plunge.
Her hips circled in deliberate, luscious thrusts, her body clenching and rippling around him. Chakotay stared up at her, watching her face as her pace increased and her breath began to hitch, watching her eyes darken and her tongue dart out to moisten her lips.
He ground his hips up into her, one hand travelling up the length of her torso to cup her breast, revelling in the way she shivered and moaned.
“You are so beautiful,” he rasped.
Kathryn’s eyes softened and he reached up to pull her down onto him. Her hair fell around them as he crushed her to his chest, his lips seeking hers. He kissed her, tangling his hand in her hair as her motions slowed, grew sinuous. The change in angle, the friction, the lush drag of her tongue against his; it was all he could do to hold back the climax he knew was inevitable.
But he wanted to get her there first.
Gently, he urged her to release him, to move upward along his body until her thighs were spread either side of his face. She gripped the headboard and stared down at him, her expression anticipatory and ever so slightly tense, and he stroked a palm lightly over her hip, his thumbs rubbing the delicate, concave curves of her pelvis.
Trust me, he tried to convey with his eyes, and she bit her lip and nodded, so he turned his head and nuzzled the silky skin inside her thigh. Kathryn made a soft, needy sound and widened her knees, and in gratitude and approval he dragged his thumb across her nub, watching her mouth drop open and her head fall back.
“Fuck,” he groaned, “I want to taste you.”
She moaned and tilted her hips, and he slid his fingers between her folds, his other hand flattening on her ass to bring her to his lips. At the first languid circle of his tongue on her clitoris he entered her with two careful fingers, and she whined and shuddered and pushed herself onto his face.
He flattened his tongue on her, licking her deliberately, thoroughly, holding her steady with one hand on her hip as the other curled upward inside of her, rubbing the rippled patch of flesh that changed the pitch of her moans to short, gasping cries, until she half-sobbed a broken version of his name and crumpled over him, trembling and clenching around his fingers.
He could have stayed there all night, drowning in her, moving his fingers and tongue ever so slightly to trigger the aftershocks, but she had other ideas. Heaving in a breath, she eased herself to one side of him, her mouth finding his for a deep and lazy kiss that left him licking her taste from her lips.
Kathryn drew back, one hand flattening on his torso and snaking downward until it came in contact with his cock, so hard it throbbed almost painfully.
“Kathryn,” he groaned as she wrapped her fingers around him.
She shifted onto her knees, holding his gaze as she twisted her body to bend her face down to him, As Chakotay’s hand drifted along her spine to dip and clutch between her spread legs, she licked her lips deliberately.
The sound he uttered was unintelligible, but she needed no help understanding it. She stretched her lips around his cock and sank down with purpose until her tongue was flattened along his length and he could feel her throat working, feel the vibrations as she hummed around him.
For a moment he almost lost control. This was Kathryn, Kathryn Janeway, naked in his bed with his fingers inside her and her mouth wrapped around his cock. His free hand curled convulsively into the sheet beside him, an aid to maintaining the presence of mind not to thrust into her throat and choke her, not to let go and flood her. Not to end it too soon.
Then she began to move, sucking, tongue swirling, one hand slipping between his legs to cradle his balls, and Chakotay, losing the battle, gritted his teeth and begged, “Please, Kathryn, please come here. I need to be inside you.”
He stroked the hair back from her face and she raised her head, gasping as he pulled out of her throat. Her lips were wet. She turned her cheek into his palm, her eyes heavy-lidded, and bit gently at the edge of his thumb.
“Do you want to fuck me?” she whispered.
Chakotay sucked in a breath. Cupping her face, tilting it toward him, he sat up until he could press his lips to hers. When he pulled back, he rested his forehead against hers and said with quiet emphasis, “I want to make love with you.”
He thought he saw her eyes fill again before she closed them and leaned in to kiss him, and he wondered briefly if she’d become used to her husband treating her without tenderness. The thought made his throat ache and he almost stopped her, afraid that he’d misread her needs tonight. What if she hadn’t been seeking solace, but a friend?
But she broke the kiss only to murmur, “I want that, too,” and then she shifted under him and pulled him to cover her, wrapping her arms and legs around him and urging him to enter her, and it was so easy and so perfect and so right, and he lost himself inside her, willingly giving her whatever tiny part of his soul she hadn’t owned before.
Afterward, she turned over in his arms and he wrapped himself around her and traced the line of her arm and waist and hip with the tips of his fingers. Her breathing evened out and her lashes fluttered closed, but Chakotay stayed awake, watching her sleep.
And for a few hours’ worth of moments, everything was perfect.