The Huntress and the Moon
Summary: “I know I’ve always said weird is a part of the job, but…” she flashes me a wry grin, “I never thought I’d end up running around in an alien forest, playing the part of a moon goddess. And this outfit isn’t exactly practical for slaying enemies.”
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Paris, Ayala, Tuvok, EMH
Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Paris, Janeway/Ayala
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit. Kit Williams owns all rights to his incredible artwork, which inspired this piece of crazy.
Notes: Inspired by Kit Williams’ artwork, Hunter's Moon. I owe a lot of this to Greek mythology (obviously) but it’s by no means supposed to satisfy the purists.
“Chakotay,” I almost shriek as wildfire races through my body, arching my back and curling my fingers. He groans my name in response, dropping his forehead to my shoulder as he grinds into me a final time, both of us shaking and gasping and clutching at sweat-beaded skin.
It’s only as my thundering heartbeat begins to slow that I realise.
He called me Kathryn.
I pull back, our bodies separating slickly and sending another shiver through me as we stare at each other.
“Kathryn,” he says again. “What – are you – did we ...?”
I’m not Celyne of the Moon, the huntress sent to bring life back to this planet. I’m Kathryn. I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway, and I just had sex with my first officer.
Wrenching myself away from him is pain of both the physical and metaphysical kind. I stagger to my feet and wrap an arm around my breasts and the other around my hips. Chakotay remains kneeling, clearly stunned, until I turn away from him.
The tunic I was wearing has disappeared. God, I need to cover myself. Where is my uniform? Casting wildly around for it, I can’t help gaping at the scene around us.
Where before there was a sluggish stream and dead and dying foliage, there’s now a lushly flowered carpet of moss along the banks of a crystalline brook. Trees that were blackened and mouldering are once again straight and thick with glossy blue leaves. The Naiades have gone, and we’re alone in the clearing.
Whirling, I realise Chakotay has found our uniforms; he’s half-dressed in the black pants and is holding my trousers and undershirt out to me, his face averted. I snatch the garments from his hand and yank them on, feeling instantly better. Determinedly ignoring the stretch and pull of my thigh muscles, the slickness between my legs, it takes next to no time to fasten my jacket, pull on my boots, straighten my pips. By the time I’ve pulled my hair into a hasty knot, Ayala and Paris have emerged fully-dressed from the trees at the edge of the clearing.
Ayala. Paris. Shame and horror prickle the backs of my eyes as the memory of what I did with each of them slaps me in the face.
And how much did they see? I study them covertly. Ayala is inscrutable as ever, but he’s not meeting my eye. Paris looks like he’d rather be just about anywhere else.
As for Chakotay… Forcing myself to look at him, I find him completely unreadable.
I have to get control of this. Straightening, I steady my voice. “Commander, Lieutenants. If you’re all recovered from our … adventure … I think it’s time to return to the ship.”
“Captain,” Chakotay interrupts before I can activate my commbadge. He’s holding a tricorder, pointed in the direction of the stream below the altar stone. “I’m getting strong dilithium readings here. Should we –”
“Yes, by all means, Commander,” I cut in hastily. “Why don’t you three, uh, investigate the readings. I’ll check in with Tuvok.”
As I move away, a glimmer of light catches my eye from the surface of the altar stone. Crouching, I pick up the reflective object. It’s the opal on a silver chain that I was wearing around my neck.
I don’t know why, if everything else from this wild, shadowy, mystical night has disappeared, the necklace is still here. But before I can second-guess myself, I scoop it into my pocket and turn my back on the others, slapping my commbadge. “Janeway to Voyager.”
“Tuvok here,” echoes through the captain’s commbadge.
“Lieutenant,” she replies, then stops. Glancing at her, I realise she’s staring into the distance and biting her lip.
“Captain, are you well?”
She shakes herself. “Yes. Yes, we’re fine, Tuvok. I – I was just checking in.”
There’s a Vulcan pause. “Acknowledged, Captain. Have you succeeded in locating the dilithium source?”
“I’m not – I – possibly.” Janeway half-turns toward us and I take pity on her and hurry over, showing her my tricorder. She gives me a swift, grateful glance. “Yes, Tuvok, it seems the bedrock of a stream we’ve found is rich in dilithium. It’s possible we may be able to beam it out, but you’ll need to send down some pattern enhancers.”
“Do you need additional assistance?” Tuvok inquires.
“No, I don’t want anyone else coming down to this planet,” she snaps, then closes her eyes. “I’m sorry, Tuvok. I haven’t … I’m a little tired.”
She’s jumpy as a cat, and if I know Tuvok, he’s already alerted the Doctor to start monitoring all our biosigns. I figure we have about twenty seconds until –
“Captain?” The Doctor’s nasal voice breaks into the commline.
Janeway stiffens. “What are you doing on this channel, Doctor?”
He smoothly evades the question. “Captain, I’m reading elevated serotonin and adrenaline levels in all four members of the away team, as well as higher than usual levels of dopamine and oxytocin in the commander and yourself. Might I enquire as to your current physical state?”
The captain blushes furiously. “As I said, Doctor, we are all just fine. Now get off this channel.”
“I’ll be expecting you all to check in with Sickbay immediately on your return,” is his parting shot.
Janeway grits her teeth. “Lieutenant Tuvok, remind me to reacquaint you with communication protocols at a later date. For now, send down those transporter pattern enhancers. The sooner we get this dilithium and get the hell off this planet, the better. Janeway out.”
She slaps her commbadge so emphatically she probably hurts herself, then turns to glare at me. “Mr Paris, as soon as those enhancers are in place I want that dilithium back on the ship. Inform the commander that I’ll be returning shortly.”
Before I can stop her, she stalks off into the trees without looking back.
I amble over to join the others as the shimmer of a transporter beam deposits several enhancer rods on the mossy ground.
“So,” I begin tentatively as the three of us set them up, “I guess we’ll have to file some kind of report on, uh, last night.”
Ayala scowls at me from across the stream.
“Your point, Paris?” Chakotay clips without looking up.
“Well, uh, I was just wondering how much information that report should include, sir.”
He straightens up and gives me a cold stare. “What do you think the captain would expect your report to include, Lieutenant?”
“Um, the facts, sir.”
“Your report,” Chakotay says flatly, “will include exactly the facts that Starfleet – or anyone on the ship – needs to know. No less, and absolutely no more.”
“And, Paris? If I ever hear the slightest whisper that you’ve divulged information outside of that need to know – whether it’s in your report, your personal log or your conversations with any living being excluding the four of us – I will personally rain down all manner of hell on you for the remainder of your natural life. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir. Crystal clear, sir.”
“Good,” he says shortly as the last beacon clicks into place. “The two of you, get back to the ship. I’m going to retrieve the captain.”
It doesn’t take long to track her down. I find her sitting on a fallen log, hunched over her knees with her face hidden in her hands. I consider speaking to warn her I’m here and decide against it, taking a seat beside her.
She jerks to her feet immediately. “What are you doing here, Commander? I ordered you back to Voyager.”
“I sent the others on ahead. I thought you might want to talk.”
Kathryn wraps her arms around herself defensively.
Or not. “There will be no record of anything … untoward … in the away team’s reports,” I tell her, keeping my voice calm. “But I think we should discuss this.”
“There’s nothing to discuss, Commander. I … did what I had to do to save your life, and that’s all there is to it.”
Anger begins to uncurl like tendrils in my gut, and I rise to my feet. “You can’t ignore this, Kathryn. “
“Yes, I can, Commander,” she snaps. “As far as I’m concerned, we were all under the influence of some alien ritual and can’t be held responsible for our actions.”
“Maybe at first,” I concede. “But not the second time. You and I both know that was real.”
She turns her back to me, shaking her head.
“Don’t deny it, Kathryn.”
“There’s nothing to deny!” she hisses, facing me. “And I never want to speak of this again. That’s an order, Commander.”
I step forward, trying to gather the words to get through to her, but the mulish set of her jaw and the cold warning in her eyes tells me it’s pointless. I let my hands drop back to my sides.
As she taps her commbadge and calls for a beam-out, we don’t look at each other once.
“I can’t find any medical reason for the elevated chemical levels in Mr Ayala’s bloodstream, Lieutenant.” The Doctor looks put out. “And they’re not posing any danger to him. My best guess is that Mr Ayala has recently engaged in heightened physical activity of some kind.”
“And Mr Paris?” Tuvok turns to indicate the helmsman sitting on the biobed opposite mine.
“The same. However, he also shows evidence of a recent endorphin high and increased neurotransmitter activity, consistent with having recently sustained an injury. There is, however, no other physical evidence of such an occurrence.”
“Intriguing.” Tuvok fixes Paris with a stare. “Would you care to offer an explanation, Lieutenant?”
Paris squirms and flicks a glance at me; I hope my returning stare is sufficiently quelling. “Um, it’s a complicated story, sir.”
Tuvok raises an eyebrow and waits.
“Well, ah, Ayala and I set up camp while the captain and the commander went off to investigate the dilithium readings. Everything was pretty normal until we lost contact with them. When we found them they were talking to these, um, women…” he trails off, sending me a desperate glance.
“Women?” Tuvok asks. “Sensors didn’t detect any alien lifesigns on the planet.”
“I don’t know if you’d call them aliens, exactly. More like … mythical beings.”
“Explain,” Tuvok demands, eyebrow climbing higher.
It’s kind of fun to watch Paris sweating like this, but I cut in to save him. “Sir, the women introduced themselves as Naiades and claimed the purpose of their existence was to protect a natural spring from attack by a creature they called Tanatos. Their leader explained that the four of us had to partake in some sort of quest to stop the destruction of their natural habitat.”
“Describe this quest.”
Paris butts in again. “We took on alternate personas. The captain was this, uh, moon goddess and the three of us were her guards. We had to hunt down Tanatos and kill him and his followers so the forest would come back to life.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tuvok speechless before.
“Interesting,” pipes the Doctor. “This story bears some resemblance to an ancient Earth mythology.”
“And is highly illogical,” Tuvok objects. “I cannot believe the captain would agree to involve herself or her crewmembers in such a flight of fancy.”
“It’s not like she really had much of a choice,” Paris mutters.
Tuvok spins back to him. “Are you suggesting that she, and you, were coerced into a dangerous situation?”
“Well, kind of…” Paris trails off as the captain and Chakotay enter Sickbay, tension clear in their rigid shoulders.
“Doctor,” Janeway snaps. “If you’ve quite finished examining my officers, release them to their quarters. Commander Chakotay is here for the mandatory physical check. Mr Tuvok, I expected to find you on the bridge, but since you’re apparently off duty I’ll be taking the bridge myself.”
She turns to stalk out but the Doctor, who can move like lightning when he wants to, inserts himself between her and the exit. “Not so fast, Captain. You are also required to undergo the mandatory medical clearance.” He’s already scanning her, ignoring the glare she’s directing at him.
She moves to dodge him but Tuvok is even faster.
“Captain, given the information I have just gleaned from Lieutenants Paris and Ayala, I believe it is imperative that you undergo a complete medical examination.”
“I’m fine,” she snarls.
“Perhaps,” Tuvok allows. “I would prefer that the Doctor confirm it, however.”
She draws herself to her full height and opens her mouth, presumably to blast Tuvok back to crewman, but a quiet “Captain,” from Chakotay stops her.
“Fine,” she says tightly. “Mr Paris, Mr Ayala, you’re dismissed. Tuvok, take the bridge. I’ll check in with you later.”
“Aye, Captain,” the three of us answer.
Glancing back from the door, I notice that Janeway has moved to stand beside the biobed furthest from Chakotay, arms folded, scowling as the Doctor scans her. Chakotay’s wearing his most impenetrable mask, awaiting his turn.
The Doctor’s tricorder beeps, but before he can say a word, Janeway hisses, “Doctor, need I remind you about patient confidentiality protocols?”
I’ve never been so glad to get out of Sickbay in my life.
I’ve never been so relieved to enter the silent sanctuary of my quarters.
Shedding the layers of my uniform on the way to the bathroom, I sit on the edge of the tub and try to work the tangles out of my hair with my fingers. I’d kill for a long hot bath right now. But I have to compose a report that’s going to take all my powers of diplomacy to write, and I can feel the need for sleep dragging at my mind.
First, though, I need to feel clean.
“Computer, water shower, thirty-eight degrees.”
I step under the hot spray, letting the water slick my hair to the back of my head, and reach for the shampoo. Working it into a lather, I close my eyes.
Strong arms holding me close, soft lips on mine. The rasp of cool stone against my back as we move together.
My eyes spring open and I curse, blinking suds out of them as I scrabble for a towel, pressing it to my face.
Warm hands cupping my breasts, curving around my hips. Pleasure welling tight in my lower belly. The surge and press of him inside me.
Shaking it off, I scour my skin with the sponge, wincing at pulled muscles and bruises, shivering at the recollection of Chakotay’s hands gliding over the same places I’m scrubbing over now. I can’t be thinking of this – I can’t let it sink into my memory the way he already inhabits my dreams.
In frustration I order the water to ten degrees, gasping at the icy shock of it. It works, somewhat. I rinse off and rub myself vigorously with a towel, refusing to let my mind wander any further.
Squeezing the excess water from my hair, I slip on my robe and wander back out to the living area, picking up the discarded pieces of my uniform. As I shake out the pants something falls out of the pocket. It’s the necklace. I hold it in my palm, images of slick naked skin and soft sighs and moans playing through my mind.
The door chimes. I close my fingers over the opal in my hand.
Chakotay steps inside, wearing a soft blue button-down shirt and jeans, his hair damp. A wave of longing assails me, so strong I almost stagger under the force of it.
“What are you doing here, Commander?”
I don’t miss the way his eyes darken when he looks at me, barely covered in my short silk robe. I cross my arms over my chest, hoping to disguise the way my nipples have hardened against the cloth.
“I came here to talk about what happened on that planet.” He moves toward me and I stop myself – just barely – from backing away.
“I told you this subject was closed.”
“I know what you said.” He stands there, staring down at me, eyes so black they’re unreadable. “But I can’t stop thinking about it – about you – and I’m willing to bet that you can’t, either. You can’t just walk away from something so … powerful … and never give it another thought.”
I’m trying to think of something to say, the words that will convince him it meant nothing to me, but before I can come up with anything he lifts his hand to cup the side of my face, his thumb grazing lightly over my lower lip. My whole body quivers, and I can’t stifle a gasp.
“You feel it too,” he says, as though he wasn’t as sure as he claimed. “Kathryn…”
He’s leaning in, his warm breath fanning across my face, and I can feel my eyes slipping closed, my body yearning toward him, my lips parted in anticipation. My arms unfold, my hand hovering over his chest. I can almost feel his heart pounding in time with my own.
“Kathryn,” he whispers again, so close, “if I kiss you now, everything is going to change. But it has to be your choice.”
And, as much as my body, my entire being is aching for him, the fear is too strong.
I step back.
“We can’t do this, Chakotay.”
Emotions flicker across the planes of his face, almost too quickly to identify them, before he straightens up and lets his hand fall away from my cheek. He takes in a deep breath, meets my eyes, and gives me a nod.
As he walks toward the door, I uncurl my fingers and gaze at the opal necklace in my palm. Unbidden, Amanisia’s words come back to me: Only the other half of your soul will complete the cycle, and your bonding will be eternal.
But I’m the captain. I didn’t choose this – I’m not allowed to have this. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be –
Your choice is already made. All you have to do is follow it through.
The door opens. In a moment he’ll be out of my reach.
“Chakotay … wait.”