Summary: A diplomatic ritual goes spectacularly awry when Janeway finds herself breathless in more ways than one.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Disclaimer: If Paramount wants to claim this, they’re welcome to it.
Notes: Set lateish in Season 3.
The afternoon sun filters lazily through the slatted roof of her balcony, and Kathryn lets her eyes drift closed. The cup of sincha cools on the small table beside her as she stretches her arms above her head and sighs.
She is so tired, bone-deep exhausted, but she can’t stop her mind churning. She thinks of Savia’s words after those surreal moments in the bathing pools - don’t be so focused on the end of your journey that you forget to live – and the extraordinary conversation with Tuvok in the early hours. She thinks of Chakotay – do you trust me? – and the heat in his eyes when he looks at her. She remembers the way he’d accidentally touched her and the way she’d so desperately wanted him to touch her again.
She thinks about his silent acquiescence to the barriers she’d thrown up when they’d been rescued from the planet, the way he stands by her, giving her everything, asking nothing in return, and she has to squeeze her eyes shut against the sudden rush of emotion filling her chest.
She wonders if Chakotay is thinking about her.
One more night, she promises herself. Just get through this one last night and everything can go back to normal.
The problem is, she’s not sure she wants it to.
Sitting in her dressing room a few hours later as Ilona puts the finishing touches on her hair, she finds herself desperately wishing for normal.
Normal is not the flimsy excuse for a dress, flesh-coloured and translucent, that lies oh-so-innocently on the love-seat, mocking her with its very existence. Normal is not Leda’s explanation that there will be no chemise tonight and the whole point of this dress is that it goes under the corset. And normal is definitely not the desertion of her maids, once the cursed dress is on and the corset fitted loosely over the top of it, and their smiling replies to her inquiry that this is all part of the ritual.
Ritual, she thinks sourly. If she never hears the word again it’ll be too –
Perfect, she thinks. Just perfect. She grabs the robe she was wearing moments before and ties it securely around her waist.
“What are you doing here, Chakotay?”
“Your friend Leda fetched me.” His gaze wanders over her elegantly-dressed hair, her lightly-powdered face, her pink-pouted lips. “She, uh, she said I’m to finish helping you dress.”
“Oh, did she?”
And suddenly she doesn’t know whether to scream, throw something or break down in tears. This is not fair. For two days and nights now the Latavine have pushed her, tested her, worn down her forbearance and pummelled her self-restraint, and now this?
Being who she is, she instead closes her eyes, takes a slow, deep breath, and controls her voice. “Fine. The sooner you lace me up, the sooner we can get this damned ritual over with. Come over here.” Resolutely, she throws off the robe and turns her back to her first officer, bracing her hands on the edge of the vanity.
“Lace … you up?” He hasn’t moved.
She glances at his reflection in the mirror before her. He’s wearing the boots, breeches and loose white shirt she expects, but clearly hasn’t had time to put on the cravat and frock-coat. The shirt is open at the neck, and she tries not to look at that golden-skinned expanse of chest. “The corset, Commander. You need to tie off my corset.”
His eyes can’t seem to meet hers in the mirror; he’s gazing at a point somewhere over her head.
She sighs, impatiently. “Grab hold of the loops in the middle and pull, readjust the top and bottom laces, pull again. I’ll tell you when it’s tight enough.”
“Right,” he says, and walks slowly toward her. She feels him take hold of the loops. The satin slithers through the eyelets as he tugs carefully on the ribbons. The corset draws in a little.
He reaches up to adjust the top laces, does the same with the lower half. He pulls on the loops again and she begins to feel that welcoming constriction. She exhales quietly. He stops. “Is that enough?”
“No.” It comes out a little gravelly. “It needs to be much tighter. Pull harder.”
“I don’t want to hurt you.” Is she imagining the rasp in his voice?
She feels his fingers brush against the gossamer fabric of her dress as he adjusts the ribbons again. And then he pulls, and oh, God. She closes her eyes, her lips parting as the boning presses firm against her ribs. Her fingers tense on the edge of the table. “More,” she whispers.
She hears him mutter something under her breath and looks at his reflection. His jaw is knotted and she thinks that she’s glad his eyes are lowered so she can’t see the intensity she knows is in them. She glances at herself: bent slightly forward, her flushed and rigid nipples on clear display through the almost-transparent chiffon of her bodice. Her eyes are heavy-lidded and there’s an obvious glow on her cheekbones. She feels the delicious drag of the stays as the corset tightens further, and she can’t help it. She moans.
His eyes flash immediately to hers. “Are you all right?”
She can’t speak; she can only nod.
“Should I stop?” She’s definitely not imagining that whiskey undertone to his voice now.
“A little more,” she breathes. She watches as his gaze wanders down the line of her back, over the exaggerated curve of her hips, and unconsciously she arches her spine, shifts her legs a little further apart. His eyes darken.
He takes hold of the loops with one hand, winding them around his palm for leverage, and places his free hand at the base of her spine. She braces, and he gives a long, controlled pull on the stays. She feels her lungs tighten, her skin flush, a throbbing ache between her legs. “Oh, God,” she groans.
He leans in, and the hand not holding the stays flattens on her lower back just below the bottom edge of the corset and strokes slowly over the upper curve of her ass. She pushes up against his hand and hears him hiss through his teeth.
“Perfect,” she whimpers, “it’s perfect. You can tie it off now.”
He does, quickly, and she holds still until he’s finished and then starts to straighten, only to be firmly stopped by a palm against her back. “Don’t move,” he says, his voice rough.
She stills, holding her breath.
She feels the feathery drift of his fingers over her bare upper back, and then he leans in and places his mouth against the nape of her neck, his teeth closing lightly around the first knob of her spine. She gasps, and his lips trace a path from the base of her neck to the top of the corset. She’s trembling. His fingers slide over the laced insert, burning her skin through the ribbon and chiffon, and come to rest on her hip. His tongue licks back up along her spine and his fingers start to gather the fabric of her skirt, bunching it as the hem creeps upward. His lips graze the side of her neck and she moans, tipping her head to the side to give him access. The hand on her hip slides forward and down and his other hand smooths up the front of her corset, and then he’s cupping her breast as his fingers dip slowly between her thighs, and she’s shaking so hard she can barely stay standing -
His fingers still at Leda’s voice and Kathryn can’t help a small squeak of frustration, and then his hands and his mouth are withdrawing from her body, smoothing the skirt into place as he steps back from her.
“I’m sorry,” the maid says softly, her eyes averted. “Commander Chakotay, I was sent to ask you to finish dressing. The banquet is about to start.”
Chakotay’s gaze meets Kathryn’s in the mirror and she thinks that she might combust from the naked desire in his eyes.
“We’ll finish this later,” he tells her, and turns away.
Her conscience is already scolding her, but her treacherous, licentious body is loudly demanding that he keep his promise.
Her entire body is trembling as she stares at herself in the mirror and thinks that there’s no way, no way in hell, that she can go into that banquet hall looking like this.
The bodice leaves nothing to the imagination; a layer of silk chiffon barely covers the lower curve of her breasts, and her nipples are plainly visible. At first she thinks the skirt isn’t so bad – it’s so voluminous that despite the sheerness of the fabric, nothing is visible beneath it. But then she moves and the light falls behind her, outlining her body, and the breeze from the open window ruffles the soft fabric and peels it away along the split that runs the length of her leg, and she realises that she might as well be naked.
In this moment, she wishes she had never heard of the Latavine.
And yet, when Leda indicates it’s time to leave, Kathryn gathers her skirts, tilts up her chin, and follows the dressing-maids along the corridor and through the carved double doors, into the banquet hall. She takes Jarin’s arm and walks with measured steps past all the many eyes that watch her, and when they reach their table she doesn’t hide from the long, hot stare Chakotay levels at her.
At least this time she knows none of her crew are here. If she has to parade around half-naked with her first officer’s hands all over her, at least none of them will be watching. Small mercies, Kathryn thinks darkly as she sips her wine.
The starter course is some kind of pâté spread on tiny herbed crackers. Kathryn eyes it doubtfully; the previous nights’ canapés were handled with tongs, but she can’t see how this… Then Savia picks up one of the crackers in her fingers and feeds it directly to Jarin. It’s barely a mouthful, and she watches as Jarin’s lips close over Savia’s fingers and he licks them clean.
Her own fingers are shaking as she selects a canapé and offers it to Chakotay. He holds her wrist lightly in one hand and dips his head to take it from her. His thumb strokes the inside of her wrist as his tongue curls over her fingers, and she bites her lip so hard she draws blood. She returns to her seat and gulps more wine.
The meal progresses, and she endures caresses over her face, her throat, the side of her breast. Following Jarin’s lead, Chakotay presses his lips to her temple, the corner of her mouth, her sternum. When she watches how Savia serves Jarin the final course, she almost calls for another bottle.
Steeling herself, she copies Savia’s moves, sliding onto Chakotay’s lap and holding up a fresh spear of a fruit that looks like asparagus but tastes like mango. His hands slide onto her hips as he nibbles on it. She can feel them burning her through the fine layers of her skirt, and when she shifts a little she feels them tighten almost painfully. “Don’t do that,” he whispers. His erection swells rock-hard between her thighs and she stills, heart thumping. He licks the juice from her fingers and then, imitating Jarin, leans in and licks a path from her collarbone to her jaw. Kathryn’s head tips back and her eyes close. It takes every last ounce of her willpower to stifle the moan that threatens to climb out of her throat.
Then his big hands are lifting her and placing her gently beside his chair, and Savia is standing and calling for the jasalin.
Buttoned up and uniformed in the safety of her ready room, she finishes reading the PADD detailing their successful trades with the Latavine and pulls her legs underneath her on the sofa. On the planet below, her crew are enjoying the shore leave Chakotay has arranged for them. For herself, she has no intention of ever setting foot on Latavan again.
She lets her head fall back and closes her eyes; she’s beyond exhausted, her head pounding, and she predicts another restless night of sleep tonight and for many nights to come.
She doesn’t know where to lay the blame for her behaviour the night before: was it the dress, the corset? The jasalin? The way he looked at her, the way he touched her?
A combination of all of those things, mixed with her own, unforgivable weakness?
Whatever possessed her? And what, exactly, is she supposed to do about it now?
The tribal drumbeat stirs her blood, and the moves of the dance are more intimate, the contact more lingering than the night before. He holds her close against his body, one hand cradling her hip, the fingers of the other entwined with hers. She’s grateful for the opportunity to hide her face against his chest, trusting him to lead her through whatever dangerous steps Jarin and Savia are performing. She’s acting on instinct alone, her senses focused entirely on his nearness, his scent and the way some kind of fire is licking over her skin wherever he touches her. As the music winds to an end she starts to move into the formal curtsey, but he pulls her back against him. She glances at the other couple and almost stumbles.
“Trust me,” Chakotay whispers, and she gives him a short nod. His hand slides inside the split in her skirt, curving over her ass and under her thigh to wind her leg around his hip, and a helpless, inappropriate giggle bubbles up inside her. He holds her hips against his until the music stops, and as soon as he releases her she steps back, away from him.
“I need some air,” she mutters wildly, and heads directly for the open balcony doors.
The sticky night air does nothing to cool her skin, but at least she’s alone. Kathryn makes her way to a corner of the terrace out of direct sight, and leans against the railing. She tries to breathe deeply to calm her thudding heart but the corset forces her to take short, shallow breaths. She thinks of Chakotay’s strong hands pulling at her stays, moving over her body, and her moan is involuntary and filled with want.
“You drive me crazy when you make that sound.”
Somehow, she’s not surprised to hear his voice. “I can’t help it,” she whispers, low and desperate, and she tilts her head as he touches warm lips to her neck. He curves his big hands around her narrowed waist; she feels that his fingers and thumbs almost meet, and the knowledge makes her knees weak. And then his hands are moving, one upward, his palm rubbing roughly against her hypersensitive nipples, the other down, slipping inside her skirts. His long fingers slide inside her, his thumb pressing her clitoris, and she makes a sound in her throat that’s something like a growl.
“So wet, Kathryn,” he murmurs, and she groans in answer, pushing her hips against his hand. “I want to taste you,” he whispers, “but I’m not sure I can wait. I need to fuck you, right now. I’m going to fill you up and feel you tight around me.”
The things he’s saying – she never imagined what it would do to her, hearing these words of lust and possession from his lips. Her breath hitches. She lifts her arms and twines them around his neck, craning backward and pulling his mouth to hers. Their tongues tangle, the kiss almost bruising, and she’s panting for breath. He breaks away to sink his teeth into the side of her neck, his fingers moving more forcefully inside her.
“I’d love to hold you down,” he rasps in her ear, “let down your hair and wrap my hands in it while I fuck that pretty mouth.”
She bucks into his hand and groans his name. She’s on the verge. He pulls his hand away and she almost sobs. But then he’s turning her, his hands on her waist, lifting her and pushing her back against the balcony wall. “Wrap your legs around me,” he hisses, “and hold on.”
She obeys him instantly, and her reward is the hard, insistent thrust of his cock inside her, all the way inside her as she gasps and shakes in his arms.
“Chakotay,” she pleads as he draws out from her, her inner walls grasping greedily at him, “God, Chakotay, fuck me, please…”
In answer, he drives in, hard, and she bites down on his shoulder to stifle her screams, her arms tightening around him. Out again, in, so hard and long and deep she isn’t sure she can survive it, and then he changes his angle slightly and the pure electric friction sends her flying, screaming over the edge, and she doesn’t care about anything other than the fevered waves of pleasure that are shaking her entire body.
She hears him groan in her ear, “Kathryn,” and with one last desperate thrust he’s emptying himself inside her, shuddering against her with his face against her breasts. She moans a little at the sensation, fingers uncurling from his shoulders to stroke gently at the back of his neck. When he’s stopped trembling, he raises his head and looks at her, and she can’t quite define the emotion in his eyes.
They stare at each other without words, both of them gasping for breath, and the silence grows between them until her fingers still and her legs unwind from his hips. He pulls back from her, steadying her, and she takes advantage of the space between them to slip away, ignoring him calling after her. Hastily readjusting her disarranged clothing, trying to ignore his seed spilling down the inside of her thigh, she weaves through the banquet hall and back to the safety of her room.
He’d come after her, of course, when she fled the banquet hall, but she’d locked her door and instructed her maids not to answer his demands for entry, and eventually he’d taken the hint from her silence and gone away. She’d lain stiff in bed, reciting Starfleet regulations in her head and trying to pull together the scattered shreds of her self-control. At 0400 she’d given up on sleep and transported back to her ready room, where she’s been sequestered ever since.
She hasn’t heard from him; she knows he’s spent the morning touring museums with Savia and isn’t due back onboard until later. It’s now well after ship’s noon and she has begun to hope she might be able to continue avoiding him. At least until she can hide behind her uniform again; at least until she can stop the helpless images invading her mind: of his hands on her body, his mouth on hers, his powerful body driving between her thighs as she clung to him… She moans, her head dropping back, and just as she gives into the memory, her door chimes.
“Come,” she says, huskily.
“Captain,” Chakotay greets her formally, standing before her desk with his hands clasped behind his back.
She jerks upright. “Report, Commander.”
“I’ve completed my study of Latavine society, and was hoping you could spare some time for me to relay my impressions.”
“I think I’ve learned enough about Latavine society for a lifetime,” she retorts before she can stop herself, then cringes. She risks a glance at him and realises he’s hiding a smile. “Something funny, Commander?” she snaps.
The smile broadens as he looks at her, and she leaps up from her chair to pace, unable to meet his eyes.
“Are you all right, Captain?” he asks, his voice smooth and slightly amused. “You seem a little on edge.”
She whips around to glare at him. “I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?” His gaze rakes her from head to foot. He’s still smiling but when he raises his eyes to hers she’s almost punched backward by the intensity in them. “Because I have a couple of suggestions, if you need to relax.”
A wave of heat pulses through her and she sways slightly toward him. Her fists curl from the effort of not reaching for him. She shakes her head, turning her back, and hears him sigh.
“All right,” he says quietly. “Then I’ll leave you alone.”
She turns back. He’s almost to the door, and she’s almost home free, and everything in her life is about to return to normal, and suddenly she can’t bear it.
He stops just short of the triggering mechanism and turns. “Yes, Captain?”
Don’t forget to live.
She swallows, takes a step toward him. “Join me for dinner tonight?”
He answers cautiously. “When and where?”
“Holodeck One, 1900 hours,” she says. She can’t seem to stop herself from moving closer. “I have a holonovel I like to run sometimes.”
“Yes. It’s a Gothic romance.” She drifts to a stop a few paces from him, lowers her eyelashes. “I like to wear period costume.”
“Oh,” he says in an entirely different tone. He takes a step closer to her. “Well, I’d be very happy to oblige your preferences, Kathryn. I’m sure I can find something suitable in the replicator files.”
“Try looking under Janeway Beta-Pi-One,” she murmurs. “See you then, Commander.”
The wolfish grin he sends her way as he turns back to the door is altogether darker and more savage than his earlier smile. “See you then, Captain.”
“Oh, and Chakotay?”
He looks back.
She raises her eyes to his, lets him take in her dilated pupils, the subtle arch of her back, the curve of her hips. “Be there a little early,” she says, not hiding the purr in her voice. “I’m going to need your help to dress.”