your body like a searchlight
Summary: It’s a long and lonely journey for a woman who longs for things she won’t allow herself to have.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Codes: Janeway/Johnson, Janeway/Chakotay, Janeway/Kashyk, Janeway/Seven, Janeway/Sullivan, Janeway/Jaffen
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Star Trek universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for the #merrymonthofcohen tumblr fic event, to the song prompt Take This Longing.
And everything depends upon how near you sleep to me
“I love you,” he groans with his face in her hair. His body shudders, and his narrow hips press bruises into the tender skin of her inner thighs.
“Shh,” Kathryn soothes him. She tightens her arms around him and tilts her hips in welcome. God, it’s been so long; she can’t even remember the last time she opened herself to a man this way.
She’s smiling as she turns her mouth to his.
The Doctor’s cure for their rewired memory pathways has an unpleasant side effect: some of the crew are experiencing flashbacks so vivid they feel like reality. The captain, of course, demanded the full course of treatment in one dose, and as a result she is suffering.
She shifts in her chair on the bridge. She can still feel the phantom ache and pull inside her thighs, the dull fullness low in her belly from their last night’s lovemaking, but the physical discomfort can’t compare to the distress – the anguish – she is hiding behind her serene expression.
I won’t need souvenirs to remember you.
No, she won’t. The difficulty is going to be in forgetting.
And she wants so badly to forget.
Kathryn curls up on the floor of the shower cubicle. Her skin is red from the scouring water. Her insides feel raw.
She misses him, misses being with him, misses being the woman she was with him.
And she hopes she never sees him again, because everything in her recoils from the knowledge he has of her.
She doesn’t realise, until she’s ordered the water off and stepped out to find her face still wet, that she’s crying.
Quarra slips behind them as Voyager warps on toward the Alpha quadrant, and Captain Janeway curls her fingernails into the arms of her chair. Beside her, Chakotay glances to his right. She can feel his eyes on her: cataloguing, assessing, pitying.
If he asks her if she’s all right, she is going to scream.
She rockets out of her chair. “You have the bridge, Commander,” she grates, and escapes to her ready room. Her sanctuary.
Only it’s not.
I’m not really hungry … Let’s stay here.
They come together for the first time in a kiss worthy of an old-time movie; she could swear she hears the music swell, feels herself floating as he takes her in his arms. When did she last feel like this? She can’t remember, and it bothers her.
Has it really been so long since a man touched her that she can barely keep herself upright? And why would she, who loves, needs to be touched, have deprived herself of simple contact?
But as his hands push under her clothing and she gasps and presses closer to him, she no longer cares.
“Coffee, black,” the captain rasps, more to hear the sound of her voice – a distraction – than because she actually wants one. It’s one advantage of her forced vacation on Quarra, she supposes with a wry twist of the mouth: she was cured of her caffeine addiction. A situation she intends to remedy as soon as humanly possible.
Caffeine, after all, has always been her go-to substitute for sex, no matter how poor a replacement it may be.
Making a hot drink is one thing I can do.
On the other hand, it’s far better as an accompaniment to sex than an alternative to it.
He’s here to say goodbye. She says the things that are expected of her even though it’s killing her; she performs her part to perfection, with just the right amount of heartache and drama, enough to hide the swelling depths of agony beneath. She lets a single tear fall as she embraces him, offers him a brave and wobbling smile, and sends him on his way.
She acts as if she’s devastated by the loss of him, and hides the real devastation Quarra wrought on the inside.
And then she allows herself one minute, in the sanctuary of her ready room, to fall apart. Because she can’t afford any longer than that, anywhere else, to indulge in it, or she might never scrape herself back together.
The captain’s hands wrap around the steaming cup. She wonders if this heat is a substitute, too, for the warmth of hands around hers, a body in her bed.
She could have the real thing. If she’d wanted to, she could have had Jaffen stay on board without fraternisation protocols striking an artificial distance between them.
She could turn to Chakotay; he’s made the offer before.
The idea of it makes her want to retch.
It’s not that Chakotay isn’t attractive to her; aesthetically, she can appreciate that he’s a handsome man. But the thought of him touching her – him, or anyone else, she admits to herself at last – is sickening.
It would feel like a violation of her most private self, the last hidden piece of Kathryn beneath the mantle, the thick outer shell of the captain.
And, no matter how she longs for it to be different, the captain is the only protection she has left.