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Politically Incorrect

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“Well, here are your quarters. I will see you in the morning.” Their guide smiled and bowed her head, before turning around and leaving Kathryn and Chakotay standing in an opulent sitting room.

After all the run-ins they’d had with hostile species recently, it was a nice change of pace to have run into one that wanted to treat them as guests of honor. She’d left Tuvok in charge of Voyager, since the alien leader had specifically invited the command team by name. She knew her ship would be safe in Tuvok’s capable hands.

“Well, they are certainly a pleasant people.” Kathryn mused to Chakotay, who had wandered off to explore the rest of the suite.

“Ummm… Kathryn.” He called from the other room. “Captain, I don’t see a second bedroom.”

He was right; there was plenty of space, and a bathroom with a tub, which made Kathryn eagerly anticipate using it, but there was only one bedroom… and one bed.

“It appears that our hosts have misinterpreted our professional partnership as something else.”

She snuck a look in his direction and found him looking as awkward as she felt.

“I suppose we’d better correct the mistake.” He sighed.

She imagined finding some poor night shift worker and making them go find someone with the authority to make changes at this hour of the night. No. Better to discuss it with their guide privately tomorrow.

“I’ll deal with it tomorrow, discreetly. I don’t want to make a big scene, embarrass them, and possibly risk a diplomatic incident.”

She turned back towards Chakotay and found him watching her with an odd expression on his face, one she didn’t want to analyze.

“Whatever you think is best, Captain. I’ve slept on far worse surfaces than that couch.”

The idea of her large first officer trying to sleep on the couch, which resembled a loveseat more than anything, was absurd.

“This bed is big enough for all of Voyager’s senior officers to share it,” she replied, “I am pretty sure the two of us can manage.”

“If you are sure.” Chakotay replied, strangely quiet.

“I insist. We both need to get a good night’s sleep and it isn’t as if we haven’t shared tighter quarters on a dozen away missions.”

“When you put it that way, it sounds pretty logical.” He smiled for the first time in the conversation, “Even Tuvok would have to agree.”

They stood there awkwardly for a moment, before she spoke.

“I’m going to make use of the tub. It looks heavenly.”

“Well I know better than to get between you and a bath.” Chakotay’s voice had a hint of teasing to it, cutting through the tension.

Immersed in blissfully warm water, Kathryn couldn’t help but remember her bathtub back on New Earth: the bathtub Chakotay had made her. That wasn’t something she needed to think about, so she willed herself to focus on something else. It was harder than it should have been. Maybe she should have cited protocol and taken Tuvok on this mission instead. She and Chakotay had done a good job forging a strong working relationship, and friendship, but every time they got thrown into one of these situations where they ended up playing house, it made things more difficult.

She mentally replayed her conversations with this species, looking for any clue as to what might have led them to believe that she and Chakotay were a romantic couple, but she couldn’t find anything. Maybe, the universal translators needed to be adjusted. This kind of contemplation ruined the relaxation factor of her soak.

The water grew cold before she gave up and got out, regretting her choice to pack a silk nightgown instead of something sensible. There wasn’t much she could do about it now, so she shrugged and walked back out to find Chakotay already at the far side of the bed, bronze shoulders and chest exposed as he read from the PADD he was holding in front of his face. She supposed that he probably hadn’t packed for a sleepover with his captain any more than she had for one with him.

She slid in on the other side of the bed silently, feeling awkward as hell. It shouldn’t be this way. Chakotay put down his PADD and they turned out the lights. Kathryn could hear the gentle sound of his breathing and every time she adjusted her body it felt like she was making so much noise.

“Kathryn.” Chakotay’s gentle voice let him know he was just as awake as she was.

“Yes.”

“Try to relax.” He told her. “I recall you saying something about us both needing a full night’s sleep.

“You’re right, of course.” She found herself laughing. They shouldn’t be acting like nervous cadets. She reached out her hand and found his, twining their fingers together. The reassuring warmth of his body heat was comforting and felt like it anchored her in this moment. “I guess it is fortunate that I didn’t end up on this mission with Tom Paris or Harry Kim.”

“Harry would have died of embarrassment already. Tom… well Tom might have ended up sick bay or the brig.”

She couldn’t help letting a giggle escape.

“Poor Harry I am sure you are right about. I don’t think Paris would be tempted to try anything though.”

“You’d be surprised…” Chakotay started, but then he stopped abruptly.

There was a tense moment before she found the words to course correct the conversation.

“I imagine, Tom Paris could have found a way to cause a diplomatic incident no matter who he was down here with.” She offered.

“He does have a knack for crossing the wrong boundaries.” He agreed.

“I suppose if we ever want a pretext to start a war with someone, we can just send both Tom and B’Elanna down. Between his lax attitude and her temper, I am sure they’d run into conflict almost immediately.”

Laughing about their senior officers dissipated the tension in the room and Kathryn found a certain amount of peacefulness settling over her. She had to admit, now that she wasn’t fighting it, that Chakotay’s presence on the other side of the bed was reassuring. She felt safe with him. That was the last thing she remembered thinking, before she drifted off to sleep.

Consciousness seeped in slowly, as she became gradually aware of the feeling of Chakotay’s warmth surrounding her. Apparently one or both of them had shifted in the night and now they were snuggled together, his arms around her and her leg thrown over him. Her face was nestled against his chest, along with one of her hands. She could feel the steady rhythm of his heartbeat against it. It was a challenge to force herself towards being fully awake in the comfort of his embrace. The last time Kathryn had not woken up alone in a cold bed was a lifetime ago, and apparently they fit together seamlessly. Kathryn tried to shove that last thought to the side, along with all its implications. Maybe just a few minutes more, she bargained with herself.

As if in response to her thought, she felt the pace of his breathing change. Chakotay was awake. She knew that she ought to sit up or at least roll away from him. This was awkward enough as it was. Still, now that she knew he was awake, he ought to do the same.

They laid there for what could have been moments or could have been an hour. Finally, doing her best to appear still unconscious, Kathryn forced herself to roll away from him, back to her side of the bed. There was a lot of side left, confirming that she’d been at least partly to blame for the position she’d woken up in.

Facing away from him, the edge of the bed cold and comfortless, Kathryn could feel Chakotay follow her lead and shift to the opposite side of the bed. The moments stretched as Kathryn waited until they could reasonably pretend neither of them had woken up entwined, and she suspected Chakotay was doing the same. Finally, she stretched, making an evident show of waking up before slipping out of the bed and to the refuge of the bathroom to dress and prepare for the day.

She emerged, armored in her dress uniform, to find Chakotay dressed and sitting on the couch bent over last night’s PADD. He looked up when she opened the door, smiling brightly at her.

“Good morning, Captain. I took the liberty of procuring some coffee for you. I wouldn’t want you to have to brave diplomacy without a head start.” His tone was jovial, friendly.

Kathryn crossed over to the pot, pouring the steaming liquid into the available mug and drawing comfort from the anticipation of its magic.

“If you are bucking for promotion, I should remind you that there isn’t exactly any room for advancement here in the Delta Quadrant.” She did her best to match his tone.

Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Kathryn was glad to have Chakotay here with her. Knowing she had him at her side steadied her. She took a big sip of coffee, feeling the caffeine hit her system almost immediately, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Come in.” She called, and their guide entered promptly to whisk them away to a day full of VIP meet and greets and tours of the the city’s most noticeable features.

It was mid afternoon before she had a chance to walk to the woman alone. Chakotay was across the room, enthralling the city’s head architect with some story or another. Kathryn was engrossed in watching the scene play out before her and didn’t notice their guide come up next to her.

“I hope you are enjoying your stay, Captain.”

It was now or never.

“Your world is beautiful and we both truly appreciate the hospitality. There is one thing though… I think there has been a little cultural miscommunication.”

The woman looked embarrassed. “Of course, please tell me the problem and I will seek to rectify the situation.”

“It’s just… well Chakotay is my First Officer.”

The look of embarrassment shifted to confusion. “Your consort, yes.”

“No. Not my consort. It is a working relationship not a personal one.” She finally added, “We are not lovers.”

Her guide looked taken aback. “I do not understand. His eyes always follow you.”

“He is looking out for my safety, part of his duties.” She tried to explain.

“I thought he was going to assault the man who was flirting with you yesterday.”

“I am sure you were mistaken.” Chakotay was protective of her, but the woman must be misinterpreting the motivation.

“What about the way both of your heartbeats change pace when you are near one another? In our culture all of these things-”

Kathryn didn’t have a good retort back so she simply insisted, “You are mistaken.”

The woman looked at her quizzically. “As you say,” she replied, but it was clear she didn’t believe Kathryn. “I have no idea how I am going to explain changing your quarters without being demoted for incompetence.”

Kathryn felt sorry for the woman. She knew she’d misinterpreted alien behaviors before. She considered the situation and realized that letting these people continue to believe Chakotay was her paramor wasn’t something that was ultimately going to hurt anybody, and that making a big deal out of rectifying it might actually negatively impact this woman’s life.

“Well, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble.” She offered. “I suppose, we can let it remain as it is in the name of friendship.”

The woman looked grateful.

Kathryn looked over towards Chakotay and hoped he’d understand why she’d just made the decision she had. As if he could sense her thoughts, he chose that moment to look over her and grin that heart melting dimpled smile of his. She couldn’t help returning it with a grin of her own.

“If you do not mind my asking, Captain. I do wonder, if it is as you say, why the two of you are not… intimate?”

Kathryn fought to keep from blushing. “It would not be… appropriate.” She replied, before realizing that she should have told the woman that they were simply friends and nothing more. She excused herself and crossed to join Chakotay, more to get away from the conversation than anything else.

“So…” He asked, “Did you get a chance to explain things to our guide?”

“It appears that the politics of correcting the mistake would be… complicated. I told her not to bother. I don’t want to cause a scandal and besides… it is probably for the best that we stay close to one another in case of emergency.”

“Very pragmatic.” Chakotay inclined his head in acceptance and possibly approval.

“I suppose this whole thing will be an amusing story to tell the senior staff.” Kathryn quirked her smile to the side.

“You know it is going to reignite that betting pool of Tom’s?” Chakotay joked. “Not that either of us are supposed to know about that.”

“What betting pool?” Kathryn laughed with obviously feigned innocence. Everyone knew about the betting pools Tom had been running on Voyager, and specifically the one regarding the relationship between the ship’s captain and first officer. They both turned a blind eye; because, shutting the pool down would have seemed to legitimize it in some fashion.

They grinned at each other and he held out his arm for her to link hers through as they headed towards their next stop on the tour. It was a comfortable gesture they’d made countless times over the years, but still a welcome one.

Now that she had accepted the fact that the aliens thought she and Chakotay were a couple, Kathryn found it easier to just enjoy the trip, less overly cautious about how every interaction might be perceived. Earlier in the day she’d felt stiff, constantly trying to analyze every action she made for how the aliens might perceive or misperceive it, but now she realized it didn’t matter. They’d both earned a little relaxation, and his protective presence was a nice support to have while dealing with overly interested aliens.

They sat next to one another at that evening’s banquet, stealing delicacies off one another’s plates (after all this time they knew the ways in which their tastes jigsawed). Kathryn was listening to a finance minister drone on about their taxation policy when she noticed that couples had started drifting to the dance floor.

“What would you say to a dance?” Chakotay leaned in and asked her, sensing her boredom. “It would be a good anthropological experience… not to mention a sign of good faith.”

“I suppose that if you think you can manage the steps we really ought to.” She agreed, talking his offered hand and letting him guide her out onto the floor. Fortunately, the local style of dance did not seem too complex.

Neither of them spoke, for which she was grateful. She felt like she’d been talking or listening to someone talk for the past few days and she suspected Chakotay was experiencing the same. Diplomacy and first contact were both exciting but could be exhausting and overwhelming. It was nice to simply focus on the movement of her body, letting Chakotay’s hand against the small of her back lead her. His touch was so warm and comforting, making her feel cared for.

Their guide caught Kathryn’s eye as they twirled and she could have sworn there was a knowing smirk of victory in her expression but she was convinced it was her imagination. Still, at the end of that next song she pleaded exhaustion and suggested they return to their seats. She was surprised to turn around and realize that a great number of the guests had already left. Perhaps they’d been dancing for longer than she’d realized.

Their guide swept in and escorted them back to their quarters, her face a cheerful mask. She made no mention of their earlier conversation about the nature of the relationship between the two Starfleet officers.

“Alone at last.” Kathryn joked as she sat down on the loveseat and opened the front of her jacket, rubbing at a tight spot where her neck and shoulder met.

“Let me.” Chakotay offered.

“Far be it from me to refuse those magic hands of yours.” She smiled, shrugging off the top layer of her uniform, as he walked around behind her. Then she couldn’t help closing her eyes as he pressed his fingers against her skin and she was reminded of just how good he was with those hands. Chakotay had rubbed any number of knots out of her shoulders over the years, but she was always reminded of New Earth.

“You know.” Chakotay told her, “You don’t have to wait until they get to be the size of boulders.”

“What can I say… Diplomacy puts me on edge, even when it is with a friendly species.”

“I know… you’d rather be crawling through Jefferies tubes.” He teased, as his hands transformed her muscles into jelly.

“Of course, then I end up with knots all the same… just from physical strain instead of tension.”

Kathryn realized she was glad he was here with her, not back on Voyager or stashed away in quarters elsewhere in the capital. Not just because it meant she was getting her shoulders and neck massaged, but also because he always made her feel less alone. They’d been seeing a lot less of each other recently, and she suddenly became aware of just how much she’d missed him.

“I guess it is lucky for you that your first officer happens to be an expert on getting rid of them.” She could hear the smile in his voice, as fingers expertly slid under the straps of her tank top to press against the muscles and tendons beneath.

“I suppose I am.” She agreed. “I’m also lucky to have a first officer whose company I utterly enjoy.”

Of course, that was what had presumably led them to end up here in the first place. The aliens had mistaken their comradery for something else. It would never have happened if they didn’t get along so well, she realized. Today it seemed harder to feel surprised or indignant about the mistake.

“You keep saying things like that and I am going to start thinking you set this whole thing up and you intentionally create knots in your shoulders so that you will have a reason for me to touch you.” He joked.

Kathryn couldn’t help letting her mind wander a little, imagining what it might be like to say yes. What would Chakotay do if just this once she didn’t pull back? If she was honest, it wasn’t that she didn’t see the obvious things between them. She did her best not to, and sometimes she was so successful she almost did convince herself that there was nothing between them but friendship. Sometimes she even convinced herself that their candlelit dinners weren’t playing at something she wanted but couldn’t let herself have.

“What are you thinking about?” Chakotay asked, and she almost considered telling him.

“Just analyzing this society here.” She deflected.

“They seem rather intrigued by us.” He commented, hands coming to a rest against her skin. “Or rather you. I must have fielded dozen of questions about you, some of which I was in no position to answer.”

“Oh really?” She quirked her head to the side to look up at him. “Like what?”

He looked bashfully sideways, eyes lowered to the ground.

“I see.” She smiled, having been asked some similar questions about him by the ladies of the place.

“Tomorrow is going to be another long day.” He said, moving away from her towards the bedroom.

“That it is.” She agreed, standing up and heading towards the bathroom to change. Once again, she didn’t really have another option than her silky nightgown, but she wasn’t as bothered by it that night as the one before.

“You know, I am sorry if the aliens’ misunderstanding regarding our status interfered with a potential liaison with one of the locals.” Chakotay told her, as she returned to find him sitting in bed, making a significant gesture towards her apparel. “I know that you don’t get a lot of chances-”

“Absolutely not.” She couldn’t help laughing. “Though if that was your plan…”

She trailed off as their eyes met and she realized the heat of his gaze when he looked at her. She’d convinced herself over the years that whatever he’d felt for her once had faded away, just as she had decided that her feelings for him had receded to a comfortable friendly warmth. That wasn’t what she saw on his face though and she kept thinking about their guide’s words today about how they both reacted bodily to one another. After a full day of knowing they were being seen as a couple, Kathryn couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to actually be one. Waking up this morning in the comfort of his embrace didn’t help any either.

“I think you know that is the furthest thing from my mind.” He sighed.

“The furthest?” She cocked one eyebrow quizzically, sitting down across from him on the bed.

“I”m sorry, Kathryn. You know I’ve done my best…” He looked away from her.

“Your best what?” She asked, not sure exactly what he was saying.

“To be your friend, Kathryn. To be your friend and to bury anything else so deep down inside even I wouldn’t be able to find it.” His voice was tight, as if he were choking back a sob.

“Chakotay…” She reached over to touch his shoulder. “Look at me.”

“I’m so sorry.” He told her, his voice heartbreakingly sad. “I know this is the last thing you need. I’ll transport back to Voyager and Tuvok-”

She finally managed to get him to meet her eyes and was pained by the look of despair in his. It was as if a floodgate suddenly opened and she realized just how cruel she had been to both of them. She’d kept him just in reach but never let things move forward, not even after he’d put himself out there on multiple occasions.

“Don’t do that.” She told him, gathering courage from somewhere. “Maybe this is exactly what we need.”

“Why? So we can talk about parameters again?” He choked out.

“Maybe.” She replied, thinking back to their last conversation on the topic and recognizing that he’d intentionally used the same wording she’d used. She decided to take a page from his book. “Maybe this time I should tell you a story… a folktale if you will.”

He looked cautious but intrigued. “A folktale?” He questioned.

“Yes.” She told him. “Once there was a young girl and she was terribly proud and terribly ambitious.” She thought she saw a ghost of a smile on his face as she described herself that way.

“Her father had a big farm and even though she was barely more than a child when he died she was determined to run it on her own. Of course, many of the townsfolk doubted that a young woman could handle such a big farm on her own, and in their way they were right. No one could possibly run such a large place on their own and she had to rely on the people who worked for her. However, she always felt alone until one day she ended up hiring a man who’d lost his own farm to disaster.”

She paused to make sure he understood the allegory she was making, before continuing.

“This man had a way of making the woman’s burdens lighter and they enjoyed each other’s company greatly. The man wanted to court her, and indeed they both had already lost their hearts. However, this woman was afraid to admit how much she needed him. She was afraid that accepting his courtship would make her weak and worse yet that she would seem weak to the people of the town.”

She struggled to find the right words. This was something she was making up as she went along.

“So she kept the man at arm’s length, despite how much having him closer would have brought her great joy, and he patiently endured it out of some loyalty or devotion she certainly didn’t deserve. What she didn’t realize, of course, was that no matter how long they pretended otherwise, neither of them was able to really move past it.”

“Are you saying, that this farmer’s daughter harbored feelings for this man, all this time after she pushed him away?” Chakotay’s face was contemplative but hopeful.

“She did.” Kathryn told him. “No matter how many times she lied to herself or others, she did.”

“And is that really a folktale?” He asked, a smile spreading across his face, as he once again quoted her.

“No.” She blushed, placing one hand on his cheek. “But it made it easier to say.”

He intertwined his fingers with those of her other hand, drew it to his lips, and cautiously kissed it.

She leaned in and kissed him, something she had thought about doing too many times to count. His lips were just as warm and soft against hers as she had imagined. They parted to her eagerly, as she moved in and straddled his lap, the gentle hesitancy of her first kiss giving way to the passion that had built up inside of her over time without her acknowledging it.

His hands found their way down her sides, feeling the curve of her waist and hips through the silky material of her nightgown and she realized how much she wanted them all over her. She ran her hands over the bare skin of his chest, feeling his heart beat against her. His hands moved back up, coming to rest just below her breasts.

“Kathryn…” He murmured, saying her name so tenderly she thought her heart might break.

She kissed him again, telling him “You don’t have to hold back.”

His hands moved up to cup her through the thin fabric of her nightgown and she felt her body respond, nipples stiffening. She’d finally essentially told him that she loved him, something she’d been denying to both of them for far too long, but right now it was equally important that she wanted him. She ran her hands through his hair, a sigh of pleasure escaping her lips as his mouth moved down to kiss her neck and shoulders, and she ground her hips down against him.

His mouth moved lower, tracing its way down past her collarbone and towards the tops of her breasts as his hands continued to massage them through her nightgown. Both his hands and his lips felt so wonderful against her and she felt her desire coursing through her to right between her legs. He slipped one of the straps off her shoulder, letting it fall down and expose one of her breasts to him and, as he lowered his mouth to her taut nipple, she let out a low moan.

“You’re so beautiful, Kathryn.” Chakotay told her, looking up to meet her eyes as she slid the other strap down and moved his attention to her other breast. As his tongue flicked across her nipple and she circled her hips down against his groin, feeling him hard through the fabric of his shorts, she realized she had gasped his name in delight.

It had been a long time, a long time since a man touched her like this and a long time that she’d been fighting her attraction to this particular one. She didn’t want to wait any longer. She reached down, hiking the skirt of her nightgown up as she reached down to free him from the confines of the only clothing he was wearing. She ran her hand along the length of him and his head rolled back in pleasure. She took one of his hands in hers and guided it up under her nightie to her upper thighs and he took the hint and slid it still further to cover the damp fabric of her panties.

His reaction to her obvious desire was clear and direct as his mouth rose up to kiss hers passionately, an urgency he’d been restraining thus far coming through. She moaned into his mouth, her hand closing around his sizable erection and working its way slowly up and down as he rubbed her through her panties before pushing them down her legs and making direct contact.

She pressed forward against his hand, her eyes locking onto his as she shifted and brought her pelvis down so that he brushed up against her opening, its lips swollen with arousal.

“I don’t want to hold back anymore.” She told him.

“Then don’t.” He replied, moving his hands to her hips.

She sank down onto him, moaning in pleasure as he filled her. They both took a moment to let the moment sink in, kissing deeply and holding on to one another without moving. Then he dragged her bunched up nightgown up over her head, baring her body to him completely. She circled her hips against him, enjoying the different angles at which he rubbed inside her. His pressed his hips up to meet hers and they started to move together.

She knew this was sudden and impulsive but at the same time it felt absolutely right. As their pace increased, she couldn’t hold back the moans of pleasure that each thrust of him inside of her brought on. She pressed her chest hard against his, enjoying the friction, and he buried his face against her shoulder, kissing and sucking on the tender skin there in a way that she knew was certain to leave a mark but felt divine.

She laid back, keeping her arms around Chakotay to bring him down on top of her. She needed to feel the weight of him against her. He moved his hand up along her body to find her breast, rubbing her cupping possessively as she arched up against him, enjoying every bit of their contact. He stared down at her intently and she was almost surprised she didn’t catch on fire from the heat contained in his gaze.

“Chakotay!” She cried in pleasure, as he thrust deep inside of her, bringing her ever nearer to release.

“I’ve wanted this for so long, Kathryn…” He groaned, his breath ragged.

“Me too.” She whispered into his ear, her fingers digging into his shoulders.

He kissed her again, hungrily, and she met his mouth with the same ferocity. Their movements became frantic as need overtook tenderness. She raked her nails down his back and his hands gripped her hips so tightly she knew they were going to leave bruises. She clutched him against her as her orgasm hit her, crying out his name.

He held on to the back of her thighs, lifting them just a little bit higher, and slammed into her one more time, his whole body shaking as he spilled inside of her.

Their kisses softened, going from feral to lingering, as he propped himself on his forearms to avoid crushing her with his weight. She smiled up at him and he returned the grin.

“Now, see what you would have missed if you’d gone running off to the ship.” She teased.

“If I hadn’t threatened to, though… would this have happened?”

“Someday it had to.” She shrugged, as he rolled to the side next to her, his hand still caressing her skin gently.

His face darkened as she noticed the marks against her hip bones where his fingers had left imprints. “Oh Kathryn…”

“Don’t.” She told him, placing her hand on the side of his face and tracing the edges of his tattoo, “I’m pretty sure your back looks like you got attacked by a wild animal. Besides, I loved feeling you hold me like that.”

“In that case, I will make sure to do it again.” He smiled mischievously but then his face took on a more serious aspect as he added, “Please, tell me I am going to get the chance…”

She understood what he was asking. He was afraid that this was just a shore leave special, that once they got back on Voyager she was going to try to pretend it had never happened.

“Chakotay, when I told you I didn’t want to hold back anymore, I meant it.” She promised him.

“What about the crew?” He asked.

“What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” She suggested. “After all, after all this time there have been so many rumors that anyone who suspects something will sound like the boy who cried wolf.”

She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t decided that ages ago. Chakotay pulled her close against him and she listened to his heartbeat until she slipped into sleep. She’d never felt more safe or comfortable.

For a moment when she woke up, Kathryn thought that the night before had been a dream, but then she felt Chakotay’s strong arms around her and realized that, no, it had been completely real. She turned around to face him and a flood of emotion overcame her as she looked at him. She’d never allowed herself to feel the full force of her love for this man, always equivocating and compartmentalizing. Now she stared at his sleeping face and felt her chest tighten with the strength of her feelings.

His eyes opened and his expression radiated happiness.

“I am so glad it wasn’t a dream this time.” He told her, echoing her own thoughts.

“Me too.” Kathryn replied, closing the distance between their faces and pressing her forehead against his as she kissed him.

“It occurs to me that I didn’t say this last night.” He murmured, between kisses. “I love you, Kathryn… In case you didn’t realize that.”

“I got the message.” She grinned. “But it is still nice to hear. I love you, too, Chakotay... passionately. In case I didn’t mention that.”

Their lips found each other once again and Kathryn pressed her body tightly against his.

“There’s something else I failed to do last night.” Chakotay whispered against her ear.

“Oh really?” She asked. “What’s that?”

He gently pushed her down onto her back and drove under the covers, positioning his face between her thighs.

“This.” He replied, running his tongue slowly down her clit and massaging her thighs with his hands. Kathryn arched up into the contact, enjoying the physical pleasure but even more the knowledge that it was Chakotay there giving it to her, and that it was something he very much wanted to do. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the man definitely knew what he was doing.

She moaned his name as he thrust his tongue inside of her, replacing it with his thumb against her clit. His tongue curled tantalizingly, complimenting the moments of his thumb. She clutched the bedding as he increased his speed, tongue returning to her clit and first one and then a second finger slipping inside of her. She knew he was going to explode any moment if he kept this up and her head thrashed against the pillows as she inched ever closer.

That was probably why she didn’t hear the knock on the outer door or notice their guide enter the sitting area. In fact she didn’t realize they were anything but alone until the woman walked into the bedroom doorway directly into Kathryn’s line of sight. All thoughts of release immediately fled her mind and Kathryn clutched the blankets against her chest to cover herself.

“Oh… I’m so sorry.” The woman gasped, backing out of the doorway and closing the door behind her.

Kathryn felt the color spread across her cheeks and she covered her face in embarrassment. Chakotay crawled up her body to pry them away, kissing her gently.

“She’s the one who thought we were already lovers.” He pointed out. “I’m just sorry she ruined the mood.”

“I suppose that’s true.” She had to concede. “Still, I suppose we have to go out and join her.”

“I’ll throw on my clothes and go check to see if she is still out there.” He offered. “If she is then I will grab your uniform for you, and if not then maybe we can resume where we left off.”

Kathryn felt a rush of gratitude. She’d completely forgotten her uniform was not in the bedroom, and she couldn’t help hoping that they wouldn’t have to go join their hosts just yet. She realized she was more bothered by being interrupted than being caught and it took her by surprise.

“Coast is clear.” Chakotay grinned, poking his head back into the room. “She was terribly apologetic and I bought us another hour.”

Kathryn felt the grin spread over her face as she asked him. “So where were we?”

“Well, as I recall I was between those lovely thighs of yours. So we could go back to that or… I thought we might want to test out the capacity of that tub.”

Kathryn felt a renewed surge of arousal at the suggestion.

“You know.” She told him, standing up from the bed and letting the blanket fall away. “When I was in there the other day, I was thinking about the bathtub you made me.”

“Would it be inappropriate to admit that I sort of hoped you might invite me to join you there one day?”

She walked up and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his.

“I’m sorry we never took advantage of that opportunity. Let’s not waste this one.”

He scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the bathroom. While she ran the water, he stripped back down and she got a chance to admire him fully. He really was good looking, not just in terms of his handsome face but also his broad shoulders and golden muscled body. They stepped into the bath and he reclined against the edge of the tub, pulling her to lean against him. He moved to brush her hair to the side and his mouth found her neck as his hands cupped her breasts, massaging them gently as he teased the nipples with his fingertips.

“I’ve wanted to be able to hold you like this for so long.” He whispered in her ear, one hand drifting down between her legs to rub her clit.

“It feels so damned good.” She murmured, and he slipped a finger inside her, still rubbing her clit.

“I want to make you feel good. I want to make you feel so good, Kathryn.”

She moaned, head falling back against his chest as his fingers drove coherent thoughts from her mind. She could feel his arousal against her back and she had just enough focus to made the decision to get up and turn around, straddling his lap as she slid her hand over his length.

“I want you.” She told him, sliding down onto him. “You make me feel wonderful.”

He groaned something that sounded suspiciously like her name and kissed her, bringing his hands up to her ribcage, as she slowly started to move against him. Kathryn revelled in the feeling of him against and inside her and the water all around them. Every movement was intensified by the added friction of the water and, as their momentum increased, water splashed everywhere but she didn’t care. All she cared about what the feeling of him as she rode him needily, his hand holding and gently pinching her nipples and his wonderful mouth covering hers. She found herself crying out in ecstasy, her eyes locked with Chakotay’s as she found her release. Coming back to herself, she circled her hips, squeezing intentionally around him and running her hands down his chest. His hands gripped her more firmly, pulling her tighter against him and thrusting up into her.

“Kathryn…” He moaned, and she slid her hands into his hair and tugged.

She could feel him spasm against her, spilling deep inside and his whole body shaking. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he wrapped his around her back and they held each other.

“I don’t suppose I could justify one of these as a command necessity.” Kathryn mused contentedly.

“I’d back you up.” Chakotay offered.

“I guess we’d better get dressed to avoid another exhibitionist incident.” She sighed.

Regretfully, she rose from the tub and grabbed a towel, tossing one to Chakotay as well. He helped her back into her dress uniform, its pips somehow suffocating, and she did the same for him. Back in the sitting room, he poured her coffee and they curled up on the loveseat to await their guide.

This time she waited for them to answer the door.

“Are you ready for your last day?” She smiled knowingly.

“I apologize about earlier-” She started.

“My mistake.” The woman bowed her head. “I should not have assumed.”

“Why not?” Kathryn shrugged, “After what I said yesterday-”

The woman smiled at her conspiratorially and whispered, “We all have our secrets.”

Kathryn realized, of course, that she thought she and Chakotay had been carrying on a secret affair before they’d arrived; however, she didn’t really see the point in correcting her, since that was what they planned to do moving forward. So she smiled and thanked her instead.

“He’s very handsome you know… your Chakotay.” Her companion commented. “Very handsome and clearly very… solicitous.”
“Oh. I’m aware.” She couldn’t help smirking, and she walked back into the room to find him waiting for her with a cup of coffee.

The last twelve hours of their visit were a blur. Ensconced in the euphoria of the night before’s revelations, Kathryn found it difficult to be concerned about their last few visits. Before she knew it they were swinging by their quarters to pick up the last of their belongings.

“Are you ready to go back to reality?” Chakotay asked, taking advantage of their moment alone to place a slow lingering kiss on her lips.

“As long as you are with me.” She replied, placing her hand over his heart.

“Always.” He smiled and covered her hand with his own.

She wrapped her other hand around his neck and kissed him fiercely, before stepping apart and hitting her comm badge.

“Janeway to Tuvok.” She announced. “Two to beam up.”

Back in the never changing glow of Voyager’s transporter room. Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other, an she wondered if it were obvious to everyone the change which had transpired.

“Captain.” B’Elanna’s voice startled Kathryn back to the moment at hand. “Its good to have you back. I was hoping you’d be able to look at a couple of modifications I was thinking we might want to implement.”

“Of course.” She replied with a smile, before turning back to Chakotay. “Why don’t you go check in with Tuvok on the bridge and I will go down to engineering.”

Chakotay nodded and headed off towards the bridge.

“So, how was your trip?” B’Elanna enquired.

“Refreshing.” She replied, before adding conspiratorially, “Although you’ll never guess what they thought Chakotay and my relationship was.”

“Lovers?” B’Elanna smiled and shrugged.

“How did you…” She sputtered,

“Lucky guess I suppose.” B’Elanna grinned.

Kathryn realized there was no reply she could make that wouldn’t incriminate herself. If B’Elanna was just teasing, any strong reaction would make her suspect something, and if she really had picked up in their changed dynamic, the last thing she needed to do was to validate her suspicions. Besides, as she’d told Chakotay the night before, even if B’Elanna did suspect something, who was going to believe her after all this time of rumours about the command team which turned out to be nothing.