Kathryn can't resist going back to see her once more.
Thankfully, the team examining every square inch of Voyager has gone home for the day and the ship is deserted. Now that the debriefings have wrapped up, Kathryn knows that the crew is going to scatter across ships and systems, never to be reunited again. She's happy for them but it feels a little sad and she knows that she should be visiting them instead wandering through Voyager's familiar corridors. She's already visited most of her now former crew though, and she's having a hard time making the last visit on her list.
Kathryn knows she's been cold and standoffish with Chakotay and that it has been unfair of her. She's needed time to process though, time to try and get used to the idea of him and Seven, at least enough to be able to wish them well with a passably straight face. The longer she waits though, the more awkward it becomes, and Chakotay keeps trying to catch her eye across the conference table. She needs to go see him and clear the air, but instead she finds herself stepping onto Voyager's bridge, only to find the subject of her thoughts already there. He's sitting in what is no longer his chair and staring at the seat that's no longer hers.
"Saying goodbye?" she says from the doorway, not wanting to startle him.
"I'll go." Chakotay says defeatedly as he turns around to face her.
She crosses towards him, not sure what else to say.
"It's okay." he tells her, standing, "You've made if clear you don't want to be in my presence. I just wanted to see it one last time."
"I had the same thought." Kathryn seats herself in the captain's chair, as if sitting in that familiar spot will somehow make this easier. "Please don't let me run you off. I was about to go looking for you after I was done here anyway."
He looks a little confused, torn, skeptical, and maybe just a little bit hopeful.
"I find that difficult to believe."
"It's the truth." she gestures for him to sit back down, but he continues standing. "I apologize that I have been, as you so astutely pointed out, avoiding you. It was petty of me."
"It's not like you to be petty, Kathryn."
He's pacing, but she's using her name so he can't be that angry. Part of her wishes he was. That would give her hope he still cared, but she knows that ship has sailed, if it ever truly existed at all.
"Perhaps not, but in this case I know I have been and I'm sorry."
Since he won't sit, she stands, walking over towards where he is staring at the blank view screen.
"Are you going to tell me why?" he asks, and she feels her hackles rise: like he doesn't know! She buries that down though, knows it is just her wounded feelings trying to defend themselves.
"The truth is that I'm having a hard time reconciling myself to not having you by my side from now on."
It's not a lie, it's just vague and easily misinterpreted.
"So your solution is to avoid me like the plague?"
He's not biting. Her lame excuse isn't going to fly this time, not with him.
"I told you it was petty." She feels frustrated. It is hard enough for her to look at him right now, and this conversation isn't going how she planned it. That's not his fault though: it's hers. She's not saying the things she needs to, the things she promised she would. "I want you to be happy, Chakotay. You deserve that."
That much is true. She just always thought that, if they made it here, he could be happy with her.
"You avoiding me is the opposite of making me happy, Kathryn. I know we've had our differences, but I thought there was more between than just professional duty. I thought we were friends."
He turns to face her and he looks so hurt, like she's the one who found someone else, someone younger. She averts her eyes, unable to face him directly.
"I think you and I both know that labeling the thing between us friendship was a convenient misrepresentation, even a necessary one." Suddenly something shifts within her and the truth is coming out at last. "I'm having a hard time adjusting to it being a truth."
"You said you wanted to clear the air, Kathryn. Please, just tell me why you can't meet my eyes suddenly."
He sounds so sincere. He really has no idea, perhaps, no idea that she has loved him this whole while, though she hasn't been able to express it openly.
"I thought I was." She forces herself to look at him directly. "I'm having a hard time accepting your romance with Seven, Chakotay. It's not fair of me but its the truth. I hope one day it won't be."
The words hurt to say and when he walks away from her, sits down in his chair and starts laughing, that she just can't make any sense of.
""My romance with Seven? Spirits, Kathryn! We went out a few times, but I'd hardly call it that."
She's not sure why he feels the need to lie to her, maybe trying to salvage her feelings a little, but she wishes he wouldn't. She can't stand the idea of him pitying her.
"Chakotay... the Admiral told me that you marry Seven. You don't have to downplay what is between you for my sake."
She takes her seat, wanting to to reach across the console to him but holding herself back.
"The Admiral must have been lying to you. Marry Seven? The idea is absurd."
Chakotay looks like he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry and, for the first time since the Admiral gave her the news, Kathryn feels a spark of hope from within the leaden heaviness of her chest.
"Why is it absurd, and why would the Admiral-" she stops short as suddenly it occurs to her exactly why the Admiral might do just that.
"It's absurd; because, as long as you exist, Kathryn, I'll never be able to seriously consider any other woman."
Her heart pounds so wildly she's surprised it doesn't beat right out of her chest. Chakotay is looking at her in that way she thought she'd lost forever. He's telling her he doesn't love Seven, that he doesn't even want Seven.
"And the Admiral lied to me because she knows how obstinate I can be. She knew it would hurt me and she must have thought..."
She must have thought I'd do exactly what I am doing now, that this was the one thing that would push me to reveal my feelings.
"Tell me why it upset you so much, Kathryn. I don't trust myself to interpret it."
"It hurt me; because, I wanted it to be me... I want it to be me." she chokes, "And the Admiral must have decided that she had to push me to action through pain."
"You want it to be you?" Chakotay's voice is so soft, so full of tender delicate hope, as he leans forward over the console towards her.
"More than anything. I thought you knew."
She had. It had never occurred to her that Chakotay might really not understand that she wanted those obstacles between them gone, that she longed for them to be together.
"I hoped." he breathes, reaching out to touch her shoulder.
"The thought kept me going, that if we made it you and I could finally have the chance... and when I thought I'd lost you... lost that hope-"
"You could never lose me" His hand covers hers and their fingers interlace. "Even when I thought that friends was all we could ever be."
"Chakotay..." She traces the side of his face with her free hand, fingers coming to rest against his tattoo.
"Are you really telling me that we can be more than that to each other now, Kathryn?"
"We can." she promises, leaning in to close the gap between their faces. "We can be everything to each other."
The next thing she knows, she's somehow ended up over on the other side of the console, straddling Chakotay's lap as they kiss like they are trying to make up for all seven years in the next seven minutes.
"Kathryn..." he breathes, running his hands over her back as they pull apart, flushed and breathless, "Should we maybe..."
"I'm not leaving this ship again until we've finished resolving things." she tells him resolutely, pressing herself close against him to emphasize her meaning.
She captures his earlobe with her mouth, thinking of how many times she'd watched him fiddle with it and thought of doing this.
His lips move to her neck and she lets out a low moan.
"And exactly what do you mean when you say resolve things, Kathryn?"
There's still something cautious in his affect, like he isn't quite sure she won't change her mind suddenly.
"No more parameters, no more boundaries we never cross."
She looks him right in the eye as she twines her arms firmly around his neck, shifting her hips slowly in a circle.
"Are you suggesting... here?" There's a hint of wonder to his voice, like a kid on Christmas who can't quite believe that gift he wished so desperately for all year is really sitting under the tree with his name on it.
"Unless you object. Chakotay, we've waited long enough. Let's make this real."
She never should have left Voyager in the first place, without baring herself to him. She never should have let them disembark without laying her cards down on the table.
"I thought you'd never ask." he murmurs, wrapping his hands around her waist and kissing her hungrily.
"You know I used to sit here and fantasize about this."
Suddenly she needs him to know, needs him to understand that it was hard on her not to be with him, to keep him in reach but not in her arms.
"Me too..." he replies, hands running upwards on her body slowly, "Although, one of my favorites had you sitting your chair and me just kneeling down between your legs and-"
"We might finally have seen just how high Tuvok can actually raise those eyebrows it you had." she groans, her whole body reacting to the image he had painted.
"Let's not talk about Tuvok." He interrupts her with another deep kiss.
"Agreed." She unzips her uniform jacket and tosses it behind her, before working his off of him and tossing it aside as well. It lands over Tuvok's station but she doesn't mention it; partly because, Chakotay's palms are running over her breasts and, even through three layers of fabric, it sends a shudder of desire through her.
She runs her hands over his shoulders and down his chest, indulging in caressing him through his clothes, hands lingering in ways she's had to resist doing up until now.
Chakotay is kissing her neck again and as a result her turtleneck moves up to the top of Kathryn’s hit list. She has to pull away slightly in order to pull it over her head, but that is well worth it as those warm soft lips of his resume their course lower towards that pulse point at the base of her neck. She’s dreamed of what it would feel like for him to put those lips on her for years, and the reality is still better.
She yanks on his shirt, grabbing both layers at once impatiently as she tugs them off of him to run her hands over his skin, the bare chest she’s only pressed her hands against in the emotional and unerotic setting of a biobed. She can feel the heat radiating from her, something more than just temperature, a kind of aura of sensation.
His hands slide up under her tank and he looks her in the eye. She nods and he lifts it over her head, wrapping his arms around her body and pulling her close so that they are pressed together. There is something about the feeling of his skin on hers that causes her to let out a long sigh, her whole body feeling like it is melting into his.
“Chakotay…” she murmurs, moving her mouth back to his and kissing him, slowly and deeply.
His hands unclasp her bra and toss aside, running up her sides and then cupping her breasts gently. Her nipples press into his hands, stiff and aching. She can feel the insist press of his erection against her thigh through both of their pants; she wonders if he can feel just how thoroughly her arousal has soaked through as he lowers his head, taking one of those throbbing nipples in his mouth and running his tongue in circles against it.
Her hands run down his body and work his pants open, though she has to stop grinding herself against him to do it. Kathryn feels him moan against her breast as she runs her hand over his cock, which strains against her. He runs his hands down the front of her pants, cupping her firmly, and her hips buck into the contact.
It takes some adjusting, made more difficult by both of their refusal to lose contact completely, even more a moment. Eventually they manage to shimmy out of the rest of their clothes though, and Kathryn rubs her body against his, letting out a moan as his erection rubs along her opening and her swollen clit.
She shifts, changing the positioning of her hips and leaning back just slightly, and then pushes back down, taking him inside of her at last, hoarsely gasping his name like a prayer.
Yes. This is how it should be. Some part of her whispers. He’s buried in her to the hilt and she’s wrapped around him so tightly with her entire body that someone would need a crowbar to pry them apart. Their tongues meet lightly as they kiss, his hands in her hair and her hips rocking slowly, keeping him deep inside of her.
She looks into his eyes and what she sees there is so full of passion and tenderness and she can’t help speeding up her motions, rocking harder and faster, but still unwilling to lose that feeling of how fully he is inside of her.
“Tell me this is real, Kathryn.” he whispers needily, “I can’t stand the thought of waking up and realizing this was all a dream again.”
“It’s real, Chakotay. You don’t have to wake up”
She takes his hands and guides them all over her body. They both groan at the sensation: her at the feeling of his hands on her sensitive skin and him at not only the feeling of her curves but the knowledge that she wants him to feel them… needs him to even.
By the time he reaches her breasts, she’s gasping and thrusting her hips frantically, tension mounting with each movement until she thinks she might explode. He cups them possessively, thumbs running over her nipples, and she feels herself clench around him, body beginning to shake violently.
She cries out his name and feels him tense under her, the warm flood of his release hitting her inner walls in a way that causes her to moan louder in enjoyment.
They cling to each other, sharing long lingering kisses.
“I’m sorry I was avoiding you.” she whispers, hardly able to believe how close she came to letting him go forever.
“Just tell me we will never do that again.” He says, “I don’t think I could bear to go back to not having you.”
“I meant what I said, Chakotay.” She promises, “No more barriers.”
“In that case.” he cracks a smile, “I have a couple of suggestions involving that railing in your ready room.”
“While we are at it.” she smirks playfully, “I’ve always been partial to the idea of the one in engineering.”
“You know… I haven’t gotten around to putting the one I mentioned earlier where you’re in your chair into practice yet.” he points out, hands cupping her ass firmly.
“I may have gotten a little caught up in the moment.” she agrees, “I just couldn’t wait anymore.”
“Do you have any objections to enacting that one now?” Chakotay licks his lips and Kathryn can feel her desire start to pool within her immediately.
They have a few more hours until anyone is liable to arrive back on Voyager, and she’s pretty sure she’s about to find out that Chakotay’s tongue outstrips her imagination of it as well as the rest of him has. Besides, she’s forming a definite plan to drag him down to astrometrics and erase the future that the Admiral painted for them completely from both of their memories of the place.