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Slip of the Tongue

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“I’m all finished up with those duty shift changes… finally,” Chakotay told her through the comm, “What about you? Did you figure out what was wrong with the cooling system for the neural-circuitry.”

“Identified and corrected,” she told him, toweling off her hair and pulling her uniform pants back up over her turtleneck’s hem, “Just finished a much needed shower after all that crawling around in jefferies tubes.”

“Let me guess, you’re hoping I’ll get that knot on your left shoulder that always acts up when you decide to get hands on with engineering.”

“Am I that transparent?” she laughed for the first time all day, wandering back into the living area and starting to set the table for two.

“I know it’s a little later than we’d planned, but are we still on for dinner?” Chakotay asked, as though he could see what she was doing.

“I’m just programming the replicator now,” she smiled, looking forward to relaxing together after a day filled with the everyday mundane aggravations of running a starship, the kind of petty little things constantly going wrong which weren’t dangerous enough to get one’s adrenaline pumping but did make one three hours late for dinner, “How does risotto sound?”

“The one with the asparagus and the manchego?”

“The very same,” she confirmed, already on the correct menu for it.

“Sounds good. I’ve just got a few last things to finish up and then I will be there. Let’s say fifteen maybe twenty minutes?”

“Not a moment later,” she chuckled, “And remember the cider this time.”

“Of course. That’s one of those things I was referring to taking care of,” she could hear his grin in his voice, “No more than twenty minutes, I promise.”

“Twenty minutes, got it,” she repeated, “See you soon. Love you.”

It was only after the words left her mouth that Kathryn realized what she’d said, something she absolutely had not intended to but instead had rolled off her tongue reflexively, part of a comfortable rhythm of familiarity.

She considered opening back up the comm to clarify but she figured belaboring the point would only make the situation more awkward. Maybe he didn’t notice, she tried to tell herself, after all she’d said it so casually. Surely he wouldn’t think she’d meant to say it. She pulled back on her boots and jacket, thinking that if there was any doubt in his mind about her intentions the formality would lead him to a more accurate impression.

Then there was the door chime. He must have overridden the turbolift controls to get here so quickly. Well then. He’d definitely noticed.

“You said you love me,” Chakotay stepped through the doorway, crossing directly to her.

“I didn’t mean… It was just a reflex, really.”

She turned away, busying herself fiddling with the place settings on the table, definitely not looking at Chakotay and the look of optimism on his handsome face..

“A reflex?” he asked dubiously, clearly torn between pushing versus respecting that she didn’t want to talk about it and settling for teasing, “And just who have you been ending your comm conversations with that way out here all this time, captain?”

“Neelix. Clearly,” she tried to joke back, running her hand over the tops of the chair backs as she circled him, before giving up with a sigh, “Honestly I have no idea where that came from.”

“I think I do,” Chakotay replied, soft but serious.

“Oh really?” she raised her eyebrow, “And just where did it come from?”

Part of her wanted him to call her out on it being the truth, a truth they both knew but she refused to discuss or acknowledge. The other part needed him to maintain that uncrossable line in the sand she’d instituted and he’d always abided by.

“You were relaxed,” he told her, seating himself on the couch, so that he was looking up instead of down at her, “There hasn’t been a catastrophe recently and we were having this casual conversation about when I’d be here for dinner. It felt familiar. It felt like…”

“The kind of conversation you’d end that way,” she finished, feeling a wave of appreciation for him making this easier not harder, as always, but also a little twinge of disappointment she didn’t have an excuse not to set the topic aside.

Chakotay watched her, watched her reaction for a good while, before he swallowed and added, “At least that’s part of it.”

“Oh really,” she chuckled, “The other part is that I really wanted to say it right? That I can barely contain-”

Chakotay had twisted around to stare up at her as she paced back behind the couch. When he caught her eye, she watched him search her face.

“I don’t think you meant to say it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true,” his voice was gentle, the playfulness of the moment before lost, his stare so earnest and full of hope she felt a lump in her throat.

“You are blowing a simple slip of the tongue way out of proportion,” she evaded, trying to laugh it off, rolling her eyes to the ceiling, unable to maintain eye contact.

He was still staring when she looked back down.

“If I’m wrong, just tell me. Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me, Kathryn,” Chakotay sighed, and she couldn’t blame him exactly. She felt tired of her evasions and she was the one choosing them, “If that’s really the truth then tell me, unequivocally, and I will drop it.”

She needed to laugh and roll her eyes again. She could dodge the question and he’d let it go. Somehow, though, the retort about him needing to get his head checked for swelling wouldn’t leave her lips.

“I can’t,” she gasped, suddenly feeling like it was impossible to go on that way anymore, teasing and evading, “I can’t tell you I don’t love you.”

“Why, why can’t you tell me you don’t love me?”

His hand reached out, stopping just shy of touching hers. She watched herself close the gap and entwine her fingers with his.

“Because it would be a lie,” she breathed.

“I love you, Kathryn,” he told her definitively, no allegory or heavy handed implications this time.

“Oh Chakotay…”

That was the last thing she managed to say; because, after that she was kissing him and she was wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him closer and his hands were in her hair. She had wanted this, wanted him, for so long.

“We can’t…” she sighed between kisses, body refusing to pull away whatever logic she tried to apply to it.

“Are you telling me you want to stop?” Chakotay responded, hands gently covering her back.

“I don’t want to stop,” she confessed, nipping his bottom lip before capturing both again and invading his mouth with her tongue.

“Do you want me to stop?” he asked reluctantly.

“No,” she shook her head, “I don’t want you to stop.”

“What do you want, Kathryn?” he murmured.

“Everything,” the truth ripped from her uncontrollably, “When it comes to you, I want everything, Chakotay.”

After that neither of them said much of anything for a while, as he took her hands and guided her around the sofa to stand in front of him, and she eagerly straddled his lap, losing herself in his kiss and the feeling of their clothed bodies pressing against one another, his arms wrapped around her protectively.

Kathryn fully remembered that this was a bad idea, that there were very serious reasons why she was not supposed to have confirmed her feelings for him, why she wasn’t supposed to be grinding her hips against his. She had though, and she was, and somehow she just knew that there wasn’t any way to close back up the floodgates she’d opened, let alone to want to.

She traced the planes of his face with her hands and the outline of his tattoo, relishing this moment, which would never come again. For so long she’d thought about what it would be like to kiss him like this, to touch him like this. This crossroad where she did at last, the first experience of how he tasted and felt against her, the combination of familiarity and newness, would never be hers again, never be theirs again.

Eventually, she moved her hands to his jacket, working it open and off to run her hands over his chest and shoulders through the rest of his clothing, feeling the heat of his body through the material as well. Chakotay moved his lips from hers to her jaw, placing soft kisses against the underside as he moved to do the same with jacket.

“I love you,” she whispered, then louder, “I love you, Chakotay.”

There. It was done, not that it hadn’t been essentially expressed already but somehow it felt important to actually say the words.

“I’ve waited so long to hear you say that,” he told her, eyes shining with emotion.

“You knew, though, didn’t you?” she asked, taking his face in her hands and kissing him forcefully.

“I felt that you did.” Another deeper kiss. “But that’s not the same.”

“No,” she acknowledged, “It isn’t, is it?”

“Just like imagining how you’d feel in my arms- “ he added, running his hands up her sides.

“Isn’t the same as actually being here in them,” she finished, before tugging her turtleneck over her head.

Chakotay immediately went for her neck, sending waves of sensation through her as he discovered all the most sensitive spots in the region. Her head rolled back slightly, and she slid her fingers through his hair. His hands ran over her breasts on the outside of her undershirt lightly, and she found herself wishing that touch wasn’t so light.

She grabbed hold of both his turtleneck and undershirt, to pull them over his head at the same time.

His smooth warm skin felt just as good under her hands as she’d always imagined. She couldn’t get enough of it. Sure she’d pressed her hand against his chest in sickbed, the sterile confines of a biobed, but that wasn’t even remotely the same.

Chakotay moved his hands to to untuck her undershirt and guided it up over her head, before placing his hands around her waist and ribcage and guiding her upwards, until she was kneeling so he could place feather light kisses against her stomach.

“Let me guess, you are going to kiss every inch-”

Grabbing hold of her hips and pulling her back down onto his lap, Chakotay cut her off with a kiss. His hands were so warm and secure feeling around her.

“So what if I am?” he murmured, “Does the cliche make it any less enjoyable?”

“I suppose not,” she conceded, pressing her torso against his to feel her bare skin against his.

“Besides… Isn’t that part of everything?” he grinned mischievously.

“Don't make me regret-”

He cut her off with a kiss, before insisting, “Never.”

“You’re big on those absolutes aren’t you? Always… never…”

“Only when it comes to you.”

Then she wasn’t thinking about anything other than his hands and his mouth and the way his body felt against hers again for a good while.

Now that he had her, almost halfway naked and having admitted the truth, Chakotay didn’t seem in any hurry to rush things to their conclusion and she found she felt the same. Kathryn supposed that she’d always assumed that once they uncorked these long bottled up emotions and desires it would be like a typhoon breaking, sudden and uncontrollable. Instead, it was more like the gentle lap of waves on a lakeshore, softer, constant, inevitable without being violent.

Kathryn felt his obvious arousal against her through their uniforms, knew that they would be lovers before the night had finished, and yet that very certainty precluded the idea of rushing. Instead she enjoyed the way Chakotay’s hands felt caressing her back and the way he groaned and arched as she sucked on that earlobe he was always fiddling with and whispered his name in his ear.

Finally, she reached around and unhooked her bra and Chakotay pulled the straps aside, guiding it away from her body, before replacing the material with his hands, covering and holding her breasts. Kathryn ground more noticeably against him, certain her arousal had leaked through her panties and her pants, as he changed his hold on one side to cupping, exposing the majority of that breast as he lowered his head down and ran his mouth all over the sensitive skin, those perfect lips of his setting her afire, and then darted his tongue out to lick her peaked nipple.

Her nipple was so hard it was painful, before Chakotay moved on to give Kathryn’s other breast the same treatment. He paused, blowing cool air on it that soothed and exacerbated the situation at the same time.

Kathryn shifted, moving to kiss Chakotay’s neck, then across his shoulders, then lower. He groaned, holding her hair back with his hands. As she slid back to kneel in front of the couch, mouth against his stomach, she moved her hands to unfasten his pants and licked her lips as she looked up into his face.

His gorgeous face, staring down at her transfixed, like if he looked away for an instant she might disappear.

She smiled, encouraging him to lift his hips so that she could pull his pants down, placing kisses on the tops of his thighs and inside of his knees as she proceeded to take off his boots and then socks, before moving back up to kiss him again, one hand on his chest and the other in his hair, his arm curled around her waist. Her breasts pressed against his chest, pleasantly but less agonizingly intensely, stimulating.

This was new for them, but not strange or awkward. Kathryn felt so comfortable with Chakotay, trusted and a trusting, no uncertainty and nothing to prove. This was about enjoyment, not persuasion.

Chakotay ran the hand not around her waist up the back of her neck, sending tingling sensations down her spine. Kathryn rubbed her body against his, feeling his erection pressing against her through his boxer briefs and her uniform. She moved her hand down between them, running her fingers over the material, feeling the size and shape of him.

She gave him one more lingering kiss, before she lifted herself off his lap and moved back down to the carpet to slide off his underwear at last. For a moment she just sat there, taking in the sight of him. Kathryn gazed at Chakotay naked, ready, and yes she loved this man but even if she hadn’t there would have been no way of denying just how perfectly sexy he was.

It was a wonder she’d held out this long.

Kathryn moved her mouth back to his well muscled legs, kissing her way up the insides of his thighs now, running her hands over his hips, eyes locked on his. Chakotay pressed his beautiful lips together, as if he was biting back some noise that wanted to come from his mouth. Then she ran her tongue along the underside of his erection and he moaned loudly anyway. She gripped his legs, holding him in place, feeling them shake as she sank her mouth down around his cock as far as she could, swirling her tongue around the head to taste him.

Her name sounded so right coming from his lips like a prayer as she alternated between licking and sucking.

“Sorry I’m not much of a deep throater,” she apologized, coming up for air and placing kisses against the neglected base of his generously endowed cock, “At least not when I’m sober.”

“I guess that’s my fault for forgetting the cider,” he groaned, as she brought her lips back down around him, “Besides… I can barely handle this without losing control. Spirits, Kathryn, your mouth…”

Kathryn loved the sound of his voice like this, the feeling of him against her, the way he pulsed and she could taste every dribble of precum in response to her movements. She was going to revisit this one night when she was inebriated enough for size not to be an obstacle, she decided, pulling her mouth almost all the way back and sucking hard around the tip of his cock.

She went to lower her mouth lips down around him again, but he pulled her back, shaky and breathing heavily.

“My turn,” he murmured, sliding down onto the floor with her and kissing her lips, as he worked her pants open.

Kathryn whimpered as Chakotay’s fingers brushed her sodden underwear in the process of lowering her pants, and watched his eyes darken at the evidence of her desire. He appeased her with his mouth on hers, as he removed her boots and socks as well, leaving her with only her arousal soaked panties. He guided her to lie back across the sofa, legs hanging over the side as he knelt beside it and lowered that last remnant of her clothing down her legs, exposing her completely.

“You are even more beautiful than I imagined,” he breathed, and then suddenly he was there, soft warm mouth against her entrance, tongue wiping at her arousal. He backed off for a moment, kissing her inner thighs, before brushing his lips over her clit and then closing them around it.

And she’d thought that mouth was wonderful before…

Kathryn let go of whatever ideas of self control she had, legs shaking, breath ragged, moaning and whimpering every bit as much as Chakotay had been doing a few moments before. Chakotay’s hands ran over her legs, as he continued to combine the dexterity of his tongue with the suction of his mouth, causing her to shake harder.

It could just have been that it had been so long, but Kathryn was relatively sure that Chakotay was better at this than anyone else she’d ever slept with. Then she was not really sure about anything except just how good his mouth felt and how she needed him to keep doing that thing with his tongue around her clit .

He kept doing it.

When she climaxed, her cry was loud, drawn out, uncontrollable. Kathryn had never thought of herself as a screamer, but she supposed that was what the combination of pent up lust and emotion will do to a person. She had to pull her shaking body away from Chakotay’s mouth, suddenly too sensitive for the attention he was giving it.

“Come here,” she told him, and he licked his lips, face glistening, and smiled.

She seated herself forward on the couch again, leaning against the back cushion and took his hands in hers to bring him towards her. She pulled him down on top of her, legs wrapping around him to draw him closer as she kissed his mouth, tasting herself on him.

He braced his hands on either side of her hips, kissing her back hungrily. She wrapped her arms around him, hands across his back, and then gripped his ass as she adjusted to find the right angle for him to slide into her. It had been a while, and he was large, but she was so wet it didn’t matter, not as she got her hips just right.

“Kathryn…” he groaned, as their bodies came together, the rest of them rubbing together as he pressed inside of her.

This is how she’d needed him, close, so impossibly close.

They rocked together, close, intense, her hands all over him. Her body was still shaking from her orgasm and the way each movement felt against her still hypersensitive body. Chakotay moved one hand to hold on to the back of the couch for leverage and Kathryn moaned into his mouth as the angle shifted ever so slightly and allowed him just that little bit deeper inside of her.

“Chakotay!” she cried out, body tingling and trembling as she felt herself start to climax again.

Chakotay grabbed told of her hips, and pulled her down onto the carpet on top of him, kissing her relentlessly as he held her all the way down onto him, still spasming as she felt him start to shoot into her with a sharp cry.

“I’m not usually that fast,” he told her, arms wrapped around her and their foreheads resting on one another.

“I’m sure I’ll get to experience that,” she told him lazily, pressing her cheek against his and wrapping her arms around his neck, “I’m not usually so loud.”

“We’ll see about that,” he replied in a tone that told her he was taking it as a personal challenge to prove her wrong.

She couldn’t say she minded the notion, not if she was right about what his methodology was going to be.

“I’m relieved you aren’t going to try to backtrack on this, Kathryn,” he pulled back slightly, looking her in the eye.

She knew what he meant and why. She’d kept him just out of reach for so long, refusing to explore this, to say it out loud. Still, that was over now, for better or worse.

“What would be the point? Once I admitted to you that I love you, there wasn’t really any going back was there? Sure, I could deny both of us the enjoyment of this, but that wouldn’t change the truth.”

She cupped the side of his face, thumb caressing his cheek. Now that she was here, soaked in endorphins and safely ensconced in his arms, it was hard to feel like this way anything other than a best case scenario.

“That you are in love with your first officer and he loves you back, desperately.”

Chakotay grinned as he said it, clearly enjoying this newly spoken truth.

“It gives me a headache just thinking about the protocol conflicts this is going to involve,” she groaned, only half kidding.

“If it helps, I could always resign my commission,” Chakotay offered, and somehow she felt he also was only half kidding.

“I’d refuse your resignation,” she told him honestly, “I need you as my first officer too badly. Besides, what on earth would you do all day here on the ship if you didn’t have a job to attend to?”

“Be your kept man, naturally. Prepare your meals, run you hot baths, rub every last knot out of your shoulders, and of course...” he added with a whisper, “Service you sexually.”

“I can’t say that’s not an appealing notion,” she conceded, placing a long lingering kiss on his lips, “But I think we will just add those things on to your regular duties instead. After all, there’s no way Tuvok would do half of my reports for me if he was my first officer. No. We will just have to deal with the messy tangle we’ve gotten ourselves into.”

“I know it’s complicated, Kathryn,” he told her, nuzzling his face into her hair, “But I hope you trust me to help you make it work.”

“If I didn’t trust you, I would never have told you what I did. If I didn’t trust you, there wouldn’t have been anything to tell.”

That was the truth. All this time Chakotay had stood beside her, supported her, loved her mostly silently. He’d helped her make it work then the it was something he wanted to change, to fail. Surely, he would find a way to make something they both had longed for so desperately workable. They would find a way.

“The time is five hundred hours. The time is five hundred hours.”

Kathryn sighed, feeling the mission intruding upon their contentment, “Computer. Silence alarm.”

“You really get up at five every morning?” Chakotay asked with a crooked smile.

“So do you now,” she teased, enjoying the way his grin spread as he realized that she was implying he would be waking up with her from now on, “Apparently that wasn’t as fast as we’d thought.”

It was true. Apparently, they must have been learning each other’s mouths for at least an hour before even removing a single piece of clothing. She really had lost track of time.

“And we didn’t even make it to the bed,” he pointed out.

“I guess we have a new goal for tonight,” she grinned, leaning in and kissing him, before moving to stand.

“I’m going to hold you to that,” he warned, leaning back on his hands on the carpet and looking so good she was terribly tempted to crawl back down there with him.

“I’m counting on it,” she promised, looking around at all the discarded clothing as deciding it could be dealt with later, “Now be good and replicate me some coffee while I take a shower.”

“If you take too long I’m coming in after you,” he called after her, as she headed towards the bathroom.

I could get used to this, she thought with a smile. It occurred to her that she was certainly going to get to and a sense of satisfaction washed over her. Yes. She was going to enjoy this, whatever complications arose from it. Maybe she should dawdle in the shower and tempt Chakotay into following her; after all, she didn’t have any meeting until almost nine.