And, though my heart be broken,
Here is a ring, as token
That I am happy now
- Edgar Allan Poe
(The Bridal Ballad)
Upon entering her quarters, Kathryn requested a glass of red wine from the replicator before sitting down on her couch. Tugging her feet underneath her, she leaned back and closed her eyes. The last week had been both invigorating and immensely exhausting.
Eight days ago, Inspector Kashyk had asked for and been granted asylum. He had claimed to have left his career behind him and, to prove his sincerity, he had helped Voyager avoid the Devore ships.
That day a thrilling but treacherous game of cat and mouse had started between the Inspector and herself. Although Kashyk had tried his best, Kathryn didn’t trust him. She couldn’t afford to alert him to that fact, though and had to try very hard to hide her distrust.
Even before they had taken Kashyk on board, she had sensed that he was interested in her and had played on that. Now that they spent so much more time together and he supposedly wasn’t her enemy anymore, his interest was much more obvious and he outright flirted with her.
Kathryn had to admit that she was attracted to the Inspector as well. He was darkly handsome, intelligent, dangerous and dominant; exactly what she liked in a man. There was a wonderful spark between them, a spark she had only ever felt with one man before and that man was not available to her. Kashyk presented the first opportunity in a long time to unleash her hidden desires and he made her feel more alive than she had in a long time. That said, he was also a brutal, unscrupulous, slick bastard and she hated his guts
Although it did feel good to be admired by a man, the game she played with him was getting more and more dangerous and Kathryn feared that she might lose control of it. They were moving from harmless flirting towards what began to feel like the inevitable outcome faster than she had anticipated and there wasn’t much more she could do to hold him off without alerting him to the fact that she wasn’t being honest with him.
It was a delicate house of cards she had built to guarantee Voyager’s safety and one tiny careless move would bring the entire construct down around her. It was a responsibility that rested solely on her shoulders and it was beginning to crush her.
Usually, she would talk it through with Chakotay and get his opinion. He would be there as her backup, giving her strength when she needed it. This time, however, she couldn’t count on him. In an attempt to protect him and her dignity, she hadn’t told him about her plan, fearing his disapproval. She was basically whoring herself for the ship and crew, a thought that disgusted her too much to even contemplate talking to someone else about it.
In hindsight she wished she had talked to him, though. The way he saw it, she was falling in love with Kashyk. It was exactly what she wanted everyone to see, most of all the Inspector but, as a result Chakotay had withdrawn from her completely. He was still her loyal first officer, but beyond that there was nothing.
The rational part of her understood his reaction and she knew she would act the same way if their roles were reversed. A more emotional part of her had hoped that he would know her better than to think her capable of loving a man like Kashyk, and she couldn’t help but be disappointed at his lack of trust in her.
She couldn’t expect him to read her mind though, and once again, Kathryn had let her pride cloud her judgement. It wasn’t the first time she had made a decision that concerned the safety of their ship without consulting him.
Past experiences should have taught her that it was a bad idea, but apparently she hadn’t learned anything. She had made a mess of things yet again and she wasn’t sure how to fix it. Would he forgive her one more time? The thought that maybe he couldn’t, scared her more than the thought of what her game with Kashyk might lead to.
How could she face this journey without his constant support? Of course, Kathryn would be able to do her job without the support of her friend. She was a Starfleet captain after all and she would survive. The question was if she’d get her crew home with her sanity intact, if she lost Chakotay’s friendship.
She even doubted that she’d get thought the next day without losing herself.
As much as Kathryn hated to admit it, she needed Chakotay. She wasn’t used to relying on other people like that; to need another person so desperately that she would be lost without them. It scared her and it made her angry. When had she become this weak and needy?
For a short moment, Kathryn was determined to face the next few days and even the rest of their journey on her own, before she realised that once again her pride was causing her to make a bad decision.
She had to try to mend the rift she had caused no matter how difficult it was. Their friendship was too important to her to give it up without a fight.
Having made her choice, Kathryn immediately left her quarters for his, before she had a chance to change her mind.
Trembling and with no idea of how to approach the problem, Kathryn rang his chime and waited until the door opened.
His quarters were dark except for the small lamp next to the chair where he sat, book in hand. She stepped into the room hesitatingly, not sure if she was welcome and if she was doing the right thing.
“Hello Chakotay. Do you have a moment? I’d like to speak to you about something.”
He got up and, putting the book down on the chair he’d just vacated, went to the replicator.
“Sure. Have a seat. Do you want anything to drink?” His voice, although friendly, was devoid of its usual warmth and Kathryn felt her heart sink as she sat on the couch.
“I’d like a glass of wine, please.”
He handed her a glass before he sat down on the opposite side of the couch, regarding her over the rim of his own glass.
“What can I do for you, Captain?”
His voice was distant and business-like. It was her first officer speaking, not her friend. She had expected that much, but her first officer could do nothing for her tonight. She took a sip of the strong wine, closing her eyes briefly as she relished the slight warmth it spread through her on the way down. Opening her eyes again, she stared at him openly, holding nothing back. For once she wasn’t afraid to let him see the depth of her emotions.
“I’m not here as your captain. It’s just Kathryn tonight and I really need my friend.”
The last words were spoken in a very low voice and had it not been for the weary look on his face, she would have thought he hadn’t heard her. She averted her eyes, suddenly finding the swirling liquid in her glass immensely fascinating.
Kathryn cursed herself. She really had made a mess of things and she must have hurt Chakotay deeply.
Sighing, she went on. “Look, I realise that I should have talked to you sooner, but I believed that I was doing the right thing. I believed that I could deal with this situation, but I can’t. I need you, my friend. More than I probably should, but I can’t help it.” She shrugged helplessly, as her eyes started to fill with tears. When had her emotions become so out of control? She felt his eyes on her for a long time before he finally broke the silence.
“It’s not too late to tell me what’s going on, Kathryn.”
She gave him a grateful smile hoping that he was right and that it was indeed not too late.
“I dread to think what you might believe I was up to these last few days.” She laughed nervously as his expression gave away exactly what he’d been thinking.
“You’re wrong, you know? Well, mostly anyway. You think that I’m in love with him don’t you? That I trust him?”
He refused to meet her eyes, confirming her suspicion.
“I’m not and I certainly don’t trust that bastard.”
This time he did look at her, startled.
“The fact that I was able to fool you is a somewhat of a relief. If you believed me, I can be sure that he does, too. I’m not stupid, Chakotay. I know he’s playing with us. I know he’ll turn against us at the first opportunity, probably as soon as we find out where the wormhole will appear next. I already have an idea how we’ll get out of this, but for my plan to work Kashyk mustn’t suspect anything. He has to be certain that we trust him and there’s only one way to accomplish that.”
The mere thought of what she might be forced to do made her sick and she took a sip of her wine to wash away the lump in her throat.
“He has to believe you love him.” It wasn’t a question. She was relieved to see that Chakotay had begun to understand.
“Kashyk might be a narrow-minded, evil bastard, but he’s far from stupid. He knows I would never trust him under normal circumstances. That’s why he’s been trying to seduce me ever since he came on board. He thinks that once I’ve fallen for him, I’ll drop my guard. So far it seems to be working well from his perspective.”
She fell silent again, studying her hands holding onto the glass. She sensed Chakotay’s barely contained feelings. Disapproval? Anger? Something else? She didn’t know and didn’t dare speculate.
“What is it you need my help with, Kathryn?”
“I’m losing control of this, Chakotay and that scares the hell out of me.”
He looked at her, confused and concerned.
“At the beginning I thought all I needed to do was flirt with him, give him a few meaningful looks and touches. I thought this would all be over way before things got to a point where I had to make a decision. To be honest, I actually liked it. It felt good to act like a woman after all this time, to flirt and be looked at as something else than the captain. He is an attractive man and … he’s not a member of my crew. It seemed safe. Now that finding the wormhole is taking longer than we anticipated I find myself at that point I had hoped to avoid.”
She was unable to continue as nausea and fear settled in her stomach. What would he think of her once he knew? Would he help her or would he turn away from her once he saw what she was willing to do?
Kathryn felt him shift to sit closer to her, his hand reaching out to her chin, forcing her to look at him.
“Kathryn, what are you trying to say?” Concern and dread fought for dominance in his voice.
“I…I don’t think I can hold him off any longer without arousing his suspicion. Today things got a little … heated and the look he gave me just before I left him… I think he’s going to make a move tonight and I won’t have choice but to…” She closed her eyes against the images that assaulted her and the tears that threatened to escape.
Chakotay took her hand in both of his and squeezed it. His voice shook with a potent mix of anger, concern and panic.
“Kathryn, you’re not seriously thinking about sleeping with that man!”
What could she say? There wasn’t anything that could possibly make what she intended to do look less like what it was. The only way out she saw at that point was anger and she took it gladly, even though she knew that it was wrong.
She jerked her hand out of his firm grasp and jumped to her feet, putting some distance between them before she whirled around, hands gesturing wildly, her voice raised to hide its trembling.
“What choice do I have, Chakotay? If I don’t keep playing this game till the very end, everything we’ve done for the last five years will have been in vain. They’ll seize Voyager, kill the telepaths and turn the rest of us into slaves. I can’t let that happen and you know it. I would do anything to protect every single one of you even if it killed me. I couldn’t live with the knowledge of everyone suffering like that because I wasn’t willing to prevent it. This is a small price to pay for all your lives.”
The anger she had clung to was gone as fast as it had come and left her exhausted and vulnerable. Her arms hung limply at her sides and she hadn’t felt so small and weak in years.
Chakotay stared at her, his eyes penetrating the last of her shields, searching her very soul for something. Whatever he found there it made his shoulders slump in resignation.
“Is there any way I can convince you not to do this?”
She shook her head.
“No. I have to do this and I will. With or without your help. Can I count on you?” She held her breath, hoping that he could see past his disappointment. The thought of having to go through this on her own scared her more than she wanted to admit.
“I won’t let you do this alone, Kathryn.” He stepped towards her and, taking her hand he lead her back to the couch and pulled her down with him. “What do you want me to do?”
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, her hands clinging to his, seeking strength and comfort.
“Right now you can’t do anything, but after… when this is over I’ll need someone to… I’ll … need you.” How could she explain to him her fear of losing herself in this game? How could she possibly put into words the desperate need for him, even now before anything had happened?
She should have known that he would understand. He tugged at her hands until her head rested on his chest and then put his arms around her in a gentle hug.
“I’ll be there, Kathryn. Always.”
She wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled him close, allowing herself the luxury of his strength for a short moment.
“There’s one condition, though.” She nodded for him to continue, not pulling back from his warmth.
“I want the computer to keep track of your movements and status at all times until that bastard is off the ship and I want those readings relayed to my console so that I can keep and eye on you at all times.”
Kathryn was shocked at this suggestion, although she realised that she shouldn’t have been.
“Chakotay you can’t be serious about that. You’d be able to… It would be almost as if you were… watching us.” The thought of Chakotay knowing exactly when it happened, what she was doing and how she reacted to it made her sick. She certainly couldn’t allow this.
“I won’t back down Kathryn. Kashyk is a dangerous man and if you have to go through with this I want to make sure that you’ll be safe. He could do all sorts of things to you when you’re alone with him and I’m not willing to risk your life. Not just as your friend, but as your first officer, too. You’re far too important to us. To me.”
He pushed her away just far enough to look at her and one of his hands caressed her cheek. As much as she hated it, Kathryn had to admit that he was right. It might be disturbing to have Chakotay as partial witness to the most disgraceful moment of her life, but she couldn’t risk doing this without backup. Her life might depend on it.
“All right. But I don’t want anyone else involved unless absolutely necessary. Understood?” He nodded once and pulled her close to him again for another fierce hug before reluctantly letting her go.
Kathryn lingered a moment, sliding her hands along his arms until she found his hands and, gripping them firmly, she looked up at him.
“Thank you so much for your support, Chakotay. You don’t know how much it means to me and how much I appreciate it. I wouldn’t be able to come out of this whole without you.” She briefly touched his cheek with one hand before she pulled away.
“I have to go now. I told him I’d only be in a meeting till ten.” She didn’t need to say more. The pain in his eyes told her he understood.
“Be careful, Kathryn. And remember I won’t let you out of my sight for a second.”
She didn’t want to leave. She was suddenly cold and wasn’t sure if it was the loss of contact with his warm body or the thought of what was waiting for her once she returned to her quarters. Her gaze lingered on the solid form of her friend for a long moment before she found the strength to pull away and leave the safety of his quarters.
In the end, Kathryn had just enough time for a quick shower and was pulling a new, dark blue satin nightgown over her head when Kashyk rang. Grabbing the matching robe from her bed, she struggled into it on the way to the door.
She was still tying the belt as the door opened, but when she looked up, she saw a feral look cross his face.
She guessed that he was thinking about how he would have found her if he had just entered without ringing. Good.
Kathryn looked at him coyly from under lowered lashes. The words she spoke were all business, but her tone deep and husky. “Inspector, what a surprise. Isn’t it a little late for a business meeting?”
He raised an eyebrow and let his gaze wander over her satin-clad form.
“Is it? Good thing this isn’t about business, then.”
Kathryn gave him one of her half-smiles and, stepping aside just far enough for him to fit through the door, she let him enter. His solid body brushed against her as he passed, making Kathryn shudder partly from excitement and partly from disgust. Her body cried out, overjoyed at the prospect of a man’s touch while her mind fought against the urge to punch his arrogant face.
She smiled up at him. “Can I get you something to drink?” Kathryn turned and walked towards the replicator without waiting for his answer, hoping that maybe she could stall for time.
After only a few steps she felt his firm grip on her arms as he pulled her against him.
“I’m not thirsty, Captain.” Kashyk ground his arousal against her buttocks, his hot breath stirring the soft hairs at the base of her neck.
“Right now you are what I want and I know you want me, too. I can smell your arousal.”
Kathryn closed her eyes swallowing hard to keep from throwing up, while at the same time her body started to hum with excitement. It had been so long since a man had touched her in that way.
She tilted her head to the side, giving him better access to her neck as she pushed back against his hardness. She resolved to ignore her mind as much as possible and try to enjoy herself, because no matter how detestable a man Kashyk was, he was still the most captivating and seductive man available to her at the moment and Kathryn was desperate for some intimacy.
His hands roamed over her body, stroking up and down her arms before they skimmed over her sides and stomach, his thumbs grazing the sides of her breasts. He then tugged at the belt of her robe until it opened and fell to the floor.
Immediately, his hands slid upward, caressing her sensitive breasts, manipulating the puckered nipples through the thin material of her nightgown. Kathryn groaned as the flames of arousal licked at her skin, and pushed herself into his hands.
His lips and teeth explored her neck, licking and nipping around her ear and down to her shoulders until she thought the fire inside would consume her.
In one fast move he turned her around and, pushing the robe off her shoulders, pulled her against him. His hands kneaded her firm buttocks, grounding her into his straining erection.
Kathryn sank to her knees in front of him, her eyes focused on the bulge that was hidden underneath his tight trousers as her hands fumbled with his belt.
With a confidence she didn’t feel, Kathryn pushed his trousers down before she wrapped her hands around his penis. He was long, thick and dark and his tip glistened with proof of his eagerness. She let her slim fingers glide up and down his length, taking his grunts and groans as her cues. One hand slipped between his legs, softly kneading his heavy balls as her tongue swirled around him. Slowly, deliberately, she explored all of him with her lips, tongue and teeth until he grabbed her head and carefully pumped into her willing mouth.
For a moment she thought that she might be able to end it all right there and then, that he would shoot his cum down her throat and it would be over. She felt him lengthen in her mouth and readied herself for the hot spurts.
The firm hands that grabbed her arms once more surprised Kathryn as he pulled her to her feet and his penis slipped out of her mouth with a dull plop, a string of saliva still connecting them until it finally snapped apart.
He devoured her mouth in a hungry kiss, his tongue tangling with hers, fighting for dominance. Kathryn moaned into his mouth, her legs barely able to support her as desire shot through her. The salty taste of his penis mixed with the warmth of his mouth and Kathryn was so absorbed by the different sensations that she didn’t notice they were moving until she bumped into her bed and had to sit down.
Kashyk kneeled in front of her and, forcing her to lie back, he spread her legs and stared at her hungrily. A remote part of her mind cried out that she was not supposed to enjoy this, that she was just doing her job, but as his mouth latched onto her clit, Kathryn’s body surrendered. His eager tongue lapped up the evidence of her body’s betrayal. He worked on her with his teeth and lips and tongue, lapping, sucking, scraping until she thought she was losing her mind.
Something nudged at her entrance – a finger, two, three. They pumped and swirled and twisted until they found that spot that drew a long, deep moan from her throat. Hands kneaded her breasts, twisted her nipples. His or hers? She didn’t know. His fingers kept pumping into her and his mouth worked her jewel and suddenly the world collapsed into her until she exploded with a bone-shattering scream.
Utterly exhausted and unable to move, Kathryn lay on her bed, legs dangling over the edge, her juices coating her curls and inner thighs. She realised that right now, Kashyk could do whatever he wanted with her and she wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about it.
As scary as that thought was, Kathryn still felt the tingling of renewed arousal when he lifted her limp body and moved her completely onto the bed.
He was on top of her then, his heavy member rubbing against her sensitive sex. Her hands rose to his naked, hairy chest and she let them explore his lean form.
I hate chest hair that remote part of her brain protested, but in the next moment he was inside of her and all rational thought was gone again.
Her walls stretched around his thick penis and she groaned in delicious pain as she wrapped her legs around him, drawing him even closer to her as her hands stroked his smooth back.
His lips found hers and his tongue pushed past her inviting lips and tangled with hers.
Kashyk set a fast pace, pumping into her hard and his long penis hit her womb with every stroke. She enjoyed the slight friction his movement created, the increasing wetness that eased the slight discomfort and dripped out of her, his coarse pubic hair rubbing against her clit, his hands kneading her breast, twisting her nipples.
He trailed wet kisses down the side of her face, around her ear and on her neck. Kathryn threw her head back to give him better access to the sensitive area. The tingling started deep within her and Kathryn knew she was close.
And then suddenly she was empty, leaving her unfulfilled and desperate. Her inner muscles clamped around the nothingness and she groaned in frustration.
She opened her eyes and met his dark, intense gaze. There was something in the way he stared at her that made Kathryn uneasy. The passion was gone from his eyes, replaced by cold calculation.
“Turn around,” he ordered, his voice devoid of all warmth.
She stared at him, shocked at the sudden change.
He grabbed her right arm and flipped her onto her stomach. Kathryn felt him kneel behind her before he took her by the hips and pulled her up against him, his fingers painfully digging into her skin.
With one hard thrust, he was inside her again, using her body to fuck himself. Kathryn leaned on her forearms, hands clawing at the sheets, her face buried in the mattress to stifle her screams.
All her doubts, her disgust, her hatred for this man came rushing back and it was all she could do not to be sick.
That insistent part of her mind came back to life again, screaming at her. Tears streamed down her face.
What am I doing? I’m prostituting myself for my crew. I’m letting this monster fuck me.
Despite her disgust, Kathryn felt the telltale signs of her impending orgasm as his thick shaft continued its frantic pace.
Some part of her responded to him in a way she had never believed possible. That primitive part wanted to be dominated and no matter how much her conscious mind protested against the depravity of what was happening to her, she was going to come hard.
The warmth started in her belly and slowly spread throughout her body, drowning out the sharp pain in her vagina. She was so close and her body cried out for relief with every fibre, even as her mind fought this final betrayal.
When one of his hands found her clit, the fight was over. She felt herself float ever upwards until, with one last flick of his finger, she went crashing over the edge, her scream muffled by the sheets.
Her inner muscles clamped around him, pulling him over the edge right behind her. She felt the warmth of his semen fill her.
Kathryn collapsed onto the bed when he released his hold on her hips, her arms and legs too weak to support her.
She heard him get up and get dressed.
“You’re a pretty good lay, Janeway.” He gave her a hard slap on her bare bottom before he left her quarters.
Her skin burned from his slap as their combined juices trickled out of her. The room smelled of sweat and sex and her abused flesh hurt more and more.
Slowly, the hazy post-coital feeling gave way to nausea and, struggling to get her weak body to move, Kathryn hurried into the bathroom. She fell to her knees in front of the toilet and threw up violently.
Whenever her stomach was about to calm down, the smell of their encounter or the feeling their fluids running down her thighs started another round of retching.
Then he was there.
Gentle hands held her head, stroking her hair back, his soft voice washing over her in an endless stream of nonsensical words.
When the retching finally stopped, Chakotay helped her to her feet and sat her down on the edge of the bathtub. He handed her a glass of water and put a towel around her shoulders.
Tears streamed down her face and Kathryn couldn’t stop them. She stared at the wall, letting the cold water sooth her aching throat while his voice soothed her soul.
She was shivering from the cold and from the memory of Kashyk’s touch. Would she ever forget? Would she ever feel clean again? His touch, his smell, the sound of his voice and the cold, calculating look in his eyes at the end, lingered in her mind, making her teeth chatter and her stomach turn.
Kathryn felt as if she was standing outside her body. She saw herself sitting on the edge of the tub, an empty glass in her hand, staring into nothingness. She saw Chakotay moving around in the bathroom, then leaving, only to come back a moment later.
As he touched her shoulders, she came back to herself. He helped her up and, putting aside the towel, he lifted her in his arms and lowered her into the hot, fragrant water.
Kathryn sank deeper and deeper into the comforting warmth until it engulfed her completely, shutting out everything, muting the sounds of her ship to a distant rumbling. She felt safe and at peace here.
Suddenly sleepy, Kathryn closed her eyes. If only she could sleep and float away. Then the hands grabbed her and pulled her up and out of her safe haven. She wanted to fight them off, but she was unable to move.
As her lungs filled with air, desperate for oxygen, her eyes shot open and the glaring light destroyed the last illusion of security. He said her name, repeating it with growing agitation until her gaze focused and she realised where she was. He caressed her face, brushing her wet hair back while his other hand still held her up.
“Please don’t do that again, Kathryn. You scared the hell out of me.” His voice shook with emotion and Kathryn knew she was supposed to say something, but the words wouldn’t come.
“Kathryn, can you hear me? Do you understand what I’m saying?” He was getting desperate now, but the words still eluded her. She nodded slowly, hoping that the small reaction would reassure him.
His features relaxed slightly, but he didn’t let go of her, one arm still around her, holding her up, the hand of the other stroking her cheek.
Then the tears started again. His calm and gentle touch stood in stark contrast to Kashyk’s and brought back the memories of what she had been forced to do.
His hand left her face and he picked up her sponge and started to gently but thoroughly wash her entire body. He started with her arms, his other hand reluctantly letting go of her to lift them one at a time. He moved over her neck and, moving her to lean forward, scrubbed her back, before he carefully bathed her breasts, making sure he didn’t hurt the sensitive skin. He washed her stomach and legs and then cleaned her bruised folds. His touch wasn’t meant to arouse and it didn’t feel like an intrusion or a violation of her privacy.
It was more like a cleaning of her spirit, and absolution of her sins and Kathryn loved him so much – as her friend and confidante, as a kindred soul and possibly, hopefully, some day as more.
When he was done, Chakotay lifted her out of the tub and wrapped her into the large towel again, drying her hair with another one.
Kathryn just stood there, her body still unresponsive to her commands. She let him lift her arms to help her into her nightgown and followed him into her bedroom when he led her there.
Exhausted both mentally and physically, she let herself collapse onto her bed and after covering her with the blanket, Chakotay caressed her hair again, before he stood to leave.
Panic grabbed Kathryn at the thought of being alone. In the back of her mind she realised that it was a ridiculous thing for a woman her age, but she didn’t want him to go. Holding on to his hand, she looked at him pleadingly, her voice even huskier than usual when she finally spoke.
“Don’t go. Please. Hold me.” It wasn’t an invitation for more than a night of comforting embraces and they both knew it.
Chakotay nodded and, removing his shoes, he slipped under the blanket behind her. Wrapping his arm around her, hand resting on her stomach, he pulled her close.
Safe in his arms, the last thing she felt before she drifted off was the gentle kiss he placed on her hair.