The Den Of The Lioness

Chakotay held his breath as Kathryn's door slid open in front of him. There she was sitting on her couch safe and sound. An odd relief washed over him and he finally felt he could give himself permission to breathe. His tense muscles unclenched as he strode easily into her welcoming quarters. He aimed for the chair juxtaposed to her position on the couch. "Chakotay" She caught him in mid-sit. She dipped her head to her left and patted the couch cushion next to her. He couldn't quite decipher the smile on her face. He was prepared for an interrogation about the damage to the deflector dish, but he didn't expect the questioning to take place under such close scrutiny.

He circled the coffee table and sat down next to her, carefully. He went to cross his left leg over his right, but then realized that would put his foot into her personal space, so he abandoned that idea halfway. Then rather obviously, crossed his right over his left. Next, he started the all-important task of brushing imaginary lint off his pant leg.

Janeway rolled over on to her left side, propping her head up on curled fingers. She twisted her legs together and absent mindedly rubbed her hand down her thigh while she studied his face for a good, long moment. Chakotay shot her a sideways glance. He couldn't help but think she looked like a lioness surveying her pride. The image was kind of . . . arousing.

"So, tell me what would have happened had you not turned our deflector dish into a lighting rod?"

He wanted to look her in the eye, but at this distance, he was afraid his eyes would tell her everything. "Well, the Temporal Prime Directive prohibits me from going into detail-"

"Convenient." Oops. The word escaped her lips before she could catch it.

Chakotay, clearly puzzled, "What?"

She pursed her lips and shook her head to try to indicate the comment was meaningless. "Nothing, go on." A full blown smile was threatening to erupt and it was all she could do to keep it under control.

". . . well, suffice it to say, it was a wild ride. It'll all be in my report tomorrow. That is, anything that doesn't expressly threaten the integrity of future timelines, of course."

"A wild ride? Really? Well, I'm sure it was nothing you couldn't handle. In fact, I'm sure for you it was just another day at the office, hmm?" Her eyes were dancing with mischievousness.

Just another day at the office. That sounds familiar.
He shot her another sideways look and realized she had snuck in even closer to him. He could feel her breathing now. The hair on the back of his neck wasn't the only thing that stiffened.

"Come on Chakotay," her voice got lower with each sentence. "Isn't there anything you can tell me about your little adventure?" whispering seductively now "Isn't there anything you'd like to share?"

Chakotay sunk deeper into the couch, frightened by her advance. The image of Janeway as Lioness sprung to his mind again. He recalled footage he saw somewhere of a Great Cat swatting at subdued prey to make sure it was safe to devour. As if mirroring his thoughts she reached her hand up to his chest and curled her fingers around the v-neck in his uniform. That only served to show them both just how hard his heart was beating. He closed his eyes to try to still his emotions. "Kath-"

His words were stopped by her lips on his. It was a light, teasing kiss. She suckled his lower lip for just a second longer than he thought he could take. Then she let him go. His paralyzing apprehension at her strange behavior turned to a comforting realization. She knows.

He looked up at her hair line and then down at her lips, taking in her whole beautiful face. A rare treat to enjoy at such a close distance. He barely managed to whisper the question "How do you know?"

"Oh, I can't tell you that." she said with a dismissive shake of the head.

"Why not?" his voice stronger now.

Oozing smugness. "Temporal Prime Directive."

Chirp. "Tuvok to Janeway."

Without missing a beat, Janeway rolled off of him and put on her best captain's voice. "Janeway here." Quite a feat, considering her fingertips were still dancing across the back of his neck, drawing circles in his hairline and driving him absolutely mad.

"There's a khenometric particle fountain 60,000 KM off our port bow. I just wanted to let you know I've altered course to investigate."

The stroking fingers stopped. Janeway's eyes turned to stone. Chakotay's throat constricted. Their heads snapped to face each other. Both knew what this meant, but neither knew that the other knew.

"Why did you do that?" she almost hissed the question at Tuvok.

"It was my understanding that you wanted to investigate phenomenons of this nature."

Chakotay wondered if he imagined the surprise he heard in Tuvok's voice.

"Well I don't!" Her voice became deep and grave. "Give that particle fountain a wide berth, that's an order." Janeway was leaning forward now, her forearms propped on her knees, her hands clasped. "When will the deflector be back on line?"

"Engineering reports that it will be fully operational within the hour."

"Good. When that happens, I want you to set a course for the Alpha Quadrant at maximum warp for the rest of the night. Don't look left, don't look right. Understood?"

"Aye, Captain."

"Janeway out."

Chakotay watched her slump back against the couch. She covered her forehead with her hand and sighed. They sat there in silence for a minute, maybe two.

What Chakotay could never know is that she ran into Billy Telfer and Tal Celes on her little detour to her future quarters to check her logs. And after convincing them that she was not the walking, talking ghost of Kathryn Janeway - which, Janeway noted with some consternation, was entirely more difficult than it should have been considering she was dealing with two commissioned Starfleet officers - they sadly shared with her the graphic history lesson that was Delta Earth.

What Janeway could never know is how relieved Chakotay was to not have to lie to her about why they shouldn't investigate the particle fountain. To not have to plead with her to stay away from it. To not have to divulge what he knew. Individually, unspoken, they could handle it. They could file it away on a neat little shelf in the back of their minds and forget it ever happened. If they discussed it collectively, it would become too real. It would hang a foreboding shadow over every minute of their future lives together. An accusation that they had cheated their fate and played God with history.

He wasn't forced to break the Temporal Prime Directive this time, but unfortunately, she was. It pained him deeply to know it was yet another straw added to her camel's back of burdens. He reached for her hand and took it in his. She straightened up her posture and was the one to break the silence. She tried to put a light spin on it. "Well, you know, you've seen one khenometric particle fountain, and you've seen them all."

"Oh, I agree." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. His eyes never left hers.

"Well, now, where were we?"

He answered by turning her hand over and kissing her palm and then her wrist. Janeway felt a stirring inside her. It was one thing when she was teasing him earlier and it was just so much child's play, but now it was getting serious.

"Can we do this?"


"Can we keep this off the bridge? Can we really be Kathryn and Chakotay here, and the Captain and the First Officer there? Can we keep our feelings separate from our duties?"

"I've been doing that for seven years."

"Oh, you beautiful man" Janeway rolled her head back to try to reabsorb some tears that held welled. "And you can promise me you'll do that for the next seven years?" she had to keep her voice low to prevent it from breaking.

"For the next seventy. . . Or however long it takes to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. I'm at your disposal Kathryn. I always have been. I always will be. If all you need is a First Officer, I can be just that. If all you want is for me to stand by your side and help you run this ship as efficiently and safely as possible to get our people back than that's who I'll be for you. But if you want more, I can be that too. I love you Kathryn. . ." he questioned whether he should go on. But seven years of putting one's desires on hold had a funny way of causing one to abandon all rules of decorum and etiquette. This time, it was his turn to move in close for the kill. His voice deepened. "I want you. I want to possess you. I want to crawl all over your body and taste every inch of your skin. I want to make you scream my name."

Janeway's pupils dilated and her mouth dropped open slightly. Her senses heightened and skin ached to be stroked. She felt a quickening inside her. The powerful imagery was arousing. The possibilities tantalizing. The need was building.

"So, what. . . you only act on these desires during alternate timelines?"

With no warning, he snatched her comm badge off her chest and threw it across the room. His too.

"Not anymore."

In one fluid motion he stood over her, grabbed her around the waist and threw her to the other side of the couch. Her surprised shriek of delight morphed into a deep, sexy laugh. His body lorded over hers. "You know, I just might swallow you whole."

Kathryn granted him permission with her eyes.

"You know, I just might let you."

The familiar sound of the great mechanisms that fold Voyager's nacelles into warp position are humming through the bulkheads of every deck. Deflector harmonics begin to rotate at a fever pitch. The engine core pulses and Voyager screams into high warp. The outer hull contracts and the acoustical atmosphere inside the ship alters to reflect their velocity. Pinpoint stars outside the windows flare into streaks of light. Janeway and Chakotay didn't need to open their eyes to detect this. Voyager is on its way home.