Crossing The Line

A/N: A little note – this is post-Equinox. And please note, I've seen most but not all ST:V episodes, so a few things may not be completely correct. Any and all technical information comes from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki. (If you want to check it out, go to www. Memory-alpha. org – it's an awesome website.)

Anyway, this started out as a one-shot, but I think I'll probably continue it. Enjoy!


Beep-Beep

"Come in," the captain said, knowing who was here.

The doors slid open, and she smiled as Chakotay walked in, holding his bottle of wine, an amused grin on his face.

"I thought we were having pot-roast?" he said, half asking, half saying, and gesturing to the chicken on the table.

"Remember what I said about calling the replicator a glorified toaster?" she asked. Chakotay nodded, a chuckle rippling through his body. It turned into full laughter when she pointed to a charred, depilated mess sitting on her coffee table.

"You should be a lot nicer to inanimate objects."

"I said sorry to it," she said, sitting down after pulling out his seat for him.

Chakotay shook his head, not doubting his captain of have actually done that.

"So," he said. "After the entire Equinox thing…how are you holding up?" he asked.

"Do we have to jump to this so soon?" she asked.

"Okay, not so fast…" Chakotay said, taking a slice of chicken. "Anything else?"

"How are the new crewmembers working out?" she asked.

"Going well," Chakotay said. "They're making good friends with Tom, of all people."

"Really?" she asked. "That's…odd."

"Really?" Chakotay asked. "I'm not surprised at all."

"How so?" Janeway asked, taking another bite of chicken.

"Well, they're outcasts, hated with a passion by just about everyone on the ship, facing cold shoulders, people doing all sorts of little things against them, adding up to miserable lives…hell, so far, they still don't have it as bad as Tom."

"Not as bad?" she asked.

"They haven't been attacked."

She remembered. Tom had suffered a few attacks from crewmembers, but he couldn't identify them – neither could anyone else. They didn't cease until a few suicidal missions proved his loyalty to, well…everybody.

But she still didn't like it – she had brought him on here to give him a chance, away from prison – but she'd chucked him right back into another one – complete with unanimous hatred from all, and even a few attacks, and solitude on his part.

"Don't remind me about the attacks," she said testily. "Another topic. Consider that an order if you must."

Another amused head-shake from Chakotay.

"Whatever you say, Captain Kathryn."

"You better not call me that around the crew."

"You're right – has too much of a nice ring to it. The name's mine," he said, mock-possessively.

She shut her eyes in her own mock despair, before both of them laughed.

"God, I haven't been able to laugh so openly in ages," she said. She took a deep breath, and sighed. "Not since…hm…" she suddenly didn't want to say.

"Not since what?"

"Just…that's just it," she said quickly. "I don't remember."

Chakotay had been about to push another piece of chicken into his mouth, but suddenly, he paused. "You're lying about something. Please, don't try and fool me, Kathryn."

She sighed.

"It's nothing."

"Well, if you feel the need to lie to me about it-"

"It's just a triviality that would cause more trouble than it's worth, Chakotay."

"It's causing trouble now!"

She sighed.

"I've just been so tense ever since…Kashyk. There I said it. Happy? How about we turn back to another topic? Even Equinox."

"Equinox is better than Kashyk?" Chakotay asked. "I definitely need to know more behind this." He'd even set his fork down. Damn him.

"This is why I never mentioned it," she said. "Let's just say I broke protocols, and leave it at that, all right?"

"Broke protocols? Our beloved captain? This is definitely interesting."

Janeway growled.

"No, it's not," she said. Chakotay's grin suddenly grew in size.

"You know you're cute when you're angry? It's endearing."

"I am not endearing!" She cried out. "I'm a captain, for God's sake – I don't have the time to be endearing."

"And yet you have the time to go on a candlelight dinner with your commanding officer?" he asked.

She dropped her face into her hands.

"I give up."

"So easily!"

She groaned from her throat, frustration evident.

"Now I know how Tuvok feels when he talks to Tom," Chakotay said happily.

She shook her head.

"Now I know how Tom feels when he's talking to Tuvok."

Another eye-roll from Chakotay.

"Don't think I forgot about whatever it was from Kashyk," he said. "Please…elaborate."

"You'd think I need to be checked out by the doctor."

"It was a long time ago."

"You'd still think I need to be checked out by the Doctor."

"I'll be the judge of that, Captain."

"Fine."

"You'll tell me?"

"You don't want to hear it…" she tried one last time.

"You're just making me want to hear it more."

"Fine!"

"Tell me-"

"Are you sure?"

"Kathryn-"

"I kissed him."

That got Chakotay stopped in his tracks.

"You…what?"

"I…kissed him. I guess it isn't as breaking protocols are normal, but still…"

"You…kissed…him?!"

He was taking it a lot harder than she'd imagined. Yet somehow, it was…comforting. Odd.

"Now I…nevermind," he said.

"Tell me," she said cheekily.

"Not this again."

"Now you know how I feel, Chakotay."

He sighed.

"Well, I'm a far more honest person than you," Chakotay said. "Now I know how Tom felt when B'Elanna started rekindling her old flame with Max."

"…But Tom and B'Elanna are dating."

"Poor analogy choice. The situation had…amused me. It was on my mind."

"Mm hm…" she said. This was quickly taking a bad turn. "So…back to the crewmembers…our new ones."

"Working relatively well. Like I said, they're making great friends with Tom, so he's taking care of them…I think that over time, the same thing will happen with them as Tom: people will slowly adjust to them. I just suggest you recommend them for all upcoming suicidal away missions."

She laughed. "Note taken. I'll let you take care of that."

He nodded.

"But really, Kathryn…how are you holding up?" he said. "I mean…especially with me, and the almost-mutiny. You had a lot on your hands, especially with everyone else on the verge of following my example." There was an awkward beat of silence. "I'm sorry for all that, by the way."

"Don't be," she said. "You were doing what was right. If anything, I should thank you for doing that. I was losing my head. And there was a reason you're my first officer – to help keep me in line."

Chakotay chuckled again.

"I guess this is just something we'll have to work on," he said.

"Right…" she said. With that, she simply took another bite of her food.

For a few moments, it was like that. A comfortable silence – the kind that only close friends could achieve without feeling utterly awkward. It was nice, going through the chicken, the mashed potatoes, some Chicken-Pot Pie…then a desert of Vanilla-Lemon pudding…

"Kathryn," he said. "You've got some pudding…" He appeared to be badly suppressing laughter. "Down your…chin…"

"Where?" she asked immediately. She scrubbed at the left side of her chin. "Did I get it?"

"No…it's on the other side…no, no, you missed it…here, let me…" he reached over and with his thumb, he started right at the corner of her lip, trailing his abrasive skin down her sensitive nerves, cleaning up the mess, and setting her nerves on fire along with it.

She barely contained the blush threatening to creep up, and she could tell he was doing much the same.

"So…" she mumbled after a moment. "How…how's the ship's status?" she asked. Always a safe topic, no matter what.

"Tuvok and Seven are already working on repairing the hull's microfractures from the interspatial fractures. B'Elanna is dealing with the warp core's leak, formed today. Tom has had to drop down to Warp 8 for now, but he's still managing quite nicely. Neelix blew something up in the kitchen, actually…quite interesting. Although Naomi finally joined forces with Tom and convinced Neelix to at least attempt to make pizza. Gilmore apparently helped on that front."

"Gilmore will redeem herself, yet, with that one," Kathryn joked. Chakotay laughed, their awkwardly-sensual moment from earlier broken.

"That she will, captain," Chakotay said. There was a sudden beeping from the captain's console, and she got up to see what it was, Chakotay trailing behind to see what it was.

"A status report on the warp core?" Chakotay asked.

"I told B'Elanna to keep me updated. I knew about the warp core before you did –I was there when the leak formed. I swear, all the inanimate objects on this whip must hate me…"

"It looks pretty damn bad…" Chakotay said.

"Torres to the captain," B'Elanna's voice came over the intercom. The captain pressed down on her own comm. badge and said, "Go ahead."

"Permission to eject the warp core and hold with a tractor beam? It's getting pretty bad down here."

"Wait a few minutes, and be my guest." Kathryn said simply. "Janeway out."

Another beat, glancing over the console.

"Janeway to Ensign Paris."

"Yeah, Captain?"

"B'Elanna's ejecting the warp core and hold it in by a tractor beam – it's getting that bad. I need to you drop down to impulse speeds for now."

"Got, it captain. Paris out."

Another deep breath from Chakotay. But rather than hearing it, she more felt it on her neck as he read B'Elanna's meticulous report.

"Probably internal damage from the fight with Equinox."

He actually leaned in to read it. Damn B'Elanna for cramming all her info together. Kathryn couldn't move…his face was so close.

A low whistle.

"I am really starting to think someone from Equinox attempted a sabotage job."

"Yes…sabotage…" Kathryn said.

Suddenly, Chakotay blinked. He, too, became aware, how close his face was to hers. For a moment, their eyes were locked.

He moved. But not away – no, quite the opposite. Kathryn was almost stunned when she found her lips locked with his. But she didn't let go, either – she just kissed right back.

For a sweet moment, their weren't in the captain's ready room on a ship stranded all the way in the middle of the Delta Quadrant. They were off in their own little world.

A moment, and they seemed to fall away from each other, both breathing heavily, eyes still locked.

Suddenly, something flashed through Chakotay's eyes, and he practically jumped back.

"Kathryn…Captain…I shouldn't have…I mean…it was…not my place…I'm sorry…"

He looked at her, suddenly nervous. She couldn't help but suddenly feel like high school all over.

She took a deep breath. She was a risk taker by nature, as evidenced by what she said next:

"Don't be sorry."

He swallowed and simply stood still as she stood up, slowly, walking over to him.

She was standing close to him again. She took a deep breath.

"Don't be sorry at all."

With that, she took her chance: she leaned forward and kissed him, herself.

It was…amazing. She couldn't muster the brainpower to come up with anything better. She somehow managed to take a step closer without breaking contact. He seemed to almost instinctively place his hands on her waist, pulling her closer to him.

They only broke apart when breathing became necessary, collapsing onto the couch, his arms around her.

Resting her head against his chest, she said, "Do we have any idea what just happened?"

"I'm afraid to overthink it," Chakotay said breathlessly in her ear. She leaned her whole body into him. God, it felt nice to be held, simply held again…after so long, so alone…family was nice, and she loved having a family on board, but to not be alone…

"I don't want to, either," she said. "Overthink it, I mean…let's just…"

"Stay here?" Chakotay offered. Kathryn nodded. What the hell was she doing? This shouldn't be happening – every logical and practical part of her brain was yelling at her, telling her to let go, jump up, tell Chakotay to pretend this never happened…

But the suddenly stronger part of her brain, that damned emotional part, didn't want to – and it won. She just wanted to stay here, wrapped in strong arms, warmer than she's felt in so long and in so many ways.

"Staying here sounds nice," she said, leaning into his shoulder. For a few moments, nothing, but suddenly, nervously, Chakotay said, "Captain?"

"Hm?" she ask almost blearily, having felt so safe and relaxed that she'd started to doze off.

"Does this count as crossing the line?" he asked.

She paused.

"I don't think it'll count as crossing the line if I blew the sand away from it."

She could feel him nod with the movement of his chin on her head.

"So…I'm not going to the brig for this?"

She chuckled, knowing he felt it. One of the amazing things about being so close – you don't just hear or see what someone's saying, you actually feel it…

"Any protocols that would send you to the brig would probably send me there, too, at this point."

"True," he said.

"So…" she took a deep breath, his aftershave tickling her nasal senses.

"So…"

She couldn't help it. "Am I the only one who suddenly feels like high school again?"

"No, not really," he said, with another laugh, his laughing chest reverberating through her own.

Another pause.

"This explains that look on your face when I told you I kissed Kashyk," she said. Almost instantly, she regretted it, as he stiffened, a little.

"That was a while back, captain…I have no right to feel jealous…even this-"

"Don't call me Captain."

He looked down at her as she looked up.

"Cap-Kathryn?"

"Don't call me Captain – not here, not when we're alone."

He looked down at her. Her features, every single line, every single piece of perfection and imperfection, her dimples – everything.

"Of course," he said, drawing his arms tighter around her. "Whatever you say…Captain Kathryn."


A/N: Interesting that I wrote this, despite actually being quite the Seven/Chakotay fan. But don't worry - this one will be Janeway/Chakotay all the way. (Though an affair or two does add a spice to life).

Anyway, this will be a series of vaguely connected vignettes on their lives. Follows the Voyager timelines, vaguely AU-ish at moments. Not just a story, but not just vignettes, either. Whatever the hell this is, enjoy it!