TITLE: The End of the Evening


SUMMARY: At the end of a busy day Chakotay does something nice for Kathryn. An entry to the Simple Math Test "A Touch of Romance" contest: http://www.mistresssara.com/contest/archive/romance/index.htm where you had to take certain nouns, verbs and adjectives and include them in a romantic tale. The words I chose were flame, candle, rose, kiss, smile, red, and steamy. I think they're all in here!


DISCLAIMER: The characters portrayed belong to Paramount. I'm just manipulating them so the story is mine.

By the time Kathryn was able to return to her quarters there were less than six hours before her regular shift began again. The latest cause for her interrupted night had been an unknown enemy vessel appearing on the horizon. A slight skirmish and two course changes later she had been able to leave Tuvok in charge on the bridge while she had gone to work in a jeffries tube assisting in damage control. Now she was not only tired but filthy as well.

Glancing at the time she realised she just had time to enjoy a bath to remove the dirt before crawling into bed. With any luck she might just catch a few hours sleep, before either the alarm went off, or Tuvok called her.

In less than five minutes Kathryn was dropping herself into a hot steamy bathtub full of water and bubbles. She had helped herself to a glass of wine on her way into the bathroom and now lay back, sipping it gently and trying to clear her mind from the day's activities. Nearly falling asleep she was brought back to life by a sound coming from the other room. She sighed softly and smiled, completely unconcerned.

Some time later she rose, stepped out of the tub, and drew her robe tight around her. Soft jazz music was now playing in her main living area and it intrigued her. Just as she was preparing to leave the bathroom, a hand shot around the door, holding a single red rose. It disappeared again just as quickly but her curiousity was intensified.

"What are you doing?" she asked, laughing, as she finally stepped into the living room. The room was low-lit, candles scattered on tables and shelves, flames flickering wildly. On the dining table stood a vase filled full with red and white roses. In the opposite corner, standing in front of the window, stood the instigator.

He stepped forward, out of the shadows. "Happy birthday, Kathryn." He smiled apologetically. "It's not quite what I had in mind originally but it seems our 'friends' decided that things should be otherwise."

She stepped over to the table and leaned over the flowers, breathing in their aroma. "They're beautiful, Chakotay," she whispered. "Its all beautiful." She stood up again, looked across at her best friend and lover of two months, and grinned wickedly. "You knew I was in the bath. Why didn't you join me?"

He came over to her, placing his arms around her from behind. "Oh, I thought about it," he said lazily. "But I decided to set this up instead. By the time I was done, you were also."

Kathryn shuddered in his embrace, a chill shooting through her from feeling his mouth close to her ear. "I'll accept this any day," she whispered. "So much more preferable to one of Neelix' celebrations."

"You'll get that tomorrow, I'm sure," he chuckled. "He was already telling me how upset he was that he couldn't hold a party for you tonight."

"Oh, please, I would probably have fallen asleep while you were all singing Happy Birthday." Kathryn yawned. "Chakotay, I don't mean to sound ungrateful but I need to be on duty again in less than five hours. I'm surprised you're not telling your captain she needs her sleep."

He turned her around to face him and kissed her lightly on her forehead. "You've got the morning off, Kathryn. It's all arranged."

"But I can't." She looked positively horrified. "There's still work to be done. I told B'Elanna I'd spend time with her tomorrow in engineering."

"No buts, Kathryn. And I know what you told B'Elanna. But this is the crew's gift to you. Repairs are taken care of, and those that aren't are under control. Just relax, Kathryn. Sit back and enjoy it."

She looked up at him. "And I suppose you've decided to give yourself the morning off as well?"

"Actually, no. I'll be covering for you."

Kathryn sighed and leaned against him. "You really are something, you know that?"

His arms closed around her. "You deserve it, love. Now, you said you were tired?"

She nodded, and reluctantly pulled back from him. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." With a smile, he took her arm and steered her to the couch. "Wait there a moment, okay?"

She sat down, confused, and watched as he walked around the room, slowly picking up the candles and taking them through to the bedroom. Gradually the light in the living room disappeared and she was eventually left enveloped in darkness.

The door to her bedroom slid open, and a narrow band of candlelight filtered through. Chakotay then appeared into that light, a hand extended. "Coming love?" he asked softly.

She stood up and walked towards him. "Oh, its lovely," she breathed as she saw what he'd done. Candles that he had strategically positioned throughout softly illuminated the entire bedroom.

"Just for you," he smiled. He took her hand and led her to the bed. With his spare hand he pulled back the covers and then gently pushed down. Once Kathryn was in the bed, he pulled the covers back over her, until only her head resting on the pillow could be seen. "I'll be in shortly," he whispered, before leaning over her and kissing her softly on the lips.

"I'll be waiting," she smiled back.

When Chakotay returned from the bathroom five minutes later he found her fast asleep.