Title: And All Went Still
Length: 4, 100 words approximately
Summary: Post-Endgame 's in her old quarters on Voyager. He walks in. They talk for a little bit, have a cuppa, talk for a little bit more, and then they … boldly go where neither of them had (probably) gone before. Unless, of course, you'd rather believe what they say about what really happened back in "Resolutions".
Notes: Written in November 2012 for the LiveJournal Star Trek 20 fics challenge: Fic #2: Table 10, Prompt 018: "Mine." The version here has been watered down a *lot* for this site.
I looked up Betelgeuse in the Mayan & Central American mythologies, and found it's known to the Lacandon as Chäk Tulix ("Red butterfly" or "Red dragonfly" – source: Wikipedia & ). Opening lyrics taken from "Are you the one that I am waiting for", by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (The Boatman's Call)
Warnings: Sort of a lowish-rated PWP with a tiny little touch of blink-and-you'll-miss it phaser fetishism thrown in. Some light swearing.
Disclaimer: Characters and setting belong to Paramount Pictures and CBS, not me. No profit or harm intended. This is a fanfiction, not Canon.
And All Went Still
"And we'll know, won't we?
The stars will explode in the sky.
But they don't, do they?
Stars live their moment, and then they die."
The party was over, and Kathryn Janeway found herself wandering around the quarters that had been her home for the past seven years. Three months had gone since that day they'd returned to Earth, and the tedious processes of re-integration were still slowly grinding on. It seemed, lately, that she was spending more time at parties, meetings and functions than at anything else that might be remotely useful. It seemed that, whenever Starfleet wasn't sure what to do with her or her crew, it would throw a function. Kathryn was getting mighty tired of them, and only attended this one because it gave her a chance to spend a little more time on her old ship again.
She was alone - and glad to be, after four solid hours of obligatory small talk. The wine and champagne hadn't been too bad; some of it was even real. She should have been home an hour ago, but sometime when the soiree was winding down, she'd had a glass too many of a potent Château Picard from the Enterprise's stores, and hadn't been quite the same since. If anyone from security asked, she planned to tell them that she needed some time to clear her head. Not that anyone on the ship would – a lot of the staff on duty here on Voyager were from her old crew, and would be unlikely to drill their Captain for spending extra time in her old quarters.
Her door chime sounded, breaking her train of thought. "Come in," she said, without turning her gaze from the stars beyond her window.
She could hear the door hiss open, and even without looking, she recognised the distinctive sound of her visitor's sure, firm stride as he approached her.
"Captain?" Chakotay said, in greeting.
"Not for much longer, Commander." She replied, turning to face him. "I've been offered a Vice-Admiral's rank, and I've decided to accept it."
"You might find a desk job'll take some adjusting to." He said. "Are you sure that's what you want?"
Kathryn nodded, "Yes," she said, "I've thought about it a lot. It is what I want … I can still make a difference, whether I'm working from an office or a ship's bridge. And I'll be closer to my family. What about you?" she asked.
"I've been spending a lot of time talking to my sister and nephew on subspace," Chakotay replied. "Starfleet is still working out what to do with me. Things are still a bit up in the air for me at the moment."
"They're not still thinking of going ahead with those old charges?" she said. "I thought they were going to let them drop, considering your record in the past seven years."
"There's a few civil lawsuits that I've got to deal with," he replied, "but no, it's not the charges from my Maquis days. It's more that I think Starfleet simply doesn't know what to do with me."
"Like me," Kathryn said, turning back to study the view. "I think that's one of the reasons why I was offered this Admiralty. Not too many mere forty-five year olds receive the bar just for getting a ship out of a fix."
"I think you are greatly underestimating yourself, Captain." Chakotay said, coming over to stand beside her.
"You've always been very generous in your opinions, Commander." She replied.
For a while they stood together, he close enough to her that she could just sense the heat of his body - but still at what could be called a friendly but respectable distance.
"I've always appreciated that quality in you." She added.
They turned their attention to a star in the Orion constellation. "I've heard reports that Betelgeuse will finally go nova in a few months." Chakotay said.
Kathryn nodded. "They've sent the Papillon over there to observe it," she replied. "Lieutenants Kim and Wildman are on board. Naomi's with them as well. She was very exited at getting a chance to watching a real star explode. Her mother's on a team that'll be retrieving proto-life samples from one of the system's outer planets before it goes."
"I almost went with them," Chakotay said.
"Why didn't you go?" she asked.
There was silence for a moment. "There were…" he said, "… personal reasons."
"Is the star sacred to you?" she asked. He nodded. "He is," he said, "but I would not have violated the red dragonfly's sanctity by being there to witness his death."
"But you would rather be there for it, or here on Earth?" she said. "There are five ships disembarking Sol system this week that will be headed in that direction. I can still arrange to get you passage so you can join up with the Papillon in time…"
"Where I am when he dies doesn't matter," He replied, gravely. "When it happens, I will mark his passing with prayer and offerings. What is more important is that my heart and mind is clear."
Kathryn looked at Chakotay. Something in his tone pricked at her intuition. "Commander," she asked quietly, "Is there something else?"
He bowed his head, and shook it in a way that convinced her that her suspicions were right.
She gently put a hand on his arm. "Chakotay…" she said, more firmly.
"Seven is going with them." He said, flatly. She detected an edge of hurt to his voice.
"Is everything all right between you, and her?" she asked.
Chakotay's knuckles whitened as they curled against the windowsill. "Sorry, Captain …" He muttered, "but … I just hope that Harry doesn't get burnt the way that I did."
"You don't want to talk about it?" she asked.
"Not right now," he replied.
She let go of him. "I'm going to replicate myself a coffee to help clear my head," she said, walking away to the replicator. "Do you want anything to drink?"
"Herbal tea, thanks. You know what kind I like, and how I like it."
"I definitely do, Commander. One coming up."
When Kathryn returned, Chakotay was sitting slumped back on her sofa. The confession about him and Seven took something out of him, and he seemed almost vulnerable now. It was not the first time she dealt with a man in that state, and the ways of a senior Starfleet officer were well-ingrained in her. She'd neither encourage any self-pity that could come of it, nor take any advantage of him. She offered him his tea, and sat down beside him.
"Thank you, Captain," he murmured, gratefully.
"Don't mention it," she replied, and drank a bit of her coffee.
For a few minutes, they were said nothing as they politely sipped their beverages. The silence grew, until it became too awkward for her to tolerate.
"I'm sorry, Chakotay," she said, "I just have to say it … and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I'm a bit disappointed in Seven. I expected she'd have treated you with a bit more … empathy, I think is the word."
He leaned forward, and set his cup down on the coffee table with enough force that Kathryn almost jumped. She was sure now, that she'd just said the wrong thing … and her mind began racing as she wondered how she could salvage their friendship…
But Chakotay only lay back again on her sofa, and let out a heavy sigh.
"I realise I was too hard on Seven just now," he said. "As the saying goes, Captain, it takes two to tango. I don't blame her entirely for what went wrong between us."
"That's usually the way of such things," she replied.
"She's still too young for her age in a lot of ways." He continued. "And I should have seen that, instead of letting myself be flattered by her attention."
"You said she was seeing Harry," Kathryn ventured.
"I think that he's a bit too much on the naïve side as well." He said. "I'm worried for them both, coming together on the rebound like that."
She quietly put her coffee mug down next to Chakotay's teacup, and leaned back.
"Loneliness can do bad things to one's judgement." She said. "Especially when its goes on for too long. Libby didn't wait for Harry either … you knew that too, didn't you?"
"I did," Chakotay replied. He sneaked a sideways look at her … and couldn't help noticing how her posture showed off her figure. She'd filled out a little in those seven years, but in a way that only improved her. Like those fine wines she so often liked using as a metaphor…
"Captain, are you still …?"
"Still what?" she asked.
Chakotay shook his head. "No … forget that I asked that," he said.
"Chakotay …" she said, firmly, "what were you going to ask me?"
"I'm sorry, Captain … I was going to ask you something that was way out of order."
"I'll decide that for myself,' she replied. "I'm curious now, and I need to know. What was it that you wanted to ask?"
"Are you …" he asked, cautiously, "… Still seeing Michael?"
Kathryn sat open-mouthed for a moment, and it was Chakotay's turn to silently panic. Then, she closed her eyes, and chuckled briefly.
"Oh, Chakotay …That's been over for quite a while," she said. "Let's just say that one day, he got a little too tired of waiting up for me." She grinned, but her smile didn't quite reach her eyes.
"At least Mark gave me a few years grace before he gave up. With Michael, it only took a few weeks absence."
"While you were on Quarra?"
"No … this was before that," she replied. "You'd probably know that time. There'd been a lot happening on the ship, and I'd gotten so snowed under I was lucky to just get a few hours sleep some nights. Holodeck was out of the question for quite a while. When I finally could make the time to go and see him, he'd run out of patience …"
"You got dumped …"
"By a hologram." She said, tightly. "Yes."
"Kathryn … you should have told me ..."
"What could you have done?" she said. "If I can recall, you had your hands pretty full as well at the time. Besides which, my romantic life isn't relevant to my duties – and it's they that must take full priority."
"Now you're sounding a little too much like a Borg," he quipped. "Are you sure the Doctor removed all the implants?"
"Very funny, Chakotay." Kathryn replied, flatly. But while she rubbed tiredly at her forehead, he could see a wry little smile form behind her hand.
"You've been a good friend to me." She sighed, hard, from exhaustion and seven years of frustration, sorrow and loneliness. "I hope we can keep it this way. You were one of the reasons why I could keep on going through all those years."
"Thank you." He said. "Captain, you look tired, and it's late. We both have work to go to tomorrow. Perhaps I can escort you back home?"
Kathryn's shoulders shook hard with suppressed laughter. "Chakotay … as if I need escorting, here on Earth!"
"Well, the media here have been more than a bit persistent with you lately …"
"… And you escorting me will certainly give them something to talk about," she noted, and Chakotay noticed the way her eyes lit up at the idea. It was a glimpse of the old Kathryn, from when their journey was still young … when they'd think nothing of sharing flirtatious banter on the bridge.
"Well, let them talk," he replied, and grinned back at her. "Do you have any special plans for this week?"
"I'll be sitting on a lot of Starfleet issue chairs until my back aches and my rear-end goes numb," she said. "And you?"
"Much the same." He replied. "Will you be interested in meeting again for dinner … regularly, like we used to when we were on this ship?"
"I'd be delighted," Kathryn replied, standing up and offering her hand. "You have a standing date."
"Then it's settled," he said, taking it as he rose to his feet. "Work out a time, and I'll find a way to fit it in."
Without thinking, Chakotay raised her hand to his lips, and kissed it. "The pleasure is mine," he added.
He was going to just let go, but she'd clasped her other hand over his. There was something in her eyes as she looked up to him, that told him there was more that she wanted.
"Chakotay," she said, quietly, "please come closer."
He did. She reached up, and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for being such a good friend to me," she whispered. "It really meant a lot to me, all those years."
"Are you sure that's all you want me to be?" Chakotay replied, cautiously.
"What do you mean?" Kathryn asked. "Why do you think that?"
"Just that one of your arms..." he said, "…is around me. Not that I mind it being there."
"Oh, I'm sorry …" she replied, awkwardly pulling back …
"Captain …" he said. "I think you know that there's been something more between us for a long while now…"
"I know, but it's …" she turned away, and clenched her hands in frustration. "… It's just that there's protocols … and not to mention the conflicts of interest …"
"We're not alone out there anymore. We don't have more than a hundred and fifty lives dependent on us staying objective and making the right decisions. We probably won't even be serving on the same ship after this. Starfleet Officers have been forming intimate relationships with each other ever since there was a Starfleet. Our situation is different, this time."
He lightly touched her elbows as he spoke, and then let her go. The decision was hers now, and he would wait for it.
And this time, it took her far less than seven years to take the step across that barrier.
Kathryn regarded him with the same grim, steely expression that he'd seen on her so many times – and he dreaded for a second that she was about to turn it all down. But then her eyes softened, and she stepped closer to him …
"Computer," she said, "Lock my quarters against outside entry. Refuse all non-coded, non-emergency overrides."
"The Captain's quarters have been locked." The ship's computer replied.
"Captain…" Chakotay said, amused.
"Chakotay," she said, turning back to him, "I'd rather you call me Kathryn." Then she put her arm on his shoulder … and guided him down to the kiss that was waiting for him.
And for a moment, everything around them seemed to go still.
As a Captain, Kathryn had become something of an expert at making first contact … but the moment of her first intimate contact with Chakotay was not quite how she'd imagined it would be. The realisation of what she was finally doing stunned her with such emotional force that she briefly felt like a disembodied spectator - hovering from somewhere just above herself as all went still, watching her lips working against his. The unreality only lasted for a moment though, before she came back to herself … and with that, every feeling and sensation jolted into her consciousness. She pulled herself free to take a breath, gazed once into his dark eyes …. and then returned to the fray.
They stood together, face-to-face, swaying gently as each strove to fully accommodate the other's embrace. Everything was silent except for the sound of their breathing, and the rustle of hands against cloth and skin. After a while, it came to the point that neither wanted to stand up any longer.
Somehow, in one giddying move, they found themselves down on her sofa. She didn't know exactly how they landed there – nor did she care. Her hands had found their way back underneath his uniform, and that was what mattered. And Starfleet couldn't do a damn thing about it. As they became more aroused, the question of whether he'd kept up with his shots floated vaguely up into Kathryn's consciousness for a moment, but she remembered that she'd recently taken hers - and she remembered Chakotay was always diligent with his health. The matter quickly subsided as his hand snaked up and around her. And then, he caught hold of her belt.
"Do you realise we're still wearing our phasers?" he purred.
The mere thought that they were … and the way that he said it gave her another jolt of pleasure. But safety was still a serious thing… "Take mine off, Chakotay," she murmured, a little reluctantly, as she fiddled with Chakotay's belt and quickly disarmed him. She felt the weight of her own arms lift from her hip - along with the rest of Chakotay, as he leaned over to put the weapons on the coffee table.
And then he came back, cocked his head toward her bed, and offered his hand. She got up, and with another kiss, she took it.
As they lay down facing each other on the covers, Chakotay studied Kathryn for a moment, even though his body ached to get back into the action – but he wanted to make sure that this all was actually real.
He looked into the eyes that he'd had seven years to get to know. He knew how they could be hard as steel, occasionally mocking, often kind, always watchful … and ever giving the impression of knowing what to do, and understanding what they saw. They held for him a magnetic, ageless quality which did not quite hide a white-hot passion that was always there, somewhere.
"Well, Chakotay," she said. "It looks like this is it. Are you still sure?"
"But you do want me, don't you?" He replied, as matter-of-factly as he could, and drew himself more firmly into her embrace.
"Yes ... but you don't have to ... really ... I mean, this is too much on the rebound for you … if ... you …" she said, but he pressed himself tightly around her. Things were about to either go somewhere - or nowhere - fast.
"I think you can tell what I want right now," he said - knowing at that proximity, she wouldn't be able to ignore the state his body was in. "And I'll want to wake up next to you after this is over …"
Kathryn suddenly tucked her head down, her eyes shut. "You don't have to do that for me," she whispered.
"Then what do you want?" he asked.
"I just want to damn well hold you just once, Chakotay …" her fingers dug into his shoulder. "Just let me hold you so I can at least know what the hell it might have been like at the beginning of all this mess, when we just thought we'd been doing what we had to do and … I'm not saying you have to screw me out of charity, Chakotay, but ..."
He gently lifted her chin with a finger, so she could look into his face. Her eyes … she was trying to keep her expression hard, resolved – but it wasn't working. He wiped a tear from her cheek, and bent forwards to plant a kiss on her lips. But Kathryn needed more, and took to that kiss as a starving animal would to a chunk of food - open-jawed and frantic.
"I … take that as … a … yes," he gasped.
"Damn right it is a yes!" she hissed. "Chakotay, you're mine!"
He returned that with a smile. "Likewise," he whispered in reply. "You are mine."
Kathryn looked up that broad, dimpled grin. Chakotay, she thought, why couldn't you have damn well waited for me? ...and then, with a stab of frustrated anger, she kissed again - hard enough to make him start. And then she remembered Michael, and Kashyk … and followed that kiss with another that was less severe, more conciliatory ... more kind. She pulled him back to her as her boots raked at his, levering one off … then the other. Chakotay, his toes freed, nimbly returned the favour …
…and then it was on again.
And that was the way that it went. Their uniforms were gradually kicked aside or tossed to the edge of the bed, item-by-item, as each part got in the way...
…In the lingering buzz of the afterglow, he nuzzled his cheek against hers as they relaxed on the couch - he behind her, arms around her. She could feel the little nibbles and butterfly kisses he gave against the back of her neck, and she wished she could return them, but instead gave out a sigh, and moved her hand up behind her to give his hair a gentle tussle. He replied with a sleepy kiss, which she met. And then she reached back down, and took his hand in hers.
"Chakotay?" she whispered … but his breathing had steadied, and his hand relaxed. Chakotay was asleep.
As gently as she could, Kathryn eased herself out of his arms, and turned over to lie face-to-face with him. He mumbled and shifted as she pulled her sheet over him, but he didn't wake. And all was still as she lay for a while, gazing at his peaceful, handsome features, while thinking of where this whole thing could go. She took the edge of her bedcover, and pulled it over his bared shoulder. He was already snoring, though lightly.
"Mine," she said softly, "for as long as you want to be …"
They were woken by the chime of Kathryn's commbadge, which was buried deeply in the pile of uniforms at the foot of their bed. While she scrambled to answer it, Chakotay sat up and groaned, rubbing the back his head as he did.
"Janeway here," she replied.
"This is Admiral Nakamura," came the reply. "Where are you?"
"I'm on Voyager," she replied. "What can I do for you, Admiral?"
"Starfleet has some new orders for you," he said. "Report at my office at 0900 hours sharp. We want to tidy a few matters up before you go on leave."
"Leave?" Kathryn said … not quite believing her ears. I'm getting … leave?
"I'm sure you're aware that you've accumulated quite a considerable amount of leave time," he said. "And I think it'd be timely to use them now, before you take on your new duties."
"How much leave time do I have?" she asked.
"Three months," he replied, "effective from tomorrow."
"Thank you, Admiral," she said. "I'll be at your office in half an hour."
"I'll see you there, Captain. Nakamura Out."
When Chakotay came back from the bathroom, Kathryn had already put on a freshly replicated pair of knickers, and was picking the rest of her uniform out of the jumble so she could quickly refresh them.
"Who was that?" he asked.
"Admiral Nakamura," she replied – noting with pleasure that he was wearing a bath towel, and nothing else. "I've got to be at his office in half an hour."
"Well, then," he said, diving into the uniform pile, "I'd better be going …"
Kathryn touched his arm. "Before you go," she said, "How free are you in the next three months?"
"I'll be pretty busy until after next week," he said, "Why?"
"That'll give me a bit of time to catch up with my mother and sister," she replied, pacing over to the bathroom to clean up herself. "And the Gauntlet will be leaving Earth orbit next Sunday…"
"Kathryn … what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong, Chakotay," she said, poking her head out of the bathroom with a grin. "I'm just been given three months leave. And I'm going to use it. Do you want to come with me?"
"To …where?" … and then he remembered their conversation last night, and it dawned on him.
"You want me to come with you to Betelgeuse?"
"The Gauntlet will be taking a delegation of Orion dignitaries to attend the nova," she said. There's still room for a few passengers on board – a Starfleet physics major like myself should be able to wrangle a room. You're an anthropologist … you'd know more than enough about the star's significance in a range of cultures to be able to get one of your own."
"Perhaps we could share one?" He suggested. "It'd save some space for another passenger."
Kathryn ducked out of the bathroom again, this time she had her bra and tank top on as well as her knickers. "The pleasure will be mine." She said, playfully.
"And mine as well," Chakotay replied, as he leant over to receive another kiss.