A mood piece for Janeway and Chakotay.

Written for the 2013 VAMB Secret Drabble Exchange.

My recipient was Belanna who gave me this opening line:

I stood there in the rain looking at his door, trying to find the courage to knock

Rating: PG

REMAINS OF THE DAY

I stood there in the rain looking at his door, trying to find the courage to knock. Someone once told me courage was about doing what you're afraid to do. Believe me, I was afraid. Fear that was only great because my transgression against an honourable man was greater. Sometimes, facing the friend whom you've wronged was far more daunting than facing the enemy.

"There's something I wish to tell you..." I'd told him then, on Voyager.

Then, courage had fled too. My love had remained a flame that no one saw. I'd stood before him then, and the words "I love you" in every pulsing heartbeat. Then, the emotion had brimmed like a rich creamy froth waiting to burst over the brim of my cup of happiness.

He had looked at me expectantly, waiting for the precise moment that his life would change forever. We had beaten every foe in the Delta Quadrant, we had bad days, we had good days, we had spats, we had victories. Nothing, nothing in the heavens should have stopped me then. Everything came together and everything fell apart the moment I felt the old, familiar stranglehold of fear and duty. It choked the "I love you" I'd wanted to utter, killed it and unceremoniously dumped it where weakness reigned. The froth of happiness had subsided, shrunk away, leaving nothing but a thin, sick layer of scum.

"What do you wish to say?" he'd asked then.

I think my eyes bled, the sick deflation taking hold of me.

"No, it's nothing," I sighed. "Just something unimportant."

Now I found myself outside his door after pondering over a life without cheer, a life without Chakotay. A thousand scenarios eventually distilled into one decision - go to him, tell him what you need to tell him. Do so without fear.

The decision to act came surprisingly quickly and with it a deep sense of relief. Old barriers I created on Voyager dissolved like mist before the sun. The heavens would surely smile down on me.

So I let the action, born at the centre of my brain, course along neurons down my arm to my hand, to lift that hand and...knock.

Whatever happened, I was ready. No more stalling, no more beating myself over duties, command, suppression of every natural impulse to love a man who deserved loving. Just Kathryn Janeway come to beg a warrior to have mercy on her and accept her pleading. No taking chances, no safety nets, no Voyager to hold me prisoner, just Janeway and Chakotay.

When the door opened, I would know what to tell a man who'd been waiting patiently for crumbs from my table.

I knocked.

My heart hammered as footsteps, sure and even, came closer. I expelled air of pained expectation, the soft rain soaking into my hair, my clothes. I cared not how I looked. My need to be forgiven and loved greater than rain soaked garments and dripping mascara. What was I going to say? I'm sorry, Chakotay, for making seven years a misery for you? I'm sorry that, like Jacob of old, you had to wait so long? I'm sorry I couldn't be your Rachel? What? Yet I knew that words would surely fall from my tongue.

The door opened. He stood there, magnificent creature, magnificent angry creature. Magnificent, beloved creature.

"Have you come to gloat, Janeway?" he barked.

I blinked.

"No."

"What do you want?"

"Well, it looks like you were expecting me. A good evening would have sufficed, don't you think?"

"I thought you might pitch here. After all, she is no longer in the equation."

The equation. Janeway, Chakotay, Seven of Nine. Triangle of passion. There was an ugly mocking sound to his voice. I tried to blot out the bitter tones.

"I came to offer you - "

"An apology? Kathryn Janeway is sorry about something?"

I sighed. This was not going according to the script I'd planned. I drew a deep breath, gathered my courage and met his gaze squarely, hardly aware that we were standing just outside his door, the rain continuing to sift down on us.

"If you must know," I started, "I am deeply sorry that I hurt you so badly, Chakotay. I cannot undo my shabby treatment of you, or my dismissal of your feelings. I cannot undo my indifference to everything you tried to share with me of your devotion to me. I cannot undo all those times that I told you I'm not ready. But I'm here, now, to beg your understanding, your mercy, if you'll have me. I am so sorr - "

"Kathryn, you're rambling," he cut into my torrent of words. I could have sworn he was laughing at me.

The next moment his hand snaked out, grabbing a clump of my hair. Before I could yelp in shock, he pulled me roughly against him. My eyes connected briefly with his. They looked like dark embers.

"You always did talk to much, Janeway," he barked before his mouth descended on mine.

His lips burned through mine. Waves of pleasure ripped through my body. The heat was instant. His fingers dug painfully into my skin as he pressed me into his body. I was drowning in sea, in rain, in forests of beauty, in ecstasy. I tried to breathe as his lips kept mine captive. His moans were deep, more like the purrs of great wild cats. I ignored the pain as he bit into my lips, the rapture a never-ending stream that surged through me.

Every dream I had of kissing Chakotay, every fantasy of being with him, making love whenever, wherever, every longing of being treasured came together in that searing kiss. My body willed itself into his. Heated lips seared my face, brushed away the drops of rain, hot, hot lips against my cold face, warming me up instantaneously, just as his hands roamed in my hair, across my back. In wordless wonder I begged that the kissing, the touching, the caressing, the loving would go on and on and on. He didn't speak, yet I could sense love words flowing in his touches. I pressed closer into him, hear the deep sighing.

When at last he could bear to release me for a few seconds, his eyes burned into mine, his breath warm, his lips parted, ready to strike a second time.

"I am not a good man, Janeway. Not tonight, not tomorrow. You're here, I want you and I'm never going to let you go, is that clear?"

"I don't want to leave again, Chakotay, ever. My heart is yours forever."

He pulled me closer, his face almost touching mine.

"Now, Janeway, shall I make love to you right here in my doorway?"

His words drifted from a great, great distance through the fog of sensual ecstasy into my conscience. Doorway? Door? What door? Where was I standing? When my eyes opened slowly, like one returning from a deep and pleasant dream, the door came into focus.

Chakotay's door. A closed door. My hand was still raised as if to knock. I looked at my hand, momentarily perplexed. Did I indeed knock? If so, why was I not hearing any footsteps?

That was it. I heard nothing except the soft sound of sifting showers. Were they drops of rain that fell on my eyes? Or were they my tears that spilled from them? The courage I'd mustered all day began to recede, slowly, unwillingly.

No more courage. He didn't come. He was never, in all of creation, going to forgive me, make me his, love me. I gave a soft cry as my feet reluctantly retreated, further and further away from Chakotay's door. The old regret began to swamp me, and the old, old reason that he was never going to be my angry, angry warrior - it was all my own fault.

I turned around to walk the short distance to the transports. My heart failed me once again, betrayed me like so many times on Voyager. The only thought rushing through me was that he was finished with me.

I made myself believe there was no one home, or that he didn't want to see me after all.

So I began walking blindly away from him, head bent, the sadness so deep it kept me hunched like an old woman. I turned back once more to look at his house, hope flashing briefly that the door might open. Sighing, I continued walking.

I was so deep in thought that I knocked into someone.

"I'm sorry. Didn't see you," I mumbled.

When the person didn't move, I looked up.

"Kathryn..."

end