Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager and all it entails belong to Paramount and whoever else legally owns them. I am making no money from this. I'm just taking some characters that were mistreated and trying to make them a little happier.
AN: Ah, "Resolutions." The misnamed episode that launched a thousand fanfics. And another thousand fics that make reference to it in one way or another. But primarily in one way. We all know what it is. Say it with me now: The Angry Warrior Legend. Love it or hate it, think it's sweet and heartfelt or ridiculous and corny, it is impossible to ignore if you read enough fanfic. There are a couple out there that start before it and don't include it, because they get together before it's necessary, but OpheliaImmortal and I were discussing it, and we've never read one where they get to that point, and then it goes differently. Which led to this.
Challenge: Write a Resolutions rewrite starting either after the end of the massage, or after she comes back out to define parameters. And then… dun dun dun… No Angry Warrior Legend. It can go however you want and be whatever length and rating you want, just leave out the Legend. That's it. Think about how else it could have happened.
Hopefully other people will get into this as well, but as my friend gave the challenge to me, here goes nothing…
By Lady Callista
"There is nothing so strong or safe…as the simple truth."
Kathryn let out a deep sigh as she shifted positions yet again, rolling to her back and letting her arm flop up to cover her eyes. She had been trying to sleep for almost an hour, and was no closer to the land of Morpheus than she had been when she first laid down.
It had taken one minute for her world to completely turn upside down. One minute filled with nothing that should have been life-changing. One minute of simple contact, nothing more than him trying to make her more comfortable. One minute where nothing existed but gentle hands massaging her shoulders.
She hadn't felt uncomfortable about that minute while it was going on, but because of how it had ended she certainly was now.
The end, that one second where she had felt the touch change from therapeutic to caressing, changed the entire experience.
One second that had caused two years of repressed and denied emotions to suddenly float to the surface and have her floundering under them.
One second that had caused what had probably been a severe overreaction on her part.
She had fled the room as if he had just blatantly propositioned her rather than let a simple touch turn sensual.
Her thoughts continued to spin as she shifted positions yet again, trying to figure out why she had reacted the way she had.
If they had still been on Voyager it would have been logical; it would have been unwise for her to enter into a relationship with her first officer. If they were still on their way to Earth it would have been understandable; she had a fiancé waiting there for her. But they weren't in a command structure anymore, and they weren't on their way to Earth.
They were the only two people on the entire planet, and since all her research equipment had been destroyed there was a very high probability that they would be there for the rest of their lives.
They were friends, and there was definitely a spark between them that could turn into something more if they allowed it to. Even if that hadn't been the case though, it wasn't like they had any other options, and after being celibate for nearly two years Kathryn could definitely say she couldn't imagine spending the rest of her life that way.
Although they had been on the planet for weeks, up until today she had still had hopes that her research would allow them to leave someday soon. She hadn't considered allowing their friendship to change into something more, because she still hadn't given up on getting back to Voyager. Now in the course of a single day she had to come to terms with not just the idea that she was stuck here for the rest of her life, but that she would have to not only begin figuring out and expressing her own feelings, but learning what his were for her.
It sounded dumb even as she thought it, and she didn't really know how to avoid it, but she didn't want something to happen just because they were the only two people here.
She knew he had been attracted to her before they came here, but you could be physically attracted to someone without wanting to have a relationship with them. He had never made a move on her before this, although the logical part of her mind informed her that could easily be explained by the fact that she was his commanding officer and he understood they shouldn't get involved.
Or there was a chance he had never wanted a relationship with her, would have never considered it if he had another option.
That little kernel was the one that bothered her the most.
But it wasn't like she could just come out and ask him, especially when she couldn't be sure how she would answer if he turned the question back on her. Would she have ever considered a romantic relationship with him if they hadn't been trapped here? The answer was probably no, but that had nothing to do with him personally and everything to do with the fact that she was engaged, and his captain.
She hadn't truly allowed herself to think about it, and had purposely tried to stifle any attraction or desire she had for him. Yet the very fact that she had felt those things for him in the first place meant that even though she wouldn't have pursued a relationship, she would have slightly regretted the fact that she couldn't.
It had gotten both easier and harder as their tentative working relationship had slowly become a friendship, and as mutual trust and respect had grown. Easier because as she got to know him, she had known he was not the kind of man who would ever push her. And harder at the same time, because as she got to know him, she had realized just how special he was, and what an amazing partner he could be.
She certainly couldn't think of anyone else she would rather be stranded with.
But she knew she needed more time to sort her own feelings out, and it wouldn't hurt for them to talk about it before anything actually changed. It would probably be better for both of them if they simply remained friends, at least for a while.
With that in mind she rose and headed back out into the main room. Once she made up her mind about something she always carried it through, and she knew she would sleep much better if they got everything aired out.
"We have to talk about this." She was already speaking as she moved around the partition that separated her bedroom from the main room.
"All right." Chakotay looked up from the sand painting he was working on, giving her his full attention. He only wished he knew exactly what she was talking about.
"I think we need to define some parameters… about us." She sat across the table from him, her face serious.
Chakotay ducked his head to hide the amusement he knew had to be dancing over his face. He had known she would react like this. "I'm not sure I can… define parameters." He said softly, and composed his face enough to look up at her. "I'm not sure why you think we need to either."
"I… I just…" She cursed herself even as she stuttered, a note of panic ringing through her head. Maybe she had been mistaken. Maybe his touch hadn't shifted, maybe he hadn't had any intentions other than getting the knots out of her shoulders. Maybe…
He saw the embarrassment flash into her eyes before she hid it, and knew her well enough to realize what she was thinking. He kept his voice gentle as he said, "Kathryn, what I mean is… Touch is a basic human need, and you're a more tactile person than most. You touch me all the time, my arm, my shoulder, my chest. What kind of parameter do you want? You can touch me but I can't touch you?"
"That's not what I meant, I just…" She trailed off even as she called herself a coward. It was something she certainly wasn't used to being.
"Why did me giving you a massage make you uncomfortable?" He kept his voice kind, reading her discomfort. Even being fairly certain what had caused it, he needed her to explain, both for herself as well as for him.
"It's not that." She took a deep breath, trying to figure out what to say. He wasn't reacting the way she had thought he would. "Maybe parameters wasn't the right word. And it wasn't the massage, exactly, it was…"
Chakotay couldn't stop the smile that flashed to his face as she trailed off yet again. He had never seen her like this, never seen her unsure about anything, let alone something this simple. It was both endearing and a little worrisome. "I've lost enough people in my life that I tend to be a little over-protective of people I care about, and want to take care of them. You were sore and I wanted to help, but I'm sorry if… if I made you uncomfortable. And I'm afraid the only thing I can say to explain will make you uncomfortable as well."
"Not as uncomfortable as I was when I was worried that I had misinterpreted what happened." She said softly.
He nodded briefly. "I've been trying very hard these past few weeks not to make you uncomfortable. I've been attracted to you since almost the beginning but knew that nothing could ever come of it, and I resigned myself to being just your first officer, and later your friend. I tried to not imagine what it could be like if we were more, and if we were still on Voyager we wouldn't be having this conversation. Ever since we got stuck here though, it's been harder for me to lock it all away." He paused briefly, watching emotions flicker across her face. He actually noted that relief was almost primary, and wondered if she had been having the same thoughts that he had, that while neither had anyone else to turn to that shouldn't be the only reason.
"You never made me uncomfortable…before tonight." She offered gently, eyes locked on his across the table.
He nodded gratefully and continued speaking in a gentle, but emotional tone. "I didn't know how you felt, and I knew that as long as there was a chance we could leave you would never consider… I really did just want to make you more comfortable tonight, Kathryn. There was no ulterior motive. I would never push you that way. But you…" This time it was his turn to trail off, unsure of how to express what he wanted to say.
"But I reacted to your touch." Kathryn admitted on a whisper.
Chakotay nodded again but remained silent, not sure where to go from here.
"I was attracted to you long before we came here as well, Chakotay." She answered his confession with her own. "And you're right, if we were still on Voyager we wouldn't be having this conversation. I got so used to trying to ignore the feelings, to trying to make them go away, that now I'm not sure how to let them out. For almost two years, I've put all my own needs aside, almost to the point that I convinced myself I didn't have those needs. Plus, even knowing Mark has probably given me up for dead and moved on… I… I was engaged, and I felt so guilty every time I thought about you rather than him. He was the last person to touch me like you did tonight. How sad is that?"
He gave her a soft smile, knowing she meant more by the word touch than just the physical. "I wouldn't say it's sad; it's the same for anyone who left someone they love on Earth. You're not the only one who had a fiancé, and some had spouses, even children. At what point do you give up on that? How long do you wait before you try to forget them? When is it… is it okay to try and find love again?"
Her eyes widened on the last line, but she didn't deny that her thoughts had been moving in the same direction his were. Her voice was soft and thoughtful as she replied, "I imagine it's different for everyone. For me, I'm not sure I ever would have given up on it, no matter how much time had passed. Partly because as captain, it was easier to consider myself taken… to not think about the day I might have to decide how I would deal with it if I… if I fell in love with someone under my command."
"I'm not under your command anymore." He offered carefully.
"No, but one thing hasn't changed." Kathryn replied. "In fact in a way it's worse now. There, if we had tried it and it hadn't worked out, we would have still had to work together, but at least we would have had other people to interact with. Here there's no one else… and if we…"
"Kathryn." He cut her off gently. "Have you ever gone into a relationship assuming it would fail?"
She blushed. "No, but there's never been this much at stake."
Chakotay rose then, moving around the table and kneeling beside her, taking both of her hands gently in his own. "And we've got all the time in the world. I believe we can make this work, as long as we both truly want it to."
She held his gaze for a long moment, wanting to weigh all the possible outcomes in her head. But when all she could think of was how her heart had soared when he took her hands, she supposed that was an answer in and of itself. "My neck is still a little sore."
He returned the smile she gave him, and kept his eyes on hers as he lifted first one of her hands, then the other, to drop gentle kisses on her knuckles. "Then I better take care of that."
Chakotay rose and slid around to the back of her chair, his hands sliding through her hair for a few seconds longer than he had allowed them to earlier.
The silence between them was comfortable now as he began to gently work the knots out of her shoulders, allowing his thoughts to drift lazily in order to keep himself distracted from her nearness. He knew how difficult it had been for her to reach out as she just had, and now that they had talked about it he was content to let things move at her speed.
Chakotay had known for a while now that they would have a talk like the one they had just had at some point, and for days now had been putting more and more thought into what he would say to her. He hadn't been able to plan it too much though, as he had known both her attitude and her own words would greatly affect the course of the conversation.
It had actually gone much better than he had anticipated, and he was glad he had decided on having a simple and honest conversation.
He had oscillated greatly over the past few days on how he was going to approach this.
Just two nights ago, somewhere around midnight, he had nearly convinced himself that it would be best to let her completely lead the conversation, only confessing to attraction if she did so first. And while that would have been appropriate for a first officer, the man in him had talked him out of it by calling him a coward.
Then last night, after the plasma storm had ended and they had surveyed the damage, deciding to clean up the inside of the shelter first and wait to do the outside till today, he had lain awake for a long time. A slight edge of the panic he had felt as he ran through the woods trying to find her had resurged, and he had decided that when the time came he would confess flat-out that he was in love with her, and that he didn't want to waste any more time. He had fallen asleep confident in that decision, but examining that plan in the morning light had caused him to quickly discard it. He knew he could never push her in that way, and knew how disastrous it could be if he was wrong about the fact that she had feelings for him as well.
Another approach had occurred to him as they had been working this afternoon. The hard manual labor had reminded him of when he was young, and working with his people on various projects around the colony. Those long days had always ended with the elders telling tales around the campfire, and he knew that many of the tales and legends told had a basis in history and fact, and were simply told in the manner they were to make the lessons children were meant to learn from them more interesting and easily understood. He had briefly considered turning their past on Voyager and his feeling for her into such a legend, giving himself the out of claiming it was only a story if it seemed to make her uncomfortable. But that was also a coward's way out, he had decided after considering it for only a few minutes.
Which was when he wondered why he had been thinking about it so hard. Why he had been making it so complicated. They were friends, they had been even before being stranded here, and they were closer now than ever. He didn't want to plan this out, didn't want to try and manipulate the situation; neither did he want to completely hide nor completely expose his feelings. He just wanted a simple, honest, conversation.
And he had gotten precisely that.
His hands had continued to massage as his thoughts wandered, but now he tuned back in as he felt a particularly stubborn knot at the base of her neck, and shifted both of his thumbs to push on it firmly.
He immediately let up as she let out a brief grunt and her shoulders tensed slightly. "Sorry, did I hurt you?"
"A little, but in a good way." Kathryn groaned lightly as his fingers began to work at the knot more gently and she felt some of the muscle tension beginning to fade away. "You know just where it aches."
Chakotay's hands froze, and they both felt the earlier tension between them return. After a second, he managed a light chuckle and concentrated on his hands and the knot in her neck rather than the heat coursing through his veins. He tried to keep his voice light as well, but it came out slightly huskier than normal. "Yes, I do."
She tensed again and rose quickly, spinning about to face him.
He tried to keep the anxiety from his eyes and wasn't sure if he was successful or not. But it didn't seem to matter, because rather than making a hasty retreat as she had before, she slid around the chair to stand more properly in front of him.
Kathryn offered him a small smile as she lay her hand warmly over his chest, pressing slightly harder than she usually did to feel his accelerated heartbeat. She met his eyes almost hesitantly, and her heart tripped slightly at the tenderness and patience she saw there.
Her smile intensified and her other hand rose to his chest as well, resting there briefly before both hands slid up to rest lightly on his shoulders. There was a flirtatious comment forming in her mind, wanting to ask him if he ached as well, and what she could do to help, but she knew the answers to both of those questions and wasn't quite ready for those words to be spoken. She was still trying to adjust to the fact that they had each admitted being attracted to each other.
Kathryn could feel the sparks between them, they had been growing steadily the longer he was touching her, and the heat of his chest under her hands sent flutters through her stomach that she hadn't allowed herself to feel in years. She couldn't give voice to the flirtatious comment, but neither could she simply step back.
Something about saying the words, about admitting her attraction to him, had caused all the desires and dreams she had firmly suppressed to come rushing back to the surface. And she knew it wasn't just because she had felt alone for so long, it wasn't only because she had missed a man's touch. It was because she had wanted this man, specifically, and now there was nothing holding her back.
Kathryn felt his hands come to rest lightly on her hips, exerting the barest of pressure to urge her closer. She went willingly, feeling his hands slide around to her back even as her own linked behind his neck. She went up on her tiptoes without further urging, watching his eyes darken as their chests came lightly into contact even as he automatically tilted his head slightly down to maintain eye contact.
They stayed that way for a charged moment, neither making that final small move they were both obviously contemplating. One of his hands shifted, stroking over her hair, and she reciprocated by letting her fingers play over the short hairs on the back of his neck. She felt the fingers on her back flex slightly, and gave him her half-grin as she traced her fingers lightly over his tattoo. The small caresses kept the moment from becoming awkward, and each change in contact sent new tingles running through her.
Still, the few brief times she had allowed herself to imagine this moment, she had imagined him initiating it. She slid her hand back around his neck, her eyes twinkling as she allowed her smile to bloom fully. "Aren't you going to kiss me, Chakotay?"
His smile echoed hers, and his voice was barely a whisper when he replied, "I'm still trying not to push."
She chuckled at that, fingers still playing over the back of his neck. "Do you really think it would be pushing at the moment?"
It was his turn to chuckle. "Maybe not, but I did say we had plenty of time."
"You also once mentioned something about living in the present." She grinned at him as she moved her lips fractionally closer to his.
Chakotay whispered her name almost reverently as he erased the last millimeters of space between them.
The first touch was barely a kiss, and shouldn't have caused the already kindled fire between them to turn to wildfire in his blood, but it did. Their lips brushed again, and the sound of pleasure that hummed in her throat was nearly his undoing.
He scraped his teeth lightly over her bottom lip, soothing immediately with his tongue, and when her lips parted with almost a purr he dipped inside the subtle and somehow exotic flavor that was Kathryn.
The kiss grew even deeper as they lost themselves in the sheer rightness and joy of the moment, and his last coherent thought before the feel and taste of her overwhelmed all else was that he was more glad than ever that he had decided on a simple and honest conversation.
AN2: So for months my muse was basically refusing to work with me, although she thankfully helped with the Secret Drabble exchange, and then when I finally got back into writing she insisted I work on this instead of finishing the last few of my 25 Moments. Hopefully I can get back to those now. At least since they're individual stories I didn't leave everyone with a cliffhanger for two months; I know how much it bugs me when authors do that, lol. I hope everyone enjoyed this one, and that others will take up the challenge.
I decided to stop at this point because going beyond here and still keeping the story original would be very difficult; my goal was to redo the Legend part, and I did. Anything beyond this would just be a standard Resolutions fic, and there are already plenty of those out there. Although in my head, the story continues with Voyager rescuing them but them remaining a couple, which is where most of you went as well I'm sure.
Reviews, and helpful critiques, are appreciated as always.