Disclaimer:  Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager.  I don’t.  Only borrowing                 

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     A crewman has an old score to settle with his Captain and ‘punishes’

                      her by making her experience a catalogue of injuries she must pass off

                      as accidents.  With a bomb in place on board, he ensures her silence. 

                     Can Chakotay and Tuvok figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.









ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN.

By KAT LADY.



PART FOUR.





Chakotay and Tuvok raced to engineering, Tuvok already ordering the area cleared.  When they arrived, only Tuvok’s small security team was in evidence, the area now deserted.  Chakotay moved to the doorway of the small room and immediately saw Menzies inside with Kathryn.  He hadn’t even noticed that the door was now open as he pressed her against the wall, his leg forced between hers holding her in place and Chakotay heard the man’s voice, all control gone as he spit his words into her face.



“Thought you’d get away at the end, didn’t you bitch?  Nice try but I told you I’d win.  This is the end now and you’re coming with me.  You’ll take nothing with you but I’ll take the memories of all your pain with me and they’ll keep me warm in the next world.  I’ll add to your punishment for this by telling you I’m going to take everyone else with us, just so you know that you’ll have their blood on your hands as well.”  Chakotay saw the tears pouring down Kathryn’s face and the way she tried desperately to control the terror and pain she was feeling.  He called out suddenly into the room.



“Menzies…”  He saw the man’s head turn quickly and Kathryn’s eyes fly to the door.  “Menzies, it’s over now.  Let her go.  We’ve disabled the numbers on the keypad so let’s just end this now.”  Menzies let a howl of rage escape him and his hand went to Kathryn’s throat.



“Nooo…”  Chakotay saw him gain control of himself quickly and glance down.  “Nice try Commander but I can see from here.”  Chakotay saw him look at the console behind Kathryn and the device that lay there.  “There’s still one number to go.  It may not take out the entire ship but it’s enough to take me and the bitch here.  In the end, that’s all I want.”  His eyes showed their madness and Chakotay forced himself to remain calm and buy as much time as he could.  He forced himself not to look at Kathryn, knowing what he’d see in her eyes would only distract him.



“Menzies, we know everything.  We know about David.”  He saw the hate in the other man’s eyes and confusion in Kathryn’s.  “Alan, the Captain wasn’t responsible for David’s death.  He walked into that himself.  We’ve discovered sealed records and managed to break into them.  Your parents knew about it all.  That’s why they gave up.  It wasn’t her fault…”  He saw that Menzies was beyond accepting anything other than his own twisted beliefs.  “Alan please listen to me…”  Menzies laughed and pulled Kathryn with him nearer to the bomb.



“Enough of your lies.  I know how David died and I know who murdered him.”  He tightened his grip on Kathryn’s throat and laughed as she fought for breath, her hands desperately trying to claw his fingers away.  “That’s right bitch, David Cooper.  Do you remember murdering him?”  He saw the pieces fit into place on Kathryn’s face and squeezed tighter and shook her when she tried to speak.  “Don’t even speak his name.  Don’t even try and justify your acts.  You murdered him in cold blood.  Well at least you’ll die knowing the pain you caused him.”  He pulled her closer to him and reached down to the device on the console before him.  “Say goodbye to the Commander now Captain.  Sorry you never got a chance to let him ride you, you being the whore you are…”  His fingers reached to the keypad and time seemed to stop.



For a split second, Kathryn’s eyes locked with Chakotay’s and he read in them all the love she could convey to him as he desperately tried to show his love for her in same way.  Chakotay barely saw Menzies drop his finger to the keypad and saw Kathryn use the last of her strength to try and pull away.  He vaguely heard her voice.



“Chakotay, get down…”  The explosion that followed happened in a second and Chakotay dropped to the floor out of reflex.  It took him a few seconds to realize that the forcefield had held and he stood shakily.  He heard his own voice call to Tuvok but quickly saw that the Vulcan was already in action.  He looked back into the room and saw the thick smoke and debris near the door.  Almost immediately, environmental controls kicked in and the smoke cleared quickly, revealing the complete destruction of the room.  The forcefield dropped as soon as the fire suppressants did their job and Chakotay stepped through the door, searching the floor before him for Kathryn beneath the pieces of control panel and other equipment which littered the place.  He saw the body of Alan Menzies first and the fact that the blast had hit his back, the area now just a gaping wound, his head almost blown away.  He scanned the area, blood everywhere and finally saw Kathryn slumped against the far wall covered in blood and couldn’t tell if it was from the dead man at his feet or her own.  He was beside her in two strides, pulling pieces of metal and other debris off her then leaned down, his entire body shaking.  He was suddenly aware of the Doctor and Tom beside him, pushing him away and he saw them go to turn her.  He heard himself crying out at the sight before him as Kathryn’s body fell limply when the Doctor turned her and her head rolled to the side.  What he saw now was her own blood covering her head and face and that the knee length dressing gown she wore was soaked with it also.  Numerous cuts covered every area of exposed skin and he closed his eyes a moment, unable to look at her this way.  He heard the Doctor order a beam out and when he opened his eyes, they were gone.  Standing slowly he turned and saw B’Elanna’s face before him and the tears in her eyes.



“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…I couldn’t get it in time…I’m so sorry…”  Knowing she desperately blamed herself and needed his comfort, he pulled her to him tightly.



“You did the best you could.  Without you we’d all be dead…”  Knowing he needed to be with Kathryn now more than giving her what she needed, B’Elanna nodded and pulled away.



“Come on…I’m sorry…let’s just get to sickbay…”  She saw him stare at the pool of blood on the floor where Kathryn had been and pulled him gently by the hand.  She had to take over and lead her old friend almost and together they walked to whatever news awaited them.



That news was slow in coming.  They waited over four hours as Tom and the Doctor worked and operated on Kathryn, racing against the clock to stop the massive flow of blood from her body.  Tom had never witnessed blast injuries so severe where someone survived them and prayed as he worked.  When they had finally done all they could, they still had no answers for the two people waiting outside.  The pilot and the Doctor shared a knowing look and slowly and gently moved their Captain onto one of the biobeds, making her as comfortable as possible.  The Doctor nodded sadly and went outside, leaving Tom to finish up.



He tried his best to explain in layman’s terms about the severity of the blast injuries Kathryn had sustained.  He attempted to sugar coat his words to some extent but knew the exercise was useless.  Chakotay’s face was a mask of pain as he nodded, barely hearing what was being said to him, understanding only some of it.  Terms like ‘extensive internal injuries’, ‘severe head trauma’, ‘serious burns’, ‘massive blood loss’ and ‘coma’ floated over him.  He only knew they meant that Kathryn was in a critical condition and might not live. 



Some time later, he became aware of sitting beside her in the still of the medical facility and noticed that the lights had been lowered.  He kept his silent vigil throughout the night, his lips moving in prayer one minute and calling to the woman before him the next.  No matter how he tried to stop it though, his mind kept returning to the moments just before the blast had ripped through the small room and the look in Kathryn’s eyes, the love he had seen in them and something else, regret perhaps, even apology.  Her last words repeated themselves in his head, telling him to get down, words of no concern for herself, only him, only for his safety.  He knew she hadn’t expected to live through it all, knew that had been her belief all along since the whole ordeal had started, that her only worry had been him and the crew.  With this knowledge came the deepest sorrow and he lowered his head to her warm body and wept.



The days following the explosion blurred together as he continued his wait for Kathryn to open her eyes again.  After a week of hardly leaving her side, the Doctor tried to forced the issue and get his Commander to leave and get some proper food and rest but eventually gave in and left him in peace.  Chakotay managed to keep abreast of Tuvok’s daily reports on the repairs and mostly just nodded his understanding and acceptance.



Eight days after the blast which had almost destroyed Voyager, her Captain finally opened her eyes.  Chakotay was standing over her instantly, calling her name softly.  It took several minutes before she was able to focus her eyes properly and look at him and when she did, she tried her best to smile but instead her face crumpled and her tears came.  Chakotay simply bent down further to her and kissed the salty water from her face, gently stroking her hair.



“It’s over Kathryn, it’s over.  We’re all fine.”  He spoke directly into her ear to ensure she could hear him, the Doctor having explained that her eyes and ears had been affected by the blast.  She continued to sob, her body trying to release months of pent up terror.  Chakotay gently lifted her into his arms and rubbed her back, careful in case he hurt her, and felt her clinging to him weakly.  He caught the Doctor out of the corner of his eye and saw the Medic smile and nod his approval of Chakotay’s methods then return to his office.



Kathryn’s body was racked with sobs as Chakotay just continued to hold her, trying his best to be a buffer against the storm which rode through her.  He absorbed her cries and tears, saying nothing except with the soft, reassuring stroke of his hands and the comfort of his arms.  Finally exhausted, he felt her fall limply against him and lay her back down slowly.  She continued to almost dry sob, her breath coming in little gasps as her tears continued to pour.  Chakotay still said nothing and just stayed as he was, letting her get everything out.  He caressed her cheek and smiled down at her, his love showing in his eyes, speaking more than any words ever could.  She eventually quietened and settled a little, never taking her eyes from his face, even though he knew her vision was probably blurred.  He held her hands tightly in his and leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips.



“It’s over Kathryn.  He’s dead now.  He can’t ever hurt you again or anyone else for that matter.  Try and sleep now and rest.  I’ll still be here when you wake up.”  He spoke a little louder than usual and continued physical contact with her as he saw her eyes droop slowly and held her hand still, even as she slept.



Slowly over the next week, Kathryn’s condition improved.  The Doctor assured her that her sight and hearing which had been affected by the blast would return to normal in no time.  He explained as delicately as he could that despite the horrific injuries she had sustained, her pulling away at the last second had resulted in Menzies shielding her from the very worst of the blast.  Chakotay and Tuvok calmly explained to her everything about their discoveries and investigations and how they had tracked Menzies down and managed to stop him in the end from destroying them all.  Tom and B’Elanna called by also and explained their role in everything.  Kathryn was amazed how much they had managed behind her back but understood why they had kept everything from her and she thanked them profusely.  Chakotay spoke with her alone too, telling her about going through her logs and finding the padd and he let her know everything they had learned about Alan and David Cooper and the fall out to the family which had resulted from David’s death.  He finally got Kathryn to accept that she had not been responsible for any of it but he knew she still had a way to go before the emotional healing was completed. 



After a further two days, the Doctor finally agreed to let her return to her own quarters.  Chakotay was with her when she was released and again felt her stiffen the minute they entered the door.  His arm went around her waist and his lips pressed to her ear.



“He’s gone Kathryn.  He’s not here anymore.”  He saw her nod slowly and she looked up at him tearfully. 



“His ghost is still here though.  I still feel him…”  Chakotay smiled softly.



“Only the living can harm us Kathryn.  The dead are gone.  Why don’t you spend a few days in my quarters until you’re ready for this.  Get your body right first and then tackle the rest.”  She nodded eagerly and then seemed to hesitate.



“Chakotay, that’s not fair on you…”  He pressed a finger to her lips and smiled down at her.



“I’ll decide that.  Now, what do you want to bring with you?  Can you manage?”  She nodded and gathered what she needed and was out the door in minutes.



After dinner that evening, Chakotay suggested she go to bed early and follow the Doctor’s instructions to the letter.  She was tired and didn’t argue.  She watched as Chakotay hesitated in the doorway before speaking.



“Kathryn, if you’re uncomfortable with me being here on the sofa, I can always bunk in with Harry…”  Kathryn’s panic showed and she looked around her.  “Kathryn?”  She slowly sat on the bed.



“Please Chakotay…I can’t make you stay but…you’ve already done too much…giving me your bed…I can’t ask more of you…I’ve done too much harm…”  He slowly moved to her and sat beside her, a frown on his face.



“Kathryn, you could never ask too much of me.  If you’re all right with me staying here…”  He saw the terror on her face and suddenly realized how afraid she was of being alone.  “Kathryn, I’ll stay with you.  I won’t leave you alone if that’s what’s worrying you…”  He saw the fear change to relief but something else remained.  “Kathryn, open up to me please.  Talk to me…how could you have done any harm…”  Her tears returned and she looked away.



“It’s just…that’s it…I’m terrified to be alone and…I’m more terrified that…”  She looked back at him, pain written on every feature.  “Chakotay, the things I said to you…pushing you away like that…but I was so afraid of what he’d do if…”  Chakotay’s answer was to pull her to him and hold her tight.  He kissed the side of her head.



“Kathryn, that’s all past.  You were just trying to protect us all.  I wish I could have shared that with you, been there for you but…  Kathryn you did this the only way you could…  when I think what you went through…”  Suddenly she was comforting him and they clung to each other for a long time.  Kathryn’s whisper in his ear started time again.



“Chakotay…I have no right to ask this of you but…would you stay with me please…”  He nodded and smiled.



“I said I would.  I’ll just be right outside…”  Kathryn shook her head.



“No I mean…stay here…just hold me for the night…I have no right to ask…”  Her answer came as he pulled her to him again.  That night, Kathryn slept without nightmares but Chakotay lay awake listening to her breathing for many hours.  She stirred occasionally and he tightened his hold on her many times.  He knew this was the calm before the storm, that even though she had opened up and let some of the trauma of the past four months go in sickbay, there was still more to come and he knew she would never get past this until she faced it all and acknowledged it, then finally let it go for good.  Eventually, he slipped off to sleep, the warmth of Kathryn’s body making him feel as if he was finally home.



Chakotay resumed duty the next day and made sure Kathryn wasn’t alone while he was away and he returned to her immediately after his shift finished.  Despite a peaceful sleep the previous night, Chakotay awoke to Kathryn’s screams within an hour of falling asleep.  He held her tightly as she came down from the nightmare and the feelings of terror which it had left in its wake.  When she finally began to settle, he gently led her out onto the sofa and replicated a soothing hot drink for her.  He encouraged her to open up to him and stayed silent as she finally poured out all the pain and suffering, the terror and helplessness of the past months.  When she had unburdened herself, she looked up at him and for the first time, he noticed a slightly lighter look to her face.  When she finally fell back to sleep nestled against his strong chest, he gently carried her back to bed and sat watching her for what remained of the night.



By the following afternoon, he had reached a decision.  Watching Kathryn jump every time someone hailed him or called at the door tore at him and he saw that it was wearing her down and hindering her recovery.  He quietly suggested a few days ‘away’ on the holodeck and she jumped at the chance.  He explained that it was all arranged if she wanted this, that each crewmember had donated some of their time for them and that Tuvok would take command until they returned.  He had made other plans behind her back but would wait to disclose those to her.



They spent three peaceful days at a beach report Chakotay had programmed in and Kathryn grew more relaxed with each day that passed.  Chakotay knew it would take her some time to regain her former confidence but he saw the seeds of that begin to sprout in the fertile soil her opening up had created.  Her nightmares lessened as she lay beside him each night and although the only physical act which passed between them was hugging and gentle caresses, they were closer than they had ever been.  They spent hours just walking and talking, Kathryn slowly letting go of the horror of the past months.



When the time came to leave the holodeck, Chakotay saw her slight hesitation and reached for her hand, squeezing gently.  She smiled softly at him and he saw her ready herself for the real world again and her resolve to face the challenge head on.  He felt her nervousness as they approached her quarters and slipped his arm around her shoulders.



“Kathryn, I have…well we all have…well a kind of surprise for you and I hope you approve.  I mean without your permission or anything…well…see what you think…”  He reached over and entered his override code and the doors slipped open quietly.  He led her inside and ordered the lights on.  Kathryn gasped at the sight before her as Chakotay tried to read her reaction.  She gazed around her in astonishment at the re-decorated quarters before her, almost no trace of their former appearance in evidence.  Only her own personal belongings remained of what had been.



“We changed everything, bedclothes, the carpet, even the furniture was recycled and replicated anew.  God knows how they managed that…”  He saw that she was almost in shock but there was no trace of anger or any suggestion that what they had done had been the wrong thing.  “Did we do right?  Is this OK?  I know we probably should have asked you first but…”  All his questions were answered by the wind being knocked out of him as Kathryn threw herself against him and her arms came around his neck.  His shock wore off in a second and he returned the embrace and laughed softly.  “I guess that answers that then…” 



Kathryn finally pulled back, tears streaming down her face, their path interrupted by the creases of her smile.  “Chakotay…I don’t know…don’t know what to say…it’s such a wonderful thing to do…the gesture of it all…”  She wiped her face with the back of her fingers and gazed around her.  “Even the colours are just right…what I like…  How did they know…?”  She turned and smiled at him as he stared down at her.  “They obviously had a lot of help from someone who knows me better than I know myself…”  He shrugged and smiled, vestiges of the boy who had once been showing through.  Suddenly he saw a serious look cross her face.



“Chakotay, thank you so much for this and thank them all for me too.  I’ll thank them myself also as soon as I’m back…  I can’t tell you how much this means…”  He led her over to the newly re-upholstered sofa and sat them both down.



“I think I have some idea.  I know that everything in here reminded you and I thought that maybe with the appearance changed it would help in some small way.  I’m not sure how Starfleet will take it when we get back and they see what we’ve done…”  Kathryn smiled and took his hand in hers.



“We’ll just tell them the Captain needed a change in her life, that it was necessary to boost her morale and performance…”  She grew more serious.  “Can I interest you in dinner here tonight…to kind of christen the place…”  He reached out and stroked her cheek. 



“As long as it’s replicated…”  She glared at him but he saw her smile showing beneath it. 



“You’ve some cheek…”  He smiled and stood slowly.



“I’ll leave you a while to get settled if that’s all right…”  She smiled and nodded.



“I’ll be fine.  I need to learn to be here on my own again but this will make it all so much easier…”  She looked around her again and then back at him.  “See you around 1700?”  He nodded and pulled her up to him then hugged her tightly.



“I’ll be back then.  I’ll know to come when I hear the smoke alarms…”  He ducked from under her arms and was out the door before she managed to pick up one of the new cushions and hit him with it.



Chakotay arrived for dinner a minute early and saw that Kathryn was ready for him, the table laid with silverware and candles.  He smiled as he watched her potter around her new quarters, making sure everything was as she wanted it.  He delighted in the change he saw in her and the effect their short holiday on the holodeck had had on her.  He had spoken with the Doctor earlier and been assured that physically she was almost back to normal.  He knew himself that the emotional healing would take longer but as he watched her, he knew she was within sight of the end of the tunnel, that Kathryn Janeway was made of stern stuff and would beat this.  He marvelled also at how close she was allowing him now and prayed that it would continue when she returned to duty and was within view of the crew.  Tuvok had informed him that Kathryn had made a short walking tour of the ship earlier in the afternoon and spoken with many of the crew, thanking them personally for everything they had done for her.  They in turn had thanked her quite openly for ‘saving them all’ as they put it, letting the matter be discussed without causing too much pain for their Captain.  Chakotay looked up when he realized that Kathryn was talking to him and smiled.



“You were miles away there Chakotay.  Care to share the location?”  She sat beside him, the distance between them less than usual but she seemed very comfortable with it.



“I was just thinking how well you’re doing.  Tuvok told me you were out and about this afternoon.  Were you all right with that?”  She saw his concern.



“I was fine.  I was going to tell you about it.  It was just a spur of the moment thing, a need to see my life again for a while, know it was still there in a way.”  He stroked the back of her hand, understanding exactly what she meant.  “They were all great about it.  They didn’t try and pretend nothing had happened and that was such a help.  I know I was different with them too, more open if you like.  It felt really good.”  She met his eyes and saw his loving smile and she matched it.  “Come on, let me try and poison you.”  He groaned and pulled himself up, taking her with him.



“The things I do for you woman…”  The cushion made contact this time.



Four hours later, they sat and sipped the wine Kathryn had replicated and their conversation came and went but the silences were as comfortable as their talking.  Suddenly realizing how late it was getting, Chakotay put his glass down and leaned forward.



“It’s getting late and I’m sure you’re tired.  I should let you get some sleep.  Are you OK on your own here or do you want to stay another night at mine…?”  He frowned when Kathryn didn’t immediately meet his eyes.  “Kathryn?  Look, it’s fine if you want to stay with me…”  Finally she looked up at him but he couldn’t read her emotions.  He thought he saw embarrassment but wasn’t sure.



“Chakotay…I’d…I’d like to stay here tonight…but…”  She looked down again for a moment.



“Kathryn, that’s fine.  If however you don’t want to, know that there’s no hurry.  If you want to stay here that’s OK.  If you want to come back with me that’s OK too.  If you stay here and if you need me, I’m just next door.”  He leaned down to try and see her face and saw she was biting her lip.  “Kathryn, what is it?  Just tell me.”  She looked up and stared out at the stars as if the words she needed were written there for her to see and read.



“I was hoping…that…well that maybe…you’d stay here…”  She looked at him now and bit her lip again and he saw that she was actually nervous.



“You want me to stay here with you tonight?”  She nodded.  He cupped the side of her face with his hand.  “If that’s what you want, of course I will.  I know it’s helped you…”  She shook her head, losing contact with his hand and reached up and took it in her own.  She traced patterns across his fingers and her head dropped again as she watched herself.  Finally she looked up at him again but her fingers continued their movement.  He saw how unsure of herself she seemed and waited, giving her the time she needed.



“We’ve christened my new quarters, well this room anyway.  I was wondering if…if we could…”  He saw how frustrated she was getting with herself, not able to say what she wanted.  He remained silent as she drew in a deep breath in preparation for the big push.



“I was hoping we…we could…christen the…the bed too…”  She looked into his eyes, fearing what she’d read there and wondering if he’d even understand what she was really saying and if he did, would he think her too forward.  Chakotay for his part was afraid he’d misunderstood her.  She couldn’t be saying what he thought…



“Ahh Kathryn, can you…sorry…but can you be more…well clearer…I don’t want to misunderstand you and cause a problem…”  He saw her eyes on his, not moving in their focus.  “Are you talking about as we have been or something more…”  He got his words out and then held his breath.  She managed a small smile.



“I’m talking about…the last one…the…the more…”  She heard him let out the breath he’d been holding and found herself holding her own now as she waited for his reaction.  She got it immediately.



“Kathryn, are you sure about this because…why now?  I mean are you ready for this?  A lot has happened lately and I don’t want this to be just something to get you through or what you feel you owe me or…  I think you know already how deeply I feel about you and it would kill me if this happened and then later on it was over and…”  Kathryn held his eyes, understanding everything he meant.



“Chakotay, I know this is…well sudden, that if everything hadn’t happened as it did maybe this wouldn’t be happening now…but I can tell you, it would have happened sooner or later and I want you to believe me on that.  I’ve been moving towards that within myself for some time and…  I’ve felt alone for a long time now and all this only reinforced those feelings but Chakotay, what I feel for you was there already.  This is only about the timing, nothing else.  I…I love you, I have for a very long time.  I’m just too much of a coward to have said it to you before.  If however, you don’t feel the same anymore…I mean I know…that we’re still friends, good friends and that that will always be there but if…”  His fingers covered her lips and his heart hammered in his chest.



“Kathryn, I love you too.  I never stopped that.  If you’re sure this is what you want…  I just want you to know that if we start this, it can’t ever end, not for me.  This has to be separate from everything that’s happened, just between us, something that would happen anyway, something you wanted no matter what else occurred…”  She nodded and smiled.



“Chakotay, it is but I have to be honest with you.  What happened has influenced me but it’s only as I’ve said, in bringing it forward.  While all that was happening, I just felt as if I was in this dark place where there was no light but I’ve realized that I was already in a place like that.  It was a different place I know, but darkness is still darkness and being alone or feeling that way, is also the same no matter what the situation.  I feel for the first time in months, no actually years, that I’ve come out of that darkness into the light and I’ve discovered that that light shines from you, that you’re my light.  It doesn’t matter what the darkness was or what caused it, the light is the same.  My darkness was probably worse during the last months because what happened increased it and I didn’t have my light and that was my fault and because of that it was probably the worst time for me…”  Her tears started and he wiped them away.



“Kathryn…God I love you so much.  I want nothing more than to be with you completely, for us to be together completely.  You’re my light too.  You’ve faced the darkest time but the only way to think of that is…I guess it’s always darkest before the dawn and what we have here is a dawning…”  He found himself choking up and closed his eyes a moment.  When he opened them, he saw her look deeply into his eyes and the love shining there was alive.  He lowered his eyes to her lips for a moment and saw them part slightly.  He leaned in and claimed them, drowning in the sensation.  He heard her cry from the back of her throat as the emotion of the moment tore through her and he felt his own tears break through.   His lips pressed more firmly against hers as the feelings increased and they both knew the time for words was now past.



Kathryn opened her mouth under the pressure of Chakotay’s lips and felt his tongue sweep her mouth, tasting her for the first time.  She explored his mouth too, tasting him and the wine, her hands stroking up and down his back as she felt his mimic her own.  As they finally broke the kiss, they continued caressing each other with their lips around each other’s faces, unable to break physical contact for a moment. 



Kathryn was vaguely aware of Chakotay sitting up then standing and picking her up in his arms before heading towards the bedroom.  They fell onto the bed, lips locked together as their hands fought to free each other of all clothing.  As skin met skin, hands and fingers explored areas long untouched and the emotion of it all was almost too much to bear.



Kathryn felt Chakotay’s hands gently caress her breasts, his thumbs brushing her nipples as they hardened quickly under his touch.  His lips travelled over her face and neck then further downwards until they covered one nipple, the warmth of his mouth causing her to arch her back off the bed as she cried out at the almost forgotten sensation.  She felt his fingers pinching the other nipple, making sure it wasn’t neglected.  She pulled him as close to her as she could as he continued working over her breasts, stirring long dead feelings and bringing tears to her eyes.  Her own hands wandered over his back and shoulders and she felt the ache between her legs become almost unbearable.



As if reading her every thought and feeling, Chakotay left her breast, his hands taking the place of his mouth and kissed and licked his way further down, his tongue created moisture circles over her burning skin.  Kathryn was almost incapable of coherent thought as his lips brushed her hairline and he nuzzled further down.  She spread herself for him and felt his hands caress her thighs, gently holding her open to him.  His lips brushed slowly over her inner thighs, taking the long route to the prize that awaited him.  Kathryn squirmed beneath him and he saw how desperate she was becoming, seeing how wet with desire she already was.  He blew gently on her core, causing her to moan loudly then lowered his mouth over her, his lips and tongue coming into play.  Kathryn cried out and only his hands holding her hips in place, kept her on the bed as he licked, blew and sucked on her pearl of pleasure.  The rush of sensations that washed over her obliterated everything else as she felt her climax fast approach.  She felt herself floating on the feelings which surrounded her and when he pressed two fingers deeply into her, she screamed and felt the rush of moisture his actions caused.  Kathryn’s head tossed from side to side and her hands clutched at the sheets as she felt the long denied sensations approach and finally crash down over her.  Her scream seemed to come from far away as she rode the wave which seemed to go on forever.  She became aware that his fingers were still stroking her inside and his mouth was still assaulting her clitoris, forcing the journey to continue and she felt herself come down from it only to start the assent all over again. 



Kathryn found breathing almost impossible and clutched desperately at Chakotay’s shoulders, needing him inside her more than her next breath.  He rose above her and locked eyes with her and she felt him hot and hard against her throbbing centre.  Her breath almost stopped now as she looked into his very soul and she knew her own was open to his eyes also.  She arched her hips slightly and parted her legs further, the silent invitation all he needed as he poised himself at her entrance.  Knowing she was more than ready for him but still aware enough to know how long it had been for her, Chakotay pressed into her warmth slowly, entering her gently and giving her time to adjust to his size.  He felt her tightness surround his pulsing member and fought to control himself.  Kathryn arched her hips further, trying to draw him in as deeply as she could, despite the slight stinging she experienced.  Within minutes the ache was replaced by pure pleasure and she fought to hold contact with his eyes.  When he was fully sheathed, his tip touching her cervix, he began a gentle rocking motion and fought to keep his own eyes open.  Unable to control himself any more, he started thrusting and reading Kathryn’s encouragement as she met his thrusts, increased his pace until he was almost pounding in and out of her as she stayed with him.  He felt her inner walls begin to tighten and saw her own fight to keep her eyes open.  Suddenly he felt her inner muscles clamp down on his rock hard shaft and saw her throw her head back as her scream came and her world exploded.  Seeing her in the throes of her orgasm took the last of his control and with one final hard thrust, he exploded inside her, his fluid mixing with hers as he cried her name, half aware of her screaming his.



As they lay together afterwards, clinging tightly to each other, Kathryn’s legs held Chakotay inside her until she felt him soften, desperately trying to hold on to him for as long as she could.  He gently pulled out of her and rolled them onto their sides, afraid his weight might crush her.  They continued to hold and stroke each other, whispering soft words of love to each other in the semi darkness, until sleep claimed them.



Chakotay awoke during the night and finding himself sticky, eased himself out of the bed and fetched a bowl of warm water.  Carefully trying not to disturb the sleeping Kathryn, he gently bathed her then felt her stir before opening her eyes.  The love he saw in the blue depths as she looked at him almost took his breath away and the fact that it was there even before she had opened her eyes.  He smiled and placed the bowl on the nightstand as she reached for him and pulled him to her, knowing he’d need it again soon.



Three days later, Kathryn returned to duty and even officiated over the funeral which was held for Alan Menzies-Cooper, as he was now entered in the logs, the name being used to send a silent message to Starfleet when they read Voyager’s logs.  As his casket floated off into space, Kathryn watched it and leaned against Chakotay in full view of the crew when he slipped his arm around her shoulders.  She placed her own arm around his waist, knowing they would all see and the message was sent loud and clear.  When she turned back to face them, all she saw was their smiles of love and support and several nods of approval.  She turned her face up and smiled at Chakotay who simply leaned down and kissed the top of her head.  She glanced back once more at the darkness of space behind her, the casket now gone from sight then turned back to the light of her ship and crew and the man beside her, whose love had been the beacon which had guided her back.  Together they stepped forward into the future.



THE END.



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RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.




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