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

Rating:          NC 17.  Kids go play elsewhere.  Contains adult material.

Summary:     When Chakotay and his away team are convicted without trial,
                      Kathryn makes the ultimate sacrifice and takes their punishment for
                      them.  Can she survive?



Chakotay was still cradling Kathryn’s head when they re-materialized in front of the Doctor but he could see that nothing else existed for Kathryn outside of the pain.  He saw now the blood on her face and realized that she had badly bitten her lip and that her face was rubbed almost raw from grinding against the wall.  He looked again at just how bad her back was, in some places the ribs almost showing through the deep cuts.  There wasn’t an area of her back where uncut skin remained.

Kathryn screamed out with her failing voice, when they lifted her onto the biobed and Chakotay took her hands, trying to comfort her in any way as he heard Tuvok inform the Doctor of the situation and of the drug which had been administered.  His own tears refused to stop and the pain he felt was almost unbearable when he thought about what the next few hours would bring.

The Doctor was at her side now and for once he didn’t order Chakotay out of the way.  He made alterations to the biobed so that a smaller section jutted out of the top, where Kathryn could rest her neck and head.  This allowed her arms to hang down, avoiding further movement to her back.  The Doctor looked at Chakotay and beckoned him to the side of sickbay. 

“Commander, I won’t be able to administer any painkillers or antibiotic for at least another two hours.  I can’t even sedate her.  She is going to be in considerable pain.  I’m going to have to inflict more because these injuries have to be cleaned now.  They can’t be left unattended for the next two hours and the bleeding will have to be stopped or at least slowed down, and with this drug, I can’t even use the dermal regenerator.  From the scans I’ve taken, it will be two hours before this drug works it’s way through her system, but I promise you, the minute I deem it safe to administer a painkiller, I will do so.  Can you stay with her?”  Chakotay looked at the Doctor as if this was the most idiotic question he had ever asked. 

“Just try getting me away from her.” 

“I didn’t expect anything less” the Doctor told him.  “Just keep talking to her, anything to take her mind off this, although that will I know, be almost impossible but please just do your best.  Commander, I have to tell you that this is going to place a great amount of strain on her heart.  If we can get her through this until I can administer a painkiller, then she should make it, if not, her chances are not good.” 

The Doctor moved back to Kathryn and tried to explain to her what he was going to do but he could see his words were not getting through to her, the pain so great that Kathryn was almost catatonic. 

Chakotay sat beside her and held her hands.  He carefully avoided touching her wrists, which he knew were raw from the ropes and which the Doctor had temporarily bandaged.  He did the only thing he could think to do and so he spent the next two hours talking to her non-stop, stroking her hair, telling her anything he could think of, old stories, tales he had heard as a boy, details about family and old friends, things they had all gotten up to, and then he switched tack and spoke about the two of them, what they would do after she recovered, trips to the holodeck they would take, on and on until he was almost losing his own voice. 

Throughout all this, Kathryn continued to moan and cry out in pain, at times screaming out, and her tears came constantly.  She was aware of Chakotay there as she gripped his hands the whole time.  His voice broke through her pain and she tried her best to focus on the rich sound of it but she was growing weaker.  The pain was relentless as it poured over her in wave after wave.  She felt as if her body was swimming in a sea of fire and her mind swam with it.  She knew the Doctor was working on her but the pain felt no different.  It was already all consuming and so nothing the Doctor did could make it any worse. 

Kathryn thought at times she would lose her mind but always there was Chakotay’s voice, a centre in the storm that was raging through her.  She realized that his words meant nothing to her and that she was unable to concentrate enough to make sense of them but the soothing sound of his voice was like a balm to her and so she continued to fight to focus on him.  She could feel her strength giving out and knew she would soon give in, to what she didn’t know and it suddenly entered her mind somewhere that she might well die so she tried to fight more but knew she was losing this fight. 

“I have to tell him…what is it?  There was something, the message, the recording. Did I tell him?  He has to know.”  She realized now that she was starting to lose control of her mind. 

“Chakotay” she rasped  “have to tell you…message...must know how I feel…”   His voice came through to her. 

“Shhh, Kathryn, it’s all right.  You told me about the message.  Just focus on my voice.   It won’t be long now and then the Doc can give you something for the pain.  Please love, just hold on a little longer.  You’re nearly there.  Stay with me now love, come on.  You can do this, just fight a little longer.”  He gripped her hands tighter, willing her to stay with him, to fight, to hang on for that last hurdle. 

He was starting to lose control himself.  Seeing her like this was tearing him apart.  He couldn’t believe how she had hung on this long and looked up at the Doctor for reassurance. 

“Five more minutes, Commander.  The drug is almost out of her system.  Just get her to hang on another five minutes.”  Chakotay nodded to the Doctor and focused all his attention and energy back to her. 

“Come on honey, five more minutes, that’s all.  Just fight a little longer.  Stay with me now, listen to me, Kathryn you can do this.”  She heard him through the mist in her mind and tried to find a last surge to get her through. 

“I have to tell him…have to tell him” was all that was in her mind, fighting with the pain for control. 

“Chakotay, have to know…”  She could feel herself losing it and struggled harder. 

“You…tell you… I…love you…have to let you know…log…my bag…” 

She felt her grip on his hands loosen and knew she had lost.  She felt herself slipping away somewhere, unsure of where and suddenly uncaring.  She could hear him calling to her but his voice was getting fainter. 

“Love…you…” something pressing her neck, dark, getting dark, his voice leaving, getting further away, still calling her and then finally nothing.

Chakotay saw her final struggle and heard her words, felt her grip slacken.  Fear ripped through him as he screamed for her to hang on.  He was unaware of the Doctor beside them for a minute and then it hit him.  The Doctor had pressed a hypospray to her neck and her letting go was the painkiller finally administered.  He looked to the Doctor for desperately needed reassurance and got it with a slight smile and a nod from him. 

“The drug is finally out of her system.  That was a painkiller I administered just now mixed with a sedative.  The antibiotic I’ll administer intravenously.  She’s not through it yet and this has put a terrible strain on her heart.  It will take her quite a time to get through this but I’m more hopeful now.  Commander, may I recommend you try and get some rest.  The Captain is going to require surgery now and will be unconscious for some time.  And yes, I’ll call you immediately if there is any change.”

Chakotay held on to her hands a little longer and leaned forward and kissed her. 

“Rest now, my love.” 

He could hear her laboured breathing and realized how pale and clammy her skin was.  He saw the Doctor prepare a blood transfusion and with a final kiss, he stood up and let her hands go. 

“It’s going to be all right now Kathryn.  You made it.  I’ll be back later.”   He turned to the Doctor. 

“The minute she’s out of surgery, you call me.” 

The Doctor nodded his agreement and went on with his preparations.  As Chakotay exited sickbay, he looked back at her and noticed that the cuts on her back were cleaner but he wondered if the marvels of modern medicine could ever return her back to how it was before but he also knew that the emotional injuries of all this would take even longer to heal.

As the doors to sickbay closed behind him, he just stood in the corridor and closed his eyes.  When he opened them a minute later, he noticed that Tom, B’Elanna and Sam were all standing in the corridor. 

“Tuvok would be here too but someone had to run the ship and we know what the Captain would say if there was no one on the bridge.” 

Tom tried but his humour failed him.  They had all waited in the corridor outside sickbay since they had beamed back to the ship and had tried to draw comfort from each other.  They had heard every scream from Kathryn and each one had bitten into them deeply.  Chakotay looked at them and instantly knew why Kathryn had done it, why she cared so much about these people and he knew he would have done the same thing if he had been able.  He told them what they wanted to hear. 

“She should be fine.  The Doctor is taking her into surgery now.”  B’Elanna jumped in. 

“Chakotay, just what the hell has he been doing for the last two hours?  Why didn’t he just sedate her or give her stronger painkillers.  We heard her screams…” 

She was angry and upset and didn’t care who knew it.  Chakotay decided to tell them. 

“He couldn’t sedate her, couldn’t even give her any painkillers.” 

Their reaction was as he would have predicted and he saw the pain they shared with him and so he told them of the drug and it’s effects, how Kathryn had had to suffer the last two hours.  He felt they had a right to know despite the guilt they would feel knowing all the facts, guilt that matched his own.  When he finished, all he could do was surrender to them and let them hold him and he finally gave way to his tears, only his tears had plenty of company.  He let them lead him back to his quarters and told them he would call them the minute he knew anything.  They were reluctant to leave him alone but accepted his assurances that he needed some time to himself.  They knew what he was going through and shared every bit of it

Once alone inside his quarters, he sank down on his knees and let his body slide on to the floor.  He stayed this way for some time and then he remembered Kathryn’s plea about her log.  He stood up stiffly and went to her quarters, entering his override code.  When he walked in, he was instantly assaulted by the smell of her all around him.  It surrounded him and yet he felt it also caressed him and he drew comfort from it.  He immediately spotted her bag, just inside the door and reached down and opened it.  He found what he was looking for and made to go back to his quarters to read her message but instead found his legs moving towards her bedroom.  He lay down on her bed and played back her recording to him, letting her voice wash over him as he inhaled her scent from her nightgown, which he held tightly in his hand, and he cried again as her words of love floated over him and through him.  He heard the birds and the sounds of nature almost as if they were there with him and in his mind he allowed himself the fantasy that he was walking there with her, as she told him of her love for him and her hopes and dreams.  He felt at peace for a time and it was the sound of her voice, replaying for the fourth time that finally lulled him to sleep.

Chakotay awoke to the sound of the Doctor’s hail and was up and running towards sickbay before the Doctor had even finished speaking.  As he entered, the first thing he saw was Kathryn lying on the biobed, still lying on her stomach but her back was covered and she appeared to be sleeping soundly.  There was a little more colour in her cheeks but he also noticed the intravenous lines supplying her with blood and fluids.  He turned to face the Doctor and didn’t even need to speak. 

“She came through the surgery fine and her heart appears to be strong.  This will be the last transfusion she will need, and she will Commander, make a full recovery, also there should be no scarring, at least physically.”  He seemed to hesitate slightly, then went on. 

“Commander, I have to ask you…well if…anything else occurred…that you know of.  It’s just that during my examination of the Captain, well I...I found....”  Chakotay instantly knew what he was getting at. 

“She was strip searched, Doctor.  They weren’t exactly gentle…  Was there much…damage?”  The Doctor met his eyes. 

“No, just some tearing and a little bleeding…that was how I noticed…but nothing too serious and I healed it quite quickly.  I just needed to know…” 

“I understand Doctor.  Look, you take care of the physical.  I’ll be there for her for the rest.  I’ll take care of that.”  The Doctor nodded and then surprisingly patted Chakotay on the arm. 

“She’ll sleep for at least another four hours.  You can stay or I’ll call you just before she wakes, but either way, I feel it would be better if you were there when she does wake up.”  Chakotay was already moving towards her and the Doctor didn’t need any further answer.

Chakotay’s world shrank to the area around Kathryn.  She was all that existed for him over the next few hours.  He sat with her, whispering to her and gently stroking her face and hands.  It pained him each time he looked at her wrists, where the newly regenerated skin was still a little red.   Her face was turned towards him and he brushed his finger over her lower lip, now almost healed and cried inwardly as he remembered how badly she had bitten it in her torture.  Kathryn moaned and he thought for a minute that she was coming round and then realized painfully that she was having a nightmare.  He knew she was reliving everything and called gently to her, his mouth to her ear and continued brushing his hand over her face and hair.  He knew she heard him in some corner of her mind as she suddenly quietened and resumed a peaceful sleep once more.  A little later, when she started moving again, he prepared himself for another nightmare but this time, she was indeed coming back to him.

Kathryn slowly opened her eyes and for a few moments couldn’t figure out where she was.  For a brief minute there was confusion and then it was replaced with the horror of what had happened.  The memory of the pain returned full force and it took her a further minute to realize that the pain was no longer there.  She felt the soreness and stiffness in her back but the agony of earlier was absent even if the memory of it remained.  She looked into Chakotay’s eyes and knew that she would be safe there.  His gentle smile met her and she felt his hand caress her hair.  She tried to speak and her voice sounded alien to her but she eventually managed to croak “How long?”  He took her hand in his and held it tightly. 

“Fourteen hours.  You had surgery but you’re fine now and you’re with me.” 

He tried his best to give her his biggest smile but he couldn’t hide the pain and worry that had been there for the last day and he knew she had seen them as her own eyes were suddenly swimming in tears. 

“Oh Gods, Kathryn…”

This wasn’t what she needed from him but he couldn’t help himself.  She reached her hand up to him and suddenly winced, her back protesting at the movement.  Chakotay gripped her hand and lowered it back down. 

“It’s all right sweetheart, I know.   Please, don’t try to move.  You’re going to be sore for the next few days…” She looked deeply at him, her face serious. 

“Chakotay, will I be…scarred…I’d understand if I was…if you didn’t want…”   Her tears came but he gently brushed them away.  He gripped her hand tighter. 

“No love you won’t, I promise.  The Doctor told me himself.  You’ll be fine and I’m here now.  Between us all, we’ll take it all away, everything, all the hurt and pain but know one thing please.   I wouldn’t care what you looked like or how badly scarred you were so please love, don’t ever think that that would make a difference to me.” 

She smiled at him but he could see what the memory of it all was doing to her by her eyes.  He saw the pain, physical and emotional, the shame and humiliation, everything she had endured for them and knew in that second that the eyes were indeed the mirror of the soul.  He also knew that he wouldn’t rest until he had rid her eyes of all that and had purged her memory of all that had happened.  Now was as good a starting point as any. 

“Kathryn, I love you and I got your message.  Thank you love, for everything you said…” 

“Chakotay, I love you.  I was afraid for a time there that I wouldn’t get a chance to say that to your face.  That’s why it was so important to me that you hear the message, that you know.”  She was crying openly now. 

“Chakotay, I’m so sorry for…well everything.  For holding you back for so long and…”  He leaned over and silenced her with a gentle kiss. 

“I know it, love, I know it but now we have our lives in front of us and we’re together.  We love each other and we have each other.  That’s all that matters.” 

As they stared into each other’s eyes, their souls silently communicated what words could never say.

The Doctor refused to allow Kathryn out of sickbay for a further four days and for once she didn’t object.  It was this, along with the lingering pain and horror in her eyes that told Chakotay that it would be quite a while before she was anyway near being back to herself.  He noticed that time wasn’t having the healing effect on her mind that it should have been having but decided not to push anything, telling himself that there was plenty of time later for them to talk.  He prayed she wasn’t having second thoughts about him but he couldn’t ignore the fact that her manner had changed.  When she came out of the anaesthetic first, she had seemed more sure of their relationship than she had ever been but now she seemed withdrawn with him.

He spent as much time as he could in sickbay with her and when he was unable to be there, he knew an unofficial rota had been set up with the others, so that there would always be someone with her, either to sit quietly by or be there to talk.  Chakotay knew she would not let her guard down in front of the others, and even with him she still tried to make out she was better than she was, either from old habits or to spare him.

On the fifth day, he came by to walk her back to her quarters and she was quiet during the short walk, having refused to transport there.  He knew she badly needed to feel her legs under her and to make contact with the ship again.  When they reached her door, he unconsciously placed his hand on her back.  He heard her draw in a painful breath and felt her flinch and instantly cursed himself. 

“Oh Gods Kathryn, I’m so sorry love.  I just didn’t think.  Are you all right?”  She saw his panic and smiled at him. 

“Chakotay, I’m fine really, just a little tender, that’s all.”  He didn’t look convinced and she reached her hand up to him and stroked his face. 

“Honestly Chakotay, it’s all right.  I’ll just be a bit sore and tender for another day or so.  You didn’t hurt me.”  He seemed to accept this and smiled down at her but she could still see other emotions in his eyes. 

“Chakotay, please come in.  I want to talk to you.”  She opened her door and he followed her inside.

She allowed him to get the coffee and he couldn’t help but smile as he watched her face as she took her first sip. 

“You’ve been having withdrawal symptoms for that, I’ll bet.”  He tried to keep his voice light but everything reminded him of what had happened and she didn’t miss the catch in his voice.  Kathryn set her cup down and turned to him. 

“Chakotay, I told you recently that you know me too well and I realize that the same goes for me.  I know you too well also and I can see what you’re going through over all this and if I guess right, it’s mainly guilt.”  Her face was serious now and he found he couldn’t look at her, knowing that she was right on the mark. 

“Kathryn, you have no idea what all this did to me, seeing you…what happened…and I felt so helpless and useless.  I always told you I’d be there for you and I failed in that…”  Suddenly he felt her hand on his and finally looked at her.  He was shocked to see tears rolling down her cheeks. 

“Chakotay, I made the call.  It was my choice to do what I did, but don’t for one minute think that you weren’t there for me.  You were there every step of the way and that’s what got me through it.  I don’t mean to add to your burden but I have to tell you that I truly believe that I’d have died at some stage throughout all that, especially after in sickbay, if you hadn’t been there, reaching out to me, even when at times I didn’t reach back.  That was wrong of me but I felt…I guess I wanted to spare you in any way I could just as you tried to for me.  I’m sorry for turning away from you…” 

She stopped speaking and gave in to her tears.  Chakotay quickly gathered her in his arms, hating to see her like this. 

“Kathryn love, we settled all that.  I got your message..”  She pulled back and looked at him. 

“No, for turning away when…when…they…”  Her tears came back harder than before.  Suddenly he understood. 

“Oh Kathryn, please no, I understand about that, I really do”  Her small body shuddered against him and he tried to pull her tighter and yet avoid touching her back. 

“Chakotay, I was just…I thought after…once you saw that…that you wouldn’t want me...that it would...”  He pulled back this time. 

“What?  Please don’t say you thought it would make any difference to how I felt about you.  Oh Kathryn...”  There was some anger coming through from him now. 

“Is that what all this has been about, your withdrawing?  You don’t know me, do you?  How could you…my love, you do me a great injustice if you could ever think that scarring or seeing what they did to you and yes, I’ll say it, the strip search..”  He felt her cringe against him. 

“Yes Kathryn, the forced strip search, against your will, because that’s what it was, but if you think for one second that I would feel any differently about you because of that, then no, you don’t know me at all.”

As she looked at him, she realized now for the first time just how badly all of it had hurt him too. 

“I’m sorry love, please forgive me.  I just felt so dirty and humiliated and yes violated and I’m sorry but I guess I feared that that would pass to you, that if I felt that way about myself, that it would follow that you would…I’m sorry Chakotay, I was wrong, I know that and the more I think about it, I should have known that all along.  I heard your voice and it did get me through and again, I’m sorry I didn’t look at you and let you be there even more for me…”  

She felt his hands hold her head to his chest and felt him lower one to rub the top of her arm.  His tenderness swept through her like a tidal wave and she cried even harder.  He said nothing further but just held her, letting her cry it all out.

When she eventually managed to regain come control, she felt his hands take her face and raise it up to look at him. 

“Kathryn, it’s you I love, who you are.  What happens to our bodies during this life will never change that, whether it’s this or old age or physical mutilation from an accident, none of it matters, and I’ll tell you honestly, and I’m not trying to score points, but not once did I look at your body during it all.  I’d only ever do that with your permission.  All I saw was you, the woman I love.  Can you understand that?  I only saw you, the soul and spirit of you, through your eyes into you.  Kathryn, as much as I love your body and want in time to worship at it, make love to you, that will be only physical.  I want more to make love to you, eye to eye, spiritually.  I can’t say it enough to you.  I love who you are, not what you look like.  The body is just window dressing but our spirits, our souls, that is who and what we really are.” 

Before he knew what was happening, she was crushing him to her and her tears had returned but this time they were tears of happiness and they were cleansing tears, tears of renewal.  They held each other, no more words needed, for the next hour or so and then Chakotay realized that she had fallen asleep, feeling safe and secure.  In no time at all, he felt himself drift off, joining her.

Within a week, Kathryn was ready to return to duty and the night after her first shift back, Neelix arranged a party for her.  B’Elanna, Tom and Sam, even Tuvok had all thought of the idea together and approached Neelix about it, only to discover that he was ahead of them, arrangements already underway.

Chakotay knew about it all and decided to keep quiet.  He persuaded Kathryn to join him on the holodeck to ‘check out a program he had discovered’.  He knew the look on her face when she realized what was happening, would stay with him for the rest of his life.  When the surprise or rather shock wore off, he saw tears in her eyes and moved in front of her, blocking the crews view of her for a minute or two, giving her time to compose herself and she nodded her thanks to him, not trusting herself to speak.

The entire evening was a complete success and Kathryn was exhausted by the end of it.  As Chakotay walked her back to her quarters, he slipped his arm around her waist and delighted in the fact that she didn’t object, despite the fact that several crew members witnessed his display of affection.  A part of him wondered if she was just too tired to notice but she quickly changed his mind on that, having read his thoughts.  Smiling up at him, she told him what he needed to know.

“I’m not ashamed of you, Chakotay.  I love you and don’t care who knows.”  He tightened his hold on her. 

“I’m glad to hear it.  By the way, another surprise for you.  You’re off duty tomorrow and you’re spending the day with me on the holodeck and before you say anything, it’s all arranged.  It’s a present from the entire crew so you can’t disappoint them.” 

“What am I going to do with you, Commander?”

They had reached her quarters and she turned into him, putting her arms around his neck. 

“I’m sure you’ll think of something, Captain.” 

He could see how tired she was and so he gently lowered his mouth to her forehead and kissed her softly. 

“Get some sleep, Kathryn.  I’ll call you early in the morning.  08.00 hours.  Wear something casual and bring a swimsuit, OK?”  She pouted and then smiled. 

“Not even a little hint?”  He entered her code and gently pushed her inside her door. 

“Goodnight my love.  See you in the morning.” 

He smiled at her, a million 'I love you’s' showing in the smile and walked backwards, wanting to get every last image of her in his mind before he lay down to dream of her. 

Kathryn gasped and was close to tears again next morning when she entered the holodeck with Chakotay.  He had programmed in a woodland setting, with a crystal clear lake glittering in the sun.  A small cabin sat back in the woods and loons called out to them over the lake.  It was typically Earth and reminded Kathryn of her own home. 

“I haven’t upset you too much with this, have I love?  Is it too much a reminder of home?”  She saw his concern and smiled at him. 

“Oh Chakotay, no love, it’s just perfect.”

They spent a wonderful day together, leaving the past two weeks firmly outside the door of their minds.  They strolled around the lake, gently holding hands and occasionally kissing softly, the sun watching over them.  They returned to the cabin and then decided to take a swim before lunch, playing in a totally carefree way in the water almost like children again.  As the sun dried them off afterwards, they ate the lunch Chakotay had lovingly prepared and Kathryn ate more than she usually would, enjoying her food for the first time in her recent memory, having suddenly gained an appetite after their swim.

After eating, they spent the rest of the afternoon on the porch of the cabin, cuddled together and talking lazily about everything and anything.  Often they were just silent, but even during their silences, they were still communicating.

As evening fell, Kathryn realized that she had never felt happier or more at peace than she did at this moment and shared this with the man beside her.  He had one arm around her shoulders and turned to stroke her face with his other hand. 

“Kathryn, you have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that.” 

Their eyes met and held and in that moment, everything fell into place and it was as if the rest of their lives were decided for them.  Chakotay leaned in towards her and gently brushed his lips to hers, waiting for her response, not sure if she was ready for this.  He got his answer quickly as he felt her hand come up and caress his face, then go round the back of his head, pulling him closer to her.  He kissed her softly at first and then more deeply as he felt her answering response in the pressure of her mouth on his.  He felt her open her mouth to him, and he entered gladly, his tongue dancing with hers for their first tentative exploration of this new journey.

Chakotay’s arms went around her and he pulled her closer to him, knowing that all tenderness had left her back now and felt her respond in kind, pulling him into her embrace also.  He delighted in the soft moans coming from her and felt his passion mount.  He knew his arousal would be very obvious to her if she were to look down and he shifted his body to try and hide it but Kathryn was already aware of the effect their kiss was having on him and was even more aware of the effect it was having on herself, feeling a growing heat build in her stomach and between her legs.

Chakotay was fighting a losing battle with his body, unaware of the fierce battle raging in Kathryn’s own loins, a battle she had already decided not to fight.  She sensed his struggle and immediately choose to put him out of his misery.  Stirred with a boldness she didn’t know she had, she felt herself reach down and stroke the straining bulge, which was becoming more and more evident.  A passionate cry erupted from Chakotay as he felt her hand tenderly stroke him and he pulled back to look at her.  As she met his eyes, her hand stopped it’s caress and he saw a fear there for a second, as if she thought he might think her too forward but he swiftly put that idea to rest for her. 

“Kathryn, are you sure about this?  I’ll be honest with you and tell you I want this more than I can say but I need to know that you’re sure, that you want this too...”   He trailed a finger down her face. 

“There can be no going back from this, you understand that.  There’s no way, if we make love now, that I can ever go back to the way things were before.  Know that once I taste you, I’ll be hungry for you for the rest of my days...” 

Kathryn resumed her caress of his groin and smiled at him, before leaning in once more to claim his mouth.  He heard her breathless whisper close to his ear. 

“Chakotay, I never want to go back.  I have discovered life and I’m not giving it up now.  I love you more than life itself and I want you, all of you.” 

He knew in that moment that the true reason for his life had just been revealed to him and he pulled her to him, fearful of ever letting her go. 

“Make love to me, Chakotay.” 

Something took him over and he found himself standing and sweeping her up into his arms.  Next thing he knew they were inside the cabin and he was laying her down on the large bed there.  For several minutes, all he was capable of was kneeling back, looking at her, worshipping at the altar of his life’s meaning.   She lay there, allowing him this precious time, practicing her own form of worship.

They reached for each other at the same moment and this time the kiss was passionate beyond words, both of them clinging to each other as if they were drowning.  They both instinctively knew that this first joining would not be slow and gentle, the desperate hunger each had for the other denying them any chance of that. 

“Kathryn, I don’t think I can slow down…”  Chakotay’s hands moved over her body with a mind of their own and he realized quickly that Kathryn’s hands were matching his in their urgency. 

“Oh God Chakotay, just take me, please…I have to have you now…”

He didn’t need a second invitation and suddenly clothes were ripped from bodies and hands fought to touch every inch of flesh available to them.  Nothing existed except the feel of skin on skin and the frantic desire to almost crawl inside the other.  Kathryn was almost insensate as she felt his mouth devour her breasts and she reached for his now rock hard shaft.  He groaned as her hand encircled him and knew he wouldn’t last very long at this rate.  He pulled away from her grasp and grabbed her thighs, spreading her legs quickly.  Kathryn screamed out as his mouth came down on her, his tongue and teeth assaulting her burning hot centre.  Raw lust permeated the air all around them and Kathryn came hard against his face, her entire body writhing beneath him.  Giving her no time to recover, she suddenly felt him push two fingers into her and she screamed out again as his thumb rubbed frantically back and forward on her clitoris and within seconds she came again, tears pouring down her face. 

Kathryn reached desperately for Chakotay’s shoulders, pulling him up to her, needing him inside her as much as she needed her next breath.  Her urgency was equal to his and she felt his throbbing member press against her entrance and felt him hesitate a moment. 

“Chakotay, please…now…”  She felt shameless in her begging but was beyond caring. 

“Kathryn, I’m afraid of hurting you…”  She dragged at him. 

“You won’t...please…Chakotay...I need you...”  

Anything else she might have said was lost forever as his fever took over and he surged inside her, filling her beyond what she thought possible.  She screamed out again and he stopped immediately, terrified he had indeed hurt her but one look at her face and he knew that her scream had been one of passion.  He gave her a further minute to adjust to his size and then started moving, slowly at first.  Kathryn met his eyes and whispered to him. 

“Chakotay…come inside me…please…” 

With her words all his control was gone and as he realized that Kathryn had started another ascent, his pace became frantic and his body took over his mind.  Her hips met his thrusts and then she was screaming again, her world exploding around her a third time.  Seeing her face in the throes of her orgasm pushed him over the edge and now it was his turn to scream out, his life fluid filling Kathryn and sending her on another, smaller trip of pleasure.

For a full half hour after, neither could move.  They had rolled onto their sides immediately afterwards and had stayed this way, Chakotay still inside her.  As the world around them slowly started to return to their senses, they began stroking each other and whispering words of love. 

“Kathryn love, I’m sorry.  Our first time should have been slow and gentle…”  She kissed him to silence. 

“Chakotay, I wanted that…needed that...as much as you did.  Please don’t ever apologise for showing me what you feel.  There’s plenty of time, the rest of our lives for slow and gentle.” 

He pulled out of her reluctantly but not before she felt him start to harden again.  She raised an eyebrow at him and he answered her unasked question with a deep, passionate kiss, which left her fighting for breath. 

He pulled back a little from her. 

“Kathryn, would you indulge me something?”  He smiled at the playful look on her face. 

“Seriously love.  Trust me with something.  Something I need to do.”  She reached her hand up to trace his tattoo. 

“I trust you with my life, you know that...”  He kissed her again and she surrendered to him. 

“Close your eyes and just trust me Kathryn.” 

She obeyed without question and then felt him roll her over onto her stomach.  He pushed her arms up over her head and then proceeded to stroke and kiss up and down her back and she understood now what his need was.  She lay still and allowed him this, knowing that he needed this to reassure himself and to lay his ghosts to rest.  She felt him gently massage her muscles, then kiss and stroke every square inch of her back and shoulders.  His hands felt wonderful and she couldn’t help the sighs that came unbidden from her.  She felt his touch change in answer to her sighs and then his fingers drop lower, now stroking across her buttocks and down the backs of her thighs.  She was then aware of his hands slowly parting her legs and the lightest of touches trailing up and down her inner thighs but avoiding where she wanted to be touched most. 

Kathryn felt her body take over and her sighs became moans.  Reading their newly learned language, Chakotay softly ran his fingers through her folds, spreading her wetness.  Kathryn made no move to turn over and Chakotay instinctively read her.  She felt him move between her legs, push a pillow under her hips and then his mouth was on her again, taking her on that blissful journey once more.  He stopped before she reached her apex and gently pushed her knees up to raise her hips a little more then continued his ministrations on her.  She quickly took up where she had left off and within seconds her climax claimed her as she cried out.  She felt him kneel behind her and quickly enter her from behind, his pace slower this time.  His weight pushed her down onto the bed but he stayed inside her.  She felt him lean back and then withdraw, his fingers taking over, spreading her wetness all around her and around her anus.  He kept his fingers there for a minute, stroking around the puckered entrance and then stopped, suddenly realizing what this would remind her of.  Her decision was reached quickly.  She arched her back, pulling her knees up again and pushed herself onto his fingers, telling him it was all right with her movement and with her moans.  Still he hesitated. 

“Kathryn I’m sorry…I wasn’t thinking…”  She pushed back against his fingers again. 

“Chakotay please...I need this…my mind and body need this…” 

He immediately understood, knowing that she needed to replace the association in her mind of this part of her body, with him instead of what had happened before.

Once again she felt his weight shift on the bed and then he was kneeling behind her, his hands on her hips, holding her.  She felt him prod at her and relaxed herself. 

“Only for you, Chakotay, only for you” she thought to herself. 

He slowly pushed his way inside her, allowing her plenty of time to adjust and she suddenly found herself more aroused than she thought she would have been.  The pleasure sounds that came from her were genuine and she pushed back onto him, enjoying the new sensation.  She felt his hand reach around her and his fingers dip into her folds and suddenly she was coming again, taken completely by surprise.  What she had thought would have been about discomfort, sent her over the edge with another scream on her lips and the sensation of Chakotay pumping into her tight ass, prolonged her climax and ignited every nerve ending in her body.  She felt him pull out of her quickly and then ram himself into her vagina again.  He plunged deeply again and again, almost withdrawing each time, the sensation driving Kathryn crazy with desire.  She reached above her and grasped the bars on the headboard of the bed, needing to hold onto something.  She could feel the onset of yet another orgasm and cried out as she felt Chakotay’s fingers brush against her again. 

“Chakotay…I...I...can’t...not again…”  She was almost out of her mind with pleasure at this stage. 

“Yes you can love.  Just let me guide you.  Trust me to lead you.  Give yourself over to me.”  He never faltered once in his stroking and now she felt his other hand go to her anus, his fingers probing her. 

“Kathryn, take one hand and play with your breasts.  Please, for me.” 

She did as he asked, pinching and teasing her nipples and she heard him groan along with her.  Chakotay was now pounding in and out of her, one hand rubbing her clit.  She felt two fingers on his other hand push into her tight ass and thrust in and out.  This was sensory overload and Kathryn had never known anything like it.  It felt as if she was on the receiving end of four men.  She was dimly aware of his pace getting faster, his fingers matching the speed of his hard shaft and then there was the explosion, every cell, every nerve ending, every atom of her being, all going super nova at the same time and she felt Chakotay spurt into her deeply, filling her and then she was falling into blackness.

She became aware of her name being called over and over and slowly came back to herself to see his concerned face close to hers.  She was on her back and he was cradling her in his arms.  He reached up and stroked her face. 

“Kathryn, please love.  Say something.”  She did. 

“Oh God, Chakotay…”

He had never seen a look of bliss like the one on her face at that moment in time. 

“You passed out…I was worried…”  She smiled at him. 

“If you can repeat that performance, you’d better get used to me passing out.” 

He hugged her closely. 

“Was I really that good?”  She sat up and propped herself on one elbow. 

“You’d better believe it lover.  I don’t pass out for just anyone you know.  Seriously Chakotay, no one has ever made love to me like that before.  Most women believe that that kind of making love only exists in holonovels.”  He pulled her back down to him. 

“I guess I’ve done it now then.  Setting such a high standard so soon, I’ve probably spoiled you but I guess with such good sex, now you’ll have to stay with me.”  He was joking but saw the serious look that came to her face. 

“Chakotay,  know that I would stay with you even if you were paralysed and could never make love to me.  Please don’t ever think that this will make a difference to the way I feel about you, about how much I love you.  Yes, the sex is great, no fantastic, but I fell in love with you first, this is a bonus only.”  He felt tears escape his eyes and pulled her to him again. 

“Kathryn Janeway, will you marry me?”  He saw her smile at first and then when she realized that he was serious, saw her own tears erupt. 

“Yes, oh yes, my love.”  He kissed her passionately.  When they drew apart, she smiled up at him. 

“Let’s just celebrate with a cuddle though, I’ve no energy left for anything else OK?”

They lay back on the bed, sated and feeling the happiest either of them had ever felt.  As they drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms, they were oblivious to the small spark of light that entered the holodeck and settled over Kathryn’s abdomen briefly before entering her body.  They were unaware that their two spirits had been joined by a third, that of their future child.