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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     Believing that Kathryn doesn’t need him, Chakotay leaves Earth but

                      unable to face life without her, he returns only to learn that she has been

                      killed.  When an old Maquis friend tells him that she’s still alive but

                      a prisoner, Chakotay must return to his old life to try and rescue her

                      but will there be anything left of Kathryn for him to bring back?  


WARNING:   This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.

                        If you are offended by such, please do not read on.




Kathryn stirred early next morning, just as the morning light started to fill the room.  Chakotay was awake, just watching her.  He had convinced Phoebe to take Gretchen home once the Doctors had promised them that Kathryn would be fine.  He watched as she opened her eyes and stared around the room , trying to understand where she was.  Finally her eyes met his and he smiled gently at her but said nothing.  She stared at him and he saw memories of the previous day cloud her eyes, adding to the haunted look which always seem to reside there now.

“I’m sorry…”  Her voice was hoarse and she turned away quickly.

“Sorry for what Kathryn?”  She looked back at him and he saw her tears.

“For yesterday.  I could have gotten you killed.”  Chakotay looked down and shook his head.

“What about you Kathryn?  You came pretty close yourself.”  He saw her close her eyes.  “Kathryn, if you ever try anything like that again, that or heading off into the snow…”  Her eyes flew to his.  “Think we wouldn’t see that for what it was?”  She shook her head slowly, her eyes telling him he was right.  “Yeh well, if you ever try anything like that again, I’ll kill you.”  She stared at him and saw that his face stayed serious.  “I mean it Kathryn, I love you so much but trying what you did, it hurt me to the core.  Phoebe and your mom even…they just want to be there for you…”  He saw her tears fall.

“I know…I just couldn’t see…can’t see…”  He pulled his chair closer to the bed and took her hand.

“Well see this Kathryn.  That’s in the past.  Now we face the future.  You talk to me or the Doctor or whoever you feel most comfortable with but you face this and deal with it.  I don’t mean to sound hard but I love you too much to watch you let go and let those bastards win…We’ll all be there for you in whatever way you’re happy with and I’ll be beside you if you’ll let me…as a friend or whatever you want me to be and later on…when you’re past this…when you’ve beaten them…I’ll still be here…again in whatever way you want.  What happened, it happened to your body.  Don’t let them have touched your mind and soul as well.  The body’s healed…let’s work on the rest…”  He watched his words sink in and suddenly she choked back a deep sob and tried to do the same with the ones that followed and failed.  Without thinking, Chakotay stood and sat on the side of the bed then pulled her into his arms and held her tightly.  He felt the deep shuddering of her body and absorbed her cries and tears as they tore through her.  He felt her clinging to him, her fists opening and closing on his shirt and he rocked her and whispered to her as he had done when he first found her. 

The storm raged for a long time and Chakotay held fast to her as he rode it out with her and she cried and screamed out the horror and agony of the past year.  He continued his rocking and whispering as the storm finally lost its power and abated slowly and still he held her, relieved beyond words that she let him this close.

Totally exhausted emotionally and physically, Kathryn leaned into his strong arms and surrendered to them, feeling safer than she had in a long time.  Chakotay cradled her against him until he heard her breathing even out, interrupted only by the occasional sniffle.  When he felt she was calm, he lay her back against the pillows but still held tightly to her hands.

“That’s a first step Kathryn, a very big step.  We’ll all get through this together.  You just have to want to and let us help you through.”  Tearfully she nodded.

“I know…it’s just…it’s so hard to face those memories…  There’s a part of me that never wants anyone to know about what happened…I’m so afraid of what you’ll think of me…that it’s all you’ll ever think of when you look at me…”  Chakotay stroked her face and delighted in the fact that she didn’t flinch.

“Kathryn love, listen to me.  I’m telling you this and I KNOW I’m speaking for your mom and Phoebe as well, everyone in fact.  We will never think anything bad of you.  We all knew you long before this happened and that’s what we’ll always see, the woman we all know and love.  Kathryn, we love you, plain and simple.  I know how hard it’ll be to face but you do it a bit at a time.  You can speak to Carol Stevens or someone else and if you don’t want us knowing about what happened or can’t deal with that, that’s fine but just know that it makes no difference to how we see you or love you.”   He thought a moment.

“Kathryn, there were two Starfleet people held there with you.  You could even speak to them.  I’m sure they’d help you just as you’d help them.  Kathryn, we can do this.  Just decide you want your life back and set out to take it back.  You’ll have all the support you could want or need.  You just need to believe in yourself and trust the rest of us.  What was it, from the Bible…?  ‘These three…faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love…love abideth...’  Well Kathryn, you have everything you need to get you through this and in particular, you have so much love.  Use it, draw your strength from it and believe in it.  You’ve suffered through the darkest night love, now it’s time to look to the dawn.”  She nodded tearfully and squeezed his hands.  Chakotay knew that the end of a long dark road was in sight.

Over the next two months, Kathryn spent many hours talking with Carol Stevens and two other counsellors who specialized in treating former prisoners and hostages but she found talking with the others who had been held with her the most helpful.  Not having to explain everything to someone, knowing they understood only too well helped her no end.  The two men shared sessions with Kathryn and on the counsellors’ advice, Chakotay, Gretchen and Phoebe met with the men’s wives and families in counselling sessions and through this, worked through a lot of their own pain and feelings of helplessness.

One evening about three months into the counselling sessions, Kathryn sat with Chakotay in the garden and leaned back in her chair, looking more at peace than he had seen her since everything had happened.  Gretchen and Phoebe were spending the night in the city and Chakotay was enjoying some time alone with Kathryn.  He watched her face as she gazed out over the garden and listened to the birds singing.  He smiled softly and looked around him then heard Kathryn’s voice.  When he turned she was looking straight at him.

“Chakotay…thank you…for helping me to find my way back…”  He smiled and reached for her hand.  “I can’t believe these last months…when I think from the start of this to now…”  She sighed and looked at their joined hands.  “Talking to the counsellors has been great but being able to talk with David and John has been the most helpful.  They went through the same…God…the same… I can share everything with them and they understand and I don’t need to explain how I felt then or since…”  She looked to him quickly, afraid she’s hurt his feelings in some way but all she saw was his love and gentle smile.  “Chakotay…I don’t mean to…can you understand how…well talking to them…I will talk to you…I’m just not ready…”  He squeezed her hand.

“Kathryn…I’m so happy that it’s all been so helpful and that you have David and John…I understand how they can help you like no one else can.  You know, there were things I went through in the Maquis that I could probably never explain to you and that’s nothing against you.  B’Elanna would understand because she was there but you couldn’t.  It’s not against you as I say, it’s just fact.  The expression of ‘you had to be there’ stands true.  I want you to know this though.  You speak to me only if you ever want to.  It will never be when you speak to me only if you do.  There’s no pressure there.  Knowing or not knowing will never make a difference to how I feel about you.  If you want to tell me sometime, I’ll be there for you.  I’m here for you always, for whatever you need from me OK?”  She smiled tearfully.

“I need a hug…”  She didn’t have to ask twice.  He stood up and got down on his knees, then leaned over to her and pulled her into his arms.

“You’re doing so well Kathryn.  I’m so proud of you…”  They stayed in their tight embrace for a long time.

That year, they had an Indian summer and the warm days lingered.  Kathryn had finally finished her main counselling sessions and only occasionally needed to meet with Carol Stevens now.  She kept in touch with the two men who had shared her nightmare and the three families developed a close bond between them.

One hazy afternoon, Kathryn suggested to Chakotay that they take a picnic out into the fields and spend the afternoon there.  Knowing her as he did, he sensed there was more to the outing than met the eye but he stayed quiet and went along with her plans, helping her pack a picnic for them.  They strolled through the fields hand in hand and a quiet comfortable feeling existed between them.  Finally they found a secluded spot under a large oak tree and lay their blanket beneath the branches, spreading their food out before them.

“The acorns must be pretty confused…”  Chakotay smiled as he looked up into the branches over his head.  “Is it still summer or has autumn come and we missed it…?  Where are the squirrels who normally come and take us…?”  Kathryn smiled softly at him and patted the blanket beside her for him to sit.

“They’ll sort it out eventually.  Nature always does…  Things always right themselves in the end…”  Her words said so much more and he smiled at her and sat.

“Right woman, I know this is safe because it’s replicated…”  She hit him gently on the arm and handed him a sandwich.  They ate leisurely for the next half hour, pausing in their eating for relaxed conversation or to point out a small animal or bird going about their life, unaware of the couple observing them.  Finally satisfied, Chakotay lay back and watched Kathryn put things away.  He knew by her that she was using her actions to cover her thinking and delay for a moment as she sorted her thoughts and so he lay quiet and waited.  Eventually, she closed the basket and lay down beside him on her side, her head propped on her hand.  She drew in several deep breaths then sat up and leaned her back against the tree.  His eyes followed her and then locked with hers.

“Do you want me to sit there with you or stay here?”  She knew he knew now that the time had come for her to open up to him.

“Here beside me…”  He nodded and sat up and joined her.  She didn’t look at him and he kept his own head down, letting her set the pace.

“I think you guessed what this afternoon was all about…”  He nodded.  “I debated whether to say all this or talk to you.  I wasn’t sure if I could or…I talked to David and John and they said they both spoke with their wives and were better for it.  I did want you to know anyway but it’s just hard…”  She looked at him and he felt her eyes on him.  He looked up at her and nodded.

“Kathryn, you do this only if you want to.  I told you that…”  She smiled and scratched her eyebrow.

“I want to and I also need to.  Is that OK?  That I tell you I mean…”  He smiled and squeezed her hand.  She sighed deeply and licked her lips.

“Some you know.  When we got home...  Mark was…he was there suddenly and hugged me and I just hugged him back.  It was just seeing someone…anyone from Earth…when I never thought we would see it again.  He just represented anyone I’d ever known.  Then they talked about taking on ‘Admiral’ and the debriefings and I could only think about getting the Maquis cleared…Suddenly I turned around and you were gone…”  She sniffed but held her tears back.

“No one knew where you’d gone and I looked and looked, asked everyone, tried everywhere…and I cursed myself so much…totally berated myself so many times for my weakness out there and for letting you go…”  She bit her lip.

“And then I came back here and mom and Phoebe were here for me and I just let go…one day like the next and all I could do was cry…couldn’t stop.  I still searched but…Mark kept calling and I found out what he’d told people and…I lost it with him one night and screamed at him…haven’t seen him since thank God…”  She stopped and looked out over the fields and Chakotay stayed quiet.

“Starfleet kept at me and finally I decided to try one last mission.  I needed to see if I could find any kind of peace out there again…  Anyway I went and it was terrible.  I kept expecting to see you beside me and Harry at his station, Tom and Tuvok at their posts.  I’d go to call B’Elanna in engineering before I’d remember.  My First Officer got pretty sick of being called by your name.  I even missed Neelix’s cooking…”  She smiled softly at the memory and then a shadow crossed her face.

“They were fine people, mostly young…good people…kind… with families…”  She fought her tears as she saw their faces in her mind.   Fighting her emotions, she blew out air from her lungs and gulped down more to replace it.

“I was called to the bridge…I don’t know why…I remember calling out for a report and then…I felt the transporter beam and I was on another ship…someone grabbed me…forced me to my knees and held me down.  I felt my arms pulled back and my wrists tied…I was shoved to a viewport and made watch.  I saw them…my ship…being fired on…there was no hope…and I saw…plasma leaks…and going down…  I tried to close my eyes but they hit me and…they forced me to watch and… I saw them Chakotay…saw them go down and I remember screaming and I could hear them screaming in my mind…calling to me to save them…then and since…and then the explosion and I knew none of them could have survived but still…  ”  Tears poured down her face and she wiped angrily at them.  Chakotay remained quiet and let her speak.  There was nothing he could say anyway that would make a difference.

“I barely remember something hitting me on the back of the head and then I was in the cell.”  She fought for control.  "I was still in uniform and my hands were still tied.  As if they had been watching me, the minute I moved they came in and dragged me out…  there was a large room…long tables…bright lights…trays of instruments…”  She stopped for several minutes and tried to control herself.  Chakotay understood now how the light shining in her eyes had triggered a reaction.

“Two of them held me while another one cut the uniform off me…  They laughed all the time…ugly…disgusting comments…and I tried to block them out…tried not to think what was ahead for me…not to think about the last time…  I couldn’t though…I couldn’t escape my own mind or the reality of what was happening to me.  I heard others screaming and it was Admiral Paris all over again and I found myself thankful they were screaming and not me and I felt guilty for that and then…I knew it would be me soon…”  Once more she stopped and picked at the grass beside her.

“They striped me completely…everything…the one who did the cutting…he pawed at me…and I tried to look away from him…at the far wall…anywhere…he didn’t care…  I was lifted and thrown onto a table…restraints at each corner…  They tied me down…I remember the metal of the table…so hard and cold…”  She pulled a chunk of grass from the ground and twisted it.

“Someone…one of them…I think he was a doctor or something…I tried to close my eyes but they’d hit at me when I did…they wanted me to see…  He prodded and probed and cut …and the pain…needles and probes…everywhere…  I thought I was losing my mind…  I remember them lifting me and turning me over and tying me down again and then the same thing all over… and I blacked out eventually…”  She tore at each strand of grass.

“When I came round I was still tied to the table…on my stomach…and all I could feel was pain…  They were obviously watching me again and when I moved…they were back.  They untied me and then tied my wrists and hung me from the ceiling…  the beating…it was…endless…”  She closed her eyes but opened them quickly. 

“I don’t remember passing out but I woke up back in the cell, chained to the wall and I was wearing something…rags really…  I don’t know how long or…time had no meaning anymore…”  She risked a glance at Chakotay and saw only love and support on his face.

“I was back on that table many times…after that first day…everything jumps around in my mind…no real order to how things happened…  I remember the events but not in any order…  I tried for a time to just think of the people I loved…tried to remember all your faces…to hang onto all of that…all the love and goodness I’d known but…what they did just…it was stronger…they were stronger…and I couldn’t hold on…”  She looked at him again and he just nodded.

“The beatings happened all the time…and then the drugs…I remember the burning inside when they injected them and more pain…not being able to breathe…feeling my chest and head would explode…  and my throat always hurt…I guess from all the screaming and I tried to stop that but I heard myself even when I didn’t think I had screamed…  they burned me with something…and used electrodes and devices I didn’t understand…  sometimes they’d heal the injuries but they replaced them  quickly… I think they just wanted to make me last…  it was all pain though…  and questions…so many questions…about me and Starfleet and the buildings…who was who…what they did…but I never told them…at least I have that…”  She was back at the grass and now twisted the strands into a plait.

“I began to lose any understanding of their words…couldn’t hear their questions…didn’t know what they wanted anymore…”  She wiped at her tears again.  “Eventually they stopped asking but the beatings and the torture continued.  And then…then…”  She stopped again and twisted at the grass once more, tearing at it.

“They brought me in and…their leader…I think he was…he asked most of the questions…they didn’t tie me this time and I remember wondering why…they always did…and they left me standing in the centre of the room…just looking at me…and that was more terrifying somehow…I remember looking at their faces…asking myself had they asked me something and I didn’t hear and afraid of what they’d do because I wasn’t doing what they asked…I knew the drugs were affecting my thinking all the time…but they just watched me and I saw the leader move to me…I think I knew then…the look in his eyes…how he looked at me…”  She stopped and covered her eyes with her hand a moment and fought the feelings as she had learned from her counsellors.

“There was no warning…nothing…I was standing…then I was down…he hit me in the face, I know that…then he was…  I was on my back and he was… God I tried to fight him…I really did and then one of the others was there…holding my arms above my head and I felt hands on my ankles pulling them…and I tried to pull against them but I couldn’t and … the one on…on top…his hands everywhere…tearing at what I wore and then…oh God such pain… and all I could hear was my own scream and their laughter…they laughed…and he was so heavy on me and I couldn’t breath and I felt him moving inside me and felt myself tearing and …”  She dropped her head and sobbed deeply, her whole body shaking.  Chakotay pulled her to him and held her tightly.  Within a minute, she pulled back.

“I have to say all this Chakotay…please understand…”  He nodded and squeezed her hand.  “I thought it would never be over…I tried to pray…think of anything…I remember his weight on me…his grunting and the others…they cheered… they cheered…”  She shook her head, still finding it so hard to accept that any living creature could do that.  “I thought that was it…I hoped…prayed…”  Her other hand tore at the grass again, her eyes watching the movements of her fingers.

“It was only the start…the others…they all…”  Chakotay gripped her hand tightly but stayed quiet, fighting the murderous anger that rose up in him.  He thanked any God who listened that the bastards were already dead.  “A lot of it is blurred but the pain was always there…they threw me on the table…sometimes on my back…then my stomach…it’s all a blur of pain and hands grabbing me or holding me down…being thrown around between them…each of them taking me…and they cheered each other on…  I prayed to pass out…to die even but I didn’t and it went on and on…eventually I must have passed out and I was in the cell again…”  Once more she broke down and let Chakotay hold her for longer this time.  When she pulled back a little this time, he let her, knowing she needed to end this.

“After that…it was always the same…sometimes one or two of them in the cell…other times more in the room…I felt it less and less…oh not the physical pain but inside…could feel myself as if moving away from it all…  They still beat me and tortured me but it was more…the other now… I think they thought humiliation would work better than pain…they also saw I think, that the drugs were too much for me…that I was past being able to tell them anything…now they were just using me to…I tried to shut myself down…and everything I’d ever known faded from me and I felt myself get further and further away but I always heard my own screams…the screams of others…and then even that went…and I don’t remember any more…  Being back here…its snippets here and there…faces…you and mom…Phoebe and Carol from time to time…  My first clear memory is waking in bed and seeing you there but I wondered if I was dead or dreaming…after that…it’s a lot clearer…”  Finally she stopped and just lay against Chakotay as he hugged her.  He rocked her gently and heard her speak again.

“David and John…it happened to them too…I couldn’t believe…I haven’t expected…because they were men…but it didn’t matter…and they understood you see…knew what it was like…”  Chakotay just continued to rock her and let his own tears fall now.  Neither moved for over an hour and Chakotay kept trying to comfort her, soothing her with his hands up and down her back and arms, hoping and praying that it was helping her.  Finally she sat up and he saw the look of fear in her eyes.

“I couldn’t take the memories and I could still feel them…their hands…hear their voices and cheering and laughing…feel the pain…even the sounds and smells stayed with me…I couldn’t face telling anyone…you or anyone else…and I just wanted it to go away…and then it snowed…and I remembered before and I just found myself walking in it and hoping to sleep…and the river…I was so much clearer then…knew what I was doing…but you were there then and I couldn’t…I saw how you felt and I couldn’t…and when I slipped…I remember thinking that I’d lost it all…and I hoped you would know…know I hadn’t jumped…and I thought how I’d left it too late…and then the hospital and you were still there…and you held me and …you were still there…”  He smiled softly at her and pulled her back into his arms.

“I’ll always be here for you Kathryn…never ever doubt that…or how much I love you…”  He looked into her eyes and saw the remains of her pain there.

You’re still holding me, touching me.  I was so sure…I know before but…now that you know…”  Chakotay swallowed any anger he had this time and just grabbed her face gently between his large hands.

“Now that I know, it makes no difference.  I still love you as much as I always have and always will.  Actually strike that, I love you more each day.  I love you more today than I did yesterday and I’ll love you even more again tomorrow and so on.  Kathryn, nothing is ever going to change that.  Tell me you understand that and accept it please?”  She nodded tearfully and threw herself back into his arms.  He held her tightly and kissed the top of her head.  “God Kathryn, I love you so much…you’ve no idea how much…”  She leaned her head back and looked up into his eyes.

“Chakotay, I love you too, more than my life…”  She brought her hand up and traced his lips with her fingers.  He kissed them gently and she then removed her hand and leaned up to him.  Softly and gently she brushed her lips to his, as if this was a test for her.  Chakotay was careful to return the kiss but keep the pressure gentle.  Eventually they ended the kiss and just held each other as the light faded, not leaving until the cool of the evening forced them to go.  They strolled back to the house hand in hand, Chakotay feeling hope surging through him and Kathryn feeling more at peace than she ever had, despite the horrors she had been through.

Another healing step came for Kathryn when Chakotay joined her at the memorial which had been erected to her lost crew.  Chakotay hadn’t been here before, not being able to face seeing Kathryn’s named carved into the stone, confirming her loss from his life.  He saw now where her name was been erased, leaving only a slight trace and he squeezed her hand tightly as he saw her look at the mark.  He stood back and allowed her the time she needed to say goodbye to the men and women whose last service to Starfleet had been under her command, and for whom this marble work of art would ensure were never forgotten.  He watched as she traced her fingers over each name, knowing she was seeing a face to match each of them.  Feeling when the time was right, he stepped back to her and held her quietly as she cried her tears for them all, young lives snuffed out by the madness of others.  As they left, Kathryn felt their souls were finally at peace, much like her own almost was.

By Christmas that year, they had moved in together to a small house very close to Gretchen.  They slept together every night but things had never gone further than soft kissing and holding each other each night.  Kathryn had finally spoken with her mother and sister, telling them some of what happened but sparing them a lot of the details she had confided to Chakotay.  An even deeper closeness developed between them, deeper than Kathryn could ever have thought possible and she found that instead of any embarrassment as she had expected, all she received was a wonderful comfort and feeling of love.

On Christmas eve, having returned from visiting Gretchen and Phoebe, Chakotay sat Kathryn down under the large Christmas tree he had felled and stoked up the real log fire he had insisted on having.  Finally happy with the setting, he joined her on the rug and handed her a small red velvet box.  She gave him a puzzled look and opened it slowly.  Inside lay a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, thin gold strips in the shape of two small intertwined hearts surrounding the stones.  Kathryn gasped as the lights from the tree and the fire caught the stones.  She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and he reached out and stroked her face.

“Kathryn, you can take this whatever way you’re comfortable with.”  He watched her frown.  “It’s either a gift of love or it’s an engagement ring.  Whatever you’re more at ease with.  There’s no pressure or anything and you won’t hurt my feelings either way.  Just having you with me is all I’ll ever need…”  He watched as she took the ring from the box and handed it to him.  She then held out her left hand, her ring finger raised more than the others.  His eyes met hers and he swallowed the tears he felt rising but they forced their way to his eyes anyway.  Slowly he slipped the ring in place and grasped her hand tightly.

“Kathryn, are you sure you’re all right with this…”  She just nodded, not able to push words past the lump in her throat and threw herself into his arms.  Chakotay pulled her down with him and they lay on the rug in front of the fire for a long time, just holding each other.  After a while, Chakotay realized that Kathryn had fallen asleep and he gently eased himself away from her and went to fetch a blanket to cover them.  He added more logs to the fire and made sure it was safe.  He eased himself back down beside her and slipped an arm around her, trying not to wake her.  She murmured something sleepily and twisted around to face him.  He watched her face as her eyes slowly opened, sleep still lingering in their blue depths.  She smiled softly at him and raised her hand to study her ring.  He studied her face closely, marvelling at the peace he now saw in her features and hugged her tighter.  He watched as her smile faded and her face grew serious as she studied his.  She then brought her hand up and traced his tattoo and around his face with her fingers, her eyes visiting every feature before finally settling on his eyes.  She slowly leaned closer and brushed her lips to his, moving against them as he returned the kiss.

Chakotay became aware of her hand moving down his chest, opening the buttons on his shirt and continued the kiss for a moment.  He savoured the feel of her soft hand on his now bare chest but kept his own on her back, gently stroking up and down.  When he felt her hand at the opening of his trousers, he pulled out of the kiss and studied her closely.

“Kathryn love, are you sure?  Are you ready for this?  There’s no hurry or…”  She stared deeply into his eyes.

“Please Chakotay…I need you.  I want this because I love you.  It’s not only about replacing the bad with the good or taking my life back.  It’s mainly about you and me and because I love you so much and want to be with you totally…If you don’t or can’t…”  One look at his face told her not to even dare think along those lines and she nodded and smiled. 

“I love you Chakotay…those words seem so inadequate to explain what I feel…”  He blinked hard and pulled her back to him, his lips covering hers again.  He deepened the kiss this time, their first real kiss, his tongue gently pushing past her lips and exploring the depths of her mouth.  He was aware of a deep moan from Kathryn’s throat as her tongue joined in and swept his mouth, tasting him for the first time.  He felt her arms around him, pulling him closer to her, almost as if she were trying to pull him inside her, melding them together.  Chakotay pulled from the deep kiss, his lips sweeping her face and neck, trying to be everywhere at once.

“Oh God Kathryn, I love you so much…”  He felt incapable of expressing the love he felt for her.  He trailed kisses down her throat, his lips and nose pushing back the soft material of the blouse she wore.  Determined that she control their first time together, he lay back, pulling her with him and watched as her small hands opened the buttons of her blouse, seeing that she knew he was passing control to her, letting her decide the pace.  She leaned back a little and pulled the fabric from her body, her hands returning to his chest then lowered her head and showered kisses from his neck to the waistband of his trousers.  Chakotay fought to control the raging emotions that flowed through him as he felt her lips and hands on his skin, his own hands running through her soft hair.

Kathryn now lay over him, gazing deeply into his eyes as his fingers lowered the straps of her bra, slowly revealing her to his eyes.  He undid the clasp at the front of the bra and choked back a sob as her beauty was opened up to him for the first time.  Slowly he rolled her and lowered his mouth to her breasts and gently suckled on the now erect nipples, swirling his tongue about the pink peaks.  He felt Kathryn arch her back towards him as her breath caught in her throat.  Her hands swept up and down his back and across his shoulders as she unconsciously pushed herself towards him.  Chakotay kissed and licked his way from one breast to the other, his tongue teasing each nipple as Kathryn started to squirm beneath his ministrations.  He was aware now of her hand back at the opening of his trousers and he leaned back, gently taking her hand and kissing it.  He moved down, his lips trailing over her stomach and ran his tongue around her belly button.  He looked up a moment and saw Kathryn’s head thrown back, her mouth slightly open and the sight stopped him a moment at the beauty of it all.

As gently as he could, he lowered the leggings she wore, watching for any sign that she was uncomfortable or uneasy, but seeing only passion that rivalled his own, he continued, pulling the garment down her legs and then off.  He ran his hands from her knees to her hips and back several times, his lips following their path, before slowly lowering her panties and parting her to his eyes.  He saw immediately that she was wet and swollen, aching for him, and he slowly trailed his tongue up and down her inner thighs then finally to where she needed him most.

Kathryn arched her back and groaned loudly as Chakotay gently licked around her, his lips brushing over her most private of places.  He blew softly on her, marvelling at her response as she trustingly opened her legs wider for him, inviting him where he felt so honoured to be.  His hands slipped under her, raising her slightly to him, his shoulders holding her open and then he lowered his mouth over her as she cried out, the passion in her voice unmistakable.  He felt her legs drop to rest on his shoulders as he alternated between licking, blowing and gently sucking, his tongue working her to a frenzy.  Using one hand now to hold her up to him, he gently slipped a finger just inside her entrance and ran it around, testing the waters.  He saw her hands gripping the rug beneath her and slowly pushed a little deeper, carefully reading her for any signs of discomfort.  When none came, he added a second finger and lowered his mouth back down, covering her bundle of nerves so slick with her juices.  He sucked hard as he pushed his fingers in and out and felt her inner muscles tightening around them.  Within seconds, he felt her clamp down on his digits and heard her scream out his name. He continued sucking her, watching the muscles in her stomach tighten as she came, her climax washing over her like a tidal wave.

Kathryn lay still, feeling the waves of her orgasm receding slowly, her mind a fog of passion and pleasure.  She felt her hands reach for Chakotay’s shoulders, pulling him to her and stared up into his loving face.  She saw the love he felt for her, slightly shadowed with concern and she moved to quickly allay any fears he had.  She placed her hands on each side of his face, her arms feeling as if they weighted pounds, and pulled him down to her.  She tasted herself on him and felt a rush of desire wash over her.  All that existed in her mind at this moment was the kind, gentle and loving man in her arms, all traces of the previous horror banished to the past where they belonged. She spread her thighs as wide as she could, allowing him to fall into place where she wanted him.  As she felt him hot and hard against her, she drew in a ragged breath and tried telling him with her eyes how much she loved and wanted him.  Chakotay read the love and desire there for him only and kissed her deeply, placing his elbows on either side of her head.  Breaking the kiss, he again checked her eyes, desperately needing to know that Kathryn was all right with this.

“Kathryn, would it be better…on your side or…”  Kathryn shook her head.  She loved him for considering everything, for being so unselfishly thoughtful of her every need.

“I want to see you like this…please Chakotay…”  He nodded, tears filling his eyes as he rested his hard shaft against her opening.  As gently and delicately as possible, he pressed into her, determined to go as slowly as he could, terrified of hurting her in any way.  She was dripping with desire but still he needed to be sure.  As he entered her, he watched the play of emotions which broke across her face and felt her grip him inside, tilting her hips to draw him deeper.  When he was fully shafted, he stopped and forced himself to relax, the feel of her enclosing his hardness, almost his undoing.

“Kathryn, look at me please…”  She stared back deeply into the depths of his eyes, connecting with his soul as he encountered hers.  He began a gentle rocking movement and then slowly pulled out and plunged in again.  Kathryn’s passionate moans filled his mind as he thrust as gently as he could in and out, feeling the wave build up and up, feeling her tightening around him as she began another assent.  He ground against her, rubbing off her clitoris with each thrust, stimulating her there as well as inside and he saw her eyes widen and knew instantly what was happening.  He thrust harder now, pulling almost all the way out before returning and touching her cervix with each plunge.  He heard her breathing change to panting and felt himself almost lose control but still he held off.  Suddenly a keening wail came from her throat as she arched her head back and her body convulsed beneath him.  As her inner muscles clamped down on his thick member, milking him, he finally let go, screaming out her name and he felt his ejaculation shoot into her depths, filling her.

Coming back to reality slowly, Chakotay rolled to the side taking Kathryn with him, terrified of squashing her beneath his weight.  Asking with his eyes and not his words, he checked that she was all right and got his answer in the form of a smile and a nod, her eyes still glazed with her climax.  She knew what he was asking without saying it and Chakotay knew asking her constantly if she was all right, would only in the end serve to remind her more and once he saw how relaxed she was, he relaxed himself.  He stroked her face, pushing stray strands of hair back into place and kissed the tip of her nose.

“Was I all right for you love?  Was it…?”  She pressed a finger to his lips.

“It was wonderful…more than wonderful…I’ve never experienced it like that…”  He smiled softly. 

“You looked a little shocked there for a minute.  I wasn’t sure…”  She smiled shyly.

“I’ve heard of G-Spot orgasms before or ones just from, well you know… penetration…  I just never…”  She looked down at his throat, trailing a finger through the sweat which had gathered there, using the action to hide her embarrassment.  “It was just never like that…”  He tipped her chin up, smiling into her eyes.

“Then I’m honoured Kathryn and please don’t ever be embarrassed with me.  I was so afraid I’d disappoint you, that I wouldn’t please you…”  She leaned forward and kissed him deeply.

“Chakotay, you have always pleased me, been there for me, loved me, been everything to me…I’m sorry it took so long for me to come to you and…I’m sorry for a lot of things but I know now I have to put that behind me.  What we have here is all that matters and I’ve learned that.”  He closed his eyes a moment to control himself and then opened them and stared at the vision before him, his life and the meaning for it, all wrapped up in one woman.

“Kathryn, we have eternity ahead of us and we have each other.  That’s forever.  What we have here outside of our family and friends is just part of the supporting cast if you like.”  He leaned his head back and looked at the tree, the tiny lights twinkling then back at Kathryn.  “It’s Christmas, a time for birth, for beginnings.  This is our birth, our beginning and it will never have an end.  I promise you that.”  They snuggled closer, content in the silence, the hiss of the logs soothing them.  They fell asleep in each others arms, the sounds of the distant church bells which were still used to announce Christmas Day tolling somewhere in the distance, granting a blessing over them and heralding a world reborn.