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Kathryn Janeway was doing her damnedest not to smile. It was - not unexpectedly - quite a task. She had just been through an extremely interesting evening, night, and early morning. Now she was sitting opposite her First Officer and lover in the mess hall, her hair probably a little too mussed...her skin probably a little too flushed...her lips probably a little too swollen...her thoughts still probably a little too impure...and she didn't care.
...except for two people.
Except for the two people who were sitting ten feet away, trying not to look at them.
It made sense, really. There was little point in either of them avoiding her and Chakotay. People would start to notice if they kept it up, and while they weren't actually coming over to their table to have a conversation with them, at least they weren't avoiding them all together.
And...Kathryn felt guilty. It was an emotion she had grown accustomed to, but usually in relation to her job as Captain, not to the part of her that was Kathryn. She had...grown closer to Tom, and Chakotay had done so with Seven. She had even pursued a relationship with the pilot - or, more accurately, he had pursued one with her. She hadn't turned him away and now...
She hated to think what he was going through. Kathryn knew the defences, knew that if she asked he'd tell he was just fine "Captain" although it was nice of her to care. Knew that he would be lying.
So, that was why she was sitting opposite her lover, hiding the big damn grin that wanted to spread out onto her face. She told herself that she deserved it, that anyone would after such a long time of not having what you really wanted...and then she would look at Tom. And be reminded.
In the mess hall, she talked to Chakotay, joked with him, discussed reports; everything a dutiful Captain and First Officer were supposed to do. She didn't touch him, didn't laugh too much at his jokes (which were pretty twisted anyway), didn't gaze lovingly at every word he said, every move he made. It would be twisting the knife, somehow.
Chakotay seemed to understand, but then that been his problem for a long time. He always understood. He was always understanding, and in the end she had been the one to come to him, even though she didn't really know how to say what she wanted to say.
But he understood then, and now.
He said nothing about it, simply joining in her conversations about nothing that really mattered, nodding and grinning and laughing when it was appropriate. She knew he would address it later, when they were alone, probably in her quarters. He would sit next to her on the sofa, possibly take her hand and gently ask how long she wanted to keep their relationship a secret, and that he would wait until she was ready if he needed to. Then he would make love to her.
She liked that idea.
When breakfast was finished they stood, thanked Neelix, and left the room calmly, professionally, not drawing any unwarranted attention.
They walked along the corridor, nodding at any crew members they passed, looking every inch the respectable commanding officers of Voyager.
They arrived at the turbolift, waited for Nicoletti to get out, then they stepped in and ordered the 'lift to the bridge.
That was when he kissed her.
It surprised the hell out of Kathryn. They certainly hadn't got into the habit of immediately throwing themselves at each other when they were alone together. In fact, the only times they did do that was when they were in either of their quarters.
But here...knowing that he hadn't halted the turbolift, knowing that it was still continuing its journey...she kissed him back, fully, and pulled away just in time for the turbolift doors to open. But she had to remind herself that she had to move her legs, and had anyone really been studying the 'lift they would have noticed the delay and known that something was going on.
No one was looking, and when she started to take a step out he grabbed her arm and tugged her back in, then waited for the doors to close.
She started to speak, started to tell him that he'd better have a damn fine reason for his actions besides the obvious physical aspects, that he'd better not make a habit of it...then stopped before she had even started when he placed his finger over her lips.
"I'm not going to hide this, Kathryn. I won't flaunt it, but if someone asks me I'm not going to lie to them."
She started to tell him that he had no right to do that, no right to be able to demand that... "Why?" She surprised herself with the question.
He met her gaze. "This is something that I've wanted for a very long time. I'm not going to deny it. To anyone."
And Kathryn found herself agreeing, which surprised her even more. Perhaps Tom had been right about Chakotay.
Nodding, he smiled and removed his finger, swinging his arm towards the doors. "Shall we?"
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