The Borg And The Beautiful, Part 5
by Suz

Disclaimer - Mighty Paramount (double cough) own the names, and the ship. That is all.

This is for Andra. Here it is, okay?


"So you've no doubt they're friendly."

"No doubt at all. Chancellor Gorrack seems utterly charming."

"And they have a very nice planet."

"Beautiful, if the sensor scans are anything to go by."

"And they have no objections to any of the crew beaming down to the planet and spending some time there."

"None at all."

"I see. Can I convince you to take some shore leave this time?"

"No need to convince me Chakotay. Do you see me putting up a struggle here?"

He blinked. He almost stopped breathing. They were lounging on the sofa in his quarters, surrounded by disturbing amounts of PADDs, empty coffee cups, and a rather pleasing amount of clothing. They weren't entirely naked, but there was still an enjoyable amount of skin touching skin.

He was so surprised by her question that he nearly - nearly - missed the fact that she placed a quick kiss on the side of his face. Nevertheless, he pulled his face a little further away from hers. "Wait a minute. Just wait a minute. Now, let's look at the proof here. The..." He did a quick visual calculation "...eight coffee cups that add such a decorative touch to my quarters, the fact that you'd rather read through ten PADDs worth of information before doing anything else, the fascination you have with removing my top...all of these lead me to conclude that you are, in fact, the same Kathryn Janeway I have come to know and argue with for the better part of the last decade."

"However?" Kathryn prompted, grinning like the devil.

"However...the fact that you are offering no resistance at all to the idea of the dreaded shore leave - something which for you usually causes as much consternation as the idea of reporting for your yearly physical - completely messes up with the mental image I have of you. Therefore, you can't be the Kathryn Janeway I've come to know and argue with because she would never-"

She silenced him by placing the index finger of her right hand over his lips. "Chakotay...did it ever occur to you that perhaps - just perhaps - I want to spend some time with the man I'm about to make love to?"

Chakotay shrugged, speaking against her finger. "Well, I..." Then he realised what she had said. "...can't argue with that."

"I didn't think you could," She retorted, removing her finger from his lips and replacing it with her mouth.

Shifting on the sofa, he frowned when he felt something...hard. "Wait a minute," He murmured, regretfully pulling away from her and lifting his hips. Fumbling at the edge of the sofa he eventually produced a coffee cup that had become wedged somewhere. "How the hell did that get there?"

Kathryn shrugged innocently. Grabbing the cup from him, she threw it to in the general direction of the coffee table and ignored the sounds of the breaking whatever-it-was. "Nine," Was all she said before she kissed him again.


They were still trying to be careful. She wanted to maintain some degree of secrecy and while he wasn't going to hide it, he wasn't running about the ship screaming at the top of his lungs.

Although...okay, sometimes he screamed at the top of his lungs, but that was only when she touched his-


He turned and saw her smiling at him. "Hi," He responded happily. They'd beamed down separately, of course, not wanting to fuel any rumours. Besides, he had a feeling that neither of them wanted to be obvious for Tom and Seven's sakes. Seven...Gods, he still had to talk with her. But he hadn't felt so ridiculously happy - even giddy - for a very long time. He would talk with Seven, he would. This moment however, this afternoon, this day, was for him and Kathryn.

He was pleased when she took his hand and squeezed it; something he'd been wanting to do since the moment he saw her, but was unsure of just how far she wanted to push their luck in public. Although, as he looked about now, he couldn't see any crew members in the immediate vicinity.

Sliding her hand up his arm, she eventually wrapped hers around his and - arm-in-arm - they began their sojourn through the deceptively small looking market place.

The Pretari had developed warp power Centuries ago, but had somehow maintained many of their old crafts and practices. The market place they were walking through now was said to have existed for many thousands of years in many various forms.

The day was warm, both Pretari suns high in the sky, but a cool breezed kicked playfully through the air. They looked at market stall after market stall; ate and drank one interesting concoction after another, considered getting parts of their body pierced for all of one second, tried on some very *interesting* outfits that neither of them could afford despite the local currency they'd managed to replicate, listened to a street performer tell a story that they didn't understand a word of but found hilarious anyway, watched a woman literally walk on air (although Kathryn insisted it had to be some kind of cloaking device), drank even more interesting concoctions, and by the time they neared the end of the market they were both more than a little drunk and Kathryn was definitely in the mood to buy something.

"You bought something already," Chakotay pointed out, his arm having long ago left hers and now wrapped around her body.

"Yes, but that was all food and drink..." She nearly tripped and leant on him heavily.

He didn't mind.

"I want something to take with me," She continued. "Something I can buy that will remind me of this place. Of this afternoon with you."

Stopping mid-step, ignoring the people milling around them, he smiled at her. "You really are a sentimentalist, aren't you? Can I use that as blackmail material?"

Kathryn grinned at him sweetly. "Only if I can use your other tattoo as blackmail material."

"I don't have another tattoo."

This time she grinned evilly. "You will once I get a few more drinks in you."

Before he could process the threat of what she intended to do, her attention was immediately drawn elsewhere. Peering over his shoulder, she gasped. "Oh, look at that!" She headed towards the 'that', releasing her hold on him so quickly that he remained there for a few moments, frowning, confused, and *sure* that his arm was supposed to be around something.

Reminding his feet to move, he eventually caught up with her. She was at a market stall that was almost the last one, apparently selling fabrics and clothes. Her eyes had been drawn to a material that seemed to shimmer at different moments with burgundy, deep purple, violet, and dark blue. He liked it himself, mainly because it was so different from the creamy colours she usually chose.

"Isn't it gorgeous?" She asked breathlessly.

Chakotay found himself enthralled with looking at her. Her fingers were running over the material repeatedly, her head bowed towards it slightly. The warmth from the sun played across her features, highlighting the strands of hair that had fallen across her face. But it was the expression that got to him, the expression of hers that he adored the most; absolute fascination.

He rarely saw it anymore, but when he did it took his breath away. Sometimes with a new scientific discovery, sometimes with a new hobby to hold her interest...whatever the reason, he loved the outcome. Her face would be filled with childlike wonder, utter expectation, and her smile was as natural and guileless as he had ever seen it.

He didn't want the moment of perfection to end, but he had to do something. Extending his arm, he touched the side of her face with his fingers.

Surprised, her eyes widened and she rose, turning to face him.

His fingers lingered over her face. "Do you have any idea how unbelievably beautiful you are?"

Kathryn's smile somehow transformed into something of a greater beauty. "Do you have any idea of the capacity you have for taking my breath away?"

Perhaps it was the mood, perhaps it was too much sun, perhaps it was the alcohol, perhaps it was because he just didn't care, but he bent his head and kissed her.

Perhaps it was the mood, perhaps it was too much sun, perhaps it was the alcohol, perhaps it was because she just didn't care...but she kissed him back.

They had kissed before, certainly. Had done so frequently since becoming involved. But this was the first time they had kissed in front of anyone, and neither of them noticed the growing crowd of spectators.

God, she tasted like...Kathryn. Like the fruity alcohol they'd drunk that tasted nothing like alcohol but must have had the same effect because his brain felt as if it were melting and she seemed to be more intoxicating than anything he had ever tried and if his brain really was melting and he was deteriorating into delirium, he couldn't think of a better way to go.

Then, of course, he couldn't think, because all he could feel were her lips under his and the arms that snuck around his neck and the sun on his skin and the breeze in his hair then the hands in his hair and the groan that could have come from either or both of them that resonated through his body and the subtle strength of her back her waist then her skin as his hands slipped under her top-

Someone was whistling.

The kiss ended in an instant, but they didn't move, perhaps believing that if they kept absolutely still then when they opened their eyes they wouldn't see a large section of the crew grinning at them.

They were wrong.

"Shit," Kathryn muttered, gently whacking her forehead against his shoulder for a moment, before standing tall, disentangling herself from her First Officer and faking a broad smile for what Chakotay calculated as being twenty-five or so members of the crew. This was going to be all over the ship in a matter of minutes. Probably was already.

Stepping towards them, Kathryn didn't even clear her throat. Still smiling, she spoke despite the ongoing whistles. "Thank you. Chakotay and I both hope you enjoyed the show, but fear there will be no further performances." She nodded enigmatically at the expressions of disappointment. "However, if you really did enjoy the show you may express your pleasure by crossing our palms with silver."

It was purely the use of an old expression, because the Pretari currency was actually purple. But pay up they did. One by one it seemed they came up to him and Kathryn and handed over some portion of their money. Sometimes one portion, sometimes five, and every single one of them leered towards them with a lewd grin. The last person to hand over some money was Neelix who barely hesitated before hugging both of them and then handing over all his money before departing, giggling.

A stunned Chakotay stared at his full hands, then hers. "So what are we going to do with all this money?"

Kathryn winked - winked! - at him. "It's simple, Chakotay. Now I have enough money to buy enough of that material to make a dress." Grinning, she turned back towards the market stall and studied the owner who didn't seem to know if he should be scowling or laughing at their behaviour.

"Ah," Chakotay replied, standing next to her. "There is a slight problem with your plan."

"And what's that?" She asked absently.

"You have all the dressmaking skills of a monkey."

Not in the least bit offended, she chuckled. "Well why do you think I have sex with you, Chakotay? Just for your good looks?"

"You mean this is all a domestic issue? That's the only reason we're together?"

"Problem with that?"

He smirked at her. "Nope. It's just good to know where I stand."

"A man of priorities, good. And anyway," She added, studying him slyly. "We have a pretty good history with monkeys."


Part Six

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The Borg And The Beautiful