Well, it's been a while since I did a new story, so here's the start of my next one. I've still to decide if this will become an NC-17, but as we're all old enough it just might :)
Thanks to everyone in JetC10 who keep me constantly smiling with their fanfic and comments.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all. No infringement intended.
LOVE: (lav) vb. 1. (tr.) to have a great attachment to and affection for. 2. (tr.) to have a passionate desire, longing, and feelings for. 3. (tr.) to like or desire (to do something) very much. 4. (tr.) to make love to. 5. (intr.) to be in love. ~n. 6. a. an intense emotion of affection, warmth, fondness, and regard towards a person or a thing. b. (as modifier): love song; love story. 7. a deep feeling of sexual attraction or desire. 8. wholehearted liking for or pleasure in something.
She licked the last of the sticky substance off her fingers and sighed down at the man lying next to her on the floor.
"We definitely have to do this again." Kathryn told him.
Chakotay nodded his eager agreement, and the childlike smile that appeared on his face brought forth the dimples she loved so much. Of course he didn't know that yet. It was in moments like these when she considered telling him. There were no emergencies, no reasons to be under stress, no life-threatening situations - it was just a normal day.
So often you didn't realise how much somebody meant to you until they were injured or killed. Thankfully that hadn't happened between her and Chakotay, but that didn't mean that the fear wasn't there. In space there was always the threat of a hull breech, but in the Delta Quadrant they had to be especially careful. Each introduction to a new species of alien had to be handled carefully, because they would either develop into an ally or a foe. She resigned herself to the fact that so far they had made more of the latter variety. Still, they had about 65 years to make up for it.
Despite her train of though though, she couldn't tell him how she felt. They had been in the Delta Quadrant for five years now, and she was still first and foremost the Captain. She hadn't been just Kathryn in a long time. Not since New Earth....
Deliberately putting *that* thought to one side, she pulled herself up on the arm of the chair and leant over to pick the bowl up from the floor. Chakotay stayed where he was. He seemed quite content to to stay there all day, arms folded under his head, wiggling his toes.
She examined the lack of contents in the bowl and raised her eyebrows at him in what he fondly called 'the death stare'. "I see you finished the last of it off."
Chakotay put on a good show of looking innocent. "I could have sworn it was you Kathryn. Everyone knows about your love of coffee and coffee ice cream."
Putting the bowl on the table, she turned back to face him with her hands on her hips. "So that's your defense?"
"It's the best one I can think up for now."
"Captain Janeway to the bridge." Tuvok's dispassionate voice cut into their conversation. Again.
Kathryn tapped her combadge. "On my way." She looked down at her First Officer. "Care to escort me to the bridge Chakotay?"
He immediately hopped up from the floor, just as she knew he would. "Aye Ma'am." he said playfully.
"It's not cru-"
"-nch time yet." Chakotay finished, and they were both smiling as they left her quarters.
It was only when they were in the turbolift on the way to the bridge that Kathryn realised that neither of them were in their uniforms. She mentally shrugged. It couldn't be helped. Both of them had arranged to have the evening off to take part in their monthly 'ritual' of eating coffee ice cream and chatting informally about the ship. It had become one of her favourite times and she always enjoyed herself.
She glanced at Chakotay who also appeared to be in deep thought. She wondered what he was thinking.
Chakotay tried not to wince as his stomach growled and he coughed to cover the sound. Despite her protestations, he'd had hardly any of the ice cream and hadn't eaten since the previous afternoon. It was his own fault for skipping meals.
"Are you okay Chakotay?" she queried, bemusement present in her eyes.
"Fine thank you Kathryn. Just something in my throat."
The turbolift stopped and they stepped onto the bridge.
"Report." Kathryn stated as she sat in her chair and Chakotay took his seat to her left.
"Captain, our sensors have picked up a ship approching us."
She glanced at her Chief of security. "Do we know what type of ship it is?"
"Negative." he replied. "They are not yet in close enough range. However, it is clear that they are on an intercept course."
"Belay that order." Chakotay ordered.
She turned to her left and frowned angrily at him. "Commander?"
He smiled. "I just thought you might want to wipe some of that coffee ice cream off your cheek first." he whispered.
Blushing furiously she quickly scrubbed off as much as she could with her hand. She considered asking him to help her, then realised that it might lead to.....distractions.
Quickly standing she asked Tuvok to hail them again.
Suddenly he reported. "Captain, we are being hailed ourselves."
That was a coincidence she supposed. "On screen."
Tuvok complied and activated the viewscreen. Kathryn stared in amazement at her own face.
A thousand ideas flew through Kathryn's mind. Alternate reality? Parallel dimension? Time travel? There was only one way to find out. Taking a step forward she welcomed the unexpected mirror image with her usual greeting.
"I am Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager."
Her own mouth smiled back at her. "Greetings Kathryn. I am Zuhula. We welcome you to our realm."
It was the word 'we' that drew Kathryn's attention to the people standing behind Zuhula, and she realised that they looked exactly like the people from her own bridge crew. She was aware of Chakotay standing behind her, and the mirror Chakotay appeared to be doing the same.
"We understand your confusion," Zuhula continued "but this is how we exist. For most of our existance we are non-corporeal beings. We only become solid when we encounter other races and we can greet them only by making ourselves look like them. We do not question why this happens - it is part of our evolution."
For some reason Kathryn believed her. Perhaps it was because her own face was telling her, but she knew it was more. There seemed to be a connection between them which gave her an inate trust of her double.
"Please sit down." Kathryn told Zuhula.
Zuhula nodded her thanks and sat. She had transported over a few minutes ago, despite Tuvok's brief argument for more safety precautions. Eventually even her had to admit that for some reason he trusted her.
"So....Zuhula. Please tell me more about this ability you have." It was bizarre having a conversation with someone who had the same face as you. "I find the idea very interesting."
"Always fascinated by the sciences, aren't you Kathryn?"
Kathryn was disturbed that Zuhula seemed to know her so well, but also by the fact that she kept using her first name. She wasn't used to anyone calling her by her first name. Well, except for-
"Oh I'm sorry Kath-Captain. I know you are uncomfortable being addressed with your first name, and that you allow only one person to use it. This is not our way however. We do not use 'ranks' as you define them and everyone is called by their birth name." If it offends you I can-"
"I apologise." Kathryn interrupted. "Please use my first name. You are right that I am not accustomed to it, but perhaps I should be."
"Well then, I shall tell you about my race. We are called the Makia and as I said, we exist mainly in a non-corporeal state. When visitors enter our region of space we take on physical form - it is the only way we can communicate with them. It order to take on this image we form a kind of....telepathic bond with the visitors. We do not know how we developed this gift, but we are greatful for it."
Kathryn nodded slowly, thinking over Zuhula's words. "That's why you know so much about me."
"Yes," Zuhula agreed "although we retain our own personality, we also gain some of yours. In essence, we become a part of what you are."
"Come." Kathryn called out and the doors opened to reveal her First Officer. Or at least she assumed it was *her* First Officer. Both she and Zuhula stood with their hands on their hips.
"Commander." they greeted in unison.
Chakotay wasn't the slightest bit fazed. Despite the fact that the women looked exactly alike and were wearing the same outfit, he knew which one was Kathryn.
"Captain, can I have a word with you for a moment?"
"Of course Commander." she replied, and turned to Zuhula. "If you wouldn't mind..."
"Not at all Kathryn. I'll be on the bridge talking to your Tuvok. He seems like a most interesing character."
She kept looking at them until she left the room, clearly interested in something about them.
Chakotay sat next to Kathryn in the same place where Zuhula had just been sitting.
"Well?" he asked.
"Well what? You came to see me."
"What do you think of her?"
She frowned as she mulled over his words. "I like her."
He grinned. "So do I."
She patted him reproachfully on the arm and pursed her lips at him. She knew exactly why *he* liked her.
"I've been speaking to Johana - the one who looks like me - over the viewscreen."
"He's...quite a character. A lot like me, but definitely more outrageous in some aspects."
"Oh?" she asked, clearly amused.
"You'll see what I mean. Providing it's okay with you, he wants to beam over with the rest of their 'bridge crew'."
"I don't see why not. Although Tuvok will probably quote ten more Starfleet regulations at me."
"Couldn't quoting regulations to a superior officer be seen as a form of mutiny?"
She smiled at him broadly. He'd just come up with the perfect excuse to stop Tuvok being so pedantic. "Good point Chakotay. I shall have to mention that to Tuvok the next time he brings it up."
He laughed slightly, then tapped his combadge. "Chakotay to Tuvok."
"Tuvok her Commander."
"Please transport the remaining members of the other bridge crew to Voyager."
"We have the Captain's permission."
There was a brief moment of silence, then "Yes sir."
He looked at Kathryn. "Is it my imagination, or does he seem upset?"
"You know you're far too hard on him Chakotay."
"Really. He's not exactly easy on me."
"You're as bad as each other."
Swiftly changing the subject he stood up. "Come on, we have to greet our new guests."
Chakotay, Kathryn and Zuhula arrived in the transporter room just before their visitors appeared. The transporter beam hummed, and on the the platform stood a duplicate Chakotay, Tuvok, Paris, Torres and Kim.
"Welcome aboard Voyager." Kathryn greeted diplomatically.
Chakotay's double was the first to step down from the platform as the others waited patiently behind him. Kathryn observed this with interest. Although Zuhula had said they had no ranks, there was clearly some kind of command structure at work.
"Greetings Kathryn. I am Johana." He turned to the rest of the crew and introduced them in turn. Tuvok's double was called Jasoy, Paris' was Jerol, Torres' was Zedral, and Kim's was Jiret.
Kathyrn and Chakotay greeted them all as they stepped off the transporter platform. It was getting crowded so Kathryn suggested them all go to the mess hall.
As Johana walked towards the door, he paused next to Zuhula and placed the palm of his hand on her stomach. "It is good to see you again Zuhula."
She returned the gesture. "And you Johana."
Suddenly having the feeling that she was intruding on a private moment, Kathryn quickly left the room.
"Are you alright?"
His teasing voice brought her out of her thoughts. "Oh. What? Oh yes, I'm just fine."
"Well you certainly sound fine." The humour in his voice was getting more noticeable as each moment passed.
Kathryn turned around slightly and raised her voice to be heard by the group of people following them. "This way."
She continued her whispered conversation with Chakotay. "It just made me...uncomfortable. It's not as if they were doing anything particularly...intimate...but it seemed that way."
Chakotay nodded slightly. "Perhaps because of their slight telepathic abilities."
Verbally Kathryn agreed, but she knew she was lying. She'd been so dicomforted by the scene because it felt strange - and yet right at the same time - to see what could be herself and Chakotay so close together.
Finally they reached the mess hall and Kathryn had several tables pushed together so they could all sit next to each other.
Neelix was incredibly excited to have some new guests to fawn over, and Kathryn was briefly glad that a Neelix double hadn't come over with the others. She wasn't sure she could handle more than one of him at a time.
Tom and B'Elanna bumped into each other outside the mess hall.
"You here to see..?" he asked.
"Yeah. I thought it might be interesting."
There was an awkward silence and eventually they both gave up and entered the room.
Kathryn noticed them straight away and seemed extremely eager for them to join the group. "Tom, B'Elanna! Grab a drink and join us over here."
They both nodded, but their smiles were a little too big. They scurried over to the drinks table and surreptitiously examined their doubles.
B'Elanna was amazed - Zedral did look *exactly* like her. And she seemed to be awfully friendly with Jerol...
Ignoring what that implied, she passed her cautious eye over the rest of the people sitting around the tables. Tuvok's double seemed equally impassionate as their own, and Jiret had the same wide-eyed enthusiasm that Harry had.
Her examination came to a stop when her gaze landed on the Captain and Chakotay and their doubles. She knew instantly which one was Janeway because she looked slightly uncomfortable, and B'Elanna could understand why. Zuhula and Johana and practically all over each other. Chakotay just sat there with a grin on his face.
"B'Elanna," Tom queried "why are you smili...oh." His words stopped as he looked at what she was observing. "Interesting."
"To say the least."
Picking up two cups, she absently passed one to Tom.
"Thanks." he told her.
Turning her attention back to him, she asked "For what?"
"The drink." he replied, holding up the cup.
She stared at the cup wondering how it got there. B'Elanna certainly couldn't remember giving it to him. Horrified, she felt a blush spreading on her face. This was ridiculous! She'd only passed him a drink without realising. It didn't *mean* anything.
Thankfully Harry entered the room just as she was wondering what to say in response.
"Harry!" she shouted, relief heavily evident in her voice. He came over to them and looked distinctly startled as she grabbed onto his arm.
"Umm...hi B'Elanna. Tom."
"Here you are Harry, have a drink." Tom told him, passing the cup that B'Elanna had given him. Obviously she was upset at something relating to the drink, so he decided to get rid of it.
B'Elanna let go of Harry's arm, her Klingon temper rising. So, the drink she'd passed him wasn't good enough was it? Before she had the chance to moan at him, Harry realised what was going to happen and quickly grabbed her arm.
"Come on Maquis. Let's join the others."
Frowning at the missed opportunity to shout at Tom, she walked with Harry. As her mind cleared of the anger she began to realise what would have happened if she had shouted at him. She doubted the Captain would appreciate her causing an incident at a diplomatic function.
Harry sat next to Jiret leaving B'Elanna to sit next to Tom. Determined, she held her body stiffly.
"Hello." Harry said to his double amiably, and they started chatting.
B'Elanna wondered how the Hell he could be taking this so easily. Her own double was giving her the creeps. It was a worrying experience seeing someone who looked exactly as you did. She couldn't actually say 'met' as they hadn't been formally introduced. B'Elanna wasn't sure she wanted to be introduced to Zedral right now anyway - she seemed to be having far too much fun with Jerol.
B'Elanna had to admit that seeing 'herself' so friendly with 'Tom' had a definite appeal and she tried not to blush as images of this 'friendliness' passed through her mind unbidden.
Kathryn observed Zuhula once again touching Johana. She'd tried to get chatting to them but had given up five minutes ago as they were obviously much more fascinated with each other than with talking diplomacy. She couldn't blame them she supposed, but she had expected them to show more restraint. Perhaps this was also acceptable in their culture.
That wasn't the problem though. No, the problem was that Zuhula and Johana looked like herself and Chakotay. So much so, that although it may have been Johana who was rubbing Zuhula's fingertips, it was far too easy to imagine that Chakotay was doing a damn fine job at rubbing hers.
Clenching her fingers tightly to dispell the image, she settled back in her chair trying to relax. It didn't work, and as a flood of images filled her mind she was finding it increasingly difficult to control herself.
With amazing clarity she suddenly realised what was happening. This was what they wanted. The images she was seeing were what Zuhula and Johana wanted to happen between each other, and perhaps because of their telepathic abilities she could feel it as well.
The scientific part of her tried to analyse it. It was a very...stimulating experience. Stimulating. Hell, it was downright erotic.
Unable to stop herself, she closed her eyes and gave into what both she and the Makia wanted.
Behind her eyelids she could see herself and Chakotay. Every sensation was magnified. Hearing. Touch. Taste. Sight. Smell. Both naked they embraced and she watched as Johana gently ran his hands over Zuhula's breasts. Only it wasn't them. It was *Chakotay* running his hands over *her* breasts. She heard herself moaning with pleasure.......and unfortunately she did the same thing in reality.
Her eyes shot open and the image instantly receded, but didn't vanish completely. She could feel them, see them, in the back of her mind. Her head moved up too quickly and she almost bumped foreheads with Chakotay.
"What?!" she demanded, embarrassed that he might somehow know what she had just been doing.
"I was checking that you were alright. Your eyes were closed and you were...um...making a noise."
Eyes wide, she scanned the rest of the room in horror. No one else seemed to have noticed, so it must have been pretty quiet. It was embarrassing enough that the object of her thoughts had noticed. Thanking God for small favours, she sat up straight and tried to pull her features into a mask of impassitivity.
"Thank you for your concern, but I'm absolutely fine. I was just thinking."
"So you were thinking....and moaning."
"That's correct. Is that not allowed?"
Unaware that everyone was slowly turning their attention towards them, they continued their whispered conversation.
"Not at all. I'm just wondering what could make you do that."
The mask was cracking. "Do what? Think?"
He smiled slightly. "No."
He didn't finish his line of thought, but he didn't have to. She knew exactly what he wanted to know.
Kathryn was about to reply when Zuhula stood to get herself a drink, and suddenly the spell was broken. Blinking and shaking her head, Kathryn stared down at her hands in amazement. She could remember saying and doing all the things she had, but couldn't remember *why*. Standing up quickly and avoiding his gaze, she knew she had to escape. Almost running over the table, she joined Zuhula as she picked up a drink.
Desperate to start a conversation, she picked the only subject that came to mind. "You and Johana seem very close."
"Yes, it is a most gratifying experience to be in a physical form again."
Kathryn could understand that. Although there were no doubt advantages to living in a non-corporeal state, it also meant they missed out on the intimacy of humanoid contact.
"I must say I like this side to Johana." Zuhula continued, then pursed her lips in the same way that Kathryn had done many times. "Although I suppose I owe that to your Chakotay. Johana has drawn this part of his personality from him."
Instantly Kathryn knew that Zuhula was envisioning herself and Johana together, because once again she could see them in her mind. Only this time it wasn't just Zuhula who was thinking about Johana. Kathryn was thinking about Chakotay. Disoriented she stumbled slightly and Zuhula smiled wickedly as if she knew what Kathryn was thinking.
"Are you alright Kathryn? Perhaps you should go to see your medic."
Nodding slightly, but not looking at Zuhula, Kathryn rushed out of the room not even bothering to maker her excuses to the others.
In the corridor, she clenched her eyes shut trying to force the images from her mind, but it wasn't working. When Zuhula had sat up to get her drink the images had vanished, so Kathryn had assumed that proximity must have been a factor.
But now she was getting further away from Zuhula and the images were still there. Annoyed and aroused she made her way to sickbay.
The Doctor clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth several times as he passed the tricorder across Kathryn's head.
"Hmmm what?" she snapped. Surprised at the Captain's ill-humour he raised his eyebrows, and Kathryn quickly apologised.
"I am picking up elevated activity in your cerebral cortex."
"No, although it's very similar and I can understand why our guests described it as such. I had an opportunity to look over the bio-readings we picked up from the transporter when the Makia beamed over. Zuhula is identical to you in every way except for your brain patterns. Obviously, different individuals have different patterns, but even they are very similar. A kind of symbiosis has formed between yourself and Zuhula. It's really quite fascinating." he told her, indifferent to the fact that she found it somewhat less than fascinating.
"So this is why I am seeing these images?"
"Does proximity have anything to do with the strength of these images?"
"I would imagine so. No doubt the closer you are to Zuhula, the more overpowering these images would be."
"But that doesn't explain why I'm still having them now."
The Doctor frowned and reactivated his tricorder. "You're experiencing the images now?"
"According to these readings, you shouldn't be. I am picking up readings that indicate there was some activity earlier, but it's not showing that there's any right now. I expect that Zuhula could project these images onto you from a greater distance under certain circumstances, but the bio-readings don't seem to indicate this."
"That's not very reassuring."
The Doctor closed the tricorder and seemed to hesitate before continuing to talk. "Captain...what exactly are these images that you keep seeing?"
No way was she going to tell him. "I'd rather not say."
"I understand. However, perhaps you should consider that these images are not coming from Zuhula's mind.....and are actually coming from your own."
Tom ran to catch up with Harry after they left the transporter room. The Makia had just left Voyager and he wanted to gossip with his best friend.
"Did you *see* them?" he asked excitedly.
"See who?" Harry replied.
"Who? The Captain and Chakotay of course, that's who! I'd love to know what they were whispering about."
"Oh, of course I did."
"You don't sound too excited about it."
Harry stopped mid-stride and turned to face him. "I think I was more interested in you and B'Elanna."
Tom was aghast. "Me?"
"And B'Elanna." Harry added, hiding his smile before continuing the journey towards his quarters.
"Wait a minute! Just what do you mean by 'me and B'Elanna'....?"
Kathryn lay spread out on the bed, eyes closed, thinking over the Doctor's words. Instead of trying to ignore the images she gave into them, trying to analyse them.
Her breath quickened, and her stomach contracted as she tried to study the images. With a new certainty she realised that there was only one image and it was coming from her own mind. This surprised the Hell out of her. She'd had erotic dreams before but none of them had felt this real or intense.
Damn. She knew who it was. Jumping up from the bed she grabbed her dressing gown and was pathetically thankful for the small amount of cover it provided over her night gown. Sitting primly on the end of the bed, she slowly breathed out then called "Come." and instantly winced at the bad choice of word. *I can get through this* she thought. *As long as he doesn't look too good I can get through this*.
The doors slid open and Chakotay entered the room. A cliche about 'tall, dark and handsome' popped up from somewhere in her brain, but it certainly described him. The tattoo over his left eye added to his mystery and she was sure she could see her own desire mirrored in his incredibly dark eyes.
She was doomed.
Chakotay stood outside the door to her quarters, trying to calm his breathing. Ever since he'd been in the mess hall with their guests images of him and Kathryn *together* had been filling his mind. He'd checked in with the Doctor who informed him that several other crew members, including the Captain, had reported experiencing strange images (although he had also pointed out that all of these people were strangely reticient about the content of their dreams). He could understand that, and it certainly explained Kathryn's behaviour.
He had to admit that he'd been surprised by his own behaviour earlier. He hadn't just been teasing, he'd been outright flirting. More amazing was the fact that she had been responding to him, but just as suddenly she had frozen up and ran across the room to speak to Zuhula.
For some reason he had been drawn to her quarters now. For some reason. He tugged on his ear as he reproached himself. Trying his best to appear unaffected by the sights in his mind he pressed the buzzer.
There was a slight pause before she answered, and Chakotay thought maybe she was asleep. Maybe she was tired now that the excitement from meeting a new race had died down, and had gone to bed already. God he hoped she wasn't naked. He could picture her lying under the starfleet covers, the grey fabric rising slightly as she slowly breathed in or out...
"Come." No. Thankfully she was awake, and that probably meant she was dressed. Of course, the delay could have been because she was having a bath. Wearing nothing but a towel. He definitely had to stop thinking about that as it brought back the too-pleasant memories of New Earth.
Ambigiously he stepped into her room, the confused expression on his face only being masked by the most basic of biological functions - his desire for her.
She was sitting on the edge of the bed, that much he could tell. The lights in the room were lowered so he could only see her by starlight. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he realised that it was enough.
The gentle glow coming through the windows behind her gave her an almost mystical quality, and Chakotay was suddenly struck by the bizarre notion that it was a dream. This situation was certainly similar to some dreams he'd had in the past, but none of them had felt do real. So intense.
His nerves seemed to be over-sensitive to everything. He hadn't even touched her, but he could hear her uneven breath as clearly as if she were pressed against his body. He could smell her scent, permeating the room.
Chakotay had fooled himself into believing that he had come here to talk to her about the Doctor's report. Now he knew that something far more physical, more primal, had driven him here.
Propelled by years of restraint he almost ran, then knelt in front of her. Kathryn now had her head bowed down and seemed to be staring at her hands as if they were absurdly interesting. She was trying to avoid the issue, as usual.
Gently he separated her hands and pressed a kiss into her right palm. She shuddered and exhaled heavily. His heart rate quickened, glad at her response to him.
They sat in silence for a moment or two, Chakotay still clutching her hand. Finally her shoulders drooped slightly and she raised her eyes to meet his.
He almost fell back as the near-overwhelming influx of images came from her mind to his. Everything she'd dreamt of doing, thought of doing and wanted to be doing with him right now was suddenly available to him. It was an incredible gift, and he truely acknowledged the fact that he couldn't stop this any more than he could stop her desire to get them home. Even when he had entered her quarters he had still believed he had a choice. Now he knew. Resistance was useless.
She reached for him or he reached for her - either way it didn't matter because they simply *were*. Desperation drove them together and they thumped to the floor, barely aware of the impact.
She wrenched her lips away from his and began placing harsh kisses along his neck, frantic to join with him, but just as frantic to prolong it for as long as possible.
Gods, he could feel *everything*. Her thoughts and needs were still intertwined with his, and he was actually fulfilling what those thoughts were demanding.
She moved her mouth back to his own and they tasted each other greedily. Thoughts of tenderness were tossed aside. No consequences were considered. All that mattered was their need for each other.
Still kissing he sat them up and managed to partially remove her dressing gown. Unfortunately her arm got caught up and bent in half in their eagerness. He hesitated, but it was she who managed to rip the dressing gown off, her strength fuelled by her passion.
Forcefully she pushed him back down and started lifting his top up and over his face. Leaving it there, she leant over and placed a kiss on his stomach, reveling in his reaction as he sucked in a sharp breath. Teasingly she kissed her way up his chest until finally she reached his nipple. She latched onto the left one and licked it, delighting him with her tongue.
Blinded by his top, Chakotay could only endure until she decided to show leniency or until his control held out. The latter was the first to go and he quickly took off the shirt. Surprising her he changed their positions until she was the one lying on the floor. Raising her night gown, he left it pooled around her neck so she could see everything he was doing to her.
Mimicing her own actions, his mouth found its way to her breasts and he suckled noisily. She groaned, the sound he had always wanted, the sound he had always imagined but never expected to hear.
Gliding his hands on her body while he still worked on her breasts, he moved his fingers over her thighs, slowly moving closer and closer to her centre.
Frustrated at his teasing, she opened her legs to give him easy access and he ran his fingertip along the edge of her panties, then reached down and cupped her.
Already moist she cried out, and the sound *begged* him to complete her, make her whole again. Slipping her panties off he dipped a finger into her to make sure she was ready. He stopped only long enough to remove his own trousers, then lay down next to her again.
Staring at him intently she reached up and pulled him down to her. At the same instant that they kissed he entered her and they gasped into each others mouths.
Finding a rhythm they were both comfortable with he moved frantically. She joined him, her passion just as overwhelming as his. Her mind and his mind. One mind, combined. They could see it when they closed their eyes, they could see it when they opened them. Finally he spilled into her and they both screamed out at the joyousness of it.
They lay in each others arms, tired but extremely happy, and uttered the only words they would that night.
"I think I got a serious carpet burn."
"Wanna get some more?"
Chakotay hobbled into sickbay the next morning. He was about to activate the Doctor when he noticed that he was already activated...and was holding a tricorder over someone lying on the biobed. Moving forward to see who it was he was surprised to see Tom Paris, his face twisted in agony.
The Doctor picked up a hypospray from the medtray to his right. "This should ease your pain." he told the Lieutenant. The hypospray hissed against Tom's neck and almost immediately the pain on his face disappeared and he visibly relaxed.
"Doctor?" Chakotay asked. "What happened?"
The Doctor turned around slightly and raised his eyebrows at Chakotay's injuries. "It appears that Mr Paris has a broken finger, a fractured clavical and many other small contusions."
"How did he get them?"
"That's what I would like to know. He won't tell me anything." He thrust the tricorder into Chakotay's hands. "Perhaps you can have a word with him. When you're finished let me know and I'll treat *your* injuries. None of them appear too serious at the moment."
He headed towards his office, no doubt to try and figure out what was going on. Chakotay winced as he continued walking towards Tom. He'd definitely sprained something.
Tom watched as Chakotay approached and noticed his discomfort. Realising what had happened to both of them, he asked "Um...you and the...?"
"Yeah. What happened to you?"
"It was insane! I went to B'Elanna's quarters to ask her something and the next thing I knew she was all over me! I tell ya, these Makia have a lot to answer for. Say, that's a pretty nice love bite you have there." he said, indicating the bruise visible on Chakotay's neck.
Chakotay resisted the urge to hide it with his hand and instead replied "I could say the same about you." pointing out the vivid teeth marks on Tom's right cheek.
"Yeah, well...she kinda got into it."
Chakotay nodded commiseratively.
The entrance to sickbay swished open and a third injured party stumbled into the room. His appearance shocked the hell out of both of them. Noting the amazed expressions on their face he did his best to stand as tall as he could, but he was obviously in pain.
"Although I do have several meditative techniques that enable me to heal myself, logic requires that I inform the Chief Medical Officer of any injuries I sustain."
Tom and Chakotay looked at each other, then looked back at him.
"Uh hu." they replied together.
Kathryn sat in the mess hall, her hand wrapped around her now cold cup of coffee, a smile on her face.
Staring out of the window, she wasn't aware that anyone was standing next to her until she began to speak.
"Don't tell me you're actually letting your coffee go *cold*."
Kathryn smiled up at her visitor. "I can always reheat it."
B'Elanna sat down opposite her with a drink. "You look very pleased with yourself."
The Captain blushed but nodded her agreement. "I am."
"I know what you mean." B'Elanna responded, an evil smile spreading across her face.
"Oh but we did."
"Congratulations!" Kathryn exclaimed, wanting to hug her Chief Engineer. "It's taken you long enough."
"I could say the same-"
"Don't say it."
"-about you. Too late." she replied with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
Kathryn mock frowned at B'Elanna, then lost it completely and laughed. She'd forgotten how good it felt to chat to other women about men.
They continued talking for a while, but both looked up when Kes entered the mess hall. She had an even bigger than usual smile on her face.
B'Elanna looked back at Kathryn. "You don't think....?"
"What? Her and Neelix? No."
Kathryn leaned forward conspiratorially. "Tuvok."
"Kim to Janeway."
"Go ahead Ensign."
"Captain, we're being hailed by the Makia. Zuhula would like to speak with you."
"On my way. Janeway out." Turning her attention back to B'Elanna she smiled. "Well I'd better be going. See you later."
"You too." replied the dark-haired engineer. "Be sure to give my best to Chakotay."
Kathryn stood. "I will. As soon as he's finished in sickbay."
B'Elanna laughed. "You too?"
"I don't think you need to know quite that much about my love life."
"Oh yes I do! I have ten replicator rations riding on you two."
"Well....I suppose I can't let Tom profit from your loss. Assuming it's Tom who's running the pool on this one." B'Elanna's silent nod assure her that it was.
"So yes. Me too. Anyway, as I said, I'd better go. People to talk to, bets to collect on..."
That stopped B'Elanna cold. "Bets?"
"Oh yes. About you and Tom."
The half-Klingon stood and faced Kathryn as she was about to leave. "You mean people are betting on me and Tom?!"
"Don't sound so surprised. It's only fair."
"Who started the pool on us?"
Kathryn glimpsed towards the kitchen at the small Ocampa who was walking towards them.
"Why don't you chat to Kes? I have to go." With that last comment she left the room, smiling at Kes.
Kes sat down in the Captain's now-vacant seat, and B'Elanna sat back down opposite her.
"Forget the pleasantries Kes - give me all the dirt on you and Tuvok. And anything you know about a pool on me and Tom....
Harry was the first to speak to the Captain when she arrived on the bridge.
"Zuhula is asking to speak to you privately Captain."
Kathryn nodded. "Put it through to my ready room." She started walking towards it, her eyes sweeping across the bridge. They froze when they rested on the tactical station. Crewman Dalby was there, but it should have been Tuvok. It *was* Tuvok's shift wasn't it?
Harry noticed her frown. "He's in sickbay."
"Sickbay? Is he alright?" She realised that Harry looked like he was trying damnably hard not to laugh.
"I don't believe so Captain, but perhaps you should ask him yourself."
"I might just do that." she replied, half to herself, then resumed her journey to the ready room.
Once inside she activated the small screen on her desk.
"Zuhula, it is wonderful to speak to you again." she greeted enthusiastically.
"As it is to see you Kathryn. I see that being in a relationship with Chakotay agrees with you."
Kathryn blushed a decidedly bright shade of pink. She felt like she was being given a mother's approval. "Thank you. Although I have a feeling that part of it was your doing."
"I did...influence you, but it was only a reflection of what you wanted to do yourself. When you observed my thoughts, they were an unrestrained view of what you wanted - what would happen without protocol. But now...something's happened, hasn't it?"
That woman knew her too damn well. "I'm so happy that we've...uh...started a relationship. Started? No that's not right. We're slap bang in the middle of a relationship. But some of my previous doubts are resurfacing."
"Oh of course they're going to Kathryn; they're a part of who you are. But think about this - can you honestly say that now you've had some experience of what is would be like that you won't pursue a deeper relationship with Chakotay?"
"You know me so well." Kathryn admitted softly, lowering her eyes.
"Only as well as you know yourself my friend. You know all this already, but you just didn't realise it. *I* realise it because I'm not held back by regulations."
Raising her eyes back to Zuhula's image, Kathryn spoke. "You are very wise."
"I *have* been in existance for over a thousand years."
"As we are not usually trapped in the confines of a humanoid body we are able to survive for a very long time - at least by your terms. Speaking of which, I'd forgotten the whole point of why I contacted you."
"Which was what?"
"To say goodbye. I know you are planning to leave this area of space soon, and once you do we will no longer exist as we do now." She didn't sound upset, but she did sound....regretful.
"I'm going to miss you." Kathryn whispered.
"You'll never be without me. I will always be a part of you. Consider what I gave you a.....departing gift."
"What you gave me?" Kathryn was confused.
"What I gave you, and what Johana gave Chakotay. I know you've put some of it to use already.
Still baffled, Kathryn said goodbye to her friend.
They lay in each others arms silently that night, comforting and supporting. Neither of them slept despite their exhaustion. They couldn't. Everything was still so new. As they examined each other in the starlight their thoughts entangled again, never to truly be apart.
Sometime during the night, Kathryn turned around so she faced his chest and looked into his deep brown eyes.
*I love you*