by Suz

Disclaimer - yeah yeah. They are Paramount's.


Her back was towards him as they lay on the bed, her body a study of rigidity. He didn't think he'd ever seen her so tense. Or upset.

She was teetering on the edge of the matress, keeping herself just out of reach of his arms. He didn't know what to say to her. They'd been lying in silence for almost ten minutes now, but he didn't want to risk saying something that might offend her accidentally. He was waiting for her to speak so at least he had something to respond to. The one thing he did *not* want to hear under any circumstances was-

"I'm sorry."

He shook his head minutely. At least she'd said something.

"There's no need to apologise," he whispered, and if possible her back tightened up even more. He winced. His words sounded trite even to him. But he meant it.

"Don't give me that crap, Chakotay. You can't tell me you didn't want to."

His instinctive reply of course, was to deny it. But he managed to override it. That would only make things worse. She wanted the truth, and in this situation he couldn't possibly keep it from her.

"I'd seem like a pig if I agreed with you, wouldn't I?"

Kathryn's body shook slightly and he smiled to himself. At least her sense of humour was returning. "Of *course* I wanted to Kathryn. Otherwise I...*we* wouldn't be here. But sex isn't the be all and end all." Somehow he knew she had opened her mouth to argue. "Yes, alright. I was looking forward to it. A lot. But all that really matters to me is that you're happy."

A few seconds passed as he waited for a reaction. Was that sniffling he heard, or was he imagining it?

"How..." her voice was clear. If she had been close to tears she wasn't going to reveal it. "how can you always be that way?"

A frown fluttered across his forehead. "What way?"

She shifted slightly on the bed, her bare back a little closer to him. Was the move intentional? He could almost reach out and-

"So selfless. So *damn* selfless."

He propped his head up on his hand, his elbow creating a dent in the mattress. He was genuinely confused. Her voice held so much...anger. At him? "What do you mean? I'm not-"

Chakotay didn't get the chance to speak another word as suddenly Kathryn spun herself around and then she was staring down at him, her gaze containing such ferocity that he retreated slightly in surprise, his head moving away from his hand.

"Yes you are! You're too selfless for your own good Chakotay. Eight years, Chakotay. Eight!" She shook her head in apparent disbelief. "And in all that time only once did you say anything about your feelings for me, and that was only when you thought we'd be trapped together for the rest of our lives. You had plenty of opportunities, yet you said nothing. I get the letter from Mark and what do you say? Plenty of time. We have plenty of time? What a load of bullshit!" She laughed at the irony. "60 years from home...and yet we do *nothing*. I'll admit that some of it was my fault but didn't even try."

Chakotay couldn't believe he was hearing this, and did the best he could to keep his own anger controlled. "What would you have me do, Kathryn? I'm not a mind reader. How could I know what you wanted?"

"You could have *asked*." She then sat back, apparently spent from their, or rather her, discussion. She looked down at the mattress. "Tell me Chakotay. Just this once, tell me what you want."

He sat up and reached for her hands. She did nothing to move them away. "Kathryn, I'm not going to dictate to you how I-"

But she wasn't done yet. Her head snapped up and she actually shouted at him. "Stop it! I had made every move to get us this far and how's this for irony? - I'm too tense to make love to you. Don't explain, don't rationalise, don't tell me any damn stories, just *tell* me what *you* want!"

What was left of his restraint snapped. His hands released hers and whipped up to grasp her face. His voice, as it always was when he was angry, was low and barely controlled. His eyes looked into hers with an intensity that terrified her, but she wanted this. And she knew now he had gone to far to stop.

"What do I want?" he hissed, his voice still low. "I want to fall asleep next to you every night and wake with you in the morning. I want to smell your perfume in my quarters, I want to have the right to stare at you, your hair, your face, your body and not feel guilty for it. I want to endure the knowing looks the crew give to us and for once feel that they're deserved. I want to make love to you whenever I can. I want to hold your hand as we walk along the corridor, I want to kiss you in the mess hall, I want to announce to the whole universe that I love you and that I'm the greatest person who ever lived because you're mine and yet I belong to you. I want to be able to love you and have you love me in return. I want..."

"What you can have." she whispered, her voice shaking. "What you can *have* Chakotay."

He blinked, not quite able to believe what she was saying. His shaking hands moved away from her face and rested on his knees, but his eyes never left hers.

She raised her hand up...and slapped him.

Chakotay looked at her in shock, feeling the impact of her hand blossoming across his right cheek. His hand reached up to gently caress the wounded area, while he stared at her with a mixture of awe and surprise. He opened his mouth, yet he was still so shocked that he couldn't form the words.

It didn't matter. She didn't need to be psychic to know what he was going to say.

"I just needed to confirm that you *have* come to your senses."

He finally forced some words out, his hands still touching his cheek. "So you slapped me?"

"The slap was unimportant. What mattered was your reaction."

What this how she thought? "I hope physical violence isn't a common occurence in your relationships."

Kathryn chuckled and pulled him towards her, her arms wrapping around him. As he closed his eyes he finally began to accept that she was right. They could have everything they wanted...he wanted. She wanted. They could have it.

She shifted, drawing him even closer. Their problems were far from over; he doubted if they ever would be but it hardly seemed to matter.

Kathryn nuzzled against his neck, and the moment was almost perfect as she spoke.

"But if you ever say to anyone on the crew that I belong to you, I'm going to have to kill you."


Suz's Voyager Fanfic.

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