Lingers Still

by Suz

Disclaimer - Paramount own them, I guess.

This little story has been resting in my head for a while. I finally decided to move it.


Her hand moved through the warm water, sending ripples outwards until they reached the side of the bath. Watching the aquatic display, she hummed to herself and continued the movement, watching the light reflect off the water as it changed shape.

The doors to her quarters hissed open and she remained where she was, sitting on the edge of the bath. She knew who it was and her thoughts were confirmed as he approached from behind and his hands sneaked their way under her dressing gown and around her waist. She didn't speak, although her smile grew bigger and she leant against him as her humming grew louder. It was a habit of hers that he had thankfully decided to find endearing.

She had missed him today. Their work had kept them apart and she was unaccustomed to seeing so little of him. She tried to convey all of that in the way she folded her arms over his and squeezrd tightly. Leaning down slightly, he kissed the side of her neck.

She continued to hum, content to actually let her bath get cold just to have the contact with him for a while. He wasn't one to sing, but after a while he started humming the vaguely familiar tune with her. Grinning she squeezed a little harder and as she opened her mouth a few half-words emerged. She wasn't sure what it was she was actually singing - some piece of music she had heard once years ago - but she sang what she could anyway.

Finally, he spoke, grinning into her hair. "You have a lovely voice Seska."

Kathryn froze.

Chakotay froze. Immediately letting go he pulled away and turned towards the exit. "I...I'm sorry. It was-"

"-an accident, I know. It's okay." And it was. While she couldn't say she was pleased, she knew it was just that. An accident. "Don't go, Chakotay." I've missed you.

He either didn't hear or chose to ignore the silent plea. "I'll...I have to do something." It was a lie of course, a convenient excuse.

Turning back to look at the bath water, she frowned.


By the time she emerged from the bathroom - nearly thirty minutes later - he was lying in bed, facing the opposite direction. It was quite clear from the tenseness in this body that he wasn't asleep and wouldn't be for some time.

Slipping into bed next to him she lay on her side, contemplating just how to go about bringing up the subject. Seska wasn't something they'd discussed since they'd become involved.

Deciding that silence was the best way to offer comfort and concluding that he'd talk about it when he was ready, she wrapped an arm around his side and leaned into his back. He was warm, solid. And he spoke almost immediately.

"She had the most *beautiful* voice..." he whispered, voice filled with inescapable awe. She heard him swallow before continuing. "I...the first time I saw her she was sitting by herself, singing and...Gods it was gorgeous. I'd never heard anything so beautiful."

She frowned as she knew he was. His eyes were probably closed to aid in the recall of the memory, with equal measures of repulsion and pleasure.

"I..." He stopped, sighing. After a few moments he continued with an intensity that surprised her. "...hate her. I *detest* her. How the hell can that be right? How can I...?"

How could he hate someone he had once loved so passionately? "She lied, Chakotay. You know that. She was never who you thought she was. She was never the woman you fell in love with."

"But what if it..."

"It won't. It won't happen again Chakotay. I'm not Seska."

He remained silent, for a while. "It's difficult. Some days I don't know you at all."

"That doesn't mean I'm a Cardassian spy."

"I know that. I know that."

Frowning, she held him tighter. "I won't betray you, Chakotay."

His only response was to touch the hand that was resting over his stomach. He said nothing.


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