The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea - part 12

Chakotay turned away from the viewport and smiled at the woman fast asleep amidst a storm of bedclothes. She looked peaceful and that made him happy, even though he'd done little to bring about that state. They'd made love again, hungrily, eagerly, ferociously at times, tenderly in the last moments, before curling up together to fall asleep in a sweaty, sated embrace. Or at least he had.

He'd woken an indeterminate time later to find himself alone in bed, a realisation that had made him go cold. But she hadn't left him in a fit of remorse or uncertainty, she wasn't hiding on the Bridge or in the Ready Room, but instead in the living area, curled on the couch, cradling her head in her hands.

He should have realised hours ago that she had a headache. He could recall seeing her rubbing her head, but the subject of their discussion had distracted him and later there had been other things to think about. He pushed away his feelings of guilt at not having noticed and set about dealing with the problem. Taking her back to bed, giving her a glass of water to sip at and contacting the Doctor.

There was something ironic about the fact that the Doctor had been given back his portable emitter to treat the person who had confiscated it in the first place. Fortunately the Doctor had not mentioned that, he'd actually been rather subdued, not remarking on their state of undress, or the fact that the had obviously recently made love. Instead he'd asked Kathryn a few pertinent questions, reminded her of a recent conversation they'd had about her diet and then injected her with a painkiller and a mild sedative.

That was why she was sleeping so peacefully, the sedative had taken effect rapidly leaving them with no opportunity to discuss whether she wanted Chakotay to stay or not.

He wanted to stay, he wanted to wake up with her in the morning, but was that on her agenda? There was no escaping the fact that they were entering into a relationship in the worst possible circumstances. The ghost of this failure would haunt them, haunt Kathryn and it was inextricably caught up with feelings for one another.

And yet, if he'd been asked earlier today what she would do, he would have said that she would retreat. It was unexpected that she'd allowed him to persuade her into giving a relationship a try. But was that good or not? Her conviction that she'd hurt him was a disturbing one and the promise she'd extracted from him was not one he thought he'd be able to keep if it came to it.

But they were here, together. All his worst fears and her predictions of doom couldn't alter that and his essentially optimistic nature was already planning on how things would develop. And he was staying, there really wasn't any debate about that. Slipping out of his newly replicated robe he crawled into bed, careful not to wake Kathryn and curved his body around hers.

She stirred in her sleep, turning over to lie with her forehead resting against his. As he watched, charmed by her, her eyelids fluttered open. 'Chakotay,' she said softly, her voice slightly slurred with sleep.

'Hello.'

'I thought you'd gone.'

'No, just doing some thinking.'

'That's good, there's lots to think about.' She moved again, finishing with her face pressed into the curve of his neck and a hand over his heart, a trademark gesture that had never felt so intimate than it did in that moment. She snuggled into him and slipped back to sleep, her breathing deepening.

And that decided things for him. It was very simple really, come hell or high water, they were going to make it.

The End