Disclaimer: Paramount own the characters used in this story, no infringement of copyright is intended. This story contains references to sexual intercourse – PG13


The Captain of Voyager was out of uniform, instead of the cranberry and black jumpsuit she wore almost everyday she was dressed in a long evening dress of midnight blue, her hair pulled back into a loose pleat. Apparently she looked wonderful, at least four people had told her this, so she was inclined to believe them. But this was a wedding, a joyous occasion, everyone looked wonderful. The salient point was that wonderful was the very last word she would pick to describe how she was feeling.

Holding an untouched glass of champagne in her hand she strolled idly through the rooms of the elegant nineteenth century town house Tom and Neelix had turned the holodeck into for this occasion. She needed to get away from the crowd before someone noticed her melancholy state; this was the third wedding she’d presided over this year and each one was harder than the last. At times like this it was incredibly difficult to ignore the sad, quiet voice which cried out for love and comfort.

Feeling the tears beginning to well up in her eyes she opened a door and slipped into a small living room. She could still hear the sounds of revelry from the ballroom just along the hall way, at least everyone else seemed to be having a good time. She really did wish the bride and groom every happiness but, right now it was impossible to deny that she envied them, it was impossible not to admit to herself how much she ached to love and be loved in return. Respect, admiration, whatever the crew felt for her did nothing to fill this particular void.

She turned her head as the door opened and managed a weak smile at Chakotay, wondering why she wasn’t surprised that he’d come to find her, asking herself if it was possible that he understood something of what she felt.

‘I was wondering where you’d got to,’ he said quietly, not moving far into the room, as if he was still undecided about whether he would be staying or not. He was dressed in his best clothing as well, a dark suit that she still found it difficult to see him in, he didn’t look like the man she knew and she found herself curious about whether he was comfortable in such an outfit, or if he found formal clothing irksome.

‘I know I shouldn’t have crept off,’ she replied, ‘but all the joy and merriment got a little too much for me so I thought I would be very wicked and selfish and find a quiet place to be self indulgently miserable in, and here I am.’

‘I don’t think that’s particularly wicked and selfish of you.’

‘Oh, but isn’t it compulsory to be happy at a wedding?’ She looked up at him suddenly with sombre eyes and he thought his heart would stop beating because she was so beautiful. The sadness suited her somehow and he hated the fact, he wanted her to laugh and buzz around him, talking a mile a minute about things over his head. This vulnerability was something he seldom saw and it felt strangely intimate.

‘I think you only have to appear to be happy and on that score you succeeded admirably; no one suspected a thing.’

‘Except you.’ She pointed out, half accusingly.

‘I just wanted to spend some time with you, but I suppose I know that sometimes it’s just too much of a strain, being confident and in control, isn’t it?’ It had been like that in the Maquis, he had pretended at a confidence he didn’t have every single day, it was the only thing which kept him together. But he had never had her skill at making others believe, or perhaps he had never had her confidence.

‘I feel as though if I see one more smiling face, or hear one more person say what a beautiful wedding it was I’ll, I’ll - well I don’t know what I’ll do, but it won’t be pretty I can promise you that.’ She looked so much like a solemn child that it was difficult not to laugh, he suppressed the impulse with difficulty and then she did something totally unexpected - sinking down onto the chaise and placing her elegantly clad feet onto the coffee table. She turned towards him and patted the place next to her. ‘Chakotay, tell me a sad story.’

He couldn’t refuse her of course, that was part of the problem. Placing himself next to her he told her a story of separated lovers, of regret and betrayal, without the requisite happy ending - he didn’t think that would suit her present mood. In truth he hardly knew what words he used, where the story he told came from because as he’d begun to speak she had closed her eyes and leaned her head against the back of the couch, tiled up to the ceiling, leaving him to gaze at the elegant lines and angles of her face, the delicate lines of her bone structure which somehow reflected her strength and determination.

As he finished the story she opened her eyes and turned her head to look at him, the tears were there, threatening to fall - but somehow not doing so. This was probably a good thing, since he had no idea how he would stop himself from kissing them away.

Time stopped as she watched him. It was miraculous, he had somehow found the words that exactly matched her mood; he had woven his spell completely around her, an enchantment, making her feel as though they had stepped out of time, as if everything but their heartbeats was standing still waiting. The silence stretched, becoming a taut thread between them which she knew she would be the one to break.

‘I don’t want to be alone tonight,’ she said quietly, ‘would you mind very much if I was even more wicked and selfish and asked you to take me to bed?’ He leaned closer to her and whispered back,

‘Before I answer that, I need to know if you’ll still be there in the morning, or if you won’t allow yourself to be wicked and selfish ever again?’ He asked the question with all seriousness, his gaze fixed firmly on her, the scrutiny making her look away.

‘It won’t make everything all right.’ She pointed out.

‘It doesn’t have to, but it would be a start.’ He touched her face, turning back towards him, ‘Kathryn, you don’t have to feel this way.’ This time the tears did descend down her cheeks, and his lips were hot against her skin as he kissed them away. Then, with just a few promises he took her hand and led her out of the holodeck, not caring how many of the crew witnessed their exit.

In his quarters she came to him with such intense determination that he found himself more than a little concerned. Slowly and patiently he persuaded her to relax, to take things slowly, to explore. The night slipped away from them as they lost themselves in each other, the pace Chakotay had set gradually becoming faster and more frenzied until he watched her climax, her eyes closed, head thrown back, moving against him until he lost control as well.

‘This doesn’t make everything all right,’ she murmured against his chest, the bedclothes tangled around them; fighting off sleep for long enough to make her point.

‘I know, but it makes it better, doesn’t it? Easier to bear?’

‘Yes.’ She opened her eyes suddenly, gazing at him, through him. ‘Thank you.’

‘My pleasure.’

He watched her fall asleep, watched her gradually let go of consciousness and gathered her a little closer to him, burying his face in the crook of her neck. She was right, they still faced huge difficulties, they might never see the Alpha Quadrant again, their path home was long and perilous. But in counterpoint there was the warmth of her body curled around his, the joy that was filling his heart and the knowledge that they had taken this step forward together.

The End.

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