AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is yet another post-"Resolutions" vignette. Yes, I know that was 11 months ago. I've been busy having a real life and a baby. This story takes place at an undetermined time before the episode "Coda".
"Dream Catcher" by Becca O.
A simple note, penned in bold masculine strokes...Join me in Holodeck Two, I have a surprise for you. Kathryn recognized the handwriting immediately as that of her First Officer, Chakotay. It had been months since anything remotely personal had passed between the commanding officers of Voyager, a distance of their own making. Unbidden, yet persistent, the memories came rushing back.
One night. All they'd had was one wonderful night. 'Make love with me' he'd said.
'We have the rest of our lives' she'd countered with a lighthearted smile, 'let's take our time.' Her best friend had kissed her gently, the promise of a lifetime in his eyes, and retreated to the privacy of his room. If you could call it that; 'partitioned cubicle' was more apropos. Their dreams that night were filled with spectacular visions ... laughter; sunlight; moonlight; and most importantly, each other.
Their days relaxed into a life of unhurried simplicity. Gardening ...wouldn't her parents be surprised?! Cooking ... wouldn't his parents be surprised! Hands were joined more often than not and slow lingering kisses left them wanting more, but the wanting was wonderful. For once in their lives, there was no rush to consummate the relationship as they had with past lovers. The luxury of time was finally on their side. Or so they thought.
The night before Tuvok's hail sent their world crashing around them they had finally slept together. That's all, only sleep. Nothing more. An exhausting day of exploring had left them snuggling sleepily in each others' arms. Too lazy to move apart, they let the relief of slumber claim them. Waking in the early hours before dawn, each lay quietly, listening to the sounds of the other's breath escape in soft whispers.
Today. Today is the day it will happen. Knowing glances and furtive touches made the anticipation exhilarating. And then...
Kathryn winced at the memory. The conflicting emotions both had endured as they packed up their belongings and prepared to return to a life of command had been devastating, to say the least, but by the time they beamed aboard, each had donned the mask of professionalism.
It was tempting. Too tempting. Join me in Holodeck Two, I have a surprise for you. Nothing more, no explanation. Her curiosity had been gnawing at her for the past hour. Holodecks. Bah. Janeway shivered at the mere thought of even going near one. Between Neelix's god-awful Luau program her own disastrous holoprograms...
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," she mumbled, pushing away from her desk and wondering idly whether or not to change out of uniform first.
As the doors to the holodeck parted, granting her entrance, the scene before her immediately made her wish she'd taken the time after all. There, before her, was the very image of the fog-shrouded glade where their stasis containment units had rested on New Earth.
Gingerly stepping forth, she passed through the trees to the small clearing where their shelter had been. No, where it still was! Chakotay had reproduced New Earth down to its most intimate detail. With amusement she wondered whether or not there was a large bathtub beyond the next stand of trees.
"It's there, aren't you going to look?" Chakotay asked with a chuckle.
Whirling to face him, Kathryn felt a guilty blush spread up her throat. "What...?"
"Your tub. It's waiting for you. If we look really hard, we'll probably find your monkey, too."
"My monkey? When did it become my monkey?" Kathryn laughed, relaxing into the pattern of familiar banter. If only it could be this easy, this natural between them every day.
"I was halfway convinced you'd try to bring him back with you. It was quite amusing trying to imagine the crew interacting with a primate." Chakotay smiled at the memories and the way Kathryn's face had relaxed in the short time she'd been here with him.
"Chakotay, this is incredible! Why..."
"Why did I do this? For you. Because you were happy here. We never did talk about this after we returned, you know."
"And I'm not really sure I want to now." Kathryn set off through the trees, exploring her old "home" in a vague attempt to delay the inevitable.
"We should, you know, but I'll let you off the hook. For the time being." It took several moments for him to catch up with her. He'd forgotten how gleefully childlike she could be in her explorations, darting here and there, touching everything to refresh her memory.
By the time he caught up with her, she'd come to a stop at the door to the shelter. Seeing her hesitation, he strode around her, caught her hand in his own and pulled her inside. Stopping in the center of the room, Kathryn took it all in. Everything was here - just as it was the morning before they'd been hailed by Voyager. The sand paintings, the plans for Chakotay's boat, the remains of their breakfast on the table...
"Look in your room." Giving her a gentle nudge, Chakotay pushed her toward her sleeping area.
There, on her bed, was a gently wrapped parcel, tied with a delicate strand of indigenous greenery. Picking it up, Kathryn could feel the weightlessness of it, the fragility of whatever lay inside.
"Open it," came the soft whisper, so close that it ruffled the hair on her neck sending shivers over her arms.
Laying aside the soft fabric, she gasped at what she found there. A small, green branch had been dried into a circlet and wrapped over with chocolate-hued fabric. Woven through the center was an intricate webbed design studded with tiny gem-colored pebbles from the nearby stream, and trailing from the bottom was a flowing cord entangled around tiny, soft feathers.
Kathryn was awed by its delicate simplicity.
"It's beautiful." She watched as the fibers and feathers twisted and turned in the breeze, the glistening stones catching a reflection of moonlight through the window.
Not as beautiful as you. Chakotay halted the words before they could escape his lips, knowing Kathryn would laugh at their triteness. Instead he just smiled, the adoration he felt for her spilling into the room in palpable waves.
"This is what you were collecting things for on New Earth, wasn't it?"
"I intended to give it to you there, but..."
"But we were rescued." Janeway sighed, her regrets mirroring his own. "We should have been wildly excited, shouldn't we?"
"It was too soon. I didn't want to go, there was so much left unsaid. We hadn't even-- we hadn't even made love, Kathryn. It's the only regret I have. Will ever have. And here we are, back again to this damned command structure we choose to live behind." Chakotay raised a hand to forestall her protests. "I understand it. It was my choice, too, but it doesn't mean I have to like it."
Silence enshrouded them both, allowing thoughts and memories momentary free reign. In the space of a heartbeat, the weight of indecision seemed to lift from their shoulders.
Kathryn answered quietly. "I regret it as well. We thought we had forever, Chakotay. You and I both know that out here 'forever' could be as soon as the next duty shift, the next anomaly, the next... I don't want to regret this any more."
Chakotay reached toward her, gently stroking her cheek. "Then be with me tonight. Make love with me."
"Not here, not in a holodeck..."
"No, this is exactly where we should be. Kathryn, I want you. I want to make love to you here, New Earth. Damn the fact that's it's a holo-re-creation, I know you swore off of them months ago, but this is where we should have been for our first time together."
Stepping towards each other, the wind whipped through the open doorway and wrapped Kathryn's hair around Chakotay's neck, effectively binding them together. Their lips met gently, brushing back and forth with teasing caresses.
"Kathryn..." A whisper, nearly inaudible in it's tenderness.
Raising his head to meet her eyes with his own he said softly, "Race you to the tub..."
"Wha--" Before her reply was complete, he was out the door, sprinting gracefully toward the woods.
"You're serious, aren't you!" Hands on her hips, Kathryn Janeway watched her usually serious First Officer struggling to remove his boots and retain his balance at the same time.
"Thank your monkey for this."
"If it wasn't for his timely appearance, I never would have caught you in nothing more than a towel. At least not on purpose." A sly grin crinkled the corners of his eyes. "The memory of that sight has all but haunted my days ever since. One step forward, one small tug of the fabric..."
"And you'd have slept outside that night, Commander."
"It would have been worth it, believe me." Dressed now only in soft flowing trousers, his bare feet made no sound as he stepped forward to release the clip holding her hair. "You never wear it up anymore. Why?"
Sighing as his fingers combed hypnotically through the waves, she admitted, "It was the one way I could hold on to what we had. I couldn't completely return to the 'Kathryn' I was before."
Turning in his arms, she reached hesitantly for the drawstring at his waist.
"One step forward, one tug... that's all it takes," he whispered.
Indeed, that's all that was needed. As the fabric pooled about his ankles, he mirrored her actions, lowering the front closure of her uniform and pushing it off her shoulders. Stepping out of the clothing at their feet, Kathryn pulled her tunic over her head. In moments, they were naked. Nothing more stood between them and the needs they'd repressed for what seemed an eternity. Locking his fingers through hers, they slipped into the warm water, which lapped over their heated bodies in waves, splashing over the edge to the ground.
The water made the touching easy. Hands slid over curves and planes, fingers entered and retreated, sliding back and forth with unhurried sensuality. Chakotay pulled Kathryn atop him, her knees braced against his hips. A breeze set the leaves to dancing and raised gooseflesh on wet, exposed skin. Kathryn arched her back, closing her eyes in pleasure as a pebbled nipple was enclosed between warm lips.
Rocking her hips against his erection, a warm rush of moisture flowed from between her thighs. The pressure within her building, her breathing began to falter as Chakotay held her firmly in place and stroked her to climax. Her face was exquisite at the moment of completion and he knew in his heart he'd never before witnessed anything so wondrous. Still lost in waves of sensation, Kathryn felt herself lifted and then lowered onto him, vaguely sensing how perfectly they fit together.
Grasping her hips firmly in his strong tanned fingers, he held her still, pushing himself further and faster with each upward stroke until he could hold back no longer. His orgasm exploded into her as he cried out her name into the night. Rational thought gradually returning, Chakotay felt her undulating against his softening member. Gently, ever so gently, he found her clitoris with his thumb. Circling slowly, touching her intimately, he watched in awe as she began to contract around him, her body suffused with pleasure. As her world became centered around his hand and shattered into a million fragments, she collapsed onto him, whimpering her gratitude.
"The water's getting cold."
"We could warm it up again," Chakotay laughed softly. "That is, what's left of it. I think most of it splashed over the side that last time."
"You're incorrigible," Janeway laughed, batting at his shoulder in mock reproach.
"Ah, but that's one of the many things you love about me." Chakotay hugged her tightly, setting yet another wave of water spilling onto the ground.
As if in answer, an angry chattering from the trees caught their attention.
v"Well, hello again!" Janeway called out to her simian friend. In answer, he merely chattered indignantly one last time and swung off into the forest. "You did program him in," she said with obvious pleasure.
"No paradise would be complete without him. Come on, lets get dry."
It was many hours later, in the captain's quarters, when she thought to ask about his gift.
"Chakotay, tell me about my gift."
"The dream catcher? Many of my people believe that dreams, both good and bad are present all around us. If a dream catcher is suspended above your bed, the dreams pass through the web. The stones capture the good dreams and they are floated down upon you by the feathers." Looking up above their heads, he asked, "Is it working?"
Resting her head upon his shoulder she smiled in reply, "I'm sure it is. And all it took was one small step."
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