Rainbows -- NC17

 

Disclaimer: All Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Kathryn felt the warm body press up behind her in the uncomfortable crush of people at the Admiralty First Contact Day party. She knew without turning who belonged to this particular body. She’d know the feel and smell of him anywhere. His hot breath fanned across the back of her neck as he whispered. "Enjoying yourself, Admiral?"

Kathryn pursed her lips as a shiver trickled down her spine and she tried to suppress a laugh.

Admiral Hayes was holding her hostage in a one sided conversation about the latest negotiations with the Romulans and all her energy was being directed at trying to stop her eyes from glazing over and her head from lolling to the side in boredom. Good Lord, the man could talk through molten duranium.

What a relief Chakotay was here. At least now she would have someone interesting to talk to. She hadn’t been sure if he was coming tonight, but had hoped he would. It seemed that no matter now many of these Starfleet ‘do’s’ she attended, she just didn’t feel like she fitted in anymore. The vast majority of the attendees took it so seriously and, not wanting to put too finer a point on it, they were all rather overly impressed with their own importance. Kathryn had a hard time not pointing out to the pompous so and so’s that most of them had barely set foot on a starship in years and the farthest that many of them had ever travelled from Starfleet headquarters was to Risa for the annual Starfleet Command ‘conference’. It was hardly what you would consider up to the minute experience of frontline situations.

Keeping her eyes on Admiral Hayes and feigning interest, she snaked her hand behind her and grabbed Chakotay’s fingers, giving them a squeeze. He squeezed back and then let go before anyone noticed. She couldn’t help a smile from brightening her face but it was poorly timed.

"You may well smile, Janeway, you’re new to the Admiralty but you’ll find after dealing with the likes of Torim and his ilk, that smiling is the last thing that is warranted" Admiral Hayes was not impressed. Kathryn nodded, looking chastened and cursing herself. How was she going to explain her inappropriate reaction? Insanity brought on by boredom? She was saved from the awkward situation by the familiar sound of Chakotay’s voice. He’d circled around and now moved towards Hayes and greeted the Admiral jovially.

"Good evening, Admiral Hayes. Admiral Janeway it’s wonderful to see you."

Kathryn’s eyes met his and she sent a silent message of thanks. "Chakotay it’s lovely to see you too. Admiral Hayes, you remember my former first officer, Captain Chakotay?"

Hayes turned and harrumphed in his usual gruff manner, but took Chakotay’s proffered hand. "Captain Chakotay. Back already from the Border Colonies?"

"Yes, Admiral. The transition to self rule has gone smoothly so far. The elected interim government is in place and Starfleet has pulled back to give them room to establish their legislature and congress. The diplomatic teams are ready to move in and assist if requested, but for the moment things appear to be stable." Chakotay took Kathryn’s hand and pulled it through his arm, patting her hand where it lay on his arm. "Admiral Hayes, I hope you’ll excuse us but I need to steal Admiral Janeway away from you, the President was looking for her earlier?"

Hayes’ blustered for a moment as Kathryn quickly said her goodbyes and moved off on Chakotay’s arm.

She whispered to him as they walked away. "Thank you. I owe you one."

Chakotay laughed and hugged her arm tight to his side as he spoke. "I’ll keep that in mind."

Kathryn shot him a sideways glance trying to read his features, but he seemed perfectly relaxed and happy. She just couldn’t get a handle on him since their return.

They saw each other as often as possible when he was planet side. Anything up to two or three times a week, sometimes more, and he’d been contacting her regularly via subspace while he was captaining Voyager.

He had a habit, when he was in town, of just turning up in her office in time for coffee or lunch. She didn’t know how he did it but, more often than not, she would be thinking of him and lo’ and behold, there he would be at her door. It was uncanny, but she loved seeing him.

Once the initial euphoria of their arrival had worn off, the harsh reality had hit home - she wouldn’t be seeing her crew everyday. Most importantly, she wouldn’t be seeing Chakotay everyday and to make matters worse, he’d just begun a relationship with Seven of Nine. Kathryn hadn’t wanted to believe it at the time, but it was true. Her best friend and the man whom she’d secretly loved for almost seven years was involved with the young Borg woman whom she’d rescued and rehabilitated.

She’d been gracious, accepting that if Seven made him happy, then she’d just have to live with it, but it had been a bitter pill to swallow.

Kathryn had thought that he’d known that she loved him. And, although she hadn’t really expected him to wait for her, she’d hoped he would.

That hope had been dashed when her aged doppelganger had taken such delight in telling her of the horrors that were in store for her and her crew if she didn’t follow her older self’s orders and use the Borg transwarp hub to return to the Alpha Quadrant. In shock Kathryn had agreed to the Admiral’s plans, with the added proviso that they find a way to damage the Borg Collective.

They’d been successful. To a point. Admiral Janeway had sacrificed herself and, much to Kathryn’s disquiet, the older woman had been eerily sanguine about ending her life. Kathryn now understood a little of what she’d endured. The sense of loss was acute and the Admiral had lived with so many regrets that over the years they’d slowly eaten away at her. Loss after loss had hollowed out great chunks of that Kathryn, leaving very little of the woman she thought she knew. Kathryn felt very sorry for her…which, in turn, caused her no end of consternation when she realised she was in essence feeling sorry for herself.

Kathryn was mulling over all of this as she and Chakotay wended their way through the crowd on the dance floor.

He led her towards the President, but veered off at the last instant and scooted them both out a side door onto a deserted balcony. It was cold outside and Kathryn shivered. Chakotay took her hand and pulled her to the left and around the back of a pillar so they were out of the wind and the line of sight of the revellers. It was a little warmer but still a shock after the warmth of the ball room.

"What are we doing out here? It’s cold."

Chakotay put his arm around her shoulders and held her against his side, chafing his hand up and down her arm. She stiffened, more out of habit than anything else, but willed herself to relax as she felt him pull her closer. There’d been a none-too-subtle shift in the way he treated her these days. He would never have taken these sorts of liberties with her on Voyager but over the last few months he’d become much more tactile and familiar. She was unsure what it meant considering she still didn’t know what was happening with him and Seven. It was one topic they never discussed.

She felt him chuckle, the sound rumbling through his chest. "I just wanted to get away from the crowd."

"Well, if I freeze, it’s on your head." She frowned at him.

He turned slowly and placed his hands firmly on her upper arms. Looking at her with such an intense gaze that she felt her breath catch and her chest tighten.

"I would never let anything happen to you, Kathryn. I’d die first."

The moment was taut with expectation. So many words unspoken and feelings unresolved. Their eyes held for breathless seconds and then a shriek of high pitched laughter shattered the moment. Kathryn took a step away and with a slow exhale, she turned towards the view, unable to look at him. "I know that Chakotay. You always took your job very seriously and I appreciated it."

She started to shiver, but she wasn’t sure if it was from the cold or the intensity of feelings. The frigid night air was thick with anticipation and in an attempt to distract herself she looked up at the leaden sky. It looked like rain. Her mind began to wander, thinking about rainy days in San Francisco and Bloomington until his hand rested on her shoulder and she turned to him slowly. His eyes were dark and revealing and she felt herself slipping into their depths. They drifted closer together, their eyes locked and the fog of their breaths mingling. He whispered against her lips, just before they touched. "Kathryn."

His lips were warm, despite the cold and just as her body began to melt into his, she remembered where, and who she was and jolted away from him. "Oh, God. I’m sorry, Chakotay." Her fingers covered her lips and she turned to leave but he grabbed her arm.

"Why are you sorry? Please don’t go. We need to talk."

Kathryn frowned. Surely he understood how wrong this was. God, what about Seven?

He went to pull her to him again, but she placed both her hands on his chest to keep him away. "Chakotay don’t, this isn’t right."

He stepped back and anger flashed across his face. "I should have known. My past will haunt me forever. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be what you wanted me to be, Kathryn."

With a look of longing and a sad shake of his head he turned and walked back into the ballroom leaving Kathryn standing there with her mouth open in surprise. She moved to the window and watched as he wended his way back through the crowd to the exit. What the hell had just happened? And what in God’s name was he talking about… ‘his past haunting him’? Damn it all to hell.

Kathryn was trying to decide whether she should be angry or not, but, as she watched his dark head disappear through the front doors, she knew exactly what she had to do.

She bolted - straight through the balcony doors, cutting a swathe through the middle of the dance floor. Like some sort of Moses parting the Red Sea, she ploughed through the ocean of brass and they fell back without question, peeling apart to make a path for her. Her face was set in a determined frown, her eyes blazing and no one was brave enough to ask her what was wrong. There were a few people who had witnessed Chakotay’s exit moments before. One being Owen Paris and he turned to his wife with a smile as they watched Kathryn Janeway disappear through the exit, hot on the trail of her former first officer.

Kathryn stood outside the exit to the Starfleet Ballroom and narrowing her eyes, she scanned the area in front of her. She was only a few seconds behind him, but the man could move when he wanted to. She’d had the foresight to grab her cloak before leaving and wrapping it around herself she took off in the direction she presumed he’d taken. Damn the man.

It was her fault too. They’d spent weeks talking around things. She’d avoided speaking about Seven and he’d not mentioned anything so she was unsure of what was happening. They’d skirted around anything personal and the only indication that anything was different was that his behaviour had become more ‘touchy feely’, as Phoebe would say.

There he was! She could see his silhouette striding up the hill in front of her. She quickened her pace and gained on him.

She was about ten feet behind him when she called out to him. "Chakotay!"

He checked his stride but didn’t stop.

She gritted her teeth. "Chakotay! Slow down, I need to talk to you."

He stopped and she walked up beside him but as soon as she was along side, he began walking again. Kathryn’s shoulders sagged; this wasn’t going to be easy.

"Chakotay, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what I said to upset you."

"It’s fine Kathryn. I knew, I really did, and I understand. I’d just hoped."

She huffed out a breath. "I still have no idea what you’re talking about. What did you know?"

"I’m not a fool, Kathryn."

Kathryn gritted her teeth, this was so frustrating. "I know that, Chakotay and I’ve never considered that you were."

He turned and smiled sadly at her. "I know that Kathryn. That’s why I thought there was a chance, but I should have known better. It’s not your fault."

She was really getting angry now. He was talking in riddles. She grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop. "Will you please just explain what the hell you’re talking about?"

He huffed out a breath. It clouded in the cold night air. "What I’m talking about?" He shrugged. "It’s not as if you don’t know, but, I love you Kathryn. I have for years and I was hoping that we could look at moving forward in our relationship now that we’re home. I’m not under your command anymore, but I should have realised that you didn’t feel the same way and besides, you’re way out of my league. It’s laughable really… An Admiral with your pedigree marrying an ex Maquis terrorist. It would be out of the question. I understand." He smiled sadly again. "I’m just disappointed."

She stared at him for a few seconds and then she whacked him on the upper arm. Hard. "Marry you!? You love me!?" She took a couple of strides away from him and then turned back and thumped him again. "Were you ever going to tell me?" She stared at him, waiting for an answer. He stood in front of her, slack jawed. She jabbed him in the chest with her finger. "And what’s all this crap about you and Seven. I’ve been miserable for weeks and you’ve been phaffing around, worrying about nonsense like pedigrees and being out of my league." She snorted. "What the hell is going on Chakotay?"

He was rubbing his arm, damn, that was going to bruise. "Phaffing around? Kathryn, you know how I feel about you."

She shook her head. "No, I don’t. How could I? And besides, aren’t you and Seven getting married?"

His eyes were as wide as saucers and he looked at her as if she was insane. "What!? Me and Seven!? Not that I know of." He snorted a laugh. "Can you imagine it?" His face broke into a dimpled grin, but then he saw Kathryn’s face and the smile faded and he cleared his throat. "Uh-hum, besides, I think the Doctor would have something to say about that." His eyes crinkled at the corners. "I’m flattered that you think she’d go for me though."

"Flattered! God, I can’t believe you? Men!" She threw her hands in the air. She was so angry. "Are you telling me that there’s nothing going on between you and Seven?"

"No, Kathryn."

She looked at him in despair. "What? … No, there’s nothing going on or no, you’re not telling me there’s nothing going on?"

His jaw went slack again as he tried to compute that last question. "Are you doing this on purpose?"

"What?"

"Confusing things."

"No. Are you being deliberately obtuse?"

"No."

"Then tell me exactly what the hell has been happening. Please?"

"I thought I did. I told you that I loved you and then you hit me. Perhaps you’d better tell me what the hell is going on."

Kathryn stood stock still and then blurted out. "I love you too." But as he lifted his arm towards her, she took a step away. "But the Admiral told me that you and Seven got married and then Seven died and you were heartbroken. She intimated that you and Seven were already involved."

Chakotay shook his head. "I don’t know what the Admiral was on, but Seven and I have never been involved and never will be." He took a step towards her. "How could you even imagine it? I’ve never been one of her greatest fans and I still stand by my scorpion analogy… this is a case in point. Who knows how we were manipulated in the other timeline? But Kathryn, you have to believe me. I have no interest in Seven, I never have and I never will. Hell, I’ve been too busy pining after you to have anytime for anyone else. It’s been a pretty long and lean seven years."

Kathryn frowned. "What was that old woman playing at, telling me something like that?"

Chakotay shrugged and draped his arm around Kathryn’s shoulder and they started to wander up the hill again. "Who knows? Maybe it was just the tangled web of temporal mechanics and we somehow changed the future. You know how it is, the past is the future, the future is the past but, let’s not even try to figure it out now, it will give you a headache and that’s the last thing I want you to have tonight."

"Huh?" Kathryn was so deep in thought, with her brow knitted in consternation, that it was only then that she realised they’d begun walking again and he had his arm draped around her shoulders. She thought about pulling away, but it was comfortable and warm and they seemed to have come to some sort of understanding. Although, she wasn’t all that sure what it was.

The transport station came into view and after giving the operator the co-ordinates, Chakotay stepped up beside Kathryn. She looked at him. "Where are we going?"

He held her hand. "Home."

Her brow furrowed in question as they disappeared in a shimmer of blue.

They rematerialised and Kathryn took all of two seconds to figure out where they were. She turned to him and smiled. "I like what you’ve done with the place." She wandered over to the couch and ran her hand along the back rest, picking up the throw that was tossed there. He hadn’t changed it much, just added his touches, but it was still recognisable as her old quarters on Voyager. She hugged the throw to her as she toured the room. It was good to be back.

Chakotay stood and watched her as she moved around the room touching and reacquainting herself with her old quarters. She moved towards him, tossing the throw onto the back of the chair as she approached.

"And, why, may I ask have you brought me here?" She stood directly in front of him and undid her cloak , tossing it aside as she spoke.

"Well," He ran his finger down the side of her face. "I thought it would be fitting for us to make love for the first time here on Voyager. I feel like we owe her. She kept us safe for all those years and I think she should reap her share of the rewards."

"I’m not a prize, Chakotay."

"The hell you’re not." He grasped her shoulders. "Kathryn, I’ve waited for you for seven years. Thoughts of you, and our being together were, at times, all that kept me sane. You’re my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

Her eyebrows shot up. "Now I’m a pot? Where are all those pretty stories and whimsical tales that you’ve been feeding me for all these years?"

"Feeding you? Kathryn, I meant every word I said. They were the only way I could tell you how I felt without actually saying the words."

She frowned. "Why didn’t you say the words?"

"Because you would never have let me." He shook his head in disbelief.

"How do you know? You never tried. I couldn’t say them to you. I was your commanding officer and it was against regulations for me to approach you, but, as my subordinate, you could have approached me."

Chakotay’s hands dropped from her shoulders and hung limply at his side. "You mean I could have just grabbed you and said, ‘Kathryn Janeway I love you’ then kissed you and you wouldn’t have complained?"

"I mightn’t have. It depends on where you did the grabbing." She took a few steps away from him.

He stalked towards her. "Do you mean to tell me that all those nights that I was in your quarters, wanting to push you against the bulkhead and kiss you senseless… I could have and you wouldn’t have called Tuvok and had me locked up in the brig for the duration."

She shrugged. "Your timing would have to have been good. I’m not easy."

He took another step towards her and she backed up a step. Her nostrils flared as she tried to stifle a laugh. Chakotay held her hands and tugged her arms. "Easy? Spirits woman, now there’s a word that never enters my head when I think of you. Which I do often, I might add. But easy?" Shaking his head he continued to stalk her and with each word, she retreated further towards the bulkhead. His eyes were riveted to hers. "You are one of the most stubborn, difficult, obstinate, contrary, frustrating, confounding, sexy and adorable women I have ever had the misfortune to meet."

He now had her pressed up against the wall; his face mere inches from hers and his body flush against her. She looked up at him and shrugged again. "Sorry."

Chakotay groaned and rested his forehead against hers. "Is that all you can say? ‘Sorry’. Kathryn, do you have any idea what I’ve been through? I’ve waited years."

"So have I."

"All that time wasted. I can’t believe it."

"I don’t consider it wasted. We’ve been best friends for years, and I couldn’t have survived without you. That means a great deal to me. More than you could ever imagine." She lifted her hand and cupped the side of his face, pushing him away a little so she could see his eyes. "In many ways I needed that more than I needed a lover. Perhaps it was for the best. Being lovers might have complicated things. But Chakotay," Her eyes softened and she smiled. "I’ve never thought that any aspect of our relationship was ever a waste of time." Her voice dropped to a deep husk. "Not ever…" Her hands snaked around to the back of his head

Standing on tiptoes, she rested her cheek against his and closed her eyes. His hands stroked over her hips and his arms wrapped around her, holding her close. They stood in this tight embrace for several minutes until Kathryn mumbled against his neck. "Earlier there was some mention of love making. Can I ask when that’s going to start?"

A laugh rumbled through Chakotay. "Now she’s impatient." He loosened his arms and stroked his fingers through her hair. "Come on then. You know where the bedroom is."

Kathryn grinned up at him. "I wonder if we should order shields up. I’m expecting great things of this. We don’t want to blow a bulkhead."

"God damn woman. Talk about give a man performance anxiety. I won’t be able to do anything under that sort of pressure."

They were just inside the door of the bedroom when she turned to him and in one movement pulled the fasteners of her uniform apart and let it slide down her body. Chakotay almost tripped over his jaw. He swallowed hard and stared at her. "Is that an Admiral thing, or did all your uniforms do that?"

She was toeing off her boots but stilled, and looked up at him. "I’m just efficient." She raised her brows then grinned. "I suggest you get naked, Captain. There’s lovemaking to be done."

Chakotay shook his head. "You are enough to drive a man to drink, you know."

A broad smile broke across her face. "I have a much better idea of how to drive you crazy."

Chakotay laughed as he reefed off his clothes. "It will be a short trip… you almost did that to me over the last seven years."

Kathryn stopped and looked at him in all seriousness. "Was I really that bad, Chakotay?"

He was busy pulling off his boots but he looked up when he heard the change in her voice. His heart softened at her show of insecurity. He dropped his boots and took her hand. "No, Kathryn. You were what you had to be and I loved you for it. You were brave and strong and fearsome when you needed to be, and caring and funny and generous when circumstances allowed. They’re the reasons we’re all alive today and I wouldn’t have wanted you any other way. You’re my Kathryn and I’ll always love you no matter what."

Tears shimmered in her eyes at his devotion. "Thank you, but I wouldn’t have been able to be all those things without you by my side." She placed her hand on his bare chest, her thumb teasing the few sparse hairs that were there. "Do you remember all those years ago when I said I couldn’t imagine a day without you." He nodded and laying his hand over hers on his chest, he leant forward and kissed her neck. Kathryn sucked a quick breath between her teeth as a shudder ran through her. Her voice dropped to a husky whisper. "Well, I still can’t and what’s more I can’t remember my life before you were a part of it." Her hand stroked down his chest and over his stomach before she reached behind her back and undid her bra, letting it slide down her arms and onto the floor.

Chakotay continued to kiss his way down her neck, over her collar bone and cupping her breasts he laid soft kisses on her tightening nipples. His hands and fingers gently manipulating the soft mounds as he muttered against her skin. "So beautiful, so beautiful."

Kathryn ran her fingers through his hair and held his face to her as he bent over and suckled her breasts. She moaned and pressed herself against his mouth. Delicious shards of need shot from her nipples to her groin and the throb of want centred itself low in her belly. Kathryn tried to touch him but he was out of reach, so she pulled his head away from her and pressed her body against his. Her breasts pushed into his chest, her nipples hot and damp against his warm skin. He thrust against her.

She moaned again as he ground into her pubis and standing on tip toe, she tried to rub against him. The sweet ache growing with each touch and caress. Her hand dove between their bodies and she stroked over his hardness through the silk of his boxers, her hand also brushing up against her aroused flesh. She rocked against him. Chakotay gripped her hand to still her. "Kathryn, you drive me insane. Just give me a minute."

Kathryn caught her lower lip between her teeth as she fought her own blazing arousal. Her eyes glittered with mischief as she stepped away from him and slipped out of her panties. She rubbed her hands over her breasts and trailed one down over her belly, stroking her fingers through her curls and cupping her sex. She pressed hard against her clit, her fingers dipping into her wetness, and then sliding away to stroke through her curls again.

Chakotay’s eyes were riveted to her and her actions. He groaned and his head dropped back. "Oh, spirits, Kathryn." He shucked out of his boxers and she saw him naked for the first time.

He was beautiful. Broad shouldered, narrow hipped, his penis was long, thick and hard. Her hand reached out tentatively, her finger stroking over the silken head. He jerked and throbbed.

Taking shallow jagged breaths, she looked up at him and smiled. "I’d always imagined…"

Chakotay’s eyes swept down her body and shook his head. "My imagination didn’t do you justice. You’re a beautiful woman, Kathryn."

Without thinking she cupped her breast, pinching her nipple and then stepped forward, whispering to him as her body slid up against his. "I’m beautiful in your eyes and that’s all that matters. I love you." She kissed him. Her warm wet lips teasing and tasting. She nipped at his lower lip and breathed into his mouth… "Touch me please."

With a groan, Chakotay swept her into his arms and they fell onto the bed in a tangled heap.

His hands took on a life of their own. They touched and teased, his fingers gently probing as they entered her in preparation. Her body writhed in agonised delight, her hands stroking over his back and her nails digging into the firm flesh of his shoulders and arms.

He reared up over her and entered her in one smooth stroke. Kathryn gasped and arched her hips off the bed. The sensation was exquisite.

Chakotay held her to him, his hand firmly pressed across her buttocks, their lower bodies melded together. .

Their movements were restrained as they rocked and gently ground against each other, their bodies perfectly aligned and in synch. It was an easy ebb and flow, a warm and rising tide of love and desire. Kathryn began to whimper, as he pressed into her, deep and sure.

Her tears began to flow. After all these years she was finally here - in the arms of the man she’d loved for as long as she’d known him. It was all as she’d imagined and more, and after all the misunderstandings and misdirections over the years, it was almost too hard to believe.

There was no Seven, he loved her and had done for as long as she’d loved him. Her chest felt like it was going to burst. Relief and love and her approaching climax pushed her to her limit and as he pressed into her one last time, grinding against her, she came. With a keening cry her body seized, arching off the bed and pulsing around him. Chakotay pressed into her deeply, holding her hard against him and watching her face as she grimaced in tortured delight and with the rhythmic pull of her muscles, he came with a shuddering groan.

They stayed, wrapped in each others arms, their bodies joined and their hearts beating in unison. The joy of being able to express their love, unsurpassed.

Their journey had come to its proper end and with the blue jewel of Earth spilling its light through Voyager’s viewports and onto the lovers, they slipped into a deep slumber.

Kathryn woke first, and stretched and smiled. She’d woken, curled around his body. Her leg thrown across his thighs, her breasts pressed against his side and her hand tucked around his neck. He was still asleep and as gently as she could, she slid out of bed and into the bathroom. Her body still thrummed from last evenings exertions and she looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a matted tangle and there were small red marks on her neck and breasts, but she hadn’t felt this wonderful in years. Her eyes said it all and she smiled happily at her reflection. After a quick sonic shower and with a towel draped around her, she tiptoed out to the living area and replicated a dressing gown and ordered a coffee.

She slipped the gown over her shoulders and tied it loosely around her waist. With her coffee in hand she stood leaning up against the doorway and watched him sleep. He was still a handsome man. Not a young man anymore, there was a lived in quality about him that made her feel secure and safe. She’d always known that she could trust him with her life and now she was trusting him with her heart. Contrary to what she’d always thought, it freed, not fettered her.

There was a slight crease between his brows and she wondered what he was dreaming about that made him frown like that. She was no mind reader, but she had a feeling that it probably had something to do with her. He’d been dismayed that they’d wasted so much time, but she’d been sincere with her answer. Those years had not been wasted. They were now exactly where they were supposed to be at exactly the right time. This was something that he’d taught her. There was an elegance in the idea that things happen in their own time and it was reassuring to know that the fates had been with them and that their timing was perfect.

She had the last sip of her coffee and moved towards the bed. placing the empty cup on the bedside table and undoing the tie at her waist, she let the dressing gown slip from her shoulders to puddle on the floor at her feet. As if he knew she was there, the frown lifted and with a loving smile, Kathryn slid between the sheets and snuggled into his side. His arms stole around her and he mumbled into her hair. It sounded like her name and she kissed his chest and held him tight then drifted off to sleep again.

They both woke an hour or so later and after making love again, they dressed and beamed back down to Earth. Kathryn was due at her mother’s for lunch and then they had plans to head to Lake George for an afternoon sail.

Gretchen greeted them. "There you are. Kathryn, I’ve been trying to contact you. Chakotay dear, its lovely to see you."


Kathryn gave him a sideways glance, noticing her mother’s favouritism. "I’m sorry, Mom. I wasn’t at my apartment last night."

Gretchen gave her a knowing look. "I gathered that. But I see you’ve finally come to your senses and nabbed this young man. Really, Kathryn, I was starting to think you’d got a bit slow in your old age." She patted Chakotay’s cheek. "I couldn’t believe you would let this one escape."

"Mother!"

Chakotay was grinning. "It doesn’t worry me, Kathryn. Your mother likes me, how can that be a bad thing?"

Kathryn’s shoulders sagged. "Oh great. She’s got her hooks into you already. What am I going to do with you?"

Both her mother and Chakotay opened their mouths to suggest something, but Kathryn held up her hands. "Enough already, you two. I’ve got an imagination all my own. Boy, you’re as bad as each other." Her mouth began to twist into a grin as she looked at the pair of conspirators in front of her. "Now, Mom, why were you trying to contact me?"

"I wanted to tell you that the cabin at Lake George is all ready for you. I have to go to town and visit Aunt Martha, so I thought you two could just go there instead of stopping by here."

Kathryn frowned. "How did you know we’d be together?"

"Everyone knows, Kathryn. You chased Chakotay out of the Starfleet Ballroom last night in front of every single Line officer in Starfleet. It didn’t take Section 31 to work out where you were going and with whom."

A blush was creeping up Kathryn’s cheeks. "Damn."

Gretchen thrust a blanket into Kathryn’s hands and passed a small picnic basket to Chakotay. "Off with you both and have a wonderful afternoon. And Kathryn, dear, don’t worry. Everyone is very happy for you."

Kathryn looked at Chakotay and he shrugged. "I know I’m happy."

A smile softened her features. "And I am too." She turned back to her mother. "Thanks, Mom. Will we see you this evening?"

Gretchen shrugged. "Let’s just play it by ear, shall we? Off you go."

Her mother all but pushed them onto the transporter platform and within seconds they materialised on the pier at Lake George. There was a brisk wind blowing and Chakotay draped his arm around Kathryn and tucked her tight against him as they stood and looked out over the choppy water. The wind whipped Kathryn’s hair around her face and she stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "I think it’s an inside day today. No sailing in this."

"I won’t argue with that. Come on. Besides, it’s your mother’s orders and as we all know. Mother knows best."

"So it seems." They turned and walked towards the small cabin tucked away in the trees. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds creating a small rainbow that ended somewhere within the trees that surrounded the cabin. Kathryn looked up at Chakotay and he turned to her. Laughing, he kissed her hard. "What did I tell you… my pot of gold."

Kathryn shook her head and held him tight. "I told you, I’m not a pot."

"No, but you’re my treasure."

Kathryn stood back and stared at him. "That was terrible."

He gave her an apologetic look, and tugged his ear. "Sorry, it’s all I could come up with at short notice."

She tried not to laugh, but couldn’t help it. "Tell you what. How about we just go inside and go to bed?"

"Now you’re talking."

Chakotay scooped her into his arms and ran up the stairs, shouldering the door open, he charged through the cabin and straight to the bedroom. He tossed her on the bed and leapt on top of her. Kathryn was laughing uncontrollably and squealed has he slid his cold hands up under her sweater and onto the warm skin of her stomach. He grinned down at her. "See, romance isn’t dead."

"No, but it’s looking decidedly unwell with that last effort."

Chakotay looked at her and chortled. "I promise to improve."

Kathryn grinned at him. "Oh, I think you’ll do just as you are."

They laughed.

"Come here woman." He tugged her close and kissed her. Slowly the laughter subsided and instead, the sound of love making echoed through the small cottage. The wind howled outside and the sun drifted back behind the clouds, taking the rainbow with it, but inside the little cabin, love was alive and well.

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