Disclaimer:  Paramount’s, just like always

Rating:  R, to be on the safe side

Notes:   The title is taken from Louie Cruz Beltran’s CD, “It’s My Time”, as is the description of the song of the same name, both used without his permission.
 
 
 

IT’S MY TIME
 

By Mary S.
 
 

 
           Chakotay sat in an overstuffed armchair in his very own, very new, very sterile apartment in San Francisco and contemplated events of the last two weeks.  They had sailed home to Earth in a veritable blaze of glory, escorted by an enormous armada of ships, both Starfleet and civilian.  Lights of every hue imaginable had danced over hulls large and small.  Once landed on the planet, flags had flown from every pole and mast available.  It was the welcome home that they had all dreamed of for so long, and for his captain’s and his crew’s sake, he was very glad indeed.  For himself, he didn’t much care.   His home and family had been on Voyager.  With the crew about to disperse, and the ship undergoing a massive refit in the dockyard at Utopia Planitia, he was at a loose end, unsure what to do next.

           Then there was Kathryn.  He had become quite comfortable with their relationship, even to the point of taking it for granted.  Now he was faced with the prospect of losing her, too, and that, more than anything else, left him feeling utterly desolate.  What had happened?  They were all supposed to be dancing with joy.  Well, he didn’t feel very joyful – he felt miserable.

           He slouched down in the chair and stretched out his legs, remembering the last time he had seen her, two days earlier.  They had passed in a corridor at Headquarters, he on his way out, free at last, and she off to a meeting somewhere.  But, despite her hurry, she had stopped to speak to him, see how he was, make sure he would be at the Celebration Ball scheduled for this evening.  She had looked at him a bit quizzically as they talked, almost as if she was expecting, or at least hoping, that he would say something else.  But what that something was, he had no idea.  She had left him standing there, saying she must run, then had stopped and turned to smile almost sadly at him.  The entire episode had left him very puzzled and unsure – of himself and of her.

           And now this wretched ball.  He wondered if anyone would miss him if he didn’t go.  In his present mood, he certainly didn’t feel one scrap like celebrating.  The very thought of having to smile and laugh, and agree with all the admirals who kept insisting that he must be so happy to have finally reached Earth and then be pardoned for all his so-called ‘crimes’, made him almost physically ill.  He had only done what he had, in reaction to the very real crimes perpetrated by the Federation in the name of expediency.   The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.

           But if he didn’t go?  He knew what would happen.  B’Elanna, no doubt with Tom in tow, would be on his doorstep, demanding to know where the hell he was and did he have any idea how much he had upset everyone.  No, he would have to go – and fake a happy face as best he could.

           That thought led him to check the time – it was later than he thought, so if he didn’t want to cause an interstellar incident, he had better get moving.   As he rose from his chair, his computer terminal signalled an incoming message.  He accessed it to see B’Elanna’s smiling face.  Speak of the devil!

           “Hello, B’Elanna.  What can I do for you?”

           “I was just checking up on you.  Are you ready yet?  You know it’s formal dress, don’t you?”

           She peered at him almost suspiciously, and added,  “You are coming, aren’t you?” in very firm tones.

           He sighed.  She knew him far too well.  “Yes, B’Ela, I’m coming.”

           “What’s the matter?  Don’t you want to come?”

           “Yes, of course I do.  I was just ……thinking about things.”

           “What things?”

           “Oh, nothing in particular.  Just…..things.”

           She stared at him, puzzled, then apparently reached a decision.  “I’m coming over.  I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

           “No!  B’Elanna, you don’t have to.  I’ll be ready.  Really.”  He knew that, at this moment, he simply could not face her descending on him in full Klingon mode.

           She scowled but agreed to meet him at the ball.  “And don’t be late!” she all but ordered just before signing off.

           “Yes, ma’am!” he replied to the blank screen.  Well, that settled it.  He better get himself going now.  B’Elanna on a mission could get very ugly indeed, especially when he was the mission.  He hurried off to the shower, his thoughts concentrated on avoiding her censure at all costs.
 
 
 

           An hour later, Chakotay presented himself at Headquarters, the epitome of a Starfleet officer, from his perfectly brushed black head down to the mirror shine on his boots.  B’Elanna, obviously keeping an eye peeled for him, scurried over as quickly as dignity and her formfitting deep red sheath allowed.

           “Am I ever glad to see you!  What took you so long?  Where’s the captain?  Have you seen her, because no one else has.”  She paused for a quick breath, then stood in front of him, hands on hips.  “Chakotay?  Answer me!”

           “For heaven’s sake, B’Ela,” interjected Tom, who had wandered over in a more leisurely fashion, “give the man a chance.   He looks shell-shocked.”

           That caught Chakotay’s attention.  “Shell- who?”

           “Shell-shocked.  Old twentieth-century expression meaning ‘stunned’.   Which you certainly look.”

           “And you’re surprised?” he retorted.

           “Chakotay!” snapped B’Elanna, seizing his hand in her agitation.  “Do you know where the captain is?!”

           He glanced around the room, her words finally sinking into his brain.  Kathryn not here yet?  That was odd.  As his gaze wandered back to the entrance, his jaw dropped and his eyes nearly popped out of his head.

           “Ye gods!” whispered Tom reverently, staring intently over B’Elanna’s shoulder.

           Alarmed, she turned around to see what had caused such a reaction.  “Good lord!”
 
           About her, she could hear heads snapping around and conversations dying in mid-sentence, as the entire room turned to stare at the door.

           There stood Voyager’s captain in an ice-blue, floor-length gown, molded to her body and slit up the sides to her hips.  The bodice was draped softly over her breasts, allowing a subtle amount of cleavage.  Her hair was piled up high on top of her head in soft curls, into which was inserted a small diamond crescent.  More diamonds adorned her neck, wrists and ears.  On her feet were three-inch silver sandals studded with rhinestones.   Over her bare arms was draped a stole made of the same fabric as the dress.  The effect was absolutely breathtaking.

           Her eyes swept over everyone there before coming to rest on Chakotay.  Her face broke into a beautiful smile, and she walked directly up to him and put her hand on his arm.  Every male present seemed to deflate slightly.   Chakotay stood speechless, unable to believe she had singled him out in such a spectacular fashion.

           “Captain!” broke in Tom, “you look…..I….you look absolutely incredible!”

           “Why, thank you, Tom”, she answered, her eyes never leaving Chakotay’s face.  “What do you think?” she asked him.  “Do you like it?  I wore it just for you.”

           “Kathryn….” he breathed, “incredible doesn’t even start to describe you!”

           She nodded, pleased, then looked around for the rest of her crew.  “I think it’s time we said hello to everyone.”  She took his arm.  “Shall we?”

           He bowed his head in acquiescence, too numb to speak.

           Over the course of the next hour, they circled the room in tandem, her hand always tucked into his elbow.  His mind and body seemed to be functioning on two different planes.  He knew he was voicing all the proper pleasantries, and smiling at all the right places, but his brain retained absolutely no memory of any of it.  All he could think of was that this magnificent woman, a woman who was desired by every man in the room, had made it abundantly clear that she wanted to be with him – and no one else!

           When the orchestra struck up a waltz, there was no doubt in anyone’s head about who would lead out the first dance.  His arm encircled her waist as her left hand rested on his shoulder, her right enclosed in his hand.  They swept around the room, quite oblivious to their audience, eyes only on each other.

           In an effort to distract the concentrated stares, Tom grabbed B’Elanna’s hand, nodding at Harry to follow suit as he did so.  Quickly, other members of the crew crowded onto the floor, effectively hiding their command team from prying eyes.

           At the end of the song, Kathryn and Chakotay both lifted their heads, startled, as if coming back from some faraway world of their own.   As another tune started, Tom quickly cut in, while B’Elanna grabbed Chakotay’s hand.

           “Chakotay, what’s going on?  Everyone’s staring at you and the captain.”

           “I….don’t really know, B’Ela.”

           “Well, it’s not hard to figure out.  I would say she’s making a statement – in no uncertain terms.”

           “What do you mean?”

           “I mean, my dear, that she’s letting everyone here know just how much she wants you.  And believe me, every male in this room is pea-green with jealousy!”

           He stared at her, eyes suddenly intense.  “I wondered, but….it doesn’t seem possible!  It’s been so long, with never a hint….”
 
           “Maybe, as long as we were on the ship, she felt she couldn’t do anything, say anything.  But, Chakotay, we’re not on the ship now….and that woman dancing in my husband’s arms is not the captain tonight!”

           He laughed at that, his face relaxing, eyes bright with joy, then spun her around in exuberance.  She hung on to his shoulders, grinning back, glad to see her friend himself once again.

           The music ended just then and there was a slight pause.  From across the ballroom, Chakotay could see Kathryn go and speak a few words to the bandleader, before turning back into the crowd.  She worked her way across to him, her progress slowed by various admirals and other members of Starfleet all wanting to offer her their congratulations.  She accepted the accolades graciously, but never stopped moving towards him.

           He waited until he could stretch out his hand and grasp her fingers.  She turned and nodded to the bandleader who struck up a lazy rumba with a seductive beat that he could feel right down to his toes.  He pulled her hips close to him as he began to move, her feet following his as she leaned back slightly against his arm.

           “This is one of my favourite songs, Chakotay.   It’s called ‘It’s My Time’.  Somehow, it seems to be very appropriate tonight.”

           As he heard the words, about a man who fell in love on a dance floor, he knew that he too had fallen in love all over again.  Or maybe he’d never actually fallen out of love.  He didn’t know any more, and really didn’t care.  Kathryn was here, in his arms, with every indication of staying put.  That was all that mattered, now and forever.

           “Chakotay?” she whispered, as the words repeated.  “Do you still love me?”

           “Of course I do, Kathryn.  I’ve always loved you.  And I always will.”

           She sighed happily.  “Good.  I was afraid that maybe…..well, it’s been such a long time, and I wouldn’t have blamed you if you didn’t anymore, so I’m….”

           He bent closer to her.  “Kathryn, ssh.”  Then leaned the rest of the way and kissed her.  Her mouth opened in a gasp of surprise, then stayed open as his tongue slipped in to taste her briefly before sliding out again, as he raised his head.  She stared at him in astonishment, and he wondered for a split second if he’d pushed her too far.  But then, she began to grin, that wonderful lopsided smile that he loved to see.

           “Ohh, you are brave tonight, aren’t you!”  Her tone was teasing.

           “Look around.  There isn’t a man here who wouldn’t do the same if you gave him the chance.  I think they’re all applauding.”

           She lifted her head to glance around and sure enough!   Her crew all wore identical big smiles.  “About time, Captain!” and “Took you long enough!” could be heard echoing across the room.

           “Guess you’re right.”  She grinned mischievously.  “Want to do it again?”

           “Just one more.”  He gripped her shoulders and let his lips push hard on hers, tongue inside her mouth, exploring.  She hung onto his neck, feeling the need for support as her knees threatened to give way.  The cheers became deafening and he broke the kiss.  “I think that’s enough.  We don’t want to shock the brass too much.”

           “Okay.  As long as I get more later.”

           He was panting slightly, his eyes almost black.  “Oh lady!  As many as you want!” he promised fervently.

             ___________________________________________________________
 

           It was some hours later before Kathryn and Chakotay were finally able to leave the ball.  As they walked out the doors, he took her hand, suddenly unsure what came next.  She felt him tense and looked up.

           “What’s the matter?”

           “What now?  Where do we go from here, Kathryn?”

           “Well….” Her voice was drawn out, huskier, “I was thinking that maybe we could go back to your apartment.  I’m still in quarters, you see, not much privacy.  But you have your own place, don’t you?”

           “Yes, I do.  It’s not much to look at right now, but it’s all mine.”  He looked down at her, chuckling, a twinkle in his eye.

           “What?” she asked suspiciously.

           “Kathryn Janeway!  You never cease to amaze me!   I do believe you just propositioned me!”

           “I did?!  Good lord!   I guess I did at that.” She cocked an eyebrow at him.  “Well?”

           He put his arm firmly around her shoulders.  “Care to come home with me, ma’am?”

           “Careful,” she warned, “it’s not crunch time yet!”

           “But it soon will be!”  He burst into roars of laughter.

           She tried to swat his arm but he just grabbed her hand and laughed harder.   Life was suddenly very, very good.
 
 

           Early the next morning, Kathryn awoke to find the space in the bed next to her empty, and the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee filling the air.  She got up and ambled down the hall, following her nose.  She found a big pot of coffee in the kitchen but no sign of Chakotay.  She poured a cup then wandered through the living room to the sliding doors which opened onto a balcony.   He was sitting there in a big chair, face turned up to the sun, eyes closed.  She gazed at him fondly as she sipped, thinking that the decision she had made yesterday, to let him know in no uncertain terms just what he meant to her, had been the smartest thing she’d ever done.  She would be repaid many times over, she knew, for the rest of her life.

           “Are you going to hover back there forever, Miss Janeway, or are you planning on joining me here?  There’s plenty of room.”

           She picked her way forward on bare feet, and slid down beside him.  He caught his breath as he felt bare skin.  She was completely naked.

           “You are a wanton woman, you know that, don’t you?” he growled.

           “Ohh yess,” she purred in his ear, “and you wouldn’t have me any other way.”

           “If the crew could see us now.”  He chuckled as he stroked her back and side, then fell silent.

           She felt him grow solemn and peered up into his face, trying to read his thoughts.

           “What is it?”

           He sighed.  “I was just thinking – this time yesterday, I was so unhappy.  Feeling sorry for myself, sure that I’d lost my home, my family, you.  Did you know B’Elanna had to practically drag me to the ball last night?”

           She sat up.  “She did?!”

           “Yes.  I didn’t want to go, sure I would be miserable all night, but she made me.”

           “Thank goodness she did!  That dress would have been wasted otherwise.”

           “Did you really wear it just for me?”

           “Oh Chakotay, of course I did!  If I’d thought you weren’t going to be there, I would have worn my uniform!   No one else deserved that dress – only you.”

           He bent his head and kissed her very tenderly but very thoroughly.  She moaned into his mouth and shivered slightly.  He stood then, pulling her up with him.

           “Let’s go inside.  I think we’ve given the neighbours enough of a show.  Besides, you’re getting cold.”

           “But you’ll warm me up, won’t you?”

           “Now and always, my love.”

           “Mmmm.  I like the sound of that.”

           “I thought you would.”

 
  THE END

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