Disclaimer: They may be Paramount’s, but I think I treat them much better.

Rating:  PG-13
 
 

                                  TRUST ME

By Mary S.
 
 

           The captain sat on an empty beach, leaning against a log, surrounded by padds.  But she wasn’t reading.  Her head was back, eyes closed, as she soaked in the warmth of the suns, one sinking to the horizon over the quiet ocean, the other rising behind her.  A slight breeze kept the
heat to a comfortable temperature. 

           The commander walked slowly toward her, another pair of padds in hand.   Although ostensibly he was here on ship’s business, he was dressed casually in loose pants and open shirt, barefoot.   He hesitated to intrude but B’Elanna needed an answer.  He called her by name – at least, he could be informal, not break the mood.

           “Kathryn.” 

           She sighed and looked up at him, standing over her.  “Is this business or pleasure, Chakotay?  You’re dressed for the place, but those padds in your hand look ominous.”

           “Both, I guess.  These are the latest reports on the warp core diagnostics.   B’Elanna needs your approval before she starts implementing the modifications.”

           “You mean, before she starts reinventing the warp drive – again.  Fine.  Let me look at them.”
 
           She reached out her hand, brushing his fingers as she took them.  Although she pretended the touch was accidental, deep down she knew she liked to feel his warmth now and then.  Of course, she couldn’t tell him that, although sometimes she wondered if he knew anyway.   He would get a twinkle in his eye, accompanied by a hint of a smile.  He knew her too well; she couldn’t keep many secrets from him any more. 

           “These look hopeful.  Tell her to go ahead, but keep me informed.  I would like the warp engines to still bear some resemblance to what they were when we left the Alpha Quadrant.”

           Chakotay paged engineering and passed on the message, then turned to look at Janeway, who had closed her eyes again.

           “Do you feel like company, or would you and those padds rather be alone?”  She could hear the chuckle in his voice.

           “Sit down, by all means.  I’m supposed to be reading reports.  I haven’t gotten very far, as you can see.”  He sat beside her, stretching out his legs on the blanket.

           “Why did you bring them?”

            “I was sitting in my ready room, with my head going in circles, getting nowhere.  I thought some fresh air might help, but it hasn’t.  This,” she waved her hand, encompassing their surroundings, “is just too distracting.”

           “You know, Kathryn, there will always be more reports.  Why don’t you just relax, admit that you need to let your mind rest.  I’ll help you with them later if that will ease your guilt.”

           She smiled at him, a bit wistfully.  “You always do this, don’t you.  Make me feel it’s all right to neglect my work.  You’re a terrible temptation.”

           “I mean to be.  You are far too inclined to neglect Kathryn.  Part of my job is to make sure she gets some time, too.”

           “Is that in the first officer’s manual?  I don’t remember seeing it.”

           “It is in mine.”

           She took his hand, patting it and letting his fingers curl around hers.  Today, when she was so tired, she seemed to need a bit more of him than usual.  As always, he knew, putting his free arm around her shoulders, his thumb absently caressing her neck.  She sighed and relaxed into him.  She gazed at the sea, letting her mind drift, mindful only of him supporting her.    Random thoughts chased around her head, until one suddenly jumped out at her.  Home.  What would it mean?  She was so focused on getting there, she had never really considered the ramifications of their return. 

           She looked up at him, his eyes also staring at the horizon.  She was so used to having him at her side, her constant companion, that she had not ever stopped to reflect on what her life might be like without him.   That thought made her sit up as it took hold, which in turn brought his attention back to her.

           “Kathryn?”  She heard the concern for her.

           “I suddenly realized that in all the discussions about getting home, I had never once thought about what it would mean for us.   I….”, she paused, then plunged ahead, “I take you for granted, Chakotay, and that’s wrong.  It’s a very bad habit I’ve gotten into.  You’ve always been so willing to put me first, that I’ve grown to expect it.  And that’s dreadful.  It’s conceited, it’s arrogant, and wrong.  I’m sorry.”  She reached up a hand to caress his cheek lightly.  “I don’t deserve you, you’re far too patient with me, and I’ve taken shameless advantage of it for years.”

           “I made you a promise, a long time ago.  Do you remember?”

           “Oh yes,” she answered huskily.

           “I’m keeping that promise, Kathryn.  It’s not always easy, we’ve had our disagreements, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s what I want to do.  Don’t you realize yet what I’m saying?”  And he smiled very tenderly.  “I love you.  That isn’t going to change, ever.  No matter what happens to us, whether or not we’re together once we get home, whether we’re ever more than the friends we are right now, I will continue to love you until the day I die.  Maybe even after that.” 

           He went on.  “There is a legend that my people tell….”

           “Another one?” she chuckled. 

           “This one has existed for centuries.  It’s about two lovers, who went through every imaginable kind of trial, but who stuck together through it all, and couldn’t be parted even in death.  They were soulmates.  And that’s the way I feel about you.  You have my soul, to do with as you wish.”

           “Oh, Chakotay,” she breathed, barely able to speak for the lump in her throat.   Her eyes were full, the tears threatening to spill over.  She was overwhelmed by the faith he had placed in her.  In that moment, the captain was pushed aside and Kathryn took over.  If he could trust her that much, then she could certainly trust him. 

            She reached up both hands, cupping his face, then wrapped them around his neck and pulled down his head.  Her mouth barely touched his, lips just brushing, but the touch warmed her right through.  He looked into her eyes, seeing all the love that she had buried for so long under the captain’s mask.   His mouth found hers, more passionate this time, tongue nibbling at her, working between her teeth until she let him in to explore.  Bodies moving closer, hands reaching to touch, to feel, stroking, caressing.  They came apart panting, arousal coursing through both.  Very quickly, pure devotion had evolved into much more earthy feelings.

           “Sweetheart, we better slow down.  This isn’t the place, or the time.”  He smiled very gently at her, one hand brushing through her hair.  “Let’s just sit for a while, and catch our breath.”

           Her eyes were still wide and dark but she nodded agreement, and curled up against his side.   “When, do you think?”  She was content to let him take the lead.

           He was silent for a moment before speaking.  “I want to go slowly, I want us to enjoy each step, relish each moment together.   We know what the end result will be.  Don’t we?” he asked, suddenly afraid he had misread her expression.

           “Yes, my love, we know,” she reassured him, squeezing his hand which was wrapped around hers once again.  “And I think you’re right.  Besides, we will need to break this change gently to the crew.  They’ll be all right with us together, like this, won’t they?”  She was anxious herself now. 

           “I think they’ll be fine.  And if not, well, too bad.  We won’t flaunt it, but I won’t hide it, either, Kathryn.  I love you.  They all know that anyway.  It’s hardly been a secret.”

           “It was from me.”

           “You had other things on your mind.  And I did try not to let you see.  I wasn’t sure how you felt, and ….”  his voice trailed off.

           “You mean, you were afraid of getting hurt again.”

           “Yes.  You have pushed me away more than once, haven’t you.” 

           She couldn’t deny it.  “Why now?  Why did you trust me this time?”

           “I don’t know, really.  It just felt right.”

           He hugged her tight for a moment before relaxing again.  She revelled in this feeling of letting herself love and be loved by him.  It was wonderful and she didn’t care any more what Starfleet would think.  The admiralty could go hang.  She needed him.  That was all there was to it. 

           “When do you want to go back?”  he asked.

           “Never.  But I guess we’ll have to.”

           “Want to have dinner in my quarters?  I’ll cook.”

           “You know I won’t turn that down.  What time?”

           “If we go back now…, in about an hour.”

           “Sounds good to me.”  She rose, extending her hand to pull him up.  As they stood together, she reached up to him.  “I love you, Chakotay.  Whatever happens, know that I love you.”  He kissed her gently.  “Come on, we better go before we get distracted again.”

           She picked up the padds and the blanket.  “Ready?”

           He nodded, grinning.  “Always.”  And called for beamout.
 

   THE END
 
 

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