A Word From the Mistress: Greetings Gentle Readers. It is a surprising and delightful realization that this is the fiftieth Secret Log of Mistress Janeway. (Though if the Part A stories are counted, Human Touch was the actual milestone.) When I started this simple exercise to combat writer's block, I had no idea that I'd be doing it for this long nor that these stories would bring me so much. I've formed some delightful friendships, explored my own lifestyle, and achieved an interesting sort of infamy because of the Logs. I appreciate all of you who've followed my web page through the legion of servers and name changes. And I especially appreciate those who have written me. I'm very grateful for their support.

Note of What has Gone Before: Before Voyager's epic journey, while still infiltrating Chakotay's Maquis crew, Tuvok was kidnaped by a fanatical Bajoran vedek named Teero.  Teero used ancient incantations to plant deep hypnotic commands, effectively making Tuvok a Maquis double agent.  Years later, Teero slipped a signal into a routine transmission, compelling Tuvok to enact a plan to mind meld with all of Voyager's Maquis crew members.  The Maquis was reborn, and took control of Voyager.  Tuvok, struggling as he fought the effects of the mind control, was asked by Chakotay to prove his loyalty by shooting Captain Janeway.  Tuvok does so, but the weapon proves defective.  Eventually, Tuvok recovered and helped Janeway regain her ship and reverse the effects of the mind control.

Captain's Personal Log:

It was illogical. I knew that. It was completely unreasonable and horribly unfair as well. My attitude and behavior was all these things and probably more. But I also knew that I couldn't help what was in my heart though it warred mightily with what was in my head. For reasons that only the most seasoned of counselors could tell me, I was furious at Chakotay for taking my ship.

I had seen the bruises on his hands and his upper body. He had fought Tuvok and fought him hard. What was done to him was clearly not voluntary. Like the others, he had been unconscious for days. In studying the phenomena, the Doctor discovered that the meld had initiated new pathways to their Maquis memories circumventing any thoughts or feelings they had had for the current Starfleet crew. The process had been both thorough and painful. Fortunately, Tuvok was able to reverse it with another meld. The Doctor said it would have likely happened on its own in time. Thus, I thoroughly understood intellectually that what Chakotay and the others did was beyond their ability to control. They were blameless.

Yet when I looked at Chakotay as I exited the Brig, I was furious. Despite all that I knew about what had caused this problem, something deep inside me believed that he should have fought. I had not perceived any conflict within him in his actions -- not when he locked me away and not when he had a gun held to my head. There had been no waiver in his voice. And his eyes had not been those of some demon who had possessed my lover. His eyes had been as calm and serene as they had always been when he believed he'd made a correct decision. When the warmth and concern did return, I couldn't stand to see it.

My glare kept him at bay for a while. He and Torres and the others were very busy mending fences with the crew. Neelix helped them organize small groups of Maquis and Starfleet crewmen. The Doctor was invited to explain what had happened in medical terms. Then after some guided venting of spleens, Chakotay and his former crew apologized to mine. The Commander's was eloquent and undoubtedly heartfelt. On an intellectual level I was impressed with his efforts and that was reflected in my official logs. But it did not reach me personally.

And it's not that the anger gave me any real solace. I was lonely. And I was longing for that body. I hadn't had intimate relations since just before Paris and Torres were married. We were all too busy after that covering shifts so that the couple could honeymoon. It seemed that they weren't back any time at all before the first attack happened. Somehow, Chakotay and I never had our date. Nor had we found the time to be together. Thus, despite my anger, I wanted him. I wanted him very badly. It did not help knowing how much he wanted me, too. But I just couldn't bend.

He let this stalemate play out between us for a week. By then, the crew had meshed back into an awkward routine and seemed to be on the mend. He came to my Ready Room late one night. I'd taken to staying there until the wee small hours of the morning ensuring that I would sleep at least a few fitful hours. He sat in front of my desk waiting for me to acknowledge him while I finished the padd I was reading.

"Something wrong, Commander?" I asked. "It's late."

"This isn't fair, Kathryn," he said softly. "You know I never wanted any of this."

"I know, Chakotay," I replied. "I know you didn't want this. I know I'm not being fair. I know it's unreasonable... I still can't help the way I feel."

He sighed. "Kathryn, we were so close... do you really want to end what we have?"

"I don't know what I want, Chakotay," I replied quietly. "I look at you and I see the Brig or I see a phaser pointed at my head. I can't get past it."

"But you want the crew to get past it."

That raised my ire further, but I clamped down on it. "You have your standing. I still want your counsel. The crew will mend."

"But not the Captain or the Commander," he said. I could feel the steel behind the velvet in his voice. He was frustrated. So was I, and I was very tired.

"There is no point in this, Chakotay," I said. "I don't have any answers for you, and I don't want to cause you any further pain. Please, go."

He clenched his fists at his sides then breathed deeply. "Kathryn..."

"Please, Chakotay. I just can't."

I desperately needed space from him, and I didn't want things to get really ugly between us. It was bad enough already. He clenched his jaw then left. I found that I was trembling.

I was angry enough to tear the room apart when I got home, but I just slumped onto the sofa and stared at the walls. That was my hobby while I was in the Brig. We were not even allowed to have padds to read. I suppose it was because we were too dangerous to their cause. It came across as cruelty.

I was not sure how much time passed. It had to have been 0200 when my bell rang. I prayed it would not be the Commander for we would surely fight. But it was Mr. Kim looking as weary as I. But he had been crying, I believe. A lot of people on board looked like that of late.

"Pet, what on Earth troubles you?"

He was at my feet then. I could tell that he longed to hold me.

"What doesn't? Everything's been a mess since that damned vedek," he said. "Why did he have to do this to us? What the hell was the point?"

A question I had asked myself over and over in my confinement. What the hell was the point?

"Harry, what is the problem? You can tell me anything."

"I thought it would be okay. I got confined to my quarters with Tom," he said. "I thought it would be good to be together. I was there for Tom in all of this with B'Elanna. We'd keep each other company."

I coaxed him up into my arms. He leaned his head on my shoulder so I could pet his hair while I rubbed his back.

"And it was good that I was there... Tom was so upset that his wife could change on him like that. It was like she never knew him at all. Never had a connection to him. 'She looked at me like I was a stranger,' he said. He swung from being really pissed to being so depressed. When he wasn't escaping, he was crying..."

"You got used to taking care of him."

"Yes... it wasn't even sexual for the most part. There were moments when we needed release," Harry said. "But it was intimate..."

"You miss being together that way," I said.

He nodded. "It's selfish, I know. He has to put things back together with B'Elanna. But I miss him, and he's still so unhappy."

"Unhappy?" This startled me.

"It's hard to go back... hard to trust again," he said. "They're both trying so hard... but I know that he still won't sleep with her. It's tearing them both apart. And I can't help him."

Kim's voice broke then. He began to sob softly in my arms. I held him grateful to feel something other than emptiness or anger. Sadness would do. I couldn't help them. They had to find their own way. I could just hold him. We fell asleep wrapped around each other.

Harry looked much better in the morning. He kept apologizing for imposing upon me, but I would hear none of it. His presence had helped me sleep soundly. I still felt terrible emotionally, but I no longer feared falling asleep on the Bridge. Tom seemed better as well. His eyes were red-rimmed, but there was something more upbeat about his demeanor. When he shot Harry and me a smile as we exited the turbolift that morning, he appeared close his old self.

I was curious, but didn't press the issue. I wasn't sure that I really wanted to know what had happened. But I knew my Pilot well enough to know that he would have to share his feelings, especially if he thought he could help me in some way. He brought it up after dropping off a report to me in my Ready Room.

"Captain? Can we talk?" he asked me.

I sighed. Then I indicated the chair in front of me.

"B'Elanna and I are patching things up," he said with a slight smile. "Well, I've stopped sleeping on the sofa, at any rate."

"Why had you been?"

He shrugged giving me a lost expression. "I couldn't forgive her, but I didn't want to leave her. After all that time, I needed her close, but I couldn't bring myself to touch her."

"What happened to change that?"

He sighed. "I came home last night to find her crying in bed. I don't think I'd ever seen her cry like that. She was holding my Captain Proton uniform and sobbing about how only she managed to find happiness only to lose it in such a crazy way."

"It just got to me that she was so upset," he said. "I ended up holding her until she calmed down. Then, we fell asleep."

"You still haven't talked about it," I said.

"No," he admitted. "But I'm ready to try. I think whatever they weren't feeling for us before is coming back in droves. Along with a lot of guilt."

"How did this become plural?" I asked.

He looked sheepish. "I can see that you haven't resolved anything with him either -- no matter how civil you are in public. The spark is missing and you both look so sad."

"Never mind the Commander and me," I said quietly. "You put your life together with your wife. And try not to shut Harry Kim out in the process."

"I won't," Tom said resolutely. "I owe him too much."

"Dismissed, Lieutenant," I said quietly.

"Take care, Captain," Tom replied softly. "Please."

I had wondered when the meddling would begin. I thought it would be the Doctor or Neelix coming to me on behalf of the Commander especially after the wonderful sessions he ran with them. Perhaps he had declined discussing our relationship with either of them. That was like him. He knew that I wouldn't be able to stand their cheery suggestions. I did expect more meddling though, and from a source that I would have difficulty ignoring.

I had been avoiding Mistress Barrow. That was in part because I simply was not up to a session. But it was also because I knew how she would feel about the current state of affairs between me and the Commander despite the fact that the Maquis has taken her completely off line as they had the Doctor. It was ironic that those whom the Maquis had most seriously affected -- the Doctor, Barrows and Seven, seemed the ones to most readily forgive.

Be that as it may, I didn't want to fight with her. A good Mistress, however, knows what is best for her slave. And she knows the best way of communicating that as well. Barrows had been programmed with all of that knowledge and resourcefulness. Thus I was only mildly surprised to find that the message from her awaiting me in my quarters had one of Tuvok's personal logs attached to it.

My Dear One,

I know how deeply you frown upon these trespasses into crew privacy. And I know that as a member of the crew that is a real no-no, but I also know how much you hate being ambushed. This little tete-a-tete may give you some insight into that beautiful man's head and help allow him back into your arms. Remember how much you enjoy him when he's provoked beyond control. Take care.


PS - feel free to put me on report. It has been ages.

It appeared to be an account of a counseling session between Chakotay and Tuvok that happened just that morning.


Tuvok's Personal Log:

I was surprised to receive a visit from Commander Chakotay at 0600 hours this morning. He had complained of being unable to sleep and was seeking my counsel. I found his choice ironic considering the role I undoubtedly played in his current state. After assurances that it was because of my intimate knowledge of what happened to the Maquis and my lengthy personal history with the Captain that he was seeking me out, I asked him to tell me what was troubling him.

As I suspected, It was the growing tension between him and the Captain. While their behavior toward one another has remained professional, there is an obvious tension that grows more intense as the days pass. The slight of not having him sit with us at the Holodeck film was obvious to all there and word of it spread quickly. I was contemplating a talk with the Captain this very day, because of a certainty that open hostility was inevitable.

The Commander was distraught at the Captain not only over the Captain's illogical behavior but also for her acknowledgment of, and refusal to correct, same.

I assured him that the Captain was not actually angry at him. Hers was the only response that she felt was available to her due to her position. I explained that judging from similar reactions she'd had in the past that she was in extreme emotional pain. The one whom she had come to rely on to talk about such feelings was the source. To talk to him about how she felt would cause him pain. Despite the ordeal, she could not bring herself to hurt him. That leaves her frustrated and angry.

The Commander was silent for a time. He seemed to be distressed. Then, he admonished himself for his lack of insight and patience at a time when she needed that most from him. I admired his depth of feelings for the Captain, and explained that he had been traumatized as well by the incident. It would have been unreasonable for anyone to expect him to act with great patience or insight.

As for a course of action, I strongly recommended confronting the Captain. No progress would be made between them while the problem was not addressed. They had to fully express their feelings no matter what pain it inflicted, or there would be no healing.

The Commander nodded at me. He promised to do so this very day. I decided to hold off on my own talk with Captain Janeway until I ascertained what affect it has on her.

Ambush indeed. Well, I was not going to tolerate this -- no matter how well intentioned. I couldn't let anyone figure this out for me. I had to do this myself, even though I still wasn't sure what this was.

I had to move quickly. He would be off duty in a quarter hour. I needed to change my security codes so that I could lock my door. I could give them to Tuvok until this blew over… but then again, the Vulcan was on the side of confrontation. Damn.

Before I could figure out the logistics of changing my access codes, he was in the door. His eyes blazed into mine.

"Lock door security Chakotay alpha delta prime," he said quietly.

I felt my eyebrow raise. "Computer. Unlock. This. Door. Security code Janeway Priority."

"Unable to comply," the computer said.

"Janeway to Tuvok," I said.

"Unable to comply," the computer repeated. "Communications are restricted under this security protocol."

"I will have you court martialed," I said. My voice sounded like ice to my own ears.

"So be it," he replied. "I'd rather have no standing at all on this ship, than be by your side the way we are now. We are going to talk."

"No, we will not," I snapped.

"We won't leave here until we do."

"I have nothing to say," I replied.

"You do… you have reams to say," he said. "I have to hear it if we're going to go on from here… if I ever meant anything to you… please…"

"How dare you," I said quietly. The words seemed so heavy to me. "All I had left to give me hope was my faith in my feelings for you and yours for me. I knew it would be a matter of time before something reached you and you would remember. I held on to that, until you gave Tuvok that phaser."

"It wasn't me, Kathryn," he ground out. "It was someone else's construct of a Maquis brain -- a flesh covered automaton who only lived for the mission. When I was Maquis I wasn't even like that."

"I know! But it was your calm voice, your serene eyes... your hands," I whispered. "Playing with my life like I was a meaningless philosophical problem... like you never knew me or ever cared about me..."

To my utter chagrin, my voice broke. Chakotay had been standing just inside the door. But upon hearing that, he started towards me. I flinched as he grew closer, so he stopped. He sank to his knees pain evident on this face.

"Kathryn, I remember everything and it horrifies me," he said in anguish. "I felt nothing emotionally. Tuvok would envy how little I could feel. But when it all hit me and I remembered you so hurt and so terrified. Gods, Kathryn, I would never want you to feel that way. I certainly would rather die than to cause that."

It was the same face, same voice, same hands, but the eyes were different. They were filled with sorrow and tears and fear. My heart lurched at that. I wanted to feel him again, but I was too afraid to risk myself. What if I awoke to those eyes that didn't know me?

Something in my face seemed to have brought the Commander to a decision. He straightened up and got to his feet.

"Maybe we've talked too much," he said. "I don't think words will change anything now."

"What do you mean?" I demanded getting to my feet. I suddenly needed more distance from him.

"You once told me to never shut you out no matter how angry or hurt I was," he said. "That you would always need my touch... that you would always crave my kiss..."

"Don't..." I said. My voice broke again.

He kept coming toward me. I turned to run. Not that I could go far, but I wasn't really thinking. I was reacting. The Commander was determined and very fast. He caught me against him easily. The maneuver was so fast, I barely knew what happened. We landed on my bed. The wind was knocked out of me as my back hit the mattress with Chakotay on top of me. He's such a calculating bastard. By the time I got enough breath to fight him, he had me pinned under that warm, dense weight of his body. I was breathing in his scent while my body was suffused with his heat.

Chakotay was savoring his position. He nuzzled the hair behind my ear then sighed before gently tugging the lobe with his teeth. I gasped at the sensation from the wet heat of his mouth and the hardness of the erection pressing against my thigh. Thoughts of struggle stumbled as his fingers threaded through my hair inexorably turning my head towards his.

Chakotay shifted his body bringing that very hard member against my sensitive clit. I gasped again. This time, his mouth sealed over mine stealing my breath. I moaned involuntarily as his tongue explored. I expected the kiss to be brutal given the hunger that blazed in his eyes, but it was slow -- almost gentle. He tenderly imprisoned my face, but I couldn't think of moving. That kiss was what I'd craved for weeks with its wet heat and that knowing tongue. Chakotay used it the way he would when he pumped into me slowly. He was fully savoring me, readying me. And somewhere during that slow, sweet kiss I lost hold of my anger and pain. Whether it was the hedonist or the besotted schoolgirl, I couldn't tell. All I knew was that I couldn't help but respond.

I arched up into his hardness. His moan vibrated through me igniting fire along my nerves centering in the juncture between my thighs. The kiss changed becoming more possessive somehow. As he began to slowly grind against me, my arms wound around his body. It was not skin to skin contact, but I knew the cords and contours of the muscles of that back even through the fabric. I could even feel the intense heat of his skin. My hips began to move in counter with his creating a delicious friction between our hungry bodies. It was clear the Chakotay wanted me, but he seemed unwilling to try to take our clothes off for closer contact. I realized with a lurch of my heart that he didn't want to let me go.

We were lost in the building pleasure. We were lost in the increasing heating kiss. Then, Chakotay's combadge went off.

"Tuvok to Commander Chakotay."

The Commander groaned tearing his mouth from mine to rest his forehead against my own damp brow.

"Chakotay here," he replied wincing at how husky his voice sounded. I winced for him though I was reveling in the sound.

"Is anything amiss, Commander? I've been unable to locate the Captain."

"She's here. She's fine," he replied.

I took as deep a breath as Chakotay's heavy chest would allow then let it out. "I'm here, Mr. Tuvok. What can I do for you."

"We are approaching a severe gravitational anomaly. Options for avoiding it need to be explored immediately," he replied.

Chakotay rolled off me snagging my hand as he got off the bed.

"Where's Seven?"

"Enroute to Astrometrics," he replied.

"We're on our way."

The immediate hunger had been squelched for the moment as we straightened our clothes. Chakotay unlocked the door and we raced to the Bridge.

The crew noticed our tandem entrance but quickly snapped back to their own consoles. Only one present was not aware of my relationship with the Commander.

"Report," I said.

I did not like what I heard. The space ahead of us had fractured badly, leaving a vast, violent wasteland of tidal eddies and intense radiation. We were facing an extremely dangerous anomaly and options that would take us far off our best course home. What followed were several tense hours of examining data from Tom, Seven and B'Elanna about what we were facing and what choices we had. The Commander and I remained huddled closely over data padds as we always had before. Chakotay commented here and there about possibilities. In the end, he argued for taking the longer course then exploring options later with long range Astrometrics. We had to get as far away from the gravitational anomaly as possible to do that.

"Perhaps," he reasoned. "Distance will allow us to see around it."

It seemed prudent even in the face of losing ground temporarily. We'd been lucky so far and that could always run out. Besides, changing course here could provide an opportunity for forward momentum elsewhere.

"Do it," I said. Tom echoed my course change. We all relaxed as the physical stress on the ship lessened. I found myself leaning back in my seat suddenly exhausted. Chakotay remained slightly forward facing me. I felt that he was somehow being protective. I allowed it. The rest of the Bridge noticed.

Relief came for Tom at that point. I was due back in a matter of a couple of hours but had not slept. Chakotay read that on my face.

"Why don't you get some rest, Captain," he said. "I can look over things here."

"Excuse me, Sir," Kim said. "We don't have anything remotely interesting on long range scanners. I can look after things while you get some food and some rest."

"I, too can stand watch," Tuvok said. "The Commander can rest as well."

And he said that with an absolutely straight face, I thought. Who knew Vulcans were such actors.

I was about to decline the consideration, but I looked up into Chakotay's eyes and all the heat and hunger I felt pinned beneath his body slammed back into me stealing my breath. I needed to try to distance from his overwhelming presence. Like the gravitational anomaly, it was the only way to be safe.

"I'll take you up on that gentlemen," I said getting up. "Mr. Tuvok, Mr. Kim, I'll see you in four hours."

"Same here," Chakotay said bounding up behind me.

I found myself in the turbolift with Paris and Chakotay. My dear pilot's eyes darted between me and the Commander. He must have misread my hunger for distress, because he valiantly tried to save me from the brooding man.

"How about a quick bite to eat," he offered. "B'Elana is going to meet me in the Mess. A little soup could help you sleep."

I had it in my head to say no. In my current state, having casual conversation in public over a bowl of soup seemed beyond comprehension. But there was something about the angle of the Commander's head and the carriage of his body that set me on edge. He was very sure of himself and of me at that moment. I still wanted his kiss and his heat, but I didn't like his cockiness either. After all that happened, I couldn't let it be that easy -- no matter what my body wanted.

"Soup would be lovely," I said. "How about you, Commander?"

"I could eat something," he said. His voice was so husky that I think the comment got to Tom as well.

"Okay, then," Tom sputtered. "Soup, it is."

We arrived at the Mess in time for the morning rush. Neelix was thrilled as we passed through the line. He didn't have any soup at that moment, but placated us with a salad and bread promising to bring some right over.

There were many eyes on us as we joined Torres at a table by the window. I found myself across from the Commander. Fortunately, the anomaly left a lot to discuss between my Pilot, Engineer and First Officer. The conversation was easy and the meal passed without incident. I did notice that the crew present seemed pleased about our presence.

At least, I noticed these things when I wasn't tumbling into Chakotay's gaze over his spoon. The man was being very provocative though no one else in the room would know it. He was eating very sensually.

To the casual observer, the Commander was being careful with hot soup. However, I was all too aware of what was really transpiring. He was making sure that I noticed every spoonful -- the way his tongue slid over the curve of the implement; the way he savored the liquid in his mouth before he swallowed. He didn't stare, but his gaze always managed to lock onto mine when he was doing something with his tongue.

I was profoundly affected by Chakotay's actions but refused to give him the satisfaction of a response. My attention appeared to be on the conversation at the table. I was also quite interested in Paris and Torres. They sat near each other with relative ease. My Engineer kept touching her husband. There was the occasional hand on the knee or at the center of the back. He never flinched nor looked the least bit uncomfortable with the gestures. They made frequent eye contact and smiled often. This all looked promising and I was happy to see it.

But, damn that Chakotay. He wasn't content to play havoc with my needy body, he had to be in my mind as well. My pleasure at the reconciliation of Tom and B'Elanna was not that evident. Yet the next time our gazes met, his smile was tender. That jolted me more than his naughty tongue. I blushed up to my hairline.

"I'd better be going," I said standing. "I've only got about four hours before I'm on duty again. Enjoy your meals."

I was out of the room before Chakotay could get out of his chair. It was my plan to be in my room before he could catch up. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what I would do… put on the Outfit… a chastity belt… a thin coat of flavored oil. All I knew was that I needed more control of the situation.

I had taken two steps onto the turbolift when I found myself pressed against the far wall from behind. Chakotay had me pinned again. This time his erection was cradled against the cleft in my cheeks. It was arousing even through the fabric.

"I'm not going to chase you all over the ship, Kathryn," he whispered in my ear. "I'll take you right here and now if it guarantees that I'll have you."

He thrust against me emphasizing his state of readiness.

"No… please," I moaned. "Not here… I won't run anymore… oh… gods… please…"

He was tonguing along the side of my neck and grinding me into the smooth surface of the turbolift. Just before I reached a point where I didn't care who found us there, we stopped. Chakotay manuevered me in front of him, so that we looked natural enough exiting the doors. Thankfully, there was no one in the corridor.

I soon found myself in my quarters where Chakotay was making very quick work of my uniform. He was silent working deftly in the darkness with practiced ease. I felt like a rag doll in his arms. My limbs were no longer obeying me. I barely felt the coolness of the air against my skin when he hoisted me into his arms to move toward the bedroom. His movements had an urgency to them that was unusual. Typically, if we'd been apart for a long time, he would bare my skin slowly then look at me naked and waiting while he undressed. But this time, I was barely settled onto the mattress before he was kissing me.

This kiss was vintage Chakotay -- all heat and hunger, demanding and possessive. I moaned and arched against him clutching at his increasingly offensive uniform. I wanted to touch his skin, but he had other plans. He captured my wrists and held them in one hand as his tongue traveled down my body. That tongue! That diabolical tongue. Though cliché to call it velvet, that's what it was -- sleek, hot velvet swirling along my collarbone than downward to reacquaint itself with my very interested nipples. I fretted when he didn't linger and suck them, but he continued lazily exploring anyway. He dipped down to my navel then nuzzled his face in my crotch for just a moment before continuing to lick down my inner thigh.

"Chakotay," I moaned knowing that this was going to be a very long and leisurely exploration on his part. I didn't mind his indulging in tasting my skin, I got very aroused by how much he enjoyed that. But it had been some time since I'd had that wonderfully thick hardness pumping in me. That was what I wanted right then. He could do whatever he wanted after that. The Commander had other plans.

He tongued my entire body before finally tasting my wetness. He hummed his satisfaction and I was so ready for it that I couldn't hold on. I came and came under that mouth. My throat was raw from moaning when he finally pushed into me. I came again loving the feel of him in me and on me. How could I have fought this? Where had all my anger gone?

I knew that I slid right from that throbbing orgasm into a deep sleep. I felt my whole body relaxing and letting go even before Chakotay pulled out of me. When I awoke, I was still draped over his body covered by a light blanket. I knew that the alarm would go off soon, and it would be prudent to get away from all that very tempting skin before the Commander awoke, but I couldn't help it. I found myself reaching out to pet his thick dark hair then to trace the lines of his tattoo. His tongue brushed my fingers as I traced the contours of his lips.

I glanced up suddenly quite anxious. I was afraid of what would be in his eyes when they looked into mine. I could barely make them out in the starlight, but I think their intent could have been read in pitch black. Apparently Chakotay's appetite had not been satisfied during our earlier acrobatics. As he turned me on my back and shoved my legs apart, I realized that mine hadn't either.

"We're going to be late," I gasped as his mouth latched onto my left nipple.

"Hmmmmmm," was his only reply. The sound vibrated the nipple causing me to lose track of whatever objections I was forming. He reached between our sweaty bodies inserting two fingers into me. The urgency of his prepping was thrilling. I spread my legs wider to accommodate him. I loved Chakotay when he was hungry and demanding though I'd never dare tell him. It was at those moments where I felt that he would take me heedless of anything or anyone. And he was very hungry and determined to have me. Before I knew what was happening, he was pushing inside me. I wrapped my legs around his middle and hung on for the ride.

We were forty-five minutes late when we entered the turbolift. I was amazed that I could switch my mind to being Captain after the way he had taken me. I was still having tremors from the orgasm. There had been some curious glances as we walked down the corridor, but I think that was attributable to our estrangement.

"How about dinner tonight?" Chakotay asked after I called for the Bridge.

"In my quarters?"

He shook his head. "In the Mess. I believe we had a rain check."

I was a little flummoxed. Given the erection that he still had when he got dressed, the last thing I thought he'd want was to appear somewhere in public. I wasn't sure that I wanted that either.

"That's true. We do."

"And I miss talking with you," he said quietly. "I miss laughing with you."

"And it would be good for general morale," I said dryly.

"Oh, I think so," he said.

"Alright, fair enough," I replied. "But what about our specific morale, Mister?"

He smirked. "That's what dessert is for."

"I'll meet you there at 2000 hours," I replied just before the turbolift doors flew open. I prayed for a normal shift so that we could actually keep the appointment this time.

I was nervous about the dinner date. I had not been nervous about any kind of date since I was a girl. And I was confused by it. I knew what the outcome of the evening would be. I was not worrying about how Chakotay did or did not feel about me. I was long past the point of whether or not a date thought that I was pretty. Yet there I stood in front of my closet convinced that I had nothing at all to wear.

The last thing I wanted to wear was my uniform. The occasion called for something special, but I had to keep decorum in mind. And I didn't feel like those very sensible pants suits I wore to crew functions. I wanted to bring some of my sensuality out in the open without frightening the crew. In the end, I recycled some things and came up with a black, sleeveless knee-length sheath dress of soft fabric that acknowledged my figure without being tight. I wore dressy black sandals to show off my pedicure and even put on some bangles at my wrists. The effect was sophisticated and just sexy enough to remind people that there is a woman under the jumpsuit.

I took a deep breath and set off. I got some complimentary glances from various crewmen. It was, I think, the first time I'd ever noticed any of the men on board who weren't in my Circle checking me out. That was an interesting experience.

As soon as I stepped off the turbolift, I was happy about my wardrobe choice. Chakotay stood near the door to the Mess in an elegant black suit and collarless black shirt. It was a style I didn't recognize, but he wore it very well. He was smiling at me. The smile lit up his dark eyes and it nearly took my breath away.

"I don't recognize the style, but you look gorgeous in it," I said.

"I can say the same. That's some dress," he replied. "I replicated the suit from anthropological records on Earth clothing. It's called an Armani. I saw Paris and Kim wearing similar ones in a holoscenario called "Miami Vice." Apparently the designer was quite successful in men's apparel."

"I can see why."

Chakotay shrugged. He almost looked sheepish. "I thought the occasion called for something…."

"Special?" I jumped in. "So did I."

"Thank you," he replied. "You look beautiful."

I blushed under his gaze. "Shall we eat?"

Neelix was so happy to see that we made this date. I'd never met a being who could be made so very happy by someone just showing up. He seated us at a window side table where a bottle of champagne was chilling in a bucket of iced water. He poured for us then hustled off to get the special meal he'd prepared for the occasion.

I raised my glass to Chakotay. "To firsts…"

We drank to that. I think we would have drunk to turnips at that point. It was so good to be out with him in public. The wine was a respectable version of a fine champagne. Not exactly a cuvee, but it was very pleasant. My dinner date gazed at me intently over his glass. His expression gave me butterflies.

Neelix returned to discreetly place our plates in front of us. I was completely at a loss for words. So I ate the lovely broiled fish and hoped the Commander would be better at small talk.

"If we keep giving these longing stares, people are going to really start talking," he said. "I feel like I'm fifteen years old again."

I sighed. "I thought it was just me. We've never been this awkward around each other before. We've had encounters with hostile aliens that were easier."

"What was your first date like?"

That surprised me. I considered it over my faux spinach tossed in garlic and olive oil. "I hung around with guys all my life because of the science and the athletics. But I didn't get on well with them in social settings. I don't think they liked being outsmarted and outrun."

"Well, on behalf of young men, it's a time of great insecurity," he smiled. "We can't turn from being competitive to romantic with the same girl -- most can't anyway."

"Don't I know it," I said with a sigh. "The only one who asked me out were guys who knew nothing about me. I was so surprised to be asked after being passed over so often that I was tongue tied. Needless to say, the impression I made was not a good one. How about you? Young girls go for the dark brooding type."

He chuckled at that. "Yeah, the ones who didn't know me. That problem I had with fitting in also caused problems with my social life. I didn't really date until I got away from home."

I considered that as I enjoyed the food. For such a late bloomer, I wondered how he got so good at going down on women. His tongue was as talented as I ever encounter and that spoke of years of dedicated practice.

"Penny for your thoughts," he said softly.

I blushed immediately and he laughed. "Let's see how good I am at reading Kathryn Janeway… the answer to the question in your head is an older woman liked the dark brooding type and taught me a thing or two and had the patience to wait until I got good at it. And I think being on the sidelines I learned how to really listen. I wanted to make sure that whenever I got a chance with women, I would get it right."

"What an astute young man you were. Most boys would just blame the girls," I replied.

"I have the same question of you," he said. "How did you get past your obstacles?"

"Barrows got a hold of me," I replied wryly. "The rest is history."

"To all those who helped us… who helped us…"

"Hone our skills…" I suggested with a raised brow.

Chakotay laughed even as we touched the glasses together. I noticed that the room seemed to relax around us. I felt more at ease under that warm and mirthful gaze. We talked a lot then about our past lives and loves. I realized as we finished off dessert that we never had done that before. I even talked about Mark, and I'd never done that before. I supposed that because we shared only stolen moments in time, that we were just content with being together. I know I knew him well, but I didn't know much about his life before Voyager, and I certainly hadn't told him a lot about mine. I really enjoyed the conversation and his company.

Chakotay complimented Neelix on our behalf and we headed for the turbolift.

"We could go dancing," he offered. "It would be a shame to waste these outfits."

"Who said we were?" I asked benignly. "But I'd like to enjoy them where there is less scrutiny."

"Ah, you noticed that, too," Chakotay smiled.

"How could I miss it?" I replied. "If I really thought that many crewmen were taking coffee breaks at the same time, there'd be a lot of people on report."

"Are you inclined to say anything?"

I shook my head. "It'll pass if they see us out more often. It'll become part of the routine."

He smiled in a lopsided way. "I like that idea. May I show you to your door?"

"Why thank you, sir."

We walked arm and arm to my quarters. The corridors were deserted which made things a lot easier for me. I would have invited him in under any circumstances, He looked too delicious not to, but I was glad I didn't have to call upon any acting skills to do it.

"Would you like some coffee?" I asked.

"Why, yes. I would like some coffee."

Once inside, I backed him up against the bulkhead near my living room window.

"I thought we were going to have coffee," he said. His voice had gone husky and it was working on my nerve endings.

I unzipped his pants and smiled. "You know that line is just a come on for sex. Besides, I want more dessert."

And I did. I couldn't wait to taste him. I had wanted that for so long. And though I wanted to lick his testicles, having him in his suit was really a turn on. Thus, I removed his erection from his pants without taking them down.

"Hmmm delicious," I murmured against the shaft. I vaguely heard the Commander moan in response. His right hand had traveled to the back of my head where he gently held me in place by my hair. I relaxed my lips and my throat allowing him to make love to my mouth. And it was wonderful -- his taste and his scent, the power of that rigid member pumping into me. Yet for all his urgency, his grip on my hair was gentle.

"Oh... gods... Kathryn... want you... need you... going to... aaaahhhh..."

I was ready for him. I took it all and savored every drop. I leaned into him resting my cheek on the cool silk covering his thigh. Soon, I found myself pulled to my feet then whisked into his arms.

"I want some dessert, too," he growled. I was on my back with my dress around my waist seconds later.

"Why, Kathryn, where is your underwear?" he murmured in exasperation before his tongue was busy lapping at my wetness and pulling at my clit. I was mindless after that. But in retrospect, I wish we had recorded it. He looked wonderful between my stocking covered legs over his shoulders with my heels resting on his back while in his suit tonguing me into oblivion.

At some point, Chakotay must have undressed himself and me, because when my head cleared, I was naked on top of him.

I was still throbbing with the remnants of the orgasm when I realized that something was wrong. The chest I was leaning so heavily against was heaving with small gasping breaths. Then I felt wetness dropping onto my shoulder.

"Chakotay?" I asked. "Why are you crying?"

My inquiry made him hold me tightly against him. His one hand carded through my hair while the other one rubbed my back. He didn't answer me.

"Was I that bad?" I said in an attempt at humor. He chuckled through the tears.

"Kathryn… we were so close…" he said. "We almost lost everything… and for no good reason… I almost lost all of this… you... forever…"

I leaned back so that I could look at him. I started to well up when I saw how forlorn he looked. I gently wiped his tears away then kissed his eyelids.

"But we didn't lose everything, Chakotay," I said quietly. "The vedek failed and you outlasted my anger. And we're back where we should be. Maybe we could stave off another separation by promising each other a few things."

He sniffed and raised an eyebrow. "Branding perhaps?"

"Maybe later," I replied. "I was thinking that we promise that no matter what kind of temporal anomaly or beguiling aliens cross our path and lead us astray, we meet no later than 24 hours after for purging of the experience and renewal of our relationship."

"You think we'll go through this again?"

"Well, not this exactly. At least, I hope not," I smiled. "But there always seems to be something or someone trying to get between us. I figure we'll have some more distractions and interference before we get home."

His grip on me grew less desperate.

"Let's get a little sleep," I said. "We have to be on duty soon."

He shifted me so that I was spooned in front of him. It felt wonderful to finally have that body wrapped around me. The Commander began to relax. His breathing became more even. I knew that he was headed towards sleep. I sighed contentedly knowing that the whole nightmare was behind me.

51: Proxy