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He slid along the wall, staying close to the shadows. Sweat ran down his back beneath the gray turtleneck shirt. It was glued to his skin, making him feel dirty. His eyes darted back and forth-watching for movement.
"Go. To her quarters. Wait," a voice intoned in the back of his mind. He continued along the wall. His fingers going occasionally to tap the butt of the phaser held in it holder at his belt. Mid-day-mid-shift. All would be quiet and silent. He could get there. He'd slide into her quarters. Hide in a corner and wait for her return.
Then he'd kill her.
The door. It stood before him. A gateway to the promised land; land he was never allowed to see, touch, experience. Always hidden. The voice returned.
"She'll either give in to our desire or she will die," he shook his head to make the voice shut up. A gesture not widely used by this man. Right hand rose, middle finger punching in the code. The door opened with a whispered swoosh. With one last quick look around, he entered the room, letting the door close behind him.
He scanned the room quickly. No sign of her in here. He went and checked the bedroom and bathroom. Nothing. He was on his way back to the main quarters when something caught his eye. A drawer half closed, a colored piece of fabric, protruding delicately. Walking over, he ran his fingers over the material. Soft, silky, delicate.
"Unlike her. She wears her uniform like some barrier. Impenetrable. Hard armor in the guise of red and black," the voice said. He pulled the length of fabric from the drawer. It smelled of jasmine and her hand lotion. He held it up to his nose, inhaling the delicate scent.
For a moment his mind cleared and he wondered why he was here, holding her nightgown. Then the feeling returned. He took the garment and held it in front of him. The creamy lace that delicately fell upon the bosom. Thin little straps. A two inch slit on the side.
With memories returning in bits and pieces, he took the garment and walked back into the other room. He went over and stood in the far corner, hidden by her desk, by a small bulkhead. Not someplace she looked at first thing upon her entrance into the room.
He slid down the wall. The lavender satin beneath his fingers. He ran his fingers over the material, rubbing it over his face. Smooth against the roughness of his chin. Thoughts rose, instances, scenarios, conversations-everything that dealt with this woman.
She stood looking down to the main engineering section. Her face almost betrayed her emotions. He joined her at the railing. She turned, smiled. Said something. His eyes scanned her from head to toe. Measuring her up? Perhaps. Checking out the woman? Most certainly.
"Let me ask you something? If our positions were reversed, would you have served under me?" A double edged question. He smiled.
"One of the nice things about being captain, is that you can keep something's to yourself." She turned and rewarded him with a smile.
He was in sickbay. Medicine wheel attached to the wall.
"It's good to have you back, commander," she said. Her hair was done differently, her smile infectious. Most important, her small warm hands on his chest. He smiled at her, happy to know she was concerned.
She stopped at the shut doors. He stood on her left side, like he always did. She took a deep breath.
"Whatever happens, we'll do this together." A warm hand on her shoulder. The first time he ever allowed himself to touch her without reason.
They walked through the door. Her breath held. He stayed back, watching. She let the breath out slowly, then likewise, turned to him. Blue eyes rimmed with tears. The sense of "family" when she stepped back onto the bridge, her crew saluting her by standing at attention.
"Good work, commander. In the future if I have any questions about mating behavior, I'll know where to go," she said. She sounded positively serious, but to his trained ear, there was an underlying of humor.
He turned slightly, smiling. Others looked at the captain as if she had just lost all sense entirely.
He entered the turbo lift, following orders to get down to engineering to help out. He'd just turned when he heard it.
"Come here, commander," a sultry voice said. He turned and there she was. Pulling her hair out of that god awful bun she kept it in. The hair, once free, almost went to her waist in thick waves. Her looks immediately softened.
"Captain!" His eyes softened as she slinked toward him in the confined space. Eyes burned with desire, hands burning with unsatisfied heat, burning through his uniform.
"Not captain. Kathryn. Do you have any idea how I long to be called by my given name?" She ran her hand lovingly over his chest. He looked down at her, trying to control the emotions boiling under the surface. She smiled a beautiful smile that lit her whole face. "Say it. Say it now. Say my name and mean it."
"Kathryn," he replied dutifully. One of her hands strayed to the back of his neck, running gently through the short hair there.
"Good. You know, I've been looking for an opportunity like this. One where the crew were so out their wits that they'd never know that their captain and commander were elsewhere, engaging in-" she looked up at him, her warm breath caressing his face. "-scientific experiments. Tuvok seeing T'Pel was the chance. If a Vulcan can hallucinate, then that gives me ample time."
She pulled herself up to him, pressing lips to lips and body against body. Breasts flattening against chest, hands roaming.
"God, if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up," he thought as he picked her up and carried her out of the lift, barely making it inside the door to his quarters.
Then he was awake and she was ordering him to get back to the bridge, that she'd locked it out. She was going to engineering.
He damn near called her Kathryn.
All a dream that pointed to one thing.
"Stop thinking of her in that way! This needs to be done. Swiftly! No time for thoughts! End her life!" Chakotay shook his head again. The lavender nightgown crushed in his left hand. His grip so tight that his knuckles had turned white.
"Get out of my head!" he hissed. His left hand reached up to wipe the grit out of his eyes. Lowering his hand slowly, he came to one thought, one that he skirted around, not wanting whatever it was in his head to know. Thoughts, images, positive memories of Kathryn seemed to drive the alien crazy.
Chakotay closed his eyes and continued.
". . .and a personal level, you've made my job more difficult." She stood looking up at him. He couldn't meet her eyes, but knew he must. To show her just how sorry he was.
"If that's the case, then I am sorry," he was truly.
Trust now had a price.
He yelled at her. No, he wasn't going to let her stay there on that bridge while he instigated the rescue effort. Captain going down with the ship, not on his head.
"You know, we're not really in a command structure here. Perhaps you should call me Kathryn." She walked off. He thought a minute.
"Give a few days on that one, okay?" His eyes trailed down to the sway of her hips as she walked away.
". . .they have to deal with bug bites as well." She turned and he was caught. How could he miss it? Not see? White shoulders glimmering with water and moonlight. Hair tousled. A towel between them.
She pulled the towel a little closer, he looked away. Excused himself.
Kathryn, not captain. Towel, not uniform. Woman, not machine.
She pulled against him. He pulled against her struggles.
"No!" She screamed.
Her hopes dashed.
"Is that really an ancient legend?"
"No, but that made it easier to say."
A lone tear. Sliding down the side of her nose. She reached out for him. He met her half-way.
"Enough! She thwarted your affections, stomped on your feelings. Refused to acknowledge your love for her! She must pay!"
Chakotay concentrated all the more.
Her hair starting the fire to keep them warm.
"She has your legs," as they walked along the boardwalk.
"I know I have no right to say this, but this bugs the hell out of me."
That green dress at the luau. Agreed to be his date.
"I cheated death, don't you think that's cause for a celebration? Champagne, a midnight sail on Lake George. What do you say?"
"Something worth living for," he smiled. She ushered him out ahead of her.
"I insist you discontinue this line of thought!"
Chakotay smiled. His idea worked.
". . .and you just caressed her face, as if you had just lost the only thing in your life. But you bounced back, took command. It was as if the other half of you just died." The elfin features looked intensely at him.
"Kes, that was just a scenario. It may never happen," Chakotay had said, dodging her small presence in sickbay.
"Commander, you have to tell her before it's too late."
"Three years ago I didn't know your name. Now, I can't imagine a day without you," her face betraying her emotions.
". . .you're the captain, I'm your first officer. I'll follow your orders. But that doesn't change the fact that I think you're making a bad mistake."
"Then I really am alone," and he left her.
"How do I stop hating?"
Memories or dreams of a watch. Silver, shining. One of his hand holding it out to her, the next her putting on her waistband.
"Hold on, Kathryn! Just a little longer," he said. Trapped with da Vinci. She flew.
". . .there was such a finality to that letter." Eye locked. Energy flowing between. Only to be interrupted by Harry.
". . .made me realize I'd been using him as a safety net, you know, to avoid becoming involved with someone else."
There may still be a chance.
"You're not always the most reasonable woman, Kathryn." He invaded her private space. No way. No way in hell was he letting her go out there to meet something she only knew about.
". . .I'm asking you to give some DNA. They hate being alone."
What about you? Don't you know you're not alone.
". . .tell them the captain sends her regards."
". . .be back by midnight."
". . .speaking of risks. . ." and hand reaching up and caressing his cheek. Leaning in. Mixed signals. Lights low, soft romantic music and candle light. The uniform.
Just hoping she'd say "stay" when he got up to leave.
"Enough! She doesn't deserve your attention, energy, emotions."
The door opened and he saw her step into the room. She reached up and stretched, standing on her tiptoes and reaching for the ceiling. The uniform pulling at her frame, clinging to her curves. Kathryn sat her padd's down on the desk and walked straight ahead. She had not seen him, sitting on her floor, in a dark corner. Nor did she seem sense his presence. If she'd only moved forward a little bit, looked up then down. Then she'd seen him.
"Computer, begin recording personal log," she said, going over to the view port. He could see, he had a good vantage point. She pulled off the uniform top and laid it down on her couch. He listened, focusing on her voice as she began reciting her personal log.
"On a personal note, I'm glad to be gone from Mystia V. The good ambassador did nothing but give the fear of evil. Chakotay even seemed to be weary for the first few days. Which brings me to something else--Chakotay has been acting strange lately. More quiet then usual, not as outgoing. Where he is usually the one trying to get me to go with him to the holodeck, I'm having trouble getting him anywhere. Needless to say, I'm worried about him. Very worried. Computer, end log."
He slid the wall quietly, not wanting to announce his presence to her yet. Kathryn looked out into the stars and let out a sigh. Chakotay wished he knew what the sigh meant, but kept his thoughts to himself.
Kathryn turned, and while rubbing her neck, entered her bedroom. Chakotay, or the alien within him, followed, wanting, needing. It was coming back, stronger. He needed to find himself an outlet, find himself a way to keep from killing Kathryn.
He walked silently, years of tactical experience on his side. He watched as she pulled the gray tee-shirt from her body, then pulling the gray tank top as well off. It was fascinating, watching her this way. He gasped silently when her hands came behind her, unhooking the confining strictness of her bra. Chakotay wanted nothing more then to walk over to her and smooth away the angry red marks marring her perfect skin.
She walked, back toward him, to her closet. She turned briefly when she replaced the hanger she'd pulled down, giving him a tantalizing side view of her breast, ivory against the darkness of her quarters. She pulled on the white shirt in hand. Kathryn's hand reached up to hold onto the wall as she pulled off the regulation boots one by one.
Kathryn turned, real book in hand, and saw him. The book hit the floor with a thud and her hand went to her chest.
"Chakotay! I didn't hear you announce your presence. What are you doing here?"
"Kathryn--," he stuttered. Chakotay let the lavender garment slide from his fingers, falling to a shiny puddle on the floor. Her eyes followed it's movements, then went back to his face. She could almost see the struggle going on within him, but she had no idea what the struggle was.
Then he leveled his phaser at her. Kathryn's eyes went wide, wondering why he was pointing his phaser at her.
"Kathryn," he whispered, "tell me now. I have to know."
"Chakotay, what is it?" she looked at him. Her comm badge was on her jacket in the other room. No way for her to even try and retrieve it.
"Kathryn, the planet? If I don't-if you don't-it'll use me to kill you!" Chakotay said. His face pleaded with her to believe him.
Her mind reeled. Ever since they had beamed down the second day, Chakotay had been acting strange. Openly staring at her. In fact, at some point, she felt that he had even been following her.
"Chakotay, tell me calmly what's going on," Kathryn said, backing up gently and carefully.
Chakotay lowered his phaser, a look of pleading deep within his eyes. He pointed with his free hand. "Here," he whispered, "in my head. He wants me to hate you-to kill you."
Kathryn looked at him, seeing now the struggle that was going on within him. Duty and devotion over an alien driven desire to kill.
"How have you managed to keep from doing it, Chakotay?" Kathryn asked, inching toward him.
"Thoughts. Good thoughts. The best moments you and I have shared; even the bad ones." Chakotay smiled a smile, but not one that lit up his face. One that she didn't see very often. One that scared her. Kathryn reached out her hand to him. "They all end up good, somehow."
"What will make it stop, Chakotay?"
"You have to tell me," his whispered voice pleading. "You have to tell me if you feel anything for me," the phaser dropped from his hand and he sank to his knees.
Kathryn approached him cautiously, not sure what would happen. Instinct told her to make a dash for the door, kick the phaser out of reach; but her gut told her that Chakotay was fighting something he had no control over. Something inside him was feeding off his emotions-his feelings for her.
She moved so she stood before him, within inches of him, of his touch. Kathryn could feel the heat emanating from his body, see the concentrated effort to retain his control over himself; over Chakotay. She knelt down in front of him, one so he wouldn't have to look up at her, two, so she could help him.
"Chakotay, I'm not going to lie," she breathed deeply. "You're my best friend, confidant-"
"It's not enough!" he said through clenched teeth. His eyes caught an object on the low shelf to his left. Another idea.
"I care for you in every way that counts. It covers every spectrum-every emotion," Kathryn said, reaching out to take his shoulders in her hands.
The alien in his head exploded in rage. Chakotay jerked, his hand flailing back and grabbed frantically at an object there. He grabbed, closed his eyes and slashed out with the sword Kathryn kept on the shelf. It sliced through the white blouse and across her shoulder. Red stained the fabric as the small slash in her shoulder began to bleed. She reeled back in shock.
"Kathryn," Chakotay said, placing the sword in her hands. "Slash the mirror image! Slash my left shoulder!"
Kathryn hesitated but a minute and arched the sword through the air. It sliced through the turtleneck and skin. She tossed the sword aside and looked at him. Chakotay reached over and pulled her against him, the slash marks and blood mixing.
Minutes, then an hour passed. The mixing of their blood added to the mixing of their emotions. The entity, bombarded with positive emotions, mixed with pain inflicted by the other, fled Chakotay's mind.
Lover's rosy stain, was the lasting keepsake of the incident. Lasting scars. Lover's rosy stain.