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5: A Natural Progression


She emerged from the bathroom in his quarters. She stopped and he stared appreciatively, drinking her in with his eyes, the lust in them barely being contained. With every fiber of his being he wanted this woman, who stood in front of him in what had to be the shortest, sheerest pink negligee he had ever seen in his life.

She drank him in also, the lust not contained in her eyes; it seemed to be a beacon to him. It drew him. Without taking his eyes off her, he made his way to her as she did. Slowly the two met half way, their eyes never leaving each other. Each felt that if they did, this moment that seemed to be outside of time would be outside their experience.

It was only when they were close enough to share each other's breadth that she began to kiss him. At first it was only the meeting of two lips, gently brushing each other as if in passing, and then it became deeper and harder as lips parted and each explored the other with their tongues. He felt he could stay glued to her like that forever. He wanted to, but then he wanted more. But they had time there was no need to rush. They had such a long time...

They shared each other in that kiss; intelligence, determination, conviction, passion and fire. It was a prelude for what was to come.

He broke away from her and held her at arm's length so that he could look at her. In his eyes she saw that he possessed her, and with her eyes she gave him the power to do so. She approached him. He was wearing a sleeping tunic and with motion she bent down and began to strip him of it. He aided her and soon he was wearing nothing, his body obviously conveying the desire that he felt for her.

Her eyes, which had never left his face, now wandered down his body and back to his face again. He felt absorbed in that look. Gently he took her hand and led her to the bed and disrobed her.

What she had done to him with her eyes, he did to her, with his mouth all over her body. He explored her, ate and drank of her until he got his fill. No words were uttered, there was only the sound of breathing which got shorter, harder and raspier as they began to fan the fires of desire between them.

Suddenly she gave a small moan signaling her readiness. He entered her and held her gaze. An immensely satisfied look crossed her face. She traced his tattoo with her fingertips as he began to move slowly and gently as if he was afraid that he would hurt her. She moved with him, her eyes closed and low moans escaped her periodically. He focused his eyes on her and found himself moving faster. All the time he was aware of the connection that she had to him. It was a connection that was born of the friendship that they shared and were now cementing with this physical act. He had always noted the times when they acted together; they seemed to be of one mind. When they were together, he knew they were of one soul. And for the first time tonight, they were of one body. The final separation between them, the final gap, had been bridged with this act. They were truly one, finally. The act now occurring was irrevocable.

Her moans were coming faster and harder as the pace between them seemed reach a frenzied pitch. Suddenly her eyes flew open and she gasped;


It was enough to send him over the precarious edge that he had been on. With a low moan, which came from his soul, he came, and the fires that had been raging within them seemed to be quenched somewhat.

He lay on top of her and in her for a long time while their breaths became regular. At last he lay on his side, and without leaving her, pulled her to him. Looking deeply and lovingly into her eyes, he said her name;


Chakotay awoke with a start, his breath ragged. He laid for a minute trying to figure out where he was. The knowledge flowed back to him. He was lying in his bed, in his quarters. He reached over to the unused side of his bed, and found no one there.

"Computer, lights."

He sat up in his bed, his mind trying to comprehend the implications of the dream that he just had. As he moved he became aware that something was not right.

"Oh my," he cried when he looked down. He was still aroused. Very aroused. He patted the bed. 'Well at least it's dry. I feel like a teenager. Wasn't this supposed to stop then? Damn, I have to get to the bridge, I have the alpha shift today'. He was lost in thought.

"Bridge to Commander Chakotay"

Oh man, was he was in trouble. He was getting even more aroused than he had been before.

"Yes Captain what is it?"

"Commander do you know what time it is?"

"Computer what is the time?"



"I assume you are on you are on the way to the bridge."

Time, he had to buy time.

"Actually Captain, I'm not. I have to go to Sickbay to attend to something."

"Commander is there something wrong?" Kathryn's concern was heard in her voice.

"I don't think that it is anything serious, but I just wanted to make sure"

"I'll talk to you when you get to the bridge. Janeway out"

Oh great, now I'm going to have to explain this.

"Chakotay to Sickbay"

"Sickbay here." The doctor's crisp voice came across on the Com.

"Doctor, I need for you to give me a medical excuse for being late for duty."

"Commander, I'm not going to do that unless I have proof that you are ill. And if you are indeed ill, you should be in sickbay. Are you having difficulties reaching here?"

"Doctor, I can't come to sickbay"

"Well then I'm on my way. Sickbay out"

"Wait, Doctor." It was too late; the doctor was out of sickbay. Chakotay knew that he could have called on his combadge, but he also knew that the doctor was not going to issue a medical excuse unless he saw something wrong for himself.

And something was wrong. He was still aroused. It shouldn't be. Normally once the stimulus was gone, the response faded in a couple of minutes.

The doors to his quarters opened, and the doctor walked in. He stopped short when he observed Chakotay standing in his pajama bottoms, fully erect.

"I see. Did you spend last night with a lover, male or female?" He readied his medical tricorder to beginning scanning Chakotay.

Oh if you only knew!!!

"No, I did not"

"Hmmm, according to these readings, you are in a state of sexual arousal and there is a slight imbalance in you hypothalamus. Describe the sequence of events of the previous 12 hrs."

"I had dinner in the messhall, read from a book and then sought out my animal guide before going to bed."

"Did you have an erotic dream last night?"

"Yes" 'And you better not ask me about it', he thought.

"Well, I think that after entering a lucid dream state needed to contact your animal guide, your hypothalamus was rather stimulated. When you had the dream, you hypothalamus was still producing chemicals and in a hyperactive state, your body was not able to decompose the excess. With the erotic nature of the dream, this prolonged erection was the natural result. I'll give you a hypospray and that should speed up the decomposition process. Give it about ten minutes and you should be back to normal"

He pressed the hypospray to Chakotay's neck.

"Doctor was the Acuna the reason I had that erotic dream?"

"No, that was all your doing, the chemicals in your body were just responding to your stimuli."


"Will this help suppress this reaction?"

"It should, but only for about two hours. After that, if your 'stimulus' is around you, you may have a repeat of the 'symptoms'

It was getting better by the moment.

"Commander did you have an erotic dream about a member of this crew, about someone on the bridge, is that why you *can't* report to duty?"

"Yes, Harry Kim", he said sarcastically.

Since sarcasm was the doctor's native way of speaking, it was lost on him.

"Hmmm, Seska and then Harry Kim, two very different personality types. All right, I'll make a note in your medical file that you are...."

"Doctor I was only kidding. This fall under the jurisdiction of Patient/Doctor confidentiality understood?"

"Of course, but you know that means that if the Captain wants to know, you'll have to be the one to tell her."

"Yes I know."

"Well have a good day Commander"

And with that, he left. 'Yeah right. Well I have two hours.' His erection was indeed softening. Chakotay hurried to get dressed.

As the turbolift doors closed behind him, Chakotay breathed a sigh of relief, 'She's not on the bridge, now all I have to do is spend some time here and make a timely exit into my office, and I should be fine.....for the rest of the shift.'

'Chakotay, please report to my ready room'

Think, man think! You're going to have to say something.

Kathryn was at her desk as he walked in. He sat down in the chair opposite her. He could feel no reaction. He gave a sigh. Kathryn looked long and hard at him, he caught her look and turned his head blushing slightly.

"Chakotay what is it? Are you ill."

"No, Kathryn. I'm fine, it's just a normal physical problem that occurs in males. To use an ancient 20th century quote, 'It's a guy thing'. You know that the Doctor would tell you if it were life threatening or if it would affect my ability to do my duties. But it isn't, so don't worry, it'll clear itself up in a few days."

Kathryn looked at him, a little hurt that he would confide in her. He wished that he could prevent that but there was no way that he could tell her the truth and he certainly wasn't going to lie to her. She would just have to accept his explanation.

She did. "Chakotay, you are not going to believe what long range sensors have picked up!" She was correct, he didn't believe it. They were going to be within range of a star going supernova within the next thirty hours. In the history of Starfleet, they would be the third of their vessels to witness the phenomena.

There were a lot of preparations to be made and Chakotay threw himself into them. He made it a point to visit the respective departments and go over the procedures that he wanted in place and the personnel who would be on duty. He spent some time in Engineering, Science and Astrometics going over the calibrations and testing of y word for it. When it was over and the respective bridge visitors went back to their workstations, Kathryn wanted to get started right away on analyzing the data that they had just collected. This time, he put his foot down and ordered her to bed. She didn't complain.

She wasn't gone for more than 10 min when she hailed the bridge.

"Janeway to Bridge"

"Chakotay here captain, I thought you were going to get some sleep."

"I've just had a visit from Q. He's gone now, but I want to be notified if he re-appears again or something odd starts happening."

"Acknowledged. What did he want?"

"Let's just say he had a personal request to make."

Chakotay's blood ran cold and he could feel his heart hammering against his chest.


"I'm not sure what he's really up to but I have a feeling he'll be back. Janeway out."

With that she closed the link. Chakotay sat down with the PADD in hand and began a set of logical arguments to calm down. He was angry and jealous and most of all amazed at what he felt. 'All she said was that he had a personal request, you don't know if he wanted to run off Kathryn. Why are you acting like this? Even if he did want to run off with her, what business is that of yours Kathryn is a close friend, not your lover nor your wife. Besides you know Kathryn, there's Mark and she'd never leave her ship. Calm down!!!' Slowly he began to do just that.

He had a troubled night, but again no repeat of the dream that had invaded his sleep two nights ago. He couldn't get what Kathryn said out of his mind. Just what was it that Q wanted? He knew he would have no peace until he asked.

At 0700 hrs, he handed the Captain the reports that he and Ensign Kim had prepared before the end of his last shift. She didn't look as if she had a better night than he did.

"Anything else?"

"Have you heard anything more from Q?"

She hadn't. Chakotay wasn't going to let it go

"I was wondering just what you meant when you said that he had a personal request"

There was a little silence before Kathryn answered, "He wants to mate with me"

There was no way to hide his reaction, it was all on his face for a moment. He pushed his hands on the desk as if to channel his anger to the floor. Chakotay recovered in time to realize that Kathryn was still speaking. His brain had processed the fact that she thought that Q had a hidden agenda, which had nothing to do with mating with her.

"Maybe" He said carefully.

He was surprised when Kathryn put her hand on his arm and said softly,


With her utterance of his name, he felt a reaction.

Oh shit.

"I know that I don't have any right to feel this way but this bugs the hell out of me." It felt good to tell her about it. He hadn't forgotten why they were good friends.

Thankfully Q interrupted them. Unfortunately, he accurately described Chakotay's feelings. He was relieved when the Kathryn told him there was no one else in her life, and her answer was still no. As he followed her out of the Ready Room, his mind could help but wonder about her having no one else. Had she given up on Mark?

The next couple of days, with Q's sudden appearances and the events that ensued, keep Chakotay's mind off his feelings somewhat. He was gratified that there was indeed an ulterior motive for Q wanting to mate with Kathryn and that he had finally settled down and mated with his own kind.

At the end of it all, Q's charge came back to haunt him. He had been jealous and it did not help that for the two days prior, he was having a sexual reaction being near to Kathryn. Thankfully, he was on beta-shift this week so he had little interaction with Kathryn. At least the dream was a one-time occurrence. He hadn't contacted his sprit guide for more than a week because of what had happened. But he felt drawn to doing so. He needed to think.

He headed to the Holodeck from Engineering. He decided to run a program for a little while. He had just spoken to B'Elanna about a problem that she was having with the shield generators after their little excursion in the Continuum. She promised to have a report to him on the simulation that they had suggested within the hour. He had run into Lt. Kingston while he was leaving Engineering and spent another 45mins addressing her analysis of some of the data that they had collected during the first supernova. Somehow, his duties were crowding him. Since they weren't in Red Alert, he figured he escape for a while.

He selected the program that he wanted and entered the holodeck. Immediately some sense of quiet came to him. He lost himself in Nature's paintbrush, which surrounded him. It was a beautiful sunset. He'd always loved the way the sun turned orange and rays of light scattered off the ocean. The warmth of the air caressed him as he made himself comfortable on one of the rocks on the cliff overlooking the beach. He observed the waves breaking on the shore and his mind began to wander.

"Excuse me Commander?"

"Yes Tom, what can I do for you?" Chakotay sighed.

"I'm sorry to interrupt. B'Elanna said that you wanted these as soon as possible. I thought that you'd be on the bridge or in your office. Since it was on my way, I told her that I would deliver them to you."


Tom hesitated for a minute and Chakotay gave him a questioning look. Paris wasn't usually the type of person to think before he spoke.

"May I join you?"

Chakotay gestured to a rock next to him. 'Well there goes my quiet time' he thought. Tom sat down and Chakotay turned his attention back to the sunset. Whenever Tom was ready to speak he would listen. His mind wandered.

Kathryn. 'What had happened? Where did that dream come from? And why did it precipitate this chain of events? Did he somehow or the other *sense* what Q was going to want of Kathryn? He hadn't lusted after her like that on New Earth. But then it was only the two of them on New Earth'. He began to look at the time that he spent together with her, on duty and off.

As the Captain and Commander, they worked well together. The crew was certainly one now, there were no divisions. After leaving Kazon and Vidian space, they seemed to be encountering more friendly races. They were no longer under the constant threat of attack. They did a lot more of scientific study than warfare and that was always one area where they were always in agreement of how to proceed.

As Kathryn and Chakotay, their friendship had been cemented and was now blossoming. They were getting closer and closer. They had laid vulnerable parts of themselves bare for the other to see, trusting that it would not be crushed. They supported each other through all the demands that this quadrant and command had placed on them, without undermining or compromising the position of each other. And they were a lot more physically demonstrative and affectionate with each other.

Chakotay suddenly had a feeling that some one had slapped him upside the head with a piece of bulkhead.

Of course he was beginning to be sexually attracted to her again. They were sharing their mind hearts and souls. The body would be the one sharing which would cement and symbolize what was going on between them. Making Love was the natural progression of what was going on between them. They were soulmates. If and when he ever made love to her, in that act he knew that he would possess all of her, and she would possess all of him, there would be no turning back. Just like in his dream.

Chakotay shifted thoughts. He knew that she had made no motion for getting sexually involved with him. His mind came back to what she had told Q in her ready room. There was no one else. If she had moved on from Mark and there was no one else, then she obviously wasn't interested, so then he had to let it go. The one thing he was sure of throughout everything was that he wanted their friendship to deepen. He wasn't sure how far they could have before both would have to confront the development of the sexual feelings between them. But he would embark on that journey with her. He understood that without the development of sexual intimacy between them, he would be free to develop a relationship with anyone else. So would she. If his reaction to Q was any indication of what he was capable of, he prayed that he would be over Kathryn before she got involved with anyone else.

"The things I'd do for friendship" He muttered aloud in wonder.

"Funny Commander, I was just thinking the same thing." Chakotay jumped slightly. He had forgotten that Tom was there.

Tom was getting up and he did the same. The sun had set and the stars in the sky was the only light available to guide them out of the holodeck.

"What was the name of that program?" Tom asked. Chakotay told him.

"Do you mind if I use it sometime?"

"No, help yourself"

The doors opened and they walked into the corridor. Tom turned to Chakotay and said very quietly.

"Thanks Chakotay, I needed that."

Without thinking, Chakotay responded,

"Anytime Tom." The younger man nodded and walked down the corridor.

Chakotay watched him go. He knew something important had just happened between he and the Lt., but he had no idea what. Sighing he made his way back to the office with B'Elanna's analysis in hand.

As Chakotay moved around in his vision, he heard the sound of laughter. Someone was trying unsuccessfully to stifle the giggles as he approached. He saw his animal guide wriggling with what seemed to be tears coming out of his eyes.

"What's so funny?" He charged. He had a nagging suspicion that she was laughing at him.

"You are"


"You should have seen yourself Chakotay when you woke up from that dream and realized that you were in no state to go to the bridge, and why. You were priceless."

"Well I'm glad someone else got a good laugh out of it because I didn't". Although he was trying hard to be serious, he was having trouble keeping a straight face.

"I think the part that almost made me pass out, was when the Doctor thought you were serious about being sexually attractive to Harry."

Chakotay gave in at that point. The idea was too ludicrous and he couldn't believe that the Doctor just didn't pick up on it. He sat on the floor and doubled over laughing.

"And there was the whole sublimation thing. I think you may want to change your mind about it. For the first time in your life you made it work."

Chakotay recovered somewhat, "I should hope so. I'm not 19 years old anymore. I'd like to think that as a mature adult male, I have some control over my actions even when my body is in heat."

She sobered up. "Kathryn, her friendship, what is developing between the two of you; is worth it you know."

"Yes I know." Chakotay gave a small smile. He did know.

"When First Father created, his sense of humor was part of the creation process. Laugh at yourself when need be Chakotay, believe me it feels much better than if someone else is laughing at you.

With that she was gone and Chakotay opened his eyes.

When he fell asleep, it was with an amused look on his face.


She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek, but somehow he turned his head just an inch too far and she caught him on the mouth. She gasped.

"Chakotay, I didn't mean to, I'm sorry ..."

She gasped not because of what had happened, because of how it felt. He hadn't flinched, he hadn't blinked, nor had he taken his eyes off her.

"Don't be".

His intense gaze pierced her and something came out. He leaned over and firmly kissed her.

Kathryn was sure that she heard a crack, not unlike an electric charge de-ionizing air molecules around her. She didn't care, her entire being was being possessed by that kiss.

She pulled away, but not after a long time. In a ragged breadth she looked at him and everything fell into place, what she had been feeling, what she had been experiencing with him. It all made sense.

His eyes opened and he kept them locked on hers. She gave a slight shiver as she was again pierced. In a ragged voice she said softly.

"I want you."

His eyes twinkled as if he knew that this moment was inevitable and in expecting it, he was ready for it. A small smile tugged at his mouth.

"I know."

And with that he pulled her to him.

Kathryn woke up with a feeling of warmth spreading through her body. It came from between her legs. She lay on the bed for a minute still in a half dream and half-awake state enjoying it.

'It's been too damn long' she thought.

The computer broke the spell

"0600hrs, 0600hrs, 0600 hrs..."

Kathryn jumped up with a start.

"Computer, end wake up call"

'Oh my', her hands flew to her face to hide the blush which was forming, forgetting that no one was there to see her. 'I can't believe that I had that dream'. It had been a long time, however she thought that if she were going to have a wet dream, it would be about Mark, not Chakotay. 'Maybe this is sign that I've moved on from Mark' she mused. 'Or maybe it's just your body reacting to the fact that your are a sexual being who hasn't had that type of intimacy in long time.' She dragged herself out of bed. She had a long day of reports and department inspections ahead of her. She was also starting the day with breakfast ....with Chakotay.

'Well in that case', she thought 'I'd better increase the frequency of the sonic shower and get moving'

She hurried to get ready.

As she was about to enter the Messhall, Chakotay joined her. As was his custom, he put his hand on her shoulder blade to signal his greeting.

"Good morning Kathryn, sleep well?"

She felt it leave her immediately, and she realized that she was wet. Her body trembled, she moved instantaneously to break contact. She offered up a silent prayer of thanksgiving to the designer of the Starfleet uniform; it was more or less waterproof. Also being under two layers of clothing did much to hide the rest of her arousal.

"Are you all right Kathryn?"

"Yes, you just startled me that's all. Yes I slept well last night thank you. And you?"

"Yes I had a good night, thanks"

They walked to the messhall in silence. 'If it had been him, and he had that kind of reaction to my touch, I would have known it instantaneously and there would be a very awkward breakfast ahead.' In spite of her discomfort she grinned.

When they entered the Messhall, they say Kes, Tom, B'Elanna and Harry having breakfast together. She saw the solution to her problem for breakfast.

"Let's join them, Chakotay, it's been a long time since we've all have had a meal together."


They collected their breakfast and came up to the table.

Kes spoke first, "Captain, Commander, please join us,"

"Thank you Kes"

"Harry was just telling us of the latest practical joke that he played on Tom." B'Elanna said as Chakotay sat next to her and Kathryn sat across from him.

They had a pleasant breakfast. During the whole conversation, Kathryn couldn't help but look at Chakotay and once or twice when he caught her look and stared back, she began to have a reaction again. Her heart hammered in her chest, her knees felt weak and she knew that she was on borrowed time with her dry uniform. She tried to look away from him. She engaged herself in a conversation with B'Elanna, but her eyes kept drifting back to Chakotay. Finally, she figured that she'd had enough of it.

"Excuse me, I have to return to my quarters before going on the bridge." No use tempting Fate, she had to change.

The group took their cue from her and began gathering their trays. They all filed out passed Chakotay and Kathryn. He looked at her and said softly,

"I'll see you on the bridge". He made eye contact and after a little while and left to go to the bridge.

She felt the reaction occur within her again and gave a long sigh. It was going to be one of those days.

By the time, three hours had passed on the bridge, Kathryn was ready to start screaming. No matter how many logical arguments she attempted, no matter how many times she tried to avoid his looks, it made no difference. She was still reacting. She had caught herself once or twice meaning to touch him briefly and realizing that her hands had stayed on his body too long. She was not concentrating on what she was supposed to be doing.

She excused herself and went to her Ready Room and put all of her energies into the report she was supposed to be reading. Slowly her thoughts left Chakotay's body. But not for long. The door chime sounded.

"Come in"

Chakotay entered, she reacted physically and emotionally.

"Yes Commander what can I do for you?" she snapped.

Chakotay took her terse reply to signal that she had been interrupted her train of thought. He was used to that tone of voice in that situation, so he ignored it and got down to the reason for his visit.

"Captain, I think that I should take a shuttle with a crewmember and do a little scouting. There must be a shorter way through the Necrid expanse and we may be able to see things with a shuttle sensors that we can't see with Voyager's sensors because of all the interference."

She looked up at him. "That sounds like an excellent idea, Commander. I do think thought that we may want to upgrade the shuttle's Navigation to compensate...." They got to work and soon Kathryn was too involved with planning the mission than with his presence. They planned the rendezvous point for the shuttle for two days. They figured that it would give Chakotay and Ensign Kaplan enough time to do all the scouting they would need.

'And it also gives me time away from his presence, and in the state that I am in, that is a huge bonus', she thought as she watched him leave the ready room.

As soon as Chakotay left at 1200hrs, she noticed that her thoughts were less on him and she was returning to normal. Normal being obsessing over the ship and crew instead of her first officer's body. By the time she returned to her quarters after dinner, she was exhausted, doing what she normally did in a day and part of what Chakotay did in a day. She hardly gave a thought to the night before or the morning's occurrences. She'd been on duty for 12 hrs and when she finally retired, she was almost asleep before her head hit the pillow.

"I want you."

His eyes twinkled as if he knew that this moment was inevitable and in expecting it, he was ready for it. A small smile tugged at his mouth.

"I know."

And with that he pulled her to him.

He kissed her again and this time his hands began to wander all over her body. Kathryn's breadth was coming out in pants. He broke the kiss and still making contact with his manhood pressed against her, looked at her. She was shaking, but she wasn't cold. Her need exploded in her brain and her body was reacting to his touch. He pulled away from her and stood there looking into her eyes, watching, waiting, wanting...

She knew what she had to do.

Slowly she began. He did not move, the lust evident in his eyes as he watched her undress. Eventually she was naked. Still, he did not move because he knew that she wasn't finished.

She wasn't. She undressed him and a small sigh of longing and pleasure escape her lips as his manhood became free. She had been waiting for this for a long time.

He came to her then and led her to the bed. As they began to move together, somewhere in the back of her mind, she realized that their bodies had been doing what their minds and soul, had begun to do a year ago. With this act, the connection that had begun on New Earth was changed strengthened and deepened all at the same time. The final separation of their beings had been bridged. They were now one. They could never go back to the way things were. Not even if she wanted to. The thoughts racing through her mind matched their frenzied motion and suddenly Kathryn's whole world exploded.

Kathryn awoke with a low moan. This time however, she jumped suddenly off the bed as if it were on fire. She stood at the foot of it trying to get her breadth and her bearings. There was no one else on the bed.

'Well that's a relief', she thought trying to get herself back to normal. She saw something on the bed that made her pause. As she examined it closer, she realized what it was with a start. The realization mobilized her mind. 'I have to do something concrete about this'. Aloud she said.

"Computer what is the time?"


Great, now she was late for duty. She was surprised that Tuvok hadn't called her to the bridge. She dressed quickly and hailed the bridge.

"Tuvok here Captain, are you feeling rested now?"

So that's why he didn't call her, he thought that she need rest after the long shift that she pulled yesterday. He must have had the computer confirm her position and condition.

"Yes Tuvok, however there is something I need to take of before I get to the bridge. I will be there as soon as I can. Janeway out."

As she was about to leave the bedroom, she stopped short. 'I'm forgetting something' she thought. She looked at her bed and then remembered what it was. Stripping the sheets, she placed them into the recycler and replaced them with fresh ones. Satisfied she headed out of her quarters.

"Good morning Captain, what can I do for you?" Kes hurried to her side as soon as she entered sickbay.

"Is the doctor active?"

"I'm right here captain." The doctor called out from his office.

"Excuse me Kes"

She returned to what she had been doing before the captain entered sickbay. "May I have a word with you privately." The captain told the doctor as she reached his office.

"I'm all yours. Captain, what seems to be the trouble."

"Doctor I need you to run some medical scans on me to see if anything is wrong". The Doctor frowned and but did what she said. "Are you feeling ill Captain?"

"Yes and no. I don't feel injured or sick, but yet I don't fell normal, as if something is out of balance"

"Well this may explain something or two. There is an imbalance in the hypothalamus, specifically the part that controls the production of era-estrogen, the hormone that controls the production of vaginal discharges. Hmmm this is also strange."

"What is?"

"Captain did you have an *interesting* dream last night?"

"Yes, why?"

"Because there is a higher than normal residual amount of delta waves in your frontal cortex, the dream is still weighing heavily on your mind. Would you please describe you dream?"

No way in Hell!!!

"I'm sorry Doctor, but I fail to see what this has to do with anything"

The Doctor took it in stride, "May I assume then that it was erotic dream."

She sighed deeply. "Yes it was. Did the dream cause the hormonal imbalance?"

"No it was the other way around. If I were to guess, something has been in your subconscious and it just came into your unconscious when you were dreaming. That's what caused the imbalance".

"Are you saying that I want to be aroused?"


The doctor said it very calmly. She was anything but. He was preparing a hypospray.

"This will regulate your hypothalamus for the next two hours. However, if you are around the "object" of your desire then these symptoms will continue to occur for the next 24hrs."

Kathryn gave him a new edition of the "Death Stare". He wavered.

"I'm sorry Captain, I forgot that your fiancé is light years away from here. I didn't mean to be insensitive."

Kathryn's face soften, 'He thinks it's Mark that I have been dreaming about'

"I'm sorry Doctor, I'm just a little bit on edge."

"I understand Captain."

"Has anyone else come to you with the same symptoms? The dream I had wasn't only during last night. It also happened the night before last. What was really strange to me was that last night's dream occurred almost at the end of the one previously. It was if I was in the middle of a Holonovel and I suspended the program. Last night it was as if someone re-activated the program right at the point where I left off."

"That is very interesting Captain, and normally that doesn't occur with dreams. The only other time we have heard of something like that was with B'Elanna."

"But at that point we had a telepathic species on our ship, we don't have any now. Anyone else with a more recent experience."

"Actually yes captain, however, that person seemed to have a one time dream experience."


"I'm sorry, I can't say. But I can say that it didn't produce any side effects and that person has been back on duty and fully functional for months now."

"Doctor, if this ends up affecting the rest of the crew, the ship, I have a right to know."

"Yes Captain, you do. But until you bring me indisputable proof or until this crewman tells you for themselves, I cannot reveal anything more"

Sometimes Kathryn hated it when the Doctor was right, especially when it meant that her curiosity would go unsatisfied.

"Very well doctor. I'll go to the bridge and run extended scans. If I find anything, I'll call you and we'll see if there are any common denominators for my experience."

As she walked to the bridge, Kathryn felt foolish. She was comb the ship and the space around her because she had a wet dream. But still, 'Weird was part of the job' as she had told Ensign Kim a year ago. She couldn't over look the possibility that something else was going on. She would not have gone to sickbay this morning if it hadn't been for the way the dream began. It was the fact that it started at the same place that it had ended the previous night that unnerved her. It made it seem artificial somehow.

On the bridge, she ordered every conceivable scan run. Nothing had shown up. Kathryn did not discount the possibility that it was probably something in space causing her to react the way the was. She felt that this could be the case because their sensors still functioned in a limited way in the Necrid Expanse. So she ordered the scans run every two hours. It was still a quiet day on the bridge, so she busied herself with her duties. Nothing of interest was revealed by the scans. At the end of her shift, she ordered the sophisticated scans discontinued and they continued with the routine ones. She signaled the doctor and told him that everything was all right, with the ship and with herself. That part was true enough, but what he didn't know was that she couldn't be certain as her stimulus was not on the ship.

During her off duty time, she decided to prevent herself from having the dreams again by being exhausted by the time she was ready to go to bed. She did this by playing two games of velocity before dinner, having dinner in the messhall with Dalby, Henley, Golwatt and Ayala and getting into an interesting discussion about which period of music was Betazed's most beautiful. In her quarters she called up the reports which she had neglected to read because she had been busy analyzing the scans. Her eyes closed before she hit the pillow.

She looked at the orchid hybrid that Tuvok had grafted especially for her. It always gave her a good feeling tending to it. When she was doing so, it was as if it were symbolic as to the way she tended to their friendship. She heard the door open and close behind him. She caught his scent and smiled. She didn't turn around, she *knew* who it was. He came up behind her and put his arm around her waist.

"Hmm" he nuzzled her hair. She felt him hard against her and smiled 'He is insatiable' she thought, 'I like that in my husband'.

She giggled.

"Then you know what I desire?"

"Yes I do"

Then she turned around. He put his mouth on hers and every rational thought flew out of her head.

He took her, standing up against a wall. Swiftly and violently. She was glad that he had sensed that in her. It was exactly what she wanted. She matched his movements and increased speed, he kept up as she knew he would. Kathryn felt as if a fire had started in her womb and spread up and out. She heard him taking shorter breaths and knew that it was time. When the fire had consumed her body, she cried out loud and long.


Kathryn awoke with Chakotay's name on her lips and her voice hoarse. When she realized that she had another erotic dream despite all she had done to prevent it, she threw the pillow that she slept on across the bedroom. It knocked over a vase.

'Great', she thought, 'Now I'm going to have to clean that up'. She reached down, 'Well, at least I don't have to change sheets this time'

She decided not to tell the doctor about it because of the fact that the dream was a non sequitur. And since Chakotay was scheduled to be in the shuttlecraft for one more day, the stimulus was not there. She felt she could handle it.

'It's just a cycle' she told herself firmly as if telling herself that would make all the feelings and happens of the past two days go away.

They did go away, but not because of anything she did, but because of something that Voyager encountered out in space.

A deactivated Borg Cube.

She had known that the day when they would encounter and possibly engage the Borg from the time they had left the Sikari. Now that day was one step closer. Her whole being focused on the tasks that were at hand.

Kathryn had reacting to all the events that happened, from the time they encountered the disabled cube to the time that the New Co-Operative forced their will on Chakotay. She was the Captain and they were in a serious situation. Still when they got Chakotay, back and left the area of the planet with the New Co-Operative. Something pricket at her mind. Something about her behavior was bothering her.

The next 'normal day' after they departed the planet, she asked Chakotay to join her for breakfast, he declined saying that he had a lot of reports to catch up on. As she watching him go, the needling got worst.

'Maybe it's just the fact that I was on duty for 40 hrs in the past two days is catching up with me', she mused as she headed to the bridge. She was still behind a corner when she overheard two crewmen talking.

"I think she's jealous"

Kathryn stopped suddenly. She felt her heart rate accelerated and a growing rage inside her. 'How dare they judge! What did they know about the relationship that she and Chakotay had. What it was becoming and now this *ex-drone* show up and..........'

"Well you've always known that Carol was the jealous type, that's why I keep telling you......"

"Good Morning Captain, are you alright?" Rell and Hargrove hailed her.

She suddenly became aware of how she must look to them. Her face was like a thundercloud, her hands made fists in front of her body. She looked ready to strike, no wonder they thought something was wrong with her. She relaxed her body.

"Yes, I am. Thank you for asking." She moved passed them quickly and entered an empty turbolift. She leaned against the wall for a minute, composing herself. Slowly she tapped her commbadge.

"Janeway to Chakotay"

"Yes Captain."

"Please report to the bridge and take my position while I tend to something."

"Of course, Chakotay out."

The feelings were threatening to spin out of control. He didn't ask if something was wrong. She knew it was because he was still preoccupied by the things that occurred a day ago. And apparently, so was she.

Kathryn entered the holodeck and the gentle breeze off Lake George greeted her. As she made her way to the lakefront, she finally felt as if she was getting some control over her emotions. She wondered how this program could do this, considering the last time she had activated this particular scenario, she was with Chakotay.

It came to her as she made her way to the spot where they had talked after her "death/alien presence" experience. She sat down, lost in thought. It was here where she had shared her experience with him. The last time they were close as Kathryn and Chakotay. Here they had been intimate.

Kathryn had watched Chakotay and Riley talk and interact. She recognized the signs of him being intimate with some one else. When he admitted what the effects of the link had been, her suspicions were confirmed. He had been one with Riley in a way that he had never been with her. 'Like I had been in my dreams', she thought wistfully. This disturbed her so Kathryn shifted her thoughts.

She was jealous now, and she had been when he was with Riley. Kathryn recalled her actions in the briefing room when she was alone with Chakotay. 'I was prowling around him like a lioness trying to understand another woman's sent on my territory.' She gave a short laugh at that image. It was accurate, but funny.

It was a natural progression though. They had been drawing closer to each other. Not a day went by where they did not share something, some part of themselves with each other, professionally and personally. Within the last year, it seemed that they had put their natural discord aside and now operated in harmony. They seemed to be of one heart and of one mind. The only thing left, the only barrier that was left to cross was for them to become one body.

'Like he did with Riley'. And that was her bone of contention. She was the one who was here all the time, who did this Borg Bimbo think she was!!!

'And just who do you think you are?' The thought flashed through her head. She was right. She didn't own Chakotay, he was perfectly free to be with whom ever he wanted to be with. If she had wanted that kind of relationship with him, she should have made that clear while she had a chance.

But she didn't. She wrestled with her thoughts

'Why? Was it because of Mark?

No, I put the notion of him waiting for me away from my mind. In another six months, if we don't make it home, Voyager would be declared lost. If I had been the one waiting in the alpha quadrant, I would have begun to move on, just as I am sure he has done.

Were you afraid that it would change the command structure if you did?

No, if it hadn't changed during the times that we were growing closer together then it wouldn't now. Both of us have been careful in not compromising and circumventing the other's position. I wouldn't expect that kind of care and respect to change because we are sexually intimate with each other. However we would have a problem if we couldn't keep our hands off each other.

How is this different from what happens now?

Stop, I'm not going there.

Were you afraid of what the crew might think?

Yes and no. I think that some will have problems with it, and it make take sometime for some to get used to the idea, but I am the captain and that is one thing that will never change. It doesn't matter if they approve or disapprove. I command their loyalty, and I know them, they will give it to me.

Were you afraid that if you had to send him on a suicide mission that you couldn't do it?

If I can do it now, then I can do it then. If something happens to him now, I know that I would be devastated. Three years ago I didn't even know his name, now I can't imagine a day without him. I can't see how it would be different if we were to get involved. And you know I wouldn't hesitate to give the order. And you know him, he wouldn't let me shelter him for the good of the crew.

Then what is it?

I guess I always thought that we had time. I never thought that I would care that there would be someone else.

So now what Kathryn?

Our friendship is something that is one of the most important things in my life, so....'

That statement struck her.

It was as complicated or as simple as that.

She just had to choose.

She did.

Suddenly Tom Paris stepped in the Holodeck. He stopped short when he saw the captain sitting near a lake instead of the main cabin of a shuttlecraft.

"Oh, I'm sorry Captain, I'm scheduled for holodeck flight simulations, and I usually have the computer automatically start it as I enter at this time."

"It's OK Tom, I was just about to leave"

Her Comm badge chirped, "Chakotay to Janeway"

"Janeway here", a smile formed on her face. Her last thought before being interrupted by Tom had determined what was the most important thing to her. With that she was able to let go of most of her anger. She knew that her envy would fade in a couple of days.

"Captain, long range sensors have picked up a system of populated planets. We seem to be reaching the end of the Necrid Expanse"

Tom was doing a little jig of joy, he had been bored out of his mind at the helm for a month.

Kathryn forgot that her com line was open and burst out laughing.

"Captain did I say something funny"

"No Commander, I was just witnessing Lt. Paris performing what your people would consider a "Thank God we're out of the Necrid Expanse" jig

"Not likely. Tell Lt. 'Twinkle Toes' that his simulations and dancing will have to wait. He is needed at the Helm."

"I'm dancing down that way now Commander, I'll teach you it as soon as I get to the bridge."

"We're on our way Commander. Janeway out."

Kathryn had to stifle another laugh. She joined Paris on his way back to Bridge. Whatever happened she would trust in their friendship. No one or nothing would come between them as friends. All things that could be, began from there.

As she walked towards the bridge, she had no way of knowing, that six months later, two people would almost pull their friendship apart.

Each other.

Coda 1: Inner Fire or Part 6: A Formidable Woman