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Summary: Kathryn and Chakotay discuss things over dinner.


Something Is Missing

Kathryn and Chakotay were enjoying a nice, quiet dinner together, the first they'd shared in a long time. Far too long, Chakotay felt, secretly wishing for more communication between them. And there *should* have been more communication, since their last dinner had been over a month ago. But alas, they ate in complete silence.

Still, he couldn't help but notice that she was continuously stealing glances in his direction, and to that end, he was pleased. At least he could still grab her attention from time to time. Like he really had room to talk...constantly watching her watching him. It was almost...unnerving. When Kathryn released an almost inaudible sigh, Chakotay decided that enough was enough.

"Alright, Kathryn. Out with it! What's bothering you?" he demanded, throwing his napkin on the table.

Her eyes widened like a little kid who had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She sat up straight in her chair, finally making eye contact with the man seated across from her. Chakotay almost regretted startling her to this point, until he saw the look on her face. The devilish, yet innocent look she had given him so many times before when she was up to something.

"Why, what do you mean?" she asked as timidly as possible.

"Don't pretend you don't know," he snorted, resting his arms on the table. "You've barely said two words to me all night, yet you keep looking at me as if you want to ask me something. It's obvious that you've got something on your mind."

"I'm sorry, Chakotay," she began, fumbling for an answer. This one wouldn't be so easy to get out of, Kathryn thought as she feebly attempted to collect her thoughts. Chakotay had learned to read her very well over the last six years, and he definitely could tell when she was lying to him. Maybe she should just try telling him the truth for once.

"Sorry for what?" he asked, confusion etched across his brow.

"My mind has been wandering all evening," she replied quietly, feeling herself blushing as a sheepish grin continued to tug at her lips. "I've been thinking about...New Earth."

This was a surprise. Chakotay blinked several times in amazement. What could possibly have turned her thoughts back there? He hadn't thought of New Earth since...since...oh, who was he kidding? He thought about it everyday. He dreamed about it every night. He visited it occasionally on the holodeck. But in his case, that was understandable. Those were three of the happiest months of his life. Finally, he believed that he had found a place where he would love to spend the rest of his days.

But Kathryn? All she could focus on was finding a cure and getting out of there as soon as possible. Failing to see the beauty surrounding her, and ignoring the great opportunity for them to explore a new aspect in their fragile relationship. Besides, that was four years ago. So why was she thinking about it now? Chakotay paused for a few moments, trying to decide whether or not to fish for more information.

"What about it?" he finally asked, curiosity winning out.

Kathryn continued to gaze at him, still smiling. "Little things...things that over the years I've come to miss terribly."

Another surprise. Now Chakotay wasn't sure how to respond. Was she referring, it couldn't be...or could it?

"Don't tell me you miss the monkey," he quipped, flashing her a grin. Fortunately, she returned it.

"No, this has nothing to do with the monkey," she responded, crossing her arms. "But it does have a lot to do with you."

Earlier, he had been longing for more communication, but this was more than he could have hoped for...and he certainly liked what he was hearing. Perhaps questioning her silence had been a good idea after all.

"Oh? And exactly what *do* you miss...about me?"

Kathryn lay her napkin on the table and rose slowly, never losing eye contact with him. She moved around the table towards him, placing her hands on his shoulders and pushing him back against his chair. Chakotay offered no resistance.

She then nestled herself into his lap, reaching up to thread her fingers delicately through his hair. Chakotay couldn't believe what was happening. This was beginning to seem like one of his many dreams about Kathryn. Without hesitation, he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, making certain that she couldn't get away...if in fact he *were* dreaming.

Kathryn continued to tease his hair, then gently she moved her hands down to his cheeks, caressing them with her fingers. She lifted his chin, pulling his lips very close to hers.

"Do you *really* want to know what I miss about you, Chakotay?" she whispered seductively.

Chakotay felt his heart racing. He was certain she could feel it, too, as it pounded heavily against his chest. Swallowing the lump that had crept up into his throat, he began to nod.

"Um-mmm...I most certainly *do*, Kathryn."

Their lips were now only a whisper apart. Kathryn began to grin wickedly.

"I miss the gray," she said, bursting into a fit of giggles.

Chakotay groaned in misery as Kathryn wriggled out of his grasp. Why did hair always have to become an issue? Originally, he had colored it for her, in the hopes that it would make him more appealing. So much for *that* idea!

"That's not very nice," he replied, pouting out his lips slightly. He tried to appear hurt by the comment, but his dimples kept giving him away. Still, he couldn't help but laugh along with her. At least now, he had an answer.

"I'm sorry...but you *did* ask."

He eyed her suspiciously for a moment. "Yes, I guess I did," he finally responded, rising from his chair. "...but now, you realize that it's *my* turn to comment on what's missing from New Earth."

An intriguing idea, she thought, wondering if he was plotting some sort of revenge. What else could he be doing? The possibilities were tempting.

"Ok, Commander. What's fair is fair."

Almost before she got out the last word, his arms were around her waist, lips devouring hers as he pulled her into a tender, yet powerful kiss. She hesitated at first, stunned by his swift action, but it was only a moment before her resolve was broken, and she found herself fully responding to him. She had wanted something like this for so long, but never allowed herself the pleasure. Partly due to Starfleet protocol, but mostly because she knew that once something started between them, she would never be able to go back.

Chakotay was surprised when he felt Kathryn's arms moving delicately up his spine, caressing him with the passion he knew she harbored deep inside. With great hesitation, he backed away, seeking out her desirous gaze.

"I...I..." she stammered, searching for the right words as she attempted to recover her senses. "I don't remember *that* from New Earth."

"I know," he smiled, tracing his fingers softly over her lips. "That's what was missing!"

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