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Disclaimer: Yes...they belong to Paramount. No...I'm not making any profit from this. But I'm having a damn good time writing it!

Summary: Takes place immediately after the "Angry Warrior" legend during "Resolutions". Chakotay has expressed his true feelings. What will Kathryn do with this information?

 

To Never Know

They sat together for a long time, hands clasped across the table. Staring into each other's eyes. Gazing upon each other's souls. Unsure of what else to say...if there was anything to say.

Kathryn felt the tears welling up in her eyes. She had been unprepared for this. Up until now, she was certain that there was only one man for her. Now, she wasn't so sure. For nearly two years, her one goal had been to get her crew back home to their loved ones. More importantly, to get herself back into Mark's arms. Suddenly, that didn't seem to be so important to her anymore. Kathryn felt that her goal had changed...that maybe she had found her home here on New Earth with another man. The one sitting directly across from her.

Chakotay looked back at her with tears in his own eyes. In his heart, he felt that a great weight had been lifted. He had finally told Kathryn his innermost feelings. Maybe those feelings had a lot to do with their situation. It would be easy to blame the fact that they were the only beings on this planet, other than their pet monkey. But Chakotay felt like it was something more. There had been a spark between them since he first set foot on her ship almost two years ago. A feeling he just couldn't deny. Now Kathryn knew.

Still no words passed between them. Finally, Kathryn broke eye contact with him, gently tugging her hand from his and standing up. Chakotay felt his world crumbling down. The last thing he had intended was to alienate the one human being he was destined to live out his life with on this deserted planet. Yet, it seemed now that he had succeeded in doing just that. Chakotay wished he could just disappear.

"Kathryn, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," he whispered, lowering his head. How would he ever be able to face her again?

She glanced back at him quickly. Her tears were slowly making a trail down her blushing cheeks. Quietly she began to move around the table in his direction. Only when she stopped beside him did Chakotay lift his gaze. Blue eyes locked with dark brown. He noticed that the look on her face had changed. At first, it had understandably been a look of disbelief and shock. Now, to Chakotay, Kathryn looked somewhat...relieved. As if to confirm his suspicions, she offered him a soft smile.

Kathryn reached out her hand, which he took reluctantly. She tugged lightly, and Chakotay rose to stand in front of her, towering over her slender form. Maintaining her grasp on his hand, she rested it on her chest just over her pounding heart. She covered it with both of her own.

"Do you feel that, Chakotay?" she whispered, her smile growing. "Can you feel my heartbeat?"

Chakotay slowly nodded his head, feeling his own heartbeat fluttering at simply being able to touch her. "Yes, I can feel it, Kathryn."

"It beats for you."

Chakotay's eyes widened at her remark, but before he could respond, she had released his hand and placed hers on his chest. Timidly she began to slide them up to his shoulders. As she clutched his shirt and began to pull him closer, Chakotay rested his hands on her hips. This had been more than he could ever have dreamed, and if it was only a dream, it was one from which he never hoped to awaken.

Their lips met, sending sparks of passion through their bodies. Gently their mouths moved together, in time with the rhythm of their hearts. Kathryn withdrew for a moment, her breath blowing ragged across his face. Before she could move away any more, Chakotay locked his arms around her waist. He attempted to deepen the kiss, probing the softness of her lips with his tongue. Offering no struggle, Kathryn eagerly parted her lips, allowing their first innocent kiss to transform into something much more passionate.

Suddenly, doubts flooded Kathryn's mind. This was not what she had intended. Things were moving too rapidly. These thoughts caused her to quickly back away, glancing up to catch his confused gaze. When she saw the love and desire flickering there, her doubts quickly diminished.

They had waited long enough.

She reached up again and caressed his cheek. He promptly grabbed her wrist and started placing delicate kisses into her palm, slowly working up to her fingertips. Kathryn noticed the tears slipping down his cheeks.

"What's wrong? Why are you crying?" she whispered, brushing them aside.

Chakotay smiled. "Nothing...nothing at all. I just can't believe this is really happening."

"Believe it, Chakotay. I want to be with you. I want to make love with you...if you want to make love with me."

He lowered his head, unsure of what he had just heard. "There is nothing I could want more in this universe than to make love with you, Kathryn, but I can't help but think that I somehow provoked this," he said, willing himself to look into her eyes again. "Are you *sure* this is what *you* want?"

She slipped her arms around his waist, and began to unfasten his belt. Gazing into his eyes, she tossed it to the floor.

"I'm sure."

The sunlight peeked through the window and directly into the corner of Chakotay's eye, stirring him from his deep slumber. He attempted to roll over, but was blocked by the warm body snuggled tightly against his side. Kathryn's arm rested softly across his stomach, preventing her from falling off of the small bed they shared. He chuckled, remembering how they had gotten into this position, and he gently stroked her auburn hair, carelessly draped across her shoulders.

"If I didn't see it, I most certainly wouldn't believe it," he muttered, resting his head back against his pillow. Chakotay threw his arm over his eyes to block out the invading sunbeams and allowed himself to drift off to sleep, lulled by the slow gentle breaths whispering over his chest.

He was awakened sometime later by Kathryn's kisses against his neck...sensual, wet kisses that were awakening his body all over.

"Good morning," she purred, brushing her fingers lightly across his lips.

"Good morning, yourself," he answered, running his hands into her hair. "Did you sleep well?"

Kathryn moved up to kiss his lips. "Best I've slept in years. Must be the new teddy bear I've acquired," she laughed, trailing her kisses down his chin and onto his neck again. "But this wasn't exactly what I meant last night when I said we needed to...define parameters."

Her kisses continued onto his chest, and Chakotay moaned with pleasure at the sensations rushing through his body, wondering how much longer she would continue this torture before she allowed him to return the favor. "It's not? Well, I hope you're not displeased with our...oooh...resolution," he said, sharply drawing in a breath when she began teasing his nipple with her tongue.

Kathryn stopped momentarily, grinning as she looked back up at him. "Not at all. In fact, I think we should define some more parameters, if you're willing...and able."

"Mmm...sounds good to me," he answered, pulling her close to give her another passionate kiss. "When would you like to start?"

She sat up, leaving his embrace. "Right now. I'm going to take a nice, long, hot bubble bath...and I want *you* to join me."

Chakotay sighed, reaching up to brush the stray wisps of hair from her face. "Under one condition."

Kathryn crinkled her brow in confusion. "What...condition?"

"Let me wash your hair."

She began to laugh, but quickly stopped when she noticed that he wasn't laughing. "You're kidding, right?"

He shook his head, a warm smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Call it the fulfillment of one of my many fantasies."

Kathryn lifted one of her eyebrows. "Oh? And just what else have you fantasized about?"

Chakotay sat up beside her and quietly whispered into her ear. She gasped, then quickly began to giggle. "Oooh...we'll have to try that one out later!"

Over the next few weeks, Kathryn and Chakotay were inseparable. Walking hand in hand down to the river for midnight swims, bathed only in the moonlight. Chasing each other playfully through the peaceful woods, remembering games from their childhood. Lazy afternoons spent lying on the cool grass, waiting patiently for the evening stars to appear in the sky above. Chakotay felt that he had found his own personal heaven. And he hoped that Kathryn felt the same.

On the morning they received the transmission from Tuvok, Chakotay was showing Kathryn his plans for a boat which he was designing. A means for them to explore the river further. He heard the static sound of the comm badge, hoping that it was only his imagination. As Kathryn began communicating with her security officer on board Voyager, he felt his heart sink.

Kathryn ended the communication and placed the badge on the table. She found it very hard to look up into Chakotay's eyes. When she did, all she discovered was pain and despair. She reached out to touch his arm, but he turned and swiftly stormed out of the shelter. Kathryn covered her mouth as the silent tears fell.

An hour later, Kathryn began to get concerned as Chakotay had not returned. She set out to find him, not having to search very far. He was seated next to the tree where he had built her a swing. His back was against the trunk, arms resting on his bent knees as he twisted blades of grass between his fingers.

He could feel her nearby, but he never looked around at her. She asked if it was alright if she was there, to which he nodded, plucking another blade of grass from the nearly bare patch of ground in front of him. Kathryn settled into the swing and slowly started to move back and forth, her feet barely touching the ground.

Several minutes passed before he finally spoke.

"I know...what you're going to say...and I'm not going to argue. I'm just finding it difficult to accept."

Kathryn nodded in agreement, feeling the tears stinging her eyes. "I know. I feel the same way, but I don't know what else to do. I'm so damned confused..."

Chakotay grasped her hand, helping her down from the swing so she could join him on the ground. He caressed her cheek, gently wiping away the tears that were staining it.

"There's nothing you *can* do about it. It's just something we'll have to deal with. I'm just not so sure...that I can."

The worry washed over her features. "You're not actually considering...staying, are you?"

He offered her a smile. "The thought did cross my mind. I even thought about asking you to stay with me. But I realized that would be selfish. They came back because they want us there...both of us. How else could they have convinced Tuvok to disobey your direct orders?"

He held her in his embrace, softly stroking her hair as she cried into his shoulder. It pained him to see her so distraught, but it also made him feel wonderful, to know that she would miss the closeness they had come to discover here on New Earth.

"I'm sorry it has to be this way. I truly am," she responded, voice thick with emotion.

Chakotay lifted her chin and brushed a soft kiss across her lips. "Kathryn, I'd rather have had these last few weeks of total bliss...that to have lived a lifetime of never knowing what it would be like...to hold you in my arms. To never know...how wonderful it would feel to kiss you."

Kathryn smiled, sensing some of the pain in her heart diminishing. It still hurt to know that she would never know again the feeling of waking up next to him, or the warmth of his arms cradling her in the night. That alone would make it very difficult to forget.

Chakotay quickly stood, pulling her up with him, interrupting her thoughts.

"Let's go pack, Captain. Your crew awaits."

He turned to walk inside, but she grabbed his arm.

"No...not yet. We still have one more night before we have to return...one more night as just Kathryn and Chakotay. Let's make the most of it."

Before he could protest, Kathryn threw her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. Giving in, Chakotay lifted her into his arms and carried her into the shelter.

There would be plenty of time to pack later.

[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
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