The Perfect Year

By Diane


Disclaimer: Paramount owns the ship and these characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

A big thanks go to Shayenne for beta reading and for all her suggestions.

Feedback would be very much appreciated.


Alpha shift was drawing to a close when Commander Chakotay looked at the chronometer on his PADD, thankful that his shift was almost over. Glancing once more at the astrometrics report he had attempted to read for the past couple of hours, he realised he had barely taken any of it in. Knowing the reason for this, he rubbed his chin and smiled, acutely aware of the empty chair to his right.

Lost in thought, Chakotay barely registered the voice of Harry Kim coming from the OPS station behind him.

"Commander, the transporter diagnostic has been completed. All systems are fully operational."

Turning in his chair, Chakotay replied, "Okay Harry, all reports should be completed by 1700 hours tomorrow."

"Aye Sir."

Rising, Chakotay moved to leave the command level just as Tuvok arrived on the bridge to take the next duty shift. He spent several minutes relaying the events of alpha shift, which thankfully, had proven to be fairly quiet.

"Well Tuvok, the bridge is yours," Chakotay finished as he headed for the turbolift.

After the doors closed behind him and he called out his destination, Chakotay couldn't help but grin as he remembered the reason why the Captain had decided to take the day off. He had been surprised by her decision, but had had no intention of trying to change her mind.

Soon the doors of the turbolift opened, and stepping out, Chakotay began the short walk to sickbay, his final duty for the day before he could head back to his quarters. Just his luck, he thought, to be in command when the Doctor was about to make one of his increasingly regular requests.

Passing an intersection, he only just avoided a collision with Tom Paris, apparantly in a great rush to be somewhere.

"Oh sorry Chakotay, I'm running late. I was supposed to report to sickbay five minutes ago," Tom gasped.

"Why are you late?" Chakotay queeried.

Tom hesitated before flipantly saying, "Unfortunately, Tuvok insisted on reciting several pages of starfleet regulations on something or other .Then I had to rush to get changed and......well.... I'm sure you get the idea."

"What did you do this time Tom?" Chakotay asked, though not quite sure if he wanted to know.

"Me? Nothing, I did absolutely nothing," Tom replied, trying to sound innocent, but in no way succeeding.

Chakotay decided to let it drop, as in his opinion, Tuvok reciting starfleet regulations was probably enough punishment for the young helmsman.

"By the way," Tom continued in an attempt to change the subject, "I have a new holoprogram I think the crew might be interested in. B'Elanna has been helping me, it should be ready in a couple of days. "

"What's it this time Tom? I'm not really in the mood for bungee jumping off the highest bridge of the 21st century."

"Aww, come on Chakotay, that was fun. You should have tried it."

"Sorry Tom, but that's just not my idea of fun," Chakotay said, a little anxious about what Tom and B'Elanna had planned this time.

"Okay, but you have to admit, you enjoyed the programme I made of the Arista Festival," Tom countered, referring to an exciting but beautiful event they had encountered some time ago on an alien world, which Tom had then amazingly re-created.

Chakotay chuckled, but became more serious as every detail of that night, and what happened afterwards, flooded his thoughts as though it were yesterday.

As they made their way towards sickbay, all Chakotay seemed able to concentrate on was the memory of that night with Kathryn.

*****

"What did you think of the programme Chakotay?" Kathryn asked him, as they stood inside holodeck one, the last to leave.

"I loved it. Tom really outdid himself this time," he replied, as he keyed in the instructions for the computer to end the programme. The planet they stood on disappeared and the yellow and grey grids of the holodeck took it's place instead. As they stood beside the archway, a silence descended, both suddenly a little unsure of what to do next.

It had been a couple of weeks since they had finally taken the time to confront the changing nature of their relationship. The struggles they had recently encountered had helped them grow closer, knowing they could depend on one another, talk to each other, trust one another and still be the Captain and First Officer. Chakotay had found it increasingly difficult to ignore the attration between them and to hide the feelings he had tried to suppress for so many years. And to his astonishment and delight, Kathryn had finally confessed that she felt the same.

Chakotay could sense the charge in the air, he had sensed it growing in intensity for the past couple of days, and he was sure he hadn't mistaken the silent communication that had passed between them all night.

He felt his heart rate quicken as he made up his mind and closed the gap between them. Pulling her tightly to his body, Chakotay wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her passionately. In the back of his mind, it registered that Kathryn was in no way hesitant, he could feel her hands moving over his body, trying to touch everywhere at once.

Gasping and breaking of the kiss with some difficulty, Chakotay stood back slightly and placed his hands on each side of her face. Bending down, he touched his lips to hers, gentler this time, and suggsted that they move to his quarters. Nodding her agreement, they broke apart and left the holodeck.

They moved in complete silence towards his quarters, almost at a stroll, savouring every moment of the seduction. The only contact they had was the occassional bumping of hands or shoulders and stolen glances to assure them of what was about to happen.

They soon reached the doors of his quarters, and Chakotay quickly keyed in his over-ride. "After you," he whispered, guiding her through the doors into his living quarters and following close behind.

As soon as the doors closed behind him, he slid his right arm around her waist, as his left hand caressed her left cheek and slowly moved to draw her hair away from her face. Chakotay inhaled the scent of her hair, closed his eyes and leaned down to place soft kisses on her shoulder. He smiled as she let out a soft sigh and ever so slightly tilted her head to allow him better access.

His mouth started to wander, kissing her neck, gradually moving up to her ear, and as he turned her body in his arms, moved to kiss her fully on the lips. A low groan escaped Chakotay as Kathryn moved as close as humanly possible, raking her hands through his hair, and using her lips and tongue to create the most wonderful sensations he had ever experienced.

Backing her into his sleeping quarters, Chakotay returned the sentiment, and at the same time began to move his hands further down her body, gripping the hem of her top to slowly slide it upwards. Touching and carressing each other everywhere, they dropped to the bed, their time as lovers just beginning.

*****

As Chakotay's mind re-lived the events of that night, he gradually became aware of another voice breaking into his thoughts.

"What about you Commander?" Looking for the source of the voice he saw that Harry had joined himself and Tom, and realised that they were both waiting for an answer to a question he hadn't heard.

"I'm sorry Harry, what was that?" Chakotay asked, trying to cover, but from the questioning glances Tom and Harry threw one another, he hadn't succeeded.

"Will you be going to the recital tomorrow night?" Harry repeated, referring to the upcoming musical night that had become very popular on board Voyager.

"Of course, will you be playing?"

Smiling Harry said, "Yes, I'm performing a new piece with Ensign Powers. This will be our second duet together."

"I'm looking forward to it Harry," Chakotay answered absentmindedly, only half listening as Tom and Harry carried on speaking.

"Getting pretty friendly with her aren't you Harry?" Tom teased.

"We're just friends Tom......." But Chakotay became distracted again, this time recalling one of the recitals he had attended earlier in the year.

*****

Chakotay took a deep breath as he rang the doorchime of Kathryn's quarters. With his hands behind his back, and rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, he realised Kathryn would immediatley pick up on his unusual behaviour. *Calm down Chakotay,* he told himself * she's probably nervous enough as it is.*

Reminding himself he should calm down for Kathryn's sake, he took another deep breath and smiled as the doors to her quarters whooshed open. This time his breath seemed to catch though, as he saw her standing in the open doorway. It had been a long time since she had taken the opportunity to dress out of uniform, and he decided, she was most certainly out of uniform.

She wore the most beautiful blue dress Chakotay had ever seen, fitted with thin straps at the top, flaring from her waist and reaching down to skim the ground. Her hair was drawn up with small, delicate flowers entwined thoughout, allowing stray whisps to frame each side of her face and trail down her neck.

"You look beautiful Kathryn," Chakotay complimented, after he had moved through the open doors and allowed them to close behind him.

"Thank you Chakotay," she replied as she kissed him on the cheek.

Just as she was about to move away, Chakotay reached out and placed his hands on each of her arms. He hesitated slightly then said, "Are you sure Kathryn? We don't have to do this if you're not ready. We have plenty of time."

"You're right, we don't have to do this.... but I want to."

Chakotay couldn't stop the smile that broke onto his face, or the groan that escaped when Kathryn wrapped her arms around his neck, moved as near as she could, and kissed him deeply. It was slow and sensual and he savoured every second of it.

Pulling away suddenly Kathryn grinned and said, "Shall we go Commander?" extremely aware of the effect she had on her first officer, "We don't want to keep everyone waiting."

Chakotay's dimples appeared as he held his hand out towards her. She grasped it firmly, and hand in hand, they left her quarters together.

As they neared the messhall, Chakotay could sense her growing confidence, surprising, because whenever he had imagined this moment, he always thought he would have been reassuring her. He gripped her hand tighter as they greeted crewmembers who couldn't hide their surprise at seeing the Captain and Commander walking through the corridors of Voyager hand in hand.

Once again, he felt an overpowering surge of happiness, and smiled to himself as he realised that that had been happening on a regular basis since he and Kathryn had become so much closer. So without the slightest hesitation on either side, Kathryn and Chakotay arrived at the messhall, confident that the evening would be a success.

As the doors opened on their approach, they stopped in the doorway, causing them to remain open. The lights of the messhall had been dimmed, the only other light created by the passing stars and the candle stands which formed a semi-circle around the musicians. The crew sat in rows facing the windows, their reflections and those of the candles creating strange images in the darkened room, but turned as soon as the sound of the doors alerted them to the late arrivals.

As Kathryn and Chakotay stood there, the light from the corridor shone into the messhall, silhouetting them as they stood side by side. And to Chakotay's delight, Kathryn withdrew her hand from his, wrapped it around his waist, and hugged him tightly to her, before reaching up to draw his face to hers to kiss him tenderly on the lips.

Immediately the room fell silent, the soft hum of conversation ceased, as all eyes focussed on the command team, the meaning of such an action becoming clear. The Captain and Commander were officially a couple.

Soon, the room errupted into a cacophony of noise, people clapping and cheering as congratulations were showered on the new couple. Musicians who had been tuning their instruments left them abandoned by their chairs, the recital momentarily forgotten.

*****

A slap on the back jolted Chakotay back to the present, and he soon realised that they had reached the doors of sickbay. Still a little disorientated, he could only nod as Harry waved goodbye and follow Tom through the now open doors.

As the Doctor briefed Tom on his duties, Chakotay used the time to draw himself together, to try and put those memories of Kathryn to the back of his mind. For the moment at least. Shaking himself, he then mangaged to greet the Doctor curtiously, hoping that this wouldn't take too long.

"Ah....Commander, I see you finally managed to grace sickbay with your presence afterall," he said sarcastically, all the while urging Chakotay into his office.

"I've been very busy Doctor, what can I do for you?" Chakotay asked impatiently.

"Humph. Well, I wanted to run an idea by you Commander," the Doctor began, soon too engrossed to remain annoyed with Chakotay.

With difficulty, Chakotay managed to suppress a sigh as the Doctor launched into a one-sided conversation about his idea for another slide show.

Finally, before the Doctor could go any further, Chakotay interrupted, "Doctor, do you really think it's wise to have another show so soon. You wouldn't want the crew to take them for granted, would you?"

The Doctor appeared to think this through before saying, "Hmm, you could be right, but I really think it would be educational for the crew to learn about these viruses, to be familiar with the symptoms and see the consequences if they're not careful on away missions."

As the Doctor continued his speech about the importance of a medically aware crew, Chakotay couldn't help but be reminded of the last virus that had infected the crew.

*****

"I'm afraid all infected crewmembers will have to be confined to sickbay or their quarters Commander," the Doctor informed Chakotay.

"What about the Captain, will she be okay?" Chakotay asked, leaning over Kathryn's prone body.

"You got her here in plenty of time Commander," the Doctor said, hearing the worry in his voice. "With plenty of rest she will make a full recovery within a couple of days."

Chakotay nodded in acknowledgment. He realised he was still in shock from finding Kathryn's unconscious body next to him when he had woken that morning.

"I'll release the Captain to her quarters as long as she is kept under constant supervision for the next two days. I trust you will be taking on the role as nurse?"

Chakotay smiled as he reached to wipe a damp lock of hair from her face, but winced when he felt the temperature of her body.

"Yes, I'll be looking after the Captain. As long as Tuvok remains well, he'll be in command for the next couple of days. Report directly to him."

"Aye Sir," the Doctor replied, watching as the Commander easily lifted the Captain's still form and left sickbay.

*****

The beeping of a console reminded Chakotay of his whereabouts, but unfortunately the Doctor was still annimatadely discussing the pro's and con's of the slide show.

Moving to half sit on the desk, Chakotay hoped he would never have to see Kathryn in the pain she had been then. The virus had, among other things, caused severe cramps and a dangerously high temperature. He had spent two days constantly bathing her, reassuring her and holding her while she slept.

But when she had recovered completely as the Doctor had predicted, he swore he would never take another minute of their time together for granted.

A sudden uncontrollable desire to see Kathryn flooded Chakotay, and standing to face the Doctor, he quickly apologised and promised to report to sickbay first thing in the moring.

Racing from the room, he left an astonished Doctor standing with his mouth agape, half way through a sentence. Mumbling to himself, he decided it was time for an impromptu medical for all senior staff.

*****

Keying in the code to their quarters, Chakotay entered and looked around.

The room was aglow with the soft light of candles spread throughout the cabin, and the strains of his favourite music could be heard playing in the background. Sensing someone watching him, he turned around to see Kathryn standing in the doorway of the bedroom.

As he walked towards her he said, "I see you put your day off to good use."

"I did, I have the whole night planned. I wanted to make sure our one year anniversary as a couple was something to remember," Kathryn said, taking Chakotay's arms and wrapping them round her back.

"Oh believe me Kathryn, it will be. I promise you it will be."

She smiled and reached up to kiss him, but pulled back at the last minute. "To the past year Chakotay, and the many more to come."

"Yes, to the past year, it's been perfect. Happy anniversary sweetheart."

As Chakotay leaned in to kiss her, he thanked the gods for this perfect year with Kathryn. Every event, every obstacle had brought them closer together and he intended to make sure that the next year was as perfect as the last.


The End


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