Disclaimer:  Paramount owns them all.  I just don’t care.
 


Rated: NC 17

First Place in Beach Blanket Bingo
 

“This seems like the perfect spot.”

Kathryn dug her toes past the grainy hot surface layer to the cool dampness that was hidden from the heat of the sun.  She breathed in the spicy humid air as she watched the waves break against the shoreline. It was a truly beautiful location; maybe they could have a picnic here.  She sighed and shook her head.

“What’s wrong with it, Kathryn?”  Chakotay dropped the bundles of supplies he carried, and took a seat on the duffel bag.

“In a word—sand.”

“Yes, it’s a beach.  You wanted a beach and on beaches there is sand.”  Chakotay couldn’t quite believe they were having this conversation.

“No sand.”  Kathryn shook her head.

“I like sand …”

“No sand.”

“Why not?  I love the feel of sand between my toes.”  Chakotay kicked off his sandals and squished the warm grains between his toes.

“Toes?!”  Kathryn rolled her eyes.  “OK, I can deal with that but …” She shook her head again and laughed.

“Kathryn?”   Chakotay took a claming breath; she always found a way to test his patience.

He would never understand this woman.  She wasn’t exactly nature girl, yet she had insisted they spend their shore leave camping on this planet.  She wanted to be as near the ocean as possible and now she didn’t want sand.

“Just trust me on this one – there are places you do not want sand.”  Kathryn patted his arm and headed away from the beach to find a campsite.

Chakotay gathered up their equipment and followed Kathryn down the overgrown path that twisted away from the ocean.  After passing three locations that in Chakotay’s opinion were perfect camp sites, Kathryn finally decided on a suitable spot.

“This is it!”  Kathryn dropped the bag she carried and placed the food basket on a high rock.

“Can I ask why we had to carry all this?  Why didn’t we just transport it here?”  Chakotay put down his bundles and dropped to the ground exhausted.

“I had no idea where here was.” Standing in a shaft of bright sunlight that slipped through the cover of trees, Kathryn extended her arms and twirled herself around. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes.”  Even through his exhaustion and the growing heat he recognized the beauty and with a chuckle of surrender, he acknowledged the spot she picked was beautiful also.

Kathryn opened her eyes to find him watching her; it was struggled not to blush under his gaze. She turned away from him and began surveying the site.

“Why don’t you do put your tent over there.”  It wasn’t really a question as Kathryn pointed and Chakotay dutifully dragged the tent to the designated spot.

Chakotay made short work of the tent while Kathryn created a fire pit and secured the rest of their supplies.

“Finished?”  Kathryn stood looking over the tent, holding a picnic basket and a blanket.

“Yes, but…?”  Chakotay look at the rest of the site.  The food was stored the fire pit was ready and she had stacked up some kindling wood; something was missing.

“I thought we would have a picnic lunch on the beach.”  Kathryn handed him the blanket and started back toward the shore.

“OK, but don’t you want to put your tent up first?  I’ll help and that way….”

“I didn’t bring one.”  Kathryn didn’t let him finish or give him time to question her; she started down the path.

Chakotay shook his head and followed.  It wasn’t as if they had never slept in the same small quarters before, but usually given the choice she preferred the privacy of her own space even on shore leave.  When would he stop trying to figure this woman out?

They came to the end of the path Kathryn stopped and closed her eyes; her face turned up toward the sun as she breathed deeply of the moist salty air.  This was the Kathryn no one else ever got to see, relaxed and appreciative of the simple things. He didn’t see enough of her himself.  Kathryn opened her eyes and smiled, there was a gentleness in her eyes and a hint of something he didn’t even dare to speculate on.

“Why don’t you spread the blanket over here, we should be far enough away if the tide rises.”

Chakotay spread out the blanket and Kathryn set the picnic basked on the corner.

“Shall we take a swim before lunch?”  Kathryn dropped her shorts to the sand and began to open the fasteners on her blouse.

“Sure, it’s too hot for all this hiking you have me doing.” Chakotay kicked off his sandals and dropped his shirt on the corner of the blanket.  “Especially, since I do most of the heavy work!” He turned to look at her.

Kathryn dropped her shirt on the blanket and stretched up clipping her hair to the top of her head. Chakotay had expected to see the modest one-piece bathing suit she always wore on the holodeck.  He was stunned to see the large expanse of creamy white skin covered only in the tiniest strategically placed strips of black cloth.   His eyes fell to the sand and slowly traveled back up toward hers.  There was a devilish sparkle in those blue eyes and a crooked smile on her face.

“Shall we swim?”  She turned away and started for the water.

Chakotay’s mouth dropped open.  There wasn’t much to the front of the suit but there was virtually nothing to the back of it.  Well, there were strings, which he assumed, held the front in place, but they did nothing at all to cover her.

“Coming?”  Kathryn called over her shoulder.

“Er- Yeah..”  Chakotay swallowed hard hoping the water was cold, very cold.

Kathryn waded into the water.  Being a bath kind of girl, it was a little colder then she hoped it would be but it was nice.  Chakotay splashed past her quickly diving under the waves.

To Chakotay’s relief the water was cold, maybe it would help squelch his body’s very ardent reaction to seeing Kathryn in that suit.  He swam out deeper only turning back when he felt he was back in control of his body.   When he reached her, Kathryn was still only in the water to just below her waist.

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted to swim, aren’t you going to get wet?”  Chakotay send a wave of water in her direction.

“In time.”  Kathryn rose up on her toes and extended her hands into the water in front of her as if she would be able to stop the cold water that washed against her belly.  “Ahhh, a little colder than I expected.”

“If you wore some clothes…”  Chakotay raised an eyebrow and sent a large wave her way.

“Oh?  You don’t care for my bathing suit?”  Kathryn smirked shivering as the wave splashed across her chest.

“So, that’s what it’s supposed to be.” As the cold water trickled down her chest, Chakotay watched her nipples pucker beneath the light material.  “Yep, I like it just fine.”  He suddenly dove beneath the surface grabbing her legs and pulling her under her.

“Hey!”  Kathryn spurted as she came to the surface.  “What the hell was that?!”

“You looked like you needed to cool off.”  Chakotay pushed the wet strands of hair away from her face.

“Me?”  Kathryn laughed. “I’m freezing.”  She pushed him away and dove into the waves.  “Come on, let’s swim.”

After their swim, Chakotay began preparing lunch.  Kathryn grabbed his towel and wrapped it about herself as she used her own to dry hair.

“I thought one of them was mine?”  He teased secretly relieved she now wore a towel over that suit.

“It is.”  She wrapped the towel around her head and peeled off the other one.  “Here it’s hardly even wet.”

“Thanks.”  Chakotay mumbled as he tried to concentrate on opening the containers.

Kathryn sat down, taking a bite of a sandwich and fumbling through the basket.  Finally, she pulled her hand out triumphantly with a tube of sunscreen and began to apply it liberally to the exposed skin on the front of her body.

“Please tell me you took a hypospray to prevent burning.”  Chakotay draped is towel across his lap as he watched her hands smooth over the porcelain white of her body.

“Oh, I did, but the doctor always makes me use this anyway. ‘With skin this delicate you can never be too careful’ he tells me over and over.’”

Kathryn finished applying the lotion and rolled over on her stomach.  Another quick bit of her sandwich and she raised her head to look at him.  Chakotay took a deep breath.  The suit did little to cover her when she was standing, in this position it hid nothing at all.

“Chakotay?” She held out the tube. “Hey, would you put some of this on me?”

“Sure.”  He reached blindly for the tube unable to tear his eyes away from her nearly completely exposed breasts.

“Chakotay, the lotion?” She prodded, as she innocently took another bit of her sandwich.

“Yeah.”  He moved around behind her; the view was just as nice here.

Chakotay grinned; two could play at this game.  He slowly dribbled the cool lotion down her back; she shuddered. Gradually, Chakotay spread the lotion across her shoulders and down her arms.  He could feel the change in her breathing as he slipped his fingertips under the string that crossed her back, spreading the smooth lotion across her back and letting his fingers trail gently along the sides of her breasts. He moved lower applying it to her back and down each leg, feeling her melting under his hands. Suddenly, he stopped and moved back to his lunch. Kathryn stifled a groan.

“You left a substantial area exposed.”  She wiggled her butt as she smiled innocently. “You wouldn’t want me to have to explain to the Doctor that I burned because my First Officer was derelict in his duty to protect his captain.”

“I thought perhaps you would prefer to do that yourself.”  Chakotay smiled and passed her the lotion.

“No, I think it would be much more effective if you did it for me.”  She handed it back.

“OK.” Chakotay took a long swig of water and a bit of his sandwich, then move next to her again.

This time he warmed the lotion in his hands before letting them glide smoothly over the silky pale skin of her rounded bottom. Kathryn tried to calmly continue her lunch but as his fingertips ran along the sides of the string that passed between her cheeks a moan escaped.  Chakotay continued kneading her cheeks smiling at the small arch of her back and the slight parting of her legs.  Resisting the temptation to bend down and bite her, he smacked her butt and went back to his lunch.

God he loved this crazy woman and he was definitely enjoying this new attitude today, but he was also worried.  He didn’t want to over step the rules of this game, unfortunately he didn’t have a clue what they were.

“What are you up to?” He broke the silence of the last few minutes and passed her the water.

“Me?” She smiled at him, took a drink and began playing with her sandwich.

“Yes, you.  First no tent, then that suit, and then the sunscreen-- what are you trying to do to me?”

“You’re the one who thinks I’m up to something.” She picked a grape off his plate and popped it into her mouth, rolling her tongue around it as she continued.  “What do you think I’m doing?”

“I think—."  He leaned in close to her.  “-you’re trying to seduce me.”

“Really?”  She laughed and pushed a grape into his mouth.

“Yes, really.”

“Umm, is it working?”

“You never even needed to try.”

“Good, then maybe we should finish lunch and head back to the camp site.”

Just as Chakotay leaned forward to kiss her, Kathryn rolled over and sat up.

“We should not, however, waste this lovely lunch.”

“Of course not.”  He righted him self and picked up his discarded sandwich.

“What’s that?”  Kathryn’s attention was drawn to the crunching noised coming from the grassy area.

“Don’t know.”  Chakotay grabbed the tricorder from the basket and scanned the area.  “People- human… ---crew headed this way.”

“Great.”  Kathryn grabbed the closest thing, which happened to be his shirt and slipped it on over her suit. “Our ever faithful crew.”

“Tom and B’Elanna.”  Chakotay announced as he stood to see over the hill.

“Hi, there.”  B’Elanna waved as she came toward them.  “We didn’t know you were down here.”

“Just a few days of fresh air.”  Kathryn buttoned the shirt.

“Nice spread.”  Tom eyed the overflowing basket.

“Yes, we were just finishing up; getting ready to head back to the campsite.”  Chakotay started closing containers. “You guys staying around a while?”

“We were planning on hiking over the mountain tomorrow, but the beach is so beautiful.” B’Elanna looked out over the water.

“Maybe we should stay here tonight.”  Tom stood next to B’Elanna surveying the seascape.

“We could.  I love beaches.” B’Elanna dragged her foot through the sand.

“Yes, me too, but there are places you just don’t want sand.”  Kathryn commented.

B’Elanna’s head snapped up and she studied Kathryn’s face.

“Yes, I know what you mean.”  B’Elanna smiled and nodded at Kathryn.  “Tom, we better go and find a site so we can set up camp before dark.”

“We could just go with them.”  Tom laughed.  “Their site is already set up.”

“We need our own place to camp.”

“It would be so much easier to just use theirs.  We are only going to break camp in the morning and move on anyway.”

“Tom, I think I would rather be alone –.”  B’Elanna smiled and shrugged. “No offense guys”

“None taken.” Kathryn returned the smile. “Why don’t you sit and have a bite of lunch first.”

“Thanks, but...” B’Elanna looked from one to the other quickly to be sure she had understood correctly. Kathryn’s eyes and Chakotay’s awkward stance told her all she needed to know.  “I think we should get moving.”

“B’E, I’m hungry.”

“Here.”  B’Elanna snatched up a sandwich and handed it to Tom as she gently pushed him forward.  “Eat this while you walk.  Thanks, guys.  See you in a few days.”

“But, B’E, Harry and Celes are coming we won’t be alone anyway.” Tom continued to grumble as B’Elanna shoved him forward.

“Just keep moving, Tom.”

They finished packing up their food.  Chakotay shook out the blanket and Kathryn grabbed an end to help him fold it.

“Is it a code?” Chakotay took the edges of the blanket from her.

“What?”

“The sand thing- B’Ella seem to understand whatever you told her.”

“Oh that.  Guess it’s just not a guy thing.”  Kathryn unfastened the shirt she wore and placed it on the basket.

“So it’s some secret code only women know?”  He laughed as she shook her head and rolled her eyes.

“No.  It’s exactly what I said—there are some places you definitely don’t want sand.” She took the towel off her head and started toward the water.

“I thought we were going back to camp.” The urgency of going back to camp came flooding back as he watched her cross the beach toward the water.

“We are.”  She glanced back and laughed.  “I just want to wash off the sunscreen first.”

Chakotay watched her wade into the water and shiver as she quickly washed away the lotion.  All too quickly the show was over.  Kathryn came back up the beach, wrapped the towel around her; picked up the basket and wandered back toward camp; Chakotay followed.  While Chakotay put the food away, Kathryn went into the tent to get out of her wet suit.

“Chakotay?” Kathryn called after a few minutes.

“Yes?”

“Could you come in here?”

“Trouble untying the knots?”  He chuckled and he entered the tent.

Kathryn was still wearing the towel but the black string that held up the top of the suit was missing.  She was struggling with their sleeping bags.

“I thought I would put these together.  It’s warm here in the daytime but the days are short and the nights are much colder.”  Kathryn kept her eyes on her work.

“Do you need help?” He teased.

“No.  I just wanted to make sure that it was all right with you.”

“We’ve shared a sleeping bag before.  It is the best way to keep warm.”

“I know that but it isn’t necessary for survival this time.”

“So you’re saying you want to sleep with me?”

“Yes.”  Kathryn went back to work on the sleeping bags.  “Not that I didn’t want to before, just that this time we have a choice.”

“Kathryn, what’s wrong? Having second thoughts?”  Chakotay sat on the floor of the tent.

“No.”  Kathryn shook her head and came to sit in front of him.  “It’s just that I’ve been sort of teasing you with this all day.” She took his hands in hers.

“No second thoughts, so what’s bothering you?

“I just wanted to be sure you were OK with this; half of this decision is yours.  If we move forward now, there is no going back.”

“Are you going to turn into some evil dominating shrew?”

“No more than usual.”

“Good, I can deal with that.”  He bent and gently kissed her lips. “Kathryn, I’ve always been ready to go forward.  I don’t have any doubts about this, but if you still do then we’ll wait.”

“I’ve never doubted that this was right, I’ve never doubted you.  The problem has always been me.  Me and the damned protocols I‘ve hidden behind.  I was always afraid that I would lose myself in you and then I couldn’t be the captain I need to be.”

“And now?”

“Now, I finally realize that can’t happen.  You would never let that happen.”

Kathryn got quiet, looking down studying the contrast as she entwined her pale fingers with the darker ones she held.  Chakotay watched her wondering what images played out in her head.

“Kathryn.”  She looked up a crooked smile crossing her face.  “Why don’t I prepare the fire for later while you get dressed, then we can go for a walk.”

Kathryn shook her head.

“OK, we don’t have to walk, we can do something else.  What would you like to do?”

Kathryn’s smile deepened, her blue eyes twinkled mischievously. She threaded her fingers through his hair, moving forward to softly press their lips together. Her lips were warm and gentle on his, slowly increasing in pressure with his eager response.  His hands traveled over the roughness of the towel up her back to caress the soft skin of her exposed shoulders.  Kathryn responded to his touch with a sigh, her own hands busily taking inventory of ever part of him within her reach.  Slowly, they studied every contour; curve and dimple, learning new textures, guided in their tour by the sounds of pleasure each emitted.

Chakotay fought the overwhelming urge to let the long years of denial seize control.  He longed to express his love before giving in to his desire.  Kathryn pushed his limits, her lips parted, their tongues danced together, and soft moans came from deep within their throats.  Kathryn’s hand spread fire across his aching body with their incessant explorations; his control was slipping but Kathryn’s nearly gone. Her mouth worked feverishly over his, her one hand reaching between them to all but ripping the towel from her body as she pressed herself against him.

Kathryn was desperate in her need to touch him, to feel his skin against her own.  She tore the barrier away pressing her breasts against the warm smoothness of his chest. Her hands struggled with his shorts, fighting to reach the hard throbbing need that pressed against her belly, his hand was beside hers, the material gave way and he gasped as her fingers finally encircled him. There were sounds, passionate, desperate noises, panting, moaning, hers, his, she wasn’t sure.  His mouth covered her nipple, his fingers caressed slick surface of her inner lips; Kathryn was lost, falling, soaring, she cried out clinging to him for support.

Kathryn had given herself over to the sensation; Chakotay reveled in her every sound as she writhed beneath his touch.  She mumbled incoherently, clinging to him as he eased them down to the floor.  It was a difficult position, lying on their sides but Kathryn was too far-gone to care. With strength born of desperation, Kathryn threw her leg over his hip and reached between them to draw him to her.  Chakotay slowly penetrated her tight, slick heat, desperate to hold back against onslaught of sensation as she closed tightly around him.  The uncontrollable movement of her hips, her throaty pleas as she begged him for more nearly drove him over, but the position was awkward hampering their movement.

Kathryn was frantic, incoherently pleading as she bucked against him; she struggled to match him as he increased the pace.  Chakotay rolled her backwards moving over her and taking complete control their joining. He supported himself on his hands, arching above her writhing body, pounding into her, faster and harder, trickles of sweat dripping onto her face.

“Chakotay…”  Kathryn gasped, pushing at his shoulders.  “Chakotay, stop.”

Lost in a haze, it took seconds for her almost desperate words to reach his consciousness.  Reluctantly, he forced himself to still.  He raised his head, concerned, confused, watching her fearfully, as he eased his weight off her.

“Rock...”  She pushed him back moving so that he slipped from her as she scooted side wards. “right in the middle of my back.”

Kathryn reached for him, pulling him back to her taking his mouth hungrily, as he once again cradled himself between her thighs. The momentary lapse was quickly forgotten, as she wrapped her legs around him drawing him deeper.  His hips moved, hers responded and soon he was thrusting into to her harder, faster, their voices blending as they cried out their building pleasure.  Her inner muscles clenched tightly around him, his hips jerked frenziedly as spasm after spasm gripped and released him, crying out as in unison as their private universe shattered into a thousand crystalline pieces. He collapsed; their sweat slick bodies fused together, his full weight pinning her down.

“Chakotay.”  After a few minutes, she squirmed beneath him and he rolled to his back.

 “Kathryn can I ask you a question?”  He drew her close to his side.

“Ummm.”  She already sounded relaxed and sleepy.

“It probably silly but why here?”

“What?”

“I mean that we could be on Voyager, or maybe shore leave on some advanced planet, a fancy hotel, a big comfortable bed, bubble baths, and champagne…Instead we are here on the ground with rocks poking us –well you- in the back.  I’m not complaining I’m just curious.  Why did you choose here?”

“It’s simple, actually.”  Her warm words were spoken into his chest. “Bubble baths, champagne, fluffy pillows are all wonderful and you know how I love them all…”

“But?”

“But, this is so very you.  You are always taking care of me, doing things the way I would want them.  I just wanted this to be a little more like you.”

“Thank you.” Chakotay chuckled and kissed the head snuggled against his chest.  “I love you, too.”

~~~^^^~~~~

When they woke it was already dark, Chakotay thought he smelled fire but they assumed Tom and B’Elanna had camped near by.  Dressing quickly in the cool night air, they headed out to start their own campfire.

Kathryn was the first one out of the tent, stopping short at the sight of other people around the fire.

“You’re not B’Elanna.”  Harry looked up unsure if he should be surprised or frightened, as they started at one another.

“She sure isn’t.”  Chakotay laughed as he stepped around the frozen Kathryn and exited the tent.

“Not last time I checked.” Kathryn recovered herself.  “Been here long?”

“I think this should answer that question.”  Chakotay gestured toward the second tent erected on the other side of site and the coffee pot on the camp fire.

“Well, then, I hope that’s coffee.”  Kathryn sat down and smiled at the speechless Harry.

“Sure is, Captain.” Celes poured a cup and passed it over.

“I’m sorry, Captain.  We were supposed to meet B’Elanna and Tom down here...”  Harry seemed to get flustered ever time he looked her way so he looked into the fire and the words came out in a rush.  “We didn’t know you were down here and there was only one tent and well we didn’t want to disturber them-er- you cause well –you know- and so we went for a swim and when we came back it was quiet and …”

“I see.”  Kathryn avoided Chakotay’s grin and instead focused on Celes, who merely smiled and shrugged.

“We’ll move..”  Harry stood up and started toward his tent.

“No, Harry, it’s dark.  Stay the night anyway, you are going up the mountain tomorrow aren’t you.”

“Yes, but I think we better go.”

Kathryn raised an eyebrow and looked up at Chakotay.  He shook his head and smiled.

“Harry, there’s no point in you two stumbling around in the dark when your tent is already set up here. Why don’t you and I get some more firewood and we can cook some dinner?”

Both Harry and Celes jerked their head around to stare at Chakotay.

“OK, I’ll cook some dinner.”  Chakotay circled around the other tent.  Harry shook his head but he followed Chakotay into the wooded area.

“He’ll get over it, Captain.”  Celes rolled her eyes.  “He’s not as shy and naive as he used to be.”

“I suppose he will have to.”  Kathryn laughed. “Unless you two are planning on make this planet your home.”

“I’ll let you in on a secret, Captain.  I love Harry and this is OK for shoreleave but I’m not much of a nature girl.  I like the conveniences of Voyager.”  Celes laughed.  “He was fine when he thought it was B’E and Tom, it’s just…”

“Yes, he didn’t expect that from me.”

“Guess he kind sees you like his mother – don’t take that wrong- but well, when he heard…” Celes stopped her eyes growing wide as she studied the Captain’s face hoping she hadn’t said too much.

“Oh? And what did he hear?”  Kathryn glared, then her look softened.  “Not exactly mind you, but was there a, umm, a lot to hear?”

“We didn’t stay long and we still thought you were B’Elanna, so it wasn’t like it was clear or anything, but…” She shrugged “It was kind of loud and well, it didn’t really leave any doubt as to what you were doing.”

“I see.”  Kathryn smiled and sighed.

“Captain, it’s none of my business and you should know we won’t say anything to anyone, but…” Celes stopped to consider her next words.

“Go on, but what?”

“Well, it’s just that- you have a right to be happy, too.”

Their conversation was ended by the return of the men.  Chakotay piled his wood to the side while Harry set about stoking the fire.

“I’ll handle the fire, you handle dinner.”  Harry smiled but still didn’t look directly at the Captain.

Chakotay made quick work of warm up some pasta dishes he had prepared on Voyager and Kathryn produced a salad from her seemingly magical basket of food.  Dinner was quiet at first with Celes doing most of that talking but eventually everyone relaxed.

“What the hell is this?”  Tom’s voice came out of the darkness, startling them and causing Harry to dump his plate on the ground.

“Nice.  Good thing I was finished, Paris.  What the hell do you mean sneaking up on people?”

“We were looking for you guys.  We thought you got eaten by a bear or something.”

“There are bears?!”  Celes gave Harry a threatening look.

“Don’t listen to him, there are no bears.”  Harry assured her then returned his attention to Tom.  “And we thought you guys wanted to be alone.”

“We were expecting you—They wanted to be alone.”  Tom pointed at Kathryn and Chakotay who sat quietly observing the exchange.

“Thanks, Tom.”  B’Elanna smacked him.

“They were alone and so damn loud that we thought it was you two!” Harry flinched at the poke in his side. “What?”

“Nice going, stupid.”  Celes rolled her eyes.

“Excuse me.” The sound of the Captain’s voice caused an immediate halt to the conversation.  Both couples stopped and stared open mouthed.  “Sorry to interrupt this most stimulating conversation but I need a cup of coffee.”  Kathryn walked between them and reached for the coffee pot.  “If you would like something to eat please help yourselves.”  She gestured to toward the food and returned to her seat beside Chakotay.  “As you were.”  She waved her hand at them.

After an uncomfortable silence B’Elanna shoved a plate at Tom and sat next to the fire.

“Eat that.  Maybe it will keep your stupid mouth busy.”  She glared at Tom’s open mouth and he decided to put food in it rather than speak again.  “Damn, it gets cold at night.”

“Yes, it happens quickly once he sun goes down.”  Kathryn made an effort to keep the conversation going.

“I hope you have lots of warm stuff with you, B’Elanna.  I know how you hate the cold.”  Celes contributed awkwardly.

“I’ll get more firewood.”  Harry ducked away from the light of the fire and the conversation.

“As much as I hate to miss this tantalizing conversation, I’ll clean up these dishes, if you put the food away.”   Chakotay nodded at Kathryn and gathered up the discarded plates.

“OK.”

“And I’ll make fresh coffee.  That should warm us up.”  Celes prepared the coffeepot.

“You finished?” B’Elanna grabbed Tom’s plate and followed Chakotay without waiting for an answer.

“Is she OK?”  B’Elanna questioned Chakotay as brought him Tom’s dish.

“Yes, she’s fine.”

“I hope so.  As creepy as Harry feels right now and as stupid as Tom is, I know they would both die if they thought this would cause her to pull back again.”

“She won’t B’Elanna, tell Harry and Tom not to worry.”

“You’re awfully sure of your self.  Are you that good? Maybe I should have tried you out myself.”  B’Elanna stood back and looked him over.

“Yes, Yes, and I don’t think so.”  Chakotay laughed and move out of her reach.  “Seriously B’Ella, when Kathryn decides on a course of action she follows through.  She’s fine.”

“Well, I know the Captain does and you know Kathryn a whole lot better than I do, so I just hope you are right.”

“Are you two going to spend all night cleaning up a few dishes?”  Kathryn came toward them easily slipping her arms around his waist as she spoke.  “I’m cold over there and…”  She twisted around to see B’Elanna. “ – no offence B’Elanna – Tom just isn’t my type.”

“Can’t say I blame you, Captain, sometimes I wonder myself.”

“The other two snuggled down by the fire as soon as we got the food stored.”  Kathryn glanced back toward the fire and shook her head.

“Captain, we could help them move.  With four of us it wouldn’t take long and…”

“Thank you B’Elanna, but I’m fine and Harry’s young he’ll survive.  One night of sharing a campsite shouldn’t kill us.”  Kathryn gave Chakotay a tug.  “Come on, I want a cup of that coffee and a good night’s sleep.”

“I could use the coffee, but I don’t think I want to be here when one of you suggests going to bed.”  “B’Elanna rolled her eyes and led the way back to camp.

One cup of coffee and B’Elanna dragged Tom off to their own campsite, smiling widely as they said their good nights.   The two remaining couples talked over a second cup. Kathryn cleaned the pot; Harry tended the fire.

“Ummm, OK we have to be up early.”  Harry poked at the fire. “So we’re going to bed-er.”  Harry looked up and shrugged.

“Yes, that a good idea.”  Kathryn looked at Chakotay choosing her words carefully at his grin.  “We should head off too.”

“Good, umm, good night then.”  Harry took one last poke at the fire and started toward the tent.

“Good night.”

“We’ll, try to keep in down in the morning, so we don’t wake you, good night.”  Celes ducked into the tent in front of Harry.

 “Thank you.”  Kathryn turned to follow Chakotay  “Good night.”

“I really could use a few good hours sleep before that hike so, Captain…”  Harry waited for her to turn back to face him.  “If you could keep the B’Elanna imitation down to a dull roar I would appreciate it.”  He ducked into the tent.

A stunned Kathryn stumbled into a smirking Chakotay.

“Maybe Harry will get over this.”  She laughed and a shushing sound assaulted them from the other side of the campsite.
 
 

The End

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