This is a continuation/addition to the gift I received for VAMB 2011 Secret Drabble Exchange. To follow it, you have to read When the Battle's Lost and Won by Shayenne. She did an amazingly dark and delicious Chakotay matched up against an equally worthy Kashyk. Her Janeway/Chakotay/Kashyk spoke to me and wouldn't shut up until Janeway was allowed to respond. Shay so graciously didn't mind me playing in her little world and let me do this.
Probably one of the tiniest fics I've ever done...and the one most exhaustively betaed. Thanks to Chesh for the initial read through and typo catching, Froot for being a bouncing board for that paragraph...she knows which one...Gates for the title sounding board, and especially Shayenne herself, who amazingly offered to beta this, which she did exhaustively. All mistakes remaining, edited back in afterward, are mine. Title adapted from the same play as Shayenne's title.
Ere the Rise of Sun
The doors hiss apart and a dark figure emerges.
Hidden in the shadowy alcove housing the Jeffries’ tube hatch, she watches Kashyk leave her first officer’s quarters.
So. Her neck cricks in the slightest of stiff nods. The cards reveal themselves, this late in the game.
She can recall Aunt Martha’s thoughts on that quite clearly, even almost four decades after last hearing them.
In the middle of the deathly-silent night, her jaw works subtly as Kashyk glances around, his smug gaze never lighting on her position. As she’d known it wouldn’t.
She notes the gloves, which hadn’t been in evidence when she’d left him in the guest quarters. In a last ditch effort, she’d casually informed him that he’d earned restricted roam along certain decks. And while Deck Three had naturally made its way onto that list, Chakotay’s deck had not been one of those unrestricted areas.
Her eyes burn as brightly as the unseen stars outside the ship as the Devore slinks around the corner and out of sight.
Confident in his superior stealth. And languid. So…fluid.
She could follow him now. She could overtake him, pull him aside and furiously demand an explanation.
She makes no move to do so.
The answer to why she hasn’t been backed into the wall of the guest quarters and fucked within an inch of her life becomes harshly crystal clear. It’s more than she’d even surmised.
The smallest of cold smiles twists her carefully-painted lips. Her most recent suspicions have proven correct. How…interesting.
Impressive. Truly, he’s given a masterful performance.
By default then, her own act over the years has been impeccable: flawless frigid captain. Her specialty. It probably helps that it’s mostly half an act. At any rate, Chakotay has swallowed it for years. More recently, he’s swallowed her simpering after the tantalizingly dangerous Inspector Kashyk – again, half an act.
They both buy that she’s naively lusting after him. Mooning like the lovesick puppy her sweet first officer so consummately plays. Appearing to work both like the professional manipulator she projects believing herself to be.
A lazy, half-competent one, to be precise.
She’ll admit however…she might have missed this.
That Kashyk has no desire to make love to her is no longer a surprise. That Chakotay doesn’t is a little bit of one…she’ll allow it.
She smolders with jarring, retrospective clarity, recalling the look on Chakotay’s face in her ready room two days ago. So circumspectly worried. So concerned.
Be careful, Kathryn.
Her cheek burns where his lips had lightly pressed there.
That Kashyk only wants what he cannot easily have has proven obvious. In the beginning, she gave him nothing. Icy indifference. Cold disdain. He’d pushed harder, grown more insistent, more explicit with every stubborn countermove played against him. She’d learned swiftly what the inspector was about. How to keep him at bay. And somewhere along the line…hadn’t realized the opposite would prove to be true, as well.
She unconsciously straightens, hand on her back for bracing support. That’s been her error. Perhaps she’d grown overconfident that he could be handled as easily as she’s deluded herself into thinking he could. Perhaps…
She still expected him to fuck her. Whether he was into it, got off or not: that wasn’t her main concern. For him to go to Chakotay however…means she missed the mark.
In more ways than one.
She’ll admit it. The evidence has been there all along, and she’s been too overconfident to see it. Misjudged both men.
Be careful, Kathryn.
Careful indeed. A warning she sometimes needs, though she rarely heeds it. A warning she would have been wise to heed years ago.
The question would seem to be: what to do about all of this now?
It’s an interesting conundrum.
Neither has the faintest interest in making love to her, no. Each would, if he felt it would advance his cause. There’s still that.
The scenario holds no appeal for her, either. Contrary to what both believe.
Fucking her, however, is something else entirely. Their respective definitions of the word notwithstanding.
They still think she’s exactly what they want her to be. Naïve. Too trusting. Too innocent in the worldly ways of big, strong men to play their games of power and physicality…raw lust. Degradation. Domination.
Now Chakotay’s had his apparent itch scratched. And scratched Kashyk’s while he was at it.
Neither will ever have this ship. Certainly not now. That either thinks he even stood a chance is downright adorable…
And irritating. Nothing irks her like plays for her ship: she takes it personally. More than personally. One has been more blatant in his intentions, his designs, yes. But the other is just as guilty in his own subtle way.
She burns with more than simple ire or even lust as her hand moves to her hip, the other arm resting with fingers flexing thoughtfully at her side.
Voyager’s lost nothing with Chakotay’s actions. On the one hand, she admires the Spartan simplicity of what he’s done: the beauty of his maneuvering. Kashyk, while not biting at her bait, will still be suitably distracted. Her immediate goal was no more thwarted by her first officer taking her projected place in this game. And ideally…she’d never have been the wiser. It was all so well played indeed.
Appreciating it on a professional level as she does is one thing. She’s still pissed. The hell. Off.
Most soothing, however, is the knowledge that their best cards have just been revealed, unbeknownst to either man. Neither has any interest in making love to her, no. Both have moderate enough interest in fucking her, though they’ve done their utmost to conceal how they’d like to do it. She’s not wrong about that much; it can be to her advantage in any number of ways.
Which is fortunate, considering how goddamned sexually frustrated she remains after days of this –in spite of the cold rage manifesting as a bitter chunk of ice in her gut right at this moment.
She takes a tension-shallow breath. Holds it. Silently steadying…
And then can’t help chuckling to herself on the exhale – not an easy, light sound by any means as she shakes her head at the motionless set of doors just a few meters down from her position. She could go to those doors now, press the cold chime. Push her way in, force her first officer to explain himself. Pretend she buys that he did it for her...so she wouldn't have to.
Her feet remain planted firmly on the deck.
It’ll be time to seal this misshapen deal soon enough. Neither will ever see the endgame for what it’s become on her part, making her personal victory that much more…gratifying.
Not quite yet though. She’ll wait a few hours. Let Kashyk’s ardor be restored. Let Chakotay’s, for that matter. Which of them she’ll visit…how she’ll play it…isn’t yet a certainty. Depends on how the evening goes. Her mood.
She smiles darkly, tingling with feral, even erotic anticipation which only builds as the seconds tick silently by in darkness.
The strongest cards are those you haven’t yet played, my girl. Remember that.
She always has.