All the Devils are Here
Summary: Shortly after the events of Investigations, the command team are struggling to trust each other again. Then people start getting sick, and Janeway begins to wonder if there's something more sinister going on.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, EMH, Torres, Paris, Nechayev, OC
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for the J/C Cutthroat Fiction comp, Round 3. My prompt was to base the story on the starship quarantine code. Story is set immediately after ‘Investigations’.
The Doctor stares intently at the tricorder in his hand, pursing his lips as he waves the scanner wand meticulously from my head to my toes. I wait with growing impatience until at last he looks up, nodding in satisfaction.
“I detect no remaining trace of the pathogen. You’re free to go, Captain.”
“Finally,” I mutter, sliding off the biobed and straightening my jacket. Tuvok appears at my side and I smile at him. “Come to escort me back to my bridge, Lieutenant?”
“Not so fast,” the Doctor says quickly. “Everyone who has just recovered from the Fina virus has been placed on restricted duty shifts, and you are no exception, Captain. I’d like to see you daily for check-ups for the next week, and –”
His words dribble into silence as I fix my glare on him.
“And be sure you get a good night’s sleep,” he finishes bravely, then scurries away.
I roll my eyes and move quickly toward the exit, Tuvok keeping pace. “Deck one,” I order the turbolift.
We take the auxiliary entrance to my ready room and I move immediately to the replicator for my standing order, eagerly snatching up the cup when it materialises. Hot, strong coffee – I sigh in pleasure at the scent, and then the taste – heady and bitter and dark, just as I like it.
It’s good to be back to normal.
Handing Tuvok his spice tea, I wave him to the seat opposite at my desk and settle in. “Well, Lieutenant?” I ask him expectantly. “Clearly you found the cure in a matter of days, yet Starfleet Medical researched it for months without success. How did you manage it?”
Tuvok inclines his head. “In fact, Captain, you found it. Rather, you obtained the vaccine formula from Dr Navesh, which Lieutenant Torres and I uncovered in the classified Starfleet database. The Doctor engineered the cure from that formula. He has also inoculated the few remaining Starfleet crew who tested negative for the virus. I assure you, there is no danger of this situation occurring again.” He pauses. “With regard to your suspicion that Commander Chakotay was responsible for releasing the virus, I must reassure you on that score –”
The ready room chime interrupts him, and I hold up a finger and call, “Enter.”
Tom Paris shuffles into the room, head hanging and shoulders slumped. “Uh, Captain, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I was hoping to have a moment of your time.”
I glance at Tuvok. “Lieutenant, would you mind –”
“It’s okay,” Paris interjects. “He already knows what I need to tell you.”
“Very well.” I fold my hands in my lap. “Go ahead, Mr Paris.”
Tom straightens to attention, hands firmly behind his back, his gaze fixed on a point some distance above my head. “It was my fault, Captain.”
I wait a beat, but he stays silent, chewing his lip. “I’m not following you, Tom. What was your fault?”
“The virus, ma’am. I’m the one who brought it on board.” He’s doing a good job at keeping his voice neutral, but I can see the Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat as he swallows. “It’s my fault Josh Rand is dead.”
I can feel my eyebrows raising. “Considering you are standing here in uniform and not incarcerated in the brig, Lieutenant, I can only assume you weren’t willingly responsible.”
“No, ma’am. But –”
Tuvok breaks in smoothly, “Lieutenant Paris was indeed the unwilling carrier of the pathogen. However, he has neglected to mention that he was also unaware of it. As a member of the Maquis, however briefly, Mr Paris was inoculated against Fina, and as a result some of the dormant virus remained in his system. He was subjected to genetic manipulation while on board the Kazon vessel, which reactivated the pathogen and rendered it infectious to any human who did not already carry the antibodies.”
“Seska,” I whisper, leaning back in my chair. The shock of it makes my head go light. “She turned Tom into her very own Typhoid Mary.”
“Indeed.” Tuvok addresses Tom, whose eyes still show guilt and distress. “You are in no way culpable for Lieutenant Rand’s death, Mr Paris, nor for the spread of the illness.”
I get slowly to my feet, and Paris’ gaze drifts to meet mine. “He’s right, Tom,” I emphasise. “This is not your fault. Do you understand me?”
His jaw relaxes gradually, and he nods. “I understand, Captain. Thank you.”
“Dismissed,” I order him gently, and he scurries back to the bridge.
I sink back into my chair, rubbing my temple. “Seska,” I utter in a tone of contempt and disbelief, shooting a glance at Tuvok. “Will we ever be rid of that woman?”
“Seska was also responsible for the existence of a data file containing fabricated evidence against you,” Tuvok continues solemnly.
“The file B'Elanna mentioned,” I remember. “She said Chakotay had it. How did he get it?”
“It’s my understanding that Seska gave it to him during the first few weeks of our journey. However, he did not access it until quite recently.”
Frowning, I think about your recent coldness, your distrust of me ever since I kept you out of the loop on Tom’s fake defection. Did I anger you so much that you finally decided to find further evidence of my deceitfulness?
“B'Elanna said the file painted me as an assassin,” I tell Tuvok abruptly. “What else was in it?”
“I am not privy to the full data. I recommend you examine it with Commander Chakotay.”
“I will,” I murmur.
He rises. “If there’s nothing else, Captain?”
“No. Thank you, Tuvok.”
“Then may I suggest you follow medical advice and retire to your quarters?”
I’m not tired – not in the least – and I feel a thousand times better than I have for days. But I have reports to catch up on, and so much to think about.
“For once, I’m not going to argue with you, Tuvok.” I smile up at him. “If you need me I’ll be in my quarters. Dismissed.”
Tuvok nods, then pauses a moment. “Commander Chakotay has taken the morning off to rest, at my insistence. However, I expect he has had sufficient sleep by now, should you wish to … examine anything.”
I raise an eyebrow at him, and without further comment he exits.
The chronometer tells me it’s almost 1300 hours, and my stomach rumbles on cue. I can’t remember the last time I ate, and I’d kill for a decent meal, but the thought of braving Neelix’s daily special makes me cringe. I think about comfort food, and the abortive meal you and I shared several nights ago, and I have an acute craving to put that right.
Suddenly energised, I stride out of the auxiliary door and head for my quarters, tapping my combadge on the way. “Janeway to Chakotay.”
“Go ahead, Captain.” Your voice is rich and warm and filled with everything you can’t say aloud on a public line, like I’m at your service, and I’m glad to hear your voice. It makes my smile widen and my step quicken.
“I was wondering if you have time to join me for lunch in my quarters. You have quite a bit to catch me up on, after all.”
There’s the briefest hesitation, then, “I’ll be right there, Captain. Chakotay out.”
It’s been days since I was last in my quarters. I tap in my access code, expecting to enter into sterile air and a sense of temporal suspension. Instead, I’m greeted by a divine scent. I follow it to the small dining table, where a tall vase contains three slender-stemmed, pink-and-yellow roses.
A smile breaks over my face as I lift one to my nose.
The door chimes, and I carry the rose with me to answer it, and then you are there, standing in the corridor, your hair combed back and still damp from the shower and your face clean-shaven. Your eyes are still tired and heavy, and I want nothing more than to soothe your fatigue away.
The knowledge of what I feel for you – ever fresh, yet underlying everything I do and think and am – sends a thrill along my spine. Usually, it’s accompanied by a sweet, sad promise: someday. But not today.
Today, I’ve made up my mind.
You shuffle your feet, and I realise abruptly that I’ve been standing here, staring silently at you for several seconds longer than convention dictates. I flush, fiddling with the stem of the rose, and notice your gaze drop to my hands. A smile ghosts at the corners of your mouth.
“The roses are from you,” I realise, “aren’t they?”
You nod, the smile deepening a fraction.
“Thank you,” my voice is breathier and softer than usual.
We stare at each other a moment longer before I come to my senses.
“Sorry – please, come in.” I step back.
But you remain on the other side of the doorway. “I can’t,” you confess. “Not until you’ve … You need to see … I have to give you this.”
I realise your hand is held out to me, a data chip in your upturned palm.
“It’s my personal logs from the past few days,” you explain in a rush. “I want you to watch them. I need you to know everything. What I was thinking, why I behaved as I did … how I felt…” You stop on an indrawn breath, reaching for my free hand and placing the chip in my palm. “Watch them, and if you still want to have dinner with me tonight, I’ll be waiting for you at 1900 hours.”
You hold your fingers curled around mine for a moment longer, then give a decisive nod and stride away.
Slowly, I make my way inside to sit at my computer, plugging in the data chip.
“Computer,” I order, “play logs.”
I press your chime at precisely 1900 hours.
You open the door yourself, your eyes wide as though you’re startled to see me. You’re still in your turtleneck and uniform pants and your hair is mussed, evidently from running your hands through it. I, on the other hand, am wearing a cotton dress and flat-soled shoes, and my hair is caught loosely with a clip.
We’ve been hiding from each other for too long – ducking and weaving and keeping each other guessing – and from this point forward I want no misinterpretations.
I smile at you, and you visibly relax and step back to allow me entry. It’s presumptuous, but I can see you’ve already opened a bottle of wine, and God knows I could use the liquid courage, so I pour each of us a glass and walk back to you, still standing in the middle of the room.
“I wasn’t sure you’d come,” you admit, after we’ve each sipped and put down our glasses.
“It seems you weren’t sure which version of me you’d be getting, either – the captain or Kathryn.” I gesture at your half-donned uniform. “So let me be clear, Chakotay. I’ve watched your logs. I heard everything you said. And the only thing that matters to me is that despite all the many reasons you had to doubt me, in the end you trust me,” my voice wavers as I draw in a breath, “and you love me.”
I feel you go still, every muscle tensed, and I know that I hold you in the palm of my hand. You’ve laid everything on the line for me, now and always, and this is the time to accept it once and for all.
This is the moment.
Stepping closer, I raise one hand to rest against your chest and finish shakily, “And I love you.”
Your smile blooms slowly, like a sunrise, and for a long moment we simply stand there grinning at each other, letting the knowledge settle into our bones until something changes – a shift in pressure, a flutter of my heart – and the anticipation begins to build. My fingers curl into the fabric of your shirt, my body drifting closer. Your hands rise, one to my hip where your thumb strokes slowly, warm through the thin cotton of my dress; the other catching my free hand and twining our fingers together.
Heat spirals from your gliding fingers on my hip, stroking upward to my waist and higher. I disentangle our joined hands to reach up, my fingers pushing into your hair, my other hand sliding downward, over your abdomen. You spread your hand across my back. We sway ever closer. If there was music we’d be dancing, but the only sounds in the room are the soft swish of hands over fabric, and the quickening of our breath. I’m already trembling, my skin prickling with each oblique touch.
And still we haven’t kissed.
“Chakotay,” I murmur, drifting so close that our thighs bump and tangle.
Your fingers dip lower on the small of my back and your voice is a silken rumble in my ear. “Yes, Captain?”
“I think that considering what we’re about to do,” I push my hand beneath your turtleneck to flatten on your hot skin, “you should call me Kathryn.”
You suck in a breath, one hand tangling in the hair at my nape and tilting my head back. The naked want in your eyes kicks the slow, delicious build-up into high gear. “And what is it we’re about to do … Kathryn?”
“Well, I know it’s been awhile for both of us,” I manage, curling my fingers around your belt, “but as I recall, first you kiss me, and the next part usually involves a bed –”
You cut me off, your lips descending on mine with a ferocity that takes my last breath. Mouths open and tongues tangle; hands glide over clothes and then beneath them. I stumble backward, blind, the nudge of your hips guiding me toward your bedroom. Hands knock and fumble as we each hasten to shed the other’s clothing. My dress tears. Pieces of it float to the floor and you growl in triumph, your hands mapping the expanse of skin you’ve managed to reveal. I have you bare from the waist up, my fingers wrestling with the fastening of your pants, when you clutch my thighs and hoist me upward, my legs spreading around you as you lay me on the bed.
Then you’re drawing back to strip off your pants, but before I can scramble to regain contact you’re back, your body pressing between my thighs. You frame my face with your hands and lean down to kiss me lightly, lusciously, deliberately slowing the pace. You lean on one elbow, watching my face as your fingers trail over my collarbones, along the edge of my bra. One fingertip traces my nipple, hard and visible under the satin. My entire body ripples, and I suck in a breath.
“Take it off,” I breathe.
You don’t need to be told twice. In moments we’re both naked. Your fingers trail shivers over my skin, my lips finding the places on your body that make you gasp. Slowly, artfully, you bring me spiralling up, your hands deft and your mouth eager. Holding my hips, you shift me and press and pull me, your lips playing over me until the pleasure is so intense I cry out.
While the breath is still catching in my chest, I tug at your arms until you move up my body. I’m so eager for you I’m clutching at your hips, pressing my heels into your back, but you hold yourself above me until I look into your eyes. Don’t rush this, they’re telling me.
So I loosen my hold on you and let you lead the dance, turning my focus inward to the sensation of you entering me. The stretch and push, the resistance, the glide and fullness –it’s everything I ever imagined and more.
Bodies locked, we move together. It’s slow at first – you’re careful, not wanting to hurt me – but I urge you on with gasps and pleas. My heartbeat picks up. Your strokes deepen and hasten. I clutch at your shoulders, my fingernails leaving red crescent-shaped marks. Perspiration slicks our skin. Your breath tickles my ear as you whisper words to me – hot words, words that make me flush and whimper. I’m so close… and then you shift against me and the angle, the pressure is perfect. I barely have the time to catch my breath before the fizzing pleasure explodes into brilliant points of light.
The sound you make as you follow me almost brings me to a second peak.
Much later, when we’ve pushed our bodies almost past endurance and all we can do is hold each other, I turn to press my lips to your chest, just above your heart.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper.
“For not trusting you, either.” I rest my chin on your chest and look into your eyes. Dark eyes, familiar and patient and devoted. The eyes of my dreams, not my fevered, devilish imaginings.
“Shh, Kathryn,” you soothe, your fingers tangling in my hair. “Sleep.”
And with your arms safe around me, I do.
Want to know what was in Chakotay's personal logs? Go read cnroth's The Devils I Know (Are the Devils I Don't).