Summary: Two bodies in relative motion excite resistance when they come together. Two wills clashing create another kind of friction. Somewhere between animosity and arousal is the place where they meet.
Characters: Paris, Janeway, Chakotay, Kim, Stadi
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Warning: This story contains mentions of rape, prison trauma, post-traumatic stress syndrome and panic disorder.
No strings, no questions
Tom spends thirty minutes in the shower, just because he can, orders a fresh uniform from the replicator, gels his hair into submission and reports to the docking pylon.
Stadi is waiting, studying a padd; as Tom approaches she looks up and a slight frown mars her smooth forehead. “Are you all right, Mr Paris?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” he asks, flippant. “C’mon, Lieutenant, show me this ship you’re so proud of.”
Her dark eyes regard him for a moment longer before she turns to enter an alphanumeric code into the access panel. The door rolls open with a solid clang and Stadi waves him through the airlock and onto Voyager.
“This way,” she gestures.
Tom glances around as they move through the corridor toward the turbolift. “I see Starfleet’s still using the same interior designers,” he remarks.
Stadi ignores him. “Deck one,” she orders the lift.
Tom can’t help the way his heart beats a little faster as they rise through the decks. He’s about to step onto the bridge of a Federation starship for the first time in three years. Something he never believed he’d do again.
The lift doors open and Tom steps out, eyes roving around the bridge to take it all in. It’s staffed with a skeleton crew; there’s a lieutenant at ops and a curly-haired ensign at auxiliary engineering, but the other stations are empty, including the helm. He looks at it wistfully, fingers itching to touch those controls, feel the power of the now-dormant engines purring like a tiger only he can tame.
“Yeah,” he says. “Coming.”
He follows Stadi down the curving ramp and across the command level. She presses the panel beside a door, which slides open to reveal a large, comfortable ready room.
Captain Janeway is perched on the edge of her desk, slender and lithe in the uniform that somehow looks svelte on her. The heels on her boots are punishingly high; bare-footed, he suspects, she’d only come up to his chin, although that hairstyle might add a couple of centimetres.
Not for the first time, he feels a vague sense of recognition when he looks at her, but it’s nothing he can pin down. Maybe he met her at some Starfleet function once. Or maybe it’s just that she’s the kind of woman he’d look twice at.
The captain has a padd in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, desktop monitor turned so she can carry on a subspace conversation with a dark-haired woman who resembles her. She looks up as Stadi and Tom enter, then turns to address the woman on the monitor.
“Phoebe, I have to go. I’ll comm you before we leave for the Badlands, okay? Janeway out.”
The screen displays the LCARS interface for a few seconds, then begins to rotate through a series of images, most of them picturing a rugged-looking, grey-haired man with an Irish setter. One or two feature Janeway as well.
Tom only realises he’s staring at the pictures when Stadi clears her throat to get his attention.
Janeway is still leaning against her desk. She sips from her mug, concealing her upturned lips. “Are you with us, Mr Paris?”
“Yes, sir.” He assumes the at ease posture.
“Captain will do,” she corrects him, leaving the empty mug on her desk and ushering them up to the seating area by the viewport. “Have you studied Lieutenant Stadi’s proposed flight plan?”
“And?” She sits, crossing her legs, eyebrows arched.
He lowers himself to the bench beside her. “It’s a sound plan, Captain, but when it comes to the Badlands you might as well throw the rulebook away. The plasma storms are highly volatile. One good burst and you’ve lost navigation, deflectors, the works.”
“What do you recommend?”
“Aside from assigning a pilot with experience in the region?” One glance at the steel in her eyes and he abandons that tactic. “I recommend employing a spiral search pattern as you approach the asteroid belt. That should give you time to map the gravitational eddies and hopefully avoid the worst of the plasma storms while you scan for warp particles.”
“Lieutenant?” Janeway doesn’t take her eyes from Tom as she addresses her helmsman.
Stadi is tapping calculations into her padd. “Mr Paris’ suggestion would seem to give us the highest safety margin.”
“Work with Mr Paris to adjust your flight plan,” Janeway orders decisively. “I want the revisions filed by 1400 tomorrow.”
“Right away, Captain.” Stadi rises. “Mr Paris?”
“Tomorrow, Lieutenant,” Janeway interrupts her firmly, smiling. “I’m well aware I cut your leave short for this mission. Go get some rest. You two can start working together in the morning.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
Tom stands, nods at Janeway and trots after the Betazoid lieutenant.
“I didn’t dismiss you, Mr Paris.”
Something about that curling, husky voice sends a prickle down his spine. He turns to face her again as the door slides silently shut behind Stadi.
Janeway uncrosses her legs and rises, moving leisurely toward him. She stops at the edge of the upper level – right up close, eye to eye with him where he stands two steps below her – and puts her hands on her hips. Her full attention is on him. He’d call it a clinical appraisal if it weren’t for the way she drops her gaze to his mouth, then drags it back up to his eyes.
This close he can smell her perfume, jasmine and a hint of spice, and her lipstick and whatever she uses to keep her hair coiled up in that bun. She smells exotic, feminine, and he thinks about how long it’s been since he was last with a woman and how much he’s missed it, missed the smooth skin and pliable curves and softness of it. He hasn’t failed to notice Janeway; he’d been overwhelmed by her, in fact, when she showed up in Auckland, to the point where he flirted with her outrageously, almost satirically, to hide just how strongly she affected him. But since then, he’s managed to categorise her not as woman but as captain, placing her firmly out of bounds.
Or so he’d assumed.
Whatever she reads in his eyes as these thoughts tumble through his mind seems to please her. Some of the command starch goes out of her stance and her features soften in a smile. She lays one hand in the middle of his chest and asks warmly, “Have you eaten yet, Tom?”
Tom? he thinks, and although he’s been snacking since he discovered he had unrestricted replicator access and is not at all hungry, he finds himself shaking his head no.
“Join me for dinner, then,” she says – not quite a question, not quite an order – and with a hand looped through his elbow, she guides him out of the ready room, across the quiet bridge and into the turbolift.
The captain’s private dining room is sparse and neutral – typical Starfleet – but Janeway leads him to sit by a viewport that looks directly out onto the wormhole, swirling blue and orange each time it opens. The table is laid with flowers and candles, and it brings Tom up short.
Everything he’s been telling himself about this dinner since she issued her invitation – it’s just a gracious captain taking pity on the son of her mentor; I served with your father on the Al Batani – is turned upside down and inside out by the undeniable intimacy of this setting. But then, Janeway has kept him off balance since she appeared at the penal colony and threw him a lifeline. Maybe, Tom decides, he just needs to roll with the punches.
“I don’t suppose they fed you terribly well in Auckland,” she says as they settle into their chairs and a silent crewman appears to whisk napkins over their laps. “You’re not vegetarian, are you?”
“No, Captain. I’m a big fan of red meat.”
“Good,” she murmurs, watching him over the rim of her wine glass as their server places dishes before them. “I hope you like your steak rare.”
She dismisses the crewman and Tom, despite his lack of hunger, eats with gusto until he realises she’s still watching him.
“Sorry,” he mumbles, swallowing. “Prison did nothing for my table manners.”
“Oh, I don’t mind a man with a few rough edges.”
The seductive timbre in her voice makes him lay down his knife and fork. She’s half-smiling, fingers playing lightly over the stem of her glass. He notices she’s barely touched her own food.
She’s still buttoned up in uniform, but something about her languid pose in the half-light makes him picture her wearing a lot less. He watches her lick her lips as she holds his gaze.
Fuck it, Tom thinks, fortune favours the bold.
“Best thing for rough edges is friction against a smooth surface,” he says, and grins at her.
To his relief she bursts into laughter, then pushes her plate away and rests her elbow on the edge of the table, chin in hand.
“I have a proposal for you.”
Her body language makes it pretty clear that she means proposition. Tom wipes his mouth with his napkin. “I’m listening.”
“One night, no strings, no questions asked. And no obligation. If you decline that will be the end of the matter.”
He’d already figured she was the forthright type, but this is downright blunt. Arousing as hell, too, and right now Tom doesn’t particularly care about anything beyond getting her naked. So it must be some perverse impulse that prompts him to ask, “What about the guy with the dog?”
Her face goes hard. “Are you interested or not?”
No questions. Got it. “Yes ma’am. Very interested.”
“Don’t call me ma’am.”
“Yes … Captain.” He uses his best low drawl while holding her eyes, watches her expression change.
“Maybe you should call me Kathryn,” she murmurs. “Just for tonight.”
“Okay, Kathryn.” Tom reaches for her hand, lacing his fingers through hers, bringing her wrist close to trace his lips across it. Her shaky exhale is the first real sign she’s given that she’s not as coolly composed as she appears.
“My quarters.” She rises, tugging him to his feet as well. “Now.”
The captain’s quarters are one deck down. During the brief turbolift ride and the short walk through the corridor, Janeway doesn’t speak and doesn’t look at him. Tom automatically assumes a deferential posture, slightly behind her with his head lowered, in case they encounter any beta shift crew, but Voyager seems to be running on a skeleton staff while they’re docked with the station.
Nimble fingers enter her security code and she tilts her head to usher him into her quarters, where starlight is the only illumination. She doesn’t call for lights. Doesn’t offer him a drink either, or make conversation. The instant the door is closed, cutting them off from the corridor, she pushes him up against the bulkhead and drags his head down to hers.
He can’t help shuddering as her lips capture his and her tongue slides into his mouth, and it seems to turn her on. Her fingers latch into his freshly-cut hair and she grinds up against him and Tom, breath short and knees watery, is grateful for the wall at his back.
She unfastens his jacket with practised fingers, strips off her own, guides him to pull off his turtleneck and tank. When she cups him through his pants, though, he has to break the kiss, head falling back, grabbing her wrist to still her exploring fingers. “Wait,” he gasps, “Kathryn …”
There’s a mixture of gentle amusement and dawning sympathy in her voice as she asks, “When was the last time you were with a woman?”
That mean Bajoran bitch in the Maquis, he thinks. And she only screwed me to piss Chakotay off.
“It’s been a while,” he says aloud.
“In that case, let me do this for you first,” and she tugs open his pants as she slides to her knees.
He’s burning hot before she even gets her mouth on him, grinding his teeth and tipping his head hard against the wall in an effort to not humiliate himself. He tries to wind his hands in her hair but is thwarted by pins and complicated coils; he settles instead for stroking her face, half in gratitude, half in apology for the way his hips thrust helplessly as she arches her neck. It’s the rhythmic motion of her throat that does him in.
“Jesus,” he whines, “fuck,” and for a moment he loses both vision and hearing, head swimming as though he’s about to pass out.
When the breath rushes back into his lungs, Tom looks down to see her sitting on her heels, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. She smirks at him. “Feel better?”
He nods, struggling to speak.
Janeway rises, pulling the turtleneck over her head in one smooth motion and tossing it aside. In the standard-issue tank he can see the sharp lines of her collarbones, her long neck, her slim, muscled arms; her skin looks soft, and suddenly he aches to touch it. Hands resting on her hips, she gives him a slow, thorough once-over, and Tom feels himself stir. Her one-sided smile tells him she’s noticed.
“So, Mr Paris,” she says throatily, “what now?”