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.
In dark and wounded places
That feeling of contentment lingers until Tom catapults awake, grabbing immediately at his kinked and aching neck with an involuntary groan. He eases himself off the too-short couch, shedding yesterday’s rumpled uniform on his way to the ‘fresher, and leans on the sink to stare at his reflection. Twenty-seven years old, and he feels about ninety.
“Shower on, forty degrees Celsius,” he mumbles, and steps under the spray with his head bowed. Steam rises around him and the pounding water eases his knotted muscles, and after a while he straightens up and reaches for the soap.
Working the lather over his body, he finds himself replaying memories of his night with Kathryn Janeway. He thinks about the fresh scent of her shampoo clinging to her hair as she let it down, and the way her breasts fit perfectly in his palms, and how she’d tasted, all slick and smooth, as she wound her fingers into his hair. Then he thinks about the flush on her cheeks and her rapid breathing as she knelt at his feet, about her sure hands and the wet warmth of her mouth, and his hand circles his hardening cock and pumps it slowly.
It doesn’t take long to bring himself off, and afterward Tom lets that drained, mellow feeling settle into his limbs until the water has washed him clean again. By the time he’s finished towelling off and is reaching for a fresh uniform, his cramped night on the couch is just a memory.
He’s feeling so good he decides to brave the promenade.
Breakfast at the replimat passes with no sign of yesterday’s panic. As Tom lingers over his second cup of coffee, thumbing through news reports on a padd, a shadow falls over his table and a cultured masculine voice says, “Hello there, Crewman.”
Tom looks up into the face of the doctor who’d talked him through his panic attack. Shit, he thinks in dismay, and covers it quickly by half-rising with a snapped-out, “Sir.”
“At ease,” the doctor says, amused, and holds out a hand. “Julian Bashir.”
“Yes, sir. I remember.” Tom shakes the man’s hand awkwardly and hopes he’s not the persistent type.
He’s out of luck. “Mind if I join you?” Bashir asks, sliding into the seat opposite without waiting for Tom’s assent.
Tom can feel the doctor assessing him as he lowers himself reluctantly to his seat.
“You’re looking a lot better than the last time I saw you,” Bashir comments, sipping from the mug in his left hand. “Have you had your medication adjusted?”
“I’m not on medication, sir.”
“Oh?” Bashir’s eyebrows lift. “I assume your CMO has assessed you … What ship do you serve on?”
“Voyager,” he mumbles, every muscle tensed and ready to run.
“Voyager,” the doctor repeats. “The Intrepid-class docked at upper pylon two, yes? Perhaps I should speak with … Dr Fitzgerald, isn’t it?”
“There’s really no need, Doctor. I’m fine.”
“I’m not so sure, Crewman –” Bashir pauses, “what did you say your name was?”
Tom squirms. He really, really doesn’t want to give this doctor his name.
The combadge Stadi issued him yesterday chirps. “Stadi to Paris.”
He closes his eyes momentarily, then taps it. “Paris here.”
“Morning, Tom.” Her voice warms. “Sleep well?”
“Yes, thank you, Lieutenant,” he answers briskly, avoiding the doctor’s eyes. “Shall I report to the airlock?”
After an infinitesimal pause, Stadi responds, her tone impersonal now. “At your leisure, Mr Paris. Captain Janeway wants to meet with us at 0900 to run through tactical scenarios.”
“Aye, sir. Paris out.” He closes the channel and rises with a polite nod. “If you’ll excuse me, Doctor.”
“Dismissed, Mr Paris,” Bashir says calmly.
Tom can feel the doctor’s shrewd eyes on his back as he hurries out of the replimat.
The first time they came for him, his first week in Auckland, Tom had dragged himself bruised, bleeding and shaken to the medical bay and blurted out every detail of the attack, including the offenders’ identities.
The duty medic had patched him up haphazardly, offered a few platitudes Tom guessed were meant to placate him, and sent him back to his cell. Tom had spent a sleepless night trying to ignore the catcalls and whispered threats from his neighbours. The following morning he’d asked to file a protection request with the warden.
His medical record showed no evidence that he’d ever been given treatment.
Tom figured he’d just got unlucky – ended up with a medic who’d been bribed or blackmailed – but the next time he was assaulted, it happened again. Then again. By the fourth time, he’d stopped asking to report it.
Sometimes he limped into the medical bay and found a sympathetic doctor, one who was shocked at Tom’s injuries and promised they’d protect him, bring the culprits to justice, but Tom had learned his lesson. There was no justice if the victim insisted there’d been no crime.
Sometimes he figured it was easier to suffer the pain than fend off the well-meaning types, so he didn’t bother seeking treatment at all.
Eventually, over the course of several sickbay visits, he’d managed to steal a regenerator and a couple of hyposprays. From that point on he treated his own injuries whenever he could, huddled silent and shaking under a blanket, biting his lip bloody to stifle his groans of pain.
It doesn’t matter whether Julian Bashir is the type of doctor who’d turn a blind eye to violence and violation, or the kind who won’t rest until he’s examined all the dark and wounded places Tom would rather not let anyone see. Tom intends to spend the next twenty-four hours avoiding the man until Voyager is safely away from the station.
Stadi waves off his apology for shutting her down over the comm, guiding him straight into the briefing room to one side of the bridge. The ensign he’d noticed yesterday at tactical is there already, along with a gold-shouldered lieutenant. Tom takes a seat next to Stadi just as the captain strides in and places herself behind the chair at the head of the table.
“Good morning,” Janeway announces. “Mr Paris, I’d like to introduce you to Lieutenant Andrews, my acting security chief, and Ensign Rollins, my tactical officer. Both gentlemen are fully briefed on Maquis ship classes and weaponry. However, I’d like you to offer your insights on the tactics Captain Chakotay is likely to employ should we engage his vessel.”
Tom raises his eyebrows. “Captain, the most important thing to know about Chakotay is that he won’t do what you expect him to. He maps out every possible option and outcome and he’s always thinking several steps ahead. The missions he planned while I was with him went like clockwork.”
“Except for the one you led,” mutters Rollins.
“Ensign,” Janeway warns, and the man subsides.
“As for their battle capabilities, Chakotay’s engineer is a genius and a miracle-worker. Whatever you think his ship can do, she’s rigged it to do better. That is, if she’s still alive,” Tom finishes.
Janeway picks up a padd and glances at it. “According to Lieutenant Tuvok’s last intelligence report, your miracle-worker was alive and kicking.”
Tom laughs, then quickly stifles it.
“Something to add, Mr Paris?” Janeway’s tone is dry, but not forbidding.
“Sorry. It’s just … if B’Elanna’s alive, I guarantee you she’s kicking something.”
The captain lets it pass. “In any case, I am aware of Chakotay’s success rate, and of his tactical background. What we’ll need from you is your presence on the bridge if we engage the Maquis. If you recognise any patterns or manoeuvres, you’re to speak up immediately. Understood?”
“Questions, gentlemen?” Janeway looks from Andrews to Rollins.
“No, Captain,” they chorus.
As Tom joins the three officers filing out of the briefing room, Rollins’ elbow digs painfully into his kidney. Tom grits his teeth and concentrates on keeping his stride even and his face impassive.
It’s not as though Rollins’ silent malice is unexpected or undeserved, but it makes his heart shrivel a little anyway.