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.
Tom shucks the rest of his clothing and crawls up beside her on the bed, chuckling silently at the way she lies there as if boneless. One hand firm on her hip, he rolls her to the side and fits himself in behind her, smoothing her tangled hair aside, kissing her shoulder and the back of her neck.
When she speaks her voice is dreamy and muted. “I’d tell you how good I feel right now, but your ego might never fit through a door again.”
He nips at her ear in retaliation, and she gasps, then giggles and squirms as his fingers graze her ribs, leaving gooseflesh in their wake.
“You’re ticklish,” Tom crows, fingertips skating over the delicate parts of her skin as she writhes helplessly, laughing until she’s breathless.
“Stop,” she squeaks, pushing at his chest until he relents, wrapping her up in his arms instead.
“I can’t believe it,” he says, still grinning. “I figured out how to bring Captain Janeway to her knees.”
“Oh, I think you already worked that one out,” she drawls, craning up to bite at his chin.
Tom thinks about the way she knelt to suck at him so expertly the other night and groans aloud. He dips his head, parting her lips with his tongue, kissing her softly until she sighs and falls back on the pillow with a smile. He indulges himself in staring at her unabashedly while her eyes are closed, until she opens them and he averts his gaze.
“See something you like?” she purrs.
Trying not to flush, he retorts, “Just counting your freckles,” and rolls away from her, onto his back.
Kathryn props herself on one elbow and turns that assessing gaze on him again, and he studiously keeps his expression blank and his own eyes on the ceiling.
Eventually she eases back on her scrutiny and starts to draw aimless patterns on his chest with her forefinger. Her tone is conversational as she asks him, “Have you decided what you’ll do once the mission is over?”
“Nope.” He glances at her quickly. “I assume that means you intend to petition the rehab commission for my release?”
“That was always my intention, Tom. I thought I’d been quite clear about that.”
He shrugs. “Forgive me if I find it a little difficult to trust people in uniform.”
“I’m not wearing a uniform,” she volleys, straight-faced.
Tom gives her an even look despite the twitch at the corners of his mouth. “You know what I mean.”
“I’m starting to,” she says softly, serious again. “Tom, I won’t let you end up back in that place, no matter what happens at your parole review.”
“Thank you,” he says, overwhelmed.
“And afterwards I’ll help you find a job, if I can.”
“Sure,” he answers. “Disgraced ex-con seeks position as elite test pilot. Will work for food.”
Kathryn frowns at him. “There must be something else you’d be interested in doing.”
He shrugs. “I’m okay at holoprogramming, and I hear the Ferengi aren’t too picky about criminal records.”
“There you are, then.”
“And I know a lot of useless trivia. Earth history, mainly.”
“You and Mark both –” Kathryn cuts herself off abruptly, looking away.
“Mark?” Tom props himself up to study her. “The guy with the dog?”
“Yes.” She clips the word out, slumping back to the pillow with the back of one hand against her forehead, fist clenched.
“So what is he – boyfriend? Husband?”
Tom dips his head to lick her nipple and she sucks in a breath, her eyes narrowing at him.
“And what does your fiancé think about you fucking other men?”
“Which part of no questions was unclear?” Kathryn growls, but when he simply stares at her, waiting, she sighs. “We have an … arrangement.”
“Does he get to ask questions?”
Amusement flickers briefly across her face. “Yes. Quite a lot, actually.”
“I like sex,” Kathryn explains, her tone exaggerated. “I’m away a lot, and I don’t like to go without. Mark likes me to tell him all about my … adventures.”
“He has a cuckolding kink?” Tom’s eyebrows rise. “Are you going to tell him about us?”
“Probably. If you ever shut up long enough to do something worth telling.”
“Oh,” he clasps a hand to his heart in mock agony. “Tell him I made you come so hard you almost passed out.”
Kathryn laughs, and pulls him down to kiss her, and Tom presses her thighs apart and covers her with his body, determined to give her a story to tell.
“Can I ask you something else?” he asks, much later, when she’s sprawled out across his chest, drowsy and sated.
Her breath gusts across his chest as she sighs. “Would it stop you if I said no?”
“What’s going to happen to Chakotay’s people if we catch them?”
“When we catch them.” Kathryn props herself up on his chest and looks down at him. “They’ll be tried for treason and imprisoned. In Chakotay’s case, that may be for life.”
“Life?” Tom stiffens. “That long?”
“You got two years,” Kathryn points out. “And you’d only been in the Maquis for a couple of months.”
“I got two years because I fired on the Bradbury when they tried to tractor me,” Tom replies. “Chakotay never attacked a Federation or Starfleet target. Only Cardassians.”
“If that’s true,” Kathryn says, “it will come out at his trial. The judge will take it into account when sentencing him.”
“The judge would take more notice if you vouched for him.”
“And why would I do that?”
“Because of your history,” Tom answers. “I’d have thought you’d have some sympathy toward the Maquis.”
Her tone is dangerous, but it doesn’t deter him. “Yeah. With the Cardassians.”
Kathryn pushes upright, pulling the sheet around her naked torso. “What exactly do you think you know, Mr Paris?”
“Come on, Kathryn. I'm not stupid.” Tom sits up too, meeting her eyes. “Just … think about it, okay? Think about who the Maquis are fighting, and what they’re fighting for. Consider that when you hand Chakotay and his crew over to Starfleet justice.”
She looks at him steadily. “A lot will depend on the actions Chakotay takes when we find him,” she replies. “But I’ll consider it.”
“That’s all I ask.”
He looks away, thinking about Chakotay, trapped in that rehab colony that almost broke his soul in half, and can’t help shuddering.
Maybe Chakotay will be stronger, better able to fight them off.
Then again, maybe they’ll put him in with the other Maquis. Maybe he’ll never have to suffer through the things Tom suffered.
“Hey,” Kathryn says softly, watching the expressions play out across his face. “What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing,” Tom forces himself to smile, cupping her face in his hands and leaning in.
Kathryn resists his kiss at first, but he persists until her lips soften and part under his, until he feels her responding. She loosens her hold on the sheet and pulls him close, pulls him down onto the pillow with her and wraps her arms around him.
He presses his face into the curve where her neck meets her shoulder, concentrating on the scent and softness of her skin to shake off the grim clouds of memory.
“It’s over, Tom,” she whispers, stroking his hair. “You’re safe now.”
For the moment, he believes her.