The Second Circle
Summary: "If I thought my interest in the gaharay captain posed the least danger to my reputation, I might be concerned. It doesn’t, of course. I’m simply looking forward to fucking her again."
Characters: Kashyk, Janeway
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all the rights, and especially the wrongs.
Notes: Companion piece to LittleObsessions’ The Seventh Bar, with her kind permission, and my Denial. It can stand alone, but makes more sense if you read those two first.
Part of the Counterpoint Vignettes collection on AO3.
Warning: Dubious consent.
Prax cannot quite hide the downward turn of his mouth as I order yet another stop-search of the gaharay vessel, and for that I consider excluding him from my inspection teams. But his stolid, sour countenance does so enhance the delicious tension amongst these Voyagers, so instead I limit his punishment to guarding me, rather than leading the deck-by-deck examination.
It is irregular, I concede as I beam into the captain’s ready room. Most alien ships daring to travel through the Imperium suffer inspections weekly, unless I decide – usually due to boredom – that there is evidence of deception and impound them. Voyager has been in Devore space for five weeks and has been boarded by my teams no less than thirteen times.
The reason for such diligence on my part is, I’m afraid, so evident that even a foot-soldier as dull and unimaginative as Prax cannot fail to recognise it.
If I thought my interest in the gaharay captain posed the least danger to my reputation, I might be concerned. It doesn’t, of course. I’m simply looking forward to fucking her again.
I take her seat behind her desk, resting my booted feet on it, not bothering to suppress my smile of anticipation. I activate her comm system.
“Captain Janeway. Report to your ready room.”
She appears moments later and stands before the desk, hands loose at her sides, impassive.
“Good morning, Captain.” I let my feet fall slowly to the floor and circle the desk, moving behind her. I allow a gloved finger to trail up the length of one arm, across her shoulders and over the pale skin of her throat as I lean one hip on the desk, facing her.
She meets my eyes, and hers give nothing away.
I give her a smile just the polite side of predatory. “May I offer you some coffee, Captain?”
“No, thank you.”
“A pity.” I stroke my finger under her chin; she doesn’t move. “I’ve become quite enamoured of it, among other pleasures your ship offers.”
At last, a flicker; her lips compress slightly. “So it seems.”
I cock my head to the side as I study her, considering my options.
Last time I had her on her hands and knees while my guards remained in the room. It was partly a test of their professionalism – I was pleased that, despite their avid attention and clear interest, they passed – but mostly, I was testing her.
She, too, passed. I half-expected her to baulk, but she complied without a word when I told her to undress. I fucked her showily, making a performance of it for my men, fondling her as I spoke of her body in a derogatory fashion, thrusting rather brutally into her. She whimpered so prettily through red lips she tried to clamp shut, and when I pulled her up against my chest and fingered her to orgasm while my soldiers watched, she shuddered and turned her head away even as her body betrayed her.
Yet when I allowed her to dress, she did so without haste or discomfiture, and her gaze was steady and clear as she watched me beam away from her ship.
I wonder how much further I can push her before she reaches her limit.
Today, though, I’m less interested in her limits than I am in her motivations.
“Leave us,” I jerk my head at Prax. Knowing he has already transgressed today, he doesn’t protest. He’ll wait on the other side of the door, ready to rush to my defence should he be called to do so. He’s too stupid to understand that I have nothing to fear from her.
While I control her ship, she’s mine.
Prax exits, and the gaharay’s stance relaxes ever so slightly; was she fearing I’d planned another show today? She needn’t worry. Today, I want her full attention on me.
I push off her desk, looking down at her, and she raises her hands to her uniform jacket. She’s just begun to unseal it when I glance away.
“You know, I believe I’ll have some of your coffee after all.”
My peripheral vision is excellent. I see the flash of uncertainty in her eyes, in her hesitantly uncurling hands as I move to the replicator. I pretend to ignore it. She watches me as I lean on the edge of her desk, sipping the bitter drink.
Only the slight shift of her weight from one foot to the other betrays her discomfort. She expected me to have her strip immediately, as I have done on my past few visits, and has clearly prepared herself for it. But I want her off-balance and unsure. Predictability is the enemy of power.
And the power, I’m determined to make her understand, is mine.
I wait, sipping the coffee and gazing aimlessly around her ready room, and after several minutes I’m rewarded.
“What do you want, Inspector?”
My smile is bland and insincere. “I’m just interested in getting to know you better, Captain.”
“I’d say you know me pretty well by now.” I don’t miss the subtle hitch of her hip, the angling of her chin. She’s far too clever not to guess at my motives, and she’s prepared to use her entire arsenal to thwart them.
“In some ways, yes. And it has been most enjoyable. But you intrigue me, Captain, and not only for your,” I let my gaze travel leisurely over her body, “more evident charms. What makes you tick?”
She smiles without humour. “Oh, I’m not that interesting, really.”
“I find that hard to believe.” Setting my coffee on her desk, I circle her slowly. “You’re determined, or you’d have settled on a nice planet somewhere instead of setting off on your foolhardy journey across the galaxy. You’re a risk-taker, or you’d have avoided entering the Imperium. Your ship’s records are littered with stories of your humanitarian tendencies.”
She says nothing, but I’m close enough to feel the wire-strung tension in her fine muscles.
“And,” I whisper against her ear, “it’s clear that you’ll do anything to protect your crew.”
“Wouldn’t you?” she replies woodenly.
I laugh, enjoying the resulting shiver across her skin. “My crew serve me and keep me safe, and in return I don’t kill them for incompetence. I will admit, though, that I’m rather fond of one or two of them.”
“Prax is loyal,” I concede, “if somewhat of an oaf.” My hand slides onto her hip, around the front of her waist, toying with the clasp of her trousers. “Remind you of anyone?”
She wets her lips. “No.”
I unhook the clasp and slide my hand inside, gripping her hard enough to hurt.
“Tell me about your first officer.”
I sink my teeth into her nape, and she flinches, and I yank her trousers to her knees. She white-knuckles her desk as I strip her bare from the waist down and her body quivers finely, but she spreads her legs without being asked.
“No,” she says, her voice flat, her refusal of one request tempered by her acquiescence to the other. I test her with one gloved finger and find she’s wet. Oh, there’s no doubt she wants me. But what her body craves has no bearing on how much of her she’ll allow me access to.
Is it any wonder I find her fascinating?
“Put some music on, Captain,” I order.
Her choice of opera, like her, does not disappoint me.
“Rachmaninov,” I approve as my fingers delve into slick heat. “Francesca da Rimini. I’ve been studying your database.”
“Then you might know,” she strains to hide the tightness in her voice, “that it’s based on Dante’s Inferno. The second circle of hell.”
“Betrayal?” I hazard, my lips tracing the sharp line of her jaw.
“Lust,” she groans as my fingers push her into a climax she does not - refuses to - want.
“Were you thinking of him?” I taunt as she shudders and moans and fights for breath.
I strip the jacket from her – for a moment I consider tearing it, but decide instead to let her keep some small measure of dignity – and she spins back into me, her hands sure as she returns the favour.
“No,” she spits.
Tears, hot and angry, spill over her cheeks as I take her. I’m under no illusions that she’s playing this game to win, giving herself for the sake of her ship and her crew. Her illusions, too, are gone, pounded away with every lunge and twitch of her hips, every bitten-back whimper and gasp as my body thrusts into hers.
I mock her as I grind into her. “What would he think, if he saw you like this?”
She won’t answer. I goad her, insult her, and still she’s silent, even when she comes.
It’s only afterwards, as I shrug on my uniform and she hides the bruises under hers, knowing I’m leaving, that she gives me her answer.
“He’d pity you.”
I laugh at her, but long after I’ve returned to my ship and showered her alien scent from my skin, I wonder if she hasn’t won this round after all.
I know there are telepaths on her ship. But as enjoyable as it is to compel her pale body to my desires, it’s becoming clear that breaking her will is a far more challenging task. If the status quo continues, one of two things will happen: Voyager will pass out of Devore space with its refugees still in hiding, or my superiors will become sceptical of my methods – and, worse, suspicious of my motives. Neither of those ends is satisfactory.
And least satisfactory of all, she’ll have beaten me.
It’s time to change the game.
I hear the chime of the door mere minutes after she exited through it.
Bidding her enter, I observe her as closely as I have ever since I met her, and especially since she took me onto her ship. I have become an aficionado of Kathryn Janeway. The notion amuses and occasionally appals me. But my attention, my fascination with her pays off – I intuit that she is not as coolly unconcerned as she would like me to believe. Her edges are frayed.
Something has happened.
She allows me no time to pick away at her veneer. Her hands are unsealing her uniform before the door slides fully closed. She discards clothing in her wake as she stalks toward me, and as I half-rise from the couch, understanding that I’ll want to meet her on my feet for this, she pushes me back into my seat. She straddles me. Her pale hands come to rest on my chest and she leans in, open-mouthed, to scrape her teeth against the vulnerable flesh of my neck. A few more pounds of pressure and she could rip those small alien teeth into my jugular. The idea is profoundly disturbing.
Lust and revulsion fuse uneasily in my gut.
The press of her body against mine – so soft, so fragile – reminds me that I’m in control and simultaneously strips me of it. She’s drawn blood, her white teeth stained with it as she sits up, her hips circling lewdly, conspicuously against mine.
My instincts tell me this is off-script. The wormhole is yet undiscovered, the game still delicately afoot. Until this moment we were still circling each other like a pair of sevila in a mating dance, each knowing exactly how this will end, neither willing to be first to advance.
Since my last inspection of her ship, since I returned as the conscience-stricken defector, she has not allowed me to touch her, and I haven’t asked. I let her enjoy her newfound power over me and the sanctity of her body, but I’m playing the long game. I know she wants me, despite what I’ve done to her in the past. Perhaps she wants me because of it.
And both of us know that, sooner or later, she’ll come to me. But this is too soon.
Her seduction is rash, precipitous.
What, in these past few minutes, has changed?
It’s imperative that I regain the upper hand, and so I push mine inside her underwear, my fingers gripping her between her legs. Her flinch, the tightening of her thighs, are beautiful to behold.
“Tell me, Captain,” I curl my tongue around the shell of her ear, “what does your first officer think you’re doing tonight?”
It’s a guess – albeit an educated one – and it’s a direct hit. Her body goes still and I hear her hitch in a breath.
Then she reaches between us, squeezing my rigid cock to the point of pain. “Do you always talk so much, Inspector?”
“Kashyk,” I correct her, controlling the edge in my voice.
“Kashyk,” she allows. She lets up on her grip and begins to work, one-handed, at the seal of my trousers. “I don’t want to talk,” she growls as her hand slips inside, her cool fingers circling me. “Understand?”
Her touch, talented and sure, inflames me. It’s imperative that she never know how strongly she tests my control. So instead of answering her, I wrap an arm around her waist and haul her under me, her back arched over the arm of the couch. I rip her panties away and spread her legs, pushing up under her knees, and without bothering to disrobe further I squeeze her breasts hard in my gloved hands and circle my hips against her. Her eyes meet mine, hot as the second circle of hell.
“Fuck me,” she rasps, and I surge into her.
She climaxes quickly in a shiver of exquisite gasps and moans, and before she can relax against me I yank her upright, push her onto the floor on her hands and knees, wrench her arms behind her back as I thrust into her from behind. Her pained whine exhilarates me, steals my breath. I release her arms, shove her face-down, gripping her hips as I take what I want from her. She doesn’t fight me. She never does.
And that’s when I realise I’m giving her exactly what she wants.
Deliberately, I slow, moving languidly inside her as I stroke her body lightly, gently. “Kathryn,” I murmur, my voice soft, and I lean forward to kiss the length of her spine.
She stills, her fingers curled into the carpet.
“So beautiful.” I smooth her hair back from her face, turning her mouth to mine. I kiss her tenderly – it’s the first and only time I’ve kissed her – and as my tongue sweeps lightly into her mouth she shudders and pulls away.
I had intended to throw her off-balance, to transmute the brutal anonymity of our encounter, but her blunt rejection catches me unprepared. A complex swirl of unwanted emotions rises inside me, but fury is one, and I latch onto it.
“Would you kiss your first officer?”
I mean her to hurt. But she stares at me evenly, eyes cold.
“Are you jealous, Kashyk?”
“Jealous?” My hand twists hard in her hair, and I roll my hips into her, jolting her forward. “When I’m the one fucking you?”
Her voice is tight, strained, as she pushes back into me. “Then stop talking and fuck me, damn it.”
So I do. I have her every way I want her, use her body without care, and she whines and pleads and comes, over and over again. When I’m spent, I lie back on the couch and watch her as she seals herself back into her uniform. She moves gingerly – I know I’ve hurt her – and the slow covering of her pale, bruised body is as erotic as its unveiling.
Without sparing me a glance, she moves to the door, and my anger rises again at her casual dismissal.
“Sleep well, Kathryn,” I purr from my position sprawled on the couch, and from the way her step falters and her spine tightens, I realise I’ve somehow, unwittingly, managed to score another hit.
Then she’s gone, leaving me with the knowledge that I’ve given her exactly what she wanted tonight.
Next time, I won’t let her win.
I am vindicated – painfully, unsurprisingly so – when the ‘wormhole’ is revealed to be a ruse, and the organic matter retrieved from transporter suspension is not the telepaths but several containers of vegetables.
I knew she didn’t trust me – how could she? – but to play me so convincingly, to humiliate me in front of my men – I am forced to concede to her.
Not that it doesn’t occur to me to overpower her anyway. I could impound her ship, imprison her crew and take her for my own. I could force her to submit to whatever deviant delights I can conjure, but she would never let me forget that in doing so, I would not have won fairly. There’s no true victory in petulantly ignoring the rules of the game.
As I return her bridge to her and transport back to my ship, I can’t help but remember the second time she kissed me. I knew we weren’t alone in that shuttlebay – we were, as always, under observation. So why did she kiss me?
It’s fanciful, but I think she wanted to. Not merely to convince me that she cared for me, but because in some way, she actually did. The best games are those with the highest stakes, and the best players are those with the most to lose.
In the end, she triumphed.
But perhaps I’ll play the final winning stroke. I have left a file hidden in Voyager’s computer, a file it will take some expertise to find. A file containing a holographic recording. While acting the conscience-stricken defector, I had prepared it to record us on the night she came to me in my guest quarters, as I was sure – sooner or later – she would.
And she did.
Maybe her telepathic chief of security will find it; maybe the soft-skinned boy, the bridge officer who hero-worships her. Perhaps it will be her fierce and rather appealing chief engineer. It doesn’t really matter.
But I find myself hoping it will be her first officer. I imagine he’ll watch it in its entirety, hating himself for it and unable to turn away. He’ll watch her, naked and on her knees, my hands twisted in her hair as she begs me to fuck her.
I doubt he’ll pity me then.