places, and various incidents belong to Paramount. Also, to Jeri Taylor,
from whom we borrowed certain events.
Everyone remembers their first lover, but it's the last one that matters.
WARNING: This story is
rated NC-17 for mature content and sexual
Lovers and Other Strangers
by Seema and Rocky
Everyone -- male or female -- remembers his first time.
First time sex, that is.
You remember the circumstances, the person, how you felt (well, it's very
rarely extraordinary) and other minute details such as textures, colors,
scents -- those kinds of things.
Mine took place when I was fourteen and she -- her name might have been
Holly or Molly, I don't quite remember clearly now -- was fifteen. We were
in the back of my father's flitter, parked at Stinson Beach. The upholstery
of the flitter was rough, a tweed kind of material. The air smelled like lavender;
I'd sprayed it in anticipation of tonight's date.
Molly was the daughter of one of my father's aides. We'd met at some boring
Starfleet dinner and had fooled around in the garden for a while. I'd stuck
my hand down her shirt and she'd rubbed up against my groin. We'd made arrangements
to meet the very next night.
"I've never been out with an admiral's son," Molly said breathlessly when
she got into the flitter. I offered her a quick smile.
I remember Molly as a vague jumble of shapes, even her facial features
are an indistinct blur to me; still, I think of her with fondness because
she was my first. We were awkward; first time sex always is and we
were just a pair of kids trying to act out a lesson in a biology book (Yes,
I had done my research ahead of time and even scoped out a couple
of men's magazine articles on the topic of "How to Make Your Lover Scream").
I had tried to start off slow, like the articles had told me to. Very slowly.
Kissing her gently, pushing her back against the seat cushions, unbuttoning
her sweater, her blouse and then unsnapping her bra. Her breasts were round
and full in my hands (everyone said Molly was the most developed girl in
our class). She unzipped my pants and put her hand boldly on my penis.
"You want to go all the way?" I asked breathlessly. I'd been hoping, but
didn't actually expect to get lucky tonight.
Molly shrugged. "Got a condom?"
So okay, not the most romantic exchange ever, but we were young, we were
curious and we wanted to get on with it. Or rather, I wanted to get on with
I tugged down my pants, pushed up her skirt and pulled her panties down.
She bent her knees a little. Her mouth formed a small O at the moment of
penetration and she closed her eyes. Later I would find out that sometimes
sex hurts for women. But at the time I didn't care. I was fourteen and male
and I only had one thought on my mind. Afterwards, Molly pulled her dress
down and I yanked my pants back up. She fastened her sweater and I said,
"I'll call you."
I'd like to think at the time I was sincere, but I never did call. She
didn't say anything at all on the flight to her home (Molly lived in Sacramento).
Instead, she huddled in the corner of her seat, her arms wrapped around
herself tightly -- a shield against me ever touching her again.
I remember the way they used to look at me, the only half-Klingon on Kessik.
When I was very little, it was disparaging looks, followed by whispers
and giggles. My face burned with shame when I passed those sniggering groups
of children. They never paid much attention to me unless they were looking
for a victim, someone to make fun of. I still remember the burning in my
knuckles after I split one boy's lip for calling me "Turtlehead", how it
took days for the red marks--and imprints of his front teeth -- to fade.
Soon after my twelfth birthday, that began to change. Klingons physically
mature earlier than Humans, my mother said, and even though my Human genes
delayed my puberty for a few years, once it started it progressed rapidly.
I wasn't taller than the other girls, but I had more curves. The groups
at school still fell silent when I walked past, but any boys in their midst
would whistle or send out catcalls. Sometimes one or two would follow me,
careful to stay a few paces back. Or someone would bump into me, knocking
my books out of my arms so I'd have to bend over. I heard the suggestive
comments, the speculations, and I flushed. But in keeping with my mother's
admonishments of proper Klingon behavior, of acting with honor, I never answered
One boy was particularly persistent. Johnny Kay used to trail me to and
from school. He never said anything -- I was prepared to slug him as hard
as I could if he did. But he was quiet. It was like having a silent shadow,
so I didn't think anything of it, though once or twice I toyed with the idea
of turning suddenly, just to see what he would do. And then one day, he
caught up with me and spoke.
I don't remember his exact words anymore, something about the physics test
we'd had that afternoon, how it had been much harder than he'd expected
and he wasn't sure how well he'd done. I was shy, hesitant at first, but
finally answered him. Physics was one subject that had always come easily
to me, and before I knew it I found myself offering to help him study. I
was lonely, and for the first time someone was reaching out to me, treating
me like a person instead of half-Klingon freak. He had a nice smile. I smiled
Johnny and I met a few times after school over the next couple of weeks.
He'd been right, he had done badly on the exam, as had a number of
other students. The teacher announced a make-up exam. I told Johnny not
to worry, I'd help him and this time he'd do much better. He was grateful.
Soon we were meeting in the library every afternoon; I spent hours going
over the equations with him. I didn't know why he was having so much trouble;
it wasn't like elementary warp dynamics was such a complex topic.
"I just don't have the head for this stuff," Johnny said, with a rueful
smile. "Not like you do." He reached up and I thought he was going to tap
my forehead. Instead, it turned into a caress. He carefully ran his finger
down the side of my jaw, then traced the outline of my lips. "Brainy and
beautiful -- how'd I get so lucky?"
The librarian's approach put an end to anything further. But the next afternoon,
when Johnny casually suggested we take the books outside because it was
such a beautiful day, I was ready.
There was a patch of ground behind the gym, secluded, sheltered by enormous
pine trees. It was there that Johnny led me. He leaned over and kissed me,
gently at first, and then increased the pressure. Tentatively, I moved my
lips under his and felt his tongue forcing entry into my mouth. I pulled
He didn't seem taken aback. With another of his smiles, he sat down and
patted the ground next to him. "Here, have a seat. You'll be a lot more comfortable."
I sat. The ground wasn't exactly hard, due to the recent rainfall; the
piles of old pine needles helped as well. I turned to Johnny questioningly,
and stopped. There was something unfamiliar in his eyes as he pulled me
to him. His mouth was hard on my mine, insistent. One of his hands was on
the back of my head, in my hair. With the other he forced me back, on to
the damp earth. His head moved lower, pressing against my collarbone, the
stiff collar of his jacket cutting painfully into my shoulder. He fumbled
with the waistband of my pants, and then I felt his hand slip inside.
"What do you think you're doing?" I gasped out.
He raised his head. "Don't play hard to get, B'Elanna. I know you want
this. All those looks you've been giving me -- you know you want this as
much as I do."
I tried to get up, but he had me pinned down. He kissed me again, his lips
rough against my mouth and I thought about the day before in the library,
how he'd said I was beautiful. And so I lay there, the smell of the damp
ground mingling with the sharper scent of pine needles, the slightly smoky
odor of his jacket. A sudden sharp stab of pain made me cry out. Johnny grabbed
my wrists, pulled them above my head and pressed down.
"Oh, God, this feels good," he moaned. His hips rocked back and forth with
greater urgency. His eyes, above mine, were slightly unfocused. A thin line
of sweat formed on his upper lip. He gave one last thrust, and then he was
still. His grip on me slackened.
I rolled a little away from him, wincing at the soreness between my legs,
feeling an unfamiliar stickiness.
His breathing was still ragged, but he heaved himself to a sitting position
and then stood.
"We should be getting back," he said curtly.
I expected him to offer me a hand to help me up, but instead he walked
I didn't see him the next day at school. I looked, but he was nowhere to
be found. Gradually I noticed a different kind of silence when I passed
by a group of students. "Well, I guess it's true what they say about Klingons,
isn't it?" was one stray comment I overheard. I stopped, turned around.
Instead of averting his eyes, the boy leered at me, and ran his tongue suggestively
over his lips.
I ran. I don't know where I was going, or how long it was, but when I became
aware of my surroundings, I was outside, near the gym. A wave of nausea
rose up in my throat, and I retched.
"Are you all right?" I looked up to see Johnny. He exhaled a cloud of smoke,
a burning cylinder in his hand. He regarded me curiously.
Embarrassed at being seen in such an unflattering light, I was nevertheless
glad to see him. "Yeah, I'm fine."
He nodded. "Listen, I was wondering, would you like to get together later?"
I felt relieved. I didn't quite understand the new-found hostility confronting
me in school, but at least I still had Johnny.
The next afternoon, Johnny and I met again, but with a difference. He'd
brought a friend with him.
Afterwards, my hands shook as I attempted to straighten my clothes, keeping
my head bowed to hide the tears I fought to keep back. I don't remember
the name of Johnny's friend anymore. I just remember he had dark hair --
in contrast to Johnny's blond--and the beginnings of peach fuzz sprouting
on his cheeks and chin. And I remember the way he laughed as he said, "You
were right, John-boy, Klingons are easy."
The rest of my school days on Kessik weren't much different. The pattern
was set. There were other Johnnys -- boys who'd express an interest in me.
Boys whom I'd go with -- because it was better than being alone -- while
their interest lasted. Some were better than others; those were the ones
who'd still smile occasionally or say hi when I went past, even after they'd
gotten what they were after.
My mother must have known what was going on, but she never showed any sign
of it, or any inclination to intervene. Only once did she ever say something.
I'd gotten back home late one evening, to find her still awake. She never
waited up for me, never seemed to care what I did as long as it didn't contradict
her precious Klingon traditions or code. Those lectures I got in plenty;
there were times I wanted to scream back at her, "If it's so important to
you, why the hell are we living out here instead of Qo'noS? Together with
other Klingons, where we -- where I -- wouldn't be so out of place?" But
I never did.
On this particular evening, she took in my disheveled hair, my bruised
and swollen lips, the uneven closures on my sweater. She turned back to
her PADD. I was halfway up the stairs when I heard her speak.
"If you think what you're doing is going to make them stay, you're mistaken.
They always leave; remember that. No matter how much you give, it's never
enough. They always leave."
I froze in mid-step. The subject of my father's leaving was one we never
discussed, not even once. I turned around, but saw only the back of her
head, her proud profile not softened even in the muted light. A million
questions rushed to my lips, there were so many things I wanted to ask her.
Things I wanted to scream at her, what kind of a mother was she to let me
do this, did she know how lost I was, did she even care. But I said none
of them. Instead, the image of Johnny Kay rose up in my mind, grunting as
he rocked back and forth above me. Only the face looming above me, contorted
with lust, was my father's.
I couldn't get away fast enough. I stumbled into my room, threw myself
on my bed. But the tears wouldn't come.
I went to Starfleet Academy because it was expected of me. It was unthinkable
that Owen Paris' son not pursue a career in Starfleet and because I didn't
really have any idea of what else I wanted to do with my life, I said what
the hell, passed the entrance exams, and decided to major in physics and
astronomy because I loved to fly and figured I'd be a pilot. My father didn't
particularly care -- he wanted me in Starfleet and he wanted me to be a credit
to the Paris name. Well, I did excel at the Academy, but not quite in the
way my father probably wanted.
I earned quite a name for myself at the Academy as a ladies' man and to
be frank, I was rather proud of my reputation and more importantly, my skill
as a lover. There had been many other girls since Molly, and none of them
complained or acted as if they weren't enjoying themselves as much as I
was. Maybe I'd learned a little finesse, or maybe I just happened to pick
girls who were more experienced and knew what to expect, didn't just lie
back with their legs open and expect me to do all the work. It was, I thought,
a win-win situation.
"They say you're the best fuck around," a third-year named Lily said one
night. She was straddling me, and I reached up to cup her breasts in my
hands. Granted, I'm mostly a leg man, but I'm not going to shy away from
a beautiful pair of breasts either.
"I certainly do try my best," I said modestly, trying to move my hips upwards,
but Lily wasn't having any of that. She settled back slightly so the tip
of my cock brushed up against her ass. A singularly frustrating and uncomfortable
position to be in, especially since she insisted on continuing to move back
and forth at the same time.
"I'm pretty good myself." Lily leaned forward so that the tips of her blond
hair skimmed her nicely tanned shoulders.
"So I hear." It was hard to talk properly with a view like the one I had.
"Well, we'll just have to see who's better then, right?"
I grinned. Now there was a challenge I liked to hear. I flipped
her onto her back and pinned her arms above her head with my hand.
"What are we playing for?" I asked.
"Hmmm," Lily said. "You're only a first year. You just got here in September,
"Then we'll do it this way. You win, I introduce you to my friends. I win,
I'd seen Lily's friends. Gorgeous, all of them, terrific bodies. I cupped
her face in my hands. "Now those are terms I can agree to."
We only spent one night together, Lily and I, but we thoroughly exhausted
each other. Thanks to that encounter, I suddenly had access to a whole phalanx
of upper class females, none of whom objected to fucking eighteen year-old
boys. My success with Lily emboldened me. I already knew I was handsome
and on occasion could be very charming. My father was an admiral and even
though the two of us weren't close, I had no problem telling women I had
the inside track in Starfleet. They seemed to like that, that sense of power.
I'd say, "What area are you interested in? Maybe my father knows of a good
posting for you."
My intentions were good, honestly, but at some visceral level, I also
knew my father would have no interest in helping anyone out on anything
other than merits; competence in bed, at least for him, wasn't a factor in
climbing the Starfleet ladder. Maybe if our relationship was different, if
we were actually close, I might have had a chance at not being a liar. The
last thing I wanted my father to know was that my credo at the Academy wasn't
to become an honor and tribute to the Paris name, but rather to work my way
through as many women's beds as possible.
I had no sooner left one woman when I was already thinking about the next
conquest. I was a man in motion; the more women, the better. And yes, I
did skip classes often to chase after a woman. I might not be able to calculate
the rate of decay for a planetary system off the top of my head, but my
education in other areas more than made up for it. Anna, a life-sciences
major, gave me a piece of trivia I'll never forget.
She'd been crouched between my legs -- we were in a utility closet on the
first floor of the Cochrane building -- and I'd been pressed back again
the wall, the shelves cutting into my skin. My hands clutched at her hair,
pulling her closer because, I liked the feeling of a woman's tongue
running the length of my penis. Oh hell, I wasn't picky -- any tongue would
do. The warmth, the sensation, and I had closed my eyes, my breath coming
out in short, hot bursts. I hadn't thought to warn the woman, so intent on
my own pleasure, which it came as a complete shock when she spit out on me.
"What did you do that for?" I asked. The other women I'd had always swallowed.
Anna stood up, wiping her mouth on the sleeve of her gray tunic. "Semen
has the same amount of calories as white wine and frankly, I'd rather have
When I turned eighteen, I left Kessik for Starfleet Academy. I still couldn't
believe I had been accepted, though the guidance counselor had told me more
than once my scores in math and the sciences were high enough. It was with
pride mixed with trepidation I told my mother the news. It's funny, now
that I look back on it, that it took something positive like this -- a chance
for me to make a fresh start, among people who didn't look down on me --
to make her blow up the way she did. I don't even remember anymore, exactly
what she said, but her meaning was clear enough. She accused me of deliberately
running away, turning my back on her and everything she represented. She
wasn't far wrong, though it only occurred to me much later.
San Francisco was a bewildering mix of noise, of flash and crowds. After
my first few tentative forays, I tended to avoid the city itself, though
my cadet uniform afforded me anonymity, allowed me to move without attracting
a second glance. I knew all about being invisible, and it wasn't something
I enjoyed, even though it was a relief at first. I made few friends; my
shyness was misinterpreted as aloofness, even arrogance. I only knew one
way to break the ice, and I was determined not to do that here. I'd left
the old B'Elanna behind.
Or so I'd hoped. Yes, the promiscuous behavior was gone, but the hot Klingon
temper remained. Instead of fighting with my peers, I found myself clashing
with my professors. Soon I'd made a name for myself, all right--as an unruly,
argumentative individual, someone who probably wouldn't make the Starfleet
cut. Not for lack of ability, my advisor told me, but for my insubordinate
It was in the midst of all this that I found my first real boyfriend.
When I think back about Max Burke, I realize the term doesn't really apply
to him, never did, but I didn't know what the hell else to call him. A boyfriend
was supposed to be someone who tenderly loved you, made you feel like a
'real woman' --at least according to the Terran romance holonovels my roommate
left lying around. My relationship with Max was closer to the Klingon model;
we argued almost nonstop. Everything was a constant competition, to see who
could best the other--in the classroom, the lab, the gym, even in bed. I
hated the 'pet name' he called me, BLT, the smug expression in his eyes when
he thought he'd won another round in our eternal contest. But there was no
denying there was something exhilarating about him, that something inside
me responded to him in a way I never had to anyone before.
Not that it was a particularly healthy, or desirable, relationship. Especially
after I'd scored higher than him on a lab practical, or out-distanced him
on the quad (those redundant Klingon organs did wonders for my stamina),
he'd find a way to put me down. With just a few well-chosen words, Max could
reduce me to tears. He knew exactly what to say -- and how much it hurt.
Afterward, he never apologized or ever referred to it again. But we both
Sex with Max was different than it had been with the boys back home. For
the first time, I felt occasional twinges of excitement, instead of the
emptiness I'd always had felt before with other lovers, a feeling that had
made me think sex wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It wasn't just a question
of technique--though Max wasn't a fumbling adolescent boy--but I couldn't
put a name to it, either. Maybe it was because he didn't tire of me, kept
coming back for more. When two months had gone by, I was on edge, expecting
it to end. But he showed no signs of running away. He never said anything
about loving me, not that I expected it. At times I wondered if I could possibly
be falling in love with him.
The first few times we made love, in his cramped and messy dorm room, I'd
kept my top on, afraid of someone walking in, despite Max's assurances he'd
set the privacy lock.
"I never thought of Klingons as having a sense of modesty," he said, laughing.
His hands, kneading my shoulders through the material, dipped down lower,
making contact with my dorsal ridges. For a moment, he faltered. My breath
caught in my throat -- Max had never referred to my alien heritage before.
I heard the echoes of taunts from years gone by, heard too, "Is it true
what they say about Klingon women?" And then his hands moved lower, to my
panties, and slipped inside. "Suit yourself," he said, tugging at the fabric.
"Just as long as these come off."
The next weekend, perhaps emboldened by the news that Max's roommate had
gone home for a few days and we had the whole place to ourselves, I pulled
off my shirt and tossed it on the floor. In the near-gloom, Max pulled me
to him, his mouth sliding down my throat, then to my breasts. I moaned as
he took one in his mouth, began sucking hard. His hand teased the nipple
of the other breast, evoking sensations I'd never felt before. He thrust
deep inside me, and I cried out. As the pace quickened, I felt a heightened
sense of anticipation, of a rising storm. My hips began jerking, spasms rippling
through me. I heard Max make the sound deep in his throat that always heralded
his climax, just as I crested in an orgasm of my own.
Max collapsed on top of me, his breathing slowly returning to normal. He
made as if to get up -- probably to jump in the shower like he always did
afterwards -- and then stopped. "What the fuck?"
"What is it?" I asked, my voice sounding far away to my own ears. "What's
"I fucking can't get out!" he exploded. "My cock is stuck!"
I couldn't help myself, I giggled. Partly at the note of panic in his voice,
partly in relief mixed with wonder that I'd finally managed to come. "It's
the Klingon withdrawal reflex," I said, at last, and bit back a snicker
as I remembered how my mother had described it long ago. "Or rather, an
anti-withdrawal reflex. It's perfectly normal."
"What the hell are you saying? This is normal? It never happened before!"
"The vaginal muscles contract after orgasm," I explained, self-consciously.
In the dim light, I couldn't make out Max's features very clearly but he
didn't look happy. "It's supposedly an evolutionary relic to ensure mating
resulted in fertilization--"
"How long does it last?" he interrupted.
"Just a couple of minutes, it should be subsiding soon." Even as I spoke,
I could feel the muscles relaxing.
"There, you can--"
Max was up and out of the bed immediately, with an unmistakable sigh of
relief. A sudden blaze of light from the open bathroom door blinded me; all
I could see was his dark silhouette in the doorway. His voice perfectly level,
he said, "By the way, did you know your breasts are uneven? I can understand
why you wanted to keep your shirt on."
He disappeared into the bathroom. I clutched the sheet to me, and tried
to hold back my tears.
That was the last time Max ever fucked me in the conventional way. His
preferred method for getting off was to have me suck him -- which was something
I hated. Not that he cared how I felt about it, or ever offered to reciprocate.
He'd simply pull down his pants, lie down on the bed and say, "Do me." At
least this was something I could do fully clothed, didn't have to worry
about any unflattering comments about my body.
Only once did I ever object, try to tell him this wasn't what I wanted.
He didn't listen to my protests. He caught my wrists and forced me down on
the floor at his feet, in a kneeling position. With his other hand, he grabbed
my head, and thrust his cock in my mouth. I gagged and fought to turn away,
but to no avail. Finally, he was through.
He tucked himself back in. "That's more like it." I would have killed him
if I hadn't been so busy spitting and choking.
The next day, he acted like nothing had happened.
I don't know how things would have gone after that, as far as Max and I
were concerned. I was thrown out of the Academy a few days later--excuse me,
'invited to leave' is the expression the Commandant of Students used, implying
it was to our mutual benefit if Starfleet and I parted ways. It was either
that or else undergo formal proceedings including a hearing. It was a foregone
conclusion; I knew I was going to be expelled for 'conduct unbecoming to
a cadet.' I had split a fellow engineering student's lip and broken his nose
after the damn fool made a crucial error in the warp simulator which would
have resulted in a cascade reaction. I was already on probation: the note
in my personal file said 'displays persistent inability to get along with
fellow cadets.' This was the last straw. I didn't give them the satisfaction--I
quit before they could kick me out.
So there I was, a failure, someone who hadn't managed to get past the beginning
of second year. One or two people expressed their regrets. Max wasn't one
of them. The last time I saw him, I was coming out of the dormitory, the
duffel containing all my possessions slung over my shoulder. Max was standing
on the lawn, talking to a few other cadets. His eyes met mine, then slid
to my bag.
"Tough luck, BLT," he said.
"Yeah," I answered.
He smiled, in that irritating way that always made me want to smash his
face in. "See you around."
I had no clear idea what I was going to do next. Kessik was out of the
question--I hadn't been back home, nor had my mother and I even spoken,
since the day I left, a little more than a year before. I had no credits,
no job, no place to stay. But I was damned if I was going to hang around
San Francisco. "Sure," I said. "I'll see you." In hell, I added silently.
My life was irrevocably changed during my third year at the Academy when
my father recommended I study at a campus other than the main one in San
Francisco. He suggested Sydney, which had a strong flight training program,
but to be contrary, I went to Marseilles (I majored in women, but that's
neither here nor there).
I never intended to fall in love.
Odile was French, beautiful, and intelligent. I admired her, not just for
her physical attributes (which were considerable) but for her mind. Yes,
a cliché, I know, but I didn't mind spending hours in the library
with Odile. My grades had never been better, I had never been happier. In
occasional moments of whimsy, I indulged in those daydreams often attributed
to women, and not to men. I could see myself spending the rest of my life
with Odile. I could think of nothing better than the daily routine and comfort
of always waking up next to the same woman.
Sex with Odile was different. Not only did she seem to enjoy herself as
much as I did, but I was fascinated by her utter lack of inhibition, how she
wasn't afraid to ask for what she wanted. The women I was used to were more
docile, more intent on pleasing me than on their own satisfaction. I didn't
care about equality, let alone ever considered relinquishing control to a
partner-- until Odile.
"No, Tom," she would say to me in that sweet, lilting French accented voice
of hers, "not like this, like this." And she would take my hand (or
sometimes she would say, "You try this time with your tongue") and show
me exactly what (and where) it was she wanted. And she would tell
me, "If you don't like what I do, then you tell me."
The concept was completely foreign to me. I'd been very much a graduate
of the "slam, bam, wham, thank you ma'am" school and it took me some time
to get used to the fact that what I wanted wasn't always what Odile was in
the mood for or that I needed to consider her needs as much as my own.
Odile taught me things outside of bed, too, like French, little convenient
phrases here and there. My father had once lectured me on the follies of
relying too much on the Universal Translator, but until I met Odile, I had
no desire to learn another language. But Odile managed to turn even speech
into a shared intimacy.
"Je t'aime, mon petit chou," she said one night as we lay in bed.
"Did you just call me a cabbage?" I asked, puzzled.
"It is a term of endearment."
"I got the 'I love you' part. It's the cabbage I'm not understanding."
I nibbled at her ear, pressing my lips in quick succession up and down her
"We say it differently here. You know there are stories we tell les enfants,
that they were born in a cabbage patch. We find them, you see, when the
I laughed and kissed her some more, wrapping my arms around her. "Odile..."
In that moment, I could imagine an entire lifetime. Hell, I even imagined
our own little cabbages. I imagined us walking hand in hand to little
shops, buying our groceries on a daily basis. I started practicing by ordering
cheese and bread at the local stores, and was gratified when the store owner
(his name was Henri) smiled politely at my accent.
"Il apprend bien," Henri said to Odile after I successfully managed an
entire transaction in French one day. Odile smiled at me fondly and nodded
"Oui," she said, and then pointed at a jar of chocolate. "We will take
some of that too." Her lips turned up seductively at the corners and Henri
nodded knowingly. I felt a little embarrassed going back to the store after
that incident, but Odile insisted we were fine.
"This chocolate, he is not for cooking," she said, telling me what I'd
already figured out. It was a warm day, just a hint of breeze and not a
cloud in the faded blue sky above. And so we took our time as we walked hand
in hand back to the little flat we shared. "They know this, all the store
keepers. There is no secret when you buy. Trust me, you will like it."
I let her spread me with chocolate, and she very carefully and very slowly
licked it off me. I told her that night, in her own language, that I loved
her. And even though I found it a little silly, I called her a cabbage.
She smiled and kissed me on the cheek, before snuggling in my arms and falling
asleep. I lay awake that night, thinking about the future and what it would
mean for us.
Forever with Odile didn't happen. I killed her. So now you know the truth.
That I killed the one person I loved more than anything in the universe
because I insisted on going through with the fucking starburst formation,
even though it was against Academy – hell, Starfleet -- regulations. But
I wanted to do it anyway because we were on spring break and I thought it'd
be a way to blow off some steam. We needed four pilots, so along with two
of my buddies from San Francisco, an apprehensive Odile agreed to fly the
"D'accord," she said when I asked her if she was still willing to go through
with the starburst formation. "Si vous voulez faire cela, nous pouvons essayer."
Her use of her native language betrayed her uneasiness, but for once I wasn't
listening to the cadence of her speech. I heard the lack of enthusiasm,
but I pushed for it anyway because I was already dreaming of the glorious
moment when I and three of my closest and dearest friends pulled off this
risky and tricky aerial stunt. That day, instead of ending with champagne
toasts in a trendy upscale bar, exploded over the skies of Caldik Prime.
My career was in Starfleet was over before it had even started, my father
bitterly disappointed, but fuck all that.
Odile was dead.
I had killed her.
In the days/months/years following the 'incident' at Caldik Prime, I couldn't
get Odile out of my mind. I kept seeing her face in the crowd as I wandered
through the French countryside (France felt like home at this point in a
way San Francisco never did). A pale oval-shaped face, gray eyes, hair of
a certain shade of red, a tinkly laugh, long fingers topped with red nails
-- and every now and then, I'd think I'd heard her voice. One night, in a
Marseilles bar, surrounded by a bevy of long-legged scantily clad beauties,
I thought I saw Odile, in the flesh, miraculously returned to life. I jerked
nervously, spilling my drink all over myself.
My voice was hoarse when I approached the woman in question. Up close,
I could see it wasn't Odile after all, but the similarities were still striking.
She said she had a place just down the rue, perhaps I'd like to come up
for some vin et formage?
I never got her name. I've always thought of this woman as Odile La Deuxieme,
abbreviated in my mind as La Deuxieme. What I remember of this women amounts
simply to body parts. If my memory was cruel to Molly, it was even crueler
to La Deuxieme. La Deuxieme had long legs which she wrapped around me, her
heels pressing round indentations into my back as I moved above her. She
had long hair -- the same color as Odile's -- and even her perfume was the
same. She wasn't soft, but rather hard and sinewy. There was no comfort in
La Deuxieme other than the ferocity of physical release. She was like Odile
in that way: not shy, not sensitive, and certainly, very vocal. I stumbled
out of her flat the next day, my head spinning, my body aching. There were
red marks on my wrists from where she had bound me and I was convinced the
sticky sensation on the insides of my thighs were from leftover chocolate.
But the encounter with La Deuxieme banished at least one demon. Odile was
gone, replaced now by a faceless woman with long legs and a skillful tongue.
Even though I no longer needed to drink to forget Odile and Caldik Prime,
I still did. Drinking had become a habit, much like breathing -- and fucking.
I still thought of myself as sexy. I never felt so much power as when I
saw a woman eyeing me with undisguised lust. Despite the fact I was essentially
a homeless wanderer, I managed to gain quite a reputation and as a result,
I rarely slept alone.
Sandrine, the bartender at a Marseilles pub I frequented quite often, had
a soft spot for me. She was an older woman-- older than I liked, to be honest--with
bleached blond hair and faded blue eyes. A little on the heavy side, but
she was warm and comforting, and hell, a pretty fine fuck too. Some nights,
I was too drunk to make it home on my own and Sandrine would drag me upstairs
to her bed. She would tuck me in (the sheets smelled of lavender, which
reminded me of Molly), and would slip in next to me, wrapping her solid
arms around me.
After one such night, I woke with a splitting headache. I could smell coffee
brewing. I groaned. Even with the shades pulled halfway down, the light
in the apartment was too intense.
"Sandrine?" I called weakly.
"You are awake," she said. Her step was heavy on the wood floors. "How
do you feel?"
Sandrine sat on the edge of the bed. The sudden motion made my stomach
lurch. "You cannot continue like this, Thomas."
I groaned. God. A lecture? Now? Fuck.
"You eat now," Sandrine said. She stroked my forehead gently. "And then
you must go, Thomas."
I must have looked blank; hangover or no, I was usually on my way within
a short time of waking up the next morning.
"I mean, do not return here again." She repeated the words in French. "Ne
Huh? She was throwing me out? Sandrine? Unable to think clearly, I said,
my voice cracking, "Where do you expect me to go?"
"To your family. They will aid you."
"Shit, they won't," I said. I got up, nearly stumbling in my disorientation.
"I told you all about Caldik Prime, didn't I? I told you what happened there?
I told you about Odile! And you know my old man fucked me over, don't you?
That he just sat there, bastard, and let them kick me right out of Starfleet."
I didn't bother mentioning that I never had an especially strong desire
to be a Starfleet officer. "You think they will help me? Fuck no!" I was
screaming at her now.
Sandrine got up quietly and left the room. I sat back heavily on the bed.
After a few minutes, I got dressed and walked into the kitchen. Sandrine
was gone, but a baguette, with some brie, and a mug of steaming espresso
was waiting for me on the table, along with some credits.
After leaving Sandrine's, I headed off-world. No more Earth for me. It
was time to seek my fortune (such as it was) elsewhere. Mars was still too
close to home, so I headed towards Betazed. I heard there were profitable
trade routes there and so I landed an apprenticeship with a freighter company.
Piloting stuff from point A to point B isn't the most exciting job in the
world, but it got me back behind the controls of a ship again. And hell,
I enjoyed myself. Different destination every day, different bars, different
women (and men too; don't get me wrong, I preferred women, but like I said
before, I wasn't picky), and all in all, just more conquests for Thomas Eugene
I'm not ashamed to admit now that I hated sleeping alone. Sleeping alone
meant darkness and silence, the coldness of sheets against my bare skin.
It didn't matter to me who curled up next to me as long as I wasn't alone.
My education continued. I found out that Bajoran women are partial to having
the inside of their elbow suckled, that Ktarian women like to be on top,
that Betazoid women like it slow and gentle, and believe it or not, Vulcans
can go on for hours. In my mind, I kept a mental checklist, crossing off
each species, doing my best to remember the details of pleasure. I didn't
have much to keep me occupied in those days, but what little I did have,
I was determined to excel at.
For the next year or so after getting kicked out of the Academy, I drifted.
There's really no other way to describe it, both physically and mentally.
I spent my first night out of the Academy on a park bench. The next morning
I bummed a ride on a shuttle to Luna City and found myself a job in a Replimat,
waiting tables. Within a few months I'd saved enough to book passage out
of the Sol system.
There followed a series of lowly maintenance jobs, on a motley collection
of space craft, one more decrepit than the next, whose owners couldn't afford
to ask too many questions or bother about an employee's lack of credentials.
It quickly became obvious I had a knack for this sort of work. Battered
space yachts, Ferengi trading vessels, smugglers' cutters, Rigellian 'steamers',
surplus Federation runabouts bought dirt cheap at auction -- I handled them
all. My private nest-egg was growing; I began to entertain thoughts of maybe
buying a craft of my own one day, setting up my own trade routes.
I was working in the engine room of a tramp freighter -- Bolian registry
-- when the situation with the Cardassians came to a head. I didn't think
too much about the peace treaty, nor about the rise of the Maquis movement.
It was all a million light years away, as far as I was concerned.
Until the Cardassians boarded my freighter, and killed everyone else on
I didn't know what the cargo was, locked in the hold, nor did I particularly
care. If I'd been told we were smuggling phaser rifles to the Maquis --
or Abaccan creampuffs -- I would have shrugged and gone back to my work
without further thought. Yet, fighting for my life in that very same hold,
I was grateful to have a weapon in my hand. At least I wouldn't go down without
a struggle, like some honor-challenged p'taq. The thought startled me --
I had purposely turned my back on anything Klingon long ago. It's funny what
goes through your mind when you think you're about to die.
But I didn't die, thanks to Chakotay and his fellow renegades. I accompanied
him back to their base, together with the precious weapons whose safety
had been paramount in his mind, had been the reason for the 'rescue' operation.
I didn't care; I was grateful to be alive, grateful, too, for any scrap
of kindness that came my way. I'd learned the hard way how rare that was.
That evening, sitting around eating a meal--for all they were fugitives,
Chakotay's cell had a seemingly better diet than I'd managed in a long time--I
felt more than gratitude. Listening to his soft voice explaining why he'd
chosen to resign from Starfleet to fight for a cause an impartial observer
would deem lost even before the first shots had been fired, something stirred
"Could you use another engineer?" I asked off-handedly, as if it didn't
matter very much to me either way.
A smile lit his face. "We can always use people," Chakotay said, the look
in his eyes one of unqualified welcome. Their warmth seemed to reach deep
inside me. "Especially someone of your caliber."
Nothing came of that initial attraction, of course. One of the other women,
a Bajoran called Seska, let me know immediately and in no uncertain terms
that she and Chakotay were an item. I remember how she walked up to him,
in the midst of our conversation, and slipped her arms around his neck, pulled
his head down to hers. Keeping his arm securely around her waist, Seska
smiled when Chakotay made the introductions. I didn't even blink. I'd had
enough of 'relationships', thank you, and the last thing I wanted to do
was complicate my standing among the Maquis.
I was glad of my decision more than once in the ensuing weeks. Seska wore
a determined air of sweetness, of almost girlish friendliness -- which could
turn hard and coldly calculating in an instant. I walked in on her 'interrogation'
of a prisoner one time, something even my Klingon stomach found hard to
watch. I shuddered when she turned away from the battered pulp that had
once been a living being, and said, "Well, I suppose that's all we're going
to get from that one." Without missing a beat, she went on, "By the way,
B'Elanna, you did very well today. We picked up a few cases of Saurian brandy
on the last raid, you know. There's going to be a celebration tonight --
make sure you don't miss it." She smiled. "I know Chakotay will be disappointed
if you're not there."
Yes, I got the message loud and clear. I worked hard, keeping the 40-year
old engine of our battered ship running as smoothly as possible. I kept
my head down and didn't make waves. As the months passed, I settled in.
I never thought too much about where I was and where I was going -- life
in the Maquis wasn't conducive to long-term plans. Not when every day might
be your last. We were soldiers in a war where the odds were tremendously
against us. The enemy -- and the Starfleet vessels assigned to hunt us down
were just as much our enemy as the hated Cardassians responsible for unspeakable
horrors in the DMZ -- were better fed, better equipped, had manpower and
resources vastly exceeding our own. Yet we never gave up. We went on raids,
fought our battles. Sometimes in space, sometimes on the surface of a planet
or moon, hand to hand, with phasers, knives or our bare fists. Some of us
were injured, some died, and some lived to fight another day.
Relationships among the 30-odd members of our cell were at once deeper
and more superficial than I remembered from life 'on the outside.' Casual
coupling was the rule of the day for most, particularly people like Dalby
and Henley. Those two slept with anyone and anything, regardless of species
or even gender. I balled my fists the first time Dalby approached me, but
fortunately he knew how to take no for an answer. Why make a fuss when there
was always someone else available? Sex in the Maquis had little if anything
to do with love or tenderness. No, it was a way of asserting that you were
Celebrations after successful raids, licking our wounds when we'd been
bested in a firefight -- it made no difference. Everything -- and everyone
-- existed on a more basic, primal level.
Even Chakotay. Sometimes I used to wonder about him and Seska. He was such
a contradiction. He could fight -- and hate -- as well as the best of us,
and yet at odd moments, there was an innate gentleness that seemed out of
place, a softness that had should have burned away long ago. And I used
to wonder with barely disguised envy how he could stand to live this way,
how he had managed to see so much pain and horror and ugliness and yet keep
a firm grasp on his soul. It wasn't Seska who was responsible for that;
there was nothing spiritual or soft about their relationship.
Time passed. Our struggle never seemed to get easier; every success had
its losses. People came and went -- some through death, others capture. We
lost Mikela, our munitions expert, on one particularly disastrous raid on
a Cardassian ore refinery. She was young, like most of us were, barely out
of her teens, but with a face and manner that made her seem even younger.
Chakotay put his hand on Bendera's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Kurt," he said
softly. Mikela was some type of relative of his, I think, perhaps a distant
cousin. She'd joined us after the rest of her family had died in the Zegovinian
massacre, and Bendera had always been protective of her.
Bendara stood staring at the doorway of the crumbling warehouse we'd taken
shelter in, almost as if he expected her to appear any moment. His eyes
moved around the room, shifting from person to person. There was no one
present who didn't have some kind of injury, some superficial, others that
would prove to be fatal despite--or because of--our meager medical supplies.
Chakotay himself was very pale beneath the bandage wrapped somewhat clumsily
around his forehead. Seska had approached him with the dermal regenerator
earlier, but he'd waved her on to someone else.
Finally, Bendara spoke, his voice oddly calm. "Killed?"
Chakotay shook his head. He seemed to sway on his feet as he said, "Captured."
Bendara turned away. We all knew what happened to the prisoners the Cardassians
took. "Was she wounded?"
"I don't know," Chakotay said. "I didn't see what happened."
Tuvok looked up from dressing Hogan's shoulder wound. "She sustained a
disruptor blast to her left leg," the Vulcan said, no trace of emotion in
his voice. "I could not tell how serious it was."
"The Prophets grant it's serious enough that she dies of her wounds soon,"
Bendara said softly. No one answered.
Later that evening, I took a bottle of cheap but potent Skagarian ale from
beside Ayala, who lay snoring with his head on the table, and went outside
to where Bendara sat alone. He didn't say anything as I sat down beside
him, but he did accept the bottle. He took a long drink, then passed it
to me. I drank as well, wincing at the harsh taste, my eyes watering as
it burned its way down my throat.
"She was so young," he said at last.
"I know," I said quietly.
We finished the bottle between us. Finally, Bendara held it upside down,
but only a few last drops trickled out. "Damn," he said and threw it aside.
"I think there's another inside," I offered and started to rise.
"No," he said. He held my arm to keep me from going. "That's not what I
It wasn't making love. It wasn't even about lust, just a basic reaching
out between two people. Or would have been, if we both hadn't been so cock-eyed
drunk. If I'd thought about it, I wouldn't have done it. I liked Kurt, he
was a good and decent man. He wasn't wrapped up in bitterness like some
of the others. Like Chakotay, he'd managed to hold on to some basic essence
of himself, in his case, an absurd sense of humor about himself and others.
I didn't want to risk losing his friendship, but I couldn't stand seeing
him so completely quenched.
There wasn't any finesse to the act. We groped each other furtively, roughly
pushing aside any clothing in the way. A few quick thrusts and it was over.
Bendara never said anything afterward, not the next morning or in the ensuing
weeks, to indicate that he even remembered what had transpired between us.
And that was just fine by me. I was determined to keep myself strong, and
as I'd surely learned by now, the best way to do that was to make sure I
belonged to no one but me. Any passion was poured into an all-consuming rage
directed at those who sought to destroy us, fueled by every injustice and
slight I'd ever felt.
Occasionally, Chakotay would pick up a new recruit from somewhere. Tom
Paris was one of them, but he barely registered on my personal radar. He
was no more than a transient -- a very transient, as it turned out -- annoyance.
He was only with us a matter of weeks before the damn fool managed to get
himself captured -- or turned traitor (there's a difference of opinion on
this, depending on who you ask) -- on his very first mission. Seska had
cautioned Chakotay about sending Paris out on his own, but we simply couldn't
spare someone to accompany him. A good thing, as it turned out.
Paris himself was no real loss. For all his reputation as a hot-shot pilot,
he'd seemed to spend more time hitting on the female members of the cell
than in contributing anything useful. Not that he ever tried anything with
me. I probably would have killed him if he'd so much as glanced in my direction.
No one wasted any tears on him once he was gone; the loss of the scout ship
was much more serious. No, I never gave him another thought -- until our
paths crossed again in the Delta Quadrant.
Hell of a way for an admiral's son to end up. Carting shit from one end
of the galaxy to the other. Beta Quadrant, Alpha Quadrant -- it all blurred
together after while. And yeah, I'd be lying if I said the freighter job
wasn't fun at first and for once in my life, I didn't fuck it up. I got my
goods delivered on time, made my pick-ups, and hell, half the time I was
ahead of schedule. But it was a dull life and I wanted something more. So
when I ran into a man with a tattoo on his forehead, looking for a pilot,
I stepped right up.
"Are you good?" the man called Chakotay asked me. "We can't afford second-rate
"The very best." I offered him my best (and most flirtatious) smile, but
Chakotay wasn't so easily won over.
"You were Starfleet, weren't you?"
"'Were' being the operative word. Got kicked out." I leaned casually against
the bar. Chakotay was dressed in leather, his hair cropped short, and I
have to say, I found him damn attractive; if he had been willing, I'd have
dragged Chakotay off to my bed right there and then. But I knew he probably
lacked the spunk in bed that I preferred. Chakotay had a calm, modulated
voice and a languid way of moving. I found it hard to believe that he could
ever conjure up the enthusiasm needed to motivate a group of freedom fighters
(terrorists?), but here he was, telling me that he was leader of a Maquis
cell. "I had a little accident at Caldik Prime." Amazing how years later
I could be so glib about what happened there. There had been a time when
I could not even mention the location where Odile had died without choking
up. But here I was in a smoky bar, my throat scratchy, pretending that the
Academy had simply overreacted to a simple joyride.
"And your father didn't do anything to help you?" Chakotay's eyes narrowed
"You know who I am?"
A small smile played on Chakotay's lips. "Give me some credit, Paris. In
my line of business, we don't just randomly approach people and ask for
volunteers. We never know when someone will betray us."
"I just want to fly," I said. "You won't find anyone better than me." I
leaned forward a little. "I like to dabble in a little excitement on the side,
a little bit of risk." I cocked my head to the side. "I'm not going to turn
tail and run the first time someone fires on me. You can count on that."
Chakotay still didn't looked convinced so I tried one more time. "I've smuggled
stuff before, have outrun the authorities more than once. I've got the experience
and skills you need on your team. I've got no loyalty to any one anymore."
I looked at him straight. "I just want to fly. Give me this opportunity and
I'll be the best damn pilot you could ever have."
Chakotay looked me up and down carefully. "Don't make me regret this."
"You won't." We even shook hands on this.
At the Academy, my status as a future aviator was a formula for insta-sexiness,
a magnet for the ladies. The Maquis, however, were not impressed with my
charms (though admittedly, the years of heavy drinking and womanizing were
starting to take a toll). They were more interested in how I performed as
a pilot, not in bed, and even then, my flying skills didn't win widespread
admiration. For once in my life, I was at a total loss and my usual source
of comfort -- sex -- wasn't available to me and hell, that rotgut liquor
the Maquis were so fond of burned my throat as it went down. It tasted little
better oil used to lube up the interior of a plasma manifold system, but
it was enough to keep me going and the Maquis, they loved their drink like
They were a hard-drinking, hard-playing group of folks, scarily intense;
their sense of purpose, their moral righteousness, their determination --
all of that threw me off guard.
Two women -- B'Elanna Torres and Seska -- were Chakotay's main confidantes.
Neither woman paid much attention to me and I wanted so much to believe
that they were too busy fighting the Federation to have sex or build close
relationships, but that wasn't the case. I knew Seska had a thing for Chakotay
and once, I saw Bendara and Torres slip off together. I followed them, just
because I couldn't imagine the pugnacious Torres with anyone, especially
not the quiet and taciturn Bendara.
"What are you doing?" Seska stood behind me. Her hand was tight on my shoulder.
I turned slowly around. For a Bajoran, Seska was quite tall. I tried to
remember the name of the last Bajoran woman I'd fucked, but drew a blank.
Whoever she was, she was good, very vocal (I enjoy screamers), and not afraid
to take the initiative.
"I, uh, was looking for, uh, Chakotay," I said.
Seska's eyes narrowed. "I don't like you, Paris," she said. "None of us
Bad enough I had gone without sex and quality alcohol for six weeks now
and then this crushing blow. I knew I was a fuck-up, but did I really want
to be reminded of my inferiority on such a constant basis? I lifted my chin
"I'm here to fly," I said. "Your opinion of me doesn't matter."
"Maybe it does, because Chakotay listens to me." Seska's lips curled up
a little. "Don't betray us, Paris, or we'll hunt you down." With that, she
turned sharply around and left, disappearing into the shadows. I stayed
in my spot, straining to hear. If I tipped my head just a little, I could
see Bendara pushing Torres up against the wall, her legs wrapped around
his waist. I took a deep breath and walked away, feeling suddenly and painfully
The next morning, I flew my first and last mission for the Maquis.
I never expected to wear a Starfleet uniform again. I figured, when they
kicked me out of Starfleet Academy, that was that. I expected to be a Maquis
till the day I died (which could be tomorrow, or next week or month). But
then came that fateful day in the Badlands, and everything changed.
There's a giant blank spot in my memory of everything that happened after
the Caretaker's wave hit our ship. One minute I was trying desperately to
keep a stable warp field as we wove in and out of the plasma streams, trying
to evade Gul Evek's pursuit -- the next, I was waking up in the underground
Ocampan city. Even afterward, there's just a jumble of emotions in place
of the events that happened next: the horror of being used for some type
of alien experiment, the feeling of being trapped, the frantic attempt at
escape, the blasting heat of the arid planet surface, the cool air currents
in the Starfleet vessel's sickbay for treatment -- and the last desperate
battle against the Kazon which ended with Chakotay's destruction of our ship,
effectively stranding us on Voyager. And then Janeway's order to destroy
the Array, trapping us permanently on the other side of the Galaxy. I could
have killed her then and there -- and probably would have, if it hadn't been
It was cold comfort to realize that the rest of the Maquis -- and even
some of the Starfleet crew -- were just as furious as I was. But there we
were. I listened sullenly to Chakotay's explanations of the need to make
the best of things -- both in public and in private. And I grudgingly agreed
to go along with him.
It was hard, those early days. Constantly on edge, it's no wonder my temper
often flared up at everyone around, particularly those Starfleet idiots
in Engineering. I thought I'd be spending the rest of my life in the brig,
if they didn't unceremoniously dump me on some planet. But Janeway didn't
work that way. She meant what she said, all those words about 'second chances'
and 'fresh starts' weren't mere lip service. I laughed in derision, while
hoping so desperately it was true. I'd made more attempts at beginning again
than I cared to remember; who was to say this time would be any different?
I was certainly persona non gratis on Voyager for the first couple
years. The Starfleeters hated me because they knew about Caldik Prime. The
Maquis hated me because they thought I'd betrayed them. And worse of all?
No alcohol on the ship. Not a fucking drop of anything that wasn't synthehol.
It was almost as bad as being back in prison, in that respect. I'd taken
Janeway's offer to be an observer on her mission to capture Chakotay not
only because I wanted out, but because I was sick of being such a fuck-up.
Just a few weeks on Voyager and after we got back, Janeway agreed
to put in a good word for me with the parole board; so yeah, I was looking
at Voyager at a kind of 'get out of jail free' card. The Caretaker,
however, had other ideas
Despite my unpopularity aboard Voyager, I enjoyed a handful of liaisons,
mostly of the one-night stand variety. I admit to having a 'thing' for the
Captain and once or twice, we played pool in the holodeck version of Sandrine's
bar and another time, had dinner in her quarters. She took a keen interest
in me, but hers was more of a professional interest and she always maintained
a cool dignity and slight but discernible distance from her subordinates.
Once while shooting pool, I shifted position and (accidentally?) bumped
her in the ass. Janeway glared at me and carefully moved aside. That was
the end of that. Lesson learned: never, ever make moves on your captain,
especially one who served with your old man. Flattering, maybe, appreciated?
Not in the least bit.
And then there was the Ocampan. Kes caught my attention -- pretty, intelligent,
soft eyes, feminine and as I've made it clear, it didn't take much to stir
me up. I flirted shamelessly, but in the end, my friendship with Neelix
won out and I grudgingly left her alone.
So in the absence of 'the real thing', I made do with holographic beauties
(trust me, light energy does not compare to flesh and blood) and on occasion,
both of the Delaney twins. In Megan and Jenny, I recognized the same need
for physical contact and connection that I had. Sleeping with them -- sometimes
one at a time, sometimes both together -- was nothing less than mind-blowing.
I had spent years honing my skills, growing more sophisticated with each
encounter, and Megan and Jenny were as adventurous and daring as I could
Once Jenny told me that she had always wanted to "do it in the turbolift."
I raised an eyebrow. I had tried it once on the mandatory training course
that was part of the second year curriculum at the Academy, but the attempt
had ended badly with the lady tumbling to the floor when the turbolift lurched
unexpectedly and then, a few seconds later, a lieutenant from Engineering
had walked in on us. But this was Voyager, everyone already expected
me to behave badly anyway, and so we went for it. Jenny pressed up against
the wall, long legs wrapped around my waist, breasts pushed up against my
chest, her arms around my neck. It lasted exactly two minutes and by the
time the turbolift doors opened, we were back to normal (albeit slightly
disheveled with some telltale stains in certain parts of our uniforms). The
gossip concerning what Jenny and I had done made its rounds through the Voyager
grapevine and at one point, I thought Captain Janeway would call me in on
the carpet, but she never did.
I wasn't thrilled to be on Voyager in the first place, and I was
even less thrilled to discover one of my fellow 'Janeway Rehab Projects'
was the very same Tom Paris I'd hoped I'd seen the last of. He didn't seem
to be any more popular among the Starfleet personnel than the Maquis were,
and there were plenty of our people who had no lost love for him either. Ayala
told me how Chakotay almost decked Paris on Voyager's bridge when
he first beamed over and caught sight of him. Even the news of Tuvok's spying
didn't rouse quite the hatred among the Maquis that Paris did, with his smarmy
expression, his smart-ass comments. I didn't know why Chakotay suddenly changed
his mind about Paris -- about wanting to kill him, that is -- let alone make
it known to all that Paris was under his protection and not to be touched.
I still expected someone to attempt to take him out before long. Hell, I
was tempted to do it myself, but I didn't want to mess up what I'd been precariously
granted, my new lease on life aboard Voyager.
So I kept my head down and tried to steer clear of Paris whenever possible.
Not an easy thing to do, with both of us on the senior staff. I saw plenty
of him, whether I liked it or not. And there was plenty not to like. His
womanizing was legendary among the crew. According to rumor, there was hardly
anyone on board he hadn't slept with, except for maybe the captain (though
even that was considered plausible by some) and Seska. And myself.
It had become obvious shortly after we joined Voyager that Chakotay
and Seska were through, at least from Chakotay's perspective. I admit I
did entertain a few private fantasies about Chakotay, even as I saw him
setting his sights in another direction. But that's all they were, fantasies;
I didn't need Seska to remind me that he saw me as a little sister, nothing
more. And I certainly wasn't interested in anyone else romantically, not
Harry Kim for all he was a good friend, and definitely not Tom Paris.
But Tom and I kept being thrown together, and eventually I couldn't help
noticing another side of him, one he tried--usually successfully -- to keep
well hidden. When the Vidiians captured us and split me into my Human and
Klingon selves, I think I would have died if it weren't for Tom. I couldn't
believe how comforting and supportive he was, and I was grateful. That was
the first, but not the last, time I realized there was more to him than
the arrogant fly-boy persona. Maybe he was growing up, or maybe our time
on Voyager just did a better job of stripping away all veneers and
pretenses and revealing what had been there all along.
It took years, and many hesitant steps forward and back, but somehow he
wormed his way inside my defenses, and I actually let him in. I don't mean
physically--when I was half-crazed from blood fever and throwing myself at
him, begging him for it, he didn't take advantage of me. Who'd have thought
Tom Paris had the soul of a gentleman?
"Someday I hope to hear you say those words to me again, and mean it,"
he said, when it was all over.
"Be careful what you wish for," I'd told him.
Little did I dream that in the weightlessness of space, on the Day of Honor,
I'd fulfill that wish with my last, dying breath.
I'll say it honestly: B'Elanna isn't my usual type. As I mentioned before,
we met during my brief and not so honorable stint in the Maquis. She didn't
like me and it's safe to say that the feeling was entirely mutual. I didn't
find her particularly desirable either. I reduced B'Elanna to a bundle of
anger, noting the thinly veiled fury which always seemed to bubble up from
inside of her. She didn't speak as much as she shouted back then and I didn't
find her obvious disdain for me attractive either (and no, I didn't think
B'Elanna was playing hard to get like some women do. She simply didn't want
anything to do with me). Chalk this up as yet another first: I was suddenly
looking at a woman as asexual. As much as I would have liked to have said
I'd slept with a Klingon, B'Elanna Torres was not on my short list of women.
Which makes what just happened so... odd. That after four years on Voyager,
after four years of verbal sparring, that she would be here, in my bed.
In the vacuum of space, with nothing between us, she told me she loved
me. I was taken aback and came back with a snappy (if not thoughtless) remark
about her timing. Yes, I had made no bones about my growing attraction to
her, my desire to be something more than just her friend and occasional
dinner partner or holodeck sparring buddy. The B'Elanna on Voyager
was very different than the one I'd met in the Maquis, but I'm not sure
if the difference was actually a change B'Elanna had undergone or a new
perspective on my part. So mark that as another first. I had gotten to know
a woman before sleeping with her and I was dismayed by the sensation of
longing that had nothing to do with physical attraction, but more of a desire
for her to want to be with me as much I wanted to be with her.
So in the corridor, outside of the mess hall after Tuvok's promotion, I
kissed her. If the Doctor hadn't interrupted us, I would have asked B'Elanna
on the spot if she wanted to come to my quarters with me. As she hurried away,
I watched, absolutely weak in the knees over a kiss. A kiss. Unbelievable.
And so, I invited her to dinner.
"I'll replicate it myself," I said.
"You're too good to me," she answered.
So that's how I, B'Elanna Torres, ended up here. In front of Tom Paris'
I hesitated in the corridor. My palms were sweaty; I cursed myself for
being a coward. I knew all too well what had been his intention when he
invited me to dinner. I glanced down at the outfit I'd chosen; I'd certainly
conformed to his expectations. I wondered wildly whether it was too late
to back out, and then signaled.
He greeted me with a wide smile. I saw a hint of worry in his eyes, which
was quickly wiped away. Had he been afraid I wasn't going to show up? Somehow,
that thought gave me confidence. I handed him the bottle of wine I'd brought.
Damn. Just. Damn.
She showed up in a knee-length blue dress I'd never seen before. Sleeveless,
with a plunging neckline revealing just a hint of cleavage, and in it, she
looked damned sexy. Especially those strappy blue high heeled sandals. Wow.
She smiled at me.
"Aren't you going to invite me in, Lieutenant?" She tipped her head to
the side, almost demurely.
"Uh," I said embarrassed, stepping aside. "Come in."
I saw that Tom had already set the table and the meal was waiting. "Let's
start with this," Tom said, opening the wine. He poured two crystal glasses
and handed me one.
"Thank you," I said, sitting on the couch. He joined me.
"Cheers," he said, clinking his glass against mine. Our hands met, and
at his touch I felt something electric pass between us. He took a sip. "Tastes
wonderful." Leaning forward, he kissed me, more softly than in the corridor
outside the mess hall earlier. "And so do you."
In answer, I wound my arms around his neck and kissed him again.
Maybe it was the wine, but gradually I found myself losing some of my inhibitions.
We made ourselves more comfortable on the couch. Tom touched my shoulder
and traced his way slowly down my bare arm. I shivered in anticipation. His
eyes met mine. Looking into their blue depths, I saw desire, but also something
else, something deeper, more tender, than I'd ever seen before.
His hands were gently stroking both my arms now, and then my neck. Without
being consciously aware of what I was doing, I reached up and smoothed his
hair, then ran my hands lightly down his chest. His breathing changed; he
was becoming more excited. So was I.
And then his hand brushed my breast. Automatically, I stiffened, then cursed
myself for my reaction. This wasn't Johnny, I reminded myself. Or Max. Why
the hell did I have to think of them now? I forced myself to relax again.
Tom hesitated, and then taking my smile for approval, resumed his explorations
of my body. I lay back and closed my eyes, giving myself up to the moment.
Tentatively and then with growing confidence, I began to trace circles on
his back and shoulders, then moved lower.
We never made it off the couch. The lasagna I'd replicated slowly congealed,
the salad turned brown and wilted. But I didn't care. Corny as it sounds,
the wine -- and B'Elanna's kisses -- were enough sustenance for me.
During one kiss, my hand wandered down her body, cupping her left breast
beneath the silky blue material. B'Elanna looked startled.
"Sorry," I said. I pulled my hand away.
She nodded. "It's all right."
I couldn't tell if she had accepted my apology or if it was all right to
touch her. She didn't clarify and I forgot Odile's basic tenet of sex: it's
okay to ask.
We finished off the entire bottle of wine that night. Her skirt inched
up progressively as we made ourselves comfortable on the couch. She didn't
seem to mind my hands anymore, not even when I pushed her panties aside.
Her hands were exploring just as hastily. We lay there, me on top of B'Elanna,
and she slipped her hand beneath the waist band of my pants.
I pressed my lips against her neck, in a place where I knew her uniform
collar would hide any evidence of our off-duty activities. Her hands were
stroking my hair, her legs curled around my body. It was a deliciously uncomfortable
position. By now, I had pushed one strap of her dress to the side, exposing
one breast completely. I reached to uncover the other, but B'Elanna pushed
me away, struggling to pull her dress back on.
"I-- I'm sorry," I said awkwardly, pulling away. "I guess I just thought--"
"No, no, it's okay."
"I don't want to make you do anything you're, um, not comfortable with."
She took a deep breath. "No," she said softly. "I want to." Her eyes glistened
in the light. "I've wanted to for a long time, Tom, but--"
"Someone...once told me my breasts--" she hesitated. "He said that they
were uneven," she finished in a rush.
I sat back on my heels. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"A former lover. He didn't like them," she said, her lips twisting unpleasantly.
I wanted to tell her that I wasn't like that other guy, that I wouldn't
say those things to her. But then, I'd made a career out of lying to women
just to have sex with them.
"And another thing," B'Elanna said, still not meeting my eyes. "I am
half Klingon. There are more differences than just forehead ridges."
"And you think that matters?"
"It did to him."
So I took my shirt off first. I've never deluded myself that I have a perfect
body. And now, I'm past thirty, gaining weight, and generally not as trim
as I used to be. I have hair on my chest as well, something some of the
women I've been with have found unattractive. There's a scar that runs down
my side, a memento from a bar fight, the reason for which has been lost in
the haze of years tinted with alcohol. There are a thousand deficiencies
on my body, and I wanted B'Elanna to see that for herself.
"Well?" I said. B'Elanna didn't respond at first. She let her fingers run
over my chest, circling my nipples carefully. And then, she pulled away
and lifted her arms over her head. I took the hint and tugged at her dress.
I'm not sure I said anything at first, only that I reached out to touch
her. She lowered her eyes self-consciously as I held her in my arms. Her
skin was soft, smooth, a beautiful golden-brown. Yes, there were slight anatomical
differences, such as the more pronounced spinal column and the extra ribs,
but I could see no imperfections. Maybe that's how I first knew this was
something more than lust; she looked perfect to me. I lifted B'Elanna's chin
up so that I was looking her straight in the eye. "You're beautiful," I told
her and the color rose in her cheeks.
Sex on a couch is another one of those things that sounds good in principle,
but in reality is very difficult. Especially when it's a Starfleet-issued
couch. Those bureaucrats in Starship Interior Design believe a couch is
for sitting, perhaps for lounging, but never for sex. I had one leg on the
ground, bracing myself, and B'Elanna was squeezed up against the back, her
neck bent in an awkward position. Her hands stroked my back as I explored
every inch of her. She was quiet, B'Elanna was, surprisingly so. I had expected
her to be loud, boisterous -- like I said, I'd never been with a Klingon
before but I'd heard the stories. She wasn't like Odile or La Deuxieme, because
she didn't react overtly to anything I did or direct me verbally. I had no
idea what B'Elanna liked, had no previous experience with Klingons to guide
me. I did know that I loved the taste of B'Elanna instantly, that I loved
the feel of her skin against my tongue. I paused at the top of her thigh,
and then moved my head lower.
She jerked against me and I raised my head to look at her. Her eyes were
closed, a thin sheen of perspiration across her forehead ridges. Her fingers
tightened against my shoulders and so I kept licking between her legs, pressing
my face against her, breathing in that musky scent that was uniquely B'Elanna.
I stroked her long and deep, pressing harder. B'Elanna gasped, her body
jerking involuntarily. She lay still after a couple of moments, her breath
shallow, almost guttural since it came from deep in her throat.
"Hey," I said.
She opened her eyes and looked at me with embarrassment.
"I enjoyed that," she said shyly. She could mean one of two things and
both made me feel vaguely discomfited and guilty. I worked my way up her
body, settling myself unevenly across her. She stroked my skin idly. "I've
never been good in bed," she confessed.
"It's okay," I said, feeling vaguely stupid. As if it didn't matter. It
did matter. It mattered to me that she got something out of it, that
she understood that it wasn't just me here, but the two of us. And it bothered
me that someone had once told her that her breasts were uneven. I thought
they were beautiful; round, soft, soft pink nipples surrounded by pale brown.
I sucked on her left one, my hands moving downward, and I heard her sigh contentedly,
and felt her reach for me. She pulled my pants down, and then my boxers.
Finally, skin on skin. She reached down to stroke between my legs. Her movements
were no longer tentative.
"B'Elanna," I said, trying to position myself to enter her, but the angle
wasn't quite right. I tried once and then a second time. My thrusts were
low and shallow. Finally I said, "This isn't going to work."
B'Elanna giggled, a little self-consciously.
"Um," I said, "maybe you should, um, sit up and, um, swing your legs over
B'Elanna nodded and I could tell she was embarrassed. "Better?" she asked
after repositioning herself.
"Much." I braced myself against the back of the sofa and pushed into her,
slowly at first. B'Elanna leaned her head back, her neck arching as I pushed
all the way into her. Her legs curled around my waist, pulling me in closer.
Her head tipped back as I leaned into her, pushing harder, faster.
B'Elanna gasped. Louder than she had the first time she'd come and she
dug her fingernails into my back. "Come on, Tom," she whispered, her voice
sound strangely hoarse. "I know you're close, go on..."
"B'Elanna," I whispered to her in that moment before I collapsed across
her. She held me, her hands warm against my back and after a moment, I tried
to withdraw, but couldn't. I could feel B'Elanna's muscles contracting around
B'Elanna blushed. "Uh, it's a Klingon thing..." she mumbled under her breath.
"Wait a few seconds."
I relaxed and despite the unfamiliarity of not being able to withdraw,
(I also hoped I wasn't too heavy) I found that the sensation was pleasant.
I kissed B'Elanna.
"I love you," she said, resting her head against my shoulder.
Sleeping arrangements after sex are always tricky, but even more so when
you are colleagues who are most definitely going to see each other again.
After cuddling on the sofa for some time, we somehow made it to my bed but
after a few minutes, I felt B'Elanna rise. I grabbed her by the wrist.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"Back to my quarters." She was sitting on the edge of the bed, not looking
at me, still naked. I ran my fingers down her back and she shivered. "I
sleep better there."
"Stay," I said quietly. And I meant more in that word than simply "don't
leave me alone." I meant it as in "don't leave me ever." A subtle distinction,
one I was uncomfortable with, but could accept. This wasn't just about sex.
I wanted her to know that.
"I have an early shift."
"And I have an alarm."
We stared at each other. And then, B'Elanna smiled, and lay back down.
I spooned my body around hers, wrapping one leg around her. I meant it as
a sign of comfort, but now, in retrospect, even at that early stage in our
relationship, I think I was trying to tell B'Elanna that now that I had her,
I was never going to let her go.
Something was prodding me in the lower back. More asleep than awake, I
shifted slightly and felt a pair of arms tighten around me. I rolled over
and came face to face with Tom. Full memory of the night before flooded
over me; a night of 'firsts.' The first time Tom and I had made love, the
first time I'd been on the receiving end of oral sex, the first time I'd
spent the entire night in someone's arms and woke to see him smiling at
I stared at him wonderingly. His blond hair was tousled; paler stubble
on his chin matched the hairs on his chest and arms. "Hey, beautiful, "
he said softly.
"Hey yourself," I said and blinked back sudden (and inexplicable) tears.
He pulled me closer, kissed me softly, lingeringly. I closed my eyes as
he began to make love to me again. Not like the heated passion of the night
before; this was softer, slower, gentler but with no less feeling. I don't
think he was completely awake. Afterward, we both lay back on the pillows,
The chime of the computer roused me from the light doze I'd fallen into.
"I need to get up!" I said, pushing the covers back. "I've got alpha shift."
"Me, too," Tom said, getting out of bed as well. He gestured toward the
bathroom with a grin. "To save time, you know, we could shower together."
"To save time, yes," I replied with a straight face.
The sonic shower felt good, as did Tom's hands moving over my body once
more. I welcomed his touch, but I was a little uncomfortable with the intensity
of his gaze. Without realizing it, I'd crossed my arms over my chest. Gently,
he moved them aside and bent to kiss the hollow between my breasts. I moaned
"That's better," he muttered "Mon petit chou."
I blinked. "What did you say? Did you just call me a shoe?"
He looked at me, his lips pressing into a straight line. "No," he said
finally. He shook his head. "Never." He leaned down and nibbled at my neck.
I let my fingers run through his hair as he held me close.
The sonic pulses massaged the bruises (from the rough material of the
sofa, to name one source) and soreness away. The side of my chest was tender,
where B'Elanna's nails had raked me. I saw several welts on B'Elanna's skin,
hickeys, including a rather large one on her left breast. She seemed uneasy
but I couldn't help but trace the outline of each one with my fingers. She
held on to me in a way that wasn't sexual, and when I knelt between her legs,
she pressed back against the wall, letting me explore.
"I want to memorize you," I told her. It was a line I'd used on a dozen
women before but with B'Elanna, I meant it. She didn't speak, only nodded
I kissed her, wrapping my arms around her tightly. I loved the feel of
her skin against mine. Neither of us spoke. It took the second chime of
the computer to remind us that unlike the night before, time was in limited
supply this morning.
While Tom made breakfast for us, I wandered into the next room and picked
up my clothes. I frowned over the limp dress. Even if it wasn't creased,
there was undeniably a large stain down the front of the skirt.
"Do you mind if I use some of your replicator credits?" I asked him. "I'll
pay you back later this morning."
Tom looked up from the jar of peanut butter. "What?"
"So I can replicate a new uniform." I blushed. "I can't very well wear
this thing -–" I indicated the dress "-- in the corridors at this hour."
"Why not?" Tom said, laughing. He took the crumpled material from my hands.
"Start a new fashion."
I didn't know what was harder to accept, the tender, considerate lover
of the night before or this teasing, totally at ease companion of the present.
Sex was one thing, but I'd held myself apart for so long, never letting
down my guard for fear of being hurt that I wasn't quite sure how to respond
to an actual relationship. I went to the replicator and punched in my codes.
"I have a shift with the Doctor all week," Tom said. "Between that and
regular Bridge duty, it's going to be a tough week. I'm not sure I'm going
to have a lot of free time."
"I understand," I said automatically. Why was he telling me this? The toast
stuck in my throat as I suddenly realized this was his way of letting me
down lightly. Sure, it's been fun, B'Elanna, and I'll see you around. Maybe.
I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks. My mother's words echoed in my
mind: they always leave.
"But I'll call you," Tom said.
"Call?" I asked, confused.
"Comm you. You know, so we can figure out when's the next time we can get
My knees felt weak at the wave of sudden relief that went through me. Curiously
intent, Tom's eyes met mine. "I mean it," he said.
I nodded, and then caught sight of the chronometer. I gave my uniform jacket
a final tug and then got up. "I've really got to get going."
"I'm sorry about dinner," he said suddenly. He looked as though there were
more he wanted to say, but didn't.
I smiled. "Thanks for breakfast." It seemed like such an inadequate thing
to say after all he'd done for me, but there it was. "See you."
I stared at the door for a long time after she was gone. I admitted to
feeling a little apprehensive. She had seemed distant, almost cool, and
I wondered if perhaps I had done something to upset her. But as I busied
myself cleaning up the remains of our breakfast, I knew I wouldn't let B'Elanna
go. I'd most certainly give it another shot; I'd waited too long for this
to let her get away from me now.
"I love you," I said quietly. When I turned around, I saw her blue dress,
still lying on the sofa. I picked it up and held it to my face.
~ the end
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