ACTS OF KINDNESS
Janeway and Paris? No, of course you won't see it on screen, but
then all fanfic is a game of what ifs.
This story - it's really more a pair of matching vignettes - brings the two together for the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns 'em. I'm just letting them out for some fun.
This story is rated NC-17 for graphic consensual sex. (Actually it's not all that graphic, I'm just playing safe.) If you shouldn't be reading it -don't. You have been warned.
FEEDBACK: Gratefully received and always acknowledged. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don't have to like it, but please be constructive in your criticisms. Hell, let's face it, I'm going to be pathetically happy just to hear you read all the way though to the end.
PART ONE: Kathryn's Story
A relationship was the last thing on my mind.
I'm the Captain for goodness sake, with all the responsibility that implies. Even out here, especially out here, in the Delta Quadrant, lightyears away from home, duty had to come first. So I told myself I could live without companionship, sublimate my desires to the needs of the ship.
And I really thought I could.
All these years, I steeled myself against Chakotay but I never even thought about Tom.
We got together because of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don't even like peanut butter but it was as easy and as unexpected as that. Perhaps the only way it could have worked. I think I could have handled all his other approaches - laughed them off or quashed them with a look or a word. But there he was, with a simple act of kindness and suddenly I had no defences.
It was late evening. I was sitting in the canteen reading reports, some concoction of Neelix's pushed to one side, when I heard someone approach.
"Yes," I looked up, half-irritated at being disturbed, to find Tom Paris standing there holding a plate. He fell back dramatically at my expression, hamming it up for my benefit. Despite myself I smiled.
"You looked like you could use a snack," he said, depositing the plate and elaborating as if it was a great treat. "It's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
I raised an eyebrow. "Comfort food?"
He nodded, oddly serious. "You looked like you could do with some comfort."
Our eyes met and held. It sounds so silly. Silly and adolescent, like something out of a cheap holonovel. But there it was. And out here, I've learned to take what small chances of happiness I can get.
"And could you?" he asked at last. "Use some comfort, that is?"
Tom didn't say anything. Just fixed those startlingly blue eyes on me intently as if weighing my meaning. Then he wheeled around and strolled away, for all the world as if I'd dismissed him. I stared after him, resisting the urge to call him back, ask him what he thought had just happened here.
Wondering if I knew myself.
Later, he stopped at my quarters with a stack of conn reports for legitimacy and a swagger to cover his nerves. Watching him put me in mind of our first meeting in New Zealand two years ago. I'd thought then he was a spoilt boy. Cocky, arrogant but staggeringly attractive. He's grown up a lot since then. Less cocky, not so arrogant, but still staggeringly attractive.
"Kathryn," I said, knowing that I had to take the lead. "Unless this is ship's business..."
"I just wanted to -" He stopped, suddenly lost for words.
"Offer comfort?" I smiled, all my earlier doubts flying in the need to reassure him.
"Yeah," His answering smile could have powered the ship. "Something like that."
He took me in his arms at once. Fast mover, our Tom. I'd be insulted except I know him well enough to understand that he's afraid that if he stops to think he won't be able to do this. We fenced a little testing each other out.
"Flying at warp, Lieutenant?"
"I like the way you say my name."
"I like being allowed to say it."
You're so...," I faltered at loss, out of practice at this kind of quick-fire repartee.
"Jailbait," came the helpful suggestion.
"Hardly," I parried. Youthful innocence isn't a quality one normally associates with Tom.
That stopped me. He stepped into the gap left by my hesitation, voice lilting with the kind of self-mocking jibe that's doubly irritating because it's almost impossible to answer. "So Captain," his eyes glinted dangerously as he tossed out the challenge, "ever fucked a felon?"
I smiled. Almost, but not impossible to answer.
That threw him. I pressed forward my advantage. "Of course I was a lizard at the time."
He laughed, genuinely this time, throwing off the earlier mood and bending his head to kiss me. "Still wanting comfort, Kathryn?"
Then we were kissing again. His lips holding on to mine, hot tongue snaking into my mouth, first teasing then fiercely possessive. I was naked almost before I knew it, his hands slipping the spaghetti straps off my shoulders, appreciation glimmering in his eyes.
"I'm getting cold," I said to bring the survey to a halt.
"Always giving orders," he chided. "Don't worry I'll keep you warm." He made short work of his own clothes and pulled me back into his arms.
He was much taller than me but somehow we managed to kiss our way into the bedroom and onto the bed without separating. Lying down the difference in our heights was much less restricting. We kissed urgently and ran feverish hands across each other's skin.
His fingers slipped between my legs rubbing gently at my clitoris. God. It had been a long time. I don't like holocharacters . I'd rather do without illusions. But there was nothing pretend about this encounter, no mistaking these hands. I'd watched them often enough at the conn, moving with the same precise grace he lavished on me now.
I rolled on top of him, straddling the slim hips and slid down the length of him, taking him in quickly. It just seemed natural. "Kathryn, " he murmured like a drowning man. Then again, "Kathryn, Kathryn, Kathryn." Panting my name as we thrust together.
His face tightened as he started to come. Then I was beyond noticing how he looked. I dug my nails into his skin, pressing my thighs against his sides and screamed as the torrent overtook me.
I came to slowly, still resting on top of his body, the sweat cooling on my skin. In the aftermath of passion reason started to return and I wondered what Starfleet Command would think and whether I really cared.
Tom opened his eyes and I waited to see what he'd say, expecting to see the shields go up and hear the kind of extravagant untruths that pass between new lovers at this time. Instead he said simply, "You're everything to me. I owe you everything and I'd do anything for you because you saved me."
He's not lying. The truth of the statement is written on his face. I have to look away. He'd do anything for me. I traced the outline of his lips tenderly and leant down for a kiss to save myself replying.
He'd do anything for me. I prayed that I'd never have to put it to the test.
PART TWO: Tom's Story
I guess I always wanted her, right from that first moment in New Zealand. But in a starry eyed, never to be fulfilled wishful thinking kind of way. Not that I thought about it much. I don't usually waste my time daydreaming. Life's too short. And, somehow I never end up having the kind of dreams I'd like to hang on to. No, I'd rather keep busy, have a little fun in the here and now and leave the fantasies to guys like Harry. The kind of guy who doesn't have to keep looking over his shoulder in case his latest mistake is catching up with him.
But then, somehow it just happened. I hadn't even planned it. Shit. Me? Make a move on the captain? Yeah, right. As if ..like I'd really.. No. The truth is I couldn't do that. She'd see through the kind of cheesy lines that constitute my standard repertoire and then she'd...Hell. She *respected* me. I'd never have done anything to risk losing that.
But I didn't have to. In the end it just happened. One simple act of kindness and suddenly I found had everything I ever wanted, without even trying.
Ironic, isn't it?
So many of the major turning points in my life have hinged on the thoughtless act of the moment; a panicked lie following an accident that left three people dead, the rescue of a strange kid from the Farengi, making a sandwich for a tired woman.
She looked tired as she sat there, still working, although she'd put in a full shift, same as me, and I'd been off duty for hours. People talk about the weight of command. It's not just an turn of phrase, it's a physical thing. Dad used to get the same kind of expression. I remember it from when I was a kid. Then he'd.. Well, let's just say he dealt with things a whole lot differently from Kathryn.
I don't know what made me do it. I had a few spare credits - legacy of a pool game earlier in the evening. Easy come, easy go. I replicated her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
She looked up impatiently. Some people are quelled by that look but not me.
"You looked like you could use a snack," I said shrugging.
"Comfort food?" She eyed the plate thoughtfully. "You think I need comforting?"
Something about the way she said it.
"Yeah," I said back. God, I couldn't have imagined that. It was invitation in her eyes. I'm not a saint and I've seen that look in someone's eyes often enough to know what it means.
"Could you?" I asked, hardly daring to believe.
I left after that, practically burned a hole in the rug in my eagerness to get out of there before I said something really dumb. But, then as soon as I was out of her presence the doubts came crowding in. I ran through the conversation again and again. Had I imagined it? Was this some kind of alternate universe, spatial anomaly, Q-induced dream? Did I care? Yeah, I did. But, at the same time I knew I was gonna push it and deal with the consequences later.
I was gonna go for it, but even so, when she opened her door in response to my chime I nearly lost my nerve and ran.
"Captain," I stuttered, staring stupid like a lovesick kid. She'd taken her hair down. It fell loosely down her back, a girlish style but there was nothing girlish about her. Womanly, maybe. Feminine, definitely, but nothing tentative or innocent.
"Kathryn," she replied. "We're not on duty now."
Then I don't know what I said. I must have managed something. Kathryn tells me the patter never failed but in truth the whole scene is blurred in my mind, like an out of focus picture. I remember leaning down to kiss her, thinking how tiny she was, and reaching for the fastening of her uniform all the while expecting that this was the moment I was going to wake up.
Then, somehow, we were in the bedroom naked and lying down. She leant in and kissed me, her breasts pressing against my chest, hard nipples burning into my skin. I hardly knew what I was doing, was nearly beyond thought, as my hands slid over her body, mapping the contours of breast and hip and thigh, making her breath quicken in anticipation.
Then it was my turn to breathe in sharply as her hand reached down and wrapped itself around my cock. God, the feel of her fingers. Kathryn's finger's, holding me, stroking me. It was like all my fantasies coming true except, even in fantasy I never dared imagine her as she was now, straddling my hips and slowly lowering herself down on me.
Even before she moved it was almost too much. "Kathryn," I heard myself say, then again "Kathryn, Kathryn," repeating her name like it was some kind of mantra, as all the feeling inside me surged along the central point that connected us. "Kathryn," I shouted and came explosively inside of her as her muscles gripped me tightly, spasming in her own climax.
For a few minutes we lay still. She moved forward slightly resting on my hips, hugging her arms together with her hair falling forward into her eyes. Watching her I was stunned by a sudden rush of emotion, an overwhelming feeling I didn't stop to analyse. The words came before I could stop them. How everything I've got now or am now I owe to her because she saved me.
She didn't respond. In the too-long silence I looked for a way to turn the words into a joke. I opened my mouth to speak but before I could her lips were on mine, shushing me.
We kissed for a long time before she finally pulled her mouth away. Then at last she spoke, her voice low and warm .
"Out here, I think we're saving each other."