By whitecrow

The challenge was - can adrenaline alter behaviour? A long flight home and plenty of time to embroider the story in my mind. This is the result.

Paramount owns the boys and girls, and Star Trek, and just about everything else. I can assure you that I am not making any money from this, just pure enjoyment.

Warning: this story is rated NC-17 for homoerotic content, aka Slash (yum!) If such things offend, or if it is illegal for you to read this in your part of the world, please leave now! You have been warned!

Please keep this disclaimer and my name intact. Comments and gentle criticism welcome at whitecrow@onaustralia.com.au

My people say that the lessons of the heart are the hardest. I want to tell a story in the custom of my people, using the words of a story teller. You must learn from my foolishness, as I must remember it, so that I never forget this lesson, my blindness, and the paths we carve for ourselves when we fear.

Listen then, and forget this time and this place, follow me to where the past became my present and my future became the path that all the days of my life will follow.


For the whole of one day Paris and I hid in a cave behind the waterfall. We had spent the day sleeping, and by nightfall I was hopeful that we would be successful in eluding the warriors that guarded the plains. I knew we would find safety only in the shuttlecraft. We had no food, and although the tricorder had registered the moss as edible, Paris refused to eat it. I could not help but agree with him, though silently. Water we had in plenty. We did not thirst, though we had become intensely weary of the endless crash of water on rocks, weary too of each other's company.

This was a simple away mission gone very wrong. A secretive raid for fresh root stock for the airponics bay, sadly depleted and in need of replenishment. The planet was a veritable garden, vegetables, fruit and herbs in abundance, and a native population who had just invented the wheel. Yet the indigenes, their nose for danger quivering with the scent of strangers, had chased us without rest in one day across terrain it had taken us three days to cross. Paris suggested there might be safety in the waterfall, from a book he had read as a child. I was reluctant to trust our lives to a tale, and that one read by Paris, but the indigenes at our heels made such observations academic, and behind the waterfall we did indeed find a cave.

When night fell it took all my wiles at tracking by starlight to find the path to the shuttle, but by the time we were near it the warriors had caught us, and spears are a nasty reality when seen close up. Paris caught one along the cheek, and the noise of the metal tips clanging against the rear shuttle door was truly frightening. One tripped me as it fell, and once again it was Paris who dragged me up and hurried me to the safety of the little ship.

I remember that I spoke no words as he feverishly punched controls to take us up and away, to the haven of space, and a rendezvous with Voyager. In less than sixty seconds he had cleared atmosphere and we were finally able to breathe again. I did not notice that I was holding my breath, I leant slightly over him as I watched his performance at the controls without comment. Although I too am a pilot I lack Paris' skills with the controls; his is more than a talent, it is a gift direct from the gods.

He whooped in delight as he stabbed the autopilot on. 'Free,' he said, 'we made it.' He grinned at me, his eyes flashing with life. He stretched back in his chair, hands rubbing up his cheek as they sprang up to form fists clenched in exuberance. Adrenaline rushed through us both, brought on by unbelievable relief following our two days of unexpected danger, two days of running and fighting. The cut on Paris' cheek had opened again as he rubbed it, and I watched, mesmerised, as blood appeared. At first it was just a hint, then it formed into drops as small as grains of sand, blooming to teardrops even as I looked. I touched one, smearing his cheek with red, and tasted it on my finger. The sharp metallic taste flooded through my senses. He stilled, arms raised, and my gaze swept down his body, taking note of the parted lips, the faint flush in his face, the brightness of his eyes.

My body moved then without volition, as if I was just a passenger in my brain, and I leaned forward and kissed him. One hand smoothed over the hardness at the juncture of his legs, the other clenched in his hair to hold him still at my caress. He stiffened for a moment, then relaxed against me, opening his legs to grant me access to the delightful softness below his hardness, moaning once into my mouth as my hand kneaded his flesh and my tongue entered him. I drank his sound, I tasted his mouth, and his tongue slid sensuously against my own. The inevitable aftermath of finding ourselves alive after knowledge of certain death caused us to turn to one another in desperate need.

I raised him with just my mouth, he followed my kiss, until we stood together and my hands ripped and tore at his clothing, as his hands tore at my own. Naked, trembling with urgent need, the touch of skin on skin almost unbearable, we stumbled to the bed.

What can I say of that coupling, so desperate and violent, driven by a need to affirm life in the face of death? My flesh recalls it, constantly. He was my reality, as I was his. In his body I lived, as he redefined his existence in mine. We were driven by selfishness to reclaim our lives in each other. I watched him above me. Shuddering, he chanted my name in time with the rhythm of his body, then he arched his neck, extending his whole throat to my mouth as his ecstasy overtook him. And later, when it was my turn to dominate, I was barely aware of his generosity, but he gave so unstintingly of himself that in the end I was awed into helpless surrender. The supreme moment approached and it was as if his wings feathered with my own. Entwined, twisted together, we rode the buffeting currents of the tornado as we plummeted downwards.

Later, when reason returned, I lay still beside him. His arm was bent over his eyes, and I could hear his breath beginning to slow. I was awash with recriminations. What had I done? Kathryn's veto on fraternisation between officers lay between us, no-one had yet challenged her. And Paris and I shared an ugly past, a legacy of bitterness and anger on both sides. What would be required of me now that I had disturbed the balance we had held for so long? And the final toll, the one that shamed my honour: I am his commanding officer. Did I force myself on him? Would he have denied me if I had not been in authority over him? Although his surrender seemed so open, I reminded myself that Paris was a consummate actor. Yet this was one of the most intense encounters of my life, surely his acting was not that good?

I slid from the bed and took refuge in the bathroom, using the sonic shower to remove all traces of our lust. My mind was whirling, I was both exhilarated and terrified. I shied away from remembering too closely, for I had to remember who I was, and who he was. I could not recall losing control so easily, so unthinkingly - and to this man of all men. Normally I am conscious of all my actions, I endeavour always to be in control. But this? My need so great, answered by his own. But that was no excuse, either to myself or to my captain. I walked slowly back into to the other room to replicate a uniform, striving for normality. I paused beside the narrow bunk. His arm still covered his eyes, his body was relaxed, and displayed so sensuously that just to look at him caused my own body to stir again. Swiftly I turned away and began to dress. Behind me, I heard movement as he entered the bathroom.

He said nothing while he dressed, and neither did I. What was there to say? I could only wait until we returned to Voyager, when he had every right to call me up on harassment charges. He moved to the helm, and seated himself with the smallest wince, then called Voyager. With admirable professionalism he set the rendezvous time and made all the ship's systems ready for docking.

He did not look nor speak to me again until we docked safely in Voyager's hold. Just before the rear hatch opened he smiled once at me, that brilliant smile that touched his eyes. "I needed that." And he opened the hatch and swung out before I could reply.

I waited for weeks, but he said nothing. Kathryn did not call me in to explain my behaviour, Tuvok did not send a security detail to take me to the brig. I watched Paris, and I did not say anything. Thus do we begin the paths of our future, laying down bricks upon which to walk that will bruise our feet, crippling us before the end.

By no word did he indicate that he was waiting for me to speak to him. I was afraid. He was one of the most beautiful men I had ever seen, yet he could be ugly with anger. He could show kindness and empathy, yet be cruel and patronising. I knew much of his past, and always judged him selfish and self-serving, yet he gave himself to me more generously than anyone ever has. Had he changed? Was he driven now by passion or by reason? He frightened me, and in my fear I kept my silence, and waited.

It was several weeks after our encounter when he began an affair with B'Elanna. It was doomed from the start, yet he did not seem to see that, and pursued her relentlessly until she capitulated. They were never apart, and I wondered if I was wrong and perhaps he would be the one to tame her fiery spirit when, some months later, the fights began. Their breakup was public and ugly. Paris never spoke a word against her, and allowed the rumour mill to think the worst of him. Would many others have been as kind? I know that it was B'Elanna who initiated the split, yet Paris never corrected anyone who condemned him. He hid his feelings well. What was true and what was camouflage? Where was the man behind the mask?


Weeks passed. One night I was sitting in Sandrine's, nursing a beer. I was alone, as had become my custom. Others came and went, the captain had been in earlier with Seven, but they had left. The hours passed, until there was no-one here with me. My quarters were so empty and silent, here at least the piano tinkled in the corner and the holographic staff chattered quietly amongst themselves. I could immerse myself in the illusion that I was not alone.

Until Paris entered. He paused when he saw that I was the only one there, and I wondered if he would leave. He had never sought out my company before; we were rarely alone together. He turned briefly towards the controls, and spoke. The image shimmered around me, and I was suddenly elsewhere.

I was sitting on a balcony, too small almost to contain both me and the table at which I sat. Curtains of some pale filmy material billowed around me. I looked into an open room behind me, through glass doors that were disproportionately tall and thin. I could hear the sound of water, birds calling harshly, and I smelt oil and salt and fish.

Paris moved towards me through a white room where bars of sunlight lay angled across a huge white bed. He skirted the bed and approached me. One hand stretched out to touch my chest. His palm was warm through my shirt as it rested against my heart. I did not move, nor did he. Then slowly he leaned forward, and his breath brushed warm against my mouth as his tongue licked my lips gently. I was poised in a moment outside rational thought, as he traced my lips with his tongue, then he sighed into my mouth and leaned into me. His tongue touched mine, slid sinuously and then moved to explore my teeth. The sweetness of his taste flooded my mouth, and the cocktail in my body, left there before when I tasted his blood and his saliva and his come, was re-awakened. My blood raced faster, tingling as it passed through me. Every cell in my flesh remembered his touch, and I came alive under his hands as I had seldom never been alive before.

He prolonged the kiss until I had to tear myself away to breathe. He smiled as I panted, then slid his hand around my chest, and lifted me with just his palm against me. He led me inside.

I stood, quiet for the moment, as he began to undress me, slowly, as if to prolong the delight he had in unwrapping me. His fingers undid my buttons with a delicate slowness, until once again I was panting. His accidental touch against my skin scorched me with fire and ice. He pushed the shirt off my shoulders, and I closed my eyes and let my head fall back as his hands brushed my skin. He gripped my head hard and pulled me up to his mouth--kissing me, holding me, forcing me-- until I sobbed into his mouth and drew the breath that I needed from his own lungs. He kept me there until I had breathed from him twice, then released me. I was calmer then, the carbon dioxide I inhaled had levelled me, and again he began the slow dance of his fingers.

When I was naked he stepped back. He did not look at my body, merely waited his turn with eyes fixed on mine. I removed his t-shirt swiftly, then when his chest was naked I touched him, smoothing my hands over that pale pale skin, feeling the silky down that covered him. My hands moved lower, and I pushed down his pants and shorts. His clothes caught for a moment on his erection, but he twisted slightly and they slid to the floor. He stepped gracefully from the pile, then waited.

The last time we had come together there was no time to look and taste and touch and explore. Last time the need to take was paramount, the need to define the self drove us together. This time it was different. This time something else drove us, something I do not want to name. I touched him as he touched me. Our hands stroked and smoothed and caressed. The feel of him was burned into my palms, my lips touched, my tongue tasted his skin. His beauty was terrifying.

Finally he stopped my worship of his body. He lifted my head, and I saw something move in his eyes. All this time we had been standing, but now he pushed me down onto the bed, now he asserted his right to possess me. I surrendered to him, yet that does not say what really happened. I gave myself utterly to him, yet he had already taken me. I say that I gave, yet that indicates a choice, and in this regard I had no choice. He commanded me entirely. I had no will but his. Never in my life had anyone done this to me, never had anyone removed my will, asserted an ownership of me that was grounded in his absolute right to possess me and my absolute desire to be possessed.

And the possession was everything, for as I surrendered he returned myself to me, made me whole and complete and utterly his.

When he had sated himself in me he lay beside me, stroking me gently. His eyes smiled, although his mouth did not. He touched my face, but still he did not say my name. His lips moved, but he spoke in a language I did not understand. The words meant nothing to me, nor could I recall later what it was he said. And still, I cannot.

I stroked him in return, long sweeping strokes, my body so ready to take him that it was all I could do to control my shaking. But I wanted him to be as ready as I was, and my touch on his skin kept my own desire burning. It took a while, but this whole time was timeless, there was no hurry, no sense of urgency. When he looked at me his eyes were wide, something moved within them I could not, and cannot, name. He was saying something to me without words, but I was afraid to hear, so I lowered my eyes to his chest, and moved my head to kiss and lick and bite, hiding from whatever he wanted me to see.

And then I took him. It was beyond my imaginings, the ecstasy of being within him. He was mine so completely it was impossible to believe there was a moment when we were not joined and wholly one. It was more than our bodies, it was my soul in his, his name was a prayer on my lips, the tears in his eyes the outward pouring of our ecstasy. I bowed my head for I could not bear to look on him. He shuddered upward against me as my weight pinned him; he called my name once, a curse, a promise, then he began to spend against me, and the sight of his face in the agony of orgasm undid me so entirely that I released myself, my body and my soul, into him.

I fell beside him, and withdraw gently from him as I fought for breath. I gathered him against me, holding him pressed to every part of me. I did not know how to contain my joy in him, and my hands could not stop touching him. Inside my chest a well opened, deeper than I knew, and I was terrified beyond words at its power. I turned from it, fastening onto the feeling in my hands and skin and ignored its crushing strength.

I slept with his body cradled to mine, but when I awoke some hours later I was alone, and the place where he had lain was cold.


For weeks, then months, I kept my silence. I feared him. I feared the power he had to wake an abyss inside me. I feared the power he had to hurt me to my soul's depths. I did not want to know what stirred inside my chest, causing my heart to hurt and my throat to constrict as if blocked by the all the words that beat against my lips, words that I could not, dared not say. I did not give him this power voluntarily, did I? In what day or night, in what moment, did I yield to him? Was it that he took it from me, in that moment when he claimed a right to me that felt as if it had existed from the moment time began? What had happened to me, that I guarded my mouth, afraid to speak even the simplest words to him, for fear that I might beg him to be mine forever? Even avoiding him was not enough; Kathryn commented, she did not want her staff to disagree. We had had years of that, yet this fearful silence was infinitely worse.

And he never said a word to me.


A year has passed, and I sit once again in Sandrine's, as I do so often, alone amongst the gathered crew. I know that when Paris comes he will not call for the privacy lock, nor will he run his own resort program. I know he will no longer assume his ownership - an ownership of me that stretches through every day of every life I must live.

I turn my head, and watch B'Elanna talking with her husband Michael Carey. He has softened her in a way Paris never could, and her body swells becomingly with his child.

I look back at the pool table, and there he stands, his hair gleaming in the light as it gleamed once before outlined in sunlight on a wide white bed. He bends his head to laugh with his companion, and Harry's hair shines blue for a moment, as fair and dark they stand together, always together. They turn to leave, but at the door Paris speaks, and leaves Harry for one moment to return to me.

I raise my head slowly. I see the shade of something in his eyes, something not named, and his finger brushes briefly against my face. "I wish you would find someone," he whispers. "You need someone." I look into the face of the only man I will ever need in my life, and he smiles gently and turns away. At the door his arm slides around Harry, and they are gone.

We have just over sixty years left of our journey home. The years stretch ahead of me, long and empty and cold.


November 1998