Harbour Lights PG-13
Author: Annie M
Code: P, P/T
Summary: Tom's in a reflective mood.
Spoiler Alert: This vignette includes a mild reference to the season 7 episode "Drive."
Archiving: Please ask for permission before archiving anywhere.
Many thanks to Voy and Der Spouse for their help in clarifying a few sailing terms. I know absolutely nothing about sailing so any errors that remain are all mine and not theirs. My thanks also to DangerMom for giving this her usual "gold star" beta treatment and to Tracy, for putting her oar in. ;-)
Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom etc owns the characters and by extension my obsession. The following is for therapeutic purposes only.
9 October 2000
Harbour Lights by Annie M
Harbour lights twinkled somewhere in the far distance and I squinted into the settling darkness, trying to make out the ragged mountain peaks that loomed above them.
The sun was setting and the weather was turning with it. I shrugged my shoulders against the cold and turned my vision to the bobbing waves beneath the boat. In the fast diminishing light the water looked black, almost inky, swirling around and lapping at the hull as the wind picked up a little.
We'd dropped anchor here a couple of hours ago so we could swim and have lunch--in that order. Later on B'Elanna wanted to sun-bathe on the deck and as much as I like looking at her naked and glistening and totally exposed on a large beach towel, I'd had enough of sunburns for the time being so, after I'd oiled her up... thoroughly, I'd sat back in the shade at the stern, with only a view of her long legs to keep me company.
I watched the waves for a long time, not even noticing when I couldn't see them anymore--where vision becomes only sound, so subtly, you have no idea the transition has been made until you think about it. I wasn't thinking about it.
I wasn't really thinking at all; I was immersed in memories. I remembered the Admiral... my father... Dad taking us sailing in San Francisco harbour all those summers ago. I remembered how patient he was as he explained how to use the jib and the mainsail, how the keel keeps the boat stable in water... the correct way to tack into the wind. I remembered him laughing with us when Mom threatened to push him over the side.
I'd been thinking about him a lot recently, I guess more so now because of our link to the Pathfinder array, and I'm not even trying to think about him; images just come. It's funny in a way too because those images haven't all been as unpleasant as I would have expected.
I lick at my salty lips and wonder what happened to us. It's a stupid thought; I know what happened. I didn't want to be his puppet and he thought I'd never be anything else.
That's kind of cold, Tommy.
I remembered he used to read to me; encouraged my interest in flying; bragged about my precocious talent to his Fleet brass buddies--commanders, captains and admirals all. "You can do better, Tom," he'd say to me after every flight simulation. "You can always do better."
Yeah. And I did.
I close my eyes and turn away from the harbour lights in the distance. Resting my back against the port rail I look starboard instead and open my eyes to the darkness of the new night sky. A few stars peek out from above and I feel the rocking of the boat through my legs, the rhythmic rolling of water against the hull making me forget that this isn't real, that this is simply another holodeck program.
B'Elanna steps out of the darkness and wraps her arms around me, hugs me briefly, squeezing tight.
"Aren't you cold?"
I smile down at her, wrapped warmly in a thick sweater which seems to reach down to her knees. "I'm an old sea-dog," I answer quietly.
B'Elanna moves in closer to me and starts rubbing at my arms, which are loosely encircling her waist. I like the friction of her hands against my bare skin but I know it's mostly for her own benefit rather than mine; she's shivering with every stroke.
"Lets go down," I suggest. I take her hand and lead her down the short steps of the companion-way, locking it after us to keep the chill out, into the cabin which houses a mini-bar, radio equipment, a small stereo, a table with a couple of chairs and a bed--the kind with drawers built in underneath the base.
We head for the bed and as B'Elanna slumps down against the mattress and busily gets to work on rubbing her arms and hands I kneel down and pull off her sneakers, rubbing some warmth vigorously into her cold soles through the thermal socks she's wearing.
It's warmer down here but Bea's still feeling the chill. I offer to change the program and she thinks about it for a minute; shaking her head she offers me a crooked little smile, suggesting an alternative that will take far less time to accomplish.
She's such a wonderful engineer.
We're a lot warmer now. B'Elanna's snuggled up against me, still in her socks, and she's put back on at least two of my tee-shirts over one of her own. Her short nails are making slow tracks over my belly, back and chest, and she's humming. It's a low contented sound almost like a purr, but it's not, it's just B'Elanna.
I trace identical patterns across her back and down her spine, letting the tips of my fingers play against her skin--where I've managed to get them under her layers of warmth. I feel her soft breaths against my neck, the rhythm of her heartbeat against my chest; the smell of the ocean and the taste of the salt is in her hair and against her skin, as it is on mine.
I drift off, knowing we have time here, so much time.
I wake up a little groggy. I think I was dreaming about my time in Voyager's Brig and that letter I wrote to my father, but the image doesn't last, not under the sensation of what B'Elanna's doing to me down there under the sheets.
"You... cold... again?" I manage to ask against my own gasps of pleasure. B'Elanna chuckles something against my thighs then gets right back to work. God, this feels so good.
She takes me to the edge and holds me there, brings me back down and pushes me to the pinnacle again... and again. I call her name and she takes me over, tasting me and loving me and wanting me....
I remember, when I was about fifteen or so, before I got ultra rebellious at home anyway, sneaking in from school. I'd wanted to grab my hiking boots and go walking in the hills with a couple of guys from the neighbourhood--Fleet brats like me. I knew Mom wouldn't let me, it being a school night and all plus exams coming up any day.
So I sneaked in through the kitchen, keeping low and trying not to make a sound in case one of my sisters--who were always snooping around the house with guys--were around. Oh, the tales I could tell....
I moved to the doorway and checked the hall before making a move for the stairs and that's when I saw them.
I didn't think the Admiral would be home, I wasn't even sure he was on the planet, as I'd heard he and Mom talking about a long haul trip into the Neutral Zone or something a few days before.
Dad had his arms around Mom's waist and was looking down at her with such... I didn't know what that look was, I'd never seen it before on him, not that I could remember anyway. The way he was looking at her, the way they were looking at each other made me stop and catch my breath. I didn't recognise these people, I didn't know them at all.
I didn't go hiking that night, I just sat on the steps of the back porch, watching the sun set and the stars coming out. Trying to reconcile what I'd seen with what I thought I knew. Something about that scene upset me and comforted me at the same time.
I wondered now how I'd thought he could never be capable of such a thing... of such... tenderness.
I started the engines early this morning; we've decided to go further out and maybe go scuba diving later, the wind is too calm to go very far on the sails alone.
I'm standing behind B'Elanna, helping her with the wheel. She may know a starship back to front but she has no idea how to steer a ship eight degrees north west. The sun's on our backs and I've programmed it to be another hot day, not too hot for my complexion's sake but it'll do for B'Elanna.
B'Elanna leans back against me, taking one hand off the wheel to rub at my thigh. "You were talking in your sleep, you know."
"Yeah." She gives my leg another caress and re-takes the wheel. She doesn't say anything else.
I watch the sky and the horizon meet in the distance.
"It was my father's birthday yesterday."
My new wife doesn't turn into me, or offer up any words of comfort or chastisement--over having to share part of her honeymoon with a man I've spent most of my adult life trying to impress or forget--but she does let go of the wheel fully and reaches behind me with both arms, drawing me closer to her in an awkward embrace.
I lean into her and kiss the top of her head, resting my chin there. I check our course and steady the wheel. I watch the sky meet the horizon in the distance, taste the salt on my lips... and I remember.
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