Author: august
Date: July 2000

Summary: "Weren't you adored?" - D. Grohl
Notes: This is a continuation of Boadicea's Safer. Mary W, Kelly, Boadicea and I all embarked on writing a different version. I am honored to know, and be inspired by, such wonderful, gifted people.

* * *

First there was pain. It pushed the breath out of her, it curled her fingers. At first there was pain, and it spread quickly through her, collapsing into something which left her sucking air and not wanting it to stop.

Each time, as she was on her knees, she would promise herself that this was the last time. She would remind herself of the risks, of the danger of being caught. A Starfleet Captain in a programme would mean instant dismissal, hushed quietly away.

Flesh connected with flesh, and she arched her neck sharply. But it was good, oh, it was good.

* * *

Chakotay had stayed. In many ways, it was almost as if he had never found the tape. She was careful, after that day, to destroy the recordings from the holodeck before she left the building. She had never found the one that he had seen, and she would occasionally cringe at the thought of him keeping it; tucked away with his discharge papers and childhood letters. Searing items never meant to be revisited but always meant to hurt.

Chakotay had stayed, in a way. A part of her had hoped he would leave, a part of her couldn't understand how he could stay. The afternoon he had found the recording, he had gripped and pulled at her hair like a person who was leaving. She had expected to come home from work the next day to an empty house.

But he had stayed. Their individual trips off-planet became longer and more frequent. They went weeks, occasionally months without seeing each other. Her mother, the last link to the person she used to be, called it a perfect Fleet marriage, and Kathryn wondered how much she knew. She sometimes felt the urge to ask her what she meant - to ask whether this was the way it was with her father. Remote, vestigial connections.

Sometimes, she felt like she was back at the Academy, with an absent room-mate who left short 'gone to Vulcan, back in a few weeks' notes. It was certainly never how she imagined marriage to be, and yet, strangely, not that different. She had left him on his knees that night, his eyes full of hatred. When she looked at him now, she saw shades of that - but only shades, muted and faded with time. And that was easy to live with. It was impractical to do anything else.

She was almost certain he had taken a lover. She thought that maybe she was happy for him, although she suspected that that, too, would fade.

* * *

She sees the doctors less and less. The months of compulsory check-ups, begun upon her return, were over. She has headaches, sometimes, but she takes care of them with hyposprays that, technically, she shouldn't have. She prides herself on being a picture of good health.

Her sister calls her 'edgy'.

Sometimes, she notices the fact that she absently clips a phaser to her side, more often that it's needed. Occasionally, it registers that she checks the house internal alarm sensors, three or four times a night. She uses words like precautions (but thinks words like compulsion). She tries not to think about the times she rests a phaser on her nightstand, the times she gets out of bed to check the alarms.

She does not know why she does this. She does not fear anything, specifically. She supposes that this makes things a little bit worse. She understands that one day this will be a problem, that she may not be able to leave her home without a sidearm.

Mostly, however, she prides herself on being a picture of good health. It doesn't pay to think about the other, minor, details.

* * *

A few months before her birthday, Starfleet held a gala honoring 'Heroes of the Federation'. Her father was among them, Owen Paris as well. She felt genuine regret that her father were not alive, with her. She gave a short speech - it was nostalgic where needed, positive where necessary.

The night had been successful. And then she had run into Tom Paris.

"Where's Chakotay?"

She sipped her drink and scanned the room. She was damned if she was going to attend a function like this and not clock the requisite time with Brass.

"He's on Dorvan."

"Oh, has he been stationed there?"

"Stationed? No. He's doing some mediation."

"For Starfleet?"

"No." She put her drink down and looked at him carefully. For the first time. "No. Why all the questions?"

Tom laughed, out loud, and shook his head. "Wow. It didn't take you long to get back into the Fleet scene, did it?"

She smiled, almost uncomfortably. "Why do you say that?"

"No wasted conversation."

She stopped then. She felt something, strangely.

"I'm sorry, Tom. You're right."

"Don't apologise." he said. "You don't owe me anything, I'm just a lowly Leiuteniant."

"And likely to stay that way if you don't stop taking unauthorised flights."

He laughed. "Ah, I was wondering whether you had heard about that. It was just a bit of fun. Actually, I was trying to win a bet."

"Did you?" she asked, and he seemed surprised.

"No, as a matter of fact."

"Too bad." She drained her glass and signalled for another. "Too bad."

He watched the scotch being put down on the table. "I've never known you to drink scotch."

"It's my planet-side drink. Wine for the skies, scotch for the earth."

"Well, it appears demarcation runs through all your life."

"You're talking about Chakotay, again?"

"I never told you how happy I was for the two of you."

She almost laughed at his earnestness. She felt terrible for that. "Well, thank you."


"No buts. When I see him, I'll tell him."


"Don't say 'ah' like you know what I mean."

"Don't I?"

She picked her glass up off the table. The conversation had taken a dangerous turn - talking about what Tom Paris does or does not know was not a sensible game plan. "How's B'Elanna, Tom?" She asked, cruelly, knowing how painful the break-up was. Hearing how painful the break-up had been.

He looked at her coldly, and then left the table.

She found him later, talking to a small man with tiny ears. She joined their conversation effortlessly, and when the man left, she spoke without looking at Tom.

"I'm sorry. I am a bit out of practise at this....this kind of thing."

"It didn't take you long, did it?"

"Apparently not." she said, a little sadly. Wanting to believe that she had changed, that she had not always been like this.

They stood close, not looking at each other. The scotch had made her back feel a little loose but otherwise had little effect. She sometimes wished it would. She would regret this tomorrow.

"Would you like to come back to my house?" she said, touching his shoe with hers.


They walked to the transporters. He started to say something, then stopped. "Is this a 'missing my father' grief thing, an 'I need to get in touch with my caring Captain side' type deal or a drunk and horny situation?"

"Does it matter?" she asked, helping him onto the transporter pad, pausing briefly to leave a location with the operator.

He laughed out loud. "No, I suppose it doesn't." They stood on the pads.

As they waited for transport, she leaned over to him and whispered, "good, because tonight you're going to fuck me until I scream."

* * *

After the first time, going to bed with Tom Paris seemed like the easiest thing in the world.

She wondered sometimes if he was motivated purely by orgasms. It was as if she had finally found the perfect solution, with no price. He asked nothing of her, no commitments, and no promises. A minimal degree of affection. He had seemed to know, as soon as she had whispered to him on the transporter pad, how she liked it. Maybe he liked it, too.

She suspected she was a trophy, of sorts. A schoolboy fantasy, akin to fucking your homeroom teacher. He never asked about Chakotay, and she suspected that she could find motivation there, as well. As impractical as it was, sometimes she felt the urge to suggest a threesome, just to see Tom's reaction.

Mostly, she didn't care. People's motivations were dangerous to know, impossible to understand. It was easier (safer) not to.

* * *

He asked her once, what she had done before they started sleeping together.

"I don't imagine this is Chakotay's bent." He chuckled.

"Not exactly, no." She closed her eyes. He bit the inside of her wrist as she spoke softly. "I have programmes. On a holodeck in Sector 73."

He drew blood. "You *had* programmes." Spoken quietly.

She smiled. She finally knew his price.

* * *

Occasionally, things mixed in. Moments that she couldn't really file amongst her real life, that didn't really belong in her real life.

One day, she attended a formal Starfleet function with Chakotay. He had been back in town only a few days, and they were late as they hurried into their formal dress uniforms. The evening was pleasant enough.

Sitting in the back of the transport as they rode to the Ambassadorial Building, it was almost easy to pretend that things were different. Sitting in the back of the transport, she could act at being the person he married, the person he first took to bed. Sitting in the back of that transport, she could almost forget that it was just an act.

She didn't mind so much that she occasionally caught him watching her throughout the evening. That she had let herself drink a little too much, and then let him draw patterns on her knees on their way home. She didn't mind this affection, so much. If she had wanted to, she could probably have convinced herself that it was almost enough.

She wondered how easy for him it had been to forget about the tape, whether that was what this was about. She felt a little strange as he moved above her, as he moved in her. She met his arousal with a certain degree of affection. She didn't come, but as he did, she couldn't help but think that, were she a different person, this could have been something.

* * *

One afternoon, she met with Tom.

"Did I do this?" He traced his fingers along a bruise on the inside of her knee. She smiled, a little embarrassed.


"Oh. Chakotay?"

She laughed harder this time and pushed his hand away. "Not Chakotay, no."

He was silent for a moment, and his hand reached back to trace the bruise and it's differing shades of purples and yellow. "You're going back to the programmes?"

She reached over and kissed his cheek. "Does that bother you?"

He said no, but he pushed her back on the bed a little carelessly. He said no but he ripped at her skin, leaving proclamatory marks, leaving nothing to he imagination. She sighed into him as always, but he could not meet her eyes.

He said no, but she realised then that it was over.

* * *

First there was pain. It pushed the breath out of her, it curled her fingers. At first there was pain, and it spread quickly through her, collapsing into something which left her sucking air and not wanting it to stop.

Each time, as she was on her knees, she would promise herself that this was the last time. She would make the faces surrounding her more generic, removing any form of sentience from them. From her. She would tell herself that this was a luxury she could afford, yet secretly know it was the only thing she could not.

She had told Chakotay that people were a luxury, an expense. She had not realised at the time that that included herself.

Flesh connected with flesh, and she arched her neck sharply. But it was good, oh, it was good.

~ ~ * ~ ~
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