Title: The Way You Love Me
Author: Julie Evans (Juli17@aol.com)
Rating: NC17
Codes: P/T
Summary: B‘Elanna and Tom spend time in a holoprogram created by B‘Elanna. Set post "11:59", where their relationship appears to have moved into pretty comfortable period.

Disclaimer: Star Trek and its characters are the property of Viacom/Paramount. I am borrowing them for fun only, not profit.

Notes: This is rated NC17 for graphic consensual heterosexual sex between adults. I delve in a small way into B‘Elanna‘s human heritage in this story, and it is all speculation since there has really been nothing revealed in canon about that subject so far, unless you count a brief mention in Jeri Taylor‘s

"Pathways." I thank Dangermom for allowing me to reference her story "Swordplay," which also has a fascinating look into B‘Elanna‘s human heritage. Thanks to Patti and Janet for beta reading. This story may be archived to the ASC, PTF Archive, PTC Archive, and the BLTS. All others please ask author for permission.

"The Way You Love Me"
by Julie Evans

"I like the feel of your name on my lips, And I like the sound of your sweet gentle kiss. The way that your fingers run through my hair, And how your scent lingers even when you‘re not there….


Tom breathed her name low and soft, letting it flow over his lips. She turned around slowly and smiled at his openly admiring stare. Then she looked him up and down in her own method of appreciative assessment. He was wearing what she had requested, very snug black pants, a full sleeved snowy white shirt snug at the wrists and open at the collar, and low heeled black boots. And he had one long-stemmed blood red rose stuck haphazardly in his waistband.

Tom caught the direction of her gaze and pulled the rose from his waistband, licking his dry lips as he did so. Then he looked at her again. She looked…like a woman, though not in any way soft or fragile, despite her small stature. She looked thoroughly sensual. Maybe it was partly the way the neckline of the dress, trimmed in fine black lace, dipped at her breasts, revealing their soft upward swell. Or the way the deep red bodice clung tightly to her body, cupping her breasts and hugging her narrow waist and the curve of her hips like a lover. At mid-hip the jet-black skirt of the dress flared out, falling in three ruffles, each lined with deep red. As she took a step toward him he could just catch a glimpse of the silky stockings that encased her slender ankles above her black low-heeled pumps.


Tom looked up and met B‘Elanna‘s slightly bemused smile. She wasn‘t one for makeup but in keeping with the costume she‘d lined her eyes with black, and her lips were painted the same deep red as her bodice. Her hair was pulled tightly back off her face into a small bun, and fastened with a black comb that was adorned with small roses as blood red as the one he was holding. The style emphasized her strong cheekbones and brought her brow ridges into prominence. It was a style he didn‘t think she would have willingly chosen even a couple of years ago. He‘d like to think he‘d had some part in her easier acceptance of the beauty of her dual heritage, even if his own contribution had been as simple as admiring something completely obvious to everyone but her.

"You look beautiful." He leaned over and brushed his lips over hers, and she returned his kiss, sliding her lips over his and catching his lower lip gently with her teeth, then releasing it with a soft sigh.

"Thanks." B‘Elanna‘s voice was low and throaty. "You look pretty good, too." Their gazes held for a long heated moment, before she spoke again. "Have you been practicing?"

For a second Tom had to recall what she was talking about. Then he nodded. "Oh. Yeah. A little."

Michael Ayala and Sean Mulcahy rounded the corner of the corridor just then and almost came to a complete stop, staring at Tom and B‘Elanna.

"Uh, holodeck program," Tom said as the two walked slowly by. Too slowly.

"Right," Ayala said, perusing their clothing, then fixing his gaze for a moment on Tom‘s face. He and Mulcahy exchanged a look.

"Have fun," Mulcahy murmured, unable to completely suppress a grin. Even B‘Elanna‘s glare, promising that he could expect a very harried next shift in Engineering, didn‘t completely wipe it away. He and Ayala rounded the next corner still sneaking backward glances.

"Shit. There is no privacy on this ship," B‘Elanna growled, with only a modest amount of rancor. At this point both she and Tom had gotten used to that fact. She rubbed her thumb over Tom‘s lower lip, wiping off the red lipstick. "And I even took the back way."

Tom knew B‘Elanna‘s "back" way from her quarters, a twisting route that avoided the heavier traveled corridors and lifts. He managed not to smile at the fact that she‘d—they‘d—been caught anyway. "Well, I guess we could go inside the holodeck," he suggested wryly.

B‘Elanna gave him a mildly reproachful look and reached past him to activate the holodeck controls. A moment later the door slid open. "Come on."

Tom followed B‘Elanna as she strode into the program. Immediately the relatively bright light of the corridor faded as they stepped through the holodeck doorway and walked into a large courtyard. He looked at the surrounding whitewashed stucco buildings, most with black wrought iron balconies that were decorated with colorful flowers overflowing in pots, or trailing down the iron posts. He spotted roses, gardenias, bougainvillea, and other varieties he couldn‘t immediately identify. It was warm and a little humid—leave it to B‘Elanna to set the season to summer—and the air was heavy with the perfume of the different flowers, though the heady mixture was not unpleasant. Tom glanced behind him, where the holodeck door had just disappeared, merging into another building. It was stucco too, but painted a warm tawny yellow, and branches of red and yellow roses entwined themselves along the balcony railing above the door.

Tom took several steps toward B‘Elanna, moving around several sets of tables and chairs that were arranged near a fountain in the middle of the courtyard. B‘Elanna had stopped next the small stone fountain, where water spurted out of the mouth of a cherub and splashed down into a round pool. The water in the pool reflected the buildings around them on its gently rippling surface, and the few tall gaslamps that helped illuminate the courtyard in the gathering dusk. Warm light also spilled from several surrounding windows, lending to the soft shadowy light of the courtyard. And music was coming from somewhere…down one of the several narrow cobblestone streets leading away from the courtyard. The murmur of laughter and conversation carried from an open door, and the heavy thrumming beat of music. Several people mingled outside that door, mere shadow figures back lit by the light spilling from the doorway.

Above the low buildings Tom noticed the unmistakable spire of a cathedral in the distance, lit golden by floodlights. He‘d already assumed from the dance they were about to perform that this was certainly Spain, a country he hadn‘t much familiarity with, except the summer when he was seven and his mother had taken him and his sisters on a whirlwind tour of Earth‘s great art museums, including the Prado in Madrid. At that age he‘d had little interest in looking at endless galleries of paintings in stuffy museums, and less memory of it. And there was Barcelona, where he‘d spent a couple of aimless weeks not long after he‘d been discharged from Starfleet, also mostly lost to memory for another reason entirely. This place however, was more like what he thought the Andalusia
region must be like. Maybe Granada, or Seville…

Tom looked at B‘Elanna then, and was surprised to see her studying the scene with an expression as rapt as his, as if she was cataloguing everything, making sure it was all exactly as she‘d programmed it. Or as she remembered it….

Tom touched her bare arm and pressed his fingers gently against her warm skin. She looked at him, her eyes far away for a moment. Then she read the question in his eyes. "Sevilla."

She said it with the Spanish pronunciation, the two l‘s pronounced like a y. Sevilla. When she‘d suggested they try out the dance on the holodeck tonight, he‘d assumed they would be dancing in the interior of a room, or on a stage. Not in the middle of an old Earth city. In a place that obviously held some meaning for her. "You‘ve been here," he said simply.

She‘d glanced away again and her gaze fell on the cheerfully spitting cherub. "My grandmother brought me here when I was five. Well, it was my father who actually brought me to Earth, to meet some of…his family."

Tom followed B‘Elanna as she moved to the edge of the fountain. She‘d given him a glimpse into the heritage of her human side about a year ago, in a highly memorable program they regretfully hadn‘t revisited enough. And that was a program he could never revisit enough. But that had been in California, though some of the trappings had been similar to what surrounded them now, since much of the culture of that area of North America at the time had hailed from this Old World country. He‘d always thought it was interesting that they both had family history in California, though hers also spread further south. "I thought your father was from Mexico."

B‘Elanna nodded. "He was." She leaned over the edge of the fountain and trailed the rose in her hand lightly over the bubbling surface of the water. "But my grandmother had a sister here."

"Your great-aunt," Tom said softly.

B‘Elanna looked up at Tom and saw a hint of a smile on his lips and curiosity in his eyes. He said nothing more, just waited for her to speak. "Great-aunt. And a bunch of cousins, once-removed, or twice-removed, or whatever."

He‘d never thought of her father—of B‘Elanna—having a large family, since she spoke only sporadically of any of her family. But then, he spoken nearly as infrequently of most of his. "This is the same grandmother who made you banana pancakes?" he asked, though he knew the answer already.

"Yes." A small smile played around B‘Elanna‘s lips at the memory. "My father was busy for several days with conferences at Starfleet headquarters, so my grandmother brought me here."

From the few times she had mentioned her human grandmother, Tom knew that B‘Elanna had been very fond of her. And after her parents separated she must have missed her grandmother almost as much as she‘d missed her father. "Did your mother come?"

B‘Elanna‘s smile faded and she shook her head. "My parents were having…problems by then. Though I didn‘t understand that at the time. My mother didn‘t even want me to come, but I was…insistent. Maybe I really did sense that something was going on."

That her father was pulling away, Tom realized, feeling sympathy for that little girl. Something B‘Elanna definitely wouldn‘t appreciate. Instead he imagined her as a five-year-old being "insistent", and he couldn‘t help grinning.

"What?" B‘Elanna asked suspiciously.

"I was just imagining you as a little girl being…insistent…"

B‘Elanna flicked the rose over the surface of the water and a few drops flew up and splashed on Tom‘s white shirt. She gave him a narrow look but there was a smile lurking around her lips again. "I threw a complete tantrum, okay? As I recall it lasted for two days, until my mother couldn‘t take it anymore and let me go." She shrugged and gave him a droll look. "At least my tantrums are a little shorter these days."

"A little," Tom echoed teasingly, smiling at B‘Elanna‘s unperturbed self-assessment. He knew how much she‘d struggled with her temper recently, especially after the incident when she‘d broken the doc‘s holo-camera, but just lately she‘d been pretty even-tempered. She hadn‘t even protested when the doc had wanted to shoot a group picture at the "Ancestor‘s Eve" party for the captain several nights ago. And come to think of it, they hadn‘t had an argument in almost…three days. That was likely to change in a heartbeat, but as far as he was concerned her temperamental nature had always been part of the attraction. Even if his own sometimes equal willfulness resulted in some pretty intense confrontations between them. It just made making up equally intense. And if he never knew for sure what to expect from her at any given moment, it only added to the element of surprise. Besides he‘d never been above rousing her spirit a little. "Is this how everyone dressed when you were here?" he asked, eyeing her dress appreciatively again.

"Of course not," B‘Elanna said. "They dressed, well…normally, I suppose. It was a long time ago. But there was a festival—a fiesta—going on. And there were lots of people dressed in traditional outfits, dancing and singing."

Tom nodded thoughtfully, though his lips twitched a little as he looked at her. "And being a girl I guess you coveted one of these dresses?"

B‘Elanna flicked the rose across the water again, and this time quite a few drops splashed into his face. "Are you calling me a girl?"

Tom shook his head once to disperse the water, which was actually pleasantly cool, and grinned at B‘Elanna‘s mock indignant look. "I imagine even little Klingon girls want to dress up in grown up clothes, though I suppose they‘re dreaming of leather and steel, rather than satin and lace. In your case, maybe it was both?"

B‘Elanna didn‘t answer; she just shook her head and pulled the rose out of the water. "Tom—"

"Of course some I know some big girls who still like to dress up too…"

B‘Elanna shook her head, giving him an amused look.

"Tom, are you trying to start a fight?"

Tom shrugged, and raised his eyebrows. "I don‘t know, B‘Elanna. It‘s a little unnerving when you‘re so mellow. Especially while you‘re wearing that dress."

"Mellow?" B‘Elanna echoed. She moved across the short space separating them and squeezed his thigh. "I‘m wouldn‘t say I‘m feeling exactly ‚mellow‘ tonight, Tom."

Tom felt his pulse speed up a bit as B‘Elanna pressed her nails lightly through the snug material of his pant leg, but before he could react any further she grabbed his hand and started pulling him across the courtyard. He stumbled a bit as he was dragged along.

"I want to dance."

"Here?" Tom asked as she stopped at the edge of the courtyard, near one of the gaslamps that illuminated the ground in a wide pool of yellow light.

B‘Elanna nodded. "You can hear the music from here."

It was louder, right around the corner from them now. And though Tom could hear the murmur of voices coming from that direction also, and the surrounding background noise of a city humming with night activity, so far the courtyard had remained deserted, except for B‘Elanna and him. Maybe she had programmed it that way.

B‘Elanna turned and faced him. "Are you ready?"


B‘Elanna stared at him. "I thought you practiced."

Tom rolled his eyes. "A little. You didn‘t give me much warning about this."

"I told you yesterday."

Tom snorted. "Yeah. Thanks, a whole day." And at that he‘d been left to practice by himself while she‘d dealt with some engineering crisis. The steps weren‘t deeply complicated, but the energy level required had about worn him out. And he was still a little surprised B‘Elanna was considering taking part in the dance contest Megan Delaney and Pablo Baytart had proposed. Even when she had no doubts about her abilities, she usually wasn‘t enthusiastic about public forums. She tended to put her heart and soul into anything she did, and she‘d guarded both carefully in the past. "You know Megan and Pablo just thought up dance contest idea. It‘s not organized yet, and it may never get off the ground. Or more likely right when it‘s ready to start some hostile aliens will attack Voyager, since we know that happens about once a week—"

"This isn‘t just for the dance contest," B‘Elanna said. "And you‘re stalling, Tom. I did that Charleston dance with you," she reminded him.

Tom smiled at the memory of the speak-easy he had programmed a couple of months before. She‘d not only learned the Charleston for him; she‘d done it far better than he had. But B‘Elanna had a great deal of physical grace. She was a natural dancer, and could master almost any dance in one lesson. He could learn, but not quite that quickly.

"And when did you practice?" he asked curiously, knowing she had doubled in engineering the day before.

"I‘ve danced the flamenco before," B‘Elanna said, as if that wasn‘t some sort of completely unexpected revelation.

"You have?" Several annoying thoughts vied in his mind as he looked at her, standing in front of him in that extremely provocative dress. Had she been a similar dress, and who the hell had she danced with?

Someone at the Academy? Or someone she met in the Maquis? Where and when? Then it occurred to him that maybe she meant when she was a little girl, which would definitely ease his mind. "When did you—"

"The music‘s changing," B‘Elanna cut him off, leaving his unfinished question unanswered. Her dark eyes were glowing and she‘d already started to lean toward him. She lifted the rose and brushed the petals slowly across his cheek once, a soft velvety caress not quite as fever-inducing as the feel of her silky skin sliding against his, but close. Especially while she was looking at him with a definite gleam of fervent anticipation in her eyes. Then she pressed the stem of the rose lightly against his slightly parted lips, and he realized what she wanted.

"Ahh, bah," Tom protested incoherently as he felt the presence of a couple of thorns on the stem of the rose she was placing between his teeth. B‘Elanna curled her fingers between the stem and his lips and she positioned the stem so that the thorns wouldn‘t pierce the more sensitive areas of his mouth. Then she removed her fingers, stroking his lower lip lightly and deliberately in the process, and he clamped down carefully on the rose stem.

Tom wondered for a moment why he hadn‘t thought to have the thorns removed altogether when he‘d replicated the long-stemmed rose, but the thought flew out of his head as B‘Elanna began sliding her hands seductively down the front of his shirt while she swayed to the beat of the music. She thrust her hips forward, pressing her body against his, and turned slowly, letting her hip slide against his groin until her black satin-clad derriere was pressed against him. Her hands were resting over his and she slowly raised her arms and he followed suit, trailing his fingers lightly up her bare arms until his hands were cupped gently over hers. And the dance began.

B‘Elanna moved with sinuous grace, her arms gliding, her body flowing with expression. Her hands and her body grazed Tom‘s, and their eyes met with smoky flirtation as they moved together in the sultry opening movements of the lover‘s dance. He dramatically flung the rose to the ground, an invitation to a challenge. The tempo increased and their feet began tapping to the rhythm, faster and faster as the music soared. B‘Elanna‘s feet moved surely with each quick step of her part, and Tom kept up when it was his turn better than he‘d expected, though he could feel perspiration starting to layer him.

They alternately parried and approached as the dance progressed, lovers torn apart, then reaching out. The dance neared its conclusion and B‘Elanna pressed against him again as they reunited, grazing her hands along his hips as he slipped his arms around her. He didn‘t remember the quick hard squeeze to his buttocks being part of the dance, but he accepted that small deviation without protest. She‘d retrieved the rose he‘d discarded earlier, and he accepted it between his teeth as she clasped her hands around his neck and he dipped her gracefully backward in his arms in the final dramatic gesture.

The music faded as Tom stared down into B‘Elanna‘s upturned face. Or maybe it didn‘t fade. He could simply no longer hear it past the sound of the blood rushing in his ears. Not just because he was almost completely winded, but because she was pressed close against him, her breasts rising and falling rapidly against the tight confines of her bodice. He could feel rivulets of perspiration making tracks down his face, and his white shirt clung damply to his chest. But looking at her he could almost think she hadn‘t sweated at all—even though her hair had come loose and several tendrils curled against her cheeks—until he made out the fine moist sheen on her face. And noticed a tiny droplet of perspiration, making a slow erotic trail down her throat to the soft valley between her breasts. He wanted lick the droplet from her skin, and when he caught her gaze again, as heated and glazed with desire as his, he knew she was just as inflamed as he from the impassioned dance they‘d just performed.

As he straightened, pulling her up with him, she pressed her lips to his throat, doing what he‘d only had time to think, licking the perspiration from him, making a quick trail with her tongue up his jaw to his chin, and breathing deeply of his sweat enhanced scent. Her scent, also heightened by sweat and exertion, wafted to his nostrils. He knew her scent better than he‘d known any other woman‘s, it was strongly unique, maybe because of her Klingon heritage. He could smell it sometimes even when she wasn‘t there, and it never failed to evoke a reaction in him.

She reached up and tangled her hands in his hair, running her fingers through the short wet strands with deliberate slowness and then sliding her hands caressingly down his damp face, as if the sight and feel of his sweat-slicked hair and skin was irresistible. Her gaze bored into his, and he remembered then through his slightly befuddled brain that she tended to become fiercely amorous when he was sweaty with exertion, or when he was still wet from the shower.

What he‘d forgotten was that he still had the rose clamped between his teeth. He was reminded by the sudden sting of a thorn pressing against the underside of his lower lip where he‘d been inadvertently clamping his teeth tighter in response to the heat B‘Elanna‘s look and touch were generating. And maybe B‘Elanna had forgotten too, or was beyond noticing, because at that moment her grip on his face tightened and she pulled his mouth down to hers and slammed her lips into his, plunging into his mouth with fervor. He responded immediately, and the rose stem was caught between their fused lips as they feverishly kissed each other. The pain of a thorn biting into his lip merged with the desire that was surging through his body and brain, and he could barely tell the two apart. B‘Elanna had locked one leg around his, and his hand cupped her behind, pressing her tight against his pelvis. They ground against each other for several moments, their lips still melded together, both heedless of the rose stem being slowly shredded, or the more sturdy thorns piercing their skin. Tom‘s hands were working the back zipper of her bodice, managing to get it half way down, while B‘Elanna‘s hands were still wrapped tightly around his head, her fingers wound in his hair. It wasn‘t until they both stumbled against something that they broke apart.

During the course of the dance they‘d strayed partway across the courtyard, and they‘d moved several more steps while groping each other and had bumped into the edge of one of the tables near the fountain. Tom spit what was left of the rose stem out of his mouth and it fell to the ground tattered and almost sheared in half, the rose petals limp and shedding. He glanced at it, then back at B‘Elanna, who was staring intently at his mouth. He could feel the definite sting from the cut the thorn had inflicted on his lower lip, and taste the blood there. He noticed a small smear of blood on her lip too, where another thorn must have cut her. B‘Elanna slipped one hand out of his hair and pressed it against his lip, her fingers gently caressing the injured spot. He stared at her fixed gaze on his mouth as she rubbed her fingers lightly over his lip. Then she brought her fingers to her own mouth, and her tongue darted out to lick the trace of his blood from her fingertips. He swallowed, and she pressed her lips against his again, softly this time, sucking very gently at his lip, massaging his injury with her repetitive movements. Or maybe it was her surprisingly delicate way of milking his injury, as her tongue darted out again and lapped at the welling blood. He groaned and kissed her then, and his tongue tangled with hers, tasting not only his own blood, but the slightly different metallic tang of hers also.

B‘Elanna pulled her mouth away from his abruptly and looked up at him with a small smile on her face, her eyes heavy lidded. "Better?" she asked softly.

Tom nodded. She was backed up between him and the table, and he wrapped his hands around her waist and lifted her, eliciting a small gasp as he set her on the table. It was a small table, but the heavy wrought iron legs were sturdy, and B‘Elanna was light enough that it could support her sudden weight. "No one is going to come into the courtyard?"

B‘Elanna shook her head at his question, verifying what he had already assumed, that she‘d set the program to keep the courtyard private. He didn‘t ask if the program was locked, it was a habit with them now in case the inevitable happened. And though it briefly occurred to him that something in his last thought was contradictory, B‘Elanna was looking at him expectantly, an anticipative gleam in her eyes. "What are you doing, Tom?" she asked softly.

Tom reached for the chair beside him and he pulled it closer to the table. B‘Elanna was sitting with her arms thrown back, her breasts thrust forward, her legs spread slightly, and the skirt of her dress was gathered in folds over her legs. The narrow sleeves of her bodice, loosened in their amorous embrace and by his work on her zipper, had slipped from her shoulders, and drooped down her slender arms, leaving the tiny black straps of her bra exposed. And at her breasts, where her dress had also slipped, he could see very sheer black silk peeking out.

B‘Elanna had followed the direction of his gaze and she moved forward slightly, thrusting her breasts out further, and shimmying her body. Her movements were designed to dislodge the bodice further, and they did. The dark red satin slipped slowly down over her breasts until it was bunched above her waist, and the sleeves dropped past her elbows. Tom now had a full view of the barely concealing black silk bra that covered her breasts, so sheer the dark outline of her nipples were clearly visible.

Tom looked appreciatively at her peaked nipples straining against the confines of the black silk so invitingly. But he had something else in mind. He pulled her shoes off one by one as she watched, then gripped her ankles and placed her feet on either side of his thighs. Then he slid his hands beneath the red-edged ruffles of her skirt, grazing them up her calves, over the fine black stockings she wore, and he pressed her legs further apart. He pushed the heavy satin of her skirt upward, sliding the material up along her legs, far enough so that he caught of glimpse of the sheer black silk of her matching panties.


B‘Elanna‘s throaty voice was tense and expectant. And it caught just a little as his hands slipped completely under her dress and his fingers skimmed past where the top edge of her stockings ended and gripped the warm taut skin of her inner thighs. Her muscles clenched involuntarily against his fingers and he glanced up at her face. She was looking at him through half-closed lids, her eyes dark and aroused, and her lips slightly parted and moist as if she‘d just licked them. He smiled at her as his fingers touched the flimsy edge of her panties and pushed the material easily aside, invoking a small moan of anticipation. Then he moved her skirt as far out of the way as he could, and he lowered his head to taste her, knowing how that drove her wild. Knowing that he was loving her just the way she liked.
"I love the way you love me,

Strong and wild….

The heavy material of her skirt gathered over his head had a blanketing effect, intensifying the strong musky scent of her. And the taste of her, as he ran his tongue slowly, tantalizingly, along her folds, gently lapping up her wetness. He heard B‘Elanna moan a little louder, so deep in her throat it was almost a growl, and her thighs clenched tighter.

He straightened and pushed the skirt away from his head, though he left one hand still gripping her panties. He met her gaze as she stared at him, her lips parted, her eyes dark with passion and looking a little confused. The fine sheen of perspiration that covered her skin seemed to glisten now in the dim light. He licked his lips, bringing more of the taste of her into his mouth. She licked her own lips slowly in return, and her gaze locked with his, her eyes shading even darker. Then her breath hitched as moved his hand and inserted three fingers deep into her. Her eyes widened and her hands, splayed against the table for support, slowly clenched into fists. She knew what he was going to do, and with his sensitive pilot‘s hands and long fingers he was very good at it. And sometimes even more than tasting her, even more than being buried deep within her, he loved to simply watch her.


His name on her lips strangled into a low groan as he began to thrust his fingers into her, at the same time using his thumb to stroke her clitoris. She lifted her hips and began to thrust also, helpless to do anything else as he alternately drove his fingers into her and pulled them back. Her eyes closed and her breath came in shallower gasps as he stroked her just enough to push her to the edge, then paused, letting the sensation settle into an intense driving need.


This time her voice groaning his name was half-warning, half-pleading. He stroked her again with his thumb, stoking the fire, and he thrust his fingers deep into her, then stilled his movement. She thrust hard against his hand and uttered a harsh whimper as her head fell back. Her arms were trembling as she tried to support her weight against his onslaught, and she was partly constricted from throwing her arms out further by the sleeves drooped at her wrists, binding her movement. She struggled against them and he quickly put his free arm around her, pressing his hand against the small of her back and taking her weight forward as he started to thrust his fingers in and out of her again. She willingly fell against him, her breasts pressing against his face. His mouth closed over one breast, his teeth scraping against her taut nipple through the thin silk of her bra. With his hand on her lower back he positioned her so he could thrust his long fingers into her as deep as possible, and at the same time stroke her with his thumb.

She let out a loud moan as he repeated the assault two, then three times, delving his fingers each time deeper into her. Then her whole body went rigid against him, and his name, shouted from her lips, ended in long low wail as she shuddered and her fluids flowed freely over his fingers. His mouth was still closed over her breast, and he suckled her lightly as he held her against him while the tremors of her orgasm slowly subsided. Finally he moved his mouth from her now very damp breast and looked up at her.

"Tom," she murmured, her eyes still closed as he slipped his fingers out of her.

"Did you like that?" Tom asked her, though he had no doubt of the answer. Though B‘Elanna sometimes took immediate control of their lovemaking, just as often he took control first. And while she‘d certainly never put up with being a passive partner, he knew she didn‘t want a passive partner either. Which was not a problem for either of them.

She opened her eyes. "I love the way you love me, Tom," she said softly, giving him a quick smug smile. "But now it‘s my turn." She moved forward and he made room as she slipped off the edge of the table and dropped into his lap, wrapping her thighs securely around him. She pushed her sleeves off her wrists as she came down, using her movements against him to push her bodice completely down to her waist. Then she worked off the last few subsiding tremors of his handiwork, or perhaps worked herself toward another peak, by rubbing herself rhythmically against him, dampening the crotch of his pants with her wetness, and causing a part of him that was now very, very aroused to respond painfully.

Tom groaned. He knew wouldn‘t be long for this.

She reached for his hand, giving him an affectionate and seductive half smile, and then she raised his fingers to her lips. She drew his fingers slowly into her mouth, running her tongue from palm to tips and sucking her own juices from them. The sensation shot straight to his groin and he groaned again and thrust up against her.

She let his fingers drop away from her mouth and his hand closed over her breast as she ran her own fingers through his hair and kissed him gently, and the shared taste of her mingled in their mouths. Then she reached down with one hand and quickly unfastened his pants and released his erection. Their kiss deepened to bruising intensity as she stroked him and deliberately rubbed her crotch, still clad in her wet and now twisted black silk panties, provocatively against his swollen erection. He reached down and roughly pushed the wet black silk aside, moaning her name incoherently against her lips.

"Yes, love?" she asked softly, teasingly, against his mouth.

Some part of his brain registered that she‘d just addressed him by a genuine endearment. B‘Elanna, who had little use for casually uttered lover‘s endearments, though she tolerated his occasionally spoken endearments in private. And her own more general nicknames for him, like hotshot, were often laced with affection. He felt a rush of true gratification, but it was left unspoken as her gyrations and her hand stroking him elicited a deep moan of supplication. She rose slightly to position herself, and immediately accommodated him, lowering herself down on him in one steady movement, taking him deeply inside her and uttering a low growl of satisfaction that matched his.

He decided that maybe being inside her was best of all as she drew herself up and then slammed down on him again, milking him with no gentle intent. He circled his hands tightly around her hips, and began to meet her with equal force, pounding hard and deep into her wet warmth. Her fingers were in his hair again, not gently this time but gripping him ferociously as they kissed with punishing passion, matching the rhythm of their bodies as they rode each other. Her teeth roughly scraped his lower lip as they reached the peak, reopening the barely closed wound from the thorn, and the taste of blood on his lips mingled with the sensation of blood rushing through his brain as he exploded inside her, shouting her name against her mouth. Then, rocked by their climax, they collapsed against each other.

…slow and easy,
heart and soul, so completely…

B‘Elanna sat bonelessly over Tom, her legs still wrapped around him, her face pressed against his throat, her warm rapid breaths against his damp skin fanning back in her face. Her hands, now loose in his hair, slipped slowly down the back of his neck and she draped her arms loosely around his shoulders. She could feel his own labored breathing against her temple, and his arms were circled lightly around her waist, his fingers gently stroking her spine. She felt depleted, but completely sated.

She raised her head just enough to look around. The chair had moved quite a bit during their exertions, right to the edge of the fountain. The skirt of her dress was bunched up tightly below her waist in front, almost circumspectly covering her and Tom‘s union, and the longer back of her skirt had been pushed aside and the hem was now hanging just over fountain‘s edge, a trail of black and red floating into the water.

She looked up at Tom. His eyes were closed, his head thrown back slightly, and his mouth was slightly parted. His face was shiny with sweat, and if possible his hair was even slicker with moisture. There was a smear of blood on his lower lip from the small thorn cut she‘d probably just aggravated, though as usual he never protested her often rough nature. He simply met it equally. Or countered it with gentleness, which was sometimes more arousing.

She slipped one hand from his shoulder and leaned across him so that she could reach the gurgling water next to them. She scooped up a small amount and lifted her hand just above his head, then let the cool water trickle down from her fingers over his forehead. It made trails over his nose and lips, then dripped off his chin and down his throat, finally mingling with the perspiration in the tangle of hair on his chest that his open collared and now slightly ripped shirt exposed. He murmured appreciatively as his eyes flew open, and he trained his warm blue gaze on her.

"That feels good," he said softly. His tongue darted out and licked at the drops that still clung to his upper lip. "And tastes good."

B‘Elanna scooped up some more water and brought it to his face again and let it trail down from his forehead over his nose and cheeks. This time her fingers followed the water, tracing wetly over his features. She touched her cool wet fingers to his slightly swollen lower lip, pressing the cool drops on her fingers against his wound. He closed his lips lightly over her fingers and sucked the coolness from them, causing a shiver of reaction to run down her spine. Maybe she wasn‘t completely depleted after all.

He scooped up some water in his palm and returned the favor, letting the water in his hand drip from his hand over her face. She closed her eyes and felt the water trickle down her cheeks and nose. A moment later his fingers touched her mouth lightly, gently caressing cool water into her lips, swollen from both the thorns and from their lovemaking. His fingers moved away before she could do as he had and suck the moisture from them. Then another trail of water streamed over her face like a fine veil, and she almost sputtered at the amount. The water dripped from her chin and made quick trails down her throat and to her collarbone. And when she felt Tom‘s hand between her breasts her eyes flew open. His fingers expertly unhooked the front closure of her black silk bra, which was damp itself from her perspiration and his mouth. The water had continued to trail down her chest, making small streams in the soft valley between her breasts. And now several drops trailed onto her naked breasts. One drop clung precipitously to one nipple. Tom leaned forward and lapped it up gently with his tongue. And B‘Elanna realized that she definitely wasn‘t completely sated either.

And neither was Tom because he was hardening inside her again. He groaned softly, and his blue eyes were alight with both desire and humor. "You‘re going to kill me with love, B‘Elanna."

B‘Elanna smiled and trailed a finger down his chest.

"It‘s an honorable way to die."

"Well, at least I‘ll have that," Tom said, as B‘Elanna began to move slowly against him. She wove her arms around his neck and pressed close to him, her breasts buried against the springy hair of his chest. He cradled her back with his arms. Their gazes held each other‘s as they began to move together, this time in a sure easy rhythm, their hands lightly stroking and kneading, their mouths gently meeting, nipping, tasting. And instead of an intense explosion, this time it was a slow building of sensation, soft sweet murmurs of pleasure, a gentle release.

"I love the way you love me."

They again rested against each other, sated once more. And a small laugh escaped Tom‘s lips as he spoke against her hair. "We are done for the moment, aren‘t we?"

B‘Elanna chuckled and raised her head to look at him.

"Have I killed you with love?"

Tom pushed her tangled hair aside and kissed her temple softly. "You‘ve exhausted me with love. But I‘m not complaining. I love the way you love me."

B‘Elanna smiled at his repetition of her words, and snuggled against him. Tom actually had an incredible amount of stamina, more than she would have given him credit for before she‘d gotten to know him better. He could easily keep up with her, though truthfully even she wouldn‘t want to try and stand right now. And it felt good to be wrapped in Tom‘s arms, blanketed by the moist warm air, surrounded by the scent of flowers and of their passion exhausted bodies, and the sounds of water splashing and the distant throb of music. It felt peaceful. Calm. And she didn‘t get to revel in that feeling very often.

"This is a beautiful spot, B‘Elanna," Tom said softly, obviously feeling the same languid sense of contentment she did. "I can understand why it‘s stayed in your memory even though you were so young. How long were you here?"

B‘Elanna opened her eyes and glanced around the courtyard, at the whitewashed buildings with their flowered trellises and wrought iron balconies. No, she‘d definitely never forgotten it. Though she‘d tried to forget it for years afterward, when she‘d tried to forget anything remotely related to her father, or to his family. After all, they‘d washed their hands of her as much as he had. "My grandmother and I spent three days here before we went back to meet my father at his brother‘s house."

"You mean your uncle," Tom murmured.

B‘Elanna heard the drowsiness in his voice and knew he‘d probably just amended her words by reflex, most likely without any specific implication or censure. She shifted and slipped her arms from around him and he took the hint and pulled out of her. She moved off his lap and sat on the edge of the fountain, repositioning her skirt and pulling up her bodice. Tom rose to his feet, eyes alert now, and then sat down next to her on the fountain‘s concrete edge. He leaned behind her and pulled up her zipper while she arranged the tight bodice as best she could, trying to conceal the several tears in the lace that covered the swell of her breasts. His hands lingered on her shoulders, kneading gently, then slipped away as she turned and looked at him. "It‘s just that they never seemed like my family. Except my grandmother. They were my father‘s family and I only met most of them once. I barely remember them." Her lips twisted into a slightly bitter smile. "After my father left, they all…lost contact too."

"I‘m sorry," Tom said softly. He‘d already refastened his pants, and he started to rebutton his damp shirt, though a couple of the buttons had plainly gone missing during their exertions. B‘Elanna pushed his hands out of the way and worked on the button he was struggling with. "But maybe they wanted to contact you, or even tried," he suggested. "I‘m sure it would have been uncomfortable for your mother to see them after she and your father separated."

B‘Elanna looked up at Tom. Uncomfortable would have been an understatement. She shrugged. As a child she‘d been sure her father‘s family had abandoned her happily, that half-Klingon girl who didn‘t really fit anywhere. And it no longer really mattered, though she couldn‘t help wondering if they had tried to see her, or had wanted to but were too intimidated. Or maybe it did matter, if she‘d like to think they might have been even a little interested in her. "My grandmother did come to Kessik once after my parents divorced. My mother wasn‘t very welcoming."

Tom worked at tucking his shirt back in his pants. "I‘m curious about this grandmother who made you banana pancakes." He gave her a smile. "What was her name?"

"Isabella," B‘Elanna murmured.

"That‘s a beautiful name." He touched her hand, stroking her fingers lightly. "I‘m glad she brought you here. And I‘m glad it‘s a good memory for you."

It was a good memory, despite the aftermath. She pointed toward the warm yellow building in front of them. "That was where my…great aunt lived, where we stayed."

Tom looked at the balcony she indicated. Soft light spilled out of the window, throwing a warm glow on the yellow and red roses that climbed along the railing. "I‘m trying to imagine you as a little girl playing up there," he said, his gaze locked reflectively on the balcony. He turned and looked at her. "Did you like to hang from the railing?"

B‘Elanna met Tom‘s teasing grin with one of her own.

"You know me too well, Tom."

He laughed. "Actually I was thinking of my own rambunctious childhood ways, but I guess we had some things in common."

"Hmmm." B‘Elanna smiled at Tom‘s comparison and glanced at the balcony again. "I did like it here. Everyone seemed so…happy to be alive, so passionate about life. They didn‘t care who joined in…" And now that she thought about it her grandmother‘s—her—family and everyone who knew them here had simply accepted her presence—a little girl with a bumpy forehead—and hadn‘t treated her any differently. Maybe that was why she‘d wanted to recreate it. To see it again as she remembered it. As one of the few places and times in her childhood when she‘d felt for a brief period unconditionally accepted.


Tom‘s voice brought her out of her reverie. He was still stroking her hand. "Obviously your passion didn‘t come only from your Klingon side, but I‘ve always known that."

B‘Elanna shrugged. She‘d always tended to see each characteristic of herself as either "human" or "Klingon". Maybe the individual influences of her two ancestries were far more indistinct than she perceived, as Tom occasionally, and without much subtlety, liked to point out. But in some ways it had always been easier to see them as separate, to have somewhere to place the blame.

"When we get back to the Alpha quadrant we‘ll have to visit here someday." Tom gave her an innocent smile when she looked at him. "Maybe right after Kronos."

"I think we have plenty of time to think about that later," she said dismissively. Visiting one relatively pleasant place from her childhood memory on the holodeck was one thing, visiting it for real wasn‘t necessarily high on her list. And Kronos…she‘d begun to accept her Klingon heritage more readily, maybe even appreciate some of it, but that didn‘t mean she had any interest in revisiting her memories there. Not even with Tom along. Not yet. She stood up. "Right now I‘d like to change into something more comfortable."

Tom looked as if he wanted to say something else, but then he switched gears abruptly and grinned at her. "Something more comfortable? I‘d be suspicious of that obvious pick up line, but you‘ve already had your way with me."

B‘Elanna rolled her eyes at Tom‘s wit, then flicked a hand at the skirt of her dress irritably. The truth be told, it had been fun dressing in it, if only to see Tom‘s face when he got a look at her. He always made dressing in the most impractical clothing worthwhile, and she couldn‘t deny the boost his reaction gave to her ego. But right now it was just a cumbersome annoyance. "I meant something that actually is comfortable. This thing is headed for the recycler."

"What about the dance contest?"

B‘Elanna shook her head. "I‘m not keeping this thing in my closet. And it‘s…torn. If the contest happens, I‘ll replicate another one."

Tom frowned. "But I like that dress."

B‘Elanna smiled. "No kidding, Tom. But it‘s a little worse for wear now."

Tom looked at the disheveled dress, with its torn lace, and at B‘Elanna, whose hair had completely loosened from its little bun and hung in tangled curls about her face. She looked thoroughly sexy. And thoroughly as if she‘d just been made love to repeatedly. "That‘s what I mean. I like it even better worse for wear. And you too."

"You would," B‘Elanna said dryly, not exactly displeased. She looked at Tom‘s own rumpled shirt. She had to admit he looked pretty good all untidy and tousled, but she didn‘t have to tell him that. He gave her an impudent smile, obviously reading her thoughts. She pretended not to see it. "Computer, I need a site to site transport."

Tom‘s eyebrows rose. Though there were no specific restrictions placed on the crew, site to site transport was generally reserved for urgent situations. "Site to site?"

"Please state destination," the computer requested.

B‘Elanna looked at Tom in disbelief. "You really don’t think I‘m going to walk down the corridors looking like this do you?"

"Why not? You look pretty adorable all mussed up."

"And you look pretty adorable buck naked and covered with hot fudge sauce, but I wouldn‘t expect you to walk down a corridor like that."

Tom choked slightly, half in surprise, half in an effort to contain a shout of laughter. "I‘m not sure those two scenarios really equate, but I give. Your quarters?"

"Deck Nine, Section Twelve, Cabin Twenty. To change, then to the Mess hall."

The computer picked out the first ship‘s destination within the conversation and replied, "Coordinates locked in."

"The Mess hall?" Tom asked.

"I‘ve worked up an appetite. And it‘s after 2300. There won‘t be anyone there, and I‘m sure Neelix won‘t mind if we borrow his kitchen."

"No, I‘m sure not." Tom‘s voice was dry. "He didn‘t mind last time. Much."

B‘Elanna shrugged. "We‘ll clean up a little better this time."

"Or we could tell him we really aren’t going to do anything but cook food in his kitchen this time," Tom said with a smirk. "But I‘m still not sure he‘ll say yes."

B‘Elanna smiled sanguinely. "He will if I ask."

That was true. Neelix would say yes to anything B‘Elanna asked of him. Sometimes Tom wasn‘t sure whether he should be bothered about that. "Okay, I‘ll cook."

B‘Elanna looked at Tom. "Damn right you will," she said without rancor. They both knew that cooking was not one of her talents. If she was in a situation where she had to fend for herself, as she had been more than once, she figured a haunch of meat thrown on a fire or raw fruits or grubs more than sufficed. She hardly needed to be a chef to eat. Leave that to Neelix, or better yet, the replicators. Or in a pinch, Tom. "I was thinking an omelet would be good."

"Okay," Tom agreed, suddenly feeling hungry. He considered omelets one of his culinary specialties. And eggs were one of the regularly replicated kitchen ingredients Neelix kept in good stock. "Maybe I‘ll try a Spanish omelet…" His voice trailed off as something occurred to him and he realized B‘Elanna was smiling at him wickedly. He looked at her suspiciously. "You‘re not going to make fun of me again, are you?"

"It‘s not making fun, Tom," she said placatingly, though her smile didn‘t fade. "It‘s just so cute when you insist on taking those little white things out of the eggs before you mix them."

Tom groaned. "I told you, it‘s a—"

"Quirk you got from your mother," B‘Elanna finished for him. "I know." And she couldn‘t help it if seeing the most unfastidious man she‘d ever met act so particular about something, and something he‘d internalized from his mother, amused her. Or that she thought it kind of endearing. She reached up and patted his cheek lightly. "But it‘s still cute."

Tom shrugged philosophically. "If it‘s my little quirks that make you love me…"

"Who says I love you, Tom Paris?" B‘Elanna asked lightly.

"Who says I love you, B‘Elanna Torres?" Tom replied smoothly.

"You can‘t believe all the gossip you hear on this ship," B‘Elanna said, shaking her head.

"No, probably not," Tom agreed. He reached up and brushed a loose strand of hair out of her eyes, and letting his fingertips briefly caress the edge of her brow ridges. "But should I believe what I hear when we are in the throes of passion?"

His tone was light, teasing, but B‘Elanna was sure she detected just a hint of seriousness in his voice. And his watchful gaze held hers.

She‘d hadn‘t planned to say it, but somehow she had. She‘d called Tom nicknames before: hotshot, flyboy, and even pig. Sometimes affectionately, and sometimes with exasperation. But actual sentimental endearments, the kind many lovers threw around indiscriminately, never. Maybe the endearments her own father had used so easily: angel, precious, sweetling—seemingly everything but her name, and all in the end hollow of meaning—had soured her on hearing them spoken. And Tom, who in accordance with his expressive nature would probably use endearments unreservedly if she were receptive to it, chose his moments very carefully. She‘d gradually come to anticipate those moments, even secretly treasure them. And when she‘d called him "love" earlier, it had just unconsciously slipped out of her mouth, as if it was the most natural and right thing in the universe. And maybe it was.

She looked at Tom, who was still watching her, his expression guarded. She knew if she waited any longer to answer him he would give her a nonchalant smile, and make some sort of a joke, pretending he‘d never brought up the subject. She told him the truth. "I didn‘t plan to say it, Tom, it just slipped out naturally."

She didn‘t think her words were exactly stunning, but Tom was completely still for several moments, and then a slow genuine smile curved his lips and lit up his blue eyes. Then he shrugged. "So it was just one of those things," he said with deliberate casualness.

"Yeah, one of those things," B‘Elanna echoed softly. Then she suppressed the smile that was playing at her lips and gave him a cross look. "So don‘t expect me to start calling you silly endearments all the time."

"I won‘t." Tom grinned, looking decidedly lighthearted. "I‘m sure you‘ll be back to ‚pig‘ in no time." He reached down then and deliberately pinched her rear end, surprising her enough to make her jump.

"Pig," she growled, glaring at him, though her eyes held no anger, only amusement. Then her stomach rumbled loudly.

Tom nodded as she looked at him meaningfully. "Oh, right. We need to take care of that appetite you‘ve worked up."

"With some help," B‘Elanna pointed out. "And now I need to build up my strength again."

"Again?" Tom asked, giving her questioning look.

"I‘ve decided I‘m not done with you quite yet, Tom Paris" B‘Elanna said meaningfully.

"Oh." Tom grinned again, obviously recovered enough to take that as an impending promise.

B‘Elanna smiled back. "Computer, initiate transport."

The computer was unfazed at being ignored for a full six minutes, and unheeding of the nature of the verbal exchange that had taken place. It had simply maintained an alert status, waiting for a phrase or command that would activate its programming, whether the interval was seconds or days. The coordinates had been locked in and placed on standby, and the computer simply replied to B‘Elanna‘s order.

"Transport initiated."

Though reason might predict that no thought would or could take place during the brief seconds of being disassociated into individual atoms, in fact many who had experienced the process insisted that in fact their thoughts prevailed unimpeded right through the transport process, as if indeed the mind contained properties independent of its physical structure and composite atoms. Tom had always believed so, though he was unconcerned about the how and why. He only knew that he‘d experienced it, whether it was illusory or not, so he accepted it. As he felt the initial tingle of this transport he was thinking that if he was lucky, B‘Elanna would never be "done" with him. Because he was pretty sure now that he would never be done with her. Her life had become so deeply entangled with his, she‘d loved him and changed him, and no matter what happened between them in the future, he knew that would impact his life forever.

As the strange and not unpleasant sense of being momentarily in a void disappeared, and he felt the tingle again in his limbs, his thoughts refocused on the moment at hand, and he thought no further than that he would feed her, and then he would love her again.

B‘Elanna was not as sanguine as Tom. She‘d considered whether thought could in some manner persist through the transport process, or whether it was illusion, a delayed reaction of chemicals firing in the brain that seemed to allow thought to continue unimpeded from pre to post-transport. In the end it was unprovable either way, a question of philosophy rather than of science or engineering. If she couldn‘t use her intellect to solve it, then it really wasn‘t worth her time to contemplate it. As the transporter effect set her limbs tingling lightly, she thought that she didn‘t plan on being done with Tom anytime, or ever, if she could help it. She couldn‘t see where they‘d end up in the future; their lives were too unpredictable individually, let alone together. But he‘d snuck his way into her heart, he‘d loved her and changed her, and that could never be undone.

As the quick, almost imperceptible sense of suspension disappeared, and the tingle started to dance along her skin again, her thoughts focused on the immediate moment. She would let Tom satisfy her appetite for food, then work on her appetite for him. And as their forms began to coalesce in the solid surrounding of her quarters, she briefly wondered if she had any of that hot fudge sauce left.

The end.

Song credit: "I Love The Way You Love Me" by Victoria Shaw/Chuck Cannon; Copyright 1992 Gary Morris Music.