TITLE: What Might Have Been: Caretaker
PART:  1 of 1
AUTHOR:  ReAnne Moreau
E-MAIL:  reannem1@juno.com
SERIES:  Voyager
PAIRING:  J/P of course :-)
RATING:  R for bad language and reference to sexual acts
ARCHIVE:  any place as long as you leave my name on it. Geordi,this includes Jupiter station.
SUMMARY:  This is inspired by Challenge #51 on Jupiter Station from Kendra Crispin.  Tom and Kathryn became lovers at the beginning of their voyage.

Star Trek Voyager, Tom & Kat are all the property of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended and I'm not making a penny off this.  I'm just going back to the beginning and doing it right this time.


How could I have betrayed Mark like this?  In all the time we've been together, I've never been unfaithful to him.  Oh, there have been temptations, especially on long voyages when we've been separated for months.  I'm only human.  But I've always been strong enough to fight them.

Can Mark ever forgive me?  I don't know, but I'll have to tell him and take the chance; my conscience won't let me keep silent.  Maybe this is yet another way to avoid having to set a date for our wedding. God knows I've put it off enough times.  No, this is more than a convenient escape.  Not that I feel I need to escape from Mark.  Do I?

This would be easier if I didn't still want him.  I know absolutely that I will have him again.  Him. Tom Paris.  The one temptation I can't fight.  He's asleep beside me now.  I wanted to wake up to him.  Be careful, Kathryn.  Don't examine that need too closely.

I swear I stopped breathing the first time I saw him, standing in a patch of sunlight in Auckland, working on a shuttle craft engine.  His beauty was awe-inspiring, certainly, but when our eyes met, a current of electricity flowed between us.  I've never felt anything like it before.  It was challenge, curiosity, anger, lust.  Maybe recognition of a part of myself I didn't even know was missing.  No, I refuse to believe that.

There were so many things going on under the banter we exchanged in our first conversation.  I could tell that he was attracted to me.  He must have felt the same spark; it was in his eyes every time he looked at me.  He flirted, but I have a feeling that was his usual defense mechanism when he's afraid. Tom seems to be an expert on defense mechanisms.  He was trying desperately to wall himself off, expecting what?  Judgement, ridicule, maybe overt violence?  He walked around the ship today with that wall up and received pretty much what he expected, except that my officers know better than to do anything physical.

Oh, but the wall's not there when he's inside me, or when I take him in my mouth and he's sobbing for release.  Then there's only Tom, and he's so blindingly beautiful I can barely stand to look at him. That is my weakness.  Tom Paris is my drug of choice and I'm already addicted.

I fought temptation bravely - for all of eight hours.  He came aboard at the beginning of alpha shift and I showed him to his quarters, pointed out sickbay and the holodeck and informed him of the
restrictions that applied to non-Starfleet personnel.  The perfect, efficient captain.  I would have left those duties to my first officer and avoided the man altogether if Cavitt hadn't made it perfectly clear that "the prisoner" wouldn't necessarily be safe in his care.  If I had any doubts that John Cavitt's days on my ship were numbered, that proved it.  Oh, well, I only have to put up with him until this mission is over, then I'm going to raise hell until Starfleet Command replaces him with Tuvok.

I certainly could have used my old friend's counsel today.  Or maybe just a neck pinch to knock me out until this fever passed.  Tom was there just under my thoughts all day long.  When I got off duty I headed to my quarters for a cold shower and a cold drink, not
necessarily in that order.

Somehow I ended up outside his quarters.  I told myself it was only to see how he was doing, to make sure he was settled in.  It was a mistake to see him again.  The minute the door shut behind me our eyes locked. Neither of us breathed for a moment, then he was pinning me to the wall beside the door and we were kissing as if we could devour each other's soul.

We fucked.  There is no polite euphemism for what we did.  We tore off enough clothing to get to each other, then he was inside me.  There was no foreplay; I was more than ready for him.  I was wound so tight, I came, long and hard and loud, practically the minute he was inside. The expression on Tom's face was priceless.

We didn't make it to the bed until after the second time and a shower. Tom started the water fight.  I swear he did.  After we dried off, there was an awkward moment when I didn't know if he wanted me to stay or go.  I started to gather up the remnants of my clothing, figuring out how much was salvageable.  He stood in the bedroom doorway looking so lost and lonely I couldn't leave him.  Not that I wanted to.

We replicated something to eat and took it to bed with us.  Tom regaled me with stories of his misspent youth, and finally, the story of what happened at Caldik Prime and afterwards.  His father disowned him, not for the crime of joining the Maquis as I thought, but earlier for having told the truth about his culpability in the accident that killed three other Starfleet officers.  If the Admiral had been there at that moment I would have throttled him.  I seem to have an alarming instinct to wrap myself around Tom and protect him from the world.

What will become of him when this mission is over?  His piloting skills will get him a job if he doesn't self-destruct first.  But hauling freight or passengers would be as bad as sitting in a jail cell to a man like Tom Paris.  I can see the light in his eyes when he talks about flying into unexplored territory, surviving by his wits and his skill at the helm.  It breaks my heart to think of that light dying.

I should be worrying about what will happen to me.  My thoughts are chasing each other the way Molly chases her tail.  I'm not sure if I feel guilty for what I've done or for my lack of guilt over it. Maybe Mark could forgive me for giving in to temptation in one moment of weakness, but I know there will be many more moments after this.  Will he understand my need to know that Tom is all right after his release from custody?  I can't share my body with someone, then just pretend he never existed.  Even if it was only lust.  That *is* all it was, right? ------------------
Tom, after Caretaker:

She came to me after it was over.  After the dead had been buried and the cleanup started and we were limping our way home.  In the middle of the night she crawled into my bed, into my arms, and sobbed while I held her.

It really shook me up.  Here we were stranded on the other side of the galaxy, getting shot at every day, on a ship where half the crew had been our enemies only a few days ago.  And I held in my arms the one person everyone was relying on to get them home.  The thought of all that responsibility piled onto her shoulders nearly made *me* cry.  I found myself promising to always be there for her, to do everything I could to help get our crew home.

Our crew.  I can still hardly believe it.  I nearly burst with pride when she gave me the commission - not just because it meant I could fly Voyager, but because I knew she would have done it even if we hadn't been sleeping together.  Kathryn Janeway isn't the kind of captain who bases her promotion decisions on anything but facts, and the fact is I'm the best pilot on board.  Stadi might have given me a run for my money, but she's gone.  I liked her.  So many dead in such a short time.  They deserved better, even that slime, Cavitt.  I'm going to enjoy kicking Kazon butt.

Kathryn could so easily have been one of the dead.  The other night I dreamed that she was.  I called her in a panic and woke her out of a sound sleep.  She sneaked into my quarters and grumped at me until we both fell asleep.  Waking Katie up is a little like waking a sleeping grizzly bear, but it's worth the risk to have her spooned up against me.

I don't have a clue how we got to this point.  It was just supposed to be a fling.  I knew she wanted me the first time we met.  I've been there before, used it to my advantage.  But this was different, because I wanted her, too.  I was all prepared to hate her, my father's
protege, the model Starfleet captain.  And she did look awfully stuffy with her hair pulled up in that tight bun, but something happened when I really looked at her.  I wanted to know what the prim captain looked like writhing under me, her long hair spilling across the pillow. It was like grabbing hold of a live wire.

That's what she is alright, a live wire.  It started out being just about sex, and that would have kept me around for a long time.  Katie is wild.  Funny thing is, I don't think she's usually like that.  I kind of got the impression that she surprised herself.  But then, I don't expect Mr. Perfect ever pushed her against a wall and fucked her half unconscious.  He looks like the on-the-bed-with-the-lights-out type. Of course I could be biased.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Delta Quadrant.  While we were screwing our brains out we discovered we liked each other.  I don't know exactly when it became more than a fling.  Maybe that first night when she stayed with me and honestly wanted to find out what I was like.  Maybe it was after she came to me needing to share her grief. All I know is that she makes me feel things I've never let myself feel before.

It drives me crazy sometimes, sitting on the bridge with Kathryn only a few feet behind me.  I'm always aware of her.  It freaked me out at first when she would stand behind me with a hand on my shoulder.  The first few times I thought it was a power thing or that she was teasing me, knowing I couldn't touch her as long as people were watching.  Then it hit me.  Kathryn just wanted to be close to me, to share whatever was happening in the only way we could in public.  The idea just about blew me away.

Not that everything is all rosy between us.  For one thing, we can't tell anybody what's going on.  I know what people would think of me if they found out I was sleeping with the captain.  I don't want to spend the rest of our trip being known as the  captain's boy.'  So I sneak into her quarters through the back entrance or we meet on the
holodeck.  Sometimes she comes to my place after making sure there's nobody in the corridor - no convenient back door there.

As far as Kathryn is concerned, she's still feeling guilty about Mark. Not to mention having a relationship with a member of her crew.  That's not the sort of thing she normally approves of.  If I don't want to be the  captain's boy' she doesn't want to end up with a reputation for being the kind of captain to keep one.  I keep telling her that next to Jim Kirk she looks like a monk, but she's still worried.  God she can be uptight sometimes, but I can usually tickle her out of it.

For all the tension, there are a lot of good times, and I don't just mean in bed.  I thought at first that the connection we felt was just because we had similar backgrounds.  The more I talk to Katie, the more I realize that even though our fathers were both admirals our
childhoods were nothing alike.  I think it's more elemental than just being Fleet brats.  For one thing, we're both guilt-ridden obsessives with a pretty warped sense of humor.  We understand each other.

I could get used to the way she treats me.  There's no rank when we're alone.  She treats me like an equal and assumes that there's actually something going on in my brain.  And as wild as Katie can be sometimes, she's also a very kind, thoughtful person.  I never thought those were qualities I wanted, or could get, in a lover.  The snuggling came as kind of a shock.  Our hard-ass captain loves to cuddle. OK, so I've never been much into that kind of thing, but for her I'm willing to learn.

I'm beginning to hope this will work out eventually.  I still get scared sometimes wondering what someone like Kathryn can possibly see in a man like me.  Whatever it is, she seems to like it.

The End