TITLE: Delta Quadrant Pickup
PART: 2 of 4
AUTHOR: ReAnne Moreau
E-MAIL: reann@aol.com
SERIES: Voyager
PAIRING: J/P of course :-)

The pair from Voyager closed down the club that night, staying until the
band packed up and left. They started meandering toward the transporter
station, neither really wanting the evening to end. Tom had taken a hotel room
down on the planet for a couple days of shore leave and Kathryn was going back
to the ship. They had barely started out when the clouds, which had drizzled
off and on all night, opened in a torrential downpour. Paris grabbed Kathryn's
hand and made a dash for his hotel a few blocks away, cursing the local
ordinance that made it illegal to use a transporter anywhere but the designated

They were both soaked and shivering by the time they sloshed into Tom's
room. He pointed the captain toward the bathroom.

"There's a hotel robe on the back of the door you can put on."

She emerged not long after wrapped in a white terry robe many sizes too big,
toweling her hair. This was the first chance Kathryn had had to look at the
place properly. It was a small building, evidently containing a few
well-appointed suites. The room was large, with a huge bed and a living
area furnished with a sofa and two chairs. The furniture was soft and shaped to
accommodate guests of various sizes, with any number of limbs. Pillows were
arranged into a seat in front of the fireplace. Everything was decorated in
tasteful yet sumptuous shades of brown and burgundy. The building itself
looked like it was probably on the local historical register. Everything
about the place whispered exclusive.'

"I don't even want to know where you got the money for this place," she
commented, combing the damp hair away from her face with her fingers.

"You'll enjoy it much more if you don't." Tom grinned at her from where he
was kneeling in front of the fireplace. He had changed into his own robe in a
deep shade of red and a pair of white pajama bottoms. The fire he had started
was beginning to take hold, warming the room.

Kathryn sat next to him, holding her hands out to the flames and Paris took
the opportunity to watch her. It had been awhile since he had indulged himself
in the luxury of her company; he had almost forgotten the effect she had on him
- like drinking too much champagne. She looked adorable in the oversized robe,
but he much perferred the wet silk dress that had clung to her body like a
second skin.

The rain had washed away her makeup, exposing a light sprinkling of
freckles. She had wiped the lipstick off, too. Tom wondered whether she wore
makeup to make herself look more formidable. Without it her face was fresh and
open, her lips soft, pink and ...tempting.

"Tom, you're staring at me."

"Just counting freckles."

She rolled her eyes. "I imagine a place like this has room service. Would
you mind ordering something? I'm starving." She gave him an innocent look.
"You can count my freckles later if you want."

Tom rose to his feet, feeling a bit giddy. The next words were out of his
mouth before he could think. "Kind of like spots on a Trill - makes you
wonder how far down they go."

"Shut up and feed me."

"Yes ma'am!" He hurried to the communicator to place their order.

When he was finished he turned to find Kathryn standing at the balcony door.
It was opened slightly and she was watching the rain.

"I've missed living in a city - the sound of the traffic at night, the dusty
smell of the pavement when it rains." Tom had moved up behind her and she
could feel the heat of his body against her back.

"I thought you were a country girl."

Kathryn shook her head. "I grew up in the country; that was enough peace
and quiet to last me a lifetime. After the Academy I took an apartment in
downtown San Francisco." Her eyes took on a dreamy cast. "There were two
coffee shops on the block and a seedy little bar where you could sit in a corner
all night nursing a drink and watching the people." The outside air was chilly;
she shut the door, moving back to the fireplace and curling up in one of the
chairs. "It seems like a lifetime ago."

Tom sprawled in the other chair. He was a little surprised that she hadn't
lived with her fiance of several years and wondered just how long she had
kept the poor man waiting for a definite wedding date.

Their food arrived shortly afterward. They spent an enjoyable interval
eating and comparing stories of the city they both loved. Feeling full and
content, Tom stretched out on the floor in front of the fire and patted a
cushion invitingly. "Kathryn ..." He frowned.

"Hmm?" She slipped down to sit with her back to the chair, feet extended
toward the delicious heat of the flames.

"You know, it just occurred to me that Kathryn' sounds an awful lot like
captain.' What you need is a nickname."

"I hate nicknames," she growled with a look that would have shut up any
sensible person.

"But you can do so much with Kathryn'." He took a deep breath and looked
at the ceiling as if for inspiration. "There's Kit, Kitty, Kitten, Kat, Kay,
Kathy - no you don't like that one - Kate and Katie. You have plenty of

She moved closer to the pilot, coming to kneel next to him, glowering
menacingly. "When I was little I had a great-aunt who used to call me
Katie-Kat and pinch my cheek."

"You *let* her?" he asked incredulously, trying not to laugh aloud.

"She was a Marine sergeant and built like a tank. She could call people
pretty much anything she wanted to." Kathryn had been delighted when the unholy
terror had retired to a remote colony and lost touch with the family.

"So that's where you get it from. The attitude, I mean, not the tank part."
\\Actually, she's built more like the Delta Flyer - small, sleek and

Tom was smirking. It inspired equally strong impulses to either slap or
kiss the expression off his face. The captain gave herself a mental kick for the
picture that conjured up in her mind.

"My attitude doesn't seem to have much effect on you." She propped herself
up on a stack of pillows next to the pilot. Firelight gleamed in his tousled
hair and gilded his fair skin. She wanted to taste him.

"It's your own fault, Katie-Kat. You're just so much fun to watch I forget
to be intimidated."



Tom gloated silently; he'd finally gotten in the last word. Kathryn looked
pleased and rather flustered. They had been flirting all evening, something
they both enjoyed and did very well. On the ship it had been tacitly
understood that it was only a game. Tonight was different. He'd had to
fight to keep the tone light, to keep from revealing the desire under the flip
words. And every now and then he'd seen something in Kathryn's eyes that made
him believe she felt it too.

The clock on the mantle chimed, breaking the spell. Kathryn sat up. "It's
late, I should be getting back. My clothes must be dry by now." The
thought of leaving him tonight caused her an almost physical pain. For a few
hours she had allowed herself to dream that this warm intimacy could go on, that
he might even take her in his arms and hold her. Now it was time to go back to

The sudden desolation in her eyes scared Tom. He sat up, laying a
restraining hand on her shoulder as she attempted to rise. "Kathryn, you won't
do this again, will you? The bar, I mean." This time he'd been able to stop
her. What if there was a next time, another man in another bar?

\\How could I? It would hurt too much that it wasn't you.\\ "No, I won't
do it again., Tom. You don't need to worry about me."

He closed his eyes in relief. Kathryn saw that he was struggling with some
powerful emotion. "Thank you. The idea of that guy you were with touching
you, maybe even hurting you, it nearly made me sick. If I thought that you
might ..."

Tom ran a hand through already rumpled hair. He knew he was babbling
incoherently and probably making a complete fool of himself.

There was dawning astonishment in Kathryn's eyes. She reached out a hand to
Tom's face, gently stroking his cheek. The next moment, she was wrapped in
his arms, being kissed. His lips were soft against hers, gentle without hiding
the hunger she could feel radiating from him in waves of heat. She responded
with passion and tenderness, giving herself up to the feel of warm lips and
gently probing tongue. When they finally parted to breathe, Kathryn buried her
face in Tom's neck, letting him cradle her against his body.

"Don't leave me tonight, Katie," he whispered.

Quite some time later, Tom Paris sighed contentedly and sank back into the
pillows. There was a happy and very nearly naked starship captain snuggled
in the crook of his arm. He'd been diligently counting the number of freckles
on her bared left shoulder, but kept being distracted by her sweet lips.

"I think I fell in love with you that first day in Auckland." He brushed
the hair away from her cheek, trailing kisses along the elegant line of her jaw.
"I tried so hard not to admit that to myself. I never even dared to imagine
you could care for me. After awhile I thought I'd convinced myself that it
was just a passing crush."

He didn't bring up the last fight he'd had with B'Elanna before they broke
up. He'd berated her for shutting him out of yet another important event in her
life. The Klingon glared at him bitterly. "I'm sorry I can't be what you
need, Tom," she told him. "I'm sorry I can't be your precious Kathryn
Janeway." He wondered now how he could have deluded himself for so long, and
how many other people had seen the truth.

Kathryn pillowed her head on his shoulder. "I know what you mean. It took
awhile, but I finally figured out that one of the reasons nothing ever
happened with Chakotay is that some part of me has belonged to you from the
beginning. I'd almost worked up the courage to tell you how I felt when you
started seeing B'Elanna."

"We've wasted too much time, Kathryn"

"Well, we're not going to waste any more." She sat up, pulling the robe
closed again to make sure he paid attention to what she said. "But there are a
couple of rules we need to discuss first."

"Rules?" Tom clapped a hand over his eyes. "Not the infamous setting
parameters' discussion!"

Kathryn made a mental note to smack Chakotay at the first opportunity. She
pulled Tom's hand away from his face and held onto it. "First, no sneaking
around. I will not have the crew think that we're ashamed of what we're
doing." She smiled at the surprised look on Paris' face, knowing that his
insecurities couldn't stand up to a clandestine relationship. B'Elanna was
already dating other people, so Tom didn't have to worry about catching any
flak for seeing someone else.

"Second, if you *ever* call me Katie-Kat in front of *anyone* I will have
you keel-hauled in vacuum. Is that clear, Ensign?" She tried very hard to look

"Perfectly captain," he replied with a straight face. "I have some rules of
my own." The effect was ruined when he sat up and kissed her until she nearly
suffocated. "First of all, we have holographic representations of almost
every part of the ship. We are going to make love in every one of them,
starting with the bridge."

Wide-eyed silence greeted this pronouncement. Kathryn could only nod in
agreement as the possibilities flashed through her mind. "Any more rules,
Ensign?" she purred, laughter dancing in her
eyes. "I'm beginning to like this game."

"Just one." Tom got to his feet, holding out a hand to help Kathryn up. He
tilted her chin up so that their eyes met. "*I* picked *you* up tonight, so
I get to lead this dance."

End of Part 2