TITLE: Falling in Love Again
PART: 1/1
AUTHOR: ReAnne Moreau
SERIES: Voyager
SUMMARY: Kathryn *finally* stops mooning over Chakotay and gets her
groove back.  This story takes place somewhere in the 5th season after
Tom and B'Elanna have broken up.  Given a little time alone together on
a strange planet they finally realize that their friendship has become
much more.  This one is short and light.  The angst and smut will be in
the sequels - and there will be sequels <evil cackle>.

Star Trek Voyager and all the characters are the property of Paramount.
No copyright infringement is intended.  Please feel free to archive this
anywhere, including Jupiter Station.
Facing into the coming storm, she looked out over the unending blanket
of forest below.  Chin tilted into the wind, back perfectly straight,
she seemed to defy the storm to touch her.  She faced it with the rock-
steady gaze which had confronted so many enemies on the bridge
viewscreen.  The wind whipped the uniform around her slim figure.  Her
hair was being worn long again, bound in a ponytail from which several
strands had escaped.

Pushing aside the heavy bough of an alien tree, he saw her standing at
the top of the ridge, right where his tricorder said she would be.  He
paused to watch for a moment.

He must have made some noise, because she suddenly turned in his
direction. Her stern expression evaporated into a welcoming smile.
"Tom, what are you doing here?"

"Making sure my commanding officer has sense enough to come in out of
the rain.  Looks like I'm just in time."

"The storm is magnificent.  Come take a look."

It moved like a dark curtain over the landscape, drawing rain and
thunderclouds across the sun.  The tempest was moving rapidly towards
them.  Their tricorders had picked it up nearly an hour ago and Janeway
had ordered everyone on the away team to take shelter, and if possible,
to gather in groups.

Voyager had been in orbit since yesterday while the Engineering staff
did system maintenance.  One of the first things taken off-line was the
transporter, which had been malfunctioning.  Survey parties had taken
shuttles to the surface to mark locations for later teams that would
gather supplies and mine the many minerals that had been detected by the
ship's scanners.

Janeway's party was the first down and had traveled quite a distance
from their shuttle by the time the distress call came in from an alien
ship at the edge of communications range.  Their warp core was about to
go critical.  The captain ordered Chakotay to take Voyager to their
aide, leaving the survey party to finish their task.  The ship would be
back in the morning to pick them up. Then the storm had been detected.

It was moving rapidly across the valley below them.  Finally, Janeway
decided it was time to leave.

"Come with me; I've found a place to wait this out."  She scrambled down
the stoney slope of the ridge like a mountain goat, Paris following
after, wind and rain nipping at their heels.

Reaching the bottom, they found themselves once again surrounded by
enormous trees.  They were at least as tall as the giant redwoods found
in California, with flat green needles.  The captain led Tom under a
section of rock that jutted out from the cliff face about seven feet up,
forming a kind of shelf. The giant trees grew right up to the edge of
the shelf, their boughs walling in three sides.  The ground was covered
with dried needles several feet thick.

Tom skidded into the shelter just ahead of the rain and flopped onto the
soft ground.  "Cozy little nest you've got here."

"Make yourself right at home, Lieutenant."  Kathryn couldn't help
smiling.  Tom could make himself comfortable just about anywhere.
Suddenly the prospect of being stuck on this planet for several hours
didn't seem so bad.

The captain paced the confines of their shelter as she contacted the
rest of the away team to make sure they had found safe places to wait
out the weather. Tom regarded her from under nearly closed eyelids.  He
liked watching her pace.  He could see the wheels turning in her mind as
she received reports, gave orders and doled out advice.  Her
considerable physical energy was temporarily leashed, denied the
opportunity to scramble around hillsides, jump off of cliffs or any of
the other things she usually got into on away missions.  For a moment
Paris allowed himself to wonder what it would be like to be the focus of
that energy.

Finally Janeway had contacted the last member of the team and found
herself with absolutely nothing to do.  She regarded the man lolling
indolently on the floor of the shelter, his hands clasped behind his
head, forming a pillow.  His long lean form was draped gracefully over
the ground.  She noted with approval that he had lost weight and put on
muscle.  When things had soured with B'Elanna, Tom had fallen into
depression, losing interest in the swimming, volleyball and other
activities that he had always enjoyed.  The Doctor had finally given him
a stern lecture on the state of his health.  The strict exercise regimen
that the EMH imposed seemed to raise his spirits, as had the extra time
the captain devoted to helping him over the crisis.

Kathryn sank to the soft ground with her back against the rock wall.  A
grin lurked at the corners of her mouth.  "Ensign Carver sounded a
little put out. I gather she went looking for you to help you weather
the storm."

"That's one way of putting it."  Tom reached for his discarded field
pack and took out his flashlight. What little light had penetrated the
shelter was now being gradually blocked out by the clouds. Kathryn added
her own flashlight to Tom's in the center of the shelter.  On their
lowest setting they cast a circle of mellow light.

She was surprised at Tom's reluctance to date again now that he was a
'free man.'  It certainly wasn't because of a lack of opportunity.  "You
know you'll have to stop running eventually or they'll stop chasing

"I'm more particular these days about who I let catch me."  Tom's
dazzling smile could have lit up the darkness by itself.

They sat side by side in the small circle of light.  A sudden gust of
wind set the branches surrounding their shelter rustling and howled
through the unprotected opening.  No rain actually reached them, but the
temperature had dropped considerably.  The eery sounds of the storm
reminded them that they were alone on an uninhabited planet, isolated
from the other members of the away team. Kathryn shivered and folded her
arms around her upraised knees.

Tom reached for his pack again.  These days he didn't go anywhere
without a medical kit.  He withdrew the thermal blanket, folded into a
tiny silver square.  "Never let it be said that I'm not
always prepared for an emergency."

"Don't tell me you were a scout.  I wouldn't believe it."

"Behave yourself or I'll let you freeze."  Tom draped the unfolded
blanket around Kathryn's shoulders.  She took one of his hands as he
attempted to tuck the voluminous fabric around her.

"Your hands are as cold as mine.  Get under here with me."  The captain
rolled her eyes as Tom hesitated.  This was a fine time for him to start
worrying about decorum.  "That wasn't a request, Lieutenant."

"Anything you say, Captain."  The amused glint in his eyes told Kathryn
that he would find some way to tease her about this in the future.
Paris draped the blanket loosely around his shoulders, leaned against
the stone wall of their shelter and motioned Kathryn to join him.

She leaned somewhat awkwardly against his chest and Tom closed his arms
around her, wrapping them both in the silver blanket.  Kathryn really
couldn't help turning toward the warmth of his body and after some
hesitation, Tom tucked an arm around her waist, finding that she fit
very nicely into his embrace.  The hair clip had to go; no matter what
position they took up, it managed to poke him in the chest.  Finally
they found a comfortable spot and settled in to listen to the wind howl
through the trees.

Kathryn shivered pleasurably as thunder cracked in the distance and rain
drummed on the roof of their shelter.  "There's nothing quite as
comforting as being safe and warm while there's a good storm howling

"Maybe it'll help you sleep."  The Doctor had expressed his concern
about the captain's most recent bout of insomnia and suggested that some
fresh air and exercise might be the cure.

"I doubt it.  Nothing seems to work these days."

He had to tread carefully here.  The captain was a very private person
and getting her to open up wasn't always easy.  "You haven't been
yourself for quite a while.  Not since we got those letters from home."
He hesitated, not wanting to push her too far.  "Talk to me, Kathryn.
You've always been there for me, especially after I broke up with
B'Elanna.  It's my turn to listen."

A small smile tugged at her lips as she turned to be able to see Tom's
face better.  He'd been doing that more often lately, slipping and
calling her 'Kathryn' without really being aware he had done it. Her
heart always lifted at the sound of his voice saying her name.  A sigh
escaped her lips as she settled back onto Tom's shoulder.

"Have I been that obvious?"

"Only to someone who knows you as well as I do.  Rumor has it that your
fiance got married.  That's enough to get anyone depressed."

Kathryn gave a small chuckle.  "I'm always amazed at the rumor mill on
this ship.  The crew probably knew what my letter said before I was done
reading it."  She glanced up at Tom's face.  His concern for her was
obvious.  It was always so easy to talk to him; there was very little
she couldn't tell this kind, gentle man.

"I'm not suffering from a broken heart, Tom.  My engagement to Mark
lasted longer than some marriages.  At some point we both came to
realize the wedding would probably never happen."  She remembered their
time together with affection.  "Mark is probably happier now than he
would have been with me."  Paris raised a skeptical eyebrow and she
continued.  "He was always supportive of my work, but I knew he wanted
me to take a teaching position at the Academy so we could settle down
and start a family.  The truth is, I was comfortable with things the way
they were."

"I can't imagine you anywhere but on the bridge of a starship."

"Neither can I."  Steel-gray eyes met blue and shared a moment of
complete understanding.  Neither of them was made for an earthbound

Tom resisted the temptation to lose himself in those remarkable eyes and
prodded her for more information.  "So, if your heart isn't broken,
what's wrong?"

Kathryn sighed deeply.  It was hard to put into words the feeling of
general malaise that had settled on her the last few months.  "I've just
been feeling ... unsettled.  Lonely, a little depressed."  She gave a
rueful grin.  "I always cut my hair when I'm depressed."

"Then you must be feeling better."  Tom played with a strand of the
shining auburn hair that now hung below her shoulders.

"A little.  Passing through that void was the low point."  It felt so
good to finally have someone to talk to.  Discussing emotional crises
with Tuvok was pretty much useless, and having this conversation with
Chakotay would be completely impossible.  He would treat her like she
was made of glass; he always did whenever she displayed any
vulnerability.  Kathryn gathered her thoughts.

"I've never been one of those people who has to be involved in a
relationshipto be happy."  A warm smile lit up her face and took Tom's
breath away.  "Now, my sister Phoebe had to have a date every Saturday
night or it was a tragedy of epic proportions.  She has always been
miserable unless she's in love."  Affection for her sister shone through
the exasperation in her tone.  "It just happened that I fell in love
with Justin when I was still at the Academy, and as soon as I'd finished
grieving his death, there was Mark.  As much as I loved them both, I
needed to find out who I am without them."

"I can tell you that."  Paris was wearing that smart-ass grin that both
delighted and annoyed her. "Kathryn Janeway is a crazy woman who jumps
off cliffs in primitive flying machines, scaring the *hell* out of her
entire crew.  She was born with a phaser compression rifle in her hands
and secretly enjoys blowing things up.  Ouch!"  He trapped both of her
arms in his embrace to avoid further elbows in the ribs.  "She's tougher
than any Borg and kind to children, aliens and ex-convicts.  She's the
heart and soul of Voyager."  He had a firm grip now, not that his victim
was struggling much. His mouth near her ear, he spoke quietly.  "And
she's the best thing that ever happened to me."

Kathryn wondered if he could hear her heart leap.  She was a little
disappointed when he released his restraining hold.  She searched his
face for any clue to what his last words meant.  Tom had never been shy
about declaring his gratitude for her help and continuing friendship,
but there had been something more in his voice.  She dropped her glance
before it turned into a stare.

"I've come to pretty much the same conclusions about the crazy part.
I'm not the same woman who came to the Delta quadrant.  Or maybe I've
gotten back to that teenager who used to climb out her bedroom window to
go off adventuring."  She hesitated a bit.  "I've also realized that
I've been alone too long."

"Then let someone love you, Kathryn."

"Not Chakotay.  There was a time when I thought we might... We would
have ended up the same way you and B'Elanna did, but I don't know if our
friendship would have survived, or our ability to work together."

A cloud passed over Tom's face and Kathryn kicked herself for reminding
him of the breakup.

"The only reason we're still friends is that we bailed out before things
turned nasty.  By the time we figured out that sex and friendship don't
equal love, ...Let's just say we were lucky."  He cleared his throat and
looked down at his captain.  She had placed a sympathetic hand on his
chest and was regarding him with concern in those extraordinary gray
eyes.  He had never seen such a kissable face in his entire life.

"So, not Chakotay.  I didn't think so."  He frantically sought a
distraction. "How about Neelix, he's always had a crush on you."  Good.
He'd made her laugh and stop looking at him like *that.*

"I don't think so, Tom.  And before you mention it, not Tuvok, either.
And don't even think about Harry."

Tom snickered.  "Not unless you've grown some implants I don't know
about."  He blushed furiously the moment the words were out of his
mouth, realizing that they could be taken to refer to more than 7's
alien hardware.

Kathryn was laughing hysterically when Tom's combadge beeped.  He
hesitated a moment before answering the hail.  "You know you have other
options, Kathryn."

That stopped her giggles quite effectively.  Before she could think of a
reply, he was speaking to Yeoman Kowalski and Ensign Singh, who were
getting spooked by the storm and looking for a friendly voice to remind
them that they weren't completely alone.

Afterwards Kathryn wasn't really sure if she or Tom had thought of the
idea first.  Telling really bad ghost stories on a dark and stormy night
proved to be just what the stranded away team needed. Some of the
stories were silly enough to cure anybody of a case of the creeps. It
wasn't long before the entire landing party was taking part.  Suddenly
the groups seemed less isolated.

It was somewhere in a very long Bolian version of 'the ghost with the
golden arm' that Tom realized Kathryn had drifted off.  He had become
accustomed to her head resting on his shoulder, the slight weight of her
body snuggled in the crook of his arm.

She slept with an expression of contentment on her face, like a cat
curled on a sunny windowsill. When Tom moved slightly she followed him,
sighing and snuggling deeper into his embrace.  He just sat there
looking at her, dumbfounded, and reflecting that starship captains were
supposed to be many things, but adorable wasn't one of them.  They
especially weren't supposed to be adored by lowly lieutenants.

He became distantly aware of the Bolian's voice droning on and tapped
his combadge.  "Sorry to interrupt your story, Chel, but the captain
just conked out.  I think we'll both call it a night."  He signed off to
a chorus of whispered 'good nights.'

Tom stroked her hair gently as he cradled her.  "Is that what you needed
to fall asleep, Kathryn, someone to hold you?"

The storm had gone by the time Kathryn woke in the morning.  The first
rays of sunlight were just beginning to creep into the shelter.

It took a few minutes for her brain to process the information of her
senses and come to a conclusion about her location.  She was lying on a
soft bed of 'pine' needles.  The rough material of a uniform jacket
scratched her cheek, and under the uniform a heart beat slow and

Kathryn stretched lazily, remembering the delightful feeling of falling
asleep in Tom's arms.  She was still nestled comfortably against his
chest, although they must have stretched out on the ground at some point
in the night.  She propped herself up on one elbow to watch him sleep.

There was an innocence about his face in repose.  The first time she had
seen him from a distance in New Zealand she had thought he had the face
of a fallen angel.  Something in him had touched her deeply that first
day; in his guarded, sometimes hostile eyes she had caught a glimpse of
the man she now knew.

Almost unconsciously, she reached out to brush his cheek with the back
of her hand.  He had changed so much during their journey.  Or maybe
being cut off from home had freed him to be his true self.

Lt. Paris was becoming a fine young officer.  He was finally letting his
natural intelligence and leadership ability shine through.  His
confidence in himself as an officer had improved a great deal, but on a
personal level, he was still riddled with insecurities.  Those
insecurities coupled with B'Elanna's had doomed their relationship from
the beginning.

"What you need is someone to show you how to be loved."

Kathryn contemplated snuggling back onto Tom's chest and dozing for a
while longer.  She sighed. What she would really like to do was to kiss
those sweet lips and wake him slowly in her arms. There wasn't much
point in pretending to herself that she wasn't falling for the young
man.  That self-deception had worn thin long ago.  She made a deal with
herself.  One quick indulgence and she would get up, go in search of the
rest of the away team and start behaving like a captain again, not a
love-sick teenager.  The words 'You know you have other options,
Kathryn' echoed in her mind and she pushed them away.  Clinging to hope
only made the disappointment worse.

She leaned over Tom's sleeping form, careful not to awaken him with her
movement.  The slightest brush of his warm soft lips with her own and
she began to move away.  Until strong arms clasped her to his chest and
she found herself rolled onto her back.  The heat and weight of his body
pressed her to the soft ground and her kiss was being passionately

Tom let Kathryn feel the hunger as he slowly devoured her lips like a
man savoring his first food after near starvation.  Her moan as his
tongue slipped into her mouth only added fuel to the fire. Kathryn's
hands slipped beneath the untucked uniform shirt, mapping the muscles of
his back.

He pulled his mouth away, forced to gasp for air.  Burning blue eyes
searched her face and found an answering heat.  A uniform clad thigh
gently insinuated itself between her legs.  "Good morning, Captain."