Title: Home Trials
Series: VOY Rating: R
Summary: Gods, I *hate* summarizing...but, for archiving posterity...following Janeway's daunting night with Paris (either version) and a quick jaunt to Command, she's home..and so are Harry and a few home truths.
Disclaimer: All characters herein owned by Paramount Studios and various other entities...no copyright infringement intended.
Hours past my return to Indiana, I watched as he trudged through the yard, silently...hoping for...what, a sudden, blinding flash of insight? A voice from above, spelling out the instructions to this new mystery called home life? Neither came.
He stepped onto the porch, pausing, squinting in the wind, looking hesitant and...gods, for Harry Kim, this sort of persistant approachment had to be nothing less than terrifying. I sighed, brushing a lock of hair back from his worried face, motioning inside. "They said you had been delayed at Command, I just didn't expect you to detour back here."
He nodded slightly, stepping back, looking even more discomfited. "B'Elanna sent an emergency contact from the transport to Qo'noS...she'd been trying to raise Tom all night, Miral is ill. He wasn't answering messages."
Of course, my fault, always my fault. "Is Miral stable?"
"Enough. Torres expects a holdover at DS9, however...just a few days, then they
continue to Qo'noS."
I forced myself to turn then, face him. "Did you ever find out why I was being called to Command?"
Harry shook his head, looking faintly confused at the swift topic change. "I assumed...they simply said they had a mission..."
"They lied to you." I peeled my gloves off, throwing them in a corner, heading towards the kitchen. "Privacy protection, most likely, but I don't care if you know or not. The entire universe will soon enough. They've called a court-martial."
"For the Maquis? Tom?"
"No. For the captain."
"Thats ridiculous." He looked as outraged as I had felt initially, and I hid a wry chuckle.
"No, only inevitable. They wouldn't pull a stunt like it right after our
return, publicity far too heavy...but with a few months under the time belt, they figure they can slip by. I violated Starfleet protocal, the Prime Directive, too many times."
"We were in the *Delta* Quadrant, Admiral."
"It wasn't a Maquis ship. Chakotay wasn't in command. I was. I have to answer to my own rules."
He clearly recognized the logic, it was ingrained Fleet, but he didn't look altogether convinced of its infallibility. "Tuvok can defend the charges."
"He can try."
"You don't want him to, do you?"
"If he did defend the charges, Lieutenent..." I was pacing by then, rubbing my palms together for warmth and comfort. "It would lead to a demotion, at least."
"To Captain, like Kirk...thats what you want, right?"
"No." How very damned innocent they all were these days... "Not to Captain. Kirk was an exception. I'm an Admiral's brat. We don't get exceptions, we get emphasis. A demotion to Commander, perhaps, or lower."
"You could never serve under..."
"Oh, I could, but it wouldn't be pretty. I'm an arrogant person, Harry, and its a Captain's arrogance. Sheathed in inferior pips it'd just be trouble. I don't intend to contest the charges."
"So you let them cashier you out of Fleet and possibly into prison?"
I tried for levity "Well, if the Maquis issue did come up, I could share a cell with Chakotay."
His gaze was killing. "That doesn't sound like you."
"I'm tired of fighting." There, honesty, the kind of raw, glinting revelation I hadn't uttered to my own mother since our return, much less anyone else. "I'm tired of holding myself together by threads. I don't want to be a stubborn hero, Harry. I just want to be home."
The response came finally, with a slow breath, unrepentent. "If you really mean to accept whatever they dole out..." He didn't seem impressed by the options. "You'll need a friend. Sometimes, the little people have to pick priorities too." A touch, firm, but warm, on my arm. "I hadn't intended for you to wait outside for me, you need to get out of those wet clothes. The heating systems in the main bed and bath aren't working, but I got the guest pump up while you were at...Tom's. You can take the guest bed as well, it is yours. A cold shower and the sofa are fine for me."
"Harry." I caught his arm as he brushed past me, cursing trite, cliche
situations, and thanking them as well. "Thank you."
What was she thinking when she made the decision to forfeit her battle, drew her fingers along my arm? I didn't care to ask. I was cold, and needed her with a hunger I had never felt before, and she looked like she needed the same. I thought about pushing for more detail about her overnight meeting with Tom...had it been that bad?...but decided otherwise. She didn't look ready to talk. I had my suspicions, and didn't really want to confirm them. Instead, I met her gaze. "I guess that means you've given up on Starfleet Superior-Subordinate relationship protocal."
Her head cocked, lips curving. "Whoever tried to apply restrictions to such things as...romantic entanglement...was very foolish to begin with."
Oh, really, so now she'd reached that conclusion. I crossed my arms, digging in despite my earlier doubts. "Tell me about Tom."
"Tom has nothing to do..."
"With this?" Moving forward, I reached for her shoulders, taking in the faint wince, gently removing the uniform jacket and top, revealing the bruises already rising.
"How did you..." With a bemused look, she shook off the question, automatically rubbing her arms in faint embarrassment. "Its nothing, probably looked meaner than it felt. Mister Paris was merely having trouble getting his frustrations across and reverted to some old..."
"Old habits? Paris was never the abusive one, Admiral. Only the abused." I realized I was risking it all with that sort of anger, and struggled to check it. "I knew because I've wanted to do it a few times myself. Paris always had the guts, if not the glory."
Her voice was sudden, calm, deflecting my unease with alacrity...that old command perception. "Its cold in here, Lieutenent. Either you have to surrender my clothing or we have to work something out. You said the guest bath was warm, did you?"
The water ended up just the right temperature, hot enough to steam out the kinks in my neck, below burning. Her touch, too, was liquid fire, even after we had made way onto the bed-good lord, her mother's bed-and lay curled in the cool sheets. Later, past the exhaustion, her touch was still silken, warm, as she rubbed circles into my back, forcing the tension out. The breathing, too, was more husky, raw, a little more unsteady. Rolling back onto my side, I managed to tug her up beside me, absorbing the flushed face, the worn eyes.
Sated, but exhausted, that cat. I shifted, covering us both with the quilt. "You need all the friends you can get, don't you?"
"Rest, Harry." Nestling back into my chest, she sighed faintly, and I stilled, knowing very well that I wouldn't.