Title: Home Trials Part 9a
Author: RoseKira@aol.com or kiraananke@hotmail.com
Series: VOY Rating: R
Disclaimer: All characters herein owned by Paramount Studios and other entities. No infringement intended.
Archive: Yes
Note: All right, partly because I simply had to write a J/P angle on this and partly because I still want J/K and my body intact...I've written two part 9's. This is part a, the J and P, more talk than naughtiness, leading to J/K version. Part 9b, to be posted shortly, will be the gritty, smutty, outright evil J/P version. J/K'ers, you've been warned. If you hate J/P, this is your part. Both will lead to the same ending, but I know the journey could be very traumatic if you read the other...

Personal Log: Kathryn Janeway 
Addresse: Paris, Tom


Breaking free of your unexpected kiss, I steadied myself, voice distant to my own ears. Any word at all seemed lucky accomplishment, in the moment, my mind was reeling. What exactly is that old saying...'a kiss is but a kiss'? Hardly, not in my case, not where you happened to be concerned. 

Annoyed, I looked up, even more disconcerted by the concentration in your gaze, absorbing, drinking...

"You taste like coffee."

"Of course I taste like coffee, I always taste like coffee, coffee is my..." The absurdity of the comment drove me to indignant exasperation. 

I recall that you seemed amused, catching my chin again, fingers drifting upward, canvassing, tangling in my hair. The second kiss was more thorough, slow, teasing. "You could put Sandrine out of business with the flavors in there, Admiral. You know, Harry has an outright discouraging lack of discernment for the finer nuances of flavor and class..."

"You throw a metaphorical insult on top of a erotic compliment. Somehow, I'm not surprised." The annoyance was stronger, but being vastly overridden by other thoughts, other, baser emotions. We had moved back into the corner by then, into the slanting rays of the sunlight, and you nudged my knees apart with one of your own, pinning me, challenging. "Paris..."

"Forget Harry, I know. Forget Torres."

"If you can." 

Your gaze was dry, puzzling, and you tugged me away from the corner, nodding towards the unmasked window. "The neighbor keeps an eye on my loyalties and disloyalties. He and Torres are very good friends. A big, burly fellow, with a rather unusual tattoo. You'd give him a heart attack if he saw YOU in the midst of the infidelity."

I drew in a breath then. "He broke up with Seven, I had no idea he had taken it hard enough to find..."

"Someone besides you for comfort?" I saw the anger rising again then, sketching jagged little lines around your mouth. "No, no pity, Admiral, its not a case of being cheated on, she wouldn't do *that*, leave the really damning mistakes to me. Its more a case of her being frustrated with my frustrations and finding better platonic company until mine improves. I can't exactly blame her."

"You fool." I wanted to slap you, to kiss you, and above all, to laugh at you. Always falling head first into your emotions, be it love, passion, or anger...and never quite understanding the consequences. You won't like to hear it, Tom, but you're very much like your father in that regard.

Your gaze was brief, thoughtful...and then you kissed me again. 

Panic. I don't know how else to phrase it, how else to put the emotions of the moment in perspective. Hatred, I could take, but your misguided lust...love...no. Not anymore, not you. You wondered if I honestly cared for Harry. I confess that I didn't know myself until that moment, when the thought of betraying whatever recent faith I had instilled in him...horrified me.

"Back off." My tones must've been raw, and I know my fists were painful as I pushed you away. "Are you drunk, or crazy?"

You jerked away again, shamed, and I forced myself to calm, remind myself that you probably hadn't planned it. "I'm leaving now, Tom. Find your wife."

That jarred you, if the wince was any indication. Moving away, you handed me my coat, back ramrod stiff. "I'm sorry."

"I believe you." And I did, for the first time in years. It didn't lessen the cold knot in my stomach. "You were right, at least, in what you said."

"I shouldn't have said it. Some home truths hurt too deeply..." 

"Someone needed to hurt deeply. Its the only way I listen." 

The offered smile was skewed, parched. "I'll pilot you home."

"You're in no condition to fly."

"To the contrary, flyings the best thing for me. I'll take you home, take that Qo'Nos vacation with Lanna and Miral like I should have from the beginning. I have to get away from here." You turned away, and I recognized enough pages from my own book to know that the conversation was over. 

We were silent the entire flight back to Indiana, but I did face you in the snow flurries before the shuttle door slid shut. "You were wrong as well. Harry is very discerning...if not about quality, about need. My needs. That's something I haven't been able to boast about myself in a while. I need him, Mr. Paris."

Watching you fly out, I knew more certainly than ever before that I did
need...but not only him. All of us. The way we were. The way we clearly
couldn't be again. Life, you see, Tom, was one long round of choices and consequences at that time. Chakotay had chosen Seven, you had chosen B'Elanna and Miral that eternity back, on Voyager...you all drifted away, or cut away, whichever suited, leaving me alone. I didn't recognize the favor until that evening. Alone was just about the only way I would begin steering with my heart, not my command ideals.

And I knew my heading, blindly as I had stumbled in on it. I wasn't about to risk going off course, not for you, or anyone else.