Summary: My answer to the 'Kiss Me Challenge'on the JuPiter list. Start a story with the words "Kiss me." Inspired by a certain event that we all heard about. I know it was a long time ago now, but better late than never. Right? Tom is hearing things. Or is he?
Standard Disclaimer:Tom Paris, Kathryn Janeway, Voyager and all her crew belong to Paramount/Viacom. I'm just having a little fun with them. No profit will be made from this story.
The sound was a mere whisper in the stillness of the room. A throaty laugh followed, soft and sensual, and then the voice repeated once more, "Kiss me."
The words were louder this time, more demanding, and Tom opened his eyes wide in astonishment. Sitting up slowly, he looked carefully around his almost completely darkened quarters. The voice had seemed so real, but there was nobody there.
'Okay, so who was I dreaming about?' Tom asked himself. As if he didn't know. He hadn't realized he'd dozed off, but obviously he must have. Slowly sinking back down amongst the pillows, he tried to remember his dream.
That was the problem. He couldn't. In fact, he could have sworn he was still awake, lying here thinking about the embarrassment of that very same evening. He had been trying to decide just how he would face the Captain in the morning. Pretend it had never happened, or try to joke his way out of it?
He must have fallen asleep, still thinking about the mortifying discussion he had overheard, and that was why he had dreamt those words. Why exactly those words, he wasn't sure, but funny how realistic it had felt.
He closed his eyes once more and the voice was with him in an instant. "Kiss me. Hold me."
He sat up abruptly and peered around the room. "Lights! Full illumination," he called out. The room was so bright that he found he was squinting. Definitely no one there.
He quickly climbed out of bed and walked around his quarters. "Computer, who's here, besides me?"
*Please restate the question.*
Damn! He really wasn't making any sense. "Are there any life signs in this room, discounting mine?"
Of course there wasn't. His imagination was playing tricks on him. He sat down on his bed and ran his hands through his hair. 'Okay,' he told himself. 'I've had a fairly stressful evening and this must be some sort of manifestation of that stress.'
He snorted in disgust at that thought. He'd been stressed before and never heard some woman telling him to kiss her. He wondered whether he should contact Tuvok. Report that there could be some noncorporeal entity in his quarters.
He shook his head. The first thing Tuvok would do was have him beamed to sickbay. And the last thing he needed to see again, was the Doc. In fact, if he never saw the Doc again, it would be too soon.
He could feel that he was turning red just remembering the conversation he had unwittingly overheard only hours ago. He closed his eyes at the memory of his utter humiliation. They had thought he was still asleep. If only he had been.
~ Four Hours Previously: ~
He had awakened slowly, a slight buzzing in his ears, and the distant sound of voices becoming clearer. "And there is no permanent damage, I can assure you Captain." The Doctor had sounded bright and cheerful. "Although I was forced to administer an extremely potent sedative, it should wear off some time soon and then I'll be able to release him from sickbay."
So that was what was wrong with him. The Doc had given him a sedative. No wonder he couldn't open his eyes.
"I have done a marvelous job, if I do say so myself," the Doctor had boasted. "His cheeks are still a little reddened, but that will fade in a few hours. If you would care to take a look?"
"That is certainly not necessary." The Captain's voice had been crisp. If his eyes hadn't have been so heavy, he would most certainly have opened them.
The Doctor had sniffed. "Very well." He seemed to take it as a personal affront that she wouldn't allow him to show off his regenerating skills. "Of course, I think this proves that the Captain Proton program should be deleted. Even with the safety protocols on, accidents still happen."
"I'll discuss it with Tom later. This was my fault really anyway. I distracted him as he was taking off his jetpack and he accidentally pushed the wrong button. It was just a pity that he was bending over at the time."
"I can imagine. However, it was lucky that you were there to assist him so quickly. The damage would have been a lot worse otherwise."
"If I hadn't been there, it wouldn't have happened," the Captain had insisted.
He had tried, unsuccessfully, to open his eyes. To tell her that it wasn't her fault.
"Be that as it may," the Doctor had continued. "It just goes to prove what I have always maintained. Mr. Paris takes too many risks. This holoprogram is just another one of them."
"And as I said, Doctor, I will talk to him. Now, with regard to this little incident. I believe you have enjoyed it all just a little too much."
"Enjoyed?" The Doctor had sounded offended. "I can assure you Captain, that I do not enjoy seeing people injured, or even Mr. Paris, for that matter - whatever the circumstances."
"I see. So when you said that you wished you had a holopicture of the incident, I must have imagined it."
"And the song you were singing as you treated Tom's injuries?"
"A lot of my patients have found my singing to be soothing."
"I'm sure they have, but I think your choice of material was a little malicious."
"Malicious? I was merely trying out a new form of musical variety. It's called Country and Western. It was very popular in the twentieth century. And as Mr. Paris seems to love that particular time in history, I thought it might be beneficial."
"Doctor, you were singing about a burning ring of fire."
"Yes, well, that was just a small joke to relieve the tension."
Tom had grimaced inwardly and had managed somehow to open his eyes. The Doc would pay for that!
Everything had been a blur and he had just been able to make out their figures, standing a few feet away from him. They hadn't noticed him stir. His eyes had closed again, involuntarily.
"Well, there have been enough jokes at Tom's expense."
"I can see why you would feel that way. No harm done in the end however Captain. As I said, you can see for yourself."
"And as I said, that won't be necessary. I somehow doubt that Tom would appreciate waking up to find me examining his rear."
"Really? Now you surprise me. I would have thought he would enjoy that very much."
"Enough with the jokes Doctor."
"Of course Captain and may I just add that your secret is perfectly safe with me."
"You know. Your - um - involvement."
"My involvement? Oh, you mean with Tom's injury. I'm afraid I don't know if that's possible. You know what this ship is like."
"Indeed I do. It's as if no one on this ship has anything better to do than gossip. I can assure you, I would never do that. Never! I am not speaking about Mr. Paris's injury, however. I am referring to your relationship."
"I must say I was a little surprised, but nevertheless---."
"Doctor!" she had interrupted hastily. "What relationship are you talking about?"
"You and Mr. Paris, of course. By the way, he said that you looked stunning and he was right. May I compliment you on your appearance."
"Doctor, I - er - thank you."
Tom, who had been struggling to sit up, had lain still, eyes closed, because he couldn't bear them to know he was awake, after all. What exactly had he said to the Doctor, and when, and most importantly - why?
"Yes indeed," the Doctor had continued. "He said that particular blue brought out your eyes, and he was right."
"Tom said that? When was this?"
"After I gave him the sedative, just before he fell asleep. He said you were a stunning vision in blue and his heart burned for you. At the time I thought it was a rather funny comparison."
"Doctor, he couldn't possibly be talking about me. You must have made a mistake. He must have meant someone else."
"You are the only Kath on board this ship, are you not? He was calling out for you the whole time. He told me to tell you that he loved you."
"He did? Are you sure?"
"Of course I am sure."
Tom had been wishing for a hole to appear in the floor and suck him and his biobed down into it. Preferably right out into space. He had kept his eyes closed tightly, wishing and hoping, while the Doctor and the Captain had continued as if he was not even there.
"You have kept this very quiet, the two of you," the Doctor had said. "I was not aware that Mr. Paris was seeing anybody since his breakup with Lieutenant Torres. And you Captain, well what can I say?"
"You can say nothing, that's what you can say, Doctor. Tom and I are not having a - a relationship."
"Of course Captain. I understand. You can trust me to be discreet."
"Doctor, there is nothing going on between Tom and myself."
"Naturally Captain. And if anyone should ask why you were on the holodeck with him, dressed like that?"
"I was not on the holodeck with him. I was waiting for him to finish his Captain Proton simulation so that I could continue the holonovel I have been participating in. I am dressed like this because this is the way my character is supposed to dress to make her husband jealous and - well never mind any of that - the point is that Tom had gone over his allotted time. A habit he seems to have, and I had gone in to remind him of that fact. I inadvertently startled him and instead of pushing the button to release the jet pack, he pressed the ignition. And why the hell I am explaining all of this to you, is beyond me."
"That is a very good explanation Captain. Almost believable actually. You have nothing to worry about. I'm sure the crew will believe it."
"That's because it's the truth Doctor. How many times do I have to tell you? There is nothing between Tom and myself."
"Then why did he say what he said?"
"I'm not sure." The Captain's voice had been soft and Tom had been able to feel the Captain looking at him then. The battle not to open his eyes had been tremendous.
"Captain, I believe I may have made a mistake." The Doctor had sounded unsure. "I may have been a little indiscreet."
"Just a tad," she had answered.
The overwhelming desire to open his eyes had won and he had been just in time to see the Captain stepping out of the room while the Doctor had headed towards his office.
He had lain there then, digesting what he had heard and the utter mortification that he had felt. How could he face her again and how could he NOT strangle the Doc?
Eventually he had groaned and the Doctor had hurried over. "Ah Mr. Paris, we're awake I see. How do we feel?"
He had struggled to keep his voice steady, although for the life of him, he couldn't remember what he had said. The Doctor had let him go however, telling him that all he needed was a good night's sleep.
That didn't appear to be going to happen either, as now he could hear the voice again. "Kiss me Tom. Please. Hold me tight."
He jumped off the bed once more and paced around. He was going crazy. That's what it was.
"Tighter Tom. Closer. Show me how much you love me."
He clutched his hair. "Stop it," he called out. "Leave me alone."
The voice was a breathless sob now. "Tom - oh Tom."
"Okay, that's it," he shouted out angrily. "Who are you? What do you want?"
He waited, but there was no answer. Swearing in frustration, he pulled on a pair of pants and grabbed the first shirt he could find. Tugging it on carelessly he made his way out of the room. If he was going crazy, he would do it somewhere else.
Making his way through the ship, he wondered if Harry would still be up. After all it wasn't midnight yet. Then he remembered that Harry was on duty - again. The kid was really bucking for a promotion.
His steps led him to the mess hall. Maybe Neelix would still be around, or someone else for that matter. He really didn't feel like being alone right now.
All was quiet however, the mess hall dark and empty. He turned to leave and the voice was there once more. "Kiss me Tom." It was a light whisper and he could almost feel the soft, feathery breeze against his ear.
'All right, I give up. I'm going back to sickbay,' Tom told himself. He hurried to the turbolift and stepped inside. He did not, however, go to sickbay. He soon found himself standing outside the Captain's quarters, staring at her door chime. The voice was hers. He'd known it all along.
'Okay, so now I'm here, what am I going to say?' Tom asked himself. He would be disturbing her, as he was sure she would have been asleep for hours. She had the early shift in the morning.
He should be truthful, he decided. Get straight to the point. She'd appreciate that. He practiced what he would say. 'Sorry to disturb you Captain, but I know the Doc told you that I was in love with you and now I can't settle until we've discussed it. I feel so bad that I'm even hallucinating.'
No, he couldn't say that. What would they discuss? Yes he was in love with her, had been from the first time he'd glanced up into those soft gray eyes of hers. That had been back in Auckland. He had taken one look and his heart had been lost.
Over the years his respect and admiration for her had soared right along there with his heart. She was everything he had ever dreamed of in a woman. But he had not allowed himself to dwell on those feelings. She was his Captain. End of story.
He stared fixedly at the door chime. He couldn't admit that to her. He would never be able to work with her again. Perhaps he could tell her that he had been calling for another Kath.
Yeah right! She was the only Kath on Voyager, besides the fact that the Captain was never going to believe that after being out here for six years, he'd suddenly started pining for a girl back home, whose name just happened to be Kath, too.
'Don't think of her as Kath,' he told himself sternly. 'That's why you're in this mess.'
Back to the problem at hand. He could tell her that he had actually been calling for B'Elanna. Two problems with that, however. 'B'Elanna' sounded nothing like 'Kath' and the Captain would never believe that anyway.
He had broken up with B'Elanna months ago and it had been completely mutual. There had been no hard feelings on either side and certainly no broken hearts. There was absolutely no way that he would be calling for B'Elanna now.
He tried to think of a name that sounded like 'Kath'. For the life of him, he couldn't think of anything. Besides the fact that there was nobody on board the ship with a name that sounded even remotely similar.
There was Ensign Rathbone in security, of course. 'Rath' did sound like 'Kath', but he couldn't imagine calling the love of his life 'Rath.' Not to mention the fact that Mark Rathbone was many things, but 'a stunning vision in blue' was not one of them. The Captain would never believe that the burly, sour-faced man would cause his heart to burn.
Tom found he was backing away from her door. She would not appreciate being woken up. It could wait till the morning.
He headed back the way he had come and entered his quarters once more, determined to ignore any more whisperings that his fevered mind might create.
He waited for a few moments and when nothing happened, undressed and threw himself back into bed. Sinking down into the pillows, he closed his eyes tightly, waiting tensely for the whisperings to begin again. Nothing happened.
Some time passed, however, before he could relax and breathe normally. That was when he heard the chuckle. It was different than the sensual, throaty laugh he had heard before - this was loud and intrusive - and he opened one eye carefully.
This time he could definitely see the outline of someone in the room with him. He sat up. "Lights. Full illumination," he instructed, half expecting the figure to disappear in the brightness of the room.
She flicked her long red hair over her shoulder instead. The chuckle was even harsher this time. "Hello there, Helmboy."
"What the hell are you doing here?" Tom spat out angrily. "I should have known. It was you all along."
"Don't flatter yourself, Helmboy. We Q's are above all that disgusting touching, kissing stuff that you mere mortals seem to enjoy so much."
"You expect me to believe that? I would call your presence here, just a bit too much of a coincidence."
"Well no. It's no coincidence that I'm here, but it certainly wasn't me that was begging you to press your lips to mine so that we could trade each other's saliva. Do you realize just how revolting that is, by the way? Not to mention unsanitary."
Tom said nothing, merely crossing his arms and glaring at her belligerently.
She shrugged. "It's simple, Helmboy. I owed her a favor."
"What favor?" he asked crossly.
Q sighed. "Q may be the bane of my existence, but little Q is the joy. I owed her that, and never let it be said that I don't repay my debts. It's taken so long because she's never really craved anything this desperately before."
"I have absolutely no idea what in the hell you're talking about."
"Honestly, it's like talking to a child. A rather backward one at that. Your dear Kath, for reasons known only to her, wants YOU Helmboy. I merely let you hear her dreams. That should make you even. Now the rest is up to you."
There was a flash of light and Tom suddenly found he was no longer in his quarters. He was still in bed - yes. But definitely not HIS bed.
There was a warm, soft body in the bed next to him and he swallowed as she rolled over and pressed herself against him. "Oh Tom," she moaned in her sleep.
"Q," he hissed urgently. He gulped as he realized that all he had on were his boxers and by the feel of it all the Captain had on was something very skimpy and very satiny. "Q," he hissed again.
She appeared at the foot of the bed. "What is it now?" she said crossly.
At the sound of the voice, Kathryn woke up with a start. "What?" she said in confusion. "What's going on? Tom? Tom! Lights!"
Tom swallowed, trying to find his voice.
"Here's a present for you Kathryn," Q said smugly. "Now my debt is repaid. Have fun."
"What the hell is going on here?"
"No need to thank me Kathryn. Now I really must be off. I've been away from little Q far too long."
"Wait just one damn minute."
"Really Kathryn. I expected a little more gratitude in your tone."
"I demand to know what's happening here. Explain yourself - now, Q."
"What's to explain? You want him, he wants you. Now you can have each other. It's rather sickening I know, but what can you expect from mere mortals?"
"I do not believe this is happening," Kathryn said faintly.
"I second that," Tom managed to say. He kept his eyes fixed firmly on the blankets, wondering if he could snuggle down under them and pull them firmly over his head. He didn't think the Captain would appreciate that somehow.
The trouble was that when the Captain had sat up, he had inadvertently been able to see exactly what it was that she was wearing, or a more accurate description would be - almost wearing.
B'Elanna had always maintained that short, low-cut nightgowns were uncomfortable. She said that they never stayed where they were supposed to and parts of YOU didn't stay where THEY were supposed to. Now he could understand what she meant.
"I had to explain it to Helmboy, so I suppose I will have to, to you too," Q said impatiently. "He knows that you know he is in love with you, so I thought it was only appropriate that he should also know of your rather erotic dreams of him. Actually Kathryn, I really should speak to you about some of your fantasies."
"Q!" Kathryn growled.
"Well, not saying that this hasn't been fun, but you certainly don't need me here now. Please, do not screech out for me again, as I refuse to listen." And with a flash, she was gone.
Tom sat with his head down, while Kathryn sat with her mouth open, gaping at the spot where Q had been standing.
He cleared his throat. "So," he managed to say.
"So," she said also.
The silence stretched.
"I - er - I'd better get back to my quarters," Tom said suddenly, almost tripping over the blankets in his haste to get out of the bed.
At the Captain's sharp intake of breath, he turned around quickly to see the Captain staring at him as if mesmerized. With a painful gasp, he dived back under the covers.
"Captain, I'm sorry. I thought - no I'm sure - I mean, I was definitely wearing my underwear a few seconds ago."
She nodded. "I believe you. Unfortunately I find myself in a similar predicament."
"Oh? Oh! Oh hell!"
Tom gave a small uncomfortable laugh. He tried very hard, not to think about the Captain, sitting just a few centimeters away from him. "I don't suppose you'd have something I could borrow, just so that I can get back to my quarters?"
"My robe is over there."
Tom looked over to where she had indicated. "That's a robe?" he asked, disbelievingly. He could see a pink chiffony thing that appeared to be completely transparent. He could just imagine walking through the ship, dressed in that and nothing else.
"Night attire is not meant to be practical," Kathryn answered defensively.
This small indulgence on the Captain's part would have made him smile under normal circumstances, but he was still too horrified at his current situation.
"I think, under the circumstances, the best thing would be if I borrowed your replicator and replicated something to wear."
"Agreed," she said quickly. "However, my replicator isn't working. I was going to have maintenance take a look at it in the morning."
"Great. I guess that means I'm going to have to be transported back to my own quarters. That will really start the gossip."
"It can't be helped Tom."
They soon discovered that it wasn't going to be that easy, however. They had no communications with the rest of the ship.
"What now?" Tom asked. He was rapidly getting over his horror.
"If you'll just close your eyes for a minute, I'll go and get dressed quickly and find something for you to wear."
"No offense Captain, but I don't think anything of yours would fit. Not to mention the fact that the gossip would be even worse if someone saw me walking back to my quarters wearing one of your outfits."
"Hopefully there will be no one around, but that wasn't what I meant. I'll quickly run down to your quarters and get you something."
"Oh! Good idea."
"Thank you. Now if you'll be so good as to close your eyes."
"Oh!" He closed his eyes obediently and even turned away. At her curse, however, he quickly opened them and turned to look at her. "What's wrong?"
"She's put a force field up or something. I can't step away from the bed."
"What?" He jumped out of bed also and found she was right. You could stand next to the bed, but some sort of invisible barrier was there, stopping you from walking away.
They stood there, staring at each other in consternation for a few moments, before suddenly realizing their state of undress and throwing themselves back into bed hastily. They pulled the blankets up, so that they reached their chins.
"It looks like we're trapped," Kathryn said. "Just how long do you think Q intends to keep us here, in this bed?"
"Probably until morning."
"That's what I thought."
They both fell silent as they thought about the situation.
"So," Tom said finally.
"So," she echoed.
The silence stretched until he could stand it no longer. "Want to play twenty questions?"
She sighed. "Tom? What exactly did Q show you of my dreams?"
"Nothing Captain. It wasn't anything like that. She just - well - I could hear you - sort of."
"What did you hear?"
Tom squirmed uncomfortably. "It was just a whisper really."
"I see. What exactly did I whisper?"
Tom closed his eyes. "Kiss me." He could feel her breath on his face and opened his eyes to find her leaning over towards him. "You wanted me to hold you, show you how much I love you."
"I remember," she said softly, her voice husky as she studied his face.
He swallowed nervously and told himself to breathe.
"I've always wanted you, you know." She leaned in even closer. "Right from the very first time I saw you. You looked up at me with that arrogant, cocky smile and my stomach decided to do a somersault."
She gave a throaty laugh, and it was just as he remembered it, soft and sensual. "I wanted to slap you silly and then kiss you senseless."
Tom chuckled quietly. "I was already pretty senseless if I remember correctly." He sobered as his eyes locked with hers.
"There's always been something between us, you know that don't you Tom? A certain spark, right from the start."
"I know," he whispered.
Their faces were now mere millimeters away from each other, their lips almost touching.
"Kiss me," she demanded and then they were. It was soft and sweet and gentle. It was all that he had ever imagined, and more. He wanted it to never end.
The kiss continued, slowly growing, slowly becoming more and more, until it was hard and demanding. Their lips felt bruised, swollen, but still the kiss continued, their hands roaming over each other now, searching - seeking.
Tearing their lips from each other, they gazed unwaveringly into each other's eyes.
"Love me Tom," she said softly.
"Always Kath," he answered huskily. "Always."