Warnings: Potentially uncomfortable tone due to the Aliens Made Them Do It plot contrivance.
Categories: Ship, Het, Drama, Romance, AMTDI, Cliche Fic
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Vorik, the EMH, Torres, Paris
Spoilers: Blood Fever
A/N: Written for Ripples in the Pond at Anne's Rose Garden. An alternate version of Blood Fever.
Credits: Thank you to Shayenne and Anne Rose for multiple beta jobs on the multiple rewrites of this fic.
Disclaimer: You want it, Paramount? Come and get it.
Original ST-17™© version available here. This fic didn't exactly lend itself to editing into submission.
A virtual fortune in much needed gallicite. There had to be a catch. Janeway decided to lead the away team herself, and headed down to engineering to discuss the mission with Lieutenant Torres. They'd need climbing equipment, and anti-grav sleds -
Ensign Vorik was bent over a console, clutching it with both hands, apparently in some form of distress. "Ensign?"
He whirled on her and grabbed her face, then stumbled backward and almost knocked her down in the process. "Captain, I - " A green flush spread over his features and beads of sweat trickled down his forehead.
"Vorik!" For a moment her fear for the welfare of her crew member nearly overwhelmed her, then she managed to regain her equilibrium. "I think you'd better report to sickbay, Ensign."
If he hadn't been a Vulcan, she might have thought him angered by the suggestion. He appeared ready to argue, and she didn't feel up to a fight. A vague feeling of nausea settled in her gut.
"I'll make it an order."
He left. After letting the Doctor know to expect his arrival, Janeway turned her thoughts back to the matter of the gallicite.
The incident with Vorik had faded to the back of her mind by the time the away team climbed down a steep rocky wall on the planet. It was exhilarating for the first five minutes. Then a piton gave way, and Neelix crashed to the cave floor, breaking his arm. Janeway ordered Lieutenant Paris to take the injured team member back to the ship, shrugged off her jacket, and pressed onward. The scouting party would have to proceed with just two members.
"Kathryn, slow down." Chakotay jogged up beside her.
"Can't keep up, Commander?" she snapped. It annoyed her that he wasn't as fit as he appeared. All those muscles might be damned attractive, but they weren't much use on a man who couldn't handle a bit of a stroll.
"Are you feeling all right, Captain?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"You look a little flushed."
An argument formed in her mind, but then his hand touched her face and she stilled as her body reacted to the contact. The annoyance she felt at his all too common mother hen routine was chased away by the electric stroke of his fingers.
The slightly rough feel of his fingertips sent her pulse racing as everything but their connection faded away. His voice barely penetrated the fog that surrounded her mind.
"Kathryn, you're burning with fever!" He scanned her with a tricorder, and didn't appear happy with the results. He slapped his combadge. "Chakotay to sickbay."
Once his hand left her face, the gallicite returned to her mind and she tried to concentrate on the mission. She had fought off her attraction to Chakotay before; she could do it again.
Still, it was hard to ignore the tingling ache deep within her, or the way her clothing chafed against her taut nipples. All of her clothing felt too restrictive. The air seemed too thick to breathe properly, and her hand shook as she tried to operate the tricorder.
A movement drew her gaze to Chakotay. She loved the way he moved. In her mind's eye she saw his muscles ripple as her turned his back to her. So often she had longed to rub those broad shoulders; they were tense now, she could see. It would be nice to massage the tension away and kiss his hot skin.
Someday. The all too familiar mantra played in her mind. This gallicite represented one step in the quest to bring Voyager home to the Alpha Quadrant. Then, and not before, she could think about her personal life.
With one more glance in his direction, she turned and stalked further down into the cavern.
"Pon farr? Is that even possible?"
The Doctor sighed heavily on the other end of the comm link. "It would seem that it must be possible, Commander, since that is what has happened."
"Find a way to fix this," Chakotay ordered. "Get Tuvok to help. Keep me updated."
Kathryn was not going to be happy about this. Given the nature of their relationship, he wasn't particularly looking forward to explaining the situation to her.
A moment ago she had been scanning for gallicite. Now she was gone. A thousand possibilities taunted him. She wasn't thinking clearly, and anything could happen. He raced through the cavern without realizing that he was holding his breath, until he spotted her, and the air escaped from his lungs in a rush.
"Captain, we need to return to the ship." The familiar urge to pull her into his arms barely registered as he automatically pushed it away.
"Return to the ship? We haven't even started down here!" She turned away from him and continued to scan for the gallicite deposits.
He caught up with her. "This can wait. You need to get to sickbay."
"Sickbay? Chakotay, I'm fine. I'm just a little warm from the climb."
"Kathryn." He took hold of her arm. "You are more than just a little warm."
She swayed towards him. Her breath quickened and her hand crept slowly through the air between them to land on his chest. "I wouldn't mind taking a little break," she said in a low voice.
"Let's sit down for a minute," he suggested, and tried to ignore the way she was stroking his chest.
The firmness of his muscles delighted her. She could feel the heat of his skin through the fabric of his tee shirt and she wanted to slide her fingertips over his bare skin. The scent of his warm body drew her closer and she stared up at the beautiful lower lip that seemed to invite her to suckle it.
"Kathryn," he said. "You need to listen to me."
"I'm all ears, Chakotay," she said, and stretched up to nip at his earlobe.
"Kathryn." He caught her by the shoulders and held her at arm's length. "Something's happened, and it's affecting you."
"It's affecting you, too." She stepped close again, rubbing the length of her body catlike against his, sliding her fingers through his soft hair.
"We have to get back..."
She pressed into his chest and nipped at his jaw. "It's definitely affecting you." She slid her hand down his stomach.
"Kathryn!" He grabbed her wrist almost roughly and pushed her away.
"But I thought..." So she had been wrong about how he looked at her. Her words trailed off as she fought to keep her emotions from betraying her still further. She would not burst into tears. Not in front of him; not because of him. Starship captains didn't cry.
So the man she loved didn't want her. There were other attractive men available. Tom Paris wouldn't push her away. Neither would Mike Ayala. An image of Joe Carey pressing her up against an engineering console gave her a moment's pleasure before the shame washed it away. The man was married.
Ayala had a wife as well, she realized, and fought off a fantasy involving his uniform on her ready room floor. It was Chakotay that she wanted, and the thought that he didn't return her feelings dragged at her heart. She had been so sure that he did.
The hurt flashed in her eyes before she turned away and fled deeper into the cave. He pursued, desperate to lessen her pain.
She glanced back at him as he caught up, her face flushed a deep crimson. "I was wrong. I'm sorry. Go back to the ship."
"Kathryn, listen to me. When Vorik touched you he made a connection; a mind meld. That's why you aren't thinking clearly."
"I obviously haven't been thinking clearly since before that," she snapped. Unshed tears shimmered in her eyes. "I thought you wanted me." She turned away again, her face in her hands.
He caught her arm and spun her around, her face inches from his. "There is nothing I want more in this life than to make love with you, but not like this. Not when you can't think clearly."
She was silent for a moment, staring up at him, conflicting emotions on her face. It was a struggle to remember that the desire in her eyes wasn't real.
"Vorik is going through pon farr. When he touched you - "
She gasped and turned away from him.
He took her by the shoulders. "The Doctor is looking into a cure, but you might be a little - emotional - until that happens."
"A little emotional! I was - And I - I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be." Words failed him for a moment and he was silent as he turned her to face him once again. "I have great respect for you. You are my closest friend, and I care for you. You've done nothing to change that, and I don't think you could. So try not to let this situation embarrass you."
"Easier said than done. I - "
"I know." He fought off the urge to kiss her forehead. "Now let's head back."
They had no sooner turned back when the ground started shaking beneath their feet. Chunks of the landscape began to rain down around them. Chakotay grabbed Kathryn and did his best to shield them both from the falling rocks.
Protected within his strong arms, she felt like a foolish heroine from a silly old novel, not like a capable Starfleet officer. The falling rocks barely registered in her mind. All she could think of was how much she wanted to kiss him; to peel his clothes from his body; to feel him deep within her. She was shaking, trembling with desire. Thought was hard.
He let her go, stepping backward, and she felt the loss of contact acutely.
"Looks like we aren't going anywhere for a while." Chakotay scanned a wall of fallen debris with a tricorder and checked each reading multiple times.
Kathryn tried to focus on the predicament, but that just seemed to make her head hurt.
"Chakotay to Voyager." Static.
The static should have concerned her, she knew that, but her body had other concerns. It wanted Chakotay. Failing that, it wanted some form of release. She glanced around. They were stranded together, in a fairly cramped space, with every cell in her body burning with desire.
Someday they would be together. Of that, she was certain, despite the brief moment of insecurity she had felt earlier. Right now, all of the reasons for waiting seemed distant and irrelevant. The opinions of a few admirals thousands of light years distant could do nothing to calm her physical cravings.
She followed him as he paced around the cavern with the tricorder. He turned around and bumped into her, and they stood staring into one another's eyes for a long moment. Those lips - if she just stretched up a little bit...
"Chakotay..." How could she ask him this? It wasn't fair to him, but she needed him. Her thumb traced his lips. "Can we just...be together...and sort it out later?"
He stared at her. Flushed, breathing hard, staring back at him with both desire and guilt in her eyes. He would do anything for her, but this? If he did, she could very well hate him for it later. Worse yet, she might hate herself.
"I need..." She swallowed. Stared at the ground. Glanced at him. "Pon farr can be fatal."
"I've heard that," he said gently. He closed his eyes for a moment and gritted his teeth. "But the Doctor will find a solution, Kathryn. You don't have to be afraid." He tried to be soothing, but in fact the thought of losing her chilled him to the marrow. He would not let that happen, he would die before he'd let that happen, but there had to be another way.
"This...it's very...overwhelming. If a Vulcan can die in a matter of days, I don't think a human has very good odds." She said it softly, the words halting and uncertain. "If we're trapped here long..."
"I won't let you die, Kathryn. I just - you're my captain. And my friend. I want a future with you, someday, and this...situation...I don't want it to take that future away. Let's give Tuvok a chance to find us before we do anything we might regret later."
"I just don't know how long I can hold out." There were beads of sweat on her forehead. She closed her eyes and bit her lip.
He scanned her with the tricoder again. The fever had climbed, and he didn't have to be a doctor to know it was approaching dangerous levels.
"I do love you, Chakotay," she said as they lay together recovering. "We'll find a way to make everything work out."
"We certainly will." He kissed her softly. "I love you, and I'm not giving you up now."
"No, I think we're stuck with each other now." She smiled, and her hand came up to trace the lines of his tattoo.
"One thing," he said.
"Remind me to thank Vorik."
Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, May 2003.