DISCLAIMER: Paramount, they're all yours, just borrowed them. No money earned.
NOTES: My second posting, after Cargo Bay 2. My 'puter, 'Aunt Kathy' had a funny few days, complete panic attack and breakdown. Recovered now. Beta'd myself. Hope you enjoy it.

All Change
By alastria7

He awoke and looked down at her, nestled in the crook of his arm. Her hair was dishevelled, a far cry from the every-strand-perfect style she wore in the `daylight' hours. Gently he stroked a strand from her eye, and then turned his attention to slowly caressing her cheek.

Lying there, looking at her like that, he didn't know what to think. He hadn't even gotten around to how he might be feeling. Although amazed, tender, lucky, protective came to mind, among others. He deepened his touch on her cheek, needing suddenly to see into those blue/grey eyes, to climb inside them again and be as lost as a Vulcan at a party.

A twitch of the lip was the first indication that his Captain was returning from her slumber. Tom said gently, "Good morning." He was rewarded by the most amazing smile, as Kathryn's eyes opened and saw her helmsman looking at her with such love.

He studied her face, all over her face, from her eyes, to her forehead, her cheeks, her lips and back to her eyes. He studied her like he would have looked at a wild doe that had come to nestle beside him in a forest. Wonder was just one of his multitudinous feelings.


"I was just wondering - how I could have seen you every day for all these years: fought beside you; cared about your wellbeing; felt compassion for you, and yet never met you before?" His thumb remained on her cheek as his fingers made their way around her ear to her neck. Gently he held her as he lowered his lips to hers and brushed them lightly.

It had begun as a feather touch, but it soon deepened, and exploded every need inside him. Would he ever get used to his Captain kissing him so voraciously, as though she were a wanton teenager? She had altered her position to be leaning over him now, and he looked up into her face: so open; so young, roguish and full of love and passion. She lowered herself for another kiss that had them changing position again, her hands kneading his shoulderblades. He slid a hand around between them, onto her compact body, to the accompaniment of a dangerously deep groan that set his senses on fire. He was about to pull his head back, needing to see her face, when.

"Chakotay to Janeway. I'm sorry to disturb you on your day off, Captain, but there's something here you should attend to."

Sighing, Kathryn leaned over to the bedside table and picked up the combadge lying on it. She looked at Tom reluctantly, made a face that nearly had him kissing her again, and said: "What's the problem, Commander?"

"It's B'Elanna, Captain." Tom and Kathryn exchanged worried glances. "She's taken the Flyer, and standing off on our port bow."

"Oh God. Give me a minute." Tom, having heard, was already out of bed heading for the sonic shower. "In the meantime, Commander, find out what she wants. Janeway out."

Kathryn hurriedly joined Tom, although the sonic shower was not her favourite thing, and moments later they were dressed and groomed. A few deft moves with the brush and Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager stood before Tom. He looked to find his dishevelled and carefree lover, but she was somewhere behind the Command Mask. Reading his mind somehow, she gave a slight shrug, with an `Oh well.' expression and squeezed his arm. They left her quarters together, neither caring who saw them.

The Bridge crew knew nothing of Kathryn's relationship with Tom, and so had no idea why B'Elanna was doing what she was doing. "Can we beam her out of there, Mr Kim?"

"No, Captain, she left her combadge in sickbay, and she's set up some kind of interference to stop us getting a lock on her lifesigns." He was clearly puzzled.

"Tractor beam?"

"Carey's on it Captain. She disabled it before she left Voyager."

Oh, B'Elanna. Kathryn felt sick to her stomach about the pain she and Tom were putting her through. One glance at Tom, who was looking at her with a lost expression, told her he felt it as acutely as she did.

Tom had bowed to Kathryn's request, that she be the one to tell B'Elanna about them. The meeting, in B'Elanna's quarters, had seemed to go well. Beyond the expected outrage, the Lieutenant had taken only about 5 minutes to quieten down. She had then appeared almost philosophical, saying how she felt she and Tom had run out of dilitheum a long time ago and that, if she had to lose him to anyone, who better than her esteemed Captain.

B'Elanna had seemed distant but resigned to the situation, and in control her emotions by the time Kathryn had left her, even giving her a watery hug and wishing them well for the future. Kathryn had come away with a `well, that went well' feeling and a strange, wonderful and frightening sense that she and Tom could now reach Warp 2 with no obstacles. Drained, she had returned to her quarters, and Tom, and told him how well her Lieutenant had handled a situation she fervently hoped never to be involved in herself. And now, this.

"Seven of Nine to the Captain." Seven broke in on Kathryn's thoughts.

"Go ahead, Seven."

"Captain, I believe I may be able to reach Lieutenant Torres. Report to Astrometrics and I will explain."

Kathryn shot a look of hope at her helmsman; she even forgot to bristle at Seven's style. "I'm on my way. Janeway out. Chakotay, you have the Bridge." Kathryn turned her gaze once again to Tom, and Chakotay looked from one to the other, suddenly seeing why B'Elanna was `Out There'. Caring about his Captain and B'Elanna as he did, he silently resolved to do all in his power to help them both, in whatever way he could. Kathryn left the Bridge and headed towards Astrometrics.

"Captain," Seven acknowledged, without turned to see who had entered. She continued to work on the panel in front of her as Kathryn approached.

"What's this about, Seven?"

"B'Elanna is alternating the shield harmonics to prevent boarding. I am using Borg technology to adapt. I have managed to create a small window at each rotation; it will be sufficient to transport someone onto the Flyer before the shields re-modulate."

Kathryn looked hard into her Officer's face. "This is dangerous, Seven. If the shields re-modulate during transport, their atoms could be compromised."

".but remain in the pattern buffers, Captain, and be returned to Voyager."

The Captain moved to the panel as Seven obligingly stepped aside, made some calculations and - leaning on one elbow - half turned to look up at Seven. "It's risky."

Seven said nothing as they looked at each other, Seven waiting for the Captain to speak again. When she did not, Seven said, "B'Elanna came to me, after you had left her last night." Kathryn looked away, temporarily embarrassed, and then returned her eyes to Seven's. "She was upset. I am her friend, Captain; I think I can help her."

Kathryn searched Seven's face and realised, with some relief, that Seven was non-judgemental. She then returned her attention to the panel and checked the calculations before saying: "This is too dangerous to ask anyone else to attempt it. I shall go myself."

In a very patient way, Seven carefully and firmly pointed out, "She may have done this to get away from you Captain, I hardly think it is you she requires at this time."

Kathryn began to object, "Seven, I..." and then her shoulders sagged and her expression crumbled. "You're right," she whispered.

Seven had not seen behind the mask before and felt strangely protective of her Captain's pain. She reached out and squeezed the older woman's arm and offered, for the very first time, consolatory words to her: "It will be alright, Captain. I will bring her home."

Kathryn took a sharp breath in and the mask slipped back into place, as she raised her head up in a defiant pose. "OK, let's run through this procedure again," she wanted everything double-checked before she would consider donating her friend to this dangerous exercise. "No surprises: this is going to be difficult enough!"

B'Elanna chewed on an emergency ration bar. She would have preferred the Mess Hall and a good meal from Neelix. As it was, she studied the bar intently, without seeing it, and allowed the events of the past 12 hours to replay in her mind, for the umpteenth time.

Janeway had been polite, apologetic, kind, concerned. She had explained, carefully, how she and Tom had developed feelings for each other after their recent, disastrous mission. The Flyer had lost control, and she and Tom had been injured when it put down a little too heavily on the surface of a deserted planet.

For the second time in her life, and in the same way, the Captain's heart had stopped, and she had explained how Tom had resorted to the old fashioned mouth-to-mouth resuscitation method. Upon revival, and `momentarily disorientated', Janeway said she had kissed him back before her mind had caught up with her actions. She had been so embarrassed, and apologised heavily to Tom, saying she hadn't known what had come over her. At this point, she had said, Tom was looking at her strangely, as though seeing her for the first time.

Kathryn then told how that kiss had played on her mind until one night, a week later, Tom had come to her quarters. As soon as he was inside, she told how the two of them had kissed again - urgently and without speaking - each relieved the other felt the same way. And so it had begun. Kathryn had insisted on Tom deciding between them, but his decision was already made: his Captain. Hence Janeways' visit.

B'Elanna remembered feeling searing anger at the loss of Tom to begin with. Later, a kind of remote control effect had taken over - she'd heard herself being reasonable; nice; understanding, even compassionate towards her Captain, when all she had wanted to do was to rip the `other woman' limb from limb, and cook Janeway steaks on a stick over a fire! She was amazed she had even hugged the Captain before her departure.

Alone in the room afterwards, with all this new information in her head, she had slowly started to fume. At length, she had gone to bed, alone (she supposed Tom was with his Captain): her head had shut down after about 50 minutes, through sheer exhaustion, to allow a fitful sleep.

But this morning.pacing up and down in her room, she had decided she needed to get Tom's attention, get him alone with her. She was sure that if they had that time, it could all be resolved and he would come home. She would forgive him, of course. So. how could she get him alone?

Pacing, thinking, pacing, thinking, she had come up with the idea of taking the Delta Flyer, and allowing only Tom to beam over to her. It had seemed a sound plan. After a shower and fresh clothes, she had made her way to Engineering for a few `modifications' to the tractor beam, and then on to make a few more changes to the Flyer. Her plan would not fail, she thought as she left Voyager. She would save this marriage and be happy again, she knew.

"Do you think you should let her do it?" Tom asked of Kathryn in her quarters.

Kathryn rubbed her forehead and then looked up at him. "Seven seems pretty convinced it will work. In the event it doesn't, she says her pattern will remain safe in the buffers."

"Is it worth the risk, Kath? I mean, what do you think B'Elanna would do if we just. left her out there for a bit, and didn't contact her? Maybe she'd just come back."

Kathryn looked weary, but resolved. "I've already OK'd it, Tom. Seven is leaving in 15 minutes. I will be in charge of the transport procedure myself." She crossed the room to the settee and sat down, looking back at Tom, who moved to join her. "Seven has explained thoroughly the compensations I will need to make. We have gone over all."

"Kim to Janeway."

Kathryn's eyes widened. "Go ahead, Mr Kim."

"We're being hailed. It's B'Elanna, requesting you, Captain. Audio only."

"Have Tuvok arrange a secure channel, and route it through to my quarters."

"Aye, Captain."

Tom slid his arms around Kathryn, and enveloped her. For all the worlds, she would have liked nothing more than to relax into this warmth and safety, but she remained tense, solid. Tuvok's voice came through, "Secure, Captain." Pulling away from Tom, Kathryn retained eye contact with him as she said, "Janeway to Torres." Silence. "B'Elanna?"

"Can you put my flyboy down long enough to let him speak to me, Captain?"

Kathryn shuddered, the voice was icicle-cold. Gently she said, "He's here."

Maintaining eye contact with Kathryn, Tom said, "Why are you doing this, B'Elanna?"

"I want you over here. Now. I will lower the shields just long enough to beam you aboard. You won't be able to lock on to me, so don't waste your time trying. We do this at 08.45. Torres out."

Kathryn had brightened up when she'd heard B'Elanna was going to drop the shields: that had to be easier than Seven playing Russian Roulette with them. "Astrometrics!" she said to a startled Tom, as she grabbed his arm and propelled him out of the door.

". and when she drops the shields, you beam over instead of Tom," Kathryn explained to Seven.

"Unacceptable. She has requested Mr Paris."

"And if she gets Tom, she may leave with him." God, thought Kathryn, did this Borg have to argue every order given to her?

"I will comply," said Seven, at length; in unison with Kathryn's shoulders relaxing.

"You! Where's Tom?" B'Elanna bellowed at Seven. She raised her eyes and arms to the ceiling and shouted, "This is turning into one hell of a day!" She sighed and paced up and down the Flyer.

"Calm yourself, Lieutenant." B'Elanna flashed a look at Seven, who continued, "Tell me what you want."

Something about Seven's manner took the fight out of B'Elanna. She sank on to the chair at tactical and placed her head in her hands, rubbing her cranial ridges. "Oh, what a mess. I never intended to. behave like this!" Seven waited patiently. "When I took the Flyer, it was with the idea I could get Tom to return to me. I've had a lot of time to think. out here, and. I'm not sure what I want any more." B'Elanna was up and pacing again. "Another thing: I suppose I couldn't handle being - dismissed - in that way," (she flung her arms about, emphasising her words) "you know. and not even from Tom himself; noooo, but via the Captain! Now, I just want to hear it from Tom. And then I get to dismiss him myself!"

Seven had seated herself at the helm, watching her friend roam the ship. At the last sentence, the famous brow raised, accompanied by a smirk, as Seven realised what was being said. "So, you actually don't mind it ending, but you wanted to be the one to end it?"

"Precisely!" spat B'Elanna, whirling around to face Seven. At the absurdity of it, both women started smiling. And then laughing. "Tell you the truth," B'Elanna admitted, "I was getting tired of being ignored and spending too many night in, alone. I guess now, ha, I'm going to have to get used to it."

Seven looked down and paused before saying, awkwardly, "Maybe you would like to spend some time with me, later."

B'Elanna gave Seven a strange look, the fear of rejection heavy in her friend's eyes. "Maybe I would," she said, surprising herself, and was touched to see a softness replace the fear.

Seven looked openly at B'Elanna. "You are my one friend, Lieutenant. Since the day my occular implant malfunctioned and I thought I was going to die, you were there for me. You were the only one to talk at length with me, and calm my fears. I have now forgotten how it used to be," she cocked her brow again, "with you on Red Alert around me. I saw a different side to you that day. I liked it. I still like it."

Seven held B'Elanna's stare, colouring slightly. "Me, too. Hell, let's go home!"

"And to think, if you hadn't been more of a rat than you usually are, and left me," B'Elanna glanced from Tom to the Captain, fondly, "I wouldn't have come to know real love." She reached for Seven's hand by her side, in the quarters they now shared together, and smiled lovingly at her. Then she turned her gaze to the Captain again, leaning towards her. Conspiratorially, she said, "It'll be the beginning of the end, Captain, when he sees Harry Kim a few nights a week."

"Oh, Harry's a very lonely man. He's even stopped coming around for a burnt pot-roast on Sundays!" Merriment abounded at poor Harry's misfortune as Kathryn's infectious laughter spread around the table.

Suddenly, Seven - whose social graces had often put the rest of them to shame - was on her feet, having charged their glasses. "To love," she said.

Four glasses raised, and chinked together. "To love," came the replies.

The End

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