DISCLAIMER: Nothing is mine. No money making intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It a sequel to Love between the stars. For better understanding it should be read first.
THANKS: Chris, you were awsome! In a good way, of course. *g* Thanks to my family.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Between Hurt and Pain
By Morgaine Q


She stood in the doorway and looked at the person who didn't know she was watched. Kathryn smiled to herself, loving the way B'Elanna cleared her desk with busy hands.

"You don't need to hurry," she said softly. B'Elanna smiled and looked up at her. "It's only Chakotay and Seven for dinner. It won't take long to replicate it."

"You forget your disagreement with the replicator, so we might need a few minutes more." B'Elanna stood up, went around the desk, and took her wife of four month in her arms. "What are you doing here, anyway? I don't need an escort."

"I couldn't wait to see you."

"We parted only two hours ago," B´Elanna said. The smile on her face grew a little.

"That was the staff meeting." Kathryn sighed. "I have not touched you once in the last six hours."

"Well, why don't you? I mean, we are married, so we are allowed to touch each other." Kathryn smiled a little while her hands travelled over B'Elanna's body to more private regions.

"Is that allowed as well?" she asked. B'Elanna's smile widened as she felt Kathryn's hands tighten their grip on her buttock.

"By me, you can always touch me everywhere." She smirked. "But can you handle my reaction to your touch?"

"I think I can behave on the bridge." Kathryn looked around. "In your office, I don't know if I can." That said, she took B'Elanna in a firm embrace, and her lips met with hungry ones from her wife. It didn't take long until she felt B'Elanna's tongue caress her lips. Soon, two tongues fought for control in the kiss.

As happened often, B'Elanna won, and Kathryn could only take what her wife was giving her. That was the way Kathryn wanted it. In this moment, she was just a woman, without any pips on her collar, even when they were there.

"Oh, boy, that was breathtaking," she whispered, as B'Elanna let go of her mouth. B'Elanna pulled lightly on Kathryn's uniform and laid the mark she had made free. She stroked it with her fingertips. "B'Elanna, don't do that." B'Elanna looked into Kathryn's eyes and understood. Immediately, she moved away, not touching Kathryn anymore.


"Don't be. It was not your idea to have dinner with them. It was mine, and I promise, tonight I will make it up to you." B'Elanna nodded.

"I wish you could take action right now," she said then. Kathryn closed her eyes and swallowed hard.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant, but you will behave yourself. That's an order." She opened her eyes and saw B'Elanna right before her with a smile on her lips that Kathryn could only describe as pure seduction. "Lieutenant?"

"I don't like that order, but I will follow it." Kathryn took a calming breath.

"You need to follow it, because if you touch me one more time, then I will say to hell with dinner and take you to bed right this second." Now it was B'Elanna who had to swallow hard.

"I will do my best, to remember that," she told her wife with a husky voice.

"Thanks. We should do it again, sometime," Chakotay said, as he went to the door.

"I would like that." B'Elanna looked at her wife, standing with Seven by her desk, deep in a discussion. "Maybe only the two of us, though," she said with a smile.

"Why? I found it very charming." He smiled and went through the doors, leaving the quarters. B'Elanna looked after him for a minute and then turned to the two others.

"Maybe, when you taste a few, you will know what your preference is," Kathryn said right then and gave Seven the padd on which she had made her suggestions.

"I will consider it, Captain. Thank you."

"You're welcome, Seven." She looked at B'Elanna. "Where is Chakotay?"

"Gone. Said he had early duty tomorrow." Kathryn looked back to Seven. Even B'Elanna could see how her wife's eyebrow went up. Seven understood quickly.

"Thank you for the dinner, Captain." She turned to B'Elanna. "Thank you as well, Lieutenant." She thought a moment and then continued. "It was a nice experience, to really talk to you. I do not know why we always disagreed, when we are on duty." She paused once more. "It could be your childish behaviour, or your ignorance about my knowledge." With that, she nodded once more to Kathryn and left their quarters. B'Elanna stared at the doors after they closed.

"Can you believe that?" she asked with a low growl in her throat. Kathryn laughed out loud. B'Elanna turned to her. "You laugh? I can't believe it. Besides, what was that between you and Seven? A code for: leave, I wanna be alone with my wife?" That made Kathryn laugh harder. "Kathryn? Stop, or you will regret it."

Kathryn couldn't stop, even if she wanted to. She went to B'Elanna, hugged her and tried to comfort her. "Sorry, but you are so … I don't know how to say it without making you more angry."

"I'm not angry," B'Elanna replied and repressed the coming growl. "I only want to understand." Kathryn led her to the couch, where she pulled B'Elanna into her lap.

"It's not a code. Seven and I have an understanding that is beyond words sometimes."

"Don't you think it's a bit embarrassing that she knows why you sent her away?"

"Well, I hope that she knows, because I know she has a thing for you," Kathryn told her wife with a smirk.

"For me? I thought she had the hots for you," B'Elanna replied honestly.

"I think it is more a feeling of hero worship. Similar to what a child feels for its mother."

"You mean I'm the stepmother for a Borg/Human hybrid?"

"She definitely rebels against you like a child," Kathryn teased her.

"When you put it that way, I think you might be right."

"Let's not talk about this anymore." B'Elanna gave her a look and Kathryn knew immediately what it meant. "That was not an order."

"It sounds like one." Kathryn shook her head hard.

"I would not dare." B'Elanna smiled softly.

"Good. Then you know your pips are not working in here."

"I know," Kathryn sighed. "I would not want it any other way."

"That's why I'm so surprised about Seven."

"My rank doesn't work in here with you, but, for ship's business, the pips work everywhere. So…"

"Wife, shut up," B'Elanna growled. Kathryn gladly did so and tossed her dominant wife down on the couch.

"What do you want tonight?" she asked B'Elanna while she nipped softly on her throat. B'Elanna moaned lightly.

"Soft, sweet and long," she whispered.

"Sounds very good to me," agreed Kathryn with a smile and bent down again to kiss B'Elanna's throat. "Here, or …?" B'Elanna didn't reply with words. She just pushed Kathryn away and stood up.

"More room over here," she told Kathryn when she went to the bedroom with Kathryn on her heels.

The doors of the turbolift opened before her and she stepped onto the bridge. Chakotay stood close to Tom and they spoke about something in low voices.

"Morning, gentlemen." They both turned around, but only Chakotay answered.

"Morning, Captain." Kathryn took a look at the console before Tom.

"Something going on?" she asked with a light smile.

"Maybe," Tom replied. Kathryn raised an eyebrow to tell him that this answer was not enough. He understood quickly, but instead of answering again, he looked at Chakotay.

"Well, Captain, not far from our current course is a small, M class planet with no life signs," Chakotay said.

"And?" Kathryn crossed her arms in front of her. She didn't like games, especially not on the bridge.

"We thought the crew could use a little shore leave. Not long. A few days for everyone," Chakotay answered. Kathryn thought about it while Chakotay and Tom looked at her. Tom didn't have the patience to wait.

"You and B'Elanna could have a real honeymoon. You and B'Elanna, nothing to do except have fun, alone," he blurted out. Kathryn's eyes widened and she shot him a level ten look. He turned around to avoid her eyes.

Chakotay laid a hand on Kathryn's forearm. "Ready room?" She nodded without moving her eye's from Tom's direction.

"Don't send him to the brig," Chakotay said, when the doors closed behind them. Kathryn waved and went behind her desk to sit.

"I've known him long enough to realize he does not ever think before he talks. Besides, he has handled the whole thing very well, so he gets a little credit from me."

"The thing?"

"That I married his ex-wife."

"He could hardly say something about that. B'Elanna is happier than she's ever been." Kathryn took the compliment silently and changed the topic.

"How will you handle the shore leave?" He looked a little surprised and Kathryn could not hold back the laughter in her throat. "Why so surprised? Don't tell me you thought I would not allow it?"

"Well, I thought we would discuss it a bit before you said yes." He smiled and seated himself, more at ease now. "We'll handle it like always, to answer your question. Crewmen and Ensigns five days; Lieutenants and Lt. Commanders, six days, and the First Officer, seven days. Everyone higher can take all the time she want."

"How long will we be there, with these rotations, so everyone can go?" Kathryn asked, while she studied her desk. Chakotay thought a moment, doing the math.

"Three weeks," he said.

"Sounds good," Kathryn murmured. Then she looked up to meet Chakotay's eyes. "Do you think it will be alright if I'm away for so long?"

"No, it won't." Kathryn swallowed hard when he continued … "When I take my week, you'll only have two weeks left." He winked at her and smiled when she let out the breath she had been holding. "I was wondering, what will you do for that long? Alone?"

"I won't be alone; I will be with B'Elanna."

"Yeah, for six days. But B'Elanna is a Lieutenant and therefore has only this number of days." Kathryn smiled with him, knowing he loved to tease her.

"When will you tell the crew?" she asked him.

"You won't do the honors?" Kathryn shook her head. "Then, tonight. I will have the rotations ready so that they know everything at once."

"The crew will love you." She stood up and moved around the desk. "Bring us to the planet, but I want Tuvok and a security team to go down and search for threats before the rotations start."


"If you'll excuse me now, I think I will tell one crewmember in person about the vacation."

"Say hi to B'Elanna for me." Kathryn nodded and while Chakotay went to the bridge, Kathryn went to the doors which led her in the main corridor.

Kathryn pulled her Captain's mask on when she entered Engineering and looked for her wife. No, not her wife. The Chief Engineer of the ship, she reminded herself.

"Captain?" Kathryn looked up at Carey.

"Lieutenant. I'm looking for Lt. Torres." Carey smiled at her.

"She is working in the Jeffries tube over there." He showed her which one.

"Thank you, Lieutenant." She went to the tube and looked in. "B'Elanna?" she called. B'Elanna turned and put her instruments away. A smile flew over her face until she remembered she was on duty, and Kathryn could want something official from her. She did her best to look professional.

"Captain? Can I do something for you?"

"Certainly. I need to speak with my wife. So, if you would tell her that I'm waiting for her in the Chief's office, that would be very nice of you." With that, Kathryn straightened up and went over to B'Elanna's office. She saw the smiles of the few people who had overheard her comment. She could not hide her smile, too. Especially not when she heard B'Elanna laugh behind her. She took a seat and waited for her wife to come in.

B'Elanna closed the door and gave Kathryn a light kiss on her temple.

"Hey, you. What's going on?" She seated herself before Kathryn on her desk.

"What would you think about a little time off? Let's say, two weeks with me, on a class M planet?" Kathryn asked her.

"That sounds too good to be true," B'Elanna said with a sigh.

"Check the controls. At this very minute, Tom is setting a course to the planet, and when Tuvok has cleared it, the rotations begin." B'Elanna's eyes widened, and she stood up again.

"Really?" Kathryn nodded, smiling at her enthusiastic wife. "Two weeks, just us?" Again, Kathryn merely nodded. B'Elanna pulled her up and kissed her deeply. Kathryn let her, enjoying it for herself. After some time though, she pulled away from B'Elanna.

"Lieutenant, your behaviour is very unprofessional," she said, bantering.

"Captain, I will accept every punishment you will order." Kathryn took her wife's head in both hands, stroking her thumbs over the cheeks.

"Your punishment: To find enough firewood on the planet for two weeks."

"Accepted. Gladly." B'Elanna leaned in, and Kathryn gave her a little kiss.

"When will we go?"

The chime was low, but for her light sleep, it was loud enough. Groaning, she untangled herself careful from the warm body beside her. She was halfway to the door, when she remembered she was naked. With a light smile on her face, she went back and wrapped herself in a robe.

"Come in," she said and straightened herself, arms across over her chest. She was not very surprised when the opening doors let Seven of Nine in her quarter. It had been a long time since Seven had visited her in the middle of the night. Kathryn knew it must be important. "Seven, what can I do for you?"

"Captain, I do not wish to take part in the R&R." Kathryn sighed and went over to the couch and sat down, her legs curled up. She knew instinctively that it would be a longer conversation.

After a few seconds, she arranged her robe so that her bare legs were covered. She was sure that Seven had not noticed that her Captain was only in her robe. Or that she had woken her up.

"Why not?" Seven followed and stood before her. She appeared to think about it. Kathryn was sure she had surprised the Borg with her question.

"I am sure I will have not any benefit from it."

"The benefit is that you feel more relaxed. You could perform your duties better after a few days without anything to do." Seven opened her mouth, but Kathryn held a hand up. "Don't make me order it." Seven tilted her head a little.

"I need your permission to do some construction." Kathryn did not wonder about the abrupt topic changes. She was used to it from Seven and from herself, too.

"What do you mean?"

"I will have to take my alcove with me, and some energy packets." Kathryn closed her eyes for a second and sighed quietly. Well, anyhow, it was not a change in topics.

"You never tried to sleep? I mean naturally?"

"Where Captain? On the floor next to the alcove?" Seven's voice was hard, and Kathryn looked up at her, startled. Well Katie, she is right. How could you be so blind about a crewmember's needs?

"I'm sorry, Seven. First thing tomorrow, I will find you some quarters."

"There is no need for that. I would not use them properly."

"Maybe you and B'Elanna could work out a way to put your alcove in it. Then you could try to sleep, and if it wasn't working, you wouldn't have to run through the ship to regenerate." She paused briefly, to gauge Seven's thoughts. "Sleep on it." She smiled and added :"That means you should think about it. More than a few seconds." Seven tilted her head slightly.

"You'll let me decide?" Okay, you deserve that.

"Yes," she answered calmly. "I wait to hear good reasons for defeat."

Kathryn jumped, but Seven maintained her controlled position as the door to the bedroom opened suddenly and B'Elanna stepped through it. Kathryn was glad B'Elanna had the good sense to put a robe on.

"What's this?" B'Elanna asked and shot some looks at the pair before her.

"Just a little chat," Kathryn answered and stood up. "Are we finished?" she asked Seven.

"Yes, Captain." With that and a light nod to both Kathryn and B'Elanna, she turned around and left. Kathryn looked at the closing doors and then to her wife, but her wife was no longer in the living space of her quarters. Kathryn went quickly to the bedroom, and found B'Elanna already in bed again.

"I'm sorry that we woke you," she told her, as she disrobed and settled herself beside the Klingon.

"You have to speak with her. I don't mind your friendship, but couldn't it wait until tomorrow?" Kathryn smiled and pressed herself tighter in B'Elanna's arms.

"We had a few very good talks through some nights."

"Maybe, but now you have a good reason to stay the whole night in bed."

"I will speak to her," Kathryn said immediately, which made B'Elanna smile.

"Good." With that, B'Elanna remained silent, but her roaming hands told Kathryn she was not tired anymore.


"Yes, Katie?"

"What are your hands doing?" B'Elanna laughed.

"If you have to ask, then I should reconsider my techniques. You are not too tired, are you?"

"I'm never too tired for you," Kathryn said. She freed herself from B'Elanna's arms and lay on her back. "By all means, go on." B'Elanna smiled and began to kiss Kathryn softly. She felt Kathryn's fingertips on her chest, searching for the mark. How her fingers touched the mark would decide the way their love making would go in. Soft stroking meant that. Soft and lazy. But if Kathryn would put just a bit of pressure on it, it would make B'Elanna crazy with needs.

B'Elanna did not notice that she held her breath as Kathryn reached the fine line above her breast. Without any provocation B'Elanna knew she wanted the night to be rough. Finally Kathryn stroked the ritual sign of her marriage.

B'Elanna needed a few moments to press the passion she felt down, when Kathryn resumed the light stroking. She thought a moment about telling Kathryn what she wanted and needed, but then decided against it. She was always the one to encourage Kathryn's wild side.

She wished that once Kathryn would insist on it. Until that happened, she would hold back. It bothered B'Elanna intensely that she had to hold back with her true needs. It bothered her for the simple reason that she lied to her wife. And that was something she never wanted to do.

"Are you still with me?" B'Elanna looked down into Kathryn's eyes. There she was. The beautiful woman whose eyes now had the sparkle in them that only showed when she looked at her wife.

"I love you, Kathryn," she told her. The wholeheartedness with which B'Elanna said it brought tears to Kathryn's eyes.

"I love you," she whispered back before she pulled B'Elanna down on her.

They kissed a long time, their hands caressing each other. B'Elanna desperately needed this, to force the rest of her struggling emotions back. She had to make sure they didn't come back when she and Kathryn went further into the love making.

Soon enough, she felt Kathryn attempt to turn around and she allowed it gladly. She loved Kathryn's weight on her and pulled her wife onto her.

Kathryn kissed B'Elanna's throat, nibbling on the soft flesh under her lips. She loved B'Elanna's throat and neck and forced herself to move away from it. Carefully, she slipped down a bit, until she could caress B'Elanna's breasts.

B'Elanna moaned, as Kathryn took her already hard nipple between soft lips and fondled the other with her thumb and index finger. Although Kathryn lay completely over her, B'Elanna brought her back up. She laid her hand on Kathryn's head and pulled her even closer.

Kathryn understood the reason behind it and travelled with her lips over the muscled stomach. As she plunged her tongue teasingly in B'Elanna's navel, she couldn't hold back the dry laugh as B'Elanna squirmed.

"Katie," whispered B'Elanna, and the warning in her voice was clear to hear.

"Sorry," Kathryn said quietly. "Just too tempting." She resumed her tour to the place where the strong, musky scent was already there, and it was the most alluring odor Kathryn could think of.

B'Elanna moaned, this time from protest, as Kathryn lingered just above her dark curls. She fidgeted, tried to get Kathryn where she wanted her, but Kathryn took her time, refused B'Elanna the quick peak.

Slowly, she spread the soaking wet lips with one finger, avoiding touching anything beneath them. The scent amplified immediately, and Kathryn took a deep breath.

B'Elanna laid still and motionless, eyes closed, concentrating completely on Kathryn and her actions. When she felt Kathryn again running a finger barely through her damp hair, she pushed herself against it.

Kathryn's finger stroked over her clit and immediately she howled at the orgasm which went through her. She heard the cursing from her wife. As always, Kathryn didn't like it when B'Elanna shortened the time, so that she came faster. Despite that knowledge, B'Elanna did it every time she had the chance to.

"You'll be sorry you did that," Kathryn promised her still shuddering wife. "Again," she added belatedly and lowered herself once more. Without anymore prelude, she brought B'Elanna two more times over the edge in succession and went on until her wife lay silent but shuddering, completely boneless from the pleasure.

B'Elanna had barely controlled her breath again when she felt Kathryn settle back on her, kissing her urgently. She was glad that Kathryn wanted her now, before her strength was all back. It was easier to hold back this way.

Notwithstanding, as B'Elanna made the first move to roll Kathryn on her back, Kathryn needed all her strength to refuse her.

"What?" B'Elanna whispered, irritated, but Kathryn refused to even answer. She merely kissed B'Elanna again and settled her groin on one of B'Elanna's muscled thighs. Immediately, B'Elanna brought the leg up to make it easier for her.

Kathryn groaned at the contact and pushed herself up and down in a steady cadence. B'Elanna placed her hands on Kathryn's waist to help her. She felt the wetness increase and looked up to look at her wife's face.

Kathryn's eyes were closed, and a minor frown was on her forehead, exactly between her brows, as she went on. Her mouth was wide open to get enough air. B'Elanna found the sight breathtaking.

It was only outdone, she knew, when the woman above her achieved her peak. Then, she was open and vulnerable, in a way no one on the ship had seen her, and they never would.

It was helpful that Kathryn decided to do the work for her own pleasure. That way, B'Elanna wasn't so much in control and couldn't fall into the fever she feared this night.

Kathryn's motion became faster, and B'Elanna craned a bit to take one of Kathryn's hard nipples in her mouth and lick it firmly.

"Oh, yes," Kathryn moaned and intensified her motion again. B'Elanna did her best to help her, reaching with one hand between them and pushing it into the hotness.

At the first contact from the fingers on her hard clit, Kathryn shuddered, her body stiffened, and she moaned loudly. B'Elanna brought her through the orgasm until Kathryn pulled away from her hand and lay motionless on her wife.

B'Elanna held her, and kissed her throat gently. After a few minutes, Kathryn pushed herself up, kissing B'Elanna's ridges, each one of them. It was almost a ritual for both and concluded the love making.

Kathryn rolled off of B'Elanna and showed her her back, holding a hand out to B'Elanna. B'Elanna understood the wordless plea, took the hand, and placed herself behind her spouse.

As Kathryn dropped off to sleep, B'Elanna sighed. One of these days, she had to talk with Kathryn, or it could go wrong. Scared about her own thoughts, she pressed herself harder against the soft body beside her and forced the thoughts away.

"Did you pack everything you own?" asked Kathryn, as her wife came out of the bedroom with three bags in her arms.

"You will notice I have packed for you, too."

"Why? I'm a grown woman. I can pack for myself." She looked at B'Elanna, with a frown on her forehead. "Is this a leader thing?" B'Elanna laughed.

"No. Just a You-are-the-Captain-and-don't-have-much-time-thing." She let the bags fall on the floor. "You wanna check your things?"

"No, I trust you." She smiled. "Besides, when something is missing, I can blame you."

"You wish," said B'Elanna and winked at her wife, a smile in her eyes.

"Where are the other things?" she asked then.

"They're already on the planet. When we go down, we will take it and go to our place," Kathryn answered absently. She reviewed for the last time the orders which would keep Chakotay busy for the time she and B'Elanna were gone. Nothing too much. Mostly, they were things relating to Seven's new quarters.

She had a long conversation with the young Borg and at the end, Seven decided she wanted the quarters. Now she and some of the engineers were working on the alcove alterations.

Kathryn also told Seven she could be doing some day trips with other crewmembers who could not even stay overnight on the planet. Seven had promised to think about that. More, Kathryn could not do.

"How is the work on the alcove for Seven's quarters coming?"

"Good. I think, when we get back, she will have finished the plans and we can get to the real work." Kathryn laughed.

"Real work?" B'Elanna laughed also.

"Yeah, you know. Make your hands dirty." She came over to Kathryn and hugged her. "Until then, I have only you, to get dirty."

"Oh. Is that a threat?"

"No." B'Elanna kissed her insistently. "A promise." Kathryn laughed again and laid the padd on her desk. "You didn't tell me where our place will be."

"And I won't. Give me the chance to surprise you once in a while."

"Once in a while? You do surprise me." B'Elanna gave her a wicked smile. "Almost every night." Kathryn laughed at that, even as she blushed deeply.

"Flatterer." And then, with a little sigh, Kathryn said, "I would be happy if that were be true."

"Kathryn, don't make me kick you." Kathryn turned around to see if her wife needed help with anything. She laughed at B'Elanna, who had her arms so full with wood, she could see nothing. "Is it okay here? I can't see where I am." Kathryn laughed more, but managed to answer.

"Yes. Just let it fall on the ground." B'Elanna did so and finally could see where she was. Kathryn sat beside the fire and looked up at her. B'Elanna sat beside her and ran a hand through her own hair. "You think we need so much tonight?" B'Elanna pulled at her, until Kathryn sat between her legs, head leaning on her chest. She wrapped both arms around her and kissed her lightly on the temple.

"No. I hope it will last for several days." Kathryn laid her hands on B'Elanna's.

"Sick of searching?"

"Oh yeah." Kathryn turned her head to face her.

"Then it was a good punishment," she said, while she giggled.

"I will never ever kiss you, outside our quarters," B'Elanna replied. They laughed a moment together then fell silent. Both looked into the fire.

Kathryn thought back to the time when the silence around her was too much for her. How even her own mind couldn't handle the quiet. How she had thought so much about home that she couldn't sleep a night through. And how the burden on her shoulders was so heavy, how blaming herself for the whole lost-situation weighed her down. How she had missed having that one person who could help her with it. Work against the burden, talk to her openly and give her a shoulder to lean on. And then the best thing in her whole life happened. Some lovely person came to her, with a padd.


"Hm?" Kathryn simply said.

"I love you."

"I love you, too." Again, the silence grew between them.

B'Elanna closed her eyes, brought her face to Kathryn's hair and smelled her. She loved to hold Kathryn in her arms. That's when their equal heights came in handy because she could cover Kathryn's whole body with her own. That was something she had known back in her marriage with Tom. That she loved to hold her loved one, but Tom never got comfortable with it. Now, B'Elanna held Kathryn any possible time. In the evening, when they both worked on padds, lying together on the couch. In the bed, when they were exhausted from love making. In the morning, when they both were awake, but not ready to get up. They always needed to hurry up then because they were late for work.

"Care to tell me?" B'Elanna opened her eyes.

"I just thought how happy I am." Kathryn's reaction was to bring one of B'Elanna's hands to her mouth to kiss her palm.

"I'm glad that you are," she said then.

"You aren't?" B'Elanna's voice was just a breath.

"Of course I'm happy. You have to ask?" Kathryn sounded hurt.

"No, not really," B'Elanna said and shrugged with her shoulders. "You said you're glad I'm happy, so I thought you aren't." Kathryn turned around so that she could lay a hand on B'Elanna's chest. She pulled on her shirt, to bare the now pale mark she had made months ago.

"Lanna, never doubt that I'm happy. I have thought so many times in my life that I am happy. Mark's proposal, my becoming a Captain, getting Voyager." She paused a moment, looking up into B'Elanna's eyes. "But I was never really happy, until you said for the first time, that you love me." Kathryn could see the tears welled up in B'Elanna's eyes.

Carefully, she laid both hands on her face. "No, please, no," she whispered. "Don't cry. That was not my intention." B'Elanna shook her head and took a deep breath. She pressed the tears back and tightened her hold on Kathryn.

"Kathryn, you definitely have a way with words." She swallowed hard. "Please don't do that to me in public."

"You mean no one needs to know that you have a soft side, too?" Kathryn teased her softly. B'Elanna nodded and brought up a small smile.

"It is enough, that you know and bring it out often." Kathryn kissed her lightly a few times.

It was so beautiful. The wide area with deep green grass. Some trees with fruits on them. Kathryn didn't know what kind of fruits they were, but they looked like apples. Not that she would taste them. She was not that crazy. It merely suited the memory she had of home.

She stood there, doing nothing but looking. And breathing. With every breath, more memories came back: her own childhood, playing in the grass with her sister. Or the great barbeques with her whole family, when her father was home, too.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. As she exhaled slowly, she felt a light pressure on her hand, which was firmly held by B'Elanna's.

"I know I shouldn't say this, but I miss home." She sighed. "Especially when I'm on a planet like this."

"It is understandable. I miss it sometimes, too." Kathryn looked at her, surprised.

"You never talk about Earth. I was not sure before now, that you even liked it there," she said gently to her wife.

"Well, most of the time I lived there, it was good. But then my parents began to fight, and those memories outnumber the good ones." She shrugged with her shoulders. "But I like the thought that we will live together there one day."

"You have thought about that?" Kathryn was even more surprised.

"Yeah. A bit. Not much. Only, where we would live, what we would do there. For a living, you know?" Now Kathryn was shocked. "Would you take the next command they offer you?" B'Elanna's voice was low, and she avoided Kathryn's glance.

Kathryn wondered why B'Elanna could not look in her face, but her thoughts wandered to the question from her wife. She freed her hand and went a few steps toward a tree and leaned against it.

Would she take the next command, if she were home again? What type of mission would that be? Or would she have a promotion to Admiral and have a desk job. Or would she be indicted for her actions in the last years?

She acknowledged she didn't always toe the line regarding Federation laws. But every time, she dismissed them for not working in the Delta Quadrant, she believed in her choices and would fight for every one of her decisions.

"It depends on what plans my superior have for me. Promote me, indict me, or let me be a Captain. For all I know, it could be any of those." Now, she could feel B'Elanna's eyes on her.

"Indictments? Because of me?" B'Elanna sat down on a tree stump. It was a horrible thought, to be the cause of the trouble her wife could get.

"No. Because of my actions, which were not always the wisest." B'Elanna breathed a sigh of relief.

"What is the worst thing that could happen?" she asked then and Kathryn laughed a little.

"Well, I would think the worst thing would be a dishonourable discharge with some time in a prison. But making me an Admiral and putting me behind a desk is not very far behind." It was a bad thought for the science officer in her, if she were to be caught in a stuffily room.

She needed to be out, between the stars and discovering new planets and people.

"You won't be an Admiral?" B'Elanna asked. Now it was her turn to be surprised.

"Really, Lanna. Could you imagine that?" She let out a dry laugh. "I would go crazy over the paperwork. I hate it now, already. I give as much as I can to Chakotay."

"You could decline the promotion," B'Elanna suggested.

"Would it be okay with you?" Kathryn asked, in a small voice.

"Katie, I didn't marry you because you were a Captain." She frowned. "Let's say, you decline the promotion and aren't indicated. What then? Will you be the Captain of a new ship and I'm your wife, cooking dinner and cleaning our quarters?"

Kathryn could clearly hear the uneasiness in B'Elanna's voice. She went the few steps to her and took her hand. Then she answered in an even voice. "Maybe you could be the Chief Engineer. Does Lt. Commander Torres-Janeway sound good?"

"Lt. Commander? I'm not even Starfleet!" B'Elanna blurted a bit louder, as she wanted. "I'm just a Lieutenant, because you wanted me as the Chief and Carey had the rank, so …"

"Love, you're as much Starfleet as I am," Kathryn told her with a light chuckle. "I believe Star Fleet Command will take my suggestions and would uphold all the rank I have given out. All of the Maquis have the chance to be real officers if they want." She paused and shot a questioning look at B'Elanna. "If you want that. If you don't, you merely have to resign." B'Elanna remained quiet.

"Would you do that?" B'Elanna did not reply right away. "B'Elanna?" Kathryn asked again. The silence from B'Elanna made her worried. Would her wife resign and leave Starfleet? Go away from what was the second most important thing in Kathryn's life, after B'Elanna herself. What would that mean for both of them.

"No, I don't think I could do that. I mean, what would happen to us? You, the great Starship Captain, away on a mission while I'm at home with my newest hobby, the garden?" She brought Kathryn's hand to her lips and kissed the back of the hand softly. "I would follow you everywhere." Kathryn blinked her tears away, to have a clear view of B'Elanna.

"You mean that?" Kathryn asked in a low voice. "Because I could not resign," she told B'Elanna. Only then did B'Elanna completely understand the question her wife had asked.

"Of course you would not resign. And you don't need to. I love you. You're my wife; we need to be together." She stroked lightly over Kathryn's face. "Could you imagine us working someplace other than on a starship? I can't. Therefore, we will be together in space. And when we are lost in the Gamma Quadrant, as long I'm with you, everything is fine." Kathryn frowned.

"Heavens, no. I think once is enough, to be lost," she told her wife.

"Needless to say, we have to talk about the type of the missions, when our kids are there." Kathryn was speechless. Her eyes wide and her face a shade paler than usual, she stared at B'Elanna. "Oh, you want kids, right?"

"I had never thought about it." She pulled her hand from B'Elanna's hand and took a place beside B'Elanna on the tree stump. "Before, there was always my career. Then we got lost. And now?" She remained silent for a few seconds. "We are still lost."

"I didn't say we should speak with the Doctor about it right this minute," B'Elanna gently interrupted Kathryn's thoughts.

"I don't know if I want to be the busy Captain when the kids are there." Now, she looked at B'Elanna. "I mean, I would like it if we could be together when they are toddlers." She stopped and frowned. "About how many kids are we talking, exactly?"

"Three?" B'Elanna said with a careful, even voice.

"Three girls?" Kathryn asked again, a bit shocked.

"Maybe one boy?" B'Elanna murmured.

"A boy? How?" B'Elanna actually laughed at that and looked at her wife, whose skin had paled.

"Some lucky guy will give us his …"

"Please don't say it." Kathryn laid her head in her hands and thought a few minutes. "Which of us will carry them?" she asked, when she was looked up again. B'Elanna accepted the sudden change in topic silently and answered the question without sounding too upset.

"If you agree, I would like to at least have the boy. So, when we pick a human as donor, he would be still human and Klingon."

"You have thought about this for a while, haven't you?" B'Elanna tilted her head and shrugged her shoulders. Kathryn saw the light blush on her face. "How long?"

"Since the day I marked you," B'Elanna told her bluntly.

"That is some time." Kathryn murmured almost to herself. B'Elanna didn't know what she should say to that and remained silent while Kathryn was lost in thoughts about the kids.

Kathryn could see the girls right before her eyes. Little girls, with ridges on the foreheads, brown-reddish hear. The eye color was the one thing she could not clearly see. Maybe one girl's would be brown like B'Elanna's, and the other, blue-greyish like herself.

The boy. She thought about the boy. B'Elanna was right. If they picked a human man and B'Elanna delivered him, it would be their boy. With the same forehead ridges as the girls. Maybe they could pick a human with reddish hair.

B'Elanna felt Kathryn's absence without looking at her. When she did glance at her, she saw the fine, light smile on her lips. Well, that's good. If she smiles, she is not too shocked about it. But she didn't want to push Kathryn beyond her limits.

"Maybe we should talk about it when the time is right." Kathryn nodded, and B'Elanna stood up. She held a hand out to Kathryn. "What do you mean? This way?" She gestured with her head, which way she wanted to go.

B'Elanna moaned, surprised, as Kathryn bit her hard. That Kathryn chose to make the evening about her needs, made her love Kathryn even more, if that was possible. She sent a short prayer to Kahless, to thank him for giving her the patience to wait. It was a long time since they had made love like this. But finally, B'Elanna's wait for Kathryn was over.

Yet, the fact Kathryn insisted on that type of love making for the first time was a matter of trust, as Kathryn had found per the experience last month. Kathryn bit B'Elanna again and took her breasts in a firm grip. She felt the trembling go through B'Elanna's body.

"Did you bring down the things for afterward?" she asked when she had her mouth directly on B'Elanna's ear. Despite the fact she could always call the doctor when they were onboard and in need, they didn't like to.

Therefore, they had requested he give them the necessary things, like a dermal regenerator and a boneknitter. He had given them the equipment, much to Kathryn's surprise, without any comments. Just a short note was with the supplies, reminding them how each tool worked.

B'Elanna opened her eyes and searched for any hint of doubts in Kathryn's. When she found none, she smiled.

"You do remember the word, right?" Kathryn nodded lightly. "Say it," ordered B'Elanna. Kathryn swallowed hard.

"Thunder." B'Elanna closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath.

"Just to hear the word, kills me," she told her wife with a trembling voice.

"Why?" asked Kathryn, her own voice soft.

"It tells me I will be satisfied in ways only you can." She pulled Kathryn down to her, holding her tightly. "You're the person who can stand the aggressive side in me, and it makes me whole, you know."

"Yes, I know," Kathryn told her, and right after that she bit B'Elanna again.

She looked down at B'Elanna and saw how the shivers going through her body lessened. B'Elanna had her eyes closed, and Kathryn took the chance to see if she had hurt her beyond the limits.

She saw the bites and scratches, but beside that, B'Elanna seemed not badly hurt. It was like always. Kathryn had held back. She had not yet found the line that would tell her how far she could go with B'Elanna.

Inside she knew B'Elanna could take far more than what she was giving her, but B'Elanna had not said she was missing something. Kathryn hadn't pushed herself to do something she might regret.

As B'Elanna lay still under her, she bent down and fondled the mark with her lips and tongue. She knew it would make B'Elanna crazy with need. Every time they made love in this special way, Kathryn did everything to make sure B'Elanna was satisfied several times.

She knew B'Elanna liked to be pleasured many times in a short period.

Licking some blood from her wife's body, she travelled down and took her place between B'Elanna's legs. She brought herself near enough to smell her.


"Yes, love," Kathryn responded. She knew that was all B'Elanna would say in the next minutes. Smitten with desire, to taste her wife, she drove her tongue the total length of B'Elanna's wetness. B'Elanna moaned and Kathryn moaned, too. The taste from her wife always made her moan.

When she brought her mouth completely on B'Elanna, she circled her clit, sucking on the soaking wet lips and fondling the entrance to the hot walls. When she finally thrust three long fingers inside the clinging walls, B'Elanna writhed beneath her.

"Yes, yes. Do it." Kathryn followed the order as if her life depended on it. The thrusting became stronger and faster, as did B'Elanna's moans. Suddenly inspiration struck, and she pulled up a bit and drove with along B'Elanna's haunch with her tongue. The second she felt enough flesh under her lips, she sucked and then bit powerfully.

It was the first time she had done this, and she was surprised how strongly B'Elanna reacted to a bite in this particular area. She reached her peak immediately and howled loudly in the night.

Kathryn didn't wait and while B'Elanna still recovered from her recent orgasm, she worked on the next. With skilful hands, she thrust against B'Elanna, matching the movement of her hips. She felt the spasms of the velvet walls around her fingers grow, until they tightened again.

"Kate," B'Elanna hissed. Kathryn never really liked this shortened version of her name, but tolerated it when B'Elanna used the nickname in this situation. Whenever they did the tougher handling, she knew B'Elanna liked the harsher speech.

"That's it," she whispered with her rough voice. "Be a good girl. Tell me, who is fucking you?"

"You. You're fucking me." B'Elanna murmured faintly. She was too occupied with feeling Kathryn inside her, to make a clear answer.

"Not that easy. Who is fucking you?" Kathryn asked her again, while thrusting roughly into her. She wanted a real answer. "Look at me and tell me, who the hell is fucking you." The unusual cursing brought B'Elanna back and she opened her eyes.

"You Kathryn … my wife is fucking me," she screamed, while holding the eye contact.

Kathryn thrust harder and let her thumb slide over the swollen clit of her wife. She loved to see B'Elanna in these few seconds of pure vulnerability. When she saw B'Elanna's eyes rolling back, she pressed hard on the clit beneath her thumb to give her the greatest pleasure.

She stayed inside B'Elanna, wanting to feel how her wife's walls tighten around her, and the juice wet her own hand.

"Katie," she heard whispered minutes later and smiled. As always, B'Elanna called her by her personal favourite nickname when she was satisfied enough - for the moment - and had something else in mind now.

Carefully, Kathryn withdrew her fingers. She knew if she touched B'Elanna the wrong way it would turn her on again. Regardless of how much she loved making love with B'Elanna, if B'Elanna wanted more, Kathryn felt compelled to take care of her. That meant she waited even longer for B'Elanna to satisfy her own needs.

That was something Kathryn could not tolerate with her own passion high, after making love to her several times.

Kathryn licked a few droop of blood from the last bite away and drew back from B'Elanna. Carefully, she laid herself on the lightly trembling body. She could feel the wetness between her legs and repressed the urge to rub herself on B'Elanna's muscle when she felt her leg come between her own.

She made sure there was not too much blood on her lips and tongue before kissing B'Elanna gently. After a few moments, B'Elanna drew back.

"I want you," she whispered huskily, and Kathryn could hear the desire.

"I need you," she answered and was not surprised when B'Elanna turned them around and instantly began to kiss her deeply.

She hadn't thought about the pain. This time, it was real pain and not the light pain she felt when it was mingled with lust and passion. As B'Elanna bit her again, she could not push the scream down. B'Elanna's only reaction to her screaming was a low growl.

Come on, she thought, you can take it. Think about the passion you should feel. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. It didn't help at all. She tried to get away a moment, tried to sit up, but B'Elanna pushed her back on the ground.

Kathryn let out an aching breath, could feel exactly which ribs were broken. She screamed again when B'Elanna's hand drove over the affected area and went down to her core.

She knew she was not as wet as she'd been at other times. The dampness which had come before the pain was almost dry now.

B'Elanna seemed not to notice that there wasn't as much to work with and drove two fingers right into Kathryn. Immediately, Kathryn's whole body cramped. It got worse when B'Elanna set up a hard, steady motion.

At one point, Kathryn screamed without pause, and she asked herself why B'Elanna hadn't stopped. She looked up at her. Then she knew why not.

"Thunder." Kathryn was surprised how quickly B'Elanna reacted to the word she had only whispered. B'Elanna moved away and laid down a few steps beyond her on her stomach. Kathryn could see the fists which B'Elanna pressed into the ground. "B'Elanna?"

That one word was enough to bring B'Elanna up on her unsteady feet, and she grabbed her trousers in both hands. "I'm sorry, but I ..," Kathryn began, stopping the second she saw B'Elanna look up. Her eyes were pure black. Kathryn remained still. Provoking B'Elanna was something she didn't want.

B'Elanna broke the eye contact and moved farther away from Kathryn, around the fire and right into the blackness. A few meters and B'Elanna was gone. "B'Elanna?" Kathryn looked in the direction B'Elanna had vanished, but the dark night did not let her see anything more than a few meters in front her.

"B'Elanna?" There was no response. With a low groan, she stood up and went around the fire. "Listen, I'm sorry I stopped you …" Kathryn broke off mid-sentence.

She took a deep breath which she immediately regretted. Her ribcage hurt a lot, and she pressed her arm against it, hoping it would help. "Please, B'Elanna, come out. This is not funny anymore." Again nothing.

"I need you to heal me." She hoped the last words would bring B'Elanna back, but there was nothing. No word, no sign.

"Janeway to Voyager." Despite the fact that the voice of his Captain sounded a bit odd, Chakotay smiled when he heard the call.

"Chakotay here. Are you bored, or do you two need something?"

"Stop it, Chakotay," Kathryn voice came brusquely through the channel. "B'Elanna is missing. Send Tuvok and a security team down." Chakotay nodded to Tuvok, who already was on his way to the turbolift.

"Did you have a fight?" Tom piped up.

"Lieutenant, close your mouth," Kathryn said and although it was not a visual contact, the entire bridge crew came to attention. Tom knew if they had seen her face, he would be dead by now. "Harry, scan for B'Elanna's biosigns."

"Aye, Captain," he replied and went to work before she could be become more angry.

"Chakotay, in private!" Chakotay didn't answer. He went over to the ready room.

"Kathryn?" He asked, couldn't think of anything that might have gone wrong on the uninhabited planet.

"Chakotay, I need you to meet me." Now, with just Chakotay to hear here, she let the pain creep into her voice.

"Kathryn, what happened?" he asked, frustrated, because she didn't tell him anything to settle his nerves.

"Later Chakotay. First, meet me in sickbay, please. I'm injured."

"Kathryn, why didn't you tell me the minute you contacted us?" he shouted "Computer, emergency transport. Janeway to sickbay."

Chakotay heard his Captain before he got into sickbay. She was screaming at the Doctor, using some language he had never heard from her. The second Chakotay got in, he knew why she was screaming. He winced as he saw the bruises and scratches. Something in Kathryn's attitude told him there were some injuries to her ribcage as well.

"Doctor, how about some painkillers?" He got a grateful look from Kathryn.

"She has painkillers," the Doctor told him.

"Apparently not enough," Kathryn said with a loud groan.

"Excuse me, Captain." He pressed a hypospray to her neck. Immediately, she relaxed and closed her eyes. "All right." He began to treat her ribcage, then paused and shot a look at his Captain. "Well, I thought after the last time, when I had to come to your Quarters, B'Elanna knew where your boundaries were." Kathryn gave him a penetrating look.

"Doctor," she said with a very low voice - the kind everyone else knew meant he should remain silent. Unfortunately, the Doctor didn't know that.

"We are done with the ribcage," he stated, and Kathryn let out a sigh as the Doctor continued. "You have to be true, Captain. This one bite in particular looks very similar with your wedding-scar."

Kathryn saw out of the corner of her eye how Chakotay winced. Maybe it was something he never wanted to know, or he felt sorry for the Doctor. She didn't care which one it was.

"Will you keep it?" he asked her. "It is not unusual, to have a second scar."

"Heal it," she ordered him through clenched teeth. He paused a moment to look at her and then healed the bite along with all the others and the scratches.

"Done," he said a moment later. "You should think about some ways to avoid that in future."

"That's enough." Kathryn´s voice was sharp as she stood up. In seconds, she stood toe to toe with the Doctor. "Consider yourself off duty for the next two weeks. You will be turned off for that time, unless there is an emergency."

"Captain?" he said in a confused voice.

"Kathryn, let's go," Chakotay said softly to her. She felt his hand on her shoulder.

"Computer, deactivate the EMH." With that, she turned around and left sickbay. Chakotay had to run a few steps to catch up to her. Quietly, they went to the turbolift.

"Deck three," Kathryn ordered. "I need to change into my uniform," she murmured softly, when he looked at her surprised.

"Was that necessary?" he asked her. Kathryn looked at him in disbelief, then the looked went away.

"Commander, I would be very pleased if you would forget anything you heard in there."

"Kathryn, I know to whom you are married." She looked up to him and discovered the disappointment in his eyes.

"Oh, wonderful!" she murmured. With everything else going on, she now also had a first officer with wounded honour at her hands. But she couldn't deal with it now, so she put it out of her mind. "Don't tell me you really thought about that? How B'Elanna and I brawl rather than made love to each other."?

"I never really think about that. I just imagine B'Elanna sometimes needs a little special treatment." Kathryn was too shocked to say anything. "I'm glad you can trust her enough to make her happy."

"You make it sound like a cure for some disease and it is not only B'Elanna's background that causes it." She looked at the floor. "At first, we didn't know where our boundaries were. But we found our limits, and it goes well." He looked surprised and curious at the same time. Surprised that she talked with him about her love life and curious about how far she would go.

He took advantage of the once in a lifetime chance and asked, "Kathryn, you don't have to answer, but don't you think your own dermal regenerator and maybe a boneknitter, too, would be useful?" Besides his prying, it was embarrassing for him to ask that. Maybe because of the feelings he still harboured for her.

"I know, and we have. But I could not find them after B'Elanna … got lost."

"Why did she not heal you right after …?" He paused a moment and then looked at her. "Oh, boy. I don't wanna know that," he muttered to himself. The thought, that the woman he loved once and still had some feelings for, liked the pain was too much information for him.

Kathryn saw what troubled Chakotay and she took a step forward, so that she was very close to him. Yet, she kept her gaze on the floor when she began to speak in a very low voice.

"Chakotay, you need to understand." Her voice was urgent, but still low. "The pain is not really pain. Sure, it hurts a lot, when it is overdone, like when we married after her beliefs. But when you hover just on the line of overdoing, it is passion." She sighed. "And sometimes, you have to take the pain to get the passion."

"But …"

"No buts, Chakotay." She looked up on once more. "I can understand that you didn't want to know that about me, and that it probably hurt you, maybe repulsed you. But it is not your place to judge any of this." She took a deep breath when she saw the hurt in his eyes.

"Just one thing," he said. "Why let the Doctor see you in your condition?" Kathryn felt the blush creep up her neck and cover her whole face.

"I broke it off, okay? She stepped over the line and I couldn't stand it anymore. I told her to stop, and she left. That´s the whole story." She saw the pity in his eyes and knew he understood that she made herself more uncomfortable than her wife ever could do.

The turboliftdoors opened and she started walking again. Chakotay was right behind her. "What about Harry and the scans?"

"Harry couldn't find her signature. He thinks a natural dampening field is the problem."

"Then we have to search the old way. Make six teams ready, with tricorders and medical. The Doctor should be ready to beam to the team which finds her."

"Which team will you lead?" he asked her and was very successful keeping the concern out of his voice.

"I don't care. Leave the Bridge with Harry. I want you, Tuvok, Tom, and Seven on the ground," she told him.

"Understood. Captain?" She looked at him. "Are you sure, that you're up to it?"

"What do you mean?"

"I know the Doctor healed you, but are you fit?" It was not that he questioned her fitness; only her mental state worried him.

"Belay that thought. I will not stay on board, when my wife is missing down there." Her voice was deeper than he'd ever heard and he knew immediately he had crossed the line one time too often in this conversation. Besides that, he could not do otherwise and he shot her a look. "Don't even think about trying to order me to stay," she added belated.

"No, Captain, I won't," he said, not wondering how she had knew he had thought that for a second.

"Have the teams meet with me in the Transporter Room," she said and went in to her quarters without waiting for his answer.

B'Elanna held her right arm close to her body, not only to hide her mostly naked torso, but because of the broken forearm. In the darkness the night before, she had tripped and was fallen on it.

She had cuts on the soles of her bare feet. The bite wounds Kathryn had made were crusted with dried blood. The worst things, after the broken arm, were her hands. To get over the uncontrolled passion after leaving Kathryn, she had punched steadily at the first tree she had found. Turning the passion into fury was the only way to lose the fever which held her mind under pressure. Therefore, her knuckles were bruised so much she could not move the fingers without feeling fresh pain go through them.

She could tolerate the pain and the nudity, but the question of why she could not find her way back to their camp…that question she hated. She didn't know how far she had run in the night.

"Kathryn?" she called out loud. After a few seconds, when nobody called back, she decided to continue in the same direction she'd been travelling all day. "Hello? Is anybody there?"

She coughed. Her throat ached from screaming, and slowly she became hoarse. She thought a moment about stopping, but she was so tired, she couldn't guarantee that if she sat down for now, that she would ever get up again. So, she decided against it and went on.

"Kathryn? Anybody? Hello?" She tripped over a long stick on the ground, and her first impulse was to kick it, but then an idea entered her mind. She went down to her knees and took the stick. After a few seconds, she had the earth planed and wrote her name in it, along with an arrow pointing in the direction she wanted to go.

If she did that every few meters, there was a chance someone would find one of them and follow until they caught up with her. With great effort, she stood up again and went the way the arrow showed, the way she thought her camp was.

She stood at the window and looked at the planet where her wife was still lost.

The teams had begun at the camp and were following Kathryn's route indicator where B'Elanna had vanished. After a few steps in the thicket, they had separated, to search a greater area. But for now, there was no sign of B'Elanna.

It looked so small from above, so tiny. Harry's guess about the natural dampening field was correct. They could search with tricorders, but the sensors from Voyager couldn't help.

Kathryn sighed and leaned her forehead against the window. She had tried to sleep, but after one hour of rolling around in the bed, she had given up. She touched her communicator.

"Janeway to Tuvok. Anything?"

"No, Captain," Tuvok replied.

"Call me the second you find something. No matter what it is." She knew her voice had a touch of pleading, but her heart and her mind were those of a concerned wife, not of a Captain this time.

"Aye, Captain. Tuvok out." Kathryn opened her eyes and took a calming breath before touching her communicator again.

"Janeway to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here." His voice was calm, but there was a hint of hope was in it. Like every other time she called, he hoped she would tell him one of the other teams had succeeded and found B'Elanna so he could stop the search.

"Anything, Commander?" Her voice was harder, as when talking to Tuvok, just in case Chakotay again tried to make her see the Doctor.

"No, Captain. Shouldn't you sleeping?" Although he couldn't see her, she rolled her eyes.

"Nice try, Commander. Again." She was annoyed with him. Sometime his stubbornness was a good thing, but not in this situation.

"Captain, I'm sure the Doctor would give you something …" Kathryn didn't have the patience to let him finish.

"I'm not taking a sedative when my wife is lost somewhere, Commander. Call me when there is something new. Janeway out." Angry, she was so angry. Not at Chakotay, and especially not at her wife. At herself. Why had she used the safe word? What caused her wife to run away? Why had she let B'Elanna run away?

That was the real reason, she couldn't sleep. The questions didn't let her brain calm down enough to sleep.

"Janeway to Seven of Nine."

"Seven here. We have found nothing yet. We shall call you when we find something. Seven out." Despite the fact she wanted to strangle Seven, Kathryn was thankful for the resolute way Seven handled her interruptions.

"Janeway to Bridge."

"Kim here, Captain." Oh, this was her next mistake, she thought. Harry had not happy he had to stay on board. He asked several times if he could go down with the others, but Kathryn had refused every time.

Besides the two of them, everyone from the senior staff was on the surface, and she needed someone she trusted on the Bridge. She did not tell him that, but gave him the order to find something to use against the dampening field.

"Have you found a way to avoid the dampening field?"

"Not yet, Captain. I´m sorry." She heard him sigh. "I don't think I will ever find a way to get through it."

"Keep working, Mr. Kim. Janeway out." She knew what he had tried to tell her, even if he wasn'tas subtle as the others. But she couldn't let him go down to the planet.

One search team, the one with Tom as leader, she didn't contact. She was still angry at him. Not because of the question he asked when she contacted the ship, but for the ones he asked when she organized the teams. Not even her best glare shut him up.

It was unacceptable that he had asked her what she did to B´Elanna to make her run. More so, he scrutinised her actions after B´Elanna was gone. She knew, inside, she should have called the ship sooner - not after searching almost two hours herself. It would have save her and (most of all) B'Elanna time and pain.

It was Tuvok who lead him away while Seven remained standing beside her, almost making sure she didn't go after him. That was the moment she realized she should stay on board.

Again, she closed her eyes and prayed in silence for her wife.

She was not sure the transport was complete, but with wide eyes she discovered the little group some distance away. She went, without knowing she was doing so.

Her brain was dizzy when she came nearer to the group, and she could see the one body lying on the ground, covered with a white blanket the Doctor beside them.

Before she could fall on her knees, there was a pair of strong hands on her arms that held her up.

"Come on, Captain." The little help was everything she needed, and, with tears in her eyes, she took the last steps to her wife. There, she dropped to her knees, right by B'Elanna.

The Doctor, who had healed almost all of B'Elanna's wounds, moved away, giving her more space

"Oh, my love, thank God you're alright." Kathryn kissed her wife soundly, not caring who was around them. Then she had a thought and drew back, looking in B'Elanna's eyes. "Are you alright? Does anything hurt? Your wounds? The one I …"

She stopped herself, when she remembered their audience. She looked at the Doctor. "Why are you there? Come here and heal her." B'Elanna's hand came up and lay on Kathryn's chest.

That touch stopped Kathryn's speech, and she looked in B'Elanna's eyes. "What?"

"Stop talking, or I will make you," B'Elanna growled. Kathryn blushed a bit, as she hear the suppressed laughter around her but held B'Elanna's look. She heard Chakotay tell the search team to transport back on board and slowly the area cleared of people.

"Please, make me," she whispered to B'Elanna and leant down. B'Elanna's hand curled around Kathryn's neck, pulling her the last inches to her and kissed her insistently. When they broke apart, they don't separate completely. Their foreheads touched, and Kathryn whispered quietly to her wife.

"I love you. I love you so much. Please, don't do that again. Ever." She held B'Elanna tightly, needing to feel her.

"We will talk about that more in private, okay?" Kathryn could not reply, because the Doctor stepped in.

"Captain, it would be best if we go back to the ship." Kathryn looked in B'Elanna's eyes, and after B'Elanna nodded slightly, she moved away.

Kathryn closed her eyes after the doors from sickbay shut behind her. She leaned her back against the wall, as her blood pressure dropped for the umpteenth time that day.

"Captain?" She felt the strong hand on her shoulder and looked up at Tuvok. "Are you okay?"

"Nothing that a good meal and a night full of sleep can't fix." She sighed. "Thank you for finding my wife, old friend."

"My pleasure. Although, the Lieutenant had made it easy to find her."

"How?" Kathryn asked curiously. Her blood pressure was good again, and she started walking.

"Every few meters, she left a message written one the ground and the direction she was going," he declared. "After finding the first, we just followed her." Kathryn smiled.

"That is my wife," she said, and the pride in her voice was obvious.

"There is a matter about which I need to speak with you." Kathryn looked at him.

"Now?" The slight rise of one eyebrow told her the answer. "Never mind. Go on."

"When we found Lt. Torres, she had several wounds." He paused, to let some crewmembers pass by. "Among other things, there were bites. Human bites." Kathryn stopped. She knew her face was red like a lobster.

"And?" she asked with a harsh voice. She was not comfortable speaking with Tuvok about her love life, but it was better than speaking with Chakotay. Sometimes she wished there was one more person, beside her wife, with whom she could be only Kathryn from time to time.

"Before I go to Lt. Torres to ask her if she would want to file a complaint, I thought I should ask you about it." His face was neutral like always.

"Tuvok, I can guarantee you, she won't want press charges over it," Kathryn told him quietly. "The bites were made with her permission."

"I though so." Kathryn smirked and sighed.

"I think you should talk with her," Kathryn told him. "I wouldn't like it if you simply trusted my word on it."

"I had it in mind to ask her, too."

"Good." Kathryn smiled a bit. "We can't let anyone think you would disregard this because of me being her wife as well as the Captain."

"I would never do that, Captain." His voice was a little harder and she knew she had affronted him slightly.

"I know you wouldn't. But I thank you. For the respect and understanding." They walked a couple of steps in silence. "I need to go home. The Doctor will release B'Elanna tonight, and I need to make dinner for her."

"I hope you will also eat."

"I will."

"Goodnight, Captain."

"Again, Tuvok, thank you for finding her." He nodded to her and went away.

It was strange for both of them. They lay in bed, in an embrace without any words. Just their bodies telling the other how scared they were. The tension was easy to sense.

Neither wanted to be the one who started the conversation, but both knew it was something they had to do.

"Why did you run away?" The words were soft and not accusing, but B'Elanna jerked anyway. Kathryn's arms held her tighter.

"You said the word." It was said softly. Kathryn saw B'Elanna's blush and felt sorry her wife felt so ashamed.

"Yes, but I never want you to run away because of it."

"I had to. I was out of control." She freed herself from her wife's arms, so that she could look in her eyes. "More than when we first …" She didn't finished the sentence. Not only because Kathryn knew what she meant, but because she saw the fear in the usually soft blue eyes flash up.

"But …" B'Elanna held her hand up.

"I had a lot of time to think about it, and there is something I need to tell you, if you want to know ..." After Kathryn's slight nod, she sat up. "Maybe you don't realize, but it was the first time you insisted on … you know … on the rough stuff ..." B'Elanna stopped, unsure how to label their harder love making.

"I know." Kathryn's comment was an answer to both. That she recognized and that she could understand B'Elanna's insecurity with the term.

"It made me unbelievably happy. I had held back the last weeks with my needs, because I knew I had to endure it. I thought sometime you would lose your last fear and when that happened, it would be all right for both of us."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Kathryn's voice was soft, even though she was confused and a little angry. She knew it would not be good if she showed B'Elanna her anger.

"What should I have said? Think Kathryn. When I told you I needed you to make the first step, it had not really come from you. And I didn't want it that way." Kathryn thought about that. B´Elanna was right. Had she told Kathryn about her needs, she would have done it only because her wife asked. How could you have so blind? Kathryn asked herself. She is your wife. You should see and feel it, when something isn't right.

"Okay, I can understand that." B´Elanna slowly let out the breath she was holding. She had had the fear Kathryn wouldn't, or couldn't, understand her and was relieved she did.

"I still can feel your first bite, you know. It was … a relief to me. In this situation, I had loosened up completely. I only knew, finally, you trusted me enough to do this. And I did not think about you anymore. Only, what it meant for me. That I don't have to hold back anything, anymore." Kathryn nodded in understanding.

"And then I said the word." B'Elanna closed her eyes.

"Exactly. That you said the word triggered something in me. The thought that you couldn't stand me, that you were hurt by me past your limits, it made me so angry. Angry at myself. That I had let it get so far. I promised you that you would never be in pain, never be hurt by me, and, right then, I broke that promise."

B'Elanna didn't look at Kathryn anymore, and let her tears run freely over her cheeks - until a warm, soft hand came up und touched her carefully. B'Elanna hesitated, but snuggled into the hand and its wordless encouragement.

"I'm not worthy to be your wife," she whispered between the sobs she could not hold back anymore. The second her crying made it impossible to speak, she felt strong arms around her, pulling her back in a lying position.

While holding B'Elanna tightly, Kathryn let one hand wander over B'Elanna's back soothingly. It lasted until B'Elanna stopped crying, and when she finally was still, she fell asleep so fast Kathryn had no chance to speak with her. And she didn't have the heart to wake her up again.

B'Elanna woke up and felt the headache before she made a single move. When she got used to the hammering in her head, she opened her eyes carefully. The lights above her hurt immensely. As she thought about dimming the lights, her last words from the evening before ran through her mind.

The conversation with Tuvok in sickbay came to her mind. Her first reaction was to tell him to leave her alone, but, when she thought about the Doctor's report to him, she knew she had to talk with him. She didn't understood, though, why Kathryn had not talked with him, told him was everything okay.

Now, she knew why Kathryn had not done that. It was clear Kathryn had realized her marriage was over even before she had talked to her last night. Kathryn must have decided to leave her.

Because of that, she was not really surprised she was alone in bed. Feeling the tears welling up again, B'Elanna threw her arm over her eyes and began to cry soundlessly.

She was aware that, after a few minutes, the mattress beside her moved, but she wouldn't - or couldn't - take her arm away to see her wife beside her. She knew Kathryn was there to speak with her about their divorce.

"How's your head?" the soft voice asked her. B'Elanna could only shake her head in answer. "Don't jerk," she was told, and a second later she felt and heard the familiar hiss of the hypospray against her neck. Immediately, the pain was gone. "Better?" B'Elanna nodded slightly.

"Thanks." Her voice was croaky. She blamed last night's crying. Her throat hurt with every swallow she took, too. Even thought she was in pain, B'Elanna was surprised Kathryn would take care of her even in this situation.

"You're welcome." B'Elanna felt Kathryn search for a better position beside her.

She was curious. Could the Captain of a ship end her own marriage? "If you could open your eyes for a moment, I need you to look at something." Now B'Elanna winced visibly.

"No need. I take all the blame. Let me put my signature on it, and you're free," she told Kathryn. Without moving anything other than her free arm, she held her thumb up.

"What are you talking about?" Kathryn's voice was a bit stronger now, and B'Elanna took the arm from her eyes. She saw Kathryn very close beside her and the confused expression on her face told B'Elanna she was wrong in some way.

"The divorce papers." Kathryn sat up abruptly and looked down at B'Elanna, who didn't move from the glare Kathryn gave her. She couldn't believe what B´Elanna said. With the great effort, she tried to keep her tone even.

"You want a divorce from me?" B´Elanna winced when Kathryn's piercing voice rushed over her.

"No, I don't. You from me." B´Elanna´s voice was even. That and her reaction surprised Kathryn

"I never said that." Now B'Elanna was as confused as Kathryn.

"Then what should I look at?" Kathryn held a padd in her hands, and B'Elanna saw her own hand tremble as she took it. With flying eyes, she scanned the information and then her look flew back to Kathryn, who sat and waited nervously for any reaction. "What …?"

"You object?" Kathryn's voice was a mere whisper.

"How … why … are you … sure?"

"Yes. But before you answer to that, why do you think I would want a divorce?" Now B'Elanna was ashamed. Her blush told Kathryn that.

"Because of what happened, of course." Kathryn took B'Elanna's hand in hers.

"My love. I love you, and I'm glad you came back to me. I never blamed you for running away or for why you ran. I only needed to understand, so we can work together to find a solution. Another type of safety net for our love making." She deepened the look. "And I would never want a divorce from the love of my life. I am not complete without you. I learned that the last few days."

B'Elanna was dumbstruck.

"But why did you let Tuvok talk to me?" she asked.

"About the bites on you?" B´Elanna nodded and Kathryn did the same. "You have to realize it was necessary." She sighed. "There are many rumours flying around about us. Someone from the search teams told the `lower decks´ how you were when they found you."

"Oh, God," B´Elanna mumbled. Kathryn snickered briefly.

"Exactly my thoughts. Because of that, Tuvok had to talk to you. So no one can say, because I am the Captain he covered anything up." B´Elanna nodded in understanding.

"I´m sorry. I know you didn't like the thought there are rumors about us flying around."

"It could be worse," Kathryn said and waved briefly with her hand. Then she surprised her wife with an evil smile. "It will do a hell for my reputation."

B´Elanna remained silent, not knowing what she could say to this statement.

"Will you ever say something about my proposal?" Kathryn questioned her after a while. B´Elanna looked from her eyes, to the padd, and back to Kathryn's eyes. Then she sat up und took Kathryn in a tight embrace.

"Yes," she told Kathryn quietly after a few minutes.

The End

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