DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters in this fic, they belong to richer people than me. I write for fun and hopefully a little feedback, not profit. This fic involves the relationship of two women, so if that is not your cup of tea, please turn back now. If you do enjoy this, please feed the muse. The song "Secret" by Missy Higgins inspired this piece and its companion. Thanks to Jillo for the fabulous beta work!
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

In Shadows
By Cirroco DeSade


As I watched you straighten your uniform, smoothing down the mustard colored tunic, even touching your rank insignia to make sure they were there, I wondered, yet again, why I allowed this to continue. This was not anything like the Captain's ideas of what love would feel like or the Doctor's lessons. Meeting here in the dank, unused room on the lowest unoccupied deck of the ship, I let you keep your secret. Of course, I am your secret.

"Aren't you gonna get dressed?" you ask me impatiently.

"I see no reason to hurry. I will still have to depart many minutes after you in order to maintain your charade," I answer, unable to hide the pain in my voice.

"You agreed," you begin on a growl, and then visibly try to calm down. "You agreed that it would be better to keep this to ourselves. People won't understand. This is for your good too, you know."

"As you say, B'Elanna," I say as I turn away from the pleading look in your eyes. I feel your presence as you approach, hear you heart beating faster and finally see you as you move to kneel next to me. Your hand on my cheek is my undoing and I feel the tear I had tried to prevent escape.

"Hey," you say softly, sweetly and lean down to kiss away my tear. "Don't cry, Bang'wi." Your thumb brushes slowly back and forth over my other cheek, and I cannot help myself but lean into your palm. "You know I'm working on it."

I close my eyes. No, I think, I do not know anything of the sort. I think you are happy to keep me as your secret. That way, you stay the belle of the ball, even though I do not think you are aware you are doing it. If we remain unknown, Tom will continue to flirt with you, as will so many of your engineers; as long as you are "available" men and women will pursue you.

"Please," I say in a ragged whisper, "just leave."

I feel it like somebody is ripping away pieces of my heart as you pull away. As the door softly closes, I order the lights off and lie here on the cold floor trying, as unsuccessfully as always, to cry my demons away.

Those who think me cold and unemotional have never paid attention to what you do to me, how I am with you; they do not see what we are like when we meet in secret, in secluded places. They cannot imagine the passions you bring out in me, or the desires you fulfill. They cannot see the heartache you create.

The Captain would never guess, especially as she always has to reprimand us for fighting. When we have our "philosophical discussions," she often pleads with me to get along with you. She asks questions, tries to delve into the reasons we fight, and I can never give her the whole truth. The whole truth would involve admitting that I have fallen completely in love with somebody who cannot commit more to me than brief snatches of sex and infrequent moments of loving tenderness.

Oh, how I wish you were never tender and loving with me; I would have managed to rip myself free of this by now I know. However, like tonight, you call me "Bang'wi" with such adoration that I cannot help but want more. The irrational part of me, my illogical "heart", tells me I can wait, tells me to give you more time, to give you more opportunity.

After what feels like hours, but my cortical node tells me is only 19 minutes, I finally sit up, order on the lights and gather my biosuit and shoes. After dressing, I gather the blanket we had lain on and take it to the nearby recycler. Before I throw it in, to be absorbed, disintegrated and reused, I bring it to my nose, inhaling the scent left behind. Who knows how long it will be before you once again arrange some secret meeting for us?

I still do not know what I did to deserve to be brought in so close to your heart, to see so much of your soul, when nobody else is allowed. Of course, I also do not know understand why you consider me one of your sins. I do not understand why I must remain your secret.

The End

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