DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is the property of Paramount, this story depicts a loving/sexual relationship between women.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Officers in Love
KATHYRN JANEWAY'S PERSONAL LOG
I don't think I've ever felt quite this bad in my life. I didn't think I could, so I suppose I've learned something about myself over these past few months.
It's strange, isn't it, that I can feel so bad over something that has the potential to be so very good? And yet, how good is love when it cannot be demonstrated or even spoken of?
That day - the day I strode into Sickbay, barely controlling my anger and fear... I'd say that was the beginning. I had quietly begged B'Elanna to tell me what was going on with her, to tell me why she had seen fit to use the Holodeck with the safeties off, causing her body such terrible damage. Damn that Klingon trait; the part of her that won't talk, that won't let anyone in to help her.
I remember reaching out with my hand and tilting her head up to meet my gaze. It had been a completely unconscious move on my part, like it was natural for me to touch her, although I never had in that way before. I wanted to find out why she was doing those things. I wanted to scream my fears at her, wrap her up and take care of her. Her stubborn refusal to let me help upset me more than it should have done. Yes, I'd say I knew then.
Up until that day, when my world began to come apart at the seams, I'd managed to avoid a confrontation with my heart about the truth of my loving her. I have nowhere to run now; I can no longer tell myself lies.
Oh, B'Elanna - such defiance, such beauty and pride. In the corridor outside Sickbay, I'd stood for ages trying to turn around and go back in to her. But it would have been pointless. What could I have said?
Naively, I've always believed that love was supposed to be the making of a person, not the destroying. Daily my body appears to reflect my emotions. My appetite is sporadic, enough of a problem to have gained the attention of both Chakotay and Tuvok. My poor stomach feels constantly twisted I'm sure I'll never handle the awful way it churns when I see her and my sleep is restless at best. My days are filled with trying to think of some way, any way, that I can end this torture but, if there is a way, it evades me.
It always comes right back to the same thing, doesn't it? Starfleet Protocol. And when I'm not torturing myself with the fact that I, as captain, cannot take another member of my crew as a lover, I beat myself up with the fact that I swore her into the role of chief engineer. I suppose that makes me my own heart's executioner.
Well, damn the protocol to Hell.
Oh, I wish I could, but I'm bound by the rules I swore to adhere to. I can never speak my words of love to B'Elanna Torres; never display even the slightest sign of my interest in her.
Most days I can cope with it but today I feel a little low. It's the anniversary of my father's death; a day that always has me feeling vulnerable. I should stay away from her today, if I can. It would be for the best.
Computer, end Personal Log
B'ELANNA TORRES' PERSONAL LOG
Sometimes I think there's something more to that look she gives me, something deep and powerful, but I never get a chance to explore it before she purges it, giving way to cold efficiency. Then she is simply a captain giving an order to a chief engineer.
And what the hell was that all about, in Sickbay the other week, when she took hold of my chin and made me look at her? Somewhere in her eyes, mixed in with the disappointment, fear and concern I found... dare I say it?
Kathryn, do you love me?
Is that why you cover up the hope that creeps into your eyes when you look at me? Is that why you look so unhappy for so much of the time these days? And for what? Starfleet and its almighty rules? Damn it, we have practically no hope of ever reaching Earth in my lifetime: what possible difference could it make to Starfleet if you and I love each other?
Yes, Kathryn. I love you too.
There was too much fire in my head to wear the uniform of an organisation stuffed with rules. I've fought all my life, so why was I so docile? Damn. I should have refused. If I had, then maybe you and I would have stood a better chance.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm misreading the signs. It's possible. God, I hope not, but it's possible. Somehow, to hope that you might feel the way I do is kind of comforting in all this mess, even though I can never act on it.
Well, I can be as strong as you, lady. I can do 'indifference' too, for the sake of the damned rules. I know it's all we can have.
At least we share that.
Computer, end Personal Log.
The volume of the word shocked B'Elanna, but not as much as the sharp instrument, which embedded itself in her arm as she fell to the corridor floor outside Engineering. "Captain?"
The captain had retained her balance following the collision between the two of them. "I'm so sorry, B'Elanna," she said, squatting down beside the floored lieutenant and placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "You came out of Engineering so suddenly. I'm afraid I wasn't looking where I was going. Here, let me help you to your feet." She offered a hand, expecting the engineer to take it.
B'Elanna winced, moving her uninjured hand instead to the injury site, alerting the captain's eyes to the problem.
"Oh God, are you all right? Let me see." With infinite care, Kathryn reached out to the small wrist and turned it over, shocked at what she saw. The pale inner wrist was already stained with a macabre dance of blood oozing rhythmically in a circle around the puncture wound. "This is bad. We need to get you to Sickbay, now."
Two pairs of frightened eyes locked onto each other.
'I love you, you know.'
'I know. I love you too.'
Did it matter who thought what?
"You feel feint?"
"Hold on. Computer, site to site transport. Lock on to Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Torres and beam them both directly to Sickbay."
"Well, well. And what do we have here?" greeted the Doctor brightly, his proud head and cocksure manner already annoying the lieutenant.
"We collided in the corridor, Doctor," explained the captain, helping B'Elanna onto a bio bed. "It happened as she fell. It was an accident."
"Well I'd hardly think the lieutenant would INTEND to puncture herself in such a manner, would I?" Two pairs of eyes silently warned the Doctor against continuing his current line of conversation. "OK. Let me see," he asked, taking hold of B'Elanna's wrist so he could study the protrusion. "You have severed the main artery, obviously, and made quite a mess of..."
"Can you fix it?"
The Doctor's bedside manner visited him for long enough to placate his patient, who was obviously worried about lasting damage. "Of course," he said gently. "It will be as good as new. Captain, you can leave her in my care now."
"I'm not leaving." The voice was low and determined and no one was in any doubt as to her intentions.
"Well, so long as you're here, you might as well be useful," muttered the Doctor, leaving the two women reacting with smiles as he left them alone long enough to find what he needed.
"Does it hurt much?"
"Captain, hold this near the wound, will you?" The Doctor pushed a large soft pad into Kathryn's hand and she immediately understood its purpose; it was to stem the blood.
"Now, Lieutenant, something for the pain." The hypospray whooshed comfortingly and the Doctor knew he needed only moments before it became effective. "I'm going to remove the object slowly. There will be a lot of arterial bleeding, which is where you come in, Captain," he said nodding to Kathryn. "I can't begin to work on the damaged tendons, artery and veins until the protrusion has been removed. Ready?"
B'Elanna turned her face from the Doctor to Kathryn and back to the Doctor. "Ready," she said.
Kathryn moved the pad quickly into place and applied pressure the minute the object was removed and the physician then stepped in to do his job.
"There," said the Doctor at length, admiring his work. "That should do the trick."
B'Elanna flexed her hand and fingers, making a fist and stretching out the digits again. "Thank you, Doctor," she said humbly. "Any do's and don'ts, or can I just use it normally?"
"I don't think it'll give you any trouble, but if it does just report back, OK?"
"You didn't have to stay, you know."
Kathryn's mind instantly replied, 'You knew I'd stay,' as she studied the empty corridor before them as they walked along it. "You are my valued engineer and I wanted to make sure you were going to be all right. Besides, it was my fault. I should have been looking where I was going."
No one spoke, outwardly.
'I could kick myself for causing you to fall, for causing you pain.'
'You didn't. I'm the one who was careless here.'
'Hey, no harm done.'
"Thanks anyway." B'Elanna glanced sideways.
"You're welcome Lieutenant, but I expect you to look before you step through an open door in the future."
The two officers waited in silence for the turbolifts. One would travel up to the Bridge, and the other would travel down to Engineering. It seemed they were destined never to be together.
KATHRYN JANEWAY'S PERSONAL LOG
I saw something today, and I don't know if it makes me feel better about all this or worse. I saw the love in B'Elanna's eyes, for me. But it changes nothing; I still can't act on it, can I? I think she knows I love her too.
What a mess.
Computer, end Personal Log
B'ELANNA TORRES' PERSONAL LOG
I have to do something; I don't know what but I have to try... something. I can't just leave it like this. Kathryn, I want you so much. I want to hold you and talk with you, the way lovers do. Damn it, this just isn't fair.
I'll talk to her in the morning.
'You think that's wise? Bringing it out in the open?'
'You got a better idea?'
'Well, no. But once it's said, you can't push it all away and go back to the way things were. It might end up worse than it is right now.'
'C'mon, it couldn't be any worse.'
'Yes. It could.'
Or perhaps I don't talk to her in the morning. Oh, God.
Computer, end Personal Log.
Kathryn managed to slip into Engineering without the chief seeing her, and she conducted her business quietly with Carey before sidling up close to the engineer. "Your arm giving you any trouble?"
B'Elanna jumped. "Captain! Uh, no, it's fine." She flexed her hand and arm obligingly. "See...? No trouble at all."
"Well, that's a relief." 'Do you know how hard it is for me to talk with you like this? Like we mean nothing more to each other than our professional status demands? Oh, B'Elanna.'
'Oh God, don't look at me like that. Not here.' The lieutenant cast her eyes around the room before looking back into the noisy silence of blue/grey. The captain seemed lost for words. "Captain?" 'Oh God, this is powerful.'
"I'm sorry, B'Elanna. I was just thinking..."
"Anything you can let me in on?"
"Just... things." 'That I wish I could share with you.' "Well, I must go. This ship won't run itself."
'Talk to me.' "No, I guess it won't. And thanks for asking about my arm."
"You're welcome." Kathryn allowed herself a full, unguarded smile before she realised what she was doing. Quickly she closed her mouth and simply looked into the dark eyes of her chief engineer, speaking volumes in the silence and, with the colour surfacing just a little on her cheeks, she backed off and left the room.
'Idiot,' she remonstrated, walking down the corridor of Deck 11 towards the turbolift. 'She's know now, wouldn't you think?'
'There's no harm...'
'No harm? Are you kidding? Did you see the look you got back?'
'She'll think you're giving her a sign, a signal to go ahead. You're such a fool. You couldn't simply have kept this to yourself?'
'But I love her. These things will out. I've tried to hide it but, in truth, I suppose I don't want to.'
'But you won't act on it either?'
'Oh, you and your complicated existence.'
The captain's conversation with herself was interrupted by the arrival of the turbolift and, once inside it, she did a remarkable job of turning her attention to matters of the Bridge.
'Now you saw that, didn't you?'
'Oh, I saw it all right. Question is, did she want me to see it? And does she want me to do anything about it?'
'I guess there's only one way to find out.'
'What... you mean ASK her? Oh yeah. Right. That's going to go well. Good morning, Captain; here's the report you asked for and, by the way, are you in love with me? 'Cause I am with you.'
"Mr Carey? I'm sorry what?"
"You're spilling your drink."
B'Elanna grinned sheepishly at her officer and cast a nervous look around to see if anyone else had noticed.
"Something on your mind?"
'Kathryn.' "No, nothing. I guess I was daydreaming. Thanks." She took the cloth Joe held out to her and wiped up the small puddle of fluid from the console. Luckily, it had fallen where it could do no damage. 'C'mon, shake yourself out of it.'
'Or shake myself further into it.'
'And what exactly does that mean?'
'Approach her. How hard can it be?'
'You mean, put my cards on the table?'
'Sure. Go for it. You can't tell me that, after that look...?'
'But what? I thought you Klingon's were supposed to be brave, afraid of nothing...?'
'Nothing outside of myself. But of losing her - I'm not sure I know that kind of bravery.'
'So you're just going to leave it at that? You're not going to say anything?'
'Well, maybe I..."
With infinite care and gentleness, Joe Carey took the cup from his superior's hands and set it down on the surface. Then he wiped away the second spilt puddle and smiled at his superior's slightly abashed face before walking away.
KATHRYN JANEWAY'S PERSONAL LOG
I don't know what to do... what to say to B'Elanna. And I'm completely sure that I should neither do nor say anything, but I want to... so much.
A dangerous thought.
There has to be some way of getting back that easy camaraderie that existed between us before all this blew up. I miss it so much. Damn it, I have to restore something because, right now, it feels like I'm losing it all, losing her, and I can't allow that. I won't.
I'll have to be more careful because if I continue behaving as I am doing then surely she will... But who am I kidding? She already knows, the woman isn't stupid.
The question is, how do I direct my heart to go against its natural instincts? I love her.
Computer, End Personal Log.
B'ELANNA TORRES' PERSONAL LOG
I can't stand this; it's driving me crazy. I can't sleep; I can't concentrate at work; I can't settle at anything, and all because...
I've got to do something. OK, it may turn out to be the dumbest move I'll ever make but, hey, what's the worst that could happen? I'd lose her? What's the difference...?
A Plan. That's what I need, A Plan. But what?'
It might be more sensible to just leave things as they are except that, I'm certain now, she returns my feelings.
Tomorrow. I'll see her tomorrow. And nerves? You're in training 'cause I have an idea and I'll need every one of you to be ready. It's time I lay my cards on the table because I'm pretty damned sure she won't.
And if it makes things worse, then it does. That's it.
Computer, End Personal Log.
"What's this?" asked Janeway, looking at the small parcel her chief engineer had just placed on the Mess Hall desk in front of her.
"Open it and you'll find out," suggested B'Elanna.
"But Christmas has just passed. This looks like a Christmas gift to me."
"Ah, but someone once said 'Christmas is not for one day, Christmas is your whole life'."
Kathryn laid her hand across the top of the box and looked up at B'Elanna seriously, studying her face. "Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked pointedly, intuitively realising that the contents of this box would somehow change things between the two of them forever.
"Oh yes. I'm sure."
'I hope I am.' "Well then." Kathryn picked up the brightly coloured gift and opened it slowly. At first there was a puzzled frown which was quickly replaced by a lazy half-smile as she looked up at B'Elanna. "There's nothing in it."
"I know. I couldn't fit in."
"You couldn't...?" Kathryn blushed, as the engineer's words became clear to her. The empty box still held between her two hands, she stared up at B'Elanna with a sad frown tinged with tears. "B'Elanna, don't do this. You know I can't..."
"But you want to?" the engineer pushed.
"Oh, what I want," began Kathryn, pushing the chair back and walking past B'Elanna, "doesn't come into it, does it?" She sat on the couch under the window with her head in her hands, feeling an arm move around her shoulders. The touch was enough. All the stress, all the feelings, all the weeks of avoidance let go and she sobbed gently.
"But hey, I'm not Starfleet; not now. I was, years ago, but I walked out, remember?"
"History, B'Elanna. You're Starfleet now."
The engineer twisted Kathryn's body around towards her and held the moist face with both hands. "No. I'm not. Look, you gave me this commission true but Starfleet Command know nothing about it and, truly, I don't think you have the authority to take a person into Starfleet who hasn't covered the required exams. I'm not Starfleet, Kathryn. Please, I'm not."
After a long searching look, Kathryn allowed herself to rest her head on B'Elanna's shoulder and accept a hand stroking her hair. She closed her eyes, savouring the feeling of closeness and, if she was honest, love, and relaxed her body into B'Elanna's, feeling herself being drawn into a hug.
They stayed like that for many minutes, simply holding and being held, until B'Elanna reached down and angled Kathryn's head upwards.
"I have to. I know you can't give us any more than this, so I guess this kiss will have to last a long time." B'Elanna smiled slightly as she looked into the eyes of the person she would probably never make love to. Slowly she lowered her lips to Kathryn's and felt no resistance.
Kathryn's tears tried hard to wash her principles and her adherence to the rules away, but she knew B'Elanna had spoken the truth. This could be all they would ever have. With that thought she let go and kissed her love freely and openly, making it last as long as she dared before pulling back and resting her forehead against B'Elanna's cheek.
"You're right. I can't allow 'us' because I truly believe you are Starfleet now. B'Elanna, my principles won't let..."
"Damn your principles," sobbed B'Elanna quietly into Kathryn's forehead, sniffing occasionally in the silence that followed.
Kathryn allowed the closeness for several minutes before tightly closing her eyes, trying to blot out all the hurt. She took a deep breath and, with an effort of will, she pushed B'Elanna gently away from her and stood up, wiping her cheeks with both hands at once. "Ah," she sighed in a resigned manner, smiling down at her engineer. "Lieutenant, you have given me, without doubt, the best Christmas gift I could ever have hoped for."
"But you won't accept it."
"I cannot. Not now, anyway. But I make you a promise, B'Elanna Torres. The minute we get home we're going to sort this out. I promise. I want you," she sniffed, blinking her eyes free of the tears that had re-formed, "but a captain has to follow the rules, even if it's at her own cost. Just because Starfleet can't see me, doesn't mean I can bend the rules to suit my own ends, does it? You know I have to do this by the book. I'm so sorry."
B'Elanna stood, which brought her very close to Kathryn's body. Kathryn didn't move away and B'Elanna knew her breath would be felt on her love's face as she said, "I expected rejection... came in here prepared for it. But, hey?"
"What?" By some divine effort of will, Kathryn was able to stand so close and not reach out. "What is it?"
"You love me too, right?"
"And the rules say we can't have a relationship?"
"Right. Not yet, anyway."
"But can we at least talk tell each other how we feel when we're alone?" The look was beseeching, painfully so, and Kathryn knew she had to relent in part.
"Oh, I hope so," she cried softly. "I need that so much. I don't think they could deny us that."
"Then I guess it'll have to be enough. We must both be strong enough to..."
"Chakotay to Janeway."
Kathryn frowned at B'Elanna and tapped her comm. badge. "Is this urgent, Commander?"
"Then give me a few minutes, will you? Janeway out."
Kathryn searched B'Elanna's eyes. "You're not angry with me?"
The lieutenant took a few steps back and looked at her commanding officer. "Are you kidding? I came in here with no real idea what you felt about me, and I'm going out knowing not only that you love me but that when we get back home, you want to be with me. To cap it all, until then we can talk about our feelings openly. So what's to be mad about? Tell me?" she sniffed. "You made my day, AND I got a kiss. What more...?"
Kathryn beamed. "All right. I have some serious work to do and you've got to get out of here right now. I've got to find some way to get us home, as soon as possible!"
"As soon as," agreed a happy engineer, planting a platonic kiss on her captain's cheek, holding out her hands either side to indicate there would be nothing more. "Happy New Year, Kath."
"And to you, my love." Kathryn watched her go to the door, calling out before she left, "Hey?"
"Nothing. I just wanted to look at you again."
No words were necessary as B'Elanna smiled widely and left.
"Please God," breathed the captain. "I know you're probably very busy, but I have something important to ask, OK? Find me a way home? Soon?"
Kathryn turned away from the door and picked the box up from the desk, holding it to her before she put it in the drawer and then sighed, hitting her comm. badge.
"Now then, Commander...?" 'I wish I could tell you that I love B'Elanna' "...what was it that you wanted?"
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