DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. :( Don't own much anyway, so there's no reason to sue me. :)
SPOILERS: Season 5 episode "Nothing human"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Too Human
By Zenecekida

B'Elanna was grinding her teeth and tapping furiously on the PADDs

she was studying or, at least, pretended to be studying. She was still reeling about the fact that that Cardassian thing... that P'taq... had operated on her. Against her wishes no less; as if her opinion about the matter was insignificant. She took a deep breath, determined not to throw the PADDs to the other side of the room, no matter how good it might feel to do so. The scent of the ritual candles she had lit filled her nostrils and calmed her somewhat.

She tried to concentrate on her PADDs again when the door chime sounded.

"Come in," she answered tersely. It was probably Tom; if he had come to pick a fight again, he would be in for a treat considering her current mood. When the doors opened, she was surprised to see the captain entering her quarters and automatically got up. It was ironic, she thought, how she, a former Maquis, was standing at attention as a sign of respect for a Starfleet captain, when that same captain had, in a way, disrespected the Maquis so blatantly a few hours earlier.

"At ease." With a dismissive hand gesture Kathryn stopped B'Elanna

from getting up. She noted the heavy scented air and eyed the smoking candles, that were responsible for it, suspiciously. "Interesting fragrance. I'm surprised it hasn't set off

the environmental alarms."

"It's a combination of mental relaxant and expeller of demons. It's

an ancient Klingon remedy." came B'Elanna's neutral reply.

Kathryn stood perfectly still, her command mask in place, trying to

gauge the other woman's mood. "Feeling any better?"

B'Elanna answered through clenched teeth. "I'm alive."

Kathryn mentally shook her head. She understood B'Elanna's reaction

but she also wanted the young woman to see that she'd had a valid

reason to violate her wishes. She took a few steps further into the

room. "I hope you can understand why I went against your wishes, B'Elanna. Losing you was unacceptable."

B'Elanna stayed silent and focused her attention on her PADDs

again in an attempt to keep her temper in check.

Resisting the urge to sigh, Kathryn persisted. "I know you're angry, but we need to put this behind us. Understood?"

The compulsory tone of the question clearly showed that the captain

would not take no for an answer. B'Elanna continued to study the PADDs, fuming on the inside. "Is that an order?"

Kathryn hesitated a fraction of a second. Not only did she want to

resolve this matter professionally but also, on a personal level,

she wanted to clear the air with the younger woman. However, since she had started the conversation as the captain of Voyager and not as a personal friend, she thought it best to keep it professional. And in that case she could make it an order. "Yes."

Somehow the formality of it all angered B'Elanna further. She still

tried her best not to snap at the captain, but the derision in her

voice was apparent. "You can't order someone to get rid of an emotion, Captain!"

It was obvious that B'Elanna was holding back, so Kathryn decided

to push a little more. "And what emotion is that?"

B'Elanna spit out the words that had been running through her

head ever since she had woken up in Sickbay after the procedure. "You had no right to make that decision for me!"

"I'm the captain, you're my crewman. I did what I thought best."

Surely B'Elanna had to see the logic behind that?

"So I'm ship's business now? You made the decision because this ship

needs me? How nice to know that my abilities are so valuable."

Her voice was now dangerously low and Kathryn unconsciously took a

step back.

"I said that losing you was unacceptable, and that includes your

engineering skills as well as your personality. Although at the

moment it's hard to see why."

B'Elanna let out a cold, dead serious laugh. "If you respect my personality, if you respect me, as you say you do, Captain, then you wouldn't have let that Cardassian come anywhere near me. You wouldn't have made me guilty of benefiting from the torture of thousands of innocent Bajorans. So, obviously, Captain, I don't think you respect me that much."

Kathryn was beginning to see that the professional approach on the

situation had not really been the best choice because this was going from bad to terribly wrong, terribly fast. It upset her a great deal that B'Elanna was convinced that her decision had come from a lack of respect for the Klingon woman. Her command mask slipped away and her resolve to keep it professional crumpled. "B'Elanna, I... I couldn't just let you die. Not when there was an alternative. Morality seemed... insignificant next to losing you. This has nothing to do with a lack of respect for you."

Her statement didn't seem to convince B'Elanna. Kathryn stepped closer again and sat down on a side table facing the other woman. She swallowed and mentally steeled herself. "As you know, I'm usually a big fan of principles."

"Then why did you disregard mine?"

Kathryn raised her hand to stop B'Elanna. "Let me finish, please."

She put her hands in her lap and studied them meticulously. "I know it must seem like I'm applying double standards here. And maybe in a way that is the case." Kathryn looked up and B'Elanna was almost shocked to see the raw emotion in her captain's eyes. Her voice was low and husky as she continued. "But understand this B'Elanna. The only thing that mattered at that moment was the fact that I couldn't bear to lose you... Consequences be damned. Principles be damned."

All the anger B'Elanna felt suddenly dissipated because of that

heartfelt declaration. Never in all those years had she ever seen

such a strong display of emotion from her captain. She was

stupefied - completely taken aback by the obvious strong feelings the captain held for her. Her mind had difficulty processing the fact that she could evoke such feelings in someone in the first

place. The people that cared deeply for her could be counted on the

fingers of one hand. And she'd definitely never considered the captain to be one of them. With a jolt she realised she was staring; and probably had been for a while.

Kathryn had watched the play of emotions on the Klingon's face with

a certain degree of relief. She couldn't quite figure out what was

going through B'Elanna at the moment, but she was fairly sure that anger or contempt weren't there. When the other woman jerked back to

the present, Kathryn felt her stomach do a loop in nervous anticipation of her reaction.

B'Elanna was still more than a little confused. "I... I never knew."

At the questioning raised eyebrow, she added, "That you cared so much, I mean."

"I care, B'Elanna. I care a lot more than I'm supposed to..."

Her stomach was lurching violently now.

B'Elanna frowned. "What exactly are you saying?"

Kathryn took a deep breath. This was going out in the open once and

for all now; she had kept things inside way too long. "I'm saying that some things, and some people, are worth more than principles. You are one of those people to me, B'Elanna."

All B'Elanna managed to utter was an unintelligible, "Wow". The enormity of the captain's words sank in slowly. She registered

the expectant look in the blue eyes that were staring at her. "Captain, I'm sorry, but I need a minute here. You did drop quite

the bombshell."

Kathryn couldn't hide her disappointment as her shoulders sagged a

little. She stood and headed for the door. "Of course B'Elanna. Take all the time you need. You should be resting anyway."

B'Elanna leapt to her feet as well. "No! Kathryn! You don't have to leave. Just... stay? Please?"

"Okay." Kathryn turned and walked towards the view port. The younger woman moved to stand next to her and took Kathryn's hand in her own. Kathryn softly stroked it with her thumb. They stood like that for several minutes, in silence, next to one another, hands intertwined, looking at the stars streaking by, slowly gravitating towards each other until they stood shoulder to shoulder.

B'Elanna sighed deeply and laid her head on Kathryn's shoulder. She

felt a soft kiss being pressed to her hair and smiled softly. This

amazing woman cared deeply for her. The feeling was most definitely mutual. No question about that. It had always been there, a silent wanting, but she never actually considered that Kathryn could feel the same. Her mind was reeling; but she didn't want to rush into this. She'd had her heart broken that way too many times. She always seemed to care more for her lover than the other way around so, half-Klingon or not, she'd learned to be more careful.

Kathryn loosened their fingers and put her arm around B'Elanna's

waist instead, to stand more comfortably. B'Elanna did the same and

turned into Kathryn, pulling her close. She studied her captain's

face carefully and saw nothing but love and reassurance in her eyes.

Kathryn softly stroked her cheek and saw B'Elanna closing her eyes

briefly. She tilted her chin with her index finger, drawing closer

very slowly, giving B'Elanna enough time to back off should she

want to do so. However, backing off was the last thing on B'Elanna's

mind. Kathryn stopped scant millimeters from B'Elanna's lips.

"I love you, B'Elanna."

That was all the encouragement B'Elanna needed; she tenderly pressed

her lips against Kathryn's. A perky tongue brushed over her lips,

requesting more intimate contact and B'Elanna was only too happy to

oblige. The kiss was a slow and intense one and left them both out of breath. They stood together in a comfortable hug, when B'Elanna smirked. "So I beat your principles huh?"

"That's a no-brainer," came the amused reply.

"Does that mean I can call you `honey' on the Bridge and have sex

with you on the Briefing Room table?" B'Elanna wiggled her eyebrows


Kathryn smiled sweetly. "Don't push it, young lady. `Honey' is absolutely out of the question." She smiled wickedly. "However, sex in the Briefing Room? That may be open for discussion..."

The End

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