by Delta Story
Sleep is playing hide and seek with me tonight.
I throw off the covers once more – too hot now. My body tosses; it’s difficult to find a comfort level. Not even the computer, with its silent heat-sensing, can keep up with the changes I’m feeling. My legs and feet throb from the efforts of the day; my shoulders and neck remain stiff from hours of strain. A long soaking bath did nothing to relax me.
I’m cold; I pull up the sheet and blanket again, only to feel their weight press down upon me. I throw them off and sit on the edge of the bed, taking in long, deep breaths, letting the air out slowly as I count the beats of my heart. Counting… three… four… five… closing my eyes, willing myself to fall into slumber. My eyes become heavy, my head nods. I ease myself back down onto the bed… and wake up almost immediately. Awake but drugged with tiredness, I thrust my fist into my pillow; angry tears well in my sleepless eyes.
Years ago… before Voyager… before the Delta Quadrant… I knew what would help. I would roll over and feel for Mark. Even as he slept, the rhythm of his breath, the warmth of his body, his solidness, would comfort me and calm me. And, better yet, if he awoke, he knew of other motions and movements that would relax me, even as they awoke every fiber of my being. Something deep inside me rumbles, remembering those primordial responses from long ago, tensing parts of me that I must ignore, for I am the captain of a starship, long lost and away from all familiar. I must keep those feelings sublimated; that is my duty, my responsibility. I am a leader and a leader must make sacrifices; Chakotay and I agreed to that long ago.
I am trembling again, not from the cold, but from the memories of when we made this agreement. It’s been almost five years, and we’ve both adhered to that vow, for better or for worse. I chuckle thinking about the use of those particular words. Has it been difficult for him… to go without… to abstain? Or, has he found a different path? My eyes grow heavy again as I muse on his fidelity, his seeming celibacy during all of this. I feel comforted and lie down, this time sinking into the nothingness of sleep.
I jolt awake. I feel something against me. I turn and face the form I sense in my bed. I reach out and touch warm flesh – warm, solid flesh. A hand cups the curve of my shoulder and pulls me close. Not a word is spoken as the other hand reaches around me, fingers pushing into the small of my back, urging me to move closer. I feel heat, smell a pungent muskiness. The sensation of movement between our bodies tells me that we are naked, that this is a responding male in my bed. Why? How? Questions fly through my mind, but falter with the rising needs. My hand ventures up and I feel the firm fullness of his bicep, the width of his shoulders. I take a quick breath as I realize that the firm muscles are young; that this hard body is youthful. Virile, insistent; his urgency enters me, and explodes. He moans, and the voice I hear is more tenor than baritone. I realize that I am with – Harry Kim!
His eyes catch mine. They are languid and piercing, pleading and inviting all at once. He pulls back and away from me, revealing my own nakedness, exposing me in ways I never knew could be, undressing me even though I have nothing on, peeling me away layer by layer, peering into my innermost secret being, thrilling with each new discovery. All I see are his eyes – large, full eyes, innocent and teasing; greedy with need. The rest of him disappears. I feel his hurt and pain – deep and wanting, pleading but passionate, asking only to be needed and loved. I reach out to him – and the blue gray pools of his eyes take their rightful place. They are not in the face of Harry, but surrounded by the high forehead, rimmed with thinning blond hair, of Tom Paris. His eyes for the first time I can ever remember are filled with tears.
The eyes fade, as does all else. I am aware only of fingers playing a game with my body. Long fingers, capable fingers – exploring and touching, dancing and whirling; fingers exquisite in their knowledge of my needs and desires. With practiced rhythms, they parade over my body, finding niches long denied and forgotten, recalling the lost music of my soul. They call to attention the dark flesh of my breasts; I feel the rising heat as they swell in response to his touch. With a clipped pace, they march down the curves of my torso, tuning fibers connected deep within, until my entire body reverberates to their touch. In and out, over and under, probing and pushing to the time of a syncopated metronome, tuning me to a perfect pitch. My voice calls out, whether in song or shout I don’t know. He places two of his slick fingers across my lips, playing my own music back to me. My lips part, smiling in appreciation of a fine performance, and I am met by the face of Tuvok. His silent face disappears in the darkness, leaving only the tingling of his touch.
I sigh and close my eyes, rolling onto my back, sinking into satisfied slumber. But my rest is momentary – a lilting voice and the smell of sweet spring call and arouse me. All is lightness as my eyes adjust; I am no longer in my bed but high on a verdant hillside, seated on the ground, surveying a sunny panorama. My weight is supported equally by the trunk of an ancient oak and the firm chest of a human male. His singing enchants my spirit as his hands entertain my body, a blurred fusion of mental and physical pleasure, making no demands of me, understanding my total needs. He must feel my stare, for he stops and smiles down on me. “Ah, sweet Katie, you are indeed my heaven on earth, a blessing in human form,” he says, his voice enveloping me like a smoky mist. His smile becomes a kiss, soft and lush, succulent with the taste of wine we have been drinking. I shiver and he pulls me into him, resuming his lyrical serenade. I fall contentedly into Michael Sullivan.
I sense a change in the way I am being held, in my position and posture. The hand touching me now, gently resting on my shoulder, is larger, feels more protective. The warmth and smells of the Irish countryside have been replaced with a cold darkness creeping in through a utilitarian window as the owner of the hand opens the door of a small apartment. The door closes and he grasps me firmly, turning me towards him, pulling me into an appreciative embrace. Is this love or duty; passion or need? He touches my face; I feel the coarseness of his calloused hand scrape across the smoothness of my cheek, leaving an imprint of stark emotion, wanting more but barred by deep loneliness. Is that loneliness his or mine? It is difficult to say. He calls mine to the surface as he silently smiles, letting me know that he knows but will not insult me by pointing out my own flaws. “Are you hungry?” he asks, pulling off his jacket but making no move to help me with my own. “Do you want me to cook or shall we try something together?” I laugh to myself – he seems to know of that particular deficiency of mine! No pretense, no illusions. Efficient and equal. Caring and practical. I feel – what? Is there love? Is there anything beyond the admiration? Where is the passion, Jaffen? You give me equality and adoration, but not the passion.
Ah, passion! The thought of the word sends chills down my spine as my eyes readjust to yet another scene. Again it is dark and cold, but the air sizzles with his very presence, the vibrancy of his voice, the fire of his eyes. But it’s the lips – full and lush, tender and demanding, sweet and sinister as they overtake me and draw me into him. His tongue explores and caresses me, anointing me with his hot taste, burning me with his desire. I want to respond in kind, but his masterful moves enslave me to him. Before I realize it, he eases me out of my shirt, laying a trail down my body with his mouth. He leaves his searing mark in secret places only I will know. He draws my deepest fears to the surface, suckling them like nourishment for his soul. Soul – what soul? For those very lips that consume me also spit out nothing but lies. Do I believe him – or abhor him? Either way, he captures me and uses me… and I let him. His assault continues; he finds the pinnacle of my desire. His tongue pummels its door and finds an easy entry. I cry out in spite of myself, pulling Kashyk further into to me even as I should push him away. My cries fade into sated whimpers that lull me to sleep.
I awake with a start and sit up. My bed covers are contorted into a twisted medusa, askew and barely recognizable; my body sags, weak and spent. My eyes burn as they try to focus on the glowing numbers on the bedside chronometer – it is 0500, almost time to begin another day. My mind swirls with a cacophony of residual emotions and images, snippets of memories of a night full of erotic pleasure. I glance at myself – I am naked, my nightgown sunken into a sluggish pool beside the bed. The recycled air seems stale, heavy with spent physical activity. My mind snaps awake – there is someone in the bed with me! Am I still dreaming – or was there never a dream – and all is real? My head spins with the speculation, recalling tumbling images of guilty pleasures of the night. Who… what?
I ease the covers off the slumbering body next to me – it is Chakotay! In his sleep, he looks happy and at ease; all the cares and concerns that I see daily are gone, replaced by satisfied contentment. I have never seen him look so at peace. I finish pulling the sheet and blanket down, revealing his entire body. I have seen his naked form before – in sickbay – but I’ve never seen it this way. His flesh, no longer taut with the tension of youth, glows with a burnished softness that comes with the years. I reach out and touch his arm, draped across his body. He twitches at my touch and rolls slightly onto his back. A musky acridness penetrates my nostrils; I see the residue of dried fluids along his body and legs and all parts in between. Did we – how? Why now? I sit back on my bare haunches, my mind races. All of the sights and sounds of my hazy dreams swirl and coalesce into one as I realize my nocturnal visitors were not multiple but only one – the wonderful man who now shares my bed. All of my hopes and dreams… desires and needs… not spread out among different forms and beings, but all contained in one person, the person I’d denied myself for so long. I suddenly sense that all of the dreams were real: every moment of perfection is packaged here in him.
My breathing becomes rapid. My warm exhales bathe his face - his eyes flutter open with a smile. He reaches up to my face and strokes my cheek as he says my name: “Kathryn.” I take his hand and kiss the broad fingertips, silent in my acceptance of his presence. He respects my unspoken response and pulls me closer to him.
We remain still; an aura of awe wraps us in its phantom arms. There will be a time for questions and answers later, as dreams awake to reality. For now, this is all we need; this is our space and our time – a time long lost in the ages, now born into a glorious new being.