Note: There's about a minute in the episode "Blood Fever," where B'Elanna insists that it's not just the Pon Farr talking and Tom nearly gives in, that makes my knees weak every time. And every time, I'm struck by just how badly they both want to give way, and how important it is that they don't. It's a defining moment in the P/T dynamic, and it's sexy as hell.

This was an exercise in getting inside a character's body and exploring some of what never gets said on network TV, and it's not very insightful - but it was one of the first things I wrote, and however irrationally I still kind of like it.

Disclaimer: I am inspired by what Paramount leaves out; I couldn't do it without them.

Rating: M, just to be safe. (I call it PG-13, for being basically all about sex but not terribly graphic.)

I've spent hours, days, maybe, trying to get her to notice me, to glance my way; alone in my quarters, after I rib Harry about the Delaneys or fake interest in beautiful holograms, I lie back and imagine what it must be like to be close to her. I can't get within a meter of her without feeling her heat creep up my spine, and what accidental touches we've shared have thrown me for a loop. What is it about her that has so totally disarmed me?

Some nights, that fantasy doesn't stop there, and she's not just near me, she's touching me, her skin burning against mine, her lips fire against my mouth, my neck, my chest. I don't dare go too much further, at least not while awake - why torture myself with what I'll never have? But in my dreams I imagine her skin shining with sweat, smooth and strong under my hands. In those dreams her hair is slick between my fingers, her body light above mine, and her words whisper in my ears. When I wake in the morning, hours before my alarm, my body is warm with her imagined touch, and I am almost surprised to find that she isn't sleeping against me. In those dreams, she wants me.

And now, here, she does want me. She's backed me up against a wall, but I can't even feel the jagged rock at my back, because she's inches from me: all I can feel is the heat of her body, her breath against my neck. I want to taste the sheen of sweat across her collarbones, search the hills and valleys of her body with my tongue, trail kisses down her belly and feel her fingers clench in my hair. I want to take her, to push her up against the wall and make her feel so good that she doesn't feel the rock digging into her skin, either.

Her lips hot and hesitant against mine, and I know that I'm moments from giving in. I want to give in, want to let her know how beautiful she is, how sexy, how much I want her. All those idle dreams are coming true, my impossible desires, the one woman who was never going to give way is here, begging me, telling me that she shares those desires. I want her, body and soul.

But there's this tiny little voice, whispering over the blood pounding in my ears, that says, you can't have both, Tom. I want to push it away, because her shoulders are firm, hot beneath my hands, and her arms are lifted, boxing me in, but I can't. I can have her body but not her soul, not here, not now. Her lips catch mine again and my heart breaks.

She's offering me her body; she's giving me what I've always wanted from women. I know that she thinks I'm a womanizer and a pig, and that an ass like that would jump at the chance to have a woman like her. And as she sighs against me, as I push deeper into her kiss, let myself taste the skin along her neck, it's almost enough; I take control of her, and it's almost worth giving up my daydreams for that lithe, strong body. Her hand grazes my cheek, and I almost trade all those imagined hours lying close and silent and serene together, all for a chance to love her right now.

The thing is, though, that as I push her against the far wall, let my lips touch hers just one more time, I know that a woman like her won't have anything to do with that kind of man. My arousal stirs, and I know that if I press against her she'll feel it, and I won't be able to resist her anymore. If I give in to her body and mine, she'll never let me close again; I'll never wake to find her curled against me, the curves of her body lit by the stars. She'll never kiss me with anything other than animal lust, and I'll never know more about her than this wild passion that the blood fever has woken in her. Her pride, her anger, will keep us apart. And all the wanting in the world won't overcome a friendship broken by sex, a flirtation prematurely flowered by absurd Vulcan hormones.

I want her; I want to let it happen; I want to believe it when she says that she has wanted me for so long. I want it to be true that she lies awake at night, imagining my touch, too. But more than that, I want to know that she wants me, body and soul, the way I want her.

I hope someday you'll say that to me and mean it. I'm prepared when she pushes me away, her anger and her disappointment and her desperation evident, but it still hurts me, to give up what I wanted so badly. The air is cold after the heat of her body, and my mind is curiously blank, as though she occupied my whole world and now it's empty.

I want her, so much that I ache with the need. But more, I want to hope for her, for her desire free of chemical imbalances, for her strength and surprising tenderness, for her trust.

For her love.