The infection spread quickly. Later, when it was all over, the Doctor would admit that he found the virus to be a thing of beauty – efficient and deadly just as a virus should be. Once the virus found a host, the first symptom appeared within six hours. In 24 hours, the host was already producing the virus in every cell like the most industrious of factories. Four hours after that came the Urge.

The only flaw the Doctor could find with the virus, other than eventual fatality, was the exacting standards it needed for a host. Ultimately, this benefited the crew of Voyager. The virus only found purchase in 10 crewmembers. They were all human, all Caucasian with fair hair and light eyes. All had been raised in the same geographic region – the North American continent. The more the Doctor studied his patients the more similarities he found – similar diets, exercise routines, and sleeping patterns. Apparently, the virus preferred insomniacs, the Doctor noted. Also, it appreciated hierarchy.

It had hit the Captain first.

oooo

Janeway had decided to appreciate the time away from her ship. Four people in a single shuttlecraft made it a little crowded, but Neelix kept up pleasant conversation in the back with Ensign Vorick like the ambitious morale officer he was. The fact that Vorick was Vulcan and most uninterested in benign conversation seemed not to phase Neelix in the slightest.

Tom was at the helm with Janeway riding shotgun. For the time being, she didn't concern herself with scans or telemetry. She didn't glance at the helm or check to see if they were back in communications range with Voyager. Instead, she just enjoyed the ride.

"We should be docking back in shuttle bay two in just under an hour," Tom said, leaning back in his seat.

"Well done, Mr. Paris," she said. "I'd say this was a successful scouting mission."

At her words, Tom winced. She could hear the air being sucked in between clenched teeth.

"What?" she asked, sitting up, her body already preparing for battle.

"I think you just jinxed us, Captain," he said.

"Jinxed us?" she asked.

"Declaring a mission a success before we're even docked? That's just bad luck," Tom said. "I feel like I should raise shields just as a precaution."

"Have a little faith, Tom," she said, smiling a lop-sided smile. "Our shuttle is packed to the gills with foodstuffs and now that we know it's safe, we can load up Voyager. Today is a good day."

He winced again.

"I really wish you'd stop talking like that," he said. "It makes me uncomfortable."

She rolled her eyes.

"Neelix, Ensign, are either one of you superstitious?" she called to the back. Behind them, Neelix and Vorick sat facing one another on the benches that lined each bulkhead.

"Superstition is completely illogical," Vorick said.

"Just as I thought," Janeway said, sending Tom a sly, sideways glance. Tom smirked. "And you, Mr. Neelix?"

"Not as a rule, Captain," he said. "Though it never hurts to be cautious."

"Would you ever declare a mission a success before it was over?" Tom called back, glancing over his shoulder at Neelix.

"Good heavens, no," Neelix exclaimed. "That's not superstition, that's just common sense!"

Tom laughed openly. Janeway huffed as if hurt.

An hour later, Tom piloted the shuttle smoothly into the bay and powered down the engines.

"Is it safe now?" she asked teasingly.

"You're the boss," he replied. It wasn't exactly agreement, but she decided to take it as a win.

oooo

On the bridge, she stood up and felt a little woozy. It passed quickly, however, but still she hesitated before taking a step.

"You all right?" Chakotay asked softly. He'd been seated behind her going over the day's personnel logs on the console between their chairs.

"Fine," she said. "I just had an odd sensation for a moment. I just must've stood up too fast."

"You've been on duty for fifteen hours now," he said. "I think it's fair you call it a day."

"Yes, Sir," she said, a smile on her lips. She was tired, now that she gave it some thought. Eating breakfast in the mess hall seemed like days ago, not hours. It'd been an eventful day, the bulk of it spent planet side with Tom and the others. This region of space had been quiet, nearly deserted, and finding the uninhabited M-class planet ripe for the picking had been a wonderful treat. Chakotay hadn't even made a fuss when she decided to go scouting herself.

In her quarters, she thought half-heartedly about taking a bath, but ultimately decided she was too tired for all that hassle and simply went to sleep. As she was lying down, she felt the same wave of disorientation. It was just as it had been on the bridge – for a second she was dizzy and almost nauseous but nothing so specific. It was, she thought, how a hot flash might be.

Maybe it was just her body's way of telling her that she was entering a new phase in her life. It was a depressing thought and she vowed to visit sickbay the next day if the feeling returned – if she could find the time.

oooo

Janeway wasn't sure how long her alarm had been sounding. The noise had somehow wound its way into her dreams. Generally, she managed to wake up every morning a few minutes before the alarm even went off, her body anticipating the noise, but this morning, she'd slept right through it and waking up seemed to take a lot of added effort. She felt groggy and unlike herself.

She ordered the computer to terminate the alarm and forgot about resetting it all together. When she crawled out of bed, she definitely felt the same flash of heat and confusion but it didn't dissipate swiftly like the last time. Instead it seemed to cling to her both psychologically and physically. Her brain felt like it was working at three quarters of her normal speed. Her skin felt clammy and thick and she wished that she'd bothered to take that bath last night after all.

When she looked at the chronometer that sat on her desk, she was startled to see she was due on the bridge in fifteen minutes. A sonic shower would have to do and she would have to put off the visit to sickbay as well.

In the mirror, she noticed she was perspiring a little. Perhaps something was amiss with the warp core. She'd have to remember to check with B'Elanna at the senior staff meeting. By the time she was showered and dressed there was no time to do anything with her hair. All she could do was brush it back and secure it with an elastic band. Not the most dignified or stable hairstyle but better than nothing.

She was halfway to the bridge before she realized she forgot make-up completely. It was just going to be one of those days.

oooo

Tom was three minutes late for his shift. Chakotay said nothing about his tardiness, however, because Janeway herself hadn't been the picture of punctuality either. Chakotay was surprisingly hardnosed about being on time for duty shifts – Janeway tended to give people about five minutes leeway. She saw Chakotay bite his tongue as Tom slid into his chair. Chakotay couldn't call out Tom without calling out the Captain and while her first office was a stickler, he wasn't stupid.

She sat in her chair and started her morning routine. She was just getting to the Operations report when she felt a bead of sweat slide down her back. She tugged at her turtleneck, seeking relief.

"Is it hot in here?" she asked, not directing the question at anyone in particular.

"The temperature is within accepted parameters," Harry answered promptly, looking at her with some concern.

"B'Elanna isn't working with the core?" she pressed, glancing at Chakotay. He furrowed his brow.

"She's been in the Science Lab all morning, trying to work out that bug in their processing matrix," he said.

"You aren't crazy, Captain," Tom said, swiveling around in his chair. "I feel it too."

Now that she looked at him, his cheeks did look a little rosier than usual and she could detect a fine sheen on his upper lip.

"Maybe you should go to sickbay," Chakotay said. "Both of you."

"I don't feel sick," Tom said, turning back around.

"I don't either," Janeway said. "Just warm."

"It's quiet here," Chakotay said. "Better safe than sorry."

"Don't be such a hypochondriac," she snapped. He looked startled and she was surprised that she'd spoken so harshly to him. It was out of character and the words had come from seemingly nowhere, had escaped her mouth before her brain had even processed that she'd thought them. "I mean," she said, forcing a more gentle tone, "I'll stop by at lunch. No need to upset the whole day about it."

"Aye, Ma'am," Chakotay said turning back to his console. Though she knew it would appear cowardly, she went into her ready room, wanting a little peace. At least in there, she could lower the temperature to a more comfortable level. She didn't care what anyone said – the bridge was warm and the temperature seemed to be rising.

oooo

Somehow, she and Tom end up in the same turbolift. She'd purposefully gone out through her ready room's back door to avoid the change from Alpha to Gamma shift. She didn't want to see Chakotay's bruised expression or Harry's penetrating look of concern. The alternate turbolift was there, she thought, to help Captains escape the watchful eyes of their crew and on days like today, she was not to proud to use it.

Tom slipped in just before the doors closed. She stared at him, and neither called out a destination.

"Went through the conference room," he admitted finally.

"Deck three," she said and looked at him expectantly.

"Deck four," he said. "Not in the mood for Neelix's lunch, Captain?"

"Not exactly," she said. The comm. system interrupted them.

"The Doctor to Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Paris." Janeway rolled her eyes.

"We're here, Doctor," she said.

"Please report to sickbay immediately." For some reason, the Doctor's voice was more irritating than usual.

"On our way," Janeway said. "Computer, Deck five."

"I smell a rat," Tom said, darkly.

"A rat named Chakotay," Janeway agreed. The doors opened and they both made their way to sickbay.

"Ah, how nice of you to join me," the Doctor said. "I hear you're feeling under the weather?"

"I feel fine," Tom said.

"So do I," Janeway agreed. The Doctor, regardless, began to scan Janeway and then moved over to Tom.

"You both have a low grade fever," he stated. "Perhaps something you picked up planet side?"

Neither responded.

"I'll give you something to counteract the temperature," he said, walking over to a tray of hyposprays. "You know, a visit to sickbay after every away mission is a good idea."

"I'll keep that in mind," Janeway said. The Doctor loaded the hypospray and administered it to both patients. Neither felt any discernable difference.

"Please report to me if your symptoms return," the Doctor ordered. "You are dismissed."

In the hallway, Tom stopped her with a hand to her shoulder.

"I bet Chakotay's in the mess hall right now, feeling pretty proud of him self," he said. Tom's dark mood seemed to suit her own.

"Suddenly I feel a little peckish," she said.

"Me too," he agreed.

The mess hall was swarming with people. Neelix looked a little frazzled behind the counter in the galley. There was a line of crewmembers holding empty trays waiting to be served. At a table across the room, they both spotted Chakotay at the same time he spotted them. He smirked and raised his hands as if admitting defeat. The steam Janeway had for dressing him down seemed to evaporate quickly. The room was so crowded with people and the temperature was unbearable. Next to her, Tom seemed to sway a little on his feet but she couldn't tell if it was Tom who was moving or if it was her vision that was swimming.

"I'll see you later," she muttered and made her exit hastily. She bumped into Samantha Wildman coming through the door and didn't even bother to apologize before heading once more towards her quarters. Whatever the Doctor had given her had made her feel uneasy. She wanted to lie down for a bit before her evening shift started.

oooo

"Doctor to Captain Janeway."

She pressed her face into her pillow. The linens on her bed were scratchy and warm and she moved one leg out from beneath her covers to try to cool down.

"Doctor to Captain Janeway, please respond!"

"Janeway here," she murmured, her voice muffled by the pillow.

"Captain, I would like to see you in Sickbay once more," he said. "Both Ensign Wildman and Lieutenant Carey are running the same fever you and Lieutenant Paris had this morning. I believe that this illness deserves further testing."

"I'm fine," Janeway argued.

"Captain, if you are contagious, it's something that could affect the entire ship!" the Doctor said.

"All right," Janeway said, "I'll be there as soon as I can."

When she arrived at sickbay, Tom was already there, sitting on a bio-bed and looking miserable. There was a smattering of other crew there as well. The Doctor walked up to her, his face comically grim.

"Ensign Brooks and Crewman O'Donnell also came in with fever," he said. "I'm not sure what's happening, but I'm almost certain it's spreading."

"Doctor," she said, "I appreciate your concern but Tom and I were the first to show any symptoms and we both feel fine. Don't you think it's a little early to quarantine us?"

"Not at all," he said. "If you and Mr. Paris are responsible for infecting the crew, I think it's wise to keep you here until I have some answers."

The sickbay doors opened to admit four more people.

"We aren't feeling so great," Ensign Sharr said. The Doctor looked at Janeway knowingly and stalked away, his point proven.

After being poked and scanned for the better part of an hour, the Doctor agreed to let them go on the understanding that they were confined to quarters.

"I want to beam everyone to their quarters," the Doctor said. "There is definitely something affecting all of you but I need time to figure out just how contagious it is. I don't need you spreading it through the corridors."

"Why haven't the bio-filters eradicated it?" Tom asked.

"When I know something, I'll tell you," the Doctor said.

Janeway rematerialized in her quarters and immediately pulled off her uniform. No matter what the Doctor did, the fever remained steady. It was already two degrees higher than when he first detected it.

She felt antsy and irritable. Frankly, being confined to her quarters didn't feel like a bad thing. Everyone had been breathing down her neck all day and she didn't need an entire crew bossing her around like they knew what was best for her. She was the Captain and she would decide what was best.

She was brushing out her hair when something changed. It was as if something in her cells shifted. She swore she could feel it on a molecular level. One moment she was standing calmly in front of the mirror her hairbrush in hand and the next she was on her hands and knees, struggling to breathe.

The heat tore through her, starting at her center and flickering out. It blurred her vision and the heat licked out at her fingertips. She heard someone groaning and it took her a moment to realize it was her own voice, crying out. For the first time since Chakotay had coerced her into visiting sickbay, she was starting to believe that something was actually wrong.

She knew she needed to find a man – that much was clear right away. She reached for her comm. badge before realizing it was sitting on her nightstand in the sleeping area. She'd shed her uniform and put on her blue robe upon entering her quarters. Now it was too late, the urge was too strong to bother with things like communication or clothing. She forced herself to her feet and lunged for the door.

She needed to find Tom. She didn't know why, but it had to be Tom. The odd thing was, she knew exactly where he was. She could sense him on the move, coming toward her. She had to instruct the turbolift manually because she didn't trust herself to speak. Her throat felt thick and rough.

When the doors open, she though she could smell him. The clean scent of his skin, the slightly tangy aftershave he favored. She started to hurry down the corridor and when she rounded a corner she saw him. He was half in uniform – in his pants and his gray turtleneck but he wore no boots and he lacked his comm. badge as well. His hair was ruffled – had he been asleep?

It didn't matter. They stood in front of one another for only a second before Tom grabbed a fistful of her loose hair and roughly tilted her head back. He brought his head down and kissed her, forcing his tongue between her lips.

She hadn't realized this was what she wanted, what she needed, until it was happening. Her arms went around his neck and she pushed herself up onto the balls of her feet. He was much taller than her in bare feet and she wanted to be closer to him. His hands started working at the knot in the belt of her robe.

Suddenly, she felt hands on her shoulders and she and Tom were being ripped apart.

"NO," she cried, but there was the pressure of something in her neck and then she felt tired. She closed her eyes and let whoever was holding her catch her weight as she dropped to the floor.

When she woke up, she was restrained, but she was not alone. Kes stood next to her bed, her large eyes filled with compassion.

"Captain, you're in sickbay," she said. "You're very ill."

"Let me go," Janeway said, straining against the field that held her in place. "That's an order."

"I'm sorry, Captain," Kes said and she really did sound sorry. "The Doctor has relieved you of duty. You have a virus and he's working on a cure."

"I need to," she said, struggling in vain, "I need to get out of here."

"I know the sensation must be overwhelming," Kes said.

"You don't," Janeway moaned. "Please, please let me free." She could feel the tears welling in her eyes and spilling over. They ran over her cheekbones and down into her ears.

"I can't," Kes said simply. "Please lie still."

"Where is Tom?" Janeway said, trying another tactic. "Bring me Tom Paris."

"Tom is sick too," Kes said. "The Doctor is with him now."

Janeway moaned, a pitiful and deep sound of grief and panic.

"Doctor!" Kes cried. "I think I should sedate her again."

Janeway tried to move her head away from Kes's steady hand but of course she couldn't avoid her and the moment between wakefulness and unconsciousness was actually bliss.

oooo

Tom, when he woke again, willed himself to stay still. Every time he regained consciousness, the Doctor sent him back under. He knew Janeway was across the room but he couldn't get to her and it made him crazy. Something felt different, though. He still wanted her, would always want her, but his legs felt heavy. It was hard to keep his eyes open and he was cold. Something beeped and the Doctor came into his field of view.

"You're awake," the Doctor said. "How do you feel?"

"Bad," Tom managed. The Doctor looked concerned. "Dying?"

"I'm working on the cure," the Doctor said which didn't give Tom the boost of confidence he so desired.

"What?" Tom managed.

"A virus. Two, actually. The virus has, for lack of a better term, a mate. Your strain has infected the Captain as well. Once the virus runs through its host it must reunite with its mate in order to continue survival," he explained. "It has infected 10 people but seems to be contained." Tom's fogged brain struggled to understand.

The Doctor's expression softened, as did the volume of his voice.

"Your desire for the Captain isn't real, Lieutenant. You are a slave to your infection."

"Feels real," he gasped. "We can… cure each other."

"I'm afraid not," the Doctor said. "If the virus does manage to pair off, the hosts will die."

"Am dying anyway," he said.

"Not if I can help it," the Doctor said.

oooo

Sickbay was filled with the Doctor's patients. He was working in the Lab, allowing Kes to comfort the patients when they woke up and then quietly put them back to sleep. Keeping them sedated for such a long period of time wasn't ideal, but had proven to be necessary. Lieutenant Carey had managed to break free of his restraints and had the Doctor been a flesh and blood person, would have surely been strangled to death. He added aggression to his list of symptoms.

When Kes came into check on his progress, he looked at her with a concerned eye.

"You're perspiring," he said, scanning her. "You don't appear to have been infected."

"I'm not ill, Doctor," Kes said. "It's just… very emotional in there. Each patient's hormone levels are extremely imbalanced and it's exhausting."

"You can sense that telepathically?" the Doctor asked.

"Their fear, their anger, and their overwhelming desire," Kes confirmed. "Have you found a cure?"

"I believe I'm close," the Doctor said. "Here are Captain Janeway's medical readings." He pushed the screen around so Kes could see it also. "The fever is doing what it's supposed to, burning out the infection, but it's too high. If it continues at this rate, it will kill her. I need to find a way to burn out the infection that won't kill the host."

"What about radiation therapy?" Kes asked.

"My thoughts exactly," the Doctor confirmed. "But I need to know more about the virus before I design a regimen."

"Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Paris's fevers are the highest," Kes said.

"They were the first infected," the Doctor said. "And if I don't find a cure soon, they'll be the first we lose."

Kes glanced over at the Captain. She was shivering in her sleep. She hadn't woken up even though the sedation should've worn off already. Kes had removed her restraints.

"Nothing I do reduces the fever," Kes said.

"Draw me another sample of the Captain's blood," the Doctor ordered. "I have an idea. It's old fashioned, but with this many patients, it will have to do."

Four of the infected crew had fevers over 38 degrees and so it was those four that the Doctor had transferred to holodeck one. Inside the fabricated room were four stainless steel bathtubs filled with slushy ice water. The Doctor didn't have enough ice packs to cool all his patients at once and the packs didn't stay cold long enough to really start reducing their body temperature. He needed to cool them down, and fast.

"Help me remove their gowns," the Doctor ordered his assistant. Kes pulled the blow gowns off of the Janeway and Wildman while the Doctor stripped Carey and Paris. They were past the point of ceremony. The Doctor lifted each patient into the freezing tubs.

When he deposited Janeway into hers, her body reacted violently but she didn't wake up. Kes stood over each body scanning with a furrowed brow.

"I think it's working," Kes said. "How long can they stay in here?"

"As long as it takes," the Doctor said. "Frostbite is easier to treat than death."

oooo

Janeway was the first to receive the cure and consequently, the first to regain her faculties. Her body felt as if it had been wrung out. Her limbs felt weak and her joints all ached. When she opened her eyes, the lights were too bright and she squinted, trying to calm the sharp pain behind her eyes.

"Captain?" This was Kes's soft voice, and it seemed familiar, like Kes had been talking to her often as of late. "Can you hear me?"

She tried opening her eyes again and turned her head to the sound of the voice. Kes's face became clear, her blonde hair highlighted by the light above them.

"You're in sickbay," Kes continued. "You're going to be fine."

"Tom?" she croaked. Kes's glance wavered and moved across the room to where the Doctor was administering the rest of the vaccines.

"Lieutenant Paris will be fine," Kes said.

"Good," Janeway said, letting her head fall back on the pillow.

"What's the last thing you remember?" Kes asked.

"The shuttle," Janeway said, remembering the away mission. "Wait… we came back to Voyager, didn't we?"

"That's right," Kes said. "You picked up a virus on the surface."

"I remember I was brushing my hair," she said.

"Get some rest, Captain," Kes said. "I'm here if you need anything."

Janeway was tired, but not sleepy. She closed her eyes and listened to everyone come to life. Kes explained things again and again and the Doctor checked vitals. The people who hadn't been as sick as long got unsteadily to their feet and made their way slowly to their quarters. Two hours later, there were only two patients left in the sickbay. Tom Paris and her self. Kes had gone off duty and Tom, across the room, was negotiating his freedom.

"I can sleep in my own bed," Tom said.

"You've had an extremely trying couple of days," the Doctor said. "I would prefer if you remained under my supervision."

"I'm the only one left! Give me a cortical monitor and watch me from my quarters," Tom pleaded.

"You're not the only one here," the Doctor said. "The Captain shared your particular strain and has agreed to stay as well."

"She's barely regained consciousness. I doubt she's agree to anything," Tom said.

She opened her eyes when she heard them mention her.

"I will release you in the morning," the Doctor said.

"Doc," Tom said, looking over to Janeway. Their eyes met briefly but Tom looked away. She heard him even though he whispered. "Please don't make me stay here with her."

The Doctor picked up his tricorder, his brow furrowing.

"I was sure that your system had been cleared of the virus," the Doctor said.

"It's not… a symptom," Tom said, turning his back to Janeway who was watching unabashedly. "It's just…" He struggled to explain.

"Computer, end EMH program," Janeway said, sitting up. Tom looked at her, through the space where the Doctor had stood. "Take the monitor and go," she said.

"Captain?" he asked.

"I'll deal with the Doctor," she promised. "Go now. Please, get out."

The truth was, she didn't want to be near him either. The burning desire for him was gone but to look at him made her uncomfortably aware of her own body. Even though her life no longer hinged on wanting him, she remembered rather clearly what wanting him felt like. It was disorienting at best and when she was alone, she felt relieved. She simply had to put Tom out of her mind.

A good lecture from the Doctor would do the trick.

oooo

Chakotay welcomed Janeway back to the bridge with a glowing smile. She'd been out of it for over a week and things had been touch and go for a while. Chakotay didn't want to be Captain just yet.

"Welcome back, Captain," Chakotay said warmly.

"Thank you, Commander," she said. "I think I have plenty to catch up on."

"You noticed the warp core was down, did you?" he smirked.

"The rest of the sector is going to notice too if we don't do something about it," Janeway said. "Let me see the engineering report first."

Business went on as usual. Tom sat at the helm and concentrated extremely hard on course corrections. He noticed the left nacelle was a little sluggish and spent the majority of the shift running diagnostics and sending messages through his console to Ayala in Engineering. They were trying to figure out what the problem was. He noticed Tuvok monitored his transmissions at first – Tom had been known to send the occasional personal message on the clock but when Tuvok realized that wasn't the case, the monitoring flag disappeared.

There was only a slight tension on the bridge. No one acknowledged it, but everyone was aware. Captain Janeway and Tom Paris were not acknowledging one another. They didn't speak to each other, they didn't look at each other and they didn't even face the same direction if they could help it. Tuvok, for one, was pleased that the shift contained no unnecessary banter but everyone else couldn't help but notice the normal level of comfort was absent from the bridge. Harry hadn't really ever noticed that it was the Captain and Tom that provided that familiarity but when it was missing, it was clear.

Someone had named it the Blood Fever virus. Harry wasn't sure whom, but the whole crew had somehow managed to get their hands on the Doctor's report and while he hadn't stated explicitly what exactly the victims had yearned for, they could read between the lines. And though the Captain and Tom Paris were not the only crew affected, they were the only ones who merited further conversation.

When the Captain disappeared into her ready room twenty minutes before the shift change, Tom breathed a sigh of relief. She probably wouldn't come back out before the end of his shift and he'd have at least nine hours before he was forced to see her again.

He could avoid her off duty forever, couldn't he? Internal sensors would track her location enough for him to always find an alternate route. He might have to jump into a Jefferies tube now and then, but that was the price one paid on a small starship. As for on duty interaction, they would just have to remain extremely professional to the point of being distant and cold.

Tom was sure his plan could work.

oooo

Janeway was in bed, trying to convince herself that no one had noticed the awkwardness on bridge. She'd started by trying to convince herself that there'd been no awkwardness at all, but that had failed so she'd moved on to a more attainable denial. Maybe the crew had just thought that the two of them were tired after having gone through such a trying time.

Sleep was elusive at the best of times so she threw back the covers and let her feet hit the floor. She thought about putting on her uniform but she so rarely got to wear civilian clothes. Occasionally, Neelix threw a party or the crew celebrated some accomplishment but then, she was always very careful about choosing something knowing the majority of the crew would see her in it and scrutinize her mood and behavior.

She would see less people in the middle of the night cycle – none if she took a calculated route. She chose very basic clothes – black pants and a blue top that was low enough to show her collarbones while still keeping her modesty intact. It didn't hide her figure like some of her looser outfits or ignore it like her uniform. She just wanted to feel like a person. She put on some flat shoes to give her arches a rest and braided her hair. Maybe she would go get some tea from the mess hall or maybe see how the garden was doing in the cargo bay.

Tuvok was likely awake and would offer her company and counsel, should she want it. While she told herself these things, her feet carried her toward a more specific location. She stopped a few meters from his door and sighed, feeling sorry for herself, feeling pathetic. She didn't even know if he was asleep or awake, if he was home.

"Computer," she said, softly. "Locate Lieutenant Paris."

"Lieutenant Paris is between decks four and five in Jefferies tube nine section three," the computer replied. Janeway blinked. What an odd place to be at such an hour. There were no repairs to be done and even if there were, Tom wouldn't be doing them on or off duty. She was about to contact him when she realized the access port to Jefferies tube nine sections one through four was just a few steps away from her.

She opened the hatch and peered in. She couldn't see him or hear the sounds of tools. Her curiosity won – she climbed in.

He must have heard her crawling before she started down the ladder. He was sitting between decks in the space that connected the system of tubes to the other decks.

"Tom?" she said softly. "Are you all right?"

He stood up at the sight of her.

"Yes Ma'am," he said. "Did you need something?"

"No," she said, standing across form him with her arms crossed. "I just… what are you doing in here?"

"What are you doing in here?" he shot back.

"Looking for you," she replied. "When the computer said you were in here, I wanted to know why." He started to open his mouth. "The truth," she instructed.

"I heard you coming down the hallway," he said. "I'd just left my quarters and I don't know. I panicked."

"How did you know it was me?" she asked.

"I recognized the sound of your steps," he said. "Which sounds way more insidious out loud."

"You were hiding from me," she said.

It was hard not to feel stung.

"Were you coming to see me?" he asked.

"No," she said. "I mean, well, yes. Not consciously, but then here I was…"

"Right," he said.

"Tom, we have a problem. You didn't do anything wrong and it's not like I need to discipline you. This is outside of protocol."

"Nothing in your handbook about wanting to…" He let the sentence trail off uncomfortably.

"Why don't we find somewhere to talk about it?" she asked. He looked torn.

"Since it's outside of protocol, do I have permission to speak freely?" he asked.

"Of course."

"I don't think that's a good idea," he said. "I think it would be best if we just kept our distance."

That stung too. It hurt more and the shock of it must have been evident on her face.

"It's hard to be near you," he said. "Do you understand?"

"Yes," she said. "But that's not an excuse to give up on friendship!"

"Assuming our friendship can be salvaged," he said. "Besides, you're my captain first and that's fine. I can live with that but when I look at you I don't see a friend anymore."

"It was just a virus," she said. "This isn't fair. I don't accept this."

"I don't need your acceptance," he said, softly. "Unless you order me to spend time with you, I'd like for you to leave me alone."

What could she do? If she ordered him, he'd follow the order but she didn't want to do that. She felt the sting of tears behind her eyes, the slap of rejection. She wanted to double over and hide her face from him.

"All right," she said. She stepped out of the way so he could climb the ladder. She watched him ascend into the Jefferies tube and waited until she heard the hatch open and close before she moved.

oooo

In her ready room the next day, Janeway sat at her desk trying to rationalize away her pain. She really could understand where he was coming from. It wasn't as if she didn't remember the feeling that she needed to have sex with him or she would die. It was embarrassing, losing control of one's faculties like that. And the fact that she still thought about him in that way, that her body still yearned for his, was distracting and humiliating. Every time she saw him, her body reacted.

She was the captain and Tom had to know that she couldn't engage in a relationship with anyone. He must understand completely that his desire would never be fulfilled. It was hard to accept and avoidance was one method of dealing with it.

But it wasn't fair. She missed Tom, the Tom from before all this. He'd grown up in the world of Starfleet and understood that beneath the rank was a real person. He was one of the first people who talked to her like she was a human being instead of an institution. He was one of the few people who would reach out to touch her elbow lightly in conversation, who wouldn't flinch when she rested her fingers on his shoulder standing next to him at the helm.

All that comfort and familiarity was gone.

"Chakotay to Janeway. Please report to the bridge."

She sighed.

oooo

Tom was in bed trying not to fall asleep. He needed to rest but every time he closed his eyes, all he could see was Janeway. She'd invaded his dreams as well as his waking thoughts and he couldn't seem to escape her. Being infected was better than this. At least then, he'd had an excuse for wanting her.

He twisted his sheets in his fists. He could ask the Doctor for a sedative, but what about the next night or the night after? It didn't help that he was still strangely aware of her. She was easily distinguishable in a crowd for him. The sound of her footfalls, the smell of her shampoo, the low murmur of her in conference with another crewmember.

Frustrated, he got out of bed and headed for sickbay.

"Doc, there's something wrong with me, I'm sure of it," Tom said.

"What seems to be the problem?" the Doctor asked, picking up his tricorder.

"I still have symptoms," Tom said, willing the hologram to understand.

"You have no fever, no cranial swelling, no hormonal imbalance," the Doctor said. "What, exactly, are you feeling?"

"I still have… a certain urge concerning… the Captain," he said, awkwardly.

"Ah," the Doctor said. "I'm afraid that there is no medical reason for your desire, Lieutenant. Perhaps your previous symptoms have merely alerted you to a subconscious desire you already possessed."

"This is different!" Tom said. "It's a constant struggle. I can't even be in the same room with her! I just want to…"

The sickbay door hissed open and Janeway stormed in.

"Doctor, I think there's something wrong with…" She saw Tom and the Doctor. "Me."

"Let me guess," the Doctor said dryly.

"I'll come back," she said and turned on her heel.

"Captain," the Doctor said. She turned back around, slowly. "The only way you two are going to solve this problem is by talking to each other."

"I have no problem," Tom said. "Fit as a fiddle. He's all yours, Captain." He walked toward the door.

"Wait," she said, snagging him by the arm as he passed. He froze and closed his eyes. She dropped her hand, her fingers tingling. "Tom, please."

"I'll just…" the Doctor said and went into his office.

"Fine," he said. "If you have a solution, I'm open to suggestions."

"Maybe we should fight," she said, suddenly.

"What?"

"The crew has nicknamed this the Blood Fever virus, right? It worked for B'Elanna and Ensign Vorick! Maybe we should just beat the snot out of one another," she said with a small smile. Tom sighed, and hung his head a little.

"I'm trying to do the right thing," he said.

"I don't know what the right thing is in this situation," she said. "Please, come with me now?"

"All right," he said. She thought about going to her quarters but quickly nixed that idea and thought her ready room would be too formal. Instead she led them to the holodeck and into Sandrine's. "I thought we all got tired of this program," he said.

"I still like it," she said.

The bar was empty, devoid of crew or holodeck characters. There was no music or clinking of glasses. There was only the crackle of the fire and the scraping sounds of the chairs they pulled out as they sat.

"So," she said.

"This is your exercise in diplomacy," he said.

"Please don't talk to me like I'm a stranger," she said. "Let's drop rank. Let's lay all of our cards on the table and work through this."

"Agreed," he said. He was still going to make her go first.

"I value your friendship," she said. "I miss talking to you on the bridge. You were always the easy one, Tom. I never had to work at it like with the others and now…" She shook her head. "Do you want me to transfer you off the bridge crew?"

"To do what? I'm the best pilot you have but I'm not great at anything else," he said.

"You've had plenty of medical training," she said. "You could work in sickbay."

"No!" he said. "I'd rather clean the outer hull with a toothbrush."

"Noted," she said. "I don't want to transfer you, either."

"Then where does that leave us?" he asked.

"I have to believe this will fade with time," she said, finally.

"Then you feel it too?" he asked.

"Oh yes," she breathed.

"At least I'm not crazy," he muttered.

"It's going to go away," she said, trying to sound convincing. "Just wait and see."

oooo

Tom had waited and he saw. Three weeks after their supposed recovery, the feelings had not faded. If anything, they had burrowed deeper and more thoroughly into his psyche. Not only did he want her physically, but he'd begun feeling almost violently protective of her. Yesterday, he'd been on the bridge when she and Chakotay had exited her ready room together. Chakotay had touched her back slightly and Tom had nearly jumped out of his seat to strangle the first officer.

Though outwardly Tom had barely flinched, Janeway's gaze had shot over to him as if she could feel his surge of testosterone. She'd given him a warning look, an almost imperceptible shake of the head. He wanted to tell her that nothing was changing and that her theory was wrong, but she'd made herself perfectly clear before.

This was an agony he'd be dealing with for the rest of his life. Maybe if he asked politely, they'd drop him off on the next inhabitable M-class planet they passed.

At the end of the shift, he got on the Turbolift with Harry and Ayala who'd been working at the engineering station. Just as the doors were closing, Janeway slipped on. Tom balled his hands and pressed his knuckles into his legs. He could do this. She glanced at him and turned her back to him, facing the door.

"Deck three," she called. It could have been fine if Harry and Ayala hadn't been getting off on deck two. When the two men left and the door closed, Tom stepped back so he was against the wall of the lift. A few seconds passed before she turned to him.

"Computer," she said slowly. "Halt lift."

They were jolted slightly as the turbolift stalled between decks. Tom wasn't sure what was happening until she took a step toward him. He could see the struggle on her face – could see that this was just as hard for her. He didn't wait for her to start speaking, start rationalizing. Instead, he stepped forward, grabbed her face with his hands and pressed his mouth to hers.

Something snapped inside him at the contact. Her mouth opened beneath his and he pushed her into the doors. She seemed to know exactly what he wanted. She allowed him to slide her up so their faces were even. Her legs wrapped around his hips for an anchor and then they were kissing again, hot and insistent. The heat that had been plaguing him now flared and consumed him. He could feel the sweat beading on his forehead. He heard her groan – felt the vibrations against his teeth and he pressed his hips into hers.

"Torres to Janeway."

Her comm. badge was pressed between them, so B'Elanna's voice came out slightly muffled. Tom pulled back to look at her surprised expression.

"I have to answer," she said, her voice low. Tom pressed the badge on her chest. "Janeway here."

"Is there a problem with the turbolift, ma'am?" B'Elanna asked.

"No," Janeway said quickly. "Lieutenant Paris and I were just discussing something. We're resuming now." Tom pressed her badge again to end the connection and let her slowly slide back to her own feet, her body moving against him in a torturous way.

"Computer," he said. "Resume lift."

She was too busy trying to straighten her uniform and make sure her lipstick wasn't too smeared to say anything. When the doors opened to her deck, she lingered in the doorway and looked at him. He didn't need an engraved invitation – he followed her to her quarters. He saw her hand tremble as she keyed in her code.

Inside, the lights were low and she kept a small distance between them, holding out her hand.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Captain," he said. "I heard yesterday that everyone else who was infected have already… given in to this urge."

"I… didn't know that," she said, sounding surprised.

"The Doctor can say he's cleared our systems of the virus but it isn't true," Tom said.

"And once the others gave in?" she asked. He didn't know – did the urge fade? Disappear completely? His mind had been in such a fog lately – it had taken him a while to piece it together from the snippets he'd picked up from ship's gossip. Carey and Wildman, Brooks and O'Donnell… it all made sense. And now, Paris and Janeway. The last to give in.

"I can't take it anymore," Paris said, knowing he sounded pathetic. That his words came out as a whimper. "I can't live like this."

"We have no choice," she said.

"Then put me off the ship," he said. Her eyes widened.

"You don't mean that," she said.

"I do."

"It's blackmail," she argued.

"It's self-preservation," he said. "This is going to kill me. I have to touch you or I'll die."

"Tom," she said. She stepped forward, her hand reaching out. "I don't want you to leave."

"How do you do it?" he asked.

"Not well," she admitted. "In the turbolift…"

"You gave in," he said.

"Yes."

"Give in now," he pleaded. She closed her eyes briefly and he moved again, closed their gap even more. When he leaned down, she didn't open her eyes and when he captured her lips once more, she kissed him back. This was all the permission he needed – his fingers went to the opening of her uniform and he tugged the jacket open roughly.

He had waited long enough.

oooo

Kathryn was still asleep. Her body was pale and lean in the low lights. Her back was covered in a soft dusting of freckles and her hair fell over her shoulders in a thick curtain. It was tangled from his fingers and copper against her pale skin and light colored sheets. He could see her body reacting to the last several hours – stubble burn on her cheeks and jaw. A purple bruise on her neck and long, thin, red lines along her spine. The crescent shapes of his fingernails on her hips.

He ran a warm hand over her thigh and butt. She was still warm and sticky, her skin clammy and the room was filled with the smell of sex.

He was tired too but he was afraid he'd never get this time again. To look at her stripped of any façades – no pips, no uniform. Just a woman.

"Go to sleep," she mumbled. She could feel his eyes on her, his hand moving lightly over her skin. He followed her orders and relaxed into the mattress close to her. But he didn't lower the lights and he didn't stop touching her. He let his fingers walk across the all too visible bumps of her rib cage. He traced a finger over her arched eyebrow and squeezed her soft earlobe between his thumb and forefinger lightly. She had pierced ears. He'd never noticed that before. She never wore earrings – jewelry wasn't allowed with regulation uniforms. That rule had relaxed somewhat during their years in the Delta Quadrant – a couple people sported wedding rings; hopeful to see their counterparts again in the Alpha Quadrant.

He wondered what kind of jewelry Janeway preferred.

He ran his finger down the bridge of her nose and pressed it against her soft lips. She kissed it lightly. He was surprised she was letting him explore her like this, but then again, the body craved touch and perhaps she was soaking in his attention and affection while she could get it.

He fell asleep with his hand on her hip.

oooo

Tom expected to wake up alone. He expected to see her already showered and in uniform, waiting with a cup of coffee in her hand, looking at him expectantly, asking him to leave with her body language so her words didn't have to.

Instead, he woke up to her swinging one leg over his hip, her hands running up and down his bare chest, her finger nails flicking at his nipples. She leaned down and ran her tongue along his jaw and he could hear and feel hot breath in his ear.

"Tom," she said, sultry and low. "Are you awake?"

"Hell yes," he growled and grabbed her hips with his hands. When she slid down onto him, she let her body collapse so her face was pressed into his chest, her hands grasping at the side of his head. He felt her fingers grip and relax with every thrust of his hips. He felt her teeth in his flesh and he yelped at the burst of pain and then the wave of hot pleasure that followed. This would be short lived, this morning tryst. He pawed at her shoulders so she would raise her head enough to allow him the space to kiss her. She'd lost all traces of make up some time in the night. Her lips were bare of her lipstick and her skin was pale and freckled beneath the foundation she usually wore. Her hair made a tent around their faces, blocking out everything else.

When she came, she shot up like a cannon and her neck curved so delicately that the sight of her head thrown back and her collarbones protruding was what brought Paris over the edge, not the clamping of her internal muscles hot and strong around him.

Paris had always found her beautiful. When she'd come from him in Auckland, he'd noticed it and had since then filed it away not to be considered. Captain Janeway was strong minded, curious, willing to take risks, kind of short, addicted to coffee, classically beautiful, and loyal to the end. These were the things he knew about her, the things he'd accepted as he went on with his life. She'd been just his type – slight, red hair, direct and unafraid, thin and with a contagious laugh (when he got to hear it) but she'd always, always been out of reach.

Now, she fell down on top of him, her body sweating and trembling. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. Sweat pooled in the curve of her spine and he smoothed it away. Her hair smelled like flowers, the smell amplified by moisture and pheromones.

He was afraid of what would happen next, so he spoke first.

"Good morning," he said. She started to shake in his arms and he was worried at first, but then realized it was because she was laughing.

"Not a bad way to wake up, hmm?" she asked, her mouth moving against his shoulder.

"Clearly I've been waking up wrong for a long time," he said, letting his hand run down her back and settle on her butt. They were still joined but he was growing soft inside her and when she moved slightly, searching for comfort, he slipped out. She sighed and the spell was broken a little. When she moved off of him and slid to the side, he didn't try to hold her in place.

"We both are due on the bridge in thirty minutes, Tom," she said.

"Yes," he agreed. "Perhaps it will be less agonizing today."

"I want… I want to tell you that this is it. That we're done after last night and this morning but I can't," she said. "I don't know what's going to happen."

"Do you think we should see the Doctor?" he asked. She bit her lip.

"Let's wait and see," she said. "We can't… things can't change, all right?"

He didn't bother pointing out that things already had. He understood what she meant. He still took orders from her, still respected her authority as captain. He shouldn't expect special treatment and wouldn't receive it.

"Aye, Captain," he said. She glared at him for a moment before rolling out of bed and heading for the shower.

oooo

On the bridge, Janeway sat down a little gingerly in her chair or maybe Tom just imagined it. She'd allowed him to shower in her quarters but was gone before he got out. She'd replicated him a new clean uniform and had recycled the old one that had spent the night crumpled on the floor. He'd gone to the mess hall for breakfast but she wasn't there, which wasn't unusual. When he got to the bridge, Chakotay was the commanding officer and when she finally did appear, it was from her ready room. He watched her sit and then turned around without saying a word.

"Report, Mr. Paris?" she asked. Maybe it was to show him that nothing was different, to show the crew that things were back to normal and she'd no longer be avoiding any bridge officer, Tom included. He answered promptly and professionally, letting her know about the region of space ahead, the flight path he'd made for the day.

"Very good," she said and he knew she meant it.

All in all, though, things were easier. The burning inside him, the blinding desire to touch her had softened into something intimate and familiar. He did want her but he wanted her as a man, not as a beast. He wanted to kiss her as much as he wanted to touch her, to reach out and squeeze her fingers because such gestures felt nice. She must feel the same way, he thought, to not have ended things abruptly with the proverbial morning light. She deserved to be touched. Everyone did.

At the shift change, he decided to keep with his usual routine. He and Harry ate dinner together in the mess hall almost every day and when he fell in line next to Harry, everyone seemed relieved.

"I think I'll use a ration today," Harry said, getting that dreamy far off expression he got when he thought of home.

"I think I'll brave the galley," Tom said. "I saw Kes helping earlier. She usually improves things."

"I thought you got over Kes?" Harry asked, stepping off the lift and heading for the double doors of the mess.

"I am," Tom said. "Over her. Not her cooking, however."

"Sure," Harry said. They filled their trays, and sat down at a table meant for four. If B'Elanna came, she would join them, but more often than not she got caught up in whatever she was doing and missed meals all together. Tom and Harry always had an open table policy and it was normal for any junior office to claim a seat. Even Chakotay occasionally ate with them, usually when he wanted to avoid a working lunch with Tuvok or any other head of a department.

When Tom saw Janeway walk in unaccompanied, he smiled a little. Harry turned to see who he was looking at and raised an eyebrow. Tom caught Janeway's gaze and pointed to the empty seat beside him and she tilted her head, an acknowledgement. Janeway almost never joined them, unless it had to do with ships business and even then, it was rare.

When she brought her tray over, she sat next to Harry instead of Tom and Tom smiled, pleased with the gesture nonetheless.

"Good evening, gentlemen," she said, raising her fork and looking down at what she had accepted from Neelix. "How is… dinner?"

"Great," Harry said, enthusiastically.

"A little bland," Tom said. "Which, from Neelix, is actually a good thing."

"I see," she said, looking at Harry with a small smirk. "At ease, Harry."

"I'm… yes. Thank you," he said.

"She doesn't bite, Harry," Tom said airily. Janeway glared at him, a little color rising in her cheeks. It was an intentional dig, she was sure, since Tom happened to know she did, in fact, bite.

"Yes," Janeway said. "Enjoy your meal."

"As it were," Tom said. Harry didn't know how to keep up with their banter so instead he filled his mouth with food. When Chakotay entered, he looked at the last remaining chair and decided to go for it, sitting down next to Tom.

"Hey there," Tom said, feeling uncharacteristically genial toward the first officer.

"Hello," Chakotay said, surprised at the warm welcome. "I'm glad to see that… everyone… is feeling better." Janeway looked at him and Chakotay looked down lamely at his tray. She'd mentioned to him that things had been strained between her self and Tom since their infection. She'd left out why, of course. Chakotay was a fine first officer and a good-hearted man but he wasn't the best at reading between the lines.

"I do feel better," Tom announced. "Sometimes all you need is a good, solid night of sleep."

Janeway stared at him for a moment, willing him to read her mind, which was very loudly telling him to watch it.

"Here, here," said Harry, obliviously.

"I'm going to go get some of that juice," Chakotay said. "Anyone want any?"

"Sure," Tom said. "Drinks all around. Why don't you help the commander, Harry?"

Harry and Chakotay stepped away from the table and Janeway kicked her foot out hard, connecting solidly with Tom's shin.

"Ow!" he exclaimed.

"It's called subtly, Mr. Paris. A cousin of discretion. Perhaps you could familiarize yourself with those concepts?" she hissed.

"Oh come on, Captain," he said. "They have no idea. Sometimes it's nice to have a little fun."

"I had plenty of fun for one day," she said. "Cool it."

"Yes ma'am," he said, the corner of his lip tugging up into a smirk at her admission. Chakotay and Harry returned with the juice and four cups and sat back down. Tom didn't say anything for offending the Captain.

"Are we still on for the holodeck?" Chakotay asked, looking at the Captain. She'd forgotten about that appointment – she'd been agreeing to spend more time with Chakotay in an effort to avoid Tom. She'd have to back off now to make sure she didn't send the wrong message. She may have already done some damage in her last few distracted weeks. Still, Tom's expression displayed an extreme curiosity at her impending answer.

"Of course," she said breezily. "What did you have in mind?"

"We haven't gone sailing in a while," Chakotay said, glancing at the younger men who sat beside him. It was unlike Kathryn to air her evening plans.

"That seems a little passive," she commented. "I feel like being more active. Maybe playing a sport? Hiking? Doing a martial arts program?" Chakotay stared at her. She was usually so tired in the evenings that a lazy sail was just her speed.

"I have a fantastic mountain climbing program," Tom piped up. "Maybe we could get a group together."

"I don't think…" Chakotay said.

"I happen to know that B'Elanna really enjoys mountain climbing," Janeway said. "Make it a solid four and I'm in." She stood up and smiled at the group. "See you on the bridge."

Chakotay looked at Tom with a cloudy expression.

"Nice to see you're feeling better, Paris," he muttered before leaving the table. Harry stared at Tom.

"Am I missing something?" Harry asked.

"Nah," Tom replied.

oooo

Now that Tom knew what was beneath Janeway's uniform, it was hard to see anything else. The gray climbing uniform hugged her closely and while they all wore the same thing, it was Janeway who somehow managed to fill it out the best. B'Elanna was chattering to Tom about something that happened in engineering when they arrived at holodeck two to meet the command team, but once he saw Janeway testing the tension of the line on her harness, B'Elanna's voice faded away. Janeway smiled at him as they came in.

"Tom, this is a lovely program. Did you design this?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am," he said.

"We are seriously under using your holo-programming skills," she remarked. Chakotay said nothing and tossed Tom his harness with a little extra force. B'Elanna helped him suit up and was impatient to leave.

"I'll take the lead," she said. "Chakotay, we've climbed together before. Let's partner," she said. Janeway smirked at Tom. She waited for Chakotay and B'Elanna to become engrossed in hooking up the equipment before she spoke to him softly.

"Your doing no doubt," she said.

"I may have planted the idea," he said. "Come on. I programmed a beautiful view at the top."

oooo

Paris walked the Captain back to her quarters.

"I think I broke my muscles," she said, one hand kneading at her shoulder.

"As back up medical crew, I feel required to tell you that I am trained in the medicinal practice of deep tissue massage," he said. They paused outside her quarters.

"Tom," she said softly and he couldn't help but brace himself for the worst. "We need to be careful."

"Of course," he said.

"I don't really know where we stand and…" she looked around quickly. "Come in."

Inside her quarters, she resumed.

"I've never done anything like this before, Tom, and under any other circumstance, I wouldn't but we tried to ignore this and that failed so the only rational conclusion is to make something work."

"I agree," he said.

"I would prefer not to broadcast my personal life to the crew, understood?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am," he said. "You know, despite my reputation, I'm not a bad guy."

"I've never thought you a bad man," she said. "Not once."

"Thanks," he said. He was thanking her for saying it though he did not necessarily believe it. "Now, I was being serious about my massage skills."

"By all means, Lieutenant," she said, unzipping the front of her jumpsuit.

oooo

Janeway stopped by sickbay at least once a week on her rounds though she always tried not to stay long enough for conversation to turn to her own medical status. As soon as she walked in to sickbay, however, she knew she wouldn't escape.

"Captain!" the Doctor said. "I want to speak to you."

"That's what I'm here for, Doctor," she said, patiently.

"You and Mr. Paris are the only infected crewmembers who haven't checked in with me in the last two weeks," he said.

"Senior officers can get awfully busy," she said.

"While that may be true, the infected crew, you and Mr. Paris included, had been dealing with some awkward after effects," the Doctor said. "Am I to understand that you and Mr. Paris have solved your symptoms in the same way as the other infected crew?"

For the Doctor, this was as subtle and delicate as she would get.

"Lieutenant Paris and I have worked it out," she said.

"Ah, very good!" he said. "Congratulations!"

She glared at him.

"On your medical success," he added quickly.

"Well, if it's all the same to you, Doctor, my medical success is an extremely private matter," she said.

"Doctor-Patient confidentiality is my specialty," he assured her. She rolled her eyes as she walked out the door. If that were true, the entire crew wouldn't know about the Blood Fever virus to start with.

oooo

"Doctor's Log, supplemental.

"The last of the infected crew members have finally made a full recovery. Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Paris have taken care of the last symptoms without regulation medical care, though in this case, their home remedy has proved a most successful method. It is my opinion that in order for them to stay healthy, regular treatments are needed indefinitely. These treatments should also benefit the Captain in other ways, such as relieving stress, chronic headaches and muscle pain. The treatment will also serve as a general mood enhancer.

"I have filed all data of the virus in the medical databank for further research by Starfleet Medical for when Voyager returns to the Alpha Quadrant.

"End log."