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Author's Note: Warning: this story contains dubious consent, past non-con, knife play, power play, fear play, and insertive sex play. Written for the Pike/Number One Prompt Table prompt #46 "trust" and the issenterprise kinkmeme. Huge thanks to my awesome betas possibly_thrice, boosette, calapine, acidqueen, and lady_krysis.

Cognitive Dissonance
by LJC

She had been under his command for nearly a year before the it happened.

Pike had invited his exec to a private dinner in his quarters, and her hand around the stem of the wineglass was white-knuckled the entire time. Despite her entertaining idle fantasies—he was after all a handsome, powerful man who had shown extraordinary ability during the time she'd served under him—up until now their relationship had been surprisingly brisk and professional.

He'd never leered, made advances, or forced her. She'd never offered herself the way other officers in her place might have. He expected her to perform her duties to the best of her abilities, and she had never disappointed. She knew scuttlebutt had assumed she'd risen through the ranks on her back—and it was true that at her last two postings she'd been expected to serve her commanders both on and off the bridge. But what mattered to her was that she was strong enough to keep her position as his First, and thus far she'd done exactly that without having to warm his bed.

However, it appeared that grace period was over.

For a captain in command of one of the Empire's most decorated heavy cruisers, she had expected the man to fall short of the legend. However, in the last year, she'd come to respect him as her commanding officer. He was ruthless but not unnecessarily cruel. He'd captured dozens of prizes over the years, but had been generous with his crew—something which had won him the unswerving loyalty of many an officer. He'd survived two assassination attempts during his tenure as captain; there hadn't been a third attempt in years according to Boyce, who had personally foiled the last attempt.

Christopher Pike was a man to be worshipped and feared, but was rarely despised by those under his command. Hatred was reserved for his jealous peers, as the Yorktown brought back prize after prize from her patrols of the Neutral Zone.

She didn't quite worship him, and she certainly didn't hate him, but she did fear him. He was a man used to getting what he wanted. And if he wanted her, then he would assume she was his for the taking. That was life aboard an Imperial Starship, and she'd known that when she'd chosen it—her only escape from a life trapped by her homeworld's elaborate breeding programme that would have stripped her of everything but a number and her genome.

But it didn't mean she had to like it.

While some commanders were blatant when it came to showing off their paramours, Pike himself never boasted of his conquests. Like any good captain, he set a standard for behaviour across all the ranks. As a result, Number One had spent the last year curiously free of harassment from the few officers that ranked her. And by refusing to take a lover from the lower decks, she had earned a reputation as frigid. She preferred "Ice Queen" to "Captain's Whore," by far.

Still, Pike was no monk. She knew for a fact that the bruises his new yeoman sported with pride were his marks of ownership. Colt had made no secret of the fact that he was a magnificent lover—but then, yeomen often boasted of their captain's prowess, and Number One knew Colt's pride wouldn't have allowed her to say otherwise.

Watching him over the rim of her glass, she could believe the rumours. His supreme confidence bordered on arrogance, but it was tempered by wry humour. He was comfortable in his own skin, and rarely second guessed his decisions. Once committed, he followed through with crisp efficiency, and it had served him well both on and off the bridge. His movements were sure and precise, whether it was cutting his steak and lifting the bloody pieces of meat to his lips, or slicing into a Klingon cruiser with plasma cannons so the bodies of his enemies were blown out into the black spaces between the stars.

Over their meal, they discussed ship's business, the new second officer, a Vulcan half-breed who showed promise, and the ISS Yorktown's latest orders to raid Romulan colonies in the DMZ. Colt—who had been standing at attention behind Pike's chair the entire time—cleared away the plates, and Pike dismissed her for the night. Number One saw the flash of anger cross the girl's face, and she marked it. Regardless of what actually happened tonight, she had made an enemy.

Her shoulders dropped a fraction, but she schooled her expression carefully to betray no hint of her emotional state. My own personal Vulcan, Commodore Nogura had always called her, and it had almost biased her against an entire people. She took a swallow of wine to rid herself of the sour taste of memory.

She felt his eyes on her and met his gaze coolly. She wondered if perhaps she'd misread his intentions, until he came to stand behind her and one hand curled around the back of her neck. She couldn't hide the frisson that ran through her at his touch. She couldn't see his face, but she could imagine his smile, and she steeled herself for some crude joke. But all he did was touch her.

"You're a remarkable woman, Number One."

"Thank you, sir."

He came around to sit on the edge of the table so she would have to look up at him. His arms were bared by the sleeveless green-gold tunic, and more than once she'd found herself staring at the curve of his bicep when she was supposed to have her mind on her duties. His dark hair was threaded with grey at the temples, but he remained vigorous and athletic, age doing little to dull his sharp edges. If anything, he seemed even more magnetic and compelling as life and experience gave him both new scars and tiny laugh lines around his eyes.

Right now his blue eyes were piercing, and his lips curved in a half-smile as he refilled her wineglass.

She accepted the glass but set it back down on the table untouched. "What do you want, Captain?"

He reached out to take her chin in his hand, sweeping the pad of his thumb over her lips. "You, willing, in my bed."

His directness was refreshing, at least. And the situation was novel. She'd rarely been asked.

Her fingers came up to curl around his wrist, but she didn't pull his hand away. His pulse thrummed beneath her fingertips, strong and unhurried, while her own heart pounded wildly in her throat. "And if I were unwilling?"

He tightened his grip on her chin, and she found herself rising from her chair to stand between his legs, his free hand tracing her ribs before coming to settle on the gold sash at her waist.

"Then I would enjoy the challenge—" His hand slipped inside the sash, one long finger nestling between the cleft of her buttocks, tickling and teasing her, "—of trying to change your mind."

"You want to seduce me?"

"Turnabout's fair play, don't you think?"

She blinked. "I've never—"

"You've seduced me, pure and simple." His hands tightened on her ass, moulding her against him, and there was no mistaking his arousal. "The way you speak, the way you move. The way you carry yourself—like a queen, like a goddess, like someone who is so far above the rest of us she could grind us beneath her heel, and in her benevolence chooses not to."

"Poetic licence."

"Maybe you make me a poet." He shifted against her, pressing himself intimately against her sex through the fabric of their uniforms. "I dream of you."

She held herself still, even though every nerve in her body screamed with the desire to buck against his hips. "Even when you're fucking Colt?'

"That's crude, and beneath you."

"But accurate."

"You know me too well." His hand came up to run through the tumble of dark curls around her shoulders.

He was charming, and he was attractive, and she couldn't forget for a second he held both her career and her life in his hands.

"I would worship you, if you let me."

She tossed her hair back, but stayed pressed against him. "What if I don't want to be worshipped?"

"All women want to be worshipped. And beneath the uniform, you're still a woman." His lips travelled across her jaw. "A beautiful, intelligent, dangerous woman who wants to command her own ship someday. And you will, you know. Assuming you live long enough. Because you're driven, capable, and just bloodthirsty enough to take and hold what power you desire."

"You're putting me on a pedestal."

"What's the matter, don't you like the view?"

"Once you've got me up there, it's just a matter of time before I tumble off. There's nowhere to go from up there but down."

He raised an eyebrow at the double entendre, but she ignored it.

"And what makes you think—" she fought to keep her voice level, "—your remarkable insights into my psyche are accurate?"

He reached down to toy with the handle of the dagger strapped to her thigh. "Well, you haven't tried to kill me yet—even though we're alone, and you could."

"How do you know I won't?"

"Maybe I think you're worth the risk?"

It was a beautiful lie, and she closed her eyes for a second, just savouring it.

"And what's in it for me?" she asked.

He leaned forward until his lips brushed her ear. "I can make you scream with pleasure," he whispered, "and beg me for release."

She was unnerved by the thrill of desire that shot through her at his words. It was a risk more to her than to him, because he could have her transferred—or worse, simply executed—once he became bored with her. She'd seen it happen too many times.

She'd made it this far under his command on her own two feet rather than on her back, and it would undermine her position with the rest of the crew if they believed their first officer was little more than a jumped up Captain's Woman.

Then again, Colt's wagging tongue—unless she managed to cut it out before morning—would mean she'd lose her reputation regardless of what happened next. The simple fact that he dismissed his yeoman had sealed her fate. He knew that, yet he was still asking rather than taking. The contradiction between his words and actions made her head spin.

Still... there were advantages to the protection and patronage from a decorated captain. Especially once it came time for her to take her own command. He may have manoeuvred her into this position where she had no real choice—but the illusion of choice that was new. That tempted her. And it gave her the fragile thread of hope that she could still retain the upper hand and some measure of control.

Her tongue darted out to moisten suddenly dry lips, and she squared her shoulders. Reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck, she leaned forward until her breath puffed softly against his mouth.

"Prove it."

She tilted her pelvis against his and felt him twitch before his mouth came crashing down against hers.

He kissed her like he hadn't touched a woman in months—even though she knew Colt had most likely been on her knees only hours before. But the way he moved against her with urgency and the passion surprised her. She fought the desire to melt into his embrace, keeping her distance even as he pulled her more tightly against him. His hands were warm against the small of her back where it was bared by her cropped uniform tunic, and the pressure was even rather than punishing as he sucked on her lower lip before drawing back to watch her face.

In silence, Pike drew her to his bed—a prize they'd captured from a Deltan merchant ship, wider than her own and strewn with silk-covered pillows, which rested against the elaborately carved headboard. She saw the leather restraints hanging from the bedposts and shivered, remembering the ring of mottled bruises around Colt's wrists.

He reached up to brush her heavy fall of dark hair aside so he could draw the closure of her tunic down. Almost reverently, he pressed a kiss to her shoulder blade bared as the gold fabric parted and fell away. He peeled the gold sash from her waist, dragging the stiff fabric against her hip before letting it flutter to the floor. She shivered, desire pooling in her belly at his touch. But her desire was still tempered with fear which sharpened her arousal as his lips roamed the pale column of her neck.

He pushed her down onto the bed, not roughly but with more gentle pressure. She arranged herself among the pillows, and one by one he removed the pins that held her hair back from her face. His attentions were almost tender as he smoothed the dark strands across the silk.

He slid one hand up her thigh, from the top of her leather boot to the closure of her gold Command skirt, and wrenched the fabric apart. She remained stone-faced as he stripped her, dropped the torn shreds of her uniform to the floor of his cabin until she lay naked atop the scarlet bedclothes. The last to come off were her boots, and he grinned when he saw the second stiletto strapped to her left thigh. He made a tsking noise as he unbuckled the sheath.

Feeling vulnerable beneath his gaze, she ran her foot up his leg seductively, pausing just short of the painfully obvious bulge in his 'fleet trousers.

"You're over-dressed."

He smiled down at her wolfishly, stripped off his tunic, and toed off his boots and let them fall to the deckplates before he crawled toward her.

"You don't like not being the one in control, do you?"

She cocked her head to one side, studying him. "Are you any different?"

The scars from her last posting had healed, leaving her skin whole and unblemished for him to mark. His hands skimmed over her breasts and hips, and down her long legs with a look of intense concentration. She tensed as he played with the dark curls at the juncture of her thighs, callused fingers parting her easily.

"So tight," he murmured as he stroked her almost lazily and she arched up against his hand. But she remained silent even as her breathing grew erratic.

"You're going to make me work for it?" he asked, a chuckle vibrating through his chest, and she swallowed.

"Not up to the challenge?"

"I think you'll find I most definitely am." He punctuated each word with a kiss, his lips travelling down her body, tongue dipping into her navel. She reached for him, but he batted her hands away, pinning them to her sides before he continued his downward journey. His message was clear: look, but don't touch. Like a good subordinate, she obeyed.

Her gasp caught in her throat as he explored her with his tongue, teasing her clit with his nose. She fisted her hands in the sheets as he filled her with slick wet heat, then lapped at her wetness with the flat of his tongue. The teasing light touches gave way to sucking, his teeth grazing her clit while his hand on her mons increased the pressure.

She bit her lip hard enough to draw blood, but still made no sound. Even when he drew her to the very edge, her body shaking with shuddering gasping breaths, she remained silent. When he pulled away, she had to stop herself from gripping her head with both hands and holding him there.

He pressed a wet kiss to her inner thigh, nipping at the tender skin lightly. The bed groaned beneath her as he came back up to wipe away a smear of blood from her lip with the pads of his fingertips. When he kissed her again, she could taste the metallic tang of blood mixing with her own scent.

She wasn't expecting this. She wasn't expecting him to be so single-mindedly focussed on her pleasure. He hadn't touched himself. He hadn't demanded, encouraged, or even allowed her to touch him. She knew he wanted something from her—more than her body for his pleasure. Her other captains had wanted to break her, humiliate her, degrade her, prove their command of her spirit by dominion over her body.

Pike seemed to want only her submission, her willing surrender.

Some things she had to hold onto, to keep. She was determined to hold onto as much of her self as she could, even as her hand buried itself in the soft dark hair at the nape of his neck as if it had a will of its own, her mouth opening beneath his.

She was panting, quick shallow breaths as they parted. That damned half-smile still curved his lips, and she almost answered it with one of her own. Almost.

Then he slid the dagger from the sheath on his hip.

Her eyes widened, and he grasped her wrists in one hand, pinning them above her head. She tried to wrench them free, but his grip was painfully secure. She too would have bruises in the morning. She bucked her hips, thrashing against him, panic driving out desire at the sight of the blade. He leaned down, lips brushing her ear.

"Trust me," he said softly, and all at once the fight went out of her.

This was her own doing. Whatever happened next, it would be her own fault for being weak. She forced down her rising gorge, tears springing to her eyes as light glanced off the razor-sharp blade.

She gasped, flinching away from the blade as he ran the point lightly between her breasts and down her stomach. She held her breath, waiting for the pain. It was always like this, she thought as she squeezed her eyes shut and bit the inside of her cheek. In the end, it was always like this.

But there was no pain, only the cool kiss of metal against her skin. He laid the flat of the blade against her breast, her nipple pebbling beneath it against her will. Slowly, he drew the knife across to the other breast, her heart in her throat, body tensing for pain that never came. Over and over again she waited for the cutting edge to slice her flesh, but instead the tip tickled and teased her, the sensations new and unfamiliar and frightening all the more for being unexpected.

When he drew the cold blade away, she whimpered. Her cheeks burned with shame when she realised it was from pleasure instead of terror.

Her eyes snapped open as he pressed the cold pommel of the dagger against her sex. She shifted, cringing away, and felt the rough leather of the sheath against the inside of her thigh.

He took her jaw in his hand, turning her to look at him. She expected to see his eyes flat and cold, but there was only desire, the blue irises almost completely swallowed by his pupils. With unexpected tenderness, he brushed a tear from her lashes with the ball of his thumb.

His hands gripping her wrists relaxed as he kissed her, and she knew she could strike out, tear the knife from his hand, flee.

Instead, she arched into his touch, the pommel of the knife grinding against her clit. She gasped wetly into his mouth, and a long shudder went through her as he began pushing the handle of the knife into her, a centimetre at a time. It was cold and unyielding, and the sensation was on the edge between pleasure and pain until the line blurred as he buried it inside her up to the hilt.

A low moan was torn from her throat as he pulled the dagger out and then with a flick of his wrist buried it between her slick folds again. She was so wet the metal glided in and out of her sex, but she still writhed against him.

"Beg," he whispered in her ear, teeth closing gently on the lobe. "I need to hear you beg me to fuck you."

He flicked his thumb against her over-sensitised clit, twisting the dagger, and she cried out. He was relentless, plunging it into her over and over again until mewling sounds of pleasure were wrenched from her throat.

"Please," she finally cried. "Please, I need—"

Pike cut off her pleading with his mouth, his tongue sliding against hers as the dagger clattered to the floor. He pulled away from her mouth just long enough to kick off his trousers. His erection bobbed as he pushed his briefs down, the head dark with blood. Her hands, which were clutching the headboard, came down to reach for him as he knelt between her legs, a hand on each knee pushing her so wide apart the tendons in her thighs protested. She lifted her hips as he teased her with the head, hot and throbbing against her. She growled in frustration and he slid inside in one movement, the weight of him pressing down on her driving the breath from her lungs.

Gripping her hips, he adjusting her body against his until he pulled out and slammed back into her. She sank her teeth into the flesh of his shoulder to stifle her cry and he gasped with pleasure and pain. She felt her cheeks flaming, hair clinging damply to her neck and cheeks as she surged up to meet him. Her fingers scrabbled on the sheets, fisting the blankets as he thrust up into her, searching for and finding a rhythm that made her gasp with each stroke.

He rocked back on his heels, pulling her with him, her breasts crushed against his chest as she rolled her hips, grinding herself down against him. He wrapped the length of her hair around his fist, pulling her mouth to his and swallowed her cries as she rode him until her orgasm overwhelmed her. She went limp in his arms as he chased his own release, his groans in her ear making her flutter and clench around him even as her limbs shook with aftershocks.

She may have begged, but she hadn't screamed. She had denied him that, at least. It was a small victory, but she clung to it as they fell back against the pillows, exhausted, bodies slick with sweat.

He pulled out of her, leaving a sticky trail along the insides of her thighs, and rolled them over onto their sides. He dragged the blankets over them and called for the computer to kill the lights, a square of starlight on the floor from the port the only illumination in the room.

"Worth the risk?" she asked as she stared at his dagger, still sheathed, lying on the floor in the patch of starlight. He pressed up against her back, arms wrapped around her, his face buried in her hair.

"Worth more than you know," he murmured sleepily and kissed the spot below her ear where the blood thrummed beneath her skin.

Her eyes kept straying to the knife. She imagined herself plunging it into his heart—could almost feel the scalding hot flow of blood over her fingers.

He sighed against her neck, arms tightening around her. She closed her eyes, blotting out the vision of the blade slicing cleanly into flesh.

He trusted her.

She could work with that.