Author's note: I've never owned them. But, from time to time, I borrow them and have them do naughty things.
Sinners and Saints
When she first comes to him, it is five months after the destruction of the Caretaker's array.
The alien entity who had possessed Tuvok's body has been dealt with, but the Doctor is still working to integrate Chakotay's consciousness back into his corporeal form. They are all tired, and on the bridge, earlier that day, the worry lines threatened to take over Janeway's forehead.
Tom's surprised to see her at his door at this hour. He's even more surprised when she strolls in wordlessly, an expression on her face that he has seen before on countless women in innumerable bars, on planets now across two quadrants.
Part of him wants to be offended. He is trying desperately not to be that man anymore, and it is precisely that man she has come here expecting to find.
But another part of him can't bring himself to turn her down. Walking with her back in Auckland, the sun shining down on her auburn hair and her grey eyes watching him, he had known he would follow her anywhere. His reluctance had been all for show.
He realizes, with a deep pang of disappointment, that this is no exception. And this time, he doesn't even bother to look hesitant.
Wordlessly, he strips both of them of their clothes, and they have sex on the floor of his living room. He moans her name between thrusts, and she says nothing, closing her eyes the entire time.
When it's over, she leaves without so much as a good-bye. He heads to the sonic shower, trying to rid himself of the self-loathing that will cling to him for days.
This becomes a routine for seven months, until her plan to flush out the ship's traitor begins. When she proposes it in his quarters, he balks at her. He will need to lose the trust of the entire ship. He will have to cultivate the hatred of colleagues he's tried desperately to win over.
"I'll still trust you, Mister Paris. You won't lose me."
The words reassure him more than they should. By now, his Captain trusts him with more volatile truths than her tactical plans.
Still, he agrees to her proposal, realizing with quickly materializing pain that they won't be able to see each other like this anymore. It will be too risky.
"Alright then," she says, standing from her seat on his couch, and he assumes she is moving to leave.
Instead, she straddles his lap and kisses him roughly, her hand quickly reaching for his fly.
When he returns to Voyager after the ensuing chaos, she does not come to his quarters for ten days. He wonders if the time he spent away somehow broke whatever it was they had, and he tries not to feel pain at the possibility that she's found something else to replace it.
When she finally turns up at his door, he feels relieved. But when she steps in, she doesn't move toward him with her usual confidence, hovering near the threshold instead, her arms crossed and her face pensive.
He wants to ask her what's wrong, but he can't find his voice. He thinks she's there to end things. So he just stands, staring at her, until she begins to speak.
"I missed you," she says, her voice somewhere between frustration and disbelief. "I tried not to think about it. I told myself the mission was necessary. But I missed you everyday, and when I thought for a moment that you were dead, I wasn't sure my lungs would ever fill with air again."
The words are kind, but her tone is off-putting. She's annoyed by the feelings she's admitting. Perhaps she even thinks they are beneath her.
Despite this, Tom feels happy.
He moves to her quickly, kissing her as his arms snake around her waist. When she tries to take control, biting his lip and trying to tug him into the living room, he resists.
They kiss for ages by the door, and he eventually pulls her into the bedroom. Their coupling isn't slow or languid, really, yet it is for them; her eyes watching him as he moves above her, and her moaning out loud when he kisses the sensitive skin just below her breast.
When she leaves, he doesn't think to head to the sonic shower.
When Voyager returns to the planet they left Janeway and Chakotay alone on , Tom is certain things will end and she will no longer find him in his , she surprises him by showing up the first night that she's released from Sickbay.
After she leads him to his bed, he worries that she's thinking of someone else. But her eyes stay on him rather than shutting, and when they're finished, she lingers longer than she ever has before.
It keeps up even after he starts dating B'Elanna. And despite how much about Tom has changed as a person, no matter the innumerable ameliorations in his character, he becomes convinced that he is an irredeemable bastard who will rot in hell if it turns out to exist.
For the first few years, he consoled himself with the thought that it's impossible for them to be saints, stranded out here. Beneath that, he knew that neither of them had been trying very hard.
Now, he no longer even attempts the empty gesture of rationalizing.
Janeway never comments on his relationship, never asks him to end it or even seems wounded. But he notices that she leaves more marks on his body than she used to: deep crescent wounds on his hips, scratches all the way down his back; bite marks in unusual places that he might not find if he didn't think to look.
They are difficult to heal by himself, and he thinks sometimes she's consciously trying to get him caught.
He tries not to linger too much on this line of thought.
When he's released from his thirty days in the brig, he's appalled when she shows up as though nothing has happened. B'Elanna is on the night shift, something he later wonders if Janeway orchestrated, when Janeway strolls into his quarters and sits down on his couch as though they're her quarters and not his.
For the first time in five years, he's able to sustain a deep, bubbling rage toward her, and he has no intention of letting it go.
"Get out now," he spits, crossing his arms in front of his body and glaring at her.
She doesn't seem surprised or upset. Just tired. As though he is the Doctor, yelling at her to get more sleep and drink less coffee.
She closes her eyes, reclining her head back slightly as though she's gathering strength.
"I would have shot you down," she says finally, her eyes still firmly shut.
They're roughly the same words she said when she tore one of his pips from his neck, but her tone is now different. It's still somehow defiant, but there's no trace of anger or disappointment. She sounds simply pained.
When she opens her eyes again, there's a desolation in them that Tom has never seen before.
Despite his resolve, his anger melts and he goes to her on the couch, kissing her until the desolation falls away. She clings to him in a new way, and when he moves against her naked body, she pants his name.
When he proposes to B'Elanna and they get married, the encounters with Janeway stop. It is more than just the logistics of Tom's shared quarters; his new living situation would make it more difficult, but not impossible.
There are, apparently, some lows that neither of them are willing to sink to, even when it comes to each other.
Sometimes, Tom misses sleeping with her. Having her in his arms, in his bed. But mostly, he finds that he misses spending time with her. They no longer play pool in Sandrine's, and she doesn't even sit next to him in staff meetings anymore.
Every once in a while, he sees her out in public, like in the mess hall, and he finds himself staring. Invariably, she notices. And the lack of emotion in her eyes when she returns his gaze shakes him out of it.
He doesn't think of her again for days.
When they find themselves suddenly back in the Alpha Quadrant and Voyager is making its way to Jupiter Station, Tom is in his quarters gathering things for B'Elanna. His door chimes and he opens it manually, finding Janeway standing centimeters in front of him.
She has never been to his new quarters, and nothing about the way she walks in this time reminds him of the way she used to act when she entered his last living space.
Still, Tom is filled with dread. He is now a father on top of being a husband. His wife has just given birth to their first child, and both of them are currently resting in Sickbay. He doesn't want to betray them, and yet, standing with this woman only a meter away, he's terrified that he might.
When he looks at her, she doesn't seem happy that her ship is home or relieved to no longer be the highest ranking Starfleet officer around, with all that this has entailed. She seems deflated and even a bit sad, slumping against the wall next to his door.
"Just tell me, at the end of the day, you don't hate me."
Her voice is thick with exhaustion and fear. Her face unguarded in a way that Tom, nor anyone else on board he imagines, has ever seen.
"I don't," he says, but it's with regret, disappointment. A corollary of the tone she used five years earlier, when she'd confessed that she'd missed him.
In truth, he has tried to hate her. Many times, and over many years. But he never can. Only once did he even manage to stay angry at her, and that, too, melted away the moment he saw distress cloud her delicate features.
She nods, closing her eyes, as though she understands. As if she agrees that he should hate her, though she's relieved that he doesn't actually.
"Are you happy?" she asks, after they've stood in silence for a minute or so.
"Sometimes," he replies, regretting that it's the truth. Regretting that he can't simply say 'yes'. "Are you?"
"Almost never," she says, and then looks at him with something that must be embarrassment. "At least not in the last year."
Her admission jars something loose within him, and he feels the pressure of tears well behind his eyes.
"Do you think we loved each other?"
His voice is half-distracted, and it seems he is asking himself as much as he is her.
"I don't know. I think. . . we loved each other as much we were able."
The look he gives her is one of reproach, and the ghost of a rueful smile appears on her face before she modifies her statement.
"Maybe we loved each other as much as we were each willing."
This seems right to Tom, and he nods in approval despite the pain in his stomach and the dull ache forming at the front of his head. She moves to leave, but then hesitates, turning around to face him.
Gingerly, she pushes up on her toes and kisses him, her hand cupping his cheek.
It isn't a deep kiss, or even a passionate one, but it bespeaks a profound affection neither one of them has ever really articulated.
"I'm sorry I didn't meet you when I was more willing," she says, when she pulls away.
Tom is sorry, too. And he feels pain, rather than relief, when she slips out his door after only a brief kiss.
When he is alone again, packing B'Elanna's things, he decides that this pain makes him a bigger bastard than anything else he's done.