No Good Deed…
By Eydie Munroe
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, I know – Paramount and CBS own them. They whispered to me that they wanted to get out of the vault for a while, so here we are.
Note: This takes place sometime during the first half of the seventh season, and completely negates the events depicted in the episode "Body and Soul" – because honestly, I don't buy for a second that a hologram would do the trick.
Captain Janeway was seated behind the desk in her quarters, desperately trying to keep her attention focused on the report that the Doctor was engrossed in giving. It was supposed to be her day off, and so normally she would have had him wait until the next morning, but he was particularly excited about the cure he had found for a rare but particularly stubborn disorder that had been eluding scientists for more than two hundred years. Lieutenant Parsons, Tuvok's second-in-command, had collapsed from it during her shift on the bridge three days ago. The captain had a personal interest, as her mother's cousin was also a sufferer. And since they now had the ability to send this information back to the Alpha Quadrant, they were both sure that this news was going to create quite a stir in the medical community.
The Doctor was in mid-stream when the chime for her door interrupted him. "Come in," she quickly answered, grateful for the interruption in the hologram's lecture. The doors parted to admit Commander Tuvok, who looked like he was under some sort of duress. A sheen of perspiration on his forehead reflected the light from the corridor, and as soon as he was inside he leaned one hand against the wall for stability. "Tuvok?" She was on her feet in a second, fear creeping into her voice. "What is it?"
The EMH had followed her, his ever-present tricorder in hand as he began scanning. With a quick flick of his hand, Tuvok sent the device flying across the room, hard enough for it to shatter against the outer bulkhead. She reached out to take him by the shoulders, but then thought better of it when realization struck her. Her hands dropped to her sides as she said, "Doctor, we'll continue this tomorrow."
"Get out!" the Vulcan barked, his eyes tightly shut as he fought his inner struggle.
"Doctor, please…" she added, her glare letting the hologram know this was not up for discussion.
He looked from one to the other, and his lips pressed together in a thin line as he nodded and left. She waited until the doors were closed again, and this time did not hesitate to take her friend by the shoulders. "Is it time already?"
He gave her a barely perceptible nod, his hands locking down on top of her shoulders as he transferred his weight to her. She reeled a little, then stood at full strength and steadied both of them before she led him over to the nearest armchair. He refused to sit down, and instead chose to waver unsteadily on his feet. "Stay here." After making sure he was going to stay put she headed into her bedroom, immediately opening the closet as she tapped her commbadge. "Janeway to Chakotay."
"Commander, both Tuvok and myself are going to be unavailable for the rest of the day. I don't want any interruptions under any circumstances. Is that clear?"
On the bridge, the announcement only added to the uneasiness that had started the moment her call came. She was supposed to be taking a day off. But he simply responded, "Understood."
In the front room, Tuvok's knees buckled as the full force of pon farr hit him, forcing him to sit in the chair as he waited for her. The onslaught was incredible, so much stronger than anything he had experienced before, and he vaguely wondered whether it was supposed to get stronger and harder to control as one aged. He also remembered the last time, and the awful toll it had taken. Once Tuvok remembered that, he suddenly became concerned. Just as that concern arose, Kathryn returned to the main room. His eyebrow rose when he saw the Vulcan robe she now wore – the same one that she had worn seven years before. "Captain?"
"I kept it," she told him, answering his unasked question.
She stopped in front of him and offered her hand. He did not take it. "I am…concerned for your safety, Kathryn." He let out a soft groan, and in his labored voice he reminded her, "Just because you have...helped me...in the past..."
Kathryn shook her head, and he stopped speaking. He was giving her the option to out, and she knew it. After a moment's consideration she observed, "This is worse than it was last time, isn't it?" He nodded, and she knelt down beside him. "We talked about this. You know I value you too much to not help you. I'll be fine," she told him, reaching down and taking one of his hands. "Come with me."
He got up slowly, allowing her to lead him back into her bedroom. She had lit candles and the incense that was particular to this facet of Vulcan life, and Tuvok wondered if she remembered how to do this better than he did. He shook his head, amazed at all the illogical thoughts that were now coursing through him.
Kathryn gently forced him to sit down on the foot of the bed, and then she took her place beside him, waiting for a few minutes before taking his wrists and bringing them together. He automatically steepled his fingers, any hesitancy disappearing from his stiff body.
It only took a few seconds of preparation, and then he turned to her and spread his fingertips out over her face. She was hit hard by the unrestrained passion and the despair he felt at his loss of emotional control. If it would have been just that, she would have been alright – but this time, it was compounded by the loneliness that was the result of their being stranded on the opposite side of the galaxy for seven long years. She never realized how strongly Tuvok was a victim of detachment from his family, and she was unprepared for the force of it now as it overwhelmed her. A cry was ripped from her throat, throwing her mind into a spin as she felt his presence deepening within her. He was everywhere inside her, becoming one with the person that she had become during her time in the Delta Quadrant.
Tuvok could feel her resistance as she tried to keep him out, and his eyes squeezed shut as he continued to blend together with her. There was a particular area that she protected above all others, barriers thick against the onslaught of his presence. He wished he could leave it alone, but in order to fulfill the connection between them, he had to become one with her. Completely.
Kathryn could feel her body being lowered back onto the mattress as he continued to move within her mind, and she knew that he was trying to break through the barriers that she was desperately holding onto. She wasn't doing it purposely – she knew him well enough to know that any secrets she had would be safe with him. It had just become so second-nature to her. She was the captain, and the captain always had to be in control. But try as she might, she couldn't seem to let go and give herself completely to him.
He tried to focus, reaching even deeper as he pushed against the barrier. Physically he was lying beside her, moving carefully as to not break the contact between them. Normally at this point it would be possible to maintain the meld without physical touch, but he couldn't – not until he had her complete soul with him. Patience very quickly gave way to desperation, turning him into a force that she could no longer stand against.
She cried out again as he burst through the barrier, which they both discovered held all of the emotions that she had hidden away and denied in order to maintain her captain's demeanor. It was all there, everything that had happened since their last joining – the sorrow and pain at losing Mark, the anguish at stranding them all there and grief for separating everyone from their loved ones when she destroyed the array. There was a small part dedicated to all those that she had ever lost under her command, and leftover anger from her assimilation only a few months before. But most powerful of all were her feelings for Chakotay – love for the man who had dared to tell her how he felt, fear of telling him that she felt the same and sorrow because she still thought she would never be able to love him in the way they both wanted.
The sudden onslaught overwhelmed Tuvok, making him groan under the pressure of the emotional flood. But after what had become hours he had her completely, and they were finally bonded. His eyes opened to find that hers had as well. It was safe now, and he removed his fingertips from her face in order to move on to the physical bonding, which would be the amalgamation of the emotional upheaval that was now consuming both of them. Each could hear the other's thoughts clearly, and he knew that she was shaking inside and out at the prospect of what was coming next. So he leaned down and kissed her gently as his hands worked at the removal of their clothing.
The Doctor sat at his desk, once again mulling through the limited scan results he had taken before Tuvok destroyed his tricorder. They knew so little of this part of Vulcan life, and this instance had only given him slightly more insight into what was a normal biological occurrence for them. As he thought of what he did know, he shook his head. The captain was definitely brave to help her oldest friend in the manner she had chosen. But he wondered about the logic of it. As soon as that thought crossed his mind, he chuckled. Bad choice of words.
But his concern never left him. So after some thought, he ran some commands through the computer to deposit a prescription at the captain's replicator.
Tuvok was already dressed, his usual stoic expression firmly back in place. He was nowhere near back to normal, but at least now he would be able to control his emotional outbursts with intense meditation. He looked down at his friend, thankful that she was willing to make this sacrifice for his life. She was no longer asleep, but hadn't moved as she watched him attend to the fine details of his uniform. How are you feeling? Kathryn finally asked, thinking the question and relishing their connection rather than expressing her concerns verbally.
He pulled a deep breath into his lungs as he pulled himself up straight. I require meditation, but I will be fine, Captain.
Good. Her head fell back a little further into her pillow as her eyes closed.
He could also feel her inner turmoil. She was glad to have been able to assist him once again, but being so totally opened, both physically and mentally, was nonetheless unnerving to her. He came over and sat down on the edge of the bed beside her, causing her to look up at him again. Kathryn, he thought softly, allowing himself a rare moment of compassion as he held her cheek in his hand, I am...grateful...for what you have done for me.
She reached up and ran her fingertips across the top of his hand. I know. A smile pulled at the corner of her mouth. I'll be fine, my friend. Go ahead and start your meditations. Contact me if you need me. He nodded, and then silently left her quarters to return to his own.
Kathryn lay there for a long time, consumed in thought as she reviewed the last day in her head. Taking a rare day off meant that she had let herself sleep late, then enjoyed her coffee as she read letters from home and replied to them. She had also scheduled some badly needed time on the holodeck – a gift from Chakotay for her last birthday that she hadn't gotten around to using yet. But the Doctor, then Tuvok appeared in her quarters, and the holodeck was long forgotten.
Chakotay. Her train of thought stopped at his name. She was suddenly assaulted by his image, his voice, all of the memories of him that she had so carefully stored in the back of her mind and only brought out when she absolutely wanted to. She knew that he was not going to be happy about this, despite anything he would say to the contrary. But he would understand in time. Besides, it wasn't as if they were involved in their own relationship. It wasn't cheating.
Then why does it feel like it?
She shook her head, trying to clear it. A growl of her stomach reminded her that she hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning. Sitting up, Kathryn immediately discovered that the physical bonding was a lot harder on her than it had been last time – or else she wasn't as strong as she had been then. Her whole body ached, and after lifting the blanket she discovered a variety of rapidly darkening bruises across her skin. And those were only the external bruises she could see. She could feel Tuvok's reaction to the physical pain she experienced, and she tried to reassure him that it was not really as bad as it seemed now. He seemed to accept that, and turned his attentions to other things.
Shaking her head again, she slowly wrapped her robe around her and walked to the replicator, stopping short when she saw a hypospray and a padd already materialized on it. She picked up the spray in her left hand, then the padd in her right as she read:
To: Captain Kathryn Janeway, Starship Voyager
From: Emergency Medical Hologram, Starship Voyager
I have provided you with a mild pain reliever, which should help you with any physical trauma you may be experiencing. I would like to see you in Sickbay at your earliest convenience. But in the meantime, please see that you have a decent meal and get some rest.
Kathryn smiled. At least somebody was trying to take care of her.
Chakotay was concerned. Kathryn had missed their standing dinner appointment, which he had as much assumed when she said she was going to be unavailable. It wasn't the first time it had happened, of course. But usually by now he would have heard from her, at least to make sure he knew what was going on. Tonight, there had been nothing.
At first he decided to ignore it, to have his meal and make it to bed early for a change. But even a trip to the holodeck was not enough to ease his mind. When he was back in his bedroom he called out, "Computer, locate Captain Janeway."
"Captain Janeway is in her quarters."
He started to undress, his fingers stopping their motion when he thought he heard something. Eyes narrowed, he listened intently. It took a while, but his efforts were rewarded when he heard the muffled sound of his captain on the other side of the wall. He listened harder, leaning his ear against the smooth gray surface that separated them. When he finally ventured a guess, he couldn't help but gasp. It sounded like she was crying. He gave brief consideration to going to see her, but then thought better of it when an involuntary yawn escaped him. They would talk about it in the morning, and he knew if he tried to force the issue now that they wouldn't even do that much. So as much as it pained him, he forced himself to go to bed. But he didn't sleep.