Bright Frontier
by Birca

Title:           Bright Frontier
Author:         Birca
Rating:         [NC-17] 
Summary:    Can there ever be too many codas to Thirty Days?  No, I don't think so either.

Rating: NC-17

Written: 30 June 2002

Notes: I thought Dark Frontier was missing a little something.  Hmmm… could it have been a P/T acknowledgment that they were doing something foolhardy when they went up against the Borg?  Maybe…..

For Barb, Happy Birthday………….. 


"Okay, I'm going to run it one more time, just to make sure.  Joe, how's the output?"

"Looks fine, Chief."

"Good.  Tom?"

"Thrusters responding.  Warp engines are go.  All systems responding within normal range."  Tom turned and smiled at B'Elanna.  "Looks like the trans-warp coil is fully integrated.  It's going to work."

"Maybe we should go to the holodeck to--"

"Janeway to Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Paris."

Tom pursed his lips and exchanged a look with Carey.  The jig, apparently, was up. 

'Busted,' Joe mouthed with a grin. 

"Torres here, Captain."

"Paris here." 

"What are you two doing in the shuttle bay?  I thought I ordered you to get some rest." 

"We were just running a final check on the coil.  I wanted to make sure everything's set for the morning." B'Elanna replied.

"Checking up on us, Captain?"  B'Elanna was standing beside the Delta Flyer's engineering console, and Tom walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder.  He gave it gentle squeeze and grinned.

"I distinctly remember dismissing both of you three hours ago.  The crew needs sleep before the mission tomorrow, and that includes you two.  The next time I ask the computer where you are, I want to hear that you're both tucked into your beds."  They heard a distinctly male chuckle come over the com signal and Tom raised an eyebrow.

"Is that clear?" Janeway concluded.

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Yes, Captain."  B'Elanna sighed with resignation.  "Joe…"

"Don't worry, I'll finish up here," Carey said quietly.


The corridor was empty as they walked to the turbolift.  Tom had kept his hand on B'Elanna's shoulder, and she'd let him, but as they stood in the hallway waiting for the lift to arrive, his hand slid down her arm to hold hers in a warm, firm grip.  B'Elanna stared at their intertwined fingers and a breath hitched in her chest.  They had less than eight hours before the away team took the Flyer out to find Seven.  Eight hours, then she might never see him again…

The lift doors opened almost silently and he pulled her inside, keeping a hold of her hand. 

"Walk you home?" he asked quietly.

"Sure."  A smile tugged at her mouth as she looked up at him, but it slid away again as she studied his face.  He was tired, obviously, his face drawn with fatigue.  But there was something else there as well.  He was holding something in check, some emotion that he didn't want her to see.

"Deck nine."  B'Elanna rested her head on Tom's shoulder during the short ride.  She breathed him in, wanting to imprint his scent on her memory, just in case.  They'd faced it before; this separation, the risk of losing each other forever.  But this was the first time they'd had to plan it.  The first time they'd taken so long to prepare.

She swallowed hard as she felt the prick of tears in her eyes.  Damn it!  She was not going to cry.  She wouldn't let down her defenses that way.  She needed every drop of emotional detachment she could summon, just in case…

The lift doors opened and she drew in a breath as they stepped into the quiet corridor.  She tried to tug her hand free, but Tom tightened his grip and smiled at her.  What the hell; they weren't fooling anyone anyway.  The whole ship knew they were involved.  Two years.  Almost two years already…

A crewman passed them, nodding to them both.  "Good luck tomorrow, Sir." 

"Thanks," Tom replied.  He didn't even attempt his patented 'Starfleet smile'. 

They stopped at B'Elanna's door and she turned to face him, lifting her chin.  She'd prepared a speech, some quiet words about duty and the need for rest, but her mouth went dry as she stared at him, and the words froze on her tongue.

Tom's eyes closed and he bent to kiss her, his mouth finding her cheek from long practice.  His lips grazed her cheekbone and the hollow beneath, before landing softly on her mouth.  His kiss was warm and soft, not demanding like she'd thought it would be.  A gentle pressure, a warm puff of breath--it almost undid her hard-won composure.

Her eyelids fluttered closed and she kissed him back, twining her arms around his neck and pressing her body to his.  She ran her fingers through the crisp curls at the back of his neck, memorizing the shape of his head, the texture of his hair. 

The kiss ended, and she felt his mouth graze her nose and ridges to land softly in her hair.  She looked at him, and watched as he reached for her door chime and keyed in her code.  He was quiet, his mouth drawn into a flat line as he bit into his lower lip.  It reminded her of the cave on Sakari so many years ago, when he'd kissed her so sweetly.  One kiss, then he'd pushed her away…

The doors opened behind her and B'Elanna fell back a half step into the room.  She wanted to clutch at him, to pull him inside with her, but she wouldn't make the situation more difficult than it already was. Her hands slid from his neck to rest lightly on his shoulders, preparing to push away from him.  She stared, mesmerized, at the stark contrast of her tan fingers against his black uniform. 

Tom took her hand and lifted it to his lips, brushing a soft kiss across her knuckles.  He took a step forward, then another, backing her into her cabin until the door closed behind him.  He'd kept hold of her hand, and he turned it to place a kiss in her palm.  His eyes were closed, and he rubbed his whiskered cheek against her calloused skin. 

B'Elanna felt the familiar response to his touch--a tingling shock that traveled down her arm to the elbow.  His breath was warm on her wrist.  She felt her knees go weak at the intimacy of it.  His lips parted and his tongue snaked out to taste the tender skin above her pulse point. 

She choked back a sob, and Tom turned his head to press his forehead to hers.

"Shhh.  It's alright," he whispered.  He brought up his hand to frame her face, tangling his fingers in her hair and tipping her head so he could kiss her mouth. 

She clutched at him, digging her nails into his arm and fisting the hand that he still held tightly against his chest.  He kept the kiss light.  It was tender, and so sweet that she felt the tears sting her eyes again.  She broke the kiss and held him fiercely, hugging him tightly to her slim body.

"It's alright," Tom repeated, his hands gliding along her spine in a gentle caress.  He eased away from her and reached for her commbadge to remove it, then plucked his own from his chest before turning to lay them on her table.  She heard the sharp click as metal hit glass and it startled her out of her daze.  As he turned back to her, their eyes met.  He couldn't let her go either.  She was inordinately grateful.

He bent to press his lips to her jaw and she tilted her head as he trailed soft kisses down her throat.  He tugged at the collar of her turtleneck, kissing as much of her soft skin as he could reach, then pulled the fastener on her uniform, parting the jacket and slipping his hands inside. 

His fingers probed her waist, caressing the fabric of her thin shirt, then pulling it from her slacks.  He slid his hands along her ribs and they felt warm on her chilled skin.

"T--Tom," she breathed raggedly.  She clutched at him, scattering fierce kisses wherever she could reach--his forehead, his temple, the tip of his ear.

"Shhh," Tom murmured.  "Gently."  He cupped her face in his hands and claimed her lips again, tracing them with the tip of his tongue.  Surely she would drown in that kiss, or forget to breathe?  They would finally die of oxygen deprivation, wrapped in each other's arms, right here in her quarters.

His lips were soft and warm, but he skimmed over her mouth, refusing the invitation as she parted her own.  Instead, he brushed her cheek almost chastely.  So many kisses in the last two years, each one reminding her of the first.  She melted into him.

"It's dark, the only light is coming from our wristlamps," Tom's voice was low and husky.  He kissed his way toward her jaw and trailed his tongue along the soft hollow of her throat.  "You're covered in dust and dirt and so beautiful I can barely look at you.  I know you're going to break my heart." 

It was like he read her mind.  Her fingers gripped his uniform, and she hauled it over his head, shirt and all.  His undershirt followed as she buried her nose in the springy, red-gold curls on his chest.

"You see, I've loved you for so long." His words were whispered into her hair.  Her hands dropped to his hips and she fumbled with the fastener on his slacks.  He stilled her, sliding her hands back up to his chest and on up to his mouth.  He kissed her fingertips and B'Elanna felt the urge to scream at the deliberately slow pace he'd set. 

"You're stalking me, and I want so much for you to catch me.  But when you finally pounce and pin me to the ground, I'm too startled to react the way I want.  I push you off me and I regret it instantly."

"Tom…"  Her voice sounded urgent to her own ears.  She wound a hand around the back of his neck and pulled him into a deep kiss.  His lips parted, and she ran her tongue along his teeth.  He opened his mouth fully to her and she heard him moan softly.  His tongue played lazily with hers, tracing the soft contours of her inner cheek and gums.

Tom lifted his head, grazing his lips along her nose and forehead. His breath was moist and warm as it fanned against her cheek, and he spoke quietly against her flushed skin.  "You back me against the cave wall, and inside I'm praying you'll kiss me, but I can't say it.  Instead, I keep telling you that you don't really want me, that you don't really mean it, and part of me is afraid it's true."

"Every word I told you in those caves was true," B'Elanna said.  She shrugged out of her jacket, then pulled her shirt over her head, letting it drop to the floor.  She backed him against the wall and propped her hands on either side of his face, finally playing along.  "I've wanted you for so long…" 

She molded her body against him, kissing him softly, barely grazing her lips against his.  Tom's hands moved to her shoulders and held her lightly, almost keeping her at bay. She rose up onto her toes, dipping her head again in another gentle kiss--light pressure, then retreat.  "I was just afraid to admit it," she whispered. 

"I want so much to give in to you," Tom sighed.  "I almost do, but I'm afraid you'll hate me for taking advantage of you.  I can't allow myself to believe what you're saying."  He ran his hands down her arms, brushing the outside curve of her breasts with his thumbs. B'Elanna shivered and turned slightly so his palm was cupping her breast.  His thumb rubbed little circles around her nipple, which tightened and hardened almost painfully in response.  She could feel the heat from his hand through the thin fabric of her undershirt.  Gooseflesh rose on her skin.  She shivered.

"I need you to believe me, Tom.  You're like a fire in my blood--I need you so much I'm aching for you."  The last was whispered against his mouth, then B'Elanna's lips descended on his and she kissed him hungrily. 

They'd never discussed that day, beyond a few polite words in the lift.  She knew he'd been afraid of embarrassing her, and was grateful for his tact.  She hadn't wanted to revisit those feelings; the longing, the desire that had almost driven her out of her mind with need.  But she needed him to know--really know--that her desire for him that day had been real, tangible.  Just as real as it was now.

"Your skin is hot when I touch you--burning--and I'm desperately worried that you'll die before I can find a way to help you."  His hands left her breasts and trailed down her ribcage gently caressing her, then finally settled on her waist.  "I'm calculating how far I have to go to save you."  His mouth was moist and warm against her throat, and she swayed toward him.  "I'm so afraid you'll hate me; that you'll push me away again." 

She ran her hands up his bare back, loving the warmth and texture of his skin.  She knew every dip, every curve of his body intimately, yet for some reason, tonight it seemed new.  And she wanted that.  She wanted to reclaim what she'd lost on Sakari; what Vorik had taken from them.  She wanted to pretend that tonight was their first time instead of their last….

She muffled the sob that was welling in her chest, and felt her throat spasm.  Her hands clenched on his shoulders, and her nails dug into his flesh. 

"I'm thinking if I just use my mouth, my hands, if I can bring you to orgasm, that it'll be enough to save you.  But my body is warring with my head, and I want inside you so badly I'm dizzy."

Tom twined his fingers in her hair, anchoring her mouth to his for a long, breathless kiss.  She leaned her body into him, pressing her breasts into his chest, and grinding her hips into his.  She heard him moan, and felt a hand skim over her shoulders and drop to her bottom as he pulled her closer.

He bent and slid an arm under her knees, lifting her and cradling her against his chest.  He hadn't carried her since he'd been released from the brig--his thirty day exile--when he'd all but thrown her over his shoulder and carted her into the bedroom.

B'Elanna clung to him, burying her face in his neck, loving the way the muscles in his arms bunched and tightened as he held her close.  He crossed the distance to her bed in a few quick strides, then knelt on the covers and laid her down. 

He smoothed the hair from her brow, his voice rough with restraint, as he spoke.  "I lay you on the ground, and your hair fans out against the dirt like a dark halo.  I want to be inside you--I want to tear the clothes from your body and see if you look and taste and feel like you do in my dreams." 

He kicked off his boots, and they hit the floor with a muted thump.  B'Elanna sat up, her temple brushing his, and pulled her boots off, too, tossing them beside his.  She nuzzled his cheek, grazing her teeth over his jaw, and felt him stiffen and pause. 

"Do it," he breathed.  "Please.  I've waited so long."  She'd hadn't marked him since that morning on Sakari.  She hadn't done it after she'd admitted her feelings for him and they'd made love that first time.  Not even after he'd finally told her the same when he and Tuvok had been rescued from that gravity well.  She hadn't dared.  She'd thought it would repulse him.

"Please."  He almost sobbed the word.

B'Elanna felt her chest constrict and she gulped a breath.  She leaned into him and opened her mouth, kissing him wetly and running the tip of her tongue in tiny circles over his stubbled cheek.  She scraped her teeth along his skin and felt his flesh yield to the gentle pressure.  Tom clutched her hips, digging his fingers into her skin, and she jumped in response. 

She brought her hands up to his face to hold him steady.  Her heart was hammering in her chest, the beats so hard and loud she was sure he could hear them.  She was breathing rapidly, panting against his cheek, and she drew back slightly to look at his face and saw that his eyes were closed.  He waited, still and expectant.

She closed her lips on his jaw and sucked gently, drawing some of his cheek into her mouth.  She bit hard and quick, and tasted his blood as it spilled onto her tongue.  A heatwave of desire slammed into her, engulfing her.  She was back in the cave, going by instinct and claiming her mate.  She heard his fierce, indrawn hiss of breath and felt his body shudder. 

"I've picked up your scent, Tom," she murmured huskily.  "I've tasted your blood."  She scraped her teeth over the wound, lapping at the blood that was oozing out of the crescent shaped cut. 

Tom turned his head and kissed her hard, pulling her into a tight embrace.  One hand wove into her hair while the other slid the strap of her undershirt down her arm.  His mouth trailed fire down her throat and across her shoulder, hot and insistent on her bare flesh.  She could feel his laboured, panting breaths against her skin. 

She fumbled with the fastener on his slacks, then pushed them hurriedly down his hips.  Tom's hands stilled her.  He lifted her shirt over her breasts and bent to kiss the hollow between them.  The scratchy brush of the whiskers on his cheeks made her tingle, and her nipples tightened in reaction. 

"I'm almost afraid to see you naked," he said against the warm curve of a breast.  "I don't know how I'm going to stop myself from showing you how much I need you.  How much I love you," he murmured.  He closed his mouth around her nipple and she arched her back, thrusting her breast against his mouth.

He swirled his tongue, suckling on his prize, and B'Elanna felt herself grow damp and ready.  She squirmed in his arms, so he released her to move to the other breast.  He tugged on the brown nipple with his lips, sucking it over his teeth, making B'Elanna gasp and pull his head away.  "Tom…" Her voice was low and husky with desire.

He dropped a gentle kiss on her lips, then pulled her shirt over her head.  B'Elanna raised her arms, then settled them around his shoulders once she was bare.  She rubbed her breasts against his chest, loving the roughness of the crisp hairs as they tickled her skin.  …the two of them wrestling on the grass until Tom flipped her over and landed on top of her.  She remembered the feeling of his weight on her, the thrill as his muscled chest crushed her breasts and drove the breath from her lungs.  She could feel him, feel his heat and strength, right through their clothing. 

He skimmed his hands along her ribs making her tingle, and settled them on her hips.  His thumbs slipped inside the waistband of her slacks and moved in tiny circles against her belly.  She shivered.

She watched him, silent, as he drew the zipper on her slacks, then she lay down on the bed as he slowly eased them down her thighs and off her legs.  He reversed course, and his fingertips trailed from her feet to her ribs, raising gooseflesh on her skin.  She pulled him down beside her and kissed him deeply, their tongues dancing. 

"I've wanted you for so long," she repeated.

Her hands found his waistband and parted his slacks, then pushed them down his legs.  She slipped a hand inside his briefs to caress his aroused penis.  He was velvety smooth and hot in her hands.  It still humbled her that she could do this to him, that they could do this to each other. 

He straightened just long enough to pull his underwear down and off, then leaned over her again.  Her hands returned to his erection, and she cupped him gently, running her fingers along his hard length.  She heard him sigh.

His lips caressed her jaw, leaving a trail of soft, moist kisses along her throat and shoulders.  He continued downward, skimming his mouth over her breasts, her ribs, the points of her hips.

She was throbbing, aching for his attention.  His breath was hot against her skin, and as he nibbled on her thighs she squirmed and forced him to his purpose.  It was like an electric shock when his tongue touched her.  She bucked against his mouth, and he lapped at her, his tongue moving purposefully on her heated skin. 

B'Elanna felt a sheen of sweat break out on her body.  She felt her belly tighten and at that moment she needed him inside her more than she needed air to breathe.  He slid one long finger into her causing her hungry muscles to clench around it. 

She shuddered as Tom suckled at her and suddenly felt her body grow tight.  She was bathed in fire.  Her back arched and she rode the waves as they spread and rippled throughout her body.  She came down gasping for breath, reaching for him, pulling him to her. 

"I'm still burning, Tom," she whispered huskily.

He settled his long body on top of her, kneeling between her legs.  He was careful to support most of his weight on his elbows as he slid his hands under her shoulders to cradle her head between his palms.  "I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to do," he said with a smile.  His voice was low and intimate, his eyes shining at her. 

B'Elanna grinned up at him, and curled a hand around the back of his head.  "Just let it happen…"  She pulled his mouth down for a deep kiss.  She loved the feel of his body on her own, his weight pressing her into the bed.  She could feel his erection hot and hard along her belly, and she wound her legs around his waist, resting her heels on his ass.  She arched her back and pulled him toward her.  He slid smoothly inside. 

She clenched around him, and he stilled, watching her.  She was moved by the intimacy of the moment; his warm, bare skin against hers, their sweat and breath mingling as their bodies clung together.  It was primal and ethereal all at once.  It was bliss.

She began to move against him, thrusting her hips upward as she ran her hands over his back.  He buried his face in her hair and turned his head to kiss her throat. 

"You're all fire and heat and I'll never get enough of you."  His breath was harsh in her ear, the words gasped as he fought to keep a steady slow rhythm to his thrusts.  "I feel like I've caught your fever--I'm burning."

She couldn't form a coherent reply.  She threaded her fingers into his hair and held him for a deep kiss.  She could feel it coming, just out of reach.  Waiting to barrel over her.  She thrust her hips against his, urging him to go faster and he obliged. 

His mouth moved over hers in short, desperate kisses trailing fire along her skin.  As he kissed her throat, she caught the scent of the blood on his jaw.  The instinct to taste him was irresistible.  She ran her tongue over the fresh wound, and as she tasted his blood her orgasm slammed into her with shocking intensity.

She bit him again and Tom gasped and bucked into her.  She felt his body tighten and shudder with the force of his own climax.  He went limp, knowing he couldn't crush her, finally believing how much she loved the weight of his spent body on hers.  She caressed his shoulders and back, then raised her hands to his hair and tugged.  His head was resting in the hollow of her shoulder, and his breath fanned warm and moist against her breast. 

He lifted his head and kissed her blindly, his eyes still closed.  She kissed him back, then nipped at his lip until he slit his eyes open to peer at her from under heavy lids. 

"Mmmm?" he asked drowsily. 

"You're not falling asleep on me, are you?" 

"Maybe," he mumbled.  "All that restraint wears a man out."  His voice was thick with sleep and he laid his head on the pillow next to hers. 

"Tom?"  She was speaking into his hair.  She rocked him again, bumping him with her shoulders and wriggling her hips. 

He propped himself up on an elbow and slid out of her.  His penis was lying warm and spent against her thigh and she ran her finger along its length, swirling patterns in the dampness.  The two of them, together. 

He smiled then winced as the skin on his jaw stretched the bites she'd put there. 

"I didn't mean to do it again.  I'm sorry."

"I like that you've claimed me, B'Elanna.  You only bite the one you love, right?"  He smiled at her, his eyes soft.

"I want you to ask the doctor to remove it.  I--I don’t want anyone to see it."  Her voice trailed off and she lowered her eyes.  She didn't know how to explain her need to keep their relationship private.  She didn't want the rest of the crew to see him and assume that she'd 'gone Klingon' on him the night before he left on a dangerous mission. 

"B'Elanna," he drew a slow breath.  "I want people to know how we feel about each other.  It's not like it's a secret.  I want them to know that you're the best thing that's ever happened in my life." 

She looked pained.  "Please.  Have the doctor remove it.  Or do it yourself.  Before you go on shift."  Her voice sounded strained.

Tom leaned down and kissed her softly.  "Okay.  I promise."  He laid back down beside her and pulled her into his arms, nudging her head onto his chest with his chin.  "But I'm keeping it tonight."

She sighed and settled against him, letting her eyes drift shut and focusing on the steady rise and fall of his chest. 


"What?" she answered softly.  She'd almost fallen asleep. 

"I want you to promise me something."

"What is it?"  She tried not to tense, forcing her body to stay relaxed against his.

"If something goes wrong tomorrow.  If we're caught and … and assimilated--"

"Hey!"  She leaned over him and mock glared at him, and jabbed a finger in his chest.  "No lousy Borg can catch the best damn pilot in the Delta Quadrant.  Remember that."  She tried to look stern, but she could hear the waver in her voice.

He smiled and stole a kiss.  "Thanks for the vote of confidence," he said slowly.  "But if something does go wrong, if you get the chance, I want you to fire on us.  I want you to blow up the cube or the sphere or whatever I'm on."

"Tom?"  She looked disbelieving.  She felt like her life was rapidly spinning out of control.

"Even if you have to go against orders to do it.  Please!  Promise me."

B'Elanna looked at him.  His face was set, his eyes were serious.  "Okay.  I promise," she whispered.

"Good."  Tom pulled her back into his arms and held her tightly.  She felt him sigh into her hair.

"Me, too," she said quietly.  "If I'm ever assimilated.  If they ever board Voyager… promise me you'll kill me before you'll let them take me."

Tom held her tightly and she felt a shudder pass though him. 


He shook his head.  "I can't.  I love you.  I can't."

She blinked back a sudden swell of tears and stared into the darkened room. 

Tom's voice was low and uneven.  "If I'd made love to you in the cave, B'Elanna, when you were…"

"Throwing myself at you?" she asked.

"Would you have hated me afterwards?"

She was silent for a long moment.  "I'd have gotten over it eventually," she said finally.

"I'd have to believe that there would be a way I could save you.  That I could get you back.  The doctor made Seven human again; I couldn't just abandon you."

"But you'd expect me to do the same with you?" she asked.

"You're stronger than I am, B'Elanna. You give me strength."

B'Elanna reached up to cup his cheek in her hand, and turned her head to nuzzle his throat.  "We give each other strength.  We've beaten the odds so far, and we'll beat the Borg tomorrow.  I just wish I was going with you."

Tom shook his head.  "I'd worry about you too much.  I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything else."

"Then I'll wait here for you.  And if I have to, I'll save you, okay?"

His reply was slow in coming, and his voice was a whisper of breath in her hair.  "Okay."

"Get some sleep."

"I love you, B'Elanna," he whispered.

"I know."


The End. With absolutely no apologies for writing a Blood Fever story.

So, did you like Birca's latest story? If so, write her!
All stories by Birca - Last Updated October 12, 2002
All characters, concepts, photos, images, & terminology belong to Paramount Pictures.