Ten Minutes…

Pairing: J/T
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Voyager, Kathryn Janeway & B'Elanna belongs to CBS/Paramount. The idea belongs to me.
Completed: October 30, 2007

The story was written for a Story Exchange on VAMB - It was written for Belanna, who supplied the first line.

Many MANY thanks to Maddog for her suggestions, insight, encouragement and for catching those pesky typos. :o)

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NOTE: This story takes place within 'Unimatrix Zero', in those moments before Kathryn Janeway leaves for her mission aboard the Borg ship. It replaces that scene on the bridge between Janeway & Chakotay.

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Kathryn grabbed B'Elanna's hand and took a deep breath. "You ready?"

Ready? B'Elanna couldn't help but smile at the incongruous statement. How could anyone be ready to go on a mission aboard a Borg ship where the possibly of being assimilated was very high. However, Kathryn believed in this mission so that was enough for her.

Kathryn's original mission plans included only herself and Tuvok but B'Elanna had told her in no uncertain terms that she was not going to be left behind. After an 8-hour battle of wills and emotions, B'Elanna finally asked Kathryn the definitive question; what if it were she who was left behind.

 

Kathryn got very quiet and still as the anger dissipated from her body. She stared into B'Elanna's dark brown eyes and nodded her head very slightly. "Ok. We do this together."

B'Elanna's mind returned to the present and looked at the woman standing before her, relishing the warmth of the other woman's hand. Two years ago, this woman merely her commanding officer. B'Elanna had never expected that the woman she admired would become so much more. And that it would start two years earlier with an altercation with Seven of Nine … that damn Borg!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

B'Elanna face grew hot as she tried to contain her anger. "I said, 'Step away from the console'."

The Borg ignored her and continued to work at the engineering station.

B'Elanna stepped to a nearby console and calmly pulled out a phaser and set it to stun, secretly amazed at her own restraint. She'd made only two steps toward the Borg when the doors to engineering opened. She turned her head to see Captain Janeway walking toward her. B'Elanna turned back to her target and took another step.

"Stand down, Lieutenant!"

B'Elanna turned around and found her self toe to toe with the ship's Captain. "Then get her out of my engine room."

They held each other's gaze for several moments. The energy between them sizzled with barely contained anger.

The captain pulled the phaser from B'Elanna's hand and looked down at it check it's setting then deactivated it. She returned her gaze to her chief engineer. "You are relieved from duty until further notice." Her voice was barely a whisper.

As B'Elanna stared into her captain's eyes, she was startled to see the disappointment in them. "Yes, Captain," she replied quietly

That was the first moment B'Elanna had truly seen a glimpse of the woman behind the command. Even since she had been made Chief Engineer, even three years later, there was something that still nagged at the back of her brain… her distrust of Starfleet… and by extension, Captain Janeway. She hadn't wanted to know anything but the officer and she wasn't sure what had allowed her to see beyond it that day.

It was the same night she had wandered into the mess hall in search of a snack. She could have used the replicated in her quarters, but she had been there all day and was going stir crazy. She froze in the doorway when she saw she wasn't the only late night guest in the mess hall.

"Sorry. I didn't realize…"

The captain was staring into a cup of coffee and didn't look up. "It's ok, Lieutenant." Her voice sounded weary.

B'Elanna stared at her a moment longer before she wandered over to the counter where Neelix left snacks for the drew. The guilt she had felt earlier had compounded into shame. She grabbed an apple then turned to face the captain, who was still focused on her cup. B'Elanna only hesitated a moment before she walked slowly towards the captain's table.

Unable to think of anything else to say, she asked, "Are you ok, Captain?"

Kathryn looked at her warily. "Why?"

"I…"

"You have never shown a modicum of interest before. Why now?" Kathryn's tone was bitter.

"I… I don't know."

"Well, let me save you some time. I'm fine." Kathryn stood up to leave. "Have a good evening, Lieutenant."

She was only a few steps away when B'Elanna found her voice again. "Captain…?"

Kathryn stopped, but didn't turn around. "Yes?"

"I am … regretful… that I disappointed you today."

Kathryn turned around, her expression edged with surprise as B'Elanna continued.

"… and… if you ever need someone to talk to… I'd be more than happy to listen." B'Elanna was surprised as the words that came out of her mouth.

Stunned, Kathryn stared at her a moment before finally saying, "Thank you. Have a good evening, Lieutenant."

B'Elanna saw Kathryn Janeway differently from that night on. She began noticing little things she'd never noticed before. How her brow furrowed when she was concentrating… the little lines around her mouth… her long fingers… and how the color of her eyes reflected her mood.

More than once, Kathryn had caught her staring. At first B'Elanna was embarrassed and looked away quickly as though she had been caught doing something wrong. But as time wore on, she began to hold the captain's gaze until it was Kathryn who began looking away first.

It was finally after a meeting in the Captain's Ready Room that one of them finally acted on the growing attraction.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

B'Elanna stared across the desk at her commanding officer. Her hands started to sweat as Janeway started to speak. B'Elanna was sure that flirting with a ship's captain was against protocol.

"B'Elanna…"

"Would you like to have dinner with me, Captain?" interrupted B'Elanna.

Kathryn looked startled. "What?"

B'Elanna didn't answer. She knew the captain had heard her.

Kathryn's jaw worked silently before she said, "Dinner? You mean as friends?"

B'Elanna smiled as she realized Kathryn acting a little shy. "I think you know what I mean." She leaned closer. "Would you have dinner with me… right now?"

B'Elanna watched as the demeanor of the captain gave way to the woman.

Kathryn stood up and cleared her throat. "B'Elanna…"

Suddenly sure that she was about to be rejected, B'Elanna stood up as well and started to move away from the desk. "You know what? Never mind. I shouldn't have said anything. Just forget…"

"Yes."

B'Elanna froze, not completely sure that she'd heard correctly. "Sorry?"

Kathryn took a couple of steps toward her. "I said yes."

Immediately, B'Elanna felt her face warm in an uncharacteristic blush and an uncertainty what to do with her hands. She crossed them over her chest. "Oh. Great."

Kathryn gave her a crooked grin. "You did say now, right?"

B'Elanna uncrossed her arms. "I did, didn't I?" She laughed nervously. "I honestly didn't expect you to say yes."

Kathryn just smiled and said, "Where?"

B'Elanna look puzzled for a moment. "Where? Oh! Where? Um, is my quarters ok? In thirty minutes? No uniforms? I-I-I mean casual dress?"

"I'll be there, B'Elanna."

"Ok. Good."

They stared at each other a moment longer until Kathryn said, "See you in thirty?" as she gestured to the door.

B'Elanna gave a nervous chuckle then exited the ready room, feeling like a complete idiot but also very hopeful.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"You're staring again," said Kathryn.

"Sorry," replied B'Elanna but it was clear she didn't mean it because her gaze hadn't wavered. "You're beautiful," she murmured.

Surprised, Kathryn looked up from her food and coughed. She pressed a napkin to her mouth as she looked at B'Elanna. "I…Thank you." A shy smile formed on her lips as B'Elanna returned the smile.

"You're blushing!"

"I am not!" scoffed Kathryn as her face turned redder. B'Elanna couldn't help but laugh. Seeing a glimpse of the woman behind the command intrigued B'Elanna. She was beginning to feel like she'd made the right decision in asking Kathryn to dinner.

The rest of the meal was taken up by small talk - status of Voyager and the like. At the end of the meal, B'Elanna felt herself under Kathryn's perusal. She looked up to see a curious look on Kathryn's face.

"Why?" asked Kathryn.

B'Elanna knew what Kathryn was asking but she stood, taking their plates to the replicator for recycling then turned around. "I … don't know … I … That day you came into engineering … something changed in the way I saw you." She walked over to where Kathryn had settled on the couch. "You were disappointed in me… and for the first time, that bothered me. I suddenly realized that you did care and weren't what I thought Starfleet to be. I don't know why I didn't see it until then but… I guess that was the turning point."

Kathryn looked down her hands, clasped tightly in her lap. "I do care, B'Elanna. Chakotay helped me see that you had potential. I've often wished that you saw that potential yourself."

B'Elanna boldly took one of Kathryn's hands in hers and brought in to her face, pressing her lips gently against the back of Kathryn's hand. "Thank you for believing in me."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Voyager had finally made it through the expanse of space that the crew had nicknamed 'The Void." For B'Elanna, it was a different kind of void. Kathryn had fallen into a deep depression and cut herself off from the crew, but especially from B'Elanna and their budding relationship.

Initially, B'Elanna was angry at Kathryn for pushing her away, but soon her anger was directed inward - for allowing the distance to happen, not knowing how to help and most of all, not even trying.

Almost twenty-four hours after Voyager made it though the vortex, a subdued Janeway sought out B'Elanna, appearing at her door a couple of hours after dinner time.

B'Elanna quarters were dimly lit when Kathryn entered. B'Elanna was sitting in a nearby chair but didn't look at Kathryn.

"B'Elanna?"

B'Elanna waited a moment before she answered. "What?" Her voice was quiet – devoid of the emotions swirling within her.

"I…"

B'Elanna exploded from her chair, causing a startle Kathryn to take a step backwards.

"What do you want, Kathryn?" You pushed me away for almost two months and suddenly, now, you want to talk?! Not to mention that you were willing to stay behind and abandon the rest of us."

B'Elanna walked away from shaking her head. "Maybe we should stop this while we're ahead."

"I-Is that what you want?"

B'Elanna didn't respond.

"I know I hurt you and I know you're angry…" Kathryn's chest constricted as she tried to blink away her tears. "I'm not used to…"

Kathryn's explanation was cut short when B'Elanna turned around and kissed her, full on the mouth. Initially stunned for a few seconds Kathryn raised her hands to lightly grip B'Elanna's head, holding it in place as she deepened the kiss.

When they finally broke apart, Kathryn smoothed over B'Elanna's hair with her hands. "So, you suddenly forgive me?" she whispered.

B'Elanna turned her head and rubbed her nose against Kathryn's wrist, inhaling her scent before returning her gaze to Kathryn. "I'm forgiving myself. If I hadn't been so caught up in my own hurt and anger, I would have seen that you were hurting."

"And that came to you just now?"

"No. When I saw you, all the hurt and anger came back again."

"I'm so sorry, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna just looked at Kathryn then kissed her gently on the lips. "I missed you."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

B'Elanna had been resting in her quarters after the Doctor had informed her that the captain had disregarded her wishes regarding Crell Moset. She hadn't been this furious in a long time. But the time Kathryn has stopped by, she had calmed down … a little.

B'Elanna sighed when she heard the door chime. She paused to inhaled the scent of the incense she had lit earlier. "Come in."

Kathryn entered, then at the stared smoke rising from the small incense bowl. "Interesting fragrance. I'm surprised it hasn't set off the environmental alarms."

"It's a combination of mental relaxant and expeller of demons. It's an ancient Klingon remedy."

Kathryn finally looked at B'Elanna, her demeanor very much of 'The Captain.' "Feeling any better?"

B'Elanna could only glare. "I'm alive."

"I hope you can understand why I went against your wishes, B'Elanna. Losing you was unacceptable."

B'Elanna rolled her eyes before returning her gaze to the PADD in her hand as Kathryn continued to speak.

"I know you're angry, but we need to put this behind us. Understood?"

B'Elanna was amazed at the gall of this woman. "Is that an order?"

The captain did not hesitate. "Yes."

B'Elanna returned her gaze to her commanding officer. "You can't order someone to get rid of an emotion, Captain."

Kathryn ignored the stab at her rank. "And what emotion is that?" It was an ironic question, considering how devoid of emotion Kathryn's voice was.

B'Elanna could no longer contain her anger. "You had no right to make that decision for me!"

Kathryn raised her chin defensively. "I'm the Captain. You're my crewman. I did what I thought best."

B'Elanna could only stare at the woman who stood before her.

Kathryn suddenly looked uncomfortable. "I get the feeling there are still a few demons in the air." She nodded toward the incense bowl. "Let's hope this does the trick, hmh?" Kathryn turned to leave.

"Don't do that."

Kathryn turned around. "Don't do what?"

"Hide behind your uniform. She's not who I'm angry with," said B'Elanna, referring to the ship's captain.

Kathryn's mouth became a thin line.

Still weak, B'Elanna stood up gingerly. "Why did you go against my wishes, Kathryn?"

Kathryn stepped closer to B'Elanna and stared directly into her eyes and repeated her earlier statement. "Losing you … was unacceptable." Her voice began to betray her emotion. "Voyager would not be the same without you." Kathryn pointed to her chest. "I… would not be the same without you. I knew you'd be angry. I knew you might not forgive me. But that was a risk I was willing to take because if this is truly something you can never forgive me for, so be it. But I was NOT going to let you die."

B'Elanna crossed her arms across her chest. "I hate being angry with you."

"It's not much fun from this side either. I'm really sorry I had to go against your wishes… but… I… love you and I couldn't…

"What?" interrupted B'Elanna. Kathryn had never said that to her before.

Kathryn looked down for a second then looked up again. "I love you."

B'Elanna swallowed the lump in her throat then chuckled lightly. "You'll do anything to win an argument."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

B'Elanna's thoughts finally came to the night before. The night before this mission. They hadn't talked about it, but somehow she knew Kathryn would come to her quarters.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kathryn had used her override code to enter B'Elanna's quarters and was slowly walking towards B'Elanna, her expression almost feral. They stood there, staring at each other, almost as though they were afraid to touch each other.

Kathryn slowly unzipped her uniform jacket. She shrugged it off her shoulders, revealing the light blue tank top underneath and it dropped to the floor in a heap.

Then, without warning, B'Elanna backed Kathryn up against the wall, grabbing her wrists and holding them against the wall above her head. Her mouth captured Kathryn's mouth in a bruising kiss fueled by a frenetic hunger that she could not quench.

Her body was pressed against Kathryn soft form, her thigh pressing against the warmth between Kathryn's legs.

She could fell Kathryn testing the grip on her wrists and she pulled back to stare in blue-grey eyes that were teeming with desire. B'Elanna ran her tongue along the edge of Kathryn's jaw bone then nipped at it with her teeth.

B'Elanna could smell Kathryn's arousal through her skin. She pressed her face in the nape of Kathryn's neck and inhaled loudly, and in doing so, ramping up her own arousal. She captured Kathryn's mouth again and simultaneously let go of Kathryn's writs. She felt Kathryn's long sensual fingers instantly in her hair, holding her close as their tongues tasted and slid against each other.

As they kissed, she could feel Kathryn's hips undulating against her thigh. She broke off the kiss and buried her face in Kathryn's neck again, letting Kathryn scent make her light headed. She pushed thigh against Kathryn and put one arm around her waist. "Come for me, Kathryn," she murmured against her lover's soft skin. As one hand held Kathryn close, the other fondled her breast. "Come for me," she repeated.

As Kathryn moved against her thigh, B'Elanna's own center was stimulated by the movement of Kathryn's thigh between her own legs.

As Kathryn's breathing became more labored, B'Elanna began to whisper words of love in her ear which she knew would send her over the edge. When Kathryn came, the only sound she made was a throaty moan, and waves of pleasure forced her body into involuntary shudders. As Kathryn clung to her, B'Elanna couldn't stop the tears that formed in her eyes. "bangwI' SoH,"* she whispered. She was so caught up in her emotions that it took her a couples of seconds to realize her neck was wet. Kathryn was crying. B'Elanna gently kissed the tears away, grasped Kathryn's hand and led them into her bedroom.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

They had agreed to meet in the ready room ten minutes before they were meet in the transporter room. They stood facing each other in the middle of the ready room. No words spoken – each drinking in the sight of each other.

Almost with a sense of urgency, Kathryn grabbed B'Elanna's hand and took a deep breath. "You ready?"

All of the memories went by in a flash in B'Elanna's mind as she reached for Kathryn's other hand and squeezed it. She leaned in and briefly pressed her lips against Kathryn's slightly parted lips then looked into her eyes and tried to memorize them. "Ready as I'll ever be."

They stood there a moment more, staring at each other. "qamuSHá**," whispered Kathryn. B'Elanna's breath caught in throat. "I love you too," she whispered.

They each took a few moments to regain their composure and with one more squeeze of her hands, she let go, stood aside then followed Kathryn out of the Ready room.

FINIS

Glossary:
* You are my beloved
** I love you

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BONUS DRABBLE:
This drabble is within the same timeline as the story above.

The Most Special Gift

Kathryn woke up with a start, totally unaware of where she was. Then she became aware of the sleeping form beside her… and she remembered the night before.

They were unexpected, her feelings toward B'Elanna. They scared her. They scared B'Elanna. But in the end, being together was less scary.

And last night…. her first time making love to a woman, was her first time with B'Elanna. But it wasn't scary. It was breathtaking. The vulnerability that B'Elanna had allowed her to see was the most special gift Kathryn had ever received. No. The most special gift was her love.

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