Star Trek - Voyager: Animus (MF)
by JoAnne Soper-Cook

The lights in *Voyager's* sickbay were dimmed at this hour -- according to the ship's chronometer, it was well past the appointed bedtime for most of the crew; only a skeleton of the normal complement manned duty stations, and for the most part, the stately ship was a silent as a tomb.

The monitors which lined the walls hummed with a detachment of which only the truly inanimate are capable: a sussurating, digitized whisper, it seemed to emanate solely from the banks of cool blue displays. Now and again, a soft beep or an artifical murmur would arise from those same displays, as some segment of intelligent circuitry stirred amidst its neon sleep, but silence ruled.

Silence...a commodity in such very short supply, and yet so precious! For it was purely within this cocooning shell of silence that he could work, unhindered, untrammeled by the mundane cares of the fragile humans who were borne along inside this gleaming hull. There was no soft swish from pneumatic doors, no petty requests for Hippocratic succor...he could *think* in here, alone, at this hour, and cherish the repose which so afforded him this peace.

"Umm--Doctor?" finger curled, unseen, around the edge of the diagnostic padd; he gripped the small, square thing until he felt its rounded edge bite deeply into the side of his hand. Only then did he trust himself to look up.

"You must realise that I am very busy, I can't be disturbed like this, I -- Kes?" His rancour died away, dwindled into nothing, was dispersed upon the next out-breath. "I thought you'd gone...."

"I'm sorry to bother you, but--" Her beautiful eyes framed her ancient soul; and hung upon the cusp of that soul were glistening tears... "It's nothing, really, I ought to go." Her pretty mouth curved into a flickering travesty of a smile, and she turned, an abrupt movement, the flitter of a fleeing bird.

"No, wait!" His hand, possessed of some alien impulse, darted from his side and wrapped around her wrist. Her gentle sapphire eyes rose to gaze a question, and his fingers uncurled, let her arm drop. "I mean...I'm sorry -- please, have a seat."

He motioned towards a chair, and she sat, one elegant, slender leg curled around the other. Her small white hands clutched the arm of the chair, white-knuckled for a moment, then released it.

"What is the nature of--"

"Can't you just ask me what's wrong?" Her chin lifted in something very like defiance.

"I--" He sighed. "What's wrong?" He dropped the diagnostic padd, it clattered on the desktop.

"I thought it would be enough..." she whispered, more to herself than to him. "I was so very glad when Neelix came to get me and yet..."

"You aren't happy here? Is that it?" His dark eyes impaled her on the question...there would be no feckless dance around the truth.

"I *am*, but--" Her fingers knit in her lap and picked furiously at a hangnail, working manically.

"Don't do that--" He reached out, let his hand fall useless upon the desktop, unable to reach her, unable to stop her, offer anything at all. "It will only make it worse."

"It already *is* worse!" A sob fluttered into her throat, a beating anguish, a captive bird...a tiny pulse flickered at the base of her smooth white neck, a miniscule heart caught underneath her skin. It mesmerised him: that perfect pulsing point, the milky hollow there... "And how can I *say* that, how can I be so *ungrateful*? Or is it my time, already? Before my time..."

He looked up, quickly. What did that mean? But no; she was youthful yet, it wasn't time. Not yet.

"I think you need to talk with someone..."

Her fingers plucked the tears from her cheeks. "How? There's no counselor on board, there's no one..."

He caught his bottom lip between his teeth...Damn! Only supposed to be an emergency medical program, not supposed to have to *deal* with this, not out here with no other qualified help in sight... "I mean -- I think you should talk of the crew. Someone who knows you well."

"*You* know me well." She pressed her palms for a moment to her flushed cheeks, obscuring the bright points of colour that burned there, high up on the bone. "I see more of you than of anyone else on board...."

"But I'm not *real*." There. It had been said. Now things could continue toward some kind of logical progression: he would shunt her discomfort off on some sympathetic female crewmember, he would explain that this kind of emotional catharsis would best be served by venting upon another...*human*. "I'm a hologram."

"Stop *doing* that!" Her pale, exquisitely-drawn brows knit in the center, and twin creases appeared in her smooth forehead. "Quoting this to always do that!"

"I am merely trying to spare you *pain*..." He was becoming frustrated and distressed -- she always did this to him! Pushing to to expand what she termed his "predetermined limits", forcing him to confront conceptions that he'd thought he had neither the power nor the programming to change. Always so far, in the course of his instruction, she challenged him. "Why does it do this?" and "Why do you feel this is the only treatment method?" and "In what other case would you prescribe this?" and on and on, until her endless questions sizzled down every single one of his holographic circuit pathways... It was as if the largeness of her spirit caused her to be this *intellectually fractious* and he was the inevitable target.

"Pain?" Kes sat straighter in the chair, twin sparks igniting in her eyes. "Trying to spare me?" Her chin thrust up, and unconsciously, her body took on its old gladitorial stance. "In what way?! By refusing to help me when I ask you?"

"I can't *help* you---" Something was rising up inside him; something was tugging, clawing, birthing itself, something larger than the confines of his holographic being. "--not in the way you need to be helped; I'm not a counselor, I'm not even a real person!"

Anger. It was called anger...and resentment...and it was a living thing...

The ancients called it *animus*

"You are real to me!" She had risen out of her chair and faced him; the spots of colour burned in her face. Unwittingly, he'd risen also to face her -- how had he done that? How had this new thing, this new *emotion* forced him into human action...

"Kes, I think you're overwrought...I think you ought to go to your quarters and lie down."

"No! Not until we finish this to my satisfaction." She turned her head, her gaze flickering downwards. "Computer -- initiate full lock-down of sickbay on my authorisation."

"You can't do that, you --"

"Don't *tell* me what I can and cannot do! I came to you in distress and you turn me away because of some ridiculous notion of your sentient inadequacies? What determines sentience, Doctor? Or wasn't that downloaded when they made you?" She stalked him, striding around the desk, her face flushed, the long, steep strides drawing her brief skirt taut across her slender thighs....

"Kes --" He felt his protest die, inexplicably, she had killed it with her passionate objection. "I can't argue this with you."

"No! You *can't*, Doctor...because you *know* that you are sentient." She leaned across the desk, very near him, a challenge in her gaze... "Or as one of those Terran poets put it: 'There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreampt of in your philosophy.'"

"I'm sorry." He didn't know what else to say...and she was so close to him now, heedless of the heady perfume of her heated skin, ignorant of the overpowering allure of the taut, slender length of her.

"You are absolutely real to me...." The words were whispered, a slight murmur on her breath, as her fingers came up and traced his lips, gently. "Absolutely real..." and she closed the gap between them as the hot core of her mouth opened over his, one hand sliding up to clasp the back of his neck, hold his face to hers.

A great, singing agony of pleasure raced along his skin; it sizzled up his arms, burst in the centre of his chest with a faint tingle...

...and then, he returned the caress...

...instinctively or otherwise, his mouth opened to receive her questing tongue; his hands slid around her slender waist to pull her to him, crush the fragile fabric of her dress underneath his fingers...she was a beating morsel of life, flushed with desire -- for him! -- and here she was! Her mouth parted from him for a moment, long enough to meet his gaze and smile, and she slipped nimbly over the top of the desk and nestled into his lap, and the sweet, hot insides of her slender thighs pressed against his sides...

His hands came up, a reverent caress, and cupped the weight of her breasts in his palms, squeezed them gently. She moaned softly, pressed against him, and one of her hands slid down to cup his burgeoning erection in her palm. "Oh yes, you're real..." Her moist mouth hovered near his ear, her tongue tracing circles on his neck, and she pressed, with the outer edge of her palm, against the hardened mound in his trousers, and bright stars danced against his closed eyelids...

He fumbled blindly for the closure of her dress, standing up, spilling her out of his lap, his mouth on hers, his hot tongue delving between her parted lips...His fingers unsealed the closure and pressed against warm skin, and Kes whimpered softly as she felt his touch, his fingers burning their imprint into her skin...

"Are you sure no one can come in here?" He whispered as he slipped the garment off her creamy shoulders...he leaned close and pressed his lips to each of them in turn, his tongue flickering over the silken points, traveling to nuzzle at the smooth column of her throat, press against that beating pulse, *there*....

"I'm sure...oh!" She clutched him as his lips closed around the nipple of her breast, tugging, pulling, teasing...Her dress had come completely undone and the bunched fabric clung around her hips, her flat belly. He slid to his knees in front of her, traced the smooth line of her abdomen, tongue flickering around her navel, teeth gently grazing each hipbone in turn. He eased the fabric from her heated skin, felt it slide unresisting down the satin of her thighs, slither to the floor, and she was glorious and naked to his gaze.

"My God..." He whispered, as all language fled... he leaned forward and pressed his cheek against the smoothness of her thighs, her belly, the soft furred mound of her sex.

"Let me see you." Her hands were on him, removing his uniform, and she had sunk to the floor in front of him, her hands on his shoulders...her lips pressed against the side of his neck, and he felt a shock of pleasure/pain when she lightly bit him there... Her busy fingers fluttered on his naked shoulders, down his chest, flickering upon each nipple in turn, his flat stomach... She whisked the uniform away, discarded it, and turned her attentions to him.

She came into his embrace, naked skin against naked skin, and at his touch, turned to liquid deep inside, a heated melting as his hot lips caught her own, and warm hands gently cupped the weight of her breasts, slid down to clutch her waist. She pulled away to look at him, impaled upon the cusp of his own desire, and he was beautiful to her, and absolutely real...her fingers clasped the turgid length of his erection, slid caressingly around him, a smooth slide up and down the silky skin.

Something had flickered to life, deep within his belly, uncoiling like an awakening serpent, hissing; this desire that spread and grew, and filled him like light, like hunger....

He lowered her gently to the carpeted floor and slid two fingers gently into her, his palm pressing against the moist opening of her sex and flickering against the tiny bud, squeezing. She arched up against his hand, her slender hips pressing against his palm, and when he withdrew his fingers from her, he smelled the heady scent of her desire: clinging to him, this evidence of a new reality...

"Make love to me..." She caught his face in her hands and kissed him tenderly, gazed at him for a long moment, held him in her eyes and took him into her body, slowly. Her slender legs parted on either side of him and the warmth of her closed around him, and he was contained by her... So overtowering was this feeling that he hovered very near the edge, trembling... she was a smooth shape underneath and around him, and he was completely with her.

He found he couldn't tear his gaze from her: as her sapphire eyes slid closed and she moved against him, drawing him down upon her... A wave of pleasure rose and rode astride him, and each successive surge impaled the core of him more keenly on the spike of his desire...

There was, for an eternal moment, silence.

So eternal was this silence that he was drawn again into the mystery of her eyes, and for this eternal moment, privy to this awesome secret...

...and the wave broke over him, and around him, and within him, and it drove his self-conceptions inwards, where they crumbled into flotsam, and the streaking stars raced along his naked skin, and burst inside his soul, as everything that the Doctor was, was compacted down into a single burning point of explosive pleasure and release...

...and then, she went with him, crushed against him and impaled upon the silence absolute, and the sweet inside of her melted, flowing downwards in waves that he could feel....



They were still lying, meshed together on the Sickbay floor...

"Is it like that *every* time?"

Her eyes smiled. "Yes."

"Oh, good...."

The End :-)


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