Disclaimer: This story belongs to me, yet Paramount owns anything that is not mine (i.e. the main characters and the ship). All planets, other aliens, minor characters, etc., in my stories and not seen in the series, Star Trek: Voyager, are brought to you courtesy of me. Thanks!
By: Diana Cabana
“Why do these briefings have to be so damn early?” Tom grumbled to himself as he stepped out of the turbolift and towards the conference chamber. He walked inside the conference room and sat down at the first chair he came upon. He was exhausted after yesterday’s double shift. He’d spent the afternoon on the bridge and half the night in sickbay. He’d had a brief dinner with B’Elanna, but she’d quickly fallen victim to exhaustion and went to her quarters.
Now, as he sat quietly in his chair, he awaited the arrival of the rest of the senior staff. He was the first one present and he closed his eyes to rest a few moments.
Soon, the members of the crew began to trickle in. Janeway and Chakotay walked in together. Then the Doctor and Seven entered with Harry on their heels. Everyone, but Tom, seemed awake, alert and ready to tackle the new day and whatever challenges the Delta quadrant had to offer. Tom noticed that the seat to his right was empty, B’Elanna still hadn’t arrived.
At that moment the object of his thoughts entered the room.
B’Elanna looked tired. Not tired as in a person who hadn’t had enough sleep, but tired as in a person who had just exerted a lot of energy. She sat down next to him and he noticed that she sat up, straight as a board and her left eye was twitching ever so slightly.
Tom bent over and whispered in her ear. “Is everything okay?”
B’Elanna nodded quickly but didn’t even look over to him. Janeway was starting the meeting and all eyes were on her.
Kathryn began. “Well, first off, Seven has some astrometrics scans that she wants to go over with us concerning the next sector of space we’re entering. It appears that there are several planets of interest.”
“Indeed, Captain,” Seven started. She stood up and went to a display on the other side of the room. “I’ve detected several planets with high concentrations of deuterium but…”
Seven’s voice droned on and Tom’s attention was solely on B’Elanna. He noticed that she was trying really hard to focus on Seven. She looked very uncomfortable and he knew something was wrong. Throughout the first fifteen minutes of the meeting she kept shifting left and right in her seat.
Finally it struck him, as she covertly tried to reach behind her back, that she had an itch she couldn’t reach. He nearly laughed out loud, but barely managed to contain himself.
Chakotay spoke up and Tom turned his attention to him. “We will be able to trade with the Nirrians. We have extra medical supplies that I’m sure they would appreciate and they can help us with the drilling for the deuterium.”
“Sure,” Tom interjected. “We scratch their back, they scratch ours.”
Janeway looked over at Tom and smiled.
B’Elanna shot a glance at Tom and he smiled at her innocently.
Seven continued with her monologue.
Tom inched closer to B’Elanna and whispered into her ear. “Where is it?”
B’Elanna’s head shot up and she looked at him for a few moments. “He knew,” she thought frustrated.
She bit her lip as the prickling sensations intensified. It was as if spiders were crawling up and down her back, taunting her, knowing very well that she couldn’t relieve herself of the skin irritation in front of her peers. She ground her teeth. It was worse the spiders crawling on her; it was more like extra fine needles poking at her incessantly.
“Mostly between my shoulder blades,” she muttered under her breath. She screamed to herself, “God, I hate these itches!” They always occurred at the most inopportune times.
Tom looked around quickly and saw that all eyes were still on Seven who was explaining several strategically sound ideas. They were at the far end of the table so there was no one seated behind them, everyone was looking in the other direction. Tom extended his arm and placed his hand on her back.
B’Elanna looked as if she had never felt anything so wonderful. Her eyes were closed and she was breathing quickly. She nearly groaned in disapprobation when he moved his hand away.
“Lieutenant, is everything alright?” Janeway’s concerned voice permeated the air and B’Elanna opened her eyes to see that she was looking at her.
“I’m… I’m fine Captain.” She turned an uncanny shade of red.
Janeway raised an unconvinced brow.
“Really, Captain,” B’Elanna tried to assure her.
“She was just experiencing a little indigestion. Right?” he asked her. “Must have been Neelix’s Rodéo Red Hot Chili that we had last night for dinner. He really needs to add a few less juh-la-peen-ose,” he added with a sincere smile that always won Janeway over.
Everyone but Seven and Tuvok chuckled at her comment. B’Elanna glared at Tom. Indigestion?
“I’m impressed that you were brave enough to even taste his chili, much less have it as a full course,” Janeway chided.
“Everyone within twenty meters of the mess hall was having stomach discomfort,” Tom laughed.
“Come on now, it wasn’t that bad,” B’Elanna countered in Neelix’s defense. “It was just a little spicy.”
“Spicy?” Tom said amazed. “If we could harness the photonic power of his chili we could defeat a whole fleet of Borg cubes with just one bowl!”
Once again with the exception of Seven and Tuvok, they all laughed. B’Elanna cracked a grudging smile this time.
“Back to today’s business,” Janeway motioned to Seven who looked a little annoyed by the interruption of her speech.
B’Elanna seemed to have been distracted from her discomfort for the time being. But towards the end of the briefing Tom could see that the irritation had returned. He held back a grin as he watched her clench her fists and bite her lip.
B’Elanna looked over at him and saw the smile in his eyes and she scowled at him.
“Dismissed,” Janeway finally said.
B’Elanna jumped up and headed for the nearest turbolift. Tom raced after her leaving Captain Janeway and the rest of the crew behind with speculative grins on their faces.
“I guess that chili really got to her,” Harry joked.
Chakotay and Janeway smiled as they looked after the exiting lieutenants.
“B’Elanna, wait up!” Tom called.
She swirled around. “Indigestion?” she growled in anger. One hand was behind her back, reaching to scratch an itch she just couldn’t reach.
“You’re mad about that?” he said slightly surprised.
She turned around abruptly and headed for the turbolift at the end of the corridor. Tom sped after her.
“Everyone probably thought I was having gas or something!” she exclaimed angrily when he caught up.
Ensign Culhane raised a brow as he walked by them.
“Great!” she nearly yelled. “The whole crew is gonna hear about this by lunch time!”
She entered the turbolift and headed for the far wall where she tried rubbing her back against the hard surface. “Engineering,” she called out to the computer through grinding teeth.
Tom nearly laughed. She looked like a cat trying to get attention by rubbing along every piece of furniture. He couldn’t help but notice the sensual feline quality she possessed.
Again B’Elanna growled. This time in frustration. Nothing was helping.
Tom held back his grin and took her in his arms. He ran his fingers over every inch of her back, massaging her skin not so gently, making sure that no itch remained.
B’Elanna groaned in satisfaction. She couldn’t believe how good this felt.
Tom was puzzled at her reaction. She was incredibly relaxed in his arms, murmuring something he couldn’t quite comprehend. If he didn’t know better he would say scratching her back was working as a very effective aphrodisiac.
B’Elanna suddenly pulled away and looked a little out of breath. She gleamed at him biting the corner of her lip. The turbolift door swooshed open and she said quickly before backing out, “Dinner. Tonight. I’ll thank you properly.”
As the door closed, Tom’s jaw dropped. Had he detected a slight purr coming from her? He only heard that purr when they were being intimate.
“Time to go back to my quarters…” he thought aloud. “A cold shower is in order,” were the rest of his unspoken thoughts.
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Posted: September 11, 1999