Image: courtesy of Paramount, Trekcore and Photoshop
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.
Summary: What is the penance for taking what you desire?
In the ambient honesty of dawn's faint light she glimpsed the smooth edifice of shouldered muscle. The fragile glow cast it pale, but without doubt the full appraisement of morning would find kindred gold. Her eyes bore the light, choosing to accept its part in their condemnation--a fair trade for the singular moment to gape--to fleetingly glory in the unrepentant forelock that made years forgotten. She felt her heart take notice of the languid, delicate lashes provoking more than envy. She chose to ignore the probability they hid eyes that would wake with doubt, a morning brimming with good judgment and no alcohol would sway the verdict against them repeating their offense. For now the lips were softly innocent, only slightly swollen from their passioned abuse hours before. The cut of his temple and jaw silently petitioned her to once again taste their saltiness. A come-hither pulse at the base of his throat invited attention, its blemished hollow an evidence neatly covered.
Would that her own guilt could be so easily hidden--but she was no longer someone who dwelled on 'if only'. These five years had taught her to act--to seek instead of wistfully hoping.
And now it was done. A shore-leave too many some would say. But would *he* say it? In her mathematics, his was the only opinion that mattered. It was circumstantial at best if others saw them leave together. Nothing unusual in that--chivalry was not only bestowed upon visiting alien princesses. But if last night ended on an invitation to stay, who need know? If their mission was down to its bitter dregs, with little time left for chimeric fantasies, who would cast the first stone?
No, she knew her chief prosecutor would come from within. Upon their first light his eyes would greet her in awkward kindness, no rebuke in them for her enticement the night before. He would only find fault in his lack of resistance--the expectations of a saint ground down to a humanness history knew too well.
And so it would be: him quietly castigating himself for being mortal and her able to change nothing. It was not fair, she knew that before ever asking him to stay. It was the price to be paid between them--the sentencing for intimacy realized. But for now he slept and she was content to smile in the quiet and ache in the afterglow.