Star-Spangled Night

(c) 1997 Jungle Kitty

Star Trek and its characters are the property of Paramount. This not-for-profit piece of fan fiction is not intended to infringe on that ownership. The author's copyright applies only to the creative content and her original characters.

This story is one in a series about the relationship between James Kirk and Suzanne Brandt. The Kirk-Brandt Chronology lists all the stories, both in order of occurrence and order of creation.


Kirk stepped out into the walled garden, relishing the touch of cool earth beneath his bare feet. Above, the clear night sky was crowded with gleaming stars, washing the landscape in fiery silver and blue. At the end of the path, he saw a dim figure leaning against the gate. He noted with delight how the short summer dress clung as she swayed gently. As he approached, he heard laughter and music wafting up from the lake below.

"Someone's having a party," Suzanne said, without turning to him.

"Mmmm."

He put his arms around her waist and pressed his lips to the back of her neck.

"This has been perfect, hasn't it?" she whispered.

"Perfect."

Or very close to it. At first, he had been reluctant to stay at her family's cottage on Kyros. It had seemed uncomfortably cozy. But after several pointed reminders about his choice of a camping trip on their last shared leave, he decided he owed her one and gave in.

And the slow, easy pace of Kyros had been exactly what they needed. It had been a long time since he'd felt so far removed from the stress of command. And the haunted look in Suzanne's eyes had gradually disappeared over the last four days. As a captain in Special Ops, she wasn't allowed the luxury of discussing most of her work, but he'd heard rumors--had actually lost sleep over a couple of them. He knew that Suzanne had ways of dealing with the life she'd chosen, just as he had. Still, there were times... He pushed the troublesome thought from his mind, determined to enjoy this last night before the trip to Starbase 3 and another long separation.

The music changed, and Suzanne laughed softly.

"What is it?"

"This song."

His cheek was resting against hers, and he could feel her skin warming.

"What about it?"

"This was playing the first time I ever ..."

"Put out?" he said with a puckish smile.

She turned and slapped at his chest, laughing. "I can always count on you to jump to the crudest possible conclusion."

"Me, crude? You're the one who's about to share all the juicy details of her deflowering."

"I am not."

"Wanna bet?" He kissed her deeply until she relaxed in his arms. Then he put his mouth to her ear and breathed, "How old were you?"

Softly, reluctantly. "Sixteen."

He smiled lazily. "Got you beat there, Brandt. Thirteen."

She pulled away, stunned. "*Thirteen*? How long had you been dating?"

"About an hour and a half."

"Oh! That's disgusting! You--you--" she sputtered. "What's the term for a male slut?"

"Stud," he growled, grinding his hips against hers. She laughed out loud and he joined in. After their laughter subsided, he continued his interrogation. "All right. Sixteen years old. Where were you?"

She sighed. "In the woods above the reservoir," she mumbled.

"Day or night?"

"Night."

"Had you ever been there before?" He was running his fingers lightly up and down her arm.

"Sure." She was about to add "lots of times" and thought better of it.

"With him?"

"Yes."

"So...that night...did you plan for it to happen?"

"Sort of."

"Did you bring protection?"

"Yes."

"Then you planned it."

"Jim, this is making me very uncomfortable."

"Too bad." He grinned. "I'm loving it. Now...before that 'fateful night,' how far had you gone with young Romeo?"

"That's none of your business," she said indignantly.

"Oh, come on, you're dying to tell me. Otherwise, you wouldn't have said anything about the song." Her silence confirmed the statement. "So...had he kissed you?"

"Of course."

He kissed her very gently on the lips. "Like that?"

"Yes."

He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again, this time running his tongue along her lower lip.

"Like that?"

"Yes."

He put one arm around her waist and pressed his other hand against the back of her neck. Then he kissed her slowly, deeply, savoring the faint taste of wine. His tongue teased hers in quick, darting moves followed by languorous caresses. As he bent her back against the gate, her arms came up around his neck and he felt her heart beating fast against his chest. He slowly pulled away, their tongues touching until the very last moment.

"Like that?"

"Well," she whispered, slightly breathlessly, "the teenage version of that."

"Had he done this?" He pressed his lips to the tender spot at the base of her throat.

"Stop it!" She pushed him away firmly. "I am *not* reporting for duty with a hickie on my neck."

He chuckled deep in his throat. "Fair enough. Since you know what it is, I'll assume you've had one. Now, where was I? Oh yes." He caressed her breast lightly. "Had he done this?"

"Yes."

More firmly. "This?"

"Yes."

He unfastened the front of her dress and slipped his hand under the fabric.

"Stop it! What if someone--"

"No one will, if you keep your voice down." Now her dress was open to the waist and he lowered his head. "Had he done this?"

"Jim, don't! This is embarrassing."

He stood up, his smile soft and seductive. "You can ask *me* these questions anytime you want."

"What would be the point of that?" she snorted. "As if you've ever fought anyone out of your pants."

"Don't get ahead of me, Brandt. I haven't gotten to you fighting him out of your pants." He added slyly, "Assuming, of course, that you did."

He pulled her away from the gate and backed her up against the stone wall.

"Now." He put his hands on her waist. "Had he done this?" He pressed his mouth to an erect nipple, ran his tongue around it, and sucked gently.

"Yes," she moaned.

He stood and snaked his hands around her to grasp her buttocks as he pressed his erection against her stomach. "This?"

"Yesss," she hissed through clenched teeth.

He pushed her skirt up and pressed himself against her. "This?"

A gasp that ended in a squeal.

"I'll take that as a yes." He felt her legs part slightly.

"Oh, lots of this."

He chuckled, rubbing against her in deliberate, circular motions, as his hands massaged her ass. Her hands were on his shoulders, and she was very close to riding him. The slow, voluptuous dance continued for some minutes, until they were both breathing in short, audible huffs and their knees were trembling.

Kirk stopped moving and held her chin between his thumb and forefinger. "Not yet. I haven't finished my questions."

"Later." She pushed her hips toward him.

"No, now." He drew a deep breath. "Had he gotten his hand down your panties?"

"No."

"Brandt," he said sternly.

She hesitated, then sighed. "A little."

"Specify."

When she didn't respond, he slipped his hand under the waistband and brushed lightly against her belly. "Here?"

"Yes."

His hand moved lower and his fingers touched short, curly hair. "Here?"

"Y-yes."

Lower still and his fingers massaged the tender lips of her sex. "Here?"

"Y--Ah! Yes."

He parted the moist cleft and touched her. "Here?"

A throaty moan as she pressed against his hand.

He slid the tip of his finger into her. She grasped his wrist firmly.

"No!"

"*No*?"

"No."

He swallowed hard and withdrew his hand.

"All right. So that's it? That's all that happened?"

She put her arms around his neck, cocked her head and smiled seductively, unaware that she'd learned that from him. "Can we cut to the chase, please?"

He studied her, amused and suspicious. "So there's more. Hmm. Let's see." He knelt down on the soft grass and pulled her to the ground beside him. She reached for the fastening on his hiking shorts but he stopped her.

"I'm sure you didn't do *that*." He grinned wickedly. "Ah, yes. How could I forget? Did he get your panties off?"

She lowered her head, completely oblivious to how appealing that was. He turned her face up to his and said, "Suzanne. Did. He. Get--"

"Yes."

"Then what happened?"

She closed her eyes and whispered in a very small voice, "He--ate me."

He raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. "Ah. Did you like it?"

"Yes." She turned away but he drew her back, utterly charmed by her blushes.

"Did you come?"

"Yes."

"Did you suck him?"

"No."

"No?!"

"No."

He pulled her across his lap and smacked her on the ass, hard.

"Hey!" She pulled away and sat up. "He didn't do *that*!"

"Well, he should have!"

She drew back her hand to slap him but he caught her wrist as he grabbed her around the waist. Then he turned her so that her back was pressed against him as he held both of her hands crossed over her breasts.

"You--little--cocktease!" he laughed.

"Let me go!" She struggled against him, finally stopping when she realized she couldn't escape--not unless she wanted to end the more enjoyable aspects of the wrestling match.

Kirk released her hands and scolded, "I should make you call him and apologize."

"Oh, don't worry about him." She moved off his lap and pulled her dress closed. "I--took care of him."

"Oh, what a lovely turn of phrase. What did you do?"

"You know." She rolled her eyes and gestured weakly.

"A hand job. It's called a hand job, Brandt."

"I know what it's called."

"Show me."

He unfastened his pants, freeing his very eager cock.

***

Suzanne eyed him warily for a long moment. Then she put her hands on his shoulders and said, "Lie down."

He obeyed, and she bent over him and kissed him, thrusting her tongue deep into his mouth. She inhaled sharply through her nose and lowered her body, partially covering him. Her lips and tongue tormented his mouth, as she muffled and matched his inarticulate sounds. She stopped long enough to pull his shirt open, began kissing him again, and rubbed her hands against his chest, teasing and pinching erect nipples. Then she ran her hands along his ribs, pushed his pants down to his hips and broke the kiss to slide them off. He gasped at the sudden rush of cool night air against his groin.

She sat up and pulled her dress off over her head. Her nipples were silvery-pink in the starlight and she was naked except for the panties that clung damply to her crotch.

"Touch me," she whispered as she brought his hand to her breast.

He squeezed gently. She moaned and brushed her fingers against his aching shaft. He raised his hips toward her hand, but she pushed him firmly to the ground and put one leg over him. Then she moved deliciously until he felt damp silk against his naked cock. She closed her eyes and began rocking steadily, sending electricity through his every nerve.

He reached up and cupped her breasts. She covered his hands with hers and guided them in firm, circular motions. She reached down, grasped his chest, and mimicked his actions, meticulously copying every pinch, stroke, and squeeze. He thrilled to her touch, wanted it to go on forever, as he directed his own seduction by example. Finally, she lay down on top of him, trapping their hands between them. He felt her thighs opening further, spreading above him. Suddenly, she bit deeply into his shoulder, and he cried out.

The pain was brief and quickly forgotten as she pressed her body hard against his and rocked faster, more intently, tightly focused on her own pleasure. Her short, breathless cries played a seductive counterpoint to his guttural, moaning responses. Suddenly she sat up, crushed her thighs against him and convulsed sharply. Then she gulped for air and collapsed against his chest. For several enticing moments, she rolled her hips gently from side to side. He reached down between them and tried to tear away the silky barrier but she moved off quickly and sat beside him.

"Touch me," he gasped.

She did so, shyly, tentatively, with just her fingertips. He moaned, and she pulled her hand away. She began kissing him again, hard, passionate kisses that took his breath away. He groped for her hand and pulled it down, cupping it around his cock. He dragged his mouth away from hers and groaned, "Like this," as he began moving her hand in steady cadence. After several strokes, he let go and arched, thrusting into her hand as a shockwave of desire swept over him.

She needed no instruction as she stroked and squeezed, making his pleasure her own, delighting in the moisture that formed at the tip of his penis. With her free hand, she pulled at the loose skin at the base of his scrotum and saw his eyes close tightly as his nostrils flared. She bent down and gently tongued the head of his cock, teasing the opening, tasting his need. He soared to a new plateau of wanting, beguiled by the gentle lapping of her tongue, trapped by the promise of her tight fist.

She lifted her head and stopped stroking him. A strangled sound exploded from his throat.

She lay down beside him and licked hungrily at his parched lips as her fingers scratched gently against his pubic hair. His reached down and tried to wrap her open palm around his arousal.

"Let go of my hand."

"Just--"

"*Let go*."

He reluctantly obeyed, and her fingers began crawling slowly up his throbbing shaft.

"*Suzanne*." He drew out the syllables of her name in a tormented moan.

She closed her hand around his cock and began pumping.

"What does this feel like?" she asked.

"Feels--good," he grunted.

"No," she said firmly. "What does it *feel* like?"

"Aaaah--"

"Answer the question. Or I'll stop." She relaxed her hand slightly.

"No! Don't stop!"

"Kirk--" A warning. Her hand stopped moving. He writhed in need.

"It's--like--" She closed her hand around his shaft. "Yes!--Like my whole body--turning--inward--to my cock--all my nerves--all my--energy--aaaa!--gathering--"

"Gathering where?"

"In my balls--and my cock--fire--electric--and the rest of my body--oh, god--"

"Yes?" Her other hand cupped his balls and squeezed.

"Disappears--slowly--like--*now*! I can feel--my thighs--and balls--and cock--tight!--tight!--tight!--now just my balls and cock--Mmmph!"

"Go on." The hand on his balls moved lower and teased the sensitive area between his buttocks.

"P-pressure--lifting me--high--higher--it's dark! It's good!"

"Now what?"

"Like a--volcano--pushing up--pushing me up--through the dark--dark--dark--yes!"

She stroked his cock faster and her other hand parted his buttocks. "Tell me what it feels like when you come. You're about to come, aren't you?"

"*Yes*!"

"So what's it like?"

"Uh! Sha--shattering! To--oh *god*--to pieces! Oh christ! Yes! Yes!" A finger slid into his ass and he lost himself in a wet, hot explosion that spilled over her hand.

His face contorted in ecstasy, then slowly, almost unendingly, sank into soul-deep peace.

***

She studied him for a long time. His face in repose was soft, untroubled, like a young boy's.

/I wonder what he was like... /

She sat very still, holding onto the moment. The golden lashes against sunburnt cheeks, the tousled hair, the contentment lighting him from within, even the blood on his shoulder--she gathered them all to her heart, a bittersweet treasure to fill the lonely nights ahead. His mouth turned up delicately at the corners and she felt slightly faint as something inside of her tumbled.

/He's so beautiful, so...Jim./

Finally, she used his shirt to clean them both off, lay down beside him and listened to the beating of his heart.

"You did *not* do that when you were sixteen," he accused softly.

"Hm! You'll never know."

She started to get up, but he pulled her down and chuckled low.

"I'm not finished with you."

"No more questions."

"Don't worry. I think I can take it from here."

He rolled her onto her back, slipped her panties off and tossed them over the garden wall. She opened her legs and her clit was kissed, first by a cool breeze and then by his hot mouth.

***

Oh my god. How can he take me there so quickly?

She tried to close her legs, to move away from him, to turn back from the peak she was approaching too soon. He held her fast, firmly spreading her thighs, but he pulled away from the center of her passion. His lips moved up, tickling her stomach and ribs as he enticed her to accept the pleasure he offered. Finally she lifted her hips, and he cupped her buttocks and thrust his tongue inside her. She quivered as he lapped at the dark opening and wetly traced the rim. Then, with provocative deliberation, he dragged his tongue up one side of her sex and down the other.

Her taut legs pressed on his shoulders as she growled through clenched teeth. "J-Jimmmm..."

He went around again and she succumbed to a popping, almost-gentle orgasm. Around once more, in, out, then around again, pausing momentarily to flick her clitoris. She twisted in surprise as she climaxed again.

He took his time teasing that exquisite button, touching it lightly with the tip of his tongue. She tried to drive the rhythm with her movements, but he refused to be rushed. Then, in long, drawn-out laps, he wrung a series of rolling climaxes from her, each one more intense than the last, and none of them even close to release.

She was very wet now, and he savored the changing taste of her desire. He put his hands behind her knees and pushed them up and apart, exposing the dark rose of her anus. One touch, tantalizing and lightning-quick. She cried out and bucked violently. Moving up swiftly, he planted a series of sharp, sucking kisses all up and down her wet folds. Then he lifted his head, puckered his lips, and blew.

"Oh--god!" she choked.

He used his thumbs to spread her as he sent a steady stream of air up, down, in, across, over and over. After a few gentle gusts, she was writhing and almost completely dry, except for a tiny drop of moisture that persisted in gathering just below her clit. Finally, he bent his head to suck there, coating his lips with the creamy texture of her arousal. She pressed closer to his face, and he sucked harder, relishing her sudden gasp as her fluid ran down between her buttocks.

Now he was licking her with the rough plane of his tongue in firm, broad strokes that drove her swiftly toward, but not over, the edge. He heard her suck in air and hold it until it was forced from her in short, panting breaths. Her clit swelled, throbbing against its tormentor, the tiny head diamond-hard, demanding more than a mouth could deliver.

"For god's sake, use your hand!" she cried out.

He pulled up and lay beside her. He held her face in his hands and turned it toward his.

"Taste," he said and put his mouth on hers. She responded eagerly, licking, sucking, consuming his mouth and tongue. Her arms clutched roughly at his shoulders as she pressed her body along the length of his. She held on tightly, frozen in need, then broke away and gasped, "Please!"

She rolled onto her back, letting her knees fall to either side, exposing herself completely.

***

After what seemed an eternity, fingertips began exploring her slickness, sliding in and out, touching all around as if searching for something.

Please, no, don't tease me. Just--just--

She was ready to beg when her clit was caressed lightly, and that simple, shockingly potent touch stripped her of all control and she threw back her head as a harsh, animal sound rose from her throat. He kissed the hollow at the base of her neck as thumb and forefinger gently rolled the wet nub between her legs. She cried out as she came, flying, careening, riding the rush of shattering ecstasy. Then, without warning, her pleasure turned in on itself, curdling, tumbling, until it was transposed into a new, more ravenous need, frightening in its totality. Every nerve came blazingly alive as she was swept up, invaded, and engulfed by raw, elemental desire.

From very far away, almost drowned out by the roaring in her ears, a low, golden voice whispered seductively.

"Tell me what this feels like."

"I--can't!"

"Tell me."

"No--"

"*Tell me*."

"I can't--come--if I--talk!"

"I've heard you talk plenty of times."

"Not--and--make sense! God! God!"

Her body screamed at her to shut up, *shut up*, *SHUT UP*!

***

god god god do it now please please oh jim oh jim yes so good right there yes there there don't stop so good no not that oh yes so good please i want oh god yes what is he doing to me to me to me yes touch me touch me touch me yes yes just touch touch that's it harder do it harder harder make me come make me make me don't stop that's it so good so good yes oh yes god jim don't stop jim now jim now now now now now

***

Her legs closed on his hand as her entire body went rigid. For a long moment, she froze in soundless agony, and then her clit went soft and almost disappeared under his fingers. He rubbed hard and fast as she cried out in a way he'd never heard before, culminating in a low wail as she went completely limp. He withdrew his fingers and she gasped.

Impossible.

Marveling, he massaged the outer lips of her sex, easing her down gently until she groaned and pushed his hand away. Then she curled toward him and murmured his name. He held her until long after the tiny, trembling aftershocks had ceased.

***

Kirk gasped at the first stinging touch of antiseptic against his shoulder.

"Sorry," she muttered, dabbing gently with soft, wet cotton. "Turn toward the light."

He shifted against the kitchen counter. "Better?"

"Yes. But you should have someone look at this."

"I am. You."

"Dammit, Jim, I'm a spy, not a doctor." She grinned at him and he laughed appreciatively.

"I don't want--Ow! Are you sure that stuff hasn't gone bad?"

"I'm very meticulous about this first aid kit. There." She pressed a dry patch of gauze against his shoulder. "Hold this while I cut the tape. You were saying--?"

"I don't want to explain this to McCoy."

"You won't have to say anything. He'll figure it out."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

"So make something up. Tell him you were attacked by--"

"A she-devil."

"Oh, I like that!" she said, laughing. She pressed the strips of tape into place and patted the bandage. "All done. Would you like a lollipop, little boy?"

***

Suzanne rolled toward the other side of the bed, expecting to encounter a broad, solid back, but found only pillows. She came fully awake and looked at the chron. Almost 0300. She pulled on a heavy robe, stepped into well-worn slippers, and padded quietly downstairs.

The door was open, and she saw Jim sitting in the large cushioned chair at the center of the garden. He was wrapped in a comforter that usually lay folded at the foot of the bed. A light mist was rising, and the garden shimmered in other-worldly hues. She approached him quietly, half-expecting to be stopped by an elvish guardian.

"What are you doing?" she whispered.

"Looking at the stars." He reached for her hand. "Join me?"

She slid onto his lap and dangled her legs over the arm of the chair. She leaned against him as his arms curled around her waist.

"They say you can see more stars from Kyros than anywhere else in the galaxy," she said.

"I can believe it."

"It's true. Watching the stars from here is what made me decide to join Starfleet. I wanted to go--there." She pointed.

"Where?"

"See the three bright stars just above the lionia tree? They're called The Uneasy Dancers. My brother and I used to make up stories about why they were uneasy. I told him that someday I would go there and find out."

"Did you?"

"Not yet."

He smiled at the determination in her voice. He found it very pleasurable to imagine a young girl in this garden, gazing toward the sky and deciding to unlock its secrets.

"Brandt."

"Hmm?"

"What's going on with us?"

"What do you mean?"

"Don't play dumb. You'll never pull it off." He shifted and put his hands on hers. "It's been over two years and we keep coming back to each other. And that's not like either one of us."

"No," she admitted quietly.

"So--?"

"JT...I don't think either of us is good at...the kind of thing you're talking about."

"Maybe it's something we'd be good at together."

The long moment of tension was broken when they said simultaneously, "You go first."

They laughed in surprise, embarrassingly aware of the irony of two of Starfleet's finest stubbornly refusing to take the initiative. Finally they fell back on the routine that had always settled such matters in the past.

"Rock-paper-scissors?" he suggested.

"You're on."

He counted it off and signed scissors to her paper.

"Scissors? *Scissors*? You never--"

He tapped her gently on the tip of her nose with each word. "You. Go. First."

She clutched the hair at the crown on her head and twisted it as she looked skyward in frustration. Finally, she drew a deep breath, lowered her hands to her lap and said, "All right. But let me say this my own way."

***

"Most of what I do in Special Ops is classified. Covert operations, that sort of thing. That means that if anything goes wrong, Starfleet can disavow all knowledge of our activities. It's called 'plausible deniability.' It also means that if someone dies or disappears, there's no acknowledgment, no announcement. They don't even tell the truth to the family. They usually say you died in a transporter accident." She made a wry face.

"Those are the rules. But some people have made contingency plans with someone they're close to. An agreement to tie up loose ends. Do you know Jack Wallis--my exec?"

"Yes."

"Well, if anything happens to me, he's agreed to find a good home for Luke."

"Your *dog*?"

"He's the only one I felt I had a real responsibility to, the only one who really--needed me. And I thought I was fine with that. I guess that was my 'plausible deniability.'

"Well, about four months ago, we were on a mission where a lot of things went very wrong. I took a bad hit, and when I came to, Jack was swearing and trying to stop the bleeding. From the inventiveness of his curses, I knew that I probably wasn't going to make it home for dinner. And I made him promise that he would contact you." She inhaled deeply and then continued in short, breathless phrases. "Because when I realized I was going to be dead very shortly, I wasn't thinking about the mission or Luke or whether there's an afterlife--I was thinking about how much I love you. And I asked him to tell you that."

Kirk thought his heart would burst.

"Jack said he kept me alive just so he wouldn't have to do it."

"Suzanne," he murmured as he buried his face in her hair. "I--don't know what to say."

"You say--you--love--me--too." Her voice broke on the last word, somewhere between a gasp and sob.

He was stunned to realize that he hadn't yet done so, and the words rushed out of him. "God, yes. I love you. I--love you, love you, love you."

He repeated the words over and over, wishing he had more words, new words, words he'd never spoken before. Then he lost himself in the sound of her voice echoing them.

***

"I guess I owe Commander Wallis--I don't know--something--at least a thank-you."

"Before you get too carried away," Suzanne smiled in gentle warning, "he said that after an hour, he was ready to let me die just so he wouldn't have to hear any more about how wonderful you are."

Kirk chuckled. "I'll have to read his report sometime."

"It's classified," she taunted.

He slipped his hand into her robe. She gasped at the touch of cold fingers.

"Do you realize your nipples have been hard for four days straight?"

"Well, right now, it's because I'm freezing. Let's go inside."

"You feel very warm." His hand traced an icy path around to her back and rested there. "Sit still. I want to ask you something."

"I've answered enough questions for one night."

"Just one more. You said that mission was four months ago. Why am I only hearing about it now?"

"Well...there are some things that are a lot easier to say when you think you won't be staying around to live with them. And just because I love you doesn't mean I think I'll be any good at it. And *tonight*--" Her voice rose peevishly. "--I really thought I'd win that rock-paper-scissors. How *dare* you change the habit of a lifetime?"

Laughing, he fended off her ineffectual blows. "You see, I've planned this for years. I have always chosen rock to lull you into a false sense of security because I knew that someday, it would be very important for me to win."

"Ha!" She crowed. "As if there's a situation in which it is *not* important for you to win."

***

The next morning, Kirk examined his shoulder in the bathroom mirror, groaning at the sight.

/Well, you see, Bones, it was like this.../

He sighed and went into the bedroom. Suzanne, wrapped in a thick towel, was sitting on the floor, polishing her boots.

"Look at this," he said, letting his irritation show. "I'll probably have a scar."

"Hope so. And don't you dare have it removed."

"What!"

"Why do you think I bit you?" she asked calmly. "I've marked you as *mine.*" She set one boot aside and reached for the other.

He stared at her, stunned.

"*Marked* me?"

She smiled and playfully held her hands up like claws.

His eyes narrowed as he weighed his options. Reaching a decision, he pulled her to her feet and propelled her down the hall into the den.

"Jim--no!*" she cried, laughing.

He bent her over the desk, lifted the towel, and held her down by leaning across her.

"No! Don't!"

"Don't what?" He pulled open a drawer and ran his hand around the inside.

"Just don't!"

He found what he was looking for, stood up, and pressed one hand firmly against the small of her back.

"Hold still," he said sternly.

Then with large sweeping strokes, he wrote boldly across her left buttock.

"James--Tiberius--Kirk."

When he released her, she ran into the hall. He followed the sound of her laughter into the bathroom and saw that she had dropped the towel and was craning her neck to examine herself in the mirror.

"Well?"

"It'll wash right off." She waved a hand in dismissal.

He put his arms around her and drew her close.

"Not when I have it retraced by a tattoo artist on Starbase 3."

"Oh no you--"

He silenced her with a very long, extremely possessive kiss.

"Now. What were you saying?" he asked, half-hoping she would deny his claim on her so he could kiss her again.

"I was saying--" Much to his delight, she was gasping just a little and blushing quite a lot. "--that a tattoo would be redundant." Then she spoke with a simple sincerity that took his breath away. "Your name is written on my heart."

[The End]



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