It was hot--he remembered that.
Carnival. On a planet that never slept.
Stripped to shorts, a humid night, so high he didn't know his own name, dancing under naked stars he didn't fly with anymore.
That was okay. This flying was just fine.
"What's your name, baby?"
Fuck that. It didn't matter. Everything lost its edges, the woman against him, red lips parted, fingers drawing circles on his back with blunted nails. Whispering in his ear, licking the sweat from the corner of his mouth.
"Make you feel alive." Something cold pressed on his arm.
So many people. Crowded in the smell of sweat.
No one slept here. Nights went on forever.
Sand under his bare feet, sweat beading on his forehead, people packed close, music vibrating in solid air, laughter that wasn't forced, that had corners and people who didn't know who he was. Dancing, the beat hot in his blood--moving with it, with her, laughing.
He could fly forever in endless velvet dark.
The noise, hanging in the thick air, all around him. Like the colors.
Pushing back damp blonde hair from his forehead, fingers coming away wet, sticky.
He took the dermal patch off his arm, dropping it to the ground.
"You want more?"
"What's your name?"
He didn't have one.
The moons were high overhead, he thought he could touch them if he just tried, reached to feel them, coat his hands with cold silver. He kissed her, alcohol and salt on her tongue, bit her lip to see how colors tasted.
Her blood ran green. She drew patterns with it on his skin, under those moons.
"You don't need a ship to fly. Let me show you, pretty boy."
It was a thousand years ago.
Opening his eyes in his own bed, drawing his legs up to his bare chest, staring around his quarters, waiting for the crowd to grow quiet.
It was dark and cold.
That was his name.
"S'okay, 'Lanna. Go back to sleep."
Stars flashing by at warp in lines of changing color, as he rose to watch them, naked. Touching the window with the tips of his fingers, tracing a senseless design on cold metal.
He could taste the colors.
They were bitter.
"Computer, raise temperature ten degrees."
"Anything you want."
It wasn't the same.
Young. Dance forever under stars that moved, moons turned to liquid in moist darkness. Have anything he wanted.
Have her. Under the stars.
"Come on, somewhere more private."
For a price.
He felt her behind him, an arm around his waist.
"What's the worst thing you've ever done?"
He felt her forehead against his back for a moment out of time, didn't fit with his memories.
"Bad dream?" she whispered.
He wasn't sure.
Hot. He remembered that. Sand under his knees, looking down at smiling red lips, blue eyes, dark leather pulled up to her waist. Dark green skin.
"God, yes, now."
Licking away the taste of salt and blood and the moon on her skin. Colors he could taste. Music he could see.
"It was a long time ago." His hand covered hers.
Not long enough.
He never knew her name. Not any of them. Never cared.
"What's your name, baby?"
Her skin was slippery under his hands, pushing her into the sand. She breathed into his ear, drawing red circles on his shoulder.
He was laughing. She gave him another patch as he slid inside her, taking a breath at the touch of her hand on his throat. Her fingers tracing his back and sides.
Anything he wanted.
"It was hot," he said softly.
"What did you do?" she whispered.
For a price.
She circled him, lifting her eyes.
She was naked too. Copper skin, brown eyes. He knew how she tasted, how she smelled, the color of her blood on his skin, the patterns she drew with her nails on his back.
What the moons would have looked like, coating her with cool silver.
God, it was hot.
The patch against his skin, cool.
"I want more."
He didn't have money.
"What do you want for it?"
A grin from red lips.
Sweat beading her skin, brown eyes looking at him coolly. She took a step forward, dragging her nails across his bare stomach. He closed his eyes.
He was on his back in sand, eyes closed, sweat running down his chest she licked away. Fingers digging into it, then into her, the sound of the surf in his ears, voices blurring.
Everything he wanted could be right here.
"Tell me your name."
"Whatever you want it to be."
So hard he knew she could ride him all night. It would never end.
He didn't need space to fly.
Sex was colored in green and red, criss-crossed on pale skin. Fascinated.
"How much would you pay?" he whispered. Her lips brushed his collarbone.
"What do you want?"
He found her shoulders, running his fingers across her skin. Breathed in the smell of her sweat.
He knew that. The stars poured together into silver lines that matched the ones he drew in dark green skin. Head arching back, breathing thick air. Anything he wanted.
"So beautiful, baby."
He would never come down.
He had ice between his teeth, tracing her body with it, cold silver lines--shudders when he traced dark nipples, across her soft stomach. The sound of the crowd so close, the music pounding inside him.
Slipping the ice inside her, body arching sharply off wet sand. Laughing.
Sliding his hands down her back, drawing his nails up delicately, tracing the bone and muscle.
He pushed her down on her knees, hands pressed into her shoulders.
"Everything?" he whispered. She looked up, lips parted, waiting. Knelt with her. The room was hot--he felt the sweat beneath his fingers.
He kissed her, running his hands through her hair, her skin slippery.
"Lay down." Against her parted lips, her breath fluttering against his cheek.
"On the sand. Let me look at you, pretty boy. Let me touch you. Don't tell me no."
He'd never say no.
"Give me more."
"Anything you want."
"Whatever you want."
He wanted to fly.
Copper skin, running his tongue across her collarbone.
"I could fly forever." His voice was hoarse.
She drew him down, kissing him with closed lips. Carpet whispering when she lifted one leg around his waist, foot sliding over his hip.
"It wasn't real." But it had been.
His hands pinned above his head. He closed his eyes, sand clinging to his arms, grinding between them.
Who didn't matter.
"Anything. I can give it to you."
Anything to fly.
He could be anyone. Do anything.
"I want to fly."
"Make it real. Let me see."
Brown eyes watching him. Pressing her leg over one shoulder, tracing her breasts with his teeth, holding her hips on the floor. Opening her carefully, thumbs pulling her apart, finding her clit with the tip of his tongue. He heard her breathe.
Precision, fine work, sliding his tongue in her briefly, tasting her, finding how ready she was, how much he could do, how much she wanted.
"You're beautiful," she whispered. Her hands threaded through his hair.
That wasn't right, and he wasn't sure why.
"Increase temperature eight degrees."
It was hot.
"I want more."
Dancing on hot sand, hands running down his body, slick with sweat. A chest against his back, pressing him down.
"Let's fly forever, pretty boy."
On his knees in the sand.
"I want more."
He could fly forever. He was twenty-three and nothing could bring him down.
"Don't tell me no."
Sand grinding between his teeth, fingers digging into his ass.
"Open up for me and we'll fly forever."
"I can do anything, 'Lanna. Tell me what you want." Hoarse.
Her hips trembled beneath his hands.
Pain was silver-dark, teeth in the back of his neck. Thick hands on his hips.
The patch pressed to his spine.
Stars reflecting off dark waves he could watch dance through salt-burned eyes.
He closed his eyes, sliding his tongue around her center, her hands tightening in his hair. Patterns he could practice in his sleep. Working slowly, carefully, tasting her, opening her a little wider, her fingers laced through his hair.
"I'll make you fly, 'Lanna."
Licking the moisture away, sliding his tongue in her--her back arched sharply--he did it again, sliding a finger inside her, she ground against his mouth--
Her gasps broke the silence of the room. Sliding back up her slick body, legs pressed apart, open to him, whatever she wanted. She stared up at him--her face was wet. He licked the salt from her skin, around dark eyes.
"I can make you scream."
So hot, her skin, holding his head, whispering with the stars reflected in her blue eyes.
"Wonderful, baby. Let him have you. Anything you want. Fly with me."
"Anything you want me to be."
She touched his face. He pinned her hands to the floor above her head, teeth clenched.
"I want you." He pushed inside her, watching her head go back. Holding her gaze, moving hard inside her. She shuddered.
Love was just another way to pay.
"I don't ever want to come down."
Never feel earth under his feet again.
"You never have to."
Felt her shaking, nails digging into his back, eyes closed. He could be anyone.
"Look at me!"
Brown eyes--blue eyes--opening on him. Her body beginning to convulse, wrists slippery in his grasp. Letting them go, cupping her face, trying to remember--
"Fly forever, never come down. That's what you want."
--trying to forget.
Kissing the parted lips, losing himself in her mouth, the taste and smell of her, the feel of her under his hands, covering her, trying to get so deep he'd never come down again.
Never leave the stars again.
"Tom," against his mouth. "Please, Tom."
Make her fly.
He closed his eyes, hearing the crowd around him, sand beneath his knees--
--B'Elanna, coming against him, burying her mouth against his neck, teeth sharp--lifting her, against the wall--pushing her harder--legs shaking around him with the next thrust--
Harder, she was here--
--with him. One last thrust into her--
--and sinking down, the shock of orgasm rippling through them both. Clinging to her, carpet under his knees, burying his head in her hair, her arms around him, stroking his back with one trembling hand. Her voice soft in his ear.