Trouble

Summary: Just how much trouble can Steve get into during one tiny reserve drill?

Pairings: Steve/Cath, minor Kono/Adam, Chin/Malia

Warning: explicit content, also language – you have been warned

A/N: Not beta-ed. I couldn't reach Miahbug, and I figured you have waited long enough. I'll update the corrected version when I receive it.

Chapter 1

(End of I Helu Pu, Catherine's house [1])

"Hey. Happy Valentine's Day."

To say she was surprised when she opened the door in the middle of packing her bags would have been exaggerated. Catherine wasn't so much surprised at finding Steve on her front lawn – she had known he'd find a moment to say goodbye to her – but at the way he appeared before her. Her brain took stock of the uniform and the bruises, yet before she could comment, he'd handed her a heart-shaped box. She took it a little astounded, and raised an inquisitive eyebrow at him. The self-satisfied little smirk that made all the girls melt did not get by her. God, she loved that smile herself, not that she would ever allow him to know that.

"Hi," she greeted back, then added, "what happened to you?"

"Oh, this," he quipped pointing at the cut on his forehead, "it's nothing. Don't worry about it. Just another day at the office."

"And what's all this?" She intended his get-up, but of course he'd make a joke of it.

"Chocolate, you said you were good with chocolate for Valentine's." Steve's smile grew a little wider.

"Very funny," Catherine replied smiling.

"Funny, huh?" They shared a moment of amusement, then she pointed out his injuries worriedly.

"Yeah, come in."

She finally stepped aside to let him enter. He followed her to the table in her lounge. Her sea bag was sitting on top of it, open as she was not quite done packing. She placed the box of chocolates inside just as he let his own bag fall onto one of the chairs near the table. He felt her eyes wander over his body, from his feet to his face, before they shared a long glance. The smile never left his face, it only grew a little more mischievous when he noticed a new light appear in her eyes. Catherine knew him so well, knew them together so well, she didn't have to guess where this was heading. They still had a few hours to kill before the flight for the gulf left at 22:00 h.

"So, what's with the uniform and the bag?," she asked as she turned toward him again.

Steve dropped his cap onto his bag, and went over to her to take her into his arms. She stepped closer laying her hands on his chest and looking up at him with a smile.

"Well, I felt bad that our weekend got blown up by a case-"

"Again," she reminded him.

"-again, and my reserve drill was coming up anyway, so I handed in a request to do it on the Enterprise...," he added quietly as if she needed him to clarify.

"Really?"

"Yeah," he coughed, "with you."

"You know," Catherine replied lifting her arms and twining them around his neck pulling herself closer. He could feel her soft breath ghost over his skin now. She was so close, he could already taste the kiss that was coming. His mouth quirked as he ached to close the distance. "That is so much better than chocolate."

He smirked.

"Yeah, I thought you might like that." He didn't kiss her, not yet. He wanted to savor the anticipation until the last possible moment, even when every cell in his body seemed to be set aflame by her proximity. He knew whatever was coming would be intense. The air around them was already thick with tension. Heady passion scented it, and Steve knew the darkness in her eyes was reflected in his own. Need, desire, anticipation and the poignancy of their feelings were sweetening their encounter, turning the wait into a sweet torture for them both. It wouldn't be long now before one of them gave in, only a few more teasing lines to create some semblance of normalcy.

Catherine hummed, and the vibration that sent through his body due to their closeness almost made him plunge them both headlong into the rewards of carnal sin. "Now, you do know that you'll also be doing your reserve drill with about... hmm... 3000 other sailors, right? So, we're not going to get a whole lot of time together."

He pulled her closer again, crushing her too him in a way that must have hurt. His brave Lieutenant didn't wince, though, nor protest, instead she pressed herself ever closer waiting for his answer. Their mouths only a hair's breadth apart, he murmured directly across her lips.

"Yeah, but... it's a really long flight." Then he kissed her without further ado, and lost himself completely in his desire for this woman in his arms. He picked her up cupping her bum with his hands, and relishing the press of her center against him as she hooked her legs around his waist, then hastily carried her up the stairs to her bedroom.

Something was different today. Maybe it was his recent brush with death, but he felt everything more intensely today, and he wanted to feel her, all of her. The silkiness of her sweet-scented hair, her nails scratching his skin, her teeth on his flesh until she drew blood. He wanted to be so close to her, so connected that he felt as if he'd crawled under her skin. That's how he wanted to love her that afternoon, he thought distractedly. Swiftly yet neatly, conscious of their later necessity for them, he removed her clothes to get to her gorgeous body. Catherine certainly matched his eagerness.

His kisses were demanding. When one hungry kiss ended, he immediately dove in for the next, not giving her time to even catch her breath. One of his hands wound into her hair to keep her head in place while the other fondled her breast, tweaking and twisting the nipple between his fingers. Her hands went to pull at his hair, but he moved them behind her back and held them there with a vice-like grip. He would allow for no distractions now. His mouth descended the curve of her throat leaving a trail of hot wet kisses and teasing nips, and he reveled in the sounds falling freely from her lips at his sweet torture. His finger glided lower to test her readiness. He found her so wet for him already that a low growl escaped his own lips. He didn't waste anymore time to drop her unceremoniously on the bed, cover her body with his own and join them. As Catherine cried out in rapture, Steve silenced his hiss of pleasure with a quick bite into her shoulder. Dimly he thought that he tasted a drop of blood but his mind was too foggy with pleasure to take proper notice. He placed her hands, still firmly held in his grip, above her head, and felt her arch against him, rubbing herself against his body in answer. Steve smirked at the motion. Even when he had the upper hand, she wouldn't let him have total control of her or of their coupling. He'd truly met his match with her. He let her go when he felt the first scratch of her fingers against the vulnerable skin of his wrists. Once freed, her hands made their way to the back of his hand and down to where his shoulders met his neck. She knew how sensitive he was to touch in that area, and he shivered violently against her. Let her play with him as she pleased.

Flattened against the length of his woman's body, he rocked them steadily yet forcefully. At each thrust he felt Catherine's nails burrowing deeper into his shoulders, then she raked them down his back no doubt leaving deep red lines on his skin. Between that and the sharp pain of her teeth at the juncture of his throat and clavicle, the sting in his pain receptors contrasted nicely with the pleasure that thrummed through his heated blood. Her legs had closed tightly around his hips, her ankles locking behind him. Each rocking motion had her tighten her hold to the point he struggled to breathe, but all was eclipsed by and interwoven with the experience of her unbridled passion. She pushed him on his back and away to separate their bodies enough for her hands to have more room to move; she used her fingers like claws to mark her territory with as she moved against him. She leaned down to him to nudge his face with her nose, and he playfully tried to bite her. When she shifted her head out of reach slowly, he let his teeth scrape along her throat. With a high-pitched moan Catherine sat back, flattened her hands against his chest and met his every upward stroke with a thrust of her own. Their mating was harsh, and the grimaces of pleasure and pain on their faces were hardly attractive under other circumstances. In his current state of mind, though, he drank in the sight of her, luscious skin glowing faintly in the afternoon light, eyes dark with desire, uncontrolled expressions on her face, the tiny marks where he'd nipped at her skin, and it only turned him on more. She was the hottest, most sensual, desirable creature he'd ever laid eyes on, and he wanted her. He wanted her and needed her like his next breath. He wanted her closer. So he tumbled them over again and took back control. Catherine gave a surprised yelp, then a loud moan when he pressed even closer to her. It wasn't enough; he couldn't get close enough.

He nipped a trail along the underside of each breast, then his mouth latched onto the soft mound, sucking and biting at it until his woman was near delirious with the pleasure-pain he was providing. He moved his lips hungrily up her chest to her neck. A hand came up to twist in her hair; he loved the feeling of her silky strands slipping through his fingers, and so he brushed through them a couple of times when suddenly his eyes fell onto a speck of blue. Without conscious thought his tongue came out to lick at her skin there. For a moment he entertained the idea of turning her around just so he could sink his teeth into that blue star tattoo that decorated the back of her neck. When he had asked her about it once, she had only smiled a Mona Lisa smile and said that a girl needed to have her secrets. Somehow, now, leaving his mark there seemed important, but he didn't want to part from her even for the brief moment it would take to change positions.

"Come for me, Cath," he ordered hoarsely. He strained his neck a little and sank his teeth into the spot he could reach, noting with satisfaction when she bit him in return. He felt her fingers dig into the cheeks of his ass, and the sharp pain had him thrust faster, harder. His hand reached down between their bodies to rub over her sensitive bud furiously. He pinched it in time with his thrusts, and her teeth only sank deeper into his flesh. Their quietened moans rang loud in his ears as their passion reached its pinnacle.

They lay still entwined and boneless for a few long moments. He raised his head to look at her face, and was met with her hooded gaze. Steve searched it intently for any sign of discomfort or displeasure. It had been mere moments ago, but he could scarcely believe what had just transpired. He had never been so... forceful with her before. She had peaked, but he'd hardly given her any choice in the matter as he's manhandled her lithe body. The idea that she might not have been on the same page with him, horrified him. When he rolled off her, Catherine rolled with him until her cheek rested against his chest. Only their panting filled the silence in her bedroom before his hand stroked over her skin. She tiredly batted his hand away, but he just resumed his caress until his fingers found the apex of her thighs.

"You're insatiable," Catherine laughed. "What are you doing?"

"Taking care of you," he whispered hoarsely.

"You already have." She smiled at him sincerely. "I don't think I've ever come so hard in my life."

"Yeah, but..." The confused look on her face struck a cord with him. Couldn't she see? "Just let me... do this for you."

He continued to stroke her gently, and her reaction did not get by him. Catherine's eyes fluttered closed, and the little whimper she gave was equal parts pleasure and pain, despite the lightness of his touch. It tore at him. He had never wanted to hurt her; he just hadn't been able to help himself. He'd needed to feel her so damn much, he'd ached to be ever closer. His gaze wandered over the bruises already marring her beautiful skin. More would be visible in a little while, no doubt. He'd obviously overdone it quite a bit. He wanted to make up for it, in whatever little ways he could. He wanted to give her only pleasure. She deserved it after his harsh treatment of her. He wanted to love her again, the way she deserved to be loved. Then maybe she would believe him when he told her... Steve cleared his mind of all unnecessary thoughts. Only his knowledge of how to make her body sing remained. With this single-minded focus he began to make his way down her body with light kisses as two of his fingers sank into her. Her hands halted his movements. He looked up at her face unprepared for the intensity of her eyes.

"Steve, there wasn't a moment that I wasn't one hundred per cent with you." He choked down on a sob. She had always been the one to understand him completely, but sometimes she seemed to read his mind. What she was saying was what he wanted, needed to hear, and he knew deep down that she would never lie to him to make him feel better, but still he could not believe that he should so easily be forgiven.

"Cath, I-"

"No, don't. Don't apologize and don't beat yourself up about this, especially where I can see it." She paused briefly to make sure he understood her. "I like slow and sweet, and I like hard and fast, and I knew the moment I opened my door to see you standing there with your scrapes and bruises that today would be a hard-and-fast day. I wouldn't trade a moment of that. I don't regret anything. Neither should you."

"You sure?", he asked. "I know I was a bit... overzealous."

"That's putting it mildly," she chuckled, then stopped when she noticed him duck his head and avert his eyes in response. He kissed her skin softly. "Look, do I want every time to be like this? No, but I enjoy rough sex as much as the next gal once in a while. And if this," she gave an experimental shove against his hand to emphasize her point, her mouth opening in a quiet moan, "is your way of apologizing for playing rough, I am not ever going to complain."

A grin found its way back onto Steve's face as he returned to the task he had begun earlier. Shifting himself down her body, he resumed stroking her. He never stopped gazing at her face, even when her eyes fluttered shut and she started to bite her lip to keep from screaming his name once his mouth joined his fingers and began to lavish attention to her sweet spot. His other hand held onto her as tight as he dared to minimize her movements once she began to sway her hips against him to achieve more friction to please herself. Her right hand took a firm grip of his hair urging him to give her more. Simultaneously she gave up on keeping quiet, something Steve took great pride in, setting himself to the task of eliciting all the sounds from her that always made his heart thunder in his chest.

They still had a few hours until their flight out, so they eventually decided to get some sleep before getting a bite to eat and go. When Steve woke up again, it was to the sound of the shower running in the en suite bathroom. At first he was put out that she hadn't asked him to join her, then a grin spread across his face at the thought that cleaning would not be a part of any activity in that same shower if he were there with her. Perhaps it had been a smart move of her to let him sleep on. He didn't find it surprising that he hadn't woken when she got up, despite usually being a light sleeper. Catherine rocked his world every night – or day – they tumbled through the sheets together, and he slept like a stone afterwards every time. He heard the shower turn off, and headed into the bathroom. Steve stopped in the doorway to appreciate the view of Catherine standing in front of her medicine cabinet naked as the day she was born to dry her hair. His small smile quickly turned into a scowl at the shock of seeing the entire extent of the... damage he'd done. Time had allowed the bruises to take on a dark purple color, there were marks in the shape of his hands on her legs and back and he hadn't even seen the front yet, where he knew there also were a lot of bite marks. Her wrists were black and blue from his grip. From his position he could only see the partial imprint of his teeth on her shoulder from when he'd tried to reach her star tattoo, and it was deep and angry red. She looked like she'd been through more than a bit of rough sex, a lot more. She looked like... His throat choked up and he felt sick to the stomach. A rattled breath escaped his lips, and he didn't dare finish that thought, but, oh, what had he done?!

She looked like she had been ra-

"No," Catherine said decisively as if she'd read his thoughts from the expression on his face again. She turned around and strode over to him with her index finger extended toward him. Her voice was as firm as he felt weak. "No, don't even think it. Don't you dare."

She literally grabbed his shoulders and shook him, and he thought that couldn't be all. Where was the punch he deserved? The knee to his groin?

"Stop thinking that, Steve. This was entirely consensual."

"Cath, even you have to admit I was more... forceful than... I didn't... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have... I should have stopped. Why didn't you stop me when I was hurting you?"

"Because I wanted it, and because I barely even noticed that it hurt. It wasn't like pain then, more like another form of pleasure. I enjoyed it, Steve, so stop beating yourself up about it. Do you honestly think any of that would have happened if I hadn't wanted it as much as you did?! Think of what I would have done to you if I hadn't wanted to screw you into the next millennium."

Her crass words hit him like a fist in the gut and cleared his thoughts making him listen to her. Thinking about it logically, he knew that he'd have ended up on the floor next to the bed with a broken hipbone and without his manhood if he'd laid a finger on her without her consent, and only then would she have stormed downstairs, called the cops and had his sorry ass arrested by his own team. Steve swallowed, because the knowledge did little to placate his self-loathing. There was more she had to say, he knew her well enough to know that she had a trump card she hadn't played yet. He focused on her, and let her manhandle him towards the mirror above her sink, He figured he owed her that; to be as complacent to her forceful manipulation of his body as she had been to his. He also suspected that a part of him wanted her to convince him. She grasped his chin and turned his face toward the mirror.

"Take a good look at yourself, Steve, and tell me I didn't give as good as I got."

That was the first time he saw the marks she'd left on his body. Some wounds that apparently had been recently bleeding had scabbed over. There were a lot of those. He turned to the side, only to see even more. Long streaks down his back covered with scab. Bite marks across his throat and shoulders, even one on his left pectoral, and the indentations left by her vice-like grip completed the picture. Compared to his escapade with Catherine, he looked like he'd gotten out of his car accident that day unscathed.

"Wow," he whispered.

"Will you stop beating yourself up now or do you actually want me to kick your ass?!", Catherine asked furiously looking quite the part of the lioness that had marred his skin.

Steve still felt somewhat guilty at manhandling her so. He'd been taught to never mistreat a woman, which was exactly what he had done, no matter how much Cath had enjoyed it, but he couldn't help his answering grin.

5-0-5-0-5-0-5-0-5-0-5-0-5-0

(Pearl-Hickam, 22:00h)

They made their way on board the military transport the Air Force furnished to get all sailors back to their respective posts. The USS Enterprise was still stationed in the Gulf so everyone would be flown to the nearest air base and then carted over in smaller planes fit to land on deck. It wasn't comfortable by any means and their was no privacy, but Steve and Catherine managed to snatch two spots beside one another. This environment was not made for relaxation, and they'd have to be careful how they interacted. They were close, though, their bodies touching down the length of one side and it was enough. Steve's overwhelming need for physical contact had subsided somewhat, though he still reveled in the feel of Catherine pressed to him by the burly man sitting on her other side. When she kept fidgeting with the collar of her shirt and BDUs, a little twinge of guilt settled in his stomach. She was trying to hide the marks he'd left as best as she could while sticking to Navy dress code; even with the amount of make up she'd applied earlier, it wasn't easy.

He saw her sent an especially nasty glare at one particularly impudent Petty Officer across from them who'd noticed her efforts and was leering at her. Steve felt like putting the man in his place himself, but he couldn't show any overt reaction lest he wanted to get both Catherine and himself into trouble. He couldn't quite suppress the smirk of satisfaction when Cath's death glare had its intended effect, making the insolent youth cower and avert his gaze. What they did on shore leave was one thing – nobody paid attention, and anyone who noticed would turn away pretending not to have seen – but they couldn't be that open while in uniform and on duty. It really was going to be a long flight, he concluded a little more surly than his earlier quip would have made them believe. He sighed and tried to get comfortable.

"Don't lean back too far; it could come back to bite you, Commander," a voice said making him sit up straight again. Looking up he found Lieutenant Storm gazing down at him calmly, tapping a finger subtly against the lower part of his neck. Steve adjusted his uniform to cover his own battle wounds with a grin. Michael then turned to Catherine. "And you need to stop fidgeting, Kitten, you're just attracting attention. We wouldn't want anyone to look too closely, right?"

His voice was just loud enough for them to hear, but Cath stopped moving immediately. Michael took the seat right beside Steve, who saw Carlos and Jack make the burly man shift down a few seats in the row to sit down next to his lover. Catherine smiled gratefully at them. They may not have been much smaller, but she'd take the embarrassment of falling asleep and drooling on one of their shoulders over a stranger's any day.

"Rough day?", Jack asked quietly from his seat. "Your boyfriend keep you up much?"

Steve just glared at him.

"Intense, certainly," was all Catherine gave as a response, but the smile on her face relieved him quite a bit. Steve guessed it would still take a while for him to get used to the idea that she was okay... with everything. "One of the best days of my life though."

That comment very nearly made his chest swell a little, but Mick knew how to prevent that by poking him in the ribs. Feeling playful, Steve poked him back, and that's what led to the competition. It was an all-out poking war for the next couple of minutes, taunting and teasing, and a loud sigh that sounded suspiciously like "Boys..." included. Eventually everyone had taken their place, and they were airborne. The first couple of hours were spent talking about their leave. Mick had visited his wife and kids to take them on a short trip to the main island. Jack and Carlos, both single and happy with it, had gone sky-diving and jungle trekking during the day and immersed themselves in the urban nightlife come dusk. Neither of them remembered how many women they'd gotten to know, if everybody got their drift, and in one instance Jack didn't even quite remember what the girl looked like, only that he thought she was hot as hell.

"You're man whores, the both of you," Catherine stated in complete seriousness, then chuckled. "I'm so proud of you."

"Thanks, mum," Carlos quipped back.

"Better than being completely whipped like those two dickless morons," Jack commented with a flick of his finger towards the other two members of his SEAL team.

Catherine bit back a comment about Steve's... endowment that she would not have held back in private, and instead enjoyed the man's flustered reaction. His mouth opened and closed several times like a fish's, before he looked at Mick, then at her as if asking for help. Catherine just shrugged her shoulders in fake disinterest. Mick put a hand on his friend's arm and shook his head.

"At least I know that I've performed the next morning without wondering if the booze turned me temporarily impotent."

Catherine threw back her head and laughed, even Steve chuckled, making a couple of heads turn in their direction. Mick's comment had been whispered, but her and Steve's reaction had been rather too merry. Her other two boys pouted while she nearly doubled over laughing. She finally caught herself when some people started pointing at them and whispering. Catherine adjusted her uniform self-consciously. Her boys noticed and a quick round of warning glares got everybody to mind their own business again. Sobering up completely, Catherine told the men that on that merry notion she wished them goodnight. Leaning her head back, she was a goner in under a minute. The boys continued their arguing over the benefits and losses of being attached and single a bit more quietly at first, but eventually lost interest. For a long while there was silence between the friends, partially so as not to disturb their sleeping companion, but mostly because they enjoyed what little quiet they could get on a military transport. The engine was always humming, or growling more likely, but it was so constant they barely noticed it after a while. Everyone else was making themselves comfortable to catch some precious few hours of sleep while they were in flight, and the men decided to follow their example. The last to drift off were Mick and Steve.

"You okay, partner?", Mick asked carefully. He'd wanted to talk to Steve for hours, but there had been to many prying ears.

"Yeah, I... she just awes me," Steve replied without looking at Catherine, though the desire to was almost overwhelming since her head had lolled to the side resting against his shoulder a couple of minutes ago. For everyone who may still catch a glimpse, it had to look like he didn't even notice, like he wasn't interested and talking about someone else. Their relationship was perhaps one of the worst kept secrets, but it was very much a don't ask, don't tell kinda thing, and Steve would like to keep it that way in order to stay out of trouble. "I didn't think she'd be okay with... all of that. There is a lot of... damage..."

"Yeah, your girlfriend is pretty damn awesome," Mick answered jovially. His look was stern, though. "You want some advice?"

"From the guy who's been married since BUDs, hell yes." Steve didn't normally admit that he needed help, but what had transpired earlier had unsettled him.

"Just follow her lead," the other SEAL told him seriously. "If she doesn't worry, neither should you or you might just create a problem where there is none."

"Mick, I... was pretty harsh."

"Has she kicked your ass? Called the cops? Told Jack, Carlos and me to avenge her?"

"No."

"Then stop worrying. Or she'll kick your ass for not taking her at her word. If she says she's okay with it, she's okay with it. Believe her, or she'll turn that on you asking if you think she's helpless or witless or just a liar, and any of those questions are as bad as asking if she's gained weight."

They both chuckled at that one. When he was right...

"If you can't put your mind to rest, bury the issue," Mick went on, then added more quietly, "and observe her actions to see if something changes in how she is and reacts around you. If nothing does, maybe that will get your stupid guilt to shut it."

Steve bit his lip, but nodded. It was worth a try.

"You know," Steve piped up to change the subject, "I'm glad you guys will be on the Enterprise as well. Otherwise my reserve drills could get even more testing."

"At least you won't be the only SEAL sitting at Kitten's table, huh?!", Mick joked back quietly, giving him a nudge. "Have someone around to keep you straight."

"Hey, what are you implying?!," the Lieutenant Commander questioned affronted. "I'll let you know that I'm perfectly capable of behaving myself in a work environment."

"Yeah, I think you behaving yourself in a work environment is what started off the first round of rumors." Mick grinned maliciously.

Catherine cooed a little on Steve shoulder, snuggling closer before he could reply. God, he wanted to wrap his arm around her to pull her closer. He resisted the urge to do anything, barely. If he thought this would be a long flight, he sure as hell was in for an even longer reserve drill. Though he wouldn't really get that much time with her, because of their diverse schedule. If he was lucky, he'd get a couple of meals, maybe some training in one of the recreational rooms at the same time. Perhaps he could get her to spar with him – or with some of the newbie SEALs that were bound to be there; that would be hilarious. It wouldn't always be like this. He was in the reserves, and if they were lucky, she wouldn't always gallivant around the world either. Maybe she could get a transfer to Pearl if they managed to get their act together properly. It would only be natural for her to stay with him, great house, private beach. They could put up a Hollywood chair and watch the sunset. Steve caught himself smiling at the thought as he leaned back to catch some shut eye himself, and decided that whatever he could have, would be enough. For now.

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(Udeid [2])

Arriving at the base at Udeid, they were battered. They'd been in the air for most of the day, and were looking forward to getting a few hours of sleep before being shipped out to the USS Enterprise. Luckily it was late at night when they arrived in Udeid. Further transport was arranged for the early morning. The base seemed almost deserted. The night shift was already working and everybody else had gone to bed by now, so they didn't encounter many zoomies or Qatari air force officers while Steve accompanied her to her quarters. They stopped at her door, and Catherine turned to him. This was the end of the line for tonight. They looked at each other, and more words passed between them in the silence than they could have said in hours of conversation. A quick glance to make sure that no one was there to witness it, then Steve raised his hand to gently pry the barrette from her hair. His hand lingered briefly, and his fingers brushed the skin of her cheek and neck as they retreated. This was as much intimacy as they could allow themselves, more than perhaps he should have dared to seek, but he reveled in bestowing a soft touch on her after the recent coarseness.

"Goodnight, Lieutenant," he whispered softly.

"Well goodnight, Commander," she teased back, her eyes still closed to savor the last imprints of his touch.

Reluctantly Steve walked down the hall. Catherine waited until he had turned the corner after one last look at her, then went inside and closed the door behind her swiftly. Without taking one glance around the room – if you'd see one, you'd seen them all – Catherine set about getting ready for bed. She rapidly undid the buttons on her uniform shirt shrugging out of it, then pulled her shirt up over her head. She was about to undo her trousers when a small gasp in the corner of the room drew her attention. Turning toward the noise, the Lieutenant noticed her peer with whom it appeared she would be sharing the room for the night. It was a petite woman in her twenties with a short crop of chestnut brown hair. Her expression was shocked, her mouth hung open in horror and she was white as a sheet. A hand was raised slowly, disbelievingly to her face. Catherine raised an eyebrow skeptically, daring the other woman to say something or, preferably, hold her goddamn peace. She'd had enough of that discussion when she'd argued with Steve; everybody else ought to keep their mouths shut and mind their own business.

The woman said nothing, and climbed into bed. Catherine went back to undressing herself with the sinking feeling that resuming her duty would just get worse from here on out.

End of chapter 1!

A/N: So, yeah, some Barry White, but will it cause problems for our favorite couple? You bet it will.

(1) I relocated the scene to Catherine's house, 'cause I found it a little weird that she'd stay in a hotel when it would later be shown that she owns a house on Oahu.

(2) I do not own that base, and I picked it more or less randomly for its location at the Persian Gulf.