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A Diplomatic Negotiation

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The quiet voice beside her cuts through Michael’s panicked attempts to breathe, and she feels a hand clasp hers, palm to palm, fingers curling over the back of her hand, and then the voice speaks again.

“Michael. It’s okay. You’re safe, Michael. I’ve got you.”

“Philippa.” She barely recognises her voice, the hoarse rasp that issues from her throat. Has she been screaming, she wonders, horrified at the idea.

“Michael, it’s okay. You’re safe. You’re quite safe.”

The heaving of her chest, the fighting of her lungs for breath, begins to ease at the repetition from Philippa that’s she’s safe. She cracks open her eyes, peering up at the dark-haired woman who’s leaning over her and looking to see if she’s awake yet.


“My Michael,” responds Michael’s Captain, and though her brain is still foggy with half-remembered images of her horrifying nightmare, she’s certain that Captain Philippa Georgiou has never referred to her by a possessive before. Somehow, though, it steadies her.

“S-Sorry,” she stutters, still a little breathless. “D-Didn’t m-mean t-to w-wake you.”

“Let’s get you up,” Philippa responds, and lifts her upper body, her free hand dragging pillows behind Michael’s back to support her. Then she half turns, a little awkwardly, because her right hand is still clutching Michael’s left in what, in other circumstances, Michael would consider a death grip. Here it’s very much a grip of life. Her turn allows her to grab the glass of water that’s on the nightstand, and she helps Michael to drink a few mouthfuls before putting the glass back again.

She flexes her hand a little in Michael’s, and Michael immediately feels a blush rising in her cheeks. She loosens her grip on Philippa’s hand, and the Captain immediately eases her hand free, but only so that she can wrap her right arm around Michael, offering her left hand to be held instead.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Philippa asks gently. “You don’t have to. I just thought it might help to get it out of your head.”

“I was dreaming about the bombing of the Vulcan Learning Centre,” Michael responds, then is startled that she’s answered so readily. She never talks about this. It’s been six years since Sarek brought her aboard the Shenzhou and she’s never once spoken about this to anyone. Then again, there’s no one she trusts more than Philippa Georgiou, her Captain, her mentor, and her good friend.

Philippa tightens her arm about Michael’s shoulders, and Michael can’t help tightening her clasp on the Captain’s hand.

“I was eleven. Hadn’t even been on Vulcan for a year,” she continues. “A group of Vulcans known as the Logic Extremists blew up several of the skill domes which we used for learning.” She swallows hard, once, twice, then feels the press of Philippa’s lips to her temple, and that small gesture steadies her. “They killed a number of children, including me.”

“Michael?” Philippa’s voice is tight, breathy, by her ear, and she tightens her clasp on Philippa’s hand.

“Sarek saved me,” she tells the Captain. “He performed a mind-meld and implanted a small part of his katra inside me. Vulcans can heal using their katras, and Sarek used his to heal me and bring me back to life.”

“Oh my Michael.” Philippa’s voice is thick with emotion, and Michael can’t help leaning into her, feeling grounded by the way their bodies are touching.

She unclasps their hands, then shifts, turning towards Philippa in order to wrap her arms around her torso. Philippa allows it, turning her body towards Michael’s and wrapping her arms around her.

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” Philippa says softly. “And so soon after losing your parents, too.”

“I had nightmares for months afterwards,” she admits. “I don’t get them so often any more, but every now and again one sneaks up on me – usually when I least expect it.”

Michael can feel herself drifting back towards sleep, a little to her surprise. Then she thinks about it, and realises that the warmth of her bed, causing by sharing it with Philippa, is making her muscles relax, and the comfort of being held – as she hasn’t been held for so many years – is also relaxing.

“Do you want me to stay with you a little longer, just until you’re asleep?” the Captain asks, apparently realising what’s happening.

If Philippa had switched on a light Michael probably wouldn’t have dared to agree, but since the small room is still dark, Michael dares to murmur an agreement, and she feels Philippa shifting the pillows from behind Michael’s back, then they snuggle down under the bedcovers.

“Thank you, Philippa.”

“You’re welcome, my Michael.”

Michael falls asleep with her head on Philippa’s shoulder, and her arms wrapped securely around the Captain’s body.


When she wakes the following morning, Michael Burnham is a little surprised to find herself cuddled up with Captain Georgiou. Then she recalls the way in which Philippa had woken her from a nightmare, and she feels a sense of guilt at the knowledge that she’d disturbed the Captain, and especially the night before they begin negotiations with the Caitians about joining the Federation.

Then Philippa rolls towards her and she presses her lips to Michael’s, murmuring her name as she kisses Michael in an electrifying manner. For a moment Michael is tempted to kiss her Captain back, but instead she draws herself back, hearing Philippa’s discontented moan which makes her bite her lip. She manages to extricate herself from Philippa’s arms, then she walks into the ensuite bathroom and leans over the sink, her hands clutching the edges tightly as she spends several minutes making herself take deep, even breaths to steady her mind as much as her body.

“Michael? Are you okay?”

She startles badly at Philippa’s concerned words – she’d been so focused on her breathing that she’d forgotten to remain aware of her surroundings. “Fine, thank you Captain.”

“Are you sure?” Philippa comes closer, her hand reaching out to touch Michael’s back, and she turns to face her Captain, doing her best to be subtle about the fact that she’s stepping back out of Philippa’s reach. “You seem jumpy.”

Michael nods. “Sorry, Captain. It’s just the lingering effects of last night’s nightmare. I just need to meditate to settle my mind again.”

Philippa stops in front of her – within touching distance, but she folds her arms behind her back. “If you’re worried or embarrassed about waking me up, you don’t need to be,” she insists, her tone and expression telling Michael clearly that the Captain’s worried about her.

“I’m not,” Michael says insistently. “I am very grateful that you woke me up, and that you stayed with me until I fell asleep again. But I would like the chance to meditate before breakfast.”

Philippa nods, then steps back, giving her a searching look, before she turns and moves out of the bathroom. Michael heaves a silent sigh of relief that her Captain seems to be unaware of the fact that she was kissing her First Officer just a short time ago.

She waits until she hears the door between her room and Philippa’s close, then she walks out of the bathroom and into her room. She kicks off the soft shoes she’d been wearing, then climbs onto the bed, and settles herself down for meditation. It takes her a little while to enter the right state of mind, however, because said treacherous mind insists on replaying every moment of the press of Philippa’s warm lips against her own.

Eventually she manages to push the memory to the back of her mind, and gain sufficient focus for her meditation. She’s deep in her meditative trance when someone barges through the door to her room, crashing it against the wall and startling her badly. Opening her eyes she sees two young Caitians, who are a felinoid species Michael finds absolutely fascinating, have crashed through her door and are currently wrestling each other on the floor.

“What are you doing?” demands Michael, a little irritated by the interruption.

The pair look up, startled, then scramble to their feet, hanging their heads in shame.

“We are sorry, Honoured Guest, Michael Burnham,” replies one. Michael has a feeling she was introduced yesterday as M’Ress. “We did not mean to disturb you.”

Michael becomes aware that Philippa has come through the door that joins their rooms, and is standing with her arms folded behind her back and a stern expression on her face. She’s wearing the long black pants and black tee that she usually wears when working out, and Michael can see, in the swift sideways glance she casts her Captain, a light sheen of sweat along her hairline.

“But you have disturbed me,” Michael says, staring hard at them. “I do not believe your mothers would be very proud of your behaviour, do you?”

“No, Honoured Guest, Michael Burnham.”

Michael shakes her head at them. “Go on. Find somewhere else to – do whatever it was that brought you crashing through my door.”

“Thank you, Honoured Guest, Michael Burnham,” answers M’Ress, her expression clearly indicating that she knows they’re getting off lightly. They scurry out, and Michael sighs, then climbs off her bed.

“I don’t know about you, Captain, but I need some breakfast.”

Philippa smiles, and Michael swallows hard at how radiant she looks. “I am more than ready, Commander,” she says, then heads back into her room.

Michael sighs again, then heads for a very quick shower, before getting dressed. Philippa knocks on her door just as she’s zipping up her uniform jacket.

“You can come in, Captain,” she calls, and turns around to check that her bed is made, and that she has left nothing of importance on the nightstand. She senses Philippa approaching, and she puts on her best stoic Vulcan face before she turns back to her Captain.

“Are you alright, Michael, after your nightmare?”

She nods. “The meditation helped. Well, until someone crashed through my door.” She rolls her eyes and Philippa laughs, and Michael hopes that she can keep the other woman from realising that there is anything on her mind other than the Caitians’ application to join the Federation.

“Shall we?” Philippa asks, gesturing at the door, and Michael nods, then follows her out into the hallway and downstairs to the dining room where they’d eaten the night before.


The day is full of the minutiae of settling the details of Cait joining the Federation, which Michael finds absolutely fascinating as a xenoanthropologist, but by the time she and Philippa finish their last meeting, Michael is feeling the effects of her disturbed night.

“What time is dinner?” she asks Philippa as they head upstairs to change into civilian clothing now that the official part of the day is over.

“1930 hours,” Philippa answers. She lightly brushes her hand down Michael’s spine, and she has to fight the urge to purr like a Caitian in response. “You look tired. Want me to beg off for you?”

“No,” Michael says immediately. She refuses to shirk her duties for a moment. “Thank you. I will take a short nap before we have dinner.”

“Would you like me to wake you in time to change?”

Michael thinks she should refuse this offer, but she cannot bring herself to do so. “Thank you, I’d appreciate that.”

Philippa nods, then leaves her outside the door to her room, and Michael lets herself in, then turns and bolts the door against M’Ress and her friends. She strips off her uniform jacket, tugs off her boots, then crawls up the length of her bed and falls asleep almost instantly.

When Philippa shakes her awake some time later she rolls over and looks up blearily at the dear, familiar face of her Captain, and murmurs, “Why are you so far away?”

Philippa gives her a confused look, and Michael reaches out, catches hold of her wrist, and tugs her down onto the bed. “Michael?” she asks, her voice soft and her look tender.

“My Philippa,” Michael says, and rolls towards her, before propping herself on one elbow and leaning in to press her lips against her Captain’s.

Philippa moans, a desperately needy sound, as her mouth opens temptingly beneath Michael’s. She takes the obvious invitation, and kisses Philippa, open mouthed and just as needy. She snakes her arms around her, pulling her body flush against her own, and feels a surge of delight when the other woman hitches a leg over Michael’s hip, pinning her to the bed.

Their kisses gradually grow sloppier until Philippa finally pulls back, resting her forehead against Michael’s. “I thought you were just going to ignore me kissing you this morning,” she mutters.

“I tried to,” Michael retorts.

“Is that why you needed to meditate this morning?” Philippa asks, pulling back so she can see Michael’s face, a delighted smirk gracing her features.

“It wasn’t the only reason,” Michael says, “but it was the main one.”

“I’m flattered.”

Michael growls, then rolls, pinning Philippa to the bed in her turn before she begins kissing her, little butterfly kisses and tiny nips of her teeth in certain specific places that she knows are often effective in causing arousal in women. Philippa, it seems, is no exception, her back arching and her hips thrusting upwards as Michael brings her mouth to her throat to kiss and suck her way down to the hollow above her breastbone.

Philippa groans, then whimpers as Michael slides her hands underneath the tank her Captain wears, scraping her fingernails lightly up her sides as she shifts the fabric.

“Fuck, Michael.” The loss of control that this slip into swearing indicates just serves to turn Michael on that much more, and she lifts herself up just long enough to draw Philippa’s tank up and off, tossing it to the floor along with her own previously discarded jacket. She shifts a little down the bed, then brings her mouth down onto her Captain’s right breast, biting down on the peak through the fabric of her bra. This move elicits a yelp, that becomes a long, low moan of pleasure when Michael begins to suck, then nudges the fabric aside so she can swirl her tongue around Philippa’s nipple with focused attention.

Philippa clasps the back of her neck with one hand, while her other hand slides up and down Michael’s spine underneath her tee. She transfers her mouth to Philippa’s other breast, while teasing the first with her fingers, busily rolling the nipple between her thumb and forefinger.

“Oh fuck!” she gasps, then begs, “Please Michael, I need you inside me. I need to come. Please, my love. My darling. My Michael.”

Michael easily insinuates her hand inside Philippa’s pants and panties, and she smoothly runs her middle finger down over the other woman’s mound, between her lips, and straight into her sex.

“More?” Michael asks, revelling in how wet and ready Philippa is.

“Please, my love.”

Michael adds a second finger, then when Philippa gasps, “More!”, she adds a third, and twists them around in search of Philippa’s G-spot. She finds what she’s searching for quite quickly, and she presses her fingers there, her thumb landing on Philippa’s clit at the same time.

She wails in pleasure, her body arching up from the bed so vigorously that Michael’s almost dislodged from her position atop her Captain. She strokes Philippa through the aftershocks of what she thinks must have been a very powerful orgasm, then she works her up to a second, then a third, each inducing more soft wailing, before she gently eases her fingers free. She kisses Philippa tenderly, doing everything she can to ease her lover down from the heights.

When she pulls back, Philippa has the most delightfully sated look in her eyes, and Michael can’t help feeling a little smug at being the cause of such a look.

“Your turn,” she says eventually.

“I’m afraid my turn will have to wait if we’re to make it to dinner in a timely fashion.”

“I’ll make it up to you, my love, I promise.”

“I can wait,” Michael tells her. “I’ve waited this long, after all. A few more hours won’t hurt.”

Philippa wraps her hand around the back of Michael’s neck, holding her in place long enough for one intense, searing kiss, then she sighs. “Why did I agree to let Starfleet send us here?” she asks, and pouts.

Michael chuckles quietly, “Had you not, we wouldn’t be in this position.”

Philippa smirks. “True.”

“We should change,” Michael says, making no effort to move off Philippa.

“Just one thing,” Philippa says, and before Michael can process what she’s doing, she snakes her hand into her pants and Michael gasps in shock as her Captain’s fingers tease her sex. Her smile is unrepentant as she draws her hand free again. “I just wanted to see if you are as wet for me as I was for you.”

“You could’ve just asked,” Michael grumbles half-heartedly. “Now I’ll hardly be able to concentrate during dinner.”

“You poor thing. I’ll make it up to you later, I promise.”

Michael’s about to retort when there’s a knock on her door. “Who is it?”

“M’Nala. I am sorry to disturb you, Honoured Guest, Michael Burnham, but there will be a delay eating dinner tonight.”

“Is everything alright?” Michael asks, very aware that Philippa’s hand has snuck back into her pants.

“Everything is under control, Honoured Guest, Michael Burnham. We will eat at 2000 hours.”

“Very well. Thank you for letting me know, M’Nala. I will be sure to inform Captain Philippa.”

“Thank you.”

The footsteps have barely retreated before Philippa’s rolled Michael onto her back and is busy divesting her of her pants. “I want to see you and taste you,” she says, her voice husky with desire.

When Michael lies naked before her Captain all concerns about dinner are gone: Philippa looks equal parts awed and aroused as she stares down at her First Officer’s body.

“You’re gorgeous,” she breathes, then shifts until she’s on her belly between Michael’s spread legs.

“Philippa.” Her Captain hasn’t even touched her yet, but a shiver runs through her body in anticipation.

The other woman leans in and draws the flat of her tongue up the lips of Michael’s sex, eliciting a moan of pleasure, and Philippa lifts her head. “Really?” she asks. “Moaning already? I can see this is going to get noisy.”

“Philippa, please,” Michael says, sure her desperation must be obvious. Fortunately the Captain takes pity on her and lowers her head again, and begins to work Michael up to an orgasm, which doesn’t take long since she’s already so wound up. The tipping point is Philippa nose nudging hard against her clit, and Michael comes hard, her body jerking up off the bed while her hands clutch tightly at the bedcover.

Philippa doesn’t stop at one orgasm, however, any more than Michael had, although she switches tactics, using her mouth on Michael’s clit while she slides two fingers into her slick heat.

When Philippa finally relents, after three of the most intense orgasms she can ever remember experiencing, Michael feels as if someone’s replaced all her bones with jelly and the idea of moving ever again seems quite ridiculous.

“Are you alright, my love?” Philippa asks in a tender tone when she shifts to lie beside Michael.

“Hmm?” Michael asks in a dreamy tone. Philippa chuckles, and Michael forces herself to focus on the other woman. “What is amusing you, my Captain?”

“I was just wondering if I’d broken you,” she says in a teasing tone. “But I think not.” She leans down to kiss her softly, then adds, “I think we had better shower before we get dressed again. I gather Caitians have an excellent sense of smell.”

Michael allows Philippa to draw her up from her boneless sprawl, and they move into the bathroom together.

“Can I ask you something?” Michael asks a little while later.

“Of course.”

“Is this going to be a case of ‘What happens on Risa, stays on Risa’, but replacing Risa with Cait, obviously?”

“No.” When Michael raises an eyebrow at Philippa’s uncompromising rebuttal, the Captain elaborates, “Unless you want this to just be an Away Mission fling –” Michael immediately shakes her head, “I’ve wanted an intimate relationship with you for quite some time, Michael, I was just too much of a coward to do anything about it until now.”

Michael wraps her arms around her Captain. “I’m glad,” she says, dotting butterfly kisses over Philippa’s face. “If you had told me that it could be no more than a fling, I would have accepted your ruling, but I would have been very disappointed, too.”

They finish their shower, towel themselves dry, and get dressed again.

“Do you plan on telling the crew?” Michael asks as she pulls on her pants.

Philippa finishes pulling on her tank, then looks over at Michael. “I will certainly notify the senior staff, but I don’t plan to make a big announcement. But I will have to notify Starfleet first. The good thing about having waited this long is that no one can fault either of us in regard to your promotion. No one can accuse you of sleeping your way into the position of First Officer, and no one can accuse me of favouritism in giving you the role.”

Michael feels startled. “I hadn’t even considered that possibility,” she admits.

“There’s no real reason you should have,” the Captain says. “But it is something I have to consider. But not tonight.” She smiles, then reaches out and cups Michael’s cheek. “Tonight we’ll have dinner with our hosts, and then we will retire to bed together, and I shall take great pleasure in sleeping with you in my arms.”

Michael smiles at the thought. “I shall look forward to that, Philippa.”

“Me too.”

They make their way downstairs, and Michael wonders if she should send a thank you to Admiral Cornwell, back at Command, for choosing to dispatch the Shenzhou to Cait in order to facilitate their request to join the Federation. She’ll have to ask Philippa later if that would be appropriate. For now, she’ll concentrate on the job which the Admiral sent her to do. But inside she’s grinning.