The Wild Stallion by Cassatt
Summary: Response to CPSG challenge - write a "First Time" story with either a horse, a dare, or a waterfall.
Categories: Chakotay/Paris Fanfiction Characters: None
Genres: First time
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 8 Completed: Yes Word count: 21008 Read: 58942 Published: 08/09/03 Updated: 08/09/03

1. Part 1 by Cassatt

2. Part 2 by Cassatt

3. Part 3 by Cassatt

4. Part 4 by Cassatt

5. Part 5 by Cassatt

6. Part 6 by Cassatt

7. Part 7 by Cassatt

8. Part 8 by Cassatt

Part 1 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.

Rating: PG-13 for this part

Summary: C/P - 1/? Response to CPSG challenge - write a "first time" story with either a horse, a dare, or a waterfall.

Copyright August 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion

The dare was simple enough, at least Tom thought so. Although why it was made to everyone at the table he wasn't sure. How it came about he also wasn't sure. One moment they were discussing the latest problem with the gel packs, and the next moment the holoprogram was being talked about, and the following moment the dare was there. Sitting there. Waiting for someone to take it.

All of these things rolled around in his head as he contemplated his options. He really thought it would have been directed to him specifically. After all, he was the man who'd made the one the previous week. That did turn out badly, though. Except the look on his face was priceless and almost worth it. Almost.

Tom slapped his palm on the briefing room table, startling them all. "I'll take the dare. Tomorrow night, holodeck two."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay smiled to himself and watched everyone react. Harry rolled his eyes. B'Elanna stared at the man as though he was crazy. Neelix grinned widely. Seven was just, well, Seven. The Doctor tried to speak but one look from Kathryn stopped him. She shook her head in mock astonishment.

He was sure that no one saw through his ruse. He wasn't the type of man who normally went for revenge, at least not any more. He'd sworn off revenge. Sworn off the need to get his own back, to make someone pay. To suffer.

Tomorrow night. Holodeck two. He'd be the only observer. That was the advantage of being so damned trustworthy. The smile was no longer contained, but broke out across his face. He met the pilot's blue blue eyes. And was rewarded by seeing a momentary, slight, barely there, teeniest tiniest hesitation. Life was good.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom felt his hands begin to sweat. Those deep dark eyes said alot. His heart skipped.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"See you tomorrow night, then, Tom," Chakotay said with sincerity.

"Yes, I'll be there, Chakotay," Tom answered.

"Both of you, safety protocols stay on," the captain ordered.

"Yes, Captain," they said in unison.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom walked through the holodeck doors after being given numerous pats on the back from his friends. He assured them he'd be fine, he'd done this many times, and didn't see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't all bravado. But perhaps the truth was stretched, just a bit.

Chakotay met him just inside. Tom's heart skipped again and he did his best to ignore it. He reminded himself, one more time, that it really wasn't his fault. Last week. The Commander should have known.

* * *

Chakotay greeted Tom with hidden delight. He'd come to the conclusion, that afternoon, that perhaps revenge was still sweet. He looked at the clothes the man was wearing and smiled. Blue jeans and a tee shirt, with some boots was all there was to see. Very simple, and appropriate, he had to hand it to Tom. The shirt was pale blue and... Chakotay stopped the thought before it went any further.

* * *

"So, I hear you've had some experience with this," Chakotay said, his hands on his hips.

Tom's chin went up slightly. "Yes, I have. When I was younger. Before Starfleet."

"I thought you grew up in San Francisco."

"Well, my grandparents didn't live in the Bay Area. I spent time with them. You know, vacations and stuff."

Chakotay made a small noise. "I wouldn't know about that. We didn't have 'vacations'."

"Why not," Tom asked in spite of his intentions to remain aloof.

"Life in the village was, um, life. There was no job to get away from. I was taken on some journeys by my father, but I can't say they were exactly like a vacation, from my understanding of the word."

"Gee, Chakotay, that sounds kind of... difficult." Tom looked at the man, seeing him a bit differently, knowing he really didn't need much more of that at the moment. He was already seeing the dark brown shirt and tan pants... He stopped those thoughts as quickly as he could.

"I survived, it wasn't that bad, not bad at all," Chakotay said quietly. He shook himself. Revenge, he reminded his other half. "So, you ready to meet your match?"

Tom looked at him for a moment longer than necessary. "Yes, I am. Bring it on," he stated with surety.

"Follow me," Chakotay answered.

They walked further into the holodeck. Trees surrounded them, changing from a dense canopy to dappled sunlight. And finally into a large clearing with a fenced in area in the middle of it. And there, inside the fence was the subject of the dare.

Tom gasped. "He's beautiful..." he said softly. And he was. Almost pure white, with a hint of gold in the mane and tail, and deep brown eyes.

It was Chakotay's turn to look at the man at his side. He saw the awe on Tom's face, heard it in his voice. He was surprised, no, shocked was more the word. This revenge thing was not going as he originally planned. Not at all. He coughed.

Tom turned to him. "He's beautiful," he repeated.

"Yes, he is, I mean, thank you," Chakotay said.

Their eyes locked. Tom was the first to break the gaze, looking once more at the penned stallion.

"Well," he said, moving toward the fence, "I'd better get in there..." Tom admitted to himself that he was feeling more than a bit apprehensive, seeing the look in the horse's eye. Holographic or not, this was one wild animal. But a dare was a dare, and he'd be damned if the thoughts in his head would distract him from his mission. Particularly thoughts of how he'd like to show a certain commanding officer that he could do something the other man believed he couldn't. Then do something else to that same officer. Tom smiled to himself and began to climb the fence.

Chakotay watched him and for the first time was glad the safety protocols were in place. Revenge was taking a back seat to a little concern.

But Tom lowered himself slowly to the ground on the inside of the pen. The horse made some noises and moved, first back then a little forward, then back again. Tom continued to stand completely still.

Chakotay knew the horse wouldn't exactly hurt Tom, he did respond to his maker calmly, smoothly, allowing both bareback riding and saddled. He'd just never been approached by someone he didn't know. Chakotay watched as blond met blond.

Once the horse had stopped moving so restlessly, Tom took a few steps in his direction, gauging the reaction, meeting his eye directly, beginning to make soothing noises from deep in his belly. Each time the stallion balked, Tom stopped. Then began again when things calmed down. They continued this dance until eventually Tom was just a foot away and the horse was still quiet. His eye never left Tom's face, however, and the man continued to move incrementally closer to the animal. Tom reached out and let the horse sniff his hand. It was acceptable and so, keeping up the soothing voice, human hand touched the horse's neck.

Chakotay exhaled. As though Tom's hand was actually reaching out for him, he felt enchanted. He watched his horse bounce his head up and down as Tom stroked the pale coat, his voice still heard, the words irrelevant. Chakotay couldn't take his eyes off Tom's hand, moving along his horse's neck, stroking, patting gently, mesmerizing the animal. His mind began to wander as he watched that hand.

Tom finally felt as though he could increase the contact and put his face against the horse's neck, still stroking him. The soft coat felt like velvet against his cheek. It had been too many years since he'd been with one of these magnificent beings. He closed his eyes and let his head rest against his new friend. This beautiful, powerful, gorgeous new friend.

"Looks as though you won the dare, Tom," Chakotay said quietly.

How he kept himself from jumping out of his shoes, Tom had no idea. This had been said directly behind him, maybe as close as a foot away. Perhaps it was just the serenity of the horse that kept him grounded while his heart thudded loudly in his ears. He slowly turned around. "But I haven't ridden him yet," he said.

"I don't think he's going to reject you." Chakotay watched Tom's eyes change color and a faint blush grace his cheeks.

Later, neither would be able to say what happened, or how, or who instigated it.

They came into each other's arms, their mouths meeting quickly, moving together, soft kisses that turned to persuasive, insistent kisses as their lips parted and their tongues met. And tasted. Pulling each other deeper and deeper into the sweetness of it, both men trying to breath and not moan too loudly, but unable to stop the noise that came from the back of their throats. And throughout this, the horse never moved. Even when Tom was leaning back against him, with Chakotay pressing him gently onto the white velvet, still the horse didn't move. He wasn't agitated in any way. Quite the opposite of the two men with him.

They were pulling each other closer, their growing erections straining against the confining fabric, moving, touching, their hips beginning to rotate to increase the friction of hardness on hardness. The moans were no longer possible to contain.

"I want you..." Chakotay said huskily as he finally pulled his mouth away.

"You can have me," Tom said quietly, staring into the depths of dark brown that held him.

Chakotay moved his hands up Tom's sides, to his neck, finally holding his face. "Don't go anywhere."

Then he tapped his comm and requested a site to site to his quarters and a moment later all Tom saw was shimmering blue, then nothing. He was reeling, his mind trying to process what had just happened, his body on fire. He turned and wrapped his arms around the horse's neck and rested his face against him, trying to breathe. But the scent that permeated his nostrils was now mostly Chakotay's.

Images were beginning to flood his mind as he waited. Chakotay's face in the briefing room the day before. Tom thought he'd looked, what, triumphant, pleased, a little too much like the cat who'd caught the canary. Caught. He was certain that a type of revenge was going to be exacted tonight. And now here he stood, filled with desire, and want. Alone. Waiting. After telling the man he could have him. He didn't say 'I want you, too,' for that would have been too much of an admission. He couldn't do it. But what if that's what the other man needed to hear? What if that's what Chakotay was thinking, in his quarters. He'd wanted to exact something on Tom. What if he had?

Tom's chest turned cold. He pulled away from the horse and tapped his commbadge. This time it was the white animal who saw shimmering blue, then nothing.

End part 1, TBC.
Part 2 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.

Rating: PG-13 for this part, too.

Summary: C/P, 2/?. Second part of challenge fic - Chakotay and Tom are not seeing eye to eye.

Copyright August 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion - Part 2

Chakotay beamed back into the holodeck but all he saw was the horse. His heart, which had been hammering away at a steady pace, slowed considerably. He was shocked, he was hurt, he was angry. He had no idea what happened, or what he had done, but a suspicion was forming. He slapped his chest hard and asked for the location of Tom. He was in his quarters. This surprised him, he'd expected him to be out, with his friends, perhaps even on the other holodeck.

The horse whinnied behind him. Turning, their eyes met. He approached the stallion without hesitation, getting a nuzzle on his head, stroking the white neck as Tom had.

"There, boy, that feels good, doesn't it..." The horse bobbed his head and made a few more noises. "Yeah.... you met a new friend tonight, didn't you?" Chakotay continued to move his hand up and down the soft coat, eventually placing his head against the strong neck. He caught the scent of Tom and his heart jumped. He pulled back quickly and gave one last pat. "Maybe we can ride later on," he said.

He shut down the program and left for the pilot's quarters.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom was sitting on his couch, drinking a syntheholic beer, staring at nothing in particular, letting his thoughts wander. Trying to keep them far away from a certain dark haired commanding officer who kissed like nobody Tom had ever kissed before. And who was likely just as manipulative as most of the people Tom had ever become involved with. Only he wasn't involved this time. And wouldn't be. He took another long drink. This isn't working, Tommy boy...

His door chimed. Hoping it was Harry, who was due at some point in the next hour, he called the door open. His heart fluttered to see Chakotay walk in. Then his stomach began falling down toward his knees.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Tom," Chakotay said. He walked right up to the younger man and waited. His heart had started to pound again seeing Tom, sitting there in that pale blue shirt.

"Chakotay," Tom replied. For once, he didn't know what to do.

"May I sit down?"

Tom shrugged. "Sure, if you want."

Chakotay sat, keeping two feet away from Tom's personal space. He was feeling half angry, half out of his mind. He could see that Tom wasn't going to say anything, so he did. "Why did you leave?" He regretted his sharp tone but chose not to apologize.

Tom could not believe what he was hearing. He stood quickly, pissed beyond reason. "I'd won the dare, you said so yourself, what was the point in hanging around any longer?" Just to suffer some humiliation?

Chakotay's anger took over. "What was the point?"

"Yeah. I had things to do you know."

"I see. Important things, no doubt." He stood up as well.

"My time is valuable, too valuable..."

Chakotay interrupted him, "Too valuable to wait around for me, clearly. Another conquest for you..."

Tom felt that one right in his heart. "That's me, just going from person to person."

Chakotay felt like a fool. An old fool. "Well then, sorry to have kept you from something more important. But in case you care, I didn't plan on being gone as long as I was."

Tom didn't want to hear it. The lies, the bullshit. "It doesn't matter," he said forcefully. He met the older man's eyes directly for the first time since he'd arrived. What he saw completely threw him. A flash of hurt moved across Chakotay's face, followed by the look that Tom was all too familiar with. Fury.

Chakotay'd had enough. He stalked to the door. Turning at the last minute he pulled something out of his pocket and threw it against the couch. "The captain called me." Turning again, the doors opened and he left as quickly as he could get out of there.

Tom went to the couch and found what Chakotay had thrown. A small bottle of lubricant. His heart took a dive, only ending when it reached his toes.

End part 2 - TBC.
Part 3 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.

Rating: R - NC17

Summary: C/P, 3/?. Part 3 of challenge - the boyz are noticed but don't know it.

Copyright August 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion - Part 3

Chakotay stormed the corridors, rounding the bend, heading for his door. He swore to himself - Kathryn was approaching her door as well and she'd seen him. He kept going, having no choice, not particularly wanting to talk to her at the moment.

"Good evening, Chakotay," she said.

"Hello, Kathryn." He gave her a curt nod and reached for his key pad.

"Are you all right?"

He turned and looked directly at her for the first time. Seeing her concern only made him angrier. Stupid old man... "I'm fine. Have a pleasant evening." He returned to his task of keying in his access code. His door opened.

"You too," she called as he entered his domain.

Yeah, me too. Very pleasant evening...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom sat for only a few minutes in his quarters, staring at the bottle in his hands. God damn it, what was I thinking?! I didn't even listen to him. He told me he wanted me, his tongue was almost down my throat and what do I do? Make him feel like a fool. Jesus, Tom!

He pulled on his boots again and left quickly. He had to talk to Chakotay, had to make him understand. How much he wanted this, how much he cared, how sorry he was. Almost running he hit the lift and to his dismay Gerron dashed in at the last second. He had to make inane small talk with the man, when he would have preferred thirty seconds to himself to think about what he was going to say. His heart was pounding. He walked quickly off on Chakotay's deck and went straight to his door.

He hit the door pad. No response. He hit it again. No response again. He asked the computer if the commander was in there, it answered in the affirmative. Tom wasn't about to go away. He knocked loudly on the door. Still no response. Frustration getting the better of him, he pounded on the door and called out, "Chakotay! Open up, it's Tom!" He pounded again, and yelled again. He rested his forehead against the cool metal of the door and heard another one open nearby. Shit, the captain.

"Tom?" Her voice arrived with her right behind.

He sighed and turned to greet her. "Good evening, Captain."

She looked confused. "What's going on?"

"Nothing. I wanted to talk to the commander, but he's not answering." Tom couldn't pull himself away, however ridiculous he knew this looked. He had to get in and talk to Chakotay.

"I know he's in there, I just saw him." She narrowed her eyes a bit. "He seemed... upset. Did something happen with the dare?"

His mind raced. "Yes, it did, and it was just a misunderstanding, and I really want to talk to him about it but I can't get in there. You know how stubborn he can be. I hate to think he's going to go to bed angry when there's really no need...." He mentally crossed his fingers. Please, Captain, take the bait...

"And would you be asking me, in a roundabout way, to override his door lock and let you in?" She crossed her arms.

He prayed. "Captain, I need to talk to him. It's very important."

She smiled then, a relaxed smile. "Very well, I don't want misunderstandings to continue needlessly either. This is a small ship and both of you are too important to it's peak efficiency." She reached for the key pad and put in an override code.

Tom almost kissed her hand in relief. The door swooshed open to a dim and silent living area. "Thank you, Captain, I won't forget this."

"Good luck, Tom. I have a feeling you're gonna need it," she said, shooing him inside and turning away.

The door closed behind him. "Chakotay?" he called. Silence. He walked toward the bedroom, still hearing nothing. Entering, he noticed it was unoccupied, but he finally heard why. The shower was running.

Without hesitating he went directly to the bathroom. Nothing was going to stop him at this point. He was wrong. The sight before him did.

Chakotay was standing with the water running down his face, his arms raised, hands rubbing his head harshly, suds running down his body. At that moment, Tom decided that no one had the right to call Chakotay an old man. He looked magnificent. Exactly how he had felt for the brief time Tom's hands moved over him. Solid. Muscular. Strong. Bronze. Gorgeous. Tom felt himself harden. He made another instant decision. This man was not getting away from him.

He unzipped his boots and toed them off right there. Undoing his jeans, he dropped and stepped out of them, pulled off his shirt, his briefs and his socks and took a deep breath.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kathryn was brushing her teeth, thinking about the odd goings on between her pilot and her First Officer. High emotions were certainly evident. She couldn't imagine what had happened when Tom tried to ride Chakotay's horse, she hoped the younger man hadn't damaged the program somehow. Chakotay was so angry, she was at a loss to see what else he could have done to piss the man off so.

"... TOM! What the...." was heard from the bathroom next door, through the vent system. This was followed by a loud thud against the wall.

"Oh my God, he hit Chakotay..." Luckily, she still had on her uniform pants and tee shirt. She grabbed a phaser from her desk and ran next door, keying in a second override and dashing to the bedroom. She heard the shower running and had a moment's confusion. Intent on her mission, she tripped over something in the doorway. Looking down, she saw boots. Then a pile of clothes. Jeans, underwear, a pale blue tee shirt. Still her mind was not computing what she was seeing. Raising her eyes, her mind almost shut down completely.

She saw a tall, pale, clearly male back, with dark hands running up and down it, familiar hands moving down, massaging one of the most adorable asses she'd ever seen. Pale legs next to dark ones. A blond head moving against black haired one, moving to one side just enough to see the telltale blue lines on a forehead she knew too well... Oh my God... she had the strong urge to giggle. Oh dear. This, she knew, would fuel her fantasies for a long time to come. Hearing moans coming from the two men, she shoved her fist in her mouth to stifle her response and got out of there, fast. Heading back next door, to start a bath, get out some candles, and have a good time, with herself, listening all the while to the goings on next door.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

They were both in sensory overload, bodies moving, writhing, erections rubbing together and against their stomachs, their mouths moving along with everything else, giving deep, penetrating kisses as though they wanted to devour each other. They couldn't taste enough. Couldn't feel enough. They wanted more.

Tom pulled back slightly. "Now do you believe me, Chakotay? How much I want you?"

Chakotay grabbed his head and brought him back. Tom gave no resistance, only a deep moan as that lucious tongue snaked its way back into his mouth.

"Why didn't you talk to me..." Chakotay's words were said without breaking the kiss.

"Cause I'm an idiot...sometimes...." Tom pulled away and fell onto Chakotay's neck with a vengeance.

Chakotay's hands returned to what was fast becoming a favorite place for both of them, Tom's ass. He pulled him more tightly, causing both of them to groan at the increase in pressure. "Don't think you're an idiot...."

Tom stopped his sucking, looking at the mark with a satisfied grin. Mine. He moved his head back enough to meet those deep, dark, brown eyes. Why had he never noticed before how amazing they were?

Chakotay looked into the blue and saw three different colors. Two blues and one lavender, just a hint of lavender. He'd had no idea how beautiful they were.

"I could very easily fall in love with you, Chakotay," Tom said quietly, his heart pounding.

"And would that be a bad thing, Tom? Because I don't think it would be, to fall in love with you, that is. Not at all." Chakotay felt his breath catch in his throat.

"Does that mean you could?"

"Yes, without trying too hard. And do you think falling for me would be bad?"

"No, I don't. I think it would be wonderful," Tom said, a smile breaking out across his face that he couldn't and didn't want to control.

"Good. And now, Tom Paris..." Chakotay bent his head and kissed Tom's neck. "I am going to mark you," he nibbled softly, "as you marked me, and then, we are going to bed to fuck each other until we pass out..." he latched onto the skin of Tom's neck and sucked intensely.

Tom laughed out loud, hard, once, from sheer giddiness, the noise quickly turning to a loud moan as Chakotay's tongue licked him in the midst of the sucking, sending electrical shocks directly to his groin. Mark me, yes Sir. He shoved his pelvis into the other man, gratified to hear and feel a groan vibrate against his neck. At that moment, the bed seemed very, very far away.

End part 3, TBC.
Part 4 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.
Rating: NC-17

Summary: C/P, 4/?, Part 4 of challenge - Cross purposes.

Author's note - A very small homage to "Six Feet Under" is given here.

Copyright August 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion - Part 4

"Chakotay..." Tom moaned softly. One of his errogenous zones was still being assaulted and his legs were giving out. The hot water was still pouring down on them. He thought he might faint. Still the wet, dark head was against his neck, sucking and licking with abandon. "Chakotay..." he repeated.

"Mm-hm," the older man answered. But the assault continued.

Tom briefly wondered if he did collapse, would Chakotay be able to catch him? This intense of a reaction was unexpected. Many people, men and women, had found pleasure in his neck, hell, he had, too. But this.... "Chak..." He tried again, but his brain was shutting down.

Chakotay moved his head away and looked at him. "Chak?"

Tom breathed deeply and tried to feel his toes. "Yeah, it's all I could manage. Jesus, your mouth should be classified," he said huskily. "Bed. I need to be in bed with you." He was still moving against the other man, however, and falling dangerously back into the dark eyes.

Chakotay filed away the fact that the one spot he had latched onto was a very big weakness of Tom's. Filed it away with a number of lusty possibilities for that spot. He leaned sideways slightly and reached for the shower controls, looking deeply into Tom's eyes, which had changed color drastically. All three colors were darker. He got the water turned off at the very moment Tom began to kiss him again, deep, thorough kisses. Sweet, intense kisses from a sweet mouth that he couldn't get enough of. He stopped it this time. "Bed, yes, Tom, bed. Now."

"I can't walk," Tom said with a smile.

"Come on," Chakotay answered with a smile of his own, tugging Tom out of the shower. He found towels for them both and they dried off, drawn together to kiss as they rubbed terry cloth quickly over their skin. Quickly. Very quickly. And finally falling onto the bed after Chakotay pulled the covers down. Very quickly.

They came together, entwining legs, wrapping their arms around each other as tightly as they could, feeling the heat of their bodies in full, relaxed, delicious contact. Chakotay ended up on top only because he was faster to pounce, doing it with a grin. Latching onto Tom's neck again, but briefly this time, stopping as soon as the man let out a loud moan. He moved his mouth up to meet Tom's, thrusting his tongue in, feeling Tom thrust back, with strength, and passion. Their hips began to move, giving mutual friction to their already very hard erections.

Chakotay pulled back, panting. "We forgot something."

Tom was mystified. "What?"

"Are you a top or a bottom?"

Tom smiled deeply. "Oh, that. Let's say I'm ... versatile. You?"

"I'm versatile as well. With you, definitely versatile," Chakotay answered, showing Tom both dimples.

"I see. Well, then, I seem to be on the bottom at the moment," Tom said, moving his pelvis suggestively, "and quite frankly, loving every nanosecond of it, and the thought of you inside me is enough to ... so..."

Chakotay smiled another slow smile. Tom smiled back. The mouth on top fell onto the one below and the hot, deep kisses resumed. Then stopped. They both knew it was time, no foreplay was needed, they wanted to connect, primally, immediately, now. Chakotay moved off enough to get the drawer opened next to the bed. Pulling out the tube, he flipped it open and their eyes locked.

"Chak," Tom said, his heart pounding loudly in his ears, his hands continuing to roam up and down the bronze skin on top of him.

"Are you going to call me that now?" He really didn't mind it, truth be told it made him feel young and in love. He still couldn't believe he was in bed with Tom. Teasing him was a bonus he planned to enjoy, hopefully for a long time to come.

"Yes, I think I like it," Tom answered. He watched Chakotay's face lit up.

"Okay," Chakotay said. He continued to move his hips into Tom's, and gave an extra sideways move, causing Tom's eyes to close and a soft moan to pass his beautiful lips. "So, Tom, did you just want to say it, or did you want to tell me something, hm-m?" Watching the man below him beginning to writhe, he couldn't help it. He fell on Tom's neck again, this time gently, but deliberately kissing and licking him.

"God..." Tom groaned. He pulled his legs apart, and Chakotay settled in between them. He wanted to squeeze the man to him, tighter and tighter. "Later, talk later..."

Chakotay stopped enjoying the delicious skin and pulled back. He brought the tube in between them and put some on his fingers. Their eyes locked again. Tom put his ankles on Chakotay's shoulders and the older man began to prepare him for entrance. First one finger, then two, then three, opening him up, to Tom's intense pleasure.

They were both panting by this time, and as Chakotay put some lubricant on himself his heart started to race. He wanted this, had wanted this for so long. He got in position and began to enter Tom, accompanied by the most wonderful sounds coming from his partner, that he thought he might come before he even got all the way in. But he slid until he was fully sheathed and then, and only then, breathed. Tom moved his feet down until he could wrap his legs around Chakotay's chest. Their eyes had never waivered.

Tom raised his head and grabbed Chakotay's, bringing him down to kiss him deeply, needing to taste him, overwhelmed by the feeling of the man inside of him, his erection throbbing, his heart thudding. Their tongues began to dance together and that's when Chakotay began to move.

He stroked out and in, long deep strokes, and seeing Tom react when he changed angles he continued giving him the stimulation, almost out of his mind once more with this man. Out of his mind, hearing the moans, tasting the excitement building between them, as he tried to hold back.

Tom was almost out of his mind, he'd never experienced anything like this before, with anyone. Whenever their mouths met, his climax approached quickly, as though between the two of them there was one continuous loop of sexual excitement. He felt Chakotay change angles, and his prostate was stroked. He groaned, and the man stayed right there and did it over and over and over again until Tom was almost out of his mind. And he hadn't even been touched.

They were close, both close, and they both knew it. Like magnets, their mouths came together again, and this time Chakotay slowed down, propped himself on one arm and reached between them, taking Tom in his hand, pumping him, tasting the change and feeling it affect his own climax immediately.

Tom's body registered Chakotay's hand before his mind did. Then he was going over the edge, his whole being becoming still, then convulsing as the powerful orgasm ripped through him, shooting his seed onto their stomachs.... Chakotay came the nanosecond he felt Tom's climax hit, shoving deeply into him, spilling himself, breaking the kiss, hearing some primal noise come out of his mouth, from deep in his soul, as Tom's legs tightened around him, fiercely... Reeling, Tom pulled him closer, with legs and arms, feeling the man collapsing on him, words finally forming in his mind, saying "Oh, God, Chak, oh God," over and over and over until he collapsed, too.

They came together once more during the night, changing roles and positions, this time with the foreplay of mouths, tongues and hands seeking out each and every errogenous zone the other possessed, culminating in Chakotay getting his gland stroked by Tom's thrusting, again experiencing almost simultaneous climaxes, amazed and overwhelmed by the intensity of it all. After cleaning themselves they curled up together, spooning, and fell deeply asleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The alarm went off and Tom stirred. He tried to turn it off, but then remembered where he was - his voice wasn't going to get the computer to shut up. Rolling over, he wrapped himself around the sleeping man, gently snoring so peacefully.

"The time is 0600, the time is 0600, the time..."

Tom pulled himself up the snoring one and started to kiss Chakotay's neck while running his hand up and down the muscles of the man's chest and stomach. He finally came to, calling out in a surprisingly clear voice, "Computer, end alarm." Following it with a hug for his new lover, who gratefully snuggled into the embrace. Tom wondered if this was what heaven really was.

"Have a question," Chakotay mumbled.


Chakotay's hands took their turn, rubbing Tom's back idly. "How did you get in here last night?"

"I grovelled to the captain for help," Tom said, feeling a grin break wide. "She wanted us to work out our little misunderstanding."

Chakotay chuckled, a lovely sound, particularly heard reverberating in his chest, as Tom could attest, his head at exactly the right place to hear it that way. The chuckle morphed into a laugh, and this time Tom joined in.

"So," Chakotay said, "what do we tell her?"

Tom was jiggled up and down again by his pillow chuckling. "Well, I think we should tell her that we're still fighting. Just for fun, to throw her and everyone off the track." He grinned at his lover.

"Okay, I could use some fun," Chakotay said, also grinning.

"But, I really have to go - get ready for shift." Tom pushed himself off reluctantly, kissing the smooth chest in front of him before rising.

"Tom...." Chakotay held his arm.

Tom sat back on his heels, putting his hand on Chakotay's thigh. "What?" he said softly.

"What did you want to say to me last night?"

Tom wasn't sure he had the nerve, now, in the light of morning. After thinking for a minute, he decided he didn't. "I ... I'd like to see you tonight, if you want."

Chakotay looked intently at him, knowing that wasn't it. "Of course I want to see you, spend time with you. I'll reserve some holodeck time. But how about breakfast? Meet you in about 30?"

Tom wanted to sing. "Yeah, breakfast would be good. 30 minutes. We'll see what glop Neelix has this morning." They smiled at each other. "I gotta go, Chak," Tom said quietly.

"Okay," Chakotay answered, just as quietly.

Tom sighed deeply and left the bed, headed into the bathroom, put his clothes on, splashed some cold water on his face, his hair and in his mouth. He wanted to stay so badly, he was afraid that once he left things would go back to the way they were before last night. Taking a deep breath, he returned to the bed, sighing again to see the gorgeous specimen of manhood lying there. He promised him thirty minutes and left.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom was relieved to see an empty corridor as he exited Chakotay's quarters. He walked quickly to the lift and headed to his own deck. Stepping out, looking down the corridor his heart jumped. Harry and B'Elanna were at his door. He steeled himself and walked towards home.

"Good morning, you two," he said cheerfully.

They turned suddenly. "There you are," B'Elanna said.

"What do you mean?" He keyed in his access code and they all entered. Wanting to get rid of them so he wouldn't be late he walked directly to the bedroom, taking his combadge off and pulling his tee shirt out of his pants. "Well, what do you mean? Quick, I have to get ready..." He sat on the edge of the bed and worked on getting his boots off.

"Tom, we have a confession to make," Harry said.

Shit. "What's that, Har?" He pulled off his socks.

"We heard a rumor that you and the commander had an argument last night."

"And how did you hear that?"

B'Elanna snorted. "Dalby saw Chakotay leaving your quarters, and he described him as, quote, in full Maquis mode, end quote."

Tom pulled off his shirt and stood. "Fascinating, I'm sure. But I've got to get ready, so unless you want a show B'El?" He began to unbutton his jeans. He watched them look carefully at each other. Harry nodded, then turned to his best friend.

"Okay, Tom, but listen, if you want to talk..."

Tom interrupted him. "I know where to find you both. See you later," he said pointedly.

B'Elanna gave him a stare. "Yeah, okay. We'll be in the messhall."

"Fine." He put his hands on his hips. His friends left, and he almost sat on the bed as the tension left him. Fuck, this is going to be complicated. Stripping, he got into the shower and let the body memories of his last shower come over him in waves, knowing that no matter the complications, he was not going to let Chakotay get away from him. As long as the other man would have him, that is.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay was stepping out of the shower when the captain called him over the com. He debated not answering, making her wonder if he was too upset to talk, then began to laugh at the thought. No, I am definitely not upset. Out of my mind, yes. She called him again. He took the towel with him to the dresser and tapped his combadge.

"Yes, Captain?" Rubbing his head with the towel he glanced at the bed and smiled. He realized with a start she'd been talking and he'd heard nothing. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?"

"Have I caught you at a bad time, Chakotay?"

He could have sworn he heard laughter in her voice. "No, not at all, just drying my ears."

"Oh. I asked if you'd like to have breakfast with me this morning?"

Damn. "No, thank you, I have plans already."

"I see. Dare I ask with whom?"

"Excuse me, Kathryn?" Since when did she give him the third degree?

"Just curious, that's all, like to keep on top of things around here, you know."

"I didn't realize that my choice of breakfast plans was something you kept track of."

"Never mind, Chakotay... see you at the briefing then. Janeway out."

He hadn't missed the tease in her voice this time. Sighing deeply, he continued with his morning routine, not wanting to be late, already thinking about seeing Tom again, looking into those beautiful blue eyes. Standing in front of the mirror, shaving, he wondered if anyone would be able to tell by looking at him that he'd just had one of the most important nights of his life. Then he wondered if he'd ever be able to tell Tom that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom came into the messhall with a pounding heart. He was kicking himself for his nervousness, not having felt this since the first days in the DQ, when everyone but Harry looked at him with undisguised hatred and contempt. This morning, in a strange twist of fate, he again wanted to be left alone, to find a table by himself, so that he could sit with his new lover and be ignored. He looked over the room to see if Chakotay was there but unfortunately, his two friends were, and they met his eyes and waved. Shit. He hadn't thought this breakfast date through to it's logical conclusion. Shit and damn. He waved back.

"Hi, Tom," came a soft voice from a foot behind him. A voice guaranteed to send ripples down his spine. He turned and met smiling deep brown eyes.

"Hi, Commander," he answered, unable to control the smile that broke out.

"Now, Tom," Chakotay whispered, "I thought we covered my name last night."

The line moved in front of them and they followed the herd.

"And I think we're on duty," Tom whispered back.

"Not yet, we're not. Let's try it again. Hi, Tom," Chakotay said softly.

Tom looked behind him but there wasn't anyone there. He smiled. "Hi, Chak," he answered.

Chakotay smiled deeply. "Thanks, I needed that."

"Glad I could oblige. Chak." Tom smiled, but knew that one little thing couldn't convey the depth of his feelings at that moment. Nothing could. Other than pouncing on the man that is...

"Do you two want some breakfast?" Neelix said cheerfully, a bit loudly.

They were a good six feet from the counter, the line having been served while they talked. They grinned sheepishly at each other briefly before approaching the breakfast choices.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to join Harry and B'Elanna. And something happened, I need to tell you about," Tom said in a low voice as they walked away from Neelix.

"I don't mind sitting with them. We can stop by my quarters before the bridge and talk, okay?"

They were almost at the table. "Yeah, that'd work." Tom hoped Chakotay wouldn't find out for himself as they ate. He had his doubts.

"Morning, Chakotay," B'Elanna said, smiling. "How are you?"

They sat, next to each other, luckily. Tom drank some coffee and studied his friends over the rim of the cup. Chakotay glanced at them both and, rightly, got a very strange impression.

"Fine, B'Elanna, just fine. How bout yourself?"

"Just fine. Heard some interesting rumors last night though. So, how did the dare go?"

Tom groaned to himself.

"The dare, well," Chakotay said, hesitating for a moment, "I think that Tom failed it."

Tom sputtered in his coffee. He looked at the man sitting next to him, who met his eyes. Chakotay gave him the subtlest of winks. Tom turned back to his friends.

"I disagree. I passed with flying colors. So to speak," he stated with conviction.

Chakotay ate some breakfast before replying. "No he didn't. He failed." He gave it his best command voice. He downed his juice quickly.

Tom pretended to be getting angry. He ate his breakfast, not meeting his friends' eyes. When he'd had enough food, he finished his juice. He threw his fork down. "Listen, Commander, I won. You said so yourself."

"Lieutenant, we've been through this a number of times. You did not win the dare. But, I'd be willing to give you another try. If you think you're up to it." Chakotay drank his tea.

"If I'm up to it? I don't think you could find anything that I'm not up to. Sir." Tom said with as much sarcasm as he could muster. He couldn't meet Chakotay's eyes, because he'd lose it for sure then.

"Great. Then how about tonight? Same program as last night. Let's see what happens this time." Chakotay got up. "Now, I have some work to do before bridge duty. See you all at the briefing," he said, glancing at Tom and giving him another subtle wink.

Tom met his eyes briefly, then stared at his plate, saying nothing.

Harry and B'Elanna bid him good-bye, both of them staring at his back as he left the room. Tom followed him surreptitiously, supressing the desire to run out and tackle him in the corridor. He'd stay for five minutes. He finally looked at this friends. They appeared confused.

"It looks as though Dalby might have been right, after all," B'Elanna said.

Screw the five minutes. Tom stood. "See you guys later," he said.

"Where are you going?" Harry asked.

Tom picked up his tray. I'm going to go kiss my lover... "To take a walk. Work off this anger before I have to sit on the bridge with him." Shove my tongue down his throat... He left quickly.

"Harry, what the fuck is going on? Chakotay's furious last night, then Tom spends the night in his quarters, he has a hickey the size of a fist, they look all cosy in line, then they snipe at each other?" B'Elanna was banging her knife on the table.

"Beats me, B'Elanna..... I think we have our work cut out for us," Harry responded.

"Got that right, Starfleet. I guess that means the big guy is mine?"

"Yeah, Maquis, I'll tackle Tom."

They shook hands on it.

End Part 3. TBC
Part 5 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.
Rating: NC-17

Summary: C/P, 5/?, Part 5 of challenge - A fifth person joins the mix.

Copyright August 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion - Part 5

Tom hit the doorpad to Chakotay's quarters. The door opened but as he was stepping over the threshold, seeing Chakotay's smiling face, he heard the captain calling to him. He saw Chakotay roll his eyes and put his hands on his hips. Tom turned.

"Yes, Captain?"

"Did you get everything straightened out with the commander last night? Oh, excuse me, I didn't realize his door was open," the captain said as she approached.

Tom heard Chakotay sigh in exasperation, and glancing over his shoulder, saw him coming to the corridor.

"Well, yes and no," Tom answered, trying to figure out how to play this. He wanted to scream Leave us alone!

"Good morning again, Captain," Chakotay said, now standing at his side. "Lieutenant Paris and I were just going to discuss a few matters. I believe our shift doesn't start for another twenty five minutes."

"Carry on, then, don't let me disturb your privacy, gentlemen," she replied, giving them an enigmatic smile. "See you at the briefing." She continued down the corridor after they said their courtesies.

Chakotay grabbed Tom gently, by the upper arm, pulling him back into his quarters. When the door shut, he pushed Tom against the wall and kissed him, the kiss turning immediately deep and intense.

Tom felt everything fall back into place as Chakotay took his mouth possessively, thoroughly, more than willing to give in to this man. Forever, if he could. He ran his hands over the body pressing into him, even through the uniform he found places he knew, the cut of his shoulder blades, the curve of his ass, the muscles in his back. They were both hard and getting harder by the minute. Chakotay broke the lip lock, panting, glassy eyed, gorgeous.

"Did you have something to tell me," he said, his voice thick with passion. He looked at Tom standing there, his face flushed, his lips slightly swollen, his eyes now dark blue. He looked wonderful. "Something to tell me, Tom?"

Tom had no idea what he was talking about, he was so far gone. And so rapidly. He pulled Chakotay's mouth back to his and kissed him just as possessively as he had been. The older man groaned softly and pushed his hips into Tom's. That did it. Tom reached between them and began to unzip Chakotay's pants but his hands were stopped.

Chakotay said, "Me first." He pulled Tom's hand and walked them quickly to the couches, then pushed Tom to sit. He did, his heart hammering loudly.

Chakotay dropped to his knees and moved Tom's apart, then unzipped Tom's pants and freed his very full erection. Chakotay thought it was beautiful, just like Tom. Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he knew they didn't have a lot of time so with a smile to his lover, he took it into his mouth with gusto.

Tom tried to keep his eyes open to watch but his head kept falling back on the couch. Chakotay's tongue was working him, his teeth grazing the underside of him over and over. His orgasm was spiraling up so fast he couldn't believe it, he was already close, on the verge, he raised his head and looked and the stars exploded behind his eyelids as he sent his load down Chakotay's throat, the aftershocks deep and intense. Tom's head fell back again. He felt himself being licked clean and put into his pants. Then felt the heavy weight of Chakotay sitting next to him. He opened his eyes. His lover's were almost black with desire. Tom grinned to himself.

"Now me," Tom said, somehow getting off the couch and onto his knees, between Chakotay's. He opened the uniform in front of him and pulled out Chakotay's erection, the head already weeping. Tom knew this wouldn't take long, this time letting his grin show. He loved the taste of this man, the smell of him. He fell onto the shaft with delight, taking it in as far as he could.

Chakotay also tried to watch and was more successful than his lover had been. As Tom worked him expertly with his tongue, his climax approached with remarkable speed. He knew he wouldn't last long, and didn't want to, so when Tom began to suck, moving his head up and down, Chakotay let himself reach the precipice without fighting it. The suction increased another notch and he moved against Tom, unable to control it. He was there... and he went over with a loud groan, shooting his seed down Tom's throat, again and again as the waves of release washed over him. Then, as he had done, Tom cleaned him up and put him away.

Tom joined him on the couch, and they somehow found a way to hold each other tightly, letting the afterglow bathe them both, if only for a short time.

"Chak..." Tom said quietly.

"Mm-m, what?"

"I think B'Elanna and Harry suspect something."

"I was wondering, they were looking at me strangely," Chakotay said with a sigh.

"They were at my door when I got home this morning. Dalby saw you leave my quarters last night, ready to kill..."

Chakotay interrupted him. "I was not ready to kill anyone."

"No, not anyone. Me. Not that I blame you," Tom said.

"Tom, I was not ready to kill you. I was mad at you, but more angry with myself."

Tom raised his head and peered at him closely. "You didn't do anything."

"Let's forget it, it's over and done with, okay?" Chakotay reached up and caressed Tom's neck. Tom nodded. "Now, what are we going to do about our friends?"

Tom's stomach flip-flopped. "Well, that depends, do you want them to know?"

"Not just yet, I want to keep it to ourselves. For a little while at least. No well-meaning comments from people, nobody waiting to see..."

"Waiting to see?"

Chakotay grunted softly. "I don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to relationships."

Tom chuckled. "And I do?" He immediately regretted his words. The last thing he needed to do was remind this man that he was a screw-up when it came to romance.

"What about you, Tom? Do you want to tell them?"

"No, I don't. I'd like some time and space, some privacy, too." Besides, he was pretty sure what the reaction would be - all of it negative. He didn't want to hear it.

"The time is 0750, the time..."

"Computer, end alarm," Chakotay said. He met Tom's smiling eyes. "What? I just wanted to make sure we weren't late." He smiled as well, however.

Tom leaned over and kissed him, a slow, languid, sweet kiss that he returned in kind.

"Thank you, Chakotay," Tom said.

"Thank you, Tom," he replied. He untangled himself from the pilot and stood, holding out his hand. Tom took it and rose as well. As they approached the door, Chakotay turned to him, reached out and smoothed his hair. "You look a bit, well..."

Tom's heart swelled at the tenderness of the gesture. "Like I've been making out?"

Chakotay laughed. "Yes, a bit."

Tom pulled away and dashed into the bathroom. He came out a minute later. "Now?" he asked with a grin.

"Like a very efficient Starfleet officer. Good enough to..."

Tom stopped him. "Don't say it, or I'll be calling in sick to the captain and so will you. Commander."

"Very well, Lieutenant. Let's go to work. Game plan in place. We hate each other."

The door swooshed open. Walking down the corridor, Tom leaned over and whispered, "I'll show you tonight how much I really hate you, Chak." He was rewarded, hearing a sharp intake of breath from the other man.

"And you keep talking like that and I'll take you in the 'lift," Chakotay whispered back.

Tom stared at him in mock horror. They grinned and stepped in said 'lift, calling for the bridge.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Good morning, gentlemen," the captain said as they entered the briefing room.

"Good morning," Chakotay answered, taking his usual seat to her left.

Tom merely nodded at her and sat on the opposite side and opposite end of the table. He greeted Harry, B'Elanna, Seven and Neelix who had been chatting amongst themselves.

"Tom?" Captain Janeway called to him.

"Yes, Captain?"

"Did you and the commander finally get everything straightened out?"

Chakotay groaned internally. Tom answered. "As much as it will be. Thank you for asking."

She turned to her First Officer. "Do the two of you require some mediation?"

He blanched. "No, that's not necessary. Everything is fine." Drop it, would you?

"Well, my curiosity is getting the better of me," she said with a crooked smile. "How did the dare go last night?"

B'Elanna snorted. All eyes turned to her. "Apparently, Tom lost it. He isn't the horseman he told us he was," she said with a smile.

Tom was getting honestly angry. "I am too," he said without thinking.

"If you had been, you wouldn't have lost the dare, Lieutenant," Chakotay said sarcastically.

The Captain held up her hand, a slight look of confusion on her face. "Thank you. Tom, I'm sorry you lost it. I guess that's one up on Chakotay's side of the ledger then. Shall we get to work?"

"Just a moment, Captain," Tom said with force.


"It's not one up on the commander's side. At least not until after tonight."

"Oh? And what happens tonight?"

Tom realized with a start that he had been really feeling defensive, his ego bruised by the charade. Shit. "I get another chance at the horse," he said, trying desperately to sound cocky and not meet Chakotay's eyes.

"I see," she answered. "Well, perhaps this time we can all watch and see how you do."

Only Chakotay saw the gleam in her eye. It confused him.

"No, no, that's okay, Captain, really. I'd... I'd prefer not to have any more of an audience than I already have," Tom said. "The commander is enough, quite frankly." He put as much veiled hostility as he could into the statement.

Chakotay jumped at the chance. "It wasn't my presence that made the horse bolt."

"It was, too, you were... distracting it!"

"He can just tell when someone doesn't like him, that's all," Chakotay said, proud of himself for thinking off the cuff.

"He did too like me," Tom said rolling his eyes. He was proud, also, this was going well.

Chakotay laughed evilly. "You..."

The captain interrupted them, raising her voice along with her hand this time. "Gentlemen! Please. Enough. Good luck tonight, Tom, I look forward to hearing all about it tomorrow. Now, can we get back to work...."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The meeting over, Kathryn sat in her ready room thinking over what happened. She felt badly. After last night, she'd gotten to contemplating the combination of Tom and Chakotay, realizing it was a good one, for both parties. They could bring out the best in each other, their strengths, considerable strengths, could play off the weaker aspects of their personalities. All in all, a good match, and one she was looking forward to observing. Though it also saddened her, that more people were finding happiness where she could not, she loved Chakotay and she loved Tom.

So she wondered what had happened. They clearly were enthralled with each other when she'd played unintentional voyeur and what she'd heard through the walls had given her... well, she couldn't bring herself to name it, much less remember it, as the blush spread up her cheeks.

She decided she'd have to do something. After all, these were members of her family, and she wanted them to be happy. The journey was too long to throw away chances at joy. She pondered her options as the ship continued moving through space under the very capable hands of Tom Paris, pilot extraordinaire.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Said pilot was busy sending messages to his lover, of course while doing his usual excellent job. With the captain off the bridge, he knew no one would see what he and Chakotay were saying to each other. Which was a good thing, considering.

"No, the program will be run tonight, I have plans, trust me. C"

"Good plans? T"

"T - only the best, the horse misses you. C"

"I miss him too, our time together was too short. T"

"Sorry about that. C"

"Don't be C, you were much better than the horse could ever hope to be. T"

"No comparison? C"

"Compare riding a horse to you and me? Are you crazy? T"

"Well, you haven't ridden him yet. C"

"Haven't ridden you either but I'd bet my last ration it would be beyond great. T"

"Giving me a swelled head, Tom. C"

"Giving me a swelled something else, Chak. T."

And it was true, Tom said to himself ruefully, as he squirmed to get comfortable in his seat. It was not working very well. He heard a soft chuckle behind him. His console beeped again.

"You're squirming. C"

"Shush, or I'll make you squirm, too. T"

"You couldn't, I have too much self-control. C"

"Is this another dare? T"

"Let me think on that one. C"

"Too late, time's up. I dare you to retain your self-control. T"

"You are wicked, Lieutenant. C"

"I love to suck you off, Chak to feel you fill up my mouth, to lick and taste you,"

He hit the send command the moment he heard the ready room doors open, and it was all he could do not to turn around and see the look on Chakotay's face. He controlled his impulse and settled in for a boring remainder of his morning.

But a boring morning was not exactly what Kathryn Janeway had in mind for her First Officer and Chief Pilot. She'd decided that perhaps all they needed was some time together in an enclosed space, away from everyone. Ideally, with a small threat of danger in the mix, so that they'd have to rely on each other to survive. That was the part she didn't think she could manage on her own, so she'd settle for the first part. For now.

"Commander, there seems to be some trouble in jefferies tube number fourteen on deck ten. You take Tom down there and see if you can find the blockage in the access conduit."

Tom turned around at that.

"Excuse me, Captain," Chakotay said, "you want me to go and check this out? What's wrong with the engineering staff?" Tom felt as confused as Chakotay looked.

"B'Elanna has them in a very important meeting at the moment. I only trust you to do it," Kathryn said seriously. She didn't care if it sounded suspicious, or even ridiculous, she was the captain, after all, and people would do her bidding, or else. "So, you and Tom, tube fourteen, deck ten. It needs help now. Find a replacement for the helm."

Chakotay glanced at Tom, who shrugged his shoulders incrementally. He turned back to his commanding officer. "Very well, we'll be in the tube," he said. After calling Ensign Chansel to relieve Tom, the two men got into the turbolift once more, to fulfill their captain's very strange request.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Harry watched this exchange, mystified. He knew B'Elanna did not have a staff meeting. He also knew there was nothing wrong with the conduit, because he'd checked it as soon as the captain said anything. So for some reason, she wanted to put Chakotay and Tom into a jefferies tube, and if their angry mood was any indication, sparks would be flying that would have nothing to do with a fake faulty conduit. And if this little project of hers extended into the lunch hour, neither he nor B'Elanna would have the chance to talk to their friends. But the more he thought about the captain's order, the clearer he got about it. She was smart, no doubt about it. Maybe he and B'Elanna should ask the captain to lunch instead.

End part 5 TBC
Part 6 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount still owns them all.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: C/P, 6/? - Part 6 of CPSG challenge: The boyz make some headway; the others make some plans

Copyright September 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion - Part 6

"So, how did you like my final message, hm-m?" Tom said, with a grin, his eyes facing directly front, looking at the doors of the turbolift that had just shut.

Chakotay coughed. "I survived it," he answered, one dimple just beginning to show.

Tom put his hands behind his back. "Too bad. Did you get them deleted in time?"


"Whew," Tom said.

Chakotay looked at him and saw the wide grin gracing his face. He put his hand into Tom's, resting on the small of the pilot's back. He squeezed lovingly, then moved his hand further down, barely touching Tom's ass, watching his face. Tom had closed his eyes, his breathing was getting shallow, beads of perspiration were forming on his upper lip, as Chakotay continued the very light, almost caress.

"Deck ten."

Chakotay grabbed a handful of Tom and squeezed hard, eliciting a yelp from the younger man. The doors to the 'lift opened and Chakotay exited, laughing. "Lose your self-control, Tom?"

Tom caught up with him a few paces down the corridor. "Okay, we're even on that one. For now..."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At the hatch to jefferies tube 14, Tom stood back to let Chakotay enter first. The superior officer looked suspiciously at him. Tom held up his hands in innocence.

"No, sir, I'm not planning anything," Tom said. And in truth, he wasn't, he had other reasons for not being the first one in that had nothing to do with sexual innuendoes. Reasons he hoped he wouldn't have to share that morning.

Chakotay took another long look at him, but decided he believed the man, and crawled into the tube.

Tom took a deep breath and followed. Crawling after the man he'd spent the night being fucked by, fucking, or dreaming about, he had to admit the view was wonderful. "You know, Chak, you have one fine ass," he said sincerely. He heard a soft chuckle ahead of him, but no response. "No, really, it's one of the nicest ones I've ever seen," he continued. This time Chakotay laughed and stopped moving.

He turned around and sat back on his heels. "Tom, I'm going to admit something to you in the trust that you won't use it against me, okay?"

Tom sat as well, worrying that this would be serious. "Okay."

"I did not retain my self-control very well on the bridge, and I came this close to stopping the lift completely, and at the moment, down here on a deck where there's not much activity, in an enclosed space with you, I would really really like to forget we are on duty and roll around the tube together for awhile," he said. Seeing Tom's eyes begin to change color, he held up his hand. "But, we are on duty and I need to try and remember that I am your superior officer," he said with a grin. "So. Nice asses aside, let's figure out a way we can forget what we need to, for the time being. Deal?"

Tom grinned. "It's a deal if you seal it with a kiss. Just one. Fulfill one of my fantasies."

"One of your fantasies?"

"Yeah, of kissing you while we're on duty. I wouldn't have chosen here, but it'll do. It seems...appropriate."

"Just one, Tom."

Tom inched forward until their kneecaps touched. Chakotay rested his hands on his thighs and leaned, meeting Tom's mouth which was already more than halfway there. The younger man put everything he could into that one kiss and if Chakotay had been able to think clearly, he would have admitted it was a powerful one. No one kissed him like Tom did, no one ever had, no one ever could. The taste of him, the scent of him... Just before he lost himself entirely in it, he broke off the contact and tried to breathe. He couldn't look at Tom because he knew what he'd see. A man so completely beautiful and wanting, he'd be unable to control himself.

"Okay," Tom's voice cut into his reverie, "it's a deal. So what should we talk about?"

Chakotay risked a look. Yes, Tom looked beautiful and yes, he looked wanting, but Chakotay could see that he was controlling himself, resting back on his heels once more, taking deep breaths. The First Officer smiled deeply at him. "Well, I'm going to try and locate this mysterious faulty conduit," he said, taking out his tricorder. "Why don't we plan our next fight? Where should we stage it?"

Tom rubbed his hands together in delight. "Great idea, Chak. Okay, where... well, it has to be the mess hall, since we're busy tonight. So over lunch. But what topic...."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kathryn got off on deck ten, hoping she wouldn't run into anyone. She'd taken care of the combadge problem, by overriding the computer's commands to not accept any signals from either Chakotay's or Tom's badges. She'd also put a secure lock on one hatch of the jefferies tube that even Chakotay couldn't override. It paid to be the captain sometimes. Now all she had to do was take care of the other hatch.

She rounded the last curve of the corridor and approached the entrance to tube fourteen. Overhearing very familiar raised voices, her heart sank. She stood outside the entrance, glancing up and down the corridor, seeing no one. She listened.

"I saw how she was looking at you," Chakotay thundered.

"Oh yeah? Well at least she looks," Tom countered sarcastically.

Oh dear, as delicious as this was, a true lover's quarrel, it didn't seem to be anything that mediation would help.

"That's only because you... you... you walked right in front of her!"

A laugh was heard. "Well I had to get to the counter, how else could I have my breakfast?"

"It's not funny, Tom." Chakotay's voice got dangerously low and Kathryn had to strain to hear it. "Think ... means ..." She couldn't hear the rest. It didn't matter, she'd heard enough. She closed the hatch quickly and put in her secure locking code. "There," she said with satisfaction. Nothing would get them out now but an order from her, and she planned on leaving them there at least an hour. That should be enough time for them to come to some resolution.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I think this means there's nothing wrong with any conduit here, so why the hell..."

The sound of the jefferies tube hatch shutting harshly interrupted Chakotay. Tom, who had been laughing quietly, whipped his head around to the opening.

In increasing panic, Tom crawled as quickly as he could to the hatch. He keyed in an opening code. Nothing happened. The lights were blinking indicating the hatch was locked. Shit, shit, shit. "Chakotay, it's locked," he yelled. "Give me a command code!"

Confused, he called out, "Chakotay beta two two nine."

With shaking fingers, Tom entered the code. The lights stayed blinking. In frustration he tried to open the hatch anyway. A hand touching his back startled him and he almost hit his head on the ceiling.

"What the hell?" Chakotay asked the air, ignoring for the moment the reaction his lover had given to his arrival. Reaching over the younger man's shoulder, he punched in a few more codes but nothing happened. He tapped his combadge and called for engineering. No response. He tried the bridge and the same thing happened. He suddenly realized that Tom was shaking and beginning to rock back and forth. Sweat was breaking out on his forehead, dripping down to his cheekbones. "Tom.... Tom, what's happening?" He made his voice as soothing as possible.

Shit, shit, shit, fuck... Let me out of here....

"Tom, talk to me, tell me what's happening, then I can help you," Chakotay said again.

Tom wanted to do anything but tell this man what was happening to him. He was kicking himself, he should have found some way to get out of this little job, claimed he needed to go to sickbay or something, anything. Fuck! I need to get out of here!

Chakotay saw that Tom was beginning to hyperventilate. He was getting the picture, loudly and clearly. Claustrophobia. He pulled on Tom's shoulders and the younger man turned panic-stricken eyes to his. "Come on, Tom, back up, come with me, let's get to the middle of the tube," he said, continuing to pull him gently backwards by the arm, grateful that it was working. "That's right, just come with me, love..." When they were, hopefully, far enough away from the hatch, Chakotay sat propped against the wall and guided Tom to sit between his legs, resting back against his chest. Tom was still breathing too shallowly, but his shaking had abated somewhat. Chakotay instructed him to breathe deeply, following the rhythm of his own chest moving up and down slowly, and gradually Tom's breathing evened out, his hands, holding Chakotay's, became less clammy, and his head dropped back to rest on the older man's shoulder.

"Couldn't breathe," Tom whispered.

Chakotay disengaged their hands and wrapped Tom in a gentle embrace. "I know, just keep your eyes closed, listen to my voice, okay? I want you to try and picture that we're sitting on the beach somewhere, looking out over the ocean. Where are we?"

Tom sighed. "Ocean Beach. Near the Academy."

Chakotay spoke slowly, in a low voice. "I like that one, too. We're leaning up against the wall, it's the middle of the afternoon, and the sun is warm. There's just a breeze today, the waves are calm, there's only a few other people here, it's the middle of the week. Someone's just thrown a ball down the wet sand, and a dog is running after it, chasing the ball before it goes into the water. We're watching the dog, and the people, and I'm holding you, we're looking at the ocean, and the birds... How are you feeling?"

"Better. I'm sorry, Chak." This was something he'd hoped Chakotay wouldn't find out about for awhile yet.

"Sh-h, don't worry. Auckland?"

Tom nodded his head. "I try to stay out of the tubes, unless at least one hatch is open." He'd also been doing his level best to remain distracted.

Chakotay was beginning to understand what was happening here. The captain. He promised himself he would not get angry, but intended to have a long talk with her whenever they got out of there.


He bent his head and kissed the blond hair near his chin. "What?"

"Talk to me, tell me about DorvanV, your village, your family..."

And so he did.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"But, Captain, do you really think that would work?" Harry looked at his commanding officer with what he hoped was nothing but respect. He glanced at B'Elanna, pleased to see his skepticism reflected on her face, too.

"I do. They need a crisis to overcome. Together."

The three of them were sitting on the upper level of the captain's ready room. Captain Janeway had called each in for a conference after B'Elanna asked her to join them for lunch to discuss the Chief Pilot and First Officer's fighting. Neither Harry nor B'Elanna knew if the captain understood the possible extent of the men's relationship and both were loathe to tell her. They couldn't imagine she'd be anything but very unhappy. After all, this was Chakotay. Her Chakotay. And Tom, her personal reclamation project. They'd have to be very careful what they said, and they both knew it by merely meeting each other's eyes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"He sounds like an interesting person," Tom said. "I think I would've liked him."

Chakotay laughed softly. "Yes, he was and you would've. His sense of humor was very much like yours." They had been talking about a cousin of his, the one who was closest to him in age, though opposite him in temperament. The young man had had grandiose dreams for the future of Dorvan, one that would never come to pass. As far as Chakotay knew, he'd been killed along with everyone else from his village.

"Did he like to gamble?"

"Not like you. But he was a risk taker."

"So it runs in the family," Tom said. "Did his parents like that in him? In you?"

"My aunt and uncle did, since he stayed on Dorvan. Mine weren't so pleased."

"Yeah, I know what you mean."

Chakotay took the opening presented and encouraged Tom to talk about his parents, his father, whom Chakotay knew some things about, and his upbringing. He relaxed against the wall as Tom began to open up.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"All right, so we're in agreement. Harry, you'll arrange for the instrument panel to show that the oxygen levels in the Flyer are getting low and make sure the computer doesn't argue with that. B'Elanna cause the warp drive to go off-line thirty minutes after they leave. And all communications will be cut off between the Flyer and Voyager for at least thirty minutes, no let's make that forty-five." Kathryn looked at her two coconspirators and felt rather pleased. This was a good plan. Those two men needed to realize they couldn't live without each other.

"Captain," B'Elanna said, "what if something happens to them?" She had a bad feeling about this whole thing.

"We've performed long range scans, haven't we? This part of space seems to be completely uninhabited. Nothing's going to happen. Except that the commander and the lieutenant might have a change of perspective."

B'Elanna merely nodded in response. Harry met her eyes again and another unspoken communication was sent. He thought that perhaps just talking to the two of them would be far more productive than this.

Kathryn watched them. She had no intention of telling either of them what she knew of Chakotay and Tom's new relationship. She would guard their privacy diligently. It was the least she could do for spying on their private moments.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay was relieved to feel Tom completely relaxed against his chest. He risked tightening his hold. Tom sighed in response, running his hands over Chakotay's forearms.

"Do you know why we're in here, Tom?"

"I have my suspicions. The captain."

Chakotay grunted. "I agree. The captain. Apparently she has high hopes that this little stunt will force us to get along better. Don't worry, she and I are going to have a little talk when we get out of here."

Tom tensed. "No, Chak, no. Don't, please. She doesn't know..." He faltered.

"Doesn't know about your claustrophobia? But how..."

Tom interrupted him quickly, "I, I haven't told anyone. Not even the Doc. The authorities at Auckland weren't particularly concerned so they didn't put it in my permanent record. No one knows. Except you," Tom finished quietly. He waited for the boom to be lowered. For the disapproval that such a thing had been kept from the command staff of the ship he was now serving on. Instead he felt kisses on the side of his head, moving toward his cheek.

"Oh, Tom," Chakotay said softly in his lover's ear. "Why didn't you tell us? We wouldn't have thought any less of you... the captain could have kept you from being in any situation that would have caused you problems...."

"I didn't need any help. I still don't," Tom said defiantly.

"No, I know that, you can take care of yourself," Chakotay said, though he didn't really believe it to be completely true.

Tom relaxed again. Regardless of his words, he knew full well that this man holding him had saved him from a serious episode. "Chakotay?"


"Thank you." He was surprised that had been so easy to say.

"You're welcome." Chakotay sighed in contentment this time, tightening his hold again, happy for the first time since the hatch was locked behind them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"One more thing," Kathryn said. "I need you two to back me up. When the commander comes asking, as we all know he will, tell him there was a computer problem that caused the jefferies tube to stay locked and their combadges not to work."

They both looked at her in surprise.

"I can make it an order if that would make you feel better." She smiled.

"No, that won't be necessary, Captain," Harry said.

B'Elanna nodded her agreement. She was afraid to meet her friend's eye this time.

"Good. Now, I'm going to go an unlock that hatch. Let's see how they are when they come out, shall we?" Kathryn stood and motioned the senior staff members out of the ready room, back to their duties. All in all, that had gone well, and she was pleased.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"You do know when we get out of here, she's going to be watching us like a hawk," Chakotay murmured in Tom's ear.

"Yeah. So I guess we'll give her a good show, I plan on being quite angry, having to be cooped up in here with you," Tom said with a smile. "Aside from my, um, trouble, it's been kinda nice, cozy even ... you make a nice pillow." He chuckled softly.

"I'm quite willing to be one for you, too. Anytime."

"How about on the holographic beach?"

"Soon, when we're sure we feel comfortable, Tom, absolutely."

Tom picked up Chakotay's hand from his arm and laced his fingers through it, studying it, in awe of how comfortable he did feel. "If we argue in front of the captain, she's sure to try and lock us up together somewhere else..."

"She wouldn't dare."

"She would, too. Maybe we could use this, you know, just keep fighting in front of her and we'd never have to do another duty shift, she'd just keep finding ways of locking us up somewhere or another. We could have a lot of fun." Tom sat up and turned around in Chakotay's arms. With relief he saw the man's smiling deeply at him. He slipped an arm around Chakotay's neck and pulled them together, giving him a slow, thorough kiss. When they broke the contact, Tom saw his eyes dart toward the hatch.

"Gods, the lights are off... it's unlocked," Chakotay said quickly.

Tom spun around on his hip and crawled rapidly to the hatch, put in an opening code and almost cried in relief when the draft of air entered the tube.

Chakotay looked at him with all the love he felt as Tom turned to meet his eyes. He followed him out of the tube. They both stretched upon standing, gave each other a high five and headed for the bridge.

End Part 6, TBC
Part 7 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them.
Rating: PG-13

Summary: C/P. Part Seven: The boyz have an unwelcome adventure.
Copyright September 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion

As they stepped off the turbolift and onto the bridge, a number of heads turned in their direction. Tom glanced at Chakotay, and with mutual understanding, they separated quickly and walked to their seats. Tom relieved the pilot, sitting heavily with a snort of exasperation. The First Officer also sat with a heavy sigh and slumped in his command chair.

"Commander, is everything all right? I'm afraid I owe you an apology," Captain Janeway said, loudly enough for Tom to hear as well.

"Oh? And why's that? By the way, there was absolutely nothing wrong with any conduit in that tube," Chakotay said.

"Well, it seems as though there was a slight malfunction of the computer. I got a faulty report."

Chakotay looked at her and then turned around to address Harry. "How did that happen, Ensign Kim?" Tom spun in his chair quickly to see what his friend would answer.

Harry looked contrite. "Well, I haven't tracked the bug down yet, Commander, but it appears to have only affected that portion of deck ten. Which explains why your combadges didn't work. I tried hailing you but nothing happened."

"And caused the jefferies tube to lock without responding to my command codes," Chakotay said seriously.

"Yes, that seems to be the case, sir. I'm still investigating," Harry said.

Tom stole a look at the captain, but she wouldn't meet his eyes. Harry did, however, without flinching.

"Let me know when you find out what happened, Harry," Chakotay responded. He then turned to his console and began to pull up reports of one sort or another, slumping once more in his chair, radiating an air of depression.

Tom went back to fiddling at the helm, checking course headings, making sure the relief pilot hadn't changed things so drastically that he couldn't follow them. He waited to see what would happen next.

Nothing did until after lunch.


Chakotay and Tom had decided in the 'lift ride to the bridge that they wouldn't stage a scene in the mess hall. After the disastrous laughing fit in the jefferies tube during 'rehearsal', they didn't think they could pull it off. They would just pretend indifference, anger, depression, and despair as best they could. Then meet back in the commander's quarters for ten minutes of necking before returning to duty.

Little did they know that as their mouths were moving together, giving and taking an incredible sweetness of taste and sensation, the captain was making final arrangements for their afternoon.


" I'd like the two of you to take the Delta Flyer and investigate. It's the perfect opportunity, given this part of space is so devoid of alien races. It should only take a few hours at the most," the captain finished. Her hands on her hips, looking at both her First Officer and Chief Pilot, she didn't miss the glances they shot each other. She was pleased to see that her order was making them both uncomfortable. Good, she thought, as it should be. You'll work this out if I have to lock you in your quarters for a week, damn it.

They both stood and gave their assent, and once Tom's replacement arrived, they left the bridge together, walking slowly back into the turbolift.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom sputtered out a laugh as soon as the 'lift doors swooshed shut. "I told you, Chak, she did it again!"

"What kind of lame excuse was that, anyway?" Chakotay muttered under his breath, shaking his head. "You know," he said, meeting Tom's eyes, "I would have thought she could have come up with something better. Checking out some debris field that only the Flyer can navigate through? Spirits..."

They grinned widely, then began to laugh in earnest. Chakotay tried to calm down, calling for the 'lift to halt.

"Listen, Tom, I've had it. I can't take any more of this. I say, she wants to put us in a shuttle, then let's at least enjoy ourselves. So why don't you stop at your quarters, pick up some lube, grab a nice blanket or two and meet me at the Flyer. Whaddya say?"

"Commander! I'm shocked..." Tom answered, putting his arms around Chakotay's shoulders and nibbling on his earlobe.

"Me, too, Lieutenant, me too," the older man said, kissing him deeply before resuming the 'lift.


Kathryn sent a message to Harry's station. "Confirm - comm link off-line five minutes post launch. Life support systems to show malfunction fifteen minutes post launch. Thirty minutes post launch warp drive goes off-line in Flyer."

"Confirmed, Captain."

She smiled with satisfaction.


"Delta Flyer out," Tom said. He flipped the toggle turning off the comm link, and checked the readout for the debris field once more. "I wonder where they got this - it looks pretty real."

"Got what," Chakotay called from the upper level of the cockpit. He was busy spreading the blankets out on the floor, fitting them between the stations, calculating how much room they'd need, and whether they should move to the lower deck. He decided here was just fine.

"Wish I had the Doc's holoimager," Tom said with a chuckle. "Never thought I'd live to see the day when my commanding officer was arranging for a romantic interlude on my shuttle, much less with me."

Chakotay turned, smiled, and came down to the helm. He braced himself with his hands on either side of Tom and leaned in, kissing him lightly on the mouth, then the cheek, then the ear and down to what neck he could get to above the regulation turtleneck. "At the moment," he said between kisses, "I am not your commanding officer, I am your lover." He licked Tom's neck. "And I confess to being quite turned on by that thought, and by the chance to make love with you here..." He moved back to Tom's mouth and took it intensely.

Tom gave a little moan and stood, wrapping himself around Chakotay, never breaking the lip lock. They began to move against each other, not holding back this time.

"Warning. Alien vessel off starboard side." Just as they pulled away and met each other's eyes, the small ship was rocked, hard.

"What the hell...," they said simultaneously, as Tom sat down in the pilot's seat and Chakotay dashed back to the tactical station.

"Delta Flyer to Voyager," Tom said, flipping the toggle back to 'on'. There was no response. "Shit, that figures..." He began evasive maneuvers.

"Direct hit, shields down to eighty-five percent. Vessel approaching at impulse. Another one is approaching Voyager. Readying phaser bank..." Chakotay called out.

"Evasive maneuver alpha twelve..." Tom answered. He heard a strangled noise behind him and turned around rapidly. His heart stopped. An alien reminiscent of a large lizard had Chakotay in a choke hold, his lover's brown eyes were rolling up to his forehead and he wasn't fighting back. "NO!" screamed Tom. He jumped up, spinning, hit the autopilot lever and looked frantically for a phaser, aware on some level there wasn't one available.

He leapt up to the tactical station, screaming, "Leave him ALONE!" and attacked the alien, kicking him where he thought kneecaps should be, hitting and punching him in the head with unleashed, adrenaline fueled power. The lizard-faced being pulled an instrument away from Chakotay's arm and let him go in an effort to deflect the blows Tom was landing. Chakotay slumped to the floor in a heap, unmoving. Tom was out of control and continued to pummel the alien who, surprisingly, did nothing but try to keep Tom away from him. Finally hitting something on his arm, he shimmered out of existence, leaving Tom shaking.


Voyager took another hit, rocking the ship and sending Janeway to the deck. "Tuvok - prepare torpedoes!" She dragged herself back to her chair. "Harry, try hailing again!"

After a moment, Harry called out, "They're not responding!"

"Well, where did they come from?!"

"Captain, there was a cloaking device in place that has left a signature our computer does not recognize," Tuvok intoned.

The ship was hit again.

"Damage on decks eleven and thirteen," Harry said loudly.

"Shields at seventy percent."

Another hit, followed by another rocked the ship, now surrounded by three alien vessels.

"Warning. Intruder alert. Deck eleven..."


Tom dropped to his knees and quickly felt for Chakotay's pulse. There was one. He dashed down to the helm, his Starfleet training kicking in, past the panic and the confusion. He knew he had no chance fighting off aliens by himself and without communications he had no choice. He put in Voyager's last known course heading for the AQ and went to warp four. Per regulations, he stopped the Flyer after one minute, the longest minute he'd ever had to endure.

He ran downstairs, grabbed the medkit from the storage unit and half-ran, half-crawled back to Chakotay, opening the kit along the way, taking out the tricorder with unsteady hands. Calm down, Tom. Chakotay was alive, but the readings made Tom's blood run cold. He'd been injected in the forearm with an unidentifiable poison, which was spreading slowly up the man's right arm. Tom's mind raced. Most of the poison was still at the point of injection. He took the laser scalpel out and cut off Chakotay's sleeves, using one as a tourniquet, tying it around his biceps as tightly as he could, using the other one similarly at his elbow. He found the hole which was already closing up and reopened it, making a large incision, allowing it to bleed, hopefully letting the poison leech out.

Chakotay began to moan softly and move. Tom knew this wasn't good, he had to keep the man's heart from pumping more rapidly, to keep the circulation slowed.

"Sorry, Chak," he said softly, taking out a hypospray, filling it with an anesthetic and administering it with a hiss. Chakotay stopped moving within seconds and seemed to be handling the drug well, his respiration slowing along with his heart rate. Tom checked the incision and opened it again, allowing more blood to seep, seeing from the tricorder that the poison level had decreased somewhat. The only other thing he could do was repair the bruises on his neck and make sure his larynx and esophagus were unharmed. Some deeper bruises were detected and he ran the regenerator to fix them, too.

"Please, God, don't let him die on me," Tom whispered.

"Warning. Life support failure detected. Oxygen levels at eighty percent. Warning..."

"Computer, identify specific system failure." Tom's heart began to pound.

"Unable to comply."

"Damn it!" He jumped up and checked the nearest console. The damned computer was right, there was nothing identifiable to work on. He wondered if this was one of the captain's little tricks, thinking it would be just like her. But could he take the chance? He had to get Chakotay back to Voyager either way, aliens or no aliens, he was not going to let the man he loved die, not for lack of trying anyhow.

After making one last check of his lover's respiration, heart rate, and poison level, he opened the wound again, leaned over him on his elbows and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Chakotay, don't give up, I'm gonna get you home just as fast as I can." He kissed the unresponsive lips and left for the helm, before his emotions could completely overwhelm him.

Disengaging the full stop, pulling the lever, he felt a sharp stab of pain in his wrist. "Shit." He hadn't even noticed it before and had no time to deal with it now. Gingerly moving his hand, he realized he had no motion in one direction and judging by the pain level, he surmised it might be slightly broken. He dashed back to the medkit and injected himself with a painkiller then returned to his post.

"Warning. Oxygen levels at seventy-five percent."

"Fuck you!" He wasn't entirely sure who he was yelling at, but the temporary release felt good. He sent up another prayer, entered the last coordinates for Voyager, turned the Flyer around and sent the shuttle into warp four.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Voyager was still surrounded by three alien vessels when the Flyer came out of warp. Tom quickly maneuvered the small ship, dipping and turning it in an attempt to get closer to home without becoming a target. The concussive force of a detonation nearby sent a small shock wave through the shuttle and he prayed it hadn't hurt Chakotay's condition.

"Delta Flyer to Voyager," he called after opening up communications. Silence. "Damn it!"

He took them up to the shuttle bay doors and tried to open them himself, but there was no response. After watching another weapon blast Voyager's shields he knew what to do. Leaving the Flyer hovering he went to tactical and aimed the phaser bank at the shuttle bay. He fired.


"Captain, phaser fire has been detected on the aft portion of the shields, directly at the shuttle bay. Starfleet phaser fire." Tuvok said loudly.

"It's Tom and Chakotay!" Janeway replied. "Drop shields, get them in..."


The shuttle bay doors opening was about the prettiest sight Tom had seen in a long time. He zipped the Flyer in and landed her softly. Hitting his chest quickly, dashing back to check on Chakotay, he called the transporter room for an emergency medical beam-out.

"Lieutenant, transporters are temporarily off-line," the crew member answered.

"Damn it!" Tom replied, only just then realizing that he had a communications link. He called the Doctor and told him of Chakotay's condition to prepare him. The Doctor reassured him that the commander would be taken care of, if he could get him to sick bay.

Thanks, Doc, I hadn't thought of that, Tom muttered to himself.

"Paris to the bridge," he called, feeling frantic again. He knew he couldn't carry the man...

Please fucking answer.

"Welcome home, Tom," Captain Janeways' pleasant and slightly stressed voice answered him.

He had no time. "I need some help down here - Chakotay's badly injured and I can't carry him, transporters are down! I need four or five people and please tell me the lifts are working," he shouted. He ran the tricorder over his lover's body.

"Understood. Janeway out."

Tom's battle to keep the poison from spreading was beginning to fail. He gritted his teeth and pulled the upper tourniquet even tighter, ignoring the stabbing pain in his wrist. Jumping up he punched the helm to open the Flyer's doors and waited, running his hands through Chakotay's soft black hair, speaking quietly to him, praying intensely. He had never felt so helpless.


"Up here! Hurry!"

He didn't have to say anything else to his crew mates. Luckily, Chakotay had landed on their blankets, and whether anyone thought that odd, he had no idea and could've cared less. Four men picked up the blankets, blood and all, and carried their commander out of the shuttle bay and into the nearest lift.

Tom couldn't take his eyes off Chakotay's face. Please God, don't let him die on me, not now. With his good hand he continued caressing the black hair, ignoring the stares of the others.


"Mr. Paris, fix that wrist now," the Doctor practically bellowed at him.

In the lab, waiting for the analysis of the poison to be completed, Tom ignored the directive. The next thing he knew an osteogenic stimulator was shoved into his good hand and he was unceremoniously pulled away from the analyzer.

"Sit." The Doctor worked rapidly with the results of the analysis, talking to himself.

Tom returned to Chakotay's side and sat heavily, exhaustion beginning to overtake him, as he ran the stimulator over his broken wrist. He'd just finished when the Doctor returned, with a hypospray and two vials in his hands.

"Got it!"

Watching his lover get the antidote was more than he could handle. He got up slowly and retrieved an anti-edema medication and injected himself, then went back to the biobed, sat, and lay his head on Chakotay's good, left arm, tears threatening his composure.

"Mr. Paris. Tom. You did an excellent job, you saved his life," the Doctor said quietly, squeezing Tom's shoulder with affection.

He could only nod. I saved my life, too, Doc.


In between asleep and awake, Chakotay felt someone holding him around the waist. Tom? He tried to lift his right hand to check - it was like a dead weight, but he managed to make contact, feeling the strong arm through the fabric. His left arm was almost asleep. Pulling his left hand out from under, he now recognized the sensation of a head moving off his arm to lie on his chest. He reached for it, felt the short, silky hair and sighed. Tom. Without opening his eyes, he fell back under.


Tom woke slightly to feel Chakotay's hand running through his hair, then simply clasp his head gently. He's awake. He smiled to himself and listened to the strong, steady heart beat under his ear. He let the sound of it lull him back to sleep.


B'Elanna and Harry approached sick bay, guilt weighing them down like the heavy force it could be. They hadn't said much to each other. They didn't have to. Both knew their culpability, and how it had almost cost Chakotay his life. They figured that was why the captain had allowed them away from their duty stations. Even though the alien encounter was over, repairs were needed and they should be in the thick of them. Their forward motion stopped outside the doors.

"Come on, Harry, let's get this over with. We'll decide whether or not to make a true confession after we see him. And Tom." B'Elanna tugged Harry's sleeve.

"I would have spaced myself if he'd died," Harry said quietly.

"Sh-h, I know, believe me, I know," she said, still tugging. He allowed it and they walked in together.

The Doctor stopped their progress again, coming to stand in front of them just inside sick bay. "I'm afraid the commander has not awakened yet. You'll need to come back later to visit."

"Please, Doc, can't we just take a look at him?" B'Elanna implored with her eyes. She figured begging was better than brute force at this point.

"Maybe we could just talk to Tom?" Harry added.

The Doctor gazed at them, assessing correctly their anxiety levels. Increased pulse and respiration, dilated pupils, slightly agitated vocal tonality, all the signs were there. He sighed. "Very well, but I request that you keep silent."

They did not understand his comment until they followed him to a biobed with a privacy screen erected. He stepped back and they peered around it. There was Tom, sleeping with his head on Chakotay's chest, being half-embraced by the man on the bed, also sleeping.

They both felt such relief they turned to each other and hugged silently, then pulled back, almost embarrassed.

"Now, I trust that you two understand the privacy of sick bay?" the Doctor whispered.

Harry patted him on the arm. "It's okay, Doc, we knew something had changed between the two of them, we're really just so happy about it," he said quietly. "The commander is going to be fine, isn't he?"

"Yes, he is. But I'm afraid Mr. Paris might need some support from his friends. He saved the commander's life, but it could have gone the other way, quite easily. And, obviously, that would have been quite traumatic for him."

"We'll take care of them both, Doctor, I promise," B'Elanna said softly.

"Now, if you've seen enough, my patients need to recover." The Doctor brooked no arguments, and with one last glance at the sleeping pair, they followed him to the exit.

The door opened and in walked Captain Janeway. "Hello, Doctor, how is Commander Chakotay doing? Is he awake yet?"

Harry and B'Elanna looked at each other with trepidation. How to stop the unstoppable?

"No, I'm sorry, he's not. Neither is Lieutenant Paris. I can contact you when the commander is able to speak if you wish."

The captain looked around sick bay, her eyes landing on the privacy screen. Without another word, she headed in that direction. The three left behind shared a nervous glance, watching as she walked behind the screen. Which one of them was more surprised to see her return with a large smile on her face was difficult to judge.

B'Elanna realized her mouth must be hanging open and promptly shut it with a snap. Harry had no thought in his head whatsoever. And the Doctor merely peered at her, assessing the veracity of her reaction.

"B'Elanna, Harry, perhaps we should talk outside?" Janeway said significantly. They nodded and let her lead them to the corridor. Before they exited, she turned. "Doctor, please contact me when they wake up, either one of them. And good job. I will be certain to put a commendation in Mr. Paris' personnel file."

"Very good, Captain," he said.

The doors swooshed shut behind them. The corridor was empty.

"Well, you two, it looks as though our plan was a rousing success, don't you agree?" the captain said with a smile. "They've obviously worked out whatever snags their relationship had hit." She waited for a reaction but was only getting stared at. "Well? Don't you agree?"

Harry shook himself out of immobility. "But Captain, you mean you knew all this time?"

"Of course I knew. A captain keeps her eyes and ears open," she said, almost laughing out loud at the pictures that came to her.

"I don't see how we can claim any sort of victory here. It was the alien who almost killed Chakotay, we had nothing to do with that," B'Elanna said, praying that was true.

Captain Janeway put her arms around both of their shoulders and started to lead them down the corridor. "One thing you learn in this job - never look a gift horse in the mouth. Now. We're going to go and raise a little toast to them both, wishing them all the best. And when we see them again, awake, we'll do the same, so they know we support this one hundred percent. Okay?"

They could only nod numbly and enter the turbolift.


Chakotay woke up fully and looked around him, trying to figure out what was going on. Sick bay? He'd been dreaming he and Tom were on the shuttle, sleeping on the floor after having made love. His last memory was.... being attacked, seeing Tom at the helm.

"You're awake, Commander, that's excellent."

He turned his head and saw the Doctor looming over him. He was speaking so quietly, however. That's when he realized Tom was in his arms, sleeping on his chest.

"I'll try not to wake Mr. Paris," the Doctor said, giving Chakotay a warm smile.

He relaxed. "What happened to me?"

"Well, that's a long story...." The Doctor filled him in on everything he knew, everything Tom had yelled out to him as Chakotay was carried in on the makeshift stretcher. His heart ached to think of what Tom had gone through, then filled almost to bursting by the fact that his lover had saved his life, again. He closed his eyes against the torrent of emotion that was threatening to bubble up, and caressed the blond head on his chest. Spirits, what a fucked day they'd had...

"...but I do need to tell you, Commander, that you've had a few visitors while you've been sleeping."

Well, this could top it all off. "Who?"

"First it was just Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Kim, who insisted on seeing you for themselves. As they are your closest friends, I thought it would be fine, and, indeed, it was."

Chakotay smiled. "Yes, it would have been." Tom's not going to like that our plans just went out the window. Oh well, I guess we're public. Then he saw the look on the Doctor's face. "And?"

"The Captain. She, well, I couldn't stop her. She came to visit."

No, actually, that topped it off. He sighed. "It's okay, Doctor, she had to know sooner or later. How did she react?"

"She was surprisingly pleased. Almost content. Not at all what I expected."

Tom stirred, clutched Chakotay's waist more tightly, sighed, and slowly opened his eyes. They opened even wider to see the Doctor standing over them. He sat up quickly, but Chakotay stopped him from moving away altogether.

"It's okay, Tom, relax, everything is fine," Chakotay said softly.

"It's true, Lieutenant, all is well on Voyager, even with the two of you being a couple," the Doctor said, smiling. Chakotay chuckled.

"How is he doing, Doc?" Tom asked, ignoring the topic completely.

"He's just fine. In fact, now that he's awake and his vital signs are normal, I'm releasing him. To your care, of course. If that's agreeable with you."

"Did you just make a joke, Doctor?" Chakotay said, grinning.

"What did I miss?" Tom said, looking back and forth between the two.

"I think that's my cue to disappear. Commander, you can go, but I expect you to come back in the morning for a checkup. Your right arm may be a little sore, so try not to exercise it too harshly. In fact, try and take it easy tonight." He looked down his nose.

"I promise I'll do my best. However, perhaps you should release me into someone else's care then...."

"I think I might just lose my best medic if I were to do that. I'll go and replicate you something to wear home."

"Thank you Doctor, really, thank you."

He nodded and left them alone.

Tom half-stood and threw his upper body on top of Chakotay, putting his face into the older man's neck, getting hugged tightly as he kissed the skin he found, over and over.

"Help me sit up, Tom," Chakotay whispered. Tom pulled back and did just that, and when Chakotay swung his legs over the side he grabbed Tom's waist and they embraced closely.

"Oh, God, Chak, don't ever do that to me again," Tom moaned.

"Well, from what I hear, if you hadn't been there, I'd be dead. So I guess you own me twice..."

"I'd gladly give one of those up. Gladly."

"You can talk to me all you want about it, Tom, anything you need, you just tell me. Promise? All I ask is that I get home."

"Okay, we'll talk, later... besides I have a feeling that something happened while I was asleep?"

"Oh yeah, Tom, something happened. We're no longer a secret."

Tom only held him more tightly. "You know what? I can't say I'm sorry. Any more of this and one of us would have ended up dead."

"Or the captain would have ended up spaced."

Chakotay watched as Tom pulled back and stared at him. They both began to laugh at the same time, reveling in the joy of it.


As penance, B'Elanna and Harry took it upon themselves to do the post-flight check of the Delta Flyer. They cleaned up the blood stain, from where Chakotay's life essence seeped through the blanket and onto the deck. The medkit would be taken to sick bay to be restocked and as Harry, on his hands and knees, gathered empty vials, hyposprays and the laser scalpel, he saw a small bottle a few feet away, under one of the consoles.

He picked it up, opened it, and sniffed. A smile broke across his face. Lube.

"What's that, Harry?" B'Elanna called from the helm where she was doing a check of fuel levels.

He put the bottle in his pocket. "Nothing, really. Must have been leftover from a previous flight."

She shrugged and returned to her task.

Those two sneaky men. They knew all along. Harry chuckled to himself, feeling better, already figuring out a way he could embarrass Tom with the little bottle.

End part 7 - TBC in Epilogue
Part 8 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them.
Rating: R

Summary: C/P. Part Eight: Epilogue.
Copyright September 2001 Cassatt

The Wild Stallion

"I've never ridden bareback before," Tom said. He looked at Chakotay askance.

"Here I thought you were an accomplished horseman," Chakotay answered with a grin.

"I'm from a more sophisticated branch of the sport, Chak."

Chakotay laughed. "Oh, yes, excuse me," he said with a small bow, "the blue-blood Paris clan, who never get their hands dirty or ride their horses without a saddle. That's such a base pleasure...."

"A base pleasure?" Tom's eyes lit up.

"It is, but if you'd prefer, you can use the saddle, and I'll just walk beside you, or we can take a moment and create another horse," Chakotay said seriously. He loved teasing Tom. He just loved it. He just loved him. "Well? What'll it be?"

Tom's eyes narrowed. "I can do it, you know."

"I'm sure you can, Tom, there's really nothing to it. It's all in the thighs."

Tom smiled. "So that's where you get those sexy legs...," he said, sidling up to his lover, running his hands up and down the man's hips, leaning in and giving him a slow, deep kiss.

The movement of their mouths threatened to turn into something that would keep them from riding, so Chakotay stopped it, catching his breath. He caressed Tom's flushed face. "You... are too tempting by half."

"And you're the other half, Chakotay," Tom said seriously.

Their eyes locked together. Sky blue and dark chocolate. Chakotay broke the gaze. "Come on, let's ride," he said, grinning broadly. He took Tom's hand and the bridle of their friend and led them both to a stump. Sweeping his hand from there up to the stallion's back he looked at Tom pointedly. The younger man returned the grin and nodded. "Okay, good. I'll get on first, and you sit behind me," Chakotay said. He slid onto the horse's body with ease, picked up the reins and turned to Tom.

"You've programmed him to hold both of us, I assume?"

"Yes, Tom, he'll be fine. Remember, he likes you, he won't buck you off. I promise."

"Are the safety protocols on or off?"


"And you're over that revenge thing, right?"



"One second. Then I'm telling him to move."

"Okay, okay..." Tom took a breath and climbed up, using Chakotay's waist for anchorage. He wrapped his arms around Chakotay, his legs pushing both against the horse and against his lover. Tom kissed the back of Chakotay's neck, unable to resist the temptation right in front of him. "This is cozy, Chak."

Chakotay had to agree. He smiled. "Ready?" The horse whinnied softly and moved his head slightly up and down, anxious to move.

"I guess if he is, then I am," Tom said, laughing slightly. This could be fun, he thought. He definitely liked the position he found himself in.

Chakotay turned his white, wild stallion and headed out of the pen, toward the fields and the hills beyond.


They moved at a slow pace, not more than a leisurely trot for most of the way. It was getting on to the end of the 'day' in Chakotay's program and he had a clear destination in mind. He sighed to himself with happiness. Even in this hell hole of a quadrant, he'd found the one thing that made his heart soar, his palms tingle, and his mind quiet. The man that he'd been attracted to for so many years had become the man whom he loved with his whole heart. A part of him still could not believe it. As if on cue, Tom pulled himself incrementally closer and sighed in his ear.

"This is a beautiful program, Chak," he said quietly.

"Thank you. I take that as a high compliment coming from you."

"Well, thank you for sharing it with me."

Chakotay let go of the rein and picked up Tom's hand, bringing to his mouth. He kissed the fingers, taking a moment to look at this strong hand that brought him so much pleasure. That moved with ease across a Starfleet helm, that caressed and cajoled their ship into doing things no engineer had ever planned. He wondered if Tom had ever had his palm read. It would be an interesting read, no doubt. Chakotay kissed Tom's fingers one more time before putting his hand back in it's rightful place. On Chakotay's chest. Tom hugged him gently.


Tom was feeling overwhelmed. He tried, in vain, to think of another way to categorize his emotional state. There wasn't any other way to think about it. He was overwhelmed. And whereas, in the past, he'd have run from that feeling with every ounce of his strength - he was relaxing into it. Letting it infuse every part of him. Enjoying it even.

He'd never expected to find this. Not here. Not now. He sat behind the man that he loved with every fiber of his being, taking in his scent, feeling the strength he exuded, and allowed himself to believe that this was real. And true. Maybe even constant.

Thought not a religious person, or even a spiritual one, he thanked the God he'd prayed to the day before. Thanked that God for giving him another chance. For delivering Chakotay from another brush with death. For not leaving Tom in his time of need. He wondered if this was what Chakotay got from his spiritual practice. This feeling of overwhelm, this knowledge of something greater than either of them, working with grace on their behalf.

He promised that God he would tell Chakotay. That night. As soon as he could. He hugged his lover and kissed him softly on the back of his neck. Yes, he could get used to this. Hell, he thought, he already was used to this.


Chakotay brought the horse to a stop on the rise of a hillside, overlooking a lush valley. The sky was beginning to transform, the blue getting a tinge of pink added to it. He was most proud of this part of the program, but quickly let that thought slide to the back of his brain, allowing himself to believe this was a real hillside on a real planet with a real sunset just beginning. Motioning Tom to dismount, he watched the man get off the horse with elegance, as though he'd been riding bareback all his life. He followed.

Tom was staring at the scene before him, in awe. "God, Chak, this is amazing. Is this someplace you know?"

"It's reminiscent of my home planet. There were places like this around." He called out in a louder voice, "Computer, program addition Chakotay one five."

A thin mattress appeared on the ground, along with two bottles of beer. Tom laughed gently. "You think of everything," he said, grinning.

"I learned quickly that an old body like mine doesn't like to sit on the hard ground for long periods of time, not to mention lying down on it."

Tom wrapped his arms around Chakotay and nuzzled him under his ear. "There's no way anyone is going to convince me you are old. No way."

Chakotay pulled Tom's head off his neck and kissed him, letting the kiss deepen, giving in to everything he wanted just then. Falling into the sweetness that was Tom's mouth. They were beginning to move against each other and though this, too, was what he wanted, he stopped it.

"Come on, Tom, let's lie down, have a beer, watch the sunset together," he said, tugging Tom down. Unsurprisingly, Tom followed.

They propped themselves on elbows, drank beer, and looked at the sky show in between kisses, some light, some deep. The colors were getting brighter and more intense. The beer was finished. Traveling hands joined the kissing. Boots were removed. Shirts were pulled out of waistbands for better access to skin. They began to roll together, joining chests as well as hips and legs as the kisses intensified.

Tom pulled back suddenly. In the orange and pink glow of what light remained, he looked deeply into Chakotay's eyes. His heart began to thud against his ribcage. "Chakotay," he said quietly. He faltered.


Tom looked again and saw everything with astounding clarity. "I love you."

Chakotay's heart took a leap against his chest. The words were more beautiful than he'd imagined, just like this man in his arms. The wait had been worth it. "I love you, Tom," he said, watching the blue eyes sparkle and a smile spread across the features in front of him.

"I love you," Tom repeated, still smiling.

"I know, I heard," Chakotay answered, smiling too.

"I love you, I love you, I love you," Tom continued, falling on Chakotay's neck and kissing it in between the words.

Chakotay laughed, his heart flying. "I love you, too, Tom."

"Let's make love, right here," Tom said against Chakotay's skin.

"Well, that was what I had in mind..."

"I got that," Tom said, pulling Chakotay's shirt up his back. "You'd better engage the privacy lock, though..."

"Already done." Chakotay began to work on the spot on Tom's neck that soon had his lover writhing.

"That's what makes you a good First Officer, always planning ahead," Tom said, panting.

It was Chakotay's turn to pull back and stare into Tom's eyes. The sun was almost set, the moons were rising, giving everything a cool glow. "I could never in a million years have planned this, Tom. Never. Being here, with you, loving you, hearing you say you love me. Thank you. You've given me the most wonderful thing..."

"I've given you? What?"

"Yourself. That first night we were together, I knew it was the most important night of my life. All the pieces had finally fallen into place," Chakotay said softly, trailing his finger across Tom's cheek.

The overwhelm was back, and Tom couldn't speak, for fear he'd break down and cry. He pulled Chakotay close and hugged him tightly, letting the strong arms of the man he loved calm him, soothe him, push the tears away. He made another vow to his new God. He would love this man until he died. He would protect him if necessary, stand by his side if possible and hold him each and every night that he could. "Thank you, Chakotay," he said. "I love you." He smiled. And he'd say those three words as many times as he could, too. He rolled Chakotay onto his back and kissed him thoroughly, running his hand under the shirt, caressing his chest. "That was the most important night of my life, too," he said quietly.

Chakotay pulled Tom back down to his mouth. "I love you, Tom," he whispered, any further words cut off as he kissed him, feeling the weight of the man fall onto him gently. He reached in between them and began to unfasten Tom's jeans, the hard bulge he encountered thickening his own erection. They grappled with buttons and zippers and layers of fabric in between deep kisses and long strokes from strong hands on newly exposed skin. Their breaths were becoming pants, their voices turning into low noises from deep in their throats.

Tom stopped one more time, his brain barely coherent. "Hey, mister preparedness, one thing I think you forgot..."


"Lube." Tom's breath caught as Chakotay's hand descended on his erection. "Lube, Chak...."

Chakotay removed his hand and clapped it over his mouth in mock consternation. "Spirits, lube, why didn't I think of that?" He groped for his pants with his one free hand, found them, got into the pocket just as Tom returned the favor, grasping Chakotay's erection to stroke it teasingly. Trying to concentrate, bringing his hand back, he attacked Tom's mouth with relish, stopped, and before Tom could close his mouth placed the small bottle between Tom's lips. "Lube, Tom," he said with a laugh.

Tom grinned and pulled the bottle out. "See, that's why I love you...."

They came together completely in full body contact, mouths merging, erections rubbing together and arms and legs wrapping around as much as possible.


The two full moons had risen, filling the starry sky with an almost ethereal light. Outside the room there were people walking the corridors, going in and out of the mess hall, playing cards, talking, reading and working. Those that walked by the holodeck and glanced at the screen saw only a series of numbers following their First Officer's name, along with the privacy lock interface blinking. For the few who understood what that meant they felt a twinge of jealousy, followed by affection for the two men whom they knew were enjoying themselves at that moment. Inside the room, produced by the gray grid and the skills of the holoprogrammer, a white horse folded his legs and lay down next to the thin mattress and the two writhing lovers. He gazed at them with large, half-lidded eyes, then turned and looked out over the valley bathed in moonlight as he waited to be ridden again.

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