The Fantasy Of Tom by Cassatt
Summary: What happens when a fantasy takes form? Chakotay gets a present for his birthday which has a lasting effect on two committed relationships.
Categories: Chakotay/Paris Fanfiction Characters: None
Genres: Drama
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 2719 Read: 14390 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

9. Part 9 by Cassatt

Part 1 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, we get to play with them.
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T. Chapter One: Chakotay gets a present for his birthday.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

"Happy Birthday, honey," Kathryn said, snaking her hand up Chakotay's chest to the back of his head. She rubbed the short, soft hair there, grinning crookedly at him. "Well?" she asked.

"Well what?" he teased.

She slapped his chest with her other hand. "Well, aren't you going to express your thanks?"

"Oh, you want me to express my thanks. Like how?" His head dipped, his lips landing on the side of her neck, moving against her skin seductively. "Like this?" His kisses continued, his tongue darting out occasionally to taste her.

She moaned softly. "Yes, that works. You know that always works..."

"Thank you, Kathryn, for my wonderful birthday," he said in between kisses.

She smiled. He didn't even know that the best was yet to come.

They were on the holodeck. A program Kathryn had designed herself in her spare time over the past few months. The cottage was set in the mountains. Just two rooms; one with a couch, a fireplace and a number of pillows on the soft rug, the other a bedroom with a four poster, a very plush quilt and another fireplace. They were in front of the couch, having had dinner catered by the replicator and having danced to the music she programmed in.

She moved her head so her lips met his roaming ones. They melted together with a sigh, which turned into a moan as the kiss got deeper and deeper. The bottle of wine they had consumed lowered their inhibitions even further than they already were, which was considerably low. They'd made love on the holodeck before, many times. With their command codes no one could open the doors without their permission, not that anyone would dare try.

She pulled his shirt up, following the fabric with her mouth and her hands, kissing his stomach, then his chest, getting the shirt over his head and down his arms, tossing it aside. Her mouth returned to his skin, kissing and licking anywhere she felt like, his moans intensifying when she zeroed in on his dark nipples, sucking and nipping them gently. She worked on them while letting her hands travel down his back, under his waistband and down as far in as she could reach. She loved working him up, and this being his birthday - she had big plans. Unfastening his pants, she slid them down, over his erection and hips, down his legs while he slipped out of his shoes. He stepped out of his clothes. He looked magnificent. She sighed with anticipation and directed her attention to the organ bobbing in front of her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay let her do whatever she wished, enjoying being the passive one for the moment, feeling himself getting more and more excited, fired up. Wanting her, badly, as he always did. He watched her as she worked on his erection with her hands and her mouth, running his fingers through her hair, feeling moans coming out of his throat, the sensations she was building up inside him making his knees weak.

Suddenly he heard the door knock, his brain only half understanding the sound. She stood up, stroking him one last time, smiling deeply at him.

"Your final present is at the door," she said softly, "and remember, he's a hologram..."

He's a hologram? His heart began to pound, the few possibilities shooting through a mind dulled by alcohol weren't making any sense. Then one name came forth, unbidden. Gods, she didn't mean... He felt his erection harden at the thought.

He watched him come into the room, being led by Kathryn, and his heart started beating wildly in his chest. He'd never be able to control himself, he thought, not if that man did what Kathryn had been doing to him. Never.

Tom came toward him, a smile on his face that was almost seductive. This was a holographic Tom, the man who'd fueled his fantasies for years. One off-hand comment made on an away mission, when oxygen was dissipating, and they thought death was close. One last orgasm, Tom had joked, that's all he wanted. He'd offered to mend the fences between them, to give mutual pleasure in the last moments of their lives. Before Chakotay had had the chance to answer, they'd been hailed by the ship, rescue was imminent. He was surprised at himself, he would have agreed. Not that he'd ever thought of it before then. But once he did, he found the whole idea an amazing turn on. Tom's hand on him. Tom's mouth on him. Frantic movements in a shuttle, coming together, having intercourse inside Tom while he jerked Tom off, making him come, slamming into his body, Tom screaming out in pleasure. Chakotay moaned to himself as Tom approached.

Kathryn reached his side first, and motioned for the hologram to stop. He did.

"Happy Birthday, honey," she said, sliding her hands up his chest to lock around his neck.

Spirits, this woman... "Come 'ere, you." He cupped her buttocks and pulled. She chuckled as she jumped him, burying her face into his neck once he had her in his tight hold. His erection was squeezed in between them, and she took full advantage of the situation, rotating her hips, her dress now pushed to her upper thighs, her legs locked around his waist. Their mouths met and they kissed deeply.

"I love you, Kathryn," he whispered. "But are you sure you're okay with this..."

"I'm giving it to you because I love you. Everyone should enjoy their fantasies, don't you think? And I know that you love me, I don't doubt that. I know you desire me, I don't doubt that either. How could I? But you desire him, just in a different way. And he desires you, too. He wants you," she said seductively. "I'm fine, and I'm staying right here..." She unlocked her legs and slid down the front of him slowly, causing him to groan from the friction.

His heart started pounding again. The holographic Tom came toward him again. Chakotay's stomach flip flopped again. His erection throbbed again.

Tom stood right in front of him now. Kathryn was behind him, stroking his back lightly, just letting him know she was there, turning him on even more by staying, and watching. Please, touch me, Tom... Tom's hands hadn't reached out yet, but his face was getting closer and closer. Suddenly, Tom leaned in quickly and kissed him, hard, then softer, deepening the kiss, moaning as he thrust his tongue far into Chakotay's mouth. He thought he was going to faint as his stomach dipped and Tom's tongue worked the inside of his mouth pursuasively, Chakotay's brain automatically transferring the sensations to his erection which was now thrusting blindly, trying to make contact with Tom in any way it could. "Touch me...." he moaned, only half aware the words had actually been formed against Tom's lips.

Tom pulled away, smiling, and yanked off his shirt. He brought his hands to Chakotay's chest, rubbing his palms lightly, straying further down but not yet touching Chakotay where he was desperate for a touch. Just a touch, that would do it. Then Tom did something that almost made Chakotay come right there without being touched at all. He dropped to his knees in front of him. To his knees. Tom's hands were on Chakotay's hips, his touch feather light, Kathryn's touch equally so behind him. Dear Gods, he's really going to... another moan came out of his throat as he watched Tom's face getting closer and closer to him. Tom opened his mouth. Chakotay's heart was pounding so loudly he was sure the other two could hear it. His stomach was flip flopping wildly.

Tom flicked his tongue out and swiped the tip of Chakotay's erection. His knees got weak. The motion was repeated, this time a little slower. And again, slower, taking more time for contact. His lips barely brushing the foreskin, the erection throbbing, the urge to thrust into Tom's mouth was almost completely overpowering. He held back only because the anticipation was so erotic, the excruciating slowness with which Tom's mouth was finally touching him was turning him on so, the need to faint was returning. Gods..... Then in one swift movement Tom took it all in, licking, sucking, and stroking him, the intensity of the sudden sensations causing an orgasm to begin snaking its way from between his legs through his belly to the very tip. His hips were thrusting, thrusting his erection across Tom's tongue, against his palate, hitting the back of his holographic throat.

Tom continued to work on him, licking up and down, slowly, then quickly, the sensations mind boggling. Stars were beginning to form behind his eyes, but still he kept them open, watching everything, memorizing each movement the man was making. Suddenly, Tom frantically unzipped his pants and pulled out his own cock, hard and strong and fully erect. He started to pump it with his left hand while he worked Chakotay's with his right. Chakotay moaned aloud, seeing that Tom was as turned on by this as he was.... or holographic Tom anyway. Good enough. He didn't care.

Tom's left hand was working steadily and Chakotay could feel the moans Tom was producing humming against his erection, as Tom's own orgasm was beginning, causing his to spiral even faster. Then, as suddenly as he began, Tom pulled away, causing the older man to groan and thrust at the younger. But Tom had other ideas. He unfastened his pants completely, then, making direct eye contact with Chakotay, he stood and took his pants down, kicking everything off. He then reached for Chakotay's hand, pulling them both down to their knees. He placed Chakotay's hand on him and once again, Chakotay thought he might come right there, as he slowly felt Tom's hardness, watched the man's face change as he increased the speed of his pumping, then rubbed the tip of the erection slowly, causing Tom's eyes to close briefly with a soft moan.

"He wants you....." Kathryn whispered in Chakotay's ear. "Take him...."

"Gods..." Chakotay moaned in response.

Sure enough, Tom began to turn away, bending over, putting his hands down and his ass in the air directly in front of him. How am I going to do this, I'll never last more than ten seconds if I do this. He wants me to.... Tom reached back and felt for Chakotay's erection, grabbing it and moving himself back towards it.

"Take him...." Kathryn repeated, kissing Chakotay's neck, licking it slowly, up to the earlobe. "Now...." she finished.

His resistance disintegrated. He put his hands on Tom's cheeks, parting them, his heart beating wildly again as he saw the opening. It looked so small. So inviting. So tight. Seska was the last person he'd done this with but she'd wanted him to be almost brutal about it. He quickly pushed those memories aside. Kathryn handed him a tube of lubricant and kissed him deeply. He put some on Tom, who moaned softly at the contact. He placed a finger on him and Tom moaned a little louder, rocking backwards slightly. He slowly pushed his finger in, then moved it around in circles, Tom moaning even more, causing Chakotay's heart to jump and his cock to twitch frantically. He added another finger to loosen Tom up, the groan coming from the man on his hands and knees deep and seductive. Gods, I want him.... badly.

"Your turn, love," Kathryn said in his ear, picking up the lubricant. She squatted down, facing him and opened the tube, put some on her hand, then slowly stroked it on him, again kissing him deeply. He groaned into her mouth, the feel of her hand on him, so familiar, the taste of her taking him to another place, as always. The love he felt for her growing exponentially by the minute, for what she was giving him. She pulled back and their eyes locked as she touched his face. Then she just moved away to somewhere behind him. He closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the anticipation surge through him. The hips under his hands moved, drawing his attention once more. He let out a small moan at the sight before him.

He could wait no longer. He placed his tip at Tom's opening, the touch sending electrical currents straight to his stomach, turning it over. Tom rocked backwards. Chakotay pushed the tip in and Tom moaned. He pushed a little further and a little further, trying to give holographic Tom time to adjust, but Tom rocked backwards, pushing himself further onto him. A few more nudges and finally he was completely sheathed inside. Tom was panting. Chakotay wasn't breathing, the full reality of what he was doing hitting him almost at once. Please let me last more than a nanosecond... He began to move, gently, the tightness of Tom so incredible, clutching Chakotay's penis in a firm grip as he started to thrust.

"Do it," Tom panted out, "hard... please..."

He complied with increasing force and surety, thrusting into Tom who was moving right along with the man who was fucking him. Oh-h-h... An orgasm was once again clearly, quickly, snaking its way from between his legs as he pulled back and shoved into Tom, over and over and over. He placed his left hand on Tom's back and reached under him with his right, taking Tom's erection and pumping him as he thrust. Just like he'd always dreamed of doing. Virtual reality was much better than his fantasy, for Tom was moving his hips in rhythm with Chakotay, his groans matching Chakotay's, the sounds of their bodies hitting each other mixed with their noises was sending him spiraling up even more quickly. Tom appeared to be right behind.

Suddenly, Chakotay knew he was close, very very close, the stars were appearing behind his closed eyelids so he slowed his movements and opened them.... he continued to pump Tom rapidly though, wanting him to come first, knowing that might be the thing to send him over the edge and needing that to be so. A low gutteral moan began to come from Tom and his hips slowed, too, but Chakotay kept working him. He felt the erection surge with blood the moment before Tom's noises became a loud groan of 'oh God!' and his hips thrust forward forcefully, the shooting warmth of Tom's semen pumping out onto Chakotay's hand. Oh Gods.... He felt his orgasm begin to take him over the precipice and he resumed his thrusts, as Tom continued to leak cum in slow spurts. Chakotay closed his eyes, and with one final shove deep into Tom, the stars exploded as he came, hard, spilling himself inside the man, only vaguely hearing Tom's loud groan but feeling him move even further backwards as if trying to take Chakotay even further in. Sounds and movements and feelings became a blur.

Somehow he pulled out and somehow he ended up on his back with his eyes closed and the room still spinning. He smelled her the moment before he felt her on top of him. He came to enough to pull her up to his face, to kiss her, devour her, pull her dress up and out from between them, needing her desperately.

She sat up to get her dress off and watched the hologram gathering up his clothes. It was odd, she thought, that his walk looked a little shaky. He even stumbled a bit before he opened the door and left the cabin.
Part 2 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, damn it.
Rating: NC-17 Contains scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Two: Chakotay gets some shocking news, but recovers nicely.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Kathryn rolled over, her arm stretching involuntarily, landing on Chakotay's chest, the feel of his skin more than pleasant. Movements made without conscious thought, usually toward each other, deeply asleep or with the vestiges of it tickling their brains. The rest of her body followed her arm, wrapping itself tightly around him, his arms encircling her in turn.

"Grngl shdu..."

She smiled against his skin, just awake enough to understand. "Okay... in a minute..."

"Un uh," he said as he quickly rolled her onto her back. He barely opened his eyes before falling on her mouth with a soft growl. She replied with a low moan from the back of her throat as their lips merged, opening without resistance, moving slowly, languidly. The lower halves of their bodies mimicked the soft movements of their mouths, entwining, rubbing up and down, pulling themselves tighter and tighter together.

She broke contact to look into his eyes. "Happy week after your birthday."

"Was that just a week ago?"

"Yes..... like you can't remember...." She licked along his jaw line, heading for his ear.

He was actually quite aware of exactly how many days it had been since she'd given him his holographic present. Tom. He never allowed himself to think about it when he was with her. He didn't need to. Fantasies about her still fueled him during slow times on the bridge. Occasional play in the ready room; whether it was one of her subtle invitations to be pinned against the wall, or climbing onto his lap on the couches kept the excitement high for both of them. Not that they needed the extra incentive. He still felt as though he couldn't get enough of her. Watching her walk down the corridor in front of him still drove him crazy. The sway of her hips. The strength of her posture. The bounce of her hair. Still.

"I love you, Kathryn," he said quietly, intently. He took his hand away from caressing her side and brought it up to the soft skin of her cheek, relishing the feel of it.

Her eyes once again locked with his. "I love you, too." She touched him lightly across his forehead. They smiled, then brought their mouths back together to begin the dance they knew very very well. Their favorite way to start the day.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He was sitting in his office going over some staffing schedules for the following quarter, his mind wandering from the brain numbing sameness of the task. One week ago. Holographic Tom. His groin tightened at the memory. Gods, he had been turned on. The experience, even if on the holodeck, had been so much better than he'd ever imagined it. Tom's mouth on him, his hand on him. And being able to touch him back, to feel Tom's hardness increase as he stroked him. And to be inside him. Gods...

He gathered himself together, hard again and deciding what to do about it. He'd already jerked off three times in the shower over the past week from the memories. He groaned softly. He was considering engaging a secure door lock when the beep of his console indicated an incoming message. "Shit..." he muttered, tapping the controls.

"Chakotay -- I finally have the nerve to tell you the truth, but I have to write it instead of telling you in person. I was on the holodeck last week. It was me. Can I come see you? Tom."

His heart stopped dead in his chest. It was really him? He swallowed hard. His mind tried to adjust to what was the apparent reality. It was really him he fucked? The pounding sensation behind his sternum let him know that he was still alive, the blood filling his penis told him he would answer. He would agree to see Tom. Did the younger man want to continue? Did they even have anything to continue? He loved Kathryn. Tom loved B'Elanna. He'd strangle Tom half the time as look at him. But at times during the other half, he'd see him sitting at the helm right in front of him, and wish to hell he would have had the chance to say "yes" in the shuttle, so long ago.

Memories assaulted him again. Tom's mouth on his, his tongue thrusting. Those were Tom's lips, his tongue. In Chakotay's mouth and on his cock. His hand strayed to his groin, but he didn't need to check to know that he was getting too hard to function. Well, he certainly had nothing to hide from Tom. Not any longer. His heart began to thud again. His hand moved away from his lap and to the console.

"Yes." It was all he could think to say. He tapped the send command. Then he breathed.

A mere five minutes later the door chime sounded. He pulled his chair under the desk to hide his erection, which had not diminished much during the wait. He cleared his throat, took a breath and ordered the door opened.

Tom stood there, and when Chakotay met his eyes he saw an unexpected blaze of fire for a moment, then Tom dropped his gaze. Uncharacteristically nervous, he thought in surprise.

"Come in, Tom, it's okay..."

The pilot entered, moving suddenly, quickly, then hesitating as he reached the edge of the desk. "Chakotay, I.... I'm sorry for, um, pretending last week..." His voice trailed off.

There was no middle ground here, Chakotay realized. No rules. No codes of conduct. No parameters. He chuckled to himself. All he wanted was to bend Tom over the desk and take him again. His erection throbbed. He looked at the front of Tom's uniform and saw the slight bulge that, under his stare, was becoming more noticeable. He raised his eyes slowly and this time meeting Tom's he let his own fire be seen. The sky blue looking back at him held equal heat. He stood.

Tom took two steps forward until they were just six inches apart. Their eyes never waivered. Chakotay was unsure of exactly how to proceed, but he knew how to react to what came next. Tom put his hands on either side of his face and brought his mouth to Chakotay's. He gasped, inhaling sharply at the feel of the other man's lips on his. Just as he did on the holodeck, Tom thrust his tongue out, parting Chakotay's lips, then sent his tongue to plunder the older man's mouth, causing him to exhale forcefully with a moan. This was no kiss of love. It was pure testosterone, raw sexual desire and need.

Tom reached down and palmed Chakotay's erection, eliciting a deep groan and movement from his hips. Gods, please.... do it, Tom, do it...

"You know," Tom said, his mouth still pressed against the other man's, "I've had to jerk off four times this week, thinking about you fucking me..."

Chakotay suddenly felt like fainting, as he had on the holodeck, the need to be inside Tom so great, so overwhelming, he didn't really know how to handle it. He reached down himself and pressed against Tom's bulge, dragging his hand up and down it, wanting the younger man to lose control, not caring they were standing in his office, mouths working feverishly together, groping each other like two schoolboys.

Tom continued, "Please, I want..." he faltered.

"What do you want, Tom..." Chakotay ended with a groan as the pressure on his erection was increased.

"I don't want last week to be the only time." The yearning in his voice was unmistakeable.

Gods, Tom... He tried to take a breath, and think, but he was beyond thinking. He plundered Tom's mouth and grabbed at the zipper of his uniform, pulling it quickly, wanting to touch him, skin to skin. "I don't either," he managed to say into Tom's mouth.

"Oh, God, Chakotay...."

"Commander Chakotay to the bridge." Kathryn's voice was cool, countering the heavy breathing and moaning in the room.

"Shit," Chakotay said, pulling back, trying to catch his breath. He tapped his chest. "Chakotay here, Captain. What's the trouble?"

"No trouble, really, we're approaching the nebula."

"I'm in a conference with a member of the crew. Can I have ten minutes?"

"Take all the time you need, Chakotay. We'll be at the nebula for a few hours at least. Janeway out."

Tom dropped to his knees, his shaking hands reaching for the pants closure in front of his face.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Deck one," Chakotay said to the turbolift computer. He was trying desperately to ignore the close proximity of Tom, who appeared to be trying to ignore him as well.

Tom sighed deeply. "Computer, halt turbolift."

"Tom..."

Tom turned to him. "I apologize, but I need to ask you something."

He allowed himself to meet the younger man's eyes, praying his body wouldn't betray him and his need to have a professional facade at that moment. As he looked into the light blue ones, his stomach jumped. Shit, he thought. "Okay, ask me."

Tom took a deep breath. "Well, are you planning on telling the captain?"

Double shit. He also took a breath. "I don't know if I can answer that, or if I need to, actually. That's between her and me." He instantly regretted his sharp tone. "I'm sorry, Tom, I didn't mean it that way. Damn. I don't know what I'm going to do. Kathryn and I, well, we don't have secrets, or we try not to have any. I don't know..."

"I just wanted to know if I was going to be cleaning out conduits with a toothbrush or something." He looked up at the ceiling.

"Tom..."

Tom continued to look away, the normally cocky attitude nowhere in evidence.

Chakotay softened his tone. "Look," he said, touching Tom's arm, continuing only when he could make eye contact. "You didn't do anything that I didn't want, and Kathryn more than anyone knows that."

"Yes, but I'm the one who intruded on your birthday party. I'm the one who didn't keep quiet about it. I should have just let you think you'd had sex with a hologram..."

"And that fantasy would have only lasted so long," Chakotay said with a small grin.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the memories of the holodeck were driving me a little nuts, when I let them. I'd been contemplating running the program again, and if I had, I would've known fairly quickly that it hadn't been a hologram the first time."

"How can you be so sure," Tom asked, a grin of his own forming.

"Oh, you know, taste, smell, chemistry..."

"Oh. Chemistry." Tom stared at him. The air between them was suddenly charged.

In effort to lessen it, rather than reacting to it by pressing Tom against the wall, Chakotay mentioned the other person involved. "And are you going to tell 'Lanna?"

Tom continued to stare at him, though he could see the change in his eyes. "I don't know that she's as understanding as the captain. She's a combination of being very possessive and very laid back, as you know. It might hurt her, for more than one reason."

"What's the other reason?"

"You," Tom said simply. "You must have known how she felt about you, on the Liberty."

"Yes, but... well, that was such a long time ago. She's in love with you..."

"I know that. And I love her. I guess I don't know what to do about telling her, either. I don't want to keep secrets from her."

Chakotay knew that if they didn't get the lift moving, someone from engineering would be calling. And he felt, perhaps as the older of the two, that it was the right moment to talk some sense. "Tom, maybe then, this should stop now, before anyone gets hurt..."

"Are you saying that's what you want?" Tom said sharply. This time he didn't turn away. His eyes blazed.

"What I want isn't always relevant. That's one lesson I've learned on this damned ship," Chakotay answered with equal force.

"Deck one," Tom barked out, turning on a dime, facing front.

"Computer, halt turbolift," Chakotay responded loudly. He grabbed Tom's arm and spun him around, staring into his eyes, not letting go of him. Tom didn't move a muscle in protest. The air was now more than charged. Chakotay wanted nothing more than to fall on Tom's mouth forcefully, shove his tongue into him and push him backwards to the wall. He knew his breathing was becoming labored, as was Tom's.

"Do it," Tom hissed. They continued to stare at each other.

Chakotay dropped the arm he was gripping so tightly. "I'm sorry, Tom." He turned to face the doors. "Deck one."

Tom said nothing. When the doors opened to the bridge, he walked rapidly, down the stairs to the helm, dismissing the person there and taking his place without greeting anyone.

Chakotay followed more slowly, his eyes never leaving the blond head stalking away from him, feeling like a heel. A guilty heel. Guilty for so many reasons. He reached his command chair and sat, finally noticing Kathryn turning to greet him, excitement in her eyes that instantly faded to a question. Her glance darted to Tom and back to him. He attempted to lighten the atmosphere. "So, Captain, how's the nebula? As interesting as you'd hoped?"

She hesitated. He willed her to drop it, silently promising he'd tell her later, when they were alone. "Well, actually, it's more interesting. We've found evidence of a weapon having been discharged in the interior, but can't do a complete scan due to the neutrino levels of the nebula. I need you and Tom to take the Flyer in and find out what you can."

He glanced at Tom just in time to see his shoulders sag then almost immediately square back up before he turned around. Tom refused to meet his eyes, instead looked directly at Kathryn. He spoke quickly before Tom could. "Of course. I assume you wish us to leave as soon as possible?"

"Yes, though you may certainly have some dinner first. If you want." She turned to Tom, still facing her. "Tom, is the Flyer ready?"

"Yes, ma'am, we finished repairing the shield calibration problem yesterday. She's ready."

"Good," Kathryn said with a smile to her pilot. "You hungry?"

This time Chakotay caught Tom's eye, though Tom was unreadable. "Yes, ma'am, I am hungry. Very definitely hungry," he answered her. Chakotay got it. He felt a twitch between his legs.

"All right then, Tom, you've just been relieved again," Kathryn smiled, "giving you the shortest helm shift you've had in weeks. Go have some dinner and meet Chakotay in thirty minutes in the shuttle bay. I don't expect the mission to take more than a few hours."

Tom stood. The ensign he had relieved came back from the science station. "Aye Captain. Commander." He gave a slight nod and headed off the bridge, once more refusing to meet Chakotay's eyes.

Kathryn leaned over the console and lowered her voice considerably. "Well, Tom is certainly in an odd mood. Is everything okay? Was he the person you were in conference with?"

Shit. All he wanted at that moment was to crawl into bed with her, tell her everything, have her reassure him that life was still fine, that he could screw Tom if he wanted and it wouldn't matter.....all he wanted.... He sighed audibly. "Yes, he was in my office this afternoon. I can't tell you the details at the moment. I think he'll be fine. But I'm pretty hungry, too, so if there's nothing else?"

"I'll take the lift ride with you," she answered, rising, handing the bridge to Tuvok, following him into the lift.

"Deck two," he intoned. "I'm going to my quarters to eat something quick."

"Enjoy. I'll stay on the bridge while you two are in the nebula, as usual." She reached out and took his hand. He grasped it tightly, grateful for the contact.

"Can I be with you later? Your quarters?" For some reason, he felt the need to ask, though they spent nearly every night together and everyone knew it.

"Of course, honey."

The doors swooshed open. "Computer, halt turbolift," she called out, locking eyes with him. "You be careful this evening, Chakotay. I want you coming home to me safe and sound, okay?"

"Don't worry, Kathryn, I will."

"And try to cheer Tom up, if you can? I don't want his mood to affect his judgement."

He nearly groaned. What would cheer Tom up is if I.... "He'll be fine. Okay?"

"Okay."

They smiled at each other and he left, turning to wave just before she called for the lift to resume. He walked quickly down the corridor to his quarters. Once inside the door he began to strip, his ultimate goal a quick sonic shower and a replicated sandwich and hopefully, a few minutes alone, to think, to center, to ground himself. Before being in an enclosed space for a few hours with the one person around whom he didn't feel very much self-control.
Part 3 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them. I'm just playing.
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scene of consensual adult M/M sex

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Three: Chakotay tries to clear the air around him.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

You could cut the tension on the Delta Flyer with a knife. That was a phrase Chakotay had heard throughout his Academy days. He'd certainly experienced his share of it, particularly on Voyager and particularly with a certain captain. But this? This was almost unbearable.

They'd gotten the shuttle launched, reciting the standard sequences to each other and going over the mission plan. Tom was almost speaking only when spoken to, and only addressing Chakotay by rank. Sprinkle in some Yes, sir's and, well, there you had it. The tension was thick. Chakotay sighed. They had hours ahead of them like this. He was tired of it already.

"Tom, why don't you just let me have it? Get it out of your system," he said.

Tom turned and looked at him for a moment then went back to checking some controls that didn't need to be checked.

"You have permission to speak freely," he tried again. And got the same response. "Okay, how 'bout this? You tell me the thing that's uppermost in your mind, right now."

Tom turned to him a third time. "Is that one of your infamous counseling techniques?" His tone was only slightly sarcastic. Chakotay was grateful for anything by that point.

"Infamous?" he said with a slight grin.

"Yeah," Tom retorted, "the ones that get all the women on the ship to open up and tell you their deepest troubles. You know, the one that's supposed to get me to tell you what a shit I think you're being." This time his tone held the edge of anger Chakotay was expecting.

"Good. Why don't you tell me what a shit you think I'm being then." He tried to give Tom the calmest look he could.

Tom stared intently at him for another moment, then shook his head and returned to studying the controls.

Chakotay snapped. "Stop the shuttle," he said sharply.

"Stop the shuttle?"

"Stop the shuttle, Tom, that's an order," he repeated with more force.

The pilot hesitated a moment, then with a shrug brought the Flyer to a stop. "Full stop, sir."

"Voyager to Delta Flyer. Is there a problem?" Again, Kathryn's voice hung in the air between them.

Chakotay tapped the controls. "Not for long, Captain. We're showing a fluctuation in the power packs we'd like to check before proceeding into the nebula. Chakotay out." He cut communication.

"Very cool, Commander," Tom said wryly.

Chakotay crossed his arms over his chest and studied the man next to him. "Look. I can't take this bullshit any more. You're angry with me, then tell me, damn it. Get it out in the open."

Tom slapped his thighs, hard. "Okay! You want me to tell you? Jesus, Chakotay. In all the years I've known you, I never ever would have pegged you for a liar. But that's exactly what you are. A liar."

He was slightly confused. "You mean about stopping the shuttle? At the moment, this is more important. The nebula can wait five minutes," he said, his voice rising slightly.

"Not what you said to the captain," Tom replied, his voice also rising. "What you said to me. Me. What you told me in your office. It was a lie. A shit-faced lie."

"I never lied to you..."

"What do you call it then, when you tell me one thing and then take it back a half hour later?!" Tom stood up and began to pace the small space, but finding that nearly impossible, walked up a level and paced there.

Chakotay stood as well. "Tom, I didn't lie to you," he said sharply. But Tom was ignoring him, pacing and glowering, in full anger mode. Chakotay went up to his level and tried to stop the pacing, standing in his path.

"Get out of my way, Commander." Tom stared at him.

Chakotay didn't move. "Cut the rank crap, Tom."

"Get out of my way," Tom said in a low voice, making a move to pass by.

Chakotay reached out and grabbed him by the upper arms, but this time, Tom struggled.

"Don't touch me unless you mean it," Tom shouted.

"Listen to me..."

They were at a standoff, Chakotay not willing to let him go, and Tom suddenly not willing to physically fight his way out. The air was electric. They stared at each other, eyes blazing, breathing heavily.

"I said, don't touch me unless you mean it..." This time Tom tossed the words at Chakotay as a challenge.

"Mean it?" Chakotay's heart was pounding. He started to push hard, moving Tom backwards easily. Tom didn't answer, just continued to stare, though he could see the anger had changed to something quite different. Chakotay's heart was now reverberating in his ears. "Mean it, how?" Tom's back hit the hull.

"Mean it the way you claimed you wanted to touch me..." Tom's voice had lowered again, barely above a whisper. He licked his lips.

Chakotay moaned softly, giving up the internal battle. He didn't exactly understand what was happening, he only knew that he wanted this man and he had absolutely no resistance. At least not right then. He moved closer. "It wasn't a claim, Tom. And I didn't lie." He closed the final distance and took Tom's mouth with force, their tongues meeting frantically. Tom's hands moved to Chakotay's ass, pulling him close, their pelvises rotating, rapidly forming erections straining against each other, the feel of hardness on hardness making them both groan ...

The superior officer somehow found the will to pull back and attempt to calm down. He didn't want yet another hail from the ship to interrupt them, causing more guilt and recriminations. He convinced Tom, gently, that they had to proceed with their work, as difficult as that would be. That there would be time, somehow, somewhere, for them to quench their desire for each other. No further mention was made of either Kathryn or B'Elanna, though Chakotay had already made his half of that decision.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He stood under the hot water in the captain's quarters, hoping to ease the tension that had settled in his shoulders and back. He reviewed this most bizarre of days, that started with wonderful love making with Kathryn and ended with him sexually connected to Tom, too. He didn't feel any deep emotional attachment to the young man, not at all. Friendship, yes, sometimes, and definately moreso after today. Chakotay was never one for emotionless sex, though Seska had certainly pushed that boundary with him. Perhaps, he thought, that's why he ended up hating her so. He cared for Tom and now knew that he really did not want him to feel hurt. His emotions were just more on the surface with Tom. His sexual need for him was immense and overwhelming. He prayed Kathryn would understand. Then prayed again. He would kill himself before losing her.

He got out, dried himself off, wrapped a towel around his waist and walked through her quarters to the replicator. He had never needed a cup of his mother's herbal tea as much as that night. Returning to the bedroom, he plopped himself down on his half and smiled as Kathryn put her book on the bedside table than turned to face him. He sipped his tea and tried, for the hundredth time at least, to find an opening sentence somewhere in his mind.

"You know," she broke the silence, "there was something a little bit odd about the problems you were having with the Flyer."

He wondered why she decided to wait until now to say anything. "Oh?" Choosing a look of innocence, he left it up to her to direct this conversation.

"Tuvok checked, as he always does, and didn't seem to find a problem with the power packs. I, of course, told him that perhaps the sensors on the Flyer were malfunctioning. You never did say what the problem was. I assume it all got fixed, though, since you completed the mission and came home." Kathryn, uncharacteristically, fiddled with a loose thread on the comforter.

He took another sip of his tea. "And so, you're wondering if there was another reason we put her in full stop..."

"Well, I can't imagine you wouldn't say." She met his eyes - he could read her so easily, the questions were there. He had the answers. But he wasn't sure he had the nerve.

He steeled himself by taking a very deep breath. "I ordered the stop. I needed Tom's complete and undivided attention. We had to talk."

"He was still upset?"

"Yes. He was angry. With me."

"With you?" She looked at him as only Kathryn could. Looking past what he was saying, analyzing, coming to some decision on her own. "Okay, I'm ready."

He laughed a quick, loud laugh. "I don't know that I am, Kathryn." After putting his tea down, he picked up her hand in both of his and stroked it. "You, and us, are the most important things in my life. I need you to remember that."

"Now you're scaring me, Chakotay."

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to," he said quietly. He took another fortifying breath. "Okay, I'll start at the beginning, which actually isn't all that long ago. My birthday. The holodeck. Your present of a holographic Tom for me to play with?"

She nodded, a confused look on her face.

He hadn't imagined it was going to be this hard. He plunged ahead. "Well, it turns out that wasn't a hologram. It was really Tom. He told me today..." he faltered, waiting for her reaction.

"What? How the hell did he do that?"

He almost laughed again. He had no idea, he realized - he never asked. "I, well, I don't know. I didn't ask. It never came up..."

She interrupted him. "Wait. That was him, really? Are you certain?"

Gods, Kathryn, don't ask me that. He sighed. "Yes, I'm certain."

She stared hard at him. "I see, I think. You know because, what, you had sex with him?"

"Kathryn. Can we start over here? I've been telling you for as long as we've been together about my fantasies with Tom. You understand that. I'm not in love with him, hell, half the time I want to kill him. Somehow he found out about your holoprogram, somehow he got himself on the holodeck for the express purpose of having sex with me. He finally got the nerve up to tell me that, today. He sent me a message to that effect, and asked to see me. I was completely shocked. And, I confess, I was interested in what he was going to say. You know what the experience on the holodeck was like for me, you were there, you even reaped some of the rewards..." he said, giving her a knowing smile and a wink.

She smiled back. "I know, but, he wasn't supposed to be real..."

"Even if he had really been a hologram, the experience still would have been real on some level, for me. I've only had fantasies in my mind before this. Never something with form."

"I suppose. So what happened when he came to see you?"

He had already decided to give her a short version, leaving out details unless she wanted them for prurient interest only. "He apologized for the deception. He told me he didn't want that to be the only time. And yes, we engaged in some sexual activity." His heart started to thud, waiting, again, for her reaction.

She was quiet, suddenly fascinated with the loose thread. "It sounds very clinical when you say it like that."

"Kathryn... "

"I know I shouldn't be surprised, really, I mean, given the circumstances. I don't know how I feel about it... not yet anyway. What's the rest of the story? Why was he angry with you?" She looked at him sideways. "It's because he wants to continue, isn't it? And you told him no."

He sighed, getting the clear message that's what she wanted him to say. "It's a little more complicated than that. But I need to ask you something. Do you know why I'm telling you?"

It was her turn to sigh as she looked at him directly in the eye. "Because we promised each other total honesty. And I appreciate that, Chakotay, I do..."

"I know, Kathryn. And I know this is hard to hear. Please just remember that I love you. With my entire soul. I love you, I lust after you, I want to be with you for the rest of my life."

She smiled. He returned it.

"Thank you," he said sincerely.

"Okay. Tell me the complication."

He took yet another deep breath. "Well, he got angry with me because I told him, in my office, before we ... had sex, that I wanted it to continue, too. Then in the lift on the way to the bridge, we talked. About you, and 'Lanna, and I decided that we should stop things before anyone got hurt. He could tell I wasn't being completely honest about what I wanted. He was furious. I sent us to the bridge and apologized to him. Then, well, you know what you did. You ordered us to spend hours together in a shuttle."

She dropped her head into her hands. He didn't think she was crying, so he took the opportunity to drink some now lukewarm tea. The taste of it, however, still gave him a sense of peace. He sent up another prayer that this would all be okay in the end. He desperately needed to trust that. She rubbed her face slowly, finally sitting back upright. He prepared to continue.

"So, Tom was furious with me, but he wouldn't say anything. He didn't say much of anything at all, and the tension in the Flyer was more than I could take. I tried to talk to him, he kept acting as though the helm needed attention, when it didn't. So I ordered the full stop."

"And then you lied to me about it." The steel edge in her voice was clear.

"Yes, Kathryn, I lied to you, I made up something in a fit of frustration. I'm not perfect. I didn't think taking five minutes to clear the air so that the mission could proceed effectively was so terrible." The edge in his voice was clear, too, and he instantly regretted it. "I'm sorry."

She shook her head. "No, I'm sorry, that's really irrelevant, I know that. Then what happened?"

Gods, please be kind to me... "I practically had to order him to talk to me. He finally did, we had sort of an argument..." He faltered, not knowing how much to tell her. Not wanting to hurt her, so desperately wanting her to understand, when he really didn't even understand.

"And what, you had sex again?"

"No. But, well, we almost did." He met her eyes. "I'm sorry, Kathryn," he said with a sigh. "And then I told him that we had to get back to work. But... I also told him that I hoped something could be worked out, I just didn't know how that would happen. Not yet. I didn't tell him that I was planning on discussing all of this with you," he said, relieved that he had finally finished the narrative. He waited, his heart in his throat.

Sighing deeply, she ran her fingers through her hair. "Jesus..." she muttered.

"Kathryn, Tom's afraid you're going to have him cleaning out conduits with a toothbrush."

She looked at him head on and began to laugh out loud and, after a shocked moment, he joined her. "You know, I should. I mean, I should give him the order, just as a joke, just to see what he'd do. Make him quake in his boots..." Her laughter died down, after his already had. She looked at him again, this time seriously, carefully, intently. "How are you?"

"I think I'm the one who's supposed to ask you that," he said quietly.

"I'm asking you. This has been quite a day for you, honey. How do you feel about it all?" She reached out and took his hand in hers.

"How do I feel. Confused. My reality turned upside down today. I kept wanting to talk to you, so that you could reassure me that everything was still okay. I know that's an unfair thing to expect." He pulled their joined hands to his mouth and kissed hers softly. "Look. All I know is that there is some very intense chemical reaction, or something, between Tom and me that I don't seem to be able to control. And after tonight I don't know that I want to. But I'll do anything rather than hurt you. Anything. And I'm not willing to risk losing you. Nothing is worth that."

She pulled one hand out of his grasp and stroked his face softly. "Oh, Chakotay. Are we strong enough for this? I hope so.... I would like to think so, but I'm only human. I want to give you everything and anything you want. Can I handle the fact that the everything you want is to have sex with someone else? Much less a friend? Will I end up feeling that I'm losing something, or will it not matter because I know how much you love me? I don't know. I know that I have no intention of going anywhere, and I think I could be willing to give you this. But it's really not in my control...."

"Actually, in a very big way, it is, Kathryn. If you can't handle it, then I need to make a decision about the risk I'm willing to take. And like I said, weighing sex with Tom versus my life with you -- that's a no brainer..."

They continued to talk further into the night, curling up together, holding each other tightly. He tried to express more clearly his feelings for Tom, such as they were, to reassure her that she had nothing much to feel threatened by. They talked a little about B'Elanna. They talked about each other and their relationship. Eventually, they made love, intense, soul-stirring love, after which he cried and she cried. The following morning, she told him she was willing to give this situation a try.
Part 4 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount, the almighty one, owns them
Rating: NC-17 Contains scene of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T. Chapter four: Things heat up for the boys, and Tom is confronted by his other commanding officer.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Chakotay sat in the mess hall, finishing up his lunch quickly, hoping for a fair amount of free time before he had to return to the bridge. Sitting by himself, watching the crew eating with their friends, he felt, again, overwhelmed by the direction his life had taken. The past twenty-four hours had changed his entire outlook.

He'd always been monogamous and believed in monogamy. And although his was of the serial kind, with long gaps in between, he'd always wanted what he now had with Kathryn. And though the gaps had been spotted with encounters, all extremely brief and one not even remembered, none of it prepared him for the situation he was facing now. And Kathryn, Spirits, how she could still amaze him. He had to trust that what she said that morning was really the truth. For her. That she would do her best to handle the next part of their journey together.

And since, he decided, he was being introspective and honest, he forced himself to really look at how he was feeling that morning. He had to admit that he felt a flutter of basic excitement at the moment. There were actually very slight butterflies in his stomach. He was waiting to see if Tom came into the messhall, so that his request would seem casual to anyone observing. They had to talk, and for Chakotay, sooner was better than later.

The sound of laughter brought his attention to the doorway. The three muskateers had just come in, and from the looks of it Tom had told a joke, for B'Elanna and Harry were the ones laughing. His heart lurched. He hadn't let himself think about 'Lanna, other than during his talk with Kathryn. She was worried about her. He was, too. He'd kill himself and Tom as well if she got hurt. She was one topic on the agenda that they had to discuss.

After waiting the few minutes it took for the three to get their lunch from Neelix and find a table, he stood and made as if taking his tray back to the counter. He took a deep breath as he approached them. B'Elanna noticed him first and waved with a smile. Well, that answers that question, he thought. She clearly hadn't been told what was going on between her boyfriend and her oldest friend. He smiled in return.

"Hey, Chakotay, how are you?" she said, pulling out the one empty chair remaining. "Have a seat and visit. It's been a few days..."

He kept his eyes locked with hers. "No, thanks, B'Elanna, I've got some things that need my attention before I get back to the bridge." His eyes traveled to Tom's and the butterflies made their presence known. "Speaking of which, Tom, could you stop by my office after you eat?"

Tom's eyes subtly changed. "Sure. I'll be there in about five or ten minutes. Would that be okay?"

"That'll be fine," he said, trying to sound casual, hoping he succeeded. "See you later," he said to the group as he turned and left.

What he didn't hear as he exited the messhall was first Harry and then B'Elanna ribbing Tom for being willing to wolf down his lunch in five minutes just to make points with his commanding officer. Tom shrugged them off, claiming he was merely trying to be cooperative, eating quickly, his mind somewhere else entirely.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chakotay paced his office. Finally the door chime sounded. He needed to be sure. "Computer, who's at this door?"

"Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris ."

"Computer, initiate secure door lock after entrance, command code Chakotay beta two zero."

"Door lock sequence to be engaged after entrance."

"Come in."

The door swooshed open and Tom walked in, looking nervous, just as he had the day before. After the door closed, the computer sounded the three beeps of the secure door lock, causing Tom to look quickly behind him then back at Chakotay. His eyes changed again, the nervous look disappeared.

Chakotay motioned him to the couch, then sat. Tom joined him, sitting slightly sideways and draping one arm across the back of the small settee.

"Tom, I have some things I have to tell you, and some questions for you," Chakotay said, willing some calm into his voice. He'd never been in this situation before, negotiating a purely sexual relationship with someone, particularly when that someone was sitting so close that the smell of his aftershave was making his groin tighten. He admonished himself to get a grip.

"Okay," Tom answered.

Chakotay tugged on his ear. "I .... I had a long talk with Kathryn last night." He noticed Tom pale a bit. "I told her as much as I thought she'd want to know, meaning everything except details of what we've done. A, because I think that's between you and me and B, because it would really only upset her. I will never choose to do anything that will hurt her, or my relationship with her. I love her and I plan to spend the rest of my life loving her."

"You don't need to explain that to me, Chakotay."

"Well, maybe I just needed to say it out loud, to put it here in the room with us."

"So, should I replicate another toothbrush?" Tom said, his cocky grin not quite hiding the insecurity evident in his eyes.

Chakotay smiled. "Probably not. But that'll be her decision."

Tom looked down at the hand on his thigh. "Is she okay?"

"She's fine. She... is willing to let me do what I want as far as you and I are concerned, she just has a few requests. Of course, that we not let anything interfere with our professional conduct. That we don't do anything to, as she puts it, shove it in front of her face. And that we do whatever we can to see that B'Elanna isn't hurt."

"Jesus. I think B'Elanna is my business," Tom said with a bit of anger.

"I know, Tom. But she's also partly my business. And Kathryn sees every member of the crew as her business. You know that..."

Tom was silent for a minute. "Shit. Yeah, I know that. I wouldn't be where I am if she didn't believe that. Shit. I'd decided that if, well, you still wanted to then I wouldn't tell B'Elanna. She'd never understand. I mean, she knows that I've had experience with men and she's cool with it. She... never mind. But I just don't think she could handle this. Not with you. I, I can't risk losing her. No one else is going to know... she doesn't have to."

"Tom..."

He interrupted. "I know, Chakotay, honesty is always the best. And I know that you would kill me if I hurt her. Believe me, I know that. Do you have any idea how hard it was to send you that message yesterday, knowing that? I contemplated just bringing a phaser with me and handing it over to you, to be done with it." He raised his arms and let them fall back onto his thighs, the sound of the slap intruding harshly. "But damn it, this is my choice, and I'm not willing to ignore what I want with you, I can't. I can't..." He put his head in his hands. "I just keep thinking about it, hell, that's almost all I did last night, think about it, about you... I don't understand what's happening, I just know I don't want it to stop..."

The blood surging into Chakotay's lap almost made him gasp. He reached out and touched Tom on the shoulder. Tom raised his head and the look he had in his eyes was one of pure need. He half lifted himself up onto the knee already on the couch and moved toward Chakotay slowly, keeping eye contact, placing an arm on either side of the man. Tom dropped his head and fell hard on Chakotay's mouth with parted lips, taking it with a moan, getting a moan in response as once more this overwhelming sexual energy was passed mouth to mouth, tongue to tongue. Their hands started to roam, unerringly heading for the growing bulges in their pants, seeking the most intense pleasure, the most intense release.

"Please..." Tom groaned, as he tried to get closer on the small couch.

"Tell me." Chakotay moved his hands around and began to massage Tom's ass.

"Take off these damned uniforms..." he sent his tongue back in.

"And..."

"Fuck me..."

"Gods, Tom..." he said against the other man's mouth. He returned his hands to the front and tried to quickly unzip Tom's jacket. Their breathing became harder as their mouths moved more forcefully together, then both of them were working on removing Tom's clothing in an effort to get it off fast.

Tom broke contact and pushed back off the couch, undoing his boots and kicking them off, then squatting down and removing Chakotay's. He stood and pulled off his shirts, tossing them somewhere behind him. He grabbed Chakotay's hands and yanked him to his feet then quickly got rid of his jacket and shirts. They were both in only their pants, facing each other.

Tom moved closer until he was just inches away. Their breathing was labored, their eyes were glassy with desire. Their erections were obvious. Tom unfastened Chakotay's pants and moved them away enough so that he could touch him, skin to velvet skin.

At the feel of Tom's hand on him, he almost swooned. He heard himself make the softest of moans and felt his eyelids dropping. Tom's mouth came back to his, his tongue plunging back onto his palate, the soft moans getting louder as Tom stroked him slowly.

"Fuck me...." Tom pleaded in a whisper. He took Chakotay's pants down and helped him step out of them. Chakotay returned the favor, pausing to give some attention to Tom's erection, loving the sounds pleasure the man was making. Now they were toe to toe and as they had done in the Flyer the night before, they pulled each other close. Their erections rubbed together, their mouths locked again. The sensations were exquisitely erotic. They slowly moved against each other, letting their excitement build. Chakotay had never felt anything like this before the holodeck, simple, testosterone driven, raw sexual energy. He wasn't sure he could last long enough to give Tom what he wanted. What Chakotay wanted desperately, too.

He pulled back and grabbed Tom's arms and turned him around. Tom groaned. He then prodded him until Tom was against a wall, facing it, moving his hands up to lean, his breathing getting harder by the moment. Chakotay pushed himself up against Tom's back, rubbing himself, hearing the man moan deeply. "Stay here..." he said in Tom's ear.

He heard Tom panting indecipherable words to himself while he opened the desk and retrieved the previously replicated lubricant. The feel of the tube in his hand made him get even harder than he was. He returned to the man against the wall and once more plastered himself to his back, this time reaching around to the front and grasping Tom's hardness, slowly working his hand up and down it, just feeling it, getting Tom more excited. Chakotay opened the lubricant with his free hand and applied it to himself. Oh, Gods... he felt his knees go slightly weak in anticipation.

He let go of Tom and used both hands to part him, putting lubricant directly on him while Tom rocked his pelvis back to give better access. He was panting again. The sound made Chakotay's knees tingle. He stretched Tom some with his fingers to the accompanyment of low groans. He could no longer wait, his erection throbbing to be inside him. He placed himself at the opening, his heart pounding now, and began to push himself in. Tom moved backwards as he had done the week before, taking Chakotay in with a groan. This time, Chakotay sheathed himself more quickly, sliding in smoothly, overwhelmed by the sensation and the noises Tom was making.

Tom dropped his head, and Chakotay began to thrust, immediately reaching around to stroke him. Their hips moved in tandem and their climaxes began to spiral, deliciously, slowly. He thrust a little harder, and a little harder, Tom encouraging him with each increase in speed. Chakotay was almost too engrossed in the feeling of Tom surrounding him to notice that the gutteral moan had started. He slowed down his stroking, and continued thrusting, letting his own climax spiral more rapidly, then increased the movement of his hand again. He was getting so close to an orgasm. The combination of both of them getting close at the same time was almost more than he could take. He was on the brink, thrusting shallowly so he pumped Tom a little faster, hearing and feeling him almost there, too. Tom was panting out 'oh god' in between deep moans and Chakotay was hanging, deliciously hanging, and waiting. He thought he could wait forever, gently moving inside Tom. But he felt Tom's surge and pulled back sharply, then thrust hard with him, together, letting his climax explode as Tom groaned loudly and spurt his seed onto Chakotay's hand while his spilled deep inside Tom's ass. Oh... Gods......... They slowly spiraled back down.

Tom's legs began to give way so, reluctantly, Chakotay pulled out and helped him slide to the floor. Tom rolled onto his back and threw an arm over his eyes with a groan, then began to laugh softly. Chakotay smiled deeply and went back to the desk to get the towel he'd stashed there earlier, cleaning himself off, then squatted down to gently clean Tom off, too. At the first touch, Tom moved his arm away and met Chakotay's eyes. The blue was dancing and again, the older man had to smile at the sight.

"Come on," Chakotay said, "we've got to get to the bridge. We've got ten minutes."

"God, you push a man to the brink of delirium and then expect him to pilot a starship? Jesus, I'll be lucky to get my clothes back on in the right order," Tom laughed.

At that, Chakotay began to laugh, too. He stood and started to collect clothing, trying to sort things out, and having some trouble doing it. They wore the same size. The only thing he could distinguish was the turtleneck because of the insignias. Tom got up and tried to help. In between bouts of serious laughter and swearing, they finally went by aftershave smell and got dressed with three minutes to spare. They combed their hair and checked each other for professional demeanor. Such as it was. Chakotay dug around in his desk and found some breath mints and tossed one to Tom after popping one in his mouth.

Even though they would be a few minutes late, they stopped in the bathroom on that deck. Chakotay was bending over the sink, washing his hands when he felt Tom's touch his lower back then travel slowly down his hip. He felt it right between his legs and in his chest. He stood, shaking the water off, pretending to ignore the touch. Tom moved up behind him, pressing lightly into his body. He felt every millimeter of contact as white heat.

"Anytime, Chakotay," he said in a very low voice, "you just tell me when, and where..."

All he could do was barely nod, overcome by his body's response to this man. Tom left the bathroom. At the sound of the door closing, Chakotay leaned heavily on the sink, hung his head and tried to breathe. He tapped his chest.

"Chakotay to Janeway."

"Janeway here."

He knew from her response she was not alone. "I'm going to be about fifteen minutes late, there are some things I'd like to finish up before bridge duty. Will that be a problem?" He was surprised at how normal he sounded.

"No, not at all. See you then. Janeway out."

Thank you Kathryn, I love you. He went quickly to his quarters, once again stripping as soon as he was inside, heading for a shower, to wash away the smell of sweat, sex and Tom that permeated his nostrils, to breathe deeply, to ground himself. He put on clean clothes and a spot of aftershave. For her sake, and his, he wanted to appear as normal as possible.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom entered the bridge, feeling too damned good. His body was still humming, just slightly, just enough to give him a buzz. He only had to keep his mind on his duties, and not on the man who'd be sitting directly behind him.

"Hey Tom," Harry said quietly as he passed Ops.

"Hey yourself Har." He grinned at his friend then immediately toned it down. Harry smiled back and he continued down the steps.

You can do it, Tom. The red head of his captain was coming up on his right. He put the Starfleet rod into his spine and proceeded to the helm. He was just touching the ensign who'd relieved him for lunch on the shoulder when the voice he knew too well came at him from behind.

"Lieutenant Paris."

He turned and met the grey-blue eyes of his commanding officer. "Yes, Captain?" His heart had begun to pound loudly. He tried not to cringe, imagining the worst - You've been fucking my lover again, haven't you?

"I believe your shift started five minutes ago."

"Yes, ma'am. I apologize for being late." He turned back to the helm.

"Perhaps you should apologize to Ensign Br'ill. She's been waiting to go to lunch."

He couldn't tell if she was kidding, as she sometimes did, or was really giving him shit. He turned again and chose the safe response. "Yes, ma'am, I'll do that." He could read nothing in her countenance either.

"Good. Then when she returns, I'd like to speak to you in the ready room."

Shit. Damn. You've been fucking my lover again, haven't you... "Yes, Captain."

She nodded in satisfaction. On shaky legs, he turned one more time, apologized to Sarah and gratefully sat in his safe, familiar chair and got back to work, concentrating on the course heading, rechecking it just for something to do.

He heard the lift doors open and knew without turning around that Chakotay had finally come on to the bridge. He listened to the greeting between captain and first officer, as he had for years, heard the tone of their voices, the warmth that seeped in even though they tried to keep things strictly professional. He tried to understand what they were saying, for the first time ever feeling guilty for doing it. This surprised him. Luckily, he supposed then, he couldn't distinguish the words, but knew from how it sounded that they were saying personal things. Guilt was replaced by a stab of jealousy. Jesus, he thought, where the hell did that come from? The next hour was spent trying to figure out just how he felt about the situation he had put himself into. He thought he was fairly clear. Sex with Chakotay was just the fulfillment of a years-old fantasy of his. It was good. It was very very hot. It was intense. It was confusing.

Sarah returned from her lunch break, and Tom's hands began to sweat. He hadn't turned around once in the past hour, he hadn't had to face either the Captain or Chakotay. Standing, he gave her his post, took a deep breath that he hoped no one noticed and swiveled. He deliberately did not meet the first officer's eyes, not believing he could handle that, not right then.

"Captain, you wished to see me?"

He caught Chakotay's sharp turn to his right out of the corner of his eye. He stole a quick glance at him. He'd touched the captain's forearm and was looking at her intently, as though trying to discern what she was planning. She smiled back at him, and Tom could see that Chakotay couldn't tell what the smile meant. He couldn't either. His heart began to pound loudly again. Captain Janeway faced him directly and Tom almost got his eyes back on her in time. Almost. Tom, just go get a phaser...

"Yes, Tom," Janeway said as she stood, "Follow me, please." She headed for the ready room and Tom followed, again deliberately not meeting the stare of the man who would be in the room with them, whether he was still on the bridge or not.

The captain motioned Tom to sit at the desk while she walked to the replicator. She offered him something, he declined automatically out of surprise. She never offered him anything. Her cup of coffee materialized and Tom realized he actually was very thirsty so asked for a glass of water. He was really craving a beer, or anything alcoholic and chuckled to himself at the thought. Captain, I'll have a whiskey on the rocks please... She handed him the water and sat behind the desk, sipping her coffee. He wondered if she was trying to unnerve him, but really couldn't imagine she would do that. Then again, he'd never been fucking the love of her life before. He took a swallow of water and placed the glass on the desk in front of him, studying it as though it had a galaxy of answers in it's swirling depths.

"Tom."

He looked directly at her and rubbed his palms on his thighs. "Yes, Captain?"

"I'd like to talk a little bit about the situation we all are in now. I think it's best to get some things out in the open, don't you agree?"

Actually, he didn't. He'd almost rather be yelled at by B'Elanna than be sitting there. "Of course."

"Good." She sipped her coffee again. Tom suddenly got it. She was nervous. He breathed. "First of all, I think I owe you a small apology, for making a holographic representation of you, for Chakotay's birthday..."

God, please let's not talk about the holodeck, please? "Well, Captain, we're probably even there." He tried to make it light. He really did NOT want to talk about being on the holodeck, having sex with Chakotay, the fulfillment of his fantasies, seeing the two of them in positions he wasn't meant to see, having her there watching him being fucked and getting all the more turned on by that. Please change the topic.

She chuckled. "Yes, I guess we are at that. And I trust that some of the things you saw that night will remain just between the three of us?" She fiddled with the mug in front of her.

He was more than relieved to reassure her. "Of course, Captain, you can trust me, I won't tell a soul."

"Thank you. I confess, I've never been in this situation before. I don't think there are any ground rules for it, though I did look in the Doctor's databases, for any counseling advice. Don't worry, I didn't consult him directly," she said with a small smile. "But there are a few things I wanted to get clear."

"Okay."

"I love that man out there. I know you know that. I've waited a long time to be with him and I plan to stay here for the rest of my life. I will not stand for anyone hurting him. Do you understand me?" She looked at him with the Janeway look, the one that sent aliens running in the other direction.

"Yes, ma'am." He didn't know what else to say.

"I mean it, Tom. If you hurt him in any way, I will make your life so miserable you'll wish we'd drop you out an airlock."

"I understand," he said sincerely. "All I can do is promise that I'll do my best not to cause him any pain. That's not my intention, certainly..."

She interrupted him. "I know it's not." Sipping her coffee Tom got it again. She didn't want to hear what his intentions were, didn't want to hear the words come out of his mouth. He'd allow her that.

"Captain, may I speak freely?"

She hesitated, then agreed.

"My intention was and is not to hurt you, either. Ma'am."

He saw her eyes get misty. "Thank you, Tom. But so far, anyway, I'm not hurt. Now, another thing I feel the need to say. I can't allow this situation to affect the running of Voyager. Our personal feelings can't be allowed to interfere with the demands of this ship and crew. What happened yesterday, and last evening, cannot be repeated. If you have some personal issues, then deal with them in the appropriate way, but try not to bring them to work."

Tom looked down at his hands. "Again, Captain, I'll do my best. This is new for me, too."

"Thank you, that's all I can ask for. Just one more thing," she said. He steeled himself. "It's about B'Elanna..."

This time he interrupted her without thinking. "Excuse me, but I think that's a topic that is strictly between B'Elanna and me," he said with passion. He then realized what he had done. "I apologize, Captain. It's just... well, I've already been given my talking to about 'Lanna. It's a bit of a sensitive subject for me. I'm sorry." Okay, I'll go get my toothbrush now...

She looked at him intently. He saw the wheels turning and could do nothing but wait. "You're not planning on telling her, are you?"

He opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again.

"Tom, I'll concede that it's not really much of my business. I would just hate to see the two of you get into trouble, and I'm worried that she'll end up being the one person who gets hurt, and she is the most innocent." She paused, thinking again. "But I'll give you my guarantee that I won't tell anyone."

He took a deep breath. "Thank you, Captain."

"You're welcome, Tom. And about your work assignment for the next week?"

He was confused. "My work assignment?"

"Yes. You can bring your toothbrush to deck twelve. I believe there are some particularly filthy conduits down there."

She had said it with such a completely straight face, he was momentarily more confused. He'd really have to do that? Then she began to laugh, hard. He started to laugh with her.

"I'm sorry, Tom, I couldn't resist. The look on your face was truly worth it. Really, I'm sorry..." she was still chuckling.

"It's okay, Captain... you know, you should do stand up," he said with a grin.

"I'll think about it. Do you have anything you want to discuss?" She smiled.

"No, ma'am."

"Fine then. You're dismissed." She waved her hand toward the door and picked up her coffee cup.

He got up. "Thank you, Captain." He gave her one of his best Starfleet turns and left. As the ready room doors closed behind him, he heard the beginnings of her laughter again. He shook his head in amazement and walked up the step heading for the helm, starting to chuckle himself.

"Lieutenant?" Chakotay's voice almost startled him, causing his heart to jump.

He met the man's eyes and his stomach flip-flopped. Oh shit, Tom, watch out... "Yes, Commander?"

"Is everything all right?"

He knew exactly what he meant. "Well, I think I might owe you one, sir. I've received a new work assignment for next week," he said significantly.

"Oh?" Chakotay's eyes burned just a bit.

"Yes. Apparently there are some conduits that require my attention on deck twelve," he replied, standing at attention.

"I see," Chakotay said, the beginnings of a grin playing on his mouth. "Well, then, I suppose you do owe me one, at that. We'll discuss payback. As soon as possible." Their eyes locked. Tom broke the gaze out of pure self-preservation.

"Thank you, sir." On almost shaky legs he proceeded on to the helm, relieving Sarah, sinking into his chair, and attempted, one more time that day, to get his attention focused on something other than the taste of the man sitting behind him.
Part 5 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them. Playing, playing, that's all I do...
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Five: Chakotay practices his negotiation skills. Tom is confronted again (poor Tommy) but at least this time it's by a friend.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Chakotay was beginning to wonder if perhaps the Gods really didn't want him to proceed. And whereas he knew his first priority was to the crew and the ship, his second priority was to Kathryn and their relationship, he honestly felt as though he deserved to have time for his third priority as well. He wasn't asking for much, he thought. Just a few hours every couple of days to himself. Not a big thing. Just time for him to relieve the tension he felt. Was that so hard? He chuckled to himself, sitting in his command chair. Poor choice, really poor choice of words, there. He sighed and looked at the helm. Tom was busy taking them through the most boring of space, driving Chakotay absolutely mad.

It was turning out that finding time in the evenings, discreet time, was proving the most difficult. And that's when they, meaning the two of them, were the most free. First, there was the crisis of five days ago. That lasted for two days, double shifts, split shifts, Tom off in the Flyer, Tom working to repair the Flyer, etcetera. Then he had to give time to B'Elanna, who hadn't seen him for a while.

Then that was over, night before last, and Kathryn was making plans for the two of them to spend time together, since they hadn't seen each other in awhile either. And certainly by no means did he begrudge time with Kathryn, he craved that, too. He was merely discovering that his need for sexual release with Tom wasn't the same as his need for release with Kathryn. Quenching one, as marvelous, exciting and soul stirring as it was, didn't quench the other. At all. It was as though he now had two different sex drives. It astounded him. It really made no sense to him. He was dying to talk to someone about it, and if they were home on Earth, he would. Here, he only had the Doctor to consult. He didn't even consider it. He'd tried to do some research on his own, in Voyager's cultural database, about homoerotic drives versus hetero drives, thinking that must be the key, but he didn't learn much. Everybody had both, some people followed both, some didn't, etcetera... etcetera.

Last night it was the same thing. Kathryn wanted to be with him, had reserved holodeck time for the two of them to take a walk, something they hadn't done in too long. It was wonderful. He'd missed it. Missed the sense of freedom, the fantasy that they were not on the ship but could spend time doing whatever they wished. Missed the solitude of just the two of them. He wouldn't have traded it for anything. They came back to her quarters and took a bath together by candlelight, blissfully alone. No one paged them. They made love for hours. It was extraordinary.

And yet, today, sitting on the bridge, with Kathryn in the ready room, the view of Tom's back in front of him, his mind replaying their sexual encounter of now six days ago, he thought he was going to crawl right out of his skin. There was tonight. Kathryn hadn't made plans, but did he have the nerve to actually tell her he wanted time to himself. She'd know what he meant, of course. Well, he couldn't take this any longer. Opening up the console on his right, he sent a confidential message to the helm.

"Tom -- I need to see you. Tonight? C."

He heard the faint beep at the helm and watched Tom read it. Chakotay's heart was thudding in his chest. Please... Tom tapped his console. Now Chakotay's beeped. He opened the message.

"Want to. Need to talk first. T." Damn. He stood up quickly, thinking they could talk there without too much suspicion. He was at the helm in a flash, clapping Tom on the shoulder, causing the pilot to nearly jump out of his chair. He pulled his hand back as if burned.

"Sorry Tom, didn't mean to scare you," he said in a sotto voice.

Tom gave him his cocky grin that faded as their eyes locked together.

Chakotay broke the spell. "What do we need to talk about?"

Tom glanced behind them, to the other people on the bridge. "Um, not here," he whispered.

"Okay. How 'bout my office - I'll get Kathryn to relieve me and ask Sarah to let you go."

"Yeah, your office. Like that idea." The grin returned, but the eyes burned.

Chakotay smiled, his heart pounding in response. "Tom..."

"Sorry," Tom said quietly, but not sincerely. "You know, I think we'll need at least an hour, maybe two to talk..."

He looked down his nose, but couldn't keep the smile supressed. "Would twenty minutes do?"

"I'll talk fast," Tom whispered.

The doors to the ready room opened. Chakotay looked up to see Kathryn hesitate at the sight of them, then smile slightly and continue to her chair. He leaned in closer. "Let me see what I can do," he said as quietly as he could. Tom nodded and turned back to the helm.

He approached the command chairs, his heart fluttering. This was the first real test. He would need to act as normally as possible. Sitting, he leaned over the console, beckoning Kathryn to him.

"Tom needs to talk to me, Kathryn, and I'd like it to happen this afternoon, if that's acceptable to you," he said as calmly as he could.

"And is this talk of a personal nature?" Her voice was emotionless.

He stared at her. "Does that make a difference?" He willed himself to not sound angry, but his frustration over this situation was reaching new heights with each passing minute.

"Well, do you think it's acceptable to leave a duty station just to talk?"

"We've done it many times," he retorted.

She sighed and stared at him. "You're right. I apologize. Would you like to use the ready room?"

He could see that she was trying to appease him. The ready room would be less tempting... "That would be fine, if we can be guaranteed privacy. To talk. I just don't want to be barged in on. I think this is a little serious."

She took a deep breath. "Okay. That's fair. Go ahead. Take care of it."

He touched her hand. "Thank you, Kathryn." She nodded.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It's about B'Elanna," Tom said hesitantly.

Next to him, trying to remain calm and grounded, Chakotay silently encouraged him to continue. He felt so close to being out of control with this man that even invoking 'Lanna's name didn't stop the intense need he felt to pounce on Tom. He breathed deeply and waited.

"She's suddenly decided that I'm not invested enough in our relationship, that I spend too much time with Harry, or on the holodeck, or working on my car... so she wants me to commit to a certain number of days per week, or a certain amount of hours, I'm not sure which since it changes. And man, I'm feeling like I barely have any time to myself, not to mention that I'm about to go nuts from watching you walk around the bridge each day...." He petered out.

"I understand, believe me," Chakotay said, his voice dropping unconsciously, "at least you don't have to sit and stare at your back all day, right in front of you..." He was drifting closer to Tom but caught himself just in time, shaking his head. Talk, we're supposed to be talking. "So tell me, what do you want to have happen?"

"You're kidding, right?" He said softly, "I want a night to myself so I can come to your quarters and you can fuck me until I pass out."

Chakotay quietly moaned. "Tom ... my self-control is pretty dangerously low at the moment..."

"I can help you relieve some tension before we leave."

"Yes, I'm sure you can, but not here. Not in the ready room." Not in Kathryn's space. Sometimes unspoken words were the loudest.

"No, I guess not." Tom stared at him for a moment, then looked away. He began to laugh quietly. "Okay. So where were we? Oh yeah, you asked me what I want to have happen... well, I'd like B'Elanna to have some faith that I'm not running away, but that's another matter entirely. I'd like to be able to have a few evenings to do what I want. And I don't want to have to explain what I'm going to do with those evenings."

Chakotay was studying his hands, moving gently together in his lap. "I don't think I can give you any relationship advice, because I'm not a disinterested party. I want you to have free evenings as well. I don't want a quick screw in a turbolift, well, I do, but that's beside the point. I don't want to squeeze you into the middle of our shifts, so that leaves the evenings. So. What would happen if you just said to B'Elanna what you said to me? You want an evening, and you don't want to feel as though you're having to justify it by giving a good reason?"

"She'd be upset, but she'd probably stay mostly quiet about it."

"And could you live with that?'"

At that Tom paused. "Yes, I think so. I could help her deal with it. I'd want to help her deal with it."

"So, would that take care of tonight?" Chakotay's heart started pounding again.

"Yes." There was no hesitation. Their eyes locked again.

"Okay," Chakotay heard the word, surprised it came from his own mouth. His brain finally kicked in. "Twenty hundred hours? My quarters."

"I'll be there," Tom replied in a husky voice.

Chakotay had to get them out of there and back to the bridge, to safe ground, quickly. He stood and Tom did the same. Without a word they returned to their duty stations, intent on studying the consoles in front of each of them.

After a few minutes of silence, Kathryn leaned over to him. "Well, did you get things straightened out?"

He had been thinking about how to tell her, and hadn't come up with an answer yet. "Yes." He contemplated the slightly relevant data in front of him.

"Is there anything you want to tell me?"

He had no idea what she was thinking but the tone of her voice was making him angry all over again. He very definitely did not want to discuss it there. He jabbed his finger sharply, pointing to the ready room doors. She nodded.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Why did you think I would have something to tell you? That was a personal and private conversation," he said the moment they sat on the couches. He was trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to stay calm.

"Wait a minute. I wasn't asking you to betray any confidences, Chakotay. I just thought it might affect us in some way. Remember? Open and honest," she said, again an edge of something undefinable apparent in her voice.

He looked intently at her. "What is it you think you know?"

She hesitated, crossing her arms. "You left the messages between you and Tom on the console. You really should be more careful," she said sarcastically.

"I see," he responded, more sharply than he intended. His anger was threatening to overtake his reason, he realized, so he took some slow breaths. "Look. I was waiting until we had some privacy to talk to you. And, frankly, I wasn't sure how to approach it. How open and honest are we going to be as a matter of practicality? Am I going to tell you everything? If I say, 'Kathryn, I'd like some time to myself tonight' you're going to know that I want to spend it with Tom. Should I just come out and tell you that? Which way is fairer, to everyone? I have no damned idea..." He dropped his head to his hands, rubbing his face harshly, feeling as though he was going to scream.

She didn't move for a long moment. Finally scooting closer to him, she put her arm around his shoulders. "Chakotay... I'm sorry. I don't know how to handle it either. Can we do this again?" She waited until he made eye contact. "Is Tom going to be able to see you tonight?"

"He says yes."

"Do you want to have dinner with me?"

He breathed. He hadn't thought that far, but at the moment, he just wanted an hour or so to be by himself and relax. "I think I really do need some time for me, before he comes over."

"Do you know that I love you?" she asked softly.

Turning quickly, he took her into his arms and held her tightly. He felt her take a very deep breath as she buried her face in his neck. "I'm sorry, Kathryn..."

"Sh-h-h, it'll be okay...."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dinner had been replicated and he had eaten as much as he could get down. The rest of the afternoon had been fairly uneventful, which on the one hand served to give him a sense of peace, on the other had given him no distraction whatsoever. His eyes kept straying to Tom, furtively. The hours had dragged.

He'd taken a shower and relaxed on the couch, reading his book. At one point, he'd just closed his eyes and consciously put his relationship with Kathryn, his feelings for her, inside a mental box, a beautifully carved box with a gold interior. Closed the lid with love and set the box aside. Tonight was for him and him alone.

As the time approached, his butterflies returned. His skin felt like it was on fire. His heartbeat was anything but normal. The effort to relax was suddenly impossible.

The door chimed. Twenty hundred hours on the dot. He took a breath and went to open it personally, hitting the interior pad with force. The door swooshed open and Tom came in, throwing a 'see ya' over his shoulder to someone in the corridor. As the door closed, Chakotay barely had time to contemplate who that was. Barely had time to take a breath. Tom was on him, pushing him to the wall this time, taking his mouth and pressing into him. Yes... These were the feelings he had been craving, this was the taste he had been wanting. He succumbed, exhaling forcefully, pulling Tom more closely to him, relishing the strength and power he felt between them. Tom moaned into his mouth and rotated his hips, feeling for the bottom edge of Chakotay's shirt, pulling it up gradually.... Yes, Tom.....

........With Tom on his back underneath him, Chakotay could watch every expression on his face as he entered him, steadily, smoothly, overwhelmed with sensation compounded by Tom's eyes locked onto his. Tom reached up and pulled his head down, thrusting his tongue into Chakotay's mouth, letting out a long grunt as Chakotay made the final move into him. He pressed down, squeezing Tom's erection between them, seeing his eyes close, hearing his moan, feeling the tight grip of him as he slowly began the motion that brought pleasure to them both. He dropped his head again and plundered Tom's mouth, his thrusting increasing in speed, using his body to stroke Tom each time. He could taste Tom's excitement, which fed his own as they moved together, all skin, and muscle, and sweat, tongues, hard hard thrusts, spiraling further and further upwards.... the moans and groans at first sent down each other's throats now voiced aloud. Their climaxes approached and everything slowed so they could savor the sensations, but they were too far past the point of control. Chakotay came first, thrusting hard into Tom and plunging his tongue into his mouth, sending him over the edge, his semen spurting between them, his hands pulling Chakotay even further into him with a loud groan. Collapsing, Chakotay tried to get his breath back. The room faded....

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom woke up to the sensation of a large, warm, muscular body curled up behind him, breathing against his neck. He smiled. Shit, he thought, he was in trouble. His life was becoming increasingly complicated each time he had sex with this man. Each time he wanted to give Chakotay more, and more. He could feel it creeping into his daily existence, this need, like a drug. A desire that was so different from any of Tom's previous encounters with men. He had only known Chakotay as a superior officer in one capacity or another, had really only ever felt awe and admiration for him, for his courage, his convictions, his beliefs. They had built that into somewhat of a friendship. He had saved Chakotay's life and would do it again in a heartbeat. Moreso at that moment...

And here he was, giving and taking the ultimate pleasure with him. One comment, made half-jokingly but half very seriously at a moment when he thought he was going to die. When they were going to die. He'd thought, at the time, that God had been pulling the strings in the most bizarre way. He and Chakotay. Trapped. Alone together. About to die. And all Tom could think was that he wanted to have sex with him. That somehow it would be a perfect end to their relationship. The sparks between them, usually expressed in anger or frustration would be channeled into something amazing for them both. They could die happy. He'd seen the change in Chakotay's countenance when he offered it, knew he would have said 'yes', and thought about that, fantasized about it, for years.

And here he was. In deep, deep trouble. He didn't want this to end, however he defined it. It didn't feel to him that it took anything away from his love for B'Elanna. He would do whatever he could not to hurt her...

Chakotay stirred behind him, but only moved a little closer, his arm falling on Tom's waist. Oh, God, if I only had the heart to wake you up so we could do it again. He was surprised at himself. Twice in one night would normally be more than enough. He slowly raised up enough to look at the chronometer. 0134. Shit. He'd have to get out of there and return to his quarters. Rolling away as silently and gently as he could, he got up and went to the bathroom then gathered up his clothes. He dressed just as quietly, went into the living area, found a stray PADD and put a message on it. After leaving the PADD on the second pillow, he pulled the covers up around the sleeping form and squatted next to the bed. He studied the man for one very long minute. Then he leaned in, kissed his head and left.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He didn't see Harry, who had been playing poker on another part of the deck and was heading for the lift. Harry saw him, however, leaving Commander Chakotay's quarters at nearly 0200 hours in wrinkled clothes. He slowed down, for some reason not wanting to run into Tom, remembering the strange scenario he watched on the bridge that afternoon. First between his best friend and the commander at the helm, immediately followed by the captain and the commander unsuccessfully controlling their voices (though he still hadn't been able to distinguish words), then Tom being taken into the ready room, then what appeared to be the commander getting angry at the captain, whereby the two of them went into the ready room. Over dinner, Tom had been evasive about the whole thing. And now this. He had an uncomfortable feeling. He headed for Tom's quarters.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom had just replicated himself a syntheholic beer, having stripped off his clothes and tossed them in the refresher. He downed half the beer at once and headed for a shower. A long, hot shower, hopefully calming his senses enough to sleep for a few hours before alpha duty shift. His door chimed, halting him in his tracks. Who the hell... He asked the computer. Harry? Calling for the door to open, he went looking for a robe.

"Harry, what the hell are you doing, coming here at this hour?" Tom asked, tying the belt.

Harry, who had been standing just inside the doorway, walked in and sat. "I could ask you the same thing, coming out of Commander Chakotay's quarters at 0200. What the hell is going on? And don't give me bullshit either, Tom..."

Tom could see that Harry was just ever so slightly drunk. Poker night. Shit and damn. Fuck. "Nothing's going on.... why don't you just get yourself home and sleep, you could use it. I was about to do the same..."

Harry continued to sit on the couch and stare at his best friend. "Why didn't you come play cards with us tonight? I went looking for you at 'Lanna's, and she said you wanted some time to yourself, so I came here but there wasn't any answer. The computer said this was where you were, though. Odd, don't you think?"

"What - that I didn't answer my door? I was trying to get some peace and quiet."

"No, odd that I then see you leaving the commander's quarters in the middle of the night."

Tom sighed deeply. Shit shit shit. Rock or hard place? Which should he pick? "Harry, you're my best friend right?" Harry nodded. "So as my best friend, I'm asking you, forget what you saw tonight, okay? For me? Please?"

Harry closed his eyes briefly. "Jesus, Tom, you and the commander? What are you thinking? What about B'Elanna? And what about the captain?! Are you trying to get yourself demoted again for Christ's sake? Jesus...."

"Don't worry about that, it's not gonna happen. My only worry is 'Lanna. She is not going to find out, do you understand me?"

"How can you not worry about the captain?! She can leave you on the next M-class planet we find and not look back!"

"Harry! Forget the captain! She won't do anything to me. B'Elanna. That's who I'm worried about. She mustn't know, mustn't suspect. Will you help me with that?"

"Of course I will, Tom." There was no question in Harry's mind he would support his friend, but still he felt a nagging doubt. B'Elanna was also his friend. He sighed to himself and looked hard at Tom. "How long has this been going on?" he asked softly.

"Just a little while. Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. It's very complicated." Tom reached over and took Harry's hand. "I'm sorry."

"Hey, I'm okay with that part of it. It's not like I'm jealous or anything. It's been too long for that..."

"Yeah, but, Chakotay's the first man I've been with since..."

Harry interrupted him. "Let's not go there, okay, Tom? Unless you want to tell me the juicy details or something," he said, grinning, "like how good he is..."

"I'm certainly not going to tell tales of your commanding officer in bed, Harry."

"Not any?"

Tom shook his head. "And right now, I really just want to take a long hot shower and try and get some sleep. So I can count on you to keep your mouth shut, can't I? To everyone?" He stood up and walked toward the door.

Harry followed. "Yup. And maybe I'll take you out and ply you with alcohol - then you'll spill."

The door swooshed open. Tom shrugged noncommittally. After saying good night, the two friends parted, the door closed, and Harry walked to his quarters, letting it all sink in. The one thing he was coming to see was that Tom was extraordinarily serious about the situation. His usual demeanor when discussing his sexual escapades was nowhere to be seen. Harry sincerely hoped his analysis of that fact was incorrect.
Part 6 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them and again, I play to play.
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Six: The direction of the wind is changing...
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Chakotay woke up slowly, somehow aware the alarm would be going off very soon. Looking at the chronometer he sighed. 0627. Three minutes to go.

"Computer abort alarm," he said in a voice rusty with sleep.

He stretched and his hand ran into what felt like a PADD. Tom. Body memories washed over him, details of the night he'd just spent flashing through his brain. Gods... He rolled onto his side, propping his head up with one hand, accessing the PADD with the other.

"C -- thank you for a wonderful time sounds so trite. I can't think of any other way to say it. I hope we won't have to wait another week before we can do it again. I want to continue. Hope you slept well. Tom."

The grin breaking across his face was enormous. A loud groan turned into a laugh. He rolled onto his stomach, the groan returning as his slight erection was pressed into the mattress. He entered a responding message into the PADD, then pushed himself out of bed quickly, dropped the PADD on the bedside table and went into the bathroom with a bounce in his step.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He'd been sitting in the messhall for about twenty minutes, eating breakfast, reading his book, waiting for Tom to come in. B'Elanna had, and Harry, as usual. But it was now 0725, the start of alpha shift was getting closer and still no Tom. Which wasn't usual. Chakotay picked up his book and the PADD and returned to his quarters.

The computer told him Tom was at home, alone, so he tried to hail him. No answer. Well, maybe he was just in the shower, he thought. Chakotay left for Tom's quarters, only intending to drop off his message and go to work. He hit the door chime, but got no response, and the computer told him he was still inside. After hesitating a few seconds, looking around to see that no one was watching, he put in an override code and entered.

The sound of rhythmic heavy breathing and very low lights brought Chakotay to the bed, where he found Tom deeply asleep. They were both due on the bridge in twenty-five minutes. He sat on the edge after increasing the illumination and shook the man's shoulder, butterflies coming back with a vengeance as he felt the warmth of Tom's skin.

He started to move under Chakotay's touch, rolling over, eyes opening gradually. "Hunh? I thought... I came home...."

Chakotay laughed softly. "You did. You've gotta get up, Tom, shift starts in twenty-five minutes."

"Shit!" He started to scramble out of bed, Chakotay jumping up to give him room. "Shit. The captain will have my head for sure now..." he muttered, dashing to the bathroom.

Chakotay did a quick straighten of the bedclothes and placed his PADD on Tom's pillow, hearing water running in the sink, Tom's words finally registering. He went to the bathroom, greeted by the sight of a naked Tom rinsing his mouth, splashing water on his face and hair. He tried to ignore the view.

"The captain understands when people are a few minutes late," he said. "Can I do anything to help you? Want something to eat from the replicator?"

Tom looked at him askance. "She understands? Maybe where you're concerned, but certainly not me." He picked up his shaver. "Food? Thanks, um, yeah, a peanut butter energy bar and a large orange juice. Please."

Chakotay looked at the smile beaming back at him. Unbidden feelings settled in his chest. He made a conscious effort to breathe and went to the replicator, mulling over what Tom said. He couldn't imagine Kathryn would give her pilot a hard time professionally. But then again, her parameters were not always as clear cut as she thought they were. When he got back to the bathroom Tom had finished shaving and was combing his hair quickly.

"Thanks for the breakfast," he said, taking a bite.

"Tom, what did you mean about the captain giving you a hard time?"

He swallowed and downed half the glass of orange juice. "It's not that I didn't deserve it, I mean, I was five minutes late last week - you know, after the lunch hour we spent in your office? And sometimes she's kidding me, but this time she wasn't. She was pissed, made me apologize to Sarah..." He bit off another large piece.

Now Chakotay was beginning to feel pissed. Among other things. Extremely protective for one, and not of the woman sitting in the command chair. He watched Tom watching him, drinking his juice, their eyes beginning to lock together. Tom put down the glass. Chakotay was leaning on the doorjamb, his arms crossed. Tom smiled at him.

"Gotta get dressed..." he said as he approached. Chakotay didn't budge. "You like to keep me from moving, don't you...." Tom's voice had suddenly dropped to the husky range. He was standing about a foot away.

Chakotay looked into this man's blue eyes. Something had happened that he didn't want to figure out, not just yet. He reached out and gently put his hand behind Tom's neck, pulling him forward until he could meet his mouth.

The kiss he gave him was soft, and tender, their lips moved together almost languidly as Tom followed his lead, returning each slow kiss, all concentration focused on the feel of their mouths. They were barely breathing, the most overwhelming sensation in their chests was a pounding heart. Reverberating in their ears. Chakotay gradually increased the pressure, and felt Tom respond, then pulled away slowly, looking deeply into Tom's eyes, rubbing a thumb along the side of his neck.

"I'll see you on the bridge," he said quietly, then turned and left.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Stunned, Tom watched his door swoosh open, heard Chakotay greet Harry, and saw his friend enter the quarters - all in slow motion.

"Tom... Tom! Come on, you're gonna be late...."

Tom focused for the first time on the man standing directly in front of him. "Yeah, late... can't be late," he said, beginning to move quickly. Harry kept up a running chatter at him while he dressed as rapidly as he could. Shift started in five minutes. He finally noticed the PADD and picked it up. Harry was saying something about Neelix's idea of breakfast rolls that morning. He opened the message.

"Tom - Trite or not, it's how I feel, too. Waiting six days is out of the question. Are you up for a match of hoverball tonight? Chakotay."

He tried to control the grin that was spreading across his face as he turned the PADD off.

"Tom?" Harry called to him, now near the doorway.

"Yeah, coming..." he said, dropping the PADD on his bed before dashing out the door with his best friend. In the lift, he caught Harry staring at him. "What?" he asked him.

"You've barely said ten words to me," Harry said. "I'm assuming you're distracted in a good way?"

"Just between you and me Har? I am in very very deep trouble..."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chakotay was grateful he was alone at that moment. The thirty seconds it would take the lift to reach the bridge were a godsend. He suddenly called for a stop, desperate for another thirty, or forty, just to try and slow the sensations in his chest. Allowing himself to collapse backwards against the wall, hands spread on the carpeted surface, he closed his eyes and willed his body to take some deep breaths. Gods... What the hell has possessed him to do that? He didn't have time to think about it now. If he even wanted to think about it, which in his mind was the debatable point. Don't think, Chakotay. He took another cleansing breath. A body memory of being wrapped up in Tom, complete with the smell of his neck, overtook him. Don't feel, Chakotay! Go back to thinking, just not about that man... He pictured his desk with staffing evaluation reports waiting for him. Staffing evaluations... he was concerned about Renlay Sharr again... he'd come up with an idea yesterday, but what was it... yes, that was it... He called for the lift to resume, his mind on the crew member who, unknowingly, was saving his life.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chakotay felt fairly normal entering the bridge, hearing the low hum of conversation and consoles working as alpha shift took over the running of the ship. It was just 0755. Kathryn wasn't sitting in her chair, but the ready room doors were open and he could see her at her desk reviewing something on a PADD, drinking her coffee, her feet propped up as usual. He took the opportunity given to watch her before being noticed. He listened to his heart, tuning out everything but her, and him. His love for her was still there, undiminished and for the most part, unchanged. She looked up and their eyes met. He felt a jolt that he couldn't define, then she smiled broadly and waved him in. Smiling, he joined her.

"Good morning, Kathryn," he said, sitting in front of her.

"Good morning to you," she said jovially. "Want some tea? How are you?"

He knew he'd have to answer that, but, again, didn't know how. "No thank you, I've had my fill this morning. How many cups is that for you so far?" He fell back on one of their old routines.

She grinned. "So, you're going to avoid the question by giving me shit about my caffeine consumption? Okay, I'll play along. Let me see, one upon waking though the usual bedside service wasn't around, two during my shower, three at breakfast, four about a half hour ago, which makes this cup number five. Pretty good start to the day, don't you think?"

He couldn't tell if she was making this up, or just trying to get to him. Having spent the past six months getting her to reduce it to three cups by the start of alpha, she knew what this information would do. He decided he didn't have the energy to play, he was still too shaky. "Well, then, no wonder you're in such a cheerful mood," he said, consciously giving her a smile.

She blinked, but he had to hand it to her, she didn't miss a beat. "Yup, nothing like a drug-induced high. So, shall we start over? How are you this morning?" She took another sip of coffee, but her eyes were firmly locked onto his.

He took his umpteenth deep breath of the past half hour. "I'm fine, Kathryn. Really."

"I trust that you would tell me if you weren't," she said quietly. "So did you have a good time last night?"

Shit, Kathryn... He studied her intently. Assuming that insecurity was the overriding reason for the question, he gave her what she needed. "It was fun. I admit, it was alot of fun."

"I see. Well, that's good." Her light tone didn't go along with the look in her eyes, however. "Have you made any more dates?"

"Nothing concrete. I asked him to play hoverball tonight - a different kind of fun. I'd actually been missing that sort of exercise, and he's a good opponent." He thought his explanation sounded pretty reasonable, overall.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom and Harry entered the bridge, walking quickly. Tom's eyes immediately went to the command chairs, but both were empty. Thank God.

"Lieutenant Paris. Ensign Kim." Tuvok's voice stopped their progress.

Tom turned to the tactical station, seeing Harry do the same out the corner of his eye. They responded almost in unison.

"I believe that alpha duty shift commenced two minutes ago," Tuvok intoned. "It is always preferable to arrive for duty five minutes before, so the change of personnel will be completed by the time the shift begins."

"Yes, sir," they said. Tom proceeded to the helm, relieving the gamma pilot, fuming. He immediately sent a message to Harry.

"H - could that guy have found any more words to say 'you're late'?? T." He sent it, smiling to himself at the joke. Assuming Chakotay was in the ready room, he casually turned in his seat to get a handle on what was happening. His console beeped. He noticed the ready room doors open and caught a glimpse of the two of them, talking. His heart skipped. The beep repeated.

"T - I heard he has a new holoprogram, wanna check it out for old time's sake? H." It was all Tom could do not to burst out laughing. He felt as though he was strung so tightly...


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kathryn emptied her coffee cup and stood. "You'll let me know what crewmember Sharr says, I assume."

"Of course," he said, standing as well.

"Good. Now let's get out there and start running those tactical drills. Unless you feel your time would be better spent in your office?"

He hesitated, then decided it would be prudent to remain on the bridge. Even if it meant having to look at Tom. "I'll stay here until lunch time." He swept his arm toward the door. She smiled and walked onto the bridge, with him right behind.

Studiously ignoring the blond pilot, he sat in his command chair. Opening the console between them, he saw a message from Tuvok and opened it. Shit. Tom hadn't made it. He was about to delete it when Kathryn leaned over and read.

"Twice in one week," she said. "Enter that in his personnel record, Commander."

He couldn't believe it. "Two minutes?" Glancing at Tom, he saw him stiffen. He'd heard.

"The amount of time is irrelevant. It's the frequency of occurance." Her voice was the model of calm reason. She turned to the helm. "Lieutenant Paris."

Damn it, Kathryn. Chakotay steeled himself to remain neutral. He watched Tom turn around. Their eyes met briefly. He tried to send an apology.

"Yes, Captain?"

"Do you agree that being late for bridge duty twice in one week is unacceptable?"

Chakotay wondered if Kathryn could see the change in Tom's eyes, or if that was something only he and a few others would catch. "Yes, ma'am," he said with no apparent emotion. To the first officer, Tom looked and sounded furious.

"And you'll be more diligent in the future, won't you?"

"Yes, ma'am."

She stood and approached him, handing him a PADD. "Very good, Tom. Here are the evasive patterns for the first five drills."

He turned back to the helm and began to enter the data, his shoulders tense, his jaw set firmly. Kathryn returned to her seat without meeting Chakotay's eyes, which, he thought, was probably a good thing. He was feeling close to furious himself and trying to decide what to do about it. She sat with the lithe grace she had, crossed her legs, relaxed her hands on the arms of her chairs and commanded Tuvok to begin the drills.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Again, everyone," Kathryn ordered firmly.

Tom swore to himself and tried to relax his shoulders. He was dying to roll his head to relieve some of the tension in his neck but knew he'd only be ordered to stop. Trying to stay calm and not get angry was proving to be his biggest job this morning, not how to keep Voyager from getting blown out of the Delta Quadrant by Tuvok's design. And worse, he could feel Chakotay trying not to watch him. Harry's voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Alien vessel approaching. Shield strength at maximum....."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes! He'd shaved 2 more seconds off the final maneuver, dipping the ship sharply to the left, just missing the other vessel. His adrenaline was pumping, looking at the readouts.

"Mr. Paris!" Kathryn said sharply. "That was too close! I want 3 seconds, 3 seconds off that part."

He slapped his hands down on the helm, seeing red. Don't say anything Tom, don't turn around. He heard Chakotay snort in exasperation. He couldn't believe it, that the first officer would openly make such a sound, but he was grateful for it. He had no voice, but that man did. Taking a very very deep breath, he sent him thanks. Fine. Let's do it again, and I'll show you, Captain.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By the twenty-third time through only the second drill, Tom's eyes were beginning to blur. His lack of sleep was catching up with him, and each time he thought about that, memories of the night before would start replaying in his mind. He was getting too tired to fight them off. Voyager was nearing the point where another alien vessel appeared off starboard on a suicide mission. He had to make the ship hang just long enough to take out the third ship in the scenario then send her veering almost straight down to avoid the collision. The Captain was wanting him to hang Voyager another 2.7 seconds. Why, he had no idea. Just to give him a hard time, he suspected. He watched the countdown, and the viewports, his neck in knots, his mind beginning to wander...

The noise of the fake explosion brought him out of his reverie. The humor in the situation was too much for him. He had just been thinking about Chakotay inside of him. Laughter was beginning to seriously bubble up.

"Mr. Paris!" The Captain made no effort to disguise her anger. "We just blew up!"

"Oops," he heard himself saying. He was sure he'd only thought it.

Muffled laughter rippled throughout the bridge. He groaned, he knew he was in for it now. Setting his shoulders as best he could, he took the chance to turn around for the first time. One look at his commanding officer, standing there with her hands on her hips and fire in her eyes, made him sigh deeply. He did see, however, that the first officer was trying unsuccessfully to hide his own laughter behind a hand. Tom almost lost it again.

"Mis-ter Par-is. Do you have an explanation for your insubordination? Are you wanting me to put yet another notation in your permanent record?" Her voice was like cold, hard steel.

He watched with almost horror as Chakotay jumped up out of his seat from behind her, his eyes black, staring at the Captain with fury. He wasn't sure what to do. He opened his mouth, but Chakotay beat him to it.

"Captain," he said, moving quickly between her and Tom, "I would like to talk to you in the ready room. Now. If you would."

Tom heard the tone, fascinated on one hand, terrified on the other. Please, don't have a scene about everything - here, on the bridge. He watched the stand-off. Their eyes were boring holes right through their skulls. Chakotay didn't back down, not for a millisecond. He was amazed. They so rarely disagreed in public, not to this extent. The amazement continued. Captain Janeway turned on her heel and stalked to the ready room without saying a word. Chakotay met his eyes for a brief, charged moment before following her. The doors swooshed shut behind them.

Tom spun around and dropped his head into waiting hands, his elbows holding everything up. He let his heartbeat slow and the reality of the situation sink in. Shit and damnation. The tension on the bridge was palpable as people tried to busy themselves. Waiting.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"What the hell are you doing, talking to me like that?" Kathryn slammed her hand down on the desk, causing a stray PADD to jump.

Chakotay was still so angry he was having difficulty focusing. He breathed. He wanted to pace, but he sat across from her, as usual, trying to inject some normality into the situation. Knowing she was waiting for him to answer almost made him take more time. The god of grace must have tapped him on the shoulder, he thought, for he found himself relenting, looking at this woman he loved who was clearly out of control.

"I apologize for my tone of voice, Kathryn, but I felt, and still do feel that the situation was escalating too quickly. Something had to be done." His anger was somewhat abated, but not entirely gone.

"Oh - and you are the one to do that?" she said sarcastically. "You are hardly unbiased in this situation!"

"And you are? Spirits. Do you even see what you're doing out there?!"

"I am trying to avoid this ship getting blown to kingdom come! I have a responsibility...."

He interrupted her harshly. "Do not give me that responsibility line. What's been going on out there all morning has nothing to do this ship. Don't insult my intelligence, Kathryn."

"Nothing to do with the ship? I think you're little fun and games with Tom is affecting your judgement, Chakotay. His performance of his duties has been pathetic, to say the least. And you defending him tells me that you can't keep your personal business separate from your professional business." She glared at him.

He folded his arms and regarded her through his own haze of simmering anger. "You know, I may feel a more acute need to defend him at the moment, but I would do the same for any crew member who is being unfairly targeted - and perhaps if you discuss this situation with your logical friend Tuvok, he might be able to get you to see reason. It's clear to me that you're not going to take my word on this, even though this is part of my job. And at the risk of incurring your wrath again --- you are taking things that are personal between the three of us and projecting them on Tom professionally. That is patently unfair, and quite frankly, Kathryn, beneath you." He willed himself to take another deep breath.

Her eyes were still blazing, but she wasn't responding. He watched her processing and knew that, on some level, he'd made a dent. He also knew that she would never admit it outright. He took another risk.

"If you want my suggestion, and I know that you probably don't at the moment, I think you should dismiss people for a lunch break. Everyone has been working damned hard out there, they are exhausted, and shaving another second off one of these drills is not going to make a bit of difference, and you know it."

She met his eyes. The anger was still there, but he could actually see some blue returning. "It is lunchtime, I'll grant you that," she said between clenched teeth. Her voice lowered, the steel edge of it clearly heard. "But that is all I'll grant you. I need this crew to work at 150% of their potential. They know I expect that. I'm not going to lower my standards for one of them because he happens to be sharing your bed occasionally."

His anger returned and he tried his best to control it. "And if you think that Tom Paris has suddenly lost the ability to be one of the best pilots either of us has ever had the good fortune to have fly our ships -- then you should just take him off the helm. Be done with it!" He'd lost the battle to remain controlled.

"After this morning, that's exactly what he deserves!" She picked up the PADD as though to read it, then slammed it down hard on the desk.

Chakotay threw up his hands. "So fire him, get him out of your sight!" He stood up quickly, unable to sit any longer and leaned forward with his hands on the desk. His glare was returned in full force. He lowered his voice. "And then, Kathryn, send up a prayer to whatever spirits are watching over us, because we don't stand a chance in hell of ever getting home without him." His heart was pounding. He felt desperate and bone-tired at the same time. He could see that his words made another small dent in her armor. "Now. Shall I go out there and arrange for lunch breaks?"

She waved her hand toward the door. "Do it."

He stood erect, wanting nothing more at that moment than to be in his quarters with his eyes closed. All he felt he could do was nod, turn, and leave the ready room.
Part 7 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them. But...
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Seven: The boys find time to play, and the wind gets stronger...
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Chakotay was lying on his couch, just as he'd wanted, his eyes closed, his mind finally quiet. He wasn't thinking. He wasn't feeling. He was just being. The door chime intruded into the peace. Damn. Sitting up, rubbing his face, he took a swig of tea before opening the door.

Tom walked in, and Chakotay's stomach flip-flopped. The young man looked apprehensive.

"Come on in, Tom," he said, beckoning him to the couch.

He sat down next to Chakotay, collapsing against the back, exhaling loudly. "Look, Chakotay, I just need to say something... I don't want to be the reason for you and the captain to be fighting, okay? I can take whatever she, excuse me for saying this, dishes out. Really."

Chakotay smiled. "I know you can, or could, if there were a level playing field. But this isn't one. She's in a position of power. What she does can affect your entire future in Starfleet."

"If I even have a future," Tom muttered.

"Try not to worry about Kathryn and me. We'll be fine, or we won't be, I don't know at the moment. I still love her, don't misunderstand me, I just really don't like seeing this side of her. She was being unfair to you. I know it, you know it, Harry probably knows it?" Tom nodded. "And, ultimately, she knows it too. It was my job to tell her so." Chakotay relaxed against the back of the couch, too, putting his feet up on the low table.

"You have kind of an awful job, don't you?" Tom asked, turning his head toward him.

Chakotay laughed softly. "In some ways, I do. But at least I'm alive and heading on a course for home with an extraordinary group of people. So, all things considered...."

Tom smiled at him. "Speaking of all considering all things, thank you for waking me up this morning. I would have been in much deeper shit if you hadn't. And thank you for defending me. Not too many people have done that, hell, I could name them on one hand. The ironic part is that the captain is one of them..."

"You're welcome. Any time, Tom."

"And, um, I got your message this morning. About tonight?"

Chakotay's heart started to pound. He nodded, meeting the blue eyes directly and deeply. "I'm free, but I'd like to suggest a different sport...."

Chakotay didn't care, as long as it was a workout and held the possibility of an open-ended evening. "Okay, what?"

Tom turned on the couch, his eyes sparkling. "Well, I've been working on a new holoprogram, trying to recreate that old basketball court that was behind building A-6 at the Academy. Did you ever use it? Decrepit as hell, but I loved it."

Chakotay laughed. "Gods, that thing? I haven't thought about it in years. Yes, I used it, too. Liked basketball. One of my few friends used to play one-on-one with me. Late into the night, working off our frustrations over quantum mechanics. That's a great idea, Tom, I'd love to try it out."

Tom beamed. "Really?"

"Really. Now, do you mind if I ask you a question? About this morning?"

"No, what?"

"Were you asleep when the ship blew up, or did you do that deliberately?" Chakotay said with a smile.

Tom moaned. "Oh, God, maybe you shouldn't ask me that, Chakotay."

"Why, cause you did do it deliberately?"

"No, no, not that. Although that would have been a great idea ... sorry I didn't think of it," Tom said, laughing. "No, I was off somewhere else and just sort of spaced it..."

Chakotay noted with surprise that Tom was blushing slightly. "And that somewhere else would be ... come on, you can tell me," he teased, poking Tom in the side.

Tom looked at him from under his brow, a grin playing on his mouth. "Well, I was dead tired, and every time I'd think how tired I was, I'd remember why I was so tired, and then I'd start thinking about you... and me and I just didn't have the strength to fight the pictures any more! So there I am, all eyes on me, and I'm off in bed with you," Tom chuckled, "and then the noise of the explosion brought me back and God, I nearly lost it, it was so funny to me. I mean an explosion?! Oh my God..."

Chakotay began to laugh out loud, just as Tom did the same. It was infectious, as soon as one would calm down, the other wouldn't and they would start up again. Chakotay couldn't help it, he needed the release so badly, but finally forced himself to stop. He wiped the wetness from the corners of his eyes and groaned.

"Spirits, thanks Tom, I needed that," he said, watching the younger man also trying to stop. "So the 'oops' wasn't deliberate, either, I assume?"

Tom chuckled with the remains of intense laughter. "Hell, no, I didn't even realize I said it... ironic, don't you think? My best line in weeks..."

They grinned at each other. Causing, again, unbidden emotions to make their presence known in Chakotay's chest. He closed his eyes to calm them. There was only about twenty minutes left of their lunch break and he had to function. He was startled by a mouth on his, Tom kissing him gently, but pursuasively, bringing forth a soft moan from deep in Chakotay's throat as he returned kiss for kiss, the intensity building back and forth until, finally, Tom began to push his tongue into Chakotay's mouth. At the moment their tongues met they both groaned, the kiss deepened quickly and Chakotay felt any remaining reservations simply vanish. He didn't want to wait until that night, didn't want to have any responsibilities, didn't want to think about anything...

The door chimed.

"Damn..." Tom said, pulling back enough to look him in the eye.

"Yeah," he answered softly. He asked the computer who was at the door, though in the back of his mind, he knew. He was right, it was Kathryn. Tom paled visibly.

"Look, Chakotay, I'm going to use your bathroom for a minute, okay? I just need to get my ever-efficient-pilot's mask on before I see her," he said, pushing himself off the couch.

"Sure, but don't worry, you're allowed to come here and talk, especially after what happened on the bridge this morning. I'll tell her you're here, do what you need to. And Tom? What time tonight?"

The door chimed again.

"Um, 1900 hours, meet me at holodeck one. After the game, we'll go back to my quarters," he said with a grin that made the back of Chakotay's knees tingle.

"It's a date."

Tom trotted into the bedroom. Chakotay arranged himself on the couch, his feet up on the table with legs crossed, hiding the slight erection he now had. He picked up his tea and took a very deep breath. He called for the door to be opened and in walked Kathryn. Seeing her stiff posture and stiffer countenance, he felt some residual anger well up inside. Please, don't start another fight, Kathryn...

"Am I interrupting anything?" she asked, walking directly to him. He motioned her to sit and was grateful she did.

"Not exactly, we were just finishing. Tom's here, we've been talking about this morning." He watched her eyes shifting to the bedroom door. "He's in the bathroom."

She looked as though she were going to speak, then hesitated. He silently encouraged her to do it. He was in no mood to get into it and thought that with Tom there she might control herself.

"Is he all right, Chakotay?" she said, bringing her hands tightly together in her lap.

His anger dissipated. Reaching out, he covered her hands with one of his. She gave him a small, tight smile. "He's fine. I can't say much more than that. Perhaps you could talk to him..."

"Yes, I could do that."

The noise of the bathroom door swooshing open brought their attention upward. Tom came into the room, looking the model of professionalism.

"Good afternoon, Captain," he said seriously.

"Tom," she replied with a nod.

He turned to Chakotay. "Thank you."

"Any time, Tom. We'll see you on the bridge." Their eyes locked very briefly, then Tom headed for the doorway.

"Tom, wait..." Kathryn stood quickly.

Chakotay watched the man turn more slowly than he would normally. "Yes, ma'am?"

"I owe you an apology. I'm sorry that I was so hard on you this morning. You're the ... best pilot I've ever flown with and I don't want you ever thinking that I feel otherwise." She raised her chin slightly and pulled back her shoulders.

Tom's stance relaxed. "Thank you, Captain. Apology accepted. Ma'am."

"Thank you, Lieutenant."

Tom nodded once more to them both and left. Chakotay breathed deeply, feeling suddenly exhausted on many different levels. He knew he and Kathryn needed to talk, he had an almost desperate need to be on solid, normal ground with her again, but her words from that morning still hurt.

Sitting down next to him again, Kathryn did not relax. She perched. Her hands fidgeted. "I owe you one, too, Chakotay - and I'm afraid you won't be quite so forgiving..."

"Why don't you try me?" he said gently, reaching once more for her hands.

She met his eyes directly and he found himself very willing to fall into their blue-grey depths. "I'm sorry. I have no excuses. I know I said some hurtful things to you.... I'm sorry...."

"You're forgiven, Kathryn."

She smiled. "Just like that?"

He nodded, returning the smile. "Just like that. Come here..." Pulling her to his chest, the knot in his stomach disappeared and the ground was once again solid, firm, and supportive.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Twelve ten, me..." Tom was grinning widely, dribbling slowly, squatting slightly.

Facing him, Chakotay grinned back and pretended to try and get the ball away. "Not for long..."

"You may've won the first game, but that's the last one you're gonna get..." Tom made his move, barely getting by, Chakotay right with him, finally cutting him off ten feet from the basket.

"Told ya," the defender panted out.

Tom grinned again and turned quickly, his back to the goal, still dribbling, using his body to push Chakotay back bit by bit. Feeling Tom doing a bit more than just bumping him, he laughed. "You enjoying this, Tom?" he said.

"You bet...." He pushed another time, giving the extra move of his hips. "How bout you?"

"Yeah, but I think you're just trying to distract me..."

"Geesh," Tom said with a laugh, "you think I'd stoop that low...." He repeated the action, but this time Chakotay planted himself more firmly, and when Tom moved his feet he ran into a wall of muscle with an 'oomph'.

"Yes," Chakotay replied, also laughing.

Tom made another quick move, to his left, preparing to shoot, but Chakotay threw his arms around Tom's waist and pulled him tight, both of them now laughing hard.

"Holding!" Tom choked out. "Unfair, foul, free throw...."

Chakotay took the opportunity presented and began to kiss the back of Tom's neck in between laughs. Still chuckling, Tom was nonetheless responding, rotating his hips backwards. Chakotay moved his hand and punched the ball out of Tom's grip, let go quickly and dashed after the ball, picking it up and taking it in for a lay-up, laughing the entire time.

"Double unfair! Triple foul, four free throws to me..." Tom was laughing harder now, however. Chakotay, grinning widely, picked up the ball and approached him. "You're in for it now, big guy," Tom said wickedly.

Chakotay passed the ball to him from a few feet away. "You're right," he said, the grin never waivering, "I think that was a triple foul, you get four free throws. I'll give them to you, you're gonna need 'em..."

"Oooo, I am gonna get you for that," Tom said, his voice lowering, his grin matching his opponent's. "You just wait... you will be begging me for mercy..." He started to dribble again, moving back to the line.

Chakotay began to laugh again, feeling a thrill of anticipation hit his stomach as it turned over. "Promises, promises, Tom......"

Grinning, they faced off one more time.

"Twelve all," Tom said, their eyes firmly locked.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chakotay laid down next to Tom, trailing his hand down the man's chest. The smell of sweaty maleness had been transformed into the scent of Starfleet issue soap and maleness. The foreplay started on the basketball court continued in the shower but no relief was given, just more stimulation, and more still. For awhile there, with hot water streaming down around them, Chakotay had thought that Tom would be proven right; he was close to begging, very close. But Tom brought himself back up to Chakotay's level and resumed the intense, deep kissing, his mouth traveling across his jaw, then to his neck, their bodies pressing together, Chakotay between the wall and Tom, perfectly content to stay there for another few hours. But Tom had other ideas, turning off the water, finding some towels. They dried each other off quickly, and finally got themselves onto the bed.

Chakotay watched Tom's face as he moved his fingertips, caressing the man's chest, seeing his eyes momentarily close when the fingers moved over his nipples. Chakotay smiled softly and rolled onto him, falling on his mouth as they tangled arms and legs together, sighing at the intensity of the full body contact. He moved his kisses from Tom's mouth, to his jawline, to his neck, their bodies writhing slowly together, Tom's hands running up and down Chakotay's back, their erections growing rapidly again, hardness against hardness.

"Oh...God," Tom whispered.

Chakotay heard the yearning and his stomach turned over. He brought his mouth back up, along the jawline again, but as he crossed Tom's cheek he pulled back and tried to make eye contact. Tom slowly focused on him; the normally clear blue irises were hazy with heat, and his own desire spiraled seeing it. He rotated his hips into Tom and watched the heat intensify, heard a moan, and did it again. Tom began to pull his legs apart, nestling Chakotay between them.

"Please....," Tom whispered again.

Chakotay smiled and dropped his head, kissing him thoroughly, and gently, pulling back enough to ask. He wanted to hear it, needed to hear it, Gods, he needed this man... "What, Tom, what do you want...." he said softly, tracing the lips in front of him with one finger.

Their eyes focused again and Chakotay's heart nearly burst to see the emotion in Tom's. "I want you inside me, moving inside me.... until we pass out..." He trailed his hands down Chakotay's back to his ass, pulling it against him, bringing a groan out of Chakotay's throat. "I'll beg if you want..." Tom said huskily, a small grin forming.

"Begging is always ... appreciated," he replied with an equally husky voice, still moving his pelvis into Tom, spiraling them up a little at a time.

Tom brought his hand up to Chakotay's face, caressing it momentarily before putting it behind Chakotay's head and pulling gently. Just before their lips touched, Tom whispered, "Please...." This kiss was deep, and hard, and hot, their tongues straining together to taste and reach as much as they could.

Tom reached behind him frantically, finally finding the tube, flipping the top. Chakotay heard the sound and groaned, his knees tingling, reaching for Tom's hand, grasping it, the tube of lubricant wedged tightly. Tom pulled his mouth back, "Let me..." he pleaded. Chakotay nodded with a smile and rolled off to the side enough for Tom to apply it, trying not to respond too quickly, but failing miserably, finally pulling Tom's hand off him with a groan, which turned to a chuckle seeing the wicked smile break across the younger man's face.

He rolled back as Tom pulled his legs up high, granting access. "Tom... you are trying to drive me insane, aren't you..." he said, grinning. He got some lubricant on his fingers and placed the tips at Tom's opening.

"Absolutely, Chakotay... completely...ungh," he responded as Chakotay shoved one finger smoothly inside him. "Insane...." Another finger went in and Tom groaned deeply. "...with me..."

Chakotay worked his hand for just another moment, then withdrew. He positioned himself, his heart thudding wildly as it usually did at this moment, and made eye contact. Gods, I need him... Tom's eyes were hot, pleading, wanting. He entered, waiting until Tom was ready, then slid in, accompanied by deep noises from both of them, in and in and in, Tom moving to take in more, until he was deeply sheathed, and their mouths met intensely, panting hot breaths into each other. They started their journey to bliss......

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tom's mind began to register things gradually. His heart beating loudly but no longer racing. The wonderfully warm, solid body lying on him. Fingers gently moving through his hair. Lips caressing his neck. The tingling ache between his cheeks, the stickiness between their bellies. The sweet warmth that permeated all of his cells, the afterglow that he craved. He knew he was smiling but couldn't stop it. This man.... this man on top of him.... damn. This man had made love to him, amazing, wonderful love. God, he was in deep.

Chakotay was kissing his neck, licking the salt there. That felt too good. He felt good. They felt good. "Oh.... damn," Tom moaned in almost a whisper.

The kisses stopped. "You're back," the man on top of him said, sounding pleased. "Why the 'damn'?" The velvet voice ended up vibrating against his skin as the kisses commenced again. Tom floated, and considered.

"You.... you are just amazing, that's all.... and I .... I think I'd better shut up now..." he said with a slight chuckle.

Chakotay raised his head and looked at him. "And that's a 'damn' because..." Tom looked into the deepest brown eyes, and thought he could never see them enough.

Because I'm getting way too attached to this? Because we just did more than have great sex? Because I think we just made love? He couldn't say those things. "Because I think I'm going to want to do this more often than will be possible."

Chakotay rolled slightly off, propping his head on a fist, keeping his leg and an arm draped across Tom, tracing lazy circles on his chest. He looked about to say something, then hesitated. Taking a very deep breath, he finally met Tom's eyes again. "That might be true, for both of us, but let's just play it by ear?"

He wasn't certain, but he was almost. That wasn't at all what Chakotay had been about to say.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay woke up a couple of hours later, moving up and down rhythmically, half lying on Tom's back, half on the mattress. After taking a moment to register where he was, he rolled more on his side, draping his arm around Tom's shoulders. He felt good, almost too good. Waking more fully as memories of the evening washed over him, he allowed himself to really feel. Consciously. Finally. Acknowledging what he'd only let himself slightly consider while they were making love. Making love. He smiled at himself. Funny how the mind usually speaks the truth, even if you don't want to think about it.

He had to get back to his quarters fairly early, having a breakfast date with Kathryn for 0630. Why that awful time, he wasn't sure, but he'd agreed, wanting to give her what she needed. He couldn't even imagine what he was going to tell her, if anything. He put that train of thought immediately out of his mind. Kathryn was not here, Tom was. Period. So get up now, try to make it back to his quarters in his very dirty basketball shorts without being seen, call for a site-to-site, or just stay and say the hell with it all.

Rolling back toward the deeply sleeping man next to him, he allowed himself another taste, kissing Tom's shoulder slowly, moving his body up next to him, warm skin to warm skin. He'd give himself fifteen minutes, then get up and leave. Tom began to stir, turning his head to face him.

"You're still here..." Tom mumbled.

Chakotay chuckled softly. "How should I take that?"

"Only ... in the best way ... just dreaming that you left, didn't like it..." His eyes closed again.

"I do have to leave soon. Gotta figure out some way to get home, didn't bring a change of clothes...." He smiled to feel Tom scooting even closer to him with a soft noise of satisfaction.

"Borrow something.... closet shelves.... leave your stuff in refresher.... stay......"

Chakotay considered borrowing something of Tom's. Would anyone recognize it? Likely not. He shook his head. Since when did he worry about what people thought of him? The hell with it. "Thanks, I'll borrow some clothes." He then thought about timing, not really wanting to leave at that moment. He could do it. Get up an hour before his breakfast, wash up here... "Can I use your shaver?"

"Mm-hm .... and toothbrush, or replicate...."

"Thanks, Tom. You're a prince," he said with a smile.

Tom opened one eye, giving a tired grin. "Yeah, that's me, a prince among men, just ask anyone," he said with a touch of sarcasm.

Chakotay reached out and gently stroked the blond head. "I wouldn't be here, we both know that, if you hadn't put your needs aside for mine. Not a month goes by that I don't think about it. Lots of other people owe you a helluva debt, too. Don't sell yourself short, Tom," he said with more passion than he planned. Tom's eyes were now firmly locked on his. "Really," he continued, "you are a good man, and most of us know it."

Tom didn't say anything for a moment. "Thank you. Your opinion matters...."

He could see how difficult that admission had been, and his heart ached for him. That he could have had such an influence over this young man was almost more than he could think about. He would never again wish any harm on him, though admittedly he had in the past. He rolled onto his back, eyes never waivering, and opened his arms. Tom came to them willingly, sinking into the embrace with a sigh. Chakotay felt his heart open yet again and kissed Tom's head, closing his eyes, letting himself drift, feeling Tom fall back asleep. He followed soon afterwards.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay's biological clock didn't fail him. He rolled, Tom's chronometer read 0540. Quietly he got himself up, replicated himself a toothbrush and headed for the bathroom to complete his morning routine. He took a quick sonic shower, brushed and shaved. Gathering up his dirty clothes, and Tom's, he dumped the whole lot in the refresher then went looking for something to wear. Tom was still sleeping soundly and he was loathe to wake him. He knew the alarm was set for 0645, and that Tom would do anything rather than be late again, so he vowed to himself he wouldn't worry. On the closet shelves, at the bottom of the pile, he found some pants and a tee-shirt. After slipping on his shoes, he went back to Tom. It was then he noticed the PADD sitting next to the bed. He opened it. It was the message he'd left the morning before. For some reason, Chakotay found this unbearably tender, that Tom would have saved it. He added another message below the original one, placed the PADD on the second pillow, took the opportunity given and very gently ran his fingers through Tom's hair. He studied the man. What am I going to do? He could only think moment to moment. He squatted next to the bed, unknowingly imitating Tom's own action, and softly kissed his head. He left.

The corridors of the ship were, thankfully, mostly empty. Gamma shift wasn't over yet and alpha staff was just beginning to stir. He greeted those few crewmembers he saw as he walked to his quarters. His mind was not quiet. Even as he pleaded for silence, and peace, he felt as though he were being bombarded from all sides. He had to at least admit, to himself, that seeing Kathryn that morning was really the last thing he wanted. He was only grateful that this was his scheduled day off, so he tried to think about plans for that day rather than what was in store for him in a very short while. He gave up after a few minutes and decided to pray for guidance instead.
Part 8 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them and I'm still playing.
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex.

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Eight: Definitions and hard decisions...
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

His first view of Kathryn was the usual one. Already in uniform, cup of coffee in hand, getting up off the couch with a warm smile on her face. The only discernable difference was in her eyes. They looked hooded. The table was set, with muffins and juice and a pot of tea for him. He knew he should be hungry, but the sight of the food made him feel nothing but queasy. Chakotay made a conscious effort to breathe.

"Hi, honey," she said, putting her coffee down and coming quickly to him.

He opened his arms to receive her, both anxious and desperate for the contact. The feel of her made his heart race. Anxiety, fear, trepidation, he couldn't tell why it was happening. He felt his spirits sink. Kathryn pulled back sharply.

"What's wrong?" Her words sounded harsh, tossed at him as an accusation.

He tried to look into her eyes but he couldn't see anything, couldn't find her, or the anchor that held them firmly in place. No words were coming forth, his mind was a haze of images, and thoughts and feelings and he couldn't pull one of them out and say 'this, this is what's wrong, if we fix this then everything will be okay.' He knew she was waiting for an answer, for something to sink her teeth into. A problem to solve. As though she didn't already know what it was.

"I can't answer that question, Kathryn," he heard himself say. Yes, you can, Chakotay, you know what the answer is, don't lie to yourself.

"Chakotay, look, come over here," she said, pulling on his hand, leading him to the couches. They sat. "You can't hide it from me, I know there is something seriously wrong, I've known it since yesterday. We can't do anything unless I know what it is."

If I tell you this then you'll know how to fix it, and maybe I don't want it fixed. "I can't, I just can't, that's all. Don't push me."

"Fine. I won't push. Do you think there will be a time when you might tell me what's going on inside you?"

He felt like screaming. Just letting loose and screaming at the top of his lungs, then taking a shuttle and high-tailing it away for the nearest M-class planet and parking himself there. He got up off the couch and began to pace, willing his fists to relax and his heart to stop racing.

"Chakotay."

You don't want to hear this, Kathryn.

"Chakotay, please."

This will never work, you'll never stand for it.

"Please, just tell me, I can handle it."

Trust me on this, you can't. I love him...

"I promised you I would deal with whatever we needed to, head on, like we've dealt with everything else since we met. Or just back off. I told you that and I meant it. I still do. Do you?"

I love him...

"Do you, Chakotay? Can you let us deal with whatever this is head on?"

I love him. He felt his composure begin to crack, his throat closed so tightly it hurt, tears were welling in his eyes, his breath was becoming more and more shallow. I love him. I love you. I can't have you both. It will never work. Gods help me ... Tom, please... He was only vaguely aware that she had taken his hand once more, he knew he was moving, but he knew more clearly that tears were falling down his cheeks, he could taste their saltiness, could feel the sob that was waiting for release and the pain in his chest that was beginning to kill him. His knees hit the couch and he sat heavily. And he was in her arms, letting go.

"Oh, Chakotay, my love, sh-h-h, it'll be okay...." she murmured all the words he needed to hear, was desperate to hear, even though he knew through the haze that it wouldn't be okay. Not by a long shot. Not for a long time.

"I love him." The words came out unbidden. He knew he'd said them aloud by the mere fact that she stiffened momentarily. But only momentarily. She continued to give him comfort, silent comfort other than her shushes and kisses to his head. When he finally felt he could speak without breaking down, he tried to find words that wouldn't be as hurtful. She didn't let him.

"I promised you that I would back off if we hit a patch that was un-fixable. I would never force you to stay with me just because. We could always work something out if we had to separate. Hold me to that promise, Chakotay," she said, her voice faltering slightly.

He wanted her to throw him out an airlock. He sat up so he could look her in the eye and felt his heart break anew to see what was there. "I don't know what to say to that, Kathryn. I love you. I don't know what is un-fixable and what isn't anymore... I just don't know how to explain it to you..."

"If I make a vow to you, right here, right now, that I will do my best to listen, would you try? We need to talk about it, if we stand a chance in hell...." Tears started to glisten in her eyes.

"Kathryn. Please don't cry, please. I'm so sorry..." He pulled her tightly to him, needing to give her comfort now, needing to feel as though there was something he could do, something concrete, and solid, and real. After some minutes of simply being together, he agreed to talk. She agreed to listen.

She called Tuvok to take bridge command and they took a few minutes to get comfortable, as though physical comfort would make a difference in the long run. Kathryn changed out of her uniform, they brought the food to the low table by the couches, Chakotay made some hot tea for him and coffee for her. They sat facing each other, nibbling on sustenance and began.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The woods were dark, with dappled sunlight falling through the overhead canopy. His feet made the familiar soft noise of bare skin walking on a thick layer of leaf mold. Birds were singing quietly above him and occasionally he even allowed himself to dream he might be home.

"I don't know when it happened, Kathryn, it wasn't anything specific..."

"Did you always have feelings for him?"

"You mean besides anger?"

He pushed aside the branches and kept moving forward, but it was getting more difficult. Though proud of his holoprogram, he rather thought he could have been a little less realistic as another broken branch scratched his arm.

"I don't understand, Chakotay, how can you think you love us both?"

"It isn't something I think. It's there, that's all I know."

"But if you love him, doesn't that take away from your love for me, for us?"

"No. Not from the love I feel. Maybe the attention, yes..."

Finally reaching his destination, he took a very deep cleansing breath. The scent was particularly powerful in here, where the sunlight could come directly down from the sky and hit the grasses that filled the clearing. He sat down in his usual spot, considered taking out the medicine bundle, but decided to lie down instead. He closed his eyes.

He had to trust that Kathryn was keeping her promise at that moment, was not giving Tom a hard time, but treating him with the respect he deserved. It wasn't his fault that all of this had happened. Tom, what are you thinking right now? His heart ached. After two hours of talking, he had only been able to promise her that he'd make a decision by the end of that day. Her decision was that she'd give him the space and time to do it. She was clear on what she wanted. Him to break things off with Tom immediately. He'd balked, a pure reaction, which had upset her again.

Angry with himself, angry at her for demanding things from him, angry at the whole damned fact that he was stuck here on this ship in this situation, he'd finally relented and agreed to consider the decision carefully. He already knew he really wasn't willing to lose Kathryn. Carrying some small hope that she'd be able to accept things as they were, he held out. He knew it was useless. Deep down in his heart he knew. He'd have to give up any relationship with Tom. Now. He wasn't sure he had the strength, much less the desire.

He sat up and opened the medicine bundle.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Harry, I told you, not here," Tom hissed at him. They were standing in line, waiting for lunch to be put on their trays. "Wait until we sit down." Tom looked over the room. "See," he added, poking his friend in the shoulder, "we can sit over there, in the corner."

Harry grinned conspiratorially. They reached the counter, greeted Neelix and watched with dismay as something bright blue and gloppy was served. Slightly reassured that the flavor was excellent, they went to sit down. Neelix wasn't too far off, though as usual, it was too spicey to be truly enjoyable.

"Okay, Tom, I want everything. Something happened last night. And today, on the bridge, the Captain is actually being civil to you, but you can barely look at her. I thought you said she apologized to you? Come on, spill it," Harry said, pushing some of the glop to one side of his plate.

"Jesus, I don't know where to start." Tom looked at the room full of people, wondering not for the first time how many of them screwed each other. He knew most of the gossip, but what about those people who were discreet? Who was really with whom? Returning his attention to his friend, he shrugged. "We, um, played basketball for a couple of hours..."

Harry interrupted. "Who won? Or shouldn't I ask? I heard the commander was a killer player when he was at the Academy..." he teased.

Tom glared at him sideways. "Okay, yes, he won. All three games. But he cheated!"

"How can you cheat at one-on-one?"

"You can do things that majorly distract the other player, unfairly." Remembering the feel of Chakotay's mouth on the back of his neck he shivered. "Anyway, we played ball. Then we went back to my quarters. He spent the night. That's it. End of story."

"No way, uh uh, that's not the end of the story. What happened, Tom? Something did, and I have a feeling it is not going to be a good thing...."

Tom picked up his fork and drew patterns on the table with it. He couldn't meet Harry's eye. "No, it's probably not a good thing, though under any other circumstances it would be an extraordinarily great thing. You know how I told you that this was just sex? Well, night before last it was a little different, and yesterday morning something happened which changed things some more, but last night..... Jesus shit, Harry.... last night we were making love. I know it, and I'm pretty sure he knows it. And it's one giant fucking mess..." He finally raised his glance to Harry and was surprised. Only sympathy could be read there.

"I'm sorry, Tom. Really. What can I do?"

"You can keep B'Elanna from ever finding out, for one thing. Knowing Chakotay, it won't be long before he tells the captain this latest twist, and I can imagine what she'll do to me then. Damn it all."

"Tom..."

"What."

"You're seriously in love with him, aren't you?"

Tom stared daggers at his best friend. Then he closed his eyes and sighed deeply. "I hope to God it's not that obvious."

"No, it's not, Tom, it's not. Just to me. So that talk of making love versus sex, it's a little more than that, isn't it? Is he in love with you, too?"

"I don't know... no, that's not true. I do know. Yes, I believe he is," Tom said quietly, despondently.

"Oh, my God...," Harry muttered. "What about B'Elanna? Are you still in love with her?!"

"Of course I am, why wouldn't I be? I don't know what I'd do without her. It's just Chakotay, Jesus, I can't stop thinking about him, what he does to me ... fuck, Harry... I am in so much trouble...."

B'Elanna's voice carried from one table away, "So I heard, helm boy..." Tom's head shot up to see his lover standing next to them now, a rueful grin on her face. "What? Do I have Vulcan ears or something?" She pulled a chair out and sat down, leaning into him and wrapping her arm around his shoulders, kissing him soundly on the cheek. His heart clutched breathing in the scent of her.

"What are you doing here? You should be asleep, 'Lanna..." His heart was thudding loudly, he was terrified at what she might have heard. Meeting Harry's eyes over her shoulder, he saw his friend shrug, looking every bit the deer caught in the headlights.

"Kah'les, don't I know it. But this morning was my last gamma rotation, and you were the gossip of the crew, so I woke myself up early to come and see if you're all right, Tom. What the hell is going on?" She looked at him with such concern, he was totally confused. "Why didn't you tell me what happened?," she said quietly.

"What do you mean?"

"The captain? The bridge yesterday? Tactical drills?" She crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. "Everyone was talking about it, sounded like you were about to be thrown in the brig for blowing up the ship, or something."

His mind raced. "Oh, that. It was nothing really, I think people are making it sound worse than it was. I'm fine..."

"Tom Paris, you are so full of it. Always sticking up for her. I'd really like to know why our intrepid captain was out for blood yesterday, and preferably the blood of her best pilot. Then I plan to go have a word with her..."

He interrupted her quickly. "B'Elanna! No, don't. Really, everything is fine..."

"I don't care if it is fine, today. If she's having a hard time, it's not fair for her to take it out on you. Nobody messes with my boyfriend and lives to tell about it," she said.

Tom could see that although she had a slight grin on the edges of her mouth, she was, on some level, serious. His heart ached at the realization. "My protector, eh?" he said, giving her back a slight grin, though his chest was heavy.

She reached over and took his hand in hers, rubbing the back of it with her other one. "Absolutely, Tom. Always." Their eyes locked together and Tom willingly went with it.

"Well, 'Lanna, she apologized to me later. She was just having a hard day. It happens. She was sincere in her apology, and I accepted it." Tom felt his composure beginning to crumble, just a bit. He had people in his corner that he really felt he didn't deserve. Memories of his early morning conversation with Chakotay resurfaced, and this time, his heart simply stopped. The way he looked at him, the smell of him, the feel of him, the sensation of being held like that, so safe.... "You're a good man, Tom, and most of us know that..." His throat was beginning to close. He had to get out of there....

"Where you going?" she asked, startled.

He hadn't realized he stood up. "I ... I have to go for a minute. I'll be back," he said, probably too quickly. Looking at Harry, he implored him to stay and distract B'Elanna. Harry gave a slight nod and without another word, Tom got out of there fast. He was practically stumbling down the corridor, his eyes getting too blurry to work well, when he made out the door to the bathroom. The light indicated it was empty. He hit the access pad with force. As the door swooshed shut behind him, he sank to the deck, dropping his head to his knees, and gave in, the tears spilling over, a deep sob coming from his gut, his heart breaking.

He suddenly knew this thing with Chakotay had taken the turn to the end, and the end would have to come that day. Because this wasn't what they'd planned, or how it was supposed to be. He wasn't supposed to fall for the man, and screw everything up. He wasn't supposed to hurt everyone. He'd vowed not to do that. It had been simple. Lust. Desire. Oh, God, please help me... Why couldn't he have just stayed cocky Tom? When had Chakotay gotten so under his skin? Had he always been there? Chakotay, please... make this okay... you're the good man, you're the one who knows what's right... please, make this okay, I don't want to lose you...

Tom cried until his commbadge called him. It was Harry, telling him there was just ten minutes before they were due back on the bridge. He told him where he was and asked Harry to come. He needed an objective opinion of how he looked; if he could pass without anyone questioning whether he was all right. He didn't think he could handle that. B'Elanna had gone back to bed, with a message that she expected to see him for dinner, sent with love.

The cold water splashing on his face almost made him believe that he was alive. The sting of it in his eyes. He made it colder and colder until his hands were feeling numb. He studied them, wondering how he'd ever thought they could do anything worthwhile.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Mr. Paris," Janeway's voice cut into his haze. Fuck. "Did you hear me?"

He took a breath. "No, ma'am, I apologize. Was that a course change you wanted?"

"Yes, adjust to the coordinates Harry just sent you," she said calmly.

"Yes, Captain," he answered. He sighed to himself. Willed his hands to stop shaking, looked at the new coordinates and put them in. Then double and triple checked them to be sure he didn't make a mistake. Three more hours of duty. God, help me. He wiped his damp palms on his thighs, hopefully surreptitiously. The console beeped.

"T - hang in there. Buster Kincaid."

He smiled deeply. Love you, too, Har. He sent a thanks. The console beeped again.

"Tom - I need to talk to you tonight, can you stop by after your shift? After dinner? I'm in my quarters this afternoon. Chakotay."

His heart came to a crashing halt. His throat started to close again and he willed it open, trying to breathe past the lump that was forming rapidly. Fuck. Calm down, Tom, you're on the bridge, everyone can see you... In almost slow motion his hand keyed in an answer. He'd stop by after shift. He couldn't imagine waiting any longer, having to try and eat, waiting for the time he'd go and see him, and talk to him, tell him... He continued to breathe deeply and slowly. But he was losing it, the battle of wills between his head and his heart. In desperation, he did the only thing he could think to do. He turned and faced his commanding officer.

"Captain," he said, knowing his voice was shaking but powerless to make it stop, "may I speak to you in private?"

She looked at him intently, but he could see no overt hostility evident. "Of course, Tom." She got up, ordered Sarah to take over the helm and motioned Tom to follow her into the ready room. His heart was pounding.

Janeway went directly to sit behind her desk, waving him to sit in front of her, which he did, gratefully, as his legs were weaker than any man would wish. He jumped right in quickly, before he lost his nerve.

"I would like to please be relieved of duty for the remainder of the shift. I would be happy to make it up by filling in for someone either during gamma or beta tomorrow." He sighed with relief that he'd managed two entire sentences. The lump was returning and once more he willed it away.

"Are you sick, Tom?"

"No, ma'am, I'm just not fit for duty. I can't guarantee the safety of the ship. I'm sorry, Captain," he said, kicking himself as his eyes were beginning to fill. He breathed. And swallowed hard.

"I see." She studied him again. "I'm assuming this is for personal reasons? Your lack of fitness?"

He felt anger for the first time. It actually felt good, a relief of sorts. "Yes, Captain. For personal reasons, my concentration is shot to hell, and I am coming to you for the good of the entire crew asking you to relieve me of duty, so I don't do something that will put this ship in danger. Ma'am."

It was her turn to take a deep breath. "I appreciate that, Tom. Does this have anything to do with what happened between the two of us yesterday?"

He sighed. "No, Captain, it doesn't."

"Thank you for that. I'd hoped you accepted my apology. Does this have to do with Chakotay?"

She said it so guilelessly, he couldn't believe he heard it. He realized he really shouldn't have done this, he couldn't handle it, his composure was crumbling and he would die before letting her see that. "Excuse me, Captain," he said, swallowing again, "but I really don't see that the reason I need to leave is any of your business. Now, are you going to grant my request?"

She was watching him again, and he couldn't meet her eyes. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Just let me the hell out of here before I begin to cry in front of you. Of course it has to do with Chakotay, and I bet you know that...

"Tom, I apologize again. You're right, and particularly in this case, my interests are hardly entirely professional. However, I can see that you are very upset, and I'm concerned..."

He interrupted her. He felt the tears begin to fill his eyes. "Captain - your concern is not something I can deal with right now. What do you want from me? Do you want me to tell you what a screw up I am? How I messed everything up, again? Do you want me to beg you not to make my life a living hell? You can throw me in the brig, I don't care. Demote me, I don't care. Take away my priveleges, I don't care, do you understand?" He clamped his mouth shut, as tears fell out of the corners of his eyes. He closed them tightly and tried to breathe. His chest moved shallowly.

"Tom," she said quietly.

That did it. He stood up and tore his pips off. He'd save her the trouble. He opened his fist over her desk and the silver disks rolled across the surface. Then he turned and left the ready room without being dismissed, continued off the bridge, walking as rapidly as he could without running. Once inside his quarters, he ripped off his uniform and threw it in the corner of his bedroom. Putting on whatever he found, leaving his commbadge on the dresser, he headed to the holodeck to start the old Sandrine's. The only thing he thought he had ever done right.
Part 9 by Cassatt
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, and too bad they neglected these two.
Rating: NC-17 Contains graphic scenes of consensual adult M/M sex

Summary: C/P, J/C, P/T Chapter Nine: More decisions and help is given. End.
Copyright July 2001 Cassatt

The Fantasy of Tom

Chakotay's heart was racing as he entered the bridge heading directly to the ready room. He looked to the helm, but Tom wasn't there.

"Chakotay, you need to come to the ready room. It's about Tom."

"On my way. Chakotay out."

That's when his heart started doing it's own thing, and hadn't quit no matter how many deep breaths he took in the 'lift, no matter how many prayers he sent up to his ancestors. He didn't know what he'd do if he found out she'd had a hand in whatever was happening. He hit the doorpad hard and was through the opening, almost pushing the doors aside. One look at Kathryn and the racing organ came to a dead stop. She was visibly upset, the depth of sadness in her eyes was too much to take in. Oh Gods, he's hurt, or dead... He sat heavily.

"What happened to him, Kathryn? Just tell me," he said woodenly.

Her eyes widened. "Oh, no, Chakotay, he's not physically hurt, oh God, I'm sorry, no it's not that..."

He knew she was still talking but he couldn't hear anything for the intense wave of emotion that swept over him. Spirits of my grandfathers, thank you... He sank back in the chair, exhaling loudly with hands covering his face and willed composure. Her voice began to make its way to his ears so he forced himself to sit up and rejoin her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear that," he said. He cleared his throat after hearing how rattled he sounded.

"I was just asking if you were all right, but now I can see that you are," she said softly. Her eyes were still sad. "Chakotay, I think something happened, I think Tom needs you. He gave me these." She showed him the two pips that she'd been clutching.

Anger swelled in his chest. "What happened, Kathryn? Did you say something to him?"

He saw hurt flit across her face momentarily, replaced by compassion. "No, I didn't say anything. He was upset after the lunch break. I mean, he tried to hide it, but I think he'd been crying. After an hour or so, I could see that he was getting more upset, then he asked to talk to me. We came in here and he requested to be relieved of duty, said he was unfit and couldn't guarantee the safety of the ship in his hands." She stopped and took a deep breath.

Chakotay's mind was trying to piece things together. He sent his message about 1400 hours. He kicked himself, hard.

"You know, I can't remember feeling that proud of him in a long time, Chakotay."

"Then what happened?" Just tell me, Kathryn.

"I asked him if it had anything to do with yesterday, he'd had a lapse in concentration before he got upset, but I wasn't angry about it, and I thought perhaps this was residual and that if we talked he'd be okay. He told me it wasn't. Then, I admit, I made what in hindsight could be considered a tactical error." She looked at him, waiting for some response he wasn't clear on.

"And?"

She took another deep breath. "I asked him if it had anything to do with you. I wasn't thinking, not really, I mean he just looked so upset and I was feeling protective of him, I just wanted to give him a chance to talk if he needed it..."

Damn it. "And that's when he resigned his commission?"

"Not exactly. He told me it was none of my business," she said with a small smile, "and I agreed with him. I'm not entirely sure why he did this. I told him I was just concerned and that's when he, well, lost it."

"Kathryn, just tell me. I don't know what to do unless you tell me exactly what he said."

"He started talking about how I was wanting him to confess that he was a screw-up, that I was wanting him to beg me not to make his life a living hell, and that I could do anything I wanted to him, he didn't care - put him in the brig, demote him.... He was crying, Chakotay, and it broke my heart. I tried to say something else, and then he just ripped off his pips and stormed out of here..." She began to fiddle with the silver disks on her palm.

His mind was racing. His heart hurt. Tom was having a melt-down, and it sounded like guilt to him. Something had happened. And something didn't make sense to him. "Why did he say that thing about making his life a living hell? And about the brig and all that?"

She wouldn't meet his eyes. "I think it might be because over a week ago, I told him that if he ever did anything to hurt you I would make him wish we'd throw him out an airlock." She raised her eyes. "What? I just wanted him to understand where I stood, that I'd be protecting you and not him."

"Damn it, Kathryn, you didn't need to add more to his baggage. Fuck."

"Chakotay, since when do you say that..."

He stared at her. His emotions were beginning to overwhelm him. Oh, Tom...

"There's one more thing I should tell you," she said, her voice dropping. He looked at her and the sadness and compassion had returned to her eyes. "He loves you, too."

His throat was closing. His eyes were burning. He forced himself to breathe.

She held out the pips. "Go find him, Chakotay."

He stood, took them from her, grasping her hand as he did. "Thank you." Their eyes locked. "I love you, Kathryn." After a moment, she nodded, and he turned and left.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On his way to the 'lift, he was stopped by Harry's imploring look. He came up to his side. "What, Harry?" he said quietly.

"Did the captain call you about Tom?" He nodded. "I think he left his commbadge in his quarters, but he's not there. There's someone using holodeck one, and I checked the program - it's Sandrine's."

"Damn. Would he start drinking again?"

Harry shook his head. "Not like that..."

"Okay, thanks." He made to move, but was stopped by Harry's hand on his arm.

"Commander, please take care of him? He's not as tough as he pretends to be, he really cares..."

"It's okay, Harry, I know." He hesitated. "I care, too."

The younger man nodded. He squeezed his shoulder and continued to the turbolift.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom was at the pool table. Holographic characters were milling around but stayed far away from the man with the cue. He wondered if Tom had programmed them to do that, or if had just ordered them to leave him alone. He lined up his shot then nailed it perfectly, although the force with which he struck the cue ball was probably more than necessary. Their eyes met. Chakotay was somewhat taken aback. For the first time in more than a week, he couldn't read what was there. Tom returned to playing solo pool, so Chakotay went and stood a few feet away, leaning back against the bumper, folding his arms, watching.

After one more shot, Tom stood and put the end of the stick on the floor, keeping the cue in front of him, and met Chakotay's eyes again. "Let me guess, did she send you?"

"She told me that you were upset and left these." He pulled the pips out of his pocket. "I'm here because I'm worried about you."

"No need to be. I'm fine. Wanna shoot some pool? Oh, and you can put those back in your pocket."

Chakotay's heart ached. Now that he was closer, he could clearly see the haunted look in Tom's eyes, belying his flippant attitude. He was going to have to break down the defenses that Tom had spent a good portion of the last hour carefully constructing. Whether he'd done that with the help of alcohol or not, he wasn't sure.

"Don't feel like pool, Tom, but I'd love a drink. Can I get you something? A refill?"

"Nope, one beer is enough for me. Just be careful, safety protocols are off - she'll serve you straight alcohol," Tom answered, returning to his pool game without a second glance.

As Chakotay went to the bar, however, he could feel Tom's eyes following him. Sandrine gave him a bottle of syntheholic beer, by special request. He contemplated his options as he watched Tom sinking balls with relish.

"Commander," her sultry, familiar voice said from behind him. He turned reluctantly, the last thing he needed was Sandrine flirting with him. She beckoned him closer. He sighed and bent to her. "Tommy's in trouble," she whispered.

"So everyone keeps telling me," he said with a touch of frustration.

"Oui." She looked past him. "Ah, mon cheri..." Meeting Chakotay's eyes again, she continued to talk in a low voice. "He has peur ... fear in his heart, Commander. You understand, oui? My Tommy, he needs you. Essayez un peu d'amour, de tendresse, " she said gently.

He understood the amour, but the rest... "I'm afraid my French is a little rusty..."

"Try a little love, a little tenderness. I've always found it to work perfectment."

He looked at her with some surprise.

"Quoi? You don't think I comprend how he feels about you? He was sitting here for... beaucoup de minutes tout en pleurs... pour tu."

Not only was his French rusty, but she tended to speed up when speaking in her own language. "English?" he implored.

She touched his arm tenderly. "He had tears, for you. Now, allez... go, go..." She fairly pushed him off her bar, waving her hands in Tom's direction.

He considered her words, thinking to himself that he really didn't need too much encouragement to give Tom some loving attention, but knew he was still going to hurt the man in the very near future. As he approached the pool table, he could see that her idea had merit. He didn't think words alone would break down Tom's defenses at this point. Tom's eyes kept darting to him as he set up his next shot, watching as Chakotay got closer and closer.

He walked right up to him, taking the cue gently from his grasp and placing it on the table. Tom didn't move, but as Chakotay got even closer, then cupped Tom's cheek, the man trembled. The blue eyes in front of him waivered, and it was true, he could see the fear there, deep down inside.

"Please, don't..." Tom whispered, his voice cracking.

But he ignored the plea, caressing Tom's face, then his neck, moving himself closer and closer still, hearing the soft intake of breath, smelling the aftershave, the faint whiff of beer, watching the eyes close the very moment before he kissed him. Tom's mouth was pliant beneath his as he gently put everything he had into it, feeling his own desire infuse every cell in his body, instantly, completely, his knees getting weak, his arms wrapping around Tom, being taken into the embrace as well, the kiss getting deeper, and deeper, until they had to stop just to breathe. Their mouths remained mere inches apart and Chakotay brought his hand back to stroking Tom's face softly. They slowly focused on each other.

"Don't hide from me, Tom, please... talk to me..." he said quietly.

His throat closed as he watched Tom's eyes fill with tears. Then Tom put his head down on Chakotay's shoulder, his face against his neck, pulling himself tightly to him and taking some very shaky breaths. He felt his heart open, like a flower to the sun, and he returned the tight embrace, rubbing Tom's back, murmuring words of comfort, giving this proud and brave young man every ounce of strength he could.

"Do you love me..." The soft plea vibrated against his neck. He couldn't deny it.

"Yes."

He felt Tom stop breathing, then hot tears fell on the skin at the base of his neck. His breath caught in his throat and he clutched him more tightly. "I love you," Tom choked out.

"I know, Tom. I know, it's okay, it's gonna be okay..." He did what he could while Tom cried silently.

Eventually, Tom pulled away enough to wipe his eyes with a hand that had been digging into Chakotay's back. "Chakotay, it's not gonna be okay, and we both know it ...." he said quietly. "not that I deserve something good anyhow..."

He reached up and took Tom's head gently, moving it so that they could make eye contact. The pain he saw was raw, clear, and unhidden. "Why do you say that?" He rubbed Tom's tears away with his thumbs.

"I screwed up big this time. This wasn't supposed to happen. We were just supposed to have great sex, and instead I end up hurting people. Again. As usual..."

He gave him a smile. "And are you the only participant here?"

"No, but..."

He interrupted him. "But what? It's all on your shoulders? Is that why you resigned? To punish yourself?"

A spark of something undefinable appeared in the sky blue. "I just thought I'd save the captain the trouble."

"Tom," Chakotay, still holding his head, brought his closer, staring intently, "you earned those pips by being the best damned fucking pilot I've ever seen. Please....," he took a breath, "please.... don't sell yourself so short. Take the pips back."

Tom smiled slightly. "I'm not going to be able to stay resigned, am I?"

"I can be very pursuasive."

Tom's eyes darkened. "Yes, you can," he said huskily.

Chakotay couldn't help himself. He wanted to take the pain away, Tom's, his, wanted to believe that this all really would be okay. He kissed him, another soft kiss that turned into a searing one as their emotions and needs took hold. Their mouths moved together as their bodies had, giving, taking, tongues teasing, devouring. He was lost in it.

He felt hands pulling the tee shirt out of his pants, then beginning to roam up his back. He had a very dim thought that he should stop it the moment before Tom's mouth left his.

"Make love with me, Chakotay. Please... one last time..."

He focused. Tom's eyes were misty, but hungry, and sure. The pain his words caused was lessened by that look. He'd know that look, would remember it for the rest of his life. He nodded and Tom exhaled, then embraced him tightly. He tapped his chest and called for a site-to-site to the younger man's quarters, willingly wrapped up in him.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom stood under the hot water, letting the stream pound his face until it stung. He turned and felt the soothing pressure of it on his back.

"I'll drop your clothes off tomorrow, Tom," Chakotay said as he slowly got dressed again.

He was still lying in bed, watching the man's every move, memorizing them. "Your basketball stuff will be ready for you."

Chakotay came and sat on the edge of the bed. He picked up his hand and Tom felt a clutch in his heart. Looking into those deep dark eyes, he saw what he needed to see right then. Love. Satiation.

"Maybe we could still play ball occasionally, Chakotay?"

He hesitated, taking a deep breath before answering. "I don't think so, I don't think I could handle that. Wouldn't be a good idea, Tom."

The unspoken assumption was there, between them. They would lose their self-control.

"I suppose you're right. Well, if you ever want to shoot hoops by yourself, or with anyone else, just tell me and I'll give you the access codes to the program. If you want."

He then received perhaps his greatest gift of the afternoon. One of Chakotay's full blown smiles, heart stopping dimples and all. "Thanks, Tom. And remember what you promised me."

"Don't worry, I'll do it."

And he would, too. He'd let his friends help him, remind him that he was a good man, a worthy man, as Chakotay had said. He liked that. A worthy man.

The hot water continued to pummel him. He closed his eyes. Chakotay's face, smiling, looking down on him appeared behind his eyelids. His heart stopped, contorted and was squeezed until he couldn't breathe. His legs gave way and he slid down the shower stall. For the second time that day, he let his pain overtake him, the tears flowing freely, hoping in the back of his mind that the water would wash them down the drain. Cleansing, and purifying him.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chakotay woke up as he had nearly every morning for weeks. Completely entwined in Kathryn. A warm, soft, lightly snoring Kathryn. A woman who was still with him after everything they had gone through. He sighed with peace and satisfaction as she snuggled just a little bit closer in her sleep.

He heard her breathing change the moment before he felt a stinging pain in his neck. "Ow!" he muttered.

"Sorry..." she said sleepily.

"You bit me."

"I know, it's just that you are so yummy, and I'm hungry...." she teased.

He felt a laugh snaking up from his belly and gave in to it. Rolling her, he buried his face in her neck and began to nibble, causing her to squirm and laugh with him. He continued his ministrations until he had her begging for completion, which he gladly, willingly, and delightedly gave her. And him.

"I love you, Kathryn," he said softly as he held her in the afterglow.

She reached up and stroked his tattoo. "I hope you know how much I love you, too."

"Sh-h-h, I know you do. That's in the past."

"Is it? I mean really?"

He looked into her eyes and saw only a simple question, no undertones, no hidden agendas. He was so relieved that they had gotten back here, where he could see her when he looked at her, and them when he looked in the mirror.

"Yes, I think it is. You did the best you could given the circumstances. I didn't."

"Oh, Chakotay, love has a way of screwing things up..."

He held her tighter. "And of making things right, too."

She looked deeply into him, then smiled the smile that only he got to see and kissed him soundly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the quiet of the hour following, as he took his shower and shaved, it crept back into his consciousness. That small spot of pain, that sat right above his stomach. He was getting so used to it that he hardly noticed it anymore. It was just a part of him. It didn't seem to affect how he felt about Kathryn, or how intensely happy he was that they were truly solid again. But it was there and at the moment, it hurt.

He was surprised that after almost a month, it hadn't really lessened. The first week had been excruciating, especially being on the bridge with him. Having to look at him all day, knowing that Tom was fully aware of how much he looked at him, helpless to do anything else. They could barely meet each other's eyes, and being forced to address him in an official capacity was awful. Lieutenant this, commander that. His heart constricted each time. But they did it. They had to.

Still, after this long, he thought the pain should have gone away. It just shrank to a certain point and stayed. And stayed. It was now part of who he was. A man who loved a woman intensely, who filled up his life, who had loved another man and lost him, who's loss was also part of that life.

"Chakotay, honey," Kathryn's voice traveled through the quarters from the living area.

He pulled himself together and followed it.

"Breakfast," she said with a smile.

"Thanks, I'm hungry," he said, pulling out a chair and sitting, reaching for a muffin. He looked up to find her studying him. "What?"

She didn't answer that, instead taking a sip of coffee, followed by a bite of melon.

"What?" He stopped what he was doing and waited.

Her eyes locked with his. She reached across the table and took one of his hands in both of hers, stroking it softly. "You miss him, don't you?"

His heart lurched and he instictively tried to pull his hand back but she wouldn't let it happen.

"It's okay, I can see it in your eyes," she said soothingly, "and I know it has nothing to do with us, honestly, I know that. In my heart I know that. But, love, I can see that it still hurts..."

He sighed deeply, giving in to her. "I thought it wouldn't by now. But it's still there. Sometimes I notice it more than other times. For some reason, while I was shaving I did. I'm sorry, Kathryn."

"No, no, don't apologize, Chakotay. That's not necessary." She looked at him intently again, and he could almost hear the wheels turning. "What would make it go away?"

What would make it go away... to hold him again? love him again? fill up that empty spot? "I don't know. Maybe I just need more time..."

She drank more of her coffee, now studying the liquid as she swirled the cup gently. "You know, honey, you did everything I asked of you. You put your needs aside for me, for us, you gave everything you ever had to our relationship. We forgave each other..."

He interrupted her. "You don't have to keep beating yourself up, Kathryn, for your behavior."

"I'm not. I'm only realizing that I didn't sacrifice much to make things right again. And maybe what I asked of you really wasn't fair. Or right. I'm just wondering, that's all. I want you to be happy, you need to be happy or it'll just turn into something else. And I know you love me. I know now that what you had with Tom had nothing to do with me, or us. So maybe something could be worked out..."

His heart skidded somewhere in his chest as her words were finally sinking in. He suddenly realized his mouth was hanging open and he closed it. "What the hell are you saying, Kathryn?"

"I don't know, just thinking off the cuff here, but would it make you happy to be able to spend, say, one night every two weeks with him? Doing whatever the two of you want? No guilt, no recriminations?"

He wasn't sure, but he thought maybe they had just entered another space-time continuum.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Oomph!" The noise came out of Tom involuntarily as he felt B'Elanna lunge him from behind. He began to laugh, seeing her grinning face peering at him in the mirror. "Hi to you, too, 'Lanna," he teased.

"Need some help?"

"Shaving? No thanks, I've been doing it myself for, let's see.... about twenty years now?"

She slapped him on the ass. "Damn. You never let me do it..."

"Call me crazy, but a Klingon woman with an instrument designed for cutting approaching my face is not something that's guaranteed to put a smile there." He resumed his shaving.

She came around and wedged herself between him and the counter. "I know something that will put a smile there," she said seductively.

Looking down at her, he grinned broadly. "Me, too, but later would be better, besides we just made love about five hours ago..." Nonetheless, he was responding to her hips rotating into him. "B'Elanna, I have to keep moving. You have to keep moving. Shift starts in forty minutes."

"Kah'les, you are a spoil sport," she said, pushing against his chest and walking away. She threw a saucy grin over her shoulder as she left the room, however.

Tom watched her go and shook his head in amazement. That they were even here, together, was amazing to him. That she had been willing to hear the entire saga of him and her oldest friend, had begged it out of him, after finding him sitting in his shower, crying, falling apart at the seams. That she had been pissed, yes, even furious at times, but had let him talk and talk and talk until he could say no more.

They had alot of talking to do, and alot of yelling, and crying and more talking. But she hadn't left. She hadn't run. She had hid for awhile, but allowed him to coax her back. And the very biggest thing that he had been afraid of, that because it was Chakotay she'd really be hurt, turned out to be a non-issue. He smiled to himself. Not entirely a non-issue. She expressed some sincere jealousy of him, and even one night, after a number of beers in Sandrine's had said she wanted a three-way. Just for the fun of it. He went a little nuts at that suggestion and they had another of their 'talks'. The memory of that night brought out a deep chuckle. He didn't know who to feel more jealous about. The thought of Chakotay with her or the other way around.

He turned back to the mirror and sighed. Chakotay. Memories came to him at the oddest times, always unwanted, always guaranteed to bring back the pain. Right then was no different. He looked down at the counter, not able to look at himself, and closed his eyes tightly. Tried to breathe deeply. He was still undecided if he wanted the pain to leave entirely. If it was gone, then he wouldn't think about him any longer. He figured he must be pretty sick, to be willing to feel awful, just for the luxury of feeling anything at all about the man.

He didn't see B'Elanna watching him quietly from the doorway.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I'd still like to know when I get to see this Captain Proton thing, you two," B'Elanna said, taking another bite of something Neelix was serving for lunch that day. She grimaced.

Harry laughed. "You have to finish that B'Elanna, you lost the bet. And talk to your boyfriend about the world of Proton and Kincaid. He's the boss there."

"Well, I think this is one bet I'm going to gladly renege on. This is crap. Oh, sorry, this is inedible." She looked at Tom's plate and saw virtually nothing had been touched. "At least I'm in good company, right Tom?" She raised her glance and saw Tom's concentration was far away. She let her eyes follow his line of sight. Chakotay had just walked into the messhall.

"Hey Tom," Harry said, "can B'Elanna be Kincaid's new personal assistant? I'd like to see her in the outfit..."

B'Elanna kicked him under the table, bringing his attention to her sharply, with a grunt. She mouthed Chakotay to him and nodded her head in the direction of the counter. Harry turned around, then turned back to his best friend, who's eyes were glued to the man.

She tapped Tom on the shoulder and he finally looked at her. "Tom. Go talk to him. Just say 'hi'. It's okay. I know you miss him."

Something changed in Tom's eyes, both she and Harry saw it. "Excuse me, 'Lanna, for saying this, but talking to him isn't going to make me feel any better." He stood up, pushing his chair back harshly.

She grabbed his arm. "Tom, sit down." He didn't move. "Sit." He sat. "Why don't you at least start by saying 'hi'. Then see what happens?"

Tom stared at her in disbelief, then his eyes narrowed. "B'Elanna, this is not a topic to tease me about."

She said softly, "And who says I'm teasing?"

"Let's just talk about something else," he said sharply. "No matter what, he's never going to do anything that goes against what the captain wants. And I don't plan on living through that hell again." He stood up quickly again. "Drop it. I'm fine." Grabbing his tray, he walked rapidly out of the messhall by way of the counter.

Chakotay's eyes followed him until he was long gone.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following day the bridge was quiet. Tom was feeling antsy, he'd cut off any further conversation with either B'Elanna or Harry about the big guy sitting directly behind him, but they'd done enough damage already. His heart hurt and having to walk to his post that morning was one of the most difficult things he'd done in a long time. Seeing the dark head sitting there as he exited the 'lift, he'd forced himself to keep moving. He heard the ready room doors open, but didn't pay much attention to the sound.

"Mr. Paris," Captain Janeway said.

He sighed and turned around, deliberately avoiding the first officer's gaze, though he could feel it. "Yes, ma'am?"

"The Doctor has requested your assistance. I realize this isn't your normal shift for sick bay, but he needs your help. It shouldn't take longer than an hour."

Great. At least I'll be off the bridge. "Yes, Captain." He stood, and she ordered a replacement conn officer.

"Thank you, Tom," she said with a smile.

Surprised, he stumbled over a reply and walked to the 'lift as quickly as he could. Smooth, Paris, very smooth. He practically jumped past the opening doors.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chakotay watched Tom taking his orders, his heart beginning to hammer in his chest. He could see that Tom looked nervous and wondered what had happened. He'd seemed fairly calm over the past few weeks, aside from the awkwardness between them. This was different. He just crossed his fingers and prayed that he wasn't about to get his heart and his pride trampled on.

Tom began to walk off the bridge and Chakotay met Kathryn's eyes. She nodded. He got up quickly and followed him, feeling lightheaded and all of eighteen. His palms were even damp. He got to the lift just as the doors were opening and Tom was stepping quickly through them. He entered right behind him.

It looked as though Tom almost physically leapt backwards to see him standing there. His eyes widened, and he actually blushed. Chakotay was well aware that this was the first time they were in any enclosed space, alone, since he left Tom's bedroom a month earlier.

"Hi, Tom," he said.

"Hi. You going to sick bay, too?" He ordered the computer to deck five.

Chakotay knew it was now or never. "Actually I just wanted a minute to ask you something." He met Tom's eyes directly, finally, and his heart raced. That blue...

"Okay," Tom answered quietly, not moving his eyes away.

"I'd like to play some basketball..."

Tom interrupted him as a look of something crossed his face. "Sure, well, I haven't run the program in awhile, but I'll get you the access code when I'm done with the Doc, would that be..."

He stopped the words with a hand on the younger man's arm. The contact was electric. Tom's eyes darted to it. "Tom. I was wondering if you wanted to play some ... one-on-one .... with me."

The lift doors opened. "Deck Five."

Neither of them moved. Tom's eyes went from Chakotay's hand to his face, then repeated it. The temperature in the 'lift had just risen at least twenty degrees.

"Tom?"

"But... the captain..."

"Yes or no first, then we talk."

Tom smiled a slow smile. "Are you being pursuasive again?" His voice had dropped significantly.

Chakotay smiled back. "I'm trying," he said, equally low.

"Like I've ever been able to say 'no'...."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kathryn tapped her chest. "Janeway to Lieutenant Torres."

"Torres here, Captain."

"Are you alone?"

"One moment, ma'am."

Kathryn took a big swallow of coffee, trying to keep her grin toned down.

"I'm in my office. Well?"

"B'Elanna, it worked. They have a date for tonight."

"Thank Kah'les, Captain. And thank you."

"Believe it or not, it was my pleasure. He's been, well, you know. So. What's on tap for us?"

"Well, I got the code for the movie theater. I made a list of what Tom calls 'girl movies' - I think you're gonna like this first one. It's called 'Doctor Zhivago' -- very romantic, very Russian, lots of snow and ice..."

"Great! I'll bring the popcorn."

"Wonderful! I'll bring the beer."



The End.
This story archived at http://www.tomparisdorm.com/viewstory.php?sid=1205