Lost Time by Blackcat
Summary: Summary not given
Categories: Chakotay/Paris Fanfiction Characters: None
Genres: Angst
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 22620 Read: 4175 Published: 01/09/03 Updated: 01/09/03

1. 1/2 by Blackcat

2. 2/2 by Blackcat

1/2 by Blackcat
Lost Time - Part One

by BlackCat



Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Paramount. I just like playing with them a little. Neither I nor Paramount are making any money off of this story.

WARNING: This is a C/P story, involving sex between two men. If this doesn't float your boat, don't read it. Simple? I think so. If you are under the age of 18, leave now while you still can.

Also, I'm not very "technology oriented", so pardon my attempts at adding technology if they don't make sense. And to Stef, who helped me with my grammar, spelling and making sure I don't repeat myself, virtual hugs and kisses. If you find any mistakes, I'm to blame, not her.



Since Kes left Voyager, Tom had become the new medical assistant on board. He would spend some of his off hours in Sickbay brushing up on his medical skills, which to him, was the most boring way to spend his time. He would much rather be flying Voyager. After all, he was a pilot and the best one in the quadrant. But the Captain ordered him to work withthe doctor until further notice, so there wasn't much he could do about the situation.

Working with the Doc kept him occupied. But after a short time, the mundane tasks in sickbay did little to keep his mind from wandering, wondering about the one person he would like to spend more time with. He thought that by now his feelings would have changed for his senior officer, but they hadn't. In fact, they were getting stronger as the days went by. He thought to himself, *Why am I carrying a torch for a man who wouldn't even consider being in a relationship with me?* After all, Tom Paris could have almost anyone he wanted on the ship. As usual, the answer to that question came momentarily after he asked it. *Only because he's the most gorgeous man you've ever laid eyes on; only because beneath that private exterior is a man with a heart of gold and honor, who could make you blissfully happy; only because-- *

"Mr. Paris," said the Doc, "Mr. Paris!" he said, once again attempting to capture his attention.

"Hmm?"

"You've run that same test three different times. Is there a problem?"

Tom came out of his hazy thoughts and sure enough, he had run the same test three times. *Damn* "Oh, um, sorry. I'm a little preoccupied today," he said and he began cleaning up the mess he'd made and quickly tried to think of a plausible reason for his inattentive state, in case the Doctor questioned him.

"So it seems," said the holodoc, a slow, knowing grin creeping across his face. A smile that didn't go unnoticed by Tom. He decided to evade any pending questions.

"Doc, I have a question for you."

"Yes, Mr. Paris?" came the reply from the holodoc.

"Remember when I did the transwarp flight? You said that the reason I mutated was because by going to transwarp it somehow activated an accelerated evolutionary rate in my body, right?"

"Yes, that's correct. Why are you asking?" inquired the doctor.

"Well, I've been thinking," he said, as he started running a different test. "Is there a way to counteract the transformation? Without the subject being unconscious, I mean."

"I don't know. I could work on it and see. Thinking about attempting the flight again?" asked the Doc, looking at Tom as if he thought it was a typical reckless idea.

"Yeah, but-- all right Doc, don't give me that look."

"I don't know what you mean Mr. Paris," he innocently replied.

"Yes you do, that 'you're just trying to kill yourself' look. You give me that look every time I've barely escaped some accident."

"Gee, I wonder why?" he asked, sarcasm dripping from his voice. Tom had taken many risks, unnecessary ones in the Doc's eyes. He felt it was a matter of time before he did some real damage to his body. The ship's complement was dwindling enough as it was. He knew Voyager couldn't afford to lose their best pilot.

"All right, I'll admit that I've taken some risks. But I've been taking them for the good of Voyager. Besides, I know the Captain won't allow another transwarp flight unless we can do something about the mutation problem," said Tom. "So will you help me?"

The doctor took into consideration what Tom said and replied, "Well, things have been quiet around sickbay for a while. I'll start working on the problem and see what I come up with. I'll keep you informed."

"Great Doc, thanks," he said as he returned to check the results of the tests.

About an hour later he was getting a tray in the mess hall. "Good evening Tom," said Neelix in his ever present cheery manner.

"Evening, Neelix. What's on the menu today?" Tom asked, while looking at the various selections.

"Well, I just created a wonderful Talaxian casserole. Would you like to try it?"

"I think I'll pass," he said after taking a look and catching a whiff of the concoction before him. "I'll just have the soup and a roll." It seemed safer. Although the casserole looked palatable, the aroma of hot spices said otherwise. He knew he'd be in sickbay with a bad case of heartburn if he ate it. After he got his food he scanned the mess hall for a place to sit when he saw Chakotay sitting alone at a table. *What the hell,* he thought as he went over to join him.

"May I join you, Commander?" asked Tom in his most charming voice.

"Of course, and we're off duty now, call me Chakotay," he said.

"Okay Chakotay," he said, somewhat surprised but pleased. Tom looked at Chakotay's plate and saw that he had decided to try the casserole. "You know Chakotay, I always thought you were brave, but I didn't realize you were that willing to court danger."

"Excuse me?" Chakotay asked.

"You decided to try the casserole," Tom said with a grin.

"Oh," he laughed. "Well, it looked pretty good so I decided why not, you only live once."

"Like I said, a brave man," Tom responded. Chakotay took one bite of the casserole, and as the spices swiftly set off a five alarm blaze in his mouth, he grabbed for the first glass of water he could find and gulped it down. All Tom could do was laugh.

"I'm sorry, Chakotay. It's just I've never seen anyone drink water at warp speed before!" he managed to say while handing Chakotay his glass of water, as well.

After Chakotay downed Tom's glass of water, wiped the tears from his eyes and was able to talk coherently, he laughed too. "Well, needless to say, I've had enough of this stuff," he said as he pushed his plate to the side. "How's your soup?"

Tom took a sip of the soup and although it looked good, it tasted like something Neelix found under a rock. And if the main ingredient was leola root, he probably did. "Oh this is bad, really bad," he said as he pushed his plate aside. Chakotay chuckled.

"Well, there's no sense in us starving tonight," Chakotay said. "I have some extra rations, you want to get some edible food in my quarters?"

Tom couldn't believe what he was hearing. He actually asked him to his quarters for dinner. "Lead the way," he said before Chakotay could change his mind. They got up and left the mess hall together.

Within minutes, they were in Chakotay's quarters staring at the replicator as if it were some new alien species. Breaking the silence in the room Chakotay said, "Order whatever you like."

"Okay, tomato soup with a roll and butter," he commanded, and the food materialized in the replicator.

"Tom, you sure that's all you want?" asked Chakotay.

"I had a big lunch earlier, so this will be fine," he lied. Actually, he could have eaten more, but he was a bit nervous being in Chakotay's quarters and he thought it safer to order a light meal. Chakotay ordered some sort of leafy salad with bread, and they took their food to the table to eat.

They had a wonderful dinner. Soon Tom's nervousness faded and he was enjoying himself thoroughly. He had never seen this side of Chakotay and he really liked it. He had quite a sense of humor and seemed to find several things about his job hilarious. After they finished eating, they moved toward the sofa, where he entertained Tom with the latest story from engineering involving Lieutenants Vorik and Edwards.

"Well, they were supposed to repair the biofilter," Chakotay began, as he made himself comfortable on the sofa." However, after doing so, they decided to take care of some personal business, as well. They forgot that jeffries tube 47 has an air duct that runs out to engineering and that any sound made would travel there. They entertained engineering for nearly an hour with extremely passionate sound effects!" Chakotay laughed.

Tom was rolling! It was the funniest story he had heard in a long time. "Well," he began when he could speak again, "at least someone on this ship is having a good time. Did they fix the biofilter?"

"Yeah, they did. I guess they decided since they finished the job so quickly they could engage in an extra activity," Chakotay replied. "B'Elanna had the hardest time telling me this story with a straight face." He laughed, remembering her struggle to maintain her composure.

"Well, what happened when they came out of the jeffries tube and back into engineering?" Tom asked, still trying to stifle slowly escaping giggles.

"B'Elanna said the engineering staff gave them a standing ovation! A few of them even shouted for an encore!" replied Chakotay. "She said they were mortified. Poor Edwards. B'Elanna said she was so humiliated. And Vorik couldn't even face anyone."

"Well, needless to say they probably won't do that again," Tom stated, beginning to laugh again. "I'll never look at Vorik the same again."

"You have no idea how hard it was for me to reprimand them without breaking out into hysterical fits of laughter!" he replied, while slowly regaining his composure.

"Who would have guessed it, a spontaneous Vulcan who likes to do it in strange places."

"Well, it's rare, but it happens," said Chakotay.

"Really, how would you know?" asked a very curious Tom.

"I once had a Vulcan lover, and he could be very impulsive at times - especially if my thoughts were on the erotic side," Chakotay confided, as a slow grin spread across his face at the memories being invoked. "Since they repress their emotions, their spontaneity is subtle. Over time, you learn what to look for. And because the mental link is so strong between lovers, these impromptu moments can be incredible."

"Boy, you find out something new every day! I never would have pictured you with a Vulcan," Tom voiced, as he ran his hand through his blond hair.

Tom was suddenly aware that Chakotay was gazing at him. At first, he thought he would get lost in those beautiful brown eyes, then he felt awkward, and looked away. "Well, Chakotay it's late and we have to--" he began when Chakotay cut him off.

"You know Tom, I've really enjoyed myself tonight, and," Chakotay was about to speak his mind but thought better of it. Instead, he put his hand lightly on Tom's thigh and continued with "You're right. We do have the alpha shift tomorrow so maybe we should call it a night."

After a fleeting glance at the hand resting on his thigh, Tom looked into Chakotay's eyes and nervously stammered out, "You're...um, right. I guess I should be going now."

Chakotay got up off the sofa and started toward the door. Tom slowly followed him, not really wanting to leave. "Chakotay," he began, "I had a good time tonight, too." They both stood near the door, neither of them wanting to say good night. There was an awkward silence as they stood looking at one another and then at the floor. Tom said "I'd love to, well, I thought maybe you'd like to do this again, sometime."

"How about tomorrow night?" was Chakotay's quick response.

Tom smiled in spite of himself, at Chakotay's eagerness. "Great! Only this time, let's meet in Sandrine's. We can have a drink, maybe play some pool?"

"Sounds good," Chakotay said as he moved closer to Tom, looking deep into his eyes again. "I'm looking forward to it."

Tom thought his legs would suddenly give way beneath him, at the intense stare from Chakotay. "Yeah, me too," he said. With great effort, he stepped closer to the door, causing it to open. "Good night, Chakotay."

"Good night, Tom," said Chakotay, leaning against the wall inside his quarters. Tom turned and walked down the corridor as the door closed.

Chakotay chuckled to himself. The evening with Tom was unexpected, but it went very well. He just recently became aware of Tom's attraction to him during a conversation with the Captain. As he put the dirty dishes in the recycler and began to prepare for bed, he mentally recalled their conversation.

** "You know, you shouldn't be too hard on him, Chakotay," she said as she sipped her coffee. "Because whether you know it or not, he's trying to prove himself to you, for more reasons than you think."

"What other reason would there be besides the fact that he wants to be regarded as a good officer?" Chakotay asked, obeying her gesture by seating himself next to her on the sofa.

Smiling, she said, "Just watch him. You'll see."**

Chakotay followed her advice, and in doing so realized the Captain suspected that Tom might be attracted to him. What he kept hidden from everyone was that he was attracted to Tom, as well. He had been from the moment he first laid eyes on him. He realized some time ago that his hostility toward Tom was based on his inability to accept those feelings. Tom didn't have long lasting relationships and his "flyboy" reputation was well known on the ship. Chakotay wanted more than just a one time liaison and wasn't certain he could have one with Tom. But at some point during their voyage in the Delta quadrant, Tom changed, and this gave Chakotay a glimmer of hope. Maybe, Tom wanted something long term.

Tom thought about the evening's events as he prepared for bed. He had realized some time ago that Chakotay didn't hate him any longer. In fact, the way Chakotay flirted with him proved that he was attracted to him. Smiling to himself, Tom felt a since of hope. A sense that he might have a chance at something he wanted for so long, a relationship with Chakotay. A relationship. That was a scary thought to Tom. The last relationship he was in, ended in disaster. Since then, he dated, but considered none of them worth a long term commitment. Chakotay was special, and he didn't want to do anything to mess it up. This time he would do things differently. He didn't want to screw up a chance at happiness.

****************************

The next day's shift on the bridge was relatively uneventful. Chakotay sat at the customary place next to the Captain, while Tom sat at the helm flying Voyager. Chakotay thought he looked so good. His golden blond hair, the way his hands moved over the controls. Chakotay wondered if he caressed a lover half as well as he did the helm.

Tom smiled inwardly, aware of the Commander's eyes on him. He wasn't uncomfortable by it, in fact, he was enjoying the attention.

Eventually the shift ended. Chakotay and Tom entered the turbolift together. Chakotay stated the destination and the lift began to move. "So, we still on for tonight?" he asked Tom.

"Yeah. What time do you want to meet at Sandrine's?"

"How about 1800?" Chakotay said wishing it could be sooner.

"Sounds great!" replied Tom. That would give him enough time to finish up in sickbay and change out of his uniform. The turbolift halted and Chakotay stepped out. "See you then." Tom said as the lift doors closed and he proceeded to sickbay.

At 1800 hours, Tom was standing outside the holodeck doors, attempting to analyze his apprehensive feelings. He spent the better half of an hour trying to decide what to wear, telling himself it wasn't a date and that what he wore wasn't important. But in spite of what he told himself, Tom wanted to look good for Chakotay. He decided to go very casual, wearing a white shirt and light blue jeans. Gathering his courage, Tom entered Sandrine's, scanning the dim bistro for any sign of Chakotay. He found him sitting at a table with the Captain. Tom didn't even know if he could speak coherently when he saw him. Chakotay had on black jeans with a steel blue turtle-neck and a black long sleeved jacket over that which he left unbuttoned. He looked incredibly sexy. Black went so well with his skin tone. He took a deep breath, swallowed and made his way toward their table.

"Evening, Captain, Chakotay," he said when he reached their table. He was having trouble keeping his eyes off the handsome Commander.

"Evening, Tom," said Captain Janeway.

"Hey Tom," Chakotay said as he gestured for him to sit across from him. The scent of Tom's cologne played at Chakotay's nostrils and he actually had to refrain from touching the beautiful pilot. For a moment, their eyes locked on one another, the current of electricity unmistakably flowing between them. *Too obvious,* Chakotay thought, and he willed his eyes to break contact with Tom. But it was too late. Kathryn saw the exchange and was already planning her subtle exit.

"Well gentlemen, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll turn in early," she said while getting up from her chair. "Have fun." She smiled fondly at both of them and took her leave of the holodeck.

"Was it something I said?" asked Tom playfully.

"Doubt it," answered Chakotay. "She probably had more interesting things to do, or she felt like she didn't want to intrude on our date."

"Why Chakotay," Tom said with exaggerated surprise. "I didn't know we were on a date" he teased.

"Really, and what exactly did you think it was?" asked Chakotay, playing along with Tom's game.

"I thought we were two friends getting together for a drink," he said, moving closer to Chakotay.

"Right, you come here dressed like that and smelling so good, and it's not a date?" Chakotay replied, moving closer to Tom.

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

"Absolutely nothing. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that B'Elanna and Harry are still in here, I'd be touching you right now," Chakotay said, flashing Tom his charming smile.

Tom blushed at this, then quickly recovered with, "Well you look incredible yourself, Commander, and don't let them being here stop you from touching me."

Tom began tracing small circles on the back of Chakotay's hand, causing him to lose his resolve. "You're too much, you know that?" he said smiling and blushing. Changing the subject completely before their conversation got too out of hand, he asked, "So you want to play pool?"

"Sure. B'Elanna and Harry are playing now, why don't we challenge them to a game?"

"Sounds good," replied Chakotay.

"Yeah, we may even be able to win some rations," said Tom as they both stood up and walked over to the pool table. About an hour later, they left the holodeck as undefeated pool champions.

"I wish you could have seen the look on Harry's face when you banked that shot!" laughed Tom. "He couldn't believe it!"

"Yeah, B'Elanna was exasperated too," Chakotay replied with a chuckle. "We make a pretty good team, don't we?"

"You're right, we do," Tom replied, hating that the evening was about to end. "Chakotay, are you tired?"

"No, why?"

"I have a collection of old 20th century movies. Some of them are pretty good. You want to watch one with me?"

"Actually, I'd love to," Chakotay softly replied.

Once inside his quarters, Tom instructed the computer to display a list of all available movies in his library. Tom had a rather extensive collection. "What's this movie "Independence Day" about?" asked Chakotay.

"Oh, it's about how these aliens attempted to invade 20th century earth. I thought it was pretty entertaining," he said.

"What about this one called 'Jeffrey'?" asked Chakotay.

"Jeffrey is about a man who falls in love with someone with a fatal disease - the HIV virus, I think. It's a combination of a drama and romantic comedy. It's pretty good."

"HIV? I've never heard of it before," Chakotay said.

Tom explained in detail what HIV was. He told Chakotay it was a disease that attacked the human immune system, and was spread by the exchange of bodily fluids. He also mentioned how dangerous it was and that eventually, whomever was infected during that time period would die.

After hearing this, Chakotay said, "Obviously a cure wasfound or else we would still have cases of the disease being reported."

"Well, originally they found a vaccine that prevented the disease from spreading. However, it did little for those already infected," Tom said while moving toward the replicator. "It actually reached epidemic proportions by the time a vaccine was found. People continued to die from the disease. Some time later, I'm not exactly sure when, a cure was found.

"Let's watch 'Jeffrey' first. Then if we're not too tired, we can watch 'Independence Day'," decided Chakotay.

Tom ordered a pitcher of iced tea, two glasses and a large bowl of popcorn from the replicator, then moved to sit next to Chakotay on the sofa. Then he instructed the computer to start the movie. There they sat, snacking as they watched the movie, and after it was over, Chakotay found himself pondering over the theme.

"It's amazing," Chakotay began, "our species had so much going against us during that time period - the wars and famines that plagued earth, let alone the diseases. It's a wonder our people survived at all."

"I know what you mean," Tom replied as he turned to face Chakotay on the sofa after placing the empty popcorn bowl on the table. "I did some studying about the AIDS epidemic. It was a horrible time of our history. When it first began, a certain minority population was hit with it first."

"Which minority?" asked Chakotay

"The, um," Tom hesitated, trying to recall what he read, "um, oh yeah, the homosexual community - those who preferred to have intimate relationships with someone of the same sex. I think there were more specific designations though. Men were referred to as *gay,* women as *lesbians.* Those who preferred both were known as *bi-sexual.* "

"That's interesting," Chakotay said. "I never knew there were designations. And they were so specific."

"I know." Tom replied, "Those who weren't homosexual were known as *straight.* Anyway, once the first cases of HIV were reported, many closed-minded straight people thought that gays were getting what they deserved - because they were gay. Later many people changed their way of thinking when straight men, women and children became infected by the disease.

Unfortunately, when this happened, there was also a significant increase in homophobia. Homosexuality was considered taboo for many years," Tom stated. "It wasn't until the mid 22nd century that people were accepted for who they were. I guess when first contact was made by the Vulcans, sexual preference was no longer important."

Tom reached for the pitcher and refilled their glasses with the cool drink, as he continued. "Now, people are people. There are no designations. A persons sexual preference has nothing to do with who they are. We've come a long way in the last 300 years haven't we?"

"You're right, we have," Chakotay voiced. "Well at least the movie had a happy ending. By the way, was it my imagination or did the guy that played "Sterling" look a lot like Captain Jean Luc Picard?"

"You're right! He does look like him." Tom proclaimed. "Now I can stop racking my brain trying to figure out why he looked so familiar."

The two men didn't even bother watching the next movie. They spent the rest of the evening talking. Chakotay told him about his childhood. How his father always wanted to live like his ancestors, without technology, relying on the spirits of the earth to guide him through life. How he couldn't wait until he was old enough to leave that life and go to the Academy. How he longed for adventure and technology, space exploration.

Tom told Chakotay what really happened when he got kicked out of Starfleet. He told him how the accident occurred; how after the investigation was done, he couldn't live with himself if he didn't take responsibility for the deaths of the other cadets - his friends. He shared with him his need to fly even though they barred him from Starfleet, which prompted him to join the Maquis. He didn't know he would get caught during his first flight and court martialed for treason. He told him how disappointed his father was in him. How his father wanted him to be perfect and was extremely overbearing if he wasn't. He said his father was a good man, but changed after he was interrogated by the Cardassians. He was harder, more rigid, and that was another reason he joined the Maquis. He felt a need to pay them back in his own way for what they did to his father and family.

"For a long time, I just thought you threw away a promising career. Some time ago I realized I had misjudged you. I should have apologized to you long ago for my behavior towards you," Chakotay admitted. "I'm sorry Tom, I didn't realize."

"I guess no one did. I never talked about myself to anyone. After the incident at the Academy, I didn't have any friends," Tom said, thinking back to the days when he first came aboard Voyager. "The only two crew members willing to give me a chance here on Voyager were Captain Janeway and Harry. It even took me a long time to get through to B'Elanna."

Chakotay considered this beautiful young man sitting across from him. Tom seemed more at ease than he had been before. Chakotay was glad to see that he was finally relaxing around him.

Tom didn't want the evening to end. And the electricity between them, although not as evident as earlier, was still there. He forced himself not to move to quickly. He didn't want to mess this up like he had so many other things in his life. So he convinced himself to take it slow, although the need to have him threatened to overpower his resolve. "Chakotay, have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do anything to have it?" he asked.

"Yes, I have," Chakotay answered, looking deeply into Tom's eyes.

"Chakotay," Tom returned the gaze, "why do you look at me like that?"

"Because I... I think you're beautiful," was his whispered reply. He looked at Tom now and saw *him* - not the walls he erected to protect his feelings.

Tom blushed and looked down at his hands. "Chakotay, you shouldn't say things like that unless you mean it."

"What makes you think I don't mean it?" Chakotay murmured, moving closer to and placing his hand on Tom's.

Tom looked deeply into Chakotay's brown eyes - searching for something, anything, that would contradict what he just heard. He could only find honesty and affection in his eyes. "You really mean it, don't you?"

"Tom, when you walked into Sandrine's tonight, I thought to myself *He looks incredible!! How am I going to keep from touching him?*" Tom smiled while blushing over Chakotay's statement. He continued, "And even though I find you extremely attractive, I also care about you. I know it may be hard for you to believe right now, but I care about what happens to you, what you do, who you see, I really care deeply for you." He moved closer to Tom and was pleased to see he wasn't scaring the man off. He rested his hand on the side of Tom's face.

Tom's eyes closed at the warmth that he felt from Chakotay - both physically and emotionally. Then he felt warm lips descend on his and felt himself being pulled closer to Chakotay's body. Tom melted into the kiss as his lips parted allowing Chakotay's tongue entrance. Tom reached behind Chakotay's neck, threaded his fingers through the soft black hair, then brought his hand down gently caressing Chakotay's chest as the kiss deepened.

Chakotay felt as if he was caught in the wake of a supernova, his body being hit by shock waves of emotion, holding the man of his dreams. He felt so good, his lips, the feel of his arm around his waist, hand slowly traveling down his chest. It felt right, like they belonged together. As they pulled apart, Chakotay opened his eyes and looked intently at Tom.

"I'm sorry," Chakotay whispered, " I told myself I wouldn't do this tonight. I wanted to take things slow, but you look so inviting and I feel so strongly about you," he trailed off not knowing how to continue.

"Are you saying I'm impossible to resist?" Tom asked, smiling and gazing sensually into Chakotay's eyes.

"Something like that." Chakotay replied, his smile forcing his beautiful dimples to appear.

"Well, you don't need to apologize," Tom said. "I wanted it as much as you, maybe more." Tom traced the lines of Chakotay's tattoo with his finger, and asked, "When did you realize?"

"I've been attracted to you since the first time I laid eyes on you," he said while running his hand up and down Tom's arms and chest. "It wasn't until later that I began to look at you as *relationship* potential. Chakotay couldn't stop touching him, almost couldn't bear the thought of letting him go even for just a moment.

"Well, you could have fooled me," Tom replied. "I thought you hated me for a long time when you first came on board Voyager."

Tom's words made Chakotay wince. "I know, and I'm sorry. Like I said, I really misjudged you. I hope you can forgive me for it."

"I guess if I were in your shoes, I would have felt the same way. Don't worry about it, it's in the past." Tom gazed at Chakotay and a smile slowly crept across his face as he said, I wish I had known sooner, that you were attracted to me." This time Tom leaned in kissing Chakotay. The feeling was one of incredible pleasure. His lips were so soft, so luscious. He ran his tongue along them, sucking his tongue lightly when it entered his mouth, which caused a moan to escape from Chakotay. Tom caressed Chakotay's thigh and felt his erection through his jeans. He started to stroke the hardness beneath the fabric and then thought better of it. It was too soon to have sex.

Chakotay apparently felt the same way. He pulled away and said, "Tom, as much as I want to stay with you tonight, I don't think I should. I don't want to rush things and if I don't leave now..."

"I know what you mean Chakotay, and you're right. Let's not rush things. We've got all the time in the world and I'm certainly not going anywhere, especially now that we've found each other," he said while tracing one of Chakotay's dark eyebrows. Tom got up off of the sofa and started toward the door, Chakotay right behind, him holding his hand.

When they got to the door, it swished opened and Chakotay stepped outside, placing one hand against the wall. Tom stood inside the doorway leaning against the wall with his arms folded, a slight grin on his face. Neither one wanted to say good night. Tom reached a hand behind Chakotay's neck and pulled him in for a long, sensual kiss good night, causing some gaping stares from passing crew members.

As the kiss ended, Chakotay looked into Tom's eyes and said good night. Then he turned and walked to his quarters sporting the biggest grin on his face anyone had ever seen on him.

Tom went inside and leaned his back against the wall next to the door. He was so pleased at how the evening had gone. He wanted so badly to spend the night with Chakotay, but he knew it was too soon. So he took a shower and got ready for bed. However, with his thoughts revolving around Chakotay, he couldn't sleep. Finally, after what seemed like hours, he couldn't stand it any longer and commed Chakotay. He needed to hear his voice again.

"Paris to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here. What's wrong Tom?"

"Nothing, Chakotay, I, uh, you've been on my mind. I can't sleep."

"I know what you mean," Chakotay admitted. His thoughts had been completely occupied with Tom, and he slowly lost his resolve. After a long pause he replied, "Tom, I know it's too soon, and I don't want you to think that I'm in this for a one night stand, because I'm not, but,"

"I'll be right there," Tom said, and the link was cut.

************************

Tom made it to Chakotay's quarters in record time, dressed in the T-shirt and sweats he usually slept in. He didn't even bother putting on regular clothes. Chakotay instructed the computer to let Tom in as soon as he appeared in front of the door. The moment the door opened, Tom almost ran into Chakotay's quarters, where he was met by a warm embrace.

They stood there for a long moment, enjoying the feel of each other. Then Tom leaned in for a kiss that took Chakotay's breath away. Chakotay was wearing a navy blue robe and nothing else. Tom quickly untied the belt to the robe and reached inside, needing desperately to feel Chakotay's skin. Chakotay, feeling the same urgency, began helping Tom out of his pajamas, pulling the shirt over his head, then yanking the pants down past his hips. Tom stepped out of the pants as Chakotay let the robe slip off his shoulders.

Both were naked now and pressed against one another, each caressing the other. Chakotay led Tom to his bedroom and as Tom lay back on the bed, his long thick erection against his stomach, he settled in between his legs and lowered his head to capture Tom's lips again. Tom began moving beneath Chakotay's solid body, reveling in the feel of it. Chakotay kissed a wet trail from Tom's mouth to his neck and back up to his ear, where he outlined it with his tongue. Tom was gasping - unable to verbalize, at that moment, the desire he was feeling. Chakotay was pleased at Tom's reaction. He retraced the path down his neck and chest, drawing out the pleasure further, settling on one nipple, licking and sucking until it was a hard nub, then doing the same to the other. Tom threaded his hands through Chakotay's hair and finally found his voice. "Oh this is soooo good. You're too good at this Chakotay." he whispered.

"I've wanted this, wanted you for so long," Chakotay breathed against Tom's chest, while continuing his trail down Tom's torso, lingering at his navel, teasing it with his tongue.

"Yessss, uhhhh," he moaned as he felt Chakotay's mouth envelop his throbbing cock. Chakotay skillfully sucked him, sensually twirling his tongue in slow circles around the tip. Tom thought he would explode from this sensation alone. Not ready for it to be over, he reached down and pulled his lover back up to him and kissed him again. Tom wrapped his legs around Chakotay's and rolled over, capturing his hands in his own, holding them on either side of his head. Even though Chakotay could have easily escaped Tom's grasp, it never occurred to him to do so. It was at that moment that he realized he completely trusted Tom, with his feelings, with his life. Tom's body was between Chakotay's legs now and he looked deep into Chakotay's eyes. "I want to see you while we make love," he said, his voice deep with desire.

"Oh, yes," Chakotay murmured. As Tom loosened his grip, Chakotay reached under the pillow, pulled out a tube of lubricant and handed it to Tom. He lubricated his fingers, and slowly pushed one finger into the tight opening, then two, finally three, pushing them in and out, gradually preparing his lover. Chakotay was groaning constantly now as he felt Tom's fingers inside him. "Spirits, Tom," his voice dripping with desire, "I want you inside me now, please," Chakotay pleaded.

"Anything to make you happy," he replied, desperately wanting the same thing. He didn't think he would last if he kept listening to him moan, so he withdrew his fingers, lubricated his cock and slowly pushed inside his lover. It started at a leisurely pace, going deeper with each thrust, until finally, he was buried inside Chakotay. For a moment, neither of them moved, with Tom feeling the startling warmth and tightness surrounding him, and Chakotay savoring the extraordinary hardness within him. Gradually Tom began moving, resting his body against Chakotay's. He nuzzled Chakotay's neck, deeply inhaling his scent. "Oh God, you smell wonderful," he moaned before choosing a sensitive neck area, slowly sucked the tender flesh into his mouth. Chakotay's reaction told him that his choice was a good one, as he pushed his body closer to him.

Chakotay was enraptured. He didn't know whether it was the moment, or what Tom was doing, or if it was just Tom, nor did he much care, but he'd never felt such pleasure in his life. He wanted this feeling to last forever, to never end.

Tom could feel Chakotay's erection against his stomach as they moved together. After tracing his tongue around Chakotay's ear, they gazed into each others eyes as they moved together. Every nerve ending in Chakotay's body was on alert, skin on skin, blue eyes locked onto brown. Chakotay reached up and caressed Tom's face, his eyes saying what his mouth couldn't. Tom responded by kissing him deeply, his tongue entering Chakotay's mouth easily. Chakotay was so close, he knew it he wouldn't last much longer. When Tom gently sucked Chakotay's tongue, that did it - Chakotay came so hard he thought he saw stars, and immediately after, Tom thrust deeply one final time and climaxed with a roar.

After their orgasms subsided, Tom eased out of Chakotay, and he moaned from the loss. He remained on Chakotay and gently kissed his eyes, nose and lips once more before rolling off and using a towel that was on the night stand to clean them both. Afterward, he snuggled into Chakotay's embrace. Chakotay ran his hand through Tom's soft blond hair, and within moments, both were sleeping soundly, feeling more comfort than they had since their voyage first began.

*****************

The next morning, Harry was waiting impatiently for Tom to show up at breakfast. He was supposed to meet him at 0700 and he was already 15 minutes late. He'd said something about trying to attempt the transwarp flight again and he wanted to talk about it. Harry hit his comm badge and said, "Kim to Paris," No answer. "Computer, locate Lieutenant Paris." said a somewhat irritated Harry.

"Lieutenant Paris is in Commander Chakotay's quarters," answered the monotone voice of the computer.

"What's he doing there? And at 0715? Computer, what time did Lieutenant Paris enter Commander Chakotay's quarters?"

"Lieutenant Paris entered Commander Chakotay's quarters at 2330 hours."

"Last night? And has he been there until now?"

"Affirmative," answered the computer.

"I guess we won't be having breakfast, after all," Harry muttered to himself, a smile slowly making its way around his face.

*****************

Chakotay woke up and found himself spooned against Tom. Tom had his arms around his waist and had pulled him close. Chakotay couldn't think of anything that felt better. He began caressing the arms that held him when he felt Tom nuzzle the back of his neck. "Morning," Tom murmured.

"Did you sleep well?" asked Chakotay while turning to face his lover.

"Oh yes, I slept very well," replied Tom, just before he kissed Chakotay.

Tom rolled on top of Chakotay, continuing to kiss him, then broke away and proceeded to kiss a slow, wet trail down his neck and around to his ear, leaving Chakotay almost speechless.

"Tom," Chakotay sighed.

"Hmm?" Tom replied, continuing his assault on his lover.

"We um, we shouldn't be doing this now," whispered Chakotay.

"Why?" he asked, as he began to move further down Chakotay's chest. "I'm here, you're here, and you look and feel so damn good," he uttered, as he found a nipple and began sucking and licking it until it was hard.

Chakotay's breathing began to quicken and he attempted without much success, to form coherent sentences. He could feel Tom growing hard against him as he wrapped his legs around Tom's waist and said, "but we're on duty shortly..."

Tom moved to the other nipple and gave it the same attention he gave the first. Chakotay was writhing now, and he found it increasingly difficult to concentrate. "Well, you're the one in charge of the duty roster aren't you?" Tom asked. "Surely you could arrange for us to be off duty so I can spend the day fucking you," he hinted kissing a trail further down Chakotay's body.

"Spirits that sounds wonderful," Chakotay gasped as he felt Tom's warm wet mouth surround his cock. All thoughts of time and duty forgotten, he began to thread his fingers in Tom's beautiful golden hair when a comm badge chirped.

"Lieutenant Paris, please turn on your EMH monitor" came the voice of the Doctor.

"Shit," he muttered as he got up, wrapped the blanket around him and went to the view screen. "Doc, this had better be good," he said more than a little irritated.

"I'm sorry Mr. Paris, did I catch you at a bad time?" inquired the Doctor.

"Yeah, so could you tell me what you want?" was his insistent reply. Chakotay couldn't help chuckling to himself. He knew the doctor was being annoying on purpose. By now, he could tell Tom's location. It was his way of being humorous, although he thought if it were possible, Tom might attempt to scatter his molecules all over the Delta quadrant.

"As you requested, I've been working on ways to stop the mutation process during the transwarp flight. Would you like to hear my findings so far?"

Tom had forgotten that he asked the doctor to do the research for him. "Not now. This afternoon will be time enough to let me know," Tom replied, slowly losing his patience.

"Okay Mr. Paris, and tell the Commander I said good morning," the Doctor said with a smile and cut the link.

Tom just shook his head and laughed. Then he turned to see Chakotay laying in the bed looking very edible, and decided he'd pick up where he left off. "Okay, where were we?" he said moving in quickly to claim Chakotay's lips again.

Chakotay stopped him before he could get carried away. "We have bridge duty in an hour," he said, "and I'm hungry." Smiling, Chakotay got out of bed and headed for the shower.

"Okay, I'll leave you alone for now," Tom replied sounding defeated.

Chakotay started the shower and stepped in the warm water. After he lathered his body, he felt a slight breeze and then warm arms encircle his waist. Tom was standing behind him rubbing Chakotay's wet, slippery body with his hands.

"I tried to stay away, I really did, but I couldn't resist," he murmured in Chakotay's ear. "I want you so much,"

Tom turned Chakotay around to face him and began to rain soft kisses on his face and neck. Then he sensually kissed and licked his tattoo. "I've always wanted to do that," he whispered as Chakotay's hands began their own exploration of Tom's body - his legs, hips, ass, chest, every part he could touch, he did. Chakotay kissed Tom, letting his tongue delve deep into his lover's mouth. He was rock hard now and wanted to be inside so badly it hurt. Tom must have wanted it as well because he said, "Chakotay, now, please,"

Tom turned and braced himself against the shower wall, then crying out as the feeling of Chakotay's fingers invading his body overpowered him. Tom's constant moans were enough to drive Chakotay over the edge, and when he was satisfied that he wouldn't cause any pain, Chakotay gently entered Tom. He moved slowly, thrusting deeper and deeper until he was completely buried inside his lover. They continued to move, gradually building a rhythm as the warm water sprayed them both, Chakotay raining moist wet kisses down Tom's neck and back.

"Oh yes, so good, so good," Tom whispered over and over. Chakotay reached around and began to pump Tom's pulsating cock in time with his thrusts. With his other hand, he interlocked his fingers with Tom's as they leaned against the shower wall for support. Tom could feel Chakotay's hot breath against his ear as he whispered, "You feel soooo good, oh yes, so hot, so right, so good,"

Tom could feel himself getting close. The sensation of Chakotay being inside him, while whispering in his ear, was more than he could stand. Tom saw stars with every powerful thrust. "Chakotay, I can't... I'm gonna..." he broke off gasping.

"That's right, cum for me baby, don't hold it, you're so good, so right, cum for me." Chakotay repeated over and over until Tom couldn't take it any longer. With a strangled cry he came in his lover's hand. Clenching tightly around the hardness inside him, he caused Chakotay to explode within his body, filling Tom with his seed.

Tom leaned against the shower wall for a few minutes trying to recover, with Chakotay leaning on his back attempting to do the same. When he was able, Chakotay turned Tom around to face him. He looked deep in to his beautiful blue eyes and said, "What was I doing the last few days with out you?"

Tom smiled and said "Probably the same thing I was, thinking about you, wishing you were mine. Looks like we got our wish," he said, placing a hand on Chakotay's cheek.

When they finished their shower, they toweled themselves dry and went in search of clean uniforms. Tom didn't have time to go to his quarters so he replicated a new one and they left for the mess hall. Halfway there Tom remembered something.

"Oh shit, I forgot I was supposed to have breakfast with Harry. He's probably pissed."

"Tell him it was my fault." Chakotay said grabbing his hand as they continued down the corridor.

"Something tells me I won't have to." he said looking down at his and Chakotay's hands entwined together.


Chakotay smiled and gave Tom's hand a gentle squeeze before they entered the mess hall. It was filled with more crew members than usual for that time of the morning. Needless to say that when they entered together, holding hands and looking as if they just stepped out of the shower, many heads turned although the two officers didn't seem to notice. They grabbed some coffee and were heading straight for the bridge, when Tom saw Harry sitting with B'Elanna at a table.

"I've got to go apologize to Harry for missing breakfast. I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Okay, don't be late though," said Chakotay, "I like watching you at the helm." That beautiful smile graced Chakotay's face as he gave Tom a light kiss on the lips before leaving the mess hall.

"Did you see that?" asked B'Elanna

"I told you he spent last night in Chakotay's quarters," replied Harry. "What did you expect? Did you think they spent the entire evening talking?"

"Obviously they didn't." She stopped abruptly as Tom walked up.

"Morning guys," Tom began, "Harry, sorry about missing breakfast, I was--"

"I know where you were, Tom," Harry said, a sheepish grin spreading across his face. "When you didn't show up, I asked the computer."

"I should have known," Tom replied. "Nothing is ever kept secret on this ship."

"So when did this happen?" inquired Harry.

"Yeah Tom," said B'Elanna, "tell us all the details,"

"Actually we've been leading up to this for some time. Neither one of us knew it until last night however." As Tom sipped his coffee, he observed his two friends eagerly awaiting the details of this new relationship. He thought about Chakotay and how he would feel if aspects of his private life were made public to the crew. *No way are they going to get details,* he thought to himself as he quickly diverted the subject. "Maybe we can talk at lunch about the transwarp flight. I've got the Doc doing some research for me on how we can counteract the effects of the flight without the pilot being unconscious."

"Wait a minute, Tom. Don't go changing the subject on us. We want to know what happened!" said B'Elanna.

"Sorry guys, I don't kiss and tell." Tom said in a matter-of-fact way.

B'Elanna couldn't help but burst out laughing. "Don't even try it flyboy!"

"Yeah! Since when have you become so hush-hush about your love life with us?" inquired Harry.

"Since Chakotay."

"Ooh, this must be serious," B'Elanna quipped.

"It is serious," said Tom. "Chakotay is an honorable man. I really want to make this work. I'm not doing anything that could possibly mess this up, and that includes sharing bedroom stories with you two. So back off." He surprised himself with that statement, and was even more surprised to find that he meant every word of it. If it had been anyone else, he would have happily shared the evenings events. Chakotay was different. He touched him emotionally, and that seemed to make everything special.

"Okay, we won't ask anymore!" B'Elanna sort of agreed for both of them. "Well you two seem happy, I'm glad. You deserve some happiness, Tom."

"Yeah, you do buddy," Harry concurred.

Fifteen minutes later, Harry and Tom were on the bridge. As soon as they stepped off the turbolift, Tom's eyes immediately met Chakotay's and the electricity was almost visible.

It certainly didn't go unnoticed by the rest of the bridge crew, especially Captain Janeway. She looked from Tom to Chakotay, and was certain something was going on. It was relatively quiet on the bridge, so she decided to use her rank as an excuse to question Chakotay. "Chakotay, may I see you in my ready room?"

"Of course Captain," he said as he followed her to her office. As soon as the door closed, she immediately began her interrogation.

"Okay Chakotay, spill it, what's going on between you and Tom?"

"What are you talking about, Kathryn?" he asked, attempting to look innocent without much success.

"Oh come on, I saw the way you two looked at one another. Either something is going on or I'm losing my ability to read my crew," she said grinning.

"Well, if you must know," he began, "after Sandrine's, we went to his quarters to watch an old movie."

"And?" she said prying further.

"And we talked, and talked some more, and then one thing led to another and we um -- Are you really going to make me tell you all the details?" he asked, almost pleading with her not to make him continue.

"No Chakotay, I just like watching you squirm." she smirked. "So you finally got what you wanted. I'm really happy for you."

"I don't remember mentioning to you how I felt about Tom," Chakotay said, surprised that she had seen it.

"It was obvious Chakotay," she stated as she went over to her replicator, ordered a cup of coffee and seated herself on her sofa. She gestured for him to join her, then continued with, "Maybe not to everyone else, but to me, well, let's just say that I've spent the last nine months watching the two of you dance around each other. You making excuses to be close to him by checking readings at the helm, every once in a while resting your hand on his shoulder." She took a sip of the rich coffee as she observed a sheepish grin slowly make its way across her first officer's face. "The way you two converse during briefings, with Tom standing as close to you as possible without actually touching you. You two have found more reasons to invade each other's personal space than I can count. I'd say you were pretty obvious." she voiced, taking another sip of her coffee.

Chakotay chuckled in spite of himself. "I don't know why I even thought I could hide anything from you."

"You can't. That's why I'm the Captain," she teased.

Chakotay had been in the Captain's office for some time now and Tom was wondering what was going on in there. Had the look they shared when he walked on the bridge been so obvious that the Captain was lecturing him on the problems that could arise with him being involved with one of his officers? His fears were quickly extinguished when they came out of the Captain's ready room, and he took one look at his lover's face. Chakotay gave him a reassuring smile which let him know that everything was fine. He figured the Captain was just probing him for answers just as Harry and B'Elanna had with him earlier. Things had suddenly become quite interesting on Voyager. Soon the word would be out that he and Chakotay were lovers. *Lovers.* He liked the sound of that.

*****************

Less than 24 hours later, the news had spread throughout the ship that Tom and Chakotay were the newest couple aboard. Six months later, they were still together, each falling deeper and deeper in love with the other than they cared to admit. Both, however, had never told the other how they felt. They were still hesitant about revealing their feelings in case something happened and it didn't work out.

They spent almost all of their off time together, or with Harry and B'Elanna. They even took shore leaves together, and eventually discovered that Harry and B'Elanna had become an item as well.

During the times when Chakotay was busy with ships business, or when B'Elanna was swamped in Engineering, Tom and Harry would work together, making sure that all systems were functioning normally in the shuttle he would do the transwarp flight in. When Tom had mentioned his idea about attempting the transwarp flight once again to Chakotay, he was less than enthused about the whole thing.

"No, absolutely not!" insisted Chakotay.

"But why?" asked Tom.

"Have you forgotten what happened to you the first time? No, Tom. I don't want to have to spend three long weeks looking for you and worrying about you if you have another sudden uncontrollable urge to continue your mutation process on another planet! And who knows who you'll end up kidnapping this time. No."

"Maybe I'll kidnap you this time," Tom said, grinning seductively as he moved closer to Chakotay.

"That's not the point Pookah," Chakotay replied.

"Okay Chakotay, I'm sorry," he said rubbing his lover's back. This always seemed to pacify him so he could focus better. "Remember a few months ago when the Doc interrupted us during our morning activities?"

Chakotay chuckled and replied, "Yeah, I remember." He knew what Tom was trying to do, and he knew it was working. Tom learned long ago what would soothe his lover quickly. He was very good at reading Chakotay. Sometimes Chakotay thought Tom knew him better than he knew himself.

"Well, I asked him if there were a way to counteract the effects of the mutation process without the person being unconscious. He worked on it and produced a serum that halts the mutation process completely. All I have to do is take the medication 24 hours before the flight and I'll be ok."

"I don't know, Tom. I couldn't stand it if something happened to you," Chakotay admitted.

"I'll be fine. C'mon Chakotay, this is a chance for us to get Voyager home! If this works, we can all be home as soon as transwarp can be incorporated into Voyager." Tom turned Chakotay around to face him. "And I know you want to get home. Besides, I want to meet your family," he said, smiling at his lover.

Chakotay slipped his arms around Tom's waist. "Ok, you win. I'll inform the Captain tomorrow morning. How soon will you be ready to do the flight?" he asked as Tom ran his hands up and down his arms.

"We'll be ready two days from now."

"All right, but promise me something. Promise you'll come back to me ok?"

"I could never stay away from you Chakotay. Never." Tom sealed his promise with a kiss that lasted into the early hours of the next morning.

Two days later, Tom and Chakotay were in the shuttle bay. Harry and B'Elanna were running a last minute systems check of the shuttle. Tom had taken the serum 24 hours prior and was medically ready for the flight.

"Ok, that's the last of it," said B'Elanna as she and Harry left the shuttlecraft.

"Good luck, buddy," said Harry, and both engineers exited the shuttle bay. Chakotay was still agonizing over the uncertainty of the flight. Tom could see it in his lover's eyes.

"Don't worry. I'll be fine. And when I get back, we'll have something to celebrate," Tom said, resting his hand on Chakotay's cheek.

Chakotay took Tom's hand in his, kissed the palm, then placed a gentle kiss on the pilot's lips and said, "I'll be looking forward to it."

Tom climbed into the shuttle and Chakotay signaled to the Captain that Tom was ready to leave. Chakotay turned after seeing the shuttle hatch close, and left. He arrived on the bridge in time to see the shuttle clear the docking bay. Voyager followed the shuttle at warp nine until Tom was ready to take it into transwarp.

"Janeway to shuttlecraft Cochrane."

"Paris here, Captain."

"Ok Tom, it's now or never," said the Captain

"Initiating transwarp sequence now."

Silence. Then, "Transwarp online."

Suddenly, the shuttle went to warp 10 and disappeared from Voyager's sensors. They waited patiently for him to return. Last time it took only 10 minutes, but as the tenth minute came and went, Chakotay had a sinking feeling that something had gone terribly wrong.

Like before when Tom did the transwarp flight, he saw every place at once. Earth, the Klingon home world, Bajor, the place where he'd left Voyager behind, all these coordinates flashed before him. He noticed that Voyager was looking for him and decided it was time to turn back, when all of a sudden, the readings on his console told him something was wrong. There was a brilliant flash of light, and when he looked up from the instrument panel, he discovered that he was orbiting around Earth. He was home, or so he thought.

He hailed Starfleet. No answer. Then the sensors began picking up a wide range of radio bandwidths. He put the sound on audio and none of it made sense to him. He heard music playing, fast talking advertisers trying to sell cars. "Cars?" he said out loud to no one. "Oh no, please no."

"Computer, what year is this?" he said, hoping against all hope that he was wrong.

"The year is 1998," was the reply from the computer.

"Oh my God," he whispered, "I'm in the 20th century!"

*****************

Ordinarily, being thrown 300 years in the past wouldn't have bothered Tom this much. After all, he was an expert on 20th century history. But so much had changed since the last time he was in this time period. He didn't have Chakotay then, and now he desperately didn't want to be without him.

Tom began frantically checking the readings on the computer, trying to figure out what had caused the accident. After he ran a full diagnostic of the shuttle's systems, he discovered that a slight imbalance in the warp signature caused a rip to occur in the space-time continuum. He would have to recreate the conditions in order to get home and to repair the rip in space-time. But the warp nacells were damaged during the flight. He would have to repair them, and make sure the signature was the exact variance that caused the accident in the first place, in order to get home. But how? He wasn't an engineer, he was a pilot. He figured he could probably make the repairs himself, but where time travel was concerned, any number of things could go wrong if the calculations weren't precise. He needed an engineer with 24th century knowledge, but he had a snowball's chance in hell of finding someone like that in this century. "Computer, do you still have the Voyager's engineering data base?"

"Affirmative."

"Good. Give me step-by-step instructions on how to make this repair, then download the information into my tricorder," he said, while incorporating his findings into the computer. The computer began doing as instructed.

"Working... instructions complete - file has been downloaded," replied the computer.

*Good* he thought. Now all he had to do was land the shuttle so he could make repairs. That was easier said than done. He had to land undetected so as not to corrupt the time line. As it was, he thought he may end up doing that to a certain degree, anyway. He didn't want the shuttle to fall into the wrong hands or he may never be able to return to his own timeline.

*****************

"Harry, is there some way we can track the shuttle?" Janeway asked.

"We can follow the warp signature and see where it leads. However, I'll need to modify the sensors. Unfortunately, it could take a while," replied Harry. He couldn't figure out what went wrong, but he was determined to find his friend.

"Do it," ordered the Captain. "Work with B'Elanna if you have to, but I want him found, I don't care how long it takes."

"Aye, Captain," he said. After sending all the recorded data of the flight to engineering, Harry entered the turbolift to work with B'Elanna.

Chakotay felt like his world was crumbling around him. His lover was gone and they didn't know where he was or if he was still alive. "What am I going to do without him?" he thought aloud, not intending to. The Captain saw the anguish in Chakotay's face. Chakotay really did love Tom, and she immediately felt sympathy for her first officer. She patted him on the arm and said, "Don't worry, Chakotay, we'll find him."

Chakotay gave a feeble nod and said, "Permission to leave the bridge. I'd like to see if B'Elanna and Harry need any help."

"Go. Let me know as soon as you find something."

"I will," Chakotay confirmed and left the bridge.

*****************

"Computer, is there a way I can disrupt the signal of the satellites orbiting the planet without actually destroying them?" Tom asked the computer.

"Affirmative. Sending an empty carrier wave toward the satellite over the northernmost hemisphere will disrupt the signal," replied the monotone voice of the computer.

"Will it give me enough time to land the shuttle?" asked Tom.

"Affirmative."

He decided he would land the shuttle close to the NASA base near the Hawaiian islands. That way, if he needed materials, he could get them. Getting the materials wouldn't be a problem using the 24th century technology from the shuttle.

He located and scanned a large mountain looking for a safe place to hide the shuttle. There were no openings in the mountain. However, his scan indicated a cavern large enough to hold the shuttle near the outside of the mountain if he created an opening. Not far from there was a rather large city, close to what looked like a school or a campus.

Tom waited until it was dark on the side of the Earth he wanted to land on. Then he sent the carrier wave through, and just like the computer said, it disrupted the satellites long enough for him to descend and enter the atmosphere undetected. He located the lava tube of the cave with the help of the shuttle sensors. Then he made a slight modification to the shuttle's phasers and used them to create an opening in the mountain near the hollow area, with little to no rock debris. When he was sure it was safe, he slowly piloted the shuttle inside. He powered down all the systems and decided to get some sleep.

The next morning, he decided he should go into town and get some appropriate clothes. He used the shuttle's replicator toreplicate some 20th century US currency. Remembering the last time he was there, he didn't think anyone would notice his uniform, and he was right. No one noticed or seemed to care what he was wearing. After trudging through thick lots of foliage and passing a few homes, he made his way to the large school he spotted earlier. Most of the people he saw seemed to be in a hurry, carrying large books to different buildings. The basic look of a college campus hadn't changed much in the last 400 years.

He found a clothing store on the school's campus, and purchased a pair of black pants and a white cotton T-shirt with his replicated money. Then he went in search of some food. *Might as well taste real food while I'm here,* he thought. He wandered into what looked like the student center and found a pizza stand. Pizza was something he had begged Neelix to make a number of times. His mouth watered as he ordered, paid for his food and found a place to sit. As he began eating, he contemplated events of the last few day, and thought fondly of Chakotay. He missed his lover, missed looking into his eyes, holding him and being held by him. He missed not sleeping with him the night before. He knew Chakotay was worried and wouldn't rest until he found him.

*****************

Andy had just finished his last exam of the day. He was ecstatic. He aced the test in quantum mechanics and decided it was time to celebrate. After four years as an undergraduate and two years of graduate school, he was finally getting his masters degree in engineering. He would be the first one in his family to earn a degree - make something of himself.

Andrew James was at the top of his class at the University of Hawaii. He was about 1.8 meters tall with golden bronze skin and silky black hair he kept cut short. His eyes were a Latin brown and his chiseled Indian features made him gorgeous in the eyes of many women on campus. But although he had many female friends, he was attracted to men and kept this a secret from everyone. Even his family, except for one sister, had no idea he was gay.

Andy thought he'd first get something to eat. Afterward, he would head home and see what his friends were up to that evening. He entered the student center on the Manoa campus and was looking around when his eyes came to rest on the most beautiful man he'd ever seen. He had blond hair and deep blue eyes. He was eating alone, so Andy thought he might join him. He bought some food for himself, and took it over to the table where the young man was sitting. If his instincts were correct, and they usually were, he didn't think this man would mind if he asked him out.

"Is anyone sitting here?" he asked.

Tom almost choked on his food. His head snapped up to see who was talking to him. "Chakotay?" he asked incredulously. "Chakotay! How did you get here!!?"

"Do I know you?" said Andy.

Tom slowly realized that this man wasn't Chakotay. But the resemblance was remarkable! He looked exactly like Chakotay except he was slightly taller, a few years younger, and there was no tattoo on his forehead. His hair was the same color and texture of Chakotay's, but he wore it longer and it was wavier. Other than these differences, everything else about him was exactly the same.

"I -- I'm sorry, you look like someone I know," he said still not able to believe the similarities.

"Well, can I join you, anyway?"

"Oh sure," Tom replied as he motioned for this man to sit down. "My name is Tom. Tom Paris."

"I'm Andrew James, but you can call me Andy," he said, giving him that same charming smile of Chakotay's. It made him miss Chakotay even more.

"I don't think I've seen you on campus before. Are you new?"

"Not exactly. I just stopped here to get a bite to eat." Tom said. "I take it you attend school here."

"I did. I just finished my last class, and in a few weeks I'll receive my master's in engineering," he said. His eyes even twinkled the way Chakotay's did when he was happy or proud.

"Congratulations," Tom said. extending his hand to shake Andy's.

"So Tom, of all the places you could have eaten, why did you pick here?"

"Actually," Tom began, "I'm new in town and decided to do some sight seeing."

"Really? Well, I've lived here most of my life. Why don't I show you around?" *This was too perfect,* Andy thought to himself. *I'll show him around and get to know him better at the same time.*

"I'd love to Andy, but--" Tom began.

"I won't take no for an answer" replied Andy, smiling that wonderfully charming smile Tom could never resist.

Tom knew he was going to have a difficult time distinguishing this person from Chakotay. He didn't realize he was staring until Andy shook him out of it. "Is something wrong?"

"I'm sorry. Like I said, you remind me of someone I know. You two look a lot alike," Tom said.

"Was this a good friend of yours?" inquired Andy. He was hoping beyond all else that Tom didn't have a lover.

"Yes, a good friend," Tom said, missing Chakotay more and more with each minute.

"Well, let's go. I have a lot to show you." Andy grinned and began to get up from the table, with Tom following suit. Tom knew he needed to be working on the shuttle, but he didn't want to draw any unwanted attention to his current situation. He figured the tour wouldn't take that long. Besides, he always wanted to see what 20th century Hawaii was like.

*****************

End of Part 1
2/2 by Blackcat
Lost Time - Part Two

by BlackCat



Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Paramount. I just like playing with them a little. Neither I nor Paramount are making any money off of this story.

WARNING: This is a C/P story, involving sex between two men. If this doesn't float your boat, don't read it. Simple? I think so. If you are under the age of 18, leave now while you still can.

Also, I'm not very "technology oriented", so pardon my attempts at adding technology if they don't make sense. And to Stef, who helped me with my grammar, spelling and making sure I don't repeat myself, virtual hugs and kisses. If you find any mistakes, I'm to blame, not her.



B'Elanna and Harry worked to find out exactly what happened to Tom's shuttle. The final modifications made to the shuttle caused the warp signature to be unusually strong, so they were able to follow it. They had been following the signature for nearly two months, but hadn't come close to finding Tom.

Chakotay tried to keep himself as busy as possible. He worked double shifts on the bridge when he could, anything to keep from going to his quarters - the quarters that he and Tom had practically shared together. There were so many reminders of his lover there. An extra uniform, a few of his vids, the pajamas he was wearing during their first intimate evening together. Whenever he was in his quarters he felt so alone. He missed Tom, deeply. He never knew how much Tom had wrapped himself around his heart - didn't realize the void Tom filled in his life until he was gone.

The worst part was not knowing what happened. Something obviously went wrong, but until they could find him, they wouldn't know what. B'Elanna and Harry were working on it, but they were no closer to finding out what happened than they were a month ago. It was so frustrating. The Captain had been sympathetic to Chakotay and attempted to help as much as she could, but nothing would help. Nothing except getting his lover back. He didn't even get a chance to share with Tom the depth of his feelings for him.

=================

The next two and a half months seemed to drag for Tom. He was having a difficult time making the repairs on the ship. With time travel, he was way out of his realm of expertise. Whenever he thought he had it right, he would run a diagnostic and find another problem he had overlooked. It was becoming more and more frustrating as the days went by.

The only diversion he had was his newfound friendship with Andy. The only drawback about their relationship, however, was that he reminded him so much of Chakotay it made his heart ache. Sometimes, they would be talking and Andy would smile or laugh, and it was Chakotay he saw.

It didn't help that he knew Andy wanted to extend their friendship to something much more. He'd throw little hints his way, and Tom would do his best to avoid them, changing the subject whenever he started. Andy was also becoming difficult to lose each evening. He knew he couldn't let him follow him to the hidden shuttle. Andy had asked Tom about where he lived several times. Tom lied and told him he was staying with a relative who was very particular about visitors. He didn't know how long he would be able to keep that lie going, but for now, it seemed to be working. On different occasions, Andy had asked Tom to join him for dinner at his apartment, but Tom refused. He knew what might happen if he were alone with this man and he wasn't willing to set himself up for a fall. Talk about screwing up the time line!

Almost every day, he would meet Andy at the student center on the Manoa campus. He felt he needed a diversion from the repairs when they overwhelmed him. One evening, they decided to go down to Waikiki. There was a lot of excitement there. The streets were filled with tourists, either shopping or going to shows. Andy and Tom stopped to watch a mini version of the Polynesian Culture Center's show. They had a brief show, usually in a large open area to try to encourage tourists to take one of their tours. *They still do this show in the 24th century* Tom thought to himself. Sometimes the performers wore traditional Hawaiian outfits - beautiful bright colors with leis around their necks and flower garlands around their heads. It was a wonderful show and Tom found that he was thoroughly enjoying himself. When Tom mentioned that he might want to attend one of the tours, Andy told him it was a tourist trap and he could show him around the island just as well.

Andy was pleased that Tom was having a good time. He couldn't quite figure out why Tom continued to evade the subject of them going out. He didn't think that Tom was opposed to being with a man, but he knew it was something. Suddenly he remembered something that Tom said to him once. When the show was over and they began to make their way to their respective homes, Andy decided to see if he could get information out of Tom.

"So Tom, why don't you tell me about this friend of yours who looks so much like me."

Tom was definitely caught off guard. "Why are you asking about him?"

"I just figured whoever he is, he must be very important to you," said Andy. "Is he your lover?"

Another blunt question. Boy, he certainly didn't believe in beating around the bush did he? "Yeah, he is."

"It figures. The best looking man I've seen in a long time and he has someone in his life already," he said in a defeated voice. "And he looks like me?"

"Actually," Tom began, "you two could be twins."

"Well, what's his name?" inquired Andy. "Maybe we're related."

*Funny he should say that* thought Tom. "His name is Chakotay."

"What, no last name?"

"No, just Chakotay," Tom murmured. Andy looked at Tom as he spoke of his lover. He looked so sad that all Andy wanted to do was hold him and make the pain go away.

"So I take it you two broke up?" he inquired, concern evident in his voice. Concern that didn't go unnoticed by Tom. Andy was so much like Chakotay it was almost scary. His voice, the way he smiled, the look he had when he was concerned about something or someone. It would be easy for Tom to fall for him. But he couldn't, for so many reasons. He had to keep reciting them to himself. Chakotay was waiting for him in his own time period and he wanted so badly to be with him, if he ever got home again.

"Actually, we didn't break up, we, well..." Tom hesitated.

"It's ok, Tom. You don't have to tell me," said Andy. "You must really love him."

All Tom could do was nod. Having Chakotay so far away from him was more than he could bear to think about at that moment. "Andy, you have no idea how much I miss him," he barely choked out.

Andy couldn't stand to see such sadness in Tom's eyes. He gathered Tom in his arms for a comforting hug. All Tom could do was melt into the embrace. *Spirits he even feels like him* he thought, as he was being held by this beautiful man. Not realizing it he began to nuzzle Andy's neck as he held him. *He even smells like him* he thought as he heard a small moan escape Andy which shocked him into reality.

"Oh, I'm sorry Andy, " he said, pulling away abruptly.

"Don't be sorry," he said. Tom barely made eye contact with Andy, he was so embarrassed by what he did.

"Look, maybe it wasn't such a good idea for me to hug you," Andy said, "I know you are hurting, maybe I should back off for now - give you some time."

"Right," Tom replied. After an awkward silence, Tom continued with, "Maybe I should go now."

"Let me walk you home," Andy suggested.

"No, I'll be fine."

"I won't come in, your relatives won't even know I'm there."

"I'll see you tomorrow." Tom kissed Andy on the cheek and quickly walked away.

"He's just too damned secretive. Where does he go off to every night anyway?" Andy said out loud to no one. He decided he would follow Tom to find out why he didn't want anyone to know where he lived. Tom walked a long distance on a small pathway through the dense foliage in Tantalus. The path looked like it was made recently. Andy was beginning to think that he would never reach his house. But to Andy's surprise, Tom didn't go to any house, but rather a gave in Punchbowl. Immediately, Andy thought Tom was homeless. Why else would he be living in a cave? Andy decided at that moment that he would go in the cave and insist that Tom come stay with him. He had room in his apartment and he would do anything for a friend. He went into the cave where he saw a faint light down a large wide tunnel. He followed the light, and his eyes nearly fell out of their sockets from what he saw. Deep inside the cave was a rather large metal shelter of some sort. It had a hatch that was open, and inside of the shelter he saw Tom sitting at what looked like the most advanced computer system he had ever seen! He slowly made his way to the shelter, careful not to let Tom know he was watching him.

Tom had been working on his latest project yet again, and was about to do another diagnostic before calling it a night. "Computer, run a diagnostic of the shuttle's warp nacells and tell me if the modifications are correct."

"Working," said the computer. Andy was amazed. He'd never seen technology like this before. They were just now beginning to utilize voice recognition computers - dictation purposes and Internet use, but not like this.

"Diagnostic complete. Your modifications are off by 47%," was the monotone reply of the computer.

"Damn," Tom said, hitting the console. "Ok computer, calculate the error, and save the information."

"Calculations complete."

Tom decided he would work on it more the next day. He got up and began removing his shirt and pants and was about to get comfortable on one of the cots, when he heard some noise outside the shuttle. He grabbed a phaser and cautiously walked outside of the shuttle. "Who's there?" he said, pointing the phaser in the direction of the noise.

"It's me! Don't shoot!" said Andy.

Tom face went from cautious to relieved that it was only Andy. He lowered his phaser and asked, "What are you doing here?" exasperated that he hadn't checked to see if he were being followed.

All Andy could do was look at him and the shuttlecraft in amazement. "What is this thing, Tom? I've never seen anything like this before!"

Tom didn't see any reason to withhold the truth from him now. He'd seen the evidence himself. "That's because it hasn't been invented yet."

"What?"

"Come in, Andy, and I'll try to explain," said Tom, gesturing for Andy to sit on one of the cots. "Now, I know this is going to be hard for you to believe, but I'm not from this time period. I'm from 400 years in the future."

Andy would have laughed in Tom's face had he not been sitting inside the shuttle. But a small part of him still didn't believe it. "Oh come on Tom. Are... are you saying you're from the 24th century?"

"Yep. You found me out. Well, at least I don't have to hide it from you now." Tom looked at Andy and saw the skepticism in his eyes. "You don't believe me do you? Ok, I'll prove it. Go outside and get a rock from the cave."

Andy did what he suggested and came back with a rock about the size of a small cantaloupe. He handed it to Tom and watched him sit it on the floor of the shuttle.

"Sit down, Andy," he said. "I'm going to transport this rock from the floor of the shuttle to the spot next to you." Andy thought that Tom had lost his mind. He knew he was wasting his time, but he decided to humor him. "Ok Tom, I can't wait to see this trick."

"It's not a trick, it's 24th century technology," replied Tom. He took his comm badge and rested it on top of the rock. "Computer, lock on to the coordinates of my comm badge and beam it one meter from it's current position."

Much to Andy's disbelief, the rock disappeared and rematerialized next to him on the cot, Tom's comm badge sitting on top of it. "My God, I thought you were joking," said Andy as he picked up the rock and comm badge. "What kind of technology is this?"

"It's called a transporter. It's a matter-energy conversion device," he said, sitting down next to Andy. "It turns matter into energy, transports it to a different location, then reassembles the matter into its original form."

Andy was almost speechless. "That means they'll perfect it."

"What are you talking about?" asked Tom

"Oh, a few months ago," Andy began, "an article came out in the local newspaper about these scientists that discovered how to transport light from one location to another." He sat there examining the rock and comm badge. "When I read the article I didn't believe it at first, but now..."

"Well, it had to start sometime," Tom replied.

"What, I mean, how did you get to this time period?" asked Andy, still somewhat overwhelmed by what he just learned.

"Something went wrong with the warp nacells on the ship."

"This ship has warp capability?"

"That's right, you know about warp speed?" Tom was surprised. His days at the Academy taught him that Zefram Cochran was the man who discovered warp speed on earth.

"Yes, we know of its concept, but we've never been able to prove it," Andy said while looking around the shuttle. "This is amazing!"

"Well, I shouldn't have even let you see this. You have to promise me that this will go no further than this room. Please. If you tell someone, it could cause a major shift in time. The repercussions could be disastrous," Tom voiced, "Promise me you won't tell anyone about this."

"I promise, Tom," Andy said, looking deep into Tom's eyes. Tom almost melted into his gaze, the way he would when Chakotay looked at him like that.

"Thanks," he said breaking the stare.

"Maybe I can help you get home."

"How? I mean, no offense, but you don't know anything about this type of technology."

"No," Andy said, "but I do know of the concept of warp drive and how it fits into quantum physics."

After considering Andy's offer, Tom said, "No, I can't let you help me." Even if he let him see any more of the technology he could be changing history. "The less you know right now the better."

"Ok, no problem," he said somewhat disappointed. "Well, do you mind if I stay here tonight? It's a long way to my apartment."

Tom was too tired to argue with him about all the reasons he shouldn't stay. "Sure, why not," was Tom's reply. "You can sleep over there," pointing to the cot on the other side of the shuttle.

Andy got up and went over to the other cot. He began removing his shirt with his back facing Tom. It amazed him how much this man looked like Chakotay. His skin, the contours of his back, the shape of his arms and shoulders, everything about him mirrored his lover. He was absolutely gorgeous.

Andy settled himself on the cot, covering his body with a blanket. He saw Tom was looking at him with such an intensity, it surprised him. "Tom, tell me about Chakotay," he said.

"Oh, well we didn't break up obviously. He's back in my time period."

"I figured as much," Andy replied. "You really love him don't you?"

"More than anything in the universe. He's kind and gentle, a very honorable man. He is very much respected on my ship. And it's funny, if you had asked me eight months ago if we would be in a relationship together, I'd have laughed in your face. Now, I can't imagine my life without him. I miss him so much. I didn't even get a chance to tell him I loved him." He stopped for fear his voice would break.

"He sounds like a wonderful person. Do you have a picture of him?" Andy asked.

"Yeah," Tom got up to get a padd that contained his personal logs and a few pictures, then joined Andy on his cot. He showed Andy a picture they had taken on their last shore leave. They were standing on a beach waving at Harry who took the picture, with their arms around each other's waist.

"Wow," Andy replied

"What?"

"He looks like my brother Joshua, exactly like him, minus the tattoo."

"I didn't know you had a brother," Tom said.

"Yeah, he's my older brother. He and his family live in San Francisco."

"Does he have children?"

"Yes, two. A boy, Anthony Michael, and a girl, Gabrielle Renee."

"You planning on having children some day?" Tom asked.

"No, for two reasons, first off, the only way I could is to be with a woman, and that's not happening any time soon. And second, I can't because of health reasons."

"Health reasons?" Tom asked incredulously. "You look as healthy as an ox!"

"Yes, I do don't I?" Andy said jokingly. But then his expression turned painfully serious as he said, "Looks can be deceiving. I've got the HIV virus."

Tom was thinking back in his mind trying to recall what HIV stood for. Then the realization set in and he just looked at Andy with sad eyes. "God Andy, I had no idea."

"Well, it's not something I just go around advertising to everyone. But when I find myself getting close to someone, like now, I tell them if the subject comes up."

"I'm so sorry." Tom did everything in his power to keep from even liking Andy but that was impossible. He was so much like Chakotay, even his personality was the same. And he found that he had genuine feelings for him. He knew that having HIV would eventually mean he would die - possibly a lot sooner than he should. And the way things looked, he may end up spending the rest of his life in the 20th century. He had already lost Chakotay, he didn't think he could bear to lose anyone else. He reached over and embraced Andy, and as he did, all the emotions he had been holding in, his deep sorrow as a result of being away from his lover, and the news that Andy was HIV positive, came crashing on him like shock waves from an exploding star. He held Andy tightly as he cried, deep sobs racking his body.

Andy didn't know what to do. He expected he would be a little saddened but not like this. "It's ok, Tom, really," he said as he rubbed his back and allowed Tom to let out all of his emotions.

Finally, the waves subsided and Tom was able to speak again. "I'm so sorry. It's just that I've already lost Chakotay, I don't think I can bear to lose you too, especially if I have to stay here and right now, that's a pretty strong possibility."

"I didn't know you felt that strongly for me," Andy said, wiping the tears from Tom's face. He looked deep into Tom's eyes and said, "You are so beautiful you know that? And you're such a wonderful person. Chakotay is lucky to have you." Andy leaned in and gave Tom a tentative kiss.

Tom didn't intend to return the kiss, but he couldn't help it. He was so much like his lover. He even felt like him. He leaned in and captured Andy's lips in a deep passionate kiss that weakened his knees. He felt himself slowly losing control and before that happened, reality set in and he stopped.

"I can't do this Andy," he breathed. "There's still the possibility that I'll get home. What then? I can't take you with me. And I do care for you, but I don't love you. I love Chakotay. I don't want to use you like that."

"You're not using me," Andy said while caressing Tom's back. "You've been in such anguish these past few months, and I wasn't even aware of its depth. Let me comfort you, please."

Andy's words were said with such overwhelming tenderness, Tom was lost. He melted under Andy's gaze and as he was pulled in for another kiss, he said an inward prayer and asked that Chakotay would be able to forgive him for what was about to happen.

****************************************

Tom's head was reeling from the passion being lavished on him from Andy. He was an expert lover, knowing exactly where to touch, where to kiss. He wasn't quite sure how it happened, but both were naked and lying on the cot, Andy on top of Tom, melting into his body. Tom could feel Andy's hardness against his own and he wrapped his legs around him to pull him impossibly closer. Soft sighs escaped from Tom as Andy kissed a long wet trail from Tom's ears to his neck, then capturing his lips once more for an ice melting kiss. He was such a tender lover. Tom's hands were caressing every part of Andy's body. It was so different, yet seemed so familiar. Andy looked deep into Tom's brilliant blue eyes and was overwhelmed by the desire he saw there. He slowly trailed two fingers down the side of Tom's face and said "You are so beautiful, so beautiful," before kissing his lips again, parting them with his tongue.

Tom thought he would dissolve right then and there. He felt so alone here, even though he saw Andy almost daily. It had been so long since anyone loved him, and he truly did miss Chakotay. All those feelings were momentarily forgotten, however, as Andy began slowly working his way down his chest, settling on one nipple, licking and sucking until it was hard. Tom was writhing now, threading his hands through the thick soft hair on Andy's head. Then he gasped when he felt the incredible warmth of Andy's mouth enclose on his ridged member. He sucked slowly at first, twirling his tongue around the tip, then relaxing his throat muscles, he took Tom deep into his mouth. His continued sucking was bringing Tom to the point of no return, when all of a sudden he stopped. Tom was panting then slowly began to wonder what Andy was doing.

Andy had bent down and grabbed his pants. He was searching through the pockets when he found what it was he was looking for. He pulled the small package out and opened it.

"What are you doing?" breathed Tom.

"We have to be safe. I don't want to infect you." Andy replied as he rolled a condom on to his hardened cock. As Andy was doing that, Tom took the opportunity to open one of the compartments on the side of the cot where he had some lube stashed. He handed it to Andy who prepared his fingers with it. Using one finger, he began to circle the tight opening to Tom's body. Then, as he leaned over and kissed Tom deeply, his tongue thoroughly exploring the other man's mouth, his finger slipped gently inside.

Tom lost all train of coherent thought as he felt Andy's fingers sliding in and out of him. Experiencing a brief sense of loss once the fingers withdrew, his lover took hold of his ankles, lifting them so they rested on his shoulders. Soon, Tom felt the incredible sensation of Andy's cock pressing its way into his body.

Andy slowly thrust into Tom, careful not to hurt him. He felt so good, so right, that it was an effort to maintain control until he was buried deep inside. He lay on top of Tom, feeling his hard cock against his stomach. Andy reached down and wrapped his fingers around Tom's cock, pumping it in time with his own thrusts. He saw stars each time he pushed himself into Tom's tight channel. Tom pulled his face closer to his, kissing him deeply, increasing the incredible passion between them. Finally, he reached the point of no return, and emptied himself within the beautiful body beneath him.

Tom lay there feeling this man entering his body, thinking the whole time of his lover back home, how he felt so much like Andy did now. It was like he was at home, being made love to by Chakotay. As his climax neared, he said in the deep tendrils of his mind, hoping somehow that Chakotay could hear and sense it, *I love you Chakotay, please forgive me* and he came so hard, the deck of the shuttle seemed to move underneath them.

=================

Chakotay had been meditating a while, attempting to calm his spirit. He had been so distressed lately because of Tom's disappearance that he thought he couldn't go on. All of a sudden, he felt a wave of emotion, emotion that he hadn't felt since the last time he and Tom were together. It was filled with love and longing and he knew it was from Tom. It troubled him briefly that along with the feeling of love, he also felt a deep feeling of regret. He really didn't understand why he felt the regret, but at that point it didn't matter. Tom was still alive, and although he couldn't physically prove it, he knew in his heart that his lover was all right and would be home with them soon.

==================

Voyager continued on its course, following the warp trail of the shuttle. B'Elanna and Harry spent countless hours working to retrieve Tom. The Captain assigned Harry to Engineering until they could find him. His expertise with warp drive would be beneficial. That and the fact that he seemed to be the only one who could calm B'Elanna when she became frustrated. B'Elanna would recite some very explicit Klingon swear words whenever they came close, but not close enough to getting an answer. Harry seemed to be the only one that could help her focus on the problem.

One evening long after the alpha shift had ended, B'Elanna couldn't sleep. She went down to Engineering to run more tests on the signature they were following. She had been working for almost two hours, scanning the signature with randomly different variances when she was startled by the feeling of warm hands encircling her waist and soft lips nuzzling her neck. She immediately relaxed into Harry's warm embrace.

"I thought you were sleeping."

"I was, but when I woke up and you weren't there, I figured you ventured down here," Harry murmured. "Why don't you come back to bed?"

"You go ahead, I'll stay here and monitor the... "

Before she could finish the sentence, Harry turned her to face him and captured her lips in a searing kiss that took her breath away. Harry was the best kisser B'Elanna had ever had the pleasure of kissing. His full lips descending on hers was enough to break her resolve.

"Oh hell, forget the tests," she growled as she and Harry practically raced out of Engineering. They almost made it, but the computer chirped, signaling that it had found something different in the scans she was running.

"Wait, let me check the findings before we leave," B'Elanna said as she went over to the console. B'Elanna read the display and gestured for Harry to join her.

"How could it have been this simple!" she exclaimed.

"I don't know why we didn't think of this before," Harry expressed. "Kim to Chakotay,"

"Chakotay here, go ahead,"

"Chakotay, I think we've found what may have happened to Tom. B'Elanna and I are in Engineering."

"I'm on my way, Chakotay out," he said, bolting out of his quarters to Engineering, while contacting the Captain and asking her to meet him there, as well.

=================

"Are you saying that Tom may have been sent either forward or backward in time?" questioned the Captain. All four officers were standing in Engineering wearing night clothes.

"Exactly!" said B'Elanna. "Trouble is, we won't know which direction he went in unless we follow the warp signature into the spatial rip."

"Ok, say we do follow the warp signature, how do we get back to our own time?"

"That's where we run into a problem," B'Elanna replied.

"Not necessarily," said Harry. "A while back I was talking to Seven and she told me that the Borg were present during the first warp flight done by Zefram Cochrane. She said the Borg went back to that time period in an attempt to assimilate the Federation before it even started, but they didn't succeed due to the Enterprise-E's Captain, Jean Luc Picard,"

"Enterprise-E? There's no Enterprise E that I'm aware of," said Janeway.

"According to Seven there is. It's a long story," Harry noted. "Anyway, if we could somehow incorporate that technology into our ship's systems, maybe we can come back to our own time period that way."

"This may even provide a way for us to return to our own time in the Alpha quadrant," expressed the Captain. She hit her comm badge "Janeway to Seven,"

"Seven here, Captain,"

"Report to Engineering at once."

"Yes Captain. I'm on my way," Seven said, and the link was cut.

The Captain considered all the information received from her two officers. She then looked at Chakotay, who for the first time in a long while, seemed happy and hopeful. There was finally some hope that they could find Tom, and at the same time, an additional possibility they could get home.

"How soon can the modifications be made?" asked Chakotay.

"Two hours, with Seven's help," replied B'Elanna.

"Use whatever personnel you need and notify me when you've completed the modifications," stated the Captain. After giving Chakotay's arm a gentle squeeze, she turned and left Engineering, making a mental note to question Seven regarding the Enterprise.

Chakotay turned to B'Elanna and said, "Is there anything else you'll need?"

"Just for you to go back to your quarters and rest. Don't worry, we've got it under control. We'll call you as soon as we're ready to make the flight," she said smiling. Chakotay smiled back and took his leave of Engineering, just as Seven arrived. He was too wound up to sleep. Tom would be home soon and he could hardly wait. He was like a kid on his birthday, he was so excited.

Two hours later, the modifications were made and they were slowly coming up on the spatial rip. As Voyager approached it, there was a brilliant flash of light. When the bridge crew opened their eyes, they looked at the view screen and saw Earth. "Mr. Kim, ascertain what year this is," ordered Janeway.

"The year is 1998. We've gone back to the late 20th century," answered Harry.

"Scan the planet for any Federation signature," Chakotay ordered, inwardly praying that they would find Tom's shuttle.

=================

Tom was lying in the cot with Andy snuggled next to him, deep in thought. How could he have let his emotions and hormones get away from him like that? Andy was sleeping soundly next to him. Tom thought he was so beautiful, and began to gently caress the soft waves of his black hair. He lay there contemplating what to do about this new relationship he seemed to have embarked on, when his comm badge chirped.

"Voyager to Shuttlecraft Cochrane," said Captain Janeway

He grabbed his comm badge from the floor, "Paris to Voyager. Boy am I glad to hear from you!" he said as Andy began to stir.

"Glad to hear from you, as well Tom," replied Janeway.

Tom got up, hastily put on his pants and a shirt and walked over to the viewscreen. He pressed the control to activate the screen and saw the Captain and Chakotay looking at him.

Chakotay beamed. "Tom, it's really you!"

"Chakotay, oh, you don't know how much I've missed you!" exclaimed Tom. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his lover that he almost forgot that the Captain was on screen, as well.

"There will be time enough for a reunion later, gentlemen," Janeway said with a smile. "Right now, we need to get you off the planet and into our shuttle bay. Can you fly the shuttle up to the ship?"

"Yes, Captain. The nacells were damaged, but the impulse engines are operable. I'll need you to disrupt the satellites in order for me to pass by undetected, however."

"No problem. Let us know when you're ready," said the Captain.

"Tom."

"Yes, Chakotay?"

"Hurry up okay?" Chakotay said, smiling.

"As soon as I can," Tom replied as he touched the screen where Chakotay's face was before it went blank.

"So they're here for you, huh?" said Andy.

At the sight of Chakotay, Tom had momentarily forgotten about Andy. What was he going to do about him? His mind was racing, trying to figure out a way to rectify the situation without hurting Andy. Then he came up with an idea.

"Yeah, they're here," he replied.

"I was afraid of that." Andy's gaze moved from Tom to the floor. When he looked up, tears had welled up in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. "I knew I shouldn't have let myself fall in love with you."

*Damn.* thought Tom. This gave him even more incentive for what he was about to do. After using the shuttle's sonic shower to freshen up, he began to put on his uniform and make preparations to fly the shuttle back to Voyager while he talked. "That's the exact reason why I didn't want things to progress the way they did."

"I know," Andy said, as he began to put his clothes on, "but it wouldn't have mattered whether we made love or not, I fell for you some time ago."

Tom went over and slowly put away the cot, throwing the soiled sheets in the refresher and disposing of the used condom and wrapper. While Andy's back was turned, he grabbed a hypospray filled with a sedative and turned to face Andy, with it hidden behind his back. The move went completely unnoticed by Andy.

Tom walked over to Andy and put his arms around his neck, an innocent move that was not met suspiciously. Andy gently placed his arms around Tom's waist as Tom said, "Andy, I do have feelings for you, but I love Chakotay. And I can't take you with me, I hope you can forgive me. I should have never taken advantage of you like that."

Andy let his tears flow freely now, which broke Tom's heart. He looked deep into Tom's eyes and said, "Will I ever see you again?"

"Maybe someday, you will," Tom replied. He placed his empty hand on the side of Andy's tearstained face, kissed him one last time, and pressed the hypospray into his neck. Andy was out cold. Tom gently lowered Andy's limp body on the deck of the shuttle, signaled for the Captain to disrupt the satellite and piloted the shuttle out of the cave and into space to meet Voyager.

**************************************

Once the shuttle docked safely in Voyager's shuttle bay, the hatch opened and Tom stepped out. He looked around until he saw the familiar face of his lover enter the bay. They were in each other's arms in moments, all thought of proper Starfleet protocol forgotten. "I can't believe it's you," Tom uttered. "I thought I might never see you again," he said, looking into Chakotay's eyes.

"Spirits, I've missed you so much Tom," Chakotay whispered while softly caressing Tom's face. He then rested his forehead against Tom's and said, "You don't know how worried I've been, all I could think was that I had to find you." And he kissed Tom softly as if he were something precious and fragile that had to be handled with the utmost care. The Captain entered just as they separated.

"Captain, I have a passenger." said Tom. "We need to get him to sickbay and wipe his memory of me and the shuttle."

"Janeway to the Doctor, report to the shuttle bay."

"On my way, Captain," said the Doctor.

"Who is he?" Janeway asked as she went inside the shuttle. She took one look and Tom's passenger, then to Chakotay. "My God," she said as she bent down and touched his face, "the resemblance is remarkable!"

"Yeah, it is," said Tom, somewhat surprised that the Captain had touched Andy the way she did.

Chakotay couldn't believe what he was seeing. He felt like he was looking at himself when he was 21 years old. "He must be one of my ancestors," he managed to say. He tentatively reach out to touch him, then changed his mind. "This is so weird," Chakotay voiced. "What's his name?"

"Andrew. Andrew James," Tom replied.

"He is one of my ancestors," Chakotay confirmed.

"How do you know?" asked the Captain.

"James is my last name," Chakotay said, and successfully shocked everyone who was standing in the shuttle bay. Just then, the Doctor arrived and after entering the shuttle, began scanning Andy.

"We need to get him to sickbay in order for me to wipe his memory," said the Doc.

"Wait, must you wipe his entire memory?" asked Tom.

"No, we can isolate the brain patterns that contain his most recent memories of you and the shuttle," replied the Doctor. "No permanent memory loss will be experienced."

Tom let out a sigh of relief as two officers placed Andy on a grav-bed and led him to sickbay. "Mr. Paris, you'll need to report to sick bay as well."

"I'm fine Doc," Tom said in protest, but the Doctor insisted.

"Tom, report to sick bay. After being away from Voyager for so long, you require a check up. I expect to see you in five minutes." He stated and exited the shuttle bay.

"Guess I don't have much of a choice," said Tom.

"No, apparently not," replied Chakotay and he immediately went to gather Tom in his arms again. Janeway graciously gave them a few moments and returned to the bridge.

"Chakotay, I really was beginning to wonder if I'd ever see you again," Tom admitted.

"You didn't think I would have stopped looking for you, did you?"

"No, I didn't really. But all things considered, if you couldn't figure out how to find me, the Captain would have insisted that Voyager continue on without me," Tom said.

"It wouldn't have mattered, I wouldn't have stopped looking," Chakotay voiced, "even if I had to take a shuttle and fly at warp 10 to recreate the accident, I would have found you."

"Chakotay, there's something I want to tell you, I..."

"Janeway to Chakotay,"

"Chakotay here, go ahead."

"We need you here on the bridge."

"On my way, Captain," he said. "I have to go."

"I know, and I have to go to sickbay before the Doc sends security after me," Tom said caressing Chakotay's arms.

"Don't worry. We'll make up for lost time soon," said Chakotay and he captured Tom's lips for a long sensual kiss, before reluctantly letting go of his lover and heading for the Bridge.

Tom went to sickbay as instructed. Once he arrived he saw the Doctor standing over Andy as he lay on one of the biobeds.

"Tom, are you aware this man has the HIV virus?" he said looking concerned.

"Yeah, I know," Tom said, sadness immediately engulfing him.

"From the scan I did of his body, I've found traces of your DNA in the form of sperm on parts of his body. Have you been sexually active with this individual?" the Doctor asked in his dry, professional medical voice.

"Yeah, I have," Tom admitted. "But I don't want anyone to know about this, understand? Especially Chakotay. I mean, I want to be the one to tell him. I don't want him to find out through the grapevine."

"I would never violate a doctor-patient confidentiality," the Doctor stated in a matter-of-fact way. "He'll never hear it from me. I am, however, concerned with you." He began scanning Tom's body with the tricorder and was relieved to find no trace of the HIV virus in his body.

"What are you doing, Doc?" asked Tom.

"Just making sure you have not contracted the virus," replied the Doctor. "And I'm happy and relieved to see that you haven't."

"I could have told you that Doc," protested Tom.

"Well, I've successfully wiped his memory of any trace of you and the shuttle," stated the Doctor, ignoring Tom's protest. "You can beam him down to the surface any time. Just give the transporter room the coordinates."

"Doc, can we give him the cure for HIV?"

"Mr. Paris, you know I can't do that," replied the Doctor.

"Yeah, I know. Just thought I'd ask. Can I be alone with him for a minute?"

After careful consideration, the Doctor reluctantly gave in. "Ok, but not for long. The sedative you gave him will wear off within the hour, so the sooner we get him back to the planet, the better. Computer, end the emergency medical holographic program," he stated and faded out of the room.

The moment the Doctor disappeared, Tom, using a technique he learned from his prison days, researched and replicated the cure for the HIV virus without alerting any sensors aboard Voyager. He then prepared a hypospray and walked over to Andy. While gently caressing the soft curls that loosely draped his forehead, he said, "You look so much like him, Andy. I wish you could get to know him. If for some reason, I wasn't able to return to my time, to Chakotay, I know I would have been happy with you." Tom pressed the hypospray into Andy's neck. "Consider this a thank you for being my friend." And he reached down and lightly brushed a kiss across Andy's lips.

After he replaced the hypospray, he grabbed a portable sonic shower and cleaned any trace of his DNA off of Andy's body. Then he contacted the transporter room and gave them the coordinates for Andy's apartment. Tom notified Janeway that he was ready to beam Andy back to the planet, and watched as Andy disappeared from sickbay, rematerializing in his own bed, in his own apartment.

**************************************

While Tom was saying his good byes to Andy in sick bay, the rest of the crew was preparing to return to the 24th century. Using the modifications made in Engineering, Janeway ordered the pilot on duty to return the ship through the spatial rip. They were hoping that with the additional modifications made by Seven, they would end up in Federation space. But the situation was touch and go. They had no way of knowing where they would end up until they actually made it back.

Voyager entered the spatial rip, and when the light disappeared, Janeway said, "Mr. Kim, have we returned to our own time?"

"That's affirmative, Captain. However, we're not in Federation space."

"Very well, Mr. Kim. Helm, set a course for..."

"Captain, wait!" shouted Harry. "We may not be in Federation space, but we've traveled 62,000 light years from our previous location!"

"That means," Janeway gasped as the realization of Harry's words hit her, "we're only three years away from home?"

As the news spread throughout the ship, cheers could be heard on every deck. Janeway regarded the bridge crew as they rejoiced at the news, and couldn't hide her own happiness. She noticed that even though Chakotay was as pleased as everyone else about being only three years from home, he was also anxiously awaiting to be relieved of duty. "Go." She said, "Take the next two days off, and tell Tom it's good to have him back."

"Thank you, Captain," Chakotay said with smile. He quickly exited the bridge and went to his quarters hoping to find Tom there.

Tom had left sickbay and went to his quarters to change, shower, and grab a bite to eat. He had just finished his meal and was about to go to the bridge when the ship went through the spacial rip. Shortly after, Captain Janeway made a ship-wide announcement that Voyager was three years away from home. After the shouting ceased, he heard his comm badge chirp.

"Chakotay to Paris."

"Paris here."

"Meet me in my quarters, I'll be there shortly."

"On my way, Chakotay." Tom all but sprinted to his quarters.

Tom made it there in record time. He punched in the code and entered. Everything was the same, although he could see used candles in front of a small table where Chakotay had obviously been meditating. He went into the bedroom where he noticed a padd on the night stand, along with a few other items. He picked it up and saw that it was the last few entries of Chakotay's personal log. Knowing he probably shouldn't, but not being able to help himself, he began reading. *Personal Log, Stardate 49317.2 It has been almost three months since Tom has been gone. I am so discouraged. We're no closer to finding him than we were when he first disappeared, and I'm so miserable. I miss him so much it hurts. The short time we've been together has made me realize he is the most wonderful person I've ever been with. And I never even got a chance to tell him how deep my feelings are for him. When we find him, I intend to tell him. Tell him how much I..."

"Tom, you here?"

"In the bedroom," Tom said, and quickly replaced the padd on the nightstand.

Chakotay stepped into the bedroom and immediately embraced Tom. For a long moment they just stood there, holding each other, as if to convince themselves that the other man was real.

"God, I've missed you," said Tom.

"I've been lost without you, Tom. I could hardly function," Chakotay replied as he began to gently stroke Tom's back. He looked into his lover's eyes as he removed Tom's uniform.

Tom's hands began to mimic Chakotay's - removing his uniform. Both desperately wanted to feel the other's skin, as if to confirm the reality. Soon both were naked, Chakotay beneath Tom's body.

"Chakotay, I've missed you so much, so much," Tom breathed, kissing a trail up and down Chakotay's neck.

"Tom," Chakotay moaned as his chest was being kissed, licked and sucked by his persistent lover. "Oh baby, how I've missed you. I could barely function without you," he whispered just before Tom descended on his lips, parting them with his tongue.

Tom could feel Chakotay's hands caressing his body. His nails gently moving up and down his back sent a chill through him as he kissed his lover. He reluctantly pulled his lips away from Chakotay and looked deep into his beautiful brown eyes. The love and desire he saw there startled him.

Time seemed to stand still. They were breathing heavily as they gazed into each other's eyes. Tom reached out and placed his hand on the side of Chakotay's cheek. "You are so beautiful, Chakotay, everything about you, your skin, your eyes, God, I love you so much," he whispered and without waiting for a response, kissed Chakotay deeply.

Tom slowly kissed his way down Chakotay's torso, pausing at one nipple and seductively twirling his tongue around it. Chakotay moaned as Tom leisurely traveled down his body until he was between Chakotay's legs, nuzzling his inner thigh.

Chakotay was completely overwhelmed at the sensations Tom evoked from his body. He could feel Tom's warm breath on his thigh and then felt the moist warmth he'd missed so much enclose his erect member.

Tom took Chakotay into his mouth and sucked hard, enjoying the feel of his lover in his mouth. It had been so long and he wanted to re-experience every sensation he had done without. He quickened his pace and felt Chakotay's fingers thread their way through his hair. He could tell his lover was getting close and continued his pace, wanting him to feel immense pleasure.

"Tom I, I can't hold it," Chakotay groaned before he erupted in Tom's mouth, wave after wave washing through his body as Tom continued to accept every last drop from his lover.

Tom moved toward Chakotay's face and watched him with lust filled eyes as his orgasm began to subside. Then he sat up and reached into the drawer of the nightstand and pulled out a bottle of oil, lubricated his fingers and his cock while continuing to observe Chakotay as he recovered.

Chakotay was overwhelmed by the sensations he had just experienced. It seemed as though he couldn't move, when he felt a warm, slick finger enter him. It amazed him how good it felt as Tom's fingers pushed in and pulled out of his body. He began moaning as the previous sensations were slowly being brought back to life.

Tom removed his fingers then gently pressed his cock into his lover. He moved slowly, going deeper with each thrust, until he was buried deep inside Chakotay.

Chakotay let Tom have complete control over him. He closed his eyes, feeling the fire build within him. He felt Tom's cock brush his prostate, "Oh yesssss," he murmured over and over as he was being rocked by his lover's powerful thrusts. He was rapidly going over the edge, grabbing Tom's hips and attempting to pull him impossibly deeper in to his body.

"Uhh, this is so good," Tom whispered as he moved within Chakotay, feeling the remarkable warmth and tightness that was his lover surrounding him. Nothing else mattered - not Voyager, not Andy, or all the anguish he felt at being lost in the past. For now, it was just Chakotay and him, their desire rising higher and higher, until both exploded in the heat of passion.

Tom collapsed on Chakotay, breathing heavily, Chakotay not seeming to mind one bit since he was recovering, as well. When he could, Tom reached for a towel that was inside the drawer of the nightstand and used it to dry their bodies. Then he covered them both with the blanket as Chakotay settled into his embrace.

They lay in bed, Chakotay laying on Tom's chest with his arm around him, caressing the other. Then Chakotay remembered what Tom said to him earlier. "Tom, did you mean it?"

"Mean what?" Tom replied, not really knowing what Chakotay was referring to.

"Did you mean it when you said you loved me?"

Chakotay lifted himself up so he could look into Tom's eyes. "Yes, I meant it Chakotay. I promised myself that if I was allowed to see you again, I would tell you."

Chakotay gazed into his eyes and saw nothing but sincerity and love. "I love you, Tom, and I'm not just saying that because it's the appropriate response. I really do love you."

Tom was overwhelmed at the love he saw in Chakotay's eyes. "How long? I mean, how long have you known?"

"Since before our first night together."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Tom asked.

"I was afraid I would scare you off if you realized what I wanted in a relationship," Chakotay admitted. "What I wanted from you."

"Well, if there is one thing that my experience in the 20th century taught me is that you don't always have the time you think you do." Tom paused, took a deep breath and said "Chakotay, there's something else I need to tell you, and you may not like it."

At that moment, Chakotay went through several different emotions within a few seconds. He had no idea what Tom was going to say, but the seriousness in his voice was so unnerving that he thought his worst fear was about to become reality - the fear that Tom, even though he loved him, wouldn't want to be with him. "What is it, Tom?"

"It's about my time in the 20th century, my time with Andy," he replied. Tom sat up in the bed as he tried to think of a quick and painless way to say what he needed to say to Chakotay. As he sat there, wringing his hands nervously, he feared more than anything that Chakotay would leave him. But he had to be honest with him. He loved him too much not to be.

"When I was on Earth, I didn't know if I would ever see you again," he began. "I was working the best way I could to make repairs on the shuttle, but I wasn't getting anywhere because, frankly, time travel is way out of my league."

Chakotay, seeing how hard it was for Tom to talk about this, sat up and took Tom's hand in his own.

"I met Andy the first day I was there," he said. "I actually thought it was you when I first saw him, and was very disappointed when I realized it wasn't."

"Go on," Chakotay urged Tom to speak, even though he was a little frightened at what he might say.

"Well, to make a long story short," he hesitated, not wanting to admit his unfaithfulness to Chakotay.

"Tom, whatever it is, I'm sure we can work it out," Chakotay assured him. "Just tell me."

Tom decided to just come out and say it. "I slept with Andy."

Dead silence followed as Tom's words hit Chakotay like a ton of bricks. Tom hadn't been faithful to him while he was gone. Several things went through his mind at that moment. At first, he entertained the thought that Tom wasn't who he thought he was. That the trip through time caused him to abandon his more honorable behavior and revert back to the playboy he was when he first came aboard Voyager. But he quickly extinguished that thought when he realized who Andy was. He remembered that when he first laid eyes on Andy, it was like looking at a younger version of himself. Almost everything about that man he saw lying on the deck of the shuttle mirrored himself. As the realization hit him as to how Tom could easily fall into Andy's arms, he actually found himself feeling flattered.

"Chakotay, I'm so sorry," Tom apologized, "He was so much like you, and I didn't know when, if ever, I would see you again. I wish I could take it all back. I've hurt you and I'm so sorry. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to see me again."

"How could I want that, Tom?" Chakotay asked.

"What?" Tom said, more than a little confused at Chakotay's reaction.

"Tom, last night, while I was meditating, I felt something. Something I had never felt before. It was a feeling of love and longing, and every fiber of my being said it was from you." Chakotay said, looking deep into Tom's bewildered eyes. "But along with that feeling, I also felt a deep sense of regret. It troubled me for a moment. Only a moment. Whatever you had done to make you feel regret wasn't important. You being alive and safe was all that mattered to me."

"So are you saying that you don't mind that I slept with Andy?" Tom replied, hopeful, but confused.

"I'm not ecstatic about the fact that you slept with Andy. But did you do it because you were looking for something to do?"

"No," Tom replied.

"Did you do it because you wanted to add another notch to your belt?"

"Absolutely not," Tom proclaimed. "You know that's not like me, Chakotay. The *old* me, yes, but now? No."

"Did sleeping with Andy make you fall out of love with me and in love with him?"

"No!" Tom said. "In fact, all it did was made me miss you and want to be with you more."

Voicing his earlier thoughts, Chakotay said, "Then considering who Andy was and the circumstances, it's understandable."

"Chakotay, you never cease to amaze me," Tom replied, a slow grin making it's way across his face. "I must be the luckiest man alive to have someone like you in my life."

"Tom, I love you. What you did under those circumstances doesn't matter to me," Chakotay said while looking deep into his sapphire eyes. Then with a playful grin he said, "Just don't let it happen again. You know I'm the jealous type."

Tom's smile reached his eyes as he wrapped his arms around his lover for a tender, loving embrace. At that moment, he loved Chakotay more than he ever thought he could. They silently held each other, for a long time, eventually settling down in the bed, holding one another.

"Chakotay, there's something else I need to tell you."

"You mean there's more?" Chakotay said, with barely disguised fear in his voice.

Tom saw the anxiety in his lover's eyes and quickly reassured him. "It's not a bad thing, at least I don't see it as being bad."

A deep sigh of relief could be heard coming from Chakotay. "What is it, then?"

"I had so long to think while I was away, so much time to contemplate my life and the turn it has taken," he replied while slowly threading his fingers though Chakotay's soft black hair. "Since I came aboard Voyager, my life has changed so much for the better. I'm so happy with what I have now. But all of that, I realized, is nothing without you." He rested his hand on Chakotay's face and said "I'm so glad you are a part of my life Chakotay. I love you, with all my heart, and," he paused, then took a deep breath and continued on, "I want you to marry me."

"What?" Chakotay asked, not quite believing what he just heard.

"I just felt I should to tell you what I wanted. I know it's sudden, and maybe you're not ready for such a big step, but maybe you could at least think about it and..."

"No, wait. Stop!" Chakotay said attempting to halt Tom's rambling. "You actually want to marry me?"

"Yes." Tom replied, hoping his pounding heart couldn't be heard by his lover.

"Are you sure?"

"I've never been more sure about anything in my life, Chakotay."

"There's nothing for me to think about, Tom. Of course I will!"

"Really?" asked Tom

"Really. " Chakotay answered and gathered Tom in a tight embrace. "I want the same thing, Tom, I always have."

From that moment, they knew that they would be together for the rest of their lives. They kissed tenderly for a long while and then drifted into a deep contented sleep.



FINIS (for now)
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