Joyous Sounds by Kiff
(VOY, C/P, NC-17)
Disclaimer: Paramount is God. I am a lowly acolyte. Have mercy.
Archiving: Permission granted to Sileya to archive at my TSU webpage. May also be archived at ASCEM, BLTS, CPSG. All others, please ask first.
Feedback: Constructive comments accepted at: Kiff47@yahoo.com
Warning: This story includes intimate and sexual scenes between two adult males. If this disturbs you, run along.
Dedication: For Michael: February, 1984.
Summary: Chakotay brings something out of the closet. Fourth in the "Delta Suite" series. Sequel to "Overtures," "Crescendo," and "Accelerando."
Chakotay surfaced from a deep sleep and opened his eyes. He stared blankly at the ceiling for a moment, trying to orient himself. It took a few seconds, but finally his mind kicked into gear. Yes, he was still on Voyager, in his quarters. But something had changed. Something very good had happened to him.
He grinned. Tom Paris had happened to him. Tom Paris, flyboy of the Delta Quadrant, had fucked the living daylights out of him for the first time last night and was now sleeping it off in Chakotay's own bed.
The commander turned his head. Tom lay next to him, bundled under the blankets, a shock of blond hair falling onto the pillow. The pilot's eyes were closed, and his breathing was soft. His expression was relaxed and peaceful.
Chakotay's heart swelled with love and gratitude. After so many years, he was waking up next to another warm body, a body that he adored almost as much as the heart and spirit within.
"I am a lucky man," he whispered.
Tom stirred and rolled onto his back. Chakotay curled up against him and threw an arm across his chest. Tom settled into the embrace as naturally as if he had been doing it for years. Chakotay rested against his lover, absorbing his body heat, listening to Tom's steady and strong heartbeat. He felt he could stay there for the rest of his life, or at least for a couple of days.
"I love you, Tom." The words still felt strange coming out of his mouth. Strangely *good.* He had never meant anything more sincerely. Too bad Tom was asleep. Well, there was a way to rectify *that* situation.
Slowly, he stretched his arm down the other man's body until he found what he was looking for -- Tom's morning erection. With a sly grin, he grasped it gently.
Tom's eyes flew open. "Wha...?" Chakotay kissed him, preventing Tom from finishing his sentence. Tom relaxed into the kiss, giving the commander as good as he got. Chakotay loved this about Tom; he was an incredibly perceptive and generous lover.
The commander broke the kiss, pulled himself downward, and in one swift motion took Tom's cock into his mouth.
"Ooohhhh..." Tom moaned faintly. "Oh, yes..."
Chakotay sucked him gently, glancing upwards to see Tom's beautiful face contort with pleasure. It didn't take long. Tom thrust into his mouth, clutching at the sheets. "*God*, Chakotay!! I'm...I'm coming!" And he did, in sharp, savory bursts. Chakotay held on to him faithfully until Tom was spent, alternately grunting and whimpering.
"Not fair, big man. Not...fair at all."
Chakotay raised his head and winked at the pilot. "Who said anything about being fair?"
Tom beamed at him and held out his arms. Chakotay crawled into them and was rewarded with a kiss on his ear.
"Damn, you do that well."
"I claim no credit for that performance. The instrument I was playing was of the finest quality."
Tom snorted. "So I'm an 'instrument'?"
"Absolutely." Chakotay squeezed his lover. "You make beautiful music when you come."
Tom snorted again, more gently this time, and nipped the commander playfully on the shoulder. "Thanks. I can't think of a better way to wake up. Now, can I do something for you?"
"Maybe later." Chakotay broke Tom's embrace and bounced out of bed. "We do have all day, you know. I rearranged the duty shifts."
"I wondered what you were up to last night. Rank has its privileges."
"Speaking of rank...we had better recycle those sheets."
"Unless you want to come to my place tonight."
"I might consider that, but I'm still trying to overcome my slovenly habits of the past."
Tom grinned. "I love it when you're slovenly."
The commander chuckled. "I'll keep that in mind, lieutenant."
He stepped into the shower room and let the machine do its work. Refreshed, he pulled his robe around him, ran a comb through his bristly hair, and returned to the bedroom. Tom lounged in the bed, staring contentedly into space. Chakotay leaned over for a kiss.
"So what do you want to do today?"
Tom shoved back the covers. "Lemme think about it while I clean up."
"Okay." Chakotay released him with a smile. Tom yawned, ran a hand through his blond hair, and disappeared.
Chakotay went to his closet and opened the door. He considered his choices, running his hands over the clothes, finally settling on a navy blue sweatshirt and beige drawstring pants. As he pulled the sweatshirt from its hanger, his fingers lost their grip. The shirt slithered to the floor. "Shit." He bent down to pick it up.
From behind the clothes, a dark case caught the commander's eye. He recognized the object immediately and winced.
How long had it been this time? Nine months? A year? He had promised himself that he would practice faithfully, and he had failed to do it. Again. Damn.
He dressed quickly, looked back inside the closet, and sighed. Tom was notoriously slow in the shower. Sure. He had time to take a quick peek.
The commander bent down, seized the case by the handle, and pulled it gently out of the darkness. He stared at it regretfully. Months of dust had accumulated on its sleek leather surface. Even the best of atmospheric recyclers did not quite get all the particles out of Voyager's air. He brushed futilely at the dirt and vowed to do a better job with a cloth later on.
Apprehensive, he slowly unlatched the case and raised the lid. The guitar lay inside, nestled in its velvety womb, as beautiful as it had been the first day Chakotay saw it. He picked it up delicately and rested it across his lap. It was his now, but it had not always been...
Captain Kathryn Janeway had finished her speech to the newly integrated Starfleet and Maquis crews, putting Voyager's first steps home into Tom Paris's capable hands. After checking through all of the ship's systems, she had handed the bridge command over to Tuvok and requested that her new first officer accompany her on a tour. Chakotay was glad to get away from so many frowning Starfleet faces. He had a feeling it would take a while before they accepted his authority, no matter what the captain had told them.
He could not help but be impressed with Voyager as he walked through the corridors. She was small but tough -- not much different in temperament from the woman who strode by his side. If he had to travel seventy-five thousand light-years to get home, this ship had as good a chance of making it as any.
Janeway showed him the holodeck, the mess hall (where Neelix, their Talaxian guide, had already begun the first of many questionable culinary experiments), and then led him to the officers' quarters. She pointed out the entrance to her rooms, then continued, more slowly, down the corridor. She finally stopped in front of another door, turning to Chakotay with a smile that touched her lips but did not hide the sadness in her eyes.
"These...were Lieutenant Commander Cavit's quarters." She keyed in her manual override code. The door slid open, and Chakotay followed her inside.
"Spacious, if a bit sparse," the captain said quietly. "Bruce was not much for interior decoration."
Chakotay looked around. Janeway had not exaggerated. The walls were almost entirely bare except for a few photographs. The bed was covered with a plain brown spread and was scrupulously neat. Cavit appeared to have accumulated very few personal possessions in his brief service on Voyager.
"Will it suit you?"
Chakotay looked at the captain. Her eyes were tired, and it was clear that her losses were starting to sink in. "It's just fine," he said softly.
Janeway gave him another sad smile, then walked over to Cavit's closet. "Feel free to recycle whatever you won't use," she instructed, opening the door.
He stepped to her side, feeling suddenly protective. "Captain...I'm sorry. This must be very difficult for you."
"I'm all right, Mr. Chakotay." He could sense her distancing herself from him, not quite willing to trust him fully yet. Understandable.
"Did Commander Cavit leave a family?"
"Only his younger brother, Scott." Janeway indicated the photographs. "Bruce's parents were both killed in a transporter accident several years ago." She started to pull the pictures from the wall. "I'll take these. When we get home, I'll find Scott and give them to him. Last I knew he was teaching somewhere on Earth."
Chakotay looked away from the captain again, sensing that she needed a few more moments to compose herself. In one corner of the room he saw something he hadn't noticed before -- a metal stand holding a black instrument case. Curious, he walked over to examine it more closely.
"That's Bruce's guitar." She had come up behind him. "He was very proud of it. He played it almost constantly when he had any free time."
"Be my guest." She had gone back to looking at the photographs.
He took the case from its stand, laid it down on the bed, and opened it. Inside was a lovely six-stringed instrument. "It's beautiful."
"Yes. It's from the twenty-first century. A 'Gibson,' I believe."
"I'm keeping it." The words came out of his mouth almost involuntarily. What was he saying? He had never had any musical inclination in his life. But there was no way he could destroy this work of art, break it down into its material components, have it reconstituted into something else. It would be sacrilege.
A dry chuckle from the captain, but little humor behind it. "Do you play?"
"No. But I could learn."
"Well, I'm sure someone on Voyager would be able to teach you, or you could find some information in the database. I would imagine it would take quite a bit of practice to learn it properly."
"I'll make the time." He held the instrument up so she could see it. "I can't recycle this. It deserves a better fate. And I think it would be a good way to honor Commander Cavit's memory."
Janeway blinked, and Chakotay could tell that tears were very near now. "I quite agree."
He replaced the instrument carefully in its case. "Captain...if you don't need me on the bridge right now, I'd like to get settled in."
She nodded. "Report back to me in two hours, and we'll start discussing duty shifts."
"Aye, Captain." He watched her leave the room, clutching the photographs to her chest. The door slid shut. He re-fastened the guitar case and set it in its stand. Sighing, he turned to the difficult task of sorting through the remainder of Bruce Cavit's belongings...
Chakotay found a couple of instructional vids and was able to teach himself some basic chords and strumming techniques. He downloaded numerous old Earth classical, folk, and rock guitar selections from Voyager's music library and tried to mimic what he heard, with some success. Sometimes he would attempt to sing along with his playing, and he found it surprisingly cathartic.
As the months passed, his practicing became erratic. It grew increasingly difficult to find time for music as Voyager's journey home became more and more dangerous. When he did pick up the instrument, he felt almost guilty about giving himself the pleasure of playing and singing again.
He never told anyone about his secret hobby, and the captain never asked about Cavit's guitar after the first day. She had her own creative outlets.
Now the commander held the instrument in his lap and ran his fingers gently over the strings. It was so *right* that he had stumbled upon it today. He was running out of ways to express his love for Tom.
He tucked the guitar under his arm and began to play a song from old Earth. He had no idea why this particular piece came to his mind, but it seemed to reflect his feelings quite well. His quiet baritone ran through the lyrics:
Finally I figured out But it took a long, long time But now there's a turnabout Maybe 'cause I'm trying
There's been times, I'm so confused All my roads, they lead to you I just can't turn and walk away.
It's hard to say what it is I see in you Wonder if I'll always be with you But words can't say, and I can't do Enough to prove it's all for you.
He was rusty. There was no question about that. But as he reached the second verse, the technique seemed to come back to him. Heartened, his voice grew stronger, and he let himself fall into the music:
I thought I'd seen it all 'Cause it's been a long, long time But then we'll trip and fall Wondering if I'm blind.
By the time he reached the bridge section, he had closed his eyes and forgotten where he was:
Rain comes pouring down Falling from blue skies Words without a sound Coming from your eyes.
He finished the song with a flourish, smiling to himself.
"You've been holding out on me, big man."
Chakotay's eyes flew open. Tom stood in front of him, freshly washed, dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans. There was an odd smile on the pilot's face.
Chakotay flushed. "Tom, I...."
"Sister Hazel. Late twentieth century, correct?"
"That's right." He was constantly amazed at Tom's knowledge of old Earth trivia.
"The band named themselves in honor of a woman who ran a shelter for homeless people in Gainesville, Florida, I believe."
"If you say so."
"Why don't you take it from the top?"
"Start over. Do the song again."
The pilot sat down next to him. "Just do it. Don't think about it. You weren't thinking before, and you made something special happen. Do it again."
Chakotay stared at the younger man for a few seconds. Tom held his gaze steadily and honestly.
His music had been so solitary, so personal. He never expected to share it with anyone. Yet here was Tom Paris, his friend and lover, looking at him so expectantly. Did he trust Tom enough to ignore his mistakes, to refrain from criticizing his technique, to hold back from comparing him to other musicians he had heard, like Harry Kim?
Harry. *There* was a talented person. He, Chakotay, was struggling at best.
Tom suddenly reached over and kissed Chakotay on the forehead. "I love you," he said. "Please, play for me."
How could he resist? "All right. But you'll see that..."
"Just play, Chakotay." Tom settled back onto the bed.
The commander nodded. He strummed a few chords, then began the song again, self-consciously at first. He found it distracting to look at Tom, so he closed his eyes momentarily, only to open them again in astonishment as a clear strong tenor began to sing the counterpoint. Chakotay was so surprised that he came close to missing a chord change. Tom fit his voice around Chakotay's, harmonizing, supporting, even challenging at times. Overwhelmed, the commander almost stopped singing altogether, but Tom quickly drew his attention back with a gentle hand on his knee. Chakotay looked up into intense blue eyes. Tom continued the song, and Chakotay rejoined him, gradually increasing his volume until he matched the pilot's.
//Just do it. Don't think about it.//
It was hard -- hard to let go control like this. In some ways it was harder than letting himself go during lovemaking.
Trust. That was the key. Trusting in himself and his talent. He shut his eyes again and allowed the music and emotion to flow through him and to Tom. He felt it returned with gusto.
And suddenly it just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to him -- to sing with his lover, a beautiful man full of his own mysteries and secrets. Well, Chakotay had just found out one of those secrets.
He strummed the last chord. The sound faded away gradually. Neither man spoke for a few moments as they savored the moment.
Chakotay put the guitar down gently and faced his partner. "What just happened there?"
"I don't know, but it was great."
"You sing beautifully, Tom."
"I'm a man of several hidden talents. And you're not so bad yourself, when you're not all hung up on the little details."
"Well...Thanks. No one else knows that I play, so I guess I'm kind of glad that the first person to find out is you."
Tom grinned. "It's fate, you know. Can I take a look at that beauty?"
Chakotay handed over the guitar. Tom examined it with care and whistled softly. "This is a Gibson, Cha. A real antique. You didn't replicate this, did you?"
"No. It belonged to Commander Cavit."
Tom raised his eyebrows. "No kidding. I never would have guessed. That guy hated me from the moment we met. Who would have known he was a musician?"
"People surprise you all the time, don't they." It was a statement, not a question.
Tom handed the instrument back to the commander. "Let's do another one."
"If you insist." Chakotay grinned. "Any suggestions?"
"Just pick something. I'll probably know it."
Chakotay pondered this while he strummed some random chords. "Okay. Here's something obscure -- Billy Pilgrim."
Tom frowned. "Billy Pilgrim...Cha, Billy Pilgrim's a character in a *novel.* Vonnegut, twentieth century..."
Chakotay's grin widened. "Got you this time, Paris. That all may be true, but 'Billy Pilgrim' was also a musical duo. A short-lived duo, but they did release two albums."
"Let's hear it." Tom sat back, with that odd smile of expectation and challenge on his face.
"All right." This was one of Chakotay's favorite songs, and for the life of him he could not figure out why this group had not done more with their talent:
Like a light, I feel electric Feel the power running through Diving fast into the motion Driving hard to get to you.
Let's get to know some of the locals Set 'em up a whiskey round. Line our pockets with some pesos Spend the night painting the town.
Hold me tight, don't let me down. Let's go spread the word around It's our time to make a joyous sound... Beatin' the drums in Tinseltown. We'll be beatin' the drums in Tinseltown.
Chakotay went on to the second verse. At the second chorus, Tom joined in on the harmony, not missing a beat or a word. Chakotay figured that Tom must have been blessed with some kind of special talent -- to hear a piece of music once and be able to play it back perfectly.
Tom nodded slowly as the commander finished the song. "That was great, Chakotay, really fine. I can't believe you've been hiding this from me. You've given me an idea. Or, rather, inspired me to go back to an old idea."
"What are you talking about?"
"All in good time, Cha. You'll find out soon enough."
"Should I be worried here?"
"Nah. Only worry about whether I'm going to jump your bones in the next few minutes."
"*That* sounds promising." The commander gently put his guitar back in its case.
"I seem to remember someone a little while ago comparing me to a musical instrument. Little did I...know...what I was in for...uh..." Tom's voice trailed off as Chakotay began to nuzzle his neck. "Dammit, you're doing it to me again..."
Chakotay pushed Tom down on the bed and began to ravish his mouth.
"I'm...supposed...to be...getting *you* off...right now." Tom groaned under the commander's assault.
"Who's keeping track?" Chakotay chuckled and pulled off his shirt. "I sure as hell am not. Shut up, Lieutenant, and let me make love to you."
Tom relaxed. Chakotay quickly reached down and undid the younger man's pants. Tom gasped as Chakotay gripped his cock firmly and began to stroke up and down its length. At the same time, the commander untied his own pants and grasped his own swelling erection.
"Cha..." Tom whispered frantically. "Fuck me, please. I need you inside me. Right now."
"Not yet." Chakotay bent down and took Tom's cock into his mouth. Tom hissed. "Oh, yes..."
Damn, he loved doing this. He loved having control, giving Tom pleasure, but doing it at his own pace. Tom writhed under him, moaning faintly. Chakotay opened his throat and took Tom in even deeper. Tom uttered a sharp cry and began thrusting. Within seconds, warm spicy semen filled Chakotay's mouth. "Oh, yes, oh, God, yes..."
Chakotay held on for a few more moments until Tom had settled down, then lifted his head and smiled. "That was just the warm-up."
Tom gave a weak laugh. "You play me as well as you do that guitar."
Chakotay lifted himself off Tom and reached into his bedside table for the tube of lubricant. He gave the lieutenant a long lingering kiss. "Better, I hope."
"I have no complaints." Tom raised his legs into the air, giving Chakotay a marvelous view of his ass. Chakotay coated his fingers with lubricant and slowly inserted one inside his lover. Tom closed his eyes, adjusting himself to the feeling. Chakotay stretched the muscle gently and added another finger, then finally a third. God, he loved and wanted this man so much. He never wanted to hurt him.
"Ready?" he whispered.
"Yes. Love me." Tom's voice was so low he could hardly hear it.
Chakotay raised up and pushed himself slowly inside Tom. "I do, Tom, so much." He reached for Tom's legs and caressed the smooth skin of his inner thighs. Tom tensed at the commander's entry. Chakotay paused, stroking the pilot with a feather touch, whispering assurances. Tom relaxed. Chakotay slowly inched his way further inside Tom's hot tightness, clenching his jaw, fighting to keep control.
"Yes, Cha. Beautiful, big man...."
Damn, how did he *ever* think that he could control this feeling? Oh, hell. He began to pump into his lover, feeling the blood rush to his face as well as to his cock.
Chakotay was lost in a wave of pleasure. He came ferociously, ecstatically, throwing his head back in a roar. When it was over, he pulled out of Tom and collapsed on top of him. Tom put his arms around the older man and held him tightly.
"That sounded like a good one."
"You were saving yourself, weren't you?"
Chakotay chuckled weakly, feeling a little embarrassed. "Sometimes if I hold back my own pleasure for a while, the climax is that much better."
"Now I understand the 'two-for-one' deal."
Chakotay laughed at Tom's matter-of-fact tone. "So you've got me all figured out, have you?"
"I'm getting there." Tom ran his fingers through Chakotay's hair. "I noticed something else, too."
"The look on your face, just now, before you started to come. It's the same look you had while you were playing the guitar and you didn't know I was watching."
Chakotay flushed, uncertain of what to say.
"You've got something great going there, Cha. It's a gift. I felt it earlier. Sometimes playing music is like making love."
"I'm not sure I know what you're talking about." Chakotay rolled off of Tom, feeling increasingly uncomfortable with this conversation.
Tom pressed on. "It's...a kind of joy, a kind of connection with others, with Creation. Like the feeling at orgasm, when you're one with the universe for just a second or two."
"You feel that way when you're singing?"
"Yeah, when I lose myself in it. I once knew a woman back on Earth who swore to me that she had orgasms by just listening to good music. Never touched herself, but still came."
Chakotay raised his eyebrows questioningly. Tom laughed. "No, it's never happened to me. Must be a female kind of phenomenon. But the emotions have come close at times. Certain pieces of music will turn me into a puddle if I'm in the right mood."
The commander shook his head in wonder. "Tom Paris, you are a man *full* of surprises."
"But not full of food," the lieutenant replied, rolling into a sitting position. "In fact, I'm starved. Do you want to eat in or brave the mess hall?"
Chakotay considered this. He wasn't sure yet if he wanted their relationship to be public knowledge. Not that he was ashamed of it at all. He just wanted to keep Tom to himself for awhile. Yes, that was it.
Tom gave him a searching look. "Anything wrong?"
"No, not at all. I was thinking that I should check in briefly with the Captain, even if it is my day off..."
"No problem. I'll go in first. You can follow me in about five minutes. I need to talk to Harry about something anyway." Tom grabbed his towel from the head of the bed and began to clean himself up.
Chakotay smiled, gratified at Tom's perceptiveness. "Sounds like a plan."
Tom pulled his pants up and kissed the top of Chakotay's head. "And later on, I want to hear some more of your music."
"I'm all yours."
"Good." Tom's voice was uncharacteristically serious. "Don't hold back with me, Chakotay. We've come so far in such a short time. You *can* trust me." He took Chakotay's head in his hand and stared hard into his eyes.
"I do, Tom."
Tom kissed his lips gently. "Love you."
Tom left the room without looking back. Chakotay sighed, picked up the guitar, and returned it to the closet.
"Good morning, Commander. Sleep well?"
Chakotay started, wondering what Kathryn knew. But her cool blue eyes betrayed nothing as she sat down across from him with her tray.
"Er...yes, I did." At least *that* wasn't a lie.
//Don't look at Tom. Don't look at him. Don't give yourself away.// His brain hammered with an internal mantra as he tried to focus on the captain. Tom and Harry were seated only two tables away, seemingly deep in conversation.
"What's our status?" Good, Chakotay. Safe question.
"Both Beta and Gamma shifts reported nothing unusual. B'Elanna's planning to do some routine maintenance on the impulse engines today. Tuvok is conducting some hand-to-hand combat drills on the holodeck at 1300. And Naomi Wildman is going to teach Seven of Nine how to play something called 'canasta.'" The captain chuckled at this last item and took a long gulp of her coffee. "I gather it's some kind of card game. Tom would probably know more about it."
"Yes, he probably would." Did he say that too quickly?
Kathryn raised one eyebrow briefly. "Something wrong, Chakotay?"
"No, not at all." Get a grip, man. "Guess I'm just...looking forward to my day off." Lame. Very lame.
"Well, enjoy it while you can. I noticed you gave Tom the day off, too."
Could the woman read his mind? He flushed and tried to cover it up by bending over his tray to sniff at Neelix's latest offering. At least it didn't *smell* poisonous. Okay, now, what should he say in reply? Say *something*, you idiot. "Well...I figured that Mr. Chell would benefit from having more time at the helm. He did ask me last week if he could take a couple of extra shifts." The truth. The truth would set him free. Please.
"Good thinking, Commander." The captain mercifully let the subject drop and moved on to another anecdote about Seven, Naomi, and something called a "hula hoop." Chakotay risked a glance at Tom, who was still talking very intently to Harry Kim. Harry's eyes looked downward and his posture indicated unease with whatever Tom was telling him. Chakotay wondered what could possibly be disturbing the young ensign. He would ask Tom about it later. Right now, much as he liked the captain, he wanted her to go away so he could finish eating and meet Tom back in his quarters.
Now Harry looked up at Tom and a slight smile crossed his face. Tom swallowed the last of his drink and stood up, clapping his friend affectionately on the shoulder. His eyes met Chakotay's, and the lieutenant gave his lover the smallest of winks and nods. Everything was fine. Tom left the mess hall.
Chakotay relaxed, finished his breakfast, and followed him eight minutes later.
"What were you saying to Harry?" He thought he might as well cut to the chase.
Tom threw himself into Chakotay's favorite chair. "You really want to know?"
"I told him that I know he's in love with B'Elanna and that he shouldn't let me get in the way. I reminded him that she and I have been over for a long time. They need each other, Cha. It's so obvious."
"Does she feel the same way about him?"
"Yeah. She just doesn't know it yet."
Chakotay laughed. "Tom Paris, matchmaker of the Delta Quadrant."
Tom grinned. "You'll see. I'm right about this, big man. Now why don't you get that guitar out and teach me some more songs?"
Chakotay played and sang old Earth folk and rock music with Tom for the next two hours, until his voice and fingers gave out. Afterwards, he put the guitar away while Tom called up various musical selections from the computer. Chakotay replicated a bottle of wine, and the two men curled up together on Chakotay's sofa and listened as music from Earth's past filled their senses. Tom had a definite taste for the classics as well as popular music from the twentieth century. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart mixed well with Springsteen, Dylan, and the Beatles.
Chakotay held Tom in his arms and stroked his hair. It seemed to him that he had never felt so content in all his life. He closed his eyes and said a silent thank-you to the spirits for this blessing.
As the last notes of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" faded away, Tom stirred. "Computer, what's the time?"
"The time is 1357."
"Care for a game of hoverball, old man?"
Chakotay swatted him playfully. "Old, eh? Watch me whip your butt."
"Why, Cha, I didn't know you were into that kinky kind of thing."
"Get out of here and get suited up, Lieutenant, or I won't be responsible for the consequences."
"Yes, *sir.*" Tom gave the commander a mock salute and left his quarters.
"Kim to Paris."
Tom, sweating, up two games to one, cursed under his breath. "Go ahead, Harry."
"I'm off duty. How about a game of pool at Sandrine's?"
Tom looked at Chakotay, eyebrows upraised. "Uh...Harry, give me a few minutes here. I'll get back to you."
"Okay. I'll be waiting in my quarters."
Tom groaned. "Cha, how am I going to get out of this one?"
"You don't have to. Go be with Harry for awhile. It's OK."
"No problem. I don't want to monopolize you. How about dinner back in my quarters tonight?"
Tom grasped the commander's shoulders and kissed him. "Sounds great. And...thanks."
Tom was as good as his word, arriving at 1830 for tomato soup and Spanish rice. He devoured everything in front of him. Chakotay smiled indulgently. "Can I get you anything else, sir?"
"Just a big dark-haired man with a tattoo to rub my feet."
"Consider it done." Chakotay took Tom by the hand and led him over to the bed. Tom lay back as the commander took off his shoes and socks and began the massage.
"This has been a *great* day, Cha. Probably one of the best ones I've had in months. I've managed to cram in all of my favorite things -- hoverball, music, pool, food, sex, and you."
"You don't count piloting in that mix?"
"That's my *job*. Sure, I enjoy it, but flying isn't all that I am. If we ever get home, I'll probably want to just stay on Earth for awhile and feel real ground beneath my feet. Does that make any sense?"
"Sure it does." Chakotay put down Tom's right foot and picked up the left one.
"Damn, Cha, you've got great hands."
"So I'm told."
"Not to mention you're a great kisser."
Tom laughed. "And you have that sly sense of humor."
"You give great head. And you can play guitar and sing. No wonder I fell in love with you."
Chakotay dropped Tom's foot, leaned over his lover, and kissed him deeply. "Dessert?"
"Chocolate cake. Cha, did you use up all your replicator rations for this?"
"It was either that or ask Neelix for his dessert of the day. I figured this was safer."
Tom shoved a huge bite into his mouth. "Good decision."
"Glad you like it. Watch those crumbs, Lieutenant, or I'll make you lick them off the floor."
"More kinky talk. I love it. Your reputation is ruined forever. Wait until the crew gets a load of the newer, looser First Officer."
Chakotay frowned slightly.
Tom patted his arm. "I'm *kidding,* Chakotay. Don't worry. I won't spill anything. And I promise to be a good boy on the bridge tomorrow."
The commander leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. "I hope so. I really want us to continue working together if we can. If we can't keep our professional and personal lives separate, I may have to assign you permanently to another shift. And how I'd explain that to the Captain, I have no idea."
"You've got a point, Cha. I'll behave. I promise. And I'll let you know if I think it's not working out."
"Fair enough." Chakotay smiled and stood up. "Help me clean this mess up, and let's listen to some more music."
They fell asleep in each other's arms as the strains of Pachelbel's "Canon" faded away.
"All For You." Written by Ken Block and Sister Hazel. Performed by Sister Hazel, from their album "...Somewhere More Familiar," copyright 1997.
"Lost & Found in Tinseltown." Written by Andrew Hydra. Performed by Billy Pilgrim, from their album "Billy Pilgrim," copyright 1994.
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