The Lodge by Polly Bywater
Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony
Categories: Chakotay/Paris Fanfiction Characters: None
Genres: none
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 19721 Read: 5681 Published: 27/09/03 Updated: 27/09/03

1. none by Polly Bywater

none by Polly Bywater
VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 1/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Archive: Already at ASCEML, offered here to fellow lovers of Chakotay

Disclaimer: Yeah, we all know mighty Paramount owns them, soulless

corporate drones and more's the pity. Add insult to injury and

recognize, I ain't getting a dime out of this, but I betcha I'm

getting more joy! And speaking of joy, the lyrics included are from

the song 'Learning to Fly', copyrighted by Pink Floyd in 1987.

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.





On a more personal note, I initially set out to write this because I

wanted to see if I could write C/P (since I love to read it, and

thank you CPSG). As the story went on, I began to realize I also

wanted to write an statement of my faith, which happens to be

somewhat similar to Chakotay's. It seemed to me there was a place for

a story that detailed a little bit about the Indian spirit path, at

least, as I have been taught. Not gonna specify which tribe. Hope

you enjoy it, happy 2001 holidays, and please don't flame me for my

opinions. Un-beta-ed work, all errors mine alone.









The Lodge





Chakotay was meditating, and was therefore not surprised when he

followed his spirit animal into a clearing to find his father,

sitting and waiting with a welcoming smile.



"Buenos Dias, Chakotay."



"Hello, Papacita," he replied, the childhood nickname coming out of

his mouth before he realized it. Papacita, 'little father'. It had

been a joke then, when he had had to crane his neck to look up to his

father's loving eyes... and still a joke, when Chakotay had ended up

being bigger than his father.



They grinned at each other, and Kolopak patted the ground next to

him.



"Sit, Chakotay. You look tired."



"We've been busy, Papa." And they had been. Voyager had come across

an M-class planet that looked invitingly uninhabited. Kathryn had

insisted on every kind of scan they could think of, of every *thing*

they could think of, before she would entertain thoughts of shore

leave. It was hard not to tease her about being paranoid... then

again, if the Delta Quadrant had taught them one thing, it was that

even paranoiacs had enemies.



The planet had checked out. No carnivorous animal life, no deadly

poisonous plant life, no flesh-eating bacteria or mind-altering

viruses, no tectonic instability, no meteorological phenomena, no

this, that, or the other thing. It actually looked like they might

all get a chance for a little down time. So Chakotay had cleared

schedules and posted rosters, and the first shore leave parties were

on the planet now. By all accounts, everyone was having a good

time. Chakotay himself was supposed to beam down in the morning, but

he wanted a chance to center his mind, first.



He sat next to his father and let the peace of doing it wash over

him. The first time he'd seen his father during a spirit walk, it

had taken him a long time to reconcile the fact that meeting his

father in the spirit plane meant Kolopak had walked West, had left

his life behind. Now, Chakotay found comfort in it.



"You need to go into the lodge, mi hijo," Kolopak told him, his dark

eyes smiling. "It is time."



"Yes, Papa," he said agreeably, and his father laughed at him.



"Chakotay. Do you remember how to build a sweat lodge? How to do it

in a good and gentle way? How to sing the songs of our ancestors?"



Chakotay had to admit he was not sure, and Kolopak patted him on the

shoulder.



"It will come to you in a dream tonight, then, my son. Listen to

what you are told... and remember, the lodge is a gift to us from the

Great Mystery. It is a place of healing, a place of spiritual

rebirth, a place to cleanse ourselves of worldly concerns. It is not

to be shared lightly, but it is not to be held selfishly to

ourselves, either. Perhaps you know of another who might benefit

from all these things."



Now Chakotay was surprised, and his surprise wrenched him rather

abruptly from his place in the spirit realm. He opened his eyes and

found himself back in his cabin on Voyager. 'Another who might

benefit', hmm? Not for the first time, he wondered how much his

subconscious mind influenced what he heard and saw during

meditation. Sometimes it was easier to believe that than to accept

that his deceased father could see so easily into his heart... his

heart, that beat with an increasingly insistent wish for the love of

a certain blonde pilot.



With a sigh, the big man wrapped up his precious medicine bundle and

put it away. He'd better get some dinner, because he'd be fasting

tomorrow.



- - - - - - - -



Tom watched Chakotay come into the mess hall, and dropped his eyes in

a hurry before the First Officer could catch him staring. For the

millionth time Tom simultaneously wished for two diametrically

opposing things; that he was anywhere else but where Chakotay was,

and that he could be with Chakotay forever. Sometimes he thought he

would fly into pieces just from the force of his battling wishes.



Tom was sufficiently self-aware to understand that his urge to get

away from Chakotay came from his cautious, conscious mind, while the

desire to be with him came from his heart... and maybe south of his

heart, he thought sardonically. He, Tom Paris, who believed analysis

was called *anal*ysis because it was pure shit, had unwillingly given

the situation so much thought he almost longed to talk it over with a

counselor. Even one of those crappy prison shrinks would do.

Somebody who would listen without judgements or comments, who

wouldn't think he was insane.



Hell, maybe he was insane. Here he sat, afraid to look up in case he

caught the eye of his superior officer, with whom he was hopelessly

in love, in lust, and in need. His superior officer, a man who

treated him like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your boot.

Well, to be fair, Chakotay didn't usually treat him like that

anymore. He and Tom had managed, after several years, to be

professional, polite, and distantly friendly. Lately, though, Tom

hadn't been able to tolerate even that much, because it was getting

to the point where it was too painful to be in the same room as the

man... which sure made bridge duty and the morning briefings a

refined form of torture. Tom knew it was his fault, and his alone.

When Chakotay was hostile towards Tom, it was because Tom was so

afraid the big man would find out how he *really* felt that he

deliberately provoked a negative reaction. Tom was good at that, an

expert, in fact.



The thing was, he'd realized, when he spent so much time hiding his

feelings from other people, eventually he started to fool himself,

too. It was amazing, just how much he *could* hide from himself...

and then when his true feelings regarding Chakotay had hit him,

they'd exploded into his consciousness like a tri-cobalt torpedo,

leaving fragments of his self behind. Tom wondered what Chakotay

would think if he told him he'd been in love with him for years, ever

since the moment the big man had taken his hands off that collapsing

stairwell rail in the Ocampan underground, put his arm around Tom's

neck and trusted Tom to save his life. All the confused emotions Tom

had felt since first meeting the handsome Maquis captain had

coalesced in that instant, and Tom had never been the same, since.

Yeah, he was definitely insane. Chakotay would never believe *that*,

and even if by some wild stretch of the imagination he did, he

wouldn't want to hear it from Tom Paris, anyway. And who could blame

him?



Tom shook his head, got to his feet, ditched his tray, squared his

shoulders, and practically stalked out of the mess hall. He never

noticed the dark gaze that followed him.



- - - - - - -



What in the hell was wrong with Tom Paris? Chakotay couldn't

understand it. Up until a few months ago, they'd been getting along

all right, or so he'd thought... but then Tom had started avoiding

him, leaving whatever room he happened to be in, if the pilot was

able. Avoiding his eyes, if he couldn't. Never saying more than the

bare minimum that duty required, on a good day, and driving Chakotay

nuts with sarcastic attitude and smart-mouthed remarks on the bad

ones. Obviously something was bothering the man, but for the life of

him, Chakotay couldn't figure out what. He'd even gone over his

logs, personal and professional, trying to find some precipitating

incident that would explain Tom's current behavior, but there was

nothing. The first officer admitted he was worried. Tom had lost

some weight that he could ill afford, had rarely been seen outside

his bridge shifts, and was generally subdued while at the conn.

Definitely unlike him.



With a sigh, Chakotay gave up on eating the other half of his dinner

and headed for bed. Maybe the spirits would have some answers for

him in his dreams.



- - - - - - - - -



Chakotay awakened feeling rested and good. He had dreamed quite

lucidly of his father introducing him to an elder named Mato. The

elder had sat him down and explained very carefully what he needed to

do in order to properly erect a sweat lodge. Mato had also reminded

him of some things that Chakotay either remembered or subconsciously

knew; that being told to build a lodge was a heavy responsibility,

because when one of the People chose to sweat, that person was

sweating for *all* the People. A sweat lodge was never erected on a

whim, for curiosity, or merely for the physical release, and it was

not to be done without having been given the consent of the Spirits.

Then the elder had startled him.



"Nephew. There is one near you who feels his soul is tarnished. He

feels unworthy of his life. His heart is sick. Ask him to sweat

with you. Teach him what he needs to know. Help him."



"Uncle, who is it?" Chakotay was at a loss.



"You know."



And the elder had vanished into the mists of dreams, along with his

father, and Chakotay had slept heavily for a while. Then along

toward morning, as had become habit, his sleeping mind had conjured

up another companion. Long legs intertwined with his, strong arms

held him close, hands and mouth brought him to gasping pleasure, with

a shout of equal joy, "Cha, oh, yes, Cha!" Chakotay knew that

voice... yeah, he knew.



He rolled out of bed, pitched his damp sheets into the 'fresher and

hit the shower while he tried to figure out how he was supposed to

approach Tom Paris about the sweat lodge.



- - - - - - - -



Tom laid sprawled on his stomach, tangled in the covers of his bed

and tried to think of a good enough reason to get out of it today.

He was off duty and on the roster for his seventy-two hours of shore

leave, although he hadn't decided yet if he was going to go down to

the planet. He didn't really see the point in wandering around in

the wilderness. Now, if it had been an inhabited planet, with a few

seedy bars and the prospect of some ethanol-induced amnesia, he might

feel differently. Besides, he didn't have anybody to go with. Harry

and B'Elanna had been in the shore leave party that was due back

today, and they'd both be on duty for Beta shift.



He turned over and yelped when his butt hit the wet spot in the

sheets. Well there was a reason to get up, he thought, and did just

that, deliberately avoiding the memory of the dream that had put that

spot there. Damn it.



He stripped his bed and threw the sheets in the 'fresher, then

stalked into the shower. Unfortunately, standing under the water

brought back the dream full force...



//on his knees, at Chakotay's feet, worshipping the big man with his

mouth, his tongue, his hands holding those hips and shaping the sweet

curves of that fine ass, the skin so smooth; warm hands on his head

in a gentle grip; the shower running over them both, hot and steamy,

sounds echoing in the hisses and groans of their arousal; the smells

of sex and soap as palpable as the tiles he knelt on, while his

spirit flew with joy as his lover screamed out his release; the taste

of Chakotay, salty and faintly bitter but sweet like fine wine//



"Oh, Gods," Tom moaned out as his own orgasm hit, making him shudder

and lean against the shower wall for balance. How much worse was

this going to get? It was at the point now where he didn't even have

to touch himself. The hunger was so deep in him that just loving

Chakotay in his all-too-detailed imagination could bring him off.

One more item to add to his list of abnormalities, he thought,

turning the water on cold and making himself stand in it until he

started to shiver. Penance, he decided a little wildly, wondering

just what in the hell was wrong with him. For years, he had

convinced himself that he felt *nothing*, covering up his emotions

with drugs, flying, liquor, and meaningless sex. He'd given up

drugs, had practically quit drinking, as well, at least drinking for

the sake of getting drunk. He couldn't remember the last time he'd

had sex outside of his dreams or his own hand. He couldn't fly 24/7,

either. The result? Now he felt *everything*, and it just hurt too

damn much...



Recalling the state of his water rations finally moved Tom out of the

cold spray, and he finished his morning routine and dressed; sandals,

old blue jeans and a white T-shirt. He spent some time cleaning his

quarters and making the bed, then fetched himself a glass of juice

from the replicator. He was seldom hungry in the morning at the best

of times, and this certainly didn't qualify, he noted gloomily. He

knew Chakotay was scheduled for shore leave, too. With any luck,

he'd be off the ship by noon and Tom could look forward to lunch.

Well, that might be stretching it, he admitted, thinking of Neelix's

usual fare. Tom flopped on his couch, laughing at himself, and

picked up a data padd to finish a holoprogram he'd been working on.



- - - - - - - - - -



Chakotay had seen Kathryn first thing, explaining that he was going

to use his shore leave for a spiritual observance and requesting that

he not be disturbed for less than a red alert. She'd agreed, wished

him well, and kept any questions she might have had to herself.

Chakotay appreciated that, and her. Kathryn Janeway had become a

good friend.



He'd picked up a few supplies and beamed down to the planet then,

choosing a location several kilometers away from any of the other

crew. The spot he picked had everything he needed, being a narrow

open field between forest and water. A small river burbled along

mildly, its banks spotted with skinny, long-leafed trees that he

could substitute for the traditional willows. Enough rocks were

scattered around that selecting thirty-five melon-sized specimens

would be easy, too. Mato had told him in his dream what kind of

rocks to look for, and Chakotay was glad to see they were quite

distinctive, particularly since Mato had reminded him that incorrect

rocks could either dissolve or explode in the forces of the lodge.



Chakotay burned a bit of his precious store of white sage, smoked

himself off and then the area, and prayed to the Spirits before he

began collecting what he would need. Harvesting the trees had

presented a bit of a problem. Ordinarily, one planted a young

sapling for each older tree chosen, but Chakotay couldn't very well

introduce alien trees into this planet's ecosystem. He finally

decided to dig up some over-shadowed seedlings that wouldn't survive

where they were, and replanted them as he went. In this manner he

eventually gathered a sufficient number of trees to construct the

lodge's frame.



The air was warm without being oppressive, and there was enough of a

breeze to keep Chakotay feeling fresh while he worked, despite the

strong sun. Clean smelling air, he thought, catching the differing

notes of aroma in the light winds. Water, grass, trees... distant

flowers, even the sunshine seemed to have its own odor. He stripped

off his clothes to soak up some rays, thoroughly enjoying the simple

physicality of his labors.



Setting the lodge's opening toward the east and marking the other

directions, as was customary, Chakotay sang as he worked. Old songs,

handed down through the generations, songs for healing, songs of

thanks, songs of adoration, songs of supplication. By afternoon he

had the frame erected and secured, a small skeleton of a dome that

hunched over a centered shallow hole. Chakotay then dug out a pit

for the fire several feet in front of the lodge door. He placed his

medicine bundle on a stone altar between the lodge opening and the

fire pit. When he finished there he gathered rocks, putting them

east of the fire pit. With that task completed, Chakotay walked into

the forest to find firewood. He picked up only the deadwood that lay

on the forest floor, eventually collecting quite an impressive pile

that he placed south of the fire pit.



He spent quite a while arranging the rocks and the wood in the fire

pit, placing them as he'd been told in his dream, with prayers to the

Great Mystery, the Spirits of the Four Directions, and his

ancestors. By the time he was finished, he was set for a break.



He had only to cover the lodge frame with blankets and secure those

and the lodge would be ready for use. Chakotay smoked everything off

again, including himself, with a sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and tobacco

mixture he'd been hoarding since he left the Alpha Quadrant, then sat

down to rest. He drank freely of the water he'd brought with him,

and turned his problem over in his head once more. How *was* he

supposed to get Tom Paris to agree to doing this with him? He

expected the pilot would be suspicious of any invitation, let alone

an invitation to join him in a spiritual ceremony.



"Guess you won't know until you try, Chakotay," he said to himself

with a sigh, and made his way to the river for a quick wash before he

got dressed and beamed up to Voyager.



- - - - - - - - -





VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 2/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Disclaimer: See part 1

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.



Tom stretched out along his sofa and heaved a deep breath. He was

bored, no doubt about it. Harry had come along and convinced him to

go to the Mess Hall for a late lunch, and while he'd enjoyed his

friend's company there had been nothing enjoyable about the so-called

meal Neelix was serving and Tom had settled for another glass of

juice and a cup of coffee.



Harry had a great time on the planet, according to him. He and

B'Elanna had gone fishing, of all things, and Tom thought he would

have given a week's worth of rations to have seen B'Elanna Torres

catch her first fish. By the time Harry finished telling him about

her standing over her 'prey' and growling 'Q'apla!' Tom was almost

falling out of his chair laughing. All too soon, however, Harry had

to leave for his duty shift, and Tom had wandered back to his

quarters and watched a couple of vids.



Now it was dinner time, but Tom couldn't work up any enthusiasm for

going back to the Mess Hall alone. So here he was, lying around

trying to understand why he felt so... fragile. He wasn't just

bored. He was lonely and bored. It was a frame of mind that in his

past had landed him in a shitload of trouble, so maybe that's why he

felt so apprehensive. He thought about heading down to the holodeck,

but he was feeling so anti-social he figured that would be a waste of

time, as well as potentially dangerous.



The sound of the door signal startled him so badly he yelped.



"Come," he shouted, impatient with himself. The sight of Chakotay at

his door startled him even further... Chakotay, dressed in battered

khaki shorts and a black T-shirt, baring long legs to elegant feet

that were shoved into a pair of well-worn rope sandals. Tom felt his

gut clench and leaped to his feet, forcing himself to meet that dark

chocolate gaze.



"Commander! What can I do for you?" Oh, what *wouldn't* he do? Tom

shook that thought out of his head and unconsciously set himself at

attention. The effort involved in keeping his eyes on Chakotay's

face, -and not the broad chest under that thin material, the bare

arms glowing with sun, the way those shorts molded to his lower torso

and framed the object of Tom's fantasies, those beautiful, bronze

legs- Tom wondered briefly if the effort was going to kill him as his

heart skipped unevenly. He blessed and cursed his excellent

peripheral vision and tried to hold onto his self-control, keeping

his face completely still.



"Well, you could relax, Lieutenant, for one thing," Chakotay said in

a pained voice, trying to cover his own reaction to seeing that tall,

lean figure covered in the gently clinging cloth of casual clothes,

the jeans echoing that impossible blue of Tom's eyes.



He noticed the way Tom's pulse was pounding at the base of his

throat, and wondered a bit sadly if the man thought he was in some

kind of trouble... and ignored the way his own heartrate had jumped.



"Relax," Tom repeated just a bit huskily, gave himself a visible

shake, and flopped back down on the couch. "Okay," he said, crossing

his legs while he recited to himself Newton's Laws of Motion in an

effort to ward off the developing erection he could feel.



"Have a seat, Commander," he invited grandly, waving Chakotay toward

a chair while he fixed his flyboy persona firmly on his face.



Chakotay sat down gratefully, settling his right ankle over his left

knee for the same reason Tom had, to hide any sign of his involuntary

arousal. He was suddenly certain that inviting Paris down to the

planet was a very bad idea, but he'd been told to do it by the

Spirits, and by the Spirits, do it he would. And aside from all

that, he couldn't bear the thought of Tom being unhappy. If what

Mato said in his dream was correct, he had no choice. He had to try.



"So, Commander—"



"Chakotay. Last time I looked, we were both off duty, Tom."



Oh, Gods. He called me by my name, Tom realized a bit wildly, and it

sounded just like it did in all those dreams where Chakotay used his

name, usually along the lines of 'fuck me, Tom' or 'I want to fuck

you, Tom' or his personal favorite, 'Come for me, Tom'. All right,

let's try calculating the warp field boundary as it applies to

exiting 40 Eridani, and you stay down, boy.



"Sure, Comm— uh, Chakotay. What brings you by?" And moving right

along to the Constitution of the Federation... Article One.



"Tom, I was wondering if you'd been down to the planet yet," Chakotay

began, looking at the deck in an effort to keep his eyes off Tom's

groin. Damn, those jeans didn't leave much to the imagination, did

they? Chakotay fought back the sigh that went with the vision in his

mind and waited.



"No, and I really hadn't planned on going, Chakotay. Guess I'm not

much of a nature boy," Tom quipped, his attention fully focused on

picking at the fraying hem of his jeans. He could swear he could

smell Chakotay now, the scent of sunshine and clean, honest sweat

teasing his nostrils from halfway across the room.



"I'd like you to come down with me," Chakotay said, throwing caution

to the winds. If he didn't get this invitation issued and get out of

here, he didn't think he could be held responsible for his own

actions. Since he was still staring at the deck, he missed seeing

how Tom's head jerked up, but he could swear he felt those eyes

lasering in on him.



"Why?" Tom asked baldly.



"I'm going to do a sweat lodge ceremony. It's a spiritual thing,"

Chakotay explained, peering at Tom's face through his downcast

eyelashes and thereby catching the younger man's surprised flush.

"It can be pretty strenuous, and I probably shouldn't go alone,"

Chakotay added, inspired. Tom's psyche might be a complete mystery

to him, but he knew the pilot would do anything to protect the

captain, the crew, and the ship. He looked back down at the deck and

waited.



Tom was still trying to catch his breath from the way Chakotay had

just looked at him. Wasn't it ridiculous for a man to have eyelashes

like that? Oh yeah, he knew what, or rather who, was ridiculous

here, and it wasn't the commander. He hooked his fingers together

behind his head and stared up at the ceiling, completely unaware of

how the position made him look like some kind of offering.



Chakotay was aware.



"Why *me*?" Tom had to ask.



"Why *not* you?" Chakotay replied, and held his breath. He was

really hoping Tom wouldn't press him on 'why'. He suspected if he

told Tom the Spirits were behind this invitation, the pilot would

either be furious with Chakotay for asking only because he'd been

told to, or worse, laugh.



Tom thought about it for a moment, and because he really did love the

man, and longed to know more about him and his culture, and despite

the fact that he would be suffering the tortures of the damned by

being so close to him, had to accept.



"Why, thank you, Chakotay. I'd be honored."



Now it was Chakotay's turn to look sharply at Tom, but there was no

hint of sarcasm or mockery in those bright eyes, and the big man

smiled.



"Have you eaten dinner?" He asked next, and Tom shook his head,

briefly struck mute by that lovely, open smile with its accompanying

flash of dimples.



"No, I haven't," he said, not bothering to mention that he hadn't

eaten all day.



"Good. Don't. We'll eat after the ceremony, that's customary. Have

yourself beamed down to my coordinates around 2200 hours, and I'll

explain what you need to know, then we'll go in around midnight,

ship's time." Chakotay had figured that would put them exiting the

lodge around dawn, planet time. That was an auspicious time to

finish the sweat. Coming out of the lodge as a new person,

spiritually cleansed and starting a new day.



"You need to drink some extra water before you beam down, at least a

liter. Bring some shorts and a towel with you," Chakotay added as he

got up and headed toward the door. "I'll see you there," he said, and

was gone before Tom had time to respond.



Tom sat there for a minute, then groaned.



"What have I done?" He asked the air, and with no answer

forthcoming, went to the replicator and got a glass of water.



- - - - - - - - -



Tom materialized to find himself standing several feet away from what

appeared to be a moderately sized bonfire. Chakotay stood in front

of it, holding a pitchfork. Tom caught back a gasp when he realized

the man had nothing on but a pair of shorts, and he'd evidently been

working with the fire for a while, because his skin glistened with

sweat. The firelight silhouetted him in gold. Tom wondered, not for

the first time this evening, about his sanity and the wisdom of being

here.



As he watched, Chakotay laid another log on the fire, using the

pitchfork to position it where he wanted, then he reached into a

pouch and held a pinch of something to the sky before sprinkling it

on the fire. Tom sniffed, enjoying the sweet aroma of whatever

burning herb it was. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a little blanket

covered dome behind Chakotay, the woods dark beyond it. He turned

slowly, smelling water somewhere nearby, then looked up at the sky.

This planet had no natural satellites, but the Delta Quadrant

starshine threw off plenty of light.



"Chakotay?" He called out softly, not wanting to disturb the

serenity.



"Tom. You're here. Good," Chakotay hoped his relief didn't sound

too obvious. He'd been more than a little afraid the pilot would

stand him up. "Come sit down." He had dragged over a couple of good

sized logs for seats; near enough to the fire to ward off any night-

time chill but not so close it would be uncomfortable. He watched

while Tom walked over, his skin pale in the night and the starshine

crowning that fair hair.



"Did you think I wouldn't show?" Tom asked in an unusually gentle

tone of voice, and Chakotay mustered up the nerve for an honest reply.



"I was a bit worried." He grinned at Tom, who smiled back

involuntarily, and they held each other's stares for a long moment.



Tom finally set down his rolled up towel and shorts and seated

himself facing the fire. Chakotay sat down on the other log, keeping

his own eyes firmly on the progress of the rocks and off the younger

man's beautiful features. The quiet stretched out between them,

broken only by the fire as it hissed and popped. Both men were

surprised at how comfortable the silence was.



"Ready to tell me what this is?" Tom asked after a little while, his

voice low. "I take it that's the sweat lodge," he said, motioning

toward the small dome.



"Yes. The sweat lodge is traditionally used for spiritual renewal

and healing. There are some differences in how the ceremony is

performed, depending on tribe, but its use is pretty widespread among

indigenous people. The tradition is very old, goes back thousands of

years." Chakotay dared a glance at Tom, saw nothing on the pilot's

face but genuine interest, and continued.



"The sweat lodge itself is usually round, in a circle, which

represents the circular nature of existence. It's dark inside, and

warm, which represents the womb from which we all come. The entrance

is low, and small, and we have to crawl through it. This represents

the birth canal. While we are inside the lodge, we are both less,

and more than our physical selves. We are only voices in the

darkness, creatures of spirit, and the ceremony cleanses us, so that

when we come out, we are renewed."



Tom was fascinated, and for once, unafraid to show it.



"What do you do inside?"



"We pray, and we sweat. It gets pretty hot", Chakotay said, thinking

to himself that 'pretty hot' was a gross misrepresentation, but he

didn't want to scare Tom off. "It's like a sauna, but better,

because sometimes, the spirits come to be with us, and sometimes, the

spirits take us out of our bodies to go places with them. Sometimes

we see visions."



"Chakotay, that's incredible," Tom said, meaning it. He had so

little faith in anything beyond the captain and his own skill at the

helm. Chakotay's spiritual strength seemed almost magical, and when

Tom was honest with himself, he had to admit he longed for that kind

of strength. That kind of foundation.



Chakotay was watching the expressions fly across the pilot's mobile

face. Tom's eyes were dark in the night, but Chakotay could see his

sincere interest... an interest that went far beyond mere curiosity

and came close to need. He could also see a sadness in the younger

man that made him realize how very seldom Tom revealed what he was

really feeling. Chakotay was practically holding his breath for fear

Tom would realize what he was giving away and cover up his emotions.



"So, what exactly do you want *me* to do, Chakotay?" Tom eventually

wondered, his voice somewhat unsteady. He was still not clear about

his role here, and too worried he would mess something up to not ask,

but the effort it took to reveal his apprehension to *this* man was

making his throat ache. "Am I supposed to make sure you don't pass

out and broil, or something?" He inquired with a faint echo of his

usual humor.



Chakotay had to grin. Jokes about passing out in the sweat lodge and

being dragged out feet first were almost as old as the use of the

lodge itself, but this was serious, and he turned to face Tom full on.



"Tom, I want you to come into the lodge and sweat with me. I really

want to share this with you," and this time he *did* hold his breath.



He was rewarded with an instant of Tom's brilliant, surprised smile,

before it faded abruptly, leaving the pilot's face shadowed and pale

in the firelight.



"Chakotay, I'm... I'm not very spiritual, you know. I don't want

to... do something wrong and... fuck this up for you," Tom said in a

rather harsh whisper, his hands on his knees clenching into

involuntary fists as he stared at the ground.



As for Chakotay, he was wondering why he had never understood how

*insecure* the younger man was. It felt like a revelation, and he

understood it for what it was, a gift of the spirits. It was as if

scales had fallen from his eyes, at last, allowing him to look past

the spoken words and interpret Tom's body language and tone of

voice. It gave him the strength to reach out and cover those tightly

fisted hands with his own.



"I'll tell you what to do, don't worry. You know I'm good at that,"

he tried a slight smile of his own, adding, "and the only way you

can... fuck this up for me... is if you don't come in with me.

Please."



He waited for a moment. Tom's hands relaxed and the pilot met his

eyes, patently surprised all over again by the smile on Chakotay's

face.



"Really?" He breathed, and Chakotay's smile widened at the almost

childish note of delight in Tom's voice.



"Really," Chakotay assured gently, and was nearly knocked over by the

nova-bright smile Tom offered in return. He shook his head slightly,

thinking that statement on that beautiful face should be powering

Voyager's warp core, and gave Tom's hands a pat before releasing them.



Chakotay then turned around and rummaged in a duffel behind his log

and presented Tom with a bottle of water. "Drink up. You'll get a

headache if you're not well-hydrated. When you're done, go ahead and

change into your shorts, and if you need to make a trip into the

woods, do that too. We'll start soon."



"Okay, Chakotay," Tom agreed cheerfully. The commander was right, he

*was* good at telling Tom what to do... and for some reason, Tom

found it very reassuring, at least tonight. He grabbed his shorts

and walked off towards the trees, drinking his water as he went and

trying not to feel so ridiculously happy.



Chakotay watched him go, wondering how Tom would react if told that

traditionally, in same-sex sweats they should both be nude. Chakotay

was going to allow that little break in tradition, and keep his

shorts on as if it were a mixed-sex sweat. He didn't think he could

control himself to be nude in a tiny, enclosed, dark space with an

equally naked Tom Paris, no matter how spiritual the occasion!



- - - - - - - - -











VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 3/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Disclaimer: See part 1

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.



Tom shimmied into his shorts, rolled up his clothes, and started back

towards the lodge, having emptied his bladder as well as his balls

while among the trees. Chakotay once again stood before the fire

with his back to Tom, so Tom paused outside the firelight for a

moment, to enjoy the view. The commander's broad shoulders tapered

into a strong back that narrowed into a trim waist before flaring out

again into firm buttocks and long, muscular thighs... Tom sighed,

and knew he'd be seeing *that* image in his mind's eye for a long

time to come. Oh well. It wasn't often that he got a chance to ogle

the man out of uniform, and he couldn't be sorry for the

opportunity. He was glad, however, that he'd had the foresight to

relieve his libido a little. Staring at Chakotay's ass still made

his cock twitch, even so.



He stashed his clothes and comm badge, sat himself back down on the

log and waited without impatience. It really was a glorious night,

star bright and calm. The air was lingeringly warm, and it smelled

fresh and clean compared to the processed and controlled environment

upon Voyager. The woodsmoke teased Tom's nostrils while the

crackling of the fire and the sounds of nightbirds calling teased at

his hearing. There was peace to be had here, and he let it wash over

him and soothe the near-constant lonely ache in his gut.



He didn't even realize he'd closed his eyes until he heard Chakotay

sit next to him.



"Tom? Are you all right?" Chakotay asked a bit anxiously, wondering

what would make the pilot sit so quietly, with an oddly shuttered

look on his face that Chakotay couldn't identify. It was enough to

startle Chakotay out of the rather stunned daze he had fallen into

when he'd turned around and caught sight of Paris sitting there,

catching the firelight. Red-gold sparks seemed to glitter in Tom's

hair, reflecting off the light fur on his chest to trace a glinted

line down that flat stomach before vanishing under the waistband of

his shorts, and picked up again in random whorls patterned over the

fine hair on his thighs and calves. And then there was that face.

Chakotay used to think Tom Paris used his terrifying beauty like a

weapon, to manipulate people. Then, after watching him over the

years, and catching glimpses of the soul behind the face, Chakotay

had come to wonder if Tom even realized just how beautiful he truly

was.



"I'm fine, Chakotay. Just enjoying all this," Tom said, opening his

eyes and waving his hand in a gesture that somehow encompassed

everything around them. "It's really pretty here. Peaceful." He

cut himself off then, not wanting to sound foolish, and definitely

not wanting to blurt out how he thought Chakotay carried that peace

with him all the time, and how much he envied that quality in the man.



Chakotay merely nodded. He was glad Tom could sense the aura in the

lodge area.



"Tom, how much do you know about Indian spirituality?" He eventually

asked. It was almost time to get started, and he still needed to

explain a few things.



"Not much," Tom replied. He wasn't about to admit he'd read

everything in Voyager's database on the subject in an effort to

better understand the mysterious first officer.



"Well, I can't speak for all Indians, of course, but I was taught

that everything around us is connected, that everything, in being

created by the Great Mystery, has within it a piece of the Great

Mystery's spirit. Trees, rocks, water, wind, animals, plants, and

even what my grandfather called the six-leggeds, the eight-leggeds,

and the ones-that-fly are equal to people in spirit, and that we are

all related. That's why we're taught to treat the natural world with

reverence, because it's part of us, as we are part of it, and we are

all part of the Great Mystery." Chakotay paused to make sure Tom was

following this, then went on.



"When we go into the sweat lodge, we stop to kiss the ground at the

threshold of the door and we say 'for all my relations'. We say this

to acknowledge that we go into the lodge not as individuals, but as

representatives of everything we are related to. Also, it is an

statement of gratitude to all of creation."



It was Tom's turn to nod. *He* was grateful that Chakotay was taking

the time to teach him, since he was still worried he would do or say

the wrong thing.



"Before you go in, I'm going to 'smoke' you off with some cedar.

This is a ceremonial way to cleanse your outer being of bad feelings

and negative energy," Chakotay told Tom, and took his hand to lead

him to stand facing the fire, with his back to the lodge. "Stand

right here for a minute and hold your arms out from your sides."

Using the pitchfork, he put some coals in a small iron pot, sprinkled

some dried cedar on them, and picked up the blackbird wing from his

medicine bundle. He used the wing to fan the smoke over Tom,

starting at his feet and working his way up. "Turn around and face

the lodge," he instructed quietly, and when Tom had moved, he waved

the smoke from head to foot, finishing by brushing the wing over

Tom's shoulders then the top of his head.



Tom breathed in the smoke, filling his lungs with the sweet smell.

The scent of cedar made him smile, reminding him of his grandmother's

house and cedar-lined closets, childhood Christmases, and happy

times.



Chakotay stood off to the side and saw that smile, and thought for a

second Tom was laughing at him before he realized the younger man was

simply enjoying himself. It made him resolve to try even harder to

let go his preconceptions where Tom Paris was concerned, and he

swallowed back the sharp question that had initially leapt to mind.



"Okay, my turn," he said instead, handing Tom the blackbird wing and

gently maneuvering him around so that Chakotay faced east and Tom

faced him. He sprinkled some more cedar on the coals. "Fan the

smoke over me now, Tom."



Beyond surprised that Chakotay would ask *him* to do *this*, Tom

carefully imitated what the commander had done. When he had

finished, complete to brushing the wing over Chakotay's shoulders and

head, he handed the wing and smudge pot back. Chakotay set them down

on the rock altar and led Tom to the lodge door.



"All right, Tom. I want you to go in and follow the wall around the

left side until you are sitting facing the door. There's a hole in

the middle of the floor. Don't fall in," Chakotay added with a faint

grin. He observed with no little pride as the younger man dropped to

his hands and knees, kissed the ground at the threshold,

murmured 'for all my relations' and crawled into the sweat lodge as

instructed. Chakotay's pleasure at his apt pupil almost overshadowed

the rush of heat he felt at the evocative vision of Tom Paris, in

that position in front of him with those frayed denim shorts molded

to his narrow ass. Chakotay shook his head and sent up an extra

prayer to the Spirits to forgive him for being all too human

tonight. He crouched by the door.



"Tom, on the ground in front of you are some antlers. I'm going to

bring the rocks in on the pitchfork, one at a time. I want you to

take the antlers and use them to position the first rock in the

center of the pit."



"Okay, Cha," floated out the unseen reply, and Chakotay groaned under

his breath as he turned to the fire. He stared into the flames,

acknowledged the visceral punch of hearing Tom say the nickname he

used in Chakotay's erotic dreams, then let it go... focusing on

clearing his mind and arranging his thoughts to reflect the respect

and gratitude due his present undertaking.



Tom was busy biting his lower lip and kicking himself mentally.

Gods, he hadn't meant to call Chakotay that! He was lucky the

commander hadn't dragged him out of the sweat lodge and ordered him

back up to Voyager. He took a deep breath and tried to relax before

Chakotay brought in the first rock. From what he'd read, state of

mind was an important component to these rituals, and he didn't want

anything to tarnish this for Chakotay.



"Hot rock!" Chakotay warned, and put the business end of the

pitchfork through the door with its radiating cargo. "You're

supposed to say 'welcome Grandfather' or 'welcome Ancient One' as the

rocks come in, Tom," he added, and carefully dumped the rock into the

pit in the lodge. As he turned back for the next one, he could hear

Tom's low voice as he greeted the Grandfather rock, then heard the

scrape of the antlers as Tom made sure it was in the correct position.



Tom was startled to see the rock was glowing red-hot from the fire.

He hadn't supposed rocks could get that hot in a regular fire without

melting or disintegrating or something.



"Hot rock!" Chakotay said again, arriving with the second

rock. "This one needs to go in the east, same side as the door."

And the process was repeated five more times, the third rock going in

the south, the fourth in the west, the fifth in the north, the sixth

between the first and second rocks, and the seventh on top of the

first. By the time Chakotay tended the fire, laid aside the

pitchfork, and retrieved a wooden pail full of water, Tom was already

sweating.



Chakotay touched the pail to the threshold, said 'for all my

relations', and then crawled into the lodge himself, kissing the

ground and saying something in a language Tom couldn't understand but

assumed meant pretty much the same as the earlier words. Chakotay

took a position to Tom's left, quickly touching the bottom of the

pail to the hot rocks and saying 'welcome, water of life' before he

set the pail in front of him. Using what looked like a gourd ladle,

he took a drink before handing it to Tom.



"If you don't finish the water, pour it on the rocks, not the

ground," he said quietly, and sprinkled some more cedar on the still-

glowing rocks. A billowing cloud of aromatic smoke arose, and

Chakotay used his hands to fan it toward himself and made motions

like he was washing it over his head and arms before retrieving the

empty ladle. "Bless yourself with this smoke," he told Tom, who

again was careful to imitate the commander's movements.



"Ready?" Chakotay asked, loving that bright face, statement so

intent in the reflected firelight coming through the lodge door. "If

it gets too hot, Tommy, put your head down on your arms and stick

your nose towards the side of the lodge," Chakotay instructed,

showing Tom how you could make a little air hole in the space where

the blankets covering the lodge met the ground. "If that doesn't

help, just yell 'door!'. It's not an endurance test, and I'm not out

to kill you with this."



Tom grinned at him then, in his amusement not even noticing what

Chakotay had called him.



"It'd be kind of hard to explain death by sweat lodge to the Captain,

wouldn't it?" He teased, and Chakotay grinned back at him.



"Yeah, it probably would," he answered, and poured a little bit of

water on the rocks. The resultant steam pushed what remained of the

cedar smoke out of the lodge, then Chakotay lowered the flap over the

door. The lodge was dark, although the rocks still glowed, and

Chakotay could just make out Tom's pale presence nearby.



"Oh, by the way, don't lie down on your back. We're here to rid

ourselves of bad energy, and it will be carried into the ground in

our sweat. I was always taught not to lie down on my back in the

lodge, because you risk reabsorbing the bad that way." Getting Tom's

murmured acknowledgement of the warning, Chakotay poured some more

water on the hot rocks and began, as the steam plumed up around them.



"Traditionally, this first round is a round of thanksgiving. So,

Great Mystery, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Relations, I send up

prayers of thanksgiving. Thank you for this time and this place. I

thank you for being with us, and I thank you for Tom consenting to

join me in this. I thank you for the sacred fire, and the tall

standing ones, who gave up their lives to paint these rocks red. I

thank you for the Grandfather rocks. I thank you for the water, the

blood of this mother planet, and I thank you for the opportunity to

return this water to her through our sweat. Most of all, I thank you

for allowing us to send up these prayers on Grandfather's breath in

this way, and I thank you for my life." Chakotay poured on some more

water, and the steam was beginning to draw out some serious sweat,

now, that ran down their faces and bodies in tickling little rivulets.



Tom had to close his eyes. It was hot, incredibly hot, but at the

same time, it felt so good he couldn't believe it. The steam felt to

him like a thick, living blanket that wrapped itself around him and

held him like a lover. The end of his nose and the tips of his ears

felt like they were on fire, and it was hard to breath through his

nostrils, but Tom just opened his mouth and took shallow, panting

inhalations until he adjusted a little bit. He was further surprised

to notice he didn't feel at all claustrophobic, in fact, for whatever

reason, the space inside the lodge felt limitless. The darkness

extended the small borders in some manner he couldn't quite

comprehend.



Chakotay had stopped praying in Standard, and switched over to what

Tom supposed was his native tongue, and Tom thought it was

beautiful. The words rose and fell in a cadence of sound that

threatened to carry Tom's conscious mind somewhere out of his reach.

He dimly realized that might be the point, but he wasn't quite ready

to let go, yet. He needed to wait a while longer, he felt, until he

was more acclimated. He concentrated on breathing, on the

physicality of sensation, and settled himself in to imprint this heat

on his memory for all those nights when he was cold, and lonely. He

was *so* grateful that Chakotay had invited him to do this... and

that gratitude seemed to well up out of his heart. Tom whispered his

sincere thanks to Chakotay's Spirits or whatever Deity might be

listening, and let himself relax even further.



Chakotay was offering his thanks, singing really, of his relief and

his joy that Tom was taking to this so well, so far. He thanked the

Great Mystery for bringing them emotionally and physically to this

place, where Chakotay could acknowledge how much he'd grown to love

the younger man, even if he couldn't exactly say that to Tom's face.

He thanked the Spirits for Tom's life and personal growth, also. He

expressed his gratitude to his father, and the elder, Mato, who had

instructed him in his dreams last night, and he sang his thanks for

his Voyager family as well as his blood family. Chakotay had a lot

to be thankful for, he thought, and he was determined to include

everything he could think of. There was no telling when he'd get a

similar opportunity, and a proper sweat lodge ceremony just couldn't

be done on the holodeck.



He continued to periodically ladle water out onto the rocks, using

his subliminal perception to keep tabs on Tom's tolerance. In his

youth, he had occasionally been in the lodge with his father, his

brothers, and as many as fifteen other people at a time. The lodge

leaders had always known when somebody was not doing well, and

Chakotay still couldn't see how they'd been able to tell with so many

people in the lodge... but he sensed a connection here with Tom that

he believed would warn him if the pilot got into trouble.



Following an indeterminable amount of time, Chakotay sat the ladle

aside and soaked in the heat for a while, enjoying the sensation of

all his pores opening, the sweat flowing from his body, and the

poisons of existence leaving with it. He heaved a great sigh, and

felt Tom's answering smile through the darkness.



"Yeah," Tom said, and nothing more. Chakotay found himself grinning.



"You're good, then?" He asked, already pretty certain of the answer.



"I'm... great, Chakotay. Thank you. This is..." Tom let his voice

trail off. He didn't know how to describe this experience. The

steam and the heat was wonderfully healing, in some manner Tom didn't

quite have the proper frame of reference to define. "Can I ask a

question?"



Chakotay tensed, worried Tom was going to pin him down on the motives

behind his invitation. He forced himself to relax, however, and let

the heat push his apprehensions away.



"Of course. What do you want to know, Tom?"



"Is there a significance to using seven rocks?" The pilot's question

made Chakotay snort out a quiet breath of laughter.



"Actually, yes. And it's a lot deeper than it's going to sound, so

pay attention," he teased gently, relieved. "You know about the four

directions, east, south, west, and north. We are taught that there

are really seven directions. East, south, west, north, up, down, and

where you are. All the directions are equally sacred. East is

believed to be the spiritual home of enlightenment. There is a lot

that goes into that belief, probably more than I can explain... not

because I don't want to, Tom, and not because I think you wouldn't

understand it, all right? It's just one of those concepts that takes

a lot of reflection. East is held special because it is the

direction of the sunrise –on most planets, anyway- and we are taught

that the face of the sun is only a pale reflection of the Great

Mystery. Just as we cannot stare into the sun, we cannot stare into

the Great Mystery. South is the direction of strength and power.

West is the home of the thunderbeings, who bring the rains that

nourish the planet. West is also the direction our souls go at the

end of this life, which is why we say that somebody 'walks west' when

they die. North is the keeper of renewal, the home of rebirth. 'Up'

can be said to be the direction of Father Sky, or the masculine

statement of creation. 'Down' is the direction of Mother Earth, or

the feminine statement of creation. And when you understand

that 'where you are', or the seventh direction, is just as important

and sacred as the other six directions, you'll be well on the way to

understanding how you are connected to all of creation."



Chakotay ladled some more water on the rocks, and the steam rose up

between them again while Tom considered what he'd been told. This,

he was beginning to realize, was the source of Chakotay's focus and

serenity. Chakotay had a bone-bred comprehension of who he was in

relation to his universe. He was not more, nor less important than

anyone and everything around him... instead, he was an equal part of

a whole. His faith was not solipsistic, because it didn't put him at

the center. Neither did Chakotay's faith pretend to false humility,

martyrdom, or self-pity. Chakotay didn't need to be 'saved' to know

his own worth to his deity. He just *was*.



Tom knew he was going to have to think long and hard on the things

Chakotay had taught him, and he also knew he wanted understanding of

his own place in the universe. Before he could work out the next

question, Chakotay had one for him.



"Ready for the second round?"



- - - - - - - - -





VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 4/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Disclaimer: See Part 1

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.



Chakotay lifted the flap of blanket that constituted the lodge door,

and took the opportunity to inspect his guest in the reflecting fire

light. Tom was sweating, all right, his pale skin flushed and wet,

hair plastered into darkness on his head. Beautiful, Chakotay

thought to himself involuntarily.



"I'm okay, Chakotay," Tom assured, recognizing the concern in that

piercing dark stare. "Bring them on," he added with a grin, and was

pleased to see the big man smile.



"You got it, hotshot."



"You got that right," Tom said wryly, rewarded with a flash of

Chakotay's dimples.



Chakotay backed out of the lodge, as was customary for the lodge

leader and firekeeper since he was both, tonight.



"These rocks don't have to go in any particular place, Tom, but you

should still greet them, like before," he said, and kissed the

threshold on his way out. He took a minute to stand, making sure his

blood wasn't going to completely abandon his brain, then went to the

fire and retrieved the pitchfork.



Seven more hot rocks later, he crawled back into the lodge, kissed

the threshold, and settled himself. He sprinkled sweetgrass on the

rocks, blessed himself with the smoke, and watched approvingly as Tom

did the same.



"The second round is a round in which we pray for others, Tom. If

you want to say anything yourself, you can. I was always taught that

whatever you pray, though, ask also that it be fixed up for that

person in a good and gentle way. My grandfather always offered up

this example. Say you pray for someone to be freed from an

addiction, then next week that person is killed in an accident.

Well, they're free from that addiction! So, you ask that things are

done in a good and gentle way, because you don't know what the

spirits have planned for that person. You should also know, what is

said in the lodge stays in the lodge, always. It's not to be

discussed with anyone who wasn't there, so whatever you say stays

here... but you do what you're comfortable with. We believe unspoken

prayers are powerful, too."



Tom nodded. He was already breaking out in a fresh layer of sweat.

The aroma of the sweetgrass was teasing his nostrils, too elusive and

at the same time, almost overpowering. He truthfully didn't know if

he could speak. The idea of praying out loud was about as foreign to

him as everything else Chakotay had shown him so far. Verbalizing

prayers he could hardly even say internally struck him as nearly

impossible. He watched while Chakotay poured a bit of water on the

rocks, waited for the steam to carry the remnants of smoke out, then

closed the door flap.



"Great Mystery, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Relations, I come with

prayers for others, and I ask your guidance and wisdom that things be

fixed up in a good and gentle way, and that you look into my heart

and mind for those things I cannot put to words." Chakotay switched

over to his first language then, and sang his prayers as the sweat

poured out his body. Prayers for his family, for his crewmates, for

Voyager herself, for friends as well as enemies, for Star Fleet and

the Maquis, for those people in leadership positions who held the

fate of so many in their hands, that they make fair decisions that

harm none... for the hungry and abused, for the spirits of those who

walked West and for the ones they left behind, that they be comforted

and watched over. For all the other lodges, because Chakotay knew

that others were doing what he did, tonight, on Earth as well as his

own homeworld. And finally, Chakotay prayed for Tom. That whatever

the spirits had seen hurt in Tom be fixed, that Tom be well and happy

and healthy, that he would know he was loved, valued, and cared for,

that he not be lonely or feel unworthy. Chakotay dared not voice

what he *really* wanted for Tom, which was that Tom would love *him*

the way he loved Tom... but he knew the spirits would see the wish in

his heart anyway, so he prayed for forgiveness for whatever selfish

thoughts might have snuck in and asked again that everything be done

in a good and gentle way.



And the song went on, and the water was poured on the rocks, and the

steam rose around them, pulling out sweat and pain and prayers...



- - - - - - - - -



Tom felt his mind disassociate from his body. He went with it this

time, curious to see where it would take him. He found himself

flying in a night sky, star bright and clear. The wind lifted and

held him, as he rose higher and higher. It was amazing, the freedom

and power he felt as he soared above it all. Snatches of 20th

century music teased his memory, lyrics woven into the sound of

Chakotay's voice chanting in his mind.



...above the planet on a wing and a prayer

my grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air

across the clouds I see my shadow fly

out of the corner of my watering eye



A dream unthreatened by the morning light

Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this

Suspended animation, a state of bliss



Can't keep my mind from the circling sky

Tongue tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit I...



Except Tom didn't feel earthbound, not here, and he definitely didn't

feel like a misfit, as he so often did in his physical life. He

wondered vaguely if this was Chakotay's spirit plane or some weird

hallucination induced by the steam heat and the burning herbs, and

decided it didn't matter. It was wonderful, he loved it, and he was

grateful for the experience. He banked into a wide arcing turn and

allowed himself to spiral lazily back down, instinctively seeking the

thermals that lofted him into the air's embrace and kept his descent

gradual. Wonderful.



He caught himself wishing *everyone* could have one moment in their

lives where they felt this perfection of being, and with that thought

slid gently back into his physical body and the loving heat of the

sweat lodge. Chakotay had fallen silent, and Tom could literally see

the big man's concern, like a spotlight peering through fog.



"Oh, Cha. Thank you. So good," he mumbled, the memory of flight

distracting him into unguarded speech. "Love this, flying. Love—"

Tom caught himself then, biting his lip hard to hold in what he'd

been about to blurt out. Love *you*, Chakotay... love *you*. Oh,

Gods. Sanity returned in a rush, crushing him in the weight of real

life.



"I love this heat, Chakotay, but I think I'm getting a little

lightheaded. I'm okay, though." It was no less than the truth, but

what he'd really wanted to say was still so close to his tongue that

Tom *felt* like he was lying.



Chakotay lifted the flap, using the reflected firelight to check on

Tom. He didn't seem to be in any distress, although his eyes were

huge dark pools in his wet face. Hair clung to his scalp in

straggling wet tendrils, molding and framing that aristocratic bone

structure. His cheeks were flushed, but he was breathing easily.

Chakotay reached out and grabbed Tom's wrist, laying his fingers over

the pulse point and checking the younger man's heart rate the old-

fashioned way. It was rapid, but not dangerously so, and certainly

strong even if it did seem to skip a beat there for a moment. Tom

did seem all right, so why was Chakotay so sure suddenly that

something was wrong? Why did the moment seem so fragile?



A gust of wind blew through the open door and Tom closed his eyes and

shivered, hoping Chakotay, if he noticed, would think it was from the

cooler air and not that hot hand on his wrist. He was going to lose

his mind if Chakotay didn't turn loose, he knew. He was either going

to start confessing his heart, or maybe he'd just start screaming.

That might work, actually. He could plead claustrophobia, get out,

beam back up to the ship, forget all this... but how could he forget

that moment of flying? Of being pulled out of his body and released

into the sky? Forget that instant of feeling *perfect*? How could

he stop now, before he'd finished this, discovered everything he

could? He made himself pull his arm out of Chakotay's reach, slowly,

wrapping his knees up and lowering his head.



"Tom, are you sure you're okay?" Chakotay asked, not even aware of

how rough his voice sounded. "We're about halfway done. Do you—"



"I'd like to finish, Chakotay... unless you want to do the rest

alone," Tom said firmly, raising his head to meet the other man's

eyes. What he was learning here in the sweat lodge was bigger than

what he felt for Chakotay. Well, maybe not 'bigger', but it was

equally as important. Soul essential, in fact, although Tom couldn't

explain even to himself how he understood that.



"I want you to stay, if you're sure you're all right," Chakotay

finally said, still peering at Tom in a way that made the younger man

want to either ravish him or smack him.



"I am, Chakotay. Honest."



"Okay," Chakotay finally conceded, backing out of the lodge and

taking the bucket with him. He'd have to refill it before the last

two rounds. He took a little extra time with that task, dipping the

bucket in the river then treating it to make it potable. He'd make

sure Tom had a good drink. He was trying not to worry. Had Chakotay

been at home on Dorvan with someone in the lodge who had been as

spaced out as Tom had seemed there for a few moments, he would have

written it off as a lodge vision and not been too concerned. It

would be wrong of him to assume that Tom wasn't capable of a

spiritual experience in the lodge, this Chakotay knew... but knowing

that didn't relieve the overwhelming anxiety he felt for Tom's

safety. Well, he'd pray about that in the next round.



Chakotay finished with the water, set the bucket outside the lodge

door and retrieved his pitchfork. The grandfather rocks pretty much

selected themselves, all he had to do was carry them in.



"Hot rocks!"



Tom waited patiently while the next seven rocks were brought in.

Once Chakotay had settled himself and the water bucket, he asked a

question.



"What is the third round for?"



Chakotay sprinkled white sage on the rocks, blessed himself with the

sweet smoke and waited for Tom to do the same before answering.



"The third round is for prayers for ourselves. We burn sage on this

round, because sage is said to bring wisdom, and when we pray for

ourselves we need to have wisdom. Again, we should remember to ask

for things to be done in a good and gentle way, so we don't hurt

ourselves out of ignorance. Be careful what you ask for." Chakotay

handed Tom a gourd full of water. "Drink up."



When Tom finished, Chakotay had a drink as well, then he poured some

water on the rocks to clear the smoke from the lodge.



"Ready?"



"I'm ready, Chakotay," Tom assured, and watched Chakotay lower the

door flap and return the lodge to black darkness.



"Great Mystery, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Relations, I come to you

with prayers for myself. I thank you, for teaching that we are to

pray for others before praying for ourselves. This is a difficult

round. It's hard to pray for ourselves. We don't always know what

we need. So we ask that you look into our hearts. Fix things up in

a good and gentle way."



As he'd done on the last round, Chakotay used his native language to

continue, unable to keep himself from wondering what it would be like

to sit here and pray for what he wanted with Tom's full

understanding. He prayed his thanks for the love he felt, because

the whole point of life was learning how to love... but he couldn't

help but pray for that love to be returned, whether he said it or

not. In fact, the longing he felt was bitterly strong, painfully

intense.



Chakotay admitted to the spirits, he had argued with his emotions for

many years. He'd been reluctant to hand over that much of himself to

a man who already owned his life... a man who seemed to care deeply

for nothing, least of all himself. Chakotay had denied his own heart

and pretended to himself he felt merely lust, only to suffer some

major guilt for feeling that, too. Now, most of those arguments were

past. He knew Tom Paris pretended to care for nothing because he

cared too much, about everything. That had been a gradual

realization, arrived at through months of meditation and reflection.

Chakotay could now ask only for freedom from confusion, for calm and

focus, that he could control himself and cause no harm. Especially

to Tom. He wouldn't hurt Tom for the whole wide universe, either by

his indifference or the converse, his unwanted attentions.



These wishes segued into some prayers for his professional life, that

Chakotay could be what others needed him to be, that he could find

the strength to be strong for his crewmates and his captain, that he

could be guided in his decisions and make the choices he had to make

with wisdom and compassion. The words came to him almost

automatically, and Chakotay felt his spirit-self separating from his

body.



Once again, he sat cross-legged in a clearing with his father. The

elder, Mato was there, along with some other people whose faces

Chakotay could not make out. The edges of this reality swirled and

ran, but the place where the three of them sat together was lucid and

serene. A campfire burned, his spirit guide was nearby, and Chakotay

felt comforted.



"Nephew, you have done well by your teachings," the elder told him

conversationally, reaching out to pat Chakotay's arm. "Have faith

now in the Great Mystery. It may be asked, why now? But know the

spirit plane moves to its own timetable." And with that, the elder

vanished, leaving Chakotay alone with his father.



"Papa—"



"My son, I have always known your heart. Even when I did not agree.

In this matter, however, you have done well." Kolopak offered him a

brilliant smile, and Chakotay returned it, filled with an incredible

sense of joy and peace. In a dreamlike sense of understanding, he

grasped what his father was telling him. It was all right for him to

feel as he did for Tom. It was going to be fine, sooner or later, in

this life or the next.



"I love you, Papa."



"As I love you, mi hijo. Go now, and watch over your own."



Chakotay opened his eyes, a bit surprised to find he was still

pouring water on the hot rocks. He wondered how Tom was doing, but

the anxiety and worry were gone, replaced now with an oddly cheerful

anticipation. He wished he could see Tom through the steam and

darkness. Chakotay was content to wait, but he was intensely curious

about how the pilot's sweat lodge experience was going.



- - - - - - - - -



Tom was flying again, relishing that magical sense of connection he

was feeling to everything around him. This time he wasn't alone,

however. Beside him flew a great bald eagle, with fierce joy in its

golden eyes that Tom figured echoed in his own. He didn't wonder at

any of this, it merely felt right and proper that it should be so,

and that sense of acceptance was as precious as the flight itself.



Together they soared upward in a night sky, piercing clouds that

reflected a gibbous moon. Tom could smell thunderstorms and

lightning, ozone and electricity rushing over him in gusts. He and

the eagle plummeted toward the ground, reversing themselves at the

last moment to shoot back even higher through the atmosphere.



"Thomas, do you know who I am?" The eagle asked him eventually,

after a tumbling series of wild aerobatics that left Tom laughing.



"You are my spirit guide," Tom replied with amazing tranquility.



"I am. I am Awahili. You are my windbrother, Thomas. Do you know

why this is so?"



"No," Tom admitted as he and the eagle caught a thermal draft that

lofted them back through the clouds. "But it doesn't matter why."



"That is so. It is what is. And your life before you came to me?"



"It was what was," Tom said quietly, that subconscious comprehension

strong and sure. "And it doesn't matter, either."



"That is so. What matters, Thomas?"



"Where I am, right now."



Awahili shrieked, amusement and approval somehow carrying in the

sound, and Tom found himself laughing out loud once more.



"You are learning, Thomas. I am pleased. And if your doubtful mind

whispers, are you worthy, what does your heart say?"



"I am worthy, because I am. I exist. I need to do no more than

that."



"My windbrother, you honor me. Never doubt your worth."



"Thank you, Awahili."



"You need not thank me, windbrother. Thank your Cha for listening to

the Spirits, and thank the Spirits for speaking to him."



They dropped through the sky together, flashing earthward in a

symphony of motion, revolving around each other in tight circles like

some kind of mystical dance.



"*My* Cha, Awahili?"



"Yours always, windbrother. He is meant for you, and you for him.

Now fear not, for you will see me again, Thomas. I am ever with

you," Awahili told him, and Tom opened his eyes to the realization

that he was again in the superheated lodge with Chakotay. *His*

Cha. Always. Awahili had said so, and Tom grinned fiercely.



The steam was so thick it was palpable, and the sweat poured out of

him in quantities that seemed physiologically impossible. Tom felt

very drained, but he also felt an incredible sense of fulfillment.

His dreams were in reach, he knew.



"Chakotay."



"Good vision, Tom?"



"The best."



"I'm glad."



And that was all either of them said. Chakotay opened the door flap

and for quite a while the two men sat silently. At length, Chakotay

stirred.



"Ready to finish?"



"Yeah."



Chakotay brought in the rocks for the final round, leaving the last

seven in the fire pit, as he'd been taught. Seven rocks left, for

spirits of the seven directions. The fire had died down some, but

the rocks were still red hot. He took his place, sprinkling the

rocks with a mixture of cedar, sweetgrass, sage, and tobacco. He and

Tom blessed themselves with the smoke, then Chakotay ladled on some

water, closed the door, and began.



"Great Mystery, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Relations. We come with

thanks for this day. We thank you for this time in this sacred

space. We thank you for allowing us to worship in this manner, as we

thank you for all our ancestors, who carried on these ways despite

many terrible hardships. Once again, we thank you for our lives. We

thank you for making us human beings. We thank you for bringing us

where we are."



To Chakotay's surprise, Tom began to speak.



"Thank you, Spirits, for Chakotay. Thank you for speaking to him.

Thank you for this sweat lodge. And thank you, for what you have

shown me here. I won't forget," Tom promised seriously, hearing an

eagle shriek approval in his mind.



Another long silence, while Chakotay poured water on the rocks. They

both savored the steam and the heat, neither in any great hurry to be

done. Eventually, Chakotay spoke once more.



"We close out this round, as we close out this lodge. The circle is

complete, yet never-ending. We ask, Great Mystery, that you watch

over us in the days to come. That anything we did wrong be fixed up

for us in a good and gentle way. That you bless the food we go to

eat, and let it nourish our bodies as this lodge has nourished our

spirits. Let us not stray from the Red Road, but keep our hearts

strong on our path to you. For all my relations."



Chakotay lifted the door flap for the last time.



"Tom, you have to make your circle, so come my way as you leave. Go

out head first. Don't forget to honor the threshold. I have to make

my circle, too, so I'll be right behind you. Wait for me in front of

the lodge. Don't stand up too fast, either."



Tom did as he was told, kissing the ground at the doorway and

emerging into the pale gray light of predawn. He was still so hot it

felt warm outside, despite the hour. Tom raised himself as far as a

kneeling position and looked up at the sky. A few stars were still

visible, and he sighed, recalling the magical experience of flying

free.



Chakotay completed his circle, gathered up the herbs, antlers, and

water bucket and crawled out behind Tom. After making his honorific,

he moved over to sit on one of the logs and watched the pilot's

face. Chakotay could not remember a time now when he had not wanted

this man.

He was so beautiful, half shrouded in the steam that still rolled out

of the lodge behind him, skin so flushed and damp. That impossible

blue gaze stared into the sky, and Chakotay wished he knew what Tom

was seeing. He put that thought away. There was still one more

thing to do.



"Tom, can you stand?"



Instead of answering, Tom got to his feet, slowly. He swayed for a

moment, then steadied himself, turning those bright eyes on Chakotay

with evident curiosity.



"What now?"



Chakotay stood, did his own bit of swaying, then took Tom's hand. He

couldn't suppress a little gasp at the supernatural heat of the man.



"Now we go to the water," he told Tom gently. "Come with me?"



"Always, Cha," Tom said with a faint smile. Chakotay almost shivered

at the open, unguarded warmth in those sapphire eyes... and Spirits!

What he'd said- did he mean it the way it sounded? He was unaware of

the way his eyes widened, and the two of them stood for a long minute

caught in each other's gaze. Chakotay suddenly realized he was

rubbing his thumb over Tom's knuckles, and gave himself a shake.



He led Tom to the river, walking into it with him, and Tom never

hesitated, never questioned, never stalled. The surprise Chakotay

felt at that almost overshadowed the relief of immersing himself in

the cool, clear water. He took them far enough so they were able to

submerge themselves completely, and didn't notice that he kept hold

of Tom's hand. They walked out of the river the same way they'd

walked in, each silently watching the water sheet off the other's

body, thinking identical, though unspoken, thoughts.



As if coming out of a daze, Chakotay let go of Tom and turned toward

his duffel bag.



"Tom, I'll fix us something to eat. Why don't you go change into

your dry clothes." Chakotay fetched an extra blanket and snapped it

out flat over the grass, then retrieved a couple of bottles of water

and a thermal container of chilled pasta salad and sandwiches he'd

brought down yesterday. He was in the process of retrieving a couple

of plates when he realized Tom hadn't moved. He straightened and

turned towards the pilot.



"Tom?"



- - - - - - - - -





VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 5/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Disclaimer: See Part 1

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.





"Cha. I think changing clothes is going to be a waste of time."



Chakotay dropped the plates and caught his breath at the statement

on the man's face. No masks, no fašades, no pretenses. Tom Paris

was staring at him, his gaze level and firm, and the pupils of his

eyes were so dilated there was only a narrow rim of dark blue around

the black. Tom's mouth was flushed pink, the lips parted slightly.

Chakotay couldn't prevent his own eyes from dropping to inspect the

rest. Nipples erect, stomach muscles faintly quivering, and a

substantial bulge under those clinging wet shorts that grew even

while Chakotay looked at it. He tore his gaze away to Tom's face,

and was not surprised to find the pilot returning the inspection.

Chakotay closed his eyes, feeling himself harden under that heated

stare, his own nipples pebbling.



Tom couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't do anything other than

what he was doing, which was watching Chakotay become aroused just

because he, Tom, was looking at him. Tom sent out a silent prayer of

thanks to the spirits for the privilege of seeing his Chakotay like

this, body taut and readying for his touch.



Chakotay forced his eyes open, forced himself to meet Tom's gaze,

forced himself not to flinch when they were once again trapped in

each other's stare. Everything Chakotay had ever ached to see in

Tom's eyes was there. Desire, appreciation, admiration, need...

love. Chakotay shook his head slightly, without breaking eye contact.



"How long?" He asked in a hoarse whisper.



"For the rest of my life, Cha. My Cha. Always."



"Tommy."



Then those long fingered hands were holding Chakotay's face, while

hot, silken lips teased over his own in a kiss that made Chakotay

feel like he was being worshiped. Gentle, without being tentative.

Slow, without being reluctant. Restrained, without hiding the raging

hunger underneath the tenderness. Chakotay was undone. He raised

his hands to hold Tom's head in turn, and when the younger man moaned

Chakotay deepened their kiss, licking those clever lips with his

tongue.



Tom groaned, and Chakotay was quick to take advantage of that open

mouth, stroking Tom's tongue with his own and sucking it into his own

mouth. The angle of the kiss changed. Soft, warm, absorbing... then

it changed again. Harder. Desperate. Hungry. Later, Chakotay

would think that at that point, his brain had shut off with an

audible snap as he toppled from pleasure to need.



Tom found himself on his knees on the blanket with no memory of how

he got there, his body on fire while Chakotay kept holding his head

and kissing him. He was dying of this heat, dying of want... Some

weird electricity joined his mouth to his groin in an unbroken

circuit, and every time Chakotay sucked on his tongue Tom's stomach

contracted and his cock jumped, twitching between his belly and the

unforgiving wet denim of his shorts. He groaned again as he realized

he was going to come if Chakotay didn't stop kissing him. He was

going to come, with no more than Chakotay's hands on his head and his

tongue in his mouth. He was going to come- and it was too much,

*too much* -then it was too late. His body stiffened as he wailed

into Chakotay's mouth and shuddered, the orgasm flashing over him

like quickfire as it pumped out of his balls. He went limp and

sagged against Chakotay's chest, and the big man's arms circled round

to hold him tight.



"Spirits, Poocah, that's the most erotic thing I've ever

experienced," Chakotay whispered, astonished. He moved Tom back just

far enough to catch the dazed pleasure in the younger man's

eyes. "You want me that much?"



"For years, Cha," Tom answered, his low voice harsh and unsteady as

his head drooped against Chakotay's shoulder. "I've loved you for

*years*, dreamed of you, of this—"



It was Chakotay's turn to groan as his own erection throbbed and

pulsed to that longed for confession. The heady scent of Tom's

release was all he could smell, the smooth skin of Tom's back under

his hands, the brush of soft chest hair against his nipples... Tom

started kissing his neck, licking and biting and distracting him from

the fact that his shorts were being opened and eased off his hips and

down his thighs. Those hot hands cupped his buttocks, squeezing,

shaping, petting. Long stroking caresses then, from his shoulders to

his knees. Chakotay had never felt so needed, so desired. That

wickedly talented mouth crawled over his jaw and reclaimed his lips,

and Chakotay was lost.



How he ended up completely naked and lying on his back would be an

eternal mystery to him, because all he ever remembered was heat and

want and Tom. Tom, kissing him until he wanted to cry from the sweet

loving passion of it. Tom, tracing patterns on his chest, rubbing

and squeezing and pinching his nipples. Tom, biting his palms and

sucking on his fingers. Tom, licking down his belly, stroking his

legs, nibbling his toes, his calves, his thighs. Tom, crawling

between his legs and lifting his ass until Chakotay felt like a feast

offered up to a starving man... then his cock was engulfed in Tom's

fever-hot mouth and Chakotay started to shout.



It didn't take long, how could it? Tom wet one finger by sticking it

inside the front of his own shorts, slid it into Chakotay's ass and

rubbed over his lover's prostate while he sucked down that beautiful

large cock, and knew the joy of his subconscious fantasies when

Chakotay exploded in his mouth and roared his name. Tom stayed with

him, drawing his pleasure out through a series of shuddering

aftershocks, then finally, when the big man was limp and exhausted,

crawled back up his body to take his mouth.



"You taste so good, love," Tom murmured, losing himself in a purely

sensual kiss before wrapping an arm and a leg around his Cha, holding

him close while they both trembled with reaction. "Better than in my

dreams."



"Oh, Tommy. I dreamed too... and the reality *is* so much better,"

Chakotay admitted softly, curling his arms around Tom. "I love you."



"I know," came the surprising answer. Chakotay shifted his position

until he could lever up on one elbow and look into Tom's face. Those

sapphire eyes were brilliant and clear, cheekbones flushed, and mouth

swollen. Chakotay couldn't wait to put that dazzled ecstasy back in

Tom's gaze.



"Spirits, you're gorgeous. Now, tell me how you knew I love you?"

He demanded with a smile that Tom returned in full.



"My spirit guide told me in the lodge. You are my Cha, always.

Meant for me, as I am meant for you." Tom put up one hand to curve

around the back of Chakotay's head, and drew him down for a serious

kiss. Chakotay's mind whimpered and exploded, promptly forgetting

everything but the taste of Tom, the taste of himself on Tom, and the

renewed hunger those tastes fueled. Chakotay wanted more, and he

pushed Tom back intending to straddle that lean body.



"You have on too many clothes, Poocah," he growled, his hands making

short work of unfastening those damned shorts and drawing them down

Tom's legs, careful not to catch his lover's heavy erection in the

damp cloth. After ditching the shorts, Chakotay changed his plan and

eased around to kneel behind Tom. He silently urged the younger man

to raise up then scooted forward and pulled Tom back against his

chest. Chakotay enjoyed the press of that long form along his front,

that face near enough to kiss while his hands could reach around to

Tom's chest and cock.



"Beautiful. My Tom. Watch me touch you," Chakotay whispered in

Tom's ear, lightly tracing his rigid weeping length and listening to

the equally beautiful moans that produced.



"I love the sounds you make. Will you scream my name when you

come?" Chakotay asked, and watched Tom shudder and groan, more from

what Chakotay said than his barely-there caresses. Tom was fighting

not to close his eyes when Chakotay rubbed his palm over Tom's belly,

spreading the remnants of Tom's earlier orgasm before lifting his

hand to his own mouth to see how it tasted. "Oh, that's good, baby.

Sweet. I'm going to love going down on you."



"Oh, Gods," Tom cried out, his hips bucking involuntarily. "Cha.

Please. I can't- I need—"



"You're so responsive, love, so hot. Tell me what you need, what you

want," Chakotay breathed into Tom's ear while his hands strayed up to

play with Tom's nipples. Tom was like liquid fire in his arms,

writhing against him and moaning something incoherently. Chakotay

felt himself harden, took a second to reflect that he hadn't had this

rapid a recovery rate since his teens, and hazily wondered if he

could bring Tom off just by words alone. Which might not be a bad

idea, considering what he wanted to do next.



"I want to fuck you, Tom," he announced throatily, and bit down on

that spot where Tom's neck met his shoulder.



Tom went perfectly still for an instant, then howled, coming hard

into Chakotay's waiting hands.



"Chaaaaaaa! Please. Please. Fuck me now," Tom sobbed, still

burning for his lover's touch despite his orgasm. He'd wanted

Chakotay for far too long to be anywhere close to satisfied yet,

despite coming twice.



"Yes, baby. Now." Chakotay let Tom slide off of him and moved to

kneel between those shaking legs, carefully holding onto his precious

supply of natural lube. "It's going to be so good. Hold on, love.

Let me—" and he slicked one finger and slid it into his Tom, who was

thankfully well relaxed. He brushed his fingertip over Tom's

prostate and watched with fascination as the younger man's semi-erect

cock became hard once more.



"Oh Spirits, Poocah, you're incredible. Do you know that?" Chakotay

panted out, adding a second finger to moisten and stretch Tom's

opening.



"Cha. Need you. Need you in me. *Please*." Tom's head was

whipping back and forth as he trembled and shook, his hands flung out

to grasp thick handfuls of the blanket.



Chakotay added a third finger, with some more semen, then took the

remainder and slathered it over his straining cock. He had to stop

himself from thrusting into his own hand. The idea of covering

himself with Tom's come was making him crazy. He fought for enough

self-control to be sure he had Tom sufficiently stretched. Tom was

so aroused Chakotay doubted his lover would care if it did hurt, but

that was a chance Chakotay wasn't willing to take. He removed his

fingers and listened to Tom's anguished wail.



"It's okay, baby. I'm right here." Lifting Tom's ass until his

thighs were splayed out over his, Chakotay centered his cock at that

tight opening and slowly pushed his way inside. "Tom. Tom. You're

so hot. So hot. You're burning me up."



Tom cried out, hearing Chakotay without understanding him in the

least, too overwhelmed by the sensations of being taken, filled,

completed. Finally, that empty place in his soul was gone, scorched

away in a ferocious blaze of passion. Whatever niggling doubt he

might have had about the depth of Chakotay's love for him was

vanquished in the tenderness of that first, careful entry. He was

loved. Cha loved him. Chakotay was *fucking* him!



"Cha! Love me, love me, love me," Tom chanted in an involuntary

refrain, reaching for Chakotay and urging him even deeper inside.

Chakotay groaned, gripping those lean hips and pulling Tom harder

against him, catching the rhythm in his lover's voice and moving them

both to match it. Before he was completely overtaken by his own

hunger, Chakotay gazed on Tom and burned the memory into his brain;

Tom's eyes, open and unseeing and reflecting the dawn sky, his body

flushed, trembling... sweating and gilded in the rising sun, spread

open and vulnerable and his- *his*-



"Mine. Mine. Mine." Chakotay pounded out his own rhythm, on fire

with need, hearing Tom answer.



"Yours, yes, yes. Yours, Cha. Al-ways."



Chakotay shifted their positions again, and Tom moaned out the

exquisite pleasure of feeling that big cock rubbing over his

prostate, again and again. Tom's orgasm seemed to be starting in

slow motion, beginning in his toes; the shockwave expanding, larger

and larger until his whole body was caught in the impending blast, so

close and so much that Tom was almost afraid. Could he feel *this

much* and live through it?



"Look at me, Tom," Chakotay ordered, aware of how near coming Tom was

by the clutching of the muscles around his erection. Chakotay was

close to his own orgasm, holding on through sheer will power against

the intense thrill of plumbing his lover's hot depths. "*Look at

me*!"



Tom obeyed automatically, putting one hand on Chakotay's face as the

older man stared into his eyes, and the sensation jumped another

impossible level as they captured each other's soul. Chakotay kept

one hand under Tom's butt to hold him in place and wrapped his other

hand around Tom's cock, while the younger man twisted and quivered.



"Hear me, Tom. I love you." One stroke, inside and out. "I love

you." A second, as Tom teetered on the edge. "I love you. Come for

me, Tom. Come for me now," and a third, Chakotay giving everything

he had in a mighty thrust.



Tom erupted, screaming out Chakotay's name as the powerful surge of

his climax slammed through him and out through his cock. It was the

most intense orgasm Tom had ever had, seeming to involve not just his

body but his mind as well, and he was helpless before the primal

force of it. Helpless before Chakotay, as the big man continued to

pound into him, extending that wild pleasure. Tom's consciousness

flared and faded in sheeting white fire... and the only thing that

held his spirit to his body was Chakotay's liquid dark gaze, still

locked on his own.



Chakotay felt his orgasm get wrenched out of him by Tom's, and

abruptly surrendered his control, lost in the blue-black haze of his

lover's eyes while that ecstatic joy rushed over him, milked out of

his balls by the fierce contractions of Tom's release. He roared

something, he never knew what, as palpable energy flew and pulsed

between them in searing, timeless waves.



When it was over, Chakotay collapsed into Tom's arms, and Tom burst

out crying. Great, heaving sobs that shook them both. Chakotay

pulled free of Tom with the same tender care he'd shown in taking

him, moved until he could wrap his lover up in a sheltering embrace,

and let him cry. He would have been worried, except he recognized

Tom's reaction as being exactly that; reaction. To the overwhelming

sensations produced by their loving, to the emotional torment Tom had

suffered before they'd come to this point, to everything that had

happened in the lodge. Chakotay understood Tom's tears, in fact, he

couldn't prevent a few of his own slipping free. So he contented

himself with holding his Tom, petting and soothing with hands and

voice until the younger man slowly calmed.



"I'm sorry, Cha," Tom said eventually, exhausted and more than a

little embarrassed. Chakotay pulled up a corner of their blanket and

wiped his face, and his touch was so exquisitely gentle Tom wanted to

weep again.



"Don't be sorry, baby. Don't ever be sorry for sharing your feelings

with me." Chakotay kissed him tenderly, then tucked that blonde head

back against his shoulder and held Tom close. "Why don't you rest a

little, hmm? I'll be right here. Just a nap, then we'll eat... then

maybe we'll find something else to do, hmm?" Chakotay felt Tom smile

at that, as he'd intended, then both men let consciousness slide into

sleep.



- - - - - - - - - - -



Chakotay awakened first, fixed the position of the sun, and figured

they'd been asleep a little over an hour. It was still fairly early

in the morning, but it was building up to be a hot day, he thought,

and he wouldn't want his Tom to burn. His Tom. Chakotay grinned, a

fierce and feral statement that probably only his Maquis crew would

have recognized, from days when battles successfully fought were his

chief form of satisfaction. He sent up some silent prayers of

thanksgiving, enormously grateful to the spirits for allowing him

this joy.



Somehow they'd moved in their sleep, and Chakotay was practically

supine while Tom was draped over him like a blanket. Chakotay smiled

again, thinking this would be the way they would spend their nights

for the rest of their lives, Tommy glued to him by the results of

their passion. He was indeed a fortunate man.





His stomach growled then, loudly, and Chakotay began chuckling. This

was enough to wake Tom, who lifted his head and blinked rather

blearily at him.



"Cha? It wasn't a dream?" The younger man mumbled confusedly, and

Chakotay ached at the fear in Tom's eyes.



"No, baby. It wasn't a dream, it was a dream come true," he

promised, vowing then and there that he would love Tom Paris so hard

and so well that his poocah would never again doubt the reality of

it. Tom sighed and laid his head back down, and Chakotay petted him

for a while until he heard Tom's stomach growling too.



"Hungry, baby?"



"Yeah, now that you mention it," Tom murmured, more than content to

lie here and listen to Chakotay's strong heart beat under his

ear. "You?"



"Yeah. I fasted yesterday for the sweat."



"Hmmm," Tom replied, thinking with some amusement that he'd fasted

too, although he hadn't had a clue that he'd needed to. Apparently,

Cha's spirits moved in mysterious ways sometimes, and the idea that

the spirits moved through Neelix's cooking was enough to make him

laugh.



"What's so funny?" Chakotay asked him, enjoying the sensation of

holding Tom while he laughed, then Tom shared his thoughts and

Chakotay had to laugh, too. The two of them laid in each other's

arms and giggled like kids for a moment, then Chakotay peeled Tom off

of him, stood up and helped Tom stand.



"If you haven't eaten since I saw you in the mess hall the other

night, you really need to eat, love. Grab your towel and let's go

wash up a little first."



"Okay, Cha."



They played in the water for a while, both intensely pleased at just

being together, then dried each other off. Inevitably, they both

became aroused again, but when Tom would have reached for Chakotay

the big man stepped back and waggled his finger.



"No, no, no. Eat first, love later."



"But Cha, I could just eat you," Tom whined, rewarded with one of

those double-dimple grins.



"Save it for dessert, Tommy."



Tom gave a long-suffering sigh and wrapped his towel around his

waist, although it was substantially tented out in front.



"I could have you for an appetizer," he pointed out reasonably,

amused when Chakotay groaned and secured his own towel, which was

suffering from the same deformity as Tom's.



"You'll have me, I promise, but I have a plan. Work with me here,

Lieutenant," Chakotay teased affectionately, his own reward in Tom's

bright eyes and smile.



"You're the commander, Commander," Tom conceded as they made their

way back to the blanket, which Chakotay snapped out and straightened

before retrieving the food. Tom was handed a bottle of water, which

was less than cold now, then a plate of pasta salad with a Delta-

quadrant-equivalent-of-tomato sandwich. Chakotay fixed his own plate

then they sat down together to eat, and since they were both quite

hungry, made short work of the meal. With great ceremony, Chakotay

then presented Tom with a container of chocolate chip cookies, loving

the way the younger man's eyes narrowed with suspicion.



"Consider this the appetizer for dessert," Chakotay told him, and

they were laughing again.



"I love you, Cha," Tom said when the supply of cookies had been

demolished. He laid back on the blanket and patted his

stomach. "That was good, thank you."



"I love you too, Tommy, and you're more than welcome, you know."

Chakotay leaned over his lover and helped himself to a sweet,

chocolatey kiss, which he kept deliberately short. "Now, are you

ready to listen to my plan?"



"I'll listen to anything you ever want to tell me, Cha, as long as it

isn't goodbye," Tom replied seriously, and Chakotay caressed the side

of his face with one hand.



"You're gonna be listening to me for a long old time, then, because I

will never tell you that, Poocah."



Tom turned his head and pressed a kiss into the center of that warm

palm, unable to resist the temptation to swipe it with his tongue and

pleased when Chakotay gasped.



"You'd better spill the details of this plan in a hurry, Cha."



"I think the details are getting a little cloudy, Tom," Chakotay

admitted honestly, and lowered his head for another kiss. He licked

and suckled and bit at those delicious lips, while his erection

returned full force, and was immensely gratified when Tom reacted the

same way.



"Need a new plan," Chakotay mumbled, tasting his way down that long

throat while Tom's busy hands stroked and explored him. By the time

his mouth landed on one of Tom's nipples, Chakotay was starting to

realize his poocah was already ahead of him. Especially when his

towel was untucked and drawn away with teasing care.



"Get on your hands and knees, Cha," Tom managed to insist through the

shivering pleasure his lover was giving him. When the big man

complied, Tom twisted around and scooted up underneath him, putting

his head between Chakotay's thighs and pushing them farther apart.

Now everything he wanted was within reach of his mouth and his hands,

and Tom set to work. He allowed himself a couple of long, lazy licks

down the underside of Chakotay's cock, savoring the salty-sweet

moisture at the tip and ending at the base, where he nuzzled

Chakotay's scrotum and inhaled deeply of his lover's natural

scent. "Mmm, you smell so good," he murmured into that most tender

of flesh, smiling to himself when Chakotay jerked and groaned at the

tingling vibrations. Tom's hands were far from idle, one palm

smoothing along Chakotay's impressive length while the fingers of his

other hand traced down the cleft of Chakotay's ass to tease that

vulnerable opening. Tom loved doing this, wringing all the

sensations out of his partner that he could. The knowledge that this

was *Chakotay* he was touching added a whole new dimension of

feeling, and this position, so dependent on being able to fully

*trust* his partner not to hurt or force him, made what he was doing

a genuine act of love. The detachment Tom usually felt during sex

with anybody else was shredded and transformed into something

really... special. Yeah, special, Tom hazily decided, flying high

and halfway to his own climax as a result.



Tom took one of Chakotay's balls in his mouth and massaged it with

his tongue. Chakotay shuddered and moaned, dimly thinking it was

time for a little payback, tempting though it was to simply sit back

and enjoy the ride. Chakotay had never had a lover who got so much

pure joy out of pleasuring *him*, and the recognition that Tom loved,

wanted, and trusted him this much was as arousing as the act itself,

even while serving to clear his mind a bit. Chakotay unwrapped Tom's

towel as if he was opening a precious gift, lowered his mouth to that

conveniently placed groin, and indulged himself. The first lick

along Tom's hard hot sex led to a few discoveries: Tom tasted even

better than Chakotay had expected; the sounds produced by his actions

transmitted some truly delicious sensations; and making love to Tom

was rapidly becoming his life's ambition. Chakotay laughed around a

mouthful of Tom, imagining himself explaining to Kathryn that she was

out a First Officer as well as her best pilot because neither one of

them was capable of leaving their bed... then Tom's tongue found its

way to Chakotay's asshole and Chakotay promptly forgot how to think.



- - - - - - - - -





VOY

Title: The Lodge Part 6/6

Author: Polly Bywater

Feedback: PollyBywater@aol.com

Pairing: C/P

Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content, language

Disclaimer: See Part 1

Summary: Chakotay invites Tom to take part in a traditional ceremony.





Chakotay dropped to his elbows, tucked his hands under Tom's butt,

laid his cheek against that glorious erection and held on for dear

life. It was all he could do; Tom was killing him with ecstasy, and

Chakotay could only believe the pilot must have been holding himself

back earlier. That sly pointed tongue probed and stroked in a rhythm

to match what those long fingers were doing on his cock. Somebody

somewhere was screaming, and it wasn't until after Chakotay's orgasm

blew his consciousness into bits that he realized it must have been

him. He came to awareness slowly, discovered he was lying half on

his side and still squeezing Tom's bottom in a death grip, while

Tom's head was propped up against his thighs. Tom looked mighty

pleased with himself, and Chakotay had to admit, he had every reason

to be.



"So, Cha, you liked that?" Tom asked as soon as he realized his

lover was back on the planet with him.



Chakotay spotted the humor in those twinkling blue eyes and couldn't

restrain his own laughter.



"Tom, you're never going to be able to do that on Voyager. There's

not enough soundproofing to handle it," Chakotay pointed out a bit

hoarsely, slowly unwrapping his arms and laying a kiss on Tom's

waiting erection. He maneuvered them both around until he was

covering the pilot with his body, gradually rubbing his way up until

he could claim that clever, moaning mouth with his. "What you do to

me is beyond incredible," he said, licking Tom's lips then briefly

sucking on his tongue. "Now I want you to lie here, and let *me*

love *you*, Lieutenant. That's an order."



"Yes, Sir!" Tom managed to gasp as Chakotay's mouth trailed over

toward his ear, paused to nip the angle of his jaw then sucked on his

earlobe.



"No insubordination either, mister," Chakotay purred in Tom's ear,

enjoying the shiver his words produced. "You have one duty... well,

maybe two. Be as loud as you want... come as hard as you can... but

not too soon."



"Oh, Gods, Cha!"



"That's right," Chakotay encouraged, moving to turn Tom over so he

could nibble the back of that long neck, which produced some very

interesting noises and shudders, indeed. "Spirits, you taste so

good, baby. Like sunshine taken form," and he worked his way down

Tom's shoulder while his hands patted, teased, then soothed along

Tom's spine. He let mouth follow hands automatically, losing himself

in the thrill of being able to touch his Tom this way, after all

these years of longing. Chakotay didn't want to miss an inch of that

beloved body, and he didn't. He learned that when he sucked along

that area where Tom's back met buttocks, he could elicit some

particularly delightful sounds, and when he ran his tongue along

Tom's cleft, the younger man would groan beautifully. Biting that

lovely narrow ass caused jerks and hisses, and burying his face

between those long legs to blow and lick on Tom's scrotum produced

wails. Tom's inner thighs were amazingly sensitive, but the backs of

his knees were too ticklish for a light touch, and massaging his

strong calves introduced a hum of contentment. By the time Chakotay

reached Tom's toes, his lover was a mass of quivering flesh.

Chakotay had to help Tom onto his back, so he could start all over on

his front half... but it gave him the opportunity to steal a few more

deep kisses, so he didn't mind.



Chakotay continued his lazy explorations until Tom reached for him

involuntarily, then he withdrew and gave Tom his best 'Commander's

fish eye'.



"Am I going to have to tie you down?"



Tom grimaced, knew if he opened his mouth he'd be babbling, and

crossed his arms behind his head with a sobbing sigh. Chakotay took

pity on him then, and moved between his legs to hold him still,

thumbs brushing over the baby soft skin next to his hipbones and

making Tom jump.



"Have I told you how much I love you, Mister Paris?" Chakotay asked,

inspecting the flushed length of Tom's weeping erection. "Maybe I

should show you. A visual aid, so to speak." And Chakotay bent down

to take Tom in his mouth, and it was Tom's turn to start screaming.



- - - - - - - - - -



When Tom woke up, Chakotay was on one elbow, lying next to him with a

contented smile that turned into a dimpled grin when he realized Tom

was awake.



"Good job, Lieutenant," he said gently, leaning over for an

exquisitely tender kiss.



"Best duty assignment I ever had, Sir," Tom managed weakly, wondering

if he'd ever be able to walk again, since he couldn't feel his legs.



Chakotay wrapped Tom up in his arms and held him close, loving the

feel of that long body against his. When he thought back to twenty-

four hours ago, when the future had seemed so uncertain and his life

so lonely, it made him shiver.



"I love you, Tom. Never doubt it."



"I won't, Cha," Tom promised, curling his own arms around Chakotay

and holding him just as tightly. "How long have you loved me?" He

wondered a bit shyly.



"Sometimes I think since the first moment I saw you, but I didn't

admit it to myself until Akritiria. Seeing you so hurt just tore me

up, then for a while I thought you and Harry-"



"Harry's my friend. Always has been, always will be. He told me

after Akritiria I should go to you and tell you how I feel. He's

been telling me that pretty regularly ever since."



"Harry knows? How did he find out?"



"He's my friend... and apparently I was delirious and raving about

you when I was in the prison."



"Oh, Tom," Chakotay said sadly, and they held each other even closer

for a while. "So?"



"So, what?"



"So, tell me, when did you know you loved me?" Chakotay had to know.



Tom thought back to a couple of days ago, when he would have sworn he

would never be telling Chakotay this, and started to laugh.



"I can tell you the exact moment, Cha," and he did, and had to suffer

Chakotay's dumbfounded statement.



"That long?"



"That long. I'll love you all my life, Chakotay, and after."



Another long, sweet kiss, then just when Tom thought it was starting

to get interesting, Chakotay pulled away.



"And all those times when you seemed so hostile?"



"I was trying to hide how I felt about you. I didn't think you'd

ever want me. I didn't think you went for men at all. I kind of

thought that was against your culture, or something."



"My people, in the long ago past, believed gay people were 'two-

spirit' people. They were believed to be closer to the Great Mystery

because they, like the Great Mystery, combined both the female and

male spirits of creation. So, no, it's not against my culture... and

I've been bisexual all my life."



Tom thought about that for a minute and decided he liked that

concept. Two-spirit people.



"Now, we're going to plan," Chakotay insisted.



"Yes, Sir, Commander, Sir," Tom said to his lover's snort.



"You know, you used to irritate me with that smart mouthed attitude,

but for some reason it doesn't bother me at all any more," Chakotay

said with a grin.



"Gee, I wonder why?"



"Maybe because I know just how smart your mouth is," Chakotay replied

a bit dreamily, and Tom blushed, he couldn't help it.



"Okay, Cha. Plans," he said with difficulty.



"First, I want you to beam back up to Voyager. Pick up some more

food and some sunscreen—"



"And some lube."



"-and some lube, and a tent. We still have one more night here,

after all, and I want to spend it with you in my arms. So don't

forget the sunscreen, Poocah."



"Okay, Cha. What about you?"



"I've got to take down the lodge. It has to be done a certain way."

Chakotay smiled at that bright face. "By the way, Tom, you did

really good in there. Maybe if you get back in time, you can help

me?"



"I'd like that, Cha," Tom said seriously. This was his lifemate.

Chakotay's people were his people, now, and Tom would never do

anything to disrespect that.



"Then tomorrow, after we beam up together, we're going to move your

stuff into our quarters, because we're going to live together,"

Chakotay told Tom with equal gravity, then had to laugh at that look

of awestruck joy. "Yes, I mean it, *really*," he put in before Tom

could even ask.



"Wow," Tom said intelligently, more than a little stunned. "This is

going to surprise a lot of people, Cha."



This time it was Chakotay who blushed. Tom could feel the warmth of

it, even if it wasn't very visible given the big man's complexion.



"It's not going to surprise as many as you might think, Tommy.

Kathryn knows how I feel about you, and so does Tuvok, and the

doctor, and B'Elanna, of course."



"Of course," Tom replied faintly. "Tuvok?" A beat. "*B'Elanna*?"



"I'll tell you all about it on our wedding night," Chakotay promised,

then found himself flat on his back with an armful of Tom. What a

way to go!







Not 'The End', because thanks to some very encouraging feedback from

kind folk like Chuckles, I've started on a sequel, to be

entitled 'How Tuvok Knew'.
This story archived at http://www.tomparisdorm.com/viewstory.php?sid=2572