During trade negotiations Lt. Paris and Commander Chakotay find themselves unexpectedly wed.
Categories: Chakotay/Paris Fanfiction Characters:
1. The Wedding by Mandy
2. One Step at a Time by Mandy
3. It's Best to Plan for What You Want by Mandy
4. It's a Date by Mandy
5. Things Don't Always Go to Plan by Mandy
6. The Last Confession by Mandy
7. In Name Only No More by Mandy
“I want him, Daddy. Make him part of the trade agreements.”
“C’Reina, you are not supposed to interrupt.”
“I’m here to learn the ‘delicate art of negotiation’, aren’t I?”
“Yes, my daughter.”
“Well, I’m making sure that your negotiations include something for me.”
“C’Reina, he’s part of Captain Janeway’s crew. We don’t often include sentient beings as part of the settlement.”
“Fiddle-dee-dee!” C’Reina’s white blonde hair rippled over her shoulders as she tossed her head.
Kathryn Janeway mentally heard the barely-restrained stamp of the slippered foot that almost accompanied the rude exclamation. The universal translator had obviously kept that one polite. She kept her expression neutral, but inside she worried. C’Reina’s behavior and her relationship with her obviously doting father conformed to an all-too-familiar pattern. He was going to give in to his beloved eldest daughter and she or someone in the away team was going to have to come up with a way to keep her ‘sentient being’ from being exchanged for some of the items they desperately needed to repair Voyager.
“You got Merrick in the trade with the Sellassians last quarter. You know I can’t marry Prince Reinholt unless I have a fully dowry. My harem is not yet complete. I need one more and I want this one. I like his dark eyes and the intriguing facial markings. In addition, he is strong looking. He would complete the set – not one of the others is this nice brown color. Make sure you get him for me, Daddy.”
C’Reina flounced from the room.
Chancellor Jarren ran a finger around his collar. He pulled a bright yellow handkerchief from his pocket and mopped his brow.
“Commander Chakotay, I don’t suppose you would see your way to volunteer to be part of the trade settlement?”
“I must decline, Chancellor,” said Chakotay firmly.
“Chancellor Jarren, I would like to ask, did you really accept a person in trade?”
“Why, yes, Captain Janeway. Merrick was worth many weightunits of ore that his people needed for repairs to their starship. He was happy to be of service.”
“Where is Merrick now?” Chakotay asked on behalf of the away team, all of whom were curious to learn the man’s fate.
“My daughter took a fancy to him. He is part of her harem.”
Tom noted the predictable reactions of the others - Tuvok’s raised eyebrow, Chakotay’s frown and Janeway’s pursed lips. He refrained from making any wisecracks. Being part of C’Reina’s harem seemed like it would be almost a fate worse than death. The captain and first officer did their silent communication bit. At his nod, she spoke up.
“We do not trade in people. Perhaps it would be best if we departed and looked for assistance elsewhere.”
“No, no no. Captain Janeway, let us see if we can come to some arrangement,” Jarren began, when the door to the room was flung open and C’Reina strode back in, accompanied by two elderly men arrayed in long green robes who trailed behind her.
“You should have settled his worth in weightunits by now, so I brought the Sayers.” C’Reina ran her eyes over what she could see of Chakotay. “Did you strike a good deal, Captain Janeway? I think he would be worth twice as much as Merrick. The Sayers can bind him to my service now, and then there will be no need for him to stay for the remainder of the negotiations.” She gestured to the Sayers.
The men stepped forward and arrayed themselves on either side of Chakotay. The one to his left began humming a low note, while the other opened a book, and before anybody realized what was happening, picked up Chakotay’s hand and placed his thumb firmly on the page in front of him.
“Just a minute! We have not agreed to this. No trade has taken place and in any case, Commander Chakotay will not be a part of it.”
“I’m sorry, Captain,” Jarren began plactaingly as his eyes darted between his daughter and the captain, “the bonds are already being set in place. Perhaps an extra weightunit of dilithium in compensation?”
“Stop!” Chakotay snatched back his hand. “I’m not for trade. There must be a way around this.”
Tuvok spoke up. “I would like a copy of your laws relating to all trade agreements, particularly in relation to sentient beings used for trade, and also anything to do with service bonds. I would also request a recess while I examine this information.”
“C’Reina, they have made a fair request. Captain, you and your officers will remain here. We will return in two hours.”
Two hours later Chancellor Jarren, his secretary, C’Reina and the two Sayers entered the room. The four Voyager crew were still poring over several large tomes.
“Are you ready to continue, Captain Janeway? Commander Chakotay?”
“We need a little more time, Chancellor.”
“I am sorry, Captain. Your hand please, Commander.”
“What is it, Tom?” Kathryn couldn’t hide the hope that sprang up.
“It says here that the one going into a service bond must be unencumbered by a spouse or children.”
“I fail to see how that helps. Chakotay doesn’t have a spouse or child.”
“Yet.” Tom took a breath. He stared straight into Chakotay’s eyes.
“Future families are irrelevant,” interrupted Jarren.
“Our customs dictate a period of engagement prior to the wedding. Commander Chakotay is engaged to be married.” Tom hoped the others, and Chakotay in particular, would have the presence of mind not to dispute his lie.
“He is not actually married, is he? Our laws are quite specific.”
“The marriage has been postponed until Voyager can be repaired.” Tom tried to keep from embellishing his fabrication too much.
C’Reina narrowed her eyes. “I don’t believe you. You are procrastinating until you can think of something else. He has not even confirmed his…‘engagement’. It should have been the first thing he mentioned.”
“I can assure you I am engaged to be married,” said Chakotay smoothly. He was prepared to back Tom up if it kept him out of C’Reina’s harem.
“No. Daddy, he has to be married so this ‘engagement’ does not count. Complete the binding now.”
“Captain Janeway, it would seem my daughter is correct within the letter of the law. The binding must go ahead.”
“Chancellor Jarren, what if Commander Chakotay’s marriage took place now?” Tom spoke urgently. “As in, he could be married here and now, according to your laws.”
Tom’s emphasis on ‘your’ was subtle, but Chakotay heard it and nodded almost imperceptibly. There was a loophole in Starfleet regulations that protected crewmembers from instances where they found themselves inexplicably married after becoming intoxicated or falling foul of some local regulation whilst off world. It allowed the marriage to be dissolved with impunity.
“Ah, yes. If the marriage took place now, that would negate the binding. Very well, send down the one to whom Commander Chakotay is to be wed,” said Jarren.
Kathryn and Tuvok, who had remained silent during the latest developments, now exchanged glances. Who would be the most suitable person to take part in the sham marriage? Who would go with the flow and not ask questions when beamed down to take part in an unexpected wedding and, more importantly, be trusted not to gossip about it afterwards?
“That won’t be necessary,” said Tom. “I’m already here.”
“You!” C’Reina’s voice rang out in a high-pitched scream. “You lie. You don’t even behave like a couple about to be married.”
Tom pushed back his chair and drew himself up to his full height. “I intend no discourtesy, but I would remind you this is a trading mission and I’m here as part of Voyager’s negotiating team. It would be most unprofessional of me, or any of us, to allow personal feelings and behavior to provide a distraction from the business at hand.” He took the opportunity to move and stand behind Chakotay. He placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed reassuringly. “If being wed will allow us to return to the negotiations, then I am prepared to take part in the nuptials now.”
“I agree.” Chakotay’s soft voice was steady as it reached all corners of the room.
“Very well, the Sayers can perform the ceremony,” said Jarren.
Once again, C’Reina barely refrained from stamping her foot again as she saw her new plaything was to be taken from her grasp before she’d had a chance to use it. Her mind worked quickly. She still did not believe the men were to be wed. She wanted to strike out at them. Something teased the edges of her mind and she grasped it. A smile curled her lips but did not reach her eyes as she saw a way to thwart the aliens’ plans.
“Halt!” she ordered, and the Sayers, who had glided over to stand on either side of Tom and Chakotay, paused in their preparations. “Since my father explained you disapprove of using sentient beings in trade, you obviously do not respect or revere our laws or customs. How do we know you will honor our marriage rites? You will marry according to your own customs. Then we may be assured you have spoken the truth.” She watched Tom and Chakotay carefully during her speech. When they stiffened at the last, she was convinced she was correct. This whole ‘engagement’ was a ruse to deprive her of the final member of her harem. She waited expectantly.
“Ah, I’d like a word with my fiancé,” said Tom and dragged Chakotay to the corner of the room without waiting for anyone’s approval.
“I’m sorry, Commander. I seem to have made things a lot worse,” he said in a low voice.
“It’s okay, Tom. It was a good idea that almost worked. I have no desire to be a part of that little witch’s harem.”
“But what are we going to do now? That was the only way out of the situation that would be acceptable to them. Even Tuvok found nothing he could work to your advantage.”
“We could go through with it. Look, Tom, I know this is not particularly romantic, and I’m sure it’s not the future either of us had envisioned, but frankly, being married to you is a much better alternative than being owned by C’Reina for the rest of my life. I had the book that dealt with the section on life in a harem and the requirements of the ‘job’ and the penalties for failure to meet those requirements. When I could no longer meet her needs, I would be castrated and put to work as a lesser-caste servant.”
Tom blanched. “Yeah, well…I can see where marrying me would be a much better alternative to that, but there’s one thing…”
“What? We’d better make this quick, Tom.”
“Am I wrong in thinking that your people have a tradition of marrying for life?”
“You’re not wrong. Our marriage will be for life, but think of it this way, we’ve been out here for how many years now, and neither of us has settled down with anyone. Another seventy years is a long time to be alone. At least we’ll have company.” Chakotay’s lips twisted wryly.
“Then, if you’re sure?”
“Okay, let’s do it.” Tom grasped Chakotay’s hand and they walked back to the table.
“Captain Janeway, would you do us the honor of marrying us here and now. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, would you bear witness. Chancellor Jarren, two witnesses are required, we ask would you be the second witness?” Chakotay was at his most formal.
“Chakotay, Tom…” Kathryn paused. She had not expected this.
“We’re ready, Kathryn. We’d like to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible,” said Chakotay, reminding the captain why they were there.
The ceremony was brief without rings to exchange. Kathryn began with the time-honored words most Starfleet captains used to formalize marriages and her voice never faltered until she pronounced them married and concluded with ‘You may now kiss the groom’. She blushed. She hadn’t meant to say those words, but they had followed automatically.
Tom turned and touched his lips briefly to Chakotay’s, and then as one, the newly wed couple sat back at the negotiating table.
C’Reina spluttered indignantly. Her bluff had been called. She stomped over to her father and faced him. With a scarlet painted talon, she poked him in the chest. “Next time, you are to insist a negotiating party is to consist of completely unattached men only. Remember my sisters need harems too.” With that, she beckoned the Sayers and left the room in a huff.
Chancellor Jarren’s embarrassment over his daughter’s behavior worked in Voyager’s favor and the negotiations speedily reached a satisfactory conclusion. Voyager would be permitted to remain in the spacedock for four days while necessary repairs were carried out with the help of the city’s best engineers. Shore leave was approved as well, and the away team was finally able to return, having politely refused the chancellor’s offer to stay.
“My ready room, now,” ordered the captain when they disembarked the shuttle that had been already loaded with a selection of food items.
“Well, gentlemen,” began Kathryn, after she’d replicated coffee and tea.
“Tom and I would like a little time alone to sort things out,” said Chakotay.
“What do you need to discuss? I can annul the marriage now and the details will only need to remain between the four of us. By the way, Tom, that was a clever idea of yours, and I commend you both for going through with it.”
“Actually, Kathryn, you can’t annul the marriage.”
Kathryn almost choked on the mouthful of coffee she just taken. “I hardly think you’ve had the time to consummate it, so a divorce should not be necessary.”
“Commander Chakotay’s people traditionally hold to the value that marriage is for life. They make only one marriage. Am I correct, Commander?”
“Yes, that’s right, Tuvok. Kathryn, I explained this to Tom when we spoke in together down there. There will be no annulment, no divorce.”
“Captain, I understand what Commander Chakotay’s traditions mean to him. I respect them and I am prepared to honor them. I believe I…we made the right decision for Voyager.”
“Very well. I’ll enter your marriage in the records and post it on the board. You had better go and talk things out. Get back to me when you’ve decided if either or both of you are changing your names, and what you want to do about quarters. And by the way, congratulations!”
“My felicitations to you both as well.”
“Thank-you Kathryn, Tuvok.”
“Yes, thank-you. Oh, Captain, if I may ask a favor?”
“What is it, Tom.”
“Could you wait until tomorrow before making this public? We need to get used to the idea ourselves first, and I’d like a chance to tell Harry.”
“Agreed. You’re dismissed.
One Step at a Time by Mandy
Back in his quarters, Chakotay retrieved a bottle of Scotch and two glasses. He poured a couple of fingers into each glass and handed one to Tom. He downed half his own drink, glad of the reality of the burning sensation. He smiled with relief when he saw Tom mirror his actions.
“So…” Suddenly he was at a loss for words.
“So, let’s just take one step at a time for now,” said Tom. “I guess quarters are the easiest thing to settle. It’s really just a choice between yours or new ones as mine are smaller than these.”
“Would it bother you to move in here?” asked Chakotay. He felt on edge and the familiar surroundings were soothing.
Tom shook his head. “Here is fine.”
Chakotay noticed Tom’s knuckles were white where he clutched his glass. He wasn’t finding this as easy as he made out. That realization made Chakotay feel better, until he thought of something important.
“Tom, there’s no easy way for me to broach this, so I’ll come right out and ask – are you in a relationship with anyone at the moment?”
“Is there anyone…” Chakotay gestured expressively. “You can’t…now we’re married.”
“Oh, no. No, I won’t have to break up with anyone. I did that about ten weeks ago. Whew, that was lucky. Now if this had taken place before then, you might have been visiting me in Sickbay after I broke the news to Jenny,” Tom joked. “Chakotay, I promise you, I respect our marriage vows, including the ‘forsaking all others’ part. Anyway, I could ask the same of you.”
“No, Tom, I don’t have anyone to break up with either.” I’ve never had anyone to break up with, thought Chakotay. For a moment, he tried to picture the look on Tom’s face if he ever found out the truth, that Chakotay had never had a relationship with anyone, but gave up when Tom began speaking again.
Damn, he’d missed the first bit. He grunted nondescriptly in response, giving ‘names’ a moment to connect.
Tom thankfully elaborated.
“Tom Paris-Chakotay. Tom Chakotay-Paris. Thomas Eugene Paris-Chakotay. Chakotay Paris. Chakotay Paris-Chakotay. Urk! Your having only one name makes things difficult, Chakotay.”
“Let’s just leave that for now. We can decide later, when things have settled down a bit.”
“Do your people have a tradition to follow? You don’t think it would be easier for the crew to accept a name change now? And we should work out what to tell them.”
“We keep our single names. Do you want to change your name?” Chakotay was curious. Terran customs were confusing at best, when it came to marriage.
“Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not something I’ve ever given any thought to. You’re right, it will be better to decide later. Speaking of traditions, umm, do I, you know, need to get at tattoo?”
Chakotay smiled, ridiculously touched that Tom would even think to ask something like that. “Only if you became a member of the tribe, and you don’t have to do that.” He poured them each another drink. “If you ever decide you want to, we can discuss it then.”
Tom nodded his acknowledgement. “Getting back to what we tell the others.”
“I think the simplest thing will be best. We’ve been seeing each other quietly for, say, almost two months now. You said it was ten weeks since you and Jenny parted company. Hopefully, that is enough time not to cause any comment. We decided to get married, without making a fuss.”
“Okay, although I’d like to tell Harry the truth.”
“Not without the captain’s permission.”
“What about you? Do you mind if he knows?”
“I’d prefer the actual circumstances did not become general knowledge among the crew.”
“Agreed, but Harry’s my friend. We don’t have secrets.” Tom chewed his lower lip. “I’ll keep quiet for as long as I can, but I would like to tell him eventually.”
“Fine, but can we talk about it again when the time comes, before you tell him?”
“We can do that.”
“Rings.” Chakotay threw out the single word.
“Rings? Oh, rings. I’d like a ring,” said Tom naively. “Do your people do rings? It strikes me you will have to educate me about your customs or I’m going to be saying that an awful lot. I don’t know that I have enough rations left to replicate you a ring.” He ran a hand through his hair.
Chakotay tapped his communicator.
“Chakotay to Janeway.”
“Janeway. What may I do for you, Commander?”
“I’d like to request enough credits from the discretionary fund to provide Tom and myself with wedding rings.”
“Granted,” came the immediate response.
“Thank-you, Kathryn. I’ll be in contact in a while to advise you of our plans. Chakotay out.”
“Chak - ,” Tom stopped short.
“This is a real wedding, Tom, and the crew need to realize that too. Rings will go a long way to reinforcing our marriage in their eyes. Do you have a preference?”
“I…I…I guess a plain gold band will be fine.”
Chakotay paused and turned before he reached the replicator. He stared searchingly at Tom. “What type of wedding ring do you really want?”
“Don’t laugh. I always wanted a tri-band twist, of white, yellow and rose gold. To me, it symbolized what marriage was all about - one strand for me, one for my spouse and one for our future together, all three endlessly interweaving, bumpy and smooth…”
“I would never laugh at such a beautiful sentiment,” and Chakotay resumed his course to the replicator, surprised but very pleased to learn his new husband had a romantic streak underneath his often-brash exterior.
He deftly programmed the replicator and brought its contents over to where Tom sat on the sofa. Instead of resuming his seat opposite, he sat down next to him.
“We missed this part of the ceremony, but I don’t think we need to worry about any witnesses.” Chakotay handed his ring to Tom, and drew Tom’s left hand toward him. As he slid the twisted band onto his husband’s fourth finger, and using Tom’s words, he spoke softly.
“With this ring, I marry you. Every time I see it I will be reminded of its meaning – one band for you, one band for me, and one for the future we share.”
Chakotay’s heart seemed to turn over in his chest as Tom repeated the same words. All of a sudden, he wanted to share with Tom how he really felt about him, that he’d spent the last few years falling in love with him, but hadn’t been able to approach him. How he hadn’t wanted to admit to being completely inexperienced when it came to conducting a personal relationship, and that he hadn’t worked out how to let someone like Tom Paris know Chakotay was a forty-year old virgin. He decided now was not a good time to spill the beans. He donned the protective mantle of the first officer and issued his recommendations.
“It would be a good time for you to go and see Harry now. His shift will be finished. You may as well bring some things back in an overnight bag. I’ll roster us for the first shore leave rotation tomorrow so we can shift the rest of your things as soon as possible. I’m assuming you won’t want to go back to the planet. I’ll let Kathryn know the details – that you’ll move here, we’ll be keeping our own names and we’re agreed on the explanation for our marriage – that we’ve been seeing each other quietly for two months. I’d rather not eat in the mess hall tonight so I’ll organize dinner. Will twenty hundred hours give you enough time with Harry?”
Chakotay watched with consternation as Tom’s expression seemed to freeze. The flush that had appeared when they exchanged rings faded and he straightened up.
“Twenty hundred hours will be fine.” There was no warmth evident in the formality of Tom’s reply. He rose to his feet and left without as much as a farewell.
Chakotay frowned and mentally replayed his last words. He had encouraged Tom to see Harry alone and the suggestion of the overnight bag was practical. Tom knew he had to report to Kathryn, and he knew the rosters were part of Chakotay’s duties. They’d shared shore leave before. The standard three-day leave pattern had Kathryn, Chakotay and Tuvok taking separate days, although there were exceptions. As for not wanting to go down to the planet again, Chakotay had the impression that C’Reina was conniving enough to plan a kidnapping; she had by no means forgiven Tom for his interference. It was safer for them to remain on board, and he was sure from a security standpoint Tuvok would back him up. As for dinner, he would most likely arrive back in his – their quarters first, so it was logical he should be the one to prepare dinner. Chakotay sighed in resignation. If he wanted to find out what had upset Tom, he was going to have to come right out and ask him, and just hope Tom would actually tell him. He pushed his worries aside and commed the captain.
Tom, still in his uniform and carrying his black gym bag, entered Chakotay’s quarters a few minutes before twenty hundred hours. He couldn’t think of them just yet as his quarters too. He paused at the sight of a beautifully arranged table, set with crystal and tall candles. Chakotay appeared from the bedroom. He was wearing comfortable civvies that did not quite go with the elegance of the table. Tom thought the black-on-black patterned sweater and tan pants looked good on him, although his bare feet provided an incongruous note.
“Put your bag in here, Tom. You’ve plenty of time for a shower before we eat, if you’d like.”
Tom nodded cautiously. He hadn’t been expecting this relaxed Chakotay. A shower sounded good as he suddenly became aware of the day’s stress residing in his back and shoulders.
He placed his bag in the corner of the bedroom. He dug out his toiletries. A pair of folded towels lay on the bed. Tom surmised they were meant for him and thankfully swept them up. He hadn’t thought to pack any of his own, just a clean uniform, a set of casual clothes, underwear and something to sleep in. That gave him pause. There was just one large bed in the bedroom. He did not want to feed the rumor-mill by requesting a single bed be installed and he wasn’t prepared to sleep on the sofa on a long-term basis. It was just something else they would have to discuss.
He opted for a real shower and rotated his shoulders beneath the pounding spray, concentrating on relaxing. Careful not to forget where he was and spend too long under the water, he washed his hair quickly and cleaned his body. He turned off the shower and groped for a towel.
With the second towel knotted at his hips, Tom peered at himself in the mirror. He ran his hand along his jaw. While blond stubble was not as noticeable as dark, when he thought about the elegant table that was waiting he felt scruffy and decided a few extra minutes to shave would be well spent. With no choice of outfit, he dressed in his jeans, a white tee shirt and a coffee-colored sweatshirt. Following Chakotay’s example, he also eschewed footwear. He ran a comb through his damp hair but did not worry about styling it further and then wandered out to join his husband.
Chakotay rose from his seat on the sofa and handed Tom a glass of wine. He raised his glass and said cheerfully, “To the future.”
“The future,” Tom echoed. They touched glasses and drank.
“Most nights it won’t be like this, you know, but tonight is special and we should make it something to remember.”
Chakotay showed Tom to the table and lit the candles.
“I hope you’ll enjoy everything.”
“I’m sure I will, Chakotay.” Tom grinned as he heard the first order given to the replicator for hot, plain tomato soup, followed by one mushroom soup. A little comfort food would go a long way to easing the strains of the day.
Chakotay steered the conversation in the direction of Voyager’s repairs, and Tom backed him up. The plan was obviously to save the more serious stuff for later.
The main course was quite different to what Tom expected. Chakotay pulled a small table up beside the larger one. On it was a portable wok and utensils. He brought over some containers of prepared fresh vegetables, including some they had obtained in trade that day, and proceeded to cook a medley of colorful stir-fried vegetables. He got the rice from the replicator, and then dished healthy sized servings to each of them.
“Tom, would you like me to add any meat to yours? It will be no trouble to get you some chicken or fish, or whatever you like.”
“This is fine for now, thanks anyway.”
“You’ll be pleased to know I left all the leola root with Neelix.”
They finished the wine with the vegetables and chatted about Chakotay’s interest in cooking, Neelix’s culinary experiments and food in general. Tom mentally filed away a list of food Chakotay mentioned liking or not and thought he could work around the vegetarian issue. There was always the mess hall.
The dessert was apple pie a la replicator. Replete, they sat back in companionable silence for a few minutes, until Chakotay groaned and slowly began to clear the table. Tom insisted on helping and firmly overruled Chakotay’s protestations.
“It’s not like this is a date or anything. I live here now and I’ll pull my weight. You can use the time to show me where everything is kept. Besides, it will be easier on ourselves to try and keep any arguments over the next few weeks for bigger things while we get ourselves sorted out.” He gave Chakotay a wry smile. “We’ve locked horns before, we’ll do it again.”
They retired to the living area and settled themselves ready to talk some more.
“How did Harry take the news?” asked Chakotay, not beating around the bush.
“B'Elanna was with him, so she knows too, and it was probably for the best as he didn't get a chance to ask anything too deep. It gives me a bit of time.” Tom wrapped his hands around his coffee mug.
“Are they okay with it?”
“B'Elanna thinks it was rather sudden, but seems to think I'll liven you up if you give me a chance and don't throttle me too soon. Harry was more hurt that I hadn't told him about us sooner. I'm afraid I used your position as First Officer as part of the reason why we kept our relationship under wraps until now. Neither of them could see why we couldn't wait until we were back on Voyager so everyone could attend the wedding. I said it was a spur of the moment thing and that we had discussed a having a private ceremony. I think we will find a reception of some sort will be organized in the not too distant future.”
“So it wasn't too bad.”
“I guess not. How did you go with the captain?”
“She agreed we should have tomorrow off and she'll make the announcement to the senior staff at the morning briefing. She thinks it will be easier if we are not there, although as B'Elanna already knows it won't be as difficult as she anticipated.” Chakotay placed his mug on the table and clasped his hands over his knees. “Tom, I need to ask you something without you getting mad.”
“What did I say earlier that upset you? When you left to see Harry.”
Tom put down his mug as well and took a deep breath. “You really don't know?”
“I wouldn't be asking if I did.”
Tom heard the exasperation that Chakotay tried unsuccessfully to mask. He looked consideringly at his husband.
“Chakotay, I did not marry the First Officer. Well, I did, but I only expect to deal with him when we're on duty. You gave me a bunch of orders in the tone of voice I hear on the bridge. Go see Harry. Pack an overnight bag. We won't go back to the planet. We'll eat here. Look, none of those things were unreasonable in themselves, it was just how you said it. I didn't like it, but I didn't want to argue with you right then. It was easier for me to bite my tongue and leave.”
“Would you have said anything to me about it tonight?”
“I don't know. Probably not. I guess I would have let you get away with it a few more times then really blown up at you when I couldn't stand it anymore. But I probably would not have been able to explain myself very clearly while I was angry,” added Tom candidly.
“I'm sorry, Tom. I had no idea. I suppose it's just habit. I've never shared these quarters with anyone so there's never been any need worry about whether the 'First Officer' came home with me as well. You should let me know if I do it here again and I’ll try not to lose my temper when you do.”
Tom heard the subtle emphasis on the ‘here’ but was satisfied the demarcation between their professional and personal lives had been drawn where it should. He nodded his acceptance and decided the next delicate subject was his to bring up.
“Okay. Umm, we need to discuss our…umm…sleeping arrangements.” The last came out in a rush. He hadn’t thought it would be quite so difficult. Tom was looking straight at Chakotay when he spoke. He stared a little harder, and then blinked. He decided what he had seen must be a trick of the light. There was no way Chakotay would have blushed. He waited anxiously to hear his response.
“What are your thoughts on the matter?” asked Chakotay just as Tom felt like he wanted to scream.
Now was the time when Tom could have done with the presence of the First Officer. A ready-made solution would have suited him just fine. For some reason Tom could not identify, it was much harder to discuss this with his new husband than with all his previous partners. Maybe the fact that he’d never actually lived with any of them had something to do with it.
“Just spit it out. I really want to know what you think. I promise not to lose my temper.”
The last was said with a smile, and Tom took heart.
“Okay. I think we have to share the bed. Getting another bed installed won’t gel with the sudden wedding, and neither of us, or me in particular, are going to be comfortable on the sofa long term. It’s a big bed. There’s plenty of space for two. I’m told I don’t snore. How about you?”
“Only when I’m over-tired. Which side of the bed do you prefer?”
“The right, usually. Is that going to be a problem for you? It is your bed.”
“We’ll know by morning, and it’s our bed now,” Chakotay added gently. “I hope you brought pyjamas with you.”
“Of course.” Dammit, thought Tom. They were simply skating around the subject. He took a breath. Chakotay had promised not to get mad. He spoke quickly, “Given the circumstances, I think we should keep things simple between us and not complicate things further. We’ll share the bed, but that’s all. It will be best to keep things platonic, you know.”
“That’s fine by me. If you think about it, the bed is bigger than the tents used on away missions so there shouldn’t be any problems. I agree, simple is best.”
Chakotay was babbling, Tom thought. Anyone would think he was relieved to hear Tom’s suggestion. Maybe it was an Indian thing. He would definitely have to find out more about Chakotay’s traditions. It couldn’t be they didn’t approve of same sex unions or Chakotay would never have thrown away his one chance of marriage to be with Tom. He could have said he was engaged to Kathryn. Now that would have led to major complications. Tom was of the opinion if Chakotay and the captain had been meant to be together, they would have done so ages ago. Perhaps he really did just want the company.
He caught Chakotay looking quizzically at him and grasped for a lighter topic of conversation. “So, what shall we do tomorrow on our day off? I have to move my stuff, but that won’t take all day. The holodecks are off-line until the repairs are completed, and you said we’re not going down to the planet.”
“I’m sorry. Did you want to go back down there?”
Tom shook his head. “Not likely. I wouldn’t put it past that little bitch to try and add you to her harem any way she could get you.”
“My thoughts exactly. So let’s just take it as it happens.”
They talked a little longer, until Tom was unable to hide the yawn that threatened to split his face in two.
“Well, I think I’ll go to bed.”
“I’ll be along shortly.”
Tom pulled his pyjamas from the gym bag and slipped into the bathroom where he changed quickly. He stood with his discarded clothing over his arm as he debated what to do with it. He felt like a guest. He supposed he could call out to Chakotay and ask, but this was now his home too and he would have to get used to it. He ended up folding it and placing the stack on top of his bag. He decided he could forgo his exercise routine for once, as he wouldn’t be at the helm the next day and got into bed. He lay on his left side, and then curled onto his right, before flopping onto his stomach. The light cover twisted around his body. He rolled reluctantly onto his back and straightened it out before stretching out with his hands behind his head and ankles crossed. He stared at the ceiling, sighing deeply as he tried to think of nothing.
Chakotay entered the room just as Tom’s sigh blew out. “Oh, yeah,” he said, and then took his turn changing in the bathroom. He climbed carefully into bed and arranged himself on his side, facing away from Tom.
“Goodnight, Tom,” he said softly.
“Goodnight, Chakotay,” replied Tom, and he turned his back on his husband and closed his eyes.
to part 3
It's Best to Plan for What You Want by Mandy
Chakotay sat in his office, frowning over the latest crew rotations. He and Tom were due to go to beta and gamma shifts respectively and he was trying to work out a way to keep them on the same shift without it appearing like favoritism. Married for almost three weeks now, they were finally settling into a comfortable routine. They were not so inclined to tiptoe around one another, and indeed several arguments had eventually served to clear the air.
Already he noticed Tom would retreat into silence when something of a more serious nature upset him, whereas minor disagreements simply provoked the loud, almost juvenile behavior Chakotay detested. Tom was however proving good company. He had a wide range of interests, some of which overlapped Chakotay's own. He often had funny anecdotes to share about various members of the crew and he always did his fair share of the chores. Chakotay had gotten used to Tom’s evening exercise routine that the Doctor prescribed to ease his back problem. The thirty-minute program had been designed to counteract the back problems that often occurred in someone with a long spine when they had to sit for many hours. The exercises themselves were not the problem; it was the music Tom chose to accompany them he didn’t much like.
Chakotay thought about his own tendencies toward stubbornness and somewhat pedantic behavior and decided they had toned down a little, and he was trying to curb the selfishness that living alone had bred, with, he hoped, some success. The number of times he gave Tom orders in their quarters had sharply dropped off when he proved to Tom that he would not lose his temper if Tom called him on it. After the first half-dozen times, he thought more carefully about how he said things and it seemed to be working. He was still trying to find a happy medium between working in his office and forgetting to come home for tea, and bringing work home on the nights they planned to be in, which turned him into an unsociable companion and defeated the purpose of spending time together.
Loving someone from afar, so to speak, did not prepare one for living in close proximity to him, especially when the object of one’s desire had no idea he held that position. Chakotay was finding night times hard. The one thing they never discussed was their sleeping arrangements. As had happened on the first night, they simply took it in turns to use the bathroom and fell asleep with their backs to one another. So far, they had not wound up wrapped around each other, something Chakotay wished would happen with an uneasy mix of hope and dread. There had been one occasion he had woken very early in the morning to find Tom curled up against his back. The day before had been particularly stressful for Tom, who had spent most of it in Sickbay assisting the doctor with treating two of the engineering crew. There had been an explosion and they were suffering from injuries that included severe plasma burns. Chakotay lay perfectly still, wishing he could turn over and pull his husband into his arms. Long minutes later, when he finally decided it would be all right if he did, Tom rolled away from him and the moment was lost.
None of his ruminations made the problem of the rosters go away, and realistically, they would have had to deal with the issue of different shifts eventually, so he finalized them as they were, noted they would take effect in forty-eight hours and posted them, allowing him to finish his shift only twenty minutes late. He closed his office and went home.
His face lit up at the sight of Tom walking towards their door from the opposite direction, and his heart seemed to skip a beat when Tom noticed him and smiled in return. That was when Chakotay knew what he wanted to do. He would woo his husband. It was an old-fashioned word but his would be an old-fashioned plan that someone with his limited experience in the romance department but superior tactical planning abilities could cope with.
“I’m glad you’re home earlier than usual. We’ve got an invitation to eat with B’Elanna and Harry tonight,” said Tom as he dropped a couple of PADDs on his side of the desk.
“That would be nice,” said Chakotay, and it would, he decided when he realized it was an indication they were being accepted as a couple. He and Tom had split their mealtimes fairly evenly between the mess hall and their quarters. He still had a working dinner with Kathryn once a week, but Tom spent that time with Harry. Sometimes others joined them in the mess hall and sometimes it was just the two of them. Now that he was thinking more deeply about such things, Chakotay realized they tended to visit the mess hall when they finished their shifts at the same time. They ate at home when one or the other was late and it was simpler to replicate something. That was one area where he could make changes. It would be very little effort to organize a nice meal sometimes, and they could start doing some entertaining of their own.
Chakotay sat on the sofa and pulled his boots off. “What time are we expected?” He rolled his neck and shoulders a few times, and groaned with relief.
“Nineteen hundred hours. That okay with you?”
“Mm-hmm.” Chakotay closed his eyes and leaned back.
“What have you been doing to get yourself in such a state? Crew evaluations aren’t due for another month.”
“Shift rotations. That’s almost as bad. I may as well tell you now. You’re going to gamma. I’m giving you B’Elanna and Kathryn to keep you company. I’ll be on beta. Harry and Tuvok are staying on alpha this time.” He opened his eyes a little to see how Tom reacted.
Tom pulled a face but didn’t complain. “Who have you got to keep you company?”
“Ayala’s taking tactical.”
“Baytart.” Baytart was the gamma shift chief pilot during the current rotation.
Tom picked up Chakotay’s boots and took them through to the bedroom. He left the door open and called out, “I thought you would have put him on alpha.”
“Culhane is getting alpha this time.”
A muffled grunt was all Chakotay heard in response, and a few minutes later Tom wandered back in to the living room, dressed in a tee shirt and shorts.
“Will it disturb you too much if I do my exercises now?”
Chakotay pulled himself out of his slouch. He shook his head.
“You know, you should do these exercises too,” said Tom. “You’ve spent hours sitting at the computer and you’re not much shorter than I am. Come on, it’ll do you good. We can do them together.”
“Do you think so? My back does get rather stiff.” Chakotay thought rapidly. While he hadn’t had any time to start planning his campaign, he could certainly take advantage of an opportunity when it fell into his lap. “All right. Just wait while I get changed.”
He hurried into the bedroom and pawed though his clothes. He found a plain white vest and a bright red pair of running shorts. He stripped off his uniform and pulled the vest over his head. Chakotay caught sight of his reflection as he pulled up the shorts. The vest clung to his torso his torso, and he was pleased with the effect of the contrast of the stark white material against his skin. He curled his biceps and thanked the spirits he kept up with his boxing. Not wanting to be caught posing, he called out he was coming, and quickly threw his uniform into the bathroom.
Chakotay assumed his most nonchalant demeanor and strolled carefully back into the living room. He kept a discreet eye on Tom’s expression and was rewarded with a rapid blink and slight widening of blue eyes and the briefest glimpse of the tip of a tongue between a twitch of pink lips. “I’m ready,” he said, a lot more calmly than he felt.
Thirty minutes later, they lay side by side on their backs on the floor with their lower legs and feet resting on the sofa.
“It’s a lot more strenuous than it looks,” said Chakotay after the cooling down period had allowed his breathing to return to normal.
“I’ll say. I can even tell you exactly what each exercise was designed to achieve with regard to the various parts of your body. The Doc went over ‘all’ of the physiology with me and then tested me on how much I remembered.”
“Hop up and move your back around now,” suggested Tom, as he rolled over and scrambled to his feet.
“Hmm, the stiffness has gone. I feel pretty good. Thanks for the suggestion. Perhaps you could teach me the routine,” said Chakotay, remembering his plan.
“Good idea. I’ll find the PADD with the Doc’s instructions for you.”
“Fine, and I could do them whenever you do,” added Chakotay hurriedly, trying not to frown. He didn’t want to study the Doctor’s PADD when he could study Tom’s form instead. “Do you want first shower?” he offered.
“No, you go ahead,” said Tom, already looking through his numerous PADDS.
Chakotay stood and pondered as the sonics did their job. One point for him – the white vest and red shorts worked. Tom always was a visual sort of guy, witness his enamor with the design of the Delta Flyer, his frequent comments on everyone’s looks, his own appearance, and come to that, the attention to detail he put into his holoprograms so everything looked right. Therefore, Chakotay felt he was on the right track appealing to Tom’s sense of aesthetics. That meant no more slobbing around their quarters in uniform when not on duty. He had some nice clothes. It was time to make sure he wore them more regularly. Besides, it was too easy to forget he wasn’t on duty when he wore his uniform.
As well as more occasions to wear nice clothes, he needed to find more times to wear, well, less clothes. He would find thirty minutes, every day if necessary, to exercise with Tom. He had several pairs of skimpy running shorts that he also wore when he boxed that would be useful. They could also find some time to visit the Resort even if he had to use his own credits to run the program more often. The program finished and the sonics switched off as he contemplated trading in his old swimming trunks for one of those smaller, much smaller, costumes some of the others wore. He supposed he didn’t actually have to swim in them, or attempt anything risky such as any of the variety of beach sports the crew played. All he needed to do was lie around near Tom, and if other people looked at him, well, that could spark Tom’s interest too.
Out of habit, he wrapped his towel around his waist and brushed his teeth. He looked down and examined his abdomen. For a moment, he contemplated lowering the towel until it barely stayed on his hips and then standing in the doorway to let Tom know the bathroom was free, but common sense prevailed. He still had not given much thought to his strategy and tactics, but too much too soon would definitely be out of character. Maybe he could work this shift change in his favor after all. He finished up in the bathroom and dressed in carefully chosen things that would do to wear to out to dinner.
Towards midnight, the men made their way back to their quarters. The evening had been fun. The subtle shift in the dynamics of being two couples in private as opposed to all of their previous social occasions where they functioned as four individuals in public had been felt by all of them, and all were pleased their relationships were strong enough to successfully integrate the change.
The teasing references B'Elanna and Harry had made to their status as a married couple had been exactly that – light and teasing. Tom had neatly deflected the couple of remarks that had a decidedly more personal tone while Chakotay took refuge in the apparent stoic and mystic aspects of his personality everyone attributed to him and contented himself with making several cryptic responses and trying with a modicum of success to control the hot color that threatened to flood his face.
For a change, Tom stayed lying on his back when Chakotay lifted the covers and slid in next to him.
“It was a good night, wasn’t it?” asked Tom.
“Yes. We should make an effort to get together more often.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking, and it’s given me an idea. What this place needs is somewhere people can go out that is more formal than the Resort and classier then Sandrine’s. Let’s face it, the décor and the atmosphere in the Mess Hall and the observations lounges are not conducive to anything, and most people have quarters that they share or are just too small to invite anyone over to dinner.” Tom rolled onto his side facing Chakotay and propped himself up on his elbow. “What do you think about something like a club? A public program that could be run every few weeks, where people could go on a date, or meet friends there. Then they wouldn’t need to save up credits to go somewhere nice. No pool tables – I’m thinking dance floor, groups of regular tables and chairs, areas for conversation with couches and low tables.”
Chakotay tucked his hands behind his head and turned so he was able to look up into Tom's sparkling eyes.
“That's a wonderful idea. The music could be supplied by a variety of holocharacters, groups as well as single performers, and those musical members of the crew might like to perform sometimes too.”
“Yes, that would give them a break from appearing at those infernal talent nights,” said Tom. “And, by the way, how have you managed to escape Neelix’s clutches for so long?”
“It’s one of the few, the very few, perks of being first officer!”
They talked into the night, Tom ending up sitting cross-legged in the bed and waving his arms around as he illustrated various ideas. Chakotay’s nerves thrilled at the casual touches Tom dropped on his shoulder or arm, causing all traces of tiredness to flee his body. He found himself agreeing to help Tom write the program. At the back of his mind, he began plotting ways for them to do this together while they were on different shifts.
Eventually, Tom wound down, and flopped onto his back. He tossed and turned a few times and then threw back the covers.
“I need a hot drink. Would you like one too, since I've disturbed your rest?”
“Just a glass of water would be fine, thanks.”
As usual, they fell asleep with their backs to one another.
Chakotay dreamed well that night, of music and dancing and a body pressed to his. As was his habit, he drifted into wakefulness before the alarm sounded. This morning, he fought to keep the remnants of his dream in which he’d held his husband’s hips and Tom had rested his arms on Chakotay’s shoulders. Foreheads touching, they’d swayed on the dance floor in the new holoprogram. All too soon, the touch of the bed coverings replaced Tom’s arms. He inhaled deeply, prior to slowly stretching, but something was different. He was spooned up against Tom. His top arm draped loosely over his husband's waist.
He kept still. He breathed out slowly, trying not to blow too heavily onto Tom’s neck. He concentrated on making sure his arm didn’t move, and that there was no sudden change in the weight of it to alert Tom’s subconscious to Chakotay’s change in status. It had finally happened and he hadn’t yet planned a response for this scenario. Part of his brain skipped into tactical mode. Two options: stay where he was, or move. He breathed in Tom’s scent and elected to stay where he was for a few minutes as he considered what to do. He could oh-so-slowly try to slide away without disturbing Tom, or just get out of bed and make for the bathroom very quickly.
Tactics put him having to move before the alarm sounded or waiting right where he was and enjoy things until the alarm went and then have to face Tom’s reaction. Tom had given no hint he wanted their relationship to change from its platonic status, and Chakotay did not want to do anything to damage their deepening friendship. Reining in another deep sigh, he gave into an urge and dropped a kiss onto Tom’s hair before rolling over and out of bed. He hurried into the bathroom without looking back at Tom.
He missed seeing a pair of wide-open blue eyes watch him leave the bedroom, and stare thoughtfully at the closed door until the computer announced the time.
To be continued
Chakotay furiously jabbed at the heavy punching bag. Ten minutes remained of his holodeck time and he had nowhere near worked out his frustration. The bag was not the same as a holographic opponent, but after two trips to Sickbay in the past fortnight, it was definitely safer.
The Doctor had been mildly sarcastic over the cracked ribs, and Chakotay preferred to forget the comments about his black eye, depressed cheekbone and concussion. He only half listened to the Doctor’s incredulity that the first officer would participate in a dangerous holoprogram with the safeties off. He did not want to confess the safeties were functioning and his injuries were the result of a combination of mental distraction and frustration. His opponent had scored a couple of lucky punches while he’d been thinking about Tom.
Tom, lounging around in his blue robe… Left hook. Right cross.
Tom, in a sweat-stained white tee shirt and black shorts, exercising to music in their living room… Bob and weave, followed by a fast combination of moves.
Tom, eyes closed in ecstasy as the aroma of hot, plain tomato soup caused his nostrils to flare… Flurry of jabs.
Chakotay finished his session with a brief warm down and headed back to their quarters for a shower, still contemplating his relationship with his husband. Despite their different shifts, they managed to eat together several times during the past weeks. They had also worked on their nightclub program. His first officer and counseling responsibilities and Tom’s Sickbay duties interfered with them spending all of their overlapping off-shift times together. A number of times, Chakotay had gone to bed alone and woken up to find either himself spooned around Tom or Tom curled up against his back. Each time, he stayed there as long as he could. Their sleep patterns were out-of-sync enough that he was able to rise without disturbing Tom.
His research into romance was proving interesting if not exactly enlightening. None of his resources had dealt with anyone quite in his situation. With nobody on board he felt comfortable enough to confide in, he’d resorted to searching the ship’s computer. That yielded such gems as ‘Dating a Co-worker: Pitfalls and Pleasures’, ‘The Art of Kissing’ and the Doctor’s indexed collection of medical papers dealing with mating rituals. He also uncovered the Doctor’s personal observations and notes on various crewmembers and the draft for a paper he was obviously planning to write on the topic.
He’d downloaded one of Kathryn’s gothic romances as well. Ditto one of B’Elanna’s Klingon sagas and a Vulcan epic he’d found in her library. Samantha Wildman apparently preferred modern Terran romances with a decidedly erotic flavor. He wondered whether Tom knew about Harry’s vast collection of pornography. Chakotay mentally filed a few ideas and hoped he’d feel confident enough to try them out.
With neither ignorance nor innocence no excuse for poor strategic planning, Chakotay also studied the sexual education reference section in the database. The articles were presented in a style that fell somewhere between the Doctor’s journals and Harry’s pornography. However, they were more concerned with what would follow the wooing.
Flowers, chocolates, cuddly toys, lingerie, jewelry – was one always expected to court one’s lover with such gifts? He pictured himself brandishing a bunch of red roses in Tom’s direction when he arrived home from sickbay and wrinkled his nose. The only one of those traditional objects of romance he could see himself giving was the chocolates.
Fortunately, the holodeck took some of the stress out of dating. Activities and locations were available aplenty, if one had the rations and the time, Chakotay hastily qualified. He’d like to invite Tom on a date. A smile covered his face as he had an idea. Their new holoprogram would need testing, and it would be the only time they would be able to use it alone. Chakotay began to make plans.
Soon enough, the senior staff was back together on the alpha shift. While the change had been good for everyone, there was no doubt this team worked best together.
At the lunch break, Tom was last to leave the bridge. He spent some time conferring with his replacement over an apparent sluggishness that had developed in the helm controls. He finally made it to the mess hall. He joined on the tail end of the queue and ran his gaze idly over the crowd as he waited to be served. There was no sign of the captain or Tuvok. B'Elanna and Harry were with a group of several engineers, already engrossed in a noisy discussion that had B'Elanna waving her fork around in the air to illustrate her point, oblivious to the proximity of her tablemates. Chakotay was at one of the smaller tables on his own. Tom ignored Harry's beckoning arm and joined Chakotay.
Not too much could go wrong with pasta and the sauce was one of Neelix's more palatable creations. The men ate in silence until they had nearly finished. Tom offered to get drinks and collected a coffee for himself and Chakotay's tea. He sipped the hot drink appreciatively before speaking.
“The program's ready to test. I thought we could check it out together. Do you have a spare half hour any time soon?”
Chakotay’s response was not immediately forthcoming. Tom frowned slightly, and took another mouthful of coffee. He examined Chakotay’s features carefully, but got no real clue as to why his question was not as straightforward for his husband as it was to himself. The man clearly focused on something other than Tom as he thought about his reply. Tom opened his mouth to ask again, but Chakotay spoke first.
“How about tomorrow night, but let’s do it properly.” Chakotay’s gaze flickered down to the table where his hand rested palm down extended towards Tom, and then back up to Tom’s face. “Tom, would you like to go out to the club with me?”
“Properly, like on a date?” Tom hoped he didn’t sound too surprised. “You mean we’ll go for a couple of hours and…” His voice trailed off. The colorless tips of Chakotay’s knuckles caught his attention and Tom suddenly realized Chakotay was nervous. “Sure, I’d love to.” The obvious relief as Chakotay’s half-smile brightened caused Tom to smile in return and he noted in passing that Chakotay’s hand relaxed. “Do you want me to book the holodeck?”
“I’ll take care of that,” said Chakotay firmly. “Tomorrow night, then.”
“Tomorrow night,” echoed Tom. Seeing Chakotay had cleaned his plate, Tom stacked it on top of his and pushed his chair back. “I’ll fix these. See you on the bridge.”
The following day, Tom finished his shift in Sickbay on time. He was pleased there were no medical emergencies to make him late. He whistled as he headed to the turbolift, the tuneless melody cluing in any listeners as to how happy he felt.
He keyed in the door code to their quarters, and stopped short just inside the door. Now he knew why he hadn’t seen Chakotay during the lunch break. The living area was exceptionally tidy – Chakotay still tended to leave things lying around that Tom believed should be put away. There were no shoes left in front of the sofa where they'd been kicked off, and for once the PADDs were all neatly stacked on the desk. The table was exquisitely set in similar fashion to their wedding night. Tom recognized some of Tuvok's hybrid orchids in the vase of flowers. They really were making a date of it.
It had been a while since he had spruced up for a date, Tom thought as he stood under the shower, and he’d never really dressed up to go out with Chakotay. He wondered what Chakotay was cooking for dinner this time. Tom decided he could at least provide the wine, albeit replicated. Their holodeck reservation didn’t commence until twenty-two hundred hours so there would be plenty of time to enjoy their meal.
His hands absentmindedly continued to soap his chest as he contemplated the night ahead. Logically, Tom knew he and Chakotay could not sustain their marriage at the superficial level of the previous month. They were not simply cabin mates. He washed under his arms for the third time. If Tom was reading Chakotay correctly, he was ready to move their relationship forward to something deeper, but the question was, how far forward?
The soap slid easily over the hairs on the front of his thighs as he rubbed up and down from knees to hips and back again a few times. He spread his legs a little and subconsciously registered the smoother skin on the insides of his legs. He dropped the soap and worked his fingers around his groin. How far forward? Tom’s lips curled. He wasn’t prepared to remain celibate for the rest of his life.
Guilt had been his prime motivation for suggesting they keep things platonic. Their marriage took place because of his suggestion. Being under duress, lack of time to come up with another solution, even Chakotay’s adherence to his cultural traditions – Tom had spent many hours at the helm thinking these and other factors through. He’d eventually concluded he had made the right decision at the time. They had a good working relationship, and a friendship that went beyond that of simply being part of the command team, even if it was not what he had with Harry or B’Elanna.
His thoughts turned to Chakotay as his future sexual partner. It certainly wasn’t going to be a chore to fuck the man. He looked good, he smelt good and from the few times they’d ended up in contact with each other, he felt good too. Tom didn’t need to be in lust or love with him to know he would enjoy the experience, at least he had in the occasional dreams he’d had featuring Chakotay. His hands, one of which had begun teasing a nipple, the other squeezing his burgeoning erection, stilled for a moment. It occurred to Tom that those dreams had become more frequent over the past month. He pushed that thought to the back of his mind for the time being. His hands began to move again as he pictured Chakotay in the vest and tiny shorts he favored wearing when they exercised together. Then there were the jeans that hugged the neat ass and thighs, which he often wore around their quarters. And clad in naught but a white towel slung low on his hips as he exited the bathroom; the pedantic adherence to privacy adopted by both men in the first week of their shared life had gradually relaxed a fair amount although not completely.
Tom’s imagination supplied the few details his memory lacked and he worked himself to completion. Finally recalling the state of his water rations, he turned off the shower. He did not think of much as he dried himself. Chakotay still had not arrived home when Tom had finished in the bathroom.
Their clothes were no secret to the other. Replicating a new shirt would stretch his credits to the limit and he still wanted to provide the wine. He flicked through the hangers a second time and lit on a multicolored vest he’d picked up on some planet. It had reminded him of the sea, the pieces of material being shades of deep turquoise, aqua, and various blues and greens. He pulled it out eagerly, and held it against his body. He owned a shirt that was the same color as one of the darkest blues. Black pants, a pair of black shoes that were not his everyday work boots, socks and underwear and he was set to go. He put on everything except the shoes, which he placed neatly together by the bedroom door, and made sure the bathroom was as he'd found it.
Chakotay arrived home a short time later. Tom tossed his book aside as soon as he saw the thermal container in Chakotay's hands.
“Lasagna?” he asked hopefully.
“Lasagna it is!”
“I'll take it.”
“Thanks.” Chakotay handed over their meal and headed straight for the bathroom. “I won't be long.”
Tom lifted the lid and inhaled the rich aroma. His eyelids fluttered and a soft moan of gastronomic ecstasy escaped his lips. Chakotay had chosen a mouthwatering mixture of available vegetables. Hydroponics kept the Mess Hall well supplied with tomatoes and a small selection of herbs. Tom’s keen nose could not detect any leola root, although it never ceased to amaze him that such a strong tasting vegetable had such an innocuous smell, raw or cooked.
With the lingering scent of garlic and basil in the air, it was easy to program a suitable wine to go with their meal. Tom placed it in the cooler by the table. With nothing else to do until Chakotay emerged, he retrieved his book and stretched out on the sofa once more.
A tap on the shoulder startled Tom, returning him from a world of secret agents and intergalactic intrigue to his cabin on Voyager.
“Stay there. I’ll bring the hors d’oeuvres over.”
Tom swung his feet down and made room for Chakotay to sit next to him. He reached out and absently pulled the coffee table in closer to the sofa as his gaze fastened onto black pants that fitted oh so nicely. The shirt that looked rather ordinary on the hanger was black as well, but the material was shot through with threads of darkest green that gave it an almost living quality and emphasized the rippling muscles it covered.
Chakotay placed a small platter of vegetables and crackers with a separate bowl of dip, and a couple of glasses of chilled spring water in front of them.
The dip was warm. The spices added to the cheese base were subtle, so the flavors would not overpower the palate and detract from the course to follow.
“So, what have you been reading?”
Tom picked up his book. “It’s one Joe leant me. It’s a thriller.”
Almost two hours later, the men were sitting at the table, finishing the last of the lasagna. Conversation was still flowing. By mutual agreement, they decided to leave the topic of the club until they were actually in the holodeck. However, something teased at a corner of Tom’s mind. It finally came to him; Chakotay was subtly directing the topics of conversation. The book Tom had been reading, his opinions, Chakotay’s current reading matter, and their favorite books. They’d covered music and vids as well, although not consecutively. They were both good at the whole diplomacy game, and this conversation seemed straight out of third year Starfleet Diplomacy classes except for a little harmless gossip about certain crew and their recent antics. They’d touched on the weather, via several planets on which they’d taken shore leave. Work had crept into the conversation. They couldn’t help it. The state of the ship, the engines, their supplies; these were daily concerns. Suddenly, Tom realized what was going on when Chakotay’s hand brushed his again. This wasn’t Diplomacy 303 - it was Dating 101. He suppressed a smile and exerted himself to take control and really become the scintillating date of his pre-marriage reputation.
To be continued
Things Don't Always Go to Plan by Mandy
Chakotay enjoyed the stroll to the holodeck. He was careful to keep just enough distance between his arm and Tom’s for most of the time. Touching Tom had the disconcerting effect of shorting out his brain if he didn’t ration the experience. That had not been mentioned in any of the educational articles he’d studied, although descriptions of similar reactions were prevalent in the fiction, regardless of which cultural background the novels came from.
The holodeck doors opened and the men entered to stand on a footpath outside a stone building. A few holocharacters walked along the street. The club was located in a non-descript city. That detail alone had sparked one of their arguments, conducted via messages on PADDs when they had seen little of each other in the waking state. Tom had been all for setting the club in New York or one of the other large cities on Earth. Chakotay pushed for a different planet and a quieter location, citing the number of non-Terran born crewmembers, and the fact that Sandrine’s was located in France. They compromised, and both were pleased with the results.
The hostess, a quietly elegant version of Tom’s perennial holocharacter Ricky, welcomed them to the still unnamed club.
Chakotay eyed her with a little trepidation and a touch of hostility he couldn’t quite conceal, but this Ricky showed none of the Sandrine’s Ricky’s tendencies to drape herself over Tom and cover him with kisses.
Tom caught the expression on Chakotay’s face and considered teasing him for a moment, but thought the better of it and treated Ricky exactly as he would any other nightclub host. Then since Chakotay was his date, Tom threaded his fingers through his husband’s and towed him in the direction of the bar.
“We may as well start here. Do you want me to add some patrons for a more realistic effect, or leave it at just the staff?”
“Just the staff for now. It will be easier to tell whether anything needs reprogramming.” Chakotay reluctantly withdrew his hand from Tom’s as they settled on stools.
They gave their orders to the Bajoran barman and turned to survey their surroundings. It was large – large enough for the whole crew to fit should the occasion arise. The separate areas of dance floor, conversation pits, bar and general tables and chairs melded into a smooth whole. Knees touching and leaning toward one another, they debated the merits of the color scheme, the furnishings and the staff.
Tom placed his empty glass on the bar. “Let’s actually check out the rest of this place.” His heart inexplicably seemed to skip a beat and his stomach flip-flopped when Chakotay reached out and took his hand as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Touch and smell became preternaturally heightened. Tom drew in Chakotay’s scent with a single deep inhalation. Fingertips that were cool where they’d been in contact with the chilled wineglass warmed quickly. His palm burned momentarily but he couldn’t be sure whether the sensation was real or just in his mind. The urge to pull his hand away and wipe it along his trousers was difficult to resist and he conquered it by gripping Chakotay’s hand more firmly and giving it a reassuring shake. He couldn’t resist a sideways peek at his husband, but Chakotay was staring serenely ahead, eyes focused on the dance floor. They walked in silence over the carpeted area to the edge of the wooden floor and Tom did the only thing he could think of to regain control. “Dance with me?”
A young Bolian male, programmed to be a little less exuberant than Chell, currently controlled the music station. He announced one of his homeworld’s popular set dance pieces. Both men were familiar with the movements. Chakotay took his place next to Tom and they fell into step. A wave of happiness coursed through Tom. He grinned and looked sideways, needing to share his joy. Chakotay smiled and nodded in return, still keeping in time with the music, and managing to match the extra turns and flourishes Tom added.
With barely a pause, the next piece started, this time a Bajoran number. After some awkward sidestepping and fumbling, Chakotay said firmly, “Go on.”
Tom moved behind him and placed his hands on Chakotay’s hips. Chakotay’s hands moved up to cover them. Once in place, they again found their rhythm easily. It was too easy for Tom to lose himself once once, and his hands no longer remained in the prescribed position. The gentle guiding movements became teasing squeezes, and then careful, caressing stokes as he concentrated on the bunching and relaxing muscles beneath the soft material of Chakotay's pants. And Chakotay's hands stayed over Tom's, never slowing or stopping him, just maintaining skin contact and giving an occasional encouraging squeeze when it seemed Tom's hands might falter, while their feet kept dancing.
When the music segued into a jazzy Terran number, they gave up all pretence of changing to any recognizable dance form. Chakotay turned and tentatively placed his hands on Tom's hips and for a little while they simply swayed in place.
“Tom...” His voice cracked, so Chakotay cleared his throat and tried again. “Tom-”
“Shh.” Tom cut off Chakotay's husky whisper. “Not yet.” He moved his forearms to rest on Chakotay's shoulders. He interlaced his fingers behind Chakotay's neck and let them touch the short thick hair every now and then.
No longer sure whether he remembered to blink, Chakotay lost himself in Tom's eyes. When he was there, he forgot to think, forgot the butterflies in his stomach and forgot every one of his carefully made plans. His psyche somehow recognized the lust that he'd never before had directed personally at him and his responses were purely instinctual. His hands tightened on Tom's hips, pulling him closer. He wasn't aware of the messages his body sent in reply - that his pupils dilated, a flush spilled over his cheeks and his tongue appeared to moisten suddenly dry lips – nor that it was the last that caused Tom to forget his own nebulous plans for seduction, pull him in close and fasten his lips on Chakotay's.
Tom's lips were firm on his. They softened when they strayed to his eyelids. They felt hot and wet as they nuzzled his jaw. His head fell back, exposing his throat. When Tom licked his pulse, he groaned and slowly rolled his face back to bring his mouth where he wanted it to be.
His hands came up and grasped Tom’s head, holding him steady while he pressed his lips to Tom’s again and again. He didn’t notice his occasional hums of pleasure escaping between their lips. He thrilled to the wet swipes by a warm tongue along his lips.
“Open your mouth.”
“Hmm?” For a moment, he didn’t understand Tom’s murmured instruction.
There were a couple of firmer jabs at his lips. He opened his mouth, intending the distracted ‘hmm?’ to become a ‘huh?’. It was enough. He stilled as he tried to process the new sensations of a tongue stroking his, tracing his teeth, tickling his hard palate, but it was easier to simply give in to the moment and try to follow Tom’s lead. He tasted basil and the herbs from the lasagna, a hint the alcohol they’d drunk and Tom’s unique smell transmuted into flavor.
A small part of his brain anxiously wondered whether it was obvious he was no expert, but he’d always been a quick study, and Tom did not seem to be complaining. It was when Tom started to unbutton Chakotay’s shirt that he suddenly pulled back a little. “Tom”, he gasped, “we have to talk. I have to tell you -”
“Later,” Tom murmured, closing back to Chakotay's mouth. His tongue pressed for entrance again. A thought flitted across Tom's mind. It was obviously the counselor in Chakotay, wanting them to talk – now - about who knew what. He would just have to work a little harder to vanquish the counselor’s presence for the time being. They could talk later. This was going to be so good for them. He licked Chakotay's lower lip again and then sucked it into his mouth. The resulting harsh exhalation was a satisfactory indicator of successful distraction. He increased his oral assault. His hands roamed almost aimlessly as he caressed Chakotay’s face and jaw. He gently squeezed the back of Chakotay’s neck, then stroked along his spine, feeling the play of muscles beneath the shirt. He couldn’t resist taking a double handful of ass cheeks and using them to try and rub their groins together, wanting, needing the friction, but Chakotay twisted to the side and Tom found himself humping a hip instead. It didn’t matter. His ploy to silence Chakotay was working until he resumed trying to unbutton his shirt.
Chakotay pulled back again, and then changed tactics. He clasped Tom firmly to his chest, trapping his hands. He hung his chin on Tom’s shoulder. His chest heaved as he fought to control his breathing. “Computer, amount of time left for this reservation,” he barked out.
“There are forty-five minutes of this reservation remaining.”
“That’s plenty of time.” Tom spoke soothingly and turned his face to nuzzle Chakotay’s neck. He worked to free his hands, but found them clasped firmly in Chakotay’s.
“Just listen for a minute. Please. There’s something you should know.”
“Now would be best.”
The unmistakably serious tone cut through Tom’s sensual haze. He stopped moving and Chakotay relaxed his grip. Tom stared into Chakotay’s face. The visible flush and the light sheen of sweat on his forehead were most likely resulting from what they’d just been doing, but, he realized, could also be due to nerves. Either could also explain the convulsive swallow that drew his eye to the tightly corded muscles of Chakotay’s throat. Tom was about to lighten the situation with a little humor, but suddenly he thought he understood. Chakotay obviously had a medical problem of a sexual nature. It was exactly how various crew behaved when they were trying to explain to the EMH the symptoms that embarrassed them. The hours spent in Sickbay saved him from putting his foot in it and hurting Chakotay’s feelings. He could deal with this. He grasped for his assistant medic persona as he tried to damp down the sexual energy that still coursed through his body.
He lifted up his hands, still enclosed by Chakotay’s. He gently turned his wrists a few times until the light caught the twisted bands of Chakotay’s wedding ring.
“You, me, together. Remember? Do you want to talk here or go home?”
Tom mentally started cataloging possible problems as he waited for Chakotay’s answer. He dismissed piercings, inserted jewelry and tattoos. Chakotay would surely realize none of those would faze Tom. Ditto congenital anomaly and acquired deformity such as burns or scarring of some kind, unless the scarring had been the result of torture. He knew Chakotay had spent some time in a Cardassian prison camp, but he felt he would have heard some gossip about anything of that nature during his time in the Maquis. For the same reason, he dismissed the after-effects of a rape. There were also Chakotay’s previous relationships with B’Elanna, Seska and Kathryn Janeway to consider. While B’Elanna and the captain were discreet, Seska would have taken great delight in spreading personal details, had Chakotay anything other than tales of his legendary prowess worth telling. So size wasn’t an issue either. He kind of knew that already anyway. Towels, swimming costumes and tight jeans only concealed so much. Disease was unlikely, although long-term side effects from an earlier, maybe untreated, episode were a possibility.
“Home, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
Tom closed down the program and the men left the holodeck together. He threaded his fingers through Chakotay’s and they walked back to their quarters in silence. On the trip home, he continued to think as the doctor had trained him, until he realized what it must be. Chakotay probably had E.D., most likely of a psychological origin. Heaven only knew they all dealt with stress, anxiety, fear and even anger on pretty much a daily basis, and the senior staff, including Captain Janeway, had all been subject to bouts of depression and the like at various times. And Chakotay really carried a double burden, supporting the captain as he did. Whom did he have to turn to? It all fitted. Impotence, the dreaded limp-dick syndrome, would also explain why Tom couldn’t remember the last relationship Chakotay had. And why he turned away just before when Tom had tried to bring their erections into delicious, material-covered contact. And why Chakotay had seemed eager to keep their marriage platonic.
With their door now in sight, Tom had just a few seconds to review what he knew of the treatments available for impotence.
Inside, Chakotay paced anxiously for a few minutes. “Tom…”
“Come on, sit on the sofa with me.”
Chakotay sat and rested his forearms on his knees. His head bent forward, and he sighed deeply. “This is really embarrassing for me.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to come right out and say it.”
“No. I guessed.”
“Oh. You could tell.”
“Not straight away. In fact, I didn’t realize until just before we left the holodeck.”
“You don’t mind”
“No. Of course not. All you have to remember is you’re not alone any more. We can deal with this together. You won’t even need to go to the doctor about it.”
“Go to the doctor?” Confused, Chakotay raised his head.
“I think I’ve got enough medical training to help you manage, that is, if you trust me.”
“Of course, I trust you, but, Tom, why would anyone need medical training for this?”
“Because it’s a medical problem. Strictly speaking, I’m guessing the cause of yours is psychological and not actually due to a condition of some sort.”
Chakotay’s eyes opened wide and he stared at Tom. He tilted his head to the side. “Ah, perhaps we should clarify things here. Just what is it you think I’ve got?”
The initials meant nothing to Chakotay. He shook his head.
“E.D. You know, erectile dysfunction. Impotence.” Tom flushed. “Limp dick,” he added in a loud whisper.
“I know what impotence is.”
“Yeah, well, what I’m saying is, you don’t have to hide it from me. I can help. I want to help.”
“I’m not impotent.”
“See. That’s denial. It’s all part of it. The first step to solving the problem is admitting you have one in the first place, and now I know, you can move on from that.” Tom was pleased with his logical reassurance. His psychobabble may not have been couched in the proper terms, but he meant the sentiments from his heart.
“Tom, listen to me, please.” In slow measured tones, Chakotay repeated, “I. Am. Not. Impotent.”
Tom looked closely at Chakotay. “Oh, fuck. You’re not, are you. I’ve just made a complete and utter fool of myself.” He covered his face and groaned. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“Actually, in a way, you’ve made it easier for me to tell you something you should know, because we’re married and after tonight, it’s pretty clear that we’ve reached a point in our relationship when I will need your…ah…help…umm…co-operation…err…”
Tom lowered his hands. He looked at the blush staining the dark cheeks. Chakotay was babbling again, still uncomfortable, even after Tom’s faux pas. His own embarrassment faded and he grinned companionably. “Come on. We seem to be a right pair. Spit it out. If you’re not impotent, then what?”
“I’m a virgin.”
To be continued
The Last Confession by Mandy
Chakotay waited for Tom to say something. He watched him open and close his mouth. “Surprise!” he said weakly when the silence had stretched his nerves as much as he could take. “Talk to me, Tom.”
“Chak. I...okay, well – obviously I had not considered ‘that’ possibility, but it's okay. In fact, it’s more than okay when you think about my alternative!” Tom’s wry smile warmed Chakotay’s heart. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed about not having had...uh...a relationship with a guy before. I'm glad you told me, although I didn’t think I was such an ogre that you would feel so worried about telling me. Unless…”
“Oh, no. I’m not putting my foot in it again.”
“Go on. You’re not an ogre. What were you going to say?”
“That’s not what you were going to say.”
“I know. Just kiss me anyway.”
“Then will you tell me what you were going to say?”
Tom simply opened his arms.
Chakotay moved over. He could get used to Tom’s arms around him very quickly, he thought, and frantically pictured what he could remember from the ‘Art of Kissing’.
He brushed closed lips over Tom’s, feeling their softness. A tiny kiss to the tip of the aristocratic nose was next and then he placed random kisses over Tom’s face before returning to the tempting lips. He brushed them again, this time adding a swipe with the tip of his tongue. This slow tease was good and exciting, but then it was no longer enough. His tongue and teeth, lips and hands were not under his conscious control as both men deepened and intensified the kiss.
Eventually, they broke apart. Neither spoke; for a while, it was enough to stare into the other’s eyes.
Tom ran a hand along Chakotay’s jaw. “For a minute I was worried you might only do women and that’s what you were having difficulty telling me, but after that, well, I’m glad I was wrong about that too.” He licked his lips. “You know, back on that planet, you could have said you were engaged to the captain. Nobody would have blinked if the two of you had ended up married, especially after New Earth. We never could work out why you two didn’t get together back then.”
“I couldn’t have married her. I didn’t love her” Chakotay cleared his throat. “By the way, you are never to confirm to anyone we didn’t have a relationship on New Earth. She wouldn’t like it known, one way or the other. This is something best left to people’s imaginations.”
“All that time and you never even…?”
Chakotay shook his head. “Not even a kiss. She was trying to find a way to cure the virus. You know how single-minded she can be. And I, I didn’t know exactly how to break past the mental barriers she’d erected around herself after the array was destroyed. I dare say eventually something would have happened had we stayed, but it didn’t. Maybe, if I’d been more experienced, I’d have had the confidence to approach things differently.”
“Now, that I find hard to believe. You are one of the most self-confident people I know. Besides, what more experience could you possibly need if Seska’s tales are anything to go by?” Tom’s voice trailed off at Chakotay’s expression. “Seska lied?” The incredulousness lasted only microseconds as Tom smacked his palm against his forehead. “Of course, she did. This is Seska we’re talking about. But, Chakotay, your relationship with her in the Maquis, and the first few months out here on Voyager…She made sure the word got around. You’re a veritable stud, you know. I heard about the time you –,” Tom stopped himself with difficulty, and then continued, “Gossip like that spreads like plasma fires. You never made any effort to stop it.”
“Frankly, it suited us both. The short version is I was too busy fighting a war to worry about a personal relationship. She started one rumor about our night of passion together after I turned her down the first time, and when I didn’t react, she went for a second rumor. She then used the resulting gossip to try to blackmail me in to having sex. Suffice to say, it didn’t work, and there were benefits for both of us if everyone believed we were in a relationship. I needed her in the Maquis too much for her to take off and doing something in retaliation for her embarrassment at being caught out in a lie, and she gained kudos for supposedly bedding me. It was easy enough to end the ‘relationship’ on Voyager by using my position as my first officer.” Chakotay turned and leant into the back of the sofa. He stared at the ceiling. “Of course, the whole thing backfired a little for me, because now everyone believed I was some sort of sex god thanks to Seska, and I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed when they found out the truth.”
“Aww, I always knew B’Elanna was a gentle caring person under that gruff Klingon exterior, and she never gossiped…” Tom trailed off again at Chakotay’s sudden movement. He had curled forward again, with his head on his hands. “Chak…oh god, oh fuck, I did it again.” Tom reached out and touched Chakotay’s shoulder. “You’re a virgin.” Tom repeated it again, the second time without the emphasis to Chakotay’s relief. “You’re a real virgin. You said it and I didn’t get it. I’m sorry. You married a thickhead.” He wiggled his hand in and grasped Chakotay’s chin. He gently encouraged Chakotay to turn and face him. “Hey, you didn’t kiss me like one,” he said chidingly, and kept a reassuring smile on his face as he waited for Chakotay’s response.
“The article…” was all Tom understood of the mumble.
“Go on, you may as well share with me.”
“The one on the art of kissing.” Chakotay flushed.
“Why would you need an article like that?” Tom reddened as soon as he closed his mouth. He groaned apologetically. “I’ve really got foot-in-mouth disease, sorry, but really, you kiss me just fine. Maybe I’ll read it too.” He waggled his eyebrows and smirked lasciviously. Chakotay’s answering, somewhat rueful smile was enough; Tom’s latest blunder would not be held against him.
“You don’t need to read it. You have so much experience.” Chakotay sighed, but continued gamely. “I had to do something. Spirits, Tom, until just before on the holodeck, I’ve never had anyone’s tongue in my mouth, let alone tried sticking mine down someone’s throat. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get to forty and admit that you have never done that, let alone anything else? You know I entered the Academy at fifteen. The year or so prior to that, when the other teenagers on Dorvan were – experimenting – I was studying like crazy. I wanted Starfleet more than anything. When I got to the Academy, I found that being so much younger than everyone cut me out of the social activities, and anyway, they’d boarded me with one of the professors for the first two years. By the time I was allowed to stay in a dorm, I was still younger than my year-mates, and out of their established social circles and, well, it was just easier to keep studying.” Chakotay shrugged. “I obeyed the ‘no fraternization’ rules on my postings, and then there was the Maquis. Besides, I…” he paused, and flushed again, “I wanted my first time to be special, not in a brothel, or with a stranger on a one-night stand.”
“I…Would…” Tom’s voice cracked. He swallowed and started again. “Would tonight be special enough for you?” His hands shook a little and he played with his wedding ring. He stared into Chakotay’s eyes, and continued, “With someone who loves you?” and he smiled, suddenly knowing it was true.
“I…You love me?”
“Yeah. You’re supposed to say you love me too, you know,” teased Tom. He knew Chakotay loved him. He finally understood what Chakotay meant when he said he couldn’t marry the captain, because he didn’t love her. “I’ll have to find you some other helpful articles.” He raised his eyebrows at Chakotay’s uncomfortable expression.
“I…err…read some. I’ll get rid of them.”
“You don’t have to.” Tom watched Chakotay’s lips twitch and then soften into a smile. He held his breath. He wanted that declaration before they went any further. He sincerely hoped Chakotay didn’t want to wait any longer, but if he did, Tom would respect that.
“I’d like tonight to be special. I love you too, Tom.”
In Name Only No More by Mandy
Then they were back in each other’s arms. This time, there were no gentle teasing kisses to start. Lips pressed hard, hungry mouths opened, teeth nipped. Chakotay soon stopped copying Tom’s actions as he gave into instinct again. He tilted his head so Tom could more easily nuzzle into the throat he'd barely been able to taste before. Chakotay did not stop him this time; he only trembled when Tom undid the buttons on his shirt. With one hand, he tangled his fingers in Tom’s hair; with the other, he stroked Tom’s back, feeling the patches of his vest, and the bunching of his muscles beneath. He managed to tug out enough of the material to be able to slide his fingertips along a strip of skin.
The material of his own shirt felt almost scratchy to Chakotay’s hyper-sensitized skin when Tom pulled the hem free from his trousers and got the last buttons undone. When Tom lightly brushed a time or two over the bulge that strained at the black pants, he could not help the shudders that swept though him, and he groaned as Tom cupped his hand over Chakotay’s burgeoning erection and squeezed gently.
“Good?” Tom whispered, leaning in close, his warm breath tickling Chakotay’s jaw.
“Oh, yesss.” The drawn-out hiss was most satisfying.
“You tell me if’i s’not, ’kay?” Tom licked around the shell of Chakotay’s ear.
He found himself lying back against the sofa cushions. Other cushions were stuffed behind him and the two of them shuffled until Chakotay stretched out and lay with Tom, who had managed to discard his vest and shirt, straddling his thighs. He swore he felt Tom's laser-blue gaze burn where it raked over him. He licked his lips as the heat of desire dried his mouth and further warmed his blood.
For a long moment, they stared into one another's eyes. Tom broke away first, and a slow smile curve his lips as he surveyed the smooth skin covering Chakotay's muscular torso. He itched to touch it. He rested one arm along the back of the sofa, and then his hand traced the path his eyes had followed, stoking outwards along Chakotay's collar-bone with the backs of his fingers first, then inwards with the pads. He trailed his index finger down the breastbone, just firmly enough not to tickle. All the while he watched for Chakotay's reactions, guessing he'd get little in the way of verbal feedback at this time.
Chakotay reached up to touch Tom and found his hand captured and his palm kissed. The pointy tip of Tom's tongue tickled as it drew a playful outwards spiral. Tom's intense stare caught and held his as each finger was sucked and laved in turn. He felt sure Tom would feel the erratic hammering of his pulse when open-mouthed kisses on the paler skin over his wrist melted into sucking bites. When Chakotay’s hand was finally released, he quickly feathered his fingers across Tom's forehead, around his ear and cupped Tom's jaw, stroking the clean-shaven skin a time or two before bringing his other hand up to guide Tom back down to his mouth.
His eyes closed of their own accord as he savored Tom’s kiss; it seemed easier to concentrate on feeling and tasting with them shut, but too soon he forced them open to watch when Tom broke away and moved down, his mouth following his hand’s previous path. He definitely liked the sensation of a warm, wet tongue sliding along his collar bone. A myriad of champagne bubbles seemed to burst inside when he felt the same tongue dip rapidly in and out of his navel.
Tom smiled into Chakotay's belly as his husband writhed beneath him. He snaked a hand up and tweaked a nipple. The sudden jump stopped the tremors and Tom's mouth took possession of Chakotay's other nipple, finally doing what he'd dreamed about for ages. He indulged himself for a few minutes, kissing, licking, sucking one and then the other. Finally, he rested his head over Chakotay's heart, watching as he lazily circled round the areola with a finger.
“You like?” Chakotay's fingers carding through his hair felt grand. The other hand playing with the nape of Tom's neck was unknowingly touching one of Tom’s favorite erogenous zones and felt even better.
“It feels good, Tom.”
Tom pushed himself up and examined Chakotay's face. He raised an eyebrow.
“It does feel good,” repeated Chakotay with emphasis. “I like it.”
“I heard a 'but'. You like it, but...”
“There was no lightning bolt.”
Tom had to lean close to hear Chakotay's muttered explanation. “No lightning bolt? Remember you married a thickhead.”
Chakotay's flush wasn't all from sexual excitement as he closed his eyes and recited, “Let's see. 'Lord Burleigh pressed Mrs Davenport's breasts together and stared down at the soft mounds of flesh. Her milky skin gleamed palely in the moonlight. He bent forward and drew a tawny bud into his mouth. She cried out when he bit down as a lightning bolt ran down imaginary wires that seemed to connect her nipple to the centre of pleasure between her legs.' Or how about this - 'John sucked Mark's nipple into his mouth. Mark cried out with pleasure as a lightning bolt of pleasure shot all the way to his groin and he felt his cock thicken and...',umm…or - 'With one hand, Ryan pulled on Paul's left nipple as he ran his tongue around its twin on the right. Paul cried out as the familiar lightning bolt of desire burned its way down his core straight to his dick...'” Chakotay had read more than a few things for his research. He took a deep breath and continued, “The men as well as the women - they all got lightning bolts when their nipples were stimulated, which is apparently supposed to make one cry out,” he added parenthetically and grinned before continuing, “I thought with the right person...” he trailed off, and then shrugged philosophically. “You said to tell you if anything wasn't okay. It wasn't 'not' okay – I did - I do like it, just…”
“No lightning bolts,” Tom understood and nodded sagely. He dropped a kiss on Chakotay’s nose and then scrambled carefully to his feet. “C’mon.” He held out his hand. “Let’s go and find you some.”
Once in the bedroom, they ended up back in each others arms, pressed close and reveling in skin contact, but it wasn’t enough. Quickly, Tom shed the remainder of his clothes and crouched as he turned to the task of helping Chakotay, who was lowering his pants more slowly. The images conjured up by his imagination and real life collided in a most satisfactory manner when Chakotay's erection sprang free in front of his face. He nobly suppressed the urge to immediately take it into his mouth then and there; he had hotspots to find first. So, he rubbed his head along the closest muscular thigh a few times. He drew in the strong musky scent through his nose and opened his mouth to huff out strongly, ruffling the black hairs. But he couldn’t resist a quick stroke, a squeeze and lick and a brief suck, along with a murmured promise of, “Soon, okay?” and Tom stood again.
As Tom stripped the covers from the bed, Chakotay admired the tall form that was finally unveiled to his eyes. Lean, but not wiry, nicely muscled and long legs, Chakotay quickly skimmed the bits he'd seen before. He fastened his gaze on the firm ass that looked just as tempting uncovered as it did encased in tight jeans, and then when Tom turned, stared at the engorged cock jutting arrogantly forward from its thick patch of light brown curls. He swallowed convulsively and tentatively reached out.
Hoarse groans, sharp breathy hisses, and softly muttered instructions or words of encouragement broke the silence as the men explored one another. A tendril of jealousy that tugged at Chakotay's insides on finding that Tom got the lightning bolt when Chakotay played with his nipples unfurled and disappeared when Tom sucked on his earlobes and produced the very sensation he'd hoped for.
“Wha?” Chakotay reached out confusedly as Tom made to slip out of bed.
“We need lube.”
“That’s okay. Here.”
“I haven't got -” began Tom as Chakotay reached to open Tom's bedside drawer instead of his own. “Why...forget it. Your side's too full of junk, isn't it?”
Chakotay's expression was a trifle guilty as he nodded. It was too easy to just shove things in there and close the drawer, especially when he'd cleaned up that afternoon. He'd taken a punt that Tom would not have any reason to go to his drawer for anything until morning. Fortunately it had paid off.
Tom knelt on the bed. He took the tube and hefted it into the air a couple of times, catching it with the same hand. He eyed Chakotay thoughtfully. After the third catch, he suddenly pointed it at his discomfited husband. A teasing grin settled over his features.
“Well, well, well. Methinks there was some advance planning on someone’s part.”
“I…I…Stop it, Tom!” His stumbling explanation changed to a hapless protest drowned by a screech of laughter as Tom tossed the lube in the direction of his pillow and flung himself on Chakotay, tickling him mercilessly. “Yes! Yes, I planned it. Stop it! Yes. I did everything!” Chakotay hiccupped and then managed to use his weight to get the upper hand and tried to tickle Tom in return.
The bedsprings creaked wildly as they rolled around until the playful wrestling turned back to desire for full body contact, hungry kisses and frantic caresses.
With Chakotay lying on his stomach, Tom worked his way down, nuzzling around neck and shoulder muscles, using his fingers, lips and tongue along Chakotay’s spine, all the while noting in the back of his mind the sensitive spots just near the tip of a shoulder blade, and the smooth skin at the small of the back, right where it almost imperceptibly changed texture to the baby-soft skin covering enticing buttocks.
“Want you. Now.” Tom slid back up and sucked hard on Chakotay’s earlobe as he groped for the tube of lubricant.
“Now,” agreed Chakotay as he arched up in response to the lightning bolt that shot straight to his groin.
Tom murmured reassuringly to Chakotay as he slid a pillow under his hips and nudged his legs apart. He stroked his hand gently over the bronze skin and bent down to kiss each cheek before pulling them apart and taking in the virgin opening. Tom nearly forgot himself for a moment, but a moan from Chakotay drew him back. He released one hand and touched the tip of his index finger to the top of Chakotay’s cleft. He made feather-light strokes along its length and finished with a caress to the heavy balls that produced a ripple of shivers and then a shout of surprise when his tongue followed the path of his finger.
And then Tom began preparing him carefully, all the while using his other hand to rub along the length of Chakotay’s spine. If at times his words were somewhat incoherent, it didn’t seem to matter. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been as turned on as he was now, if he ever had. He was hot and hard, and all the want and need and love and lust roiled in his belly getting ready to explode. He withdrew his fingers and quickly slathered some of the gel onto his cock. He was in position before Chakotay had time to do more than groan Tom’s name, and then he was inside.
“You okay?” he remembered to ask.
“Fuck, yeah! ’m good.”
Chakotay’s rare expletive made Tom grin. They only appeared in times of great stress or strong emotions. He echoed the sentiment. Fuck, yeah, he was good too. He grasped Chakotay’s hips and began to move. Their initial awkward rhythm smoothed out. The creak of the bedsprings was joined by breathy grunts in two pitches and the slapping of flesh on flesh.
Tom reached under and groped for Chakotay’s erection. It was hot and hard and leaking. He wrapped his fingers round its girth and slid his hand along in time with his thrusts. A sudden increase in Chakotay’s respiration and a change in pitch of his groans cued Tom into Chakotay’s impending orgasm. He upped the ante and ran his thumb over the head, smearing the slick fluid so he slid more easily over the highly sensitized skin.
Chakotay gave up concentrating on trying to analyze every separate sensation and just felt. There was fullness and heat and pressure and he could feel his heart rate increase in speed and strength until it felt fit to burst. His toes curled and there was a moment of numbness that was almost surreal as his brain ignored everything else. There was no bed, no pillows, no sheets, no Tom – just a blackness as his endorphins peaked and then he was spurting over Tom’s hand, every push accompanied by a surge of pleasure.
After the peaks, Chakotay became aware of Tom still moving within him when he felt rather than heard Tom hold his breath. Suddenly, his thrusts were faster and Chakotay rocked back to meet them. Then as Tom’s breath forced its way out with a groan he came hard and Chakotay shuddered as he felt every pulse inside him.
“Stay,” Chakotay begged when Tom moved to pull out.
So Tom stretched out gently, covering Chakotay’s body with his own, and reached up to clasp hands.
Chakotay lay still, content to feel the warm press of Tom’s body on his own. He felt Tom’s heart rate slow and Tom’s lips on his neck, and suddenly he had to blink rapidly, as hot moisture pricked at his eyes. Uncontrollably, his breath hitched once. He felt Tom’s lips momentarily still, and then with one more kiss to Chakotay’s neck, Tom carefully withdrew and rolled onto his side.
Chakotay scrambled to push the pillow aside and turned to face Tom. He pulled him rather fiercely into his arms and kissed him hard. When they broke apart, he tried to meet Tom’s expression nonchalantly, but the thin veneer of attempted sophistication vanished when he read nothing but love, and he smiled.
“Hang on.” Tom slid out of bed and collected a towel from the bathroom. He handled the clean up with quiet efficiency. With the bed back in some semblance of order, it only took a few minutes for them to settle into a comfortable position for snuggling.
“I love you,” said Chakotay, enjoying the experience of saying aloud what he’d been confined to thinking for years.
“Love you too.”
And for now, neither needed to say another word. It was enough to lie, listening to the hypnotic rhythms of quiet breathing and hearts beating, to be aware of relaxing muscles and soft skin, and to feel surrounded by love as sleep claimed them.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.