Federation Day by Cheryl

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Author's note: A special thanks to Leinor for taking the time to
beta my work. If you find mistakes, blame me, not her.

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"Where did they go?"

Kathryn searched the forward screen where only moments before had
been a Starfleet armada between them and the beautiful vision of the
Sol system's third planet. She lifted herself up from the floor of
the bridge and addressed her operations officer. "Mr Kim, report!"

"Checking!" the young ensign yelled as his fingers flew over his
smoking console.

"Captain, I suggest we retreat." came Tuvok's steady voice from
behind.

"To where?" And why? Damn it, they were home, weren't they? Why
did they have to hide?

Lieutenant Paris flew past her and reclaimed his seat at the helm.
He'd been on his way to see his newborn daughter in Sickbay when the
explosion had hit Voyager. "I got it!" the new father exclaimed.

With her mind reeling, Kathryn dropped down in her command chair and
watched as the familiar planets of her home system flew by the ship's
view screen. Mars, Jupiter, and finally Saturn, made their
appearance through the haze created by various damaged systems on the
bridge. The planetary parade stopped as Tom settled Voyager into a
geo-synchronous orbit around the ringed planet.

"Now where are we?"

Sporting a bright red gash over his left eyebrow, her pilot swiveled
in his chair. "In the Cassini Division, ma'am." Tom was the only
one of her crew who used the honorific and the only one allowed
to. "It's the largest gap in Saturn's seven rings."

"Lovely." She threw her hands up. "Now would someone kindly explain
to me what the hell just happened? Harry?"

"There was an explosion," Ensign Kim began.

"Yes, I know, the Borg sphere, we blew her from the inside out."

"No, Captain, from the transwarp aperture as it imploded. The
collapsing vacuum threw us forward, sucked us back in and then...-"

"And then spit us back out again like so much garbage." Tom Paris
finished with a sardonic twist to his lips. The remark was directed
at Chakotay and, in response, she saw her first officer glower back
at the evident challenge in the pilot's steely blue eyes. It was yet
another display of their recent animosity. She quickly addressed her
security officer to break the building tension.

"Tuvok?"


"The lieutenant's analogy is crude but accurate, Captain. We were
expelled from the conduit after its destruction. However, we did not
return to our original position."

"But we are back home in the Alpha Quadrant, aren't we?"

"Yes and no."

"Tuvok!"

The Vulcan continued on calmly, unaffected by her growing
frustration. "We are in the Sol system but according to my scans
this will not be our `home' for another two hundred years."

Multiple gasps erupted from the bridge crew in time with her own
stifled breath.

"Two hundred years? Oh, please, tell me we didn't hit a time rift
while in the conduit," she pleaded with complete honesty. Time
travel, with all its convoluted trips and paradoxal traps never
failed to make her head pound.

"At this time I am unable to ascertain what exactly did happen,
Captain." the security officer replied frankly.

"Fine," Kathryn said, accepting the inevitable headache as she rose
from her chair. Striding to stand in front of the forward view
screen, which had become more static than picture in the last few
minutes, she faced her bewildered crew. "OK, people, listen up, in
exactly one hour I want answers. I want to know where and when we
are, the status of the ship and how the hell we get back home.
Understood?" A sea of stunned and battered faces nodded back to her
in unison.

Out of the frying pan, and into the fire, she thought, as she headed
for her ready room to do her own analysis of the situation.

Typical Voyager luck.

********

"We created what, a white hole?"

Chakotay squirmed in his conference room chair wishing he'd paid more
attention to quantum dynamics at the Academy. "I thought there were
only black ones."

Seven looked to Tuvok for permission to answer before speaking. "No,
Commander, there are both. A white hole emits light and matter while
a black one absorbs it. When combined, they create the entrance and
exit of what is commonly known as a wormhole."

"Which is what Voyager fell into before being spat out. OK, fine, I
get it but what caused the time shift?"

"A naked singularity in the centre of the system." the ex-borg
continued. "The phenomenon disrupts the normal time/space continuum
and causes the laws of physics to fail. As Voyager left the white
hole created by the force of the conduit's collapse, she was caught
in the singularity's string."

"So how do we get back?"

"We reenter the wormhole. In theory that should transport us back to
the year 2378 and the Alpha Quadrant."

"Ah…hello?" Tom Paris piped up from across the table. "I don't know
if anyone's noticed, but there is no wormhole in the Sol system. Not
now, not two hundred years ago, not ever."

Seven blandly took the information in stride, which was more than
Chakotay did. He had to restrain himself from leaning over the table
and bopping the annoying blond for his nay-saying.

"It may not be detectable, but it is there, Lieutenant. Our arrival
in this timeline is evidence of that. A quantum gravimetric torpedo
should activate its aperture and facilitate our departure."

"Great. Then let's haul ass and get the hell out of here." The
pilot spoke in exasperation as if the idea had not occurred to anyone
else in the room.

"It's not that simple, Mr Paris."

Taking back control of the meeting, Chakotay scowled at Tom before he
could make another useless remark. "Explain Seven."

"It will take approximately forty-eight hours to construct the
torpedo but that Commander, will not be the difficult part, I',
afraid. Deploying it unobserved will be."

Chakotay remembered their hasty retreat and the pilot's innovative
hiding place between the rings of Saturn. It irked him that Tom had
been perceptive enough to see that something was wrong with their
situation before he did but then a lot of things had irked him about
Paris in the last nine months. However this was not the time or the
place to brood about them.

"A twenty-fourth century ship with futuristic armour and Borg-
enhanced technology is probably something the twenty-second century
doesn't see everyday."

"No, sir, and if we don't want to pollute this timeline, and
ultimately our own, we'll have to find a way to disable the satellite
tracking systems on both Earth and Mars."

"Can't we fly in and out before we're detected?"

"No, I do not believe so." Seven consulted the PADD in her
hand. "The year is 2161, Commander. Earth at this time has ships
with warp 5 capabilities, and has had since the launch of the
Enterprise NX-01 under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer ten
years earlier. We would be surrounded by Fleet ships before we
reached the coordinates of the wormhole."

"Understood. Can we disable the systems from Voyager?"

"Not effectively." It was Harry Kim who answered. Chakotay turned
his gaze towards the ensign trying hard not to look at the blond
sitting beside him.

"Voyager sustained a lot of damage coming out of the wormhole, but
even if she hadn't, we'd be hard pressed to knock out all of the
satellites remotely. Well, not without destroying them, and I'm
thinking that's not an option."

"No, Ensign, it's not."

"Well then that means manually disabling the orbiting satellites
planetside. Accessing the global computer and shutting them down
from there."

"An away team." Chakotay said in defeat. Temporal mechanics were a
tricky thing when the actions of even one person could screw up an
entire timeline. What could the actions of a whole team do?

"Yeah, I could beam over, and maybe Tom, he's a history buff and not
half bad when it comes to computers." said the young ensign, his
enthusiasm evident by the excited pitch of his voice.

"Hey!" The pilot exclaimed in outrage at his friend's dig about his
technical knowledge Chakotay guessed, and not at being volunteered.
Tom Paris might be an arrogant, self-centered bastard but he was not
a coward. He had guts if not integrity.

"Thank you for the offer, Mr Kim, but I think we're going to need
your operational talents on Voyager to get her ready for the jump
back home." Harry's shoulders slumped with visible disappointment.

"Then if that follows, we won't need our pilot and first officer
until then." Kathryn said smoothly, breaking her silence.

"What?" Chakotay turned his attention to his captain.

"If I remember correctly, you're no slouch when it comes to Earth
history, Commander."

"It's only a hobby. I'm no expert." He said defensively.

Working alone with the man who had shattered his illusions of
happiness and betrayed his dreams was the last thing he wanted to
do.

"No, but you and Tom are the best we've got, so you're elected.
Harry, can you provide them with fake identification? Yes? Good.
Anything else?"

"Captain," Tuvok started, "I recommend that the commander and the
lieutenant maintain radio silence until they have completed their
mission. We would suffer less chance of being detected."

The captain nodded her head. "Agreed. Then if that's it, let's move,
people. We've got a welcome home party to get back to, and as the
guests of honour, we don't want to be late."

She pushed her chair out, signaling an end to the meeting and a start
to his torture.

"Wait!" Everyone halted in their tracks.

"What now, Paris?" Chakotay growled unable to hide his increasingly
bad mood.

Tom leveled his baby blues at him. "You said it was the year 2161,
right? What's the month and day?"

Seven saved him from answering but Tom paid her no mind and continued
to stare only at him. "The coordinated universal date retrieved from
the weather forecasting system is August 12."

"Don't you get it, Chakotay? It's Federation Day and if the year is
2161 that means it's the first one. It's going to be party central
down there."

Oh, spirits, he was right. Today was the inception of the United
Federation of Planets. Although the actual charter was being signed
on Babel, there still would be official receptions and private
gatherings celebrating the universal event all over the planet.
Unfortunately all that brouhaha also meant there would be heightened
security around any and all newly formed Federation facilities. Damn.

Their tough had job just gotten tougher.

********

"You OK?"

"Yeah, B'El, I'm fine."

B'Elanna Torres gazed fondly at the tall blond rocking their newborn
daughter in his arms and for the hundredth time wished she could have
fallen in love with him.

"She's just so beautiful. I can't believe she's mine."

"Believe it, Flyboy."

Tom looked up from their child and smiled brightly. Anyone looking
from the outside in would think from the joy that suffused his face
that the pregnancy had been his idea. It hadn't been.

After two turbulent years of trying to make their relationship work
they had accepted that they weren't meant to be together romantically
and had broken up. The split had been amicable and they had remained
friendly but not close.

So it had been a surprise that when B'Elanna had visited her mother
on the barge of the dead, it had been Tom who stepped up to save her,
proving that he didn't have to be in love with her to care for her.
The revelation had been a turning point that had led to others.

Seeing Miral after so many years had reawakened the importance of
family in the Klingon part of B'Elanna's heart. She suddenly
discovered she wanted a child to share her heritage with and asked
Tom to be the father. His selfless actions had shown her that he was
the only logical choice. The pilot, however, had been less than
enthusiastic about her request and when she pressed, she found out
why. Tom had fallen hard for Chakotay.

They were dating but not yet lovers, a concept she got but one which
perplexed and worried the pilot, who had no compunctions against
fucking on the first date. What Tom didn't comprehend or perhaps
couldn't, given his promiscuous history, was that Chakotay was
seriously courting him. The older man didn't want mindless sex but a
lasting relationship born of love and trust.

B'Elanna knew that but had selfishly kept the information secret,
reasoning that in the end it wouldn't matter to Chakotay, that her
long-time friend would understand. Besides, had she told the love-
struck blond he probably wouldn't have agreed to sire her child,
which he, despite his love for her.

She would have Tom's baby and Chakotay would get Tom. It had been a
seemingly good plan and it would have gone smoothly, except for one
rather large hitch. Chakotay hadn't understood, not one bit. On the
day he heard about the pregnancy, he had stopped speaking to both of
them. The only time B'Elanna heard her old friend's voice now was in
the line of duty.

"When do you leave for Earth, Tom?"

The shining smile faded abruptly. "Soon."

"I'm so sorry." She didn't have to tell Tom what she was talking
about. He knew. It was the one and only thing she ever apologized
for.

"Stop it, B'El. We've been through this. If Chakotay doesn't want
me, it isn't because of you or our baby. It's because of me."

"But if I had told you…,"

"Yeah, so what?" He gave her a brave smile. "I would have probably
knocked you up anyway, so forget it, OK? Screw apologies, screw
regrets and screw Chakotay if he can't take a joke."

"Tom, you don't mean that."

His blue eyes flashed with anger. "Look B'Elanna I love you and I
love our daughter. If Mr Holier-Than-Thou can't handle that, I'm
better off without him."

"But you're in *love* with him." she said calmly, trying to temper
the anger she knew wasn't directed at her. It worked. A funny lop-
sided smile formed and softened the hard edges of his mouth.

"Yeah, but I'm not most stable personality I know, so go figure." He
kissed the baby and then handed her over. "I'll see you both when I
get back."

With that the handsome, complicated man left for the transporter room
and B'Elanna wished again she could have fallen in love with him.

That made the count a hundred and one.

********

Damn it, they were in the middle of a crisis. Why did he have to
look so fucking good?

Tom eyed Chakotay surreptitiously as they walked the street of San
Francisco in less than companionable silence looking for a place to
stay.

The commander was attired tastefully in black jeans and a sweater,
whereas Tom was dressed like a complete dork in an old style ensign's
uniform. He pulled at the constricting crotch of his blue jumper and
hiked his duffel bag higher onto his shoulder at the same time in a
cover move. His balls itched and the seam of the uniform kept
catching in the crack of his ass. He was uncomfortable, but there
was no way in hell he was going to admit his discomfort to the cool
commander beside him.

"So are we looking for one room or two?" Tom quipped.

"One. You're the anonymous young officer and I'm your older lover,
remember?" the commander replied tersely without looking over.

Because Chakotay's age demanded a higher rank, which be more
conspicuous, he couldn't be in Starfleet. The captain had suggested
instead that he pose as teacher and Tom's life partner, so they could
still travel and live together without question.

Tom had known all that just as he'd known it would piss Chakotay off
to say it. He didn't want to be the only one feeling miserable here.

"Oh, yeah, that's right. Shit, I don't know why that concept won't
stick in my head."

"Maybe because it's such a reach." Chakotay growled.

Oooh, touché. Score one for the sexy commander in the drop-dead
gorgeous outfit.

"Not my fault." Tom replied weakly.

This time Chakotay did flash a look at him. Tom cringed when he saw
the hatred in the ebony orbs. There was a time when those deep
soulful eyes had looked upon him with what he had been sure was love.

Despite what B'Elanna thought, Tom had known, from the first time a
friendly game of pool on the holodeck had turned into a quiet dinner
in the first officer's cabin, how strongly Chakotay felt about him.
It was no secret. The first officer had been totally up front with
him from the getgo. Tom had been the one keeping secrets and holding
back.

Gun-shy from his failed relationship with B'Elanna, Tom hadn't been
ready to commit so completely again. He wanted Chakotay, oh, god how
he wanted him but he had been scared shitless. The older man had
demanded monogamy and wouldn't do more than kiss until he conceded.
Tom had freaked. Not because it meant giving up the string of lovers
he had reacquired after his break up with B'El, he'd already done
that. Because it meant he would have to admit to himself that he
really didn't want anybody else but the commander. That maybe, just
maybe he had finally fallen in love and the responsibility that
entailed was damn fucking scary.

Love meant telling your deepest darkest secrets and sharing your most
intimate thoughts with another person.

Tom had spent a lifetime, hiding his hurts and concealing his darker
passions within himself, and couldn't imagine letting anyone, least
of all someone as important to him as Chakotay, see them. What if
the commander was shocked or, worse yet, appalled at the way his mind
worked? That, he wouldn't be able to handle, so in the end, he
hadn't. Getting B'Elanna pregnant had put an end to that dilemma and
effectively sabotaged any future with the first officer.

He hadn't told Chakotay until after the deed was done. It had been
stupid, but back then he hadn't been functioning on all thrusters.
The older man had been furious and in his anger had accused Tom of
all sorts of things. Still wanting B'Elanna, not being able to think
with anything but his dick, which Tom had translated into being
called a slut and, last but not least, being a selfish bastard who
was unable to see how his actions affected others. Except for the
bit about B'El, it had been a hard argument to dispute. Tom had left
without defending himself and that had been the last conversation
they had had outside of work. However, since that awful night Tom
had smartened up some.

Walking beside him now was the man he knew he loved more than his own
life. Unfortunately, his illumination had come eight months too
late. The loathing he had just seen in his companion's eyes attested
to that. What love Chakotay had once felt for him had been blasted
away by Tom's selfish fears and subsequent betrayal. The most he
could hope for now was to perhaps feel Chakotay's lust.

Tom had been fucked by people who hated him before, so it wasn't
beyond the realm of possibility that the older man might succumb.
There had been a time not long ago when he had felt Chakotay's desire
for his body pumped against his hip as they tested their passions
with experimental kisses in his quarters, so there was a chance.

Tom glanced over at the hard body in black walking steadily beside
him and came up with his own personal mission.

Before they left this planet he would make their fictional cover
story a reality.

********

Not my fault, bullshit it wasn't.

As Chakotay unpacked his rucksack and hung the few articles of
clothing it contained in the tiny closet, the offensive words rang
over and over in his head. Not my fault, the Tom Paris motto. If he
looked, Chakotay would bet he'd see the mantra tattooed across the
younger man's butt. He let his eyes drift over to the king sized bed
where the man in question was sitting cross-legged reading a PADD.

Spirits, he was strikingly beautiful. It was little wonder Chakotay
had fallen in love with him and still loved him, although the older
man fervently wished he didn't.

Tom's boyish features were screwed up with concentration as he read,
giving him an air of endearing innocence. But that's where the
tender vulnerability ended. The top of his uniform was unzipped and
peeled dangerously low on his hips, exposing bare arms in a
sleeveless black tee. There was nothing innocent or boyish about the
long-limbed body. It was a well-toned and well-used sexual machine
that, despite his better nature, Chakotay longed to try. It was too
bad it housed a cold, uncaring heart. He turned away from the
conflicted vision and entered the bathroom.

Two hundred years from now he was going to offer the treasures of his
heart and soul to the younger man in the other room, only to have
them pushed aside for something less important, though more
substantial.

It had been only his body Tom had wanted, and when Chakotay had
denied him, he had gone elsewhere: to Gerron, the Delaneys, Tabor,
and finally B'Elanna, although he had claimed her body in a different
way. In silence he had suffered Tom's lovers but the pregnancy had
been the final straw. It spoke too closely to the commitment Tom had
refused him and, ultimately, it had broken both him and their budding
relationship. Too much anger and hate had infused his heart at the
treason, leaving little room for love.

Chakotay sat down on the edge of the tub and opened his trousers.

The only problem was, it wasn't the dashing blond he hated so much as
himself. Despite the betrayal, his heart still yearned for Tom's
love as his body ached for his touch. Chakotay closed his eyes and
remembered the heated kisses they once shared as his own fingers
wrapped around his traitorous organ in preparation.

Tom's hot wet tongue sliding against his, the feel of his lean body
pressed into him, oh, spirits, how he missed that. Perhaps he should
have fucked the younger man then as he was fucking his fist now,
alone in a hotel bathroom. Oh, oh yes, to be inside him, to feel his
tight warmth, to, to…

Chakotay stopped thinking and pulled mercilessly at his granite-hard
cock. It was always this way when he thought of Tom. First the
anger, then the regret and finally the mindless need for release.
And always, always without fail, as his orgasm approached, the vision
of Tom's clear blue eyes. He saw them now as his seed erupted from
him, splashed up over his sweater and trickled down his hand. He
opened his eyes to stark white tiled walls.

His throat was tight, so he knew he'd cried out when he came.
Chakotay waited for a knock of concern on the wooden door but when it
didn't come, he wasn't surprised. If Tom had heard him, he was
experienced enough to know he didn't need help but privacy. Chakotay
hoped the younger man's discretion would continue when he emerged.

Grabbing a towel from the top of the toilet and sighing deeply, he
began to clean away the sticky evidence of his unwanted passion.

********

"One beer, a scotch neat and, oh yeah, a shot of tequila, hold the
lemon." Tom added, feeling a little wild.

Ferengi synthehol wouldn't be instituted in Starfleet establishments
for another hundred years, so what the fuck. He might as well take
advantage of the real stuff while he had the chance. While he waited
for the bartender to verify his ID chip, and retrieve his drink
order, he leaned his elbows back on the bar and took in his
surroundings.

After Chakotay had emerged from the bathroom and his own private
orgy, they had decided to check out the local watering holes and do
some reconnaissance. Forgoing the formality of the Officer's Club,
they had ended up in the more laid-back atmosphere of the Fleet's
Junior Ranks. It was a rocking place where everyone, from young up-
and-coming officers to crewmen, could mingle and trade gossip. If
ever there was a place where one could find out a little inside
information, this was it.

The bar looked similar to the one Tom remembered from his academy
days, there were a couple of pool tables, pictures of war heroes
hanging on the walls, poor lighting and worse ventilation. It was
pretty much par for the course except the current clientele was less
eclectic.

The absence of Bolians, Hortas, Deltans, Bajorans and other races not
yet members of the Federation, gave the bar a vanilla-like quality.
With the exception of the gorgeous man waiting for him at a table
under a tattered poster of Zefram Cochrane along the far wall,
everyone seemed ordinary to Tom. Bored, he forgot the bar's mundane
inhabitants and focused on the star of the room, the recently titled
Professor Chakotay.

Damn, but he was one hell of a sexy beast. The bartender brought his
order, and Tom, still eating up the commander with his eyes, downed
the tequila in one gulp. The golden liquid set fire to his throat.
All at once his eyes watered, his nose ran and he began to cough. A
broad palm slapped his back.

"My god, boy, that stuff ain't water." a lyrical voice drawled in
amusement. "You need to be more careful."

Tom blinked the tears from his eyes and turned around to thank the
owner of the hand at his back.

"Holy shit!" he exclaimed in unison with the incredible vision
before him.

Thoughts of a parallel universe flashed through Tom's mind, as he
stood slack-jawed and staring at the man, a lieutenant according to
the pips on his collar, opposite him.

"Either we're cousins or I'm dreaming." his doppelganger said as his
blue eyes searched Tom's face. "And since I distinctly remember the
delicious waif that woke me this morning, I'd say we're related."

"Related?" he replied dully wondering if it was indeed true.

As far back as he could remember there had always been a Paris in
Starfleet and before that, in NASA. This six-foot blond officer,
dressed in a clean white shirt covered by a short blue jacket and
pants with razor-sharp creases, could very well be one of his
ancestors. The hair was a little lighter and longer on the top but
the face was definitely his own.

"Yes, as in part of the same family." the lieutenant offered with a
wry grin and a mocking tone that was also shockingly familiar. "How
many of those there shots have you imbibed tonight, son?" Son? They
looked to be the same age.

"One." Tom replied, shell-shocked.

His other self laughed. "Well then hell, maybe you're not one of the
clan. There isn't a red-blooded young man alive that can drink a
Paris under the table."

Oh shit, well that answered that. Chakotay was going to have a fit
when he found out about this. Tom was pretty sure that running into,
let alone speaking to your family before you were born wasn't good
for the timeline. He stuck out his hand. He was already in
trouble. There was no point in being rude too.

"Tom." he offered.

A smile bright enough to light the dark corners of the bar broke out
over the charming man's face. "Lieutenant Joshua Lafayette Gabriel
Paris of Atlanta, Georgia." A well-manicured hand shook Tom's
warmly. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Thomas."

"Yeah, right back at you Josh."

"Joshua." his twin corrected.

Tom rolled his eyes. "Sorry. So what do you do around here, Joshua?"

"Just about everything." He brushed back a lock of hair where it had
fallen over one blue eye. "By day, I'm the protocol officer for the
Federation's new Chief of Staff."

Oh terrific, there was nothing more boring than a by-the-book
protocol officer. They were the nerds of the Fleet. Tom took
another look at his counterpart. He was impeccably groomed with
shiny boots and all and stood so straight, Tom could swear he had a
pole up his butt. Yep, a nerd.

"And what about by night?" Probably still a nerd, Tom thought. He
grabbed the sweating bottle of cold beer from the bar and took a swig.

Joshua leaned forward and whispered. "Between us gentlemen?"

"Yeah gentlemen, whatever." Man, this guy was weird. Tom took
another sip.

"I fuck." said the lieutenant plainly in a silken voice.

Tom spewed beer over Joshua's immaculately pressed jacket. It was
shockingly odd to hear the crude words spoken with such elegance.

"Preferably someone older, with influence in the Fleet," He pulled a
white handkerchief from his pocket and continued on, not skipping a
beat as he wiped Tom's spittle from his uniform. "But save that,
anyone really." His eyes sparkled. "Call it a hobby."

Whoa-kay, now this he could understand. At least now Tom knew where
he got his voracious sexual appetite.

"What about you," Joshua flicked the lone pip on his collar with his
fingertips. "Ensign Thomas? What do you do?"

The lieutenant ordered a bourbon on the rocks while he waited
patiently for his answer. The drink came quickly, attesting to the
fact that Joshua was probably a regular customer in the Ranks.

"I'm a pilot, and as for hobbies...-" Tom trailed off, wondering just
how much he should reveal. He had probably already said more than
Chakotay would like.

"A pilot?" A brief look of puzzlement crossed Joshua's face before
his easy confidence returned. "As am I, although just an amateur.
I'm better with people than I am with machines. In fact I'm the best
damn Protocol Officer this ragtag of an outfit has ever seen. If you
have a need, I'm the one that can accommodate it. I put the `pro' in
protocol."

"Is that so?" Hmmm. That could come in handy for a couple of guys
from the wrong side of the timeline.

Smiling, Joshua raised one hand and placed the other on his
chest. "As God is my witness." Then the hand in the air came down
to rest gently on Tom's shoulder. Joshua fingered the seam of the
ensign's uniform and spoke in a voice like raw silk. It was husky
and smooth at the same time. "Damn, Thomas, please forgive my lack of
modesty, but you're a fine looking man."

"And possibly a cousin." Tom warned as he removed the fondling
fingers.

"A kissing one?" Joshua asked hopefully.

"Nope. Besides, I'm taken."

"Me too. Almost every night." Joshua replied with a hint of the
devil in his eyes. Winking, he turned again to the bartender.

The jovial man with the curly mop of blond hair might be a Fleet
keener but Tom liked him anyway. Joshua Lafayette Gabriel Paris had
just enough of the irascible rogue in him to take the goody two shoes
edge off his upper class manners and self-serving ambitions. He was
interesting and taking another look at his six-foot tall frame,
attractive. If it weren't for Chakotay, he might have been tempted.
It wasn't every day you got a chance to fuck yourself. Tom let his
eyes travel down Joshua's back to the firm butt encased in impeccably
tailored blue trousers.

"So where is she?" Joshua caught the direction of his gaze and
amended his inquiry. "Or perhaps I should say he?"

"What? Oh, fuck. Ah, he's over there by the poster of Zefram
Cochrane." Tom stammered, out glad the bar was too dark for Joshua
to see his blush.

"Where?" The lieutenant stood on his toes and scanned the crowd.
The bar had filled considerably since Tom had gone for drinks. "Oh,
wait, the Indian with the tattoo?"

"Yeah."

"Very nice, Thomas, very, very nice." he said with an appreciative
leer. "Husband?"

"No."

"Good."

Grabbing the tray of drinks the bartender had brought, his twin set
off in the direction of Tom's commanding officer. Stunned, Tom
watched the seductive sway of his hips as he walked away. It was
almost a full minute before his jealousy got his feet moving.

********

What the hell was keeping Tom?

Chakotay tried looking for the pilot through the throng of people but
saw only a wall of bodies. He was becoming increasingly nervous
until a familiar tall lean body began to form in the dim lighting of
the club. He sighed in relief, his anger and worry dissipating.
Chakotay quickly schooled his features back into a neutral mask. It
wouldn't do for Tom to see his agitation. It might be construed as
concern, or worse, caring. As the man got closer, his distress
returned. It was not Tom, it was, was… Spirits, Chakotay didn't
know who or what it was.

The well-dressed man set a full tray of drinks down on the table and
smiled warmly as he took the seat beside him. "Did it hurt?"

"Did what hurt?" Chakotay replied automatically, still stunned by
the likeness.

"When you fell from heaven." The man who bore an uncanny resemblance
to the man he hated to love held out a hand tipped with perfectly
buffed and trimmed fingernails. "Joshua, and you are?"

He shook the fine-spun appendage. "Chakotay."

"Chaak-koh-tay." He sat mesmerized as his new companion rolled his
name off his tongue while still holding his hand. "An appropriate
name for an angel."

Turning Chakotay's palm up, the mock Tom brushed the inside of his
wrist lightly with his lips. The kiss was soft and tender, just as
he remembered it. Chakotay felt a stirring in his heart `and' in his
trousers.

"OK, Casanova, put it back in your pants." Chakotay jumped with
guilt at the sharp sound of Tom's voice. He was about to refute the
accusation, when the pilot, who was standing at the head of the
table, turned his anger on his twin. "I told you he was mine."

"No, Thomas, what you said was that you were taken and now I see
why. I believe I'm quite `taken' with him myself."

"Tom, what's going on?" Confused, Chakotay looked from one blond to
the other. "Who is this?"

"His name is Lieutenant Josh Paris."

"Joshua, my dear Thomas, Joshua." the entrancing man said in a slow
southern drawl.

"Whatever, he's a protocol officer affiliated with the Federation's
Chief of Staff." Tom wiggled his eyebrows as if to impress upon him
the importance of the position.

Chakotay got the more than obvious hint. Whoever this seductive
young man was, his post gave him access to a wealth of strategic
information. Odds were that Josh, or Joshua as he apparently liked
to be called, would know exactly where the computer hub was that
controlled the planetary surveillance system and perhaps even how to
shut it down. Gaining his trust and ultimately his cooperation had
just become the next step in their mission.

He leaned provocatively towards the lieutenant catching a whiff of
his musky scent as he did so. Combined with the striking blue eyes
that were so like the ones that haunted his soul, he was immediately
intoxicated. Chakotay bit the inside of his cheek to remind himself
this wasn't the man of his fantasies, only a rough, or rather, a
refined copy.

"Is one of those drinks for me?" he cooed trying to sound
seductive. It had been a while since he'd tried to pick someone up
in a bar. In fact, the last time had been in the Maquis when he
needed a pilot, but that had been eight years ago and a whole other
desperate situation.

"Yes, sir, every one of them if you like." Joshua purred back
confirming that some talents you didn't forget.

"Professor, can I talk to you a moment?" the real Tom asked
politely, still standing at the table's head.

"Oh, you're a teacher." Joshua moved close enough so their thighs
touched. Chakotay didn't pull away. He knew he should but it had
been too long since he felt something this good and this real. "You
know, I always liked school, Professor."

"Really, Joshua? Which subject was your favorite?"

"Sex education." the charming lieutenant said with perfectly
kissable pink lips.

"Chakotay!" Voyager's pilot erupted.

Chakotay broke eye contact with the man who was now rubbing the top
of his leg with a slow sensuous hand and answered the outburst. "What
is it, Tom?" he said impatiently, secretly pleased at what he hoped
was the pilot's jealousy.

"Can I talk you?" His lieutenant glared at the twenty-second century
one. "Alone."

Before he had a chance to respond, the agitated pilot hauled him up
from the table and over to a dark corner a few meters away. When
they were out of hearing distance, Tom rounded on him with his hands
set squarely on his hips.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Tom hissed.

"Acquiring a desperately needed contact." he replied smoothly, still
enjoying Tom's uncharacteristic behavior.

"Is that what you call it." Tom remarked snidely as unshed tears
were clouded his normally clear blue eyes. It was unsettling.
Chakotay had wanted to piss off the younger man, to get back some of
his own, not to hurt him.

"What are you implying, Lieutenant?" he said sternly ending his self-
indulgent game.

"How far will you take it?"

"As far I have to." he admitted. Tom's feelings were one thing but
the ship's safety was quite another. "We need him, Tom. Voyager
needs him."

"Oh, so you'll fuck him for the good of the ship, is that it?
Bullshit, Chakotay, I can see your hard-on from here. Fuck the
ship. You want him, for him."

"It's a side effect, that's all." He looked over Tom's shoulder to
where Joshua sipped a short amber drink and perused the scenery
casually.

"Yeah, right. I'm not sure if you noticed but Josh looks an awful
like me." The pilot's face softened and he moved closer. "Let me
have him, Chak, I'll get what we need and then you can take that
bulge in your pants out on me." Tom pleaded.

"No." Chakotay said firmly, insulted and angered by the pilot's
casual offer. Having sex with Tom would be an empty experience. He
needed more than that from the beautiful young pilot, much more.

Tom lowered his lashes and whispered. "I heard you in the bathroom,
you know. I heard the moans and the hiss of your breath. And when I
listened real hard, I could even hear the swish of your hand on your
cock as you jacked off." With the palms of his hands on his chest,
Tom pressed him backwards into the wall. "Tell me Chakotay, who do
you think of when you come? Is it me?"

When he opened his lips to answer, his mouth was captured in a savage
kiss. Showing no mercy, Tom shoved his tongue down Chakotay's throat
and slid his hands up to seize the back of his neck in a painful
grip. Unlike the sweet sensual kisses they had shared before, this
was a brutal attack meant to disarm him and wreak havoc with his
defenses. It was working. Chakotay hated it but damn it all to
hell, it `was' working and what's more, he wanted it to. Chakotay
redirected his fury and let it fuel the black passion.

Slipping a hand between them, he rubbed Tom's cock roughly through
his uniform. It was hard and warm under his angry fingers. The
pilot cried out into his mouth and pushed his hips forward into the
violent caress. The back of Chakotay's hand pressed into his own
raging erection in tortured bliss as Tom crashed against him
repeatedly in waves.

Biting and sucking they ate away at each other. Necks were bruising,
lips were becoming raw and breaths were shortening. They were a
tangled mess of manic, furtive desire but in the dark bar no one saw
or if they did, they didn't care.

Chakotay was on the verge of release when Tom wrestled away from
him. His blue eyes were wild and his lips were swollen and chafed.
Chakotay had never seen the younger man look so wildly sensual and it
excited him.

"Hurting me gets you horny, doesn't it." Tom rasped.

The statement shocked and repulsed Chakotay. It was an abhorrent
thing to say, even if it was true. He *was* turned on by the violent
nature of their coupling but his sense of morality didn't want to let
him admit it. It wasn't right that this hostile foreplay should feel
so good. Confused, Chakotay lifted his forearms and shoved the sex-
mauled blond back with the heels of his hands. The pilot fell back a
step.

"It's OK, Chak, I liked it." Tom's chest heaved in time with his
flaring nostrils. "In fact, I liked it a lot."

Tom crept towards him and in reflex, Chakotay's arm shot out. In a
perfect right hook his bunched fist connected squarely with the
pilot's chin, sending him flying backwards into the crowd. The net
of bodies prevented him from falling but not from twisting from the
impact of the punch. Tom stumbled into them but rebounded quickly.
Like a big cat, he spun and began to stalk Chakotay again. Blood
trickled from the corner of his feral grin.

"Don't make me hit you again." Chakotay warned.

The younger man stopped his predatory advance, only inches away.
With his tongue, Tom licked the blood from the corner of his mouth,
letting it coat his lower lip. It took all of Chakotay's strength
not to lean forward and kiss it off.

"You're getting off on my pain, aren't you?" Tom growled low in his
throat, with a knowing gleam in his eyes. "You don't want to admit
it, but seeing me hurt and knowing you're the cause of it makes you
horny."

"No, no...-" His voice eked out in a trembled whisper. With the
younger man standing so close, Chakotay was virtually vibrating with
excitement.

"Oh yeah, you are, and it's killing you." Tom tilted his head and
leaned forward. Chakotay closed his eyes and parted his lips,
waiting for the taste of the pilot's coppery kiss. His eyes flew
back open when he felt Tom's hot breath caress only his ear. "Well,
news flash, Chakotay, some of us like a little pain mixed with our
pleasure. It's not wrong or kinky, just different."

Moving backwards with a slow grace, Tom stepped away from him and
bled into the crowd. Leaning against the wall for support, Chakotay
watched as the tall blond wound his way through the patrons of the
bar and back to their table. Once there, Tom selected a small glass
from the tray of drinks Joshua had brought and downed its contents
quickly. After wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he picked
up two more and made equally short work of them too, before taking
Joshua by the arm and leading him from the bar.

Shattered to the core, Chakotay made no move to halt their
departure. Instead he found the closest available seat and collapsed.

********

"Oh yes, sugar, don't move, don't move."

Tom woke to feel a hot body undulating behind him and an iron-like
hardness sliding between his thighs. Having only enough strength to
fight the pounding in his head, he remained still and pressed his
legs tight together so the thrusting pulled painfully at his short
hairs.

"Oh, Thomas, oh, oh, oh!"

As a flood of wetness filled the space below his balls, a sweating
palm seized his morning erection. In a few short strokes he came and
when the beating of his heart returned to normal, Tom found his
headache was gone. He rolled back into his early bird lover's arms.

"Oh, sugar, you're a mess."

"No thanks to you, Joshua." Tom replied, indicating with his eyes
his semen-soaked groin.

"No, no, I meant the rest of you. Look up."

Tom looked from the concerned eyes of his twin to the ceiling and
cringed. Reflected back in a mirror the size of the four-poster bed
he was lying in, were two naked images of him, one flushed pink with
orgasm around the face, neck and shoulders and the other dotted black
and blue with bruises.

"Oh, shit." Tom ran his tongue over his swollen bottom lip.

"You were quite the little hellcat last night Thomas." From nowhere
Joshua produced a white towel and began the process of cleaning them
both up. "And you gave the professor quite a fright."

"Chakotay!"

For all intents and purposes, he was technically AWOL, or
perhaps `missing in action' was a better term. Either way he was in
trouble on so many levels it made his head ache again. He started to
get up but Joshua pushed him back down.

"Don't worry, I commed your hotel and left a message for your
boyfriend. I told him I would keep your incredibly fuckable body
safe."

"Oh, please, tell me you didn't say it that way."

"No, I think I left out the incredible part." The lieutenant grinned
as he tossed the towel into a hamper to the right of the bed.

"Joshua!"

"Oh, hush, Thomas, I didn't say anything that would get you in
trouble with your commander. I merely reported your whereabouts."

"Commander?" Oh, shit, just how drunk was he last night?

"Yes, that's what you kept calling him as you tried to get all wild
and wooly with me."

"It's a nick-name, part of the scene." he offered in explanation
hoping Joshua would buy it. He didn't.

"If you say so."

OK, OK, so maybe he'd blown his cover. In misery he closed his eyes
and wondered what, or more correctly whom, else he'd blown last night
in his desperate flight from Chakotay.

He peeked an eye open. "Did we, you know…-"

"Fuck? No. You wanted to, ooh wee but you were randy. However, you
were also three sheets to the wind and obviously hankering for
somebody else. I'm a gentleman, Thomas. I don't take anyone on
false pretenses."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome, but if you're really grateful, you'll do something
for me."

"What? Like let you dry hump me while I'm sleeping?"

"Oh, no need to get nasty. Besides, you were awake. You could have
stopped me with one word."

"Granted." He could have told Joshua no but he did usually whack off
first thing before getting up in the morning. Masturbating with his
twin had been no more than a variation on a theme. "OK, Josh," Tom
called the man by the abbreviation of his name. They were way past
the point of formalities in his opinion. "What is it you want?"

"Tell me who you are."

"I told you. My name is Tom and I'm a Starfleet pilot."

"Yes, and I'm the queen of Sheba. I'm not an idiot, Thomas. I know
that the Fleet isn't so starved for men to fly their ships that they
enlist ensigns. Nor do said ensigns call their lovers commander no
matter what S & M games they're into." Josh rolled on top of him and
pressed a thumb to a particularly sensitive bruise near his jugular.
The touch was light and only tingled, for now. "What are you? A
Vulcan-no, you have too much spunk for that, how about a Romulan
spy? Did you have your hair dyed and your ears clipped hoping to
infiltrate the fledgling Federation?"

"That's ridiculous, Josh. I'm no spy." Tom tried to laugh casually
but it came off as a weak and hollow whine.

Josh squinted at him. "No, I can see now you're not but you're
something that's not quite on the up and up." The man pinning him to
the mattress peered deep into his eyes. "You're different somehow.
So tell me, and I warn you, Thomas, don't lie to me. Believe me, as
your double I'll know."

"I can't tell you."

"You will if you want to keep your gorgeous Indian out of the hands
of the authorities. So if I were you, and I almost am, I'd give it
up." The sexy southern drawl turned menacing as a well-manicured
nail bit into his neck. "Who are you?"

"Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris!" He liked pain but not for its own
sake.

"A Paris? One of mine?"

"Yes, dammit!" Tom bucked his hips and easily flipped his befuddled
captor off. Pissed at Josh for finding his weakness and making him
break his cover, he straddled his nude counterpart and yelled into
his face. "What the hell did you think I was? A fucking clone?"

"No, but a Paris? That's impossible." Joshua, unperturbed by Tom's
anger, got comfortable. He folded his arms up under his head and
brought his knees up while pondering the new information. "I'm aware
of every person, legitimate or bastard, and there's not a few of
those, born a Paris. You're not one of them." he said
slowly. "Nothing is more important to me than the family name so I
should know."

Tom shook his head. "Oh, fuck, that's where my father gets his
archaic diatribe." He relaxed back against Joshua's thighs. "Look,
cousin, whether you want to believe it or not, I'm blood of your
blood, flesh of your flesh and so on and so on. I'm just a little
ahead of the times."

"You're from the future? Oh, come on, how's that possible?"

Tom told him, everything.

********

Was there a difference between pain and suffering?

That was the question that had kept Chakotay up half the night. He
knew he should be concentrating on how to shut down the satellite
system and get Voyager home, but every time he thought of the mission
he thought about how to use Joshua, and every time he thought of
using Joshua, he automatically thought about using Tom. And every
time he thought about using Tom, well let's just say it was a vicious
inescapable cycle.

He shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his black leather
jacket. San Francisco had a temperate climate but even this sunniest
of cities was chilly at six in the morning before the sun rose. From
his position on a park bench across from Starfleet's officer
barracks, Chakotay killed time by watching the plume of his breath as
it blended into the fog that rolled off the bay.

Pain and pleasure, could the two really be mixed?

Greg Ayala had thought so. The large lumbering man who had been his
lover during his time in the Maquis enjoyed it when the sex got a
little rough. It hadn't happened often, but sometimes after a
particularly close brush with death, aka the Cardassians, they would
retreat to the nearest dark corner and fuck each other with brutal
need.

However after the dust had settled and the crisis was past, he was
shamed when he saw what his violent passions had done to Ayala's
body. Although his lover had been willing and had even encouraged
his barbarity, Chakotay had never found his blood or bruises sexy.
Making love was supposed to be an expression of attraction and gentle
caring and not a raging assault. When Greg had tried to get him to
repeat his performance during down times on the Crazy Horse, he had
been nauseated with his lover's whimpering pleas and had eventually
ended the relationship.

Now here he was again, with another partner who craved the upper most
limits of his dark desires, only this time it was different. He
hadn't been totally appalled when he saw what his hands had done.
There had even been a large part of him that had been enraptured and,
when he thought about it now, the morning after, almost proud.

Where Greg's cuts and bruises had been abhorrent, Tom's had been
erotic. The revelation had scared him and he had tried to deny it,
even going so far as to push the younger man away physically. It had
been a futile mistake. Thomas Eugene Paris was not Greg Ayala.

Tom did not play the simpering victim, not while he was in his arms
or after when he'd been forcibly rejected. Chakotay's own sore lips
and mottled throat were testaments to that. He ran an absent hand
over his bruises. Tom had pushed back when pushed, becoming the
aggressor. The pilot had understood his visceral reaction to their
cruel lovemaking and shared it. It had been an inconceivable event
that had taken him all night to even begin to get a handle on.
Unfortunately with that small bit of clarity came more confusion.

Did Tom's ability to see through to his dark side mean the
tempestuous blond loved him? Could he do so if he didn't? Right
now, as Chakotay sat waiting in the early morning gloom, the pilot
was with another man, probably fucking him and maybe letting him hurt
him, but that was just Tom. Chakotay hadn't succumbed to another's
touch once he realized he was in love with the pilot but that was
just him. Tom's mind worked differently, so maybe his heart did
too. Chakotay peered up at the pristine white building across the
cobbled footpath, searching its many floors for the window where his
love was.

And waited.

********

"Is that who I think it is?"

"What, him? He's a nobody, well correction he is something but not
anyone famous."

"Not yet."

"Oh, stop it. The way you tell it, I'm fucking half of history."

"If you've had him, you are. He's the one that made nice, nice with
the Cardassians for the first time."

"The who?"

"Never mind, where's Chakotay?"

"I think I saw him by the buffet chatting to a Vulcan. You know you
should keep him away from there. He looks so yummy, people might
want to eat him."

"Not on my shift."

"Oh, give me a break, you're not even doing him."

"I don't have to. We're in love."

"Says who, the great bird of the galaxy?"

"Who?"

"Now you never mind. Look, Thomas, I'm running this little post-
signing shindig, so there are a few things I have to take care of.
Why don't you go make `nice, nice' as you put it, with the professor,
while I get done what needs getting off."

"Getting off?"

"Yes, man does not live by luncheon alone. If I want to get ahead, I
have to give it, OK?"

"Oh, I see. You're having a liquid lunch."

"You're a fucking pervert, Paris."

"Yes, I know. It runs in the family."

"And so do charm and devilishly good looks. Now get your ass over
there and make up with him."

"How? He wasn't real pleased about last night."

"Because you told me who you are?"

"No, I think he understands that. We need you to shut down the
hub. It's the fact that I didn't come home."

"Oh, sugar, if he loves you, he'll understand that too."

"Well, that's the kicker. I'm not a hundred percent sure about that
anymore."

"But you just said not one minute ago you were."

"Wishful thinking, I guess. Josh, I let him know something last
night I spent seven years hiding from him. He kinda freaked when he
found out."

"Ah, the punch."

"Yeah, the punch."

"Oh, sorry, I thought that was part of it."

"Part of what? The guy fucking hit me."

"Yes, I know, but don't you get off on that kind of thing?"

"No. Chakotay hit me because he was angry. It's not about that."

"So he can hurt you but only when he's not mad."

"It's more complicated than that."

"Yes, well, it's beyond my sensibilities. Give me soft lips and
softer hands, and I'm happy. The only hard thing I want, I want only
for a little while and then even that gets soft."

"That's OK. It's not for everyone."

"How long have you been doing it?"

"Me? Forever. I can't come anymore without a pinch here or bite
there. I almost married a Klingon because every time we made love
she left me a bloodied but satisfied mess."

"Why didn't you?"

"I wasn't in love with her. I wanted to be and I think she wanted
that too but some things you can't force."

"I'm sorry, sugar."

"Don't be. We have a little girl together now because of it and
she's beautiful. I miss them both."

"You're a father? What does that make me?"

"Since I don't have access to Voyager's databanks, I couldn't tell
you, but after what we did this morning, at the very least were
kissing cousins."

"I didn't kiss you, sugar, and the funny thing about it was, I didn't
really want to. I woke up, your sweet ass was there, my dick was
hard, oh, I don't know, you do the math."

"And what's the explanation for what happened in the shower, while we
were getting dressed, thanks for the uniform by the way, I'm in two
piece heaven, and as we tried heading out the door?"

"Would you believe curiosity with a dash of novelty? Look, Thomas,
all we did was jack each other off. OK, so in the shower I used my
mouth instead of my hand, big deal. I didn't hear you complaining as
I twisted your tit."

"I was busy."

"Yes, I know, coming into my mouth. Now if you'll excuse me, my
sweet, sweet Thomas, now that I'm all worked up, I have work to do."

"Are you going to do Tucker?"

"The Cardassian guy? No, I hadn't planned on it, but if you go make
up with the professor, I'll consider it."

"Done."

"Then so is he. Now go. I'll meet you back at my quarters in two or
three hours. If I'm not there right away, let yourself in. My door
should recognize your voice print."

"Wish me luck, Josh."

"I'll do more than that, cousin. I'll wish you love."

********

"He says he has a contact."

"Who?"

"Some guy named Dr Samuel Griffon. He's the administrator of the
satellite tracking and data relay station in Arizona."

Tom waited.

"Sunset Crater? That's where the surveillance hub is?"

"Yeah, his people have maintained the facility for about a hundred
years. It was some kind of trade off, first with the United World
government and now I suppose with the Federation, for the land."

"Joshua knows this person and he'll help us?"

"Well, not exactly knows him, he's spoken to Griffon a few times over
sub-space radio. Nothing fancy, just a transfer of reports."

Tom waited again.

"So they don't really know each other at all. Is that it?"

"No, I guess not, but Josh does have the authority to get us in
there, so we can."

"I suppose that's something."

Chakotay nodded and then continued his pacing. The big man hadn't
stopped moving since they had entered Josh's apartments. He was
navigating the two rooms in a complicated pattern, circumventing the
third, the bathroom, by weaving around the couch, the easy chair and
the huge four-poster bed that stood out like a sore thumb in the
utilitarian quarters. Tom stood by the end of the big bed, speaking
to the commander when his convoluted arc brought him close. He was
coming back again and this time he actually stopped.

"Did you fuck him?" Chakotay said out of the blue.

"Griffon?" he replied, confused.

"No. Joshua."

"Oh. Define fucking." Tom ventured cautiously.

If it had been anyone else asking, he would have simply said no.
However, there was nothing simple about this handsome man or their
relationship. Given the subterfuge he had participated in in the
last year, Tom felt the need to have things spelled out as clearly
and honestly as possible. If it screwed things up, well then, so be
it. It couldn't be any worse than it was now.

"You did, then." Chakotay said with a morose finality that broke his
heart.

"He didn't penetrate me or vice versa, if that's what you mean." Tom
said quickly.

"No?" The big man took a deep breath. "But you did have some kind
of sex with him." Each word spoken seemed painful for him.

"You don't want to know the answer to that, so why are you asking?"

"I don't know." Chakotay slumped down on the edge of the bed and
lowered his head. "I don't know anything anymore." he replied, so
quietly that Tom had drop to his knees on the floor near his feet to
hear him.

"If it means anything, I've been pretty much celibate for close to
eight months." Tom began as he sat cross-legged on the
floor. "Letting Josh touch me and me him, well, that was something
that just happened. It had been a long time and I was horny, he was
horny, and it happened, four times." Tom paused to look up at the
commander. His dark eyes were closed. Tom took a deep breath and
continued. "Four times, Chak. I came just four times in the last
eight months by someone else's hand. When you think about the big
picture, that's only once every two months, not much really. But
maybe for you that's four times too many."

"Did he…," Chakotay's eyes opened as he flailed for words. Tom could
see the hesitancy in them. "Did he do it how you like it?"

"No, not really. I'm a bit of a masochist, Chak. I, I like to be
hurt during sex." There, he'd said it. "And Joshua's no sadist. He
couldn't bring on the shine. He doesn't have the taste for it."

"I don't like it either, Tom."

"No, but I think you could learn to."

"The intensity of it frightens me. I don't want to learn to like it."

"But you've already started." Tom said gently as he ran his palm
along the underside of Chakotay's calf.

"Is this simply sex for you?"

"No Chakotay. Sex isn't simple for someone like me. I don't react
the same way, supposedly normal people do. I need a great amount of
trust to truly enjoy the experience. So for me to have a genuinely
satisfying sexual relationship, it has to go beyond the physical."

"To love?"

"No. I didn't love B'Elanna but it was good with her. She
understood me."

Under his fingertips, Tom felt the older man stiffen at the mention
of the engineer's name. That was another tender issue yet to be
dealt with. Chakotay was quiet a few moments. When he broke his
silence and asked his next question, his voice was husky.

"What was it like when you were in love, then?"

"I don't know. It's never happened."

"You've never been in love?" The commander looked at him oddly.

"I didn't say that." I love you.

The words practically beamed from every fibre of his body but Tom was
unable to articulate them. Chakotay was having a hard enough time
assimilating his sexual preferences, how would he react to his love?
One mind-shattering revelation at a time, Tom thought, as he brought
the point back around.

"I'd like to be with you, Chakotay."

"I don't know if I can. I, I don't know how."

Well, that wasn't a no. Very slowly Tom moved to his knees and slid
his hands high on the commander's legs until they rested on the top
of his thighs, a hair's breadth away from the crotch of his jeans.
Through the black denim he could see clearly the outline of a sturdy
erection. Chakotay's mind might be confused but his body wasn't.
Tom brushed the hidden beauty with the fingertips of one hand. Above
him he heard a quick hiss of air being sucked through teeth and when
he increased the pressure of his fingers, a shuddering breath.
Sitting on his heels, Tom began the process of divesting Chakotay of
his trousers.

With a gentle shove he pushed the older man back on the bed. Shoes
and socks, they had to go first. Tom bent down and removed the
obstructions. After tossing them over his shoulder he climbed back
up for the main event, but as his hands reached for the fastenings of
the black denims, they were replaced by dark olive toned ones.
Falling back on his heels, he gave Chakotay room to take his own
pants off. Soon they too ended up in a high arc over his shoulder.
Tom smiled. It seemed the commander's mind was catching up with his
body.

"Come here, Tom." said a gravelly voice.

Not needing to be told twice, he centered himself between his soon to
be lover's knees and buried his head in his groin. Placing a cheek
on Chakotay's bare hip, Tom closed his eyes and breathed the musky
scent emanating from the commander's exposed genitals deep into his
lungs. Mmmm, testosterone never smelled so good. A questing hand in
his hair broke the spell and reminded him that he was here for a
reason.

Hunching over, he pulled Chakotay's rigid cock away from his belly
with one hand, and slipped the other under the thin black sweater
that covered the other man's heaving chest. Opening his mouth,
wincing slightly from the last remaining souvenir from the previous
evening, he had allowed Josh to regenerate the other injuries, Tom
laid claim to what he intended to make his forever.

The dark purple head was weeping and Tom cleaned it with his tongue
before sucking the whole of the crest in. Chakotay moaned and lifted
his hips, sinking his cock deep within Tom's mouth. Tom quickly
relaxed his throat to facilitate the immediate entry. He had wanted
to take his time and bring him slowly to orgasm but it seemed the
commander had other ideas. That was OK. He was flexible. He could
work with that.

Holding his head stationary while tightening his lips, Tom allowed
Chakotay to pump. He kept his hands busy by guiding the thrusting
cock in his mouth and by teasing lightly the small hard nubs on the
undulating man's smooth chest.

"Oh, spirits, Tom, you feel so good, so good." Chakotay groaned.

Tom felt so grateful to be here, he would have actually said thank
you if his mouth weren't so full.

"Oh spirits, I'm going to come, oh, oh…,"

Chakotay began to spasm and Tom, feeling inspired, took a chance.
Taking an erect nipple between his thumb and forefinger, he squeezed
hard. The pinch elicited a roar from his partner but not an
objection. Encouraged, Tom released his grip, scraped his nails
across the broad chest and gave the other nipple a rough twist. This
time instead of crying out, Chakotay shuddered and came with a long
drawn out moan. As hot semen coated the back of his throat, Tom
gently massaged the burning nubs with his cool fingers.

When the man beneath him stilled, Tom released him and climbed up
beside him on the bed. He was welcomed with big strong arms.
Ignoring his own burning need, Tom settled on Chakotay's chest,
rubbed his face in the soft cashmere of his sweater and closed his
eyes.

"I think of you, I always have and now I think I always will."
Chakotay whispered as he petted his hair.

Like a cat, Tom butted his head into the caress and purred. "That's
good babe."

As they lay quietly in the borrowed bed together, Tom waited on
tenterhooks for Chakotay to say something about the pain.

"You have strong hands." the commander said finally.

"Yeah, strong hands, weak heart." Tom murmured. That was lame. "I
mean did you like it?" he asked, knowing the answer was positive but
that didn't mean shit. Chakotay's body had definitely reacted
favourably to his brand of lovemaking but that might not translate
well to his mind, especially now that it was over. If he was going
to feel guilty or ashamed, this was the time. Tom had seen it happen
before.

"It hurt."

"Yeah, and?" Tom propped himself up Chakotay's chest and folded his
arms.

"But it was kind of a rush too. I was coming, and that felt good but
I could still feel the pain and, oh, I don't know. When they mixed
it caused a sort of buzz throughout my whole body that eventually
went straight to my dick and made it tingle or something. Does that
make sense?"

"It's called shining. It happens when your body's natural
painkillers, endorphins set in. They're also active during orgasm so
when those things are combined, it creates a pretty powerful natural
high."

"Shining? Is that the technical term?"

"No, that's just what I call it." Tom bit his lip and let his eyes
wander. "It makes me feel so bright and alive, I feel like I'm
literally exploding into a million particles of light."

"And that's what you need to feel fulfilled?" Chakotay lifted his
head from the mattress into his unsteady gaze. "To be hurt while
being made love to?"

"Yes, but," Tom blushed feverishly under Chakotay's scrutiny. "I, I
like it more intense than what I gave you. Can you handle that?
Could you do that to me now that you've had a taste of it yourself?"

"More?" The big man's eyes went wide and Tom thought he could see a
hint of fear behind the surprise in their ebony depths.

"I don't know, Tom. It's not what I was taught and it's not how I
want to touch you."

Disappointment crashed down around him. "It's OK, Chak. It's a lot
to ask, I know. I'm sorry." Tom started to roll off him but
Chakotay caught his arm.

"I didn't say no. It just it's a lot to take all at once. We've
been apart for almost a year because you chose B'Elanna over me and
now you tell me about this. I need time, Tom."

"I didn't choose her over you."

"Yes, dammit ,you did and I hated you for that." Chakotay let go of
his arm and brushed his face with his knuckles tenderly. "But I
loved you too. You were fucking everyone on the ship and I still
loved you. Do you know how much I hated that? Wanting someone who
didn't want me back?" he said sadly.

If ever there was an opening to let the big man know how he really
felt, this was it. Tom took a deep breath and went for it.

"I…-" he began.

"Oh my stars, gentlemen!" came an amused voice behind him, laced
with laughter.

Tom twisted on the bed to see Joshua leaning casually against the
frame of the big wide doorway that separated the living room from the
bedroom. In a flash, Chakotay was up from the bed, grabbing his
pants and heading for the bathroom. Tom fell back on the mattress in
misery, mourning lost chances.

Now this was real pain.

********

"So did he tell you this afternoon?"

Chakotay looked over at Joshua, who was relaxing comfortably at the
helm of the small craft they had rented to bring them to Arizona.
They were in an automated holding pattern over Sunset Crater awaiting
clearance to land, so Chakotay wasn't too concerned about the
southern blond's lack of attention to the controls.

"Yes, he told me." And showed me but that wasn't anybody's business
but his own.

"And did you say it back?"

"Say it back?"

"Yes, when someone professes their love for you, you're supposed to
reciprocate, or at least that's what we do in my century."

"Love? Tom loves me?" Chakotay glanced over his shoulder to the
back of the small craft where Tom was curled up asleep.

"Yes, of course. What, -oh dear. He didn't tell you, did he? No?
I don't know why not. I gave him enough time, and lord knows he was
aching to."

"We talked about something else." Chakotay replied absently, not
really paying attention. He was still trying to digest the fact that
Tom was in love with him.

"Oh, his partiality to rough sex." Joshua chuckled. "Yes, I suppose
that would be something to talk about. A bit of a surprise, was it?"

"Yes." But not as much as this, he thought.

"Mmm-uh, but you got over it." Chakotay glared at him for his
impertinence. However the glower was lost on the jovial man. "Hey,
you were the one sans pants when I walked in, Professor, not me."

"That's personal, Joshua." He tried to sound stern but suspected he
had failed. A creeping joy was starting to suffuse his being and
Chakotay was having trouble keeping it in.

Joshua smiled. "Yes, yes." A squawk came out of his console and the
lieutenant responded. "We've got clearance. Griffon's on the ground
waiting for us."

"Is he going be happy to see us?"

"Oooh, I'm not sure about that. Griffon's not a big fan of Starfleet
or the newly formed Federation. He's a civilian and a bit of rebel,
normally someone I wouldn't be caught dead socializing with, not good
for the career, you see." His fine-boned hands played the little
ship's controls as deftly as Tom's would have as he rambled on.
Chakotay in his budding good mood couldn't help but smile at the
similarity. "However, I did tell him you were a fellow native and a
amateur astronomer, so he agreed to give us a tour. You do know a
little something about the stars, don't you, Professor?"

"I get by."

"Well, I hope you can do more than that, `cause this gentleman's an
expert."

"You said he was a rebel, why?"

"He protested the signing at Babel, saying it was prejudicial to his
people. I think it had something to do with the Federation agreement
contravening an earlier one but don't quote me on that. You see,
he's not only the official administrator of the Sunset Crater Array,
he's also the unofficial leader of the native group that resides
within its compound."

"He's a chieftain?"

"Is that like a prince?"

"Sort of."

"Well according to Fleet brass, he is a royal pain in the ass if you
know what I mean."

"By standing up for his beliefs and his people?" This time Chakotay
had no problem putting an edge to his voice. Thoughts of his own
tribe's conflict with the Federation during the Cardassian peace
talks had reawakened old feelings of betrayal.

"Look, Professor, don't kill the messenger. I'm just reporting what
I know about the guy."

"Sorry, Joshua." he said sincerely.

The younger man winked. "It's OK. I like your spunk and if you
weren't so tied up in knots over my doppelganger, I'd do something
about it."

"About that. Are you sure Tom loves me?"

"Yeah, he is." said a voice behind them.

Chakotay turned in his seat to see a smiling and a very awake Tom
Paris. He grinned back.

********

"I love you."

"Tell me again." the older man demanded as he jumped into the back
seat with Tom.

Tom laughed, and then screamed at the top of his lungs. "I love you!"

It felt so good to finally say it. Almost as good as seeing the joy
in Chakotay's eyes each time he did. Damn, if he'd known it would be
this wonderful, he would have said it months ago.

"I love you too, Tom. Oh, spirits, how I do." Chakotay answered him
back with shining eyes before kissing him soundly on the mouth.

Melting into `his' commander, Tom's world became a whole lot bigger.
The small compartment they were presently making out in like
teenagers, seemed barely large enough to hold all the happiness and
love he felt.

"Ah, guys? This is real sweet, not to mention borderline
pornographic, but our host is here."

Chakotay pulled away first. Tom followed his retreating face with
his lips capturing one more kiss before sitting up and putting his
clothing back to rights. With the current enlarged state of his
groin, he had never been more thankful to Josh for loaning him a two-
piece uniform.

Together they stepped out of the shuttle and into the arid atmosphere
of Arizona's desert.

********

"Is this a joke?"

If it was, it was beyond his imagining, Chakotay thought, as he faced
the man known as Dr Samuel Griffon.

"No sir." he managed to croak out.

Taking the lead, as both of the Paris men were struck dumb by the
sight of the facility's administrator, he stuck out his hand.

"My name is Chakotay." he said with the deepest respect. This man
was a chieftain after all. "And these," he nodded to the two men
flanking him, "are Ensign Thomas Paris and Lieutenant Joshua Paris,
brothers." H,e added by way of partial explanation.

"And are you `my' brother?" Samuel replied crisply with his arms
tight to his sides. Chakotay dropped his hand and bowed instead.

"No sir, not exactly."

What now? Did he tell Dr Griffon who he was? He hadn't been too
pleased when Tom had told Joshua about Voyager. In fact, he had spent
the better part of an hour lecturing the pilot about temporal
mechanics and the dangers of screwing with the timeline, and had
meant every word. Did he now become a hypocrite? Stalling for time,
Chakotay surveyed the angry and suspicious man before him.

Salt and pepper hair topped a fine-boned face weathered a burnt
sienna. He didn't have a boxer's nose but he did have the hardy
build. Familiar brown eyes and a full bottom lip rounded out the
rest of his face. The only significant difference between himself
and Samuel Griffon was that Griffon bore no tattoo on his forehead.
This man was his twin as much as Joshua was Tom's.

"Who are you?" the doctor asked.

"Tell him, Chak. It's OK."

Looking into Tom's clear blue eyes and seeing the love and support
there was all the push he needed. He turned to Dr Griffon.

"Tell me, chieftain, what do you know about temporal mechanics?"

********

"They're not really the same."

"I agree, sugar. Chakotay is of better character than Griffon."
Joshua whispered back.

After hearing, on Sunset Crater's airfield, a short version of their
arrival in the twenty-second century, Samuel Griffon had been
sufficiently convinced of their story to invite them back to his
home. The gracious doctor had served them dinner and then had
welcomed them to stay the night. Having unpacked their meager
belongings they had reconvened in the main room of the spacious adobe.

In front of a whitewashed fireplace big enough for four men to stand
upright in, Chakotay and Samuel sat on large pillows in deep
conversation. Tom and Joshua were cuddled up together under a
colourfully woven blanket on an over stuffed lounge, having their own
exchange a few metres from the two men parallel to the hearth. The
younger men talked in hushed tones so their voices wouldn't carry.

The flames from the fire illuminated a circle around the four men but
did not extend far into the darkness of the rest of the high walled
chamber. Long shadows and flickering light gave the room a romantic
glow that infected at least two of its inhabitants.

"Character?"

"Yes, yours is a commander in the Federation and the other is a
menace to society."

"Oh, he is not, Griffon's just standing up for what he believes in.
This is his home, Josh."

Over dinner, Samuel had explained how the new accord negotiated on
Babel would supplant his people, a gathering of souls from various
aboriginal tribes, and replace them with Federation personnel. It
would be done slowly by attrition, over the course of eight or nine
years, but eventually there wouldn't be one Indian left on the Sunset
Crater reserve and a whole culture would be lost. He couldn't tell
Josh, but it was a tragedy that Tom knew from history class would
come true. These people would be forced to leave Earth and would
eventually colonize Dorvan V.

"It's just a relay station, Tom."

"Yeah, and a plantation's just a farm."

"OK, OK, I get it, but I'd still rather do your version of tall, dark
and handsome."

"Oh, don't tell me you, Mr `I fuck for a hobby' are turning down a
hot number like Griffon?"

"Well, I wouldn't normally but…-"

"But what?" Tom poked his twin in the ribs playfully.

"He's not interested in me, OK. Are you satisfied?" Josh pouted.

"How can you tell that?"

"He was looking at you, not me, but you, all through dinner."

"But I *am* you, Josh."

"Apparently the doctor doesn't think so."

"You do like him, don't you?"

"Maybe. He might be fun for a night."

"I doubt if he works that way. If he's anything like Chakotay, he's
going to want more than a one-night stand."

"Well, that would make my momma real happy but not me. I'm not that
kind of a guy. I get bored too easily." Josh replied defiantly with
just a little too much bravado.

It was all too depressingly familiar. The cocky attitude, the air of
indifference, Tom had played this same role so many times before and
knew it so well, he owned it. Hell, he held the copyright on it.

"Belonging to someone can be a little scary, I know, been there,
bought the tee-shirt, but it can also be pretty great." He rubbed
Josh's knee under the blanket. "Do me a favour and give Samuel a
chance before you write him off, OK?"

"OK, Thomas." he said dramatically. "But how do I get him to like
me?"

"Oh, that's easy, use your secret weapon."

"And what would that be, my dear boy?"

Tom winked at his companion and then smiled brightly.

"Charm, my dear boy." he replied with a slow southern drawl,
mimicking his cousin. "The old Paris charm."

********

His world was in chaos, but incredibly, he was at peace.

Displaced in time and space, he had never felt more where he was
supposed to be. Closing his eyes, Chakotay leaned against the
headboard and listened to the night song of the Arizona desert and
the small personal sounds of his lover preparing himself in the
bathroom. If the odds prevailed against them and Voyager was unable
to return through the wormhole, it would be no real hardship. With
very little effort he could make this Earth his home, as long as Tom
was with him.

A cool breeze from the open veranda played across his bare chest and
he smiled. It already was home.

So many things about this place reminded Chakotay of Dorvan V before
the troubles with the Cardassians. The mountains, the earthen houses
baked from clay and ash, and the strong sense of community the people
exuded, touched something very deep within his soul. He was humbled
by it and thankful to Samuel for bringing it all together for him.

Without a doubt the chieftain was the grandfather of his
grandfathers, but Chakotay's sudden fealty went beyond genealogy. It
was all about how this quietly passionate man lived and viewed his
world. His reverence for his heritage, his loyalty to his people,
and his love of life were what made him a person to be honoured and
respected. He did not have to be family for Chakotay to be drawn to
him.

Dr Samuel Griffon was the embodiment of the principles and morals he
himself had been taught. Griffon was the hero from the stories
Chakotay's grandfather had told him as a child. It had been quite
the turn about to tell this fabled warrior his own tale.

Samuel had given Chakotay his full attention while he explained the
circumstances of their plight. At appropriate times he had asked
questions, but for the most part the pensive man had listened in
silence. When he was done and the fire had burned low in the
fireplace, Samuel had announced without further comment that it was
time for bed.

He had not immediately offered his help, nor had he denied it, and
out of respect Chakotay had not pressed him. He would wait patiently
until Samuel was ready to speak. One did not question the actions of
one's elders. Until then he had the Arizona night to enjoy and, of
course, Tom.

Opening his eyes, he looked at the closed bathroom door. For the
last fifteen minutes the pilot had been ensconced within its confines
preparing for bed. All the preparation Chakotay had needed was to
remove his clothing and jump under the covers. Spirits knew what
secret rituals Tom was performing to make himself ready.

He rubbed his erection absently through the covers with the palm of
his hand and hoped his lover would come out soon.

********

How much could he ask for?

Tom stepped from the tub and wiped himself down with a fluffy towel.

It would be their first time together, so perhaps not too much. He
didn't want to scare Chakotay. On the other hand he was reluctant to
hold back his needs. He had learned in these last months that
keeping his feelings from the older man was not wise, and, in the
past day, that sharing them was glorious. So that begged the
question again. How much pain did he ask for and more importantly
how did he go about getting it?

Back in his cabin on Voyager Tom had a variety of toys to help bring
on the shine. Velvet paddles, soft leather whips and clamps filled a
chest in the bottom of his closet, but here the pickings were a
little slim. After tossing the towel aside and raking his fingers
through his damp hair, he picked up his toothbrush and considered the
problem.

He supposed he could go outside to find a sapling to make a switch
from but that would play hell with the mood. Oh, he could just hear
himself asking permission to leave now. He placed his hands down and
spoke with his toothbrush sticking out of one side of his mouth.

"Ah, excuse me, Chak, while I slip out to find a stick for you to
whip my ass with." Tom let loose a nervous giggle and sprayed
toothpaste all over the vanity mirror. Nope, not romantic at all, he
told his image in the glass with a silly lopesided grin. A dismal
thought collapsed his smile.

All nonsense aside, Tom wasn't foolish enough to believe true love
alone conquered all. The sex had to be good too. His mouth screwed
up again. It would be a cruel twist of fate if he could love
Chakotay but could only make love to B'Elanna. Man, that would suck
big time.

Rinsing his mouth, he grabbed his white dress shirt off the back of
the door. He slipped it over his shoulders and fastened the front
closed with only one button at his navel.

Finally ready physically if not mentally, Tom opened the door and
hoped to be `hit' at the very least by one thing when Chakotay made
love to him.

Inspiration.

********

Oh, spirits! Was that all his?

Chakotay bolted up right in bed at the vision of Tom dressed in only
a shirt standing in the bathroom doorway. His elbows were resting
level with his blond head on opposite sides of the doorframe and his
long legs were crossed lazily. The seductive pose hiked the white
garment provocatively up on his pale hips.

"Hi." Tom said, dipping his head shyly.

"Hi."

Lowering his arms, the pilot walked towards him. As he passed the
open balcony the draft lifted the tails of his shirt, treating the
older man to a brief glimpse of cream. Chakotay was biting his
bottom lip by the time Tom reached the bed.

"I love you, Chakotay, and I want this to be good." Tom said in a
hushed voice.

"It will, it will." Chakotay held his arms out to the subdued
blond. "Come to bed, Tom."

On his knees, Tom edged forward on the bed and then straddled him.
Chakotay let his hands drift to the blond's hips where they peeked
out from the sides of his shirt. He squeezed them appreciatively.
Moaning at the touch, Tom leaned down and captured his mouth with his
lips.

This was yet another kind of kiss. It was passionate yes, like all
the others but it also carried an undercurrent of timidity. Tom's
lips were taking his gently with soft nips. There was no arrogant
tongue thrusting down his throat as there'd been in the bar, only a
delicately questing one. Relishing the easy assault, Chakotay slid
his palms under the pilot's shirt and up the silky skin of his back.
When the pace did accelerate, it was the older man who took the
initiative.

As much as he enjoyed the teasing caresses as Tom's lips strayed from
his mouth along his jaw line to nip playfully at his earlobes, the
feel of the affectionate blond in his lap was driving him crazy.
Through the blanket he could feel the weight of the pilot's balls
and, even with the added layer of the cotton shirt, Tom's hardened
cock.

Burning with the need to see and touch the implements of his sweet
torture, Chakotay moved his hands back down to Tom's ass and squeezed
hard, his fingers digging cruelly into his flesh. The gambit
worked. Tom screamed and started biting, not nipping, at his neck.

Feeding the younger man's frenzy, he continued his rough massage and
began to jerk his hips up from the mattress. When Tom pulled back
from him to investigate the new movement, his blue eyes bore the wild
gleam Chakotay was starting to recognize as the beginning of the
shine. It suddenly became very important for him to see that the
event that was so soul-shattering for his lover transpired.

"Tell me what you want." he whispered.

"I, I can't." Tom hung his head, avoiding his gaze. "I thought I
could, but what if…-"

"I don't like it?" he replied, dipping his head, trying to catch the
younger man's eye. "I will, Tom, I do. I know my performance these
last few days makes that hard to believe but that was all about me,
not you." Chakotay used his fingers to bring Tom's face up all the
way. "It wasn't easy for me to accept the fact that I enjoy it when
the sex gets rough. I was taught that to inflict pain in any
capacity was wrong."

"But you're a boxer. The goal when you're in the ring is to hurt
your opponent."

"Yes, but that's in a controlled environment. When I've let my
darker desires take over, I've felt anything but control."

"There's control here too, Chak. If I tell you to stop, you stop,
and if you don't, I'll make you." Tom said earnestly, with a
determined set to his chin.

"I know that now." Chakotay said, pleased to see the pilot's
confidence returning. "Now tell me what you want, Tom." he finished,
with the same amount of determination.

"Spank me and then fuck me so hard I see stars." the younger man
growled.

The return of the feral Tom, the real Tom, made his heart sing and
his palms itch.

********

"Again!"

Lying prone and naked over Chakotay's lap with his cock firmly wedged
between the bigger man's thighs, Tom readied himself for another
stinging blow to his bare bottom. When it came, he almost did too.
Damn, but the commander was good at this.

With the arm of a natural the older man tanned his hide never hitting
too high and risking damage to his tailbone, or hitting him twice in
the same place causing bruising. And every once in a while he
stopped and cooed how much he loved him while blowing lightly on his
tingling butt. During those breaks, Tom would pump slowly between
his thighs and rub himself against Chakotay's weeping erection. It
heightened the experience for him knowing that he wasn't the only one
getting off on it. Tom wiggled his ass in the air to ask for more.

This time, however, he didn't feel the full weight of Chakotay's hand
on his raw cheeks, but only one finger making slow concentric
circles. The coolness of the digit told Tom it was greased and it
was time for stage two. That assumption was confirmed when the
swirling finger dipped into his crack and popped into his anus.

"Oh, Poocuh, you're so hot." Chakotay moaned as he slipped another
finger in. He continued to moan the new name that had surfaced
sometime during their last break, as he finger-fucked Tom without
mercy. The jerking motion sent bright waves of pain to the pilot's
cerebellum as his burning cheeks shook, and the depth of Chakotay's
strokes brought intense pleasure as his nails scraped along Tom's
prostate. He was so close to coming he could taste it. Tom started
to pump furiously into the warm lap beneath him as his orgasm neared.

"Oh, no, Poocuh, not yet." As Chakotay removed his fingers, Tom
cursed him for his perceptiveness. "Yes, I know, my love, it's
bad." Chakotay said tenderly before he slapped the younger man's
ass. "Now get up!"

Shaking with need, Tom obeyed and crawled onto his elbows and knees.
He had no sooner assumed the position than Chakotay was behind and
shoving into him. Panting hard and grunting, the older man sunk his
dick deeper and deeper until Tom was totally, wonderfully filled.

"Tell me, Poocuh, tell me how." his lover gasped. Although the
question was broken by strangled swallows and gulping breaths, Tom
understood what the older man wanted.

He screamed out his permission. "Do it, Chakotay, fuck me hard!"

With a shudder the cock in his ass was pulled out almost to the crest
and then slammed back in with such force, Tom felt the air expelled
from his lungs. More brutal thrusts in quick succession successfully
prevented him from catching his breath and as his anoxia increased so
did his pleasure.

The constant banging against his tender butt-cheeks and the savage
assault of Chakotay's cock on his gland were sending him to new
levels of shining ecstasy. When he felt sharp teeth in his shoulder
he gave himself over to light, and exploded in orgasm. As he was
soaring through flashing rainbows and twinkling stars he heard his
lover cry out his release.

Tom cherished the sound as the fireworks faded and he drifted down
into a comforting blackness.

********

"Tom?"

Half asleep, he rolled over in the darkness and molded his body
behind Chakotay's.

"Yeah, babe."

"Oh, sugar, I didn't know you cared."

Tom rolled back the other way to see his twin sitting on the edge of
the bed. "Josh, what the hell are you doing here!"

"Hush, Thomas, you'll wake your baby."

"What time is it?" He searched for the chrono on the night table but
his unwanted visitor blocked his view.

"Late. I need to talk."

"Now? Nooooh." Tom moaned as he threw his forearm over his eyes.

Joshua pried his arm down. "Oh, come on, the professor's dead to the
world, what else have you got to do?"

"Sleep. Maybe you've heard of it? It's what sane people do when
they're tired."

"Please, Thomas. It's important. It's about Sam."

Sam? Oh, damn it, must be serious if Josh was using diminutives.

"All right."

After shooing his unexpected bedmate out of the way, Tom eased out
from under the covers, trying his best not to wake the other. He
grabbed the folded blanket at the end of the bed, wrapped it around
his nude form, and ushered Josh out on to the balcony. When they
emerged, they didn't talk right away but stood quietly admiring the
view.

The breathtaking brilliance of the night sky was riveting, but it
wasn't what caught Tom's attention. His admiration for the wonder of
the Arizona vista leaned more towards the technical than the natural.

Overwhelming the wan lights of the pueblo dwellings were the
floodlights that ringed Sunset Crater like a diamond necklace. The
crater, which wasn't really an asteroid impact at all but a dormant
volcano, was illuminated by radio telescopes that continually scanned
the heavens for their own light, of a kind that was beyond Tom's
visual spectrum.

This sparkling array would be able to detect quasars, stellar
nurseries too far away to see with the naked eye, and most probably a
wormhole as it opened. The matrix of large concave dishes was
Voyager's scourge, but Tom still found it beautiful.

"He says he needs a pilot." Josh said beside him, breaking his
fascination with the station's technology.

"What?"

"After you two went to bed, Sam took me for a stroll. I expected him
to go on and on about what my Starfleet was doing to his people now
that we were alone but he didn't. In fact, he didn't say anything
for a while. We just walked."

"Chakotay said he was a man of few words."

"Yes, a shame really. He has a rumbling voice that makes you think
of hot summer nights and ice-cold beer. It's refreshing in a sultry,
sexy kind of way." Joshua's eyes glazed over and he fell silent.

"So you were walking…-" Tom prodded. The other man blinked and then
continued.

"Oh, yes, well, we reached this little fountain with candles and dead
flowers around it."

"A shrine."

"Is that what it was? Well, it was nice and there was a stone bench,
so we sat down. That's when he started to speak to me."

"Sultry and sexy like?"

"Yes, but he didn't tell me how pretty my eyes were or how hot my ass
was, he told me about the stars."

"Oh, of course, he's an astronomer."

"No, Thomas, he's a stargazer. There's a difference." Josh
corrected. "And he's a romantic, and a dreamer. Do you know why he
went to school? Not to study space but to understand it."

"I don't get it. Isn't that the same thing?"

"No, Thomas, wrong again. The universe is more than a collection of
planets and suns to him. It's life. When he looks into the night
sky, Sam doesn't only see gaseous planets and super novas. He also
sees the star formations his ancestors spun their ancient tales
about. For him space is full of battles, triumphs, omens, lessons,
and loves lost and won."

This time Tom did get it. He had one just like him at home. Like
Chakotay, Dr Griffon, despite the official title society made him
wear, remained true to his spiritual beliefs. He fulfilled his
expected role but for his own reasons and in his own way.

"So when he asked me to be his pilot, I knew he wasn't talking about
sitting in the cockpit of a ship. Not that they even have one here.
The closest thing they've got is a interplanetary glider, for
heaven's sake." he said, going a little off-topic in his agitation.

"He scared the bejeezus out of you, didn't he?" Oh, yeah, Tom had
seen this scene played out before.

"Oooh wee, did he. I tell you, sugar, I've had admirals propose to
me and not skipped a beat. And then this mild-mannered nobody asks
me one little innocuous question, and my heart stops altogether."

"See, he does like you. So what did you say?"

"Nothing. I kissed him hard right dead on the lips and while he was
standing there numb with shock, I high tailed it out of there."

"You ran away? Oh, shit, Josh."

"A mistake?"

"Oh yeah, a big one." Tom said from hard experience.

"So what the hell do I do now? This guy's cuter than a bag full of
puppies but he's from the wrong side of the tracks, if you know what
I mean."

"Oh, so you took off like a bat out of hell because you're afraid
that being with Samuel will damage your career? Give me a break,
Josh. What happened was that somebody made you feel with your heart
instead of your balls and you didn't know how to deal with it, so you
didn't."

"Are you calling me a coward, Thomas Eugene Paris?" His twin's blue
eyes narrowed and his shoulders hunched menacingly.

"Yes, I am, Joshua Lafayette Gabriel Paris." Tom growled back.

"Oh." The shoulders softened. "Just checking. So, cousin, now what
do I do? Use the old Paris charm?"

"Nope, you'll need to use something we Paris men aren't so good with."

"And that would be?"

"Honesty."

********

"He's very pretty."

"Pretty, heh," Chakotay chuckled. "I've thought of Tom a lot of ways,
but pretty?"

He looked over to the table where his lover, wearing Chakotay's new
favorite white shirt hanging out from a pair of smuggled jeans, was
eating breakfast with his twin. Actually with his perfectly coiffed
hair, manicured hands, and spotless uniform, Joshua was really
the `prettier' of the two.

"And very pale, Chakotay." Samuel said slowly except for his name.
That, he pronounced in the old Navajo dialect with three fast
staccatos.

"Tom does not have the same native history as we, if that's what you
mean." He began to feel uneasy. Racial prejudice was something he
would not have ascribed to the doctor.

They had been sitting side by side at their own table on the patio
behind the adobe but now Samuel turned his chair to face him. "It
is. Has that been a problem?" There was a hint of a tremor in his
normally solid voice. Chakotay heard the slight waver and understood.

Samuel was not criticizing his relationship with Tom but questioning
the viability of one with Joshua. This morning, after they taken
their passions out on one another, Tom had told Chakotay of his
conversation with his twin the previous night. It made it easier to
talk to the chieftain now that he knew Samuel had the same needs as
everyone else.

"No, we've had our problems but our cultural backgrounds haven't been
among them. It's been a non-issue between us. Tom could be a Bolian
or a Klingon and I would still love him."

"Of course." Samuel bowed his head briefly. "My apologies,
Chakotay, I meant no offense. I'm afraid I am unused to speaking of
such things."

"And of thinking of them, I would imagine. I spent seven years
worrying about the needs of the people I'm responsible for and
ignoring my own. So I know where you're coming from."

The doctor considered his words thoughtfully. "On Voyager, yes. Wait-
," An expression of surprise disrupted his normally ordered
features. "You knew that beauty for seven years and did not pursue
him?"

Chakotay smiled. "Like I said, I was distracted. Which is not to
say I didn't notice Tom Paris, I did, every day. However my position
prevented me from considering him as a life mate. I thought it would
be detrimental to our mission to get home, you see. It wasn't until
he came out of a fairly long relationship with one of my best friends
that I realized what I had been denying myself."

"You got a second chance and did not wish to waste it."

"Something like that." Chakotay tipped his head towards the two
blonds who were now bickering over the last piece of peanut butter
toast. "Are you going to waste yours?"

"I have approached him." Samuel said tightly. It was obvious he was
not happy with the result.

"Yes, I heard." Samuel's eyebrows rose at that. "Can I let you in
on a little secret? Patience. The Paris men don't do well with the
direct approach. They're like frightened colts and they bolt when
confronted with something serious like commitment."

"Did Tom bolt?"

"Yes, and went back to his old girlfriend."

"Your friend?"

Chakotay nodded, tight-lipped. "They have a daughter now."

"So you are a father. That is good, Chakotay."

"No, you don't understand, the baby belongs to Tom and B'Elanna, not
to me."

"You do not accept the progeny of the man you love? That goes
against custom Chakotay. His children are your children." Samuel
chastened him so like his grandfather that if he closed his eyes the
two would be one and the same. And, like the old man, he gave sage
advice.

"I will consider your words carefully, chieftain." he said with
respect, giving the traditional response.

"And I yours, Commander." the doctor offered in kind as he dropped
his head briefly. "Now to your problem. I have given it careful
consideration and I believe I can help you."

"Without risk to yourself?"

"There is a negligible amount, yes." His regal face was split by an
easy smile. "But I'm willing to take a chance on that as well."

Bringing out an electronic padd from his vest pocket, the doctor
began to outline his plan.

"This is the facility's computer maintenance schedule." He handed
the slim instrument to Chakotay. "As you can see the system goes
down automatically for diagnostics for one hour once a week."

"And during that time you stop the transmission of data to Starfleet,
right?"

"Correct, Chakotay. However there are twenty-three other tracking
arrays like ours on the planet to pick up the slack, so they suffer
no real loss of information. Starfleet still has it eyes in the
skies."

"Uh-huh, and I assume these other stations have required down time as
well?"

"Yes. We operate on a rotating schedule so there's only one of us
out at any given time."

"And if they all, by accident maybe, went into diagnostic mode at the
same time?"

Samuel smiled broadly and finished his thought. "Starfleet would be
blind."

********

"Go."

They were huddled just outside the administrator's office where
Samuel had been hacking away at his computer all afternoon. Josh
rolled back against the doorframe.

"Now? He looks kind of busy."

"Oh, well, in that case why don't we come back tomorrow, or next
week, or better yet," Tom started off amicably. "how's about
never?" he finished sarcastically.

"OK, OK, I get the point. There's no need to be rude."

"Fine, I'm sorry, but it's time to live up to your name."

"What, we're back to the Paris charm again?"

"No, not your last name, your middle one, Lafayette. Wasn't he a
pirate or something?"

"You're thinking of that rogue Jean Lafitte. My Lafayette was a
Marquis and served as a general during the American Revolution,"
Josh stated as he predictably went off topic in his
nervousness. "We're direct descendants on our mother's side,
Thomas." he added with pride.

Tom rolled his eyes. "OK, so he wasn't a pirate." Too bad, he kind
of liked the idea of having a swashbuckler as one of his ancestors
instead of yet another military officer. "How's about for the sake
of fun we pretend he was. Now get in there and claim your booty."
he said with enthusiasm.

"Booty?" Josh asked, stalling for time.

"Don't make me get rude again, Josh. Just go."

His twin squared his shoulders and took a deep breath. "Claim my
booty, right."

"That's right, you go, cousin. Get that booty." Tom slapped his
back for good luck as Joshua finally entered the office.

*******

It was only three metres but it seemed like three miles.

Slowly watching his footsteps, Joshua walked towards the man at the
computer terminal. When he reached his destination he looked down
timidly through his lashes. He had never been shy in situations such
as these but suddenly he didn't know where to put his hands or what
to say first. Fortunately for him the doctor noticed his approach
and saved him from deciding.

"Did Tom set you free?" Samuel wheeled his chair back from his desk
and folded his arms lazily over his hard packed stomach.

Joshua bristled. "Tom?" It bothered him a little that the first
sentence out of that full sensuous mouth had to do with his double.

"Yes, I thought you were supposed to be discussing alternate flight
plans for Voyager with the lieutenant this afternoon."

"No. I, I mean yes." Using every self-relaxation technique he had
ever read or heard about, he loosened his backbone, nonchalantly
lifted his butt and perched himself on the edge of the doctor's
desk. Nothing that was supposed to be so easy was should be so
hard.

"We did talk about what would happen if your plan didn't work but
mostly we talked about other stuff." he said, not really thinking
about what he was saying but talking for the sake of it alone. It
took all of his other higher brain functions just to keep from
sliding off the desk into a puddle of mush on the floor.

"Other stuff?" Sam asked with raised eyebrows.

Oh, dear god, the man looked genuinely interested. Now what was he
supposed to say? Tom had urged honesty but that was easier said than
done. Nobody he'd been with these last few years truly wanted to
hear what spun through his head as long as they got some. As a
result, Joshua wasn't used to saying what was really on his mind.
Normally he spewed a lot of bullshit that meant nothing but was good
enough to get his partner off. However, Doctor Samuel Griffon was
not what he classed as normal or ordinary or even as routine. Oh
lord in heaven, for him this dark sullen man was barely corporeal.
Talking to Samuel was like talking to an angel. He could try to lie
but in the end, the truth would come out. Joshua, at a loss for
words for the first time in his adult life, said the first thing that
came to mind.

"I want you to like me!" he blurted out.

A slow smile graced the doctor's face. "I do like you, Joshua
Lafayette." He rolled his chair between Joshua's parted legs and
placed his big hands on his thighs. "I like you a lot."

"No, I mean I want you to really like me. Not for my body or what I
can do for you but for just me, plain old Josh." he added, using the
diminutive Thomas often used. For once convention wasn't important.
He wanted this relationship to happen and if it did, it had to be
grass-roots and free from formality.

"Are you asking me to love you?"

"Love?"

"Yes, my pretty protocol officer. I could do that if you let me. I
like you and yes oh yes I'm attracted to you. I don't want to go to
bed tonight without you. So I suppose it wouldn't take much for me
to love you even if I know you're a Fleeter."

"I'm more than my rank or my position." Joshua replied, terrified
that for once in his life what he was and what he had strived to be
since he'd entered the initiative program at Starfleet was a
mistake. He had never doubted his choice until now, when his rank
didn't matter.

"I know, my Poocuh."

"Poocuh? What does that mean?"

"It's an old word. Only a few of us still use it."

The man between his knees rose and ran his hands up over Joshua's
chest until his fingertips framed the lieutenant's face
tenderly. "Mostly within my family," he said, whispering
softly. "My grandfather used it and my father and now I am. It
means beloved."

His first impulse was to run, his second was to keep running, but
when he looked into those impossibly rich brown eyes again, his legs
refused to move. It seemed his tibias and femurs knew the score and
accepted this outpouring of emotion even if his cranium didn't want
to. No, that wasn't right. He wanted this. He just didn't know
what to do about it. Unable to move, he felt like a wet behind the
ears novice in Samuel's light embrace.

"Can I kiss you Joshua Lafayette?" the older man asked quietly and
with reverence, as he carded his fingers through the short hair at
Joshua's nape into the fringe of blond curls that crested above his
ears.

"Yes." he replied breathlessly, surprised he could speak at all.
The gentle caress was playing havoc with his normally controlled and
scripted responses, leaving him at a loss as to how to react. He bit
the inside of his cheek so he'd know he was awake and closed his eyes
so he could pretend he was in case he wasn't.

In desperate anticipation he waited for those luscious lips to touch
his. When they did, it didn't matter. Starfleet meant nothing, nor
did the Federation. Wherever he was, dreaming or awake, it was
good. It was right.

And it was at long last where he, Joshua Lafayette, was supposed to
be.

********

"What are you doing?" somebody whispered in his ear.

Tom jumped and then spun to see a smiling first officer. "Shit,
Chak. Give a guy a heart attack, why don't you?"

"Sorry, Poocuh." he said, still smiling and giving Tom the distinct
impression he wasn't sorry at all, not one bit.

"I'm doing my part in the name of destiny." he said gravely
answering his lover's question and hoping to wipe the shit-eating
grin off his face. Besides, matchmaking was serious business,
especially when it came to those two.

Chakotay rested his chin on his shoulder and peered around the door
jamb. "By getting those two together?" He pulled back, still
grinning. "Tom, aren't you afraid of messing up the timeline and in
the process negating your own existence? What if Joshua is your
distant grandfather? Pairing him up with a man makes it pretty hard
for him to be your patriarch."

Tom tugged Mr Happy away from the door so they could speak without
being overheard.

"No. If he were, I would have heard his name from my father during
one of his routine rants about our family tree." Tom
shrugged. "Josh's probably my great, great, great, great uncle or
something."

"Granted." Chakotay cocked his head to the side. "So what's all
this about destiny?"

"They're fated to be together, Chak."

"Oh, now we've pulled fate into this." the older man said, with a
playful twinkle in his eye.

"Yessss. Oh come on, Chak, be serious. I believe with all my heart
that Samuel and Josh will fall in love just like we did. I'm just
trying to help them avoid the pitfalls we encountered before finally
getting together." Tom took a deep breath before continuing. "I, I
don't want Josh to feel the pain I did when I thought you hated me."
He was reliving the hurt he had felt for months in the short time it
took to say those few words.

Seeing his distress, the commander sobered up. He pulled him into
his arms and whispered, "Oh, Poocuh, I never really hated you and if
I've read Samuel right, and I'm sure I have, he could never hate
Joshua either. You're both too easy to love."

"Really, babe?" Tom said, blinking back tears he hadn't been aware
were so close.

"Yes, Poocuh, really." Chakotay wiped away an errant tear from his
cheek and smiled, only this time it was affectionate and not
mocking. "The only hard part about loving you is not being with you."

"So do you believe they should be together?"

"If you say so, my love." Chakotay pressed his face against his wet
cheek and breathed, "fate and destiny willing, forever."

********

"You'll have approximately fifteen minutes before they know
something's wrong and the systems will start coming back up." Samuel
looked pointedly at him. "Will that be enough time, Chakotay?"

They were back in the adobe's spacious living room before the man-
sized fireplace, planning their escape. With Joshua sitting close
beside him on the lounge, Samuel had explained how he had rigged
Sunset Crater's computer to cause a cascade and initiate a planet-
wide diagnostic. The only problem was that, although the program was
automatic, it would not go unnoticed, and the staff of the twenty-
three stations would immediately try to set the situation to rights
upon detecting the problem.

"It will have to be." Chakotay replied somberly pulling his own
blond closer to him for reassurance on the large pillows in front of
the fire.

"That's less than an hour away. Will Voyager be ready?" Joshua
asked from the doctor's lap.

"Yes, I contacted the ship earlier. She's good to go."

"Chakotay, you do realize my program won't affect the communications
network on Mars. The colony is still independent, which means their
systems are not as sophisticated or coordinated as Earth's, but even
so, a wormhole opening is hard to miss."

"Do they have ships with warp capabilities?" he asked.

If they were quick enough and lucky enough, maybe they could fire the
gravimetric torpedo and be through the aperture before someone caught
up to them. There was also the problem of one of the Martian ships
following Voyager through the wormhole, but he didn't want to think
about that right now. One time-altering situation at a time.

"A few," Joshua interjected, giving them the benefit of the inside
information his prestigious position in the Fleet afforded
him. "Mostly freighters and some pleasure craft but nothing than can
go faster than warp two or three. But still, you'll have to do some
fancy flying if you don't want them to catch you."

"No problem, cuz. I told you I'm a pilot. What I didn't tell you
was that I'm hell on wheels. We'll make it." Tom told his twin with
a kick-ass grin and a wink.

Joshua gave him a dubious glance. It was apparent he was not totally
convinced of Tom's prowess at the helm. "I hope so, sugar, because
charm ain't gonna be enough this time around. Plasma weapons don't
respond real well to sweet talk if you know what I mean."

No, but futuristic armour would do the job nicely, Chakotay thought
briefly, before going on to the next order of business. He took the
cocky pilot's hand in his and stood. Tom looked at him questioningly
a moment and then followed as understanding hit him.

"Samuel, Joshua," he said, facing the two men who were curled
together on the couch. "On behalf of myself, Tom and Voyager, thank
you. Your help has been unselfish, invaluable and the difference
between hope and hopelessness. It is because of you that after seven
long years our lost ship will finally find her way home."

Blue eyes looked into brown and brown eyes into blue and then blue on
blue, brown on brown. The flickering light of the fire revealed
reconciled smiles all around. All four men were aware that for them
there had never been any choices.

Chakotay didn't know if it was fate or possibly Tom's favorite,
destiny, but he was sure that what had happened in the last few days
was meant to be. There was no other explanation. Quantum mechanics
and laws of probability aside, it was too eerily coincidental that
Tom and he should meet first Joshua and then Samuel on this mission.

It seemed it didn't matter if it was the past, present or future.
Somehow, someway they had been bound together. There had to be
something bigger than all of them responsible or maybe, just maybe
this was the way it was supposed be all along.

"Babe, we have to go." his Poocuh whispered in his ear.

Chakotay looked into Tom's face, so full of love and beauty and
thought, yes. Whatever the reason, this was definitely the way it
should be.

********

"Here they come!" her helmsman yelled over his shoulder with his
hands hovering over his console.

"Wait for my mark, Mr Paris!" She called back.

Over the face of Mars, Kathryn could see the blue hue of numerous
warp nacelles blinking to life. Voyager was within minutes of
entering the blossoming wormhole but in less time than that, a
flotilla of curious ships would be on their heels to witness and
perhaps delay their departure. She couldn't blame Tom for feeling
antsy. She wanted to be gone as much as he did.

"Tuvok, how much longer before we can enter?" Kathryn called over
her own shoulder, keeping her eyes on the red planet on the forward
view screen.

The calm security officer answered. "Four minutes 36 seconds,
Captain." Without actually turning her head, she knew Seven was
beside her security chief checking and rechecking his calculations.
She got some comfort from that, but even so…-

"Damn!" she exclaimed. It was too long. She tore her gaze from the
impending ships and turned to face her crew. "I need suggestions,
people, and I need them now!"

"A distraction," Harry Kim offered quietly before gaining momentum
and raising his voice confidently. "We have to give them something
else to deal with. The Flyer maybe?"

It was a good idea. The small ship that Tom Paris had lovingly
brought to life should be enough to draw attention away from the
wormhole and Voyager, with a full demonstration of its advanced
weapons system of course. It was more than a good idea. It was a
spectacular one. Harry Kim definitely deserved to be more than an
ensign and if they ever got out of this alive, she'd make it her
personal mission to make the clever officer a lieutenant.

Tom turned in his seat at the helm. "I'll go, ma'am." he said with
a quiet, self-possessed maturity Kathryn would swear hadn't been
there a few days ago.

"No, Voyager needs you. I'll go." Chakotay slapped his comm badge
as he rose from his command chair and ordered the little ship to be
made ready. The pilot caught his arm before he'd taken two steps
towards the turbo lift.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Tom, we don't have time for this." Kathryn kept her mouth shut as
the commander pried the pilot's fingers from his arm. He was right
they didn't have time for this, but Tom had voiced her own thoughts
so clearly that it would be a bigger waste of time for her to repeat
them. She bit her tongue and waited for Chakotay's answer.

"Those ships are on their way and unless somebody is there to meet
them, Voyager isn't going to able to get back home."

Tom grabbed Chakotay by the forearms, locking them together. "But you
can't leave me now, Chak, I love you." With those last three words,
a lot became clear to Kathryn.

The previous animosity between the two men, the seamless way they had
been operating together since their return to Voyager, it all added
up. Finally, through their bizarre situation, Chakotay and Tom had
realized their feelings for one another. A small part of her that
was not intensely focused on their present dilemma took the time to
scream hooray at the revelation. It was perverse that it should
interest her so much right now when they were sitting on the razor's
edge, but then again, maybe not.

This was more than life or death, it was also time and space. The
gravity of making a decision that would affect all time weighed
heavily upon her shoulders. Someone had to meet those ships in the
Flyer, but who, if caught, would have less of an impact on the
timeline? Tom or Chakotay? She looked at the two men bound together
by wrists on elbows in the centre of the bridge and saw no answers.
Both were strong forces in Voyager's here and now. It was hard to
imagine that they wouldn't be anywhere else. Not knowing what else
to do, Kathryn awaited the outcome of their argument.

"What? You were ready to leave me a moment ago." her first officer
replied to her helmsman's earlier plea of fealty.

"That's different. I was making a grand gesture, you're just making
a big mistake."

Incredibly, Tom was grinning. Chakotay, however, did not follow
suit. His face was pinched forward in anger.

"Grand gesture! Bullshit! You were really going to go."

"Yeah, OK, so I was, but that doesn't mean I don't love you." The
wide smile that adorned the lieutenant's face lessened
marginally. "I do."

"And I love you, Poocuh, and that's why I have to go. To keep you
safe." Chakotay said with a lump so large in his throat that she
swallowed hard herself in sympathy for him. "I have to keep you
safe." he croaked out.

"Oh, fuck, Chak. Don't you know?" Tom softened his tone. "The only
safe place for me is in your arms." His voice was quiet, but in the
near stillness of the bridge, it boomed. Everyone, Tuvok, Harry,
Seven, herself included, and most especially Chakotay heard him loud
and clear. The first officer responded evenly with the same heart
stopping clarity.

"Then come with me, Poocuh."

The smile, the one that could charge the warp core for a month if
they could figure out a way to harness its incredible energy,
returned to Tom's face. "I thought you'd never ask."

After a quick hug and without looking back, the two officers headed
in the direction of the lift.

And in the space of three short minutes Voyager's future was reshaped
and assured. Because Chakotay loved Tom and Tom loved Chakotay, in
one minute and 36 seconds they would finally be home.

Or so she thought until Harry Kim intruded on her thoughts.

"Captain, there's somebody else out there and they're not coming from
Mars."

"A Federation armada?"

"It's from Earth but I don't think so. I read only one ship."

Voyager's incumbent saviors, Tom and Chakotay, halted their progress,
turned and together uttered one word. It was a whisper but she still
heard it.

"Joshua."

********

"What the hell is that?"

"I don't know but it's coming up close on your bow and firing
weapons. Pull up! Pull up!"

"I got it. Damn was that a glider?"

"A glider? Your instruments must be screwed. Who would fly a flimsy
ship like that over Mars's plateaus? You'd have to be an ace pilot
to avoid the gravimetric waves those low plains give out."

"You got me, some fool with a death wish I suppose. I guess there's
a first time for everything."

"Well, that's one way to get in the history books. Redirect the
fleet to follow that crackpot."

"What about the anomaly? It looked like a wormhole."

"Yeah, looked like. I'm not picking up anything now. It must have
been a sensor ghost or maybe one of those old nuclear waste barges
exploding again."

"Oh, boy, I remember last time one of those old ships went off. It
was like the Fourth of July and New Year's rolled into one. The sky
was so bright, you couldn't see shit."

"Cut the chatter. Where's the glider now?"

"She's heading toward Earth's airspace. Do you really want to follow
her in there? Could mean running into one of those new Feds and you
know what happens after that."

"Paperwork and red tape, oh, fuck. Naw, let the Federation deal with
the crazy bastard. That should keep them out of our backyard for a
while. Call everyone back and let's head for home."

"I roger that."

********

Raindrops played a soothing lullaby on the roof of the pinewood porch
of the cabin located in the deepest woods on Dorvan V.

Warmer air rose into the mountains, stirring the thunder pot and
igniting brilliant flashes of lightning into the night sky. It was
raining hard in the peaks but only a light drizzle reached them here
in the wooded valley. Chakotay settled back in the glider bench he
had made with his own two hands, to watch the show.

While soaking up the tranquil atmosphere, he was reminded of his
first time with Tom. That night had been drier but the way it made
him feel, the sense of rightness, of being where he was meant to be,
was much the same. It was just a variation on a theme, as his lover
would say, but this was no false phantom. This place, this time, was
really theirs. It truly was home.

It had been a long time coming. After weeks of debriefing and what
Tom had not so affectionately termed interrogation by the Temporal
Police and Starfleet HQ, they had been given clearance to leave and
leave they did, all the way. Despite protests from Kathryn and
Admiral Paris, he and Tom had handed in their resignations and had
caught the first transport ship to Dorvan V. With their back pay
they had built the cabin and enjoyed the luxury of taking on jobs
that might not pay well but called to their interests and gave them
plenty of time to be together.

For almost a year now Chakotay had been teaching history and
anthropology at the local grade school and Tom, when he wasn't
writing holonovels, volunteered part time flying patrols for the
Dorvan government. It was from one of those patrols that the younger
man had just returned.

After grabbing a quick bite, leftovers from what Chakotay had eaten
earlier in the evening, he had ducked into the bathroom to clean up.
While considering the red glow of the sun disappearing behind the
peaks, Chakotay wondered with sardonic affection how long the
fastidious blond wouldbe this time. It had already been close to
half an hour. The screen door creaked open on its hinges and
answered his question.

"Hey, babe." Tom, dressed in gray sweats and smelling as fresh as
the outdoors he was admiring, crossed the porch and sat down beside
him on the glider. Chakotay lifted his arm and the blond settled
underneath. He kissed the top of the golden head resting on his
shoulder. They sat in companionable silence, letting their bodies
get reacquainted for a few minutes before speaking.

Tom lifted his head from his breast. "Do you know what tomorrow is,
Chak?"

He did know but decided to give his lover the pleasure of telling
him.

"Saturday?" he replied vaguely.

"Duh-oh." Tom rolled his delft blue eyes at him. Chakotay smiled at
the adolescent reaction. "I mean what `day' as in an event."

"Can you give me a hint?" he asked still smiling.

Tom sat straight up and sniped, "No, smartass, I can't." He was
smiling too so Chakotay knew he wasn't as annoyed as he sounded.

"OK, well, let me see. About one year ago we were on the Earth of
two hundred years ago soooo…"

"It's Federation Day!" Tom exclaimed not being able to hold back any
longer.

"And the day, or near enough to it, when you told me you loved me for
the very first time." Chakotay added.

"Oh, yeah, right." Tom blushed and then peered at him through his
pale lashes. "You remember that?"

Chakotay planted a soft kiss on his forehead and whispered. "Always,
Poocuh, always." He released a contented sigh and pulled back. "Did
you have something special planned for tomorrow?"

"Sort of. I did some checking the other day. I wanted to find out
if Josh and Samuel stayed together and then,"

"And then present it to me like a belated `I told you so'?"

"Yeah."

"Did you find anything?"

"I'm not sure. The records on specific people were a bit sketchy
back then but I was able to find out one thing. It was kind of
funny, though and I'm not sure what to make of it."

"About Joshua?"

Of the two, Tom's twin was the obvious choice. He had been in
Starfleet and should show up in the military records. Samuel, on the
other hand had been a civilian and his whereabouts would be harder to
track.

"No, after Josh claimed the title of being the first man to fly a
glider over Mars's plateau, his name sort of vanished. It was about
Samuel. He had a child with a Navajo woman, and this is the weird
part. He named her Fate."

Fate and destiny. He remembered Tom's fervent belief in the two
fortunes and the magic they held over Samuel and Josh, or Joshua, as
he liked to be called. The young lieutenant never used nicknames
except surprisingly enough when it came to the doctor. Chakotay had
never understood the special condensation. Maybe it was because he
loved him, or maybe…a thought struck him.

"Tom, what was Joshua's full name again?"

"Joshua Lafayette Gabriel Paris. Why?"

"And what's short for Lafayette?"

"I don't know, uh, Laffy? Or," the blue eyes lit up as understanding
hit. "Fate. Fate is short for Lafayette. Samuel named his little
girl after Joshua, didn't he?"

"Makes sense. So maybe they did end up staying together. It would
explain why you couldn't find Joshua's name in Starfleet's records.
He must have resigned his commission so he could remain with Samuel."

It was a lot of hypothesizing, Chakotay knew, gathering so many wild
facts together, but it was bringing a beautiful glow to his lover's
face and that was the main thing. It didn't matter if his theory was
off base as long as it made Tom happy.

"But what about the woman, Chak?" The younger man's radiance was
starting to fade so Chakotay answered quickly. Making Tom shine, in
any capacity, gave meaning to his life.

"Joshua's B'Elanna, perhaps?" he offered, while taking a moment to
think about Miral. The young girl was the pride of his heart and he
treasured her visits. "Could be he followed your example. I know
Samuel would have wanted children and I'm sure Joshua did too."

Tom grinned as his inner light flared hot again. "Oh, yeah, Josh was
big on family." He cocked his head to the side and squinted. "You're
only guessing, though, aren't you?"

"Not exactly. If I had to write the story based on my own experience
with a certain blond, that's the way it would end, with Samuel and
Joshua together forever."

"And Tom and Chak?"

"Together."

"Forever," Tom finished for him, before wrapping his arms around his
neck and kissing him deeply. Yes, Chakotay thought, as he pulled him
close and returned the kiss.

Forever.

THE END